Title: You Only Live Twice
Author: Traveler
Rating: PG-13 to R depending on how offended you are by some nasty words
Spoilers: Lots of them. Have fun finding them
Category: Mulder POV, The TRUTH
Disclaimer: The characters of The X-Files belong to CC, 1013 and Fox and are used without permission. No
copyright infringement is intended. Thank you for letting me borrow them for this story. The lyrics to
YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE also used without permission.
Archive: Anywhere, just let me know.

Note from the author: This is my first attempt at fanfic. I have thoroughly enjoyed the thousands of stories other authors have written and goodness knows I'm no writer but there were just some things I needed to get out of my head. Never in the history of television have any characters ever influenced or affected me in the manner that Mulder and Scully have. Theirs is a partnership the likes of which few of us will ever know. I will miss them.

Special thank you to my e-buddies Karen and Chris for their help and to Vickie for helping me get this posted.
Feedback: iluvxf@hotmail.com

You only live twice or so it seems|One life for yourself and one for your dreams|You drift through the years and life seems tame|Till one dream appears and love is its name

Military Brig: Mulder's Cell

The guard keeps asking me what I'm thinking, and I tell him. The only thing I've been thinking about for months. "My son, his mother."

"Wrong answer!" the asshole yells back at me whacking that damn club on the wall over my head making me flinch. Pain from our last encounter comes back to haunt me. They've been very careful to make sure any damage they inflict is hidden under this designer jump suit I'm wearing.

"Now, what are you thinking?"

I really don't know what the hell he expects me to say. "What is it you want from me!"

"Wrong answer!"

I see the club coming toward my head and somehow manage to grab it before he knocks me senseless. We wrestle with it. It's all I can do too keep the ape from choking me. He has the stick pressed against my windpipe and I am gasping for breath by the time he finally let's go. Walking out and slamming the door shut.

No, you fool; it's the right answer. Scully and William have been my only constants. They are the dream I have been living in the loneliness that has become my life. I have spent months taking those few hours we spent together and creating a whole life.

I know Scully didn't believe me that day we stood in the Peacock's pasture and I told her that someday I wanted a life like that. To be able to live a quiet life in a small town without a care in the world; just like living in Mayberry. She may have looked at me with that "yeah right" expression but a little part of me really did want that and when William was born I almost believed it could happen. This belief sustained me. I don't know what was harder, her asking me to leave or me making the decision to actually do it. In all the years we had been together I firmly believed that we were always stronger together than we could ever be apart. But between what I was being told about the threat to my life, and how much Scully kept insisting, that being safe and apart was preferable to being separated forever by death, against my better judgment, I left. The truth was none of us were safe and if we were ever to have a life together I had to find a way to destroy that which threatened us.

I came here certain I had the key that would unlock the door to my future. One that would open the way to the truth I believed I still needed to find. A truth that would vindicate me, proof that what I'd been saying all these years was not the ravings of a lunatic. I don't want to believe in what I now know to be true. The hopelessness is overwhelming. But in William, Scully had given me a stake in the future; one in which I was determined to make better for my son. William would always know his parents loved him. He would never have to question his origins or fear for his own safety. And he would live in a world where the truth would be something you knew without question, not something you had to expose.

Sometime while I was 'dead' Scully had become a believer. Suddenly we were on the same page in our belief not only in the existence of extraterrestrials, but in the absolute certainty of a threat to our very existence. She knows for certain that what happened to me when I was abducted had nothing to do with government testing on humans. There is no technology on earth that could perform those tests and allow me to survive them. I wonder now if any of us can survive. She told me, shortly before William was born that I had given her a gift, 'the courage to believe'. I wish I could say I had that courage now.

These guys are good. I am weak and disoriented from lack of sleep. I don't even know what day it is; lucidity is a thing of the past. Between the drugs and the pain I honestly don't know how much more of this I can take. The years are starting to catch up with me and I'm not that arrogant, do or die G-man I used to be. Hell, I'm not sure what kind of man I am.

The younger me who arrogantly crusaded for the truth at all costs no longer exists. Things have changed. A stranger has stepped into my life and made herself the most important thing in it. The ever yielding truth seeker, I was once willing to sacrifice it all, my career, my reputation, my relationships even my life in this passionate quest for the truth. In my arrogance I thought it was only me 'they' were out to destroy. Putting an end to my work and discrediting me because I was the loose cannon who refused to play by the rules. I *HAD* to know the truth. Well, I know the truth now, and it's more frightening than I ever imagined.

On a crisp December day 10 years from now humanity as we know it will cease to exist. If our destiny is preordained, just what is the point of being the hero? Cassandra Spender once told me at a point in my life when I no longer believed in my cause that "I" was the only one who could stop this and I denied her. Just like I denied everyone else who rallied to my cause including Krycek who called me his 'friend'. Fool that I was I was only concerned in my own personal cause. I spent a lot of time making enemies when I should have been gathering forces. They weren't afraid of me, I was nothing more than a headache to them, and I certainly did nothing to stop them then and I don't know of anything within my power to stop them now. In a sickening revelation I came to understand that instead of using my work to expose their insidious crimes against humanity, they had used me to perpetuate their lies. I had unknowingly become an accessory to the crime. Perhaps I am a guilty man. But then I think of William. The only truly good thing I've done in my life, and I know that as long as I live and breathe I will find a way to change what is to come.

The sound of the door makes me jump. I don't know if it's the cold that makes me tremble, or that my nerves can no longer take the abuse. They are wearing me down with drugs and physical torment.

"What are you thinking?"

That fucking guard is back hovering over me and pounding that damn club in his palm. My ribs ache. Breathing is something I now do in shallow breaths.

I can't think anymore you idiot. Between the drugs and the lack of sleep who could possibly think? The room spins, lifting my head off the floor takes just about all the strength I have. "What should I be thinking?" I ask him.

"You're a guilty man. You entered a government facility illegally in search of non-existent information."

Oh the information exists you fool, I've see it and if you knew what you were really protecting here and who's orders you were following to do so you would be as scared to death as I am. But being drugged and beaten senseless by this idiot won't help anyone and it's certainly not why I risked coming here. Nor was being stripped of everything of value I have left, my clothes, my mind, and my self-respect. So as I lie here on the floor naked, bruised and exhausted I do the only thing I can think of to put a stop to this torture, I confess. "Yes."

"You failed in every respect."


"Say it!" he yells and raises that damn club...

I no longer have the strength to defend myself; I throw his words back to him. "I'm a guilty man. I failed in every respect. I deserve the harshest punishment for my crimes."

He looks at me now with a smirk of triumph and turns and walks away slamming the door and leaving me here naked and cold in the dark. He may think he's won the battle but the war hasn't even started yet.

A confession, is all they really wanted from me anyway. The part of my brain that's still cognizant knows that they don't have much of a case without the body of the man I killed. Yeah, I told them I was guilty but I won't tell them what I know. Hell, how can I tell anybody this...to know that the future of mankind doesn't exist beyond a decade? To know there is no future for any man, woman or child on this planet? Maybe what I've stepped into here is not just an opportunity to get answers but the opportunity to finally expose the entire project, and beat them at their own game.

Am I a fool to believe there is still some way to stop this? I've spent the greater part of the last ten years on a single-minded quest for the truth. I wanted answers to all my questions, I wanted to rat out all the men who worked in the shadows, and I wanted to expose all their lies to the public and I was damned if I'd let anybody get in my way. Yeah, "I wanted". Well this isn't just about me as someone once told me. It's about all those men, women and children I mentioned before. Our fate has been scripted, and the countdown clock is running out.

Military Brig: Holding Cell

When Scully put her arms around me I think my heart stopped. I couldn't hug her back, not without some ramifications for myself and probably her as well. Despite what a lot of people have thought over the years, I've never had a death wish. And right now I want nothing more than to put my plan in motion and get myself out of here and back to her and William and whatever life we have left to spend together. I've gotta play their game if I'm going to make this work. I may have told them I had failed, but I'm not willing to admit that to myself just yet.

Neither her nor Skinner knew what to make of me. I told them both I understood the charges, that I did in fact break into the facility under false pretences and murder a man in the process. And the good man that I am, I am ready to face those charges. Scully looked at me with disbelief. I'm sure I frightened her with my lack of intensity. She looks different somehow. Confused and disoriented like a frightened animal. Not at all the strong independent woman I knew. Something has changed her and it frightens me too.

Skinner told me I had a right to a lawyer and due process of the law.

That's what I'm counting on Skinman, only I don't want THEM to know that.

Scully tried to tell me they would get me out of here but all I could do was look at her puzzled face and tell her I was guilty. And perhaps I am, but not of murder. If I'm guilty of anything it's in believing in the possibilities.

"There are always possibilities," Spock said. And I have always been a firm believer in them though right now I'm not sure I understand what's happening. Even after a shower and shave and a half dozen Advil I can hardly stand upright. Had Scully hugged me any harder she would have known that something else was wrong besides my odd behavior and she doesn't need to know what they did to me in here. I want to blame this on the drugs that I know are still in my system but I've had a visitor of sorts. And the strange thing is is that I saw him before I was caught which means it's probably not the drugs; it's something else. He seems to want to help me, and I can't for a minute think of why he would. This vision of Krycek has shaken me. It's bad enough that I can still sense people's feelings and I know that there is something bothering Scully immensely but now I'm seeing ghosts?

I know the guy's dead; Skinner gunned him down right in front of me a year ago. At the time he wanted to kill me, now he wants to help me? Skinner once told me not to forget who my friends were. Krycek is the last person I would call a "friend" and yet when I asked him why he was here he said, "Because you can't do this alone." Krycek disappears as I think about his comment and the big moron of a guard hauls me out of the cell before I have a chance to ask. Do what alone?

Military Brig: Mulder's Cell

I'm beginning to lose track of time and days. I have no idea how long they have held me here. Everything aches and sitting her on the cold floor doesn't help. God, I feel old. I had a lot of time to think out there in the desert. Not only about what I've given up, but what a fool I'd been in doing it. I think I had the answers all along. They'd been given to me over the years in cases and in experiences that people like Deep Throat, and X and yes, even Krycek had led me too. I had all the pieces right there in the X-Files and had I put them all together like little Kevin Morris's pictures, I would have found the truth. It would have been as clear to me as Ruby's picture only I was just too caught up in my own anger and self-pity that I couldn't see it.

I'm jolted out of my contemplation by the cell door opening. Jesus, what do they want from me now? I stand and face the wall; looking out through that porthole they call a window and wait for them to haul me off somewhere . But instead I know its Scully who's stepping into my cell. I can smell her, that scent that is unmistakably Scully and one that I will never forget. Soft and wanting and I can't help but do something she will hate me for. "I smelled you coming Clarisse," I say as I turn to look at her. She is here again with Skinner. They both look at me like I've finally gone over the edge and then I laugh.

I see confusion again on her face and perhaps a bit of anger. She's not mad, just shaken, "Jesus, Mulder" she says and casts a glance at me that says it wasn't funny. You're right Scully; none of this is funny.

The guard has left us this time and I'm at her side in two strides. I caress her face and find her lips with mine. It has been so long and I start to shake again, not from cold or fear but from longing. God I missed her so much. Why the hell did we wait 7 years to make our feelings known to each other? She kisses me back but there is desperation and fear in it and something else that's coming off of her in waves. An ache so deep it is painful. I pull back to look at her questionably but she doesn't acknowledge me, just pulls me back into the kiss. I'm okay, Scully but you're scaring me.

I look over at Skinner who's been trying to look indiscrete while Scully and I were "reuniting". I make to hug him. "Come here you big bald beautiful man"

"The only thing you're going to be kissing, Mulder, is your sweet ass goodbye. The trouble you're in."

I know I'm in trouble sir but I I'm pretty damn sure I know a way out.

Scully looks concerned when I mention the fiftieth brainwashing session. I think she understands now what happened in our first encounter. The front I'm putting on and what I'm really trying to do are two different things. I know what I'm doing...I think.

"Why are they doing this too you?"

"They think they're preparing me for my trial. For my testimony."

They have my confession, my admission of guilt, by stripping me of my tenacity and self-respect they figure I'll give up. They're afraid of what I know, or what they believe I know. If they insist on trying me for this mythological murder, all their secrets will be exposed. I couldn't have killed a man who can't die; they can't produce a body because this man's not dead.

She insists on getting me the best lawyer.

Oh Scully, no lawyer in this land would defend my case; I look at Skinner... "Skinner can defend me." I swear I heard his jaw hit the floor and then the cavalry shows up only this time they aren't here to save the day. They're here to inform us the military has Knowle's body and I come to the realization that the key I was given was not the key to my salvation, but the key to my condemnation. I take it back, I have no idea what I'm doing and I suddenly realize the utter futility of what is about to happen.

It's sometime later and the door slides open again. I expect it to be Scully but instead Skinner walks into my cell. I struggle to get up off the floor and he comes over to give me a hand up.

"You alright?"

I straighten up stiffly, "Their powers of persuasion are biblical." I wave off his questioning glance and try and walk it off. "Where's Scully?"

"She doesn't know I came back to talk to you."

I look him in the eye "Talk to me about what, my 'trial'? I say sarcastically,"</p>

"Mulder listen, there are things you don't know, things that have happened in the past months. You have no idea how hard it was for her. I think she pretty much gave up hope of ever seeing you again. There was no way to contact you. We didn't know if you were dead or alive."

I don't like his tone. It's like he's trying to apologize for something. The apprehension I feel in him makes me angry. "What the hell are you talking about? The guys had a way to get in touch with me, Scully knew that."

"The Gunmen are dead, but that's not the worst of it."

I close my eyes. In my mind I picture those three goofs, more paranoid than I ever was, shouting the truth for years. Publishing stories about aliens and government injustices and still nobody listened. Were these three more lives that could have been saved if Krycek had finished me off in that parking garage? It would have been a blessing. I am certain now that my search for the truth is not worth the price it has cost me. I exist, while everyone around me has been silenced, sentenced instead to a fate worse than death.

I open my eyes again to find Skinner looking at me like he's expecting me to say something. "Is that what's bothering Scully? I knew something was wrong, just like I can feel it from you. What happened to the guys?"

"You can still read minds?"

"No, if I could I wouldn't be asking, just tell me what happened." I'm not sure I want to know.

He begins to explain how they got themselves involved in the search for a man thought to be carrying a deadly virus. Shit, another virus or perhaps 'The' virus. How they ended up finding him at a Bioethics Forum where representative from the medicine, academia and the government had gathered. It sounded like another 'test' only this time it wasn't the general public; it was highly educated officials who would have been able to prevent the spread of the virus. The guy made a break for it and would have escaped to infect thousands had the Gunman not cornered him. They died to protect the public. "They were set up."

Skinner lets out a sigh. "I think so, but they didn't die in vain Mulder. Their deaths had a purpose."

"They died because they were associated with me. It was an effective way of cutting off my last link to both Scully and the truth; someone is still eliminating chess pieces. The game hasn't ended."

If I was angry before, I am furious now. It was never supposed to be like this, people dying for my cause. What the hell is my cause anyway? It all started with Samantha and just snowballed from there. All I ever wanted to know was what happened to her that night. Was that too much for a boy who is now a man to ask? Little did I know all those years ago what her disappearance would set in motion.

There was a time I believed I knew the truth. My memories of her abduction were so vivid. All I had to do was prove the existence of these alien beings and I could prove what happened to her. If she had been taken by a force we couldn't explain then there was always hope. Well I don't have much hope in anything these days. I know what happened to her now and that knowledge has done nothing other than to prove that the truth was something I couldn't accept. What I ended up finding in my search for my sister was not resolution but evidence of the utter futility that is life. Birth and death and the shit that happens in between, there has got to be a reason for the shit. Maybe the aliens are looking for the same thing we are. The reason why.

I'm suddenly reminded of a scene from PLANET of The APES... "Don't go looking for it Taylor. You might not like what you find." I don't like it one bit. This so called battle for heaven and earth comes with too high a price. It has left Scully with physical scars she will carry her lifetime. And though mine have faded, I am left with an emotional trauma I can't seem to fight my way out of. Is this our destiny? This constant battle that we can't seem too ever win? I don't want to give up the fight but I'm so damn tired.

Skinner senses I've zoned out on him. I feel exhausted. I can imagine how I must look. His words now are spoken softly like he's speaking to a family member of a crime victim. "Mulder, there's something else. Something you need to know because neither Scully nor I understand this plan of yours and I think that after you hear what I have to say then maybe you'll let us in on it."

What the hell is he talking about? All this walking on eggshells around me just infuriates me more. They all act like I've gone fucking mad and they're afraid to tell me anything. I'm shaking with rage and he puts his hands on my shoulders to still me.

"Maybe you should sit down."

I brush him off angrily and walk away. "I don't need to sit down." If anything I want to tear something or somebody apart.

"This has to do with William."

I freeze in my pacing and glare at him. So help me if he let something happen to my son I will kill this man with my bare hands. Maybe I have gone fucking mad.

Skinner senses I'm about to explode. "He's OK Mulder, but Scully came to a decision."

I can feel him turning thoughts over in his head, trying to figure out how to tell me something he knows will be devastating.

"Things happened that were beyond her control. She couldn't get in touch with you after that fiasco in January."

"What the hell happened with my son?" I can't stand this anymore I'm so damn tired. "Just fucking tell me!"

He looks me in the eye, there is such sadness in his gaze and a sudden chill passes over me. Then he just blurts it out. "She gave him up for adoption."

I just stare at him for a moment, trying to comprehend what he has just said and then it hits me, I no longer have a son. My knees give out and I find myself on the floor. Skinner gets down on one knee and puts a hand on my shoulder. "It was the only way to keep him safe."

I can hardly speak. "From what?"

"From everything. Mulder, I don't know where to start."

My voice comes out barely a whisper. "Just tell me."

"William is a miracle in more ways then one Mulder. He's a very special child, more so than Gibson I believe. As small as he is he can do things with his mind. And I think in a way Scully was frightened by it. There were others who knew about it too. He was kidnapped by a cult who thought that because of his powers he was the one who would lead aliens in the colonization of the planet. They believed he was alien. She chased half way across the country to find him."

The idea that all this went on while I was dreaming of our 'normal life' in the desert makes me sick. There I sat doing what amounted to nothing while Scully was going frantic with worry. "Didn't anyone help her? Why didn't anyone contact me?"

"We all helped her but she didn't really trust anyone Mulder, you taught her that. They wanted you dead. She can't bury you again."

I put my shaking hands over my face. In all the rationalization I went through when Scully asked me if I would father her child. In all the pain she went through when she carried him and in the terrifying circumstances of his birth I never for a moment thought that any of the decisions we made were wrong. She, we, had a miracle. A life that was a part of both of us, something that made all the sacrifices we had made worth it.

I don't know why I say 'father' because Scully never asked me that. She needed a donor and while I was flattered, I was also a little taken aback. Yes, we were more than friends and had been so for some time but neither of us made any notions about commitments. And this to me was the ultimate commitment. I decided that if I was going to do this for her she needed to understand that the child would be as much mine as it was hers whether we spent the rest of our lives together or not. It was a responsibility I was willing to share. I was never sure she felt the same way but I had taken so much from her; this was one thing I could give her back. Instead I gave her only more grief.

"When?" is all I can say.

"About a month ago. Jeffery Spender showed up, he was adamant that William's life would always be in danger as long as he was with her, that she, neither of you could protect him."

The mention of Jeffrey's name snaps me out of my mourning. "Spender!" Another dead man.

"Mulder, listen."

"No, you listen! Suddenly with strength I no longer thought I had I'm on my feet pushing Skinner back against the filthy wall of my cell. "How the hell could you let her do this?" The anger I feel is not for me. William was all Scully ever wanted and now they'd forced her to give him up. I grab Skinner's lapels and shove him back against the wall again. "Why would she listen to him? Why would she believe him?"

ForSkinner's part he lets me take out my rage on him. "Listen Mulder, you have no idea what it's been like for her, for any of us. She lived in fear for that child's life from the moment you left, you wouldn't have recognized her."

I step back, leaving him to straighten his clothing. I don't recognize myself either. It's all suddenly becoming very clear. Divide and conquer the oldest strategy in the book.

"When she sent for you in January and after what happened in the quarry she knew that they would always use William to get to you. And then it wasn't just them; it was everybody, thinking he was some kind of savior. And then Spender showed up, you should see what they've done to him Mulder. He tried to convince Scully that you had sent him, that he was here to help her. He injected William with something, into his brain"

I am suddenly hit with a flashback, of SBG standing over me in the psych ward and the searing pain that lanced through my brain with whatever was in that hypo.

"He said it would render him normal, he would live a normal life now. That's what she wanted for him Mulder. A normal life, one she was sure she could never give him. She did what she thought was right."

I walk away from him and put my palms against the far wall, look down at the floor. I feel the bile rise in my throat and I choke it down.

"With the Gunmen gone, we had no way of contacting you."

"They'll still find him."

"I can only assure you he is safe Mulder. You have to trust me on that."

Suddenly I can't bear to have anyone around me. "Get out," I tell him.

"Don't blame her for this Mulder. No one else could understand how she could come to this decision. You're the only one who would understand. You need to tell her it was right."

"Why me? Why us?"

"I don't know Mulder. Maybe because there's something more important you're supposed to do."

I look up at the black ceiling, fighting tears. It's not right.

As Skinner leaves my cell I slide down the wall and sit staring into the nothingness because that's all there is now, nothing. What could be more important than being a parent? A few hours ago I was prepared to put these men in their place. But now I know we can't win.

I must have fallen asleep on the floor or I'm dreaming because I'm jostled awake by words that have always been a comfort to me. "Mulder, it's me." I sit up, trying not to wince at the stiffness that envelops my whole body. And though these words had always been a lifeline they now come from a woman I don't recognize. This woman who has always been so strong is here before me fearful of what's about to happen. She wants me to tell her everything, to confide in her my plan so we can finally claim a victory in the battle we have waged together. I have to tell her something I know she doesn't want to hear. "We can't win, Scully. All we can do is hope to go down fighting."

I frighten her with these words. This is not what she has come to expect from me but she doesn't understand the magnitude of what I know. I think about what Skinner told me and I will not let her lose the last person she believes in, herself. I'm drawn from my own melancholy with her words "I'm scared I've got you back and that now I 'm going to lose you again." God, I don't want to lose her either. The need to feel her is too much and I find myself wrapped around her, holding tightly to the only person I believe in, Scully. She sobs as she tells me about giving up "our" son and that she feared I would never forgive her. I'm wracked by a chill this same fear gives me and she hugs me tighter. I have to tell her I understand even though some part of me never will.

I don't really know at what point William became "ours" in Scully's eyes. Perhaps from his conception and the front she put up was because she was afraid I didn't see him that way. She didn't want to be the one to ground me even though that had been her job back in the early days of our partnership. Suddenly I'm standing in my hallway confessing to her tear laden eyes that I owe her everything and she owes me nothing. I owe her my life, my sanity and my heart, why could she not see that?

She asks me where I've been hiding the past year, where I've been since she insisted I take the advice of someone neither of us trusted and save myself. What I tell her is a lie. I haven't been looking for the truth, I've been hiding from it and right now I hate myself for it. The unspoken communication we have always shared is my undoing. She knows I have information that could vindicate me. But I refuse to tell her. Oh Scully, this is so much bigger than the both of us. So I do what I always do, I ask her to trust me.

Desert Motel
Two Days Later:

In the past few days I have truly lived through hell. It's not a pretty picture when you see your life paraded before you as a culmination of death and useless information. Nothing that I have done for the past 10 years had any merit nor do I have one single ounce of proof to anything I claim. I wasn't on trial; I was the subject of an elaborate joke. They should have just taken me out and shot me and in the end I told them so. It would have saved a lot of time and embarrassment. It wasn't so much that I had been made a fool of, what bothered me more was that everyone who came to my defense was made a fool of too. A fool who believes in his folly becomes wise. And I am a much smarter man today. I did believe that I could expose these men. I thought they were afraid of what I knew and if they insisted on prosecuting me, in order to prove my guilt they would have to expose themselves and the world would know their secret. It didn't take me long to realize the foolishness of that idea. The world would never know. There would be no record of what happened in that courtroom just like there were no records to support what I claimed and when I was dead, there would be no record I even existed. In the end, after years of hard work I was to be put to sleep like some old useless dog.

Is that the fate of all men who chose to fight for what's right? And who am I to choose what is right? At what point does the right to know become more than we can comprehend or understand? Just what are the motives behind these men? Are they really trying to play God by creating the perfect being, a betterment for the human race or are they being misled by their alien counterparts and will they find out when the rest of us do when it really is too late? A shudder runs through me. I think of Monica's words. "What is the point of all this? To destroy a man who seeks the truth? Or to destroy the truth so no man can seek it?" That was a powerful statement and I suddenly looked at her with incredible pride that she had the guts to say it. Either way, the truth remains forever elusive. There has to be a point to this. There has to be a reason we exist. Scully once asked me what the people we knew were dying for. Was it for the truth or the lies? I told her then it had to be for the truth. And that if we owed them anything, it was to make sure of that. I owe a lot of people that truth now. They all placed their faith in me, believing that somehow I could bring justice to all the insidious crimes that had been committed against them. I just don't know how to repay these people; I no longer have any faith in myself.

As much as I tried to fight it, the words had hit home. I had lived a lie my entire life. My family had been a lie. My search for my sister had been a lie and the X-Files had been nothing more than a way for me to perpetuate the lies these men created to hide their iniquities. I have failed in every respect. Scully looked at me with bewilderment when I told her I would rather die than divulge the information I had accessed. I knew what the information had done to me. Life without hope is living hell. And I would not allow myself to be the one to condemn the world to that fate. There was no point to any of this. The date is set and nothing I can do can change that. But then she looked at me and in her eyes I saw the faith she still had in me. I could feel it give her strength. There was a hope there that I couldn't bring myself to believe in just yet. She was fighting for 'us' she said. It was a good thing she had left my cell shortly after that because I broke down and cried for all of us.

I hadn't intended to disappear that night in the Oregon woods. It was as if I couldn't stop myself. In one moment every truth I had tried so hard to find was right there. It was an opportunity I had long awaited for and I in taking it; I gave up the only true happiness I had ever known. Maybe it was a desire to seek absolution from a God I didn't believe in or perhaps it was just childish curiosity but either way it was the biggest mistake of my life.

Scully and I had become one in our pursuit of the truth. Little did I know at the time the extent of that bond. While I once again went off in pursuit of a personal agenda she was left to hold our lives together literally without me. My error cost me my life not just in the physical sense but in the moral sense as well. She is the tie that has tethered my soul to this earth and I am nothing without her. Perhaps everything that has happened since that night only serves to prove that. I can't do this alone. I never could.

I don't know what I would have done if the cavalry hadn't come. Skinner and Doggett and of all people Kersh showed up to 'spring me from the joint' in typical movie fashion. I was going to die only not the way I'd been sentenced to. In a sense it would have been a blessing and I could have taken the cowards way out of facing Scully for the last time. There would have been no words to express how much she has meant to me. All I could have done would have been to cling to her as I do now.

I snuggle closer to her and kiss her cheek. She sighs and I hear her whisper "Are you okay Mulder?"

"I'm fine. Go back to sleep."

She hesitates for a moment perhaps because I have used her old stand by phrase and she's not sure I am fine. But then she eases herself over and snuggles her back against my chest. I wrap my arms around her and pull her closer, her tiny hands holding tightly to my arms. This closeness is strange and foreign and yet seems so right. We have been apart for almost two years and still it seems we had done this only yesterday. I lie here and wonder about those we have left behind.

The fate of those who helped us escape is unknown. There's been no word from Skinner or Kersh. I worry about Gibson and we last saw Doggett and Reyes in a cloud of dust at the base of the ruins. How they found us there I don't know. We were told to head north and out of the country but I had to come back here. It was my last pilgrimage into my past. I needed to know who this "keeper of the truth" who set me up was.

Maybe in truth I already knew somehow it had to be Spender but suddenly like Scully, I needed proof. If that power-hungry son of a bitch wanted to see me broken he didn't have to go through this whole charade. In what I now see was as an elaborate scheme to get back at Bill Mulder for daring to expose his precious 'project', Spender spent years trying to break me by taking everything from me. My sister, my family, my work, Scully and now my son were all pawns in the game. In all honesty I'd been broken since I left Scully and William a year ago. The man had won; he didn't need my life to claim his victory.

As Scully and I stood there before him I could feel his hatred for me. I had no right to hope, and he would see to that. There would be no victory for either of us here and in what amounted to his last evil act he revealed to Scully what I had tried so hard to prevent her from knowing, the plans for the final Armageddon. I wanted to tear that fucking bastard apart but I never got the chance. We may have escaped from that valley with our lives, but the truth we both now know didn't save us.

I don't know how long we've laid here in the dark. I listen to Scully quietly breathing beside me and know that she for now feels safe enough to drift into a peaceful sleep. I untangle myself from her embrace and walk quietly towards the door. I glance back at her sleeping form and opening the door slowly I step out into the night.

There is a peaceful breeze tonight, the desert air is cool and as the universe stretches out before me I am alone with my thoughts and the music of the desert night. I don't want to become the keeper of the truth as the Indians believed my father to be. No one has that right. That man may have been my biological father but in no way did he influence the standards by which I have lived my life. Bill Mulder left a legacy, his desire to see that justice was served by exposing those who plotted against the public lives in me. I was the weapon he would use to carry out his plan. If only he'd told me.

I think I finally figured out what Krycek and the other souls I've seen are trying to tell me. Something I should have realized long ago. I'd had a small army behind me all along. Friends I ignored because I thought the fight was mine alone. We spent years warring with each other when we should have been working towards a common goal. I spent a lifetime looking at everything as my own private little war instead of looking at the bigger picture. Well I see the bigger picture now and the immensity of it terrifies me. I've finally pulled my head from the sand and I have no idea how to continue this fight that is no longer my own. Deep Throat, X, Krycek, Skinner, Marita, Michael Kritschgau, Diana, the Gunmen, Scully and countless others who have crossed my path have all sought justice in one form or another against this same enemy that threatens our existence. They were my army of truth seekers.

Somewhere out there is a small boy. The culmination of genes and seven years of denying in something Scully and I refused to acknowledge, love. Despite Agent Reyes elaborate story on how Scully was a part of some elaborate project to gestate alien babies, I know exactly how William came into this world. We came together that first night out of a desperate need for both of us to remind ourselves that we were still human. Life is a miracle and with the birth of each new life comes the realization that the miracle will continue. From the catastrophe that has become our lives Scully and I created our miracle and I will never doubt that. If William is proof of anything, it's what we as humans are capable of and not of some alien intervention.

Someday he will go in search of a truth of his own and when he finds it I want him to know that Scully...and I, didn't give him up because he was unwanted or unloved. I want him to know we loved him enough to set him free. I want him to have a life that is his own. Free to be who and what he chooses and guided by the strength he finds within himself and not influenced by those who would use him. I've spent the better part of my life seeking the truth with the aide of the very people who chose to conceal it. And in doing so I allowed them to manipulate my life. I won't allow them to do that to him. As hard as the decision was for her, as hard as it is for me to accept I know letting him go was the only choice. Scully has placed his safety in the hands of someone she trusts without question and I have to trust her judgment.

Scully's faith has sustained her. Despite what she now knows, she still believes in the greater good. In Scully's words, "Who would create a life who's only hope is to die?" certainly not her God.

It's been said that when you are given a second chance at life it is because there are things in that first life you didn't get to finish. Or perhaps fate has yet another chapter to add to your story. Fate and love, one brought us together, the other keeps us from ever being apart. Both of them guide our lives. I think of our conversation of a few hours ago. This quest had gotten neither of us anything we set out for and yet in spite of that or perhaps because of it, we have found our way back to each other. If there is something more important I am supposed to do I now know that it is not something I am destined to do alone.

Scully always knew me better than I knew myself, and she can see right through my self-depreciation. She is no more willing to give up than I am. If I am a guilty man it is in my failure to realize I have never been alone. I refuse to believe that human life will be snuffed out on this planet. The power of the human spirit is too strong. It's often been thought that the reason we seek life off this planet is because of the fear we all have of being alone. Loneliness is a choice I'm no longer willing to make. That man still lies in a grave in Raleigh his soul beckoned back to the living by a woman who will not accept defeat any more than he will. She never gave up on me. I cannot give up on the future.

A train whistles off in the distance; a reminder that the future I speak of is not only my own. If there is a way to change the future and make a better life it's going to take more than Scully and I to make it happen. Perhaps it's only the dream of an idealist, thinking we can fight what fate seems to have in store for us. But what of free will? Can we not change fate by making a different choice? I hear the voices of the past urging me to make a choice.

The dead are all around us, reminding us that this war has gone on for ages. In their small victories are reminders of the price we pay to sustain that dream. I believe I have paid the price. I have lived a life for myself and have nothing but regrets. It's time I stopped living in the past and dreamed of the future. The world will know the truth and even if there are only a few who believe us it will be enough to continue the fight. I think of a warm night on a deserted baseball diamond. My arms wrapped around Scully as together we sock baseballs towards the heavens. We may not win this fight but at least we will know we went down swinging.

A breeze caresses my cheek like someone whispering my name. I turn and head back to our room, to our life that is full of uncertainty. We are not who we were. Bound together now not by a passion for the truth, but by a catastrophe orchestrated to drive us apart. My first impulse was to flee, to leave her here to put her life back together but she is as dependent on me now as I am of her. One cannot live without the other. The determination I see in her eyes, fueled by the strength we find in each other has given me the desire to turn and make one last stand, to 'do it all over again' as she put it and fight back at these men who have taken everything from us. My conscience, those voices and faces of the dead and my heart won't let me go. She has given me back something I thought I had lost, the courage to believe.

I had a dream once about giving up the fight for a 'normal life' and though it's something I thought I always wanted I realize now that it was nothing more than a temptation. A question my mind had been asking about where life was destined to lead me. In the end, Scully rescued me from that life I wasn't supposed to have. That was all the answer I needed. I am where I always wanted to be. I close my eyes as I open the door; this is a dream I believe can come true. You only live twice.

And love is a stranger who'll beckon you on Don't think of the danger or the stranger is gone This dream is for you, so pay the price Make one dream come true, you only live twice.


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Archivist's Note:
There are two sequels:

II. For Your Eyes Only
III. All The Time In The World

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