NEW: Fallen Cards (Part 4/4)

Fallen Cards
Chapter 17: Respite (Part 17 of 21)
by Euphrosyne (
(As previously disclaimed, rated and summarized.)

All comments, positive, negative, or otherwise, received with
much gratitude. If there is a part you are missing and would
like, please e-mail me and I'll be happy to send it.

Chapter XVII--Respite

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a
child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put
away childish things."

--Bible (KJV), 1 Corinthians 13:11
Diary of Katherine Jacobs
Entry for Tuesday, February 10, 1998

The last few days have been difficult. Mark and I have
talked, a fair amount, about what has happened, what I have

He has manipulated me.

I have let myself be manipulated.

Turns out the child was Dana's. Agent Scully's.

I've been avoiding Fox. But he does not want me. He
wants a cute kid sister. He wants someone I don't think I ever
was, and someone I'm don't think I can be, now.

I wish I could explain it to him. But we avoid each
other, and when we do intersect, for a minute, for two, the
tension is sharp enough to shred metal. There's too much. Too
much to say, too much we can't.

I had parents. I remember that.

I remember them.

I loved them.

I'm sure I did.

I want to see where they're buried. I need to see.

Our father was killed. I'm not sure I'm sorry.

Our mother died, last year. I wish I could shed tears
for her.

I need to.

I can't.

Why can't I cry?

What is wrong with me?

Oh, God, what have they done to me?

Friday, February 13, 1998
J. Edgar Hoover Building

Scully had been back at work for three days, and was
starting to settle into the routine of things again. The ease of
work, the comfort of it, the familiarity. The blessed

She opened the file, and froze.

A standard VCU file. An autopsy they wished her to
perform. They'd told her about the file, but until now she hadn't
seen the pictures. Of the little girl, about six. Her hand shook
uncontrollably, and she dropped the file on the floor, where it
landed, not loudly, but enough for Mulder to turn.


She did not answer for a minute. And then she did,
and her voice was as professional as it always was. She was
inordinately proud of that. "Nothing Mulder, the file just

"And I thought I was the clumsy one."

With effort, she summoned a smile as she collected the
papers. It was okay. It was okay, she chanted to herself. It was
just work.

"Let me help you." Mulder began to cross over, just as
she shoved everything in the file in a rush and stood.

"No, it's . . . " And of course, as always in situations
like this, left out the one thing that she *hadn't* wanted Mulder
to see. She'd forgotten one of the photographs, and it lay,
accusingly, serenely, condemningly on the floor.

Lucky Friday.

The strawberry-blonde child, with fine curling hair and
large grey eyes; both alike and unlike the one that she so
fervently wished to forget.

Her name had been listed as Anna Verity Robinson.


"Dana?" His voice had fallen to that quiet, concerned
tone that she abhorred. Nothing was wrong, and so why did
Mulder sound like she would break? It angered her swiftly. Her
placid morning mood evaporating, Scully almost snapped at
him. Hadn't he played this tune enough? She forced her voice
to a normal tone: controlled, even. "I'm fine, Mulder." Willed
an assurance into it she did not feel. Forced a cheerful smile
which she flashed quickly at him before turning away. The
shadows under her eyes could not be gotten rid of, and neither
could the hollow melancholy in her eyes, but that wasn't
apparent to anyone who wasn't looking.

Unfortunately, Mulder was looking. "It's the girl, isn't
it? She reminds you."

She almost exploded then. She hated, really hated,
perceptive people. Just leave me alone, she thought fiercely at
him. But he wouldn't, and so she just had to change the subject.
She had about reached her limit on this particular melody.

"Don't be silly, Mulder. Now, if you don't mind, some
of us actually have work to do." She tried to smile teasingly, it
came out as a bare grimace. She walked back to her desk before
he could respond, and put the file down, intending to leave

She was upset, and he could tell, damn him.

The office was silent for several moments.

She began to relax, settle into sorting some papers to
be put into her briefcase before making good her escape.


"Uh huh?"

"What's the matter?"

She tensed; an animal sensing a trap, making a last bid
for escape. "Nothing, I'm fine. Look, Mulder, I've really got to
get started on this."

He stood in front of her, blocking her way. "You don't
look fine."

"I'm fine, Mulder. Don't be silly." She felt his hands
touch her shoulders and flinched; unheedingly, he began to
knead the taut muscles there: tentatively at first, then more
forcefully as he felt her muscles give and she gave herself up to
his touch. She thought about protest, but what was the point?

"Mmm." She mumbled. "Feels good." She relaxed a
little more. There was nothing threatening in his touch, and it
felt so good . . . she remembered that she felt comfortable with
Mulder, safe. She didn't want to think, and for now, it was nice
to feel taken care of. To pretend everything was fine and good.
She leaned forward into him.

She heard his voice in her hear, low and measured.
"Y'know, Dana, you can talk to me."

Immediately she went rigid, forced herself to relax. "I
know", she said, but her voice lacked the conviction she
would've liked, the belief she knew he wanted to hear.

*This is Mulder*, she told herself. *Mulder. He'll
wait till you're ready. He may be persistent, but he doesn't

But she'd been pushing him away for a while now, and
truth was, he was becoming impatient. He might leave her alone
this night, but soon, being Mulder, he'd want answers.

And she was the one he'd demand them from.

Sunday, February 15, 1998
Apartment of Dana Scully
11:43 p.m.

Scully, the sadist, was forcing him to do expense


Besides, she was wrong. He did do them, sometimes.
He was sure he did.

He looked at the report, turned it around, and then
began, very carefully, to tear the paper.

"Well, Scully," he said, "since I forgot to ask yesterday
... be my Valentine?"

She laughed as he handed her a paper heart--torn out
of yet another ruined form.

She handed it back to him, shaking her head. "Get to
work, Mulder. These have to be done by tomorrow morning."

He grinned up at her from the floor as she settled back
on the couch, then sighed.

Paper hearts.

A memory that he'd rather not have.

Another memory that he was certain she could do
without as well.

He looked over at her, her bright head bent over her

He'd been thinking about it for weeks.

But she was not ready. She'd been through so much.
He could not ask her, not now.

He knew this. But he wanted something, something

It would be more convenient, he rationalized. They
spent most of their time together, now.

He forced himself to say the words.

"Scully, we need an apartment."

She laughed. "You have an apartment, even though
you're rarely there. The dust waits for you, Mulder."

Which was true. She'd stayed with her mother for a
couple of days, until it was clear her mother was well and until
her mother had started to ask the questions Dana could not
answer. She'd gone back to her apartment then, and after a
couple of days Mulder had started to come over in the evenings,
and then stay longer and longer. The past few days he'd been
practically living at her place, and she felt like she'd forgotten
how to breathe without him.

As for her apartment, although she admitted she felt
the ghosts, she would not let them rule her. Even if she woke
herself every night with her own screams.

So much easier to deny ghosts when you lived alone.

"No, we need an apartment, the two of us. Together."

"Mulder . . ."

"Screw the Bureau, Scully. They'll know soon enough
if they care to, and I'm tired of living my life in darkness. Our
life. I won't give them that. I'm here half the time anyway, but
the commute is a killer. Together, we can probably afford
something nice a little closer to the office, and we'd have more
room. And", he finished wistfully, "I miss my couch."

She smiled, sadly. *I can't keep up with
you Mulder,* she thought.

What she said was, "I need some time."

"Scully, we've had years."

"Barely a week, Mulder. It's too sudden; I'm not that
impulsive." *No,* she thought, I can't do this. No.

"I'm sure about this Scully. About us. Aren't you?"
Abruptly, he looked at her face, and must have seen the
indecision written in her eyes. "Oh." Hurt reflected itself on his
face, until he erased it. Mostly.

"No, Mulder," she reached a hand out to his shoulder,
but did not quite touch him before pulling it back. "I love you.
I do. You know I do. I just . . . yes, Mulder. Okay. Let's do it.
Find us a place, and let's just do it." She could not hurt him,
and she would not lose him. She could do this, if that's all he
was asking.

"Scully, I'm not trying to push you." He reached up a
hand and caught hers, twining their fingers together: his warmly
squeezing, hers cold and still.

"I know you're not, Mulder. It's fine." Her hand,
warmer now, squeezed his back slowly.

"Are you sure?" His eyes on her face, so intense they

"I wouldn't say it otherwise." She smiled, but her eyes
were not looking at him.

"Okay, then. I'll start looking tomorrow."

He started to grin, a wide, authentic, Muldergrin. She
smiled to see him, his guileless joy contagious.

Something occurred to him and he paused, looked
directly at her.

"You're positive?" A last escape, tentatively offered.

She merely leaned forward and kissed him until he had
forgotten the question, forgotten where he was, where he lived,
his own name.

But she did not answer.

Martha's Vineyard
Saturday, February 22, 1997

Kate had called Mulder.

She wanted to visit their parent's graves.

Scully drove him to the cemetery. They met Mark and
Kate there. By silent agreement, the siblings were left alone.

In front of their parents' gravestones, side by side.

Mulder, later, never spoke of what he had talked about,
on that day, in that place, with Kate.

Scully, years after, always wondered what could have
made him so pale in those fifteen minutes.

They went to dinner afterwards, together.

Scully ordered fettucine alfredo, with a dry white
chardonnay to drink. It was excellent, she thought, rolling it
around on her tongue. She sipped it slowly. It was something
to do, eating, drinking, and anything was better than watching
Mulder watch Kate, and Kate watch Mulder.

After the dessert had been cleared and the coffee
sipped, when there was nothing left to do, they sat silently.

Inevitably, they talked about what had happened.

Scully hadn't been able to hear it. She left the room
when they started, brother and sister, and went out onto the
balcony. She didn't want to know, and could not listen. Mark
followed her out, ever the gentlemen. It was impossible not to
like Mark; he followed some outdated code of chivalry that was
unfailingly considerate, unfailingly sweet. Katherine, she
thought, was a lucky woman.

"How do you and Katherine know each other?"

"It's complicated."

She smiled. It was always complicated.

He interrupted brusquely. "I know you don't like her."

"She's Mulder's sister. Of course, I ..." She did not
want this conversation. She changed the subject.

"I'm glad you're well. Katherine was very concerned."

"Yes. I'm tougher than I look." He grinned at her, she
smiled a little in return.

"That's why I thought . . ."

"Kate and I are not together, if that's what you're

She didn't know what to say.

"Your ... her brother cannot understand. He cannot.
She was taken, and he would lose his lunch to know the kinds
of horrors they expose these children to." He looked at her. "I
know, I saw ... well, I guess you do know."

Scully didn't say anything.

"They took my sister. My father worked for the
government. So they took her, and my parents toed the line. It
got them nowhere."

"They do strange things to the children they take.
Samantha did not age properly--look at her, she looks so young.
And yet so old. Some of us think they take the kids out to
space, in ships that travel at the speed of light, to account for the
lack of aging; others think they put the children in some kind of
suspended animation stasis--I'm not sure, even now, what to
believe. Katherine, like the other children before her,
remembers only traumatic fragments, nothing coherent. Kate--
Samantha--was so young when she came, little more than a
baby. She told me of it, the little she remembered--mostly pain,
some sadness. Now ... it is who she is. Part of her. I forced her
to do what must be done, and she hates herself for it. But she
did not have a choice. None of us do."

She wanted to laugh. He was worse than Mulder. But
she couldn't laugh. So she didn't say anything.

"Don't you understand? I loved her then. I love her

He looked at her again, and still she said nothing.


Words that did not mean nearly enough.

*In spite of everything I love her still.*

And the look on his face robbed her of any further
words to say.

February 23, 1998
Margaret Scully's condo
9:49 p.m.

The thirty-fourth day of her birth. Another year she
had lived, in spite of Them.

They had gone to dinner at her mother's invitation.

Mulder had taken her. It was the least he could do, he
said. He had forgotten to get her another keychain.

Truth was, he just didn't want to alarm her mother.
Neither did she.

They sat, later on the couch.

They didn't speak. They didn't move. They just sat
there, on far ends of the couch, each wrapped in their own hurt
and anger and misery.

Her mother had taken a phone call, from her younger
brother. Charlie, who never called.

Long distance.

They were the only two people in the room.

She wished her mother had invited someone else as

Anyone else.

Her mother had been gone over an hour.

She wished her mother would return.

She wondered what Charlie could possibly have to say.

On the T.V., a colorized Dr. Caligari grimaced at the

What in hell was her mother doing?

He spoke. His voice was loud in the room.

"Scully, he said, "Scully, we have to talk."

Instantly she felt cold. *We have to talk.* She had
always hated those four words. There was a knot in her
shoulders and a knot in her stomach.

He felt her withdraw from him even further, saw the
dread on her face. He didn't want to do this to her. He didn't
want to do this to him. But they'd both been avoiding the issue.

How could this go on?

Three days ago.

He should have known better. He had tried to be

He'd asked her to move in with him. He should have
been content. But then ...then he'd pushed for a time frame.

Patience really wasn't his strong suit.

She'd been angry.

He hadn't exactly reacted so well. He accused her--and
this, this was rich--of not telling him everything.

Three days ago.

Maybe this was not the best place.

Maybe he should just shut up.

But ... it had been three days.

Three days of *this*.

He thought about getting up and going home.

Then her mouth opened.

"I don't want to discuss this with you." Her words were
harsh against the buzz of the lights. Her face was paler than the
pearls at her throat.

He went still. He measured his words, coldly.

As coldly as she had.

"Are you saying you don't love me?"


"Well, are you saying you want time apart."

"No--not that. Please."

So maybe she did have feelings after all.

"But you don't want this."

"I--" She fell silent.

"Well, then, what do you want?" He shouted the
words. He was tired, he was frustrated, he was upset.

He was in her mother's home.

He could hate her, so easily.

"Can't things just stay like this? Do they have to
change?" She challenged him, pleaded with him.

Begged him.

He tried to choose his words.

"We're not going anywhere, Scully. I like this, but I
want more. I need to know that you do too."

"You're always pushing me, Mulder! Why can't you
just be content, for once, with everything the way it is?"

"I don't know, Scully. Because I want us to move
forward. Nothing stays the same forever, nothing is ever sure. I
just ... I ... I don't want to lose you."

Great. Now he sounded needy.

He watched her.

"You won't lose me Mulder." She looked at him.

How long had it been since she'd looked at him?

"But I already am."

"You're not. I just need some time, some space."

"It's been almost 5 years, Scully! How much more time
do you need? What *do* you want?"

"I don't know", she said, and then whispered, a bare
breath, "I don't know."

She began to cry then, quietly: the tears slipping down
her cheeks, the sounds of her gasps as she tried to stop them.
And he felt a flash of disgust, at first, that she would cry now, as
soon as they were arguing--resorting to this as a delaying tactic--
Phoebe had always done this.

But then he realized. This was Scully.

Scully, who had not cried when he told her he thought
her mother had died. Not when the child she believed to be hers
was killed; not when she was in the hospital, terrified and in

Not Phoebe.

Not anyone else, ever.

His heart turned over.

He moved to hold her, reaching out hesitantly, unsure
of what she wanted. But she moved into his arms eagerly,
almost frantically; clinging to him, scrunching the soft flannel
of his shirt in her fisted hands.

"I know this isn't what you want, Mulder, I know you
need more, but I can't--and I know you'll want to be with
someone who can--"

She was babbling. "Shh, Scully, shh, it'll be okay, I'm
not going anywhere, listen, it'll be okay."

And after a time, she sniffed, limp in his embrace, and
looked at him. "Really?" Asking for reassurance, letting herself

"Who else would put up with me?" He smiled at her

She smiled back, uncertainly. "Come home with me?"

Her eyes gleamed with need. Desire. She leaned
forward, slowly. Kissed him.

He closed his eyes.

Oh, God.

He leaned into her, savoured her taste.

Kissed her cheek, into the hollow, along the bone; her
jawline, her neck.

She sighed, relaxed.

Something changed.

He looked at her, more carefully.

Saw desire. Saw, as well, desperation and--and
something else in her eyes.


His mind flashed back, years before. A child of ten,
about to jump in the deep end to impress his sister.

To prove he could.


He pulled back.

She was startled. And hurt. And part of him wanted--
oh, longed so badly--to say yes.

It would be so easy, a voice said. So easy.

So good.

The boy had jumped, and the water closed over his
head. He sank, could not breathe, choked on water, could not
breathe . . . he'd refused to go swimming again for years.

Samantha had thrown fits.

"I'm sorry, Scully. But not tonight."

She hadn't been well enough, before. Now ...

You're not ready. Not like this. Not their first time.

You're not ready. And ...

And neither am I.

He didn't say it out loud.

She reached for him. "I need you, Mulder. I want you.
I don't want to think."

He shook his head. "I'll stay, Scully, but we have to
talk." His voice was gentle but even.

Again she stiffened.

Now was not the time for sympathy. "I want to hear
what you want, not what you think I think you should want, or
what you think I can handle. I think that tonight you want
comfort, and no more. And I can give you that. But you have to
tell me, and let me decide if I want to give you that or not. If it's
too much I'll tell you. But you can't decide for me. You can't
refuse to deal with this forever. So talk to me, Dana."

"Mulder"--there was panic in the tone, badly hidden.

"Sure you can, here." And he moved, in a swift
motion, to sit behind her and pull her back against him. She
held herself stiffly away. "This way you don't even have to look
at me. Just talk. So why don't you want to move in with me?"

A pause.

"I--the rumours, the plots--I'm . . ."


"No!" She jerked as far away as she could, given his
unrelenting embrace. Yet she did not struggle, let herself be
held, just a little. He moved forward, till the length of his body
touched hers again and smiled sadly into her hair. "So am I,
Scully. But we'll get through. It can't be any worse than it is
now, or not by much."

"I . . . I . . ."

He waited.

"I may not be able to have more children." Tone
ragged, barely a whisper.

That stunned him for a moment and he lifted his head--
he hadn't thought about that, all that her statement implied. He
couldn't stop now to think about it further. How he hated that
time stolen, so much stolen when she was gone--he wouldn't
think about that now.

"So we'll adopt."

He leaned forward again and put his forehead against
the back of her neck, speaking into her shoulder-blades,
breathing softly onto her skin, inhaling the scent of her. "Or we
won't have any. It doesn't matter--I'll keep you too busy to care."
And he smiled against her neck. She leaned back a very little,
relaxed, sinking into his frame just a notch. He couldn't stop
the widening of his smile.

"And now the harder stuff, Scully." Instantly she was
stiff again, despite his gain of a minute previous. He had
tightened his grip on her, so she couldn't sit apart again,
although he felt her muscles tighten in an attempt to do so. But
she did not struggle against him, giving in gracefully. Although
she didn't say anything at all either.

He sighed, and did not ask her again. This was
enough. He had a start.

And a start was all he'd ever needed.

End of Part 17.

T h e X - F i l e s
Fallen Cards
Chapter 18: Dusk of Time (Part 18/21)
by Euphrosyne (
(As previously disclaimed, rated and summarized.)

All comments, positive, negative, or otherwise, received with
much gratitude. If there is a part you are missing and would
like, please e-mail me and I'll be happy to send it.
Chapter XVIII--Dusk of Time

Recall those days, look back on all those times,
Think of the things we'll never do--
There will never be a day when I won't think of you.

--Christine, "Think of Me", The Phantom of the Opera

Friday, February 28, 1998
4:43 a.m.
Annapolis, MD
Apartment of Dana Scully

It was their last night in her apartment. Everything had
been packed; the movers were coming in the morning.

In the dawn of shuttered grey half-light, Mulder lay on
his back, awake. One arm was tucked under his head, his other
hand traced lazy patterns on Scully's arms, back, shoulders,

He loved her more than he had thought himself capable
of loving anyone.

She murmured in her sleep, then roused; he could not
summon up the proper repentance at waking her.

She smiled and turned towards him, and the light in
her smile stopped his breath.

She was beautiful. She was radiant.

She was his.

It sounded so silly.

He didn't care.

He had to say something.

He could not find the words.

He cursed the English language for being so unwieldy;
inadequate to tell her.

"I love you."

Why did he care about words? This was Scully. She

Her eyes lit the room.

"I love you too."

He couldn't imagine life without her.

He wanted to marry her.

He supposed he always had. He loved her. He wanted
the world to know.

He had been brought up to understand that you married
the woman you loved.

He *believed* you should marry the woman you loved.

He would need her forever, and he would not, could
not, bear for anything to happen to her, ever again.

He would not allow it.

He leaned forward and pressed a kiss to her forehead.
She was real. She was here, she was safe, she was his.

He would make sure.

He forced himself to relax. Closed his eyes, opened
them, and his vision was filled with her.

God. Scully. He wanted, in that instant, to give her
the world. If he could do nothing else in his life but that one
thing, he would die happy, he thought, and began, impulsively,
to tell her. "I will always love you. Always, Scully. Forever . .

"No." She looked upset, holding her fingers against
his lips. "Don't."

"What?" He was surprised.

"Don't lie to me Mulder, don't weave fairy-tales and
promises you can't possibly afford to keep. Never that. Not
from you."

"I can't bear it", she repeated. "Not from you. "

"But Scully . . ."

"No. If I have learnt anything over the past few years,
it's that you can't predict tomorrow. And Mulder, I'm not asking
for tomorrow. I can't. I won't. Never from you. All I ask from
you is today. Please. Please just give me today. I don't want to
think about tomorrow, or the day after. Just today. Please."

Her voice was sharp with distress, and Mulder did not

She looked at him in the silvered light. The man who
loved her.

A man she loved.

And remembered a long ago time when she had
thought that was all she would ever need.

Even so, he pulled her closer, stroked her hair. "Okay,
Scully, all right. No promises. Only this." And he leant
forward to kiss her, gently, although he was sorrowed beyond
belief. But he made a wordless covenant to her, with lips and
tongue and touch, a covenant that she would not hear: one that
he pledged nonetheless. *I've taken your faith in tomorrow
away, Scully, and for that I will always be sorry. But I intend
to spend the rest of my days restoring that belief, that faith. I
want to give you tomorrow, and if it takes forever to do so,
forever it shall be.*

His eyes started the lyric and his hands finished the
verse, the spoken word too clumsy to express what he wanted
her to understand; the silence perfect and meaningful around

And she understood, but longed for the sound of the

Saturday, March 1, 1998
Arlington, MD
7:48 p.m.

They'd spent the last couple of weeks looking at
apartments, condos, townhouses, homes.

Settled on a townhouse in a quiet part of Arlington.

God, she hated moving.

Mulder seemed to love it, though. He took apart
furniture, picked up boxes, threw things around with abandon.
She had tried to tell him to take it easy--he clearly thought he
was in much better shape than he was, and she was sure he'd
strain something--but as usual, he paid as much attention as an
eight-year old in the middle of a video game does to his mother.

Until he had come up the stairs, pale as a ghost. His
hand was half-closed; he had wrapped it in a Kleenex. A very
bloody Kleenex.

She'd taken one look, and started getting her coat.
Didn't even ask him what he'd done, or how.

"Where are *you* going?"

"Mulder, that needs stitches."

"No, it doesn't, I'm fine."

"Mulder, don't be difficult."

"Leave me alone."

"Mulder," she told him, angrily, "why can't you accept
that I care about you? That it hurts me to see you in pain. You
are not alone in this, you know."

Chastened, startled, he merely nodded.

Then, a second later, his eyes had narrowed.

"It doesn't go both ways, does it, Dana? You are
allowed, and I'm not, is that it?"

"Mulder ..."


"That's not fair," she said weakly.

"Why not, Scully? Tell me why."

She was scared to answer him.

Anything she said would be definite, irrevocable.

She wished Mulder wouldn't force the issue. He
always forced issues.

He sighed. "I'm sorry, Scully. It's not right of me to
pressure you."

No, no it wasn't. But she understood why he did.

He was waiting for something, maybe even to ask her
to marry him. She could see the signs.

She had always dreamed of getting married, as a child.
A bride in white, with flowers in her hair. With laughter and
cake and her father to give her away.

A powerful sacrament, marriage. Something pure.
Something good.

Something elusive.

Final. Concrete.


How could she commit to something like that, when
she was barely sure of tomorrow?

How could she promise something like that, before
God and the world, when she was barely sure of herself?

How could she give up herself to the unknown?

She could not.

Not again.

Never again.

March 17, 1998
9:54 p.m.

It had been Mulder's turn to cook. He ordered pizza.

She was Irish, how could St. Pat's not be a special
occasion? And pizza was good on every occasion, he stated,
presenting the pizza with a flourish.

Besides, she was too thin, he mused. It cheered him to
watch her eat.

Just in case they were marooned.

He earned a mock glare for that one.

She was too tired to argue with him and in any case, he
had a point. His concoctions were rarely edible.

They ate without speaking for a few moments, until she
noticed him looking at her. Intently. She began to fidget.

And then ... she knew.

"Mulder, don't," she said.

"You don't know what I ..."

"I do. Not today. Please."

"Scully, I don't understand. What's the problem?"

She was silent.

She did that well.

He cleared his throat, and then asked, quietly, abruptly.
"Dana, do you trust me?"

She looked at him perplexedly. What a question. Of
course, she did. She trusted him with everything. With all she
owned. With her thoughts. With her confidences, certainly.
Yes. At her back? Always. In a second. With her life? In a

But . . . did she trust him with her heart? More than
that? She didn't know, and the thought panicked her. She
looked away. Didn't answer.

She was a Navy Captain's daughter. She was used to
leaving, to being left. She didn't mind that.

It didn't hurt any more, not really.

But ... Mulder. He was so ... consuming. She loved
that about him, she did. The tenacity, the strength, the desperate
intensity with which he infused all he did. He might let his
passion posses him, but in the end it devoured everything in its
wake. Leaving him, not untouched, but more or less whole.

The question was, would it leave *her* whole?

A different kind of fire, but one that scared her more
than any physical flame.

"Scully," he said, and his tone compelled her to look
up at him. "I am not asking for everything, not so much. I am
only asking that you believe in what we have, and trust in that.
No more. The rest will flow from there. Can you give me that?
It's all I ask."

*Please, Scully.* The thought was written all over his
face. He was begging her. And she did not want to refuse him.

Then she thought about his words, thought about them
and considered. And the answer was clear.


"Yes." That much was already his, and had been for a
long time. Such a relief, really, to decide, once and for all, to
commit. She smiled at him, and he read the answer again in her
eyes, and laughed in sheer joy to see it, a laughter that she
joined in.

So they stood there, laughing like maniacs in the
middle of the living room while the pizza grew cold and the
television infomercial droned on and on.

March 21, 1998
6:19 a.m.

He usually jogged in the mornings for at least an hour,
usually more, particularly on a weekend. Scully knew this, had
always known it. It did not matter, for he went early, and she
usually slept as late as possible. Especially lately, that her body
needed more time to recover. So when he pulled a muscle and
came back a half hour early, he knew she had not expected him.

Although he, quietly opening the door so as not to
wake her if she still slept, had not expected this either.

Scully, silently wiping tears off her face as she rocked
back and forth on the chair, staring sightlessly at the picture in
the file.


A file he'd deliberately hidden at the back of the
cabinet--easy enough to blame on bad filing technique if
interrogated. He had not wanted her to see it. Ever again.

And then she saw the door open, and, before he could
move all the way inside, she had shot up from her chair and was
across the room, poised on the edge of flight.

He froze.

She looked at him. "M-Mulder? You're . . . you're
back early. You startled me." Her voice was hoarse from
unshed tears, her eyes were lined in red.

"I pulled a muscle." His voice was neutral. He took a
limping step forward, watched her objectively as she
instinctively started to take a step back and then stopped herself.

"Are you okay?" She asked, but she did not move
towards him to check as she normally would.

"Scully? It's okay. It's just me." He thought his heart
would break. She looked caught, terrified, alone. He held out a
hand. A moment passed. A long moment, then another. And
just when he thought he would surely begin to cry himself, she
moved. Moved forward to take his hand and pull him close to
her so she could hold him and be held.

He kissed her, and wrapped his arms around her. She
tucked her head under his chin, believing in the haven he
created, grateful for the respite. Ran a hand down his leg, and
he chuckled and shook his head--the doctor was always in. But
then he spoke again.

"Dana", he lowered his voice, his mouth near her ear.
"Dana, we are going to have to talk about this."

She stiffened at his words, stiffened and tried to pull
away. He held her tight though, and did not let her go.

"You can't avoid this, Scully."

"Who said I was avoiding anything, Mulder? But I
don't really have time for this right now. We've got to get
going." She pushed against him a little now, despite his firm
hold upon her.

"Scully . . . he sighed and let go. She rose, walking
away, her back to him. Silence stretched.

He watched her. "Running away from the issue won't
solve anything."

She turned on him, eyes a little desperate. "Why
Mulder, why do you always want to talk about everything?
Why can't you just leave it alone? Why?"

"Because, Scully, it's making you miserable. Because I
want to help. Because I want to know, and I think you do too."
His voice softened. "Look, it doesn't have to be anything major.
Just tell me a little. Just start. I won't say anything. Five
minutes. That's all I'm asking. Just five minutes. Then I'll drop
it. Okay?"

"Five minutes?"

"I'll set a timer." He grinned, but it did not hide the
melancholy in his eyes. He did not want to do this to her either,
but there was no other way.

"Does it have to be now?"

"That's the deal, Scully. Right here, right now. Or I'll
keep plaguing you."

She sighed, walked across the room, walked back,
stood in front of him, looked out the window absently, and then
looked back to where he waited impassively. She opened her
mouth, closed it. Why did it have to be now? Why now? She
couldn't deal with this now. Later, when she could not think
about it for a little while, when her mind was not full of turmoil
and confusion and anger and hurt, then, maybe then, she could
talk about this rationally, calmly, having nicely sorted out and
labelled her feelings, having logical reasons for the why and the
wherefore. When she had distanced herself from it and blocked
it out and compartmentalized it into a neat box that she could
talk about as being something that happened to someone else,
just a fact of her life, no more no less. When she didn't have to
feel anything more towards it than if someone had asked her
where she was born, or what school she went to. Just another

Only, right now, it wasn't. And talking about it would
make her cry, or scream. And she didn't want to do that. She
didn't want to. Really, really didn't.

But Mulder wouldn't let her be.

And suddenly she was angry with him for that. What
right did he have to make her deal with this if she didn't want
to? What right did he have at all?

His voice again, inexorable. "You agreed, Scully. Five

And there it was, the voice of calm reason. She hated
it. She hated him. She hated everyone and everything that made
her come to this point. Hated the men who experimented upon
her, hated these shadow scientists who had taken from her
without permission, hated the fact that she had no control over
any of it, hated the child that was born from her flesh without
her ever having felt it, hated the fact that she had never known
it, hated the woman that killed her.

Mulder's sister.

Hated her. Oh God.

Hated what her child had become. Hated the child.

Hated that she was afraid in her own home, and that
she could never be safe here again.

And tears were streaming cleanly down her cheeks, and
she was not even aware of them. Mulder moved towards her,
and she stepped back, holding him off, before recognizing who
he was and what he was and then flinging herself at him,
burying her sobs in his chest as he murmured unheard platitudes
into her hair, sobbing as she had not cried since the beginning
of this whole nightmare.

Cried and sobbed and hit him, and he let her and she
yelled at him for that too. Cried until she was just a little ball
sitting in Mulder's lap, unsure how they had even ended up in
the chair, and then she calmed enough to form words and began
to talk.

To tell him. All of it. No matter how silly, or lame, or
weak, or shallow it sounded. The child, the sister, the cancer,
her mother. Her sister. Him. Chocolate and nightmares and no
air-conditioning in her office. That she had needed to move and
hated herself for it. Everything. And he listened, and
comforted, and was simply there for her. And when she was
finished she felt drained, and a little foolish. But better.

As if a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

And finally, she was free and clear.

End of Part 18.

T h e X - F i l e s
Fallen Cards
Chapter 19: Circle's End (Part 19 of 21)
by Euphrosyne (
(As previously disclaimed, rated and summarized.)

All comments, positive, negative, or otherwise, received with
much gratitude. If there is a part you are missing and would
like, please e-mail me and I'll be happy to send it.
Chapter XIX--Circle's End

. . . and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

--Bible (KJV), Matthew 7:8

Diary of Katherine Jacobs
Entry for Sunday, March 22, 1997

I want answers. I need answers.

Files, Mark showed me files. Copied. Some copied
well, some badly.

Initials, and birthdates. People, reduced to letters and
numbers in black typeface and color-coded stickers.
SCJ1222. Dr. Colleen Judith Sommers, born December 22.
BDR0808, Duane Robert Barry, born August 8. So many files
they make me nauseous.

People with information about me, about others. More
convoluted than I ever knew. Plots and experiments.

Even Mark. Who is he? What is he to me?

Who am I to him?

He knows more than he'll tell, more about me than I
know about myself.

Did he save me? Should I be grateful?

Should I hate him?

A whole world I never knew existed. Things I need to
know. Things I want to know.

Maybe that's not the exact truth.

The truth doesn't really matter, now.

I am a number, MSAT1121. That's all I am.

They changed me. I know that. Or maybe I was always
different, and they just knew. Maybe I've always been like this.
A freak of nature.

I couldn't read the file. I don't want to. I don't want to
know. I can't.

Mark told me the basics. Just enough, so I would
know. I was a 'K' series. I thought I'd been so clever, becoming
Katherine. Who knew that's what they'd called me, all along?

They marked us too. An apple. A twist on Genesis,
the fruit of knowledge. The fruit of destruction. I'm sure they
felt very clever. A deep red birthmark, only appearing on death,
so that every autopsy report filed could be tracked. Every
subject accounted for.

You could do that, when you were playing with living
DNA. And when you play on this kind of scale, I suppose it
behooves you to keep track.

Because usually, they had us killed, when they no
longer needed us. Anais had been effective, in that regard.

All of us, all of us had been re-named, we'd all been
abducted--taken, maybe returned, with or without memories of
who we were, what we were, maybe killed. And now, we all had
names starting in K. Most of us had been returned.

There were other series' as well. Others I didn't want to
know about. A control group. E group, that had failed. C
group, children taken and altered, significantly, a partial failure.

There were groups that had been created. Test tube
babies, in the true sense of the word. Anais had been one of

She was trained, just as I. To control, to incapacitate,
to kill. But she was better at it than I, she had been created
especially for that. And I escaped, as she did not. Or maybe I
was taken away, it doesn't matter. Does it?

So she became Theirs, as she always was and as I was
not. It is not fair, but it is.

The power of the mind, of one over the other. To
control someone else's will, to drain them of their will, to stop
their need to live. To do all this, and more. That is what
potential we had, and that is what we were taught to use.

She had been part of the A series. The ultimate
experiment. Controllable, because she had been designed to be
so. Still, she was alive.

Did she let me kill her? Even so young, and so
tainted? I do not know.

Life is never predictable.

Anais. The only "A" series experiment. And I
disposed of her.

There are no others.

As far as Mark has been told.

So who really knows?

He had heard rumours of an F series. A few years ago.
No one really knows about those.

It is too much information. Psychic experimentation,
he said, brainwashing. They say most people use less than ten
percent of their brain.

Normal people.

God knows I'm not one of those anymore.

Even God wouldn't know, now.

Saturday, April 10, 1998
Annapolis, MD
5:53 p.m.

Easter weekend. They had finally settled into the new
apartment, unpacked their last box. Normal people would throw
a housewarming. Cautiously, they had extended a dinner
invitation to a few people--Scully's mother, Frohike, Langly and

Katherine and Mark. Equally formally, they had

They had spent the day cooking, cleaning, finally
organizing--they'd put it off for weeks. Arranging and re-
arranging furniture in a mutually acceptable pattern. She hated
moving. She hated settling. She was exhausted.

"Come to bed, Scully. I'll give you a back rub."

"Mulder, really? I'll love you forever."

"Will you, Scully?"

"Will I what?"

"Love me forever."

"Impossible man. I already do." She shook her head,

He looked at her, slumped in the chair, and out of the
blue, said slowly, wonderingly. "Sometimes, I love you so

She grinned at him playfully, "Only sometimes,

He smiled back, a shadow in his eyes. "Well, maybe

And she smiled at him, a smile like warm milk and
peaceful nights. "Sometimes."

She held out her hand to him.

He raised her hand to his lips, turned it over, and
kissed the inside of her wrist.

She shivered.

Not that she was cold, no, not at all.

He pulled the hand towards him, holding it against his
chest, moving her closer, and raised his other hand to her hair,
raking it back with one hand and letting the silky locks fall
through his fingers, only to repeat the gesture, this time
lowering his head to slowly kiss the exposed skin of her throat.
And when he lowered his hand to clasp and tug on her own, she
willingly followed him wherever he led.

In this case, to the bedroom.

Anyone listening would have heard the lock turn
against an otherwise empty apartment. But she was in no mood
to tease him, not then anyway, about his paranoia.

No, teasing him--verbally, at least--was the last thing
on her mind.

They were barely ready by the time the guests started
to arrive. But it went better than he expected, better than he
feared--almost, almost it seemed normal.

The six of them were playing rummy after dinner, the
table cleared and the gifts opened. Mulder had suggested
Stratego to Kate, teasingly, but she had refused in a serious tone
that had sobered even Mulder's forced gaiety. So they played
rummy--an easy enough game: harmless.

Frohike and Scully's mother did not join them.
Margaret had had to leave and Frohike--odd, that; the two of
them had gotten along really well--had offered to drive her

Mulder looked at Katherine, eyes dancing wickedly.
"How's this to deal? One eyed jacks are wild, along with the
four of clubs and spades, and the Ace of Hearts." He reeled off
everything in his hand, showing it to Scully mock-secretly.

Scully laughed and shook her head. "Mulder, that
doesn't even bear resemblance to a game. Try ag . . ."

Suddenly, Kate interrupted. "That's not fair!" Her
voice was sharp, shrill.

"Kate . . .", Mark's voice was cautioning, worried.

"Those aren't the rules, Mark, they're not. He's
cheating, Mark, make him stop, make it stop, O God, Mark,
make it stop." Suddenly she was shrieking, arms alternately
flailing and covering her head. Mark stood, but he couldn't get
close to her.

"Kate, relax, get a grip, Kate . . . "

She lifted the table and flung it across the room.

Cards scattered across the floor.

The room was stunned into horrified stillness.

Kate looked at Mulder. "Did you know? I cheated as
well. Here. We had the file. We had the file and we had to sit
on it. Look!"

She showed him the file. Guilt had haunted her for
days now, for weeks. She could no longer live with it. Easier to
let him know, have him know. To ease the crushing weight of
remorse. Spread it a little.

It was all there, dates, locations. Even a few names.
Very few, but there.

"Sam, you knew where she was held! I remember,
now, you knew. God, it's all becoming clear to me now." He
wanted to shout, to scream, but he didn't have the strength,

It was a blessing, he supposed. Scully often worried
the walls were too thin.

"I knew where she might be, yes. And why. But not
the exact location, not until we went." She hissed the words,
glaring at him.

"Oh, God. And you let her . . ."

What had she become? Who was she? He felt like his
world was spinning out of control.

What had she done?

What had he let her do?

"The timing had to be right, Fox. It had to be perfect,
else we would not have been able to terminate their creature.
And it was . . . "

"You planned this! You . . . Don't even talk to me."

In that moment, all he felt was rage. He loathed this
creature, this woman. Wanted to hurt her. He had trusted her.
He had trusted her, and Scully had been hurt. How often had
she suffered for his mistakes? Scully, oh, Scully, I'm sorry. So

"Fox. Don't be a moron. I thought you understood."

A tear fell down her cheek; he watched her wipe it
impatiently away.

She was his sister. That was worth something. Had to
be worth something.

"I . . . " He could not understand, but he was trying.
He didn't want to hurt her. Hadn't wanted to hurt her. It was
hard to take in. Maybe she was right. The evidence ... this was
his sister. Surely he could give her the benefit of the doubt? He
searched for words to say. "Everyone makes mistakes, Sam."

"But they are not always forgiven. And in case you
missed it, I'm no damn Portia."

How, how could he reply to that?

"What about the child? You killed her."

"That was no child."

Scully's voice, anguish in the silence. "She was my

Katherine snapped, spun to face Scully. "You honestly
believe I killed a child. Do you even know what she was, what
she could have been? That 'child' could have levelled cities!
She was a weapon of death, no more, and no less. There was no
other way. And you have the audacity, the sheer gall, to accuse


She snorted derisively. "What were you expecting?"

"Well I didn't expect this!" The words were childish,
and he hadn't meant to say them.

Kate looked at him scornfully, her cut-glass gaze bored
into him. "I knew you were like this. I knew, and still, I came
back for you. I came back for you!"

Stunned into answering, Mulder shouted back at his
sister. "Well, I never asked you to!"

Her voice was little more than a breath. "You haven't
any idea, have you? Searching your entire life, indeed. Have
you any idea what I've gone through, what I must go through?"

*I would have found you. I wanted to be the one to
find you.* His mind whimpered the refrain; the words
themselves unformed, but spoken in so many ways before.

"You just spent your life looking, is that it?" Bitter,
bitter venom over the core of hurt.

"I would have found you! It's not my fault!" He voiced
the words then, yelled them to the room: in truth, in denial of
everything he lived.

"No, it was my fault for leaving, wasn't it?" The voice
abruptly whisper-quiet, and harsher still as a result.

"God . . ." Scully's gasp, in the ensuing silence, made
them both aware of their audience: Scully, Byers, Langly; Mark
still standing in the center of the room.

Kate abruptly stopped and put a hand over her mouth,
realization dawning in her eyes. She whirled and ran from the

After a moment, Mulder rose and followed.

In the silent room, Mark looked at Scully. "Shit, it's
not going so well, is it?"

Ruefully, Scully simply shook her head.

7:15 p.m.

Outside, on the wooden balcony, Kate stood with her
back to Mulder, outlined brightly against the light of the dying
sun. "So, Sam, you want to tell me what that was all about?"
Best psychologist's voice.

She gripped the rail harder and shook her head.

"C'mon, Sam, talk to me." He let a tiny hint of
cajolement creep into his words.

"I'm sorry." The words were low, even; the voice just
barely steady.

"That's not what this is about." Not letting her get
away with it, but not challenging. Neutral. And then his mouth
twisted in pain, and he said, "Sam, I never . . . I never blam . . . "

Her control slipped, just a little, and her voice rose in
frustration and misery, cutting his off. "I can't, Fox, I can't; it's
so hard. I try, and I look at you, and I can't see my brother. And
then I do, and I can't sort it out. But they trained me to hate the
memory of my family, though I tried to resist, you must believe
me; I tried, but it was so hard . . . " and she was weeping openly
now, throat thick with tears. She gasped, choked back sobs,
took a breath. Rubbed the back of one hand across her eyes.

The cycle of hurt, and of pain. He closed his eyes,
opened them. Would it never rest? Her words echoed the
confused feelings in his own aching heart, no matter how much
he tried to deny it.

She was taking deep breaths now, fighting to resume
control, no matter how tenuous. Unable to let it show. Turned
towards him. "I'll do better. I will. I just need some time." She
raised her head sightlessly a little to try to smile at him.

Oh, Sam, he thought. What have they done to you.
What have they done to us all.

His soul grieved for her. For himself. He forced
himself to speak. Forced the words past reluctant lips, past the
wailing protest of his own heart.

"It's not working, Kate, is it?" Quietly, in resignation.
And the silence acknowledged and answered his words.

Tears now streaming down her face, facing him, she
shook her head slowly. She swallowed, tried to explain. "I'm
sorry. But I can't be who you want, what you need. I can't give
you that. Not now, not yet. I wish I could."

She bit her lip, glanced away. Took a breath. "I tried,
please believe me, I did try. But it's not mine to give."

Her eyes had closed, her voice barely audible.

"And . . .." She stopped herself, but he could hear the
unspoken thought as clearly as if she had articulated it. *And
you're not who I need you to be*.

A plea for understanding in her voice; for
understanding and no more. Because she would not ask to be
forgiven, he knew.

She could not ask for forgiveness--especially of him--
any more than could he.

And maybe that hurt most of all.

She raised her head to look at him sightlessly, tears
obscuring the vision in her eyes. "I'm sorry, Fox, I'm so sorry."
Closed her eyes against the tears and looked away.

"Lord, Sam, don't be." Anger in his voice, but not
directed at her. "What have you to be sorry about? None of this
is your fault."

She opened her eyes to look at him. He read the denial
of his words in them.

So very sorry.

There was nothing further to say. Despite years of the
best professors at the best schools, he had no words of comfort,
of healing, to offer. Nothing left to say.

The wheel turned again. And this time, when the
wheel turned, it drove a deep spike into his already bruised
heart. Gouging into it a wound that would never heal.

"It'll be all right, Sam. You'll see." He said the words,
trite as they were; willed her to believe them. Willed himself to
believe them. Despite.

And within him, his wounded heart bled free.

End of Part 19.

T h e X - F i l e s
Fallen Cards
Chapter 20: Banks of Red Roses (Part 20 / 21)
by Euphrosyne (
(As previously disclaimed, rated and summarized.)

All comments, positive, negative, or otherwise, received with
much gratitude. If there is a part you are missing and would
like, please e-mail me and I'll be happy to send it.
Chapter XX--Banks of Red Roses*

And fare thee weel, my only luve,
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.

Robert Burns, "A Red, Red Rose"
April 12, 1998
Easter Sunday
10:07 a.m.
Arlington, VA

Mulder stood in the parking lot, trying not to shiver
under April's warm sun.

Mark came up behind Kate, slipped an arm around her
waist. A comforting arm, one that demanded little, and offered
much. If she wished to take it. Mulder watched her lean back
against that arm.

"Good bye, Fox. I hope you'll keep in touch." She
held out a hand.

"Sam . . ."

"Please, Fox, please. Don't even start. This is best.
Neither of us are ready for this, not now, not yet. Let it be. At
least we've found each other. Can't that be enough for you?"

The sun was too bright, he could not see her properly.
He opened his mouth to say something in response; to refuse to
let it be like this. To deny her words. But he bit back the
denial and did not say anything. What could he have said?

Although the child in him, the child that wanted his
baby sister back, cried tears of rage and anguish.

There was nothing to be said.

Scully, watching, eyes burning with unshed tears,
began to hate this woman with so much power to hurt. Please,
thought Scully, please can't you give him just a little? That's all
he wants, just some indication. Something.

But Scully was not sure, exactly, of what it was she
wanted Kate to give. Just something more. This was all so
cold-blooded, no trace of warmth. Indifferent and unfeeling.
Unaffected while her brother shed his heart's blood. And she
could no longer watch this sister who had so much, and was
throwing it away, and so she looked back at Mulder. Watched
him as he watched his former sister. His sister.

Mulder spoke in the awkward silence, pausing Kate's

"Dad left you some stuff in his will. You should have

"Mark will take care of it. If you send the papers to his
office, it'll be done." She turned away.

Nothing more to say.

So he watched her go, although he could not hide the
pain in his face. And he watched, without moving, as Mark
reached up to brush a tiny tear from his sister's alabaster cheek
while Katherine impatiently brushed his hand away.

The bitter wake of reality.

But just before she got in the car, Kate broke away and
turned back sharply, coming forward in a rush, abruptly
stopping a few feet away. "Fox," she said, and her voice had a
note of desperation. And although her face was dry, he could
see now the blinding tears glinting clearly in her eyes.

"Fox," she said, and stopped before him. "You know, I
do love you." She lifted a hand toward him; unsure, let it drop.

"I always have." Loss so deep in her voice, recognized.
She began to turn away.

Something in him shifted, opened to pain one more
time. But this he could give her, the only thing she would take.

"I know," he replied, and came forward to touch her
hand. Lightly, briefly.

"Samantha, I know." His voice was as gentle as he
knew to make it.

And then through her tears, beyond them, blinking
them back, she smiled in answer. Smiled and looked at him,

Her eyes, for an instant, focused on him standing there.
Looked at him, and saw.

Almost it was enough.

Then Mark came up and touched her on the elbow and
she turned back towards the car. Turned back, got in, and was
gone; leaving only a puff of dust on the heated concrete to mark
her passage.

And in another moment that was gone as well.

Mulder stood still as she got in the car, and as Mark
got in on the other side. Stood still as they drove off, and still
after they had turned the corner and were gone.


His baby sister. The sister for whom he had searched
for almost a quarter century. The only family he had left. And
he was letting her go.

He felt a hand on his cheek, small and warm. Looked


Something in him that had seemingly died, stirred.

"C'mon, Mulder. C'mon." Her words were light, but
her eyes were full of deepest compassion. And most abiding
love. "It'll be okay." She smiled gently. "I won't even make you

She repeated her words as he looked into her eyes.

"It'll be okay."

Through the tears in his own eyes, he looked at her,
and allowed himself, just this once, to believe.

She led him back to the car, and he slipped a hand
around her waist, to feel her warmth, to hold her close.

And he let her take him home.


End of Part 20
*Author's note--the subtitle of this chapter is from an old
Scottish ballad I heard sung when I was once in Inverness. It is
the song of a girl whose lover was killed in battle--and the
banks of red roses are symbols both (as far as I recall) of their
love as well as his blood. I tried looking it up--it's a gorgeous
ballad--and have failed miserably. If anyone reading this
knows of this ballad and has the words, could you send them to
me? Thanks . . .

T h e X - F i l e s
Fallen Cards
Epilogue: Sarabande (Part 21of 21)
by Euphrosyne (
(As previously disclaimed, rated and summarized.)

All comments, positive, negative, or otherwise, received with
much gratitude. If there is a part you are missing and would
like, please e-mail me and I'll be happy to send it.

Look, look, it's done!
Please, please, write me; say anything: you cannot know how
pathetically grateful I will be.
Epilogue: Sarabande

Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,
Flow gently I'll sing thee a song in thy praise;
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, Sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

--Robert Burns, "Afton Water"

Four weeks later
Arlington, VA

Tomorrow was important, but he could not sleep. He
looked over at the drawer, the one that held the small jeweller's
box. Tomorrow he would ask her, and hope beyond hope she'd

Mulder looked down at the woman curled trustingly
into his side and smiled, tightening his arm protectively about
her. He prayed she, at least, would not wake again tonight.

He remembered the first time he had stayed over at her
old place, so many months ago. He had not known, he hadn't
had any warning. So when he had awakened in the middle of
the night from a deep sleep to see her sitting up; awakened, he
thought, simply by the weight shift as from the faint draft
caused by the displacement of warm body and warm sheets, he
had almost smiled and, grunting in a voice slurred and heavy
with sleep "Hey Scully, quit hogging the covers", he had almost
slipped back into slumber. Almost.

Until he noticed her shaking, and noticed the heaving
breaths she was taking. And when he sat up and put an arm
around her, her skin was clammy and cold. She was almost in
shock, he noted with the clinical side of his mind. "Dana?"

No answer. He rubbed his hand up and down her
back. "Come on, Scully, lie back down, talk to me, tell me
what's wrong." He lifted the quilt, and wrapped it around her
body, before wrapping himself around her. Chafing her hands,
lifting her chin to try to look into her eyes. She was stiff and
unresponsive and would not look at him. So he simply held her
and was silent.

After a few moments, during which Mulder was sure
his heart had begun to beat most erratically, she said in a voice
of distant weariness. "Sorry for waking you, Mulder, go back to

He kept rubbing her back persistently. "Talk to me,
Scully." Keeping his voice low and calm. Blocking out his own
fear and worry.

"It's nothing, Mulder. I'm fine." At his look, she
conceded a little. "Just bad dreams." She was shaking now, and
tentatively reached out to grab his free hand.

"Scully?" Gripping her hand firmly, taking the other,
chafing them between his two. She was so cold.

"Please, Mulder, I don't want to talk about it. Please."
Hint of panic, but she seemed otherwise fine. Just a dream,
Mulder, just a dream.

"Okay, it's okay, just lie down then, there." He pushed
her unresisting down, wrapping his arms around her. She lay
passively in his embrace; still stiff, still cold, just there. So he
stroked her hair and rubbed her back, murmuring soothing
epiteths ceaselessly. And suddenly she moved; turned into him
and wrapped her arms around him in a stranglehold almost
painful, digging her face uncomfortably into the hollow of his
collarbone. Stunned, he ignored the fact that he could barely
breathe, ignored bruised ribs to hold her tight until her hold
relaxed of its own accord, until her breathing slowed and
steadied, until her eyes closed gently. Held her until morning,
afraid to move.

That was over a half year ago, when their relationship
was new, and each was afraid to let down shields, to test the
tenuous bond. Afraid to trust, afraid of loss. Afraid of the

It seemed like a lifetime past.

They had a routine, now, when she woke. She would
merely take a breath, and turn to him, and he would tuck her
into the curve of his shoulder, and they both would fall back
asleep. Sometimes she would even talk about it. Reverse the
order when he had the nightmare. And sometimes, now, just
sometimes they both slept the night through. It was, he thought
ruefully, almost like they were children again--learning not to
wake at 2 a.m.

And learning, when you did wake, that you were safe.
And loved.

August 3 , 1998
Diary of Katherine Samantha Jacobs (Excerpt)

Although I cannot quite believe in my life of before, I
am starting to believe in my life now. And, I am starting to trust
once again. A blessing beyond which I dare not, and will not,
ever hope. Because it is more than once I ever dreamt of, and it
is best not to tempt the gods, lest they find you greedy. For
now, I am content.


The doors clanged shut behind her, and the sound of
her expensive shoes echoed metallically in the enclosed room.
The air was heavy, despite the state of the art air-conditioning.
She did not take a seat at the table, barely looked at the plush
leather chair reserved for her at the head of the table. She
merely stood, and looked impassively over the faces before her,
until the first one smiled warmly and nodded in greeting.

Standing, she did not return the gesture, or the smile.

The blonde woman in the crisp white coat snorted, just

Eleven pairs of eyes glared at her.

The man spoke. "Welcome back to the project, love.
We've missed you."

A tall, slim girl, she stayed standing, unacknowledging
of either the courtesy in the words or the warmth. Jeans and a t-
shirt, chesnut hair falling in a ponytail and bright eyes cold.

She looked unimposing. She looked ... normal. A
nightmare realized.

"Oh", said the blonde woman, her voice a tiny squeak,
filled with fear.

The girl spoke then, but her voice betrayed no
expression save neutrality. "I am glad to be missed."

"Perhaps you should introduce yourself, for the benefit
of our newest addition." A woman in a white lab coat nodded, a
touch too eagerly, although her face remained still.

It did not do, in this company to betray too much
emotion, especially for one fairly young, and female. And still
unestablished in this group.

She looked at the young female scientist, and a flicker
might have passed over her face. "Of course."

She paused, then continued. "I am the latest
culmination in the series of experiments you have heretofore
referred to as simply 'the Project.' I am a combination of genes:
one from a recent abductee, one from a true Control."

A man smoking a cigarette leaned over to snuff it out
on a sigh. F-series. At last.

The scientist, young and ambitious, studied the
speaker. Studied her dark auburn hair, her unusual summer's
blue eyes, the full mouth and long nose.

"I am here to serve. My codename", continued the
speaker, "is Faith."


End of Epilogue.
Last-ditch plea ... To anyone who may actually be reading this
still, please feel compelled ... um, obligated, um ... well, feel
free to write me and tell me that you did, what you think, or
even that you hate author's notes ... I'll love you forever, or at
the very least I'll like you a lot. Comments--short or long;
good, bad, or indifferent--are the joy of my life. Like I said, I
apologize for season 4 inaccuracies, because the idea was
conceived pre-fourth season. I likewise apologize for medical
and location accuracies; I would never have written this at all
if I got caught up with the three zillion picky details that I
wanted to, but if you noticed and it irritated you, or you'd
simply like to lift me out of my ignorance, let me know.

I have enjoyed writing this--although it ended up being quite a
bit longer and a lot more involved than I'd intended. Thank
you for the opportunity to write and be read.