Title: Burned Turkey
Summary: Another ruined holiday-or is it?
A weary Dana Scully climbed out of the rented Taurus and slammed the door hard enough to make the glass rattle. Her partner, Fox Mulder, didn't pause to look for the sheer disgust and frustration written on her pale, dirty face. He didn't have to look, he knew it was there. It was there the whole trip back to their motel.
Mulder made an attempt to break the silence early into the drive back. "Um, Scully..."
Scully's head swung around so fast it reminded Mulder of the Exorcist. Her raised eyebrow and murderous look was sufficient to stymie any other attempts at conversation.
Mulder opened the door to his motel room and let the bedraggled Scully enter ahead of him. He ignored the look she shot him as she shouldered past him. Before she could make it through the connecting door to her own room beyond, he tried again. "You hungry, Scully?"
Scully flared at Mulder. "Yes, Mulder, I'm hungry. You know what I want to eat? Let's see," She raised her hand and counted on her fingers. "I want turkey and dressing. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Maybe some ham and candied yams. And while I'm fantasizing, I want a whole pumpkin pie to myself."
Mulder took a step away from her in spite of his desire to console her.
"And you know what else I want, Mulder? I want to be in San Diego, with my mother, with Bill and Tara and the kids. I want to be in a warm, cozy house decorated to the hilt and a nice fire in the fireplace. After stuffing myself silly, I want to sit with my family, maybe drink a glass of white wine and just enjoy myself."
Whereas Scully didn't say a word in the car, she worked up to a full boiler of steam now.
"But no, Mulder. Do I get any of that? Of course not! I'm stuck here, in a little hick town somewhere in Washington state, on another stupid X-file, and it won't stop raining!"
"Oh, come on, Scully. There's a quaint-looking diner down the road. Let's go eat, you'll feel better, I promise."
Scully sighed loudly. "Whatever, Mulder." She walked into her room. A moment later Mulder heard the bathroom door slam and water running in the shower.
Having cleaned up, Scully felt better. Just a little. And as Mulder pulled their rental car into a space in front of the diner, Scully realized she was indeed hungry.
Mulder held her arm gently as they ran through the light rain. He left his arm there as he guided her through the door into the warmly lit diner. Within seconds, a middle-aged woman greeted them.
"Happy Thanksgiving, so glad to have you here."
Scully couldn't help but smile in return. "Thank you."
Their waitress led them to a cozy booth at the back of the diner. Scully didn't comment on the ripped upholstery and peeling paint. It was Thanksgiving, after all, so she supposed she should be thankful that she had a place to eat in this tiny town.
Mulder had already slid into his own side of the booth and was giving the menu a once over. "Okay, Scully, what do you want?"
Scully's stomach rumbled. She didn't even need to see a menu. "I'd like a turkey dinner---turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, the works."
The waitress, whose nametag read "Jean" Scully noticed, opened her mouth to interrupt. "I'm sorry, miss, but we've no turkey."
"What?" Scully couldn't believe it. "You don't have any turkey?"
"Well, we weren't really expecting much business. We had a couple of turkeys, but Hal back there," Jean leans back towards the kitchen and raises her voice for Hal's benefit,"had to go and burn one turkey to a crisp! The other one we sent over to poor Mrs. Henderson, seeing how she's got the six kids and no husband, on account of him running off with her cousin. Her male cousin," Jean tells them conspiratorially.
"Well, do you at least have some dressing or mashed potatoes?" Disappointed again, Scully couldn't help sounding pissed off. She glanced over at Mulder, who was still nose first in the menu. Smart man.
Jean hesitated. "Well, the dressing went to Mrs. H, but I think we still might have some potatoes."
"Okay, fine." Scully made a "whatever" gesture with her hand. What kind of meat do you have?"
"Well," Jean drawled, "we do have a nice venison stew--"
Scully grimaced, but Mulder finally butted in. "That'll be fine, Jean." He smiled up at her and Jean smiled back shyly. "We'll both have the stew and potatoes, please."
Jean looked dubiously at Scully, who stared back hard in return. Jean quickly turned back to Mulder, who she obviously found an ally, and asked, "Can I get you anything else, sir?"
Sprawled easily in the booth, Mulder asked for an iced-tea and sent Jean on her way. "My, my, Scully, you almost caused a scene."
"Don't start with me, Mulder." She paused to collect herself. "Can you believe it? It's Thanksgiving, and no turkey! This just totally figures." She surveyed the small diner. "I mean, look at this place. Ripped seats, walls need paint, Hal back there burning food--"
"Oh, come on, Scully. You've got it all wrong. You're not supposed to be concentrating on the bad stuff. It's Thanksgiving, you're supposed to be thankful for all the good stuff."
Scully shot Mulder a hot look. "*What* good stuff, Mulder?!" Anger and frustration took over in Scully's eyes and voice. "Another year gone by, and what do I have to show for it? We're stuck with the same old cases, running in the same old circles, we're getting no closer to the answers we've been looking for."
Scully was interrupted by Jean arriving with large bowls of steaming stew, two plates of mashed potatoes swimming in gravy, a smaller plate of bread. She stuck her fork into her stew and didn't notice the look of hurt on Mulder's face. Mulder picked up his own fork and said nothing as he began to stir chunks of meat with vegetables.
Scully took a bite of her stew, chewing slowly and thoughtfully. The venison tasted a little gamey, but it was actually pretty good. She looked up to see Mulder eating his stew. She smiled around a forkful of potatoes but Mulder quickly looked down at his stew. Great, now Mulder was pouting.
Scully sighed. "Mulder--"
Mulder looked up, nonchalantly. "What?"
Scully rolled her eyes. "Okay, what'd I say that isn't true this time?"
Mulder studied her a moment, Scully wasn't sure what he was looking for. So she studied him in return, and realized how tired Mulder looked. She saw the sadness there, and it echoed the sadness in her heart. Scully looked away, fiddling with the napkin in her lap.
Mulder sighed loudly, playing with his stew. "I'm sorry I've ruined your Thanksgiving, Scully."
"Mulder, first of all, you did not ruin my Thanksgiving. It's just the timing of this damned case. Why do you always turn everything into something about you?" Scully grabbed some bread and crumbled it into her stew, stirring angrily with her fork.
Now Mulder was angry. "Is that what you think, Scully? That I think your life revolves around mine? That I have that kind of power over you?" He pushed his bowl of stew away in disgust. "After all these years, Scully, I thought you'd know me better than that."
Scully's Irish rose a notch. "Know you, Mulder? Know you?" Now it was Scully's turn to push her bowl of stew away. "I hardly know you at all, Mulder. These days, all you seem to be about is the X-Files! I don't know where I fit in, Mulder! Am I your partner? Your friend? I hope so. But you don't let me get very close to you these days, Mulder."
Scully paused, breathing a little heavily. Mulder leaned back in his seat, folded his arms across his chest. Jean walked up with the check in hand. She hesitated.
"Can I get either of you anything else? Some pie?"
Scully stared at Mulder who stared at Scully. Jean cleared her throat.
Without looking away, Mulder said, "Jean, pie would be nice."
"Yes, Jean, how about a sweet potato pie?" Scully smirked.
"A slice of apple pie would be fine, Jean." Mulder corrected. "May I have extra whipped cream, please?
Jean smiled nervously. "Anything for you, miss? We do have a pumpkin pie."
"No, thank you, Jean, sadly and suddenly I have no appetite."
Jean moved to get Mulder's pie. The two FBI agents continued glaring at each other.
In the few minutes it took for Jean to return with Mulder's pie, neither one of them said a word. The silence loomed between them, a rift growing larger by the minute.
Mulder began to panic. He needed to think of something to get them talking again. "Want a bite of my pie, Scully? There's enough here to share."
Scully smiled to herself at the sight of Mulder, pleading with his eyes, a raised fork with a large bite of apple pie balanced upon it. A generous dollop of whipped cream topped it off.
Scully leaned forward to accept Mulder's offer. He smiled, beamed actually, and aimed the fork for Scully's opening mouth. At the last possible second, Mulder quickly changed course, and Scully was met with whipped cream up her nose.
"MULDER!" Sputtering, Scully wiped whipped cream from her face. She couldn't believe he had just done that. Mulder sat across from her, chuckling at first. Once he was sure she wasn't going to pull her weapon, he started laughing whole-heartedly.
"You think this is funny, Mulder?" Scully seized her opportunity while Mulder tried desperately to control an unmanly giggle fit. She scooped the whipped topping from his pie. Mulder's eyes widened in realization, but his laughter had the better of him. Before he could recover, Scully slapped a palmful of topping along the left side of his face.
Mulder cried out in surprise. Laughing hard, Scully held her stomach with one hand and pointed in good humor at Mulder with the other. The few patrons of the diner all stopped what they were doing and looked on in merriment. This was the most excitement they'd had all month. Wait until they told their friends and family that two FBI agents from D.C. had a food fight in their small town diner. Maybe it would make the Weekly Wake up Call-"Agents Duel in Diner. Choose Pie as Weapon. No seconds were necessary."
Not to be outdone, Mulder reached for the pie. Scully saw what was coming and dived for it. As they wrestled for possession of the pie, apple filling was smashed, a water glass upturned, whipped cream covered their hands and arms. The plate, unnoticed, clattered off the table. Mulder and Scully continued to struggle, grabbing and slapping, laughing uncontrollably.
Mulder's large hands enveloped Scully's smaller ones. Scully stopped struggling and entwined her fingers with his. Mulder, breathing heavily, looked up at her, a big grin on his face. Across from him, the rise and fall of Scully's chest matched his. Her eyes and mouth reflected what Mulder was beginning to feel. He lowered their hands to the table but didn't let go. Scully made no attempt to extract her hands.
They were still sitting that way when Jean came over with towels and the bill for cleaning services.
Mulder grinned at Scully as he wiped his hands before handing over his credit card. "What say we keep this one off the expense account, Scully?"
She flashed a brilliant smile. "I think that can be easily arranged."
"Oh, Good. I know what a stickler you are for details."
Mulder guided Scully to the door. Before she passed through the door, she looked up at him almost shyly. "Thank you, Mulder," she said quietly. "Thank you for helping me remember what I am thankful for."
"I'm thankful you didn't shoot me for dinner."
"Nah, then all I'd have is another burned turkey."
"Get those little feet moving G-Woman".
Author's notes: This is my first attempt at fanfic. Just a few days before Thanksgiving I decided I wanted to try a story for the holiday. So here it is.
Thanks to Mary for the beta reading and all her patience with all my questions and insecurities. I hope this is just the beginning of a great writing relationship.
Feedback at: firstname.lastname@example.org