Kids Stuff - Facing Reality part 1 (R)



Maggie hurried out of the elevator and toward the room number they had given her.   She spotted Mulder in a chair beside the bed.   “Fox?  Fox, what happened?”

He looked up and managed to focus on her.  “Mom.”

She took the chair beside him.  “Fox?”

“She lost the baby.”  His voice sounded dead.

“Oh, Fox. I’m so sorry.”  She touched his arm.

He didn’t seem to notice.  “They . . . they’re doing a D&C now.”

Maggie nodded, tears forming in her eyes.  They sat in silence for a long moment. 

“I should never have taken this case.  I should never have gone out of town.” 

“Fox, you can’t blame yourself - “

“If I’d been here - “

“No!  Fox, don’t do this.  When you lose a baby this early in the pregnancy, there’s something about the baby that can’t live.   There’s nothing - “

“I should have been here!  She’s my wife, she was carrying my baby and I’m off hunting down some maniac that . . . that . . .” He lost it then, burying his face in his hands.

Her arms went around him, cradling him against her as she had her own children when they were in pain.  He sank into her comfort, giving in to his grief.  He couldn’t remember ever being held like this, he had never known how much he needed it.

After what seemed like a long time, he slowly pulled away from her.  “Thanks.”

“Fox, I love you like one of my own.  I’m always going to be here for you.”

He swallowed and after a moment, nodded. 

“I think you should talk to William, too.”

He looked quizzically at her.

“I don’t know if Dana ever told you, Fox, but I lost a baby too, between Missy and Dana.  It was a shock; I’d had two healthy babies.  I love all my children Fox, you know that, but maybe Dana is a little special to me, because she’s the baby that proved I could have children again.  But William had shipped out, he wasn’t there and I know that devastated him.   It took a long time for him to be able to talk about it.  He . . . he would understand how you feel.”

He nodded and allowed her to put her arm back around him.  After a few minutes, he sat up.  “She should be back by now.”

“Why don’t you go splash some water on your face?” 

He nodded and forced himself to his feet.  He had only been gone a couple of minutes when the door opened and they rolled her into her room.  They transferred her to the bed and the nurse checked her IV, then left.

“Mulder?”  She sounded weak, and . . . and scared.

“He’ll be right back, Honey.  Can I get you anything?”

Dana just shook her head and turned away.  Maggie closed her eyes and leaned back in the chair.  Dana was dozing already when the door opened again.

“Dana.”  He hadn’t realized she was back in the room.  He moved quickly to the bed, where he leaned down and kissed her. 

“Mulder.”  She opened her eyes and Maggie slipped from the room.

“How do you feel?”

“Groggy . . . empty.”  She looked away and missed the pain on his face.  “They, uh, Linda said I could go home in a couple of hours.”

“Go home?  Shouldn’t you - “

“I want to go home.”

“Okay.  Why don’t you rest now?”  She nodded and let her eyes close.  He took her hand and sat beside her.  When Maggie looked in the door, she backed away, tears in her eyes.

Mulder sat watching her sleep, thinking back to how he had bungled this whole thing from the beginning.


Several weeks ago: 

They had both been working long hours.  Her residency kept her at the hospital more nights than he wanted to admit.  Of course he hadn’t been the best about being home for dinner lately either.  He knew profiling was taking a toll on him.  Some cases were damn hard to shake off so that he could talk about anything ‘normal’ in the evenings.  Patterson was a tough agent and already Mulder was beginning to chafe under his thumb.  The other agents thought Patterson could walk on water; he needed to think about that. 

She hadn’t been feeling well, but she didn’t dwell on it.  She was just working too hard.  Well, he could see that.  But tonight he was home at a reasonable time and she had promised to be as well. 

He could smell something good from the kitchen when he opened the door.  “Dana?  I’m home.”

When she didn’t answer he headed into the kitchen to find her.  She was there, knife in hand where she had paused in chopping vegetables for the salad, but she was a million miles away.


She jumped slightly and turned to him, a faint smile finally appearing on her face.  “Sorry, I didn’t hear you.”

“I could tell.  Where were you?”

She shook her head, “We can get into that later.  How was your day?”

He shrugged, “Patterson rode me all day, mainly because of a profile I did a year ago - that worked by the way - but didn’t meet his criteria.”

“I tell you he’s jealous.”  She stretched up and kissed him.

“I wish.  Why don’t I take over there?”  He washed his hands and reached for the knife. 


“You feeling any better?”

She turned away slightly, but it could have been to look into the refrigerator.  “I’m fine.  It’s good not to be on call for a whole forty-eight hours.  I’ve practically forgotten what that feels like.”

“Me too.” 

She looked up at him then, “Mulder, I’m sorry I’m away so much.  It’s - “

“It’s not your fault.  We knew it would be tough.  It’s just that with both of us working 24/7 it’s gotten a little out of hand.  And hell, I admit it, when I’ve been inside some sicko’s head all day; it’s probably good you’re not here to put up with me.”

The oven timer went off and she moved toward the stove.   “Hope I remembered how to cook.”

“You don’t like the Chinese food boxes in the frig?”

“It’s better than the pizza boxes, they don’t take up as much room.”

He couldn’t exactly dispute that, so he finished the salad and carried it to the table.   They were both quiet over the meal, not uncomfortably so, both apparently talked out from their days. 

When they were finished, he stood and took her plate.  “You cooked, so I guess I get clean up.”

“Mulder, wait a minute.  We need to talk, there’s something I need to tell you.”

Her tone sent a frisson of fear up his spine and he lowered the plates back to the table.   “Are you okay?”

She didn’t respond, just standing and moving toward the living room.  He was only a half step behind her.  “Dana?”

She sat in her normal seat and he immediately joined her.  “Dana, what?”

“I don’t know how to tell you this.  I . . . “ She looked up and saw the fear in his eyes. 

He took her hand, “Come on, Dana, you’re scaring me.”

She seemed to shrink just a little, “I . . . I thought it might be like the other time, I hoped . . . “ She took a deep breath.  “Mulder, I’m pregnant.”

He blinked, unable to absorb the words.  She wasn’t ill, this was a good thing, right?

She was watching him; he needed to say something.  “I, uh, I thought, aren’t you on the pill?”

She looked away for a second, “Yes, I am.  And I haven’t missed one.  It just happened.”

They were both silent for a moment, “Dana, I’m sorry.  I’m just blown away; uh, this is, this is good.  We wanted kids.”

She sighed, “You don’t have to say that.  I know you’re not exactly thrilled.” 

“That’s not it, it’s just the timing.  I mean, well now is . . . it’s gonna be rough, rougher.”

Her mood seemed to sink even lower, he knew he was blowing this but damn it, she had caught him completely off guard.  At least she’d had a little while to absorb it.

“When did you find out?”

“I ran the test at work this morning.”  She looked positively forlorn.

“Dana, hold it, back up.  Let’s start this whole conversation over.  We’re going to have a baby.  You and me.  Together.”  A small smile did play on his lips then as she watched.  “I need a promise.”

“A promise?”

“Yes.  She has to look just like you.”


“Oh yeah.  I know about boys, I was one.  We want girls.  Little red-headed ones with blue eyes.” 

He saw the tears form in her eyes and pulled her on his lap, rocking her, holding her, loving her. 


As he held her close that night, he kissed her ear.  “Dana, I’m sorry I was such a shit earlier tonight.”


“When you first told me.  I should have swept you into my arms and kissed you until you couldn’t breathe.” 

She shook her head; “You handled it a lot better than I did.  Mulder, this is going to be so hard.  I want it, you know that, but why now?”

He had no answer; the same question had been playing in his mind since he had recovered enough sense to think.  It couldn’t be a worse time for her to get pregnant.  Both of their careers were at the starting gate, this was when they had to prove themselves to their colleagues.  Even before they were married would have been better, to be honest.  Then she could have postponed her residency.  Okay, that wasn’t exactly fair, but . . . the burden was going to fall on her 95%, no be realistic, more like 110%.  She had to carry it; he couldn’t help there at all. 

“Dana,” his arms around her tightened, “can you do this?  I mean physically?  You’re working harder than I am right now.  I’ve known for weeks you weren’t feeling well, but I didn’t . . . this didn’t cross my mind.”

“This?  It’s a pregnancy Mulder.”  She knew before the words were finished that she’d said the wrong thing.  This wasn’t his fault any more than it was hers.

“I know that Dana.” 

“I’m sorry.  I guess I’m a little more shaken than I realized.  I’m fine Mulder, go on to sleep.  I know you’re tired.”

He kept quiet at that.  Sleep?  Yeah, sure.  He didn’t have a clue what to do to help her.  He wasn’t even sure she wanted his help at this point.  She turned, disengaging herself from his arms and making herself more comfortable on her own side of the bed instead of in the middle where they normally met.   He didn’t know whether to be hurt or angry, decided neither would do much good and after a moment rolled over himself.

It was a long night, with neither getting very much sleep.  Morning didn’t bring any enlightenment.  He rose first and put the coffee on, then took his shower.

She was in the kitchen when he came in dressed, but the coffee hadn’t been touched.   “Don’t you want any?”  He poured himself a cup and motioned with the pot in her direction.

“I have to have decaf now.”

“Oh.”  He didn’t know what else to say.   There was a hell of a lot he didn’t know, and right now she didn’t look much like she wanted to tutor him.  “Are you feeling okay?  I mean, morning sickness or anything?” 

She tried to hide the slight shudder that went through her, but wasn’t completely successful.  He started toward her, but she pulled back.  He stopped immediately, totally unsure of himself. 

“Dana, why don’t I call in sick today.  We could - “ 

“No.  You don’t need to miss work.  I’ll just hang around, try to catch up on the laundry.”

“Don’t do that.  Why don’t you just rest?  I can do the laundry tonight.  I’m pretty sure it’s my turn anyway.  Just . . . just look after yourself today.”

She nodded.  “Yeah, maybe I will.  Have a good day, don’t let Patterson get you down.”

“Yeah, okay.  Will you call me if you need anything?”


“I . . . I don’t know.  Look, I’ll bring dinner home tonight.  What would you like?”

She looked away and shook her head.  “Whatever you feel like.  I can’t decide that right now.”

He nodded, at a loss again.  Could he do anything right?  He kissed her, on the cheek as she turned her head, and after a second moved toward the door.  “Promise me you’ll take it easy.  Go on back to bed, Dana.  Don’t worry about any housework or anything.  If you need something, call me and I’ll pick it up on the way home.”

“Thanks.  See you later.”  She didn’t move toward the door, just stood in the kitchen looking a little lost.  Maybe he should call in, but . . . but she didn’t seem to want him here. 

Things weren’t a whole lot better that evening when he got home.  He was later than he wanted to be, but he’d picked up Thai for her and a pound of decaf coffee.  Thai wasn’t his favorite, but she usually liked it.

She seemed a little rested and she had done the laundry and dusted and everything he hadn’t wanted her to worry about.  She only picked at the food and when he tried to coax her to eat more just shook her head.

“Dana, do you want to do something tonight?  We haven’t been to a movie in ages.  We could - “ 

“No, I really don’t want to go out.  I know you’re tired too Mulder.  I can see it.  Did you get any sleep last night?”

“Not much.  My mind was fully engaged.”

“Mulder, I can’t have an abortion.  I just - “

His eyes widened in horror.  “Dana, No!   I would never, no!  You don’t think that’s what I want, do you?” 

“No, I don’t know.  This is supposed to be a wonderful thing and we’re both . . . Mulder, we’re devastated.  I feel guilty and - “

“And you don’t feel good.  Dana, I’m not devastated, I was shocked last night, yes.  And I know what a burden this is putting on you.  That’s my biggest concern.  Just how much help can I be?  I’m way outside my learning curve here, Dr. Mulder.  I didn’t even think about the decaf this morning or, or a thousand other things I should know.  I’m worried about you.”

“Mulder, really, I’m - “

“Fine?”  He smiled at her.   “I’m beginning to hate that phrase.  Have you told your parents?”

She shook her head.  “I wanted to get my act together before I did that.  If she had seen me yesterday, Mom would have wanted to have me committed.  A good Catholic girl isn’t supposed to react like I have.”

“Well I can’t speak for the Catholic part, but I think you’re reacting the way any overwhelmed woman would.  Maybe we’re not dancing in the streets right now, but I’ve always wanted to have children with you.   I did when I was 18 and saw you with your cousins.”  His face froze for a minute, “Do twins run in your family?”

“Oh yeah, you’re not devastated.  No, twins run on my aunt’s side.”

He had to chuckle then, “Okay, so maybe I am more than a little overwhelmed.  Geez, Dana, it’s just so unexpected.  But I love you and I love her.”

“You know we can’t send it back if it’s a boy.” 

“You’re sure?”

She swiped at his arm and for the first time since the day before, relaxed into his embrace.   He closed his eyes in relief.


Her shift had started before he got home the next night, and the emptiness of the apartment seemed worse than usual.  He wanted her to take it easy, but that was impossible unless she decided to take another year or more to complete her schooling.  That would be fine with him, but he knew she would fight it, wanting to stay at work probably until she went into labor. 

Labor - good god.  What if he fainted or . . . he shook himself, this was certainly counterproductive.  Move on, he’d brought enough work home to keep him busy.


He pulled up in front of her parent’s house.  He was running late, no surprise.  He jumped out and hurried to the front door and let himself in.  He was family now and he couldn’t help but smile again at that fact.

“Anyone here?”

“We’re in the kitchen.”  He heard Dana’s voice and his smile dimmed a little.  She was working too hard; maybe after tonight her mother could help talk her into taking it a little easier.

“Hi.”  He joined them, giving Dana a kiss, “Sorry I’m late.”

“Work?”  Dana looked up at him.  She’d put on her makeup carefully, the circles under her eyes were completely gone and he knew it wasn’t from rest.

“Yeah, we caught a break in the case.” 

“We or you?”  She asked.

“Well, I picked up on something Patterson missed.”

“Did you say anything?”

“I didn’t have to.”  He grinned widely and she shook her head.  “Hey, I was very politically correct.”

She rolled her eyes as he moved on to his mother-in-law and kissed her cheek.  “Smells wonderful as usual.  Forgive me for holding things up?” 

“You didn’t hold us up.  The rolls are browning as we speak.  Call William down and we’ll start.” 

He glanced over at Dana; obviously she had waited for him to make the announcement.   He brushed another kiss on her forehead and headed for the stairs to call his father-in-law down.

William came at Mulder’s call and clapped him on the back.  “Thought I heard you come in.  Glad we could find a night you were both available.”

“Tell me about it.  I have to keep her picture on my desk to remember what she looks like.  She doesn’t have a desk, so I think I surprise her whenever she sees me.” 

“It’s not that bad, obviously.”   She glanced up at him and he grinned down at her. 

“Well go ahead and explain that.”  He teased.

“Explain what?”  Maggie set the basket of rolls on the table. 

Dana reached for Mulder’s hand, “Well,” she took a deep breath.  “Mulder and I are going to have a baby.” 

It took about a heartbeat and a half for it to sink in; then the happiest smile he had ever seen took over his mother-in-law’s face.

“Dana!  Oh Fox, I’m so happy for you!”  She threw her arms around her daughter and Mulder had to chuckle. 

This was the way it should have been when she told him.  But at least now they were getting used to the idea.  They still had no logistics figured out, but Maggie’s obvious delight was contagious.

William shook Mulder’s hand and hugged his daughter, though he seemed at a loss for words.

They took their seats, but Maggie had taken over the conversation and was firing questions at Dana left and right.  Yes, she’d had Linda check her out; no, no ultrasound yet, in a few weeks; no, only Linda knew at work.  Yes, she was feeling fine.

Mulder snorted at that last one, and Maggie looked over at him.  “Dana?  Have you had morning sickness?”

Dana glared over at Mulder and decided not to kick him, then looked back at her mother.   “I just can’t understand why it’s called morning sickness, when I feel like this all day.”

Maggie looked at her sympathetically.  “I can tell you it will get better.”

Dana nodded, but made no comment.  Dinner seemed to rush by, and though he noted she ate almost nothing, he didn’t comment in front of her parents.  After the meal when Dana and Maggie disappeared into the kitchen with the plates, over his protests, he looked over at his father-in-law.

“This was a surprise, wasn’t it Fox?”

“A huge one.”  Mulder admitted.

“Is she okay?  Are you?”

“Well I no longer have to hold onto the walls to walk, but yeah, I’m still reeling a little.  I don’t know about her.  She’s working too hard and she doesn’t feel good.  But I don’t seem to have any control over either thing.”

Bill smiled at him, “Get used to it son.”

“I need to get her home, she could sleep the clock around if she had the opportunity.   I wish we hadn’t come in two cars.”

“Yeah, you look after her, as much as she’ll let you.” 

Mulder nodded and headed into the kitchen.  “Enough, ladies.  You can talk later.   I need to get my wife to bed.”

“Mulder, I’m fine.”  He just looked at her until her eyes dropped and the color grew on her face.

“He has a point, Sweetie.  Go home and get some rest while you can.  Call me when you get a break.  Fox, you’re welcome for leftovers tomorrow.”

“Sorry, I have to fly to Denver in the morning.”

Dana’s head flew up.  “Denver?”

“Yeah, I told you we got a break.  We have to check it out.”  He sobered then, “You’ll be okay, won’t you?”

“Of course I will.  Don’t be silly.”

Mulder looked over at Maggie, “She will be fine, Fox.  Dana, you’re welcome to stay here while he’s out of town.”

“Mom, thanks, that’s not necessary.  I can stay at the hospital in the resident’s quarters if it’s late, and it will be.  Don’t worry.”

“Remind me you said that in a few years.”  Maggie chided, but didn’t press.

Mulder followed her home and after she got ready for bed, she sat on its edge as he packed a quick bag.  “What time is your fight?”

“Six.  I’ll be real quiet when I leave.”  He moved the suitcase and joined her on the bed.  “Do you want me to get out of this?  I could - “

“Of course not.  This is your job and besting Patterson is doing you a world of good ego-wise.  I’m not sure professionally.”

He grinned, “It has been interesting.  I just try to keep my head down and do the work.  I hate being away from you, especially now.”

“We’d be apart anyway.  I’ve got a long shift coming up.  Call and leave a message so that I know you got there safe.  Okay?”

He nodded, looking deep into her eyes.  “Dana, other than fine, how do you really feel?”

She sighed, “Tired, there’s a constant nausea that crackers and all those other remedies won’t touch.  But it’s normal and it should pass soon.”

Well that was more than he’d gotten lately.  He pulled her down on the bed and cuddled her next to him.  “Your mother could have touched the moon tonight.”

She grinned and nodded.  “A good Catholic grandmother, all the way.  And it is their first grandchild.”

He pulled her closer and lay there as she fell asleep on his chest.  He didn’t sleep for a long time.


The next week was grueling.  He’d only had to be in Denver for two nights.  When he’d gotten home, her appearance had honestly frightened him and he’d threatened to call her mother immediately.  She had assured him that Linda was keeping an eye on her and allowed him to pamper her a little.  But then the trip to St. Louis had been thrown at him.  They were close on this guy, damn close, and they couldn’t let him go underground again.

She said nothing, but he could feel her reluctance to see him leave again.  “Talk to me Dana.  Please.” 

“There’s nothing to say.  You have to go, you have to catch this guy.  Just call me and let me know when you’ll be home as soon as you know.  I’ll check the messages and come home when you do.”

“Do you get any rest when you stay at the hospital?”

“Some.  It’s not a good as here, but by the time my shift ends, I’m not always safe on the roads.  It’s better to just crash there.”  She looked up at him.  “Don’t say it.  Just don’t say it.”

He sighed and held her close.  He couldn’t ignore the uneasiness when he left the next morning.  On the plane with Patterson riding them all, he managed to shove it aside and when they landed they jumped into action so quickly, he didn’t have time to call and let her know he had arrived.  That was a first for him, but the action was intense.

They finally took the fugitive into custody at 4 a.m. the next day and the questioning went on for hours.  Mulder fell into bed around 2 p.m.  He was roused a couple of hours later for even more questioning.  He was so absorbed in the case that it wasn’t until they took a break around six that evening that he realized he hadn’t called Dana at all.

Appalled, he found a phone and left her a quick message.  There had been no answer as usual.  Well, that meant she was working, but the guilt didn’t go away completely.   He left a message that he would try back again before bedtime.

He’d been gone four days by the time he made it home.  She was there, but sound asleep when he let himself in.  He knew it was partly imagination, but she seemed to have lost weight and was pale just lying there against the pillow.

He eased himself into the bed and took her in his arms.  She didn’t wake, but seemed to relax into him.  He felt a moment of relief and closed his own eyes.

He wasn’t sure what woke him, but she wasn’t in the bed.  Where . . .?  “Mulder!” 

All trace of sleep was gone with her cry and he leapt from the bed moving toward the sound.   She was standing in the bathroom, blood soaking through her nightgown.


“It’s okay.  It’s going to be okay.”  He was already pulling on his slacks from the night before.  He snagged some towels and wrapped her robe around her, then lifted her into his arms.   “Just relax, Dana.  I’m going to take you to the emergency room.  You just try to stay calm.”

He’d gone into agent mode in order to retain his sanity.  God, it looked like she was bleeding to death.  The baby.

He settled her gently in the backseat of the car and scrambled into the front.  “Dana?  Dana can you hear me?”  He was already pulling out, there was little traffic at this hour.

“Mulder, I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry.”  She was crying and he wanted to hold her, but he had to get her help.

“Shh, just relax.  We’ll be there in just a couple of minutes.  Hold on Dana.   Please.”

“Oh my god.”  She sobbed then.   He didn’t understand the significance of that until later.  He just knew he had to get her help.

They recognized her as he carried her into the ER and led him immediately to a trauma room.   Then one of the nurses was gently pushing him out of the room.

“No, I have to stay.”

“Mr. Mulder, let the doctor examine her.  You need to wait right here.”

“She’s my wife!”

“Just give the doctor a couple of minutes with her.  Is there anyone you need to call?”

He blinked at that, yeah.  Mom, he needed to get Mom here.


They were home.  He opened the door and let her in.  They were both quiet.  She still felt spacey from the medicine and he didn’t know what to say.  He tried to lead her to the bedroom, but she stopped.  “I want to be up for a little while, Mulder.”

“Okay.”  He seated her on the couch.  “Can I get you anything?”  She shook her head.   “How about some tea?”

“Sure, fine.”  She watched him walk toward the kitchen.  Part of her wanted to call him back, just sit with him, but he needed to be doing something and she felt too weird to think clearly.

When he returned, he handed her the tea and sat beside her on the couch.

“Thanks.”  She took a couple of sips then put the cup on the table.  “Maybe I should lie down.”

He was on his feet instantly.  “Are you okay?”

She made some movement with her hand and stood.  He put his arm around her, but it felt awkward.  He helped her get settled in the bed and brushed the hair from her forehead.   “Sleep, Dana.  I’ll, uh, I’ll straighten up and join you.”

“I know it’s early.  You don’t have to - “

“I’ll take a quick shower, then I’ll be here.”

She nodded silently, afraid suddenly that her voice would break.  She reached for him as he moved away from the bed, but he didn’t see it and she pulled back immediately.  He didn’t quite close the door; so that he could still hear her if she needed him, then walked with a heavy tread to the bathroom. 

He turned on the water and stood, oblivious to it until the steam hit his face.  He stripped and stepped in.  As the heat relaxed his tense frame, he felt himself losing control and realized he was crying.  Before he knew it, he was sobbing uncontrollably.  It wasn’t until the water turned cool that he forced some composure back.

He dried off quickly and hurried to check on her.  She was sound asleep.  He carefully got in the bed beside her and lay watching her.  He wasn’t even sure how to feel.  He hadn’t been as supportive as he should have been when he found out about the pregnancy, but it wasn’t because he didn’t want it.  Did she understand that?  It was the timing.   She still had her residency to finish and this had been too much for her.  But she had convinced him that she . . . God, how had this happened?  Why hadn’t he kept a closer eye on her?  Because he’d gotten involved, intrigued by the case.  He had allowed a case to come before her.

Was he his father?


She had gone back to work after three days.  He had stayed home with her during that time despite her protests that he had work to do.  The sight of her in the bathroom, with all of that blood had not left his mind.  Even in sleep, thoughts of being away from her terrified him.

He had heard what Mom had said, but if he had been here . . .

Without her at the apartment, he began spending more and more time at the office himself.    The problem was, he didn’t want to spend any more time than he had to with Patterson or his disciples.

Fortunately, Patterson didn’t seem to want to spend that much time with him either and kept sending him on grunt errands.  It was on one such errand to the basement that he ran into a store of files that caught his attention. 

It was a garbage dump, but some of the case files were fascinating.  After checking a few out he realized these were files that the FBI hadn’t wanted to investigate - alien abductions, psychic phenomena, paranormal happenings.  He wanted to laugh, at first. 

After a few times down there, he began finding excuses for going.  There was a room nearby, unused and dusty.  He began using his time cleaning the spare room.  He moved a desk in and then the file drawers with the files.  He began refiling the folders in a more cohesive order and read each one.  They were becoming more fascinating each day. 

It was also becoming obvious that the Bureau hadn’t tried very hard to solve any of these cases.  They had been shelved; placed in the basement and forgotten.

He had almost gotten used to what he was reading, researching new phenomena each day.  Then he found it.  He was knocked for a loop.  Samantha’s file.   

He didn’t go home for two days.  He didn’t report to Patterson either; he just sat in his new ‘office’ and stared at the information.  He read it over and over.  With his memory it hadn’t been necessary, but he couldn’t stop. 

He had left a voice mail for Dana, but hadn’t actually talked to her.  He couldn’t, he couldn’t talk to anyone.  Why the hell was Samantha’s file down here in the garbage?   Was this the way they had treated the case from the beginning?  Had they bungled the entire investigation?  Shit, what had they done?

He felt as though he were alternately freezing and running a fever.  There was no one to confront, not yet.  When he finally emerged from the room, he carried the file with him.  It would not be relegated to a trash pile ever again.

Dana wasn’t at home when he finally arrived.  It was just as well; even now he couldn’t talk about this.