Bad Mood (PG-13)

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He was in a foul mood and she couldn’t blame him.  She played with the idea of offering him a night out.  It still might be a good idea, but how did she suggest it?  Damn, he was still seething.  She knew it was justified and she knew it wasn’t at her, but would Emily understand any of that?


She opened the door and heard Emily’s cry of delight.  She picked up the little girl and hugged her as she walked Maggie to the door.  Mulder roused himself enough to speak to Maggie but didn’t join them.  Maggie looked the question at Scully but she just shook her head.


Mulder came out of the bedroom sans jacket and tie.  She could see how tight his shoulders were though he was quiet now.  She had no words that could help; to be honest she was as frustrated and angry as him.  The problem was, before they had places of their own to retreat to, to work off the anger and try to calm down, now they were here, almost . . . trapped together.  What a horrible way to think about marriage.  She headed for the kitchen giving herself a little space as well.


“Would you like a beer?” she offered.


“Yeah, uh, thanks,” he remembered at the last minute.  She didn’t comment, heading on into the next room.  He looked around as though just now recognizing his surroundings or was he looking for escape? 


Scully opened the refrigerator and took a bottle out.  “Can I take it to him?” Emily looked up at her.


“I, uh, Daddy had a bad day.”


Emily’s smile faded.  “Poor Daddy.”  She reached for the beer and Scully let her take it. She watched as Emily headed back to the living room. 


Mulder was sitting on the couch, as though he was a visitor, waiting for the family that lived there to join him.  Emily stood in front of him.  He looked up and forced a smile.  Instead of handing him the beer, Emily climbed into his lap.  Startled, he sat back and she looked up at him.  She handed him the bottle, then her arms went around him.  He sat there stunned for a moment.  He looked at the bottle, then down at the little girl in his arms.  He sat the unopened bottle on the side table and let his arms envelope her.  He was stunned as he felt the tension begin to dissipate from his shoulders and back.  “Thank you, Baby,” he whispered.


“I’m sorry you had a bad day.”


“You’ve made it all better.”


She smiled up at him.  “You always make me feel better.”


He blinked down at her.  “I, I do?”


“Oh Daddy, of course you do.  You come home at night and you hug me and make everything bad go away.”


He blinked down at her.  “I, I do that?” 


Her arms went back around him, “You’re the best, Daddy.  You make Mommy and me happy.”


He glanced up then to see Scully standing in the entry to the kitchen.  She turned away, back toward the kitchen. 


He cuddled Emily for a moment more, then said, “I need to check on Mommy.”


“Okay.  Do you feel better?”


“Yes, I feel a lot better.  Thank you, Baby.”


She grinned and climbed out of his lap.  “Go check on Mommy.”


“I’ll do that.”  He kissed the tip of his finger and touched it to her nose, then rose from the couch.  He picked up the unopened beer and headed for the kitchen.  He placed the beer back in the refrigerator and turned to Scully.  Her back was carefully turned toward him.


“Scully?”  She didn’t turn to look at him and concerned, he touched her shoulder.  She still wouldn’t look at him.  “Scully, please.”


She turned abruptly.  “I’m sorry.  I know you don’t want to be here.”


“Wha - “


“This isn’t right for you.”


“What isn’t right?”


“This, this lifestyle.  I . . . I’ve trapped you.  You’d much rather be in your apartment, going over some case or, or running down some lead.  Instead I’ve trapped you here.  You were doing me a favor and, and it was too much.”




She finally met his eyes.  “I used you.  I wanted to keep Emily and you knew that.  You, you sacrificed - "


“Hold it!”


She stopped, startled.


“Okay, I had a bad day.  And yes, in the past I would have gone home and brooded about it, gone over how ‘they’ had cheated again and outsmarted me.  I’d have sat in my apartment thinking about how my life sucks.  You’re right.  I can’t do that anymore.”


She opened her mouth to speak, probably apologize again, but he continued.  “I can’t do that now because my life doesn’t suck anymore, Scully.  Yeah, today wasn’t my dream day at work.  But I didn’t have to go home alone.  I didn’t have to wallow in what ifs.  I got to come home to a home, a place where the people I care about live, where my wife and daughter live.  I’m not sure how to do that yet; I need to learn it and I’m sorry I took it out on you on the way home.”


“You didn’t.”


“I didn’t yell at you, I didn’t assault you, but I shut you out.  You had the same day I did, but I didn’t take that into consideration.  That’s one of the things I need to remember.  It’s not all about me anymore.  Okay, it never was, but I never admitted it to myself.  We’re partners here, now more than ever.”


“But you shouldn’t have to change; I mean you didn’t get the chance to think this through.  You - "


“I came home and a little girl that you gave me as a daughter, climbed into my lap and made the bad go away.”


Scully gaped at him, not sure what to say.


“Why don’t I take up dinner and you go take advantage of some Emily hugs?”  She looked at him for a moment, then finally turned away.  “Scully?”


She shook her head.  “I’m glad she can do that for you.”


His brow furrowed and he watched her for a moment before taking two large steps to catch her.  His hand was on her shoulder, stopping her.  “Not just her.”




“She’s not the only one that can make me feel that way.  She’s just less reticent in showing that she cares.” He saw the blood suffuse her face.  “It’s not a criticism, Scully.  It’s something we both need to learn.  We should take our cues from her.”


“I don’t . . . what if I can’t?”


His arms went around her then, holding her against him.  His lips pressed against her brow.  “You already are.  You worked with me before we could trust each other, Scully.  Now, now can’t we work together on this?  Just be patient with me.”


“Can you be patient with me?”


“I’ve waited five years for you.  Yeah, I can be patient.”


They both noticed her at the same time, Emily, standing in the doorway watching them.  “We can all learn together, okay?”



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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.