Title: The Thirteenth Agent
Summary: A younger, less experienced agent watches our dynamic duo and collects funny material. Do not try to read in between the lines or look for clues. Just sit back, relax and enjoy.
This is part 7 of a series of first person's POV, starting with Shooting Dana, and The Chiropractor, The Pickpocket, The Dana Scully Underworld Fan Club, the Voyeur and The First. You don't need to read those to understand this.
For: Sonya, with deepest gratitude.
October 31, 10:55 p. m.
I have a nasty habit. And that's nibbling on my nails. It started when I was two months old. Not the fingernail- chewing habit but the thumb-sucking one. By the time I was five, it had escalated to pencil-gnawing before I went completely beserk with grinding the tops off the ball-points. And I'll just state it for the record, there's nothing worse than having a blue bic explode ink all over your mouth right in the middle of Madame Vivien- Ragout's French lesson. It's like one of those anti-theft devices that splatter indelible ink all over your hand when you try to remove the oblongish plastic without paying. You feel like a moron and the guilt's written all over your face. Literally, figuratively, and physio- logically. Even the ink splatter spelt SCHMUCK. Or maybe to Madame, L'IDIOT.
Not bad for a first draft. I've always wanted to be a stand-up comic instead of an Agent. I know I would be really good at it given half a chance. There's so much material around us. All you've got to do is sit down and eavesdrop a bit on the conversations. My scripts usually writes itself. Well, not entirely true. It helps to be around funny folk.
One of the salty black pumpkin seeds, slippery from sloppy cracking, shoots out onto the grey carpet. A pair of white canvas shoes step up to it.
"Excuse me, is this seat taken?"
I look up to see the short, plumpish figure stand- ing in front of me. She's still wearing her starched white nurses' uniform from her last shift.
"No, but I should warn you. These seeds tend to fly. "
"You've picked up some bad habits I see, Agent Wiseman. Being a rookie isn't so bad but it takes time to get used to these late night shifts," she says sagaciously, planting down her tray holding a small cup of broccoli soup and some saltines. "What happened to you?"
Aah. She's bound to notice, being a nurse and all. I touch the swollen right eye and shrug.
"Oh, a scuffle earlier. It's Holloween, remember?"
"Nowadays you can't steal candy from children without being beat up, huh?" Her tone is full of sympathy but you would never guess from her pie-faced expression. I smile. She's funny even without trying.
"Are you having tomorrow off?"I ask.
She sidles into the seat next to me and I look at her profile. She's been working far longer than I would have thought was possible. I've seen her the past three nights and I finally worked up the courage to ask her name last evening. We talked for half an hour and found out she was nice company. She usually just comes in and drinks her broccoli soup.
"Oh no. Not for me, even if it is a holiday for the others. "
"Do you like your job?" I ask suddenly.
She drinks the soup daintily and looks up at me, "Let's see. . . the long hours, I'm nearly almost on my feet every hour of my waking day, I don't get paid much and I have to see people getting beat up regularly. What's not to like?"
I smile because she's described my job to a tee.
"What about you?"
"I've only just started, but so far, it's just been one roller-coaster ride after another. I knew it would be exciting, challenging. I just never knew how much. Still, I'd like to get promoted soon. " I say as a matter-of-fact. I glance at my watch. I'm getting a bit worried. Still no sign of--
Aah, she walks into the almost-empty diner with her ever-present briefcase. She's changed out of her office chic to jeans and an emerald coloured V-shaped blouse. She's wear ing a black leather jacket over the ensemble. She spots the laptop, a mountain of sunflower husks and an empty soup bowl in the booth immediately in front of us and scoots in. Her hand dives straight for the cel phone and I can hear the connecting sounds of the phone's chirrup.
It's been the same every night for the past 3 nights. Agent Mulder meets up with his partner Agent Scully to discuss this case. They come into Dennys and sit and talk till the early hours of the morning. They're so predictable that I almost wonder if all I've heard on the grape vine concerning these two Maverick Agents are true.
"Oh, I'm so sorry," I say, grabbing an un- used fork and flicking the husk out hastily.
Ever gracious and forgiving, she waves it off. "It needed more salt anyway. "
Agent Scully is sorting out her papers on the table after she's given the waiter her order for wheat toast and coffee. Her face is naturally fair and her cheeks have that healthy glow. She looks about twenty-eight with those glasses on. I wonder what's taking her part- ner so long. In her hand is a slim Motorola cel phone and she's obviously smiling as she glances off the top of what looks like a toxicological. Her voice raises the slightest so I hear her last sentence, "Yes, I do know what Necromancy is, Mulder. And it most certainly is black magic,but-- "
" --But it's Psychomancy, which is not the same as Necromancy, Scully. " A tall man wanders from behind me to take the seat there. He slips into her booth on the opposite bench so that he faces her.
"Jeezus, Mulder. Where were you?"The keen agent pulls her glasses off to regard the taller man, his dishevelled hair and his sullied shirt.
"I was in the little boy's room. "
"You shouldn't leave your laptop out like that. Somebody could've stolen it," she says, then noticing his unkempt look. "You followed up the lead?"
"Yeah. Right up to a mugger in a dark alley. Luckily my guardian angel worked overtime. " He retorts. "What did you order?"
" Wheat toast and coffee. I'm eating breakfast now," she says.
"This," he says defiantly, lifting the empty bowl, "Was tomorrow's pea soup. Waaay ahead of you, partner. "
She lets that one slide, content to let him feel he's ahead.
"Anyway, this just came in at the lab. " She takes a piece of paper and points to something her partner squints at. "I found traces of trinitrophenylmethylnitramine in our latest Jane Doe. "
"Oh, that's easy for you to say. " Mulder smiles broadly.
She smiles a mignon smile. "No, actually, it wasn't. But it does prove the fact that this is the work of someone with some back ground in Chemistry. "
"Prove it? How?"
"It corresponds with the other trace element I found in our previous murdered victim. Mrs. Valery Farmer, of Newark, New Jersey. "Her index finger drags through the numerous chemical compounds, "and I found, trace elements of an insecticide, octamethylpyrophosphoramide in the lungs. We're talking about a serious loopybin who is as clever as he is resourceful. You can't buy these chemicals in the local drugstore, Mulder. I'm guessing the disgruntled pharmacist did it. What's her name now?. . . "
A rustling of papers.
The dashing agent tips his head to one side and watches her face openly. She looks up and asks, "what?"
"Say it again. "
"You know what. The Octa-metyl-preprosterous-monstrosity. "
It's a sightsome to see Dana smiling openly now. She pulls off her glasses, pleased with his attention and for acceding to her one- upmanship on the case. Agent Mulder is becoming quite adept at making her smile more often. Which is fine by me. It's like she's Mrs. Atlas, the world on her shoulders when she's deep in thought. When she smiles, the world turns into a helium balloon and floats off.
"Won't," she says with just the right amount of girlishness that I suddenly discover I've been smiling since their dialogue began.
I usually hear that tone of voice in her right eyebrow but I must concede that watching that gentle curve of her lips makes me mushy. She's got very sexy features. Her eyes remind me of the clear ocean waters of Maui. I've seen Agent Mulder's reaction to them. He doesn't ask for much, just to skinny dip in those cool, liquid blues. And her nose is straight and symmetrical-- a photographer's dream. She's one of those who can look up and not offend you with her nostrils. Most people have ugly nostrils, but not Agent Scully. Yet her most captivating feature must surely be her lips. The good Lord should've given her an ugly nose maybe just to offset the beauty of her face. But no. Mere mortals have to pin ball from her eyes to her nose to her lips and back up again. Like Agent Mulder.
Stare, stare, stare.
I wish I had an Agent like Dana Scully I could work with.
An older lady walks in, espies the old man near the window and shuffles toward him. The waiter brings Dana her coffee and her wheat toast to which Mulder deftly pinches one from her plate. She stretches her arms high over her head, lids shuttting out the world. Stolen bread in hand, Mulder looks at her with all the fascination of a captured audience over a contortionist.
"Hey, how's your back?" he asks, wriggling in his seat as he pushes the toast into his mouth.
"My back?" she says in mid-stretch, un tucking her shirt and revealing a slither of pale, soft belly skin.
Stare. Stare. Stare.
"It's better. My chiropractor's pretty good. "
At the mention of chiropractor, the spell breaks. He rolls his eyes without her noticing and adds in an omniscient voice, "never trust chiropractors. "
She knits her brow and asks hotly, "why the hell not?"
"Because they know all your weak spots," he says cryptically.
A tall, squarish, lean man in his forties strides in importantly. His trimmed vandyke beard makes him look like a caricature. Or possibly James Bond's nemesis. His forehead is high and his small eyes are framed by perfectly round horn-rimmed glasses from the beginning of the century. He is looking about the place with all the scurriness of a thief. His eyes settle on Agent Scully and his grin draws out two long lines of either side of his cheeks.
"Uh-oh," the nurse says slurpily, "here comes trouble. "
He's approaching their booth when he trips neatly over the heel of my supper companion.
"Oh, sorry," she says pulling her left foot back under the table. He straightens up only to brush the stray lintballs clinging to his cuffs, saving us a menacing glare.
"Agent Scully?" His voice is oily. His face is priggish. His nose is aquiline and his pierc- ing green eyes keep blinking sporadically.
"Yes?" Her eyebrows are already knit and her gaze is telling me she's taking mental notes. He pumps her offered hand, then bows lowly to offer a peck on the back of her hand, exhibiting as much old world charm as a pair of alpine suspenders.
"I'm Dr. Derrick Franck. "His words ooze out like toothpaste slowly being squeezed out. Blink. Blink.
He holds out his hand to the male agent who shakes it inquisitively. "And you must be Agent Fox Mulder. "
Agent Scully looks at Dr. Franck with an un- disguised air of skepticism wiping the back of her hand when he slithers into the seat beside her. She looks at Mulder who shrugs his innocence, claiming ignorance at this impromptu intrusion.
"I am the Professor of Mythology at George town University. I'm so sorry to interrupt your little tete-a-tete. I approached the bureau today but Agent Colton referred me to you. I need your help. " Blink. Blink.
"On what?" Mulder asks, immediately wary of this informant who's interest has relocated to the little cross hanging from Scully's neck. His gaze drifts lower and he's sitting way too close to her. For a moment, Mulder's lips are pursed like he's trying to find a way to cuff the Professor Oddball for invading Scully's personal space. Can he read him the Miranda rights for sitting too close to his partner?
"I saw something," the professor says to Agent Scully's cleavage, his arm snaking along behind her. Blink, blink. Wink.
I'll bet, thinking to myself.
Mulder's eyes are two pinpricks of laser beams concentrating on amputating that right arm.
The elderly professor's eyes refocus from one agent to the other adding, "in the sky, last night. It was a hovering light. "
"A hovering light," Agent Scully says very slowly, like a recorder at half speed.
"Yes. It was hovering above the library at Georgetown University yesterday. At about 8:40pm. The library was about to close when I looked up and saw this bright spot in the Northern sky. "
"I was just there yesterday. I didn't see any strange hovering lights,"Scully says with her skeptical eyebrow raised. I can practically echo the sentiments I'm sure is going through her mind. Primo kook. He's got to be a kook. No, definitely a kook.
I look at the nurse who smiles politely back, dropping her spoon and lowering her voice once more, "never a dull moment with these two. "
"This is good material. " I say writing some of their conversation down.
Dr. Franck turns around and regards both of us coolly. I keep silent but he's watching us like we were a couple of spies. "If you don't mind. . . "
Both agents turn to look at us, then frown at Dr. Franck. This is a confirmation that Dr. Franck is like a gouda cheese which has expired. Slightly off.
"And you think they are--" Mulder hazards a guess, "aliens?"
"It was a ball of light like that. . . that-- what's her name? Binkertelly? Binkerbell?"
"Tinkerbell," Mulder says for all of us who are echoing the same thought.
"Yes, Tinkerbell, the fairy with the dust. . . Julia Roberts? No, of course it isn't her. I mean Tinkerbell, nor was it Miss Roberts. It has to be alien. Not Miss Roberts, but Blinkerbell. It was definitely not part of this world, Agents. "
"Could it not have been. . . oooh, say, a firefly?" Agent Scully suggests helpfully.
"It was bigger than a firefly. Not much more, but I think I could be able to differentiate a firefly from a UFO," he says proudly. "A firefly is this big and this UFO was, like, this big. " To empha- size its gargantuan size, the professor stands up and sweeps his arms wide. Agent Scully leans back, narrowly avoiding being backhanded in the face.
The two agents exchange glances and they purse their lips in roughly the same way. The nurse grins and says quietly, "Tinkerbell or UFO. Are you writing this down?"
"I don't think you should be unduly alarmed, Dr. Franck," Mulder's retort is short and dismissive. His eyes rake over to his partner's who is trying to cover up her amusement by drinking her coffee.
"You think not, huh?" the sophist turns to Agent Scully and asks her instead, "But you think it's alien, don't you, Dr. Scully? Agent Colton says that you are quite the believer. "
She manages to swallow only half the liquid in her mouth. The other half comes out in a fine spray all over the table. It wasn't easy but Mulder looks almost ready to detonate from an overdose of laughing gas-inhalation if he didn't think the professor would be annoyed. His face is positively constipated with control over every muscle that threatens to twitch upwards. Ooh, Agent Colton is going to be minced meat. They are going to serve spaghetti bolognaise at Quantico's cafeteria tomorrow.
The ever-professional Agent Scully recovers admirably. She speaks with unrivalled authority. "No, it most certainly cannot be alien. And ball shaped, you said? In our research, we've found that aliens do not travel without their spacecraft, which is triangular shaped. "
I could see Agent Mulder's eyebrows lifting off the launch pad. Dr. Franck is positively captured by the way the female agent is enunciating every word. He's eating everything up, lock, stock, barrel, kitchen sink.
Oops. Wrong analogy.
". . . They are mostly grey," she continues smoothly, "Although aliens from the far-reaches of Reticula are known to possess skin pigmentation that is slightly greenish. We attributed it to the motion sickness that they would have to endure for about eight thousand, and forty years of time travel. It's a bumpy ride. But of course, this phenomenon is restricted only to aliens from the Orion Nebula, which is roughly 1,500 light years away. Aliens from nearer galaxies,well, it's hard to say. Agent Colton believes them to be green. . . "
The nurse sitting beside me is chortling soundlessly which is no small feat, her hand goes over her mouth when they nearly bubble over.
Agent Mulder's face is quivering. His nostrils are flaring just slightly and his eyes have begun to water. I can sense him starting to lose control.
". . . yes, we've witnessed a flying cow too. Undoubtedly, alien technology at work. . . " Agent Scully's discourse continues. Mulder's lips are twitching again and his throat seem constricted. He is a man who, if this restraint is held up much longer, is going to pee in his pants.
"Agent Mulder?" the professor asks, looking strangely at Mulder's discomfort. Blink. Blink.
"Yes," he says tightly, the last vestige of control about to be defenestrated by Agent Scully's serious face, "I agree completely with Agent Scully. It's called Xenouranomaniaology--. Excuse me. "
He rushes off lickety-split toward the restroom and Agent Scully points to the pile of sunflower seeds, "weak stomach. He insists on snacking on them. "
The eccentric professor starts again, "so it's unlikely they're space creatu--"
The very loud sounds from the inside of the men's room stops the elderly man in mid-sentence. It sounds like a hyena in heat. Or someone busting a lung. Or a hyena in heat busting its lung. It's muffled at first but then the sounds give way to
The explosive guffaw seem to startle the nodding cashier who blinks back her surprise. The waiter goes to investigate the noise.
Agent Scully is thoughtful for a moment, long enough to satisfy the professor that she's pondering his question. "No, highly unlikely. But I would like to thank you for your concern and time. Perhaps we will investigate this phenomenon a little later. With the proper equipment. "
Agent Mulder comes out of the restroom, straightening his collar, his face pleasantly gutted. The waiter trails behind him. The only tell-tale marks are the tears that have wet the lapel of his jacket. He is hiccupping slightly and he's sniffing back the snot that's threatening to leak. His laughing fit is seemingly over and he's shuffling back to the booth where the Dr. Franck is asking about the kinds of aircrafts aliens use.
"Aah, Agent Mulder. " Agent Scully beckons with her hand, "could you just let our good doctor know that cigar-shaped aircrafts--"
"Excuse me. " The tall agent holds his stomach and runs into the men's room again. This time he doesn't even bother to use his handkerchief to muffle his laughter. The professor looks at his partner for the only possible explanation.
"He has dyschezia. That's the only way he's able to clear his bowels. "
I chuckle breathlessly, an image formed in my mind. Dr. Franck is obviously indignant that I'm not taking any of this seriously and turns to admonish me.
"You shouldn't eavesdrop on other people's conversations. "
Agent Scully looks over to where we sit and frowns once more. I think she's humored him enough.
When Mulder returns to the booth five minutes later, his face is washed, his fringe is still damp and his tie is off. The professor is no longer there and Agent Scully has closed her eyes and is resting quietly. I look at Agent Mulder and he's transfixed onto the peaceful image of his partner.
He walks soundlessly until he reaches the edge of the table. For a few seconds, he's content to stand in front of her, admiring her shape and form. She is bonelessly reclined, her hands on her sides and her lips pouty. She is beautiful when she's resting. He's looking at her with new eyes.
"Mulder," she says reproachfully when she senses his presence, "you ditched me. Left me as snake bait. "
"Yes, I did and I'm sorry I did. " He keeps a straight face for her benefit even though her eyes remain closed. He wasn't going to put it past her not to see his rubbery features even without them opening. "Where's the mad professor?"
"Oh, you think he's mad. "
"Off-kilter. No, I take that back. He's definitely a few screws short of unhinging altogether. I don't usually write them off as lecherous kooks at first glance, but when he got to Tinkerbell?" He shrugs helplessly. "Do I look as gullible as the he does when you rattled off your spliel about aliens?"
"Let's just say, he doesn't have the lost beagle look to pull it off. "
Mulder smiles gallantly, accepting her compli- ment. "So you've sent him on his way?"
"I sent him off to speak to some professionals who can get the job done properly. " She finally opens her wide blue eyes to meet his chuckling hazels.
"Oh really?" His eyes betray the merriment, "Who?"
"The lone gunmen. "
"Why, Agent Scully. I didn't know you had it in you. "
I watch their faces. He's not just talking about her impish prank but her comedic talent. Smiling at the same time, a shared joke is so rare between them. He gets into the seat next to her and looks at her anew. She is proudly withstanding the heat of his scrutiny. They look deeply into each others' eyes daring the other to dissolve into laughter first.
"Wanna go firefly watching with me tonight, Agent Mulder?"
"Wanna go for UFO watching with me tonight, Agent Scully?"
"Same difference," she says stifling a yawn. "Besides, I think we ought to be able to prove they're harmless fireflies, if anything. "
"You have proven a lot to me tonight, Scully," he says very slowly, letting his meaning sink in. Proven to him she's a crack investigator, a prankster, and a very good friend to him. She acknowleges this with a small sized laugh.
They get up at the same time, their movements synchronous and brisk. His laptop zipped up and her folders back into the black briefcase. They each pocket their cel phones in an oddly unrehearsed but similiar gesture. He checks his weapon and so does she. It's like watching them do underwater ballet only it's two FBI agents winding down for the night.
"I'll go pick up some coolers. Meet you behind the library?" He waggles his brows at her.
"I'll bring the blankets," she says, pulling her leather jacket over her shoulders.
I look at the nurse and close my black note pad. I pocket whatever's left of the uneaten seeds and stand up.
I extend my arm to the nurse and we follow the Agents out the diner.
I purse my lips and ask her what she thought about the professor seeing those UFO lights.
"I much prefer to think of them as fairies," she says, shrugging on her woollen coat and sweeping her light brown hair out from under the collar. "The most eccentric ones see them, you know but nobody ever believes them. "
We watch the two Agents climb into their own cars and drive off. The nurse lets go of my arm and in a twinkling of an eye, turns into a bright ball of white light, beautiful in its purity and so graceful. She hovers above me for ten seconds giving me advice and encouragement.
"He tends to speed on O Street past St. John's Church, so watch out. Happy All Saint's Day, Agent Wiseman. "
"Why can't they see us?" I ask, really wishing I couldn't be ignored.
"A person in love sees nothing else," she says before speeding off towards Agent Scully's disappearing Ford. She flies with the dexterity of a guardian angel who's earned her wings. They are beautiful plumes of starlight white. Every long feather a badge of honour. Every one a significant battle won.
I watch her closely and she does resemble a tiny fairy encased in a crystal ball of light. She guards her charge with tender love and hardly gets beaten up. Well, Agent Scully takes care of herself most of the time.
I glance at my watch. It is officially 12:01 a. m.
"Happy All Saint's Day, Nurse Owens," I say to the midnight air. Taking a deep breath, I turn into a smaller speck of white light. I have a more difficult task of keeping Agent Fox Mul- der out of mischief and out of harm's way. That mugger tonight, for example. I have to protect Mulder, take care of him when Agent Scully can't. After all, I'm only the thirteenth guardian angel assigned to watch over him. They don't seem to know but angels can die in the line of duty. But I'm adamant on succeeding, on get- ting my promotion. Nurse Owens has proved it. She's been with Agent Scully since the beginning. I'd do it --keep Mulder safe-- for Dana. She may not say it anytime soon, but she loves him as much as she loves making him laugh. Plus, look at the fringe benefits. I've gotten a lot of material for my comedy sketch.
I rise like a drunken hot air balloon until I spot Agent Mulder's vehicle and take off toward him. I look behind my shoulder and think, yeah, I can't wait to earn my wings.
Thanks for reading!
Author's Notes: All Saints Day is an immovable christian festival and it does fall on November 1. Dyschezia: Difficultly or pain in defecating. Xenouranomaniaology: A portmanteau of words, meaning an Alien (Xeno) fear that one is of heavenly descent. (urano, from the Greek ouranos, the heavens.)