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Title: "Five Snippets From An Alternative Season 8"
Author: [livejournal.com profile] missmonkeh
Characters: Dana Scully, Marita Covarrubias, Alex Krycek, John Doggett, Walter Skinner
Rating: Gen
Genre: AU
Word Count: 1118

Summary:
So I was intending to do a full season-length season of minifics, but Real Life got in the way and I ended up with five. Five seemed like a good number, so I'm going to roll with it. Here, for your reading pleasure (I hope) is my offering, "Five Snippets From An Alternative Season 8" (I actually do have an entire Alternative Season 8 planned out in my brain, in which Marita and Krycek team tentatively with Skinner, Doggett and Scully to find Mulder. Maybe one day I'll actually get to committing it to virtual paper...)

1) Requiem, Reprise

It seems as if the entire world has been granted access to Scully's hospital bed, so when Marita Covarrubias turns up, hardfaced as a brick wall, smelling like too much hairspray and freshly-applied lipstick, she can't even muster enough energy to feign surprise.

"We want to help you," she says. Her crossed arms and tense, unsmiling expression suggests that the 'we' comes under duress. She looks almost as tired as Scully feels.

"Is that so." Blunt, unperturbed. Covarrubias arches a perfectly-groomed eyebrow. Fine, Scully thinks. If this is how we're going to play it. "I assume that you're going to help whether I agree to it or not?"

A small, rueful twitch of the lips. It's as close to a smile as Scully has seen from Covarrubias, and on some level it makes sense. If you fight fire with fire, why not fight ice with ice? "That's about the size of it," she says. "Alex seems to think he's an invaluable resource in the search for Mulder."

She must owe him some kind of favour, Scully thinks. She doesn't seem the type to play messenger. Certainly not in those heels. "And you?" she asks.

The smile fades. Covarrubias's eyes narrow in suspicion. Strange, how such an innocuous question elicits such a reaction. Except it hadn't been innocuous, and she’d been smart enough to figure that out.

"You'll never find him alone," Covarrubias says.

"Who said I was alone?" Scully replies.

If she sees through the lie, Covarrubias is courteous enough not to mention it.


2) The devil you know

There is to be an official FBI taskforce assembled to search for Mulder. This is what they tell Scully when returns to the office and finds it ransacked (she notes, with some displeasure, that even that damned poster Mulder insists on keeping is askew.) The man leading it is tall, straight-shouldered, observing her in that carefully neutral way which suggests he has already heard quite a bit about her. Ex-military. She can tell just by looking. He reminds her fleetingly of her father.

His name is John Doggett, and he manages to piss her off in record time, asking all the wrong questions in the wrong tone, with his rigid military posture and feigned politeness. If this officious asshole is to take charge of locating Mulder, then Scully intends to have a backup plan.

“We can’t trust him,” Skinner whispers to her as she punches the number into her cellphone, and she remembers him lying in a hospital bed, all swollen veins and thin, thready breathing. She pauses mid-motion.

"Do you have a better idea?" she asks.

He looks pained; any idea is better than this one, and yet he's come up empty. He must understand, then. This is not capitulation. It's desperation.

"Agent Scully," the voice at the end of the phone says.

"Hello, Krycek," Scully replies.


3) No rest for the wicked

There’s only so much time one can spend pining, and the rest of the time is equally divided between poring over old documents procured from Mulder’s apartment in the hope that she might find some indication as to where they’ve taken him, and working.

There’s a certain surreal feeling about her work now; a strangeness she hasn’t felt since the early days, when the X-Files were Mulder’s plaything. Now it’s as much her domain as his, and yet she can’t shake the feeling that she’s an intruder playing at paranormal investigation. Wasn’t she supposed to be the rational one? And now she’s sitting opposite a typically incredulous Skinner, trying to explain that the sole link between a series of elaborate and grisly suicides appears to be a set of oil paintings. Haunted oil paintings.

So when Kersh tells her she’s to partner with Doggett, she’s not so much surprised as irritated. And she thinks, this is how Mulder must have felt, back in the beginning, knowing as he had that she’d been sent to spy on him. To invalidate the very existence of his life’s work. He’d welcomed her all the same. For all his flaws, Mulder was always gregarious.

Was? Strange, how the past tense seems so natural now.


4) One silver bullet and two Vicodin

It takes a remarkable amount of patience to explain to a particularly stubborn sceptic that the werewolf that just knocked you flat on your ass in the back alley of a New Jersey sandwich shop wasn’t just a man in an unseasonably early Hallowe’en suit. Scully is running low on patience and high on pregnancy hormones and that is why she’s giving him an earful in said back alley. Despite having been severely winded, and to his eternal credit, he remains stoic until she finishes ranting, breathless and pink about the cheeks.

“Whatever he was,” Doggett says, with a grimace, “I think the bastard broke my ribs.”


5) Bump in the night

She’s tried not to think too hard about her pregnancy, early as things are; the literature hints, in that flowery way pregnancy books do, about a whole host of things that can go horribly wrong and Scully figures she could do without the extra worry. She’s carting around enough for everyone right now. It’s been almost four weeks and they’re no closer to finding Mulder. She sleeps on his sofa, wrapped in musty blankets that no longer hold his scent. Is he out there somewhere, lying cold and alone in the woods? She’s caught herself staring up at the night sky more than once, wondering which cold white light might be a ship masquerading as a star. She’s laughed at herself for it more than once too.

Perhaps Mulder won’t come back. Perhaps she’ll turn into him, fill the Mulder-shaped void so prominent in her insular little world. When that happens, what will become of Scully? Her hand trails over her stomach, feeling the gentle swell. Nobody has commented on it yet. But then, nobody really knows.

A sound from the hallway startles her. She leaps to her feet, makes a grab for her sidearm, but she’s in her pajamas, and so she grabs the closest thing she has to a bludgeon; an empty bottle of beer (they say alcohol is verboten during pregnancy, but they’d probably also say that about chasing werewolves down boardwalks at midnight, if it weren’t such a niche pursuit.)

“Agent Scully,” a familiar voice says, from the shadows. “Didn’t take you long to hit the bottle.”

“Goddammit, Krycek,” she hisses. She sags back onto the sofa, heart pistoning in her chest. If she weren’t so relieved, she’d probably punch him in the teeth.

He smirks in response.

Actually, she still might.

~/~/~

Posted by me, for [livejournal.com profile] missmonkeh, as I did not manage to give her posting privileges in time for her to do it herself (head desk).

Your fearless leader, Wendelah
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