After Dinner Conversation
By Maureen B. Ocks

Disclaimer:  Fox Mulder, Dana Scully and all other familiar X
Files characters belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions and
FOX.  No copyright infringement intended.

Archive -- Sure, just tell me and keep my name with it.
Spoilers:   One Son.  Since the dating in this episode was weak,
I picked when it actually occurred.  
Keywords:  Setting things straight    
Codes:  VA           "R" for language.

Author's notes at the end.


Dana Scully's Apartment
February 7, 1999
Scully answered the phone on the third ring.  

"Hey Scully, it's me.  Want some dinner?" Mulder asked.

"Mulder it is pouring rain, we have an eight o'clock meeting
with Skinner, Kersh and Spender tomorrow morning.  It's been
a rough week.  I'm in for the night."

"Aw, come on Scully, you and me, Carmine's.  You can hear
the veal milanese calling you."

Scully sighed.  The chicken caesar salad leftover in her crisper
was a lot less attractive than Carmine's veal, but not in this rain,
not with the way things were going with them.  "Maybe
tomorrow when we know if we have jobs or not.  I do want to
talk before the meeting tomorrow though...."  A knock on her
door interrupted their conversation.  "Hold on, Mulder."

Scully was almost surprised to find Fox Mulder standing at her
door.  Wet -- he had no umbrella -- Mulder's arms were full of
plastic bags and takeout tins.

"What would you have done if I wasn't here or if I don't let you

"I checked that you were here first and then went by

"Carmine's doesn't do takeout."  Scully gave way at the door,
Mulder stepped in.

"They do if you tip Carmine enough."  Mulder made a straight
path to her dining room table, unburdening himself of the food
and then his jacket.  "If you get the plates, I'll get this all

Scully shook her head and started walking to the kitchen.  

Mulder called to her and presented a bottle like a damp wine
steward.  "I'll open it if it meets with your approval madam."

Scully read the label -- Ruffino Riserva Ducale -- Mulder had
good taste.

"Carmine told me it was a nice chianti."  OK, Carmine had good

"No fava beans jokes Mulder." She started back to the kitchen.

"Never even occurred to me."

Scully grabbed a couple of plates and put some utensils,
including the cork screw and her best cloth napkins on them. 
She rinsed out two wine glasses and returned.  

He was back to full Fox Mulder form.  He bought dinner all
right.  Her table was now covered with all sizes of takeout tins -
- tins that were sending off the most amazing smells.  

Mulder took the plates and finished his work.  "OK, so for your
dining pleasure, we'll start with a little portabello alla griglia,
stuffed artichokes, pasta with tomatoes, basil and fresh
mozzarella, veal milanese with those little red potatoes you
like for you, linguine fra diavolo for me, couple of canoli's for
dessert."  Mulder pointed in his best head waiter manner. 
Taking the cork screw, he opened and poured the wine

Scully sat down and took her veal from the tin.  "Mulder, I'll go
back to my original question, what if I wasn't here?  What if I
went out between the time you checked and the time you got
back?  Sat in the hall and waited?  Fed the Gunmen?"

Mulder took about half the order of portabello mushrooms and
moved them onto his plate.  "They would have taken the food
and thrown me out."

Scully arched an eyebrow -- she had a mouth full of potatoes.

"About a second after you left their offices day before
yesterday, I was knocked to the ground.  What Frohike lacks in
basic fighting skills he more than makes up in enthusiasm and
insanity.  It took both Langly and Byers to pull him off me."

"Frohike?" Scully stole a sip of her wine.  It was quite good.

"Oh yes.  They shuffled him back into the lone bedroom when
Byers turned.  I've known him almost ten years and I've never
heard him use that kind of language." Mulder took a sip of his
wine.  "The nicest thing he called me was a "useless prick"."

"Byers?" Scully was more amazed by the moment.

"When Byers stormed out, Langly started pointing at me and
yelling that things would never be right for me unless I did right
by you.  Last night in bed I realized he was channelling Miss
Celie from The Color Purple.  Don't let that long blonde mane
fool you Scully, the man is soul brother number one."

For the first time in days, Scully laughed.  It sounded odd to
even her ears.  

Mulder flashed his best smile but grew serious as he looked at
his dinner, "I want to talk about that night."

"So do I Mulder, but I really want to enjoy this nice meal you
bought so we'll talk about that after dinner.  It's what I wanted
to talk about before meeting with Skinner and company


During dinner, Mulder was at his entertaining best explaining to
Scully how he actually got Carmine to cook and pack up this
meal, the picking of the wine and running from Carmine's to her
apartment when he couldn't find a cab.

Scully started the coffee as Mulder helped clear the table and
load the dishwasher.

Mulder was sitting on the far end of her couch when Scully
arrived with two large cups of coffee.  "What were you working
on?" Mulder pointed to several file folders piled on her coffee
table as he took his cup.

"Jeffrey Spender called this morning and messengered some
materials over."  Scully sat on the other end of the couch, facing


"Yes, Cassandra Spender was identified as one of the bodies we
found at El Rico.  He wanted to make sure the dental records
matched and thought I would be honest about Cassandra."

"It was her?"


Mulder shook his head, "Scully I'm sorry."

"She was found with about a dozen men who were former
diplomats, retired military or government officials from the
fifties on and their families.  I met one of these men once when
you were locked on that train in Iowa.  My guess is these are
the men who worked with your father."

"I agree."

"There are two interesting people missing though."  Scully
stood and flipped through one of the folders.  Back on the
couch, she handed a piece of paper to Mulder -- El Rico's guard
house entry and exit records.

"A car carrying one Diana Fowley entered the base at 11:20pm,
which is about the right time frame if she went right from the
Watergate.  Agent Fowley left about nine minutes later with an
older gentleman in her car.  The older gentleman was identified
by the guard on duty as one C. G. B. Spender."

"Did the guard know the older Spender?"

"No, Jeffrey Spender showed him a picture and the guard
confirmed it."

"They escaped."

"And disappeared it seems.  Spender has been trying to contact
Fowley since that night.  So has Assistant Director Skinner.  No
one was answering her phone.  Skinner was concerned enough
for her safety that he went to her apartment."

"Not there?" Mulder knew the answer, but wanted to hear it

"No, neither were her clothes, her weapon, her computer or any
ID."  Scully took a deep breath, "Mulder, has she contacted

"No.  I haven't heard from her since I went with you to find
Cassandra.  I don't think I will." Mulder ran his hand over his
face before running it through his drying hair.

"Mulder, are you beginning to have some doubts?"

"No, actually, this confirms the doubts I had when I saw
Spender's old man walk into her apartment.  I never knew
where she lived after she came back.  If I didn't get a look at her
FBI bio on the computer you and the boys pulled up that night I
still wouldn't know."

Scully looked right at him, "Why did you dismiss me that night? 
I don't expect you to agree with most of the things I say.  I
expect to disagree with you most of the time.  But Mulder, I've
always tried to give your side of the argument a fair hearing. 
Why wouldn't you do the same for me?"

Mulder shrugged, "Because I knew her -- or I thought I knew
her.  Because it would have been nice to meet someone who
shared my interests without some hidden agenda."

"Mulder, there are people all around you who share your
interests.  I do, Skinner does, the Gunmen, if they ever forgive
you, do as well."

"But Diana was there in the beginning..."

"...and I'm here now Mulder.  My only agenda was and is
finding out the truth.  I never lied to you and I never
intentionally mislead you.  I've supported you through any
number of cases, conspiracies, side road trips.  Whatever you
wanted to investigate, we investigated it and for six years, I've
been here.  When do I get the benefit of the doubt that Diana
gets for being there in the beginning?"

"Scully, there is nobody I trust..."

"Bullshit Mulder.  Suppose, just suppose, that Walter Skinner
came through that door after we were showered and separated
from Cassandra.  And suppose he had the same bogus story. 
You would have been climbing through an air duct and using
those bolt cutters you bought last summer to find her."

"I don't..." Mulder stopped, "probably.  But I trusted her."

"More than you trusted me."

"Differently than I trusted you, never more.  I expect to be on
the same page with Diana more than I expect to be on the same
page with you.  And Scully, your reaction has been negative to
her from the start."

Outraged, Scully retorted, "What from the start?  We worked
together trying to protect Gibson Praise, a child that was taken
on her watch."

"She nearly died Scully."

"Did she?  For someone near death, she was back at the FBI
requalifying three weeks later.  Do you know when she was
reassigned to Domestic Terrorism Mulder?"

"Sometime last summer." Mulder shrugged.

"When you and I were in Dallas."  Scully sighed.  "Mulder, I'm
not the one here who looks for conspiracies under ever rock.  If
Diana's record belonged to anyone else, you would have had
your spooky radar up from day one."

"Probably.", Mulder stood and started to pace.  "Scully, after
they split us up a few years ago, if Alex Krycek told me he was
suspicious of you, I would not have believed him."

"Nice to hear." Scully replied dryly.

"No, wait. That's not what I mean."  Mulder took a deep breath
and tried again.  "What I mean is that until that night, Diana
never did anything to make me suspicious.  That file you had,
the travel records? You want to explain our travel records over
the last few months?  We've been to Nevada, back to Dallas
twice and that little side trip to West Virginia.  Are those trips
in our records?"

"No, but our records for the last six months, for the last six
years, haven't been hollowed out by someone.  Your name is
well known to most MUFON chapters.  In all that time, why
didn't she drop you a note, send you a file, a clipping, a joke
saying you're famous?"

"Think I have global appeal?" Mulder deflected.

"Interplanetary -- answer the question."

"Until a couple of days ago, I never thought of it.  Diana was an
interesting woman I met after my divorce.  We had the same
interests, did the same work and had some fun.  We were both
really into our careers.  She got the offer to go to Europe and I
encouraged her to go.  There was nothing nefarious about it.  I
helped her pack, helped her sell her car and drove her to the

"And when Gibson Praise shows up, so does she."

"In a meeting with a dozen other agents including you."

"I was invited by Agent Spender.  I could not figure out, and in
hindsight neither could Spender, who sent Agent Fowley."

"Scully, I'm not disagreeing with you.  Diana looks dirty, really
dirty.  Yes, Pat, I'd like to buy a clue.  What I am saying is that
the information you gave me wasn't all that damning."

"Gave you?  I forced it on you.", Scully ran her hand through
her hair, "Mulder, I have a lot of problems with some of the
things you said that night.  One line I just didn't get was your
statement that you didn't have time for this.  Mulder, we were
suspended, your apartment was still under CDC control.  What
exactly were you running off to do?"

"I thought it was a waste of time."  Mulder stated, "My time
and yours."

"And now?"

"I was wrong."

"Wake the kids and phone the neighbors."  Scully threw her
arms in the air in mock victory.

Mulder made a face but continued, "I was wrong.  I am sorry
that I did not give your concerns a fair hearing.  You've done
the same for me in the past and it was wrong."

"Good." Scully took a deep breath, "I have one other issue."

"The personal one."

"Yep.  Mulder, sit down, because if we don't get past this part,
we have real problems."

Mulder reluctantly returned to the couch.

"When I met you, you told me about your sister, that her
abduction was the one thing that drove you.  Your passion,
your single-mindedness to find the truth all goes back to that
one event."

"There have been other things since then but yea, it goes back
to Samantha."

"Mulder, four years ago, a man came into this apartment,
assaulted me, stuffed me in the trunk of a car and stole months
of my life.  When I was returned, it was to die.  I survived
though, only to have my sister fatally wounded in the same
apartment.  Her death, your father's death, my illness, the chip,
Penny, Emily...why wouldn't this be personal to me?"

Mulder tried to speak but couldn't.

"This is personal to me.  Mulder, my life has become our work -
- not your work, ours.   I don't agree with everything you say
but I have never dismissed you like that.  If we are to continue
working together, you need to understand this."

"I do, I guess it's just been my quest for so long I forget."

"Well Mulder, time to start remembering.  I'm sorry Diana
wasn't what you thought she was.  But Mulder, did you think
those who worked against us were going to pick an antagonist
to shut us down?  Wasn't it so much easier to separate Gibson
and me from you when Diana arrived?"


"And that was nothing more than a dress rehearsal for
Cassandra.  Mulder, the story the Cigarette Man told you was
interesting, plausible and if we had just a few minutes more with
Cassandra, maybe even provable.  But you decided Diana was
right and I was being out of line."

"You were a little strident Scully."

"Was it any different than your behavior in any one of the half a
dozen OPR meetings?  Any different than what you've done in
half a dozen staff meetings, briefings?  Mulder, I disagreed. 
And it looks like I was right."

"I agree Scully, I was wrong and I'm sorry."

Scully took a deep breath and continued, "I don't know if I
should tell you this, but in the interest of full disclosure, Jeffrey
Spender told me something when I confirmed his mother's
death.  I am taking him at his word."

"This doesn't sound good."

"No Mulder, actually it does.  Tomorrow's meeting with Kersh,
Skinner and Spender will be about the deaths at El Rico. 
Spender is going to admit that if you and I weren't suspended,
weren't forbidden from investigating X Files cases, in all
likelihood, El Rico wouldn't have happened."

"He is?"  

"Yes.  He is also going to put in for a leave of absence because
of his mother's death.  He will resign his position with the X
Files, recommending you and I be reinstated to both the FBI
and the X Files."

"You believe him?"  Mulder was sure.

"If I see it, yes.  Mulder, I didn't have a bad relationship with
Agent Spender until Arizona.  Turning his mother's dental
records over and asking for independent confirmation makes me
believe he might just do it."

"Some skeptic you are."  Mulder teased.

"We'll have our proof tomorrow, but I want you to know where
I stand if this happens."

"You said this was your work too."

"Yes Mulder it is, and that mean some changes.  The ditches
have largely stopped with the trip to Canada when your mother
was sick.  That is to continue."

"Got it."

Scully continued, "No more secrets Mulder -- no more not
telling me things for my own good.  I'll make those decisions."


"If you ever dismiss me like you did the other night..."

"....I'll get kicked to the curb."  Mulder finished her thought.

"On your ass."  Scully looked at him straight in the eye.  "Fair?"

"Fair."  Mulder sighed.  "Scully, with all this, why do you put
up with me?"

Scully took a long sip of her now cold coffee.  "Well, every
time I deal with the partner who blows off my opinions, who
leaves me behind for my own good, who keeps secrets from me
for my own good, I remember this other man.  My first real
recollection of this man one very cold, bad day, was him taking
off his parka, his snowpants and his socks and putting them on
me.  See, these clothes he brought to the end of the world and
he gave them to me."

Scully took a deep breath and continued, "This man told me I
saved him from making mistakes, he sat next to my bed a few
weeks ago and kept me entertained for days after I was shot. 
This man...." Scully began to choke up.  After a deep breath,
she continued, "One very dark morning, this man dressed in
black head to toe told me I had the power to save myself. 
When my mother gave up on me, when my family gave up on
me, when I was giving up, Mulder, that man stood there and
was as sure of my survival as I am you're sitting here."

"I think I know that guy."  Mulder's smiled shyly.

"I think you are that guy most of the time.  Those are your
better angels Mulder, the part of you that I see when everyone
else wonders why I stay with you."

"That's why you stay?"

"Yep.  That and nobody has challenged, engaged, infuriated,
angered, entertained or annoyed me more.  I told you once
before and I'll tell you again, I wouldn't change a day."

Mulder smiled, "I'll probably infuriate you some more."

"Probably, and I'll try to stop you when I think you're making a
mistake.  But Mulder, one more scene like the one with the
Gunmen and I'll need help remembering that dark angel of hope
that very bleak morning."  

Scully smiled at Mulder -- a smile that gave him what he came
for -- understanding, forgiveness, acceptance.

"If you are right and we get our jobs back and the X Files back,
how about we do this again -- this time we'll see Carmine." 
Mulder took her hands in his.

"Sounds good, after that dinner I should finally be hungry about
this time tomorrow."

"Speaking of which " Mulder leaned over and kissed Scully
lightly on the mouth, giving her hands a slight squeeze.  "Night
Scully, bright and early for either the emancipation or

Speechless for the first time that night, Scully watched Mulder
grab his coat and go to the door.  "See you tomorrow Scully,
sweet dreams."

"Mulder, you want to take a canoli?" It was the only thing she
could think to say.

"Wrap 'em up, save them for tomorrow.  We'll come back here
for either the wake or a planning session."

Mulder almost completely shut the door when he popped his
head back in.  "Scully, can I ask a favor?"


"We're cool, right?"

"So far."  Scully knew this had to be good.

"Can you call Langly?  He sent me an e-mail with a worm
attached to it.  Wiped out all the sounds in my computer.  When
I turn it on, or open a program, I hear Frohike saying 'Hi Fox'."

Scully laughed for the second time that night, a much better
laugh than the earlier one.  "I'll give him a call."

The End

Author's notes:

Yes Mulder was a full-fledged jerk in parts of One Son.  He
needed redemption.  Italian food has redemptive qualities.

Thank you so much to everyone who has sent feedback for my
other stories.  I am honored and grateful for the time and effort
that takes.

Special thanks:

Jennifer Arthur for help with the wine.  As a teetotaler, I needed
all the help I could get.

To a nice group of women who have been incredibly supportive
in this little venture and in me.  Their kindness is greatly
appreciated, especially the Teletubbie Fan who is simply the

Feedback is just another way of saying "I Care".