------ Chapter 2----------

It was Monday morning.  Again.

Dana Scully supressed a thouroughly bored sigh and sat back in her partner's chair, careful not to let it tip.  Sometimes, she remembered, the thing would teeter and topple over for no reason, other than being tipped the wrong way.  Mulder should really get this thing replaced, she thought, indifferently. Her fingers thumbed through an old medical journal carelessly, and she perused each article as she flipped through the pages.  None of them, it seemed, could hold her interest for very long.

She shook her head.

Good God, she thought, bemused. You see a few monsters here and there, a few lights in the sky, and suddenly, everything else pales in comparison.  She smiled at that thought, for a moment, and flipped to the next page.  It was early----7:06 am, to be precise, and she was feeling especially lazy today.

Mondays were always so commonly boring, Scully mused, bypassing an article on new technology in MRI scanning.  Most of the time, she and her partner, Fox Mulder, were out in the field, investigating and running around after invisible aliens and other sci-fi fantasy lore…. but on Monday...

Well, suffice to say, Mondays for herself and her partner were about as exciting as paint drying.  Almost always, they were spent in the monotonous drone of the basement office, filling out reports from the week before. Nothing exciting and nothing challenging for them, just useless meetings and nonsense expense reports, written to keep Skinner and the boys upstairs happy.

Maybe today I'll take him out for lunch, she thought to herself, amused.  Just Mulder and I.  Alone.  Together.  She stared off into space for a moment, and her heart buzzed gently at the thought of it.  Her and Mulder---and some wine. Her and Mulder....  She looked back down at her journal, only vaguely interested, and let her thoughts drift towards eating a nice, quiet lunch with her partner.

She blinked when she heard the opening of a door, but did not turn as footsteps sounded behind her.  Typical day, she thought, bemused.  Typical coffee, typical paperwork, boring, useless....

A folder fell down in front of her face and landed on the desk.

Then, the low, husky sound of Mulder's voice rang in her ears."Ah, what light through yonder window breaks...."

Scully's eyebrow raised and she turned in the wobbly deskchair to regard a very self-satisfied looking Mulder.  He grinned and waggled a suggestive eyebrow at her.  She furrowed her own brow at him, confused, and then lowered her eyes to continue reading her medical journal.  Whatever he was on--she really didn't want to know.  Nor did she want any or care to enquire about it, either.   She licked her thumb absently and turned the page, tapping her left hand's forefinger and middle finger on the wooden desk.

"Tis the east," Mulder continued loudly.  He extended an arm towards her.  "And Juliet is the sun."

She flipped another page without looking up.

"Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon..."

Scully picked up her head.  "Coffee?" she asked, indifferently.

Mulder sighed, deflated, and lowered his arm.  He folded it across his chest and stared at her in disbelief.

"I quote you Shakespeare and you ask me if I want coffee?

Scully shook her head strangely and pursed her lips.  "No," she replied, distracted, lowering her head again, "Actually, I was suggesting that you go and get me some."

Staring down at her journal, Scully absently felt around the desk for a moment.  Soon enough, her hand closed around her blue, chipped, Quantico coffee mug, and she extended her arm wordlessly, fingers closed around the handle.  Mulder's lips thinned into a small line and he took the mug from her, grudgingly, setting it back on the desk.  Scully eyed him and closed her magazine, picking up her head to regard him.

"Fine Romeo," she sighed sarcastically, taking off her wireframed glasses and laying them on her blotter.  "I'll go get the coffee."

Mulder re-folded his arms and quirked an eyebrow at her, his patience waning.

"Aren't you even wondering what's in the folder?"

Scully stared at him and raised a skeptical eyebrow.  "Not if you're going to break out into sonnets again,  Mulder," she replied.

Mulder cocked his head to the side and quirked an eyebrow. "I thought beautiful women were supposed to be privy to poetry," he half-joked.

Scully's eyes widened slightly at that, and Mulder swifly shut his mouth, repeating in his mind, a litany of the word "shit."

Not in the office, he remembered, embarrassed.  He could tell her how beautiful she was at home, at dinner, but at the office... Well, needless to say, that kind of thing was not allowed in the office. Not as far as Scully was concerned, at any rate.  She would get offended.  Or mad, or both.

Scully cleared her throat and looked away, nervously.    When she looked up again, she caught sight of Mulder 's slightly reddened cheeks; his face tomato colored clear up to his ears.  Such a stupid offhand remark, she thought.  But even still...  Well, ok, she knew he thought she was beautiful---he had told her--once, but it was still nice to hear... VERY nice to hear, actually, though it wasn't appropriate for the office...

Mulder turned to look at her, somewhat uncomfortably, and their gazes connected for sparkling moment.  But then he looked away, his right arm reaching over her shoulder. Scully cleared her throat, nervously.  "Alright," she said, trying to even out her equalibrium. "I'll bite.  What exactly am I looking at?

Mulder opened the folder, then held out his arm with a flourish.  "Jennifer Green," he said, standing back into the desk, crossing his right leg over his left.  "Died three days ago, fell off the balcony scaffold during a dress rehearsal."

Scully looked down at the report and picked up her glasses, returning them to rest upon her nose. She thumbed through the analysis papers, scanning the various sheets as she continued on, "let me guess, Romeo and Juliet?"

Mulder raised an amused eyebrow and grinned. "Hey," he offered..  "You're good."

She looked back up at him, wryly replying,  "so I've been told."

Mulder blushed again, sheepishly, and Scully pretended not to notice even when her lower extremities warmed a few degrees.  She glanced breifly at the autopsy report and set a crime scene photo on the desk.  "Seriously Mulder, what exactly am I looking at here?"

Scully watched her partner push up and away from the desk, cracking his knuckles and neck as he propelled himself to the center of the room.  Oh god, she thought, dryly. Here it comes---the speech.  It's only Monday morning and he's going for the speech...

"Jennifer Green," he started, "35 years old and an aspiring actress from a small navy brat town in San Diego.  Her father was a navy seal.  Big guy.  Captain.  You two could have been bosom buddies….”

Scully shot him a wary look.  Mulder paused to grin.

“Anyway, she moved to New York in 1992, and, after a brief stint in college, was married once, divorced once, but had no children. About six months ago, Jennifer stumbled onto a small theatre group, an off broadway travelling troupe of actors that specialized in Shakespearean works.  She auditioned, made the final cut, and toured with the 'Rockville Performers,' doing bit parts for a little over three months. Most recently, another three months after she joined, to be precise, Jennifer was cast as Juliet in the company's version of 'Romeo and Juliet.'  Very prestigious.  Unfortunately though, this Juliet met her untimely, mysterious death not by her own hand, but by falling 3 stories during rehearsal."

Scully nodded and looked back down at the report.  "So I can see.," she murmured. "But it says here that the scaffolding Jennifer had been standing on prior to her death was a prop for the balcony scene. It had yet to be completed or painted.  Did the local police check to see if bolts or screws had popped off, or if boards had come loose ?"

Mulder nodded his head.  "Yup," he replied.  "They even called in the local construction code inspector to make sure.  Nothing was out of whack.  Not a bolt was out of place, not a single board was loose.  She just sort of--"  he made a grand sweeping motion with his arm, miming something falling.

Scully watched him with a wary look.

"So it was suicide, then?"

Mulder shook his head.


He shook his head again.

"An unfortunate accident?"

Mulder shook his head at her a third time, and Scully was running out of ideas.

"Strange, isn't it?" he asked.

"Where you are concerned, Mulder?" She shook her head and ran a hand through her hair..  "Not that I know where you're going with this, but I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable..." She stopped and looked at him.  He had that 'kid in the candy store' look on  his face.  She sighed and went on, "but since I don't have any other theories and I know you, I know there must be a 'BUT' in here somewhere---"

"BUT," Mulder interrupted, turning to face his left, pacing towards the door, "I’ve got statements here from witnesses  that claim it was possible she was mysteriously pushed off the scaffold."

Scully frowned.

"I thought you said it wasn't homicide," she noted.

Mulder nodded. "Well, it wasn't---at least---not as far as anyone in the lighting crew could tell."

Scully furrowed a brow and blew a short puff of air through her lips.   "The lighting crew?  Mulder, I don't..." she sighed.  "That doesn't make any sense.  If several witnesses claimed that a victim was pushed, then... for obvious reasons... someone would have to have pushed her.  WHICH, speaking from....well, common sense and not a medical degree, would point quite logically to the homicide you ruled out.  Unless the push was accidental.  In either case though, if the lighting crew can make such claims, then logically, it would mean that someone would have had to have seen something---another person up there with her, for instance, or a suspicious figure."

Mulder grinned.  "Well, see, that's the kicker, Scully."

She raised an eyebrow. "What is?" she asked.

Mulder stopped pacing and crept closer to the desk, leaning near Scully's  shoulder.  He peered over her arm to gaze at the crime scene photo of one Jennifer Green, age 35, from San Diego.  Her velvet dress, sequined carefully with crystal beads, had folded like a fiery drape over her arms and legs when she had hit.  Her left ankle had twisted horrendously, and her chesnut curled wig swam around her barely visible head like a brunette halo.

"Several witnesses saw Jennifer being pushed, but nobody saw who did it," Mulder said, tracing a finger around the outline of the scaffold.

Scully frowned.  "What do you mean, nobody saw who did it?" she asked. "You mean they didn't recognize the individual, or----"  Scully paused in mid-sentence and looked up to gaze into Mulder's  engaging greenish brown eyes.  Oh no, she thought...

"Oh no, Mulder," she said, "please tell me you're not suggesting---"

"An ancient conjured spirit?   A Salem witch curse?" He grinned at each suggestion offered to her, and Scully narrowed her eyes at his mocking.   Why it was that Mulder thought she had nothing better to do than prove him wrong was simply beyond her.  Mulder quirked the corner of his mouth and waited for her swift reply.  Scully's fingers drummed along the desk, her legs uncrossed and recrossed.

"I would hope not," she sighed.

"Well good," Mulder replied, shifting his weight from right foot to left.  "Because I'm not."

Scully stared at him pointedly. "But?" she prodded.

"BUT," Mulder continued, " I DO have another theory."

Scully sucked her lips together in a fish-like motion and nodded, slowly.  The desk chair squeaked.  I should have known, she thought, wryly.

"Well, do I get to hear this theory?" she asked, waving an errant arm in his direction.  The air heater kicked on and blew gently onto her neck, rustling several hairs into her ears.  She shivered slightly and brushed the offending locks back into place.

"Later," Mulder told her, swiftly crossing to his desk to yank something off the blotter.   He snatched it up quickly and crossed the room to Scully, tossing her a thick blue, red and yellow envelope about the size of a pamphlet.  "First," he glanced at his watch,  "we need to get our things together.  We have a flight to catch in about in about 3 hours.  Oh, and pack some heavy clothes--I hear New York is expecting snow today."

Scully rolled her eyes and sighed.  "3 hours," she parroted, monotonously. Mulder nodded, yanking his coat up off the desk.  He didn't pause as he added, "I'll pick you up at your place in about an hour and a half."

And then he was up and moving, making his way out of the door as his partner sat blankly in her chair, staring down at her mug enviously.

"Always before I have my coffee," she grumbled, and got up to grab her coat.