Title - "Soldiergirl"
Author - Wintersong
E-Mail address -wintersong .ca

Rating - R
Category - SA
Spoilers - none
Keywords - none

PURity Category: Minor Characters

Summary - Bill Scully has an unusual Christmas
gift for his sister.

Disclaimer: They belong to CC and 1013.

Note: This story was written for the PURity
Summer Season Challenge.

It started with the silver bullets.

Six boxes of them. High test, high grade, silver
coated 9mm ammo guaranteed not to flake, rust,
melt or otherwise do anything that would cause
them to jam when fired.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get
silver bullets custom designed and delivered? The
gunsmith thought I was crazy. Hell I thought I
was crazy. I still bought them.

Half a dozen boxes, one hundred bullets to the
box.

Hell of a thing to buy your sister for Christmas.

All because I walked into the wrong damn shower.

*****************************************

I had every right to be there. The officer's
insignia on my shoulders said so. But I would
have made an exception if I'd given anyone a
chance to explain why I should hotfoot it several
doors down. Unfortunately, I was tired, pissed
off and horny ...not necessarily all in that
order.

And none of those conditions has ever had a
positive effect on my temper.

My boat was early, Tara was still visiting her
mother and the showers on the boat had stopped
working over a week ago. Which was why we were
early. So I not only had to deal with the fact
that I had a mountain of paperwork on my desk
relating to said plumbing problem, but my wife
had not been there to meet me like we'd planned
and I smelled. I mean really smelled.

Another side effect from investigating said
earlier stated plumbing problems.

So my men were staying upwind and I was too
intent on taking a three hour shower to stop and
talk to anyone who might have clued me in to the
unofficial change in territory that had occurred
while I had been gone. Instead, I just starting
stripping off clothes before I was all the way
through the door and had my head under blessed
hot water before the silence registered.

You have to understand...there's a big difference
between the silence of an empty room and the
silence of one where the other people just aren't
talking. I don't know how to explain it...but
it's there. And the one thing that sailors
usually are not, is silent.

Since it was possible that the smell pouring off
my skin with the impact of the hot water had
stunned them all into unconsciousness, I
cautiously cracked open one eye. The other flew
open in shock when I found myself the target of
five amused gazes.

Don't get me wrong. I don't have any problem with
SEALs. Any one of them could break me like a
pencil. I know it. They know I know it. So there
is no reason for them to bust my face over it.
But I'm also male...and my testosterone was
telling me that I was surrounded by predators.

I'm a sailor...not a soldier. And every
gibbering instinct in my body knew it.

These men were not the enemy. But I was naked and
outnumbered.

Fear is not rational.

Still, from the looks on their faces they were
getting a kick out my predicament. One of them
was eyeing the trail of clothes I had left on the
floor with the expression of someone
contemplating a burial at sea. One of the others
just shook his head in sympathy and tossed me a
bar of soap.

Smiles all around and that would have been the
end of it if I hadn't noticed the scars.

Sailors get pretty used to tight quarters and
lack of privacy. But there's looking at another
man's body simply to recognize that it is there
and then there is staring. I had definitely
crossed the line into staring. It was only later
that I realized that they must have seen
something else in my face, because every single
one of them stood there quietly as my horrified
eyes moved from one ragged edge tear to another.

That was a knife wound. And that one there was a
bullet. Blade, bullet, teeth. One testament to
injury after another. But it wasn't the history
of blood and pain written across their skins that
scared me. Rocked me to the foundations of my
world and beyond.

It was the fact that I recognized them.

Had seen similar scars in similar forms on two
other bodies. One of them a body I would kill to
keep safe. The other a body I had seriously
contemplated putting a bullet into.

"What did that?"

I was pointing and I could hear my mother's voice
yelling at me to mind my manners, but I was too
far gone to stop now. If I could have reached out
and touched that scar I would have. If only to
convince myself that it was real. the SEAL
reached to trace the scar lightly and his eyes
were suddenly flat with a darkness I realized
that I recognized. A grim contemplation that I
had seen in blue eyes and hazel.

A darkness that I had scorned, not respected.

The SEAL's voice was wry, half-joking as he
twisted his lips and uttered one word I knew he
did not think I would believe.

"Werewolf."

But oh God. Mother Mary and all the Saints
preserve us.

In that moment of time, I did.

I must have started to shake, because the room
was suddenly spinning and I heard muttered curses
as two dark forms leapt to catch me as I fell.
From a distance, I heard my own voice, high and
plaintive. A child stating a fact that he
desperately hopes the adults around him will
dispute.

"Dana has one just like it."

When I came too, there were medics surrounding me
and the SEALs were gone. But they left me a gift.
Or a curse. It all depends on your point of view.
One of the SBAs gave me an uncertain glance and
handed me an object and a note. The note was
short and to the point.

For your sister

I looked at the knife in my other hand and
twisted it cautiously to free the blade from it's
sheathe. The deadly edge cleared the leather
smoothly and the purity of it's metal and the
beauty of it's lines did nothing to detract from
it's lethal function or purpose. The light
gleamed off it's surface and the SBAs were
suddenly giving me concerned glances as tears
rolled down my cheeks while laughter bubbled
hysterically from my lips.

I turned the blade once more to catch the light.

Silver.

********************************************
I started hearing stories in the silences of her
conversation. Pauses, hesitations...secrets that
I can only guess at humming down the wires of
AT&T. But I did not know how to bring the
subject up...and she did not volunteer.

So I bought silver bullets.

I had no clue how to tell Tara. How to explain
that I was suddenly seeing shadows where none
existed. Why I was suddenly keeping Matty closer
to home and frantic when either of them were out
of my sight. I don't know what I'm going to do
when I'm assigned another tour on open water.
I'm hoping I'll be sane by then.

But I meant to tell you about the bullets.

Did you know how cheap silver is? You can buy it
easily by the ounce. I was walking down the
street when I passed this jeweler's window that
had several of the tiny squares resting on black
velvet. Just part of the display, but before I
could stop myself I was in the store and laying
down my credit card.

I already explained that the gunsmith thought I
was crazy.

It wasn't long before the quartermaster thought
so too.

I started going through his shelves. Searching
through his catalogues. I wasn't even sure what I
was looking for. But all I could see was Dana
facing things that scared full-grown SEALs and
reaching for a weapon that wasn't there.

I thought the bullets would be enough. And the
knife. But then I watched a Bela Lugosi movie and
the next thing I knew I was siphoning holy water
into a plastic bottle while the priest looked on
baffled and alarmed. At least I had the presence
of mind to use a church other than mine.

The fear never settled. It was this vast
underswelling of panic that was taking over my
life and threatening to drag me down. I kept
thinking that I was going to be too late. There
was nothing I could do to save my baby sister. I
couldn't keep her safe. I couldn't keep Melissa
safe.

How the hell was I going to keep Matty and Tara
safe?

It was when I started guiltily praying that Dana
and her partner could keep us safe that I knew my
life had changed forever. That I had changed
forever. And maybe these things were the closest
I could come to an apology.

Because Dana wasn't talking to me anymore.

It was my own fault. I had made another sarcastic
crack about Mulder. God knows why I did it. I
knew better. But I won't lie and say I like him.
I hate everything about the way I feel, about the
fear that it taking over my life...and I lay it
all at his feet. It's not fair. I know that.

Tough shit.

I can shoot the messenger if I want to.

Only now I've lost my last chance to tell Dana
that I think I understand.

That's when Tara found me. I was standing in the
garage staring helplessly at the pile of things I
had purchased and every single one of them needed
to go to Mom's. But the box I had wasn't big
enough. You would think that it would be easy
enough to just go out and buy another box, but
all I could see was that I had made another
mistake.

Tara found me crying over a god damn cardboard
box in the basement. I don't know what the hell
was going through her head when all I would say
was,

"There's something missing. I don't know what it
is, but something's missing."

It was then that I got proof positive how much my
wife loves me. All she did was study the pair of
bullet proof vests in my hands-the ones I had
made after seeing that damn COPS episode,
vests with pockets for extra clips and extra guns
and extra things like holy water. I even had one
made for Mulder. Because Dana had made her choice
very clear and because if he ever got shot, no
one would be there to watch her back.

That was suddenly far more important than how he
made me feel.

Tara listened to my broken explanations. To this
day I'm not sure how much sense they made. Then,
instead of trying to talk me out of it or telling
that I was crazy , she looked seriously into my
eyes and suggested that we add a handful of tank
tops.

" She isn't going to want to wear silk under that
vest and I know I'd get tired of stripping down
to my bra in front of all those cops and TV
cameras. And they are easier to wash and don't
cost as much if they get damaged. Do you think
she would like some blue ones?"

Tara didn't even squeak when I grabbed her and
held on tight.

God I love my wife.

*************************************

We all ended up at Mom's for Christmas. I think
if Dana had known I was coming, she might have
had something else to do that night. That hurt
more than I will ever admit...more because I know
it's my fault. But Tara must have said something
to Mom and no one said anything to Dana.

I was more than willing to send my box and be
done with it. Hide out in San Diego and wait to
see if she understood what I couldn't tell her.
But Tara had decided that I was going to do this
in person and my mother agreed. I was outgunned
and outmaneuvered so fast I'm thinking of
recommending commissions for both of them.

Charlie and his family were there and suddenly I
was seeing Dana's darkness in my own eyes. It
stared out at me from the mirrors and reflected
back at me from my mother's hesitant expressions
and sober looks. I knew something they did
not...and it pulled a wall around them I could
not break.

Or perhaps the wall was around me.

I looked at the laughing faces of my brother and
his wife and wanted to scream at them for the
chances they did not even know they took. I
looked at their children and saw vulnerabilities
I could not begin to explain. Monsters under the
bed that were real, deadly and just outside the
doors.

It was at that moment I knew that if Dana told me
to circle the wagons and put garlic above all the
windows that I'd do it.

And I don't even believe in monsters.

But she does. He does. And the SEALs do. And I
finally realized that the fear I've been fighting
is not for what lives in the shadows, but for the
peace of mind I'm going to be forced to leave
behind. Because now that I've stopped closing my
eyes, someday I'm going to find answers I'm not
looking for.

Or perhaps, they will find me.

Then supper was over too soon and the doorbell
was ringing. Mom ushered Dana into the hallway
while Mulder trailed along behind, lugging bags
of parcels. Instantly Mom invited him in for
coffee and it was my bad luck that Dana caught
sight of me
at the same time Mulder started to protest that
he was just there to help with the bags. It
wasn't rational, but I suddenly knew, without a
doubt, that if Mulder did not stay, that Dana
would blame me forever.

And no amount of silver would ever make it
better.

So I swallowed my pride and my instinctive anger
and I added my own invitation. Well, it was more
an order. Something about icy roads and waiting
for the salt trucks. I may even have made some
comment to the effect that only a moron would
risk driving...

Okay, so it wasn't elegant. I was nervous. Tara
groaned and both Mom and Dana glared but Mulder
actually studied me curiously for a few minutes
before toeing his boots off. He didn't even seem
that insulted. Intrigued and wary, but not
insulted.

Which was fine, because Dana was being insulted
enough for the both of them.

I should tell you that when I'm scared I get
obnoxious. I just can't help it. No matter what I
mean to say, it comes out in this clipped
sarcastic voice that seems especially designed to
piss people off. Unfortunately, the alternative
to speech is not talking at all. Which just makes
me look sullen.

I figured sullen gave me the least number of
chances to say something that would get me
killed. So I pasted a polite smile on my face and
tried not to glare at Mulder. I guess I wasn't
being totally successful because Dana just got
very quiet and very tense. Her knuckles on her
coffee mug were so white I was worried she was
about to fracture bone. Tara started talking
faster and faster, while Mom just kept looking up
and asking faintly if anyone wanted more cookies.

Finally, in desperation, Charlie suggested that
we open presents. The screams of the children
covered several explosive sighs of adult relief
and no one seemed inclined to mention that it was
several hours too early. Tradition was scrapped
in favor of detente.

The rule was, that everyone got to open one
present. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten about the
huge box wrapped in silver paper with Dana's name
on it. The kids wanted to know what was inside
even if it wasn't for them. Charlie had second
thoughts as soon as he saw who it was from, but
by then it was too late.

This wasn't how it was supposed to happen. Not
like this. Not when she was already angry with
me. I know she didn't understand about the tank
tops because she hadn't seen the vests yet.
Still, her smile was fairly solid until she
reached the next item in the box. I just wanted
to know that she understood the message behind
the bullets.

It never occurred to me that everyone would think
it was a joke.

I think it was the vials of holy water that did
me in.

She's on her feet and standing with her arms
braced against the window while all I can do is
stare blankly at her back. Mom has an appalled
look on her face and Charlie's face is almost as
blank as mine. Thank God the children were
oblivious. They just thought the bullets were
cool.

That's when I saw Mulder reach into the box and
move the tank tops to reach something beneath.
The sudden shift of his expression caught me off
guard and I tried to recall what was in that
particular container. I think it was the
antibiotics. They were the same sort of pills and
tablets the special forces used and I had had a
hell of a time finding tablets for Mulder. He was
allergic to the ones that came standard with the
kit.

Son of a bitch probably did it just to be a pain
in the ass.

Dana could get all the meds she wanted...but
these were military grade and designed for travel
in combat situations. I figured, what the hell.
Besides, they came with the med kit. Mulder
started to open his mouth ...and Dana turned
around.

That's the first time I knew what it felt like to
have your heart break.

For once, the walls were gone. Stripped bare,
I'll never forget the despair, then pain...and
yes, the anger that etched years onto her face.
No one spoke. She would not, the others did not,
and I could not.

Then I heard a single voice.

"Scully."

Three of us turned instinctively. Two navy, one
FBI. He never noticed. In his eyes, there was
only one person who belonged to that name. She
turned...and caught the vest he tossed her. Then
he held her eyes, shook his head slightly and
lifted out the second.

The one sized to fit him.

She didn't get it. But she stood waiting,
searching...because he did. And that hurt. I had
driven my sister so far away that she had to
trust another to see what she could not.

But she did not leave.

Then Mulder's looking at me, and shit, I
recognize that look. Mom and Charlie still are
not moving and I think Tara's nails have begun to
draw blood . And now she's getting pissed at Dana
because Dana's pissed with me.

Way to go, Commander. Merry Fucking Christmas.

Mulder's still holding the vest so I start
talking to him, hoping...I don't know. That I could
make this better. Fix it.

"I had them embroider FBI on the back. I figured
they wouldn't allow you to wear them without it.
And there's some padding to keep the vials from
breaking in case you get hit or fall. The bottles
are tough though. Heavy duty plastic..."

I was babbling, but I couldn't stop. My voice
just kept going on and on, getting higher and
faster as I itemized all the standard and non-
standard features. I was beginning to wish that
one of them would pull their gun and just shoot
me and shut me up.

Suddenly Dana was flying across the room and I
swear for a moment I honestly thought she was
going for my throat. Then her body hit me hard
enough that she knocked us both back onto the
sofa. I think Tara had started to get up when
Dana moved...maybe to stop her...I don't know. Our
momentum combined with my grasp on her hand
pulled her down on top of us, but Dana didn't
seem to notice or care.

She had her arms wrapped around my chest so tight
I was having trouble breathing and I could feel
her body shaking as she just kept saying "thank-
you" over and over. Tara must have let go of my
hand because I suddenly realized I had both arms
wrapped around my sister's shoulders and all I
could think was that she was safe, and that she
forgave me, and maybe I'd survive after all.

When I finally looked up, Tara was standing with
my mother and Charlie. She must have been
explaining, because Mom was smiling proudly at me
while Charlie was giving me a thoughtful look I
wasn't totally sure how to interpret. It suddenly
struck me that with his clearance level in Naval
Intelligence that he probably had access to
information I'd never be in a position to see.

Maybe he had known who our sister was all along.

Mulder was rooting around in the rest of Dana's
present and for a split second I wasn't sure if I
was annoyed or just...annoyed. But he turned his
head towards us as soon as Dana twisted around
enough to see him and I realized that maybe he
had been giving us some privacy. Then he held up
his hand and grinned as he tossed her his
...her...prize. I scowled.

Maybe not.

Dana captured the kit which had seemed small
enough when I held it, but seemed to dwarf her
hands. I was still amazed at what they had
managed to squeeze into that thing. Between the
drugs and the equipment, she'd be able to handle
just about anything that didn't require major
surgery...and even then I wasn't sure where she'd
draw the line. Dana is nothing if not creative.

"You planning on getting injured, Mulder?"

I swear to God the man actually pouted. " Scully,
you know I don't plan these things."

Dana muttered something under her breath which
her partner chose to ignore and then he grinned
at her, waiting.

We had moved far enough apart that I could see
her face as she narrowed her eyes at the lunatic
across the room. Finally she cracked...or maybe
that was just part of the game.

"What is it Mulder?"

He held up a box of silver bullets," There's a
blue moon in another two months. Maybe we should
check it out."

A blue moon? Two full moons in a month. Two
chances to go chasing after fairy tales. Two
chances to run around after phantoms in the dark?

"Two chances to get eaten?"

I didn't mean it to be funny. I thought about
scowling and then decided I was ahead of the
game. Mom was laughing with Charlie and Tara was
smiling at me through the faintest hint of
tears. So I clenched my teeth and settled for
glaring at Mulder. The idiot just barked a short
laugh, then smiled slyly.

My mouth dropped in shock. Was that an
invitation? Surely he didn't think ..no, he
really didn't. Dana and he would go hunting these
things alone. He didn't expect or want my help.
But it felt like an invitation. I groped around
for an explanation for what I was seeing, what I
was feeling. Suddenly I realized that I was being
invited into the club. Not all the way , but far
enough inside that I wasn't exiled to the outside
of my sister's life, looking in. I took a
tentative step.

"There's no such thing as werewolves."

And they laughed at me, but maybe they were
really laughing at each other, and their laughter
didn't exclude me. Dana turned her head toward me
to smile and for the first time I saw the truth
of what she had become twisting in the depths of
her eyes. Saw hunger and cold judgement born of
anger and outrage and a merciless line she had
drawn in her own blood. I saw the darkness that I
had always misread as pain. Or maybe I had just
never looked far enough beyond the pain.

I don't think I know enough to understand it all.
But she was showing me the truth of herself,
confident for once that I wouldn't reject it.
Wherever Mulder was going, she wasn't stumbling
blindly along behind him. She would be right
there beside him.

My sister hunts the things that hunt humans.

And she was looking forward to it.

I watched as she walked back to her partner and
he helped her stuff her presents back into the
box. Mom was dragging Tara into the kitchen
saying something about cookies and eggnog while
Charlie...Charlie smiled at me in a way that made
me think that maybe we'd be having ourselves some
hunting conversations of our own. It made me
wonder just what my brother had been doing since
Missy's death.

Still, that's for another day. For now, all that
matters is that I've got my sister back. Not the
one I thought I'd lost, but the one that had been
standing there all along.

I do not believe in ghosts.

I do not believe in goblins.

I do not believe in monsters.

But the next time my sister has to take down a
werewolf, that bastard is one dead puppy.

~fin~