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22 February 2014 @ 10:25 am
Fic: "Girl Talk"  
Posted for estella_c by her LJ minion Wendelah.

Title: Girl Talk
Author: estella_c
Rating: Maybe R. A couple of swear words, some talk about sex but no action. I forget how these things work.

Summary: Matters of life, love, and death with the Scully sisters.

Author's note: I must say a word about my beta, Wendy, who is rigid, dictatorial, and nit-picky. In a word, excellent. She is also a dear friend, but you guys don't have to put up with the mushy stuff. I won't mention her again.

The Scully girls were not particularly close, and no one, even within the family, expected them to be. Melissa was always off on an adventure: dressing daringly, dating young, challenging the tenets of the Faith with Buddhist koans. When she left home to find her dreams, Dana remained dutiful. Her dreams were the parental dreams: higher education, a decent skirt length, marriage and family. She didn't have nighttime dreams herself—or forgot them by morning—and she certainly never did anything as lame as keep a dream diary. That diary was one of the few things still in Melissa's bedroom. That and flapper beads and a tie-dye maxi skirt.

But things change. There was medical school and the FBI, and the dating started to go nowhere. Who had time to fall in love like a teenager? Life was real and life was earnest, which Dana took to heart after Ahab died. And where was Melissa? In an ashram in Colorado with no bus fare.

Mulder was the biggest agent of change a good Scully girl could have encountered. “Do you believe in the existence of extraterrestrials?” Thank God for a hard science education. “Judging by....” But he was a brash, too-smart-for-school bully, and she just managed to keep his peculiar notions of Bureau business in check by carefully micromanaging the reports. It was an uneasy arrangement, but she had never failed an assignment in her life. And it was unexpectedly and addictively wild and crazy. For the first time, she thought she might understand her sister.

She was abducted. She was told all about that after it happened. Her memories were gone. Except: pain. She remembered that. And something about a rowboat with no oars. Mulder gave her a football video. Dork. Maybe Ahab had been right about women in law enforcement. Melissa, who had shown up to attend her death, was happy to advise her now that she had to keep living.

“That guy is seriously hot.”

“Mulder? Please. Don't even start. He's going to get killed. He's going to get me killed.”

“Oh, I don't recommend office romances. A major cause of joblessness. Plus he was too busy playing espionage games to come to the hospital.”

Scully—when did she turn into Scully?--became defensive. “He was probably trying to find out what happened to me. He's very loyal. And you'd be amazed how little time we spend in the office.”

“Well, he finally showed up,” Melissa conceded. She smiled in a slightly smarmy way. “So, do you share hotel rooms?”

“Melissa, Mulder has gotten me into messes. That particular mess we have avoided.”

So Melissa exited with a Melissa smile, and she settled in DC, the better to arrange Scully's mental therapy. Then—with cruel yet typical abruptness—she was killed.


Losing a husband and two daughters, one permanently, had put Maggie Scully into a strange state. She smiled, cooked, cleaned like a robot, but her eyes had a permanent glaze. She hugged Scully compulsively as though she were trying hard not to blame her daughter for her hell of deprivation. Scully went home as often as she could stand it. She picked up Melissa's dream diary, which in actuality had devolved into an awake diary. Not much there. “That kid stares too much at Bobby. God, she doesn't have breasts yet. We'll take her to The Exorcist and she'll scream like a little girl and that will settle that.” Actually, Dana chortled through The Exorcist. Melissa's big-sister condescension once would have irritated her. Instead, she felt tears coming. Too much of that. Scully still never dreamed, but she sometimes woke up and had to wipe her eyes.

Who the hell was Bobby?

Melissa was in the St. Mark's graveyard and her killer was in jail and Scully was giving sober thought about how death had become part of her working day. She had had a big sister and she had not valued that enough. Now, now she wanted the kind of girl talk some extraverts couldn't get enough of. So one night she fell asleep, with the help of carefully monitored medication. And there she was, the beautiful big sister, chiffon hiked high over her crossed knees and cigarette in hand. She was sitting in a comfortable-appearing rose plush chair that flattered her coloring. She was smiling.

“You shouldn't smoke.”

“I'm dead. You forgot.”

“Yeah, I did. What is this place?” Scully herself was semi-lying on a couch. It looked like a psychiatrist's office. Missy liked her shrinks.

“An in-between place, neither here nor there. If you were Native American you'd get it. I just thought we should have a conversation.”

“My life is totally twisted up.” Scully put her head in her hands. This was so real. But welcome. Girl talk at last. “Mom blames me for your death and Mulder is behaving like a jerk, flirting with local law. Normally he hates cops.”

“Mags will get over it. She's not going to turn on her only girl. She loves you and she likes Mulder. She bonded pretty firmly with him while you were gone. So do you.”

“He's my partner.”

“Shove it. You like him. Like as in high school.”

“Melissa,” Scully sighed, “you never got out of high school, psychologically speaking.”

“I'm dead now. I know things. I talk to other dead people. Incidentally, Ahab is doing well. Hangs out with Navy buddies. And we all love Emily. She's so sweet.”

Scully thought she should be feeling this more intensely. Dream state seemed to have calmed and clarified her emotions. She thought about Mulder. She did like him. She hated Bambi Berenbaum. She hated Inspector White. They were respectable professional women who had never injured her. She hated them. In her dream she had the distance to admit it, whereas in real life she couldn't even feel it.

She was jealous. Thank God she'd be forgetting this.

“And he definitely has it bad for you. I wasn't entirely truthful last time. And I have new-found insight. He was bleeding inside. Men show their love with football videos. The ones without romance practice.” She smiled and drew on her cigarette, which made Scully want one. “He's kind of high school too.”

“Oh, Missy--”

Scully was about to ask for a cigarette when she woke up. She had dreamed! She remembered! She lay there thinking about her sister with the pretty chiffon skirt and the cigarette. She missed Melissa with a passion. She was ready to bring it all back. Beyond the cigarette, however, it was not to be. She went to brush her teeth. And while she was enforcing the up-down-sideways discipline, she remembered that she was in love with Mulder.

It seemed impossible.

Was that what whatsername had said? Love? As if. She regarded Mulder in as objective a way as she could manage after having saved his life several times. Runner, in decent shape for a skinny guy, smart, good hair, too good at sarcasm, physical flaws but still kind of handsome, loyal, needy, crazy, seriously hot...

Dana, get a grip. She was Dana now, because Mulder sometimes said “Scully” in a way that had her turning bright red, and here she was staring at her blush and chewing on her toothbrush.

She must remain Dana. Or, in moments of emergency, “Starbuck.”


Life with Mulder. It went on, rife with bumps and wobbles and puzzles. Scully successfully suppressed her inconvenient attraction to her partner, but she thought she should leave the X-Files, she knew she should, and she didn't. Mulder was more interesting than dead bodies. They had a spat about her nonexistent desk and she tried a one-night stand in Philadelphia. Didn't work out. Scully was an FBI agent and the insignificant other was a drug-addled killer who tried to stuff her into a furnace. Nothing in common except unhappiness. There was no Mr. Right.

And she knew, when she got the films that displayed her brain cancer, that there never would be.

During the cancer, while Mulder got into fights and flights of evasive investigation, Scully sort of hoped she'd hear from her sister. Would it kill her to show up and say that a miracle awaited, or that the afterlife was okay? Bad choice of words. Actually, there was a brief visitation, she thought, but all she could remember was the word “vial.” What was that supposed to mean? Or maybe it was “vile,” and there were a number of subjects to attach that to.

For example, the bastards had done something destructive to her reproductive system. No progeny. Oh, who cared. The last thing she needed was a kid. She made that her mantra, three times at least per day. And Mulder was more than enough of a responsibility. He ran away and hired some quack to drill holes in his head. He was driving himself crazy and taking her with him. But he had rescued her from death before, and she knew he was still trying though it was useless. Crazy.

Then, after she metasisized and had called in the diocesan cavalry, or poor Maggie had, Mulder showed up with something in a metal...vial. Oh.

She loved Mulder. Her feelings had reverted to warm and friendly.


Scully had started to regard Mulder surreptitiously and speculatively, and was not doing a great job of it. As in: “What the heck are you mad about now? I put in the desk requisition. I know—you need coffee.” There was definitely some do-we-have-to-talk? evasion going on. The man was relationship-phobic. He probably assumed they were a forcing house for disagreements. And he already had enough disagreements in an innocent partnership.

Maybe she could just get him home and take her clothes off. Wondering how Mulder would be at sex was no substitute for having the sex, then having the decision. But something terrible happened. Something else.

It turned out that she already had a child. Melissa called her to let her know. And the little girl was terminally damaged and died. She was small and sweet and had no future. Scully's enemies—she was hoping not God—were overstating the message that she was not born to be a mother. She was a pawn in some hideous game that had invaded her body and was turning her into an object of pity. Mulder had tried to help in absolutely the worst way; he beat people up and kept secrets. She kept working but she went numb. She didn't like Mulder anymore. And she didn't want to talk about it.

Time passed. It wasn't all bad. Nor was it all good. Mulder's old partner showed up. She didn't trust her, but Mulder did. Her heart hardened further. Then they set fire to the office. Them. No more funny files. She remembered putting her arms around her partner, feeling very, very bad for him. And of course that was the reason for the numb. Feeling for other people who suffer is worse than suffering yourself, when there's nothing you can do. Hold onto the distance. Mulder had almost kissed her once—it was hazy, because she'd been kidnapped again and talk about numb—but she couldn't remember why. It obviously wasn't because he wanted her. All he had to do was knock on a goddam motel door. But sex was not suggested. And that didn't seem to matter.

Then they had an extremely weird case, and by saying that she meant much weirder than all the other humdrum impossible situations that she continued to lie about. They were tooling around in Area 51 and were righteously challenged and turned back by officers of a superior bureau. The FBI, it seemed, had no prestige left.

Mulder afterward turned into a different person. He sucked up to the brass and he fondled the secretaries. He asked her on a date. Right then she knew. It wasn't Mulder.

On impulse, she dug out Melissa's old diary and started to take incredulous notes. She resolved to keep calm and make a plan. Whoever it was would reveal itself eventually, though it certainly couldn't be Eddie Van Blundht again. He was a nasty, lecherous Mulder clone who looked at her as though she were a fuckable woman. It was horrible. But when she slapped the handcuffs on this creep, on a new waterbed, under a mirror, she realized she was no longer numb. She wanted Mulder back. She liked him again.

She got him back. At first she thought he was the ugliest dude she'd ever been physically attracted to. But abruptly everything was almost normal. There was a strange double-memory sensation that finally went away, leaving just her wise-cracking, pretty partner. Life with Mulder was so strange, so thoroughly undocumented, that it might be best to abandon the rational rock-face and glide. She found herself smiling a lot. Soon they were called to a little place in Kansas with a problematic climate and work was fun again. The problem turned out to be a sexually frustrated meterorologist who asked Mulder for dating advice. Scully had Navy discipline. She could always keep from laughing. But on the phone she permitted herself to grin.

She caught his eye one caffeinated evening in the bullpen and kept staring. He stared back. She nodded, smiled, and left him with the tail end of the shitwork.

That night, she ordered Melissa to come and was miraculously able to sleep without Ativan. And there they were, hanging out on a lovely, wisteria-draped veranda. Mel was sipping something with mint and, Dana knew, alcohol. “You can't have one, Dana,” she grinned. “You couldn't taste it anyway.” She had done something to her hair that reminded her sister of daffodils, and wore a fabulous pair of iridescent earrings. What a nice death she was having. There seemed little rebel left in her. She was pure Tallulah.

“I want to remember this time,” Scully said. “I have something important to talk about.”

“That Dreamland affair? Kind of fun, huh?

“What do you mean?”

“Oh, you forgot after all. I thought I could save that for you. Mulder as a womanizer. A whole other point of view. Thought it might be stimulating. Anyway, you've decided to take him to bed.
You want him and even if he didn't want you, which he does, he'd avail himself of the opportunity. He's as sex-starved as you are.”

“He isn't marriage material. I'm not either. ”

“Oh, who the hell is. And where in your brain is this “marriage material” stuff coming from. You sound as though you're channeling Mom. Anyhow, you don't need marriage. You just yearn for Mulder's child.”

“Shut up! You haven't acquired tact from all those great people you have access to. I can't have a baby, and you know it.”

“Dana, you will bear a child, and you will call his name William.”

Scully took a very deep breath. “That's not funny!”

“It's not my idea, actually. Aren't there too many Williams around already? And things are not going to get easier for you. You'll have to fight to keep him diapered and get him weaned and keep him out of the hands of evil men.”

“You're being cruel.”

“Don't you believe in miracles? You certainly should after all the crap you've seen. Don't argue. You will bear...”

“Stop it.”

“Hey, you're dreaming, don't get upset. It will be cool, if you play it right. And don't start throwing money away on those fertilization specialists. You'll need your money. This will not be an immaculate conception. There will be lots of sex.” Melissa sipped her drink. “I take an interest in that. I might look in on you.”


“Who else. You two are in love, remember? Or maybe you don't. I can't believe you're my sister. You could bump into a tree while you're trying to identify the leaves. You could really hurt yourself. And you have more than enough other people trying to hurt you.” She sipped meditatively. “You are not an easy gig.”

“Mel, you're not a guard--”

“Oh, no, no, no, nooo. Such a cliché. This is voluntary. Geez, Dana, we are sisters. Shouldn't I care about you?”

“I guess.”

Melissa looked a little hurt. She chugged her julep and walked to crouch in front of Scully. “Please believe me. Please don't be scared. Hard times will come, but there will be fun and days of pure pleasure. You'll almost die, but you again will not. Grasp your life and enjoy every bit of it.” There was a mellow, wisterian thickening of the air between them. Melissa cupped her sister's cheek. “And I can tell you that that guy is excellent in the sack. I ran into a woman...”

Scully wished Melissa had recognized the perfect moment to stop. So Scully stopped. Woke right up. The sun was shining. It was Saturday.

She stripped the bed and checked what was in the fridge. Later, she called Mulder. She told him to come over and bring beer. He seemed bemused.

“So, you want to talk over the weather case? That woman threw herself at me. Or, I guess we could watch the game.”

“Your choice. But first we'll have sex.”

There was a necessary pause. “Okay, then.” Click.

Scully smiled. Sometimes he said exactly the right thing.
peace like the ham in a sandwich: scully in pilotidella on February 22nd, 2014 10:53 pm (UTC)
This is fabulous. So much fun. I chortled a lot, even though canon kept happening. Like it does. Your Melissa voice is the best. I love the relationship between Melissa and Scully here. I'm going to have to read this again, definitely.
estella_cestella_c on February 22nd, 2014 11:09 pm (UTC)
You are very sweet. I got canon screwed up a lot; just ask Wendy. You know, writing is HARD.
Gramma Lunacylanalucy on February 22nd, 2014 11:29 pm (UTC)
"But first we'll have sex." :snorfle:

Love that.
estella_cestella_c on February 22nd, 2014 11:40 pm (UTC)
Hey, I have my priorities straight.
All the letters I can writewendelah1 on February 22nd, 2014 11:53 pm (UTC)
This turned out so well. You should be pleased. I know I am. Yes, writing is hard but it's worth the effort, don't you think? I hope I was dictatorial, nit-picky and rigid--but in a wonderful way.

Favorite lines:

And I have new-found insight. He was bleeding inside. Men show their love with football videos. The ones without romance practice.

Very wry humor.

And this was lovely and insightful:

She remembered putting her arms around her partner, feeling very, very bad for him. And of course that was the reason for the numb. Feeling for other people who suffer is worse than suffering yourself, when there's nothing you can do. Hold onto the distance.

It's amazing the way you weave together the light and dark elements of the series, alternating comedy and tragedy without losing control of the tone or the narrative line.
estella_cestella_c on February 23rd, 2014 12:01 am (UTC)
Your praise is astonishing. You have made me happy enough to sleep w/o dreaming. And you know I didn't mean the rigid thing. Dictatorial and nit-picky, yes.
Lara / larmay --- (llarmay @ my personal journal): TV Show_04larmay on February 23rd, 2014 04:12 pm (UTC)
So pretty and funny :D
Thanks for sharing :)
estella_cestella_c on February 23rd, 2014 07:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks back atcha.