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TITLE: Life, Death, and Swings
AUTHOR: Gabi Fisher
SPOILER WARNING: Anasazi trilogy I guess...
CLASSIFICATION: VA
SUMMARY: Mulder and Scully contemplate life while on playground swings.
DISCLAIMER: No silly, of course they aren't mine. Yet... For now, they still belong to CC, FOX, 1013, and probably a million other people.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks a million to Annmaree.

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Quietly, the metal above creaked. The steady, even rhythm was surprisingly calming. Except for the swing, not a thing in sight was moving, not even the trees were being gently stirred by a late evening wind. For the person sitting on the swing, it was the perfect setting; there was no one around to bother her, so she was free to be alone with her thoughts.

In the background, sirens wailed, children yelled to each other, parents called for their children to return home since it was already dark, cars screeched, horns honked, a couple argued loudly, but the woman on the swing heard none of this. Subconsciously swinging herself, she was lost in memories, experiences, and shared times.

She jumped when she felt a hand on her shoulder. When she realized who it belonged to, however, she relaxed back onto the swing. “Mulder! You scared me!” she exclaimed.

“I’m sorry, Scully. I had called your name several times, but you didn’t seem to notice,” he replied.

“What are you doing here?” she asked.

“I went to talk to you, but you weren’t at your apartment, so I decided to take a walk and saw you sitting here.”

“Oh.”

“What’s up? Aren’t you cold?” he asked her, looking concerned.

“No, not really. If you sit out here long enough, you get used to it,” Scully barely finished saying when she involuntarily shivered. She let out a half-hearted laugh, and Mulder took off his jacket and placed it around her shoulders. She smiled up at him in thanks. “Have a seat,” she said, indicating the empty swing next to her.

“Thanks,” he said, and soon their swings were swaying in tandem. For several minutes they swung in silence. Finally, Mulder broke the silence. “What are you doing out here so late?”

“Thinking,” Scully simply said.

“About?” Mulder gently prodded.

“Everything. And nothing. I don’t really know,” she replied. Then, “Mulder, what is the purpose in living? All that happens is that we pointlessly die. Killers never receive due punishment, those dying noble deaths never get recognition, those who have just begun to live don’t even get a chance. Why do we live only to die?”

Mulder knew that she must be going somewhere with her sudden questions, but he could only guess at the ending point. He knew that if he gave her time, she would end up telling him, just by following her own path, however twisted it might be. In response to her question, he said, “We live for the happiness found only in life, however fleeting. We are here to bring happiness and joy into other’s lives. It’s not always good, but it’s all we’ve got.”

Scully turned Mulder’s words over in her mind. She nodded, knowing that he was right. “Then why does everyone I love have to die too soon?” Scully asked, tears beginning to fall down her cheeks.

“I don’t know,” Mulder replied, truthfully. “I guess it was just their time to go. Just think about the good things they left behind.”

“But what about all they good they could still be doing? How different would our lives be if they hadn’t died? I mean, how could life be *bad* if our sisters hadn’t died?”

“Well, I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet you if Samantha had not disappeared. Our lives most likely wouldn’t be *bad* if they had lived, but they would have been good in a different way. We would have chosen different paths to take, different bridges to cross, ending up at different places than we would now. We will carry on our memories and experiences with them forever, even if we never see them again.”

“I guess you are right,” Scully said slowly. She offered him a smile, it was a half-hearted attempt, but the best she could do. “Thanks, Mulder.”

“You’re welcome,” Mulder replied.

“Mulder?”

“Yeah?”

“Do you mind if I can just stay here by myself for a while?”

“Sure, no problem. Take all the time you need. You know where to reach me if you need anything. I’ll see you at work tomorrow,” Mulder said, standing up. He stopped long enough to giver Scully’s shoulder a reassuring squeeze before leaving to walk back to his car.

Scully turned and watched him walk away. She pulled his jacket tighter around her small figure, breathing in his rich aroma from the collar of the coat. She felt much better than before she had spoken to Mulder. He had always had that ability. He could always make her feel better, no matter what.

For a few more minutes Scully sat in silent contemplation. Finally, she looked heavenward and said, “Happy birthday, Missy. I hope that where ever you are, you’re happy. I’ll love you forever.”

Without a backward glance, Scully stood up and walked home, warmed by Mulder’s jacket and thoughts of her sister.

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