Title: Eros Mala
Spoilers: Seasons 1-8 up through dead/alive
Rating: R-ish (don't try this at home, kids)
Summary: Set in a AU after Mulder’s return (season nine never happened), Mulder is jealous that Scully’s heart isn’t as assuredly his as he thought, but a bar visit gives him other ideas.
Notes: in response to this Valentines Day fic challenge http://forums.prospero.com/foxxfiles/messages?msg=122966.1
A Valentine’s Fic
February 11th, 2002
Returning from dropping off something to the lab, Mulder paused at the door, just in time to hear Scully say, "Oh, of course, John, I’d love to go to dinner with you on Valentine’s day."
Mulder paused – still unseen- then walked off to the men’s room, where he thrust the bouquet of flowers he bought into the trash can with a violent gesture. Petals rained onto the floor, but he just kicked at them with the toes of one foot and made no effort to pick them up.
It bothered him that Scully had taken up with that Doggett character while he was dead, but he didn’t make too much of an issue of it. He assumed that since he was William’s father, she’d easily be won over again once the shock of his premature burial wore off, given he was still very much alive.
But things didn’t work out that way. Some how that jerk had wormed his way into her heart while he was being tortured by aliens, and he still had a hold on her. Now Mulder was the one who had to hope to carve out time to see Scully alone, and had to wait until weekends to spend time with his son.
Shaking his head, Mulder pulled out his cell phone and called Skinner. "It’s agent Mulder…I’ve come down with a bad case of diarrhea suddenly, would it be ok if I go home for the day?" As expected, Skinner was more than willing to let his "sick" agent go home. Mulder smirked; the excuse was as effective as girls claiming cramps in PE class.
Fleeing the Hoover building, Mulder almost knocked agent Reyes on her butt. "Oops." He said, taking her arm until she regained her balance.
She didn’t look upset, instead touched his arm lightly, in that overly familiar touchy-feely manner of hers. "You’re in a hurry."
"Yeah…I’m on my way home. Coming down with something vile."
Reyes gave him a sympathetic look. " I hope it’s not contagious." Then she went into the ladies room and he could hear her vigorously washing her hands. He shrugged.
Since he didn’t have anything better to do, Mulder decided to spend the rest of the afternoon in the bar that had just opened up within walking distance of his apartment. He’d never drank much, but it seemed like a perfect day to start.
The bar was pretty dark, but an "open" sign burned in the window, so he pushed open the door. It wasn’t until he saw it painted on the mirrored glass behind the bar that he even gave the bar’s name a thought. Eros Mala it proclaimed boldly in green, and he found it a damn strange name for a bar. Shrugging it off, though, he decided that the oddness of the name wasn’t going to adversely affect the wetness of the liquor.
"What can I get you?" The bartender asked from his vantage behind the bar. Mulder noticed immediately that the man was short, probably not even as tall as Frohike. It didn’t really matter, as long as he could see over the bar, Mulder supposed.
"A shot of double malt." Mulder said impulsively. His dear old Dad had always considered it worthy of getting the job done.
The whiskey was soon slide across the counter, and almost as soon consumed. Mulder’s throat burned, but he ordered another.
"Something is bothering you." The bartender said as he passed over the second drink. " Wanna talk about it, buddy?"
"I'm the key figure in an on-going government charade, the plot to conceal the truth about the existence of extraterrestrials. It's a global conspiracy, actually, with key players in the highest levels of power, that reaches down into the lives of every man, woman, and child on this planet, so, of course, no one believes me. I'm an annoyance to my superiors, a joke to my peers. They call me Spooky. Spooky Mulder, whose sister was abducted by aliens when he was just a kid and who now chases after little green men with a badge and a gun, shouting to the heavens or to anyone who will listen that the fix is in, that the sky is falling and when it hits it's gonna be the shit-storm of all time."
The bartender just nodded. "That’s not what I meant though. Woman troubles, right?"
Mulder toyed with the empty shot glass. "I guess you could say that."
The bartender grinned. "I knew it. Soon as I saw you, I thought to myself, ‘that guy’s got some dame making his life hell’."
"Well, it’s not just her." Mulder protested weakly as he ordered his third shot.
"Like I said, if you need to talk about something, I’m all ears."
Mulder sighed and drained his glass. "So I was kidnapped by aliens and while I was gone my pregnant girlfriend hooked up with the guy they replaced me with in the office. I guess she figured replace me in one area, replace me in another, right?" He asked bitterly, and the bartender gave him a knowing frown. "So now I’m worried my kid is gonna be calling this jag-off ‘Daddy.’ I don’t know how much more of this I can take."
The bartender slid another drink over without having to be asked, and Mulder picked it up gratefully. "It’s just getting really grating, you know? ‘Oh, I’d loooooove to screw you for Valentines day.’ Whatever."
"That does sound like a bummer." The bartender said. Mulder noticed for the first time how curly his hair was. Blond, too. Made him look younger than he initially thought.
Mulder snorted. "The only person who understands what I’m going through is a bartender who doesn’t know me from Adam. What’s the luck?"
"Are you sure I’m the only one?" The bartender asked, another drink in hand.
"Well, she sure doesn’t. And that idiot ex-marine, I don’t think he’s given me any thought at all, never mind mulled over my plight." Mulder was beginning to feel a little weepy from the weight of self-pity, so he sniffled a little.
"But are you the only one being hurt by this?" The bartender persisted.
"I doubt they’re feeling any angst. My kid, maybe, but he’s too little to know what’s going on."
"Ok, ok. What I’m getting at, is is there another girl?"
"A threesome?" Mulder choked on his drink. "I hope not, I mean I couldn’t talk her into it, so if he could, boy would I be pi-"
"A girl that likes the jarhead."
"Oh. Yeah, I guess Monica has a thing for him. God only knows why." Mulder muttered darkly.
"There you go."
"What do you think of this Monica?"
Mulder started at him, and blinked. There seemed to be something wrong with the guy’s shoulders all of the sudden. They looked fuzzy and white. Maybe he was just drunk. "I haven’t really given her much thought. She likes that new age-y crap, but she’s got some good ideas. Respects my ideas more than Red every did…" He giggled a little. Red. Scully would kill him if she heard that.
"So why don’t you put the moves on Monica, then?" The bartender asked. " Make Red and the jarhead jealous-like."
"That’s not a bad idea." Mulder mused, playing with the seven empty glasses in front of him. They seemed to move even when he didn’t touch them.
"See?" The bartender asked cheerfully, his wings doing a happy flap. "You shouldn’t be miserable, there are other fish in the sea."
"Yeah!" Mulder pounded his fist on the bar, making the glasses jump. "Say, can you fly with those things?"
"Nevermind." He reached for his wallet. "How much do I owe you?"
"That doesn’t sound right." Mulder said with a puzzled frown, trying to divide seven by ten in his head. "Shouldn’t it be more?"
"Grand opening special."
"Oh, ok." Mulder started to nod, but it made his head hurt, so he stopped.
"Good luck!" The bartender called as Mulder reeled out of the bar.
It was dark out, and Mulder found himself very confused. Which way did he go to get home? He stumbled around, blearily looking out for cops, for close to twenty minutes before he gave up and pulled out his cell phone and pushed one of the preset buttons.
Reyes was staring glumly at her TV dinner when the phone rang. Desperate for conversation, she snatched up the phone. Even if it was a telemarketer, it was someone to talk to. "Hello."
"Is this Monica? It’s Mulder. I’m lost."
He sounded tearful, which worried her. "How did you get lost?"
"I was gonna go home and go to bed, but then I thought a couple of drinks might make me feel better. I never drink, but I thought maybe…Now I can’t find my apartment!" His voice trailed off in a plaintive wail.
Having spent more than one Mardi Gras wandering the streets inebriated herself, she felt a stir of pity for the confused man. "Are you near any buildings?"
"Of course I am. This is Washington DC. There are buildings everywhere."
"I mean are you near any businesses. As landmarks."
There was a pause. "6th Street bank."
"Ok, good. I’ll come get you."
"Really?" He sounded both awed and grateful. "That’s so nice."
"Yeah… see you in a few."
She paused long enough to grab a small bucket, just in case he got sick.
Mulder slumped in the passenger seat of Reyes’ car, the bucket held on his lap. "Do you make sand castles? My sister and I used to use buckets like this to do that."
"I think it came with a gift my mom sent me. Something to do with flowers. "
"That sounds nice. My parents gave Samantha to the aliens, did I ever tell you that?" Mulder asked her.
Reyes shrugged, unsure that rehashing all that while sloshed would be good for him. "So… you thought that drinking would make your cold better? I know my dad thought a glass of wine would cure anything, but…"
"Oh…I’m such a bad person, I lied to you and Skinner. I wasn’t sick. I just couldn’t go back in there. With them."
"I’m sorry, Mulder." Reyes said as they pulled up in front of his apartment.
"It just wasn’t supposed to be like this." Mulder struggled to get the seatbelt off, until Reyes leaned over to unsnap it for him. "It wasn’t like I wanted to get taken away, so why am I being punished for it?"
"You believe in karmic justice, don’t you? What could I have done that was so bad this happened?"
"You didn’t do anything wrong, any more than I did. People falling in and out of love just happens, there’s no punishment for cosmic wrongs behind that. Just hearts."
"That isn’t fair." He muttered as he stumbled up the steps.
"Tell me about it."
Mulder ushered her in. "I’m a jerk. I’m just thinking ‘me, me, me’ and not even thinking that you’re hurt too."
"Pain makes everyone self-centered."
"That’s not excuse…" He flopped onto the couch. "How are you feeling? You’ve not even drunk to numb anything."
Reyes shrugged. "I think I’m the victim of my own overblown expectations. When I heard that I’d be working with John, I saw it as an opportunity to pursue him in a way that I couldn’t when we worked on his son’s case. I built up this big fantasy…and when I got to DC-"
"Poof." She agreed.
Mulder got up from the couch and wandered over to the CD player. "I’ve got the perfect song for the occasion."
Mulder rolled up a copy of Omni that was on his coffee table, and used it to mime a microphone. As soon as the words to the song started, he started belting out the song along with the cd.You love her
But she loves him
And he loves somebody else
You just can't win
And so it goes
Till the day you die
This thing they call love
It's gonna make you cry
I've had the blues
The reds and the pinks
One thing for sure
He crooned, making Reyes grin.
"You know this one, don’t you?" Mulder shouted over the music. "Sing the chorus with me!"
She shook her head, so he sung it alone.Love stinks
Love stinks yeah yeah
Love stinks yeah yeah
Love stinks yeah yeah
Love stinks yeah yeah
"Now you’ve got to sing." He told her, thrusting the magazine into her hand. She blushed for a couple of seconds, but he just gave her an expectant look. She picked up on the third word of the next line.Two by two and side by side
Love's gonna find you yes it is
You just can't hide
You'll hear it call
Your heart will fall
Then love will fly
It's gonna soar
I don't care for any casanova thing
All I can say is
As the song heads back for the chorus, Mulder grabs her hand, but gently, and they both sing at the top of their lungs.Love stinks
Love stinks yeah yeah
Love stinks yeah yeah
Love stinks yeah yeah
Love stinks yeah yeah
A loud pounding from the vicinity of the ceiling alerted them to the neighbor’s wrath, so Reyes quickly turned off the stereo. Mulder had the decency to look sheepish, but his eyes sparkled with excitement too.
"Scully never would have sang with me. Never."
"She’s…" Reyes groped for an appropriate word. "restrained."
"You mean uptight. Just like Dog-ate." Mulder corrected her.
(The J. Geils Band "Love Stinks")
"I guess they are a little uptight." Reyes admitted.
"So what drew us to them in the first place?" Mulder asked, throwing one arm behind his head. "You and me, we’re not uptight."
"That’d explain if either of us were attracted to Kersh."
"Good in bed?"
Mulder snorted. "I dunno anything about you and Dog-ate, but I was infatuated with her for years before we slept together. They don’t call her the ice-queen around the office for nuthin."
"Wait, I’m confused. She’s the ice queen because she plays hard to get, or because she’s cold in bed?"
Even in his state, Mulder doesn’t fail to notice the smile playing on her lips as she asked the question.
"A gentleman never tells." He answered primly.
"I’m glad I’m not a gentleman." Reyes retorted. "Because I’ll tell you, John is a very by-the-books person in ALL aspects of his life."
"I hope it’s an interesting book, anyway." Mulder told her, making her giggle helplessly.
Mulder sat back up. "We’re not bad people, so why are we sitting here letting those two people, two boring people, make us miserable?"
"Habit." Reyes replied immediately.
"Bad habit. Maybe there’s a twelve step program."
"Yeah, ‘getting over someone who’s wrong for you in 12 easy steps.’"
"I know, I’m gonna design that very program." Mulder declared.
"I’ve got a psych degree, I should be great at this."
"That didn’t sound like bragging at all."
"I’m nothing if not humble. However, every good plan needs to be tested, so I need people to try my program out on."
"Lets do something fun."
The following day…
"Sir, do you know where agent Mulder and agent Reyes are?" Scully asked.
It was ten thirty and Scully and Doggett finally had noticed that they were alone in the office fifteen minutes earlier.
Skinner sighed. "Unfortunately, agent Reyes seems to have caught the intestinal bug Mulder went home with yesterday. I don’t think either of them will be in for a few days."
Scully grimaced. "Maybe I’ll stop by their places after work and drop off some magazines."
"Thank you, Father, you’ve been very helpful." Mulder stood and shook the priest’s hand.
"My pleasure. It’s always nice to speak to young people who are undecided about joining the clergy."
"You’ve given us a lot to think about." Reyes told him, with a smile.
"Take a few days to think about it." The priest offered.
"Do you think they’ll be joining us?" A nun asked as Mulder and Reyes walked out to their car.
The priest gave her an amused look. "Not a chance."
"So, there’s step three, what do you think?"
"I think that being alone now isn't worse than swearing off sex for the rest of our lives." Reyes said.
"Exactly. Puts it all into perspective, doesn’t it?"
"Sure. Even it isn’t as much fun as step one – playing games at Jokers until you get thrown out for making too much noise, or step two- heckle a romance movie until you’re asked to leave the theater."
"Breaking a bad habit isn’t all about fun and games, Monica."
"So what’s step four?" Reyes asked.
"...and I don’t even know what I ever saw in you. You look like a constipated elf! I am so over you, John." <click>
Scully gave Doggett a puzzled look. "Who was calling at this time of the night?"
"I think it was Monica. Do they use narcotics to treat intestinal bugs these days?"
"Not that I know of, but then, my most recent medical training doesn’t really apply to living people, you know. Why do you ask?"
"She just didn’t sound like herself."
"No one was answered when I dropped off the magazines this afternoon…do you think we should go check on her?"
Doggett shook his head. "She’s a private person. I’m sure she’ll be fine."
Scully got back under the covers. "Ok, but if she’s not better in a couple of days, I’m going to make a house call."
He cuddled closer to her. "You’re such a sweet person, Dana."
"Mulder, that was…great! I’ve never had the nerve to be that honest with him before."
"Right, but have you ever been this drunk before?"
"Lots of times. But not since moving to DC."
Mulder paused to open another bottle of Jack Daniels. "Hand me the phone, I need to call Scully so we can cross step eight off the list."
"Normally I’d give this assignment to agent Mulder, but as you know, he’s… indisposed."
They gave him knowing looks, Mulder really didn’t sound like himself that last they heard from him.
"So I’m going to send the two of you to Las Vegas to investigate a new case that has come our way."
"Involving what, sir?" Scully asked.
"You make me so lonely baby,
"No no! I thought you said you were the real Elvis." Mulder complained. "The real Elvis wouldn’t sing that at a wedding."
"Sorry. Ya’ll are right. Maybe something more, romantic?"
"Please." Reyes begged.
"Love me tender,
Mulder and Reyes whipped around when they heard a familiar voice.
"What are you two doing here? You’re supposed to be home sick, so Skinner assigned us this case."
"What case?" Mulder asked.
"Someone reported that this minister is the real Elvis-" Scully stopped in mid-sentence and gave them a puzzled look. " If you’re not here to investigate this case, why are you here?"
"Do you want to be the witnesses at our wedding?" Reyes asked sheepishly.
"Your wedding? What the hell do you mean, your wedding?" Doggett sputtered.
"It’s step twelve in getting over people who are totally wrong for you- be married in Vegas by a believable Elvis impersonator." Mulder explained.
"But…you’ve only known each other for a few months, and you’ve barely spoken to each other! How could you possibly be getting married?" Scully ranted.
"Dana, true love isn’t something that you have to agonize about for years." Reyes admonished. "Want to make it a double ceremony?"
Scully and Doggett looked at each other and shrugged. " Ok."
(Elvis "Heart Break Hotel" / " Love Me Tender")
The bar shook a little when the door was slammed open with great force.
The bartender glanced at the irate person entering his establishment, but went back to cleaning the shot glasses.
"How could you?" The short man asked as he flew up to the bar. "You knew they were all wrong for each other, yet you encouraged him to go in the wrong direction! Now their lives will never be perfect!"
"Who needs perfect?" The bartender shrugged. "You deal with perfect. Me, I dish out good times. They seem happy enough to me."
"But! But!" Cupid shrieked.
"But nothing. If the world didn’t need an anti-cupid, I never would have been born." Eros Mala told him.
"It just seems so wrong." Cupid muttered. "And why did they think I needed an evil twin anyway?"
"Hey, there’s always divorce."
"Yeah!" Cupid said, brightening. "Nothing last forever. Not even love."***
Did you wonder what Eros Mala means? Eros= Romantic Love/Cupid's real name; Mala= Bad =)
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