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.
Thursday, January 8th, 1998
The waitress poured Cardoza’s coffee after delivering Logan’s hot tea. He thanked the waitress and then she walked away.
After taking a sip of the tea, Logan put her cup down and met the man’s dark eyes. “Go ahead and ask, Agent Cardoza,” she said evenly.
“What’s with the dagger? And why did you have it consecrated by a Catholic priest?”
The blonde’s eyes fell to the shopping bag laying on the table. “I had the priest consecrate the dagger because the huongan asogwe was not available at the shop where I bought it.”
“Huongan asogwe – the Vodou high priest.”
“Insurance... just in case the perp is successful in his efforts.”
“You mean in resurrecting the demon Humbaba? You’re telling me you actually believe in demons?”
“I know there’s good and evil and that both manifest in a variety of forms, human or... otherwise.”
The two agents sipped their drinks in silence for a few minutes.
“So, what’s the plan for tonight, Agent Logan?”
“The plan is to stop whoever has been making the sacrifices before he claims another victim.”
“And if we’re too late?”
“Then I intend to use that dagger,” she nodded toward the bag, “and take out Humbaba.”
“Just like that? You’re going to face down a demon and simply ‘take him out’?”
“I never said it was going to be simple. If it actually comes to taking on Humbaba I expect things to be most difficult.” She paused for a beat. “And, I’d greatly appreciate it if you’d ensure Agent Scully is safe... regardless of what happens.”
The man shook his head. He couldn’t believe he was having a conversation with a beautiful and obviously intelligent FBI agent about fighting an ancient Mesopotamian demon. While he held a healthy respect for other religions such as Santeria and Vodou, he certainly didn’t believe in actual demons.
When Dana woke up it was almost 4:00 pm and she was hungry, so she ordered takeout – enough for her and Nicole – to be delivered. She changed while waiting for the food to be delivered. Once the food arrived she tapped on the unlocked adjoining door and pushed it open. She found her partner sitting on the bed dressed in sweats and a tank top and clearly in a state of meditation. She wasn’t quite sure what to do, or say, if anything. Nicole’s voice startled her when she spoke.
“It’s alright, Dana. Come on in.” The blonde opened her eyes and unfolded herself. “Smells good.”
“I got your favorite,” Dana said taking the Chinese food out of the bag and placing the boxes on the bed between them.
Dana decided to voice her doubts as they started their meal. “Nicole, the killer can’t really resurrect a demon, can he?”
“We’ve discussed the reality of evil before. Demon is just one label. But I can tell you this, what I felt in that room was as evil as anything I’ve come across.”
Dana heard the strain in the blonde’s voice and remembered how Nicole reacted when she laid her hand on the floor next to the emblem. “You did have a rough time in the room,” the redhead said gently.
Dana reached out and put her hand on her partner’s leg, giving it a light squeeze. “Hey, you okay?”
“Yeah,” she replied with a sigh. “I just need to prepare myself for tonight; make sure that Humbaba can’t get past my barriers. He’s not going to go without a fight.”
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
Nicole shook her head. “No. Nothing other than to prepare yourself.”
“Humbaba was let loose ‘as a terror to human beings.’ Do you have any idea how he was described?” she asked rhetorically. “‘When he looks at someone, it is the look of death.’ ‘Humbaba’s roar is a flood, his mouth is death and his breath is fire!’” She paused. “You can be sure that if he is resurrected, he will use your own worst fear against you. You’ll need to lock it down, hide it away so that he can’t use it against you.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve gotten quite good at burying things,” Dana responded with a rueful look.
The blonde nodded.
When they finished eating, Dana decided to lie down until it was time to go. Nicole silently closed their adjoining door. She then stripped and released her wings. She anointed herself with aromatic oil and lit a candle. She then began her prayer, asking for the strength to face Humbaba and to protect those around her while she did.
12387 SW 101st Street
“That tea is much better for you.”
She let out a small sound of amusement and shook her head. I never thought I’d prefer her tea to coffee... not that I’d give her the satisfaction by admitting it, she thought with a small smile. She eyed the bag sitting on the dashboard. “Are you going to tell me what’s in the bag?”
“What do you mean?”
“Something I hope we won’t need.”
Not satisfied with the blonde’s answer Dana reached for the bag. She didn’t know what she expected, but she definitely didn’t expect what she found. “A dagger?!”
“It’s been consecrated.”
Dana could think of absolutely nothing to say.
Friday, January 9th, 1998
Nicole was getting antsy and actually startled when the radio crackled to life. It was Cardoza checking in from his viewpoint of the back of the house.
“I haven’t seen any movement at all. Are you sure we’re in the right place?” His tone made his own opinion quite clear.
The blonde picked up the radio. “This is the only place that fits.” She paused as she looked at the clock on the dash board – 2:23 am. “But if he doesn’t show up soon it’ll be too late for the ritual to be performed tonight,” she finished with a sigh then set the radio down again.
“We’ve been sitting here waiting for the killer to show up.”
“But what if...”
“What if what?” Nicole prompted when the redhead didn’t finish.
“What if he’s already here? What if he’s always been here?”
The blonde’s head whipped around to look at her partner, eyes widening as realization and dread filled her. After only a moment Nicole grabbed the dagger, quickly got out of the car, and all but ran to the front door of the house. Dana scrambled to grab the radio, let Cardoza know they were going in, and then tried to catch up to her partner. She saw Nicole throw her shoulder into the obviously thick wooden door. Dana was surprised it gave way so easily. With gun drawn she followed her partner into the house.
It was dark inside, no light coming from the streetlights through the covered windows. Nicole was able to move in the darkness effortlessly, but Dana needed to get her flashlight out.
Dana followed her partner’s voice up the stairs to the second floor. She heard Cardoza come in the back door and follow her.
Nicole aimed her weapon at the naked, blood-covered man kneeling on the floor. He was surrounded by lit candles and the body of his latest victim lay directly in front of him. He had cut her open and removed her heart – he was holding it in his hand. Nicole felt Dana enter the room then saw her move to the side wall from the corner of her eye. Cardoza entered and started to gag at the butchery.
The man glared at Nicole. “You’re too late. Humbaba rises tonight.” He suddenly brought the heart to his mouth and took a bite.
“NOOO!” Nicole shot him in the shoulder, knocking him back... but it was too late. The ritual was complete.
Before Dana or Cardoza could even think about moving, a thick column of pitch black smoke shot up from the center of the symbol drawn on the floor. All three of the agents were blown back against the walls by some invisible force.
Dana was knocked out.
Javier Cardoza was on the floor crying out and writhing in pain. Having watched his father crippled with a degenerative and debilitating neurological disease, his greatest fear was to suffer the same painful fate.
Nicole recovered the quickest. She pulled the dagger from where she’d tucked it in her belt. “Everyone stay down!” Her words were almost drowned out by an unearthly roar. She took a breath and then threw herself into the pillar of smoke, disappearing.
The suspect was yelling for Humbaba to empower him when Nicole came flying out of the smoke pillar and slammed against a wall, crumpling to the floor like a rag doll. A deafening roar sounded and a nebulous, roiling, head-shaped protuberance of black smoke extended towards the suspect. It loomed over the suspect for a moment before a mouth formed and opened. Flames shot out of the mouth and immolated the man. He died screaming.
The head moved and started to bear down on Dana where she was beginning to move. She opened her eyes but what she saw was the image of the crazed Duane Barry who had abducted her. She had no memories of the weeks she was missing, but nightmares were a different story. She was frozen, unable to move as her nightmares were given life and an icy hand of terror constricted around her heart and stole her breath.
Having caught her breath and cleared her head, Nicole launched herself into the pillar of smoke again. The ‘head’ pulled back into the smoke column. The column of black smoke turned into a writhing, coiling, bucking thing with Nicole hanging on for dear life while trying to stab it with her dagger. It slammed the blonde against the ceiling, the walls, and the floor as it fought to dislodge her.
Finally, Nicole must have struck something vital, because the demon let out another deafening roar and belched fire, setting the ceiling and one wall on fire. An indescribably ugly face formed and lunged at Cardoza, who had finally stopped moaning and writhing in pain. He let out a scream of terror and scrambled to get out of the room. The demon then gave a final lunge at Dana, spending the last of its energy trying to permanently lock her inside her nightmare.
And then it was gone.
Nicole landed on the floor with a thud, knocking the wind out of her. It wasn’t until a hot ember landed on her arm that she moved. Coughing as she drew in heated smoke, she crawled over to where her partner lay on the floor.
“Dana! We have to get out of here!”
The redhead didn’t respond to Nicole. Dana’s eyes were open but she was locked inside her own worst nightmare. The blonde was going to have to carry Dana out of the burning room. She slipped her arms under Dana’s body, noting how little she weighed, even in the urgency of their situation.
Nicole managed to carry her partner down to the first floor and out to the front yard where she found Agent Cardoza slowly regaining his wits. She set Dana down on the grass.
“Call the fire department,” Nicole ordered Cardoza.
She then turned her attention to her partner. “Dana, can you hear me?... Dana!”
The redhead didn’t – couldn’t – respond. She was locked inside her own mind, her own greatest terror.
Nicole had to reach Dana or lose her forever. The blonde knelt and took Dana’s face between her hands and locked eyes with her. “Look at me, Dana. Focus on me. It’s not real!” She reached out mentally, seeking to connect with Dana’s soul. None of the redhead’s usual walls were in place, but her mind and soul were captive to her terror. Nicole had to get through the fear to reach her partner. She pushed, confronting Dana’s terror... taking it into herself.
Shattered images... Duane Barry... pain... faceless beings... fear... surgery... isolation... desperation... loneliness... unknown voices... monsters...
It’s not real, Dana! Fight it! Don’t you dare die on me, Dana! I can’t lose you! Come back, Dana!
Watery blue eyes slowly swam into focus, eventually seeing the dark green eyes of her partner – her friend – calming her, anchoring her in the real world rather than that of her nightmares. “Nicole?”
The blonde nodded. Knowing Dana was alright, Nicole let go of her and slumped down onto the grass and lay back. Every single bone and muscle was sore and she was exhausted. She didn’t even move when the sirens announced the arrival of the fire department.
After making sure Agent Cardoza was alright, Nicole took Dana back to their hotel. There was a strained silence between them. Dana was embarrassed about succumbing to Humbaba’s power and letting her fear show. Nicole was trying to settle herself after coming so close to losing Dana... and feeling the redhead’s deep-seated fear directly. She was drained, sore, and desperately needed to re-center herself. However, she wasn’t about to leave her partner alone after what had happened.
They both changed clothes as soon as they got to the hotel. Nicole knocked on the adjoining door.
“How are you?”
“I’m fine, Nicole.”
The blonde gave her a look that was not judgmental, but clearly let her partner know she didn’t believe her. There was also pain in Nicole’s eyes, which didn’t escape Dana’s attention. Nicole sat on the side of the bed.
“I’m sorry, Dana.”
Those certainly weren’t the words the redhead expected. “What for?” she asked, surprised.
“When Humbaba attacked you... when I helped you...”
“Thank you for that.”
Nicole shook her head. “You don’t understand, Dana.”
“I... I invaded your privacy,” she said quietly. “I didn’t know how else to reach you, how else to pull you out of his grip...”
“What are you talking about?” Dana asked, not understanding.
“I had to use my... abilities. I saw into your fear, Dana... I was there with you. I had to be, to help you, but I did it without your permission.”
Dana finally understood what her partner was getting at. “It’s alright, Nicole. You only did what you had to,” she said sincerely.
“So we’re okay?”
“Of course we are.”
Nicole gave a small nod. “Good.” She paused. “Agent Cardoza talked about his experience, but you haven’t said a word. Do you remember it?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.” Tears suddenly glistened in Dana’s eyes.
“I think you should.” When Dana said nothing, Nicole continued. “You were alone and terrified.”
She closed her eyes, unable to face Nicole, afraid she would see pity in the blonde’s eyes. “It was when Duane Barry abducted me. He kept me locked in a room for a few days. I don’t remember anything after that, but a microchip was implanted in the back of my neck, and there’s reason to believe... it’s responsible for my cancer,” she said softly. “I was missing for several weeks and have no memory of that time.” She took a shaky breath. “It’s always been my biggest fear – that I’ll die alone and powerless... and afraid... so the thought of something like that happening again has been...”
Nicole said nothing, sensing the redhead’s need to keep talking.
“During the last few years... there hasn’t been much opportunity to meet anyone – especially someone who could understand the job and the commitment it requires.”
Nicole understood all too well Dana’s loneliness. “I know what you mean,” she agreed softly. “Are you okay?”
Dana nodded. “Yeah. I just need to unwind and relax for a while.”
“Okay. I think I’ll go for a run.”
Nicole had left on her run and Dana had decided to take a long, hot bath. During her bath she was able to relax the knots in her muscles and her stomach. She had been twisted up inside by her encounter and experience with Humbaba.
Part of her did not want to acknowledge what had happened as real – that she had been in the grips of an ancient demon. Nor did she want to acknowledge that her partner had somehow fought and defeated said demon. On the other hand, she could not deny what she had seen, heard, felt, and experienced firsthand. It had all been too real.
Dana got out of the tub, dried off, washed her face, and put on her pajamas even though it was early afternoon. She turned on the TV just to have some background noise and then opened her laptop.
She tried to sort her thoughts from her feelings so she could complete her case notes. Once she was done with the facts of the case, Dana closed out her case file and opened her journal. She needed to sort her feelings out. Her journal didn’t often dwell on feelings, but when she did need to deal with them, it was the only outlet she usually allowed herself.
It was while she was putting her feelings into words that it suddenly hit her, the magnitude of what her partner had done – and what it had cost the blonde. To save her, Nicole had had to lower her barriers and experience Dana’s terror with her. She had to leave herself completely vulnerable to Humbaba’s evil. It hadn’t been all that long ago that they had discussed what such actions did to Nicole – what kind of price she paid.
Oh, my god, Nicole, what did you do? You made sure Agent Cardoza was okay, and you made sure I was okay, but who’s making sure you’re okay? After everything you did to protect yourself from the demon you went and dropped all your barriers, leaving yourself completely open and vulnerable to it, completely unprotected... to save me. What has it cost you?
It was dark when Nicole got back to the hotel. Her run had lasted literally for hours. She’d managed to hold her tears back until she made it to quiet beach. After giving in to her need to cry she ran until her tears stopped; then she ran until her muscles hurt more than her heart and soul; then she ran until both her body and mind were numb. Even so, she knew the nightmares would still come. But at least she would have a few hours of relative peace.
She came in, her clothes and hair dripping with sweat. As soon as Dana heard the blonde’s door close she came through the adjoining door, almost running.
Nicole turned at looked at her wearily.
“Are you okay? You’ve been gone for hours,” Dana said with concern.
“Yeah. But I need a shower,” she replied flatly.
With that Nicole went into her bathroom and closed the door. Dana heard the shower start only a couple of seconds later. She was still waiting when her partner came out of the bathroom, after Nicole’s 45-minute shower, wrapped in the thread bare hotel towel.
“Is there something I can do for you, Dana?” the blonde asked as she dropped the towel and slipped on a pair of sweats and a tank top. She turned around to look at her partner.
Dana was concerned by the dullness in the blonde’s eyes. “I was hoping there was something I could do for you,” she said gently. She continued when Nicole didn’t respond. “Nicole, it wasn’t very long ago you told me how much of a price you paid when you lowered your barriers to evil.”
Nicole simply lowered her eyes and took a deep breath.
“I know you had to lower your barriers to help me the way you did this morning. So I know you must be hurting. You spoke to Agent Cardoza and made sure he was okay; and you listened to me, made sure I was okay. Now I’m here, for you... to make sure you’re alright.”
Nicole sat down and let out a sigh. “I won’t say it was a picnic, but... I’m okay. I’ve been through worse, Dana, much worse.”
“But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt... does it?”
“No, no it doesn’t,” she replied quietly.
“How do you deal with it?”
“I work out; I go for runs... stuff like that.”
“You went on a pretty long run today.”
Nicole nodded. “Yeah. It took me a while to get... settled.”
“I’m sorry, Nicole.”
“It’s my fault.”
The blonde gave Dana a confused look. “How do you figure that?”
“If I’d been strong enough and not given in to my fear, you wouldn’t have had to lower your barriers and expose yourself to Humbaba.”
“It wasn’t your fault, Dana.”
“But I wasn’t strong enough. You were. You didn’t give in to your fear like Cardoza and I did.”
“But I did,” Nicole replied in an almost inaudible whisper. “Humbaba found my fear just easily as he did yours or Cardoza’s.”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
Nicole gave a small shake of her head. “No... I worked through it during my run.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah.” She took a deep breath and let it out. “Look, I need to take care of something this weekend – out of town. Will you be alright going back to DC without me?” she asked changing the topic.
“Sure. Today’s Friday anyway. I’ll drop off our reports, check the IN box to see if there’s anything pressing and then call it a day. You’ll be back Monday, right?”
“Definitely. I might be a little jetlagged, but I’ll be there Monday morning.”
Sunday, January 11th, 1998
It had been a long weekend for Nicole. She’d spent over 22 hours in the air, not including a couple of layovers. In fact she’d only been in Rome for five hours between flights – barely enough time to meet with the Council for her debriefing about her encounter with Humbaba.
She was exhausted when she landed back in DC on Sunday afternoon. She caught a cab back to her house and headed to bed for a nap. She had just fallen asleep when her house phone rang. She reached out and snagged the handset from the nightstand.
“Logan,” she mumbled tiredly.
“Agent Logan! Where the hell have you been? I’ve been trying to contact you since yesterday afternoon,” barked Skinner.
“I had to go out of town. I just got back. Is something wrong, Walter?”
“Yes. I’m afraid it’s Scully.”
“What about her?”
“She’s in the hospital.”
“What?!” Nicole sat up quickly.
“She went into hypovolemic shock. They say she’s... not doing well.”
“What hospital is she in?”
“I’ll be there shortly.”
George Washington University Hospital
Nicole dressed in record time and headed out to the hospital. She put a charged battery in her cell phone and started to listen to the several messages left on her voicemail as she drove. There were indeed a number of messages from Skinner. When she arrived at the hospital she had to turn off her cell phone when she went inside. She found Dana’s mother outside one of the ICU rooms.
They hugged. “How is she?”
“Not good I’m afraid. She’s been fighting this for so long.”
“I know, Maggie, I know. Can I see her?”
“Yes, go on in, dear.”
Nicole went in and moved to Dana’s bedside. She took hold of the unconscious woman’s hand, gently tracing her thumb over the back of Dana’s hand. “Hey, Dana, I’m here. I’m sorry it took me so long to get here.” She had to swallow around the lump that had formed in her throat. “I know you’ve been fighting for a long time and that you’re tired, but I need you to keep fighting. Keep fighting, Dana; give me some time to find the way to help you. Don’t give up on me yet, okay?” She wiped away some tears threatening to spill. “You once told me that you believed in me, well I believe in you as well. So I know you can fight this – at least as long as you need to.”
A nurse entered to check Dana’s vitals and indicated it was time for Nicole to leave.
“Well, I have to go for now. Hang in there, Dana. I’ll be back.” Nicole joined Maggie in the waiting area. “Would you like something to eat or drink?”
“No thank you, dear. I just had something to eat.”
“Alright. I have to make a couple of phone calls, but I’ll be right back.”
Nicole went outside and turned her cell phone back on. She then listened to the rest of her voicemails. That’s when she heard the one left by Thea. She quickly called Thea back.
“Thea, it’s Nicole. I got your message. Tell me you have good news.”
“I have good news. Jerry has come up with a reaction agent to interact with the agent he analyzed for you.”
“He’s sure. Says it’ll bind with the agent and totally negate its effects, even if Dana continues to intake more of the agent.”
“Thank God, and none too soon.”
They made arrangements to meet so Nicole could get the ‘cure’ from Thea. Then Nicole placed another call.
“Ian, it’s me, Nicole.”
“Well hello, luv. It’s been a while.”
“Yes it has been. Listen, I need your help, Ian. It’s important.”
“You can count on me, whatever it is.”
“I know, and I appreciate it, more than you know.”
“So what can I do for you?”
She told him what she needed from him, and he agreed to help.
part 1|part 2|part 3|part 4|part 5|part 6|part 7|part 8|part 9|part 10|
part 11|part 12|part 13|part 14|