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TITLE: Star Gazing

AUTHOR: Gabi Fisher

SPOILER WARNING: none

CLASSIFICATION: V A

SUMMARY: On a hotel balcony under the stars, Mulder shares a bit of his past with Scully.

DISCLAIMER: I don't own anyone in here. I'm not even pretending to. No infringement intended.

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Mulder stood, leaning against the balcony of their third story hotel room staring out into the starry sky. He barely moved, but took in all the stars and silently named all the constellations he knew, which were many. He remembered back to a time before all the sadness, emptiness, and pointlessness of his life, a time before Samantha had disappeared. Three or four months before she was abducted the Mulders had gone on a camping trip. They had set up their tent away from any trees, and their view of the sky was unobstructed. Even though she was younger than he was, she had been able to point out and name almost all of the constellations. It took a few weeks, but she had even taught Mulder the names and locations of the constellations she knew. Ever since then he would periodically go out and name the clusters of stars. He never bothered to learn any more than the ones she had taught him, even using the names she had made up for the ones she couldn’t remember the names of. It made him feel closer to Sam. It gave him extra hope that one day he would find her. He dreamed of going outside with her when she was back and together they would name the constellations, just as they had before her disappearance. Part of his mind told him that was like hoping for a miracle and would never happen, but the other part of his mind kept the fantasy alive.

Scully came outside at some point, though said nothing, just looking at Mulder, then the sky, then Mulder again. After several minutes, she finally spoke. "They’re beautiful, aren’t they?"

Mulder snapped out of his reverie at the sound of her voice. "What? Oh, yes, they are."

"What are you thinking about?" Scully asked, resting her arms against the balcony as well. She didn’t look at him when she spoke, but instead at the sky.

"Who says I was thinking about anything?" he asked, looking at her for the first time.

"Well, you didn’t answer me the first four times I called your name, and I know you well enough to know when you are thinking about something," Scully responded, finally turning towards Mulder.

Mulder offered a slight smile, though it was devoid of mirth. "Nothing really I guess, while at the same time everything. I was remembering a camping trip we had gone on before Samantha..." his voice trailed off for a moment before he continued. "She had named almost every constellation in the skies that night. She made me learn them over the next few weeks, and wasn’t satisfied with me until I could name them as well as she could. Every now and again I go outside and just look at them, the stars, and find all the constellations, naming each one." Mulder sighed and returned his gaze to the stars.

Scully pressed her lips together, and, unsure what to say, just reached over and squeezed his hand.

Unexpectedly, Mulder continued, "Sometimes, I wonder if Samantha ever looks at them and remembers that camping trip. Ever remembers me. I couldn’t tell you why, but the stars—its almost like they give me hope. Hope that one day I will see her again. That we will be reunited."

"For your sake, Mulder, I hope that you do find her. I really do," Scully said quietly.

Silently, Mulder continued staring into the stars. Scully kept her hand over his on the rail and looked up at him, almost as if she looked hard enough, she would be able to get into his head, understand him and why he did what he did.

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Brushing some golden brown hair from her eyes, a young woman lay back on her bed, looking up at what would be her ceiling. She remembered nothing from before her adoption when she was eight or nine except her love of the stars. Since the man who had adopted her did not allow her to leave the building or go outside, he had installed a huge skylight in place of the ceiling.

The woman would spend hours every night staring up into the sky, looking at the stars. She knew the name of all the constellations that shone down into her room. When she named the constellations, visions of herself and a young boy from long ago invaded her mind. So often she had seen the vision replay itself in her head that she recall the boy’s face by just closing her eyes.

Though the man who adopted her, the only one who smoked of all the men who were constantly coming and going from the house, frequently asked her if she ever remembered anything from the past, she never told him of the single memory of the boy. It was the only private thing in her life, and she wanted to keep it that way.

Too tired from the almost endless number of tests that had been performed on her that day, the woman just looked at the stars, not naming them than night. As she often did before sleep came, she wondered if the dark-haired boy from her visions was real and not just a figment of her imagination and if he was real, did he ever look at the stars like she did and think of her. And, as usual, the woman fell asleep with the boy her last thought, comforting her and keeping her same and willing to perform the tests that were so often asked of her.

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