A chauvinistic detective disrespects Scully,
and pays the price.
DISCLAIMER: Not mine; they belong to CC, FOX, etc.
Notes: This is a slightly belated present for my birthday twin and uberbeta, Mimsy. I wasn't going to play, but my muse got loose, and after I'd so successfully kept it in check all these weeks since we posted the challenge. Oh, well, some battles you just can't win.
This is also dedicated to Nancybratt. It's not the challenge fic you asked for, but I thought it was appropriate that a story about one heroic woman be dedicated to another.
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
* * *
I shoved the door shut behind me. The echoing slam only fed my thirst for violence. I wrenched my arms from my jacket, balled up the fabric, and threw it at the bed. The soft thud was far less satisfying, but I made up for it with the loud thump of my kicked off shoe ricocheting against the far wall.
The door to the adjoining motel room opened, and Mulder stood there watching my other shoe rebound off the plaster.
"Bad shoe day?" he joked.
I ignored his comment. "You shouldn't be walking around."
Mulder limped the few steps over to the table and slumped into a chair, propping his left foot on the chair opposite him. His ankle was wrapped in a towel, which hopefully sheathed a bundle of ice.
"What happened?" he asked.
"Nothing." I tossed my gun onto the dresser and tugged my shirt out of my slacks. I really wanted to strip naked and jump into the shower, but first I had to tend to my accident-prone partner. "Unless you count an overdose of testosterone."
"Let me guess--Detective Pittard?"
I scowled and nodded.
"Guess he won't be winning Feminist of the Year," Mulder said.
"You could say that again."
"Guess he won't--" At my glare, Mulder stopped and grinned. He quickly sobered and asked, "So, what did he do this time?"
I crossed to my suitcase and started digging for the Ace bandage I usually kept on hand. "It doesn't matter."
"It matters to me," he said gently. "And it obviously matters to you."
With a sigh, I clenched the rolled bandage in my hand and closed my eyes. If Mulder started acting sweet, my shield of anger might melt away, exposing the hurt, and I really didn't want to start crying right now.
I needed a distraction, so I turned my attention to Mulder's ankle. I walked over and lifted his injured foot to sit in the chair it was occupying. Then I placed the foot in my lap and started to unwrap the towel.
"How's it feeling?" I asked.
"Sore. But it's starting to go numb."
Underneath the towel was a bag of ice, slightly melted. I set the bag on the table and carefully inspected Mulder's ankle. It was swollen and turning a nice shade of purple.
"Oh, Mulder," I groaned. He would certainly be out of commission for a while. "Next time, look before you leap."
"I'll try to remember that," he said dryly.
"I guess this means I'm stuck working with Pittard for the rest of this case."
He looked at me with sympathy. "That bad, huh?"
"'Bad' was when he refused to look at me--like I wasn't even there. Worse is that, now he's finally acknowledging my presence, his eyes can't seem to make it any higher than my chest."
"At least he's looking at you."
I slammed the ice back onto his ankle, which quickly turned Mulder's smirk into a wince.
"And to top it all off," I continued while I bandaged the ice pack to Mulder's ankle, "he thinks the theory about the avenging ghost of the spurned lover was all my idea."
"This guy doesn't have a sense of humor, does he? I meant that as a joke. But I do think it was a spurned lover directing an entity--"
"Entities don't leave DNA. With that and the witness's description, we should be able to catch our suspect."
"It doesn't bother you that you can't explain the cause of death?"
I met his perturbed gaze and said quite definitively, "No." What bothered me was chauvinistic detectives, and partners who couldn't stop tilting at windmills long enough to check what was on the other side of a wall before vaulting over it.
"Scully? I need a wrap, not a tourniquet."
I didn't realize I had been taking out my frustration on his poor ankle. "Sorry." I let up some of the tension and bound it more gently.
Mulder said softly, "Don't let that guy get to you, Scully. He's just insecure. A man like that feels threatened by a strong female. He's afraid to admit that you're more of a man than he'll ever be."
I looked up to see the genuine concern in his eyes, accented with a teasing glimmer. I couldn't help but smile a little. "Thanks, I think."
He leaned back in his chair. "One of these days, it'll catch up with him, and he'll come to regret it. They always do."
I couldn't help but think of Detective Cross in Cleveland, slimed by a fat-sucking vampire. I would never wish that on anyone, no matter how much I disliked him. I just hoped that in Pittard's case, Mulder's words weren't prophetic.
* * *
I can't believe the bastard ditched me.
I muttered under my breath every curse a good sailor's daughter should know while I slowly drove through the quiet warehouse district looking for Pittard's car. You'd think by now I'd be used to getting ditched, but with Mulder, it was never about gender. Sure, he was trying to protect me from taking the same stupid risks he was, but not because he thought I was a liability. That doesn't mean it didn't piss me off, but this--this one was a personal insult. And I don't like being insulted.
I added a few German expletives I'd learned in college, for good measure, as I continued through the neighborhood. It's not like I had been dallying in the bathroom fixing my make-up. All I did was go down the hall, to the small conference room where they'd relegated me, to retrieve my jacket. When I got back to the bullpen, Pittard was long gone, chasing after the anonymous tip that might not even pan out. Good thing I'd thought to ask about the location before I left for my jacket. Unless he lied to me about that too.
Finally, I spotted his car parked next to a narrow alley. I pulled to a stop behind it and readied my lecture. When I found this guy, I was going to rip him a new one.
As I opened my door, shots rang out. Instinct took over, and I raced toward the sound. Around the back of a building near a deserted loading dock, I found Pittard on the ground with a man standing over him, holding a gun to Pittard's head. Brown hair, thin mustache--it looked like our suspect. But even more telling were the crazed gleam in his eye and the sneer twitching at his lip. I knew what he planned to do; I didn't hesitate to act.
Three shots to the chest, and the suspect was down. I rushed over to Pittard. Blood was seeping through his shirt, and his eyes were glazed over, but for the moment he was still breathing. I quickly checked the suspect for vitals and kicked his gun out of reach before I dropped to my knees beside Pittard to assess the damage.
I unbuttoned his shirt to find an oozing wound in the upper left side of his chest. The hole was far enough to the right that didn't think the bullet had hit anything major. Then again, I wasn't really worried about his heart because I was sure he didn't have one.
"Detective Pittard, can you hear me? I need you to focus. Stay with me."
I pulled off my jacket since it was the best thing available--lucky for him I had gone back for it--folded it up, and pressed it to his chest. He sucked in a breath, likely in pain, but it was enough to get his attention where I wanted it. His eyes began to focus as he looked up at me. I took great pleasure in seeing his humiliated expression when he realized who his avenging angel was.
I fumbled through the folds of my jacket with one hand, trying to pull my cell phone out of the pocket without letting up on the pressure. "Don't try to talk right now. You took a bullet to the chest."
"Tell Maureen--" he started shakily.
"Tell her yourself, detective. Sorry to disappoint you, but you're not dying on my watch." Triumphantly, I finally managed to wriggle the cell phone free. I wasted no time dialing 9-1-1.
While a recording told me that all operators were busy and to wait on the line, a wracking cough shook his chest beneath my hand.
"Pittard? Do us both a favor and keep breathing, because there's no way I'm giving you mouth to mouth."
He huffed out what I think was a laugh. I was just grateful that he followed it by sucking in another breath, albeit unsteady.
I had never been more relieved to hear the words: "9-1-1. What is your emergency?"
* * *
It was a long night, first at the hospital, then at the police station. When morning broke, I was on my way back to the hospital, this time with my partner in tow. I'd returned to the motel to find his ankle even worse, and I insisted that he get it x-rayed. The films confirmed that it wasn't broken, only badly sprained, but I still convinced the doctor that it would take more than Mulder's willpower to keep the ankle immobilized. I got tired of Mulder's whining about the temporary cast, so I left the room and sent the prettiest nurse I could find to go deal with him.
I was in Pittard's room, looking over his chart, when Mulder caught up with me. He hobbled up alongside me on his crutches, and for a moment we watched silently over the sleeping man. There were no flowers in the room, no cards, no company--and no sign of anyone named Maureen. Even the other cops had left off their vigil after Pittard was out of surgery. It was hard to hate the man when he obviously deserved pity.
"How's he doing?" Mulder asked quietly.
I put the chart back and explained in layman's terms, "He lost a lot of blood, but the bullet didn't hit any major organs. He'll live."
"Thanks to you."
I shrugged and looked back to Pittard. "I was just doing my job."
"Agent Scully?" Pittard's eyelids fluttered a few times before he was able to open them fully. I felt Mulder's hand on my shoulder and glanced over at him. He gave me a warm, supportive look, and then turned to shuffle out into the hall.
I moved around to the side of the bed so Pittard could see me better, but I left the conversation topic up to him. I hoped that crow would be on the menu.
"Guess I dodged one this time, huh?" He smiled weakly.
Apparently he was referring to the proverbial bullet, not the one they removed from his chest. "Next time, try ducking instead of dodging."
He attempted a chuckle. "Yeah." I waited patiently as he appeared to gather his thoughts, probably still wrestling with the pain killers. "How's the perp?"
"In the morgue. He forgot to dodge."
"Was it our guy?"
"We'll have to wait for the autopsy results to be sure. Hopefully the DNA will provide a definitive match and we can put this case to rest."
He just grunted. That seemed to be the end of the conversation, so I turned to leave. Now that the man was awake, I was no longer feeling any warm thoughts toward him, so I didn't see any point in lying and wishing him well.
That caught my attention. I turned back to him, my brows still raised in surprise, and inquiry.
"Thanks for...you know," Pittard said.
I supposed that's as good as it was going to get. "It's what I do," I answered. I turned then and left; nothing more needed to be said.
When I exited, Mulder was waiting just outside the door. "And you do it so well--in a skirt and three-inch heels, no less."
That answered my question: yes, he had been listening to every word. I ducked my head to hide the smile his comment had provoked. If Pittard had said that, it would've been an insult. But from Mulder, I knew it was nothing but admiration.
I put on my game face and looked up at him. "You ready to get out of here?"
He nodded and handed me a small piece of paper covered in doctor scribbles. "I don't really need this prescription, do I?" he whined.
It was a scrip for pain meds, only slightly stronger than what he could get over the counter. "Not if you follow the doctor's directions and stay off your foot."
Through the thin paper, I noticed some writing on the back, so I flipped it over. There was a name and phone number written in much more legible handwriting.
"Who's Nancy?" I asked.
Mulder smiled. "That cute little nurse you sent to take care of me. She had a different kind of prescription in mind. Think I should call her?"
I didn't care if the twinkle in his eye told me he was just teasing. I shoved the paper back into his hands and turned on my heel.
Notes: This is basically in response to our birthday challenge: Scully puts a chauvinist in his place. Mims wrote about her part of the challenge (see "Things Intangible"), so I wrote about mine.
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