Notes: My response to a challenge posted on atxc. Scullyangst
by Lynn Gregg
<Calm. Just stay calm. You don't know...it might not be anything. Just stay calm.>
Girding herself in the composure that had long
since become her mainstay, Dana turned and walked back
down the hall. She did not glance over through the window, into the room where Mulder stood grasping the
hands and gazing into the eyes of Special Agent Diana Fowley. She didn't need to; the image had already
seared itself into her retinas and burned an acid aching hole through her heart.
<What the Hell was going on in there?>
Composure. Professional, grown-adult,
Special Agent of the FBI, I'm-a-doctor-dammit composure. Sure.
The hand she thrust out to shove open the door was almost steady.
<Chickadee. Mulder's little chickadee.
God, what weren't they telling me? All three of them were squirming
like heretics facing the Inquisition...1991. It was right before he took over the X-Files...>
The car at last. Nice, safe, Bureau standard
issue Crown Victoria. Big and safe and impersonal. The hand
that fumbled the key into the lock only shook slightly.
<What the Hell was going on in there?
Does she really think that after seven years she can just waltz right
in here and pick up where they left off? Wherever *that* was...Chickadee! Damn Frohike! I should've taken
him up against the wall and *beaten* the truth out of him!>
Somehow, the sticky May night had turned abruptly
cooler. The interior of the car was downright chilly.
And time, that universal invariant--something had happened to it as well. It seemed to be dragging...scratch
that; it had stopped entirely, about the time she looked into that office and saw Mulder's hand twined around
<What am I doing? God, this is idiotic!
I mean, it's not like we...We're friends. He is my best friend,
nothing's going to change that. Nothing *has*, in all these years. I knew he wasn't a monk before we met.
He didn't come to me wrapped in plastic; he had a life before me. But the past has no bearing on the present,
right? So she was his girlfriend...chickadee...whatever. I'm being ridiculous. Why the Hell didn't I just...
interrupt? I have important information concerning this case, I was well within my rights to walk into that
room and present that information to my partner. MY partner! So why the Hell didn't I?>
Dana hesitated for a moment before ramming the key home into the ignition.
<It's not like I ever really thought that
he and I...I never thought that. He is my best friend. Nothing
going to change that. Nothing.>
Along with the time and temperature, it appeared
that something had gone awry with the oxygen supply
as well; suddenly there didn't seem to be enough of it. Snapping open her cell phone decisively, Dana hit
the speed-dial and drew in a breath of the thinning air.
"Mulder. It's me."
Her voice, which didn't sound quite her own,
only wavered slightly.