Title: To Whom It May Concern
Author: Polly - email@example.com
Classification: Story, M&S Friendship, Mild Angst
Spoilers: References to lots of episodes; takes place during Season 7, somewhere after "Orison"
Disclaimer: Not mine; all XF characters belong to 1013 Productions
Notes: Written for the Haven "Rec Me Baby" Challenge - an XF character makes a recommendation to someone else in XFville
Archive: I'd be honored, just please let me know
Feedback: Always welcome and very appreciated
Summary: An old letter comes back to haunt Mulder
* * *  * * * * *
November 15, 1997
To Whom It May Concern:
I would like to recommend that Special Agent Dana Scully be considered for the division head position in the Forensic Science Research Unit. I understand this position will be open as of January 1, 1998, and I believe Dr. Scully would be an ideal candidate.
I have worked with Dr. Scully since March 1992; and her skills as a medical doctor and scientist, as well as her extensive work in forensic pathology, have proved invaluable to this Division time and time again. Her abilities as an investigator, researcher, and educator have provided closure for many families of victims of violent crime and have offered explanations for cases that might otherwise be labeled "unexplained." I believe her experience and expertise, coupled with her unwavering integrity and dedication, would serve her well in tackling the rigorous demands of directing and supervising this Unit.
Agent Scully has been invaluable to me as a partner and colleague; and while I would be extremely sorry to lose her from this Division, I cannot in good conscience stand in the way of a career opportunity for which she is so perfectly suited. I hope she will receive serious consideration for this position.
Fox W. Mulder
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"Hey, Scully. Aren't *you* the early bird this morning."
His voice startled her and she quickly refolded the letter, trying hard to regain her composure. She didn't turn to face him, kept her eyes trained on the file she'd been flipping through. "You mentioned the other day that we were running out of filing space," she stammered. "So I thought I'd come in early and clear out some of the old files."
He looked at the neat stacks of folders on his desk and wondered just how 'early' was 'early'. "Wow. You should have told me, Scully. I would have come in and helped."
"That's okay. I enjoyed the peace and quiet."
He wasn't quite sure how to take that remark, but he let it slide and playfully shook the brown bag in his hand. "But I *did* bring bagels. *And* light cream cheese."
No reaction, so he dropped the bag on his desk between the accumulation of files and picked up his coffee cup. "You're not overdoing it, are you, Scully?" he asked as he wiped out his mug and filled it from the Mr. Coffee Scully had bought as her Christmas gift to the office. "The doctor said ..."
"The doctor said I was fine, Mulder. Just some cuts and bruises and sore muscles. No real damage done."
*Not on the outside anyway.* He pushed away thoughts of Donnie Pfaster and took a sip of the steaming liquid. "Okay, I just thought maybe ..."
Scully slammed the file drawer shut with such force that it rattled the windows above. She spun around and dropped the file on top of one of the stacks, a single piece of paper remaining between her fingertips. Her lips were pressed into a tight line, her eyes locked on his.
He took another sip of coffee as he walked toward her, stopping on the opposite side of the desk. "Um ... is something wrong?"
She handed the paper to him and folded her arms. "I'd like you to explain this."
Mulder perched himself on the edge of the desk, placed his mug beside him, and traced a finger over a visible scorch mark on the yellowed piece of paper before unfolding it. He only needed to read the first sentence to know exactly what it was.
"Where'd you get this?"
"A bunch of papers were stuck in the middle of one of the files. That was one of them."
There were only a handful of papers in his desk that had survived the fire that destroyed their office in 1998. Why did this letter have to be one of them?
Scully placed her palms flat on the desk and leaned forward. "You wrote this while I was recovering from cancer, Mulder. Did you want to get rid of me that badly?"
"Get rid of you?" A choked laugh escaped from his throat. "I wrote it to get you to stay."
"To get me to stay?" She shook her head and sank into the chair behind the desk. "Well, that was a pretty funny way to go about it. Would you like to tell me how you thought this letter would accomplish that?"
"I wrote that over two years ago, Scully. What difference does it make now?"
"I'd like to know, Mulder."
He sighed and slumped into the guest chair, their usual positions now reversed. "You suffered so much because of me, Scully," he explained, concentrating on the tip of his shoe. "I figured your cancer would be the last straw. I thought you would want to get as far away from me as possible, maybe a transfer to the San Diego Office to be closer to your brother."
He looked up before continuing. "When I found out about the opening in the Research Unit, I wrote the recommendation because I thought you deserved it and because I thought you wouldn't be able to pass up an opportunity like that. And that meant you'd stay here. So even if you didn't want to work with me anymore, I'd still get to see you every day. So I wrote the letter. I'm sorry, Scully. I'm a selfish bastard, that's my only defense."
He rubbed his palms on his slacks and reached for his now lukewarm coffee. "Anyway, I guess we know a letter of recommendation from Fox Mulder isn't worth the paper it's written on. Nothing ever came of it."
He returned to the coffee maker, pretending to freshen his cup so he wouldn't have to meet her stare. He was considering a trip to the rest room as another avoidance technique when her soft voice broke the silence.
"They called and offered me an interview. I turned it down."The coffee forgotten, he walked back to the desk and sat down again. "Scully, that would have been a great opportunity for you. Why did you turn it down?"
"It wasn't the right time," she said. "I was still getting my strength back and you were so disillusioned. I was afraid of what might happen to you if I considered leaving the X-Files."
Scully picked up the letter and ran her finger along the crease. "And when they told me they had received a glowing recommendation for me, I thought it was Skinner trying to get me out of the field or one more attempt by *them* to split us up. It never occurred to me that the recommendation was from you. So I told them I was quite happy in my current position, that I found it very challenging and rewarding, and thanks but no thanks."
They looked at each other for a few moments, then simultaneously burst out laughing. When Scully's giggles finally subsided, she wiped her eyes and shook her head. "We're quite a pair, aren't we?"
"I've always thought so." Mulder stood up and removed his suit coat. "C'mon. Let's finish this job."
Scully watched him roll up his shirtsleeves and waved the letter back and forth in front of her nose. "Did you mean what you wrote in this letter, Mulder? About my abilities and expertise?" she asked. "Or was that just a load of B.S.?"
"I meant every word." He smiled at her as he loosened his tie. "I know back then I wasn't always very good about giving credit where credit was due. I guess I'm not much better now. But I've always respected your skills and your opinions, Scully, even when I didn't say so. I've learned a lot from you. You never let me phone it in; you make me work for everything. And I'm very grateful to you for that. You could have had a stellar career with the Bureau, Scully. I'm sorry that being stuck here with me screwed all that up."
"Mulder, I ..."
"Did you mean what *you* said?" he interrupted. "About being happy in the job and finding it challenging and rewarding? Or was *that* just a load of B.S.?"
"I know I never told you either, Mulder. But for all the difficulties we've encountered over the years, I realize that I've seen things and done things that I could never have seen or done in a lab or a classroom." She leaned forward and rested her clasped hands on the desk. "This job has been many things but it's never been boring. I told you once that I wouldn't change a day. And that's still the truth."
His wide smile brightened the entire room.
"Let's get rid of some of this old stuff," he said, placing a stack of files into one of the storage boxes she had assembled. "And let's start with that letter. Give it to me and I'll perform a ceremonial shredding."
"No way." She tucked the letter into her coat pocket and patted it securely. "I'm keeping this. I might have it framed. Who knows when you'll ever say such nice things about me again. Now, I believe somebody mentioned something about bagels."
Mulder moved another stack of files from the desk and poured them both fresh coffee before taking his seat across from his partner. "You've really been busy this morning, Scully," he said as he opened the paper bag. "We must have loads of filing space now."
"Not really, Mulder," she replied. "We've still got work to do. Unless you just want to forget it and file everything under 'Q'. There's lots of space there."
He handed her a sesame seed bagel and napkins. "I don't think so, Scully. Then we'd have to change the name of our division, and the 'Q-Files' just doesn't cut it. Besides, I'm kind of partial to the 'X-Files'."
"So am I, Mulder. So am I."
They both laughed as Mulder crumpled the bagel bag into a ball and launched a 10-foot hook shot into the trash can. "Ah, nothin' but net."
"Way to go, Kareem," Scully applauded. "Now, pass the light cream cheese."
* * *  * * * * *