Title: Welcome to the Ranch
Author: Shatterpath
Feedback address: shatterpath@shatterstorm.net
Date in Calendar: 13 December 2010
Fandom: The X-Files/LWM
Pairing: Dana/Monica
Rating: PG
Word Count: 824
Summary: Monica and Dana survey what will become their new home.
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DW10

Disclaimer: "The X-Files," the characters and situations depicted are the property of Chris Carter, Twentieth Century Fox Television, Ten Thirteen Productions, etc. They are borrowed without permission, but without the intent of infringement. This site is in no way affiliated with "The X-Files," Ten Thirteen Productions, Twentieth Century Fox Television, or any representative of the actors.

Author's Notes:

Beta: ariestess


++ Monica ++

When I'd helped Anastasia negotiate buying this land, I hadn't really known what to expect. All I had really provided was federal clearance for the woman and her agent. Dana had waded through all the jargon to reassure all parties that the facility was safe for future habitation.

Though one wouldn't be able to tell by what we've seen so far.

"Yuck," Dana says succinctly as we stand in the central chamber of the bunker. Really, there's not much else to say of the filthy space. It reeks of animal inhabitation and neglect, but I can see past that. The space is cavernous in the shafts of sunlight from the dirty or broken windows. Some of the detritus of life remains, a toppled table, a couch that rodents have been nesting in for some time, a few scattered chairs, piles of debris.

Dana makes a distressed sound but follows me anyway as I take a fortifying breath and stride confidently into the depths of the building. The smell is only gag inducing in some areas, mostly just an all over funk. There's a large open doorway across the central space that leads to a second room half the size of the main one. Nearly half the space is an industrial kitchen that actually appears to be in decent condition under the grime. From research, I know that there are rooms downstairs that were labs as well as an upper floor that is six large rooms, most of which are living spaces.

"Man, we are never gonna fill this place up," I marvel quietly, poking my head into the storage and medical area to the west of the kitchen. There's an old fridge and freezer each the size of a garage, sealed tight to the depredations of the local wildlife… I hope.

"There's no way we can clean this up," Dana muses and I nod empathetically.

"You are so right. I'll hire pros to not just clean up, but get this whole place rewired and insulated and structurally sound. Then we can concentrate on what it will look like."

"Sounds good. So, welcome home?"

Chuckling, I kiss her and shoo her back the way we'd come. "Absolutely. Though we still need to take a look in the basement to see what kind of shape it's in. That will ultimately decide if we can live here."

Squeaky creatures scatter as we inch our way down the dirty concrete stairs, flashlights weaving as though searching for a perp. It's not pleasant below ground, the scents deader and faintly dank, the silence and darkness downright eerie. However, the big space at the end of the corridor seems sound enough, not to mention cleaner than upstairs, except for the tree roots that have punched through the northwest corner.

"Must be those big pines outside," Dana says softly, her voice almost jarring in the unnatural quiet. "Oh crap…"

In the glare of the flashlight beams, I see what made her blanch and immediately start carefully backing away. Luckily for us, the pile of rattlesnakes appears to be at least asleep, if not hibernating, but we watch our steps carefully all the way out to the sunshine. A mutual bout of nervous giggling blows away some of the stress from meeting the dangerous animals and a long hug is even better. For a long time we stand there in the warm winter breeze and look over the property that the desert has been trying to take back for some years now. The once groomed grass looks more like a wheat field where it sprawls at the foot of the grove of massive lodgepole pines. Luckily, someone has kept the water flowing in the underground pipes all this time and the plants have flourished. Several smaller buildings, made of more transitional material than concrete, have weathered past saving, a true ghost town.

"Lotta work to do."

Smiling luminously at me, Dana kisses my chin. "It'll be worth it. We both love this project and a safe place for Barnes will be valuable."

"And this facility is so isolated, it should be a relief to Dace and Lindsey and whoever else joins us here."

"It'll take forever to run out of space."

It will take forever, she's right. That will be a comfort to all of us that will gather here. I have a feeling there will be more than what we have now. The Sentinels and their ilk are like iron to magnets. A safe place like this will be irresistible.

"Now it just needs a name," Dana muses, then chuckles. "How about Miss Monica's Chicken Ranch?"

"Ha ha," I mockingly grouse, tickling at her ribs until she squeals and squirms away. "Don't quit your day job, doc!"

We play tag in the winter sun for a bit, enjoying the childish freedom to do so. It feels so unbearably good, here at the threshold of a new life.