Renaissance II: Lost Boy
M.C. Christjansen

Know thyself. -- attr. Thales
To thine own self be true -- Polonius, fr. Hamlet

Washington National Airport
Sunday, August 11th, 1996, 3 PM

She stood outside the gate as the flights passengers disembarked,
looking at all the faces as they emerged from the jetway. Will he be
different? She wondered to herself. And then, Suppose he missed his flight?
But she knew he would have called, to let her know. Wouldnt he? Unless he
had decided that a clean break was best, now that he was Immortal ...

Scully craned her neck, trying to see. A few more travel-weary
passengers stumbled out of the tunnel and into the arms of waiting friends
and family. A minute passed; no more travelers appeared. She waited another
minute, just to be sure, then turned away. Her eyes burned, her feet felt
leaden, and her heart cracked in two.

Scully! Hey, Scully! Wherere you going?

She spun around so quickly she almost lost her balance and saw him
striding toward her with the same loose-limbed grace she had always
admired. He carried his duffel in his arms like a child. She half-ran,
half-walked toward him.

You came back!

Of course I did. Mulder dropped his duffel and kicked it out of
the way as he pulled her off her feet and into his arms. Why would you
think I wouldnt?

I waited and waited, and I thought ...

He set her down, gently. The zipper on my bag broke.


He indicated the duffel bag at their feet. She looked down and saw
T-shirts, the leg of a pair of jeans, even a pair of boxers patterned with
smiley faces, poking out from between the flaps.

It got hung up in the overhead bin and I was in a hurry and yanked
at it and broke the zipper, and all my stuff fell out.

Scully laughed and hung on to him even more tightly.

Hey, cmon, said Mulder, with just the right degree of mock
indignation. I dont know about you, but I dont like little old ladies
and flight attendants checking out my shorts.

What about ... ?

Had to check it through. Lets reclaim it and then you can buy me
dinner at the nearest fast-food place. Do you know Mac had me eating brown
rice and veggies at almost every meal? And tofu? And ... 

Shut up, Mulder. She knelt and began stuffing his clothes back
into the duffel. He knelt beside her and took her hands. Im glad youre
back, she whispered.

Im glad Im back, too. 

It was while they were eating that she noticed something different
in his eyes. Exactly what it was was something she could not pinpoint. The
closest she could come was ... a kind of sorrow.

What is it? Scully asked gently.

Mulder dropped the remains of his cheeseburger on his plate, wiped
his mouth with a paper napkin, and leaned back in the booth. For a moment,
he locked eyes with the woman seated across from him, then he looked away.

Mac told me a lot more about being an Immortal. It was--it is ...

Do you want to talk about it?

Yeah. He glanced around. But not here. Lets go somewhere less

They ended up in a small park, sitting on a bench, side by side.
The silence stretched out into minutes, until Scully rested her hand on his
arm and said, It cant be as bad as anything I can imagine, Mulder.

He sighed. Remember that case where the scientists insisted they
werent who they were? Scully, Im not who I am.

How so?

No one knows where Immortals come from. Theyre--Were all
foundlings. Im not the son of my parents. Im not Samanthas big brother.
Im no one.

Youre Fox Mulder, my partner, no matter what anyone says, Scully
said with surprising ferocity.

He smiled, although it was a smile tainted with sadness. Im a

Scullys fingers dug into the flesh of his forearm. No!

It would explain why my name was on that file folder in the mine,
under Samanthas. They were going to take me and somehow found out I wasnt
genetically the child of my parents.

You dont know that.

But I feel it. Call it intuition. It would explain why my
father--his attitude toward me.

Oh, Mulder ... Scully, from a large and loving family, was at a
loss to understand her partner. Part of her rejoiced that he was not
related to William Mulder, whom she had never met but who had links to the
MJ-12 project; part of her regretted that his sense of identity had been
ripped away. What are you going to do?

Im going to go and see my mother next weekend.

Can I do anything?

He almost asked her to accompany him, but just as quickly decided
against it. There were some things he really was better off doing by
himself, and confronting the woman who had raised him was one of them.

Just be my Scully, he said, covering her hand with his own.

Greenwich, Connecticut
August 16, 11:45 AM

Fox Mulder had never understood Connecticuts appeal. As far as he
was concerned, the entire state was nothing but bedrooms that never made it
to New York City. As he drove to the white clapboard house his mother had
lived in since the divorce, he found himself comparing the residents to
lemmings, only instead of jumping over cliffs, these particular lemmings
surged toward the city in the morning and their homes in the evening. It
almost made DC look sane and rational.

Deep in thought, Mulder almost missed his exit. To be honest, he
was brooding over the probability that his entire existence was the
complete antithesis of his lifes work: to seek the truth. He had no reason
to doubt what MacLeod had told him about Immortals, but he couldnt bring
himself to accept it without giving his mother a chance to refute the

He pulled into the driveway and parked behind Elizabeth Mulders
small blue American-made compact car. Pulling a new duffle bag out of the
trunk, but leaving his sword, he turned toward the house and looked up at
it, thinking how much it resembled his mother: tall and elegant. Then the
front door opened and she stepped out on the porch.


Hi, Mom. He put his arms around her, gave her cheek a duty-kiss,
and stood back to study her face. There was nothing there he had not seen
before: Love, maternal pride, an eagerness to see him. You look great.

But she had been studying him, too. What is it, Fox? Has something

Nothing that wont late until later. Is lunch ready? Im really
hungry ... He leaned down to pick up his duffle.

I just have to finish the sandwiches. Grilled cheese with bacon
and tomato, and homemade tomato soup.

My favorites, said Mulder, and followed her into the house.


They talked of commonplaces over lunch; Mrs. Mulder inquired after
Scully and related the latest news from relatives and family friends.
Mulder gave her expurgated accounts of some of his work, and promised to
nail back into place a few loose boards on the fence surrounding the
property. The soup and sandwiches were as good as he remembered them to be,
though they prompted a few sad memories of how Samantha, who loathed
tomatoes on her sandwiches, used to pull them out and eat them separately.

Fox, do you really believe she might still be alive? Mrs. Mulder
asked, so softly he almost didnt hear her.

Yes, he replied. Dont worry, I wont stop looking for her until
Ive found her.

She nodded gratefully, and he didnt have the heart to bring up the
real reason for his visit. Instead, he helped clear the table, and wiped
the dishes, and went down to the basement to look for a hammer and some
nails to put the fence right.

It wasnt until after dinner at a small, expensive restaurant that
hed felt up to broaching the subject of his parentage,  having spent most
of the day seeking an easy way of doing it and finding none. They came
home, put on comfortable lounge-around-the-house clothes and prepared for a
quiet evening.

Mom, Mulder said as she was about to turn on the television. We
need to talk.

She hesitated, then replaced the TV remote control on the table
beside her chair. What about, Fox? Because-- she swallowed hard --I do
not intend to discuss your father with you or anyone else.

I want to talk about me, about when I was born.

Wh-what on earth for?

Mulder came to sit on the floor at her feet. He took her left hand,
with its soft skin, delicate bones, and faint spattering of pale brown age
spots, in both of his. Because I know I was adopted, mom.

Elizabeth Mulders mouth worked soundlessly for a few seconds
before she was able to ask, How did you find out?

Thats not important, Mulder said, thankful that she wasnt going
to try denying it. I just want to know the true circum-stances of how came
to be your ... yours.

She  closed her eyes. You werent adopted, Fox. You were given to
me for reasons I have no knowledge of, but you are no less my son for

Tell me, mom.

I was pregnant. Your father--Bill--was ... unavailable when my
labor began. I got myself to the hospital somehow. And after a difficult
labor, I gave birth to a little boy. He was stillborn.

Chilmark, Massachusetts
October 14, 1961

More than twelve hours had passed since the birth. The effect of
the drugs she had been given had worn off, and she was sitting up in bed,
weary and sore and wondering how she was going to tell her husband that she
had failed him, that his son was dead, that she wanted to die, too. 

Good morning, Mrs. Mulder, said one of those relentlessly
cheerful voices she had come to hate since her arrival the previous
morning. Would you like your  breakfast now?

Somewhere in the near distance, a baby cried. Elizabeth shuddered
as the nurses aide placed a breakfast tray on the table and wheeled it
into place. Orange juice, scrambled eggs, toast with strawberry jam.
Coffee. And that baby crying ... Maybe they would move her to another room
later in the day. For now, she forced herself to eat, and to think of
nothing but that.

Presently the aide came to take away the tray, and Elizabeth was
left to stare out the window. Someone had provided the room with magazines,
but they were all infant-oriented and useless to her now.

Mrs. Mulder?

Another one of those professionally cheery voices. She didnt
bother to take her gaze away from the sky outside her window. Yes?

I understand youve had your breakfast.

Yes, I have. It was fine, thank you.

Then its time to give your son his.

This time, Elizabeth did shift her eyes to focus on the nurse who
stood just inside her room, a tiny blanket-wrapped  bundle in her arms.
There must be some mistake. My baby was born dead. She turned her head to
the window again.

I dont think so, Mrs. Mulder.  The nurse approached the bed,
gently releasing one thin little arm from its confinement within the
receiving blanket to display a plastic identification bracelet. Hospital
policy requires that every baby be tagged before leaving the delivery room.
And this one is labeled Baby Boy Mulder quite clearly. See?

Suspiciously, Elizabeth looked at the bracelet, confirming that it
did indeed say Baby Boy Mulder - 10/13/61. Automatically, her arms
reached out for the child, to fill the baby-sized hole in her heart.

I dont understand, she said, even as she cuddled the infant
close. How  can this be?

Maybe the meds confused you, the nurse suggested. It happens all
the time.

Elizabeth stared at the little boy she held, then carefully
uncovered his head, which was still gently pointed from his trip into the
world. His nose looked squashed as well, and his long, silky dark hair
stood up in little tufts all over his head. The baby chose that moment to
squinch his face up and yawn, exposing toothless pink gums. Then he opened
his eyes, still newborn blue, and stared into Elizabeths hazel ones. He
looks surprised, she thought. She smiled down at him. He was the most
beautiful thing she had ever seen, even if he did look more like a
great-grandfather than a baby. Baby Boy Mulder opened his mouth again, but
instead of yawning, he emitted a high, mewling sound.

Hes hungry, the nurse said with a laugh.

Without stopping to think, Elizabeth fumbled with the fastenings of
her hospital gown and put the infant to her breast. The nurse withdrew to
let mother and child become further acquainted.

Elizabeth had been warned that nursing would hurt in the beginning,
but no one had told her that a babys sucking reflex could be so strong.
And Baby Boy Mulder was determined to take everything he was offered. Tiny
fists kneaded at her breast, wanting more. He suckled harder, making her
gasp in surprise.

Youre a greedy boy, she told him, lovingly. She slipped her
little finger into his mouth to break suction, and offered her other
breast. He latched on to the nipple at once, staring solemnly up into her
eyes as he nursed. Then, abruptly, Baby Boy decided hed had enough and

Elizabeth lifted him to her shoulder and patted his back lightly,
receiving a tiny belch for her efforts. She laughed, then rested the baby
in her lap. For the next few minutes they watched one another, Elizabeth
occasionally reaching out to stroke his head or let him curl his fingers
around one of hers. From what she could see, he was a beautiful little boy,
and soon someone would miss him and the nurse would come to take him away.
But for now, he was hers, only hers. 

But what if the mistake isnt discovered? Her conscience whispered.
Are you going to tell them this child isnt yours?  Because Elizabeth
Mulder knew, despite what the nurse had said, that her child had been
stillborn; she hadnt been given drugs until after the delivery, after the
doctor had said, Im so sorry, Mrs. Mulder, and she had begun to sob

She looked down at the little boy, who was still looking back at
her with clear, inquisitive eyes, and began to unwrap him. When he was
naked, she took inventory of him, marveling at the smallness of him. There
were the requisite number of arms, legs, hands and feet. Each little hand
bore five perfect little fingers, each little foot bore five perfect little
toes, and every one of those tiny digits possessed its own miniature pearly
finger- or toenail. She had already taken into account the shape of his
head, but now, seeing him naked, it and his genitals seemed
disproportionately large in comparison to the rest of his body. A small
wound marked his circumcision. The bluish, scabbed-over stump of umbilical
cord was the only ugly thing about him, and that would fall away within a
few days.

 She traced the outline of one of the babys ears, as delicate and
intricate as a slice of sea-shell, then touched his poor, squashed little
nose. Youre beautiful, she whispered. Would you like to be my little

The infant kicked, frog-like.

Ill take that as a yes, said Elizabeth. She began to re-wrap the
baby. If they dont discover their mistake, Im certainly not going to
tell them. No one will ever know. It will be our secret. She cradled the
child in her arms and began to rock her son.

Greenwich, Connecticut
The Present

It was wrong of me, and foolish, Elizabeth Mulder confessed to
the man at her feet. But as soon as I held you, I knew you were mine as
surely as if I had carried you under my heart for nine months.

When did Dad find out? asked Mulder. Was it when I had my
tonsils out?

His mother nodded. The surgeon told him that  there was no way you
could be our child, because of the blood types. She shuddered with the
memory. He was so angry.

He didnt hit you, did he? 

Bill never had to resort to physical violence to wound someone,
Fox. You of all people should know that.

Mulder squeezed her hand. Verbal abuse is just as wounding as
physical  abuse, Mom.

My son the psychologist, she murmured.

 Im sorry.

What for? I chose you to be my son. If any blame needs to be
assigned, it should be assigned to me. You had nothing to do with it.

Now you sound like Scully. He rested his head against his
mothers knee like a child seeking comfort.

 Sometimes, the bond is more important than the blood. Elizabeth
Mulder stroked her sons hair as she had the first time she had seen him.
Fox, whats wrong?


Please tell me.

Im not supposed to tell. He looked up in time to see the hurt in
her face. Its nothing to do with anything Dad was mixed up in. Its
personal ... and kind of scary.

Youre ill?

No. Im going to live forever.

She laughed, gently, before saying, Let me help.

Mulder sat back on his heels, his hands still resting on her knees.
You cant, Mom. No one can. Not even Scully.

Mrs. Mulder covered his hands with her own and squeezed. Youre
all I have left, son. Please tell me whats wrong.

After a moments thought, he came to a decision and got to his
feet. He went into the kitchen, returning with a paring knife and a thick
towel, and knelt before his mother.

Visual aids, Mulder remarked as he arranged the towel on her lap,
then rested his left arm on it. He looked up into her face, a lopsided grin
on his face. Youre in luck. Scully usually gets the slide show.

What are you doing, Fox? 

He grasped the paring knife firmly in his right hand. I told you a
few minutes ago that I was going to live forever. It wasnt a joke. He
pressed the knifes edge to his wrist, against the network of pale blue
veins throbbing just below the heel of his palm.

Fox, no!

Its okay, Mom. You have to see this to believe it. And he sliced
open his wrist, pushing aside her hands when she tried to stanch the blood
that rushed forth and stained the towel in her lap. Now watch!

In less than a minute, only the bloody towel remained as proof of
what he had done to himself.

But how--? Mrs. Mulder wondered.

I dont know, Mulder replied as he wiped the remaining blood from
his arm. But there are a lot of others like me, and like me, they were all
foundlings. And we cant die unless our heads are cut off.

Oh, God!

I cant tell you any more than that, Mom, except that some day you
may hear that Ive been killed. Unless Scully tells you otherwise, it isnt
true, but it does mean Ill have to leave my life here and begin again
somewhere else.

She knows?    

Yeah. Mulder folded the towel and put it aside. I was murdered
in a warehouse four weeks ago. I resurrected in her arms. He looked up at
the woman he knew as his mother. Can you still love me, Mom, knowing this
about me?

Elizabeth Mulder leaned forward in her chair and took her only
surviving child into her arms. Only if you can still love me, after what I

He returned her embrace. Thats easy. 

Fox, she said gently, promise me you wont let being a foundling
rob you of your sense of self. Its what we do with ourselves that matters,
not who our ancestors were.

But at least with ancestors, you get a sense of belonging.

Do you really need a lot of dead people in order to know who you

Mulder allowed himself to smile. I guess not.

You belong to yourself, she told him. And to me. And to Dr.

How did--?

Because Im your mother and I notice these things. She frowned,
remembering something. Samantha ... 

Mom, I told you before: I wont stop looking for her. Just because
we dont have the same parents doesnt mean she isnt my little sister.
Like you said, sometimes the bond is more important than the blood.

J. Edgar Hoover Building
Washington, DC
August 20, 8 AM

He arrived at the office the following Monday morning feeling
remarkably light of heart. He still had a mother, he still had Scully, and
he still had his quest. Unfortunately, he also had a mountain of paperwork
to get through. He sat down and got to work at once, pausing only when he
heard Scullys amused voice saying, Wow, when did the blizzard hit?

About half an hour ago. Say, you wouldnt know anything about an
expense voucher for a pair of brown suede pumps, size five, would you?

You mean the ones that got eaten up by that acid or whatever it
was I stepped in at that mad scientists lab last week? Skinners lucky
its only shoes. It wouldve been feet if you hadnt yanked me out of there
right away.

Mulder turned away to conceal a smile. Hed used a flying tackle to
remove his partner from harms way; the memory of rolling around on the
floor with her in his arms was a pleasant one, one he cherished as much as
he cherished a particular smile she seemed to reserve for him alone. 



How did it go with your mom?

Were okay, Scully. Ill tell you about it later. He sensed her
standing behind his chair and looked up into her face. She looked
concerned. Really.

She touched his shoulder lightly, then went to her own desk.

Jefferson Memorial

Are you okay? Scully asked. Really?

They were sitting on Mulders favorite bench in front of the
Jefferson Memorial, eating sandwiches from a health-food store. Mulder had
just finished telling his partner about his visit to his mother. 

As okay as anyone can be whos had the ground cut from under him.
He stretched his legs out, crossing them at the ankle. Mom said I didnt
need a lot of dead people to be who I am, that I belonged to myself, and to
her, and to ...


He turned his head to look at her. To you.

Perceptive woman, your mother.

Yeah, kind of like yours.

What do you mean?

Mulder rested his arm along the back of the bench, behind Scully.
The casual onlooker would not have noticed how his fingertips rested
lightly on the point of her shoulder. When you were abducted, when we
thought you werent going to come back, it was me she asked to go with her
to choose a headstone. Not your brothers, not your sister. Me.

Thats a little too subtle for me.

Well, it helps if youre a psychologist. He grinned. 

Scully shifted, ostensibly to see him better. Her knee poked his
thigh; he pushed back, enjoying the contact. She smiled. Want to have
dinner with me tonight?

3170 W. 53rd Rd., #35
Sunny Heights Apartment Complex
Arlington, Virginia
August 22, 11:15 PM

The moonless night seemed to match the mood of the couple in the
car. Neither of them had spoken in some time. Finally, as Mulder pulled up
outside Scullys apartment building, she said, That was incredibly stupid,

What did I do?

You got in the way!

It saved your life, didnt it?

Thats not the point. She got out of the car, slamming the door
in the process, and marched up the walk to the front door, her spine as
rigid as an iron rod. Behind her, Mulder jumped out as well.

Is there anything I can say that will make this right between us?
he asked, following her.

You can promise never to do it again. And mean it.

I wont do that.

Then I have nothing else to say to you tonight. She inserted the
key in the lock and opened the door to her apartment. Queequeg came out of
the bedroom to check on the intruders, then turned around and went back to
his basket.

Mulder was careful to be right behind her as she stepped inside.
Look, if I hadnt stepped between the pair of you, youd be on a slab in
the morgue. It came down to a choice between saving you and letting you
die. I chose to save you.

Without stopping to think about the consequences.

Damn the consequences! Were both alive. And your life means a
hell of a lot more to me than mine does, especially since you can die and I

Lower your voice!

Scully ... 

She turned to him, her eyes brilliant with unshed tears. Dont you
get it, Mulder? When you rush in and play Superman, the chances that youll
get killed increase dramatically. And if someone sees you die, youre
going to have to go away. I dont want you to leave. Id rather take a
bullet myself than let that happen.

He pulled her into his arms; she resisted briefly, then gave up and
let him hold her. She was shaking with fear and anger, and he took the time
to soothe her before, saying, Dont you realize that if I do as you ask,
you could be killed for real. Dont you know I dont want to live in a
world that doesnt have you in it somewhere, possibly unhappy, possibly
incredibly pissed off at me, but alive?

Would-- she hiccoughed. Would you at least promise to try and be
more careful?

I dont think its in the nature of the beast, Scully, but yeah,
Ill try to be less impulsive.

She slid her arms around his waist. Then I forgive you for saving
my life tonight.

Being Immortal isnt as wonderful as you might think, he murmured
against her hair.

No one ever said it would be.

And I would have done it even if I wasnt Immortal.

She shivered. I know.

They parted and stood looking at one another a little awkwardly. 

Want some coffee? Scully asked.

Coffee would be good. He slipped out of his suit coat and dropped
it on the couch before following her to the kitchen. Sitting down at the
table, he busied himself with rolling up the sleeves of his shirt as she
measured and poured.

Scully glanced over at Mulder and bit her lip. Their relationship
had altered since Mulders death and resurrection as an Immortal. For one
thing, they had finally gotten around to acknowledging the true nature of
their feelings for one another. Professionally, nothing had changed between
them, but personally ... they had become much more than best friends,
although they were still less than lovers. And that was what she wanted to
change.         They were spending the same amount of time together, but
instead of wasting it by pretending to be working on reports as they used
to, the time was used to kiss and hold one another. Snogging, Mulder
called it, dredging up an expression from his time at Oxford. Making out,
was the way Scully referred to their activities. They had been careful not
to go beyond an unspoken and mutually imposed limit. But the kissing and
the holding were no longer enough for her, not with the knowledge that she
would one day be left alone, without so much as his child to serve as a
living link between them. Immortals were incapable of fathering children,
MacLeod had said. That was why she had been so angry with Mulder for taking
a bullet meant for her. Someday he would do it in front of a witness, and
their time together would be over, and all she would have to show for it
would be an empty place in her heart. She wanted memories ...

She switched on the coffee-maker, then walked over and sat down
beside her friend and partner and, she hoped, soon-to-be lover.

Still mad at me? Mulder wanted to know. 

She shook her head. No.

Then what? You look like ... I dont know ... 

Scully reached for his hand. Ive been trying to think of a way to
say this without sounding coarse.

Say what?

Mulder, I want to move on.

There was silence for a beat and then he croaked, What? 

Do you remember the conversation we had the first time we kissed?

Yes, he replied, wondering where she was going.

I want to take our relationship to its next step. To become

The panic that had flared  so briefly in his eyes died away.

Ive given it a lot of thought, Mulder. I very scientifically made
a list of the pros and cons, and guess what it came down to? Deciding which
I would regret more: Being your lover and losing you, or not being your
lover and losing you. And I decided that having happy memories was a better
choice than having bitter regrets.

He spoke very softly. I dont want to turn you into my hostage to
fortune, Scully.

But you know that I already am, she whispered. Just as youre
mine. She smiled. Would it make you happy to go to bed with me?

It would make me very happy.

She caressed his cheek. You know, the Bureau rumor mill has had us
sleeping together since I was assigned to the X-Files.

Yeah, but I dont pay much attention to rumors.

He reached for her, pulling her onto his lap. The first kiss was
gentle; the second was less so; the third left them both gasping for air.
Scully thought about her sturdy kitchen table; Mulder considered the
spotless linoleum floor; both pondered the possibilities of immediate

No, said Mulder suddenly. Gently he pushed her off his lap and
excused himself. 

When he returned a few minutes later, his face was flushed but he
was in full command of himself. He sat down at the table again. Scully
poured the coffee and offered him a mug. He accepted it.

I cant believe that just happened, she said softly as she
resumed her seat.

Almost happened, corrected Mulder. He toyed with the mug, still
embarrassed by his near-loss of control. It occurred to him that Scully
might be feeling embarrassed, too. Or even rejected. I didnt do what I
just did because I dont want you, Dana. I want you more than my next

I know.

Its just that when we make love, I want to be able to take my
time and give you everything you deserve.

Thats what she wanted, too, a long, slow night of love, not a
hurried coupling like a pair of teenagers in the back seat of a Chevy. She
drew a deep breath. I can wait a little longer. 

Me, too.

Scully went on, And ... maybe we should make a plan ... when and
where ... 

Seems a little cold and calculating to be planning something that
Ive always believed should happen spontaneously.

Anticipation is nine-tenths the pleasure, Mulder.

He mustered a smile. Itd better not be.

Well, maybe not in every case.

 He reached for her hand, squeezing it gently. What about Labor
Day weekend? he offered. Wed have three days.

But where? Here?

Not a good idea.

She thought about the small dark set of rooms Mulder called home.
The hulls of the sunflower seeds that frequently littered the floor. The
fish floating belly up in their tank. His videotape collection. The old
issues of Celebrity Skin and Sports Illustrated tucked under the cushions
of the battered leather couch. The basketball wedged into his wastebasket.
The roll of masking tape on the window sill. She loved Mulder, but she
didnt want their first time together to be spent in a place like that.

Whats wrong with my apartment? she asked.

His smile morphed into a grin. Phonecallus interruptus.

Oh. Scully hadnt taken that into consideration.

Mulder drank some of his coffee and thought some more.

Hes going to need memories too, she realized.

I--I really dont want to go to a hotel, Mulder, she told him,
but we need a place where the Bureau cant reach us.



Mulder shook his head. Its a little town on the southern coast of
Rhode Island where my family has a summer house. It was part of my mothers
divorce settlement. She rents it out to summer people.



Whatever. Do you think it will be free for Labor Day weekend?

Ill find out first thing tomorrow. He raised her hand to his
mouth and planted a kiss in the palm. Dana, are you certain you want this?
Want me?

She nodded. The kitchens indirect lighting softened her features
so she looked like an image from one of his dreams. More than my next
breath, Mulder.

In that case, he paused to press another kiss into her hand, I
want you to call me Fox.

Unknown Location
August 23, 1996, 12:01 AM

Youre certain of what you saw?

Smoked rose lazily in the air and wreathed itself into a kind of
halo above the speakers head. The man before him thought the image an
ironic one. Only the harp music was lacking.

Yessir. Agent Mulder was shot in the chest at point blank range.
There is no way he should have survived, and yet I saw him get up a few
minutes later and walk away from the scene with Agent Scully.

And how did Agent Scully react when Agent Mulder went down?

She exhibited concern, nothing more.

The man with the cigarette inhaled, making the ash glow cherry-red
for an instant. He was wearing a vest.

With all respect, sir, even with a vest--

Some new technology. Mulder has friends in interesting places.
Another puff and then, You can go.

Quonochontaug, Rhode Island
August 30, 1996, 11:59 PM

You brought your own sheets? Mulder asked. He squelched across
the bedroom in rain-soaked sneakers and held out a carton to his beloved.

Scully smiled and took it out of his hands. Yes. Where did you put
Queequegs basket?

In the living room, under one of the end tables.

I usually have it the bedroom.

Scully, I dont want the dog watching while we ... you know.

Thats okay, Mulder. I dont want him with us then either. But
until the time comes, he needs to be with us.


He gets lonesome.

Scully, hes a dog. He dropped the katana in the middle of the
bed. A man-eating little beast that you named after a cannibal. Mulder
sank down on the bed and rubbed his hands over his face. Im sorry. Im
tired and anxious and driving up here in the storm did nothing for my
composure, let alone my libido. As if to emphasize his words, a gust of
wind drove the rain against the window pane; it sounded like gravel hitting
the glass.

Scully sat down with him. How about we just make up the bed and go
to sleep?

Sounds good. Um, youre not into hospital corners, are you? I
never got the hang of them.

Within a few minutes, the bed had been made up. Scully picked up
her T-shirt and toiletries and headed for the bathroom. When she emerged a
few minutes later, ready for bed, she found Mulder, wearing only
boxer-briefs, sitting at the foot of the bed playing with her dog. On the
floor at his feet was the Pomeranians basket. There was no sign of the

Mulder, you didnt have to do that.

He looked up and smiled. Love you, love your dog, Scully.

They settled the matter of who slept on what side, crawled into
bed, pulled up the covers, and turned out the lights. There was a moment of
awkward silence, then Scully asked, Mulder? Would you hold me while we go
to sleep?

He grinned into the darkness. Its been a long time since I slept
with a teddy bear. 

She settled into the crook of his arm, nestling her cheek against
his shoulder and resting one hand on his chest. Mulder, in no way do I
resemble a teddy bear.

Sure you do, Scully, he murmured. He stroked her hair. Youre
small and soft and warm, and it feels good to hold you. You smell better
than my teddy bear did, though.

She chuckled, a slow, soft, sleepy sound. Want to know why I keep
Queequegs basket in the bedroom?

So you wont be alone at night?

Howd you know?

Im the guy who uses his television as a night light.

Whatever works.

Mulder heard Queequeg get out of his basket and the stealthy
approach of the dogs toenails as they clicked against the polished pine
floorboards. The sounds stopped abruptly as a Pomeranian-shaped shadow
jumped up on the bed, circled three times and curled itself into a ball at
Scullys feet.

Hey, Scully, the dogs in bed with us.

A gentle snore was the only response he got.

August 31, 1996, 12:45 AM

Scully woke, not remembering where she was, or who she was with.
She lay rigid until  memory came flooding back an instant later. She was in
bed with Mulder, in a summer house in a town with an unpronounceable name
in Rhode Island. In fact, her nose was buried against his chest and her
head was pillowed on his arm. Which must be numb by now, she thought.
Carefully, she rolled away from him to lay on her other side. She was
almost asleep again when Mulder, too, moved, curling up against her back,
fitting himself to her like her shadow. He flung an arm over her, his hand
coming to rest against her left breast, cupping it loosely. She covered his
hand with one of her own and drifted back to sleep.

August 31, 1996, 1:20 AM

Mulder woke to the sound of someone pounding on the front door. It
was as black as pitch outside, but the rain seemed to have stopped. 

What is it? Scully whispered.

Maybe the three bears have come home, he whispered back. He slid
out of bed and reached for his pistol and ID folder, thrusting them into
the waistband of his boxer-briefs at the small of his back before padding
out into the living room. Throwing open the locks, he opened the front
door, only to be blinded by the beam of a powerful flashlight.


That your car in the driveway, son? a firm bass voice inquired.

Yes! Get that out of my eyes, will you?

The light shifted a fraction. And you would be?

My names Mulder. Whore you and what do you want?

Im Sheriff Watson. Someone saw your car and got suspicious, since
the last tenants we know about left last week. Mind telling me what youre
doing here?

My mother owns this place. She said it would be okay to use it for
the weekend.

How about some identification, Mr. Mulder?

He was about to reach back for his FBI folder, when he thought
better of it. He and Scully were here as private individuals, not federal
agents, and the fewer who knew about it, the better. Just a minute, he
mumbled and closed the door.

Scully had turned on one of the bedside lamps and was sitting up in
the middle of the bed.

Its the sheriff, Mulder explained as he fished his wallet out of
his pants pocket. He thinks we might be trespassers.

Oh ... Were not going to have to leave, are we?


Good. She lay back in the bed and allowed herself to enjoy her
view of Mulder as he shuffled out of the bedroom.       

Mulder displayed his drivers license to Sheriff Watson, who
appeared satisfied that Mulder was indeed Mulder, but added that he would
be calling Mrs. Mulder for verification.

Fine, said Mulder, a trifle irritably. But do it in the morning.
I dont want her bothered in the middle of the night. 

He shut the door, not quite slamming it, and almost tripped over
Queequeg in the dark. Fine watch dog you are, he muttered, stepping over
the Pomeranian and into the bedroom. He returned his weapon and ID to the
nightstand, along with his license. As he got back into bed, he said to
Scully, Next time we come, remind me to bring a note from my mom. He
smothered a yawn. Cmere.



Roll over and face the wall, Mulder. I found out something about
you tonight.

What? I snore? Im a blanket hog?




What could be worse?

Face the wall, Mulder. It was her no-nonsense, Agent Scully of
the FBI voice.

Bewildered, he complied and lay waiting for what would come. The
bed shifted as Scully moved on it and then, suddenly, he felt the welcome
warmth of her body as she pressed herself against his back. Youre a
snuggler, Mulder, she said, her lips moving against the skin between his
shoulder blades. She wrapped an arm around him, and, for good measure, she
slung a leg over his hips. Every time I move, youre right there, like
white on rice. Now lets see how you like it.

He liked it just fine.

August 31, 1996, Dawn


Ssshhh. He kissed the back of her neck. Go back to sleep. Im
just going outside to work out.


But sleep seemed to have abandoned her for the time being, and
after a few minutes of tossing and turning, Scully slipped out of  bed and
went to the window. The morning was overcast, although the sun occasionally
shouldered its way through the clouds to shine for a brief moment before
slipping away again. Through the trees, Quonochontaug Pond was just visible
as an iron-colored disk.

 Mulder, wearing sweat pants and his favorite Knicks T-shirt and
carrying a long, thin bundle, appeared. He set the bundle down in the grass
and began a series of warm-up stretches that led to an extraordinary series
of movements that she eventually recognized as being a martial arts routine
far more advanced than anything taught at Quantico. That done, Mulder knelt
and opened the bundle to remove the fox-handled katana she had given him a
month ago. He began another routine, thrusting and parrying and twirling
the sword with a supple grace she had never suspected him of possessing.
His concentration on the exercise was intense, as though his life depended
upon what he was doing.

A pensive Scully turned way from the window and crawled back into
bed, where sleep finally reclaimed her.
6:30 AM

Mulder emerged from the shower and briskly rubbed himself down with
a green towel before pulling on a fresh pair of boxer-briefs. At the sink,
he combed his damp, dark hair straight back, then reached into his shaving
kit for toothbrush and toothpaste. He studied his face as he brushed,
turning his head from side to side to examine each feature carefully. Jaw,
chin, cheekbones, forehead, eyes and mouth were all catalogued, but it was
his nose that held his attention the longest. He ran the index finger of
his left hand along its length, pushed the fleshy tip from one side to the
other, and grimaced. It wasnt a bad nose, but sometimes there seemed to be
a little too much of it. And the way hed combed his hair definitely made
it look even larger than it really was. He spat and rinsed, put away the
toothbrush, and carefully mussed his hair. Better, he thought. 

Stepping back from the mirror, he examined his reflection with a
hypercritical eye. Butch up, Mulder, he told himself. Youre not the most
macho-looking male on planet Earth. He sucked in his stomach, threw out his
chest, and raised his arms, curling and flexing them to make his  biceps
bulge a little. He struck a pose and --

--The bathroom door opened.

Sorry, said a just-awakened Scully. I thought you were still

Mulder dropped his arms and resumed his normal stance. No. I
finished a little while ago and came in to shower. He picked up his razor
and fiddled with it.

She started to close the door again, then paused to ask, Mulder,
are you going to shave now?

Mulder scowled at his reflection. Yeah.

Can I stay and watch?

A fleeting memory of another woman watching him shave invaded his
thoughts; ruthlessly, he shoved it aside. He had been another man then, one
consumed by despair and sorrow. He shook the can of shaving cream and
squirted a dollop of lather onto his fingers. I didnt know you were into
blood sports, Scully. Mulder spread the lather over his face. Or do you
just want to see how fast I heal?

I dont want to watch you bleed, or heal. Scully leaned against
the wall beside the sink and folded her arms. When I was a little girl, I
liked to watch my dad shave because he made such funny faces.

Anything to amuse you. But he made an effort to exaggerate his
facial movements as he wielded the razor, earning first a chuckle, then
all-out laughter from the woman standing at his left side.

Mulder? she asked when he had finished. Why did you pierce your

Why does any teenager pierce a body part? he countered.

Did it work?

No. He went on ignoring me.

Do you ever ... ?

He turned to Scully. Even wearing only an old T-shirt and panties,
with bed hair and no makeup, she still looked--he searched his mind for the
right word and found it--ethereal. Youve got it bad, Mulder, he told
himself. Lets hope they never find a cure!

 No, I think its healed over, he said aloud, rubbing the ear
lobe in question. Besides, the Bureau doesnt like its male agents making
bold fashion statements with anything but their ties.

I can re-pierce it for you. Wait here a minute. Scully
disappeared into the bedroom, returning seconds later with something which
she rubbed with an alcohol wipe, and the doctors bag that traveled
everywhere with her tucked beneath her arm. 

Thats one of your earrings, he said, recognizing the tiny thing
in her hand. It was, in fact, one of the pair of small gold wire hoops she
had worn yesterday.

Sit down and hold this. 

He sat on the toilets closed lid. This is going to hurt, isnt
it? he asked, eyeing the fresh syringe she had produced from the bag.

A little.  She cleaned his ear lobe with another alcohol wipe,
then tore open the syringes package. I just hope I can get the wire in
before the opening heals.

 It stung; he winced but didnt pull away. He felt her gentle
fingers work the fine wire through the newly made opening.

There, said Scully, securing the hoop in place. Now you dont
look like a G-man anymore.

 What do I look like? His voice was cocky, full of confidence.

Yuppie scum, she riposted, gentling her words with a hasty kiss
on his chin. Now get out of here and let me shower so we can go find some

7:15 AM

Scully thought he would remove the earring as soon as the door
closed between them, but Mulder, ever full of surprises, had left it alone.
He had added a black T-shirt, well-worn blue jeans, and running shoes, and
now he sat on the big old-fashioned glider on the summer porch, leafing
through the newest issue of The Lone Gunman  while he waited for her. He
looks like anything but a special agent, she thought as she approached him.
Or an Immortal. Her own wardrobe choices echoed his, except that her
T-shirt was white. And no one at the cafe where they went for breakfast
gave them the second glance their working attire usually earned them.

The quest for enough groceries to tide them over the weekend led
Mulder and Scully to a small mom-and-pop market with its own self-contained
bakery. Loaves of still-warm French bread, a wedge of cheese, lettuce and
tomatoes, a roasted chicken, cold meats, pasta and sauce, apples, and a
large bag of sunflower seeds all went into the basket, together with a
number of incidentals. 

Should we get dog food? wondered Mulder as they passed a display
of canine cuisine.

I brought enough for the weekend, Scully replied.

But Mulder backtracked and came back with a huge rawhide chew toy
and a box of doggy treats.

Bribes, he explained, putting the items into the basket.

While they waited in the short line at the check-out stand, Scully
became fascinated by a display of disposable cameras. She picked one up and
put it in the basket.

You never know when one of those pesky UFOs will show up, she
remarked, meeting Mulders inquiring gaze.      

Better be prepared, he agreed, and added another camera to their

The first snapshot was taken as Mulder carried the groceries
indoors and put them away. The second was taken while Scully sat on the
glider, brushing Queequeg.

You know, said Mulder, putting the camera aside, we could take a
picnic lunch down by the pond and eat it.

Did you do that when you were a little boy?

Yeah. Mulder picked up the dog and put it on the floor, then
scooped Scully up and sat down on the glider with her in his lap. My
father and his friends never wanted to stop water-skiing long enough to
come up to the house to eat, so Mom would pack up a basket and put it in my
wagon along with Samantha, and wed walk down to the beach.

We could do that, said Scully. She draped her arms around his
shoulders and leaned into him, encouraging him to hold her close. But its
barely eleven oclock. Too early for lunch. And its starting to rain
again. It was more of a mist than a rain, and the grass and shrubbery and
trees quickly took on the extraordinary vivid emerald color peculiar to
green growing things on such days.

Mmmmm. He rested his cheek against her hair. I suppose we could
just sit here.

We could ...  She began to trace a line of soft, moist kisses
along the line of his jaw; his hold on her tightened perceptibly. When she
reached his chin, he dipped his head and pressed his mouth to hers lightly.
Scully tilted her head back, baring her throat to him. He ran his lips
along the smooth, warm skin to the tender spot where her throat flowed into
soft underside of her chin, then moved to the place where her pulse beat
steadily just beneath the skin. Finding her mouth again,  he coaxed her
lips apart with his. Their tongues met, curled around one another,
retreated, advanced again.

Dana, Mulder began.

Just let it happen, she whispered. She ran her hand over his
chest in the lightest of caresses. This is what were here for, Fox.

Pushing her hair back, he tongued her ear, then traced its
intricacies with his nose. His warm breath tickled, making her laugh. I
was just going to remind you that I love you.

Ive never doubted it. Could you do that thing again with your
nose in my ear?

You liked that?

Youve got a wonderful nose, Fox. Very talented.

Youve got beautiful ears, he murmured, bending his head to
nuzzle her again. He could feel himself beginning to harden. 

Thunder grumbled in the distance, and the rain came down a little
harder. Queequeg, tired of being ignored, whined, then jumped up on the
glider and climbed back into Scullys lap. When she continued to ignore him
in favor of Mulder, he poked his head under her arm and tried to lick her

Ugh! protested Scully. She pushed the unfortunate Pomeranian back
down to the floor. Dog lips!

Well, hes got the right idea, Mulder said, and lapped at her
cheek before kissing her again. After a moment, he eased her off his lap
and guided her backwards, until she lay beneath him on the glider, her head
pillowed on his forearm and her legs hanging over his. Mouth met mouth once
more, though with considerably less restraint than before. He rested his
free hand at the base of her throat, caressing it and her collarbone with
the lightest of touches. Little by little, he moved his hand downward over
her chest, until it at last a breast lay beneath his palm. He gave it a
squeeze, then ended the kiss to look into her eyes for some clue as to how
he should proceed.

Scullys smile appeared in her eyes before manifesting itself on
her face. Her lips curved upward, parting slightly. Go with it, Fox, she
whispered. She drew his head down with one hand and slipped her tongue into
his mouth once again. The fingers of her other hand danced over his chest
until they encountered a nipple. She tweaked it through the T-shirt.
Mulders hand gripped her breast reflexively. Scully made a sound that was
part moan, part whimper. And Queequeg snarled.

Mulder levered himself up on one elbow to look at the little dog.

What is it? Scully asked.

Queequeg doesnt like what Im doing to his mom.

Hes jealous of all the attention Im giving you.

Dogs arent jealous, Mulder the psychologist said. Theyre


Dana, I cant make love to you if the dog is growling at me. What
if he decides to bite me at a critical moment? His romantic mood was
starting to fade. He thought frantically of Scully naked, Scully writhing
beneath him, Scully biting him ... 

Lets go inside, she said. Its damp out here, and this glider
isnt big enough for what we want to do. Queequeg can stay here on the

Mulder was on his feet in an instant, towing Scully behind him. On
the bedrooms threshold he paused, remembering the bribes hed bought. Go
ahead, he told her. Theres something I need to do first. 

Carrying a fistful of doggy treats and the chew toy, Mulder stepped
back out on the summer porch. Squatting, he put the treats in a heap on the
floor and placed the piece of rawhide beside them. A suspicious Queequeg
inched forward to investigate.

I love her, Mulder told the little dog softly. And I need to do
those things to her, with her, so shell know how much I love her. Im not
hurting her, and I promise she wont stop loving you. Okay?

Queequeg snatched one of the treats from the pile and backed away
with it, watching Mulder with eyes like jet buttons.

I guess thats an okay. Mulder rose and went  back into the

In the bedroom, Scully had kicked off her sneakers and was turning
back the bedclothes. She turned and smiled as he came in. Did your bribes

I think so. He removed his own sneakers and joined her beside the

Neither of them moved until Mulder reached out with one finger to
trace the ribbing at the neck of Scullys T-shirt. He looked into her eyes
and what he saw there made him pull her close. Leaning down, he brushed his
lips against hers. Surprised by his gentleness, and wanting more, she
kissed him back, pushing her tongue into his mouth and tangling her fingers
in his hair. Mulder forgot about subtlety and finesse; his only object now
was to please Scully, and thereby himself. He kissed her deeply,
passionately, as though his very life depended upon it. His hands went to
her waist, bunching the soft white fabric in his fists, then sliding
beneath to stroke the satiny skin of her back.

 Finally, reluctantly, they pulled back in order to breathe. Mulder
met her gaze again, and when Scully grinned back at him, he pulled her
T-shirt up over her head and dropped it on the floor.

You know, she remarked matter-of-factly, Ive seen you naked
before. She seized his shirt, tugging it free of his jeans, and peeling it
off him like the skin off a grape. She tossed it on top of hers and went to
work on his fly with her agile fingers.

When? He fingered the straps of her bra, then pushed them aside
so her shoulders were bare and he could kiss them unhindered.

In the hospital, mostly, while you were unconscious. She looked
up. You have a nice body. Im looking forward to seeing you in a bed naked
and awake, and without any tubes, wires or bandages.

He took a deep breath; his heart was galloping like a runaway
horse. You took advantage of a wounded man?

She  grinned again. Every chance I got, G-man. Thats one of my
perks as your partner.

How come I never get perks like that?  He reached around her to
unhook the bra.

Well, she said slyly, it helps if youre an MD. She slipped the
bra off, letting it drop at her feet, then went back to work on his jeans.
Why am I having problems with this?

Oh, God, Dana ... Because parts of me are already out of control.
He pushed her hands out of the way and undid his jeans himself before
reaching for the closure of hers. Working it open, he pushed down her jeans
and panties before shoving his own off his hips and kicking them out of the

In silence, they studied one another with unabashed interest.
Scully used her fingers to trace the dark hairs that marched down his belly
from navel to groin. Mulder swept his hands lightly over her body,
lingering over all the places he had only fantasized about caressing. She
touched him, intimately. Helpless, he shuddered and drew her close.

Leaning back in his arms, Scully smiled. I guess this means we can
forget about lunch.

Oh yeah, said Mulder, smiling back. He picked her up and laid her
down on the bed, stretching himself out on top of her. And maybe dinner,

It was three oclock before they emerged from the bedroom, weary,
euphoric, and hungry. Queequeg, released from his captivity on the summer
porch trotted indoors and sat down in front of his food dish. If it was
possible for a dog to look accusatory, then the Pomeranian did. 

Do you suppose hes going to carry a grudge now, because we left
him out on the porch all afternoon? Mulder asked before tearing into one
of the sandwiches he and Scully had constructed from deli meat and thin
slices of French bread. 

Hes just sulking. Scully tore a piece of turkey breast from her
sandwich and tossed it to the dog. He sniffed it once and ignored it.
Well take him for a walk in a little while, throw his ball, make a fuss
over him, and hell be fine.

I hope so. I dont want him sneaking up on us while were asleep
and chowing down like he did with his last owner.

I dont think we need to worry about that, Scully said.

The dog got up and trotted under the table where she and Mulder sat
eating. Mulder frowned suddenly and  put down his sandwich.

Dana? he said as the Pomeranian emerged and returned to his food


Your dog just peed on my feet.

Scullys eyes went wide with surprise. A quick look under the table
confirmed what Mulder had just told her. Fortunately, he hadnt bothered to
put on any shoes or socks when he had gotten dressed, and so only his bare
feet had received the Pomeranians baptism. Her mouth quirked as she fought
to keep herself from laughing out loud; instead, she focused her gaze on

Bad dog! she said sternly.

Queequeg barked once and grinned a doggy grin.

Quonochontaug Beach
10 AM, Sunday, September 1



They were strolling along the beach with Queequeg, Mulders arm
around Scullys shoulders, Scullys arm encircling Mulders waist. The sea
breeze was strong, salt-tanged, and carried the promise of a chill,
although the sun and the sand were pleasantly warm. 

Ive been thinking about the future.

Come to any conclusions? He paused to snap a picture of her with
one of the disposable cameras they had bought. Although she had secured her
hair in a ponytail, wisps of it had escaped and floated around her head
like a nimbus.

Yes. Im going to resign from the Bureau when you go.

He almost dropped the camera. Why would you do that?

Because with you gone, theyll shut down the X-Files. I wont be
allowed to pursue the questions we both want answered. And because I want
to be with you.

Almost my hearts desire, he thought. The rest of her life with
her...  Mulder looked at his lover. Youd give up your career for me?

It wouldnt be much of a career without my partner.

You could make AD without me to hold you back, Dana. Maybe even

She held up her own camera, framing his        What about your
family? Youd have to cut all ties with them.

Mulder, Im starting to think you dont want to be with me.

He pulled her into a rough embrace, mashing his mouth against hers.
Think again.

Okay, you want to be with me, laughed Scully.

Just so you understand that. He kissed her again before pulling
her down with him to sit in the sand. Dana, let me play devils advocate
for a few minutes, all right? Im not trying to talk you out of going away
with me. I just want to be sure in my own mind that youve taken everything
into consideration.

All right. She folded her hands and rested them in her lap.
Family: My brothers are stationed in Hawaii and the Middle East. I see
them once a year at most ... and I think they still blame me for Melissas
death. So theyre not really a problem; my mother is. I just cant
disappear on her again.

No, Mulder agreed. It would break her heart.

Im going to tell her about us. Then I can tell her some of the
truth later, said Scully after a few minutes of reflection. Shed

Would she?

She understands the power of love. And she certainly understands
how much we mean to one another.

Mulder nodded. And what about the Bureau? The cool and rational
Dr. Dana Scully is not the sort of woman who would throw everything over
out of grief for Spooky Mulder, appealing though that thought is.

Youre suggesting I wait a couple of months before joining you?

I think that would be best.

She considered the matter carefully, then nodded. Okay. I can use
the time to come up with a plausible excuse for resigning, something
Skinner will accept without question. Almost my hearts desire, she
thought. To spend the rest of my life with him. What else, Mulder?

Well ...  He hunched a shoulder. Dont you think theres a
chance you might come to resent the way wed have to live?

What way is that? Were not criminals. No ones going to be
looking for us.

What if you meet someone who can give you all those things I
cant, like kids and house with a picket fence, and being normal?

She pushed him over and rolled on top of him. Mulder, I lost my
taste for normal a couple of weeks after meeting you.

But surely you want to have children one day. Dont you want to be
a mom? Scully shrugged. Maybe children arent such a good idea for me. We
have no idea what was done to me during those three months I was gone.
Maybe Im incapable of having them, or if I can, maybe theyd be defective
somehow, or subject to abduction themselves. I couldnt do that to a
child. A wistful smile hovered on her lips. Although it wouldve been
nice to mingle our genetic material ... 

Mulder stroked her back with both hands. Im sorry, Dana.

Dont be. Theres nothing I would change, even if I could. She
leaned down and brushed his mouth with hers.

He drew his long legs up, locking his ankles together behind her
back as he wrapped his arms around her and held her close.

Fox, whatre you doing? she whispered, her lips moving against
his as she spoke.

Im making you my prisoner of love. 

No way. She worked one arm up between them and a grabbed a
handful of his hair. She nipped the end of his nose with her teeth, then
worked her tongue between his lips as she ground her hips against him. Only
when he cried out did she pause.

Well? I surrender! His hands fumbled for the zipper of her

Scully caught his wrists and kissed him again. Mulder, sand is
abrasive. It can damage sensitive tissues, rendering certain activities
uncomfortable, even painful. Lets go back to the house--

--I cant wait!

Yes, you can. She got free of him and rose to her feet, holding
out her hand. And just think how much fun we can have getting you ready

A reluctant Mulder took her hand and stood up. Therere some trees
over there, he informed her in a hopeful tone of voice. Please, Scully.
Youre killing me here.    

The bark is too rough, she responded, and whistled for Queequeg,
who had wandered off down the beach. Cmon, pup! You, too, Fox!

With the Pomeranian exiled to the summer porch once more, there was
no reason to hold back. The back door was smooth and cool, and sturdy, and,
truth to tell, she wanted him as fiercely as he wanted her. Afterward, he
carried her into the bedroom, shuffling carefully because his jeans were
still bunched around his knees. They fell onto the bed and made love again,
gently this time, before falling asleep, still tangled up in one another.

11:30 AM

An unearthly howl tore through the cottage, shocking the sleeping
occupants into wakefulness. Mulder and Scully sat up, he reaching for his
sword, she groping for her pistol. When the howl was repeated, they looked
at one another and burst into laughter.

Ill get him, said Mulder, slipping from the  bed.

Scully drew her knees up and hugged them as she watched him replace
the katana in its hiding place and walk out of the bedroom, still naked, to
retrieve Queequeg from the summer porch. He reappeared a moment later,
cradling the little dog in his arms.

She took the Pomeranian from him and scratched its belly. Mulder
got back into bed, but merely sitting beside his lover was not enough any
more. He shifted so Scully was nestled between his legs. Pulling her back
against his chest, he embraced her, folding her close and rubbing his cheek
against her bright hair. Scully freed one arm and reached back to draw his
head down for a kiss. Queequeg whimpered; Mulder rubbed his ears. 

Look, Scully whispered, indicating the mirror on the dresser
across the room. What do you see?

Mulder lifted his head and saw a man sitting in bed holding a woman
who held a dog. The dogs expression was unreadable; the woman looked
serene, content even, while the man looked ... Mulder struggled to define
the unfamiliar emotion he saw in the face of the man in the mirror and
settled at last upon happy. Is that really me? he wondered.


I see ...  He paused, afraid to tempt fate, more afraid not to
tell the truth. I see a man and a woman.

 So do I. They look happy.    

The man is happy because the woman loves him. He hopes the woman
is happy because he loves her.

 She is, Scully murmured. She stirred in his arms, moving closer.

Queequeg, bored by the lack of attention he was getting, squirmed
free of Scullys hold and crept to the foot of the bed, where he sighed and
curled himself into ball for a nap.

Quonochontaug, RI
1 PM, Monday, September 2

Mulder closed the trunk of the car and turned back toward the
house. Inside, Scully was prowling the rooms, looking for anything that
they might have forgotten to pack. He found her sitting on the bed,
stroking Queequeg. Beside her there was a white box about twelve inches
square and two inches deep, tied with a red ribbon. She looked up when he
entered the room. 

Looks like weve got everything, she reported.

Yeah. Mulder thrust his hands into the hip pockets of his jeans
and looked around the room, thinking, these have been the happiest two and
a half days of my life. He looked back at the box. Whats that?

A present for you. After we decided this was going to happen for
us, I went shopping at Victorias Secret for something special to wear.
She smiled and held out the box to him. But I forgot all about it in the

He grinned as he sat down beside her and untied the ribbon. Within
the box, wrapped in tissue, lay a pale pink silk charmeuse chemise and
wrap, trimmed with lace. He lifted it from the box. Its beautiful, Dana.

I wanted to be sexy for you, she whispered. Like the women in
all those videos that arent yours.

If you want to be sexy for me, he whispered back, dont be like
those women. Be like Dana Scully. He held up the chemise by its straps.
But wear this while youre doing it.

Okay. Next time. She folded the garment back into its box. In
the meantime, you can think about how Ill look in it.

Already am. He stood up, pulling her along with him. Does this
mean I should go shopping for something to wear for you? A leopard-print
thong, maybe? Or a buckskin loincloth? Would you like that?

She laughed and said, No!

What then?

She thought a moment. Your glasses.


Mmm-hmmm. Remember the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when
Harrison Ford turns around to face his class and hes wearing those

Mulder chuckled. I remind you of Indiana Jones?

Not really. Its just kind of ... endearing.

Endearing? He considered her words for a moment, then fished in
his pocket for his reading glasses and slipped them on. No one has ever
used endearing to describe me before.

How about annoying, aggravating and spooky?

That sounds about right. Then, suddenly serious, he brushed her
cheek with his fingers.


I was just trying to find the words to tell you what this weekend
meant to me.

The beginning of something wonderful, I hope.

Me, too.  He switched the gift box to his left hand and used the
right to guide Scully out of the bedroom.  But now we have to go back to
the real world. And we need to make some rules for ourselves concerning
this new aspect of our partnership.

She nodded. I agree. We can talk about it in the car.

Theres one other thing, Dana. He stopped in the middle of the
living room.

Whats that?

I need you take the earring out.

Wimp, she said, knowing he had more courage than any ten men she
had ever met.

Its just an excuse, he said, leaning down, to get you to touch

As if I needed one. She reached for the strand of wire, then
hesitated. Fox, why dont we wait until we get back to DC to take it out?

Sure. He straightened up. Why?

She stooped to pick up Queequeg, avoiding his eyes. To make the
weekend last longer. 

To her surprise, he didnt laugh. Okay.

She glanced up at him. Thanks, Mulder.

Dont thank me. Im not giving it back.

Why not?

Im sure theres some psycho- logical term for it, but the simple
truth is, I need a talisman. You have your cross. I want this earring.

Theyre not quite the same.

But they both symbolize faith in something, Scully. 

I want my earring back, Mulder.

Ill trade you my Knicks T-shirt. 

Scully frowned, pretending to think about it. As is?

He nodded, trying to ignore the way his heart was pounding.

Okay, deal. She pushed gently at him. Now lets hit the road. 

But on the threshold, he paused again, looking back at the homey,
pine-paneled living room and through the door leading to the bedroom he and
Scully had shared. Mulder smiled a small, foolish smile. He felt Dana slip
her hand into his.

Ever read Peter Pan, Scully?

Hasnt everyone?

I was just thinking that this place is our Never-Never Land. He
waited for her soft chuckle of amused agreement. When it was not
forthcoming, he glanced down to see a wistful expression on her face. 

Youre right, Mulder. She leaned against him. And I want to
visit again.

Me, too. He shut the door and locked it carefully.

J. Edgar Hoover Building
September 22nd

Assistant Director Walter Skinner looked up from the report in his hands.
Facing him across the expanse of his desk were the two of the most
troublesome, and most effective, agents he had ever supervised. They looked
back at him, faces carefully neutral, waiting for him to nit-pick their
report on their most recent case. 

Skinner put down the report and cleared his throat. Agent Mulder,
Agent Scully, you seem to have crossed all the Ts and dotted all the Is
in this report. The only fault I can find with it is a small smudge in the
lower right hand corner of page two.

Thank you, sir. Agent Scully responded. She glanced at her
partner and smiled slightly. We put a great deal of time and effort into
that report.

He dismissed them and observed them as they left his office.
Lately, Mulder seemed almost mellow. The driven, obsessive investigator was
still present, but something had happened recently to temper his usually
flippant attitude. Perhaps Mulder had finally found a woman willing to put
up with him; the change in his behavior could be the result of getting laid
regularly. As for Scully, it was not her behavior, but her ... aura, for
lack of a better word ... that had altered. At times she was as luminous as
a candle burning in the dark, almost like a woman in love.

And then Assistant Director Walter Skinner had an epiphany. It was
the most plausible explanation for what he had seen: The skeptic and the
believer had discovered the most common ground of all. And they were being
damned discreet about it. Although the Bureau frowned upon partners having
intimate relationships, AD Skinner decided that as long as the work didnt
suffer, he didnt care what Mulder and Scully did to and with one another
in their off hours. He just hoped that the black-lunged bastard who was so
interested in their investigations never discovered the true nature of
their relationship.

3170 W. 53rd Rd., #35
Sunny Heights Apartment Complex
Arlington, Virginia
November 3, 1:15 AM

Mulder, this had better be good.

Please, Scully, I need to be with you right now.

All right. She opened her front door and found, as she had
expected, her partner standing there holding his cell phone. What

Mulder pushed the door closed and she got a good look at him. He
was unshaven, his hair stood up in spikes, and there was an unhealthy
pallor to his complexion, as if he were in shock.

What happened? she asked again, sensing there was more to this
than one of his normal late night visits.

I just--I just killed a man, whispered Mulder. I--It was-- He
opened the long coat he wore and showed her the sword. I didnt want to do
it ...  but he wouldnt back off ... I had no choice ...

She pulled off the coat and hung it on the tree by the front door,
then took his hand and led him to the couch. Are you okay?

He sat down. Of course I am, Scully. Im here.

No, I mean are you okay?

No, he whispered after a hesitation. I dont like what Ive
become. He looked up at her warily, as though half-expecting Scully to
insist that he get out of her life.

But all she said was, Self-defense.


You said he wouldnt back off. That makes it self-defense in
anyones book, Immortal or not. 

He nodded, accepting it intellectually, but not emotionally.


He looked up into her eyes. 

If someone threatened me, you wouldnt have any compunction about
stopping them, would you? So what makes it so different if its you whos

Because its me, he said softly, dropping his head again.

An exasperated Scully shook her head. Thats the biggest load
of--of crap Ive ever heard.

He started to get up off the couch. She pushed him back down.   

Wherere you going?

Home, Mulder replied. I came here because I needed to be with
you, not to be lectured.

She bit back a sharp retort. Mulder was right. He had just lost his
virginity as an Immortal by severing a strangers head, a terrible thing to
happen to someone as gentle and compassionate as Fox Mulder. She wished for
a fraction of his compassion now. She dropped to the couch beside him.

Im sorry. She put her hand on his back, rubbing small,
comforting circles between his shoulder blades. 

He leaned into the caress for a moment, then turned his head to
look at her. In his eyes she saw an emotion akin to dread. Am I a killer,

No. But like me, you are capable of killing given the proper
motivation, which is to save a life, whether your own or someone elses.

Mulder slumped. God, I hate this.

So do I, she whispered. But we have to deal with it. Theres
nothing else we can do.

He reached for her hand, the one that was resting on her lap. I
need you ...

Scully nodded and wrapped her arms around him.  Its okay, Mulder.
Im here for you ... for as long as you need me, and even when you dont

He sighed and rested his head on her shoulder, still afraid to tell
her how good it had felt to take the strangers Quickening.

J. Edgar Hoover Building
Office of AD Walter S. Skinner
11:30 AM, April 1, 1998

Agent Mulder, three of your fellow agents saw that car run you

Thats what they think they saw, sir. They were standing to the
rear and to one side, skewing their view of what actually happened. It
might have looked like that car hit me from their perspective, but in fact
I was already out of harms way, more or less.

More or less?

I was still close enough for the car to catch my coat and rip it.
Thats what knocked me down.

Skinner sighed. I suppose Agent Scully will give me the same

Sir, Agent Scully will tell you only the truth.

The assistant director slapped the folder shut and tossed it into
his out basket. Get out of here, Mulder. And be more careful in future.

He was out the door, through the ADs assistants office and into
the hallway in record time. Scully, loitering near the elevator, looked
concerned as he hurried toward her.

What is it? Behind her the elevator opened and disgorged two
agents and a secretary.

Quick, before he thinks of something else to ask! Mulder all but
pushed her into car and pressed the button for the basement.

Did he believe your story? Scully asked.

With some encouragement.

What kind of encouragement?

A reference to your sterling character.       

You mean you used me, Mulder?

I told him you would tell only the truth." 

And let him think whatever he wanted. Exasperation colored her
voice. Mulder--

I know. But do you really want me to go back and tell him exactly
why what should have happened didnt happen?

No. But you shouldnt expect me to lie for you, Mulder.

I dont.

She stared at him for a moment before saying, No, you dont.

Mulder leaned against the side of the elevator. Im starting to
play people like chessmen, Scully. Just like our cigarette-smoking friend.

She wanted to hold him. Their private rules didnt allow it here,
in the heart of the Hoover Building. Instead, she stood as close to him as
she could without making physical contact. Youre not like him.

Ive come close a couple of times. You didnt know that about me,
did you?

No. But youve got two things he doesnt to keep you from becoming
another Cancer Man.

I do?

Scully nodded. You have a conscience. And you have me.

They could feel the elevator decelerating in preparation for its
next stop. Scully stepped away but not before Mulder touched her hand
lightly. Just before the doors opened to admit more passengers, he leaned
down and whispered into her ear, I love you, Red.

That was against their rules, too, but she smiled back at him.
Lets get some sandwiches and go to the Memorial for lunch. she

Office of AD Walter S. Skinner

Hes lying.

Startled, AD Skinner turned to look at the man who had just
appeared in his office. What do you want?

The same as Mulder: The truth. The visitor reached into his coat
pocket for his packet of Morleys and lit up in blatant violation of the No
Smoking sign displayed prominently on the assistant directors desk.

Hes telling the truth.

How do you know that? The smoking man coughed, a harsh, barking

Skinners lips formed a grim smile. Hed heard that cough before,
from men hed known and cared about. Even without a medical degree, he knew
what it meant, even if the other man didnt. Because he all but invited me
to ask Agent Scully about the incident.

Agent Scully would lie for him.

No, she wouldnt. She go to jail for Mulder, even take a bullet
for him, but she would never lie. The truth is as important to her as it is
to Mulder.

The man coughed again, and when he spoke, his voice was hoarse.
Then shes as much a danger as Mulder himself.

Skinner leaned back in his chair. Albert Hosteen.

Dont threaten me, Mr. Skinner.

I was merely reminding you of the consequences should any harm
come to  either of them.

Mitchell Street, Atlanta, Georgia
April 10, 1999, 4:15 PM

Federal agents! We are armed! The weatherbeaten door burst open
in an explosion of fragments and FBI and  BATF agents poured into the
derelict house. They fanned out, looking for the men they had been hunting
for eighteen months. Everybody get down! We have warrants to search--

One of the suspects jumped out of the cupboard in which he had been
hiding and opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol. More gunfire, and
voices, could be heard in other parts of the house. Mulder took a fast look
around a corner and risked a second to be sure of what he had seen.

Its rigged! he shouted. Get out! Explosives! Everybody get

There was another burst of gunfire from the room to the right, and
Mulder and the BATF man beside him went down. Scully, who had been behind
Mulder and to his left, fired a salvo into the room before kneeling to
check the BATF agent for signs of life, but not even body armor could stop
Teflon-coated cop-killer bullets.

Franklins dead! she called out. Mulder?

Im okay. Mulder forced himself to his feet, but at present he
was in no condition to run. The hole in his chest, let alone the blood
loss, would have been the death of anyone but an Immortal. Mulders wound
would be gone in a few minutes, with nothing left to show for it but torn
and bloody clothing, which in turn would require some sort of explanation. 

 The shooting had abated; all that could be heard now were shouts
and the sound of booted feet pounding the floorboards as the warning was
spread and federal agents evacuated the house. Get out of here, Scully!

 Not without you! She tried to get an arm around his waist.

Run! Ill be okay! He pushed her away. Just go! Im right behind


More gunfire interrupted them. He pushed her again, and this time
she did not resist. Scully ran from the darkness of the house into the
darkness of the night. Someone wearing an FBI jacket grabbed her and pulled
her behind a van.

Mulder-- she began, twisting backward, reaching out for him.

Mulder wasnt there.

She pulled free and started back toward the house, only to be
tackled and brought down in the same instant that the first explosion
erupted, shattering windows and blowing out doors. The second, coming a
minute later, was larger, blowing out the rear of the house, and the third
brought the entire structure crashing down. Debris tumbled from the sky in
a bizarre parody of rain.

Scully raised her head. Mulder! Where are you? Mulder!

There was no answer, only the shouts of her fellow agents and the

She pushed herself to her knees amid the debris, staring at the
ruined house as flames began to lick at the wreckage.


It took two men to keep her from running back into the pyre. All
she could do was scream his name, until someone, an EMT probably,
administered a sedative and oblivion wrapped itself around her senses.

Washington National Airport
April 12, 5:15 PM

Agent Scully?

She looked up, startled to see Assistant Director Skinner standing
at the end of the jetway. His face was set and grim, but she saw in his
eyes an unexpected compassion. Beside him stood her mother, whose red,
swollen eyes betrayed her grief. 

Sir, I ...  

Margaret open her arms to her daughter and Dana Scully, who had
been operating on autopilot since the night of the explosion, collapsed
into them, allowing herself to cry at last. Awkwardly, Skinner shepherded
both women to one of the airport runabouts he had commandeered and they
were driven away to a private area.

Oh, God, she whispered, for perhaps the thousandth time, why did
it have to be fire? He was so afraid of fire ... 


Ive lost him, Mom ...

I know, sweetheart, I know.

When she had awakened from the sedative the EMT had administered on
scene, she had signed herself out of the hospital and gone back to the
hotel, hoping to find Mulder hiding there, waiting for her. He had not
been, nor had there been any messages for her. Hesitant, she called MacLeod
in Seattle to ask the question she needed an answer for. Yes, the
Highlander had told her, an Immortal could survive both an explosion and
flames, provided his head remained attached to his body. But to recover
from severe burns could take a few days, even as much as a week.  

Then she had been asked to identify some artifacts found in the
ashes: a blackened shoe, a charred ID folder, the remains of a Smith &
Wesson 1056. His wallet. Shed done so, then gone back to the hotel and
passed out. Somehow, after she woke up again, shed manage to pack her
things and Mulders and get on the plane back to DC, still not knowing if
Mulder was truly dead.

Agent Scully?

For a moment she couldnt identify the speaker. It was Skinner, his
baritone voice firm but colored with a gentleness she had never associated
with the assistant director.

Agent Scully, Im aware that you and Agent Mulder were
exceptionally close as partners. Im profoundly sorry for your loss,
personally and professionally.

She stared at him, mute.

If you like, Ill arrange for an appointment with Karen Kossef for

Scully found her voice. No. I just want to go home.

Come home with me, Dana, for a few days, okay? Margaret said.
Let me take care of you.

Fresh tears threatened to embarrass her in front of the assistant
director. Not long ago, Mulder had told her that he wanted to take care of
her, and she had retorted that she would welcome the experience, since she
always seemed to be taking care of him.

His mother, said Scully abruptly. She wiped her cheeks with the
heel of her hand.

I went to see her yesterday, Skinner told her. He took something
out of his pocket and held it out. Shes staying with a friend, but asked
that you call her.

Scully took the slip of paper and stared at it, wondering how on
earth she would tell Elizabeth Mulder that she wasnt sure whether her son
was dead or alive. I will. Then, unbidden, a thought came to her: If
Mulder survived the fire, is he still sane?
Resurrection Chapel
Washington National Cathedral,
Washington, DC
April 14, 4:44 PM

The memorial service for Special Agent Fox Mulder was coming to an
end. In the front row, seated between Elizabeth Mulder and Margaret Scully,
Dana sat alone, disconnected from most of what was going on around her. Her
left hand was gripped by Mrs. Mulder; her right was held, tenderly, by her
mother. AD Skinner sat just beyond Mrs. Mulder, his large, blunt-fingered
hands holding the special order of service with its black border.

She grew aware of a silence. Her mother and Mrs. Mulder
simultaneously let go of her hands. Skinner leaned forward a little.

Agent Scully, theyre waiting for you, he whispered.

It was her turn to eulogize her partner. She rose, and approached
the lectern, trying to remember what it was she wanted to say, but the
words she had prepared abandoned her. She bit her lip nervously and then,
in a soft voice said, Others have already spoken of Agent Mulders
accomplishments as an investigator, and his unflinching dedication to the
truth. I want to tell you something about the Fox Mulder I knew. She
grasped the lecterns sides firmly. He was a good man, and a compassionate
one. He professed not to care what others thought of him. That was his
strength. He cared profoundly for those who had suffered injustice. That
was his weakness, as was his loyalty to those he named his friends. He
possessed more courage than anyone else I have ever known. He was my
friend, my partner, my opposite self, and I ...  she hesitated before
boldly pushing on, knowing all but two of those listening would
misunderstand, but needing to say it out loud, in public,  ... I loved

Silence. A cough. The creaking of wooden chairs as the occupants
shifted in their seats. 

Scully returned to her seat. Another hymn was sung, a blessing
pronounced, and the simple service ended. She rose once more and walked out
of the chapel and up the steep stairs leading from the cathedrals crypt,
noticing for the first time how many people had turned out for the service.
More than she had expected, to be sure. Agents whose names she did not
know, agents she did, agents who had tolerated or even liked Mulder, even a
few who disliked him, like Tom Colton, had come to offer their condolences.
Pendrell had come, and Danny. Strangely, there had been no sign of the
three Lone Gunmen. She blinked away a tear, letting herself be led along by
AD Skinner, who also escorted Mrs. Mulder.

Then, abruptly, forward progress came to a halt as they emerged
from the cathedral into the close.

Step aside, said Skinner.

Scully looked up and into the craggy face of the nameless smoking
man. He looked sorrowful, something totally out of character for the man
she knew. For once, he held no cigarette in his fingers.

I came to offer my condolences, Agent Scully, he said. I was ...
fond of Agent Mulder, despite his propensity for meddling.  He turned to
Mrs. Mulder, holding out his right hand and allowing it to fall to his side
when she did not take it. Your loss touches me deeply, Elizabeth, as I
think you know. Taking one step back and one to the side, he vanished
among the other mourners.

While Mrs. Mulder, supported by Margaret Scully, accepted the
condolences of those who had attended the service, Scully turned to her

Sir, may I have a word with you privately?

Skinner nodded, and they walked a short distance from the crowd.
What is it, Agent Scully?

Thank you for arranging the memorial service for Mulder, sir. It
meant a lot to Mrs. Mulder, and to me, too, not to have to deal with it.

Youre welcome. I only wish it hadnt been necessary.

Scully nodded and started to go back to her mother, but Skinner
stopped her with a simple touch on her arm. Agent Scully, I hadnt
intended to bring this up at this time, but I think you should know that
Im under a great deal of pressure from certain persons to shut down the
X-Files section.

I was expecting that, sir. Am I being reassigned to Quantico

No, Scully. He buried his hands in the pockets of his overcoat.
After giving the matter a great deal of thought, Ive decided to give you
the X-Files as well as two subordinate agents of your choice.

She gulped back her surprise. Sir, are you sure? Ive always been
under the impression we were the laughing-stock of the Bureau.

There were some who thought that. But no one can argue with the
results you got.

Scully looked up into the cloudless blue sky and shut her eyes,
thinking about a future without Mulder. It had been four days since his
apparent death, without so much as a phone call. Perhaps it was time for
her to accept the fact that Mulder was really gone, and that she needed
something to give her life, and his, validation. And yet, some part of her
refused to abandon hope. I need some time to think about it, she said at
last. But I should warn you that if I decide to accept, I will carry on
Agent Mulders quest for the truth with the same intensity as he did.

I would expect no less of you, Agent Scully.

For the first time in days, Scully smiled. It was a wan version of
her usual smile, but under the circumstances it was like a beacon in the
dark. No, sir, you shouldnt.

They rejoined the others.

3170 W. 53rd Rd., #35
Sunny Heights Apartment Complex
Arlington, Virginia
8:15 PM

The red light on her answering machine was flashing furiously when
Scully got home. She dropped her purse, the garment bag holding the new
black suit she had worn for Mulders memorial service, her duffle,
everything but a long slender bundle she clasped like a lover, and stared
at the small black box beside the telephone as it beckoned to her. Until
yesterday, shed been calling every few hours from her mothers to check
her messages, but there had been nothing beyond some hang-ups and a handful
of solicitations to buy siding or subscribe to the New York Times. She
hadnt checked her messages since yesterday morning.

Burdened with equal parts of hope and fear, she forced herself to
move forward, to press the button, to listen. It was only another magazine
solicitation, although the callers breathy, low-pitched voice made the
invitation to subscribe seem more like an obscene phone call than--

Scullys eyes snapped open. She pressed rewind, then play, and
listened to the message again. She smiled even as she wept. The magazine
was The Lone Gunman. The solicitor was Mulder.

He was alive.

11:21 PM

This was a mistake, Mulder thought as he stood over Scullys bed.
She was asleep, curled on her side in a semi-fetal position. The diffused
light from the bathroom bathed her face in a gentle glow, softly
highlighting the dried-up tracks of the tears with which she had apparently
cried herself to sleep. Without a thought for the consequences, he leaned
down and ran the tips of his fingers along her cheek. Her eyes flew open.


Hi, he said, and sat down on the beds edge. He took off the
baseball cap and glasses he worn since leaving Atlanta. Like my disguise?

Mulder! She sat up, scooting forward a little, to fling her arms
around him for a quick, fierce embrace. Her kiss was equally ferocious, and
took him by surprise.

What? he asked when they finally came up for air.

Are you all right? Really all right? She peered at him, looking
for some sign of madness in his face, his eyes. He needed a shave and a
shower and possibly a few meals under his belt, but he looked ... alive.
Whole. Sane.

Im fine, now.        

Switching on the bedside lamp. she reached for his hands, and found
only healthy, unscarred skin. Even the hair on the backs of his hands hand
grown back. But the fire--your phobia--

There were a couple of  bad moments, he admitted. But I got past
them. It hurt, but I knew I wasnt going to die. And I think I may be over
that particular phobia.

What happened? You were right behind me and then you werent.

One of the perps was going for the detonator. I tried to stop him
so you and the others would have time to get out of the building but he got
away from me. The first explosion threw me across the room and started a

Why didnt you get out then?

The guy was still alive. I couldnt leave him to burn, much as he
deserved it. Thats when he shot me again. Then the second explosion went
off and the place went up like a bonfire. It took me a while to find a
window and by the time I got out the roof collapsed.

Why didnt you call me? I waited in Atlanta for you for almost two
days, Mulder. She squeezed his hands, taking joy in the feel of his flesh
and bone beneath her fingers.

I wasnt in very good shape, Scully. I couldnt talk for almost a
day because of the smoke I inhaled. I was covered with blood, and my hands
were burned pretty badly. I found an abandoned building and hid out while
the damage repaired itself. By then it was too late for me come back from
the dead, so after I liberated some clothes from someones backyard I
called and left that message on your machine. Then I called the Gunmen.
Byers and Frohike drove down to Atlanta and they brought me back to DC in
Frohikes van. I just got into town. Mulder pulled her close, resting his
chin atop her head. I promised you I wouldnt leave without saying

 Oh, God, Fox ... 

 Sssh. Everythings gonna be all right. Hows my mom?

 Fragile. Scully leaned against him. Shes staying with my
mother tonight before she goes back to Connecticut. You need to call her.

I will. Later. When shes alone. He kissed her again. I dont
know how Im going to be able to wait these next few months, Dana ... 

Scully stroked his stubbled cheek. This afternoon, after your
memorial service, Skinner offered me the X-Files and two agents.

Surprised, Mulder looked down at the woman in his arms. What did
you tell him?

I told him Id think about it. Mulder ...


I want it. I have to know.

This is for the best, a small still voice inside his head told him.
Youve already stolen so much from her. But disappointment still cut like a
knife. He dredged up a smile, hung it on his face for her to see, and
sought a familiar refuge to cover his hurt. What, you dont want to
abandon home, family and career to wander the earth with me like the Flying
Dutchman and his wife? 

Scully flinched as though he had struck her. Mulder, what I said
that day on the beach, about going away with you--I meant every word of it.
I still do.

I know, said Mulder. Im just--I wanted ...

Fox, Im sorry--

He silenced her with his mouth. Its okay. We made our plans
contingent upon the section being shut down. Instead, its being handed to
you on a platter. Take it. Use it. Find out what they did to you during
those seventy-four days you were missing. Find my sister. Expose the
Consortium. Seek the truth, Dana. Because in the end, the truth is all
there is. And when youre done, Ill be waiting for you, whenever you
decide to come to me.

She stared at him. I think, she said so softly he almost didnt
hear her, that that is what I wanted to hear you say.


Her smile was almost rueful. Youre contagious, Mulder. Ive
caught your disease. 

Funny, he said, Ive always thought of it as an addiction.
Letting go of her, he reached for the pen and block of note paper on her
nightstand. Memorize these numbers, G-Woman, he told her as he dashed
down a series of figures. Then destroy the paper. 

What  are they?

Theyre the access codes for my bank accounts in the Caymans.

Mulder, I dont want your money.

I know that. But you may still be in danger, and I wont be around
to watch your back anymore. So Im giving you a back door, in case you have
to bolt.

Thats very generous of you, but--

I want you to have access to it if you should need it. You dont
have to use it if you dont want to. Besides, if something should happen to
me, youre my heir.

If he loses his head.  She pushed that horror away, back into the
dark corner where it belonged. How will I know if ...

Youll be hearing from me, one way or another. And you can always
contact me through the Gunmen.

The Lone Gunmen. He had asked them to bring him back to her. She
smiled. That was why they hadnt attended the memorial service, not because
of their paranoia. They were bringing Mulder home. 

 They think I faked my death, Mulder was explaining, and that
Im on the run from the government. Its almost the truth and theyre
thrilled out of their collective mind to be abetting a fugitive. I know you
think theyre insane, Scully, but they really are good friends.

I know. She glanced down at the paper. I hope this inheritance
doesnt include an eternal subscription  to the Adult Video News.

No. Mulder smiled. I canceled that a long time ago.

She cradled his head between her hands and gave him her mouth to
kiss. The embrace, tentative at first, quickly grew more intense. Grabbing
a handful of the ancient Rolling Stones T-shirt he wore, she leaned back,
pulling him down on top of herself.


Ssh. Make love with me before you go. Please, Fox.

I cant, sweet heart. Theres not enough time.

She looked up at him, clearly puzzled.

Ive got a redeye to catch in Baltimore.

She pulled at his clothes, unbuttoning, unzipping, rearranging.
Im not asking for finesse here, Mulder. Just quick and dirty sex. Then
you can shower and put on some of the clothes you left here.

Dana ... He looked into her eyes, saw his own fear and pain and
loneliness mirrored there. Take the gift, the voice in his head urged him.
Shes almost all you have. And youre all she wants.

12:30 AM

A still unshaven Mulder emerged from the bathroom to find Scully,
fully dressed, sitting on the bed, her face still alight with post-coital
glow. Why are you dressed?

She held up her car keys. Because Im driving you to the airport.

No, youre not.

Yes, I am. If you dont let me, Ill shoot you and drag you out to
the car while youre dead.

Wont your neighbors complain?

 She shrugged.

He grinned. Okay, but only because you shot me before, and I
didnt much like it. He finished tucking the tails of a plaid flannel
shirt into his jeans and sat down beside her, reaching for the socks and
sneakers she had laid out for him.

Do you want anything to eat?

He shook his head. The boys let me stuff myself at MacDonalds.
Their treat, since I didnt have any money.

He did now, she knew. Several hundred dollars and a bank card
issued under an assumed name, together with a drivers license, passport,
birth certificate and Social Security card, all part of the get-away kit he
had assembled years ago and left in her keeping.

Theres something else you need to take with you, Fox, she said,
rising and moving to the head of the bed. She pulled his fox-handled katana
from beneath the mattress and held it balanced in her palms, like an
offering. How many? she asked before she could stop herself.

Two. He took the blade, his second-best friend now, and looked
into the eyes of his first-best friend, half-dreading what he might find in
them. He found no regret, no recrimination. Scully, Im sorry I
complicated your life so much.

She smiled. Mulder, you didnt complicate it half as much as I
would have liked. Kids, a dog, a nice house in the country with a picket
fence--all those things you thought I might want--those would have been
wonderful complications. But we cant have them, and the truth is, as long
as we were together, I was happy. I regret nothing but the time we wasted
before becoming lovers.

Suddenly uncomfortable, he again took refuge in humor. Dont you
regret shooting me that time?

No. It saved your career.

Well, he smiled wryly, dont forget: Paybacks are hell.

Fox, I think-- She blinked rapidly, forcing back sudden tears,
--I think this is the payback, your having to go away.

He dropped the sword on the bed and pulled her into his arms. Im
sorry. Dont cry.

Im not! she insisted, burying her face against his chest. She
allowed him to hold her a moment longer, then pushed away. Wed better get
going if you want to catch that plane.

Baltimore-Washington International Airport
1:30 AM

The drive to the airport was a silent one, save for an all night
soft-rock station playing on the radio. Mulder drove; Scully sat close
against him, her head on his arm, her leg pressed against his, her left
hand resting on his thigh. Occasionally, Mulder dropped his right hand from
the steering wheel to rest in her lap, where she held and caressed it until
he needed it again to steer with.

North-bound traffic on I-95 was light so late at night, and Mulder
drove fast. Less than an hour after leaving DC, Baltimore-Washington
International Airport was no longer merely a destination. They parked
Scullys car in a brightly illuminated part of the terminal parking garage,
near the security booth, and collected Mulders things from the trunk.
Mulder, once more wearing cap and glasses, checked in, and then, for the
last time as partners, they paced through the terminal in search of the
correct gate for his flight.

A disembodied voice issuing from the public address system
announced that Mulders flight was starting to board.

He held out his hand as he lengthened his stride. Cmon.

She grasped his fingers, jogging beside him until at last they
reached the gate. The line of passengers waiting to board the flight to
Toronto was not long.

I dont have to go yet, Mulder whispered. He dropped his duffle
and put both arms around the woman he loved, burying his face in her
tousled red hair. She wrapped her arms around his waist and held on
tightly.  In a minute ...

Her throat ached with the effort of holding her emotions in check.
She was certain his did, too. Am I doing the right thing by staying here?
she asked herself. 

Dont you want to find out what They did to you, Dana Katherine?

Sir? It was the boarding attendant.

Dana? Mulders voice.

She looked up. The gleam of gold in his left ear caught her eye,
distracting her momentarily. Her earring ...

I have to go now.

She nodded and let go of him, but Mulder refused to give her up
easily. Capturing her head between his hands, he pressed his mouth against
hers in a kiss as rough and passionate as their last lovemaking had been.
And left her.

Scully watched in silence as he picked up his duffle bag and
approached the desk. He handed his boarding pass and ticket over for
inspection, received them back again and moved resolutely toward the

He didnt look back.

Feeling as though she were in a trance, Scully moved so she could
watch him walking away from her. She saw him slow as he approached the bend
in the jetway. He stopped. Looked back. Met her eyes. Good-bye, Peter Pan.

I love you! she shouted, not caring if Cancerman himself heard.

I love you back! the man who had once been Fox Mulder shouted
back. Forever!

And then he was gone.