Title: Apparition of Life
Author: J.M.Brazil
Written: May 1997
Rating: PG-13
Classification: VRA
Spoilers: None
Keywords: Character dies.

Summary: An image appears to Mulder after Scully's death to help him through the ordeal.

Disclaimer: As I'm sure everyone else knows, this disclaimer bit is getting really old, but just in case CC or one of the crew is reading this, here goes. The characters in this story do not belong to me. CC came up with the idea, and between himself, FOX, 1013, and to some degree GA and DD, no one else has a chance of ever owning them. Sigh.

The single gunshot wound to the chest had been just too much for her cancer-weakened body to handle. Mulder had tried to get her out of the way when he had seen what was happening, but he hadn't been quick enough. He saw her fall, and rushed to her, dropping to his knees. He tried to apply pressure to the wound - just as he had seen her do numerous times - but it didn't work.

She slipped away.

Mulder sat in his darkened apartment, a bottle of vodka in one hand. The other hand played with the chain around his neck - her chain. It had been her last gift to him before her untimely death. He didn't even have the chance to tell her how much he loved her. He was too choked up to speak - the lump in his throat unmovable. With her waning strength she had looked deep into his eyes and asked him to remove her cross from her neck. "I want you to hold this for me," her voice barely a whisper. She slipped into unconsciousness with that last motion.

He knew now that he should have told her then - she might still have heard him - but the lump had cleared, and he was too busy calling desperately for help - his cell phone nowhere to be found. He had watched and held her as she slipped even farther away, knowing there was nothing more anyone could do. He swore he actually felt the moment her life left her tear a hole in his heart. He could never be complete again. She had taken a part of him with her when she died, and he was now dead inside.

It was hard for him to believe that the funeral had been six weeks ago - it seemed now as if had only been yesterday. The pain he felt now was just as raw as it had been then, and it cut him just the same. He could still see her tiny frame lying motionless in the casket, her silky flame red hair spread across the pillow, her beautiful eyes forever shut. That image was a permanent etch in his mind. It was all he saw when he closed his eyes. The only time the pain eased a little was when he was drunk - which, lately, was all the time. His method of coping no longer worked as well as it previously had, each binge needing more alcohol than the last to drive her from his mind.

Mulder took another drink straight from the bottle. A feeling of nausea passed over him as he lay back on the couch, closing his eyes against the spinning of the room. The moment he did, her image flooded his mind's eye. Tears began to spill down his cheeks, and he sobbed, his whole body trembling. Eventually, he tired himself out and fell into a fitful sleep, her image taunting him.

The gentle brushing of his cheek by a warm hand slowly brought him out of his state of unconsciousness. His eyes began to flutter open. What he saw startled him. Scully stood before him, wearing a long white dress, bathed in a soft golden light. He rubbed his eyes in an attempt to clear his vision, yet she was standing there still when he finished, a soft smile lighting her features.

Reaching out, she removed the bottle that was still clutched in his hand, and placed it on the floor. "Hello Mulder."

He couldn't believe his ears, or his eyes. The woman he had watched die, stood in front of him. Had touched him. He was in awe.

Standing up, he reached out and cupped her cheek in his hand. "Dana. Is it really you?"

Dana reached up and pressed his hand his hand against her cheek. "It's me Mulder, but not the Dana Scully you used to know."

A confused look crossed his face. "What do you mean?"

"I'm at peace Mulder, and that's why I'm here. To put you at peace with yourself."

Once again, tears filled his eyes. "I can never be at peace Dana. You died without knowing how much I loved you. I never had a chance to tell you."

She brushed the tear stains from his cheeks, a peaceful smile on her face. "I knew Mulder. I always knew. There never was any need for you to tell me, I saw it in your eyes, felt it in your touch."

She paused and placed a hand on his chest, over his heart. "I love you too. I always will."

Mulder felt a warmth flood through his body at her touch. Part of him was alive again. Her words had touched his soul and breathed new life into him. His spirit had been returned. Looking into the ocean-blue of her eyes, he was whole again. "How long do you have?"

Her image was already beginning to fade a little. "Not much longer." She sighed audibly.

"Hold me Dana. I need to feel your arms around me one last time."

She complied, wrapping her arms around his waist, holding him as tight as she possibly could. Tears filled her eyes as she gradually faded away.

Mulder could feel her hold on him lessen as her image faded.

He panicked and clutched at her. "Take me with you. I can't live without you any longer."

Dana stepped away from him, her form transparent. "It's not your time yet Mulder. You have some time to go - you still haven't found Samantha. Just know, I'll always hold a place for you in my heart. I'll be waiting." Just before she was lost completely, she reached out and touched the cross at his throat, her final touch feather-light. "When you need strength and support, turn here. The spirit is truth."

With that, she was gone - this time for good. Mulder was alone again, but his life had been returned. The vision of her lifeless body had been replaced by the sight of a long white dress and shining ocean-blue eyes. It was a peaceful image - one that would illicit sweet dreams of her rather than nightmares. Her apparition had saved his life, and gave it back to him at the same time.

He reached up and touched the cross, the metal no longer cold against his skin. It had been filled with the same warmth that had filled him - part of her spirit. Then he realized - the spirit is the truth. The phrase held new meaning for him now. Her spirit was his way to the truth - the truth about Sam. Dana had implied as much. Sam was still out there, waiting to be found. Mulder grabbed his cell phone and dialled Skinner's number. "Sir, I'm ready to come back to work."

The End

*Friendship is Love without his wings.*


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