The Princess by Wylfcynne

Fox Mulder walked up the sidewalk from the parking lot.  He had been walking briskly when he started, but, somehow, the closer he got to Dana’s apartment, the slower his steps became.

Is this the silliest idea I’ve had this decade?  I think so…

But he could not bring himself to turn back.  He was intellectually convinced that this was the right choice.  He was, after all, a Doctor of Psychology who profiled people for a living.  He had profiled Dana Scully years ago; he had begun even before he met her, having learned through his private network of informants who was being assigned to debunk his work.  He probably knew her better than her mother.  He certainly understood her better than anyone in her family.

But that’s because you’re so much like her,
he told himself.  We’re too much like the wolves to tolerate being treated like sheep, but we love the sheep, so we guard them against the wolves.  We hate those who prey on the weak and defenseless…we prey on other predators.

That’s the only worthy opponent, after all…

Of course, sometimes he hunted real animals; on this last case, he had bagged a fourteen foot American Alligator, far outside its normal range in a lake in central Georgia.

I should have asked for the hide, he mused.  It would have made an interesting wall hanging…a conversation piece, if nothing else.

He snorted in derision.  Fox Mulder, Great White Hunter. That was a silly thought.  He had been absolutely terrified when the thing had charged him, and he was still having nightmares of those jaws clamping down on him, dragging him off to drown him in the lake as it had done to several other people that month.  It had taken an entire clip from his Sig Sauer to stop the prehistoric monster, and it had died with its jaws only inches from his feet.

So, technically, I avenged Queequeg’s murder.  Nice bit of synchronicity, I suppose.

He stopped in front of her door, took a deep breath, and knocked.

Scully opened the door, frowning in puzzlement.  “Mulder?  What’s wrong?”

He spread his hands. “Why does something have to be wrong?  Can’t I just stop by to say hello?”

She grimaced as she stepped backward, tacitly inviting him inside.

“Mulder, we spend eight to eighteen hours a day with one another.  Don’t you want some time alone?”  She closed the door behind him.

“No,” he said bluntly.  “Being alone sucks.  And you shouldn’t have to be alone, either.  Here.”

His left hand came out of his overcoat  pocket, he cupped his right hand over what he held to keep it secure, and then extended both hands to her.

Puzzled, startled – Mulder rarely gave gifts, except for tokens, usually jokes, on the required holidays – Scully reached out with both hands to take whatever it was.

A black puff of fur?  Warm…  It wiggled, opened eyes and mouth, and smiled at her.

It was a puppy.  A black Pomeranian puppy, so small that even her small hands could completely enclose it.

Scully lifted awestruck eyes to her partner, who was waiting to see how she reacted.

“My God, Mulder–she’s so tiny–!  Where did you find her?”

“Silverfrost Kennel outside Hagerstown, Maryland,” he shrugged.  “She’s got a pedigree longer than the Queen of England’s, and her registered name is Silverfrost The Princess of Vix.  Mrs. Baker called her Princess.”

That stopped her dead.  This was not a stray he was bringing to her for care.  This was a considered and purchased intentional gift.

Scully did not realize that she was already cuddling the puppy close against her breast.  She stared at Mulder, shocked speechless.

He shrugged, avoiding her searching gaze, divining at least part of her problem.
“Hell, it was my fault you lost Queequeg,” he said softly.  “And you complained about being the only living thing in your apartment when he was gone.  I didn’t think that was right, but if I camped out on your couch every night, my fish would starve.  So I got you the Princess.”

“It wasn’t your fault about Queequeg,” she whispered.  “I dropped the leash…”

“I dragged you out on a monster hunt on your weekend off,” he shook his head, his eyes still fixed on the floor.

“You avenged him.”

He just shrugged, and then shifted his attention to the puppy, who was  industriously licking her thumb.  “You gonna keep her, or should I dig out the receipts for all the stuff Mrs. Baker said you’d need?”

She blinked.  “Stuff?”

“Crate, playpen, bed, bowls, brushes, combs, food, toys…”  He spread his hands.  “It’s all out in my car…”

Slowly, like dawn over a meadow, a smile brightened her face, the room and his heart.

“Go get it all,” she ordered.



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