Author's notes

This was written because of the following email I received after posting "Telling Ahab."

RE: Telling Ahab

FR: Dreamerlea...

I think we have call for a sequel. Or at least I suggest it. Write from Ahab's point of view, or write from Scully's after his death, reminiscing on this time. Write on any other facet of this situation, and call it, if I may borrow this fantastic line from your story "Special Agent Starbuck". Please? Call it a challenge. Dreamer

--

Shades of Ahab

Scully paced the reception area outside of Skinner's office impatiently. Dammit, where the hell is he? She'd phoned him immediately after her meeting with the OPR and asked him to meet her here.

She took a few more steps across the office, stopping at the windows behind Kimberly's desk. Staring unseeing at the park-like setting outside, Scully sighed softly. She brought her hands up to the window, distracted from the view by the envelope she clutched in her right hand. The envelope. She knew it's contents by heart.

'...I have come to the conclusion that it is no longer possible to carry out my duties as an FBI agent...'

Salt Lake City. 'Transfer effective immediately.' I don't think so. My life is here. My work. My family. My...what is he, anyway? Mulder. My best friend, my confidante, my...partner. OK, not anymore. Partner that is. The OPR had made that very clear. Salt Lake for her and God knows where for Mulder.

As much as she dreaded this meeting with Skinner, she knew it would have nothing on the one she had yet to have with Mulder. Maybe she'd just send him a note...Scully's thoughts drifted while she considered the various ways she could tell him, to break his heart and hers.

Funny, she felt an incredible sense of deja vu. She'd been here before, preparing to do this very same thing, a lifetime ago. The day she'd told her dad of her decision to join the FBI, to leave behind a career in medicine to try to make a difference. That meeting had broken her dad's heart, her mom's too. And now she was doing it again. Only this time it was her heart that she was breaking, not her beloved parents'. The disappointment was the same though, she knew. The man she'd come to see would be just as saddened by her decision, by her departure, as her Ahab had been. Lost in her memories, she didn't

hear the door open behind her.

Assistant Director Walter Skinner stopped short in the doorway, caught off guard by the sight before him. Scully, her auburn hair set aglow by the waning afternoon sunlight, stood silhouetted against the large window. Skinner was struck by the dejection evident in her pose, the unfamiliar defeated slump to her shoulders. This wasn't the Scully he was familiar with, comfortable with.

Trying not to startle her, he cleared his throat gently.

"Agent Scully. Have you been waiting long?" Scully shook her head as Skinner waved her into his office, pulling the door closed behind them.

Pausing for a moment just inside, Scully closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, drawing strength from the familiar scents around her. Not unlike her Dad's study, she could smell the oil used to polish the furniture in the room, the slightly musty smell of sun-warmed books. Unlike Ahab's office, thank God, there was no familiar smell of smoke, pipe or otherwise–although she could remember a time when the acrid stench of cigarettes would be as much a part of this office as its legitimate occupant.

Scully sat stiffly in the chair opposite Skinner, back straight, hands clasped tightly in her lap, the envelope holding the end of her career as an FBI agent tucked into the pocket of her jacket. God, it was like telling Ahab all over again. Taking a deep breath, she began.

"Sir, I don't know if the OPR gave you the details about my reassignment..." Scully waited for Skinner's nod, "I've decided to...decline their offer." Scully quirked her lips slightly, knowing Skinner would appreciate her comment.

Skinner leaned back in his chair, pulling his glasses off of his face and tossing them onto his desk. He scrubbed his face with his hands, stalling for time. He'd known, of course, that it would come to this. That rather than be pushed aside and buried, Scully would resign. He didn't blame her; hell, part of him wanted to stand up and cheer. God, the woman had spirit. Chutzpah, his dad would have called it. His Marine Corps buddies had another term for it. Pure brass balls. Scully had them .in spades. He still had to make the attempt though, to try to dissuade her, to keep her on his team.

"Scully...do you want to give this some time?" He held up his hand, forestalling her protests. "Hear me out. I know, I know dammit, that you've been railroaded. This entire fiasco in Texas...that sham of a hearing...I know! But if you quit now...God Scully, you have to be scaring the absolute shit out of them to make them go this far." Skinner let his voice trail off, seeing the resolution in her eyes.

Scully sighed, catching and holding Skinner's gaze, trying to make him understand. She didn't need this, the emotional drain of this discussion. She was going to need every bit of strength at her disposal for her confrontation with Mulder. She knew he was disappointed in her, but she didn't know what else to do. It was time to retake control of her life.

"Sir...I know it seems like I'm giving up, quitting. I'm not. If anything, I'm doing this so that perhaps Mulder and I can continue to work together." Letting some of her frustration show through, Scully began to pace in front of Skinner's desk. "If I let them win, let them reassign me, move me around like some idiotic pawn on a chessboard, I'll accomplish nothing. But, if I resign, I can stay here in D.C. Available to..." She trailed off, unable to continue.

Mulder. Skinner wondered if the man knew just what he had in front of him. She'd gone to jail for him, faced censure from Congress and the certain end of her career, all because of her belief in his dream, his 'truth.' Although Skinner didn't believe that it was 'Mulder's truth' anymore. It hadn't been for a long time. Somewhere along the line it had become 'their' truth. Sometimes he even felt a part of the journey. But never as strongly as these two did. He hoped Mulder knew and made the most of the opportunity she was offering him.

He stood slowly and moved around to the front of his desk. Halting Scully's agitated pacing with hand to her arm, he gave it a gentle squeeze. His movement brought her up short, the two of them frozen for a moment, while he searched her eyes closely, looking for...he didn't know what. He shook his head slightly. "Disappointed? Yes, I am. But only because I'm losing a valuable agent, and," Skinner paused uncomfortably, "I don't like to see my friends hurt."

The last part of his comment was almost lost to Scully, forcing its way past the AD's lips almost against his will. Silently, Scully slipped her arm from his grasp, reaching to pull out the letter she'd prepared. Glancing down at it, she met Skinner's gaze squarely, firm in her resolve.

Without a word he took the envelope from her and stepped aside to let her pass. She paused for a moment, resting a gentle hand on his arm. Not quite meeting his gaze this time, she whispered a choked, "Thank you" and left the room.

Walter Skinner found himself at the expansive window behind his desk, eyes distant, absently tapping the envelope against his lips. He knew Scully, knew her decision was final, definite. He also knew Mulder. Scully's next stop would be to speak to him, and if he knew anything about her partner, he knew Mulder would fight like hell for Scully to continue fighting with him. Turning the envelope over and over in his hands, he came to a decision. Skinner bent and opened the lower left-hand drawer in his desk, and, with one last look at it, dropped the envelope inside. Whether she wanted him to or not, Skinner was going to sit on Scully's letter for a while. After all, he was a busy man, he couldn't always get to his mail right away. Absently kicking the drawer closed, he grabbed his coat and left the office, certain he had an appointment somewhere.