Title: Real Men Donít Need Directions

Classification: VH

Rating: G

Spoilers: none

Disclaimer: Go ahead, sue me. Iím already in debt.

Authorís Notes: many thanks to Monica, who inspired this story in a most roundabout way. By the way, Monica, you never did tell me if you went to class on Monday with a gleam in your eye and a cube in your hand. =) Next time, read the directions first. Silly girl.


9:12 am

"Here." Scully threw a package on Mulderís desk.

"And itís not even my birthday," he replied, picking up the medium-sized box.

"Itís from my mother," she said, sitting down in the chair opposite his desk. "We went shopping this weekend, and she saw this and thought youíd like it."

He opened the box and pulled out a strange looking object, not unlike a Rubikís Cube. Except that it wasnít a cube at all.........it looked more like a star. There were several angles on it, but also several places where it was concave. And instead of being made up of squares, the facets were all shapes and sizes. He looked over at her. "What is it?"

"Itís called The Square, and supposedly if you do it correctly, this thing will end up a cube."

He grinned. "Neat." He ripped it open and began to twist and turn it, making it looked even more mangled.

Scully grabbed the directions from the box. "Uh, Mulder?"

Not looking up, he replied, "Yeah?"

"Youíre supposed to read the directions first."

"Pfft," he scoffed. "Real men donít need directions, Scully."

She rolled her eyes. "It says here that itís best to solve it with the directions first."

He looked up, annoyed. "Whereís the fun in that?"

"Iím just telling you what the directions say."

"I donít need directions, Scully."

"Okay, fine." She stood up and walked over to her desk. "Forget I said anything."

They sat in silence for the better part of an hour, Scully diligently working on a report. When she looked up from her laptop, she noticed that Mulder was still playing with the toy. "Mulder!"

He looked up, his eyes glazed over. "Huh?"

"Youíre at work......shouldnít you be, you know, working?"

"Give me a minute....Iíve almost got it."

With a roll of her eyes, she went back to her report.


12:30 pm

Scully shut down her computer and looked over at Mulder. He had his glasses pushed up on his head, his tongue stuck out, deep in concentration as his hands deftly turned the sides of the toy. He looked so much like a small child that she had to smile. "Mulder?"

He grunted in reply.

"You want to go get lunch?"

"Ahh......no, you go ahead Scully. Iím gonna stay here and work on that report." His eyes never left the toy in his hands.

"You want me to bring you something back?"

"No, thanks."

She sighed. "You sure?"

He nodded.


When she returned 40 minutes later, he was still at it. "Youíre still at that? Why donít you just give up?"

He looked up at her. "You want me to give up?

"Considering that youíve been at this for-" she checked her watch, "four hours, yeah. Thatís exactly what Iím saying."

"No." His eyes went back to the toy. "Iíll be damned if Iím gonna let a toy beat me."

With a sigh, she booted up her computer again, and got to work.


5:22 pm


This time, he didnít even grunt.


"What?" he looked up at her, annoyed.

"Itís time to take your toy and go home, G-man."

He sighed and looked at his watch. "Yeah, I guess youíre right."

She shrugged her coat on. "How about actually doing some work tomorrow, Mulder? You know, like a case report, or maybe some of that paperwork we need to finish up for that last cell phone you lost?"

He gave her a withering look. "Ha."

She smiled at him. "Iíll see you in the morning." Walking out the door, she stopped and turned around. "Oh, and Mulder? Leave the damned toy at home tomorrow."


3:04 am

The pounding on the door jolted Scully out of her dream. She looked at the clock and groaned. "If this is Mulder," she said, slipping into her bathrobe, "he dies."

She padded out into the living room and looked through the peephole in her door. With a sigh, she unlocked it and opened it to a triumphant looking Mulder.

"Someone had better be dead," she said to him.

"Better than that," he replied, holding up the cube.

She took it from him. "You woke me up at 3 in the morning to tell me you beat this stupid game?" she asked angrily. "A game that you could have won, I would like to add, if you had read the directions like I told you to."

He grinned. "Pretty much."

She threw the cube at him. "Get out."

"But Scully.....arenít you proud of me?"

"I said get out, Mulder."

"But Scully, I did it all by myse-"

She slammed the door, cutting him off.