Ultra Lights by Merri-Todd Webster
For DB Kate, who suggested the following list of items in a Pendrell story: blue-tinted sunglasses, a bean bag cow that moos, a Caller ID box, a pack of Morley Ultra Lights, and a single fish in a fishbowl.
by Merri-Todd Webster
(9 June 1999)
Scully answered the door wearing a silky pink robe that clung to her like the sunlight. Her face was flushed, and her hair did not look like it had just been combed.
"Hi, Scully." Mulder held out the bowl he was carrying. "Brought you a fish. One of my latest batch spawned." He grinned, favoring her with teeth.
Scully looked down at the very small fish swimming forlornly in the bulbous glass bowl, then up into her puzzled reflection in Mulder's sunglasses. Blue-tinted wrap-around sunglasses which she did not remember seeing before.
"Mulder." She licked her lips and groped for something more intelligent to say. Small noises coming from behind her made her wedge herself more firmly into the space between her front door and its jamb. "Uh, Mulder...."
"I've been calling you," he said, a little plaintively, "but I hadn't been able to reach you. Not on your home phone, not on your cell. I was... worried, Scully."
"I'm sorry, Mulder." She shifted her weight from one foot to the other, still seeing only her own vulnerable reflection in Mulder's tilted shades. "I have... company."
Mulder's wrist sagged so abruptly he almost dropped the bowl. "Company...?" Scully was home with... company wearing a silky, clingy pink robe. It wasn't right, not now, not when he was ready to give her his heart. And everything else along with it.
"Here's your fish, Scully, I'll see you in the morning...." He held out the fish bowl and Scully took it, automatically, which caused her to let go of the door and of the front of her robe. Door and robe both swung open just enough for him to see what was going on.
Dana Katherine Scully was naked under her silk robe. And Danny Pendrell was sitting on her couch.
"Pendrell!" Furious, Mulder charged in. Pendrell was as flushed as Scully--that redhead thing, of course--and he was sitting on her couch wearing nothing but a blue t-shirt, naked from the waist down. Mulder tried not to gape at the sizable erection poking out from under the t-shirt, but suspected he was failing miserably.
"Mulder," the younger man said coolly, giving Mulder his familiar boyish smile. "Long time no see."
"You're dead! You've *been* dead for a couple of years!"
"So popular opinion has it." Pendrell leaned forward, picked up a cigarette out of a small ceramic ashtray that sat on Scully's coffee table, and took a casual drag of it. "But you know the famous quote about reports of death being exaggerated, so I won't bore you with it."
Mulder turned to Scully. She was standing by a small table on which sat her phone, answering machine, and Caller ID box, with the fishbowl beside it. The little red light on the ID box was blinking rapidly, probably with Mulder's numerous unanswered phone calls. "How long?" he snapped.
Scully hung her head for a moment, gazing at her pearlescent pink toenails. Then she looked Mulder in the eye defiantly. "All along."
Mulder's jaw fell open, and Pendrell snorted. "Are you really *that* surprised?" the supposedly dead lab tech asked. "You treat this woman like shit, Mulder, when she's worth her weight in plutonium."
Scully walked over to the couch and sat down beside Pendrell, who put his arm around her shoulders in a courteous yet proprietary sort of way. "Dana helped me fake my death," Pendrell explained, with another drag on his cigarette, "so that I could work on unmasking the Consortium behind the scenes, unhampered by *your* clumsiness."
Mulder became aware that his normal breathing had turned into faint gasping sounds, but it seemed he couldn't do anything about that. He looked away from the two calm redheads on the couch, and his eye fell on the pack of cigarettes lying on the table, between the ashtray and a little plush beanbag cow.
"Those are Morleys!" He pointed scathingly, sure that the pack of cigarettes in itself was proof of Pendrell's ill will.
"Yes," Scully said soothingly, "but they're Ultra Lights." She glanced ruefully at her red-haired lover. "He's always smoked, but I've been getting him to cut down."
Mulder licked his lips, swallowed, thought about shooting Pendrell and killing him for real, and then, for lack of anything better, picked up the bean bag cow and threw it at Pendrell. It mooed as his angry fingers closed around it.
Pendrell caught it easily, frowning now. "Careful, Mulder, I gave that to Dana as a gift! I'm a Taurus." He got to his feet, putting down the bean bag toy as he stood, and stubbed out his cigarette. Scully reached out and petted the cow fondly. "It's a helluva better gift than a *key chain*."
"That had deep meaning," Mulder began, but Pendrell cut him off.
"Yes, but did you ever bother to *explain* it to her? No, of course not, she's just supposed to read your mind!"
"Danny," Scully said, coming up behind him. She laid a hand on a freckled, gold-furred arm. "It doesn't have to be like this. You know we talked about it, what would happen if Mulder ever found out."
"Oh, yeah." The anger dissolved from Pendrell's face, replaced by a wicked grin. He looked up challengingly at Mulder. "Why did you come here, Mulder?"
Caught between Scully's baby blues and Pendrell's, Mulder told the Truth. "Because I love her."
Pendrell nodded. "I do, too. Enough to share her, if that's what she wants."
Mulder gulped, looked at Scully, who was smiling. He didn't want to be outdone by a lab mouse. "I can do that, too."
Pendrell stepped closer, coming chest to chest with Mulder--and a pretty broad chest it was, too. "Enough to share *myself*, if that's what she wants."
Over Pendrell's shoulder, Mulder saw Dana smiling, vividly happy and excited, as the shorter man reached up and pulled Mulder down into a kiss. Oh well, Mulder thought. It's for Dana. And besides, he's really well hung for such a short guy.