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Five Seconds

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It was supposed to be a joke. Really, it was. And, it wasn’t like he’d done it on purpose.

Honest.

Mulder noticed the taser sitting on his desk and picked it up, studying it. Never once did he question where it came from. Mistake number one.

He’d been tased before. Back at the Academy. He’d pissed himself. Like almost everyone did.

Luckily, it wasn’t the same day they maced him.

That was when she walked in the office, accompanied by and talking to one of the instructors from the Academy.

“Agent Walker, this is my partner, Agent Fox Mulder,” Scully introduced, simultaneously noticing the taser in his hand. She smirked and arched an eyebrow. “What, were you gonna tase me as soon as I walked in the door?” She challenged playfully.

He liked playful Scully. That was why he’d playfully lifted the taser, pretending like he was going to do just that. What Mulder didn’t consider was the sensitive trigger.

He’d barely heard Agent Walker screaming at him over the clack, clack, clack of the non-lethal weapon.

Everything else that followed happened in a blur. Scully dropped to the ground, two wires shooting out from her body as it pumped a fifty thousand volt electrical charge at seven watts per charge into her for a split second. Agent Walker dropped beside her while Mulder stood, stunned.

She was going to murder him. And, she’d be right to do it, too.

He should’ve known better. He was trained law enforcement officer. There were rules; the first things they teach you when operating a service weapon of any kind: never put your finger on the trigger unless you intend to squeeze it and don’t point your weapon at someone unless you intend to use it and, even then, only as a last resort.

Partner implied.

He broke two rules that day. Three, if one would count definitely don’t shoot your partner as a rule.

Although, he had to figure, in a momentary and silent self-defense, she did put a bullet through him. He had the scar to prove it.

Five seconds.

It took five seconds for the shock waves to wear off and for Scully to come to.

Five seconds that felt like an eternity.

She was gonna be pissed. And, she had every right to be.

He remembered what being tased felt like. It felt like every atom in your body was tearing itself apart. It hurt beyond anything that could ever hurt a person.

Mulder had hurt Scully. Physically.

He felt like he was going to be sick.

“You…fucking…bastard,” she panted when she came to enough to sit up, shooting daggers at him with her eyes.

Mulder practically shoved Agent Walker out of the way, knocking the other man on his ass in the process.

“Scully, I am so—.”

“Fuck you,” she spat, shoving him away as he reached for her.

“It was an accident,” he sputtered. “I-I… Jesus, Scully. I am so sorry. I didn’t—I didn’t mean to—.”

“First rule when they issued the rubber weapons to us during tactical training. First rule, Mulder,” she snarled. “Keep your finger off the trigger.”

She left after that, escorted out of the office by Agent Walker who promised Mulder that Skinner was going to hear about the incident. Mulder watched as the man guided her away, his hand resting gently just above her elbow.

She didn’t talk to him for several days.

In fact, he’d only seen her one time and, when she wasn’t expertly diverting her gaze, she was glaring a death glare his way.

What Scully didn’t know was how Mulder had commiserated each second of the days she avoided him; she didn’t know how he vomited every time he thought about it.

Oh, Skinner ripped into him, too.

Mulder suspected the only reason he wasn’t fired or, at the very least, on administrative suspension without pay was because Scully had a hand in it.

He considered himself a lucky man that she didn’t walk away from him entirely.

He certainly wouldn’t have blamed her.

Finally, one day, he heard the familiar clacking of her heels just outside the office. His heart jumped in excitement and his stomach lurched in guilt. It was an odd sensation, really.

He jumped up from his chair when she entered the office, saying nothing as she hung her coat on the coat rack while he shoved his hands so deep in his pockets that he was surprised he didn’t shove a hole right through him.

Scully eyed him and Mulder swallowed hard.

“What?” She asked. He opened his mouth to say something—anything—but not sound came. “Jesus, Mulder. I’m not going to tase you.”

The air left his lungs in a heavy exhale; he hadn’t noticed that he was holding his breath.

He let out a relieved chuckle and she grinned.

“I’m really sorry about that,” he said, truly repentant and contrite. “I didn’t mean to tase you.”

“I know. I could tell by the several flower deliveries to my apartment, the thousands of messages on my answering machine, the hand written notes taped to my apartment door, the e-mails,” she listed, ticking them off on her fingers as she went down the list. “Shall I go on?”

“You got the message. Duly noted.”

There was an awkward moment of silence before Mulder quietly and seriously  said, “Thanks for not getting another partner.” He meant it to sound confident, but it sounded meek. “I don’t know if I’d have ever forgiven myself—not that I will any time soon, anyway.”

Scully smirked, “I did shoot you in the shoulder. With my service weapon.”

He smiled a relieved smile and nodded. “At least, I didn’t do that. And, you did patch me up pretty nicely.” He patted his shoulder for emphasis.

“I will say this, though,” she continued, a grave tone in her voice that put the fear of God in him and a tone he never wanted to be on the receiving end of ever again. “If you ever do that again, you won’t walk away from it.”

His jaw dropped to the floor with a proverbial thud. She was dead serious. He could see it in her eyes: she’d actually kill him.

Mulder nodded, terrified and slightly turned on. Oddly enough.

“Good,” she declared and walked past him, to the desk, and picked up the file on it. “Our next case?”

He couldn’t respond. She went zero to sixty and back to zero in a minute and he was feeling the proverbial whiplash.

God help him, he wanted to take her on the desk right then. Although, the knew he was the only one with that particular notion at the moment.

“Mulder,” she demanded. He needed to get back on her good side.

“You can tase me if you want,” he blurted. Her brow furrowed in confusion. “I mean, if it’d make you feel better.”

She nodded. “Rain check.”

He knew that tone. She wasn’t joking.

Mulder was going to be on his best behavior for awhile.