Title: "The Simple Joys of Loserhood"
Author: Emmyjean (email@example.com)
Classification: Mulder POV, UST
Spoilers: Small Potatoes
Disclaimer: If it were mine, I'd live in the rich part of town. I don't.
Notes: I decided to finish this to see if I could bring myself out of a long case of writer's block. I hope you all like it. J
Mulder shifted again in his seat and heard Scully sigh - he knew he was annoying her. Hell, it wasn't as if there was anything he could do about it. Believe me, Scully…if there were anything I could do to ameliorate this giant pain in my ass, a clear side effect of sitting in this damn chair doing paperwork all day, I would do it. The only thing he could think of at the moment was getting up and going home, but Scully would probably have her Sig out before he even got to the coat rack.
He took his glasses off and rubbed his tired eyes...if he were truly honest with himself, which he rarely was, he would admit that there was a bigger contribution to his restlessness than a sore ass. He couldn't seem to get his mind off of the VanBlundht case for a space of more than ten seconds - and he wasn't talking about the tail anomaly or the sperm switching.
He just couldn't believe that asshole had been about to kiss Scully. He couldn't believe she had thought it was him. He donned his glasses once more and subtly looked over the rims at his partner, who was typing away on her laptop. She hadn't confirmed anything or told him what had happened that night...of course that's what will come of completely and painstakingly avoiding discussion about a topic. True, he hadn't asked, mostly because he had wanted to see if she would volunteer the information.
She hadn't. If he knew Scully at all, he would guess that she had no plans to do so in the near or distant future. He honestly didn't know why he expected anything different - not only were they Spooky and Mrs. Spooky (nicknames which, however ill-intentioned, he himself was actually quite fond of), but they were also the King and Queen of Evasion.
Suddenly, it felt extremely hot and suffocating in the dank office. He decided that, death threats or not, he couldn't sit in this goddammed chair another second or he was going to save her the trouble and put himself out of his own misery. He shuffled some papers, hoping to alert her to the fact that he was getting ready to leave, and stood up slowly.
"Where the hell do you think you're going?"
Crap. She really wasn't going to let him off the hook, was she? It was as if she had been waiting for him to try and escape.
"I'm cutting out. It's too damn stuffy in here."
She glanced at the clock and replied brusquely, "It's only four-thirty, Mulder. Are you just gonna leave me to finish all the backlogged paperwork by myself?"
Well, that hadn't been something he was considering when he had made his decision to leave, but if he left now there was really no way around it. He had already made up his mind to go, however, and the idea of sitting back down and picking up the pen again made him queasy. All at once, an idea flooded his brain and before he had time to consider his words, he blurted out,
"Wanna wrap it up and get some dinner or...or catch a movie or something?"
Scully looked up at him, clearly surprised at the invitation. She leaned back in her chair and eyed him almost suspiciously. Oh, for Christ's sake, Scully…
"A movie? Mulder, since when are you interested in genres of cinema that command less than a triple-X rating?" she asked with a touch of dry humor in her skeptical voice.
"Come on, Scully...give me a little credit. I do have some interests beyond those with an "X" label."
She quirked the famous eyebrow, and resumed her work on the laptop, replying as she did, "Thanks, but uh...I'd rather preserve my life by assuring that Skinner has these reports on his desk by six tonight."
He merely stood there like a doofus, unsure of what to say next. Was that it? She glanced up once more and finished,
"See you Monday."
So that was it. He had just been summarily rejected and dismissed by his partner. He supposed she really did think he was a loser, just like that asshole had said. He suddenly felt a surge of anger rise up in his chest, and all he wanted to do was take her by the shoulders and shake her...hard. Instead, he yanked his coat off the rack and, without a backward glance or a word of farewell, he walked out of the office and slammed the door behind him.
"Frohike, what the hell did you put in these tamales?" Mulder was asking about an hour later while sitting at the table in the Lone Gunmens' office, trying his damndest not to spit out the food he had in his mouth.
"The usual stuff...why? Are you trying to tell me something, Mulder?"
"Yeah...they suck, dude!" Langly sputtered around his mouthful.
Indignant, Frohike pointed the spatula he still held at his blond friend and retorted, "I've never had a complaint about my Mexican, you cretin!"
"Usually it's not bad, but Jesus...this tastes like wet gym socks!" Mulder commented through his napkin.
"Try jockstraps," Langly muttered, having indiscreetly expelled his chewed tamale back onto his plate.
Frohike was just about to open his mouth to reply when Byers calmly cut in, "Did you check the date on that meat? If you used what I think you used, it's been in there for awhile."
"Yeah, well it's not my problem if you people don't like vintage beef."
The other three men chuckled despite their disgust, and the room fell quiet save for the tapping of Byers fingers on his keyboard. Mulder looked at the clock- 7:32. He wondered if Scully had finished the reports on time, but merely became gloomy at the thought of how they had ended the day. It made him angry that she hadn't even considered spending the evening with him…not for one millisecond. He wasn't even sure she took him seriously. More than angry, however, he was hurt…although that was one of those things he would never admit to himself, dishonest bastard that he was.
"Hey, Mulder...what's the matter?" Frohike asked suddenly, "You look like you just..."
"Ate something rotten?" Langly interrupted.
"Shut up, punkass."
Mulder shook his head and ran his hands over his face, combing his fingers through his hair, and replied, "Nah, it's nothing."
"Come on, Mulder...you can tell us," Byers added.
There was a pause as Mulder considered it, and Frohike ventured, "Something happen with the lovely Agent Scully?"
Mulder laughed humorlessly- sometimes these three social outcasts really were perceptive.
"Yeah...I dunno. It was that VanBlundht case. He could morph into other people because of his odd muscle tissue, right? Well…he apparently thought I would be a good candidate for a life makeover."
"Uh-oh..." Frohike cut in.
"Yeah...uh-oh," Mulder continued, "He tried to get Scully drunk and seduce her. Here's the kicker...it almost worked. The only reason it didn't was because I crashed through her apartment door just in time to throw a serious wrench in his plans for a romantic evening."
"Wait a minute," Byers broke in, "You mean he tried to take advantage of Agent Scully…and she thought he was you the whole time?"
They glanced at each other, and then all three broke into smiles.
"What the hell is so amusing about this, fellas? It was a humiliating moment for both of us."
"Exactly, Einstein. Why do you think she refused your offer to hang out tonight?" Langly cracked.
"What makes you think I…"
"Oh, come on, Mulder. Our job is to uncover deeply hidden truths," Byers interrupted knowingly, "Scully is probably scared to death that you to think you can pull that kind of stuff with her…the things VanBlundht tried to do with her."
Frohike continued, "Although apparently…you can."
Mulder stood up and said defiantly, "I would never try and take advantage of Scully. Ever."
"No…but she almost let you once. She could have stopped it, and she didn't. That's what's scaring her."
Mulder processed this information slowly, walking over to the other end of the room and looking blindly at a data screen on the wall. She almost let him- what the hell DID that mean? She had let him into her apartment and had let things progress. She hadn't been struggling when he burst in, hadn't been resisting…
Maybe Scully was simply better at hiding her true feelings for him than he was at hiding his for her. God…what the hell was he doing here?
"What the hell are you doing here?" Frohike asked, "If I were you…I'd be kind of encouraged by this whole thing."
"Yeah, look at it this way, man…" Langly added, "She can't be THAT disinterested."
"Look, guys…I gotta go. Something's just come up…"
"Yeah, yeah," Frohike replied, "I'd leave too, if I were you."
Mulder snatched up his jacket from the chair and practically bolted from the office, leaving behind his three snickering friends.
Mulder stood outside Scully's door and knocked a bit louder, hoping she simply hadn't heard him. The supreme humiliation would be if she had turned down plans with him only to go out with someone else, leaving him to stand like an idiot in her hallway. He was about to start worrying in earnest when he heard her footsteps on the other side of the door. There was a pause as she looked through the peephole, and then the door swung open.
Oh, Jesus…she'd been in the shower. She was dripping wet and wrapped in what he presumed was nothing but a robe. He swallowed and, forcing himself not to cast his eyes below her neck, he gave her a slight smile. What the hell had he been thinking, taking romantic advice from the three biggest geeks on earth.
"Mulder, what are you doing here? I called your apartment and you weren't home, but that was almost an hour and a half ago."
"You called? Something wrong?" he frowned a little.
"No, I was just a little concerned. Considering the way you left the office earlier…"
"Oh, yeah. I'm sorry about that. I didn't mean to be so pissy."
She nodded, and quietly replied, "Neither did I."
Startled by her frank admission, he merely nodded along with her and quirked his lips into something resembling a smile. They looked at each other for a minute, and then Scully seemingly became aware that she was soaking the floor. Clutching her robe closed at the collar, she opened her mouth to say something but he spoke first.
"Scully, get dressed."
She raised an eyebrow and replied, "I hate it when you say that. It usually means I'm going to be cutting up dead bodies within the hour."
"No, no…I decided that I'm going to take you to that movie I mentioned earlier, whether you like it or not. I think it's only fair that I make up for the attitude I gave you before, so it's my treat."
"Oh…Mulder, you don't need to do that. I..."
"I suggest you take advantage of this uncharacteristic display of joviality and just go with it, Scully," he interrupted wryly, "We're off the clock now, so you really have no excuse to give me about why you can't go, anyway."
She smiled slightly and he could tell she was convinced. After this many years of working with the woman, he could tell when he had her.
"Alright, just...just let me get dried off. I'll only be a minute," she called as she walked away, unaware that he was checking her out as she went.
He shook his head to clear it, and it didn't work as well as he had hoped. Whatever...he was going to be sitting in a movie theater in a little while, and that'd be enough to get his thoughts off of her for a few hours anyway. He was certain that his mind was going to force him to think endlessly about her previous state of undress as soon as he got home and was alone, but for right now he was content to stay focused on the matter at hand. This was not a new thing…he was consistently taking mental images of Scully in various situations and storing them away for more appropriate times.
Or, more inappropriate times, depending on how you looked at it. Not that he was proud of it. It was simply a fact. As long as she never found out, nobody would get hurt.
She came out of her room a few minutes later, her wet hair tied into a ponytail at the back of her head. She looked younger than she had in years, without any makeup and in the absence of her power suits. He opened his mouth to tell her this, but then decided that it might not be such a good idea. All he needed was to make her angry again.
"Ready?" he asked instead.
She looked at him suspiciously as she grabbed her jacket and opened the door.
"Mulder...you realize you don't have to actually prove to me that you're not a loser, right?"
She was referring to the comment Van Blundht had made to him in the jail. He didn't really care what other people thought of him, as he didn't have any major problems with his life as a whole. Well, his personal life, anyway...he was content to go on living the way he was living for awhile. However, he did sometimes worry that Scully looked down upon him in this way...and that thought bothered him more than he liked to admit to himself. Perhaps that was why the comment VanBlundht had made stung him so much.
"I'm going to a movie with my partner...how is that helping my case against being a loser?" he asked sarcastically.
She snorted derisively, and replied, "Well, it's better than spending Friday night with the Lone Gunmen."
He smiled behind her back as they walked toward the elevator - she didn’t know how right she was. He supposed that for a loser, he was doing pretty well for himself tonight.
More Fanfiction by Emmyjean at
Between the Lines
The Hidden Tower