Disclaimer: I had a really clever line to put here. I forgot it. Drat.
A/N: This originally started out as a challenge fic for "Georgia Rain." It is not that anymore, but I still like it. Also I like rain. I hate when it goes away halfway through my joyous "IT'S FALL!" and it gets all sunny and hot again. Inland Northwest weather SUCKS.
"Mulder, why do you always do this?"
"Get us lost. In the middle of nowhere."
"The middle of nowhere is no where, Scully."
"That doesn't make any sense. Is your cell phone getting a signal?"
"It might be if it wasn't dead."
She let out a sound somewhere between a laugh and a sigh and looked down at the map again. They were somewhere in the Midwest. Or maybe the southwest. She wasn't even sure which state anymore. They had been driving for several hours. Mulder had insisted on the back roads, but she felt she would have been better off hitch hiking.
"I'm hungry," she complained finally. The aborted breakfast was hours ago, and a distant memory. They case had been solved around lunch time, and they had been so happy to get the heck out of dodge, they had forgotten to stop for food.
"Girl scout Scully doesn't have an emergency stash of apples in the trunk?"
"She did but that crazy partner of hers ate them on the way here."
"No back up?"
"I didn't think I needed a back up for the emergency."
"Your troop is gonna kick you out."
She smirked and reached over to aim his heating vent at her hands.
"Hey, that's mine."
"I have less body fat. Deal."
"Can I tell you something?"
"We're out of gas."
Her head bowed and for a moment, he didn't know if she was crying or not.
A snort preceded a belly laugh, and he almost swerved off the road.
"What are you laughing at?" he asked as the car let out a final ping and flashed the idiot light.
"Us. After this, no other unfortunate, bad timing, Murphey's law scenario could possibly happen. That's it, we've paid our dues the fates have laughed, and they owe us now."
Mulder smiled and pulled off to the side of the dirt road.
"I'm going to see if there's a gas can in the trunk."
"Good, I'm going to stretch my legs."
"Watch out for wild dingoes."
Both doors closed behind them and she stretched, wandering to the middle of the road to see if she could get a signal on her phone. No luck.
And that's when the rain started.
It was just a drop at first, but it soon turned into sheets. She was soaked, and there was nothing she could do about it. She could hear Mulder walking up behind her, and felt his hand on her elbow.
"We'd better get back in the car."
"I think I just want to stand out here for a second."
"In the middle of the road? Dana Scully do you have a death wish?"
"You really think someone else is dumb enough to be driving on this road that goes nowhere?"
"Maybe! Get out of the road."
She sighed and followed him back to the car where she jumped up and sat on the hood.
"Scully, what are you doing?"
"Haven't you ever just sat, Mulder? Watched the world and just existed?"
He sat next to her and pushed his wet hair back a little.
"I didn't think that was your inclination."
"Sometimes it is."
The rain started to let up a little, and they didn't have to shout to be heard.
"We're going to be so cold," he commented, leaning back against the windshield.
"Yeah, but this is worth it, isn't it?"
"It is kind of... relaxing."
She nodded and copied his position, staring up at the sky, which was giving off just a mist now. The rainstorm was short lived, but she would take what she could get.
"I feel like we should have some kind of deep conversation now," she remarked, squeezing some water out of her hair.
"Can I tell you something?"
"I locked the keys in the car."
She turned to him slowly, certain he was joking. The look on his face told her that he wasn't.
"YOU LOCKED THE KEYS IN THE CAR!?!"
In later years, there would be a disagreement about what happened next. Scully would say she simply pushed Mulder and he slid off the wet car hood, grabbed her wrist, and pulled her down into the mud with him. Mulder would say Scully lunged for him, out for blood, and the force careened them both off of the car and into the mud. What actually happened didn't really matter, as they both ended up wet, cold, and muddy.
And locked out of the car.
"I never should have made that stupid Murphey's Law joke," Scully muttered, trying to stand up. She was unsuccessful, and landed right back in the mud.
Mulder laughed and rose to his knees, using the car for support, and was finally able to stand. He offered his hand to Scully and she took it, reminding him of a foal as she tried to stand.
"I hate you so much right now."
"I hate me too. This was a new suit."
She scoffed and tried to get some of the mud out of her hair, but it only made it worse.
"I bet we could find a pond or a stream or something to wash up in," Mulder said, looking around.
"It's getting dark, Mulder. I don't think we should be running off when we don't even know where we are."
"Where's your sense of adventure?"
"I left it in the mud."
"Come on, I have a flashlight and I'll even hold your hand."
"Oh gee, what a sacrifice."
She slid her muddy hand into his muddy hand and they headed into the stand of trees. They walked fairly quietly, listening for sounds of water or wildlife. There wasn't much except the occasional crack of a twig or a cricket chirping. It was several minutes before she realized that their hands were caking together. Great.
"Mulder, I am apologizing in advance for feeding you to wild animals if we don't find some water out here."
"Oh come on, this is funny!"
"This is NOT funny. It's cold and wet and sticky and uncomfortable and really making me rethink the heels."
"You're such an optimist."
"This reminds me of that Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle story where the girl wouldn't take a bath, so her parents waited until she was covered in dirt, and then they planted radishes on her."
"Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. Don't tell me you have never heard of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle before."
"Not ever in my life."
"You are missing out, my friend."
"Sounds like some kind of kids book."
"It is. You'd love it. Creative punishments for the modern child. I might even be able to use some of them on you."
They never found any water, but the second quick rainstorm as they walked back to the car ended up rinsing them off pretty well.
"Ug, what I wouldn't give for a hot shower and about a dozen new towels right now."
"Mulder, what are we going to do? We're stuck. We can't even get in the car."
"Maybe we can jimmy a door open. Want to try?"
"I'll try anything."
He tried all the doors just to make sure he hadn't left one open. He even tried the trunk on the off chance that it hadn't closed all the way. No luck.
"Scully do you have a bobby pin or a safety pin or some kind of pin with a warp drive in it?"
"I do, but it's in my suitcase in the car."
He sighed and leaned against the fleet sedan.
"This is the last time I say "Oh no thanks" when they offer us a second set of keys."
"I've told you and told you," she said, shaking her head.
"Think I could use the little thing on the end of my shoelace to pry the lock open?"
"No, but I bet you could use your lock picking kit."
"Why didn't you mention that before?"
"I like watching you squirm."
"But the mud and..."
"I just remembered the lock picking kit like 15 seconds ago. Please tell me you have it."
"It's a little wet and dirty, but here it is."
He worked the lock for a few moments, and they were finally rewarded when the door opened and the dome light came on.
"Okay so now what?" Scully asked, rubbing her hands together.
"I don't know. We're out of gas so we can't really run the heat or anything. I suppose we could get at our suitcases and change clothes."
"I am NOT changing in the car with you."
"I will be a total gentleman."
"Yes, and then the world will implode."
In the end, she made him stand outside the car while she changed in the backseat. He rolled his eyes but complied with her wishes, making sure that she would stand outside the car while he changed too. Turn about was fair play.
By the time they finally settled back into the car, Scully's hair was almost dry. She was shivering and was almost certain that her lips were blue.
"It was your idea to sit out in the rain."
"Okay, maybe I didn't think that through very well."
He chuckled and tugged on her arm.
"Come over here, I'll warm you up."
"Somehow, I knew this would happen," she muttered, scooting closer to him. "Ah, I'm sitting on the shifter."
"You're just full of complaints, aren't you?"
"I'm sorry, I just don't really want a lasting impression of this night."
He rolled his eyes.
"Want to move to the back seat?"
"I have never been naïve enough to fall for that line."
"Scully, I am the soul of propriety."
"Best joke I've ever heard in my life."
"Are you going to sit there and be prude and freeze, or are you going to get back here?"
She sighed and they both got out of the car, moving to the backseat. It wasn't so much uncomfortable as it was awkward. It wouldn't have been so awkward if she didn't enjoy it just a little though.
"No one hears about this. Ever. Got it?"
"I'm serious, you're not even allowed to allude to it."
"I shall not incur your wrath, I promise."
She nodded and let herself relax into his arms.
"Are you going to sleep?"
"I might be."
"Are you sure that's safe in your hypothermic condition?"
"I'll take your word for it and go to sleep myself then."
He moved in the seat so he could stretch his legs out just a little more. Sleeping in the backseat of a car was not something that any chiropractor would recommend, but for the moment, it was good enough.
"Mulder," Scully murmured.
"I get to drive for a month."
"You have lost the right."
"A whole month, huh?"
"Will you be mad if I wear a football helmet in the car from now on?"
"You won't know until you read my memoirs."
"I can hardly wait."
The rain started up again and they both fell asleep to the sound of the water splashing around them. They were warm, dry, safe, and completely content despite the hardships that drenched them, and the storms that followed them. The mud of life had caked them together, and they wouldn't have it any other way.