the progression (and regression) of first names
hurt/comfort, mini casefile, msr ust
first in a series of fics accompanying my x files rewatch this summer. (technically this is cheating since i’m already on season 2, but whatever, i wanted to do this.) spoilers for beyond the sea, lazarus, young at heart, darkness falls, and tooms. some of these sequences are partially borrowed from chapters 4 and 5 of half-light, but i liked them so i kept them. (it is not necessary to read half-light to understand this fic.) also dedicated to my recent trip to dc; you haven’t lived til you’ve hobbled around museums and memorials on aching feet from walking too much.
warning for passing mentions of murders/death
Scully spends New Year’s Eve in a hospital room: “Because my life isn’t depressing enough,” she laments to Melissa on the phone, and Missy tries to laugh like it’s funny but it’s not. They are in mourning; their father is dead, their mother is all to pieces, and Charlie didn’t come to the funeral. Bill and Melissa are staying with their mother in Baltimore. They wanted Dana to come too, but Dana has never been one to show emotions around other people. “I need to work,” she’d told Mulder, and it was the truth. The sad thing is that Mulder getting shot has given her the perfect excuse to hide, here in North Carolina where she thought everything would matter less.
(It doesn’t. Boggs yanked her out of hiding by her ankle, wouldn’t let her rest. She doesn’t go to Boggs’ execution because she’s afraid to believe. She’s afraid of what he’ll tell her. She hides in Mulder’s hospital room because it’s easier, but he won’t let her hide, either. He calls her Dana and touches her shoulder and she shrinks into herself like a crumpled piece of paper. He knows her too well; she is the pathologist, but he would be just as good with a scalpel. He has a way of bringing hidden things to the surface.)
There’s a pathetic TV in Mulder’s room and they watch the ball drop in Times Square on it. Mulder’s on pain medications, which make him goofier; he counts along with the spectators in Times Square with a glazed-over look in his eyes. Scully watches in silence, hands knotting in her lap. She’s had plenty of good New Year’s Eve memories to stock up over the year - she spent the last one with Ethan, tipsy from champagne and giggling hysterically when he kissed her, teeth bumping together - but the only one she can think of now is the first year she was allowed to stay up til midnight, at nine. (She and Missy had snuck out on the back porch minutes away from midnight and sat on the step, watching the stars. She’d tipped her head up to the sky, mittened hands pressing into her knees when she felt the pressure of her father’s hand on her head and turned to look at him. “It’s a new year now, Starbuck,” he’d told her seriously. “It’s your chance to start over, to make your life whatever you want it to be.”) Scully blinks hard to stop the onslaught of tears and reaches for the tissues she’d crumpled in her pocket.
“Hey, Scully,” Mulder says, touching her wrist. “Scully. Are you okay? Are you sad again?”
He’s high as a kite, Scully thinks wryly. “I’m fine,” she says, scraping her fingertips under her eyes. Maybe she should take some time off with Mulder after this case, give herself some time to recover so she won’t be crying all over the place every case. “I just… memories. You know how it is.” And with his sister, he must know.
Mulder rests his head against her shoulder. “It’s 1994,” he slurs into her jacket. “Anything can happen now, Scully; make a wish.”
“I’m pretty sure you’ve got the wrong holiday,” she tells him.
He points to the TV where a couple is kissing, confetti falling down on them like rain. “We should do that,” he says, raising his head to look at her. “In honor of the New Year.”
For a half-second, she considers it. He’s been more affectionate with her over time; something shifted with them, in Alaska. Something had made them stronger. He’s called her Dana three times now. He tried to comfort her. She remembers him kissing that ex-girlfriend, Phoebe. She’s wondered how he kisses before.
Then she reconsiders. Considers the consequences. She’s broken enough Bureau policy this year, she thinks. She is grieving, not in her right mind, and he’s on pain meds, he might not remember a thing tomorrow. She rolls her eyes and says, “Go find a nurse, Mulder.”