TITLE: Back to Work (1/1)
AUTHOR: Shoshana
EMAIL ADDRESS: shoshana1013@excite.com
DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT: Anywhere
SPOILER WARNING: Everything through Alpha.
RATING: G
CONTENT STATEMENT: MSR
CLASSIFICATION: SRH
KEYWORDS: Mulder/Scully romance
SUMMARY: After Scully and Mulder come to an understanding about their
relationship, they return to work in D. C.
DISCLAIMER: These characters do not belong to me.
FEEDBACK: Would love it.

Back to Work
By Shoshana

Scully was back at work, back from one of the most memorable weekends of her
life. They had acted like normal people, on a normal date, in a normal
restaurant, even shared a normal goodnight kiss. They hadn't had any major
disagreements for two whole days (perhaps a record for them) and Mulder had
acted like a perfect gentleman.
 
     Despite his sexual bravado these past few years, he seemed so painfully
shy at times that she wondered where the old Mulder was hiding out and when
he would re-emerge. She had to admit that this new diffidence was most
fetching to her. If anything, it just deepened her affection for him, drew
out emotions that she'd been sublimating for too long. It crossed her mind
that he might be trying reverse psychology on her, making her want him more
as he demanded less. But his genuine shyness would have been hard to
sustain the whole time they were alone at the seashore.
  
     Yesterday, Mulder had left her at her Mom's so she could go to Mass.
He seemed fine with this, cheerful as he'd ever been that early on a Sunday
morning. She was afraid her bubble was going to burst today. He'd have
misgivings about their new relationship and put a stop to things before they
got any more serious. Her apprehensions would not be alleviated soon,
though. She was spending this Monday morning catching up on lab work. She
wouldn't even set foot in the basement till the afternoon.

     So, to her astonishment, Mulder showed up at the lab just to drop off
her usual from Starbucks. He knew she wouldn't stop there just for herself.
So he showed up with coffee, exchanged a few friendly words with not only
her, but also her lab technicians, then breezed out quickly, cologne still
clinging to the air around them. Scully was almost embarrassed. He'd never
done that before. Her female technicians were all too aware that her
partner had waltzed in and out in one of his nicest suits, looking happier
than she'd seen him in months. Ooh, boy. This wasn't too subtle, was it.
However, she resolved not to bring it up later. After all, he hadn't stayed
long and he'd been friendly to the others as well.

     The full ramifications of Mulder's cheery visit didn't hit her until
she took a bathroom break, medical journal in hand. She stayed longer than
usual, engrossed in a new DNA article, until she heard her technicians come
into the john, unaware of her presence behind the stall. They were
enthusiastically gushing about Dr. Scully's morning visitor: 'wasn't it
romantic', 'wasn't he handsome' and 'where can we get one of those, too?.'
Mortified didn't begin to describe her mood. She'd heard rumors about
herself and Mulder in this same setting before, but there was rarely any
evidence for the gossips to hang their hat on.
  
     Yikes, I guess I'll have to mention it to him. Offhandedly, of course.
She didn't want to hurt his feelings or discourage other similar sweet
gestures. Maybe he would just do it today and nevermore. Maybe he wouldn't
constantly go out of his way to see her, talk to her, stand by her, whisper
in her ear, touch her....Whoa! Dana, you have got to get back to work!

     When she returned to the Lab, Angie and Louise were hard at work on
their samples, seemingly oblivious to her presence. Ah, maybe it's my damn
imagination. Nothing will come of this, why worry? And then I got into the
elevator a few hours later...

     The elevator was characteristically packed at lunchtime. After I got
in and turned around toward the mirrored doors, I noticed that Mulder was
slouching in the corner of the car, grinning at me widely. No, no, don't do
it, Mulder. Not today, not in this crowded elevator. Don't draw attention
to us today...

     "Hi, Scully," he said, in a breathy tone of voice that could only be
perceived as 'Hi, Scully. I worship the ground you walk on.'

Women giggled, then every man in the car looked over at me to see what in the
world I was wearing and/or doing to elicit such a reaction from Spooky.
Thank God, I had on my most conservative pantsuit, with the highest collar
in my wardrobe. Oh, man. He's just not making this easy.

     We got down to the basement and most of the rosy blush had faded from
my cheeks by then. Only a few others descended to the depths of Hoover with
us, and they filed out around me as I stood, still facing front. Mulder
walked up behind me and intended to put his hand on my lower back to escort
me out like nothing had even occurred.

I flinched when he did and said, "Mulder, we have to talk."

     "What? What did I do wrong?"

     "Let's just get to the privacy of the office first, O.K.?"

     "Scully, don't you think this isn't the time or the place for fooling
around?" he said, seriously misunderstanding my intentions.

     "MULDER, get in the office, now."

     Once there, I shut the door behind us with a bang and paced around the
room to his great consternation. I didn't know what to say. This was all
new territory for us. He couldn't act like a love-sick teenager in the
Hoover building!

I opened my mouth several times, unable to articulate the issue to him.

     Finally he said, "Scully, please tell me what's wrong?"

     "Sit down. Please sit down now. At your desk, please. Now." I
realized that I sounded cross about all this, but I was actually much more
angry at myself. We'd never proposed ground rules for romantic behavior in
the workplace, particularly between partners who were trying to keep it a
bloody secret!

     "Mulder, you can't say hello to me like that in the elevator. It just
sounded, sounded too, too desirous..."

     "Scully, I'm sorry. I didn't realize how embarrassed you were. It
just popped out before I thought better of it. Jeez, you just looked so
beautiful and I'm so goddam happy today and I just said it without
thinking."

     "Well, it's not that I don't appreciate being longed for by you. But
the elevator and the coffee this morning and the lab technicians who were
gossiping in the john about you and me...we really have to set some ground
rules, don't you think?"

     I had said all this with such rapid-fire quickness that he seemed
stunned. He leaned back in his chair, speechless.

     "You see, we need to be a little bit more subtle around here than you
have already proved to be this morning. They already think we're a couple.
Why give them any more tidbits to chew on? I just want to have some
semblance of a professional demeanor, especially in the lab, where my young
assistants seem to believe that you are God's greatest gift."

     "They do? Wow, Scully. Maybe I'm chasing after the wrong woman," he
said mirthfully.

     "Now, stop that and be serious for thirty seconds! We just have to
cool it. I can't be rosy as a beet every time I'm in the same room as you.
You can't bring me coffee, if it's not to our own office. And you really
shouldn't give me special hellos in or out of elevators. That includes in
front of any visitors to this office, especially Skinner. There's no rules
about romantically involved agents, but he's bound to have a dim view of us
broadcasting our feelings to the entire F.B.I. building. Once he gets wind
of new rumors...and believe me, after today he will--he'll probably think
it's all a result of sending us to Arcadia as a married couple."

     "Well, it is partially. I was enraptured by your alien green facial
masque."

     "You do get the point I'm making, don't you?! You're just cracking
another joke just for the hell of it now, right?"

     "Yes, I get the 'point'. No more effusive displays of affection for
Dana Scully, the most beautiful woman in this building. I get it," he
pouted.

     I collapsed into the chair on the other side of his desk; tired,
defeated, the happiest woman in the building.

fin