All the letters I can write (wendelah1) wrote in het_reccers,
All the letters I can write
wendelah1
het_reccers

CHARACTER MANIFESTO: THE X-FILES—DANA SCULLY

Fandom: The X-Files
Character: Dana Scully
Pairings Included in Manifesto: Dana Scully/Fox Mulder

Photobucket



Blurb: Dana Scully turned 47 on February 23rd of this year. There was a meme of a sort circulating last week, which quoted from an article Rebecca Traister wrote about the character for Salon back in 2008.

In an entertainment world where women are disappearing from multiplexes, where men bulk up as superheroes while women don't eat but sip pink drinks, we need to remember that there was once a very short heroine who hunted monsters and talked about Einstein, who kicked ass and questioned her faith, who went to work with a man she loved but didn't rip his shirt off over lunch, who didn't want to believe, but opened herself nonetheless to possibility. We need Scully back, even for a moment.


It's a wonderful article, and I highly recommend you read it. Traister is a professional writer and she is most eloquent as she writes about her love for the character and the series.

But what was striking to me was the way people here responded to the meme. Let me explain. Fox Mulder's birthday is October 13, 1013, which is also the name of the production company, and the birthday of Chris Carter, who created The X-Files. There are always picspams of Mulder posted here on October 13th and there is, I would say, a celebratory atmosphere on that occasion. By contrast, this year, for Dana Scully's birthday, there was barely a murmur. Just the meme, and nothing else, really. The response to the meme, and to her birthday, too, was one of sadness and loss. "I miss her." "I miss her too." "Word." "Word." "Word."

But she hasn't gone anywhere. Yes, the series is off the air, but that happened, what, nearly nine years ago. There was a little flurry of excitement in the fandom in 2008 leading up to the release of the second (and very bad) X-Files movie. I miss that excitement, too, especially since I wasn't around for the fandom's heyday. Well, I was around, I just wasn't watching the show or even online. What can I say, I'm a late bloomer.

It's not hard to see how I fell for the show. The writing is just so-so, although it did have its moments, but the show looked great. For awhile, I watched the show with the sound off, just to admire the award-winning cinematography. The chemistry between the characters of Mulder and Scully was second to none. Heck, I'm a gen person, and even I can see that. I got hooked on the Romantic Quest and the prettiness of GA and DD, and the banter. The peculiar combination of humor and horror. But what drew me in finally, what keeps me in the fandom, reading and writing and critiquing its fanfiction, is the character of Dana Scully.

I love her shapeless suits and her ridiculous high heels and the way her hairstyle changes, season by season. I love the looks of scorn and incredulity she turns on her partner while he is advancing his cracked theories. I love the way she defends him to the other agents anyway. But most of all, I love her mind and I love her heart. She has utterly captivated me. I am a prisoner of love.

I love the way she insists, beginning in the pilot episode, that it is fantastic to assert that there are answers beyond the realm of science. The answers are there, she adds, if we only know where to look. I love how she stands up to Mulder, episode after episode, insisting on real proof, real evidence to back up his theories.

SCULLY: But, Mulder... during your time with the X-Files, you’ve seen so much.
MULDER: That’s just the point. Seeing is not enough, I should have something to hold onto. Some solid evidence. I learned that from you.


I love how fearless she is, holding the so-called reporter hostage and rescuing Mulder from the military base in "Deep Throat." I love how she stands up to authority for what she believes is right, choosing jail over testifying before a congressional committee when she thought it might jeopardize her partner's life in "Terma." I love how she can think on her feet, solve problems, save lives, as she does in "Fight the Future."

SCULLY: I need this building evacuated and cleared out in 10 minutes! I want you to call the fire department and have them block off the city center in a one mile radius around the building!
GUARD: Ten minutes?
SCULLY: (she points at him with her phone) Don't think! Just pick up that phone and make it happen!


I love the way it takes her seven seasons to (maybe) fall in love with and fall into bed with her gorgeous partner. I love that while she clearly loves Mulder and he adores and needs her, their love is transcendent, defying the conventions of romantic love.

There will never be another character I love the way I love Dana Scully. But the character is still here. Special Agent Dana Scully will always be here, as long as people still watch the DVDs and fall back in love with The X-Files, or even discover it for the first time as I did, through the fanfiction and a combination of insomnia and late night television.



Speaking of fanfiction, how about some recs?


Fic Rec #1 - Best Drama Story: The Sin Eater
Pairing: Dana Scully/Fox Mulder
Author: Jane Mortimer
Link: http://keyofx.org/fiction_main/2009/09/mortimer-jane-sin-eater/
Rating/Warning(s): R

Why This Must Be Read: This is one of the all time great MSR stories of the fandom. It's told through Scully's point of view, but the story reveals just as much about Mulder. This a story of accidental time-travel and its consequences. It's also a story of how much Mulder is willing to sacrifice for the chance to save Scully's life.

"You disappeared into the light," he said quietly."There was no one else inside the room—no presence, no voices—You weren’t abducted. Put that out of your mind."

"So," she said, forcing a smile, "you do have a theory."

He grinned with just a touch of self-mockery. She watched him, her smile fading. There was something wrong with that grin, there was an edge to it that was disturbing. And he still looked, somehow, as though he were ill."Time anomalies are common in encounter zones. I think that whatever happened to you was an accident. That you were pulled along in—I don’t know, in some kind of undertow—that had nothing to do with you or with the aims of whoever was generating those effects."

"An undertow."

"A slip in time. Scully, you need to know — it's April sixteenth."

They’d gone into the warehouse on the fourteenth. She looked at him, eyes wide. "I lost two days? Mulder—"


That's only the beginning. This story is glorious and unforgettable.




Fic Rec #2 - Best Post-Requiem and All Things Angst-o-rama: Imperfect
Pairing: Dana Scully/Fox Mulder
Author: CGB
Link: http://web.archive.org/web/20020705201541/appelsini.tripod.com/Christine/chris_imp.htm
Rating/Warning(s): Author-rated NC-17. I'd give it a hard R.

Why This Must Be Read: I've been looking for this story forever. I finally found it on the Internet Archive. It's a heart-breaking look inside Dana Scully that takes you from her childhood up through the scene in Requiem where she tells Skinner she's pregnant, all in only 1500 words. Brilliant, devastating. No excerpt, just go read it now.




Fic Rec #3 - Best Alternate Reality/Universe Story: Five Things That Never Happened to Dana Scully
Pairing: Dana Scully/Fox Mulder
Author: threeguesses
Link: http://threeguesses.livejournal.com/4073.html
Rating/Warning(s): non-canon character death, one non-canon pairing

Why This Must Be Read: Because the writing is brilliant, because each tiny slice of "what-if" is perfectly realized, and because the ending is an unforgettable gut-punch. No excerpt as it's only 1,500 words.




Fic Rec #4 - Best Angst Story: The Mill
Pairing: Dana Scully/Fox Mulder
Author: cofax7
Link: http://mouldiwarps.shriftweb.org/stories/Mill.html
Rating/Warning(s): Deep dark angst. I mean it. If you need to know the specifics –just ask and I'll pm you. Just don't say you weren't warned.


Why This Must Be Read: It is a very dark take on the possible consequences of the events of "Emily." There is almost a cinematic quality to the story, as though it had been written to be filmed. Cofax is one of the best stylists to grace our fandom, but this story will break your heart.

Mulder sighed. What had changed? His brain was functioning more slowly than he'd like it to. This morning he'd visited the Augsberger household, where yesterday five-year-old Timothy had been found by his parents dead in the backyard. He'd been out of sight for no more than twenty minutes and in fact they'd thought him still in the sandbox.

He was in the sandbox, but he was dead.

"The only thing that's changed, Scully, is the press leak. He knows we're watching for him." For the thirtieth time in the past four days, Mulder cursed the moron who had talked to that reporter. Saturday's Washington Times had run a banner headline about the "Washington Child Killer". The emergency press conference had been one of the least pleasant moments in his FBI career.

"Yeah," she said, but her voice was dubious, and somewhat distant. "So, did you get anything at the crime scene?"

"Actually, we did. We lifted a set of prints from the brim of his baseball cap. They're very small, they might be the mother's, but ..."

There was a long silence. He heard some clinking sounds through the phone. "Scully?"

"I don't know, Mulder." He could hear her thinking; he knew the expression on her face as she tried to fit the puzzle pieces this way, then that. "I just -- why assume this killer is a man?"


I really can't distance myself from stories like this. Sometimes I wish I could.




Fic Rec #5 - Best Fluff Story: Snow in Alabama
Pairing: Dana Scully/Fox Mulder
Author: maybeamanda and tesla321
Link: http://www.reocities.com/maybe_aa/snow_in_alabama.html
Rating/Warning(s): none.

Why This Must Be Read: I love this story. It might be the first MSR story I ever read that I adored. The structural symmetry is so elegant, the writing is so clear and focused. Plus Mulder and Scully and barbecue sauce. And snow in Alabama as a metaphor for their relationship.

Sometimes when he was arguing non-stop, she stopped seeing him, seeing Mulder, and she only heard his voice. She blocked out everything else, and entered the debate on the side of reason, of logic, of scientific evidence against inspired guessing.

And then he would look up, squinting against the late evening sun, and she would feel slammed back into her body all at once, every skin cell aware that she had been in his company for hours, unaware until that second of how he was concentrating upon her every breath.

It gave her a burning feeling in her chest.

He did love her. She knew that. But it was a strange kind of love, the kind he only confessed to when he was blissed-out on the kind of medication that fills you with love for everyone. For anyone. That one time, he had been hallucinating about time travel, and she had felt like hell after moving heaven and earth to find him. He'd said "I love you," nudging her for her attention. What could she do but roll her eyes?

And now, there he was, sucking BBQ sauce from his long fingers with intense pleasure. Her mouth went dry. She was glad she'd ordered salad, because she could poke at it and not look at him.

"Try it," he teased, holding out his index finger dripping with sauce.

She wasn't sure why, but Scully took his hand, and licked the sauce as daintily as a kitten. "It's all right," she said, running her tongue over her lips. "Still too messy."


It gets messier. This story is so much fun. You will love it, too.




Fic Rec #6 - Best Hurt/Comfort Story: Those Who Favor Fire
Pairing: Dana Scully/Fox Mulder
Author: Brighid
Link: http://web.archive.org/web/20030214045758/www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/6608/thosewho.html
Rating/Warning(s): Typical myth-arc Seasons four and five horror stuff. Dead babies. It's pretty grim.

Why This Must Be Read: I don't often read let alone rec traditional hurt/comfort stories so this isn't one. But in this story, there is hurt and there is also comfort. Also love and a measure of forgiveness. Sometimes that is the best one can hope for, given what these characters have gone through. At a little over 2,000 words, this is too short to provide an excerpt.




Fic Rec #7 - Best PWP/Kink Story: The Third Wish
Pairing: Dana Scully/Fox Mulder
Author: Tim Scott
Link: http://web.archive.org/web/20080130044504/http://x-files.bytewright.com/arcTh/ThirdWish.html
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17 for sex. Lots of sex.

Why This Must Be Read: What can I say? This hits all of my kink buttons. If it hits yours, you will love it, too. And, really, it's not just a PWP, because Scott gives us a perfect explanation for all of the sexy tiems that ensue. There is even an X-File.

"Okay, I'm seeing a trend here. This sounds like a variant on old Arabic legends. This sort of thing is mentioned in Frazer's 'Golden Bough' and other sources, it's sometimes called 'the tainted gift'. If the recipient of the wishes is careless about how the wishes are phrased it leaves the genie, or, more properly, the 'djinn', the option of interpreting it in such a way that the letter of the agreement is fulfilled while the spirit of the wish is denied. It was a kind of cruel game that these spirits liked to play on the hapless humans they encountered."

As you might imagine, Scully's not buying that theory.

"Are you ready to tell me now what the problem is?"

Dana looked in his eyes, then looked away quickly. She could see that he was deeply concerned for the way this was affecting her. That look on his face would be her undoing if she wasn't careful.

"Obviously you had the dream again last night, which would make today the day of the Third Wish. There's no way you'd tell me all of this unless it were something serious, something that involves me somehow. So what was your third wish, Scully?"

He reached over and took her hand. He meant it as a comfort but his touch was burning, burning... She forced herself to face him and said, as calmly as she could manage, "I wished that we were lovers."


Mulder's solution to this tainted wish is elegant and funny and so, so hot. Give it a try. As for me, I'll be in my bunk.




Fic Rec #8 - Best Long Story: Arizona Highways
Pairing: Dana Scully/Fox Mulder
Author: fialka
Link: http://butcheredart.net/thecandybox/xfiles/azway/azind.html
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17

Why This Must Be Read: This story has the most amazing structure I have ever seen in a fanfiction work. It all fits together so perfectly. As is obvious from the title, this is a novel about a journey. At the beginning, Mulder and Scully are so fractured by the events of Two Fathers/One Son that it is just painful to watch. Mulder knows something is wrong but he can't bring himself to ask. Scully knows what is wrong but she can't bring herself to tell him. The X-Files are reopened and Skinner assigns them a case. They head out to Arizona where Mulder takes her on a little side trip. They hike to the top of a magnificent desert vista. He tells her the story of Monster Slayer and Child of Water. And then the visions begin...

"Dana."

Her head snapped up. Yes, it made sense now; she was hallucinating. Possibly from the altitude, the lack of water. She'd eaten nothing for hours, not since breakfast, not really even breakfast. Just coffee and a slice of toast. Her blood sugar must be way down, she was overtired, and the strange landscape could easily promote--

"Dana."

Melissa's hands covered hers, fingers sliding into her clenched fists. Scully fought for air against the thickness in her lungs, clutched Melissa's fingers as if she could drag her sister back into the world -- or go with her into whatever place was waiting.

"No, Dana. Listen. Are you listening?"

She nodded. Suddenly she *was* listening, with her ears, her fingers, her entire being.

"It's time to know what you know, Dana. It's time to stop pretending. Do you understand?"

She opened her mouth to answer, but no sound came out.

"They need you, Dana. Trust your heart, trust what you know, but be careful. This is more dangerous than you think."


To say that this is a wild ride doesn't even begin to cover it, but it is so worth it. The link is not to the story, it is to her website. You will have to click on the X-Files bon-bon. The story is at the top of that page. Or you can read it at Gossamer. Neither site permits direct links.




Fic Rec #9 - Best Short Story: Instructions
Pairing: Dana Scully/Fox Mulder
Author: tree
Link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/4255
Rating/Warning(s): None

Why This Must Be Read: Because it is as close to a perfect short story as you will ever read in this fandom. Line by line, she draws you in and she never lets you down.

1. Pick it up and put it in your pocket.

They carried no past with them, no mementos. They had each other and a collection of scars; their secret names whispered into open mouths in dark motel rooms. Lately, she’d begun a ritual. In every new town she pocketed some small item: a pebble, a leaf. Each one was a memory. She kept it until the next town, left it behind like a white stone, a breadcrumb.

"What’s this one?" he asked in the early morning hush, his chest pressed against her back.

She leaned into him for a moment, stroking the delicate shell. "This is the day we met."





Fic Rec #10 - Best Overall Romantic Story: Five Years and One Night
Pairing: Dana Scully/Fox Mulder
Author: Shalimar
Link: http://web.archive.org/web/20060629144134/http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/alcus/five.txt
Rating/Warning(s): R, for sex.

Why This Must Be Read: Since my favorite in this category has already been recced, I picked this very close second. One of the big plot holes of The X-Files was the fetus created from Scully's egg that Mulder discovered during the episode "Emily." The emotional fallout of that episode and its startling revelations was never dealt with during the series. "Five Years and One Night" addresses both of those issues, creating an alternative universe that begins in the aftermath of "Kitsunegari", and then takes off six months later when Mulder arrives to disrupt the carefully reordered life that Scully has created for herself.

"Scully?"

She was lying on his chest.

Skin against skin. Wrapped in sunshine-yellow cotton chambray sheets. With real late morning sunshine pouring across the bed. Maybe he wasn't going to make it back to Washington today. A strand of her hair fell across his lips and she took it between her fingers, teasing his lips with the end. He opened his mouth and caught the hair, tasting it with his tongue.

There was only one thing better than fabulous linens on a bed, she thought idly, and that was fabulous linens with a man in them.

This man to be exact.

Her resolve from her early morning trip to the beach was...for the moment...on hold.

"Scully?"

"Mmmm?"

"Can I ask you something?"

"Mmm-hmmm."

She waited, tracing the muscles in his neck with one finger. "Do you ever think about her?" he asked.

Her.

She tilted her head so she could see his face. He was staring at the top of her bureau—her pictures of her family, Matthew, Melissa, Queequeg...even one of him...

He meant the small picture of Emily. She felt a mixture of relief tinged with sadness.

Did she think about her? Only twenty times a day.


The entire story is told from Scully's very tightly focused, third person point of view, taking us through the emotional journey that the characters make to come back together as a partnership and as a romantic relationship. The sex scenes are electric but surprisingly non-graphic. This story also has the best kissing scene I've ever read. I am not even a shipper, but I loved reading this story.
Tags: fandom: x-files, ship: dana scully/fox mulder, special: manifesto
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