disclaimer: not mine

a/n: watched the season finale of 2 and premieres of season 3 at some ungodly hour this morning trying to fall asleep, and was inspired to write this. enjoy!

It was a day not unlike her father's funeral. Dreary, rainy. If she could find comfort in nothing else at that point in her life, Scully could find comfort in the fact that the weather matched her mood.

She knew Melissa wouldn't want it to be that way, though. She'd always had a firm belief that funerals should be celebrations of life, not lamentations of death. But that was how Melissa was. No matter what, she cherished each day, good or bad. Had she known the merciless way in which her existence would end, though, Scully wondered if her sister would have been so optimistic of the good and bad luck that constituted life. Being gunned down in an apartment that wasn't her own. That wasn't the way Missy's life should have ended. It had never been the intention, either. That was the way Scully's life should have ended. It was more fitting, an unexplainable death to go with her unexplainable life.

But there she was, very much alive. Standing at Missy's grave long after everyone else had gone home. Her mother had insisted that she go back to her house for dinner with her brothers, but the last thing Scully wanted to do was be around family members. How could they forgive her after what had happened? That bullet was meant expressly for her, and Missy took it. Of that much, everyone was sure. Because of her choices, because of her selfishness, Melissa was now dead. And if it weren't her, then it would be Scully herself. If she were her mother, she knew she wouldn't be able to stand looking at her. It was all her fault and there was no way around it. She was as guilty as the unknown assailant that shot her in the head.

Her hair, her coat, her clothes, her hands and feet, all were soaked with rain. As it began to get dark, Scully realized just how long she'd been standing in the cemetery. Gazing at the headstone that read "Melissa Scully, 1961-1995, cherished daughter and friend," but not really seeing it. Those words would gaze back at her from her nightmares; from her deepest depression. She had given birth to those words. They would not exist had she decided to stay in medicine like her father and mother had wanted.

"I love you. And I'm so sorry," were the first words she had spoken all day. They came out as she fingered the flowers that had been delicately placed on her grave. Waves of tears wracked her body, the first ones she had cried since the night of her death. She had been apologizing to Melissa then and she was apologizing to Melissa now. Her heart was being ripped in two and she knew she owed at least one half of it to her sister. She now understood how Mulder had felt for the past 23 years. In debt to someone. Responsible for plucking someone off of the Earth. At least Mulder had hope that his sister was still alive; that he could find her and right all his wrongs. She could not. Her sister was dead forever. Not even if Scully adapted the determination of her partner would she be alive again. She had spoken her last words, thought her last thoughts, breathed her last breaths. It was final. The book of her life had ended.

Footsteps behind her caused her tears to abate slightly, but even before she heard them she knew he would be there. Because they were now kindred spirits. She had never understood his pain before, and her tears were not only for her, but for him as well. She couldn't imagine having been a child and having to live with this pain. Standing up, Scully turned around and right into her partner's arms.

It wasn't the first time they had touched that day. She vaguely remembered the service, and he had offered his condolences to both her and her family. But her mind was in a fog, trying to see some kind of light through all of the haze. And in Mulder's arms, she knew that that light was out forever.

"I should be in that coffin, Mulder. It should be me." It wasn't the first time she had expressed those feelings to him. And as thankful as he was to be able to hold her and talk to her and know that she was alive, Mulder understood his partner's desires. He had been living with them for quite some time himself.

"I don't think Missy would want to hear you say that," he muttered into Scully's wet hair. She was shivering, and he couldn't tell whether it was from her emotions or if he should get her to a hospital. Either way, he tightened his arms around her. After all they had been through, hypothermia sure wasn't going to be the thing that took her from him.

Her nickname danced on his lips. Missy. It was a peer into the intimacy of their relationship as sisters. Mulder thought that maybe he should stop calling her that—stop reminding her of what she had lost. But even though he had only met her a couple of times briefly, he knew that Melissa Scully was a beautiful woman and her memory would serve to be equally as beautiful. She was Missy. She would always be Missy. Her horrible, tragic death could not take away the love encompassed in those five letters. Maybe that could be a pillar of strength for his drained and half-dead partner.

"I'm a scientist, Mulder. I'm trying to make sense of this. And it all points to me. From the phone call we shared before she came over that night to the position I put her in just by choosing the career path I have now, I may have not fired the gun that killed her, but I put that bullet in her head nonetheless. And that guilt is something I don't think I can live with."

She was scaring him.

"Remember at the hospital that night, when I told you about fate—"

"Don't try to make this about fate, Mulder. Don't try to justify my sister's death to me through some alignment of the cosmos, I won't have it," Scully spat at him angrily. Though she tried to pull away, he kept his hold tight on her, so afraid of what she would do if he let go. She may think herself worthless; her existence meaningless, but he needed her like he needed air and water. Mulder hadn't told her and didn't think he would, but when he was in the desert fighting to stay alive, he thought of her constantly. He thought about seeing her and hearing her and smelling her and touching her again. And that was what kept him tethered to this Earth during the Blessing Way ceremony. He knew he couldn't leave her.

"Scully," he said calmly to her, even though she was fighting to get away, "nothing is going to make the pain go away, especially not your death. I learned that after my second suicide attempt in the 10th grade." Shocked, her eyes met his, wondering if she was worthy to be privy to such private information. And she was sad for Mulder in a way that she wasn't sad for herself. Two suicide attempts by 16-years-old.

"But you can give Missy the justice she deserves. And I'm certain we are responsible for bringing that to her. You and I."

You and I. Me and you. Even though she fought and spat and hit him, he wasn't going anywhere. Just like her sister. Even though she laughed at and dismissed her beliefs, Missy had always been right by her side.

And she still was. She just had a partner now.

"Let's go home," Scully sighed, slipping her hand into his. And when she said "home" what she really meant was "Mulder's." It would be awhile before she'd be able to step into her apartment.

"You know, you remind me a lot of her…" she trailed off as they made their way to the car. She put her head on his shoulder, knowing he'd be there to support her, just like her sister had always been.

And as they left the cemetery, she promised Missy that her death would not be in vain. That the men who killed her would have to pay for their crimes. No matter what, Scully would do her sister that justice. She had a crusade now.

Mulder was right about fate, and it gave her the tiniest bit of hope that she was where she was supposed to be.

Kissing her fingers and placing them on the glass, Scully silently said, "I love you," to Missy as they pulled away. She was instantly rewarded with the feeling that her sister knew it, and loved her too.