Categories > TV > X-Files > Casserole


by mjules 1 review

At the behest of SJ Smith, I did a writer's commentary on this story.

Category: X-Files - Rating: PG - Genres: Drama, Humor, Romance, Sci-fi - Characters: Mulder, Scully - Published: 2006-09-30 - Updated: 2006-09-30 - 1743 words

Title: Casserole
Fandom: X-Files, Mulder/Scully
Timeline: Post-series.
Summary: There's something fishy going on...
Disclaimer: Not for profit.
Author's Notes: I really, honestly do not know where this came from. I haven't written X-Files in years, didn't think I would again. I'm definitely very, very rusty.

{/OK, not exactly true. This happened because my cubemate was eating a tuna fish sandwich for lunch and it got me thinking about dolphin-safe tuna, and then Arcadia, and then M & S, and then what they were up to now that they had to go on the run.../}

Peter Crabb paused for a moment on his front step to look around the lush green grass growing in his yard and allowed a satisfied smile to linger on his lips as he dug in his slacks pocket for his keys. The fruits of his labor were visible in every inch of landscaping and the elegant, though homey, facade of his house. He shifted his briefcase to his left hand and reached into the other pocket, shaking the fabric a bit to see if he could hear his keys jingle.

{/Every inch the suburban working husband, Mulder's playing a part. There's a double meaning here, as well: 'the fruits of his labor' visible in the landscaping and the house don't necessarily refer to the prestige and richness of them. It more refers to the care he went to in getting them into this place, which has a state of the art security system - which he's sure is hacked into - and all the trappings of your every day surburban couple. This didn't just happen; they planned it./}

"Musta left them in the car," he muttered, glancing toward the bronze Toyota that sat cooling in the driveway. Before he could go get them, however, he heard his wife's voice calling from inside the house.

{/The bronze Toyota is meant to help paint more of a picture of their American dream cover story./}

"Peter? Is that you, dear? It's unlocked!"

{/Wow, Scully, what an actress you've become./}

Frowning, he tried the handle and found that it was indeed open. He scowled as he walked through the door, dropping his briefcase by the coat rack and shrugging out of his jacket. He hung it neatly over the rack and began loosening his tie as he made his way toward the kitchen.

"Honey, what have I told you about locking the door?" he sighed as he walked up behind her and placed a kiss on her neck. She swatted him away and moved quickly to the stove where she had something cooking, and he sat down in a chair in the breakfast nook, watching her as she went. "What's the point of paying for a state of the art security system if just any unsavory character can come walking in?"

{/More playing and double-meanings. I purposely left it vague as to what Scully is cooking on the stove. Is it really dinner... or is it an experimental antidote to the alien virus? The reader can decide for him- or herself. Also, they're 'reading' impromptu lines for the benefit of the audience they're sure they have. This is M & S, they're paranoid by nature. I think they'd be disappointed if they weren't being tapped./}

She lifted the lid of one pot and flinched back as steam rushed up toward her face, muttered something, and turned the heat down under it.

"Amanda, are you listening to me?" he tried again, and she glanced at him over her shoulder, tucking wayward strands of her silky brown hair behind her ear.

{/A reference to the fact that they're in disguise - Scully's colored her hair./}

"Of course, dear," she answered soothingly, and it was to her credit that she didn't so much as glance toward the sophisticated keypad by the kitchen door that allowed her to lock and unlock any door in the house. "But can we discuss this later? The timing on this is really delicate and -- oh! Did you remember to stop by the grocery store like I asked?"

{/More doublespeak. Or is it? Does tuna casserole really have such a delicate timing to it? And did she really ask him to stop by the grocery store, or did he stop somewhere else to get her things she needs for her experiment? Also, the reference to the keypad - she didn't really leave the door unlocked. She unlocked it when she heard him outside and presumably knew it really was him by some visual confirmation. But this conversation makes them sound like a normal suburban couple, not as paranoid as they really are. Assume every action and every word is a carefully crafted act for the benefit of their presumed audience./}

He nodded and handed her the bag that he'd dropped by his feet when he sat down, and she took it from him with a cursory smile, eagerly digging through the contents. She paused when her hand closed around a small tin and she looked closer at what she held. With wide eyes, she looked up at her husband and whispered, "Peter..."

{/Scully being a tease. Fight the Future, anyone? "Oh, I had you..." "You had nothing."/}

"What? What is it?" He was on his feet in an instant, tense and alert, his eyes darting around the perimeter of the room and then back to Amanda's face.

{/She scared him worse than she meant to - notice how he looks around the room first to see if she's trying to clue him in to real, physical danger./}

"You didn't get the dolphin-safe tuna." Her eyes twinkled as she said it and she dropped one eyelid in a slow, lazy wink.

{/Inside joke. Her way of keeping them sane, of saying, even though we never have a moment when we can drop our guards and be who we really are, you're still Mulder and I'm still Scully and we still have the same history together. She picks a moment in their past when they were having to play-act similar parts, as Rob and Laura Petrie, but they knew that one was temporary. This time, it's kind of permanent. It's her way of saying, "I still know who we are and where we came from." She can't say anything more obvious than that because they always assume they're being monitored./}

Disbelief crossed his face and he chuffed out a relieved kind of laugh as all the adrenaline ebbed from his body. He dropped back into the chair and propped his elbows on his knees, lowering his head and raking trembling fingers through his hair. "Jesus, Scu--"

{/Oops, Mulder! BIG oops. There, in his relief that nothing's really wrong, and her reminder of who they are together, he momentarily forgets the paranoia and says half her name. Then there's the inevitable, "....Oh shit." moment./}

He cut himself off abruptly and real alarm sparked in her eyes. Without a word she turned to the stove and turned the burner up under the pot. "Dinner's almost ready," she said solemnly, and he stood from the table, one hand going into the pocket of his slacks.

"I'll set the table," he mumbled, and she nodded, not moving from her spot.

{/Speaking in code. They realize they've compromised their position, and she turns the heat up under the pot because she's intentionally about to set accidental fire to the house. His "I'll set the table" comment was code for, I'll get everything ready. He went to gather the few things they could carry with them because he knew the rest were going to be burned along with the house. Everything that was evidence had to go except the little bit of research material they had room for in their car./}

Two days later, the /Leader/, the local newspaper of Tomahawk, Wisconsin, ran a one-paragraph blurb on the sixth page about an accidental fire in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. It was mostly to fill in the space left over from the layout being changed at the last minute so that the birthday ad Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds were running for their daughter Stacy could be three picas larger, but Hank Alden mused over it for the longest time.

{/Tomahawk, Wisconsin has a small-town type newspaper when things like birthday ads take up large portions of the editorial pages and things like the Girl Scout Cookie Drive's profit makes the front page. They've left suburbia and have found somewhere altogether different. They're reinvented again./}

"Whatcha readin', sweetheart?" his wife Mary asked as she looked over his shoulder at the paper.

He tilted his head back to look up at her and gave her a crooked smile, which she returned. He reached up with one long arm to tug on her blonde ponytail and she slapped his arm away gently. Chuckling, he returned his attention to the newspaper in his lap and pointed to the article, shaking his wrist a little to untangle his cheap watch from the sleeve of his flannel work shirt.

{/Scully's hair has changed color again, but they still have some of the same mannerisms. Whereas before she swatted him away when he kissed the back of her neck, now she stops him from pulling on her ponytail. But it's not malicious - she's still affectionate towards him. She just doesn't like the back of her neck to be messed with, which is a trait she inherited from me but is believable, seeing as Scully's chip was implanted in that very spot. Also, more references to how they've changed their image. Instead of a suit and tie with a briefcase, Mulder is wearing flannel and cheap watch./}

"Some yahoos left their stove on, burned down their house."

"Oh no!" she gasped. "Were they hurt?"

"Don't guess so," he shrugged. "Says they didn't find any bodies, and their car was gone."

"Maybe they left it on while they were running an errand or something."

"Haven't found 'em yet. They never came back."

"Well. That's certainly odd."

"Mm," Hank nodded. "Speaking of stoves - what's cooking on ours?"

Mary leaned over and pressed a kiss to the top of his head before walking away without answering his question. He watched her go, his eyebrow raised in silent inquiry, and she paused at the door of the kitchen to call back over her shoulder, "Tuna casserole."

{/...And Scully tries her joke again. Presumably, this time, without the same disastrous reaction./}

The End

{/Th-th-th-th-th-tha-that's all, folks! Hope you enjoyed./}
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