He did phone Mulder after she was safely tucked in bed. He owed him that, he knew that Mulder had diffused a volatile situation with his sardonic quip and he was immensely grateful. Scully had relaxed after that, hell, sheíd barely kept her eyes open to leave the apartment. He was in a marriage of three; he might as well face it. And he was going to be a father with the woman he loved, Mulder would never be able to take that from him.
He let himself into the guestroom and slept the best sleep he had had in months.
Scully slept late the next morning and was very surprised to find Mulder having a cup of coffee with Walter when she finally wandered into the kitchen. She reached for a cup and Skinner handed her a glass of juice.
"Havenít had time to go buy decaf yet. Have the juice instead."
"I beg your pardon?" She held the glass and just stared at Walter.
"Arenít you suppose to cut out caffeine?"
"Oh god." She sank into the chair across from Walter. She glanced from one to the other. She had obviously missed an important meeting here. "Listen guys. I need my caffeine before I go to work and Ė "
"Thatís another thing." Her eyes widened, what the hell had gone on here?
"Yessss." She drew it out and Mulder had to look away, heíd warned Skinner this wouldnít go over well.
"We think you should see Linda before you decide on a work schedule."
"Oh we do. And when did we decide this?" If her eyebrow went any higher Mulder was afraid it would disappear into her hair completely. This was almost amusing, Skinner thinking he could direct Scully at home like he tried to at the Bureau. They might be married, but he had a hell of a lot to learn about her.
"And wipe that grin off your face Mulder." She turned to him then and he turned his totally innocent look to her. She snorted and turned back to Walter. "First thing we need to get straight here is that I am not sick. I do plan to make an appointment with Linda at my first opportunity, but I plan to work and function and Ė "
"You have an appointment with her at 2:30 this afternoon." Walter volunteered. Mulder managed to curb his impulse to wheel away from the table and duck.
Scully glanced over at Mulder again. He was enjoying this way too much, but his amusement was keeping her temper from exploding. As well as knowing Walter was trying, and failing, to handle this without angering her.
She took a deep breath. "We need to back up a little here. What went on out here while I was asleep? Details. Because if you think Iím going to just sit around here and do nothing for the next seven months, I can head back for California."
"Scully, calm down. Skinner invited me over to discuss some things. We didnít mean to step on your toes." She didnít look like she believed him, but she let him continue. "Iím going to start back on the physical therapy Ė "
"About time. I will be coming over to work with you on that after work, no more backsliding."
"Not to my apartment. Thatís another thing we discussed."
"Dana, thatís not a place I want you going. Itís not a good neighborhood and for people to see you coming in and out every day, especially later. . . " Skinnerís voice trailed off at the look on her face.
"So anyway," Mulder broke in, "could you help me find a new apartment, maybe closer to here, if I can afford it? Maybe I could even furnish it or something. . ." His voice trailed off as well and they all sat just looking at each other for a long moment.
"Well? What other decisions regarding me did we make?"
"Dana, please, this is a new situation for all of us. Weíre not trying to control you, well okay, maybe a little." He conceded as the eyebrow started its assent again, "But itís because we care. Look at you, youíve lost weight, not gained, youíre obviously not feeling your best. Were you okay this morning?"
She looked at him, surprised. "I was. Maybe I slept through it. Maybe Iím just glad to be home. It doesnít matter, Iím the only one in this room with an MD, I will not turn control of myself over to either one of you and you better realize that right now."
They both nodded, chastened. "I will see Linda today, since the appointment has been made. I donít even want to know what you said to get an appointment this quickly. And I will follow her advice, you both know what this means to me. But there will be no more policy meetings without me. Do you understand?" Again they nodded, relieved that the lecture seemed to be over.
"Linda? What is it? Whatís wrong?" Scully was watching her friend closely, eyes narrowed, trying to take in her body language as well as her facial expression.
"Did I say anything was wrong?"
"Then talk to me." Dana was growing more uncomfortable by the second.
"Canít I be surprised? Weíve known each other for years, Dana, but I never thought Iíd be treating you for this particular condition. I know your medical history and background."
"So? What arenít you saying? Is the baby alright?"
Linda stood from where she had been leaning on the desk and returned to her seat, opening the file. "Youíve lost weight and youíre slightly anemic. I assume thatís because of the morning sickness. Itís been bad, hasnít it."
She waited for Scullyís grudging nod. "And I donít mean to frighten you, but your blood pressure is ever so slightly elevated. I might not even mention it to a lay person, but youíre a doctor and you need to know. You might as well realize Iím planning to treat this as a high-risk pregnancy."
"So thereís more. What?"
"No, thatís all I know at this point. You can read your file if you want. I do want to do an ultra-sound, make sure everythingís where it belongs."
"Iíll schedule it."
"Letís do it now. Youíre here, Iím here, why wait?" She stood again as Scully paled slightly. She rounded the desk and sat beside her friend.
"I get to see you on the day Walter calls for an appointment, now youíre going to do an ultra-sound yourself? Linda. . . "
"I want this to happen for you Dana. Those guys in the waiting room want it too. Both of them. Youíre getting my ultra-conservative care. And youíre the only patient Iíve got with your particular history. Oh, about work. . . "
Scullyís eyes narrowed, had Ďthose guysí already talked to her. "Wipe that look off your face, Dana. You havenít been working for the last couple of months, I want to continue that until your energy returns and youíre in your second trimester. Then we can talk about a modified schedule."
"Modified?" This was worse than she had expected, worse than the two of them expected she imagined.
"Modified. No red-eye flights to Kalamazoo, no chasing bad guys down alleys, if possible no alien abductions." She smiled slightly at that one; sheíd known Dana since before Mulder had turned her life upside down.
Scully finally relaxed, that kind of modification. Okay, she hadnít really planned to go back to work that way until after the baby was born. Quantico and teaching, surely that wouldnít threaten anything. Linda watched the tension leave her shoulders and nodded to herself. This was a tenuous pregnancy and she needed to convey that without frightening her. Shit, the woman supposedly had no ova, had survived cancer, had that thing in her neck and was torn between two men. Yippee.
"Why donít we go see what we can see?" Linda stood and took Danaís hand.
"Nice strong heartbeat, plenty of amniotic fluid, good position of the placenta. I like it Dana." Linda continued to slide the instrument over her abdomen.
Scully closed her eyes for a moment in relief, but couldnít leave them closed. That was her baby she was watching. This wasnít her field of expertise but she knew enough to know those were very healthy signs.
"Do you want anyone else to come in and see this?" Linda looked up at her.
"Both of them."
"Okay, whatever you say." She stepped to the door and had her nurse go for the two men waiting anxiously in her outer office.
Both men seemed to be struck dumb by the rapid heartbeat that was plainly visible on the screen. Linda pointed out the head and torso to them. "Itís too soon to tell the sex, but weíll do other ultra-sounds so if you want to know, maybe we can find out later." Now Scully was watching the men instead of the screen. Mulder was slightly uncomfortable, though no one but she would be able to see it. Walter was totally mesmerized by the sight.
When she left to get dressed Linda cornered the two of them and herded them into her office. "Hereís the deal guys. I donít know which of you is the father and I donít personally care. I consider this pregnancy tenuous. There will be no stress induced by you two. Donít think I would hesitate to castrate both of you if you cause her grief."
Walter stared at her, Mulder had had run-ins with Linda before and took her at her word. They both nodded solemnly.
They developed a routine. During the day she worked with Mulder, pushing him to exercise. She wanted him strong, walking, himself again. The apartment they found was closer and even Walter couldnít object to the neighborhood. He ate well and forced her to do the same, so both gained the weight their doctors pressed for. He was using the walker within a couple of weeks.
In the evenings she was with Walter, back to the easy style they had developed while living together. There was little change except for separate rooms. Walter had Mulder begin work again as a consultant. He wasnít yet able to handle fieldwork and since she couldnít go with him, he had no real desire to travel yet anyway.
They all celebrated when he was able to move to the cane and give up the walker. They all three now worked mornings, with Mulder and Scully doing their physical therapy in the afternoons.
They found a track near his apartment and began walking it. He practiced without the cane and eventually became able to do the entire circuit without it. She was so excited by that achievement she threw her arms around him and hugged him. He was caught off guard for a second, then found his arms around her, holding her close. Never letting go entered his mind and then he felt the child stir against him.
He reluctantly released her. "Are we ever going to be together Scully?"
"We are together Mulder. Donít doubt that."
She was dragging and he finally commented on it. "Iím suppose to be the one learning to walk again Scully. If you canít waddle any faster than that Iíll have to get a new walking companion."
"I am not waddling." She shot back at him.
"Are you okay?" Now that he was looking at her, she seemed a little strained.
"My backís bothering me a little."
If she was admitting it, she must be in real pain. Without another word he took her arm and led her to the bleachers surrounding the track. "Thatís enough for today then. You should have said something. Iíll go get the car."
"Mulder." She frowned at him, exasperated. This was why she hadnít mentioned her back early.
"You wanna fight? Then wait here." He was walking well now and was exercising even when she wasnít around. He was ready to be normal again and never look at that damn wheelchair again as long as he lived.
She was very quiet on the ride home, too quiet for him. He walked her inside, "Look, why donít I wait here for Walter? I donít have any plans this afternoon."
"I am fine, Mulder. Iíll take a nap, go home."
"Will you call me later?" He was reluctant to leave, but he couldnít put a finger on why. She was probably just tired but he would be calling here to check on her, no way heíd wait for her to call.
Thatís exactly what he did when he thought Walter should be home, calling on Walterís cell phone, just in case she was still asleep.
"Itís me. Is she okay?"
"Mulder? I just walked in. Why? What was wrong?"
"She just wasnít herself this afternoon. Of course she didnít want me to stay, but . . . "
Walter glanced over at the bedroom door. It was shut. "Sheís probably asleep. Hold on." He put his briefcase on the desk and headed that way. He cracked open the door and looked inside. "Dana! Oh god, Dana!"
"What!" Mulderís grip on the phone sent his knuckles white immediately. "Skinner! What?"
"Iím hanging up Mulder, Iím calling 911."
"Iíll meet you there." The phone went dead. What the hell was going on? He knew he shouldnít have left her, but he allowed her to brush his concerns away. Damn, what was happening?
He beat them to the hospital and had them locate Linda. He didnít know what was going on, but he felt better knowing she was around. She met him in the ER just as the ambulance pulled up and together they met the gurney. Walter ran in right behind them, having followed the ambulance from the apartment.
She was in obvious pain but when Mulder took her hand the lines in face eased and she seemed to breathe a little easier. Linda made a mental note of it but said nothing. She didnít know if Walter had seen what his presence did for her or not. It didnít matter now anyway.
"Out of the way Fox. Iíll talk to both of you later." And she disappeared into an examining room with her.
They both stood staring at the door until Walter finally pulled himself together. "Okay, what happened this afternoon?"
Mulder looked over at him as though he didnít recognize him, then shook himself and headed for the waiting room. "Nothing, not really. We were walking like we always do and I mentioned she was dragging. She finally admitted her back was bothering her so I made her quit right then. I got the car and brought her home. I offered to stay until you got there, but she said she was just going to nap and to go on. I didnít call because I didnít want to wake her. Thatís why I waited for you. God, I should never have left her. . . What happened?"
"I donít know. She was obviously in a lot of pain. She was. . . she was calling out for both of us." He couldnít bring himself to mention that sheíd moaned Mulderís name nearly twice as much as sheíd called for him.
They sank into silence, barely aware of the otherís presence, thinking their own thoughts. Time slowed to a crawl, but Mulder was on his feet first when Linda finally emerged from the room.
"Weíre moving her upstairs. Sheís in pre-term labor and weíre going to do everything we can to stop it. Iíll let you see in her a little while."
"What happens if you canít stop it?" Walter asked it quietly, his fear evident.
Linda shook her head. "Infants can survive at 24 weeks, but. . . Just hold a good thought." She moved to return to her patient.
"What caused this?" Mulder had thought sheíd offer an explanation but she was just walking off.
"Nothing, anything. You know what her bodyís been subjected to over the past few years as well as I do. Itís why Iíve been so conservative in my treatment. The ultrasound looks good, heís just awfully small and I want to keep him where he is as long as I can." She turned again, then stopped. "Itís not you guys. Weíve talked, sheís not been under stress from. . . from the situation. Donít sit here feeling guilty. Believe me, if there was a reason, Iíd let you know."
Mulder nodded, Walter was staring into the distance. It was at least another hour before they were allowed in to see her. She was still pale, but not like she had been when sheíd arrived here. She was still on an IV but the oxygen was gone. It was the fetal monitor that held Walterís attention.
"Youíd do anything for attention, wouldnít you?" Mulder took her hand and kissed it.
"Thereís no excitement just hanging around DC. Iím used to solving weird cases, remember?" She gave him a tired smile.
"How are you feeling?" Walter was at her other side now, closest to the monitor.
"Better. The contractions have almost stopped."
Walter nodded, not sure what to say. Fortunately he was saved from any comment by Lindaís arrival.
"These guys bothering you?" She winked at Scully.
"Theyíre not too bad. Well?" She watched Linda check the monitor.
"Looking better. Iím going to put you on steroids just in case." Scully nodded.
"What does that do?" Walter had hold of her other hand now.
"Helps the babyís lungs mature. Donít worry, Walter. Sheís in good hands. Sheís also going to be on complete bed rest for the next few weeks." She looked over at Scully to see if there was any argument from that quarter. There was none and Linda gave her a bigger smile. "I like it when you donít try to second guess me. You know I did rank above you in medical school."
"Half a point." Scully snorted.
"Half a point is half a point. Iím going to throw everybody out now. You need the rest and they look like they could use some too. Go home. Iíll call you if I need you."
Linda had to actually herd them from the room; neither was willing to leave her side. Linda wasnít more than an inch or two taller than Scully, though quite a bit stockier but when she wanted to move people, they moved. "I want you both out of here. Go home, go eat. If you stay youíll keep her awake and sheíll pick up on how worried you are. She doesnít need to spend her energy reassuring you. Go."
She was released after a couple of days, and sent home for complete bed rest. Again the schedules changed and Mulder took over the care of her during the day. He could still do his consulting by computer from her apartment. Adjustments were made with a minimum of stress on her, always Mulderís and Skinnerís first thought.
The use of the bedpan was a major sticking point until Mulder pointed out, quite correctly, that she had done the same for him and she might as well shut up about it. So after a few remarks regarding picnic attachments, the issue regained its proper perspective.
He still continued his exercises, now in her bedroom under her watchful eye and even allowed her input on some of the cases he was consulting on though he pretended to do so grudgingly.
Mrs. Scully flew in from California, where she had remained as Billís tour was extended and extended, as soon as she was informed of the problem. She held herself back as much as possible, allowing these three to work things out together. Besides, as much as Fox tried to hide it, he wanted the time alone with Dana during the day. She was in the way.
Mulder was probably in the best shape heíd ever been in, at least since he swam in high school. Heíd progressed from exercising to working out, even keeping some exercise equipment in her bedroom now. She was up and walking a little now, on modified bed rest and that had encouraged him as much as anything to build up his muscles. He wanted to be perfectly capable of doing anything she needed done.
Mulder realized it was getting harder to leave each evening, when it was time for Skinner to arrive and take his place. Unfortunately the reality was that Mulder was taking Skinnerís place during the day. He almost never accepted the invitation to dinner that was occasionally made.
Skinner was aware of this conflict within Mulder but made no comment. He could feel the two of them growing closer, depending on each other as they always had. He kept quiet; nothing would be gained by mentioning it, other than stress for her. The pregnancy was progressing and she was in much better spirits. Thatís what was important, this other wasnít exactly new anyway.
Mulder headed for the door, he didnít have anywhere he wanted to be, but it was Walterís time with her. They were friendly, hell heíd never spent so much time with Walter Skinner and he did like the man, more than heíd thought possible at one time. But he never forgot he was married to her. Shit! He wasnít about the upset the status quo now. Linda had finally let her be on her feet when she wanted as long as she didnít overdo, and he wasnít going to do anything to cause her grief.
He had his hand on the doorknob when he heard her. "Wait." He turned back and spotted her clinging to the bedroom door. Her gown was soaked. Walter froze for a second but Mulder was moving. He was at her side in two steps, but she was already doubled over.
"Whereís your car?" Mulder had her in his arms. Walter was moving now. He had the door open and the elevator summoned.
Mulder laid her in the backseat and Skinner was already putting the car in gear. They werenít about to wait for any ambulance this time. He could hear her in the backseat, Mulder murmuring to her. Well, that was good. Mulder was better with her when she was in pain. It was still too early, thirty weeks, but the baby had a better shot than he had earlier.
He was making good time; rush hour was over for all intents and purposes. Everything would be okay, it had to be. This was his son, the only child heíd ever have. No, donít think about anything but traffic.
"Oh shit. Hurry, Walter. Damn it hurry!"
"What? Mulder whatís happening?" He received no response and didnít dare take his eyes off the road at this speed. What was that noise? A high pitched Ė oh god! The baby? "Dana!" He did turn slightly then and saw Mulder stripping off his t-shirt.
"Turn the heat on, all the way!"
He complied then jerked the cell phone from his pocket. "Is this an emergency?" The ultra calm voice of the 911 operator was in his ear.
"My wife just gave birth in the car. I need you to contact Georgetown, tell them our ETA is 10 minutes, less if I can do it. And find Dr. Linda Carruthers."
"Is the baby breathing?" She was alert now, but still maintaining calm. Hell, she wasnít here in the car with them. Sheíd be shaken then.
"He was, Mulder, is the baby breathing?"
"Yeah." He was too busy for conversation, let Skinner talk to them.
"Iím contacting the hospital now, sir. Stay on the line."
The rest of the trip was blur to him. His son had been born and he wasnít sure he or Dana would live. He slowed down only to turn into the emergency entrance. Skinner spotted Linda pacing on the emergency dock, a gurney already waiting. Sheís the one that jerked the door of the car open.
"Did you cut the cord?"
"No, but the placentaís been delivered."
"Okay, hold him." She was prepared and swiftly clamped and cut the cord. "Whereís that neonatal unit!" She handed the infant out of the car, wrapped in Mulderís t-shirt.
"She was seizing." Mulder was pale as a ghost. Linda made no comment, examining her friend and patient rapidly.
"Letís get her inside! Come on." Linda shoved Mulder out of the car and climbed out herself to allow the emergency room personnel access to her.