what's left is magic
by not jenny

i. observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.

There's a black cat in the middle of the parking lot.

There's a broken mirror in the bathroom, spilt milk in the kitchenette, and a black cat staring at her from its spot next to the sole car in the lot, an anonymous hunter green sedan. Her coffee getting cold, Scully drinks. And if this isn't real, if this is just a dream, she is anxious for it all to end.

It won't, of course. Coffee this bad can't be anything less than real.

There's a black cat in the parking lot, and Mulder is taking his time in the shower. When he finally comes out, fingers pruning and hair standing on end, he will talk to her about Bast. About witch's familiars. As she packs their entire lives into two small suitcases, he will lecture her on the socio-supernatural history of genus felis.

She finishes her coffee, dumping the styrofoam cup into the trash. Thinking, once more, about cancer.


Three nights ago, she had a nosebleed, her first in over five years. Three nights ago, she bled into a tissue for thirty-four minutes while Mulder snored, oblivious, and rolled onto her side of the bed.


Mulder is singing.

"I can't get no- da da da dada- satisfaction."


Scully squints, trying to block out the noise. Closes her eyes and focuses on the darkness. Mulder's voice refuses to fade; if anything, it feels louder. More profane. It's grating on her nerves, and she's standing outside their motel room before she consciously recognizes the intent.

Her key is still inside, sitting on the bureau.

Suddenly, Scully really wants a cigarette.


Empysema. Lung cancer. Throat cancer. Heart disease. Various diseases, all categorized and alphabetized and organized into slides and films and medical textbooks, and she can still name them all.


She can.


A footstep, crunching on gravel. The sulphur of a match, just lit. A familiar laugh.

"If it isn't the elusive Dana Scully."

"Agent Reyes?"

There's a black cat in the parking lot, and Mulder's probably still washing his hair.

Scully plucks the cigarette directly from Monica's mouth.


ii. formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena. in physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.

She's not afraid of death.

Death, a noun, meaning "the absence of life or state of being dead."

Or even dying. She's not; at least, not in the traditional sense. She's afraid of nothingness, of an endless lacking, and she realizes (late at night, Mulder's body warm and solid beside her) that she's actually been dead for years.

She's a doctor, and she knows such things. The symptoms are clear.


"So, Agent Scully, what brings you to Grand Rapids?"

Scully blinks. Takes a long drag off the cigarette and cocks her head to the side.

"What brings anyone to Grand Rapids? It's the museums."

"Obviously," Reyes chuckles.

"And you?" She's not sure she wants to know the answer, but she can't stop herself from asking; Ahab always said she was far too inquisitive for her own good. "What are doing in the great state of Michigan?"


She was right; she didn't want to know. Didn't want the reminder that her life, the life she had worked and planned for, is long over; that Reyes is vibrant and alive, and she a mere ghost.

They stand in silence. The cat hisses and launches itself across the parking lot.

And then they're laughing.

Just like that.


The air smells like gas and rain, and Scully asks herself what she's doing.

"I think you're standing out in the cold, smoking a stolen cigarette, actually." At the quirk of Scully's eyebrow, Reyes continues, "it's the question I'd be asking, if I were you, so..."

"Naturally, you figured I'd be doing the exact same thing."

"Well, maybe not exactly the same."

"This is not happening."

And Monica's lips are chapped, and she whispers, "skeptic" like it's an endearment. And Scully's lips are pink and soft, and when she pushes Monica against the wall, neither of them is particularly surprised.

Monica tastes like stale cigarettes and mint. Scully smiles into the kiss.

She still thinks she's dead, but maybe this isn't quite Hell.


iii. use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.

Monica has extremely nimble fingers. Scully's not sure how she feels about that.

And then she is, sure that is, because Monica's fingers are slipping into her pants. The cat is still out there, somewhere, and watching them with feline disinterest. Mulder is still inside the room; maybe he's still conditioning his hair, maybe he's wrapped up in something on the "free HBO" he excitedly pointed out upon their arrival at this latest in a string of crappy motels.

Scully doesn't care.

Dana Scully is too busy kissing Monica Reyes, and enjoying it, and as she reaches her hand under Monica's shirt, sliding the digits slowly up, she moans. They both moan. And Monica's fingers are still nimble, only now they're under her panties, in her, and-

Scully really doesn't care what Mulder is doing in their motel room.


This is definitely not Hell.


Scully swallows her scream. Digging her nails into Monica's shoulders.


Across the street, a car starts. Backfires. Scully shudders.


This is not Hell. Not at all.

Because Monica is licking her neck, with long and languid stokes of her tongue, and it feels like melting. Like summer. Scully's eyes slip closed, and it feels like magic.

She doesn't believe in magic.

Monica tastes like rain. Like trees. Like dandelions and daisies and fairies.

She doesn't believe in fairies.

Reyes' cell phone rings, and Scully jumps. And then they're both trying to ignore it, hoping that it'll just go away, when her pager begins buzzing in counterpoint.

"Reyes." A pause, then, "uh huh. Sure. Be there in a minute."

Scully traces her fingers up Monica's arm, trying to imagine herself a nymph, a pixie, an elf.

They don't make excuses, don't even say goodbye.

Scully leans against the door. The knob digging into her back.


iv. performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.

There's a black cat in the parking lot, and it's beginning to rain.

She can hear Mulder shuffling around in their room, singing another Stones song and making loud crashing noises with alarming frequency. Theirs is the only car in the lot.

Theirs is the only car in the lot, and it has always has been.

The cat is staring at her.

Scully stares back.


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