She Tastes like Candlelight
It starts with, of all things, a pair of old jeans and a t-shirt.
Logically, he knows it doesn’t make sense. She comes to work in form-fitted jackets that go tight about her waist. She’s been foregoing the baggy slacks in favor of skirts that stop just below the knees, with nylons clinging to the defined musculature of her calves; he’s pretty sure he can count on one hand the number of times he’s seen her wear shoes other than heels, excluding the clinical, white shoes she wears with her scrubs during autopsies.
He’s seen the looks she gets. Sometimes, it’s during an interview, when a witness’s gaze will linger just a little too long on her bustline, and her hand will go up and fiddle with her necklace, her arm blocking her chest in subtle defiance. Other times, it’s men on the streets of the city, shouting out obscenities to her, having the audacity to call her “baby,” and “sweetheart,” and he fights the urge to yell right back, brandishing his badge and his gun, wanting to scare the misogyny right out of the bones of anyone who thinks they’re entitled to her body, but he knows that she would find it condescending. “Thank you, but I can handle myself, Mulder,” she’d say, and it’s not that he thinks she can’t—he just doesn’t want her to have to.
And still other times, the looks come not from strangers on the sidewalk, or from people he can reduce to photos in a casefile, but from their peers. Educated, talented men who transform themselves into slobbery, teenage boys when sitting adjacent to her in meetings, eyeing her with an inappropriate hunger while she jots down notes in the margins of her agenda sheet. More than once, Mulder has found himself in the elevator with a man who will look down at Scully, and then catch Mulder’s eye over the top of her head, just so that he can wink, including him in some inside joke he has no interest being a part of.
He supposes that he empirically knows that Scully is attractive—it’s more or less objective fact—but he’s never allowed himself to notice. He’s trained himself to observe her through a filter. He considers her appearance through what he aptly names the Sexual Harassment Video Gaze. He quickly shuts down any thought that could be used as an example in a training tape on inappropriate office behavior.