Welcome To The Harem
14th Of February by Ravenscion
Summary: Deslea's rec: "This oldie-but-a-goodie is a different look at Mulder, Scully, Diana and Jeffrey, set in Season 6 but told many years on. There's a quiet grief in Diana's narrative, something intangible yet pervasive, and a well-drawn original character gives insight into the unspoken. Well done."
Title: 14th of February (1/1)
Author's website: http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Dunes/6767
Rating: R (language, violence)
Keywords: Mulder/Scully romance (implied)
Date of first posting: 13 November 1998
Archive: Please archive at Gossamer. Others, please email for
Notes: I prefer not to tip my hand by giving too many warnings about a
story, so suffice it to say that the 'R' rating and the 'A' category
label are here for a reason. This story is a bit grim.
Nevertheless, I hope you'll give it a try, and please send feedback if
you care to.
Disclaimer: Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, along with all other characters
and situations related to "The X-Files," belong to Chris Carter, 1013
Productions, and the FOX network. I am using them without permission
but intend no copyright infringement.
"14th of February"
The pub is quiet for a Friday night. A handful of people cluster around
a couple of tables, leaning over their pints and filling the room with
a blue fog, but mostly the place is empty. The music is turned down,
and the lighting and conversation are low, almost...expectant. None of
the usual weekend clamor disrupts the tranquility.
For which I am profoundly thankful. I came here for a drink, because I
really need one, but I've never enjoyed the noise and desperation of the
'bar-scene.' Tonight's quiet is an unexpected benefit, though in my
present mood, I find it more a relief than anything else.
I make my way from the doorway to the bar, trailing a gust of frigid air
that momentarily parts the cloud of smoke, and pass through the odd
assortment of antique tables and chairs that the owners have collected
to give the place 'character.' Concert leaflets have been pinned to the
walls amid the faded oil paintings, forming a curious mosaic. I don't
pay the decor much mind, though. I'm not here for ambience, not
Sarah greets me as I lean against the bar. She's wearing a red heart
pin on her shirt that makes me cringe inwardly. "The usual?" she asks.
She doesn't notice my discomfort.
"No, scotch," I say, pointing to the top shelf of bottles. "The
She retrieves the dusty bottle and a glass, looks at me inquiringly.
That earns me a raised eyebrow, but she pours without comment.
I take the glass from her, sipping the liquid smoke within. "Pretty
quiet," I say. I'm not sure why; I don't really feel much like
chatting. But I like her. She and I have a certain connection, despite
the different worlds we inhabit.
"It's the snow," says Sarah.
She's a student, working on her master's at Johns Hopkins. Not bad
looking, but nothing special either. She's always attentive when I come
in here. I think she finds me a welcome change from the parade of
drunk, horny men who hit on her all the time. She knows I'm not after
her for anything. I'm a DEA agent, after all, 10 years older than she.
"Keeps people at home," she adds.
I hadn't thought of that. Outside, a rare, deep blanket of snow covers
the city, eight inches or more. Here in Baltimore, that counts as a
blizzard, though the folks back home in Iowa would laugh at the idea.
"Suits me," I say, and upend my glass. Heat from the liquor expands in
my chest, taking the chill off the room. Normally, I don't pound back
the good stuff. I like to savor it, tasting every nuance, every smoky
scintilla of flavor. But tonight I'm making an exception. I set the
glass on the bar.
"Fill 'er up."
Sarah complies. "Rough day?" she asks as she pours.
"Want to talk about it?"
No. Yes. I don't know.... I look around. There's no one all that
near us, and even though Sarah's the only one tending bar, she's not too
busy. What the hell...
"Jennifer...," I begin, then trail off. She broke up with me this
morning, this of all mornings. And I'd had plans for us. This was
going to be a special day.
A voice in my head snorts in derision. 'Meanwhile, back on the planet's
Sarah gets it right away, looks appropriately concerned. "I'm sorry."
"Yeah, well it happens."
"How long were you--"
"Over two years."
"Well, I'm sure it's no comfort right now, but I think it's her loss."
Sarah gives my arm a squeeze.
"Thanks," I say, not smiling, and "I don't want to talk about her." I
really don't, I realize.
Sarah nods, begins cleaning up the debris left by an earlier customer,
making small talk. She's not superficial, but like all barmaids, she
takes her cue from whoever's buying the booze.
Which is okay. That's just the company I need right now, in some ways.
She's called away for a moment. One of the tables needs another round,
so Sarah gives me an apologetic look and starts pulling pints. I ease
back from the bar and take my glass to a seat by the window.
I notice the music. The late, great Jerry Garcia's finger are doing
their delicate dance over the fret-board, and he's singing something
about 'winter's summer home.' I raise my glass; time to get down to
All day at work, I'd been only half there, through the daily grind of
post-op paperwork, all the usual crap. And there will be more tomorrow
-- we're working on a long-term case, and I've been spending a lot of
weekends in the field or at the office. I guess I should have seen this
day coming, now that I think about it.
At any rate, I figure I'll combine tomorrow's misery with my hangover
and kill two birds, so to speak.
It's still snowing outside, lightly. I watch the flakes drift downward.
The city's never looked so clean, so pure. It's an illusion, of course,
but a pleasant one.
"Michael." The voice comes from above me. I look up to see a tall
woman standing by my table.
"Diana?" I'm surprised. Agent Fowley is the last person I expected to
run into here.
"Cold night to drink alone. May I join you?"
I wave at the seat across from me. We get a few quizzical looks as she
sits down. The other patrons seem to think we're a May-September
couple, not that I give a damn.
I understand their puzzlement, though. Diana is in her fifties. She's
been with DEA for more than a decade, and she had a long career with the
FBI before that. I've known her for five years, since I joined the
Baltimore field office.
She's seen a lot, over the years. More than she lets on.
She's a good friend.
I take another drink; Diana looks at my glass significantly.
"Do you do this often?" Her smile is friendly, though sad. I realize
that though I've known her a long time, I've never run into her off-
Sarah comes over. Diana orders gin. Then she turns back to me.
"Good," she says.
"What are you doing here?" I ask.
She gives me a wry look. "Just had to get out of the apartment, you
That's nonsense, of course. I know I've mentioned this place to her.
She must have followed me here.
Or perhaps she had her own reasons for coming.
"I'm sorry about what happened," she says. "I've been there, myself."
There is real compassion in her voice.
With the guys at the office, I'd have shrugged it off. I'm glad I don't
have to play games with Diana. "That obvious, huh?"
She nods. "I wasn't born yesterday, Michael. You haven't been yourself
all day, and now here you are, on this night, alone in a crummy bar in
Something in her tone penetrates the early stages of scotch-induced haze
that surround me, and again I wonder what she's doing here. I look hard
at her, and her countenance is distant, suddenly guarded.
Sarah arrives with the gin and another round of scotch. My glass is
almost empty, so I finish it off and make the exchange.
I decide to pry. Diana is a private woman, not prone to discuss her
personal life, but I suddenly want to know more about her. "So,
really," I say, "what brings you to this crummy bar in Fells Point?"
"I'm sensing something here," I add.
Diana laughs softly, in melancholy rather than humor. She gives me an
appraising look, decides to tell me about it. "Today is a sort of
anniversary," she says. "Someone I knew, years ago, he...." She stops,
then "I...he was lost."
I remain silent, wait for her to go on.
She takes a long pull from her glass. Her gaze is focused elsewhere,
not on me. "I remember, there was so much blood," she says.
This takes me by surprise. "What?"
She glances my way, suddenly. "Oh, it was a long time ago. Someone --
a colleague -- was killed during an operation. A bust, if you will."
"What happened?" She must be talking about her FBI years. I've never
heard about anything like this happening to her while she's been at DEA.
She hesitates. Then, "I've never told you about what I used to do, have
I shake my head.
"I worked on a project called the 'X-Files.' It was a Bureau thing,
mostly obscure cases that nobody cared about."
"Unsolvable stuff," I suggest. "Closed cases."
"Something like that. We did some research into the paranormal, as
I give her a look. This is a side of Diana that I've had no inkling of.
"The paranormal? Ghost-busting?" The alcohol has lightened my mood a
bit. I've gone from grim to grimly humorous. Diana is not really
amused, but she takes it in stride.
"The project's been closed for years," she says. "After they shut us
down, I left the Bureau." She doesn't explain any further about what
the 'X-Files' were.
I let it go, returning to the matter of the 'anniversary.' I'm not
morbid by nature, but the conversation is taking my mind off Jennifer,
and I need that. "So, what happened...today?" I ask.
She's quiet for a moment, distant again. Then she says "It's been a
long time since I've told anyone about this. It was about 15 years
ago." She laughs softly. "I was still on your side of 40 then. We
were approaching a cabin out in the woods, somewhere in western
Pennsylvania. There was a lot of snow."
"Out in the boondocks, eh?"
"Yes. Long way from anywhere. Because it was an 'X-File,' there were
just four of us. No backup."
"For a bust?" I ask. "What was the case?" What Diana is describing
sure isn't how DEA does things. Doesn't sound much like standard FBI
"It wasn't a bust, exactly. We weren't expecting any trouble. We
were...investigating. Besides, we didn't often do things by the book."
She pauses. "Agent Scully -- she was one of the team -- she and I were
approaching from one side. Fo--" She breaks off, then "The other two
agents had gone around the cabin, just in case."
I'm not following her. Maybe it's the alcohol. "What do you mean? I
thought you said you weren't ex--"
"The cabin was on a slope," she says. "We didn't want the subject to
take off on us, so the two of us who could move the fastest took the far
side, the uphill side. Dana and I took the side with the easier
terrain, that's all."
Okay, I've got it now. I nod my understanding. There's no wonder that
things went badly, I think. Even a rookie would sense danger in what
Diana's telling me.
She sighs. "We should have been more careful, but we really didn't
expect violence. And it was a last-minute operation. We hadn't really
had a chance to prepare properly. The man we were after had a rifle, as
it turned out. Something must have spooked him."
Diana pauses again, drinks from her glass of gin. "Dana took a bullet
in the abdomen."
Oh, Jesus, that's not good. My dismay must be evident, because Diana
nods in grim agreement. "Yes, that's bad," she says. "Very bad."
She is quiet for a long while. I don't press her, just sip my scotch,
soaking in the music and the low hum of conversation that fills the
room. A few more people have drifted in, but it's still not crowded.
I wait patiently for Diana. She'll continue when she's ready.
At last, she speaks, her voice a bit shaky. "I...I did what I could,
but...there was so much blood. I remember, it was bright red in the
snow. She just lay there, breathing hard, shallow. She kept saying
'I'm okay. Just give me a second. I'll be okay.' Over and over. But
she couldn't get up."
Diana has another sip of gin. "I don't think she realized how bad it
was. Not at first."
"And then I heard another shot. That was Jeffery -- Agent Spender -- I
found out later. He took down the suspect. He and...Agent Mulder...
they hadn't realized what had happened, but they heard the gunshot,
She pauses once more, then continues. "Like I said, I did what I could,
but she'd been hit really badly. I think the bullet had been modified
in some way."
For a long moment, Diana just stares at the glass in her hand. She's 15
years away, I realize.
"Dana started asking for her partner, then. Asking for Mulder." Diana
is unconsciously rubbing her wrist, and I get a mental image of a dying
woman, her blood all around her, clutching it in hopeless desperation.
"By the time he got there, she was coughing up blood, choking on it.
She wasn't getting enough air. It was terrible." Diana takes a deep
breath, lets it out slowly. "We called for help, but there wasn't
enough time. We didn't see an ambulance for almost an hour."
"They sent one, but it didn't arrive much before the ambulance. We
tried to help, but Dana was the only doctor among us, ironically. So in
the end we just...watched her die." An odd expression passes over
Diana's face. "It was neither dulce nor decorum," she says.
What a fuck-up, I think, though I don't voice that sentiment. I reach
out and take her hand. "Jesus, Diana. That must have been awful."
She gives my hand a brief squeeze and then pulls back, digging into her
purse and taking out a box of expensive cigarettes. I don't smoke very
often, but I take the one she offers me, lighting up with her.
"I suppose she was lucky, in a way" Diana says. "She didn't suffer as
long as she might have. And he was with her, at least. I think that
must have comforted her."
"Her partner," I say. It's a question, though I don't understand why.
Diana nods in the affirmative.
"Mulder blamed himself, of course. He'd planned the investigation, he'd
insisted on going in." Diana gives me a sharp look. "We weren't
supposed to be there, you see. Later they used that as a reason to
close us down."
"You came to DEA after that," I say.
"Not right away, but within a few years. After the 'X-Files' were
closed, there wasn't much to keep me at the Bureau."
"Well, I'm glad you joined us, anyway." I sound inane, even to myself.
"It's a terrible thing, to watch someone die," Diana says.
I agree. I've never seen it, but hearing about it is bad enough. "That
was awful, what happened to her."
She nods. "But I meant her partner. When she left him...he died. I
was watching his face when it happened. I saw the light in his eyes
"Jeffery had to take his weapon. Mulder was kneeling in the snow next
to her. His clothes were ruined, all bloody. All of a sudden, he took
his gun out." Diana raises her right hand toward her temple. "He had
it half-way...I don't think he knew what he was doing. He didn't resist
when we disarmed him."
Through the smoke, I see that Diana's eyes are moist now, and I'm
wondering what she's not telling me.
She continues her narrative. "Mulder just knelt there, then. Wouldn't
get up, wouldn't say anything. After a while, I saw him take out a
ring and put it on her left hand. A diamond, you know?"
I must look puzzled. Diana says "Mulder and his partner were...a lot
more than partners."
"Lovers," I say.
Diana nods, a strange look on her face. She's quiet for a second, then
the corners of her mouth quirk, without humor. She looks at me. "Seems
melodramatic, doesn't it? The ring, I mean."
"Mulder was like that." She pauses. "Jeffery never liked him, but even
he felt sorry for him then."
I feel sorry for him too. I drink my whiskey and wonder what was
supposed to happen that day, before Mulder decided they had to go to
that cabin instead. A quiet dinner someplace nice, perhaps. Flowers,
champagne, all the usual props.
I wonder if his lover had known.
"How old was she?" I ask.
"About 35 or 36, I think. Mulder was a couple years older. Bit of a
late bloomer." Diana smiles fondly, remembering him.
And she's still not telling me something, but I'm starting to get the
picture. I wasn't born yesterday either.
"So what happened to him?" I ask. Poor bastard, I think. That's a hell
of a thing to have happen.
"He started drinking. A lot. After Dana's funeral, he left the Bureau.
I never saw him again."
She hesitates. "I...didn't know him very well."
Sarah comes to check on us, and I order another round. When our drinks
arrive, Diana and I touch glasses in an ironic clink.
Happy fuckin' 14th of February, I think to myself, knocking back a large
swallow. I don't say anything, just watch the snow fall. I'm not
thinking about why I came in here.
I'm wondering where Agent Mulder is, on this night.
"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori."
-- Horace, 'Odes, bk. 1, ode xxxiv, l. 1'