Subject: New! The Barbecue Series 12: Fireworks
Date: Wednesday, July 07, 1999

Category: Story, MSR, MulderANGST

Rating: PG-13 for some language.

Spoilers: Let's just say through season 6, to be safe.

Summary: Mulder's gone and done it again, and Scully's got to learn to deal
with it.

Archive: Yes

Disclaimer: The names you recognize belong to 10/13 productions and Chris
Carter. I'm just borrowing them, and since I've learned to play nice in the
sandbox, I promise to return them in one piece.

Introduction: It picks up in the Barbecue Series Universe and follows the
incidents of # 11, but since #11 is not necessarily everyone's cup of tea,
this time 'round you really do not have to read it prior to this one.....(Of
course I'd love you to, but t'aint a necessity.)

Oh, and as always a special thank you to my CyberMuse, Vickie Moseley, for
teaching me the fine art of compromise. <G>

The Barbecue Series 12: Fireworks
By Susan Proto (

Part 1/2

Monday, July 5

"Scully, I said I was sorry. I thought we'd be back in time," I say for what
must be the thirtieth, maybe fortieth time this day. I am met with a stony
glance, and realize my contrite tone is getting me absolutely nowhere. Quite
frankly, I'm getting a little sick of it.

"Damn it, Scully, what the hell do you want me to do?" I retort angrily.

"Nothing," she responds in kind and with a glare that pierces right through

I've already picked up my bag and go to reach for hers, but she beats me to
it and picks it up in an angry huff. Fine, if she wants to be that way, then
this is just fine.

Damn it. I hate it when Scully is angry with me; especially when she has
good reason to be. I'd done it to her again. I'd gone off on a wild goose
chase, which of course didn't pan out. It did, however, lead to an
inexplicable comedy of errors, which in turn led us to miss the one and only
flight that would have returned us to Maggie Scully's house in time for the
annual Fourth of July barbecue.

So now, instead of walking side by side with my partner I am walking about
five steps behind her in an effort to avoid any more of her scathing glares.
She is royally pissed off, and I can't say as I blame her.

It's a wonder the woman stays with me.

And the amazing thing is, if this had happened last year, I would have
probably gone into a state of panic and assumed she would not stay with me.
There was a time I couldn't imagine Dana Scully ever sticking it out with me
for the long haul.

But no more.

I have to smile at this thought, which of course screws me into the ground
even more, because Dana Scully just happens to pick this particular moment to
turn around and look at me.

Oh boy.

"Mulder, I don't know what the hell you find so damned amusing, but I am so
mad right now, I don't even want to think about finding out. I will go get
the car. You will stay here. I may come back and get you," she says and
then turns on her heels before I can even think about uttering a response.

Oh boy, take two.

This is just another 'wonderful' memory for me to have about the fourth of
July. I shudder involuntarily and rub the faded scar tissue on my leg
unconsciously while I wait for Scully to return with the car.

I'm pretty sure she's going to return with the car. I mean, after all, I do
have her luggage.


The ride takes an extra fifty minutes longer to get to Baltimore due to the
holiday traffic. As we pull up to Mom's house, I am relieved to see not only
Mom's car, but a couple of rentals as well. This is a good sign, as it means
Charlie and Billy are still here.

Okay, so I can live without Billy, but I know Scully really wants to see her
nephews and niece. I'm looking forward to seeing Charlie and Karen again, as
well as Tara. Like I said, I can live without Billy.

I push the trunk release and step out of the car. I go to pull out the
overnight bags we'd packed in anticipation of staying the night at Mom's
place before we return to our apartment in Georgetown.

Yeah. It's definitely _our_ place now. I've informed the landlord at my
place in Alexandria that I am letting the lease run out, so he can start
shopping it around. Though, at the moment, I wonder if that's such a wise

Scully is not a happy camper.

I am counting on her family to rouse her out of this foul mood, or at the
very least, to act as a diversion until she cools off and starts talking to
me again.

She grabs her overnight from my hand. "Scully," I cry out with, admittedly,
a bit of a whine.

"Don't, Mulder. Just, don't." She turns and walks away from me. Now I'm
not a happy camper.


As we enter the door to the house, Scully calls out, "Mom?! Billy? Charlie?
Anybody home?"

"Dana? Sweetheart, is that you?" cries out Maggie happily.

"Mom! Oh, Mom, I am so sorry we couldn't get here yesterday," she says

"Oh, we are too. It was such a nice day, though it was so hot. Was it hot
where you were, Sweetheart?" Mom turns slightly and appears to notice me for
the first time.

"Oh, Fox, I didn't see you. Hello, dear." She reaches up and over to plant
a kiss on my cheek. She's still smiling, so apparently Scully hadn't told
her I'm the reason for our being a day late to the annual Scully Fourth of
July extravaganza.

"Come on you two, everyone is in the backyard. I'm sorry, you just missed
Walter. He was only able to stay for short time, as he said he had a
mountain of paper work to complete. Imagine having to work on the fourth of
July holiday weekend!"

"Yes, imagine that," I hear Scully grumble.

Oh, yeah. This is going to be a very long day.

"We were grilling some burgers and hot dogs for a lunch. There should be
some left over for you to eat," she says.

I smile slightly at this. The last time I was here was right after the
Diamond incident over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. I had an
inexplicable craving for a hamburger, and everyone was very excited (everyone
except the cow, I guess) and watched as I took the first bite.

It smelled really good. I figured it would taste just as good.

Well, it wasn't quite like I remembered it. I mean, it was okay, but I don't
know, it just wasn't the same. I remember I took a couple of bites and then
set it down. Maybe it was because I still wasn't feeling a hundred per cent,
or maybe Scully's crazy ideas of how to eat healthier are finally rubbing off
on me.

I follow the Scully women to the back door and as it opens I hear Mom's voice
ring out, "Look who finally found their way home!"

I hear a caphony of voices calling out 'Dana' and 'Aunt Dana' and then hear
Scully laugh out loud in response, so I hang back a little behind the screen
door. I don't want to take this welcoming away from her.

I watch as she follows Mom down the small flight of stairs and runs into the
arms of her nephews, Daniel and Matthew, and niece, Briana. Her face lights
up from the sheer joy of seeing these children surround her with their hugs
and kisses.

Then I see Charlie and Billy rise from their seats and walk over to her. She
tries to untangle herself from the embraces of the children in order to give
them a proper greeting, but gives up and simply reaches over the little ones'
heads and embraces her brothers in a hug.

Karen and Tara soon take their husbands' places, and I watch the women greet
one another warmly. Some minutes pass by when I hear my name spoken aloud.

"Hey, Dana? Ya finally did us all a favor and left Mulder at home?"

How is it Bill Scully, Jr. can manage to make me feel about as valuable as
the soil a potted plant sits in?

"Mulder didn't come?" asks Charlie. Good ol' Charlie. I have at least one
ally. "Oh well, we'll catch him next time I guess."

So much for allies. I can't help but wonder for a split second if this
reaction is in response to the turn of events of our last visit with one
another, but then just as quickly I scratch that thought immediately from my
mind. Charlie's good people. I know in a pinch I can count on him.

I turn and start trudging in the opposite direction towards the front door.
Just as I'm ready to step outside, I hear my name again. Only this time, I
have to smile.

"Unc-key Mulder?"

I turn and look at Matthew Scully. He's about two and a half now, but I'm
amazed at how much he's grown since I'd last seen him. And he now says
Mulder a whole lot more clearly, though I kind of miss the ''Muddah.' I
smile broadly at him and greet him.

"Hello big boy! How ya doing Matty?"

"Unc-key Mulder, where you going?" he asks accusingly. How do kids know
these things, I wonder.

"Umm, I was just going to the car, Matty, to umm, get something I forgot."
Actually, there is a bag that has presents for the children and for Maggie
still in the car. "You want to come with me to get it?"

"Uh-huh!" he says happily as he nods his head vigorously. He manages to open
the screen door and runs to me with a force I didn't think was possible for
such a little kid. I scoop him up and find myself showered with hugs and

Damn. I can get used to this. But that's for a later discussion; that is if
I can ever get my partner speaking to me again.

I carry Matty out to the car with me and retrieve the bag. It's not too big,
as Scully and I made the discovery that the smaller the child, the bigger the
box the present is found in. However, as the children grow up, the boxes
get smaller; unfortunately not cheaper, but definitely smaller.

We picked up a new barbecue set for Mom, which is one of the reasons Scully
is so pissed off with me. Our late arrival precludes her from using the set
for the holiday dinner she'd prepared, so that's one of the main reasons I'm
in the doghouse. I think she'll like it anyway, and with the amount of
barbecues she has, it certainly won't go to waste.

I suspect Daniel will bounce off the walls over the Game Boy Color we got
him, and Briana should get a kick out of the Barbie Doll Fairy Tale
accessories kit we brought for her. I can only hope Matty will enjoy the
Little Tykes basketball hoop we bought for him. The sucker is actually
expandable, so he'll get a few years out of it. We figure we'll keep it
here, at Mom's house in Baltimore, so he and his cousins will have something
to play with when they visit.

Guess who picked out the basketball hoop?

Just as I'm trying to figure out how to pick up the bag and the large box
containing the basketball hoop while still carrying Matty, I hear the front
door open and slam shut all within seconds of each other.

"And here I thought we'd lucked out," Bill says sarcastically. I look at him
and simply stare. I've learned it best not to answer Billy's attacks
immediately; it frustrates him more. I grin slightly at this thought and
then hear him demand, "Matthew, come here."

Billy reaches over and practically grabs the child out of my arms. This
man's attitude confuses the hell out of me. He runs hot and cold whenever
he's around me. Sometimes he appears to actually tolerate me, and then other
times he seems to despise me, as is apparently the case now.

I blanch a bit when I hear Matty cry out; I don't know if he's in pain from
being handled roughly or from the distress of being pulled out of my arms.
Either way, it bothers the hell out of me that Billy can be so damned mean

"Hush, Matthew, Daddy's got you," he says almost harshly. "Dana's not too
thrilled with you at the moment, is she?" he asks with an almost gleeful tone.

"Why? What did she say?" I ask feigning innocence. I figure I'm not about
to give this guy any more information than necessary.

"Oh, she didn't have to _say_ anything. I can just tell. It's because of
you she missed being with her family yesterday, isn't it?" he practically

I try to stand stoically, but I guess my eyes give me away. He gloats, "I
knew it! You sonofabitch little shit! I knew it was because of you!"

"Unc-key Mulder a little shit?" echoes Matty. If it weren't so damned true,
it would be comical.

"Yeah, Matty, Uncle Mulder's a little shit," I whisper aloud much to the
surprise of the eldest Scully sibling.

End of Part 1/2

The Barbecue Series Part 12: Fireworks
By Susan Proto (

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 2/2

My plan to leave Baltimore and return to the Georgetown apartment at this
point fails miserably, as Mom opens the front door and commands the three of
us to return to the backyard immediately. Oh hell, it didn't work the last
time I tried to runaway from a Scully family barbecue, so it's probably just
as well my skulking off into the noonday sun was nipped in the bud.

I follow all of them into the backyard and am surprised to be greeted
enthusiastically by Charlie, Karen, and their two kids. Tara comes over next
and gives me a warm hug and kiss, which I return in kind. Tara and I have
maintained our email correspondence ever since she'd developed Bell's Palsy,
which happily, seems to have gone the way of the world.

"You look good, Tara," I acknowledge with a smile.

"I feel great," she responds happily. "It's nothing more than a bad memory."

I give her another affectionate squeeze and then walk over to Scully with the
bag of gifts along with Matty's basketball set. I figure she'll want to give
the kids their gifts; after all, she is their aunt. I'm just the adopted
uncle, though admittedly I hope to change that in the not too distant future.

I only hope I haven't done anything that will make my partner in crime, and
life, want to postpone that little act.

She looks at me and takes the gifts wordlessly. She's still steamed with me,
but I think I see her anger waning a bit. I hope so. I don't know how much
more of this I can take.

Oh, who the hell am I kidding? I'll take it for as long as she needs to dish
it out. I deserve it this time. I'm the first to admit it, I screwed up big
time. I never should have gone off to meet with that informant; of course
hindsight is great when the informant never shows up.

I'd left her a note detailing everything I was doing. I didn't ditch her.
Well, not in the literal sense of the word. I told her exactly where I was
going, and I told her to call me on the cell if she needed me. I told her to
take a taxi to the airport and meet me there if it seemed to be getting too

Which she did.

Because I was.

And we missed the one and only flight, because she refused to leave on the
flight without me.

She loves me, but she doesn't like me very much at the moment.

Which is why I'm shocked as shit to hear her say, "Okay you guys! Uncle
Mulder and I brought some gifts and I think they may be for people under
twenty-one! Mom? Mom, that includes you, you know!"

Maggie laughs out loud and says, "Dana, you are getting wiser and wiser in
your old age."

The kids of course come clamoring around Dana, and she hands Mom her barbecue
set, Daniel his Game Boy Color, and Briana her Barbie accessories. Then she
does something that surprises me even more.

"Mulder," she says softly, "I think you should be the one to give Matty his

She does love me, doesn't she; I think she may be starting to like me again a
little too.

"Hey Matty! Come here, big guy. This one's for you," I say excitedly.

Matthew practically flies to me and tries to rip the paper, but he's having
trouble getting under the seam. Finally, I can't stand the suspense anymore
and I help get him started. As Matthew and I start shredding the gift wrap
into a thousand pieces, I hear Matthew chirping, "Back-et-ball! It

"Guess who picked this present out?" Scully asks rhetorically, but at least
she's smiling.

"Whoa, that' s way cool, Matty," says Daniel excitedly.

"Wanna play, Dan-il?" asks Matty hopefully.

I see him look at his Game Boy with a real sense of yearning, but then I
notice Daniel look at Matty's expectant little face. "Sure, I wanna play,
Matty! Can Briana play too?" When he sees Matty's head nodding up and down,
vigorously affirming Briana is more than welcomed to join in the fun, Daniel
holds up his hand so the baby can give him a high five.

Charlie's son is turning into one helluva nice kid.

Of course, now Unc-key Mulder gets to set up the basketball set. Oh, the
joys of being considered one of the family. I smile at this thought; the
joys of being a part of any family.


God bless Little Tykes toy company and their propensity for all in one, solid
pieces. I get the basketball hoop set up with a modicum of problems and
watch the kids play two on one. Briana and Matty team up against Daniel.
I'm itching to join in the fun, but I keep seeing Billy glaring at me from
the corner of my eye.

I think I'll leave the kids alone for now and chow down on my burger. Okay,
so the taste has improved somewhat from last time but, and I cannot believe
I'm even thinking this, I kind of miss the healthy stuff. Damn, that woman
really has rubbed off on me.

As I eat, I take a chance and snatch a quick glance of Scully munching on a
hamburger piled high with onions, tomato, lettuce and cheese. So much for
eating healthily. (It never ceases to amaze me what an iron stomach this
woman has. I guess she's not the best FBI forensics pathologist for
nothing.) Finally, she looks up and meets my gaze.

Don't turn away, Scully. Please. I need you to forgive me on this one.
Before I can continue my silent pleas, I feel a strong hand on my shoulder
and hear Charlie say, "So, Mulder, how the hell have you been?"

He sits down next to me and I break away from my primary objective and look
at Charlie. "Fine, just fine."

"How's the shoulder?" he asks referring to the gunshot wound I'd received

"Okay. It's fine. Got full range of motion and everything," I reply

"That's great. When Mom mentioned you were out in the field on an
assignment, I was really surprised. I couldn't believe you received
clearance already," Charlie says flabbergasted.

"Well, I'm actually still on limited field assignment. Scully and I were
asked to join a team to profile an UNSUB. We were able to help wrap the case
up pretty quickly. Scully picked up on a really important clue during an
autopsy," I inform.

"Hey, that's my sister the detective for you," Charlie says with a grin.
"But I don't understand. If you were able to help solve the case quickly,
how come you didn't make it back for yesterday's shindig?"

Am I a shmuck or what? I mean, if I left the door open any wider
for that question, I'd be creating an entrance for Paul Bunyan!

"Yes, Mulder, why don't you tell us why my sister didn't make it to
yesterday's shindig," chastises Billy.

Scully looks up quickly at the sound of her brother's tone, but she says
nothing. I'm not sure what that means. Scully's been angry with me before,
that's a given. But she's always kept it between us; she always fights fair.
Or at least she used to.

I feel as if I'm being ambushed.

I see Mom is about to say something, but Billy glares at her, and for the
first time in a long time, I see Maggie Scully back down. I guess she's a
little annoyed with me too. I should have made sure Scully was back home

But I had to go and follow up on a stupid hunch.

"I __, I umm," I stammer. God, I haven't stammered since I was Daniel's
age. "I was following up on some information. I had to meet an informant,
and I was late coming back. Scully decided to wait for me instead of taking
our scheduled flight back."

"I decided to wait for you instead of taking__! Mulder! I didn't simply
decide to wait for you! I had no idea as to where the hell you were, or what
the hell happened to you! Do you really think I would just leave without
knowing if you were dead or alive?" Scully berates me in frustration.

I look at Scully in total shock. Where the hell did this come from? She's
been angry with me before, but she's never lambasted me in front of anyone
else before. I mean, she's always saved the browbeating for a private

Then I look around and realize I'm outnumbered. Scully's on her home turf
and she's used to speaking her mind in front of her family. Hell, I suspect
when she was growing up, as one of the youngest, she didn't have a choice but
to speak her mind if she ever wanted to get a word in edgewise. I realize I
am dead meat.

"I left you a note," I say weakly.

"A note. The man says he left me a note." I watch as she reaches into her
pocket and pulls out a piece of paper.

My note.


"This is the note my partner leaves me; my considerate, thoughtful, and
concerned partner's words. 'Got a call from a possible informant with
information. Am within cell range, so call if a must. Be back soon. If it
gets late, meet me at airport. I'm packed. Love, Mulder.'

"Well, at least he signed it _love_ Mulder," Tara points out hopefully, to
which Bill draws in a very sharp breath.

I could have sworn I told her what it was about. I could have sworn I told
her where I was going. I could have sworn __. Shit. I really did ditch
her, didn't I?

"Scully, I'm sorry. I really thought I'd ___," I begin contritely.

"Oh save it, Mulder. I don't want to hear about it now. I'm still too
damned angry," she says in a hushed but irate tone.

I guess she still doesn't like me all that much. I blew it big time. I
look at her, but I keep my mouth shut. I don't want to prolong the argument
any more than necessary, but she's obviously not ready to forgive and forget
quite yet. I stand up and ask if anyone needs something cold to drink. I
hear all gracious refusals, with the exception of one grunt, and go inside to
escape the heat.

Literally and figuratively.


I wander around inside the house and find myself in Scully's old bedroom.
Though it hasn't been kept as a shrine, like my sister's bedroom was kept
after her abduction, there are still enough remnants of Scully's past to make
it interesting to check out.

I look at the top of her chest of drawers and find a tattered copy of Little
Women. I remember my mom read that to Sam; she'd finished it shortly before
Sam had been taken. I remember Sam kept saying she was just like Jo, because
Jo and Sam were nicknames that could be boys' names.

I always teased her and told her she was like Amy, the spoiled sister, but in
my heart I knew she was most like Jo too. She had an adventurous spirit, my
little sister. Just like Jo.

I suspect Scully always saw herself most like Jo, too. I can't picture her
in any other role.

I take note of the formal, high school senior picture that stands framed on
the corner of the chest. I see a serious, judicious Dana Katherine staring
back at me. Even then, she was prudent with her smiles, and this picture
lacks the warmth of my favorite one of her.

I take it out of my wallet. It's the one that was taken at a crime scene.
She's looking at a piece of paper in my hands and she's leaning into me so
she can see it more clearly.

And she's smiling.

What the hell she had to smile about at that crime scene is beyond me, but
when I saw it, I told the staff photographer to make me a couple of copies.
I keep the original tacked up on the bulletin board at the office, but I also
keep one copy in my wallet and another in the drawer of my nightstand at home.

Sometimes I wonder how Sam would have looked at her High School graduation.
I wonder if she would have been voted most likely to succeed or most popular.
I suspect she would have been more popular than me, that's for sure.

Then I see another photo that catches my attention and I gasp. Scully's prom
dress is a shade of blue that I imagine matched her eyes, though it's
difficult to tell from the faded colors of the picture in front of me.
Still, she looks so beautiful.

I don't know why that surprises me. But I mean, her beauty just kind of
sneaks up on you, ya know? My Scully is not what you would call a classic
beauty. I mean, she's short, her hair tends to frizz, she can wear a scowl
with the best of them. And she's tough. Damn tough.

But when my girl smiles, she can take my breath away. She's a beauty all

And still damn tough.

I'm about to pick up one of the little trophies she has on top of the
nightstand when I hear young voices coming from another room. I quietly walk
out and approach what was once Melissa's room and is now the nursery.

I hear the voices of a young boy and his sister and eavesdrop on their

"I don't get it. Why doesn't Uncle Bill like Uncle Mulder?" Briana asks.

"We've talked about this a hundred times, Bree," moans Daniel.

"Daniel, I don't get it. Uncle Mulder is so nice, and Aunt Dana really,
really likes him," she retorts.

"Look, I like Uncle Mulder, Mom and Dad do too. I know Aunt Tara likes him,
and Grandma really likes him. And shoot, Matty loves him. It's just Uncle
Bill who hates him, though I don't think he hates him as much as he used to
hate him," Daniel explains very seriously.

"Did Uncle Mulder do something to make Uncle Bill mad at him?" asks Briana

"I think he just loves Aunt Dana," answers Daniel.

I never realized how wise children can be.

I imagine having conversations with Sam; most often about my father's
business friend. Now Bill Scully is a pain in the ass, but he's nothing
like the sonofabitch my father had called _friend_.

This bastard did some pretty horrible things to Sam and me; things that I'm
only just beginning to truly remember and talk about, thanks to the therapist
Skinner recommended during the Memorial Day weekend. But Sam and I used to
talk till all hours of the night after the _friend_ came for a visit.

I think it was those talks that helped to keep me sane.

God, I miss her.

I love Scully with all of my heart, but I miss my sister.

"Uncle Mulder? Are you okay?"

I startle and look down to see Briana and Daniel looking up at me with
concerned expressions.

"What?" I choke out, and then I realize what the cause of their concern is.
I quickly swipe at the tears that have unconsciously trickled down my face.
"I'm fine, you guys. I must have gotten something in my eye, ya know? You
go on and play."

I turn and quickly retreat into Scully's room only to find it impossible to
hold back the flood of emotion any longer. I sit down and sink into the too
soft mattress and hold my face in my hands.

I don't know how much time has passed; it could have been just a few seconds,
or it could have been several minutes. I really don't know. But I find
myself calming down and pick my head up from my hands to find a pair of deep
blue eyes staring me directly in the face.

"Unc-key Mulder? You sad?" asks Matty way too seriously for a little guy
like him. But even though he's little I respect him too much to lie to him.

"Yeah, Matty. I'm a little sad, but I'll be okay. I promise."

"Okay." And he reaches up and grabs my face with his two little hands and
gives me a kiss right on the shnoz. He then smiles that delectable Scully
smile and I have no choice but to return it. I give him a kiss right on his
nose too, and he giggles at that.

"Go on and find your cousins, Matty. I'll be down in a bit, okay?" He nods
his head, still very seriously, and turns to leave. I watch him begin
walking out when I realize Scully's standing at the door.

"How long have you been standing guard?" I ask as I stand up very quickly.

"How long have you been crying?" she replies.

I sigh out loud now. I'm out of explanations, I'm out of apologies. I've
screwed up, I've begged for forgiveness, and I'm still waiting for my act of
penitence to be received.

She simply stands there and I don't know what she expects me to say at this
point. So, instead, she surprises me and she speaks.

"It was about Samantha, wasn't it?" she asks softly. When I look at her with
my mouth agape, she elaborates, "You thought the informant had information
about Sam, right?"

I slowly nod my head. "It seemed viable."

She nods her head in acknowledgment too and then says, "It's been a long time
since you've taken off on me. It's been a long time since you've received
any specific information regarding Samantha."

I look at her and I know my expression shows my wonder at the connection
she's just made. It has been a long time since I'd ditched her, and I've
thought it was because I'd made a real commitment to this woman to not cause
her any more grief over my whereabouts.

But the first time an informant dangles a so-called piece of evidence in
front of me that might pertain to my sister, I run head first into the
nearest darkened alley.

I am a colossal, self-centered, self-absorbed, shmuck.

But I think what has me equally dumbstruck is the realization of how long
it's been since I've actively sought any information on the specific
whereabouts of my sister. I mean, sure, we've dealt with the consortium and
Cassandra Spender and talked about my sister, but a very long time has passed
since I actively engaged in any kind of search for Samantha Mulder.

Suddenly I feel the room spin and I feel my body sway a bit. Just as
quickly, I feel the pressure of Scully's hands pushing my shoulders down so I
am forced to sit back down on her bed. "Lower your head between your knees,

This woman is wasted in pathology, you know. I know this for a fact as I
feel her rub my back in a circular motion and hear her murmur soft words of
comfort. After a while, I feel the earth still and I lift my head up.

"I'm sorry, Mulder." When she sees my shocked expression, she quickly
explains. "I'm still angry as hell that you ditched me. This will never,
and I do mean _never_ happen again. Do you understand me?" I nod my head as
quickly as my still rather unsteady equilibrium will allow. "I'm serious
about this, Mulder. I will not allow you to scare the hell out of me
needlessly ever again."

"I do understand and I am sorry, Scully. I really thought I'd left you
clearer information."

"Well, that's what I'm apologizing for," she says thoughtfully. "I didn't
give you a chance to explain. It wouldn't have staved off my anger and
frustration, but at least my fear that this crappy ditching habit of yours
had resurfaced could have been alleviated. And I only added fuel to the fire
by refusing to give you a chance to explain, and that was pretty damned
adolescent of me," she admits with a hint of a smile.

"I really am sorry," I say.

"I know. You really miss her, don't you?" she asks.

"You miss Melissa?" I ask and note the sudden welling of tears in those
beautiful baby blues of hers. "Oh, Dana, I didn't mean to make you cry. I
just wanted __."

"__No, I know you didn't want to make me cry. It's just that I realized how
much longer you've had to live with this sense of loss; this void. Oh God,
Mulder, we'll find her. We'll figure out where she is and we'll find her. I
promise. And next time, how 'bout we go see the informant _together?_"

I knew there was a reason I love this woman. She has me figured out to a
tee, and she still sticks with me.

"So, you ready to join the family again?" she asks lightly.

"Yeah, but I have one question. How did you know I was up here?"

"Daniel and Briana came and got me. They were worried about you, and then
Matty insisted he come with me to find his Unc-key Mulder," she explains.

"You've got some terrific kids in your family, Scully," I say sincerely.

"_We've_ got some terrific kids in _our_ family, Mulder," she corrects.

"Someday, I'd like for us to make some additions to those kids," I say a
little self-consciously, as I'm not sure how those words will be received.

"Well, they won't let us adopt unless we're married, Mulder," she replies
matter of fact.

"Well, I guess we'd better do something about that, G-Woman," I say a little
more confidently.

"Yes, I should think so," Scully replies with luminous smile.

Oh, yeah. I know we're in love, but now? I think we're finally back in

And I suspect the fireworks are only just beginning.

End of Part 2/2

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