With Holy Choirs Of Angels
Category: MS UST
Disclaimer: Just borrowing them….
I've always admired Mulder and Scully for surviving eight years of the X-files. I'm sure they couldn't have done it without their guardian angels. So I wrote this story in honour of them.
In this story, I have also mentioned a few names of Saints from the Catholic church. In order to follow the story, I have appended a short history of each saint at the end of the story.
With Holy Choirs of Angels
The hot water splashed freely on her back. And Scully moved her head slowly in a circular motion, allowing the muscles in her neck to flex and ease under the soothing flow. Other parts of her body screamed for attention too and she unhurriedly allowed them each a chance with the almost therapeutic relief.
It was probably the best workout she had in a while, one that she thoroughly enjoyed. Each blow she struck, each kick she delivered, had a purpose. And it felt good. So good, that her irritation with her partner had very nearly vanished. In her mind, he had been beaten to a pulp and was currently lying on the gym floor, unconscious.
After two months of paranormal regularity, she found herself once again in her God-I-hate-my-partner moods, a phase she often yoyo-ed in and out of depending on the frequency of Mulder’s lone ranger escapades that week. And frankly, she was getting rather tired of the whole routine. If only she didn’t care so much. ‘If only I have a life besides the X-files!’ She thought.
A loud beeping sound from outside the gym showers distracted her. When it did not stop after half a minute, she decided to cut short her bath and pressed on the shower controls to shut the water off. To her surprise, the water continued to flow. She tried again but it still didn’t work.
‘Damned technology!’ She cursed, thinking that the newly installed shower system had somehow malfunctioned. Turning to the sliding door, she pressed the metal button that normally released the catch on the door. Unfortunately, the vacuum operated door refused budge.
“Oh no, this can’t be happening!” She groaned. Continuously pressing the knob, she banged loudly on the door with her other hand, hoping someone outside would hear her. “Hey! Anyone out there? I’m stuck!”
As if things couldn’t get any worse, she felt the water getting hotter and hotter. She looked at the digital temperature meter attached to the shower controls. It seemed to be steadily rising. ‘Oh my God!’ She thought and proceeded to pound on the door frantically. “Can anyone hear me? I’m stuck in here and the water’s getting hotter! Somebody! Get me out of here!”
The water was beginning to burn. She turned to check the reading. The water was almost up to a scalding point! She realized she had to do something so she reached up to turn the moveable showerhead to face inwards so that she could at least have standing room away from the boiling spray. Then she looked up and studied the shower booth walls, wishing she were slightly taller so that she would be able jump high enough to grab on to the edge of it. Before she could contemplate other possibilities, she heard a voice call out from outside the door. Sighing in relief, she yelled an answer.
“Hang on. I’ll try to get you out of there!” The voice told her.
She acknowledged the man’s voice and hoped that he would hurry the hell up. The shower had just automatically begun spraying at optimum blast and the steaming water was bouncing off the floor and wall, scalding her skin.
Suddenly there was a loud crash on the door and she jumped, staring at it in surprise. Then she saw five fingers appear through a gap the violent act had created and the door slid open.
Still too stunned to react, she blinked at the man in front of her. He was tall, dark-haired, well tanned and extremely good-looking. Smiling at her, he said. “Hello.”
Scully opened her mouth to say something but couldn’t. For one entire minute, she had completely lost her hold on reality. Instead, her thoughts had outrageously flown to her once-upon-a-time adolescent notations of being rescued by a dashing hero. Well here he was, only better. Gorgeous, extremely wet and clad only in a clingy damp towel. ‘Who said wishes didn’t come true?’ She thought as her eyebrows rose slowly.
Justin waited for half a minute before he put down the fire extinguisher that he used to break open the door catch. Forcing himself to look away, his long limb retrieved a towel from the nearby rack, passing it to her. “I suppose you’ll need one of this.”
It was only then that she realized that she was standing before him absolutely naked. Mortified, she grabbed and hastily wrapped it around her. He didn’t seem to notice her embarrassment. Instead he casually slipped his arm around her and shouted above the noise of the running showers about them. “We have to find a way out. The main door to the showers is stuck too. I was working on it when I heard you yell.”
Somewhat recovered, she asked as she let him lead her out. “What’s going on?”
He answered loudly. “I don’t know but I’m taking a wild guess that this state-of-the-art computerized central system that blew the gym’s budget this year isn’t working out so well.”
“Can we get to our clothes?” She asked, feeling extremely conscious of her near nakedness.
“Nope. The locker room doors are sealed tight too.”
“Great.” She sighed and looked about. “Any windows?”
“They’re all too high.” He stated the obvious. “But there’s a glass paneling next to the main shower entrance.”
“Maybe we could bust through it with the fire extinguisher?” She suggested.
Justin looked at her thoughtfully. “We could give it a try.”
They hurried to the location of the fore mentioned partition. He wasn’t completely accurate. It was some sort of synthetic glass and they hoped that a fire extinguisher was a heavy enough object to break through it.
He left her side to remove one from the wall nearby. As she stepped back, he lunged forward and threw the metal object against the surface of the glass panel. It cracked. He retreating a few paces and tried again. This time, the fire extinguisher produced a massive web of fractures. And by the fourth time, the wall finally gave way and the gap looked large enough for the both of them to squeeze through.
“What the hell is going on?” A voice glowered from the jagged edges, on the other side.
“The door is stuck and so are the shower controls.” She yelled back angrily. “Now, help us get out of here.” The stunned employee immediately shut up and did.
After Scully and Justin had both carefully stepped onto the other side, they walked out to the gym reception. Only clothed in a towel each, they caused quite a number of curious looks in their direction. But it wasn’t long before all in charge were informed about the malfunction and gym personal rushed to fix the problem.
The manager led the two aside. He began asking Scully questions while the in-house nurse fussed over Justin. But the latter had other plans and cleverly convinced the medic that Scully needed more medical attention than he. When no one was watching, he quietly slipped away.
It was now after five and more FBI staff gradually began to appear for their daily workout. Informed that the gym was temporarily unavailable, they stood around in the reception eyeing the barely clothed Agent Dana Scully speculatively.
Justin turned back to look at her too, his eyes intently taking in her slight scowls at the incompetent medical aide and the relentless manager. As he began to hear soft whistles and catcalls from the growing crowd, he shook his head in disbelief. ‘Isn’t anyone going to offer her something to cover up?’ He thought.
But no one did and he watched her glance at the other teasing agents with a look of disconcertment. It then occurred to him that this event would turn out to be one of the many Mrs. Spooky tales that went round the Bureau. Another round of ribbing, snide remarks and rude smirks for her to put up with the next day. The only difference was, this time she hadn’t a partner to share some of that burden with.
After battling with himself for a while, he decided to bend the rule just this once. ‘Although I really shouldn’t be doing this….’ He mumbled under his breath.
Walking in her direction, he stopped briefly to ask for the coat of an agent on the way. The agent hesitated only for a moment before shrugging it off meekly. Justin smiled. ‘Ask and ye shall receive.’
Meanwhile, Scully had just about enough with the two men harassing her. She glared at them and growled. “Mr. Denson, for the last time, I’m not going to press charges. And you, will you stop prodding me like a damned cow?”
Mr. Denson backed away with a sigh of relief and the nurse aide rolled his eyes, walking off in a huff.
‘Finally, some peace.’ Scully thought thankfully. Then, she felt someone slip a coat over her. Surprised, she quickly turned.
“Are you okay?” Justin asked.
Scully held her breath when his gaze met hers. “Yes. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” He smiled a little and softly mentioned. “The paramedics are on their way.”
“Uh… I’m fine, really.” She replied hesitantly, still staring at him.
He was beginning to get uncomfortable, unsure what was it about him that fascinated her. His eyebrow rose suspiciously. Could she have guessed? After all, he was always by her side. Perhaps she recognized him after all these years?
She caught his curious look and blushed. “I’m sorry. You… just look…. really… familiar. Have I seen you somewhere before?”
Justin calmly lied. “Maybe. I work in the same building you do.”
‘Of course!’ Scully would have slapped her forehead with one of her hands if they weren’t both busy holding up her towel. ‘He’s in the FBI gym. Of course he would be an FBI agent!’ She gave a nervous laugh and wondered if she was truly turning into an Ice Maiden. To think that she hadn’t noticed this fabulous specimen of a man in the same building! “Which department?”
“VCS.” He answered simply. Common sense was telling him to shut up and go on his way but her lovely eyes had cast a magical spell on him, he told her. “My name’s Justin.”
“Mine’s Dana.” She hesitated and softly thanked him for what he did earlier in the showers.
“Don’t mention it.” He found himself whispering and gazed back into her wide, blue eyes. It was strange seeing her this way. So uncharacteristically Dana Scully, staring into his soul as if he was the only person she trusted.
He blinked. ‘No, not the only one. There is another.’ The thought brought him back to reality. But it was too late to walk away now. So he took her hand, surprising her. “They’re here. Let’s get out of here.”
‘Who?’ Scully frowned at first and then realized he was talking about the paramedics. ‘Funny! I didn’t hear anything.’ But too dazed to react rationally, she allowed him to lead her out through the inquisitive group of bystanders. It was only when they stepped out of the gym that she found that he was right. The sound of an ambulance siren drifted faintly into her ear, indicating that it was on its way. Scully looked oddly at Justin. ‘How did he know?’
Scully stared blankly at the wall across her bed. She had been motionless for the past half an hour, thinking about the events of the day before and most importantly, Justin.
“Justin.” She muttered the name softly and then shook her head. It was weird. There was something about him that captivated her, something that she couldn’t put her finger on. And that something had made her do things she wouldn’t normally do.
Things like gazing into his eyes, shivering at his touch and acting like a complete fool! ‘I let him hold my hand all the way to the hospital, for God’s sakes!’ She thought and her brow creased furiously.
What was it about him? Maybe it was the way he looked her. It was as if she was the only woman left in the world. It was mesmerizing. There were times during the ride that Scully had the strongest sense of tranquility. She felt safe. He was safe. She felt that she could be completely honest and unguarded with him and it would okay. She didn’t need to pretend, act or hide anything.
This strange unexplainable trust in someone she hardly knew was foreign to her. For so many years, Mulder had been the only one that had gotten near her. And even after five years with him, there were certain layers of herself that she hadn’t shared with him. Yet within a couple of minutes, in his very own quiet way, Justin had mysteriously opened her up to him.
“Hey Scully, I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” Her partner unabashedly interrupted her thoughts while he stood at the doorway, holding up his bandaged finger.
She sighed and abandoned her thoughts on her mysterious rescuer. “Mulder, can I go home now?”
“Oh, my finger’s feeling really better today. Gee, thanks for asking.” He mockingly replied.
Rolling her eyes, she chided him. “It was just a tiny cut, you big baby. And I can’t believe you have the nerve to bring it up, considering you left me in the dark **again** to get that pathetic trophy scar.”
‘She’s right. I shouldn’t have brought it up.’ He grimaced and hoped it wouldn’t launch another nagging session from her. Hastily, he changed the subject. “The doctor will be here soon to give you the final okay.” He paused and added cheekily. “Can I stay for the examination?” A fierce glare was all he needed to know what her answer was.
A knock on the door made Mulder jump. He turned around to see a man that he had never seen before. The latter nodded at him and poked his head inside. “Dana?”
Her face literally lit up, much to her partner’s astonishment. “Justin. Come in.”
And as Mulder cocked his head and frowned, Justin walked in and went to her side. “How are you feeling?”
“I’m fine, thank you.”
The arm behind his back produced a bouquet of red roses. “These are for you.” He told her, eyes darting to the floor as he coloured slightly.
Mulder’s eyebrows rose. He unconsciously looked at his own offering in his hand and made a face.
Oblivious of her partner’s wariness, Scully melted at Justin’s thoughtfulness and put his shyness at ease. “They’re lovely, Justin. Thank you.”
Recovering from his embarrassment, Justin took the courage to look at her. And for a moment, his intense gaze held hers in lock.
Only a couple of steps away, Mulder was getting more and more incredulous by the minute. ‘Who the hell is this guy?’ Loudly, he cleared his throat and smiled sweetly. “Aren’t you going to introduce us, **Dana**?”
The spell between them was now rudely broken, she sighed and made the introductions. “Justin, This is my partner.” She shot the latter a dark look before she added with gritted teeth. “Fox.”
Mulder winced at the sound of his first name, frowned at her and quickly amended with a soft growl. “Actually, it’s Mulder. Agent Mulder.”
Trying hard to resist a smile, Justin walked towards him and held out his hand. “Pleased to meet you, Agent Mulder.”
The former took his hand cautiously and shook it. “Justin….?” He trailed off purposely, waiting the other to supply a last name.
Justin hesitated and Mulder did not miss the slight panic look in his eyes before he smoothly replied. “Just call me Justin.”
Scully eyed the exchange guardedly and quickly intercepted before Mulder decided to get nasty. “Justin helped me out of the shower.”
It worked for her partner snapped his head to look at her with his eyes open wide. “He what?”
‘Whoops! Didn’t mean for that one to get out.’ She thought but smiled sweetly back instead. “Long story. I’ll tell you about it later.”
Mulder bit his inner lip, telling her that he wished she would tell him about it now. She pretended not to notice and turned her attentions to Justin. “I suppose you’re on your lunch break.”
Justin nodded. “Yes. I’m sorry I can’t stay long.”
Shaking her head and offering a slight laugh, she told him. “It’s all right. It was really sweet of you to come.”
“I was surprised that you had to spend the night here. I didn’t think it was serious.”
“It wasn’t. They just wanted to be sure.”
In the meantime, Mulder watched his partner shamelessly drool over the fine-looking Agent Justin with mounting aggravation. Unable to contain his disgust any longer, he cleared his throat and pretended to look at his watch. “Lunchtime is almost over. Don’t you have to be getting back, Justin?”
Justin frowned and glanced momentarily at him. “He’s right. I should go.”
Inside she was cursing the day Mulder was born but outside she was a perfect picture of composure. “Thank you for coming.”
Justin smiled and touched her hand before he turned to move for the door. Her vigilant partner did not miss the innocent gesture and waited long enough only until the former was safely out the door. “Helped you out of the shower, did he? What else did this Knight in shining armour do?”
‘Knight in a slinky towel, you mean.’ She entertained privately but decided to not to answer the question aloud. “Mulder, if you’re not going to behave, I suggest you leave you the room next time.”
‘Next time? You mean, we’ll be seeing more of Justin?’ He wondered, absolutely astounded. Recovering quickly, he whined. “I was behaving.”
“No you weren’t. You were being difficult.”
“I’m always difficult. Why should he get a better treatment from me than other people?” Her mediocre glare transformed into a scorching one. He gave her an innocent look and then teased. “Oooh! You like him, don’t you?”
The scowl vanished. “What? No, I don’t.” But the slight hesitance in her manner gave her away. “He saved my life so lay off him, will you? Now, go get the doctor and get me out of here.”
He looked thoughtful. “Did you notice he refused to give me his last name?”
“Mulder!” She groaned. “Please don’t blow this out proportion.”
“Okay okay, I’m going.” He muttered under his breath, mentally making a note to check up on Agent Justin. But three strides later, he retraced his steps; placing the magazine he was holding across her lap. “I forgot. I brought you something to read.”
She unrolled it and incredulously frowned. “The Lone Gunmen?” The sarcasm in her voice rang clear. “Gee thanks, Mulder.”
“It’s a Special Edition.” Before she could say anything, he unexpectedly added. “Be careful, Scully. The good looking ones always break your heart.”
Her eyebrows rose in surprise. She watched him nod gravely to himself as he walked to the door. As he disappeared, she thought about his words and all the times he had done the same to her, every time he ditched her. And she muttered to herself. “Yeah, I guess they do.”
She had been quiet all morning. Too quiet, he decided. And he wasn’t sure if she was still mad at him for ditching her or she had other things on her mind. But clearly something was up. The way her head bobbed about in the FBI building lobby as they came back from lunch was proof enough. ‘What on earth is she looking out for?’ He wondered.
“Hey Mulder!” A fellow basketball pal called out to him to go over. He gave him a nod while squeezing gently on his partner’s shoulder, signaling her to wait for him. She sighed but stood by obediently, her foot tapping impatiently on the carpeted floor.
As her eyes swept through the lunch crowd, they immediately locked on a familiar build of a man standing in front of the elevator. She tiptoed and peered harder. ‘It is him!’ She gleefully confirmed.
Turning back to look at her partner, she realized the somewhat inane basketball conversation that he was in would take him a while. So she walked over to his side and apologized for the interrupting. Then she whispered to her partner. “I’ll meet you upstairs, Mulder.”
“Just give me a minute, Scully.”
Hastily glancing behind her, she mumbled something about preparing for the presentation she was scheduled to give in the afternoon.
He frowned. “But this morning you said you were all set to go.”
She gritted her teeth on frustration. “Well, I want to make a few adjustments.”
“The talk will take you from the office for the rest of the afternoon, Scully. There are some things I’d like to go through with you first. Some decisions to make.”
Her patience was almost gone. “So make them without me.” She snapped.
Mulder stared at her. “The last time I did that, you almost bit my head off.”
A quick look at the elevator and she knew she running out of time. “Fine. This time you have my blessings, okay?” With that, she almost ran for the elevator, her partner staring after her.
“Hold the door please!” Scully called out just as the doors were about to close. A hand shot out just in time from inside the elevator, causing the sensors to reopen them. When she reached the entrance, she realized that it was Justin’s hand that saved the day. ‘Again.’ She thought as she shyly greeted him. “Hi.”
“Hello.” He then looked away and made a space for her in the rather packed booth. She gratefully squeezed in next to him and he pushed the button for the doors to close.
As the elevator rose, it buzzed with soft exchanges of other agents. But Scully and Justin stayed awkwardly silent. She wanted to speak but couldn’t think of anything to say. He on the other hand, was too busy with his own thoughts.
“This is not good. This is not good. This is not good. This is not good…..” His mind repeated endlessly. She ditched her partner just to catch the elevator he was on! He groaned internally. “For sure, this can’t be good.”
The elevator soon stopped at the third floor and half the occupants strode out. Having more room to themselves, the pressure to converse was now much greater and Justin cracked first. “So how are you feeling?”
She started a little, surprised that he finally spoke. “Much better.”
“Good.” He nodded and his mind raced for something else to say. “I’m glad that you’re okay.”
“I’m fine, really. Just a couple of minor skin burns on my back and….” She started to blurt but stopped abruptly when she realized what she was saying. Hastily, she concluded. “Um… like I said, I’m fine.”
He sensed her embarrassment but pretended not to notice. They fell into silence and it was then that he realized that the whole elevator had done the same. A few speculative glances towards their direction told him why. He nearly groaned. They must have overheard their conversation and as usual made their own over imaginative conclusions.
Hastily bringing up a work related subject to create an impression of casualness between them, he asked her. “I suppose you heard about the Kim’s party at Casey’s.”
“Yes, I have.” She looked slightly distracted. “Are you going?”
He wondered what to answer. Surely he couldn’t say ‘Only if you go’ now, could he? “Maybe.” He lied.
“Oh.” She looked away distractedly and he wondered why. It was one of the times when he wished he could read her mind. Unfortunately, it wasn’t one of the gifts his job was blessed with.
The elevator stopped again and everyone except the two of them got out. When the door closed, she asked. “I thought that was your floor. VCS, right?”
“I have something to do upstairs.” He squirmed slightly before deflecting the attention. “I thought your floor should be… right down.”
She snapped her head up to look at him. There was a mixture of sadness and doubt in her eyes that immediately made him regret the remark. “The basement, you mean.” Shaking her head slowly, her voice dropped. “So tell me Justin, have you always known?”
For a moment, he wasn’t sure what she was getting at. Then, he realized that she was talking about knowing that she was the infamous Mrs. Spooky all along. His heart cringed. The last thing he ever expected to do was to hurt her. He picked his words carefully. “Yes. But it’s really kinda hard not to know when you’re all people talk about around here.”
He rejoiced when he saw a glint of a smile on her face as she rolled her eyes. “I shudder to think what they’re yapping about after Tuesday’s incident in the gym.”
Biting his inner lip, he decided not to enlighten her. It would spare her the pain. After all, in couple of hours, nobody would remember a thing.
She was slightly disconcerted when he remained quiet, staring blankly at the metal doors. Hesitantly, she told him. “I’m sorry about Mulder, yesterday. He gets cranky when it isn’t him in the hospital bed.”
Justin grinned but softly commented. “He cares a lot about you.”
“I guess.” She gave a half laugh and sighed. “He just has a funny way of showing it, that’s all.”
“The most important thing is that you know he does.”
She looked up at him and blurted out in frustration. “I know he cares. But sometimes…..” She suddenly stopped and clamped her mouth shut. Now why did she say that? What is wrong with her? Why is it that every time he was with her, she felt like spilling her guts as if he was her priest?
Justin quietly finished the sentence for her. “But sometimes, it isn’t enough.”
‘Great Dana! Sure, kill your tiniest chance of getting a life. As if the rumours weren’t doing the job well enough.’ She sighed, giving up the entire notion completely. “I’m sorry….. Forget it.”
He looked thoughtful but he did not say anything. Instead, he gently reached out his hand and held hers. Her first instinct was to pull away but his soft brown eyes completely dissolved plans of motor movement of any kind.
Suddenly the elevator binged and both of them let go of the other at the same time. The doors parted and they froze, seeing the man in front of them. Dana found her voice. “Mulder? You…. I… Weren’t you downstairs?”
Mulder’s wide eyes took in Justin’s sole presence and his jaw automatically tightened. “I’m still downstairs. This is the Ground floor, Scully.”
“What?” She blinked but one look behind her partner confirmed his words. “We must have forgotten to press the button.”
Justin cleared his throat uncomfortably. “Yes, we must’ve.”
Mulder stepped into the elevator and sarcastically quipped. “It’s understandable, especially in such pleasant company. Come, let me be of service. Agent Justin, which is your floor?”
Justin tried hard not to look at him, knowing that he would only glare if he did. “Seventh please.”
“Seven it is.” He took pleasure in drawling her name. “Dana?”
Scully bit her lip to control her temper. “Eight floor, Mulder.”
“Right.” He pushed the buttons and leaned against the wall of the cubicle, valiantly trying to put on a bored face but failing miserably.
Justin had never experienced a longer lasting elevator ride than this one. Once again, he began his mantra. “This is not good. This is not good. This is not good. This is not good…..”
Mulder checked his watch and bit his inner lip pensively. His partner would soon be in and he wondered if he should tell her what he had just found about Justin. While she gave her annual pathology session to the new batch of FBI recruits, his afternoon was well spent digging more information about this mysterious man. Unfortunately, there was nothing worth discovering about him except his unlikely education path that coincidently resembled Scully’s.
Just as he expected, his partner walked into the office a couple of minutes later. Looking rather preoccupied, she placed her files on the desk and picked up the handouts he had placed there earlier for her attention.
“Just some junk that came in with the mail.” He told her.
She nodded and sieved through them, balling them up one by one and tossing them into the bin nearby. Unsure what mood she was in, he decided to break the ice with a case. Picking a file from the cabinet, he walked to the edge of the desk and leaned against it. “Something came up that I think you might be interested in.”
“Hmm...” She answered, still looking through the colourful flyers in her hand.
“We’ve got a call from the field office in San Francisco. Several bodies were found with their heads decapitated.” He looked up, expecting her undivided attention but was disappointed. She was busy studying a yellow card. He frowned and acknowledged her surprising interest. “It’s an invitation to Kim’s birthday celebration. Skinner planned it.”
“I can read, Mulder.” She told him curtly before placing the card on the table in front of her. Then grabbing her papers on the desk, she began stacking them nosily into piles.
‘She didn’t throw it away.’ He thought and his eyebrow rose. “You’re not thinking of going for it, are you?”
She ignored him. “You were saying about the case?”
After slight pause, he reluctantly continued his narration of the case while she turned her attention on clearing the long neglected drawers. “Police found no conclusive evidence that this was done by a human being. Forensics report that the heads were torn off by an animal, a creature of some sort.” He stopped for some indication she was following. She gave none. And he looked up.
Scully’s hands were busy sharpening pencils but her eyes were meditatively glued on Kim’s birthday invitation. She was aware that her partner was droning on about a ‘wild beast’ but somehow she just could not concentrate. Her mind kept drifting off.
“Scully?” He asked after a minute of silence. No answer as she mechanically replaced the filed pencil into the drawer and brought out another for sharpening. “Scully, I’m not wearing any underwear.” Still nothing so he desperately tried again. “I hear Justin’s gay.”
Scully blinked. “What?”
He rolled his eyes. “Oh that you heard.”
She gave him a look. “It’s been a long day, Mulder. So I drifted, I’m sorry. Could you repeat what you said?”
“About Justin being gay?”
Her eyes narrowed. Lifting up her chin defiantly, she tersely replied. “About the case.”
‘Yeah right!’ He thought but coolly returned to his file. “I’d better start from the beginning then.” Flipping the pages backwards slowly, he mentally counted the seconds, knowing that curiosity would get the better of her eventually.
It took her nearly twelve seconds before she conceded with great reluctance. “Is he?”
He nearly smiled and innocently asked. “Is who what?”
She knew he was doing this on purpose. Glaring at him, she warned with a growl. “Mulder.”
He grinned. “Who knows? I was just trying to get your attention. Guess it worked, huh?” Then his smirk vanished. “Scully, don’t you think it’s weird that he was in the FBI gym during working hours?”
She frowned, not understanding what he was getting at. “Maybe it was his day off?”
He snorted. “Come on, that’s pathetic! Which loser goes to the gym on his day off?”
An insulted look immediately told him before she voiced. “Well, your partner for one.”
Grinning again, he waggled his eyebrows. “My point exactly.”
‘I give up!’ She thought, shaking her head. Once again Mulder was being paranoid but she was in no mood to humour him. Picking herself up, she began stuffing the files on the desk into her case.
“Where’re you going?”
“Let’s do this tomorrow.”
“But it’s still early.”
Putting on her trench coat, she told him. “You were right, Mulder. It’s about time I got a life.” Then she turned for the door. “Good night.”
He watched her go, slightly gaping and thinking about her words. Something told him that she meant it.
Justin watched Dana as she laughed with Kim and a few other women at the bar. It was a rare sight and he sighed. If only she took more time to indulge in life than in work. Perhaps then she wouldn’t feel so lost every now and then.
“Hey.” Kelly’s sad tone interrupted his thoughts. She slunk into the booth, opposite him.
He was obviously surprised to see her. “What are you doing here?”
She rolled her eyes and sighed. “What do you think?”
His voice instantly dropped in a hoarse whisper. “He’s here?”
“Outside, in the car, with binoculars.”
Justin had to laugh. “I can’t believe this guy!”
“And you have the gall to laugh.” Kelly protested. “You’re the one who reduced him to this.”
He ignored the reference and nodded towards his charge. “Look at her. It’s been a long time since she’s laughed like that.”
“Mulder makes her laugh.” She defended her own charge.
“Not as often as he should.”
Kelly shook her head. “Justin, you know this is wro…..” She stopped when she noticed that Scully had tossed a curious glance towards them. “Uh oh! I’d better go before I’m recognized.”
He frowned. “Why would she?”
She gave him a look as if he was dense. “The very same reason why Mulder is stalking you.”
“What?” Justin blinked but she disappeared. Her words played over again in his mind. The implication that Dana might be interested in him was ridiculous. She just enjoys his company and being her GA, it was natural that she felt unexplainably comfortable with him.
‘However, she’s right about Mulder. Jealously certainly makes fools of the best of these blessed creatures.’ He thought and smiled. Then getting up from his booth, Justin’s eyes twinkled. ‘Now I hope Mulder is watching real close.’
Mulder’s eyebrow rose when he saw a woman drag Justin out of the drinking joint and into the shadows. They appeared to be quarreling. His heart suddenly doubled as he excitedly looked into his binoculars for a closer look at his lady friend.
‘Damn!’ He thought. If only he could read lips! The argument was turning into a heated one and he frowned when they decided to take it to a more private spot, into a nearby alley. Mulder removed the car keys and moved to get out of the car. With any luck, he may find out a skeleton in Justin’s impeccable clean closet.
Meanwhile, Kelly hissed angrily at Justin in the dark lane. “And don’t pull that line that you’re in love with her. All GAs are in love with their charges!”
“Will you calm down?”
“No, I will not calm down. You asked her to dance! What were you thinking?”
“I just thought….”
“No, actually I take that back. You **weren’t** thinking!” She threw him a sharp look of reproof. “First, you gallantly rescue her from her prying peers, then you visit her with flowers in the hospital and now… you slow dance with her? Justin, this is getting out of hand. **You** are getting out of hand. Someone is going to find out about this sooner or later and I won’t be able to back you up. Do you want to end up in Strings on Cloud Nine?”
Justin rubbed his face in frustration and implored her to listen to his explanation. “I could not help myself, Kelly. She needed me.”
“You shouldn’t have turned back! Didn’t you learn anything in the academy? You give in once and that’s it! You’ll just want more, that’s why you keep going back!”
“The only reason why I did what I did at the gym was because I figured that if I was the one with her, given our ability to fade into the background, everyone would forget about the embarrassing incident in a few days time. I never imagined that she would remember me.”
“She **wouldn’t** if you didn’t keep reappearing in her life every couple of hours!” Catching a painful wince from him, she softened her tone and tried being reasonable. After all, she had broken a number of small rules in her time for her own charge. “Okay, maybe what you did in the gym was acceptable. I mean I hate it when those creeps in the building make up stories about Mulder too. But why the flowers, why the dance?”
He hesitated for a while and then sighed. “You’re right. I did want more.”
Kelly shook her head, although triumphant that she had managed to drag the truth out of him. The first step to his salvation was his admitting to it. “So it’s over, right? You’re going to stay away from her from now on?”
The tormented look on his face touched her deeply as his voice dropped in a sad whisper. “Do you know what it’s like to have your presence acknowledged by the person you adore the second she was created?”
She looked into his dark eyes and her brow creased. “No, but I’ve heard from some who have. They say that the hardest thing was walking away.” Taking his hand, she added. “I know this is difficult. We love them but they don’t know we exist. But it’s our job. It’s what we are. And the best you can do for her is the right thing and you know that.”
“Yes, I do.” He admitted unwillingly.
“Good.” She nodded and allowed a few moments for his dreaded resolve to sink in. Just as she was about offer him a hug of support, a sudden wave of fear crept into her heart. Frowning, she held his gaze intensely. “He’s here.”
“The love of my life.” She growled in a low tone.
He raised an eyebrow. “What do we do?”
“We blink on three. Ready?”
“One. Two. Three.” And together, they blinked.
At the very same moment, Mulder whisked his head around when he heard something move behind him. He sighed in relief when he found it was only a cat trying to pry open a paper bag on the filthy floor behind him. He moved his attention back to the couple he was spying on but froze when he found they were not where he had left them.
‘What the hell….’ He thought. ‘Where did they go?’ In shock, he took a few steps forward and stared at the dead end in front of him. How on earth did they get past him without him noticing?
It took him a good fifteen minutes to recover and check the alley for perhaps, secret tunnels that would explain the phenomenon. But eventually, even he could not concoct a theory that satisfied him and he walked to his car in daze.
A set of lights glared into his line of vision. When the beam lowered, he saw that it was Scully’s car coming down the road towards him. He panicked, not wanting her to see him. Hastily, he slipped in between two parking cars, walking backwards while waiting for his partner’s car to drive by.
Suddenly, he heard a screech behind him and he turned. To his utter astonishment, he found that he had taken a couple of steps too many and was in the way of a speeding car. He tried to move but his body refused to respond.
Kelly grabbed her charge by the lapel of his jacket and pulled with all her might. They both fell onto the side of the road, rolling and stopping against the tyre of a parked pickup truck nearby.
Mulder gasped for breath as his shock began to wear off. He looked at the woman lying on top of his chest in wonder. “That was close.”
“Are you all right?” She asked.
“Yeah.” He answered, looking straight into her hazel eyes.
For a moment, she seemed slightly confused, matching his gaze with her own. Then she blinked and hastily picked herself up and off him. “You could have been killed.”
He got up and dusted himself. “Thanks. You saved my life.”
“You’re welcome. Next time, you should really look where you’re going.” She offered the friendly advice and began to walk away.
Mulder stared after her for a moment and then caught up with her. “Wait! Do I know you?”
Kelly hesitated for a moment. Panicking, she had to concentrate real hard to appear nonchalant. “I don’t think so.”
“I think I do.” He frowned hard and then his brow cleared. “You’re Justin’s friend, aren’t you?”
‘He remembered? How could he? He only saw her for a couple of minutes. It usually takes more than that.’ Her knees immediately fell weak but she managed to blurt out. “Um…. I have to go.”
Mulder jogged by her side as she tried to make her getaway. “Wait! What’s your hurry?”
“I have to go.” She repeated and pointed past him. “Look out, there a car behind you!”
Mulder snapped his whole body around; more terrified of the thought that it could be Scully’s car than any other reason. He was relieved when he found that it wasn’t. But when he turned, the mysterious woman that had saved his life was gone!
Astounded that it was the second time in the same night that she had vanished on him within a split second, Mulder’s suspicions of Justin rose to greater heights. And he was going to find out who was this woman to Justin and what his interests are in his partner even if it killed him.
He followed her through the entrance, without her knowing from a couple of feet behind. She had taken the front door and he scarcely bothered to wonder beyond the reason that she was hoping to catch a glimpse of Justin.
The slow dance his partner and the enigmatic agent shared last night was more disturbing than the later events of the night. He found himself tossing and turning on the couch, thinking about it. And that bothered him. Sure, he didn’t trust Justin but surely he trusted Scully enough to take care of herself?
Sighing, he shook his head and took a few long strides to catch up with her. No matter how he looked at it, she still had the right to know what she was getting into before it was too late. He owed her that much. “Front door, Scully? Weren’t you afraid the chip in your neck would beep or something?”
She turned, surprised to see him. “Very funny.” And she pushed the Down button of the elevator repeatedly.
“Seriously. Why the front door?”
Rolling her eyes, she shot back. “You’re here too.”
“I followed you.” He admitted and then bravely went on. “Hoping to catch sight of him?”
“What?” She stopped abruptly in her button punching and glared at him. “What did you say?”
Her intense blue eyes created a small nervous attack in his now wildly thumping heart. But it was too late to back out now. “Justin. He’s not who you think he is.”
Her eyebrow rose. “Oh, he’s not?”
“No. Did you know that he went to the University of Maryland like you did?”
“No. I did not know that.”
“Well he did, he was in the same year. And get this, he even switched to the Uni you did when you decided to pursue medicine.”
The elevator arrived and the doors parted in front of them. Despite the odd news her partner had revealed, she coolly replied while walking within the metal doors. “So?”
He looked incredulous. “You don’t find that strange?”
“Coincidental.” She allowed and frowned when she realized that the elevator intended to go up, not down. “But no, it’s not strange at all. Lots of people university hop.”
Rolling his eyes, he told her. “I’ve been asking around and honestly, his story of rescuing you from the showers just doesn’t add up. This guy appeared from nowhere. The men’s showers had a different entrance altogether and it was supposedly stuck as well. So how did he get into the women’s section in the first place?”
“I don’t know, Mulder.” She shook her head in disbelief at his paranoia. “Maybe the doors of the men’s showers only got stuck after he got out of there?”
He countered dryly. “Or maybe he was in the ladies’ shower all the time, peeking at innocent non-suspecting women taking their baths.”
“Mulder, don’t be ridiculous!”
The elevator binged and the doors revealed a group of agents beyond them, waiting. Mulder curtly told them. “Sorry, this lift is full!” Then he pushed the Close Doors button and turned back to his amazed partner.
“Why’d you do that for?”
“Damn it Scully! I’m telling you this guy is some kind of psycho!”
“Mulder, why is it that any guy that shows a teensy weensy bit of interest in me, or I in him, is automatically a nut to you?”
“Because they eventually turn out to be one!” He shot back mercilessly. “Ed Jerse, Lucius Hartwell, Padgett …..” He frowned as if trying to recall more psychos in her life. “Um…. Ed Jerse.”
She was thankful that the elevator had stopped. Although it wasn’t the floor she wanted, she walked out with a parting look of disgust towards his direction. “You said Ed Jerse twice.”
He strode after her, willing his brain to think hard. “Eddie Van Blundht!” He triumphantly called out when another name came to mind. “Yeah, there’s another nut!”
She turned to hiss at him. “You want raise your voice a little louder, Mulder? I don’t think Kersh heard you on the ninth floor!” Then pulling a face, she protested. “And Eddie doesn’t count! I thought he was….umm…never mind!”
He didn’t seem to notice her slight embarrassment. “People have started talking about you and Justin since the gym incident. Rumours of you and him getting it on in the showers and all that. And then, there was last night…”
“Waaaait a minute!” She interrupted him, her eyes wide. “Last night? How did you hear about last night? It was… last night, for God’s sakes! Is my life hooked up on live cable TV and I don’t know about it?”
‘Uh oh.’ He thought and hastily ignored answering her. “My point is you’ve been exchanging goo-goo eyes with this guy that people have started to pair you up.”
“Since when have you cared what people talked about? And besides, it has absolutely nothing to do with you!”
“If other people are getting the wrong impression, I’m wondering what this is guy is thinking. You don’t know what you’re getting into, Scully. I’ve seen the way he looks at you, the way he talks to you, the way he touches you. And I don’t believe for a moment that you don’t know.”
“Know what?” She threw her hands up in despair.
“That the man is in love with you!” The look she had on was comical. She was absolutely flabbergasted! If he weren’t so serious, he would have enjoyed the sight. “The man is as dopey as Pendrall. Come on, you must know that!”
Her grim mouth opened to say something but closed a second later. She took a few deep breaths as though to compose herself. “Mulder, what are you trying to say? That this is some kind of game for me, leading him on? That since I don’t have life, I’m just pulling him along for a ride, just to get my yayas out?”
Although their voices were soft enough, their argument was attracting quite a lot of attention from agents passing by. And Mulder was just beginning to realize that. He was about to throw them a dirty look to several amused bystanders when he suddenly caught sight of the woman from the night before, the one he saw argue with Justin and the very same who saved his life. And she was walking down the hallway towards them.
Scully waited for three seconds before she hissed his name fiercely, forcing him to snap his gaze back to her. “Did you hear what I said?”
“Yeah…” He licked his lips and his gaze darted behind her again. “…. getting your yayas out, right?” At the same moment, the woman had caught his eye and abruptly turned in the opposite direction. He frowned. She was avoiding him! Why?
“Um… Scully, hold on to that thought, I’ll be right back!” He hastily told his stunned partner and he almost ran to catch up with the mysterious woman.
Scully blinked and fumed internally. ‘Hold on to the thought of getting my yayas out? Wonderful!’ Balling her fists in anger, she turned to see what took her partner away amidst their argument. ‘And it better be damned important!’ She thought murderously.
Kelly winced when Mulder appeared in front of her, breathless. ‘This is not good!’ She thought.
“Hi.” He gasped. “This is a surprise.”
“Hi.” She managed to answer.
“I didn’t know you worked here.”
Her mind raced for a suitable response. “Err… That’s why I was at Casey’s last night, Kim party?”
“Oh, right.” Mulder nodded thoughtfully. ‘So that would explain Justin knowing her but I wonder what the argument in the alley was about?’
She watched his brow crease and was completely fascinated, knowing that his brilliant mind was hard at work. It was one of her favourite pastimes, one that she shared with Dana Scully, watching him piece the mysteries of life together, without him knowing of course.
Both their thoughts were unexpectedly interrupted with AD Skinner’s arrival. “Mulder, can I see you?”
Mulder looked at his superior. “Yes sir.”
“In my office.”
Recovered from her pleasant reverie and berating herself for indulging herself in it, Kelly quickly took the opportunity given and excused herself. “I have a meeting to attend. Goodbye, Agent Mulder.”
“Uh yeah. Goodbye.” He replied and watched her walk away, in a daze.
His partner soon ambled next to him and asked, frowning at his deep contemplation. “Who is she?”
“I don’t know.” He admitted softly. “She saved my life.”
She raised an eyebrow. “When? How?”
He hesitated, remembering she wasn’t supposed to know anything about the night before. “Oh, long story.”
Then mumbling, he added. “She’s so familiar. I’ve seen her somewhere before.”
“Well she does work in this building.”
“No Scully. I think I’ve met her before. We must have. She knows my name.”
His partner gave him a look. “Mulder, at the risk of sounding egotistical, everyone knows us. We’re the FBI punch line. Justin knew who I was before I introduced myself.”
He stiffened at the sound of his name. “Somehow that doesn’t surprise me. As far as I’m concerned, the guy’s been stalking you since college.” She glared at him but he had already returned to his mystery girl, muttering. “It’s weird. I know I know her.”
For some reason, she was beginning to get annoyed and sardonically suggested. “Maybe you met her in another life?” He shot her a dirty look. A mock innocent face defended herself. “What? You believe in that stuff, don’t you?”
“Yeah. But you don’t.” He growled and walked off, towards Skinner’s office.
She smiled and reminded him that she wasn’t quite done with their discussion yet. “And Mulder, I’m still holding on to my thought!”
His reply was a flippant wave as his pace increased.
Scully’s brow creased as she read the X-file in her hand. Leaning against the cabinet drawer, she pushed it close slowly. ‘It just doesn’t make sense.’ She thought, mulling over the data for the third time and looking blankly ahead at nothing in particular.
Her thoughts were soon distracted at her partner’s insistent clicks of his mouse. She glanced over at him, pleased that she could see what he was up to, being conveniently behind him. He seemed to be scrolling through the FBI database. Curious, she quietly took a step nearer and squinted to read the Search details at the top of the screen.
“Search for ‘Brunette’?” She incredulously asked aloud.
Mulder jumped. “Gees, Scully! Don’t sneak up on me like that!”
“Mulder, what the hell are you doing? You’re supposed to be finishing the report that’s due today!”
He bit his lip guiltily. “I’ll get to it.”
Realization suddenly struck her. “You’re checking out who that woman on the third floor is, aren’t you?”
“I swear I’ve met her before Scully, I just can’t remember where. And it’s driving me nuts!” He whined, seeking sympathy.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t in the disposition to indulge him. “You are nuts going through the FBI profiles like that. Do you know how many brunettes there are in this building?”
“Well it’s all I have to go on.” He snapped back and continued to click on the Next button of the Search.
She rolled her eyes, shaking her head. “Fine, do whatever you want but I’m not waiting for you. I’m sending up my section.”
“Fine.” He pouted back.
Walking over to her space of the office, she picked up her file and proceeded for the door. But just before she slipped out the door, she turned to tell him. “Besides, she may not have started out as a brunette.”
As her words sunk, her partner looked up and groaned loudly. ‘Damn, she’s right!’ He thought and then wondered how long would it take him to go through the whole female population of the building.
Meanwhile, Scully was marching down the corridor with a scowl that prevented anyone that knew her personally from saying hello. “Just what is his damned obsession with this woman anyway?” She muttered under her breath.
As if in answer to her question, the woman that plagued her partner’s mind appeared around the bend. She was carrying a stack of files and was headed in her direction. Grinning evilly, Scully briskly picked up her pace.
As Kelly balanced the files in her hands, she considered her next move with regards to her charge. She knew she couldn’t stay too long away from him. The man had a nasty habit of getting himself in trouble at every corner. The tricky part is checking up on him without him noticing. ‘This is all Justin’s fault!’ She furiously blamed, for the millionth time that day.
“Oh!” Kelly automatically uttered when someone crashed into her out of the blue. The stack in her arms dropped on the floor and scattered around in several directions.
“I’m sorry.” The woman that bumped into her gushed her apologies repeatedly, kneeling down to help her.
Seeing who she really was, Kelly froze. ‘Dana Scully?’ And a feeling of dread instantly overtook her. Praying hard that this was just an unlikely coincidence, she stood transfixed, watching her charge’s partner busy herself at her feet.
Within a couple of seconds, Scully had retrieved the files and got up to hand them over to her. “I’m really sorry about that.”
“Uh… It’s okay.” Kelly managed to say.
Scully’s eye swept a quick look at the other woman’s ID tag but was bitterly disappointed. It was flipped over. Unfazed, she pretended to pick something from her lapel, shaking it off her hand. “A piece of thread.” She explained and then smoothly turned her photo identification around. “There.”
Kelly smiled her appreciation, but really wanting to burst in tears. It was official; it wasn’t a coincidence that Dana Scully bumped into her at all.
“Sorry again.” Scully told her, threw her a smile before sauntering off.
Kelly watched her go and waited. Sure enough, a familiar figure walked by a few seconds later. And she shot her hand out to grab his arm.
Justin looked at her in surprise. “Hey, I didn’t notice you standing there. Did you see Dana?”
“Yeah.” She answered, in a surprisingly calm tone. “She just walked by.”
“Good.” He moved to go but Kelly’s steel grip refused to let him go. Politely, he coughed. “Um… Kelly, I have to go and check on her.”
Her grip tightened and he frowned questioningly. She graciously answered his look. “Mulder recognizes me.”
“I know.” He admitted sheepishly. He wasn’t far when he saw Mulder bounding up to her in the hallways this morning.
She licked her lips and told him the second piece of bad news. “And now, she does too.”
He raised an eyebrow, confused. “Who?”
Justin was flabbergasted. “Are you sure?”
Her dazed look turned into a glare. “She checked me out, Justin.”
‘Uh oh. It must be because of Mulder.’ He grimaced thoughtfully. But when Kelly’s face turned purple, he realized that there were more important things to worry about, the latter was about to blow up at him. “Ummm… Kelly, calm down.”
“Calm down?” She sputtered out.
‘He was right’ He groaned internally and smoothly assured her. “I’ll fix this.”
“I don’t know but I will.”
She looked at him for a few seconds and suddenly, her anger dropped. “Justin, I hate the harp.”
Now, he was totally thrown off. “What?”
“Every time I mess up, Devon puts me on the harp! And I hate the harp!” She whined.
‘Oh, she was talking about Cloud Nine.’ He realized and sighed in relief. Gently holding her shoulders, he comforted confidently. “Don’t worry, he won’t know. We’ll stay away for a few days and everything will be back to normal. Okay?”
He watched a little hope sparkle in her eyes before she frowned. “Can you?”
His jaw tightened a little. “Have a little faith in me, Kelly.”
She shook her head and gave a sardonic laugh. “Faith in you? I warned you after the hospital incident but nooo…. you didn’t take my advice. And I’ve seen GAs that step over the line like you did, Justin. They’re usually clouded and stuck with some musical instrument until fully rehabilitated. You expect me to believe that you’ll get through this, going cold turkey?”
“No, I don’t think so.” She retorted.
He stared at her. “What are you saying? You’re going to report me?”
She hesitated. “I don’t know. Should I?”
His look clearly told her that he was hurt by her implication. Dropping his head closer to hers, he softly told her. “Whatever you think of me, there is one thing that you can be sure of. I will not lose her. And I will do whatever it takes to make sure of that.”
“Well I feel the same way about Mulder too.”
He stepped back, slightly startled. “You would do that to me?”
“Justin, I don’t want to do this but I’m concerned. We have a job to do and because of what you did, we can’t do it as well as we’d like to. And that’s not good for them. I don’t want you to lose Dana but you should think about her. If you can’t help yourself, maybe you should think about taking some time off.”
“I can help myself. And I’ll prove it to you.”
She watched his face warily and soon his intense look melted her doubts. Perhaps she should give another chance. “Oh all right.” She sighed, reluctantly conceding. “But if you do anything remotely….”
“I’ll be an angel, I promise.” He quipped and gave her a quick bear hug.
“Very funny!” She gave him a look. “Remember, I’m on to you.”
“Speak for yourself. I think Mulder’s rather taken with you.”
“Don’t worry about me. I was top in the class for Temptation 101.”
He raised an eyebrow. “So was I. But trust me, compared to the drawing board, it’s a whole different ball game on the field.”
Scully stared blankly at the doors of the elevator, waiting impatiently for it to arrive. It took her longer than usual to send up her report and she wanted to be back in the office before her partner noticed.
After ingeniously finding out the name of Mulder’s mystery woman, all she had to do was to draw up her profile from a computer, thus borrowing Kim’s for a few minutes. Nothing unusual except for the very same coincidentals that linked Justin and her. And for some reason, she found it disconcerting.
It was funny that she was more prepared to accept similarities of her past and Justin’s as an honest fluke compared to Mulder’s and Kelly A. ‘Why?” She wondered. It must because of the unexplainable trust that she felt for Justin despite their brief acquaintance. And the feelings she felt for him seemed to continue to grow. Being in his arms last night was simply wonderful.
Kelly A on the other hand was someone she wasn’t sure about. Okay, maybe it was rather unfair to just dismiss her as one of their conspiritical enemies considering that she only knew of her existence today. But when she bumped into her an hour ago, the agent just seemed too nervous for her liking.
So she asked around about her, casually slipping a question or two in her chats with Kim and a few other administrative hands that may know her personally. Unfortunately, all she got were some vague references of her character, all not knowing her well enough to form a strong opinion. ‘And if I hear someone describe her as ‘nice’ again, I’ll start shooting.’ She thought, intensely irritated at the slow progress of the brunette’s background check.
Meanwhile, Mulder did eventually notice his partner’s long absence and conveniently took it as an excuse to get out of the office. Finding her on the third floor, he walked up to her side and leaned to drawl in her ear. “Where you’ve been Scully? Stalking hallways again?”
Her eyebrow rose as she coolly played along. “I don’t have to, I know exactly where his cubicle is. Hell, I even know his name.” She gleefully retained the urge to laugh when he pouted. “How about you, Mulder? How many floors have you scoured so far?”
Actually he had combed through three, looking for his mysterious saviour but he’d be damned before he’d admit it. He’d even rather be wrong. “Fine, you were right about the database. I was searching for a needle in a haystack. You’ll be happy to know that I’ve put her out of my mind.”
“Really?” She asked, unconvinced. “That’s a pity.”
He frowned and looked at her. “What do you mean?”
A small smile betrayed her. “Nothing. Since you’ve already put her out of your mind….” She trailed off.
He instantly understood and growled softly. “Scully?”
She took immense pleasure of dragging the moment before finally conceding to his unasked request. “Kelly A, that’s her name. Don’t ask me what the A stands for?”
He was astonished. “How’d you find out?”
Ignoring his question mostly because he didn’t want him to know, she asked him tersely. “Do you want her story or not?”
“Yeah yeah, of course.”
Her brow creased at his obvious excitement. She doubted he’d ever been so fixated with anyone as he was with this certain agent. “She’s a specialist in terrorist acts with the Counter terrorism Division. The bomb that went off in Texas, the one covered up the alien viral infection? Her unit was the one that got the call and made the arrangements for the building search.”
“It can’t be that I met her then, I don’t remember….” He muttered to himself before looking at her again. “Which floor is that unit again?”
“And how long has she been with the FBI?”
Scully smiled, she had been waiting eagerly for this part. “Oh, about as long as you.” Her tone implied something and he raised an eyebrow, wondering what it was. But the lift had arrived and she evaded his look on purpose. “Are you going down?”
“No, up.” He quickly replied and asked. “What did you mean when you said as long as me?”
She smirked to herself as she walked in the elevator. “I meant exactly what I said. She joined the FBI when you did.” Pressing the floor she wanted, she waggled her eyebrows at him, across the threshold. “In fact, she even went to Oxford… like you did.”
The information stunned him. “You’re kidding!”
“No I’m not, Mulder.” Then she dropped her voice in mock horror. “Maybe we’ve got another stalker on our hands?” Grinning, she stepped back nonchalantly, watching a gaping Mulder disappear behind the closing doors.
Justin watched as Mulder stared wordlessly at the closed elevator doors for a full whole minute. ‘I wonder what she told him that rendered him like that?’ He thought but shook himself a second later. ‘Better catch up with her by the stairs instead. Wouldn’t want him to see me.’
Before he could move, he heard rumble and a shout warning people to clear the way. A runaway mail cart was coming down the hallway at a frightening speed. And it was going towards Mulder’s direction. Justin gasped. “Kelly, do something….”
Suddenly, the doors of the lift in front of Mulder opened. And a pair of hands grabbed him and pulled him into the cubicle, safely out of the way. Undaunted, the cart speed along to terrorize other agents who may not be so lucky.
Seeing Mulder out of danger, Justin let out a breath of relief and muttered under his breath. “Great job, Kelly!”
The latter was still gripping her charge’s clothes. The inertia of pulling him into the elevator had made her fall back against the wall while he hovered dangerously close over her. Both still in shock, they gazed at each other without speaking.
Seeing the convenient position they were in, Justin indulged in a smile. ‘Topped Temptation 101, huh? We’ll see about that….’ He waved his hand in their direction. ‘I think five seconds should do it.’
While they continued to stare at each other, Mulder and Kelly suddenly felt the elevator jerk violently and plunge downwards, fast. Mulder automatically grabbed Kelly’s waist and held her. Three seconds later, the metal lift jolted again and then it stopped. Before they had time release their breaths, the lights flickered and went out.
“What’s going on?” Kelly asked softly.
“Some malfunction, I think.”
“I don’t think so.” She muttered. Having some insight into the future, a gift all GAs had to protect their charges; this incident just didn’t feel right. It was as if someone had tampered with life.
“What do you mean?” Her charge brought her thoughts back from her reverie. She looked up and almost gulped. Mulder was staring into her eyes, just inches away from her face. ‘I forgot.’ She thought. He was always quick to catch a whiff of the unusual. “Umm.. nothing.”
He wasn’t convinced but surprisingly didn’t argue. Instead, he stared harder. “I know I’ve met you before somewhere. I just can’t remember….”
Her voice trembled as she tried to dismiss his claims. “I..I think you’ve mistaken me for someone else.”
“No, I’m sure it’s you.” He softly said.
She wanted to say something but couldn’t. His intense hazel eyes had completely obliterated her senses. All she could do was gawk back in awe.
Mulder didn’t really understand what was happening to him. Somehow woman in front of him made him feel different; lighter, free. He knew he could be whatever he was and it wouldn’t matter to her. She would accept him the way he was.
Very few people in his life made him feel that way. Actually, the only other person he could think of was Scully. But even with her, he had to strive to keep up to her expectations. And she kept pushing him harder; disregarding his theories, ignoring his jokes, giving him a hard time every time he forgot to call before checking a lead …..
Without himself really realizing it, Mulder had leaned closer over the captivated brunette. He stared into her eyes and saw only tenderness, understanding, maybe even love?
‘Who was she? Why did it feel that she was a part of him?’ His mind wondered while his eyes drifted down to stare at her soft red lips. Then throwing caution into the wind, he impulsively kissed her. Kelly hesitated only for a moment before responding to him.
They heard the elevator sound and it brought them back to reality with a start. As they quickly parted, they heard a soft strangled cough nearby.
“Mulder?” Scully’s eyes were as wide as saucers, standing at the entrance of the lift.
Her partner was too dazed to react and could only stare at her awkwardly. Meanwhile Kelly blushed furiously and hastily slipped out of the latter’s arms and out the doors, without either of them even noticing.
“You want to tell me what’s going on, Mulder?” Scully demanded to know, keeping her voice in control.
He blinked. “I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?”
“I kissed her.” He muttered, more to himself.
“Yes, I saw that.” She bit her lip in irritation and waited for him to say more. When he remained silent, she hissed. “You know, I don’t really care what you do in elevators, Mulder. But what if it wasn’t me that caught you with your tongue down her throat? What if it was Skinner?”
His jaw tightened. “There was no tongue, Scully.”
“**That** is besides the point.”
“No, that is the point. It wasn’t a…a ..a sexy kiss. It was more of an innocent one.”
She raised an eyebrow. “An innocent one?”
“Yeah you know, the kind that you give a good friend, a sister or something?”
She gave him a look. “That woman is not your sister. You hardly even know her! **I** had to tell you her name!”
“That’s the weird part. That’s the part I can’t figure out!”
He shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. “I trust her. For some reason, I trust her.” Now, she was absolutely flabbergasted. He saw at her astonishment and smiled. “Yeah I know. This doesn’t sound like me at all.”
“No, it doesn’t. You don’t just trust anybody. Look how you overreacted with Justin.”
“I did not overreact with Justin. Look at his profile, Scully. Ask the Gunmen. He doesn’t even have a single fucking parking ticket to his name, now **that** can’t be possible!”
Her resentment was beginning to show. “And what makes Agent Kelly A so damned trustable, Mulder?” She hissed the words in his face. “Just because she can kiss?”
“This has nothing to do with the fucking kiss!” He defended himself quickly.
“Really?” Unconvinced, her blue eyes flashed. “You know Mulder, if I knew that’s all it took, it certainly would have saved me a whole lot of time, instead of earning your trust the hard way.”
He was stunned at the implication, not liking it one bit at all. “Scully….” But she was much too furious to remain in his presence a second longer and left before he could utter another word. Alone in the elevator, Mulder cursed loudly.
“What happened?” Justin demanded to know.
Kelly refused to meet his eyes. “What do you mean?”
“I just checked on Dana in her office. They both aren’t talking to each other.”
“They were both fuming.”
She grimaced and flippantly replied. “They get into fights all the time.”
Justin looked at her guilt stricken face and frowned. “Kelly, is there something you’re not telling me?”
Biting her lip, she closed her eyes and moaned. “Yes. But it’s really not my fault. He started it!”
A wave of panic filled his heart. “Started what?”
She looked up at him and whispered. “He kissed me.” He gaped and she continued. “And I kissed him back.”
Justin only recovered after half a minute. “You didn’t!”
She wished she could agree with him but knew she couldn’t. “I did.”
“Oh no! This is not good….” He muttered.
She smirked. “You haven’t heard the best part yet. She walked in on us.” He groaned loudly and buried his face in his hands. She watched him and mumbled. “I’m going to spend the rest of eternity strumming a harp, aren’t I?”
“Five seconds.” She heard him utter under his breath. “Who would have thought there would be enough time for this?”
“What?” She asked suspiciously.
He snapped his head up. “What? Uh.. nothing.”
She glared at him and realization soon dawned on her face. “You were the one that caused the lift to go berserk, weren’t you?”
“No.” He blatantly denied.
But she was absolutely sure when he began to turn red. “Justin!”
“Oh all right! I just wanted you to have a taste of what the other side was like. I didn’t except you to literally taste him!”
“I’m going to kill you!”
“You can’t! It’s stated in the Commandments!”
“I don’t care! This is all your fault!”
“Hey! All I did was spend quality time with my charge. You kissed yours!”
“He leaned in first. What did you expect me to do, push him away?”
“Well, you could’ve!”
For a moment, she looked like she was about to blow up. But then she closed her eyes briefly and a few deep breaths later, she muttered wistfully. “You’re right, I could’ve. But he was looking at me with those beautiful eyes and I just….” She trailed off.
He looked at her tormented face, thought about Dana’s blue eyes and softened. “Yeah, I know what you mean.”
“Do you think they’ll find out?”
“Find out about what?” A low, deep voice suddenly took them both by surprise.
They looked directly behind them and there stood Devon, coordinator of all GA assignments. Kelly suddenly found it hard to breathe but a quick warning look from Justin told her to calm down and act as if nothing was wrong. And she only hoped she could.
Devon opened the two files in his hand in turn and looked at them. “Dana Katherine Scully and Fox William Mulder. Is that right?” They nodded slowly and he smiled. “Good. Now, what’s going on?”
“What do you mean?” Justin bravely played along. “Everything’s fine.”
Devon frowned. Something was definitely up and something not good too. ‘Why else would he be sent here to see these two GAs?’ Biting his inner lip thoughtfully, he moved his body to fully face Justin and stared at him. The latter looked back, rather guiltily but refused to say a word. Unfazed, Devon patiently waited.
He was very soon rewarded but it wasn’t Justin who cracked under the silent pressure, it was Kelly. To his utmost surprise, the latter jumped up to her feet and tearfully admitted. “Okay, it was me! It was me…..”
Justin rolled his eyes and sighed. ‘There goes everything!’ He thought. But the sight of her misery was too much for his soft heart and he walked to her side, to whisper reassuring words in her ear.
Watching them, Devon raised his eyebrows. What on earth could she have done wrong that deserved such a production of distress? He wondered and quickly comforted the stricken angel. “Come, come now, child…. What did you do? I’m sure it’s not that bad.”
Kelly sniffed loudly and stuttered. “It…it’s b..bad.”
“Well, tell me what it was so that we can fix it.”
“I can’t. You’ll Cloud me and I’ll n..never see Mulder a.a..again.”
Devon was losing patience. “For heaven’s sakes child, what on earth did you do?”
She straightened herself and bravely faced up to her actions. “I kissed him.”
Now Devon was absolutely taken aback. He stared at her, then at Justin who nodded at him as if confirming that what he heard was right and then back at Kelly again. When he finally found his voice, he muttered softly. “I think I need to sit down.”
Kelly saw his white face and her fears multiplied causing the tears to flow again. Unable to stand the suspense, Justin left her side to confront his dazed superior. “Devon, what’s going to happen?”
“Huh? I…I really don’t know.” He admitted.
“How can you not know? I’m sure this has happened before?” He lowered his voice so that Kelly wouldn’t be able to hear. “She can’t be the first!”
“Well she’s the first on **my** watch.” Devon informed him. “How could have this happened? Michael is not gonna like this!”
“Michael?” Justin gasped. “Does Michael really have to know? This seems rather trivial for the Big M to be involved?”
His elder gave him a look. “This is far from trivial, Justin! Kissing your charge is definitely classified as a higher-level breach of GA code! They’ll assemble an investigative council for this.”
“Yes. And her chances don’t look good.” Devon sighed, watching the weeping angel a few steps away from him. “How could this have happened? How could Mulder fall for her?”
Justin eyes widened. “What? He’s not in love with her.”
“Then why did he kiss her?”
“I don’t know but I know for a fact that he’s in love with another woman.”
Devon frowned and studied his face. “Let me guess, Dana Scully?”
“At least that’s the theory.” He acknowledged.
“It’s the truth.” Kelly mumbled from her seat, throwing a glare at Justin. “The only reason Mulder kissed me was because of the GA effect.”
Devon’s face cleared. “Of course!” Once the mortal recognizes his or her angel, he or she would feel unexplainably close to the latter. But another thought puzzled him. “But how did Fox Mulder recognize you in the first place?”
Kelly looked away, unsure what to say and Justin immediately felt guilty. After all, it was entirely his fault. If it weren’t for his moment of weakness, she wouldn’t be in this mess. Taking a deep breath, he confessed. “Mulder was jealous of me.”
Devon looked confused. “I don’t understand. What has this got to do with you?”
At that point, Kelly hastily stopped Justin from answering. “Justin, don’t!”
“Kelly, I can’t let you take the blame….”
She glared at him to shut up. “I’m the one who kissed him. You didn’t do anything wrong.” Hesitating, she pleaded for him to let his noble intentions go. “Both of us need not go through this.”
By this time, Devon was too baffled to permit the private argument to go on any longer. Standing up, he told them firmly. “That’s enough! Will someone please tell me what’s going on?”
The duo looked at him and exchanged guarded looks. Then Justin sighed, deciding to once and for all lay everything out in the open. “The truth is I broke a few rules and Dana recognized me first. Then Mulder noticed me and ultimately Kelly, because he saw her talking to me once…..”
Devon now understood and finished for him. “Then Mulder started getting awfully interested in Kelly and now, Dana’s jealous.”
Kelly rolled her eyes and confirmed his suspicion. “Yeah.”
Devon shook his head slowly. “This is truly a mess.”
“I’m sorry, Devon. We didn’t mean for this to happen.” Justin sincerely apologized.
“I know but it did.” He sighed. “You give me no choice, I have to suspend you both.”
“What?” Kelly jumped to her feet. “You can’t do that! Mulder is a walking disaster. If I’m away from him for even a minute, he could get seriously injured!”
“I’m sorry, Kelly.”
Justin tried this time. “No you don’t understand, Devon. She’s absolutely right. Do you know how many times that man has been in a hospital already? And Dana’s no better. You take us off them and they might not last a day!”
“I’m sorry but currently, we running rather short on GAs. I can’t get substitutes in such a short notice.” Shrugging, he added. “You break the rules, your charges pay for it.”
“But can’t we just stay away and they’ll forget about us in a few days?”
“Well, it depends. How long have they known of your existence?”
Justin grimaced, knowing that Devon had them there. Theoretically if recognized for more than one human day, mortals took as long as a human month to forget. That was too long to be without protection, so the general rule was that the GA in question would always be replaced.
Devon saw his hesitance and muttered wryly. “I thought so. Well come on now, we have to get going. The sooner we figure this out, the sooner your charges get back their rights of having a guardian.”
Mulder cursed loudly when the sudden opening of an emergency stairwell door slammed into his waist. The maintenance guy behind the door immediately poked his head out and apologized profusely, explaining that he didn’t know that anyone was behind at all. The former flippantly accepted them and hurried away, this time staying clear at the other end of the corridor.
“What the hell is wrong with me today?” He grumbled under his breath. It was barely the start of the day and already he had earned himself a cut while shaving, a very expensive smashed watch, a speeding ticket, a punctured tire and now, a swelling bruise. It wasn’t a good day at all.
“Morning.” He called out to his partner when he finally got in.
“You’re late.” She replied, buried elbow deep in paperwork.
“Ever had one of the mornings when you’d rather the aliens had done their colonization yesterday?”
“Can’t be as bad as mine.” She muttered. “My toaster blew up, the neighbor’s dog ate my paper and some idiot from the accounting backed into my car in the parking lot.”
“Close.” He replied. “How are you at changing tires, Scully?” She looked up from her documents to give him a glare. He shrugged. “Fine, how about a lift back to my car?”
“Mulder, I’ve got work to do and so do you. We’ll rescue your car after work.” She firmly ended the conversation and turned her attention to her papers again.
He frowned and wondered if she was still sulking over what happened yesterday. The thought made him pause. ‘Come to think of it, what did happen yesterday?’ Somehow he just couldn’t remember the details, only that they had a huge argument over something. Something that had to do with trust and …… a kiss…….. and a brunette?
Trying his utmost to recall the incidents of the day before, he walked over to the filing cabinet without any real reason and tugged the handle. It wouldn’t budge so he pulled harder, still nothing. Taking a step back and bracing himself, he yanked hard. Much too hard for the whole cabinet gave way and tumbled like a pack of cards, burying the files under them. Mulder blinked twice and stared at the mess before him.
Behind him, his partner announced smugly. “I’m not going to help you with that.”
Hurt, he threw her a look of disgust before resigning himself to the task. “Fine. I’ll do it without you.” He muttered.
Three hours later, Mulder’s back ached as he continued the slow and painful process of sorting out the X-files in alphabetical order. He looked up from his task when he heard his partner at the door. “Hey Scully, I found the file we talked about once, the Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati? I think it was filed under ‘B’ for ‘Bugs’.”
Her partner looked incredulously at the mess he had created in her two-hour absence. “Mulder! What the hell are you doing?”
“There are 26 letters in the alphabet, Scully. And I only have one desk.”
She groaned and began hopping over the file stacks on the floor to get to the edge to the room, into her area, as he liked to call it. “Did you call Administration for a new cabinet?” She asked.
“Yeah, It’s only coming in on Monday.”
“What? You mean we have to work with this clutter till then?”
“You could always go up there and rant and yell.” He suggested and then muttered. “For all the good that it would do you….”
“Oh no, Mulder. I’m not going anywhere else today. I’m staying right here where it’s safe.”
He raised an eyebrow, finding her choice of words rather peculiar. “What do you mean?”
She shuddered as she explained. “It’s either I kept bumping into people or office equipment mysteriously appeared in my path. My body has more than enough bruises to last a lifetime.” Then mumbling, she added. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me today.”
“What makes you think it’s any safer here, Scully?” He held up his hands, one at a time. “A paperclip tore my skin here and a staple accidentally pierced into my flesh here.”
Scully gave him a look of mock horror. “Sounds like the revenge of the office supplies. I’d look out for the pencils, if I were you. The way you abused them on the ceiling….”
“Ha ha, very funny, Scully.” He rolled his eyes and reluctantly returned to his mundane chore.
She sank into her chair and made herself comfortable for the report she had planned on writing. Taking out a fresh sheet of paper from her drawer, she picked up a pen. “Shit!”
Her partner looked up. “What?”
“The damned pen is leaking.”
He grinned. “Revenge of the office supplies indeed.”
She ignored him, crushed the paper and tossed it into the bin along with the defective pen. Then she attempted to take another clean sheet. “Damn!”
She winced, biting on her inner lip. “Paper cut.” Mulder wisely kept his silence, recognizing her frustrated tone and knowing that she was on the verge of losing her temper.
A few minutes later, she started again and this time cursing cruder obscenities. Mulder tried hard to hold a grin but failed miserably. She caught it and scowled at him. “Oh shut up, Mulder!”
He watched her examine her finger furiously and soon his smirk disappeared. Sighing, he hopped, skipped and jumped to her side. “Another paper cut?”
“Yeah, stupid fucking …. What are you doing?” She asked when he took her hand.
“Let me have a look.”
She pulled her hand away, frowning. “No.” Then getting to her feet, she stacked the papers together and turned to place them in the their proper filing cabinet nearby.
He watched her for a while and then began to drawl. “There’s an ancient African tribe….”
His partner immediately groaned. “Oh no, not another one of those ancient tribal stories…”
Ignoring her moans completely, he raised his voice slightly, continuing his tale. “……that believes that the human body is self sufficient to take care of itself. They believe that parts or extracts of the human body could cure any aliment. For example, when a man of higher authority in the tribe experiences trouble breathing, they sacrifice an unimportant member for his heart. Some eat ears of unwanted children to cure their hard of hearing. And you certainly don’t want to be a man and a nobody when the head of the tribe has trouble …um… performing in the heat of the night….”
“Ugh, Mulder!” She protested, grimacing at the thought.
Ignoring her disgusted face, he held out his hand to her. “However, they have a simple remedy for small cuts. Wanna hear it?”
She studied his face for a while. “Actually not really, but I have a funny feeling that you’re gonna tell me anyway.”
“Saliva is their cure for small wounds.” He explained and she was too engrossed to notice that he had taken her hand. “They believe that it cleans the cut, prevents infection and promotes healing.”
She shrugged. “That’s not really new. Saliva does contain antibodies that kill certain germs.”
“Really?” He gave her an amused smile and turned her hand to where the cut was.
She seemed oblivious of his actions and nodded. “Chewing gum companies are already cashing in on that fact, promoting that chewing gum produces more saliva which in turn reduces plague-forming microorganisms.”
“Is that right?” He muttered and fingered her rather deep cut tenderly.
She winced when a slight pain shot through her neurosystem. It was only then that she noticed that he had brought her hand up towards his lips. “Mulder, what are you do…. ” Her voice faltered abruptly when he entered her finger into his mouth.
Mulder kept his locked his eyes onto hers and sucked gently on her smarting index finger, tasting her blood. She contained a gasp and tried hard to control her straying thoughts. ‘Be cool. He’s just toying with me, another one of his playful teases.’ She told herself firmly.
Then Scully felt the light pressure of his tongue against her finger and involuntarily gulped hard, feeling herself losing control. Her heart was pounding, her knees weakening and there was a warm feeling deep within the pit of her stomach. She knew she couldn’t hold herself together for very long and she had to do something quick. So she pulled away, taking a shaky step back at the same time.
Unfortunately, her misplaced step onto a stack of files behind her caused her to lose her balance. Mulder saw that she was about to fall and leaned forward to grab her but missed. Thankfully, his partner managed to grasp the edge of the desk next to her, her knee awkwardly kicking frontward for equilibrium. The ill aimed jerk found its mark, Mulder’s crotch.
“Oh fuck!” He growled loudly, in horrific agony.
Scully pushed herself back to her feet and stared at his stiff, half bent position and frowned. “What?”
“Fuck!” He muttered again, stamping the ground in frustration but regretting the action almost instantly for it just made things worse.
“Mulder?” She asked, concerned. But after studying his face and peculiar stand, she finally understood what was wrong. She grimaced and gushed apologetically. “Oh God, Mulder! I’m sorry. Are you all right?”
“No.” He gasped out and took several deep breaths at once.
She winced and wondered what she could do to help. “You want me to take a look at it?”
“No!” He incredulously bellowed. There was absolutely no way she was going to see anything while he was in such a state, he fumed internally.
“All right, you don’t have to yell.” She placated him and took his arm and swung it around her shoulder. “Come on, I’ll help you get to your seat.”
“I don’t know if I can make it.”
She rolled her eyes. “Just grit your teeth and you’ll be fine.”
“And I suppose you have experience in these matters.” He sarcastically retorted in a snappish tone.
“Oh, just bear with it for a couple of seconds.” She muttered back and slipped her other arm around his waist, pulling him forward.
Together, they created the minimum amount of mess possible through the file-strewn floor. And Mulder sighed in relief when they reached his chair. He unceremoniously untangled himself from her grasp and almost threw himself into his chair. “Fuck!” He yelled again, grimacing as another bout of pain vibrated against his ribs.
“What now?” She asked, astonished.
“My gun!” He growled and pushed himself up to remove it from the upholster. His partner struggled to hold back a laugh, watching him glare wrathfully at his gun for a few seconds before slamming it down on the table.
Instantly, a loud bang made them both jump. Scully was still wondering what it was but Mulder had already guessed. He screamed at her. “Scully, get down! The gun went off!”
“Wha….?” She started to say when she heard the something zip past her ear with amazing speed, ‘pling’ off the coat hanger next to the door and then ‘whoosh’ towards her again. She automatically jerked out of the way, just in time. But the stray bullet was still on the move, ricocheting off their many metallic cabinets.
Forgetting his pain for a moment, Mulder moved and grabbed his dazed partner’s arm, pulling her down to a crouching position. A few seconds later, they heard the final thud of the bullet immersing itself into a wooden surface.
Mulder looked at her. “Are you all right?”
“Yeah…. I think so.” She answered as she got up.
By that time, Mulder was excruciatingly reminded of his prior accident and he slowly pulled himself onto his chair again. After he had succeeded, his eye noticed a spot of red on her blouse. Stunned, he reached out and pulled her closer.
Scully was totally flabbergasted when her partner pulled her shirt up and peered under her bra. “Mulder, just what the hell do you think you’re doing?” She demanded to know angrily.
“You’re bleeding!” He told her.
Her eyes bulged for a moment before she looked down at her exposed tummy. ‘He’s right! I am bleeding. Funny I didn’t feel that.’ She thought and studied the wound. “It’s just a graze.”
“That was too close.” He muttered.
“Yeah.” She agreed mechanically. Then raising her eyebrow at his seemingly undying interest under her blouse, she cleared her throat. “Ummm…. Mulder, do you mind?”
He was slightly startled and backed away. “Oh, sorry.”
She shook her head and rolled her eyes. ‘Men!’ Then pulling her shirt down, she winced when she saw the bloodstain and the tear that emitted the bullet. ‘Great! Another blouse down the drain.’
Mulder interrupted her quiet goodbye to one of her favourite shirts with a familiar teasing tone. “You know Scully, I hear saliva is good for bullet grazes too.”
She gave him a dirty look. “In your dreams, Mulder.”
He shamelessly pouted. “I was only trying to help.”
“If I were you, I’d worry about ….err…. performing in the heat of the night.” He returned the dirty look and she bit back a laugh, telling him in her neutral, doctor voice. “I’m going to clean up. Meanwhile you take it easy, Mulder.”
“I’ll be fine.” He growled, watched her slip out the door and finally muttered. “I think…..”
“I wonder how’s she doing?” Justin muttered aloud.
“Well, she’s with Mulder. So I’m sure she’s doing a whole lot better than I am.” Kelly sighed.
He rolled his eyes and then nodded at St. Peter who was busy at work, reviewing his files. “He’s a sweet dear old man but honestly, if I hear another of his fishing trips stories, I’m volunteering for kitchen duty.”
Kelly laughed and when she sobered, asked for the fifth time that hour. “What’s taking them so long? At this rate, by the time they figured out what to do with us, our charges probably would have bruised themselves to death.”
“Yeah, especially Mulder. And he drags Scully down with him as well.”
“Hey! Will you lay off my man?” She protested loudly.
“Well he does!”
“Justin’s right, he does.” Valentine suddenly appeared next to them, make them both jump.
“Val, you gave me a scare! Don’t creep up on us like that!” Kelly gasped.
Meanwhile, Justin panicked. “Wait a minute, what do you mean I’m right? Did something happen?”
Val graciously elaborated. “I paid my favourite challenge a visit today at their office. And watched in horror as they bungled a perfectly charged up situation with ….” He paused and sighed. “It was a total disaster! She kicked him where a man should never be kicked and then Mulder’s gun accidentally went off, the bullet bouncing off their office furniture and finally grazing her.”
“What?” They two GAs gaped.
“I hear that they’re going out of town on a case. After what I witnessed earlier today, I wonder if they’d get back in one piece.”
Kelly and Justin groaned at the very same thought. Val studied their bleak faces and innocently suggested. “Perhaps I could be of assistance?”
Justin raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”
“Well I have friends who may be able to help.”
“Umm… I don’t think Devon will like this.” Kelly frowned worriedly.
“Devon doesn’t need to know, does he?” Val persuaded her. “Listen, how about I get Genesius and Pelagia to check on them on your behalf. They’ve been rather relaxed since the Academy Awards.”
“Will they agree to it?”
“Oh they’re suckers for pretty faces.”
Justin exchanged looks with Kelly before asking curiously. “Why are you doing this, Val?”
His eyes twinkled as he replied. “Because I’ve put in a lot of effort into this duo’s five-year-relationship and I’m not about to let them die before seeing them as a couple within their mortal life spans!”
Justin grinned but Kelly started to voice her fears again. “Guys, I don’t know about this, if Devon finds out….”
The former interrupted her. “Kelly, Dana was almost shot. And we’re only in Day one. Who knows how long the council will take to decide our fates?”
She looked at him for a while and found that she could not refute his point. “Oh all right.”
“Good.” Val grinned. “I’ll make the arrangements.”
AD Skinner strode down the corridor towards the coffee machine. His face twitched when he saw his favourite pair of agents standing beside it, deep in discussion. They didn’t seem to notice his presence as he slid a couple of coins into the slot and picked his choice of beverage. While he waited for the machine to dispense his drink, he unintentionally overheard their somewhat peculiar conversation.
“Audrey Hepburn.” Mulder seemed to be answering Scully’s question.
She raised an eyebrow. “Really? I though you would prefer Katherine Hepburn. She had her share of classic thrillers, didn’t she?”
“Yeah, but Audrey’s still my favourite. Who was yours? Gene Kelly?”
She shook her head. “I’m more of a James Steward girl.”
Looking thoughtful, he scratched his chin. “Hmmm… Intelligent but dorky. Interesting choice.”
“How about Doris Day?” She suggested.
“Nah, too bright and cheery.”
Mulder made a face. “I caught High Society on cable last night. And if dorky’s your look, I suppose Bing Crosby would be your kind of guy too?”
His partner was clearly shocked. “First, your idea of a classic screen goddess is Audrey Hepburn and now, you’re watching movies containing no hairy monsters, vampires or murder plots? Mulder, sometimes I feel that I don’t know you at all.”
He shrugged. “Well after 14 viewings of Spenser Tracy and Ingrid Bergman’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a change was refreshing.”
“Talking about refreshing, I like your new tie. Actually it’s the only tie I like from your dismal collection.”
He grinned proudly and preened it. “Really, Scully? When I saw it hanging at a display window on my way back last night, I just knew I had to get it.”
His partner leaned closer to feel the material. “Totally matches your suit.”
“Talking about matching accessories, where did you get those divine shoes? They look fabulous!”
“Thank you, Mulder.” Scully smiled and held her little feet up one by one, showing her stylish new heels. “Prada.”
“Thought I’d spoil myself this month.” Her eyes twinkled. “Of course if you get the shoes, you’d need a new dress to go with it.”
Mulder grinned. “So that’s what you’re hiding underneath that enormous trench coat! Come on, let me have a peek.”
She shook her head resolutely. “In the office.”
A coy look from her made him raise an eyebrow. And she explained softly. “It’s erm…. kinda short and shows a little… err… cleavage… and it’s … bare back too….” Her partner’s jaw dropped and she shrugged. “I was feeling adventurous. You know, like how sometimes you don’t wear any underpants?”
‘Now how the hell did she know that he sometimes didn’t?’ Mulder wondered in astonishment but didn’t dare ask. Instead, he told her. “All right but you’re staying in the office today. You know what happened the last time you appeared in this building with a skirt three inches above your knee.”
“Oh come on, Mulder. I can handle lewd cat calls.”
“No, I mean how maintenance had to scrape drool off the floor.”
She rolled her eyes. “Very funny. But I was planning to stay in anyway, can’t have Skinner catching me in inappropriate work atti… ah….” She immediately stopped when she saw their superior standing a couple of steps away and staring at them as though they were aliens from outer space. Clearing her throat uncomfortably, she greeted him. “Good morning, sir.”
Skinner looked at them, his mouth still wide open in bewilderment. ‘What the hell was going on?’ Agents Mulder and Scully talking about such trivialities as movies and fashion? Whatever happened to alien colonization, government conspiracies and paranormal phenomenon?
And since when did Mulder’s adjectives include divine, fabulous and pricey? And Scully wearing a dress to work? And those party shoes?
“Sir? Everything all right?” Mulder asked after half a minute later.
Skinner shook his head slightly. “Uh yeah. I’m fine.” He frowned and gave them a wary look. “Are you… both… all right?”
The duo exchanged questioning glances and nodded. “We’re fine, sir.” She answered for them both while pulling her trench coat closer together.
“Good.” Skinner cleared his throat, not knowing what else to say.
“Sir, would you mind if I offered a fashion tip?” Mulder softly asked.
His superior eyes widened. “Uh… no.”
“That tie…..” Mulder pointed to Skinner’s with a look of disdain. “… doesn’t really go with the suit.”
The latter looked down at his cream coloured tie. “It doesn’t?”
“Not really, sir.” Scully smiled hesitantly. “But I like the shirt. You know sir, while I was shoe shopping yesterday, I saw a perfect tie that would be fantastic with that colour….”
By this time, Skinner had finally recovered from his initial shock. “Thank you, Agent Scully. But I think this tie is just fine.”
“Oh.” Scully looked slightly offended. “Right, whatever you say, sir.”
“I’m going back to work now. Maybe you both should do the same.”
Mulder frowned. “Of course, sir.”
And with that, Skinner watched as his agents walked to the elevators, once again lost in another trivial conversation that was utterly unlike them.
Later in the day, Skinner heard Kim buzz on the intercom, asking if she could see him. He consented and looked up when the door opened.
“Sir.” She nodded at him and held out a couple of files. “The reports you wanted.”
“Thank you, Kim.” He quickly scanned through the headings, making sure they were the correct ones. “Did Agent Mulder send in his report yet?”
“Yes. Since I was downstairs, I paid him a visit at the basement.”
“Good. Thank you, Kim.”
Although it was clearly a dismissal, Kim remained where she was, looking rather perplexed as if unsure if she should say what was on her mind.
“Is there anything else?” Her superior finally asked.
“Well… yes, as a matter of fact.” She took a deep breath and asked cautiously. “Did you happen to see Agents Mulder and Scully today, sir?”
“Yes, I saw them this morning while getting a cup a coffee. Why?”
“Ermm… did… did they seem a little strange to you?”
Skinner frowned. “Maybe. Why?” He asked again.
Kim squirmed slightly. “Called me paranoid, sir but I think it’s time we gave those two a vacation.”
“You mean them talking about movies stars and the latest fashion tips.”
His subordinate’s eyes widened. “No, I mean them exchanging recipes.”
“They were exchanging family recipes. The Mulder Shortbread recipe and the Scully Blueberry Flan.” She explained before her face distorted. “Then they went into this long argument on the best way of keeping cutting boards free of germs.”
Skinner scratched his chin thoughtfully for a moment. “Did you see Agent Scully’s dress?”
Kim’s eyebrows rose. “Oh yeah, that’s a another thing. It was like.. wow!”
“And Mulder got a new tie…” He muttered.
Kim added. “And one that matches too. I’m telling you sir, there’s something definitely wrong about those two.”
“You’re right. I’d like to see them.”
“You can’t sir. They’ve gone out on a case. They’ll be back tomorrow though.”
“Fine, I’ll see them then. And could you draw up their vacation history for me?”
“Right, sir.” Kim nodded and turned to leave.
“Oh Kim?” Skinner stopped her at the doorway. “What do you think of this tie?”
She was obviously surprised at the question. “Truthfully sir?”
“It doesn’t go with your suit.”
“Oh.” And Skinner looked forlornly at his tie.
When Kelly caught sight of Genesius the Communications Department, she instantly pulled on Justin’s sleeve.
“What?” The latter asked. She couldn’t say a word as a bad feeling drifted into her heart. All she could do was point at the saint. Justin followed her finger and gasped. “What’s he doing here? He should be with Dana!”
The two angels took a quick peek at St Peter and seeing that he was rather preoccupied, slipped away from their posts.
“Genesius! What are you doing here?”
The latter looked up from the computer screen. “Oh hi! I’m sorry I can’t talk right now. Gotta finish this report for the Big M.”
Justin and Kelly exchanged a frustrated look before hissing in his ear. “If you’re here, who’s with Dana or Mulder?”
“Oh them! Don’t worry, I’ve got it covered.”
“What do you mean?”
“I got called away by Jennifer Aniston…” He sighed. “Bad hair day, it was a almost a disaster but I managed to get Mary Magdalene in time to help out. I’m telling you, it was the closest call I ever got…”
“That’s great Genesius.” Justin interrupted him. “But what about our charges?”
“Oh yeah. I got Lawrence to take care Dana. When I left, Pelagia was still at Mulder’s side.” Both angels sighed in relief but stiffened when Genesius continued. “But I heard later that she was called away for a emergency at the Titanic set, something about Winslett and her freckles…. Anyway, I think she asked St. Anne to take over.”
Justin frowned. “The patron saint of cooks and of mothers.”
“Yeah. Quite harmless, really. I shouldn’t worry about your charges getting into any trouble.”
Kelly’s heart dropped. “What do you mean? How could they get in trouble?”
“You don’t know?”
“Saints aren’t allowed to guard humans because we have the power to influence them. But as long as we choose the right saints to pass your charges on to, they should be quite safe.”
“So St. Lawrence and St. Anne are with them now, right?”
“I suppose.” Genesius frowned. “Unless they were called on and had to get replacements.” Kelly and Justin paled and he quickly tried to assure them. “Okay, let’s not panic. We’ll just send them SMS messages and ask them, okay?” Saving and closing his report, he then clicked on the online SMS program. He quickly typed his question and sent it out to the two patron saints. “There and now, we wait.”
As seconds ticked by, the angels tapped their feet impatiently on the soft white cloud beneath them. Thankfully it wasn’t long before the computer beeped an incoming message.
“Who’s it from?”
“Lawrence. He said he was called away by an Italian cook at the Ritz Carlton and got….” Genesius’s voice trailed off.
“Got what?” Kelly almost yelled.
“She got St. Genevieve to take her place.”
As Kelly gasped, Justin, obviously not knowing who St. Genevieve is, asked. “Is that good?”
Both Kelly and Genesius shook their head slowly. The later softly told him. “Genevieve is the patron saint of disaster.”
Justin groaned. “Uh oh.”
“Mulder next time, I decide which case to pick!” Scully yelled above the storm to her partner who was driving like a madman through a cornfield.
“Oh no. You’re not laying this on me, Scully. You were the one who told me to make the choice and so I did!” Mulder yelled back. Then looking at his rear view mirror, he asked. “Did I lose it?”
Scully turned her head around and watched the tornado approaching them at tremendous speed. “No! Step on it, will ya?”
“I am stepping on it!” He growled back. “Hang on, I’m gonna try something.” She obeyed him, gripping tightly onto the sides of her seat as he spun the car left and punched hard on the gas. While the car jerked forward furiously, he asked. “Well?”
She stared at the twister behind in amazement. “Mulder I can’t believe what I saw but it must be true because it’s still on our tail. I swear that thing made a ninety degree turn, like you did!”
“What? That’s impossible!”
“Believe it, buddy!” She looked in front and cringed as her partner rammed through thousands of young corn plants. “I hope we won’t get sued for this.”
“This is so typical of you, Scully. We’re fighting to stay alive and you’re
worried about a lawsuit from a maize farmer.”
“We are destroying his field, you know.” She rolled her eyes at him.
He sighed. “I’m gonna try losing it again. Just keep an eye on that thing, will you?”
“Sure, fine, whatever.” She muttered but obeyed his request.
So once again, Mulder turned the car in high speed. And once again, the whirlwind followed him closely. “Damn!” He shouted when she told him so.
“Mulder!” Scully called out for his attention.
“Look!” She pointed to a few colourful dots in a distance.
“What is that?”
“Oh my God! I think they’re people!” She told him. “Next to a farm house.”
He peered hard across the windy blur in front of him. “Scully, you may be right.”
Shifting his gear, he spun the car towards the stranded citizens and hoped they had enough time to pick them up before the twister did.
When the car approached the group, they cheered. Mulder looked cautiously at the danger behind them and commanded them to get in the car quickly.
There were five of them; an elderly couple, two young girls and a little boy. As the elder woman bustled the children in, Scully got out and helped the old man. Mulder kept his foot on the gas and a worried eye on the rear mirror.
When everyone else was safely in the car, Scully ran to the co-driver’s side. She was just about to get in when something told her to look up. Her eyes caught a glimpse of a figure a couple of meters away.
“Scully! Get in!” Her partner shouted at her.
She looked at him and shook her head. “I can’t!”
“There’s someone still out there, Mulder!”
“It’s too late, we gotta go!”
“No, you go. I’ll be all right!” She told him and slammed the car door shut.
Mulder was incredulous and looked out to where she was staring at. “There’s nothing there, Scully!”
“Go, Mulder! I’ll be fine!” She yelled at him fiercely and started to run off.
“Scully! Get back here!” Her partner leaned half his body out the window, yelling hard. “Damn it, Scully! Have you lost your mind?”
“Uh mister?” One of the two girls called out to him, her eyes wide in fear. “I think we have to go now!”
Mulder looked behind him. The twister was closing in on them, causing the car to shake violently. “Damn!” He shouted again to himself and he stepped on the gas, saying a silent prayer that his partner would be all right.
Meanwhile not far away, Justin stared at the huge ball of spinning air nearing the agents’ car and shook his head. “This is not good.”
“Well as Genesius said, if Genevieve is with Mulder, he’s naturally attracted to disasters. So the first thing we do is send Genevieve back up.”
Justin nodded numbly and frowned as his charge refused to get into the car. “Why on earth is Dana not getting into the car?”
“Uh oh.” Kelly muttered when she checked the message she had just received from her cell phone. “Genesius finally got a reply from St Anne. She asked Vincent de Paul to guard Dana when he was called away.”
Justin paled. “Patron saint of the lost.”
“Yeah.” Kelly sighed, watching Dana run into the cornfield. “And looks like she found one of ‘em.”
Mulder gritted his teeth in frustration as the twister persistently followed them. It was as if it was deliberately pursuing them. The thought made him emit a tight smile. If Scully were here, she’d call him paranoid.
He was worried about her. Although she was clearly safe from the cyclone that was content on chasing him, the storm was wild enough to cause harm to anyone out there without shelter. He should have gotten out and shoved her into the car, he thought.
“Mister, there’s someone out there!” Connie, the elderly lady told him.
Mulder spun his head towards the direction her finger pointed. He was bitterly disappointed it wasn’t Scully. It was a woman, waving her hands wildly for them to stop. Taking a peek at the twister that was lagging behind them, he slowed the car down.
“You can’t be driving in these conditions. I’ve got a storm shelter nearby, you can hide out there!” The lady shouted at him through the window.
Mulder frowned and made a quick decision. “All right. Everyone, get out of the car!”
The occupants obeyed quickly and the mysterious woman led the way. The winds were strong and it was difficult to walk against it. Thankfully the shelter was only a couple of meters away.
“My name is Mulder.” Mulder told the woman loudly as they filed one by one down the large underground haven.
She looked at him in surprise. “Uh… Well, I’m… Debra.”
He then took out his cell phone and groaned internally when he saw that there wasn’t a signal. “Debra, do you have a radio or telephone down there?”
She shook her head. “No.”
Mulder bit his lip. “All right. Can you take care of these people? I have to go somewhere.”
“In this storm? Are you crazy?”
“My partner is out there.”
“Listen Mulder, you can’t go out there. It’s too dangerous.”
“Well I’m taking that risk.” He snapped and headed towards the ladder.
“You can’t!” Debra told him firmly.
He ignored her and climbed up, pushing hard against the trap door. It wouldn’t budge. He frowned. “How do you open this thing?”
“I told you. You can’t. There used to be a latch that controls it from inside but it’s broken.”
“So how the hell do we get out of here?” Mulder bellowed.
“Relax. Once the storm is over, the Sheriff makes it a point to drop by each shelter in the area.”
“After the storm?” He shook his head. “No, you don’t understand. I need to get out of here! My partner is out there!”
“Mulder, don’t worry about her. She’s taken care of.”
“God.” Debra answered simply.
The agent looked at her incredulously and blinked twice. “God?”
“You gotta have faith, Agent Mulder.”
Mulder’s shoulders slumped and he slowly stepped down the ladder dejectedly. Staring blankly at the ground, he sighed. “That’s the problem, I don’t.”
Debra or rather Kelly watched the despair on his face and wished she could comfort him. But she should keep her distance. He didn’t recognize her anymore and she was determined to keep it that way.
Dana struggled through the fields, cursing under breath when the sharp corn leaves sliced her skin for the millionth time. Maybe it was just her imagination. Maybe there really wasn’t anyone there. And yet, her gut feeling told her that there was. And it was a child. A little girl. The thought reminded her of Emily, making her more determined in her inner belief and she forged forward bravely. The winds were getting stronger, blowing her hair into her face. She pushed them aside and blinked in surprise at the sight in front of her. She was right! It was a little girl.
The teary-eyed girl told her that she was scared. She was crouched on the ground, holding tightly to a little white teddy bear. Dana stumbled to her side and talked to her softly. After a few moments, the little girl finally looked up and gave her a small smile. Dana smiled back. After reassuring little Amy that she would find her mommy for her, Dana carried her tightly and began walking towards a country house nearby.
After ten minutes of brainstorming, Justin gave up thinking of an excuse. He blinked and appeared next to his charge. “Are you all right?”
Dana almost jumped when she felt someone touch her. Turning around to face him, she stared at him. “Who are you?”
For a moment, Justin was taken aback. She didn’t recognize him? “Erm… I… My house is nearby.”
“Oh.” Dana looked relieved. “Do you have a storm shelter?”
“Good. Lead the way!” She yelled at him.
She didn’t recognize him! Justin grinned to himself and proceeded to show
her the way to a nearby shelter.
Mulder paced up and down the kerosene lamp lit shelter worriedly. The howling winds penetrating his ears were proof that the gale was still in full force. And his heart was sinking lower and lower at the thought of his partner being out there alone.
He had been an absolute ass to her lately, going off on his own to check out on a lead without her. He knew very well she would be pissed but he went ahead anyway, not wanting to spoil her plans for the weekend with her mother.
Nah! Who was he kidding? He didn’t tell her because he knew she would talk him out of it. Somehow her rationale would convince him that he was nuts. And he would be saved the trouble of going on the wild goose chase.
But he liked the wild goose chase. He liked trusting his intuition. He may be wrong but the journey was always exciting. Okay, sometimes dangerous. And he had a feeling that if only the last element didn’t get him into a hospital so often, perhaps his partner wouldn’t mind so much.
Her rebellion phases against his authority were almost textbook behaviour. Being a daddy’s girl and a navy brat made her tolerant only to a certain extent before she launched a full-scale revolt against the bully in him.
The ironic truth was as hard as he tried he failed miserably as a bully. She always somehow had the upper hand in their partnership. With a little smile and a tiny coax, she always had her way. That was why he was reduced to keeping things from her to get his own.
Their recent fight was a mystery to him though. He still could not remember what it was that caused her to be so mad at him. She accused him of being biased. Suggesting that he was easily swayed by physical intimacy. What on earth made her think that?
Was she thinking of Diana? Sure, he trusted Diana. But it wasn’t only because they used to share a bed; they shared an important chapter of his life too. She was there when he began his quest on the X-files. Besides, Diana has no reason to betray him.
Dana smoothed Amy’s hair gently, watching her sleep. From the muffled sounds above them, the winds were easing up but it had started to rain. She glanced at the farmer seated in front of her and he looked away immediately. Frowning, she asked him casually. “Do you think it’s safe now?”
“Soon.” He gruffly answered and leaned back against the wall, closing his eyes to sleep.
Dana studied his face carefully. He was young, handsome and honest-looking. She had an urge to ask what his name was but seeing his fatigue, she didn’t.
Her thoughts automatically turned to her partner. She was worried for his safety. She hoped that he managed to find shelter or at least shake the twister that was weirdly intent on trailing him.
If anything happened to him, she would never forgive herself for being mean to him for the past few days. It wasn’t really his fault. He was a free spirit and heavily depended on his bizarre natural instinct to discover the mysteries of life. It was just him, the way he was.
But then six years ago, she arrived and started cramping his style. Come to think of it, she could be such a drag when she wanted to. And yet, he always respected her views and her opinions. Okay, maybe he didn’t believe in her scientific theories, preferring his own incredible ones but at least, he listened to them.
So why was she always mad at him?
The door above them creaked loudly as it opened. Mulder sighed in relief. “Finally!”
A uniformed officer poked his head and called. “Anyone in there?”
All seven occupants of the shelter shouted in reply. Mulder stepped up the ladder first, rather selfishly. “My name is Fox Mulder. I’m a federal agent. Have any of you guys come across my partner? Her name is Dana Scully.”
The Sheriff shook his head. “Sorry sir, not that I know of. But I could put in a call for you. My other men are checking out the other shelters. She might be in one of them.”
“Good, you do that.” Mulder told him and took out his cell phone. There was service! He quickly pushed the speed dial button and held it to his ear expectantly. A few seconds later, he heard a dialing tone but no none was picking up.
“Mulder!” He heard someone call behind him and he turned. It was Debra, she was standing quite a distance away, waving for him to come over.
Suppressing the fear for his partner within him, he replaced his phone back into his pocket and walked briskly towards the brunette. “Yeah, what is it?”
“This belong to you?” She held out a cell phone. “It has your name on it.”
He took it from her and looked at the display. She was right, his name was on it. ‘Missed call’. His heart fell. It was Scully’s phone. “Where did you find this?”
“Right here.” She pointed to the wet ground beside her.
Mulder’s mind raced. He looked about him, trying his best to recognize the surroundings. He knew he had made a couple of turns to shake off the cyclone but did it bring him back full circle? It must have because Scully dropped her phone here. Or did the tornado… He shook his head, not willing to complete the thought.
Debra cleared her throat softly. “You know there’s an old storm bunker nearby. There used to be a house but it was razed to the ground in a fire a couple of years ago.”
Mulder grabbed her arm and shook it hard. “Where?”
“Over there.” She nodded towards his left. “See that old scarecrow?”
Without another word, Mulder ran towards the direction she described. He looked about frantically for any sign of an underground shelter. “Scully?” He yelled loudly, pushing the tall grass away and finding an old deteriorating wooden panel. He grabbed hold of the rusted rings and pulled hard. “Scully?”
“Mulder?” Her muffled voice pricked his ears, almost painfully.
He smiled, almost laughing. “Scully, hang on!” Turning around to wave for help from the Sheriff’s men, he pulled at the heavy door again. This time, it moved and he saw his partner’s head emerge from the darkness.
“Mulder.” She gasped, wincing at the sudden brightness.
Instantly, he recalled the way she took off and his heart burned. “Don’t ever do that to me again, Scully!”
“Do what?” She frowned, glancing behind him as if to check if the twister had really gone. “Run off on my own without you?”
He instantly stiffened. “Surely this isn’t about ….”
She gave a half laugh and rolled her eyes. “No Mulder, I certainly have more sense than to dash into a storm just to prove a point. Thanks for the vote of confidence, by the way.” Leaning down to hold out her hand, she seemed to be helping someone below, up the shaky stairs. It was a child.
Still slightly stunned that she did see someone amidst the confusion just as she had claimed, Mulder wordlessly took the little girl from her and into the open. Then setting her down on the ground, he asked her if she was all right. She did not answer him but looked around her and found what she wanted to see. “Mommy!” She squealed and she ran towards a figure in a distance.
Mulder watched her go for moment before his partner growled behind him. “You mind giving me a hand, partner?”
He spun around and hastily obeyed. “Sorry.”
When she was safely out, she turned back to peer into the shelter again, intending to help the young farmer out. Her partner knelt down beside her, pointing his flashlight into the darkness. “What are you looking for, Scully?”
“The guy with me.” She muttered.
“What guy with you?”
She frowned and looked up, about her. To her surprise, she spotted him, walking off towards the authorities. Now, how on earth did he get out and get that far so fast? ‘Oh well…’ Shrugging, she began dusting the dirt off her, avoiding her partner’s gaze.
It made Mulder think that she was still mad at him. And suddenly he had a strong urge to want to make it all right again. Squirming uncomfortably, he soon blurted out. “Two days.”
She looked up, surprised. “What?”
His eyes darted about nervously. “How long it took me to trust you? Two days.”
Her face registered shock, mostly because he was bringing this issue up, now. Still frozen, she managed to utter. “Oh.”
“Number one, I don’t ask just anybody to join me on a run in the middle of the night and number two, I don’t like talking about my sister’s disappearance. I knew for certain that I trusted you when I told you about her.” Blushing slightly, he muttered. “And you didn’t even have to kiss me. I think that counts for something.”
Scully watched his overly anxious countenance and her heart melted into a puddle of goo. Trying hard not to smile, she softly teased. “It would….. if before that, I hadn’t demanded that you check my ass, while in my underwear.”
He looked up, unsure if she was being cynical. But catching the twinkle in her eye, he grinned. “Actually, it was only your lower back. Although I did see your underwear.”
She smiled back at him but only for a moment before turning her attention to the ground. All her things she had mentally listed to say to him while she waited in the storm shelter seemed to have vanished from her mind. She struggled hard to recall at least a few of them whilst the moment lasted, before ‘sensitive Mulder’ became the ever-reigning ‘nonchalant Mulder’ again. “Mulder, I owe you an apology.”
“For what?” He asked, stunned.
She bit her lip and smirked. “For being a bitch lately.”
“Scully…” He protested, not believing that she had anything to apologize for. His recent underground reflections were still fresh in mind. And if anything, he should be the one begging for forgiveness, with all the shit he put her through.
But she cut him off firmly. “No, shut up Mulder! I need to say this to you so just let me, okay?”
He shrugged, not knowing what else to do. “Okay.”
Taking a deep breath, Scully softly told him. “You’ve always been there for me. During my illness and then there was Emily….” She trailed off for a moment before continuing. “You take good care of me and sometimes I forget that you don’t have to but you do. But I always give you such a hard time, don’t I?”
Mulder could hardly believe what he was hearing. How could she beat herself up when it was obvious that he was always the bigger jerk between them? Stepping forward and taking her shoulders gently, he tried to shut her up. “Scully don’t…”
“And yet!” She raised her voice, drowning his feeble protest. “And yet, you put up with me. I don’t think any other partner would put up with my temper as much as you have.”
‘Shit!’ Mulder grimaced, unable to bear it any longer. “Shhh…. don’t say another word, Scully.” Leaning closer, he lightly held her bent face in his hands. “I don’t put up with you. You’re the one putting up with me.”
She shook her head slowly, enjoying his touch but much too emotional and embarrassed to look up. “No Mulder, take our last argument.” She gave a half laugh before saying. “I know we had a fight and I was really pissed off at you. But the fact that I can’t even remember why, means that it must be because of something really stupid!”
“It doesn’t matter. I can’t remember why too.” He whispered in her hair. “It’s probably my fault.” His heart full of words that he can’t seem to express, he impulsively allowed himself to act on his affections instead, leaning in to kiss her on her forehead.
Justin closed his eyes briefly and looked about him in surprise. They weren’t on earth anymore! “He was about to kiss her!” He muttered and stared at Kelly beside him. “Why’d you blink?”
“I didn’t. I thought you did!” She sputtered back.
Before he could deny it too, a deep voice cleared the mystery. “I did.”
They turned around and collectively gasped. “Devon!”
Meanwhile, Dana chose to look up at that very same moment Mulder leaned down and the top of her head bumped fiercely against his mouth. “Ow!” She whined.
Her partner was less discreet. “Fuck!” He uttered, grimacing in pain. When she collided into him, he had accidentally bit his lip and now could taste blood in his mouth.
“Why’d you get so close to me for?” She growled while rubbing the top of her head, forgetting her earlier resolve to be more patient with him.
“Oh no reason.” He responded in a daze, as it dawned on him what he nearly did. What was he thinking? He almost kissed her in public! In the middle of a case! In front of lots of people! Not to mention, his ever-discreet partner would probably give him another well-aimed knee jerk after that.
Then he frowned, his thoughts jumping to another subject matter. ‘And just what is it with us and kissing anyway?’ Why is it that every time he tried to kiss her, something went wrong? Were they cursed by a witch and didn’t know it?
His odd silence made her look up at him. It was only then that she realized that his lip was bleeding. “Oh Mulder, you must have bit your lip at the impact.”
Quickly recovering from his reverie, he muttered. “No kidding….” And applied pressure to the wound with his finger, wishing it wouldn’t sting so much.
“Don’t do that!” She protested and slapped his hand away. “Your hands are filthy!” Rummaging through her coat pocket, she tried to find some tissues but her hands were as muddy as his and could not hygienically take a piece out of the packet. Giving up, she grabbed his arm. “Oh come on, we’ll get a paramedic to take care of it.”
Horrified that they should bother the paramedics over such a trivial matter, he slowed them down, resisting her pull. “It’s nothing, Scully.” Eyeing her side profile, he drawled. “Nothing you can’t cure anyway…”
She looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “Forget it Mulder. I’m **not** going to kiss it better.”
“I bet it’ll stop the bleeding.” He grinned and thought. ‘Mostly because all the blood would probably head south at the touch of her lips.’ But he said instead. “And you know what they say about saliva….”
Rolling her eyes, she groaned and pulled him harder. “Oh come on.”
Devon didn’t look pleased at all. And at the sight of St Genesius and Pelagia nearby, they knew that he knew everything. Justin spoke first. “Devon, we can explain….”
But Devon raised his voice, overpowering Justin’s efforts. “Do you why saints aren’t given guiding privileges?”
“We have a pretty good idea now….” Kelly muttered under her breath.
He gave her a glare, which immediately shut her up. “Because they were once humans themselves, giving them a connection that somehow influences the mortals they are in contact with. That’s why we have GAs, who only serve to protect and guard, never influence or interfere unnecessarily.”
The duo winced but he went on. “Saints are also on-call 24 hours a day, patrons to all mortals in their times of need, to intercede for them. They don’t have time to give their full attention to just one person. Again, that’s why we have GAs.” Pausing for effect, he soon added. “Everything has a reason, you know.”
“But Devon…” This time, Justin demanded to be heard. “Our charges don’t recognize us anymore!”
The elder man paused, frowning at their hopeful faces. “They don’t?”
“No, they don’t.” Kelly joined in the defense. “We got them out of the twister situation and they didn’t even notice who we were. They were too busy worrying about the other.”
“Yeah.” Justin added. “I know it was wrong of us to sneak down while we were clouded but the only reason why we did, was to clean up the mess we created.”
Devon’s thoughtful look turned into a glare. “You sent holy men and women to take care of your charges! There’s like, five rules broken with that deed already!”
Genesius decided to pitch in to help the two GAs. “Oh come on, nothing went that wrong. So the two agents were led into a natural disaster, but they helped save a few lives, didn’t they? Give these two a break, Devon.”
“Yeah, they were just thinking of their charges’ best interests!” Next to him, Pelagia agreed full heartedly. “Everything worked out in the end.”
“Barely.” The GA coordinator gritted his teeth in reply. But looking at the two pairs of doleful eyes in front of him was just too much for his soft heart. Reluctantly, he sighed. “Oh, all right. I’ll let you two off this time. I’ll just have to figure out what to say to the council.”
“Yes!” The duo squealed in delight, hugging each other.
Devon shook his head at them. “Fortunately for you two, your past records have been rather impressive. The council was especially pleased by the way you handled the fallen Cherubim’s triplets, Justin. How you brought Emily in to help convince her Dana to let the last child go.”
Justin smiled. “Emily wanted so much to see her mother and was glad to have that chance too.”
“And Kelly, the council wanted me to commend you for the way you helped Mulder to come to terms with the loss of his sister.”
“Really?” She cringed slightly. “Because I did break a couple of rules with that stunt.”
“Yes you did. But the damage done was minimal. Next time, try not to summon all the Rainbow children from their playground. Their guardian Germaine was frantic when they all disappeared on her.
She grinned. “Yes sir.”
Devon was about to blink out of their midst when he seemed to remember something. “You know, maybe you two would like some time off? The transition might not be….”
“No!” Kelly almost yelled, causing the former to look at her suspiciously. She took a deep breath and brought down her voice level. “We’re fine.”
“Are you sure? A few days in the clouds may be good for you. Perhaps in the choir or I believe they need harpists in the Stri….”
Again, Kelly hastily interrupted him. “Really Devon! We’ll be okay.”
He looked at her thoughtfully and conceded. “I hope so. Well okay then, I have to go find Val now.” At the mention of his name, the two GAs and the two saints froze in their tracks. They looked at each other, trying hard not to reveal anything on their faces.
But Devon gave them an all-knowing look and drawled. “Don’t think I don’t know this was all his idea in the first place. That romantic has been trying to set those too agents up ever since they met. And he’s been more determined than ever when Catherine named Dana Scully and Fox Mulder as perfect examples of sexual forbearance in her Temptation 101 textbook.”
“Why Devon, we really don’t know what you mean.” Pelagia vehemently insisted, putting on a convincing innocent look.
Rolling his eyes in reply, Devon turned to the Justin and Kelly, warning them again. “You know I’ll send you two for that course again if I have to.”
“Don’t worry.” Kelly assured him. “We’ll just keep reminding ourselves of the consequences.”
“And the harps.” Justin piped in, getting a glare from her, which he pretended not to see. “We’ll make it.”
The GA coordinator nodded and prepared himself to go. The four heavenly creatures watched him blink out of their midst before they burst out rejoicing.
After a round of cheers and hugging, Kelly eyed Justin. “We’d better head back to our charges.”
He nodded gleefully, impatient to be back on the job. “Do you think he kissed her in the end?”
“Without us around?” Kelly automatically winced. “Somehow, I don’t think he managed to get that far.”
“Yeah.” He sighed. “Neither do I.”
Dana eyes widened when she saw the bouquet of flowers on the table. She looked at her partner who seemed rather preoccupied with his reading. ‘Hmm… Too preoccupied.’ She thought and grinned, knowing that he too was dying to know who sent the yellow roses. Taking her own sweet time, she removed the card with her name on it. Reading the name of the sender behind it, she frowned, genuinely bewildered.
Mulder looked up casually. “So who are the flowers from?”
She smiled and said simply. “Justin.”
“My sentiments exactly.” She honestly told him.
His brow creased and he teased in a singsong manner. “Scully’s got a secret admirer…”
She rolled her eyes. “Maybe someone made a mistake.”
“Maybe someone didn’t.” He muttered, thinking maybe he should run the card up for fingerprints.
“Mulder, you’re being paranoid again.” She warned and asked. “Do you know a Justin?”
“No. Do you?”
“I told you, no.” She sighed and muttered. “Must be a mistake. Oh well…” Her voice trailed off as she tossed the card into the bin nearby. “You want some coffee, Mulder?”
“Nah, I’m fine.” He answered.
She nodded and walked out of the office. Almost instantly, Mulder got up from his seat and walked towards the bin. Using a piece of paper he found on his table, he picked the card from the trash and slipped it into his pocket.
Only when he was safely back in his seat did he notice that the piece of paper he used had his partner’s writing on it. He frowned seeing that she had addressed it to him and wondered. ‘Now why on earth would I want the Scully Blueberry Flan recipe?’
Meanwhile, Kelly glared at Justin. “I can’t believe you sent her flowers.”
“But I didn’t!” He vehemently protested.
“If you didn’t, who did?”
Looking at each other, they soon groaned. “Val!”
End of With Holy Choirs of Angels (Part One of One)
are generally taken to mean "chief or leading angel" ( Jude 9; 1 Thes
4:16), they are the most frequently mentioned throughout the Bible. They may be
of this or other hierarchies as St. Michael Archangel, who is a princely Seraph.
The Archangels have a unique role as God's messenger to the people at critical
times in history and salvation (Tb 12:6, 15; Jn 5:4; Rv 12:7-9) as in The
Annunciation and Apocalypse. A feast day celebrating the Archangels Michael,
Gabriel and Raphael is celebrated throughout the Church Sep 29. A special part
of the Byzantine Liturgy invokes the "Cherubic Hymn" which celebrates
these archangels and the guardian angels particularly. Of special significance
is St. Michael as he has been invoked as patron and protector by the Church from
the time of the Apostles. The Eastern Rite and many others place him over all
the angels, as Prince of the Seraphim. He is described as the "chief of
princes" and as the leader of the forces of heaven in their triumph over
Satan and his followers.
in Rome, possibly a bishop. Physician. Imprisoned for giving aid to martyrs in
prison, and while there converted the jailer by restoring sight to the jailer's
daughter. While Valentine of Terni and Valentine of Rome sometimes have separate
entries in martyrologies and biographies, most scholars believe they are the
are different theories about the origin of Valentine's Day celebrations. Some
believe the Romans had a mid-February custom where boys drew girls' names in
honor of the sex and fertility goddess, Februata Juno. "Baptising"
this holiday, like others, pastors began substituting the names of saints such
as Valentine to suppress the practice.
maintain that the custom of sending Valentines on February 14 stems from the
belief that birds begin to pair on that date. By 1477 the English associated
lovers with the feast of Valentine because on that day "every bird chooses
him a mate." The custom started of men and women writing love letters to
their Valentine on this day.
affianced couples, betrothed couples, engaged couples, happy marriages,
GENESIUS of Rome
Hired to work in a play that made fun of Christian Baptism, he received a word
during the performance, suddenly realized the truth of Christianity, and
converted on stage. He refused to renounce his new faith, even at the emperor's
orders, and was martyred by Diocletian.
Attended a sermon by Bishop Nonnus of Edessa during which he spoke of a stripper
who worked to make herself beautiful and her dance perfect, but did nothing for
the work of God. Pelagia immediately converted, confessed, was baptized, turned
away from her former life, moved to Jerusalem, and lived as a hermit the rest of
her days, possibly wearing men's clothes so people would leave her alone.
and follower of Jesus. Filled with sorrow over her sin, she anointed Christ,
washed his feet with her hair. Exorcised by Him. Visited by the Risen Christ.
Patronage: hairdressers, hairstylists
archdeacon of Rome and "keeper of the treasures of the church" in a
time when Christianity was outlawed. Indeed, Emperor Valerian delighted in the
persecution of Christians. On 6 August 258, by decree of Valerian, Pope Saint
Sixtus II and six deacons were beheaded, leaving only Lawrence. Before his death
Sixtus greeted and reassured Lawrence that he was not being left behind; they
would be reunited in four days. Lawrence saw this time as an opportunity to
disperse the material wealth of the church before the Roman authorities could
lay their hands on it. On 10 August Lawrence was commanded to appear for his
execution, and to bring along the treasure with which he had been entrusted.
When he arrived, the archdeacon was accompanied by a multitude of Rome's
crippled, blind, sick, and indigent; he announced that these were the true
treasure of the Church. Lawrence's care for the poor, the ill, the neglected
have led to his patronage of them. His work to save the material wealth of the
Church, including its documents, brought librarians and those in related fields
to see him as a patron, and to ask for his intercession. And his incredible
strength and courage when being grilled to death led to his patronage of cooks
and those who work in or supply things to the kitchen.
of Our Lady. Grandmother of Jesus Christ. Wife of Saint Joachim. Probably well
off. Believed to have given Mary to the service of the Temple when the girl was
three years old.
Patronage: grandmothers, grandparents, homemakers, housewives, mothers
she was 7 years old she met Saint Germanus of Auxerre who befriended her because
of her insistence on wanting to live her life for God. Took the veil at age 15.
Prophesied about coming invasions and disasters for Paris. Could read
consciences and calm the possessed. When Paris was besieged by the Franks, she
encouraged its defense and led an expedition for food to relieve the seige.
Caused a church to be built on the tomb of Saint Denis. In 1129, the procession
of her relics through Paris is believed to have ended an epidemic.
Patronage: disasters, fever, Paris, plague, WACs, women's army corps
Highly intelligent youth; spent four years with Franciscan friars at Acqs
getting an education. Tutor to children of a gentlemen of the town. Began
divinity studies in 1596 at the University of Toulouse. Priest at age 20. Taken
captive by Turkish pirates to Tunis, and sold into slavery. Freed in 1607 when
he converted one of his owners to Christianity. Served as parish priest near
Paris where he started organizations to help the poor, nursed the sick, found
jobs for the unemployed, etc. Chaplain at the court of Henry IV of France. With
Louise de Marillac, founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity.
Instituted the Congregation of Priests of the Mission (Lazarists). Worked always
for the poor, the enslaved, the abandoned, the ignored, the pariahs.
Patronage: charitable societies, lost articles
of Laurent Cousin, a farm worker, and Marie Laroche. Mother died while Germaine
was an infant. Sickly child; suffered scrofula, and her right hand was deformed.
Ignored by her father and abused step-family; slept in the stable or in a
cupboard under the stairs, was fed on scraps, beaten or scalded with hot water
for misdeeds, real or imagined. At age nine Germaine was put to work as a
shepherdess, where she spent much time praying, sometimes using a rosary she
made from a knotted string. She refused to miss Mass, and if she heard the bell,
she set her crook and her distaff in the ground, declared her flock to be under
the care of her guardian angel, and went to church; her sheep were unharmed
during her absences. It is reported that once she crossed the raging Courbet
River by walking over the waters so she could get to church. Germaine was so
poor it is hard to imagine she would be able to help others, but she was always
ready to help anyone, especially children whom she gathered in the fields to
teach a simple catechism and share the little food she had with those even
poorer than herself. The locals laughed at her religious devotion and called her
'the little bigot'. Once in winter her stepmother, Hortense, accused her of
stealing bread, and threatened to beat her with a stick. Germaine opened her
apron, and summer flowers tumbled out. Neighbors and her parents were awed and
began to treat her as a holy person. Her parents invited her to rejoin the
household, but Germaine chose to live as she had. In 1601 she was found dead on
her straw pallet under the stairs, and she was buried in the Church of Pibrac
opposite the pulpit. When accidentally exhumed in 1644 during a renovation, her
body was found incorrupt. In 1793 the casket was desecrated by a revolutionary
tinsmith, Toulza, who with three accomplices took out the remains and buried
them in the sacristy, throwing quick-lime and water on them. After the French
Revolution, her body was found to be still intact save where the quick-lime had
done its work. Documents attest to more than 400 miracles or extraordinary
graces through the intervention of Saint Germaine. They include cures of every
kind (of blindness, congenital and resulting from disease, of hip and spinal
disease), and the multiplication of food for the distressed community of the
Good Shepherd at Bourges in 1845.
Patronage: abandoned people, abuse victims, child abuse victims, handicapped people, illness, impoverishment, loss of parents, peasant girls, physically challenged people, poverty, unattractive people, victims of abuse, victims of child abuse
child in a large family. At the age of 6 she had a vision in which Jesus
appeared and blessed her. Her parents wanted her to marry, but she became a
Dominican Tertiary. Mystic. Stigmatist. Received a vision in which she was in a
mystical marriage with Christ, and the Infant Christ presented her with a
wedding ring. Counselor to Pope Gregory XI and Pope Urban VI. Proclaimed Doctor
of the Church on 4 October 1970.
Patronage: people ridiculed for their piety, sexual temptation, temptations