"I'm sorry son. I didn't mean to pry." I can't help but feel sorry for the poor lad. I know from what I've seen in front of me and what my daughter has told me that this is one intelligent man. I bet he was always striving to get his parents attention.
"It was a long time ago." He murmurs waving for the sales assistant's attention. She appears almost instantly with a jug of coffee.
"I didn't know you do table service?" I ask. My wife has dragged me here and places like this plenty of times before and they have never done table service. I know because guess who normally has to queue.
"We don't but we have a few exceptions." She smiles almost flirtatiously at the lad but he doesn't respond to her advances.
"I helped her open up this morning." He smiles but it's a smile that doesn't reach his eyes.
"Almost every morning." She adds as he fishes out his wallet.
"No, this one is on the house. In fact, the rest of this week's coffee is on the house, a little thank you for helping me with Gerry this morning." She backs away from the table hesitantly looking at the lad in kind regard.
Being as nosy as I am as she walks away I have to ask him. "Who's Gerry?"
"Her ex." He grins at my intrigue. "He was giving her some hassle so I had a word. Being a federal agent does have some perks."
I get the feeling this isn't the first time he has helped a damsel in distress like this and I don't think it will be the last. He's a good lad.
His wallet lies open on the table and I see him absently, probably unconsciously, run his thumb over a picture of a young girl. My daughter never told me he has children.
"Is she yours?" I ask wondering if we are in fact one father talking to another.
"Huh?" He asks confused before following my gaze. "Oh, no. She's my sister."
Sister? Okay, now I'm confused. It takes a strange kind of man to carry a picture of his sister in his wallet. Admittedly, both my boys carry pictures of their sisters in their wallets but that's only because they're away from home so much. I suppose that could be the reason here but I sense there maybe more to this tale.
"Your sister? She's a pretty little thing."
"She is... she was." He looks sad; there shouldn't be so much sadness in one so young. "She went... we lost her. Not long after this photo was taken actually."
"I'm sorry son. It's hard to lose someone so close to you." This poor lad wears his heart on his sleeve for everyone to see. It's plain to me he desperately needs healing. He takes a sip of his coffee reminding me of my own now tepid brew. I take a hesitant sip of mine noting that its not a bad cup of java, shouldn't be either for the price I paid. "Do you have any children yourself?"
"Me?" He looks surprised as if there might be someone else I am directing my question at. "No, Sir. Not yet anyway. I'm not even married yet."
He has a certain twinkle in his eye that leads me to ask my next question. "Anyone in mind?"
He's smiling broadly at just the thought, what a transformation. She must be one special lady to invoke such a response from such a seemingly solemn individual.
"Someone, but I don't think I could ever be that lucky."
"You will son, you will. We all catch a break at some point and before you know it you'll be pumping out the ubers. Then you'll find yourself in my position worrying about a daughter who is old enough to take care of herself."
He smiles realising my need to discuss my daughter's career path. "I don't think you need to worry too much, Sir. We train our cadets to their highest possible potential. Your daughter must be a very competent young woman to have made it to field agent status."
He's a smart one alright. Mind you, I guess that's what most fathers like to hear about their daughters. Come to think of it, I'm not so sure I am at all happy about my daughter working with this man if he knows all the right things to say. Especially seeing as they ended up banged up in quarantine together. I don't even want to think about the parked cars while on stakeouts. I merely nod in agreement at his statement.
"What you need to remember is that all field agents are assigned partners. We look out for each other. It's what we do."
It's incredible when you think about it, how open someone can be with a complete outsider. It's almost as though you know you can completely open up to a stranger, whether it be a lady on a bus or an old man in a coffee shop. It's as though your subconscious knows that in all likelihood you will never see this person again.
"Take my new partner for example. I never wanted her. Never asked for her but in the past six months she has been in peril at least five times and I've been there to bail her out every time."
I feel sick. "My daughter has been in danger that many times, potentially I mean?"
"Possibly, though my partner and I do work in a very precarious department. What department is your daughter in?"
"I'm..." Oh crap. "I don't recall the name. It's all gobbledegook to me." I hedge.
"Well, I bet it's not as volatile as our work. But that's the beauty in having partners you see, even though she has been in danger a lot, so have I. She watches my back and I watch hers. I wouldn't be without her now. I couldn't be. Her life is paramount to my own."
He looks almost... my God, I wonder if it's my little girl that he thinks he's not lucky enough to have. Well, this certainly has been a fact finding-mission.
"So, you think I should have faith in her partner?" I ask concerned that this same partner is the man across the table from me and has yet to figure out my motives.
"I do but have faith in her too. My partner, well... she could kick my ass but good. As for target practice... well, lets just say that I'm surprised SWAT hasn't snapped her up. To look at her she's the tiniest thing but my God she's fiery."
I have to smile at that. My little girl probably could take this lad down, I trained her to defend herself and defend herself she will. "What would you do in my situation son?"
"Honestly? I don't know. Maybe invite the partner round, get to know them to help ease my mind." Dang he's good. I definitely feel a little better knowing he's there for my girl. Thinking of which, I better get out of here just in case she decides to drop in for a morning coffee.
"Thanks son." I say before swigging back the dregs of my coffee. "I better fetch my good lady a coffee before heading on home. She's evil before her morning coffee."
"I know someone just like that." He smiles as I stand before following suit and extending his hand to me. "Rest assured, I will protect Dana's life with my own Captain Scully, Sir."
I'm slightly taken aback. I guess all my experience on under cover ops didn't hold fast on this one. "What gave me away son?"
"Honestly? It was the look of pride that crossed your face when I said your daughter could kick my ass. No amount of schooling can hide the look of a proud and loving father."
What can I say? "I am proud. She's an amazing young woman." I smile, pleased that I can drop my deception. "You won't tell her about this little chat will you? She's very proud herself."
"Not if you don't want me to, Sir." He smiles understandingly. I really like this lad; my little Starbuck could do a lot worse.
I can still feel the longing for acceptance coming off him in waves. So I offer it in the best way I know how. "Just for the record son, I think you'll make a great father. You've got all the right instincts."
His smile is huge as he pumps my hand once more. "Thank you, Sir. That means a lot coming from you."
"I'll get Maggie to arrange that dinner date." I state as I turn for the door.
"I wasn't... I hadn't realised then." He stutters like a schoolboy.
"I know." I head to the door with a bounce in my step. I know my daughter can look after herself but now I also know that her partner will always have her back too. I feel at ease now knowing I have no need to worry... but I still will.
After all, she's still my little girl.
Author's notes -
It always bothered me that Captain Scully never got to meet Mulder... so I fixed it. Isn't fan fiction great :)
I wrote this fan fiction back in April 2008 but am only just getting around to posting it. It seems only right that I should devote this story to the actor who played Captain William Scully, Don Davis, who passed away in June 2008. He was a good man and an amazing actor who will be greatly missed.
I hope you enjoyed reading this fan fiction. Please let me know by clicking that sweet little review button.