Author's notes

Original posting date:Fri, 01 May 1998 18:01:25 -0700

Archiving: Don't post to the atxc ng, I will. All other archivists, please just let me know where they're going. That's the nicest form of feedback.

Rating: G

Category: V, A? (Not much, well, some I guess...)

Keywords: Scully, Ahab

This is a pre-XF vignette. (sheesh! Took me three tries to spell that!)

Disclaimer: OK, I wasn't around when the need for the disclaimers started, and really wouldn't mind a private email telling me what the whole deal was, but if you think I'm making any money from this you're sadly mistaken. Sigh. I wish. CC and Co own 'em, Fox shows 'em and I enjoy them.

Do not post to ATXC I will do so...thanks.

There is a story that complements this one, called "Shades of Ahab" if you're interested. It follows this story.

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Telling Ahab

Dana Scully brushed her damp hands down the sides of her jeans one last time before tapping on the door of the study. From inside, she could hear the sounds of her dad working at his desk, getting himself ready for his next tour. Not sure if he heard her light tapping, she tried again, slightly louder this time.

"Come!" Her father's deep voice carried through the heavy oak door.

Taking one last, deep breath, Dana tried unsuccessfully to still the trembling in her legs and pushed the door open. Immediately her senses were filled with the smells she so loved about her Dad. Sun-warmed, well-oiled oak, books and the faint smell of pipe smoke washed over her as she made her way across the room.

The windows behind the desk were opened to allow the warm summer air in, the slight breeze ruffling the curtains softly. There were no lights on, the Captain was working by the light coming in through the window. Catching sight of his visitor, Captain Bill Scully smiled at Dana. "Starbuck, what brings you home so early?" He knew Dana wasn't due home from school for another two days. A Captain in the Navy, he'd been worried that they'd miss each other when his new orders had come through, he'd been hoping to dela his departure for another week. He was glad they'd have a little time to spend together, maybe go fishing. He watched as she settled herself in the huge leather chairs opposite his desk, furrowing his brow slightly. Instead of her customary curled-up position, she sat with her back straight and her hands folded in her lap.

"Dad, I–" Dana trailed off, unsure how to begin.

Dad? What happened to Ahab? "What's wrong, honey?" He smiled at her, hoping he could ease her nerves a bit.

Dana took a deep breath, feeling heat rise up her face and neck. Damning her fair features, she knew her dad would notice her heightened color and that made her even more nervous. God, this is harder than I thought, even though I know this is the right decision! Sitting up a bit straighter she tried again.

"Dad, I've made a decision about something, and I hope you'll be happy about it." Great Dana, way to get him wound up.

Captain Scully's right eyebrow went up and he settled back into his chair, his right hand coming to rest under his chin.

Letting the words tumble out in a rush, she said, "I've decided that I'm not going to go into private practice, I've been recruited by the FBI." She watched as Ahab sat straight up, his hand dropping to the arm of the chair. Hurrying on, she continued, "This is right for me Dad, something I really want to do. I think I'll be good at it."

The Captain stood up, unconsciously adjusting his belt and shirt as he stood, years of in-uniform habits were hard to break, even when wearing jeans and a polo shirt. Moving around the side of the desk, he began to pace up and down the length of his study. "The FBI?! Why, Dana? What's wrong with private practice?"

Dana winced as his voice rose, she knew her mom would hear and come in any second now. Sure enough, as she opened her mouth to say something, the door popped open and Margaret Scully stood framed in the doorway. Taking in her daughter's stiff posture and husband's frantic pacing, she sighed and entered, closing the door behind her.

"Bill?" Margaret stopped his pacing with a hand on his arm.

Startled by her presence, the Captain stopped and faced her. "Maggie, did you know anything about this?" He demanded angrily. "Did you know my little girl thinks she can go off and become some sort of 'secret agent?' That she's throwing away years of schooling to work for a notorious 'good-old-boy' network!? Where she'll spend her career probably fetching someone's coffee or at a desk, instead of where she could use her mind!?"

Margaret watched Dana out of the corner of her eye, seeing her wince as each of Bill's bitter barbs hit home. These two. The deep capacity to love also allowed for the deep capacity to wound. It wasn't something they did often, but when they did argue, both of the suffered so much for it.

"Bill, no, what are you talking about?" His words began to sink in. The FBI, her little girl was going to join the FBI?

Dana interrupted before Ahab could begin his assault again. "Mom, I've been recruited by the FBI, I've passed all of their interviews, their physical and am scheduled to begin at the Academy two weeks after I take my boards." Standing, she turned and faced her parents. She knew they were disappointed, that her mom had counted on her staying close and going in to private practice. That, however, was not what she wanted. She knew she would be good at this, and she wanted a chance to prove it.

"Everything has been so good for me. Almost easy. Growing up, school, med school, all of it. This will be a challenge, something I'm going to have to work hard at to succeed. Can you understand that?"

Moving toward the door, Dana paused by her dad's side. Not looking at him, she said softly, "Daddy, I don't just 'think I can go off and become some sort of secret agent', I know I can. Please try to understand, this is something I have to do."

She looked up at him, trying to catch his eye. With his gaze fixed on some imaginary target outside, the Captain avoided her gaze, his eyes filling with tears. Dana sighed and left, stuffing her hands in her jeans pockets.

Leaving the study she wandered out back, walking the perimeter of the small backyard restlessly. Coming to the old oak tree she and Charlie had built a treehouse in years earlier, she began to climb, remembering the nights they'd spent sleeping up here when Ahab was out at sea. The "steps" were closer together than she remembered as she climbed, the old wood more grey and weathered. Sitting cautiously on the most solid-looking section, she leaned back against the tree trunk and let her eyes drift shut. Above her she could hear the leaves rustling, dancing against each other by the music of the evening breeze. As a little girl she used to imagine that the rustling sound was the sound of the sea that took her Ahab so far away. She drifted along, flitting from one memory to the next, letting her mind relax for the first time in years, it seemed.

Occasionally, carried on the breeze, she could hear the sounds of an argument raging inside the house, her father's open windows overlooked the backyard. Dana knew they were disappointed, Ahab most of all. He was proud of his country, proud to serve, but he didn't want her to do the same thing. For all of his wonderful gifts and qualities, she knew he was still a little old-fashioned about his ideas for women. She knew he didn't expect her to stay home and have children, but she also knew he'd been picturing a more conventional career path.

Oh, there was no question that he was proud of her. An undergraduate degree in physics, a medical degree–well, almost–top 3rd of her class. He very nearly burst with pride whenever they'd run into any of his crew or old friends. Dana smiled faintly. She wondered what he'd tell them now. "Meet my daughter, Special Agent Starbuck." She chuckled softly. That was the real problem, she was sure; that despite all of her schooling, the fact that she was 26 years old and almost a doctor, she was still his little Starbuck.

Dana opened her eyes and watched as evening crept across the sky, darkening her hiding place. The voices from the house were silent now. She knew Ahab hadn't meant to hurt or insult her with his harsh words, he was just hurt. In time he'd come around, just like he had when she'd told him she was going into forensic medicine and not something more normal, like pediatrics or family practice.

As much as she hated disappointing her parents, she knew this was the right decision for her. It felt right, more right than anything had in a long, long time.

Trying the words out for the first time she said softly, "Special Agent Scully." Not too bad. Amending it slightly, she tried again, "Special Agent Doctor Dana Scully." Hmm, that's quite a mouthful. Maybe she'd just stick with "Agent Scully." She smiled into the fading sunlight, watching as the last rays of light painted a panorama of breathtaking colors above her, secure in the knowledge that one day Ahab would come around. After all, he was her father.