Travelling with Children

Mulder was still complaining. "I don't understand why we couldn't just wait in the bar, Scully."

"You remember what happened last time we waited in the bar, Mulder," Scully said, trying to read the chalkboard menu. Someone had brushed up against it, making the drink of the day a caramel smudge.

Mulder coughed. "Uh, no, actually. Hey wait--"

"My point exactly," Scully muttered, but Mulder's hands were suddenly on her shoulders, pulling her back against him so he could whisper in her ear.

"You see those guys?"

Scully couldn't see anything and her feet hurt so much she just wanted to lie down on Mulder and take a nap. "Where?"

"The corner, purple sofa," Mulder said.

In the corner, on a circular purple sofa, were two men playing a board game. The darker-haired one in the hat was chewing on a straw and shaking his cupped hands furiously. The other was arranging his cards in a neat fan. The one in the hat opened his hands and a single die bounced across the table.

"That's Dan and Casey," Mulder explained. "They're on TV."

"Now?" Scully asked.

"Not until eleven, then again at three. They do Sports Night."

Scully gave him her best blank look.

"Sports Night? On CSC?"

She shrugged.

Mulder grabbed at his chest and let his head fall back. "You're killing me here, Scully!" The line moved up a notch and Mulder took a step forward, head still thrown back. Scully considered the selection of teas. Mulder gave up on his one-man show and returned to staring at the two men in the corner.

"Don't stare," Scully said, feeling like his mother.

"You know what would be cool?" Mulder asked, still staring.

"If aliens abducted Britney Spears and mindwiped her?"

"If I-- What? Britney Spears?"

Scully pointed to the TV bolted above the counter where airport CNN ran in an endless fifteen minute loop of weather reports and useless news. Britney was currently bouncing and jiggling her way through some song that required one glove and a lot of eyeshadow.

"Hmm," Mulder said. "Nice, but no. What would be cool is if I could get Dan and Casey's autograph."

"They're over there, go ask them."

Mulder gave her a meaningful look.

"Oh no, Mulder. No way. We just spent the entire day chasing sewer rats and running up and down stairs. Now our flight's delayed, and we're stuck in Denver until it stops snowing. All I want is to sit down and have some tea. Nowhere in there is the part where I embarrass myself in front of two television personalities I've never even heard of just so you can get an autograph."


And there was something seriously wrong with her because she found herself considering it, considering walking up to two complete strangers and demanding something of them just because Mulder looked at her and said please and smiled. She hoped he didn't know just how far he could get with a please and a smile. It'd be all over for her.

She glanced over to the corner where Mulder's Dan and Casey seemed to be arguing over their board game.

The one with the hat was counting and pointing. "No, look, I rolled five. One, two, three, four, that's the kitchen. One for the secret passageway, and I'm in the study. Five!"

The other one shook his head. "Danny, you can't use the secret passage like that. It has to be at the start of a turn instead of rolling. You have to announce you're going to--"

"Whoa, excuse me, Milton Bradley, but it says 'one move' right here! Hey, there's a tiny little turkey on the kitchen counter. Next to what appears to be a screwdriver. Or an eggplant? Casey, is it possible that's an eggplant?"

"It's a bottle of wine, and you need to go back to the kitchen."

Dan spun his baseball cap around until he was wearing it backwards. "Okay, but I've got my eye on you."

Casey moved Dan's piece back into the kitchen. "Sure thing, Miss Scarlet."


Scully shook her head in denial. She was not going to do this. She wasn't. Not even if Mulder touched her wrist and rubbed her palm with his thumb and oh god his eyes. "Dan's the one with the hat?" she asked.

Mulder nodded enthusiastically.

"Can you-- My tea--"

"Tazo Awake, I know."

He knew what kind of tea she liked. Maybe it was already all over and no one had bothered to tell her.

Walking over to the sportscasters, Scully groped around in her laptop case for a piece of paper and a pen because she knew if it were up to Mulder, he'd be just as happy with their names scrawled on a Starbucks napkin.

She reached their table and stopped, remembering to smile. Dan looked up at her and said, "I just want you to know, I'm in the kitchen, and instead of rolling this turn, I will be availing myself of the secret passageway to the study." He held up both hands. "I will not roll. Are we all clear on that?"

Scully nodded.

Dan moved to the study. "Now what can I do for you? You don't happen to be a professional Clue player do you? Because I gotta tell you, I have no idea what I'm doing here in the study. Should I accuse someone of something? Should I sit down in this purple armchair? I think I will." He nudged his token over until it was standing on top of the chair.

"Actually, you're Dan and Casey, right?"

Dan bobbed his head. "Indeed we are. Dan and Casey, Casey and Dan, but most frequently known as Dan and Casey."

Casey leaned forward to shake Scully's hand. "You'll have to excuse my friend here. He plans to drink his way through the coffees of the world but I don't think he's even gotten out of Seattle yet."

"A thing like this can't be rushed, Casey."

"By all means take your time. We won't be getting out of here until July anyway."

"To the Denver International Airport!" Dan toasted.

"I'm sorry to interrupt," Scully said because it felt like the right thing to say even if these two didn't seem put out in the least, "but I was wondering if I could maybe get your autographs?" She held up her piece of paper, hoping they could focus long enough to sign it. "It's for a friend. He loves your show."

"Sure," Dan said, putting down his coffee and reaching for the paper. "What's his name?"

Scully glanced over her shoulder at Mulder. He was buying a piece of that coffee cake she liked. "Mulder," she sighed.


"Yes," she said, noticing Dan was left-handed.

"Like Mark Mulder," Dan said. Scully didn't ask, "Who?"

"So where's your friend live?" Casey asked.


"Our target demographic," Dan mumbled, passing the paper to Casey.

Casey kept talking while he scribbled, "And not to say I don't appreciate the mystery of the whole two or three ships passing in the night thing, but there's a good chance Dan is going to draft you for our Clue game so we really should know your name."

"Oh! Dana. Dana Scully."

Casey stopped writing and looked pale instead.

Dan gripped his arm and gave him a little shake. "You'll have to excuse my friend here. The only woman he'll ever love is named Dana, and not six hours ago, he watched her walk down the aisle with a mustachioed little homunculus named Sam."

Scully felt like she should apologize, but luckily realized that was ridiculous.

Casey slapped Dan's hand away. "Shut up. None of that's true."

Dan handed Scully their autographs and nodded at her secretively.

Scully tucked the paper into one of the pockets on her laptop bag. "Well, thank you. Hope you're not stuck here too long."

Dan put his hand flat on the table and leaned forward. "What are you doing now? Anything? I'm serious about this Clue thing. You seem really together. I'm betting you could figure this out. All I know is that it wasn't in the bathroom because, strangely, this huge creepy mansion doesn't have one. Which I find pretty suspicious."

"Actually--" Scully tried to say.

"Sit down, you can be Colonel Mustard."

"Hey, I'm Colonel Mustard!"

"Sorry, Case. Dana can be on my team. Go Team Scarlet." Dan patted the seat next to him.

"I really--" Scully turned around to look for Mulder, but he was right there, juggling two drinks and the coffee cake.

"Hot hot hot," he said.

"Put that down right here and pull up a handful of couch," Dan said. "We're playing Clue, you in?"

"Scully?" Mulder's eyes were shiny with excitement.

Scully didn't even try to resist. She sat down next to Dan, pulling Mulder in beside her. "This is Mulder, my demented other half."

"Thank you," Mulder said, gifting her with a plastic fork. "I got you coffee cake."

Yeah, it was all over. She loved him.

"So," Dan said, rubbing his hands together, "always happy to meet a fan, especially one that knows a lot about Clue?"

"I know a thing or two about solving crimes," Mulder said and Scully laughed at the mock swagger in his voice.

"Excellent!" Dan said. "We're starting over."