Timeline: 6x1 The Beginning
Category: Missing Scenes & Post Episode
Mulder balled his fists as he walked down the hallway away from what had been his office. 'Fucking Spender.' He ground his teeth together. 'Fucking Diana.' That's one he didn't see coming. Spender was a snake, but Diana? He had continued to defend her, despite Scully's misgivings. It appeared Scully had been right. Diana was a backstabber. And she had damn good aim: he felt like he had a gaping hole in his chest.
'How damn pathetic,' he thought, considering his happiness at seeing her several months ago. He pressed the button on the elevator several times. He tapped his foot vigorously. 'Bitch.' And she'd had the nerve to insinuate that she would be a better partner for him than Scully. Scully had something over Diana. True, Diana believed in "paranormal mumbo jumbo," as Spender had termed it. And yes, Scully didn't believe. She was presently in a meeting thwarting his story of an alien ship that rose out of the Antarctic ice as she was slumped over his shoulder having been rescued from an alien virus. Her science didn't support what he'd seen. But she still had something over on Diana. Mulder now had a partner who stayed even when she didn't believe. She didn't need to believe in aliens and ghosts and mutants—she believed in him.
And he could add something to Scully's winning column that he was mentally tabulating. Somewhere above feisty and intelligent, Mulder added 'not a fucking backstabber.' The doors of the elevator slid open and Mulder sighed, happy that no one was inside. He wanted to get the hell out of there and wait for Scully to escape that meeting, so he could rant and bellow. He'd wait in the car for her. He flipped open his phone as the doors slid open once more. Stepping out, he pressed the speed dial number for his partner.
"Scully, it's me. When you get out of that damn meeting, meet me in the parking lot."
Scully approached Mulder's car. He didn't seemingly see her coming. He was hunched over the steering wheel with his head in his hands. He'd taken off his coat and his tie was hanging askew from his neck. She tapped on the passenger side window, but he didn't move. She tried the door handle: it was unlocked.
"Mulder?" she asked, sliding into the seat.
He raised his head. "How'd the meeting go?" he asked flatly. He didn't look her in the eye. She got the distinct feeling that he didn't much care to hear about the meeting. Before she could answer, however, he turned to face her. "It's Diana and Spender."
She read the pain in his eyes. "I know," she said softly. She snaked her hand out across the console to grip his arm.
He turned back to the wheel. "Where to?" he asked, clearly deflated.
Scully sighed, not knowing what to say. She couldn't congratulate herself on being right about Agent Fowley.
"How about Phoenix?" he asked, drumming his fingers on the wheel.
"Arizona?" Scully asked, pulling away her hand and straightening her coat.
"Skinner's put me on to a case that we'll have to do under the radar."
"Yep," he said, turning the key in the ignition.
"We're going to head cross country on an unauthorized case? Mulder, you know what could happen to us, if we pursue these types of things."
"Yeah, but don't worry: I'll swing by your apartment so you can pack your things for the trip."
Scully shook her head. It was pointless to try to stop him. He'd either go with her or without her, and she didn't want him going alone. At least he wasn't ditching her.
'Okaaay,' she thought as Mulder stalked away from her. Clearly his feelings were spilling out and they were all being directed right at her—rightly or not. He hadn't said anything about the new X-Files agents other than to voice their names in his car. He'd said precious little about her testimony either. She'd expected something more: A Mulder tirade perhaps. But, maybe he felt like she'd betrayed him just as Diana had—maybe the two were linked in his mind. 'Damn it,' she inwardly swore. That hadn't been her intention.
She pushed her hair out of her face and walked towards the car. He stood there, watching her approach and leaning against his open door: if she hadn't known him better, she would have thought that he looked relaxed, but she knew that he was burning just under the surface. They were probably in for a silent ride. A bitter silence that would make her wish that she could just abandon everything she believed in—for his sake. She'd been indulging in such dangerous lines of thought lately. She remembered bits and pieces of things from their icy vacation, but nothing more. He had his version of events. It would be easy enough to meld what little she remembered with his story and interpret the evidence in such a way as to make it all seem plausible. He so wanted her to remember it all…to confirm his beliefs.
But she couldn't abandon the science. And yet, it was more of an effort than usual to be the skeptic. A part of her wished she could just cave in to his need for her to back him up. It would be a heck of a lot easier and maybe it would ease the ache in her chest. He'd gone to the ends of the earth for her. That was never far from her mind recently. The other part of her couldn't help feeling that giving in to his pressure would be a real betrayal—of their partnership and the friendship they'd developed. If he'd meant the things he'd said to her in his apartment, then she needed to stay strong for the both of them.
He'd intended on letting it all out many hours ago. Telling her about Diana's betrayal and how she'd been right about it. Telling her that his life's work was being torn from him and how he didn't think he could handle it without her. How he needed her. That's what he was thinking, anyway, hunched over his steering wheel and waiting for her to emerge from the meeting. But when she'd gotten into the car, he couldn't make himself say any of those things.
He was somewhat relieved that she'd been good enough not to press him about any of it. He'd realized as she slid into the car that he couldn't trust himself. Her hand on his arm confirmed it. If she started asking him questions, he really would say everything and more. The last time he'd gotten panicky and done that it hadn't turned out well. This time there wouldn't be a bee to stop him. That was a frightening prospect, because he needed her too much to take any chances. Better to do nothing. Say nothing. They were good at that. She'd play along. Scully hated laying it all out there anyway.
Except he couldn't completely manage to keep it together. He was well aware as a psychologist that repressed feelings tend to present themselves in unpleasant ways. He was projecting on Scully when he unloaded on her outside the house. Yes, he wanted Scully to believe as he did. But, he wouldn't want her to compromise herself. The frustration he felt was being redirected unfairly. Working to convince his scientific partner of the validity of his theories was what made him a better agent and a better man. Actively working to bottle up his feelings about her personally was a different story. And ignoring the fact the Diana had stolen the x-files from him caused him to be able to do both at once: he would have to choose. Confront her about the fact that she'd said nothing about his attempt to kiss her or belittle her for refusing to believe in aliens, in extreme possibilities, in him. The unconscious choice had probably been an easy one.
'God damn it!' If she could, she'd get out of the car and demand that Agent Fowley speak to her instead of her partner. Pull her out of her damn car by her collar and demand she speak with her—agent to agent. No more manipulations. She'd tell her where to go. Her partner sure wasn't going to.
"It's okay," came a voice from the back, drawing her attention.
Scully turned to look at Gibson, who sat calmly in the back seat, looking the worse for wear.
He repeated himself: "it's okay."
Scully threw the car in reverse. 'This is not happening,' she thought as she watched the car bearing Mulder and Agent Fowley drive away.
"He thought he had to go with her. You know what it means to him."
'I'm pretty sure I know what she means to him,' she thought bitterly. "We have to get you to a hospital. Get you some help," Scully replied numbly, as she pulled out of the hotel's parking lot.
"He knew I'd be okay with you."
Scully looked at Gibson in the rearview mirror. 'Of course he did. Leave me with you and run off with Diana. Chase monsters with Diana.' She swallowed and the dryness of her mouth made the act difficult. "You don't have to talk, if you don't feel like it," she told him. She almost wanted him to stop talking, because she wasn't sure she wanted to be privy to whatever motivated Mulder to quickly trust Agent Fowley again. 'Just what had she said to him?'
"She told him that she's still on his side."
"She's lying," Gibson continued calmly.
Scully sighed. Again, she could take no joy in the fact that she was right and Mulder was wrong. Generally she found those moments to be pleasant little victories. He was right too much of the time. This victory was just further evidence that Diana held a sway over Mulder that beat anything she could muster.
Gibson's increasingly tired voice interrupted her thoughts: "That's not true."
Mulder shrugged his coat onto the floor as he slammed his apartment door behind him. Seeing the basketball on the side table he picked it up and palmed it at the wall. The sketches above his couch rattled: he would have liked for them to fall and shatter. He kicked his shoes off and walked into the kitchen. 'Please God let there be a bottle of whiskey in here,' he thought, opening the cabinet. Emptiness stared back at him. Not even a stale pack of Saltines. He shut the cabinet and walked back into his living room to collapse on the couch.
He rested his head in his hands. 'Well done, Romeo.' Scully had looked incredibly hurt. 'Good job on that one, Slick.' She had kept saying "we" and he'd kept spitting back Diana at her, because her "we" wasn't enough for him. Her "we" was the partnership. Her "we" was scientist and kook. Mulder shook his head in his hands: she may not believe in the same things as him, but she didn't think he was a kook. She was working to prove everything for him—prove it with science—so that the world couldn't dismiss it or him. That was dedication, but it wasn't the "we" he wanted.
That's why he'd kept sticking her with Diana barbs. No, Diana didn't need science. Diana also didn't need him. And he didn't need Diana. He was convinced that Diana was still on his side, however. The alternative was too unpleasant. If Diana was willing to do the bidding of his enemies, if she was truly betraying him like Scully said, then he hadn't chosen his friends as carefully as he liked to believe. He was supposed to be good at that—as a psychologist, as a profiler. He'd been happy to see her and it had been imminently painful to think for a time that he'd be totally wrong about her. It was easier to believe in her and to believe that he hadn't been making terrible decisions all along. Diana was a pleasant memory—not something to be regretted. If she could help him now, then all the better.
But, Scully was the here and now.
"You asking me to make a choice?" he'd challenged her.
Mulder swung his legs around stretching out on the couch. He was daring her: make me choose. Make me choose, and then live with my decision. Because Mulder wouldn't have to think twice. If he had to choose, he'd choose Scully ten thousand times over. It didn't matter that he thought she was wrong about Diana or wrong about the connection between Gibson's DNA, her own infection, and the alien virus. He chose her. But he didn't think Scully could handle that. If he wanted to drive her away, he knew the best way to do it.
'Tell her you love her.' She'd run as fast as her little legs could carry her. Because her "we" was biometrically opposed to the one he'd been fashioning in his mind over time. There was no room in Scully's "we" for his messy personal feelings. This wasn't news. He'd known that for as long as he'd acknowledged his own feelings for his diminutive partner. And for a while it had been enough: to love her, to be alongside her, to be in his head. But, when she'd said she was leaving several months ago, it no longer seemed like he had the luxury to stay inside of his head. Everything had begun to pour out of him like emotional lava. It would either burn everything in its tracks or something new could develop out of the rubble. Except, neither had happened. It was as if everything he'd said and almost done in his hallway had never happened. She didn't mention it. He didn't mention it.
He'd almost said everything to her in his panicked state. But, he hadn't said he loved her. Maybe if he had, he wouldn't feel the need to constantly strike out at her. It wasn't her fault; he had to keep reminding himself that. It wasn't her fault that he was a coward. It wasn't her fault that she didn't return the feelings he felt for her. She was wrong about alien life—of that he was sure—but he'd known she was wrong about that since the beginning. But, she was a good partner. A good friend. She was irreplaceable. And he was treating her like shit. There was no point in changing out of his suit: he wasn't going to sleep tonight.