"Dana, I know youíre a grown woman and you donít want me to interfere, but I want you to get checked out. You nearly passed out at the store today."
"Donít Mom me. Tara gave me the name of her GP. I want you to make an appointment."
"If I get a quick checkup will you drop this?"
"Yes. Dana, youíve put yourself under so much stress itís inevitable youíd become ill. I just want to make sure thatís all it is."
"Fine. Whatís his name?" Anything to end this argument.
"Dr. Scully? Itís Dr. Sanders. I have your test results and thought Iíd give you a call myself."
"Is there anything wrong?"
"No, not at all. In fact I hope Iím calling with good news."
"You hope?" She smiled, puzzled.
"Yes, it seems that youíre pregnant." She sat stunned, unable to speak. "Dr. Scully? Dana? Are you still there?"
"Thereís. . . uh thereís some sort of mistake. Iím unable to. . . youíve gotten my tests confused with someone else."
"No. I donít think so. Listen, Iíd be happy to run the tests again if youíd like."
"I can be there in twenty minutes."
"That would be fine. Just have my nurse let me know youíre here."
She hung up without saying goodbye, already digging in her purse for her keys. Her mother came into the room as she headed for the door.
"Was that Dr. Sanders?"
"Uh, yes. Look I have to run out for a few minutes." As she all but ran out the door.
"Obviously I donít have access to your medical records, but why are you so certain that these tests are wrong?"
"Iíve been tested before and I had cancer a short while ago."
"I saw no evidence of cancer. In fact your tests showed you to be in good health."
"Could we run the tests again?"
"Of course. Would you like to do them this time?"
"Yes, thank you. I would."
She let the nurse draw the blood and set up the test, then while waiting did a urine test. Both tests came back positive. She was still staring at the results when Dr. Sanders joined her.
"If this is as bad news as it seems, I can give you the name of another doctor. . . "
"No. Itís a shock. I. . . uh, thank you for letting me run the tests again." She turned to leave.
"Are you okay to drive?"
"Yes. Thank you."
"I know youíre only here visiting, but if youíd like to make another appointment. . . "
"Iíll have to call. Iím not sure when Iíll be going home."
"Take care of yourself Dana. If you need to talk, you can call me."
She nodded and tried to smile. She gathered up her purse and left the office. She concentrated totally on driving on the way home, not allowing her thoughts to stray from the task of getting home safely.
She sat in the driveway when she arrived, not wanting to come back to the present. Not daring to contemplate what her next step should be. Finally she released the seatbelt and stepped from the car.
She heard her mother speaking as she opened the door. "I think I hear her coming in now. Just a second. Dana? Is that you? You have a call."
"Iíll get it in here Mom." She picked up the phone in the living room. "Hello?"
"Is this Dana Scully-Skinner?"
"Iím Jerry Pacer, your husbandís attorney. Iím sorry to have to contact you directly. You havenít responded to his petition for dissolution of marriage and I donít have the name of your lawyer."
"I. . . I canít talk to you right now."
"Dr. Skinner, your husband is anxious to get this settled. Iím sorry if youíre reluctant but I need to schedule a court date."
"I canít. . . I canít do this right now. I will call you back." She hung up over his protests and stared at the phone. She didnít hear her mother come in and jumped when she touched her arm.
"Dana? Whatís wrong?"
"If I get any other calls I need you to tell them Iím not here. Iíll be in my room."
"Dana, talk to me." Scully had gotten past her and headed for her bedroom. Scully sat on the side of the bed staring into space. There was no reaction when her mother came into the room.
"Dana, please. Youíre scaring me."
"Mom, I canít talk right now. I need some time."
"Itís the cancer, isnít it? Itís come back."
"What? No, Mom, no. Itís not the cancer."
"Dr. Sanders called you, you rushed out, you came back like this. I know somethingís wrong and I have to know what it is."
"Mom, I. . . " She looked away and took a deep breath. "Dr. Sanders called to tell me Iím pregnant."
"Preg. . . " Maggie had to swallow trying to find her voice. "I thought. . . "
"So did I."
"Youíve always wanted to be a mother." She tried to smile at her daughter, then suddenly her eyes widened. "Oh Dana, whose baby is it? Walterís or Foxís?"
"Walterís! Mulder and I never. . . How could you. . . ?"
"Dana, Iím sorry! Iím so sorry. But if itís your husbandís baby. . . "
"I donít know if I have a husband. That other call was from Walterís attorney, reminding me that I havenít answered the divorce petition. And how do I tell him anyway? I mean, Iím in love with two men, neither of whom want me anymore."
"Dana, you know thatís not true. As misguided as both of their actions are, theyíre trying to give you space, what they think you need. But now everythingís changed."
"Has it? Iím still in love with both of them. Even if they are giving me space to make up my mind, I canít."
"Even if youíre carrying your husbandís child?"
"I canít process that right now. I canít even think about it. Mom, could you leave me alone for a little while? Please?"
"Youíre not going to do anything. . .?"
"No Mom. I wonít harm myself or. . . Iíll be okay. Mom, promise me that you wonít say anything to anyone about this. Promise me! Not even Bill or Tara."
"I wonít say anything, Dana. Iíll be here if you need anything." Scully nodded, her focus already far away.
She sat that way until Maggie once again tapped on the door and let herself in. "I brought you some dinner, Dana."
"Iím not hungry, Mom."
"That may be true, but youíre not the only one eating." Scully looked up startled then let her eyes drop. "You need to take care of yourself. And you need to find a way to relieve this stress Ė itís not good for either one of you."
"I know." She said quietly.
"Walter? Itís Maggie Scully. Iím sorry to bother you . . . "
"Maggie? Youíre not bothering me. Is everything okay?"
"No, itís not. I hate to come across like an interfering mother-in-law, but I need to ask you to call off your attorney."
"My attorney?" He was clearly puzzled at the course this conversation was taking.
"Yes. Mr. Pacer has called here several times trying to get Dana to respond to your divorce petition. I realize you may be anxious to have this behind you Ė "
"No Maggie. I thought she would be."
"Well, whatever, thatís between the two of you. But she canít take anymore right now. Sheís not well and Ė "
"Whatís wrong?" He broke in immediately.
"She hasnít been feeling her best and his continued, well harassment, is not helping."
"Mr. Pacer will not be calling you again. I had no idea he was in the first place. I appreciate you calling me Maggie. Tell me whatís wrong with Dana."
"Walter, sheíd be upset to know I called about this. If you two arenít communicating, I canít be the go-between."
She could hear the sigh clearly, "I was trying to give her what she wanted. I thought she needed time or at least my absence from the situation. I would never abandon her."
"I know that Walter. Itís an impossible situation for everyone."
"Is Mulder out there?" He hated asking that, but he couldnít stand not knowing another second.
"No. He hasnít been here Walter. I thought you knew that. She and I came out here alone, to visit Bill."
"When are you coming home?" His voice dropped on that last word. Maggie could visualize him at this desk, looking so strong but. . .
"I donít know. Sheís not up to the trip right now. Are you doing okay?"
"No. I miss her Maggie. How big a mistake did I make, letting her go?"
"Iím sorry, Walter. Thatís between you and Dana. Thank you for taking care of Mr. Pacer. Iíll try to let you know when weíre coming in. Take care of yourself." She hung up, knowing that sheíd had to stop the phone calls, but wondering if sheíd done the right thing. It didnít matter, Dana couldnít take much more. She was her mother and she would protect her to the best of her abilities.
Scully was just starting up the stairs when the doorbell rang. "Iíll get it Tara." She called out and turned back. She opened the door and stood there speechless.
"Dana. May I come in?"
"Wal. . . Walter?"
She didnít look herself. Sheíd lost weight, at least in her face, and she was pale. She definitely didnít look like sheíd been on vacation in Southern California. When she still didnít respond to his question, he stepped around her and took her arm.
"I didnít think Iíd surprise you so. I just wanted you to know I found out that Jerry had been bothering you. Iíve fired him. If we decide to get divorced, weíll handle it then. No one should have been pushing you for anything and Iím sorry."
"If? I thought it was what you wanted."
"And I thought it was what you wanted. Maybe a little communication would be in order. First though, are you okay? You look a little pale."
"Iím fine." She looked away, not meeting his eyes any longer.
"No youíre not. I know you better than that. What is it? Talk to me."
"I canít. Just donít worry about me."
"Thatís not possible Dana. Why donít we go for a ride, get you out of the house for a little while?"
He was being kind and she owed him this. Heíd been there for her when she had fallen apart at Mulderís death. None of this was his fault, he had been nothing but wonderful to her. She nodded and rose from the couch. "Let me leave Mom a note."
They drove around in silence for awhile. She sat with her head back, her eyes closed. He couldnít keep from looking over at her. He loved this woman. He wanted desperately to fight for her, but would it drive her farther away?
She opened her eyes and sat up. "Why donít you pull in over there. We do need to talk."
"Okay." His voice sounded a lot steadier than he felt. He pulled into the far corner of the parking lot at some restaurant heíd never heard of. "Do you want something to eat?"
"No. Please, letís just sit here."
He nodded, steeling himself for the worst.
"Walter, thereís a complication. Something I, something none of us could have foreseen. I donít know how youíre going to feel about it."
"Go on." His hand twitched to touch her, but he held himself back.
"Walter, Iím pregnant." He went very still, hearing the words echo in his head. But she couldnít, at least thatís what she had thought. Did that mean she hadnít worried about. . .
"Walter? Are you okay?"
So he couldnít hide his feelings as well as she could. This news, this was unbelievable. "Can I . . . can I ask you whose it is?"
She looked at him steadily, "Itís yours. Thereís no other possibility."
No other. . . she hadnít slept with Mulder? But that meant. . . She watched all of this flit across his face, a smile beginning to tug at her mouth.
"My baby. Youíre carrying my baby."
"Yes Walter. Are you okay?"
"Am I. . . ? Dana are you okay?"
"Itís been different. Iím glad to know what was causing the symptoms."
"When? I mean, how far along. . . ?" He glanced down at her abdomen. There was no sign. . .
"Your homecoming party from Toronto."
"I want you to come home Dana. Come home with me. I want to look after you now. We can make whatever decisions have to be made later. I need you to come home with me. Can you travel?"
"Walter how can I do that? How can I ask you to let me
live with you after what Iíve put you through, what Iím still putting you
"Iím not asking to pick up where we left off. I just want you home. After the babyís born we can make other arrangements. Youíd be more comfortable there anyway, with Linda as your doctor."
He remembered her doctorís name? She felt tears forming in her eyes.
"Dana, Iím not trying to make this worse. Please believe that."
"Thatís not it. Iím very emotional right now." She reached out her hand to him and he took it gratefully.
"Will you let me take you home?"
"I want to come home, but Mom canít leave now. Bill wonít be back for a couple of weeks and Tara needs her."
"I want you to stay at the apartment." He saw her tense up immediately. "No, Dana. Just allow me to look after you now. I want to do this. Iím not pressuring you about the marriage, honestly."
She relaxed again. "If I go, I have to tell Mulder about the baby immediately." He nodded, heíd expected no less.
"Do you feel well enough to make the trip?"
"That depends on how early in the morning we leave." She smiled at him, "But the answer is yes. Iím fine physically."
"It will be good to have you closer."
Maggie raised no real protests other than the normal admonitions to look after herself and call when she got there. However she took Walter aside while Dana was packing.
"Walter, itís the stress Iím concerned about. Sheís literally torn between you two and she canít handle any more pressure. Thatís not good for her or the baby. Iím counting on you to keep an eye on her."
He nodded solemnly and took Maggieís hand. "I canít love her less than I do, but I promise not to push. I donít want anything to happen to either of them."
Walter booked them on a plane that departed around 11 a.m. Heíd personally never left that late intentionally on a flight and was amused at the difference in passengers. His flights were normally full of executive business types on their way in a hurry. This flight had older women traveling alone, families with young children. A friendly chaos, without the cutthroat atmosphere. People actually helped other people and let others cut in front of them. There was even conversation in the waiting area. Scully smiled at his obvious gawking.
"Unfamiliar, huh?" Scully watched him observing the show.
"Completely. Are these flights always like this?" He was actually grateful for the slower pace, for her sake especially.
"Often, and flying into some of the puddle stops Mulder and I have. . ." She stopped, uncertain.
"Youíre not afraid to mention Mulder to me, are you?"
"Maybe, a little."
"Donít be, Dana. Heís part of us, maybe not my favorite part of this particular triangle, but important to the whole." She gave him a grateful smile.
Leaving at 11 in the morning might have advantages, but as the day wore on and he realized how late 9:30 at night was going to be for her he began to regret his promise that they would see Mulder when they landed.
When they landed in Cincinnati to change planes he brought it up, but she cut him off in mid-sentence. "Iím going to Mulderís apartment tonight. If you want to come with me Iíll be glad to have your company. If youíd rather go back to the apartment and wait for me, thatís fine too."
"Youíre not going to see him alone."
She looked at him sharply. "Youíre not afraid heíd hurt me?"
"He hurt you the night he found out we were married."
"Walter, he grabbed my arms. He didnít hurt me, he wouldnít. If thatís why you want to come with me, forget it. Iíll be fine."
He dropped it, but she would not be going alone. It wasnít in a part of town he especially wanted her to be in during the day. Now, and at night, no way.
"Who is it?"
"Scully. Can we come in?" That was followed by a long silence. So long that Walter was ready to take her arm and lead her away when they finally heard the door opening.
"You need a body guard to talk to me now Scully?" He looked up at her.
She was immediately struck by the fact that he was still in the wheelchair. Heíd been able to walk, at least a few steps when she left. Not now, and heíd lost some of the weight he had gained back rather than gaining more. She felt guilt suffuse every cell in her body.
Walter first noticed that they both looked worse than when the three of them had last been together. For a fanciful moment he actually thought they were dying from lack of each other. That sent a chill through his body before he was able to shake it off.
Mulder only saw her, he was aware that Skinner stood beside her and that she had probably come to deliver the deathblow, but she was here and for a moment at least he could savor that.
"The three of us need to talk. May we come in?" He didnít respond, but rolled back out of the way, allowing them entry.
There wasnít a lot of furniture, a couple of mismatched chairs. His leather couch was gone from when she had cleaned out his apartment. She hadnít been able to keep it. At the time, it had been too painful, now she regretted that for him. The table was piled with newspapers and take out cartons. No dishes in the sink that was at handicap level, apparently he didnít bother to rinse off the plastic utensils that obviously came with his meals. This was not a place he should be and she filed that away as one of her first items of business, if he would let her back into his life.
Unable to bear the silence and wanting to get this whole thing over with, Mulder finally pulled his chair up closer to when she had seated herself. "You two didnít have to cut your honeymoon short to come see me."
"Mulder Ė " Skinner started but Scully cut him off.
"Until yesterday, I had not seen either one of you for nearly two months. I went to California with Mom since neither of you wanted to be around me. I donít blame you," she raised her hand to stop the comments from both of them, "but now things are different and I need to be in Washington. I canít prove that Mom called Walter to have him help talk me into coming back, but thatís what happened. Donít look so surprised Walter, the Bureau didnít recruit me because I was stupid. And the reason she didnít call you, Mulder, is that youíve made yourself extremely hard to locate lately. She didnít have Walterís resources at her disposal."
The two men exchanged glances. Sheíd once again proven she was better than either of them and wasnít even breathing hard.
"Okay, so what do the three of us need to discuss?" Mulder wanted to get this over with so he could be alone with his pain.
Scully swallowed, not looking away from him and he realized for the first time that she was more than a little frightened. Did she think heíd lose it and attack her, was that why Skinner was here? Or did she think heíd try to off himself. He hadnít yet, though the thought had crossed his mind on more than one occasion. Now that heíd quit his physical therapy in fact it had crossed his mind even more often.
She took a deep breath. "Mulder, Iím pregnant." She watched the color leave his face as the words began to sink in. Before he could speak she leaned forward and put out her hand, though she did not touch him. "I want it Mulder. Itís probably my only chance."
"I know." He whispered. The thoughts racing through his mind didnít even make a coherent collage and he wondered briefly if he was experiencing a stroke.
"Mulder?" She was still leaning toward him, still reaching for him, hadnít several days passed since her words? It was up to him now, he realized. He had the power to hurt her irrevocably with his next words, then offing himself would be the only option. He managed to draw a breath.
"Well, since itís not going to look like me, I hope to hell it looks like you." He could see the tension leave her shoulders and the light come back into her eyes. He hadnít realized it was missing until he saw it return, now she looked like Scully again. His Scully, no matter what the reality was.
He became aware of Skinner again and realized there was a slight smile on his face as well. He no longer looked like a hit man, waiting for his shot.
"So what do we do now?" Mulder asked them both.
"Now I take Dana to the apartment and let her get some rest. Itís been a long day and whether sheíll admit it or not, sheís exhausted." Skinner spoke first.
"Your apartment?" Mulder said it quietly, it wasnít really a question.
"Yes. Want to come share the guest room with me Mulder?" Skinner shot back, giving him the information he wanted even though it hurt like hell to do it.
"Walter, Mulder, please." Now they could both see her exhaustion. Sheíd done what she felt she had to tonight. Walter was right, if she didnít get home soon she wasnít going to make it. She wondered abstractedly if sheíd be less tired if sheíd walked from California.
Without another word, Skinner lifted her to her feet and realized he was half supporting her. Mulder saw it at the same time. "Get her home and call me Skinner. Weíll talk tomorrow."
Skinner nodded already walking her to the door. He was confident she was asleep before he buckled her into the seat. Maggie would have his hide if she ever found out about this. He should have stuck to his own beliefs and done this tomorrow. She didnít wake when he parked the car, so he gently carried her to the apartment and put her to bed. She barely moved, even when he undressed her, only snuggling into the pillow for a deeper rest.