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Title: Bugged

Classification: Post-ep, VH, UST

Rating: PG

Spoilers: War of the Coprophages

Summary: Mulder once again ditches Scully for Dr. Berenbaum, and in the discussion following, Scully finds out more than she expected.

 

 

 

 

I would just like to say that I hate cockroaches.

Iím not a woman who is afraid of bugs. If youíd seen half the things I have seen in the past three years, bugs wouldnít scare you either. Iím not afraid of them, I donít squeal in fear, recoil in horror, or back away when confronted by a small creature with six or more legs.

But so help me God, if I see another roach today, Iím going to kill someone. But not just any someone, oh no. I have my victim all picked out. Heís a handsome man, downright gorgeous if you ask some people; big hazel eyes that can turn me inside out at the twitch of an eyebrow and a grin that can light up a room like a floodlight. No doubt about it, heís the most handsome man I know. And right about now, I want that handsome head on a platter.

Why Mulder? Iíll tell you why. Itís not because he hung up on me several times, leaving me wondering what had happened and was he okay. Itís not because he suggested that these roaches were actually super-intelligent alien probes sent by a civilization far more advanced than ours. Itís not even because of his Dr. Bambi.

"I never thought Iíd say this to you, Scully.........but you smell bad."

I deserved it. I know. The crack about the uber-children was a bit over the top. But considering the shit (no pun intended) that Mulder had put me through in the past twenty-four hours, not completely unwarranted. So, I sucked it up and kept quiet on the drive back to the motel and hoped Mulder would get over it.

No, not even that well-deserved comment pushed me over the edge to homicidal mania. It was what happened when we got back to the motel that did it.

 

 

I threw my suit and my best wool trench into the large garbage bag I had requested at the front desk. I was unsure of what to do-I doubted any dry cleaner could have it all done in a day, and even if they could, would they even take my dung covered clothes? With a sigh, I closed the bag and set it aside until after my shower.

I donít think I enjoyed any shower more than I did that one. Normally I hate motel showers with their low water pressure and cramped quarters. But this shower was like a godsend, low water pressure and all. When I finally climbed out of the shower feeling fresh as a daisy, I wandered back into my room only to find Mulder standing there in nothing but his boxer shorts, his smelly suit in hand.

"Just what do you think youíre doing?" I asked him. Unfortunately, I knew all too well what he thought he was doing.

"I was just thinking.......if youíre going to have your suit cleaned, you could drop mine off as well." He gave me his best sad-puppy look, pout and all.

"What?"

"Save us some time......." His sentence trailed off, his eyes widening like he was trying to guilt me into submission.

"Do your own dirty laundry," I reply, making a grab for the trash bag.

"Scully, come on....." he pleaded. "Iíll do the report on this case."

Tempting. But no. "And?"

I can see the wheels in his mind turning. "Iíll buy us...." he checked his watch, "....lunch."

I sighed. "Fine. But no fast food, Mulder. Lunch means a nice sit-down restaurant with waiters."

"Deal."

"Throw it in the bag with my stuff."

Gingerly, he opened the bag and threw his clothes in with mine. "Smells like a barnyard in here," he commented, wrinkling his nose in distaste.

"You found this case, Mulder, donít blame me."

"Is it my fault that I happened to stumble across a case about killer cockroaches that also just happened to be made of metal and could quite possibly be a sort of alien probe?"

He made it sound so normal.

"Mulder, those cockroaches were not alien probes," I replied, running a comb through my damp hair. "Robots, maybe. But alien probes? Tell me another one."

"Scully, even Dr. Ivanov corroborated my theory." He closed the bag and stood up straight, hands on his hips. "He agrees with me that alien technology is undoubtedly more advanced than ours is, and that sending probes disguised as insects is the perfect way to infiltrate Earth without the chance of being discovered. Whoís going to notice the difference between a real roach and a fake one?"

I shook my head and sighed. He looked sane. "Mulder, have you experienced any sort of head trauma recently?" I ask.

He shot me a dirty look as he headed back to his room through the door that joined my room to his.

With a sigh, I heaved the garbage bag full of clothes over my shoulder and hoped I could find a good dry cleaner.

 

 

When I returned from the dry cleaner, I had expected to find Mulder waiting to take me to lunch like he had promised.

Instead, I found a note. "S-Dr. Berenbaum called-has something she thought I would find interesting. Be back soon."

Yeah, I know what he finds interesting about Dr. Berenbaum-enormous breasts.

Furious, I tore up the note he had left for me and sat on my bed with a sigh. As much as I wanted to, I couldnít just up and leave-my suit was at the cleaners and we werenít scheduled to leave until tomorrow. I didnít care where he had gone, just that he had ditched me for that walking blow-up doll.

With a sigh, I picked myself up and headed for the nearest restaurant, making sure I left no note and turned off my cell phone before I left.

 

 

The restaurant was all dark wood and brass, more like a bar than a restaurant. But it was different from the dives Mulder and I usually ate in, and that was more than good enough for me. I sat down at a booth and perused the menu, torn between a grilled chicken sandwich or the bacon cheeseburger that was calling my name.

A glass of water was set down in front of me, and I looked up to see a beautiful blond man talking at me.

"Hi, my name is Nick, and Iíll be your waiter," he said, giving me a huge smile that showed off his perfect white teeth. "Are you waiting for someone?" he asked, indicating the empty seat across from me.

"Uh.......no."

He raised an eyebrow. "A beautiful woman like you dining alone?" He shook his head. "Your man must be some fool."

I was flattered. "Well..........thank you."

He grinned his Colgate smile again. "What can I get for you, Miss.....?" He raised his eyebrow again. "I donít believe you told me your name."

"Scully......Dana." I could feel my face turn pink under his appraising gaze.

"Dana Scully? Any relation to Vin Scully?"

"Iím afraid not."

Nick chuckled. "Didnít think so." There was an awkward pause, then he said, "So, what can I get for you today, Dana?"

I sighed. "Bacon cheeseburger, medium rare and a diet Coke."

"Diet Coke?" he said. "Youíre joking, right?"

"No, why?"

"I hope you donít think this forward of me," he said, "but why a beautiful woman like you feels the compulsion to drink diet Coke mystifies me."

"Iím sorry........why do you assume I have some compulsion to drink diet Coke?" I reply, narrowing my gaze in what I hope is a fierce manner.

"The beautiful ones always do," he says earnestly. "Well, thatís a sweeping generalization. Most of the time, the beautiful women only order diet Coke. And a salad, no dressing. If you had ordered that, I think I would have lost my mind. Iím glad to see that you like to eat-thereís nothing quite like watching a beautiful woman eating a good burger."

I smile up at him. "Why do I get the distinct feeling you are pulling my leg?"

"Iím dead serious," he replies.

"You say that to all your customers. Gets you better tips"

His smile softens. "No.......only to the beautiful redheads who dine alone." And with that, he walked off.

Hear that bang? That was my jaw hitting the floor.

Well, this certainly was a change of pace. A handsome, seemingly normal man paying attention to me? This was an X-File.

I must admit, it felt good to be complimented so much. Mulder was not exactly......forthcoming with compliments. Hell, if Mulder noticed I was a female, I was lucky.

Okay, Iíll admit it. I resent the fact that Mulder was fawning over Dr. Bambi Big Boobies. It irritated me. Show him a leggy, busty woman, and itís "Scully who?" I could bring him one of his little grey men, his sister, proof of a government conspiracy, and Cancer Manís head on a platter with an apple in his mouth and Mulder would still have his eyeballs stuck in her cleavage.

Who the hell am I kidding? Iím jealous.

Just once and awhile, I would like Mulder to notice that I am female. I donít want extravagant compliments, hearts and flowers or any of that crap. But once, just once, I would like for Mulder to look at me like Iím a female and say, "Gee, Scully, you look beautiful." Hell, at this point, Iíd take pretty, cute, adorable, or even feminine. Just so long as Mulder would take notice that Iím a female, too. Sometimes I think he forgets that Iím not just Scully, but that I am also a woman. Maybe if I wore something low-cut........

As Missy always said, God gave men two heads but they can only think with one, and it ainít the one attached to their necks.

Nick the handsome waiter returned with my soda. As he set it down on the dark mahogany table, he said, "Youíre not from around here, are you? I would have noticed a woman like you before."

I nearly choked on my soda. "Um, no. Iím not from around here."

"I didnít think so. Do you mind if I ask what you do for a living?"

I paused. "Iím a doctor. Forensic pathology."

"Really?" His bright green eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. "My sisterís the assistant county coroner. Where do you work?"

"Actually, Iím an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Thatís why Iím up here.......my partner was working on a case about the recent cockroach infestation."

His eyes widened. "Smart and beautiful."

I could feel my face flush under his appreciative gaze, but before I could reply, he was gone.

"Where have you been?" a voice behind me asked.

I turned to find Mulder standing behind me, looking more worried than angry. "Here, Mulder, eating lunch. Seeing as how you ditched me to go talk to Dr. Bambi, I didnít think youíd mind," I replied, my voice sarcastic.

"I was worried sick," he said, sliding into the booth across from me. "You werenít answering your cell phone, the car was gone, you didnít leave a note."

"So howíd you find me?"

He smiled sheepishly. "The manager at the motel told me he recommended this place to you."

I sighed. "Well, you get a gold star for your investigative skills. Now if you donít mind, Iíd like to eat my lunch in peace."

"Are you asking me to leave?" His eyes widened, and I could see that I had hurt his feelings.

Yeah, well. Tough shit.......no pun intended.

"No, you can stay if you like.......but donít expect me to engage in pleasant small talk with you. Iím in no mood to discuss aliens or killer cockroaches or any idea your brilliant Dr. Bambi has come up with."

He smirked at me. The rotten son of a bitch smirked at me.

"So thatís what this little snit is all about," he said, his voice patronizing. "You donít like Dr. Berenbaum. I donít see why not, Scully......sheís a brilliant entymologist."

"You donít see because your eyes are stuck in her cleavage," I muttered under my breath.

"What was that, Scully?" Mulder asked, leaning forward.

"Nothing."

Nick returned and placed my burger down on the table. He gave Mulder a look and said, "Is this man bothering you, Dana?"

I could see Mulder stiffen, and I smiled at the thought of this handsome man throwing Mulder out of the restaurant. I could practically see Mulder sitting outside the restaurant, his nose pressed against the glass, waiting for me. As nice a vision as that was, I just couldnít bring myself to do it. "No, itís okay. Heís my partner."

"You sure? I could have him removed if you want. Just say the word."

I was so tempted. But, alas, the rational part of me won out.

"No, thanks. I think I can handle him."

As Nick walked away, Mulder said, "Heís awfully friendly for a waiter."

"Thereís something to be said for small town hospitality." I took a huge bite of my burger.

"Are you mad at me, Scully?" he asked me.

"Yes, Mulder, I am. I am incredibly angry with you." I managed to say this with relative calm as I bit into my pickle.

"Why?"

"How long have you got?"

He chuckled. "However long it takes."

"Hmmm. This is gonna be awhile. Maybe you should order a drink."

He sighed. "Seriously."

"Seriously?" I paused for a moment. "Letís start at the beginning. You hung up on me, left me high and dry, wondering what in the hell had happened to you. For all I knew, you could have been shot or attacked or God knows what else. And then you ditch me for Dr. Mammary Glands-not once, but twice. You ask me to take your smelly suit to the cleaners-and of course it will be me who picks up the tab for that one, even after you told me that I Ďsmelled badí. You probably were expecting me to sit and wait for you at the motel while you and Dr. Bimbo popped the heads off of cicadas as foreplay, right?" I said this matter-of-factly, without malice or even anger in my voice.

"Is that what you think? That Iím trying to sleep with Dr. Berenbaum?"

"If the shoe fits."

"Scully." I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was hurt. "You think I would let my attraction to a beautiful woman get in the way of not only solving a case, but also that I would be unprofessional enough to do something like that?"

"Well...." I replied sheepishly.

"Have I done it before?"

"No."

"If I were going to be that unprofessional, donít you think I would have tried to sleep with you by now?"

I nearly choked on my food. "What?"

"I said if I were going to be so unprofessional as to sleep with someone working with me on a case, donít you think I would have tried with you by now?"

"I........donít..........know......" My brain had ceased to function. This was an interesting turn of the conversation, and a revealing one at that. This was territory I was not prepared to cover, not now. And most especially not here.

"Well, I would have. So get your panties out of a bunch, Scully.......Iím sorry if I misled you or pissed you off or whatever, okay? Truce?"

End of conversation. Thank God. But.....did he just say what I think he said?

As I nodded my assent to Mulder, Nick brought the check. "It was nice to meet you, Dana," he said with a smile.

"You too, Nick."

Mulder picked up the check and reached for his wallet. "Lunch is on me, Scully. I did promise you."

"Leave a nice tip," I replied.

"How nice is nice?"

"Whatís the total?"

"About fifteen bucks."

"One hundred percent."

Mulder balked. "What? You mean you want me to leave him the same amount as the check is for? What, did he dance a jig on the table before I got here? Did he suck your toes and offer to be your love slave?"

I gave Mulder a small smile. "Letís just say he earned it."

"You gonna leave him your room key, too?"

"And if I did?"

Mulder shook his head. "Never mind. Forget I asked."