"I'm sorry, Mulder, but I still haven't seen anything here that leads me to believe this was anything more than a suicide," Scully said, patting the case file that sat on her lap. Mulder pulled the car into a parking space in front of the police station.

"We'll find something at the house," he said darkly. "There has to be something."

Scully decided against answering; Mulder obviously wasn't going to be dissuaded. She unlatched her seat belt and got out of the car. He stood waiting as she walked around the front of the car toward him.

"Scully, remember when I called you, and you said to ask you if I needed anything?"

She stopped, and said, "Of course. What is it?"

"Maybe you could just pretend to be interested," he said, putting one finger under her chin and lifting her face up toward his. "For me, huh?"

He turned and walked away. Scully swallowed her surprise and followed him up the front steps.

As they went in, a stocky woman of about fifty, with close-cropped salt-and-pepper hair, stood up behind her desk and came forward to meet them. "Agent Mulder," she said, extending her hand, and Mulder shook it.

"Detective Federico. ....This is my partner, Dana Scully."

"Nice to meet you, Agent Scully," she said, taking Scully's hand. Her handshake was firm and sure. Turning back to Mulder, she said, "Lavery's in there. He's expecting you."

"Thanks. I'll be right back," Mulder said, and stepped through the door into the back office.

Federico pointed to a chair. "Please, sit down," she said, as she went back to her desk.

"Thank you," Scully said, sitting. She watched Federico open a file folder, and then pause. She looked around and shook her head.

"It was such a shame about Claire," she said.

"Did you know her?" Scully asked.

"Yes. She played in the community chamber orchestra with my husband. What a sweet person. No one saw it coming."

Scully nodded. "It can be like that."

"Your partner took it hard. And then Detective Lavery was no help."

Scully inclined her head inquiringly.

"I feel responsible for this tempest," Detective Federico said apologetically. "It wasn't my case, so I probably shouldn't have handed over the files. But your partner had flown all the way down here, and Lavery was in San Antonio, and wasn't going to be back for another day..." She spread her hands and shrugged. "It was a judgement call, you know? But you feel bad for the family after something like this anyway, and when they're estranged like that it makes it even sadder, don't you think?"

"Oh, yes, certainly," Scully assented, wondering what in the world the woman could be talking about.

"I outrank Lavery, and there's no love lost between him and me," Federico continued. "If it had been anyone other than me, he probably never would've called your A.D. -- I hope I didn't get you into hot water."

"No, no... not at all." Family? she was still thinking. Estranged...?

Mulder came out of the back office jingling a set of keys in his hand. "Ready?" he asked Scully. She rose from her seat.

"I'll bring these back in a few hours," Mulder said to Detective Federico. "I appreciate it."

"That's alright. I hope you find something. I still can't quite reconcile the Claire I knew with..." Her voice trailed off.

Mulder took Scully's elbow in his hand and steered her toward the door. "Thank you, Detective," he called over his shoulder, and nudged Scully ahead of him.



It was a little house, set back from the tree-lined street, in a quiet, pleasant neighborhood; a bungalow with a low, sweeping slope of roof extending over a front porch that ran the breadth of the house. Scully followed Mulder up the four steps of the porch, past the impatiens in the big terra-cotta pots, past the two wicker chairs and the little glass-topped table between them. The wind chimes hanging overhead rang softly in the gentle breeze. Mulder pushed the key into the lock, and she saw the way he hesitated before turning it.

The door swung open. Mulder stepped inside, and paused in the entryway; Scully stepped past him. She looked around the sunny room. "What exactly are we looking for here, Mulder? ...Mulder?"

When she turned around, he shook himself and pushed the front door closed behind him. "I don't know, exactly..." he answered. "I'm hoping I'll know it when I see it."

Scully lifted an eyebrow and sighed. She walked slowly across the living room. It was all perfectly orderly, perfectly ordinary. She noticed the cello leaning against a stand, the bow laid next to it across the seat of a plain wooden chair. She picked up a framed photo from a group on the grand piano, and all at once Mulder was hanging over her, peering at it over her shoulder.

"Here," she said shortly, startled; she pushed it into his hand. She turned away and picked up a photo album from the coffee table. She had hardly opened the front cover when Mulder was there again, and plucked the album out of her hands.

"What are you doing?" Scully snapped, exasperated.

"I -- Since I knew her, I might -- I'm more likely to recognize..."

"Sure, Mulder. Knock yourself out." She walked away only to have Mulder trail after her, still carrying the album. She stopped, and faced him, and folded her arms across her chest.

"Mulder, do you want to check out the house, or do you want to check me out while I do it?"

He opened his mouth as if to speak, then closed it without saying anything. Scully walked away and he didn't follow.

Scully circled the room again; when she came back to the piano Mulder was holding a piece of sheet music that had been propped up by the keyboard.

"What's that?" she asked. Mulder handed it to her and walked slowly toward a window; he leaned over, propping his hands on the sill, staring out.

" 'Clair de Lune'," Scully read aloud from the sheet. She looked over at Mulder.

"Funny," he said softly.


"She knew it by heart... once."

He sounded so tired. Scully put the music down, and went over to him, and put her hand on his arm. "Are you alright, Mulder?" she asked.

He ducked his head and sighed. "I can't shake this headache..."

She took his arm and led him to the piano bench. "Here. Sit down." She studied him carefully, and saw the same bone-deep weariness she'd seen in him at the airport. "Have you been sleeping?"

He dropped his gaze. "I'll be fine, Scully," he said. "Maybe I've got a touch of something. I'll be fine."

"What is it, Mulder?" She searched his face. "What is it about this case?"

He lifted his head. His eyes were grave. He seemed to be considering something... He took a deep breath and squared his shoulders and stood up. "Come on," he said, "let's start in the kitchen."

Scully stared after him as he walked away.

Family? she thought again. Estranged...?




"I just have to drop these off." Mulder held up the house keys. "Do you want to wait here?"

Scully nodded. "Sure." Mulder got out of the car and trotted up the steps of the police station. Scully watched him disappear inside, and wondered again what had transpired before she had arrived in Dallas.

They had driven back from the victim's house in near-silence. She was so used to his thinking out loud, so used to sharing the inner workings of his mind as he untangled the strands of each case, that the silence brought home to her how deeply divided they found themselves on this one. Scully had seen nothing at all to indicate even foul play, much less an X-File, but Mulder clung doggedly to the idea as if he expected it to explain something more than just this woman's death, as if there was a great deal more at stake.

Mulder came out of the front doors and down the stairs and returned to the car. Scully looked away out the window as he got in. He closed the door; she heard the seatbelt buckle click shut. He started the car and pulled out of the parking lot.

He was a foot and a half away from her across the car seat, but it might as well have been miles.

"Mulder," she began, trying one more time, "I'm trying hard to see your X-File here. I feel like I'm missing something. Maybe there's something about this case that you've forgotten to tell me."

He drove on without answering. At length he said, "Maybe you just need to look a little harder, Scully."

She sighed and kept watching the scenery outside her window. She turned the facts over in her mind again, but saw nothing new amiss. After a little while she looked over at Mulder.

"I guess I could call the forensics lab at the Bureau and ask them to take a second look at the autopsy findings. I didn't see anything unusual, but..."

"It couldn't hurt," he finished for her. They were pulling up in front of the hotel. "Here," he said, "hop out."

She gathered up the case file under her arm; she got out of the car and shut the door and leaned down to the open window. "Want me to wait for you while you take the car around?" she asked.

Mulder smiled apologetically. "No," he said, "actually, I'm going over to Green Oaks to talk to that Karen Gathis again." The car eased forward as he took his foot off the brake.

"Mulder!" Scully said sharply. "Why are you leaving me here?"

"You've got your autopsy reports. You can fax them to Washington. I can be interviewing Gathis. Efficiency, Scully. Division of labor." He was still smiling, but his eyes were distant.

Scully thrust her head angrily into the open window. "Mulder, you're impossible. You tell me to look interested and then you strand me here when I do so I can't help you. I might as well have stayed home. What the hell is going on?"

Mulder stared straight ahead, avoiding her eyes. "Look, Scully," he said quietly, "I'm sorry they sent you out here and got you involved. I didn't want any help on this. This doesn't concern you, and there's no reason you had to come down." He rubbed his hand across his eyes. "I really am sorry. I'll be back soon, and you can tell me if Forensics had anything new to say."

Scully didn't know what to say to that, so she said nothing. She straightened up slowly and watched him drive away.

She turned and made her way through the doors, across the lobby, thinking hard. She punched the elevator button and nodded to herself. Mulder could try to shut her out, but she wanted answers.

And if he wouldn't give them to her, she knew how to get them for herself.



Three rings, then a click.

"You have reached the offices of the Lone Gunmen. Before leaving your message after the tone, please consider the fact that this line cannot be guaranteed secure."

She sighed and waited for the beep. "Frohike. Byers. Langley...? It's Dana Scully. I'm sure you're there..."

"Agent Scully." Frohike's voice cut her off. "So nice to hear from you. To what do we owe the great pleasure of your call?"

"Hi, Frohike. ...I need -- I have to ask you a favor, and I don't want it to get back to Mulder."

"Really." She could tell by the tone of his voice that he was impressed. "What would this favor be?"

"I'm in Dallas investigating a death, but I think there's something going on here that Mulder's not telling me. He's shadowing me as if I were a suspect. I'd like to do a little fact-checking, but I'd rather do it without him, and I was hoping you could get me in so I could do it from my laptop."

"Well," Frohike said thoughtfully. Scully heard the ticking of computer keys behind his voice. "That shouldn't be so hard. Dallas, you said... What's the name of your victim?"

"Claire Turner," Scully said. Frohike fell silent, and so did the tapping of the keys. "Frohike... after that Vegas stunt, I think you guys owe me this one."

"It's not that... We remain heavily in your debt, Agent Scully. It's just... Claire Marie Turner? Date of birth January 31, 1966?"

"That's right. You've got her."

"This is... Agent Scully, this is the woman Agent Mulder has been keeping track of for quite some time."

"He's been what?"

"He's been keeping track of her. For... maybe seven years? Once or twice a year, nothing much -- no invasion-of-privacy issues. He just asked for help finding out where she was, where she was working. Once for some reason he wondered if she'd gotten married."

"For seven years." Scully's mind was working quickly, but there were pieces of the puzzle she still lacked. "Has she been in Dallas all that time? I'll need to know everywhere she's been. Can you get me into those records, or not?"

The clicking of the keys had resumed. "You'll be able to go in by the usual method," Frohike said. "Your accustomed password?"

"No. Make it one Mulder doesn't know. Use... oh..."

"I'll use 'Vegas'."

She smiled ruefully. "Yes. Fine. Thank you."

"That's quite alright, Agent Scully. The pleasure is mine."

Scully turned off the cell phone, frowning. Seven years?




"All right, Claire. Tell me."

"Tell you? Tell you what?"

Fox set the last dish down on the kitchen counter and stepped up behind Claire and put his arms around her. She turned off the faucet and took the towel from him, and he dropped his head onto her shoulder and hugged her while she dried her hands.

"You're up to something," he murmured against her neck. "You've been full of yourself since I got home tonight. You can't stop smiling. What is it?"

Claire turned in his arms, and Fox grinned in spite of himself when he saw that she was still smiling now. She reached up to twine her arms around his neck.

"Okay, Fox. Let's go in the other room and sit down and I'll tell you everything."

"I have to sit down for this? Oh, boy, honey. I don't know..." He chuckled as she led him by the hand across the living room. She backed him up by the sofa and gave his chest a little push with her fingers.

"Sit," she said. "I'll be right back." He perched on the front edge of the sofa and watched her go into the bedroom.

"Hey, Claire, are you slipping into something more comfortable?"

"Later, Fox. Later." She came out of the bedroom carrying an important-looking envelope emblazoned with a bright green certified-mail sticker. She handed it to him as she sat down, and he could see from her expression that now she was nervous as well as excited.

He lifted the flap of the envelope and drew out the papers within. He could feel her eyes on him, intent, as he glanced over the writing. He looked up from the letter and laughed a little.

"Is that all?" he asked, and Claire looked confused.

"What do you mean -- 'is that all'?" She sat up straighter, drawing back from him.

"Oh, honey. I didn't mean it that way. I just -- " he reached out, still chuckling, and took her hand in his -- "I was beginning to be afraid you were going to tell me you were pregnant!"

She stiffened and tried to pull her hand back, but he held on.

"Claire. Claire. I'm just teasing." He saw that she was hurt, and became serious again. He picked up the letter and took a better look. "The Washington Symphony..." he murmured, nodding appreciatively. "Wow. Honey, you didn't even tell me you'd gone on an audition."

She ducked her head, eyes shyly downcast. "I didn't want you to make fun of me when I didn't make it."

"Claire." The remark stung. "I'd never make fun of you." He reached out and drew his fingertips softly along the line of her jaw.

"You'd have told me I was dreaming again." She glanced up at him; the corner of her mouth turned up in the tentative beginning of a smile.

"Well, I might have," he admitted. He tried smiling back at her and she leaned forward into his arms; he held her, stroking her hair with one hand.

"You must be thrilled," he said, "but how are you going to work this out with all the things you're already doing? With school?"

She pressed close against him, and said softly, "I don't think I could, Fox. I'd have to -- It'd have to be one or the other."

There was a long pause; he was quiet, waiting. The silence began to become uneasy.

"Fox, I'd have to..." she faltered, her voice muffled against his shoulder. "I'd have to quit school. I couldn't keep up with it."

She tucked herself tighter against his chest. He knew she was waiting for him to answer, but he wasn't sure what she expected him to say, what he should say.

"Claire," he finally murmured, "are you sure?" He kissed her hair. "You've worked so hard for this - top of your class at Georgetown, accepted to one of the most prestigious medical schools in the country... and doing so well there..."

She shifted in his arms and raised her head to look up at him, her grey eyes cloudy. "I have worked hard. But, Fox, I always dreamed ... I've hardly dared to dream this would happen."

"And it's a beautiful dream," he said softly, nodding; he laid his hand gently upon her cheek. "But some dreams are better left dreams, don't you think so, Claire? ... Passing that audition is something you can be proud of all your life -- all your life as a psychiatrist, a good one, helping people, like you always say you want to..."

She didn't answer. He was dismayed at the depth of the sadness in her eyes. He swallowed hard. He couldn't lie to her, wouldn't tell her he thought she should chase this dream, but he hadn't meant to hurt her...

"Claire," he whispered, taking her hand in his. "It's your decision in the end, Claire, because you have to live with it. I never want to step on your dreams, but I don't want you to throw away all your work, either. ... It's your decision."

Sighing, she shook her head; she dropped her gaze. "No, Fox. It has to be your decision, too, because I have to live with you." She squeezed his hand, and slipped out from under his arm; she stood up and slowly walked away.

Fox picked up the letter and turned it over and over again in his hands.



Scully shifted uncomfortably on the little chair. She sighed and yawned and lifted her glasses from her nose to rub at her tired eyes. She was getting stiff, sitting cramped on this chair, staring at the screen of her laptop; she crossed and uncrossed her ankles yet again. She'd dug around in every possible place; every file, every record, she was sure. And she still -- still -- hadn't found anything about this Claire Turner that jumped out at her, that gave her pause, that made her think that some unusual fate had befallen her -- not a single thing to suggest she'd gotten into that lake under any power save her own.

Scully shook her head and pursed her lips, thinking. She tapped her fingers against the tabletop. Why... why... why... did Mulder keep trying to call this an X-File? Why was he hanging on to it so tenaciously? She had seen him walk away from the deaths of other people they had known -- people they had worked with, even been friends with. You dealt with it; you learned to deal with it. It came with this job. You dealt with it, even when it was hard, and you went on. But this time Mulder...

Family, that detective had said.

But she knew Mulder's family, Scully reasoned impatiently with herself. Of course she did. Besides, if this woman had been a relative, he'd have said so. He wouldn't have said they were 'friends.' The detective had been wrong; she...

Family, she'd said.


Scully felt a prickling sensation along the back of her neck as she allowed herself to admit what her intuition was trying to tell her. She reached toward the keyboard. Her hand paused in midair.

She swallowed; she licked her lips -- they were so dry all of a sudden. She took a deep breath and touched her fingertips to the keys. She typed quickly, as if to do this immediately, before she'd had time to change her mind. She was surprised at the way her heart was racing in her chest.

She called up the records; she began skimming through the files, looking for the names. She didn't even know what year to begin with, so she'd just taken a guess and begun with 1987. Month by month, thousands of names, in alphabetical order.


She only hesitated a moment before beginning 1988. January... March... July... She ran all the way through to December and again came up empty-handed.

She stopped, astonished to feel the tremor in her hand as it rested on the edge of the keyboard. She could stop now. Surely she'd been on the wrong track; she could stop now.

She could not. She needed to know. She moved into 1989, and there -- there, in March --

She took a sharp breath. She checked it a second time, although there was no need; how many other Fox William Mulders could there be in the world?

And how many of those others could have applied on March 14, 1989, in Washington, D.C., for a marriage license with Claire Marie Turner?

Scully's breath caught in her throat and she felt suddenly, absurdly grateful that she was already sitting down.



She had no idea how long she'd been sitting there when she heard the knock at her door.

She was still staring dully at the screen, at the court record of the divorce proceedings. Claire had filed on April 15, 1991; uncontested, it had gone through quickly.

The knock startled Scully, and she started to fold the laptop closed, then stopped and keyed in the command to shut it down properly. The knock came a second time. "Scully?"

The screen went dark and she almost stumbled in her haste to get to her feet. She rushed toward the door and then hesitated as she reached for the lock.

"Scully? It's me..."

She took a deliberate breath and steadied herself. She stepped up to the door and she opened it. "Mulder," she said, careful to keep her voice calm.

His hair was windblown; his shoulders were bowed. "Sorry I took so long," he said. He seemed to be considering trying to smile, but then apparently changed his mind. His gaze was hollow. "Did you eat yet?"

She shook her head. "I... I don't even know what time it is..." She couldn't look away from his face to check her watch. "I was on the computer, and I just... I lost track of time."

He tilted his head and looked at her thoughtfully and she angrily dismissed the sudden, irrational notion that he could read her mind.

"I'm very tired," she said quickly. "I think I'll just order something up."

He nodded, relief written plainly on his face. "Me too." He reached out and his hand grazed hers; the little shock rushed through her whole body. "I'll meet you for breakfast," he said, and went to turn away.

"Where did you go?" she blurted out, and he stopped. He paused a moment before answering.

"I drove over to the lake."

"Why would you want to go there?" Her voice sounded strangely strident in her own ears.

Mulder sighed, and stared down at the floor; he ran the fingers of one hand through his hair and jammed the other more firmly into his coat pocket. "I just... wanted to see it again," he said, looking up at her with those terrible, tired eyes. He shrugged and turned and walked the few steps across the hall to his room.


He looked over his shoulder at her.

"Are you sure you're all right?"

A half-smile; a nod. He put the key into the lock, and turned the knob, and disappeared inside.

Scully stared at the door for a long minute before stepping back into her room. She wasn't even hungry; she would take a shower first, and maybe then she'd want to eat. She shed her clothing as she walked, leaving a trail of garments behind as she headed toward the bathroom. She pulled roughly at the faucets to turn on the shower, and stepped inside, and pushed the glass door shut.

She leaned against the tiled wall and let the hot spray course over her body. She folded her arms tightly across her chest. It didn't concern her. He was right. There was no need for him to have told her about this. He was her partner, after all, not her... He was right. It had nothing to do with her...

It had everything to do with her. She hung her head and gave in to the tears that had inexplicably risen to her eyes.



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