Dana Scully pushed the heavy gym door open and stepped cautiously inside. The room was littered with various agents exercising in different ways but she spotted him immediately. The t-shirt he wore was soaked and clung to his body, the cuff of it jumping up from the top of his shorts. He was running laps around the makeshift basketball court bouncing the ball rhythmically in front of his feet as he went. Every time he came near the hoop he sprinted over and tried for a shot. The noise level was all but deafening as the numerous stereos blasted out different music and the metal weights clanked together from the agents exercising. Although he seemed unaware of the noise as he ran with his walkman, as if he was the only one in the room.
He spotted her when he turned the opposite corner of the room and smiled in her direction. She stood just inside the doors by the stands. Her arms were folded across her chest and her skirt and blouse made her stand out, amongst the other casually dressed, agents. He noticed some of the men watching her and smiled to himself wondering if she knew the power she possessed. Slowing down he walked over to her and pulled the earphones out letting them fall to his chest as he stood before her, the ball still bouncing.
"New case. Skinner wants us to start immediately."
"What is it?"
"Come down and see."
"Do you wanna go one-on-one before we go?" he said shuffling around her, bouncing the ball just out of her reach.
"And embarrass you in front of all your friends?" she said snatching the ball away from him.
"Dinner says you couldn't make the shot from there."
The smile she gave was soft and sweet and he frowned as she pushed him behind her, out of her way. He stood there whistling and waving his arms around her body, not touching her, but she ignored him. She stared at the hoop and wished she'd been in front of it instead of at this 45° angle. Mulder was standing closer to her now so she jerked her elbow back and connected with his ribs. The groan he let out satisfied her and she concentrated. Holding up the ball she lined the shot and bent slightly at her knees. Jumping up she released the ball with a flick of her wrist. Mulder stepped up beside her and watched the ball arch towards the rim. It bounced off it and hit the backboard before falling down through the hoop. She pulled down the front of her blouse and turned to him smiling, reveling in the look of shock on his face.
"You owe me dinner." She walked away without another word leaving him to collect the basketball and shower in bewilderment.
The smile wouldn't leave her lips as she stood against his desk, with her back to the door, the file open but unread in her hands. It was all she could do not to jump up and scream when she saw the ball falling through the hoop, but she knew the subtle approach would have more of an affect on him, so she just smiled as if she had no doubt it would go in. Shaking her head in an effort to rid herself of the laughter that bubbled beneath her surface she looked down at the file and began to read. Skinner had seemed insistent when he was dropping it by earlier and she wasn't sure why he was pushing for herself and Mulder to take it.
"Gallery Theft is a Federal Offence Agent Scully," he had said.
"Yes sir, but there are numerous agent capable of handling this case."
"I have it on good authority that yourself and Agent Mulder are the only qualified agents for this case."
Without elaborating he left, so she followed Mulder down to the gym to get started. Reading it now she couldn't seem to find anything unusual. Just then she heard a ball bouncing towards the office from the hallway and again she found a smile tugging on her lips. He came into the room and dropped his sports bag next to her feet and the ball onto his desk. Sitting down heavily he looked up to her and caught the hidden smile.
"So what have we got?" His hair was damp and ruffled and she silently urged him to brush it off his face. The deodorant he wore was tickling her senses deliciously as she tried to read from the file.
"Theft from the International Gallery…or rather attempted robbery."
"Here in Washington?" he took the file she offered and began to skim through it.
"Yes, it's down by Lafayette Park."
"I know where the gallery is. Why us?"
"I'm not sure. Skinner was insistent," she came away from the desk and took a chair across from him.
"A Van Gough was disturbed. But nothing taken," he read from the file.
"It's the same M.O. as a theft from the Guggenheim in New York last month. Two works of art were stolen on separate nights. No prints, no alarms triggered, no point of entry could be devised." They both exchanged glances as an image of Eugene Tooms flashed between them, but Scully broke the contact and took the file from him.
"So he'll be back to the gallery to try again."
"We should go down and check it out."