Title: Weak in the Knees
Disclaimer: X-Files, Mulder, Scully and such don’t belong to me. If Scully did, she would have never slept with Mulder – no matter how desperate she was. But then... she wouldn’t have been so desperate – I’d have let her have more fun.
Summary: Scully and Mulder are assigned to a taskforce to catch a vicious serial killer. But who is that agent assigned by the Director? And why does she make Scully’s temperature rise?
Spoilers/Timeline: Set somewhere in the first half of season six.
Archive: P&P; anyone else please ask first.
A/N 1: If you’re a fan of Mulder you may want to pass.
A/N 2: My eternal thanks to celievamp for the great beta. This work is better because of your help. All mistakes are my own. Constructive feedback is welcome.
A/N 3: A special thank you to bara_brith and yellowsmurf6 – you both know why!
Scully and Casper exchanged a look and followed Morgan into the three-story house.
The building was less than four years old and an unusual shape – two octagonal structures linked together and surrounded by airy verandahs. On the first floor were a large anteroom and a staircase leading up the actual living quarters. The second floor contained the laundry room and three bedrooms, each with their own full bathroom. The third floor consisted of the fully equipped gourmet kitchen, a spacious great room with a 14-foot, beamed ceiling and a wet bar, and the dining room which offered a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding islands. Also, just off the kitchen was a workstation already set up with internet access.
It was after 4:00 in the morning and all three agents had been going since early morning of the day before. So, they each retreated into a bedroom and went to sleep.
When Scully woke up in the morning she smelled eggs and bacon. She opted for a fast shower. Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, she joined Morgan and Casper on the third floor. She found Morgan at the stove cooking and Casper sitting out on the verandah.
“I know it’s lunchtime, but I opted to cook breakfast. How many eggs do you want?” Morgan asked without turning around.
“Two. Scrambled, please.”
“Coming right up. There’s some juice in the refrigerator and if you want some coffee it’s in the cupboard above the coffeemaker.”
“Thanks.” Scully moved to the counter and opened the cupboard with the coffee in it. She silently started a pot in the coffeemaker. Scully turned, leaning her hip against the counter, and simply watched Morgan as she cooked the late breakfast. “Can I ask you a question, Jess?”
“Do I have a choice?” the brunette quipped, her trepidation coloring her voice with irritation.
Scully sighed sadly and looked away. “Never mind,” she said softly.
Morgan dropped her head and took a slow breath. “No. I’m sorry. What did you want to ask?”
“What’s up with the name Essington? I mean, you used it in Miami, and now here. Is it a cover identity?”
“No. It’s who she is,” came Casper’s voice from the open doorway to the verandah.
“I don’t understand.”
“Our Jessica comes from nobility. She is Lady Essington,” he said with an amused smile.
Scully saw Morgan blush as she plated everyone’s breakfast and carried the plates out to the verandah. She sat down and started buttering her toast. Scully and Casper joined her at the table.
“So, your name is really Jessica Essington?”
“No. My name is Jessica Morgan... but my grandfather, Geoffrey Morgan, was the Earl of Essington. My mother was Lady Elizabeth Rodier.” She looked at Casper who was grinning like a fool. He had always gotten a kick out it. “Shut up, John.”
“What? I didn’t say anything.”
“No, but you’re thinking it.”
He simply snickered and took a bite of his eggs.
“But you said you were Lady Essington, not Lady Morgan,” Scully pointed out.
Morgan silently sighed. “As my grandfather’s sole living heir, I inherited his title and estate.”
“I thought titles were handed down through male heirs.”
“Most are, but not all.”
“Well, you are full of surprises, aren’t you?”
Morgan wasn’t sure what to make of Scully’s tone of voice, so she simply started eating her breakfast.
“So, where exactly are we?” the redhead asked, changing the subject somewhat.
“Pecuniary Key. It’s a privately owned island which the owners rent out. The only way here is by helicopter or boat, so there’s no way the Reaper can get here without us knowing it. But we’re only a few minutes from the airport by helicopter; and with our phones and internet access we can still work the case.”
After breakfast, Morgan gathered the dishes and returned to the kitchen. Dana followed and volunteered to wash the dishes.
“No need. It’s John’s turn.”
“It’s sort of a tradition. Whoever does the dishes gets to cook the next meal. And John said he wanted to cook dinner.”
“That’s right! We’re having grilled steaks tonight,” Casper said enthusiastically as he joined them.
Morgan turned and pinned him with a look, arching an eyebrow. “You are not grilling my steak, John. I prefer my steak not to be burnt.”
“I do not burn steaks. I just prefer them cooked. But you, if you stuck a steak with a fork and it mooed you’d say it was cooked just right.”
Morgan’s eyebrow arched higher. “Whatever. You are not cooking my steak, John.” She glanced at Scully. “And if you have any hope of enjoying yours you won’t let him cook your steak either.” With that Morgan turned to go downstairs to her bedroom to change clothes. “I’m going for a swim before getting to work.”
It wasn’t a very large pool, but it was enough to let Morgan stretch her muscles. She wasn’t sure how she felt about Scully knowing about her familial background. But since she’d found her in Miami under the name Essington, it wasn’t exactly a complete secret. However, there were few people in the FBI who knew – John, the Director... and now Scully. Toni had known, of course, but not until they’d been together a while.
Morgan finished her swim, went back into the house, changed out of her swimsuit and went to the computer workstation off the kitchen. She went online and checked her email and some reports.
“Anything interesting?” Casper asked from behind her.
“I was right about chloroform being used on the agents in the cars. The agents in the house were knocked out with chloral hydrate. It was found on their pizza, at near overdose level. They were lucky.”
“Where did the pizza come from?”
“Pizza King. They’re interviewing all the employees who were working last night and looking for the delivery driver.”
“Looking for the driver?”
“The driver apparently didn’t go home last night. He hasn’t been seen since leaving work.”
“Do you think he’s dead?”
“It’s possible. But it wouldn’t really fit with the M.O. I think it’s more likely that the delivery person was hired or bribed by our guy, or possibly even duped somehow.”
Casper grabbed a chair from the kitchen table and set it next to Morgan’s, facing her. “Jessica.”
Morgan heard her old partner’s tone of voice. She looked at him. “What?”
He reached out and took one of her hands in his. “It’s been six years, but I still know you, Jessica. What’s wrong?”
She frowned, “You mean other than working a case trying to catch a man that’s killed possibly as many as 100 women?”
“I’m not talking about work. Or at least, not the case.” He looked into her grey eyes intently. “What’s going on between you and Scully?”
She should have expected it – John had been her partner and best friend for years. And despite her lack of communication with him for the last six years, he still knew her better than just about anyone... even if there were a few things he didn’t know. But it didn’t mean she wanted to have this conversation. “Nothing.”
“Bullshit nothing. Come on, Jessica, talk to me.”
She rubbed her hands over her face and leaned back in the chair with a sigh. “It’s personal, John. Just let it go. Please.”
“It’s affecting the job.”
She gave him a sharp look and snapped, “Don’t you think I know that?! Why do you think she was at that safe house alone? I tried to walk away.”
“From what? The case?”
“Of course not.” She paused for a very long moment. “From Dana,” she said in a whisper.
“What happened, Jessica?” he asked gently.
She couldn’t meet his eyes. “I screwed up, John. Big time. I... I let her get close... too close.”
“And it didn’t work out. What more do you want?” She abruptly stood up, pushing her chair back. “I’m going for a walk.” Morgan left.
It was dark out and Morgan hadn’t yet returned to the house. The island was less than 500 feet long and 300 feet wide, so there weren’t exactly a lot of places to hide or get lost. But John also knew from experience that Jessica needed alone time, particularly when sorting out her feelings. He also knew, from experience, that she could retreat into herself too far if left alone too long. While preparing dinner he decided that he would give her until after he and Scully ate dinner... and talked. Then he would retrieve Jessica from her self-imposed isolation.
“Only two steaks?”
Scully’s voice brought Casper out of his thoughts. He glanced at the grill where two steaks were cooking. “No use grilling Jessica’s if she’s not going to join us.”
“What do you mean?”
Casper nodded to the woods surrounding the house and clearing. “She’s out there somewhere; has been almost all day.” He took one of the steaks off the grill and put it on a plate. He handed the plate to Scully. “Here you go; one steak medium rare.”
“Go on in. I’ll be right behind you.”
Scully went into the house and up to the dining room. She poured iced tea for Casper and herself, and set out the salad and dressing. Casper joined her a few moments later, bringing his steak and aluminum wrapped potatoes for them. The two agents sat down and began their meal.
“Mm, this is good.”
Casper smiled. “Contrary to what Jessica would have you believe, I do know how to grill a steak without burning it.” He chuckled. “But I will admit to charring a few in the past.”
After eating the majority of his meal Casper decided to sound out Scully. “So, how long have you been on the taskforce, Agent Scully?”
“About a month and a half. And you can call me Dana.”
“And you’ve been working with Jessica the entire time?”
“No. She joined the taskforce a month ago.”
“But you’ve been working closely together.”
“So what happened?”
Scully felt uncomfortable. “What do you mean?”
Casper pinned her with a look that clearly said he wasn’t going to let it drop. “Something is going on between you and Jessica, and I know it’s personal. Normally I wouldn’t poke my nose into it, but it’s got Jessica so twisted up in knots that it’s affecting her ability to do her job.” He pointed his fork at the redhead. “Fix it, Agent Scully.”
Scully frowned. “Jess has made it quite clear she doesn’t want to work with me anymore – she had me removed from the case.”
“Yet you’re still here,” he pointed out.
“I told the Director I wanted to stay on the taskforce.”
“So, you didn’t give up and pushed to get what you wanted. Right?”
“Then you should do the same thing with Jessica.” He paused. “That is if you want to work things out,” he said easily. His tone hardened as he continued, “But if you don’t want to work things out with her – leave. Walk away and let Jessica get over whatever it is that happened. Because no matter what happened she doesn’t deserve to be toyed with.” John abruptly got up, placing his plate, glass, and silverware in the sink before going down to his bedroom.
Scully was a bit taken aback by Casper’s attitude. It was, after all, Jess that had ditched her and left an impersonal note ending their professional and personal relationship. And she had tried to get Jess to talk to her – more than once. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly while trying to rein in her ire.
She then thought about the apparent care and protectiveness Casper had demonstrated for Jess, even after not seeing her in almost six years. Quite frankly it impressed her. Every person Scully talked to who knew Jess expressed how much they respected and cared about her. Well... everyone except Mulder, and, given his behavior, he hardly qualified as rational where Jess was concerned.
Scully got up and put her own dishes in the sink. She started the water and added some dishwashing soap. She absentmindedly washed the dishes as she considered her next move. Almost before she knew it she finished the dishes. As she put the last glass in the drainer she smiled when she realized she was on the hook for their next meal since she did the dishes. Folding the hand towel after drying her hands, she took a deep breath and let it out. It was time.
Scully walked down the stairs to the first floor and then outside. She glanced around the area and headed out... to find Jess.
Casper smiled as he watched from a second story window.