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It's gloriously organized into chapters by date, and it's interactive (the table of contents is clickable...ah, technology these days). Best of all, it includes not only all of our entries and photos, but all of the comments we received.

Just FYI, LJ Book is a fantastic utility that will create a PDF book of any LiveJournal account. There are a lot of customizable settings, and it's free. (they do accept donations to help support their cause) Which is good, because Mulder's still unemployed. At least he does the yard work. Shirtless.

From the unremarkable house

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All is well here in the Virginia woods.  We hope you are all having a happy new year.

Epilogue: Down a Country Road

Forgive the quality of this picture. It was taken in the early spring, when we came out here to find a house. I can't figure out where I put the camera.

At the end of a winding country road in Goochland County is a gate. Behind the gate and further down a long drive is a house. Wood frame, one-and-a-half stories, a porch in front. There’s nothing special about this house. In fact, you could say that it’s quite unremarkable.

But it’s extraordinary to us. It’s our house, the first real home we’ve ever shared. There have been motel rooms on the road, a cabin in Wisconsin, a casita in on the beach in Mexico, an apartment in Seattle, but this is the first home that we know is truly ours. Here we can stop, catch our breath, and put down some roots.

The house needs a lot of work. The kitchen is like something out of a 1948 issue of Good Housekeeping. The bathrooms have indoor plumbing, but just barely. We need to put in central air, especially since the summers are incredibly hot and humid here in Virginia. But the house is solid. There are beautiful wood floors and trim inside, a fireplace in the living room.

There’s room enough for each of us to have a study and the bedroom is cozy under the eaves.

We’re in love with this place because it’s all ours.

The next month and a half will be a frenzy of remodeling projects. Scully has a list as long as her arm of things she wants to do before she begins her pediatrics residency on July first. I told her that she should take the occasion to relax before the true insanity of her schedule took over, but she’d have none of that. She’s a woman on a mission and the mission involves a whole lot of paint.

Have I mentioned how proud I am of her? She’s starting all over again. She could have continued in pathology, working at a coroner’s office like she did in Seattle, but she’s devoting the next three years of her life to being a resident at the VCU Children’s Medical Center. She wants the change and the challenge, the opportunity to heal and mend. I know she’ll succeed, that she’ll be a compassionate and dedicated doctor to her small patients. They will be lucky to have her.

My path is not as clear. I’m still living under the shadow of multiple charges, although it’s unlikely that I’ll be apprehended if I keep a relatively low profile. It’s a hell of a way to live. I don’t know how long this ambiguous situation will last. I should be angry and bitter, and perhaps that will happen after a while, but at this moment I’m only relieved that we’re assembling something resembling a normal life.

I don’t really know what I’m going to do. Probably keep writing some freelance articles, like I did over the last year or so. Do some research, keep my eyes open to any possible hints of colonization. Finally master baking the ultimate loaf of ciabatta. Work on the house. Put in a garden. Become the perfect househusband (even if we’re not actually married), greeting my woman every day at the door wrapped in cellophane, holding a tray of dry martinis.

It’ll be a challenge, but everything is for us, isn’t it?

Last week, Scully was in the kitchen, surrounded by a sea of boxes, unpacking glassware. Her hair was tucked up under a bandana and she was wearing cut-off jeans and a tank top. It’s not even June and already it's blisteringly hot, even in the early evening. Already I miss the mildness of Seattle.

I crept up to her and kissed the salty back of her neck. Damp strands of red were poking out from the bandana.

She yelped in surprise and almost dropped a wine glass. “Don’t do that, Mulder,” she warned.

“Do what?”

“Sneak up on me. It’s creepy.”

“You love it and you know it,” I said.

I took her by the hand and we walked outside to the porch, where the sun was setting, casting amber light on our little kingdom in the woods.

I put my arm around her. “This is nice,” I said.

Scully smiled, the kind of full-bodied smile I so rarely get to see. “It is. We’re home.”

We’re home.

my epilogue, as i enjoy a bright spring

If I traveled back in time to 1999 and told Special Agent Dana Scully what the next five years would entail, she would stare at me, eyebrow arched, one hand on the hip of her black Anne Taylor suit, and expectantly wait for me to dissolve into thin air, like I was the craziest daydream she'd ever had. She wouldn't tell her partner about my visit, but would keep it in the back of her mind as these moments unfolded into her life as I know it today.

A bright spring morning in Goochland County is lush green and easy on the senses. Mulder is with me on our tiny two acres of paradise. A plain white house, some outbuildings which once served a purpose but now provide nothing more than a backdrop for our idyllic country life.

We live here. It's a small house, it has character, and I could do so much with it. I'll try. I have to before July. That's when I start my residency in pediatrics at VCU Children's Medical Center. I anticipate it much like a child awaits her first day at kindergarten. Whether he'll pack my lunches remains to be seen.

I remember our tentative acceptance of partial freedom. Meeting Skinner in Atlanta, our holsters hidden under our clothes while he told me I could consider myself free. I was not the one they wanted. I was not their primary concern.

"I'm happy for you," Mulder had said on the elevator up to our room.

"I'm happy for us," I'd answered. I can still see his smile.

We moved to Seattle just for the hell of it, maybe because we feel an unusual draw to the Pacific Northwest. It holds so much history for us. And Mulder loves riding up the Space Needle. It was in Seattle we made our decision about children. It's a private one, but I know in my heart that we did the right thing.

I began receiving e-mails from Father Marshall in Seattle as well, updates on William's life (they call him Billy) and his progress. He goes to a special preschool for gifted and talented children. I wouldn't expect anything less, due to the brain trust he came from. I only hope he doesn't become a paranoid alien chaser, or a reclusive pathologist with a penchant for expensive pizza.

After Seattle came Virginia as we plotted out the next steps of our life, to set down some roots before I start my residency program. I want to save children. I know why. And he, being unemployed and still under a bit of cover, supports me in my pursuit of my chosen field. He likes the idea of having a "sugar mama," and I like the idea of him cooking me dinner and doing the laundry.

It works.

I have lunch with my mom twice per month. We don't talk about Mulder. We don't discuss William. She tells me about church and yoga class. I tell her of my fears about being a resident again--the hours, the things I'll see, the idea of choosing the living over the dead.

It's the essence of our life now--trying to live for the moment instead of waiting for whatever inevitable fate becomes us. We've chosen the present over the past. And when I look up into the blue sky above our expansive front yard, holding his hand, my path has never seemed so clear, nor so perfect.

We have embraced the beauty of things, including ourselves.

On a cloudless night, we still find our stars.

Angel of God, My Guardian Dear

Dear Dana,

It was such a pleasure hearing from you. Thank you for sharing your good news. Congratulations! I hope your move went well and that you’re settling in. It must be difficult to leave Seattle. I spent a few years there as a young man and it’s a truly special place. But I am sure you will come to love your new home.

We are having a beautiful spring here in Barton. Mild warmth, just enough rain. Everything is green and fresh at this time of year.

Maryjo stopped by the other day with some good news of her own. She and Rich are traveling to Colorado next week to adopt a baby girl. Billy will be a big brother. He’ll enjoy that, I think. He loves other children and is always very sweet to the younger ones.

In the course of our conversation I asked Maryjo if Billy knew he was adopted. She said that of course he did, although he was a bit young to truly understand what it meant. I asked her, as delicately as I could, if she’d be open to Billy having contact with his birth parents at any point. She told me that while it would be difficult for her and Rich, if it were something that Billy wanted when he was older, they might be open to the possibility.

Billy is enjoying preschool. Maryjo drives him all the way to Cheyenne to attend a special school for gifted children. He tests right off the intelligence charts, she told me. At the school he’s learning Spanish and they’re already on fractions. He also got a horse of his own for his last birthday. Billy told me, one day after Mass, that he named the horse Rex, after Tyrannosaurus Rex. He’s quite obsessed with dinosaurs.

I must go now. Duty calls in the form of the spring pancake breakfast.

I know you’re concerned about William, but he is safe and happy and very much loved. Please don’t worry so much. I’m keeping an extra close eye on him. If there is any cause for concern, you will be the first to know.

I will write again soon. My best to M. You are both in my prayers.


Father Henry