Title: Sparkle and Fade
Author: MP
Disclaimer: They're not mine. They belong to 1013, CC, DD, GA and FOX.
Written: June 2000
Spoilers: From here, there and everywhere up to and including `Requiem'.

Summary: I'd prefer not to summarize this particular story.

A long time ago, over ten years now, I was a father for an instant, although I didn't find out until that instant had past. Diana had terminated the pregnancy without so much as telling me first and I hated her for it. Why didn't she at least consult me first? I often wonder in brief moments of contemplation who that little person would have been given the chance or if the circumstances had been different. Whatever the case this incident triggered off the chain of events, which eventually led to the demise of my fifteen-month marriage to Diana Fowley.

I tried to console myself with the notion that children were a liability in my line of work. Every time I close my eyes children I've lost haunt me. Samantha, Emily and countless others from hundreds of cases I failed to solve in time. I don't think I could cope if someone knocked on my door and told me that someone by the likes of John Lee Roche had my son or daughter.

"They just sparkle and fade, don't they Agent Mulder?" One of the parents of Roche's victims once said to me.

"I'm sorry?" I'd asked, not quite sure what it was he was referring to.

"Children who've had their lives cut short by some cruel twist of fate, they shine for an instant and then they're extinguished...they sparkle and fade."

I had been reminded by his comments in the recent Amber Lynn Pierre case, when Harold Piller had told me how a child became a walk-in. The walk-ins saved the child from "a particularly violent fate that wasn't meant to be ... which is why the spirits intervene transforming matter into pure energy. Starlight."

In death these children's souls are allowed to sparkle, with a luminescence they were not capable of in life.

Later I mused to Scully outside the diner "You know, I never stop to think... that the light is billions of years old by the time we see it. From the beginning of time right past us into the future. Nothing is ancient in the universe. But, maybe they are souls, Scully. Traveling through time as starlight, looking for homes."

They now sparkle for an eternity.

I'm still not certain as to whether or not Scully buys into the idea of walk-ins. She'd told me it was "foolproof", that it was simply a "comforting explanation that everyone could live with". Maybe she's right, but I know what I saw and I know that my sister was among them. I think what disturbed Scully the most about this case was the possibility that walk-ins did in fact exist. I don't think it seemed fair to her to think that some children were saved and some were left to face fate alone. Emily deserved to be saved just as much as Samantha did. How do they decide whose fate is "meant to be" and who's isn't? I feel violently ill with guilt every time I think about Emily and her mother.

I've always tried to avoid taking Scully on cases to houses with small children. I think that this was as much for my benefit as it was for Scully's. I simply can't bear the look that flickers through her gaze when she lays eyes on them, of course she hides it in an instant, but it's there long enough for me to catch it. What makes it worse is because Scully's a woman the parents give her the baby to hold while they look for that vital piece of evidence. During that fateful case in Oregon when we stepped into Theresa Hoese's house and I caught sight of that baby I felt as though I'd walked into a deathtrap and there was no autopsy to divert Scully to. The situation went from bad to worse when Theresa handed that baby over to Scully. Neither of us knows how to act around the other when there's a child involved, we can both hear each other's thoughts even though they remain unspoken. It's ridiculous, but I couldn't even maintain eye contact with her for more than three seconds while she was holding that baby.

Later, I'd sat alone in my motel room deliberating what I should say to Scully. I'd found out almost four years ago that I'd never have children, it was the moment that one of those Kirk clones had explained to me that Scully was infertile. I had futility attempted to save a vial of her ova, but was later informed that it was no longer viable. If I could get rid of one emotion it would be guilt, but sometimes I think I need it, that guilt's the only reminder that my soul and my conscience still exists.

As I held her I could feel her fading away from me and finally I said it.

"It's not worth it, Scully."

There was a long pause.

"What?" she asked innocently, although I knew she had an inkling as to what I was referring to.

"I want you to go home."

"Oh Mulder," she said as she tried to assure me. "I'm going to be fine." 'Fine'...I inwardly cringe at the word...if I had a dollar for every argument we'd had that was initiated by that awful little word I'd be a rich man.

"No, I've been thinking about it. Looking at you tonight, holding that baby-knowing that everything that's being taken away from you. A chance for motherhood and your health and that baby. I think that-I don't know, maybe they're right."

"Who's right?" Scully asked as she faded even further away.

"The FBI. Maybe what they say is true, though for all the wrong reasons. It's the personal costs athat are too high."

Scully cried and guilt once again surged through my body. For a moment I wished that the walk-ins would come and save her, take her away and convert her into starlight. If they did I'd wish by her star every night. I would live, fight and die by it.

"There has to be an end, Scully."

This comment created an inner turmoil in my mind, half of me wanted to push her away from myself and the FBI and the other half wanted to chain her to my side and keep her there under lock and key-forever and ever.

That day it finally ended for Scully, though not in the way I had intended. Instead of fading away and becoming as elusive as those silent childhood dreams she had until that day considered inconceivable, our lives became intertwined by our past actions in a way that we had never believed to be possible. Upon my return I found my Scully as vibrant as the day we'd first met-before I dragged her down with me-and she looked positively radiant.

Now I look over to Scully and see her sparkling as she swaddles our child and I smile. Then I turn to look out of my apartment window and swear by a star. I silently make a promise to myself and to Scully that our child will never find the need to be transformed into starlight.

The End

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