"Hey, Scully, check it out."
"Mulder, put that down."
Suddenly she's looking over at herself. She looks confused, and short. "Scully!" she says. Except she doesn't say it. Mulder does.
She raises a hand to rub her eyes and because she mostly expected it, she dully notes that it's Mulder's hand she's got. She looks down. Mulder's body too. His other hand is still holding the knick-knack.
"Shit," she says in Mulder's voice.
"Scully, what happened?" His eyes are wide, and he's whining unpleasantly.
She had no idea her voice was that annoying. She rubs Mulder's forehead with his hand. "It's this stupid thing you picked up, Mulder."
He smirks. "I don't know, Scully, you seem to be the one holding it." He crosses his arms in front of her chest and tries to give her a smug look but gets distracted by her breasts.
"This isn't funny!" Scully shouts, feeling panicky. Mulder's voice cracks and she wants her own body back, no matter how small and annoying it is.
Mulder puts out a tiny hand. "Stop shouting and give me that thing."
She wants to say no, which is absurd because this is obviously just an incredibly detailed hallucination, but she still doesn't want to give it to him, afraid he'll somehow magic them even further away from their usual bodies. With her luck, some strange flea market shopper would end up with hers, and as much as she hates the idea of Mulder in her body, it's a million times better than having a stranger there.
"No," she says. "It's bad enough being stuck in your body, I don't want--"
He erupts. "Hey! What do you mean, stuck in my body? What's wrong with my body?" If Scully didn't know better she'd think he sounded like a woman.
"It's a perfectly fine body," Mulder yells.
A guy in a straw cowboy hat looks interested. Mulder must notice because he stops shouting and pulls himself together, going so far as to smooth his skirt over his thighs. Scully fights the urge to slap his hands away and when he starts to smile she knows she's not going to like what he says next. "Besides, I don't remember you ever having a problem with my body before."
And Scully instantly learns one advantage to Mulder's body. It doesn't blush. She smiles Mulder's cockiest smile in celebration. "Well, as I'm sure you've noticed, my body certainly attracts its share of attention."
His eyes widen and he looks around them nervously. The wicker cowboy tips his hat.
Mulder's face goes blank. "I think we should go home."
"All right, but I can't drive like this. These legs are too long," she says.
He finds her smug look and she regrets all those afternoons she spent practicing it in front of the mirror.
"Well," he says, "there's no way I can drive. My feet won't even reach the pedals."
The wicker cowboy is now openly staring at them, along with pretty much everyone else. So Scully does something she has always wanted to do but never has. She grabs Mulder by the arm and drags him away. He stumbles after her, whining that he's going to break his ankles in her stupid shoes.
The fat man in the barcalounger watches them approach. She looks him in the eye, pulls out five dollars from Mulder's wallet and says, "These legs are far too long."
The fat man nods warily.
"Five dollars?" she asks, showing him the ugly thing that started this all.
He nods again and takes the money. "Sure," he says, holding the bill like it might explode.
"Do you know where this came from?"
He squints at it. "Nope."
"Great. Thanks for your help." She grabs Mulder again and heads toward the street.
"Where are we going?"
"We're taking the bus," she says.
"The bus!" he yelps, as if he isn't the same guy who sticks his fingers into unidentified goo on a daily basis.
Oh God. She stops, tucking the knick-knack under her arm and holding his hands up to her face to inspect them. They're a little dirty and the cuticle on the right index finger is torn, but it doesn't appear that he'd found any flea market goo to investigate while she wasn't watching. No, he'd just managed to initiate a full body swap with a -- Scully grabs the thing again and stares at it -- alligator toothpick holder carved out of wood and painted orange. GREETINGS FROM THE EVERGLADES. Of course. She sighs.
Meanwhile, Mulder is whining. "I'm not taking the bus, Scully."
"Yes, you are." She feels like his mother. She wants to tell him to stop whining and pick up his feet when he walks. He's making her look bad. She encourages him in the direction of the bench. He trips, but Scully's sure he's faking.
She sits down next to him and chews on her ragged cuticle. Mulder's teeth aren't as sharp as hers and it takes a while to find the right combination of incisor and canine.
She spits out a chunk of skin. "God you talk a lot. What is it now?"
"Stop it!" he says, pulling her hand away from her mouth. "Those are my fingers you're chewing on."
He's right of course, except she'd been thinking of them as her fingers, but she didn't even put her own original fingers in her mouth. That's what nail scissors were for. Mulder, though, she couldn't count the times she'd caught him gnawing away at a hangnail.
"I don't see what difference it makes. It's your mouth and your hand. It's not like I'm sucking your fingers. I mean mine. Whatever."
Mulder flushes and grabs her forearm. "That's just it, Scully. I was totally repulsed from watching that. It's like this body has its own ideas separate from those I brought with me. I'm Mulder, but it's obvious there's some Scully left in here with me."
"I would never think that," she says.
"Yes, you would," he says smugly. "You just wouldn't think it where I could hear you."
Scully is about to say something that Mulder couldn't help but hear, but fortunately for him the bus comes.
Mulder doesn't like the way Frohike is looking at him.
Scully's across the room grilling Langly on flea market real estate. She's getting better at being him. He can hardly tell there's a woman operating his body. Scully's started to take up space like it's her god-given right, shoulders back, feet spread.
"A fat man in a barcalounger. Stall ten. Dealt mostly in wood. TV trays, boxes, salad bowls the size of Frohike's head." She jabs a thumb over her shoulder and without turning around says, "Stop eyeballing my partner, Frohike."
Frohike immediately transfers his adoring gaze over to Scully, and Mulder enters a whole new world of freaked out. Frohike should not be looking at Mulder's body like that.
Desperately trying to ignore everything on that side of the room, Mulder goes over to where Byers is examining the alligator under a microscope. Byers is a gentleman and would never stare at Mulder's breasts.
"See anything interesting?"
"It appears to be carved out of a common soft wood, no anomalous energy readings. It's not transmitting a signal or receiving one. There's no sign of a biological agent and, as far as I can tell, there doesn't seem to be any kind of active or passive nanotechnology delivery system. In short, nothing that would explain your current situation."
"So that pretty much leaves us with magic," Mulder says, tugging at his pantyhose. "Which means we can rule out the Consortium. This kind of transfer would require a huge amount of mystical energy and unless the Syndicate's under new management, that's not their style. Too unpredictable."
Byers goggles at him politely.
"And wacky," Mulder adds.
"Sorry," Byers says. "It's just strange hearing that come out of Agent Scully's mouth."
Mulder winces and gives his pantyhose a good yank. "You might have to get used to it. That alligator doesn't look like it has an off switch."
"God, Mulder, will you give it a rest?" Scully says, voice as flat as the message on his answering machine. "This is just some unknown psychotropic that's making us think we've exchanged bodies. I'm sure it'll wear off."
"If that's true, then why are you calling me Mulder?"
"Because," she bites off, "the drug is making me think I'm Scully."
He grins, but doesn't tease her about her obviously flawed theory. It's been a sore point with her ever since the bucktoothed vampire sheriff and as she's currently in possession of his body it's probably not a good idea to piss her off needlessly. Scully's not normally a vindictive person, but she can be petty, and she might decide he needs a haircut.
"How's that background check coming?" he asks.
"The fat man's clean," Langly reports. "No record, no flags, two outstanding parking tickets."
Mulder's heard that before. "If he doesn't have any ties to the mystical underworld, how'd he end up with a bodyswapping toothpick holder?"
"Could be a fluke. Or could be he's been doing most of his living under another name. Gimmie a couple hours and I can run a deeper search for you. This was just quick and dirty." Langly cracks his knuckles and wiggles his fingers. "I've been working on a new--"
"Hold on," Frohike says, snapping out of his lust coma. "This was the flea market in the old Giant parking lot?"
"Yeah," Mulder says. "You got something for us, F-Man?"
"You want to talk to Myrke. If anyone knows what's going on down there, it's her."
"Myrke," Scully cuts in. "Is that her first or last name?"
"It's her name," Frohike says with the flustered confusion of someone who spends more time on the internet than off and has a tendency to forget that out in the real world people are more likely to have a first and last name, neither of which include numbers.
Scully is skeptical. "How do we contact her?"
"She's probably there right now. Ask around. Tell her kungfuhike sent you."
"Do you know what she looks like?" Scully asks, slowly.
"No, but I'm sure she's hot," Frohike says, and Scully sighs.
"You wanna leave the gator with us?" Langly asks, pulling his stringy hair back into a ponytail and bending down to peer at the toothpick holder. "We could run a few more tests, bombard it with some gamma rays, see what's inside."
"No thanks," Scully says, snatching it up and striding out the door. They practically had to pry it out of her hands to give it to Byers in the first place. For a woman who claims this is all the fault of some messed up neurotransmitters, she's awful paranoid about that alligator. Mulder's willing to bet that's his influence at work.
He thanks the Gunmen and takes the stairs back up to street level. Or tries to. He never had to think about walking before. It was just something that happened when he wanted to go somewhere. But things aren't that easy in this body. Now he has to hold the handrail because it turns out it's unimaginably complicated to climb stairs when there's a full half of your shoe that isn't even there.
He stumbles out onto the sidewalk and finds Scully lounging against the bus shelter in a position that's doing absolutely shameless things with his hips.
"Is it wrong to be attracted to your own body?" he asks her.
She turns toward him, but she's wearing his sunglasses and he can't see her eyes. "We're going downtown," she says. "Can you please try to act normal?"
"We need to go back to the flea market and look for Myrke. And I am acting normal."
"We can go back later," she says. "I want to get our blood drawn now, before whatever this is metabolizes and we lose any trace of it."
"But..." Mulder squirms, unable to formulate a proper argument while his underwear and pantyhose are doing what they're doing. Namely, leading a rebel uprising north.
She looks down and catches him pulling at his nylons. "Don't put a run in those," she warns. "They're expensive."
He stops tugging at his skirt and picks at the underwire poking him in the armpit instead. He had no idea the torture Scully routinely underwent to look like this. She always seems so put together, but all these things poking and squeezing at him are driving him nuts. That's not even counting the heels, which are a special hell all their own.
"How do you do this every day?" he asks her.
She almost smiles. "You get used to it."
The bus comes. They ride around for a while, visiting parts of town they normally only see on drug busts, transfer to the metro, then get off at the Gallery Place-Chinatown station. It's only four blocks away from the Bureau, but after a block Mulder's ready to jump ship and get a job at the spy museum just so he doesn't have to walk the rest of the way to the FBI. These shoes are torture. He stops to look in the window and Scully prods him forward like she can sense his impending mutiny. They walk the rest of the way with her hand on his back.
"Remember," she says, pulling the door open, "you're Scully. I'm Mulder."
"Special Agent Dana Scully," he says in a prim falsetto, which still manages to come out sounding exactly like Scully's normal voice. She ignores him and heads to the lab. Unsettled, he hobbles after her.
The lab is on one of those floors Mulder never bothers with, so he doesn't know they're there until Scully comes to a halt. Through the window he can see a couple technicians peering into microscopes or swishing stuff around in test tubes. Thrilling.
"Listen," she says. "You're going to have to do the talking. It'll seem weird coming from me. From you." She sighs. "You know what I mean. Just ask for a tox screen on our blood. Autumn will know what to do."
"Which one's she?"
Scully gives him a look. "She helped us with that weregoose case, the caustic orange goo from the sewer in Fall's Church, and, oh, pretty much everything we've brought in over the past three years?"
He shrugs and pushes into the lab. The tech at the centrifuge looks up and smiles. "Agent Scully! I didn't expect to see you in here on a Saturday."
Autumn has streaky blonde hair, big plastic goggles, and can't possibly be old enough to drink, let alone work for the federal government. She doesn't look at all familiar, but she seems to like Scully a lot.
"Just doing a little extra-credit work," Mulder says to her.
"Cool," Autumn says, gesturing to a stand of test tubes with her elbow. "Me too. Badra's out with her baby, and I need the extra cash for the kayak trip I've got planned. You got something for me?"
"I'm afraid," Mulder says, putting on his best no-nonsense Scully face, "that we may have been exposed to an unknown psychotropic drug."
"Oh no!" says Autumn, touching Mulder's wrist. "That's terrible! Are you okay?"
"For now, but, you know, better safe than sorry." That is totally something Scully would say. "I was hoping you could do a tox screen on Agent Mulder and I, and if you can, just keep this between the two of us? It's hard enough doing this job without my mental ability being questioned."
"This is stupid. I feel fine," Scully says, apparently getting into her role as Mulder. "Let's go chase monsters," she adds, earning a glare from Autumn, and now Mulder recognizes her. No wonder she seemed unfamiliar when he first walked in; it was the first time she'd ever looked at him with anything other than a disapproving frown.
Autumn returns her attention, and smile, to Mulder. "Don't worry, Dana. I can keep a secret."
"Dana?" Mulder mouths at Scully.
"We're friends," Scully hisses.
Autumn draws Scully's blood first, quick and professional.
"Ouch!" Scully says. "Sorry," Autumn says breezily.
But she lingers over Mulder.
"Do you like kayaking?" she asks.
"Kayaking," Mulder says to Scully, who is scowling and pressing a square of gauze to the crook of her elbow. "I love kayaking," he says to Autumn. "In fact, just the other day I--"
"Chop chop, Scully," Scully interrupts. "We've got that appointment downstairs. Wrap it up."
Autumn shoots Scully another glare then turns her back on her and gently tapes half a cotton ball to Mulder's arm. "I'll give you a call once I've got the results. Cell phone, right?"
"That'd be great," he says, giving her a big smile. Scully all but yanks him out of the lab.
"She's so hot for you," Mulder tells her in the hallway.
"We're just friends!" she insists. "No thanks to you."
"Naked friends, maybe," he says.
"Stop flirting with women in my body. Do not, under any circumstance, use my body to flirt with anyone." Scully stops walking and looms over him. "Am I making myself clear?"
He sighs. "You're no fun, Scully. I'd let you have sex in my body."
"I don't want to have sex in your body. Besides, this probably is my body and I just don't remember."
Mulder doesn't know which part of that is more depressing, but for once he keeps his thoughts to himself. "Come on, aren't you curious?"
"You do realize I wouldn't be having hot lesbian sex with your body, right?"
He frowns, that is a flaw, though a fantastic mental image.
"Thought so." She checks her watch. "It'll take a few hours to get the results from our blood work. I suppose you want to go back to the flea market?"
"Actually, there's something I need to do first."
Fifteen minutes later, Mulder comes out of the bathroom looking confused and a little guilty.
"I don't want to talk about it," he says, shoving a ball of ripped up pantyhose at her and clomping off down the hall to the elevator.
"I offered to help," she says, catching up to him.
"And I said I don't want to talk about it!" he yells. "It's bad enough having to pee sitting down, but then having to cram myself back into those sweaty, disgusting, instruments of oppression is really more than you could possibly expect of me!"
Scully is this close to making a crack about it being that time of the month, but she manages to stop herself. "I thought we were going to the flea market."
He's marching down the hallway to their basement office. "I want to do some research first."
She unlocks the door and Mulder immediately pulls out several x-files and flops down in his desk chair like the last five minutes never happened. He starts telling her the particulars of a bodyswitch in Flagstaff, comparing it to a reported swap in Coos Bay and another in turn of the century Sweden, and going on and on about ley lines and mystical objects, but she's not really listening. His bare legs are splayed out with his usual showy disregard for his crotch and she can see right up his skirt.
Finally she just has to interrupt him. "Mulder, cross your legs."
"Why?" he asks, apparently taking it as a challenge to spread his legs even wider. The skirt creeps up his thighs.
"Maybe I don't want everyone to know what color my underwear is."
"Mmm," Mulder says, "silky black panties. Sexy, Scully."
"I never should have let you go the bathroom."
He makes a face at her. "Anyway, what do you care? You don't think any of this is really happening."
"I never said that. I said we were drugged, and does it really matter? I don't care who's in that body, you know Scully's going to be pissed when she gets back and finds out you were flashing people with her underwear."
"This conversation is making my head hurt," he says. He tosses his folder onto the desk and leans back in his chair. "Wanna go chase monsters?"
"Isn't that supposed to be my line?" she says.
Back on the sidewalk, Mulder's getting that stubborn look. "No, not the bus again."
"I don't think either of us should be driving in this condition," she says, digging around in Mulder's pockets for the correct change.
"We're not drunk!" he says. "Just in the wrong bodies! And my feet hurt!"
"We are under the influence of mind altering drugs," Scully starts to explain, but of course he interrupts her.
"Fine. Then why can't we take a cab?"
Because, privately, Scully is enjoying herself. Watching Mulder stumbling around in high heels is almost worth having to listen to him complain about it. Which is an uncharitable thought any way you look at it, but she's under duress.
"Too much paperwork," she says. "Look, that's our bus. Hop on."
When they get to the flea market, the fat man's gone, his parking lot kingdom empty except for a flattened bottle cap and a half-chewed shoelace.
"Did you see where he went?" Scully asks the kid set up on the other side of the gaping hole.
He looks at her blankly. "Who?"
She points at where the fat man had been just two hours ago. "The fat man? With all the wood?"
"Heh, wood." The kid chews on the straw to his Big Gulp and fails to suppress a dirty giggle. Scully's probably violating the guy code by not finding that funny.
Mulder clearly thinks it's hilarious. He sidles up to the table with flirty grin. "Do you know where we can find Myrke?"
The kid squints up at them. "You guys cops or something?"
Leaving Mulder to bond with his intellectual equal, Scully crosses the cracked concrete to a stall with lopsided velvet furniture and ugly framed art. The woman manning the cash box can't remember a thing about the fat man.
"What about this?" Scully holds up the wooden alligator. "Have you seen this before?"
"No?" she says.
Scully tries the booth with the ceramic figurines, the stall with used roller skates and broken ten-speeds, and even the youth group selling apples and bottled water out of a cooler with wheels on it. No one knows Myrke, the fat man, or the alligator.
"Scully, come over here!" Mulder yells from the other side of the parking lot. She really hopes there's no one there they know. It's going to be hard to explain why Scully seems to be calling Mulder by the wrong name. She's made it this far without being institutionalized, and she'd hoped to finish out her career that way. Mulder, on the other hand, has been locked up so many times he knows what size straitjacket he takes.
"Show him," Mulder says.
She dutifully holds up the alligator. "Have you seen this before?"
The guy pushes up his thick black-framed glasses. "Yeah, but where's the other piece?"
"It's a salt cellar," he tells them, like that's supposed to mean something.
"I thought it was a toothpick holder," Scully says.
"No, see, the salt goes in here--" He reaches for the alligator, but Scully jerks it out of reach. He gives her an irritated look. "In the mouth. There was probably a little spoon at one time."
"Is the spoon important?" Mulder asks, and now he gets the look.
"Only to a collector. But this is part of a set. It's got a pepper grinder somewhere."
Mulder doesn't ask if that's important. Apparently he can learn from his mistakes, all prior evidence aside. Scully examines the alligator, its orange head raised to the sky, mouth opened into a bowl. She isn't impressed.
"I don't care if it's a gravy boat," she says, waving it at Mulder, "what the hell are we supposed to do with it?"
The alligator is pulled out of her hand and at first she thinks Mulder took it, but his mouth is open and he's staring over the collector's shoulder. There's a sudden clang! clang! thud! a booth away and Scully turns to see someone running through a windchime display, clutching the orange gator and ducking through the hanging pipes and sea shells that are all banging him in the head.
"Stop!" she yells. "FBI!"
He doesn't stop.
They take off after the gator snatcher, pushing through the crowds of flea market patrons and dodging the occasional three-legged chair. Mulder goes down early, tripping on a crack in the asphalt and pitching sideways into a stack of braided rugs. Scully holds on a little longer, making it down the aisle and around the corner, but it's like trying to run on stilts and she has to swerve to miss a kid with a snowcone and ends up losing the thief.
"Dammit!" She prowls around a little, looking for signs of him, but all she really saw was his back, and the flea market crowd turns out to be even less helpful about the thief than they were about the fat man. "Are you all blind?" she asks no one in particular.
Discouraged, she slogs back to where she last saw Mulder, but he's not there. Eventually she finds him sitting on a bench, eating a hot dog and wearing a pair of rhinestoned flip flops. She doesn't know what to complain about first.
"Where are my shoes and what are you eating?"
"I canvassed the hot dog guy," Mulder says, wiping cheese off his chin and slurping his Coke through a straw. "I smiled at him and he gave me extra chili for free."
"Oh my god, you'll make me fat! Wait, that kind of looks good. Where'd you get that?"
They get her set up with a chili dog and she tells him where they are on the gator snatcher. "We're screwed," she says. "I lost him. We should have left that thing with Autumn, or, hell, even the Gunmen."
Mulder's got road rash on his ankle and knee, but he seems happy enough. He's got his legs crossed for once and he's swinging his foot back and forth while he finishes off his second hot dog. Even worse, the ridiculous flip flops actually look good on him. She'd painted her toenails the night before, and either it was a coincidence or Mulder knew what he was doing, but the rhinestoned monstrosities don't even clash with the red polish.
"The shoes were a loss," Mulder says. "I tossed 'em. Got these from the guy on the corner with the Hawaiian shirts." He flaps the shoe against his foot in demonstration. "Much more comfortable."
Scully's about to accuse him of taking a dive on purpose, just so he could get new shoes, when someone calls out from behind them.
"I hear you're looking for me."
They turn around to find a woman kicked back in a yellow and green lawnchair. She's wearing a black baseball cap, BDUs and worn combat boots, and is poking at a PDA with a stylus. Her eyes glitter.
"A friend said you might be able to help us," Mulder says.
"Yeah, sounds like you've got yourselves into some trouble." This seems to amuse her.
"Excuse me, but what's your connection to all this?" Scully asks.
Myrke smiles. "I know things, and the fat man has a partner. Takes care of all the under the table transactions, you might say."
"There's a black market trade in salad bowls?"
"Hey," Myrke says, "wood holds a curse like you wouldn't believe."
"She's got that part right," Scully mutters.
Mulder makes a shushing gesture at her. "Do you know where can we find this partner?"
"Why should I tell you?"
"Kungfuhike sent us," Mulder says. "He's a big fan."
Scully's not convinced this is actually a selling point, but Myrke acts like it's the magic word. "No shit? You guys are friends of the 'hike? Why didn't you say so. You want the thin man." She consults her PDA. "Try the swap meet out in Brentwood. You can't miss him."
They get as far as the lopsided furniture when Mulder plants his feet and refuses to budge. "We are not taking the bus to Brentwood."
"If it bothers you that much, we can take the metro."
"No metro, no bus. The car is here. We're taking it."
"Fine," Scully says. She pulls the keys out of her pocket. "But I'm driving."
"Damn!" He clenches a fist in defeat. "I forgot you were wearing my pants."
The swap meet looks exactly like the flea market they just left, only bigger and with more crap.
The thin man's holding forth over a table of assorted junk. Tall and greasy as a slim jim, he's in a black suit, white shirt, and a tie that's as thin as he is.
"Greetings," he says to them. "Might I interest you in an antique bottle opener, purported to once be owned by the king himself?"
"Elvis?" says Mulder eagerly.
"Henry," says the thin man. "The third."
"Actually," Scully says, breaking in, "we're looking for an antidote."
"Ah, a discerning customer, I see. Are we talking mystical or pharmaceutical?"
Scully puts her hands on her hips, a holdover from when she couldn't use her size to intimidate and had to scare suspects into cooperating with the sheer power of her pointy authoritarian elbows. Now it just makes her look kind of gay. "You tell us," she says. "Your partner sold us a mind-altering alligator and then disappeared. We'd like the effects reversed."
"We're having a little physical displacement issue," Mulder says, trying to speak the thin man's language.
"Heh, heh," says the thin man. "Ain't that always the way. Youse gotta be careful with the alligator. Very tricky species."
Scully looks like she's about to pop him one.
"Yeah," Mulder says, "the trickiest. Can you help us or not?"
"You have come to the right place." The thin man reaches under the table and brings out a wooden alligator nearly identical to the one they'd lost. It's the infamous pepper grinder. "This here is its partner in crime. It will answer all your troubles."
"What do we do with it?" Scully says.
"First," says the thin man, "there is the matter of my compensation."
Mulder reaches for his wallet. "How much do you want?"
"Pfft. Money. What do I need of money. I am a collector. What do you have that no one else on Earth has?"
Mulder and Scully look at each other, then go into a huddle.
"We never conclusively proved that was extraterrestrial in origin."
"Picture of the flukeman?"
"You gave that to the Gunmen. They put it in the paper and now it's all over the internet."
"We've got money," Mulder says to the thin man. "And lots of it."
"Eh," the thin man shrugs philosophically. "Money's good too."
Mulder reaches for his wallet again, then realizes why that didn't work the first time. Mulder's wallet is in Mulder's pants, which happen to be on Scully at the moment.
"'Scuze me," he says, grabbing his wallet and, accidentally, kinda, her ass. She jumps.
"Be right back."
He runs across the street to the liquor store, thinking life's sure a lot easier without those stupid high heels. They really ought to get Scully a pair of sneakers or something. He hits up the ATM for all the cash it'll give him and while it spits out his stack of twenties he notices he's being visually groped by a couple of woozy looking drunks. It hits him that he's a woman. That these assholes must think he looks vulnerable, an easy target. But what they don't know is that Scully could kick their heads in without even breaking a sweat. He flashes his gun at them as he tucks away the money, and they all find somewhere else to look real fast.
The thin man takes the wad of cash like it's a disappointing term paper. "All right. This will do. Now, where is your other gator?"
"Why?" Scully demands, unusually suspicious.
"This isn't gonna work without them both," he says.
Mulder examines their new gator. Its mouth is closed, but otherwise it's the mirror image of the other one. He spins the gator's head around and pepper comes out from between its front claws like something out of the Exorcist. He can see where it would fit together with the salt cellar. Two lizards chasing their tails, like Scully's tattoo times two.
"We don't have it," Scully says, "but you already knew that, didn't you?"
The thin man shrugs. "Maybe, maybe not. Hard to say. Sometimes I know things before I know them. Only I don't know that until later." He turns to Mulder. "You ever feel like that?"
Mulder feels like he has a headache. "Is there any way we can reverse this with just the one alligator?"
"I wouldn't try it," the thin man says.
"Would you happen to know where our other alligator got off to?"
"Now that you mention it, and this is just a theory, mind you, some information I may have overheard, but it is possible my partner overreacted and sought to reclaim the item by use of a common street ruffian. He knows I don't like it when he misdistributes my merchandise."
"So where do we find the fat man?" Mulder asks. This scavenger hunt shit is getting old.
"He's in the wind." The thin man shakes his head. "He's in the wind."
"What is that supposed to mean?" Scully narrows her eyes at him, then sorta snaps. "What if we can't find the fat man? What if he doesn't have the alligator? What if this doesn't work?"
"Sorry, no refunds, returns, or exchanges."
Scully grits her teeth. "We could make life very difficult for you."
"You would have to find me first," he says, smoothing down his skinny tie.
"Maybe I'll just arrest you now and save myself the trouble."
The thin man spreads his hands out palm up. "Oh, but on what charges?"
On the way back to the car, Scully kicks a garbage can, but it's made out of rubber and the dent bloops right back out, leaving her visibly frustrated. This is why Mulder only kicks metal garbage cans. When you kick them they stay kicked. Much more satisfying.
"Do we have a home address for the fat man?" Mulder asks her, because she's usually the one who knows those sorts of things.
"Supposedly," says Scully.
According to Langly, home is an empty concrete slip in a trailer park where there's no fat man to be found. The neighbors aren't at all surprised to find they're living next door to an empty lot; though, when asked, they can't remember exactly how long it's been empty or if it's always been that way. Mulder thanks them and calls the Gunmen on Scully's cell phone, since it's the one he's carrying.
Frohike answers. "The luscious Agent Scully!"
"You're half right, 'hike."
"Dammit, Mulder, you're going to give me a complex."
Mulder stares down at his glossy red toenails. "Join the club."
"So I guess you two are still swapped, huh?"
"Turns out we're short one alligator," Mulder says. "You got another address for the fat man? The one Langly gave us is a dead end."
"We're working on it. This guy's slippery. Doesn't leave much of a data trail."
Mulder can hear Frohike typing on his computer, the background noise of Langly and Byers arguing about dinner. "He's got a partner," Mulder says. "We couldn't get a name for him, but he was out at Brentwood today. Myrke called him the thin man."
"You met Myrke? Was she hot? Did she ask about me?"
"Your name was like nectar to her."
"Nectar," Frohike says dreamily.
"I gotta go." Literally. Scully's got the bladder of a field mouse, and Mulder has to pee again. He likes the breasts, but he misses his dick. Not like he lost it or anything, it's just...over there, with the rest of him, and from what he can tell, Scully's pretty much treating his body like a hotel room, keeping everything nice and neat and like she found it, but he wonders if she'd grant him visiting privileges if they don't make it back, or if that'd be weird. He can't even tell at this point.
"I'll let you know what we find," Frohike says, and hangs up.
The phone beeps at him, indicating there's a message. He puts it back up to his ear.
"Hi, Dana, good news! I couldn't find anything weird in your blood, nothing that, uh, shouldn't be there at least. Nothing new! So you're fine, and don't worry, I didn't tell anyone. Maybe we can grab some dinner sometime? Gimmie a call. Oh, I -- this is Autumn, right? But, uh, you probably knew that. Um, anyway. Bye!"
Scully isn't going to like that. He flip flops over to where she's out poking around the open carports in the dusk, like she thinks the fat man might be hiding behind a dented Oldsmobile or rusted out hibachi.
"Autumn left you a voice mail. She says we're not drugged and that she totally wants to get naked with you."
"You listened to my messages?"
"Oh, right." He hadn't even stopped to considered she might not like that. He's wearing her underwear, why not listen to her phone messages too? "Seemed like the thing to do. Sorry."
She snatches the phone from his hand and listens to it. A pair of pink flamingos give Mulder the eye, like he should have known better.
"Nothing!" Scully says. "And now we don't even have that stupid alligator to run more tests on! What if--" Her shoulders slump and she covers her eyes with her hand.
"Hey, we'll fix this," he says, awkwardly touching her cheek, but it's his cheek and he's never had to comfort himself from the outside before, so he rubs her arm instead because that's easier to reach.
"Frohike's on it, and you know he feels bad about perving on your body without your brain in it."
She snorts, once, and they stand quietly for a moment, the noises of the trailer park around them, the low mumble of television sets and the clink and clank of dishes being washed in the sink.
"What now?" she asks.
"We go home. Get some rest. Wait for Frohike to call."
She pulls the keys out of her pocket. "You drive."
Because Mulder doesn't have a bed and Scully refuses to sleep on his couch or let him sleep on his couch with her body, she decides they'll be spending the night at her place. They swing by his apartment to feed his fish and pick up his overnight bag so Scully will have something to wear tomorrow. Then it's dark and he's in Scully's bedroom watching her drop his pants and throw his jacket and tie to the floor. He gets the strange urge to follow along behind and pick up and fold everything, but he fights it down.
"Scully, are you sure you--"
The shirt's next, hitting him in the face. Shoes had come off at the door. Socks go flying, and Scully crawls into bed wearing only the boxers he'd put on that morning. She flops down and pulls the covers up to her nose, and it's like looking at himself -- he is looking at himself -- lying in Scully's bed. Mulder's had his share of out of body experiences, so he can say with authority that this is the weirdest one yet. Normally when this happens to him, someone else isn't actually using his body while he's out of it.
"Turn off the light," Scully grunts.
"But what am I supposed to do?"
"Just get something out of the drawer," she mumbles angrily. "And wash your face."
As far as instructions go, they're pretty vague, but Mulder's used to shifty informants, incomplete directions, and getting only half of any given story. He goes over to the dresser and digs around in the top drawer like she seemed to want him to. It's full of the satin pajamas she's taken to wearing lately, but he ignores them and picks out a thin t-shirt and some tiny cotton shorts from way in the back.
He turns the light off on his way to the bathroom and Scully kicks at the sheets and falls into an irritated silence. She'd gone all brooding and moody on him in the car, obviously nearing the end of her fabled powers of denial, but she's yet to come around to his way of thinking. It doesn't matter either way. She'll go along with him whether she's on board or not, but things always go faster once she's stopped pretending he isn't right and they can pool their mental resources without her ridiculous theories getting in the way. Right now she's at the point where her preferred avenue of investigation has proven worthless, which leads to the inevitable pouting stage, but she'll be ready to go again by tomorrow.
Mulder kicks his flip flops off and pads down the hall. Scully's bathroom has always made him nervous. It's one of those things where he's afraid he's going to use the wrong towel or accidentally wash his hands with the fancy guest soap instead of the normal guest soap, or possibly the other way around, and now he's supposed to choose between the fifteen kinds of creams she's got lined up on the counter. This can't end well. He turns to face the sink and its standing army of cosmetics, and even though he's been Scully for half the day now, the face in the mirror still surprises him.
"Okay," he says to himself, which just ends up confusing him further because Scully doesn't usually talk to herself.
He's seen her do this enough times while on the road that he knows which jar is for what, roughly. The white cream in the green bottle that smells like fruity glue goes on first. The blue jar with the white lid is for her eyes. He does his best to get all the makeup off, dabbing at his face with a variety of little sponges and pads, but finally gives up and goes at it with a washcloth and judicious application of sticking his head under the faucet. That seems to do it. Even if his face is a bit pink. And he only got a little cold cream in his ears.
Now for pajamas. The skirt comes off easily enough once he realizes it not only has a button and a zipper but a hook/eye arrangement hidden in the seam. He drapes the skirt over the towel rack and adjusts his underwear. They might be sexy, but they have the annoying tendency to climb up his ass.
He takes the jacket and blouse off. And then there's the bra.
It matches the panties and Mulder takes a moment to appreciate the view.
He doesn't know if it's a wonderbra or what, but it's doing some impressive things to Scully's already impressive cleavage. He squeezes his tits together and pouts at the mirror. Yeah, definitely getting the hang of this female stuff.
He's doing great right up until he bends his arms around behind him and actually tries to take the bra off, at which point he fails miserably at being a woman. It just won't let go.
It gives him so much trouble he almost breaks down and yells for Scully, but his pride stops him. She's been doing just fine in his body, not that it's all that high maintenance, but nothing about it seems to throw her. She'd unerringly hit upon his nightly routine of throwing his clothes everywhere and then falling face down on the nearest available surface, and without any guidance from him, so no way he's going to go crawling to her for help. He's a man. He can get his own damn bra off.
Except he can't. At least not in any elegant, womanly way, and eventually he gives up and just yanks his arms out of the straps and spins the whole thing around in order to unhook it and throw it across the room.
Much better. He stretches and looks down at Scully's breasts. They're pretty great. He's seen them before, thanks to all the decontamination showers, just never this close. He idly palms one of them and pinches at the nipple.
"Mulder!" Scully groans. "What's taking so long?"
He flinches, caught, and pulls the t-shirt on before he can be accused of fondling himself. No one breaks the door down and arrests him for sexual harassment, though, so Scully must still be in bed. He puts on his shorts, brushes his teeth, and leaves the bathroom.
Along with sleeping on his couch, Scully had similarly forbid him from sleeping on her couch, so apparently they're sharing the bed. Maybe they can fool around a little first. Scully's so tense. It'll help her relax. And it's not like it'd be actual sex, just interactive masturbation. These are all very good reasons. She probably won't go for it, but it can't hurt to ask.
"So, Scully," he says, leaping onto the bed and hovering over her. "If nothing else, I've at least put to rest the question of whether you're a natural redhead."
When she doesn't immediately turn over and slap him, he realizes she must already be asleep. He flops down on his side, more than a little jealous. It can take him two or three hours to fall asleep, at least, and that's on the nights he falls asleep at all, but here she is, out like a broken light. Maybe there's something to this bed thing, after all. She does have nice sheets, and squishy pillows, and he wiggles around, trying to get comfortable. He finally settles down, half on his side, half on his stomach, but something's wrong.
Oh, sleeping with breasts is weird. He pulls one boob out from under him, then tries to follow Scully's lead into dreamland.
When Scully wakes up the next morning the first thing she sees is her reflection in the mirror, her hair messy and red, with Mulder a big lump behind her. It's a nice picture until she ruins it by yawning and Mulder's mouth is the one that opens. Damn. She was hoping that at least part of yesterday had been a dream, but no such luck.
She gets up and takes a shower, if only because that's what she does every morning. It's just going to be another day full of dead ends and false leads. Chemistry hadn't gotten them anywhere. Psychology might be next. Concurrent breaks with reality? Folie à deux? Again? Of course Mulder's the only psychologist they could go to with this problem, and, as usual, he doesn't seem interested in exploring the possibility they're both nuts.
She sighs and soaps herself down.
She has to admit, if only to herself, that she doesn't really believe her theory either. She feels too much like Scully in Mulder's body for this to be a trick of the mind. She has memories of things that Mulder couldn't even guess at, secrets she's never told him. At this point, psychotropic drugs are no longer the simplest explanation, and unless they were brainwashed and reprogrammed at some earlier point in their lives -- something she really doesn't want to think about -- psychotic breaks aren't usually triggered by flea market alligators. The fact is, if Mulder can't figure this out, they might be stuck like this, permanently.
She looks down at the penis hanging between her legs. She's been trying to ignore it as just another symptom of her delusion, like it might go away if she refused to acknowledge it, but no doing. It makes her walk differently. Sit differently. Stand differently. And it's always in the way, never mind its little companions in their furry sac; she can't make a move without taking their feelings into consideration. No wonder men are constantly adjusting themselves. They should be the ones wearing the skirts.
Her dick's been half-hard since she woke up but, determined to take a thorough shower, she goes in with the soap and both hands. It seems to like the attention, perking up and lifting off, getting longer and harder. She had thought about touching Mulder like this, but with her own hands, not his.
The bathroom door flies open. She drops the soap.
"Scully!" Mulder squeaks, sticking his head in the shower. Panic is not a good look for her, she decides. Mulder's getting all red and blotchy.
"Your mom called and I accidentally hung up on her," he says.
She gapes at him. "Why'd you answer the phone in the first place?"
"I thought it was Frohike." His eyes start to wander. "You know he won't leave his voice on an answering machine."
"You gave Frohike my phone number? Oh god. It's Sunday. We're supposed to go to brunch! Call her back and tell her I -- you -- we have to work. She's number two on the speed dial, and call her 'mom'!"
"What if she asks me a question I can't answer?"
"There won't be a quiz, just tell her you can't make it and apologize. Say you'll call and reschedule as soon as this case is over. Okay?"
"All right," Mulder says. He eyes her groin. "You better take care of that or it'll be bothering you all day."
Just when she thinks her life can't get any weirder, Mulder gives her permission to jerk off. He leaves and she picks up the soap again and works up a good lather.
Mulder barges back in, this time with the wireless handset, and she's fingering his balls, and he's talking to her mother and the shower's running, and she is going to have so much explaining to do if she ever gets back into her own body, and if not, well, at that point it'll be Mulder's problem, not hers. The thought cheers her up a bit and she finishes her shower, washing and rinsing her hair, which only takes about a minute with Mulder's new weedwhacker cut. The renewed panic had taken care of her erection, at least, giving her one less thing to worry about.
"Company?" Mulder says, pacing back and forth. "I don't have company. Why would you say that? The shower? No, that's the, uh, dishwasher. Oh? Well, the shower's on too. I mean, I turned it on. So I could shower. Later, after I called you. You know, I've really got to go. Sorry about brunch."
He's such a bad liar. Scully shuts the shower off.
"Love you!" he says desperately, and hangs up.
"Yeah, that's not going to make her suspicious at all," she says, pulling her towel in with her.
He glares at her through the plastic shower curtain. "Shut up! It's not like you were helping."
"It's not like I was trying to take a shower," she says. "You didn't have to come in here."
"You're my backup!"
"Oh, you're fine chasing after terrorist groups on your own, but call my mom and you need backup."
"Fine! Next time I'll just do it myself!" He storms off, slamming the bathroom door behind him. Someone's not having a good morning. She wonders if he's always this moody and she never noticed, or if it just looks bad because he's a woman.
She dries off, then wraps the towel around herself, knotting it between what would normally be her breasts but today is nothing but flat hairy man chest. The towel stops just short of her thighs. She drops it and makes her way into the bedroom naked. She's just pulling on a pair of boxers when Mulder comes into the room.
"Get yer pants on, Scully," he says, mood having swung back around to relentlessly upbeat. "I called Frohike and he's got a new address for the fat man."
"Will he actually be at this one?"
He tilts his head at her. "We'll get this figured out."
"How can you say that?" she asks.
"Don't we always?" He grins. "I'm taking a shower. There's coffee if you want it!"
He slept in a t-shirt and shorts and looks perky and young, his breasts straining against the tight shirt, his face pink and clean. He bustles off, bare legs flashing in the morning sunlight. She feels a wave of homesickness for her body, its welcoming curves and familiar shortcomings, the ability to wear pants without having to think about what goes where.
She finally does get her pants on, after a good ten minutes of jostling and adjusting, then wanders around her apartment, looking at her life through Mulder's eyes while waiting for him to get done with his shower. She really needs to do a better job of dusting the top bookshelves.
An hour later, the water shuts off and Mulder comes out of the bathroom, eyes bright and cheeks flushed. She knows that look, though it's been a while since she's seen it on her face. He just had a really great orgasm.
"You--" she says.
"Yep," he says.
"What about you?" he says. "How's it feel to drive a stick?"
She has no idea what he's talking about. "Excuse me?"
"I saw you taking a test drive," he says, leering meaningfully at her crotch.
"I was not!"
"You can't fool the master, Scully. I recognize those moves."
"I was taking a shower." Anyway, that's her story and she's sticking to it.
"You're not really embracing the gender reassignment here. C'mon, think of all the--"
"I need to shave," she says suddenly, pushing past him into the bathroom.
"You don't need to shave," Mulder says, bobbing around behind her in his towel. "You're fine."
"I look like you do when you've slept at your desk."
"I look like that no matter where I've slept, but whatever." He gets her set up with his electric razor. "Knock yourself out," he says, and leaves.
She shaves, styles her hair with something of Mulder's that smells like hemp, and then goes back into her room and finishes getting dressed, tucking the alligator into her jacket on her way out. She's just knotted the tie (ugly, doesn't match the shirt or jacket, no surprise there) and is walking into the kitchen when she runs into Mulder. He's eating a cookie and drinking coffee out of a giant latte cup. She closes her eyes for a moment.
"Is that an alligator in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" he says.
"What are you wearing?"
He looks down at himself. "What?"
His hair is drying in loose, messy curls. He put those damned flip flops back on, pairing them with the skirt from her black suit and the white t-shirt he slept in, which is thankfully too tight to get wrinkled, but too thin to hide his nipples or the fact he's not wearing a bra. He looks like a Special Agent of Porn.
"This isn't going to work," she tells him. "I can find you a nice blouse and some pumps to go with that skirt." And some underwear, she adds silently.
"Nope," he says.
"Mulder, you're making me look bad."
"I look hot, and no way I'm wearing high heels."
She sighs. "At least put on a bra."
"No!" He grabs his breasts protectively.
"Yes," she says. "It's for your own good."
He doesn't like it and she practically has to wrestle him into the bra, but she does it. She gets him fastened and steps back and he fusses with the straps and looks at her like she betrayed him.
"This sucks," he says. "It doesn't fit."
"It fits, you just have to--" She gestures in front of her own chest, then realizes she probably looks like a frat boy and stops. "Get everything settled," she says instead.
Mulder pushes and prods until he has his breasts spilling over their cups.
"Not like that," Scully says, slapping his hands away and tucking his breasts back into the bra until they're snuggled into place. They look good and she takes a second to congratulate herself, but then her attention shifts and all she can see is Mulder's hands on her breasts, which is weird and more than a little paramasturbatory, so she pulls her hands back and lets him put his shirt back on.
And now he looks like a hooker in a bra. Big improvement.
Mulder also says no to makeup and the hairdryer. Scully cuts her losses and gets them out the door, reserving the right to complain.
"You're so uncooperative," she says. "I would have done your makeup."
"That's stupid. Why should I have to wear makeup?"
"I shaved for you!" she complains.
Brian and Jack, the couple from the apartment next door, are coming in with their matching black and white Shih Tzus. They give each other a knowing look.
Mulder shrugs. "I didn't ask you to."
"I'm going to have to move," Scully mutters.
This time Frohike's address takes them out to the suburbs, where the fat man's house seems to exist in a state of perpetual yard sale. Crowded folding tables line the driveway and cardboard boxes of yellowed paperbacks and headless Barbies dot the sidewalk. There's no one out on the lawn or in the open garage, and the yard has the eerie feeling of an empty grocery store.
Inside, there's crap stacked to the ceiling.
The fat man isn't in the kitchen (old magazines and power tools, mostly), the den (ceramic tigers), or, thank god, the bathroom (sausage stuffing apparatus?). There doesn't seem to be anyone in the house at all, and Scully's getting edgy, afraid they'll be stuck this way forever, in the wrong bodies, after a fat man that no one ever sees or remembers.
In the bedroom, Mulder finds a pair of x-ray goggles and tries them on. "I used to have a pair of these!" He fiddles with the eye pieces, making the glass turn red, then green. "I think Sam broke them."
"Can we please focus on the problem at hand?" Scully snaps.
He pushes the goggles up to the top of his head, gives her an annoyed look, and moves on to inspect a bucket of wooden spools. A glimmer of light playing on the floor catches her eye. She pulls the curtains back from the window and finds there's a second driveway on the side of the house. Parked there, the sun glinting off its aluminum sides, is a perfectly restored Airstream.
"Look," she says, pointing. Mulder comes over to stand next to her.
"He's in the wind," he says.
Mulder's knock on the trailer is greeted with a sour, "Go away."
"I can't do that," Scully says, pulling the door open and climbing inside where the fat man sits in his mustard yellow barcalounger like a dyspeptic Buddha. Mulder's so close behind her that he's stepping on her heels.
"You've got something of mine," she says. "I'd like it back."
The fat man doesn't move. "I don't have anything of yours."
"Sure you do," Mulder says, unholstering his gun and buffing it on his t-shirt. He's still got the x-ray goggles perched on the top of his head and the whole thing gives him an unsettling air of dementia. "It's orange, and alligator shaped," he says. "You stole it from us after we bought it from you? Does any of this sound familiar?"
"Do you have the receipt?" the fat man asks weakly.
"Why don't you give us the gator back, and we'll get out of your hair," Scully offers. "Such as it is."
The fat man aborts a motion to touch his thinning, greasy hair. His chins tilt up. "I don't have it anymore."
She manfully resists the urge to punch him in the throat -- she's willing to blame Mulder for that, this body's kind of hair-trigger when it comes to problem-solving through physical violence -- but if they have to dig through his entire house to look for that alligator, they may never find it.
"See, I'm not sure I believe you," Mulder says. "And I'll believe anything."
"Think really hard," she says, suddenly inspired. "Maybe you put it somewhere safe, close by, like under your chair, or in your pocket." She pulls out the pepper grinder and the fat man's eyes bug out. His hands fly to a pocket on the side of his recliner and his eyes grow hard and flat once he realizes he's been tricked. She reaches over and pulls the salt cellar from the chair.
Mulder puts his gun away. "Don't go anywhere."
They let the door slam shut behind them.
"Now what?" she asks.
"I don't know. It just sort of happened before." He shakes the alligators like they just need to be woken up. "Maybe we need to be touching."
"We weren't touching the first time," she says, but reaches out a hand and touches him on the wrist, slides her fingers down to his and clasps their hands.
They stand on the patio and pass the alligators back and forth, trying different combinations: Mulder holds both gators and Scully touches his arm. Mulder holds only the salt cellar and Scully's hand. Scully holds both. Both gators go on the ground, locked together, tail in claw, and Scully and Mulder stare down at them, holding hands.
"We look like a couple of idiots," she says finally. "I'm going to call Autumn and see if there's a new test she can do now that we have the salt cellar back." She gets her phone out and then puts it away again. "Except you have to call her. Mulder? Did you hear me? The salt cellar?"
"Salt," he says. He picks up one of the gators and spins its head around a few times, spraying his feet with ground pepper. He doesn't seem to notice. "This still has pepper in it. Maybe we need to put salt in the other one. Salt's long held to have protective properties, good against the devil or zombies, the Greeks even use it to get rid of unwanted houseguests."
He heads back inside.
She follows him into the kitchen. "Good luck finding salt in here."
He puts down a canister marked flour that's full of cuff links. She tries the refrigerator. The light comes on, but the interior's the same temperature as the kitchen itself. The shelves are filled with fake food: empty milk carton, wax fruit salad, a plastic ham.
"Here," Mulder says, shoving aside a stack of National Geographics and dumping a drawer of fast food condiments onto the card table. He picks out a few packets of salt, snaps them open, and fills the alligator's open mouth.
Still nothing. Except now Scully wants fries.
"This isn't working," she says, grabbing the alligators. "Let's go back to the lab and have Autumn take a look at these things."
Mulder catches her hand. "Scully, wait."
The salt spills. There's no flash of light, no thunder clap, just suddenly she's looking at Mulder, at the body she's used to looking at, tall and male and wearing a horrible tie. He squeezes her hand.
"Oh thank god," she says, once again standing on her own two feet, even if they are in flip flops. "You okay?"
"I think so. You?"
"I guess," she says, looking down at herself. It's just as she feared. Mulder's outfit doesn't look any better from this angle. Still, it's a relief to be herself again, no matter what she's wearing; already the past twenty-four hours seem like nothing more than a weird dream. She pulls the x-ray goggles off her head and sets the alligators back on the table.
"What should we do with them?" Mulder asks.
"Do you think the agent is still active?" She glances at the gators, locked together in their salt and pepper circle.
"Do you?" He gets a constipated look. "Maybe we should leave them here."
"I think that's a good idea."
"Not that this wasn't fun," he says, "but I'm not really cut out for all that girl stuff."
"I hadn't noticed," she says, unsubtly adjusting her bra so the underwire isn't cutting into her ribs. "Let's get out of here before you touch something that splits you in two."
"Star Trek!" Mulder says. "I liked that episode."
"Or maybe just something that'll turn you into a woman permanently."
"All right," he says, "but I'm keeping these." He takes the goggles back and adjusts them to fit his head.
They step out the front door just in time to see the Airstream trundling away down the street. Scully knows without even asking that if they questioned the neighbors, none of them would remember the fat man or even be able to tell her the color of his house. Even standing on his front walk, she's starting to forget him.
Starting to forget what it's like to dress to the left, to see the top of her bookshelves, to be spoken to first, to be Mulder. But she doesn't need to remember what it's like to be Mulder because he's standing right next to her.
"Ready to go?" she asks.
Mulder leers at her from behind his goggles. "I can see your underwear."
"Actually, I'm not wearing any underwear."
"You drive," she says, tossing him the keys.