"I don't have any questions, no, I just think you're wrong."
If she had any doubt that Fox Mulder was the same person after all these years, it was erased with that phrase.
She waited to chime in, knowing full well that her presence was totally unknown to Fox and discounted by the other agents. She waited while Fox bantered with Spender and Spender attempted to make him out to be irrelevant.
"I think Agent Mulder's right."
The collective breath of shock was nothing to the look on Fox Mulder's face.
She suspected even that was dwarfed by the curiosity emanating from his partner.
It had taken the very real threat that someone was going to attempt to assassinate a child to bring her back to Washington. She doubted they had expected him to sense it. She doubted that they were able to accept what Gibson Praise was capable of; if they had, the assassination would have taken place and the world would be shocked about that instead of complacently taking what seemed to be routine assassination of a Cold War enemy.
Not that she knew, or understood, herself. Gibson was paperwork to her. And now, he was a job.
She'd been gone too long to care what Fox Mulder thought of her, but she knew better than to try and explain why she was there. Instead she followed the script, sowed seeds of discontent in her wake, so that Fox might begin to wonder if he really had "done okay" without her.
She took his hand with no sense that they might be caught in the act, and she realized when his phone rang that she had done the best job she could have just by letting Dana Scully wonder about her.
Like that, a partnership fractured, and Diana Fowley was able to seep into the cracks, spreading them with every intention of breaking apart the whole.
The shot was not in the script.
She was with Gibson, alone, which was also not in the script. But she was not without emotion, not without a stake in this herself, and she wanted to protect him so she could study what he was. Her motherly instinct kicked in because he was, under it all, a sweet kid, and she let her guard down.
She lay bleeding and choking on the floor when they came for him. And for the moment she regretted not owning up to it all, to telling Fox the truth about her departure all those years ago.
She faded into shock and no coherent thought surfaced for days.
"So you two know each other."
Scully had no idea how well Fox Mulder knew Diana Fowley. And Diana was okay with that, not out of compassion but out of a gut instinct to protect what she had. What had been hers, once.
She lay in a bed, recovering from a chest wound that she took because she had been weak. On the fourth day after she finally regained consciousness, Fox came to see her. He thought she was sleeping, and he told her he was being reassigned, that someone had destroyed his work. And she tried not to squeeze the hand
he had placed on hers, tried not to show she heard and that she cared.
He probably felt it, but he didn't respond.
How had they gotten to this point? She didn't know anymore why she'd left. If it hadn't been to save him from all this, if it hadn't been to protect his work and expose all of the things she has become complicit in, then why did she leave? Would it have been better for her to be here all those years, to protect him in person, where it might have made a difference?
Two more days of medication and rest before he came. He refrained from smoking, but he still smelled of it.
How he'd gotten through the FBI agents outside her door, she never knew.
"There has been a bombing. In Dallas."
She was connected enough to the inner workings to know what that meant. There had been a bombing, in an attempt to erase evidence and make someone out to be a viable scapegoat.
"Fox Mulder and Dana Scully were on the scene." If he had a cigarette in his hand, he might have taken a drag. To make it seem more dramatic.
She knew, though, that Fox was alive. She knew it as well as she knew her name.
"It seems your ex-husband is dead set on exposing...something. Himself, I suppose. And that, as you know, is contrary to our purpose."
With that, he did reach for a cigarette, and played with it. He didn't light up.
A nurse walked in, checked on Diana's fluid levels. Asked about pain.
There was so much pain, it was difficult to know what could be treated with a morphine drip and what couldn't. Did they have something for regret?
The nurse left, and as if he'd read her mind, the man with the cigarette lifted it to his lips in a manner than suggested she join him. Slow suicide was preferable, to men like him.
"We want you back on the X-files, Diana. We want you there as soon as you're recovered."
She started to shake her head, to tell him she would have no part of it. She had resigned herself to the fate that came with her refusal. A pillow over her face, perhaps, or an injection of air into her IV.
She would not be allowed suicide. He would take her life, and having so much control over it while she lived, it made a kind of righteous sense to her.
But he placed a newspaper on her food tray, open to a page where a small story of an inquiry at the FBI regarding a missing agent glared up at her. "Dana Katherine Scully, an agent assigned to a special division, went missing last Saturday, according to FBI spokesman...."
It wouldn't end, he was telling her. Die now, and we will still win.
She could be a part of it, she could rebuild what had been taken from Fox.
Or at any rate, she would be allowed to think that was her purpose, for a time, until she was needed for other things.
"Think about it, Diana. You're still recovering. We can talk again tomorrow."
He knew from the look on her face that she would accept. He left her to one last night of regret.
"Agent Spender, do you have any questions?"
It was a formal beginning, but Spender's eyes were so wide she felt she had to be stern. Cold. An ice queen.
He shook his head, just managing to be believable. He'd never believed in what Fox Mulder was doing, and now he was in the same position. He was seeing the world for how it was: spooky, and not a little confusing.
Diana hoped that they would be spared any part of the grand conspiracy, that the smoking man would cut a wide berth to avoid giving them something she would have to explain to Spender. He was being given extracurricular assignments, she knew, having to suffer under the tutelage of Alex Krycek. And that was fine, when the sun set. During the day, though, she wanted him awed and confused enough to close each case to her own satisfaction.
Solving nothing, denying everything.
The first case to cross her desk was about a haunting in upstate New York. No mention of aliens, abductions, or precognitive children.