Summary: Punk!Scully and Hipster!Mulder meet during orientation.
Notes: I just got into the X-Files (only took me 20 years) and I discovered this adorable college AU that came from the mind of punkscully. Long story short: I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole of awesome fan art and joy and then this little story just fell out of my head and onto the page. Shout out to littledeerling whose art made the words come.
They meet at an orientation event in a large hotel ballroom filled with 100 other students. The Orientation Counselors — over caffeinated sophomores in garish neon orange t-shirts — set out the rules. You are to go up to as many fellow students as possible in fifteen minutes. Shake hands, exchange names, ask each other one question, answer, move on.
Mulder moves towards the small girl with the rocket red hair, torn Nine Inch Nails shirt and knee high boots. He caught a glimpse of her in the auditorium, intrigued most, not by her piercings or the nautical star tattooed the back of her neck, but by the caduceus patch crudely sewn to her messenger bag.
She sees the aliens first. Tiny green heads floating against the brown background of a knit sweater, some of them blocked by a name tag that reads “Hello My Name is: Spooky.” She looks up into the face of a lanky young man with messy brown hair and thick hipster glasses. She smiles despite herself because with one glance she knows this guy doesn’t give two shits about what other people might think of him. She appreciates that.
She introduces herself as Dana. He introduces himself as Mulder.
“Is that your first name or your last name?”
“That’s you’re one question?” He teases.
She rolls her eyes. So far the orientation activities have been a mix between hokey and corny and she’s not sure how much more she can take.
“Well, my stock question is ‘what’s your major?’ I guess you can pick which one you want to answer.”
“It’s my last name. And I’m majoring in psychology.”
“Wow, now I know two things about you. Careful, Mulder, the orange shirts are likely to shut us down when they realize our conversation has moved beyond the superficial.”
He casts a quick look at a group of orange shirts, too wrapped up in their own conversations to notice any rule breaking.
“The neon gestapo doesn’t scare me. I’m older than most of them anyway.”
“I thought you looked more like an upperclassmen. How’d you get dumped with us babies?”
“They require transfer students to—hold up, I haven’t gotten to ask you anything yet.”
“I didn’t ask your major.”
“I figured I’d give it to you as a freebie.”
“But that still means I get to ask one more question right? It’s only fair.”
“Better make it quick. We’ve been found out.”
He glances over his shoulder, matching her gaze. Sure enough, an orange shirt is making his way towards them. He turns back to Scully, looking directly into her very blue eyes.
“Do you believe in the existence of extraterrestrials?”
She laughs. Is he serious? He frowns. She realizes he is serious, extremely serious and genuine. She feels terrible and instantly drops her smile, trying to match his intensity, staring into his deep hazel eyes. Fuck the orange shirts, he deserves an honest answer.
“Logically, I’d say no. Given the distances needed to travel the reaches of space and the energy requirements would exceed a space craft’s capabilities. Not to mention how many laws of known physics would have to be broken—“
“All right, break it up you two.”
“Annnd busted.” She keeps eye contact with Mulder.
“You think if we ignore him, he’ll go away?” Asks Mulder, smirking.
“Come on you guys, this is supposed to be fun.”
“Emphasis on supposed to.” Says Scully, voice dripping with such pointed sarcasm that Mulder can’t help but chuckle.
More orange shirts surround them, gingerly pushing them in opposite directions, Scully moves easier than Mulder. She gives him a tiny wave before she finds herself face to face with a fellow freshman.
“Don’t worry, champ,” an orange shirt says, clamping his hand on Mulder’s shoulder. “You’ll see each other plenty more this weekend.”
“Don’t call me, champ” says Mulder, sliding out from under the orange shirt’s grip.
They don’t see each other that weekend.
Scully ditches the Saturday night freshman mixer. She catches a ride with some fellow punks to see a Ministry cover band at a shitty club in Baltimore. She drinks cheap beer and looses herself in the pounding music. She ends up administering first aid to a 16 year old kid who busts his head open in the mosh pit. His older brother thanks her by buying her Jagerbombs for the rest of the night. On the ride home, they have pull over so she can puke on the side of the road. She screams into the cold night because it makes her feel alive. Just before sunrise she stumbles into her dorm and collapses into her bed. Images of little green alien heads dance on her eyelids as she drifts off to sleep.
Mulder skips the mixer too. There’s a sighting of mysterious lights hovering over a small town in Canada. He spends his night analyzing grainy photographs and posting his theories on UFO & conspiracy message boards. They say it’s flares but flares don’t hover, it’s clearly a craft. The truth is out there. He climbs out onto the fire escape and looks at the stars. A cold breeze kisses his face and hair and he feels alive.He falls asleep listening to Coast to Coast AM. In his dreams he sees a flash of rocket red hair.
They don’t see each other until a month later, when Spooky Mulder has a hunch and needs a microscope. Rumor has it Dana Scully owns a good one.