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The Vegas Strip
By GirlGone <>
Audrey Cooper <>
and Thalia D’Muse <>
Summary: What do you get when you put Mulder and Scully in Las Vegas? Well, we can’t really say, because we don’t want to spoil it for you, but it involves gambling, Vegas Tea, strippers, a drunk John Shiban, a trio of undauntable women and automatic flushing toilets.
Classification/Rating: S, Humor, with plenty of UST (does UST count here?) PG-13.
Disclaimer: As much as we hate to admit it, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully do not belong to us. They belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions and Fox Broadcasting. We were just borrowing them for a little fun in the Neon Sun.
Authors’ Notes: This is a round robin Romantic Farce. We have taken great liberties with the characters and they didn’t seem to mind, honest. In fact, they rather enjoyed it. Bad characters. Bad bad characters! What would Chris Carter say? If he recovered from the heart attack, that is.
We want feedback, lots and lots of feedback…. Send to GirlGone at <>, Audrey Cooper at <> and Thalia D’Muse at <>.
Author’s note – Part 1: OK gals. After major writer’s block, I popped in the new CD I just bought — “The Truth and the Light” — and I finally came up with the following to start us out. I took GG’s advice and just set the situation up — what happens from here is up to the next person. 😉 I’m not sure if this scenario has been done before, but if so, it’s being done again. 🙂 —Thalia D’Muse
Archivist’s Note: Authors’ comments have been removed from each chapter for better flow in reading. They can be found on the .txt version if you want them back. This is a round robin fic, so each chapter is written by a different author, in the order of TDM, AC then GG. — x-libris
THE VEGAS STRIP PART 1 OF 18
“So, what do you say, Scully?”
Raising her head slightly, Dana Scully pulled the reading glasses down her nose and stared at her partner over the silver wire frames.
“What do I say about what, Mulder?”
“You know, us painting the town tonight.” Fox Mulder shifted on the plush recliner located across the room from Scully and the laptop computer.
“Painting the town?” Scully asked dryly. “We’re in Vegas. They don’t need any more paint. Or neon, or glitter, or half-naked showgirls…”
Mulder grinned. “Oh, there’s always room for one more half-naked woman in this town, Scully.”
Dana felt a blush rising in her cheeks and she lowered her gaze to the laptop’s screen. “Forget it, Mulder. I’m sure Skinner would just love to hear that instead of finishing their field report, two of his agents took off to hit the Vegas nightlife.”
“Oh, come on, Scully,” her partner whined. “All of the flights out were booked until tomorrow morning, so we’re stuck here for the night. The case is wrapped up, and you’re almost done with the report. Vegas is a great city. I’m sure we could stir up some trouble here.”
Scully raised her eyes to him, the corners of her mouth curling up into a sly grin. “Knowing you, Mulder, trouble will find us. It always does.”
Ignoring her comment, he rose from the chair and walked toward Scully, who was seated on the edge of the queen-sized bed, her calm blue eyes staring intently at the small gray screen. Before she realized her partner’s tall form was standing before her, he snatched up the computer, closed the top and placed it on the bedside table.
“Hey!” Scully yelled. “I wasn’t done with that!”
“Yes you were,” he replied, offering her a hand up from the bed. “You’re done being FBI Special Agent Dana Scully for the evening.”
Refusing his hand, she stood and her hands immediately moved to her hips. “Oh, and who do you suppose I should be?”
“My date for the evening,” he said with a lopsided grin, which grew wider when he heard her gasp.
“Your date? You’re kidding, right, Mulder?” Shaking her head, Scully started to walk toward the side table to retrieve the laptop, but Mulder grabbed her arm, stopping her mid-stride.
“Yes, Scully, my date. We’re going out on the town tonight. My treat.” He held her gaze, silently willing her to agree. “Come on, Dana. It’ll be good for us to take a break for once.” Mulder gave her arm a gentle squeeze, then released his hold on her.
Scully could see the mischief bubbling over in those hazel-green eyes. As much as she hated to admit it, he was right. They had been overloading on work lately, and they could both use a breather. And besides, Scully thought to herself, playing tourist with Mulder might actually be fun.
“All right,” she said indifferently, adding a heavy sigh for dramatic effect. “But you’re not borrowing any money from me.” She paused, then shook her head again. “I can’t believe I’m agreeing to this.”
Mulder’s face lit up with a genuine smile. “Great! Trust me, Scully, it’ll be fun.”
Scully smirked. “Yeah, a regular trip to the forest, I’m sure.”
THE VEGAS STRIP PART 2 OF 18
Mulder raised his eyebrows, but wisely refrained from commenting on her appearance when she knocked on their adjoining door.
Scully had retouched her light makeup, putting on a bit more eyeliner and mascara than usual, and had tousled her hair a little from its smooth pageboy. She had also removed her blouse from beneath her jacket, buttoning the form-fitting wine linen directly over her chemise, and had tossed her suffocating pantyhose into her suitcase. She wore her wine pumps on bare feet.
The fact that the only other choices she had were either another suit, a ratty set of sweats, or her silk pajamas had been a factor in her decision of what to wear. Damned if she was going to go out with Mulder, who, of course, would look perfectly comfortable and suave in his Armani suit, looking like an FBI agent or a refugee from a camping trip. Maybe I should have worn my pajamas, she thought. That would have gotten a rise out of him.
Scully had to restrain herself from pulling her badge on the various young, attractively dressed men who began accosting them as soon as they stepped out into the flashing, carnival atmosphere that was the Strip. They approached Mulder exclusively, and, ignoring her totally, shoved flyers, business cards and shiny brochures into his hands. They were covered with girl-next-door blondes, sultry brunettes, delicate Asian, exotic Native American, and beautiful African American women. By the time they had gone half a block, his pockets, as well as his hands, were full.
“What, no redheads?” she asked one of the young men sarcastically.
Mulder flashed her a considering glance. “Hey, lighten up Scully. I’m sure there are bronzed Adonis photos out there somewhere.”
Scully rolled her eyes. She didn’t mind spending some time off with Mulder; even though she was somewhat apprehensive at his insistence of calling their outing a “date”. But she didn’t want to ride shotgun to a bunch of perfectly sculpted plasticine images. If that was what he wanted, he could have stayed in his room. The phone books were full of four-color pictures of scantily clad women, advertisements for escort services, and telephone sex operations; the cable channels crowded with soft-porn and hard-core movies. Now she had to put up with this, too? No way.
She stopped dead in front of the open doors of a casino, arms crossed, and stared up at him steadily. Cool air wafted through the doors to stir the hair at the back of her neck, and the babbling hum of people combined with the electronic boops and beeps of slot machines assaulted her ears. “Mulder, listen to me. What you do on your own time is your own business. But if you’re going to act like a Pavlov dog hearing ringing bells, you can go your way and I’ll go mine.”
Mulder, who had stopped when she did, looked down at her flashing blue eyes, flushed cheeks and defiant stance. He also got a good view of the tops of her breasts, framed by something lacy. Whoa! He chewed his bottom lip as he shoved the last of the flyers into his pockets. “Souvenirs for Frohike,” he said, and turned her toward the casino’s doors with a hand on her shoulder.
THE VEGAS STRIP PART 3 OF 18
TWO HOURS LATER…
“Come on RED. Come on. Come to Mama!”
The roulette wheel spun, the small white ball making a series of clicks and pings as it made its circular route. Slow, slower, bouncing from red to black to…red.
The glum business man in the crumpled suit next to her smiled and gave her a high five.
“Can’t lose tonight, can you?”
“Red pays 8 to 1.” The young man cleared the multi-colored betting chips from the table. A large stack of yellow chips were pushed her way. They joined the mound of similar chips in front of her.
“No. I’m doing well.”
The man looked morose. “That’s one of us. I was just fired from my job. They said I wasn’t meeting expectations, whatever the hell that means. My name’s John, John Shiban.”
“Place your bets place your bets. Round, round, round she goes, where she’ll stop nobody knows.”
Picking up her complimentary drink and savoring the tangy tea, she placed her chips on the board — black this time, and the red ten and the black thirteen squares. She didn’t know why, but those numbers had been paying off all night. It was probably her super-duper-secret- double-lucky numerical combination. Ten-thirteen. It had a magical ring to it. Something to do with mathematical probability, planetary alignment, and Mulder’s birth date.
How did that Mary Chapin Carpenter song go? I feel luuuuc-kay. I feel lucky tonight.
Her thoughts were scattered and fuzzy. It was hot in here. She unbuttoned the top of her wine jacket, showing off a small portion of the cream colored chemise underneath. The young man behind the roulette table looked without trying to look but Scully knew he was trying to look without being obvious. Women always knew that, though often they didn’t let on. She tried not to smile. He was cute in a brooding, intense kind of way, almost like Mulder.
Mulder. Where the hell was he anyway? He must be doing well at the Black Jack table.
The waitress set another free drink by Scully. The man next to her smiled. He looked a little weird, like one of those Trekkie guys who wear the communication pins on the lapels of their jackets. No way, definitely not her type.
The wheel spun slow, slower, stopping. Yes! Red ten. She’d won again.
“All right baby, come on home!”
She drew the pile of newly won chips to the ever growing pile in front of her, finishing off her drink.
“Looks like tonight is your lucky night.”
Mulder came up behind her, glancing at the accumulation of chips.
“How was the Black Jack table, Mulder?”
“I broke even.”
He looked at the pile of chips, the flush on her cheeks, her unbuttoned jacket. His shrewd FBI eyes took in her high state of excitement and the empty drink next to her. His eyes hardened at he glanced at the pathetic man next to her, obviously trying to pick her up with some stilted dialogue and terrible characterization.
“What are you drinking, Scully?”
“Vegas Tea. It’s free.”
He closed his eyes for a moment. He sure hoped it wasn’t too many.
He was glowering again, in that cute brooding way… Wait. Did she actually think that…‘cute’? Dana Katherine Scully did not use the word ‘cute’. She had omitted that from her vocabulary at the age of eight when Danny Meyers had told her she was cute and she had to punch him in the nose and make it bleed. She would never say cute. She would never use the word, never, unless some evil faction was controlling her verbal abilities.
“Scully. Are you with me?”
“I asked you if you know what Vegas Tea is?”
She was beginning to get irritated.
“Of course I do. Iced tea, mint and tabasco sauce.”
“And five kinds of white liquor.”
“There’s alcohol in these things? But they were free. I thought…”
She attempted to stand up, swaying slightly, grabbing her stool for support.
“Oh. Mulder. Quit moving around.”
THE VEGAS STRIP PART 4 OF 18
Scully leaned into the stool and tried to sit, but she misjudged the distance. Mulder reached for her, grabbing her arms before she toppled over.
“Scully, I think it’s time to cash in for the evening. You’re a little tipsy,” he said, one hand still on her arm, the other starting to gather the piles of chips on the table.
“I’m not tipsy,” she whined defensively, batting at his hands as he pocketed her winnings. “Quit stealing my chips, Mulder! Go away!”
Mulder, ignoring the stares from people gathered around the roulette table, tightened his grip on his partner’s arm. “Scully, you’re not fine, and I’m certainly not leaving you here alone. Let’s just go back to the hotel…”
“Excuse me, buddy, but I think th’ lady said to leave her alone.”
Mulder looked to his left to see an unshaven, wrinkled and obviously drunk man staring him down. Stepping closer to the man, Mulder let
loose. “Listen, pal, I don’t know who you are, but this is none of your business.”
“Yeah, well my name is John Shhhhiban and I was here first,” the man slurred. “If the lady’s leaving with anyone, it’s gonna be me.” To drive his point home, Shiban hit the side of the roulette table, but caught the edge of his glass by mistake, bathing himself in Scotch and soda.
Mulder’s eyes narrowed and he took another step closer. Shiban scrambled to get up from the stool, and would have made it had he not caught his foot on a leg of the stool, propelling himself face-first into the carpet.
“Loser,” Mulder mumbled. He turned back to Scully, grabbing her arm again. “OK, Hurricane Dana, you’ve caused quite enough trouble tonight.”
Scully jerked her arm away from Mulder. Who the hell does he think he is, Scully thought angrily. She huffed, then spun back toward the table. Big mistake. Right before her eyes, the roulette dealer split into four separate people. She grabbed onto the table and shook her head violently, then looked toward the dealer again. Nope, still four guys there.
“Well, shit,” she said, blinking furiously.
“Come on, Scully, that alcohol is going right through you. I know you haven’t eaten since lunch,” Mulder said, pocketing the rest of her chips and placing a protective hand on her shoulder. “Will you at least slow down long enough to get some food in your system?”
Scully sighed heavily. “Well, I guess. I’m kinda hungry, now that I think about it.”
With an arm around her shoulders, Mulder steered Scully in the direction of the casino’s buffet line. He suppressed a shudder as he felt her snake her arm around his waist, leaning her body closer to his. Looking down at her, he couldn’t stop his eyes from wandering to the cream-colored lace peeking through under her jacket. Down, boy, he silently chastised himself. She’s your partner, albeit a sauced and much more colorful version.
As they entered the dining area, Mulder stopped at an open booth. “I’m going to get us a few plates of food. You stay right here,” he said firmly, suddenly feeling light-headed as he watched her squirm her body into the booth.
Scully looked up at him and smiled sweetly. “Of course, Mulder. I’m staying right here.”
“Good. You do that,” he said, then turned toward the buffet line.
Ten minutes — and one wrestling match with a gray-haired lady for the last slab of prime rib — later, Mulder made his way back to their booth. As he got closer, he felt a wave of panic wash over him. Scully was nowhere in sight.
Putting the plates down, Mulder turned to the table across from him. “Excuse me. Do either of you remember seeing a woman sitting at this table a few minutes ago?”
Around a mouthful of food, the woman answered. “Oh yeah, the pretty redhead. She mumbled something about ‘painting the town without that stuffed shirt of a partner’ and headed out that door.” With fork in hand, the woman pointed to a door at the opposite end of the dining room.
Mulder swallowed. “Um, do you know where that door leads to?”
The woman nodded. “Yep. Heads out onto the Strip.”
Closing his eyes, he smiled tightly. “Thank you,” he said before breaking into a run. He reached the door and threw it open, momentarily blinded by the assault of neon on his eyes. Mulder quickly scanned the throngs of people before him.
“It’s gonna be a long night,” he sighed, heading into the crowd.
THE VEGAS STRIP PART 5 OF 18
Scully stopped the first person she saw on the street, a woman of about forty, and demanded, “Where in hell are all the decent men in this town?”
“Right up the Strip there, honey. All male revue in five in the StarRoom.” The woman, a dealer by trade, eyed Scully, seeing her chance for some quick cash. “I can get ya a table right up front. Only fifty bucks.”
All male revue. Hmmmmm. Now that sounded interesting. Much better than Mr. Stick In The Mud Mulder. Although Mulder in an all male revue — Stop that! she told herself furiously.
“How about you get me the table for twenty-five, and I let you go without arresting you for intent to impugn the morals of an officer,” Scully answered flatly, swaying slightly. There was no such statute, as far as she knew. The flashing neon was giving her an intense headache, and she wanted to get off the Strip, away from all the blinking and buzzing.
The woman heaved a put-upon sigh. “Shee-yit. Figures I’d try and hustle a freakin’ cop.” Scully stared at the woman’s vest, which had chips, slots, cards and roulette wheels, all done in sequins. The neon bouncing off it was damn near blinding.
“Well, come on, honey. These studs’ll loosen ya up.” With that, she led Scully into a lounge crowded with rowdy women. “If anybody asks, just tell ‘em Rosa got ya the table.” She waved Scully into a seat at a small table for two that was butted right up against the stage.
She started away, but stopped as Scully said, “Hey, Rosa.”
“I need to get some chips.” Scully ground her teeth as she thought of Mulder with her winnings.
“Hokay.” Rosa bobbed her head and turned away again.
She didn’t turn this time, only stopped. “What now?”
“You serve food here?”
“Best party platter on the Strip.”
“Bring me one,” Scully said, rubbing her forehead, then remembered to add, “Please.” She unbuttoned another button on her jacket and pushed the sleeves up to her elbows. _Damn_, it was hot.
HALF AN HOUR LATER…
Rosa was right. The party platter — which consisted of all the greasy stuff she usually denied herself: jalapeno poppers, fried zucchini, mozzarella and mushrooms, fiery buffalo wings — was delicious.
Scully licked her fingers repeatedly to the beat of the pulsing music, her eyes glued to the tall, hunky dark-haired dancer who was thrusting his hips with muscular precision three feet from her face. He looked familiar. Something about the length of his legs, the shape of his hands. Her headache was a fading memory. All that was left of the dancer’s original studly corporate suit was a gold patch of lycra which valiantly tried to contain what was surely going to escape at any second.
She sipped absentmindedly from the fresh Vegas Tea the waiter had deposited along with the party platter without removing her eyes from the dancer. Any moment now.
He turned around and fell forward onto the stage, doing push-ups in time with the heavy bass down beat of Billy Squier; his legs spread wide. His taut buttocks, covered only by a thin string which disappeared between his cheeks, hollowed and filled, hollowed and filled.
Dana Scully settled deeper into her plush chair, singing, “Slowly… stroke me…” loud and off-key. She tossed chips at the dancer with abandon, trying to get one to land on his pumping butt. Now this was just what the doctor ordered.
THE VEGAS STRIP PART 6 OF 18
One of the little blue chips scored directly on the muscular buttocks of the male dancer. Scully watched from her chair as it adhered itself to his skin by the sweat coating his tanned flesh. The chip jiggled there, moving in time to his push-ups, wiggling ecstatically on his warm hard butt.
Scully wished she were that chip.
Suddenly she felt hungry and thirsty all at the same time even though she had just eaten and her second drink was full. No, this feeling was more like the nameless craving at night which compels you to look in all the cupboards and way back in the recesses of your refrigerator, unable to find anything which quite suits your taste.
Scully had finally found something which suited her taste.
Oh sure, the guy wasn’t a rocket scientist, but hell, he probably didn’t know what a monolithic estrogen enzyme reaction was or watch Star Trek or have five e-mail addresses. With this one she could definitely leave the lights on. He probably had a room with a fake fur bedspread; all chrome and glass and mirrors. He’d invite her up for a drink at first. They’d start out slow and prolong the agony.
She chewed on the ice from her Vegas Tea.
It certainly was hot in here. She unbuttoned the third button on her jacket, fully revealing the lace and silk cream chemise underneath. She sat back to enjoy the show.
MEANWHILE, OUTSIDE THE BUILDING…
“No men allowed.”
“What do you mean, no men allowed?”
“Look buddy, this is a club for women only. They don’t let men in. They tend to disrupt the patrons and make them feel uneasy, ya get what I’m saying?”
Rosa looked at him through narrow eyes. Good looking, she thought, but pushy. Some girls liked it that way, but she bet the little redhead wouldn’t. No way. Not her.
“I thought you were going to tell me where my partner was.”
“Well, I did, see? Ya got your twenty bucks worth. The rest ain’t my problem.”
Mulder found himself alone in the thick swell of moving bodies on the Strip.
“Shit” he muttered under his breath. He decided to give it a try anyway. He moved toward the door which was guarded by a man who had at least 5 inches and 150 pounds on him.
“Hey buddy. No guys inside.”
“FBI. I’m following a suspect whom I believe is inside. Redhead, five-two, hundred and five pounds.”
Chuckie eyed him suspiciously.
“Don’t care if you’re looking for Pinocchio, Pretty Boy. No men allowed. You ain’t getting in nowhere less you have a search warrant. You got one?”
Mulder made a show of looking through his jacket pockets.
“No. I must have left it in my other coat pocket.”
“Beat it. Else I call the real cops.”
Damn. The last thing he needed was a scene with the cops and his rather drunk partner at an all male revue. Discretion was certainly the better part of valor here. Mulder moved away from the front of the building, out of Chuckie’s eyesight. Over to the right of the building was a small dark alleyway. Deciding a look couldn’t hurt, he walked around to the back of the building. Recessed in the brick wall was a green metal door. Written on it were the following words:
He tried the doorknob and found it unlocked.
THE VEGAS STRIP PART 7 OF 18
Pushing through the door, Mulder was almost run over by a tall, blonde wall of male muscle dressed as a pirate, who stopped long enough to eye Mulder up and down.
“Hey Frankie,” the blonde yelled. “I think you’re gonna be disappointed with your headliner.” He gave Mulder one last sweep with his eyes, then turned his nose up and left.
A jolly, rotund woman, barely as tall as Scully, waddled up to the agent. “So you’re Jack, huh? I’m Frankie, the stage manager.” Frankie eyed Mulder thoughtfully. “Nice suit, sweetie, but it really wasn’t necessary. I’m paying you for your reputation, not your taste in clothes. Take off your jacket so I can see you.”
He didn’t know what prompted him to obey, but Mulder found himself unbuttoning his Armani suit jacket and shucking it off his shoulders. Frankie circled him like a hawk, paying close attention to his back side. Facing him once again, she raised a chubby hand to his upper arm and squeezed. She then moved her other hand to his chest and lightly slid her hand over his dress shirt.
Mulder, now feeling like a side of beef, fidgeted uncomfortably under the woman’s intense stare and probing hands. “Listen, uh, Frankie. I don’t know who you think I am. I’m just here to…”
“You’re just here to make me some cash, honey. Stevie promised me that you were worth your weight in gold.” She shook her head. “Well, Sweetcheeks, I guess what you don’t have in muscle, you make up for in charisma. Your costume came this morning. Get dressed. You’re on in fifteen.”
Mulder watched as Frankie walked away. Get dressed? What the hell does she mean by that?
Suddenly, a light bulb went on over his head. “No way,” he whispered.
MEANWHILE, BACK IN THE AUDIENCE…
Scully frowned as the dancer with the gold g-string left the stage.
“Hey, Goldie, come back! I wasn’t done with my target practice!” she yelled after him. She huffed, jutting her bottom lip out into a pout.
Sipping on the remains of her second Vegas Tea, she decided to go backstage and hunt down Goldie. All of that muscle pumping had worked her into a frenzy, and the only thing she could think about was getting her fingers into some of that…
Scully jumped as the announcer’s voice boomed over the PA system.
“Don’t move, ladies! We have a special surprise in store for you! In just a few short minutes, we have the one, the only Jack Hammer! He’s going to pound his way into your heart!!”
The crowd erupted into deafening screams and whistles. Wow. This guy must be hot, Scully thought. She initiated a change in plans. I’ll check out this Hammer guy first, then if he doesn’t measure up…
She giggled, then flagged down the Spandex-clad waiter for another tasty tea.
THE VEGAS STRIP PART 8 OF 18
Scully rose from her seat near the stage and wove her way toward the ladies room.
Mulder had put up with enough smart-ass comments in his life to be fairly immune to the sobriquets tossed his way as he traveled the twisty halls backstage.
“…thinks he’s hot shit…”
“…Jack Hammer! <snort> Ball-peen hammer maybe…”
“…uhmmmmm, he is divine! I could eat him up…”
This last made him stop and stare hard at the 6′6″ massively built tanned and oiled dancer who was looking down soulfully at him. Mulder raked his gaze from the top of the dancer’s head down to his size sixteen bare feet, then stepped closer. “I don’t think you could handle me,” he growled, hoping he hadn’t misjudged.
“Oooooh,” the dancer squealed, delighted. “A macho man!” He reached out and trailed his fingers down Mulder’s arm, coming to rest in a light grasp on his forearm.
Mulder extricated himself from the dancer’s grip, raising his eyebrows suggestively. “Maybe after the show…” he said with seeming disappointment, trying desperately to keep a straight face.
The dancer’s eyes lit up and he nodded vigorously.
MEANWHILE, IN THE LADIES ROOM…
Scully took care of business, then splashed cool water at her face. She missed woefully and managed to soak the lace and silk chemise into near-transparency instead.
“Damn,” she mumbled as she searched the high tech bathroom for paper towels. There were none; only a hot air hand dryer. “Screw it.”
She opened the door and stifled a shriek of surprise when Mulder roughly grabbed her upper arm. “Mulder! What are you — hey! You’re not supposed to be in here!” She slapped ineffectually at his hand. “And where are my chips? Give ‘em back!” She started rooting through his pockets with her free hand.
“Scully, you’re not yourself. Come on with me. We’ll go back to the hotel, get you into a cool shower—”
“Oh, and will you be joining me?” she interrupted huskily, staring up at him smokily through her lashes. Her fingers tickled his hipbone through his pocket.
Mulder loosened his grip on her arm slightly as all the spit in his mouth evaporated. Her nipples were darkly visible through the wet silk. As he stared, they hardened into sharp points. His own body recklessly hardened in response. The heavy bass thumping at full volume through the lounge echoed the pulsing of his blood. He swallowed hard, then said, “Scully—Dana. You don’t know what you’re saying.”
Scully sighed. He was right. She had better stick to greener pastures. She pulled her hand out of his pocket and yanked at the arm he was holding, nearly pulling him off balance. “Forget it, Mulder. I’m gonna go back and check out this Jack Hammer guy. I’ve heard he’s got one hell of a—”
“Okay, that does it!” Mulder captured her other flailing hand and picked her up bodily. She shifted her weight slinkily, making him feel as if he had a hold of a bag of jumping cats. He shoved her back up against the wall of the dimly-lit corridor, pressing against her full length, trying to contain her struggles.
Scully panted for a minute, trying to catch her breath. Her head swirled woozily. She had no idea that Mulder could be so…forceful. She shivered as all her nerves flared into itchy awareness and leaned in with real regret to whisper in his ear, “Too bad, Mulder. I told you I wanna see Jack Hammer. You should have taken me up on my offer.”
Mulder’s raced through possibilities. Suddenly he grinned. “Well, Scully, if that’s what you want. I’ll leave you to him.” He slid her slowly back down the length of his body until her feet once again touched the floor, making no effort to hide his arousal. “I’ve got something I need to do. I’ll meet you outside in about twenty minutes, okay?” He looked down at her mischievously, took her back to the entrance to the lounge, then turned and walked away.
Scully sat at her table and sipped her third Vegas Tea nervously. What on God’s green earth was he up to?
THE VEGAS STRIP PART 9 OF 18
Oh screw him.
Why should she sit here and worry about what he was doing? He was the black damned cloud raining on her parade. He was the one who had dragged her out in the first place. Idiot. So screw Fox Mulder, the party pooper. She’d sit here and watch Jack Hammer. She had a full drink, a hell of a good buzz and a handful of chips.
This time, she’d test those rusty softball skills of hers and see if she could aim for some other area besides the man’s butt. She picked up a chip and held it between her two fingers, judging the distance to the stage with slightly blurry vision. She wondered vaguely if there were really three dancers up there or just one. She blinked. Still three. She blinked again. Yes, definitely three dancers as Loverboy blasted in the background.
The guy dressed up in the cowboy suit was kind of cute. Was that a pistol? Blink. Blink. Oh shit. Nope, definitely NOT a pistol. Just a little g-string shaped as a holster. Maybe she should get Mulder one of those for Christmas or Hanukkah or whatever the hell he celebrated. Roswell Day.
She laughed as the music stopped and the lights dimmed.
“All right ladies. Now for our featured entertainer.” The ladies clapped and hooted and hollered. Scully started stamping her feet, delighted when the rest of the room joined her. “Straight from Atlantic City, the ONE, the ONLY, man with the hydraulic action to break your… hearts, JACK HAMMER!”
The lights went dark. Several flashpots threw clouds of smoke into the air. Small red and blue lights circled the stage as a round dais lifted from a concealed area underneath the stage. The man rose slowly out of the mist, like a god rising from the waters. The audience was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
The dais stopped. The lights were low.
With a loud crack like thunder, the lights came on full blast, accompanied by the sound of Rod Stewart’s “Do You Think I’m Sexy?” All the women held their breath as the slim man strode down to the front of the stage. He was dressed in a construction hat, dark glasses, brown leather vest, work boots, and a tool belt draped around his slim hips that left no doubt to where his hammer hung.
Scully stared, mesmerized by the tiny piece of cloth with a little clawed head sewn on. It really looked like a… The man started gyrating his hips, slowly, about five feet away from her, slightly to her left. She sat, mouth opened slightly, transfixed. It was hypnotic. Circle. Stop. Circle.
She couldn’t tear her eyes away.
Then he dropped his body to the floor, his hands splayed, open palmed on the stage floor. There was something about those hands that made a delicious shiver run up her spine. The way his shoulders moved as he pumped up and down, up and down. He was a little skinny, but he sure could move. She wondered what his face would look like without the dark aviator sunglasses. Or the texture of his hair underneath that yellow hard hat.
She grabbed a chip.
OK, God. It’s me, Dana Katherine Scully. I haven’t asked for much lately, and I’ve been living like a nun for four years since I was assigned to Fox Mulder, so please pleasepleaseplease just give me this one moment. I promise I’ll go to confession tomorrow.
She squinted one eye, keeping the open one pointed at Jack Hammer.
One. Two. Three. Nice and easy, just like pitching dimes at the carnival.
B-12. Direct Hit! You sunk my battleship!
The chip landed right on his little butt.
He glanced over at her, in surprise, she thought. Dana Scully could have died happy right then and there. He was smiling, his full lips curved in a rather wicked, sardonic smile. When had she seen that expression before? Everyday, she thought, laughing. Damn, this guy could do a great impression of one of those wise-cracking faces Mulder habitually wore.
Oh! If only her partner knew she was comparing him to a Vegas stripper!
She laughed even harder, her breath catching as the man moved from stage right, to stage left, directly in front of her. He turned his back to her, hands on his knees, bending slightly, buttocks gyrating back and forth and back and forth.
Twenty chips flew in rapid succession, about a third of them hitting their mark in her excitement, bouncing off him and hitting the floor. The three women sitting at the table next to her clapped loudly, the blonde waving a twenty dollar bill, while the little brunette whistled shrilly between two fingers. The last one, a redhead, was waving her checkbook.
Back and forth. Back and forth. This was one nice butt. Small, but exquisitely rounded. His flesh was smooth and white except for a few cuts and nicks she saw upon closer inspection. And a rather ugly scar on his upper leg. It looked like a bullet wound.
A bullet wound?
THE VEGAS STRIP PART 10 OF 18
The thought soon fled when Scully heard an ear-piercing scream followed immediately by a loud “Pump it, baby!” Scully turned in her chair to see Rosa standing behind her, a big toothy grin on her round face.
“Oh, this one’s a keeper,” she yelled over the din of female squeals. “He may not be a muscle man, but he sure knows how to use what he’s got!”
“He certainly does,” Scully yelled back. She had to stifle a giggle as Rosa started to gyrate with the beat of the music, her hips stopping only long enough to lob a chip at the stage.
“Oh honey, he’s got a sweet ass on him! And it’d be a perfect fit right here,” Rosa said, cupping her hands out in front of herself.
Scully doubled over in laughter, grasping the side of the table for support. Tears streaming down her face, she laughed until she couldn’t breathe, then turned back toward Rosa. She tilted her head in question when she saw Rosa’s mouth drop open.
“What?” Scully yelled at her.
Rosa simply pointed, her eyes wide. Scully slowly turned herself back toward the stage, then gasped. The dancer — now minus the leather vest and hard hat — was on his hands and knees, crawling in a seductively slinky manner toward her.
He stopped when he reached the end of the stage. The only thing separating Scully and that Adonis now was about two feet of empty space. In a demented way, she was glad his eyes were still hidden behind the aviator sunglasses, and she silently wished for a pair of shades for herself. She gulped air and scooted back in her chair.
Now what, Dana Katherine? Where’s that “boink ‘em and boot ‘em” attitude now? He’s right there, almost within arm’s reach, and you’re cowering. She watched in awe as he raised his hands to the back of his head, then slowly rotated his hips from side to side, his a-hem “hammer” level with her eyes.
Scully’s breathing grew ragged and she suddenly realized that drinking about half a dozen Vegas Teas and devouring a platter-full of grease was not the brightest idea she’d ever had. Bringing a hand to her mouth, she fought the wave of nausea crashing through her stomach.
Oh, good one, Dana! There’s a hunk in a g-string gyrating his goods two feet in front of your face, and you’re NAUSEOUS?! She really hated that little voice in her head. It was a whiny voice, a lot like Gilbert Gottfried, and it was annoying the hell out of her.
Of course, the little voice did have a point. Unfortunately, so did her stomach and right now, it was screaming at her to find the nearest bathroom. She jumped from the chair and wove her way through the crowd, ignoring the cat calls and boos coming from the women behind her.
THE VEGAS STRIP PART 11 OF 18
Mulder had been blinded by the lights and smoke at first, but the sunglasses helped him to recover quickly. He felt ridiculous and more exposed than if he were wearing his Speedos.
Of course, the Speedos actually had a back.
The things I do for this woman!
He scoped out his target easily: Scully was sitting right by the stage. Mentally blocking out the screams and chants of the women crowding the room, he focused on her and slung his hips around slowly to Rod Stewart.
I hate this song.
Scully was toasted, all right. Mulder didn’t know whether to be happy or pissed that her eyes barely traveled above his chest. He turned his back on her and dropped down into safer territory: push-ups.
Owww! Something small and hard struck his ass with a smack. He looked over his shoulder and saw Scully pitching chips at him. He smiled wickedly — she would pay for that! He got up and strutted around the stage a little, stopped right in front of her and turned around, shaking his butt in her direction. More chips struck him and clicked to the stage.
Mulder made his way downstage, out of the main line of fire, stripping off the hard hat and vest as he went. He settled on his hands and knees, crawling toward Scully and — wait! Wasn’t that the woman who fleeced him for twenty bucks? He stopped at the edge of the stage in front of Scully and ground his hips in tight circles.
Oh, shit, Mulder thought as Scully suddenly bolted from the table, her hand covering her mouth, leaving a wedge of disgruntled women booing in her wake. I didn’t think my dancing was that bad!
IN THE LADIES ROOM…
Dana Scully knelt on the cool tile floor. The last time she had been this sick was after the all-night party for her graduation from medical school. Knowing that she would feel better as soon as she had rid her body of at least part of the alcohol did nothing to alleviate her current misery.
The toilet’s continual automatic flushing didn’t help, either.
“Hey, honey, ya gonna make it okay?” Rosa’s voice drifted in over the stall door.
MEANWHILE, BACK ON STAGE…
This is definitely not what I had in mind, Fox Mulder thought grumpily. A little gambling, a few drinks, maybe a floor show.
I didn’t want to be the floor show!
Being lobbed with chips hurt! And that redhead from the table next to Scully’s had shoved her checkbook into his left boot before attaching herself to his leg and hanging on with all the determination of a demented Chihuahua.
Her companions whistled shrilly and egged her on, the blonde tossing a twenty folded into an airplane at him. More chips rained to the stage around him. Rod Stewart grated on and on, the raspy voice seriously getting on his nerves. Will this song never end?
But then an ominous picture arose in his mind: the 6′6″ gargantuan gay dancer waiting for him backstage.
THE VEGAS STRIP PART 12 OF 18
The last verse was just finishing. The song should be over any second now. He could beat a hasty retreat, more than likely dragging the woman still attached with him. From the thin line of drool escaping from one side of her mouth, he was pretty sure that would be to her liking. Damn, she had a tight grip on him.
The song blipped and started over.
Sonofabitch. It was the dance re-mix version.
It was hard to shake your booty with some lady stuck to your leg.
BACK IN THE LADIES RESTROOM…
Vegas Tea didn’t taste as good coming up as it did going down. In fact, neither did buffalo wings with blue cheese dipping sauce. It seemed to lose something in the translation. The sight of the undigested blue globules sticking to the inner bowl of the toilet made her stomach dry heave, serenaded by the flushing of the Constant Crapper Concert.
“Hey honey, I didn’t know someone so tiny could puke so much. Ya probably barfed up your total body weight.”
If Scully felt better, she would have noticed the humor in Rosa’s voice.
“Ya feeling OK?”
Scully remained kneeling, unable to answer, holding onto the edge of the rim as if it were the Holy Grail. The tiles were cool on her knees and along her arms. Shivers of fever racked her body and she wondered where her jacket was. In fact, how did she get here, half naked, in some john puking her guts up? She was baffled.
Then she remembered Jack.
No. She was so close to him, and then she’d gotten sick. She remembered his look of regret as she fled indecorously from the room.
“Gotta get back to the show. Jack Hammer’s dancing.”
She pushed herself up, wiping at her face with a thick wad of toilet paper. Some of it stuck to the corners of her mouth. She tried to snatch it away with the tip of her tongue, but it kept sticking to her lips and cheek.
“That Jack’s something ain’t he?”
Rosa helped her out of the stall, heading her toward the sink. Scully splashed some water on her cheeks, surprised at her high color. The flush of alcohol she thought, squinting. Why were these lights so bright?
“Where’z Jack? Gotta get back.”
Rosa handed her a roll of toilet paper, annoyed at the lack of paper towels in a classy joint like this. “You’re a poet honey. I’m sure Jack would be happy to give ya a private dance when you’re feeling better.”
Scully turned to face her, wobbling unsteadily.
“How much, you think?”
“For ya free. Hey, he was looking for ya earlier.”
“Whaddya mean, Rossssa?”
“Isn’t Jack Hammer a friend of yours? He was out looking for ya earlier. Of course, if I woulda known who he was then, I wouldn’t a charged him twenty bucks to find ya waiting for him at this joint. Maybe I woulda asked him to shake that fine ass of his for me. That woulda done the trick. Course ya couldn’t see the whole package in the Armani suit, but I tell ya…”
She stopped, looking at Scully’s face.
“Oh honey, did I say something wrong?”
MEANWHILE, BACK ON STAGE…
Stupid sonofabitches and their stupid dance remix shit.
Hips grinding on, Mulder’s legs felt like jelly. As if making a fool out of himself in front of a room full of complete strangers wasn’t enough, trying to boogy on stage with a full grown woman firmly affixed to a lower extremity, really made the old muscle burn kick in.
He was thankful her hands hadn’t fastened on to something else.
He didn’t notice her friend, the blonde one who was throwing twenty dollar airplanes at him, removing her shirt. In fact, he didn’t notice anything until the silk blouse hit him squarely in the head, winding its way down around his eyes. At first he thought someone had turned the lights off, but the damned music kept playing.
All right. This is enough. I have had enough. He peeked out from under the red cloth, seeing Scully’s still empty seat. She’s gone and I am getting the hell out of here.
He never saw the third woman poise herself like a cat at the edge of her seat and launch her body at him…
THE VEGAS STRIP PART 13 OF 18
Mulder hit the stage hard, landing on his unprotected and unclothed butt. The redhead who had glommed onto his leg slowly inched her way up, while the little brunette, who had sailed into him, started grabbing for his sunglasses.
What the hell? Don’t these places have bodyguards or something? Mulder kept trying to scoot himself backwards, only to have the women pull him back toward them, each trying to get a piece of the Hammer. He knew he was going to be picking splinters from the worn stage out of his backside for weeks.
There were hands everywhere on him. His legs, his arms, his feet, his hair, his… “Hey!! Excuse me!! Get your hand away from there!”
He was about to scream for help when he felt himself being lifted by two strong, muscular arms. The arms wrapped around him and hustled him backstage and into the dressing room area.
Taking a deep breath, Mulder looked up at his rescuer and winced. “Uh, thanks for the save. I owe you one,” he said hesitantly.
The burly, tanned blonde looked down at Mulder from his 6′6″ height and grinned slyly. “And don’t think I’m not going to collect on that, Gorgeous.”
Mulder shuddered as he saw the guy’s gaze travel lower. “Uh, yeah. Uh, about that. I…uh…”
“Jack! My Golden Boy!”
Mulder sighed in relief upon hearing Frankie’s deep voice. She rushed up to him, giving him a quick bear hug. Releasing him, she shot the blonde a harsh glare.
“Barry, Jack and I have business to discuss.”
She took a step toward the blonde. “Scoot, Barry! NOW!!”
Mulder stifled a laugh as Barry backed away from her, then turned on his heel and stomped away.
Frankie turned back to Mulder, handing him a dressing robe. “Listen, Jack. I know this was a one-time deal, but I’ve got a proposition for you…”
MEANWHILE, BACK IN THE BATHROOM…
Scully felt like she had been slammed head-first into a brick wall. “Ar…Armani suit? Jack was wearing an Armani suit?”
Rosa nodded. “Yeah. Navy blue one, double-breasted jacket, fabulously tailored. Guy really has class. Don’t get much of that around here.”
Mulder was wearing a blue Armani tonight. Her head was pounding, partly from the alcohol, and partly from what her brain was trying to tell her. No, it wasn’t him up there. Armani is popular. Hundreds — no, thousands — of guys wear those suits. No, that was not Mulder up there on that stage, nearly naked, shaking his beautiful glistening body in front of me…
Swaying slightly, Scully grabbed onto the sink. “Are you sure it was him? I mean, he had sunglasses on. Maybe you’re thinking of someone else.”
“Honey, trust me, it was him. Same nose, same pouty lip.” Rosa tilted her head to the side. “Ya don’t know him, do ya?”
“Who, Jack?” Scully asked in a hoarse voice. She snorted. “No, not Jack. He must have been looking for another redhead tonight. Not me. Not boring, brainy, short Dana ‘The Ice Queen’ Scully. He was probably looking for someone else, with legs that were long enough to reach the pedals.” Her words were thick, and she felt tears springing to her eyes.
Rosa saw Scully start to sway and reached out to steady her. “Oh, honey, how many drinks did ya have? You’re so toasted, I can’t believe you’re still upright. Listen, Dana, why don’t I walk ya back to your hotel? I’d feel better knowing ya make it back OK.”
Lower lip trembling, Scully nodded at her, then burst into tears. Rosa wrapped an arm around her shoulder, softly comforting her.
She’s gonna be so sorry in the morning, Rosa thought grimly as she guided Scully out of the bathroom, then down the hall toward the exit.
THE VEGAS STRIP PART 14 OF 18
Rosa eyed Scully again near the club’s entrance. “Dana, honey, where’s your jacket? Ya don’t wanna be wandering the streets in that, somebody’ll be slaverin’ over ya in two seconds.”
Scully snuffled back the last of her tears and leaned against the wall, trying to think. She vaguely recalled unbuttoning the last button at her table by the stage… Fresh tears welled and she shook her head. The floor tilted, then righted. Whoa. Big mistake.
“I don’t know, Rosa. Maybe at the table.”
“Well, here, honey. Ya can wait here with Chuckie and nobody’ll bother ya while I go and get it.” Rosa waved in the direction of the huge bouncer guarding the door. Chuckie nodded and stepped closer to Scully. “Be right back.”
“Jack, this could be the beginning of a new career for you. I got contacts in the business, you know.” Frankie leaned closer to Mulder, her round jolly face almost, but not completely, distracting from the mercenary glint in her eyes.
Mulder choked down hysterical laughter. “Frankie, that’s a great offer, but I really can’t just now. I’ve got other commitments.” Mulder finished dressing by pulling on his jacket. After trying to shove his tie into each of his jacket pockets, which were full of flyers and brochures, then his pants pockets, which were full of Scully’s chips, he hung it around his neck with a sigh, not bothering to knot it.
“Well, Sweetcheeks, you keep Frankie in mind. I think you would do great up on the big screen. You definitely got the moves, and the ladies loved you. Here’s your take from tonight — minus the house’s forty percent, of course.” She put three hundred dollar bills into his hand.
“Of course,” Mulder said dazedly. Three hundred dollars?! He shook his head. Well, I earned it.
“I had Barry go out and collect your tips.” She put two more hundred dollar bills and a fifty into his limp hand. “You do know it’s customary…”
“Oh, uh, yeah…” Mulder looked down at the money, then slid one of the hundreds into Frankie’s hand. She made it disappear just like a magician.
“Well, Jack, I have to say that it’s been a pleasure doing business with you. You think about what I said, you hear?”
“Thanks, Frankie,” Mulder answered as he all but bolted out the door. Barry was nowhere in sight, and he wanted to keep it that way.
MEANWHILE, AT THE STARROOM’S ENTRANCE…
“Little lady, why don’t you sit down here a minute,” Chuckie pulled his stool closer to the swaying redhead, then picked her up as easily as if she were a child and landed her backside neatly into the seat, “and tell Uncle Chuckie all about it.”
The next time you go bar hopping, Dana Katherine, make sure to wear your thermals. Scully shivered in the air conditioning, crossing her arms over her breasts, rubbing her arms with her hands.
MEANWHILE, AT THE STAGE ENTRANCE…
Rosa, with Scully’s jacket hanging from one hand, caught up with the tall guy right outside the door. She grabbed his arm with her free hand and said, “Listen, Mr. Jack Hammer. I know where that little redhead is. If ya woulda just said who ya were earlier, we coulda worked out a trade.”
Mulder shook her hand off, then grabbed her shoulders in both hands and pushed her against the door. “Where is she?”
“Who the hell are you?” A deep voice intruded from over Mulder’s shoulder. “You got a lot of nerve, pal, using my name.”
THE VEGAS STRIP PART 15 OF 18
He felt a strong hand dig into his shoulder.
Turning, the last thing he saw was the man’s other fist heading directly for his face.
AND NOW, BACK TO DANA…
“How ‘bout you and me go out for the sights after I’m off? I know a great dance place. Audreye Sheen goes there all the time when he’s up from L.A.”
Chuckie slid a muscled arm around Scully as she sat on the stool shivering.
“Sorry, Charles, but I’m flying out in the morning.”
“We still got a couple of hours left. Vegas never closes. I’m off in, what, 15 minutes.”
Yawning and stretching in an adolescent ploy, he moved his arm a little closer around her.
Feeling more miserable each moment, Scully didn’t even notice.
BACK AT THE STAGE ENTRANCE…
“He looks like a little boy, asleep like that.”
“I don’t think you should touch him like that while he’s unconscious. You could get arrested.”
The voices of the three women pierced the fog shrouding Mulder’s brain. Slowly, his eyes opened, squinting with pain, seeing the faces of three women who looked vaguely familiar bending over him.
Oh he had a hell of a headache. Moving caused sparks of pain to shoot through his brain and out his nose. Maybe it was blood. He moved a hand gingerly to feel his nose, relieved to find that it remained affixed in the same general vicinity. No blood. His eye was a little tender. He probably would look like he walked into a door in a couple of days.
“You OK Mr. Hammer?”
A cool hand placed itself on his forehead. He closed his eyes.
That voice. Screaming. The blonde woman with the blouse screaming. Shit.
He opened his eyes again. And groaned. With the FBI training he had, you think he would posses the ability to shake these three women. Instead, they followed him around with all the tact and finesse of a third level fascist party trying to convert Mother Teresa.
“Here, let me help you up.”
The little brunette who had tackled him grabbed hold of his hands and pulled him to his feet. Which wasn’t exactly a good idea. He wobbled unsteadily, putting his arm around her shoulders for support.
“Look, ladies, I’m supposed to be meeting someone out front.”
“Sure, OK, we’ll help you Mr. Hammer.”
The woman who had fastened himself to his leg onstage, now did the same to the left side of his body. They supported him on each side, helping him around to the front of the building. The blonde grabbed his tie and the chips that had scattered themselves onto the pavement.
BACK TO THE FRONT OF THE BUILDING…
“Hey honey, here’s your jacket. Your friend was getting into some trouble so I beat it. Wait. Here he comes now, I think. Oh.”
Rosa cut off her speech, looking flustered and ashamed.
Dana’s eyes rose to see her partner walking up to the front of the building with a woman hanging from each arm, a third following behind him, her eyes appreciative of the view in front of her. She had his tie slung around her neck, her hands holding a pile of DANA KATHERINE SCULLY’S chips.
Anger rose up swifter than the bile which had consumed her earlier.
Damn Mulder. Damn him all to hell. She’d show him.
She gritted her teeth and pulled her body closer into Chuckie’s protective arms.
THE VEGAS STRIP PART 16 OF 18
He has a helluva lot of nerve showing up here, feigning worry for me. Who is he fooling? He only came here to pick up women!
The more Scully thought about Mulder, the angrier she got. She failed to pick up the fact that Mulder was leaning on the women for support, his head lolling forward every few steps. And even in the bright lights of the Strip, she also missed the reddened puffiness around his right eye.
As Mulder and his female entourage walked closer, Scully noticed the woman on the left side of his body, one hand wrapped around his waist, the other sitting rather low on his abdomen. She gasped upon closer inspection of the woman.
Gilbert Gottfried whined his way back into her head. A redhead!? Why does he need a redhead when he’s literally got one under his goddamned nose, every day?!
“What am I? Chopped liver?” She flinched when she realized she had said it out loud, and immediately started to blush.
Chuckie didn’t seem to notice; he was too busy trying to see if he could move his hand from Scully’s shoulder to her breast without getting caught. He was half-way to his destination before he felt someone grab his ear and twist hard.
“Ouch! Hey, what was that for?” Chuckie asked innocently, looking up at the woman standing behind him, her fingers still attached to the top of his fat ear. He cowered and moved away from Scully when he saw the menacing look on Rosa’s face.
Rosa put an arm around Scully. “Honey, I think they’re just helping him out. He looks like he’s got the beginnings of a nice shiner going there. I think he just got the stuffing beat out of him.”
Scully then saw the swelling around his eye. How had she missed that? She was a doctor, for Pete’s sake! As fast as the anger had seized her body, it flowed out and was replaced by concern. She jumped from her seat, then had to use Rosa’s shoulder to steady herself. Once the wave of dizziness passed, she stumbled over to Mulder and Company.
“I’ll take it from here, ladies,” she said, grabbing the redhead’s hand and roughly removing it from its resting place on Mulder’s belt buckle.
“Hey, babe, we found him,” the brunette said defiantly. “Go get your own dancer. He’s ours.”
Scully slowly started toward the brunette, her nostrils flaring and her eyes wide with rage. “Perhaps you didn’t hear me the first time. Make tracks, you vultures! He’s my partner, not your dancer, and I’m a bleeping redhead who is trained in hand-to-hand combat, so BACK OFF NOW!!
Smelling a mixture of alcohol and vomit, the brunette let go and moved away from Mulder. She grabbed her friend’s hand. “Come on. I think we’d better go,” she whispered. “She’s drunk and I think she might be crazy or something.”
The other two women nodded in agreement and all three slowly backed away, too afraid to turn their backs on Scully.
After the women had rounded the corner of the building, Scully grabbed onto a swaying Mulder, wrapping her arms around his waist. He put an arm around her shoulder as she walked him toward the front entrance.
Rosa whispered a few words into Chuckie’s still-throbbing ear. He smiled and nodded, then both disappeared into the building just as Scully lowered her partner to the stool she had been sitting in just moments before.
THE VEGAS STRIP PART 17 OF 18
Mulder allowed himself an internal goofy grin as Scully tore into the three women, but was careful not to let it show on his face. She sure was something when she got territorial.
He stood there, swaying, until she put her arms around him and guided him onto the stool. Sitting down was good. He closed his eyes.
“Mulder?” Scully shook him lightly by the shoulders. “Mulder!”
His good eye opened to half-mast. “Scully…” he mumbled. He was recovering quickly, but didn’t want to let on. He was enjoying her hovering concern too much. Much better she hover than be pissed off.
She leaned in closer, then backed off a bit as she caught a whiff of herself. Ugh! Mulder didn’t smell much better; he must have doused himself in cologne to cover the sweat.
She pulled her jacket on, not bothering to button it, then picked up his tie from the ground. Holding onto both ends, she slung it around his neck and used it to pull his face closer to her own.
“Wanna play some games, little girl?” he asked softly, peeking at her through his lashes.
Scully ignored him. Gently, she probed the swelling over his eye. The corners of her mouth turned up slightly as he flinched away from her. “You always were such a big baby, Mulder. Come on, let’s go get some ice on that.”
Her chips were in a pile on the ground, where the blonde woman had dropped them beside the tie before backing away from her. She grabbed them, stifling a groan as colors flashed before her closed eyes, then shoved them down into Mulder’s pants pockets. She hid a grin as his eyebrows wiggled up and down in a leer until he realized that that hurt and his face formed into a familiar pout.
“Dana! Wait!” Rosa called. Scully turned and met her halfway down the hall. Mulder watched from the stool as Rosa turned her back to him and whispered into Scully’s ear conspiratorially. Scully took something from Rosa, gave her a big hug, then came back to him, smiling smugly.
“Scully, what—” he started.
“Let’s go, G-man,” she interrupted, hauling Mulder up off the stool and placing her arms around him once more. He slid an arm around her shoulders. They stagger-stepped out onto the Strip, both wincing at the blare of neon and cacophony of noise that greeted them.
IN THE ELEVATOR…
Scully concentrated on keeping Mulder upright. Her thinking processes were still fuzzy, but her head was clearing quickly. The headache that had been waiting patiently in the wings of her brain swept out onto the main stage and was making a full bravura reappearance.
Mulder, who was feeling better by the minute, tightened his hold on her. Scully had to elbow him in the side to get her hand loose to reach the card key that was thankfully still in her own jacket pocket. “Hey, Mulder, come on, give me a break!”
As soon as she had the key in her hand, he again tightened his hold, keeping silent. Not gonna get away this time.
“Come on, Jack Hammer,” Scully said, as she half pulled him toward their doors. “I think you’ve caused quite enough trouble for one night.”
Mulder stopped abruptly, setting off a big klieg of pain in his head. They jostled for balance. His arm slipped from her shoulder down to her breast in a move that would have made Chuckie turn jealously green in appreciation of his technique. He could feel her nipple tighten in his palm.
“Me?!” Mulder’s voice squeaked up as he froze in place at her outrageous accusation. “Scully, I’m going to get a leash for you!”
“Now you know how I usually feel,” she retorted smartly, staring up at him defiantly.
He had the grace to look embarrassed, and cut his eyes away, unable to look at her. *Left myself wide open for that. Smart move, numbnuts.”
“And Mulder.” She waited until he looked down at her. She steeled herself against the puppy dog look she knew was coming. “Chuckie’s moves were better.” She picked his hand up off her breast, blushing fiercely, and placed it on the wall beside her door, propping him up.
Turning away, she swiped the card key in the electronic lock, mentally cursing whoever it was who had invented all the wonderful high technology in Vegas. Automatic flushing toilets, laser sinks, key locks. The only good technology in Vegas was Polaroid cameras. Like the one that had taken the prints of Jack Hammer, shaking his groove thing on stage, that she now had in her jacket pocket.
“Scully, what about the ice for my eye?” Mulder whined through the door she shut in his face. *Shit*.
THE VEGAS STRIP PART 18 OF 18
“Hey, Scully. I’ll let you borrow my tie again. We could pretend we’re in a rodeo.”
No sound behind the closed door.
“How ‘bout that ice? I really could use some for my eye.”
He thought he heard her moving around.
“You could bring a whole bucket. Did you ever see 9 1/2 weeks? It’s one of my favorite movies.”
Shrugging, Mulder decided to go to bed and get what little sleep he could.
But first, he would take a cold shower.
THE MORNING AFTER…
Dana Katherine Scully was fully dressed, a little more makeup than usual to hide her paleness and the dark circles under her eyes, sunglasses attempting to restrain the glare from giving her a full blown Tylenol 3 headache, waiting outside the hotel for Mulder to get the bags into the taxi.
She had her briefcase and her laptop computer carrying case slung over opposite shoulders, feeling more than a little weighted down. She shuffled her feet impatiently, wondering what was taking Mulder so long. They really needed to get to the airport so they didn’t miss their flight back to D.C..
He exited the front of the building with two white paper bags.
“Food, Scully. And some hot coffee.”
Her stomach revolted at the idea.
She was sure he was faking that little innocent voice. Damn, how could he be so perky on three hours of sleep? Especially when she seemed to have one gigantic hangover. It didn’t seem fair. Oh hell, maybe it was the correlation of body weight versus metabolic rate with water retention thrown in. Men rarely seemed to suffer from it. Another vast injustice.
“Some Snapple iced tea? A bagel? Maybe some buffalo wings with thick
creamy blue cheese dressing?”
The thought of it made something move in her stomach — not that there was anything left inside her. She seemed to have vomited up most of her internal organs last night. At least, that’s what it felt like this morning.
“C’mon Scully, a little ‘hair of the dog’.”
He grinned at her.
She thought of the Polaroids tucked inside her planner. Oh, he had no idea. None.
“Maybe, Mulder. Maybe.”
And she smiled very sweetly.
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