We were cruising for trouble when we picked up Fox Mulder. He looked like a nice enough boy, sort of sketchy, not quite filled in all the way, but we would make do. We always had.
We dusted him off, fed him, fed his fish, bought him some CDs, a subscription to Playboy and some new clothes that looked just exactly, more or less, like his old ones.
We placed him on a pedestal and then gently and lovingly tipped it over...just to watch it fall. We might have said, "We told you so."
We knocked him on his ass until he started crying then wrapped him up in a blanket before he could start to complain about the cold.
We babied him. We beat on him. We got bored with him. We found ourselves irrevocably fascinated by him.
We pulled him apart just to see if we could stick him back together again. Sometimes we failed and ended up with an extra piece that didn't seem to go anywhere, but, unfazed, we stuck it in his pocket and sent him on his way, confident it would all come together in the end.
We were frustrated with him. We were short with him. We yelled at him. We laughed at him. We teased him. We wrote him.
We had our Mulders tell their stories.
When we got tired of guns and basements and lost sisters and fear, we put him in fairy tales, in World Wars, in bars, in adolescence, in the margins of our notebooks.
And he complained.
We gave him mothers, fathers, siblings, neighbors, girlfriends, boyfriends, bartenders, partners, enemies, children.
We gave him our Scullys.
And he talked to them. We only put the words in his mouth -- we weren't responsible for what came out.
He taught us about ourselves, and we loved him for it.
And he, in turn, wouldn't leave us alone. During class, during work, in the car, in the shower, on the phone, on the train, at the movies, at the dinner table. He pestered us, talked to us, danced for us, and, above all, dared us to write him down.
He distracted us during meetings, interrupted term papers, woke us from sleep, and entertained us in traffic.
He always struck when we were too tired to find paper, too lazy to try. Then he slipped away, making us curse our own decision to ignore him.
He played hard to get. He'd sit silent and unyielding or instead say things he never would have said otherwise. He did it just to annoy us, and sometimes we'd let him get away with it. Mostly, we just tried to come back when he was in a better mood.
We kept his photograph by the monitor, in our wallet or on the wall.
He was Mulder, and we found things in him that Chris Carter hadn't put there. We're not even sure if one of us could have done it.
We found life in Fox Mulder, and we loved him for it.