TITLE: Big Brother Bill
EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT: Gossamer and by request.
SPOILER WARNING: 'The Truth'
KEYWORDS: MSR, Mulder, Scully, Bill Scully, Jr.
SUMMARY: Bill receives a message.
DISCLAIMER: These characters do not belong to me.
NOTE: This is the first of several short vignettes. Thanks to my
wonderful beta reader Sallie!
Big Brother Bill
I would do anything for my sister. Really, I would. Even if it
means lying to Mom for longer than I care to, I'll find a way to
help Dana. I don't know how I'm gonna pull off the lie in person;
it's sure been a bitch over the phone line.
It all started two weeks after the funeral, around June sixth. I
got a frickin' mysterious E-mail at work, telling me to pick up my
uniform at such and such cleaners. Well, I never use that company
but I decided to give them a call anyway--maybe Tara took something
there by mistake.
Turns out they did indeed have one of my uniforms and I dutifully
dragged my tired ass over there to pick it up. The bill had been
paid, and when I questioned that, the proprietor told me a woman in
her early thirties had brought it in the day before. Paid in cash,
never left her name, just mine. He could vaguely remember her, a
short woman sporting large sunglasses and cream-colored shorts. He
couldn't remember much else.
Without thinking it through, I asked the poor guy (in front of his
wife, mind you) how he could recall those few details, especially the
color of her shorts. Though it was quite obvious he didn't care to
answer the question, he turned bright red and sputtered out that she
was quite beautiful in every way. His wife rolled her eyes and
kicked his ankle behind the counter (I didn't have to actually see
*that* happen; I've been caught ogling babes by Tara and I know how
I excused myself from the previously tranquil domestic scene and
headed for the car. On the way, I reflexively stuck my hand in the
pocket of the strange, out-of-style uniform. A note said simply,
'The Tavern, six o'clock.'
The Tavern is a real dive. I hadn't been there since I was a young
sailor in San Diego. It was also the one place Dana had dared me to
take her before her twenty-first birthday. My by-the-book sister was
home for Christmas that year and she was sick and tired of being
carded on the East coast. I had always bragged that no one got
carded at the Tavern; they made their living off sailors in training
and no one seemed to care as much back then.
I hurried home, and made the thinnest excuse in the world to Tara
about why I had to turn around and drive back to work. My wife would
find out soon enough if I was being led astray by some sicko or being
given some of the best news of my life. You see, I never, ever take
things at face value anymore. After all the things that have
happened to Dana and Mulder over the years--especially this last year
when he was literally resurrected from the dead--I've finally opened
my eyes and spent a little time studying a few of their cases. I had
to dig around the internet and I had to suppress my laughter more
than once reading the Lone Gunmen's internet site, but I knew the
thinly veiled Federal Agents they spoke of were none other than my
sister and that partner of hers.
So sue me, I've become a flippin' believer, too. I haven't told Mom
or Tara since the one hundred eighty degree turnaround might cause
them some concern. My sister was skeptical; I took disbelief in the
paranormal to an extreme.
It's no wonder I couldn't comprehend her bond with Emily years ago.
I just didn't get it, no matter what. I'd had a hard enough time
with Melissa's auras and crystal necklaces, cloned children with my
sister's DNA was an impossibility, an extreme impossibility. It
didn't prevent me from honoring her memory at the sad, sad funeral we
gave her and helping Mom and Dana find a grave close by. I wanted my
sister to have somewhere to grieve and I wanted to assure her I would
maintain that place as long as Tara or I lived.
I entered the dark and smoky bar and walked slowly to the back of
the place. I know how the mind of a cop works, and Dana so often has
had to assume the function of the most paranoid of law officers. She
likes to sit in the back of public establishments, always facing the
door, constantly on the lookout for what, I never knew. Mulder did
it too, and the few times I saw them together in restaurants or
airports, one of them was always facing the exit, watching the
other's back. I would too, I suppose, if my life had been anything
like theirs had the last nine years. Thank the good Lord, it hasn't,
for Tara and Matthew's sake.
She looked so radically different, so 'not my sister,' I almost
walked right past her. It was her cross that stopped me; I
recognized her trademark cross, gleaming against the white T-shirt
she wore. A plain, white man's T-shirt, almost sloppy by her
standards. Her sunglasses were those silly-looking starlet kind that
I know she'd never be caught dead in, if not for her disguise. She
was a brunette now, hair curling around her shoulders like Mom's did
when she was a young mother of four.
I smiled wide and sat down in the booth across from her. She
matched my smile, reaching across for my hands and gripping them
tightly. I could see a few tears stream down her cheeks, their
source still hidden by the shiny plastic eyewear. How she could see
in that dim light, I just didn't know. She wasn't going to be
taking them off in this public place, I was completely sure of that.
"Dana," I croaked. I couldn't control the few tears that managed to
get by my usually well-honed self-control. My sister was really,
truly alive. Fuck self-control.
"Bill," she said, struggling for self-composure in the middle of
this noisy, dirty bar.
"I didn't believe them. Mom didn't either. They wouldn't let us
identify the bodies, said they were charred beyond recognition." I
paused, grimacing at the thought. "Mom said... Mom wouldn't, accept
that in private, you know. She put on a show for them, Dana, because
she couldn't believe you and Mulder were gone."
Dana used a man's fresh handkerchief to wipe her eyes and asked with
a smile, "I didn't tell you Mulder was alive, but you seem to believe
it, Bill. I guess you can read me pretty well, big brother."
"Is he close?" I wondered.
"Yes, but it's too much of a risk for us to be seen together for
awhile." One side of her mouth twisted up wryly, "We have a El
Camino with heavily tinted windows."
"Oh, man. I have always wanted one of them. I bet Mulder did too."
"You're absolutely right. I thought it was too showy until he
convinced me it was logical to buy one. No one would ever conceive
Mr. and Mrs. Taurus driving a chartreuse El Camino. Wait until you
see his hair, Bill. Mine is fairly normal compared to his," she told
me, almost giggling in anticipation.
I realized we hadn't been approached by a waiter, then remembered
that you had to go up to the bar in this place. She already had some
kind of drink before her and I asked, "Want something else?"
"No. I can't stay here too long. I'm sorry, Bill but we'll
have to wait a few weeks to see each other again. Do you think you
can make Mom fly out for Fourth of July? We aren't going to stay in
San Diego tonight. We can be back then, whether she flies in or not.
I want you to break the news to her gently, okay? Even though she
says she thinks we're alive, I don't want to take any chances with
her health. Okay, Bill?"
"All right. I'll get Tara to work on her tomorrow. I can tell
Dana nodded her head and squeezed both my hands again. "Sure.
She'll have to know. Bill, when we come, it will just be for one
day, okay? We have to be so careful..."
"I understand." I smiled large and said, "Almost wish I could see
Mulder tonight, the sorry son-of-a-bitch."
She laughed, a perfect laugh out of the past, carefree and happy for
just a few fleeting seconds. She lowered her head for a few seconds,
recapturing that characteristic Scully composure in the time it took
her to slide across the seat of the booth. I slipped across the worn
plastic seat and immediately embraced her much changed outer self.
No amount of cosmetic tinkering could disguise my sister's
indomitable soul. Too many tears were coursing down my cheeks now; I
knew we both needed to get out of The Tavern and to our respective
lives. Not only did I not want to draw attention to this little
reunion; I felt the strongest impulse to see Tara and Matthew, to hug
them and hold them close.
She slipped something into my pocket while we hugged and I signaled
her with a nod that I understood. We broke our hug and she excused
herself to the restroom, nodding at me before she turned to go. I
knew that was my cue to leave but I needed to use the facility
myself. After I exited the stall of the crowded washroom and turned
the corner, I saw another living ghost, Fox Mulder in the flesh.
He grinned and said quickly, "I can't stay. I just wanted to thank
you. It will mean the world to her, Bill."
I tried not to stare at the blond streaks in his hair or his scruffy
beard. "Sure, man," I said, extending my hand and gripping his
firmly. "I can't wait to tell Mom."
He nodded once as our hands fell apart. "Gotta go. See you soon."
Mulder was gone in a flash and I waited a few beats, staring at my
new, improved self in the mirror. I would do anything for my sister.
Really, I would.
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