Title: The Journalist
Author: Kayla Ariev
Written: September 2003
Rating: R
Spoilers: S1-9; Existence; The Truth
Category: S, R
Keywords: Mulder/Scully Romance
Disclaimer: The X-Files, Mulder, Scully, and all the rest belong to 1013, FOX and Chris Carter. I'm only borrowing them for a nice little excursion.

Summary: A few years after Mulder and Scully humbly save the world and disappear to live private lives, a creative and clever journalist tracks them down, trying to get the interview no other reporter has ever gotten.

And, hey, be nice to the journalists of the world. We're only doing our job. We have to make a living, too, you know. And while I'm busy supporting journalists, I think I'll plug my newspaper, too. Be sure to read your Daily Vanguard; it's online now! www.dailyvanguard.com (But, hey, Kayla Ariev is a pseudonym . . . so don't look for my articles under that name, because you won't find any!) And before you ask, here's what I think about corporate media: the media might be corporate, but the journalists are not. So there.

PS. I love my AP Style Guide ... and it loves me!

Feedback to kaylaariev@yahoo.com

From --The New York Times- June 24, 2003

In a startling international telecast yesterday evening, two former FBI agents revealed to the world the existence of extraterrestrial beings and a vast governmental conspiracy developed to bring about an alien colonization of the earth.

The telecast took over broadcasting and television systems across the entire globe at approximately seven p.m. and provided extensive, disturbing news.

The conspirators, the most powerful hailing from the United States and Russia, were hoping to gain asylum by cooperating with the alien invaders and helping with their long-planned colonization.

The alien plan apparently involved using humans as hosts for the breeding of new alien creatures, suited for life on earth. The conspirators helped by providing unwitting human test subjects. The tests involved everything from genetic and viral experiments to genetic markers in small pox vaccines.

The alliance between the conspirators and the aliens was formed shortly after the Roswell UFO crash of 1947, which the two FBI agents also proved to be true.

The former federal agents, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, could not be reached for comment.

Mulder was discharged from the FBI in 2001 for conduct issues. Scully's dismissal was made in 2002 when she fled with Mulder to Europe after he had been tried and found guilty of murder.

It has since come to light that the trial and murder were both staged to get Mulder out of the picture, as he had learned "too much about the conspiracy," according to an FBI source who wished to remain anonymous.

It is rumored that the two former agents have a son together, although the child is living with an adoptive family. Sources would not verify the rumors.

From --The Washington Post- June 25, 2003

The names Mulder and Scully have become household names in a matter of two days, after the two former FBI agents exposed a government conspiracy and alliance with extraterrestrial invaders.

The telecast, which they arranged for the evening of June 23, took over television and broadcasting systems across the globe. Initially, most believed their information to be a joke or part of some science fiction hoax.

It was quickly proven to be true, and people across the globe were shocked.

Now that they have, in essence, saved the world, people are dying to know more about this elusive pair.

No one has been able to reach Fox Mulder or Dana Scully since their telecast was verified as factual truth. However, research and interviews with various sources have provided some facts about these global saviors.

The FBI agents were partnered together in 1992 to work on a division of the Bureau known as the X-Files. In this division they investigated cases involving paranormal or unexplained phenomena.

It was through these investigations that they stumbled upon the conspiracy, although throughout nearly ten years of work, they were never able to make any significant progress.

It was only after they fled the U.S. that they were able to accomplish their primary goal: exposing the conspiracy. In doing so, they were able to stop the extraterrestrial invasion.

It is unclear how they learned about the conspiracy, although some sources said that Mulder's father (deceased) had been one of the conspirators and had offered his daughter, Mulder's sister Samantha, as a show of good faith to the aliens.

Reportedly, she was used as a multiple test subject, and died around the age of 13, having been first taken when she was 8.

Sources claimed that Samantha was a great part of Mulder's inspiration to expose and bring down the conspiracy.

Sources have also revealed that in 1994 Scully, herself, was abducted and used as a test subject. Her tests created an alien-human hybrid child, who died when she was barely 3 years old. The experiments also supposedly left Scully barren, however, there have been rumors that she and Mulder had a son together in 2001.

It was also learned that Mulder was abducted, as well, in 2000. He was returned near death, but was revived somehow (sources were sketchy) by the time his son was born.

The reports of Mulder and Scully's child have yet to be proven. Sources only say that the child was given up for adoption to protect it from the same conspirators who were fighting to stop Mulder and Scully.

None of the sources would speak about the nature and extent of the relationship between Mulder and Scully.

From --USA Today- June 26, 2003

It has been learned that the global saviors Mulder and Scully were the inspiration for the 2000 box office flop, "The Lazarus Bowl."

The film was written, directed, and produced by Hollywood bigwig Wayne Federman. Apparently, he is a longtime friend with Assistant Director Walter Skinner of the FBI, supposedly Mulder and Scully's boss for most of their time with the FBI.

Federman spent time following Mulder and Scully around on a case, which dealt with the Lazarus Bowl, the inspiration for his script. The characters portrayed by Gary Shandling and Tea Leoni were based on Mulder and Scully.

From --The Oregonian- June 31, 2003

It has been learned that Fox Mulder and Dana Scully uncovered a great part of the government conspiracy while on assignment in Oregon.

In fact, they investigated their first case together in the town of Belfleur, in Columbia County in 1992. They were looking into the disappearances and deaths of members of the local high school's graduating class of 1982.

Mulder and Scully returned to Belfleur in 2000, investigating another lead in the global, extraterrestrial conspiracy. It turned out that their investigation was related to the incidents they pursued in 1992.

It was in the woods just outside of Belfleur from which Mulder was abducted.

No link has been made between the national and international conspirators and the Oregon state government.

Governor Kulongoski could not be reached for comment.

From AP and Wire reports July 5, 2003

This year's Fourth of July celebration was a global event, in honor of the recent freedom from government conspirators and alien invaders brought about by the efforts of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.

Independence Day connotes more than American freedom from British rule. It now conjures images of the famous June 23 telecast.

The United Nations has declared June 23 as an international holiday, celebrating world freedom from alien rule, as well as the dissolving of the global conspiracy. The new holiday is to be known as World Freedom Day.

This year, the world is celebrating on the date of the American Independence Day. It seems that after such a shocking discovery and a simultaneous breakdown of many governmental programs, in most of the world's countries, the people of earth could use a good celebration.

Fireworks were set off around the globe at the same time, in honor of the day.

From AP and wire reports July 7, 2003

Now that the heat since their June 23 telecast has cooled down, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are nowhere to be found.

They have essentially vanished without a trace. Sources that included close friends and family members would not reveal the pair's location.

Some claimed that they did not even know the whereabouts of Mulder and Scully.

They did leave a message with the FBI's newly appointed director, Walter Skinner. Skinner was their boss during their time with the Bureau and came to be a great friend and confidant to the pair.

The statement, which Skinner read at a recent press conference, stated that Mulder and Scully wanted to live quiet, normal, happy lives now that they had accomplished what they set out to do.

They emphasized their desire for privacy, writing, "We know the public appreciates our hard work. But they do not understand all that we have lost and sacrificed. We just want to be left alone."

They have very successfully eluded the press and the public, as no one has seen or heard from them in several days.

The statement also asked that people stop trying to pry into their lives and their past.

"We exposed the conspiracy. We stopped the invasion. Now please leave us alone."

At yesterday's meeting of global press representatives, the decision to stop investigating and inquiring into the past, history, and lives of Mulder and Scully was reached.

Essentially, the press decided to grant them their request and leave them alone.

June 2, 2006

Edie sighed as she reread the clip files from the Mulder and Scully incident of the summer of 2003. She laughed softly as she finished the last one. Yeah, the press was going to leave them alone. Until the third anniversary of their telecast was approaching.

That was when Erin, editor-in-chief of the Oregonian decided it was about time to boost sales with an explosive, exclusive anniversary edition of the June 23 telecast. That was when Edie Braddock, journalist extraordinaire, pulled the short straw.

She was a photographer, too, so that was what made her so right for the assignment. One person tracking down the most elusive pair in America was more promising than two.

That was how she found herself in the bowels of the Oregonian building, sifting through old clip files in the morgue - reporter talk for the archives. Morbid, yes, but pretty accurate. Journalism was always about timeliness. Once a story had gone to print, that was usually it - it was over and done with. It was dead, so it went to the morgue.

But here she was, digging up dead stories. Trying to find a way to fuse them with new life. She felt like Doctor Frankenstein, piecing together the parts of a former creature to make a new one. Except that it would only turn out to be some "hideous phantasm of a man."

Edie glanced down at her reporter's notebook. The long, sleek, wide-ruled page was barely filled with tiny scribbles. She was trying to compile a list of contacts with whom she could begin her interviews, and her search for Mulder and Scully. The pair had never been interviewed, never spoken with the press. Erin wanted Edie to interview them.

Her deadline was midnight of the twenty second. It was a long time to compile a story by journalistic standards, even a 50 inch feature story like this one, but as Edie looked over her very short list of contacts, it was beginning to become no small feat.

To her frustration, almost all of the sources in the archived stories had been anonymous. It was never a very good thing for journalists to do, but sometimes it was the only way to get a story. And she knew that a good journalist would never reveal his sources. She certainly wouldn't.

She had two names, besides Mulder and Scully. Wayne Federman and Walter Skinner.

She laughed at Federman. What a loser. Hollywood shmuck. Then there was Walter Skinner, director of the FBI.

Skinner had worked with Mulder and Scully, had befriended them. Federman had only made a movie about them, and a bad movie, at that, and probably inaccurate. She'd seen it, of course. It had flopped during its initial release, but after the June 23 telecast, it saw such a huge resurgence of popularity in rental gross that the studio requested a second theatrical release, which had been a very successful business endeavor.

But Edie knew it was just Hollywood hogwash.

So it was off to Washington, DC, she knew. Time to start digging at the FBI. And she would start at the top - with Director Walter Skinner.

June 4, 2006

"Thank you for seeing me," Edie said as she sat on the black leather chair opposite the desk of FBI Director Walter Skinner. He nodded bluntly. "Do you mind if I tape record our conversation?"

"That's alright," he said.

"I, uh, need you to express your permission on tape for me." She pressed the record button and set it on the desk between them.

He coughed, and leaned in. "I, Walter Skinner, give permission for the following conversation between myself and -"

"-Edie Braddock-"

"-to be tape recorded."

Edie smiled. "Wonderful." She flipped open her notebook and glanced at her first question. "Why don't you tell me how you first met Mulder and Scully?"

He nodded solemnly. "I was their boss. Back then I was only one of many assistant directors, and I got the unlucky assignment of overseeing the X-Files division. Mulder's reputation preceded him, you see. He was . . . well, people called him 'Spooky.' 'Spooky' Mulder. The nickname had been with him since the academy, even before he started working on the X-Files. Mulder had a penchant to believe the unbelievable. It was more than that, though. He didn't really believe things - he just knew things. He was goddamn brilliant, I'll tell you that. He caught more killers when he was with VCU."

"I'm sorry," said Edie. "VCU?"

"Violent Crimes Unit." Edie nodded, and Skinner continued. "But then he found the X-Files and that was it; he was gone. The FBI's golden boy gave up his pedestal to sift through the crap in the basement. He wanted to be down there. Some people thought he was punishing himself. He blamed himself for his sister's abduction, you know. He was just a kid, though, but he felt guilty all the same."

Skinner paused, his lips twisting as his brow furrowed. "Mulder did that a lot. Blamed himself. He felt responsible for the world, and he carried his guilt for his entire life. Until . . . well, something happened. Something happened that made him realize he wasn't completely to blame. I'm not sure what it was, but it was like a light was switched on in his brain and suddenly he could see everything perfectly clearly. He could see who was really responsible. That was when he became really dedicated to exposing 'the Truth,' as he always said. Mulder was obsessed with 'the Truth,' with a capital 'T.'"

Skinner smiled, remembering with fondness all the time he had listened to Mulder spout off about the Truth. "I guess he did it," Skinner said, finally. "He exposed 'the Truth.' He can finally have what he always really wanted."

"I thought you said he always wanted to expose the truth? There's something else?" Edie was scribbling in her notebook like mad. True, she was recording the conversation, but tape recorders were never reliable. They were just backup to her notes, and evidence in any litigation suits.

"Of course there was something else," Skinner said, as if it were obvious. "Mulder wanted to stop the invasion and the conspiracy so the world would be peaceful. So he could be at peace. So he could have what he most wanted: a family."

Edie's breath stopped briefly. "Are you talking about his alleged son with Dana Scully?"

"This went back before Will was born."

Edie's heart skipped. She had a name and an inadvertent verification - there was a son.

Skinner continued, not noticing the journalist's excitement. "He and Scully always clicked on some metaphysical level. Gradually, they began clicking on other levels and at some point everything came together. They were meant to be, I truly believe that. Sometimes you can just tell, and with them, I could definitely tell. They wanted children, and more importantly, they wanted to have children together."

"Why didn't they?"

"It was so goddamn complicated," Skinner said. "They worked together, and the FBI would have fired them if they became romantically involved. But besides that, Scully was left barren by her abduction in '94. To this day, none of us have figured out how she conceived Will. I don't think either of them really want to know. They just count their blessings, and let themselves believe that nature simply took its course."

"So at some point they did become romantically involved?" Edie's eyes were wide. The clip files she'd read had hinted at a romance, but this was juice a journalist can only dream of uncovering.

"I think I knew they were in love before they did. But yes, they did become romantically involved. It happened in '98, after they tried conceiving a child with invetro fertilization. The IVF failed, but it brought them together on the romantic level they had previously been too scared of reaching. They clung to each other. They were each other's pillars, their constants. And they did a damn good job of keeping it secret, because even though I'd known they loved each other, I never knew they had crossed that line. Not until after the fact. Not until Mulder's abduction."

"Tell me about that."

"No," said Skinner. "But I can say that it was right after the abduction - I mean right after - that Scully found out she was pregnant. It was in her persistent search for him that she revealed to me that they had become involved. Paternity tests, run against Mulder's FBI file, confirmed her child's lineage."

Edie glanced at her prepared list of questions and cleared her throat. "Is it true that they gave their son up for adoption?"

"It was the only way to protect him. It was the hardest thing I ever saw Scully do, and it was made harder for her by Mulder's absence. He'd left them several months earlier to try and protect both Scully and their son. He thought he was the one putting them in danger. It turns out, that Scully's dedication to him and to the X- Files put her in danger. But that was Mulder's guilt-complex at work. When they had to leave the country, they had a chance to get their son back. They chose not to, because they knew what they had to do. They had to, essentially, save the world.

"Mulder had learned a date, you see," Skinner explained. "He knew that the planned alien invasion was set for December 22, 2012. He did not want to raise his son only to have their lives destroyed in ten short years. Scully agreed, and so they set out to stop the invasion. And they succeeded, thank God for all of our sakes. I know they were trying to find him after this whole telecast thing, but the goddamn press made it impossible for them."

Skinner glanced up at Edie. "No offense."

"None taken, we can be pretty invasive."

Skinner nodded. "They took some pretty drastic steps to disappear, and even I don't know where they are. But I'm 95 percent sure that they got their son back."

"Only 95?"

Skinner bit his lip. "Not even, really. I'm trying to be nice, but frankly, luck never seemed to be on their side."

"Until this telecast, though, right?" Edie said.

"Yeah," said Skinner sadly, nodding. "Right."

Her interview with Skinner had proven both revealing - and helpful. She now had an extended list of contacts, starting with another pair of FBI agents. Skinner got on the phone before Edie left his office and managed to arrange a meeting with them for her right away.

So she was headed down to the basement. They said they would show her the old X- Files office.

The basement was a dismal place in the J. Edgar Hoover building. Far more depressing than even the basement morgue of the Oregonian's office. She found the door easily - the old Fox Mulder nameplate was still attached. It was slightly ajar, and it squeaked as she pushed it open.

It was like stepping back in time. The X- Files had been permanently shut down after Mulder and Scully had fled the country, after the staged murder trial. But no one had ever gotten the guts to clean the office out. Just covered the furniture with some plastic and left it to posterity.

The agents she was to meet had not yet arrived, so Edie stuffed her tape recorder and notebook into her oversized pockets and began looking around. This was a place that held so many years of history.

She pulled the plastic sheet from the desk. Still sitting atop it was Mulder's nameplate. There were papers scattered across the top, as if the office had been shut down in the middle of business as usual. She opened the top drawer. There were rows of sharpened pencils, stale sunflower seeds scattered from an opened bag, crumpled IOUs from Mulder or Scully to the other, and other assorted scraps of paper.

Edie turned to the wall behind her, filled with news clippings and photographs and a large poster of a UFO, bearing the motto "I want to believe." Was it Scully's or Mulder's, she thought.

Most of the news clippings were about paranormal occurrences, although a few seemed to be reports about cases Mulder and Scully had completed with some semblance of success. Most of the pictures were the same, although there was one of a young boy with a girl, probably his sister.

Probably Mulder and his sister, Edie thought.

Two were of Mulder and Scully together, on cases, it seemed. In both, they seemed oblivious of the camera. Of everything but the other, actually.

Shuffled footsteps at the door caused Edie to whirl around, pulling her recorder and her notebook from her pocket as she did so. "Hi!" she said, too loudly.

It was a pair of FBI agents, a tall man with sandy hair, just beginning to gray, and a lanky brunette woman. "I'm Agent John Doggett," said the man, "and this is Agent Monica Reyes. You Edie Braddock?"

"Yes," she replied, and shook their hands. "Thank you so much for meeting with me, and on such short notice."

"I see you've been looking around," said Doggett. "What are you trying to find out about anyway? I thought the media lost interest in Mulder and Scully a couple of years ago."

"Renewed interest," Edie replied, shrugging. "The story was my editor's idea. I just do what I'm assigned. Mind if I tape record?"

"I guess not," said Doggett.

She recorded their permission and began the interview. "How did you two know Mulder and Scully?"

Doggett was the first to reply. "I was assigned to head the search for Mulder after his abduction. When that proved fruitless, I was partnered with Agent Scully on the X- Files."

"What was that like?"

Doggett laughed. "Insane. I tell you, all the stories I'd heard about those two - him the crazy believer, her the persistent skeptic - it had me confused. 'Cause she was trying her damnedest to convince me of the craziest shit I've ever heard of in my life. I'm talking about frigging . . . well, it's embarrassing to say now, but at the time, well . . . she was talking about UFOs and aliens and it was crazy talk. I believed after a while - you see enough, you kind of have to believe. And obviously it turned out to be frighteningly true."

He paused, and nodded his head jerkily, thinking back. "It was interesting working with Mulder after he came back. I didn't work with him much, but when I did . . . well, then Scully made a whole lot of sense. When he was gone, she was trying to fill his shoes. She did a better job than she ever thought she did, mostly, I'm sure, because she was never comfortable doing it. She didn't want to fill Mulder's shoes. She wanted Mulder to fill his own shoes. The man's a frigging genius, though. I don't know how he figures that shit out. He just does. Somehow, he just knows. I admire the man, truly."

"What about you?" Edie asked, looking pointedly at Reyes.

"I came on board when the search for Mulder was reopened, right before he was actually found. Although when we found him, he was dead."

"I-I'm sorry," said Edie. "You said he was dead when you found him?"

Reyes smiled, knowingly. "Yes, but he came back to life three months later because of a virus he'd been given during his abduction. Scully was able to save him through rigorous antiviral treatments. Otherwise, the virus would have turned him into an alien, of sorts. I worked a little with Mulder, as well, before he was fired. He was different than I'd heard, but not because I'd heard wrong. I think he'd just changed. He had gone through that whole experience, and he was silently very invested in Scully and in their child. He wasn't open with this information, I just figured it out after the fact. Then he found out the colonization date, and he reverted back to his old self. He had another quest, although this time it was fueled not by a want to find his sister, or a desire to expose the conspiracy or prove extraterrestrial life. He wanted to stop the colonization for his family - for Scully and for their son."

Edie bit her lip, looking down at her practically illegible notes. "Do you think - either of you - that if Mulder didn't have Scully and/or a son to fight for . . . do you think he would have still been so invested in his fight?"

Doggett cast his eyes down, physically deferring to Reyes. "Maybe once upon a time . . . maybe if he'd never had Scully or their son. Once he'd had them - even for as briefly as it was, at least with Will - he never wanted to go back to living without them. I know for a fact that Mulder was miserable while he was away from Scully and Will. Gibson told me so. I think he still would have fought, though he would have been doing so more as a sacrificial warrior than as a man with a desire. He would have done it because he knew no one else would, and he would have known that the colonization wasn't right. But he would not have cared whether the fight killed him or not. When he was fighting for Scully and his son, as well as the world, he wanted to make it out alive to be with them. Or at least with Scully. And he wanted for his son to be able to grow up, even if it was with an adoptive family."

Edie furrowed her brow. "Wait, backing up, I'm sorry - who's Gibson?"

Reyes exchanged a glance with Doggett, and then responded, her voice subdued. "Gibson Praise was a boy Mulder and Scully met back in '97. He was psychic, due to alien DNA he possessed. Mulder hid out with Gibson in New Mexico when he left after Will's birth. Gibson read Mulder's thoughts the whole time. He told me that it hurt, although he was certain that it hurt him less than it was hurting Mulder. Mulder hated being away from Scully and from Will. It was tearing him up inside, practically killing him. That's what Gibson said, anyway, and Gibson was never wrong."

"Do you think I might be able to talk to Gibson?" asked Edie, her hand cramping as she scribbled madly in her notebook.

"You leave that boy alone," said Doggett. "Don't you dare go looking for him."

"Okay," said Edie, afraid by Doggett's tone to ask any more about Gibson. "One last question. Do you know where I might reach Mulder and Scully now?"

"No," said Doggett.

Reyes said the same.

And then their lips were sealed.

June 5, 2006

Edie looked over at the couple in front of her. They were an odd pair. The woman, Yves, was tall and slender, with cascading curly black hair and exotic foreign beauty. The man, Jimmy, was good looking enough, but he had an oafish quality to him.

"So how did you know Mulder and Scully?" Edie asked.

The man visibly deferred to his companion. "We didn't really," Yves said. "We knew their friends - the Lone Gunmen. They published a weekly paper about conspiracy theories and crazy paranormal hoopla. Jimmy began to work with them in 2000, and I started helping them out regularly just before then. It was through the Gunmen that we met Mulder and Scully."

"Do you think it would be possible to speak with these Lone Gunmen people?" Edie's pen hovered over the page, ready to scribble down contact information.

"No," said Jimmy. "They're dead."

"You might have read about them in the paper, back in 2002," Yves explained. "They were dubbed the 'Lone Angels' because they sacrificed themselves to protect the world from deadly infection."

"They saved the world before Mulder and Scully did," said Jimmy, sulkily. "You should be writing a story about them. They were my friends."

Edie cleared her throat. From the look on Yves' face, Jimmy lamented the loss of his friends fairly frequently. She addressed Yves. "Well, what can you tell me about Mulder and Scully?"

"Only that they were the saddest souls I'd ever met. They carried the weight of the universe on their shoulders, and I can only hope that they no longer do."

"Yeah," said Jimmy. "They were really nice. I liked them; both of them."

June 6, 2003

"You leave me alone, and you leave my goddamn family alone."

Bill Scully, Jr. stood screaming on the stoop of his front porch. He would have slammed the door in Edie's face if not for the hand that snaked around his upper arm and pulled him back. A short, blonde woman stepped forward.

"Look," Tara said, "we don't know where Mulder or Dana are. We just pray that they're safe and happy."

"Yeah, that and Mulder dragged my sister off once again for his own goddamn sake." Bill scoffed loudly.

"So you don't like Mulder?" Edie asked.

Bill just looked at her. "No comment. Now go away."

Then he did shut the door, but not before Edie caught the sympathetic and apologetic face of Tara. Edie sighed.

June 7, 2006

Edie sat in the living room of the home of Margaret "Just call me Maggie" Scully, Dana's mother. The fireplace mantle was filled with framed photographs of the Scully family, and it made Edie smile until she realized how much Maggie must miss her daughter, as she admitted immediately that she did not know where Scully or Mulder were.

But Maggie had agreed to the interview.

"What can you tell me about the relationship between your daughter and Fox Mulder."

Maggie shook her head, reminiscing. "That poor man . . . Dana loved him so much, and his own heart ached he loved her, as well, so hard. But he never felt he deserved her. It's what took them so long, I think, in beginning a romance. I'm sure both were hesitant to become romantically involved for reasons, most specifically their great friendship. Neither wanted to ruin that, or their ideal partnership at the FBI. But I know Fox hesitated longer than he needed to, because he could never convince himself that he was good enough for my Dana. My son didn't help, of course."

"Bill, right?" asked Edie, having already met the Scully brother who visibly and vocally despised Mulder.

"Yes," she replied. "He was the eldest. He always felt responsible for Dana, especially after their father died. And he blamed Fox for everything bad that happened to her because she was working with him. What Bill didn't realize was that Dana chose to work with Fox, and that she chose to take those risks. Bill still blames him for 'ruining her life' and resents Fox because she chose to go with him, and hide from the public. From the press and, well . . . people like you, I guess, Miss Braddock."

Edie nodded. "I just want the truth about your daughter and Mr. Mulder, Maggie," she said. "I don't want to pry. But people want to know, and there are so many rumors. There are still journalists in the world with a bit of integrity, and I like to think that I'm one of them. If people are going to know about your daughter and Fox Mulder, they should at least know the truth about them."

"Thank you," said Maggie, genuinely smiling. "I believe you when you say that. Maybe . . ." She drifted into silence, but the movement in her eyes revealed that she was thinking about something. Considering something, perhaps?

"Maggie?" asked Edie, after several minutes of silence had gone by.

"You should really talk to them." Maggie paused a moment longer and then stood. "Wait here."

Maggie left the room and came back a few minutes later, carrying a rumpled envelope in her hand. "This was the last letter I got from Dana. She usually emails, since it leaves less tracks, but sometimes she just has to send a real letter. There's never a return address, but there is stamp from the postage office from which it was sent. This letter came from Yamhill County, Oregon. Do you know where that is?"

Edie's eyes lit up. "Yamhill? Frigging Yamhill?" She smiled and looked at Maggie. "I grew up in Yamhill county. I'm from Oregon - I write for the frigging Oregonian!"

Maggie handed over the envelope. "If you find them, Edie," she said. "Do me a favor, and tell them that I'd really love to see them. Both of them. Make sure Fox understands that."

"I will, Maggie," she said. "And thank you."

Maggie showed Edie to the door, but before closing it behind her called out. "One thing to remember, Edie. Never call Fox Mulder by his first name. According to Dana, I'm the only one he lets get away with it. Even my daughter calls him Mulder, and she hinted in her last letter that they've officially tied the knot."

Edie nodded, smiling. Maggie Scully was such a nice woman. A genuinely friendly woman. Edie felt an obligation to her, even, to be honest and truthful and fair in her interview with Mulder and Scully. She had an obligation to her newspaper, and to the truth of her story, but based on her conversation with Maggie, she felt a responsibility to print the happier aspects of their lives.

It would make her story more wholly truthful.

June 21, 2006

It had taken a lot of searching. Yamhill County was bigger than Edie had ever thought it to be when she'd been growing up there. She'd spent days sifting through phone books and real estate records, and any post office records she could get a hold of. She thought she'd found them. There had been no name listings for either Fox Mulder or Dana Scully.

She had found a Marty Williams, though, and his wife, Katherine listed in a McMinnville phonebook. She knew, from speaking to Skinner, that Mulder had used several alias' over the years, one of which was Marty. She also knew that Mulder's middle name was William, and Scully's was Katherine. The coincidence of all three names being used together was too strong for Edie to ignore it. Plus, it was the closest lead she'd gotten in all her searching, so she went with it.

The address was not exact, but it had actually been listed in a smaller town outside of McMinnville. Corey, population 325. Yee-haw, Edie thought as she got out of her car and walked into the small, privately owned grocery store. She walked to the front counter, where a man with balding gray hair and black wire-rim glasses sat reading a newspaper.

"Can I help you, miss?" he asked as she approached, setting the paper aside.

"Yes, thanks," Edie replied. "I'm looking for Marty and Katherine Williams."

"Oh, sure," said the man. "They're out in the park, right across the street. They've got their kid with 'em."

Edie tried not to look excited at the mention of a child when she thanked the man, and then left the store.

She stopped at her car and got her camera out, and headed to the park.

There were plenty of trees and as she came up behind one of the larger ones and peered around it, she saw them. They looked much like their pictures from the telecast three years earlier, although both seemed surprisingly younger. And happier. There was Dana Scully, with her red hair, cropped shoulder length and left down. In the telecast it had been longer, most of it pulled away in a messy, careless ponytail. And Fox Mulder, as well. In the telecast he'd had a closely trimmed beard, which he'd now shaven, and long, scraggly hair, which was now cut short, and left adoringly messy atop his head.

Edie put the camera to her eye and began snapping rapid shots as Mulder lifted the little boy into the air, both of them laughing. The boy looked to be about five years old, and had dark, red-brown hair, bright blue eyes, and an already distinctive nose. His face was illuminated, and when he smiled it was with his whole body, not just his lips.

Mulder stopped flying the boy around, and held him against his chest and carried him to Scully. She bent over slightly and kissed the top of the boy's head. At the same time, Mulder kissed hers. It was beautiful, and Edie's finger was moving of its own accord as she snapped rapid shots of the private moment.

As Mulder set the boy down on the ground, he turned his gaze upward. Edie shuddered with fear when his eyes found her. He stared at her, piercing her, practically drawing her out. She came, almost unwillingly. Scully looked up at her approach. The two continued to gaze at her, their faces growing stony and defensive, as the boy continued running around and giggling ignorantly.

"Hi, sorry," Edie said, "I was just working on a project for a photography project. It's for a class, you see." She mumbled onward, hoping her youth would allow her to pass for a student, even a college student.

Even if it did, the former FBI agents saw past it. "Who are you with?" Mulder asked.

"What do you mean?" Edie asked, still trying to play dumb.

"How did you find us?" he said, not wavering.

Edie sighed. "With a lot of hard work, and with the one clue Maggie Scully gave me."

"What?" said Scully, her stony exterior dissipating.

"She gave me an envelope from a letter you sent her. It was postmarked from Yamhill County. I've spent the last several days doing a lot of searching to find you. At that, I only found your aliases, and I took a chance that it was you. You are Mulder and Scully, right?"

"Shh!" hissed Mulder. "We like it here," he said through gritted teeth. "If you blow our cover, we have to leave. Start all over."

"Sorry," said Edie. "I can't blame you for liking it here. I grew up in McMinnville. By the way," she said. "I'm Edie Braddock. I'm from the Oregonian."

"We have nothing to say to you," said Mulder. He called out to the boy. "Come on Will, we've got to go."

"Wait, Will? That's Will? How'd you get him back?" Edie was following behind them as they hurried across the park, trying to get away from her. They ignored her. "Please, just talk to me. I don't want to harass you, I just want the Truth. Truth, with a capital 'T,' right, Agent Mulder?"

They stopped and turned around, Mulder whirling more than just turning. "Cool it with the names, already." He approached her, stopping inches away from her face. "What do you know about the Truth?"

"Not enough. That's why I want to talk to you. I've been assigned to write a story about the two of you for a special edition of the Oregonian, celebrating the anniversary of the June 23 telecast. I spoke with Walter Skinner, and Agents Reyes and Doggett, and Maggie Scully. She believed me when I told her that I only wanted to write a story about the truth. I want the truth about your lives. People already know about you, but they only know the rumors. I think that you, as well as the people, deserve to have the true story told. I want to do that. And Mrs. Scully believed me, enough so to give me that envelope."

Edie looked into his eyes, as frightening as it was. His eyes were so piercing, and his gaze so strong, but she did so because then he would be able to see her honesty. Then he might believe her, and might - just might - agree to talk to her.

He bit his lip, and cast a glance at Scully and their son. "You come back to the house with us. You don't reveal anything about our location - not even that we're in the goddamned United States. No tape recording. And we get to read the article before it goes to print. You can't print anything until we've read and verified it - then you can be sure of the 'truth.'"

Edie's gaze wavered. "It's against the Oregonian's policy to let stories be read prior to publication."

"Take it or leave it, Miss Braddock." He took a step back from her.

This was the story of a lifetime - the exclusive interview with Mulder and Scully. Even if other reporters managed to get an interview with them in the future, she would at least be the first. And what a story it would be. And she still felt an obligation to Maggie, to tell the full honest story. "Alright," she said finally. "Lead the way."

The house they lived in was not particularly large and extravagant. Just a refurbished, renovated 1920s bungalow, typical to that area of Oregon. It was a humble home, a three bedroom, two bath - not at all what one would expect the "world saviors" to be contentedly residing in.

They sat down in the living room, with the back doors open, bringing the cool summer breeze into the house. Mulder and Scully sat together on the couch, and Edie thought, sitting in the armchair opposite, that it didn't look as if they could physically get any closer together.

"People really don't know who you are?" asked Edie. It was not the best question to begin with, but it was her own genuine curiosity that forced her to ask it.

Mulder shrugged. "It's hard to keep a secret from your neighbors in a town of 325 people. Most of them know who we are, but we've come to an understanding. We go by our aliases - at least in public - and they keep our secret. It's one of those unwritten rules. Nobody ever talks about it. They just don't. It's a big part of the reason we like living here so much, is because that trust has been maintained. And it's a good place to raise our son."

"How did you ever get him back?"

Mulder smirked. "If I told you that, I'd have to kill you." He leaned back, actually relaxing as the interview progressed. Edie seemed genuine enough, and she hadn't yet started digging for any scandalous information. At least, nothing that wasn't based in some sort of truth. "Things just worked out," he said, finally. "And that's all I'm going to say about how we got Will back."

"Maggie said she thought that you two got married, and your aliases indicate this, as well. Is it true?"

Scully smiled, beamed, even. "Yes. Actually, Mulder and I got married in secret before he went into hiding. Right before he left, actually. He said he didn't want to leave me hanging in limbo. We never told anybody, though. Until now, I guess. My mom . . . she would have liked to have been there, even though it was at city hall."

"Wouldn't you have needed witnesses? Wouldn't they know about your marriage?"

Scully nodded. "Yes, our three witnesses are dead. They died saving the world before we did, and nobody ever even really knew about it."

"Wait," said Edie, her mind whirling back to an AP wire story she'd read a few years back. "You're not talking about the Lone Angels, are you?" Hadn't they been mentioned in one of her interviews earlier?

Scully bit her lip, smiling sadly. "Yes."

Edie did not inquire further about the Lone Angels, the men Mulder and Scully had known more familiarly as the Lone Gunmen. "Dana, your mom . . . she wanted me to tell you that she would really love to see you. Both of you, she emphasized that she wanted to see both you and Mulder." Edie smiled. "She also emphasized that she's the only one who Mulder's ever let get away with calling him by his first name."

"That's Maggie for you." He licked his lips. "She's been like a mother to me, even before my own died."

"I'm sorry," said Edie, not sure whether or not to press for more information.

She didn't need to, apparently. Mulder spilled. "She killed herself a few years back. She couldn't live with what she knew; with what she couldn't tell me."

Edie swallowed loudly. "Which was what?"

"The truth about my sister." His voice grew shallow and more haggard, as if revealing his real age. This renewed youth had been brought about by saving the world, by living away from danger and the risk with his wife, and by having his son back. But underneath it all, he was still a man in his early forties who had lived through one hell of a lot of tragedy. "Mom knew what had happened to Samantha, and she could never bring herself to tell me because it was too awful. And she killed herself because she couldn't live with that knowledge, and because she couldn't live with not telling me."

Mulder took a death breath. "Samantha was abducted, but when they returned her, she went to live with another family. In fact, with the man who had helped to create the entire conspiracy we've just exposed. We're almost one hundred percent certain that he is dead, but we've thought him dead before only to be shown wrong. But Samantha . . . well, she was abducted multiple times after that. And she hated living with that other family. She wrote in her diary . . ." Mulder's voice caught in his chest and choked back what Edie was certain was a sob. "She said she thought she had a brother, and she wanted to find him. She ran away. She died when she was 13."

Edie opened her mouth to say something, offer some sympathy, but she found she could not. It was not her place to do so, and anything she might be able to muster up would not be quite right.

Amazingly, Mulder gave her some relief. "I think finding out about her made living easier for me. And I know where she is now; she's in the starlight. That's where souls reside. I just know that it is."

His eyes had taken on an uncanny gleam, and suddenly Edie knew what the others she'd interviewed had meant. Sometimes, Mulder just knew things, and it was . . . well, spooky. He just knew.

Edie spent a couple hours interviewing the pair, her hand stiff and cramped from writing all her notes. But she still hadn't gotten the responses from them that she'd been seeking. That was when it occurred to her - the Question.

"I think what I really want to know," she said, "is why you would give up so much of yourselves and of your own lives for this cause? After all you'd already lost, after all you knew you would be risking, after all the heartache and pain and suffering . . . why still do this?"

Mulder shrugged. "Somebody had to."

He paused. Edie thought for a moment that he was not going to say anything more. But then he added, "We were really the only ones to know. At least, the only ones to know and to care and to want to change it. I think we felt obligated. Well, I did, anyway. And I didn't want to bring Scully, or Will, into it."

"When Will was gone," Scully said, "I had nothing besides Mulder. He was my existence, and I believe that I was his. At that point, I had no choice but to go wherever Mulder led me. He couldn't have stopped me if he tried. But I think he knew that, which is why he never did try to stop me. He knew it would be futile. He just knew, because he's Mulder."

"But Will was still a part of it," Mulder added. "Even if we couldn't have him, couldn't raise him, he was our son. And once we knew what the future was bringing, we couldn't sit idly by and let it happen. We'd be no better than the cowards who hid away and helped to bring it about. We wanted our son to have a future - to have the chance to live a full life, even if it wasn't with us. We're too lucky that it is with us."

Edie nodded, careful to get that last sentence down perfectly. It would make a great quote. She finished scribbling and looked up at them. She sat back, smiled, let out a laugh that was really more like a loud puff of air. "I just realized . . . I've been talking to the people who saved the world. Mulder and Scully . . . I mean, it's you. This seems so surreal."

"Well, don't ask for autographs," quipped Mulder, standing and stretching his limbs. He glanced down at his watch and looked up again, slightly concerned. "You should be going Miss Braddock. You're staying nearby, right? Yes, well bring the article by before it goes to press. Remember our arrangement, yes, now please, you should really be leaving."

Suddenly, Edie was being rushed out the door. Everything had been fine until Mulder had looked at his watch. It was as Mulder was pulling the front door open, that the teenage boy loped up the steps to the house. He paused when he saw Mulder hurrying Edie away.

Edie looked at him wonderingly.

"Dad, what's going on?" the boy asked, directing the question to Mulder.

Edie whirled on Mulder, pulling away from his grasp. "You have another son?"

Mulder bit his lip, cocking his head to one side, and looked away, glancing towards the teenager still standing on the porch.

The boy's eyes were darting rapidly between Mulder and Edie. He finally settled on Mulder. "How did she find you? What did you tell her? Are people going to find us? Dad?"

Mulder was remaining silent, but the boy still seemed to register something, as if his questions were being answered.

Then he turned to Edie, who was still fiercely wondering about this mysterious son.

"I'm not his son, not really," the boy said, answering the question Edie hadn't asked. Not aloud, anyway. "They adopted me. We go back."

Edie's eyes squared, thinking back. What was the name . . . Doggett and Reyes had mentioned him. Mulder and Scully met him in 1997, wasn't that it . . . Gibson. Gibson Praise.

"Pleased to meet you, Edie Braddock," the boy said, shaking her hand.

She stared back at him bewildered. She had not introduced herself to the boy - to Gibson - how could he know her name.

"Doggett and Reyes already told you I was psychic. Why didn't you believe them?"

Edie staggered, throwing her arms out wildly to catch herself. She failed, and landed on the front porch with a loud, hard thud. She felt tiny wooden splinters penetrating the flesh on the palms of her hands, where she had lain them out to break the fall.

Mulder glanced at Gibson, who nodded, as if answering a silent question. "You'd better come back inside," Mulder said, helping Edie to her feet. He didn't say anything more for a long while.

Once again, Edie was sitting in the armchair opposite the sofa, staring into the faces of Mulder and Scully, and now also Gibson. Her hand throbbed as it sat in her lap, red from the tweezers and the antiseptic Scully had used to clean out the splinters. Edie had watched Scully's adept moves as she tended to her wound with awed curiosity.

She'd known already that Scully was a trained doctor, but it wasn't until she saw her in action that Edie realized what that meant. Dana Scully had given up a career in medicine, to be with Mulder. First only for the X-Files, and then for him, and then for their child, and then to save the world. And after so much time, she had given it up once again to be with Mulder and their son and to live in as much anonymity as they could manage to hold on to.

"Why didn't you tell me about Gibson earlier?" Edie asked.

Mulder shook his head. "You don't get it, do you?" Edie just stared back blankly. "If people knew about Gibson, then they'd start looking into his past - and they would inevitably discover who he is. He's Gibson Praise - the boy genius, chess prodigy . . . psychic. We were protecting him."

"No," said Edie, surprised to find herself growing angry. "You were protecting yourselves. You only verified the correct rumors, and denied the false ones - you haven't really told me anything new or exceptional. You just corroborated what I already knew."

Edie had been looking waveringly at Mulder, still hesitant to meet his gaze full on, but as she finished speaking, her eyes darted towards Gibson. Their eyes met and then she could not break the invisible contact. She was drawn in, stuck there without any option to break it. Only Gibson could do that, and he wasn't going to; not yet, anyway.

"You're not getting it," the boy said. "They have nothing to gain by telling you what you want to know. Most interviews you've conducted have been with people who want notoriety, or are excited to be mentioned in the newspaper. They're not like those people." Gibson's voice was soft, but it wavered heavily with the wisdom-beyond-his-years that he possessed. "They just want to be left alone. They fought this great fight so that they could just have a peaceful, normal life. They just want to be together and raise their son, and me, too. And that's all I want."

Gibson released Edie from his gaze, but she was not ready to let go yet. She held on a while longer. "Can I quote you on that?"

Gibson licked his lips. "I know you won't ever forget these words, but write them down anyway." He waited while she turned her notebook to a clean page, and he paused a moment longer, watching as her pen hovered over the sheet. He spoke slowly and deliberately, watching as she jotted down his exact words and phrasing. "Mulder and Scully fought this great fight so that they could have a peaceful, normal life. That's what they were fighting for. That's what was worth risking so much for. And that is why they want to be left alone."

A few hours later, Edie finished scribbling, and then closed her notebook. She packed it away into her purse and stood. "Thank you for your time," she said. "I'm staying in McMinnville. I'll bring by my article as soon as I'm finished with it, although it could be quite late."

The others stood, all three of them accompanying Edie to the front door. She walked out onto the front porch, and then turned to look back at them through the fine grain of the screen door.

Will had joined them, and was standing in front of his parents' legs, one little chubby hand clutching at Gibson's longer fingers. "We'll leave the door open for you; just come in quietly. Scully and I will still be up." Mulder's lips turned up slightly, not really a smile, but less of the frown he had worn so constantly during the interview. Edie took it as a good sign and returned the gesture with as much of a smile as she, herself, could muster.

She nodded, and turned to tromp down the porch steps. She knew what she had to write, and she knew that they would not want her to change anything. But she would still bring it by, nonetheless, they would read it, approve of it, and then she would leave. And she would never see them again. That's what she told herself, anyway.

From --The Oregonian- June 23, 2006

Three years have passed since the explosive airing of what has come to be known as the June 23 Telecast by former FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.

Only days after the telecast aired and was subsequently proven to be the real deal, the couple referred to as the world's saviors disappeared. They left behind a letter, asking the media, the press, and the public at large to leave them alone.

And they did, for a long while, until the editor-in-chief of the Oregonian asked an up-and-coming journalist for an in-depth look at Mulder and Scully for the three-year anniversary of the telecast.

Said journalist trekked across the country to Washington, D.C. in search of any persons from Mulder's and Scully's pasts.

One lead led to another, and by some luck and some hard work and a bit of chance, this journalist made some revelatory discoveries which the world should know about it's saviors.

Fox Mulder and Dana Scully never wanted to be famous. They don't want to be famous now. In fact, they just want to be left alone - as they said nearly three years ago in their letter to the press and public - and they stand by that desire firmly.

Even despite this constant, nagging desire for anonymity, Mulder and Scully gave their first, and probably last, personal interview with a journalist since the telecast.

Although initially only friends, Mulder and Scully were married in May 2001, shortly after the birth of their son, William.

It was shortly after this union that Mulder left to hide out in the New Mexico desert. He did so in order to try and protect Scully and their son.

Mulder and Scully worked on the X-Files at the FBI since 1992, and ever since then they had started to chip away at the exterior of the government conspiracy they eventually uncovered in 2003.

However, this made them two people the conspirators wanted to see removed from the picture. Mulder always felt that he was a higher target than Scully, and that was what led him to leave them.

It quickly became apparent to Scully, however, that she was just as big a target as Mulder, and now their son was at risk as well. In order to protect William, she made the hardest decision of her life.

She gave him up for adoption.

However, she was giving up more than just hers and Mulder's son. She was giving up her miracle child.

"Scully was left barren by her abduction in '94," FBI Director Walter Skinner said. Skinner was formerly Mulder's and Scully's boss at the FBI, as well as one of their closest friends.

"To this day, none of us have figured out how she conceived Will," he continued. "I don't think either of them really want to know. They just count their blessings, and let themselves believe that nature simply took its course."

None of their friends or relatives know how Mulder and Scully got their son back, but it is confirmed that they have raised him themselves ever since shortly after the telecast.

Mulder and Scully have another son, however, that no one has known about until now.

When they were still FBI agents, Mulder and Scully met a young boy with extraordinary psychical talents. They felt a natural desire to protect him from the world, to try and give him a normal life. But for so long they could not.

The young boy, who now goes by the name of Sam, was kidnapped by the conspirators for a while, as they believed his ability to be the result of alien DNA.

This was never confirmed, but Sam escaped and lived in hiding for a few years, in a trailer in various parts of the continental U.S.

Mulder spent his year away from Scully and Will with Sam in the New Mexico desert.

After Mulder's murder trial, Sam was at risk once again, so the former FBI agents took him abroad with them. Sam, in fact, was an integral part in the uncovering of the conspiracy. He was never mentioned for his own protection and safety.

Shortly after the telecast, Mulder and Scully officially adopted Sam.

Sam is grateful to have such a loving family and feels very passionately about retaining their anonymity.

"Mulder and Scully fought this great fight so that they could have a peaceful, normal life," Sam said. "That's what they were fighting for. That's what was worth risking so much for. And that is why they want to be left alone."

For a teenager, Sam understands concepts far beyond his years, though it is probably a result of all that he's been put through.

"Being psychic could be part of it, too," he said, smirking crookedly, much in the same way his adoptive father, Mulder, does.

Mulder and Scully had been wired private funds during their exile overseas, so that they would have money to live on and a means for uncovering the conspiracy.

The funds came from friends at the FBI, including Skinner, and from private individuals and corporations that were aware of the conspiracy and were eager to be a quiet, anonymous part of stopping it.

Mulder and Scully still have plenty of money left over, and have invested some of it into college funds for Sam and Will. The rest of it was used to purchase their modest, three bedroom home in a tiny suburban community.

They found a home where the neighbors don't speak of who they really are. It is a place where their pseudonyms are thought of as their birth names. It is a place where they can live quietly and peacefully and raise their family.

Mulder substitute teaches at the local schools, and Scully occasionally lends her medical expertise at one of the local clinics if they are overbooked.

They keep a box under their bed filled with letters, journals, notes, photographs, doodles, and various scraps of significant papers that they collected during their time abroad.

They keep them as a reminder of what they went through, but insist that it will never be collected and published.

Mulder and Scully are private people and they intend to stay that way for eternity.

Supposedly, their wills contains explicit instructions that nothing of theirs ever be made into something available for public or mass consumption.

These are people who blush and groan and mutter "no comment" when asked about the movie that was based on one of their investigations, "The Lazarus Bowl."

They cherish their privacy.

They don't want to be famous.

They just want to be left alone.

Like they said so in the first place.

And they still mean it, with all their happy hearts.

Author's Note: I would like to extend my gratitude to those who spoke with me, especially Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. I would also like to thank Walter Skinner, John Doggett, Monica Reyes, and Margaret Scully, without whom this article would not have been possible.


August 9, 2006

Edie startled awake, looking disdainfully down at the small pool of her own saliva that had gathered as she slept with her head resting atop the papers on her desk. The phone rang trilly from beside her CPU.

"Oregonian features desk, this is Edie," she said into the receiver. The phrase was ingrained into her; she spoke it in her dreams.

"Hi, Edie, its . . . Marty Williams."

"Mu . . . Marty?" Edie was wide awake now, eyes wide and her voice soft, shallow, suddenly hoarse.

"Yeah, look, we need a favor."

Edie listened intently to Mulder's request, scribbling the pertinent information and told him she would do her best, then hung up.

She sat staring at the piece of paper where she'd taken her notes for a long while, then picked the phone up once again and began dialing. She was a journalist, after all, and getting hold of people who were hard to get a hold of was her forte.

There was an odd group of people standing in the lobby of the downtown Portland Oregonian office. Walter Skinner, John Doggett, and Monica Reyes stood clumped together, off on their own was the surname-less Jimmy and Yves, and in another cluster was Maggie, Bill, Tara, and Charlie Scully.

Standing outside the doors, looking back in over her shoulder, was Edie. She knew that the people she had gathered together were on edge. They didn't know why they had been assembled and brought to Oregon. Their plane tickets had been prearranged for them, and they all hesitantly thought it had been done by someone at the Oregonian. It would make sense, as their presence had been requested by a reporter, and as they were standing in the newspaper office's lobby.

But it wasn't true. No, the mysterious plane ticket benefactors had not yet arrived. It was for this reason, Edie was waiting out on the sidewalk, looking up and down the street for that glint of red, as the late summer wind whipped her hair about her face.

Then the small family appeared out of the crowd, walking toward her in a line connected by tight, loving handholds, and they were - all of them - smiling. They were happy.

They greeted Edie softly, and then stepped into the lobby, nervous. These were people they had not seen since their exile overseas.

The gathered crowd turned as they came in, but stared at the foursome for a long moment, before recognition began to set in.

Maggie stepped forward from the group. "Dana, is that really you?"

That was all it took. Everyone had rushed forward and mingled, and hugs and kisses and words were being exchanged in a frenetic pitch.

As the fervor died down slightly, Edie informed them that she'd reserved a large meeting room for them at the back of the main floor. In the room was a long row of tables set with drinks and food, and stacked in a corner were plastic chairs that no one had a problem distributing.

It was more than a family reunion; this was a reunion of family and friends - and of people who had been torn apart by the conspiracy even after the conspiracy had been dissolved.

They were finally together again, and Mulder and Scully had Edie to thank. If she had not found them, they would not have realized how much they were truly missed. Or how much they were thought of.

Edie stepped out of the room, but glanced around one last time before shutting the door behind her. Mulder and Scully looked over at her, their eyes glowing and their skin radiant. They were smiling and laughing. They nodded solemn and honest thanks at Edie. She returned the gesture and shut the door quietly.

She leaned against the thick wood and sighed, closing her eyes. She was just a journalist, really, just a writer for a little state-wide paper. But she had managed to create something far bigger than she was able to understand.

And that made the job worth it all.

The End

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