“I’m gonna call Skinner, Mulder.” “Okay.” “I’m sure he’s going to want to say a few words about this. Guys, give it a rest, huh?”
It’s 10:30pm on a Saturday night, and he’s just sat back down on his couch after grabbing another beer from the fridge when the phone rings. The caller ID only shows the number for the Hoover Building switchboard, but somehow he already knows who it is. (Who else would be calling him via the switchboard this late on a Saturday?) He lets it ring a couple more times while he takes a swig of his beer and steels himself for whatever nonsense is about to be dropped in his lap.
“Good evening, sir. I apologize for calling you at home so late.”
“What is it, Agent Scully?”
“Well, sir, as you’re aware, Agent Mulder and I are currently in Los Angeles. And, as it happens, the LA County Sheriff’s Department is also looking into the series of incidents we’re out here investigating.”
“Let me guess. Agent Mulder failed to properly liaise with the local LEOs, and now we’ve got an inter-agency pissing match on our hands?”
“No, that’s… that’s not it at all, actually.”
“He didn’t get himself arrested again, did he?”
“Well, get to the point, agent. I know you know what time it is here.”
“Sir, they’re filming an episode of COPS tonight. Here. With the LASD.”
He doesn’t know what he was expecting her to say, but it sure as hell wasn’t that. Inexplicably, he finds himself stifling a laugh; he turns it into a cough. Dear god, Mulder running his mouth about aliens and what-have-you on national TV… he should not be finding this funny at all, and yet…
“Assistant director? Are you all right?”
“I’m fine.” He clears his throat. “So am I to understand that because the LASD is working cooperatively with you on this investigation, their film crew shadows are now yours as well?”
“That’s correct, yes. And Agent Mulder… well, his working hypothesis for the case is, as you might guess, paranormal in nature, and–”
“Yes, Scully, I’ve met him.”
“Uh… right. So, they can’t use any of the footage they’ve already gathered unless we sign off on it. I assume you want us to refuse?”
Skinner pulls his glasses off and rubs his eyes. On the one hand, the probability of Mulder saying something that will make himself (and possibly also the Bureau as a whole) look foolish is incredibly high. On the other hand, Skinner’s got a friend in that industry; he knows that rather than waste the film, the show’s producers will insist on simply blurring his agents’ faces and garbling their voices instead, and he won’t be able to get around that without a big legal fight. And if they do that, it’ll just look like the Bureau’s hiding something, which will end up an even bigger PR mess on balance. Plus, he has no doubt that Scully will do her usual thing of tempering Mulder’s eccentricity and countering his more bizarre theories. And also, despite everything, Mulder is ultimately a good agent. It probably won’t be that bad.
Fuck it. Let them get filmed. If everything goes to shit and Mulder does something even more ridiculous than usual, they can always change their minds before the show goes to air.
“Nah. Cooperate with the film crew. Keep me posted if things totally go belly-up, but short of an emergency, I don’t need to hear from you again until tomorrow morning at the earliest. Are we clear on that?”
“Sir? A-are you sure that’s wise?”
“The FBI has nothing to hide, Agent Scully. That’ll be all.”
He hangs up the phone and shakes his head, then replaces his glasses and reaches for his beer. Those two are going to drive him to an early retirement, he has no doubt.
set in the same universe as the unspeakable fear of things and the follow-up christmas ficlets, although it is not necessary to have read those to read this. this is basically just… season 9 but emily’s there. warnings for some events of the episodes existence and nothing important happened today part i.
i already have this entire story drafted so it should be up within a couple of days! (i’m posting it segments cause it long.)
The pain washes over her in waves, Mulder and Monica’s voices blurring with the faces of strangers. Mulder’s hand is wrapped around her ankle, fingers leaving warm lines on her sweaty skin as he stands in front of them protectively, one hand over the butt of his gun. Clutched protectively to her chest, their son wails incessantly.
I’m not going to let you take him, she tries to say. This seems fairly obvious - the people will have to go through Mulder and Monica to get to them, but there are many of the strangers and three of them protecting the baby, and she is so wracked with pain that she won’t be much protection. She hates this weakness, inability to be a mother. She thinks, helplessly, of their daughter, far away with her mother. She wants to be back at home - in their apartment, the sunny space that she and Mulder and Emily picked out together, that is entirely theirs, where nothing bad has ever happened and the baby’s room is ready and she has her gun drawn and can protect them all. Here, she is helpless and exposed in this tiny, dirty house.
Their son cries, and the strangers begin to retreat. Mulder squeezes her ankle, and rounds the bed to sit beside her gently. She winces a little at the motion of the mattress but sags gratefully against him. “They’re leaving,” Mulder whispers. “You’re both safe, Scully.” He presses a kiss to her head.
They’d been forced to leave northern Minnesota
mid-February after Mulder caught one of his bosses staring longer than
necessary and asking more personal questions than Mulder deemed appropriate for
someone on the run from all kinds of law to be able to answer. Scully had
quietly left with him at midnight, walking away from her job, her semi-friends
and her identity as Ella Fargas, the nice janitor lady at the high school who
hadn’t flinched, regardless of what she had to clean up, which impressed
everyone at that school above and below the age of 18.
They’d learned, over the years, to keep everything
packed up and ready to go. They didn’t have too many personal possessions but
what they had, they didn’t want to lose. Scully’s suitcase contained her
clothes, her carved chess set and the ornaments they’d collected while her
backpack contained the monstrous medical exam and study book she’d received the
previous Christmas from Mulder because ‘he didn’t want her to lose all those
smarts she had’. In Mulder’s suitcase and backpack were his laptop which they’d
saved months for and gave him access to the world, articles, newspapers, the
Internet and forums for everything and anything he wanted to find out. Also,
his notebooks, a collection of stolen pens and as he told Scully, a few other
odds and ends that were completely and totally useless but completely necessary
They lived out of these bags, two each plus a
third large duffel for winter gear, shoes and food in case of quick getaway.
This out-of-suitcase living was now so common
place that when Mulder forgot momentarily and hung up his clean shirt in the
closet, she gave him a look of such incredulity that he flushed, feeling like
he’d cracked their system in half and the world was on the verge of collapse.
Then she smiled at him, taking the shirt from the
hanger and folding it, packing it away with the rest of the newly laundered
items, “brain farting, as you put it Mulder, is not usually your style. Got
something on your mind?”
“Not yet.” Squeezing her hips as he slipped by
her, “I’ll tell you if it pans out though, promise.”
Now intrigued, she carried on with her nightly
routine, bathing, hair-drying, reading, having Mulder quiz her, volleying back
and forth about some whacked-out theory Mulder found online before she asked
again, “what are you planning in the brain of yours?”
Poking her side as he lay next to her under the
sheets, “hey, a little intrigue is good for us. Keeps the fires alive.”
In one fell swoop, she rolled him over, climbed on
top and pushed his shirt up around his neck, “I think our fires are just fine.”
They wandered East and West, North and South, back
and forth, two days or a week at a time, deciding the comforts of their
semi-settled Minnesota existence might not be the best way to go for awhile. It
wasn’t until late September that they slowed their ramble, Scully becoming
frequently more ill-at-ease with the aimlessness of their journey. She’d made
it through almost three years but it was taking its toll. As a couple, they
were doing okay, the occasional fight, the occasional silence, the occasional
mutterings of ‘jackass’ and ‘pain in my ass’ while both fumed at one another,
testing who would crack first and apologize.
But her mind and her spirit were exhausted and it
showed, Mulder apologizing more frequently and hugging her more closely than
she thought possible.
One morning, huddled safely in a cabin they’d
rented in cash, off the beaten path to all but the passing deer hunter, he
pulled her towards him, moving the stray blonde hairs from her cheeks, “hey
“Unless you have breakfast somewhere in the
vicinity of my mouth, don’t wake me up.”
Knowing her just that well, he held up a torn
section of cinnamon roll from last night’s dessert, “will this do?”
Eyes still shut, she opened her mouth and accepted
the peace offering, sucking the icing off his fingers with a slow, drawn-out
lip smack, “yes. What do you want?”
“What would you say to us looking for a place to
live, like a real place to live? One with walls and windows and a fridge bigger
than a stamp and maybe even more than one toilet.”
He really should have waited until she’d swallowed
before dropping this bomb on her and it took a few minutes to dislodge the
dough from her lungs, coughing until she cried then calming again from her
scary little fit of near-death, “what?”
Mulder could smile now that he knew she wasn’t
going to die in front of him, “I was thinking that we could start concocting
some kind of story where we’ve gone our separate ways and you would like to
come back to the real world and need help finding a house and you could talk to
Skinner and see if it’s even possible. Have him feel things out, maybe ask
around to know if it would be safe for you to go back to normal.” Sliding her
gently back down to lay beside him, “I can’t keep doing this to you. You
deserve more than hotel mattresses and living out a suitcase.”
“No, I think we should think about this. If it
works, then good but if it doesn’t, at least you know we’ll have tried.”
“You … you wouldn’t really leave though, right?
“I would be perfectly content to hide in the house
all day. I can go running and outside after dark or if we get a place with
enough land, I could garden or build stuff, who knows. I just know that I can’t
do this to you anymore.”
The thought honestly scared her but in a giddy,
good way and kissing him, icing still on her lips, they celebrated the
possibility of not having to run anymore.
It was a long process and they were holed up in
North Carolina when Christmas arrived, with two feet of snow, windchills in the
double negatives and a Mulder-smile, commenting on how it felt just like they
were back having their first Christmas together, only naked this time.
Even though it wasn’t Christmas morning, Scully
leaned over the edge of the bed and retrieved his gift, “open it. I know it’s
early but open please.”
Never arguing with an unclothed Scully had been
his personal rule since the first time he’d laid eyes on her perfect breasts
and not about to break that rule, he took the gift, unwrapping it with paper
flying everywhere, then staring at it in confusion.
It was a clear ornament, one that unscrewed in
half, holding a single key.
Opening the orb slowly, he took out the key, never
taking his eyes off her, “you have me totally befuddled.”
“That’s one of our house keys.” Now he just looked
so totally ‘what?!’ that she smiled, sitting up, wrapping comforter around
shoulder before continuing, “the paperwork went through with a little help from
Skinner and the real estate lady sent the key to the Post Office box and I
picked it up yesterday and thought it would be a pretty good gift.”
For some crazy reason, the fact that she would be
in a home again soon, with him, like some sort of kind of a hint of a real
family, made tears fill his eyes. Holding it up between them, “we should go
look at it now.”
“Um, it’s after 9pm, it’s a three-hour drive and
that boatload of snow out there isn’t just for looks. Maybe tomorrow or the
next day after they’ve plowed some of the highways but right now, we’d be stuck
before we got out of town.”
Impatient to the core, he opened his mouth to
argue but she shut him up swiftly, her mouth covering his, her body following.
Eventually, exhaustion forced him into sleep, mouth slack, body sated, limbs
tangled with hers as he mumbled something about christening the new house as
soon as possible.
Three long days later, they were trudging through
snowdrifts higher than Scully, forced to leave the car at the main road while
they walked the half-mile to the house. Frozen solid, yet sweating profusely
under their winter coats and leggings, they didn’t stop to look at the porch or
the shuttered windows but went right inside, shucking off clothing to leave in
a heap by the door.
Only when they were stripped down to jeans and
thermal shirts did they look around.
This time is was Scully crying, stepping up the
stairs a few feet to grab him in a proper hug, squeezing his neck until he
choked out a laugh and she lightened her grip. Burying his face in the side of
her neck, “welcome home.” A few minutes later, he peeled away from her, holding
up a finger to keep her in place, which she obeyed with open wonderment.
Watching him carefully remove a box from his jacket pocket, he held it up to
her, still in its Christmas paper, “I would have given you this on Christmas
morning but decided to wait until we got here.”
Intrigued, she ripped the paper, opened the box
then removed a clear glass Christmas bulb. Without looking or reading the words
on it, she looked at him, “you stole my idea.”
“Actually, Dana Scully, you stole mine. I’ve been
waiting since October, when we decided to find the house.”
The Dana made her grin, the Scully made her warm
from head to toe but the gift made her speechless. Inside, on a bunch of pulled
apart cotton balls, sat a simple, gold band, a small, deep red-purple stone set
with a small diamond on either side. Stomach officially all over the map and
brain forgetting how to speak, she turned the bulb slowly, reading, “will you
marry me?” and the year, Mulder’s script careful and precise in its sloppy
She couldn’t answer. She couldn’t breathe. She
could, however, feel her heart thudding against her ribs, painfully strong and
erratic as all hell. The only thing she could do was stare, the tears blurring
things before they fell but in between watery visions, she could see Mulder
clear as day, across from her, perfect as anything in the world and all hers.
The answer shot out towards him like a bullet,
fast, sharp, crisp and unmistakable.
He laughed, truly afraid for a moment she was
either going to faint, explode or most scary of them all, say ‘no’. Taking the
ornament from her, he opened it, slipped the ring on her finger then held up
the words to her again, “sure about your answer to this?”
Please write more platonic Skinner and Scully fics!!!!! Can you make a master post with links for them too?
I think I’ll save creating a master list for when I’ve got enough of them to warrant their own sub-section, but for now, you can find them all under the “Prompt Responses” heading at the bottom of my master fic list!
Totally named Walter’s parents after my grandparents. Sorry not sorry.
Walter Skinner’s father brought him up with a collection of strict values, chief among them: work hard, own your mistakes, never pick on anyone smaller or weaker than yourself, and, at all times, and in all company: respect women.
Skinner’s mother Ethel had been one of many proud and hardworking “Rosie the Riveters” during the war, while Skinner’s father had been at sea in the Pacific. But unlike many of her fellow workers, when the war had ended and the men had returned, rather than heading back to run her household, Ethel had switched from building bombers to building cars, taking time off only to give birth to Walter, his older brother Daniel, and his younger sister Evie. Walter’s father, a man ahead of his time, had been fully supportive of his wife’s desire to work.
“A woman can do almost anything a man can do,” Lloyd Skinner had told his sons. “You talk to a woman the same way you would a man. You don’t treat her like she’s any less smart, any less capable. Above all, you respect her. If you wouldn’t want something said about your ma or your sister, don’t you dare ever say it to- or about- another woman.”
Maybe it makes Skinner a little less popular among the boys’ club at the bureau, his reluctance to join in on all the locker room talk about the various physical attributes of the handful of female agents walking the halls, his distaste for the practice of ranking the secretarial pool according to attractiveness. He doesn’t care, as long as he can look his female subordinates in the eye, as long as they know they won’t be met with contempt from him, should they need to file a complaint against a male co-worker. He never wants any of his agents to think his motivations for assigning or not assigning cases are based in anything other than competence.
He’s heard of the betting pool, of course. In fact, he’s pretty sure its existence predates Mulder and Scully being assigned to him. Certainly the agents perpetuating it know better than to mention it within earshot of him… but he almost wishes they would, sometimes, so that he can dress them down over it.
He’s never wished for that more than at this moment, though, standing by Scully’s hospital bed, because he knows that soon enough, a new betting pool is going to spring up, and this time, his agent is going to be left to deal with it on her own.
Even in the midst of his shock, as he looks down at Scully, her eyes full of tears, her emotions at war on her face, it’s his first thought: The gossip pool is going to have a field day with this. And then he’s immediately ashamed that this is his first concern. He’s relatively certain the issue’s not causing so much as a blip on her radar. She’s got more important things to worry about.
He doesn’t ask her who the father is; he doesn’t need to. And in any case, such a question goes directly against his father’s edict of respect. Even if he weren’t more or less certain about her child’s parentage, it’s not his business. All that he needs to concern himself with is what she needs from him- both as her boss, and as her friend.
He reaches out and takes her hand, and is encouraged when she doesn’t immediately jerk away. She brushes the tears from her eyes, embarrassed to be caught in such a display of emotion.
“Dana,” he says, “what can I do to help you?” She gives him a shaky smile. She reminds him of his mother sometimes, with her take-no-prisoners, no-nonsense attitude, her glares that can freeze grown men in their tracks from half a room away… but right now she’s scared, vulnerable, and doing everything she can to hide it.
“Exactly what you’ve told me you’ll do,” she tells him. “I need you to help me find him.”
“I will, Dana,” he swears, squeezing her hand. “I promise you that.”
“*unintelligible*-and SWEATERS! hes a FUCKING FREAK! HE CAN DRIVE A CAR! HE CAN FLY AN AIRPLANE! HE CAN TALK! HE GOES TO SCHOOL! HE PLAYS SOCCER! MICE ARENT SUPPOSED TO DO THAT! MICE DONT DO THAT! and like, like in the movie, he was adopted, but in the book, HE WAS FUCKIN BORN OUTTA THAT HUMAN COOTER. SHE JUST FUCKIN BIRTHED A MOUSE. SHE JUST PUSHED OUT A FUCKING MOUSE. AND I READ THE BOOK MYSELF. THE ONE BY E.B. WHITE. I READ IT. AND I READ ABOUT HER PUSHIN’ A FUCKIN MOUSE OUT HER COOTER!!!! AND YOU KNOW WHAT? THAT’S NOT- THAT’S THE- THAT’S STILL BAD! EVEN ADOPTING A MOUSE! CAUSE IMAGINE GOING TO A FUCKING ORPHANAGE. IMAGINE LI- IMAGINE BEIN A FUCKIN ORPHAN, AND GETTING A MOUSE CHOSEN OVER YOU. IMAGINE THAT LIFE. IMGINE BEING ONE OF THE KIDS WHO GOT 1-UPPED BY STUART LITTLE. IMAGINE BEING ONE OF THE KIDS WHO GOT BEAT IN SOCCER BY STUART LITTLE. i’m sorry dad i lost the competition, there was just this FUCKIN MOUSE he was so good!!!! I HATE HIM!”
alternate universe in a 17-year old jeff skinner is sent to the vancouver olympics to represent canada in figure skating and hockey player eric staal can’t help but notice a little special something about him.
There is something
about Westaway’s words that tells Mulder to steel himself. The young agent’s
voice is a pitch higher, his words are a little clipped, his cheeks a little
“Skinner is looking for you. You
need to get to his office immediately.”
“Why?” He hears himself asking
but he doesn’t want to know.
Westaway shrugs, looks down to a
pile of papers on the desk, doesn’t dare look up again.
Skinner seems tighter, pent up,
coiled and ready. His collar is digging into his neck. His thumb nails scrape
over the skin on his clasped hands. His jaw flexes. Mulder waits to be asked to
sit, but he doesn’t think he can stand much longer. His stomach is roiling. His
mouth and throat dry out. His chest hurts with the sharpness of his breathing.
“There’s a Jane Doe. Same build,
There is a rushing in Mulder’s ears
that blocks out the rest.
The underground car
park smelt of piss and gas fumes. He wanted to smash the informant’s face in,
but kicking his car helped. He thought he could face his worst nightmares, he’d
had years of practise. Monsters and mutants and murdering men. Missing sisters
and dysfunctional parents. Isolation and ridicule. He’d almost lost her once
before. She was dead. To all intents and purposes she was no longer Dana
Scully, hooked up to the ventilator, tape over her eyes. She was a shell. But
she came back that time. He hadn’t realised how deeply he cared for her, for
what they’d found in each other, until it was taken. Or maybe, he just hadn’t
allowed himself to realise. Because feeling, because emotion was perhaps the
scariest and strangest enemy.
He stood outside the morgue, pulled
the blind himself, looked through the window. His mind was blank at that
moment. Perhaps as a subconscious trigger to prepare for the news. Empty out
the contents, ready to cope with the filling of dread and rage and fear and
But it wasn’t her. It wasn’t her
and his knees softened and he breathed in oxygen and hope.
Westaway offers to
drive. Mulder lets him. Handing over the keys feels like handing over the
responsibility somehow. If this is her, he needs to be empty again.
“It might not be her, Agent
Mulder. You have to hold on to that hope.” His voice is soft and his hands
tremble on the steering wheel.
Mulder doesn’t reply. He looks
out at the streetscape, alive with people. He thinks about hope.