He woke groggy, where was he? Hospital bed? What had happened to him this time? He couldnít remember, but he was so weak. There didnít seem to be a lot of pain, maybe heíd just been drugged. Where was Scully? Sheíd know. He tried to rise from the bed, but fell back exhausted. Where was everyone?
As though she had heard his thoughts, Scully opened the door and smiled at him. She looked tired, she must have been here with him all along. What would he do without her?
"Good, youíre awake. I have a visitor for you." Scully ushered in a boy. "Mulder, this is Wills. I thought you could visit for a little while. Wills plays basketball."
Mulder shot her a questioning look, but there was obviously a reason for this. Scully would explain later. Wills, it turned out was actually quite entertaining. He knew his basketball and was really quite an attractive boy with excellent grades. Mulder pegged him for 12-13 years old, but decided to ask Scully when she explained the entire meeting.
Too soon she stuck her head back in the door. "Wills, I think Mulder probably needs to rest now."
"It was nice meeting you, Wills. Come back and see me sometime." The boyís eyes looked sad at that, maybe he wasnít ready to leave, but Mulder was tiring. What had been done to him?
Scully held the door for the boy. "Iíll be back in just a second, Mulder." She smiled at him and pulled the door shut.
"How is he today?" The dark haired younger woman watched the boy walk past her and out the door.
"Oh Sam, I think he upset Wills again. He didnít know him. Wills is so good with him, I appreciate you bringing him over so much. Do you want to see him?"
"No, I think one visitor a day is probably enough and I ought to check on Wills. Are you doing okay, Mom?"
"Iím fine, Sam. I just feel bad for Wills. I donít know how itís going to affect me when he forgets who I am."
"Mom, I donít think thatís going to happen."
"Sam, I know youíre trying to make me feel better, but itís inevitable."
"According to the doctors, he should already be at that point. It hasnít happened. I think heís hardwired to always know you because he is you and visa versa."
"Itís like when I was a kid, and you two would argue. I always felt like if there was a switch I could pull and have you two change sides, you could do it without missing a beat. It was because you were each other. Iím not saying it right, but I remember how secure it made me feel, when all the other kids were trying to get used to stepparents, or missing their Mom or Dad. I never worried about that."
Scully pulled her daughter into her arms. "Thatís the nicest thing youíve ever said to me."
"Well, itís true. I worry about you Mom, having to be so strong for him now. Have you thought anymore about putting him. . ."
"No. Iím not ready for that yet. As long as I can look after him here, Iím going to."
"Okay, no arguments. But donít overdo it and please, please call me when you need a break. Iíll see about bringing Wills over again later in the week."
"Donít push him, Sam. Itís hard when his grandfather doesnít know him. Iím so proud of the way he is with your father, so mature. Tell him thanks for me and if he wants to come back later this week, Iíd love to have him. If Mulderís not having a good day, he can just visit with me."
Sam hugged her mother. She seemed even smaller than usual today, though Sam had been taller than her Mom since she was Wills age.
"Iíll call you tomorrow."
Scully sighed and watched them drive away, then returned to Mulderís room to try to explain why the boy had been to visit him.
When they returned later in the week, Scully took Sam aside while Wills visited with his grandfather. "Sam, Iíve been in touch with a program that I think can help your father. I think we should take advantage of it, but it would mean moving away."
"Leaving Washington? But youíve been here forever. How far, could we still visit?"
"No, Dear. Thatís been why I havenít mentioned it before. Itís out of the country."
"Out of the country? Mom, I wouldnít be able to help you at all. What kind of program is it?"
"Itís very unique and I believe itís your fatherís only chance. Heís fine today and seeing Wills is good for him, but heís getting worse so fast."
"Well, I want to do whatís best for Dad, you know that. I just hate to think of you far away and alone."
"I know." Scully sighed. "Thatís why Iím having so much trouble deciding."
"You really think itís best for Daddy?"
"I think itís all thatís left." Scully blinked away the moisture that threatened to fall from her eyes.
"Oh, Mom. Let me talk to David tonight, Iíll call you first thing tomorrow. Iím just worried about you being alone. If Dadís with you I know he will be okay, but I want you to be okay too."
Scully hugged her daughter. "I wish your grandmother were still around to see how well you turned out."
The discussion between Sam, David and Wills was emotional at times, but David managed to keep his wife and son on track and finally had them admitting that anything that could help Mulder was for the best. And in any case if it didnít work out, Mulder and Scully could always come home. Also, with email they could be in touch daily just as they were now. Grampa Langly would make sure of that.
That was the information that Sam related to Scully the next morning. "You have to do whatís best for Dad. But you have to promise that if it doesnít work out, or if Dad. . . goes, youíll come home to us."
Scully couldnít suppress a shudder. If Mulder goes, how would she handle that? That was it, the deciding factor. She had to take Mulder where he could get help and there was only one place.
"Sam, I love you so much and you know your Dad does too. I have to do this. Iíll miss Wills and you and David terribly. You can never know how much help youíve been to me since Mulder became ill. Of all the things he could have come down with Alzheimerís was just about the worst. That incredible memory of his. . ."
"I know, Mom." They were both crying, Scully knew she had to get under control. It would upset Mulder to see her like this and there was no way to explain. "When. . . when would you leave?"
"As soon as possible. Iíll start on the arrangements today. I may have to leave some loose ends for you to tie up, the apartment and so on. You do have our powers of attorney?"
"Yes. Donít worry about any of that, Mom. Just do what you have to with Dad. David and I can handle the rest."
"I know. Let me go wash my face, I canít let Mulder see me like this."
After they hung up and she was composed, Scully came and sat by Mulderís bed as he reviewed an old case with her.
"I know, Iím still looking into it, Mulder. Your job is just to get stronger, let me do the legwork for a while. Donít worry, Iíll keep you up to speed on everything."
"Skinner hasnít been by, has he?"
She swallowed. Skinner, how she missed him. He would have been such a source of strength through this. "I think heís been out of town. Iím sure heíll be by as soon as he gets in."
Mulder nodded, satisfied. Scully was handling things, he didnít have to worry.
"You need to rest now. And I have some work to do. I wonít be long."
"You look tired, Scully. You shouldnít be spending so much time here. Youíre not getting your rest. I donít want you getting sick, one of us has to be up and around. Promise me youíll go home tonight and get some sleep. Iíll be fine."
"Thanks, Mulder. I might do that." She escaped the room before he could see her tears. She probably did look tired, but he wasnít seeing her now. To him she wasnít a 70 year old woman, she was Scully, his partner. He was trapped back before Sam or Wills or even their marriage. This plan had to work. They owed him.
David answered the door Saturday morning to see two men in jackets standing in his door. "Excuse me, Sir. Does Samantha Mulder Langly live here?" They both flashed their badges at him.
"Yes, my wife. Whatís wrong?"
"Is she in?"
"Sam!" He called back toward the kitchen, opening the door wider to let the police in.
"Yes, David, what is it?" She stopped in her tracks when she spotted the visitors. "Is Wills here?"
"Itís okay, heís in his room. Officer. . . ?"
"Iím Detective Watson, this is my partner Detective Oliver. We need to know when you last heard from your parents, Mrs. Langly."
"Night before last. I didnít call yesterday. Whatís happened to them?" She was trying hard to keep the panic out of her voice.
"Maybe nothing. We didnít get an answer at their apartment. Their car was found abandoned. There was no sign of foul play, but we wanted to check it out, see if maybe it had been stolen."
"Their car? Dad canít drive at all now, heís not even able to walk. Mom canít get him in and out. David. . ."
"Donít panic. You talk to the detectives, Iíll try to call over. . ."
"Thereís no answer, Dad and the message has been changed." Wills came in from where he had been listening.
"Changed? What does it say?" Samís voice had risen at least an octave.
"That theyíre away and to call us." Wills responded, his voice cracking.
"David, she wouldnít have left without telling us, would she? She canít get him in and out of the car by herself. I need to get over there."
"Okay, Sam, calm down. Letís get the rest of the information first. Theyíre not home and she obviously made some arrangements. Iíll call Dad, he may know something, or Uncle Frohike. They always know whatís going on. By the way, where was the car found?"
"In Virginia, let me see. . . " Detective Watson flipped through his notebook. "Here it is, Skyland Mountain. The place is usually closed this time of year, the sky tram isnít running. The operator was up checking on some work that was being done and spotted the car."
"Iíve never heard of it. Itís not a place we ever vacationed. Iím going over to the apartment, Iíll call you and let you know what I find." She grabbed her jacket and was out the door before David could protest.
They were gone; she could feel it when she entered the apartment. Not many clothes seemed to be missing, but the photo albums were gone and a few other personal items. Why wouldnít Mom take their clothes? She turned back to the living room and spotted the package on the couch.
It was addressed to her, so she sat and with trembling hands, opened it.
"My darling miracle," it read, "Iím suppose to be resting now that youíre actually born, but I canít, Iím too excited. Mulder is in the nursery, bonding with you. The man has actually learned to levitate over the last two hours. I can tell he hasnít touched ground since you were born.
"Iím not sure which of us suffered more during my labor, but I suspect it was him, witnessing my pain but being unable to alleviate it. He was never very good at that. But to his credit, he never left my side. He had such a fear of the birth and I couldnít tell you whose hand was clutching whose tighter, but we did it together. He didnít even look away as you finally emerged from my body and was able to cut the cord, separating us. A feat he vowed he would never be able to accomplish.
"My Mulder has grown in so many ways since we met. Heís not sure heís ready for fatherhood, not having had much of an example to learn from, but heís wrong. No one could be a better father, and you with your infant wiles, have already wrapped him quite firmly around that miniscule finger of yours.
"You are named Samantha Melissa Mulder. The name might not flow well at first, but we will all grow accustomed to it in time. You are named after your fatherís sister, Samantha and my sister, Melissa. This document will tell you how you came to be born to us. It is a strange story and I do not plan to give this to you until I feel you are ready for it. That may be never, but it will be documented in any case. Iíve learned too often how Ďevidenceí can disappear, so you will have to take my word, or that of your father, for the truth of these events. Your Mulder grandparents are already gone, as well as my father, but your Grandmother Scully will be here to look after you with us as long as possible.
"I can hear your father coming down the hall. I could always distinguish his footsteps from all others, as they echo differently in my heart. Heíll be annoyed at me for not resting, so Iíll put this aside for now. But if you are reading this, know it to be a factual document and no matter how fantastic some of the things may seem to be, remember that your father and I lived these events and you are the culmination of our dearest dream.
"Later my love. . . "
Sam read well into the night.