Title: Memories in the Twilight
Author: Pattie
Rated: G
Category: Kidfic, Angst, Pre-X-Files, M POV
Feedback: patfiler@outlook.com
Archive: gossamer. Anyone else, please ask You can see it at Pattie's Pocketful of X-Fics
Disclaimer: They just followed me home, but they are owned by Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions, and Fox Studios. There is no money changing hands; no copyright infringement is intended The three boys belong to me.

Summary: Mulder recalls one summer night a year after Samantha was taken.

Author's Note: Written for The Nursery Files Lazy Hazy Days of Summer Challenge, during the summer of 2005.

Scully understands why I wouldn't want to rent a cottage out in Chepachet, Rhode Island, just as my parents had. If I wanted a cottage holiday that badly, I'd go up to Lake Huron, Maine, perhaps even some place in Michigan As long as there's cell and cable, I would still rather be busy at the Bureau. Then Skinner or Kersh would order me to take my two week hiatus.

That year after Samantha was taken, Mom and Dad took me back to Amy and David Cassandra's cottage Granted, they were sleeping in separate rooms and trying to save their marriage. Still, things weren't ever the same That summer was the last time I went out there, and I won't ever forget it People nodded and smiled politely when we went into town for groceries, walked past their cottages, or saw them passing by our place.

I was thirteen that year Often, going down to the lakeshore was relaxing to me Well, it had been years before Not this particular year.

One night, I was on my way down there, and saw the guys Sam and I used to hang around with I know this is going to sound like I was King Wussy, but I couldn't face them Not without Samantha Definitely not when tongues were wagging faster than a bassett hound's tail when he's getting a treat I crouched behind a shrub and could tell they were shooting the breeze.

Danny Simmons, Bobby Walker and John Kapusky, all in the usual spot, just poking the rocks, bugging the crayfish and doing all those things that made no sense to our parents. Danny was jabbering something about moths in his parents' cottage.

"I hate 'em They fly right up to your eyes, then ya wanna kill 'em and they're gone. Hey Bobby, why do you do that to the crayfish?"

"I dunno." Bobby just continued what he was doing and didn't look up "Maybe I just like to see them move. You got any gum left, John?"

"No. You remember when Samantha Mulder used to share hers with us? She always kept some for somebody else But she's not coming this year, I heard."

"Yeah!" Danny was really pissed off about that. "Someone took her away, and I know the Mulder's are here this week Don't they know there are bad people out there? They didn't take weird Fox."

John had been calm, up to that point. He usually liked to see just how far a story could go before he added his two cents' worth, then let loose but loud! "Fox isn't weird, guys. And he jokes around, plays basketball when he's out here He's pretty damn smart. Wanna skip stones?"

"Nah," Danny said I could tell he was in a bad mood. "I'm going in soon Dad told me not to talk about the Mulder's anyhow He says it's grown up stuff. You know what I heard? I heard it was aliens, and bright lights and the whole thing was a plan. But I think it was the Boston Strangler."

Bobby threw his stick into the water "THAT'S a lie. It could NOT be the Boston Strangler! He's already in jail! You don't know any more than anybody else!"

I started to remember when Sam and I would argue over things, and I'd get on my high horse and say the same thing, in the exact same snarky way. *You don't know more than anybody else*. My thoughts were interrupted by the gentle whisper from behind me. "Hey, it's only me, Mr. Simmons. They're pretty nasty sometimes, aren't they?"

"I'm going to get used to it, I guess Lots of people like to gossip I'm okay." Of course, I wasn't okay I hadn't been able to save my sister, and I wasn't going to do anything about these guys talking through their hats, so to speak.

"No You kids have all been friends for so many summers. Fox, just relax. I'll set them straight." Mr. Simmons got up and inched up on the boys "COULD HAVE BEEN THE BIG MAN WITH THE BIG BUTTER KNIFE!" he bellowed I had to suppress my laugh. Those guys really freaked out when Danny's father did that, and he did it so well "Boys, you're not to go telling stories if you don't know the facts The truth is, none of us know what happened when Samantha went missing. Now, the Mulder's are up here this week, and Fox needs you more than ever now John, didn't you have a baby sister who died of leukemia?"

"Yes, Sir. And I sure miss her. I didn't hear any goofy stories going around about that I was telling people she went to Heaven."

"Danny, Bobbie, you know Fox wants to play basketball He might be sad, a bit quiet this year, but I bet he'd love to play a game while he's here with his parents. And don't go saying things or asking questions without thinking who's going to hear you Words hurt. You know that C'mon, Danny It's late."

At that moment, my mind was drifting back to the times when we played basketball, tag, picked wild berries, whatever, and went out after supper to hang around the lake just talking, and Samantha was there At that moment, she was there. If she had really been there, we would have been chasing each other around, teasing each other until Mom and Dad told us to stop or go into the cottage to our rooms. As I sat behind that bush, I smiled for what was perhaps the first time in months.

If I was going to succeed in school, get my education and try to find Samantha, the least I could do was take care of myself. If she couldn't play here, I wanted to show her wherever she was, I was going to make it.

Now, when I see an old picture of the three of them, the one I took on a Friday night when we had arrived, two years before Samantha went away, I remember those guys. As for what they were saying, it was just all talk. I was savoring my memories in the twilight.

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