TITLE: Damning Evidence (01/01)
RATING: PG-13 for language and subject matter? I have to apologize... it's not explicit. Sorry. <vbg> Read it anyway.
AUTHOR: Meghan (meghanb@geocities.com)
FEEDBACK: Yes, please. But be gentle, this is my first time. ;)
ARCHIVAL: Do what you will, but please let me know.
SUMMARY: In response to the "Scully handcuff bruises" challenge....
Disclaimer: They all belong to Chris Carter, 1013, and Fox. I'm but a poor college student trying to procrastinate by playing with them for a while.
This challenge sounded too fun to pass up and I needed to try to write something nice and quick as a break from the long story that I'm working on right now. However, I feel humbled by all the great writers on this list and remind you all that I just need a chance to warm up. I hope. :)

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Special Agent Dana Scully had always prided herself on her meticulous nature. A cold attention to detail and fact not only served her well while conducting an autopsy or investigating cattle mutilations, but it also extended over into her personal life. Her apartment was so orderly that it had gotten her teased (granted, mostly by Mulder) in the past. Her appearance at work was always near perfect; stylish and practical clothing, carefully applied makeup, and nary a hair out of place.

It was this meticulous nature that caused her to nearly have a heart attack when she finally noticed the bruises. As she reached out to run her ID card through the scanner at the J. Edgar Hoover Building parking garage on Monday morning, the sleeve of her blouse rode up slightly. A thin, ugly, purple bruise circling her left wrist was revealed to her horrified gasp.

"Shit!" she swore loudly. She didn't swear often.

She retrieved her left arm quickly and pulled her right sleeve up. A matching bruise circled her right wrist.

"Shit! Fuck!" Scully sat dumbly in her car for a few moments before a persistent honking behind her brought her back to her senses. With a pounding heart she drove her car slowly into the garage.

*Oh, God... what the hell am I going to do? How the hell didn't I notice that before I left??* Scully smiled slightly as she remembered a certain distraction that morning that may have caused her inattention to her appearance. The smile faded quickly as she pulled into her parking spot and turned off the car. And sat. And thought frantically.

*OK... this isn't that big a deal. Who looks at my wrists, anyway?* Scully pulled up her sleeves again and studied the marks. Being pale had its disadvantages, that was for sure. There was no way that someone wouldn't notice them. *All right, so they're obvious. Who cares? My sex life is my business, right?*

Right. After all the sarcastic comments she had directed at Mulder regarding his sexual proclivities, there was no way he'd let go of this if he saw it. *Of course,* Scully mused, *maybe I'm giving Mulder too much credit. I mean, he's definitely intelligent and observant, but he seems to have his blinders on when it comes to me. I don't think he even realized that I didn't have a desk until I called him on it.*

So maybe Mulder wouldn't notice. Maybe. But what about Skinner? Or any of the hundred other people she came in contact with daily? She sighed loudly, mind racing. It wasn't as if she was ashamed of her personal sexual practices, but it seemed a tad unprofessional to just stroll into the office with bruises that screamed, "I'm into bondage!!"

Suddenly, a thought struck her. *Makeup! I've got to have some in this car. If I can just cover this up...*

Five minutes later, Scully was panting, sweating, and feeling more than a little pissed off. *Unbelievable. Truly unbelievable. The one time I need it--*

To the drug store, then. Scully was reaching for her keys when she heard the shrill ring of her cell phone emanating from her pocket. She pulled it out warily and pushed the "On" button.

"Scully."

"Agent Scully, this is AD Skinner. I just called down to your office and you weren't there yet. Are you running late?"

Scully checked her watch. 8:43 a.m. Had she really been freaking out about these bruises for nearly 40 minutes? She stifled a sigh.

"No, sir. I'm downstairs right now," she replied, wondering why on this of all mornings Skinner had decided to check up on her.

"I'd like to see you up here as soon as possible. I have a rather interesting expense report that I'd like to discuss with you. And with Agent Mulder, as well, if he were answering his cell phone this morning," Skinner said in a hard voice.

"Mulder's not in yet?" Scully asked, feeling half annoyed and half relieved. As much as she hated how erratic he could be, the thought of standing in an office with Mulder, Skinner, and her twin bruises this morning was almost too much to bear.

"No, he's not. I'll see you up here in a few minutes, Agent Scully."

"Yes, sir." Scully turned off her phone with an annoyed jab. There went the trip to the drug store.

*Shit.*

* * *

Scully couldn't stop fidgeting as she waited outside of Skinner's office. She pulled first one sleeve and then the other down as far as they would go. She practiced stretching her arm in front of her. *Yup. Still obvious.* She sighed loudly. Again.

"Agent Scully." Skinner stood in the open door to his office, staring at her. Scully nervously pulled her arm back to her side. Skinner gave her a curt nod and turned to walk back into his office.

Scully stood and picked up her briefcase, clearing her throat. As she walked into Skinner's office she noticed his receptionist giving her a strange look. She shot the suspicious woman a weak smile and followed her boss into the other room.

He nodded to a chair and she sank into it slowly. After setting her briefcase on the floor next to her, she folded her hands in her lap. And adjusted her sleeves again.

She found her mind wandering as he started lecturing to her about Mulder's creative interpretations of standard FBI expense reports. *The minute we realized that we had forgotten the fur-lined cuffs, we should've just done something else.* Of course, Scully knew that she had no one to blame but herself. She had been so hot and bothered that she had insisted that her FBI issue handcuffs would be more than satisfactory. Technically, they had been, she smiled internally.

Who would've known that her skin would bruise so easily? And so obviously, she reminded herself. Scully suddenly realized that Skinner had stopped talking.

"Sir?" she asked a little too loudly.

"So you'll get this back to me when it resembles something a little more realistic?" he asked her sternly, offering her the sheath of papers that he had been reading from.

"Yes, sir," she replied quickly, feeling her face start to redden. *Damn pale complexion,* she cursed for the countless time that morning.

She stood and reached out to take the report from him, frantically praying that her sleeve would just ignore the laws of physics and stay put. It didn't.

She pulled her arm and the papers back to her as quickly as might seem normal, but not before she saw Skinner glance down at the ugly mark on her wrist. His mouth quirked slightly.

"You seem a little distracted this morning, Agent Scully," he said in a lighter voice, looking up to stare straight into her eyes.

"I'm fine, sir," she answered quickly. Was it possible for her face to get any redder? "I'll have this to you by this afternoon."

Scully almost ran out of his office at his nod of dismissal. The sooner she could crawl into her dark corner of the basement, the better she'd feel.

The elevator was deserted when she stepped inside. *Thank God.* Scully reached out to push the "B" button, growling slightly at the obnoxious bruise as it reappeared once again.

"Hold the elevator, please!" a female voice called suddenly. Scully was almost paralyzed with indecision. She *could* just pretend to not hear the request. It wasn't as if she was going to win any popularity contests around here, anyway.

"Agent Scully," the voice said. Scully could see Holly jogging towards the closing doors. Well, she had no choice now. She reached out and punched the door open.

*Shit.*

Holly stepped into the car with her, panting slightly.

"Thanks," she smiled. "Thought I wasn't going to make it. Two, please."

"No problem," Scully said, forcing a smile onto her face. She looked at Holly dumbly for a moment before she realized that she was standing in front of the panel and should probably push Holly's floor.

Scully turned to the panel and, folding her arm close to her chest, leaned her whole body over to push the button without reaching out. She leaned back, satisfied that she had successfully evaded the potentially embarrassing situation.

Well, at least one kind of embarrassing situation. Holly was staring at her strangely. *I seem to be inspiring that reaction in people today.*

"Hurt my arm exercising over the weekend," Scully explained sheepishly, rotating the arm in question slightly. She smiled brightly at the dark-haired woman standing next to her.

Holly returned the smile. "Hate it when that happens," she commented. "I threw my back out like you wouldn't believe about three--"

The doors suddenly slid open on the second floor, saving Scully from hearing about Holly's complete medical history. She bade her a good day as the other woman stepped off the elevator. She couldn't help leaning against the wall and uttering a sigh of relief when the doors slid shut, leaving her alone. Finally.

Scully felt a faint glimmer of hope as the elevator arrived at the basement. Maybe she would actually make it into the office without running into anyone else.

As she rushed into the hallway, she did run into somebody else. Literally. Her expense report was thrown into the air and fluttered innocuously to the floor as she collided with Spender.

*Shit. Shit.*

Spender afforded her a faintly apologetic grin as she attempted to regain her balance.

"Whoa, there," he laughed. "Running off to a pressing alien autopsy?"

Scully gritted her teeth and had to force herself not to tell him to fuck off. This was quickly turning out to be one of the worst mornings she'd had in a long time and now she was finding out that *he'd* seen that tape?

"No," she barked, leaning down to collect Mulder's attempt at creative accounting. Spender crouched down across from her, gathering pieces of paper and offering them to her. She grabbed them hastily and stood to leave.

"Those are some nasty looking bruises," Spender commented, glancing at her. "Are you all right?"

"Just great," Scully answered. "I think I just got a little carried away during my kick boxing class."

She saw him furrow his brow in confusion.

"Kick boxing?" he asked, smiling. "I'm not sure I understand how you could get those kinds of bruises--"

"Trust me," she snapped, feeling annoyed. "It's possible."

She turned and stalked off down the hall. As she reached the office door she could hear Spender laughing behind her.

"Hey, I *want* to believe."

Scully threw open the door to the office, feeling all shades of embarrassed and annoyed. This quickly turned to anger when she spotted Mulder sitting at his desk, feet up, eating sunflower seeds.

"Here," she said darkly, crossing over to his desk and tossing the expense report at him. "Let's pretend that you're a federal agent for this one."

She turned her back on his surprised expression to go pour herself a cup of coffee. She stared at the wall for a few long moments, breathing deeply. When she was relatively convinced that she had properly calmed down, she turned back to face her partner.

Who was staring at her with a stupid grin on his face. He lowered his eyes to her wrist and then raised them back to meet hers again. And then he winked.

*Shit.*

She shot him a look that she hoped would communicate to him how totally inappropriate any of his wry comments would be at that moment. He continued smiling at her as she crossed the room to sit in her chair.

"You know," he started as she lifted her cup to her lips. "You really should use fur-lined cuffs to prevent that kind of thing."

She sighed and set down her coffee. *Oh, well. So he knows. It's not as if a man who owns a copy of "Cunt Lappin' Lesbos" has too much he can say about a little rough sex.* She placed her elbows on her desk and rested her head in her hands. And sighed again.

"Thanks, Einstein," she shot back warily. "Unfortunately, she forgot them at her apartment and I figured that mine were good enough."

Mulder blinked at her. It took her a moment to realize what she'd said.

"She??" he asked incredulously, standing up and coming around to lean against the front of his desk.

*Shit.*

END

Note: In case anyone thinks I'm just really strange, "Cunt Lappin' Lesbos" was the actual title of one of the pornos at the video store I used to work at. What can I say? It made an impression. ;)