Pairing: Dana Scully/Fox Mulder
Blurb: Here is the thing: I'm not a Mulder/Scully shipper. I'm a gen person. But if I was going to ship any pairing, it would definitely be them. I adore both characters. I love the show. And frankly, if you don't ship them, you are missing out on the best part of being in The X-Files fandom. Even I know that.
Because I'm not a shipper, it seemed dishonest to write a shipper manifesto for them, so I got a friend who does ship them to write one for me. She goes by Java at Haven, the big Mulder/Scully shipper community.
Thank you, Java. I still can't believe I got you to write this for me. <3
Before there was a canon romance, there was a fascinating duo. Fox Mulder and Dana Scully were wildly different in personality and habit, but they were alone against a world full of danger and secrets. No matter how much they disagreed, they were loyal to one another to the point of devotion.
Mulder and Scully started out as FBI partners assigned to investigate the paranormal. More specifically, Mulder was the loose canon who took it upon himself to look into unexplained phenomenon, to the discomfiture of the FBI. Scully was the agent assigned to debunk his work by applying rigorous scientific standards. Scully was as dutiful as Mulder was rebellious, and the FBI bigwigs counted on her to discredit Mulder and his wild theories. What they failed to count on was her commitment to the truth.
Almost everything in The X-Files is ambiguous, which can be a weakness or a strength. As late as the sixth season, Scully and Mulder individually asserted that they were not lovers. Season seven ended with Scully announcing that she was pregnant. There's plenty of room for fic writers and readers to pick the scenario of their choice. Is it the yin and yang of intuition versus reason? Is it the triumph of love in the midst of unspeakable evil? Both, plus this: They're hot.
A couple of years ago, my friend Zellie and her friend Alex posted a list of episodes they believed would convert anyone into fans of The X-Files. There were even working download links, but now you can watch the series on Netflix. Anyway, it was their Siskel and Ebert style commentary that made me think of linking it. You gotta love this place. Every day's like Halloween
Now, onto the part I love to do: the story recs. Some of the categories don't work for me, so I've made up a couple of my own. I hope that's okay. Also, the word "best" is not one I find easy to apply to fanfiction, or to any written genre. These ten stories are some of my personal favorites, but I could easily choose a dozen or more in every category that are equally as good.
Fic Rec #1 - Best Drama Story: "The Other Man"
Author: Jess M
Rating/Warning(s): R, for violence.
Why This Must Be Read: There are not many stories that make me look at canon, and wonder, "what if it were true?" Reading "The Other Man" will change how you see "Deep Throat," and change how you look at the myth-arc. It's about Mulder and Scully and cloning; since this is The X-Files, you know that can't be good. You know how some stories stay with you forever? Trust me, this one will.
Reaching over, she stroked his hair back from his forehead in a gesture that seemed familiar despite the fact that she rarely did it. He closed his eyes, leaning into her touch. She hesitated only a moment before letting her fingers stray slowly down the rough edges of his jaw and back up to run the sensitive pad of her thumb across his mouth. When he didn't protest, she scooted a bit closer and cupped his cheek, her fingertips tickling his ear, her thumb flat against the soft skin of his cheekbone.
"Do you like my face?" he asked, his voice low.
"You know I do," she replied, her fingers tracing his eyebrows, the soft black curve of his eyelashes against his skin. "I always have."
You can find Jess's stories under Jess M, Jess, and Jess Mabe at Gossamer.
Fic Rec #2 - Best Action/Adventure Story: "Theory and Practice"
Rating/Warning(s): R, for sexual situations.
Why This Must Be Read: Set between Demons and Gethsemane at the height of the cancer arc, it is as much about the emotional impact that Scully's illness is having on their relationship, as it is about the case file itself. Nascent's theory about that impact is unique, but it seems far more consistent with the canon characterizations than many of the stories set during the time frame.
"Theory and Practice" could have been filmed as written, except for the sex scenes, of course. If it had been, it would have been a damn memorable episode. The dialogue is snappy: Mulder sounds like Mulder, Scully sounds like Scully, the original characters sound like real people. Their discussions of the case sound like they could have been lifted from the show. The x-file is creepy, and the relationship stuff is deftly interwoven. Best of all, Scully gets to use her scientific training to help solve the case!
The puddle was a thick, pinkish-white, shapeless paste–even the bones were gone. Scully’s first inclination was to believe this wasn’t a person at all, and if it hadn’t been for the previous two deaths she might have said as much. But those two men hadn’t returned and she suspected this one wouldn’t either. There was a definite mystery here.
Mulder’s voice startled her out of her study. “Was there any evidence of peptidases in the samples?”
“No,” Scully replied, following his train of thought. “No digestive enzymes of any kind. All the proteins were completely broken down.”
She turned to look past Vasquez at her partner. “Sorry to disappoint you, Mulder, but I see no evidence of any regurgatory quasi-human monster here.”
“Then where’s the fun?” Mulder teased.
Neither woman laughed.
While it is not a romance in any conventional sense of the word, let me reassure you, this is a love story.
You can read the rest of her stories via the Wayback Machine; many are at Fugues Fiction Archive. Since this was originally posted, she has archived a number of her fics at Gossamer.
Fic Rec #3 - Best Alternate Reality/Universe Story: "A Beginner's Guide to Tightrope Walking"
Author: Kel aslownight
Rating/Warning(s): PG, for a few bad words and adult concepts.
Why This Must Be Read: Kel has set her story in a post-Requiem universe where seasons eight and nine never happened. "Mulder and Scully have a son named William, but he wasn't born in a ghost town or adopted by farmers or anything stupid like that." It's told from the POV of her original character Jerry Luskin, making his fourth or fifth appearance in a Kel fic. It has that trademark Kel wit, edge of your seat suspense, and a far more satisfying ending to the series than the one we got from 1013.
"I want to know what's going on with you," I said. Then I remembered Dana's phone call. "I think your wife does too."
I took my eyes off the road to catch his reaction. It was gone in a second, but what passed across his face was desperation.
"Back off," he barked. "And stay away from my wife."
"I'm not going to cover up your torch job!"
"Look up the police report." His voice was strained, almost ragged. "I bet they're not even calling it arson."
I had. It was all about hazardous materials, improperly stored. But I hated the weasel way he was answering me.
"But you know something about it," I said.
"What would I know?" His voice was a monotone. "I'm the one who suffered a psychotic break, probably related to learning of the pregnancy of my partner. I've never been able to give a satisfactory explanation for my subsequent disappearance, and my wildly bizarre accounts of that time are evidence of paranoid delusions possibly enhanced by the ingestion of psilocybin or similar compounds."
Old news. He was the ex-agent unfit for even ordinary-level security clearance, and I was the jack-ass who hired him.
"You've had seven years to rehabilitate yourself," I said. "Tell me what's going on."
You can read the rest of her wonderful stories at her page at Gossamer, except the newest, which is at her journal until she gets around to posting to Ephemeral.
Fic Rec #4 - Best Angst Story: "Fathoms Five"
Rating/Warning(s): This story contains a graphic description of attempted suicide.
Why This Must Be Read: This is a major work by a major writer, and not only is it the best work she's ever done, I think it's one of the best stories written for the fandom. It is also one of the most disturbing stories I have ever read. I think I went into a fugue state after reading the first section. Seriously. "Fathoms Five" is a dark treatment of the possibility raised by the climax of "Tithonus": what if Scully were immortal?
The need to keep a low profile had grown with every passing year, and she'd learned to tone down her brightness. She had been groomed to be exceptional. Hardly anything was as important as standing out, making a name for herself in her selected field. But now as time awkwardly continued to pass, the need to keep a low profile grew, and she pursued this just as decisively. Scully could be low key; no longer a true authority, there were others who easily outshone her. She had learned to be mediocre.
Mulder had stopped what he was doing, and he had noticed the way the heel of her hand pressed against her pocket.
Scully swallowed. "You know those hermits who talk to themselves, but it's like there's two people inside them, two sides to the conversation? Well, I'm starting to feel like there's this me, the me that you know, who's out here in the world with you," she said, staring hard at his face.
The light was going out of him.
"...And there's this other me who has stopped."
You can read Penumbra's stories at Gossamer and at her LiveJournal.
Fic Rec #5 - Best Fluff Story: "The Ineffable Aura of Planet Spooky"
Rating/Warning(s): Fluffy fluff.
Why This Must Be Read: This is a vignette, so it nearly got posted as best short story. If only the canon relationship could have been handled this well by 1013. Mulder and Scully are in love and are together, without being distracted from doing their very important work, i.e. saving the world. It's a post-ep for "All Things" but not that kind. It's sweet and funny and you will love it.
The first thing Mulder wonders is why he never remembers to close the damn blinds. The bed is striped in dappled bars, falling slanted across his face, and he squints and reaches up to try to rub the sleep out of his eyes. He's somehow managed to gather up the whole duvet about himself, tangled around his bare legs and sliding lazily off the bed to his left. There's still a soft impression in the other pillow, and as he pulls the duvet up over his head he can smell the remnants of the night, sweat and sex and Scully. Now that is a combination.
Her fanfiction is at Gossamer and her ficjournal, penways.
Fic Rec #6 - Best Hurt/Comfort Story: "Sweet Nothings for the Numb"
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17 for sex.
Why This Must Be Read: I detest most hurt/comfort stories, so naturally, this one doesn't really follow the conventions, as there is a lot of hurt but very little comfort. There is also a lot of very unromantic, scorching hot sex, which is tangled up with intense emotional pain. Guilt. Grief. Anger.
But she lives her life in a world where she is forced to investigate ten impossible things between breakfast and lunch, where the unexplainable is a regular occurrence, where the strange occupies the jump seat in the back of any number of rented Tauruses. And it is because of that life that she is absolutely convinced that the one man in the world who could impregnate her when it is impossible is Mulder. That motherfucker, who knew how this had happened and never thought to mention it, who did what she asked him to and sulked about it ever since she found Emily; he is her curse and her salvation in equal parts, the answer to the problems he himself has caused.
Even if this isn't exactly your Mulder and Scully, you will be captivated by this compelling post-ep to Emily, written by one of the best active writers in the fandom. Then go read everything else she's written at her LiveJournal.
Fic Rec #7 – Best Kink Story That Reads More Like a Fairytale Than a PWP: "Out of the Forest"
Rating/Warning(s): Teen and up (AO3).
Why This Must Be Read: "Out of the Forest" is not quite G-rated kink but it comes very close; to me, it feels more like a fairy tale. It's set in the post-I Want to Believe alternative universe. We get to see Mulder and Scully attend a costume party on the children's ward at the hospital, and hear some sexy banter. Eventually, there's undressing.
"I know," he says finally, struck by his own brilliance, "how about you be Little Red Riding Hood and I'll be the Big Bad Wolf?"
"Or," Scully responds, not even looking up from her laptop, "how about you be Red and I'll be the wolf?"
Mulder can almost feel his pupils dilate as some very interesting images spark across his synapses.
"Okay," he says.
She raises her eyes, seeming intrigued by his tone--sort of breathless and eager--and cocks an eyebrow. "Really?"
The room is suddenly too warm. He shrugs with what he hopes is nonchalance. "I look very fetching in red, Scully."
"Oh yes," she says, with a tiny quirk of her lips. "So you do."
Like all of tree's work, it's magical, with stunning imagery and lyrical writing.
You can find the rest of her fic at Gossamer or AO3.
Fic Rec #8 - Best Long Story: "Above Rubies"
Author: Rachel Howard
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17 for sex and violence.
Why This Must Be Read: Another hard choice since this is the format I like best. This story is on several friends' best-of lists, though for very different reasons. While Alex Krycek is just as dangerous and sexy as he is on the show, Rachel has made him into a real, three-dimensional character, by giving him a great back-story. There is also an exciting police-procedural happening and some very hot romance. Scully is kick-ass, smart and sexy, Mulder is adorable, and getting into trouble every minute. Yeah, he is smart and sexy, too. This story has something to please nearly everyone, assuming you like long, very plotty, well-written MSR. It's written in alternating first person POV, which is very difficult to pull off, but she does it, and nails all of the character voices perfectly.
"Stay," he repeats softly, insistently. "I really don't think they go to the trouble of bugging our hotel rooms." He pulls gently until I'm sitting again.
Head injury, I remind myself. Dana, he has a concussion. He only wants me to sleep in the room with him, right? On the other bed? "You won't sleep well if I stay," I protest. Weak, but I can't seem to think of a better argument.
"I'm counting on it," he murmurs, and I feel my face get hot again. What the fuck am I doing here? Mulder has slipped his free arm around my waist and is slowly pulling me down to lie next to him. No, he meant this bed. My head is buzzing. I can't think clearly through the white noise in my mind and the dull heat circling under my skin where Mulder is touching me. He smells good, like soap and warm skin. "Relax," he admonishes, before leaning in to brush his lips across mine.
The link is to her website, plus her stories are archived at Gossamer.
Fic Rec #9 - Best Short Story: "Letters Lost in the Fire"
Why This Must Be Read: This might have been the hardest category since so many people now only write vignettes and I have a clear preference for long, plotty fic, but I think at this short length, no one has written better MSR than onpaperfirst. This is exactly the way I picture them, early in the sixth season, working in the bullpen, sneaking off on the weekend to investigate an X-File.
So. She shouldn’t have let him talk her into this, because it isn’t their job and it has nothing to do with anything and a crime hasn’t even been committed. No one is in trouble, danger is not lurking. But the prospect of being on the road with him, outside, even at the expense of her weekend, makes her feel like a trapped miner blinking and stumbling gratefully into the sunlight.
She's only written us a handful of short-shorts, so you can read them all in about half an hour if you read fast. Now, if only she would write us some more.
Fic Rec #10 - Best
Rating/Warning(s):NC-17, R, NC-17, for sex and violence.
This House is Burning
Part 1: Blood on the Snow
Part 2: A Thief's Diet
Part 3: The Quiet Glades of Eden
Why This Must Be Read: I don't read "romance." There needs to be something to hook me, something that gets me believing in the relationship. "This House is Burning" is flat-out the best Profiler!Mulder series I've ever read. Tesla's writing style flows effortlessly, and is, by turns, unobtrusive and lyrical. Her Mulder is both much more competent at his job and much less crazy than he's often written. Frankly, that's a pleasant change. But the trilogy is more than a series of meticulously constructed police procedurals, it's also a believable, emotionally involving, Mulder/Scully romance. So let's see: great writing? Check. Exciting plot? Check. Scorching hot sex scenes? Check, check, check.
You can read Tesla's TXF fic at her website or at Gossamer. She is posting a new TXF WIP, "Dirty Girls," at her journal, too.