Title: Letting Go
Author: PhileyX
E-Mail: phileyx@yahoo.com
Rating: A swear or two.
Category: MSR
Spoilers: Season 1-5, after The End
Intro: I started this story even before the Fight the Future. So hop on a time machine and go back to after The End.
Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully, Skinner, Diana, Sam, Bill, Tara, Charles and Margaret are Chris Carter's. Life is so unfair.


SCULLY:

I dial his cell-phone number. He answers after the second ring.

"Mulder."

"Mulder, it's me."

"Scully, this is not a good time. I'll call you back."

"You can't. In an hour I'll be on a plane to Salt Lake City."

I hear him hesitate. "What do you mean?"

"Skinner called this morning. They have decided to split us up, Mulder. I'm to report to Salt Lake's FBI medical facility tomorrow. They even booked the flight for me."

There's a shuffle of feet in the background. His muffled voice assures someone his presence. I flinch slightly, realizing I won't be able to see him before I leave.

"Scully, I have to go. Diana's awake. We'll talk about this later."

Diana's awake? My heart sinks and I immediately feel guilty. Did I want her to die? I shake my head to stop the voices in my head. After all, I have the whole flight to ponder about that. "Take care, Mulder." I hang up.


MULDER:

She hangs up. I stare mutely at the white hospital wall as reality sinks in. Slowly I slip my phone into my pocket. The nurse calls my name. I want to ignore her. I want to run out of this place, to my car and drive to the airport. I want--. The nurse calls me again. Diana is awake and she is asking for me. I go to her, unwillingly.

She smiles when she sees me. I try to smile back. "Diana?"

"Fox."

I frown. I hate that name. I prefer--..

She interrupts my thoughts. "I still love you, Fox. That's why I came back to DC."

She loves me? Why? I take her hand in mine. She is struggling to keep her eyes open. I lower my voice. "Sleep. We'll talk later."

She nods her head and obeys me.

As she sleeps, I watch her. I hope we never get to talk.


SCULLY:

My partner's name is Dr. Kevin Stevens. Thirty-four years old and just married. After introductions, he shares with me his fears regarding our new partnership. I just smile, uncomfortable with his honesty and openness. Mulder is less emotional.

Kevin calls me Dana. He shows me around the building and finally our office - a far cry from the Mulder's dark basement. I spend the morning with my new partner. He explains my responsibilities in the facility. There is much to do. No field work, just research.

Kevin has a meeting. He checks on me and then leaves. The moment I hear the door close, I sigh in relief. I have been waiting for this moment all morning - loneliness.

I take this time to psyche myself. I can do this. I will be fine. This is my life now. No more weird, paranormal happenings. Just pure, hard science. And this office will be my new home. At least this time I have a desk.

It's lunchtime and I meet Kevin in the cafeteria. I notice several whispers made in our direction. Kevin catches them too and sheepishly admits that my reputation precedes me. Mrs Spooky, he teases. I groan and shake my head slightly. Secretly, I am grateful for my notoriety keeps them away.


MULDER:

Frustrated, I kick the office door open and kick it close again. Skinner denied my request. He said I was in no position to ask for favours at this moment. He said that I have caught the attentions of the wrong kind of people. And they refuse to allow the ravings of a madman and his partner under their establishment any longer. If I am the madman, why punish her?

Then it hits me. She isn't punished. She has been set free. She has been given the opportunity to bloom in the very area of her expertise.

I sink into my chair and I look across at her side of the desk. My cell-phone rings and I clumsily grope for it in my coat pocket. I am disappointed, it is just the hospital. Diana is recovering fast. I'm glad, I think. I hang up. My finger automatically presses the speed-dial button. Scully's cell phone numbers are displayed on the screen. I know what comes next and yet I wait for it. Within seconds, a voice tells me that the number I just called is not in service.

I allow the voice to repeat itself a few times before I snap. Impulsively, I call the FBI switchboard operator and ask for the number of the Medical Facility in Salt Lake City. If I have to let her go, I have to do it right.


SCULLY:

Mulder left a message with one of the admin staff. Call him, he said. I crush the note and throw it into the rubbish bin. If have to let him go, I have to do it right.

I follow Kevin into the lab. He introduces me to the lab technicians. One of them reminds me of Byers. He gives me a goofy smile and I recognize it. It's one of those smiles that Pendrall used to give me. Oh-oh, have to be careful with this one.

I spend the rest of the day there, getting the feel of the project before the real work starts on Monday; when the test samples arrive. At the end of the day, Kevin offers to send me home. I only agree after he insists. He talks freely about his life and family. I do not reciprocate and am ashamed of it. He is so trusting while I expect him to pull out a gun any second.

"When will your stuff arrive from DC?" he asks.

"Tomorrow."

"Need any help? Monica and I will be glad to help out."

Again, I only agree after he insists.


MULDER:

Scully did not reply any of my messages and I wonder why. We were separated once years ago and she was the one who constantly called; as if to assure me that she would be there for me no matter what happened. Had she changed her mind?

My body aches from the late nights by Diana's bed. She is strong enough to walk now. Doctors are confident that she would be able to leave the hospital next week. We still have not talked about the direction of our relationship. She brought it up several times but I always changed the subject. I need to talk to Scully first.

My phone rings and I pick it up. It is Byers. He tells me Scully's new home number in Salt Lake City. I need not write it down, knowing I will remember it. After he hangs up, I dial the number. It rings for a long time before a strange voice answers. A man's voice.

"Is this Dana Scully's residence?" I ask, very sure that Byers gave me the wrong number. Maybe 'they' registered a phony number to Scully. Maybe 'they' didn't want him to find her.

"Yeah, may I know who's on the line?"

I stop breathing. A few seconds later, I hear him make a few impatient noises, so I answer. "Mulder."

"From DC?"

"Yes," I growl back, growing impatient. If he asks me another question, I swear I'll-.

"Hang on," he doesn't put me on hold but yells away from the phone, "Dana!"

He calls her Dana? Now, I'm angry. She's barely been gone for two days and she's allowed a man into her house and he calls her Dana?

I hear her voice in the background asking who it is.

He answers cheekily. "The infamous Spooky Mulder."

My grip on the phone receiver tightens in anger. But, it immediately loosens as I hear it-laughter. I can't be sure if it's her, but it sounded like her. It must be her.


SCULLY:

I glare at Kevin and Monica fiercely and they quickly excuse themselves into the kitchen. It seems as if I will have to spend the rest of life standing up for Mulder. If only he were less well known.

I pick the receiver. "Mulder?"

"No, actually it's Spooky."

Great, he heard Kevin. "Come on Mulder, you should used to it by now," I rebuke him.

"And are you used to the term Ice Maiden by now?"

His words strike me like a slap on the face. I am silent.

He knows he went too far for he changes the subject. "Who picked up the phone?"

"My new partner." I almost hear him flinch. Good.

"I thought you were assigned to the lab?"

"I was. We're working on a project together."

"So what is he? A lab technician or something?"

I roll my eyes. How typically Mulder. "He's a doctor. Actually he's a specialist in biochemistry and organic cultures."

"How wonderful. I suppose you two hit it off quite well."

"Yeah, we did." I decide to the end the call before he irritates or hurts me any further. "Mulder, I gotta go."

"Yeah, better not keep what's-his-name waiting."

I hang up quickly and plop on the couch in a daze. It often amazes me how he manages to ruin my whole day with just a few of his words. A few seconds later, I hear Kevin and his wife enter the room. They look at me and share a worried look between them. It is only then that I realize that my cheeks are wet with tears. Embarrassed, I mutter something about getting some fresh air and I escape out the front door. As I predicted, Kevin follows me.

"Dana, are you all right?"

I compose myself for his interrogation. "I'm fine, Kevin."

He smiles a little and looks relieved. I almost smile back in surprise. He believes me. He actually believes me when I say it. Now how come that line never works with Mulder?

"If there's anything I can do, you'll let me know?"

"Thanks, I will. It's just been a long day and I really tired."

He nods his head. "You're right. Monica and I should get going and let you have some rest."

"No, please stay. After all your help today, I can't let you go home without dinner."

He looked thoughtful for a moment and then agrees. "Okay, but only if you take us out, you're too exhausted to cook."

"Okay."


MULDER:

Diana shifts slightly as I removed myself from her arms. Slowly I walk out of her bedroom and head for the kitchen. The refrigerator beckons me and I obey its calling. Not for food, God forbid; but the heavenly liquid it holds chilled. The only thing that keeps me going these days. I take a sip and the spirit burns its way down.

Diana and I have been -. exclusive for over a month now. Everyone in the bureau knows about it. Probably Scully does too. News about Spooky usually travels fast.

It just happened. I needed something and she was only too happy to give it to me. What can I say? I am a selfish bastard. I'll worry about breaking her heart later. After all, the last time, she broke mine.


SCULLY:

'Time heals all wounds.' I wonder who came up with that theory. Maybe it just doesn't apply to the Scullys. Mom still pines for Dad. Just like how I pine for--. Sigh. It still hurts. I was right about Diana all along. The night I saw them holding hands in the psyche facility, I knew she would get him back. Mulder never allows anyone else to touch him that long.

I switch on my laptop and dial in. My ICQ alert blinks excitedly. I click on the icon. It's Mulder requesting a chat.

Hey there lab rat!

I smile slightly. Things have been better since we started communicating with the keyboard a few months back. We are back to the normal banter that I enjoy so much. But now, we stick to platonic innuendoes.

//Hey yourself, G-man. Have they settled your reassignment yet?//

I wish. Meanwhile, Skinner's got me in a back of a van the whole week listening to a dirty senator and his call-girls.

//Ooooo. That should be right up your alley.//

It's not much fun when the senator is 65 and he keeps asking for a neck brace.

I grimace at the thought.

//Mulder, change the subject.//

So, how's Mr. Genius.

He's been more gracious about Kevin since I told him that he was married.

//Getting smarter. Sigh-//

What's wrong?

//I don't know. I guess I've been a little distracted lately. Been missing some obvious observations.//

Bored?

//Maybe. How are you doing, going cold turkey?//

Well, I still have my buddies to relive my paranoial days.

//How is Byers?//

I knew you had something going for that geek!

//I just think he's a very sweet guy.//

Frohike would be very disappointed. He's been waiting for you for a long time.

//I'll think about it when hell freezes over.//

Ouch! Darn, gotta go. Talk to you next week.

//Okay.//

The chat screen disappears as I fall into my usual routine of wondering what made him 'gotta go'. Probably Diana. I sigh again.


MULDER:

I am smiling like an idiot and my mind is elsewhere. The usual routine after a chat with Scully. The knocks on the door get louder. I hurry to it.

I stop breathing when I realize who it is standing in front of my apartment door.

"Sam?" I manage to croak.

She smiles. "I think it's about time my children got to know their uncle." She half turns and nods towards two children behind her who were busy screaming their tonsils out at each other.

I look back at her in surprise. "I don't know if I'll be much of an uncle."

She shakes her head. "I'm sorry I waited this long to face reality."

I hesitate. "What about your father?"

"I haven't seen my father since the night I last saw you and he dropped me off at my home. I don't know where he is and honestly I don't really care." She hesitates. "You were right, he's a liar. All my records and his are false. My whole life is a sham."

"Don't say that." I reach out and take her hand. "You're my sister. And this time, I'm not letting you out of my sight."

She grins. "I'm quite sure my husband would have something to say about that."

I see the twinkle in her eye and laugh. I can't wait to meet my brother-in-law.

** **

SAM:

'Oh-oh', my computer groans. Incoming message from 'Moby'? I click 'accept' and read the dialog box.

//G-man, can you chat? Curious about your Sam.//

I frown and yell for my husband. "Honey, has anyone else been using our PC besides us?"

He yells back from the next room. "Yeah, your brother."

Fox? G-man? Yup, makes sense. Well, if Moby wants to know about Sam, he can damn well ask Sam personally. I request for chat.

//Hey G-man. Back on the ground yet?//

Actually G-man is back in DC. I'm Sam. What do you want to know about me?

Nothing. I wait. Still nothing.

Moby?

//Hi. I'm Dana.//

Dana? Fox's ex-partner. He talked about her a lot. Well, as much as he can before he wonders off into his own world.

Hi Dana. Fox told me about you.

//He told me a lot about you too.//

Well whatever he told you, it isn't true.

//Grinning-. He's really happy now that you're back.//

I was never gone. I was just afraid of my past-- my future.

//That's understandable.//

How did you stand him for five years?

//What?//

I mean, Fox can be such an irritating child at times. I can't seem to differentiate him from my children.

//LOL. He's only irritating when he's bothered by something. Or when he's bored, which is most of the time.//

He's such a hyper. And the sunflower seeds-.. arggghhhhh. I vacuum my carpet everyday when he's around.

//Ah the joys of having a brother around.//

How many do you have to put up with?

//Two. Both surprisingly found wives who could actually stand them.//

Yeah, how Diana stands Fox is beyond me.


SCULLY:

I hesitate. Mulder and I usually avoid talking about Diana. It's just a silent or rather unwritten understanding that we have. Chatting with Sam about Diana wouldn't be too comfortable either.

Dana, are you still there?

//Yeah sorry. Zoned out for a second.//

I change the subject.

//Mulder told me about your children.//

Yes, angels on the surface, devils at home.

//Mulder keeps going on and on about little Sarah.//

Yeah, I think she is Fox's favourite too. Sarah invited him over for a tea-party with her dolls next Saturday. Isn't that cute?

My mind suddenly flashes an image of Emily. A familiar dull throb begins in my chest.

//That's very sweet of her. Did he accept?//

He told her that he wouldn't miss it for the world.

//How about Mike? Does he get along with his uncle?//

Oh don't get me started on that. Mulder will keep him busy with stories about flying saucers and little Martians.

//Oh-oh.//

My sentiments exactly. Now, Mike wants to grow up to be a FBI agent and go chasing after little black Martians.

// Little black Martians?//

You know, like the Martian in Bugs Bunny?

//Ah. I'll talk to Mulder.//

Thank you, Dana. At least I found an ally in someone. Mark just thinks it's absolutely hilarious and Diana doesn't bother.

I frown. It's sounds as if Sam doesn't really like her. I feel a little guilty at what I'm about to ask.

//Do the children take to Diana?//

Well, they've only seen her once, so I can't tell. Truth be told, I've only seen her once or twice myself. Nice girl I think, I suppose you know her well.

//Not really. Just what I hear from Mulder.//

Really? Because Fox doesn't say much about her--. Dana, why do you call Fox, Mulder?

//He doesn't like being called Fox.//

Nonsense, we all call him Fox here.

Somehow that fact hurt. I take a deep breath and continue.

//I don't know. You'll have to ask him that.//

I think it's endearing.

//What is?//

You calling him Mulder and he calling you Scully even after five years of partnership. It's like the terms are reserved specially for the both of you to use.

//Many people call me Scully too.//

No, I believe many people call you Agent Scully, never Scully alone.

I blink my eyes. She's right.

Feel better?

My fingers freeze. She's not psychic, is she? I take the chance and be honest.

//Yes.//

It's hard to lose a partner after years of covering each other's ass. It's even harder when you're in love with him.

I gasp aloud. Talk about being spooky! Samantha just took over the title from the reigning champion, her brother. She begins typing again after a pause.

Eight years ago, Mark and I worked together in a paramedic unit. We were partners for 3 years. When he hurt his back in a rescue attempt, he left the unit and worked as a male nurse in a hospital. I missed him dreadfully, became totally jealous of any new friends that he made, male or female. Then it hit me, I was in love with him. Thank God, by that time, it hit him too. He proposed, I said yes and the rest is -.

I sigh in relief. Fox Mulder retains his title as the King of Spookiness! I complete Sam's sentence.

//--..history.//

Yes. So any chance you're in love with my brother, Dana?

My eyes widen at her question. Maybe spookiness runs in the family.

//If it hits me. I'll let you know.//

LOL


SAM:

"Mark, where's Mike?"

"In bed," he mutters in reply.

"By himself-.." I ask in amazement and glance at the clock. "Good heavens, it's eleven already?"

My husband looks up from his TV guide and raises his eyebrow. "Your little devil hasn't quite gotten rid of his horns yet. **I** had to put him in bed while you were chatting with Dana. It's unbelievable how the two of you can go on. Fox was amazed himself when I told him."

I sit beside Mark and draw his arm around me. "Well, I like Dana. And if she didn't get transferred to Salt Lake City, she'd probably be hanging out here with Fox during weekends." I sigh in irritation. "Unfortunately, we have to make do with Diana."

"I don't understand what is your problem with her. She's nice."

I frown. "She is?"

Mark sighs and rests his chin on my head as I lean against his chest.

"Bottom line is she's Fox's girl and there's nothing you can do about it."

I am silent for a while, enjoying Mark's soft caress. I know I am about to irritate him but I ask anyway.

"Do you think Dana and Fox were once involved?"

I was right. He groans. I turn to face him. "They could be secretly in love with each other just like we were."

"If they are, then they're damned fools to stay apart this long."

"We took a few months to figure it out ourselves."

"It's been nearly half a year for them now."

"But think about it Mark, if we could only get the two of them to-."

He cuts in quickly. "We? I refuse to do anything. And I forbid you to try anything either. Will you just let Fox and Dana figure out their own lives?"

"But-"

"Case closed."

I pout childishly. He gives me stern look but grins half second later. With an evil look in his eye, he pulls me towards him and kisses me hard on the mouth. Case closed.


SCULLY:

Nick winks at me and steps up to the batter's plate. I smile in response. Beside me, I hear Kevin grunt in annoyance.

"What?" I ask him although I fully know the reason.

"Nothing." He softly growls back.

I roll my eyes and chide him. "Get a life, you said. Start dating, you said-."

He interrupts me. "But why him?"

"Why not him? He's good-looking, smart, caring and amazingly funny."

"Exactly! He's just too-.." Kevin grimaces as he searches for the word.

"Perfect?" I raise an eyebrow.

He sighs. "Yes, nobody can be **that** perfect."

"So you rather I go out with a psychopath?"

He gives me a look and turns his attention back to the ball game. The pitcher pitches and Kevin hits it straight out past the centre field.

My partner groans. "A homerun. It figures!"

"Kevin, get a life!"

I watch Nick make his way safely back to the homeplate with pride. He looks at me and grins. I give him a thumbs up sign. Maybe time does heal all wounds after all.


MULDER:

She's dating someone, so I gathered from Sam. My first reaction was to call the Gunman to do a background check on the guy but I restrain myself. I should let her go. She let me go quite easily. We still chat regularly. Diana has given up trying to get me out on Friday nights. My excuse is NBA and Diana can't stand basketball or any organized sport to call my bluff. Scully on the other hand has cable now. I know she tunes into ESPN just for me. Heck, I tune in the Medical Channel just for her.

Sam's getting closer and closer to Scully. I find myself envious that she actually gets to talk to her and hear her voice. I want to call her but I don't. I just know if I hear Nick's voice in the background, I'd take the first flight to Salt Lake City and beat the living daylights out of him. God, I'm worse than Bill!


SCULLY:

My eyes take time to get used to the sudden darkness. Sam was right, there's someone at the door. I hear him fumble with the keys, hear it drop, a curse and then the keys again. I hold my breath but let it go when Sarah brushes past me. Sam groans behind me as she attempts to go after her daughter. In the dark, she trips over a cushion and falls on her husband, who loses his balance and falls on a pair of the twins, crouched in front of him. Muffled cries break the silence as the unaffected parties' hiss a soft 'shhhh' to quieten the commotion.

Then, I hear it; the familiar click of a gun. The sound makes me reach for mine instinctively. The door opens. I see the glint of metal with the help of the street light pouring in from outside. Only then, do I realize the danger of the situation. I raise my voice to warn Mulder. "Mulder, don't shoot!"


MULDER:

I hear her voice and immediately uncock my gun. The reaction was so automatic that I am slightly taken back. It just proves how much I trust her.

I see a little figure in the dark hurling itself towards me. My beat skips a second. The lights suddenly come on and I see what's coming my way, my niece. I catch her when she jumps into my arms.

"Happy Birthday Unca Foxy!" Sarah squeals.

Sam appears just beside her. "Fox, put away your gun! What's the matter with you?"

"I heard something. I thought there were burglars." I explain, half stunned with the thought that I almost pointed my gun at my own niece. I suddenly notice the crowd in Sam's living room. A banner hanging across the room explains it all- a surprise birthday party for me. At once, Sam's sudden plan to go out of town and she insisting that I housesit for her makes perfect sense now. But something does not quite fit - Scully's voice, was it just my imagination?

Sam introduces me to her colleagues and a few family friends. I shake their hands and smile, slightly embarrassed. As I make it to the end of the room, I see her. I stop and stare.


SAM:

He loves her. It's so obvious. The way he is looking at her tells is all. He begins walking towards her, ignoring the well wishes made to him on the way. Then Dana looks up and sees him--I'll be damned, she loves him too.

I immediately glance around the room for Mark. I know he caught the looks between them because he's frowning. He shakes his head slightly to warn me. I stick out my tougue at him defiantly. He rolls his eyes in reply.

Plan A, all systems go.


MULDER:

We're stuck in the cellar. It sounds unbelievable but we are stuck in the cellar on my birthday. I think about Sam's smile when she sent us down here to get a bottle of wine. Nah, she wouldn't do this. There wouldn't be any reason too.

"You're kidding me right?" Scully asks me for the second time.

"Nope."

She groans. "It has to be you, Mulder. Every time I get near you, something weird happens."

I nearly take the comment seriously but her smile puts me at ease. She makes herself comfortable on the dry but dusty floor. I sit beside her.

I ask her the question that's been on my mind all this while. "So when's the big day?"

She looks at me in surprise. I nod towards the ring on her finger. "My powers of observation are legendary, remember?"

She smiles and looks away. "Soon."

I don't know how to reply to that so I am silent.

It's her turn to ask now. "How about you?"

I clear my throat. "You know me, Scully."

"Thing's are different now. You've got Sam back."

"That's doesn't make everything okay. Too many memories-.. bad ones."

"Why isn't Diana here?"

I sigh. "Because Sam planned the party and she hates Diana."

"Oh."

I change the subject. "You're sure about this? Ever thought of living together first?"

She laughs softly. "I don't even want to think how Mom would react to that."

I laugh too.

"How did your Easter weekend turn out?" She asks.

"I bailed. The last thing I wanted to do was to spend it with Sam's in-laws. It just felt like I would be intruding. So Diana and I hopped into the car and spent two days in a small town in Virginia."

She clears her throat. "Why Virginia?"

"Well, there were some pretty spooky happenings around there that I thought would be fun checking out."

She snorts back. "I bet Diana didn't think it was as much fun?"

I decided to hide the fact that Diana was originally horrified at the idea. "She didn't mind."

"Really? Well, I do hope you saw something, Mulder, or it would have been a real boring weekend."

"You bet I did. I even have tape recordings of the wailing sounds."

She rolls her eyes.

I go on. "Diana had some interesting theories."

"Mulder, for all you know it could be a ruse to attract more tourists to the town."

"But there's history behind the ghosts. Pure facts."

"And where did these facts come from?"

"The local library."

"Which could have been hoaxed-"

"Scully, the story goes that a happily married couple were living in that house when a pair of escaped convicts took refuge in their house against their will. They raped the young wife and tortured the husband. And they were left to die. Two weeks after the convicts were found dead in the forest nearby, the police managed to trace their tracks back to the house, They found the husband still alive, holding on to his dead wife. With his dying breath he vowed to live there with his wife forever."

She sighs. "Mulder, did you actually see anything?"

I nod my head enthusiastically. "On the second night, Diana and I were sharing a sleeping bag when a sudden chill woke me. It was dark but a shimmering silhouette could be clearly made out a few feet away. It was a figure of a young man. He was shaking his head at me. More curious than afraid, I ask him what's wrong. He didn't answer, just kept shaking his head. I was about to wake Diana but he disappeared. What do you think of that?"

"A dream." She responds without a blink of an eye.

I feel disappointed and angry at her reply. "But I saw it, Scully!"

"Mulder, by that time you were probably so desperate to see something that in your sub-consciousness, you dreamt it all up."

Now, I'm really frustrated. This woman is impossible. God himself could come down and tell her that ghosts do exist and she'd probably argue with him. "I was not asleep!"

She scowls and snaps back. "Sure, fine, whatever!" Clearly agitated, she gets up and paces around. "Just how long are we going to be in here?"

I do not reply and continue sulking.

She turns to look at me. "Oh for God's sakes Mulder, grow up!"

I immediately get up and say what's on my mind. "Scully, why is it that when I see a ghost, it's a product of my imagination; but when you see Emily, it's real?"


SCULLY:

I stop in my tracks. His words pierce me through. And he realizes it. He looks down immediately in shame. I am about to rebuke him for using Emily as a comparison but I stop myself. After all, I was the one who goaded him.

He saw something and I refused to believe him. It wasn't intentional, I was just irritated. It really was his fault. He kept bringing Diana up. Spending the weekend together, sharing a sleeping bag, Diana with interesting theories- I didn't need to hear all that. I know they're sleeping together. Hell, the whole world knows.

But bringing Emily up was a dirty trick. He knows how much Emily means to me. He knows how uncomfortable it was for me to share my visions of Emily with him. And yet I did and he actually used it against me. And for what? For me to believe that he saw some stupid, fucking ghost?

I need to get out of here. Impulsively, I release my gun from it's upholster and walk towards the door.

"Scully, where are you going?" I hear him behind me.

I ignore him and aim at the lock. The blast is deafening but effective. The door opens.

I underestimated his agility. Within two seconds, he catches up and pushes me against the wall outside the cellar. He traps me in between his arms.

"Let me go, Mulder." My voice is reduced to a hiss now.

He stares right into my eyes. So intensely that it hurts.

"Not until you hear what I have to say." He growls back. I keep my head up, refusing to be intimidated.

"What's going on here? I heard -.gunshot?" Sam interrupts the tension between us.

Amidst the distraction, I take the opportunity and duck under his right arm to free myself. He tries to grab me, but this time I'm too fast for him. I take refuge behind his sister as I apologize profusely for the door.

"Sam, I'm sorry about the door. Mulder will pay for it. I have to go."

"What? Why?" She is clearly confused.

I rack my brain for an excuse. Ah, to hell with excuses. "I just do. Thank you for everything." I give her a quick hug and almost run through the living room for the door.

Damn him! He always does this. Always! The man is a bloody moron. He knows exactly how to ruin everything. I make it outside and head for my car.

"Scully!" His voice stops me and I wait for it. "I'm sorry."

Ah yes, the groveling. His favourite part.

I turn to look at him. My hand digs deep into my coat pocket and pulls out a small box. He notices it and frowns. I toss it to him and he deftly catches it. He looks at it and then back at me.

"Your birthday present." I explain. "Happy Birthday, Mulder!" I open my car door and get inside.

He calls my name again. I shake my head and yell back. "Let's just stick to e-mails, okay?" I do not wait for his reply and start the car.


MARGARET:

Dana is panicking. It's a very rare occurrence and it's even rarer when it's all because of a dress. She growls in frustration for the millionth time and utters a loud expletive.

"Dana!" I protest.

"Sorry Mom, my bra strap just got stuck to my dress zipper!" She moans in reply.

I sigh and return to her side. Lord, her bra strap is definitely stuck to the zipper. "Dana, I'm gonna get a pair of scissors. I'll be right back okay?"

"Could you get me a needle and some black thread too. The dress is too long. I need to raise the hem up a little."

"Dana, the dinner guests will be arriving in twenty minutes. You won't have time for all that."

"Well, I'm not gonna go out there looking like Julie Andrews!"

"All right, all right. Just be patient, I'll be right back."

"Stupid leggy models." I hear my daughter mutter just as I close the door. I make my way downstairs towards the hotel lobby. Some guests have started arriving. I smile and nod at some of them. They're mostly Nick's relatives.

The receptionist smiles at me and disappears to see to my requests. I lean against the counter to take a breather. Thank God Dana and Nick decided to have the engagement party in a hotel. I don't think I'll ever survive the hassle if they catered and had it at home.

"Well, does the dress fit?" Charlie suddenly appears at my side.

"Yes Charlie, but I would advise you **not** to go up there."

"Why not? The dress fits."

"Yes, but it's too long and her bra strap is caught in the dress zipper."

My youngest lets out a low whistle and then whines. "Well, it's really her fault."

I raise my eyebrow. "Her fault?"

"Well, she knows how forgetful I am. How could she trust me with her engagement dress? At least, I managed to get her another in time. And one that fits too."

I shake my head in disgust. "Charlie, just stay away from your sister for a few years, okay?"

The receptionist returns with the items I need. Charlie frowns at them. "What is she going to do? Sew a new dress?"

"Yeah, from the drapes hanging on the hotel room windows. Just like Julie Andrews."

Charlie snorts in reply and accompanies me towards the stairs. It's then that I see Fox. In my excitement, I dump the sewing kit in my son's hands and rush to my daughter's ex-partner.

"Fox!"

He smiles at me warmly. I've always liked his smile.

"Hi, Mrs. Scully." He shyly gives me a kiss on the cheek.

"Where's Diana?" I try to say her name without frowning. Unfortunately, I am not successful.

"She'll be here shortly."

"Special Agent Fox Mulder?" Charlie rudely cuts it.

Fox stiffens slightly and turns to face Charlie. He seems to recognize the resemblance. "Lieutenant Charles Scully?"

"Yes. I've heard a lot about you, Mr. Mulder."

"You have?"

"Yes, Bill filled me in."

Fox's jaw tighten.

I almost groan at Charlie's attempt to intimidate him. Dana's Fox isn't that easily put off. I take the sewing kit from Charlie's hands and place it in Fox's.

"Fox, do me a favour and bring this up to Dana. She's on the first floor, room No. 211. She'll probably need a hand in there."

I see Charlie's eyes widen. "But Mom-.."

"Hush now, can't you see the guests are arriving? Your sister is going to be delayed and we have to attend to them." I turn to Fox to thank him and send him off to my half-dressed daughter.


CHARLIE:

I finally find Juliette. She's helping Tara hold Matthew.

"There's something weird going on around here." I tell her.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, Mom just sent Dana's ex-partner upstairs to help her get her bra strap unstuck from her zipper."

"Isn't Dana's ex-partner the Mulder guy that Bill mentioned?"

"Uh-huh. I mentioned it to Bill. His whole face turned red immediately. He's outside right now waiting for Mulder's girlfriend to arrive."

"Why?"

"I don't know, said something about keeping Mulder away from Dana."

"I see"

I scowl. "You do? Mind sharing thoughts because I sincerely think everyone is crazy around here. I mean, Mom actually sent a man to Dana's room while she's changing!"

"Dana's in love with Fox Mulder. That's why Bill's so uptight."

I stare at her incredulously. "She's marrying Nick."

"Yeah, well that I haven't quite figured out yet."

I sigh. It's the air. Everyone permanently living on dry ground seems to be loony, including my wife.


MULDER:

I knock on the door once and turn the doorknob.

"There you are. What took you so long?"

I stand at the doorway for a while, stunned. Scully's back faces me. Her green dress is halfway unzipped and halfway off her shoulders, thus showing her black bra. The contrast of the lingerie against her white skin seem to grab hold of my brain.

"Mom, will you please cut my bra and release this damned thing?" Scully was whining impatiently now. Despite her plea, she was concentrating on folding up the ends of her dress, exposing more white skin. My mouth is suddenly dry.

I try to make a decision. I should clear my throat or say something so that she'll know it's me and not her mom. Or I should leave the sewing kit on the bed and leave. Or -..I could cut her bra?

Somehow, the last idea seems to appeal to me. Although I can't think of any earthly, **decent** reason why she wants me to cut her bra and release her damned thing or rather things. But hey, who am I to argue?

I close the door, open the sewing kit, remove the scissors and walk over to her. She's still preoccupied with her skirt. Carefully not to touching her, I gently pull the strap away from her body and cut it. Almost immediately after, I step back.


SCULLY:

I hear the scissors snip and suddenly my bra loosens. I straighten myself and frown. My hand instinctively reaches behind to feel for my bra. It's unhooked? No, it's - it's - no it can't be. I turn around to face my Mom, another whine at the tip of my tougue.

"Mo-.." I stop and stare at --.Mulder?

He sheepishly grins back. "Hi Scully."

Suddenly I realise that he's seeing more skin than he should. I pull my dress up quickly, at the same time demanding an explanation from him. "Just what are you doing here?"

"Your Mom sent me up to help you."

"My Mom sent you to help me?"

"Why are you repeating my answer as a question?"

I frown. "Turn around, Mulder."

He obeys me and faces the door. I pull down the dress again and with the help of a mirror, struggle to see the damage. He cut the strap clean through!

"Mulder, why did you cut my bra strap?"

"Because you told me to." He answers simply.

"I asked you to cut the thread that was caught at the zipper, not the whole strap." I moan.

"You asked me to, quote: 'cut my bra', unquote."

I count to ten to calm myself down. "Mulder, go get my Mom."

"She's busy attending to the guests." I hear him sigh. "Look, there's a needle and thread here, why don't you let me sew it up for you?"

"Mulder, go get Tara."

"Scully, just let me do it, okay? I was a Boy Scout once."

"You were an Indian Scout."

"Well, Indian Scouts sew too."

I wish I had my gun.

"It's 7.15pm, Scully. The guests are waiting--"

Okay, I kill him with my bare hands after he sews my bra. "Is there two needles? You sew my bra strap, I'll sew the hem of the dress."

He turns to me. "What's wrong with the hem of the dress."

"It's too long."

"No, I don't think so. Maybe you're too-" He stops when I glare at him, then continues "-err-. Yeah, it's too long." He frowns and retrieves the sewing kit from the bed.


CHARLIE:

Bill is acting like a maniac. He obviously has no idea how Diana looks like because he asks every lone female guest her name as she enters. I walk to his side to tell him off. I mean, what could Fox Mulder possibly do now? Dana's crazy about Nick.

Before I could get to him, I see his face brighten and he impatiently ushers a new arrival towards the stairs. I'm guessing the lady is Mulder's girlfriend. I sense trouble so I go look for Tara and Mom.


MULDER:

"You know, I've just been thinking."

"Oh-oh."

I smile at her tease. "You've seen me in all my glory a couple of times but I haven't had this pleasure at all during our partnership."

"That's because I don't nearly get in as much trouble as you do."

"You mean, you never got your bra strap caught in your zipper before today?"

"Mulder, concentrate on the bra please."

I should take her advice but my mind has other ideas. Her skin is so soft. Every time I accidentally touch her, I feel my skin burn at the contact. Her red hair is neatly pinned up, showing off the ivory fair neck. Her nearness allows me to smell her. And I just love the way she smells.

It's intoxicating. I can't help myself and lean closer.


SCULLY:

He leans closer. I feel his breath on my neck. My skin tingles in excitement.

This is wrong.

He smells so good. Just like always.

This is very wrong.

I lean back a little, wanting more. I'm unsure of what. Then I feel it. A very slight contact of his lips at the back of my neck. I stop breathing.

This is very, very wrong.

I hear a knock on the door. I hardly have a chance to step away from Mulder before it opens. Nothing however, prepares me for Diana's entry.

She looks at us, her mouth opens and then closes. It's only then that I distance myself a little from Mulder. It's kinda difficult because he's still gripping my bra strap in his fingers.

"Diana? Oh good, you made it." I hear Mulder ask her. I frown. It's just not humanly possible that he can be so calm.

"What's going on here?" She demands to know.

I realize again that I'm almost naked and pull up my dress.

Mulder just shrugs nonchalantly and I feel like kicking him. He is definitely **not helping**. I see Bill's head poking in the doorway and I almost groan. So he's behind this. I start to explain. "Diana-"

My Mom and Tara suddenly barge in.

"Dana, are you ready yet?" Mom ignores Diana and walks towards me.

"No."

I see Charlie at the doorway now. He adds in. "Dana, hurry up. Nick's getting worried."

"What's going on?" Tara asks.

Charlie gallantly comes to her aid. "Dana's bra strap got caught to her zipper. Mulder was just helping her-."

"He was what?" Diana almost yells.

I relate Mulder's futile attempt. "He tried to help but he cut my strap instead."

"He what?" Mom, Bill, Tara and Charlie exclaim in unison.

Mulder snaps back. "She asked me to cut her bra!"

Mom raises her eyebrow at me. "You asked him to cut your bra?"

"Do all Scullys repeat answers as questions?" Mulder frowns, genuinely wanting to know.

Okay, I've about had it. These people obviously don't seem to realize that my bra is loose, my dress is a mess and there's a roomful of people not to mention my fianc, waiting for me downstairs. I take a deep breath before I speak.

"I don't mean to be rude but will all of you get out of her and let me fix my dress in peace?!?"

All stare at me.

Maybe my voice was a tad bit loud.

I try for desperation. "Please-.."

It works and all head out the door. Well, not all. Mulder is still holding my strap and seem to have no intention of leaving.

I almost growl at him. "Mulder, you too."

"But, I'm not done yet."

For a second, I'm confused. He's not done with the bra or he's not done with-.me?

"If I let go now, the stitches will undo itself."

Okay, he's not done with the bra. I shake my head slightly to clear my head. What is wrong with me? I'm supposed to be over him.

"I'll take care of it myself Mulder. Please go." My voice must have reflected my feelings because he doesn't argue and quietly leaves. I start to wonder if I did the right thing by accepting Nick's proposal.


MULDER:

I slump onto a chair and Diana sits next to me, silent and furious. I ignore her.

I can't believe what just happened. I was so close to kissing Scully. Thank God she had no clue what I was doing behind her back, too busy with her skirt. That's my girl, always in focus.

Diana however, knew. She took one look at my face and knew. Probably noticed the drool at the corner of my mouth too. I sigh, it's break-up night.

The Scullys crowd around Nick, assuring him that Scully would be down soon. Nick-. just what kind of name is 'Nick' anyway? It's not even short form for Nicholas, it's just Nick. Sounds like a jock with no brain-cells. Come to think of it, he looks like a jock with no brain-cells.

Someone taps me on the shoulder and I turn around. It's Sam. She smiles at me, takes one look at Diana's scowling countenance and raise an inquiring eyebrow. I roll my eyes at her, sign language for 'mind you own business'. She grins in reply.

My cell-phone burrs softly. I sigh in relief, taking the opportunity to leave the hall. It's Byers.


SAM:

He left. He actually left in the middle of Dana's engagement party. And the bride hadn't even made her appearance yet. Well, at least he had the good sense to take Diana with him.

Ah, there she is. Dana looks splendid. The dress is just perfect for her. Nick walks over to his fiance and kisses her.

How I wish it was Mulder kissing her instead. I lean against the pillar beside me and sigh sadly. My head cocks sideways in surprise as my sigh blends in with two other sighs next to me. I lean forward to see whom they belong to.

Margaret and Tara Scully? From their expressions, I gather that they too heard my sad lament. We share a look. Intuition tells me that they feel the same way I do.

Margaret clears her throat to speak. "It's such a pity that Fox had to go-."

I grin, my intuition never fails. "Yeah, I would love to see him witness **this**." I jerk my head lightly towards the passionate kiss in front of the room.

The Scully women chuckle and smile warmly at me.

Suddenly, Tara's eyes brighten. "Here comes my bumbling husband."

I turn and greet Dana's brothers and sister-in-law with a smile. The elder brother looks exceedingly jubilant, until his wife burst his bubble.

Tara spread her arms around his neck and kisses him hard. "I love you Bill Scully!"

"And I keep wondering why--." Charlie mutters in mock disgust.

"Wow, you're not usually this emotional at engagement parties." Bill frowns at his wife in surprise.

"Who cares about the engagement party? I'm talking about bringing Diana up to the room. Did you see her face when she left it, it was classic. Oh, I do love you Bill. Now, she'll break up with Mulder and we just have to concentrate on getting Dana to break up with Nick." She kisses him again and skips away gaily.

Realization dawns on Bill's face. I smother a laugh. Margaret and Juliette however are less considerate and they start giggling.

"It's not funny!" Bill groans.

"I don't get it." Charlie tugs at Bill's sleeve. "I thought you hated Mulder."

"I do!"

"Then why did you-"

"Oh, shut up!" He growls and walks away cursing.

Juliette takes her husband's arm and scolds him laughingly. "You really shouldn't have rubbed the salt in the wound."

"What do you mean? I really didn't get it."

Charlie's confused face make us burst in laughter.


BYERS:

Mulder looks like hell. If Agent Scully were to see him in this condition, she'd probably kill us for not taking better care of him. We tried. Honestly, we did. But he's relentless. Kept saying that there wasn't much time. He worked during the day, researched during the night and traveled during the weekends. And we followed suite. But at least there are three of us to take turns sleeping. Mulder on the other hand-

Considering the alternatives, Mulder is right. There is no time to waste. We have to find a match before September, before Agent Scully marries.


SCULLY:

My Inbox is empty. I frown and log off. That was probably the eighth time that I've checked my mail today.

Something is just not right. I haven't heard from Mulder since the engagement party. He doesn't go online, no e-mails and no calls. He can't still be sulking because he never got to finish the stitches on my bra, can he? I shake my head at the ridiculous thought. Mulder may be childish but not this immature. God, I need to get him off my mind.

I sit cross-legged on my couch and take a deep breath. I relax my body, close my eyes and try to meditate just like how Nick meditates after a bad day. I focus on my fianc. His gorgeous face and his splendid body. The phone rings. I reach out for it without opening my eyes.

"Dana?"

"Hi Mom." Nick's smile and his warm arms.

" I just wanted to ask you if you sent Fox an invitation?"

My eyes snap open and I groan. It's a conspiracy! "Mom!"

"What?"

"Don't act all innocent on me. What's going on?" I demand.

"What do you mean?"

"You know what I mean. Between Tara and you, the name Fox have probably been mentioned a least fifty times since the engagement party."

"Nonsense honey."

"Sam's no better. She actually interrupted an important department meeting, said it was urgent, only to tell me that 'Fox broke up with Diana'. Important she said-"

"Fox broke up with Diana? Hmmmm-.."

I roll my eyes. "Mom, this is really getting out of hand, okay?"

I hear her sigh. "Fine. Whatever you say." She pauses. "I dreamt of Melissa last night."

"You did?"

"Yes. We were sitting on my living room couch, talking. I can't really remember what exactly we talked about but what I remember clearly was her asking me to pass you a message."

"What did she say?"

"She told me to tell you that **he** needs you right now and you should go to him."

"Who?"

"I don't know." She admits, slightly surprised that I'm taking her dream seriously. "Honey, it was just a dream. I'm sure it didn't mean anything."

I frown. The last time Melissa talked to me was about Emily. But this time, it's a him. Could **he** be Mulder? I mentally resolve to call Sam to find out if Mulder is okay.


JULIETTE:

The flowers at the altar are lovely. I squeeze my husband's hand as memories of our wedding flashes through my mind. He smiles at me knowingly and then sets his gaze back to his beautiful sister.

Dana looks absolutely stunning in white. Everyone in the room was mesmerized when she walked up the aisle. Now she stands rightfully beside her husband-to-be, in front of Father McCue.

Father McCue begins the wedding mass with the sign of the cross and the his introduction. |"Dearly beloved, we are all gathered here to witness the union -"|

I glance at Margaret, Tara and Bill. They all look a little disconcerted. I wonder if Margaret and Tara are still hoping Mulder will turn up and rescue Dana from a terrible mistake. I also wonder if Bill is expecting the same.

|"Marriage is a sacred sacrament and should be regarded --.."|

Charlie breathes in sharply. I catch his line of view. He is looking at the reflection of the metal cross on the altar. I frown as I recognize the figure and turn around to confirm my suspicion.

|"I ask you now, brothers and sisters in Christ, to pray for this couple-."|

My action causes the rest of my in-laws to turn as well and they gasp simultaneously at the sight of Fox Mulder walking up the aisle. Margaret's and Tara's faces light up with joy, Bill's in terror and Charlie's in disbelief.

"Do something." Charlie mumbles while nudging Bill.

"I'd really like to bash him up but Dana will kick my ass if I laid a finger on him."

|"If anyone here knows of any reason why this man and this woman should not be wed-.."|

Mulder is walking faster now. His quick footsteps upon the church floor alert Nick and Dana. They turn around briefly to see who is it. I can't be sure but I thought I saw Dana frown.

My husband is almost frantic now. "He's going to ruin the wedding. Do something!"

Surprisingly, Bill ignores his pleas. Frustrated, my Charlie pushes his brother towards the aisle just as Fox was about to pass him by. Bill clumsily steps in front of the latter, causing him to trip and stumble towards the altar.

|"or forever hold your-.. Oh my Goodness!"|

"Bill!!!!!" Margaret and Tara exclaim loudly.

"Charlie pushed me!"

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law still glare at my brother-in-law furiously.

"Honest! He pushed me!"


MULDER:

I recover from my fall to find myself at her feet. I look up and I see the woman I love in white, beautiful and ready. Ready to marry another man.

I, on the other hand spent months searching for reasons to persuade her not to marry. Why? Because I love her? No, because I'm a selfish bastard who wants to ruin her life.

I stand up, my eyes unable to tear away from her face. She is surprised, that much I can decipher, but there's something else and I don't understand that look.

"Mulder? I thought you weren't coming." I hear her ask me.

How could I even think of doing this to her, now, on her wedding day? God, I'm sick. My brains searches hard for an excuse.

"Mulder?" Her eyes start to worry.

She cares so much for me, but not the way I want her too. I often thought if she could be in love with me, but common sense soon takes over. All I am to Dana Scully, is the man who turned her life in a living hell. From day one, she walked into my life, I took her youth, energy, family and career from her. I sapped everything up and gave her nothing in return. And she gave it all without complaint.

She frowns and I realize it's about time I say something. "I just came to wish you good luck." I managed to mutter.

She looks at me in surprise. A second later, she smiles a little. A sad smile. The kind of smile she gave me when I appeared at her daughter's funeral.

Suddenly I realize that 'this is it'. My Dana Scully is going to marry another and I will never be able to get her back. How does one say goodbye to the only reason he keeps living for?

Impulsively my heart answers the question for me and I pull her gently into my arms and kiss her hard on her soft lips. Then, I let her go, nod at her stunned fianc and marched towards the door, racing with the raging emotions in my chest.


SCULLY:

He kissed me! I watch him leave with my mouth slightly open. My head clears a little when I hear a strangled sound on my left. I turn to see Nick's enraged face. He stares accusingly at me as if I was the one that kissed Mulder. With amazing calmness, I reach for his hand and turn back to face Fr. McCue. I can see that the good priest is hesitating, reluctant to continue the wedding until an explanation is made. I smile sweetly at him and tell him that my ex-partner is fond of practical jokes.

With that, he sighs in relief and the whole congregation seems to follow suite. Nick however, still keeps a frown and I wonder why. Does he know that for one moment in my life, I had wished to God that time would stop and Mulder can kiss me forever?


NICK:

The hospital couches in the waiting room are comfy enough. Dana leans against my shoulder, tired at the day's events. I smile and bring my arm around her, offering her my chest as a pillow instead. She hesitates but eventually accepts.

My mind flashes back our first few dates. The Dana then was a bit of a mystery. At first I thought she was a snob, but then I realized that she was just wary. She always kept me at arm's length, flinched when I touched her, frowned when she felt like touching me back. To the extent, I wondered what her life had been back in DC. Who had hurt her? It couldn't have been a man. She the most independent person I've ever known. So it must have been something else. A painful experience maybe.

I recall her face when her ex-partner stumbled at her feet. Her face, her stance, it seemed her whole aura changed into someone else. Someone whom he didn't know anymore. What did he call her-.. Scully?

Yeah Scully. It's fitting. A frown and a mask of indifference. Scully, not Dana.

Then he kissed her. I was stunned. It wasn't an innocent, chaste kiss ex-partners give. It was a real kiss, full on the mouth. If he wasn't kissing someone else's bride, the SOB would probably have tried to get a bit of tougue too.

I expected her to slap him. But she didn't. She just looked at him in surprise. Genuine surprise. Then she watched him leave and turn her attentions back to Father McCue. A few seconds later, Scully disappeared and Dana was back.

It was disturbing. It was scary. Who was I marrying. Dana or Scully? I know only Dana, what if Scully decides to show up? God knows I tried to find out about her life in DC. She always dodged the issue, saying that it wasn't much of a life anyway.

I call her softly. "Dana?"

"Hmm?"

"Do you believe that everything happens for a reason?"

I feel her stiffen slightly. "I asked Father McCue that question once. Yes, I do believe that."

"So why do you think we're here instead of on a plane to Paris?"

She shrugs her shoulders and I try again to get to my point. "Dana, how well do you know me?"

She moves to look at me. "Well enough I hope. Why?" Her eyes twinkle. "Is there a dark side of you that I should know off?"

I smile and return the question. "What about you? Is there a dark side of Dana Scully that I don't know?"

Her smile disappears. She appears thoughtful for a second and then gets up. "Matthew suddenly developed a temperature. Tara brought him upstairs to get a doctor take a look at him. I better go check on them."

I call her just before she slips out the door. "Dana." She turns. "Maybe if I knew her, I'd love her too."

Her eyes narrow for a moment and I wonder if I had gone too far. To my surprise, she nods her head at me and walks out the door.


SCULLY:

My world is starting to crumble. I feel the cracks vibrate and a horrible eerie sound rings in my ears. I take huge deep breaths to calm myself. I start talking to myself, assuring myself. Nick was just curious about Mulder. I mean, that idiot actually kissed me. At the altar! On my wedding day!

Was it that obvious to Nick? Was it so obvious that I had a past that I didn't want to remember? Does it matter? I have a new life now. My current job is challenging. My partner is an amazing guy. I have friends. My Mom and both my brothers are based nearby. And I'm getting married. Bottom line, I am happy. Why does he still want to know more?

My mind is still whirling when I accidentally bump into someone. I immediately apologize and help him pick up the file in his hands. I smell a whiff of him. His scent is unmistakable, Mulder?

"Scully?"

"Mulder." I hand him the file. He's clearly astounded to see me.

"Scully, what- I mean .. shouldn't you be on your honeymoon or something?" His voice is hardly recognizable.

I give small snicker. "Believe it or not Mulder, Father McCue had a stroke right before my vows."

He still looks at me in disbelief and glances at my left hand for proof. I feel slightly irritated, did he want me to marry Nick that badly?

Suddenly Langly appears behind him. He stops in his tracks when he spots me. I frown and look back at Mulder questioningly. Something is going on.

"Mulder, are you ill?"

"No"

"Hurt?"

"No"

"Is Byers all right?"

"He's fine." I'm hoping by this time he would graciously explain but from the look on his face, he seems to be fighting a battle in his head.

"Is Frohike hurt?"

Finally he snaps out of it. "For Heaven's sakes Scully, no one is hurt! It's just-" he stops, looking for the words. "We've got to talk." With that he grabs my hand and almost drags me to the emergency stairwell.

"Mulder, what's going on?"

"I don't know how to start." He paces up and down and the tiring day cracks my patience.

"Will you just start at the beginning?"

He stops. "Do you remember the night of your engagement party?"

"Of course."

"Do you know why I left?"

My mind flashes back to the moment when Sam told her that he did. "Sam said something came up."

"Yes. The boys were hacking around when they stumbled upon a medical report. The report contained information about several blood disorders found in children. And from that report, they traced back to the US Health Department. There, they found- more files."

"I don't understand."

"The type of the diseases varies. Some very rare and some unheard of. And some have symptoms similar to -. Emily."

I stiffen. Oh no, not Emily. Not now.

"For six months now, we have been tracking down the children. Comparing their files, their medical histories and their lives. So far we have found eighteen children with similar backgrounds, namely adopted and -..very, very ill."

Why is he doing this to me? I try to stop him. "Mulder-."

He cuts me off. "Look at this Scully." He opens the file in his hand and shows me the report. "Look at the symptoms, the pattern in the blood pressure-" He flips the page. "Look at the brain scans- it's almost identical to Emily's."

Why won't he stop? I shake my head now, not trusting my voice.

But he goes on. "His name is Timothy Geller-."

This time I shout at him. "Enough!"

He stops. I glare at him with such disgust and contempt that he steps back. "Scully?"

"Why did you come to church this morning Mulder?" I ask him angrily.

"Why- I-"

My glare becomes more intense. "You didn't come to wish me well, did you?"

"I-."

I beyond caring what he has to say. "I saw you walk in with the look of pure determination, Mulder determination. The kind that will brave all odds and take any risk without giving a damn if it'll hurt anybody or not. You were going to tell me about this, this morning, didn't you? And if Bill hadn't tripped you, making you stop and think for a while, you would have." He blinks. "You would have told me. You would have destroyed my wedding."

He is unable to speak but his eyes tell me that I am right. "You had six months to tell, from my engagement party. Why today?" He doesn't answer. "If you want to go fighting faceless enemies, go ahead. I'm not stopping you. But leave me out of it!"

I turn to the stairway door but turn back, unable to leave without at least an ounce of idea why he tried pulling this stunt. "This morning when I saw you, I actually you thought you gave a damn."

He finally spoke. "I did. I didn't tell you earlier because I didn't want you to hope for nothing."

I retort back. "Hope for what? Emily's dead, Mulder! Nothing you and I do will ever bring her back." "But there are others-."

"I honestly don't care."

"You don't understand. I was just protecting you-."

I raise my voice. "Stop saying that! You have no right to do that anymore. You lost that right when I was transferred out of the X-Files!"

To my surprise, he raises his voice to match mine. "On the contrary, I still have every right. I bloody fucking earned that right! I earned it the second you stepped into the basement and made me love you!"

My mouth opens automatically to yell something back but it closes when I realize what he just said.

"That's right, Scully. I was in love with you."

I am still silent. The fact that he loved me wasn't as brain numbing than the fact that he actually admitted it to me. I recover in half a minute. "Was?"

"You were supposed to marry today." He reminds me.

I nod my head absent-mindedly. "Yes, of course"

My head spins. If he loved me, why did he let me go in the fist place? Why did he get involved with Diana? Why-..

This is too difficult. I suddenly realize that my whole life with Mulder was difficult and exhausting. Now, I know why I wanted to marry Nick. He's an escape route, out of Fox Mulder's clutches, out of my horrible past. Nick is my only chance to a normal life. And it's about time I loved him back the way that he loves me. Sorry Mulder, I'm just too tired to keep up with you anymore.

I walk out of the stairwell. As I step into the corridor, I notice that Langly is nowhere to be seen. I pass the children's ward. Their laughter and cries distract me, and I am glad. But as much as I try to ignore, his voice still echoes in my head.

That's right, Scully. I was in love with you.
I was just protecting you.
Look at the brain scans- it's almost identical to Emily's.
And I didn't want you to hope for nothing.
His name is Timothy Geller-.

My head snaps up suddenly. Timothy Geller? It can't be....... But why--?

Slowly I retrace my steps, back to the stairwell. He's still there. He looks tired and drained. Actually he looks as if he hadn't slept for a year, never mind shave. I ask him. "There's more, isn't there?"

He looks at me wearily. "Scully, go get married!"

I take the file from his hand and wave it at him. "I'm in a pediatric ward because Matthew has a flu. Why are **you** here?"

"I said go get married, Scully!"

"It's too late for that now. You started it, now finish it. What are you not telling me, Mulder?"

He groans in frustration and grabs the file back. "Do you really want to know?" His eyes pierce into my soul. "Because once I tell you, you won't marry Nick."

I step back. I was right. There is more. He knows something important. Something that will destroy my new life and drag me down into Mulder hell **again**.

I turn away from him, knowing I can't be objective when I look at him. He's right, I must decide. Nick or -..Mulder? Wait, shouldn't it be Nick orr Emily?

At that point, I almost laugh out loud at myself. No, the choice is either Nick or Mulder. To think I have to make this decision again.

I don't know why but I blurt out. "I was in love with you too." Silence. I turn to look at him. His face shows pure amazement.

I smile. That's my Mulder; a ridiculous mixture of arrogance and humility, brilliance and stupidity. "What? I wasn't obvious enough?"

He voice is reduced to a mutter now. I strain to make out his words. "I ..ah.. knew you loved me, but - in love-."

"Oh, I mask my feelings pretty well. You forget, I'm the Ice Maiden."

His head snaps up in anger. My smile widens, reassuring him that it wasn't bitterness that made me say it. I see him relax. One thing about Mulder, he's protective, except when he uses the insults in his favour.

I wait for him to gather his thoughts. It takes longer than I expected. He asks me. "Now that we've established the fact that we were both once in love with each other, what's your decision?"

I decide. "You."

His eyes widen. I frown, did I just say that aloud? "I meant the children. I want to know more."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes." And I brace myself for the worst, or so I thought I did.

"When you were taking care of Emily and I was checking out Anna Fugazzi, I found something else in that facility. A temperature storage container containing a fetus. It was alive." He hesitates. "Attached to it was a document and -..it had your name on it."


MULDER:

Her face pales and she sways slightly. My arms are ready to catch her if she falls. But the display of emotion lasts only for a second before she takes control of herself.

I tell her softly. "There could be another Emily."

She replies in a whisper. "Or a Timothy."

I almost gasp aloud. She guessed. "Yes. That's why I couldn't tell you until today. I wanted to be sure first. The DNA results reached me just an hour before the wedding."

She looks at the file in my hand. "He's dying, isn't he?"

I hesitate. "So far he's still stable."

"But he's here. That's why you're here."

"He's in the second room, on the left, from the nurses station."

She closes her eyes and breaths deeply. I ache for her. I physically, mentally and emotionally ache. I feel like pulling her into my arms and tell her that everything is going to be okay, that her son will live. But, I can't. Timothy is dying. And there nothing I can do to change that fact.

Slowly she takes the file from me and leaves me alone in the stairwell again. Six months of exhaustion takes its toll. I lean against the wall and collapse onto the floor. For the fourth time in my life, I cry for Dana Scully.


SCULLY:

The funeral went smoothly, well except for the fact that Timothy's body was replaced by a few sacks of grain.

Mulder was there. I expected him to be. He kept his distance during my vigil with my newly discovered son. But he was there during the funeral.

My family doesn't know about Timothy. I decided not to add another burden in their worries for me. So I had to turn to Mulder for comfort. I asked him to send me home. Then I asked him to stay. I had a nightmare. Mulder woke me and chased it away. He holds me now as I fall asleep in his arms.


MULDER:

She is awake. I've watched her and heard her sleep too many times to know the difference. But she doesn't move from my arms. Her red hair tickles my chest through my shirt material, causing me to ponder inappropriately. The result of too many years wanting her, I suppose. I start count the rain marks on the ceiling to distract myself.

The phone rings. I thank God for another distraction. I nearly reach out for it but I stop. It isn't gentlemanly to pick up a lady's phone at seven in the morning.

She mutters against my chest. "Mulder, pick up the phone. You're closer to it."

"It might be Nick."

"It's not. It's Mom."

"That's even worse."

I feel her smile. "Why don't you make her day, Mulder?"

I frown, what on earth does she mean by that? I pick up the phone.

"Hello."

"Fox?"

"Hi, Mrs. Scully."

Understandably, she sounds surprised, but - elated? "I glad you're with Dana. I shan't disturb you two. Bye." She hangs up.

I look at the receiver for a moment before I put it back in its cradle. "Scully, is your Mom this supportive of all your dates?"

"You're not my date."

"No, I'm not but-."

She cuts in. "I dare say she wishes you are more."

She snuggles closer and I almost groan. It's unbelievable, the woman I love is hurting and all I can think about is making love to her? The last thing Scully needs right now is to worry about our relationship. "More like what?"

She answers carefully. "I don't know. Boyfriend, Lover, Fiance, Husband, all or either one of the above."

My eyes widen. Then again, maybe some clarification of our relationship is exactly what she needs.

I brave myself to ask. "Do you want us to be?"

"What?"

"Dating- em.. Loving, Engaged, Married, all or either one of the above."

She hesitates. "I don't know. Maybe we should take one step at a time, starting at the beginning."

I protest incredulously. "Right at the beginning? After seven years, you want to start at the beginning?"

She muffles a laugh in my shirt. My body again reacts accordingly.

"Okay, where do you want to start, Mulder?" She pauses and cheekily adds. "Although from what I feel beneath me, I get the impression that you want to skip a step or two."

I admit sheepishly. "Maybe just one." And I curse myself for being so damned obvious. My mind wonders on and I add. "Heck, why don't we go all the way?"


SCULLY:

My eyes widen. Did Mulder just propose to me? His heartbeat accelerates and then slows. A minute later, I groan. "Mulder please breathe. I really don't want to go back to a hospital for a while." He obeys me but stays silent.

"I just broke up with Nick, Mulder. And I think none of my relatives would like to attend any of my weddings anytime soon. They're still recovering from your escapade at the altar and Fr. McCue's stroke."

I almost hear him grin. "What do you think of step two? I kinda like that one."

"Mulder, you're incorrigible."

"Scully, I'm warning you. Using five syllable words do not help at all."

I laugh and push myself up to face him. His hazel eyes are filled with tenderness and love. I tease him. "Was?"

He sighs resignedly. "Still. You?"

I grin. "Let's get by step two first, shall we? I'll keep you updated."

He smiles broadly and then becomes serious again. I know he is about to bring Timothy up so I rest my head against his chest and tell him in advance. "I'm fine."

He almost groans. "So you say."

I smile and insist. "Really."

We just lay there listening to the silence. Ten minutes later, I hear him tell me. "You know Scully, if you hadn't so wildly spread your oats, we would have an easier time tracking down your children."

I roll my eyes and punch his arm hard.

"Ouch!"

"Keep that up and I'll let Bill have his way with you."

"You wouldn't." He pulls me closer. "You love me too much."

I sigh. The man can be arrogant. But he's right. I love him too much. And this time, I'm not letting him go that easily.

THE END

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