Cold Comfort
by Sandrine Shaw

She looks as if she hasn't slept in days. Tired. Weary. Her skin shining in a pale, almost transparent white, dark shadows under her eyes. It's as if the whole weight of the world rests on her shoulders.

In a way, it does.

Because ultimately, all we do - the negotiations we try to undergo, the battles we fight, the effort we put into it and the blood we shed - it all would be futile without her. She's the one who holds us together, the one who keeps the fight going. The missing piece of the puzzle. No one has been where she was, has seen and lived through what she did, and came back to tell about it.

Her sacrifice is greater than anyone else's. I may have lost an arm, but she has lost everything, including her humanity. And I don't mean that in the metaphorical way, but rather literally. It's a matter of fact that she cannot be considered a member of the human species no longer.

And yet...

Yet there are moments when she seems to be... normal, an ordinary young woman - just one in a million - not a person who saw any of the cruelties she had to face. There are times when you can catch a glimpse of what I believe was the 'real' Samantha, the girl Mulder spent his life searching for.

It's an illusion, though, lasting no more than a moment. And then she is back, my Samantha, the woman with the tired eyes and the wounds that close immediately... the physical ones at last. And it's a comfort, in a way, that she isn't unaffected, that she changed and didn't remain the innocent girl she was. Cruel as it may be, but I'm relieved that she didn't walk away unharmed, that it did tarnish her in some sort of way. Because otherwise, I would have to start believing in a God, a higher power protecting the innocent. She's the living proof that there is no God, though.

Cold comfort, but comfort still.