This is just a fun little story about a day at the ball park. Katie Casey is the name of the woman in the original 1908 lyrics of "Take me Out to the Ball Game", which is actually about a woman who loves baseball more than even Mulder. I didn't do any scores, because uh, I write, math is not my strong suit, and I can't figure out the whole box scores thing. The Units I mention are mostly real, except for OC-Narcotics, I think I made that mash-up myself. If you want to know more, check-out the FBI website. This one took a long time, and I'm relieved to finally have it done. It was obviously inspired by 'The Unnatural', and I hope it's as enjoyable to read as it was to write. Thanks!
Scully squinted at the baseball field through the blaring afternoon sunshine, her sunglasses doing little to help. One hand positioned above the top of the frames eased the glare a bit, but her bright blue eyes were hypersensitive to light. Or maybe, it was that she spent the last almost seven years working in a basement.
Either way, they'd been out since the early morning, watching the Cybercrime Division battle it out with the Organized Crime-Narcotics Task Force. It was a tight fight, but OC got a home run in the ninth inning, beating Cybercrime. They whooped and cheered, and patted each other on the back, all of them sweaty and caked with the orangey ball field dirt.
Four hours they'd been at the ball field, sweating in the May sunshine. Even after four hours, the ever-so professional FBI agents still insisted on glancing curiously at the X Files Division.
As if they thought the two typically socially-allergic agents would burst into flame or start convulsing violently in resistance to the sunshine and company.
"Mulder, what does it say about us, when all our colleagues stare at us like one of PT Barnum's sideshow exhibits?" Scully turned to her partner, taking a sip of her beer.
He swallowed the last piece of his third--fourth?--hotdog, and grinned.. "Don't know Scully, but it seems a wonderful opportunity to play with their heads."
"Mulder..." She warned.
He offered that devious grin he was so apt at, and a bizarre accent. "Aw shucks Scully, I just wanna play ball."
To her continued surprise, Mulder seemed perfectly at home at the Bureau Picnic/Baseball game. Wearing worn blue jeans, his Grays Jersey, and a baseball cap, Mulder looked for all the world like a ten year-old at the Saturday Little League game. He was as enthusiastic as one too.
Coming today had been his idea. He'd walked grinning into their office with the flyer in his hand, and an invisible tail wagging excitedly behind him. He wanted to play, and asked her to join him. Mulder did not socialize well with other agents, she was often his buffer and in some ways, protector.
But, with that look on his face, she couldn't have said no if God himself had directed her too.
Especially, since smacking baseballs had become their new joint hobby. After her unexpected birthday present, they'd made a habit of heading to the park, paying that kid his ten dollars an hour, and slugging balls across the field. She'd initiated their second foray into baseball, she'd enjoyed the first time so much.
That enjoyment had little to do with the game, and everything to do with a smile and soft words breathed into her ear...hips before hands.
Those sessions were always followed with a cold shower.
So, there she was, wearing a red All Stars t-shirt that a VICAP agent had tossed at her, and a pair of blue jeans that looked practically new--even though she'd had them for five years. When exactly did she have occasion to dress casually? They sat apart from the rest of the agents, even the NCAVC field agents whose team they'd been assigned to. She sipped her beer, and tried very hard not to notice how good her partner looked in his own jeans.
Clearly, they were relaxed fit.
They'd be up soon. The agents of the NCAVC (the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime) were playing Counterterrorism, and the winner would play Organized Crime next week. Whoever came out on top of that game would play against a team of CIA agents in three weeks. Mulder was practically giddy at the thought, and had every intention of theirs being that team.
Scully worried at that idea, and the inevitable Spooky against the spooks jokes. And, Mulder would pretend that he couldn't hear any of it, and that they weren't being nasty for no reason. When it came to her or their work, Mulder was very defensive, but when it came to himself, he was surprisingly non-confrontational. She knew he didn't care what anyone thought, but it didn't stop her from bristling at the rude jokes and comments.
They'd already heard a few Spooky jokes today, but Mulder played deaf, and remained as enthusiastic as if he were on an x file.
Suddenly they were being called up, the game was starting. She finished her beer, and followed Mulder over to the field. Their team gathered around, SAC Littleton of the BAU took charge. He and many of the other agents there had worked with Mulder during his profiling days, and seemed already to know his abilities with a baseball and glove.
"...Harper first, Soffel shortstop, Davis center field, Warner on left, and Mulder on right," Littleton finished dictating out positions, and turned to his catcher. Littleton would be pitching.
"Been awhile since you played, hasn't it Spooky?" Harper, the first basemen teased. Their fellow teammates laughed, accustomed to the jokes.
"Not so long," Mulder simply said, looking at his partner.
"Alright, let's go, positions!" Littleton waved them out to the field.
"Let's go, Spooky!" Harper called, charging out.
Mulder shot Scully a grin, and ran into the field, ignoring the teasing like the class runt, just happy that they were letting him play. Scully wished she could ignore it, but contrary to her religious convictions, she was never good at turning the other cheek. She sighed, and joined the rest of their team on the bleachers, burying her protective instincts deep down inside her.
If she slugged Harper for calling her partner names, it would only add fuel to blaze of gossip that had been steadily burning the last seven years.
Mulder wasn't dense or deaf. He heard the teasing and the liberal use of the nickname bestowed upon him in the Academy. He chose to ignore it, as he had for over a decade now. He didn't want to get into a pissing match or fistfight with anyone. All he wanted to do was play baseball, and eat grilled hotdogs and drink cold beer with Scully.
Scully, who seemed to flinch every time someone called him Spooky, or made a crack about aliens, ghosts, or Bigfoot. Almost all the teasing was directed at him, only a few comments were meant for both of them, and fortunately, no one had referred to her as Mrs. Spooky. But still, she was the one getting upset by it all.
It was sweet that she was so defensive of him, but he wanted her to have fun today, not worry about fighting his battles. It was so rare that they got a recreational time, or had a chance to appreciate the sunshine, and he knew Scully needed it after the last several years. Their coworkers acting like children shouldn't get in the way of that.
Mulder brushed a foot across the ground, inhaling the scent he'd loved so much as a kid. It was fresh cut grass, leather gloves, orange dirt, fresh air, and sweat--the smell of a baseball game. He hadn't played since he was in the VCU, and used to come to the games all the time, before he found the x files. Then he was just too weird for his colleagues to accept, and he got tired of the verbal abuse.
When he saw that flyer a couple weeks ago, he couldn't resist the opportunity. They'd been going to the park regularly to smack baseballs together, and it was easily the most fun he'd had in years. They still started each session hitting together, with his arms around her, and their bodies pressed together. After two months, she didn't need the guidance, but he wasn't about to stop unless she said so.
"Yo! Spooky, wake up!" Harper called to him. He'd zoned-out waiting for the game to start. The first guy had just got up to bat.
"You busy thinkin' about the Misses, Spooky?"
"Nope, last night with your wife!" He called back. Thank god Scully was way across the field, and couldn't hear that.
Harper glared and made to advance on him.
"Stop Harper. You started it, you can't be surprised." Deerfield, a profiler on second warned his colleague.
Harper settled back into his position, and they all turned their attention to the first batter. The agent got two strikes before sending the ball out to left field, and running to first base. Four more agents went up, two who struck out, one who got tagged out running to second base, and one who managed to get to third base.
Then the teams switched, and it was their turn up to bat. Neither Mulder nor Scully made it up to bat before their team racked-up three outs. Their team though, did fill Scully in on Mulder's time playing when he was still in the VCU, and actually socialized with other agents (besides her). With Harper running bases, the Spooky jokes were even at a minimum.
An hour and a half later, and into the fifth Inning...
Mulder watched his partner walk up to the plate, and assume a hitting stance, just as he'd taught her. She glanced over at him, next up after her, and he mouthed 'hips before hands.' She smiled, and focused back on the pitcher. She'd struck out once, and then sent a ball to centerfield, where it was promptly caught.
They had put her in the field a couple times though, as they rotated everyone around. Their team of all guys (besides her), was pleasantly surprised that she wasn't terrible at catching. Mulder was pretty sure they expected Scully to be afraid of the ball. But, he knew from experience that Scully was afraid of very, very little. He couldn't imagine his partner shrieking and leaping out of the way of a ball.
Though if she ever did, he die from laughing.
He heard a loud thud just before the catcher called a strike. Scully's feet shifted in the orange dirt, and she licked her upper lip, bracing for the next pitch. The pitcher geared up, and let the ball fly. There was a loud smack, and the ball went flying toward right field, and hit the ground. Scully dropped the bat, and took off for first base.
"Go Scully!" He was one of many voices shouting as the right fielder lobbed the ball to the first baseman. Too late, Scully landed safely on the base.
They had two outs, and a player on third base, one good hit, and that player would be able to run home. Mulder donned the hard helmet, and wound his hands around the bat, reminding himself silently of that golden rule--hips before hands.
The pitcher shot him a wry smile, and then threw a fastball. Mulder swung, but missed, earning his first strike. Breathing in and out slowly, Mulder prepared for the next pitch, fidgeting, his body antsy.
The ball came at him, only slightly slower than the last one, and Mulder swung quickly, knocking the ball out toward right field, almost the same place Scully's had gone. He quickly shed the helmet and dropped the bat, and tore off to first base, watching Scully run to second before him. They were both safe, and the player on third base made it home.
Warner got up, and hit the first ball thrown at him. Unfortunately, the third basemen caught it, and their third out ended the inning.
"Alright people, we're going to take a short break! Get some water, and sit in the shade for a bit!" The two team Captains, SAC's of their respective departments called out.
He met up with Scully in the middle of the diamond, as they walked toward off the field.
"You're looking a little pink, Scully? Did you put on sunscreen?" Automatically and completely without thought, Mulder rested his hand on her back, and guided them both off the field.
"Yeah, like SPF 400 or something," she mumbled, crankily.
He raised an eyebrow, and struggled to stifle a smile.
"It's the highest they make, I don't remember, maybe eighty. Anyway, this isn't sunburn, but the joy of Irish skin." The expression on her face suggested it was anything but joy.
Mulder was aware of his partner's low tolerance to heat and sun, he'd seen her pink up before, but now she looked like an extremely ripe tomato. He was a little worried that she might pass-out.
"Here, drink this before you faint." He handed her a dripping wet bottle of water from the open cooler, and took one for himself.
"I'm not going to faint, Mulder."
Rather than argue her heat tolerance, he found them a patch of shade not far from a group of agents from the opposing team. They plopped unceremoniously onto the ground, and guzzled their water, holding the bottles up to their warm faces. The condensation mixed with sweat, the sheen on their faces glistening in the sun.
Mulder bent over and poured some of his water on his neck, letting in run down into his scalp. He held the bottle out at Scully, and she nodded, bending over, and pulling the sweat-darkened hair off the back of her soaked neck. She gasped when the water first hit her, but soon relaxed.
"Hey, you two getting kinky over there?" One of the guys from Counterterrorism asked loudly.
"Yeah, save it for the basement!" Another one added, earning chuckles from the small group.
Mulder was going to respond, but Scully beat him to it.
"If you think a little water is kinky, Agent Carlson, you must have a very boring sex-life."
His colleagues chuckled at that, and Mulder barely escaped choking on his water. Like she'd said not so long ago, Scully would always keep him guessing.
"Hey Spooky, where are all the aliens today?" Another agent teased him.
Mulder was disappointed to see it was Garth Porter, once of the CNU and apparently, now of Counterterrorism. The big man's mouth was twisted in an almost grotesque grin.
Garth was a tank, simply put. A couple of inches taller than Skinner, with a massive barrel chest, and arms and legs as thick as tree trunks. Mulder felt tiny next to him, he wondered amused, what Scully would look like next to him. It almost made him chuckle.
He was also asshole to the umpteenth power, not to mention a military-trained, muscle-bound meathead. Mulder couldn't imagine how he'd been accepted into any Bureau division that required thinking skills. Even a decade ago, he couldn't profile worth a damn, certainly not compared to Mulder. Of course, as far as profiling went, no one compared to Mulder.
There was a reason he was called Spooky even before he lost himself in the x files.
"They don't much care for baseball, Garth," he answered patiently, and completely serious.
"Oh, why's that?"
"With those long fingers they have? Finding a mitt that fits is a bitch."
Garth blinked at him, as if his seldom-exercised brain short-circuited.
He heard Scully stifle a laugh beside him.
"What's so funny, Mrs. Spooky?" The big man turned his attention to Scully.
"Shut up, Garth," Mulder all but growled.
The meathead chuckled. "Did I hit a nerve?"
"No, just figured that there's already enough hot air out here."
Garth tensed, and looked for a minute like he was going to come at Mulder with his fists flying. Mulder didn't flinch, but watched one of the Counterterrorism agent step in front of Garth.
"That's enough guys. Cool off."
Mulder turned and rolled his eyes at Scully, who reacted similarly. If you don't want a fight, then why be an asshole?
Another hour later, starting the ninth inning...
Scully felt gross. No, too gentle. Scully felt sticky, grimy, hot, and tired. The entire team looked exhausted, but they couldn't call it quits yet, there was a whole other inning left, and Counterterrorism was up two points. They were milling around before beginning the final inning, drinking before running back into the hot sun.
"Shit, Scully, is it getting hotter out here, or is it just me?" Mulder gulped from a fresh bottle of water.
"Both, I think. Damn it, why didn't I think to bring a hair tie?" She pulled hair roughly out of her face for the fiftieth time, but as always it stuck, plastered to her face by sweat and dirt. She yanked at it again, growling under her breath.
"Jesus Scully, you're going to rip your hair right out of your head." He stilled her hands, and oblivious to their coworkers watching, gently brushed the red strands back from her face, tucking them behind her ears. "Better?"
"Yes, thank you." It wasn't just the heat or her hair bothering her. Now both teams were calling Mulder 'Spooky', and making basement, sex, and alien cracks at them both. One Counterterrorism agent was even creative enough to combine all three elements into one rather raunchy joke.
"You know, if I touched one of the female agents in my unit like that, she'd take my hand off," Harper commented, unpleasantly.
"Understandable, I wouldn't want you touching me either," Scully snapped, glaring at him.
He held up his hands defensively. "Duly noted, only Spooky gets to pet you."
Scully's jaw tensed, and she looked about ready to retort to the man's retreating back, when Mulder stopped her. "Let it go, Scully."
"And, they wonder why we don't socialize," she grumbled.
Mulder sighed. This was supposed to be fun, a nice relaxing Saturday with no x files, conspiracies, or impending alien invasions. Just a good old American past time, sunshine and fresh air. It had started out that way, but rapidly degraded to pissing on the x files division. He wouldn't have dragged Scully there if he'd known their coworkers would be so miserable.
"Seriously Mulder, it feels like we're still in grade school."
"Well then, we'll ignore them, it always worked in grade school."
She raised an eyebrow.
"Weren't you ever teased in school, Scully?"
She shrugged. "Some I guess, but I had a big brother. You don't tease a girl who has an extremely over-protective big brother."
Mulder nodded. "Yeah, I can see that." Bill Scully, yikes.
"Are we going back on the field?" She turned to see people scrambling away from the shaded areas, back into the sun.
"Looks like it...Hey, Scully, since this was such a bust, let me make it up to you afterward?"
"Mulder, all I want after this is a very long, hot shower."
He grinned. "Well, if you're offering..."
She rolled her eyes and gave him a look. "Fine, what did you have in mind?"
"Another great American past time--ice cream."
"You want to take me for ice cream? Where, the local soda shop?"
"Make fun, Scully, but you'll want that ice cream when we're done sweating here. And, it won't be that tofutti crap."
She just smiled and went back by the stands; she was a benchwarmer again, and Mulder was playing right field. He wasn't sure if that was a yes, or not, but at least she was smiling again.
"Spooky, catch that ball!" Scully heard someone yell in the outfield.
The ball was flying toward right field, and Mulder was looking up, running backward, ready to get the ball wherever it landed. She had her lips together, and was watching nervously as the ball sailed off, and Mulder leapt up, and, and...
Did he get it?
It was hard to tell from her position, but she had no problem seeing Mulder fall hard to the ground. She winced. Someone needed to tell him that he wasn't twenty anymore, and probably shouldn't be doing that.
His hand poked up from the ground, white ball poking out from the thick brown mitt. She smiled.
"That's Counterterrorism's third out! Teams switch!" Their umpire, one of the guys from the lab, called.
Their team came running off the field, Mulder straight toward her with a big grin on his face. He may not be twenty anymore, but smiling like that, he easily looked a decade younger. It made her mind go inappropriate places.
"Nice catch," she said.
He nodded appreciatively. "Only had to sacrifice a couple of bones in my ass."
"I'm sure your ass is just fine, Mulder."
"Ask me tomorrow when I can't sit."
She rolled her eyes at him, as they both lined up to bat, two people from the front. Littleton walked down the line, checking that they were in the correct order.
"Nice catch, Mulder. Good to see you back with us," he said, nodding at Mulder.
"Thanks," Mulder answered a bit awkwardly.
"How much baseball did you play while you were in the BAU and VCU?" She asked, brows knit.
"For a while I never missed a game," he grinned.
"You were always the first on the sandlot, weren't you?"
"I was actually; I even started teaching Samantha to play, but then...you know. She was kind of afraid of the ball at first, but she'd get excited when I'd take her with me to the neighborhood games. Then she had no problem swinging when the ball came flying at her."
Scully watched his face relax as he recalled his childhood before his baby sister disappeared. It broke her heart a little. "You were a nice big brother. Bill was always such a jerk growing up."
"Only because my mother knows how to use guilt, and use it well."
Scully was about to comment on that, but a loud, irritated voice interrupted them.
"Yo Spooky, you're up!" One of their teammates was waving Mulder toward the plate. He hurried over to the plate, and Scully watched his face return to complete conversation as he braced himself for the pitch.
She glanced around, only first was occupied, and Randy Thornton looked impatient, as if he'd been waiting there for a while.
Out toward right field. Mulder dropped the bat, and bolted toward first base. He swept by it, and continued to second, their team screaming and cheering him on. Scully cheered with them, watching her very athletic partner land on second base seconds before the basemen caught the ball from the right fielder.
Scully walked out to the base, and donned the batter's helmet. Hips before hands, she reminded herself silently as she adjusted her grip on the bat. Hips before hands. She inhaled deeply and held it. The ball came at her fast, faster than she expected, but Scully swung the bat. She heard the crack the same time she felt the contact, dropped the bat and helmet and ran like Hell to first base, not bothering to look at where the ball went.
She almost stopped at first base, but shouting voice screamed at her to keep going, so she did. Then someone screamed the words that almost made her stop-- Home Run. Her eyes widened and she started scanning the field, only to find two of the three outfielders way out looking for the ball. She kept running.
When she got to third base, she could see Mulder by home plate, grinning like a fool, and screaming her name at the top of his lungs. The muscles in her legs were burning, and she was sure her lungs were shredding inside her chest, at least that was what it felt like. She just kept running toward Mulder, the screaming around her turning into hallow white noise. Suddenly, she was home, and Mulder attempted to catch her, but her momentum was enough to send them both to the ground in a cloud of orange dirt.
Scully coughed and rolled onto her back, quickly shielding her eyes from the blazing sun. She forced herself to breathe in and out slowly, trying to catch her breath. She could hear Mulder beside her laughing, and noted that someone was helping him to his feet.
"I think you just took care of the rest of the bones in my ass, Scully." His hands were suddenly around hers, pulling her up from the dirt.
"Well, next time you'll know to get out of the way," she said. Laughter reminded them that they were not alone, and cutoff Mulder's innuendo-laden reply. In fact, their entire team had gathered around, several high-fiving each other.
"So Scully, do we call this beginner's luck, or did you play softball in high school?" One of their team members called out.
"Beginner's luck, definitely," she answered.
"Well, whatever it was, you made a great hit. I hope to see you two for the next game?" Littleton grabbed her hand and shook it, beaming as if he was giving her a commendation. Apparently, they really wanted to beat Counterterrorism.
Scully looked at Mulder, but he gave no indication as to his opinion. She knew he had fun, even if their colleagues were teasing him--well them. Part of her wanted to say no, just to let them all know that they couldn't get away with treating him like that, but then she couldn't get that smile out of her head.
She plastered on a smile. "Sure, we'll be there."
"Great, who wants to get drinks?" Several of their team cheered at that, and they began to disperse, patting Scully on the back and congratulating her. Mulder was smiling the whole time.
"Scully, I do believe you've just been given the crown of Bureau Baseball Queen." He teased as they walked off the diamond into the parking lot to find their car.
"Does that mean I can shout, 'Off with his head' every time someone calls you Spooky?"
Mulder chuckled. "Don't know, you better consult your Baseball Queen Manual."
"When was the last time I bothered going by a manual?" She smirked.
"According to AD Skinner, too long ago," Littleton answered, jogging up to them. "We're all meeting at the Blue Monday for drinks, you guys coming?"
"No, we'll pass this time. Thanks for the invitation."
"Sure. You both played great today." He turned to Mulder. "I meant it, we missed you out here, Mulder. Don't be a stranger...either of you."
He ran quickly off again to his car, and Mulder and Scully were left feeling a bit puzzled. Her face soon registered amusement, and Mulder became even more confused, offering her a questioning head tilt.
"Smack a few balls, and suddenly, we're everybody's buddies. We may as well be in junior high, Mulder."
"You did a little more than smack a ball, Scully. You hit it way the hell out of the field. Half of those guys are in love with you right now, of course, they'll be terrified of you come Monday."
"Oh, why's that?" She folded her arms across her chest, amused and demanding all at once.
"Well, you beat them at brains, investigative skills, and on the shooting range, and now you've just kicked their asses on the field." He grinned, he enjoyed the thought very much.
"Oh, so you're saying they're intimidated?"
"Yeah, very much." They slowed and stopped as they neared the car.
"Are you intimidated by me, Mulder?" Her tone was still teasing, but she swallowed, unsure if she really wanted to hear the answer. What if he was?
"Me? Nah," he leaned close to her ear, his hot breath brushing her skin, "But I am more than a little turned on."
She watched as Mulder swung around to the driver's side, pleased grin on his face. Releasing a breath, Scully forced her now slightly weakened legs to move her over to the passenger's side door. One of these days, she'd respond in kind, and watch Mulder land on his ass.
"Up for ice cream, Scully?" He turned to her.
Ice cream, cold, very good idea. She shot him a flirty smile. "Oh yeah."
He swallowed, clearly not expecting that. Oh yes, one of these days, she'd get him good.
And, then he'd get her...also very, very good.