DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Never have been, never will be
AUTHOR'S NOTES: At the end.

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She sat on her bed and looked without really seeing at the picture album in front of her. Her mind was a zillion miles away, in a place so dark, distant and cold that no one else could reach out for her there.

She had taken refuge there when the truth, that elusively and so hard-fought for truth, had slapped her in the face and forced her to admit what she had been denying for the past 5 weeks.

At the beginning she had been worried. She knew what kind of game they were playing and how dangerous it could be, how high the odds were if either one of them made a mistake. God knew she had enough reasons to be worried for his sake.

What drove her mad was her inability to communicate with him. She had never been good at the waiting game. She was a doer, a maker, a woman not used to sit around and wait for something to happen. She went ahead and made it happen, no matter what. To have to sit at home, with not even work to distract her, was sheer torture.

She had tried to make Skinner understand, but he was adamant she took a leave of absence given the circumstances. She had tried to help the Lone Gunmen in their frantic technology search, but in the end they had asked her, quite nicely she might add, to get off their backs and wait for them. She'd be the first to know if they found something, they told her. And she trusted them.

But that left her sitting at home with her hands full of time that refused to be filled with nothing but memories and pain. All she could do was go over and over and over again every scrap of info she had at home that might throw some light into his disappearance until the words blurred before her eyes and the facts swam both idly and frantically in her memory.

After 3 weeks she began to feel annoyed. She was convincing herself the he had ditched her once more and was having the time of his life prancing about with little grey man and smoking cigars with shadowy government figures. On very bad days she could even find the notion of him running off to marry the blond bitch from hell plausible. Of course, she'd tell herself, he'd been cheating on her with Marita, or maybe it was the other way around, and now he was spending his honeymoon in Vegas with the UN trickster.

On really bad days she found herself crying like the virginal girl that got stood up at the altar. He'd used her, she told herself, he had made fun of her. It wasn't love, it never had been. She just happened to be a convenient commodity. Easier than going to a bar to pick up a perfect stranger or having to pay some hooker for a bit of loving.

Seven years paired with a psychologist have taught her much. Among the things she learned was the way people cope with loss. She knew that feeling angry with him was just an easy way out for her sorrow. She knew that finding excuses to blame him for every misery in her life, from morning sickness to an ingrown nail to her mailman being late again to the store running our of her favourite Ben & Jerry's flavour was just a way to distract her from thinking.

Cause she was afraid of those thoughts.

She was afraid of the 'what ifs' and the 'now whats'. She was afraid of thinking beyond tomorrow, sure he'd come through that door any second now if she waited long enough. That if the phone rang it would be him, giving her a very reasonable explanation and lovingly tease her for being such a worrybug.

Being angry and wallowing in self-pity were a thousand times easier than thinking straight. Worrying about his fate had left her nothing but heartburn and a serious case of insomnia. Worrying about his death was still unthinkable. He WAS alive, thank you very much. Maybe just a bit worse for the wear. Ok, maybe a tad worse than that. She could deal with notions such as maimed, hurt, bleeding, broken, hemorraging, surgically challenged, amnesiac, crippled. She could even deal with comatose.

But not death. Death WAS. NOT. AN. OPTION. as far as she was concerned. Abducted, yes. Missing, yes. But never dead. Not him. Anyone but him. Even she could die, but not him. And that was final in her book.

Where was it written that worried to death, desperate, women in love made sense? Specially those who were pregnant as well?

By the time Frohike called her on week 5, her anger had taken a dark turn into homicidal urges. She was sure she'd kill him when he came back. For it was always a WHEN, never an IF. It was that conviction that had kept her together and functioning so far.

But the call came and luck had it that it was Frohike who called. They had found something. A rural newspaper clip, something about a car accident, a John Doe involved. The description seemed to match his, and Byers flew all the way to Indiana to check it out personally. Her own version of the three musketeers had decided not to tell her about every lead unless at least one of them had gotten a personal confirmation that it was worth following, and this incident in Indiana was no exception.

Byers went and came back escorting a coffin. This John Doe had passed every test he could think of with flying colours and in his mind it was Mulder. He brought him back to her, knowing very well she wouldn't be convinced it was really him until she had checked it herself at least half a dozen times.

And so she did. And the fact stood. It was him.

Not even all the 'now whats' and 'worst case scenarios' could have prepared her for what came next. She walked about, wondering how was it possible that people didn't see the gapping hole were her heart used to be. She felt like crying and couldn't feel the wetness, so she wondered where had all her tears gone.

Even worse, she tried to feel something, anything, for the being growing inside of her, and she couldn't find even a morsel of emotion to give it. Him. Her. Whatever. "Give it time", her mother said.

She has a whole eternity without him; is that time enough?

It irks her beyond reason that people around her behave as if they were walking on eggshells, as if they thought she might break if they act normal. Can't they see she's already broken? That she's walking amidst a sea of broken dreams and broken lives?

Is it so hard to understand the even them, Mr. and Mrs. Spooky, wanted a normal life, whatever that may be? That they had talked about rings and weddings, apartments vs. houses, furniture and appliances? That they had discussed the merits of dogs vs. cats, as opposed to his fishes as pets? That they wanted a forever and they thought that they could have one?

Was it really so hard?

No matter how much she thought about it, she just couldn't find a way to explain her feelings. How she still felt him by her side when she woke in the middle of the night. How she still called out to him when she came into the basement office. How she still hit the speed-dial that held his number. How her eyes still drifted to 'his' chair when she was summoned to Skinner's office.

How her breath still caught when she remembered asking him where he wanted to spend New Years. "Three inches inside of you and coming closer" had been his answer, and the turmoil of emotions the memory provoked in her was just the same now as it had been then.

She asked herself time and time again how could she go about forgetting the man who had made her feel whole. She wondered how she was going to be able to tell their child about the missing father without falling apart. She prayed that continuing their work wouldn't drive her half mad. She doubted she'd ever smile again.
Skinner and her mother both sensed she wanted to be left alone and had done so. A quick call now and then only to check how she was doing with the Thompson case (Skinner) or if she was eating enough green veggies (her mom) just to let her know they were there should she need them. Like her love for Mulder, these went acknowledged and thanked for silently. She wasn't one to express herself or her feelings with words. She never had been, and now was not the time to go about changing who she was.

The Gunmen went one step beyond, but always working behind the scenes. They sent her emails to remind her of her upcoming prenatal check-ups, got her the facts she needed for whatever case she was working on, and stocked her fridge whenever she left town. They had packed Mulder's things and put them away in storage, and gave her a key, in case she felt like looking at them again one day.

She knew the people around her were still uncertain as to how to treat her. Other agents kept their distance, unsure as to what was the standard protocol or the correct procedure given her circumstances. Should they congratulate her for getting rid of him or extend their condolences for having lost him? Should they try to cheer her up and ask her to join them after work or should they just keep quiet and pretend not to notice when she came into to elevator? Should they request to be assigned to work with her or just pray to a lesser God to avoid such fate?

Whenever she thought about this things, a sad smile briefly touched her lips, but never reached her eyes. She wished she could give them an answer, but she still doesn't know it herself. There are so many things she still has to figure out, so many that she needs to understand before she can reply...

For how does an unwed widow grieve?


Author's Notes: I stole the title from a roxette song I've been hearing over and over again these past days. I apologise for not giving a clear warning about Mulder being dead, but I thought the word 'widow' was warning enough.I wrote this story as catharsis once more.

Thanks for reading. Please close the door on your way out.