Title: Every Single Day
Author: Angela CJ W.
Written: 2001
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Season 8.
Category: S/A/MSR
Keywords: Mulder/Scully Romance
Disclaimer: Nope, still not mine. I actually asked Chris Carter if I could have 'em, but he said no. Grumpy man, that Chris.
Archive: If you want it, I'd be honored. Let me know so I can come visit? :o)
Feedback: I'd love it. :o) I know a lot of people don't send out feedback these days, but I would really love to hear from you.

Summary: "Do you still miss her?" I ask, even though I already know the answer to my own question. "Every single day."

Notes and Warning: This story is set in the future, and told through the eyes of Mulder and Scully's son. A main character is dead in this story, but that was pretty much the point of it all. You'll understand what I mean once you read it. I hope that won't scare you away. I'm not sure where all of this came from, but it's something I had to get out of my system. It drifts off into it's own little universe sometime after "DeadAlive".

I remember when I at the age of three asked my father why I didn't have a mommy like the other kids at day care. He got this immense look of pain and grief in his eyes, and I immediately regretted asking him, never wanting my daddy to look that sad again. I turned away, ready to start playing with my Lego again, when my father grabbed that chubby little arm of mine and gently pulled me into his arms.

He stood up, supporting my weight on one arm and lovingly stroked my cheek with his free hand. He kissed my cheek quickly, comfortingly, and then looked into my eyes with a searching gaze, as if he were looking for something he'd lost in them.

"Your mommy loves you," he told me, his voice thick with affection. Or maybe it was from the tears that had begun to form in his eyes. "Your mommy loves you very, very much. You hear that?" I simply nodded, somehow knowing at my tender age that was all he was asking for. "She can't be with you, but she's always looking after you. She always will be. I never want you to forget that."

And then he said something that has stayed with me ever since; something I've held on to all through the years. He caressed my hair, running his fingers through the short, red strands, and then looked at my face again and smiled.

"You're so much like her."

And I remember thinking that my mommy must be one special lady.

When I was five, my father one afternoon pulled me into his lap, and explained to me that I had been born into this world under very special circumstances. I thought he was going to tell me some really cool story, something I could brag to the other kids about at kindergarten. Maybe I'd been born in the jungle, and almost been eaten by a tiger! Of course that was not the case, but I was a five-year old with a very vivid imagination.

I sometimes wonder why he didn't tell me sooner than he did. Maybe he felt that I was finally old enough to grasp what he was about to tell me, that I was old enough to actually understand what had happened during my birth. Or maybe he just wasn't ready himself until then.

"Your mommy had such a big heart," he began. "And she was... she was the most amazing, wonderful person who ever lived on this earth. But her body was really small."

He looked at me to make sure I'd understood what he'd said so far, and I thought for awhile and then said, "Miss Schoppe is little!" Dad smiled at me. Miss Schoppe was my kindergarten teacher at that time, and she was indeed a tiny woman.

"Yes, Miss Schoppe is little," he agreed, "and your mommy was even smaller than her." I nodded as I tried to comprehend my father's words, and he continued. "When it was time for your mommy to have you, to give birth to you, we were too far away from the hospital to get there in time. You came early, and we... we hadn't expected that."

And then my father cried. As his tears spilled onto the top of my head, I leaned up and placed a big, wet kiss on his cheek. He held me so tight, rocking us back and forth, and I hugged him back as far as my short arms could reach, wishing I knew what made my daddy so sad.

My mother gave her life for me. She died because I lived. And as much as I wish I'd known her; known her touch, her voice... I will always be grateful to her, because she brought me into this world. I will always love her for that.

When dad had finished telling me, I was at first so confused I didn't know what to do. It was a lot for a five-year old to take in, to say the least. But then it suddenly dawned on me.

"Mommy's in heaven?"

He smiled at me through the tears. "Yes, son. Mommy's in heaven."

"Is mommy an angel?"

"Yes." He hugged me close again. "Yes, she is. The most beautiful angel there ever was."

And I thought I was the luckiest boy in the whole wide world to have my very own angel.

By the time I started school, I made sure all of my new friends knew that I had the best mommy in the world. A mommy who loved me more than anything and who always had time for me whenever I needed her. And in a way, that was all true. I could turn to her at any time of the day, and she'd be there for me, even if it was only in my head, in my imagination.

I constantly carried her picture with me. Grandma once gave it to me when I was there with dad for a visit. It was a small photograph that had been in a tiny, little silver- frame, standing on the mantelpiece in the living room. I had never seen it before, never noticed it was there, but that day it seemed like I was meant to look up there. And as I saw it, I reached out my hand toward it and pointed with my little finger and said, "Mommy."

Dad had shown me photos of her before, and I don't really know why this one captured my heart like it did. But she was so radiant in it. She practically glowed, and she looked so incredibly happy.

As I gazed up at my mother's picture, grandma came up and hugged me from behind, holding me close to her. She then reached out and grabbed the frame and opened it in the back. She took out the photograph inside and gave it to me.

"Your mommy was pregnant with you when I took that picture," she whispered in my ear. "And she loved you so much, honey."

"Mommy's an angel," I told her, staring at the photograph I held in my hand, and I was so proud. My mommy was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.

She was my angel.

She is my angel, and she always will be.

Whenever dad would go off on a case, I'd stay with Uncle Walter. Even as I grew older and thus learned how to take care of myself, I'd still jump at the chance to stay at his place whenever I got the opportunity. He would tell me stories about my parents, stories about my mother. If I had a question burning inside me and he knew the answer to it, he would always give me that answer. He never hid anything from me.

"Your parents made the perfect partners," he told me once.

A look of pride appeared in his eyes as he said this, despite the fact that I knew more than well all they ever brought him was trouble.

"Perfect partners... Always looking out for each other, even to the point where it would drive me insane. But they had a devotion to each other as partners that I had never seen before, and never seen since then. She was sent to spy on him, but ended up becoming his best ally."

A sad smile crossed his lips.

"Mulder never even knew what hit him. He fell in love with her, and I don't think he realized it was happening until he was already in too deep. But how could he not fall in love with her?"

It was a rhetorical question, and I stayed silent, letting every word he said sink into my mind.

"It was impossible to know your mother and not fall in love with her. She had a strength to her that could be intimidating, but she was warm and compassionate..." He paused for a second, looking up at me, and I saw something flash in his eyes. "She was also completely devoted to your father. No one else ever stood a chance."

I didn't have to ask if he was talking about himself. He had just said it himself. It was impossible to know her and not fall in love with her. But his words held no jealousy, only understanding and acceptance. Grandma had told me years earlier that my parents had been destined to be together. I suspect Uncle Walter believed the same.

It took me years and years until I finally gathered enough courage to ask Uncle Walter the question I'd been keeping inside of me ever since I was a small child. A question I'd never dared ask my father. I had never been given any reason to fear it, but I was truly afraid of what the answer would be.

"Does he blame me for losing her?"

I didn't think he'd even heard me at first, but then he looked up at me, and I will never forget the look of complete shock that was written all over his face. Somehow I think that was the last thing he'd ever expected me to blurt out right in the middle of dinner.

He set down his half-empty glass on the table as he rose from his chair and walked over to me, seating himself in the chair right next to me instead.

"Has Mulder said anything to make you believe this, son?" he asked.

The disbelief was clearly evident in his voice, and for a second I started to wonder if maybe I had made a mistake by asking him. But I needed to know. I needed to know for certain, and this was the one question I could never ask my father.

"No..." I said slowly, hesitating for only a short moment before I told him of all my doubts and fears. I looked down at my folded hands. "No, he hasn't said anything. He's never implied in any way that he blames me. But I can't help but think that maybe a small part of him does."

I looked up at him again, and a frown had appeared on his face. Despite this, the question came out of me again.

"Does he?"

"Will, there's something you need to understand... Mulder lost half of his soul when your mother died. To be honest, most of us thought he would die with her. But something kept him alive. Do you know what that was?"

I was afraid to move, afraid to breathe. I simply stared at him.


I have never been one to cry a lot, but right then tears welled up in my eyes, his face becoming a blurry mess of colors.

"The night your mother..." He stopped there, unable to finish the sentence. He began again. "When your grandmother and I arrived at the hospital, we found Mulder sitting out in the hallway. He didn't even acknowledge our presence as we approached him. To this day, I don't even know if he truly realized we were there." Sadness filled his voice. "He just kept staring right ahead, silent tears streaming down his face. There was blood all over him..."

He paused again, and as I felt his gaze resting on me I raised my eyes to meet his.

"I'm okay," I said through my tears. "It's okay..." I had heard it before. My father had had blood all over him. My mother's blood.

"Both Maggie and I tried to get through to him, but... he just sat there. Staring into thin air, whispering the same thing over and over again."

"Scully," I said quietly, and he looked up at me in surprise. "No," I said, shaking my head for emphasis, "no one's ever told me before. But I can picture it in front of me. I can see it happening."

"Yes... it was Scully," he repeated, and the word stabbed at my heart.

In my mind, I have never thought of my mother as 'Dana'. Many people refer to her as 'Dana' still today; she will always be 'Dana' to grandma and the rest of the family. But to the person closest to me, to the one person who loved her more than life, who knew her better than anyone... she has always been 'Scully'. And in light of that, she had always been 'Scully' to me. She will always be 'Scully' to me.

The lump in my throat grew as I realized, maybe for the very first time, that I would never get to call her that. I would never get to jokingly call her Scully, imitating my father's loving tone as he spoke her name. I would never get to call her 'mom'.

Uncle Walter gently touched my arm, bringing me back to him again.

"I lost you there for a sec, son," he said, and I could hear the worry in his voice.

"I'm fine," I assured him, but I don't think I sounded as certain as I hoped I would, because I could see the doubt appear in his eyes. "I'm fine," I said again, and he nodded.

I was anything but fine, we both knew it. But no matter how much it pained me to listen to his story, to hear of the day my mother died, I needed it. I needed to understand, and it had already been too long.

Uncle Walter gently placed his large hand over mine. "Are you sure you want to talk about this tonight, Will?" he asked, and I simply nodded.

He looked at me for a few seconds, and then nodded back. He pulled his hand from mine and picked up his glass of water, bringing it up to his mouth, taking a small sip before setting it back on the table again.

"We tried to get through to him," he started again. "Maggie sat down next to him, placed her hand on his shoulder, trying to make him snap out of it somehow. But he just kept staring right ahead, repeating your mother's name over and over again... Then all of a sudden he stood up and ran over to the nurses station, demanding that they let him see Scully."

"He refused to believe that she was dead."

"He didn't believe anyone. He went into denial, didn't even trust that Maggie would tell him the truth. They finally let him in to see her body... He stayed in there for so long that we were beginning to fear for his life." He paused for a second and turned to look at me again. "He was so close to the edge, Will. Closer than I'd ever seen him before."

I silently wiped the tears from my face with the back of my hand, my heart aching for my father.

Uncle Walter told me how they'd finally gone in there. How they had found my father standing by my mother's side, looming over her. How he'd held one of her hands tightly clutched in his own, his face buried in her tousled hair.

It was a sight that had brought tears to Uncle Walter's eyes then; now it was a memory that did the same as he spoke of it.

It was grandma who had finally stepped up to him and laid her hand on his shoulder. He hadn't noticed it at first, but then he had raised his head slowly from where it had been resting and had expectantly looked at my mother's still face -- somehow hoping that it was her hand on his shoulder. Hoping that somehow he had been right. That everyone else had been wrong.

His face had fallen at the realization that it wasn't my mother, and he had turned his gaze to grandma, sadness once again washing over his features.

The same sadness appeared on Uncle Walter's face as he continued.

"She told him that she too needed some time alone with her daughter," he said, "and after awhile it seemed to sink into his mind that Scully was gone not only for him... but for everyone. For all of us. We had all lost her..."

His voice broke at the last words and he cleared his throat.

"I took him out in the hallway with me and left Maggie alone to say goodbye to her daughter. Mulder just... kept staring right ahead. He didn't even sit down. He just... stood there. But then, as if sent from above, a nurse appeared. She held this little bundle in her arms and then reached it out toward your father. And then she said the only words that reached through to him that day."

I held my breath in anticipation...

"Your son needs his father."

... and released it with a sob.

"Mulder took you in his arms and he held you as if you were the most fragile piece of glass. He looked down at you with a sudden awe in his eyes, and this time when the tears fell from his eyes, I believe it was from something completely different than grief."

He looked up at me and once again took my hand in his, looking straight into my wet eyes.

"That's when I knew that you would save him."

A few years later I married Lily -- my High School sweetheart. That year we all spent Christmas together at the house; everyone came. Grandma, Uncle Walter, the Gunmen and my real uncles Bill and Charlie with their respective families -- all gathered for the holidays.

Dad had always commented on how before my mother's death, Bill had hated him and he had never even met Charlie. I guess death changes a lot of things. Though I've been told that Uncle Bill's sudden acceptance of my father probably had more to do with the fact that I had been brought into this world. If he wanted to see his sister's child, he had to get along with my father.

I don't really care how it all got resolved between them in the end -- I'm just happy it finally did.

We sat at the dinner table, happily stuffing down the Christmas turkey grandma and Aunt Tara had prepared for us, talking memories. It became even more apparent on days like those that the only thing these people really had in common was me... and my mother.

I didn't mind it. I loved the holidays when we would all come together as a family. I learned so much about my mother during those occasions -- all these people in the same room; all people who had known her like I'd never gotten to, all people who had known different sides of her. To me, they each held a piece of the puzzle that was my mother.

"I used to drive her insane, running after her and pulling her braids." Uncle Charlie was sharing his story of the evening, and everyone laughed -- those who could remember it as it happened, and those who could picture a small Dana Scully giving her younger brother a good yelling.

"Ah," grandma chimed in, "if I remember correctly, Dana was pretty good at getting back at you."

"Oh yes," Charlie smiled, "she sure knew just where to kick to really hurt a guy. Guess I should be glad for the fact that I can still make my wife a happy woman, eh?"

"Charlie!" Aunt Linda laughed and playfully hit her husband on the arm, while Uncle Bill roared with laughter and winked at his own wife. Grandma simply pretended like she was embarrassed over her sons' behaviors while trying to hide her own smile.

The evening went on, and one after one, they each shared their own special memories; some of them making us all laugh so hard we could hardly breathe, some of them quieting us down a bit as we all found ourselves lost in our own thoughts.

Suddenly dad rose from his chair at the end of the table, made a quick excuse, and left the dining room. The laughter was brought to an abrupt end as everyone turned their heads and looked after him as he walked down the hallway.

Grandma turned back to me with a worried look on her face.

"Is your father okay, dear?"

I felt everyone's eyes on me, and I didn't know what to tell them. Instead I pushed my chair back from the table and got up, too.

Skinner and the Gunmen all gave me silent knowing looks, and as I looked down at Lily, I found the same understanding mirrored in her eyes.

"I'll go after him," I said.

I found him sitting on the bed in the bedroom; the bed he and my mother had bought together and shared for such a short time. Too short.

"Dad, you okay?" I asked, slowly walking up to him.

He looked up at me, his nod almost imperceptible to an outside onlooker, but I caught it. He patted the bed next to him, and I sat down, the bed shifting underneath my weight.

We sat in silence for a few minutes. I knew that if he wanted to talk to me, he would. So I waited.

After awhile my attention was drawn to his hands, resting in his lap. I noticed he was holding something in them, slowly caressing whatever it was with his lean fingers.

I reached out and gently pried his hands apart, and he opened them willingly under my touch. In the middle of his right palm lay the gold chain and cross I'd seen him wearing for as long as I could remember.

"This is one of the few things I still have of her," he said, the words coming out in a soft whisper.

I looked up at him. I hadn't known the cross I so strongly connected with my father had once belonged to my mother.

"You've never told me it was hers."

I searched his eyes with mine, silently asking for permission to hold it between my own fingers, and before I could give voice to my request, he had placed the cross in my open hand. It was warm against my skin, and I wanted to believe that it was the warmth of my mother that had stayed with it all through the years rather than merely the warmth it had gained from my father's hands. Maybe it was both.

"Your mother gave this to me once."

He covered my hand with his, and palm against palm, we held the cross between us. Held my mother between us.

"She gave it to me so she would always be with me." I raised my eyes to his face again and waited for him to meet my gaze. "She said it would keep me safe," he continued. "When I tried to give it back to her, she refused to take it. She told me I needed it more than she ever did." He turned to me and his eyes met mine. "I never questioned her. She always knew what I needed better than I did. She knew me better than I knew myself."

"Did you know her just as well?" I asked.

His laugh was soft. If I close my eyes and try hard enough, I can hear it yet today.

"Your mother was always something of a mystery to me," he admitted. "There were times when I could read her like an open book; she could never lie to me. But even after eight years together, she still kept me guessing."

A small smile spread over his face at the memories, and I couldn't help but to smile with him. I wished I shared those memories; I wished that I had been given the chance to try to solve the mysteries surrounding her with him.

"She was such an open person, Will," he said. "But at the same time, she kept so many of her feelings buried deep inside of her."

"Even her feelings for you." It wasn't as much a question as a statement. I knew there had to be a reason why it had taken them such a long time to finally find each other.

"For a long time she did." His eyes filled with regret. "We both made that mistake. We kept our feelings to ourselves for such a long time, locked inside... out of fear of..." He sighed. "I don't know what we feared."

I nodded, trying to understand. I did understand, part of me always had. That was why I had sworn to myself that I would never wait as long as my parents had to pursue their feelings for each other. When I met Lily, I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. And I knew better than to let my own fears scare me from telling her.

I wish my father had known, too.

"When we finally did admit our feelings, we had too little time. We had been lovers for less than a year before I..." He paused for a second, and took a deep breath. "Before my disappearance."

I almost winced at his words. I had seen the scars on his chest, and I didn't even want to imagine what it must have been like for him, both then and after he had been returned. The scars stayed with him -- both on the outside as well as on the inside, and it was something he spoke of rarely. I never pressed him about it.

"When I got back she was already almost seven months pregnant. With you."

The love he felt for me was evident in his voice as he said this, and I once again thanked my lucky stars that he was my father. I promised myself I would tell him that.

"I was in so much pain then and she helped me through it. She wouldn't let me close off to her, and without forcing me to do anything, she helped me return to my old self again."

He smiled at me suddenly, and I raised an eyebrow at his expression.

"I remember the first time I felt you kick against the palm of my hand, Will," he said, explaining his smile. "Your kick was so strong, so powerful. And that's when I knew you'd grow up to be just like your mother."

He looked down, and I didn't understand at what until he spoke again.

"We had bought this bed that afternoon, and I moved in with her that day." His eyes lingered on it, as if he could see her there then. "She was lying on her side and I was spooning up against her back. She reached out for my hand and I didn't realize what she wanted until she laid my hand on her rounded stomach, placing her hand over mine. And that's when I felt it... That's when I felt you." He turned back to me again. "It was such an amazing feeling. After that I did it as often as I could. And your mother loved it. She told me she loved feeling both of her two men."

"You knew you were going to have a boy?" Grandma had told me once how secretive my mother had been and I had always wondered if she had known.

"We knew," he smiled, his eyes glistening with unshed tears.

For some reason that made me feel even closer to her. She had known before I was born that she was going to have me. It gave me a warm feeling inside.

"Do you still miss her as much?" I asked, even though I already knew the answer to my own question.

"Every single day." A single tear fell from his eyes, making its path down his cheek. "Sometimes so much I forget how to breathe."

I nodded in understanding, feeling the tears spring up in my own eyes. I looked down at the cross in my hand before they spilled over.

"Why have you kept so little of her things?"

He once again took my hand in his, squeezing it tightly.

"Because I already have the biggest part of her," he said, his voice warm and steady. "I have you."

I sometimes imagine I can remember what it felt like growing inside of her; that I can remember feeling her hands soothingly caress me through the stretched skin. I believe she would to sing to me. I once asked dad about it, but he told me she'd only ever sung once while he was present. He told me she didn't like her singing voice. I still think she sang to me, though. And I know I loved it when she did.

When Lily got pregnant, we sang to the baby together. I'd sit next to her on the couch or in bed and then I would lay my head against her rounded belly, and I'd sing the songs I've always imagined my mother sang to me. Lily would soon join in, and somehow we always ended up singing the silliest songs.

Lily gave birth today, safely at Memorial Hospital, and we were all there. While I was inside the delivery room with her, dad, Lily's parents, grandma, Uncle Walter, Uncle John and the Three Stooges were all outside in the waiting room. I don't think I've ever seen nine people look so happy as they did when I stepped out of the room and told them it was a girl.

I have daughter.

Grandma is starting to get really old, but she's still hanging in there, and she's as alert as ever. But as she came in to join dad and me by Lily's hospital bed, and looked down at our little bundle of joy sleeping in Lily's arms... she became more vivacious and ecstatic than I've seen her in years.

She walked up right next to Lily and touched the baby's tiny little head, and then gently stroked her cheek with her thumb. She simply looked at her for minutes, and then she turned to dad and me with a beautiful smile gracing her lips.

"She'll grow up to look just like her grandmother," she said.

Dad and I both smiled at her words. All newborn babies look almost exactly the same, and there is no way of telling what they'll grow up to look like. But I decided to humor her.

"Why do you think that, grandma?" I asked.

"I don't think," she smiled enigmatically. She turned back to Lily and the baby again. "I know."

And as I looked at my daughter, I couldn't help but hope that my grandmother was right.

Dad gave me my mother's journal today. At first I didn't realize what it was. It looked like an ordinary notebook; black, the edges of it a bit ragged. I turned it around in my hands, and then opened it and read the first page.

'Journal of Dana Scully.'

"Your mother wanted you to have this on the day your first child was born."

I gently closed it again, and looked up into my father's eyes.

"Right before she died in my arms, she looked down at you. You were only a couple of minutes old, but she told me you were the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen. The most wonderful thing she'd ever known, ever held in her arms."

He smiled at me, but I could tell how difficult it was for him. His eyes were shiny with unshed tears, as he relived those last moments with my mother inside his head.

"She kissed your forehead... the most gentle kiss. And then she looked up at me, and she asked me to give you her journal when you had your first child. I never questioned it. I simply agreed, and she got this peaceful look on her face. Like I'd just given her something she'd wanted more than anything."

"You'd given her yourself," I told him, a small tremble in my voice. "You'd given her me."

"And she gave me you." He met my eyes with his again, and they were so completely filled with love. Love for my mother, and love for me.

"Lily and I are naming the baby after mom," I suddenly blurted out. We had decided to tell everyone later, kind of make a big announcement, but I felt a desperate need to tell my father right there and then.

He hugged me so tight it almost hurt, but as my arms found their way around his back, I realized I held him back just as tightly.

"Thank you," was all he said.

We released each other, and we didn't need more words. Dad once told me he and I seemed to share that same bond he had shared with my mother; the ability to communicate without words. And today, I truly believed we did.

I've spent the past two hours alone in the hospital cafeteria, reading my mother's journal, as Lily visited with her parents. And as I turned the pages, reading every word she had written in her curly handwriting, I felt the love I'd thought could never be any stronger grow inside of me.

She wrote to me all through the pregnancy. The entries are sporadic, and sometimes only a sentence or two long, but every single one wraps itself around my heart, squeezing it tighter and tighter until I feel like I can't take it anymore.

'August 22, 2000

I never knew it was possible to love someone you've never met this strongly, someone you don't even know yet. I've never before known of a love this unconditional, so absolute and pure. But I love you already. I have loved you since the second I learned that you were growing inside of me.

Your father is missing. He was taken from us before I could tell him about you. I didn't even know myself that there was a 'you'.

Mulder is the father of my baby.

I never thought I would be able to write that and have it being the truth. I can hardly believe it still. But it is the truth, I am more certain of that than anything. Little one, I miss him so much. I miss him with my whole being, with everything that I am. I miss him so intensely I sometimes feel like I am about to split in two from the inside, like I'm about to break into a million pieces with no hope of anyone ever being able to put me back together again.

You are the one holding me together. I am fully aware of the fact that it's not possible yet, that is only my imagination, but sometimes I swear I can feel you move inside of me. You bring me a comfort no other can.

I feel Mulder's presence through you. I am carrying a part of him with me every day because of you. And I will find him for both of us. I have to.'

She did find him. But the things she went through before she did... I don't know how she did it. How she survived. To say that she was a strong woman wouldn't be enough; it would be the greatest understatement of all times.

She wrote a few longer entries after that, but it's the shortest one that really makes me understand how much she relied on me, even though I was not even born.

'December 12, 2000

He is dead. He is dead, and I am dying with him. Hold me together, little one. I need you now more than ever.'

Uncle Walter and Uncle John have told me what happened during the time my father was missing, but sometimes I wonder if either of them truly grasped how close to the edge she was. I think they did, to some degree, but I have a feeling she kept most of it all locked inside.

Even once he was back, the fear was still embedded deeply inside of her. I can't help but wonder if it ever completely disappeared.

'March 23, 2001

I am afraid that this might be some cruel dream that I will wake from any second. It's been nearly a week since his return, but I still wake at least twice every hour during the nights, finding myself having to check if he's really there. If he is really here with us.

And he is. Every single time, he's there, alive and breathing, lying next to me.

He's taken to draping his arm over my stomach when we go to bed, splaying his large hand over the roundness, caressing it with his gentle touch even as he falls asleep. I think he loves you just as much as I do.

God, I can't believe he's back. I can't believe he's here, I can't believe that I'm allowed to experience this joy, this feeling of contentment and pure bliss.

Please don't let it all be a dream.'

She had so many hopes for the future, only to have it all being taken from her in a heartbeat. For once she allowed herself to imagine a happy future for herself, for dad and for me. A future she never got to live and experience.

'April 29, 2001

I feel so utterly silly, and yet at the same time, I have never been happier. It all feels so unreal. I feel like we're normal people, doing what normal expecting parents do.

Mulder is taking me to a cabin in the mountains. He says I need to relax a little before you come along, that we both need some time alone together, away from mom and Skinner and everyone else here.

I wish you could have seen the look on your father's face when he realized that I am carrying you. He looked so overwhelmed I had to laugh at him.

He's even been with me to Lamaze class, can you believe that? Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that Mulder would be teaching me how to breathe properly. But he is loving every single moment of it. He loves that I am pregnant, that I am having his child. He is going to make such a wonderful father to you.

I love your father so much. Almost as much as I love you (though don't tell him I said that - let him continue to think he's the center of my universe). He is taking such good care of me, and even if I sometimes feel like this isn't us, like this isn't who we truly are... it feels so right neither of us can find it in us to say something about it. Maybe we're afraid we've been put under a spell, and if we say something, it will be broken.

For once in our lives, we are taking each day as it comes, and we finally have something to look forward to.

I love you, little one. We both do. And I can't wait to meet you.'

Those were the last words she wrote to me, and I suddenly realize that I am crying. Tears have dropped onto the page, smudging the ink just a little, but I can't bring myself to close it, as I read those last sentences once again.

"Me, too, mom," I whisper. Me, too.

A hand on my shoulder startles me, and I quickly close the journal, and I turn around only to look up into the eyes of my father.

"Lily's asking for you," he tells me, and squeezes my shoulder.

His eyes are warm and I can't help but stare into them. He looks old. Tired. But he looks happy.

I merely look at him for a few seconds, and then rise from the chair, wiping the wetness from my cheeks with the back of my hand.

"Thank you."

Only two words, but they hold so much meaning.

Thank you for giving me this.

Thank you for being my father, for always being there for me.

Thank you for loving my mother. Thank you for loving me.

And as I meet his gaze again, I know he understands what I meant by them. He nods slightly and then smiles. Before I can give in to the sudden urge to hug him again, he's turned around and started making his way back to grandma and Uncle Walter. I watch him as he walks down the hall, and then he suddenly turns around and looks back at me.

"I love you, son," he says and then he disappears around the corner.

"You, too, dad," I whisper after him.

My mother gave her life for me; my father lived his for me. And while I never got to meet my mother, she has been with me every day since the day I was born -- through me, through the love of my father, and through all those people around me who knew and adored her. And now, through her words written to me before she'd even held me in her arms.

Most people around me know my mother is no longer with us, but what they don't know is that she died giving birth to me.

'Did you ever know her?' they ask.

And my answer is simple.


Every single day.

~ The End ~

Comments? Thoughts? I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks and Dedications: This one's for Denie and Tanja. Not only did they both act as my betas, but they were also the ones who pushed me into finishing it. Thanks, sweeties, I could never have done it without you. *mwah* Also to Joy, who haven't read the finished product yet, but told me she loved what I had so far. Any mistakes are completely my own.

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