Circumstantial Evidence

By Jeannine Ackerson

 

Oct. 12, 1996

 

Rating: PG for some nasty words that I'm sure I'd use in the situation if it was me.

Spoiler warning: I don't see the need for one. This doesn't deal with anything from season 4, and really should be viewed as happening in a far off future, or different reality.

Disclaimer: The X-Files as well as the characters portrayed therein are property of C. Carter, Fox Broadcasting, 1013 Prod., and most importantly: they don't belong to me.

Relationship: SR/MSR. All non-relationshippers should bail now, (but actually I think you might find this really interesting in a sort of 'car wreck on the freeway' kind of way).

Summary: A jealous Scully misinterprets actions by Mulder, leading her to believe he's involved with her mother.

Hi all! OK, this is where I must explain myself (before you all kill me). I thought that in all the fanfic I've seen, I've never seen Mulder and Mrs. Scully paired up. And I got this weird idea that became this story. Do *not* despair, this *is* a Mulder/Scully romance. But not until the end, so you all know there has to be a plot twist somewhere in here. I only wish to suggest that you read on. So now to the story. . . .

 

As Scully walked into the basement office Monday morning, she was greeted with the sound of her partner's chuckling.

Mulder was on the phone when she walked in. It was eight in the morning and he was positively exuberant. Mulder was never this cheerful on Monday morning she thought to herself. . .

"So, I'll see you tonight, right? Your place, of course. Yes, I remember how to get there. It hasn't been that long," she heard him say with a smile. And the soft, loving tones that she could hear in his voice as he spoke told Scully one thing.

It was a woman on the phone.

And one he obviously cared about a great deal.

It wasn't his mom, because she knew they still weren't on the best of terms. Her only other option was that he'd met a new woman recently.

And that it was working out well.

And she didn't like that thought. Not one little bit. She was jealous. She hated to admit it, but it was true.

No, Dana Katherine Scully was not pleased that her best friend and partner of three plus years Fox William Mulder might have found a new girlfriend. And it was taking every ounce of her professionalism and will power not to say something snide that would tip him off to her jealousy.

Of course, he wouldn't know what she was jealous of. Because he didn't know she was in love with him. That she'd been in love with him for more months than she cared to admit, even to herself.

"Gotta go, Scully's here," Mulder said swiftly, then added quietly with a light blush staining his cheeks, "bye."

"Morning Mulder. So, what's on the agenda today? More slide shows of crop circles or perhaps a flight to Alaska to dig up telepathic worms?" Scully said with layered sarcasm. If she couldn't say what she'd really wanted to, she'd jump feet first into one of their verbal sparring matches.

"Nope, sorry to disappoint you partner, but it looks like we're finally going to get a chance to do all that paperwork Skinner's been screaming at us to do," he replied, barely noticing her barb.

"Fine, let's get to it then," she said lightly, dropping into her chair and proceeding to work on her computer. Anything, she thought, to keep her mind off that damned phone call.

 

The day had been a long one, and by the time five o'clock rolled around, she was more than ready to get out of there. If it had been a difficult day for Mulder, he hadn't made any show of it. In fact, it seemed that every time her looked at her, or she watched him he was in a good mood. That in itself was a rare thing.

The fact though that he was already up and heading for the door before her was more than just unsettling. It was down right "spooky." And she had no idea of when this new person had come into his life, when his new priorities had been set that he was leaving work on time now.

"Got plans for the evening Mulder?" she asked, trying to sound indifferent about it.

"Uh, yeah, actually. I'm having dinner out tonight," he said, looking a bit flustered at her question.

"Oh, well, have a nice time," Scully remarked as he just gave her his little lopsided smile and headed out the door, leaving her to wonder if he was dining alone.

But somewhere deep in her soul she suddenly knew he wasn't. And that thought felt like a spear through her heart.

 

Once she arrived home, Scully flopped on her couch, feeling drained. Looking around her empty apartment, she decided that she'd call her mom and see how she was doing.

Reaching for her jacket that she'd negligently tossed on the couch beside her, her fingers curled around the cellular phone in the pocket. Opening it up, she dialed her mom's number, and on the third ring, her mom picked up.

"Hello?" Margaret said, voice slightly breathy, as if she'd run to the phone.

"Hi mom, it's me. How are you?" Dana asked, smiling a bit at the chance to speak with her mom and catch up. It always seemed like their schedules never seemed to fit. And in the last week or so it seemed like Margaret was never home.

"Fine dear. I'm sorry Dana, but I was just on my way out to dinner. Could I call you back?" she asked, her voice now sounding a bit strained. As if she was worried about something. And Scully almost felt as if her mom was trying to get her off the phone in a hurry.

"Sure mom. Is everything ok?" Dana questioned quickly.

But before she received an answer, she heard a male voice, muffled in the background. She couldn't make out the voice, or many of the words, but she did hear "are you ready to go?" She suddenly realized her mom had a man there. That she had a date. And she was instantly embarrassed.

"Sorry mom. I won't hold you up any longer. I'll talk to you later."

And as the connection clicked off on the other end, Scully shook her head in disbelief. How was it that both her mother and Mulder both were seeing someone, and she was sitting home alone.

 

By the time Friday arrived, Scully was at the end of her rope. Her jealousy and frustration were mounting, and she just couldn't find a way to get rid of them.

The remainder of the week had continued with this strange pattern. It just seemed that neither her mother or Mulder was ever available at the same time.

Mulder was now leaving work on time. He made surreptitious phone calls when she stepped out of the office, and hung up quickly when she came back in. He was busy for lunch when she wanted to go out, and his evenings were booked.

And her mother seemed to be out a lot as well. When she did reach her at home, invariably her mom's call waiting would go off and she'd have to hang up. Then when she'd suggested they have lunch during the week, her mom had informed her that she had plans, and perhaps they could try again next week.

The whole thing was driving her crazy. Between Mulder's new conquest and her mother's new life, it seemed like they just seemed to be too busy for her.

With a sigh, she headed into her bedroom to put together her laundry for the next day and tried to get her mind off Mulder and his new "girlfriend" and her mom's recent "beau."

 

Saturday afternoon found Scully at the mall.

Nonchalantly she wandered around after picking up a new bath towel. It was to replace the one she'd ended up shredding in the damn towel eating washing machine that morning. It just seemed everything was out to get her recently. As she rounded the corner of the mall, she caught sight of a familiar figure in a store on the other side of the mall. It took her a couple of moments and a few more feet closer for her to realize that it was her mom.

What's she doing here, she thought to herself with growing curiosity. And in a jewelry store, no less.

That puzzled her. The fact that her mom didn't stop in those places when she was just out looking around. Scully watched from across the mall as her mom pointed at something in the glass case in front of her, and the clerk pulled it out. When she saw her slide the item on her finger, she knew it was a ring.

What's mom doing trying on rings, she wondered. She had plenty of them, including one Dana had bought her for mother's day last year. And then she noticed which hand she'd put the ring on.

Oh my God! An engagement ring?!? Scully thought crazily. But who?!

Then she saw the man who had been standing behind her mom, but whom she'd neglected to notice before now. And as he came up besides her mom, her heart froze in her chest. The lanky frame. The tall, rugged look. The posture. The unruly kept clothes. She'd know that figure anywhere.

It was Mulder.

He leaned over to look at the ring, taking her mom's hand in his as he studied it. And Scully knew she couldn't have been more shocked if Skinner had told her he was a cross-dresser. But it couldn't be . . . her mom and her partner?!? When could this have happened? How did she not see it? How could they do this to her?? The thoughts flew through her mind in quick, illogical succession. It couldn't be true.

But the evidence was all there, staring her in the face. The last weeks events all began to fall into place. The discreet phone calls. The sweet tones. The scheduling problems. The other lunch and dinner dates.

She had known that he was busy, seeing someone. But nothing could have prepared her for this. That the other woman she was jealous of was her own mother!

Suddenly she saw Mulder tightly embrace her mom, and she in turn threw her arms joyously around his neck.

That was all Scully had to see. Without a second thought, she turned and raced for the door, her heart shattering at this betrayal of her trust, by the two people she trusted most in the world.

 

When the doorbell rang that evening, Mulder gave Mrs. Scully a conspiring look and headed for the door. They hadn't had much time to get things set up, since they'd recently come back from the mall, and they'd planned to contact Dana soon to have her come over.

While he strode to the door, her mom was preparing a wonderful meal for them. Their conversations for weeks now had been how Mulder was going to tell Scully, and Margaret had helped with a few suggestions and this dinner had been the one he'd liked best.

Opening the door, he was confronted with a sight that he was sure he had never seen in his life. Dana Scully stood there, her clothes messy and askew as if she'd been in a tornado, her hair tousled and wind blown. But what disturbed him the most was her face. The barely controlled trembling in her chin, the eyes wide with hurt, the mouth pulled tight, and most grievous, the tears that were streaming silently down her face.

"Scully, what's happened?" he asked, his concern overriding anything else. He wanted to pull her into the room, sit her down and find out what had happened to her to make her look like this. But before he could, Margaret's voice called out from the kitchen as she wandered towards the living room, to see who was there.

"Fox, dear, who's at the door? Dinner's almost ready and you need to call . . ." she began, and then suddenly stopped as the sight of her youngest daughter at the door. And the pain evident in her face took her breath away. What could have happened to her that would have hurt her daughter so, to make her look that way?

"I'm sorry to interrupt your 'engagement dinner' Mulder, but I just wanted to give you this," she said, trying not to sound bitter, but not having much luck at it," they're my transfer papers. I'd appreciate it if you would sign them and return them to Skinner in the morning."

"Engagement?" Mulder asked dumfounded, still reeling from the meaning of the papers in his hands. What was she . . .?

"I *saw* you. Both of you. And I'll be damned if I have to work with you after you marry into my family. I think that's close enough for us to be, without having to see you every day." she nearly choked.

"Dana, you don't understand, it's not like . . ." Margaret tried to explain, still standing away from her daughter as she began to realize what was going on.

"Scully," Mulder began, and was quickly cut off by Dana's outburst.

"*Don't* even say it Mulder! Just do me a favor for once in your life and just sign the goddamn papers and leave me alone. You've got my mother. One Scully in your life should be enough for any man, even you!" she yelled, then turned to race down the corridor.

Once the words sunk in, her finally understood. She thought he was in love with Margaret. With her mother! Oh God, no wonder she was angry, he groaned.

"Go after her Fox," Maggie said lovingly, pressing the velvet box into his hand.

Sparing her a brief glance that told her of his gratitude, he charged out the door after his fleeing partner.

Luck was with him, as she was taking the stair slower than him, her two inch heels slowing her progress. He had to admit though, that even with the regular exercise of his morning jogs and his longer legs, it was only pure adrenaline that helped him catch her as she got out to the parking lot.

His arms grabbed her around the waist, lifting her off the ground and backwards into his arms. But she struggled, twisting and turning in his grasp, trying to pull free without actually striking him. No matter how hurt or betrayed she felt, she was still in love with him. And she'd never intentionally try to hurt him like that.

"Let me go!!" she screamed, her hands pulling at his, trying to pry them away from her body.

"Stop it! Dana! Just stop it and let me explain!" Mulder now started to yell, to try and get her attention. Finally he'd had enough.

Setting her down, her spun her around to face him, and almost roughly took a hold of her upper arms, shaking her into a stunned silence.

"I love you! Damn it Dana, I've been in love with you for years. I can't even begin to believe you'd think I'd betray you. And with your mother for God's sake?!" he said forcefully.

"But . . . I saw, I heard you . . ." she stammered out, still trying to process the facts that he and her mother weren't involved, and that he had told her that he loved her, and that he'd loved her for a long time now.

"Dana, I love you, but you're a lousy investigator. You just assumed that your mom and I were carrying on an affair when all we were doing was figuring out how I was going to tell you that I loved you. And that I wanted to marry you," he said, his voice carrying just the slightest bit of laughter in it as he imagined for the briefest moment him and Mrs. Scully. It was so funny he almost laughed until he looked at Dana again.

The hurt was still there, but now the softness was beginning to show underneath. Now all he had to do was say the right thing.

"But the jewelry store?"

And he suddenly knew what had sent her into this frenzy. She had seen her mother and himself picking out the ring. Oh God, that must have looked really bad when they'd hugged there in the middle of the store. And in her mind, he realized it all must have fit. The secretive phone calls. The dinner date. Both his and Mrs. Scully's sidestepping her queries. The circumstantial evidence was certainly overwhelming, and she'd been jealous enough to be blinded by it.

"Your mom wears the exact same size ring you do, don't you remember? I asked her to come and help me pick out this," Mulder announced, fishing the red velvet box out of his front pocket.

With a creak, the hinged lid opened, and Scully stared down at perfect oval cut diamond ring, in a white gold setting. It was a delicate stone, but it sparkled with a brilliant fire. When Mulder had seen it, he knew it belonged to Dana. And when Mrs. Scully had tried it on for it's fit, the two of them knew it was perfect.

"Oh Mulder," Scully breathed as she saw the ring. And all of a sudden, she wasn't angry anymore. The fact that he had bought this ring for *her*, that he wanted to marry her had erased all her fury. And shame quickly took its place. "Mulder, I'm so sorry that I didn't trust you. It's just, I thought that you . . . Mulder, it just was like Dr. Bambi and Detective White all over again. And I thought . . ."

"I know Scully. I've given you a lot of reason in the past to be jealous and to not trust me. But now that you know, what do you want to do about this? I love you and I want to marry you. And although I think you love me too, considering the scene we just had, I'd really like to hear it from you," Mulder said softly, a little afraid of her answer.

This was it. It was all in her court now. She either was going to turn her back on him for what he'd put her through, not just the last week or so, but for the last three years. Or, she was going to say yes. And his future hinged on the next few seconds.

She looked at him, and slowly, the smile that outshone the diamond in his hand spread across her face.

"I love you Fox Mulder, and yes, I'll marry you," she answered.

In a second, the ring was out of the box and he slid it on her hand. Then he pulled her into his arms and they hugged until their ribs were aching at the feeling. Slowly they began to ease out of the embrace, and he took her hand instead, pulling her back towards the apartment building.

"Come on Scully, let's go see my soon to be mother-in-law and tell her the good news."

- End -

Well, I hope this surprised you all. I know that it looked sorta bad up till the end, but it just sort of came out that way. Thanks for reading. J.

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