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What the Ocean Can Know of a Body
between the devil and the deep blue sea
by Raven

R, The X-Files, gen UST. Post-Gethsemane AU. The phone doesn't ring.

This is the most dignified and tasteful occasion that Fox Mulder has ever turned up on time for. Scratch that, Scully thinks: he’s early. It’s a quiet place, with ice and snow showing beneath the frozen ground like the ribs of some sleeping animal, and she’s following in the wake of the mourners. This world is alien to her, this silence and the words underneath it are in a language she doesn’t know. There are no people here, only mourners.

She stands out in the grey, listening to the voices, and looks out across the grass and the headstones and the curving grey horizon. Earth is thrown on the body, dust from dust and in death he shall return to the dust of the land of Israel. It’s all hypocrisy. There is no place in the next world for those who choose their time to pass. She did her reading before she came, but funerals are for those left behind.

A moving presence comes to a standstill behind her, a warmth in the chill. “Dana,” – and her mother’s hand is on her shoulder – “are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” she murmurs, without turning around. For the moment, she is, but an arm slips around her regardless and she doesn’t resist. Her mother is shivering a little with the cold. She knew when Dana didn’t tell her; she stepped into the hospital room, stood by the doorway with shadows on her face, and she said, “Fox,” – and she knew.

Together, they stand in silence. A head turns among the mourners, peers out towards them, and Scully recognises Assistant Director Skinner in his black coat. He’s looking at her, not smiling; he hasn’t tried to talk to her since the inquiry, barring the barren formalities. There are others she knows among the few standing gathered, and a woman she recognises but does not know. Scully peers at her curiously, takes in her pallor, her mouth shaping each Hebrew word, her downcast eyes before the grave of the second of her children she’s outlived, and for a second, forgets to blame her.

A dry rattle signals the last of the scattering. It’s nearly over, and Scully tramps over the earth from the promised land, feeling like a shadow, a silhouette with no life in her cold bones. People are leaving, are already gone. Her mother is waiting for her, and someone else’s, too. Teena Mulder turns to look as she draws nearer. They are the last two people left.

Scully puts a stone by the graveside, and says, tonelessly, “May God comfort you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.” Funerals are for those left behind, she thinks again; her faith was all her own and something he never believed. And now it gives comfort to those left behind, so she’ll play along with her hands clenched and fingers crossed.

These are the last things she gives him – a rock and a piece of rote learning, signifying nothing. It’s time to leave.

Her mom says goodbye with a quiet kiss on the cheek and a promise to call her soon. Bill’s waiting in the car to take her home. How was it, he asks, she says it was a beautiful service, and that’s all they say to each other on the drive.

As she’s getting out of the car, murmuring her thanks for the ride, he looks at her and asks: “Dana, when are you checking yourself back in?”

For a minute she doesn’t understand. It takes time to come back – the hospital room, the smell of antiseptic and floor polish, the strained smiles of her family behind the glass. “Not today,” she says slowly. “Not ever.”

He frowns. “What do you mean?”

“There’s nothing left that they can do for me.” She knows it’s true as she says it. They let her out for the funeral with minimal fuss, because she’d found strength inside herself and it showed in her face, in her reflection’s eyes. It’s still there, a latent flame, and it’ll keep on burning. The next funeral she’ll attend will be her own.

“Nothing left they can do? There’s always hope.” He can’t reach out for her because he’s restricted in the driver’s seat, but the hard set of his jaw speaks volumes. “If you don’t go back – you’re taking a terrible risk.”

“It’s a foregone conclusion.” Her voice is even. “And it’s my risk to take.”

“You’ve risked your life enough for him.”

She inhales sharply, and he seems to know as he says it that he’s gone too far; the regret shows in his face, but also the obstinacy. Scully considers, lovingly, the idea of telling him to go fuck himself.

She says: “What do you know about Jewish funerary rites?”



The conclusions reached by the panel inquiry into the death of Special Agent Fox Mulder are a complete secret, which means, of course, that everyone knows. The stares follow her as her heels tap down the corridors. They’re turning to look at her, with the subtlety and discretion they’re trained for, but regardless, they’re looking at the dying partner of the dead spook in the basement. She solicits attention in jeans and a sweater, all soft wool and curving neckline. Her badge is clipped to ripped denim. She’s furious and very, very tired.

Skinner makes everything easy for her. She realises, almost belatedly, that he’s a rare thing, a decent man, and she’s grateful for that as he carefully doesn’t look at the empty chair on her left side. She answers his questions with quick, comprehensive efficiency. They dance through words and euphemism, they talk about the X-Files Division without irony, without a word about its fifty percent death rate, and then they talk about time out and time alone, and indefinite, infinite compassion.

She won’t be here for very much longer. With her badge now clutched in one hand, she pads down to the basement and spends a long half-minute staring at the name plate, and a longer time carefully unscrewing it from the door. “Fuck you,” she murmurs to it, and lays it down on the desk. She turns around, taking in this whole room with its dim, clean daylight, and with a sigh that shakes through her body, she reaches for the poster on the wall. Her roving fingers reach for the tack and prise it off, make it into a neat ball which she sticks to the wood of the desk, and the poster rolls up in her arms.

She walks out of the room thinking she won’t look back, but she does. And she thinks she’ll hear the water-cooler whispers as she leaves the building, and that they’ll hurt, but she hears nothing, her footsteps tapping in her own moving pool of silence, and she sees the wide-eyed glances, the lips frozen as dozens of strangers dare not speak, and out in the slight warmth of the sun, that hurts more.

She throws the poster on to the front passenger seat and reaches for her keys. Her watch flashes into her vision, and she notes the time with a certain dispassion: it’s eleven o’clock in the morning. The day’s barely begun, and a fresh breeze is stirring, whipping at her hair, threatening drizzle. It makes her feel like starting something. She gets in and fires up the engine. Bill would object to her driving, say she was taking unnecessary risks. She doesn’t care. She reaches over to push the poster flat, to make sure it doesn’t get crumpled.

On the other side of town, at the offices of The Lone Gunman (sometime Magic Bullet) the Lone Gunmen are silent behind their booby-trapped door. She’s got no time for games, so she bangs on it twice and yells, “Open up! FBI!”

It seems to do the trick. With some electronic crackling and the clanks of bolts being drawn back, the door opens and she steps inside.

“Agent Scully?”

Frohike appears from the shadows and closes the door behind her. At once her eyes begin adjusting to the dimness, the low-level green flickering that characterises all her memories of this place. It’s a mess of discarded glassware and empty boxes that probably once held take-out food. She can’t see Byers anywhere, but she catches a movement in a corner, the half-distracted toss of thick hair over Langly’s shoulders.

“Agent Scully?” Frohike says again. “Can we help you?”

She starts to make small talk, utter pleasantries, but something fails between her brain and her mouth and what comes out is, “I brought you something.”

Without waiting for his reply, she unrolls the poster onto the table. It’s frayed at the corners, and the bright colours look faded in the absence of natural light. Frohike looks down at it without saying anything for a long, long moment. “I thought,” she starts, “I thought he would have...”

“Thank you,” Frohike tells her, gently. “We’ll take good care of it.”

There is muffled agreement from the other side of the room. Scully walks across and sees Langly has been crying; his eyes are bright, bloodshot and red, and he is typing one-handed whilst shredding a tissue fretfully between left thumb and index finger. He looks up as she approaches, glaring as though daring her to make something of it. She wouldn’t. She envies him the easy simplicity of the response, the tears and the empty bottles on the floor.

“Agent Scully?” Byers appears in the loft, his footsteps as soft as his voice. “We, uh, we didn’t want to bother you at the funeral, but uh, I’m so sorry. Thank you for coming, and for, uh, the gift.”

She doesn’t remind him that it wasn’t hers to give, or that she’s the one who should be offering condolences to him. All at once, she wants very much to sit down. She casts her eyes around fruitlessly – Langly is perched the wrong way round on the only chair she can see, Frohike is on the edge of the table – and her knees are growing weak when Byers quickly takes her arm, leads her to a stool. She relaxes gratefully, says nothing, and Byers smiles wryly down at her.

“You’re not doing so good, are you,” he says at length.

She finds herself smiling back, partly at the understatement, partly because she’s pretty sure Byers has never unintentionally misplaced an adverb in his life. “No,” she says, because it is the truth and people have died for that. “No, I’m not.”

“Agent Scully,” says Frohike quickly, “if you want anything doing, errands running, free cable” – a quick glance at Langly, who seems unable to look at her – “you only need to say. We’ll be here.”

“Thanks, guys,” she says, with real warmth. “I appreciate it. But I think I’m gonna be out of town for a few days. I’ll check in when I come back.”

They don’t ask questions, and for that reason, she’ll always be grateful. Standing in the doorway, she looks back to see Langly’s hacker’s fingers smoothing the edges of the poster; she notes the care, the precision, and she’s grateful for that, too.

“Tell me something I don’t know about him,” she says. “Help me remember.”

They look at each other, worried, confused. And then Byers’ expression becomes wistful, soft, and in his clear voice he tells her about Mulder in Baltimore accidentally being mistaken for someone’s psycho stalker boyfriend, getting arrested for his trouble, and she smiles in the right places, and offers up her thanks. An additional memory, freely given, a gift. It’s time to leave.

That night she calls her mom, tells her where she’s going and what she’s doing, and not to worry.

“Be careful, Starbuck,” she replies, and Dana refuses to break.



US Route 50 by night, and the night is to the day as the silence to the quiet. She’s forgetting the rhythm of ordinary life, the cycle of morning, noon, of breakfast and lunch, of going to work and making a difference, of the sleep of the just. She exists outside of time now; her body will not let her miss a moment of the turning of the world, and she drives on through the dark.

The leaves are falling, the branches making stark shapes in the glare of her headlights, and the farmland is scrubby and bleak. There’s a sign she remembers seeing years ago, a terminus sign that signals the end of the world and three thousand miles to Sacramento. She thinks maybe she’ll steal it. She’s got her foot on the gas, because she worries that she has no time left to find the ocean.

She’s discharged herself against medical advice, but no one could stop her and now the drugs are draining through her system, coming to nothing. She is unarmed but angry, holding off each crab claw one by one. It helps to know the physiology of it, the methodical mechanism of her own destruction. She knows the strategy, and the outcome, and all that’s left is to fight her battle.

She’s done it before, for lower stakes. She remembers: first do no harm.

She swore to that, and swore to carry her gun and forget it, and remembered again as she removed the bullets she’d inserted, but it doesn’t matter, she only sees dead bodies these days.

Something else she remembers, given on the mountain: thou shalt not kill.

And there was no footnote, nothing to say except in pursuit of law enforcement, and there is no grey shading in the word of the prophets. She goes to mass without a holster on her hip, but she pulls a trigger with a cross around her neck.

And another thing, from longer ago, from her childhood and that of the world: your blood which belongs to your souls I will demand; from the hand of every beast will I demand it, from the hand of every man who is his brother will I demand the life of man.

“You asshole,” she murmurs to the stars and the sky.

The night is clear, twinkling points sprinkled in a great visible dome above her head, marking out the crystal spheres of the ancients. The scientist in her finds it appealing: a universe of perfect determinism, where wheels and cogs and silent dropped weights drive the shining lights in God’s machine. An almighty God, all-loving, all seeing, who will bring it all right in the end. Everything happens for the best.

Deus ex machina, she thinks, and her eyes slip back to focus on the deserted highway. There are few other cars out now, in the in-between time too late for owls and too early for skylarks. The constellations are marking the passing of the night, turning along the tree-tops in a steady whirl around north. Orion chases fox hounds through the winter sky, and she notes Betelgeuse, a mark of blood on his right shoulder, and his dog star at his feet. A lone hunter, and she understands that.

She’s travelling light. There is a pile of clothes in the backseat, comfortable things she’s worn soft next to her skin, scattered CDs she always wanted to listen to on the road. She thought about bringing a book, but she’d never finish it. There’s an old joke she remembers from pre-med, the one about the doctor who won’t tell his patients how long they have to live, but recommends they don’t start War And Peace.
She’s had her war, and now she’s searching for peace.

“I had to identify your body, you bastard,” she says softly, puts a hand to her neck where she isn’t wearing a cross. There is a clear image inside her head: the slumped form on the floor in his apartment, the traces of blood, the cool, clean white covering, the faded light of dawn that suffused through everything. Tonight she’s out here, in the cold and the dark of the mourning sky, but she’s there too, a frozen player in that endless moment; among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem, she’s sitting shivah.



A few miles from the water, she ends up in a bar. It’s just somewhere, nowhere, a place to be between Washington DC and the deep blue sea. From her perch on a high barstool, her eyes sweep across the place, the small varnished tables, the creaking jukebox. There are strangers here, people who don’t know her story. She likes the thought.

“Who’re you looking for?” the bartender asks, following her gaze. He’s young, and nice-looking, with green eyes that shine under the electric light. “Mr. Right?” He grins. “Or Mr. Right Now?”

“Actually, neither.” She gives him a smile in return. “I had him already,” she says dreamily, one finger tracing the rim of the glass, making it sing. “Mr. Right Until He Blew His Own Fucking Brains Out.”

His expression freezes. “Jesus, I’m sorry.”

“Not your fault. Another one of these?”

She hands over her glass and he mixes the drink, trying not to look at her. She’s made him uncomfortable, but she’s losing her grip on social niceties and now she doesn’t know what to say. He turns away, reaching for a siphon. The bubbles of Indian tonic water make a miniature geyser in the glass, and to her that’s beautiful. There is beauty in all things, and she can’t think why she never knew that before.

“I guess you’ve earned this.” He sets the drink down on the bar. “Enjoy.”

She takes a sip, savouring the bitterness of quinine. It’s supposed to be healing. “Thank you. And I’m, uh,” – she’s grabbing onto the last shreds of her old life – “I’m sorry I said that. I didn’t mean to.”

“You mean it wasn’t true?” He looks half-wary, half-interested.

“No, it’s true. I just... I shouldn’t have...”

“Hey, it’s okay. It’s okay.” He waves away the rest of the sad and tattered apology, and reaches upwards, fixing a tilting spigot of Jack Daniel’s. When he’s not looking at her, he asks, “Why’d he do it? I mean... if you want to talk about it.”

She stares into the glass and thinks about that. “He believed in something that turned out not to be true.”

He turns around. “Kinda crisis of faith, something like that?”

“Something like that.” She takes another sip. She shouldn’t be drinking, not with the last of the drugs in her veins and the tissue-paper fragility of her flesh. But she shouldn’t be driving, either, at least not away from home, wherever that is now, and she shouldn’t be making a journey with a covered body inside her head, and she shouldn’t be thinking about faith and death and life and the gentle path into the good night, nor the violent one either, and above all, she’s too young to be ready to die.

The bartender catches her eye. He’s probably a nice guy who wouldn’t take advantage of a woman drunk, nor one grieving, but she can tell he was thinking about it. Before she said what she said, he was thinking about it.

She’s thinking about it, too. One night, one last night, somewhere under dirty sheets warmed by body heat. There are no marks on her skin, nothing to tell the whole of the story, just a mark on the back of her hand where she tore out the cannula, the dirt under her fingernails from the graveside.

“Can I get you anything else?”

She doesn’t know his name, but she knows what she would scream at the moment of truth. She says, “No, thank you.”

He disappears for a while, grabbing glasses from tables. She stays where she is, finding her way to the bottom of the glass to where her reflection lurks, distorted in the last half-inch of liquid. Even seen through cold Russian vodka, her hair flashes red like fire.

With a sharp, decisive clunk, she sets down the empty tumbler and gets carefully, precisely to her feet. She hasn’t been drunk in a while, and there’s no flesh on her bones to absorb the hit, but she can walk to the door like a naval officer’s daughter, swaying against the tide.

“Hey, miss.” It’s the bartender again, and he’s reaching for her elbow with concern writ large. “You sure you’ll be okay out there? You’ve had a few and you don’t look too good.”

“I can take care of myself.” She means it just as much as ever.

“Are you sure? They all say that, and uh, well.” He mimes someone slamming their head against a sidewalk. At least, that’s what she thinks he means; it’s getting harder to concentrate. “Is there someone I can call to take you home?”

She isn’t exactly sure this is the right thing to do, but hell, it’s probably the last time she’ll ever get to do it. Reaching in her pocket, she withdraws the badge, opens it and flashes it in his face, the light gleaming off metal and clear plastic.

“Wow. Okay.” He smiles ruefully. “Take care of yourself, then.”

She nods. “I will,” she says, and walks out feeling like one half of a waltz, a dance that becomes one person spinning helplessly into the dark.



With the morning comes the ocean. Scully watches the waves come in, grey water beneath a grey sky, and feels the sand crumble and give beneath her feet. Carefully, she removes her socks and shoes, setting them in a neat pair on the ground. Her toes wriggle in the chill, curling with the spray. She remembers being a child on the beach, playing in the endless Pacific summer, and it makes a strange superimposition, a discordant jangle over the sound of the rising swells. This is the wrong end of her life, this is the wrong ocean.

This is where he comes from. Mulder was born from sea and storm, on a suburban island in the midst of elemental forces, the last landfall for the thousands of miles stretching out towards the old world. There is no summer here now, no mercy. Just the sea, and the lives it takes away.

Soon, there will be nothing left of them both. Dispassionately, she thinks about that; how there were two human beings, both on Earth for more than three decades, accumulating a lifetime’s worth of keepsakes and lovers, and they come to nothing but the space where they used to be, insubstantial as the last of the land at high tide. A will is too short to be the litany of a life, and who sorts through the basket of a man who killed himself before laundry day?

Sitting down flat, she reaches out to clean the wet sand from between her toes, gets it behind her fingernails instead.

She gave away a few things – the things the Gunmen wanted, the poster and the other evidence of belief – and threw away others, the plastic spoons, the orange juice squeezed under the Reagan administration. She picked up a few things: photographs, reading glasses, pencils sharpened to a point no one else could possibly use, scuffed boots with blood hardened into the treads. All those things that could only be kept, or lost, or forgotten.

The photographs – stiff, formal and Bureau-sanctioned, some of them, but also faded visions of her and Melissa in Japan, the two children on the Vineyard, the unguarded laughter of team-building under office furniture – are the only things Scully knows will last, each one an unspoken devotion, that I loved you so much that when you were happy, I dropped everything to catch it. Everything else gets washed, thrown and given away. Her mother will find them, afterwards, among her things. First she’ll wonder at the reading glasses and the basketball, and then she’ll find sheets, t-shirts, scented with sweat, aftershave, perfume, and she won’t wonder: she’ll know.

“What is this, Mulder?” she asks the sky. “The ultimate ditch?”

That would make sense; only this time he doesn’t skulk off when she’s not looking and come back with the manic gleam, “Scully, you have to see this,” whilst dripping blood he hasn’t even noticed, so she can sit him down and clean him up and track his pupils for concussion.

(A concussion, notes Scully the pathologist, is a traumatic brain injury, usually caused by rapid accelerating or decelerating forces. Off that definition, one potential cause is a bullet through the roof of the mouth.)

His eyes were open when she came to identify him; wide open and clear and curious, as though the intellectual challenge of the netherworld wasn’t like he’d expected. This is the sort of thought to drive her crazy.

Something buzzes, and her first thought is that she has gone crazy, to be swatting at flies against a winter sky. After a second she reaches for her cell phone stashed in her coat pocket, and flips it open. “Hello?”

The answering voice is almost unfamiliar. “Agent Scully, this is Ringo Langly.”

“Uh... hi.” She doesn’t ask how he got this number, because she probably doesn’t want to know.

“I – we – just wanted to see how you were. You know, that you’re doing all right. That you don’t need anything. We’re here, if you do.”

“I’m fine,” she says. “I’m okay. But thank you.”

“Right. Uh, good. Glad to hear it.”

She nods, although he can’t see her, and wonders; she’s never heard him less eloquent. “Can I help you with something else?” she asks, as the silence stretches.

“What? Um, no. No, no. I’ll leave you alone now. Bye.”

She hears the receiver clunk down on the other end, and she flips closed her own phone with a slight sense of wonderment. It’s an odd little conversation, another mystery. She’s supposed to be done solving mysteries, but she reaches into both coat pockets and runs careful fingers around the lining. In the left one, she finds a small, circular object the size of her thumbnail.

She looks at it for a while, held in the palm of her hand like a dull matte jewel. It’s a beautiful piece of workmanship – beauty in all things, she thinks again – and she wonders when it was placed on her, on whose orders. Skinner’s, perhaps. His allies, his superiors from the smoke-filled rooms. She walks deliberately to the edge of the water and gets ready to throw.

Then she thinks about Langly, the worry in his voice, the flashing blip blip of the tracker on the edge of the north Atlantic. She puts it back in her pocket and heads inland.



She lies still after dark, on top of the covers, fully dressed but with bare feet. The sound of the sea is audible through the window of the room; she didn’t mind where she stayed as long as she could hear the waves, steady as a heartbeat on the shore. This room is comfortable enough, but only somewhere to lay her head, as is everywhere in these last days.

She says, “I’ve been waiting for you.”

The man closes the door quietly behind him and lights a cigarette. It flares briefly and becomes a glowing tip, absolutely still. With her left hand, she reaches over to flick on the bedside light. Her right hand has dipped into the holster already, cocked and aimed the weapon with all the ease of breathing.
The bulb is dim, making long, jagged shadows for him to linger in. He looks first at her, then at the gleaming barrel. It doesn’t faze him, but she knew it wouldn’t. He meets her eyes and slowly, slowly lifts his hands where she can see them, the cigarette held delicately between two fingers.

“Don’t move,” she says quickly. He doesn’t, but leans languidly against the door, blowing smoke.

“I wouldn’t.” He nods at the gun. “Is this really necessary, Agent Scully?”

She considers. “Yes, it is, because I’m going to kill you.”

He smiles. “I don’t think so. That wouldn’t be in the best interests of either of us, I think you’ll find.”

“What does it matter to me?” she asks, sitting back on her pillows. Her mind is clear, sharp as the itch of the trigger on her finger. “I’m dying, anyway. What does it matter, what I choose to do now?”

“Ah, yes.” He smiles again, a calculated expression half-hidden by the layers of shade. “I believe the general medical opinion was that your prognosis was bleak.”

“The general medical opinion,” she repeats, and she says it neutrally, without asking the question.

“But then, doctors aren’t omniscient, you know.” He matches her tone in its neutrality. They are both used to the game. “There are always experts in a field if you know where to look.”

She’s interested despite herself, and she lets it tinge her voice. “What are you trying to say?”

“Let’s not beat about the bush any longer, shall we?” He’s not smiling any more, and he’s not looking at the gun, lingering like a hanging sentence in the shadowy space between them. “I can help you, Agent Scully. I can offer you... life.”

“You have a cure?” It’s almost rhetorical; she’s thinking about the silent days, the peace and fear of knowing there are so few of them left.

“Yes. We have a cure. It comes, naturally, with a price, but you can trust that it exists, and that it is wholly effective.”

“The price?” she whispers, her voice dropping.

He gives her a long, appraising look, takes a drag from the cigarette before continuing. “You know the price. You would be a valuable asset to have, Agent Scully.”

“What would I need to do?” she asks, tentatively.

“Trust.” He’s looking into her eyes.

And just like that she’s had enough. The shortness of breath, of life, is taking away her patience. She’s laughing as she thinks it. “I’m sorry, I’m doing this all wrong.”

“Excuse me?”

“I was supposed to be distraught.” She clicks the fingers of her free hand. “It’s like a script, like predestination. My world as I knew is at an end. I lost my sister, my chance of a family, my career, my partner, and soon, my life. And here you come, an angel with nicotine-stained fingers, and you give me hope. And this is where I fall to my knees and grab the chance.”

“That’s the thing about angels.” His cigarette tip flares orange. “You only ever get one. Don’t underestimate what I’m offering you.”

“You’re offering me life.” Her tone is perfectly even. “You’re giving me what you took from Mulder.”

“I was shocked to hear the news,” he says, all pity. “Please do accept my condolences. But to think his death was not by his own hand is to engage in self-delusion.”

She says, “Prove it.” It’s her life story in two words.

“Are you suggesting that I was responsible for the death of my–”

He stops, but the slip was deliberate and she knows it. She’s getting tired. “No,” she says finally. “No, I believe Mulder killed himself. I know that he did. He was fighting everything off for too long.” She sees it as she speaks, the last time she saw him, the room where there was a body on the floor and another in the water and she was tired of death and he was tired of lies.

“But you don’t have to die,” he says simply.

She smiles. “No, I don’t.”

He steps out into the light, his feet creaking on the wooden boards. “As I said before, you would be a significantly valuable asset. What is your answer, Agent Scully?” When she doesn’t speak, a brief suggestion of amusement crosses his face. “Will you accept the benediction of this angel?”

She thinks about that, the message of love and hope, the miracle of the annunciation, and gives him a small smile. “Too much original sin.”

She pulls the trigger. Her ears stop ringing as she sinks back on the pillows, listening to the sound of the ocean. Made in the image of God, she falls asleep, dreaming of Mulder and the sea, somewhat lower than the angels, and she drops the flaming sword to join him, barefoot and laughing on the shore.

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