A 14-year-old Dana Scully pushed her hair behind her ears one last time. She knew her bangs were going to hang in her face for most of the day, but she wanted them to look nice anyway. This was her first day of high school. She had no idea what it was going to be like, but she sure as hell hoped that it'd be better than last year.
Gosh, she didn't even want to remember last year.
"Hey Dana, you ready?"
"Get out of my room Bill!" She hurled a shoe at him.
"Geez," he laughed. "We're gonna be late if you don't quit girly-ing around in there."
"You and your hetero-normative, skeeze-ball ways." she muttered. She sighed at her reflection. There were so many things that could go wrong today. She'd counted them all last night, leaving a long list on her bedside stand. There was nothing she wanted more, right now, than for it all to be over. "This is as good as it's going to get, isn't it?" she asked no one in particular.
"Dana! Shake a leg! We're going to be late!"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm coming." She grabbed the cross necklace off her dresser and shoved it into her pockets. Wholesomeness be damned. This was high school. This was war.
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Dana stood in the back of the cafeteria, arms across her chest. She recognized so many people. She didn't recognize even more of them. The school was big and terrifying when compared to her middle school. Over 2,000 kids. How was she going to navigate around them all?
She looked around her, trying to find someone to talk to - someone who wasn't already engaged in a conversation of their own. Her eyes fell on Kate Beckett, shifting her weight from side to side and messing with her hair as she tried her best to - Dana assumed - break up with her boyfriend. "No, John, honestly, it isn't you."
"Well then what is it?"
"I just...I don't feel the same anymore. You're a very sweet guy but, I kind of," She straightened up, taking in a deep breath and letting it out slowly. "I like someone else, okay? I'm sorry."
John ran a hand through his hair. "God fucking dammit."
"I'm sorry, John."
"Yeah, whatever." He walked toward Dana, agitated look still on his face. She smiled, but not at John; Rick, whom Dana assumed was either Kate's new boyfriend or about to be, bounced up behind her, like an overly excited puppy dog looking for a treat. They're so cute together.
She looked at John, still walking her way. He stopped, just a few feet from her, his face clouding over. He sneered above her head. She knew what was coming next.
"Good morning, Fox."
"I told you, please, for the love of God, don't call me by my first name."
"Yes." She turned around. "And I have asked you, politely, several times, to not call me by my last name. It's rude."
"Rude? Seriously?" he laughed. She looked for a way out of this conversation. "I dunno, but isn't Dana a little demure for you, I mean, especially after what happened last year -"
"And we are not discussing what happened last year."
He stuck his tongue out at her. "You're no fun."
She shook her head. Dammit, I have got to stop blushing around him. I'm going to give him the wrong idea. "Haven't they kicked you out of the school system yet, Mulder?"
"Nope" she wasn't quite sure why he looked so proud of himself. "They just can't keep me away." He looked around. Mulder often reminded Scully of a kid who'd forgotten to take his ADHD medication. He had the worst time paying attention during class, and it wasn't because he was stupid or for a lack of trying. He was just constantly distracted by something. You could place him in a completely empty room, and he would still find something to distract him. That was just who he was.
He noticed that John was glaring at him. "Hey Doggett, how was your summer?"
"Up yours, Mulder."
"Aw, now isn't he just pleasant?"
"Would you quit provoking him?"
"Provoking him? Aw, Scully, why would you suggest such a thing?" She glared at him, but decided to ignore the fact that he once again called her by her last name.
"I don't know why you two hate each other so much, but please, for my and the rest of the school's sake, try to be civil."
"Why?" He stiffened up. "Do you like him or something?"
"No, I'd just rather not have a repeat of last year."
"Yeah, neither would I."
"Hey guys" Beckett was biting her lip and twirling her hair.
"Hey Kate" Scully hugged her warmly. Mulder just waved. "You look worried, are you okay?"
"Huh? Yeah, I'm fine." She shook her head. "Have uh, have you guys seen Castle?"
"Castle? Who the Hell is Castle?"
"Mulder," Scully hissed. "Language." He ignored her.
"Oh. Uh. Sorry. Rick. He uhm. He's changing his name. Pseudonym. Or something. I just can't get over the last name. It's a little. You know."
"Very, very Rick."
"I was going to say 'ridiculous', but what's the difference, really?"
Scully shook her head. "Sorry, Kate, but I haven't seen him around."
"The less you know about what he's doing, the better."
She tilted her head at him.
"What? Oh, come on. I can't be the only person that remembers what he was doing the last time he ran off."
"Mulder! I told you, we are not bringing up last year!"