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Something Strange by Maidenjedi
Summary: Upon returning, and goosed by ghosts. Mulder/Diana, The End missing scene.

TITLE: Something Strange
AUTHOR: Maidenjedi
KEYWORDS: Diana, missing scene
ARCHIVE: List archives, otherwise please ask.
DISCLAIMER: Not mine, thank you very much.
SUMMARY: Upon returning, and goosed by ghosts.


Author's Notes at the end.


"All things must change to something
new, to something strange."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Her flight here had been quicker than the one she'd
left town on. The airport was cleaner, and security
was a little tighter. The economy was better and
the news was more upbeat.

This was returning, she thought. Coming back to
find things changed. Better, she thought in the
cab that had new license plates and had been made
in 1994. Worse, too, she thought when the driver
turned on the radio and a song with cursing lyrics
and too much bass filled the car.

She got out at the J. Edgar Hoover Building, paying
the cabbie an ungodly amount and rethinking her
decision not to rent a car. The building was the
same as ever, imposing and masculine and hiding
secrets. This was coming home.

She had to go through the metal detectors in the
front entrance. There was a uniformed security
guard, the generic kind seen in similar buildings
in similar cities everywhere. He glanced at her
badge and his smile was the perfunctory kind saved
for the visiting backwater agents that came through

Her footsteps were loud to her despite the small
crowd that filled the foyer. She got to the
elevator and pressed in to another crowd, busy men
and women with places to go, people to see, and
reports to file. She wondered where the fat man
leering at her was going. Judging by his cheap suit
and cheaper cologne, she guessed accounting.

He got off on the second floor. Accounting.

She got off on the fourth. On the wall opposite the
elevator was the new president's picture, next to one
of the new attorney general. Well, they weren't new,
not really, having served half of a second term. But
their faces didn't really belong to this building.

She found herself thankful for the same worn grey
carpet in the conference room. Thankful for the
ancient overhead projecter that had likely seen the
days of Hoover himself. She was thankful for the
men still in their black suits and white shirts,
less so for the women in black slacks and black
blazers instead of red skirts and shoulder-padded
red blazers.

The room filled quickly, agents whispering rumors
and their superiors holding their chins aloft with
pretended importance. She sat in the back, in a
corner. She wasn't sure why she had agreed to come.
Someone else could've handled the dirty work. She
thought longingly of Saudi heat and sand, of Arabic
voices. She'd rather pretend there if she had to at

A man came into the room. His youth gave away the
secrets that his scowl and expensive cologne were
trying to hide. He introduced himself as Agent
Spender, no first name because he wanted to remain
impersonal, the boss and not a friend. He was still
new at this, and this was his first big case.

And what a case. She recited the facts she knew
he was going to dictate to the room. A terrorist
had shot a Russian national. Scandal, upset,
international incident. This was scripted rhetoric
left over from the Cold War. In the old days she
would have had to suppress a laugh. Now she was
just impatient with it all. Tired of it. The
ending was already planned.

She knew that now because she was there to make
it happen.

Spender droned on, his patriotism on his sleeve. So
eager to please, to climb the ladder. He'd probably
been top of his class at the Academy.

Just like Fox had been.

She shifted uncomfortably in her seat. That was
why she didn't want to be here, in this building,
this city, this country. She was better off halfway
around the world, where he wasn't. She wondered if
he was working in the basement or was getting mud
on his shoes, asking a farmer about crop circles.

It was a unbidden thought and she focused on the
video of the assassination. She waited for someone
to point out how the little boy had moved backwards
to avoid being hit. She wondered how long it would
be before she had to say something.

Not long.

The door opened and a familiar profile appeared.
The same distinguished nose, the same pouting lips.
She wasn't surprised to find she still thought of
him like he was a character in a romance novel. His
hair was shorter, more styled. His tie was new.
When she knew him, his taste was more for paisleys
and tacky broad stripes. She wondered who had picked
this one for him.

He looked around the room quickly, searching for
someone. Her heart skipped a beat. She wanted
him to see her, she didn't want him to.

His gaze rested somewhere on the other side of
the room. He hadn't recognized her, but he knew
someone there. She wondered if that person had
picked out his tie.

She watched him turn his attention to the
video, to Agent Spender. Spender disliked him,
she noticed it in the way his lip curled
and his chest heaved with weary annoyance.

Fox Mulder pointed out the young chess player's
premonition. Agent Spender was prepared to fight
him. The room shifted in mixed agitation and
fascination - apparently, Spooky Mulder's reputation
hadn't dimmed with time. She let Spender finish his
sigh, and then she spoke up.

"I think Agent Mulder's right."

Heads snapped in her direction, and Diana's skin
tightened, the hair on the back of her neck standing
up. This was it. Her big performance.

And the love of her life was staring at her with a
hint of smile on his face.

She ignored him, ignored Spender's gaping, protesting
mouth, ignored everything. She backed Fox up, a
professional, respected opinion given to legitimize
the rantings of a basement-banished kook. Just
like the old days, she thought, finishing her speech
and finally daring to meet his eyes.

Fox's eyes lingered on her face as they always
had, thankful and a little awed. The meeting broke
up around them, and still they watched each other.
She felt excited and glad and nervous, so changed from

when she had walked in here. She made to move over
to him through the small throng of gossiping,
speculating agents in black.

She hesitated only once.

A small figure topped with red hair got up from
the table and got to Fox first. He dropped his
stare down to her as she placed her hand on his arm.
She whispered to him, he answered her. All his
attention was on her, and Diana felt the dread return.

Things had changed, after all.


A/N: I just can't leave this episode alone!!

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