Office Politics
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:   Through late season six.
Keywords:  Feathering nests a little north.

R for language, author's notes at the end.


April 3rd
Hoover Building

I have my own office.

It is one of the FBI's better kept secrets, but I have my own

It is mine and mine alone -- I do not share it with visiting
pathologists, guest lecturers or other specialists.

My office has my books, my case notes, my work PC, my shoes
in the bottom drawer of the file cabinet and an emergency stash
of Hershey Kisses in the pencil drawer.

My name and title are on the office door.

And all on the fourth floor.

To appreciate this, you need to understand the FBI office
politics -- office politics as in who has one where and on what

I am a medical doctor.  It says so on the door.  It says so on my
diploma on the wall.  

I have been with the FBI for all of my professional life.  In an
official capacity, I have worked as an instructor, a field agent,
an ASAC once or twice, a SAC once.  I've consulted with
medical teams that saved the lives of myself, my partner, our
immediate supervisor and probably enough innocent civilians to
populate a medium size city.  I've worked with an assortment of
medical personal on everything from mad cow disease to
delivering a baby, the cure for a retrovirus to the effects of a
high-pitched radiowave on the hearing. 

Unofficially, I have patched up Fox Mulder, Walter Skinner and
myself more times than any of us care to count.

As a field agent, I have an impressive record, a handful of
citations and a case resolution rate with my partner that is the
envy of the bureau.

Admittedly, I also have several reprimands as well.  Hey -- can't
bake a cake without cracking some eggs.  

God, I've been hanging around with Mulder way too much.

When I was working at Quantico, I had rather large offices both
times.  As an instructor and staff pathologist, I had quality
furniture, nice wood desks, bookcases and top of the line
equipment.  The newest computers, the best in lighting and
phones -- everything a professional expected.

When I was sent to the Hoover building, I started off in small
offices reserved for either visiting agents or emptied by female
staffers out on maternity leave.  Nothing of my own probably
because no one thought my assignment would last very long.

After a few months with Mulder, we worked with Nancy
Spiller.  Nancy was a former instructor, someone I knew from a
few office events at Quantico.  She liked me.  She wound up
running the Forensic Sciences Division at the Hoover building
not long after we worked together.  I think she gave me an
office with the idea that when Mulder self-destructed, I'd work
with her.

Good idea, but ultimately, Mulder, the bureau and I had other

Mulder didn't self-destruct.  He got too close.  He got too
close, we got shut down and I was back in an even larger office
in Virginia.  Nancy was sad to see me go but whispered that
Special Agent Wilson just told her she was pregnant.  She'd
have a spot in a few months and would request my return.

Well, that didn't work out.  Nancy was good about the whole
thing -- I got a call about every two weeks to make sure I was

Oh yeah, Nancy, I was fine.  I blew up from my usual size 3 to a
size 7, which is rather noticeable on my less than lanky frame.  I
was teaching a group of students who would be on the streets
in a matter of weeks while I got to shuffle papers.  Mulder
wasn't talking to me for a while and when he was, it was about
quitting -- an idea not without some merits.

Things are great, Nance, thanks for asking.

When I returned to the FBI after my time away, Nancy grabbed
me on my first day back.  Before I even made it to the elevator
to tell Mulder I was in, she dragged me into the just opened
Starbucks across the street from the Hoover Building.  Nancy
made her pitch over a couple of Mocha Javas Tall:  she'd make
me second in charge, raise in pay, step-up in job grade, I could
even work with Mulder as a consultant from time to time.

I know Nancy was being nice.  I know she thought she was
saving me from career suicide.  It was almost the same talk
Mulder had with me two nights after I got out of the hospital. 
They didn't understand.  I told Nancy what I told Mulder -- I
wanted to go back.  I needed to go back.

I went back. 

Mulder lived in his basement office, I shuttled between my third
floor Nancy leased office and his guest chair.  Little bits of the
X Files made it to my office -- the book of Norwegian children's
stories earned a place next to the PDR, an autopsy photo of
Owen Jarvis was tacked to the back of my office door, the x-
rays showing my cancer sat in their photo sleeve on top of my
file cabinet.

Right before I got sick, I was sitting in Mulder's office behind
his desk.  He seemed surprised to see me behind it.  He really
looked out of place when he plopped into the guest chair.  He
thought it was about the desk, but it wasn't.  On some level I
guess I knew I was sick.  On another, I saw pieces of Mulder's
office, of Mulder's life creeping into mine.  I saw nothing in that
office that suggested I was ever there.  Nothing.  In hindsight, I
was dying, I spent 4 years with the X Files and I thought I never
made a mark.

I didn't tell Nancy I had cancer.  About a week before Mulder's
"suicide", I was doing some paperwork in my office when I had,
to that point, my worst nosebleed ever.  I ruined my blouse, the
desk blotter, my mousepad and went through half a box of
tissues before Nancy stopped by to ask about the recent hole in
Mulder's head.

She didn't scream, which surprised me, especially considering
the amount of blood.  Then again, she's a trained professional.

Nancy had Mulder in my office about two minutes later.  He
picked me up and put me on the couch in Nancy's office.  He
stayed with me, holding my hand until he almost willed the
nosebleed to end. He told me to rest, he'd be back with some
handiwipes and a scrubs top for me to wear home.

After he left, I saw him talking to Nancy.  I know he told her.  
Another humiliation, more of my life out of my control.   
Somehow fainting and nearly bleeding to death in front of
Blevins and the FBI Assembly was less embarrassing.

A few weeks later when I returned miraculously cured, I
expected to be stopped by Nancy again.  Mulder repeated his
post-hospital-stay song and dance about my career.  Nancy
didn't.  She greeted me warmly, well as warmly as Nancy can,
and had muffins and bagels for everyone my first day back.

Before going home one night, right before Mulder and I were
leaving for Florida, I mentioned to Nancy I was surprised by the
non-pitch.  She looked at me and simply stated "You'll never
leave him." and left for the day.

That surprised me more.

Not that I would never leave the X Files, never leave field
work, it was Mulder I would never leave.

I stewed all the way down to Florida -- Nancy was being totally
condescending about my relationship with Mulder.  She looked
at me like a schoolgirl with a crush.  

When Mulder wound up at Quantico a few days later explaining
to the head of EAP why running around in the Everglades
technically was team building, I did some catch-up work in the
basement.  When I looked around, I had an epiphany.   I was all
over that office.

Well, not me, my mark.  The bulletin board had the Washington
Post article about Eugene Tooms's capture.  My name was in
that article as the arresting agent.  On Mulder's endless
bookshelves, medical texts sat next to books on witchcraft and
alien sightings.  In Mulder's "A/V" cabinet, a couple of my
Motown CDs sat with his 70's classic rock tapes.  

The most amazing thing was in the desk drawer.  A photo.  I
know he has a few pictures of me from a crime scene
photographer named Michaels we like to use.  I have a shot or
two of him from Michaels as well.  In fact, one night just before
sunset, Michaels took a picture of Mulder and me "for when
you're famous".  We both liked the picture -- he said I looked
like I knew I was right, I told him he looked like the cat that got
the canary.  His copy of that picture sits in a rather nice frame
next to his picture of Samantha near the fish at home.

Mine is in my wallet.

This picture, the one in the drawer, was different though.  It
was from Apison, Tennessee.  Mulder and I were in our FBI
windbreakers.  We were looking at a paper, I was pointing
right, he was pointing left.  It was the perfect picture of us.

When Mulder arrived a few hours later, I asked him about the
photo.  He said Agent Harbaugh sent it to him and he just put it
in the drawer.  He liked the picture, "Not too bad profile, with
my nose and all."  When I told him I liked it too, it went to the
bulletin board.

It stayed there until the office burned down.

You know, closing us down was bad enough, burning us out
was just overkill.  Another shut down, long dull grinding work
probably would have driven us out...but no.  They had to fry the
files.  In hindsight, they were dumb.  Mulder's encroachment
into my office included my coat closet.  Any of the real
important files -- my file, Samantha's file, Cassandra Spender's
file -- all were in a small fireproof safe that Mulder and Frohike
snuck in while I was visiting Charlie in Pensacola.

Shutting us down did cost me my office again.  Unless I was
willing to work for Nancy -- not as second in charge or with the
pay raise either -- I was out.  When we were working on the
glamour side of domestic terrorism -- pre-Dallas -- we shared a
small cubicle made for two.  We were in and out of the Hoover
building at a moment's notice so we never got to do anything
with that office.

Well, Mulder did put up a drawing of an elbow and a guy's butt
with the caption "Learn the Difference", but one of the
administrative assistants complained and it was gone before our
OPR hearing.

My last OPR hearing last summer -- not to be confused with my
fall OPR and late January OPR hearings -- cost me my
friendship with Nancy.  It seems Jana Cassidy was Nancy's
mentor.  Cassidy too worked her way up from an instructor at
Quantico to an A.D.  Impressive.  Nancy was on that track too
and she hoped I'd follow in her footsteps.

Five years ago, maybe.  Now, never.  

Nancy ripped me a second hole after I walked out of the OPR
hearing.  She accused me of being as arrogant as Mulder.   I
tried to remind Nancy that Cassidy was throwing me to the
wolves not Mulder.  I was the one who was going to have to
pick up my life and move it elsewhere, not my male partner.  I
was being reassigned -- so much for the sisterhood.

After a five minute lecture about all the prejudices that Jana and
Nancy suffered to make things easier for me, I wanted to tell
her that oh yea, easier for me -- the last five years have been a
day at the beach with abductions, assaults, cancer and Emily,
but if I started down that road, Nancy and I would still be
arguing.  Instead, I told Nancy it was a honor working with her
but I just never saw a full time forensic assignment in my future. 

Mulder and I lost the cubicle when we gained Assistant
Director Kersh.  I'm sure there is a decent administrator in there
somewhere, but his genuine contempt for us in general and
Mulder in particular made working for him incredibly difficult.

It wasn't the big insults -- though the seven thousand dollar
reimbursement to the Justice Department wound up being a tidy
tax deduction on this year's returns -- but the minor annoyances
that bothered me.  Sitting Mulder next to a door was a perfect
example.  When he's not interesting in what he's doing, Fox
Mulder could be distracted by a gnat.  So, by all means, park
him next to a door and just steps away from the coffee room. 
Mulder wasn't too distracted, just like Monica Lewinsky wasn't
too forward.

Our return to the X Files, just after it looked like my next office
would be my kitchen table, had me worrying about office space. 
Diana and Spender managed to fit two desks into that office
but, in all honesty, it just looked weird to see the two desks
down there.

Or maybe it looked weird seeing anyone down there but


I wondered how I'd approach Mulder about a new arrangement
when he called one night and said he was having car trouble. 
Could I swing by and give him a lift?  Since my car was totalled
by the midnight train to El Rico, I had a nice Lexus rental and
was in the mood to show off.  I did mention that the tax refund
was tidy this year didn't I?

When we got to the Hoover building, Mulder said he had a
surprise and took me to the fourth floor.

Hoover is set up with Mulder, rooms of old files, the
maintenance folks and the building's copy center in the
basement.  The lobby is just that with some PR and press offices
in the rear.  Two is where the bullpens for Domestic Terrorism,
Violent Crimes, etc. are set up.  Three is the speciality areas --
like Nancy's forensic people, the libraries and the labs.  

Four is administration -- finance and legal, H.R. and EAP, office
management and procurement, conference rooms and
auditoriums, along with a group of law enforcement
professionals who are a grade above supervisors but below
assistant directors.  It is a very nice floor.  

Five, six and seven house the assistant directors, the staff to the
director and the director himself.

Anyway, Mulder took me up to four and showed me a small
office, just off the fire stairs.  Small for this floor.  It was about
twice the size of the space Nancy gave me.  It had a nice view
of Pennsylvania Avenue, a quality desk, a phone that didn't look
like the crank was removed a week or two ago and a brand new
Pentium III computer.

"Is this OK for you?" was his way of saying "You sit here, I'll
be in the basement."

I pushed him on why I was going to four and not sharing the
basement.  His immediate reply "I don't want you there" almost
got him tossed out of my new office.  The follow-up, however,
was Mulder at his best.  

"You don't deserve that Scully.  You deserve this.  I'll be
Spooky in the basement, you can be Dr. Scully on the
professional floor."

My first piece of inner-office mail to this office was from "S.
Mulder/basement" --  a large folder marked "Evidence".  Inside
was a pale blue Tiffany's box.  Mulder's gift giving in the past
has been an odd mix, but boxes from Tiffany's are a step in the
right direction.  Inside was a silver picture frame -- one of those
that opens up into two frames.  The pointing picture from the
bulletin board was in one frame his telephone extension
engraved into the bottom while Agent Michaels's photo of us
was in the other with my new extension.  

Almost as nice as my key chain.

Other things have come to the office -- a box of oranges from
Arthur Dales, a complete set of Karin Berquist's unreadable dog
books from and tacked to the wall next to my x-
rays is the religious medal I got from Philip Padget.

Mulder thought putting it there was strange -- God, Mulder
thinks something is strange, that's scary-- but I said, like my x-
rays, it is a reminder that life is short.

So if life is short, why I am spending Good Friday, whoops, no
Holy Saturday sitting in my office watching Fox Villa and
Melvin "The Tool Man" Frohike maneuver a new fireproof,
waterproof, pick proof, whatever proof safe in my closet?

While I'm sure Frohike is a master with soddering tools and
wizard with high tech materials, teamwork with Mulder is much
more my forte.  When I offered to help, I think I may have
offended him.    

Mulder, while working with Frohike, put me in charge of
reviewing the key files:  mine, his, Samantha's, AD Skinner, the
entire Spender family, all those who died in El Rico and even a
Diana Fowley file I opened.  There are others:  a few of his
achievements at VCS, a few of my files -- Eugene Tooms,
Kevin Kryder.  I saw him slide one into the closet.  I'm sure it is

Once they agree the safe is officially in the closet, even checking
to see if the door closes properly, Mulder scoops up the files
and drops them into the safe.  It seems his rather fastidious file
keeping downstairs doesn't translate in the rarified air of the
fourth floor.  I'm sure again he's hiding Emily's file.

I do have a small picture of Emily in my desk.  It sits with the
photos of Matthew and Charlie's kids.  Maybe one day I'll put
her picture near the religious medal.  Once again, life is short.

"Any plans for Easter Agent Scully?" Frohike asks.

"Dinner with my Mother at Ruth's Chris."  I haven't seen her
since Christmas.  She's actually seen Charlie and Bill more times
since Christmas than me.  "You boys doing anything fun this
weekend?"  I really shouldn't have asked that, I may not want to

"We're on deadline Agent Scully.  No time for holidays."

"But lots of time to help Mulder move."

"When Mulder, obviously shown the truth uncovered by your
fine investigative skills, finally takes down the vast government
conspiracy, he has promised us an exclusive."

Mulder is standing just behind Frohike, looking like his gunman
friend is insane.  

Now you know how I feel Mulder.

We say our goodbyes and Mulder starts smuggling Frohike out
of the Hoover building.  He is gone for about a minute before I
hear "Stand right there, eyes front, hands at your side." coming
from Mulder.  I'm not sure when I heard that statement last, at
an arrest or when Mom was looking for wedding gifts for Aunt
Marie in Macy's china department when I was about six.

Peeking around my door he gives Frohike a last glare before
Mulder turns his attention to me.  

"Thanks for coming in tonight, I know this isn't your idea of a
fun Friday."

Mulder, if you knew what my usual Fridays were, you'd be
surprised at my idea of fun.  "No problem." I tell him, putting
on my jacket.

The elevator's "ping" echoes through the empty halls.

"Well thanks again and Happy Easter,"   Mulder tosses
something in my direction, "Sugar rush for the ride home."

He's gone before I catch his "sugar rush". 

Yellow Peeps.  Mulder bought me a box a yellow Peeps.

I toss the Peeps package into my pencil drawer -- they can keep
the Kisses company.  Maybe the next time I'm angry at Mulder,
the sugar rush will help.

I take one last look at the office.  I realize I don't separate
what's Mulder's and what's mine too much anymore.  It isn't his
office and my office -- they're ours.


Author's notes:

1.  The layout of the FBI building is mine with a little help from
several episodes.  We all know Mulder is in the basement.  In
GITM, Mulder said he was gunning for the basement while the
unfortunate Jerry Lamana was looking for the fifth floor.  I
figured the better your gig, the higher your floor.

2.  If you want to see the picture "Agent Michaels" (God I'm
getting pretentious) took, try:

For some reason, I really like that picture.  

3.  Thanks to Lesley for the quote from Princess Bride.  It didn't
make the final cut, but it is filed away for the future.

4.  Ruth's Chris is a steakhouse and a damn good one in a lot of
big cities.  If you are a serious meateater -- try it.  Hey, not only
fanfic, dining tips too!

5.  Thank you very much for all the wonderful feedback I've
gotten in the past.  I am honored by your responses.

Feedback is like Hershey Kisses in your pencil drawer: