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08 May 2010 @ 02:31 pm
Below the Surface [CSI/The X-Files; Grissom/Catherine, Mulder/Scully]  
TITLE: Below the Surface
CHAPTER 12: Exploration
FANDOM(S): CSI, The X-Files
PAIRING(S): Mulder/Scully, Grissom/Catherine
SPOILERS: [CSI: Fourth season]; [X-Files: Seventh season]
RATING: R (for language, violence, etc.)
SUMMARY: Perhaps Mulder's paranoia was finally rubbing off on her.


*****

"Where should we start, Agent Mulder?" Grissom asked once he and Mulder had disembarked and ventured into the cave, their flashlights extended in front of them while two beams guided their way.

"Anywhere we want, but I think it'd be wise if you and I didn't part ways." He shook his head. "There's no telling what's lurking in here." He then grinned at the graveshift supervisor. "Not to sound like a bad horror flick, of course."

Grissom managed a slight, barely-there smile and nodded minutely, averting his eyes to sweep the beam of his flashlight to the side. "Well, it doesn't look like there's much in here." He swept the beam to the other side, Mulder following suit. "No passage-ways or other caverns... just this large, enclosed space." He turned back to the tall Fed. "I say we begin searching for evidence that someone's been in here."

Mulder nodded in response, and the men went to opposite sides of the cavern, closely inspecting the walls. After a long moment of silence, Mulder spoke. "So you're the supervisor of the graveyard shift, right?" he asked, more out of the need to fill the silence than anything else.

Grissom nodded, though well aware that with Mulder's back turned, he couldn't see this action. "Yes."

"So is Catherine a supervisor as well?"

"No, she's not."

Mulder nodded, pressing his lips together as he wondered what else to say to this man. He seemed about as tight-lipped as Scully could be at times. "So then she's a subordinate."

Grissom shrugged as he leaned close to the wall, squinting his eyes in his continued search for evidence. "I don't really consider her to be a subordinate."

"Then what do you consider her to be?"

Grissom slowly turned with a furrowed brow, contemplating the man on the other side of the cavern from him.


*****

"Alright, let's take this slowly!" Scully yelled over the boat's engine, standing beside Catherine at the steering wheel as they maneuvered the boat around the lake, still just several yards away from where they'd let Mulder and Grissom off.

Catherine nodded in response, eyes flitting toward the map in front of her without moving her head. "Where do you propose we drop the nets first?"

Scully planted a hand on her hip, the other leaning on the ledge behind the steering wheel, while she twisted at the waist and did a visual sweep of the lake. "I suppose here's as good a place as any," she finally surmised, then threw a brief glance at Catherine before heading down the stairs toward the nets.

After lowering the nets, the two women continued their slow meandering path around Lake Mead, occasionally sighing and tossing glances at each other along the way. Catherine shifted her weight from one foot to the other, her mind drifting to the moment she'd witnessed in Grissom's office between the two agents, and... curiosity having gotten the better of her... she spoke up. "So, you and Agent Mulder have been partners for quite some time, huh?"

Scully nodded, answering with a simple, "Seven years."

"That's quite awhile."

"Yes... it is," Scully replied, politely albeit shortly.

Catherine paused once more, suddenly dumbfounded by how she could get this woman to open up. She seemed to have a lot of Grissom's 'closed book' personality traits, and... while finding ways to climb Grissom's walls was a practically effortless task... with this woman she barely knew, it seemed quite difficult.

"You guys seem, uh... pretty close," she said, almost cringing at the lameness of such a statement. Of course they were close; they were partners.

Scully turned slowly to her, pursing her lips slightly while a crease appeared between her brows, silently questioning the criminalist's motives for instigating this conversation. "Well, working together seven years, spending every waking moment together... yeah, I guess you could say we're pretty close."

Catherine nodded, and once more looked away, wanting to avert her eyes from the redhead's intense scrutiny. Gil reincarnate, she mused, almost chuckling darkly. It was like pulling teeth with this woman.

Scully softly let out her breath in a sigh as she studied the strawberry-blonde beside her, eyes suddenly filling with a twinge of sympathy. She was simply attempting to make polite conversation with her. In Scully's line of work, she'd grown to expect everyone she met had some hidden agenda... or that they were somehow out to get her and Mulder. She smiled to herself. Perhaps Mulder's paranoia was finally rubbing off on her.

She drew in a deep breath then, and spoke. "I first met Mulder shortly after leaving the Academy," she began, offering her slight smile to Catherine when she gained her attention. "I'd first been recruited to teach a class at Quantico in forensic pathology, since that was my specialty, but that only lasted a matter of months before they tapped me to join the X-Files."

Catherine smiled warmly at Scully, reading the acceptance on her face. Perhaps it wouldn't be like getting Gil to open up. "Teaching straight out of the Academy? That's impressive."

Scully's lips quirked in the tiniest of smiles... something unnoticable to the naked eye, but detectable to a trained observer like Catherine. "I think they might've just been desperate for a pathologist."

"So why pull you out of teaching to pair you with Agent Mulder?"

She shrugged, just a slight roll of her slender shoulders. "The way I perceived it, and the way that Mulder has explained it... is that they wanted somebody to keep an eye on him. To invalidate his work and rein him in, so the X-Files could be shut down."

Catherine nodded knowingly. "I suppose cases having to do with unexplained phenomena aren't exactly high on the government's priority list."

Scully shook her head slowly, folding her arms over her chest. "I don't think it's even close to making the list."

"So why not just shut him down?"

"They didn't really have grounds for shutting him down. That was why I got sent in. If I reported back to them saying that our cases were nothing but 'close encounters' with Bigfoot and little green men, then they probably would have had ammo for closing the X-Files."

Catherine frowned, tilting her head downward slightly, regarding Scully through her lashes. "But I take it you didn't do what they asked."

"I couldn't. I couldn't act as a spy. I knew from the beginning that I had too much integrity to waltz in there, stomp all over the work and then just shatter everything Mulder had worked so hard for."

"So you cared for him right from the beginning." Catherine paused, practically sucking in a breath as she hoped her remark could be snuck nonchalantly into their conversation. That's not really meddling, she told herself.

"Well, I--" Scully froze, mouth still open as Catherine's words sunk in. She held the strawberry-blonde's gaze, reading the slightly sheepish expression in her eyes, and she emitted a smile. "Mulder and I formed a bond from the very beginning."

Catherine smiled, reading the look in the pretty agent's eyes, and sighed. "Look, Agent Scully..."

"Just Scully is fine," she corrected her.

"Scully." She took a step forward. "I'm not trying to pry; I hope you know that. It's just that you and Agent Mulder seem to have... you just seem..." She sighed heavily once more. "Can I give you a piece of advice?"

Scully said nothing in response; merely furrowed her brow... but as she didn't object, Catherine took that as her invitation to continue. She paused a long moment, searching the redhead's eyes, reading the emotion clearly written there... emotion for her partner. Emotion Catherine herself imagined was often in her own eyes, for Grissom. When she finally spoke, her voice was soft but the words carried quite a bit of weight. "Don't wait twenty years."

She then brushed past Scully to head for the map once more, leaving the petite redhead in a cloud of her thoughts.


*****

"Got something," Mulder spoke up, turning over his shoulder to find Grissom just finishing placing some evidence in a bindle.

Grissom made his way over to where the tall agent stood pointing at a spot on the cavern wall, and he squinted, leaning close to study it while Mulder cast the beam of his flashlight on it. "Looks like a clump of hair," Grissom mused aloud, reaching into the pocket of his forensics windbreaker for his tweezers and another evidence bag. "And that could be blood adhering it to the wall."

"Mmhmm." Mulder nodded, eyes watching Grissom pluck the hair and blood clot from the wall, gingerly placing it in the tiny evidence bag. He then studied the salt-and-pepper haired man beside him. Conversing with him earlier had been almost as fun as trying to carry on a conversation with A.D. Kersh back in D.C... only somewhat easier. He actually likened Grissom's stoic behavior to Scully's. Having a heart-to-heart conversation with her was at times as hellish as getting teeth pulled.

Grissom had been extremely tight-lipped about his relationship with Catherine Willows... which was expected, though Mulder found himself intrigued all the more, able to see the similarities between their relationship, and his relationship with Scully. He only hoped Grissom had the sense not to royally screw up his relationship with Catherine.

Mulder's thoughts flitted to the night before. Everything seemed a blur... whether it was due to sleep deprivation, or the events that had transpired in Scully's hotel room, he couldn't be sure. He remembered their wrestling match; he remembered somehow tackling his pretty partner and pinning her to the floor. Once their eyes had met, however, everything had spiralled out of control.

There was a frenzy of lips and limbs, of that he was sure. Neither had tried to dominate the goings-on... rather, they'd behaved just as they had during waking hours. He remembered it being fifty-fifty, a perfect combination of give and take. Partners in every sense of the word. Or so he'd thought. Somewhere along the line, he'd regained some semblance of sanity, and had stopped what was going on. Apparently that was where he went wrong.

"Agent Mulder?"

"Mmm?" His eyes snapped upward to meet Grissom's furrowed-brow stare.

"I asked if you'd found anything else."

"Yes. I have a couple more hair and blood samples I came across, but I'm thinking we should try coming back some other time," he rattled off, adding, "With better lighting. We could conduct a more thorough investigation."

Grissom nodded. "You may be right."


*****

"Catherine, I'd say we could raise the nets," Scully called toward the upper deck, where Catherine was commandeering the wheel. "We've been driving around for quite some time and haven't found anything."

Catherine nodded, squinting down at the redhead against the morning sunlight. "You're right!" she yelled, and cut the engine before heading down the stairs. She smiled at Scully. "We might as well go collect Grissom and Agent Mulder and head back to the lab for now. Maybe they've found something in that cavern."

"Maybe."

The two women then gasped as they felt the boat pitch and rock beneath their feet... and their hands instinctively reached for the other to form a brace against the see-saw motion. "What the hell was that?" Catherine whispered.

"Oh, God..."

"What?"

Scully turned her wide aqua eyes up to Catherine's, shaking her head just slightly. "That's the same thing Mulder and I felt when we were here yesterday."

Catherine turned over her shoulder, her hands and Scully's simultaneously relinquishing each other's elbows. When she turned back, her own eyes were wide, sparkling with a hint of fear. "Let's get the guys and get out of here."

**

"GIL!"

"MULDER!"

Both men's heads jolted upward in surprise at hearing the respective objects of their affections calling their names frantically... almost fearfully. "What's goin' on?" Mulder asked with a furrowed brow, but headed toward the mouth of the cavern before allowing Grissom a chance to respond.

Upon stepping outside, they were greeted by the sight of the boat racing toward them, halting just feet away from the shore. "Hurry up!" Catherine yelled to them, she and Scully frantically waving them aboard.

They exchanged a puzzled glance, yet did as they were told, Grissom climbing first into the boat, followed by Mulder. Catherine grabbed Grissom's arm to help him over the side of the boat, staring fearfully up at him while Scully did the same with Mulder... pulling him onto the boat before meeting his eyes in a silent exchange of information.

"Cath? What's wrong?" Grissom asked, hands grasping the strawberry blonde's upper arms while he stared quizzically down at her.

"Gil, there's something under the boat," she replied shakily.

"What?"

"Probably whatever Scully and I felt under the boat yesterday," Mulder responded while releasing his partner, bounding up the stairs to the steering wheel. He quickly revved up the boat's engine and steered it away from the shore... but just several yards away, the boat gave a sickening groan, accompanied by a series of heavy thumps underneath.

They were once again sent rocking, the three on the main deck being hurled toward the railing while Mulder braced himself on the steering wheel. Scully and Catherine both cried out in unison as they hit the iron railing with their stomachs, both momentarily getting the wind knocked out of them. While Scully managed to grab hold of the railing before they rocked to the other side, Catherine missed her shot, and was sent backwards, landing on the hard wood of the deck... the back of her head loudly making contact with it.

"Cath!" Grissom tossed a furtive glance toward Scully, briefly checking her condition, before rushing toward his deity, kneeling down by her side. He gently reached under her head, pulling her up as slowly as possible in case of injury. "You okay?"

"Yeah..." she managed to grunt after a moment, wincing. "My head hurts like hell, but I'm fine."

"Everybody okay down there?" Mulder called.

Before anyone could respond, the boat was sent tipping once again, hit from beneath with another loud thump. While Mulder braced himself once more and Grissom and Catherine clung to each other... Scully was sent once more toward the railing, this time hitting it full force... tumbling over it head first.

"Mulder!" A thud sounded as her head made contact with the side of the boat, followed by a loud splash, and suddenly everything went silent.

While Grissom struggled to help Catherine to her feet, Mulder nearly flew down the steps, rushing over to the railing. "Scully?" he called out, but found only a few bubbles rising to the surface in reply.

"SCULLY!"



TBC


 
 
 
csiAngelcsiangel on May 8th, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC)
Below the Surface [CSI/The X-Files; Grissom/Catherine, Mulder/Scully]
Scully!!

I love the drama and intrigue in this fic; and I like the parallels between the two pairs of partners. And Catherine saying not to wait 20 years. Aww.

Poor Scully, though! Looking forward to the next chapter :p
a.: angela; blown upregalish on June 11th, 2010 11:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Below the Surface [CSI/The X-Files; Grissom/Catherine, Mulder/Scully]
I FAIL SO HARD FOR FINDING THIS A MONTH LATE. Sorry. :( :( :(

BUT. I'm happy you're still enjoying this fic; I remember really liking writing this chapter simply because of how I paired off the foursome, and being able to draw the parallels. :)

I shall post the next chapter tonight!