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, February 13th, 1998
Dana found Nicole in the fitness room running on the treadmill, music playing. The redhead had slept in and then ate her breakfast in the privacy of the master cabin.
She took a seat so she could watch the blonde and still have a view outside the windows. Nicole took no notice of Dana’s presence and it was clear she was in another place altogether. Dana didn’t have to be an empath or a psychic to sense the melancholy radiating from her partner. It was far worse than when she’d found Nicole in the hotel fitness room in Chattanooga. Dana could tell that the melancholy was running much deeper.
Max entered after about half an hour with a mug of hot tea for Dana. She accepted it without complaint. It seemed Max was just as pushy as Nicole, even more so actually, about getting her to drink a number of cups of it each day. She was sure it was spiked with something, especially since Nicole gave up on her IV so easily on the island three and half weeks before. She was sure the increased daily cups of tea were now the source of her ‘medicine’... whatever it was. She gave a mental smile to herself at her very uncharacteristic lack of curiosity about what Nicole was putting in her tea. It was a testament to her trust in her partner. That thought brought her back around to her current concern.
“Max?” she spoke quietly.
“How long has she been working out?”
“Several hours – since just after dawn.” She paused. “Some burdens must be carried by one,” she said softly before leaving the room.
Dana wondered at the parting statement, but she did sense that attempting to talk to Nicole before she was ready was not a good idea. She felt a pang of sorrow at her inability to help her partner through whatever she was dealing with.
The redhead dozed off but woke up to find herself the only one in the room. She sat up and looked around for Nicole. She got up and headed through the boat towards the master stateroom. She saw Max in the passageway.
“Max, do you know where Nicole is?”
“She was in the office when I took her a bottle of wine an hour ago.”
Dana headed to the office in hope of being able to talk to her partner. However, when she entered, she found Nicole asleep on the couch. She was relieved to see that the blonde didn’t drink the whole bottle of wine. From what was left in the bottle Nicole couldn’t have had more than a glass. She decided not to disturb her sleeping partner.
Max was just bringing out Dana’s salad at dinner when Nicole walked into the dining room.
Dana greeted her with a smile, “Hey, stranger.”
The blonde returned her smile. “Hi.” She took her seat.
Max quickly disappeared back to the galley to get Nicole’s salad. “Would you care for some wine with your dinner?” Max asked when she returned.
“No, thank you. Water is fine.”
The two partners didn’t talk about anything of import during dinner. They simply enjoyed the meal and relaxed. After dinner they relaxed in the salon and watched some TV.
Later, after turning off the television, they enjoyed a few minutes of silence. Dana was lying down with her head in Nicole’s lap. She’d missed Nicole the previous days and now that she was feeling better she was also feeling kind of isolated on the ship.
The redhead was the one to break the silence. “Are you okay?”
“You seemed upset this morning.”
Nicole took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “I just needed to... decompress.”
Dana sat up and moved to sit next to Nicole. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“It’s just some things about the case I’m working.”
“You know you can talk to me.”
The blonde gave her a small smile. “Thanks. But I don’t really feel like talking about work.”
As if on cue, Max appeared bearing two mugs of hot tea. She handed one to Dana and the other to Nicole.
“Thank you, Max.”
With a nod she was gone.
“Time for my medicine,” Dana said with a small smirk.
Nicole raised an eyebrow at her comment.
“I may not know what you’ve added to the tea, but it’s obviously the mode of medication, especially since you let me forego the IV so easily.” The look in Dana’s eyes dared the blonde to dispute her conclusion. Nicole’s smile was confirmation. “Are you ever going to tell me what it is?”
“It’s a substance that has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. However, it’s rare to come by.”
“So it’s expensive,” Dana concluded.
“On the contrary. It costs nothing. It’s a gift to those who receive it.”
“What’s it called? And why hasn’t the medical community published anything about it?”
The blonde gave her partner a small smile. “It has no name. And the medical community hasn’t published anything about it because it doesn’t know about it.”
“As I said, it’s a gift to those who receive it. No source would ever gift it for research. However, to ease your mind, when we return, a sample can be provided to you, for your personal and private analysis.”
Dana was surprised. “Even though I’m a doctor? What’s to prevent me from reporting anything about it?”
Nicole gave her a small smirk. “Report what? A nameless substance that you don’t even know its source?”
“I see your point. But why would I be allowed to analyze it?”
“Because of who you are.”
“Strong minded, principled, a good soul... pick one, or all of the above.” She paused and gave the redhead a smile. “Or come up with your own.” They both took a swallow of the tea. “I’m actually surprised it’s taken you this long to ask about it.”
“So am I, but I trust you,” she replied. She took a deep breath and let it out. “And I can’t deny that I’m feeling better and stronger every day.”
Nicole put her hand over Dana’s. “And that’s what matters,” she said softly.
Dana nodded. “And now I’m starting to get impatient. Considering everything, I should be happy just to be getting better, instead of getting upset with myself for not getting better faster.”
“You’ve come further than you realize, but I understand – I’m not exactly patient when I’m a patient.” They both smiled at her wording. “You’d be a little further along the road of recovery if you’d kept the IV, but fighting the point was less helpful to you than having you comfortable, and it didn’t change the results.” She took a drink from her tea. “But I do have something I think will help with your frustration.”
“The boat will be heading south again tomorrow. It’ll arrive in the Caicos Islands in two days. There you’ll leave the boat and check into the Parrot Cay Spa, where you’ll receive some holistic therapy specifically designed to help you improve your fitness, regain your strength and energy, as well as speed your complete recovery,” Nicole said with a smile. “If you let yourself fully cooperate and participate with the therapy I guarantee you’ll not only feel good, but you’ll be surprised at how quickly you recover completely.”
The blonde was particularly pleased with the arrangements that had made for her partner’s treatment. Dana would have complete individual care around the clock at a private cottage. Her treatment plan was specifically designed for her. The redhead was in for a real treat.
“You said I will leave the boat. Where will you be?” Dana asked.
Nicole let out a quiet sigh. “I’m still working a case. I’m afraid I’ll be leaving the boat again. I’ll meet up with you when I can.”
Dana looked forward to regaining her strength and feeling better, but she was disappointed that her partner was leaving again. And judging from the look in her eyes, the blonde wasn’t thrilled about it either. “I see.”
The blonde squeezed the hand her own was still covering. “Max will go with you to the retreat, and the rest of the crew will still be here on the Hashmalim, anchored just off-shore. I want you to know that you can trust all of them. They’re a handpicked crew. You’ll be completely safe – they’ll make sure of it.”
“But will you?” Dana asked. “You’re still working a case alone.”
She took a deep breath and let out sigh. “There’s more distastefulness than danger.”
Dana cocked an eyebrow in question.
“The people involved,” explained Nicole. “Believe me, I’m looking forward to the end of this case.”
The Hashmalim had sailed north for about three hours to bring it closer to New York. From there, Nicole flew the 75 miles to the city. Her next quarry was in residence in the prestigious Central Park neighborhood. He was just one of a number of Consortium members that needed to be neutralized.
Once she left the ship, Tully turned the boat south and made for the Caicos Islands. They would arrive two days later.
Nicole worked her way through the list she’d made during the interrogation of the Leader and by the time she finished, a week had passed.
Home of Margaret Scully
Saturday, February 21st, 1998
Nicole made arrangements for a charter flight from the BWI airport to the Caicos islands. However, before she left, she wanted to make a visit to a special person. She of course waited until dark and made certain she wasn’t seen.
She melted into the shadows and knocked on the back door of the house. When the door was opened, she immediately moved inside to minimize the chance she’d be seen before the woman really had a chance to react. She also reached over and flipped the light off so no one could see into the kitchen.
“Hi, Maggie,” she replied with a smile as they hugged.
“What are you doing here?”
“I was passing through the area and I wanted to stop by.”
“Well come in. Have a cup of coffee, or something to eat.”
“I can’t stay. I just came to let you know about Dana.”
“How is she?” her mother asked with some trepidation.
“She’s doing just fine. She’s getting better and stronger every day.”
Maggie’s eye watered. “She’s really getting better?”
“Yes, she is. She’s going to be alright, Maggie.”
They hugged again. “I’ve been praying...”
When they let go of each other she reached up and cupped Nicole’s cheek. “I’ll never be able to thank you.”
The blonde reached up and took Maggie’s hand on her cheek into her hand. “You just did,” she said softly. She squeezed her hand. “I took a risk coming to see you – I need to go.”
“Wait! I have something for Dana.”
Maggie left and came back with a small wrapped package. “The day after tomorrow is Dana’s birthday. Will you give this to her for me?”
“I’ll be happy to,” she said taking the small package held out to her.
“This one is for you,” Maggie said holding out a second package.
Nicole was surprised and very touched. “You didn’t have t–”
Maggie put her hands on the blonde’s shoulders. “Nicole, you’re a special person and I’m glad to have gotten to know you. I’m thankful you’re Dana’s partner – you’ve been good for her, and I’m not just referring to her health.”
“Thank you,” she replied softly.
Maggie leaned in and kissed Nicole’s cheek. “Now go. Stay safe – both of you.”
With that Nicole silently slipped out of the house and took to wing. She had to get to the BWI airport for her flight.
Sunday, February 22nd, 1998
Despite it being the middle of the night, Tommy Burdette was waiting for Nicole when her plane landed at the airport. He drove her to the beach where the launch was waiting, and then took her to the Hashmalim.
Captain Tully was waiting for her when she boarded. “Welcome back.”
“Thank you, Tully. How are things here?”
“Quiet. Max has checked in each day. Miss Dana is safe and well. She appears to be responding very well to the care she’s been receiving. There’s a doctor’s report waiting for you in the office.”
“Good. I have some things I want to go over with you. Geoffrey as well. But first I need a quick shower. Meet me in the salon in 20 minutes with Geoffrey.”
Nicole took a shower and changed into some comfortable clothes. She then went to the salon. She told the men that the next day was Dana’s birthday and that she wanted to celebrate it. They assured her they’d take care of things.
With that done she retired to the office and called both Thea and Ian, checking in with them about their parts of the plan and also bringing them up to date on her part. Fortunately, from all appearances, the rest of the top echelons, below the council of the Consortium, would soon be removed from the picture as threats. Nicole’s actions in taking out the council had already started in-fighting among the seconds. A couple had already been killed following the power vacuum at the top. According to Thea, an influx of documents and communications sent to the authorities had jumpstarted some major investigations, crackdowns, and arrests. Nicole hoped that she could return Dana home in a couple of weeks or so.
Finally, after working until that evening, she logged off the computer and went to bed, falling asleep out of sheer exhaustion.
Parrot Cay Spa
Monday, February 23rd, 1998
After sleeping in late, Nicole got up in the morning and dressed. Les took her ashore and she went to the cottage her partner had been staying in. The redhead was out on a beach with her personal yoga instructor for a session, so Nicole spoke with the doctor and then started doing some Tai Chi. A couple of the staff joined her.
That was how Dana found the blonde when she got back from the beach. She just stopped and watched for a few moments since she hadn’t been spotted yet. She was struck with how graceful her partner was... and how much she’d missed her.
Dana was amazed by how much better she was feeling after five days at the spa, and by how much she’d enjoyed certain aspects of her care. She’d found the meditation sessions calming and the yoga rejuvenating. She, of course, enjoying the massages, but she was amazed by how much she allowed herself to relax. She felt good and strong, the best she’d felt in a long time. She also felt... at ease.
Suddenly Nicole spotted her, and gave her a beautiful smile. The blonde stepped out of her form and walked over to her partner. “Hey there. You look like you’re feeling pretty good,” she said with a smile.
Dana returned her smile. “I am. I feel better than I have for a long time.”
“Glad to hear it. What’s next on your schedule this morning?”
Dana glanced at one of the staff, who answered. “Massage.”
The blonde grinned. “Sounds good. Think I’ll join you.”
Both women changed out of their clothes and into a robe. Max came in and spoke to Nicole briefly. She released Max from guard duty and let her go back to the yacht. The partners were led to two massage tables that were set up. They shed their robes and lay down. Both women relaxed as massage therapists worked their muscles.
After their massage a light lunch was brought in. After that they dressed and went for a walk.
As they walked along the beach Dana broke the silence. “So how is your case going?”
Nicole nodded. “Good. In fact, I’m done.”
The redhead wasn’t sure how she felt about that. “So does that mean you’ll be going home?” she asked tentatively.
The blonde gave her a smirk. “Why? Trying to get rid of me?”
“No, of course not!”
Nicole smiled. “No, I’m not going back. At least not yet. In fact, if you think you can put up with my presence for a little while, Captain Tully has a list of places we can go to for a little vacation.”
She raised an eyebrow in question.
“When we get back to the yacht you can take a look and pick one. It’s your choice. It’s not safe to go back home yet.”
At that Dana let out a rude noise. “It’ll be a cold day in hell before I’ll ever be safe,” she snapped.
“Not true, Dana.”
She gave Nicole a look.
“Beyond the normal dangers of the job, you will be safe. The Consortium will no longer be of concern. For you, or anyone – I promise,” the blonde finished solemnly.
The redhead was taken aback by the quiet declaration. She stopped in her tracks and just looked at her partner. Nicole took a couple more steps before she stopped. She turned back and met Dana’s look.
“What are you saying, Nicole?” she asked quietly. She saw a shadow pass behind her partner’s eyes – a shadow of disquiet and unease and... pain?
The blonde didn’t avoid her partner’s scrutiny. She simply took a breath and answered. “What case do you think I’ve been working on?” she replied evenly.
Dana felt gut-punched. Her thoughts raced out of control. Suddenly Nicole was next to her, hands on her shoulders, holding her steady.
“Easy, Dana, breathe easy.”
Breathe, yes... She’d forgotten to breathe. She took a couple of deep breaths and slowly let them out. Nicole eased her down to sit in the white sand. The dizziness let up as she continued to concentrate on breathing and the warmth of her partner’s hand gently rubbing her back.
Dana’s color came back into her face and Nicole could tell her heart rate was approaching a more normal rhythm, as was her breathing. Finally the redhead opened her eyes, though her gaze was on the horizon where the blue sky met the even bluer water.
“Sorry about that,” she whispered.
Nicole shook her head. “You have nothing to apologize for.” She sat with her hands in her lap, also looking out over the gentle waves. She remained silent, giving her partner time to digest and formulate.
Finally, Dana spoke. “So all this time you’ve been trying to take on the Consortium? All on your own? Without backup? You could have gotten yourself killed! Going off on your own like that is just what Mulder used to do, and then I’d have to save his ass!” She was definitely angry, but Dana realized it wasn’t for the same reason she used to get pissed at Mulder. With him it was because she always had to compromise herself, lie for him, just so they could keep their job – so she could keep her job! And Mulder never cared that his actions put her in peril – physically or professionally. No, she was pissed at Nicole for a completely different reason – she was angry with Nicole because she could have gotten herself killed, and she did not want to lose her.
Nicole took a breath before responding. “If by ‘all this time’, you mean since you left the hospital, then yes, I have been going after Consortium. All on my own? Not exactly. I’ve had backup, granted it hasn’t been FBI backup, but I’ve had it. And I didn’t just go off halfcocked or on a whim, Dana. A lot of preparation and planning went into the operation, and not just by me. I’ve had help – from friends with some unique talents and gifts. Friends, by the way, who helped me figure out how the Consortium gave you cancer.”
Nicole’s even and quiet response took the fire out of Dana’s anger. “I already know – it was the chip that was implanted in the back of my neck. Removing it is what caused the cancer. I’m not the only one. There was a group of them, of women... who had the same thing. All were abducted, all had the same chip implanted in the same place, all removed the chip, all got cancer... all of them died...”
“Dana.” Nicole waited until her partner looked at her before she continued. “Dana, I don’t know what did or didn’t cause the cancer in those other women, but I do know what caused it in you. That chip had absolutely nothing to do with it. I have the hard science to prove it. When it’s safe to take you back home, you can go through the research, even duplicate the results yourself.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“What? That you’ll be safe?”
“Because all the principle players have already been neutralized – including the infamous Cancer Man – Mr. Spender.”
Blue eyes widened. “You...”
Hurt showed in the blonde’s eyes only a moment before she hid it. “No, Dana, I’m not an assassin. But I will admit part of me wouldn’t have minded killing the sick bastard who thought up the bioengineered, DNA-specific agent that gave you cancer. However, his death was by his own hand.” She paused and looked away. “I just didn’t feel compelled to try to stop him,” she whispered softly. Nicole took a couple of breaths and finally looked at her partner again. “Look, I know this is a lot to get hit with. I didn’t mean to do this today. I know you have questions, and I will answer them. There is a lot to tell you, but we don’t have to do all this right now.” She paused and smiled at the redhead. “It’s your birthday today; I wanted today to be a celebration.”
Dana actually looked surprised. “It is?”
“Yeah. It’s the 23rd. And as I recall, I did promise you a great dinner on your birthday.”
“That you did,” she replied with a smile.
“So what do you say we head to the boat and spend today celebrating your birthday? I may even have a surprise or two for you,” she said with a mischievous smile.
Despite wanting answers to a number of questions she had, Dana found herself wanting to do as her partner suggested. She wanted to celebrate her birthday. She was alive, healthy... and alive! Just a few weeks ago she didn’t think she’d live to see another birthday. Nicole was right; they didn’t have to get into all the Consortium crap today. It could wait until tomorrow. Today was her birthday and, for the first time in years, she really did feel like celebrating it. Not only that, she was with someone she wanted to celebrate it with. She returned her partner’s smile. “Sounds good to me.”
Tommy was waiting for the women at the pier with the launch. He took them back to the Hashmalim. They walked up the steps from the water platform on the stern and entered the salon. Dana was surprised by all the balloons, streamers, and the Happy Birthday banner.
Geoffrey approached and asked what they would like for dinner.
“That’s completely up to Dana, Geoffrey. I promised her a special dinner for her birthday a few weeks ago,” Nicole said with a smile.
He looked at Dana. “Italian, French, Polynesian, you name it – the sky’s the limit, Miss Dana. Whatever you can imagine.”
She let him know what she wanted. Geoffrey left to prepare dinner and Max handed them both a flute of champagne.
Captain Tully entered and informed the blonde she had a phone call.
“I’ll take it in the office. Tully, why don’t you go over the possible locations with Dana while I take this call?” She looked at her partner. “You can pick out where you’d like to go. And I think a dip in the hot tub sounds good, so if you’d like, I can meet up with you there after I get off the phone. Okay?”
“That does sound good.”
“Great. I won’t be long.” Nicole left to take her phone call.
Dana looked at a list of locations the captain handed her. “What exactly is this?” she asked.
“These are the locations of vacation villas. Arrangements were made for you and Miss Nicole to have the use of one, your choice, until it is time for you to return home.”
“They’re all over the world!”
“Indeed. Summer climates, moderate climates, and winter climates. There are a few villas that are in a more urban setting which would require a heavier security presence, and those with more privacy, which would not require security personnel. The villas range in size from two bedroom to nine bedroom.”
“How do I choose, there are so many?”
“Well, do you want to have a security team with you?”
“No,” she answered without hesitation.
The captain removed a pen from his pocket and crossed off some off the list. “Now, would you like a winter climate?”
He crossed off a few more. A few more questions and the list was pared down to only a handful. “If I may make a suggestion, Miss Dana?”
“Certainly,” she said with a smile.
“If you enjoy it so much here in the Caicos, there is the villa on Providenciales not 20 miles from here. It’s a two bedroom villa on the beach, and the yacht could anchor nearby so that if you wanted to go jet-skiing, sailing, diving, or fishing, the equipment would be at your disposal.”
She smiled. “I think that sounds great.”
“Very well, I shall take care of it,” he said with a nod and a small smile.
Dana then went to the master cabin and changed into a swimsuit. She grabbed a towel and headed up to the jacuzzi. She found her partner already in the hot tub and sitting back with her head resting on the edge with her eyes closed.
“I was beginning to wonder if you were going to join me,” Nicole said without opening her eyes.
The redhead dropped her towel and eased herself down into the jacuzzi. “Mmmm... this feels so good.”
“So did you and Tully get things worked out?”