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"This Morgan guy, he thinks he knows everything, Scully," Mulder grumbled. Scully and he were in a side office where Agent Hotchner had essentially exiled them since getting back to the station. "He's got a stick up his ass."
Scully rolled her eyes. Her partner's ever-growing rivalry with Agent Morgan was becoming increasingly irritating.
"Mulder, I think you need to take a breather and remember who is in charge of this investigation," she said, rubbing her temples. "They found the information through proper channels, and you're mad because you think they're discounting the boulder."
"They are discounting the boulder, Scully," Mulder said, spitting out the shell of a sunflower seed into the trash bin. "They heard what Morgan said, and they just think the boulder is a coincidence."
Scully leaned back in her chair and stared at Mulder, hoping her gaze would knock some sense into her partner. "Their technical analyst found that the victims have a connection, Mulder. What do you want them to do? Forget that, too?" She sighed. "I have no reason to say we should get rid of the boulder, Mulder, but I understand why these people aren't going to listen to us about it. They deal with facts, with behaviors. A bloody boulder would peak their interest, but not draw their attention from something found on a computer."
Mulder shook his head. "I completely agree with the fact that its important the victims work at the same place, but I won't agree that it's the only thing that matters."
In true Mulder-fashion, she thought. Stubborn to a fault.
Before she opened her mouth again, Agent Hotchner entered the room. Like usual, his gaze shifted to Mulder the moment he entered the room. The BAU unit chief rarely found a reason to look at Scully with irritation, but with Mulder he always found a reason to give him a steely glare.
"Agents," Hotchner said, nodding.
Scully rose to her feet. "Agent Hotchner, what can we help you with?" she asked.
Hotchner's eyes remained on Mulder for just a moment longer. He looked at Scully, though. "Not what you both can help me with," he said. "It's what you can help me with, Agent Scully."
Scully did not miss that Hotchner's request visibly peaked Mulder's interest. Her partner sat forward, arching a brow at the BAU agent.
"Alright, then," she said. "What can I do?"
"Come with me to check out the diner," another voice said.
This is about to get good, Scully thought as Morgan came in behind his boss. "Agent Morgan," she said, nodding. "You want me to come along?"
Morgan grinned, but his smile was much more directed at Mulder than Scully. It was a grin of triumph. "Yup," he said. "Fresh eyes would be helpful. The rest of my team has other things to do."
As she expected, Mulder stood up and crossed his arms over his chest. "Alright, I'll grab my stuff, and the three of us can – "
"Actually, Mulder," Hotch said, "you're staying here. Assistant Director Skinner hasn't been able to reach you on your cellphone out here. He wants a full report on your…side of the investigation." He fixed Mulder with a frigid look, not bothering to hide his distaste for the X Files side of the investigation.
"Why can't I go with you?" Mulder protested. "I can be helpful."
Scully rolled her eyes. Glancing over at her partner, she said, "Mulder, just give Skinner a call. Agent Morgan and I can go speak with the diner patrons, and we'll let you know what we find."
Clearing his throat, Mulder finally looked at Scully. He looked none too happy to be leaving her with no one but Derek Morgan. She didn't truly understand the rivalry between the two men, but she was going to do whatever she could to quell the issue. She gave him a small smile before grabbing her gun and badge off the table. Strapping the gun to her belt, she started toward the door, throwing a look at Morgan finally.
"I'm ready to go when you are," she said.
Scully could almost imagine the first question that would be coming from Morgan's mouth when they got in the car. "So what's the story with you and Spooky?" Morgan asked, a teasing grin lighting up his face as he turned onto the road out of the lot of the police station.
"We're partners," Scully stated bluntly. "I was assigned to work with him by the bureau, and we've been working together ever since."
Morgan snorted. "We both know that's not what I'm asking you."
She glanced sideways at him, mildly annoyed. "Why should I answer that question?" she asked in irritation.
"Because even if you don't answer that question, you know I'm a behavioral analyst," he retorted. "I can figure out a lot just by the way you responded to me asking you."
Crossing her arms over her chest, Scully refocused her gaze outside on the golden, flat landscape. She was in no mood to talk about this with a perfect stranger right now.
"C'mon, you know there's something going on there," Morgan chuckled. "Spooky has a thing for you. And you know he does."
Scully cleared her throat. "No, I don't," she said with discomfort.
Morgan's laughter filled the car yet again, but this time she decided to come up with a retort for him. "You know, I don't see you doing anything about your feelings for Agent Garcia." The laughter stopped abruptly, filling the car with silence. Scully felt mildly pleased with herself for shutting him up.
"Not sure what you're talking about," Morgan said. It was his turn to clear his throat uncomfortably.
She barked a laugh. "Sure you do," she said. "See, you don't have to have the title of behavioral analyst to tell when someone has feelings for another person. That just comes naturally to people."
Morgan cast a look sideways at her, this time his look being the one that was mildly annoyed. "If that were the case, Agent Scully, we would all be profilers. You just happen to be an FBI agent who has some experience with observing people."
"I'm a medical doctor, Agent Morgan," Scully said. "I don't observe people; I treat them. I can easily see what's right in front of me, though."
Morgan snorted, not bothering to say a word to that. Scully felt somewhat satisfied with herself, knowing that she had at least shut him down, even if she had not thrown him off her case.
"Sir, I'm telling you right now, working with these agents is not going well," Mulder said over the phone.
Skinner rolled his eyes, leaning back in his desk chair as he listened to his agent drone on about why he was not enjoying working with the Behavioral Analysis Unit. He rubbed his eyes tiredly, waiting for a point in the conversation where he could speak.
"That Agent Morgan is consistently undermining my theories, and he doesn't want to listen to a word we say," Mulder said. "The only one who has been remotely cooperative is their technical analyst, and – "
Finally, Skinner could take no more, and he interrupted. "Mulder, listen, I don't need the rundown on everything that isn't going the way you want it to out there," he muttered. "I'm just calling because I got another call from the BAU section chief, Mateo Cruz. Agent Hotchner has been calling Cruz because he's finding your theories…distracting."
"We found a boulder out in the middle of nowhere that was covered in blood and likely the weapon used in the death of the first victim," Mulder protested. "Agent Hotchner isn't – "
"Mulder, whatever you found and whatever theory you attach to it isn't going to be something these people listen to," Skinner said. "But that's the only way you're going to get to stay out there and investigate."
Mulder huffed. "How are we supposed to get any work done if we can't work on the case the way we want to and with people who don't believe what we're finding?"
"Didn't you say the technical analyst was being helpful?" Skinner asked. "Get her to help."
"Yeah, that'll be difficult," Mulder said. "She's got Agent Morgan playing watchdog around her. He hates me and seems to think I'm trying to steal his girlfriend."
Skinner rubbed his temples. "Mulder, I don't know," he said. "Get creative. But I don't want to get any more calls saying you're interrupting the BAU's investigation. The next one won't leave you so lucky. They'll make me pull you off the case if you aren't careful."
Mulder was silent for a few moments before sighing. "I'm going to find the truth about what happened to those two people," he vowed. "I'll try to play by the rules while doing it."
Somehow the tone of Mulder's voice made Skinner doubt there would be much done by the book if Mulder could help it.