Title: The Miracle
Summary: Response to Church of X Challenge # 1:what if Emily Sim hadn't died....
September 10, 1998
Daylight streamed throughout the windows, filling her bedroom with bright light that burned her eyes when she opened them.
She pulled away the covers and put her feet on the cold floor; her toes recoiled from the contact and she winced slightly. She stepped from the bed and threw a robe on, not taking the time to knot it as she stifled back a yawn. Moving to the kitchen soundlessly, her hands found the coffeepot and moved it to the sink robotically.
She heard the sound of parcel against wood as she scooped coffee grinds into the filter, and wondered if the paper was running late. She glanced at the clock, it read 6:19, which meant it was really, really late, or -
She paused mid- third scoop. Or it was something special. For her. About Emily. To think of it in one thought overpowered her, it made her freeze . If it were something about Emily, it seemed nearly...impossible . Normally, she got such packages at the start of the month, on the first Monday. each package neatly labeled and hand delivered. Inside she found a letter, typewritten and unsigned, with photographs, or doctors reports, or test results. She took an extra hour to get to work on those mornings, extra minutes that Mulder understood and came to expect on the first Monday of the month. But today was Thursday, and it was the tenth, and it made no sense to her why a thud would rock her door panel at 6:19 and not be the paper.
She finished the coffee, flicked on the switch, and moved to the door. Her hands were clammy as she turned the handle, fearing the worst, hoping there wasn't an envelope, and if there was, that it didn't have bad news. She opened it a crack and first saw the newspaper. The envelope was against her left foot, manila and ominous.
She picked it up slowly, looking around the hallway, fearing it's contents and trying to convince herself it was nothing.
The aroma of coffee filled her apartment as she slid the contents of the envelope without looking at them onto the table. She closed her eyes, offering up a prayer to whomever was listening and then she looked down.
Six pink envelopes, all with her name written in neat, feminine handwriting glared up at her. She sunk to the chair, wondering what they meant, wondering what they symbolized.
She grabbed the envelope they came in and peeked inside. As predicted, a fine, bone white sheet of paper had stuck to the top. It read:
I am sure that you are surprised at the arrival of these envelopes, addressed to you, from Lance and Anna Allrige, Emily's adoptive parents. I made the decision long ago that you had the right to see her, to say your good-byes or form a relationship with her, even if it was from a distance. But I had to wait until the time was right.
Read these letters. View the pictures Anna and Lance have sent. If you decide that you would like to pay your daughter a visit, you will find directions to their home at your doorstep this evening . Open them and follow them if you wish. If not, do be aware that this will be your only opportunity.
As she expected, the bottom of the page was unsigned. Scully closed her eyes briefly, fingering the sides of the paper, dreading the letters and desperately wanting to read them.
She thought of the day that Emily had been taken, nearly nine months before, on the third of January.
January 3, 1998
Dawn arrived outside Emily's window, her hospital room shrouded in beeps and darkness; the sickly sweet smell of antiseptic and death tinged the air she couldn't breathe. Scully brushed the blonde hair away from her daughters tight forehead; the feel of her flesh warm against her fingers. Emily's hand rested tiny and dry in Scully's, her fingers thin . Scully looked at her daughters still form with sadness, somewhat in contempt, cursing those that did this to her small, three year old body. Prayers, quiet whisperings, filled the room with the sound of desperation, of hope being lost in every passing moment.
She flinched when a hand touched her back and for a moment she thought it was Mulder.
The weathered and lined face of the smoking man looked down at her kneeling form.
She rose quickly, anger welling in her chest, flowing through her hands and she fiercely whispered " What are you doing here? Get out of here! Right now!"
"I'm disappointed that you aren't more pleased to see me, Dana."
He reached in his breast pocket and extracted a crumpled pack of Morleys. She scowled and snatched them away, looking down at the motionless Emily and back at him.
"Not here," she hissed.
He raised an eyebrow and shrugged his shoulders. Scully's hand found the hospital bed and she anchored herself there, as though she were a physical barrier to this man that represented nothing to her but malevolence.
"Leave," she said again, her tone monotonous in it's intensity. He smiled.
"You wish for me to go without asking the intent of my visit?"
Tears glittered in her eyes as she glared at him. She tilted her head down, eyes falling on the too- still Emily, her life precariously balanced by respirators.
"Of course I understand your distrust, but I have come to you with an offer."
She looked back up at him, the momentary softness in her eyes devoured by ice as she watched him.
"An offer?" she asked.
"I have the means to treat your daughter, Dana."
"Stop calling me that!"
"Stop calling you what?" he asked, the corners of his mouth tilting in a smile.
"Dana," she said.
"Well?" he asked, after she remained silent for a moment.
"Well what? I don't have time for this- "
"So, you are comfortable accepting Mulders decree of your daughter being a miracle that wasn't meant to be?"
"How do you know about that?" She snapped, angry now, her cheeks turning dusky as she balled her hands into fists.
"I have my methods. Come, step outside, we'll discuss the details."
"No. I don't trust you. You've given me no reason to trust you."
"Isn't the seduction of a cure for your daughter enough to invite you to stand outside with me for a moment? I assure you that you will not be disappointed."
She looked back down at her sleeping daughter, emotions conflicting within her, and then stepped forward. He opened the door and they moved into the fluorescent - lit hallway. She blinked in the sudden light and looked away from him, not wanting to see the harsh lines in his face, the puckered wrinkles around his mouth.
"May I have my cigarettes back?" he asked politely.
She sighed and dumped the crumpled pack into his hands. He frowned at the condition of the plastic, the ridges on the pack in the outline of her fingers.
"Thank you," he said. He pulled one, slightly bent, from the plastic; straightened it and held a flame to the bottom. It glowed red in the corridor.
"This is a hospital, for God's sake," she said, her voice tinged in chagrin.
"Shall we discuss the ethics of smoking or the cure for your daughter? "
"How dare you come here and expect me to believe anything you have to say, when I know what part you have played in all of this " She spat.
He chuckled. "How darling of you to suggest that I was the mastermind behind your abduction and Emily's conception."
"Well, you are, aren't you?" She was staring at the white tiled floor.
"Is that your partners theory or your own?"
"What does it matter?" Her face crumpled in defeat and tears began to run down her cheeks, leaving sloppy streaks. "She's dying. I just want to know why. Why did you do this to her, to us -" Her voice dropped away, the sound died in it's anguish.
"I did nothing to you!"
"Bull shit!" She exclaimed loudly, then softer " that's bullshit. And we both know it. If you hadn't had a part in this then how do you hold the cure in your hands for what's killing her! An innocent girl, a little baby. A child."
"Your child" He added, and pursed his lips over the orange- tan filter.
"She is not an experiment to me."
"Surely you believe I understand that."
"Get to the point. I need to get back to her."
"Walk with me a moment," he said, and they started down the hallway. "I have a cure, yes, but it must be bought with a compromise from yourself ... A necessary sacrifice, if you will . "
"What do you mean?" she asked, walking beside him, ignoring the din of hospital sounds in the background. Her heels resonated against the floor.
"A complete restoration of health. No fear of complications again. A total renewal for her..."
"If?" She interjected impatiently.
"You agree to give up all custodial rights and cease your attempts at trying to adopt her."
"Never! " she exclaimed, and stopped suddenly. She turned to him, her body radiating furious, warm waves.
"Never? That's a selfish way to act in the face of saving your daughters life."
"She may live-"
"Don't delude yourself." He laughed, a sickening sound, and it made her tense. She looked into his eyes a long moment, restraining her emotions.
"I can't give up hope," she said softly, and looked away.
"I'm afraid hope is a useless emotion at this point, Agent Scully." He breathed in smoke and resumed walking forward, she followed, her mouth in a hard line.
"Why?" she asked. "Why do you not want me to be in her life."
"Surely you aren't asking that in all seriousness...do you not have an idea of the danger having a child - that child - would be for the both of you? " He laughed again, a self contained chuckle that made the hair on the back of her neck rise.
"I can offer Emily two things that you cannot; her health and her safety. "
She glanced down, at his hands, wondering at their power, nearly fearing it.
"Well?" He interrupted her thoughts. She ground her teeth and met his eyes.
"I can't make this decision in a heartbeat!"
"You're running out of time," he said, as though saddened by her delay.
"What if I say yes -" She began, and he interrupted her.
"Then yes it is." He turned from her and started back down the hallway.
"I didn't agree to this-"
"Haven't you?" He pivoted back to her, so that they stood uncomfortably close.
"I need to be able to think about this, to weigh my options - ," she said, her tone insistent .
"It's too late for that." The corners of his mouth upturned.
"What do you mean?" she asked, her voice confused.
"I don't think you understood the urgency of your situation, Agent Scully. Your daughter is already gone."
Scully ran then, her heels clanging against the tiles, and swung the door open to see Emily .
It was silent in its emptiness.
September 10, 1998 Dana Scully's Apartment 7:09 am
Scully went to the kitchen, putting down the letters and wiping at the moisture that came unbidden to her eyes. Eight months. Emily was about to turn four in November, and it had been eight months since she'd seen her last. Would she even remember me? She thought to herself, pouring a cup of coffee and thinking of the first envelope she had received from the smoking man, a month after he had taken Emily away.
She picked up the phone on her way back to the living room, stopping at her desk to grab the stack of envelopes, all addressed to her and hand delivered, all about Emily. She dialed the number to the office, leaving Mulder a message to let him know that she was coming in late.
She undid the clasp at the back of the first envelope, now wrinkled from the touching it had endured those first few days. Watermarks, the evidence of her tears, stained the front of the envelope, making it look more weathered and precious.
The first thing inside was a photograph, dated February 1, of Emily, her cheeks pink and smiling. Test results followed, all documenting a bizarre respite from the anemia she'd been destined to die from. Emily, by all accounts, was a healthy three year old girl . Her adoption papers also had accompanied the envelope, papers she didn't have to sign because she was never Emily's legal mother. Stamped at the bottom of the page was were the public notaries initials; it was a grainy copy of the original document, and didn't have the names and address of Emily's new parents. Collected evidence to grant her the minute reassurance that he daughter was alive, somewhere in America, with two new parents that had no faces in Scully's mind. In fact, she still didn't know their names, or where they lived, but she knew the information was coming. Tonight.
She had been so angry when she first received this envelope, those months ago when life had seemed like it had cheated her again, that she'd gotten too close and then had gotten burned. Her daughter, her sister, her ova, those months she'd been abducted and missing - had all been stolen. Stolen without her being able to resist, all as a result of her choices. The choices of her life that she sometimes wanted to hate.
And then there was the admitting; admitting that the smoking man had cured her cancer, quite possibly, with a microchip. And that he had cured her daughter, her only daughter, with something science couldn't explain. Her daughter that had once been given a death sentence, an alien hybrid that only shared two things with Scully: DNA and a gold cross.
From the pictures she could see the gold chain around Emily's tiny neck, sometimes the sun would glint off the gold cross in the center.
Man made - that was what binded her to her daughter, knowing that the both of them had been kept alive by something manufactured; by nothing that was divine. Her life was suspended by a high tech life support system, a tiny scrap of metal in the back of her neck that kept death away, indefinitely. And her daughter, sweet faced Emily, not only had been created by the hands of mankind but also was living because of some technology that was more foreign than anything Scully could comprehend. Alien forces, technology not of this world.
This knowledge, this day to day reminder of the have and have nots of her life had caused Scully to become extremely depressed. Before that first envelope, everything had happened in a slow, dark pace. She stayed in San Francisco for weeks, well after Tara and Bill had their baby, little Matthew. Her tiny nephew she couldn't look at without crying over the loss. The loss of her ability to have children, her loss over another woman giving birth to her child, an old woman who had to suffer through childbirth in a haze of drugs. And the house there, Bill, Tara, her mother, was filled with joy, a joy that made the air sluggish and heavy and impossible to breathe. She took time off of work, sent Mulder back to D.C frowning. She had nightmares whenever she slept, and eventually stopped sleeping altogether. It was then that she crept into Matthew's room to watch him sleep, stealing the moments away, pretending they were her own.
Mulder had been disappointed in her, calling her daily to admonish her for not moving forward, being mired in the past. She'd reacted to his calls coolly, asking him if he'd have been back to work so soon after losing his daughter, and it rendered him temporarily silent. He begged her to come back to Virginia, citing his need for her science, her rationale. She told him she was sick of the office, of the X- files, tired of looking at the lonely dark basement that had been the beginning of her downfall. She resented him in secret for his flippancy, refusing to see his adamant calls as anything b ut annoyance. He didn't give up; she only stopped answering, justifying her actions with the balm of " It will get better" and " He doesn't understand."
He was right, she realized now. She should have come back to work and fought, she should have put her effort into her vocation with a fierce energy that would keep away the pain. There would be meaning behind her insomnia, masked in the diligence of life and work. But she'd been depressed, lethargic, unfocused. The sun shone too brightly when she stepped outside. The world had lost some of its luster, in sympathy, it seemed, to her own losses.
When she did go home, on the fourth week of administrative leave, she was scheduled to see a psychiatrist, as was customary in situations of severe loss or death . Whatever the FBI wanted to call it. She sat in the doctor's office, stoic, not talking. The story she had to tell was unbelievable, and she was so angry. So angry that words didn't mean anything anymore.
And then, the first of February, as she sat in her living room, the third day of being back in Washington, none of which she had held any sleep, the envelope had arrived. Like a balm, the pictures, the reports - it gave her suffering a new meaning. It gave her hope that she had done the right thing.
She went back to work a week later, taking small cases, nothing too heavy. And every month a new envelope arrived, with snippets of details and a letter, in that thin stock she would recognize anywhere, typed. Telling her that she was so good, so patient, so kind. And that if she was patient enough, she might be rewarded.
She paused over a photo of Emily from March, she was running, dressed in a little girl dress, happy in her yard. The phone rang. She put down the picture and answered the phone.
"Mulder?" she asked. She picked up the stack of envelopes and put them along side the other, smaller envelopes. She turned them over as she waited for Mulder to continue. Each was labeled with a date on the back.
"What's going on?" he asked.
"I got another envelope," she said, sliding her finger under the edge of the one marked " January 15, 1998".
"Is it bad news?" He replied, his voice solemn.
"No. Actually, it's an invitation. This evening I will be given directions to Emily's. I have a chance to see her." She tried to keep her voice even, controlled, unemotional. It failed on the last sentence, becoming broken and soft.
"Scully," he said, softly. "Are you okay?"
"Mulder-" She began, and then cleared her throat. "I want you to come with me."
He didn't hesitate in his reply. "Of course. I'll tell Skinner we need a few days."
"Mulder-" she said, her voice strangely and uncharacteristically high, " would you come over here afterwards?"
"Sure, Scully," he said, his voice soft. "Sure."
The pink enveloped items were all letters, written by Anna and Lance Allrige, to her. They started the first day that Emily came into their life, they chronicled the weeks and months that followed. They told Scully about the way her daughter laughed, about how lovely she was, how smart. That when she first arrived she was silent, and then had found her voice. By august she had a wide vocabulary, loved cats, and " Alice and Wonderland."
The final pink enveloped letter was an invitation to go and see her daughter, on an arranged weekend of September the 12 th. Scully looked down at Anna Allriges' perfect handwriting, the swoop of her " D", the graceful " T" in 'thanks'.
"It would be our pleasure to meet you, Dana, and for you to see you daughter. The agency involved informed us that they would provide directions to our home, and we do so hope to see you. We think you'll be amazed at how much Emily has grown, how much she has matured. And it will give us some time to thank you, to get to know the woman that blessed our lives with such a priceless gift."
Mulder had gotten there at twelve thirty. He smiled at her and stepped inside and the rest of the time had been sent talking, weighing their options, wondering if she was doing the right thing to go and see Emily. If it was time. If she was ready for the experience.
The envelope with directions landed with the familiar thump. They both jumped at the suddenness of the noise.
"It's here," Scully said, looking at Mulder uncertainly.
"I'll get it," he answered, rising from the couch and moving to the door. She shut her eyes, not wanting to and wanting to know all at the same time.
Mulder opened the door; bent; and rose. He shut the door behind him and turned to her, his face bland.
He handed it to Scully silently - she winced in anticipation.
"No." She shook her head.
"Do you want me to open it?"
"Yes," she whispered.
He pulled open the silver clasp and withdrew the paper.
Typed, it read:
Lance and Anna Allrige 322 Cottonwood Port Brentwood, Tennesee. (615) 555-6900
There was nothing but the sheet of paper. He handed it to her, she ran it over in her hands, feeling the typeset, something she'd done to all the letters.
They felt bumpy and smooth, all at once.
September 11, 1998
Mulder had agreed to leave immediately, understanding her need for haste. She was afraid if she waited until morning to leave she'd lose her nerve. No flights had been available until late the following afternoon, and they decided that driving would be best, ample time to change their minds if need be.
Scully stared moodily out the window. It was a long drive to Tennessee, almost thirteen hours from D.C. Mulder elected to drive during the night, claiming that he'd spent so many nights awake in his life that he could do it again, and would do it gladly.
She tried to be thankful for his incredible patience; his never-ending perseverance when it came to anything he believed in. She envied that in him, that endless optimism.
"Are you scared?" he asked. She turned to him, her face mottled by shadows.
"No," she answered, unsure of the truth in her reply.
"Scully," he said, and she looked directly at him. He didn't remove his eyes from the road.
In the opposite lane, a minivan drove silently beside them. Scully looked at the vehicle, pondering Mulder's question fully, asking herself if she was scared or if it were only an issue of anger. The middle window of the minivan suddenly became illuminated with light and she watched, transfixed, as a mother leaned in the back to coddle her infant in a child seat.
Scully could almost make out the womans words, her soft cooing that she'd heard daily from Tara. The woman handed the child a bottle, and the light went off.
It made her feel bereft. Empty.
"Scully?" Mulder said her name softly, looking at her this time, noting the sad expression on her face.
"It's nothing," she answered. "Nothing at all."
September 11, 1998
"Wake up, Mulder," Scully said to her sleeping partner. "We're almost there and I need some lunch."
He looked at her groggily and blinked. She smiled at him, thankful for his allegiance to her, for his being here.
"What time is it?" he asked.
"Almost one- thirty." He nodded and adjusted himself in the car seat, running a hand through his hair.
"What are you hungry for?" she asked, looking at Nashville, thinking about how much she hated Tennessee.
"Breakfast. How about Cracker Barrel?"
"Are you kidding?" she asked.
He shook his head solemnly. "I'm in the mood for some good county eatin'! "
"Mulder," she said, irritated, but accepted his suggestion.
Cracker Barrel was greasy, full of fat and calories, and yet strangely satisfying. Scully sipped coffee as she watched Mulder play with the strange golf-tee game. He was losing.
"Fuck," he muttered under his breath.
"I don't even understand the object of the game," she said, irritated.
He didn't answer, continuing to move the tees around the pegs.
"Let's go, Mulder," she said, irritably.
"Fine, fine, Scully," he replied. The waitress, a blonde woman with the nametag of "Tess" brought the check. Scully scanned it before putting down a visa platinum card.
The waitress smiled, "You go pay at the counter," she said, and was gone, carrying away the dirty plates.
"I need a shower," Scully mumbled, and Mulder nodded, pushing the triangle shaped game away from him and rising.
"There's a hotel across the street" He offered as they neared the counter. People buzzed about, collecting country souvenirs from the gift shop. Scully gave the clerk her credit card and received the receipt. She gave a 25 % tip and Mulder bought some rock candy, grinning at her.
"At least one of us is having fun," she said with a tight smile.
September 11, 1998
"Scully," Mulder called. "The phone is for you."
She had been napping . Sleep clung to the edges of her body, making her feel weighted. She grabbed her cell phone from Mulder's hand, not bothering to ask who the caller was.
"Scully," she said, her voice hoarse.
"Dana Scully?" A polite female voice asked. "Hi! This is Anna Allrige."
"Anna," Scully replied, sitting up, smoothing her hair as though Anna were there and looking at her.
"I hope this is a good time-"
"It's a great time," she answered, clearing her throat.
"It's so nice to finally talk to you. You know, voice to a face and all that." She laughed, a melodious sound.
"Sure" Scully answered " I feel the same way."
"Did you decide to come to Tennessee?" Anna asked, her voice expectant.
"Yes, actually I'm here now. Just arrived. I brought my partner with me, I hope that's okay."
"Sure. That's fine! Wow! I just know how great it will be for us to meet, and for you to see Em. You might not even recognize her."
Scully was getting a headache, it tugged at the back of her head, irritating her eyes with pressure. She rubbed at her temples and looked up at Mulder. He was looking down at her expectantly. She mouthed " It's her" To him and he nodded.
"Well, do you need directions out to the homestead? When were you planning on coming by? There's always room for two more at dinner tonight, if you'd like that. If not, we could meet tomorrow-"
"Tomorrow, I think, would be best. Mulder and I drove all night to get here, and I'm afraid we're exhausted."
"Mulder?" Anna said, "Oh, your partner. Dana, I'm afraid I don't know all that much about you, is Mulder your-"
"I'm in the FBI. We're both in the FBI, and Mulder is my partner. He knows Emily too."
"Oh!" she breathed. "I hope you don't mind my asking this, but - Is Mulder Emily's father?"
Scully laughed before she could stop herself, knowing how inane it must sound to the woman. Maybe Anna would think she was crazy. She'd understand if she knew that Scully hadn't ever even kissed her partner, and doubted even the possibility of that happening.
"No," she answered, in between giggles. Mulder looked at her as though perplexed. To clue him in, she added, "Mulder isn't Emily's father."
His eyebrows wagged at her and she wondered if maybe she was wrong about those possibilities.
"How rude of me!" Anna said, her slow southern drawl very apparent. "I'm truly very sorry."
"You have a right to ask, I suppose" Scully conceded, her voice again normal, the laughter dying. Mulder looked nearly hurt. She reached out her hand to him and touched his fingers. He looked down at her hand and then cupped it with his own.
The conversation continued to set a time for tomorrow, which was decided to be somewhere around noon, and to tell her to bring nothing " but bells on" and they would take care of everything else. Anna gushed about her excitement, about Emily's excitement, about her husbands excitement until Scully felt a similar excitement. One that replaced the dread, harbored in her stomach.
She hung up the cellular and looked at Mulder wearily. "Noon,," she said, " with bells on."
He gave her an odd look and nodded.
September 12, 1998
"I can't do this," Scully said, her face unnaturally pale. She felt fear, coiled deep in her stomach, burning uncomfortably and all she wanted it to do was stop.
"You can," Mulder answered.
"Pull over," she said, "I think I'm going to vomit."
He pulled over and looked at her, her pale face, her hands in fists. She was even sweating, tiny beads of perspiration on her forehead gleamed in the afternoon light.
"We've come this far, Scully," Mulder said in a soft tone of voice. "You've made it this far, all by yourself. You're a fighter, Scully. "
"I don't need a pep talk, Mulder. I need a Valium."
"Scully!" he admonished.
He reached out to her and she pushed his hands away, as though he were an errant child. "Don't touch me," she said softly. "I didn't expect for this to happen, and it all has so fast, Mulder. So fast." She looked down at her hands, folded neatly in her lap. "I don't want to like them when I meet them. Is that so horrible?"
"No," he answered. "It's completely understandable."
"I am scared, Mulder. I'm scared! I admit it." She was shaking.
"It's okay to be scared." He undid his seatbelt and hers and held onto her; her chest pressed against his and she drew in shaky breaths.
"I can't do this," she said over and over. "This is too much."
"What's too much? Scully, tell me. Talk to me."
"All this. All of this, the past eight months, the past five years - so much has happened, Mulder." She pulled away from him, wiping at her tears with the back of her hand, an action he found endearing.
"You're afraid to love her."
"No, Mulder. I already love her. I'm afraid to see her being loved by anyone else." She breathed in deeply, her cheeks mottled with pink spots.
"You can do this, Scully. Even if it's for the last time. You never got to say goodbye to your daughter. I know how that feels, Scully. I know what it feels like to just suddenly have someone you care so much about *gone*."
"I know," she answered, turning her head to his. "I need to do this, I know."
"He gave you a choice, Scully. And I'd be sure that this is the only one, the bastard just loves to fuck with people's heads."
"I- " she started and then swallowed. "Let's go."
The Allriges' house was a large, Colonial style home, with two stories, and built of brick. It fit into the neighborhood of similar houses perfectly; Scully thought of how nondescript it was when it meant so much as to what was inside.
"We're here" Mulder announced, looking at her for reassurance before pulling into the driveway. The grass was perfect, well trimmed, no weeds. Some trees had started to change for fall but it was still warm, nearly hot, with a breeze that ruffled the leaves in the trees slightly.
She took a deep breath and undid her seat belt, slowly reaching for the waistband at her back, her gun holster, to lock it into the glove compartment. She tucked her badge in her purse, asked Mulder if he wanted to do the same. He shook his head "no" but did put his gun in the truck, after looking around for anything out of place.
It was hard to imagine the neighborhood here anything evil, or dubious. Lexus' and Mercedes were parked in front of garages, everyone's back yard was sprawling. The birds were chirping merrily. It almost seemed too perfect here.
They walked to the door, Mulder's hand on her lower back. Lance and Anna met them there, their faces smiling as they opened the door .
"Dana! Mulder- isn't it Mulder? Hi, welcome." Anna, a short blonde haired woman said. She had green eyes and a vibrant smile.
"Hi. I'm Dana Scully -" She offered her hand. "-and this is Fox Mulder."
"Nice to meet you both." Lance answered, a tall man that towered over his wife with the same sandy blonde hair and with rich blue eyes.
Scully shivered as she thought of how they actually could be Emily's parents, if it were only based on physical appearance.
Anna and Lance welcomed them in, stepping back from the door as Scully first entered and Mulder followed.
"Emily is in the end stages of a little nap. I thought we could go up together, Dana." Anna said, and touched Scully's arm.
"Wonderful" Scully replied, and gave a tight lipped smile.
"Let's have some time together, though, first. We can get acquainted? "
She ushered her husband, Mulder, and Scully to a tastefully decorated living room. Salvador Dali prints covered the walls, the couch and loveseat were a rich cream colored fabric. Mulder and Scully sat on the loveseat, and Anna and Lance took the couch.
"Coffee?" Anna asked.
"I'd love a cup," Mulder answered. Anna smiled.
Scully studied the couple as they poured coffee into cups, examined the way Lance continually looked either at his wife or the baby monitor, then his watch. "Emily normally naps until 12:45," he commented to Scully, and she nodded.
"Well." Anna said, as she handed Mulder a cup and offered Scully one. She accepted with a vague smile. "Was your drive down pleasant?"
"Yes," Scully answered, and watched Mulder nod as he sipped his coffee.
"Tell us about your work," Lance said amicably, and leaned back into the couch.
Mulder chose to answer. "We investigate unsolved cases in FBI, those unsolved by ...conventional means."
"Ooh, like "Unsolved Mysteries?" Anna asked with an interested tone.
"Somewhat," Mulder answered. "More like 'Weird Mysteries.' Abductions, ghosts, spirits, you name it -"
"Mulder," Scully said, her voice irritated. "We have an interesting case load, some that people might not be able to identify with or readily explain. "
"Scully's the scientist in our operation. She's a doctor," Mulder said with a smile in her direction. She felt herself go tense at his seeming admiration for her. "I'm the, well, one that believes in alternate possibilities in our work."
The Allriges laughed. "What do you mean by 'alternate possibilities', exactly, Fox-" Anna asked.
"Actually, I prefer Mulder. Well, for example, Extraterrestrial life "
"Aliens ? " The two asked simultaneously. Scully found herself interested in their response, wondering how much they knew.
"Indeed," he said after a sip of coffee and with a nod. The two exchanged glances.
"Are you serious?" Anna asked.
"He's serious," Scully answered. "There are things out there that he believes in that the two of you couldn't fathom "
They nodded mutely. After a pause, Lance said, "I'm an investment banker. Anna stays home with little Emily."
As though on cue, a soft sound escaped through the monitor. Lance and Anna nodded at each other.
"Dana, It looks like Emily's awake. Would you like to go and see her now?" Anna asked kindly as she rose.
Scully mutely nodded. "I would," she eventually answered. Mulder gave her a look that spelled his encouragement.
She followed Anna up the stairs, making her steps slight. Anna looked over her shoulder ever so often to give a smile. Scully smiled back.
Emily's room was at the bottom of the hall, a white door that was unfamiliar, the trappings of an upper middle class house that Scully felt strange in, out of place, removed.
Anna turned the handle.
Emily was in her little bed, one with a canopy, all in white ruffles and pink bows. She smiled to herself at the extravagance, thinking how if Emily was with her this bedroom would be different. She surveyed the room, shelves of toys, a coloring desk. Big windows let in the sun.
She moved her eyes to the figure on the bed, the body that Anna hovered over with an angelic smile on her face.
"Mommy?" a little voice asked, Emily's voice. Scully's heart jumped into her throat at the sound, so innocent still, and looked at the face it came from. Could Emily know somehow...
But Emily was looking at Anna. Emily's hair was now shoulder length and thicker. She was wearing a yellow dress, slightly rumpled from her nap, and a golden yellow headband. Emily turned her head to Scully, who stood motionless, staring.
She'd grown so much! Her hands, her feet, her little legs. The baby chub of her cheeks had started to receed and reveal more definite features, but her eyes were still that cerulean blue. Her bowed lips turned to a thoughtful smile as she regarded Scully intently.
Scully saw the cross around her daughters neck and started to weep.
"Hi," Emily said, throwing back her covers, stepping across the floor in feet three times the size they were eight months ago. "Why are you crying?"
Her voice was so innocent, so pure. She blinked up at Scully as Scully squatted to be eye level.
Emily looked intently at her face, and then to her neck, where her fingers touched a cross there. "I remember you," she said, softly, a slight lisp in her words. She touched the cross around her own neck. "You gave me this. Did you get a new one?"
"This was my sister's, Melissa."
"Why isn't she wearing it?" Emily questioned.
"She's in heaven, Emily."
"Like my first mommy?"
"Yes, Emily, like your first mommy." Scully wiped at her tears. "I'm very happy to see you, Emily," she said, and Emily nodded.
"Mommy?" She turned her head to look at Anna. "I need my shoes."
Lance and Anna had insisted that they cook a lunch for Scully and Mulder. They sat in the yard, watching Emily twirl in the grass, her bare feet treading across the green lawn and laughing. She had remembered Mulder only after he gave her a Mr. Potato Head imitation, which caused her to giggle.
Scully watched her daughter play and admired the change in her, the way she laughed and smiled now, that she talked with an incredible vocabulary that she hadn't wanted to use eight months ago. Her body was healthy, her eyes shown. She was happy.
She ran over to where they were sitting and grabbed Mulder's hands. "I wanna show you Dinah's kittens."
He nodded and followed her, and Scully sat. Anna joined her, offering a glass of iced tea that Scully accepted.
"The best iced tea is the kind made in the south," Scully commented absently.
"What do you think about her?" Anna asked, smiling, watching Mulder and Emily go around the house to the garage, where the kittens were. "She just loves Alice and Wonderland. She convinced Lance to get her that cat, little Dinah. Little did we know Little Dinah was expecting when we found her as a stray. I'm afraid that we deny our...your...little girl nothing."
"Anna, I -" Scully started. "I gave Emily up out of necessity. I had very little choice. And due to circumstances I can't explain to you there was a time that I didn't - well, I had no clue where she was or even that she was my daughter. I can't give you the reasons. But I can say that I could not have given my daughter all you have given her. Not with my job, not with my life the way it is - I didn't see that eight months ago, but I do now."
"Whatever the reasons, Dana, I feel that God brought Emily to us. And we are so very thankful, to you, for your sacrifice. I see that you love her, that you miss her. I see that in your eyes, Dana."
Scully bit back tears, silently admonishing herself for their reoccurrence. "You're her mother now, and she loves you. That's the way it should be."
Mulder leaned down to give Emily a kiss on the forehead. Scully did the same, but only after a long hug.
"You are such a special little girl, do you know that?" Scully said. Emily shook her head that she didn't. "Well, you are."
She looked at her daughter a long moment, memorizing the perfect intensity of her eyes, her eyelashes, the rose color of her cheeks. She smiled down at her, fighting the ever present tears.
"Be a good girl. I'll see you again soon," Scully said, knowing she didn't mean it, that this was the last time that she would see her daughter, her little angel, her most precious gift.
Lance and Anna smiled warmly at the two FBI agents, so out of place in this well manicured neighborhood in the good part of town.
"I hope we see you again soon." Anna said, taking Scully's hand " You're welcome anytime. And we want to thank you, Dana, for the most precious gift we've ever gotten. For years we wanted a child, trying everything, and we very nearly had given up. You blessed us, and we'll always be grateful to you for that gift."
Scully smiled, sighed and nodded. "Thank you for saying that. It means so much to me."
And then the door was closing, and they walked to the car in the same slow pace that they had left it in. Mulders hand found it's place on the small of her back.
Scully turned one last time before getting in the car, looking into her daughters window. And she saw her perfect face staring down at her, her little hand raised in a wave.
"I love you," she whispered.
She got in the car, buckled her seatbelt and felt as though she'd been set free, all the tension left her body as Mulder started the car.
"How are you doing?" he asked as they pulled from the driveway.
"Good," she answered, breathing deep breaths. "Good."
"Are you sure?" he asked again, his voice more plaintive.
"I need some time, Mulder," she said, meaning for him to not ask any more questions.
Scully sat on the edge of the bed, popped a few advil in her mouth and swallowed with Mulders ginger ale.
It was one of those nights. Mulder sat beside her, not touching, practically silent. Just being there, in case she needed something, like ginger ale, or support, or God forbid, a shoulder to cry on.
The room was silent, the air conditioner long ago shut off for making the room intolerably frigid. She eventually found his fingers with her own, and he met hers halfway.
"Are you still scared?" he asked, softly, now that the day was over and the events had happened. They were done. She stared moodily ahead, looking at the dark television screen, the brown plywood around the large mirror that was the center of the hotel room.
"I'm not sure," she finally answered. He squeezed her fingers in answer. "Before I got there, I really wanted to hate them. I wanted to find something wrong with the way they were taking care of her, see that they were spoiling her, or not paying enough attention. Or maybe that she was really still sick. I wanted her to need me somehow, to think of me as someone who could give her something that *they* couldn't. But they were wonderful. She loved them so much and they loved her, and it was that perfect love that parents and children have, a love I don't readily know or even understand, really, Mulder."
She took another sip from the can of ginger ale and smiled, briefly, before continuing. "I felt so out of place there, you know. Like I was this total outsider who just didn't belong. Like I was wrong for coming, for wanting to see something awful that would incite me to action, force me to take my child and deliver her to safety. But I realized, as we were leaving, that I would never do that for Emily. I might have once, but I won't happen again."
"What do you mean, Scully?"
"I mean that I won't be returning to this place again to steal little glimpses of a daughter that isn't really mine. She's theirs now. She's always been someone elses little girl, Mulder. A miracle, yes. But she's no more mine that she is yours. "
"Scully, you are her mother- "
"Hardly!" She laughed bitterly. "I share genetic material that biologically makes me Emily's mother. But I didn't give birth to her, I won't be the one to raise her. You know, when I first went up there, to see her, with Anna, she said 'mommy' and my heart stopped beating. I just thought maybe somehow she knew, or that it was a sign from God. But she was looking at Anna, Mulder. Looking at her with all the devotion a little girl could have for her mother. "
"And did it make you jealous?"
"At first, maybe it did. That,and a sense of disappointment. But now I think it makes me happy, happy to know that little girl has endured, has continued to love despite all of her losses, the bout with her illness, all of it. It makes me proud to have known her, even if I can't be in her life."
She turned and faced him, her mouth pulled in a frown, her eyes sparking with tears.
"She's my little miracle, and she always will be."
"Oh Scully," he said, pulling her to him. "Oh, Scully."
October 1, 1998
She was pouring the second cup of coffee and reading the newspaper when a thud sounded throughout her apartment.
She hadn't expected this, knowing immediately what it was, not wanting to actually see it.
She closed her eyes briefly and went to the door before she could talk herself out of it. She admonished herself for doing this, for opening the envelope and seeing the contents. For reveling in the sidelines over her daughters life like the pictures and notes mattered, like they had some higher meaning.
She picked up the manila colored square and brought it in, tossed it casually on the table and glared at it, hating the temptation it brought. In the two weeks since her visit with Emily, she had decided to let her go. Let the past go with it, to repair the wounds it caused and to allow her heart to heal. She resolved to face each day with courage and strength, to find joy in the world around her and her be thankful for her very many gifts.
Instead of having a daughter she couldn't be a mother to, she was thankful for even the insignificant time she had knowing her daughter.
Instead of wanting to change the past, she was learning to live with it.
This envelope was contradicting her resolve. It eyed her from the table, begging her to open it, begging her to at least see it's contents, mocking her silently.
"This is stupid" she told herself, and picked up the envelope, turning it in her hands and making another promise that this time was most definitely the last if she ever planned on successfully moving forward without fear, or doubt, or anger.
She removed the letter first.
Agent Scully -
I am sure that you enjoyed your visit with Emily and her family mid-September. I hope this comes as no surprise or with little disappointment, but now that you have been assured of your daughters safety our correspondence must come to an end. I'm sure you'll agree that I've been more than fair in the past nine months when it came to your emotions. I do indeed assume that you have found the security you were looking for, and can now move forward with your life.
With deepest admiration.
She would have laughed at the polite nature of the note were it not for the sole photograph in the envelope, a snapshot of her kneeling, on the ground, eye level with her daughter, sweet Emily. Emily's hands were touching the cross around Scully's neck as the other hand clutched at the one at her own.
It didn't matter to her how this picture was taken, the fact that it existed overrode that. It didn't take away from the mixture of joy and pain she had when she touched the glossy paper it was printed on.
It was proof; proof that a miracle could and did happen to Dana Scully. It gave meaning to her suffering, to her joy. It was evidence of a moment, however fleeting, that she had been, and would always be, somebody's mother.
Her miracle; the one that once wasn't meant to be was now forever documented, not only in her memory, but on paper.
And it was, for once, enough.
******* the end *******
Thanks for the inspiration, guys! :)