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He could tell she was green. Her voice had that tinny, fresh from-the-academy-school-girl pitch to it. Just enough pretentious snot in her inflection that he knew she felt she had something to prove.

Early to mid twenties, probably small, pretty, most likely had an affair with a superior at some point, older brothers and/or an overbearing father.

Frustration with his tendency to profile on instinct (and the fact that his inner voice sounded like a pig) had him grinding his teeth as he rewound the tape recorder back several minutes. Who the pathologist was shouldn’t matter necessarily. If she can do the job she’ll have found what he needed her to, and leave the conjecture to him.

“Male. 35. 168lbs. Upon preliminary exam, cause of death appears to be myocardial infarction secondary to hypovolemic shock, most likely due to a severed abdominal aorta…” instruments clang and slide in the background and her voice takes on a distant quality, curious, and his hope suddenly soars. He can picture her gaze on the jagged wound- mouth open, mind whirring like a hard drive, picking with tweezers or whatever the hell pathologists use to dissect their precious dead, “there is significant tearing to the flesh…” the phrase is incredulous, but careful, slow and measured. Another pause..”not consistent with knife, razor or otherwise manmade weapo—–Oh my God…….there seems to be…” more scrape, metal on metal…his heart seems to now insist upon escaping from his chest, and he stares into the little black box, urging her on, “I’m extracting evidence…. Organic….Looks to be a torn claw of some sort, not…immediately identifiable. Given the location of the body I cannot….with certainty, associate any animal within the geographical region that could logically grow to this size. Note to take sample and submit for analysis.” And he’s sure she’s going to be his saving grace. The X-Files have been his for more than a year now, and this could be the first time he’ll posses the paperwork to give his disreputable project some credence.

“Preliminary investigative theories by the agent in charge suggest…” and there it is, a deathly drawn out pause, and his gut clenches as he can practically hear her eyes roll, “an animal…of *mythological* origin?” She’s positively squeaking with annoyance now. There’s a small tap, and a faint muttering from somewhere across the room, “Christ, “ and her exaggerated sigh echoes over the bare stone walls, “I don’t get paid enough fo—.” She must’ve thought she turned the recorder off, because there’s a clear sound of fumbling, and, “SHIT.” And then a definitive stop. He suppresses a hang-dog chuckle.

Having regained composure, and thinking she’d rewound far enough, a huskier tone and concise, sharp S’s deliver yet another nail to his coffin. He hates himself for being disappointed.

“I see nothing here to substantiate any claims of a large….ape-like mammal, “ her disdain is palpable, souring at the base of his throat and he feels incredibly, infuriatingly, embarrassed. Damn her. “Findings suggest a non-indigenous creature, most likely a member of the large cat family, possibly a bear. Suggest contact with area wildlife authorities, animal sanctuaries or local zoos for reports of any missing exotics.” Enough. He punches the stop button and tosses the recorder atop the dossier with a bit more force than necessary, leans back father than his chair will allow with a foot perched rebelliously on his desks’ edge, a petulant pout gathered between two fingers. He considers marching right up to Quantico and pointing an accusatory finger right into that pretty little face of hers, then thinks better. What on earth would he say, anyway. You do your job, I’ll do mine? Only she had.

Scully, huh? Thanks for *nothing*.

I like Vin better, anyway.

—————-

It’s a twist of incredible irony, really, when 2 years later he’s given the news of his soon-to-be partner. So she’s an errand-boy now, he jeers, like a school-yard bully. Must have really ticked off the wrong suit to get handed down this sentence. They’ve all but thrown the book at her.

He’s ready, excited even when that pert little knock comes following the quick clip of heels leading to his beloved lair. But all the research into her file, all the snide quips in the world hadn’t prepared him for 5 feet 2 inches of a worthy adversary, for guileless eyes, military-corner shoulder pads and whip-stinging wit, a passionate work ethic that already countered his hard-won, blasé dog and pony show with infuriating accuracy. And he’d forgotten…forgotten he already known she was beautiful. He’s glad he shook her hand early. Sweaty palms would be a dead giveaway.