Sure. Fine. Whatever.

by Susan P.

     Date: Tuesday, November 05, 2002 8:18 PM
     Title: Sure. Fine. Whatever.
     Author:  Susan P. <suzotchka67@poulli.net>
     Pairing: Scully/Reyes (sort of) Reyes/White 
     Codes: Pre-slash f/f (Sc/R), slash (R/other), PG, alternate-
     universe, episode-related
     Spoilers: up through and especially including Season 3's
     "Syzygy."

Archive: ScullySlash, Down in the Basement, ambermagic, erm...and anyone else I've given prior permission to. Anyone else, please ask first,

Summary: An alternate universe take on "Syzygy." Mulder who? Monica Reyes is Scully's partner in this universe.

Author's Notes: This is in response to a challenge posted to the Scully_Reyes list by AmberDragon. Her challenge: "Take any one episode from any season and write in Reyes instead of Mulder. No backstory needed, unless you want one. We'll all just go with the fact that Reyes was Scully's partner from the get-go." Thanks to AmberDragon for coming up with such a great idea! "Syzygy" was one of the first episodes that came to mind when I thought about it. I shamelessly 'borrowed' dialogue from the episode itself and relied heavily on the transcript posted at the X-Files transcript directory: http://xftse.philedom2k.com/scripts/scripts.php This particular transcript was done by Bentina--to whom I owe Many Thanks!--and can be found here: http://xftse.philedom2k.com/scripts/313syzygy.txt I've focused primarily on the Scully/Reyes interaction, though I had to include bits of the case here and there. :-) I just added my own bits to the existing dialogue, and an epilogue of sorts, because I couldn't leave it with the two of them still fighting, like the episode did.

Disclaimer: None of the characters used herein are mine, neither are the basic details of the story (the X-file). They belong to Chris Carter, who wrote this one, 1013, Fox, etc. I take full credit for my own additions and changes to it, however. This was done purely for my own and, I hope, others' enjoyment and not for the sake of making a profit.

Feedback would be wonderful, either on-list or sent to: suzotchka67@populli.net


Sure. Fine. Whatever.
by suzotchka67@populli.net

Where the hell is this place, anyway? Scully studied the map and the directions Reyes had scribbled down on the back of an envelope. They were coming up on a stop sign. "The map says to turn right at the intersection."

"The detective who contacted me told me to turn left."

"At the intersection?"

"At the stoplight."

"This isn't a stoplight, it's a stop sign."

I'm not blind, here. "Well, I'm sure she meant stop sign."

'I'm sure she meant stop sign,' Scully griped to herself. "Uh, turn right."

Reyes turned right, but after about a hundred feet she spotted a sign welcoming them to another town, so she turned back hoping they were then headed for Comity, as planned. As she made the turn, she hazarded a glance over at her partner who was quietly seething, as she had been for the better part of the last hour. She didn't know what was bothering Scully, but she decided to play it safe and keep her mouth shut.

They managed to make it to the funeral home, though it was after the service for Jay De Boom had begun. They stood at the back, quietly observing the crowd.

Detective White, who had called them in to consult on this case, walked over to join them.

"His friends called him 'Boom'," the blonde explained quietly, "quarterback of the football team, he was well liked, a leader. He was looking forward to college until he was found hanged in the woods two days ago. It's the third death of a high school boy in as many months."

"In your fax, you said there were strong suspicions of a satanic cult at work?" Reyes asked.

"That's the popular opinion around here. Wildly popular, actually."

Scully spoke up, "Based on what evidence?"

"Various eyewitness accounts of satanic rituals being conducted."

The three women turned as one of Jay's friends got up to speak, "I remember me and Boom back at kindergarten, he was, I dunno, like a brother, or something."

Scully turned to the detective. "And you have physical evidence of these rituals being conducted?"

"No. No, just the murder victims."

Small town police, Scully thought. "So you have nothing concrete to connect these things to Satanists?"

Detective White just shook her head, not making eye contact.

Reyes broke in, wanting to make nice with the detective. "If, uh, you detect a hint of skepticism or incredulity in Agent Scully's voice, that's because of the overwhelming evidence gathered by the FBI debunking virtually all claims of ritual abuse by satanic cults." Reyes didn't necessarily disagree with that position, but she was willing to consider the possibility that this case might prove an exception--at least until she'd taken a look at the evidence. Besides, Scully's not so subtle negative attitude was annoying her today more than usual.

Scully just stared at her partner at first, wondering who the hell she thought she was and trying not to notice just how close Reyes was leaning into the blonde detective's personal space. She also tried not to wonder what it was about beautiful women that turned Monica Reyes into a simpering sycophant--or why she herself never seemed to evoke that response in her partner. Not that she wanted Monica to fawn over her. Still, a little respect now and again would be nice.

"Is that true?" Detective White asked.

Scully drew breath as if to reply, but Reyes cut her off, snarking, "Don't ask me."

I will not beat the shit out of my partner at a funeral. It would be bad form, to say the least. Scully went on to reply as she knew Reyes expected she would. "Our research has proven that most of these accounts are false or imagined. That, uh, the trauma or mental illness that is often linked to satanic cults is a result of denial, hysteria and misplaced blame." Scully resolutely ignored the looks that Reyes had been shooting at her over Detective White's shoulder.

"Well," Detective White replied, "you're gonna have a hard time convincing the locals of that, especially after hearing the stories of two girls that were there the night Boom died."

"Who interviewed them?"

"I did."

"Together or separate?" Scully continued.

"Together. Why?"

"Well, then you have no way of determining whether or not the stories are fabricated."

"No, no, these are good kids we're talking about." Only then did Reyes seem to show any serious interest in anything or anyone other than Detective White. She turned to observe the girls in question as the detective continued, "outstanding students, and the details they gave... I doubt they could have made them up."

And it never once occurred to you that they could be involved in any way, or even that they're simply teenagers who had nothing better to do than make up wild stories to make you and others squirm for their own amusement. What is this? Mayberry? Small towns.... "Let me guess. They told you about a wild beast entering in on a Black Mass, the drinking of blood, the sacrifice of an infant..." and then she looked over at the girls, noting their hair color, "or a blonde virgin."

The detective had the good grace to look a little embarrassed as she confirmed, "Yeah, that's right." She looked away, toward one of the doors. "Excuse me," she muttered before walking away.

"Where is she going?" Scully asked.

"You don't suppose she's a virgin, do you?" Reyes joked.

"I doubt she's even a blonde."

The detective had gone over to try and prevent someone outside the door from entering. She was, perhaps unsurprisingly, unsuccessful.

The man came in to face those assembled and began ranting, "How long are we going to stand by and watch our children die, while Satan's soldiers run free in this city?"

The detective tried to calm him down, "Bob, this is no time to..."

"No time? No time?" Bob screamed back.

"Hey! Hey, hey, Bob, this is not the place for this."

He broke away from her and went up behind the coffin, "My wife can't sleep at night. My kids say they can feel Satan's presence! We got to, we got to wake up and take action, people. We got to cast the Devil out of our community!"

Then they all noticed as smoke started coming from Boom's coffin, then flames. People began to panic. Reyes and Scully just looked on open-mouthed.

Detective White tried to quell the growing panic. "All right, everybody! Stay calm!"

People started running out the rear doors. Reyes and Scully watched as the coffin burned.

Reyes couldn't resist mocking Scully. "Maybe we're just imagining that." She then walked toward the front to lend assistance in putting out the flames. Both of them were too wrapped up in their dispute with each other to notice the two teenaged girls still sitting, very calmly, amidst the chaos.


--Caryl County Sheriff's Station--

Scully sat in an interrogation room with Terri Roberts, taking her statement, again, though she suspected it would do little good--the girls had had plenty of time by now to get their stories straight.

"My name is Terri Roberts. I go to Grover Cleveland Alexander High School. I'm a senior with a 3.98 grade point average."

Reyes was in another room with the other suspect.

"My name is Margi Kleinjan. I go to Grover Cleveland Alexander High School. I'm a senior with a 3.75 grade point average. I'm on the cheerleading yell squad with my best friend, Terri."

Terri's story was eerily similar to Margi's. "I'm on the cheerleading yell squad with my best friend Margi, and we plan to go to college together in the fall."

Scully was already impatient to get this over with. :"Yeah. Could you tell me again exactly what happened the night of Jay De Boom's death?"

"Uh, Boom, Jay, was giving us a ride home in his truck, when all of a sudden he swerved off the road."

Margi continued, "like he had been possessed or something. And he made us get out of the car, and walk to a clearing, where people were wearing black robes and holding black candles. I couldn't see their faces underneath their hoods, but, I knew they up to no good."

"How did you know they were up to no good?" Scully asked Terri.

"Well, they were all standing around this altar, and one of them had a long knife, with a snake's head on the handle, ruby eyes. And I thought for sure we were dead, because we'd heard that they were gonna sacrifice a blonde virgin."

Margi started tearing up, her voice shaky, "But instead they just pulled out this little crying baby and put it on the altar, and the man with the knife started saying some kind of prayer."

"He was chanting," Terri took a deep shuddering breath, on the verge of tears, "and he was saying stuff about how they were gonna sacrifice the baby because it hadn't been christened yet. And how they were gonna bury it in a mass grave on the outskirts of town with all the other babies that they'd killed, and... And..." Scully had had about all of the girl's performance that she could take, by that point.

Later, Scully, Reyes and Detective White listened to the tapes of the girls' statements.

From Margi Kleinjan's statement: "The whole group was chanting and saying things. The man with the knife raised the knife up over the baby, and that's when Terri and I just ran for our lives."

Detective White stopped the tape. "The two stories are virtually identical. The one corroborates the other."

That still doesn't mean that either girl is telling the truth, Scully thought. "I don't suppose there have been any actual reports of stolen infants, or of mass graves being uncovered anywhere in town, or that you found an alter, or any other evidence of a Black Mass?"

"No. No, in fact, we haven't, b--" the detective replied before being cut off by Scully.

"The problem is, that the details of these accounts could have been taken from any newspaper or magazine. As horrific as they sound, the stories that these girls told are common, even clich."

Reyes stepped in. "If you detect a hint of impatience in Agent Scully's voice, that's because the FBI's study also found that in most cases, like the McMartin preschool trial, witnesses were often prompted in their statements by rumors or stories that were being circulated and that there was, in fact, nothing to support them."

"How do you explain the burning coffin at the funeral?" White asked Reyes.

"Don't ask me." Ball's in your court, Scully.

The three went down to the morgue to examine the coffin and the body. Scully removed the plastic cover and opened the half-burned coffin.

"There have been incidents where the embalming fluid used to preserve the body have caused chemical reactions and produced heat and burning," Scully explained, "I, I see nothing here that would suggest otherwise."

White pointed at a strange pattern burned into the deceased's chest, asking, "What is that?"

"What's what?" Scully countered, refusing to notice.

"That pattern, there, on his chest," White traced a finger in the air above it.

Reyes agreed. "Yeah, I see it. It looks like a...goat. Some kind of horned beast."

"A horned beast?" Scully scoffed.

"Yeah," Reyes continued, pointing to the image again, "right here, in this circle.

"I think you guys are seeing something that isn't there." Really, it was just some random pattern. It was just the rumors surrounding this case that made them want to read something into it.

"No, no, right here. Look. You see, the...the horns are right there," White insisted.

"No, I don't see the horns right there." Their certainty had begun to convince Scully that there might be something there, but she was in no mood to play along. She just went about the process of putting on her latex gloves in order to examine the body more closely.

White just glanced at Reyes, who was staring at Scully in disbelief. She had no idea what was going on between these two, but she knew enough to realize trying to convince Scully was a losing battle. Time to bow out gracefully. "I assume you'll call me if you need me for anything further." She walked out, wondering what the redhead could possibly have against her after just having met her a few hours ago.

Reyes couldn't hide her annoyance with her partner. What the hell was going on with Scully today? "If it's no bother... If it's not too big a deal, maybe you can get me a few photographs of that thing which bears absolutely no resemblance to a horned beast," she sniped before following Detective White out.

"Sure, fine," Scully snapped on her other glove, "whatever."


Reyes eyed the orange tabby, kneeling down to pet the animal. It was friendly, perhaps too friendly if there really were a threat of animal sacrifices in Comity. She was still sitting there, bonding with the cat, when Detective White opened the door.

Reyes looked up, "oh, hi."

"Uh, hi." White looked a little suspicious. "What are you doing with my cat?"

"He was scratching to get in and I thought, with the threat of satanic animal sacrifices looming, maybe you should keep him inside." Reyes handed the cat back to its owner, who turned to put it down inside the door.

"I thought the FBI's research would've debunked that theory," White looked annoyed.

"Oh. First off, I'd like to apologize for my partner's rude behavior. She tends to be rather rigid, but...but rigid in a wonderful way, not like she was today. Personally, I like to try to keep a more open mind." Reyes tried to decide if she were really flirting with the blonde. Part of her behavior earlier had been about trying to provoke her partner--to test her theory about Scully's apparent jealousy--but that had backfired spectacularly, and she was having an even harder time than usual reading Scully. Either way, it was clear that Scully would be of little help chasing down occult leads in this case--she seemed even more closed-minded than usual.

"So, what are you doing at my house?" White asked.

"I was hoping you could help me solve the mystery of the horny beast." Damn. I am flirting. 'Horny' beast. Real smooth.

Oddly enough, the (bad) line worked--possibly in more ways than one, given the speculative gaze the detective had given her. In any case, White agreed to follow her to the local astrologer, Zirinka.

Zirinka studied the photo of the burn. "Let me make sure I heard you right, you say you see horns."

"You don't see a, a goat here? Some kind of beast?" Reyes asked.

"This is a trick, right, to try and entrap me?" Zirinka was still suspicious.

"Nobody's trying to entrap you," White broke in.

"Uh, yeah, right. There are a lot of loonies running around this town that like to think that I'm a Satanist. But the truth is, I'm just a number cruncher, trying to make an honest living."

"Well, what do you think is going on, if I may ask?" Reyes inquired.

"Well, I think the whole town's lost its marbles. I should've been the first to see it coming, but it's hard being a small business owner. I mean, you should see the paperwork."

"What do you mean 'seen it coming?'"

"Well, we're heading into a rare planetary alignment, where Mercury, Mars and Uranus are extreme influences."

Reyes wanted more details. "On what?"

Sensing she had a live one on the hook and having other things to do now that her business hours were over, Zirinka just handed her card to Agent Reyes. "Office hours are nine to five. All major credit cards accepted."


--January 12, 5:10 AM--

--Grover Cleveland Alexander High School Gymnasium--

Reyes and White looked through an opening in the bleachers that had malfunctioned.

Scully entered and walked over to them. "What happened?"

"Another young man has died," White informed her.

"An electrical surge caused a power failure, but somehow activated the motor that retracts the bleachers and he got caught inside of them," Reyes explained.

Another officer called to the detective, "Detective White, can I see you?"

"Excuse me." White left to talk to the officer.

Scully looked around, seeing that Terri and Margi were both making statements to the local cops.

"You weren't in your motel room," Scully said quietly.

Meaning you checked, Reyes thought. She wasn't quite sure what to make of that. "I went to follow up a lead with Detective White."

"I see."

Scully's attitude was still firmly in place, apparently. "You see what?"

I see the fact that I'm your partner means next to nothing these days. "Look, we've been working together for, what, two years now? We have different opinions, but I didn't expect you to ditch me."

"I didn't ditch you!" Reyes defended herself even though she felt slightly guilty. It's not like Scully would have been willing to come along for what she'd had in mind, anyway.

"Fine, whatever."

They were both momentarily distracted by the sound of the winch the workers were using to open the bleachers and they turned to watch them slide open a few inches, revealing the young man's body inside.

Just then Detective White came back. "We got more trouble. A mob has gathered on the south side of town."


At a field on the south side of town, a group of locals, led by the man who'd disrupted Jay De Boom's funeral, were digging with picks and shovels as well as with heavy equipment.

Reyes, Scully and White arrived on the scene and White approached the ringleader. "What's going on here, Bob?"

"George Hunsaker's little boy got a phone call from someone who said they knew the location of the mass grave," he declared.

"You're destroying private property, Bob. You're gonna have to stop digging."

"Our children are dying!"

"Well, that does not give you the right to come out here and tear up Harvey Molitch's back yard."

"Maybe Harvey's got something to hide. We've got two kids who are prepared to say he took them on a camping trip and made them play naked movie star games!" Bob straightened, looking even more determined as he marched off to continue digging.

"That man?" Reyes asked, "is he always that hysterical?"

"No, Bob's our high school principal. I've never heard him say a bad word about anyone."

"This is called 'rumor panic,'" Scully shouted as Reyes and White started walking into the middle of those digging in the field. She moved to follow them. "It's when an antecedent event links up with a popular satanic cult myth and it increases the tension in a community. A villain or villains are singled out as the focus of the community's confusion and angst about unexplained events--like the death of the high school boys. There have been at least twenty incidents since 1983 from upstate New York to Reno, Nevada and not one of them has turned up a single shred of evidence to support the wild allegations."

Just then, a woman screamed, "I found bones!"

Scully looked around wildly, not quite believing her ears, when Bob echoed the woman's claim, "She found bones!"

Chaos ensued, with others touting the discovery and rushing to see for themselves.

Scully shouted, "all right, everybody stay back!" though it did little good. Several officers stepped in to keep the onlookers at bay.

White, Scully and Reyes made their way to the woman who'd made the discovery and was pointing to a leather bag in the hole she'd been digging. "They're in the bag."

Reyes and Scully both knelt down and pulled out surgical gloves. They turned to look at each other.

"Go ahead," Reyes offered.

"No, you go ahead." You seem to want to run this your way.

"No, no, no. Be my guest. I know how much you like snapping on the latex." Okay, that came out even bitchier than I intended.

Scully snapped on one glove, holding the other one in her other hand, and bent to pick up the bag. She opened the bag; noting that there were some small bones inside.

Bob immediately shouted, "they're child's bones!"

Scully just stared at him, wondering what was going on with the people in this town.

Reyes pointed to a monogram printed on the leather of the bag's clasp. "What's that? What is that, right there? Is that...some kind of lettering there?"

Scully read it, "R. W. G."

"Dick Godfrey," Bob shouted. "That bag belongs to Doctor Godfrey. He's the baby killer!"

And with that, the crowd raced off, led by Bob, bent on their witch-hunt.

"Who's Doctor Godfrey?" Reyes asked Detective White.

"He's the town pediatrician."

Scully sighed and looked up, suddenly wanting nothing more than to get out of this town and away from these people. She'd already had to deal with this kind of collective insanity in one of their recent cases and she was in no mood to deal with it again.


Later, at the precinct, Reyes observed while White interrogated Dr. Godfrey.

"Let me get this straight, for the record. You haven't seen the bag in a year, and you sold it at a garage sale?" White asked.

"To a young girl," Godfrey replied, "one of the Roberts family. They live a few doors down."

"Why was it filled with bones and buried in the middle of a field?"

"I have no idea."

"Well, the people of this town seem to think you do. Would you be willing to take a lie detector test?"

Godfrey looked a little nervous, but Scully entered and interrupted before he had a chance to reply.

"You can go now, Dr. Godfrey. I don't think we'll be needing you any further. Your story checked out."

"Thank God." Godfrey stood and put his jacket back on, preparing to leave.

Scully continued, "the bones turned out to be the skeletal remains not of an infant, but of a beloved, fourteen year old Lhasa apso, formerly known as Mr. Tippy." She pulled the dog's collar out of the bag that had held its remains and held it up for the others to see.

Just then, Terri Roberts entered the room. "Mr. Tippy!" the girl exclaimed before walking over to take the collar from Scully.

"This may not be any time to mention it," Reyes observed, "but someone is wearing my favorite perfume."

They all just looked at her strangely--especially Dr. Godfrey.

"Can I have a word with you?" Scully snapped. Reyes followed her into the hallway while Detective White stuck close to the grieving Terri Roberts. Nobody noticed when Dr. Godfrey lifted his suit coat and smelled himself.

Once they were alone, Scully lambasted Reyes. "This has gone on far enough."

"What?" Reyes asked, seemingly oblivious.

"I am not going to be humiliated by you, in front of you, or by having to bring a teenage girl in, on her birthday of all days, to identify the bones of her dead dog, Mr. Tippy!"

Reyes was barely paying attention to her and was randomly sniffing the air, moving closer to Scully's head while Scully spoke.

Scully continued, "I see no reason to pursue this case any further. And not only that, I find your conduct and comportment in this investigation not just alarming, but highly objectionable." Finally, Reyes got so close to her, still sniffing the air, that Scully had to ask, "what are you doing?!"

Reyes, still distracted by the perfume issue, replied absently, "must be Detective White..."

So they were back to that, were they? Scully's face hardened. "If that's the reason we're sticking around, that's your business." She turned to walk away.

"What?" Reyes asked confused, still not understanding what had Scully so wound up, but knowing she needed to defend herself, somehow. She followed after Scully. "What are you talking about?"

"Detective White."

"We came down here because of three unexplained deaths," Reyes stated truthfully. "Detective White is just trying to solve them. She could use our help." The fact that the detective happened to be an attractive woman was just a...bonus. Besides, it wasn't like anything had--or would--happen between her and Detective White. Her mind was on the case. It was. Really.

"Well, you two seem to have a certain...simpatico." You want to stay and 'work' with her? You wanna violate her ten different ways? Go ahead. Why the hell should I care? "I'm going back to Washington in the morning." Damn. Why did I imply that I knew what was going on between those two? And why do I care?

Oh, shit. Reyes slowly slumped against the wall, watching Scully leave. She'd never discussed her orientation with Scully, but it seemed her partner had developed some pretty strong suspicions about it. She didn't think she could have possibly been that obvious. Maybe she was wrong. Maybe Scully was just jealous of the fact that she was working so well with the detective while Scully's and her relationship had devolved into a snipe-fest.

What should she do now? If Scully left and she stayed, Scully would be impossible to live with. Hell, if Scully stayed, Scully would probably still be impossible to work with. Still, she felt that she should at least try to convince her partner to stay and stick this case out. Or maybe she should just leave with Scully in the morning. They'd found no concrete evidence of satanic cult activity, after all. However, she couldn't shake the feeling that there was something strange and possibly paranormal about all these deaths and she wanted to investigate further.


--8:25 PM, Comity Motel--

Reyes spooned some partially frozen orange juice concentrate into a half-full bottle of vodka, screwed the top back on it and shook it up to mix it. She took a drink, shook it up some more and took another drink. She sat on the edge of the bed, the top two buttons of her blouse undone, and the upper edges of her camisole visible. She turned on the TV. A black-and-white movie--the Keystone Kops, apparently--was playing. She tried changing the channel, but the same film was on every channel, running in sync, it seemed. She hadn't talked to Scully yet; she had, in fact, been trying to avoid the issue.

Meanwhile, in Scully's room, she sat on the bed, smoking, also surfing the channels and finding the same movie everywhere. She gave up and switched the set off, throwing the remote next to her on the bed and then swinging both legs over the side of the bed to get up. She started pacing the room and mumbling to herself in her annoyance. "Detective White could use our help." She looked out the window briefly and continued pacing the room. "She's just trying to solve this case," she muttered, also mouthing a few other choice words inaudibly before naming the reason for her inner diatribe. "Detective White."

Back in Reyes' room, she was still trying to get something else from the TV. She tried the remote from different angles, hoping against hope that it might change the result. Someone knocked on the door and she went to open it, placing the bottle on top of the television on her way to the door. She looked through the peephole and opened it to find Detective White standing there.

"Can I come in?" She didn't really wait for an answer before stepping into the room, handing Reyes a shoebox and taking her coat off, throwing it over one arm.

"What happened?" Reyes asked, noticing the woman was near tears.

She pointed at the box in Reyes' hands and sniffled. "I found that on my front doorstep."

Reyes opened the box and found the blue nylon collar that the Detective's cat had worn. Reyes looked at the tag on it, noting the detective's, Angela's, phone number in the process.

"If they're not Satanists, who are they?" White cried, visibly upset.

Reyes looked at the distraught woman and, not at all certain that she should, walked over to enfold her in a comforting embrace. Then, unable to help herself, she started sniffing the detective's neck, trying to determine what perfume the detective wore, if any, and solve at least one mystery during this trip.

The detective, who had been a willing participant in the embrace up to that point, apparently decided to draw the line at neck sniffing. She pushed Reyes back. "What are you doing?"

"Nothing," Reyes lied, hoping desperately the other woman would let it drop, since she wasn't sure she could explain it to herself, much less the detective.

"You've been drinking," White accused.

"Yes, I, I have, which is funny, because I usually...I normally never...I don't drink." Well, not all that much, anyway.

White nodded slightly, then stepped out of Reyes' arms and toward the door as if to leave. She spotted the bottle, picked it up and looked at Reyes for her consent. Reyes shrugged her response--a missing, possibly dead, cat was probably a better excuse to drink than her own. White looked at the bottle again and took a large swallow before setting it back where she'd gotten it.

She swayed side to side a bit, looking around vaguely before deciding, "You know, I don't feel like going home." Reyes, who'd been rubbing her face and trying to clear her head, heard a 'clunk'--White's shoe--and looked up. White slipped off the other shoe. "Do you mind if I slept here?" Then she started unbuttoning her jacket before taking it off.

Reyes knew she wasn't thinking all that clearly and, while she really considered it for a moment, she knew she couldn't take the chance--if only because Scully would kill her if she ever found out. And, she did prefer to be sober and clear-headed for such things. "Actually, I'm sure I could, uh, get you another room."

Reyes went to the phone, trying to get the operator, but dialing '0' had no effect. She noticed the detective unbuttoning her blouse and punched the key, desperately, a few more times, but had no luck before White grabbed her and threw her on the bed, causing her to drop the receiver. White wasted no time crawling onto the bed and straddling Reyes, preventing her from getting up.

"Maybe we can solve the mystery of the horny beast," White said hopefully.

Oh, God. Tell me this is not happening. I will not look down her blouse. I can't. I shouldn't, she thought. But suddenly she was doing just that. Oh...my. Look at those... Nonono, don't look at those. Must. Distract. Her. "Maybe we should just watch some television. Uh. There's a movie on TV. Actually, it's the same," she gestured over toward the TV, "the same movie on every channel." When she looked back, her eyes were again drawn to the last place she should be looking. Well, maybe not the last place. The face, Monica, stick to the face. Faces are safe. Unless they're all flushed with desire and looking...predatory. Madre de Dios!

Detective White put her hands on Reyes' shoulders and pushed up, raising her upper torso, but settling her hips more firmly atop those of the woman beneath her. She began moving, ever so slightly. "Weird. I like weird." She looked around before continuing, "I feel weird." Then she descended, pressing her weight into Reyes as she moved in to capture the Agent's lips with her own.

Reyes' chants of 'this can't be happening' and 'I can't do this' and 'I should stop this now' all went out the window when the blonde's tongue invaded her mouth, exploring the moist recesses within. Oh, damn. She's a fantastic kisser. And it's been so long... But, damn it! I can't. Scully would kill me.

And then, as if merely thinking of the woman had conjured her, Scully burst into the room--easy enough, since Reyes hadn't fully closed it after White's entrance. "Rey--" she started, before coming to a dead stop after taking in the scene on the bed. Once White had shifted over to one side and they were both fully focused on her--and once she began trying to burn the image of the two of them together from her mind--she spoke again. "There's been another death." She then got out of there as quickly as she could manage.

White and Reyes stared dumbly at the open door for a few seconds and then stared dumbly at each other for a few more before they finally recovered enough to separate and rearrange their clothing enough to be presentable. Then they raced after Scully, catching up to her in the parking lot, near their cars.

"Was it a murder?" Reyes asked Scully, who wouldn't return her gaze.

"A high school girl was impaled by flying glass from a bathroom mirror." Scully opened the driver side door of their sedan.

"Let me drive," Reyes said.

That made Scully look at her. "I'm driving."

Reyes leaned in to mumble, "Scully, it's not what you think."

"I didn't see anything anyway," she lied. She slid behind the wheel.

"Will you let me drive!?"

"I'm driv--" Scully protested. Detective White, still adjusting her clothing, looked up to watch the show. Scully was on a roll. "Why do you always have to drive? Because it's your department? Because it's your office? Your stupid quest?"

Oh, we're getting personal now? "No. I was just never sure your little feet could reach the pedals," Reyes shot back. She closed Scully's door, then headed toward Detective White's car. "Will you go with her, please?" she asked the blonde, not quite ready to trust herself alone with the other woman with the memory of her lips, tongue and a few other things still so vivid. Besides, she didn't trust herself to be alone with Scully right now, either--for different reasons. "Thank you," she said as the blonde passed her on the way to join Scully. She climbed into the other car, mumbling, "my stupid quest."


While on her own, Reyes stopped at Zirinka's, trying to get a little more information about what was going on in this town. Zirinka only agreed to see her at such a late hour after she waved her credit card around, though not before checking her credit.

"When we were here before you s--"

Zirinka interrupted, "I'm just waiting for authorization."

"I'm a federal agent," Reyes protested.

"Last I heard, the federal government couldn't pay its bills." She waited a few more seconds. The machine beeped. "Okay, you're good for up to 300 bucks. How can I help you?"

Reyes walked over to retrieve her card and ask the first of her questions. "You said that you knew why people are behaving so strangely around here."

"Well, the same reason that my dog's been trying to mate with the gas barbecue for the last two months."

"You said it was planetary?"

"Once every eighty-four years, Mercury, Mars and Uranus come into conjunction. Only this year, Uranus is in the house of Aquarius."

"That's a bad thing?"

"Bad like an Irwin Allen movie. I mean, things are gonna fall outta the sky. Disaster lies in wait, especially around here."

"Why here?"

"We're in a geological vortex, a high-intensity meridian."

Reyes just looked at her, obviously confused.

"A cosmic G-spot. All culminating on January 12th, when the planets come into perfect alignment. Which would be..." she looks at her watch, "today. Hey."

"But why is this affecting everyone?"

"Well, some people more than others. Relationships are gonna suck, significant dates can exaggerate the effects."

Significant dates. That gave her an idea. "What if today was my birthday?"

"Then I'd say happy birthday. Unless of course, you were born in 1979, and then I'd call the police."

Reyes was confused again.

Zirinka continued, "You'd have a Jupiter-Uranus opposition, forming what's called a grand square, where all the planets align into a cross. All the energy of the cosmos would be focused on you."


Scully and Detective White were driving down a dark road, both silent--too annoyed, embarrassed and afraid to say a word to the other, for fear of whatever might result. They hit a few bumps in the road, and White glanced over nervously at Scully, wondering if it might be on purpose, but suddenly a formerly live chicken splattered against the windshield, startling them both. Scully stopped and they got out, after which they discovered that the road was littered with other dead chickens.

They looked around at the remains for a moment before hearing voices and seeing lights in the distance, moving toward them.


--Zirinka's--

"I'll let you fill in the amount," the astrologer handed her the credit receipt.

Reyes had just begun filling it in when her phone rang. "Reyes."

It was a young female voice on the other end. "I know who the killer is. I know who did it all."

"Who is this?"

"Margi Kleinjan."

"Where are you, Margi? Just tell me where you are."


The people and the lights had moved even closer. Finally, Scully and White noticed that Bob was leading the mob, again, and that he was carrying a shotgun.

Scully tried to warn him off. "I don't know what you think you're doing, but I suggest you put that gun down, sir, or I'm gonna have to arrest you."

"We're not standing around anymore, waiting for answers," Bob ranted. "We're taking this situation into our own hands."

"You can't go walking down the middle of a street carrying a loaded weapon. It's against the law."

"Not if I'm hunting, it's not. Hunting Satanists."

"There are no Satanists here," Scully emphasized.

"Then who killed those kids? And who killed all these birds?"

Terri Roberts then came running out of the dark from the direction White and Scully had come. "Somebody, help me!" she screamed as she rushed up to them. She continued in a slightly calmer voice, "I know who the killer is. I know who did it all. All the murders."


Reyes entered Scott Simmons' garage, finding Margi, Scott's body and the spring in the wall. She knelt beside the girl. "Come on, Margi. Let's get you out of here."

Margi grabbed her arm. "She killed him."

"Who?"

"Terri, she killed all of them."

"She killed all the high school boys?"

Margi nodded. "And Brenda Summerfield."

"How did she do it?"

"I think she's possessed or something," Terri told Scully, White and the townspeople--implicating Margi. "She killed Scott Simmons with a garage door spring. I don't know how she does it, I think... I think she's..."

"I think she's evil," Margi continued. "She tricked Boom into going up on that cliff, and then she pushed him off. And laughed about it, just like she did Eric Bauer the other night in the gym."

Terri told Scully about Margi's involvement in Eric Bauer's death. "When all the lights went out, and she knew that he was trapped under the bleachers, she could hear him screaming, but she wouldn't make it stop."

"Why didn't you stop her Terri?" Scully asked. "Why didn't you tell anybody?"

"Because, because I was afraid of her. Because she was my best friend. Best friends are supposed to stick together, right?

Scully's phone rang and she walked away to answer it. "Scully."

"Scully, it's me."

Scully couldn't help the flash of annoyance she felt hearing Reyes' voice, but she bit back the half-dozen smartass replies she had saved up. She walked back to the car and got in to take the call in relative privacy. "Where are you?"

"I'm at a crime scene, a new one. I think I have a solid lead on these deaths."

She put their differences aside for the moment and shared the new information she'd obtained with her partner. "I'm way ahead of you, Reyes. I've got a suspect I want to bring in."

"Who's that?"

"Margi Kleinjan."

A-ha. Things were beginning to fall into place--albeit in an odd way. Reyes looked over at Margi, asked Scully to, "hold on a second," as she walked out of Margi's hearing range. "Margi Kleinjan?" she whispered.

"That's right. Her friend just gave us a statement."

"Actually, I'm way ahead of you, Scully, because I'm standing here with Margi Kleinjan and she just gave me a statement implicating her friend."

"Who?"

"Terri."

"Well, actually I'm way ahead of you, Reyes, because I'm with Terri right now."

"You're what?"

"I've got your suspect and you've got mine. And why does that make sense to me at this point?"

The plot thickened. "Look, Scully, I don't think this has anything to do with any cult. I want to get them both in and get a formal statement and clear this thing up, okay?"

Scully didn't reply.

"Scully?"

"Sure, fine, whatever," Scully replied curtly before shutting the phone off. Anything to get us the hell outta this town.


--11:48 PM--

Reyes made it back to the police station first, bringing Margi in. She sat the girl down at one of the desks and started to walk away, but then turned back to ask, "Detective White's cat?"

Margi nodded and Reyes took a deep breath before turning away. Just as she was about to pass a small, portable TV sitting on one of the desks, it came to life, showing part of the same movie that had been on every channel earlier. Then the building started shaking, along with items on the various desks. It got worse and worse until the furniture itself began to slide around the floor. The clerks and officers in the room started muttering and moving out of the way.

Terri Roberts entered, followed closely by Agent Scully.

"Hey, girlfriend," Terri spat at Margi.

"Hey," Margi replied with equal venom.

The shaking just got worse with the two of them in the same room.

Reyes pointed at Terri, telling Scully and White to, "get her outta here."

Then chaos ensued as all the weapons fired of their own accord, prompting the various officers to ditch their weapons and dive for cover. The music from the movie continued playing, even after the lights went out. Reyes raced over to Margi, grabbing her and dragging her out of the room and to a holding cell at the far end of a hallway.

The further away Margi got, the calmer the main room got. Once the weapons stopped firing, Scully, White and a few others rose, but by then, Terri had gotten away from them and gone in search of Margi.

Terri barreled down the hallway toward the cell Margi was in, advising Agent Reyes to get, "out of my way!"

Once she got close enough, Reyes and Scully, who had followed Terri, shoved her into the cell with Margi. Everything started shaking again.

"What the hell is going on here?" Scully demanded.

"Something cosmic," was Reyes' cryptic reply.

The shaking just got worse. Reyes looked around at the pictures and light fixtures shaking on the walls. She spotted a clock on the wall and watched it until it hit midnight, at which point the shaking stopped.

Shortly after that, Bob entered, followed by the rest of his mob.

Reyes and Scully both screamed at him. "Put that gun down!"

"Where is she?" Bob demanded.

"Who?" Reyes countered.

"The girl, the guilty one."

Reyes pointed to the door behind her. "They're both in there."

"Well, I think we'd like to see for ourselves." Reyes tried to stop him, but he pointed his shotgun at her. "I think we're all tired of waiting for law-enforcement to bring about justice in our city!"

"Yeah!" someone else in the mob shouted.

Detective White jumped in to stop Bob. "No!" Then she looked at Reyes and Scully. "Open the door."

"You don't wanna go in there," Reyes tried to warn her.

White just huffed and moved past the brunette, coming face to face with her partner. "Excuse me."

"Gladly," Scully replied before stepping aside--almost hoping something nasty would befall the woman. Almost.

White opened the door. Terri and Margi were huddled together on the floor in a far corner of the cell, crying. Everyone just stared at them.


Excerpt from Special Agent Monica Reyes' report on the case:

"We are but visitors on this rock, hurtling through time and space at sixty-six thousand miles an hour, tethered to a burning sphere by an invisible force in an unfathomable universe. This most of us take for granted while refusing to believe these forces have any more effect on us than a butterfly beating its wings halfway around the world. Or that two girls born on the same date at the same time and the same place might not find themselves the unfortunate focus of similar unseen forces, converging like the planets themselves into burning pinpoints of cosmic energy, whose absolute gravity would threaten to swallow and consume everything in its path. Or maybe the answer lies even further from our grasp."


"I think it was Satan. Yes, sir. Satan it was," Bob theorized, sounding somewhat calmer than he had during every other encounter the Agents had had with him in the course of their stay in Comity. Still, they both rolled their eyes at the seemingly easy, though almost surely wrong, conclusion he had made. His tune hadn't changed a bit, though it's tone was less shrill than before. Perhaps even he sensed that, whatever had caused the strange events of the past few weeks, the danger was now past.


Their rooms were paid up through the night, but Scully still insisted that they leave as soon as was feasible after doing what was necessary to wrap up the case--as much as it could be wrapped up.

Even though Reyes packed as quickly as she could, deeming it wise not to antagonize her partner any further if she could avoid it, Scully had still beaten her to the car and was firmly ensconced in the driver's seat.

Scully was still, clearly, upset with her. Reyes desperately wanted to believe that it had something to do with this place, or with some lingering effects of the planetary alignment, but she was afraid it had far less to do with the 'cosmic G spot,' as Zirinka had called it, and much more to do with her own behavior. Even though it was White who seduced her--or tried to--Scully had no way of knowing that, and she was afraid to try and explain. Besides, she wasn't exactly blameless in all this.

Reyes put her bags in the trunk before sliding into the passenger seat.

"You ready?" Scully asked.

"You're the driver." Damn. She had meant it to be conciliatory, but it still came out sounding bitchy.

Scully burned rubber, literally, in her haste to get out of Comity. The 'Perfect Harmony City' my ass, she thought.

As they approached a four-way stop on their way out of town, Reyes tried to offer directions. "Ah, Scully, if I'm not mistaken, we're going to be taking a left up here."

Scully didn't respond, and indeed showed no signs of having heard.

"Uh, there's an intersection up here. You're gonna wanna..."

Scully didn't even slow down for the stop sign.

"Scully! You're gonna wanna--" Reyes shouted as they shot through the intersection.

"You just ran a stop sign back there, Scully."

"Shut up, Reyes."

"Sure, fine, whatever." It was going to be a loooooonng ride home.


--Monday, January 15th, 6:25pm--

Reyes stood nervously outside Scully's apartment. They'd made it back to D.C. Saturday morning, having spent most of the trip in relative, if uncomfortable, silence. Just before they parted company, Scully had informed Reyes of her intention to take one or more vacation days and 'make a long weekend of it.' Reyes was no fool; she knew Scully wanted to be away from her for a few days. She'd spent a rather boring day in their basement office, catching up on reports and checking out a couple of leads to other possible x-file cases. It had taken a supreme act of will to refrain from contacting Scully before now, but she hadn't wanted to antagonize her partner further.

She wanted to believe that both she and Scully had merely fallen under the influence of the cosmic forces that had gripped the inhabitants of Comity, but she couldn't be certain of that. Even if their behavior had been tweaked by outside forces, they'd said things, done things, she wasn't sure could be taken back. But if things could be mended between them, she had to try. She missed Scully, and the easy partnership they'd developed, already, and it had only been two and a half days.

It was her desire to reconcile with Scully--and the missing her--that brought her to Scully's door. She was having trouble finding the nerve to knock, but if she didn't soon, one of Scully's neighbors might get suspicious and call the police. She straightened her back, took a deep breath and knocked three times.

It couldn't have been more than a minute before Scully answered, but Reyes' nervousness had her ready to bolt by the time the door swung open to reveal her partner.

"Reyes."

"Hi. So, um," Reyes fidgeted, "am I still persona non grata?"

Scully looked away, though she was grinning slightly. "I'm getting over it."

When Scully met her gaze again, Reyes held up the bottle of wine she'd been hiding behind her back. "Peace offering?"

Scully's smile widened and she stepped back, gesturing for Reyes to enter. She took the bottle from the brunette.

"Scully, I was hoping we could..."

"Talk," Scully's face turned serious. "Have a seat, I'll open this and get some glasses."

Reyes took a seat in the middle of the sofa and looked around discreetly at Scully's things while she waited.

Scully returned with two half-full glasses balanced precariously in one hand and the bottle in the other. She set the bottle on a nearby table and handed one of the glasses to Reyes before taking up residence on one end of the couch, facing her partner.

They sipped their wine and stared at one another.

"So."

"So..." Reyes began, but then faltered.

Despite her determination not to, Scully found herself asking, "Detective White?"

"Detective White," Reyes sighed. She'd known this discussion would come to that, eventually. Best to get it over with. "For the record, she jumped me. I was trying to push her away when you came in." Well, I was getting around to pushing her away. I think.

Scully nodded. "I'll assume that's true. I suppose the fact that 'she jumped you' had nothing to do with the fact that you had been flirting with her since we got there?"

"I--" Reyes started, stopped, started again, "I was. I was flirting with her," she admitted.

"And 'Bambi?'"

"Who?" Reyes asked, confused.

Forgotten her already? That's encouraging, I guess. Scully ran one hand through her hair and took a large swallow from the glass in the other hand. She then she refilled both their glasses. "Miller's Grove, Massachusetts."

Oh. "Dr. Berenbaum. Nothing happened with her aside from a lecture on insects, I swear." Unfortunately.

"But it was not for lack of trying, I'm guessing?"

Why is she fixating on this? Is it just that she wants me to come out and admit it? "Yes. I flirted with her. I flirt with women. I'm... I prefer women."

"But not all women." Why am I pushing this? I should just drop it.

Reyes wasn't sure she understood what Scully was asking. "No. You're not attracted to every man you meet, are you?"

Scully just shook her head. Since Reyes' involvements with first 'Bambi' and again with Detective White, something had been lapping at the edges of her conscious awareness. Now, sitting here with Reyes, hearing the signs of obsession in her own questions, it was beginning to come into clearer focus. It wasn't Reyes' flirtations with other women that bothered her so much as the fact that Reyes wasn't flirting with her. Well, Reyes did occasionally flirt with her, but it was usually treated as a joke. The realization that she might want Reyes to be interested in her was disquieting, so much so that she decided to be grateful that Reyes had misunderstood the question so she wouldn't have to talk about it further.

"Is this going to be a problem for us? That I'm...gay?"

"No." Whatever her problems were, they weren't about Reyes being gay. Not exactly. She would just have to deal with her issues and do her best to keep it from affecting their working relationship.

"Because it would make things very difficult for me at the Bureau if...this became common knowledge," Reyes implored.

"I'm sorry you even have to ask. No one will ever hear it from me. It's not even... Who you choose to be with is not my business. It's just... When it interferes with an investigation..."

"It hasn't, I swear," Reyes countered, "and it isn't likely to. Scully, the flirting... It's just...an outlet, I guess. Ninety percent of the time I don't even mean anything by it, much less expect a response." It's just that I'm lonely, I have zero social life, I want you so badly my heart hurts and it makes me feel good to pretend there's a possibility of something somewhere with someone.

An outlet for what? Scully wondered. And how sad was it that Reyes could expend that kind of energy on someone else and not expect a response? A woman as beautiful as Reyes should have her pick of women as well as men. Beautiful? Where'd that come from? Best not to think too much about that right now.

"Okay," Scully finally answered. "I'll try to be less..." Shrill? Judgemental? Jealous? "sensitive about it in the future."

"Fair enough. Is there anything else you want to call me on the carpet for?"

Scully's mind was too jumbled with thoughts she barely understood and wasn't ready to share to think of anything else, but she wasn't quite willing to give Reyes a pass. "Nothing that can't wait 'til later," she grinned.

Reyes smiled in return. "Okay. I should probably let you get back to enjoying your day off then." She drained what was left of her glass and set it down next to the bottle as she rose to leave.

As they made it to the door, Reyes turned to ask, "Scully, are we going to be all right?"

Scully reached out to squeeze her partner's arm. "Yeah. We will."

Monica smiled brightly. "Does that mean there's a chance you might come back to the office tomorrow?"

Monica's eager-puppy eyes nearly did Scully in. "Maybe."

After Scully closed the door, she leaned against it, thinking, 'Monica?' Well, they had been working together more than two years now, it wouldn't be unreasonable for them to be on a first name basis.

The End

(c) November 2002
 

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