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A Fly on the Wall

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Gold, shiny like a ray of sunshine on a dusky evening, Sheriff Aaron Whitlock thumbed the polished band on the 4th digit on his left hand. Light in weight, yet he had never worn something so heavy. Maybe it was just bulky to him, everything it represented. He shouldn’t even have been wearing it. The papers were signed a few weeks ago, but it still felt so fresh and new. He sighed, letting his thumb drop, as he leaned back in his chair. A soft knock pulled him from his thoughts.


“Sheriff, sorry to disturb,” the red-haired FBI agent spoke in a quiet voice. Aaron looked up.


“Agent Mulder and I are going to take off. We figured we’d come by in the morning to finish the paperwork before we head for the airport.” Sheriff Whitlock nodded. “You ok?” She asked, taking a step into his office. She glanced at the piece of jewelry that he had just been fiddling with and his eyes followed her gaze.


“I’m doing just fine, Agent Scully. Thank you,” he sighed, “I should really take it off but I just can’t seem to,” he replied honestly. She was silent, waiting to see if he continued. After a long beat he said, “the divorce was finalized this week. I can’t bear to part with this just yet,” he acknowledged the ring. “It’s silly,” he continued.


“What’s that?” She replied, leaning against a chair.


“The symbolism. Wedding bands are supposed to represent the unbreakable bond of lifelong love and commitment between two married people. It’s kind of crazy how all of that can change with a piece of paper. I’ve never been one to be cynical, but maybe true love doesn’t really exist.” He looked up in enough time to see the agent, with a tinge of pink in her cheeks, look at the ground.


“Do you have a special someone at home?” he asked, knowing fully well she didn’t. After watching the young agent and her partner over the past week, Aaron could not imagine them having someone other than each other. From what he had observed these past days, it was obvious to everyone that they were deeply in love. Well, to everyone other than the two of them.


The agent smiled again and headed back towards the door. “Good night sheriff, we’ll see you in the morning.” Aaron chuckled quietly to himself after she left the office. He leaned back in his chair again and thought about the past week, to each encounter with the pair of mysterious FBI agents.  

One Week Earlier

“Excuse me,” he heard a casual voice say from behind the counter. Aaron looked up and saw two strangers, one tall and lanky, in what appeared to be a grossly expensive suit. The other, short, fiery red hair and piercing blue eyes. The man held his hand at the small of the woman’s back, attempting to be discreet. Aaron’s eyes lingered for just a minute, though the pair appeared to be oblivious.


“How can I help you?” Aaron replied, placing the file in his hands on the counter. He strolled over to the pair.


“I’m Agent Mulder and this is Agent Scully from the FBI. We were told to ask for Sheriff Whitlock once we arrived. We are here regarding the desert disappearances,” the male agent explained.


“Well you all are in luck. I’m Sheriff Whitlock, Aaron Whitlock. It’s nice to meet you. Thanks for coming out.” And so began Aaron Whitlock’s observation of the two unique FBI agents.



“Mulder, don’t go there,” Agent Scully said, following her partner away from the crime scene tape. Sheriff Whitlock looked up in time to see the FBI agents walking towards the parking lot.  Agent Mulder chucked something small, a seed maybe, to the side as they walked. They were not being quiet. Aaron’s detectives and now the FBI were at yet another crime scene. They had no leads and now another child had gone missing.  Aaron prayed the FBI would be able to help.


“Go where Scully?” Agent Mulder whirled around to face her. Agent Scully cocked her head and looked at him.


“Samantha,” was all she replied. Aaron wondered who Samantha was.  A friend?  Lover?


“Don’t bring her into this Scully,” Mulder spat out like venom. It was the first time Aaron noticed some type of divide in the pair.  


“Not everything is about her, Scully,” Agent Mulder responded.  


“Oh Mulder,” Agent Scully sighed, stepping into his space. “It is, especially when the case is about a missing child. This is different, though,” Agent Scully looked around, seeing their small audience of law enforcement spread out around the crime scene.  She bent her chin and looked directly up and into her partner’s eyes.  She then lowered her voice. The show was over. Aaron couldn’t hear what they were saying, but their body language spoke volumes. She held his hand with one of hers, and put her other hand on his arm. It looked as though she was comforting him. There was something about them, something he couldn’t quite put his finger on.



Needing to stretch his legs and get some cool water, Aaron turned the corner in the pleasantly air conditioned station. His team, including the two agents from Washington DC, had been at it for the past 48 hours, with breaks few and far between. He had to give them credit. He got the impression that they were up to par in their work, a pair that functioned well together. He’d watched them over the past few days, stole glances every now and then. He was fascinated by them, by their partnership, their relationship. As he rounded the corner he stopped dead in his tracks, noting the young agents by the restrooms; Agent Mulder sitting in a chair and Agent Scully, walking out of the women’s room, her slender fingers wiping the corners of her mouth. Aaron backed away slowly, though not entirely, intrigued by their interactions. Deep down he knew he should be giving them their privacy but he just couldn’t.  


“I want you to go back to the hotel,” he heard the man, Mulder, state to his partner. At first Aaron thought he didn’t hear right. Surely this FBI agent wouldn’t tell his partner what to do. Although, unfortunately Aaron had heard his fair share of male law enforcement speak differently, or down, to their female counterparts.


“Mulder,” his partner, Agent Scully, started, shaking her head, but stopped when Agent Mulder stood and placed his hands over bare upper arms. This was not a man telling his partner what to do, his face showed concern for the woman in front of him.  


“I know you think you need to be strong, Scully, and I understand why. But I’m asking, no, pleading with you, to let me in, just a little bit, just when it is the two of us.  I know you’re not feeling well. You’re paler than usual and I know how you feel on day 2 after treatment, even though you try to hide it from me.”  


Aaron watched him lower his head to her forehead, while one of his hands reached up to stroke her hair. Agent Scully let out a deep sigh and looked at her partner.  


“I’ll split the difference, Mulder. I don’t want to go back to the motel, but I will go catch a few zs in the break room.” Agent Mulder looked as though he was going to argue, but instead he sighed and nodded. Agent Scully reached out, took his hand, gave it a squeeze, and stepped back, the spell seemingly broken. Aaron stepped back and made his way back to where he came from, desperately trying to move before either agent rounded the corner.    



“Mulder, you’re crazy!” he heard Agent Scully declare from the conference room. He wasn’t eavesdropping, he was simply headed that way to ask the agents if they wanted to break for lunch. Apparently Aaron was about to walk into a heated debate. He stood at the door, waiting for the opportunity to knock.


“You say crazy, I say right!” Agent Mulder retorted. Aaron snuck a look through the corner of the window. The agents were standing close, in each other’s personal space, a lot closer than partners should be standing. They looked as though they were gearing up for a quarrel.


“Scully, how many times have we seen this before?”


“Never,” she replied, standing her ground. Agent Mulder lowered his head, almost as though waving a white flag.


“You just refuse to believe,” he responded dejectedly. Agent Scully softened a bit and placed her hand on his forearm.


“No Mulder, I just want the proof.” She gave him a smile, one that Aaron could only describe as megawatt. He looked at her and grinned back.


“That’s my skeptical scientist,” he said, paused, then added, “how are you feeling today?” Agent Scully briefly looked at the floor before meeting her partner’s hazel eyes.


“I’m fi…” she began. Agent Mulder gave her a look.


“I’m a little tired, but I don’t feel sick anymore,” she relented. Agent Mulder nodded and then took her hand in his. He squeezed it tightly. Aaron took that moment to give a quick knock at the door.  The agents dropped their hands and the spell was broken.

Wednesday Evening

He just couldn’t bear it; going home to an empty apartment, especially after the shitty day he had. The alternative, an unhappy marriage, wasn’t any better, but when he didn’t want to be alone after a long day, Aaron made his way to the local watering hole. 


The crisp jingle of the bell on the door sounded when he walked into the joint.  Making a b-line for the bar, he ordered a beer, then took in his surroundings. In the corner, hidden from most, sat Agents Mulder and Scully, nursing some beers, though Aaron was too far to see what kind. He was too far away to hear what they were saying, but he noticed their heads down low towards the table and could see their lips moving, definitely talking about something important. His drink appeared in front of him and he took a swig, thanking the bartender.


They were a curious duo, from what he had observed over the week thus far. They worked well together, a true team; but there was something else, something Aaron couldn’t quite figure. Neither wore wedding bands, from what Aaron could tell; no bands, no tan lines. Agent Mulder seemed possessive of his partner, though not in an outward way. He was always touching her; her arm, her back, moving her hair when he thought no one else was looking. Yet they were separate; very get to the point, professional, etc. They acted as though they were intimate, though Aaron doubts either had ever made a move on each other. Fools. They were both good looking, in his opinion, both seemed very bright, and watching them, clearly they were attracted to each other. Aaron looked at the booth again and briefly saw Agent Scully smile. It was not just any smile that he had seen over the week. She appeared to be smiling with her eyes, not just her mouth. Whatever Agent Mulder was saying to her, she was looking at him as though he had hung the moon.  


Finishing his beer, Aaron threw down some money and slowly walked out to his car. He sighed, thinking maybe, one day, he would be lucky enough to have someone smile at him that way.


“It’s not the best cup of coffee, but at least it’s warm,” Aaron said, walking up to Mulder at the coffee pot. It has been seven days since the FBI agents had flown in, and they were very close to wrapping up the case. Agent Scully was downstairs performing an autopsy, so Aaron took the opportunity to speak with Agent Mulder. Agent Mulder turned around and smiled at the sheriff, replying, “Warm, yes, but I don’t know about the warmth in the desert heat.” Aaron poured his own cup of coffee and took a sip. “We keep telling someone to put in an iced coffee machine, but the higher ups just won’t go for it.”  Agent Mulder smirked and leaned against the counter.


“I can’t thank you enough for your help this week,” Aaron turned directly to Mulder, “we couldn’t have solved the case without your profile.” Mulder nodded, acknowledging his words.


“When will you and Agent Scully head out?”


“Probably a day or so. We want to make sure everything is set here before we do,” Mulder replied, taking another sip. Aaron paused, wanting to ask. Agent Mulder looked at him, raising an eyebrow.


“I was just wondering…” Aaron trailed off. Mulder waited patiently. Aaron desperately wanted to ask if they were a couple, knowing they weren’t, but wondering why.


“How long have you and Agent Scully worked together?” Mulder smirked, nodding his head, as if knowing where the conversation was headed.


“Over four years,” he responded, not volunteering any other information.


“That’s a long time,” Aaron responded, looking down into his cup. 


Mulder looked at him and asked, “Have you ever worked with a partner?”


“Not as long as you and Agent Scully,” Aaron told him.


“Spit it out Whitlock... “ Mulder sensed he was holding something back.


“I was just wondering, if you two ever… I don’t know… I was just curious if you all were more than just partners?” Aaron blurted out, finding the coffee in his hand very interesting. Mulder looked around, almost as though looking to see if Scully was in ear shot.  


“She’s my best friend, Sheriff; I wouldn’t make a move, even if I wanted to,” he answered openly and honestly.  


“You’ve never thought about it?” Aaron asked. Mulder gave him a look that implied, well I am a man after all.  

“She’s the most important person in my life and without going into detail, she's going through a lot right now. If I ever did anything to mess up my friendship with her, I don’t know if I would survive it,” Mulder sighed.


“Well,” Aaron replied, “take it from someone who spent too much time in an unhappy relationship; the good ones are worth it,” and with that, Aaron strode away, leaving a speechless Agent Mulder behind him.  



Aaron rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand and pondered the thoughts running through his mind. Did true love really exist? Was there such a thing as soulmates? It wasn’t all bad, he realized, his marriage. It had just changed over time; changed like him. Who knows if true love existed, but he hoped that for the sake of the two FBI agents it did, and they would get their chance. With a big sigh, Aaron pulled off the gold band, put it in the open desk drawer, gave it one last look, and turned off his light, ready to leave.