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X-Files Fanfic Challenge 15: Reassurance

Author: SyndicateGirl
Archive: Yes, definitely! But please keep my headers attached and let me know where it is if you can. Thanks!
Spoilers:
Rating: R
Classification:  Response to fanfic challenge: Story must include: 1. 4:00pm; 2. Stapler; 3. Having a drink; 4. Someone swearing at their broken down car; 5. The word "Groovy." Between 500-2000 words.
Summary: Bill Mulder is having a bad day.
Disclaimer: The X-Files characters are Chris Carter's and 1013 Productions', not mine, unfortunately; no infringement is intended. Please don't sue - I'm a writer, and have no money! :D

TITLE: Reassurance

Bill Mulder’s hand cramped around the grey metal stapler as he fastened together the last of the documents.

Nearly 1200 pages, but he was finally done for the day.Normally he wouldn’t find himself in the office on a Saturday afternoon, but these documents had to be ready by Monday morning, 0800 hours, and his secretary had been out with the flu since last Wednesday - he had no choice.

Of course it was never as easy or as quick as anticipated, and he found himself finishing the creation of the documents, collating, researching, and stapling all day without a break.

In lieu of lunch, he had downed a quick whiskey on the rocks, and a couple of cups of coffee.

Hardly as satisfying as a sandwich or some soup.

This project had taken him hours longer than expected, and he was relieved to be finished.

Just in time, too.

Bill had promised Teena that he would be home by 4:00 pm “at the latest!” he had announced confidently.

He looked down at his watch: 4:37pm.

“Damn it,” he muttered.

He let out a sigh, wondering how it had gotten so late, hoping that he would be able to make it home in decent time, and silently cursing the fact that his Saturday afternoon was gone.

His mind shifted to 3 year old Fox, and Bill hoped that the boy wasn’t disappointed.

He had planned on going to the park with him and Teena this afternoon, but had been too buried in work to get home for any of the afternoon.

Story of his life.

He had already missed birthdays, anniversary dinners, and holidays.

All within the time frame of a young, 5 year marriage.

Bill hoped that his wife and son knew that he loved them, and that he would spend more time with them if he could.

It’s just that sometimes, it wasn’t possible.

Too often, in fact.

Bill swore to himself that he’d make it up to Fox by taking him to the park tomorrow.

“That kid loves the swings,” Bill thought to himself with a smile.

His mood wasn’t helped by the fact that it visibly looked like his entire day had been wasted here at the office.

It was late October, and the sun had already dipped low in the sky.

Bill always hated the days when he had to work late like this. Coming in at sunrise, leaving after sundown - it felt as though the whole day had escaped him.

Like it had been consumed by nothing but work.

There was more to life than this.

More than just the State Department.

With another sigh, Bill gathered up his coat, flicked off the light, and headed out to his old Buick.Thunderclouds had gathered in the sky, and the lightning was already illuminating the sky not too far off in the distance.

He hurried to his parking space, and climbed into the car just before the sky opened up.

Bill clicked on the radio, and cringed as “A Groovy Kind of Love” began to play.

He just couldn’t get into the modern music that seemed to permeate every station on the radio.

Teena was always poking fun at him for that.

For being an “old man,” and listening to “old man jazz.”

He never resisted pointing out that not only did she also like jazz, but their wedding featured a jazz ensemble.

She always countered with a smile, saying that it was for his old man set of friends.

With a smile, Bill reached up and changed the radio to another channel,

letting the heady jazz fill the car.

He was anxious to get home to Teena and Fox, but he also was a realist.

Bill knew that it would be a slow drive home in this weather.

He was also happy that he knew the back roads that would keep him away from the crowded streets of the main route.

He was always bragging about these back roads.

Teena said that if he kept up like that, soon everyone would know about them, and they wouldn’t be empty for him any more.

She always had a comment about everything.

It was both endearing and infuriating.

As he drove, Bill wondered if Teena would be waiting for him at home, angry at him being so late.

Most likely.

But, as always, she would be careful not to let her anger show on her face.

Good breeding ingrained into every fiber of her being, it was almost an innate reaction - patrician and gracious to a fault.Not to say, of course, that she had no temper at all.

Bill knew better.

Apparently Spender knew better, as well.

She could be a “handful” as Spender called her, but she was Teena, and Bill loved her feisty spirit.

Her curiosity and spunky nature was already showing through in the personality of their ever inquisitive Fox, too, and Bill thought it was adorable.He pulled out onto the highway, thinking of when he first met Miss Elizabeth Kuipers, as she was known back then.

He was captivated by her beauty, her sharp wit, and the passion in her wide, naive eyes.

His memories moved up to their honeymoon.

Her warm, soft curves pressed against his skin.

Her full lips opened in a silent moan as she quivered beneath him.

Looking up at her full breasts, illuminated by the moonlight as her back arched, and she moved up and down on him.

Bill couldn’t help but smile at the passionate memories of his enthusiastic young wife those 5 years ago.

Now, with him working all the time, sometimes he caught himself wondering.

Wondering if he still knew her as well as he did back then.

Wondering if she still loved him.

Still cared about him the way she used to.

Bill was so lost in memories and jazz that he didn’t notice the subtle knocking sound coming from under the hood of his car.

Within seconds, it went form a low knocking to a loud bang, and the large car lurched to a halt.

As if on queue, thunder clapped overhead.

An audible, ominous sign of his predicament.

Bill’s hands clenched around the wheel, and he barked out a frustrated, “Fuck!”

This was not good, and the chances of someone coming along were slim.

Bill was suddenly pissed at himself for always taking the back roads home.

“Quieter and less crowded,” he mocked.

Now here he was stranded on a dark, rainy stretch of old road.

It was like a cliché horror movie.He pushed open the car door, and made his way around to the hood, squinting at the engine to make sense of what had happened.

He fiddled and tinkered with the engine for nearly an hour and a half.

At least it had stopped raining on him while he worked.

The weather had cleared up, and now it was just him, the car, and his deadly quiet surroundings.

Every few minutes, he would try to start the car, and each time it would roar to life, sputter, cough, and die.

And with every attempt, Bill would get a little more frustrated.

Not just at the car, but at everything else in his life.

A man had time to think when he was stranded on a quiet stretch of road, after all.

All this work for the country, and what did he have to show for it?

A family he rarely saw.

A wife who sat at home, likely feeling neglected.

Would she even be missing him tonight, hours after he was supposed to be home?

A son who barely knew his own father.

Work that was going miserably.

A car that wouldn’t start.

Finally, after what seemed like the fiftieth attempt with the engine, Bill Mulder snapped.

There he was, a high ranking official at the State Department, standing on the side of the road, kicking his car.

Not just a small single kick, but full out wailing on it.

Complete with a slew of profanities.

If he wasn’t so annoyed, he would be laughing at the sight.

“Damn stupid son-of-a-bitch!” he yelled out into the night, kicking at the car, and practically sliding off of his feet into the nearby mud.

He hadn’t even noticed the car that had rolled up behind his own vehicle.

But he did notice the peals of laughter coming from the other side of the hood.

He stopped punching at the hood, and poked his head around the car, intending to give the hecklers a piece of his mind.

When he he saw that the laughter was coming from his wife and son, he stopped short.

Teena was practically doubled over, tears rolling down her cheeks.

Fox stood there in his new rain slicker, holding his mother’s hand, a huge grin on his face as he stared at his father.

After hearing his father’s outburst, Teena knew that she’d be telling him “Fox, no, don’t use those words,” for weeks to come, but it was worth it.

Bill had never been happier to see them, and he gathered them up into a hug so quickly that it caught all three of them off guard.“How did you know?” Bill asked after letting them go.

Teena quelled her laughter, “When you weren’t home by 5, I called your office, and you didn’t answer.

I figured after another hour, something must have happened with the car.

And since you always take this accursed road in the middle of nowhere…”

She waved her hand at the road dismissively.

He smiled, and kissed his wife.Fox let out an “Ew,” and tried to look away.

Bill picked him up, Thanks for rescuing me, Sport.”

He ruffled Fox’s hair, and Fox laughed, “We rescued Daddy!”

He was thrilled, and Teena smiled at the two of them.“Come on, you two.  Why don’t my two favorite young men take me out to dinner?”

Fox looked thrilled at the prospect of eating at a restaurant, and Bill looked relieved.

Partly because he finally had a ride home, partly because he had missed breakfast and lunch already, and partly because he was so happy to have confirmation that his family loved him enough to come looking for him.

Teena had a way of surprising him sometimes.

The three of them made their way to her car, and Fox climbed into the backseat.

As Teena went around to the passenger’s side of the car, Bill caught her hand in his, and walked with her.

She smiled, “What’s gotten into you, William Mulder?”

He squeezed her hand, watching the moonlight that was reflected off of a few strands of her dark hair.

“I love you.”

She smiled, shaking her head.

She was caught off guard.

Bill had never been an emotional man, “I love you, too, Bill. Come on.

Your son is starved, and you need a drink.”

By the time Bill got around to his side of the car, he was smiling ear to ear - he promised himself that he would never take his family for granted again.

CSM: Nothing vanishes without a trace...burn it!

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