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TITLE: Only Time Can Heal the Heart

AUTHOR: Gabi Fisher

SPOILER WARNING: none

CLASSIFICATION: VA

SUMMARY: A mystery woman shows up, only it is too late for Mulder to appreciate it.

DISCLAIMER: Chris Carter, FOX, and 1013 own Mulder, Scully, and everyone else mentioned in the X-Files, not me. I mean no infringement.

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It took six months, but I was finally able to open the letter that had sat, sealed, under my only framed picture of us. For six months, I had been afraid to open the letter, afraid to know what its writer had to tell me. Every time I passed the small envelope, sitting on the small table, my heart broke again, until it was to numb for me to feel any pain anymore.

Before, I rarely went out, even alone. Since then, I go anywhere. My heart just isn’t in it anymore. I have cut myself off from the rest of the world, save the eight hour days at work and my infrequent visits to my mother.

Six and a half months ago, the one thing I had feared most, the one thing I thought would never happen, happened. Fox Mulder died.

I remember little from the night he died. I don’t even remember how he was shot. I only remember--for it is etched in my mind, haunting me nightly, replaying endlessly throughout my nightmares--the shot ringing out and Mulder going down. I caught him as he was falling, and eased him to the ground. Everything I had learned in medical school flew from my mind as I sank to the ground, cradling his head. I could think of nothing but the blood. Blood was everywhere. It seemed as if Mulder was bleeding from a thousand wounds, though it was only a single gunshot wound, no bigger than the one I had given him years before.

I put on my calmest face, so as not to scare Mulder, and he did the same for me. We both knew he was dying, but neither of us was willing to admit to the other that we knew it. Even though we both knew it was a lie, I kept assuring him, "Everything’s going to be fine, Mulder. You are going to be alright."

Finally, he shook his head. It was so slight, I almost missed it. He was having trouble getting breath, though he still spoke to me. "No, Scully. I’m not," he wheezed. "But you’ll survive. You always have. And I’ll always love you for it. God, I love you, Scully," he breathed.

The three words I had waited years to hear, and he had to wait until he was dying to say them. It was almost ironic. "I love you too, Mulder. So much. I always have," I whispered into his hair.

Just as I finished the last word, Mulder took his last breath. Then he stopped breathing. I laid him down on the cold tarmac and began performing CPR as if I would be able to bring him back. Subconsciously, I knew he was gone, but my conscious mind would not except it. I only finally stopped when the paramedics pried me away from Mulder’s lifeless body.

The next thing I remember after that was waking up in my apartment with my mother in the kitchen making two cups of tea. She tried to console me, but her words fell on deaf ears.

The entire office still thought Mulder and I had sleeping together, and so they felt that they must share their condolences with me. Everyone told me how sorry they were for me, how awful it must be, but that I would live through it. My apartment quickly filled with flowers. Though no one said it, I knew that very few people would actually miss Mulder. The flowers were sent because that was what was expected of them.

The next week passed in a blur. Mom stayed with me and I had a leave of absence from work due to Mulder’s death. Mulder’s funeral finally came. There was little I remembered from it, either.

Few people showed up for Mulder’s funeral. My mom, Skinner, the Lone Gunmen, a few colleagues, Mrs. Mulder, and I made up most of the gathering. The one thing I remember best from the funeral was Mulder’s ashen face lying against the coffin’s pale pillow before it was closed and lowered into the ground. I doubt I will ever be able to erase that image from my mind.

I silently accepted condolences from everyone that offered them, though they did even less than my mother’s had. As I was leaving the funeral, a brunette walked up to me. She seemed as sad as I, if not more. She looked vaguely familiar and I was curious about her identity, though I thought little of her over the next six months.

What she pressed into my hand before telling me how sorry she was for my loss was what I could not block from my mind. The small, reasonably thick envelope she gave me was the same one that sat under the last picture of Mulder and me six long months after the funeral.

Though I wondered what was in the envelope, I could not open it. It surely spoke of Mulder and the happy times he and the woman had enjoyed before his death. I couldn’t even deal with getting over Mulder myself. I didn’t need someone else’s memories of him to attempt to conquer before being able to get on with my life again.

I’m not sure exactly what made me decide to finally open that envelope, but I was ready. Maybe it was the fact that I was slowly beginning to piece my life without Mulder together. I was teaching in Quantico, back in the medical field. Now that I was no longer hidden in the depths of the J. Edgar Hoover building’s basement, I was starting to make friends with my colleagues. It had taken a year, but I was finally feeling human again.

Whatever the cause, I was ready to see what was concealed in that envelope. With trembling hands, I opened the envelope and pulled out the paper that was inside it. I unfolded the paper and something fell to the floor. I bent down to pick it up, and froze when I saw what it was. It was a picture of Mulder and Samantha when they were children. The looked identical to the children in the picture Mulder had kept on his basement desk, only in this picture they were sitting high in a tree.

The edges of the picture were worn, a sign that the owner of the picture had handled it often. As if the photograph was very special to the woman to whom it belonged to.

I placed the picture and the empty envelope on the table, picked up my glasses, and held up the paper so that I could read it.

Dana Scully-

You don’t know me, but I have learned some about you. My name is Samantha Mulder. You have little reason to believe me, though I have no reason to lie to you. Please accept the enclosed photograph as proof that I am who I say I am. For several years, I have been searching for my brother Fox. Unfortunately, by the time I found him, it was too late to get to know him. In the paper, I found out that you were his partner, and so I figured that you would have gotten to know him at least reasonable well.

I was hoping that at some point in the future you would be willing to meet with me and tell me about Fox. I understand that you may not be ready right away, but please consider it. It would mean so much to me.

I’m very sorry for your loss. God bless.

Sincerely,

Samantha Mulder

555-4931

1357 Shoreline Ave.

Richmond, Virginia

Tears freely fell down my cheeks when I had finished reading the letter. It had taken a year, but I was also ready to share my memories about Mulder. Samantha would be the right person to share them with. Even though it was late, I picked up the phone and dialed the number Samantha had added under signature in the letter.

"Hello," a woman answered the phone after two rings.

"Is Samantha Mulder there?" I asked.

"Speaking. Who’s this?" she asked.

"Dana Scully," I replied. I heard her gasp, and almost could hear her smile.

"Hello Ms. Scully," she greeted me.

Now that I was ready to share my memories, there was someone who was ready to hear them.

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