TITLE: Bitter Sweet Symphony

SPOILERS: Everything up to Kitsunegari

DISCLAIMER: I don't own FM, DS or Mrs. Scully, nor do I claim to. CC and 1013 Productions do. I promise to give them back after I've finished playing with them. I also quoted from 'The Cat In The Hat,
written by the wonderful Dr. Seuss, without permission.


It came when he least expected it. Early on Good Friday morning when the rest of the nation was fast asleep. Fox Mulder was the exception, of course. Having returned from his early morning run, he had turned on the coffee pot while he showered and changed. Sipping his first cup of coffee, he logged on to check his mail. Mostly junk from half a dozen mailing lists. He was about to reach for his second cup of coffee when he spotted the message.

A moment later, Mulder had pocketed his keys and gun, and was out the door. The coffee laid untouched, rapidly growing cold. The message remained opened, its words flickering ominously on the screen.



Scully waded through the mess that was her kitchen. Obviously, those who thought her a neat-freak hadn't seen her cook. She'd strewn half the kitchen utensils and used up most of the weekly groceries before the dish was in the wok.

She loved cooking, the only domestic activity she was ever good at.
Growing up, she had turned up her nose at sewing and knitting, preferring to sneak out to play ball at the first opportunity. Not with cooking, though. Melissa had joked that she wasn't such a tomboy after all, but what did a sister who spent more time on boys and makeup know?

Usually, she didn't have time to spend in the kitchen, but today was an exception. It was Good Friday, and her mother would be coming to dinner after Mass. They wouldn't have meat, of course (her mother would blatantly refuse to eat it), but it didn't stop her from being creative. Today, she was cooking a fragrant vegetable curry. She had experimented with Asian cooking lately, and loved the taste. Even more, she loved spending time with her mom, just the two of them.
Time all the more precious now that they realised how limited it may be.

At two o'clock she started to clean up the mess. To take a shower.
To get dressed. In time for the three o'clock service at her mom's church. She was joining her for mass this year, something she hadn't done in a while. In previous years she hadn't felt she needed to, but the events of the past year had precariously changed her faith. The miracle of her cure (or what everyone had deemed as a miracle), had led her to question her lack of faith, and even though scientific mind refused to accept that explanation, she was grateful all the same. Grateful that she received another chance at life.

Today, she would give thanks.


It was pathetically easy to find her home. A call to the Lone Gunmen to trace the source of the message. A name. A description. That was all it took. It was one of life's cruel ironies that the sister he had searched the majority of his life for was all that time living less than fifty miles away in Baltimore.

Right under his oversized nose.

Mulder sat in his car, flipping through the fax Langley had sent him.
He glanced up now and then at the house, trying to connect the words on the page with the reality that was in front of him.

Robert and Samantha Reinhert lived an average life. They lived in a middle-class suburb, in a comfortable middle-class house. They had two children, a boy of eight and a girl of four. Jason Fox and Jessica Tina.

Mulder gave a painful smile at the boy's middle name.

Robert Reinhert worked as a computer consultant. It was a well-paid job, although it did require him to be away from home from time to time. Samantha was a nurse by profession, but gave up full time work when Jason was born. She now worked on a part-time basis at the local hospital. She was working right up until the night of her accident.

The Baltimore PD sighted the incident as a car-jack. Rare in Baltimore but not unheard of. But Mulder dismissed the reasoning as soon as he read the rest of the file.

No fingerprints. Execution style at point-blank range to the back of the head. Keys were still in the ignition.

Too professional. The suspect wasn't after the car. He was after Samantha Reinhert.

The slam of the front door forced Mulder's attention. A boy with dark brown hair ran down the porch stairs, baseball glove in one hand, ball in the other.

My nephew, he thought.

He waited until the boy disappeared into a neighbouring house before he made his way to the front door, tapping the brass knocker purposefully.

Robert Reinhert appeared, peeping from behind the chained door.

"Yes?" Reinhert asked suspiciously, taking in Mulder's conservative g-man wear.

"Mr. Reinhert? My name is Fox Mulder."

Reinhert's eyes widened and then disappeared as he unchained the door.
He led Mulder silently into the living room. Only then, was Mulder able to take a good look at him.

Robert Reinhert was a tall man, about the same age as himself. His build reminded him of Skinner. Solid as a monolith. Apart from the dark shadows under his eyes, he seemed in perfect health.

That he was surprised to see Mulder was an understatement. He hadn't taken his eyes off him since they sat down on opposite sides of the coffee table. Nothing was said for the first five minutes. Mulder spent the time studying this man who was his sister's husband, and Reinhert spent the time watching him, as if trying to assure himself that this man was real.

Eventually, Reinhert got his act together and spoke.

"Well, Mr... Mulder, did you say?"

Mulder nodded.

"This is a surprise. Samantha didn't talk a lot about her childhood,
but she did mention she had a brother called Fox. I remembered the name because it was unusual. I assume you know what happened."

"I heard about it."

"Well, it was a shock to everyone. The kids, well, they won't talk about it. My youngest, Jessica, thinks her mother is away on a long vacation. I'm sorry, Mr. Mulder."

"No, I'm sorry. But I didn't even know my sister was alive until a couple of months ago. We met through her... father." said Mulder, almost choking on the last word. "And we didn't exactly get along."

"Yeah, the old bastard's always been secretive. I don't know why Sam insists on keeping in touch with him. He's never around."

That's because he's always tailing me, thought Mulder.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Mulder. I didn't mean any offence to your father."

"My father? No, that man's not my father. I'm not so sure he's Samantha's biological father either."

Reinhert's eyes widened until they almost popped out of his head.

"What do you mean he wasn't her father? He was there all the time, since she was a foster child. He was always telling us all these stories about Sam as a kid. How did he know all that?"

"How much did Sam tell you about her childhood?"

"Not much, she didn't like to talk about it. I knew that she was put into a foster home when she was ten. I didn't ask why and she didn't tell me. I thought it was because her family couldn't take care of her, no offence again. She told me about you. That's about all."

"Well, her relationship with the man you know as her father is quite.
complicated. He was a friend of my father's and used to visit our house a lot when we were kids. That's how he knew all those stories -- he was probably there. Up until awhile ago I thought he didn't have a lot to do with our family, except make our lives as uncomfortable as possible. But now... now I can't prove to you that he wasn't Sam's biological father. But if you ask my mother, she'll swear to you that my father, Bill Mulder, was Sam's father."

Reinhert was silent for a moment, and Mulder had run out of words.

"Did Sam get hurt as a child?"

"Was Sam abused, you mean? No, she wasn't. Our house wasn't exactly the Cleaver family, but my father didn't touch her."

"Then why did she get put in a foster home?"

Mulder sighed, picking at his fingernails.

"When Samantha was eight, she was abducted from home. I was supposed to be minding her, but I couldn't stop her from being taken. My parents were furious afterwards, my mom had a nervous breakdown because of it. I've been searching for her ever since but never found her.

"Her father arranged for us to meet a couple of months ago. It was too much for her, I guess. To meet the brother she hasn't seen for twenty-five years. We talked for a little while, but I didn't think she wanted us to meet again. She didn't want to remember. And now that I've seen what she has here, I can understand why she would want that."

He looked up at Reinhert. "She was really lucky, Mr. Reinhert. She had a husband, a family, a job... I, she was really, really lucky." He looked down at his hands again. "Anyway, it doesn't matter now."

Mulder stood up, holding out his hand. "I'd better go. Thanks for talking to me, Mr. Reinhert."

Reinhert stood up and grasped his hand.

"I'm sorry you didn't get to know her. She was a good woman. The best. I'm sure she would've wanted to get to know you, so I'd like to give you something."

Reinhert picked out something from the bookshelves and handed it to him. It was a family photo. Sam and Reinhert with their two kids smiling brightly into the camera.

"You can have this. It's the least I can do for someone who's been searching for Sam all these years while I was lucky enough to have her with me."

He picked up a set of keys from the coffee table. "And I'll show you where she is." Reinhert said, opening the front door for Mulder. "No matter what she told you, she would have wanted to see her brother again."