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TITLE: Samantha
AUTHOR: Gabi Fisher
SPOILER WARNING: Colony, Christmas Carol, Emily
CLASSIFICATION: A, UST, AU
SUMMARY: Samantha calls Mulder, and once they meet, life will never be the same for anyone.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Mulder, Scully, Samantha, or any other character, place, thing, idea from the X-Files. CC, FOX, 1013, and the wonderful DD and GA do. No infringement intended. I do own a few characters, so please don't take them.


*    *    *

Mulder's apartment
Friday, March 3rd

    Outside, the rain pounded against the roof of Mulder's apartment building. There seemed to be no end to rain that had been falling from the sky for the past several days. To just step outside for a matter of seconds without an umbrella would be like jumping into a swimming pool fully clothed; Scully and Mulder had found that out the hard way.
    The pitter-patter of shower water was nearly drowned (pardon the pun) out by the rain, though Scully listened for the silence from the bathroom that would mean her turn in the shower.
    She lay on Mulder's couch listening to the downpour of water, both inside and outside. Their sopping clothes were upstairs in the dryer, most likely for quite a while. She had borrowed Mulder's terry bathrobe while he took the first shower.
    Inevitably, just as soon as she had closed her eyes, his phone rang. After the first ring, Scully wondered if he would want her to pick it up. The phone continued to ring, and Scully knew that she wasn't going to get any rest until she picked up the phone, so she did.
    "Hello," she answered it warily.
    "I-I'm sorry. I must have dialed the wrong number," a woman replied.
    "Who are you calling for?" Scully asked, knowing better than to give out information. That had been proven many times over throughout the course of her career working with Mulder.
    "Fox Mulder," the woman answered, tentatively.
    "Well, you have the right number, but he is in the shower at the moment. I could take your number and have him call you back when he gets out if you want," Scully offered, hoping the woman would refuse and she wouldn't have to get up and search for paper and a pen.
    Luck prevailed, and the woman declined. "No, thank you. I'll just call back in a bit."
    Scully heard the click of the other phone being hung up, and then did the same.
    Finally, a chance for some rest, Scully thought as she leaned back to the couch's armrest and closed her eyes. She didn't think she had fallen asleep, but woke to Mulder gently shaking her shoulder. He had put on a T-shirt and a pair of sweat pants and was vigorously rubbing his wet hair with a towel.
    "Your turn in the shower. I left a pair of sweats for you on the counter," he said.
    Scully stood up and began walking in the direction of the bathroom. After a few steps, she stopped. "Oh, while you were in the shower your girlfriend called." Scully tried very hard to cover the jealousy she felt in her voice, but was sure Mulder would be able to read it in her eyes if she gave him a chance. Especially since she did not even really have anything to be jealous about. It wasn't like she had any claims on him...
    She quickly-not too quickly, however, she hoped-turned back toward the bathroom. Before she turned, she saw the look of surprise that ran across Mulder's face. Her heart felt lighter instantly.
    "I have a girlfriend?" the surprise in his voice as well.
    "Well, I just figured she was your girlfriend. She didn't leave her name or number. She said that she would just call back later when I told her you were in the shower," Scully amended with a slight smile, her back still to Mulder.
    "Hmm... I don't know who that could be. Well, I guess I'll find out soon enough. Enjoy your shower Scully," Mulder said, the surprised look having changed to one of curiosity Scully noted when she glanced back at him.
    "I will," Scully assured him as she closed the bathroom door. To herself she added, "Especially since I now know you don't have a girlfriend."
    Notorious for short showers, Scully finished her shower within ten minutes. She shivered when she put on her still-damp underwear, but was really glad for the warm sweats she found on the counter, just as Mulder promised. She took a deep breath and noticed how much they smelled of Mulder. A small smile played on her lips.
    Scully emerged from the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her head turban-style. She hadn't rolled up the cuffs on the sweats yet, and suppressed a smile when she saw Mulder. "Think they're just a little big?" Scully asked, right before he saw her.
    After just one glance at Scully in his sweats, Mulder erupted in laughter. Scully's small hands and feet were not visible beneath the gray sweats. The top fell nearly to her knees. She chuckled as well.
    She sat down next to Mulder (who was still laughing) and began to roll up the sleeves and then the cuffs on the pants. Scully just finished adjusting the large sweats when the phone rang.
    "It's probably your mystery girl," Scully commented.
    "She is most likely some alien trying to get a date with me and because I would not make a good abduction victim, she knows of no better way to meet me," Mulder joked as he reached for the phone.
    With a wink to Scully his greeting was, "Hello, just to let you know, I don't date aliens."
    Scully sighed. Only Mulder would answer the phone like that. Only Mulder would think of something so positively stupid to say. She liked it though.
    She shot a questioning gaze at Mulder, telling him with her eyes to tell her who was on the phone. She strained her ears to hear what the woman said about her identity, but Scully couldn't make out what the reply was.
    Even in the dim light from the light on the desk, Scully could see Mulder's face pale. "Mulder, what is it?" Scully asked, her forehead wrinkling in worry.
    His lips moved, but no sound came from them. His face was a confusion of emotions, shock being the most prominent. Scully took the phone from his hand with little resistance. Firmly, she asked, keeping her eyes on Mulder, "Who the hell is this?" Her first thought as to who was on the phone was one of the smoking man's helpers. He had not previously called Mulder's house as far as she could remember, but the number could not possible be that hard to get for some one like him.
"Samantha Mulder."
Those two words shocked Scully into silence, just as they had Mulder, and all Scully could do was stare at him. Mulder seemed to have found his voice again, because he took the receiver from her fingers, looked out at the street, and to the woman said, "What kind of game are you playing? Why should I believe that you really are Samantha?"
    Scully couldn't hear the woman's response any better than she had her identity, so was forced to wait for Mulder to tell her what 'Samantha' had told him.
    After Mulder listened to the woman for a moment, he hung up the phone without responding. He looked back at Scully, his eyes searching hers. Possibly for her decision about the woman on the phone.
    "What did she say?" Scully asked quietly, turning her gaze to the street below them, not wanting her eyes to tell Mulder how much she doubted the woman really was Samantha.
Just as quietly, Mulder responded. "She told me to meet her at the little diner down the street tomorrow morning at nine o'clock."
    Mulder's voice thick with emotion that he never shared, he continued with a question, "Scully, do you think that I should believe her?"
    To Scully, he sounded like a lost little boy-or a little boy who had lost his sister years ago and who had just found out that there was a possibility she would join his life once again. She turned toward him, and looked into his eyes, pausing a moment before speaking, thinking what to say. Finally, she started, "I think that you have been looking for Samantha for over twenty years, and you may just have found her. You should meet with her, and see what kind of evidence she has to back her up." Scully closed the space between them in a few, short strides. She put her hand on Mulder's upper arm. "Just be careful how much trust you put in the fact that it may be her, so that if she isn't who she claims, it won't kill you. Please."
    "Alright. I'll meet with her tomorrow and see what she has to say." With a slight smile, he added, "This is one time that your obsession with gathering solid proof and evidence will come in handy, in my opinion."
    His last comment received a smile from Scully as well. Though it was a genuine smile, he could tell that if it didn't turn out to be Samantha, she too would be greatly disappointed. His crusade to find Samantha had become hers as well over the last six years.
    He had just one last question for Scully. "Will you come with me tomorrow morning?" he asked, his voice almost back to normal, but the pleading Scully saw in his eyes was unmistakable.
    "Sure, if that's what you want," she replied quickly, knowing that it was.
    He smiled gratefully. After six years working together the two of them could practically read each other's minds, as well as body language, and Scully knew that Mulder had just ended the conversation of Samantha for the moment. "Let's go check on those trench coats," he said, referring to their clothes. "With any luck those wonderful machines upstairs haven't eaten any of your socks yet."
    "My socks? What about your socks?" Scully asked, a playful smile on her face.
    "Oh, I've trained those suckers not to eat my socks anymore," he replied, the serious look on his face contradicting the playfulness in his eyes.
    "Yeah, they probably decided they don't want your socks because they smell so bad!" Scully said and then rushed out the open apartment door to the elevator at the end of the hall before Mulder could respond.
    She waited for him to get in, and then pressed the button that would take them to the floor with the laundry machines. Scully went the drying machine that she had placed her clothes into and Mulder went to the one he was using.
    Scully reached into the dryer and felt her clothes. She sighed. Her clothes were still very damp. "Yours dry, Mulder?" she asked him.
    "No, not really. Judging from the size of your sigh I would have to guess that yours aren't gonna win any prizes for quickest drying clothes, am I right?" Mulder asked, a half-smile playing on his lips.
    "Good guess," Scully replied, sighing another small sigh. "I think it'll still be a while until they are dry."
"Did you bring the quarters?" Mulder asked.

*    *    *

    Finally having dried, Mulder and Scully brought their clothes back to his apartment. The rain was still going strong, though, according the news cast the two had watched, would end soon.
With her neatly folded-and now dry-clothes in hand, Scully turned to Mulder in the laundry room.     "I had better go if I want to get home anytime soon. We have meet that woman early tomorrow morning. Can I borrow these sweats to wear home?" Scully asked, knowing almost for a fact that he would have let her wear them home even if she hadn't asked.
    "Sure, though are you sure that you want to drive all that way in this rain? If you want you can sleep here," Mulder offered.
    Scully thought it over for a moment before replying. "Then where would you sleep?"
    "Either the couch or the bed, whichever you don't want," Mulder replied, hoping she would agree. Though only part of him wanted her to stay because he was worried about Scully driving in the rain...
    Listening to the rain for a few seconds, Scully agreed, "OK. I think I'll take you up on the offer. But you take the bed. The couch is fine for me."
    Mulder smiled. If only she knew how rarely he actually slept in his bedroom. "Agreed."
    Gathering his clothes (only neatly folded because of Scully) into his arms, he led the way back to his apartment. Mulder went in search of a pillow and blanket for Scully to use, and Scully busied herself with making a cup of tea in the kitchen.
    "Do you want a cup of tea or anything, Mulder?" she called.
    "No thanks," he replied.
    Minutes later she emerged with a steaming cup of tea and found that Mulder had put the blanket and pillow on the couch and was sitting on the floor, leaning his back against the couch and was flipping through the channels in search of something decent to occupy himself with. Before he heard Scully's socked feet hitting against the ground announcing her arrival, she took a moment to study his silhouette against the moon-lit blinds. His dark hair was slightly tousled from not being brushed into place after his shower. She mentally traced the outline of his chiseled features, noting the slight five o'clock shadow on his chin. He was one of the few men that she knew of that looked good with it.
    Resuming her walk to the sofa, Scully sipped from her steamy mug and walked to the couch. She sat in the corner and, leaning against one arm, tucked her feet under her. Once again Scully brought the mug to her lips. She then placed it on the coffee table. After she had swallowed, she asked what was on.
    "Not much, I'm checking," was his reply.
    Mulder didn't realize that Scully had fallen asleep until he looked behind him several minutes later, up at her. She was as beautiful as a goddess. With her coppery hair, he decided, she should be the goddess of fire-her temper, at times, fit that description as well. Though he knew that, as with fire, her temper could be doused frequently with an apology or a few thought out words. Scully looked so calm in sleep. Almost as if she had not a care in the world. He wondered if he had ever seen he so relaxed when awake, but could not recall any instances.
    Eventually, though he wasn't even aware when, Mulder fell asleep on the floor in front of the couch. He woke to the still heavily falling rain outside and Scully looking down on him. He sat up wondering how long Scully had been watching him sleep.
    "Good morning sleepy-head. How'd you sleep?" Scully asked.
    "Better than usual. How about you?"
    "Good," Scully replied, throwing her feet off the couch and standing up. "I'm going to borrow your bathroom and get dressed. Don't forget that we have to be at the diner in an hour."
Mulder watched Scully pick up her clothes from the kitchen table and walk into the bathroom. The door shut with a soft click. Then he pushed himself off the floor and went to his own room to get dressed.
    For the first time, Mulder had slept through the entire night without any nightmares or thoughts of Samantha. Though thoughts of Samantha filled his head-both good and bad memories-at Scully's comment about the diner. Mulder began to worry about meeting Samantha-especially if she wasn't really Samantha. Questions swirled around his head, answer-less. Would he live up to Samantha's expectations? Would she live up to his? Would the bridge that had been placed between them be too wide to cross? Would they ever be able to get over what had happened to her as a child, whatever it was?

*    *    *

    Scully squeezed some of Mulder's shampoo into her palm and then applied it to her hair, hundreds of tiny soap bubbles the result. She inhaled its very Mulder scent, relaxing a little in it. Though her thoughts stayed on Mulder long after the suds were rinsed from her hair. Her thoughts, however, were far from relaxing.
    Scully wondered how Mulder was going to handle finally seeing his sister again, or worse, finding out that the woman was just another lie that was spoon fed to him by the Smoking Man and his cronies. She didn't know what Mulder was going to do once his driving force had been removed and he found his sister. What would happen to them? The X-Files? Would Mulder even stay with the FBI after he found Samantha? Would he think the Truth was still worth searching for once he had found her? What would she do once Mulder found Samantha and possibly ended his work with her?
Numerous questions swirled in Scully's head, but an answer came for none. Some were about Mulder, some about her, and some about them.
    Scully stepped out of the shower and toweled off. As she got dressed, her mind persisted in forming numerous more unanswerable questions. Scully pulled her portable hair dryer and makeup bag from her small overnight bag. She quickly dried her hair and applied the little make-up she wore. Well, Scully thought as she stepped out into Mulder's hall, we might as well get going and see about answering some of those questions.
    When she didn't see Mulder in the TV room, she called his name.
    "I'm in my room getting dressed, I'll be out in a second," he called back. Scully glanced at the watch on her wrist. It read eight thirty-five. She sat on the couch and waited for Mulder to come out.
    He entered the room looking good, as he always did, though the look on his face showed that he was no where near as put together as his outfit. Though Scully was sure his emotions weren't so clear to the rest of the world, she could tell how he was feeling just by looking at him. Fear of rejection was evident in his eyes. The slight frown and crease of his brow told Scully just how worried he was about this early morning meeting. She could see that many questions, most likely with very few answers, going through his head, and she wished that there was something that she could do to ease his mind.
    They made an odd pair- Scully in her work suit from the previous day and Mulder in a black T-shirt and a pair of jeans. Scully doubted that Mulder even noticed the difference in their apparel, however.
    "I'm sure that it'll be alright Mulder," Scully said, hoping the words sounded more convincing than her thoughts. After seeing the look on Mulder's face, Scully knew that her words had not been as convincing as she had meant for them to be. She added, honestly this time, "And even if things don't turn out well, you have always been one to work through the toughest situations."
    Mulder's worries subsided a little, but were still there. Scully sighed. Not knowing what else to say, she said, her eyes offering Mulder a smile and some of her strength, "I wish the best for you. Come on, let's go."
    "Thanks," Mulder replied. He was thanking her less for her words, which did little to help him, but for the strength she was offering him. With it, he knew that he would be able to make it through breakfast.
    The two agents snatched their coats from the coat rack and started walking toward Mulder's car, a big umbrella covering their heads.

*    *    *

    Few words were exchanged in the short car ride to the local diner, though the silence was a comfortable one. Before stepping out of the car, Scully placed her hand on Mulder's upper arm. When he glanced her way, she gave him a supportive smile. She then stepped out of the passenger side of the car and opened the umbrella. Mulder waited until she had come around the side of the car to step out, and then together they walked across the reasonably calm street and into the small diner.
    Mulder glanced around the small restaurant, his gaze stopping on the woman that was identical to the Samantha clones that he had met before. Having never seen any of the clones alive, Scully did not recognize the woman and went up to a waitress to ask if a Samantha was sitting in the diner. After seeing Mulder, the waitress spoke before Scully could.
    "A pretty little thing asked me to point her out when you came in. She even showed me a picture to make sure I sent the right man over. She is sitting at that table in the back corner, over there," the pudgy waitress waved her finger in the direction she was talking about. "She is the only woman sitting alone back there, you can't miss her. If you want anything, just flag me down," the waitress finished and then returned to her original task of refilling a couple's coffee mugs.
    "I'm going to go sit at the counter and get something to eat with a cup of coffee. Just come get me if you need me," Scully told Mulder.
    "No, come with me, please," Mulder asked, his eyes pleading.
    "Mulder... I don't want to intrude, I'll just be over here-" she started to say.
    Mulder cut her off, "Trust me, you won't be intruding. I can't do this without you, Scully."
    The raw emotion she saw in his eyes, emotion that was most often hidden from the world, changed Scully's mind. She believed that he truly wouldn't be able to do it without her-they were two halves of a whole, the stronger supplying the strength the other needed. "Alright," she said softly. Once again she saw him gratefully accept the strength she offered.
    Expecting his hand lightly pressing against the small of her back as he usually did, Scully was surprised when Mulder took her left hand in his right. As they neared the corner tables, she gave his hand a reassuring squeeze.
    With his left hand, Mulder tapped the in the back booth on the shoulder. She turned around and before Mulder could respond, the woman had stood up and wrapped her arms tightly around his neck and said, "Oh, Fox, I've missed you so much!"
    While Mulder was held in the embrace, Scully took a moment to look at the woman. The woman was almost identical to the dead body dragged from the river that Scully had seen several years before. This woman could either be yet another clone, from what Mulder had told her, he had seen several, or she could really be Samantha. For Mulder's sake, Scully hoped that it would turn out to be the latter.
    When the woman pulled away, Mulder got a good look at her. A moment later he asked softly,     "Samantha?" He sounded like a little boy who had lost a puppy and was fighting against hope that he had just found it, which was, pretty close to his situation.
    The woman nodded, and pressed her lips together, making an odd smile, with tears filling her eyes. A few spilled over and ran down her thin cheeks. This time it was Mulder who reached for Samantha in a hug. Scully could see that he too had tears forming tiny rivers down his own cheeks. With a start Scully realized that she too had tears running down her face. She took a few small steps backward, giving them some space before she reached up to her face and wiped away the tears.
When Mulder finally released his sister, the two sat down at the two small chairs facing each other at the small, round table. Before Samantha sat down, Scully saw the slight bulge of her stomach-possibly four, maybe five months pregnant. Wistfully, Scully remembered her own child, whom she had only known for a few short weeks. Scully was sure that neither of them saw her slip away to the counter. She wasn't sure, however, if that was what she wanted, but it didn't really matter since it was already done.
    With one last tear, more to the fact that Mulder had dropped her like a hot stone as soon as he had seen Samantha, than about Emily or Mulder and Samantha's reunion, Scully reached for a napkin and dried her face.
    The waitress who had pointed Samantha out was now behind the counter. When she saw Scully, she walked over her seat. Nodding in the direction of the two Mulders, she said, "What's going on over there?"
    Without looking behind her, Scully knew the waitress, whose name tag said Janyce, was talking about Mulder and Samantha. "Family reunion," Scully replied simply. "Could I get some toast and a coffee please?" she asked Janyce.
    Still curious, but knowing when someone didn't want to share more about a situation, Janyce did not ask any of the questions she was thinking, and instead, headed back to the kitchen to relay Scully's order. Janyce's hunch was that most likely an old girlfriend of the man's had come into the picture and the red-headed woman at the counter didn't seem to pleased to give up her claims on the man. Janyce's hunches were rarely wrong, one thing on which she prided herself.

*    *    *

    "Where have you been all these years?" both Mulder and Samantha asked at almost the exact same time. They both laughed, though it was more nervous than humorous.
    "I'll go first," Mulder suggested. He launched in to a description of his after-Samantha childhood (or lack thereof) and then continued on through their father's death. "And as we speak, I am still with the FBI working on the X-files. Now tell me about what happened to you, Sam."
    "That isn't how I remember it," Samantha started, then paused, collecting her thoughts, leaving Mulder to ponder what she was referring to. Mulder decided that for now he would let her call him Fox-it reminded him of a time before his life had been destroyed and dysfunctional. A time before Samantha had been kidnapped. Samantha looked at Mulder and began, "The way I remember it, not long after our vacation to South Dakota we were in a car accident. I woke up in a hospital bed and was told that I was the only one who had survived. I was then put in a foster home in New York, and my foster parents adopted me-the Cravats.
    "I mourned your deaths for months, but I finally managed to be able so sleep through nights without waking up, screaming for one of you. Though I constantly thought of my real family, the Cravats convinced me that it would be better and easier for me if I sort of put you in the back of my mind and tried to think of the present and future instead of the past. I let them think that's what I did, but you were always on my mind. I lived in New York until a few years ago when I went to the University of Maryland. I stayed in Maryland and worked as a vet ever since. My own practice," Samantha added with a teary smile. She then pulled a business card out from her purse. It had her name, business number, and address as well as a cute little picture of a cat and a dog, each with a small cast. Neither of them had bothered to wipe away the tears that were making their way across their faces.
    "I always knew that you would become someone important, Sam," Mulder replied, flashing his own teary smile. He covered her hands on the table top with his own.
    Samantha transferred her gaze from Mulder to their hands and continued, "Then a man, I almost remember him from a group of people Dad knew, but I'm not sure, showed up at my house one day with a picture of you and told me that you were still alive. He said very little about you other than you are not married and you live in Virginia, close to D.C. He even gave me your phone number. I called you before, but there was no answer."
    When she looked up at Mulder, she saw the confused look on his face. "What is it, Fox?"
    "What did the man look like?"
    "Um, he was about six feet, he had gray hair, he looked just like any other old man in the state... Why?" Samantha described the man, her curiosity rising as to why Mulder was asking.
    "Did he smoke?" Mulder asked, almost urgently.
    "Now that you mention it, he did. He had a cigarette in his mouth the entire time he spoke to me. Who is he? Do you know him?"
    "Yes, I do," Mulder said, his mouth a grim line and his eyes clouding over. "But I really don't want to talk about him right now. Since you already know that I'm single, I don't have to repeat it. But what about you? Are you dating anyone?"
    With a flick of her wrist, Samantha showed off her wedding band. A smile crossed her lips and a new twinkle shone her eyes. "Not anymore, I'm married. His name is Chris Garret. We've been married for three years. My two year old daughter, Sarah Jessica, is at home with him," Samantha paused and rubbed her stomach. "And this is Eric Fox. I'm four months pregnant."
    Mulder reached over and gave his sister another hug. "Congrats," he said.
    "If you are so single, who is the woman who answered the phone yesterday and came here with you today?" Samantha asked.
    Mulder turned around, expecting Scully to still be behind him. He glanced quickly around the room, his gaze stopping on the petite red head sitting at the counter sipping a mug, coffee of course, and looking at a newspaper. "You mean Scully?"
    "If that's the woman you came in with."
    "Oh, we aren't dating. She is my partner at the Bureau. I asked her to come with me today," Mulder commented, a secretive smile on his face. He wondered what Scully would think if she knew what Samantha had said.
    Samantha couldn't put it into words, but she knew why Mulder had needed a companion with him. She understood it. If she had any friends in the area who weren't working, she would have asked one of them to come with her as well.
    "Isn't Scully an odd name?" Samantha She quickly added, "I'm not trying to be rude, just curious."
    "Scully is her last name. Her first name is Dana," Mulder said. "Down at the FBI we pretty much all go by our last names. Though I go with it pretty much everywhere," he added with a smile.
    "Ah, OK," Samantha said as if she understood it, but her tone told Mulder that she didn't really.
    "Give me a second to go get her and then I'll introduce the two of you," Mulder offered with a smile.
    "Sure," Samantha said. "I'd love to meet her."
    Mulder stood up and headed in the direction of the counter, figuring that would be where Scully was, but didn't see her coppery-red hair anywhere. He did see the waitress who had helped them earlier, however, and he walked up to her. "Do you know where Scully went?"
    "You mean the short red-head you came in with?" the waitress responded.
    "Yes, her," Mulder replied.
    "She left just a minute ago, didn't say anything to me though," she responded.
    Mulder thanked her and headed for the door. He stepped outside, the chilly air a shock from the warm diner, and looked to see if Scully was still outside. With a sigh, he turned around and walked back inside to tell Samantha that they would have to be introduced some other time because she was already gone.
    He began walking towards the table, but stopped when he saw that Sam was no longer there. Once again, he stopped the waitress Janyce.
    "I'm sorry to bother you again, but I was wondering if you saw where the dark haired woman I was with went off to," Mulder asked her.
    "Boy, you are having some serious woman troubles..." Janyce muttered before answering. "Yes, she left with a tall, thin, gray haired man. They left through the back door, which leads to alley."
    Mulder's heart was in his throat. "Was the smoking a cigarette?" he asked, hoping she would say no, but almost sure the answer would be yes.
    Janyce had to think for a moment, but finally answered, "Yes, why?"
    "Damn," Mulder hissed, and ran to the door at the back of the diner. Not surprisingly, there was no sign of either Sam or the Smoking Man. Mulder reentered the diner, quickly paid for his breakfast, and then hurriedly exited through the front. As soon as he reached his car he dialed Scully's cell phone number.
    After two rings, she picked up, "Scully."
    "It's me. Where did you go?"
    "I was going home. I told you, I didn't want to intrude, and it didn't seem like you needed any support," Scully responded, careful to keep her emotions out of her voice, though she was sure that Mulder still knew how she was feeling-angry at once again being left behind for Samantha, and in some ways, jealous as well.
    This time, however, she was wrong. His concern for Samantha caused him to miss the emotion hidden in Scully's words. "I left the table for a minute, and when I returned, I was told by the waitress that Samantha left with that Smoking Son-of-a-bitch. Though, knowing him, it was probably more like kidnapped by him," Mulder paused and took a deep breath, trying to calm himself down a little. Hesitantly, he began again. "I don't know what to do, Scully. I spent my life looking for Samantha, and then as soon as I find her, she is taken again. I just don't know what to do..."
    "Knowing him, he will let you know whatever it is he's willing to share when he's ready. Until then, all I can suggest is to look around, see if you can find anything as to where she might be. In our line of work, nothing is easily attained, and I'm sure that he wouldn't let your life goal be either. Think about it: wasn't it a little too easy to find Samantha? It isn't like him to let things like that, especially important things, to slip like that, Mulder," Scully said. She didn't know any more about what to do than Mulder did. When it came to the Smoking Man, she had learned that anything was possible.
    "'Easily attained'?" Mulder quoted angrily. "In looking for Samantha I have lost my father, and have made looking for her and the Truth my entire life! Not one minute for the past 25 years has gone by when I have forgotten that!" he shouted into the phone.
    Just as angrily, Scully responded, "Don't I know it! I lost my sister! I have given up the chance at any kind of decent life I might have had for you and your quest for her and for the Truth! You don't even have the decency to say thank you!" She hit the PWR button and threw her phone to the passenger foot-well angrily.
    Scully changed directions, and headed towards a small, not-well-known beach she knew of. She often went there when she needed to be alone or think. She never had told anyone about it, so she didn't have to worry about being interrupted or found.

*    *    *

    Mulder was silenced by the truth of Scully's words. He couldn't respond for several seconds, and when he could, he realized that Scully had already hung up. He tried calling her again, but only got the operator telling him that the phone was turned off. He turned his own phone off and threw it at the passenger seat while muttering 'damn.'
    Since he had been cruising the area in a futile attempt to by some small miracle spot Sam, he just had to change streets before he was on the road that he knew would take him to Scully's house. Maybe she was still headed home and he could catch her and apologize.
    In the meantime he called the number on the business card Samantha had given him. It rang eleven times before Mulder hung up. He would drive out to Maryland tomorrow and visit the vet clinic and see if he could get Sam's home number from them. If not, he'd have to stop at a phone booth and look up her husband's name, hoping that she lived in the same city as the vet clinic.


*    *    *

    Scully pulled off her pumps and her socks and threw them into the backseat. She then walked towards the sand, not thinking about where she was going, just automatically in the right direction. Her head was filled with jumbled thoughts, that if though about, would most likely only end in an eruption of tears. Several minutes later, Scully found herself a good distance from where she had left her car. With the ocean to her left, she turned right and sat on a group of rocks that worked as a chair.
    Scully pulled her knees up to her chest and hugged them. Leaning against her knees, she let the tears that had been threatening to fall all morning finally come.

*    *    *

    Mulder arrived at Scully's apartment building around one o'clock. He sat there until four when he decided that she didn't plan on coming home any time soon.
    Mulder considered driving around and looking for Scully, but decided that even if he did find her, there was little chance of her wanting to talk to him. Not knowing what else to do, Mulder pulled his notepad out of his glove compartment box and scribbled a note to Scully. He stepped out of his car and entered her building. He rode the elevator to her floor and then jammed the note under her door.
    With a sigh, Mulder returned to his car and drove back to his neighborhood. He cruised around for a while longer before stopping by Blockbuster for a few movies and headed home. Finding nothing else to eat for dinner, he poured himself a bowl of sugary cereal and sat down on his couch to watch some television. He knew that there was nothing he could do to find Samantha until morning or he was given a scrap of a clue to work with, so he tried to banish all thoughts of both her and the Smoking Man from his head. He also tried to banish all bad thoughts of Scully from his head, knowing that trying not to think of her at all was futile.
    Hopefully, Scully would call him when she got home, and he would be able to explain to her that he had acted stupidly earlier because he was so upset and attempt to apologize to her.
    Near the end of the third movie he rented he fell asleep on his couch, Scully still hadn't called him.

*    *    *

    Scully didn't know how long she sat against the rocks crying. It must have been quite a while, because when she had finally stopped, the sky was slowly being tinted with the pastels that come with a setting sun. She felt slightly silly for crying so long. There wasn't even a particular reason she had been crying. Though Mulder, their harsh exchange earlier, Samantha, Samantha's obvious pregnancy, and her own child were a few at the top of the list. In a way she felt cheated that after being abducted, or kidnapped, or whatever they were calling it, Samantha was living more normal of a life than Scully ever would.
    Slowly, Scully made her way back to her car. Scully made her way back into the more populated part of town and drove around for a while before deciding on a place to stop. Even though it was very unlike her, Scully got out of her car and walked between windows decorated with several colorful neon signs advertising different beers and through the door. Scully's thoughts were on shots of stronger liquor than was advertised with the bright signs.

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