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all hallow's eve

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Scully finds him in the office on her way out. It had taken a while to explain why she’d held a DOD employee at gunpoint, and Mulder hadn’t even bothered to show up. She’s more than a little irritated with the whole situation: the fact that Mulder ditched her and left her to explain this whole situation, the fact that Peterson likely won’t get any prison time for holding an FBI agent at gunpoint, the fact that she still looks like she barely survived a tornado. It’s late, and all she wants to do is go home, take a shower, and sleep for a week. But she finds Mulder in the office when she goes down to retrieve her briefcase.

He’s hunched over the desk, only a dim lamp lighting the room. The shadows in the corners of the room feel very seasonal, as does the candy corn he’s popping like sunflower seeds. She’s pretty sure said candy corn was stolen from a desk in the upstairs office. He doesn’t bother to acknowledge her presence.

Scully crosses her arms, still irritated. “You missed the meeting, Mulder.”

He tosses another piece of candy in his mouth, still not looking up. “I told you I was a pain in the ass to work with.”

“This isn’t funny, Mulder. Skinner’s pissed. Blevins is pissed. They want to know what the hell happened tonight, and I didn’t have much of an explanation to give them.”

“You’re the one who saved the day, remember?” Mulder’s fingers tap absently on the desk. “I’d think you’d have a perfectly good explanation… at least for people with heads up their asses.”

Scully clenches her jaw, irritated. “You know damn well it doesn’t work that way, Mulder. They wanted your account of events.”

He finally looks up at her. His glasses are sliding down his nose, lights reflecting off of his lenses so she can barely see his eyes. He brandishes the bag in the air, tipping it towards her. “Candy corn?”

Scully sighs and takes a piece. She has an annoying weakness for the stuff. “For all your petulant refusals to cooperate, I can see why they assigned me to you,” she says as she sits.

He doesn’t say anything. He’s not actually working on anything, she realizes; just staring down at the empty desk. “Why are you still here, Mulder?” she asks, taking a handful of candy corn. “It’s late.”

Mulder takes another few pieces, chews and swallows before answering. “The funeral’s tomorrow. It’s so late, I figured why go home?”

Oh. Scully swallows her handful of candy uncomfortably, smoothing her wild hair. “I’m sorry, Mulder. I know how hard that must be on you.”

Mulder laughs bitterly. “I should’ve gone with him. There might not be a funeral to go to if I hadn’t let him go alone to build his ego.”

“Or you’d both be dead and the COS would still be at large,” Scully says firmly. “You destroyed the program, Mulder. Who knows how many lives you’ve saved?”

“How many lives you saved,” says Mulder, and she can’t tell if he’s being sarcastic or not. “You’re the hero here, Scully, remember?”

She laughs dryly. “All part of the job. And you put the disc in.”

“Okay then, we did it together.” Mulder fiddles with a pencil. “We’re a good team.”

Scully crosses her legs, reaches for the candy. “True.”

He clears his throat, spinning the pencil in his hand. “I’d say at least we destroyed the program that killed Jerry,” he says, “but who knows if we even did that? Knowing these people, how they operate, they’ll probably find a way to resurrect the damn thing.”

“That program killed two people, Mulder,” says Scully. “We have evidence of that. Even if Peterson gets off, the COS is gone. It’s over.”

“I’m not so sure.” Mulder chews his lip, considering. There’s a stormy look on his face, something like grief or anger. Scully can’t completely read it. It’s funny how after eight months together, she feels both like she knows Mulder inside out and like she doesn’t really know him at all. She wonders if he feels that way about her.

They sit in silence for a minute, chewing on candy corn. Scully checks her watch; it’s almost two in the morning. “You aren’t really going to stay here all night, are you?”

“I think it’s morning now.” Mulder’s smiling slightly.

“Well, still. You shouldn’t be alone here all night.”

“Are you afraid to go outside in the dark, Scully?” Mulder teases, good-naturedly. “It is officially Halloween now, you know. You never know what could be lingering out on the streets.”

“I think this unit has fully prepared me for whatever nonexistent monsters may be waiting.” She smirks a little back. “But still. I’ll keep you company if you want it.” Hanging out with her partner in the early hours of Halloween. Why not; it’s no stranger than going to the Smithsonian or the Liberty Bell. “We could get a head start on paperwork,” she adds.

Mulder groans dramatically, letting his forehead hit the desk with a thunk. “You’re loads of fun, Scully. Really living it up on Halloween.”

“You’re the one who wants to spend it at work.” She scoops up some more candy corn.

Mulder waves a hand absently at the desk drawers. “I think I have some MnMs in there. They might be as old as 1990, but still. Help yourself.”

She finds the drawer and breaks out the bag, ripping it open and setting it on the desk. She pulls some paperwork out of her briefcase and grabs a pen from the desk.

“Hey, Scully,” Mulder says, teasing again. “Cute hair.”

“Wha–” She catches a glimpse of the frizzy hair in the darkened computer screen and scowls. “Shut up, Mulder.”