Title: Respects
Author: Falconer
Rating: G
Classification: V, A
Spoilers: "Memento Mori", "Emily"
Keywords: Mulder/Scully married, character death prior to story.
Archive: Gossamer, yes; Spooky's yes. If anywhere else, please ask me first. Thanks!
Disclaimer: I freely acknowledge the characters in _The X-Files_, Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, et al. are created by Chris Carter and are his copyrighted property, and the property of 1013 Productions, and the property of Fox Television, a unit of 20th Century Fox, Inc. I intend no infringement of these copyrights.
Feedback: Please do. I'd really like to hear if you liked this story. Send to my e-mail addy, etaonrish@home.com. Thanks!

Summary: Mulder and his young family visit his parents' gravesite.

The sun is bright and warm today, a welcome comfort on these grounds. The grass is neatly trimmed and so green you can taste its hue. It whispers beneath out feet as we walk a slow, deliberate pace toward the site.

Dana is smiling serenely as she glides along beside me. She is wearing a long, white dress today, glowing in the light, her hair burnished fire. Our hands are linked warmly by those of our little girl, Margaret Emiline. Though she inherited my dark brown hair, she has her mother's eyes. No longer baby blue, they've acquired that smoky blue color I always found so intriguing. Maggie Em, or Emmy as we sometimes call her, is giggling as she swishes her bare feet across the grass.

Meandering through the other plots, I wonder where the time has gone. This is the first time we've brought Emmy here. Just over a year old, I know she doesn't understand, but I think it's right to start bringing her here. She needs to get used to this place and see that it is beautiful, that death is a part of life and nothing to fear. Even from the most horrifying tragedies new life can grow. She is living proof of that.

When I'd shown Dana the tiny vial of her ova I'd saved from the Lombard Research Facility, she almost beat me to proposing. Somehow between kisses I managed to ask, she accepted, and the in vitro procedure worked like a dream on the first try. Her pain over the loss of Emily was almost completely washed away in the birth of Emmy. I doubt I'll ever know another woman who was happier that day.

I return my beautiful bride's smile--for that is how I will always think of her--and it spreads even more across her face. I've never understood how anyone with such a naturally small pair of lips could have them grow so wide and full in a smile. I would steal a kiss from her if I wouldn't also stumble over Emmy.

I pick her up, and bounce her a couple a times, and continue on. Birds are singing all through the trees, and she points upward with her little hand at each new song she hears. I kiss her, and she hugs me with her little baby-fat arms. Dana's grin blossoms to include her teeth, something she rarely did in the past, but she still lowers her face shyly. Always so demure in the matters of the heart, my darling.

We finally reach the Mulder family plot and stop for a moment, gazing down at the rose-pink marble stone with my parents' names on it. I set Emmy down and crouch to place the bouquet I'd brought in the bronze vase set in the cement base. I press my forehead against the top of the stone, seeking a sign, just a hint of promise for peace. But it is warm from the sun, not cool; it doesn't ease the ache.

I stand and take Emmy's hand, slowly shuffling to the side. I stop and stare dumbly at my own marker, where someday Dana and I will rest together. Then I notice she's gone, and the other bouquet drops from my nerveless fingers. The shudders overwhelm me, and my knees punch the ground. I clutch the stone, hanging on for death life.

Dana Katherine Mulder
Beloved Wife and Mother

My tears run like salty rivers, and I groan aloud. Then I hear Emmy whimper, and I do my damnedest to control my crying. It's not fair to her. She can't understand.

Please, dear God, help me understand.

The End

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