Title: Suddenly That Summer
Author: drovar drovar@mediaone.net
Rating: Gen, PG
Category: Slightly kinky and a little humorous.
Summary: A short bit from early in the AD Scully Universe. This is not a good day for poor Jeffrey, not at all.
Notes: Answer to the "You found my underwear where?" challenge.


Summer set lip to earth's bosom bare
And left the flush'd print in a poppy there;
-Francis Thompson "The Poppy."

Jeffrey Spender pushed a limp curl off his forehead and back into his sweat dampened hair. The brilliance of the August day drained through the gaps in the closed window blinds and drawn curtains to fill the bedroom with light and heat. He could see the street scene beyond reflected through the glass and projected as a wavering image across the ceiling. The weatherman had called for temperatures in the 90's all weekend, no relief, no rain, and no sanity in sight.

Traffic passed in slow heat-sodden cloud in the street below, honking and rumbling as it went. It was a few minutes short of noon and already the apartment was warm. The over-stressed air conditioner in his kitchen window gave a feeble burp, stalled for a second, and then trundled gamely on. He considered trying to coax some cooler air out of it, but he couldn't risk it failing completely, not now, not today.

The closet doors were closed, cleaned and polished just the night before; they gleamed sharply in the bedroom's reflected light. He checked his watch for the fifth time in the last 10 minutes.

He had 15 minutes; maybe enough time . . .

Damp palms slid over his dress shirt in a futile attempt at dryness. Shorts and a T-shirt would have been more appropriate for the weather, but not today, not for her. A two-mile run each day kept his legs in pretty decent shape but working behind a desk at the FBI all day kept them pasty and pale. He'd probably blind her.

He felt a tingle crawl down his spine as he reached for the closet door and pulled it slowly open.

14 minutes. Enough time, sure, he'd make it quick.

His clothes felt heavy and too warm when he stepped into the deep walk-in closet. He was carefully dressed; a blue dress-shirt newly purchased and freshly pressed over the charcoal-gray slacks he'd given himself for Christmas. His tie was gold with a subtle crosshatch pattern. It was a little ostentatious, but today called for a little flair, he thought.

The shirt clung to his arms as he pushed aside neat rows of identical somber suits and reached for the top shelf. He could feel tiny patches of dampness forming under his arms already. Ten minutes out of the shower and he was sweating himself into a mess.

His fingers sought forward blindly, gliding over a well-read stack of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer novels; past a still-in-the-box salad shooter bought in a moment of insanity during a weeklong insomnia jag. Finally the object of his search slid beneath his fingertips. Standing on the tips of his toes he stretched carefully and lifted the small box up and out.

Not much bigger than a notebook page the thin box seemed to weigh heavily on him. He ran his fingers gently around the edge of the lid, cracking the box open a hair's breadth. A scent wafted from the box, a mix of body powder and something else, sweet and vaguely fruity. A full-body twitch jolted him as he inhaled the scent. He felt impossibly warm, and suddenly constricted by his clothes.

12 minutes, still enough time, maybe.

He set the box on the bed, almost reverentially and grabbed at the knot in his tie. He had to hurry, he had time, but he had to hurry.

The tie slid from his neck with a satisfying zip, and his hand pulled quickly at the top button of his shirt. The first button had just popped loose when the intercom buzzed loudly from the front room; She was here.

Damn.

Spender buttoned his shirt and grabbed his tie from the bed. The buzzer rang again. How was it possible for an inanimate object to sound shrill and demanding?

Damn, damn, damn.

Two steps down the hallway Spender turned back and spotted the box, 'The Box' sitting on the bed, in the open, where anyone could see it. He lunged back into the bedroom and grabbed the incriminating package.

The Buzzer rang a third time.

Christ, he had to get to answer that, another second and she'd leave. Spender turned to the closet. The buzzer gave half a ring and stopped.

Shit

Pulling frantically at the blankets and sheets of his bed he grabbed the edge of the mattress and lifted the corner. Spender slid the box beneath and lowered the mattress with as much care as he could manage. Mentally offering a prayer to whatever minor-god watched over forlorn lovers he darted down the hall and landed panting on the intercom.

He mashed the intercom button, his finger turning white from the pressure.

"I'm here, I'm here," he shouted. Taking a steadying breath he forced his voice to a calmer tone. "Come on up," he said. Nothing, no answer, she was gone. He was considering a likely futile charge down the stairwell to the lobby when he realized that he was still holding the talk button down.

Spender wobbled on suddenly weak knees. His heart thumped painfully in his chest . . . maybe, just maybe . . .

He released the button and wilted into the wall, his strength gone. She had to be there, she just had to.

There was a moment of silence on the intercom. Spender waited another heartbeat before reaching for the door. He might still catch her. He was halfway through the door when the intercom crackled with static.

" . . . thought you'd stood us up Jeffrey,"

Relief poured over him like a sluice of cool water. She was here.

"Sorry," he replied and closed the door softly. "I was . . ."

"Was what?" He thought. "Trying to squeeze in a little tension-relieving fantasy session? Contemplating a bit of weapons disarmament before engaging the target?"

He released the talk button without finishing the sentence and hit the buzzer to unlock the door.

He quickly looked around the apartment, everything in place, but not obsessively tidy. A few strategically placed odds and ends to give the place a casual look. A pair of running shoes, carefully washed sat near the door. His rack of CDs was dusted and de-alphabetized, just in case she wanted music, but not totally scrambled. "Like with like and kind with kind," as his mother used to say.

Stepping into the living room he ran a hand over his brow and through his hair. With horror he realized that the exertion of running through the apartment had left him sweating and damp. He could feel his carefully tailored appearance about to dissolve in a torrent to dribbling sweat. Spender pulled his tie into place and started to tie it, moving across the living room and into the kitchen as fast as he could manage without sweating even worse.

Halfway through creating a crisp Windsor knot in his tie he stepped up to the air conditioner and stuck his face as close to the vents as he could with making imprints on his forehead. He opened his collar, pulling open the top button of his dress shirt and let the coolness wash over him. He enjoyed the cold air for a few seconds then buttoned up, and snugged his tie into place. Quick work with a pocket comb got his hair back into somewhat presentable shape just before the knock came at his door.

His heart gave a squiggly little beat. She was here. He grabbed his jacket from the back of a dining room chair and slid it on.

Giving himself one final smoothing, Spender walked to the door, and plastered his best smile on his face. He straightened his shoulders and opened the door, and looked right into . . . a chin, a stubbled masculine chin, one that was all too familiar, if not normally seen from this close. Mulder's lanky frame filled the doorway, blocking sight of the hallway beyond. The man was just suddenly 'there', and far too close for Spender's comfort. There were polite rules about personal space, and at the moment Mulder was tromping all over his.

"Mulder?" Spender asked. His smile faded to a tight-lipped grin and his gaze narrowed.

"What are you doing here?" He tried to casually look past Mulder. Where was Scully? He'd heard her voice. He knew he had. He couldn't see a thing with the big lout blocking the door.

"Well Jeffrey," said a familiar silken voice from somewhere behind Mulder. "He was mopping around the office, and it's such a nice day I couldn't just leave him there." Dana Scully stepped beneath Mulder's arm and jabbed him in the ribs with her elbow. Mulder gave an exaggerated wince and moan and collapsed against the door jam. "God Scully, break a rib why don't you?" Mulder asked as he rubbed at his side.

"Maybe you should go to the hospital," Spender said helpfully. "There's one right down the street. If you hurry you can get there before blood clots set in."

"Jeffrey," Scully said and arched one eyebrow. "Ice-cream?"

Spender stared at her blankly for a moment, glanced at Mulder as if trying to formulate one last-ditch effort to get him out of the apartment, and then just as quickly, gave up.

"Of course, of course" he said stepping back. "Come in out of the heat."

Spender shut the door behind them and led his X-Files partners into the living room.

"I love what you've done with the place Jeffrey," Mulder said as he turned and surveyed the apartment. Spender stared at him sourly. Mulder paid no attention to the glare and continued. "It strikes just the right balance between repressed and dull."

Spender felt heat rising in his face. Guest or not . . . "I've seen your place Mulder," Spender replied struggling to keep anger from his voice. "Just because I don't have worn-out porno tapes stacked every where, or three week old Chinese take-out boxes stuffed under the couch or God knows a couple dead bodies stashed in the closet .. . "

"Okay, that's enough head butting," Scully said and stepped between the two men. She turned to Mulder. "You are a guest," she said and poked him in the chest with one finger. Spender noticed her nail polish was clear, for some reason he had expected red. "Behave."

"And you," she said turning to Spender. "We're partners, don't be so bristly." Spender started to object when she raised one finger in front of his face. "Ice cream Jeffrey? Please?"

"Right," he said and grinned ruefully and nodded. "Coming right up."

"I'll give you a hand," Mulder said. His face was a perfect mask of honest contrition.

Spender's eyes narrowed for a moment and the suggestion of a scowl crossed his face, only to be replaced by that same slightly dopey and accepting grin. "Okay, sure, why not?"

Mulder leaned close to Scully as he passed. "If the kitchen door's a rockin' don't come a knockin,'" Mulder whispered. He followed Spender toward the kitchen, stopping to turn and give her a wink.

Scully rolled her eyes and let the two men go without comment.

* * *

Mulder sighed as he followed Spender into the apartment's small kitchen. Scully was right he was behaving like an ass, not that that in itself was unusual, but he normally had a reason for it. It wasn't that he was jealous, not of a Jeffrey Spender, never. But something about today rankled him from the moment he heard about it. But it wasn't jealousy, not of Spender, no way.

Spender went wordlessly to a cabinet to his left and began pulling out sundae glasses and placing them on a tray along with chocolate sprinkles, different syrups and other condiments. An old-fashioned ice cream scoop sat in a bowl of water on the edge of the sink.

"Ice cream?" Mulder asked.

"Freezer, two gallons, in the front," Spender replied jerking a thumb over his shoulder toward the refrigerator.

"Right," Mulder said, feeling a little dense.

The freezer was the top part of the refrigerator, an older model, spotlessly clean, but several years past its prime. The front was bare save a photo of a '69 camaro and some sort of needlepoint. Mulder paused. "Needlepoint?" he thought. Spender was many things; most of them of doubtful quality, but a needlepoint man wasn't one of them

He leaned closer for a better look and pulled the freezer door open slightly. The needlepoint was a rustic folk-art type. It depicted what appeared at first to be random dark points over a very pale-blue background. There was something familiar about it, something he knew. Mulder quickly opened the freezer grabbed the ice cream, closed the door, and returned his attention to the object on the front.

Suddenly he realized what he was seeing. It was a star field, and if he remembered correctly, he knew which one.

"What is this?" Mulder asked nodding at the needlepoint on the freezer door when Spender turned. Mulder was still holding the ice cream, one gallon of strawberry in his left arm, one gallon of Moose Tracks in the other.

"It's a sampler my mother got from her mother."

Mulder sat the ice cream down on the counter next to the refrigerator and returned his attention to the sampler. "What's that pattern from?" Mulder asked as his finger traced the shallow W.

"It's just a pattern. My Mother remembered seeing it when she was growing up, why?"

"It's Cassiopeia," Mulder said blandly. "The pattern, it's the constellation Cassiopeia. Mostly it is, I don't know what this other star is here," he said pointing to a crosshatch of dark blue to the left and below the rest of the pattern. "But the rest of it, it's Cassiopeia, definitely."

"What are you talking about?" Spender demanded, "That's nonsense." His voice took on a note of anxiety. "It's a needlepoint my grandmother stitched, that's all."

Mulder tried, not entirely successfully, to keep condescension out of his voice. "I was studying Astronomy when you were still in short pants, look here," he said. "Here's Segin," Mulder said as he pointed to the left most point of the W. "Then Ruchbah, Shedir and Caph," said Mulder, pointing to each stiched star in turn. "Except for this wanderer it's Cassiopeia all right." He turned back to face Spender. "You didn't know? How could you look at it and not know?"

"It's a pattern Mulder," Spender said and slammed a glass down. The tray bucked on the counter sending spoons and multi-colored sprinkles, nuts and chocolate bits scattering across the tray. "Damn it," Spender swore quietly and began rearranging the tray.

"Spender," Mulder paused. "Jeff," Mulder watched as Spender, hands shaking, carefully and precisely rearranged the silverware, set the confections upright and cleaned up the spills. "You're right it's probably just a coincidence." He picked up the ice cream containers and moved to the counter next to Spender. "Maybe . . . " He stopped abruptly at a loss for words and set the containers down. Spender glanced over and then nodded as if agreeing with Mulder's unspoken argument. "Yeah maybe," he said.

Spender pulled the ice cream scoop from its bowl, shook off the excess water, and handed it to Mulder.

"Honors?" he asked.

Mulder looked at the scoop doubtfully for a moment then shrugged and took it. He paused hand hovering above the ice cream.

"Strawberry," Spender said indicating the first glass, "Moose Tracks in the next."

"Moose Tracks? What the hell is that?" Mulder asked. He opened the ice cream dug up a scoop of strawberry and tapped the scoop on the side of the glass. The ice cream landed inside with a juicy plop.

"Just put the junk in the cup Mulder." Spender said frowning.

"Ja wohl mein herr." Mulder said and gave a mock salute flinging drips of slightly melted strawberry ice cream across the kitchen. Spender looked sourly at the sticky trails running down his refrigerator door just beneath the sampler.

"Schwanzlutscher," Spender replied, a slight sneer sliding over his lips.

"Not if you had the last schwanz on earth Spender." Mulder said and turned back to his task. He quickly filled the remaining cups. He topped a huge scoop of Moose Tracks with an equally impressive scoop of strawberry in his own glass and plunked the scoop back in its bowl.

"You're going to eat that?" Spender asked apparently struggling unsuccessfully not to scowl.

"Long as you're buying." Mulder said. He picked up a spoon and backed out of the kitchen.

* * *

Jeffrey Spender had been in more uncomfortable situations in his life, he was sure of that, several sessions with his late unlamented father came quickly to mind. Somehow though those episodes seemed distant, gossamer-shrouded, almost non-events. Today was a starkly real, hardedge exercise in social discomfort.

He stared glumly into the quickly melting remains of his Moose Tracks Ice Cream. The chocolate and vanilla had melted and dripped down to a muddled brownish hump in the bottom of his glass. Bits of chocolate and rainbow colored sprinkles bobbed and sunk as he stirred slowly. How had me managed to engineer such a disaster?

Fox 'smug-ass-bastard' Mulder was tipping up his glass draining the last dregs of his ice cream into his gaping maw. Scully was oblivious to both his moroseness and Mulder's theatrics. She was intently chasing a last chuck of strawberry around the bottom of her glass. Mulder sat his glass down and looked at his upturned hands while making spectacular lip smacking sounds.

"Where's your little agents room Spender?" He said holding up his hands. "Icky."

Spender sighed. "Second door to your left," said indicating the apartment's lone hallway with a nod. He quickly gathered up the empty glasses, dirty spoons and condiments and loaded them back on to the serving tray. He glanced at Scully and started to speak. His eyes grew slightly wide and his voice faltered. She sat with her eyes closed, the tip of the ice cream spoon in her mouth. Her lips were curled into a slight but dazzling smile.

It wasn't until he heard her voice cutting through the fog of his dazed thoughts that he realized her lips were moving.

"Spender?"

He blinked twice and pulled himself a little more upright.

"Sorry," he stuttered out. "I was wool gathering. Would you like some coffee?" He asked and added her glass and spoon to the tray.

"You really need to have a thick skin around Mulder, Jeffrey." She said.

Spender nodded once. "It shows that much?"

Scully smiled a little. "I've been through it, he's got a good heart underneath all the abrasiveness. He cares about people, but sometimes . . . " She paused and helped Spender clean up the rest of the table. "He forgets sometimes, forgets that there are other people in his life. Forgets his humanity a little, I guess."

Spender put his hands on the back of his chair, gripping and very slowly releasing his hold. "Right, ignore him."

"Not ignore," Scully said and laughed. "I'm not sure that's even possible. Ignoring Mulder is like ignoring a tornado. You can stick your fingers in your ears and yell all you want, but sooner of later it sweeps you along with it. You can't ignore a force of nature, you just try to stay out of its way and realize that it's nothing personal."

Spender picked up the tray and nodded. "Got it," he said with a small grimace. He carried the tray toward the kitchen and turned around when Scully spoke again.

"And I'd love some coffee," said Scully. "Cream and sugar and neither one for Mulder."

Spender nodded again and backed into the kitchen. He put the dishes in the sink, ran some water over them and set about making the coffee. Maybe Scully was right. She knew Mulder far better than he did, far better than he ever wanted to. Half-brothers or not, he couldn't stand the man, never could, never would. Not as long . . .. "Not as long what Jeffrey?" He asked himself. He dried his hands on a kitchen towel and had to admit it to himself. Not as long as he was the only man in Scully's heart. He sighed again and opened the cabinet.

He was trying to decide if Scully had ever expressed a preference for Swiss Mocha over Hazelnut Creme when he heard a hushed conversation from the living room. Mulder and Scully's voices were distinct but their words blurred into an incomprehensible buzz.

Spender dropped the coffee packs on the counter and quietly stepped closer to the door. He cracked the door open and leaned in. Scully's voice, sharp and a little shrill rose above Mulder's. She was ticked.

"You found my underwear where?" She demanded.

Mulder's mumbled reply was lost in Spender's rush of panic.

"Shit," he said as he stepped back from the door. The bastard had gone snooping. Spender knew he was as good as dead, or would very shortly wish he were.

The kitchen door swung open. Scully stepped in with a familiar looking piece of red cloth clutched in her hand. Mulder stood behind holding a box, *the* box.

"Look, Scully," Spender said and took a step back. "I can explain that . . . those, I mean. It's not what, their not . . . oh God."

"Scully lets . . .." Mulder began to say.

"Mulder, I'd like to deal with this privately if you don't mind," said Scully, her eyes never leaving Spender.

"You're sure Scully?" he asked, clearly puzzled.

Scully turned to him and took the box from his hands. "Please just wait in the car for me. I'll be right down."

Mulder looked up at Spender and back down at Scully. He shrugged. "Sure, whatever you say."

Spender listened to Mulder walk across the living room and out the front door. He licked his lips nervously and tasted the salt of his own sweat. Scully was staring at him with an odd intensity while twirling the panties, her panties, on her finger.

"It seems we need to have a little talk, isn't that right, Spender?" She asked and took a step forward.

"Look, really it's not, . . . it isn't what your thinking."

"No?" she asked. "I think it's exactly what I'm thinking."

Spender took another step back and felt the refrigerator against his back. Scully took another step toward him and tossed the box and the underwear onto the table. He was trapped. He dropped his gaze and closed his eyes, and waited. It shouldn't have gone like this; it wasn't supposed to happen this way. In one shattering moment his life had crumbled leaving only brittle shards of his sorry existence behind.

Another step brought her just inches from him. He could feel her breath on his skin, smell her perfume, subtle and a little sweet, mingled with her own scent, intoxicating.

"I'm sorry, so sorry." He whispered, hearing his own voice cracking as he did.

She leaned in closer. Her voice, when she spoke, was low, no more than a murmur.

"You've been a very bad boy."

He stopped breathing for that instant.

"You know what happens to bad boys don't you?"

He raised his face at that, meeting her gaze.

"I don't . . . ."

Before he could finish she had her hands at the lapels of his suit, grabbing them, pushing him back hard against the refrigerator. She kissed him before he could respond, pressing her lips firmly to his and her body solidly against his.

He felt a full bull rush of excitement swell up inside. He started to put his arms around her, to embrace her, only to be pushed back again.

She broke the kiss and released him. Finally taking a step back.

He held onto the door handle to keep himself standing.

"Maybe some time I'll show you what happens to bad boys," she said with a smirk that would have done Mulder proud. "Thank you for the Ice Cream Jeffrey. It made for an interesting afternoon."

She picked up the box and panties from the table, turned and left the kitchen. He listened to her walk across the living room and out of the apartment. The latch of the door being closed seemed to release whatever tension was holding him up. Without a sound he sat down on the kitchen floor leaning against the refrigerator.

He sat there for a long while, replaying the day's events through his mind. He wasn't sure what had happened here. But apparently he'd tapped into something, some deep feeling in Dana Scully he, and probably Mulder, had never expected existed. He could still feel her lips against his, the press of her firm body against his own. Spender stopped and took several deep breaths. He was halfway through washing the dishes before his blood finally cooled.

* * *

Monday morning. Or was that Monday mourning? Spender wondered as he flipped on the light to the X-files office. It was still early. Mulder would saunter in shortly while Scully, busy with work in other offices wouldn't be around for several hours. He had time to enjoy his Starbucks and Washington Post. Life was bearable.

As the lights flickered and brightened he walked to his desk. Smaller than Mulder's it still filled one corner of the tiny office. As he pulled back his chair and started to sit the lights finally flared into full brightness. He stopped, mid-sit. There was a box on his desk, not just *a* box, *the* box. He set his coffee and newspaper aside and reached for the box with nervous hands. There was a small note attached. The handwriting was precise and familiar.

"All you had to do was ask," it said.

Spender swallowed once, and blinked twice. The basement office suddenly felt warm and closed in. He gently lifted the lid and set it aside. A musky scent wafted from the box flaring his nostrils and quickening his pulse. Inside were a familiar pair of undergarments. No longer pristine and powered but redolent with musk and aroma, the fragrant essence of her.

He checked his watch.

He had 15 minutes; maybe enough time . . .

* * *

Mulder sighed and tapped his mouse ineffectively. He just couldn't get it. On his computer screen was a star filled simulation. The familiar shape of Cassiopeia sat at the center. It just didn't make sense. A lone bright star, the wander he'd seen in the needlepoint on Spender's refrigerator refused to match up with any known star.

He'd been fiddling with the simulation for nearly an hour rejecting one candidate star after another. Some were too dim; some were to far off in one direction or another; none of them fit exactly. He tapped the mouse again moving it idling back and forth watching the star field pivot as he did.

With another exasperated sigh he reached for his coffee, took a drink and grimaced. The coffee was an hour past cold. He set it down absently and he returned his attention to the screen. The Styrofoam cup wobbled and toppled sending a dark dank stream across the desk and under the mouse mat. Mulder cursed and grabbed the mouse and mat and threw down sheets of Spender's morning paper to soak up the spill.

When his desk was finally back in some semblance of its previous shambles Mulder returned his attention to the screen. Cassiopeia was flashing. The program had matched the pattern. The wanderer, the previously unidentifiable loner was also flashing. He'd got it right somehow while jerking the mouse around trying to clean up the spill. He clicked on the star with his mouse and stared at the identifying text box that popped up.

He stared numbly at the answer. Trying to digest exactly what it meant. Trying to keep the rising excitement out of thoughts and trying to decide what to do next. He needed more information, a lot more. Spender had already gone home for the day. Mulder reached for his cell phone, started to dial and stopped. How was he going to explain to Spender that this rouge star in the constellation was Sol, Earth's own sun? How would he explain that somehow Spender's maternal grandmother, a woman who by all appearances was as ordinary as they came, had somehow, however inexplicably viewed Cassiopeia from some point in space, many light years from earth?

[END]

All Spenderfic is good Spenderfic.
Visit The Ferret-Cage for more Spenderfic.
http://www.ferret-cage.com/


Archived: November 02, 2001