The Haunting of the Hoover Building by Halrloprillalar
NOTE: I meant to write a Gothic Scully piece for Halloween. But it never quite came off. So I wrote this and it actually turned into much more of a Mulder story. Sorry about that; hope you like it anyhow.
RATING: PG13 for language and some adult themes.
SPOILERS: Vague hints of The Red and the Black.
SUMMARY: Humour. Mulder seeks proof that their office is haunted. Scully doesn't believe him.
DISCLAIMERS: Mulder, Scully, and the X-Files are owned by Chris Carter, 1013, and Fox.
THE HAUNTING OF THE HOOVER BUILDING
by Halrloprillalar <>
A soul in torment moaned. At least Mulder figured it was a soul in torment. The sound floated through his office, sometimes an unearthly groan, sometimes almost a sob. Where was it coming from? It seemed to be everywhere at once.
A ghost, here in the Hoover Building! What other characteristics was a haunting suppose to evince? Cold chills? Hmm, maybe he *was* a little cold, now that he came to think of it.
Where was Scully when he needed her? He scrambled to find a tape recorder. This shelf--crime scene photos, NICAP brochures. That cabinet--cattle mutilation slides, a dried up potato, and--great!--a tape recorder. But no tape.
The moans increased in frequency and volume. Mulder pawed through his desk drawers. Finally a cassette!--the recording of Scully's regression hypnosis. Mulder hesitated for a moment, then shoved it into the machine. Probably Dr Werber had another copy anyway.
He pressed "record." The moans stopped.
"Damn!" Mulder pounded his fist on the desk. He sulked for a few minutes, then wrote up some extensive notes. He would need to remain in the office constantly in order to gather evidence of this phenomenon.
He was putting together a list of supplies to have delivered when Scully breezed though the door, heading straight for her computer.
"Scully, you should have been here. I heard muffled moans emanating from the office. I think it indicates some sort of paranormal event, similar to that reported in cases of spiritual manifestation."
"Hmm?" She looked up absently from the screen. "What did you say?"
"I think our office is haunted."
Scully stared at him for a minute. "Very funny, Mulder. I almost thought you were serious."
"I am serious, Scully."
"Sure you are. If you want to celebrate Halloween, I suggest you do so by buying us some chocolate." She smiled a little. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have work to do."
Mulder knew he needed proof. And he would stay all night to get it, if necessary.
Five o'clock rolled around and Scully got ready to leave. "Aren't you going home, Mulder?" She pulled on her overcoat.
"No, I'm staying. I want to catch that ghost." He made big eyes at her. "You could stay too; I have enough food."
Scully shot him the standard eyebrows-up look. "No, you enjoy your Scooby Snacks. I'm going to the gym." One more amused glance and she was out the door.
He hunkered down in his chair, chewing on a Slim Jim. Might as well watch a video. With the sound off, of course.
Morning found Mulder stiff, cold, and sporting paper clip impressions on his stubbled cheek. No further manifestations had occurred, at least not before he had fallen asleep. Nature called him most insistently. If he left the office, he might miss the ghost. He looked speculatively at the wastebasket, but decided he had better dash out if he didn't want Scully to abandon the office altogether.
In the bathroom, he took an extra minute to study himself in the mirror. Pretty bad. He splashed a little water on his face and tightened up his tie.
Back in the office, Mulder tried to catch up on six months worth of expense reports, but he kept nodding off. Too bad he had broken the coffee maker last night when he tripped over the cord. Maybe a game of Solitaire would keep him awake.
By the time Scully came in at eight, Mulder had lost thirty-two consecutive games, a new record for him.
"Well, Mulder? Did you catch the ghost?" Fresh as a daisy, Scully wrinkled her nose at Mulder's rumpled appearance. "You'll understand if I stay at this end of the office."
"No, Scully I didn't. But I will." He gauged her mood carefully before speaking again. "Uh, Scully, I broke the coffee pot. Would you...would you please get me some coffee? I don't want to leave in case the manifestation returns."
She looked amused, thank God.
"OK, Mulder. It wouldn't do for you to miss the manifestation." She hung up her coat and picked up their mugs. "Black for you?"
Mulder nodded and rubbed his eyes as she left. He couldn't decide if he preferred her to argue with him or to humour him. At least humouring took less of his energy, a precious commodity at the moment.
Sighing, he started another game. And another. Where was Scully? So much for humouring him.
A groan broke the silence. The ghost! Mulder turned on the recorder and listened in fascination to the range of eerie sighs. It lasted a full ten minutes.
When he was sure it had finished, Mulder hit the rewind button on the tape. Proof at last! The tape began to play:
"I don't think this is working...Oh, my God!"
Shit! He had fucked up the recording. He had nothing. He slammed his fist against the desk again and a cup of pencils fell to the floor, clattering and rolling.
Picking them up, he cursed himself over and over. He was still at it when Scully walked in with the coffee.
"Sorry it took so long, Mulder. I stopped at the lab to check on some results." She set his mug down on his desk. "Any luck?"
A pencil snapped between his fingers. "Yes and no."
"I heard the ghost again, but the tape recorder jammed so I don't have the proof."
Scully sipped her coffee. "Mulder, do you swear you're not playing a prank on me?"
"No, Scully, of course not." He reached up for the coffee and sat on the floor, leaning against the desk as he drank. "This is no joke."
"Did you consider the possibility that someone is playing a prank on you? Maybe you should check the office for some sort of playback device."
As much as he hated to admit it, she made good sense. Revitalised by the caffeine, he called security and arranged to have the office searched. Three people eventually arrived and gave the place a good going over, but they turned up nothing except an earring of Scully's.
The day wore on without any more auditory incidents. Shortly after three, Scully looked up from her paperwork. "Mulder, are you planning to stay here again tonight?"
"Then why don't you take a few hours off and go home to change? I'll man the tape recorder for you while you're gone."
Mulder thought. It would be good to take a break, but what if something happened while he was gone?
"Tell you what, Scully, I'll just go down to the gym and shower. Back in twenty."
He grabbed the overnight bag he kept by his desk and headed out.
Once Mulder left the haven of the basement halls, he couldn't avoid other agents.
"Spookster--how's it going?"
"Hey, Mulder, I'm going to dress as you for Halloween!"
He didn't care. Really. But he would show them; he would get the evidence. He who laughs last, laughs best. That was what his father always said. Of course, his father had been a lying bastard who destroyed their whole family and probably helped doom the entire earth to a terrible fate. But it was still good advice.
The hot water relaxed him and he stood under it a lot longer than he had intended. Putting on a fresh shirt, he looked closely at himself in the mirror. Stubble was actually a pretty good look for him. Kind of Don Johnson. He imagined himself in a white suit and pink t-shirt. Hot, baby. Miami X.
But primping and posing was not going to catch the spectre. After styling his hair, he headed back to the office.
As soon as he opened the door, Scully forestalled his question.
"No, Mulder. No manifestations. No phenomena. No ghosts." She smiled. "Just a spine chilling memo from the accounting department demanding your expense reports."
"I'll work on them tonight." He slumped at his desk.
"You're not staying here again, are you?"
"Of course I am. The truth is here. I can feel it."
Scully rose. "Well, I'm going. I'll see you in the morning if you haven't been dragged off to the netherworld."
The door shut behind her and Mulder settled in for another lonely vigil, just him and "Co-ed Vixens from Mars, Unchained." With the sound off.
Mulder woke stiffer, colder, and more stubbled, though he had remembered to clear the paper clips off of the desk before drifting off. He was still devoid of proof as well. By the time Scully arrived, he felt pretty discouraged. Morose, even. The coffee she brought didn't cheer him, nor the friendly pat on his shoulder.
Soon after ten, Scully stood. "Mulder, I'm going out for a while. Do you want more coffee?"
"No thanks. But if they have hemlock, I'll take a tall."
She rolled her eyes and left.
Mulder sat, staring blindly at his computer screen, hand limp on the mouse, too tired even to notice he could put the red nine on the black ten.
His eyes closed and he drifted into a hazy almost-dream of a dark house and a wind that howled until he thought he would go mad.
He shot upright. The ghost was back. This time he took care to set the recorder properly. When the visitation ended, he rewound and found he had the whole thing. At last! Scully would have to believe him now!
He played it over and over. Weird, uncanny sounds groaned tinnily from the speakers. Music to his ears.
A short while later, Scully returned.
"Scully, I got it!" He started the tape.
"Mulder, I find it very suspicious that this phenomenon only occurs when I'm..."
As the moans played out, Scully grew very quiet. Her eyes flicked to a vent on the wall.
"So, Scully, do you believe me?"
"I believe you, Mulder." She took a deep breath. "And it's very important that we get copies made of this tape as soon as possible. I'll take it to the lab right away."
"I can do that, Scully." Mulder's hands closed possessively around the machine.
"You're too tired, Mulder. You should go home and rest. As a doctor, that's my medical opinion." She pried the recorder loose and popped out the cassette. "The tape will be safe with me. Nothing will happen to it." Before he could say anything, she was out the door.
Good old Scully, Mulder mused. I thought it would be much harder to convince her.
He put his head down on the desk. Just one more nap and then he would go home. Tomorrow he would call in the best spirit detectors in the business.
Scully got off the elevator, still clutching the tape. She stopped in front of a janitor's cart, abandoned in the hallway. Taking off her shoe, she hammered the cassette until it broke, then tore at the coiling tape, ruining it. The whole mess went into the garbage bin.
Shoe replaced, she headed to Computer Records and opened the door.
"Dana, what a surprise! I didn't expect to see you for a few hours yet."
"Holly..." Scully swallowed. "We have to find somewhere else to meet."
F I N I S
Feedback and mini-chocolate bars gratefully accepted at.