maidenjedi: (gaze)
[personal profile] maidenjedi posting in [community profile] scully_fest
TITLE: Acceptance
AUTHOR: Maidenjedi
SPOILERS:  General series spoilers.
SUMMARY:   She would not disappoint him, not Ahab.  Pre-series.

NOTES:  Weirdly enough, this came to me before we did our rewatch of 'Beyond the Sea,' but that episode definitely informs this.

She ran to the mailbox when she saw the truck pull up. It hadn’t come the day before, or the day before that, and this was the week, this was when she would hear whether or not she got into medical school.

The envelope was thinner than she expected. Maryland had sent her a huge package, one she’d had to go to the post office to collect after getting a little note in the mailbox. And that had been the first school, the one she’d wanted to get into, and she’d expected it.

Not that she expected an acceptance this time. No, she knew it could be a rejection; it could be a “no, but thank you for trying.” She’d struggled on her entrance exams, felt mixed up. In fact, she knew, she was positive, that the admissions board could tell she’d winged her way through the essays on biochemical theories, even if they had awarded her high marks.

Dana pictured the face of her exam proctor, as she’d turned in her last booklet just seconds shy of the time limit, and how his eyes had narrowed. It didn’t mean anything at the time, and now it meant….

Her heart sank.

She took it back inside, barely watching where she was going. She tried not to imagine her father’s face when he asked at dinner and she would respond, “No, Dad. I’ll have to try again.”

She was born to be a doctor, he always said, as she aced her biology classes in high school and showed compassion for the smallest creatures. Her mother tried to temper his enthusiasm for the idea. Any kid might have cried when her brother stepped on a frog and also happen to get straight As in school, it didn’t make them surgeons. But even Maggie would smile a little more with every report card, every honor in school. She was salutatorian of her class at Maryland, earned special honors for her undergraduate work in physics. It was inevitable she would achieve great things, really, or so her father’s joyful look had told her. It was expected.

Her feet hit the pavement with echoing thuds to her ears. She’d never brought home a disappointing grade, never handed over a letter rejecting her from her goals and her dreams (his goals, his dreams).

Bill had gotten into the Academy. Nothing else really counted where he was concerned. Melissa had never feared the disappointed sigh and shake of his head. For every A that Dana brought home, Melissa had a C, or a week’s suspension for Dana’s name on the Honor Roll. She excelled at everything their father saw as “nice and all, but.” But. Where’s the glory in art, he might have said, had he thought in such lofty terms as glory.

She stopped in the yard, and stared up at the house. What would she do now? No medical school, and a degree in a scientific field that absolutely demanded graduate work to be worth a damn. Graduate school it would be, then. Surely they’d let her stay, she could get a job for living expenses. She could go back to Maryland, right?

Dana felt her heart speed up, at the thought of doing something unexpected. Something she chose, not something she was “born to do.” What might it be like, to chase physics, become an engineer? Was that not a worthy goal, too? She tipped her head to the sky and thought about flight, about speed. She could even apply to schools back west; maybe leave the damp air of Maryland for the dry summers of California.

A different kind of doctor, that’s all, Dad.

She kept walking.

Physics challenged her, made her come alive. She loved the detective work, the hows and whys. The equations to solve problems that seemed otherwise unfathomable. She could do it. Of course she could.

She stood at the door, the letter now crumpled in her hand.

She had to at least know what it was that they said. He might ask. She tore the letter open, no thought of saving it or the postmark for her scrapbook. Who would want to remember such a day?

Her eyes widened as she read.

“Dear Miss Scully.”

“Happy to have you join the class of.”

“Enrollment information will be forthcoming.”

“We are excited to have you join.”

So she turned the knob, and could no longer hear her feet hit the ground.

She was going to be a medical doctor.


“So, Starbuck,” he says, grinning, as he cuts into the meatloaf her mother expertly made that afternoon. “I hear you had a letter.”
There it was, under her plate, ready to hand over. She did so happily.

Charlie sat across from her and grinned. She tried not to preen, though there was only pride at this table, and no condescension. Bill and Melissa were far away tonight.

Her mother smiled calmly as her father read the letter aloud.

“So, Starbuck,” he said again. He winked at her. “Next stop, the cure for cancer.”

Her heart was full of his faith in her, his confidence. She would not disappoint him, not Ahab.



Date: 2014-02-16 04:37 am (UTC)
wendelah1: (Dana Scully - smile)
From: [personal profile] wendelah1
I loved this. She's probably only 21 or 22 here but her father's opinion is so important in her life, even by age 30 when we first meet her. I wonder if she still would have ended up in the FBI if she'd become an engineer?
Edited Date: 2014-02-16 04:38 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-02-16 05:31 am (UTC)
wendelah1: ("I need your help")
From: [personal profile] wendelah1
Moreover, it's always bothered me that her father objects to her F.B.I. career at all; as a retired Naval officer he clearly believes in serving one's country. Sexism, maybe?

I think that's a strong possibility, yes. It always bothered me, too.

Date: 2014-02-16 06:17 am (UTC)
lanalucy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lanalucy
I love this glimpse of Dana Scully before she becomes the woman we met, learned, loved.

Date: 2014-02-16 10:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is an insightful, lovely piece. I always wondered what was the defining moment that made Scully change career paths. I really like how you planted the seeds in her mind that she didn't *have* to follow the path her father chose for her (his goals, his dreams) as well as the foreshadowing of her loving the "detective work" of physics.

Thank you for this. :)

Date: 2014-02-16 01:51 pm (UTC)
ext_20988: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
This is such a wonderful piece. I love how clearly not wanting to disappoint her dad comes through and it's all the more bittersweet for what happens up to Beyond The Sea.

Date: 2014-02-16 03:25 pm (UTC)
idella: (dana scully)
From: [personal profile] idella
This is great. I really love Scully wondering about 'what if' and this countered with the coming back to what she chooses as reality. Who she is and also paving the way to the Scully we see on the show.

Date: 2014-02-16 07:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is a good piece about a high-achieving daddy's girl who is destined for a hard fall. We know it happened, although we never really saw it. But there are minor problems that are really those of canon rather than the writer. I think Ahab's fanatical determination that Dana be a doctor, combined with his disapproval of law enforcement, is really kind of formulaic. It's as though the guys thought they needed some sort of Electra complex riff to motivate an ep and came up with this. Though maybe Ahab, a Navy man, had a secret desire to see his smart girl with a bit more prestige. And then her just becoming a government operative (like him?) brought him down. I remember, years ago, reading one of those pieces that interviewed actual FBI agents about the show. And one of them said that what he couldn't figure out was why a doctor would ever want to join the Bureau. Big pay cut, for starters.

Does anyone really KNOW much about the Bureau? They are famous for their high-tech labs, etc., to aid less-equipped investigators. Is it rational to believe that they need and would reward medical doctors?

Am I babbling? apologies.

Date: 2014-02-16 09:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I always assumed Ahab thought the FBI was too dangerous a job for his baby girl and that it was his main beef against his daughter's career choice.

I also think there must have been a defining moment that made Scully choose the FBI. Wanting to "make a difference" is just not enough of a reason to give up a promising career in medicine.

Something must have happened. Something that made enough of an impact on her to want to go into law enforcement.

Date: 2014-02-17 03:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, forensics--THAT makes sense. But do we remember, when questioned about examining a dead body in the pilot, that Scully answered "I've never had the pleasure." I doubt anyone was thinking continuity then. I doubt they believed they'd last a season.

Date: 2014-02-17 08:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Actually her "I never had the pleasure" line was in answer to Mulder's question if she ever witnessed an exhumation.

She may have examined plenty of dead bodies before without having had to dig up a grave.

Date: 2014-02-17 08:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
By George, you're right! You've relieved my mind. It's been niggling me for years.

Date: 2014-02-17 08:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am so there with your head canon! Starling convincing Scully to join the FBI? This is a fic waiting to happen!

Ah Daniel, of course. I kind of tend to blank him out. Bah.

Did she pick forensics because she knew she was going to join the bureau or did one lead to the other? Why forensics? Is it because since the death of that snake when she was a kid she's been fascinated by death?

As you said she could have been recruited.

Date: 2014-02-17 08:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I very much doubt Scully would have breathed a word to anybody about Daniel. Well, except maybe for Melissa.

I agree about Scully being a resource for the Bureau though. The more I think about it the more the recruitment theory seems the most logical explanation.

Though I will keep toying with the idea that there could have been a more dramatic reason.

Date: 2014-02-16 10:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You are absolutely right, and you may be the first to have thought this. They skipped that part--just stuck it in as a character detail--and that's what makes the decision so odd and hard to write about (see maidenjedi's comment above).

Your comment about Ahab's fear of his daughter's safety brings me back to my post. Wasn't she teaching medical stuff at Quantico? Couldn't she have continued to do that indefinitely? Couldn't Capt. Scully have checked up on that? They must do FBI autopsies all the time!

Poor pioneer Scully. Raised to break glass ceilings. Bet Ahab never thought of interplanetary war.

Date: 2014-02-16 10:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This was an intended as a reply for Fish. Anyone can read it, of course.

Date: 2014-02-17 08:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, if she was just teaching at Quantico, her dad's reaction would be harder to epxlain. But I doubt they let her go from the classroom to field agent with Mulder without a transition period. Maybe her dad got upset when that happened.

Ahab would have shat a truckload of bricks if he'd known what his daughter was going to go through, courtesy of the interplanetary war.

Date: 2014-02-17 08:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, and he probably does know, if we go by his appearance in OB. But I'm too worried about the living to worry about the departed.

I of course don't know, but I think all agents go through a sort of boot camp and experience a thorough enforcement training whether they end up in offices or not. Come to think of it, this was covered in The Untouchables, the one with Costner. They sent him an accountant (Elliott Ness, that is) who in fact helped him convict Capone, but the poor guy had to grab a rifle and take down a criminal distillery.

Date: 2014-02-17 04:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wonderful and very believable. I like her coming up with seventeen contingency plans before she even opens the envelope - that seems very Scully.

Date: 2014-02-17 12:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I can only agree with the previous comments.
The fic is wonderful ♥
All the time I wondered why goes she to the FBI.
Here is the answer :)

Date: 2014-02-18 07:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I enjoy seeing those stepping stones on the path to the character's future, particularly when it leads to the complex person that Scully is on screen.
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