“Mulder, what are you doing with the tape measure?”
He drops it and swings round. “I’m trying to work out how long my hair will be in six months.”
Scully crosses her arms. “Why?”
“Don’t…worry about it.”
“I’m worried about you, Mulder. You’re skulking around and spending too long on the internet. And yesterday, I found this behind the slide projector.” She holds up a box of hair dye. “Fine as Wine, Mulder?”
“I…it’s…” he slumps onto the toilet seat. “I’m planning ahead for Halloween, Scully.”
“With a tape measure and Clairol?”
“You’re my favourite FBI agent. I want to dress up as you.”
Scully adjusts his glasses and nods. “You’ll do.”
“I’m not sure if this is such a good idea now.”
“Mulder, you’ve been planning this for six months.”
“Well, not exactly.” He looks down at himself.
“The suit is fine, Mulder.”
She adjusts her own suit, charcoal grey with a blue shirt and garish patterned tie, pulls two strands of hair over her forehead and flashes him her badge and grins. “Mulder, FBI. I think I like me with short, dark hair. What do you think?” He sighs and she digs him in the ribs. “You wanted authenticity, Mulder. Come on. We’re late.”
The music blares and the venue is heaving with bureau staff dresses as pumpkins, beer wenches, vampires, ghosts, football players, cowboys and girls, a pantomime horse and many indeterminate costumes. Mulder hesitates by the doors until Scully pushes him forward.
“There’s the boss,” she says, pointing to the AD. “Let’s say hi.”
“No, really. I don’t feel well, Scully. Let’s go.”
He runs a hand over his head and she waves to where the suits are gathered.
“Shame he didn’t dress up. I think he would have made a great Hulk.”
“Agent Scully, you look…spooky.” He smiles and turns to Mulder, his eyes raking over his agent.
“Mulder has spent months planning his costume, Sir,” she sips her wine and tucks her chin to her chest. “Unfortunately, the best laid plans and all that.”
Skinner peers at Mulder’s head, runs a hand over the smooth bald skin. “Is that real?”
Mulder digs his hands into his pockets and looks over at Scully. She cracks out a laugh. “Yes, Sir.”
“How did you lose your hair, Mulder?”
Scully jumps in. “He dyed it, Sir. Fine as Wine. But it didn’t quite work out so…”
“You shaved it off?” Skinner says, taking his bottom lip in his mouth. “And decided to come to the FBI Halloween Ball as me?”
Mulder blushes Fine as Wine as Scully and Skinner bend over, cackling. He waits it out, adjusting the glasses.
Eventually, Skinner takes him by the arm and whispers to him. “Whatever you do, Mulder. Don’t ask Agent Scully to dance with you tonight. Gossip about you two is already in overdrive and I don’t think I need to deal with the rumour mill grinding on about the two of us.”