Mulder knew he shouldn't be doing this. All of his common sense was telling him that Scully was not going to appreciate this one bit. But something else was bringing him to the door. Something was going to make him go through with it.
Somehow he found himself knocking on the door.
Scully opened the door. She looked surprised.
"I'm surprised," she said.
"Scully," Mulder hissed, "you're ruining the mood. Stop being so literal."
"Sorry." She scowled.
Mulder looked at his partner. She was wearing a creamy white satin wedding dress.
"Mulder?" Scully interrupted.
"What?" he snapped.
"My dress is white. It is not cream. Creamy white is an oxymoron," she informed him.
"But it looks creamy, you know, smooth, flowing, soft..." he protested, starting to look a little dreamy.
"Mulder, this dress is white," Scully said in a voice that allowed no room for further discussion.
"Fine. At least let me finish the description before you start interrupting me again."
"All right, but do me a favor? Don't describe my hair. If I have to hear the word 'tendril' one more time, I'm going to shave my head."
Scully's dress was white and flowing. Mulder was standing in the church where his partner was moments away from getting married. He had something to tell her.
Scully was staring off into the distance, trying to dislodge a popcorn hull from between her molars with her tongue. She should probably lay off the Crunch 'n Munch.
He had something to tell her.
Scully snapped back to attention. "Mulder!" she said breathlessly. "What are you doing here?"
"Don't overdo it, Scully. You did invite me to the wedding."
"Whose idea was that?"
"Stick to the script!"
"Um, Mulder, um..." Scully stuttered, trying to remember what to say.
"Oh, sorry," Mulder apologized, "that is the script."
Scully allowed herself a smirk before she continued. "Mulder! What are you doing here?"
She watched the way he leaned in the doorway. He was wearing a dark grey suit that fit his lean frame perfectly.
"You spelled gray wrong," Mulder offered.
"Shut up. I like it that way. Now who's interrupting?"
Mulder didn't apologize, but he shut up.
He was the definition of casual, but there was something troubling him.
"Thank you," Scully said, getting into the feel of things.
Mulder cleared this throat, this was where it was going to get difficult. "I have something to tell you, Scully."
"Are you still going to call me Scully once I'm married? My name won't be Scully anymore it'll be...." She stopped, a vague look on her face. She finally sighed, "I guess these things never get that far, do they?"
Mulder shrugged. It wasn't his fault.
"Come in, Mulder. I still have to get ready," she said, inviting him into the strangely empty room. There were no bridesmaids or nervous mothers to be seen. How convenient.
Mulder closed the door behind him and again wondered if this was a good idea.
Scully sat down at the vanity and looked at him in the mirror.
It was almost like she knew what he was going to say. Of course she did know, he had pulled this stunt innumerable times before.
Apparently Scully was tired of playing around. She had started to make things difficult for him -- like that deal with her dress. She had never minded before when he had mixed cream and white. She was usually too surprised at his sudden appearance to care.
"So the magic is gone -- get over it, Mulder," she growled. "We've got work to do." Scully smiled sweetly at him, still looking at his reflection. "Can you put my necklace on for me?"
He reached out and took the thin gold chain from her hand. He looped it around her neck, leaning in close so he could see the clasp. Why were these damn things so tiny? Why couldn't Scully put her own necklace on? She always had before.
As Mulder's breath warmed the back of her neck, Scully waited impatiently. After this she had to change into her black suit and go to his funeral and then clean out his apartment. Mulder never did respect her schedule.
He finally coerced the clasp into working, mostly by accident. He looked up. Their eyes met in the mirror.
He noticed that Scully was slightly cross-eyed. Shocked, all he could do was stare. Scully's eyes straightened out. "Gotcha," she whispered.
"Scully, why are you making this so hard for me? This isn't about us. You realize that don't you? We could be Captain Kirk and Spock for all it matters."
"I get to be Spock," Scully called.
"Hey," Mulder said, offended.
"Oh, like you could pull off saying, 'Highly illogical.'" Scully laughed at the thought. "Besides, you've got Shatner's hair."
"That's not true! Take that back, Scully!"
"No," Scully said.
"I'll tell everybody you don't really need glasses, that you just wear them because you think they make you look smart!"
"Why you little...fine, next time you get stuck at an awards banquet with a really lousy date, I will NOT pretend to choke so that you can take me home," she said raising one eyebrow to see how he liked that.
Mulder wasn't impressed. He could just sulk and refuse to dance. It had always worked before. His date invariably drank too much champagne, and he usually just sent her home in a cab. Then he'd go back to his apartment alone and dream of tiny redheads.
"AND," Scully said, seeing he wasn't paying adequate attention to her, "next time I die, I can arrange it so that I have a really long and boring Dead Guy speech. I know people," she said menacingly.
That got to him. "Scully, no," he pleaded.
But before he could say anything further, the door flew open. Mulder and Scully turned around to look behind them. Margaret Scully stood there.
"Dana," she said, all loving mother, fully expecting Fox and Dana to be wrapped up in each other's arms. "What?" she said, irritated. "You're not done yet?"
"Sorry, mom. It's taking a little longer than usual," Scully mumbled.
"If she played football, her nickname would be Dana 'The Tangent' Scully," Mulder joked.
Both of the women ignored him.
"Well, you're not the only people on this planet," Margaret said. "You two better hurry this up. I've still got my 'I knew you two were perfect for each other from the first moment I saw you together' speech...and is Skinner coming?" she asked.
Scully chewed on the inside of her cheek. "I think so. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't."
"Well, I've probably got to flirt with him a little. And also some gratuitous mentions of Mulder's first name."
"I know," Mrs. Scully said, "but I have to."
"Mar-ga-ret," came a sing-song voice down the hall.
"Hold on, Walter," she called, "these two aren't sticking to the script. Scully hasn't even looked shocked yet, if you can imagine." She rolled her eyes. "Way behind schedule," she muttered to herself, leaving.
All was quiet for a moment. Mulder and Scully composed themselves.
"Where were we?" Mulder asked, determined to finish this. He had some prime porno slated for tonight and maybe a little take-out Chinese food before he could retire to a sleep full of nightmares and/or erotic dreams about Scully.
"I think you were about to do something rash."
"I have to chase after aliens now, Scully? I thought that was tomorrow."
"Right. Tomorrow you chase after aliens, and I chase after you. But I meant rash in an MSR sort of a way."
"Multiple Strangled Rats?" Mulder puzzled. "Mild Salsa Ragu? Many Strange Rutabagas?"
Scully gritted her teeth. "Use your imagination."
"Oh," said Mulder. He resumed his position close to her neck, his breath tickling the hairs at her nape.
"What's a nape?" Mulder whispered softy.
"I don't know," Scully admitted, "but I couldn't use the word 'neck' twice in one sentence."
"Okay," Mulder said. Before his attention could wander again, he kissed her behind the ear.
Scully would never say so but this was her favorite part. "Mulder!" she screeched. "What are you doing?" She stood up and backed away from him, looking suitably shocked.
From the hall, a faint report of, "She's just hit shocked," could be heard.
"Scully," Mulder said, breathless. You'd think they were in Denver or something with all the breathlessness going around.
"Mulder, I'm getting married today. What do you want from me?"
"I want you, Scully."
Scully put her hands on her hips, "What happened to the dancing around the subject, the hints, and the pleading puppy dog looks?"
"I know you can't stomach those looks, so I thought I'd spare you. I'm just trying to finish this up. Everyone's really busy. There hasn't been any quality myth arc action around for a while, so we're just trying to make ends meet. You know how it is, Scully."
"Yes, Mulder, unfortunately I do. If I have to get raped, abducted, impregnated, tied up, assaulted, poked by aliens, drooled on, run off the road, forced to go shopping with you, tortured, set up on a blind date, involved in a practical joke war, or transferred one more time...I'm telling you, I'm just not going to do this anymore."
Through the door they could hear Skinner yelling, "You two have no cause for complaint. Can you even imagine how many times I've had to relive the night I handcuffed Krycek to my balcony? It's the biggest mistake I've ever made. You can't understand how tired I get. They won't let me move on."
"Uh, actually, sir, I do know. I was there for a couple of those," Mulder said, looking a little ill.
An uncomfortable silence fell as everyone digested that.
This time Scully's look of shock was very believable.
"Scully," said Mulder with renewed fervor, "you can't do this."
"Mulder, I'm not going to let you do this to me. You think you can just barge in here and say," she paused.
"I love you, Scully," he said on cue.
"And expect me to drop everything..." she pretended to let his admission sink in. Her face softened -- no, no, no, her expression softened.
"Scully," he said, "I can't loose you."
"You can't 'loose' me?" she repeated, confused.
"Dammit! I can't lose you." He took a step forward and gathered her into his arms.
Scully tried to resist.
"Don't try to resist, Scully. This was meant to be."
"No! I'm tired of this. You can't just decide you need me when it's convenient for you."
"Scully, tell me you don't love me, and I'll leave. Tell me, Scully."
There was a knock at the door. "Scully?" a familiar voice called.
Mulder and Scully looked at each other.
"You've got the wrong CHURCH, Pendrell," the assembled cast yelled.
"What a doof."
"Mulder," Scully continued, "I have to think."
"Don't think, Scully, just do it."
"Great, Mulder, is there anything else you'd like to plug while we're here? How about 'Brewed in the Rocky Mountains'?"
"Oh, sorry. Scully. This is hard." Mulder started crying.
"Mulder, I'm right here. You only get to cry when something's being taken away from you, not because it's too hard for you to really act," Scully said gently, only thinking of herself.
Maybe there was still time to salvage her 4 o'clock. Her agent had snagged her a nice NC-17 with some meaningless sex. Mulder, thank God, was not in that one. There was a good chance it was linked to her fear of mortality and her cancer, but at this point she'd take what she could get.
Mulder took a deep breath. "Scully, I love you," he said. "Don't get married." It was bland; it was lifeless, but it was almost over.
"Okay," Scully said and shoved her tongue down his throat.
The Cigarette Smoking Man lurked under a tree across the street from the church. His plans had worked out nicely. Nicely indeed. He took a fresh pack of Morley's out of his suit pocket, unwrapped the cellophane and lit a cigarette.
It was really too hot to be standing around in the mid-afternoon heat wearing a suit, but the closest he got to summer apparel was that small water-skiing reference a couple of seasons ago.
Someone did let him wear thongs once. Of course that was in a humor angst, and he didn't get to smoke. It seems like no one took him seriously unless he was smoking.
He took one drag on his cigarette, dropped it to the ground and stomped it out. He squinted. He was good at that.
A thin woman with black hair and ripped jeans walked up to him. She was also wearing black Doc Martens and an old grey T-shirt that said "University of Oregon."
"Hi," she said, "my name's Mary Sue. I think we're going to be in a story together next week."
"Yes," he said, "unfortunately you have to die."
She frowned becomingly. "Shit. Does he love me though?"
"You'll be married to him. Of course he'll never forget his partner Scully. But ever since she put in for that transfer, things just haven't been the same between them. They meet up accidentally, some conference," he says vaguely. "She's surprised to hear he's married. She's still single...yadda yadda yadda...they get a case; you die. End of your story."
She nodded. "Yeah, I figured. That's usually the way these things work out. That's why I'm here." She gestured to the church with her head. "I'm supposed to watch their wedding so I can get the details right for my own. It's for my last words, you know. Actually they're quite nice as last words go: 'I remember our wedding...and the *gasp* white...lilies. Don't forget me...Fox.'"
The Cigarette Smoking Man was only half-listening. Something was wrong. Something was not right. Ah, he didn't have a cigarette in his hand. He was incomplete. He was only the Man With Cigarettes In His Pocket. How boring.
He took another new pack of Morley's out of his suit pocket, unwrapped the cellophane and lit one. Yes, things were shaping up just fine for him.