Title: Long Day's Journey Into Night
Author: Ellethom
Email: too_spooky_4u@yahoo.com
Spoilers: Up through season seven.
Disclaimer: C'mon Chris, be nice. Let them out to play and I will return them unharmed-scout's honor.
Distribution: Just drop me a line so I can have visitation rights and its all good.

Summary: There is no greater love....

Author's notes: I wrote this as an answer to a challenge set at The Nursery Files. It kinda got away form me at some point.


It could be noted here that Fox Mulder had either never heard of the old adage, or chose, in a moment of primordial lust to chuck the whole idea out of the window. He had simply grabbed his coat and stormed out of his small office.

Special Agent Dana Scully had merely watched his disappearing form from her seat at her desk. Hah, table, she fumed inwardly. There was no talking to him, he had not said anything to her other than "I gotta go." Any other time she would have assumed it was a flippant utterance of basic human nature. That he had simply left to go answer the call of nature. She would have gone on believing that had it not been for the call of a different nature.

So tempting, to walk over to his desk, pick up the phone and have her friend at the switchboard tell her where the call had come from. Laurie was so helpful last time when she had to determine if it were AD Skinner betraying them.

She had the information in hand before she even realized she had called for it. Logically she told herself that it was to head off the next ditch before it became too bad for her to save him from. Scully even rationalized the need to know where her partner had gone as a basic fundamental right as his partner. He hadn't even been in the office for an hour before the call came in, they were just over the early morning pleasantries, he had brought the coffee and she had provided the crullers. The same one that now sat on his desk with only a cursory bite removed from it.

Of course, his speaking her name had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Nope.

Nada.

Fucking bitch.

She carefully folded the paper she had hastily written the information on, shoving it into her purse as she left a message with Kim to inform Skinner that they both would be out for the day.


2.

"Agent Scully, to what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?" the small man purred.

"Cut the crap Frohike, I need your help and I am not above a reenactment of my last autopsy with you in the starring role." She shoved the piece of paper into the hands of a very stunned Frohike. "I need an address for this number."

"Why not go through official Bureau channels?"

Langly asked after having had a look at the number.

"Since when do you guys encourage anything officially?" Scully took a look around the room, all three of them had grown silent, with Byers anxiously shuffling his feet and trying desperately not to meet her eyes.

"All right you three, spill or I will not be held responsible for my actions." Their hang dog expressions spoke more than words could. "You know this number don't you?" Scully accused to the room. "And you know where he is."

It was Frohike who spoke up. "He told us you would come here, warned us that you would either be wielding a gun or scalpel," he grinned.

"We just didn't expect you so soon," Byers added.

"We can't tell you anything Agent Scully, as much as we want to, this is not our story to tell." Langly had moved to the back of the office as he spoke and had retrieved something. "Here," he offered.

Frohike spoke up before she could even examine the large envelope. "For what it's worth Agent Scully, I think this whole thing is shitty. You should have been in on it from day one.' He was silenced by a none too subtle elbow to the ribs.

"Fro," Langly said shaking his head.

"What?" he fumed. "He should have told her, I think of all people she has a right to know." A harrowing look from Byers stole any bravado left in him. Instead of speaking he snatched the letter from Langly and pressed it into her hands.

"Read it Agent Scully, there are some answers I am sure, but no truths." Tenderly he took her hand in his and cooed. "You deserve a real man Agent Scully, if you ever need anything, a shoulder to cry on, or even a good vengeance lay..."

"Frohike!" Byers gasped.

She took the envelope in hand and eyed the three men suspiciously. "I'll be back," she threatened before slamming the heavy wooden door behind her.

Of which they had no doubt.

"Fuck," Langly cursed shaking his head in utter disbelief. "Mulder is in up to his ass on this one."

"It's his own damn fault, Ringo," Frohike intoned.

"Yeah Fro, like he had a whole lot of choices at the time," Langly retorted.

Always the voice of reason amongst the three, Byers broke in. "Either way, this is between the two of them, its better we keep out of this one guys."

The other two nodded their assertions, "How much you wanna bet she finds him?" Langly grinned.

"It's not a question of her finding him, or finding out. It's what she is going to do to him When she finds out." Byers added.

"I put a hundred bucks and my brand new laptop that she disembowels him." Frohike smiled.

"My money is on castration," Langly bantered, receiving winces for his comment.

"You're both wrong," Byers replied. "She's gonna hurt him, of that there is no doubt, and it is going to be slow and painful." His voice trailed off to almost a whisper as he spoke his last words. "But she'll forgive him."


3.

He could take the drive in his sleep; he knew the route so well and had traveled it enough times. Too many memories flooded his senses as he drove the two hundred miles to his destination. He had found himself thinking of Scully.

He hated lying to her, hated what he had done and what he had become in the time since...

Since Diana had manipulated him into her life.

It was as if he was at her beck and call, as if her every whim had to be catered to and Mulder was the only one who could answer. Diana would often call in the middle of the night, needing something. He hadn't turned her down, ever.

Even when it meant he would have to leave Scully in the lurch over some paperwork. He had to be there for her, he had to go.

The rain had begun to fall after he had left Virginia. And as he pulled of the exit that would lead to Diana's Cape Cod style home, he cursed himself again. He hated coming here and then always hated to leave.


4.

Scully sat inside of her car in front of her apartment building. She had waited until she got home to even consider opening the envelope, and as she fumbled with the flap, she could feel her heart pounding. Inside were several letters, each obviously written at different times and in Mulder's wide sprawling script. They were ordered by number and so she read the first one as tears had begun to form in her eyes.

Scully,

I write this as I sit next to what is now your deathbed. I fear for you Scully, and I am afraid. I don't know how to save you. I have always strived to find the answers, to find clear definitions for the questions that my life has become.

I pray that I can make the right decision Scully, your life for mine, isn't that whet any friend would do? They say that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend, and although the choices I have to make do not result in my physical death, it is a death I will receive nonetheless.

Rest now Scully, I watch your pale fragile body give the good fight, and as you turn in your sleep, I know now that there is only one single solitary decision I can make. My only hope is that someday you read this and can forgive me.

Mulder

Cryptic did not even begin to describe his words. Scully was smart enough to realize that he had penned this first note as he sat watching the cancer slowly eat away at her from the inside out. He had gone through hell then, much more so than when she had gone missing.

Scully steeled her will, gathered all the notes together and headed upstairs to finish reading.


5.

He pulled into the driveway, not expecting to see so many cars as were there. He knew he should have been here sooner, knew that this was not going to be an easy transformation for all those involved. This was not going to be easy for anyone, and especially those that had no choice about being involved.

They greeted him as he got out of the car, solemn faces pressed together in fear. The older one held a protective arm around the younger one, and even in their extreme youth they seemed to know the seriousness of his unscheduled visit.


6.

Three glasses of White wine and a few curses later Scully had finally felt she was calm enough to read the next letter. She had spent most of her time getting steadily more relaxed, bath, wine, and even indulged in a few stolen spoonfuls of Chunky Monkey. She had initially planned on reading them the minute she hit the front door, but by the time she had made it up to her apartment, she knew she would have to get better control; of her emotions before she decided to hear the whole tale.

The sun had not yet begun its slow track down for the day, and she sent off a silent prayer that whatever had driven Mulder to these actions today had led him to somewhere safe, and that he would be back soon.

Once comfortably reclined into her couch with her favorite cd, she again picked up the packet of notes and began to read.

Scully,

You're alive. What better words have there ever been? I sit out here outside your door as you hold court with your family. I want so much to be in there with you, to be holding you, but I sit here and ponder the path that I have now set course upon. Know that what I have done Scully, as fucked up and wrong as it may be. I have done it for you.

I never even told you about her before. You have no idea that she was once my wife, and now she is my captor, my jailor. Her keys are your life, your freedom, and my shackles are her. I dare not mention her name here. Know that I now have obligations only to you, but she holds all my notes of debt. I pray it doesn't go any further, that she will simply vanish after tiring of me and want nothing more to do with me, but I am not foolish to believe that, though as well you know I will believe anything.

Hope, though she offered me a prison Scully, she also offered me hope. All required was my soul, but the joke is on her, you have owned that for years.

Mulder

Her hands trembled as she refolded the second note. She briefly considered going right for the third, but decided on another glass of wine before going on.


7.

The house had a reek to it, not as those of a messy owner, this house was immaculately maintained, Martha Stewart would be astonished at its decorum. He hated how coordinated everything was here, how Diana had managed to capture the essence of domesticity and nailed it to her walls right next to the crafty oversized wreaths and homespun quilts. No the reek in this house was all from an unknown yet tangible source. One he could not put a finger on as he passed through to the living room.

He walked through the room as a ghost. There were many people there, some he knew and eyed him with a shrewd suspicion. They all knew why he was there, and they marked him with the brand of scapegoat.

"It's good you're here Fox," a woman spoke, he remembered her from their wedding, Diana's best friend since college. "She's been waiting for you," Anne finished accusingly.


8.

Scully, finally calm once again began to read the third letter, not even blinking as the phone rang.

Scully,

It was the best and worst day of my life today, Scully. Today you returned to work, and I found out that I was going to be a father. She called me early in the morning, right before I had rolled out of bed and could be happy about going in to see you at work. I wasn't surprised, when she made the offer I knew what would be involved.

I was to be her lover, and in turn she would save your life. I didn't want this Scully. But now it is who I am.

She came by after I got home, never quite threatening your health, but always with that air of superiority. Guess she gets off on playing God still. She told me she was going back to California, and that I held no responsibilities or loyalties to her or the baby. What could I do? I had done this to save your life, and now...

She's leaving and though I am going to be a father to her child, I cannot help but feel a sense of relief that she is leaving. I have agonized whether or not to tell you. I think it is time to. I have to get this off my chest and I need to tell this to my best friend, if not for anything more than redemption.

Mulder

She nearly fell off the couch at his words. Not sure what to make of his confessions. Was she more upset that he had a baby with Diana, or the fact that he had lied to her? It was a tough call. And yet at the end he had committed to telling her truth, to sharing this with his best friend so that they could move on from it. He wanted redemption, and had he told her the whole story at that point would she had offered it?

Yeah, she would, and maybe absolution right along with it. But now, so much time had passed, why had he not told her? Even after she had finally met Diana, there were plenty of opportunity to let her know what he had done, why not tell?

As she fingered the fourth letter, it was as if he had read her mind.

Scully,

I am such a coward. I had foolishly thought that if I told you, somehow this great weight would be lifted from me, and I could go on without leading this double life. This past Christmas was going to be my present to myself. The Truth. But then things happened Scully, things that in the light of day did not seem like the time to tell you.

Emily.

How could I sit there and tell you of my forthcoming parenthood as you sat with your daughter watching her die? Even after she was gone, I could not muster up the strength to be the one to drive that final nail into your coffin. Diana sent me a sonogram picture of the baby for Christmas; it came all the way from California in a Christmas card. I felt nothing, as I looked at the picture of the seven month fetus sucking his little thumb, I could not find it within myself to feel anything for this child.

The thing that bothers me the most is that I felt more for Emily than I did for him.

Even after things had died down, I wanted to tell you, but your pain was still so raw and real.

How could I? How could I tell you what was going on and watch your life crumble with one more lie, one more secret. And the fear of you walking out of my life forever is so real that it makes me want to burn each one of these letters and sweep it all under the rug. But the one thing we have learned Scully is that the chickens always come home to roost. The truth will not stay buried, and though Diana has sworn to keep her distance, she has been known to renege.

So I have decided to keep these letters Scully, and maybe continue to add to them. Something tells me there will come a time that you will happen upon them and I will be forced to tell you everything-most likely at gunpoint. I hope you won't hate me, but I already hate myself enough for the both of us.

Mulder


9.

Mulder stood listless as he watched the people around him. Most were trying to maintain a safe distance from him. He knew he should go in and pay his respects, but he was not yet ready to.

He caught Anne in the kitchen. "Where are they?" he asked.

Anne peered at him over the rim of her glass.

"Sarah just took them over to the neighbors for a little while," she stammered. "We didn't think it was a good idea for them to be here right now."

Mulder sighed partially out of irritation, but mostly out of relief. He had seen them briefly when he got here, but was not ready to deal with them quite yet. "When can I see her?"

"In a little bit, she is in with the lawyer right now."


10.

Scully had taken to pacing the room. She had put in twelve calls to his cell phone and left twenty two messages on his answering machine.

The odd thing was that for the first time ever, she was not worried about him. Not in the usual ditch where she absolutely had the compulsion to chase after him and drag his sorry ass home.

This was different somehow, for on some level she realized he needed this, needed to be wherever he was at and deal with the mess on his own. Scully had wished that she could be with him, if nothing more than to finally give her a piece of her mind as to the finer points of secrets, lies, and ditching your partner.

Instead, as the clock toned seven o'clock, she opened the fifth letter, noting that she was now halfway through his confessional.

Scully,

His name is Scott Maxwell Mulder. He came into the world weighing in at nine pounds twelve ounces. Brown hair blue eyes and he is beautiful. God Scully, he is so small. I was not there when he was born, but she sent me pictures, dozens of them. He looks like her, which is fine by me as long as he has ten fingers and ten toes. I read over the letters I wrote to you before he was born, not believing how caviler I have been about the whole situation. I have yet to hold my son but the pictures are so lovely Scully.

I am trying not to feel guilty; you tell me I carry guilt like most people carry a tune. I am trying to be the man you see in me Scully, but it's so damn hard. I want to see him, I think I should. I am going to take a week of and go visit them. Maybe if I told you the truth you would come with me? Maybe the sun will go around the moon too.

Mulder

He was suffering for something he did for her, how could he ever dream that she would hate him for it? Had Diana been the one to give him the chip? Had she somehow programmed it? Or had she tricked him and had nothing to do with the remission at all. Either way, Mulder was suffering and she needed to find him to make it better, to prove to him that she could forgive.


11.

Mulder stood in front of the door which led to Diana. Not sure how to go in or make any of this right. Déjà vu was playing fast and loose with his emotions. He could not help but think how he had been in this spot before. How a similar situation had led to the very place he was in right now in some maddening dead in paradox. It was his duty to do this, he could not send in anyone else in his place.

He had watched the lawyer walk out of the room, slinking into the pit of people that milled about in Diana's home. As he left he sauntered up to the door knowing full well that it was his turn.

Slowly and deliberately he twisted the knob, and stole inside into the awaiting fate.


12.

The longer she had not heard form him, the more conflicting her emotions became. For a solid fifteen minutes she cursed his cowardice, to leave her a note as opposed to telling her of his crimes face to face. As a child growing up Catholic, Dana had two choices for confessional.

Slip into the small box and repeat her sins to the slot in the wall, or greet her priest face to face. Scully had always chosen face to face, even in the light of her most heinous crimes, like at the age of twelve when she had discovered the taboo pleasures of self eroticism. Dana felt it was her, nay each human's duty to face their atrocities and meet forgiveness head on.

She had toyed with the idea of not finishing the letters, of simply calling up her mother and heading out of town for a few weeks. But the mature Scully sent the five-year-old home, and in the end, she found herself picking up the sixth letter.

Scully,

I have failed you yet again. I just wanted to see him, I wanted to hold him Scully. She agreed for me to come out there for two days, the same two days you assumed I had taken to go help my mother clear her house out on the Vineyard. I never corrected you when you made that assumption. I don't even know why.

We were so close after you went into remission, and yet I felt myself keeping you at a distance.

I know you thought it was because I felt guilty, and afraid to lose you, those assumptions were true Scully. But deeper, so much deeper than that was this lie between us. I wanted to tell you so many times, and each time my tongue failed me was another testament to my cowardice. Will you leave me? Lose respect for me? Hate me? I'm sure all of the above and then some, especially after what has happened now.

She let me see him, I was so happy. After three months of aching to see him I finally got to hold Max in my arms. That's what she calls him, and it fits him too. But after that first day Scully, she wanted so much more. She let it drop three times into our conversation-how well you were doing, how you were in remission. Then as I headed out for a motel room, she hit me with it.

Oh god Scully, how could I? But at the same time, how could I not? Ever since she had that consortium doctor sneak into your room with that injection, the injection of what I have no idea, but it worked didn't it? Not the chip Scully, it has never been the chip. Though I did find out that the chip gave you something back that had been taken from you, you aren't barren anymore, and I wanted to tell you that too. But if you remove the chip, the ova die again.

So I found out today that Diana is pregnant, again. God if there is one person on the planet that could botch a sure thing, it's me. How could I be so stupid?? Fool me once shame on me...you know the rest. So I await the birth of my second child with a woman that I hate.

She doesn't want to see me anymore, did I tell you that? The last time we were together, I may or may not have dropped your name at a very inopportune time. Had I known that would have worked I would have used it long before this.

But the downside is I am not sure she will allow me to see either of my children. Children, how did I get in so deep? I have had to lie to you and sneak around like some bad episode of Melrose Place. I hate this Scully, its tearing me apart, and I can feel how it's tearing us apart.

I have found myself more and more in the strip clubs that I don't visit. I have been a prick to you, well more so than usual. You mourned Emily alone, and while you held me at arm's length, I could have gotten in if I really had it in me to, but I felt, feel so unworthy every time I am in your presence. There are times when you look at me lately and I swear to God you know. I know you don't trust her, I was so afraid when she turned up that she would tell you before I could.

But she held it in, and kept her little secret as a means to maintain a sort of superiority.

She was pregnant when she got shot, I thought for sure she would miscarry, but a miracle kept her from losing the baby.

And now she is pregnant, and I wait for that ticking time bomb of information to blow up right in my face.

Mulder


13.

He strolled into the room, not sure how he felt, or even how he should feel. Diana had always been a puzzle for him, mostly in the way that most women in his life had been. Once, while he was lying in bed with Diana, he had begun to compare his relationship to her with the relationship he shared with Scully. As a man, he had always felt that sex equaled a commitment in a relationship, that because they were sharing bodily fluids it meant something so much more than taking a walk together or gong out on a date. And yet, as he lay there with her, a realization dawned on him. He and Scully had never had sex, had not gone past anything more than a platonic kiss and a chaste hug, and yet he felt so much more for her than he ever would the woman lying next to him, or any other woman for that matter.

It was thoughts of Scully that filled his mind as he walked towards the mother of his children.


14.

Anger had gone away an hour ago, replaced by something so feral and tangible Scully felt she could literally pluck it out of the air and use it to break something-anything. Preferably the bones of one Fox Mulder. If he had let her in, had given her that all important trust that he held so near and dear, she could have helped him with this, could have yet again removed his ass from the licks of hell. Pacing became fidgeting, which turned into a burning need to finish what she had set out for. Not wanting to, but yet needing to more than breathing, she found herself yet again immersed into the desperate scrawling of her partner.

Scully,

Jesus, do even have the right to call you that anymore? It has become a term of endearment for us, the use of our last names. I had initially used it as a way to maintain a distance from you, and now it is the one thing that ties me to this earth. I find a sort of humor in the fact that you two hate each other. You tell me not to trust her, and all I want to do is scream back DUH! Childish right? When I went to Antarctica to get you, all I could think of was losing you, god Scully what if I had lost you then? I would not have anything; it's safe to assume that at some point, had you not been ok, I would have eaten my gun. This train of thought led me down a whole other path. My eating my gun would leave my children without a father. Not that I have been much of one thus far. It is funny the way the human mind works, the revelations that lead us to the paths that find epiphany. It was rescuing you that lead me to want to be their father Scully.

So, now would be a safe time to admit yet another betrayal in a long line of betrayals. I begged Diana to stay here. I needed to be around them Scully, I wanted to be around them. If I lost you it would kill me, and if they lost me there would always be this void in their life where I should have been. I could not leave them no more than I could leave you. And all the regrets that I have about not being there for Max's birth...god Scully I should have been there, and I should tell you all of this.

Regrets, as if I don't have enough guilt, right Scully? Somehow I have to make this all right, somehow I have to fix this. Diana is barely showing. She has taken over my files-our files.

I watch her move around as she struts the halls of the Hoover building, sometimes I wonder how long before the lid blows off on this one. Other times I wonder how long before you kill her, either way I know this is all gonna end badly.

Mulder


15.

"How ya doing kiddo?" he asks the woman as she sits up a bit to greet him.

"Fox, I am so glad you came. I thought you would not remember..."

"Diana, regardless of whatever is between us, I do care. " He smiled as her face lit up, chasing away the sadness. He sits in front of her, offering to her more than he thought he had able to give.

"Fox, I want us to talk I mean we never talk and there has been so much between us now. Good and bad. I want to let the bad go Fox. I want to make things right." She reached out for his hand, and he accepted it.


16.

It was not something she was used to doing.

Allowing tears to fall was one thing, a precursor to emotions she could otherwise hold back. As long as the sobbing could be held at bay, Scully knew she would be able to control it.

But control had been usurped somewhere after the last letter she read. In a way, it was cleansing, allowing herself to finally cry outright. It gave to her a freedom that she had long since thought gone along with pigtails and her brothers' air rifle. But as she sat in her too quiet apartment, a healing came, crying had freed her to admit so many things to herself.

She was beyond hurt, she felt beyond betrayed.

Mulder had always been the one person she could count on to tell her the truth. She had trusted him after she killed Donnie Pfaster, and he had earned that trust on countless occasions, His written confessions felt like a sort of rape.

There were no emotions that she could harness.

It was all too much.

And yet, with all the pain, betrayal and even humiliation, Scully felt as if she had to read the rest.

Scully,

I'm no longer certain the reasons I have for writing these ramblings to you. The psychologist in me wants to chalk it up to guilty conscience that this is a means for silencing the guilt that is eating away at my very soul. Part of me also believes that I am trying to find some sort of justification for my actions. Its no longer about what I did, I have two children Scully, and as painful as that may be to you, I would not trade them for the world.

This has become about how I have betrayed you. I want so badly to tell. I want to share them with you. I get them a lot of weekends, when we are not on a case, and you are off at your Mom's or with your family for some gathering that I manage to bail out of.

They come and stay for a couple of days, and then I have to drive them back home. You almost caught me. You came over on a Monday morning when you thought my car was in the shop.

Remember the bunny on the couch? You picked it up and smiled and I played it off like it was Sam's. I have gotten very good at lying to you now, and it sickens me. The bunny belonged to Justin-that's his name Scully, my youngest son is now six months old and will not sleep without it.

It was a present from me. I was there when he was born. I had bought the damn thing before he even entered the world.

She did not disappear after my bout with 'mental illness' Scully. She went home. She and the boys live in Connecticut. She left it all behind and I have been paying for things for a while now. I know what you are thinking, but it was her who saved me Scully. I don't know how to explain it to you, but she is the one who sent you that keycard. If for just that reason that you could trust her, at least a little bit.

Diana may have her own agenda, of that I will never argue, and she used your illness to get to me, yes strike two. And, I will also admit that she took great pleasure in tormenting you. But with all that Scully, she saved you, and she saved me.

I don't know what will happen between you and I, and I am starting to have my doubts that this will end with me being happy. But then, have I ever been? Other than the times we were together I have not been. When I was shown that other life Scully, Max and Justin were there. I watched them grow, and I felt the pride that only a father can feel. The only problem with that life was that you were not there, and therefore, there was no happiness.

Know this, every word I said to you in my apartment that day you came to see me, Yankees cap and all, know that every single word then was the truth. Scully I love you, and I am in love with you. Maybe I don't have the right to tell you that now. But my new year's resolution this year is going to be the truth, and I think I will start with that.

Mulder


17.

"It was never my intention to ruin your life Fox," her voice had a breathy quality, as if she were speaking from a dream.

"I never accused you of that Diana. I never once said you ruined my life." The words were neither accusatory nor defensive. They were simply words.

She smiled then, a small wispy grin as she leaned back. "I feel like I have. That you never wanted the boys, they were just there."

Mulder could spot the need for absolution at a great distance. She needed to hear that he did not blame her for any of the things that she was responsible for. Any other day he would have flown off the handle, gotten upset and offered her the snappish response that she deserved.

Today was not that day.

"Diana, we all have things in our lives that come to us that at the time we feel would be the worst possible scenario. I never considered my boys the worst possible scenario. I love them as much as any man could love their children." As he spoke, he gently stroked her hand with his thumb.

"I don't think a person should go through life hating, there is no point." Mulder looked away for a brief moment, trying to keep the emotions from welling up and belying his words.

"Diana, I want to thank you for my boys,"


18.

"So you know," Byers spoke, seated in his desk chair at the Lone Gunman Office.

"Where is he Byers?"

The other two were out, having gone for the day. Byers had the misfortune of having to finish the final proofing on the next issue of their underground paper.

"Where do you think he is Scully?" he bantered.

She fiddled with the envelope, not sure how or if she would answer the question.

"Did you read all of the letters?" he asked the silent melancholy woman.

"No, there's one left, and I am not sure I want to read it."

"Why?"

A large sigh that had been building up all day finally escaped the woman's mouth. "I don't know."

"How do you feel after knowing? I mean aside from the obvious? What's going through your heart?" It would stand to reason that Byers would get to the heart of the matter. She had always pegged him for the most sensitive of the three, and possibly a romantic. That and the fact that the other two were gone gave him the opportunity to speak to Scully candidly.

"Aside from hurt, betrayed, angry and bitter?" she snipped.

"Yeah, aside from that," Byers plodded.

"There is a sadness for him. I feel sort of responsible for his initial actions. He did this, or at least he believed that he did this to save me."

"You have every right to feel each and every emotion you are feeling right now. And maybe even a few others. I have to ask you one question though."

"I don't know if I can ever forgive him, John," she admitted, guessing what he would ask. "We have had a friendship based on the strictest of values, and this admission of his just about kills at least all of them." She held up a hand before he had a chance to speak. "We do not have that kind of relationship, so it is not a question of cheating, John. This is about trust pure and simple."

It was Byers' turn to sigh. "I don't know what to say to that," he admitted.

"I don't know if Mulder and I will ever be the same again."

"Dana," he had hoped the use of her first name would better grab her attention. "I can't tell you how to feel or what to feel. All I can say to you is that you really need to read that last letter."

"I can't"

"Why?"

"Because on one hand I am afraid it is a plea for forgiveness, "she paused before going on, "And on the other hand I am afraid it is goodbye."


19.

"Did you ever love me, Fox?"

"You are a good mother, Diana," he answered glibly.

"You are avoiding the question," she accused.

"Of course Diana, we have children together."

"Children you did not want." The words were sad, as if there was a remorse that she had never shown before.

"Diana, some of the best gifts are surprises."

He smiled at her in an offish way.

"Don't patronize me Fox. And don't say things you don't mean out of pity or some warped sense of duty and honor."

Mulder rose from where he sat and began to pace.

"I hated you for a long time, Diana. If you remember, you are the one who walked out on our marriage..."

"And I have told you before there were reasons for that. All my cards have been laid on the table, Fox. I don't want there to be any more secrets between us."

Mulder chuckled sardonically. "This is neither the time nor the place for this, Diana..."

"Time is a luxury I no longer have, Fox," she whispered.

It was the slap of reality he needed to put himself back into the real crux of the conversation. Redemption.

"I forgive you Diana. In as much as I want to hate you and loathe you for all the crap that you have put me through in the last ten years. I forgive you because I choose to and not for any other reason."

"You hate me?" she whimpered.

"No," he shook his head violently. "I never want to look in the faces of our children and feel hate for their mother. That is not fair to them."

The room remained silent for a time as she allowed his words to sink in.

"I-I have loved you Diana," Mulder choked.

It seemed to be enough for her, but in some ways Mulder wished it could be more. He felt as if he should be giving her more right now. She had taken so much from him, and yet in so many ways he owed her so much more.


20.

Scully found herself yet again reading a letter from Mulder in her car. She had left Byers' a fter their conversation feeling compelled to finish what she started. For good or bad, she had to read the rest, if to only know the truth, all of it once and for all.

Scully,

She's dying. They found out what she did for me and they gave her what they had once given you.

Only this is the new and improved method of murder. She has the same tumor as you did, only this one is fast growing and there is no chip or miracle cure for her. She simply is wasting away at an accelerated rate.

I have been spending more and more time there with her, I've even tried to find a cure but she has accepted her fate Scully, and I think to an extent she feels she deserves it. She once told me soon after she was diagnosed that she felt this was her penance and that whether she made it through this or not she felt that God was justified in giving her this to get through.

I am writing this letter as I sit here at the Gunman's office. They know most of the tale, I had to tell them to get them to help me search for a cure for her. I am on my way to see her for the last time, that call I got in the office this morning was her sister telling me I needed to come if I wanted to say my last goodbyes.

Last goodbyes...oh man Scully, watching her fade away has brought back a lot of the pain from when you were sick. We never talk about that time, we never discuss it, but I felt so damned ineffectual, and when the first opportunity jumped at me I snapped at it. I look back now and I ask myself if I would do it all again, and I have to say yes. Diana offered me your life, and what I goy in return is three. I love them Scully, my children. I would do the same thing all over again, and if it were them sick, then I would do it for them.

I once pondered the idea if you would or could forgive me, but I no longer feel any need for forgiveness, maybe for the lies, but not for my actions. Having Justin and Max have taught me what love really is about. I love you and now I know that I have loved you the right way.

Forgiveness is not just for the doomed or the dying. I have learned what forgiveness is Scully. I am prepared for any scenario you have to offer me. If you forgive me, I know that what we have had has been right all along, and I will spend the rest of my life in a state of perpetual bliss knowing that the one woman on this planet that I will ever love loves me too. I am also prepared for moderate forgiveness, if you never want to see me again I will understand, I will not hunt you, or dog you, or make you feel like shit for not ever wanting to see me again. I will go on, though as a man who has lost half of his soul, I will go on. I have no choice but to go on now Scully.

But Scully, I need you to know, if you choose not to forgive me, it is not my place to hate or malign you, I understand and do not feel guilty, the things I have done to betray your trust are beyond repugnant, and if you shoot me, well at least aim for a place that will leave me to raise my boys without too much difficulty...And I will promise to light a candle each day for your hurt and pain so that it goes away enough for you to be able to trust someone again.

Mulder

She closed the envelope. There were no more decisions for her to make tonight. Only one path left alight and she prayed she made the right call.


21.

"Just not as much as you love her, right Fox?" Diana accused.

Mulder turned to her then. "What I feel for Scully has little to do with what I feel or have felt for you Diana. Leave her out of this."

She seemed to shrink inside of the bed at his words. "Why didn't you ever tell her then?" she hurled.

Shoulders slumped; he turned again to stare out the window. "Diana, I am here for you right now, there are other things we should be discussing..."

"I, just want to know if..." she trailed off not sure how to phrase her question.

"Know what Diana?" Mulder insisted.

"Is she going to be there for you, I mean, is she going to be around to help you with the boys?"

"I don't know," he opined honestly. "But if not, I don't need her help."

"They all blame you, you know. My family. They seem to think that I should have left you to die. That the boys would be better off with them now."

Fear and anger raged through Mulder unexpectedly. "Is that a threat Diana?"

A small gleam passed across her face. "No, a test, you passed with flying colors. Honestly Mulder, there is no one else I would leave them with." She smiled at him then, "They are great kids huh?"

Nodding emphatically Mulder returned her smile. "Yeah, they are. And I meant what I said before, Diana. You are a great Mom; you have done a great job with them."

"I'm all right with it you know," Diana began. "I know you love her, and if she and you want to raise the boys together..." she was stopped by a sudden gush of blood running from her nose.

He helped her sit forward and called for the nurse that had taken up residence there two months ago.

"Stay with me Diana," he begged. "Not yet, please not yet..."

The nurse was all business and ignored the tall man crouched at the side of Diana's bed. Family and friends had begun pouring into the room, fearing correctly that this had reached the end of the line. Mulder tried to maintain eye contact with the rapidly fading woman, and ignoring all others in the room chose to keep talking to her.

"There is no greater love, Diana,' he murmured into her ear hoping and praying that she could still hear him. "For a man to lay down his life for a friend. There is no greater love. You taught me that. I could not have loved Dana, without having learned that from you."

And as Diana Fowley slipped off into the night, she knew that all she had done, while not always with the best intentions, had been the right path all along.


22.

He walked through the house dazedly, packing a few things here and there out of the boys' rooms.

They were still so young. Max was recently toilet trained (no small feat) and Justin required a diaper bag. He wasn't sure where he was going with them as he stuffed items into the overnight bag. He had contemplated going home and holing up there until the funeral. But there was something keeping him from wanting the safe confines of his apartment.

Scully.

The boys sat on the couch in Diana's living room, huddled together not sure of what was going on, and yet knowing somehow in their little lives that everything had changed.

"Dah," Justin accused as Mulder strolled past to load his car with the car seats.

"That's me guys." He smiled back at them, and not surprised to hear the toddle of small feet as he made his way to the car.

Max was a quiet introspective child, not given to tantrums or fits of childish banter. When Max spoke, it was usually something important. "We goin' 'way?" he asked as he watched his father load the bags into the car.

Mulder stopped what he was doing and kneeled down to face the two. "Yes," he admitted. "We are going to the house where I grew up in. I think you guys need a little break from everything before...." he stopped, not wanting to give everything array. Diana had insisted that the children not attend her funeral, a request he was more than willing to oblige. "I -we are going to the beach, but first I have to stop at home."


23.

"Ooookay guys," he had to fumble with the keys to get the front door unlocked. He held Justin and their bags as he swung the door open to the waiting mess that was his life. He adjusted Justin on his hip and let the diaper bag slide to the floor.

"Hi," a tiny voice spoke, Mulder realized that Max was speaking to someone; he spun around to find the voice.

"Hi," the woman replied. "You must be Max."

Scully held her hand out to shake the little boy's fist. There was no doubt these were Mulder's children.

"This is Justin, his Royal Highness." Mulder smiled at the sight, yet the apprehension at what was to come next nearly leaving him toppled over.

'Hi Justin." She smiled.

"Who are you?" Max asked outright.

"My name is Dana, I'm your dad's best friend."

The End.

Read More Like This Write One Like This
Non-Canon Kids list
Stepkids list
Kids with Others list
Amor Fati Sons Challenge
It Wasn't His Child Challenge
One Each Way Challenge
Return to The Nursery Files home