Title: All the Little Pieces She Left
Author: Sarah Kiley
Disclaimer: I don't own Mulder or Scully, Chris Carter does, along with the gang down at 1013 & Fox Productions. No copyright infringement intended, promise!
Rating: S,A, MSR (did you x-pect something else? ;)

Summary: Scully's death left questions unanswered, and Mulder must come to terms with her demise as he tries to understand why.

Authoress's Notes: This is your tissue warning (I started crying halfway through the story- be forewarned!)- use it well. Character dies.


She was dead.

I had been thinking the same thing over and over again for hours. She was dead, gone. No longer a part of this world. It didn't seem possible. How could it? I had just spoken with her yesterday. She was fine. We had talked, laughed. Just like we'd done on countless other occasions. I'd called her the night before she died. I hadn't talked to her in three days, since she was visiting a friend in Georgia over the extended weekend. So on Monday night I plopped down on the couch, and dialed her number. I wanted to see what she was doing. Maybe ask her if she'd like some company. Nothing sexual of course. For all the flirty innuendo that passed between us, the times I'd winked and whistled and asked her what she was wearing, our relationship had been platonic throughout. In the back of my mind I liked to think that someday we might have become closer. Eventually we would have crossed that line, I would have gotten to kiss her, make love to her, marry her. If there was anyone I could spend my entire life with, it was Scully. I'd known that for years.

She had always been such a trooper, following me through the mud and dirt, sometimes literally clawing at it to find the truth with me. She had restrained me in my search, but only when I went too far. She had saved me from myself, she had taught me to take a step back sometimes, to operate with my mind and not my heart. I was a lousy student, too. I don't think I could ever quite stay calm and unattached. I'd seen her get attached to cases. It was impossible not to get attached once in a while if it was something you felt strongly about. And I'd played the skeptic to her believer, not out of spite. Not to punish her for not believing me, but only because I didn't know how to deal with a Dana Scully who believed in miracles or ghosts. I had done it to keep us both from going mad, I had done it because the prospect of both of us believing together frightened me. If one of us didn't keep our feet on the ground, we might both end up going over the edge. As much as I loved it when she agreed with me, I knew that one of us had to be rational, practical. It was Scully's practicality that would keep us both safe. And she had performed that service marvelously. It was, after all, her job. To keep me from going overboard, to pull me back down to reality. I had counted on her to do it time and time again. And she never grew tired of it. Countless times she'd told be to calm down and step away, just process all the emotions hurtling through me. Trying her best to take care of me.

Dana Scully had been a horrible spy.

It was the one thing she'd never done correctly, I thought. She hadn't done what they'd asked her to. Scully had taken my quest and made it her own, helping instead of hindering my work. It wasn't that she couldn't do it, I thought. I knew that there was nothing that Scully couldn't accomplish. She was a miracle worker. I was amazed to watch her in action at times. I admired her conviction that there was a scientific explanation and she was going to find it and prove it to me, just as I was going to prove to her that there was not always a rational explanation that sometimes life defied logic. We certainly defied logic. We should have been horrible together, a bond of hatred running the lines between us. I hated her in the beginning. I'd tried to hate her, I really had. After all, she was going to be the death of the X-Files. She would undo all the work I'd been trying to accomplish. But she hadn't done it. Maybe it was just her nature to care. Maybe a part of her thought the work was legitimate. Maybe she'd been in love with me. I don't know anymore. I don't think I'll ever know. It's that which disturbs me most. There were so many things I had to ask her, so many things I had to make sure I said to her before she left this world. Questions to ask, apologies to give, overtures to make. Christ, I don't even know if she knew that I loved her.

That's right.

I loved her with my entire being.

And I'd never told her, and I would never get the chance to tell her. Images of pressing her lips against mine, of holding her body close to my own as we moaned with pleasure, a marriage, maybe kids . . . they were gone. Erased by the blackness that accompanies death, leaving me with nothing but stolen memories and what-could- have-beens.

When Scully had first disappeared, I had gone overboard. I didn't sleep, I didn't eat. I didn't think I would have missed her that much. I didn't think I could miss anyone as much as I had those three months in 1994. Three months in hell, stumbling through life like a drunkard, barely able to think. The first week had been pure agony. I kept my phone with me everywhere I went. I didn't shower. I didn't go into work for three days, even after Skinner said the X-Files had been reopened. I didn't want to face them, to face that place where I had spent hours with her, talking, discussing, arguing, even laughing. I didn't know if I could face that pain. So I'd called in and said I was taking some vacation time. I wanted to be at home if she called. If her voice would come across the telephone, asking me to come pick her up. Finally, on the fourth day, I'd gone into work. I carried my cell phone with me everywhere and checked my answering machine messages once every hour. As it was, I'd suddenly been overwhelmed with the need to go back to Skyland Mountain, just one more time. I'd wandered around there for hours, searching. Hoping to find her there, wishing for the first time in my life for a rational explanation. Some type of closure.

Not even closure.

I wanted her back. The spy, the woman I had tried to make myself hate. I needed her. I wanted her to come back to me. I'd carried the tape from my answering machine, playing it endlessly, searching for some clue that would tell me what was happening. And then I'd just sat on the ground, with her screams echoing all around me and cried. It wasn't the first time I would cry for Dana Scully. And it wouldn't be the last.

No one cheated Death.

There was no such thing as cheating. How could you cheat an eternal force? Since her abduction, I'd lived with the false perception that Scully and I were in a zareba. Nothing could touch us, we were protected from all dangers, and that included death. It was a child's dream. It was denial. I wish I had faced the truth. I'm always talking about it. The Truth, that great entity that will explain it all to me, show me what's real and what's not, give me the whys and hows so I could . . .

So I could-

So I-

So.

So the world would be right side up again. So my pain would go away.

The Truth was my placebo. In my mind, once I had the Truth, everything would fall into place. If only I had It, everything would be okay.

It was a fake cure. I realized that, as I stood over her body. She'd asked me why I searched once. It had scared me. I was such a chicken shit throughout our whole partnership. I wondered why Scully'd never called me on it. Afraid to tell her how I felt, afraid to let us both believe, afraid to look at myself, to ask why I do the things I do.

"Why, Scully? Dammit, why didn't you tell me?" I demanded. I shivered in the cold morgue air. The lighting was dim, and I was alone. There would be no autopsy on her body. A broken neck. She'd fallen down a flight of stairs. I supposed a part of me was grateful. Her death hadn't been violent. Several witnesses had reported that she'd come down the stairs quickly, when suddenly her feet slipped out from under her. She'd been looking at a file, and had been so engrossed, and in such a hurry that she'd miscalculated her steps. Her arms had flailed for a minute, spiraling backwards in an attempt to keep herself upright, when finally Death coerced gravity into doing its work. She tumbled backwards, her side colliding with the cement steps, before rolling down, somersaulting to the bottom, where her head lay at an unnatural angle, her eyes lifeless. I'd seen the pictures taken at the scene. But this was the first time I'd seen her body. I'd used my FBI credentials to get past morgue security, searching for her name, until I found her and pulled on the cool metal handle, releasing her body. I swallowed, and reached for the zipper. Carefully, I closed my eyes and led it all the way down. She was naked, and it angered me that they'd left her exposed to the elements. I could see all the different scars on her body from where they'd opened her up. A tangle down her chest, her abdomen, stark black stitches against her pale white skin. I didn't want to look at her. They'd found the organ donor card in her purse. They had removed her heart, both kidneys and her liver. They'd immediately found a recipient for both kidneys within the hospital. Larry Mesden, a forty-year-old father of six was receiving one. The other had been a sixteen- year-old girl, Hayley Bossin. I planned on visiting each of them. Even in death, Dana had saved someone. It was the kind of person she was, the kind of person she had been. Putting everything on the line to save someone.

To save me, the ungrateful coward.

"Why didn't you tell me?" I asked again. I wanted a response, I truly did. Why hadn't she ever demanded that I show some courage, why had she been so passive with me at times? What had made her think that she shouldn't point out my faults, tell me where I was flawed and needed rebuffing? Why had she died?

I'd gotten a voice mail from her that morning. Her message was brief, but intense. Excited. Triumphant. I'd never heard Scully sound triumphant. Proud. She always did what she did because she had to, and never thought it was enough to make a damn bit of good. And it saddened me that she was triumphant because of me.

*Mulder, it's me. Listen, I was looking over your sister's file last night, now I know this is going to sound weird, but I think I found something everyone else missed. And I think this is going to give us a paper trail to find her, and maybe even tell you why she was taken. This is it, Mulder. We're going to find her. I'll tell you more when we get to work.*

She sounded deliriously happy. Happy that we were going to find Samantha, the little girl I'd failed to protect, the one I'd devoted my entire life to searching for.

I could hardly keep still all morning. I'd waited for hours, agonizing when she was late. Scully'd found Samantha, she'd done it! That wonderful, beautiful, miraculous little spy was going to give me what I'd desired since I was twelve years old. And once we found Samantha, my life would be complete, wouldn't it? I`d have Sam in my life and I could finally do what I'd been aching to do for years. I could kiss Scully and tell her that I loved her. I promised myself in my office that I would do that, when we found Samantha. I would stop being such a coward and I would tell her how I felt. It was an impossible dream, but it seemed so tangible at that moment that I could almost feel Scully in my arms, feel Samantha's presence with me once again.

I'd been meaning to ask her why she had Samantha's file. There were so many little parts of Dana Scully that I hadn't explored yet, so many things I still had to figure out. What her favorite color was, why she was so unselfish, so giving of herself, even to a greedy bastard like me who had nothing to give back to her but pain. I had to know why she'd done things for me time and again, saved me. What had possessed her to love instead of hate, help instead of hurt. And why she did it for me.

I'd gotten a call from Mrs. Scully.

*Fox, it's Margaret, Dana's mother.*

*Mrs. Scully? What's wrong?*

*It's- it's . . . Dana, Fox. She's, um, gone. She's dead.*

I'd torn apart the office. Thrown files on the floor, had a temper tantrum, basically. And then I'd charged into the hospital.

I didn't really believe she was dead until I stood here, looking at Dana's body.

"Damn you, Scully," I whispered to her. I suddenly felt angry at her. Angry that she'd left me, she'd left before I could tell her I loved her. Before we could find Samantha. Before we could find that abominable Truth, that held all the answers, all the secrets I needed to know. I wanted to hit her. I wanted to beat her lifeless body until she returned to the organless mass of tissues and told me to stop. Until she came back to kick my ass or shoot me again. Do something to tell me to come to my senses. "Don't you hear me, Scully?" I demanded. "Dammit, Scully, don't you know that I can't do this without you?" I shouted. My voice echoed along the walls of the morgue. Moisture pooled in my eyes, and felt heavy, ready to spill down my face.

"Jesus, Scully, why did you have to care?" I asked. "Why? Why did you have to come chasing after me to soothe my wounds and try to make everything better time and time again? Why did you make me love you? Why couldn't you have hated me, spied on me like they wanted you to? Why, why-"

I fell to the floor. I must have jarred her because somehow her body ended up in my arms. I broke down into tears, sobbing as I cradled her body to mine. Even in death, she was soft, fragile. I never realized how fragile Scully was. She'd always seemed so tough, so strong, and that a slip up, a misplaced foot as she hurried to meet me could kill her seemed surreal. Her body was tiny against my own and it made me pull her closer to me, trying to absorb her into myself. "Oh, Scully, why? Why?" I breathed. I buried my face on her shoulder. I wanted her hands to move. I wanted them to reach up and touch me like they'd done so many other times. I wanted her lips to move. She'd always known the right thing to say to me at the right time. Whether it was a long monologue about hope or a few short phrases telling me that I was important to her. She always knew. And I knew that I was cared for. It made all the difference in the world to me when she'd say little sentences like that. It kept reminding me that I wasn't alone, like I had been. I had someone. I had her. She was gonna make sure that nothing happened to me because she cared about me. She kept me going. At a time in my life when I always came so close, and I was still so far. No one had ever loved me like she did, with such unconditional terms. And no one ever would again.

"Please, please, Scully. I can't. I don't know how to do it by myself. I don't know how to stop needing you. I don't think I can ever stop." I looked up at her face. A bruise had formed on her right cheek from where she'd fallen. Her lips were pale, a tiny cascade of blood still crusted on one side. Her eyes had opened and for a moment I waited to see recognition before it hit me like a slap in the face again.

She's dead.

Her lifeless blue eyes gazed at some unknown point, seeing what I would never be able to see. I pushed the body away, suddenly horrified. This was not Scully. Whatever this thing I had held so close to me was, it wasn't my partner. It wasn't the woman I'd fallen in love with. It wasn't even a comparison. I picked the body up and arranged it back on the slab. I almost ripped the toe tag off. This body wasn't Scully. The corpse had nothing to do with the woman. It was an empty shell.

I stopped crying.

I haven't cried for her since.

I didn't go to her funeral. Mrs. Scully came by my apartment afterwards. She told me she'd understood why I didn't come, even if no one else did. She told me to call her if I needed anything and that Dana's will was going to be read the next day, and that I should be present.

I spent the night thinking, remembering different things Scully and I had done, conversations we had. One memory in particular caught me. Scully and I had once talked, at great length, about death. About what happened after death. She told me that she wasn't afraid. That if she should die the next day she would have no regrets, and that she knew there was a place beyond, that something inside us survived and went to a new place. She hadn't liked my view.

*I don't think Death can sneak up on anyone, Scully. I think that we spend our entire lives running. We run from Death. Some people don't run fast enough. They slow down, and Death catches them. Death is constantly reaching and sometimes it grabs you and you have to turn around and face it. And if you face it down, you can run a little while longer. No one lives. We just run like scared rabbits, hiding from death, using any means possible, selling ourselves, selling our souls for more time on this earth. Death is cold. There's nothing warm, there's no safety in the place beyond.*

*That's a pessimistic attitude, Mulder. We do live. My life hasn't been spent in fear of Death. And I don't fear it now. It's the one unknown thing that . . . I don't have to justify to myself. There is a part of me that knows that when this is all over. However I die, there is something more. This isn't it. This can't be it.*

*I wish I had that faith. I wish I could believe that when I die, there'll be another place, some place better than this one.*

*Mulder, if- if I go first. If- for some reason I die, I'm going to show you. I'm going to prove to you that Death is a mirage for a transition. I'll prove it to you. I don't know how, but I promise I will.*

*Don't talk about it, Scully. Hell, if anyone dies first, it's going to be me because I keep running off without you to face down the monsters by myself.*

*Can't get out of this one with a joke, Mulder. I don't know how I'll do it, but I'll make sure that you know what I do in my heart.*

The memory of that conversation stayed with me all the next day, while I showered, dressed, shaved. I went through the daily routine and then headed down to Mrs. Scully's house for the reading of Scully's will. Mrs. Scully greeted me with a hug, then ushered me into the living room. Scully's brothers were there, and their families. B.J. and Anna, his wife, were seated on the couch. They rose and each shook my hand, as did Charles and Veronica. I'd spent many holidays with the Scullys over the past years. Rae and Trent, Scully's godson, were there. The next guests surprised me. I saw Skinner seated solemnly on the couch. Frohike, Byers, Langly and Pendrell were in the doorway leading from the dining room to the kitchen. Frohike looked ill and Pendrell's eyes were red and puffy from crying. Byers and Langly were ashen. I hadn't thought about calling any of them. It just hadn't occurred to me that they should know, that I should have told them Scully was gone.

What most surprised me was when I looked to Margaret Scully and found that she had seated herself beside Skinner and my mother. "Mom?" I asked.

She rose and came to me. After Samantha's disappearance, my mom had never soothed me. She had never come to me and tried to care for me. But she did this time. She hugged me and led me to a chair by the couch. I glanced up and saw Thomas Willberson, Scully's attorney, in front of the fireplace. I suddenly realized that everyone in the room was dressed in black, even Langly, whom I'd never seen in anything but jeans and a T-shirt. I hadn't even remembered, and I felt ashamed that I was in gray, as if it somehow proved that I had less respect for Dana.

Thomas cleared his throat. "I think we're all here, so we can begin," he said. I watched Mrs. Scully nod her ascent, and then I heard him speak the words that Dana had written. I could almost hear her voice speaking them, telling each of us everything she wanted to say.

"I, Dana Katherine Scully, being of sound mind and body, do hereby direct that the following instructions be carried out in the event of my demise.

"I wish for all of my possessions to be divided among my family and friends, whom are present at the reading of this will, hopefully. You may have whatever you want, if you want anything at all, and anything else can be donated to charity. I have only a few specific requests regarding my belongings.

"I hereby bequeath my computer and laptop to James Frohike, Earl Byers and Steven Langly, otherwise known as the Lone Gunmen. You have all aided me and Mulder in our quest to find the Truth, and you each are special to me. I know my equipment isn't top of the line, but maybe you'll find a use for it. To Frohike alone, I bequeath my coffee pot. If he responds to my death as he did when Mulder disappeared, he'll need it."

Frohike laughed suddenly. "God, she was amazing," he said, his laughs coming out more like sobs. I felt my chest tighten.

Thomas continued. "I wish for Daniel Pendrell to take possession of the necklace he gave me for Valentine's Day, 1997. I loved spending time with you, Daniel. You're a very kind, and considerate person, and while my feelings never were as strong as yours, I liked you. I treasured your gift, and your help, with both personal and professional matters, was wonderful."

Pendrell began to cry. He excused himself quickly, and departed into the kitchen. Mrs. Scully went after him, unable to see someone in pain. Dana had inherited that special quality from her and her alone.

"To Charles, my brother, there is a box in my hall closet filled with pictures from when we were younger. They are all yours. Please know that I will always love you, even when I used to beat you up. And I am eternally sorry for that time I pushed you out of the tree. I don't know if you ever really forgave me for that. To Veronica, I leave my white `marshmallow chair' as you called it. Why will become evident soon enough."

Mrs. Scully and Pendrell returned. She took her place back on the sofa, and I could see tear marks on her face from her shared grief.

"For Bill Jr, my eldest brother, I bequeath our time capsule. A few years back, Mulder and I had a case in Florida. I was lonely, and I went to see our old house. There's a woman who lives there, Mrs. Aleison. She let me tear up her flowerbed to retrieve our deteriorated cardboard box filled with my first BB gun, a newspaper from 1971, and all the other little trinkets we decided a future generation would find interesting. It's in my closet, next to the box of pictures for Charles. Anna, I ask that you forgive my animosity towards you the first year you and my brother were married. I was young, and jealous and many of the things I said to you were inappropriate. I thank God that we were able to become friends, and you are truly a wonderful person. B.J. deserves someone like you. From my savings account, I bequeath my car. I know you always wanted a second car so you didn't have to drive B.J. to work in the morning. I know this can't possibly make up for how I've hurt you, but I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me, and not to refuse this gift.

"As for the money in my retirement account, I amend that half of it be given to charity."

Thomas paused. "I looked into her bank records and she was in possession of a retirement account, set up in December of 1994. It amounts up to about thirty-five thousand dollars," he noted. His eyes drifted back towards the will.

"I wish for the amount of two thousand dollars to be given to Trent Hartfeld, my godson, for college. Trent was just like my own son, and I thank Rae for giving me the chance to spend so much time with him."

Rae sniffled and pulled Trent close to her.

"The rest of the money should cover the expenses of my funeral, and then divided among all present."

"I ask that Assistant Director Walter Skinner be present at the reading of my will. I have always had a great respect for you, sir, even when I didn't agree with you, and I appreciate that you gave me advice and also aided me and Agent Mulder, giving us the leeway we needed to solve unconventional cases with our unorthodox measures.

"I also request that Mrs. Theresa Mulder be present. You asked me once to take care of your son, and I told you I always would. This does not exclude death, for I will always try to take care of him. I will do my best.

"If Mulder and I have finally found Samantha his sister, I want you to know that I took up the quest to find you with Mulder, and I devoted myself to it. Through Mulder, I came to know and love you. It has been an honor."

Thomas glanced up. "For this next part, Dana has requested that everyone but Mulder, Mrs. Scully and Veronica leave."

I felt my mother squeeze my hand before she left, everyone else filing out into the kitchen. Veronica and Mrs. Scully closed the doors leading to the living room and then Mrs. Scully sat next to me, putting her arm around my shoulders as if I was her child.

"For my mom- I know that you always wanted me to get married, you always wanted to see me happy. These years I've been with Mulder have been the best of my life."

I couldn't breathe. My lungs seemed to have stopped functioning, no longer wanting to take in air. The best? How? After all the shit I'd put her through? After all she'd lost for my quest, my stupid stupid quest for that goddamn elusive, backstabbing Truth.

"I also know that you always wanted me to have children, and that you endlessly teased me and Mulder about the prospect of marriage.

"I have had several ovum frozen at Washington Riverview Fertility Clinic. I know that my death is going to hit you hard, Mulder. I know that this is going to be terrible for you and I know that you loved me. You never said it, but I know that you felt it, deep in your heart. And you told me that you needed me and that you couldn't do this without me, you couldn't stop needing me."

I looked up, remembering the words I'd spoken to her lifeless body yesterday. I felt the blood drain from my face. How did she know?

"And so I'm giving this to you. One of my final wishes is that should he be willing take the responsibility, that Mulder have them fertilized. Veronica, you and I have always been as close as sisters and I'm asking to carry the baby if he wants it, for Mulder and for me. I always wanted children of my own, but my lifestyle never permitted it. And I know that Mulder loved me. I have always known that I could spend my entire life with him and be completely happy."

My breathing grew ragged. God . . . God, how did she know?

"Mulder, one important thing you need to know is that I do love you. I will always love you and I will always be with you. Even if we never got the chance to say these things, to act on our feelings. I want this baby to be ours. This isn't entirely the conventional way, the way I would have liked to have had a child with you. But we never were conventional."

My throat closed.

"One more thing I want you to keep, Mulder, is my cross. You know the one. And I will find a way to make sure you know there's nothing to fear when we die, that there is a place beyond. You kept my cross all those months I was missing, and you told me it was because it made you feel close to me. You can keep it now, and I will be with you no matter where you go, if you need a reminder.

"Mom, please make sure Mulder's okay. I love you, and Mulder, the love we have goes beyond death. Don't deny that. Through all the lies we wallowed through, that is the one great Truth. And please know that we don't run from Death. Our bodies do, but not our souls.

"Signed January 24, 2002, Dana Katherine Scully."

I slid off of the couch and fell on my knees. I heaved in enormous breaths, unable to deal with what had just happened. I put my hands over my face, tears welling in my eyes. My voice came out like a stranger's. "Scully."

I felt Mrs. Scully's arms wrapping around me. Everything in my body ached with pain. My insides burned. Everything inside me was torn apart, and I didn't think I could stand the pain. My stomach churned, and I wanted nothing more than to die, to let my body give into Death, and free me from the pain. A world without Scully seemed so black, so hopeless that-

God.

I was going to kill myself. I had planned on doing it. After her will was read. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but soon I would have ended my life. And she wasn't going to let me do it. Scully wasn't going to let me follow her she was ditching me in the ultimate fashion, making me live the rest of my existence without her. How could she have been so cruel? How could she have been so loving? I didn't know if I felt joy or pain at that moment. Everything was mixed up, and I couldn't make sense of it. She was giving me a reason to stay, giving me something she knew I would want, I would stay for, even though I wanted to be with her.

She wasn't teaching me not to need her.

She was teaching me how to control my need.

Dana Scully had called me on my cowardice, my weakness. And she was giving me strength. Frohike was right. She was truly amazing.

When I could lift my face I saw Veronica kneeling beside me. "Do you want the child, Mulder?" she asked.

I took a deep breath and nodded. "Yes."

"I'll do it. It makes sense now that Dana gave me that chair. When I stayed with her for a week when I was pregnant- I always used to sit in that chair. There's a vibrator in it to help with my back aches."

"She knew I would want the child," I said. My tears were no more, and instead I felt a lightness overtake me, something I only felt in Scully's presence. "And she's right. There is another place."


Four years passed quickly. Scully and I had made a girl. She had dark black hair, and bright, inquisitive eyes. I named her Rosalyn, recalling when Scully had once told me that she thought it was a beautiful name. It had been hard, but I'd learned to control my need for her. I wore her gold cross. Never took it off. I kept pictures of her all around my apartment. I made sure Rosalyn knew who her mother was. She was an intelligent girl, a tomboy, just like her mother. I told her stories about me and Scully sometimes. I loved her, and through her I felt Scully with me. Not painful, but pleasant.

Two days before the day of her mother's death, Rosalyn had woken up from a dream. She'd run into my room, her eyes wide, and shaken me until I'd woken up.

"Rosalyn, honey, what's the matter?" I asked, squinting as I switched on the light. Her chest was heaving under her pajamas, and her face was pale and sweaty. "Rosie, are you sick?"

She shook her head. "I saw mommy."

I sat up. "What?"

"I- I saw mommy. In my room. She just- she was there. Daddy, she looked so pretty. Like an angel. She had- she had a picture in her hand and she kept pointing to something. Her mouth was moving, but I couldn't hear what she was saying. Daddy, she was so beautiful."

I cleared my throat. "You had a dream?"

Rosalyn shook her head. "No, it was *real*. She was *really* there. I told her to come see you, because I know you miss her, but she kept pointing to the picture."

I pulled her into my lap, stroking her hair softly. "What was the picture of?"

"A room. There was a couch- I think it was somebody's living room. There was this really old TV, and some game on the floor."

My heart stopped a moment. "Rosie, can you draw this room?"

She blinked. "Yeah, I can. Want me to do it now?"

I glanced at the clock. 2:34 AM.

"No, sweetie, you can do it in the morning. You've got to get some sleep."

"Can I stay in here with you?'

"Sure you can. Come on, climb in."

Rosalyn awoke the next morning before I did. I don't think she ever went to sleep. I found her at the kitchen table, a bowl of Cap'n Crunch Berries growing soggy in the milk as she colored. There were several sheets of paper scattered around, and she'd taken out all her crayons. Her brows were knit, deep in concentration. I moved around her, throwing out the cereal, making myself some coffee, though I was dying to see what she was doing. Judging by the amount of paper she'd already wasted, it looked as though she was going for perfection, just like her mother would have. I placed all her used paper in a pile at the other end of the table, waiting until she was finished. She glanced up and looked surprised that I was there. I wondered if I had ever looked at Scully that way, when I suddenly realized I wasn't alone and working anymore.

"I got it, Daddy. This is what it looked like." She pushed her drawing over to me and sat down, her eyes lingering expectantly on my face. My breath caught as I saw the picture. It was my living room. She'd done a good job, recreating where the stairs and furniture were, the open window, the television set, the board game with its red and blue pieces of plastic, reminiscents of an innocent life interrupted by reality.

"You saw this in your dream?" I asked, and she nodded.

She pointed to two black rings on the floor in her drawing. "Mommy kept pointing at these places, right here. I don't know why."

"Stay right here a minute, Rosie." I hurried into my bedroom and I pulled out Samantha's file from my nightstand. I'd spent months agonizing, trying to figure out what Scully had seen that made her think that we could find my sister. I'd always wanted to believe in something extraterrestrial, but some part of me had never really believed that aliens had taken my sister away. Some part of me didn't want to believe, wanted a normal explanation that could help me find my sister, something much easier than putting missing posters on satellites and hoping that they would return my sister to me one day.

I shuffled through the papers and photos until I found the eight by ten glossy I was looking for. It was a picture of our living room, everything exactly where it had been left when my parents had found me unconscious near the front door, Samantha nowhere to be found. I gathered it and the picture of Samantha and brought it to the kitchen. I set the picture of the living room down in front of Rosalyn first. "Rosie, is this the picture mommy had in your dream?"

Her eyes widened, and she nodded. I watched as she dragged two chubby fingers over a place on the photograph. "This is where she was pointing to."

I examined the photograph, and gaped at what I had been overlooking.

Footprints. Tiny impressions in the rug. I had never noticed them before, and apparently no one else had, either. They were barely visible, and I could see why. The police had turned on a side lamp instead of the overhead lights. The side beam of light caught the carpet at the right angle, and there they were. Two sets of footprints. One smaller than the other. A man and a woman, probably. And my parents had been dressed up. I remember my mother and father looking out of place in their formal wear at the hospital as they had me checked out.

But what were a set of footprints? Scully'd said a paper trail leading to my sister. She hadn't written any notes down, unless-

I picked up the phone and dialed a familiar number.

"Lone Gunmen."

"Frohike, it's Mulder. Listen, do you still have Scully's database for her computer? The one she left to you?"

"Yeah, I do."

"Good. Did you format the hard drive?"

"No. We took the speakers and CD-ROM drive, but-"

"I need you to search through the hard drive. I need you to see if there were any files she was working on the day before she . . . died," I said, swallowing. Even after all this time, it was still hard. I supposed it would always be like this.

"Just a minute. Let me hook it up." I heard movement in the background, and a sigh. "These old computers. It takes more than three minutes for it to load up completely. Why the sudden interest, Mulder?"

"I'll explain later. Is it on now?"

"Yeah."

"Good, look."

"Yeah, yeah . . . yeah, there's one right here. X301S.DOC."

"I need you to fax it to me ASAP, Frohike. I'll explain everything later, just send me that file."

"No problem." Click.

I hung up and found Rosalyn looking at the picture of Samantha I'd left on the kitchen table. "Daddy, who's this girl?"

I sat down and heard the fax machine in the other room start up. "I had a sister a long time ago, Rosie. Her name was Samantha. She disappeared when she was just a little girl, though."

"You never found her?" Rosalyn asked.

"No, sweetie, I never did. I've been searching and I think that you might have just helped me find her."

"I did?" she asked, her face lighting up. "How?"

"Your mommy showed you in your dream. And I think we're gonna find her. Would like another aunt?"

She nodded, a grin on her face.

I heard the beeping, a sign that the document was finished. I crossed into the other room and began to read, hearing Scully in my head.

*I have been looking over Samantha's file. I had a strange dream last night about her. I didn't tell Mulder. After all, it could be nothing. But I had a dream that I was in Mulder's house the night Sam was taken. I was invisible. I saw a younger version of him, and Sam. And then the lights in the house went off and everything began to shake. The door to the house swung open. A man and a woman entered. Mulder was frozen. He couldn't move, he was so terrified. The man grabbed Samantha, who started screaming for Mulder. He handed her to the woman, who carried her out of the house. Mulder dashed for his sister, but the man kicked him. He fell over and was unconscious. I think he hit his head, which would account for the memory loss that night.

I don't know what my dream meant, but I had to go over Samantha's file. And I saw something. Maybe it's my imagination, but I saw two footprints. I ran a check and found that two years earlier, John Henry Alanson and his wife Julie had lost their little girl. They also moved out of state two days after Samantha was reported missing. I believe that by following John and Julie Alanson, we may be able to locate Samantha. It's an incredible hunch, and Mulder's liable not to believe me because it's so extreme. But I feel in my heart that if we follow them, we will find her.

I've wanted to see Mulder happy for so long. I'm hoping this will work, that this time when we come to the end of the line, he'll find Samantha there, instead of pain and heartache, like every other time we've been tricked.*

I hadn't realized it, but I was crying, tears streaming down my face. Scully had loved me so much. I don't think I'd ever appreciated it. I don't think I'd ever really felt it. Not until this moment when I heard that she wanted to see me happy. I clutched at the cross around my neck and looked at Rosalyn, who'd come into the living room.

"Daddy? What's the matter? Why are you crying?"

"Your mommy was right, Rosie. We're going to find Samantha." I picked her up in my arms and held her close to me.

"We're going to find her," she repeated, triumphantly.

I pulled back and looked at my daughter.

At that moment her eyes shone all the little pieces of Dana, a kaleidoscope of myself and the woman I'd come to love, the ultimate product of our partnership.

Dana had never left me.

The End.


Errant, angst-filled ambition-driven nothing-can-touch-us teenagers that were always asking him to borrow the car and give them money so they could go get into trouble. --Skinner on Mulder and Scully From Love, The Missing Word

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