Title: Dana’s Malakim
Pairing: Scully/OFC (Logan)
Summary: Scully must identify Mulder’s body after his suicide. Dying of cancer, she now faces an uncertain future, a crisis of faith... and a new partner. Little does she know the extraordinary and incredible things she’s seen while with the X-Files are nothing compared to what’s to come.
Time line/Spoilers: AU. Starts immediately after S4E23 Demons.
Disclaimer: X-Files and its characters belong to C.C. and 1013 Productions. No copyright infringement intended, no money be made.
A/N1: Some dialogue taken directly from the show. Although I do a bit of research for my stories, I’ve never been a cop, doctor, herbalist, psychologist, or theologist.
A/N3: All mistakes are my own. Special thanks to oxfordshoes2 for the beta.
Friday, October 24th, 1997
Logan entered her apartment, leaving her front door open for her partner. By the time Scully joined her, the blonde had shed her suit jacket, plopped down in a chair, and was petting Lyssa who’d jumped up onto her lap. Logan knew what the redhead wanted. She knew this day had been inevitable, and part of her was surprised that it taken four months to happen. She also knew, despite the demand for answers, that her partner was not ready for the whole truth. So, she would tell Dana the truth... just not all of it.
Scully sat on the couch across from the blonde. She didn’t say anything, but everything about her yelled ‘talk!’
Logan took a slow breath. “You’ve heard the saying that the eyes are the windows to the soul.”
“Well, it’s not just a cliché. It’s true. When I’m looking into someone’s eyes... I see it.”
“Their soul. I see their soul and the damage done to it by their own actions, and by others.” She closed her eyes as if to block the images that came to mind. “I’ve seen souls so evil to make me wonder if there’s any good in the world. I’ve seen souls in so much pain it fills me with anger that anyone should suffer so.” She opened her eyes. “And I’ve seen souls that fill me with wonder and hope for humanity because they keep going and survive despite whatever has been thrown at them,” she finished quietly.
Scully was almost speechless. She certainly had not expected an answer like that. It was obvious Logan was sincere, but Scully couldn’t believe it. “You’re actually telling me that you see people’s souls?”
“Yes.” A simple and truthful answer. Logan stood, went into the kitchen and started the coffeemaker for some tea. She then returned to the chair and sat down again.
“How...” Scully stopped, struggling to find the right words to pose her question. “How does seeing a suspect’s soul...” She stopped again. “How did you know about Gerald’s father burning him?”
“You’re asking if I read his mind?”
“No. It’s hard to explain, but it was there in his soul. The soul remembers and knows so much... in some ways more than the mind, but it can also be controlled by the mind. Like I said, it’s hard to explain.”
Scully pondered that for a several moments before speaking again. “Are you always able to... see someone’s soul?”
“No. It’s easiest to do in a controlled setting like the interrogation room, or in private with someone close...” The blonde visibly changed the course of her thoughts. “It’s easiest in a controlled setting, but as you know, the majority of my time has been in the field. Fortunately, the ‘strength’ of my senses isn’t limited to my... sight.”
Both auburn eyebrows climbed into Scully’s hairline. “What do you mean by that?”
Logan went to the coffeemaker and fixed a couple of cups of tea. She gave Scully a small smirk as she handed her a cup and sat on the couch next to her. “How many times have I told you I’ve got a strong sense of smell?”
“So now you’re telling me you can smell a person’s soul?” Her skepticism was obvious.
“No. But evil has a definite... bouquet.”
“So not only do you smell almost nonexistent traces of cigarette smoke and bodies, but you also smell evil.”
Scully had come to trust the blonde a lot more than she had ever expected to, especially in such a short time. To say Logan was different was an understatement, but she’d never had a reason to call the blonde a liar or to doubt her sincerity. Logan went out of her way for Scully from the beginning. Her own mother had taken an instant and strong liking to the woman, calling the blonde a gentle soul.
Scully had seen and experienced too much since joining the X-Files to outright dismiss seemingly unexplainable things. But just as she’d told the blonde during that first dinner out together, she was a scientist and she wanted to investigate, test, and define things. She didn’t – couldn’t – believe in every wild idea, myth, or legend.
“Have you ever been in the presence of unquestionable evil, Dana?”
Logan’s question caused Scully to think back and remember... Donnie Pfaster. Oh, yes, she had definitely been in the presence of evil. “Yes, I have.”
“How did you know?”
“I felt it,” the redhead replied, feeling a chill run down her spine at the memory of it.
Logan nodded. “And you didn’t doubt it, did you?” It wasn’t really a question.
“Because you felt it, like a physical sensation, as real as burning your hand on the stove.”
“It’s the same for me, Dana. I sense it, I feel it, I smell it, as real as smelling your occasional cigarette.”
Put in those terms, and relating it to her own experience, it didn’t sound so... unbelievable to Scully. “Do you always sense it? I mean, can you always tell if someone is evil?”
The blonde let out a derisive bark. “Ha! Obviously not. For example: Gumby. Or Brian Monroe. Or how about the son of a bitch that blew my cover in Bucharest and got my partner Rishka murdered!” Logan closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths in an effort to calm herself after her outburst. She was still rather raw from the long interrogation of Gerald. She managed to hold back the tears that threatened to spill, but Scully didn’t miss the waver in her voice when she spoke.
“I’m sorry.” She opened her eyes. “I didn’t mean to take that out on you.”
Scully gave her partner’s shoulder a squeeze. “I know, Nicole. I understand.” She stood and took both her cup and Logan’s into the kitchen to refill them with more tea. She then came back out and again sat next to her partner. “Do all of them react the way Hitchman did?”
“No. You’ve seen me interview suspects and witnesses before. I don’t have to reach as deep with all of them.”
“Just the ones that are evil?”
“Gerald wasn’t evil, Dana. He was sick – because evil had been done to him. Given the chance, he was remorseful. Others aren’t.”
“Does that mean they won’t repeat when they’re released, if they’re remorseful?”
Logan shook her head. “It’s not that simple, Dana, you know that. Just because I get someone to confess doesn’t make them any different from any other perp. The decision to go straight is theirs. I can’t make anyone become something they’re not. Everyone has free will. Everyone has to choose what path they’re going to follow in life. And even if we find and follow the right path, we inevitably stumble along the way since none of us are perfect.”
Scully reviewed everything the blonde had told her so far. Something occurred to her. “You said it was easier in a controlled environment or in private with someone close. What did you mean by that?”
Logan let out a slow breath. “I’ve done it with people close to me. Under the right conditions it’s possible to actually share a connection, even send a thought to each other...” she trailed off, already saying more than she’d intended to. “The point is that it can be a shared experience, but I have to have eye contact. With strangers it takes effort to get past their barriers – some are harder than others. I try to wait until there’s an opening, but when there’s not I really have to push to get through.” And you’ve got the thickest walls I’ve ever encountered, Dana.
“Have you always had the ability to see souls and smell evil?”
“No. My... abilities emerged during adolescence. It sort of runs in the family. My mother didn’t have it, but my grandmother did.” The blonde took a deep breath and let it out. “Even so, it took time to work to develop and hone. I was fortunate to have my grandmother’s guidance and help,” she said softly. “Otherwise my choice would have probably destroyed me early on.”
“Why do you say that? What choice?”
Suddenly Logan couldn’t sit any longer. She got up and unconsciously paced a little before ending up in front of a window looking out, but not really seeing anything. Finally, she spoke in an emotion-laden voice. “I had the choice of developing and using my abilities or ignoring them and letting them atrophy and eventually disappear. In other words, I had to choose what path to follow...” Her voice trailed off so softly Scully had to strain to hear her.
The redhead didn’t miss the trembling of her partner’s hand as Logan reached out to place her cup on a shelf. Nor did Scully fail to notice the trembling spread to the rest of the blonde’s body. Scully got up from the couch and moved next to her partner. She put an arm around Logan’s waist. “Come and sit down, Nicole.” She guided the blonde back to the couch. “I’m going to get you something to drink,” she said once she got the blonde settled.
Having been in each other’s apartments enough to know where things were kept, Scully quickly opened the drawer that held the corkscrew. She then grabbed a bottle from the wine rack and a couple of wineglasses. Once she had the cork removed she returned to the living room. She sat down next to her partner again and poured her a glass of wine, which she encouraged Logan to drink. She refilled the blonde’s glass before she settled herself next to Logan with her own. Scully had one leg tucked up under her and was turned toward her partner. She kept her hand on top of Logan’s shoulder, unconsciously massaging the tightly corded muscles, trying to get Logan to relax.
“You said you had to choose what path to follow,” Scully prodded gently.
Logan turned her face partly towards Scully but didn’t look at her. She nodded. When she spoke, her voice was low and rough, as if she’d been crying for a while. Even her eyes were red and puffy, but no tears fell. “It’s not easy, Dana. My abilities have been called gifts...” she closed her eyes, “but there’s a price to be paid,” she whispered. She took a deep breath and let it out. She then opened her eyes and took a mouthful of the wine.
Even as Logan turned to look at her, Scully could clearly feel her pull away emotionally.
In a clearer voice Logan spoke, “I’m sorry, Dana. I shouldn’t be letting this out on you. It’s been a long day. I spent hours with Gerald and I’m worn out. It’s the weekend and you should go enjoy yours. I’ll be fine. I just need some rest.”
“It’s okay, Nicole. I want to know. I want to understand. Talk to me, please.”
Logan was silent for several moments as they looked at each other. Finally she took another deep breath and let it out. “Alright. But I refuse to go any further until we’re more comfortable. Come on, let’s get something more comfortable to wear than these suits.”
She got up and led the redhead to her bedroom. She pulled out a pair of sweatpants, socks, and a t-shirt for her partner, and a similar outfit for herself. She gave Scully a hanger to hang up her suit. They went back out to the living room. When Logan went into the kitchen to get another bottle of wine she also fixed a quick platter of cheese and crackers and fruit. She brought it out and set it on the coffee table.
“In case you’re hungry,” she told her partner quietly as she sat down. She poured the last of the wine from the first bottle into her glass. She finished it in only a couple of large gulps. She then filled both her glass and Scully’s from the new bottle and settled back on the couch. Logan had her foot up on the edge of the couch with her one knee up against her chest.
In that position, with the weariness in her face and eyes, she looks so... vulnerable. Vulnerable and... afraid. Scully was suddenly overwhelmed with a deep feeling of protectiveness for her partner. She felt the urge to hold her and tell her everything was going to be alright and make sure nothing ever hurt her again. I swear I won’t make you regret opening up to me. Please trust me, Nicole.
Scully eased closer to her partner and put her hand over the blonde’s hand that was resting on the couch. “Nicole, as I told you, I want to understand. I know I tend to be a bit skeptical about things I can’t logically explain,” she gave Logan a gentle self-depreciating smile, “but I want you to know that I do believe in you. So if it’s too painful for you to talk about this, it’s okay.” She gave Logan’s hand a gentle squeeze.
The blonde felt a lump suddenly appear in her throat big enough to prevent her from speaking at first. Tears burned behind her eyes. She turned her hand under Scully’s and clasped it as it again closed around hers. “Thank you...” she managed in a shaky whisper. “I believe in you, too, you know.”
Logan took a breath and let it out. “I think it’s time we talked about it... It just may not be very easy.”
The redhead gave her hand another gentle squeeze in answer.
“So, where were we?”
“You said there’s a price to be paid.”
With a deep breath Logan released Scully’s hand and leaned forward to pick up her glass of wine. Scully did the same but as she settled back against the couch she managed to move closer to the blonde, offering support through her nearness.
“Yes, there’s a price. When I see someone’s soul, and when I smell evil, I... I also feel it... because it’s necessary for me to open myself up to do it, to lower my barriers... Believe me, it can be a high price.”
Oh, God, no. How does she keep it from destroying her? Scully didn’t even realize at the time she no longer questioned Logan’s abilities – only how they affected her partner.
“If not for my grandmother’s help, her guidance...” she shook her head. “I wouldn’t have survived. She taught me how to... live with my choice.”
Scully waited a few moments before speaking. “Why did you choose to... develop your abilities?” she asked gently.
Logan closed her eyes and took a slow breath. “That’s something I’ve asked myself more than once.” She opened her eyes but wasn’t looking at anything other than the past. “But ultimately... it was the right choice, the right thing to do.” She took a drink from her wine. “Of course no one ever promised the right thing would be the easy thing.”
“Do you ever regret your choice?”
“Constantly,” she answered softly. She turned her head and looked and the redhead. “But that’s only a very small part of the picture. Taken in the whole... no.”
“If you stopped using your gifts, would they... go away?”
The blonde slowly shook her head. “The point of no return was many years ago. It’s one thing about which I no longer have a choice. The choice that remains is how I deal with the consequences, what path I follow.”
Scully leaned forward, poured herself some more wine, and snagged some fruit and cheese. “You speak of choices and paths a lot.”
“Sorry. But remember you are talking with a philosophy and theology major.”
“And a mystic?” Scully asked lightly and with warmth in her voice.
“Considering the topic of the evening, I guess you could call me a mystic,” Logan replied. “And a slightly tipsy one at that,” she added with a small smile.
The redhead returned her smile. “You should eat something.”
“Probably. But I’m not hungry.” She stood up. “I am however, in the mood for some of the good stuff,” she said on the way into the kitchen. Logan returned with a slightly dusty bottle of wine and the corkscrew, as well as two clean wineglasses. After setting everything down she took Scully’s glass from her hand. “You don’t want any more of that. This is what you want.”
“What is it?”
“Red Bordeaux. Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, Pauillac, 1959. It was one of my grandmother’s favorites,” she explained as she removed the cork. She poured some in both clean glasses. After handing her partner a glass, the blonde brought her own to her nose and swirled the wine. Her eyes closed and a smile appeared on her lips. “Mmmm...” she hummed in obvious pleasure. “Here’s to you, Grandma,” she whispered and took a sip.
Scully also swirled her glass when it was handed to her, smelling the bouquet. Though not a wine expert by any means, she enjoyed a good wine and it was her drink of choice. One whiff was enough to tell her that it was a very good wine. She heard the blonde’s whispered salute before she took her first sip. The flavor burst in her mouth and lingered after she swallowed.
“Oh, my god.” Scully looked at her partner who smiled at her.
“I told you,” Logan said with a smile. “My grandmother was a bit of wine connoisseur. She taught me an appreciation for fine wine. I was only able to find three bottles of this here. It’s nice to share with someone who appreciates and enjoys it. Thank you, Dana.”
“No, thank you. This is amazing.” She took another sip. “There’s a store not far from my place where I buy wine. They have a pretty wide selection. Maybe you could find it there, or see if they could order it for you.”
The blonde smiled. “You don’t understand, Dana. The three bottles I purchased were the only three available in the United States of this vintage. I have a few bottles of other vintages but they aren’t fully aged yet.”
Scully’s eyes widened. “I don’t want to know how much this cost, do I?”
Logan shrugged. “All that matters is that you enjoy it. Good wine is one of the few indulgences I allow myself. As I said, it’s nice to have someone who appreciates it to share it with.”
The redhead smiled. “You always have good wine, but this is in a class by itself. Thank you for sharing it.”
They were quiet for a couple of minutes as both women savored the wine.
Scully finally broke the silence. “You were close to your grandmother, weren’t you?”
The blonde nodded. “Yeah. She was an amazing woman. My mother was a single parent; when she died I went to live with my grandmother. Grandma was the smartest person I’ve ever known, and had a very dry sense of humor.”
Scully couldn’t miss the obviously love, respect, and affection in her partner’s voice as the blonde spoke of her grandmother. “Do you have a picture of her?”
Logan got up and retrieved a photo from her bedroom. She handed it to the redhead as she sat back down.
“You don’t talk about her much.”
Logan raised an eyebrow at her partner. She wasn’t upset with Scully, just surprised. “You don’t talk about your sister much,” she replied gently.
Scully took a breath and nodded, accepting the reply as it was intended. “Touché.”
As they enjoyed the fine wine Scully took the step, she opened up to her partner... to Nicole, her friend, and spoke about Melissa. She spoke of their differences, and how she thought her partner and her sister were similar and would have liked each other. She spoke of her sister’s murder and the guilt she felt.
“Considering how different our childhoods were, it amazes me sometimes how alike you and I really are, Dana. We have the same hang-ups about maintaining our professional personas at work and not letting anyone see our weaknesses. We both feel guilt over the death of a loved one, we’ve both lost a partner, and we’ve both seen and experienced things that are hard to explain. And neither of us likes to reveal very much of ourselves.”
They continued drinking wine and talking for a long time. Logan explained why she felt guilt over her grandmother’s death. Scully talked about her father, how close they were when she was a child, how she always sought his approval, and how he reacted to her choices in life, such as going to medical school and then joining the FBI. They both talked about their reasons for joining the FBI.
“You had your choice of a posting at Quantico as an instructor or in the VCU. Why didn’t you take either one of those? They were prime postings – especially coming right out of the Academy.”
“Because my grandmother’s killer was in Europe, and I could search for him on my own time.”
“Did you find him?”
“No.” She paused for a long moment. “Someone else did.”
“Do you know who?”
The blonde shook her head. “Well, I have my suspicions. But I’ve never asked... Sometimes it’s best not to question gifts,” she finished softly, thinking about the torn throat of the evil man who had murdered her grandmother.
The two women talked and drank wine long into the night. Ever the scientist, even though Scully didn’t doubt what her partner had told her, she inquired further about Logan’s abilities.
“Your abilities... how do you explain where they come from? What’s the source?”
Logan smiled at her partner’s attempt to understand, questioning without questioning her veracity. “The human brain is an incredible thing. Most people use, at most, 10% of its capacity. I imagine it’s nothing more than something that allows me to use some part of the 90% that’s not used or understood.”
“Have you ever had any tests done to check that?”
“No. It wouldn’t change anything for me one way or the other. I still have to deal with the consequences of my abilities.”
Eventually, after consuming quite a bit of wine, they both drifted to sleep right where they were on the comfortable overstuffed couch.
Saturday, October 25th, 1997
In the morning Scully woke up on the couch alone. Dana opened her eyes and saw a thermal mug on the coffee table with a note taped to it. She slowly sat up and pulled the folded note with her name on it off the side of the mug.
Drink the tea. It’ll make you feel better, I promise. There’s more in the kitchen. Your toothbrush is in the bathroom, along with clean towels and clothes. Help yourself to a shower or bath. You know where everything is. I’ll be back soon.
She immediately smiled. So typical of Nicole – thoughtful as always. Scully took the lid off the thermal mug and savored the hot tea. As usual, the tea seemed to have a soothing effect throughout her entire body. “Mmmm...” She drank the whole mug before she got up. She went into the kitchen and refilled it before making her way to the bathroom.
The redhead smiled again when she saw that Logan had deliberately set out her bath oil. Scully had once asked Logan what perfume she was wearing and the blonde had explained she wasn’t wearing any – what Scully smelled was the bath oil Logan had used. The redhead liked it so much she asked what brand and scent it was so that she could get some for herself. Logan explained it wasn’t available for purchase since it was custom made. The blonde had offered it in the past when Scully had stayed the night at Logan’s, but the redhead had always opted for a shower, not feeling quite at home enough to take a long, soaking bath in her partner’s home.
This time Scully decided to finally accept the offer. She filled the tub, added some of the bath oil and undressed. She eased into the hot water with a moan. She laid back and soaked for a while, letting the heat penetrate her muscles and bones, the scent further soothing her mind and senses. Scully didn’t fall asleep, but she did manage to find that place of peace and relaxation that only happened when she was completely at ease and had lowered her guard – something that only occurred when she was home alone and felt safe.
As soon as Logan came in from her run she knew Scully was in the bath because she could smell the bath oil. She smiled to herself. The redhead had always taken a shower previously, not feeling comfortable enough to take the liberty of a bath at her place. She started making breakfast.
Logan looked down at Lyssa. “Go let Dana know the food’s almost ready.”
Lyssa let out a quiet meow in response and trotted off to the bathroom.
The redhead felt a gentle tap on her shoulder. She reached up and pulled the washcloth from her eyes. She smiled at the small white cat sitting on the edge of the tub near her head and resting a furry paw on her shoulder.
“Meow,” Lyssa let out softly with little cock of her head.
“What is it, Lyssa?”
She let out another soft meow, leaned forward, and rubbed her cheek against Scully’s. She then jumped down and walked to the slightly ajar bathroom door, where she stopped, looked at the redhead over her shoulder, and let out a last meow before slipping out the door.
Scully finished up her bath and got out of the tub. She put on the clean clothes Logan had left for her and brushed her teeth. She came out to a kitchen full of wonderful smelling food.
Logan greeted her with a smile. “Great timing – food’s hot.”
Scully refilled her tea before sitting down at the table. They enjoyed their meal. Besides the food, the redhead was also enjoying the sight of a ruffled Logan who’d obviously gone for a long run in a skin tight tank top and rather skimpy running shorts. Then it dawned on her how unseasonably cold it was supposed to be that morning.
“Nicole, please don’t tell me you went for a run in those clothes!” she exclaimed.
The blonde looked up at her and smirked. “Of course I did – under my sweats, Dana. No, I wasn’t looking to freeze my ass off running through the streets of our nation’s capitol.”
“Not to mention cause a few accidents,” the redhead mumbled.
Logan clearly heard her partner, but gave her an out. “What?”
“Nothing. I can’t believe you went for a run in the first place. Especially after all that wine we drank last night,” she said with a smile.
“You’re being kind, Dana. Because you and I both know you didn’t drink half as much as I did last night.” She shrugged. “Just because I over indulged, doesn’t mean I can let other things slide. So I got up and ran to the gym, worked out, and ran home.”
“You went for a run and a workout?”
She nodded. “I do every Saturday we’re not on the road.”
Scully sat back in her chair and sipped her tea. “You’ve definitely got more self-discipline than I do.”
“I doubt that very much.”
Scully gave her partner a plainly skeptical look.
“Anyone who’s accomplished what you have and persevered through the things you have, has not only self-discipline but a strength of will and spirit to make the impossible possible.”
Scully was surprised by how deeply her partner’s words affected her. Her initial instinct was to discount Logan’s words – like she always did when someone complimented or flattered her. But Scully had been dismissed too many times in her life and career – even by Mulder. Knowing that the blonde didn’t say things she didn’t mean, and knowing her partner didn’t dismiss her, her accomplishments, her thoughts, her ideas, or her feelings in any way, touched her – deeply. She couldn’t quite find the words, but as she looked into her partner’s dark green eyes and gave a small smile and nod of thanks, words weren’t necessary – she saw clear understanding.
Logan picked up their plates and put them in the sink. “Just give me a couple of minutes to grab a shower and I’ll be right out.” She gave redhead’s shoulder a gentle squeeze as she passed.
It occurred to Scully that the blonde was the only person who touched her on a regular basis, and did so without hesitation. Her own mother was hesitant to touch her without any obvious invitation to do so. And she knew it was her own doing. She knew she had walls that were obvious to any and all to see. Logan had somehow found a way past them. Or just decided to ignore them, she thought with a small smile.
Scully got up and washed the dishes while Logan showered. The house phone rang. Scully wasn’t sure if she should answer it or not, but the answering machine picked up right away and saved her from having to decide.
“Hey, Nicole, it’s Linda. Call me as soon as you get this. I’ve got something I really want to show you. I think you’ll love it! You know my number – call me.”
Scully wasn’t too sure what to make of the message. For some reason it triggered something disconcerting in her, and she didn’t know why. Just what does Linda want to show Logan? And why do I care?
Logan came out dressed and smelling of vanilla and almonds. “Did I hear the phone ring?”
“Yes. Someone left a message for you on your answering machine.”