Disclaimer: Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, Walter Skinner and any other tangentially mentioned characters created by Chris Carter

Author's notes

Disclaimer: Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, Walter Skinner and any other tangentially mentioned characters created by Chris Carter remain his copyrighted property, as well as the copyrighted property of 1013 productions and Fox Television, a unit of 20th Century Fox. No infringement is intended.

Original posting date, June 1998

Classification: V - Not really anything, MSR or MS UST - whatever.

Story Rating: G

Summary: It's 2:45 in the morning, why did M and S arrive in at the diner the same car?

Spoilers: Kill Switch, Kitsunegari

Notes: We were watching Kill Switch again tonight when I realized two things. One, Scully rather crankily mentions that it's 2:45 am and wants to know why they're there, and two, she and Mulder arrive in the same car (we know this because they play "Twilight Time in her CD player). Why? Now, I'm a shipper, make no mistake, but in light of what was happening to our duo during the series at the time of the ep, I couldn't see them leaping out of a hot embrace for this case (sigh). Sooo, with a bit of help from my proofer, I pieced together what cases happened just before this one, and...

2:45 AM

--

DANA SCULLY'S APARTMENT

1:40 AM

Scully stretched, trying to get her eyes to focus. Paperwork, wave after wave of paperwork forming an ever rising, ceaseless tide. For the first time she fully understood the phrase, 'drowning in a sea of paperwork.' Bending her neck to get the kinks out, she glanced over at Mulder.

As usual he was engrossed in his thoughts. One hand held a file at eye level, while the other sorted through papers in another folder. In his teeth he held a pencil, his expressive mouth slowly rolling the pencil around and around. His brow was furrowed in concentration, his eyes darting from file to file, the tiny logo on the pencil appearing and disappearing as its host continued to roll.

Scully'd about had it. It was nearly two in the morning and they'd been reviewing their notes on the Linda Bowman case, something they'd been putting off for a while. Mulder had been unable to face the paperwork after that one. Scully knew what he'd seen, or rather, thought he'd seen, and she knew how badly it had shaken him. To be honest, it had been no picnic for her, but she hadn't had to watch what she thought was her partner blow his brains out. He had. Honestly, Scully couldn't believe that he hadn't shot her, the real her, the one he believed to be Bowman, on sight.

She wasn't sure she would have shown the restraint he had, holding the pressure on the trigger, pausing just long enough to let her frantic words sink in. She didn't know what it was that had ultimately convinced him to not shoot, maybe just instinct. Whatever.

Immediately after, she'd decided to take her ill-fated trip to Maine, to 'get out of her head'. Look where that left her. Polly and her evil little dolly. Ugh. Scully shuddered slightly, just thinking about it.

Deciding it was time for a cup of tea, Scully unfolded herself from the couch and headed for the kitchen. Without looking up from his notes, Mulder mumbled, "Me too, please."

Nodding in response, Scully turned on the fire under the kettle. Pulling out teacups, she considered the exchange she'd just had with her partner. They might have their problems, their misunderstandings, but there was no mistaking their communication skills. Lately she and Mulder didn't seem to have been communicating at all, at least where the X-Files were concerned. On the rare occasions that they spent off-duty time together, their communication skills were just fine.

Setting his cup near his right hand, she settled back onto the couch, toeing her shoes off and stretching her legs out along the back of the couch.

"Mulder, I'm about done in, let's call it for the night."

Mulder nodded, sipping his tea absently. "OK Scully, sure."

Blowing on her tea to cool it, she tried again. "Seriously Mulder, I'm giving you the two-minute warning."

"Uh, huh."

Shaking her head, Scully closed her eyes and leaned her head back, balancing the cup of steaming tea on her lap. She'd give him a few more minutes, then get tough.

Twenty minutes later, Scully started awake, very nearly upsetting her now cold cup of tea. Mulder still sat at her feet, still engrossed in his file. Scully glanced at the VCR, 2:15 am. Enough of this.

"Mulder, I mean it, it's time to go." No response. "Hey, I'm serious, I'm kicking you out."

"Uh, huh. OK, Scully, sure."

Exasperated, Scully rose and pulled the file from his hands. "C'mon, I'm exhausted. Now, unless you're planning on sleeping on my couch, you're out of here!" She smiled to soften her words, but there was no mistaking the seriousness of her words.

Mulder blinked a few times, making a half-hearted grab for the file Scully held up in the air. What was the big deal, it wasn't that late, was it? God, 2:15, in the morning?! Why the hell hadn't she said something sooner?

"Geez Scully, if you wanted me to spend the night, all you had to do was ask. You didn't have to drag work out for it." Mulder grinned at her, trying out Charming Grin Number Two.

"Very funny. I've been trying to kick you out for a half-hour. Now, up and at 'em guy, I'm beat."

Mulder stood and stretched, looking around for his coat. He couldn't believe she hadn't tossed him out earlier, she looked exhausted. He looked around at the mess of files on her coffee table.

Scully, following his glance, shook her head. "Skip it, we'll get it in the morning. Right now it's bed time."

Mulder grinned at her, long enough for her to realize what she'd just said. Deciding to play with her a bit, he leaned in and said in his lowest voice, "Why Agent Scully, I thought you'd never ask." He gestured for her to precede him around the end of the couch. "I don't think I brought any jammies with me."

Scooping up his overcoat with one hand, Scully grabbed his elbow with the other. Steering him toward the door, she chuckled at his teasing. She'd deserved that, she knew. She might have well as held up a sign that said, "set-up line, hit me!" To tell the truth, Scully would have been a little disappointed if he'd let her little slip go by without comment. Tired or not, Mulder was doing better than she'd expected after six hours of work on Pusher and Bowman paperwork.

Holding the door open while he shrugged into his overcoat, she decided to give back a little. "Aw Mulder, you disappoint me. You sleep in jammies?" She quirked an eyebrow at him.

Mulder froze, mid sleeve. No way. No way was she serious. "Um, I–" The ringing of his cell phone startled him, souding unbelievably loud in the pre-daylight quiet of her building.

"Mulder. Uh, huh. What?! Where? OK. Thanks. Nope, I'll call her. Right." Mulder looked over at Scully to find that she'd already reclaimed her shoes and had her own trenchcoat in her arms. He shrugged at her apologetically. "Something's come up at the Metro Diner. That was Skinner."

Scully nodded, checking for her car keys as she pulled the door closed behind her. Whatever had taken place at the diner, she bet it was going to be a really long day.