He approached the door not sure which emotion was foremost in his mind. Fear, anxiety, of course joy at actually seeing her again. Damn if his palms weren't moist. He knocked on the door, and shortly heard her voice finally, asking who was there. His pleasure rose just hearing her. They hadn't spoken since that disastrous meeting several days after her wedding. That hadn't gone well at all. He hoped it had been long enough so that she wasn't still angry. Even if she was, he couldn't wait to see her.
"It's Mulder." That brought a lengthy silence from the other side of the door and his anxiety increased.
Finally the door opened a crack and she looked out. "Why are you here?" His heart sank, she hated him. But he had a reason to be here, he could fall back on that.
"Your mother called. She said you needed my help."
"Mom called you?" What was she thinking? She was going to get him killed. She should never have involved him, no matter what her suspicions were.
"Scully, I've just flown half way across the country. Can't you offer me a cup of coffee?" She looked so troubled. Maggie was right, whether she was going to admit it or not, she needed his help.
She closed the door and he heard the chain being removed. She opened the door and he entered, turning to look at her. He went pale and his lips moved though no sound emerged.
"Mom didn't tell you I was pregnant?"
He swallowed hard, "It must have slipped her mind." She shut the door and turned toward the living room. "You, uh, you look like you're due soon."
She nodded, not answering his obvious question. "Mom shouldn't have bothered you, and I shouldn't have let you in. Sam will be home any minute. He wouldn't be happy to see you here."
"I didn't come to see him."
"Mulder, everything is fine. I don't know what she could have been thinking to have you come all the way out here." Well, at least she hadn't learned to lie over the past year. Not to him anyway.
"Why don't I believe you Scully?"
They both heard the key in the lock at the same time. Scully started violently and Mulder's eyes narrowed. What was going on here?
"Dana?" Sam called, "There's a car in the driveway. You didn't tell me you were expecting company." He turned and spotted Mulder. He went rigid; his fury was palpable even across the room.
"She wasn't expecting me." He took a step toward Sam, his hand extended.
"Then why are you here?"
Mulder let his hand drop. "I was in town on an investigation and just thought I'd stop by to say hello."
"Well, you've done that. My wife and I would like for you to leave now."
Mulder turned to look at her and saw the pleading look in her face. She wanted him out of here. He questioned her with his eyes, but she looked away.
"Yeah, I guess I should be on my way. Uh, congratulations on the new arrival."
"Thanks. Dana and I are very happy about it." He didnít sound very happy. Sam turned and walked to the door, holding it open for him. Mulder turned to Scully but she flinched back from him so he didn't approach her.
"Well, it was good seeing you again. And good luck."
"Thanks. Goodbye." She wouldn't look at him. He left the house, aware that Sam was watching him. He pulled out and drove around the block, where he parked and headed back to the house on foot.
"What the hell was Mulder doing here?" He demanded when he turned to her.
"He told you, he just stopped by. I didn't even know he was in town."
"You expect me to believe that? You know the rules." She placed her hands on her stomach as though to shield the child. "He's not suppose to contact you. We had an agreement!" Sam's rage was mounting.
"Sam, please." Her voice was soothing. "He was only here a few minutes. You can ask Mrs. Wilson. He had just gotten here when you arrived."
"Are you accusing me of having the neighbors spy on you?"
"No, no Sam. Please. . . " He grabbed her arms, his anger taking control. He jerked her around facing him and backhanded her across the face. She stepped back away from him and he advanced, striking her again. She fell back on the sofa, her mouth bleeding.
Mulder had made it back to the house in time to hear Sam's voice raised in anger, though he couldn't quite make out the words. He found a window and carefully looked in. He saw the first blow and was stunned into immobility. The second blow, the one causing her to fall sent a murderous rage though him. He was through the front door with one kick, gun drawn.
"Back away from her. Now!"
Sam turned, "What the hell are you doing in my home?" He took a step toward Mulder.
"Come at me Anderson. Please!" He steadied his gun. Sam's eyes narrowed and he actually shook with rage but he managed to retreat a step. "Are you okay, Scully?"
"Anderson! Her name is Anderson. She's my wife and you have no business here." He was practically shrieking.
"Domestic violence. Any officer of the law has jurisdiction. Step back." When Sam complied, he stepped to the sofa and with his free hand helped her to her feet. Without taking his eyes off Sam he held her. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine Mulder."
"We're getting out of here."
"Mulder, I - "
"I'm not leaving you here. Come on." He kept his arm around her and backed toward the door. She fell silent, allowing Mulder to stay in control of the situation. Once out of the house he rushed her to his car and seated her carefully, then got in and took off.
She didnít speak, so he held his own words until he had her safely in his hotel room. He sat her on the bed and knelt in front of her.
"Are you really okay? Do you need a doctor?"
She shook her head. "I shouldn't be here."
"Where should you be? Back there with him? Letting him hit you?" He rose and sat beside her. "Scully, this isn't you. You'd never let a man do that to you. Talk to me. Your mother was right, you do need my help."
"She should never have called you."
"How long has he been hitting you?"
She didnít answer, heaving herself off the bed, ignoring his proffered hand. She went into his bath alcove and washed the blood from her lip and chin. After a moment he followed her.
"Scully, you have to tell me what's going on here."
"I shouldn't have left the house. I need to go home."
"No! I'm not letting you go back there."
"He's my husband, Mulder."
"He's a wife beater, scum of the earth, Scully! You will not return to that house."
"How does that make you better than him?"
"Scully?" She was scared. What the hell could scare Scully? It wasn't just the physical abuse - it was more than that. "Maybe I'm not any better than him, maybe I'll go macho caveman on you too, but I swear I would never hurt you. Never! Let me help you."
She couldn't stop the tear that escaped and ran down her face. Mulder caught it with his finger and held her eyes. "You can't Mulder. No one can help me. I need you to go back home and forget everything you've seen."
"You can't be serious. He could kill you. Does he not even care about his child?"
She looked away then and tried to get around him.
"What?" His eyes were probing her, seeing too much. "Is it his baby?" She looked up, startled. "It's not, is it? That's why he's so angry? You had an affair? No, he thinks it's mine. That's it, isn't it Scully?" She'd looked away and wouldn't answer him. "Scully?" He put his hands on her shoulders and realized she was shaking.
He pulled her into his arms and held her gently, relief flooding his body when her arms went around him. He felt the child stir between them and she buried her face in his chest. "Talk to me Scully."
"Why did you come here? They'll kill you."
"Kill me? What are you talking about? Your mother said you needed help, it's obvious she was right."
"She doesn't know the whole story."
"Apparently neither do I. And I want to, now."
"I can't. They'll kill you." She was shaking again. He led her back to the bed and sat beside her.
"You need to calm down, or I'm taking you to the hospital."
She gave a shaky laugh. "That's not necessary yet. I've missed you so much."
"Why didn't you call. I'd have been here for you. You must know that."
"Yes. That's why I didn't call." Her smile faded. "It was part of the deal."
"So they wouldn't kill you."
"Who? Who do you think wants to kill me?"
She shook her head. "I made the deal Mulder. I married their psycho and they've left you alone."
Now he grabbed her shoulders. "You married Sam to save me?" She refused to meet his eyes. "You married the wrong man, got pregnant by the wrong man for my sake!"
"No! I would never have his. . . " Her voice trailed off.
"Never have his baby. Is that what you were going to say?" She buried her face in her hands.
"Whose baby are you carrying Scully?" She didn't remove her hands, shaking her head. "Okay, okay you've been though enough for now. I want you to lie down and try to get some rest. I'm going to make some calls."
She nodded and rose from the bed. "Where are you. . . ?"
"The bathroom. And don't worry, I'm not going out the window."
He grinned, she was trying. While she was out of the room he pulled the covers back and found an extra blanket in the closet. She stood at the door a moment before returning to the room, watching him work to make her comfortable. Tears welled up again, but she dashed them away and came back to him.
She sat back on the bed, leaning back on her arms, stretching her back. He couldn't keep his eyes from the movement within her. She saw his hand twitch and smiled. "It's okay, you can feel it." He still hesitated so she took his hand and placed it on her stomach. Both of their eyes widened as the baby surged into his hand.
"He doesn't do that much any more."
"Why not?" He couldn't tear his eyes away from her stomach.
"No more room."
"You never told me when you were due."
"According to the doctor, Tuesday."
"Tuesday?" He looked up at her, "you mean as in five days from now Tuesday?"
She nodded, "But it's a first baby, so there's really no way of knowing."
"Why isn't that any more reassuring?"
She smiled and shook her head. "Go ahead, lie down." He knelt and removed her shoes. He couldn't see any way for her to reach them herself, and then eased her back against the pillows. He saw tears gather in her eyes again.
She shook her head; "It's hormones. I'm okay." He pulled the covers over her and retreated to the bathroom to make his calls, so as not to disturb her.
When he returned she was asleep, so he set up his computer on the small table and went to work. Occasionally he looked up to check on her. When she became restless he moved his chair closer to her and brushed the hair off of her forehead. He saw the bruise forming on her cheek and his hatred of Sam rose again.
"Mulder." He started to respond, then realized she was still asleep and had relaxed again. After a few minutes he moved his chair back and continued his search. It wasn't long before he pulled away, removing his glasses and burying his own face in his hands. What had they done to them?
When he sat back up he saw that she was awake and watching him. He rose and sat beside her on the bed.
"Where was the procedure done, Scully? Who performed the insemination?"
"Mulder. . . "
"Their plan was flawless. Close down the X-Files to break my spirit. Convince you they would kill me if you didn't cooperate, then finish me off by taking you away. Make me believe that you loved someone else. That is my baby isn't it? That was part of the deal. I bet they even made you believe it was your idea. Plots within plots Scully."
"What are you talking about?"
"I don't think I was ever in danger. It was just a device to get your cooperation. You know, I used to have a partner who kept telling me I couldn't make decisions based on her safety. You should have listened to her, I'm not worth it."
"Mulder. . . "
"I'm not. And I can't make all of this up to you, not in this lifetime."
"Mulder, we need to get out of here. Sam could find you."
"No, I called Byers. I've been removed from the computer here at the hotel and at the rental car company. I've gotten us an apartment here in town. One of those executive furnished places. We can move in tomorrow. I wanted them to think I was coming into town, not already here. I wanted to take you home, to your mother's, but it's not safe for you to travel now."
"Byers." She smiled, "How are the guys?"
"Fine. They send their love, especially Frohike." She chuckled and attempted to sit up. He had his arms around her, helping her. She found her hand on his cheek.
"How can we be this close again so fast?"
"I'm not sure we've really been apart." She placed her head on his shoulder.
"Maybe you're right." They sat that way for awhile, holding each other, his hand caressing the child.
Finally he drew back, "Hey, are you getting hungry?"
"No, I really don't feel like eating."
"You should, you know."
"One of those awful garbage pizzas you always order?"
"I'm not sure that's really nutritious enough for you right now." He couldn't get enough of looking into her eyes.
"It would be fine. And better than using room service here."
"True. Okay, I'll call." He held out his hand to help her up. "Bathroom, right?"
She pretended to swat him. "I'm never going to live this down, am I?"
He grinned, "I've got to admit, I can't quite visualize you chasing down a perp right now." She shook her head, but accepted the offer of his hand.
When the pizza arrived, they sat on the bed like old times, eating it, avoiding talking about what was happening opting instead to talk about the past. When he realized her back was bothering her, he rearranged the pillows and after settling her kept his hand on her back, rubbing it lightly where she would press into his hand.
It wasn't long before she was yawning again. "I cannot believe how much sleep I need now. There's a lot of things I didn't give credence to before, I owe some patients apologies from my residency days."
"There's nothing to do tonight anyway and no one knows where we are, thanks to the guys. Why don't you get comfortable? I'll sleep over there."
"Why? I mean, it's a king-size bed. Even I'm not that big. You might as well be comfortable too. Go ahead and watch TV, it won't bother me, nothing keeps me awake, except maybe porn." She grinned at him.
"Scully! I would never. . . "
"Yeah, right. Help me up one more time and then I will go on to bed."
She came back wearing the robe provided by the hotel. He had to smile when he realized it was trailing behind her on the floor. "If you make a crack about me being as wide as I am tall. . . "
He grinned, "Too easy a target, Scully. I'll wait." She narrowed her eyes, but couldn't continue even pretending to be angry with him. God, how she had needed this man. He already understood more about what was going on than she did; at least she thought he did. Being able to lean on him again was more than she'd dared hope for, even in her dreams.
She was right, the TV hadn't bothered her at all, though he had kept it low and turned it off when he finally became drowsy himself. They had gone to sleep on opposite sides of the bed, but he woke to find they had met in the middle, his body spooned around hers, his arm cradling the child inside her body.
How had he let so much time go by without seeing her? He'd known something was wrong with her marriage from the beginning. That's why they'd had that argument. But she had convinced him that she loved another man. With his insecurities that hadn't been so very hard to do. It was never going to happen again. She would not be taken from him ever again. Her or his child.
Without thinking he began nuzzling her neck, finally kissing it when she didnít protest. That woke her and she drew away.
"What are you. . .? Mulder." She relaxed back into his arms.
"Did your husband not kiss you good morning?"
"My Ďhusbandí and I donít share a room."
"What?" But he couldnít disguise the joy on his face.
"You heard me. Could you help me up please?"
"I donít know, Iím awfully comfortable."
"You wonít be if I wet the bed." He laughed out loud, his delight at having her with him, her revelation of her sleeping arrangements, feeling the child stir within her, had made him as happy as he ever remembered being.
He rose and lifted her into his arms, startling her. "I didnít think you could do that any more."
"You still donít weigh anything." He lowered her feet to the floor and made sure she was steady before he released her.
When she was dressed, he took over the facilities and packed his bag. "The first flights should be arriving, we can head over to the apartment. I donít want them to see you, Iíll go in alone, okay?"
She nodded, "I am pretty obvious right now. I think thatís a good idea."
"Good. Have we got everything? Iíll take the stuff out to the car and bring it around."
"I can walk, Mulder."
"I know, I just want less chance of you being seen. Please wait here for me."
She rolled her eyes, but nodded and he was out the door. He wasnít gone long. "Iím parked right down there. You ready?"
"Yep. Letís go." He had his arm around her and led her toward the car. At one point her step faltered and his arm tightened. "You okay?"
"Yeah, Iím fine." She sounded a little breathless to him.
"Donít worry, Scully. Iíve got you."
"Itís okay, I just canít see my feet anymore."
"Then youíll have to trust me to watch out for you."
"I do." He looked down at her, she sounded so serious suddenly. Theyíd reached the car, so he helped her inside.
"Where do you want to eat?"
"None for me, thanks. Get whatever you want."
"Scully. . . "
"Iím not eating anything. Maybe later." He was watching her, what had caused this change in attitude? It must be hormonal. He shrugged it off.
She had gone very quiet, so he left her to her thoughts, happy just to be with her and not really needing to talk. At the residence hotel he parked at the far end of the lot and handed her the newspaper he had brought.
"I wonít be long." She nodded and took the paper.
When he returned he stopped to observe her. She was staring into space, the paper still unopened. As he got closer he saw that she was caressing the baby. He opened the car door and slipped in.
"We all set?"
"Yes. Where were you?"
"Just thinking." He dropped it, sheíd withdrawn into herself. He had no way of knowing what sheíd been through this past year. He needed to give her time, like a prisoner who had just been released. Well, whatever she needed, he was here.
Once inside the apartment she began checking the furnishings and supplies. He assumed she was making a list of things they needed, so he set up his computer and continued working. She couldnít seem to settle down, checking and rechecking the various rooms.
Finally he rose and followed her into the bedroom. "Are you okay? Do you need anything?"
"Iím sorry, I didnít mean to scare you."
"You didnít, I just. . . "
"Look, I know this is hard on you. Please tell me what I can do to help."
She gave him a rueful smile. "You already are. Go on back to what you were doing."
He put his arms around her, "Iím glad Iím here." She ran a hand over his cheek and nodded, not really needing words. "You should be hungry by now. Want an early lunch?"
"Iíll let you know." She stepped away from him and went back into the kitchen. It sounded like she was making tea. Good idea, maybe it would relax her.
It was about an hour later when he realized he was getting hungry himself. He headed toward the bedroom and met her coming to him. She didnít look right; in fact she looked upset. She shouldnít be worrying about anything now. He opened his mouth to reassure her, but she beat him to it.
"I need to ask you a favor."
"Sure, anything." When she didnít respond, "Scully?"
"This is a big one Mulder."
He took her arm. "What?"
"Will you help me deliver my baby?"
"Who, me? I wouldnít think Iíd be your first choice. We donít really need to decide this now." He put his finger under her chin to bring her eyes up to him. What he saw there froze him. "Do we?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact we do."
"I was hoping it was Braxton-Hicks, false labor. But my water just broke." His hands tightened on her arms. As soon as he realized it, he loosened his grip.
"Scully youíre going to need a doctor."
She searched his eyes now. "I am a doctor. Mulder, theyíll be watching the
hospitals, the clinics. I donít want them to get their hands on our - on my baby."
"Our baby. Scully I want you both to be safe. I donít have any experience."
"I can talk you though it. I trust you completely."
He went a little pale at that. "Maybe you shouldnít."
He went a little pale at that. "Maybe you shouldnít."
She took his hand and led him to the bed. She sat him down and stood in front of him. "You need to try to listen calmly. Mulder, the baby is full term, it is not breech and the head is fully engaged in the birth canal." He managed not to look away. "All you have to do is keep me company for a while, then when itís time, take the baby as I push it out. Youíre involvement is really a support role, and I know you know how to support me. Youíve been doing it for years."
He swallowed hard and nodded, afraid to speak lest his voice shake. She needed to get him to calm down, because soon sheíd need him to be calm for her. She sat beside him then and took both hands into hers. "Are you ready to hear this?"
He nodded again. "Scully, Iíll do whatever you need."
She smiled. "I know. Okay, weíve got time, so Iíll go over this but then you ask any questions you have, and ask them as many times as you need to. Iíll tell you when I need to push, youíll have to examine me and see if Iím fully dilated, Iíll show you that later. Then when the head is out, youíll have to support it and stroke down on the nostrils to help expel the fluid so he can breathe. Heíll probably start to cry then, donít panic if he doesnít. Youíll have to check to make certain the cord isnít around his throat. If it is, you can just gently pull it from around him - Mulder, donít worry about that, okay? Once all of that has happened, Iíll have to push again. The baby will rotate in your hands, donít pull or push or try to help, just support the head and neck. The shoulders will come out one at a time, after theyíre out, the baby can come very fast. You wonít drop him, will you?" She smiled gently.
His eyes widened. Shit, sheíd been trying to lighten his mood, now sheíd given him something else to fear.
She sighed and continued, "Iíve already sterilized the scissors and some dental floss. When the babyís free of me, youíll have to tie off the cord with the floss, about three inches from the babyís stomach and again three inches down from there. When the cord stops pulsing, you just cut it. There are no nerves in it, thereís no pain involved. Okay?" He nodded, his eyes were possibly less fearful. This was something he could understand.
"Mulder I know blood is not your thing, but there will be quite a bit of it. Please donít panic, itís normal. When I deliver the afterbirth, that is quite, well, messy. Just try not to think about it. If I tear when the head or shoulders are delivered, Iíll heal. Itís going to be okay."
Tear? God, he was suppose to just be supportive while she was going through this? Great. Heíd rather go bungee jumping without a rope. "Scully, Iíll. . . Scully? Are you having a contraction? Breathe Scully, come on breathe."
She looked at him, mildly amazed. Heíd been ready to run from the room, but now that she needed him he was fully in charge, supporting her as sheíd known he would. He appeared completely calm and knowledgeable. She closed her eyes, letting him hold her, knowing sheíd made the correct choice.
When the contraction eased, she had him help her to her feet. "I need to be up and walking as long as I can. Itíll speed things up hopefully. Iíd really like for this part to be over."
They walked slowly into the living room. "Tell me what you meant, plots within plots."
"We donít have to talk about that now."
"Maybe not, and I might not remember everything you say, but Iíd like to hear your voice. That tone you get when youíre explaining something out of this world to me. Iíve missed that."
"What tone? I donít have a tone."
"Yeah, that one. Go on." She smiled.
No way he was going to discuss what he was thinking about Sam and the whole deal they had tricked her into. Instead he went over some cases he had worked on without her this past year. Officially the X-Files were closed, but closing the files had not halted strange things from happening. And he was still the resident spooky agent that had the expertise.
At first she supplied the arguments that she always had, but as the contractions grew in frequency and intensity she grew quieter, just listening to his voice. When she grew tired she would perch on the barstool, having forsaken the couch early in the process. She took a short nap at one point, but refused to try that again, after having a contraction jerk her awake without being prepared for it. He silently agreed and tried to make sure she was prepared as each wave swept over her.
His estimation of her strength grew as the time slowly passed. He would have been on his knees begging for medication a long time ago. She could no longer be on her feet alone, letting him support her as she walked and take over completely during the contractions.
His fear, which had never left, was beginning to resurface as this pain she was in dragged on. This contraction now was truly frightening; heíd do anything to take the pain away.
When it finally ended she didnít attempt to draw away from him as she had been doing. He realized she was speaking and he leaned over so that she would only have to whisper.
"I need to lie down." He closed his eyes in relief, watching her continue this on her feet wasnít helping either of them. Without asking he lifted her into his arms and carried her to the bedroom. She sank into his chest relinquishing control, as she had never done before since he had known her.
She seemed more comfortable lying on her side, and he felt able to leave her for a moment to get a cool cloth and some ice for her to suck on. Her wardrobe since leaving her home had consisted of the dress she had been wearing, and the robe from the hotel. Now she opted for nudity, she was perspiring freely from her efforts, her hair curling totally out of control.
He was startled at her choice, she who had always been so modest around him, until he realized the degree of comfort she felt in his presence. This wasnít sexual, not in the most common use of the word. This was much more primal. He was suddenly aware how deeply in love he was with this woman. He must have always known for it to be so all consuming, but the barriers were down now. If it was strange that the first time he ever saw her nude was as she delivered their child, well, that was the way things went with them. Accept it and move on.
"Right here Sweetheart." The endearment slipped out without either seeming to notice.
"I know youíre not looking forward to this, but you need to check and see how far Iíve dilated. Donít make faces at me, and hurry before I have another contraction."
He couldnít remember when heíd placed rubber gloves in his shaving kit, had to be when she was with him. It didnít matter, he was just glad they were here now.
He was easily reminded of why he'd chosen psychology over psychiatry. He hadnít wanted a medical degree. Better to leave this to people who knew what they were doing. Pull yourself together, Mulder, this is Scully. Youíll do whatever needs to be done.
"If Iím doing this right youíre close Scully. At least nine centimeters."
"Good, because the urge to push is more than I can fight any longer. Can you feel the babyís head?" She sounded calmer than she felt, even to herself. No wonder theyíd called her the ice queen, but they had never seen her like this. No one had ever seen her like this except him.
"Yes." It was an awed whisper. "My god, itís right here."
"Not quite. Help me sit up, Iíll need to push against the headboard. Help me arrange the pillows."
"Iíve got you." He helped her find a position that was supported if not comfortable.
"Go get the supplies. Mulder, hurry, I need you here." Since the same was true of him, he lost no time bringing the sterilized instruments from the kitchen, then the towels from the bathroom.
"Okay Scully. Tell me what you need."
"On the next contraction Iíll push. Give me your hand."
Forty-five minutes later she collapsed back against the pillows again. "I canít." She gasped. "I canít do this. Mulder let me die."
His heart stumbled, then gave a triple beat and terror engulfed his body. "Scully. Scully thereís nothing you canít do. I need you to concentrate for just a minute. Think like a doctor Scully. Tell me what I can do to help you. Please Scully." He couldnít keep his voice completely steady.
She groaned as another contraction took over her body, but when it subsided, she managed to speak. "Help me push." He nodded, not sure what that meant. She put his hands on her stomach and his eyes widened, but he nodded again.
During the next contraction they pushed together, and the next. The suddenness of the babyís movement startled them both. He scrambled back to his original position and managed to smile up at her. "I always figured you for a redhead."
"Can you see the head?"
"Yeah. A lot of dark hair. Please Scully, one more time."
She raised herself on her arms again. He watched as the head emerged, supporting it as she had instructed him. He stroked the nostrils and wiped one of the towels over the mouth.
"No, Scully. I donít see it." She nodded and bore down again. A shoulder emerged, the child turning within her to bring the other shoulder out. The rest of the child slid out into his hands. Scully collapsed back against the head of the bed trembling.
Mulder stared down at his hands, at the newborn that had now begun to scream. The eyes were shut and the face screwed up in fury. It was covered in blood and mucus and heíd never seen anything more beautiful in his entire life.
"Itís a, itís a girl Scully."
She opened her eyes. "A girl?"
"Well, I donít want to admit how long itís been since Iíve looked at one, but Iím pretty sure thatís what Iím seeing."
She stretched her arms out to him and he placed the squalling infant on her stomach. "You need to tie off the cord, and cut it."
He was already reaching for the floss. She kept her hand on the baby, soothing it as he cut the cord. Then he wrapped the softest of the towels around her and brought her up to Scullyís arms.
"You do beautiful work Scully." Scully let her eyes close as her head fell back against the headboard. "Are you okay?"
She nodded and brought the child closer to her breasts. The baby didnít wait for a second invitation, latching onto her breast with a ferocious appetite. Scullyís eyes flew open as she gasped. "Definitely your child, Mulder." She managed to get out.
"Only in my dreams, Scully."
That caught her off guard and she looked into his eyes blushing. "We, uh, we still have work to do. You. . . you need to massage my stomach. We need to start the contractions again."
He nodded and watched her nurse the child as he first caressed, then at her insistence massaged her more firmly. When she delivered the placenta she really thought for the first time she was going to lose him.
"Mulder, put your head down. I still need you. Please, take a deep breath." He complied and managed to cover the afterbirth with a towel for her to check later. "You okay?"
He nodded, giving her an abashed grin. "Youíre the better doctor, Scully."
"You do okay. Think you could clean her up? No soap, just warm water."
"Yeah, you rest."
"No instructions or advice?" She grinned.
"Sheís my daughter. Iíll figure it out." Tears again overflowed her eyes. "Let me make you comfortable." He helped her lay down and took the towels from around her, placing a fresh one under her. "Sleep. Iíll be right here." He kissed her forehead and pulled the sheet over her.
The baby was asleep and Mulder was more gentle than he was cleansing. He managed to dress her, improvising a diaper and keeping her warm. He found keeping her against his chest was comforting to him and she seemed to accept it as her due.
He couldnít stay out of the bedroom, so he took her in there to wait for Scully to wake. When she did it was to the sight of Mulder investigating the newborn. The baby opened her eyes and Mulderís widened.
"Mulder? What? Whatís wrong!"
He glanced up and met her eyes then returned his gaze to the child. "Samantha. She looks like Samantha." She took a deep breath, melting into the look he had locked on their daughter.
"Come here." She held out her hand to him. He rose and joined her on the bed. "I hadnít thought much about girlís names, Mulder. I just kind of thought I was carrying your son. Do you want to name her Samantha?"
"No. No, she needs her own name. Iím thinking Katherine."
"Mulder. . . "
"Itís perfect, naming her for the strongest person I know."
Scully swallowed, sheíd be so happy when her hormones were under some sort of control again. "Katherine. Katherine Ann."
He looked up and after a second nodded. "Katherine Ann." She watched as the baby began nuzzling Mulderís chest, becoming agitated.
"I think sheís hungry again."
He grinned, "You wanna handle that?" At her nod he laid the baby beside her on the bed and helped her into a more comfortable position.
"Whatís she wearing?"
"Kitchen attire. Iím going to have to make a run to the store sometime."
"Could you get me a big glass of water?"
"Sure, but you need food. You havenít eaten since last night."
"Youíre right. But I really donít want you to leave me. Not yet."
"Are you okay? I mean, is there something. . . "
"No. Iím fine. I just donít want to be alone with her." He caressed her cheek and nodded. He got her water and placed an order for Chinese to be delivered.
"Sheís asleep again."
"Getting born really wears a person out." He took the baby and settled her on the bed heíd made for her. "Youíll feel better after youíre cleaned up too."
"Iíd really like a shower."
"A shower? Can you stand?"
"Not for long. But youíre right, I would feel better. Would you help me?"
"Of course. Let me get the water going." He helped her into the bathroom. She could walk, but barely. He got her in the shower and after only a momentís hesitation stripped himself and joined her.
"Mulder! What are you . . ? " He took the washcloth from her.
"Lean on me. It wonít take as long." Their eyes locked and she settled herself against his chest. He even washed her hair. Then as soon as possible settled her back in the bed, this time wearing her robe. He dressed and was headed for the kitchen when he heard the knock on the door. He relaxed when he looked through the peephole. Food, finally.
He opened the door and let the kid in. He found his wallet and pulled out some cash. "Listen, you in a hurry?"
"Nyah, itís a slow night. Why?"
Mulder pulled out a $50 bill and the kid began to look suspicious. "My wifeís not well. I donít want to leave her alone with the kid. Could you pick up some supplies - diapers, things like that?"
The kid relaxed. "Yeah, I guess. What size diapers?"
"Uh, newborn." Now there was a question heíd never been asked before.
"Sure. Anything else?"
"Yeah, maybe some eggs and bread. Oh hey, could you get some rocky road ice cream for her?"
The kid grinned. "Yeah. Thereís a place around the corner. I wonít be long."
Mulder took the food into the bedroom and they ate ravenously. "I donít think Iíve ever been this hungry, Mulder."
"You probably never worked that hard before. I know Iíve never seen anything like it." She jumped as the doorbell rang. "Itís okay. Just some supplies we need. Be right back."
He checked and opened the door to the young man again. He was carrying a couple of grocery bags. Mulder could see the ice cream near the top. They put the supplies on the kitchen table. He pulled some things out of the bag and spotted the sanitary pads near the bottom.
He glanced up at the boy, who shrugged. "Iím the oldest of six and my wife just had a baby. Well, hereís your change." He didnít look like he could possibly be twenty years old. He was already a father?
"Thatís almost $30."
"And more than worth it."
"Look, Iím Gary. If you. . . if you need anything just give me a call. Hereís my beeper number. If Iím at work I can still swing by here."
"Thanks Gary. Listen, one more thing. Please donít mention this to anyone."
Gary nodded. "I better get back. Thanks."
"You too. Iíll call."
He returned to the bedroom with dishes of ice cream and most of the supplies.
The baby woke them a couple of times during the night, but it was mostly uneventful. He made breakfast the next morning, but she insisted on getting up.
"Okay Mulder. You avoided answering me yesterday, and with everything else going on I let you get away with it. Now I need to know what you think is going on."
"Scully, I canít prove anything."
"You usually canít until I get involved." She smiled at him. "Talk to me. Why do you think I was duped and you werenít in danger?"
"Itís mostly a feeling Ė it just feels like a plan to win your cooperation. A plan where you would be willing to bear my child."
She looked at him for a moment. "They didnít need an elaborate plan for that, Mulder."
That statement caught his attention. "Do you mean that?"
"You should know I do. In case youíre wondering, she is yours. I insisted on testing before I allowed the procedure."
"I wasnít wondering. I can see us both in her."
"But why would they care if you and I had a child?"
"Because weíve both been exposed to the black cancer, both been given an antidote. You in Antarctica, me in Russia. They were possibly different variations of the vaccine. They needed to find our if it could be passed on. My guess would be theyíve tried this before and found they needed you, with your immune system, to carry the baby, that their procedures wouldnít work."
"So sheís what they really want."
"Yes, and I donít think you would ever have seen her. They would have told you she died at birth, or they would have killed you if they didnít think they needed you any longer."
"So theyíll be looking for her." He nodded. "How do we keep her safe?"
"Iím working on that. I donít think theyíll find us here. When you can travel Iím going to take you both back to DC."
"No. I want you to stay with the guys. They can keep you hidden, then Iíll be free to move around, stir things up, and see what shakes out."
"Do you really think you can keep her safe?"
"Iím going to keep both of you safe. Thatís a promise."
"Mulder, we could start out today."
"No. The memory of yesterday may have faded for you, but not me. You need more recovery time."
She took a steadying breath. He was right, she wasnít up to a 16-hour car ride, not yet. And the sooner he took her to Byers the sooner theyíd be separated again. She definitely wasnít ready for that.
He was using every resource he had to track down things. The guys were cooperating wholeheartedly. Heíd been amazed at Frohikeís skill at calming his daughter when she cried. Maybe it was because he was closest to her size. Hell, you could never tell what would appeal to women.
He was ready to stir the pot now. See what fell where. He picked up the phone.
"Anderson? Itís Mulder. Will you let me talk to her?"
"I just need to know sheís okay. Has she had the baby?"
"What are you talking about! She left with you!"
"She left me and went back - are you saying sheís not there? What the hell have you done with her, Anderson? If youíve done anything to her. . . " He left the threat hanging. He could already feel Samís psychosis growing long-distance.
"Me!" His voice broke on that one word, and he slammed the phone down. Mulder nodded at Byers and they waited for the activity. It didnít take long.
The first couple of numbers he dialed went unanswered. Frohike began the research on the connections. The third number answered. The connection was perfect, he looked over at Langley who grinned. Theyíd done a good job of setting up the taps; no one had suspected anything.
Soon they had quite a database and some names to go with it. The most disturbing to Mulder was the call to Kersh at the FBI. And why he hadnít been called in and questioned.
Heíd made a point of being at work and accessible. He had tried to call Sam one other time, but heíd been hung up on immediately. The guys continued to investigate. The largest surprise came when his door opened and Mrs. Scully was escorted in by none other than AD Kersh.
"Fox, why didnít you call me? Danaís missing and Sam says he doesnít know where she is!"
"Mrs. Scully." He was on his feet, he hadnít foreseen this. Of course Kersh would bring her. He had to pull this off.
"Sam said she left with you."
Mulder took her hand; "She did Mrs. Scully. When I got there I went to her house. Sam came home while I was there. He threw me out, so I left. But I didnít feel right about. . . You should have told me she was pregnant. I would have been furious to have a man from her past show up myself. Anyway I doubled back and was going to spy through the window." He looked over at Kersh, "Okay, Iím guilty, but it was while I was watching that I saw him strike her."
Heíd been watching Kersh. The man hadnít known this. He had enough humanity left to be appalled.
"His second blow caused her to go down. I lost it then, and broke through the front door. I got her out of there. I couldnít see that I had a choice. She wouldnít go to the police, so I got her to calm down and I begged her to let me bring her home to you. I thought Iíd convinced her and went to get her some things. I left her lying down. When I got back she was gone. Sheíd left me a note saying she had to go back to Sam. Okay, I lost it - I was furious that she would go back to him after what Iíd seen. How could she love a man like that? Anyway I left. I should have called you, but what was I supposed to say to you?
"If sheíd wanted you to know she was married to a man who beats her . . . "
Kersh winced again. "Anyway I calmed down and called to check on her. Thatís when Sam told me she wasnít there. I didnít believe him, I thought it was just to keep me from talking to her. But if you say sheís gone. . . "
"Sheís really gone Fox. Iím frightened, sheís so close to her due date."
Damn! He needed to comfort her. Would she ever forgive him for causing her this grief? Someday heíd explain - heíd make her understand heíd had to do it to protect her daughter and his own. All he needed now was for Bill to show up. That SOB had been so thrilled when sheíd married someone else.
"Iíll go back today. Iíll find her Mrs. Scully."
"Wait a minute, Mulder." Kersh spoke for the first time. "I donít think thatís a good idea. Youíre not objective. And this isnít a kidnapping. The police should handle it. Youíd be in the way."
Before Mulder could speak Mrs. Scully turned on Kersh; "Heís always found her before. No one knows Dana like Fox does. Heíll find her. Heíll make sure sheís safe."
"Why donít you want me to go?" Mulder was watching Kersh closely now.
"Iíve told you, youíre too close to the victim."
"Why do you assume sheís a victim now? Do you think her husbandís done something to her?" That planted a seed. The people Sam was working for didnít trust him either. But they hadnít known how far gone he was. "I have to go. Itís not just Scully, thereís a child involved. A child that could be born at any time. I need to do this."
"Iíll send some people. People that are experts in this."
"I want Fox to go. Heís the only one I trust."
Mulder closed his eyes at that. Mrs. Scully felt that way? Heíd caused her to lose one daughter. For all she knew it was happening again, but she trusted him. He stepped to her and put his arms around her.
"Youíve got to believe me Mrs. Scully. Iím not going to let anything happen to her, her or the baby. I want you to go home and try to relax. Wait for her call. Iím sure when she feels safe sheíll call you."
"She canít deliver the baby alone Fox."
"Scully will do what she has to. Sheíll find the help she needs. Sheís free of Sam, that has to be a plus."
"If she were okay she would never have run from you. I know that."
He held her tighter; he couldnít offer her any reassurances he hadnít already given. Especially not with Kersh standing there. "You said you trusted me, go home Mrs. Scully, let us work."
She nodded tearfully. "Youíll call me."
"You know I will." She turned then and left the room, avoiding AD Kershís hand. Mulder sank into his chair. "Shit."
He headed out of the building and several blocks away caught a cab to Scullyís location.
Once the guys had ascertained that he was alone and unfollowed, Scully came out of the bedroom, holstering her gun. He stopped to look at her. It had to be his imagination, but she looked as slim as though sheíd never been pregnant. He was pretty sure his hands could span her waist, though he didnít dare try. Her breasts were larger, that was obvious.
Scully cleared her throat. Oh god, sheíd caught him staring at. . . He looked up blushing to see her own matching blush. He gave her a bashful grin and a shrug.
She took a breath, further distracting him. "Do you want to see Katy?"
"Yeah." He looked to see how much of this the guys had observed; they were all working hard at not watching them. He sighed and followed her into the back room.
"Sheís asleep, but if you want to hold her. . . "
"No, donít disturb her. Maybe sheíll wake up while Iím here."
Scully glanced at her watch. "I can pretty much guarantee it." He grinned. "Now, tell me whatís wrong."
"Not wrong exactly, just a complication. Your mother came to see me this morning. Sheís frantic about you."
"The worst part is that Kersh brought her to my office."
"Heís dirty, Scully." She nodded. "I did learn something. I had to mention the abuse. Iím sorry your mother had to find out but you should have seen Kershís face. Sam was overstepping his bounds. They didnít know he was hitting you. Whatever he says now is suspect. I planted the seed that heíd done something with you. Since he hasnít left Chicago, the search should concentrate there. I just wish I could have talked to your mother, reassured her."
"You couldnít Mulder. You couldnít. Weíll explain it to her someday. Sheíll understand, sheíll be grateful. Sheíll be especially grateful when she knows Sam is gone and youíre responsible."
"Scully, I want him totally gone. I want you to file for divorce when this is over."
"I can get an annulment."
"Annul. . . you never?"
"That was never part of the deal. I made certain of that. Itís why he started hitting me. After we knew I was pregnant, what was left of him snapped. I think youíre right, I think they would have killed me. He would have killed me, which means youíve saved my life once again."
He stood there holding her until their daughter demanded her attention.
He hung up the phone. He should feel something, some sorrow, regret, but no. The only feeling he had was one of relief. He needed to talk to Scully; she needed to know this. That slowed his response.
He forced himself to his feet and patted his pockets searching for his keys. No, he better take a cab for this one. You could never tell.
Langley opened the door to him and checked for tails. It looked good, Mulder had never bothered to be so careful in his life.
"I need to talk to her, then Iíll bring you guys up to date." Langley nodded, something must have happened. He watched Mulder head back toward Scullyís room, then went to round up Byers and Frohike.
She was changing Katy when he entered. She looked up and smiled, when he didnít respond her own smile faded. She gathered Katy up into her arms as though to protect her. When Mulder reached for her, she surrendered her to him and he took both of them into his arms.
"What?" Her voice wasnít quite steady.
"Letís sit." He sat beside her on the bed, holding Katy close to his chest.
"Scully, Samís dead."
"Dead?" It was as though heíd spoken in a foreign language.
"They made it look like suicide, but. . . "
"Are you okay?"
"What? Yeah, yeah, I just canít. . . Are you sure itís him and heís really dead?"
"Well the body was really dead, and the ID was positive. Iíve got someone going over to recheck again, but it was him. Iím just not sure about the suicide part."
Scully shook her head, "Sam wouldnít kill himself. If you told me he had murdered a dozen people from a tower I could believe that, no problem. But heíd never harm himself." He nodded, heíd already reached that conclusion himself.
"Iíve had some people put a bug in the coronerís ear out there. The body may disappear before anything can be done, but suspicions have been raised about cause of death already. Iím sorry Scully."
"Donít be, not on my account. He was a sick, evil man. Maybe I should be sorry heís dead, but Iím not. Not yet anyway."
Mulder nodded and pulled her close to him. What kind of shit was going to hit the fan now?
"How did you find out?"
"Iíve had him under surveillance. In fact it was one of mine that called 911 when he wasnít seen for a couple of days. The police had to break in. The neighbors are saying he was despondent over you leaving him."
"Right. He had those same Ďneighborsí watching me. I never did learn what story he told them, but if I stepped outside one of them was out there to check on what I was doing. I didnít have a car, and of course he took me to my doctorís appointments." She shuddered at that and he pulled her closer. He couldnít forget the torture sheíd endured at that manís hands. And sheíd taken it all with no response in order to keep his daughter safe. And him. Sheíd done it all for him. He could weep with frustration that heíd allowed it to go on for so long. Okay, he hadnít known; why didnít that make him feel any better. He should have known, he should have sensed how much she needed him.
"Mulder? You there?"
"What? Oh, yeah."
"Does this mean I can come out now?"
"No, not yet. Iím not going to take any chances."
"Mulder, sheís normal. Sheís normal in every way the guys and I can test. I canít and wonít expose her to the black cancer, but none of us can think of any other way to test her."
"I need to go talk to Kersh."
"What are you going to say to him?"
"Iím not sure yet. Letís talk to the guys." They went out to the main room, Mulder not letting go of either of his women. He brought everyone up to date and they started printing. The information that had been accumulated was collated and a notebook was formed. It took a couple of hours, but finally Mulder was satisfied.
"If this doesnít prove to them weíre serious, nothing will. I want to be left alone to be with you and Katy, thatís all. Just leave us alone and weíll get along fine."
"What if they donít agree?" Scully was watching Frohike walk with her daughter, not at all embarrassed to be making nonsense sounds and cooing to her. Mulder followed her eyes and had to turn away to keep his expression bland. He was never going to get used to that.
"They donít have a choice. If they donít agree, weíll go public. Thatís the last thing they want." He leaned down and kissed Scully, another thing heíd never get used to. "Wish me luck."
She was holding his hand, not yet willing to release him to go and do this. But he was right; otherwise theyíd never be together. She and Katy couldnít live here with the guys forever, she wanted her life with Mulder to start. Okay, they hadnít made specific plans, but it was understood. He had asked her to divorce Sam, now that was a moot point. Would the plan work? Would they ever be able to just be together?
"Scully, you know we have to do this. Itís the only way. I wonít be able to contact you for a couple of days. I wonít risk it."
"How will we know?"
"Youíll know, Scully. Donít worry about me, just keep Katy safe." He was caressing her cheek, their eyes speaking volumes.
The guys faded from the room as unobtrusively as possible. She swallowed, not trusting her voice. "Two days, Scully. I should have our answer in 48 hours. Okay?" He was afraid she was going to cry. "Donít Scully. Try not to worry."
She looked down, resting her forehead against his chest.
"Scully, nothing is going to keep me from you and Katy. Nothing. I have to go now, so I can come back." His fingers brought her chin up and he kissed her. When he released her, he took up the notebook and left. There werenít any more words.
He walked into Kershís office and bypassed his secretary heading for his door.
"Agent Mulder, wait! You need an appointment."
"Not this time. This is too important." He opened the door and closed it in her face. Kersh looked up at the disturbance.
"What the hell do you think youíre doing?"
"We need to talk."
"About your resignation?"
"Not this time." He laid the notebook on Kershís desk. "You might want to look through this."
"And why should I Agent Mulder? Why shouldnít I call security and have your ass thrown out of here for good?"
"Because then, sir, you wonít know whatís in this book." Mulder seated himself in front of the desk to wait.
There was something about his confidence - what was in the damn book? Kershís eyes narrowed, but Mulder didnít flinch. Okay, okay, heíd look at the damn book. He drew it to him and with one last glance at Mulder opened it.
After only a few seconds his mouth opened and his breathing became labored. Oh god! Mulder watched him turn ashen, but held his voice. The man flipped a few pages and read some more. Mulder wasnít entirely sure his presence hadnít been forgotten.
After an agonizing twenty minutes of frantic flipping of pages and scanning of words, Kersh looked up at him. "What is it you want?"
"To be left alone. I want safety for Scully and myself, and our daughter. Otherwise everything in that document will be public knowledge in a matter of minutes."
"Itís all there."
"So youíre saying with the touch of a button this could go out."
"No, Iím saying without the touch of a button it will. I have to stop it from being broadcast. Daily. It might be in your friendsí best interest to keep me alive and happy. And what makes me happy is knowing my family is safe."
"What assurances can I give you?"
"You? None." Mulder rose from his chair. He opened the book and flipped a couple of pages, then pointed. "I want my assurances to come from him."
In the back of his mind, Kersh wondered if he was having a heart attack. He had picked that name? It looked no different from any other in the list of names, nothing special about it at all, not at the top or bottom of the list, but the one name that could give him the assurances he wanted. Mulder knew everything, hell he knew more than Kersh did at this point.
"I need to make some phone calls."
"I assumed you would. Iíll be in my office. You have until 4:30 today to set up an appointment for tomorrow." He looked Kersh straight in the eye, "Donít think Iím bluffing, not with these stakes."
Kersh managed to nod and watched as Mulder left the room, not bothering to take the book with him. He was better than the rest of them, Kersh had always thought everyone was exaggerating the Mulder threat. Turns out they hadnít been scared enough of him. He picked up the phone with a trembling hand.
"Scully! Itís him, heís here!" Scully came flying out of the bedroom as they opened the door and threw herself into his arms. She didnít care who was watching as she kissed him thoroughly.
When they paused for breath, Mulder managed to speak. "Get your stuff together, Katyís too. We have to go somewhere."
"Where?" A small note of fear had crept back into her voice.
"You got it? We have assurances?"
"Well, we arenít guaranteed against lightening, and we should probably still drive defensively on New Yearís Eve, but yeah, I think weíre as safe as they can make us."
"Oh Mulder." He held her close for a moment.
"Come on, Scully. I have repair work to do on my relationship with your mother. And I want her to meet Katy." Scullyís smile lit up the world and she hurried to get what she needed together.
"Youíre really taking our baby?" Frohike looked despondent despite the news.
"We can arrange visitation, Frohike."
"It wonít be the same." He sank into the chair. Mulder patted his shoulder, but was too excited to really worry about this.
They pulled up in her motherís driveway. "Mulder, why donít you just carry her in with the carrier?"
"Think your mother will be able to wait for me to get her unstrapped?"
"Youíre right." Scully smiled at him, he was already one hell of a great father.
They approached the door, Mulder walking slightly behind Scully. She rang the bell and they heard Mrs. Scully hurrying to the door. She must have looked through the peephole, because the door was flung wide and Mrs. Scully grabbed Scully into her arms.
"Youíre safe! I knew Mulder would find you. Are you okay? The baby?" Clouds appeared in her eyes.
Mulder stepped closer, "Grandma, Iíd like you to meet my daughter, Katherine Ann."
"Your daughter? I . . ." She looked over at Scully who smiled and nodded. "I should have known, that was stupid of me. Give her here!" She all but snatched the baby from his arms and he gave Scully a smug grin. Scully was too happy to argue the point.
They followed Mrs. Scully into the living room, where Mulder sat slightly apart, watching the three women investigate each other. He let the conversation flow over him, just drinking in the presence of people so vital to his well being.
His ears perked up at Mrs. Scullyís question. "Are you planning to go back to work, Dana?"
"Yes, after a little while."
"What are you going to do with Katy?"
"Mom, have you ever heard me mention Melvin Frohike?"
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