Title: Rainbow Continuum
Author: Emily Miller
Archive: You can put it wherever you want, if you'll keep my name on it and ask me first.
Disclaimer: Fox, William, Tina, and Samantha Mulder; Dana, Melissa, William (Jr.), Charles, William (Sr.), and Margaret Scully; CSM; Alex Krycek; Luis Cardinal; and Walter Skinner do not belong to me, they belong to Chris Carter and FOX. Daina Kathryn Scully, Thomas Rammin, Mark Biars, and all others are mine.
Rating: PG-13
Classification: TRA
Keywords: MSR
Spoilers: One Breath, Blessing Way/Paper Clip, Herrenvolk, Paper Hearts, Small Potatoes, and Christmas Carol/Emily

Summary: A mythology story. Scully discovers that Melissa's death was faked and finds her sister, along with someone else special to them both, and has to protect them.


December 29, 1998
9:45 A.M.

All morning, Dana Scully had been unusually quiet and distanced. She was never one for many words when alone with her partner, but today she returned his good morning, went to her computer, and stared at the spinning Xs on the screensaver.

Fox Mulder left her alone as long as he could stand to see her sitting there, lip trembling every few minutes as though she were struggling to keep from letting her sadness show, eyes even larger than usual and red around the edges.

But, after what seemed like hours and hours of watching her out of the corner of his eye, he couldn't stop himself from asking, "Is there anything wrong, Scully?"

She shook her head, not able to speak. If she did, she knew she would start crying and give herself away. Prove to him that something WAS wrong - as if he didn't know it already.

"Are you sure?"

This time she nodded, licked her lips as though the slight trembling of the lower one dried them out, and reached a shaking hand to the keyboard and managed to strike the 'Enter' key and turn off the screensaver.

Still, he watched her, and she didn't do anything else. After a couple of minutes, the Xs were back, and she didn't do anything about it. Her hands had returned to her lap and rested there as before.

They might have done nothing for hours, her trying not to cry, he staring at her, wanting to say something but not sure what, until there was a knock on the door. Scully didn't even look up, so Mulder called, "Come in!"

"Agent Mulder, Agent Scully? Assistant Director Skinner needs to talk to you." The Agent was young, and looked worried as he glanced around the office, at Mulder's posters and pictures, the desk stacked with files and books, and the Scully's computer, with its Xs. He gave them a forced smile and left quickly.

Mulder, taking his gaze off Scully long enough to watch him go, wondered what rumors the man had heard about him and Scully already. Talk traveled fast, especially when it was about the 'spooky' agent and his 'frigid' partner, as he had learned less than 3 months after he and Scully had been assigned to each other, during the first Tooms case.

He got up from his desk and walked to the door, but didn't open it. He turned his head to see if Scully had even gotten up. She hadn't, was still just staring at the screensaver - or nothing.

"Scully?"

She didn't seem to have heard him at first, then blinked and twisted slightly in her chair to look at him with eyes still rimmed with red. "What?" she said. He could hear the force it took to keep her voice from halting and the tears that had threatened her all morning from spilling out.

"We're supposed to go see Skinner." He tried to say it as gently as possible, though he was becoming increasingly frustrated. He knew she didn't like him to know that she was upset or hurting, but he couldn't just let her zone out from the world like she was doing.

"Oh... okay..." She got up then and joined him, almost drifting out the door he held for her. He watched her - and worried.

Something was definitely going on. But she didn't seem eager to tell him what and he didn't bother to ask. Even if he did, he knew she wouldn't tell him. He could tell by the look on her face, her eyes. Her hands still trembled as she pressed the button on the elevator to take them out of the basement.

"This time, I swear it, its not my fault," he said, hoping to take her mind off whatever it was that was making her miserable.

She didn't even bring her eyes up to meet his. "What?" she asked softly.

"Skinner wants us? I didn't do anything this time."

"Oh, that. No." She wasn't cooperating.

"Scully, he's not going to be too happy with you if you won't talk to him."

She finally chose to look at him. Her eyes were still larger than normal. "Mulder," she said, still speaking very softly. She said nothing else.

"What, Scully?"

"Nothing... nothing..." Her head dipped back quickly, but not fast enough that he didn't see the tear begin to escape, and even then he saw it hit the floor. He even thought he could HEAR it in the sudden silence in the elevator. He reached over and pressed the stop button, felt the elevator shudder slightly as it stopped.

"Scully, look at me," he said, and reached a hand down to force her eyes to meet his. More tears fell, getting faster now, and she struggled for a second to get away from his burning gaze.

"Mulder... I'm fine... let me go, Skinner's going to..," she couldn't finish. She took a deep, shaky breath and finally looked him in the eye.

"Tell me what's wrong," he said, making it into a gentle demand.

She shook her head the best she could, since it was still in his hand.

"Tell me, Scully. Please."

"Last year... it's been a year since Emily died... and I just..," she choked on her words. He released her, but she didn't look away this time.

"Just what?"

"I just thought about what might have happened if she hadn't died. By now, she might even consider me a parent instead of just some nice lady who knew her after a tragedy... somebody she could..."

He interrupted her this time. "She knew you were more than just some nice lady, Scully. She knew. She loved you and you loved her. I loved her, but I was the one she just considered a nice person. She knew who you were... somewhere inside her, Scully, she knew."

"I wanted to be the one she trusted, Mulder. I wanted her to love me like I love my mother, I wanted to love her back. I thought I could do that. But she died. I KILLED her, Mulder!"

"You didn't kill her. You kept her from a life as just a test subject."

"I thought what I was doing was what was right for everybody. But now, I almost wish I hadn't. She could be with me now, or at a day care, waiting for me to come pick her up after work. We could go home, watch a movie... I could have vacations with her, birthday parties, starting school, trouble with boyfriends when she was older... but now I can't have that. With anybody. And I've known that for a full year now. It's hard, Mulder, knowing that I can never have the one thing I never even knew I wanted."

"You'll find a way to have it, if you want it, Scully. You can adopt a child. Or... I'll find a way to fix what they did to you."

She gave him a tiny smile, her tears having slowed almost to a stop and her hands steady in his. "You can't fix it, Mulder. I feel better now. Maybe I just needed to get it out."

He nodded, agreeing with her, but wasn't so sure. She didn't seem much better as they, after he'd started the elevator again, knocked on the door to Skinner's office. Or for the rest of the day.


December 29, 1998
2:15 P.M.

She watched with the curious eyes of a future scientist as her mother - well, not really, but she said it was okay to call her that, until the REAL mother was found - showed her how to use that tiny little glass-thing she wore around her neck could catch the sun's light and turn it into a rainbow on the floor.

"It goes from purple to red," she said, examining the colors closely. She put a hand over them and laughed when the light was now on it.

"I think the scientists say violet, but that's right," the woman with her agreed.

"Which one's violet?" She could move her hand and the colors danced. It made her giggle again, losing her solemn image for the second time. She tried to stay solemn - she liked that word, too - whenever she could, especially when THEY were there, the men. But when she was with only the woman, she could laugh and be a regular four-year-old.

"Purple."

"I like to say purple better. Violet's a flower, isn't it?"

"Yes."

"One day I'm gonna see a violet. The flower kind."

"I bet you will, D. I hope you will." The woman pulled her into her arms and hugged her close and they both laughed, like a real-life mother and daughter. Sometimes she wished they were. Her real mother didn't seem to care what happened to her. Otherwise she would have come to get her by now.

**

December 29, 1998
4:15 P.M.

Scully talked enough to get by while in Skinner's office - he wanted them to look into a prison near Annapolis where people were supposedly being kept illegally-, then a little to Mulder back in their own office. But she still didn't seem okay.

"Want to go on home early, Scully?" Mulder finally asked, since neither of them was getting anything done.

"I guess so." She didn't have to save anything, for once, or gather anything up - she hadn't done anything all day.

"I'll pick you up in the morning, we'll go look at this prison, okay?"

She nodded, giving him another one of her fake smiles as she left, closing the door hard behind her. He watched her go with a heavy heart. It hurt him to see her hurting. He wanted some way to help her, make everything better for her. He just wasn't sure how he could.

He grabbed the file Skinner had given him to read over - he'd given Scully one, too, but she'd left it on her desk - and pulled on his coat. Before he left, he grabbed Scully's file as a second thought. As long as he had it, he had an excuse to stop by her apartment and make sure she was okay. If she asked why he was there, he could just say she'd forgotten it.

**

December 29, 1998
4:30 P.M.

Scully took a couple of shaky breaths when she got into her apartment, thankful she was finally alone. All day, she'd felt Mulder staring at her. It wasn't that his concern really bothered her, what bothered her was that he always expected her to tell him everything. He could keep things private, but she couldn't.

Emily, though today was the one-year anniversary of her death, wasn't the only reason that she had been depressed today. Melissa was another.

She and Melissa had been close as children, even still talking often in college. But then she had gone off to med school and Melissa had gone to Los Angeles for a year, and there had gotten stranger and stranger.

At first, she'd told her younger sister what kind of things she was doing.

Scully could still remember one phone conversation, which at the time had shocked her. She and Melissa had been talking for about 15 minutes, just catching up. Then Melissa had brought up the subject of religion.

"Dana, you're still going to church, aren't you?"

"Of course I am."

"You know, I really stopped and thought about all that a few weeks ago. I'm not so sure that it's where I was meant to be."

"What are you talking about? Are you going to be Atheist now or something?"

"No. Here in LA, people have shown me Scientology."

"You mean worshiping the stars and stuff? Missy, that's a bunch of crap."

"It's not worshiping the stars, D. It's a religion I can really relate to."

"Next you'll be wearing those 'power crystals' you see on TV and telling me I should call Psychics For You, because I get the first 10 minutes free."

"Nah, I know you don't like that stuff. I'll call for you, then tell you the results. Anyway, I gotta go."

"Yeah, me too. I better go study."

"You call me when you get to certain human features, Dana, since I know you know nothing about those things. You ARE still a virgin, aren't you?"

"Shut up, Missy."

"I know you're laughing at me. I can hear you covering the phone."

"Good bye, Melissa..."

"Dana?"

"What?"

"Good luck in school."

"Thanks."

"Bye, D."

"Bye."

Soon after, Scully had graduated, gone to the Academy, and become and FBI agent. She'd only seen Melissa once, that Christmas in 1991, before she'd been assigned to work with Mulder in the X-Files. By that time, her sister was already off the Scientology kick and onto something else, something she'd found while in New York.

The next time Scully had seen her had been after her abduction. She'd died less than a year later.

Emily reminded Scully of Melissa, in more ways than just looks. She'd smiled a lot, before she'd gone to the hospital. She hadn't talked a lot, but when she did, her words had meaning.

Scully curled up on her couch, after turning on the radio very softly, to think. In her head, she had seen Emily grow up a year. Anemia - if she'd really had it - wasn't a part of this scenario. Health and happiness, that was the way it should have been.

"Scully?" Mulder's voice jerked her almost cruelly away from her dreams of what might have been. She jumped up and ran to the door, where he was poking his head in, as usual trying not to invade privacy while doing just that.

"Hi," she said, gesturing for him to come in.

"You sure?"

"Yeah." She took his coat from him and threw it over her own on the back of a chair, then returned to her spot on the couch. He went with her and stood near her, looking slightly uncomfortable.

"I brought your file on tomorrow's stuff. You forgot it," he said, handing it to her.

She managed to smile at him, saw his slight wince and knew he knew it was forced. "Thanks."

"And you're sure you're okay? You'll be okay at work tomorrow?"

She couldn't answer that. She stalled. "Sit down, Mulder."

He sat, then waited for her to say something.

"I'll be fine," she finally said, using the all-purpose answer that he never believed. When she said that, he knew she wasn't okay and wasn't going to be.

"I loved Emily, too. If she's bothering you, you can tell me."

She knew she was looking almost as bad by now as she had that morning. "It's not just Emily. It's a lot of things. I really just want to be by myself."

"You want me to leave?"

"I didn't say that. I just want you to respect it if I don't feel like telling you everything right now."

"I didn't say you had to. I just want you to be all right."

"My telling you what's wrong doesn't make everything all right."

"I know. But it seems to make you feel better."

"Maybe it does."

"I'll go, Scully." He stood, not giving her a chance to fake a protest, went over and got his coat, and was gone.

She thought about following him, not letting him go off by himself, depressed and feeling like he'd failed, but didn't know what that would accomplish, except to get them both angry with each other. It would be better just to wait and see him later, tomorrow, when she was - hopefully- feeling better.

**

December 29, 1998
6:15 P.M.

She was trying to sleep. The woman was asleep - she could hear the difference in the breathing, and had figured out for herself that that meant somebody was asleep-, but for some reason unconsciousness wouldn't come to her.

Something's going to happen, she said silently to herself. She had this strange feeling, different than any she'd had before. She knew deep somewhere, maybe in her heart, that a big change was coming the next day.

She'd tried to ignore the feeling. She didn't believe in that kind of thing, feelings and thoughts and dreams that came true. She was going to be a scientist. Scientists didn't believe in that stuff.

She wondered if her sister, wherever she was, knew that she existed. Maybe it was like those twins the woman had told her about, the ones that did everything alike even though they'd never really known each other... she didn't believe in that, either. Stories the woman told her to keep her busy when they weren't doing things like watching rainbows.

Rainbows. If all light was made of all those colors, like the woman said, then rainbows filled the whole world. She tried to imagine what the sun and world would look like if you could see all the colors in light. One big, infinite rainbow.

She sighed, rolled over on the pallet, and fell asleep. Her dreams were filled with the woman, the mother and sister she'd never met, and streams of light over every color, washing over them all and bringing them happiness.

**

December 30, 1998
10:30 A.M.

Mulder and Scully looked up at the gray building, standing outside the fence, with its electric fence and even dogs. That was something neither had seen outside of movies and books.

"Foreboding," Mulder commented. He waved to a guard that walked by. "Hey! We need to get in! We're with the Federal Bureau of Investigation!"

The guard came running over, looking slightly embarrassed. "Sorry. I was told you were coming."

"Can you let us in?" Scully asked. She was determined not to let anything through today. She didn't need Mulder worrying about her while they were on a case.

"Oh... sure," the guard pulled keys from his belt, adding to the feeling that both agents had that they somehow were trapped in a movie, and unlocked the padlock keeping them out. "Just go on in."

"What about the dogs?" Mulder glanced over at animals, inside another fence, this one closed but unlocked, who looked like they wouldn't think twice about eating the two of them.

The guard shrugged. "They won't hurt ya. They saw you come in with me, saw me let ya in." He jerked his hat off long enough to run a hand over his brown hair, then jerked the hat back down low so his eyes couldn't be seen. Scully almost shivered. She didn't like the way this place felt, even though she knew that was pathetic. It was a Mulder-feeling. She'd been working with him too long.

"Coming, Scully?" Mulder, like he had on the way to Skinner's office the morning before, turned before going on to make sure she was following. Which was probably a good thing, since she hadn't been either time. She stuck her hands in the pockets of her black FBI jacket - she'd worn it instead of a normal suit this morning, because with it she could wear jeans and more comfortable shoes - and jogged to catch him.

They walked side by side by the dogs, not looking to the sides - "You know, I heard somewhere that dogs attack if you look them in the eye," Mulder said- just in case. Once at the door, neither seemed very eager to knock.

"Well," Scully finally said.

"Yeah." Mulder reached up and hit the door with his hand twice.

Then they waited.

Scully, growing restless while Mulder stood patiently, wandered to the side, where she could see a window. She went to it and stood as tall as she could to try and see inside. It was too high. She put her hands on the edge of the stone of the prison and boosted herself up just enough that she could almost see what was in there...

Mulder tackled her, throwing her on the ground just before one of the dogs leaped with a half-crazed growl to the window, right where she had been. If Mulder hadn't gotten her away, her throat would a bloody mass separating her head from her shoulders. She shuddered under her partner.

"I thought he said the dogs wouldn't attack," Mulder said with anger in his voice. He didn't get up yet, though, sensing that she was still shaky.

"I'm going to assume you two are the FBI agents," said a voice, and Mulder jumped off her and hauled her to her feet so fast that she felt dizzy for a moment. They found themselves facing a tall man, middle-aged, his black hair striped with gray. His eyes were small and dark and seemed to glare at them. Scully felt uncomfortable in his stare.

"Uh, I'm Special Agent Mulder and this is Agent Scully," Mulder said. He glanced at Scully as she took her eyes off the man to make sure she was okay. She was, save for the grass stains on her jeans. She wouldn't have thought that the sparse grass on the dirt would have stained, but apparently it could.

"So you are the FBI agents?"

"Yes."

"May I ask why you are here? Or is that confidential?"

"We're only here to make sure everything is... legal."

"Make sure it ain't a concentration camp, huh?"

"Sir," Scully said, putting her own thoughts in around Mulder's. "We need you to cooperate with us, if you would."

"How am I not cooperating?"

"She's just telling you," Mulder said. He looked at Scully again. She seemed a lot smaller without heels on. He wondered if maybe she felt the need to prove that she was just as good at what she was doing as he. But there was no reason for her to need to do that, since she'd proved it as the two of them worked together. Sometimes, she was obviously BETTER than he was. And both of them knew it.

"Would you like to go ahead and look, get back for lunch?"

"Can I have your name?" Mulder asked.

"Oh, yes - Mark Biars. Come inside." He held the door open so that Mulder and Scully could go in, then followed them. The door shut with a loud 'bang' that made Scully jump just slightly. Mulder put a comforting hand on her back, and was relieved when she didn't shrug it off.

"Would you like me to take you around?" Biars said.

"Would it be alright if we just looked?" Scully said. Her eyebrow went up as he seemed a little reluctant to answer - like he had no good reason not to let them, but didn't want them to.

"I - I think you could. Are you going to need to go inside any of the cells?"

"We might."

"You have guns, don't you?"

"We do."

"Um..." Mulder said, looking at Biars. "Don't prisons usually take weapons? Just in case?"

Now Biars looked not only worried, but confused. "They do?"

"Every other one I've been in has," Mulder said, and Scully nodded.

"Oh, well... this isn't a prison for, uh, mass murderers... just minor offenses, that's all the ones here have done... you should be able to keep your guns."

Mulder looked at Scully. She shrugged. "Can we have keys to the rooms?" she asked.

"Of course." Biars handed Mulder, though she had asked, the keys. There were only 5 of them.

"Only 5 prisoners?" Mulder said.

"A key for each floor. Makes things easier. Oh, and, um, I would prefer if you stayed off the last floor."

"And why is that?"

"Um... I just..."

"We've been told to look at everything, Mr. Biars," Scully said, ending his stuttering. She turned and walked smartly for the stairs. This time, it was her turn to stop and wait for Mulder.

"We'll talk to you before we leave," Mulder said to Biars, who nodded and winced as though he suddenly had a headache. Mulder joined Scully at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the second floor.

"There's something here he doesn't want us to know about," Scully said as they climbed the metal stairs, shoes echoing loudly. She could see the doors of the other levels and the all-around walkways that let people get from room to room. All of it was the same shade of steel gray. Once again, like a movie. She felt another shiver climbing up her spine.

"I guess we'll find out what when we get to the last floor." Mulder's hand returned to her lower back, seeing her shudder. He knew she wasn't comfortable around places like this. She was, as far as he knew, uncomfortable around only two things: certain people and certain places.

They continued up in silence, stopped in silent agreement before the first door. "Do you think we should check each room?" she asked.

"No. We'll check two or three on each floor, and if we see anything even the slightest bit out of the ordinary, we can check the others on that particular floor. It'll take too much time if we check every room."

She nodded and moved aside to let him unlock the first room. Inside, they could hear a few hushed voices and some moving around. When Mulder managed to get the key turned and the door forced open, they found themselves facing three men, all of whom immediately noticed Scully.

"We're Agents Mulder and Scully. Can we ask you some questions?" Mulder said, stepping in front of Scully as he entered the room. She considered staying in the doorway, but eventually decided to risk going in. One of the men leered at her when she entered. She ignored him.

"What about?" The tallest of the men asked. He looked like he was in his mid-thirties, older than the others, with red hair that stuck up and out any way it could. The other two both had brown hair, the one still looking at Scully had a blackish-strip running down one side.

"Conditions," Mulder said. Scully decided that it was safer for her to keep quiet.

"You mean here? It sucks," Brown hair said.

Mulder ignored his comment. "Can I get your names?"

"Geoffrey Renolds," said the oldest one.

"Joshua Andrews," said brown hair.

"George Washington," said black-stripe.

Mulder sighed, seeing already that it was going to be a long day. Scully frowned at the man, who just smiled at her again.

"Real name, please," she said.

"Tom Cruise."

"Sir-" she started to say, no longer bothering to try and hide her annoyance. She couldn't stand it when anybody, suspects, witnesses, whoever they were talking to, decided to rebel.

Mulder, maybe for the better, interrupted her before she could continue. "Look, we're not going to let you have a say at all in this if you can't give us you real name."

"Stephen King."

"That's it... Mulder, let's go," Scully said, putting a hand on his arm, knowing he would stand there all day unless she told him to do otherwise. He, in an unusually stubborn mood, pulled away from her.

"Tell me your name," he said, leaning close to the man, who now smiled at him instead of Scully.

"Abraham Lincoln."

"Tell me your name!"

"Harrison Ford."

"Come on, Scully," Mulder finally gave up. He gave the prisoner one final glare before Scully pushed him out and shut the door.

"That didn't work out too well," she said as Mulder stood, taking deep breaths and looking over the walkway to the floor below. She went to him and put an arm around his shoulder, trying to calm him down. She remembered what had happened when he'd gotten angry when they'd been trying to get Roche to cooperate, tell him who the hearts belonged to. "Better luck next time?"

"I hope so. We might as well give it a try." This time, she kept her hand on him. Just to make sure.

**

December 30, 1998
12:00 P.M.

She listened hard, thinking she'd heard a voice. "Did you hear something?" she asked the woman.

The woman looked up from the worn copy of that book she was always carrying around, the one that had belonged to somebody in her family. It had a funny name, but the woman was always reading it. Moby Dick, that was it. "Probably just Biars coming up here with lunch."

"Is it lunch time already?" she asked. They never knew, really, when mealtime would be, but it was usually AROUND a certain time - breakfast around 7, lunch between 12 and 1, and dinner between 6 and 7. Today, breakfast had been a little late, so there was a good chance lunch would be, too.

"You tell me," the woman said.

She got up from where she'd been drawing pictures on the dirt floor and went to the window. She could see light from the sun, but not the sun itself. No light streamed in the window. "It looks like it's noon or a little before."

"Maybe it was mice."

"If it was, and I catch one, can I keep it as a pet?"

"D., if you catch a mouse, you can do anything you want with it."

"Even roast it in the sun and eat it up?"

"You're sick." They both laughed.

**

December 30, 1998
12:00 P.M.

Scully was exhausted, after walking all over the prison for almost two hours and getting nothing. Either prisoners wouldn't cooperate, or they said things were fine. She really wasn't ready to go back to Skinner and tell him that they hadn't found anything wrong. He'd seemed so happy that he might get them out of his face - and trouble - for even a day.

"About ready to quit, Scully?" Mulder asked, noticing her slowed pace. He'd stopped to wait for her numerous times now, as he would eagerly step ahead, hoping the next person they talked too would help them out, then would realize he was alone and would stop.

"We still need to try the last floor," she said, and forced herself to speed up as much as she was able.

"Okay, but only a couple of rooms. We can always come back if we need to." Once again, he stopped for her to catch up. When she did, he saw she was struggling still, and slowed to make it easier for her. She gave him a small but grateful smile.

He let her go up to the sixth floor first, just to make sure he didn't unconsciously get faster again, then followed behind her, swinging the keys and whistling like people always did in the movies.

"You should've been an actor, Mulder," she commented, stopping at the top of the stairs.

"Yeah, with a name like Fox Mulder."

"You could always change it... Marty."

"How did you know about that?"

"Our old friend Eddie van Blundht told me."

"Oh, God... he didn't tell you about-"

"Don't tell me, Mulder."

"I probably shouldn't." He suddenly stopped, halfway down the walkway, closed his eyes, and started running. She watched him, thinking maybe he had finally completely gone over whatever edge he'd been standing at the brink of most of his later life. It wasn't until he stopped suddenly in front of a door, pointing his finger at it, that she realized he'd been picking a room.

"You're good, Mulder. I'll bet $5 it's empty," she said, walking forward to join him.

He shrugged. "Bet its not. $10."

"Nah, 7."

"You got a bet." He managed to get the key in and the door open faster this time, since he'd become more of an expert on forcing keys in locks since they'd started. She still hadn't gotten to him when he leaned in to see if there was anybody inside.

He backed slowly out. "Scully... get down here..." he said, so softly she struggled to hear him from where she was. She sped up, but still didn't think she was up to running.

When she got to him, he was still backing. He only stopped when he hit the railing, and that was all that kept him from falling down to the bottom floor and death.

She frowned at him, thinking he was trying to make a joke out of her being right about the status of the room and owing her $7.

She looked into the room, saw what he'd seen. Her breathing got shallow and she swallowed hard. She looked again, blinked hard, then looked for a third time.

She was really seeing it.


September 22, 1978
1:25 A.M.

Dana woke up when she heard Melissa open the door. It creaked.

"Melissa? Where're you going?" she asked, her voice thick with sleep and the metal she was destined to wear on her teeth through the best years of her life.

"Go back to sleep, D.," Melissa said, calling her sister by the name she had decided to over the summer. Sometimes she still called her Dana, but most of the time it was D.

"But where are you going?"

Melissa left the door, walked to Dana's bed, and leaned over to give her her best glare. "I'm going out somewhere, okay? Don't tell Mom and Dad."

"I might not if you'll give me a cigarette."

"How did you know about those?"

Dana smiled wickedly, her braces suddenly helping the image she was trying to get across. "I saw you leave last night and Mom said some of hers were missing."

"Dana Katherine Scully, if you tell anybody what I've been doing..."

"I won't if you'll give me one. Isn't that where you're going tonight?"

"NO. But I'll give you one anyway, if you'll stay quiet."

"I will."

"Promise me."

"Promise."

"Good." Melissa left Dana's bed and went over to the desk they had to share, since the room was too small for two beds and two desks. She opened her drawer, the bottom one, and pulled out a mostly-empty pack of - Dana caught her breath - cigarettes. She took out one, put the pack back, closed the drawer, and tossed the cigarette at Dana.

"How do I light it?"

"Mom's lighter's in her purse downstairs. I'm leaving now. Wait 5 minutes, then you can go down." She left, leaving the door open to keep it from creaking again.

Dana, checking her watch to see what time it was, then got out of bed and went to the window. Melissa had told her to stay in her room so she wouldn't see where she was going, but she hadn't said anything about staying in bed. Dana knew perfectly well what Melissa had meant, but she didn't have to let her know that.

Melissa appeared a moment later, running now. She went around the corner, so that Dana could just barely see her, and got into a car that looked like it was parked there. But when Dana looked more closely, she could see the exhaust and a light from inside. The car drove off without ever turning on its lights.

Dana wondered where Melissa had gone and if she should tell her parents. But she had promised to keep quiet for the cigarette.

She looked down at the forbidden object crushed in her hand. It was a drug, her teachers always said. But it couldn't really be, because drugs were illegal, and she knew that just about anybody could cigarettes anywhere. If she really wanted to, she could probably find some place that would sell them to her.

She walked downstairs, jumping over the stair that squeaked, and found her mother's purse where it always was on the table by the front door. Melissa had been right. The lighter was just inside it. She pulled it out and held it with shaky hands to the cigarette.

It took her a few tries to get a flame, then a few tries to get the cigarette lit. When she finally did, she opened the front door that Melissa had left unlocked and went out on the porch. She could feel the cool night air, hear crickets, see stars twinkling millions of miles above. She promised herself that sometime she would go out when she WASN'T doing something that was so against the rules of her family that her father would strangle her if he found out.

She stuck the cigarette to her mouth, making sure she got the right end.

She inhaled.

She coughed, choked, and almost passed out, she felt so dizzy suddenly. She tried to blow the smoke out, like she'd seen her mother do, but she'd swallowed it. She gripped the porch railing to keep herself steady.

She wasn't sure if she liked this. But so many people did it, and nothing happened to them. She guessed you got used to it.

She inhaled again, and this time managed to get at least some of the smoke out, only choking a little. By the fourth time, she was getting pretty good.

She still felt a little sick when the cigarette was almost gone, but she managed to drop it on the porch, use a flowerpot to mash it, then flicked it off into the grass.

Dana walked back inside, being sure to leave the door unlocked for Melissa, went upstairs and into the bathroom she and her sister shared with Bill and Charles, and threw up.

**

December 30, 1998
12:15 P.M.

Dana Scully opened her eyes to see Mulder and Melissa standing over her. She coughed, still able to taste the cigarette smoke in her mouth after one of the most vivid dreams she'd ever had.

"Scully?" Mulder said. He wasn't standing over her, he was sitting, her head in his lap, looking down at her. She coughed again and tried to remember what had happened, where she was.

She was in the prison, she and Mulder were looking for anything that might be enough to get the place closed, and they were on the last floor. He'd wanted her to see something in a room... and she had woken up on the floor.

"I'm okay, Mulder," she said, shaking her head and sitting up. He let her sit but kept a hand on her arm.

"I... I can't... what're you doing here?" Melissa asked, and Scully realized what was still wrong. Melissa was not looking at her with joy, but with confusion.

"Missy?" she asked, using the nickname that she had originally given her sister, only to have her mother and younger brother later use it, also. "But you're dead."

"I'm not dead. I was never dead. I... I can't ... Dana... but... but... I don't know how..."

"You're dead," Scully repeated.

"Do I look dead?"

Mulder was looking from one to the other, seeming to want to say something but not sure it would be very safe to interrupt their conversation. He bit his lower lip, then turned to look at something behind him. He seemed confused.

"I was there when you died... it was in a hospital, you'd been shot in the head..." Scully insisted, but her voice was getting weaker as she began to acknowledge that it had to be Melissa who was now sitting in front of her.

"Shot in the head?"

"Yes..."

"I don't remember that...?"

"It happened. I know it was you, Melissa."

"How? How can I just forget? I... I remember... I think I remember... What happened to me?"

"I - I can't tell you that. But it happened. You were shot in my apartment by men named Alex Krycek and Luis Cardinal."

"Oh, God... I remember it all... I ... but... its so weird...I remember the real way I got here ... how Daina Kathryn got here... Fox Mulder, your partner..."

"Why have you been here?"

"It's a long story, but I think it has to do with one of your partner's so-called conspiracies. But part of it is sitting over there with Fo-Mulder."

Scully turned to see what Melissa was referring to. There was something else she'd seen before she'd lost consciousness.

Herself.

"Her name's Daina Kathryn Scully. Yes, she's named for you, but her it's spelled differently. I told her stories, about her namesake, you, and what it would be like when we got out. ...D., come here," Melissa waved a hand at the girl, who looked about four years old. The girl got up and walked over so that she was standing just above eye level with Scully.

Melissa grabbed one of Scully's hands and one of the girl's hands. "Daina Kathryn Scully, meet your mother."

"What-" they both started to say. Mulder was struggling to breathe from a few feet away. He'd heard what she'd said, too.

"We'll get everything sorted out later. Dana? Or Fox? Can either of you get us out of here?"

**

December 30, 1998
12:25 P.M.

Mulder went first, keys in hand, down the last flight of stairs. Scully followed behind him, Melissa and the girl, Daina Kathryn, last, hand in hand. Daina Kathryn still seemed fascinated while frightened of everything she was seeing.

"Is this really where we've been all the time?" she asked Melissa.

"Yes. Shh, D." Scully flinched each time she heard her sister call this child 'D.' Only Mulder seemed to notice, and he twisted and gave her a quick but reassuring smile before stepping off the stairs and on to the gray metal floor.

"Mr. Biars?" he called, thinking the man would have to be around, as the bottom floor was really just one big room. But Biars was nowhere to be seen. "I'll go look for him. Scully, stay here with Melissa and... Daina."

"Daina Kathryn," the girl corrected, wincing as she felt the cold metal under her bare feet. Melissa managed to hide her reaction if her own bare feet felt the cold, but she picked up Daina Kathryn when she saw her discomfort.

Scully bit her lip.

Mulder walked from room to room, knocking on each door, then opening it to look inside. Most were closets full of food or blankets, small and lifeless. Only the small kitchen, the biggest room he found, had any life in it. Two men, arguing over something. They barely glanced at him.

He went all around the large room, opening every door. The last was the office, with the name Mark Biars on the door. This one he knocked on and waited.

He knocked again after a few seconds, and there was still no answer. He sighed, tired of getting no cooperation from anybody in the damned place, and opened the door.

Biars was in there, head on his desk, papers and books covered in the blood still gushing from a fresh gunshot wound. Mulder walked closer and, carefully avoiding the blood, reached a hand to Biars' neck, just to make sure. He was definitely dead.

Mulder looked the desk over, but saw no signs that Biars had struggled with anybody. Nothing had fallen to the floor; nothing was broken or torn.

There was one thing, though, something that made him stop and catch his breath. With a careful hand, he reached to the edge of the desk and picked up the small glass object. He turned his head to the side as he looked at it.

A still - glowing cigarette.

Putting it back down, he turned and ran from the room, suddenly realizing that, if the cigarette hadn't been there more than just a few minutes, he, Scully, and especially Melissa and the little girl were in trouble. "Scully!" he yelled, emerging from the office.

Scully, who had been watching Melissa and Daina Kathryn talk quietly, something about flowers, whirled to see him racing towards them. He grabbed her arm in one hand and Melissa's in the other and dragged them with him to the door.

"Mulder-" Scully started to say as he released them long enough to try to force the door open.

"Cancer Man is here," he hissed, still jerking on the door. It wouldn't open. She went forward to help him, but even with the help of Melissa they couldn't get it open.

"Locked," Scully said, stating what they all knew but what just needed to be said.

"You have the keys, I saw," Daina Kathryn said.

"The keys to the rooms, not the door," Mulder said.

"Try," she insisted, so he pulled the keys out of his coat pocket and stuck the first, second, third, and fourth ones in the lock. Two wouldn't even go in, the other two almost got stuck.

The fifth key fit.

And turned.

This time, when he put his shoulder against the door and pushed, it opened. He held it open while Scully and Melissa, still holding Daina Kathryn, got out, then followed, closing the door as quietly as he could.

He was ready to run again, but when he turned away from the building, he found himself face-to-face with the same guard who'd let them in originally.

"You didn't tell me you were takin' anyone with you," he said, then whistled. One of the dogs trotted over to stand beside him and growled at them.

"Keep the dog away," Scully warned, reaching for her gun.

The guard put up a hand. "Don' try it. This dog could be on all of ya before you could move an inch." Scully intelligently took her hand back in front of her.

"Where's Biars? I wouldn' think he would let ya out with them."

"He was killed by men that may be after all of us. Let us go, and you might just save your life," Mulder said.

"I wasn't in there when it happened. How do I know you didn' kill him?" The dog growled again and moved towards them a couple of steps, eager for the guard to give him the signal to attack. Scully backed away, Melissa held Daina Kathryn tighter, and the girl put her head in Melissa's shoulder so she wouldn't have to see. Only Mulder stood unmoving.

"You can only trust us," he said.

The guard snorted and the dog looked at him, hoping its cue would come next. When it didn't, the dog relaxed just slightly, not worrying about it. When it needed to be, it was ready.

Scully saw it relax and took advantage of the seconds she had. She had reached into her coat and pulled out her gun before any of the others, dog included, could blink. She then pointed it at the guard. "Let us go."

The dog was now as tense as before, and began slowly walking towards Scully, growling more loudly now. Scully had no choice but to turn her gun on the dog, and that gave the guard time to get his own gun. The dog was still advancing and now she, too, had a gun pointed at her.

"Put the gun down. That dog'll kill."

Melissa, Daina Kathryn, and the guard all watched Scully as she pointed her gun at the dog. Only Mulder paid no attention. He was slowly, carefully, silently reaching for his own gun.

The dog leaped.

**

APRIL 15, 1995
TIME UNKNOWN

The man, as always, held a cigarette. He inhaled the smoke numerous times as he explained his plan to the younger men, one currently calling himself Jonathan Johnson, the other a Luis Cardinal.

Johnson was uncomfortable with the man. He'd known him less than a year, since just before he'd helped try to get rid of Fox Mulder's partner, Dana Scully. Then, he'd been Alex Krycek.

"You will be waiting in her apartment when the one who's posing as her sister comes in. We'll be at the real sister's apartment, so that she can't stop it. Assistant Director of the FBI Walter Skinner has... agreed to help us."

"How'd you manage that?" Johnson asked.

"I have my ways. You have four days until you need to be ready to shoot the stand-in woman. After that, I'll tell you what to do."

Johnson wasn't happy about it. He hadn't been too happy helping get rid of Dana Scully, either, but now, like then, he didn't say a word. He would do as told. It kept him alive.

**

December 30, 1998
12:45 P.M.

Scully didn't have time to shoot. The dog hit her, knocked her to the ground as she cried out. Her eyes closed as she heard a gunshot, knew the guard had killed one of the others. Another gunshot and then she felt blood running down her arm. She was going to die here. She was glad it didn't hurt. She could feel nothing outside of the weight of the dog.

"Scully? Are you okay?" she heard Mulder say, and the weight was gone. She opened her eyes. Mulder was crouching by her side.

"Fine. What happened?" she said, looking down at her arm. There was only a little blood - the dog's. Mulder had shot first the guard, then the dog. She took a deep, shaky breath, then let Mulder help her to her feet. Melissa had now backed up so far that she was leaning against the door. Daina Kathryn's head was back on her shoulder, and Melissa, seeing her sister was all right, tried to comfort the girl.

"D., it's okay," she whispered. Scully, telling herself it was childish to decide she didn't like Daina Kathryn just because Melissa called her D., walked over to them on still-shaky legs.

"Is she all right?"

Melissa looked up at her sister. "I think so. This is the first time she can ever remember being outside. Even after telling me for years that one day we were going to get out, together, and find you, she's scared."

"I would be too." Scully put a hand on Daina Kathryn's hair and slowly stroked it. "Daina Kathryn? Do you want to go home with me and Mr. Mulder?"

Daina Kathryn picked her head up from Melissa's shoulder and reached an arm out to Scully.

"You want me to hold you?" Scully asked.

"Uh-huh," Daina Kathryn said. Melissa smiled at Scully as she put her arms around the girl and brought her to her chest. Daina Kathryn wrapped her hands around her neck and held on as though scared Scully was going to leave her there alone.

Mulder watched all this. "Everybody ready to go?" he finally asked, not wanting to spoil the moment but also trying to keep them all safe. He had a pretty good idea how Scully was feeling then - she'd felt the same way almost exactly a year before, with Emily.

"I think so," Scully said. She looked at Melissa, who nodded. They walked together, Daina Kathryn still clutching Scully, to Mulder, then on to the car they'd left in front of the prison.

"Will you sit with me?" Daina Kathryn asked Scully, looking up at her with her large, clear blue eyes. Eyes that were identical to Scully's.

"Sure," Scully said. Mulder opened the door for them to get into the backseat while Melissa went around to the front seat. Mulder, as usual, drove. He seemed, to Scully, worried about something, and was almost brooding as he worked the car out of the gravel around the prison and on to the road.

She didn't get a chance to ask him what was going on, because Daina Kathryn asked, "Are you really my mother?" Melissa turned in her seat so she could join the conversation, as she was the only one that knew the whole story.

"Dana, tell her your name," she said, looking at Scully.

"Dana Katherine Scully," Scully said obediently.

"And D., tell her yours," Melissa said.

"Daina Kathryn Scully."

"Missy, do you think you could explain this to me?" Scully asked, knowing Melissa was likely to lead them on for hours like this, waiting for them to figure it out themselves.

"How long is it back to your apartment?"

"We have to go by the FBI first," Mulder said, speaking for the first time since getting in the car.

"How far away is that?"

"It'll take a couple of hours to get there. Why?"

"Because what I'm about to tell you is a long story."

**

APRIL 19, 1995
TIME UNKNOWN

Melissa hung up the phone and got ready to go to Dana's. She was worried about her sister, who hadn't been the same since her time in the hospital. She had told herself dozens of times that she was going to call Dana the next day, week, month, whatever, but something had always gotten in the way.

She heard a noise outside, like someone was trying to get a door open. The sound continued for a while, then stopped as there was the familiar little squeak of the door opening. She froze where she was as whispered voices and footsteps invaded her home.

"We didn't miss her, did we?"

"I don't think so. She only hung up the phone a couple of minutes ago." They'd been watching her. She shivered; understanding for the first time what Dana was always worried about. She'd jokingly accused her little sis of being crazy, never thinking her concerns and anxieties were real.

"Johnson and Cardinal said to take her straight to Biars' place, the prison, they'd meet us."

"I heard 'em, Robb."

"Where do you think she is?" The voices were getting louder as they got closer to the room. Suddenly realizing that she was truly in danger, she searched for a place to hide. Fortunately for her, the room was dark, as she'd already turned out the light before leaving. Darkness was easier to think in, and she kept the lights out a lot. Candles were nice, sometimes.

"The place isn't that big. We need to look for a room with a window. That's where she was when we first got here. She couldn't have gone far."

She ducked behind a chair in the corner. It was covered in a sheet that hung over the back, which made it easier for her to conceal herself. She trembled like a child afraid of punishment as she waited for them to give up and leave.

"This is the only room left. If she isn't here, she's gone," the man who'd been called Robb said, as the men entered the room after about an eternity. Melissa stayed perfectly still behind her chair, praying to a god she hadn't talked to in years that she couldn't, and wouldn't, be seen.

"Look under everything, behind everything. This is the room we saw her in, see, there's the van."

She swallowed hard and silently. There was no way out now. She wasn't her sister; she didn't have a gun. She'd never even considered buying one. She hugged her knees to her chest and kept praying.

"Redding, she isn't here. She must've left between the time we last saw her and when we came up here."

"She didn't have time. Anyway, she would have had to pass us in the hall." Redding's footsteps, which she could barely hear on the carpet, came closer. The sheet keeping her from possible death rustled as he pulled it off the chair. She was caught.

"Robb, she's here," he said, and grabbed her arm to jerk her roughly to her feet. She didn't fight, knowing it would be impossible for her to fight them both off and escape still capable of getting anywhere. "I told you she hadn't left."

Robb got her other arm. "You gonna do what we want? We have rope in the van, and that stuff really hurts after a while."

She didn't answer.

He pulled on her arm, twisting it. "Huh?"

She nodded, defeated. They escorted her from the apartment, the building, and through her into the back of the van, left her there.

Alone, she cried.

**

DATE AND TIME UNKNOWN
1995

She had been alone in the room for so many days and nights that she had long ago lost count. The only difference between day and night was the sun streaming through the barred window. When it was out, she was able to see the grass, guards, and dogs below. Sometimes men came and talked to Biars, the man who owned the place where she was being held.

The last thing she ever expected was for them to leave a child, less than a year old, with her. A little girl, who even as young as she was a replica of Dana.

"She's going to be staying with you. She's the child of your sister," Biars said. He handed the baby to her.

"My sister couldn't have had a baby since I left," Melissa argued. She didn't bother to point out that if Dana had given birth to the girl she now held, she would have known it was coming.

"It's not what you think. Just take care of it," Biars said. He left, locking the door behind him, like he always did, as though she had anywhere to go if she did escape.

She looked down at the baby she held in her arms. It looked like Dana. And if she was the age Melissa thought she looked, she would have been born around the time of Dana's disappearance.

Dana had been gone for 3 months, no one knew where. Could she have been pregnant and didn't want anyone to know? But wouldn't have any of the doctors noticed when she turned up again? And wouldn't she have told her own family? She'd never been the type to keep big secrets from Melissa or their mother.

Biars had to be wrong, but Melissa wasn't going to argue with him.

"Just in case you are Dana's," she said to the baby later that day, as it slept on the room's single blanket. "I'll call you Dana Katherine. Or, let's be original, Daina Kathryn, spelled D-A-I-N-A K-A-T-H-R-Y-N. Sound okay to you?"

**

DATE AND TIME UNKNOWN
1995

For the first time, Melissa got to talk to someone besides Biars. A man had come to her room. He didn't give a name, just looked her and the baby she still took care of over, a cigarette hanging out of his mouth the whole time.

"I suppose you want to know why you're here and who the child is," he said.

"That would be okay," she said sarcastically.

"Have you named her?"

"Daina Kathryn Scully. For the one you claim is her mother."

"Your sister IS her mother. This child, and her sister, were born November of last year."

She narrowed her eyes at him. "While Dana was gone."

"Yes."

"She has a sister. Where's she?"

"She's being used for the original purpose of life in the first place. Twins were an anomaly that we couldn't use because of this ones resemblance to her mother and the others resemblance to you."

"The other one looks like me?"

"Her name is Emily Sim. She is living in San Diego."

**

EXACT DATE AND TIME UNKNOWN
1995

Mark Biars looked at the small bottle he'd just been handed. Some kind of drug to give to the lady upstairs, the one who was going to get him in real trouble if he didn't give them to her. They would make her forget.

The man who smoked, the one who spent sometimes hours talking to the woman, Melissa Scully, had given them to him with specific orders - she was to have two a day, one in the morning, one mid-afternoon. If she didn't want them, he was to force them on her.

Biars took a deep breath. He had no idea what the tiny pills were, but he didn't like the way they were being used.

Not that he could tell anyone.

**

December 30, 1998
1:30 P.M.

"He told me the other girl's name was... Emily. Emily Sim, I think," Melissa said. She turned to look at Scully when she heard her sister's gasp. In front Fox swung his head to stare at them for as long as he dared without watching the road. "What?"

"Emily Sim..." Scully muttered, looking at the ceiling. She tried to hold it back, but couldn't stop her eyes from filling with tears as the memories were suddenly thrust at her again.

"I think that's what her name was," Melissa said. Daina Kathryn gripped Scully tighter when she felt a tear fall slowly to hit her arm.

"I found out about Emily while looking at a... a homicide last year. At Bill's, in San Diego. Both her parents were killed. She died... soon after." She used her hand, shaking as it had the day before, to wipe her eyes. It didn't help much, as the tears were still falling.

"My sister died?" Daina Kathryn asked. "Was Emily my sister?"

"Not now, D.," Melissa said. "Dana? Are you all right?"

"I'm fine," Scully said, wiping her eyes again.

"Dana, I've known you your whole life. When you say you're fine, you're not. What's wrong?"

"I - I-" she couldn't get anything out. She thought about what she'd just been told - that Emily HADN'T been her only child, that Melissa was alive... her life was suddenly, again, a place as confusing as it had been when she was a teenager, unsure of herself and others. She had so much she wanted to get across to Missy and Daina Kathryn and Mulder and her other daughter, Emily, the one who could never know how much she'd been loved, no matter what Mulder claimed. She tried to choke back a sob of mental pain and fear, but only half succeeded.

Mulder heard her muffled cry and jerked the car over to the shoulder of the road and parked it. He was out before Melissa had a chance to realize what was happening, but when she did, she, too, opened the door to get out.

He had already pulled Scully away from Daina Kathryn and out with him on the grass. He sat and held her close to him, let her continue to weep against him. She moved her arms around him like her evident daughter had done to her, needing something to hold on to that wouldn't go anywhere until she was ready for it to.

"Scully... Dana... it's okay. It's okay," he said, rocking slowly to comfort her. Melissa, holding Daina Kathryn's hand, stood a few feet away, watching from where it was safe.

"What's wrong with her?" asked Daina Kathryn.

"She's sad, D. Let's get back in the car," Melissa said, holding the door open so the girl could get in, then getting in behind her. They sat in the backseat of the Ford Taurus, door still open, waiting for Mulder to calm Scully down.

"It's okay... just cry, Dana, just cry... it's okay...cry..." he repeated it over and over, until her tears finally stopped when she couldn't cry anymore. Her eyes were red and already looking dry as she pulled away from him.

"I'm sorry, Mulder," she said, pulling her knees up and wrapping her arms around them, embarrassed. She gave him a tiny smile when he reached out and rubbed her hand.

"What for?" He pulled his hand away from her leg, held it so tightly that it almost hurt. His eyes burned into hers, waiting for her to give reason for her apology. "There's nothing wrong with needing to cry sometimes."

"Not that. For getting us in danger. Again." She smiled again as he loosened his hold on her hand enough to gently stroke it, a gesture of understanding and compassion and the special love that they were fortunate enough to share.

"Scully," he said, reverting back to the usual name. "You haven't done anything. You've NEVER done anything to get us in danger. This time, like every time, was more my fault than anybody's."

"Why do you always demote yourself, Mulder?" She shook her head.

"Do I?" he asked, attempting a failing look of disbelief.

"Let's go home, Mulder." He didn't release her hand as they stood up or as they walked back to the car together.

He also didn't see the men watching them go from less than a hundred feet away.

**

June 7, 1970
11:30 A.M.

Dana Scully grinned at her best friends. She'd finally mastered what they couldn't - SHE could hang by her knees from the tree in Julie's backyard.

"I taught her to do that," Melissa called, from where she sat with her best friend, Julie's older brother, Joshua, who was 8. Julie was Dana's age, 6.

"You did not, Billy did!" Dana called back, not about to let her sister take credit for her new trick.

"He wouldn't take 5 minutes to teach you something, D., and you know it. Anyway, he'd kill you if he heard you calling him Billy."

"But he's not here, is he?"

"You guys sure fight a lot," Dana's best-friend-besides-Julie, Bethy, said.

"You fight with your sister," Dana said. She was beginning to feel dizzy, so she swung up, grabbed the limb she hung from, and twisted to jump down on her feet.

"But you fight with ALL your brothers and sister. I only fight with my sister. Not with my brother."

"'Cause your brother's like 20. And they get nice when they're that old," Julie said, taking Dana's side as usual. Julie and Bethy didn't like each other much, but Dana liked them both, and insisted, in her usually-stubborn way, that when she played with one the other be allowed to play, too.

"He's 21, not 20."

"I said LIKE. That means about."

"You did not."

"Did too."

"Did she, Dana?"

"I don't KNOW," Dana said, refusing to take sides. "Let's go play inside. It's hot out here."

They went in, got cokes to drink from Julie's mother, who, unlike Dana's mother, didn't care WHAT they ate or drank, and took them upstairs to Julie's room.

Dana envied Julie getting to have her own room, but not too much. When Melissa wasn't arguing with her, she and Dana got along really well. Sometimes, when they were in their room at night, supposed to be asleep, Melissa would whisper bad words to make her giggle.

"Wanna play this game my sister plays when she has people over for parties?" Bethy asked. Her sister was 15, and so was always either having parties or going to one.

"What?" Dana and Julie and asked at the same time, then looked at each other and laughed.

"Truth or Dare," Bethy said.

"I know how to play that. Josh showed me," Julie said.

"I think I know... isn't that where you say truth or dare, and you have to say something or do something?" Dana asked.

"Uh-huh," Bethy said.

"Bill and Melissa played that one time, but Mom said it wasn't a good game for them to play after Bill dared Melissa to try to drown Charles in the sink."

"Okay, let's play," Bethy said. "I'll go first."

"Why you?" Julie wanted to know.

"'Cause I'm oldest, is why."

"You're only a week older than Dana."

"I'm still older, but since Dana's next, I'll ask her first. Truth or Dare, Dana?"

Dana thought about it for a minute, making wrinkles in her forehead like her father did when he got mad at her and tried to think up a good punishment. "Truth," she said.

"Um... do you ever want to get married or have kids?"

"I thought you could only ask questions like about something you did," Julie said.

"Uh-uh. Anything. Answer, Dana."

"Never ever ever!" Dana yelled, making them all laugh.

"Be serious, Dana," Bethy said.

"I don't think so, not really."

"Not even to a famous movie star?" Julie asked.

"Not even then."

"What about adopting kids? I think you can do that without getting married."

"You can HAVE kids without getting married."

"Yeah, but that's bad. What about adopting?"

"Nah, I doubt it. I don't want kids."

"You're weird, Dana."

"So what? My turn. Julie, truth or dare?"


December 30, 1998
2:45 P.M.

"You want me to come in?" Mulder asked, pulling up to the sidewalk in front of Scully's apartment building. He looked hopeful, but she, for now, couldn't help disappointing him.

"Mulder, I need some time alone with Melissa and, uh, Daina Kathryn. To talk about things. Can you call me later?" Her smile was the normal, tense one, no teeth.

"Yeah... okay..." he gave her a tight smile in return. "I'll call you in a couple of hours, okay? Maybe we could go out to eat somewhere? All of us, I mean?"

"Let's see what's going on then," she said. She stood and watched, Melissa and Daina Kathryn nearby, waiting, as the car drove off, disappearing around the corner.

She looked at the building in front of her, remembered the last time she'd been there while Melissa was alive... or the last time she'd talked to Melissa. That day, she'd had no job, she'd thought Mulder was dead, and she'd almost killed Skinner. That whole WEEK had been one of the longest of her life.

"Dana?" Melissa asked, and she blinked and realized she was staring at nothing.

"Sorry," she said. "Let's go inside, sound okay?"

"Sounds good to me," Melissa said. Daina Kathryn, who'd spoken only a couple of words since finding out about Emily, still didn't say anything as she held Melissa's hand, hopping instead of walking, because her feet were still bare and the ground was cold.

Scully wondered what they were going to do about the little girl. She'd taken some of Melissa's old clothes, to keep and remember, so had some for her sister to wear instead of the T-shirt and jeans that looked older than she was. But for Daina Kathryn, she had nothing.

Other than looking a little cold, Daina Kathryn didn't seem more than fascinated by everything she was seeing. Scully thought about asking her if she'd never seen a building before, then caught herself. The child, who was looking at the ceilings and walls, intrigued by it all, had seen nothing she could remember outside of that small, dark, cold room in a prison.

"You like outside life, D.?" Melissa asked, swinging their hands as they followed Scully to the elevator.

"I don't know yet," Daina Kathryn said, pulling her eyes away from the world she had discovered to look at Melissa. "I haven't seen enough, but I think I do."

"I bet you will. There's so many things you can do."

"Like go to a zoo and see the animals?"

"Just like that."

Scully listened to them as she waited for the elevator to come down and let them in. She, though still a little confused and scared about finding out she had another daughter, one who'd been living with Melissa, of all people, was almost excited at the thought of all the could do with Daina Kathryn. She had a third chance at having a child, more luck than she could have ever hoped for after her first chance had been taken away from her after her abduction. And Daina Kathryn, unlike Emily, hadn't seen or done many things young children had.

The elevator finally arrived, and Scully went in and waited for Melissa and Daina Kathryn, forgetting just seconds after first realizing it, that Daina Kathryn had never seen an elevator and had probably never been in one.

She didn't look too worried as she stepped in, holding Melissa's hand more less tightly as she got used to things, but when the elevator started moving, her eyes grew wide and she threw herself against Melissa and clutched her.

"D... Daina Kathryn..." Melissa sputtered, unable to get across what she wanted to say in comfort. Daina Kathryn had started crying, for only the second or third time that Melissa could remember in her life.

Scully stooped down in front of the wailing child. "Dai-" she made herself use the nickname. "D? Will you stop crying and listen for a minute?"

Daina Kathryn, still sensible even alarmed, stopped crying and wiped an arm across her eyes and nose. "Uh-huh," she said, gulping to catch her breath.

"This is an elevator. It makes us go up, by a really big, thick wire that pulls it. Okay?"

"It's a machine, you mean?" She now looked at it with new interest.

"Right, a machine. And it won't hurt us." Scully smiled at Daina Kathryn, who had loosened her grip, enough to allow Melissa to breathe. She seemed almost back to normal when the elevator stopped and the door opened, letting them out.

"D., can you show your mother how you can count?" Melissa asked as they started down the hall towards Scully's apartment.

"How?" Daina Kathryn said.

"Her apartment number is... 35, I think. Dana, is that right?" Scully nodded. "That's number 30, see? Now, count the numbers on the doors until you get to 35."

Daina Kathryn, feeling important, took her job very seriously. As she saw each door, she tapped it with a small finger. She crossed the hall to make sure and hit every one. "30... 31... 32... 33... 34... 35!" She looked up at Melissa and Scully, waiting for praise.

"Good job, D.," Melissa said. Daina Kathryn smiled and her whole face shone.

Once again, Scully's heart filled with an ache that she didn't know how to heal.

**

December 30, 1998
1:45 P.M.

"They escaped," the man said. He was, as always, smoking a cigarette. The whole room smelled of smoke, was filled with it.

The younger man tried not to cough on the thick air, but didn't wholly succeed. He gave a couple of half-chokes, half-gasps. "We had to let 'em go. They were with the agents..." he stopped when the other man's face suddenly grew angrier than before.

He calmed himself down seconds later, smiled to himself. "Agents Mulder and Scully, by any chance?"

"It was a, uh, a man, kinda tall, with brown hair, and this woman, short, red hair..."

"Do you know where they went?"

"I heard somethin' about... goin' home, I think."

"Very good, Rammin. You may leave now. Go get rid of Biars, make sure you find him a location no one will ever find."

**

December 30, 1998
2:50 P.M.

"You have a nice place to live," Daina Kathryn said, looking around in awe at the furniture, wallpaper, everything else. She seemed especially interested in the little TV in the corner. "I wish I could live in a place like this."

Scully and Melissa glanced at each other, neither knowing quite how to reply.

"Um, D., are you by any chance tired?" Melissa said, hoping she would say she was, although she'd never been one to take naps, so that she and Scully would have a chance to talk about things. More about what had happened in the past few years, what they were going to do with Daina Kathryn, how they were going to convince their mother, Bill, and Charles that Melissa was really alive.

"A little bit," Daina Kathryn admitted, and seemed to prove it by yawning. She was crouched in front of the TV, trying to figure out how it turned on.

"Dana has a couple of beds, you can go to sleep for a while if you want."

Daina Kathryn's eyes widened. "I get to sleep on a BED?"

"Why not?" Scully asked, then wanted to slap herself as she remembered that, as far as she knew, Daina Kathryn had never even SEEN a bed before. She'd slept her whole life on a blanket on the floor of that tiny room.

"I've never slept on a bed," Daina Kathryn said, not seeming to catch on to Scully's embarrassment.

"You can sleep on one now. Come on, I'll take you back to my room," Scully said, reaching out a hand that Daina Kathryn took after hesitating only a second. Scully wasn't sure she was completely trusted yet, which was understandable.

Melissa stayed where she was while Scully walked with Daina Kathryn to her bedroom. She loved Daina Kathryn as much as she would her own child, which really Daina Kathryn could have been. Scully obviously, as doubtful about it all as she was, loved her, too.

She both wanted her little sister to get to keep the child, but she wanted her for her own. Daina Kathryn, given the choice, would probably choose her, at the moment, at least. She'd known Melissa for most of her short life, and Scully only a few hours. But Scully was her mother.

"I missed you, Melissa," Scully said when she returned. She went to her couch, sat, and waved a hand at Melissa, beckoning her over.

"You haven't called me Missy this whole time, you know," Melissa said.

"You haven't called me D. You call Daina Kathryn that."

"Jealous, D.?" She managed to pull a shaky laugh from Scully.

"I guess, a little bit."

"Oh, come on, Dana. You know you love that kid as much as I do."

Scully shook her head. "I do love her, but I'll never love her as much as you do. I feel like I've had my chance at a child, and I don't get another."

"And if you ever get married. What then? Are you going to tell your husband the same thing?" Melissa knew something she'd said was wrong the second she finished the statement. Scully's eyes traveled from looked at her sister to looking at her feet.

"Missy, I... I can't ever have children."

"You... you can't... when did you find this out?"

"Almost two years ago... Gosh, Missy, you've been gone a long time... a couple of years ago, I found out I had cancer, as a result of my abduction and the chip in my neck I had taken out. I continued working as long as I could, but around 6 months after I learned of the cancer, I was taken to the hospital after losing so much blood that they thought that would kill me. I was in the hospital-"

Melissa interrupted her. "What happened to you?"

"What?"

"Before you were taken to a hospital because of blood loss."

"Oh... it was a brain tumor. I had nosebleeds... anyway, I was in the hospital for almost a week, spending the first part of that time unconscious. It was then that I first learned that, along with the cancer, I'd had my ability to have a child taken from me. Mulder didn't admit to me that he'd known for quite a long time until about a year ago now, when Emily first came into my life."

"Emily Sim? Daina Kathryn's sister?"

"I think so."

"What happened to her?"

"She was being used for the original purpose of the children created through the use of abducted women. Experiments, Mulder claims human/alien hybrids. But she had to... they had to do something to her each week, give her some kind of injection, just to keep her alive. I made them stop."

"And she died?"

"Yes." Although she didn't sound upset, Scully's expression gave her away. Melissa, even after 3 years separation, knew her well enough to recognize the small wrinkles as she struggled with hidden emotion, the way her eyes seemed to widen, her mouth making a tight line on her face.

"You loved her a lot, didn't you..." Melissa said. It sounded more like a statement than a question.

"More than I'd ever loved anybody in my life, even you guys."

"I think that's understandable. But don't you think that you, given the time, could love Daina Kathryn like you loved Emily?"

"I think I could. But differently.... Emily was... I found her through... through you."

"Through me? How?"

"I was at Bill's house for Christmas last year-"

"Oh, you guys are finally speaking again. Has he grown up any since college?"

"A little, maybe. Major hostility towards Mulder, though."

"Why? I like your partner."

"He thinks it was Mulder's fault you, well, died, and that I got cancer."

"You're wrong, he hasn't grown up a bit. So what happened with Emily?"

"I was at Bill's house, and I got a phone call, from someone who sounded just like you. You... she... whoever it was said that 'she needed help'. Talking about Emily, I mean. So I traced the call and went to the location, to the house. A woman there had just committed suicide. I was told that no one had called from that house, because the phone was off the hook. I saw Emily for the first time then.

"Later, I got another phone call, and managed to find enough evidence against her father that he was arrested. When he, too, seemed to have committed suicide, we realized it wasn't suicide, but murder made to look like suicide.

"I wanted to adopt Emily, thinking she might be in danger, too, but I was told that, because of my job and the fact that I was single. She was taken to a hospital just days after, and died a year ago yesterday."

Melissa didn't say a word as Scully finished her story, but she was remembering something for the first time. Something she'd done the year before.

**

EXACT DATE AND TIME UNKNOWN
1997

Daina Kathryn had been keeping herself occupied all morning, drawing pictures on the dust on the floor. She, at about 3 years old, could already write her name and many short sentences. She wrote stories on the floor about getting out and what it would be like to run and play outside.

Melissa leaned against the wall a few feet away, half-asleep. She hadn't been able to sleep the night before, something that happened every time she stopped to think about how hard the floor was and how cold the room was and how tired of being a prisoner there she was.

Still working on the picture of what she thought a cat would look like, Daina Kathryn seemed to be lost in thought, Melissa thought when she opened her eyes for a few seconds. But her finger suddenly stopped making small circles for eyes, her head flew up, eyes wide, to look at the window.

She jumped to her feet and ran to the only source of the light in the room. "Daddy, don't! Don't make her stay in her room, Daddy! She wants Mommy! She wants Mommy NOW!" She screamed, starting to cry, pulling on the bars on the window like they were a door she was trying to open.

Melissa was perfectly still, not able to move at first, stunned. Daina Kathryn had cried before, but had never shouted about wanting her parents. Or whatever she was shouting about.

"Dad-DY! Don't let them in! They're gonna hurt Mommy! They're bad, she knows it!" Daina Kathryn jerked on the window, tears falling to the floor, ruining her picture.

"D. -" Melissa said.

Daina Kathryn let go of the bars, stepped back, and let her shoulders slump. "They're gonna hurt Mommy, Daddy." She sat down hard and put her face in her hands, crying even harder. Her little body shook, she sobbed harder than she ever had in her life.

"D.?" Melissa asked. She didn't get any closer to the child, unsure. Although even she didn't believe it to be a true story like people said, Dana HAD made her sit through 'The Exorcist' 7 times when she was 16 and Melissa was 17, old enough to get her sister into a theater for the re-release without an adult's permission.

"Missy..." Daina Kathryn said, crawling over to Melissa and curling up against her. She'd only recently started calling her Missy, after Melissa had insisted that she wasn't her real mother. Daina Kathryn, understandably, wanted to know everything about the parent she would probably never know. "The men are going to hurt Mommy and Daddy. She's scared, Daddy locked her in her room so she can't see what's going to happen." Melissa had never seen Daina Kathryn so upset. She was always calm and quiet and... scientific. Unlike Dana as a child, she was more like Dana as an adult.

"Your mother, D.? Dana Scully? " Melissa asked.

"Uh-huh. Not our real mother. The one she lives with... I don't know her name."

"Sim? Is her last name Sim?"

"... I think so... she's scared, though. Something really bad's gonna happen."

"Who's 'she', D.?"

"My sister. The one you told me about. I know she's scared."

"How?"

"I can tell. I just KNOW." Daina Kathryn was biting her lip, face streaked from where tears had run. She was losing her 'scientist' image very quickly.

"Can you help her?"

"I don't know. Maybe, if we try real hard, we can... I don't know, tell my real mother somehow that she needs help."

She seemed so hopeful that Melissa couldn't let her down by telling her that that would never work. "We can try, D."

"Say what you'd say to my mother if you needed to tell her that my sister needs help." Daina Kathryn reached out and grabbed Melissa's hand, as though that would help them radiate more powerful 'energy waves.'

"Um..." Melissa said, thinking. "I guess it would just be... uh... Dana, she needs your help."

"Think it real hard. And say Emily, so she'll know who."

"No, we don't know that that's her real name. She'll know who it is, eventually. Okay, I'm going to think it, be quiet." She closed her eyes and tilted her head upward to add more effect to it, to make it more realistic for Daina Kathryn. But she really did try to get it to Dana.

'Dana, she needs your help... She needs your help, Dana... Go to her.'


December 30, 1998
3:00 P.M.

Daina Kathryn Scully did not sleep. She wasn't really tired. She needed to be alone.

She'd never been alone that she could remember in her whole life.

She found it hard to believe that her sister Emily could be dead. She'd looked forward to being with her mother and her sister, and maybe even her father, all her life. All her older life, anyway.

As she lay in her mother's - her real, true MOTHER - bed, she thought about things. She, though Melissa believed her to be a skeptical, hard, scientific child, she often daydreamed and pretended in her head. Tried to imagine a regular life.

Her life would never be regular.

Never.

She felt a tear, a single tear, slowly fall from her eye and across her nose to drop silently on the bed.

**

December 31, 1998
6:00 A.M.

The phone was ringing. Scully, waking to its sound, had to get out of bed to answer it. Daina Kathryn hadn't gotten up after her original nap, and so Melissa had slept with her, to keep her life at least partially what she was used to, and there was no phone in her other bedroom.

Scully yawned as she got out of the bed, then gasped, the chill of the floor a shock to her bare feet. She hurried to her living room and grabbed the phone.

"Hello?"

"Scully?" It was Mulder. Who else would it have been at 6?

"Hi, Mulder," she yawned again.

"You have to get out of your apartment. I'm at the office of the Lone Gunmen."

"What's wrong?"

"Last night, the same blue van went past my building 6 times, and there was a guy watching me in the hall when I went to get the paper this morning. Chances are, they're at your place, too."

She wanted to call him paranoid, but he was probably right. "The Lone Gunmen haven't changed offices since the last time you dragged me there?"

"No, they're still here."

"And what about work?"

"I already talked to Skinner. We have about a decade of vacation time piled up, anyway, he was very happy to be rid of us for the day."

"Okay, I'll get Melissa and Daina Kathryn up and we'll be there in a few minutes."

"Be careful, Scully."

"Right." She hung up and smiled to herself, imagining what Daina Kathryn would think of the Gunmen themselves. It would be just perfect if she decided Frohike was her best friend.

Scully went back to the bedroom she'd used and grabbed the jeans and T-shirt she'd gotten the night before from her room, having been thinking about taking off from work, anyway. Why did it always seem that every time she took time off, a family crisis came up? Her father's dying, Melissa's supposedly dying, even if that had been a FORCED vacation, finding Emily... and when Mulder took time off, he got to go to Graceland.

After she was dressed and she'd pulled her hair back as best she could, she went to wake up Melissa and Daina Kathryn.

"Missy?" she said softly, shaking her sister first. In her limited experience, it was usually harder to get kids up, so she was saving it for last.

"Huh...? Oh, Dana... what's wrong now?" Melissa rubbed her eyes and sat up. As she did, Daina Kathryn's eyes also opened, and she blinked as though trying to remember exactly where she was.

"This is a bed," she finally said softly and mostly to herself. She rolled over and closed her eyes again.

"We have to go and meet Mulder at the office of some of his... friends. As soon as possible," Scully said.

Melissa raised the characteristic Scully-eyebrow. Although she didn't use it nearly as often as her skeptical little sister did, she was still a master when she wanted to be. "Why?"

"Well, we, in reality, broke more than one law yesterday during our little 'prison break.' And certain people who already seem to dislike Mulder and me, for obvious and not-so-obvious reasons, are trying to find us - and you."

"That's plenty of detail, thank you. I could live with just knowing we'd broken a law or two. I don't want to be told how they're going to kill us when they catch us."

"Who's gonna kill us?" Daina Kathryn asked, turning on the bed back to face Scully and Melissa.

"Nobody, D., if you'll get up right now and put your clothes on," Melissa said.

"You said I could have new clothes when we got out. Those clothes are too small."

Melissa looked at Scully and rolled her eyes. "The second we get out of that place," she said. "And she starts complaining about what she does and doesn't have."

"Daina Kathryn," Scully said, unable to call her 'D.' so early in the day, when she was still exhausted after waking up many times the night before when a dream - or maybe nightmare - about Emily came to her. "Get up and get dressed and we can go meet some really neat people. Have you ever seen a computer?"

"No, but Missy told me about 'em."

"I bet they have, uh, lots of good games," Melissa said, shrugging at Scully.

"Um, yeah," Scully said. She leaned close to Melissa as Daina Kathryn climbed off the bed and trotted off to the bathroom. "Yeah, lots of good games. She can find out all the latest JFK conspiracy news and everything there is to know about hacking," she muttered.

"Maybe I shouldn't have spoken so soon?" Melissa asked, and she and Scully managed a laugh.

"I'll go get stuff we need, you get yourself and Daina Kathryn dressed," Scully said.

"Yes, ma'am!" Melissa said, saluting, mimicking the way Scully had always saluted her father when he was coming or leaving home.

Scully forced a smile.

**

MAY 29, 1968
4:30 P.M.

Dana Scully, never patient, had been restless all day. All week, really. She'd thought the day would never come, her father would never get home.

Just in the last couple of hours, she'd been kicked out of first her own room, then Bill and little Charlie's room, because she was making too much noise and wouldn't sit still.

Not that her siblings didn't make noise. She could hear Melissa yelling at Bill that if he didn't get his big, ugly face out of her room she was going to throw every shoe in the closet at him. Melissa had a strange way of doing and saying things.

"Mom, how much longer?" Dana asked, wandering into the living room. Margaret Scully was attempting to read before her husband got home and things got even crazier than they already were.

"Any minute now, Dana."

"Like right now?"

"Maybe."

"Do you think he's hiding outside and is just making us wait?"

"I don't think your dad would do that to you, Dana. He knows how much you miss him."

"Is he home NOW?"

"Why don't you go check?"

With a vigorous nod of agreement and a grin, she turned and got outside as fast as she could.

The sun was just starting to go down as she stopped in front of the closing door. The air outside smelled fresh, summer-y. Only two days into vacation, things hadn't had a chance to build to full-blown boredom yet. Except for waiting, she was as happy as she had ever been.

She would be even happy when her father, her hero and favorite person in the whole world, finally got home. He'd been gone so long she'd begun to think he would stay away forever.

For a while, she'd worried about him running away from them. There was a boy who'd been in her pre-school class, and his father had left his mom and him and all his brothers and sisters. There were 12 kids in his family, and he was the youngest. He'd told Dana, who had, for some reason, become his trusted confidante, that his mother was 'struggling' now and they might have to become 'foster kids.' Dana wasn't sure what most of it meant, but she knew she didn't want it to happen to her.

She'd gotten really upset at one point, and had admitted her fears to her mother. Mrs. Scully had comforted her, making her realize that her father was a wonderful person who loved his family too much to EVER leave them.

Now, she sat on the front steps and looked up at the dark-blue-evening-sky. She could see a single star high above her. Though she knew it wouldn't come true, she made a wish as she gazed at it, alone up there while she was alone

below.

"Star, I know you're just a sun far away, but maybe you can talk to God. If you can, I wish for my daddy to come home, right now. I miss him a whole lot."

She smiled a little, and the star seemed to twinkle more brightly for a second.

That twinkle, bringing the tiniest bit of hope, so occupied her for a few seconds that she almost missed the sound of the car turning in to the driveway.

It wasn't until her father called, "Dana!" that she looked over.

"Ahab!" she shouted, using the nickname she'd given him after he told her about 'Moby Dick.' He'd called her his first mate for over a year and she called him captain, but it wasn't until then that they gave each other actual names. She ran over and grabbed him as tightly as she could, wanting to hold on to him until he promised he wouldn't ever go away for so long again.

"Starbuck," he returned to her yelling. He picked her up, something that made her feel almost as special as the name - he didn't call any of her brothers and sister and anything special, and he didn't ever pick them up anymore, except Charlie sometimes, and he was little.

As he carried her back to the house, she asked him, "Daddy, if you make a wish and it comes true so that you KNOW it came true, is that a miracle?" She was hugging her arms around his neck, feeling secure now, and really believing that either her wish or prayer had been answered.

"I think it probably does. A little miracle. Why, did something happen to you while I was gone?"

"I'll tell you later." Looking over his shoulder, her head went back to look at the star again.

Putting a hand to her head, she saluted.

**

December 31, 1998
6:30 A.M.

Scully only a little trouble finding the office of the Lone Gunmen. She'd never had to get to it alone before, always with Mulder. Only once had she even SEEN any of the Gunmen without Mulder, and that was only because they all believed he was dead. Even though, as seemed to be usual with Mulder, he wasn't.

It had been Frohike who had told her about Melissa.

"Is this where that man lives?" Daina Kathryn asked as Melissa helped her out of the car and held her. She still didn't have any shoes, and it was colder early in the morning than it was in the afternoon.

"What man?" Scully asked.

"The man from yesterday. The one who drove us to your house."

"Oh, that's, uh... Mr. Mulder. No, this is where his friends live."

"Are they your friends too?"

"Not really." Scully knocked on the door of the apartment-turned-office. She saw the curtains on the window move slightly as someone looked out, then heard the lock on the door turn.

"Scully," Mulder said, opening to door and standing back to let them in. He closed the door behind them and locked it again, as overly suspicious as the ones whose place of work he stood in.

Scully simply nodded at him, went to stand by a wall, a little confused. She saw nobody but Mulder. Melissa joined her, but Daina Kathryn wiggled until she was put down, so she could run around the room and look at everything.

"What's that?" she asked, looking at one of the computers. She leaned closer, putting a hand on the back of a chair to steady herself so she could get even closer. "Is that another TV?"

"It's a computer," Mulder said. He didn't offer any explanation as to where the Gunmen were.

"Mulder, where are they?" Scully asked, crossing her arms.

"At home. I called them first, made sure it was okay to be here. We can stay as long as we need to. There are a couple of beds in the bedroom, just in case they're ever needed. We can use them, if we have to."

"How long're we gonna stay in this place?" Daina Kathryn said. She'd figured out that if you pushed a key, the screensaver would go off. She was now using arrow keys to go from icon to icon, almost completely engrossed in what she was doing.

No one bothered to answer her, and she didn't seem to care. She had now used the enter key to get to some kind of card game - Scully hated to think what- and was clicking on the cards at random.

"Scully, would you come with me to the other room for a minute?" Mulder asked. He gave her to tell her they were going to discuss 'things' that Melissa and Daina Kathryn might be better off not knowing.

She followed him without speaking to the bedroom, then waited silently for him to speak.

"Are you okay with this?" he said.

"We're not staying here over night. We have to get in touch with my mother, with Bill and Charles..," she said.

"You have to."

"We CAN'T, Mulder. What of that don't you understand?"

"Why can't you?"

"Why is it any safer here than anywhere else? They'll be looking for us around Washington, anyway. If we go to Bill's in California, we'll all be okay."

"They know you have family there, Scully."

"I have a feeling 'they' know where Charles is, too."

"So you see what I mean by you have to stay here. You do, for the safety of you and your sister and your... your..."

"You can call her my daughter, Mulder."

"And your daughter."

"You can't force me to stay here."

"I can if I have to. I'm not asking if you want to stay. You don't have a choice, this time."

"Mulder, that's not fair."

"I'm trying to keep all of you safe, Scully."

She turned away from him, and at first he thought he had said something to make her angrier than she was.

Then she spoke, and her voice cracked mid-sentence. "I know, but I-" She couldn't finish. He could see her shoulders rise slightly as she took a deep breath.

"Scully..." Very cautiously, he went to her and put his arms around her. She leaned back into him, held his wrists. "Scully, I don't want you to lose Melissa and your only child again."

She turned in his arms, so that she could wrap her own arms around his waist and put her head to his chest. "I don't want to either. But it's not safe here."

"I... I know a place we can go," he said. He hadn't wanted to mention the place he had in mind, but knew they would never expect the ones they were hunting to go there.

To the place in Canada, the place that had almost cost him his life. The place where he'd thought he'd found his sister, only to lose her once again.

Once again.

**

NOVEMBER 29, 1973
5:00 A.M.

"Please tell us, Fox. Whatever happened, we won't get mad at you," William Mulder pleaded, once again, with his son.

"I don't remember," Fox said, on the verge of losing his temper again. No one would leave him alone. They didn't seem to care at all about what he felt about it all. They just wanted to find Samantha.

His father was lying about not getting mad. Although Fox could already barely remember it, he knew that he would be in more trouble than he'd ever been in his life if he told his dad what he DID remember - the arguing, the lights, his going for the gun he wasn't even supposed to know about...

"Fox Mulder, don't lie to me!"

"I DON'T REMEMBER!" Whatever had been keeping him calm finally snapped and he yelled it.

After yelling, he didn't even bother to try and run. He did his best stone impression as Mr. Mulder walked, very slowly, closer to him.

His father slapped him. Still, he didn't move.

"When you're ready to tell us what happened, we're listening. But for now, you can just stay here and think about it. Maybe something will come back to you." He left.

Fox didn't allow himself to cry - for the first time - until his dad had left.

**

December 31, 1998
6:45 A.M.

This time, Melissa sat in the back with Daina Kathryn and Scully sat up front with Mulder. Other than Mulder, nobody had any idea where they were going. All of them, most of all Scully, wanted to keep it that way.

"Are we going back to the other place, Missy?" Daina Kathryn asked.

"You mean the prison? No, I think we're going some place safe."

"A place where we can always be safe? Forever?"

"I hope so." Melissa put an arm around Daina Kathryn. Daina Kathryn snuggled against her, happy with whatever they did. For her, life was suddenly an adventure.

Nobody spoke for what seemed like hours to the tense passengers, days to the driver. Daina Kathryn fell asleep, still curled up against Melissa, and then the only sound was her heavier breathing and occasional sighs.

"How far away is this place, Mulder?" Scully asked, finally.

"It's-" he swallowed hard, knowing she wasn't going to be too happy with him after this. "It's in Canada."

"It's WHERE!?"

"Canada."

"Mulder, that's worse than going to Bill's house. If we cross an INTERNATIONAL BORDER, we have to have I.D. And while that may not be a real problem for us, it is for the two fugitives we have in the back!"

"I never knew you could be so dramatic, Scully."

"This is NOT the time, Mulder!"

"Calm down. When we get close to the border, we just abandon the car and walk off-road."

"With a barefoot four-year-old wearing a T-shirt?"

"Well, I can't think of everything."

"Mulder, you're going to stop somewhere that sells clothes, and hopefully shoes. We all need warmer coats, we need something to carry extra food in, the food itself, bottles of water..."

"I get the idea. We'll stop at the next place I see."

Scully seemed happy with that. She turned away from him - she'd been glaring at him since he'd talked about getting out of the car - and stared out the window at the passing streets at the edge of Washington.

She appeared content. But Mulder could tell from her lack of movement that she was thinking about something, thinking hard.

**

December 31, 1998
9:45 A.M.

Mulder had finally found a mall to get shoes for Daina Kathryn, warmer coats for them all, and food. He had driven around Washington for close to three hours finding someplace open, had found it, then spent forty-five minutes standing around while Scully and Melissa helped Daina Kathryn.

Back in the car, again, he was trying to remember how long it had taken to get to Canada in the first place. Almost a day, he knew that, while driving, but that time they had taken back roads he wasn't sure he could find again, even with photographic memory.

"Missy, I'm hungry. They don't give you breakfast here," Daina Kathryn complained in the back. She was tired, even after sleeping longer than any of the adults, and was showing it by complaining - about EVERYTHING.

"Not right now, D. We have to save food," Melissa said.

"But I'm HUNGRY," Daina Kathryn insisted.

"D...."

"What?"

"Be quiet."

Daina Kathryn, not used to being told 'no' since there had never been much for her to be told 'no' about, slumped against the backseat. "I think I liked the other place better," she muttered.

As he had the day before, Mulder suddenly pulled the car to the side of the road. "Scully, you drive," he said simply, and got out and into the backseat to sit on the other side of Daina Kathryn. The little girl glanced at him warily, then scooted a little closer to Melissa.

"Mulder, what're you doing?" Scully asked. She hadn't moved.

"I'm going to talk to Daina Kathryn, is that's okay with you."

"Sure, I guess." She got out, walked around to the door he'd left open, got in, and started the car again, shrugging as she drove and listened to the conversation from the back at the same time.

"Would you like it better if I called you Daina Kathryn or D.?" Mulder asked.

"You can't call me D.," Daina Kathryn said, refusing to look at him.

"Okay then, Daina Kathryn. That's fine with me. Did you know that I think Daina Kathryn is one of the prettiest names I've ever heard?" Melissa looked at Mulder and gave him a smile that told him he was saying just the right things to a child who was both very intelligent and only four years old.

Daina Kathryn glanced up at him, her face stretching into a rare grin. "Thanks, Mr. Mulder."

"Fox," he corrected, then winced inside. He'd never told anyone before in his life to call him Fox if he had any choice. His parents, maybe, had always insisted he go by his given name, but unless they introduced him, he was Mulder. Mulder suited him more, anyway.

"Fox. That's a pretty name, too. I mean a nice name," Daina Kathryn said, then looked at the floor again, embarrassed.

"Well, I only let certain people call me that. You're lucky, you're one of the few I trust not to laugh at it."

"I won't laugh. I like that name... you can call me D, I guess."

"Thanks a lot... hey, D., have you ever tried making up a story?"

"Uh-uh. Missy told me stories sometimes, though. About my mother."

"You mean Scully?"

"Yeah, I think so."

"Could you make up a story so I won't be bored?"

Daina Kathryn giggled. "You're a grown-up. They don't get bored."

"Well, I am. So tell me a story." Melissa gave him a second grateful smile as Daina Kathryn bit her lip and thought hard, eyes blinking quickly with ideas.

"Once upon a time," she finally said. "There was a... a little girl. Named, uh... what's a good name, Missy?"

Melissa turned her smile from Mulder to Daina Kathryn. "How about, um, Margaret."

"That's your mother's name, you told me."

"Yeah. Make up a story about her."

"Okay. Once upon a time, there was a girl named Margaret..."

**

JULY 22, 1969
EXACT TIME UNKNOWN

The car was so hot that Fox was sure he was going to suffocate before the long drive to Grandma's was over. His legs, bare under shorts, stuck to the leather of the seats, his hair stuck to his forehead with sweat, and Samantha's annoying voice stuck to his ears.

"Dad, I'm bored. When're we gonna get there?" she asked. Fox rolled his eyes. If he'd asked that question, he would have been told to entertain himself. But not the little angel/family suck-up/bratty little sister.

"Soon, Sam. Why don't you ask Fox if he wants to play a game with you?" their father asked, using the tone that meant that Fox should understand-without-being-asked that he was supposed to agree.

"Yeah, sure," Fox said, having nothing better to do, anyway. He'd finished a book he was supposed to read for a book report in the first half hour in the car - showed how intelligent most of the people at his school were, since they complained the books they were assigned were too hard - and hadn't brought anything else to keep himself entertained.

"What do you wanna do, Fox?" Samantha asked.

"Um... how about we make up stories?" He had to come up with something that she could do but wouldn't bore him to death, which was hard when there wasn't a TV around - and even then, they argued over what to watch.

"What kind of stories?"

"Stories about what we'll be when we grow up."

"Okay. You first."

He shrugged, his way of agreeing. "I want to be a police officer, probably. I'll have a gun, I'm not sure what kind, but a good one. I'll shoot lots of criminals - robbers and murderers and stuff."

"Are you gonna get married?"

"Yeah, probably. I want to marry somebody with red hair."

"Why red?"

"Because its different. Not many people have red hair."

"There's a girl in my class with red hair."

"There's a couple of people in my grade with red hair. But there's a lot more with brown hair and blond hair and black hair."

"Yeah, you're right."

"Anyway, that's my first story. You're turn."


December 31, 1998
11:00 A.M.

Mulder was still in the backseat, with Daina Kathryn now curled up against him in sleep. Melissa had moved to the front to talk to her sister and try to catch up on the years she'd missed.

"How'd you find Emily, anyway?" Melissa asked.

Scully hesitated and took a deep breath. "I-I got a phone call. It was from a woman who sounded just like you. She told me that someone needed my help. At first, I thought whoever it was was talking about the one who'd been murdered - Roberta Sim. But then I realized they were talking about Emily."

"Someone called you and said that Emily needed your help?"

"They didn't say Emily. They just said that SHE needed my help."

Now it was Melissa's turn for a deep breath. "Oh my God," she said softly.

"What?"

"One day, about a year ago, maybe a little more, Daina Kathryn thought something bad was happening to her sister. She was screaming about it. I just thought she was pretending, or trying to get my attention for some reason, but when she asked me to try and contact you to help her sister, I really tried it."

"It's got to be coincidence," Scully said, shaking her head. She looked away from the road and into Melissa's eyes to try and tell if she believed that or not. She obviously didn't.

"Maybe not," she said.

"Missy, it's impossible. There's no way you could have... sent me thoughts. And I already told you I got the message through the phone. And I seriously doubt you had access to a phone in that prison."

"Maybe the only way you would listen was through a phone. It worked, didn't it?"

"Yes, but that's beside the point. The calls also came from the house where Emily was living. So how do you explain that if it was you?"

"Again, the only way to get you to listen."

"Look, Missy, I'm not in the mood for arguing. You can have your idea and I can have mine, just like it's always been."

**

March 6, 1967
5:00 P.M.

Dana stared down at the new baby, lying on its dumb-looking bed-with-bars. She wasn't so sure she liked having it there. It was a boy, and she thought one boy was enough. Especially when that boy was twice her age.

"Hi, Charlie," she said softly to the baby. It wasn't asleep, but her mother thought it was, so she knew to stay quiet as long as she was in the same room.

Melissa knew to be quiet, too, and almost scared Dana to death when she suddenly appeared beside her at the edge of the bed-with-bars. Bill said it wasn't called that, but he was mean and wouldn't tell them what it was called.

"I like him, don't you?" Melissa asked, reaching a hand through the bars and touching the baby's arm.

"No," Dana said.

"Why not?" Melissa giggled as Charles grabbed her hand and tried to pull it away.

"Because he's dumb, that's why. And he's too little."

"I thought you said you didn't like being the little baby of the family."

"I don't, but I wish he'd been a girl."

"So do I. Bill's bad enough, isn't he?"

"Yeah... you wanna go play outside?"

"Yeah, I guess."

Melissa and Dana left.

Charles went back to sleep.

**

December 31, 1998
3:30 P.M.

"We're almost to Canada. We'd better leave the car here," Mulder said. He was again driving, with Scully beside him and Melissa and Daina Kathryn both asleep. Neither was used to any difference in schedules or the littlest bit of excitement, and so had tired out just riding in the car. Mulder and Scully had let them sleep as long as possible, but now they were less than a 15 minute drive to the Canadian border and could no longer risk the possibility of being spotted.

"I'll wake them up," Scully volunteered, nodding towards the back as Mulder pulled the car to the side of the road. She turned and reached an arm back to gently shake Melissa. "Missy, wake up."

Melissa blinked a few times and then opened her eyes fully. "Hi, Dana."

"Uh, hi," Scully said, a little confused with the greeting. "Wake up Daina Kathryn, okay, while Mulder and I get the stuff out."

"Okay," Melissa agreed. She moved Daina Kathryn off her arm as she said softly, "D.? Time to get up now."

"Why?" Daina Kathryn managed to say, her voice sounding thick with sleep. She didn't open her eyes, just burrowed into Melissa a little more.

"Because its time to go," Melissa said.

Daina Kathryn looked up then, her eyebrow raised, making her 'Scully' look complete. "Where're we going?"

"I'm not sure."

"Do you know?" She turned to look at Scully.

"Nope," Scully said.

"Is it someplace fun?"

"You'll never know unless you come, will you?" Melissa said.

Daina Kathryn thought about that for a moment, then nodded. "I guess you're right. I'll go." She leaned over and opened the door, then hopped out and went around the side of the car to stand beside Mulder, who was putting food into one of two backpacks he'd bought for him and Scully to wear and keep food and extra clothing in.

"What're those?" Daina Kathryn asked, reaching out to see what one of the packs felt like.

"Backpacks," Mulder said, trying to stuff a final sweatshirt they'd gotten for Melissa into the same one that Daina Kathryn was still examining. She moved back as he finally forced the shirt in and zipped the bag closed.

"They're for carrying stuff?" She asked.

"Yep. Do you think you could go tell Melissa and Scu - your mother that it's time to go?"

"Sure." She skipped back to where Scully and Melissa were talking, in an unusually good mood. "Fox says it's time to go."

"Tell him we'll be right there," Scully said, then turned back to her sister as Daina Kathryn ran off. "Is she going to be okay?"

"What do you mean?" Melissa asked. She wasn't looking at Scully, but was Daina Kathryn, who was excitedly explaining something to Mulder. As she told him whatever it was, she waved her hands and jumped around, seeming to be enjoying herself. Mulder laughed every few seconds, indicating that he, too, was taking pleasure from whatever it she was saying.

"With all of this. With finding me, her mother, with Mulder, with going to Canada. It's a big change, and she's a little girl," Scully said.

"She's also a brave girl, Dana. She lived her whole life with almost no sunlight, no play time outside, no change in schedule... and she never once complained."

Scully, too, turned now to watch Daina Kathryn talking to Mulder. She paused in her hopping to let him speak, then put a hand over her mouth and giggled loudly enough that Scully and Melissa could hear. Watching her, Scully couldn't help thinking about being her mother. About - she had to fight not to catch her breath - allowing Mulder to be her father.

"Dana? Are you okay?" Melissa was looking at her with a worried expression, seeing her staring at Daina Kathryn and Mulder with a look that even Melissa, her own sister and one of her best friends, had never seen before.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Scully quickly assured her, then added, "Seriously. Let's go before it gets too late." She walked with Melissa to Mulder and Daina Kathryn, but her mind seemed to be somewhere else, even when Daina Kathryn decided to tell them what she'd told Mulder, something about the difference between a dog and hot dog. Melissa laughed at it, but Scully only gave a forced smile.

An image was forcing its way into her already cluttered thoughts. A picture of a little girl, the image of Melissa at the same age, lying on a bed, alone and scared. Her own mother had just agreed to let her die, but she didn't know it yet. She was just waiting for things to get back to normal.

"Emily..." Scully said very softly, to herself, and just loudly enough that Mulder, standing beside her, was able to catch it. Melissa and Daina Kathryn went on talking and giggling.

"Scully, you ready to go?" Mulder asked, putting a hand on her shoulder and squeezing just enough to let her know that he was right there for her in a way that neither Melissa nor Daina Kathryn, hard as they might try, could ever be.

"Uh... yeah, I'm ready." She allowed Mulder to pull her closer to him as they started walking, Melissa taking the other backpack without asking. She and Daina Kathryn, holding hands as usual, followed behind the FBI agents, able to feel the love and trust even from almost 5 feet away.

"I think they're in love," Daina Kathryn whispered, grinning up at Melissa like she'd made a wonderful discovery.

Melissa clasped her hand a little tighter. "I think you're right. But they don't know it yet, so don't spoil it."

"I won't."

**

December 31, 1998
5:30 P.M.

"I'm too tired to walk anymore, Missy," Daina Kathryn complained, dragging her feet even more than she'd been doing for the past half-hour. Walking for as long as they had had exhausted them all, but none had complained until now.

"Just a little farther, D."

"I want you to hold me," she begged, reaching her arms up in a way she had rarely done since she was not even 2 years old and was scared of 'that man' that came to their room, Mark Biars.

"I have to carry the backpack," Melissa said, pushing her away as gently as she could.

Tears came to Daina Kathryn's eyes. "I'm TIRED!" She wailed as they slowly slipped out and slid down her cheeks.

Scully, hearing her, left Mulder's side to walk back to Daina Kathryn and lean over to pull her up against her chest and shoulder. Daina Kathryn curled up with her head against Scully's neck and closed her eyes, looking content, tears drying on her face. "Thank you, Ms. Scully," she said, still not to the point of trusting her as a parent yet.

"You're welcome... D.," Scully said, rubbing a hand slowly along Daina Kathryn's back. The girl was shivering even with her new sweatshirt and coat on, tired and cold and hungry.

Scully imagined what Daina Kathryn's dreams of the world would have been as she rejoined Mulder, this time with Melissa by her side. A place where the sun always shined, everything smelled of the flowers Melissa said she loved to draw and talk about, and there was no more being alone and scared.

And Scully hated it that her dreams had been killed so quickly. In less than a week, less than 2 days, she knew the truth. Even outside of the prison, things weren't perfect. There was pain and fear and things weren't always full of comfort and safeness.

The world was a cruel place, to all those in it, whether they be children living lives they'd never asked for like Daina Kathryn or adults trying to stay alive when it seemed like everybody was out to get them like herself. Hearts were easy to break and consciences were fragile, easy to damage forever.

In the woods, as it began to get dark and even colder, that last day of 1998, Scully made a pledge to herself and the person so close to her in both body and mind - she would make it up to Daina Kathryn Scully for all the things she'd missed and all the times she'd made mistakes. Not only for her daughter, also for Mulder, her family, and the few other friends she had... she would make it all up.

Fortunately, the oncoming darkness and Daina Kathryn's hair in her face hid the small drops that slowly streaked down her face.

**

December 31, 1998
6:30 P.M.

Even Mulder, who tried to jog at least once a week, was close to collapse when they finally stopped, because Melissa couldn't walk any further.

They did their best to make a campsite by a large tree, in the middle of who-knew-where. Scully had made sure to buy matches at their last stop, and luckily it hadn't really snowed in almost a month, so a fire was made with only a small struggle.

Melissa and Daina Kathryn were unconscious minutes after eating a quick meal of the fruit Scully had gotten - apples, pears, and oranges, since they wouldn't make as much of a mess in the backpacks as anything else and would last longest-, but Mulder and Scully weren't yet ready to go to sleep, tired as they were.

Scully was sitting by the fire; knees pulled to her chest and eyes staring into the flames when Mulder finished throwing out apple cores. He crawled over to her, not caring about the dirt beginning to coat on the knees of his jeans, and sat on her left. Without even thinking about it, his arm moved up and around her back. She leaned against him, head going to his shoulder.

"Mulder..," she started to say, but he put a finger to his lips.

"Don't talk," he said, pulling her a little closer to him.

She nodded, leaned closer, and closed her eyes. He was beginning to think she'd fallen asleep when he felt something hit the hand that was resting on her cheek.

"Scully?" he asked, breaking the silence.

She turned her head to look up at him. Her eyes were glistening, but a smile brightened her face. She didn't look at all sad or afraid, but so happy suddenly that she couldn't keep it inside and had to release it in the form of tears. "Yeah?" she said softly.

"What's wrong?" He had to make sure she was as okay as she looked.

"Oh, nothing. I'm just... well, I'm happy."

"Why?"

"Oh, lots of reasons."

"Tell me about it, Scully. Please."

"Things are just coming together for me. I've got my sister back, a daughter who I should never have had, and..."

"And what?"

She reached back and took his arm from around her shoulder, then slid over so that she was curled up between his legs, her head on his chest. When he put his arms around her, she sighed contentedly.

"And I'm with the one I love more than I've ever loved anyone in my whole life."

She felt the warmth that covered and protected her tighten for a moment, but before she had time to worry, his arms were pulling her even closer than before, moving her body around so that she was facing him. As she looked up at his face, he saw that her eyes were still wet, but now larger than before. She was scared - afraid of him and what he was going to say. She'd felt his reaction to her words.

"I love you, too," he said.

**

December 31, 1998
6:30 P.M.

Thomas Rammin pulled his truck to the side of the road when he spotted the car that they'd been seen leaving the office of the conspiracy theorists in. They were either sleeping somewhere nearby, which he doubted, or they were smart enough to have gotten out to walk on foot.

Or thought they were smart enough.

Rammin was a genius at making people disappear. The man - Mulder - had a sister. And Rammin was one of the few who knew where she was currently being held for the tests. He was one of the very few, one of the 5, in fact, that knew the location of Hoffa, who had just been joined by Biars. Neither would ever be found.

But now Rammin had his hardest job yet. He had to make Melissa and Daina Kathryn Scully disappear and still have it look enough like they'd died that Mulder and his partner, Dana Scully, wouldn't search long enough for them to discover where they were taken.

If he had his way, Daina Kathryn would be killed. She was a hazard to all that he'd worked most of his life on. The hybrid project. She was the only one they'd created who didn't have to be kept alive by others.

She was the mistake.

**

January 1, 1999
7:00 A.M.

Daina Kathryn shivered as she awakened and felt the almost frigid air of the early morning. She had rolled away from Melissa in the night and out of the coat she had been using for a blanket, and now only her sweatshirt protected her from the cold. She reached over and jerked her coat away from beside Melissa and wrapped it around her shoulders, then scooted forward to sit by the still-warm ashes from the fire.

Fire was something Melissa had told her about, but she'd never seen it before last night. It already fascinated her - but most of what she'd seen had fascinated her. The smell of the woods as opposed to the city, the way it felt to walk over the dead leaves, the feel of the bark of trees... it was wonderful, in its own way.

She thought she liked life outside of the prison, but wasn't sure. She'd always thought she would love it. But she'd really never believed it would happen. Now that it had, it was much more frightening and alien than she'd thought it would be.

Across the burned sticks she leaned close to, she saw her mother and Fox. They were sleeping together, curled up close. It made Daina Kathryn smile to see it - she knew how much they loved each other, even more than her mother loved her. That didn't bother her. It was a different kind of love, anyway.

Maybe, when it was okay to go back to her mother's apartment, Fox could live with them. And Melissa, of course, because Daina Kathryn wouldn't go anywhere Melissa didn't, not even to live with her own parent.

Melissa had told her that most people had TWO parents - a mother and a father, who was a man. Like Fox was. Even though Melissa also said there was almost no chance that she would ever find her father, she could pretend that Fox was, couldn't she? And maybe he was. Except she knew about sex, too, and she didn't think that her mother and Fox were allowed to do that if they worked together like they said they did.

Fox would make a good father.

**

January 1, 1999 7:10 A.M.

Mulder woke up with a small body curled up against his, something he definitely wasn't used to. It took him a moment to remember the night before - after his professing love, she had cried harder, and he had held her against him and let her, feeling the warmth of their agreed feelings. Eventually, she had fallen asleep, exhausted, and he had laid her gently on his coat, then moved down beside her and used her coat as a blanket of sorts.

He smiled and rubbed Scully's hair for a second before sitting up. He yawned and looked around, his eyes coming to a stop on Daina Kathryn, sitting across from them, a curious but pleased look on her face.

"You guys love each other, right?" she asked.

He smiled at her. "Yeah."

She smiled back, an uncertain smile. "I wish somebody could love me like that."

He was almost shocked by her reply. She was wise beyond his years; from the way she talked. He tried not to show how surprised he was by her words. She didn't seem to realize what she'd said and how startling it was to him. "What about Melissa and your mother... and me?"

"You love me like you love her?"

He patted the coat he sat on and she slid around to him. He put his arm around her like he had Scully the night before. "Maybe not exactly the same. But pretty close."

"That's nice," she said. He saw her smile was an exact mirror of her mother as much as anything else about her. She was going to be Dana Scully all over again. Just what the world needed, he thought with a mental grin.

"Mulder...?" Scully asked sleepily, waking up when she felt the chill that had been held back by Mulder the whole night slowly seeping into her clothes and skin.

"We're over here," Mulder said. Scully looked up, saw them, smiled, and got up, stretching after a slightly uncomfortable night on the ground and in Mulder's arms, joining them. She sat on the other side of Daina Kathryn. When Melissa, too, came over, Scully knew of only one thing - suddenly her life was just the way she'd always dreamed of.

**

February 14, 1977
3:30 P.M.

Dana had pretended all day that she didn't care that no one gave her anything for Valentine's Day. She was still relatively new, only living there 6 months... that had to be the reason. Unless she was really as ugly as Bill often said she was.

She wasn't. She knew she wasn't. Her parents, Melissa, even Charles admitted that one day she could be beautiful if she took the time to care.

That could have been the problem. She DIDN'T care, not really. She pretended to be as giggly as all the rest of the girls her age, boy crazy and slightly nuts anyway. But maybe it was obvious that she didn't really care about boys yet.

Or hadn't. And suddenly, when she'd been watching the others in her class get little notes and even flowers, she had wished with all her heart that someone would walk over to her with a big smile and admit that they had liked her since she'd first walked into the school.

It hadn't happened.

She slammed the door when she finally got home, having left as quickly as possible and not waited for her brothers and sister and the little kids that lived next door as usual, dropped her backpack on the floor - where her mom was always yelling at her not to leave it - and ran upstairs to the room she shared with Melissa as fast as she could.

She locked the door, even though she knew that Melissa would be home within the next 10 minutes and would want to come in. And Melissa wasn't one that would take no for an answer unless she had to.

Melissa would want in, then would want to know what was wrong, and then would try to make Dana feel better once she finally learned what the problem was. Melissa was like that - always trying to help without realizing that her methods and Dana's methods were as different as fish and birds.

Dana sat on her bed, to wait mostly, and let herself be carried away on a daydream.

She was at school. It was morning again, that morning - February 14, Valentine's Day. No, wait, it was afternoon. She was getting ready to go home, a little letdown because she hadn't gotten anything but not daring to let it show.

She felt a hand on her shoulder, someone turning her gently around.

"Hi, Dana," It was Michael from her English and math classes. "I was just... I was just hoping you would take this... its... from me..." He would thrust a plastic flower, maybe a rose, at her, then leave, embarrassed and fearing that she would laugh.

"Michael!" she would call, wanting him to know she loved the flower.

He would stop reluctantly, and when he twisted to face her direction, his eyes would be on the ground and his hands in his pockets. "Yeah?" he would ask softly.

"Thanks," she would say simply, but both would know it was love...

Dana gagged to herself, amazed at how sappy she was getting even in her own head. Then she laughed. She knew what would happen if anybody came up to her in reality - she would either ignore them or hit them, unable to know what else to do. Not that she wouldn't like a kiss or... anything else if she ever got the chance.

She was still laughing when she heard Melissa pounding up the stairs, yelling one final insult at Bill, then hitting the door and yelling at Dana to let her in.

Dana got up and opened the door, letting Melissa in and walking out, a smile still lying on her face. Suddenly the day seemed a whole lot brighter. One day, all her fantasies would be real, if only she would grow up a little faster. She would meet a 'true love' like out of some movie, maybe have a kid.

She laughed out loud again. There was no way she could imagine herself with children! At least, she'd never been able to before. Now it was getting a little clear.

She would have to thank Michael tomorrow.

**

January 1, 1999
7:30 A.M.

After everyone had had a night of sleep, all were prepared to spend the full day - or until they got to wherever it was they were going - walking. Even Daina Kathryn seemed eager to get started, having forgotten all her complaints the night before.

"Can I carry one of the backpacks?" she asked as Mulder and Scully finished putting their coats, unneeded as the day was already surprisingly warm for January, in the bags along with all leftover food.

"Not today, D.," Melissa said. "Maybe when you get a little bigger."

"I'm big enough!" Daina Kathryn said, standing as tall as she could on short legs. She laughed as she tried to walk, stumbled on her toes, and eventually fell.

"You're in a good mood," Scully said, swinging her pack up onto her shoulders and Mulder did the same beside her.

"Yep," Daina Kathryn agreed, getting up and brushing off her jeans, still grinning. She skipped behind the adults as they started off, unable to come up with anything to be sad about. That was a nice feeling.

Mulder fell back to walk with her, even offering to stop and take out some of the smaller bags of clothes or food for her to carry.

"Sure!" she agreed, and they let Scully and Melissa walk ahead while he pulled his backpack off and got out the paper bag they'd gotten when they'd gotten the fruit the day before and handed it to her, then zipped the pack closed again. Pleased with her job, Daina Kathryn held her bag with both arms and gave Mulder a bright smile as they resumed walking.

They'd been walking for a few minutes before she got up the courage to ask him something that had been worrying at her mind since she'd first seen him with her mother earlier. "Fox?"

"What?" He looked down at her, slowing enough that it was easier for her to talk and try to keep her grip on the not-really-heavy-but heavy enough-bag.

"If Dana Scully... if Dana Scully is my mother... and if you guys, you know, love each other... do you think you could ever be my father? Not my real one I mean, just a pretend one..." her face was rapidly turning pink as she looked at the ground in front of her, and she went back to walking quickly.

"Stop," Mulder said. "Right now." He didn't sound angry, but his voice made it obvious that he meant it. She halted, eyes still watching the dirt, but didn't move back to where he was standing. "Scully!" he called, moving up to stand next to her.

Farther ahead, a good distance by this time, Scully and Melissa, their small talk about the period of time Melissa had been missing ending quickly.

"Yeah?" Scully asked Mulder, turning to look at him, hands going up to shade her eyes from the sun.

"Can you come back here for a minute. I need to ask you something," he said, sounding both scared and nonchalant at the same time. She raised an eyebrow, puzzled, but shrugged at Melissa.

"Want me to come?" Melissa asked.

"Yeah, come on, come too. You might as well," Scully said. They joined Mulder and Daina Kathryn, who was still staring at the ground and worried that she was in trouble. "What's wrong?" Scully asked her.

"Nothin'," Daina Kathryn whispered. She clutched the bag Mulder had given her a little tighter, like a shield.

Scully glanced at Mulder for an explanation. He didn't give one, instead got on one knee in front of her, causing her eyebrow to rise for a second time.

"Mulder?"

He reached forward and took her hand in his, ignoring both her eyebrow and the bafflement in her voice. "Scully... Dana, as soon as we get out of this... will you marry me?"

She jerked away from him, almost collapsed into Melissa's arms. "Mulder..." she said, trying breathe normally and hide her surprise. "Mulder, you are so... so... bizarre."

He laughed. "That the best you can do? I really did take your breath away, huh?"

"You might say that." She held out a hand for him to use as an anchor to stand up. Again on his feet, he didn't release her hand.

"Yes or no, Scully?" he asked.

She took a deep breath. "Yes."

He released her hand, his arms going around her shoulders to pull her against his chest. She felt suddenly safer than she could ever remember feeling, even snuggled against her father while he read to her and her brothers in the dead of winter, with snow outside and Melissa and her mother arguing in a half-hearted way in another room.

He pushed her backpack off her shoulders - his had been discarded as soon as he'd called her name - to draw her even closer. As he did, he lowered his head so that he could put his lips to hers.

She didn't fight him, but didn't kiss back at first, just letting herself get used to the feel of his soft lips and the way the world had seemed to just disappear. Then she pushed back, hard enough that for a moment it hurt. A good hurt.

Other than the slight movements of her mouth, she didn't move for what seemed like hours. Then, starting off slowly, then gaining speed as if on a hill, she heard clapping and a child's laughter and Mulder's lips were gone from her own and were now against her ear.

"I love you so much, Dana."


January 1, 1999
8:30 A.M.

Rammin, as good as he was at tracking, was growing tired when his backup finally showed. He had been watching Fox Mulder and the 3 Scullys - Dana, Melissa, and the girl, who Melissa Scully had called Daina Kathryn for years now - sit, backs against a large tree that was just big enough for them all to sit side-by-side, and talk, laugh, and just have a good time. If he hadn't been told that he would be killed for injuring any of them in the least, he would have shot them long enough and buried the bodies.

"Hey," a voice said behind him, startling him from his dreams of their bloody bodies, of running his hands over the wounds and feeling the stickiness on his fingers.

He turned to find the man, formally known as Alex Krycek and Jonathan Johnson, and currently Adam Jonnes; crouched beside him on the damp leaves that covered the ground and allowed them to walk silently. Those leaves were the only reason Rammin hadn't heard Jonnes, he assured himself. Any other time, he would have known he was coming when he was a hundred feet away.

"Ready for me to take over?" Jonnes asked.

Rammin didn't reply immediately. He didn't like Jonnes, even if Jonnes had been working with the Consortium for almost a year longer than he had. Jonnes was a double-crosser, first turning on them, then rushing back and wanting to be allowed back in after losing his arm.

But he had to admit, it had been Jonnes that had helped make their little problem possible to fix - and it HAD been fixed, of course with Rammin's help, until 2 days ago. When the FBI agents had found Melissa Scully and the girl.

"Yeah," Rammin said, just as Jonnes was about to ask again. "But I'm stayin'."

Jonnes blinked, surprised at that - after more than 24 hours without rest, he would have been exhausted, and if he had the chance to go home, he would take it. "Uh, okay, I-"

"Shut up, they can hear you if you talk too loud," said Rammin.

Jonnes looked a little galled, as though he had known that and Rammin had only said it to rile him, but didn't provoke things further. He simply settled a little more comfortably onto the leaves to wait.

"So what're they doing? What're WE doing?"

"They're just... talkin'. We're supposed to wait for the right time to get Melissa and that girl and get 'em back."

"You mean to the Consortium."

"Yeah, who else?"

"So when're we gonna do it?"

"When the time's right."

"When's that?" Rammin forced himself not to start a fight - Jonnes was obviously trying to annoy him on purpose with senseless questions.

"Later. When they don't expect it."

**

January 1, 1999
8:35 A.M.

Daina Kathryn was still giggling from one of Mulder's jokes, Melissa was smiling, and Scully looked happier than she had in a long time - a year, in fact - when Mulder heard it.

Someone was talking. Close to them.

He could barely make it out.

"...Melissa and that girl...back..."

"You... the Consorti-..."

"...Who else?"

"...When're... gonna do it?"

"When... don't expect..."

Then there was silence.

Scully, Melissa, and Daina Kathryn didn't seem to have heard. They were still talking and giggling like they had been before, even Scully relaxed.

"And you should've seen me jump away from him!" she was saying, and Melissa was laughing while Daina Kathryn looked a little confused.

"Why?" she asked.

"Because he wasn't Fox - he was Eddie van Blundht!" And Daina Kathryn figured it out and laughed too, though not as loudly as Melissa had. She still wasn't completely sure what was so funny about the whole thing. She thought it was kind of sad that her mother had been so close to admitting to Fox so long ago that she loved him, only to find out it WASN'T him.

"Scully!" Mulder whispered, urgently beckoning Scully over to him.

She left Melissa at the beginning of an embarrassing first-date-for-Dana story and Daina Kathryn hanging onto every word. "What?" she asked Mulder, joining him a few feet from where she'd stood before.

"Shh. I heard people talking. Somebody's following us."

"But... how... how could they without us knowing?"

"I don't know. I think one of them just got here. I think they're after Melissa and Daina Kathryn."

Scully sucked in her breath quickly and a little too loudly for Mulder to feel comfortable with. "Shh," he said again.

"I knew it couldn't be that easy..," she said softly, seeming not to have heard his warning. She was leaning as far over as she dared, trying to see what he was hearing. But there was nothing but the trees, brown and leafless in the cold of winter. She shivered involuntarily, knowing that just a few feet away were at least 2 people who wanted her sister and daughter - and possibly herself.

"It's going to be okay, Scully. We can split up, and run. You go with Daina Kathryn, I'll go with Melissa," Mulder said.

"I don't even know where we're going!" she said.

"Just stop at the first clearing you come to. We'll find you."

"Mulder-"

"Scully, we do it or they'll catch us."

"All right. But if we're not to a clearing by tonight, I'm coming back."

**

January 1, 1999
8:40 A.M.

Jonnes looked at Rammin, who was glaring at their targets. "They're splitting up," Jonnes said, stating the obvious. That annoyed Rammin.

"I see that," he said, only just managing to keep his voice - and fists- under control.

"We could split up, too," Jonnes said.

"No. You're expected back by tonight, and I'm supposed to have both Melissa Scully and the girl by tomorrow morning. If somethin' happens to one of us, we'll both have trouble."

"Well then... uh, they have to meet some place. We can follow... which one's more important?"

"The girl. She's proof of what's been going on."

Jonnes, with the usual naiveness that many men who only wished they were members of the project showed, appeared to think about this statement for a moment. "But I thought she was a regular kid, she didn't need the treatments."

"She still has the blood. Most of it will be gone by the time she's old enough to be released, but for now..."

"Let's follow the girl and Scully."

**

January 1, 1999
8:50 P.M.

"What's going on?" Melissa finally demanded to know as Mulder released her arm and slowed down. She and Daina Kathryn had still been talking about absolutely nothing when Mulder and Scully had suddenly forced them quiet, explaining only that they had to split up. And then Melissa had found herself being dragged away from her sister and niece with Mulder.

"Someone was following us," was all Mulder said. He was still looking around nervously, but didn't see or hear anything and eventually relaxed - mostly- and slowed to a normal walk.

"Who? And how?"

"I don't know. We're trying to get away from them and meet back with Scully and Daina Kathryn later." He whirled when he heard a crack behind them. A squirrel, just a squirrel. He allowed himself to breathe again.

Melissa was shaking her head. "No."

"No, what?" he asked, truly confused. She was giving him the same look Scully did when she wasn't about to back down and let him have his way. The one with the narrowed eyes and the set of the mouth and the jut of the chin. He had a feeling Daina Kathryn would have the same one, one day.

"I'm not going anywhere without my sister and her daughter. For 4 years, I've taken care of that child for her, with the hope that one day they would meet, and they're not going to die now."

He wasn't going to yell at her, which would give their location away to the men who were, for all he knew, following him and her. He hoped they were, and not Scully and Daina Kathryn. "If we go back and try to find them, we'll ALL die. There's a 50/50 chance now that these men are after US, not them, so if we keep going, we can lead them away. Do you understand what I'm saying, or do I have to force you to come?"

"Fox Mulder, you watch it," she hissed, stepping towards him. "I'll go with you... but only because what you're saying is true."

He wanted to say "good" but managed to stop himself. She was already obviously pissed with him, and it wouldn't help matters for them to spend the whole time fighting. They had to get through this, find Scully and Daina Kathryn, and get to Canada. There they could hide out for as long as they needed to.

**

January 1, 1999
8:55 A.M.

"What're we doing? Where're Missy and Fox?" Daina Kathryn asked, struggling to catch her breath when Scully finally stopped and let her stop, too.

Scully leaned against a tree as she, too, tried to get air back into her burning lungs. She dropped her backpack and slid to the ground, putting a hand to her chest and closing her eyes. Daina Kathryn joined her, leaning into her side and holding her hand.

"Somebody was following us," Scully said. "We had to split up so they couldn't catch us." She deliberately left out the fact that the people who'd been after them would more than likely choose either them or Melissa and Mulder to go after, not just give up.

Daina Kathryn figured this out on her own, but didn't bring it up. Instead, she reached up her free hand and rubbed her mother's face as Melissa had rubbed hers when she'd cried about various things that seemed unimportant now. "It's gonna be okay," she said, then, after a pause, "It's gonna be okay, Mom."

"Oh, D.," Scully whispered, tears coming to her eyes. She put her arms around Daina Kathryn and pulled her closer, into her lap. "I love you so much." It was the truth. Although she'd known the child almost no time at all, she'd fallen in love with her in the same way she'd fallen in love with Emily. This was her daughter, a little person that with her help had been created. So maybe she had never held her as a baby, heard her first words or seen her take her first steps. There had been no laughs or tears or moments like this one until just these last couple of days. But what she had now was enough. She had a child. And now a man to be the father to the child. And all the more reason to get out of this situation alive.

She wasn't doing it just for her. She was doing it for her daughter.

Holding each other in a cold, evil world neither looked up even as the men crept closer to them and got near enough that their careful, near-silent footsteps could be heard. Jonnes raised his gun and Rammin reached for them...

**

January 1, 1999
5:30 P.M.

The day had been warmer than most; warm enough that Mulder and Melissa could put their jackets into the backpack Mulder carried as they traveled. They reached the first clearing at around 4:30 and waited, silently, for Scully and Daina Kathryn to find and join them.

But an hour later, Mulder was getting worried and Melissa was to the point of hysteria. "I told you it wouldn't work!" she said when he calmly told her to wait just a little longer, still suppressing his anger at the way she was treating him and the fact that she blamed him for their having to split up. He'd saved their lives.

"They'll get here, they may have just taken a longer route to make sure nobody could follow them," he said.

"I'm going to look for them." She stood up, pulled her jacket from the open backpack, and started walking off. He quickly got to his feet and took a step forward, grabbed her arm.

"You're not going anywhere," he said in the same voice he used with the killers he'd seen while working in violent crimes at the FBI.

She tried to jerk away, but he tightened his grip. "Melissa, stop. If we go back there, we could be doing just what they want us to do. They might have Scully and Daina Kathryn, yeah, but we'll have a much better chance of saving them IF someone has gotten them if we're still free."

Melissa looked back in the direction they'd come, clearly still aching to find her sister and niece. But she relaxed and allowed Mulder to lead her back to where they'd set up camp for the night.


October 6, 1970
5:00 P.M.

"There's no places left!" Dana whispered, looking around her. Behind her, Bill was still counting, faster than they'd told him to. Just like Bill.

"11...12...13...14." He was supposed to count to 50, but would probably come after them before he got to 40, since he still thought that they would never know the difference. Dana was six years old, Melissa, hiding with her, was seven: they knew how to count.

They'd been playing, until just this time with the next-door neighbors, for over an hour. And, like Dana said, all the good hiding places were gone, used long before.

"We could go in the woods," Melissa suggested.

Dana looked at her with wide eyes. Did she realize what she was suggesting? The woods behind their home and most of the others around were known to be dangerous. A 10-year-old boy had gotten lost in them the year before and died before anyone found him. The one major rule that the Scully parents had was, NOBODY goes into the woods.

"Mom 'n' Dad will kill us!" Dana said, her voice rising dangerously close to a level that Bill could hear.

"20... 21...22..."

"Oh, come on, Day!"

"Dad told us about that kid that went in there and died. He got lost PLAYING WITH HIS FRIENDS." She made sure to emphasize the last words, hoping Melissa, hardheaded as she was, would get the idea and they could go hide in the bushes around the house or something.

But she only rolled her eyes. "That's just a story, Dana. Nobody ever died in the woods. They're not THAT big."

"How do you know?"

"I just do. I'm older. Now come ON, before he catches us."

She was right, he would be coming soon: "30... 31... 32..."

Dana looked one more time back at the house, then at the woods, and finally at her sister. She sighed. "Oh, okay. But not very far."

"Of course not," Melissa grabbed her arm and dragged her into the trees. It was dark inside, cooler than outside in the setting sun. Dana tried to hold back a shiver, but didn't quite manage to stop her body from shuddering once. Melissa turned and gave her a look. "Don't be such a baby. Nothing's going to happen. It's just a bunch of trees."

"Mel..." Dana said, using the nickname Melissa had decided just recently was her favorite of all the ones she could make from her name. Using it would usually get Dana on her good side, at least for a few minutes. Long enough to talk her out of this. "I don't know about-" she was going to say 'going any farther,' but didn't get the chance.

"Here I come!" Bill yelled.

The changed her mind. Bill always found her hiding spot and she never found his. It was time for revenge, even if that meant breaking a couple of rules, major rules, but nothing anyone but Melissa would ever know about. Bill would give up eventually, and they could come out and refuse to tell him where they'd been hiding. He would never know. Hopefully.

"He'll find us if we stay here," Melissa said, reading Dana's mind, apparently. Dana glanced, again, worriedly around her. It was like something out of a movie or TV show. The dark woods, the children all alone, lost, ready to take the help of anyone willing. The man who took them back to a deserted shack deep in the trees and... and... she forced herself to erase that image completely from her memory. "Just a little farther."

Dana closed her mind and her eyes at the same time, allowing Melissa to lead her deeper into the unknown, away from the safe and customary simple game with their older brother and anyone else who wanted to join them. But she quickly opened her eyes again when she stumbled on a tree root and almost cried out. Melissa turned and glared at her. "Shh," she hissed.

Fighting her fear, Dana only nodded. She went quietly along, making sure to watch where she was going, until Melissa felt they were far enough in the woods the Bill would more likely than not miss them even if he DID come in and sat down, leaning against a tree. They could still faintly hear Bill shouting, "Hey, Melissa! Dana! I'm gonna find you! I know you're in there!"

Melissa giggled; seeming not at all affected by their surroundings. "Idiot," she muttered.

Dana forced a smile, but still didn't speak. She pulled her legs to her chest and wrapped her arms around them, put her chin on her knees. Even the cool breeze that had seemed so nice earlier was now ominous, dangerous. A strand of hair had escaped from under Bill's old baseball cap that she never left the house without wearing; it whipped her cheek and made her shiver. She reached up and brushed it away, but it just came right back.

Bill was quiet now, and she didn't like that. Bill was NEVER quiet, not even when he was asleep: he talked, laughed, and had even cried once or twice, all without ever gaining consciousness.

Melissa, it seemed, noticed that something was up, too. "Huh, Bill shut up. Must be judgment day," she said, still trying to make jokes. But Dana could tell she was getting nervous now, too - her voice shook just enough that someone who'd known her for the better part of her life, six years, could tell it.

Silence fell over them, broken by not even the wind through the trees. When Dana shivered this time, it was easily noticeable, but Melissa didn't say anything about it and Dana didn't care. She wanted to go home. "Mel, let's just-"

A hand reached around the tree and grabbed her shoulder. She screamed and tried to jerk away, fighting whoever - or WHATEVER - it was that had her. Melissa tried to scramble to her feet, but only skidded across the leaves, crying out softly as her knee scraped against a tree root and her hands slid against the tree itself as she tried to stop herself from hitting her head.

"Gotcha!" Bill cried, laughing maniacally at them. He let go of Dana's arm, and she promptly turned and slapped the only part of him she could reach, his lower leg. "Oh, that hurt," he said, kicking her.

Her heart was still beating so fast she was afraid it would burst right out of her chest. "Bill, you jerk," Melissa said, examining her injured knee and hands.

Dana started to tremble, unable to control it. Her whole body shook as she realized what could have just happened, who it could have been. Melissa was ALWAYS getting her into trouble...

"Dana?" Melissa asked. "Are you okay?"

She took a deep, shaky breath and got to her feet. "I'm fine," she lied.

**

January 1, 1999
5:45 P.M.

"Mom! Mom, wake up!" Scully moaned as someone jerked her shoulder, a scared voice penetrated the deep, drug-induced sleep. Her head ached from something... she reached out to stop whoever it was. Bill? Melissa, or Charles? Mulder? "Mom, please!" the voice was pleading now, tear-filled.

She forced herself awake and picked her head up to look into the small, worried face of Daina Kathryn. "D....?" she muttered, groggily. Her voice sounded weird, so she cleared her throat.

"I want Missy," Daina Kathryn said, a tear slipping down her cheek. Even if she trusted and loved Scully enough now to call her 'mom', Melissa was the still her 'mother' - the one who'd done anything for her for all of her short life. Scully knew what it was like to be without a parent for the first time. When she'd been 8, a friend had talked her into going to camp for a month during the summer. The first week, after she and her friend were separated and the friend made what looked to the little Dana like hundreds of new friends, had been the most miserable time of her life.

She and Daina Kathryn were in the back of a truck, she noticed immediately as she managed to get into a sitting position, the world around her still spinning. It was a pickup, but wire had been put over the back so they couldn't get out without alerting the driver. Mud covered most of her left side, which meant they had probably been dragged to the vehicle.

Although her first thoughts were of escape, she glanced again at the silent, scared child in front of her; doing her very best to be brave but not quite achieving it, and knew it wasn't the time. She held her arms out for Daina Kathryn, who fell into them gratefully, sighing quietly as they wrapped around her and rocked her gently, soothing her.

"Gonna be okay, D. Gonna be just fine," Scully whispered, the same words her father had said to her when she was frightened of the dark or a thunderstorm. "Nothing's gonna happen that won't end. Just think to yourself: it's gotta end sometime."

"Umm," Daina Kathryn mumbled, already half-asleep from the motion of the truck. Sleeping in the arms of a loved one was millions of times better than the cold floor of her former home.

Scully ignored her pounding headache and told herself that her daughter came first, before her own needs, every moment of the rest of her life. This wasn't going to turn into another situation like the one with Emily.

She would never let that happen again.

**

January 1, 1999
6:00 P.M.

"What the hell is going on?" Bill Scully, Jr. demanded of Walter Skinner as he stomped over to the Assistant Director of the FBI, ignoring the yellow tape that had stopped his wife Tara and their year-old son, who she held carefully, unsure of what she was doing there. Bill hadn't wanted her to come, but she'd insisted because he was only going to be home a few more days and she and Matt wanted to spend as much time with him as they could.

Skinner looked at him and knew immediately he was a Scully. "I'm Walter Skinner," he said. "Assistant Director of the FBI." The usage of a title was usually enough to calm people down and let them at least think he was in control, even when he wasn't.

"Bill Scully. Where's my sister?" He didn't slow down a bit, just walked right into the now-empty prison, again right under the tape that kept curious people who'd gotten under the first strip from going on inside.

Skinner reached out a hand and grabbed his arm. "I'm sorry, you can't go in there," he said.

"I want to know where the hell my sister is!"

"Which sister do you mean?" Skinner said, deciding the truth couldn't be kept back any longer. Mulder had left him a message at his apartment on his answering machine, something that was dangerous to do, but he realized once he heard it why Mulder probably hadn't been thinking as he usually did when he recorded it.

"Sir, this is Agent Mulder. Agent Scully and I went to look at the old prison yesterday, as we were instructed to, and found some rather... unexpected 'prisoners.' Agent Scully's sister, Melissa, thought to have been killed about 3 years ago when mistaken for Agent Scully, and a girl who it seems is Scully's daughter - I'll explain this later - were hidden in a room on the last floor. When we went to question Mark Biars - the man in charge- we found him dead with a bullet in his head. We're going into hiding. Don't send anyone out looking for us, I'll find a way to contact you as soon as I can. Erase this."

"What're you talking about?" Bill asked, jerking away from Skinner and heading back for the building.

This time, Skinner tightened the grip on his arm. "You can't go in there. If you try, I'll have to arrest you. Your sister has gone into hiding with Agent Mulder, a woman that is possibly your sister, and a child that may be your niece."

Hearing 'niece', Bill quit fighting and glared at him. "I want to know where. Right now."

"I wish I could tell you, Mr. Scully."

**

January 2, 1999
3:30 A.M.

Rammin was asleep beside him and Scully and the little girl slept in the back of the truck. Adam Jonnes felt alone for one of the first times in years.

He'd always been the insecure type who needed to be part of something to feel okay with himself and not contemplate suicide. As a child, the times he'd been left out of games because his parents were the town nuts, he'd often been sent to a counselor for climbing trees and jumping from as high as he could. As he'd gotten older, he had once tried to hang himself from a basketball goal, but had been discovered before succeeding and been sent, again, to counseling - this time in the form of a special school. It was after that that he dropped out.

The Consortium had wanted him from the first time they laid eyes on him, begging for a job at a McDonald's. He had the looks that were thought of as 'all-American' at that time, hair short and clean, face not the handsomest in the world, but not ugly either. They had a job for him, a man he still didn't know the name of, had said to him. They needed someone to spy on a man named 'Fox Mulder', an agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Getting into the FBI, with their help, hadn't been too hard. What had been hard was trying to gain Mulder's trust. It had been only weeks since those damn X-Files, so beloved to him, had been shut down and he'd been assigned to a new section. He wasn't ready for a new partner, not with Scully seeming both right next door and worlds away at Quantico.

Although he'd trailed along, Jonnes knew even then that he was NOT going to turn into the next Scully. She had been a fluke, somehow able to get behind the warning signs he seemed to put up that said not-so-subtly: "keep out."

Jonnes had been instructed only to stay long enough to make sure that Mulder didn't get to Scully in time. And that's what he'd done, still the good little boy, slightly na‹ve, but good at his job anyway.

But when he'd watched Luis Cardinal kill Bill Mulder when they'd been instructed only to talk him into coming with them, using force if necessary... and Mulder blamed him. He guessed it could have looked like that.

Since that time, when he'd betrayed the same ones who'd taken him in after his short experience on his own, he'd gone from one agency to another, when not trying to stay away from Mulder, still hell-bent on killing him.

After the incident with Russia, he'd had to go into hiding yet again, the last of many times over the past 4 years. And the Consortium had found him again. He'd thought they would kill him, but instead, they'd offered him another job. He'd taken it eagerly, never stopping to think that it could be a trap. He needed to be with these people again, the ones that made him a part of something important.

And that was how he'd found himself in the woods with a man named Rammin who hated him, the woman he'd almost gotten killed, and a little girl who might have been created during that time. He wondered what was so important about getting the girl back, anyway.

Scully called her "Dana Katherine," which, according to the files he'd read on her and Mulder before going to the FBI, was also her name. That seemed to prove that it was either her daughter or someone closely related to her in another way. They'd been instructed to get Melissa Scully, too, maybe it was her daughter.

The girl, of course, had never done anything to hurt him or affect him in any way, except get him his job back. When he thought about it, Scully hadn't either: she'd saved his life.

But his job was to keep them in captivity, not kill them. It didn't seem to bother Rammin, so why should it bother him? It didn't, he tried to convince himself.

He had no reason to feel guilty. But he did anyway.

**

January 2, 1999
7:00 A.M.

Melissa was still asleep, but Mulder had been up for almost half an hour. He'd eaten most of the rest of the fruit they had, leaving just enough for Melissa, then went into the woods to do what he had to do four or five times a day.

Now, with nothing to do, he explored the edges of the clearing, searching for any sign of life. Maybe Scully and Daina Kathryn had stopped when it got dark, but only a few feet away from him and Melissa, not knowing how close they were to their current destination.

He'd gotten worried the night before when they never showed up, but he'd managed to hide it from Melissa and convinced her that her sister and niece MUST have stopped somewhere for the night. They hadn't been that far away: they would have heard the fight if anyone tried to capture Scully. Maybe she didn't have her gun, but she was strong even without it and a better fist-fighter than most men he knew. Not only for herself, but for her daughter, she would fight to the death.

There was nothing anywhere that he could see.


MAY 29, 1971
2:45 P.M.

The last day of fourth grade was finally over, and Samantha wouldn't hurry up. She'd only just finished kindergarten, so school hadn't lost its appeal, and she always, every single stupid day, made him wait for practically years while she talked to her stupid little friends.

They were all the dumb girls that Fox hated and had hated even when her age and most of the boys loved to tease them in ways that he knew would get to mean something one day. They all had really long hair and bit bows in it and stupid frilly little dresses or pink T-shirts with pictures of unicorns or puppies or whatever on the front.

"Samantha!" he finally called. "Will you move your butt just a LITTLE faster, please?"

She stuck her tongue out at him. "Why don't you make me? And don't call me Samantha." She and her friends, as though all the ribbons and bright colors and cute little animals actually meant nothing to them, all considered themselves 'tomboys' and tried to act tough all the time, when it only took a simple slap on the arm to start them wailing and tattling to whatever adults happened to be nearby. She made him call her 'Sam', yet still insisted on calling him 'Fox' or 'Foxy' no matter how many times he tried to beat 'Mulder' into her dumb little skull.

She'd told him to make her, so he dropped his backpack and leaned his bike against the fence around the playground and walked back, around the few kids still milling around, to the school. "I'd love to," he said, grabbing her arm and jerking her towards her bike, a very pink, too-small one that she loved and refused to get rid of, but she jerked right back.

"Leave me alone," she said, stalking back to her friends, who giggled at him as he stood with arms crossed and eyes narrowed, imagining himself hitting Samantha like most of his friends hit their siblings. Hard enough to hurt- and get him in real trouble when she had a bruise.

"Mom said be home on time, Dad's gonna try to get home early," he replied, to which she rolled her eyes.

"So what? He'll just get mad at you 'cause you didn't clean your room like he said to."

It was the truth, but the way she said it made him even angrier. This time, as he grabbed her arm, he held on tightly enough that her lip trembled and tears came to her eyes as he shoved her along in front of him, not giving her the chance to fight back, even though she probably wouldn't have anyway.

She ripped her bike from the rack, one of the few left, and climbed on, wobbling off on the recent-two-wheeler towards home. He went back to the fence, got on his own bike, and took off after her, reaching her easily.

"Sam, calm down," he said. She peddled harder, trying to get ahead of him, long brown hair flying out behind her, the blue ribbon she'd so carefully tied herself that morning and showed off to him loose and flapping in the wind, tears streaking her face.

"No!" she yelled at him around choked gasps for air. She was panting for breath and still struggling to keep the bike up. Her backpack, light blue with a picture of a GREEN, of all colors, pony on it, was only half-on, sliding down her arm. She didn't seem to notice any of it, too intent on getting away from him.

She managed to stay on her bike most of the way home, against all odds, and he let her stay ahead so she could just a little more easily. She had to slow down a little at the turn onto Vine Street, but not much. That was when he finally realized the real reason she was wobbling so much: one of the wheels of the bike was loose.

He caught up with her again; meaning to tell her what was wrong and get her to stop before anybody got hurt. But she was still in competition with him, wanting to win the race at all costs. "Samantha!" he called. "There's something wrong with your bike!"

She went even faster, ignoring him, faster than she'd ever gone on this bike. She could barely breathe at all now and her legs ached. But she still wouldn't even slow down. Fox was trying to trick her, and this time it wouldn't work.

Still, he managed to get next to her. They were almost to the house now. if she could just go a little bit faster.The handlebars of the bike twisted away from her as the front wheel came off. Fox grabbed for her, throwing himself off his bike and holding tight to her arm, but it was too late. They both wound up on the sidewalk in front of the house.

Samantha immediately started howling, though she had no injuries that Fox could see. When Mrs. Mulder came out, pulled the bike off her daughter, and ignored her son completely as she comforted her, he knew that once again this was a no-win situation for him. He HAD made Samantha leave school before she wanted to, HAD let her ride as fast as she had, and HAD tried to grab her. The fact that her bike was falling apart beneath her and she wouldn't ever listen to him wouldn't matter.

"It's okay, Sammi," Mrs. Mulder said, using the nickname they'd called her until she was about five. Fox had come up with it when he couldn't get the 'th' part of her name out when he was little. She'd spent a few months of her life as 'Samanta', until his father suggested they just call her 'Sammi'. "Tell Mommy what happened. Did you fall?"

"He broke my bike!" Samantha wailed, pointing a finger accusingly at Fox. "He pushed me and broke my bike so the wheel came off!"

Mrs. Mulder looked at Fox angrily. "I just don't understand you sometimes, Fox," she said, looking again at Samantha, crying and hugging her mother as though Fox was going to come get her. "Samantha never does anything to you. Why can't you just be nice to her?" She walked away, holding Samantha and talking softly to her.

Fox watched them go, stunned, although he shouldn't have been. Nothing ever went right for him.

**

January 2, 1999
5:05 A.M.

Scully woke when the truck started moving. Daina Kathryn was still curled up against her, breathing through her mouth and making small noises as she slept, as though in the midst of a dream.

There was something different about the way they were moving now. It seemed faster, more reckless, than it had the day before. Almost as though they were trying to get somewhere or away from something. They hit a rock or tree root or something and the truck bounced, waking Daina Kathryn.

"Huh.?" she asked sleepily as she looked up at Scully. Then she seemed to remember what was happening and, in her usual way, smiled as though looking at it in the best light she could. "Hi, Mom."

Scully still felt a strange feeling go through her at the sound of those words. Mom. she'd been told that no one would ever call her that, would ever need to be held and calmed down after a skinned knee, she would be as alone as she had been until less than a week ago forever. But suddenly she had the best sister in the whole world back, her best friend had asked her to marry him. and she had a daughter. A four-year-old one, but a daughter just the same. Even their current situation wasn't so bad when she thought about it. Her whole life, it seemed, had become an adventure. They should make us into a TV show, Mulder had remarked once. It was true.

She had no idea who she was with, where Mulder and Melissa were. none of it mattered. Either she had gone crazy or she was finally seeing things the way Melissa had always tried to get her to: optimistically, the way Daina Kathryn also seemed to. She threw back her head and laughed in a way she hadn't in months. no, years.

When she was finally able to calm down and catch her breath, Daina Kathryn was looking at her like she was crazy, but was smiling. "You okay?" she asked.

"Sure am," Scully said, pulling Daina Kathryn to her and tickling her like her mom always had when she'd been in an especially good mod. "Better than I 've been in a long, long time."

Daina Kathryn giggled and tried half-heartedly to escape. When Scully quit, she snuggled against her with a small, contented sound. Soon she was asleep again.

Scully watched her sleep, arms around Scully, legs curled up so they were almost behind her back, as comfortable and secure as she'd ever been. It was as she was really drifting into deep sleep that the truck jerked to a stop.

Scully didn't move, not wanting to wake Daina Kathryn again. She watched warily as the door opened and a man stepped out. She couldn't see his face, but there was something about him that she knew. and then she realized what it was.

The hand he was using to close the door was a prosthetic.

It was Alex Krycek who walked to the edge of the wire and pulled it off the back. "Go. Before he wakes up."

But Scully didn't move, just clutched Daina Kathryn more tightly to her. "Who?" She wasn't about to trust this man, Alex Krycek, of all people. He'd killed her sister and Mulder's father and almost gotten her killed: according to Mulder, he might have been able to save her from her abduction had Krycek not tried to kill him.

She couldn't stop herself from looking down at the child held tightly in her arms. Without that horrible time she'd been missing, this little girl would not exist. But then, the thing with Emily never would have happened. And any children she had she would give birth to, watch them grow from infancy, know who their father was.

"Thomas Rammin. He's the one being paid for this. Go, before I change my mind about it and tell him you're trying to escape. He'll kill you without a second thought."

Scully, stunned by the change she was suddenly seeing in Krycek - he actually sounded compassionate and caring, instead of as cold and uncaring as most people thought her to be-, found herself, without her conscious consent, gently shaking Daina Kathryn to wake her.

"Come on, D. We're going to find Fox and Missy," she said softly.

Daina Kathryn sat up, saw Krycek holding up the wire to let them out, and asked, "Who's that?"

"His name is." Scully's voice trailed off, unsure of whether or not he was still using 'Alex Krycek', since the chances were pretty good that wasn't his real name. Mulder said he'd used a different one while they'd been in Russia, possibly to fool the men who might have been working for the same Consortium he was running from.

"Alex," he said. His voice was as gentle as Mulder's had been. Scully wondered about this: Daina Kathryn seemed to have an effect on people. Maybe this 'aura' thing Melissa had been so big on for a while wasn't really all that crazy. She herself never thought of herself as as apathetic as others thought she was, Mulder thought he was a failure because he hadn't been able to save his sister from things beyond a child's understanding, when in reality he was THE smartest, bravest, strongest man she knew. And Daina Kathryn, without trying to, seemed to make people love her. She looked like Scully, talked like Scully, and had a mind like Scully. But her 'soul', if that was the appropriate word, was different. "What's yours?"

"Daina Kathryn. That's my mom's name, too," Daina Kathryn said, pointing back at Scully. "She's the best mom in the whole world," she added with a grin, as though proud that she could finally say something to somebody about her mother that didn't already KNOW her mother. The only people she'd been around in days that she had talked to had been her aunt and her mother's partner. They already knew how great her mother was.

Krycek gave Scully an amused smile, confusing her even more. What was going on? Why was the man who'd tried to have them killed every few months for years suddenly doing this? "Well, Daina Kathryn," he said. "If you and your mom want to go now, you can."

"Why do we have to go?" Although she'd been scared at first, now that she knew the nice man who drove the truck, Daina Kathryn didn't mind staying.

"It's not safe here, D.," Scully said.

Daina Kathryn frowned. "But I'm tired of walking."

"I'll carry you. Come on, D. We have to find Missy and Fox, right?"

"Yeah, okay." Daina Kathryn, followed by Scully, climbed under the wire and jumped from the truck. She turned to Krycek. "Thanks a lot, Alex. You're a real nice person for letting us leave."

"Well, you're a real nice kid," Krycek said, holding out a hand for her to shake. At Scully's quit explanation of how to do it, she took his hand and shook it vigorously, smiling widely. Then she took Scully's hand and allowed herself to be lead away, turning back only once to wave.

It wasn't until they were far beyond the truck that Scully, having been hopelessly bewildered with the situation in the truck, realized that she had no idea where they were.

**

January 2, 1999
6:00 A.M.

"Bill-" Tara reached out to try and grab her husband's arm. He was pacing the room, cursing Fox Mulder and Melissa and even his beloved youngest sister, Dana.

He shook away from her. "It's got to be that bastard's fault. He got. almost got Melissa killed, took 3 months from Dana, gave her cancer. and all this crap about children. Dana's never had ANY children, they checked last year. They're probably his, he just wants her to have to take the blame for all of his damned emotional problems.his sister being abducted, yeah, right, goddamned lunatic she's stuck with. Melissa died; I was stuck at her funeral. Whoever this is, it's an impostor. Probably needs money. And I'm stuck in some stupid hotel while the incompetent assistant director of the FBI claims he's getting information that will help us find Dana!"

His voice had grown louder and louder, from a mutter to almost shouting. As he yelled 'Dana' the last time, Matt woke up where Tara had carefully put him on the bed, surrounded by pillows so he couldn't fall, and started to wail.

"Bill, calm down," Tara said. "They're going to find Dana."

Bill shook his head angrily. "And this woman who claims to be my dead sister, the nutcase Dana works with, and another child like the one that ruined our whole Christmas last year!"

Tara, remembering against her will the way Scully had looked when talking about Emily, couldn't help defending her. "Bill. that wasn't anybody's fault."

"It was that damned partner of hers!" Louder still. Matt cried harder, reaching out for his mother when she picked him up and held him against her, afraid of her husband for the first time since they'd married years before- almost 7. She knew he had a temper like this, but he'd always managed to just keep it under control when she was around. But now, with Dana missing.

"Please. calm down."

"Stay here. I'm going to find them myself!" He headed for the door.

She got up, Matt still in her arms, calmer now but still crying, and walked as quickly as she could to stop him. "Don't. they'll find them."

"Who? The FBI?" He laughed and shook his head. "No they won't." He stepped around her, opened the door, and was gone. She didn't bother following.

**

January 2, 1999
6:15 A.M.

Mulder sat on the grass at the edge of the clearing, staring sadly into the trees. He had a horrible feeling that Scully and Daina Kathryn had been killed. They hadn't been THAT far apart when they'd split up: if someone had captured them, wouldn't he and Melissa have heard something? But they also would have heard gunshots if that had been the means of killing.

"They aren't back yet, are they?" Melissa asked, joining him on the ground. She yawned as she did so, having just gotten up. He'd been sitting there for over an hour, waiting for her to wake up so they could keep going. There was always the chance that Scully and Daina Kathryn had found a different clearing and stayed there and were just as worried about Mulder and Melissa as they were about them.

Mulder shook his head. "We need to keep going. They might have stopped somewhere else and we'll meet eventually."

She obviously didn't think so, but knew they couldn't stay in one place indefinitely: someone would either find them or they'd run out of supplies. Already their food was running low. "Let's go, then."

They got up and she walked across the small area they'd camped in while he hid the remains of their small fire as best he could and picked up the backpack they'd brought - Scully had the other one - before setting off.

It was a quiet journey now, both of their minds on her missing family. "She was so happy just to sleep on a bed." Melissa remarked suddenly, breaking the silence.

Mulder glanced at her quizzically, then realized she meant Daina Kathryn. The bravery she had shown the day before, the way she looked on everything with an almost adult perspective. it was hard to believe she'd spent 99% of her life in captivity, never running or playing outside, never meeting anyone new, alone with her imagination and Melissa's stories.

"She's not dead," Mulder said, feeling a strange sense of deja vu. It was almost like when Scully had first been returned. They didn't know if she would live or die, now they didn't know if Daina Kathryn was alive or dead. But they couldn't help beginning to reminisce as though she was.

He remembered the story Mrs. Scully had told him. but that had been even before Scully came back. They'd gotten to the point of believing her dead by then, too. It was a human instinct thing, maybe. Scully would have known.

But she wasn't there.

"I hope not," Melissa said.

Back at the clearing, her forgotten copy of Moby Dick, which she'd been reading the night before before falling asleep, waited patiently for discovery, its torn pages gently moving in the morning breeze.

**

January 2, 1999
6:30 A.M.

Matt was asleep again, Tara looking at a paperback she'd brought but not reading. She'd opened it to a page and stared at it, looking the same words over and over again. She jumped when the phone rang, then grabbed it quickly to keep from waking Matt.

"Hello?"

"Mrs. Scully?" It was the man from the night before, Skinner. The assistant director of the FBI. "Is your husband there?"

"No, he-" Should she tell him where Bill was? He WAS the assistant director and anything she said was probably mostly confidential. But there was always

that chance. "He went to look for Dana."

He covered the phone for a minute, and she thought she could hear swearing. He spoke to her again: "Mrs. Scully, we found Agent Mulder's car."

Her eyes widened, even though he couldn't see them. "Where?"

"Near Canada. If they were on their way there, like he told me, they'll be over the border by now. We've got people over there looking, but I'm still going over later today. I thought your husband would want to go."

"If he comes back, I'll tell him."

"Thanks, Mrs. Scully. I'll be leaving around 10:00." He hung up, and she did the same.

She turned and spoke softly to her still-sleeping son. "When are things going to be normal again, Matt?"

**

January 2, 1999
7:00 A.M.

Daina Kathryn had run ahead of Scully a few minutes before: though truly tired of walking, new experiences still called her. She'd never really gotten to RUN before, and there was something about it that was just wonderful. The cold wind hit her face, stinging her eyes and nose, but it also whipped through her hair, which was nice. She was breathing hard, her side hurt, and her nose was running: great, great, great!

"Hey, Mom, hurry up!" she called once, slowing for a minute to wipe her nose with her sleeve and get her breath back. Then she was off again, dodging trees and obstacles on the ground that did their best to trip her.

Scully watched her run out of sight, not worried. They'd gotten far into the woods, farther than they'd been the day before. There was no way Krycek and whoever he was with would be able to catch, or even find, them now. Their truck, she was pretty sure, wouldn't go very far in the dense trees and it could take days to find 2 small people in the miles and miles of forest.

She took her time walking, feeling pretty confident that they would find Mulder and Melissa soon. They'd probably stopped at a clearing, like they said, and were still waiting. Melissa was probably trying to feel their spirits, make sure they weren't dead, while Mulder searched for them around the area, for once the sensible one. Melissa liked him and he thought Melissa was okay, she knew, but that didn't mean they always got along. Scully herself liked both of them and spent 90% of her time fighting or arguing with one or the other.

"Mom!" Daina Kathryn no longer had any laughter in her voice. She sounded more scared than anything; maybe worried. "Mom, they were here!"

Scully started to jog, building speed as she got closer to the sound of Daina Kathryn's voice, still urging her to hurry up. She was panting by the time she reached the girl, who was crouched in a clearing. Probably the very one Mulder and Melissa had stopped at. But there was no sign of either of them. How did Daina Kathryn know?

"Look!" Daina Kathryn said, waving her arm at Scully so she would come over. Scully did, leaning over to see what Daina Kathryn had found. An ancient, torn, well-read copy of Moby Dick.

"Let me see," Scully said, holding out a hand. Daina Kathryn put the book in it, and Scully stood and opened it.

Inside were the words, written in a child's handwriting:

TO MY SISTER MELISSA
MERRY CHRISTMAS
12/25/72

She'd been eight years old. She remembered that Christmas. Her father had given her a puppy. A car had hit it months later.

Melissa's reaction to the book had been less than expected. "Yeah, thanks, Dana," she'd said, going on in typical nine-year-old fashion to the hair ribbons their mother had given her.

"This is Missy's book. She was always reading it whenever she got sad," Daina Kathryn said, but didn't see the look of sorrow and surprise on Scully 's face. "She loved it as much as she loved me. She said one of the most special people in her life gave it to her. Do you know who? She'd never let me look at it, I don't know why she'd leave it."

Scully put a hand on Daina Kathryn's shoulder and handed her back the book. "Do you know who gave it to her?" Daina Kathryn asked again.

"I did," Scully said.

**

January 2, 1999
7:15 A.M.

Jonnes watched silently as Rammin cursed Scully, the little girl, and Jonnes for letting them get away. "You should have been watching them. I give you less than a day of watch and you lose them! You know what's gonna happen to us now?"

Still, Jonnes refused to speak, feigning anger. In reality, he was relieved that his story about Scully having hid something to cut the wire somewhere on her had worked. Rammin had never questioned Jonnes' loyalty, although both knew Jonnes wasn't really one to trust. Rammin just didn't believe that Jonnes, who always did what HE wanted to, would let them go and risk his life for the ones who'd gotten him in the middle of nowhere in the first place.

"Once they go over the border, we'll never get them," Rammin continued, barely noticing that Jonnes hadn't answered his question. "They'll stay even farther off-road now that they know we're looking for them. If you hadn't gone and fallen asleep we'd still have them!"

"You don't know that." Jonnes finally spoke. "If they had something strong enough to cut wire, they could have just as easily attacked us."

Rammin grabbed the gun he'd brought from the floor and waved it in Jonnes' face. "That's why I brought THIS, you idiot!"

"It's a little late to tell me about that now. Look, the sooner we get going, the sooner we find them again. Maybe all of them," Jonnes said, remaining calm.

Rammin, on the other hand, was seething. But he knew what Jonnes said was right. "Yeah, whatever." With a jerk and a couple of noises neither man was sure of, the truck groaned and started. "We'll go as far as we can in the truck. From there, we'll just have to hike and hope for the best."

**

January 2, 1999
7:30 A.M.

"I think we're in Canada. I remember this road," Mulder said, stopping for a moment and looking around him.

Melissa came to a stop slightly ahead and turned. "When were you here?"

"I guess I might as well tell you," he said. "Come on, let's go." He continued walking, as did she, the morning cool but they warm enough from over an hour of walking to be content with just sweaters and jeans on.

"A few years ago. about 2 and a half, actually. Scully and I came across a man - or men - named Jeremiah Smith who could apparently heal people with his touch. We investigated and, to make that part of the story short, discovered that he was possibly either part of the human/alien hybrid project that may have also created Emily and Daina Kathryn or a creation of the government conspiracy that now even your sister believes in. Well, he told me he could show me my sister, Samantha, who disappeared when I was 12 years old."

Melissa looked surprised at this, and he realized that Scully had probably never said anything about it and he CERTAINLY hadn't - he'd only really seen Melissa once before these last few days.

"I was 12 and she was 8. I'm really not sure what happened anymore, my memories change, but whatever it was, I did my best to save her and failed. That was my real motive for originally trying to get the X-Files open - to look for Samantha."

"I knew there had to be more reason than just curiosity," Melissa said with a small smile.

"It definitely matured," he said, smiling back, then continuing. "Anyway, this Jeremiah Smith claimed he could show me my sister, so I went with him. Oh. and there was also what I suspect to be an alien bounty hunter after us- he could change his shape and had green blood. The only way to kill him was to pierce his neck at the base of his skull.

"Smith took me to a farm in Canada, where I was later told they were growing Ginseng. But according to him, it was something else, something you'd never find in books. And my sister WAS there - only she was still eight years old, the same way she'd been that night back in 1973, couldn't talk, and wasn't the only one of her there. Smith told me she was a drone, a worker, and not my real sister at all - none of them were. But I insisted on taking one of them with me, anyway. Just in case there was some way to find the truth through her.

"We were on our way back to Washington, thinking it was safe, when the bounty hunter showed up. We managed to hide for a short while with a bunch of bees - don't ask - but as I was calling Scully to tell her what was going on, he showed up and got Smith. He almost killed me and I never did find out what happened to Saman- the girl who looked like Samantha."

"Wow," Melissa said, then laughed at herself. "I'm sorry, Mulder."

"Fox," he said. He looked at the ground. "You can call me Fox, since I guess your sister and Daina Kathryn are both going to."

"Well, when are you going to quit calling her 'my sister' and start calling her 'Dana'?"

He smiled. "Fine, Dana. but you're still Melissa. Missy's always reminded me of a name of a poodle."

"You know what, Fox? It always reminded me of one, too."

**

January 2, 1999
8:05 A.M.

"I see them! I see them!" Daina Kathryn yelled suddenly, the fatigue that she'd complained about only seconds before disappearing as she went from a jog to a run to catch the figures in the distance. Behind her, Scully too sped up towards Mulder and Melissa, if that's who they were - and she hoped it was-, but Daina Kathryn was too far ahead for her to catch up with.

Daina Kathryn went as fast as her short legs would carry her, remembering her fear that she would never see Mulder and Melissa again. "Fox! Missy!" she called.

Mulder turned and, seeing her, stopped Melissa. Daina Kathryn reached them soon enough and launched herself into Mulder's arms. "Fox!" she cried, throwing her arms around his neck as though he really were her father and she'd known him for years. He lifted her up and hugged her back as Scully caught up, panting.

She watched Mulder holding Daina Kathryn against him, loving her in the way she knew he would love a child that was truly his, and felt like the luckiest person in the whole world. Maybe they WERE on the run, but she was with what would eventually become her family: Mulder, Daina Kathryn, herself, and maybe Melissa if she didn't choose to live by herself again.

Daina Kathryn was already half-asleep in Mulder's arms, exhausted from refusing to let herself stop even as she had complained to Scully about it, and Scully suddenly remembered that night from over a year before: her phone ringing, their tracing it and finding it came from the same place that was caring for Emily, going and finding her already in the process of dying, even if they hadn't known it at the time. Mulder had picked her up then as he did Daina Kathryn now. But Daina Kathryn wasn't going to die.

If she had to sacrifice herself to prevent it, Dana Katherine Scully was going to make sure her only daughter lived to adulthood.

**

December 25, 1997
5:00 P.M.

Bill and Tara and her mother had gone on to yet ANOTHER party, but Scully had once again declined going. She sat on the couch in the living room, stunned into an almost stupor. She was a mother. Emily Sim's mother. it was too much to handle on her own after a week of trying to convince everyone she knew that it was MELISSA'S child.

Mulder. She could call Mulder. No one else understood what this had done to her, least of all her brother and sister-in-law, who were too excited over the upcoming birth of their own child to care a bit about Emily, or so it seemed to Scully. Her mother had been almost as stunned as she, but she, too, was more interested in a child who she was sure of the parents and way of coming into the world.

She'd thought about calling Mulder earlier, as soon as she found out, but hadn't been sure she would be able to make sense to him. All that had happened since that day last week she'd told him that she was going to spend a week with her brother. that had been the last time she'd talked to him.

Getting up from the couch and gripping the back for a moment to get her balance, she half-walked, half-staggered over to the phone. This was the same phone, she realized as she picked it up to dial, that she'd gotten to the original call. from whoever it was. Melissa. Or not Melissa, because Melissa was dead and had been for years now.

Mulder's number was memorized, but she had to think a minute before it came to mind. She was used to having it on her speed dial.

The phone rang in his apartment once, twice. she was about to hang up after the fourth time, but just as she was taking it from her ear he said, "Hello?" He sounded tired and was breathing heavily, as though he'd been out running. Did he not invite his mother or ANYBODY over for Christmas?

"Mulder, it's me," she said. Her voice shook as though she was going to cry, although she didn't think she was going to. Her eyes didn't have that normal ache, her lip didn't tremble in the slightest. She cleared her throat.

"What's wrong?" he asked immediately.

Another clearing of the throat and she could answer. "Something really strange happened this week. I just need to talk to somebody."

"I'm here, Scully."

"I know. That's why I called."

"So what happened?"

"I-" Deep breath, Dana, she thought. Deep breath. "I. Mulder, I have a daughter."

He didn't answer for so long that she was worried for a moment he'd had a heart attack or something equally horrible. "Scully." he finally said. "How.?"

"Something they did to me while I was missing. Her name is Emily Sim, she's living right here in San Diego, near Bill."

"Do you want me to come?"

Did she? Would it help to have him here? Did she even need to ask herself that? "Yes, Mulder, I do. I want you to meet her."

"I'll be right there. Gimme a couple of hours, okay?"

"Yeah, sure." He hung up and she was holding a phone with only a dial tone to her ear. She pulled it away and looked at it as though it was something to be afraid of. Then, with a shaky sigh, she hung up and went back to the couch to wait for Bill and Tara and her mother to return.

**

January 2, 1999
8:30 A.M.

Mulder was trying to keep Daina Kathryn entertained with stories of himself and Samantha while they walked, searching for the fields that he remembered leading to the farm where he and Jeremiah Smith had gone before.

"She was a really sweet little sister. I hope you'll remember just how wonderful younger siblings can be if you ever have any," he said, smiling over Daina Kathryn's shoulder at Scully, who smiled back. She knew it wasn't going to happen, but Daina Kathryn might as well have something else to dream about now that she was out of captivity.

"What happened to her?" Daina Kathryn asked, tightening her grip on Mulder's neck a little as she shifted in his arms.

"When I was 12 years old and she was 8, we were home alone. My mom and dad were next door at a party. Something happened and she just disappeared."

"Didn't you ever find her?"

"Nope. but I'm still looking."

Scully, listening with a small smile to them, was suddenly reminded of a song that had made her think of Mulder all the time she'd known him and the story of his sister.

"Long ago a young man sits and plays his waiting game.
But things are not the same it seems as in such tender dreams.
Slowly passing sailing ships and Sunday afternoon.
Like people on the moon I see.
Are things not meant to be.
Where do those golden rainbows end?
Why is this song so sad?
Dreaming the dreams I've dreamed my friend.
Loving the love I love to love is just a word I've heard.
When things are being said.
Stories my poor head has told me cannot stand the cold.
And in between what might have been and what has come to pass.
A misbegotten guess alas and bits of broken glass.
Where do your golden rainbows end?
Why is the song I sing so sad?
Dreaming the dreams I dream my friend.
Loving the love I love to love."

She could very easily imagine a 12-year-old Mulder, or Fox as he would have been then, sitting and staring out the very window that Samantha might have disappeared out of. Hoping that, if he just stared long enough, then she would be with him again, none of it would have ever happened.

Or Fox, like he'd told her about, shutting his eyes tightly and walking into his room, praying that she would be there, sitting on her bed or his, grinning. Maybe it had all been a joke, it wouldn't matter.

While she could imagine these things, Scully couldn't imagine losing a sibling in that way. It had been hard enough accepting the fact that Melissa had "died". but to have a sister or brother just disappear and not see them for almost 30 years except once, then to have that turn out not to be them. she knew she wouldn't make it. Her family was closer than most, though she and Bill lived on opposite sides of the country and Charles was usually too busy with his own kids to show up at the few family reunions they had, they talked on the phone at least once every couple of weeks. She couldn't imagine it any other way.

Soon after Melissa had died, or disappeared as the case was, she'd found herself sometimes picking up the phone to call her only to remember at the last moment that if she called the number, she would get nobody or a perfect stranger.

"Dana?" Melissa reached out and touched her shoulder, pulling her from her thoughts.

"Look who's miles away now," Mulder said, using the phrase she'd used at Watergate during those months they'd been separated.

She realized that they had stopped at the edge of a fence - all but her. Had Melissa not stopped her, she would have kept going for hours, lost in her mind and the image she'd suddenly gotten. Of herself and remaining family sitting silently watching TV or eating dinner or going someplace while all the while one who was missing refused to leave their thoughts completely and seemed to hang in the air around them.

"Where are we?" she asked, reaching out a hand that Daina Kathryn, who'd just slid from Mulder's arms and come to her, took and used to pull herself closer to her mother.

"This is where we can either keep going on the road or take the 10-mile, more dangerous shortcut," Mulder said, gesturing towards the grass on the other side of the fence. It was mostly brown and dead, and clouds had turned the sky a grayish color, lessening the cheerful mood all had felt at first meeting that day.

Daina Kathryn wrinkled her nose at Mulder's suggestions. "I'm too tired to go anymore," she said.

"You haven't walked for a while, D. You'll make it," Melissa said.

Scully cut off Daina Kathryn before she could protest. "I'll carry you," she said, handing her backpack to Melissa, who took it reluctantly. Daina Kathryn let Scully lift her up and laid her head on her shoulder, closing her eyes and sighing her contentment.

"I love you, Mom," she whispered, and Scully's arms around her tightened for a moment - she wasn't used to this feeling of a child, a human, loving her with all their heart though she'd done nothing for them. But it was a nice feeling.

"Why is that way more dangerous?" she asked as Daina Kathryn again slipped into half-sleep, looking out at the field.

"Somebody owns that land. I don't know if it's the government or if it's privately owned, but we could get in trouble either way. I don't think our credentials count for much out here," Mulder said.

"How did you and Jeremiah Smith do it?"

"I didn't even think to ask. Nobody stopped us, though."

"Let's try it. I'm almost too tired to walk any farther. She's right," Scully said, shifting her gaze to her sleepy daughter.

Mulder looked at Melissa, who nodded agreement. "Okay," he said. "Let's go."

**

January 2, 1999
9:45 A.M.

"That's it," Mulder said, shifting the backpack on his shoulders. Scully stepped to the side of him to see and found herself looking at exactly the kind of place she would have denied the existence of if she wasn't seeing it for herself: a farm of some kind, or a large garden, being tended by children. And, though it was hard to tell from the distance at which they stood, it seemed like the girls looked a lot like Samantha Mulder.

Melissa, of course, didn't recognize it as Samantha. "This is where we're going to hide?" she asked.

"Yep," Mulder said, resuming the fast-paced walk they'd set off in soon after deciding the route they would take. Daina Kathryn had fallen asleep again, so they didn't have to worry about her trying to keep up. She was resting against Scully's shoulder, beginning to mumble now in the way that Scully guessed meant she would wake up soon.

"This is where you came with Jeremiah Smith." Scully said, realization coming over her for the first time. "The person you said you were going to take back with you was Samantha."

Mulder nodded. "Only the bounty hunter caught up with us. He killed both of them, I guess." Although he tried to sound nonchalant, Scully caught the slight sound of an old wound not quite healed in his voice. Every time he found something like this, somebody like those girls, he got his hopes up, only to have them torn away, leaving injuries to his soul.

She handed Daina Kathryn, who was mostly awake now, to Melissa, and went to him. "Mulder," she started to say, putting a hand on his shoulder and forcing him to stop. "Mulder, it's okay. Just because I've found my daughter and my own sister doesn't mean we're going to stop looking for yours."

"Thanks, Scully," he said, taking her hand from his shoulder and holding it tightly in his own. "Come on, let's get going again."

Slower now, since Daina Kathryn was awake and wanted to walk, they continued.

**

January 2, 1999
9:50 A.M.

Rammin and Jones watched as the very four they were after drew closer. It had been Rammin's idea to try hiding out at the farm where the special bees were being bred for the time being: neither had ever even thought that either Mulder or Scully would know of this place to use it for their own purposes, a hideout.

Now, Rammin smiled while Jonnes' mind raced. He'd thought he'd saved Scully and the little girl, but they'd come right back to where Rammin needed them without any struggle at all. Without even realizing it; it was like something from a movie.

"We'll give 'em time to settle in one of the houses, wait until they think they're safe. Then we can get the ones we need easier. Maybe even at night, so we don't have to bother with Mulder and Scully at all," Rammin was saying, but Jonnes was only half-listening.

"Yeah, okay," he said, switching his thoughts to Russian so he didn't have to hear Rammin at all. His mind did that: if he switched languages, only that language meant anything to him unless he really thought about it.

For now, he wanted to be lost in his own mind. Rammin's way of things suddenly disgusted him.


January 2, 1999
9:55 A.M.

Mulder watched with Scully and Melissa from a few feet away as Daina Kathryn stopped near one of the many pairs of children - drones; he'd been told - and stared at them curiously. It came to him that this was very possibly the first time she'd ever seen any other children. Little people, almost on the same height as she was who existed as much as all the adults did.

"Hi," she said to the Samantha one, who had looked at her when she approached in the same way one had looked at Mulder. At the sound of Daina Kathryn's voice, the boy looked up also.

She waited for a minute, then looked confused. "Hello?" She cocked her head in a way that might have made Mulder laugh at any other time, but he knew this wasn't funny. Between having no idea who to trust, being faced with things she'd never dreamed existed, and having to walk miles and miles in just 2 days, to have first contact with other kids like these was not what a four-year-old needed.

While Scully and Melissa, as confused as Daina Kathryn was, watched, he stepped towards her and crouched so he was at eye-level with her. "D.?" he said to get her attention.

She looked at him with an expression that looked so much like Scully's when in her compassionate mood, like she felt hopelessly sorry for these people who wouldn't talk to her, but also wanted to do anything in her power to help them. "Why can't they talk?" she asked.

"They could," he said, keeping his voice gentle. Daina Kathryn, locked up in one tiny room with only one person for years and years, felt sorry for these children, who had all the freedom they could want, if they got their jobs done? Without a doubt, she was far wise beyond her years. "If they had a language. They're. workers. They don't need to talk."

"How come they have to work?"

"That's what they were made to do."

"I bet I could teach them to talk."

He didn't know how long they were going to be there, that actually might be a good thing for her to try. "Why don't you do that, D.?"

**

January 2, 1999
10:00 A.M.

Bill Scully showed up just as the helicopter holding Skinner and a younger agent sent along to help prepared to leave. "Turn it off!" Skinner shouted at the pilot as he got up from his seat and exited.

Scully's brother was running for them, yelling something that Skinner knew couldn't be good. "What do you think you're doing?" he said, coming to a panting stop in front of the FBI's Assistant Director. Only a Scully or a Mulder would confront him that way. Maybe, he thought without the slightest hint of humor, it was good that Samantha Mulder had disappeared. If the Scullys he knew were this bad, more Mulder's would without a doubt be torture.

"Going to get your sisters," he said.

"My sister Melissa is dead. And Dana is NOT in Canada."

"How do you know that, Mr. Mulder?"

Bill rolled his eyes and half-turned as though he was going to give someone behind him an exasperated look. "I think I know her a little better than you do. She knows better than to listen to that nut you force her to work with."

"She is there, and we know the direction she's traveling in, approximately. We got a phone call less than an hour ago from one of our agents who's exploring the area, they were seen traveling over farmland. Four people: Mulder, your sisters, and an unidentified child."

**

January 2, 1999
10:15 A.M.

Daina Kathryn went to one of the girls who wasn't working at the time. The girl was sitting cross-legged on the porch of what Daina Kathryn guessed was her house, staring at nothing while she waited for her time to come.

Daina Kathryn sat across from her after getting the stuff she needed from Mulder and Scully and Melissa. "Hi," she said to get the girl's attention.

Mulder had told her that her name was Samantha, and she hadn't questioned him, although she did wonder how he knew. "Hi, Samantha," she said.

Samantha looked at her, eyes solemn, face expressionless. She didn't even attempt to speak. Mulder had told Daina Kathryn that they could make sound, though, which meant it was possible for them to talk if they were taught. And Daina Kathryn had all the time in the world to teach her.

She picked up one of the items she'd gotten from the adults, an extra shirt of hers. "This is a shirt," she said, pointing to it. Then she realized that 'this is a' meant no more than 'shirt' did to Samantha. "Shirt," she said, pointing again. Then she handed it to Samantha.

Samantha took it carefully, feeling it for a moment, then handed it back. She still didn't attempt speech, but did seem intrigued by this girl who was sitting across from her, making strange sounds with her mouth that seemed to mean this thing you wore.

Daina Kathryn tried again, this time with the only apple they had left, which Mulder had finally decided they shouldn't eat because it had gotten so bruised while in the bag. "Apple," she said.

Taking it from her, Samantha actually opened her mouth as though she were going to try and say it, then thought better of it and closed it again. She smiled shyly at Daina Kathryn.

It was a little progress, in Daina Kathryn's opinion. She had 2 more things, then she would have to start over. She gave Samantha the book that belonged to Melissa. "Book," she said. "Moby Dick." She pointed to the front cover. "Whale."

Slowly, a strange look came over Samantha's face. She too pointed at the picture, rubbed a finger over it. "Whale," she said.

**

January 2, 1999
10:20 A.M.

Mulder just happened to be walking by the house when he heard a voice he hadn't heard in almost 30 years, but missed even more than he had his grandmother's when she'd died when he was 10. Samantha.

"Whale," she said.

He dropped the backpack he'd taken from Melissa while she and Scully looked for an empty house and flew up the steps to find Daina Kathryn and Samantha grinning at each other as though sharing the worlds best secret.

"She did it, Fox!" Daina Kathryn cried, leaping up and hugging his leg. "She said 'whale'! You were right, they CAN talk!" She let go and went back to Samantha, pulling her to her feet and pointing at Mulder. "Fox," she said.

Samantha, still eight years old after so long, looked up into his eyes. "Fox," she said, the same word he'd last heard her speak that night so many years ago.

"Oh, god," he leaned over and hugged her and Daina Kathryn to him, tightly. "Oh, god, D., thank you so much."

When he let go, she looked confused. "Why?" she asked. "What'd I do?"

"Daina Kathryn. this is my sister Samantha."

**

November 27, 1973
7:30 P.M.

"Bye, Mom, bye, Daddy," Samantha said, hugging both her parents as they left. Both gave her radiant smiles that made Fox's stomach hurt. He was slouching against the wall a few feet away, having given his parents a half-hearted wave seconds before.

"Will you grow up?" Fox asked once they were gone and Samantha was standing by the door looking like she was going to cry.

"Huh?" she turned to him, obvious real confusion on her face. She knew Fox wasn't too happy with her right now because it was a Friday night and he was stuck at home with her, but he'd already hit her for that when he'd come home from school. What was wrong now?

He nodded towards the door. "You still hug them and cry when they leave. Only babies do that."

"I do not cry!"

"But you almost did."

"I did not! You don't know, you're not me."

"Yeah, but I can see your face and you can't."

"I can look in a mirror."

He rolled his eyes. "Shut up, Sam, just shut up. And leave me alone." He turned away and left, walking slowly upstairs as though daring her to follow him. But she didn't.

Finally, he had some privacy. He didn't care what she did, as long as she stayed away from him. It was one thing that she was practically like a queen when his parents were home - when they weren't, HE was older, so HE was in charge. And there was nothing she could do to change it. He knew she would never tell on him: if she did, they would just be stuck with a babysitter next time, and neither liked those.

Unfortunately, he hadn't stopped to think about how boring it could be, sitting all alone in your bedroom. He'd read all his books, fiddled with all his stupid old toys until most broke and the others were useless, and looked at the same night sky through the telescope he'd gotten for his birthday so many times that if he had to see the same stars one more time, he had a feeling they would be permanently implanted into his eyes.

Sitting on his bed, his mind wandered, eventually settling on something that occupied his thoughts a lot: Samantha. He thought he probably loved her, the way siblings were supposed to love each other. Or maybe in a different way. He hit her, sure, but she was okay. She was a lot tougher than the other little girls in her class at school. That said SOMETHING for her.

If only she wasn't so darned ANNOYING. If only she didn't whine and cry and tattle and get all the attention all the time. THEN she might be a really cool younger sister.

But maybe she only whined and cried and all that because he'd taught her to? She certainly spent more time with him than she did with their parents, who either were working, talking with a neighbor, or at one of their beloved parties. He didn't think that he was all that much like her, but weren't there some family traits or something that could make her like she was and make him the same way, only he didn't realize it. She probably thought HE whined and got her in trouble and got all the attention.

It was harder than he would have thought to look at it from her angle, but once he did, he felt a sudden need to hear her voice. She was going to be around for practically forever; probably longer than he was, but it seemed like right now was the right time to spend time with her. Plus, 'The Magician' was on in less than 2 hours, and he would have to go downstairs to watch that.

He jumped up and left the room, closing the door so she wouldn't go in and mess with all his stuff, and stood at the top of the stairs. "Hey, Samantha!"

She appeared below him, looking up suspiciously like he was going to bite her or something. He smiled to try and reassure her that he was in a good mood, at least for now, but it didn't seem to have much affect on her. "What?"

"I was just wondering if you wanted to play a game or something."

Her eyes narrowed. "A game?"

"Yeah." he shrugged, climbed onto the banister like he knew he wasn't supposed to - their parents weren't home, so it didn't matter, unless she told-, and joined her downstairs.

"What game?" she asked, finally deciding it was safe.

"What about that new board game Mom got you for your birthday."

"Stratego?"

"Yeah, that. We could play it and watch TV."

"Can I watch that movie?"

"Sure, depends on what time it's on. Come on, let's go."

**

January 2, 1999
10:35 A.M.

The look on Daina Kathryn's face as Mulder finished explaining to her what had happened to Samantha was one of complete horror. "She just disappeared?" she asked, her voice shaky as though she were going to cry.

"Just disappeared. I haven't seen her since, except here," Mulder said, looking over at the new Samantha, who was eagerly teaching the boy who shared the house with the few words she knew and what they meant. He caught on as fast as she had.

She looked back, too. "And that's what she looked like?"

"Yep," Mulder said, trying to sound carefree enough to raise her spirits, which were obviously sinking fast.

"My sister died, you know," she said. "I never even knew her after we were born." She scooted towards Mulder and leaned into him, reaching backwards and pulling his arms around her, as comfortable around him as if he'd been her father. or her real father, since it seemed that now he was going to take the place of whoever that person was.

"I knew her, a little," he said.

"What was she like?"

"I only got to talk to her once, right after your mom called me and asked me to come to San Diego."

"What'd she say to you?" Daina Kathryn was gazing up at him as though he were a teacher, knower of all knowledge, who was finally giving her the answers she'd craved the better part of her short life. If only his and Scully's truths were as easy to find: just ask and have them.

"Well, if you want to know the truth, she only told me what she was coloring."

"I've never colored before, but I like to draw. Missy said I was a good drawer."

"I bet you are." He tightened his arms around her for a minute, taking the role of father if that was what she wanted. All kids, he'd learned after his parents got divorced, needed 2 parents if at all possible. even if one was a step-parent, it was better than nothing. And he had to admit that it looked to him like Daina Kathryn truly liked, if not loved, him and Scully in almost the same way she loved Melissa, who'd taken the place of those 2 parents until now. Until almost 4 days ago. It seemed like a lot longer.

"What was she coloring?"

"A potato."

For some reason, this made Daina Kathryn giggle, the first time he'd heard her. She sounded just like Scully, the few times he'd heard her laugh: clear, but kind of silly. It made him want to laugh, too. Instead, he just smiled.

"I like potatoes," she said when she managed to turn her giggles into a slightly goofy, very un-Scully-like grin. "Sometimes Mr. Biars gave us potatoes to eat. They were okay for that, but sometimes Missy let me make the leftover parts into decorations on the floor, at least until Mr. Biars came back and made us give them to him. He didn't like it when I played, he said I made too much noise and it bothered the other people."

"Tell you what, then," he said. "As soon as we get back to my apartment, or your mom's or Melissa's, I'll get you a potato to play with, okay?"

Her grin grew wider, filled with love and sudden unbelieving awe that someone besides her own family could care so much for her, for her happiness. "Okay!"

"Okay!" a voice echoed, and both Daina Kathryn and Mulder turned to look at the boy Samantha had been teaching what she'd already learned about speech to, looking very pleased with himself. He pointed at Mulder. "Fox."

Daina Kathryn and Mulder laughed, and the boy turned back to Samantha, still pleased, and the two of them disappeared inside the house, to do who knew what. Daina Kathryn turned her eyes from the door they'd gone in back to Mulder. "Hey, Fox?"

"Yeah?" his eyes never left the spot where Samantha had gone, even when she spoke again.

"Am I gonna live with you and Mom when we go back? Or with Missy?"

"Who would you rather live with?"

"You guys." His head turned back then.

"With us? With your mom and me?"

"Uh-huh."

"Why?"

"Because I think I'll be just one of three." She nodded towards the house.

"I think you're right," he said. "But the boy needs a name. Would you do the honors?"

"Huh?"

"Do you want to name him?"

"I don't know any boys names except Fox and Mark. What do YOU want to name him? Whatever you want is okay with me."

"Hmm. how about you and your mom and me all decide together?"

"Okay! Let's go get her!" She jumped to her feet and was off and running before he had a chance to come up with a reply, using the sudden endless supply of energy she'd saved up sleeping most of the morning. He shook his head and got to his feet, following her more slowly. They had all the time in the world. Nobody, of course, had any idea where they were.

**

January 2, 1999
10:40 A.M.

Rammin watched as the girl flew by, followed closely by Mulder. He pulled his gun closer and considered going after them, but decided to wait until later, when Jonnes was awake.

Jonnes had gone to sleep soon after they'd first seen the girl, Melissa and Dana Scully, and Mulder arrive. He hadn't slept in over 24 hours, and it was actually Rammin who'd forced him to do it, saying they never knew when it would be the perfect time to move in and get them.

He knew that Jonnes didn't trust him, thought that he would sneak off and get them himself and leave Jonnes there asleep with Mulder and Scully, who would more than likely kill him. But he wouldn't do that, not yet. he would let Jonnes get to trust him.

THEN, and only then, would the time be right for abandonment and grabbing praise for himself.

**

January 2, 1999
10:40 A.M.

Bill watched the helicopter travel across Canada, wondering what the hell he was doing here, with some man he barely knew, after his dead sister, a slightly nuts one, her daughter, and her more-nuts partner. With the anger that was building inside him now, he would kill Mulder the first chance he got, if not the others, too.

He knew as well as anybody what kind of temper he had, but, in his mind, he used it for his own good and the good of his family. Heaven knew with what Mulder - and it was ALL Mulder's fault - had put them all through in these years, they needed his protection, if not the help of Charles, too. Charles rarely took any interest in his family, though. He spent more time with his mother and sister-in-law than with his true mother and brother and sisters. now sister. He hadn't showed up at Melissa's funeral, hadn't come when Dana' s cancer was discovered, had even stayed away for the worst Christmas any of them had ever had, a time when the whole family should have stuck together.

"You do know I have a wife and son waiting back in D.C. to hear from me?" he asked, turning to Skinner now, who was reading over notes he'd brought.

"I know," Skinner replied, not looking up. He didn't care for Bill any more than Bill cared for either him or Mulder. Scully was a wonderful agent, but what he knew of her family. her mother and brother he'd met when she was in the hospital, dying of cancer, had seemed to him to be more the type of family he would have suspected Mulder would have. Instead, the knot that he had thought was Mulder's family - father, mother, son, and a missing daughter - was quickly unraveling into the wind. The smoking man, Mulder's father. or Samantha's? Jeffrey Spender, a half-brother? To Mulder or to his sister?

Bill sighed as Skinner gave him no clue of just WHAT he knew, besides that Tara and Matt were still in a crummy little hotel. "How long is this gonna take?"

"Maybe 2 hours. Maybe days."

Another sigh, but the questions were silenced.

**

January 2, 1999
10:40 A.M.

"Mom! Missy! Guess what?" Daina Kathryn leaped into her mother, arms going around Scully's waist as though they'd been separated for years instead of less than an hour.

Melissa smiled at that, Scully almost clumsily trying to hug Daina Kathryn back as Daina Kathryn danced away from her; too excited to stay still for very long. The longer they stayed out in the real world, it seemed, the more. normal she became.

"What?" Scully asked as Daina Kathryn skipped around her, hair bouncing on her shoulders as she waited for the okay to tell her wonderful news.

She stopped and smiled proudly up at the adults. Mulder had just joined them, and looked just as happy and pleased as she did. "I got one of the Samanthas to talk, and then she taught one of those boys. And Fox says that they can come back with us and be my big brother and sister."

Scully glanced over at Melissa. "Your brother and sister? Is that okay with Missy?"

"I'm not living with Missy, she can live next door. I'm gonna live with my mom."

And now Scully's eyes traveled to Mulder. "With your mom?"

"Yeah, you," she said, hugging Scully again. This time, Scully managed to get her arms around her and lifted her up, holding her close.

"Are you sure, D.?"

"Uh-huh."

"Melissa?" Scully looked over at her sister, who was watching and still smiling.

"That's fine. It's her decision. She has a mind of her own," Melissa said.

Daina Kathryn wiggled free from her mother. "Come on, you have to come see Samantha and that boy. We have to name him, and you have to help. come ON," she urged, tugging on Scully's arm.

So Scully went with her, followed by Melissa and Mulder. It didn't take as long to get back to the house where Samantha and the boy were living, because this time Daina Kathryn, with the sense of direction she'd inherited from her mother, knew where to go.

The children were back on the porch, repeating the few words they knew to each other. "Whale," Samantha said.

"Whale," the boy repeated, and they grinned at each other as though they'd come up with a cure for every disease known to man.

"We're back!" Daina Kathryn cried, causing them to whirl in the direction of her voice, as she hopped up the steps onto the porch.

Samantha pointed at Mulder. "Fox," she said.

"Hi," Mulder said, while Scully put an arm around his shoulder and gave him a quick hug, knowing how much this meant to him, having even a small part of his sister back. "Hi, Samantha."

"Hi Samantha," she said, like a parrot repeating whatever it heard.

Daina Kathryn quickly fixed the problem, pointing at Samantha. "Samantha," she said. Then she pointed at herself. "Daina Kathryn Scully." Then at the others. "Fox. Mo - Dana. Missy."

Samantha pointed at the boy, and, though she didn't speak because she didn't know how to ask questions, obviously wanted to know who he was. Daina Kathryn looked at Mulder and Scully. "He needs a name, too," she whispered so Samantha couldn't hear.

"Daina Kathryn and I couldn't come up with a good one, we thought we'd ask for your help," Mulder said.

Scully appeared to think for a second, but, in reality, she'd had her mind made up about what she would name a son, if she ever had one, since she was in high school. "How about Lucas?"

"Lucas?" Mulder repeated it.

"You sound like Samantha," Daina Kathryn said with a giggle. Then, more seriously, "Lucas, huh?" That seemed to confirm it: his name was Lucas. She turned back to Samantha. "Lucas," she said.

It was the boy's turn, Lucas' turn, to point at something, himself. "Lucas," he said, and he said it proudly.

**

December, 1997
DATE AND TIME UNKNOWN

Daina Kathryn had been restless all morning, pacing around the small room, never pausing on one of her favorite activities, drawing or watching the world out the window or practicing her numbers and letters in the dust, long enough to even really get started on any of them.

"D., is something wrong?" Melissa finally asked her as she got up once again, this time from the process of slowly moving her hand into the square of light from the window so that it covered her hand, then jerking it back.

Daina Kathryn shook her head hard, glancing out the window, crouching underneath it and examining the wall, then jerking back up and looking at the ceiling.

Melissa watched, worried. It had only been a day since Daina Kathryn's unexpected cries for help for her sister and her adoptive parents. And Melissa still wasn't ready to give up the idea that Daina Kathryn might be sick. If she was, she didn't know what they could do.

"Missy?" she finally asked, sitting on the floor with her legs crossed in front of Melissa. "Tell me a story about when you were little like me. About the time my mother told you she had a dead rabbit in a lunchbox."

"Sure," Melissa said, hoping she would settle down. It was one of Daina Kathryn's favorite stories, although she liked the one about the time her mom had gotten braces and had screamed the whole time even more. "Your Uncle Bill, he was mad because the rabbit liked her better, or that's what he thought."

**

December 22, 1968
11:30 A.M.

Five-year-old Melissa was listening to a BORROWED - not stolen, like he would claim - record of Bill's, while lying on her back in the room she and Dana shared. Dana had been in there a little over an hour ago, she had heard her yelling at Bill, then had run past Melissa downstairs and had gone down to the basement, so Melissa had the room to herself, for once.

Or, she did for a few minutes. Then the door opened hard enough that it slammed against the wall. Melissa's eyes flew open and she sat up quickly and turned the record off. "Dana?"

Dana was standing in the doorway, looking terrified and angry at the same time, probably both because of something Bill had done. Maybe threatened her for something. She looked on the verge of tears now as she locked eyes with Melissa. "Melissa?" she asked, in her pitiful voice that could get any family member at and on her side immediately. "I need your help."

"With what?" Melissa asked, already getting to her feet. She had nothing better to do until the middle of the afternoon, when she was supposed to go to a friend's house for a few hours, but that wasn't until 3:00. A long time from now.

Dana sniffled and her left eye threatened to release the tear it was holding. "You know that rabbit Mom and Dad got us?" At the word 'rabbit', the tear DID escape, leaving a trail of red on her pale skin, and it was all she could take. She started to cry, fortunately silently, and all the while trying to stop it. She rubbed her eyes and knows with fists, but she was too far gone now to do anything. "I killed it. I didn't mean to, I was trying to keep it from Billy. I killed it, Melissa, I killed our rabbit."

"Dana." Melissa strained her mind, trying to come up with something to make Dana feel better. "Maybe it's not really dead. Maybe it's just. you know, knocked out."

But Dana was shaking her head, looking at the floor, tears still falling. "It IS. Come look. It'd DEAD." So Melissa walked with her as she led the way back into the basement. So that was where that rabbit had been for the past week. Every day that week, Bill had refused to leave any family member alone until SOMEBODY confessed to taking his stupid pet that wasn't really all his, anyway.

Actually, Dana had admitted to her the night before that she had hidden the rabbit to her older sister, after making her swear never to tell. She said it was the perfect hiding place, nobody would ever find it, and she had left plenty of food. Maybe it hadn't been so perfect.

"Stay here," she said to Melissa when they reached the bottom of the stairs, and went over to the worktable their father had put down there the year before but never got to use. Stacked on it were books, some ancient tools, and Bill's old lunchbox. It was that that Dana went to, opening it and jumping back off the box she was standing on quickly. "Look," she said.

Melissa, cautiously, went over and climbed on the box herself. The rabbit was dead all right: it was stiff and cold, it's eyes open but seeing nothing, and, worst of all, around it's stomach, tiny white maggots crawled through it's small body, eating away at the skin so she could see inside it. She gasped and jumped off the box in the same way Dana had, but more for revulsion than the urge to have someone else see what she had.

"See?" Dana asked, more worried about the fact that the rabbit was dead than that it had maggots crawling in it. It wasn't the rabbit being dead that scared her, it was death itself.

"Yeah, I see," Melissa said, shutting her eyes but just seeing that image in her mind. She opened them again and looked at Dana. "What happened?"

Dana looked on the verge of tears again, though her eyes had just dried. They were red around the edges and there were still the lines from tears running down her face. "Billy said it was supposed to be HIS rabbit, since he was older, and it wasn't supposed to like me best. He said he was going to kill it if I didn't let it be his. So I had to hide it. He said this morning that he was gonna make it into rabbit stew if he found it, so I came down to check on it. And it looked like. like that."

"Did you leave it all alone all week?"

She nodded. "But I gave it food."

"Dana, it needs more than food. It probably couldn't breathe." Melissa glanced again at the lunchbox, still open on the table.

Dana's lip trembled. She was going to start that again, her silent, heart-wrenching tears. She didn't understand what she'd done, she was only 4 years old. Melissa decided it was time for her to play big sister.

"I have an idea," she said. "Let's close the lunchbox and we can take it to Bill's room. That way, he won't know who did it, and maybe Mom and Dad will blame him. He'll blame us, but maybe they won't believe him."

"He can have his rabbit stew!" Dana said, beginning to giggle. "Yum yum, right?"

"Right!" Melissa said.

It didn't seem quite as bad looking at the rabbit this time, nor did walking with it thumping against the sides of the lunchbox scare them in the least, not even when Dana came up with some sick scenario about maggots crawling out and eating them alive.

Bill had what he deserved coming to him.


January 2, 1999
10:50 A.M.

Daina Kathryn walked with Samantha and Lucas around the farm, pointing things out, giving their names, then patiently waiting as they tried out the new word. Very soon, she was quizzing them, pointing at one house and saying "House" and then pointing at a different one and asking "What's that?"

Eventually, Lucas caught on that "What's that?" meant asking what something was, and he began asking "What's that?" as often as she did, wanting to know more. Samantha caught on soon after, and after that, Daina Kathryn could barely keep up with them. But she kept at it.

"What's that?" Samantha asked, pointing at her feet.

"Shoes," Daina Kathryn replied, then sat on the ground and took off her own shoe, ignoring the cold that had begun to creep up on them. "Foot," she said.

Scully watched from where she sat on the porch with Mulder and Melissa. She felt, strangely enough since she still thought it was Melissa who should have been feeling this, a sudden pride and love for the little girl she hadn 't raised, but who was still her daughter. No matter what happened, Daina Kathryn Scully was still her daughter. Emily Sim was still her daughter. And who, according to Mulder, knew how many other children she had out there?

She wasn't sure she liked that idea, that there could be lots of little four-year-olds out there with her face or Melissa's or Bill's of Charles' or one of her parents or even grandparents, knowing they were adopted, but probably never questioning it. Unless they got Bill's personality along with his face.

Although she'd known about heredity for years, how it worked and how she and all her siblings got their looks, it was still a strange idea that she or Melissa could have children that were just like, or looked just like, or both, the very same ones they'd grown up in the same house with.

She'd actually been getting used to the idea of not having children, after all that had happened the year before and the end of the year before that. Accepting that Emily was all she was going to get and that she should be grateful that she'd gotten even that time with her only child. Thanks to Melissa, it seemed, who'd listened to her niece and tried to 'channel' to Scully that Emily needed her help.

But had Daina Kathryn not needed her help? Or had it been more than coincidence that she and Mulder had been in that prison, of all the ones in the world, that they'd chosen that one room that held one person she longed more than almost any to see and the other that she longed to have for her own than almost any other. People that she never should have seen, a dead sister and a daughter who shouldn't have been born.

She'd gone over it hundreds of times now in her mind, and hated herself for it, but still sometimes thought it might have been better if Daina Kathryn hadn't been born, or if she'd been adopted like all the rest of her 'children', if there were any more. If none of it had ever happened, she and Mulder could go home and get married and she could have children the. normal way. But then, if Daina Kathryn hadn't been around, they wouldn't be where they were, would they? They might never have gotten together, since she knew it was more for Daina Kathryn's good, not that they didn't love each other, more than anything else.

She had a sudden urge to hold Mulder and be held, in a way she hadn't in years, not counting those wonderful, too-few hours 2 nights ago, when he'd kept her close in sleep, arms around her, chin resting on her hair. She would have loved to stay like that forever. Then the next morning, with Daina Kathryn beside them, seeming as excited as Scully at the prospect of Mulder becoming her 'father.'

Mulder seemed to read her mind. "Scully?" he said softly, coming up behind her and taking a seat beside her on the steps. Melissa wisely stayed where she was.

"What?" She leaned into the arm he placed gently around her shoulder, put her own arm underneath it like she and her former best friend had done when they were trying to ignore either Bill or her the friend's older brother.

This was a little different, though. Her best friend had never asked as they stood - not sat, they were always standing - like that, "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," she said, as usual not even thinking about it. It was a response she'd programmed herself to give. Someone asked if she was okay, she said she was fine. That was what you said to strangers, old friends, or relatives you hardly knew. 'I'm fine', or, as she'd said as a kid, 'I'm okay.' This one had almost driven Bill crazy, for some reason. But Melissa's had been even worse: "I'm real good.' He claimed it made her sound like some redneck from Mississippi. Which, of course, just made her do it every chance she got that he was around.

She found herself smiling, confusing Mulder, at these thoughts. "I was just thinking about family," she said to his quizzical look.

"The family you grew up with? Or the family we're going to make?" he asked.

She looked at the ground. "Mulder, we've got Daina Kathryn, maybe Samantha and Lucas. but there's not going to be anymore children. You know that." Although she tried to hide it, the fact that he'd forgotten the thing in her life that was possibly even more important than finding out her own truths hurt her more than any of the times he'd run off and left her, refused to tell her what was going on, or did things only a complete idiot would.

He seemed to know she was hurt, but she had misunderstood. He took her completely into his arms, cradling her like he'd done Daina Kathryn earlier, and said softly, "That's not what I meant, Scully. You and Daina Kathryn and Samantha and Lucas are everything I need. All I want."

A tear escaped her eye, sliding down her dirty, tired face. She wasn't sure if it was from the feeling of utter helplessness she was suddenly feeling or from fatigue or from happiness. But she did know she wanted to be held in his arms forever, letting him talk like he'd been before, showing her he really did love her in his own special, Mulderistic way.

"Why don't you call me Dana now? You asked me to marry you. it's going to be strange calling me Scully when that's not my name anymore," she said, to hide her tears before he could see them. Her head was resting on his shoulder, but the slightest twist of his head to look her in the eye would reveal them. She hated the feeling of vulnerability she had whenever he saw her like that, even when he didn't see her or it wasn't crying she was doing. When he saw into her soul. Right now, she was feeling that way because of, once again, what had been taken from her. Her children. Her unborn, unformed children. Found only in the form of little girls and maybe boys like Daina Kathryn.

"When we get married, Scully. Until then, I don't deserve it. That's why I called you Scully in the first place. You scared me to death - I'd never had a partner like you-, but you also struck me immediately as the kind I watched in high school and longed to go up and just say hi to."

"Don't tell me you were shy in high school," she said. The intrigue to know more of his past, which she knew so little of, overcame her wanting more of the contentment.

He smiled sadly, but she, keeping her eyes closed, didn't see it. "I alienated myself after Samantha disappeared. I didn't know how to talk to people, I was always scared they'd ask me about her. What had happened, why I hadn't done anything."

"But you did do something."

There was a sigh and she opened her eyes to look at him. He was staring at the sky, now gray and looking ready to release snow - the temperature had really dropped to more normal January temperatures - at any second. "Not enough," he said.

It was at that moment that Daina Kathryn screamed.

**

January 2, 1999
10:55 A.M.

Lucas and Samantha had grown tired to learning and had wandered off in the direction of the plants they took care of. But Daina Kathryn hadn't wanted to get too far away from her mother and Melissa and Mulder, so had taken her break from playing teaching to look around the outside of the house.

The back had been the best, with a tree that she discovered she could climb into, just like Melissa had said her brothers and sister had done when they' d been little, to drop water balloons on the people that went by. Daina Kathryn had never expected to climb a tree, but it was something she'd dreamed about for at least a year now.

She climbed as high as she dared, feeling dizzy as she looked down at the world far below. It was almost like looking out the window of the room she and Melissa had shared, except not quite as high. She felt powerful up here, like she could see everything but nobody could see her.

She watched Scully and Mulder for a while: he was holding her like she was a baby, but she didn't look like it bothered her. Maybe by the time you got to be an adult, you missed being a little kid and liked people to hold you. Daina Kathryn thought she was almost too old to be held like that. But not quite. Maybe when she was 5.

After a while, she got bored watching them, since she couldn't hear what they were saying. Melissa was right behind them, but she was watching the sky, lost in thought. Lucas and Samantha were nowhere that she could see them, but there was somebody.

At first, she thought it was more of the Samantha and Lucas people, drones, Mulder had called them. But then she looked more closely. And she recognized one of them. Alex! It was that Alex Krycek guy who'd saved her and Scully from the back of the truck. She should go thank him and then tell her mom he was there.

It was harder climbing DOWN from the tree than it was climbing up, and once she was sure she was going to fall, but she managed to catch herself. Once she jumped the last few branches, she took off running in the direction she' d seen Krycek and the other man. They were farther away than they'd looked, but she found them soon enough. Or, one of them. Krycek was gone.

"Where'd Alex go?" she asked the other man, thinking if he was friend's with Krycek, he was a nice person. The only mean people she'd ever met were Biars and that guard at the prison when they'd been leaving. Everybody else had loved her, thinking she was the cutest thing in the world. Fortunately for her and most that knew her, it hadn't gone to her head. But it had made her have a view of the world that was far from true.

"To the bathroom," the man said, smiling strangely at her. "What's your name?" he asked.

She felt suddenly wary and took a step backwards. "I'm going to find my mom now," she said. The man got up and stepped towards her, and she started to backup, but tripped and fell. The man grabbed her arm and jerked her to her feet.

"Finally gotcha, huh? And no mommy here this time to save your miserable little life, either," he said, smile widening. Her eyes widened and her lip trembled. She had never been as terrified in her whole life, not even when she'd first been introduced to Scully.

She did the only thing she knew to do. She screamed, as loudly as she could.

The man reached down and grabbed a stick he'd been carrying with him through the woods. He pulled it back, then brought it down on her head. Her scream ended abruptly as her world faded.

**

January 2, 1999
11:00 A.M.

The helicopter had landed close enough to the farm where Mulder, Scully, Melissa, and the child were supposed to be hiding that Skinner and Bill were able to reach the farm in 5 minutes. They found Mulder almost immediately, searching frantically in the houses that had supposedly been abandoned for years.

Bill, being Bill, thought the worst. "What happened to Dana?" he asked, just as Scully and Melissa appeared. They didn't hear him or see him and Skinner at first.

"No sign of her," Scully said to Mulder.

"Agent Mulder, Agent Scully, what is going on?" Skinner asked. Melissa jumped and Scully whirled to look at him. Her eyes narrowed.

"Bill," she said, her voice cold. "What are you doing here?" She knew exactly what he was going to do: try to convince her that it wasn't really Melissa and her daughter, if they ever found Daina Kathryn, and that Mulder was crazy and talking her into believing things he did. Then he would drag her home and put her in a hospital.

Sure enough, he went forward to put a hand on her shoulder. She jerked away before he could speak, but the hand returned, gripping hard enough that she grimaced. Her arms were sore after hours of carrying Daina Kathryn, and he wasn't helped. Mulder took a warning step towards him, but he ignored him. "Taking you home," he said.

"Leave me alone, Bill. My only daughter is here somewhere, and I'm going to find her."

"Would you mind explaining, Agent Scully?" Skinner asked, as Mulder roughly shoved Bill's hand from Scully's shoulder and they glared at each other, neither making the first move towards a fight.

Scully glanced at Melissa. "I'll explain it all later, sir. Right now, we have to find my daughter, Daina Kathryn. She disappeared a few minutes ago, we heard her scream. We have reason to believe it was Alex Krycek."

"Krycek." Skinner almost spit out the word. "Mr. Scully?" he said to Bill, in his no-nonsense voice that very few dared to argue with. Mulder was the only one, actually. "Go back to the helicopter. You'll hurt more than help this search." Bill started to protest, but Skinner wasn't finished. "Melissa, go with him and explain what happened. We'll join you as soon as we can."

Reluctantly, Bill and Melissa left, already starting to argue about whether or not Daina Kathryn was really Scully's daughter, though Bill had never even seen her. He didn't seem to question any longer if Melissa was really his sister, though, for which Scully would have been glad. But she was too worried at the moment to be worried about anything. If Daina Kathryn died now, she was sure she would, too. Or her heart would.

Skinner saw the look on her face: she looked ready to cry and like she wanted to scream at the same time. There was only one thing he could do. "Agent Scully, let's go find your daughter," he said, and she surprised him by bursting into tears. "Agent Scully?"

She quickly wiped her eyes. "Thank you, sir," she said.

"Scully, you go back to where you saw Daina Kathryn go. Sir, you check that way. And I'll look over there," Mulder said, taking charge, pointing in the different directions. There was no argument.

**

January 2, 1999
11:15 A.M.

Daina Kathryn had never had such a bad headache in her whole life. In fact, she'd never had a headache at all that she could remember. When she reached up to put her fingers on her head, just to try to relieve the ache in her skull, her fingers came back with blood on them. She started to cry without even realizing it.

"Hello. Daina Kathryn?" The man who'd hit her was in the same room. They were in the house she'd found him behind, she tied up in the corner, he sitting nearby in a chair, with something hanging out of his mouth. It smelled bad and there was smoke coming from it that hurt her eyes. She tried not to cough, which she knew would just make her head hurt worse. "I'm Rammin."

"You hurt me," she said, sniffling. When she realized she was doing this, she tried to stop, but couldn't quite do it. She was too miserable and she wanted her mom more than ever.

He smiled and she shivered. He had a mean smile. "You screamed," he said.

"You were going to take me away from my mom!" she said, more loudly than she meant to, then cringed, waiting for him to come at her again with the stick. Instead, he sighed and looked the ceiling.

"I wonder what's keeping Jonnes," he said, puffing smoke out of the thing in his mouth. She couldn't help coughing and the pain rose again so she could barely stand it. She was going to die now, she knew it. She was only 4 years old and she was going to die.

**

January 2, 1999
11:15 A.M.

Scully was searching the outside of every house, listening closely. She got lucky. As she was passing what was the last house on the part of the farm Mulder had instructed her to search, she heard, very faintly, "You were going to take me away from my mom!" It was both her own voice and Daina Kathryn's. Both strong and bold.

Quietly, she went up to the house and tried the back door. It was open, so she crept inside, slipping off her shoes before she did and leaving them outside. She could hear them more loudly now.

"I wonder what's keeping Jonnes," a man said, and she wondered who Jonnes was. Krycek, maybe? There was a moment of silence, which she used to creep closer to the door and put her head against it.

Daina Kathryn was sniffling as though she'd been crying, which wasn't surprising. "When am I going to see my mom again?" she asked.

"Oh, I don't know," the man said. "Maybe never."

Her small cries rose to a wail, the first time Scully had heard it. "I want my MOM!" she cried. And Scully couldn't take it anymore. She hit the door with her shoulder and it came open easily. She almost stumbled, but managed to stop herself, and put her hand in her jacket pocket as though reaching for a gun. It was a gamble, but it might work.

"Mom!" Daina Kathryn said, leaping to her feet, then wincing. Scully could see the blood drying on her forehead and in her hair.

The man in the room with her pulled out a gun, ignoring completely the hand Scully had ready. and then Scully realized she'd taken her hand from her pocket to hold out arms for her daughter. "Stop right there," he said to Daina Kathryn, who saw what he had and remembered Mulder's use of it before. She stopped, eyes pleading for Scully to help her.

"Please let her go," Scully begged the man. He just laughed.

"Let her go? Why?"

"Please. She's my only daughter."

"See if I care. She moves, she dies."

Scully's mind raced, as she tried to think of a way to save Daina Kathryn, who looked as though she were getting closer and closer to risking the gun if only to be with her mother. The world stopped, Scully with her arms still stretched forward, Daina Kathryn's eyes boring into her own, and the man pointing his gun at Daina Kathryn.

The still image broke in a second. Daina Kathryn could no longer stand it and leaped for her mother. The man pulled the trigger on the gun. and Scully jumped just in time and intercepted it. The last thing she heard as she dropped to the floor was Daina Kathryn yelling, "Mom! MOMMY!" and the sound of another gunshot. Daina Kathryn. they'd gotten her, too.

**

January 2, 1999
11:20 A.M.

Mulder and Skinner burst into the house at the very moment of the second gunshot. Both had come running at the sound of the first.

"Oh, God," were Mulder's first words when they reached the room where the shots had been fired. Scully was lying on the floor, bleeding from her right arm. Daina Kathryn was on the floor beside her, sobbing and holding her left hand and saying, "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy," over and over again.

He went to her and pulled her into his arms, surprising Skinner, who'd expected him to go to Scully. "Shh, D. Shh. She's going to be okay. Shhhh," he whispered, rocking her in his arms. She wrapped her arms around him and put her face into his neck, sobbing.

Skinner, leaving him to comfort this mystery child, surveyed the rest of the room - and saw the one thing he never would have expected. He knew immediately what happened, somehow.

The man who'd shot Scully was slumped in a chair, blood spreading over his chest. And behind him stood, of all people, Alex Krycek, holding his own gun. He dropped it on the floor when he saw Skinner watching him. "I didn't shoot her," was all he said, then was disappearing out the open window before Skinner could say that he knew that.

Daina Kathryn was mostly quiet now, still not looking anywhere but at Mulder. Scully was waking up a little, which meant the wound was probably not too bad, moaning softly. Skinner watched it all quietly, then took a deep breath. "Mulder, you take her," he said, meaning Daina Kathryn. "Let's get Scully to a hospital."

**

January 2, 1999
11:25 A.M.

Mulder and Skinner got back to the helicopter in record time since each was carrying another. Mulder put Daina Kathryn in Melissa's lap and said, "I'll be right back. Don't leave without me."

Bill, who was still not too happy with having been left, started to say something about hurrying up and getting "Dana to a damned hospital," but didn't finish. Mulder was already gone.

They waited in silence, Skinner doing his best to stop the blood flow in Scully's arm. It was slowing on its own anyway, so he wasn't too worried about her. He was pretty sure she'd make it, anyway.

Mulder came back soon enough, talking loudly to someone over the helicopter. "It's okay. It won't hurt you. Come on, we have to hurry!" He finally got whoever or whatever it was to get on with him. The mouths of both Skinner and Bill dropped open.

Clutching tightly to his hands were 2 more children.

**

May 9, 1999
10:30 A.M.

Daina Kathryn was still not used to waking up in a bed in a house, even after so many months of it. She was usually the first one up, but this morning she could hear the voices of her mom and Mulder downstairs, as well as. as Melissa!

She leaped out of bed, not bothering to get dressed before racing downstairs to Melissa's open arms. "Aunt Missy!" she cried, hugging her tightly.

"Hi, D.!" Melissa said, returning the greeting. "I brought you something."

"What?" she asked eagerly, grinning from ear to ear.

"It's out in my car."

"Can I go with her to get it? Please?" Daina Kathryn begged Mulder and Scully. They already seemed to know what was going on.

Scully smiled. "Sure, go."

Daina Kathryn skipped along behind her aunt to the car, then waited impatiently for Melissa to get the door unlocked and to find whatever it was she had. She finally found the gift and handed it to Daina Kathryn.

The girl looked at it curiously, a little confused. "What is it?" she asked.

Now it was Melissa's turn to grin, as though she was with her sister instead of her niece. "It's a violet."

A slow smile spread across Daina Kathryn's face. "A violet," she whispered, staring at it, unable to take her eyes from the beautiful flower. She was still gazing at it without speaking when Mulder and Scully, along with Lucas and Samantha who'd been awakened and were dressed, came outside.

"I think she likes it," Mulder said. He put a gentle hand on Daina Kathryn's arm. "Come on, D. Leave it out here so it can get some sun. We can bring it in later, okay?"

She nodded, putting it on the grass of the front lawn and taking his hand. The 6 of them walked back as a family.

In the yard, the violet waved gently in the breeze. It was the end of the rainbow continuum, the everlasting band of beautiful lights that brightened the world like the smile of a child, the love of a mother and child, or the enduring strength of a family.

The End


Hope you enjoyed it. I know I enjoyed working on it. The story actually started last year, with an idea about Scully having a child that lived with Samantha... after Christmas Carol, it evolved into a girl living with Melissa. So I had the idea before Chris Carter! :)

Feedback is always appreciated!

Emily

 

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