Settling Down

Prompt: #018 Answer

Notes: Written for 100 situations. Thanks to franny122004 for the beta!

"How do feel about settling down, Scully?" Assistant Director Walter Skinner asked as the red head walked into his office, closing the door behind her.

She immediately flinched, as though physically injured in some way. "Sir?" she questioned, staring at him in bewilderment. Taking a moment to digest what he had just said, she moved slowly over to the chair in front of his desk and took a seat.

"Agent. I asked how you feel about settling down," Skinner told her again, no less serious than the last time. "What do you think about starting a family?" He caught her eye, offering a firm, unrelenting look. He definitely wasn't joking.

Scully moved awkwardly in her seat, uncertain of what was going on. She cleared her throat nervously and then put all of her energy into returning the Assistant Director's stare. "Sir. What is this about? Is there any significant reasons why you needed to know this information?"

She ran her tongue across her lower lip in a gesture of discomfort and uneasiness and let herself fall back into her chair from where she had been perched on it previously.

"Scully," Skinner began wearily. "I need to know. It's in regard to – "

The door swung open and a dishevelled looking Mulder limped in. He was wearing the same ruffled white dress shirt that he'd worn the day before along with the same black pants and same forest green tie. The only difference was the bruise that was beginning to appear on his forehead and the limp in his walk.

"Mulder!" Scully jumped up from her seat immediately and ran to his side, leaving Skinner alone at the desk halfway through his question. "What happened? Are you alright?" She reached up and gingerly touched around the bruise, pulling back when he grimaced in pain.

"'Was a guy in the stairway," he started to explain. "I think maybe I did something to make him angry." Without another word, he made his way to the other chair by Skinner's desk, leaning on Scully for support the whole way.

"So that's it?" Skinner asked. "You have no idea why this man attacked you?" He frowned and started to rap the end of his pen on the desk edge. He continued the motion for several seconds longer before something hit him and he let the pen drop to the desktop. "Was he after the latest file case that I sent you?"

Mulder shrugged. "Are you talking about the alien sightings case?" He peered over at his boss curiously, wondering what he was thinking.

"No. It's the case that I called you in here today to discuss," Skinner replied evenly. "The undercover case." Turning to Scully, he sighed. "I suppose you haven't read the case yet?"

Scully shook her head. "No sir. I haven't."

"Okay. Well as I was saying before we got interrupted, how do you feel about settling down?" Skinner repeated himself for the third time. He looked up at the agents one at a time, before settling his attention on Scully.

"Has this got something to do with the undercover case, sir?" Scully brushed off, avoiding an answer to his question. She glanced over at Mulder who was looking equally as confused as she felt.

"Yes, Skinner. What is this about?" Mulder demanded. "Are you trying to hit on my partner?"

Again, Skinner sighed. It seemed like he did that an awful lot when Scully and Mulder were concerned. Especially Mulder. "No, Mulder. In regard to this undercover case, I need to know what you feel about settling down. Both of you."

"And why is that sir? What is it about this case that pertains to our feelings about settling down?" Mulder stood up quickly and awkwardly, wobbling slightly despite himself. Scully reached for his arm to steady him as Skinner looked on.

"Mulder, Scully! I've had enough of this. The case requires two agents to go undercover as a married couple. You two having had experience in the matter were my first choice. The only difference is, the case is an extended one that may last for weeks, months, maybe even a year or two. I need to know what you feel about settling down so that I know if you'll be suitable for this case."

"Oh." Scully helped Mulder settle back down into his seat and they shared a moment of quiet clarity. There was a chance that they were being sent on another undercover married couple case. Uncertain about how she felt about that, Scully remained silent and let her gaze focus on the files lying on the Assistant Director's desk, that she presumed were his copies of the case.

Mulder had a similar reaction: outwardly, at least. Inside, he couldn't wait to get into the case and move into a new house with his partner, whom he was to pretend was his wife. It sounded like a dream come true. Throw in a couple of aliens and his day would be complete.

"A small house," he said dreamily, closing his eyes and leaning back in his chair. "White picket fence, 2 and a half kids, a nice neighbourhood, maybe a couple of aliens…" His eyes snapped open when Scully snorted beside him and he glanced over at her innocently. "What?"

"A couple of aliens, Mulder?" she asked, a tinge of sarcasm edging her voice. She searched his face for seriousness. Finding it, she shook her head and smiled in amusement, before turning back to look at Skinner.

"What?" Scully said, as Skinner let a knowing smile fall onto his face. "Is there something we're missing, sir?"

Skinner shrugged casually. "I believe there is," he said cryptically. Before either Scully or Mulder could ask him what that meant, he continued on. "And you, Scully?"

It was Scully's turn to shrug. "Oh, I don't know sir. About the same, I guess, although I'll never be able to have children." She turned away from both men as a wave of sadness overcame her. Pushing it away, she faced them again. "And as for the aliens? I don't believe I know where to find any of them either."

Mulder grinned and patted her on the shoulder. "See that, Scully?" he joked playfully. "Tell me now that we're not meant to be!"

Scully rolled her eyes and turned back to Skinner, catching the knowing look on his face once again. "Sir?" she prompted him.

Skinner just shook his head. "So, I take it you want the case?" he asked, running a hand over his head thoughtfully. He looked at each of the agents in turn, first Scully and then Mulder, who had one of the biggest smiles on his face that Skinner had ever seen for someone who had just been beat up in a stairway.

"I'm in," Mulder confirmed with a nod, "as long as it's alright with Scully, of course." His gaze fell on the redhead beside him, a questioning glint in his eyes. "What do you think, Scully?" he asked hopefully.

Scully shrugged. She appeared to be having a mental battle with herself because her lip was pulled up slightly under her teeth in the way it always did when she was focusing her complete attention or something. "On one condition," she finally answered, a reluctant smile forcing it's way onto her face.

Mulder felt his breath catch. This could be it! She might actually go for it! "Yes? What is it?"

Skinner looked between the two, amused, as Scully ran her tongue over her lips slowly and answered Mulder.

"I'll go if I get to chose our undercover names."