Title: Mirage II: The Sequel
Author: Angel LeeAnn
Rating: PG-13
Keywords: MSR, Angst
Spoilers: none

Summary: At the end of 'Mirage' the readers are left wondering what it is Dana doesn't want Mulder to know. We're about to find out.

IMPORTANT NOTES: I wrote 'Mirage' years ago, but had it reposted back in 2000. One 2 June 2003, I got an e-mail requesting a sequel. How could I say no? Anyway, I recommend you read 'Mirage' before the sequel or you'll be lost.

Disclaimers: If you haven't figured it out yet, then you're obviously not a fan. So, in case you stumbled across this by accident: this is based on the creation of Chris Carter, 1013 Studios, and FOX.

It had been a month since Mulder's return and Dana remained in a state of joy and confusion. She watched from the safety of her corner as her husband's strength returned to full capacity; his passion for the paranormal sparking into a full-grown fireworks display.

The FBI, however, denied his request for a reinstatement. The rejection left him bitter for days, but he eventually outgrew his anger and replaced it with urgency. He was going to continue his quest with or without the benefits of the FBI.

His relationship with Sam soared. He held nothing back and spoiled the toddler with gifts, kisses, and stories from his glory days working on the X-files. He took Sam to the park, beach, library...He watched 'Toy Story' with his son until the tape fizzled and fried; then, he bought a new one to start the ritual over again.

Yet, when it came to her, Mulder was hesitant and seemed -- at times -- to be afraid. They were polite with each other, but that's about where their relationship ended.

Dana glanced at the timer on the oven and watched the numbers as they ticked closer and closer to the OO:OO. Why did she suddenly feel like the timer?

Mulder bounded in with Sam draped over his neck like a scarf. The boy was giggling profoundly, his squeals of delight bringing a smile to his mother's face. She rose from her post at the table to stand in front of her husband so that she could tickle Sam's kicking feet. "Hey, little boy, what are you up too?"

"Daddy's a fireman. I'm his victim."

His father chuckled, his eyes lightening in the way that only happened when he was around his son. "Not my 'victim' you silly. I'm rescuing you from the fire. You're a...a...Well, not my victim because that would mean I was harming you."

'But he was your victim,' she thought, then instantly felt her heart fill with dread and she pulled away swiftly, turning her head to hide her shame.

As if sensing her vile thought, Fox's demeanor changed from uplifting to a quiet stillness. He slowly lowered Sam to the ground, sitting the toddler on his rear. Sam peered back over his shoulder at his father; unsettled by the rapid change.

Dana cleared her throat and busied herself with sitting the table. She sensed rather than heard Mulder approach her from behind. "I...uh...you'll only need to sit the table for two tonight."

She froze, her hand clasped around a fork. She glanced back at him wearily. "Why? Where will you be?"

"Nowhere. I just," he stole a peek at Sam. He whispered, "I asked your mom to come take him for the night. I forgot about it until now."

"Why?" For some unexplainable reason she felt a wave of panic crush her, tightening until she could barely breathe. 'He can't possibly be trying to...to...seduce me, could he?'

He shrugged. "I just think it's time we talked."

'Talk?' Her eyes flicked over to their little boy and the panic rose once again. "What do you want to talk about?"

"Well, Dana, if I felt we could discuss it with him around then I wouldn't have asked your mom to watch him," he jibed. "I'll tell you what I want to talk about after he's gone."

Ten minutes later, Mrs. Scully arrived with hugs and kisses to retrieve her grandson. She tossed Mulder a reassuring smile; and a 'tell him' look towards Dana before leaving with Sam and his suitcase.

The couple sat nervously at the kitchen table. They'd yet to share a dinner alone and the awkwardness was evident. When they both reached for the A1 Sauce, their fingers had brushed for the slightest moment before they had both snapped their hands back. The bottle fell back to the table with a bang, but luckily did not break.

Afterward, they cleaned the kitchen then retired to the living room, each taking a separate end of the four-person couch.

Fox sighed heavily, clasping his hands in front of him and staring at them as though they held the keys to the universe. "Dana...I don't...this isn't...God," he shook his head. "I don't know how to say this without upsetting you."

'Breathe, Dana, breathe...'

He turned his entire body in her direction, his eyes begging for her to understand. "This isn't working. We can't keep going on like this."

"Like what?"

He barked a manic laugh. "Like what? Damn it, Dana, you know like what. We walk around on eggshells with each other. What's the point of this marriage?"

Her throat constructed to the size of a grain of sand. Her eyes swept across the living room until they rested on a family portrait taken before Sam had died. Back then they knew the point of their marriage. They had it all figured out. 'Why can't it be like that now?'

She returned her gaze to the man she had once vowed to love through sickness and health...through richer and through poorer...through the good times and the bad times...and wondered why it is she had promised all those things.

He waited impatiently until she finally murmured, "I don't know." She took a deep breath. "Sam needs both his parents. It's easier on him if we live in the same house."

He jumped to his feet, his face crimson red with his rage. "Damn it, don't bring Sam into this. I'm not talking about Sam! I'm talking about US, damn it! Where do we fit in together? What are we to each other? Why are we living a lie?"

"We're not living a lie."

"Bullshit! We allow everyone to believe that we're the perfect happy family that they see on Hallmark commercials when in reality we are crumbled into a million pieces!"

Dana lowered her gaze to the Oriental rug underneath the coffee table and wished she could stop this conversation from happening. She was torn from her thoughts when he knelt down beside her and questioned in a small voice, "Do you love me?"

She saw time stand still. She felt her heart stop beating. She kept her eyes fixed on the carpet, her thoughts jumbled like a string of Christmas tree lights.

Apparently time hadn't stopped like she felt it had because when she finally looked up: he was gone.

They hadn't seen each other again that night. He'd locked himself away in his room. On the way to the master bedroom, Dana had halted outside his door and stood there for thirty minutes just staring at the oak door. When she'd heard him flip off the TV, she'd scurried to her room.

The following morning, she didn't catch him before he went out for his early jog. By the time he returned, Sam was back and neither felt secure. For the rest of the evening, they virtually stayed clear of each other and when it came time to put Sam to bed, Mulder disappeared.

Dana now lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling and questioning herself when she heard the front door close. She had an insane urge to leap out of bed and rush downstairs, but she didn't have the desire to see him. The two conflicting emotions teased and confused her.

She glanced over at her alarm clock: 2:35AM. The red glowering lights mocked her until they read 2:43AM and she finally climbed out of bed and went to Mulder's room. She pressed her ear to his door and heard him settling in. Once the droning of the TV began, she softly knocked.

"It's open," his raw voice called from inside.

She cautiously entered unsure herself as to what she was doing there. Her eyes focused and she spied him sitting on the bed in his boxers with his back against the headboard. The remote was limp in his left hand; and she noticed for the first time that he never put on his wedding band.

In the hospital it was required that they remove it, but since his release, the piece of gold was sitting untouched a top of his dresser. Strangely, she wasn't affected by this as she thought she would have been.

Without looking her way he asked, "What brings you to my domain?"

"Where were you?"

There was a long stretch of silence. 'Like you care,' Mulder thought with malice. 'Do you even have the right to question me anymore?'

"Fox? Where were you?"

"Mulder," he grumbled.


"My name is Mulder."

It hit her like a ton of bricks. It bothered her more heavily than his bare ring finger. She hadn't called him Mulder since before their wedding day. Did he really feel that disconnected from her to return to such formality?

"No. No, both our names are Mulder."

His expression was a mixture of bafflement, sourness, and perplexity. "Is that how you want it? It sure seems to me we're back to Mulder and Scully -- strangers known to each other only by their reputation."

It was true. And it hurt. Yet, she was stubborn. "Don't change the subject. I want to know where you were. Was it a bar?"

He chuckled quietly, slightly amused as though she'd told a joke. "No." He clicked the TV off, but still didn't look her way. "I was...regrouping."

"Regrouping? What do you mean?"

"I was going back to my roots." He finally gazed over at her, his features masked in melancholy. "I was seeking guidance."


"My mother, aleha ha-shalom."

Her face contorted into mystical bewilderment and she nearly whispered, "What?"

"Aleha ha-shalom: may she rest in peace." He shook his head as though it were difficult to explain. "Anyway, I visited my mother's grave; then Samantha's; then, finally, my father's. The one who I got the most out of was my mother."


"That's between her and me. You don't need to know what transpired in order to know where I was. I told you where I was."

Dana nodded her acceptance even though she didn't like it. "Fox...what's happened to us?"

"I killed our son," he said it with such conviction that it seemed bizarrely accurate for him to say it. "What worse thing can happen to a marriage?"

She wanted to deny it. 'You didn't kill him,' she yearned to plead, but couldn't find the willpower to mutter them. Was it true that she still harbored resentment toward him?

Sickened, she quietly, but quickly got up and left, sneaking back to hide under her own covers. It was hours before she felt the tugging of sleeping beckoning her, but just as she was about to slip into unconsciousness, she heard whimpering.

Frantic, she raced to Sam's room, but found her sleeping boy at peace with his dreams. Yet, the distinct sound of whimpering continued and she made her way to Fox's room where she stood and listened until her ears picked out the sound of crying.

Fox Mulder was crying.

If there was one sound in the world that sliced her heart it was the agonizing sound of her husband crying. Since the night of Sam's death, she hadn't heard a single tear from him. He had been stoic at the funeral, unable to grasp his emotions. Feeling it was his only way to cope, he'd buried his pain deep inside.

Now he was crying...sobbing...


At that, she slipped into his room and crawled into his bed. He tensed as his senses picked up her presence. "Leave," his hoarse voice ordered.

'Not a chance in Hell,' she thought. "Fox, I'm not going anywhere." She stroked his tear-streaked face. "Our marriage may have fallen apart; our friendship may never be rekindled, but there's no reason for you to be alone."

"I k-killed him," he wailed, burying his face into her bosom. "Ev-everyone knows...knows it. I-I can't...I can't live with myself. I don-don't blame you for hating me, for not wa-wanting me. I-I killed our baby boy."

"You brought him back." She stroked his hair, ignoring the fact that his tears had soaked through to her breasts. "You brought him back, Fox. You sacrificed yourself to bring him back."

"What kind of parent kills their child? I-I'm a hor-horrible father."

A lump the size of Mars logged itself in her throat. Tears streamed down her face. She bit her lip until she felt blood flowing into her mouth. "Fox. There's something...you need to know."

He just continued to weep. She worked up her courage and murmured, "I did something that I'm not proud of. I did something...I regret."

This seemed to catch his attention, and he tried desperately to calm his breathing so he could hear her better. "What?"

"Fox, on the same night you and Sam went in for the procedure...something happened. You're going to be livid at me and I understand, but please try to see it from my point of view."

She took a deep breath. "Remember that time we had sex after Sam died? It was about two and a half months before Doctor Banks called us."

The man in her arms had gone deathly still.

She licked her lips nervously. "Apparently, that night I had gotten pregnant. I didn't know it at the time because when I stopped having my periods, I blamed it on the stress. My periods had always been erratic since my abduction. Anyway, then I started feeling funny and crampy, but I sold that to stress, too."

'Is he breathing,' Dana wondered.

"Anyway, the night after our meeting at the dock, my mom made me go to the hospital. I found out I was pregnant and...and...I didn't tell you because...because you were so set in tying to bring Sam back..."

Fox slowly raised his head to stare up at her with utter bewildered rage. "How could you? How could you not tell me! What? Were you worried that if I knew you were pregnant then I wouldn't go through with the procedure? You know how fucking horrible that is?"

Dana wanted to look away from his accusing stare, but she was trapped in it. "I don't know what I was thinking. Everything was so...so...difficult!"

"Well what happened to the baby, Dana? After you got Sam back and safe, did you go have an abortion?! Was this baby your back-up plan?" By now he had pushed himself away from her as though her touch repulsed him.

Dana began weeping, missing his warmth. "No, I wanted the baby. I did. I did." She wasn't sure whom she was trying more to convince: him or her self. "I just...I wanted Sam back!"

"What happened to the baby, Dana?"

"On the night you went in for your procedure...I went in for one also." She couldn't look at his face anymore. "I...I never..."

"Did you have an abortion?" he whispered, his voice cracking with his emotions. "Did you willingly kill our unborn baby?"

There was a long, tense moment before she collapsed within herself. "No, no, no, no...I had a...a...miscarriage! The doctors said it was due to stress, but I know the truth! I heard them conversing in the hallway! I lost the baby because I wasn't taking care of myself! I wasn't sleeping or eating or exercising or taking pre-natal vitamins! I killed our living baby by being too worried with our dead one! What if the procedure hadn't worked? Then I would have lost both my babies and my husband."

Fox shook his head, sitting up and swinging his feet over the edge of the bed. He buried his face in his hands. "Why did you come to my apartment the night we were supposed to meet at the airport?"

"I wanted to tell you about our unborn baby, but I couldn't find the strength too. Even though I was angry I still held hope that you would bring Sam back. Part of me didn't want you to do it because of the risks and the baby. Yet, what mother passes up an opportunity to see her son again?"

"What was it?" he whispered.

"A girl."

"A daughter," he responded quietly before rising to his unsteady feet and walking to the window where he peered out into the chilly night. He stayed poised at his post, watching the rain drizzle. "Now what?"

"I don't know."

Days went by. Weeks rolled in one right after the other. Months began to change. They celebrated Sam's (actual) fourth birthday (making him three and a half). Yet, Fox and Dana were beyond strangers. They were virtually invisible to each other, each having their own world that centered a round Sam and work.

The toddler picked up on the strain in the air; that his parents never so much as looked at each other. He grew irritable and refused to take baths, go to bed, and made a mess with his food. He'd cry if any one of them left the house.

Finally, one evening, there was a crack in their concrete walls. Fox was sitting at the computer typing an article for the 'Paranormal Inquisitor' and munching on salty sunflower seeds, leaving the shells scattered across the desktop.

Dana was on the floor, her back to the couch, working through medical journals that lay strewn across the coffee table. She occasionally got up to check on Sam to make sure he was still in his bed and not trying to escape the confines of his room.

Upon her return from one of her trips, she halted at the doorway into the living room, her eyes growing wide. Fox was slumped over the keyboard, his palms pressed firmly into his temples. She rushed over, concern turning to dread when she glimpsed his face. He was paler than a ghost, his features scrunched in agony.

She smoothed her hand over his hair, his hands, and his forehead. "Fox? Fox, what's wrong? What's happening?"

He groaned, toppling off the chair and rolling himself into a tight ball. Dana wasted no time calling 911, then, leaving a message with Doctor Banks' voice message.

She was now on the floor, her husband's head cradled in her lap, and tears threatening to fall from her eyes. "Oh God, Fox, what's happening? Tell me where and what you feel."

"Head," he moaned. "My head...is...exploding." He cried out as the pressure increased. "I'm...dying! I...I can feel it!"

"NO!" she screamed. "Damn it, Fox, you are NOT dying! You aren't allowed to die!" She thrust her face skyward and wailed. "Damn you! Damn you for doing this to me! You let him live! YOU LET HIM LIVE!"

A whimper caused her to turn her head over her shoulder and she gasped as she eyes fell on her crying son who stood three feet away cuddling his stuffed alien. "Sam, Sam...go back into you room. GO!"

'I won't let him witness this. I won't let him witness his father dying.'

Sam, however, only ran to her, flinging his arms around her neck and weeping into her shoulder. "Mommy," he sobbed then, glanced down at his writhing father. "Daddy. Daddy, stop it!"

Fox couldn't pry his eyes open due to the intense pain. It was getting so unbearable, he wasn't sure he would remain conscious much longer. He was dying and he knew he didn't have much time left. "Da-dana," he winced. Talking hurt worse. "I...I'm...sorry."

"Damn you, Fox! Damn you to Hell if you leave me alone!"

A paramedic appeared at her side and pulled her away.

Dana sat like a barrier outside his hospital room. The doctors weren't allowing her in yet, but they couldn't persuade her to wait in the waiting room with Sam and her mother. So, she sat...and she thought...

Finally, the doctors and nurses left his room. Doctor Banks followed the rear and stopped, closing the door behind him. He knelt down in front of her. "Mrs. Mulder...we were all aware of the risks."

"No," she whispered. "No! The procedure was two years ago! TWO YEARS! Why did it affect him NOW? He should be fine!"

Banks lowered his gaze to the floor, then back up at her. "Mrs. Mulder...Dana...side effects sometimes take awhile to suffer. Who knows? Maybe this has been building up for a while."

"Then why didn't you catch it? Fox and Sam come in for check-ups monthly. Why didn't you catch it?" She was now on her feet, tears streaming down her face. "I want to see him. Now."

Banks nodded, stood, and stepped back. "Go ahead, but try not to disturb him. He needs his rest." He started to back away. "Call if you need anything."

Dana didn't bother bracing herself before she entered his room. She tried to hold back the gasp, but it managed to escape. "Fox!"

He groggily looked in her direction. "Hey," he choked. "They...say...I'll be...fine."

"Liar," she whispered. "But I'm going to tell you you'll be fine." She approached his bed and took his hand gently in hers. "You have to live so I can kill you," she joked.

He struggled to smile through the haze, but couldn't manage it. "How's...Sam?"

"Fine. He's with my mother."

He nodded the best he could. "Come here," he croaked. "Lean down."

Just thrilled to see him alive, she bent closer. "What is it," she whispered. Then, she felt it. He grazed his chapped lips over her eyelid and she nearly yelped at the contact. They hadn't kissed for a year and nine months: when they'd last had sex; the sex that she later regretted because it wasn't between a husband and a wife. It had been a frenzied attempt to forget the pain of loosing their son.

When she looked down at him, he was fast asleep.

Fox returned home three weeks later, but he was still under heavy sedatives and painkillers, so Dana set him up in her room so she could better take care of him. Sam went to stay with his grandma for an extended period of time so his mom could tend to his dad.

Dana entered the bedroom with a tray and set it on the bedside table. "Hey, you're looking better," she commented.

"After four days being home I better be looking better." He peered over at the tray. "Oatmeal? Again? You really are trying to kill me."

She sighed and rolled her eyes. It felt good to be joking with him again and she was thankful for the relapse because it had brought them closer together. "Yep, you caught me."

"You know, as much as I love playing doctor/patient with you, I don't think it's necessary anymore. I'm feeling great. I actually took a shower by myself this morning!"

"What? Why didn't you tell me? What if you had fallen and cracked open your skull?" Since his return home, he had been taking baths. On the first day, she had sat on the lid of the toilet afraid that he would drown.

She'd realized then that she still craved him. She'd chatted casually with him while her eyes absorbed his nude body whenever he wasn't looking. She'd felt heat rise to her cheeks as she remembered their life before this nightmare had began. Fox had always been a passionate, giving, and erotic lover.

Fox shrugged. "Didn't think you'd want to join me." He flashed her a grin. "So, what do you say? I'm off the sedatives. I'm only taking one painkiller a day now. Am I cured, Doctor Mulder?"

'Doctor Mulder...Doctor Mulder...I am still Doctor Mulder. I'm still his wife. Dana Mulder. Mrs. Mulder. Mrs. Dana Mulder. Mrs. Fox Mulder..."

He waved his hand in front of her face. "Earth to Dana. Hey, doc, am I cured? Am I going to live?"

Dana smiled at him sweetly and felt some of the weight lift off her. "Yes." She leaned down and placed a tender kiss on his brow. "You're going to live."

He gazed at her weirdly before breaking into a brilliant smile. "Thank God!" Then his features turned serious. "What about us?"

She bowed her head to stare at the blankets. 'What about us,' she questioned herself. Then she felt the bed dip and his hands tenderly cupping her cheeks.

He kissed her.

She gasped, her body instantly turning into jelly. She felt her temperature boil as his tongue sneaked passed her lips and licked her tongue, the roof of her mouth, and her teeth.

He shifted, never breaking their kiss, until she was lying under him. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled his face closer. Then she felt it. He had spread her legs apart and his erection was straining against her inner thigh. She shoved him off. "Stop!"

Rejection was the best word to describe his crestfallen face as he climbed off the bed and left the room, slamming the door behind him.

Dana cried.

He moved out. He had rented an apartment and moved out. Well, he wasn't technically gone yet. He was in the process of moving his stuff when Dana came home from work the following day. She froze in the foyer and gaped at the boxes until she saw his frame disappearing into the kitchen. She followed him and demanded, "Where are you going?"

"Leaving," he answered deadpanned as he took his favorite coffee mug out of the cabinet. "Sam's with your mother. She'll be bringing him back tomorrow after you get home from work." He wrapped the mug into a wad of newspaper. "I left my address and new number on the fridge."

"Why? Why are you leaving?"

He had the urge to slam the ceramic mug on the countertop, but controlled his temper enough not to. "Damn it, Dana, this isn't working! We're not married! At least in the ways that count. We're not friends! Hell, we're barely acquaintances!"

He glared at her. "I'm tired." His features softened. "Dana, I'm tired of this charade. This isn't healthy for anyone involved."

"Don't go," she pleaded. "Please."

"Why? Why not go? It's not like I matter to you. It's not like I being here is doing any good." He turned the wrapped mug over and over in his hands.

"I love you," she whispered.

"No you don't. You love the memory of us, but you don't love me." He walked out of the kitchen and she followed him.

"Do you love me, Fox?"

He halted. He was silent a moment, then his shoulders began to shake. "Yes," he murmured. "I've never stopped loving you. I wanted things to...to...work out, but you just...kept pushing me away."

To her horror she realized he was crying. 'No, Fox don't cry. Please, don't cry,' her mind begged. 'I can't stand it when you cry.'

"Stay," she whispered. "Please...stay. I want...to work this out."

"You could have fooled me."

Dana stepped around him and placed the palm of her hand on his cheek. "I know I've been distant, but I want to change that. I want you. I want things to be the way the were."

"They can't..."

"I know, but we can try." She stood on tiptoes and planted a kiss on his forehead. "We both have a lot of healing left, but who says we can't heal each other?"

He forced a ghost of a smile. "Yeah, we can try."


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