E-Mail address - email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Rating - G
Category - V, A, R
Spoilers - mytharc, in a general way
Keywords - MSR; character death, story set in the future
Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully, Emily and the monologues from Memento Mori belong Chris Carter, 1013, Fox Network and whoever else claims them. The other characters here are all mine.
Summary - A 19-year-old girl reads her grandmother's journal and is granted with
a lesson for life.
I got this one from my grandfather. I love grandpa. He is a cute and sweet elderly man that just loves kids. My grandpa loves me too, he told me last Christmas that I'm his favorite, but that should be our little secret. No wonder I'm his favorite, the two other grandkids he has are those butt-heads known as my brothers.
Oh, I guess I should talk about me first, but I'm so anxious to see all these pages written in that I don't have a clue where or how to start.
My name is Stephanie Ann McLauglin. I'm 19 years old and live in a small town in England called Hawks Lane. My grandpa, mom's father, lives in Massachusetts. I miss him a lot. He came to visit us last summer and then I went to the US during the Christmas holidays to spend some time with him. Needless to say dad didn't like the idea at first, but he understood grandpa was lonely and getting older. Seeing grandpa last December was a shock. He looked at least ten years older than he really was. Well, he always looked older, maybe I just hadn't realized it before.
I understand my brothers don't care too much about him, or maybe don't care as much as I care, but I can't see a reason for grandpa having chosen me as his favorite. And reconsidering, my brothers are not jerks. Actually, they're great. James, 27, works in a big company in London and Richard, 24, is a lawyer. I guess they just don't have much time right now. I'm afraid I won't either now that I've gone into Med School.
Speaking of this, I remember how happy grandpa was when I told him I was going to be a doctor. He even bought me a stethoscope. At that time, about a year ago, I didn't understand it. In fact, that was something I could only learn after visiting him, last Christmas, when he gave me a very special gift...
The living room was large and well decorated. In one of the corners, a big Christmas tree stood still, not many presents under it. In the opposite side, the fire place sent sparks of light and little cracks from the wood that burned in it.
I entered the room and found my grandfather watching tv. "Grandpa, I'm so glad to be here with you again! I missed you a lot."
The old man grabbed the remote, silenced the sound that came from the tv and turned to my direction with a soft smile on his face. "I know Annie, I missed you too." Then he lowered his head, concentrating his gaze on the fire in the fireplace.
"What's wrong, grandpa?" I asked, worried. I had noticed a couple of years ago, when I started growing up, that my grandfather wasn't always that joyful man that used to buy me candy and take me to the playground everyday after school when he visited me in England. In fact, I could see he was a very sad old man that tried to hide his own feelings from everyone else around him.
"Huh?" he replied, after a moment. "Did you say something?"
"Please, grandpa, don't try to fool me. You know you can't! I asked what's wrong," I told him with a look he had never seen on my face, but yet a look that seemed so familiar to him. His face went pale and by the look he shot me I felt my heart stop for a moment.
"Grandpa, are you okay?"
He was open-mouthed, looking at me and it scared me a bit. "Yes, I'm fine dear, don't worry."
"You are not," I replied seriously. I don't know how I knew it, but I felt an immense sadness in him. "Why don't you tell me what you feel? Please, you need to share these feelings with someone else. You've always been so introspective, so... so mysterious and..."
He sighed heavily, interrupting me.
"Am I asking too much?" I had a slight desperate tone in my voice. Then I just stared at him in silence.
He took a deep breath and rose from the couch he was sitting on. Walking slowly towards the door of his bedroom, he left me alone in the living room. After a minute, the old man came back with something in his hands. It was a very old book, I figured out as I saw the yellow tone on the side of the pages.
"What's that, grandpa?" I asked, curious.
He sat on the couch again and tapped his left leg, as if asking me to come closer.
"Annie, you're right. Perhaps this is the time to share my feelings with someone. If I haven't done it so far it's because I never felt I could or never thought I had found the right person. But now, now I'm certain I can because I found you." I was sitting on the floor before him with my arms crossed over his left leg, my chin resting on them.
That surprised me. "Why, why me? Why do *I* deserve to know your secrets? The ones that you've been hiding for so long time?"
"Because you're the only one who had the touch to notice them. God, I've been faking smiles for years, even when in my heart all I could feel was a profound emptiness, and no one ever noticed. Until a full-of-reason nineteen year old girl came to me and demanded that I to open my heart. I should have expected this, you're just like her," he said, with tears in his eyes but still staring at me.
I was speechless. "Her? Her who?"
"Here," he said, showing me the book, "it's all in here." I took the diary from him. "This is where all the answers are. You'll understand me once you start reading it." And before I had the chance to ask him any other question, he left the living room, telling me goodnight.
I remember I didn't even sleep that night. As soon as grandpa left me alone in the living room with the book that held his secrets I opened it and started turning over the pages, not paying much attention at first.
The book had a brown leather hard back and wasn't very thick. Whoever had written in it, didn't waste time writing foolish things. The dates on the top of the pages weren't close at all. It seemed as the diary was only used for special, very special occasions and its owner was very direct and to the point, since the entries were always short.
Before I took a better look at it, I decided to go to my bedroom, where I would be more comfortable. I call it *my* bedroom because I know grandpa has it here especially for me. Sometimes another host would use it, of course, but I know grandpa has it here for me and I have all that I need in there: a big comfy bed, a closet and a stereo.
So, I put on my pajamas and jumped into the warm bed. Turning on the lamp on the nightstand, I opened the book and put my eyes on the very first page.
For dear Dana, beloved sister and friend.
Dana was my grandmother. I never met her. I remember sometimes, when I was younger, grandpa would sit beside me to tell me how much I looked like her and what a beautiful woman I would become if I didn't change too much. Not that I wouldn't be pretty if I changed, but I know what grandpa meant. He saw her when he looked at me. I guess he always did, but now that I've grown up I am no longer allowed to hear the stories about his youth, his work and about her. I wonder why adults act like this. They open their hearts to kids, trust them, trust in their innocence, and when the kids grow up they don't trust anymore. It's like we lose our purity, our loyalty.
Oh, I'm already wandering. Where was I?
As I turned over another page I saw a picture attached to it with a clip. There were two teenagers in a garden, smiling. On the back of the picture it said "Dana and Melissa, France, 1978." So this is what she looked like, I thought to myself. No wonder grandpa saw her in me. I have her eyes and her hair. The very same red hair that I always hated because it looked like fire and that's what my classmates used to call me: "fire-head". I was so pissed off that when I was fourteen I dyed it black. Wow, now I understand why grandpa was furious when he first saw me. Even mom was surprised by his reaction. He yelled at me, saying that I shouldn't have done it, that I had the most beautiful hair in the world. And he cried. We thought it was because of the medicine he was taking, that it could affect his mood. Now I see we were completely wrong.
The first pages of the diary were written during Dana's adolescence. It's weird, but I can't call her grandma. In the few pictures of her I've seen she was young. And she was beautiful.
Those first pages didn't interested me very much, so I kind of skipped them, sometimes reading parts of it. I wanted to know her, of course, but more than that, I wanted to know the woman that touched grandpa's heart. Then I finally found it:
March 6th, 1992
So this was the first impression she had of grandpa, I thought to myself. I remember he told me once he didn't trust her when they started working together.
The next page was written a long time after the previous one and I could notice how much time changes things. By the way she talked about him, I would say she was already in love.
June 21st, 1994
Them? What did she mean by them? I had to ask grandpa. He had already told me about the X-Files but I always felt that there was so much more to be known. I glanced at the clock, almost 3 a.m. That would have to wait until the next day.
I ran down the stairs looking forward to talking to grandpa and was glad to find him sitting on the couch, waiting for me.
"Morning grandpa," I said, kissing his cheek "sorry I slept so much, but I couldn't stop reading the diary last night."
"No problem, dear, I thought this would happen. So, you have something to ask me, don't you?"
That surprised me. How did he know? Was he sitting on this couch just waiting for me to get up and come ask him all I wanted to know? Well, he is a psychologist, he knows how I think and how I'd react and that amazes me. And what amazes me even more is that I realize he was doing that because he wanted me not only to know the story of his life, but also to tell me himself, he just didn't want to admit it. So, after this quick thought, I finally spoke.
"Grandpa, can you tell me more about the X-Files and your job? I mean, Dana referred to *them*..."
"Well, sweetheart, our work was kind of annoying for some people in the FBI and even outside the bureau. Dana was assigned to debunk my theories and work since I was about to discover some things I shouldn't. These guys did hide bad secrets that no civilian was supposed to know, much less expose it to everyone, as they knew I would do. But Dana and I became not only partners, but devoted friends and that threatened their own work, that's why the X-Files were shut down. Those people tried to separate us attempting to stop the search for the truth, which at that point wasn't only mine."
I didn't know what to say. I started to wonder why on earth could there be people like that as grandpa interrupted my thoughts.
"There's more. A few months after the X-Files were closed, Dana was taken away. She was kidnapped from her apartment by a madman called Duane Barry. That bastard..."
At this point I could see tears forming in his eyes and realized how painful it must have been for him. Grandpa continued.
"They made me believe she was abducted by aliens and I spent so much time acting just like they wanted, I did believe in those lies. Those days were like hell.
Three entire months without her. Without my partner, without my friend, without my love. Yes, I already loved her by that time but was so silly that I didn't tell her. I think I always loved her, since our first case together. Then, one day I received a phone call informing me that Dana was found in a coma in a hospital in Georgetown. She just appeared there, no one could say how or who had taken her there. She fought for life and won. At least that time."
Grandpa was smiling faintly as he told me the story, but his features changed completely with that last sentence. At first I didn't know what he meant by that but after a brief thought I wondered if it had something to do with her death. I didn't know how my grandma had died yet. Until that day.
"What do you mean by that?" I asked curiously. Somehow I knew it was the question he was waiting for to continue.
"After Dana returned, the X-Files were reopened and we went back to work together. Everything seemed to be as normal as possible. One day, Dana discovered she had something under the skin of the back of her neck. A microchip, implanted in her by them when she was taken and with obscure purposes. And a year and a half after having it removed from her neck Dana became ill."
Now I was perplexed and terrified by how far those men would go to reach their goals. The story grandpa had just told me seemed like something out of Barney Rippley's terror romances. And even being so scary, I had to know the rest of it, this was my grandparents real lives after all.
"What happened next? You weren't married yet, were you?" I asked, eager to hear more.
"No. I hadn't even declared my love for her yet. I guess you should read a bit more of this journal, Annie. I'm sure you'll find what you want to know."
"I'm sorry, grandpa." Was all I could say as I saw him wiping away the tears from his eyes. What kind of feeling was that that made my hero, my strong and brave G-man cry like that? He nodded and rose, leaving me alone in the living room.
Back in my room I spent the whole afternoon reading my grandmother's journal and got more perplexed with each line I read. Whoever they were, those men never seemed to go far enough. They took months of her life, her memories, her sister's life, her faith in the government and justice, but they never took her strength. Dana was very strong and I noticed that it was her who kept grandpa sane for all the years they worked together. And they never took away her love for Fox Mulder.
I had never wished to be like her as much as now. She was the strongest person I had ever known of. She was intelligent, smart, independent and affectionate. I wish I had met her. I wish I could look at her now and call her grandma and sit beside her to hear stories and advice. My grandfather had good sense!
Continuing the reading, I got to a part of her journal that made me cry until I was miserable. The part when she found she had cancer. From that point on I could affirm with conviction that she loved grandpa, it was there, written in words of passion and devotion, undeniable. And she directed the words to him.
For the first time, I feel time like a heartbeat, the seconds pumping in my breast like a reckoning, the numinous mysteries that once seemed so distant and unreal threatening clarity in the presence of a truth entertained not in youth, but only in its passage.
I feel these words as if their meaning were weight being lifted from me, knowing that you will read them and share my burden as I have come to trust no other. That you should know my heart, look into it, finding there the memory and experience that belong to you, that are you, is a comfort to me now as I feel the tethers loose and the prospects darken for the continuance of journey that began not so long ago and which began again with a faith shaken and strengthened by your convictions, if not for which I might never have been so strong now as I cross to face you, and look at you, incomplete, hoping that you will forgive me for not making the rest of the journey with you.
I felt a lump in my throat as I read that. Seeing those words written in her steady handwriting made me feel like my heart was being ripped out of me. And when I read the next ones, I felt the urge to run into grandpa's arms and sob. The mere thought of him reading that for the first time, suffering and feeling guilty, made me cry desperately.
In med school I learned that cancer arrives in the body unannounced, a dark stranger who takes up residence, turning its new home against itself.
This is the evil of cancer. That it starts as an invader but soon becomes one with the invaded forcing you to destroy it but only at the risk of destroying yourself. It is science's demon possession. By treatment, science's attempt at exorcism. Mulder, I hope that in these terms you might know it and know me, and accept a stranger, someone you recognize but cannot ever completely cast out. And if the darkness should have swallowed me as you read this, you must never think there was the possibility of some secret intervention, something you might have done, and though we've traveled far together, this last distance must necessarily be traveled alone.
I have not written to you in the last twenty-four hours because the treatment has weakened my spirit as well as my body. Mulder, it's difficult to describe to you the fear of facing an enemy which I can neither conquer nor escape.
Penny Northern has taken a downturn. I now look at her with a respect that can only come from one who is about to walk the same dark path. Seeing her I can't help but see myself in a month or a year. I pray that I have her courage to face this journey.
Mulder, I feel you close though I know you are now pursuing your own path. For that I am grateful. More than I could ever express. I need to know you're out there if I am ever to see through this.
Dear Lord, how could she be so strong? The woman apologized to my grandfather instead of blaming him, as expected. What a big heart and wisdom she had. What kind of love was it that they shared? Their relationship was amazingly unique. I imagine how bad grandpa must have felt seeing the love of his life fading away, escaping from his reach when nothing could be done. I read a few more pages, learning about her cancer coming back powerfully some months after that and how she healed again. And as if that all wasn't enough, I found an entry written at Christmas, 51 years ago.
I came to San Diego for this Christmas. Being in this house again brings me some uncomfortable memories of my childhood, Missy and Ahab. I'd rather not be here, but I can't deny these memories or the past behind them. One of the numerous good things Ahab told me was this, never deny my feelings. He taught me to face them with courage and that's what I'm doing now.
I found an ill baby girl here that I believe is Missy's daughter. It hurts like hell to look at her. Brings me bitter memories of the circumstances under which Missy died. I wish I'm wrong about it and that I could deny this baby, but I just can't. I fight my feelings but I can't help it, I love Emily. This is her name. I love her as if she were my own child. I love her as a mother loves her daughter. And I secretly made a wish on this Christmas evening.
It is still hard to believe this is happening. Emily isn't Melissa's daughter, she's mine. I am Emily's mother. I'm lost. After all that happened to me and has haunted me along the time after my three month absence I allowed myself to think there was nothing else to come. Then Emily appeared. So suddenly yet so remarkably.
Emily was my daughter. Emily IS my daughter. She may have passed away tonight, but I will not let her be forgotten. The angel that was my little girl will always have a place in my heart as well as in yours, Mulder. I had never thought of you as a father before, until I saw the way your eyes brightened when you met Emily, the vulnerable look on your face when she was in the hospital, your helpless attempt to convince the judge that she was my daughter and should be with me. Until I saw the sadness that took place over you when she died.
'Emily was not meant to be.' Even though those words make sense, somehow I can't believe them. I do think Emily had a mission here. The mission of showing me that I can't lose compassion, hope and faith. And the mission of showing me I am definitely not alone. I have you, Mulder.
After reading that, I felt the urge to run to grandpa's arms and hold him tightly forever. I still don't know if I was crying for him, for Dana, or for me. Maybe I was the one who needed to be held.
At that time I still hadn't figured out why grandpa wanted me to read the journal. I knew he wanted to tell me his history with Dana, but I felt there was something else hidden in that. Maybe he wanted to show me what a wonderful woman Dana Katherine Scully was and make me wish she were here with us and see how unjust our world can be. Now I see it. I see he wanted me to know that faith and strength are above everything else. They can take your life, you job, your family, your innocence, but they can't take away your beliefs. Dana showed that to him and now he was trying to show it to me.
It was Christmas Eve. Grandpa and I set the table with supper and after exchanging presents, we walked together to sit side by side before the fire in the living room. We talked very little and he asked me how much of the diary I had read. Grandpa wanted to read the last few pages with me that night. He said it had been the way he found to spend Christmas with Dana over the past years. Even being so painful, reading her journal was the way he felt her presence near him and he didn't want to change his ritual. She would be waiting for him that night.
One day, during my treatment, I asked Dr. Zuckerman if he believed in miracles. I am witnessing one. Actually, I have this miracle inside of me. I'm carrying your child, Mulder.
I feel that I've been given a second chance and I wonder why God gave me the gift of motherhood not once, but twice. All I can feel now is an immense joy because I can finally have back everything that was stolen from me by the time Emily was conceived.
Emily. Wherever she is now, I feel her warm presence everywhere. I don't blame those who caused us all this suffering anymore. I gave it all up, for her. But I will never give up on her. For some reason, a reason that I might prefer not to learn, I believe she WAS meant to be.
"We were already married when she wrote this," his voice echoed in my ears, bringing tenderness and anxiety. "After all those events occurred after Emily's death, we assumed they were capable of anything but yet we had each other and we couldn't deny it to ourselves. So we finally admitted our feelings. I never thought saying - I love you - to Dana would feel so good," he sighed. I hooked my right arm to his left one, leaned my head on his shoulder and continued reading.
I brought Elizabeth Katherine Mulder to this world a week ago and I can't describe what a wonderful joy I feel when I hold that tiny pink bundle in my arms. And when I look at you, Mulder. You have the happiest daddy-face I've ever seen. Our little girl stole your heart the first moment you saw her. I love her more than anything. She is the most perfect thing love could ever create. I love her bright blue eyes, her little hands grabbing my thumb... I love the baby faces she makes all the time, I love her cry. And I thank God for this miracle He has brought into our lives.
Elizabeth is my mother. She wasn't meant to be. She was a miracle: Dana was barren. Finding out she was pregnant must have been one of the best moments in their lives, the celebration of their love for each other. It seemed like happiness had found home in their hearts.
This morning I was granted with the most beautiful sound I ever heard. Elizabeth spoke her first word. She stared at me with those big blue eyes that you claim she got from me and that lightens her angel face and spoke with the sweetest voice * mommy * . My legs felt weak, my whole body trembled and my heart melted. Dear Lord, I had never realized I would ever hear someone call me that. And what a peaceful feeling it brought me. I feel like I finally found happiness.
Those entries were soft but so deep. I knew she was being sincere. I knew Dana was happy. For the first time in several years she sounded light. She had such a beautiful family, a husband that was devoted to her and a lovely daughter that gave purpose to her life. What else would she want?
Since her cancer, Dana directed every word in her diary to - Mulder -. It's unbelievable, but she called him by the last name even after their marriage. She wrote each sentence, each line of her story as if she knew he was going to read it someday. Was she sure he would? Even when her cancer went into remission, why didn't she stop writing to him? Did she know she wasn't cured? This thought just came into my mind when I started reading the next piece.
What I most feared came true today. My cancer is back. I have felt its haunting presence around me for the last two years, since Elizabeth was born. Oh my God, when will this nightmare be over? I panic with the thought of leaving you and our little princess, Mulder. I can't leave the man I love to pursue his own path. Not anymore. We are a family now. Your path is my path and mine is yours. And we must be together on this to guide our baby through it, through this life. With strength and love.
I lie on this bed praying that I have the strength to finish this. Fighting death this last year became my goal but I lost. Once more the evil won. I'm sorry Mulder, I tried.
I am not afraid anymore. I know that, wherever I might be beyond this life, I will be also in your heart and soul. We are one now.
I close my eyes wishing to be able to open them tomorrow but if that doesn't happen, Mulder, I want you to know that I will always love you. You and Elizabeth were my only reason to fight for life and if I didn't succeed it's because I've already completed my journey in this world. I have loved and been loved.
Now I must go and continue this journey on the other side of life, waiting for us to get together again. No matter how long it takes, I will be waiting for you.
I love you both.
I couldn't hold my tears with that. She fought. She fought for Mulder, she fought for Elizabeth, she fought for herself. And she was so brave. But she lost. *They* lost.
I pulled my head from grandpa's shoulder and looked up at him. What I saw in his eyes spoke more than a thousand words. It still hurt. He missed her as much as he did ten, twenty, forty years ago.
That left me speechless. I guess it took me a good 5 minutes to get back to the real world and when I realized I was cradled in grandpa's arms, crying softly. I felt so miserable. And so did grandpa. Even though he tried to hide it I saw his grief in his bitter, sad teary hazel eyes.
"I still miss her," grandpa said, quietly. I knew that. And as I started to imagine the damage her death must have brought to his life, he added, "after Dana was gone, my life lost its purpose. I couldn't bear being in that house, seeing her things, smelling her perfume and waiting for her to come through the front door as she used to do everyday. I quit the Bureau and came to Chilmark to live with my mother. She raised Elizabeth. I was lost."
That night was strange. I spent the rest of Christmas Eve trying to find the right words to comfort grandpa but I found nothing. There were no words in the world, in any language, that would make his heart whole again.
The supper was silent. We exchanged a couple words pretending everything was normal and happy. But it wasn't. I pretended I didn't notice the sad look grandpa had on his face and the emptiness he held in his heart. I knew he and Dana had shared a unique love, mom told me once, but I never imagined it would be this big, this intense. And I didn't think it would last forever. After all those years, I didn't believe someone could still love another person the same way it was several years ago. Time does not heal. I was starting to learn that. I think I was starting to learn the meaning of the expression "true love".
I'm fascinated by this feeling. Dana didn't become a part of grandpa's life. She became his whole. And I should hate her for that. Grandpa was suffering. He had no life since she died. How could she do this to him? How could she be so selfish and drag his soul away with her? Actually I should blame grandpa. He was the one who let her take him in. He loved her so deeply that he just gave up his own life after she died. He didn't have other women, he didn't go out anymore. He didn't even allow himself to laugh and be happy. Not without her. His life was hers as well as hers was his. And when her life ended, his own ended along with it.
I now understand the purpose of that Christmas. Grandpa planned it all. He told me his story, showed me his life as he had done to no one else. He gave me the most important and beautiful lesson of my existence. Such a wonderful story like that could not be wasted, it had to be told and taught to someone. Grandpa chose me. And he waited. He waited for me to become mature enough. He waited all this time to finally meet the love of his life again. He completed his journey. A journey he thought had ended with Dana's life, but it had just begun with it. Grandpa has completed his task and now his soul is free. For the first time in my life I understood the magnitude of love.
I feel I have a path to follow now. A path that started when my grandfather died. Life is like this. Each one of us has a task to accomplish. Mine is to keep alive the purest feeling of all. Love. And it isn't going to be difficult for I have now two angels guiding me through my life.
- THE END -
Well people, that's it. Hope you enjoyed it.
Feedback to email@example.com