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Part 4

"I don't know why I'm doing this," Mulder muttered as he followed the directions Skinner had given him down to the basement office where the X-Files was hidden. None of this was familiar to him. And what was this nonsense about him being dead... and abducted by aliens? What kind of idiot does this Skinner guy think I am?

*x*x*x*x*

Mulder blinked. It was the only thing he knew to do. Dana Scully--this beautiful, obviously intelligent woman whom he'd come to respect in these last couple of weeks--had just told him the same thing that Skinner had been hinting at.

"Do you really believe that I was abducted by aliens... who did something to me that *killed* me... and that I came back to life after I'd been *buried*?" he asked.

"We, ah, don't actually know if you were really dead," said Scully's new partner, a man introduced to Mulder as Agent Doggett. "You might have just been in some sort of stasis."

Mulder shook his head and looked pointedly at Dana Scully. "Do *you* believe this?" he asked. When she nodded her head, he sighed at the outrageousness of it all. "Why?" he asked in a tortured voice.

"Because you do, Mulder..." came her reply. "I mean... you *used* to. This... the X-Files, aliens, abductions... it was your life before you disappeared. You *made* me believe, because of everything we've been through together."

Oh, this is really too much, Mulder thought. It was giving him a headache, not only because she'd called him by his last name when he told her not to, but because the whole thing was ludicrous. Rubbing his temples, he had to ask. "I made you believe in all of this? Why? Why would I believe in something so absurd?"

"Mulder..." Scully began and stopped as he frowned at her. "Fox... what do you remember about your sister?"

*x*x*x*x*

Fox Mulder sat on the floor in his living room surrounded by a mess of papers, files and newspaper clippings. According to Dana Scully, these things had been his life. He read about his past--his sister's disappearance, his life, joining the FBI, and his past cases with Dana--all the while feeling as if these things had happened to someone else. Someone clearly insane.

"This is the guy they want me to be?" he asked his fish, and not getting any answer he set down the last case file and stood up. "What kind of loony does this? What kind of loony is so obsessed with finding a sister, who by rights is dead, that he joins the FBI so he can chase little green men across the country?" He shook his head in amazement.

"Look at this place," he continued ranting to the fish. "It's bleak and lonely... and sad." The man who lived here--the man they wanted him to be, he silently added--was a sad, sad man and sorely in need of a more healthy direction to his life.

"I can't be that man," he said softly. "I can't be the man I was before."

Making up his mind for the first time since he'd awakened two and a half weeks earlier, Fox decided to call Skinner in the morning and find out how he could resign from the FBI. He realized that his job there was too tied into this insane past life that he had no recollection of--and that he was repulsed by.

Just thinking about walking away from it all--wiping the slate clean and starting a new life--made him feel better. Smiling for the first time all day, he decided it was time to redecorate this lonely little apartment... and to redecorate his life.


(the end)