Sara's Reading Nook

Learning to Work For It

Home | About Sara B. | The Library | Comments | Sara B.'s Blog

Title: Learning to Work for It

Author: Sara B.



Rating: Good for anyone

Category: Angst

Spoilers: Hint of the aftermath of One Son, Reference to Arcadia

Feedback:  She places her hand to her fevered brow and declares, “I rely on the kindness of strangers.”  Come on, that alone deserves some sort of feedback! 

Summary:  Skinner ponders on why Mulder and Scully are not in sync and tries to fix it.

Archive: I would be honored, just let me know.

Disclaimer:  The recognized characters are used Without Prejudice and are the property of C. Carter, Fox and the wonderful actors who breathed life into written words, most notably G. Anderson and D. Duchovny who were able to make us believe in the improbable.  No Infringements of these copyrights are intended, and are used here without permission.  The story and before unknown characters belongs to me.

Gratitude: To Kim Knight, simply the best, thank you.  To my Dennis, enough said.  To CC and Company, who created the X-Files.  Lastly, but my no means least, to the readers, you make this hobby of mine have meaning.

Author’s Notes:  Just feeding my obsession with the aftermath of El Rico and the whole Diana Fowley crap.


Learning to Work for It

Sara B. 07/06


Skinner was indulging in a few minutes of down time; not that he ever really had any, and this was no exception.  It hardly seemed possible that a month ago Mulder and Scully got back their X-Files.  Yes THEIR X-Files. 

He was sure he’d have gotten a call from Mulder two days later insisting that he sign some ambiguous 302 granting them permission to run off to who knows where.  It hasn’t happened and that had him worried; extremely worried.  He’d assigned them that case in California hoping it would get them back to the old Mulder and Scully.  They infuriated him continually but he didn’t want them any other way.

He’d watched those two run the gauntlet since before the division had been assigned to him.  No matter what the obstacle they ended the race together.  When they were down they sought solace from each other.  They complemented each other and fed off one another; one gathering strength from the other.

Now, when they should be celebrating their reassignment and officially being partnered again, they were further apart than he’d ever seen them. 

He knew that neither was aware of the vibes they were sending off.  Just this morning they walked out of the cafeteria while he was sitting with A.D.s Benton and Jergins and Benton commented, ‘looks light there’s trouble in Spookyville.’  He’d been startled but he shouldn’t have been.  It was pretty obvious.

Usually when you saw the two of them they impressed with how in tune they were.  They walked in sync, not an easy task considering the difference in their natural strides.  But Scully sped up and Mulder lessened his stride; they compromised.  Today their strides were mismatched and jerky.  Also there was something missing from their body language.  When they stood near one another there was the impression that Mulder blanketed Scully.  Not that they touched but you knew that to get to her you had to go through him.  On the other side Scully bolstered Mulder.  Mulder was known as someone who leaped before he thought about it; Scully was the reason.  He knew that she would be there to provide the soft landing he needed no matter what trouble he got himself into.  Mulder lassoed clouds and Scully kept him from floating away.

It was that ease and togetherness that both impressed and repelled those around them and it was the reason they pissed so many people off.  It didn’t hurt that they were right more often than not and they didn’t make excuses for it nor did they suffer false modesty. 

The couple he’d seen today was nothing like the Mulder/Scully he knew.  It had been two weeks and they still had not resolved whatever it was that had eroded their partnership.  Something had to be done, but he didn’t quite know what it was. 

Skinner left his office, only telling his assistant he was going to clear his head and to reschedule his afternoon because he wasn’t sure how long he’d be. 

He made his way to the basement in a record two hours and fifteen minutes.  He knew where his destination was all the time but he needed to take the most circuitous route he could.  He didn’t want the rumor mill to be overrun with stories of how the boss came down to the basement and they were in trouble again.  So he took the scenic tour of the building.  He even stopped at the shooting range for a while.

Skinner stood in the doorway for a moment watching them sorting and filing until Scully noticed him.

“May we help you, sir?”  She asked in a tone dripping with caution and question.  It wasn’t often anyone, let alone the A.D., found their way to this office.

“No, Agent Scully; I was just out clearing my head and found my way here.  I really should check in with Kim I’ve been gone a while.”  He made a show of checking his watch.  “Over two hours.”  He moved toward the phone but he didn’t miss the look between the partners.  At least they were together on that. 

After finishing his call he could tell they expected him to leave; he sat on Mulder’s desk instead.  “Still getting the office in order?”

“Er, yes, sir.”  Mulder answered warily.

“Don’t mind me, carry on.”  The duo exchanged another look but they did resume what they’d been doing.  “Mind if I have a cup of coffee?”

“Go ahead,” Mulder responded absentmindedly.

“Anyone join me?”

Scully smiled at him shook her head and thanked him.  While Mulder didn’t respond at all, his head was buried in a file. 

The phone rang and Scully answered it.  “Scully,” her face clouded over.  “It’s for you, Agent Fowley.”  Mulder reached for the receiver but instead of handing it to him she placed it on the table and walked out.  Skinner couldn’t help but hear Mulder’s exasperated sigh.

Mulder’s call was short and Skinner could tell it had been abbreviated but he wasn’t sure if it was because of his presence or Scully’s annoyance.  What he wasn’t sure of was why.  Did Mulder cut it short because of him or Scully’s reaction?  What he did know was that Agent Diana Fowley was somehow involved in the discord between his two favorite agents.  Now he knew how to proceed.

“Why is Agent Fowley calling the X-Files?  She’s been reassigned?”  Skinner asked in way not to raise suspicion in Agent Paranoid.  “It wasn’t like she was that active when she was in charge of the division.”  That got Mulder’s attention.  So he didn’t know how little had been accomplished during Fowley and Spender’s reign. 

“That’s what I’ve been trying to figure out.”  Scully had returned and she wore a tight look tinged with smugness that confirmed Skinner’s concern about Diana Fowley’s involvement.

“Seeing that the records show they didn’t file any reports and it doesn’t appear that they did many investigations.” She added.

Skinner saw the anger building in Mulder and he was sure if he wasn’t here Mulder would be all over Scully for that statement. 

But maybe that was the point?  Maybe Scully felt she could finally say something because he was there to support her comments.

“That’s right.  In all those months they filed one report; just after they took over the division.  That reactor incident out in Arizona; it made you out as the complete fool, Mulder.”

Skinner said casually as he poured himself another coffee.  “Not just that, they found ways not to investigate the cases I assigned them.  I called them on it just a few days before that whole El Rico incident.”  He quickly glanced at Mulder; he looked like someone kicked his puppy.  Mulder raised sad eyes to Scully but she stood unyielding and defiant.

“Sir, that coffee has been sitting there since this morning.  How about I take you to Dave’s down the block and buy you a real coffee?”  Scully’s offer clearly was not meant to include Mulder.

The elevator doors closed and Scully turned to Skinner.  “Thank you, sir.  He wouldn’t listen to me before, maybe now he might start thinking about the situation.”

“I have no idea what you are thanking me for, Agent Scully.  I was just commenting on how inefficient the X-Files division has been for the better part of a year.”  She graced him with a small, knowing smile.

“Still, thank you.”

Skinner nodded.  “Oh, and Scully, don’t let him off the hook too easily.  Don’t play the old forgive and forget.  Make him earn your forgiveness and your trust.  Knowing Mulder, he deserves nothing less.”

She gave him a shocked look just as the elevator doors opened, revealing Fox Mulder waiting for them. 

“That coffee sounded good so I decided to join you.”  Mulder’s hand met the small of Scully’s back but she immediately pulled away. 

“Work for it, Mulder, work for her trust, it’s about time that you had to.”  Skinner said before he made his excuses not to accompany them.