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In The Bag

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Mulder closed his car door, set the brown paper bag between them on the console. After about five minutes of driving in silence he said, “Hey Scully, guess what’s in this bag?” 




“We still have two hours until we get there. Guess what’s in the bag?” 

“Is this one of your annoying car games?” she asked, brow quirked. 

He smiled. “It is now.” 

“Is it Crispy Fried Chicken Skins?” she guessed. 

He looked at her, mouth agape. “How did you know?” 

“It was the grossest thing in Roy’s Gas n’ Sip. It seems like something you’d buy.” 

“I don’t know whether to be insulted or impressed.” 

“Mulder, we’ve been partners for a few months now. I think I have a pretty good read on your gas station snack food habits. Sunflower seeds, iced tea and whatever is the most disgusting thing on the counter by the register. 

He smiled, reached into the sack, pulled out the yellow, polypropylene bag and held it out to her. “Fried chicken skin, Scully?” 

The game had started out as a way for him to tease her, gross her out, test her mettle and her powers of observation. It was another way for him to see how far he could push her before she’d request a transfer. But she never backed down.

He pulled a pen from his pocket and held it like a microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for ‘Guess What’s In This Bag.’ I’m your host Fox Mulder. Today’s contestant is a doctor-slash-FBI agent from Washington, D.C. Please say hello to Dana Scuuuuullllly!” he drew out her last name obnoxiously. 

She rolled her eyes. “Mulder, you don’t have to do the intro every time—“ 

“So Miss Scully, tell us something about yourself.” 

“Well, I used to have a life, but now I spend most of my time in the car with my lunatic partner—“ 

“We’ll edit that out later. It says here,” he examines his invisible note cards. “It says here that you like putting bee pollen on your yogurt and that you’ve seen the Colin Firth-version of Pride and Prejudice 57 times.” 

She smacked his arm with the back of her hand. 

“Okay Dana, you know the rules, but I’ll go over them again for our audience at home. Dana has three guesses to guess what’s in this bag. If she is unable to guess, she’ll have to eat what’s inside.” 

“Mulder, no.” 

“Scully, yes. Those are the rules. I’m sorry. I didn’t make them up.” 

“Yes you did!” she cried. 

“Okay, I did. But they’re still the rules.” 

After three failed guesses she reached warily into the bag. She pulled out a dented tin and wrinkled her nose.

“Mulder, the expiration date on these Vienna sausages is March—of last year. I am not eating them.” 

“Okay, but you know what’s happens if you refuse to eat what’s in the bag. You have to do all the paperwork for this trip.” 

“I do all the paperwork for these trips anyway,” she muttered, looking out the car window. 

“I’m sorry? What was that?” 

“Nothing. Fine. I’ll do the paperwork.” 

Some of the things she had ingested over the years included pork rinds, prickly pear, cheese curds, a sucker with a scorpion in it, various flavors of Moon Pies, prawn flavored potato chips, pickled quail eggs, green Hostess Snowballs, circus peanuts, wasabi peas, S’mores Pop Tarts, waffle chips, boiled peanuts, spray cheese and snake jerky. 

“Scully, how come you never buy anything at these gas stations and let me guess?” 

“Because, Mulder. It wouldn’t be any fun. You’ll eat anything. Anything. What I’ve seen you put in your mouth over the years—“ She shuddered. 

 He murmured in agreement. 

“Scully, who would you rather: Fred Flintstone or Barney Rubble?” 

“I feel like we’ve had this conversation before.” 

“Probably. All the hours in the car? We’ve probably covered most of life’s important topics. So which is it? Fred or Barney?” 

She groaned. “Neither. Fred’s a yeller and Barney’s weak. Look, Betty and Wilma should have gotten together, taken the kids and Dino and moved to whatever was the Stone Age equivalent of Northampton.” 

She sneezed. 

He left her sniffling and waiting in the car as he ran into a 7-Eleven. He sat down and tossed a bag onto her lap. 

"I'm not in the mood," she said stuffily. 

"Too bad. Guess." 

"Beef jerky?" she said, flatly.


"Big League Chew?" 

"You're not even trying." 

"Chicken noodle soup?" 

"No. But is that what you want for dinner?" She shrugged and opened the paper sack. She sighed and reached in, wondering what revolting epicurean delight she’d be consuming today. She pulled out a box of Benadryl. 

“Mulder, no.” 

“Scully, yes.” 


“Yes. You know you’ll feel better.” 

She sniffled. “I’m fine." 

"You're not fine. I'm sorry that I dragged you to look for crop circles in a field full of ragweed, okay? This one's on me, and you are not fine." 

"I am fine. I have my Butterbur and Goldenseal tablets.” 

“Scully, look at yourself,” he gestured to the sea of crumpled tissues surrounding her feet. “This is you,” he pointed to the woman on the pill box. “Itchy, watery eyes, stuffy and/or runny nose, sneezing. That holistic crap is not doing anything. It’s time to bring in the big guns.” 

She sighed, tapping the box against her leg. Her mental pro/con list was interrupted by a fit of sneezing. “Fine.” She relented, wiping her nose. 

For once he had picked something edible. She looked at the Ring Pop sitting on her lap. He grabbed it, tore open the wrapper and grabbed her left hand. “Scully, will you marry me?” 

She tried to wriggle away from him as he slid the candy onto her ring finger. “It’s strawberry, your favorite. Nothing’s too good for my fiancée.” 

“Shut up, Mulder. I haven’t said yes.”

“Scully let me see the ring. I want to see how it sparkles and shines.” 

She tugs the plastic off her finger. 

“I hope that’s not your answer!” He said in mock horror. 

“Mulder, I have to do an autopsy as soon as we get into town. I can’t wear a Ring Pop to cut open Mr. Fergus.” 

“You could wear it on a chain around your neck?” he suggested. She sighed.

“Scully, this is the first piece of jewelry I’ve ever given you and you’re refusing to wear it. How do you think that makes me feel? Don’t you want to keep it close to your heart? You wound me—“ 

She shoved the strawberry-flavored jewel into his still moving mouth. The car was finally quiet. “You keep it safe for me,” she said, patting his arm.

She gestured to the large paper bag on the kitchen island. “What’s that?” 

“A surprise.” 

“What kind of surprise?” 

“Guess what we haven’t played in a while?” he asked.


“Guess. What’s. In. This. Bag?” 

She laughed. “You’re right. It has been a while.” 

“So, care to play, Dr. Scully?” 

“Sure. I believe I am the reigning champion of Guess What’s In This Bag?” 

“It’s not hard when you’re the only contestant,” he muttered. 


“Nothing. So—three guesses.” 

She sniffed the air, trying to glean some clues. “Is it lasagna from Zia Maria?”

 He shook his head. She frowned. It was a good bet. He’d been on an Italian kick lately. 

“Is it—the pear and walnut salad from that place out—“ 

He shook his head. 


“We’ll go this Sunday, I promise. Last guess.” 

“Um,” she tapped her chin, “is it éclairs?” 

“Nope. But you’re getting warmer. Sorry, Scully. You lost. You have to eat what’s in this bag.” 

“Mulder, if this turns out to be sriracha salmon jerky again—“ 

“It’s not. Open it.” 

She pried open the edges of the paper bag and pulled out the white pastry box. She wondered what he was up to. She lifted the lid. Inside was a beautiful white frosted cake. Mulder reached over and put two figurines on the cake. A small redheaded bride ands and a bearded dark-haired groom in a black suit. She smiled at him. 

“I realized after our wedding last week, that we forgot one of the best parts. The cake!”

He placed his hand over hers and they took the knife and cut a small slice. Their hands moving together. He gently picked up the spongy, chocolate cake and lifted it to her lips. She hummed in delight. “It’s good. Really good.”

She lifted a piece for him to try, then at the last second smashed it all over his mouth and beard. She giggled at his shocked expression. “Sorry,” she shrugged, not sounding sorry in the least. “It’s tradition.” 

She stood on her tiptoes kissing and licking the chocolate crumbs and frosting from her groom. 

“I have a new game,” he said, smiling. “It’s called Guess What’s In These Pants?” 

“Hmm.” She appraises the man in front of her, scanning him carefully from tip to toes.

“Three guesses.” 

“Um, a AA battery? Chapstick? A roll of Lifesavers?” 

He narrows his eyes. “My wife has a cruel streak a mile wide. No, no and no.” 

“Well, you’d better take me upstairs and show me what I won.” 

“Scully, you lost.” 

“Did I? Did I, though?”