Title: Comfort Food
Rating: R for language and adult situations
Spoilers: very small ones for "Bad Blood", "Squeeze", "Fight the Future", "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas", "Arcadia", and "Never Again".
Summary: What happens when Scully finally lets loose and shows some anger?
"Dammit! I said no, Mulder, and I mean it!" I slammed the case file down on his desk with more vehemence than I ever thought I possessed.
The look on his face registered shock, but to his credit he recovered rather nicely, his expression changing from shock to that look I have seen so many times before-utter determination. "Why the hell not, Scully? Itís got all the classic signs of being an X-File-mysterious mutilations with no apparent motive or suspect."
"So?" I replied. "We donít have to take every case that comes across your desk."
"This is too good to pass up, Scully!" He stood up and began pacing, eating seeds and throwing the husks into the trash can. "Weíve been waiting for a good case for weeks.....this seems just as good as any other weíve seen."
"Excuse me, Mulder, but I donít think that a mutilated cow really warrants an investigation by us!" I sighed as I sat on the edge of his desk. "Look, if this had been a series of mutilations, or we had some kind of motive to investigate, then Iíd consider it. But we donít have any of that with this case. What we do have is one dead cow in a field in the middle of Wyoming-and in a town, I would like to add, that has no history of UFO sightings or cult activity!"
He turned to me with the slightest of grins. "Vampires?"
I sighed and shook my head. "Why is this such a big deal to you?" I asked, frustrated. "I am sure that if I really tried, I could find hundreds of cases of animal mutilations that we have passed up over the years. Why is this one so damned important?"
He shrugged. "Precisely because this town is normal-too normal. What better place for aliens to be conducting experiments on animals than a small town in the middle of nowhere?"
I had to laugh. "Only you, Mulder."
"What does that mean?" he replied, looking hurt.
"It means that only you would drag me halfway across the country to autopsy a dead cow that probably was most likely mauled by a wolf or a bear, thinking of it as an X-File. This has nothing to do with aliens or government conspiracies or vampires, Mulder. Letís just move on."
He stopped his pacing and stared at me. "Is that what you really think of me?"
"Dammit!" I shouted, hopping off of his desk. "Why do you do that?"
"Twist my words! Make me out to be the bad guy every time I disagree with you! Why is it that every single time I put out an opinion that is different from yours, you immediately assume I am making some kind of judgement call about you?"
His eyes bored a hole into mine. "Maybe because thatís how it feels sometimes."
My jaw dropped in shock. "When have I judged you, Mulder?" I asked, righteously indignant.
"Every time you say that one of my theories is bogus, you judge me." He took a step closer to me, so that we were just inches apart. "Every time you say that my ideas are improbable, that Iíve lost touch with reality, that Iím completely overboard, you judge me." He stared down at me. "Why donít you just come out and say it, Scully. I know you want to."
"That you think this," he gestured to the office around us,"is all a bunch of bullshit."
The anger inside me boiled up and exploded so fast I hardly realized what I was saying. "You have some nerve, Fox Mulder! Telling me what I think and how I feel!" I stormed over to my desk and began to pack up my stuff. "You know something? If you really hold me in such low esteem, maybe I should just up and leave and let you chase little green men all by your-fucking-self!" I slammed my briefcase shut so hard it knocked my pencil holder off the desk, sending pens and pencils rolling across the floor. "If you want to sit here and feel sorry for yourself, you go right ahead. I have better things to do then sit here and take this kind of shit from you." I put on my coat and picked up my briefcase, and walked to the door. I paused with my hand on the knob, then stopped and turned around. "And by the way, Mulder-the aliens are green, I still donít believe we saw anything in Antarctica, I wish I had shot you in that haunted house last Christmas, and I had the most fabulous sex of my life with Ed Jerse!" And with that, I stormed out, slamming the door behind me.
Okay, so I was a tad rash. Forgive me for having feelings.
Once I got home, I changed out of my suit and into my old flannel pajamas. So what if it was 4:32 in the afternoon? What did I have to do?
I lay down on my couch and stared at the ceiling, hugging a throw pillow. Why had I picked that fight with Mulder? I mentally berated myself.....way to go, Dana. Alienate your best friend. Why donít you just go outside and steal some kidís bike and kick their dog while youíre at it? Maybe you can hit some old lady crossing the street with the stolen bike.
This train of thought was getting me nowhere fast. I stood up and meandered into the kitchen, rummaging around my cabinets and refrigerator for some good old-fashioned comfort food. As I took stock of my pantry-why the hell did I have so many cans of peas? I hate peas!-I sighed. No comfort food to be found. No ice cream, no candy, not even a package of stale Milano cookies. The best I could do was an envelope of Swiss Miss hot chocolate and a roll of wintergreen Life Savers. Not exactly the comfort I was looking for.
With a sigh, I took of my pajama top and put my FBI Academy sweatshirt on, and tugged on my Nikes. This was going to require a trip to the Giant. I grabbed my wallet and my keys and headed out, knowing I was taking the risk of hitting rush hour traffic in Georgetown, not really caring. The Pillsbury Doughboy was calling my name, and I was powerless against his siren song.
I wandered around the Giant aimlessly. I passed right through produce without a second glance; I was here for comfort food, not rabbit food. I wandered around until I hit the refrigerated section-jackpot! There was the Pillsbury Doughboy, beckoning to me from the rolls of cookie dough, his fat little smile drawing me in like the tractor beam of a Borg ship.
I was amazed at the selection of cookie dough available to a person. It had evolved since my childhood, where you had the choice of chocolate chip or sugar cookies. Now I looked at the selection before me in wonder-I could have peanut butter cookies, chocolate chocolate chip, cookies with M&Mís, cookies with nuts, even brownies. After a moment of careful deliberation, I picked up a roll of the chocolate chip cookies and put them in my basket.
I continued to wander around, picking up a carton of milk, a pint of Breyerís vanilla ice cream, a can of Hersheyís syrup, a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, Double Stuffed Oreos, and a can of Redi-Whip.
As I placed my purchases on the checkout counter, the cashier gave me a look. But she rang up my purchases silently, never once saying what I knew had to be on her mind. I was shopping like a woman with a broken heart.
And thatís when it hit me-I was.
Not a broken heart in the romantic sense-although there was an element of that involved somewhere. No, this was like the feeling you got back in fourth grade when your best friend decided she liked Suzy Jacobson better than you because she had more Barbies. The kind of broken heart that hurt the most because your best friend was supposed to be the one person who would never hurt you.
I handed the cashier a wad of bills and took my bags. Once in the car, I ripped open the Doritos and proceeded to eat the entire bag before I got home.
I was in the middle of slicing the cookies off the roll when I heard a noise coming from the living room. It was kind of hard to tell, though-I had my James CD on pretty loudly. I finished putting the cookies on the cookie sheet and put them in the oven before I went into the living room.
Mulder stood in my door, looking rather sheepish. "Sounds like a party in here."
He walked over to me. "Iím so sorry, Scully." His eyes were sad as they looked into mine, and I felt my resolve to stay mad slip just a bit.
"Sorry wonít cut it, Mulder." I turned and walked back into the kitchen, knowing he would follow me.
He looked around my kitchen, and I heard him snicker. "What, are you having a slumber party? Whatís with all the junk food?"
"Itís comfort food."
He snatched an Oreo out of the bag. "Comfort food?"
"Yeah. Didnít your mom ever bake cookies for you when you got upset?"
"You forget, Scully.......my family was the one who put the Ďfuní in Ďdysfunctionalí."
I sighed and turned to him. "You were a real ass today."
"I know." He ate the cookie in one bite. "Look, Scully.....for what itís worth, I really am sorry. You know I donít think any of that about you."
I picked up the knife again and began slicing cookies in silence.
Mulder walked over to me and took the knife from my hand and set it down on the counter. "Scully, please. I know I donít even deserve it after what I said today, but please just let me explain."
I looked up at him and saw that his eyes were bloodshot-probably from crying. I sighed. "Okay. Explain."
"Have you ever just had one of those days where you were just itching to fight with someone? You just have this need to be nasty and mean because you feel like shit and you figure-why not spread the wealth a little bit?"
I nodded, trying not to smile. "Yes, I have."
"Thatís what today was, Scully. I woke up in a bad mood and when you said no to me, I just snapped and decided to drag you down with me." He put his hands on my shoulders. "Iím sorry, Scully. I really am."
"That still doesnít excuse what you said to me today, Mulder." I shrugged out of his semi-embrace and went to take the cookies out of the oven. "You were the one person I thought I could count on to never be cruel or hurtful deliberately."
"Hello, pot? Kettle here." Mulder snatched a cookie off the tray. "If I recall correctly, and I am almost sure I do, you said some not very nice things today yourself."
I sighed. "Yeah, youíre right, I did. But considering the verbal attack I had just been the brunt of, I donít think it was completely unwarranted."
"Did you mean it?"
I turned to him. "Did you?"
"I asked you first."
"Start at the beginning and go from there. Aliens being green."
"Not believing anything we saw in Antarctica?"
I shrugged. "I believe some of it, but not all of it. Iím still not convinced that I saw any kind of spacecraft."
"Wishing you had shot me?" I could see the hurt in his eyes, and my stomach sank to my knees.
"No, of course not." I smiled. "Okay, maybe some days-like that time in San Diego."
Even he laughed at that. "I deserved that."
I waited for the question about Ed. I could see the wheels in his mind turning, wondering if he really wanted the answer to that. Finally, he spoke. "And Ed?"
I could feel my face turning red. "Uh......no. I didnít mean that."
"So he wasnít the most fabulous sex of your life?" he repeated. "Was he at least good sex?"
He gave me a shit-eating grin as he took the cookie sheet from me and put it back in the oven. "So, you mean to tell me you lied about having great sex?"
I was fighting hard not to laugh. "Yes, I lied. Horribly."
"What? Was he not enough man for you?" He leered at me. "Lacking a little in the foreplay department?"
I smiled at him. "That information is classified."
He walked over to me. "You didnít even have sex with him, did you?" he asked, eyes accusing but a smile on his face.
"That information is given on a need-to-know basis, Mulder, and you donít need to know."
"You didnít!" he was triumphant. "I knew it!"
"Why does it matter so much to you?" I asked, throwing the empty cookie package away and wiping the counter. "I donít ask you about your sex life."
He gave me a look. "Scully, you and I both know what my sex life consists of. I was just trying to live vicariously through you."
I had to laugh. It was so true.
He began rummaging around in my refrigerator and pulled out the can of whipped cream. "Expecting company later?" he asked me, his eyebrows waggling suggestively.
"No, Mulder, just you."
He laughed and put it back, and took out the carton of milk.
"Drink from the carton and I will shoot you," I said, handing him a glass.
He sat down at the table, pulling another chair out and motioning for me to sit down next to him. Pouring myself a glass of milk, I sat down next to him.
"I am sorry, Scully. Really. I donít think youíre judgmental." He dunked his Oreo, which he was now alternating with the chocolate chip cookies, in his milk. "Youíre probably the least judgmental person I know. If you werenít, you and I would have split up long ago."
I smiled. "I know. Nobody else would put up with you."
He laughed and twisted an Oreo apart, offering me the side with more cream. "I want you to know how much I really do appreciate you."
"By giving me half of your Oreo? If we were 8, this would mean I was your girlfriend."
"Well, you are, arenít you?"
I nearly choked. "What?"
"Think about it, Scully," he said, twisting open another Oreo and handing me half. "We spend all of our time together. We are the only person the other one trusts. We have the keys to each otherís apartments. Iím sure that if I looked hard enough, I could find a fair number of my clothes here. I know I have a toothbrush here-just like I have some of your clothes and a toothbrush at my place. People already think weíre together. "
I chuckled as I bit into my cookie. "Yeah, I know. Mr. and Mrs. Spooky, sitting in the basement, chasing aliens with guns."
"You could have had a brilliant career, you know," he replied, handing me yet another Oreo half.
"And what makes you think I want that?" I raised my eyebrow at him. "You think I really want to be on the FBI fast track? That I want to spend the rest of my days teaching snot-nosed agents-to-be how to do autopsies? Spend my life working beside people like Tom Colton?"
Mulder chuckled. "Ah, but Scully, he has such a crush on you."
I threw an Oreo at him. "Shut up!"
He stood up and walked to the fridge, taking out the milk, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream. He sat back down and stirred the syrup into his milk, turning it a deep brown. "Whatís with all the junk food?"
"I told you," I replied, biting into another cookie. "Comfort food."
"You were that upset about the fight we had?"
"Itís not every day my best friend calls me judgmental."
Mulder nodded. "Iím sorry, Scully. I really am."
I smiled and took his hand. "I know, Mulder. And itís okay."
With a mischievous grin, he picked up my hand and kissed it. "Youíre so good to me, Scully." He pulled me into a hug, and I didnít see him pick up the can of whipped cream and hide it behind his back. When he pulled away, he took the can and squirted it onto my nose.
"Mulder!" I cried, wiping it off with my hand. "You jerk!" I smeared the whipped cream on his face, making sure to get it in his hair.
He laughed and attempted to do it again, and I grabbed the chocolate syrup. "Donít even THINK about it, G-man."
"You know, this could be considered foreplay," he remarked, squirting the can directly into his mouth.
"It could also be considered a food fight," I replied. "Now put the whipped cream down, Mulder, before someone gets hurt."
He shook his head. "No way. This is entirely too much fun." He aimed the can at me and fired, getting whipped cream all over my shirt. Then, with a shit eating grin, he bolted into the living room.
"Okay, thatís it." I took off after him. "If you get any of this food on my carpet, youíre paying to clean it!"
We circled around the coffee table, eyeing each other. Just when I thought it might be safe, he jumped over the table and attacked me, squirting whipped cream all down my shirt.
"You bastard!" I cried with a laugh, dumping the chocolate syrup on his head. "If this stains my carpet, you are a dead man!"
I struggled out of his grip and ran into the kitchen, bumping the table as I ran. Milk sloshed out of the glasses and onto the floor.
Mulder, who was following in hot pursuit, slipped on the puddle of milk on the floor and grabbed me for leverage. Before I knew what was happening, I was lying on top of Mulder, laughing hysterically.
"Oh, God, Mulder," I said between bursts of laughter. "We have made such a horrible mess of my kitchen."
"Never mind the mess.....Iím gonna have a bruise the size of Texas on my ass."
"Are you okay?" I asked, still laughing. "Do you want me to take a look at it?"
He laughed. "No, Iíll be okay."
We looked at each other and the moment turned decidedly uncomfortable. I realized that I was covered in whipped cream, lying on top of a chocolate covered Mulder. Before I knew what was happening, Mulder had leaned up on his elbows and was slowly licking the whipped cream off of my face. He worked his way from my ear to my cheek, and then finally to my mouth, where he placed a gentle kiss.
"I think this has turned into foreplay," I whispered against his mouth.
"I think youíre right." He gave me a look. "Are you okay with this?"
"Yeah, I am."
He kissed me again. Finally, he said, "Um, Scully? Do you think we could move this show somewhere else? This milk is cold."
I stood up and extended my hand to him, which he took. We stood up and looked at each other warily, unsure of how to proceed. Finally, Mulder leaned forward and kissed me again, as gently as he had before. Chocolate syrup dripped from Mulderís hair and onto my face, and I laughed as he wiped it away.
"We really should clean up, you know." I gestured to my kitchen, which was a disaster.
He smiled. "Yeah, probably."
As I wiped up the milk, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce from the floor, Mulder put the cookies into the cookie jar. The CD was still going, the music filling the apartment with a comfortable noise. When my kitchen was finally clean, Mulder and I faced each other once again. "We make a pretty good team, Scully."
I smiled at him and walked past him to my bathroom, taking off my sweatshirt on the way and leaving it in a sticky heap outside my bedroom door.
"Where are you going?" he asked me, smiling.
"To take a bath, Mulder, Iím filthy." I slid my pajama pants off and they landed on top of the sweatshirt.
His eyes raked up and down my semi-nude body, and he smiled. "Mind if I join you?" he asked with a smile.
"I thought youíd never ask."
"I think Iím about to be ill," I said as Mulder fed me another Oreo. We lay in my bed in the semi-darkness, the only light coming from a small bedside lamp I had turned on when I got up to go to the kitchen. Mulder was pulling Oreos apart like a kid, feeding the halves to me.
"Iím surprised youíre letting me eat in your bed," he replied with a chocolatey grin. "I would think youíd worry about crumbs in your bed."
I gave him a look. "You do know youíll be doing the laundry for this."
"I figured as much." He leaned over and gave me an Oreo-flavored kiss. "Itís a small price to pay."
I lay my head down on his chest, and he ran a hand up and down my naked back. "This is nice," I whispered, my arms snaking around his waist.
"It would be even nicer if I werenít lying in a pile of Oreo crumbs."
"Youíre the one who wanted to eat in bed."
My head bobbed up and down as he laughed. "Yeah, I did."
His hands traced the outline of my tattoo, sending shivers up my spine. Then his fingers began tickling my stomach, and I screeched. "Mulder, stop!"
He grinned. "Make me."
I jumped out of the bed, taking the comforter with me. Mulder grabbed an end and pulled, dragging me back onto the bed. He pulled with such ferocity that the bed shook violently, causing the headboard to hit the nightstand. I pulled back, and the headboard hit the wall. We continued our tug-of-war until I finally let go, sending Mulder sprawling. The headboard hit the nightstand with one final bang and sent it crashing to the floor, sending everything on top of it flying and breaking the lamp.
I collapsed onto the bed in a fit of laughter. "That was so funny, Mulder!"
He looked at me seriously for a moment, then grinned. "Your neighbors are probably wondering what the hell youíre doing."
With a coy smile, I crawled over to him and sat on his lap, kissing him gently. "Iím going to assume that they have a pretty good idea.......and if not, weíll just have to do it again and again until they know for sure."
Maggie Scully knocked on the door, checking her watch. After a moment with no response, she knocked again. She waited for several minutes, then finally dug out the keys to Danaís apartment and let herself in.
"Dana?" she called, walking back towards the bedroom. "Honey? Are you here?" As she walked, her foot caught on something-a sweatshirt. She bent over to pick it up, and noticed that it was all sticky. Then she saw the rest of the clothes, piled in a sticky heap in front of the bedroom door. She found this odd, especially for Dana-she had always been a tidy person, even as a child. She began to pick up the clothes when she noticed the item in her hands was a pair of menís boxer shorts.
For a moment, Maggie considered turning around and leaving. It was obvious that Dana had forgotten about their plans to go shopping. Then she saw the black wallet-like object on the floor and picked it up. Saying a silent prayer, she opened it.
It was Mulderís Bureau ID.
She couldnít help the grin that spread across her face. Standing up, she put it in her pocket and picked up the rest of the clothes. She separated Mulderís tie and his dress pants from the rest of the pile and put the clothes in Danaís well-hidden washing machine, then proceeded to the kitchen, humming happily to herself.
The smell of eggs permeated my brain and woke me from the wonderful dream I was having. I felt Mulderís warm arms around me and smiled-so it hadnít been a dream after all. After a moment of reveling in his warmth, it suddenly dawned on me: if I was in bed, and Mulder was in bed.....then who was making eggs in my kitchen? Curious, I disentangled myself from Mulderís arms and slipped into my bathrobe.
The first thing I noticed was that the pile of clothes that we had left in front of my door was gone. Curious, I walked into the living room-the clothes were washed and neatly folded on my couch, Mulderís wallet, gun, and ID sitting on top of his slacks.
Shit. My mother.
Trying to quell the sense of panic that was rising rapidly in my chest, I walked into the kitchen. Sure enough, there my mother stood, scrambling eggs at my stove.
"I didnít mean to wake you," she said, looking over at me. "I let myself in and saw the clothes........"
I could feel my face turn red. "Mom-"
"You donít have to explain to me, honey," she replied, turning back to the eggs. "You and Fox are adults, you can do whatever you want. But you really should have washed his shirt last night-the chocolate left a stain."
I fumbled for words.......what does one say to their mother when she walks into the remnants of an obviously very good evening? "Look, Mom-" I began, then stopped. I had absolutely nothing to say.
She scraped the eggs out onto a plate and put the plate in the oven. "Do you think Fox will want eggs too, or something else?"
I was just utterly amazed. Here was my mother-my sweet, kind, devoutly Catholic mother-making me and my lover breakfast. My father is rolling in his grave. "Um....I donít know."
I heard some noises from the bedroom, and finally a "Hey Scully?"
"Whereíre my clothes?"
I went back to the living room and picked up his clothes. When I walked into the bedroom, he was still lying in bed. He gave me a sleepy grin. "Whereíd you go?"
I lay down next to him. "Mulder, my motherís here."
"Holy shit!" He sat bolt upright. "Does she......I mean, how do we........Can I........."
Despite myself, I chuckled. ĎItís okay, Mulder. She knows youíre here."
"Does she know that we........you know.....?" His face was a combination of panic and fear.
"Yeah, I think itís a pretty safe bet to say she knows."
"Oh my God." He buried his face in a pillow. "This is unbelievable."
"She wants to know if you want eggs or something else for breakfast." I looked over at him.
He removed his face from my pillow and looked at me. "Sheís making me breakfast?" he asked, somewhat confused. "But........we.........I just.........."
"Just get dressed and come to the kitchen." I stood up, but he grabbed my hand and pulled me back to the bed.
"What, no good morning kiss?"
Smiling, I kissed him. "Now get up and come eat breakfast."
"How about an omelette?"
I laughed. "You want an omelette?"
I walked back into the kitchen. "Mulder would like an omelette."
Mom began cooking. I sat down at the table and watched her cook. A moment later Mulder appeared, clad in boxers and an old t-shirt of Billís.
"Morning, Mrs. Scully," he said, pouring himself a mug of coffee.
"Good morning, Fox," she replied, smiling at him.
He sat down next to me, and she set a plate in front of him. Then she set the plate of eggs, warm from the oven, in front of me. "Thanks, Mom."
"My pleasure." She cleaned up as we ate, then turned to me. "Why donít you two come by for dinner tonight?" she asked, wiping her hands on a dishtowel. "Say, 6 or so?"
I looked over at Mulder, who shrugged. "Sure, Mom," I replied. "Sounds good."
She kissed me, then kissed Mulder. "Okay, Iíll see you two later." And she was gone.
Mulder looked over at me. "That was positively surreal."
"Youíre telling me."
He leaned over and gave me a cheesy kiss. "So.....we have all day, Scully. What are we going to do?"
I smiled. "Oh, I can think of a few things."