Category: K, Angst, Pre-X-Files.
Summary: Mulder recalls one summer night a year after
Samantha was taken.
Author's Note: Written for The Nursery Files Lazy Hazy Days of
Summer Challenge, during the summer of 2005.
Scully understands why I wouldn't want to rent a cottage out
in Chepachet, Rhode Island, just as my parents had. If I
wanted a cottage holiday that badly, I'd go up to Lake Huron,
Maine, perhaps even some place in Michigan. As long as there's
cellular and cable, I would still rather be busy at the Bureau.
Then Skinner or Kersh would order me to take my two week
That year after Samantha was taken, Mom and Dad took me back to
Amy and David Cassandra's cottage. Granted, they were sleeping
in separate rooms and trying to save their marriage. Still,
things weren't ever the same. That summer was the last time I
went out there, and I won't ever forget it. People nodded
and smiled politely when we went into town for groceries,
walked past their cottages, or saw them passing by our place.
I was thirteen that year. Often, going down to the lakeshore
was relaxing to me. Well, it had been years before. Not this
One night, I was on my way down there, and saw the guys Sam and
I used to hang around with. I know this is going to sound like
I was King Wussy, but I couldn't face them. Not without
Samantha. Definitely not when tongues were wagging faster than
a bassett hound's tail when he's getting a treat. I crouched
behind a shrub and could tell they were shooting the breeze.
Danny Simmons, Bobby Walker and John Kapusky, all in the usual
spot, just poking the rocks, bugging the crayfish and doing
all those things that made no sense to our parents. Danny
was jabbering something about moths in his parents' cottage.
"I hate 'em. They fly right up to your eyes, then ya wanna kill
'em and they're gone. Hey Bobby, why do you do that to the
"I dunno." Bobby just continued what he was doing and didn't
look up. "Maybe I just like to see them move. You got any
gum left, John?"
"No. You remember when Samantha Mulder used to share hers with
us? She always kept some for somebody else. But she's not
coming this year, I heard."
"Yeah!" Danny was really pissed off about that. "Someone took
her away, and I know the Mulders are here this week. Don't
they know there are bad people out there? They didn't take
John had been calm, up to that point. He usually liked to see
just how far a story could go before he added his two cents'
worth, then let loose but loud! "Fox isn't weird, guys. And
he jokes around, plays basketball when he's out here. He's
pretty damn smart. Wanna skip stones?"
"Nah," Danny said. I could tell he was in a bad mood. "I'm
going in soon. Dad told me not to talk about the Mulders
anyhow. He says it's grown up stuff. You know what I heard?
I heard it was aliens, and bright lights and the whole thing
was a plan. But I think it was the Boston Strangler."
Bobby threw his stick into the water. "THAT'S a lie. It could
NOT be the Boston Strangler! He's already in jail! You don't
know any more than anybody else!"
I started to remember when Sam and I would argue over things,
and I'd get on my high horse and say the same thing, in the
exact same snarky way. *You don't know more than anybody else*.
My thoughts were interrupted by the gentle whisper from behind
me. "Hey, it's only me, Mr. Simmons. They're pretty nasty
sometimes, aren't they?"
"I'm going to get used to it, I guess. Lots of people like to
gossip. I'm okay." Of course, I wasn't okay. I hadn't been
able to save my sister, and I wasn't going to do anything
about these guys talking through their hats, so to speak.
"No. You kids have all been friends for so many summers. Fox,
just relax. I'll set them straight." Mr. Simmons got up and
inched up on the boys. "COULD HAVE BEEN THE BIG MAN WITH
THE BIG BUTTER KNIFE!" he bellowed. I had to suppress my
laugh. Those guys really freaked out when Danny's father did
that, and he did it so well. "Boys, you're not to go telling
stories if you don't know the facts. The truth is, none of
us know what happened when Samantha went missing. Now, the
Mulders are up here this week, and Fox needs you more than
ever now. John, didn't you have a baby sister who died of
"Yes, Sir. And I sure miss her. I didn't hear any goofy
stories going around about that. I was telling people she
went to Heaven."
"Danny, Bobbie, you know Fox wants to play basketball. He
might be sad, a bit quiet this year, but I bet he'd love to
play a game while he's here with his parents. And don't go
saying things or asking questions without thinking who's
going to hear you. Words hurt. You know that. C'mon, Danny.
At that moment, my mind was drifting back to the times when
we played basketball, tag, picked wild berries, whatever, and
went out after supper to hang around the lake just talking,
and Samantha was there. At that moment, she was there. If
she had really been there, we would have been chasing each
other around, teasing each other until Mom and Dad told us
to stop or go into the cottage to our rooms. As I sat
behind that bush, I smiled for what was perhaps the first
time in months.
If I was going to succeed in school, get my education and try
to find Samantha, the least I could do was take care of myself.
If she couldn't play here, I wanted to show her wherever she
was, I was going to make it.
Now, when I see an old picture of the three of them, the one I
took on a Friday night when we had arrived, two years before
Samantha went away, I remember those guys. As for what they
were saying, it was just all talk. I was savoring my memories
in the twilight.