Title: Bad Boy
Author: Girlie_girl7
Written : 07-07-03
Category: Conversation fic, family fic
Spoilers: Post Existence then AU
Rating: PG Archive: Anywhere
Disclaimer: Fox owns 'em

Summary: Scully and Tara have a chat.

Tara Scully is busily folding clothes with her sister-in-law Dana. Between Dana's family of four and the visiting Tara and Matthew they have a table full.

"Dana, thanks for asking Matthew and me to come out and visit. We get so bored when Bill's out to sea."

Scully dumps another load of dry clothes on the laundry room table. "I'm glad you came, with Mulder teaching the kids and I have the house to ourselves until late in the afternoon, I needed the adult company."

Tara laughs. "I know what you mean but thanks anyway." She looks around the large bright laundry room and pulls a pair of Matthew's jeans out of the pile. "This is such a lovely home you have here."

Scully grabs a couple of bibs and folds them neatly wrapping the strings around each one. "Thanks, Mulder took one look at this place and fell in love with it. I thought it was way too big but now that Katherine has come along I'm glad we bought it."

Tara looks out the laundry room window to watch the two cousins playing in the large backyard. "I hope someday when Bill's off active duty we can find a place of our own."

"I'm sure you will," Scully says as she folds a receiving blanket.

Tara pulls out a pair of green satin bikini panties and hands them to Scully. "These have to be yours, until Bill gets home its plain, white cotton for me." Scully laughs and grabs the panties. She puts a laundry basket on the table and begins to stack some folded clothes into it.

Tara nervously breaks the silence. "Dana, yesterday as we were leaving the church with mom and Mulder met us on the steps, I got the idea you were not happy with him. I know it's none of my business but when mom and I got back to her house, well, I had to wonder, are things okay between you too?"

Scully puts the filled basket on the floor and begins to fold the towels. "I wasn't very happy with him when I woke up and found he had ditched me again."

"Ditched you?" Tara questions while she continues to help fold the clothes.

Scully laughs. "That's right, he ditched me."

Tara frowns and pulls back the strands of blonde hair that have escaped the ponytail she has pulled her hair back into. "I'm afraid I don't understand?"

Scully stops folding the towels and places both hands palm down on the table. "Tara do you remember growing up, there was always a boy in school who would wear a leather jacket even in the summer, his hair was never in style but it still looked good on him and he had this attitude that pissed off authority?"

"Yeah." Tara says balling up a little pair of pink socks. "We had one of those. The James Dean type, silent, moody but with eyes to die for."

"Well put that in an Armani suit and give him a badge and you've got Fox Mulder," Scully says with a slight smile on her face.

Tara blinks and says, "You're not serious."

Scully walks over to peek out at the boys playing in the sandbox. "Yes I am. Fox Mulder is the FBI version of that 'bad boy' we all went to school with."

Tara laughs. "You mean the 'bad boy' our parents warned us about but who we were secretly attracted to."

Scully nods. "That's the one."

"Wow," Tara exclaims.

Scully tosses a couple of not quite dry towels back into the dryer and starts it. "The 'bad boy' in school always had a steady girl but other things took priority in his life, the guys, his car, sports, anything but her. In Mulder's case it was his quest, his drive for the truth, his job, and sometimes the guys."

Tara laughs. "And you were his steady girl."

Scully starts to fold a sheet; Tara grabs one end of it to help her. "I was for eight years. The difference is we were partnered, we didn't chose one another."

Tara takes the sheet from Scully to finish folding it. "But if you hadn't been partnered with him you would have eventually gotten together right?"

Scully shakes her head. "There is not one chance in five billion that we would have."

"Really! But you two seem like you're meant for each other."

Scully stands with her hands on her hips. "Mulder was viewed as brilliant, determined, resourceful and gifted but he was also viewed as arrogant, a renegade, moody, and a crackpot with the tendency to stray into the world of the fantastic."

Tara picks up a little pink sleeper and folds it. "And you?"

"Me?" Scully asks as she pulls out a pair of long-legged men's jeans shaking them to get the wrinkles out. "Well I was the token woman in a field of science dominated by men. I like to think I'm intelligent and I have been called determined. But I played by the rules, kept my nose clean and was on my way to making a name for myself at the bureau, or so I thought."

Tara leans across the table and smiles at Dana. "Then the 'bad boy' entered your life."

"Oh yeah big time." Scully says as she separates a pile of socks. "I of course heard about the brilliant Fox Mulder and was curious but I never expected what I found the day I opened the door to that basement office."

"So you thought he was cute," Tara teases.

"Tara, there are more things to a partnership then just being cute. He was abrasive, and self-assured and yet challenging. I think that's what first hit me that day after I left the office, what a challenge this would be and yes, he was cute." Tara laughs.

"So you were teamed up with the 'bad boy', what happened next?" Tara pauses to drink from a bottle of water.

Scully folds another pair of Mulder's jeans. "Well just like the typical 'bad boy', he ditched me. He'd ditch me for cases, he'd ditch me to meet informants, he'd ditch me for the guys."

"You must have felt awful." Tara says peeking out the window at William and Matthew who are still playing in the yard.

"Some of our worst fights were over his ditching me."

"You fought! Didn't that affect your partnership?"

Scully softly laughs and shakes her head. "No, it didn't. I would fight with Mulder but I would also fight for him."

Tara frowns. "That sounds complicated."

Scully picks up a blouse and shakes it out. "Try it for eight years."

Tara sits down on a stool next to the table. "But it worked for you."

"Well, like most 'bad boys' they mature, grow-up, and become functioning members of society."

"And Mulder has?"

"For the most part, yes." Scully grabs another basket and begins to fill it. "He's still driven and determined but not so much at work as with William and Katherine. He's stopped taking chances, he's got too much to loose, both of us do." Scully finishes filling the basket and turns to pull the towels out of the dryer. "But every once in awhile he reverts back to his old self and Sunday I woke to an empty bed. William was asleep and Katherine had been changed and fed but he was gone."

"Where was he?"

"Turns out he had gone to the Academy to catch up on some paperwork and had forgotten his cell. I felt bad about going off on him like that and I'm sorry I missed having lunch with you and mom."

Tara grabs a pile of baby clothes and begins to fold them. "But everything is okay now?"

Scully begins to fold Mulder's T-shirts. "Yes, we made up, twice that night," She grins.

Tara laughs and grabs Scully's arm. "That's good Dana!"

Scully stands in front of the counter with her hands behind her braced on the counter. "Mulder is an enigma Tara, he's a highly complicated man with simple needs and desires."

Scully pushes off the table and puts another load of towels in the dryer. "Even after all these years sometimes I can't figure him out."

Tara smiles at her sister-in-law. "Don't sell Mulder short, give him a chance Dana."

"Oh I am. I'm working hard on this one," Scully laughs. "He's a keeper."

Tara leans into Scully. "It's a good thing we women can bring these 'bad boys' into line."

Scully laughs and shakes her head. "Mulder will never be in the line Tara, he might be leading it though."

Tara places a little dress on a tiny hanger and puts it on a hook on the back of the door. "I wish Bill was as easy and gentle with Matthew as Fox is with William and now Katherine. He speaks so softly to them and they always have his undivided attention. Its no wonder Matthew adores his uncle Mulder."

"Give Bill some time Tara. Remember every time he's home he knows he has to leave again. That has to always be in the back of his mind."

Tara folds a pair of little boy's pajamas. "I guess you're right. It does put a strain on any relationship; it has to affect the one with his son too." She bends down to grab a tiny sock that has fallen on the floor. "Did you ever picture domestic life with Mulder?"

Scully continues to fold Mulder's T-shirts. Tara looks over and laughs, "How can men dirty so many T-shirts!"

Scully laughs along with her sister-in-law. "Mulder runs each morning and spends time outside with Will, he goes through a lot of T's and to answer your question, I did wonder if this 'bad boy' could ever settle down."

Tara dumps another basket of laundry on the table. "Well I think he has adjusted just fine."

Scully folds her own white tank tops and places them on top of Mulder's folded jeans. "Fox Mulder is nothing if not resilient. The abuse and criticism he withstood at the bureau would have destroyed lesser men, but not him." Scully pulls Mulder's running socks out of the pile that Tara has just dumped on the table. "He pours the same intensity into r his life here at home as he did at work only this time he has two little people who think he's the best at whatever it is he does. He doesn't bring any baggage to raising children and they adore their father."

Scully heads to the kitchen to grab a bottle of water from the fridge. Tara speaks up so she can be heard. "I've noticed you and Will tend to be extra close but I see that with Fox and Katherine now."

Scully comes back into the laundry room with her bottle of water and takes a large drink then points the bottle at Tara saying, "I've noticed that too. I think with all that William and I went through before Mulder was returned to us, it forged a prenatal bond that still exists between us."

Tara shakes her head. "I still don't understand it but that had to be the ultimate ditch."

"Yes it was," Scully sadly laughs.

"Katherine already seems to have decided who she likes best."

"Tell me about it," Scully says as she tucks as stray strand of hair behind her ear. "She can fuss and be out of sorts all day but the minute Mulder speaks she melts into one happy baby." Scully laughs. "And he can't understand why I say she gets cranky during the day, I think she misses him."

Tara laughs. "You think she'll grow up and fall for a 'bad boy'?"

Scully smiles as she tosses an empty soap bottle into the recycle bin. "If he's anything like her father I would be happy but if he's like the 'bad boy' I went to school with I pity him when Mulder gets through with him."

Tara laughs and shakes her head. "Are you going back to work Dana?"

"I plan to. I want to be here until the kids start school." Scully returns to folding towels. "The time goes so fast."

"I know! Matthew starts school this fall. It doesn't seem possible."

Scully glances out at the two little kids in the sandbox. "He's so good with William. They play well together."

Tara pulls out a baby crib sheet and starts to fold it. "He gets so lonely being an only child. I mean there are lots of kids on the base but at home it's just me and him. I'm glad he's gotten to spend this time with his cousins."

Scully smiles at her sister-in-law. "That's what frequent flyer miles are for."

"Well thanks for sending us the tickets anyhow."

"It was Mulder's idea," Scully says as she checks the clothes currently in the dryer.

Tara is surprised. "It was?"

"Yeah," Scully says as she shuts the dryer door and turns it back on. "I think he thinks I get lonely here at home. I haven't got the time to be lonely but I'm glad you're here doing the laundry with me," Scully teases.

"Thanks a lot!" Tara laughs. "So are you going back to the bureau when you do return to work?"

"I've been thinking about teaching at the academy. I know they need qualified instructors and I've done it before plus I could see Mulder during the day."

Tara leans into Scully and softly says, "Want to keep an eye on your 'bad boy' huh?"

Scully chuckles and shakes her head. "No, I don't have to worry about Mulder. Once he sets his mind on something he never wavers. He nearly drove himself to madness until he found out what happened to his sister and now he has shifted that same energy into his own children and I have no doubt about his loyalty to me."

Tara folds another crib sheet and places it on the pile with the others. "He certainly has been through a lot in his lifetime."

Scully perches on the edge of the stool and plays with a piece of string lying on the table. "The worst part is it all happened to him at such an early age. By the time he was forty he had spent nearly thirty years looking for his sister, had witnessed the murder of his father and lost his mother without getting to say goodbye to her."

"She committed suicide didn't she?" Tara quietly asks. "Yes she did," Scully sighs, "I'd never tell Mulder this but I can never forgive her for not waiting long enough to speak to her son one last time. We were in the middle of the La Pierre case when she killed herself."

Tara pauses in thought. "Oh, I remember that case, it was all over the news."

Scully continues to stare at the table. "Mulder took that case particularly hard, anytime kids were involved he always did. He still blames himself for not calling her back immediately the last time she left a message on his machine. To say it affected him would be an understatement. He was in the middle of that damn case and he had just found out about her death." Scully's eyes begin to redden. "I have never seen a man crumble and cry like Mulder did that night and there was nothing I could do for him except be there." Scully wipes away a tear.

Tara tries to change the subject. "Well, um, you do have two beautiful children that seem very special to him."

Scully regains her composure. "He hasn't said it yet but we both know that Katherine looks just like his little sister, same dark hair and eyes and that little button nose." Scully gets off the stool and looks out the window at William playing in the yard. "She was a pretty girl." She turns around and picks up a basket filled with clothes placing it next to the others near the bottom of the stairs.

Tara laughs and points out the window. "Dana! What are those two trying to do?"

Scully stands next to Tara and looks out the window. "It looks like they're trying to empty all the sand out of the sandbox."

Tara starts for the backdoor. "I'd better go out there."

"No Tara, leave them. It's only sand, we'll get more."

Tara returns to fold more clothes. "Okay, but it's going to be a mess."

"Believe me Tara after the things I've seen and done I don't worry about a little sand in the yard."

"I guess you're right and I hear a fussy baby. Let me get her?"

"Be my guest." Scully takes the next load out of the dryer while Tara leaves the room to check on Katherine.

Scully is just starting to fold the last load when she hears the backdoor open. She smiles and yells; "I'm in here."

Mulder walks in with his jacket slung over his shoulder. "Hey Scully, what's going on?"

"Well Mr. Investigator in case you haven't deduced it, I'm doing laundry." She smiles. "The boys are in the backyard playing and Tara's upstairs with Katherine."

Mulder sits on the table with one leg dangling off the edge and pulls Scully into an embrace. She chuckles and places her hands on his arms. He leans in to kiss her forehead. Scully runs her tongue over her lips and smirks. "Mulder, I can excuse a peck on the forehead when we are both standing up because I know it's hard on that old back of yours to bend over but we are at eye level now."

Mulder returns a wide smile and moves in to properly kiss her lips. Scully wraps her arms around him while they continue to kiss. "That's better," she says gasping when they finally come up for air.

"I missed you," Mulder says in a gravelly soft voice adding, "And I didn't hear any complaints about my old back last night."

"No you didn't," Scully says playing with the buttons on his shirt.

Suddenly Mulder laughs, "What the hell?" Scully turns her head to see what he is staring at. "Scully, why is there a big pile of sand beside the sandbox but none in it?"

Scully laughs. "Guess you'll just have to ask William and Matthew that question."

Tara comes around the corner holding Katherine in her arms. "Oh Fox, I didn't know you were home."

"I just got here," he says as he walks over to look at Katherine. The baby instantly recognizes her father and babbles and jumps. Mulder takes the very happy child from Tara's arms. Tara looks over at Scully and Scully just shrugs and smiles.

Suddenly the backdoor is flung open with two very dirty little boys running through it. "Mom! I'm hungry!" Matthew yells. William tries to parrot his cousin. "Ma! Hungee!" Both boys are laughing as sand sloughs off both of them.

Mulder laughs, "They look like Pig Pen from the Charlie Brown cartoon."

Tara puts both hands on her hips, "Matthew William Scully, what did you do?"

All of the sudden William starts to cry. Scully picks him up to comfort him. "It's okay Will, she wasn't talking to you."

Tara turns red and begins to apologize. Matthew speaks up, "Don't cry Will'im, she yells that at me all the time." The adults all laugh and William laughs too.

Tara bends over to pick up the toddler. "Come on William, I didn't mean to scare you." She turns to Scully and says, "I'll give the boys a bath if you want to fix them something to eat." Then she looks down at Matthew and simply says, "Strip." The little boy is immediately down to his briefs. She takes her son by the hand and carries William out of the room and up the stairs.

Mulder watches them leave. "Tara is nothing if not efficient."

Scully walks into the kitchen and begins to assemble a snack for the boys. Mulder follows her while he continues to interact with his daughter. Finally he speaks up. "Scully, I really am sorry about Sunday morning. It never occurred to me that you would be worried. Believe it when I say my days of getting myself into trouble are over."

Scully finishes cutting a turkey sandwich in half, then turns to face Mulder. She runs her fingers over the soft skin on her daughter's cheek. "I'm sorry too. I know old habits are hard to break, even my own."

Mulder takes her hand while he continues to hold Katherine. "So we're okay?"

Scully looks up into his eyes and smiles. "Mulder, we're always okay."

They hear a commotion and two well-scrubbed little boys with spiky hair clad in clean T-shirts and shorts burst into the kitchen. "Come on boys, time to eat," Scully says as she lifts William up to sit him in the highchair while Matthew climbs up on a booster seat. She places half a sandwich and a cup of milk before each boy and adds a few chips to the plate.

Mulder hovers over Scully and says, "This boy could use a sandwich too."

Scully pushes a strand of hair away from her face as she helps William lift his cup. "And what would my 'bad boy' want on his sandwich?"

"Oh," Mulder purrs, "Bad boy! I like the sound of that."

~ The End ~


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