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Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck

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TV Shows » X-Files » Mr Spooky and Ms Starbuck
Author: pearlydewdrop «
Rated: T - English - Romance/Angst - Reviews: 132 - Published: 06-08-16 - Updated: 05-10-17 id:11988179
Chapter 18: Holding On To You

...

Can we skip past near death cliché

All I want is to flip a switch

Before something breaks the cannot be fixed

~Touch, Sleeping At Last

...

Surrounded by a pale yellow fog, Melissa breathed in deeply looking around. She couldn't see very far in front of her so she stayed still, waiting for the fog to pass and breathing in the powerful smell of incense burning to her far right.

The smell was intoxicating, wiping away her pain and fear.

Her last worldly memory of the horror that had transpired in Dana's apartment seemed, already, so far away. Almost as if it had happened years ago.

Melissa could no longer feel her skull ache where the bullet from Kevin/Alex's gun had penetrated her body, she could not longer feel fear gnawing at the inside of her stomach. She could only sense the soothing sensation of the cool fog around her and smell the scent of burning spices.

"Hello", she called loudly into the abyss. "Is there anyone here?"

Slowly the fog began to clear, revealing a room so purely white, free of any imperfection.

Melissa looked around curiously, noticing a figure walking towards her that she had not noticed before, as though he had materialised outside of nothingness.

"Dad", Melissa shouted, hoping that he would hear her. "Is that you?"

As though floating, the once red-haired and now bald man stood before her in seconds, enveloping her in a tight hug. "I'm so sorry, Missy", he whispered thickly, voice full of emotion.

He had watched over her in desperation over the last few weeks, knowing that she would be joining him soon and wishing to God that he could do something to prevent it. "I'm so sorry that you had to go through all of that. You didn't deserve it, sweetheart. You deserve so much more, you and Emily both".

He had been watching over his eldest daughter in horror as Kevin had broken into Dana's apartment. He had cradled Melissa's soul in his arms, hoping beyond hope that she would fight for another day even though he knew it was futile. He would have given anything to give his daughter more time but time was something he couldn't give her, only comfort.

Melissa returned his embrace, hesitantly at first considering how they had never seen eye to eye on certain topics, but fully when she realised that that didn't matter anymore. He was still her father and she was still his daughter.

She was surprised by his display of emotion, William Scully Sr had always been a very guarded man about his emotions, hardly ever letting anything betray his cool exterior, much like Bill and Dana did. In the difference, Melissa and Charlie had always been more like their mother, strong but open with their feelings.

"It's okay, Dad. I'm okay", she whispered quietly, her voice breaking slightly. Suddenly she felt tears fall as she thought of her own daughter, who she would always watch over but, unfortunately, never get to know. She wanted the best for Emily, that was what she had always wanted. Her little girl deserved everything in life and she had wanted to be the one to give her everything once their lives were safe enough.

But now that would never be an option.

Emily may never get to know her mother but she may have a chance to get to know the rest of her family. Melissa thought about it for a moment, imagining her daughter happily growing up knowing her uncles and grandmother and cousins but possibly being raised by her aunt instead of her mother and calling the same aunt 'Mom' because she was still too young to understand her family circumstances, too young and too innocent, something Melissa didn't want stripped from her for a long time. She expected a jab of pain or jealousy at the thought of Emily being raised by Dana (and probably Mulder too) but felt only peace. Her daughter would have a family.

Gently pulling away from her father, Melissa stepped back, her mind buzzing.

"Dad, is there anyway that I can talk to Dana? She needs to know something before I leave with you", She whispered determinedly, Melissa knew there was no going back now, she already felt so detached from her body and didn't even pay attention as it was wheeled cold and lifeless from the emergency room.

And her mother send Charlie were being sympathised with by the doctors who told they that they had "done their best".

Melissa knew that they had done their best to reignite the roaring spark within her but Kevin had tried even harder to snuff it out.

There was some just one thing she had left to do.

...

Visible machinery,

these moving parts inside of me

They've been shutting down for quite some time,

leaving only rust behind.

~Touch, Sleeping At Last

...

Dana Scully was adamant. She wasn't going to sleep until she found out what was going on at home. She and Mulder had collapsed into their bed exhausted but unable to shut their eyes.

Scully hadn't been able to shut herself off without an image of her sister appearing before her eyes almost tauntingly. Even though the rational part of herself had insisted that she could have done nothing to prevent what had happened to Melissa, Scully still felt responsible for what had transpired. Her sister was in her apartment and it had been her fault she was alone.

She hadn't been able to sleep a wink that night, neither had Mulder. He had held her silently in the darkness without comment or judgement, he didn't need to. They had always had a near telepathic connection between them and his presence was all she needed to reassure and comfort her.

With one hand settled against her lower back and the other resting on her abdomen over their baby, Mulder had laid down with her in the darkness, worrying for her welfare while she worried for her sister's.

Scully loved him for it.

By the time they had risen, just after 5am, to catch their flight back to DC, woken up their students, nibbled half heartedly at breakfast, hurried to their airport terminal and toppled into their seats on the plane, Scully begin to feel her overwhelming exhaustion settling in and weighing her down. She hadn't thrown up again this morning, that at least had been something. Thee baby must have known his or her mother didn't need the extra stress.

Settling her head against Mulder's shoulder, she sighed tiredly as his arm looped around her shoulders.

"Are you alright, Scully?", Mulder asked, concerned. He hadn't slept in twenty four hours either, but that was more normal for him than it was for her. He watched her intently, noticing the quiet creases in her forehead knit together in worry and utter exhaustion as her eyes began to droop.

Scully nodded sombrely, while internally fighting the urge of sleep. "I'm fine", she replied, firm despite her grogginess. She knew that was the answer that he expected, whatever atrocities befall them Scully know that she will always tell him that she is fine, just as she knows he will see right through her but make no judgment either way and just be there for her.

She settled one of her hands against her still flat stomach over her and Mulder's child, noticing how he smiled softly against her temple as he watched her. How had everything gone so wrong so quickly?

Struggling to keep her eyes open she concentrated on Mulder's deep hazel eyes, how they swirled with concern and caramel coloured hues. She concentrated on how his arm encircled her smaller body holding her and the baby protectively to him even though he knew that she didn't need his protection. Just because she doesn't need it doesn't mean that she can't want it. He skimmed his other had against the front of her shirt, caressing her over her knuckles and belly.

She could hear the gentle and reassuring 'thud' of his heartbeat beneath her fingertips, comforting and soothing, a sign that she wasn't alone. To her, he was the brightest thing in the room, casting everything else into shadow. Bright and warm and crackling-he was a human campfire. He was her best friend, her comforter, the father of her baby. He was hers.

Scully tried to focus on Mulder and their baby for now, but her own guilt and feeling of responsibility for what had happened to Melissa was overwhelming. She just wanted to see her sister, to hear her voice. Scully knew, after two years at Medical School, that the prognosis for cranial gunshot wounds weren't good, if someone survived until they reached hospital things could still go severely wrong, the brain could swell, it could haemorrhage, patients could even die of blood loss during surgery.

"I'm worried, Mulder", she answered truthfully. "I don't want to loose my sister."

Mulder watched as her eyes began to close, her eyelashes fluttering shut to resemble angel wings. For a woman so stubborn and strong, she felt so small, so fragile here in his arms. The thought kind of scared him before he realised that Scully only showed this side of herself to him only because she trusted him above everyone else. She trusted him enough to show him the part of her that was hid underneath the layers of fiercely independent and logical Dana Scully.

Meanwhile, Scully felt the lulling tendrils of sleep pulling her under despite her unwillingness. She was worried about Melissa, fearing for her sister's life and blaming herself all at the same time, but Scully still felt safe and warm in Mulder's arms. It was so easy to sleep, so easy to let herself become overwhelmed and plunged deep into the land of dreams.

She felt horrible, heavy, guilty and tired, feeling as though it was partially her fault that Melissa may possibly die. She didn't want to loose her big sister and never imagined she would this early in life.

Surely she wouldn't?

The last thing she felt was Mulder's lips brushing her forehead as he tightened us grip on her, pulling her closer to his chest.

Just as she finally fell asleep.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

She wasn't usually one for clear and vivid dreams, the kind of dreams that stuck in your head long after you opened your eyes. When she emerged into a clearing amongst vast swirls of pale yellow fog, Scully felt as though she had been there before, it felt almost familiar.

"Dana!", a voice called behind her, a voice she had been hearing from the earliest stages of childhood.

Spinning quickly around, Scully turned to face Melissa. For reasons beyond her she felt desperately compelled to see her sister as soon as possible, as though moments with her were now at a scarcity, quickly slipping through her fingers and disappearing into the pale yellow abyss like grains of sand from the beach beside the Naval Base in California that they had played so often as little kids.

"Missy", Scully replied in relief, reaching out to hug her older sister but was gently pushed back by a warm void between them. She spoke up again nonetheless, unfazed but in slight disbelief at the sight of her sister. "Missy, are you okay?"

Melissa nodded. "I'm fine, Dana. I just want you to do something for me", she sighed deeply, turning away for a second before fixing her younger sister with a serious but deeply emotionless gaze. "Danes, please look after Emily for me", she rushed out quickly as though she was uncertainty of how much time she had left with her younger sister. "Please give her all the love and attention that I won't be around to give her..."

Scully looked at her sister in shock, mouth slightly agape as she cut across her sister's outburst. "But Melissa, you'll be there for all of that. You'll be there to be a mother to Em...", the gaze Melissa set upon her silenced Scully immediately, just as the realization began to settle in in the pit of her stomach, the realization she had subconsciously expected but had pushed aside. Melissa couldn't really be gone...could she?

Surely this was just some really bad dream.

"I won't, Dana. That's why I'm asking you to find her. She's in the children's centre in San Diego. I thought her best chance would be to keep her as far away from her father and I as possible but now that Kevin is out of the picture, I want Emily to have a family", Melissa said hopefully, her eyes filling with tears as she remembered the wiggling infant that she had given birth too, all pink and squealing but completely beautiful. "Her real family", she clarified firmly.

Melissa could even see the little girl now, almost three years old with a head of blonde hair that was turning strawberry-coloured at the roots. Still little and beautiful, Melissa could watch over Emily as the little girl drew and coloured at the foster centre in San Diego. Melissa watched her, eyes filling up with tears, wishing that she could draw with her daughter, if only just once. "I just had always hoped that I would be a part of that."

Scully reached out to comfort her sister, tears springing into her own eyes as the truth began to settle within her. The warm force between them pushed her out once more. Wherever Melissa was, it wasn't the place for her for quite a long time yet. "This can't be true", Scully tried one last time in denial.

Melissa nodded sadly, before she fixed Scully with the same determined gaze as before. She knew that she had to push her own sadness and feelings of loss aside, it was what was best for Emily. "Promise that you'll find her, Danes. Promise me that you'll be for her what I can't".

Scully watched her sister intently, wishing that she could give her some kind of reassurance aside from a handful of words. She couldn't imagine how Melissa must be feeling. Before when Melissa had first told her about Emily, Scully had felt a deep sense of sorrow for her sister but now, as a mother too, she could relate on a whole other level. She would do anything for her and Mulder's baby just as she knew that Melissa's selfless actions had been for Emily's benefit. "Of course I will look after her", Scully replied firmly. "I'll love her as if she was my own".

"And you'll raise her with your and Mulder's daughter and any other kids that you guys will have in the future?"

"Of cour..., hold on a second. My daughter?".

Melissa smiled knowingly even though her eyes were still glistening with tears. "Your daughter", she confirmed. She hadn't meant to let that little secret out of the bag just now but what's done is done. She wouldn't tell her anything else about her future, not now. She had said enough "Do you promise that you will raise our girls together and be a good mother to both of them?"

Scully looked down at her stomach, lovingly placing a hand over where her baby was, imagining a little girl with brown curls and bright blues eyes playing with a girl who was a little older with matching blue eyes and the same strawberry blonde hair that she and Melissa had had as little kids before it turned scarlet. Her heart swelled with love and pride, not just for her own daughter but for Emily too.

"I promise."

Nodding in acceptance, Melissa looked her younger sister in a final sort of manner, as though it would be the last time that she would see and speak to her for a long time. "I'm so proud of you, Danes", she said, eyes shining. "You've started to open yourself up to people more. I'm so glad of that because I know that you'll be able to get past what happened to me by opening up about your feelings to Mulder and by helping mom and the rest of our family cope and heal", Melissa smirked slightly, lightening the mood. "Now how the hell could I be prouder of my once emotionally constipated baby sister."

Totally ignoring her sister's jibe, Scully felt her burning guilt from earlier resurface and leak into her from all sides, the guilt she had compressed within her for only a few moments. "You have no reason to be proud of me Melissa", she said, stubborn amidst her own binding regret. "I should have been there for you when you needed me."

Melissa smiled, her eyes shining mischievously as though amused by her sister's response. 'Typical Dana', she thought to herself, but didn't say any more as she had a feeling that her time was running out, she could feel it. Melissa wanted to hug her little sister goodbye but knew that she wouldn't be able to reach for her through the void that separated her from the land of the living. "I love you, little sis", she said, a sense of peace waving over her. She wanted nothing but the best for her sister, for Emily and for the rest of their family.

"Love you too."

...

We grew up together
From the cradle to the grave
We died and were reborn
And then mysteriously saved

Oh, sister, when I come to knock on your door
Don't turn away, you'll create sorrow
Time is an ocean but it ends at the shore
You may not see me tomorrow

~Bob Dylan, Oh Sister

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

"Scully!",he said, touching her lightly on the cheek, brushing his fingertips across her jaw. "Honey, Are you okay", Mulder continued, worried.

He knew that she needed any sleep that she could get between now and when they would land back in Washington. He shook her shoulder gently, keeping his voice a whisper so not to alert anyone around them. No matter the circumstances, Mulder knew it was important to Scully to maintain a strong facade in front of most other people.

Sitting up straight in her seat, Scully looked around, confused and slightly disorientated. What the hell had just happened. The last thing she remembered was talking to Melissa who was apparently dead. Could that really be true?

"Mulder, What's going on?", she asked quietly, not looking at him.

"You were crying in your sleep so I woke you up."

Scully turned to Mulder, unsure of what to tell him. Could she really say that she had just spoken to her supposedly dead older sister?

It wasn't like her to subscribe to people's claims about the supernatural, let alone make such claims herself. She knew that Mulder would believe her in an instant but would telling him make the prospect of Melissa's possibly being gone all too real?

She wanted to believe that it was all just a nightmare, that her sister was still fighting for her life in Washington General Hospital. She wanted to believe that her sister was still alive. After all, you weren't supposed to loose your sister at twenty nine years old. Nothing or nobody could prepare you for such an tragedy. She didn't want to believe it, she couldn't until she had solid proof.

But still, that dream felt so damn real.

And what about Emily? Was the little girl really still living the children's centre in San Diego where Melissa had left her three years ago? If needs should arise; How would she, Scully, bring up the topic to Mulder that she discovered that her niece was halfway across the country in need of a family from a vision?

Would he believe it? Probably. Did she believe it herself? Undetermined.

And if Melissa truly was gone, could she, Scully, have done anything differently to prevent what had happened from happening? If she had been there with Melissa that night in the apartment could everything have turned out better? If she had gone to Skinner and told him that she couldn't chaperone on the Paris Trip would Melissa be okay? What if she had bought stronger locks for the front door of her house? Would Kevin/Alex still have broken in?

What if? What it? What if? Two words as nonthreatening as words can be but put together side by side and they have the power to haunt you for ever. What if? What if?

"Talk to me, Scully?", Mulder asked, concerned by her silenced. Observing her through a psychologist's eye, he watched as her eyes became unfocused, as though she were engaged in some sort of huge internal conflict. He wished that he could tackle half of her pain for, they could do it together. "I can feel you thinking."

Scully sighed sadly, reaching out and lacing her fingers through his, even this small action was such a comfort. With his larger hand enclosed around her's, she felt lighter somehow as cheesy as it sounds. "I don't know what I'm going to do", she said simply, absentmindedly sliding her hand over her stomach, resting her hand on her and Mulder's baby daughter, their daughter according to the dream anyway . "I have no idea."

It was the truth in its most simple form. She didn't know whether to believe her dream or not. She didn't know if Melissa was alive or not. She didn't know what she could do to help Emily even though she had promised Melissa that she would look after the little girl should (or had if her dream had been real) anything happen to her?

She didn't elaborate any further but she didn't need to. Mulder heard her loud and clear.

Letting go of her hand, he wrapped his arms around her shoulders, squeezing her gently against him. "Whatever you do, Scully", he said, looking at her seriously. "I'm with you, no matter what. Through thick and thin", he said with a humourless chuckle against her hair. "Through heaven and hell. To the moon and back, aliens inhabiting the moon's hollow surface bedamned"

Smiling sadly, Scully reached up and pecked him chastely on the lips. Right now she didn't really care that their students were around. Mulder really was such a good man, the best she had ever met. She was so grateful to have him here with her. There was no one she would rather be with. She knew she would open up to him fully about everything from Melissa, to her own personal guilt, to Emily. Everything. Just not right now.

She had to find some answers first, solid and definite answers that she could accept and piece together for herself.

"Thank you, Mulder."

Mulder nodded solemnly. He could see straight through her. Hearing those two words from Scully right now spoke multitudes. Words weren't needed in times like these. They spoke almost telepathically as though they were two halves of the one while. Mulder knew there was a lot on her mind but he also knew she would open up to him when she was ready to do so.

"Anytime, Scully. It's you and me. Ride or die, baby"

"Love you, Mulder"

"Love you too"

...

I know, I know the siren sound

Just before the walls come down

Pain's a well intentioned will of men

Predicting God as best he can

But God I wanna feel again

~Touch, Sleeping At Last

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

You taught me the courage of stars before you left.

How light carries on and the sleep even after that

The sureness, I cry. You explain the infinite.

How rare and beautiful it is

To even exist

~Sleeping At Last, Saturn.

...

For the first time since she heard about the news about Melissa, she is alone with her thoughts. Mulder reluctantly had to wait for the last of the parent's to come and collect their kids at the airport while she, Scully, had been adamant to find out where her mom and Charlie was and what was happening.

It had started raining almost as soon as their plane had touched down in Washington. Scully put her foot to the accelerator, determined to find some answers at the hospital. The November rain lashed lightly against the windshield like teardrops.

After a half an hour drive through evening traffic, Scully pulled into the visitor's entrance to Washington General Hospital. The building seemed tall and threatening like a tombstone in the dim evening light, the emergency entrance surrounding by a fleet of ambulances coming from various corners of the city.

Hurrying up the steps, Scully pushed open the door of the visitor's entrance, peering around the bustling reception area for a member of her family.

It didn't take longer than a second to recognise a familiar redheaded, five foot ten, figure sitting in the far corner of the waiting room, his face etched in sorrow, his phone held up to his ear.

Charlie.

Scully felt a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach as she observed her brother, the dark rings around his eyes a tell-tale sign that he had been up as long as she had. His eyes were a little bloodshot either from exhaustion or tears, Scully wasn't sure.

Either way it didn't matter. The prognosis wasn't good. Scully felt what little hope that she had remaining inside of her slip away as she made her way across the room the Charlie, his name not yet formed on her lips when he sprung up off of the chair and hugged her.

"It's not good is it, Charlie?", she asked, even though she already knew the answer. Her voice sounded almost muffled against her younger brother's shoulder.

"No Danes. We lost her three hours ago", Charlie sighed tiredly, letting out a breathless sob. "I wanted to call you", he whispered quietly. "I just didn't know how."

"What are we going to do, Charlie?", Scully asked equally as quiet. Charlie knew that she didn't mean about the funeral or about telling the rest of their extended family or anything else along those lines.

Scully felt her tears fall, tears it felt as though she had been holding in ever since she parted ways with Mulder at the airport. Charlie squeezed her comfortingly, finally speaking up. "We're just going to have to stick together, Danes. Stick together and tough it out."

...

I couldn't help but ask for you to say it all again,

I try to write it down but I could not find a pen,

I'd give anything to hear, you say it one more time.

That the universe was made, just to be seen by my eye

~Saturn, Sleeping At Last

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Every move that I make, every inch I've grown.

You're in my heart, In my soul, you're in my bones

I wanna fell, wanna feel everything you do.

Because at the end of the day

All I need is you

~Johnny Stimson, Holding On

...

Mulder slid back the door, stepping into the corridor that Charlie had indicated to him when he had first showed up at the hospital. Without question, Charlie had immediately informed Mulder of the situation and after Mulder had sympathised with the youngest of the Scullys, Charlie had promptly told him where he could find Scully herself.

In stark contrast to how he had barrelled into the hospital in Paris, Mulder quietly made his way into the room that had, for a few hours while she had been in prep for her operation, once belonged to Melissa Scully.

From the other side of the glass window, He caught sight of her immediately in the dark hospital room, dimly lit from the bright corridor outside and a small lamp in the corner. She sat at the bedside, watching over the empty hospital bed like an Egyptian sphinx watching over the tombs of the long dead pharaohs.

Pushing the door of ward number four forward, Mulder made his way over to the chair where Scully was sitting and before squatting down next to her in the semidarkness.

She knew that it was him the second the door opened but she looked up anyway. His hair was a little tousled as it usually got when he was frustrated or upset, his eyes were wide with concern and worry, making him look a little like an upset puppy.

Something about the gaze that he was fixing her with told her that he already knew what had happened to Melissa but Scully spoken up nonetheless, trying desperately to keep her voice strong. "It happened three hours ago when she went into surgery. The damage to her brain was worse than they had hoped. Her blood pressure started to rise and she slipped away."

Scully felt Mulder's hand silently reach across and squeeze her knee comfortingly, he didn't speak or he didn't try to offer her his sympathy. He knew that she needed none of that, all she needed was him. "She came to me for help, Mulder. She was in my apartment when she was shot. She was killed in my home and I wasn't there to prevent it", she said, choking a little on her words. "When she needed me, I wasn't there to help her. And I've tried to tell her that I'm sorry but I don't think she'll ever really know."

That's when she finally broke down, tears streaming quietly down her face, landing on her lap. Mulder reached across, pulling her gently into his embrace, holding her shaking body tightly against his. She wasn't one of those dramatic sobbers, his Scully, she was a logical and collected woman who tried to remain unruffled at all costs, a person who felt deeply but bottled up her emotions deep inside.

He had to be her anchor now, just like she had been for him so many times in the past. He could see the turmoil inside of her, raging like a stormy sea. "Melissa knows, Scully", he whispered soothingly against her hair, his heart aching for her.

He wished that he could do so much more to help her but knew that this was as much as she would allow right now.

"So now I'm sitting here cursing God for his cruelty", Scully said with a stubborn sigh against Mulder's chest. "There is no justice, Mulder."

He sighed, kissing her lightly on the forehead. "I don't think that this is about justice, Scully. I think it's about something that we have no personal choice in, I think it's about fate."

Scully sighed, pulling away from him with a frown. "You think this was fated, Mulder? That Melissa was to die and I to live. You think that I was not at home last night for a reason?"

Mulder grimaced slightly, wondering how best to approach such a sensitive topic with an already upset Scully. He knew that she would be upset but he had no idea that she was blaming herself. Now he wished he had said something to her about it sooner. "Scully, I understand survivor's guilt, I've been there. You have no reason for being ashamed of yourself for not being with Melissa last night. You did everything you could to help her, you convinced her to go to the cops, you got her away from Kevin and you gave her support and a place to stay when she needed you. You have nothing to feel guilty about."

Scully looked up at him seriously, for the first time since he walked in, she saw pain in his expression. Pure and raw. "You think I would have died too if I had been with her last night, don't you?".

"Don't make this about me, Scully", Mulder said with a sigh. His mind immediately imagining what could have happened if Scully had been with her sister. Would Kevin have killed both Scully women? Surely, considering how the man was completely out of his mind. He couldn't imagine what he would have done if something had happened to Scully.

He had almost lost her before and even now the memory of that time made him feel almost dead inside. He had lost so much in his life and gotten on with things but losing Scully would probably have driven him totally over the edge. And it wasn't just Scully either, it was their unborn baby too, both of them would have been lost forever. Was it really selfish to be glad that Scully hadn't been at home that night? Was it selfish to be glad that it was Melissa and not Scully?

Probably a little.

"Don't worry, Mulder", Scully said softly before wiping away her stray tears and wrapping her arms around him, resting her left hand against his cheek, the slight stubble tickling her fingers. "You won't loose me."

"And you won't loose me either."

"Good 'cos I like you a lot and I reckon your kid will too", Scully said with a watery half smirk.

"Probably. At least until they become a teenager anyway", Mulder replied, settling his hand against her stomach.

They remained completely still for a few moments, watching over Melissa's empty bed. Watching how the light from the bedside lamp accentuated the bed's emptiness. Scully entwined her fingers with Mulder's over her stomach, her mind turning away from Melissa for the first time since Charlie had first told her the new. She thought of Emily. A little girl who would hopefully grow up happily with her aunt, uncle and cousins.

She silently wished Melissa was still around, her sister really deserved to see Emily grow up after all that she had gone through. Scully tried to imagine the pain Melissa had gone through when putting Emily into the system. Soon to be a mother herself, Scully could only imagine how painful it would be to loose your child like that.

"How did you get past Samantha dying?"

"I'm not sure that I ever did, Scully. I just had to learn to live with it", he replied, smiling sadly, standing up from his crouching position before offering Scully his hand. "You wanna go and find your Mom?"

Scully nodded quietly, steeling herself up a little as she remembered how hard it had been with her mother earlier on, no one expects to bury their children. Scully took his hand, looping her fingers through his.

"Thank you, Mulder"

"For what?"

"Just being here with me."

They left the room silently together, as the hospital staff came in and started changing the covers on Melissa bed, wiping away all signs that she had once been there, preparing it for the next patient.

...

So I keep holding on

When the world is falling (holding on)

When the light is calling (holding on)

When forever proves untrue,

I'll be holding on to you.

~Holding On, Johnny Stimson

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Mulder's Apartment

2303 Arlington

No.42

6.45am

...

Turn around take it back to yesterday

Now I know everything that I need to say,

You're the words on my lips and the melody,

You're the key to the dark that has set me free

~Johnny Stimson, Holding On

...

Despite the fact that they hadn't gotten in until well after three in the morning, Scully awoke early, her stomach churning madly.

Throwing her legs over the side of the mattress, she wiggled out of Mulder's embrace, attempting not to rouse him and rushed to the bathroom at a full sprint, the contents of her stomach making an unsightly reappearance in the toilet.

"You cheating on me with the toilet seat again, Scully", a teasing voice called behind her.

Looking up to face a very much awake Mulder, Scully scowled even though she knew that he was only trying to make her feel even a little better given the circumstances. "I'm fine, Mulder", she replied stubbornly before heaving into the toilet again.

Mulder frowned slightly, "I may be no scientist or ex-medical student but I do know throwing up like that isn't fun, Scully. Even if the reason behind it is a good one, an amazing one really"

"Well, it's normal when you're five and a half weeks pregnant."

"I thought that's only when you eat dodgy things that the baby doesn't like", Mulder said, a smile gracing his features as he reached out his hand to pull her up off of the floor. "Like beebalm", he offered with a smirk.

"Maybe so, but I hope she or he doesn't have the same ideas on healthy eating as their dad", Scully replied as rolled her eyes but let him pull her to her feet. She knew they were both ignoring the elephant in the room after last night by trying not to mention what had happened, but the funeral service was later on that day, the wouldn't be able to avoid talking about Melissa and Emily for long, no matter how painful it was.

She had known last night that her apartment had been thoroughly cleaned out after what had happened but their had been no question about where she was staying the previous night. She wanted to stay with Mulder and there was no way in hell that she was going anywhere near her apartment where Melissa had lost her life.

"I'm going into work", she said simply as she began heading back towards the bedroom, turning her back to him. "I need to do something."

Mulder followed her back into his bedroom, gently laying both of his hands on her hips, turning her around to face him. He knew he should have expected this; Scully had, after all, gone back to work the very day after her father died during the previous year. Scully buried herself in her work when she was upset but he also knew not to question it too much. After all, it was something he did too. He, himself, had gone to work every single day while Scully was in a coma. Teaching the kids had been a good distraction from his pain.

Nevertheless, it wasn't exactly a healthy way to deal with losses or grief, leaving aside the fact that both of them did it. If he could help her grieve in a healthier way, Mulder knew he would at least try. Anything for his Scully.

"Dana", he whispered quietly, tasting the foreign title as it left his lips. He only ever used her name on the most serious and painful occasions. "I called Skinner and explained what had happened to Melissa. He said that you can take all the time you need."

Scully looked up at him, taking in what she knew was advice in disguise. Mulder's use of her first name seemed to reach inside her and resonate deep down within her. Even though almost everyone in her life, apart from him, called her by her first name it felt different coming from him. She would always be his Scully and he her Mulder but on moments like these when he really wanted to reach her, he called her Dana. He only ever called her that once before and that was when Ahab had died. It had felt foreign then too, foreign but comforting.

"Mulder", she replied gently, setting both her hand firmly against his chest. "I need something to put my back up against right now. I need to distract myself from this until it doesn't hurt as much."

Mulder nodded, unsurprised. They may be very different people in most respects but he and Scully have similar coping mechanisms when times get tough. "I'm here if you need me, Scully", he vowed, bumping her nose with his own. She may need to bury herself in work for a while to cope with her loss but he would make sure that she wasn't alone.

Scully smiled sadly but affectionately, reaching up to peck him lightly on the mouth. "I know you are", she said, thinking silently about how to approach the topic of Emily with him. Was the girl really in San Diego as Melissa had said? Was Emily still in the foster system?

Was it too soon to bring this up with Mulder or should she just check it out herself and tell him when she knows more, when she knows enough for it to be real?

Possibly, but she still hated the thought of keeping something from him if she could at all help it. Melissa had told her when she was alive not to tell anyone about Emily.

Was that her sister's true wishes and was the dream just a figment of her, Scully's, imagination smile she was trying to cope with the possibility of losing her sister. Had she just wanted to say goodbye so badly that she dreamed it all up?

She wrapped her arms around Mulder, feeling as he gently pulled her further into his embrace. His soothing scent filled her nostrils as he stroked her back. "I can't believe this has happened, Mulder. I didn't expect anything like this to ever happen", she said, sounding defeated.

Mulder sighed, propping her chin up so she faced him. He watched her carefully, drinking in the sight of her. "Who does?", he replied, brushing his fingertips through her scarlet locks. "But we'll get through this won't we, you and me?".

Scully held him tighter to her, the feeling of his warm chest reaching her through the t-shirt she had borrowed from him to sleep in. Even though she was usually the strong and emotionless one, she need him as her anchor now in the midst of her many mixed emotions that went hand in hand with losing a sister and preparing for motherhood all at the same time. The sorrow and joy were too conflicting emotions eating away at her inside, but somehow with him she felt a measure of peace.

Through everything, he still remained her anchor, her best friend, her confidant, her everything.

"Don't we always."

...

So I keep holding on

When the world is falling (holding on)

When the light is calling (holding on)

When forever proves untrue,

I'll be holding on to you.

~Holding On, Johnny Stimson

...

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Woodrow Wilson

High School

Teacher's Lounge

8.33am

...

"We heard about Melissa this morning from Skinner", John said, stepping into the school laboratory, closely followed by Monica who nodded in agreement at her husband's statement, eyeing their friends who were seated behind the teacher's desk and in the chair at the opposite side.

Scully and Mulder quickly sprung up off their seats to meet the friends over at the door.

Monica turned to Scully, pulling her into a tight hug. "I'm so sorry for your loss, Dana", she said sincerely. "I can't imagine what it's like to loose a sibling but know that John and I are here for Mulder with whatever you guys need."

Scully smiled despite herself, patting Monica on the shoulder. She had always admired her for saying the right thing in most situations without losing her honesty. Monica was a direct and to the point person but very insightful.

Scully pulled back, speaking up herself even though it looked like Monica was about to say more. "Thanks, Mon", she replied. "I appreciate that."

"Are you sure that it's the wisest thing for you to be at work today, Dana", John asked looking between Mulder and Scully in concern. It was typical of John Doggett really, fiercely loyal and protective of all his friends.

Scully shrugged trying to appear nonchalant even though she was at conflict internally. She hadn't thought that it would be this difficult when relieving the sympathy of people outside her family. John and Monica looked at her carefully, concern etched into their features.

Turning to Mulder for a moment, she caught his eye as he gave her a reassuring smile, placing a firm hand on it's usual place on her lower back.

"I'm not sure if it's wise or not but I am here, so that's something", Scully replied simply in an attempt to steer the boat out of possibly emotional waters. It wasn't that she didn't trust John and Monica, of course she did. That didn't mean that she wanted to appear vulnerable around them.

John and Monica got the hint. They knew what their friend was like after all.

Just then, Scully felt a wave of nausea ripple through her, feeling as though the little toast that she had managed to keep down at breakfast time was going to make a reappearance. 'Not now', she thought to herself, a little frustrated. She clamped her hand quickly over her mouth, unsure if she would be able to keep it down.

"Oh shit", she mumbled quietly, more to herself then anyone else before rushing out the door of the lab to get whatever Mini-Mulder "didn't like" out of her system.

Mulder started to follow her out the door towards the staff ladies bathrooms but was stopped by a knowing smile from Monica. "Hey Fox-Face, you don't want to barrel head first into the little girls room, believe me. You wouldn't recover", she said, throwing a smirk in his direction as she began to follow Scully out the door.

"But-", Mulder began in protest. He knew that Scully didn't want everyone to know about her pregnancy just yet in light of her sister's death.

Monica cut him off quickly. "Don't worry I can handle this", she said with a smile.

And just like that she was gone, leaving a conflicted looking Mulder and a confused looking Doggett in her wake.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Monica observed her redheaded friend who was standing in front of the mirror in staff bathrooms, dashing her face with water. "How far along are you, Dana?", she asked knowingly, glancing at Scully's slightly green complexion.

"That obvious, huh?", Scully said, looking across the small bathroom to the other dark haired woman. Even though Monica was, without a doubt, her closest female friend, she hadn't imagined her finding out first after Mulder. She had wanted to tell her mother but couldn't find the words, it didn't seem right to be talking about happy things when their family was so broken.

Monica smiled wistfully. "Believe me, It takes one to know one. I spent half of my pregnancy with the twins with my head in the toilet seat."

Scully chuckled quietly, remembering vividly how Monica had rushed to the bathroom on countless occasions when they had gone out for coffee in the months leading up to the births of Nina and Robert Doggett. "I'm over six weeks along."

"Why haven't you guys told anyone yet?".

Scully sighed deeply, "I only just found out myself when we were in Paris and then we heard the new about Melissa and it didn't seem right to start talking about something happy so soon after."

Monica nodded in silent understanding, observing her friend intently. She could always tell how people were feeling ever since she was a kid herself. She could always read people's emotions almost as easily as reading or own. Some may call it a blessing, some a curse but most, Monica herself included, just chalked it down to very good intuition.

"You feel guilty about what happened to Melissa. Don't you?", Monica asked, careful not to upset her friend too much.

Scully looked up at her, almost used to her friend's crazy good intuition at this point, blinking back any tears that may surface at her sister being mentioned out rightly in such a manner. She held her resolve firm though, answering Monica's question with minimum emotion.

"I did", she said honestly, deciding it was best to answer Monica in this way. "And probably always will feel somewhat responsible as she was shot in my house buy I talked it through with Mulder and don't feel as guilty about it anymore, just sad", she said her voice growing lower and lower until the final sentence was a near whisper. "And shocked. I can't believe that this has happened to be honest."

Monica walked across the room, squeezing Scully comfortingly on the shoulder. "Everything will be fine in the end and if it's not fine then it's not the end, Dana. You're going to be okay, you and Mulder and your baby. You guys are going to be happy because you deserve it. I feel it in my bones"

Scully smiled gratefully at her friend. "I hope so, Mon. I really hope so."

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Our Lady of Sorrows Cemetery

2985 Lincon Avenue

Washington DC

4.35pm

...

When I grow up, I'm gonna be happy and do what I like to do,
Like making noise and making faces and making friends like you.
And when we grow up, do you think we'll see
That I'm still like you and you're still like me?
I might be pretty; you might grow tall.
But we don't have to change at all.

~Diana Ross, When We Grow Up

...

It rained again during Melissa's burial, a sign, according to Irish legend, that a soul was happy in heaven.

Each of the Scullys came forward, presenting a rose on Melissa's coffin before it was lowered into the earth. Maggie Scully watched in utter silence, her eyes bloodshot, as her eldest daughters remains vanished into the ground for the last time.

Bill stood firmly on her left, eyes a little wet with a mixture of sadness and anger, but was otherwise holding himself together. Tara, who stood beside her husband, was busy trying to soothe an oblivious but wailing Matthew, a little boy who would never know the slightly more eccentric of his two aunties.

Scully stood between her mother and Mulder. Much like Bill, she had managed to retained a controlled exterior even though she was devastated on the inside. This wouldn't be an easy thing to heal from. Subtly, she rested her hand on her stomach, contemplating how her and Mulder's kids would grow up without biological aunts. Melissa and Samantha were both dead, after all.

She wished her baby could have known Melissa. Her sister may have been a little stubborn and more than a little secretive but she was a good person, a trustworthy friend and the best sister that Scully could imagine despite their differences.

As if he was sensing her thoughts, Mulder's reached across the few inches between their hands and entwined their fingers together, raising the back of her hand to his lips, he kissed it comfortingly, a typical Mulderistic display of affection. Just as he had promised her when they first found out about Melissa, he had stayed with her. Always.

She had no idea how much she relied on him and his strength of his beliefs until now, usually she was a fierce and independent individual who bottled things up and kept things to herself, it was at times like this when she realised how much she really could trust him. And maybe, just maybe, it was okay to need him by her side. Even just a little bit.

Charlie stood beside Mulder, alone this time. He and Nora had stayed with Maggie in the family home the previous night and stayed in the hospital all night during Melissa's surgery. In the meantime, their daughter, Mary Margaret, had unfortunately caught a cold and Nora had opted to stay with her after Charlie had insisted he would be fine attending Melissa's service without them.

It seemed as though it was a Scully family trait, claiming that you're okay even though you're not.

Father McCue stood before them, preaching over the coffin. Words that nobody really took in, going over their heads in their mutual grief. Words that Melissa herself would probably have rolled her eyes at, she was never one for the institutional catholic church or even the religion itself but there hadn't been time to organise anything else. Father McCue was a friend of the Scullys and was more than happy to do whatever he could in their time of need.

After the final words were said and the gravediggers came to cover the coffin with clay, the family silently filed out through the cemetery gates to their cars on the road outside.

No one was going straight back to work so Maggie had insisted they all return to the family home for the evening.

They all agreed, none of them wanting to leave their mother alone.

"Dana, can I have a word?", Bill asked gesturing to a lonely looking spot furthest away from where she had parked the car that both herself and Mulder had arrived in.

Something about Bill's intense gaze told Mulder that he wasn't welcome to be part of the conversation. He let go of Scully's hand with a final squeeze. "I'll wait for you in the car, okay?".

Scully smiled gratefully, letting go. "Thanks, Mulder". It felt like she had been saying that a lot over the last forty eight hours but each time she meant it. He had been so good to her through all of this.

Leading her well put of Mulder's earshot, Bill gestured towards the car. He poke up in a loud indignant whisper. "What the hell is that son of a bitch doing her at our sister's funeral, Danes. It's his fault that you weren't with Melissa when she died."

Scully looked at him incredulously, half believing that his grief over Melissa had gone to his head in other ways. "Where on earth did you get that idea?"

Bill sighed, rubbing his eyes in frustration. "It's him and that teaching job of yours that inspired you to leave the country during all of this. It's his fault that you weren't about, especially to say goodbye to Missy."

"Bill, My not being with Melissa when she died was nothing to do with Mulder and it's certainly not his fault. If it's anyone's fault it's mine. I agreed to chaperone the trip with Mulder. I was the one who Melissa came to for help and I was the one who stupidly believed her when she told me that she was safe", Scully replied firmly, stubborn tears welling up in her eyes, tears which she forced back to their native spring.

"This isn't you fault and you know it, Dana. Why the hell are you covering for him?", Bill asked pigheadly. "What the fuck do you see in a jerk like that?", his voice finally rising. "Mom told me you two were an item now."

"Leave Mulder out of this, Bill", she answered, quietly, dangerously, her blue eyes glinting with navy. "I don't expect you to understand my relationship with Mulder but I do expect you to, at least, respect it."

"He's not good enough for you and you know it, Dana?"

Scully glared up at him angrily, hardly able to stop herself before she slapped him hard across the face, leaving a bright red mark on her brother's cheek.

As soon as she looked at him again, she immediately regretted it, noticing her brother's irises turning a little grey with sadness and tears unshed.

For the first time in her life, Scully truly saw through Bill's tough and overprotective big brother facade. Apparently, she wasn't the only one who blamed herself for Melissa's death. "Mulder isn't Kevin, you know?", she said quietly. "He's such a good hearted and loving person underneath his sarcasm and eccentricities. You just have to get to know him."

Bill looked at her sceptically but, at least, he looked a little calmer. "You sure about that?".

Scully rolled her eyes. "Yes, Bill. I'm sure about that. Mulder is and always will be an unnegotiable part of my life, just like Tara is of yours."

Usually, she would never feel the need to explain something like this to her brother. Usually she would joy say that Bill should go fuck himself and deal with it, but this is hardly usual times.

"I love him, Bill. Totally and completely. He's my best friend, my lover, my partner in crime and now..", she said trailing off for a moment considering she hadn't wanted to enclose this particular piece of information to her family just yet, but now might me the best time to inform Bill. "The father of my baby too."

Bill looked at her in amazement, the colour draining from his face. "You're...pregnant. With HIS baby", he asked looking down at her stomach in shock and horror, half expecting some alien entity to come bursting out of her, introduce itself as Mulder Junior, and proceed to tease him about the Knicks superiority to Bill's own favourite basketball team. "Have you told him yet?"

Scully smiled to herself. "Of course I have but mom doesn't know yet so I'll expect you to keep this to yourself until I tell her."

Bill nodded reluctantly, deciding to keep his very traditional thoughts on children born outside of marriage to himself. His youngest sister was anything but traditional and Mulder was probably even worse. "I just don't want to loose you, Dana. I've already lost one sister, don't make me loose two", he watched his sister carefully for a moment, reflecting on the time he had first met her when he had gone with Melissa and their father to the hospital.

Even now he could remember his father's smiling face looking down at him. William Scully had been wearing a Naval t-shirt, old jeans and his red hair was beginning to thin on the day that they had gone to pick up Dana and their mother from the hospital.

Even then, his father had been his number one hero. "You've got a second little sister to look out for, Billy-boy", he had said kindly, ruffling his sons hair. "Promise me that you'll watch out for your sisters when I'm old, won't you Billy".

Even though Melissa had squealed indignantly from the back seat that she and baby Dana would look after their brother too, Bill had still promised his father that he would.

Now Melissa was dead.

"None of this is your fault, Dana", he finished quietly, wanting to make sure that his youngest sister wouldn't blame herself.

Scully shook her head, observing her brother carefully. "It isn't yours either", she replied just as firmly. "But for what it's worth, you don't have to worry about me. I look after myself and I don't need anyone's protection."

Bill smirked humourlessly. Yes, that was so typical of his younger sister. "I still worry about you, Danes. I do love you, you know. You are my little sister after all."

Scully smiled sadly. "I love you too, Bill", she answered quietly, reaching up to give her brother a quick hug. It was the first offer of comfort that they hadn't given each other since hearing of Melissa's death.

Bill sighed, wrapping his arms around his sister in response. Tears prickles up in his eyes once more, tears for his sister who he would never see again and tears for his sister who he only wanted the best for, even if that meant having to put up with having Fox Mulder around. "I'm really going to miss Melissa", he whispered quietly, his voice cracking slightly.

Scully nodded against her brother's shoulder. "Me too, Bill. I think I always will."

They held each other for a few more minutes before pulling back and observing their newfound common ground. For the first time in nearly a decade's worth of arguing and misunderstandings, they found themselves on the same page.

Family really meant everything at the end of the day. Mulder, their baby, her mom, Charlie, Bill, Tara, Nora and even little Matthew and Mary Margaret. They were family for better or worse and that meant everything. Melissa would always live on in their memory, as would Ahab, they were never really gone.

"I'm in here, Starbuck", Ahab had told her, pointing to her heart when she had seen him in a vision while she was in a coma several months before. "And in here", he had said, pointing to her head.

The only person who was missing was a little girl who was currently in the children's centre in San Diego if Scully's dream had been true. Could it have been? Should she involve Mulder in the search for Emily, considering she had no solid information to go on? She didn't want to get hopes up sponge with her own.

But Emily deserved a family wherever she was. They shared blood and the little girl had a right to know that.

Scully observed her brother, wondering what he would think but didn't say a word. He would probably think that she was crazy for believing a vision like that. Hell, a part of herself thought she was crazy. Her whole brain told her that the whole thing was crazy?

But her heart told her it was true.

Bill chuckled softly as he let her go. "He better make an honest woman of you at some point, Dana", he said, faking annoyance.

Scully smiled gratefully up at her older brother, taking this as a sign that he was ready to play nice with Mulder. "I reckon we'll get there sometime between now and when we reach ninety five", she said jokingly as she walked away from Bill and returned to her car and to Mulder, the man who was and always would be, unnegotiably, the love of her life.

"Everything okay, Scully?"

"I think I might have just convinced my brother to like you."

XXXXXXXXXXXX

...

Mulder's Apartment

2303 Arlington

Washington DC

7.32am

...

and I'm aware of your problems
and all the things that you've done
all that I've know is
that you burn like the sun

Oh how your hair falls down your back
Oh your eyes crease when you laugh
Oh how you don't walk but you bounce
Oh how you don't cry but you gasp

~Amber Run, See you Soon

...

Mulder opened his eyes slowly, feeling oddly cold. He reached across the mattress expecting to come into contact with Scully's warm body next to him.

Nothing.

He listened quietly for a moment, expecking to hear the sounds of Scully either in the bathroom or the kitchen but was met only with silence and the faint buzz of the heater beside the double bed.

Sitting up in mattress, he looked around the room, eyes landing on the pillow next to him. Some thing about the small piece of parchment gave him an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach. A note lay neatly on the pillow, written in what was undeniably Scully's cursive writing.

Deep down he knew that this was more than Scully just popping out for something.

M,

There is something that I really need to take care of for Melissa's sake and for the sake of our whole family. I'm so sorry that I couldn't tell you this face to face but I need to fix this now before completely I talk myself out of it, chalking it down to grief. This can't wait, I'm sorry. I know that what I'm telling you probably makes no sense but you will understand it a lot better...Hell, I will understand it a lot better, once I have some concrete proof.

I know that I'm supposed to be the sceptical one of the two of us and I know that it goes against my own nature to do something like this but I feel as though I have to, for Melissa and for another little girl too. I really hope that you understand. I promise that I'll be careful and look after myself and our little one.

All my love,

S.

...

Let that be a lesson to you

That there's depth where there's distance too

And all that you can do Is say I'll see you soon

~Amber Run, See you Soon

...