Date: Sun, 3 May 1998
SPOILERS:Travelers, The Red and The Black, Detour, Fire
ARCHIVE:Anywhere, just keep my info attached
SUMMARY:When Phoebe Green suddenly reappears in Mulder's life,
Scully secretly discovers something important about
Mulder's past. Or does she?
FEEDBACK:Yes, please. nikoleaw@aol
COMMENTS:If thinking about Mulder and Phoebe gives you the willies,
bail now. Thanks to Gerry, Suzi, Traci and Carly.
She was just about to insert her key to unlock his office door when she
heard him walking towards her.
"Hey Scully, what brings you down here in the middle of this day? Get
tired of looking out your window? Decided you needed to breathe a little
dank basement air? Or did you just miss my sparkling personality, rapier
wit and boyish good looks?"
Scully fought her natural instincts and suppressed the bright smile and
laughter that threatened to erupt. Readjusting her trenchcoat, which was
casually hanging over her folded arm, she turned to face him and with a
perfectly neutral expression replied, "Actually, I was hoping you might be
free to grab a quick bite to eat and review these latest autopsy finding with me for this case that you asked me to review."
While he outwardly smirked at how deftly she'd returned his comment,
inwardly a small part of him was thrilled. He remembered all too well
how just a few months previously, her appetite had been reduced to
nothing by both the cancer and its treatment, and he'd begun using all sorts
of elaborate plans to get Scully to eat lunch with him. "You're in luck.
The guys in Tech Support said they couldn't get down here for at least
another hour, so...I'm all yours."
She turned and glanced at him briefly as she asked, "Tech Support? What
were you doing up there?"
Scully had unlocked the door and Mulder was gently ushering her into the
office as he told her. "My monitor's not working..."
He stopped mid-sentence as he saw that there was already someone in his
office. Sitting in his chair, at his desk. Scully froze as she too took in
the scene before them.
"Well hello. I was wondering if you actually did any work down here. Of
course, since your computer doesn't seem to be working properly, I can
understand why you might have felt the need to work elsewhere."
Mulder bit back a grimace as he tried to be pleasant. He wondered how
she always managed to access those places that were his--his car, his
office, his heart. "What brings you across the pond, Phoebe?"
She stood and walked up to him, neatly sidestepping Scully and wrapped
her arms around him for a hug. She leaned forward to kiss him, but he
lowered and turned his head just a fraction, causing her to kiss his ear
instead. Stepping back, she looked over at Scully, as if she'd just noticed
her. "Oh, hello."
Scully nodded at her greeting, as polite an acknowledgment as she could
muster. Phoebe stretched up and whispered into Mulder's ear, "She still
Striding purposefully around her, Mulder went and sat in his chair and
again asked, "So, why are you here, Phoebe?"
Phoebe raised her eyebrows at Mulder's obvious move to reassert his
authority over what he felt was his domain.
She smiled at him as she perched herself on one corner of his desk. "I'm
here for the big conference, of course."
When Mulder's face showed no sign of recognition, she continued. "You
know? The conference of international law enforcement specialists?
Surely, you're participating? I thought that your name not being in the
program was merely an oversight."
Before Mulder had fully opened his mouth, Scully was responding,
"Actually, we were invited to participate. But since the bulk of our cases
are out of town, including the investigation we were just assigned, our
schedules are just too unpredictable to be able to accept most of the
invitations we receive. I was hoping to at least be in town for the
conference. Dr. Dorothy Grant is presenting a paper on the latest findings
of the human genome project and how they affect law enforcement and I
was looking forward to hearing her presentation. She was a student of
mine in my first year of teaching at the Academy."
Mulder was shocked. Both by the fact that Scully had somehow hung her
coat up on the coatrack and slipped into the office and behind her desk
without his noticing and by the fact that she truly did know about
whatever conference it was that Phoebe had spoken of. He briefly
wondered why she hadn't mentioned to him that they had been invited to
participate in a conference or that she had wanted to attend it? His mind
jumped back to the unsettling events that had unfolded that last two times
they'd tried to participate in such professional forums--first the night she'd spent tending to him in a cold Florida forest after he'd managed to make them miss the Bureau's partnership seminar, and then his obvious
bitterness upon returning from having sat on a panel at a conference at
MIT. No wonder she no longer mentioned things like this to him.
Phoebe bared a toothy grin at Scully, her reply jolting Mulder back to the
here and now. "Ah, yes, Dr. Grant, I'm somewhat familiar with her work.
A close friend and colleague of mine, Dr. Ogelby is one of her supervisors
Scully stood. "How nice." She replied. Looking over towards Mulder,
she said, "Look, I'm going back up to my office to finish reviewing those
autopsy photos. Come up when you're done down here." She moved to
the door, looking at Phoebe, she nodded again and simply said, "Good-
Phoebe turned back towards Mulder, readjusting herself on his desk so
that the dark brown skirt of her well-tailored linen suit inched up just a bit higher on her white-stockinged thigh.
Mulder was silent as he studied her. His mind and eyes quietly processing
the fact that she still looked as good as she ever did, with her short haircut providing a stylish frame for her attractive face. Her wide brown eyes were as clear and beguiling as ever, her lips, a full and luscious red. He found himself thinking that Scully could never pull off wearing a such a
She broke the silence. "Well, Mulder, as you may have guessed, I do in
fact have another reason for coming to visit you."
"Why am I not surprised?"
Pointedly ignoring his remark, she continued. "You do remember
Charleton Maxwell, don't you?"
"Charlie? Wanted to be a guitar player? Was studying philosophy
because he thought that it would somehow turn him into the next Bob
Dylan? Yeah. Of course I remember Charlie."
"We're marrying two weeks from tomorrow."
Mulder said nothing for a few long seconds. Then, "Well, what do you
expect me to say?"
"I was hoping for 'congratulations', and perhaps a wish for a bit of good
Dryly, Mulder replied. "Congratulations. Good luck."
Phoebe heaved a loud, frustrated sigh. "Mulder, it's been five years since
we've last seen each other. It was ten before that. I would've thought that during that time, we could move on, forgive one another our past
transgressions and go forward."
"I'll never forget what you said. You know that. You looked at that
magistrate and then you looked at me and you said, 'I do'. Do you know
what that means, Phoebe? What it meant to me? It meant forever. It
didn't mean for the first three months or until you got bored with me,
whichever came first."
"We were young, Mulder. Barely in our twenties. You were a foreigner
in a foreign land. We found a sort of...exoticism and eroticism in one
another. We mistook fascination and...caring for one another, as
something more than it was."
Bitterly he replied, "Caring and fascination? Is that what you thought I
"Mulder, you must know that I've always thought highly of you. You've
always been special to me."
Mulder looked at her, a look of bewilderment mixed with anger on his
face. "Caring and fascination? Is that what you think we had? Phoebe, I
loved you. With everything that I was. It took me years to get over you.
And I compared every woman I went out with afterwards to you. I was
always waiting to see when they'd stick the knife in my back and start
"This isn't what I came here for."
"Isn't it?" He sat back in his chair and took a deep breath. "I'm sorry.
That was uncalled for."
Phoebe nodded her acceptance of his apology. "I just wanted you to
know. I thought...I thought that perhaps you'd be pleased to know that I'd
finally found someone who makes me happy."
"That's not what I meant and you know that."
"No, Phoebe. I don't know that. I know that three months into our
relationship you started sleeping with other men. That says to me that I
obviously did not make you very happy."
She narrowed her eyes slightly at him, but he refused to apologize again,
simply acknowledging to himself that she had an unparalleled ability to
effortlessly bring out the worst in him.
"Mulder, everyone deserves a second chance. Including me."
"And I gave you a second chance. And a third one and a fourth one as I
recall. Hell, there was even a fifth one if you count the last time we saw
"I explained what you saw that afternoon on the tape that I had
messengered to you before I left. Didn't the tape arrive?"
"Yeah. It arrived. But you have to understand that I was somewhat wary
of actually playing it after the first tape you left behind."
"So you never listened to it."
Mulder didn't respond, the defiant look in his eyes telling her what his
"Mulder, eventually you'll have to let go of your past and live in the
"Is that what you're calling it now? Is that what you plan on telling
Charlie, that you were, 'living in the present'? Funny, when it was me, you
said they were 'youthful indiscretions.'"
"You're a fine one to accuse someone else of using euphemisms. You
know, *our* past isn't the only thing that you need to accept. Most of us
do manage to grow up and move on."
"Yes, most of us do."
Mulder mentally cursed himself for his response. How was it that this
woman could turn him into a bitter, childish, sniping, shrew with just a
She glared at him as she rose from his desk. "Good-bye, Mulder." She
turned and strode out of his office without glancing back. If she had, she
might have seen Mulder, sitting forlornly in his chair, elbows propped on
his desk, holding his head in his hands. As it was, she didn't see Scully,
who was standing behind a stack of boxed files that formed an alcove of
sorts and nearly reached the ceiling.
When she heard the swish of the elevator doors closing behind Phoebe,
she stepped out, her mind in turmoil over what she had just heard. She
hadn't intended to eavesdrop. She had planned to use her cell phone to
call Mulder and tell him that Skinner wanted to see them right away, to
provide an excuse for Mulder to get away from Phoebe as quickly and as
painlessly as possible. However, before she'd made it even halfway to the
elevator, she remembered that her cell phone was in the pocket of her
trenchcoat, which was still hanging in the X-Files office. She'd turned
back, planning to retrieve her coat and make the call as soon as she was
out of earshot of the office. She'd gotten as far as the stacked files right outside the office door when she heard Mulder tell Phoebe that he'd never forget what she'd said. She was going to clear her throat, loudly, to let them know that she was coming in when he'd spoken his next words.
She'd frozen in her tracks. That couldn't possibly mean what she thought
She'd racked her brain to recall what Mulder had once told her about his
time with Phoebe. She vaguely remembered him saying that he'd "gotten
in over his head and paid the price." What exactly had he meant by that?
She'd assumed that he'd simply fallen hard for her, throwing all of his
considerable passion into a relationship that had failed and that had left
him heartbroken. She'd never considered that it might have been more
serious than that. But certainly, if it had been more than that, he would
have told her? Another more logical part of her mind answered that
question. No. He probably wouldn't have told her. Telling her as much
as he had had been an ordeal for him. He hadn't wanted her to know how
strongly Phoebe had affected him. And, she rationalized further, there
was a great deal about his personal life that she knew nothing about, just
as there was a great deal about hers that she kept from him. Their
partnership, while intense and multifaceted was not one in which private
matters were easily shared.
She had taken momentary comfort in Mulder's subsequent reference to his
and Phoebe's "relationship." Surely if they had once been married, Mulder
would have referred to their "marriage", not simply a "relationship"?
Then, she quickly thought about Mulder, about his gift for understatement,
puns and innuendo. No, his usage of the word, 'relationship' was no proof
of anything. Perhaps that was what Phoebe meant when she chided him
about using euphemisms? She wondered how Mulder would describe the
complex connection that the two of them had--would it simply be a
'partnership' or would it too be a 'relationship'? She wondered how she
herself would describe it if asked.
She'd wanted to walk away then. But she couldn't move. She felt as
though she had to hear this ugly little drama through to its conclusion.
She felt shame momentarily wash over her. When had she been reduced
to eavesdropping on Mulder's personal conversations? This was not
behavior that Ahab would be proud of. Yet she couldn't tear herself away.
If she was going to have to deal with Phoebe's aftermath, she intended to
know just what it was, exactly, that she was dealing with. Her mind
strayed to what Mulder would think if he knew that she was standing
there. No doubt, he would blame her uncharacteristic behavior on
himself, viewing it as one more piece of her innocence stripped away.
When it became evident that Phoebe was about to leave, she'd stepped
back, out of sight behind the boxes, where she was still standing. As if
waking from a dream, Scully realized that she needed to move. While
Phoebe hadn't noticed her hiding there, Mulder just might. Best to go
now, before Mulder got the urge to leave his office and go for a walk.
Scully quietly stepped out, taking care to walk on her toes, lest the click-
clack of her heels on the floor give her presence away. As she turned the
corner and started climbing the stairs to the first floor, her mind was
already working out who she could call to get the information that she
sought. As recently as a year ago, she would have simply gone into the
office and asked Mulder the meaning of what she had just heard. But
now, she had changed, he had changed, and so much had changed
between them. Now, she wouldn't even think of approaching Mulder
regarding what she had overheard without independent evidence about the
true nature of his relationship with Phoebe.
She had long since forgotten all thoughts of her planned lunch with
Mulder, and her abandoned trenchcoat and cell phone.