He found a motel relatively close to the hospital and no amount of reassurance from her could convince him to go any further. He had her tucked back into bed before she knew it.
"Iím not sick Mulder." She stated this calmly and slowly as though talking him down off a ledge.
"Well then this is because of me. Iím in no shape to drive anywhere."
"We need to talk, donít we?" She sat up and he arranged the pillows behind her. She allowed it but he could tell she was getting impatient with him.
"Okay." He sat beside her on the bed.
She took a steadying breath. "Mulder this added complication is my fault. I Ė"
"This Ďadded complicationí is our baby and regardless of what else is going on Dana, Iím ecstatic about that."
"Are you? Really? I know you werenít prepared for it and weíve been so careful. I know better, hell Iím a doctor, but even I had to be thinking you canít get pregnant the first time Ė when you lose your virginity for goodness sake."
"Actually I kind of like it. Iím imprinted on you permanently."
She smiled at that, "you already were." She sobered then, "But now, on the run like this Ė "
"Iím happy whenever it happened. It is something we hadnít discussed though. Technically we arenít married. I want to be, I donít want him to ever think that he was the reason we married."
"Youíve said Ďheí a couple of times. What if itís a girl?"
"Sheíll have me wrapped tight in seconds no doubt, especially if she looks like her mother. Quit changing the subject."
"Iíve already told you Iíd marry you, even before I found out about . . . Itís not been safe and Iím willing to wait."
"Iím not. I never expected to find you, and a family . . . " He shook his head, "I never even thought about that."
"Thatís what Iím worried about. Youíre excited right now and weíre both relieved, but Mulder a baby right now isnít Ė "
"No. Dana, donít even think it. Weíre going to lay low, stop looking for trouble and just be a normal family."
"And you give up everything you believe in, your lifeís work? Youíll resent both of us and I canít live with that. I wonít allow it." He drew back then at the vehemence in her tone though she hadnít raised her voice. "Iíll be careful and I know youíll look after me, but we have to keep working. Once we stop these people, then we can relax."
"You expect me to haul you around the country, on the run, doing what we do, now? It can wait."
"Until when? Donít you get it Mulder, now you donít want to endanger us, later you wonít want to leave us alone. Now, Mulder. We need to keep going with what weíve started. If you canít accept continuing to work with me, Iím leaving."
"You what?" His mouth fell open
"I love you too much to do this to you. I wonít stay if you donít allow me to help you, because I wonít be a burden. I refuse."
He just stared at her, unable to believe the turn this conversation had taken. Leave him because of the baby? He was reeling. Too much had happened in the last twenty-four hours. Theyíd found one of the locations theyíd been searching for, heíd found out he was going to be a father, heíd thought she was dying and now she was threatening to leave him if he didnít continue to put her in peril.
He rose from the bed and she watched him with growing fear. Had she gone too far? Leaving him was the last thing she wanted to do. He had to be made to understand that she was not an invalid, that she could carry her own weight.
She rose from the bed and approached him quietly. She didnít speak, smoothing down his hair and then hugging his head to her middle. His arms went around her hips.
"I donít want to leave you." His arms tightened around her. "You know that." He nodded. "Then let me help you. Together we can do this faster. Then we can go home and be a family."
"Are you going to ask me not to worry about you?"
She smiled down at the top of his head. "No. As long as you donít ask me to stop worrying about you."
He rose then and lifted her into his arms. "You should be in bed." She sighed and let him return her to the bed then pulled him down to join her.
"I think you need rest more than I do. Come here." She pulled him against her, his head on her breasts. "Weíre together Mulder, like we should be."
They worked out a system. He insisted on doing more of the legwork and she got quite adept at the computer. They were beginning to link names from the fraternity that Stan had belonged to. It wasnít an ordinary club; the players shouldnít have had the ties that they did. These men had nothing in common other than being members of Stanís club. Most of the men were Stanís fatherís age, but other than that the connection was buried deep.
The connections they did have were confusing Ė none were married to their original spouses and only a few had remarried. None had a religious affiliation any longer, though most had grown up in a church. Family ties had been severed years ago with just a few exceptions. Stan had been one of those. He was one of three sons that had joined the group. No daughters had.
The knocking on the door startled him. He had been headed for bed. Instead he flipped on the monitor. She didnít look familiar. "Please, let me in!" He picked up the tire iron near the door.
"Just a minute!" He began opening locks. When the door was finally open she sort of stumbled in. "Whoa, sister. Whatís going on?"
His eyes narrowed. "Who wants to know?"
"Iím Dana Mu . . . Dana Mulder." Then he was supporting her, his shock nearly immobilizing him.
"Byers! Langly get out here!" They appeared from different parts of the apartment. Byers, belting his robe, Langly in t-shirt and sweatpants, his toothbrush in his mouth. They took in the woman he was holding and were at his side.
"Who?" They had her in their arms now.
"Itís Dana. Letís put her on my bed."
"Is she hurt?" That from Byers as they lay her on Frohikeís bed. Frohike shrugged. After a glance at the other two, Byers unbuttoned her coat and pulled it open. He stopped, in shock, and looked up at the other men. "Sheís pregnant."
"Mulder never mentioned that." Langly looked up from her.
"You blame him?" Byers was leaning over her again. "Dana? Dana can you hear me?" She stirred then and after a moment opened her eyes. "Iím John Byers. Can you hear me?"
"Byers . . . yes." She glanced over at the blond also hovering. "Langly?" He nodded.
Byers drew her attention back. "Are you okay? Do we need to take you to a hospital?"
"Iím okay, just exhausted."
"Can you tell us what happened?"
Tears formed in her eyes, but she didnít allow them to fall. "Mulder and I got separated. He thought they had found us and was going to lure them away. He didnít meet me at the rendezvous. My instructions were to find you."
"Well you did, and weíre on it. Where did all this take place?"
"West . . . West Virginia." Her eyes were closing in spite of herself.
"You rest, weíll find Mulder." She was asleep before they could leave the room.
They were taking a breather and having breakfast when they realized she was standing in the doorway, holding tightly to the door jam. Byers rose immediately and took her arm, leading her to the table. "Good morning. Did Frohikeís cooking wake you?"
She smiled tiredly up at him. The dark circles were still under her eyes. "Smells good." Then her eyes closed and she swayed slightly.
"How long has it been since youíve eaten?"
"I donít remember."
"Iíll get you a plate." Byers walked over to Frohike and made sure she couldnít hear him. "I donít think sheís up for the spicy stuff."
"Scrambled eggs and toast, coming right up." Frohike turned back toward the stove as Langly poured a glass of juice for her. She took it gratefully and when the plate was placed before her began eating immediately.
She really hadnít eaten that much when she sighed and laid down her fork. "It tastes wonderful, but I think I need to lie down again." Byers was at her side immediately. He took one arm and Langly the other to escort her back to her bed.
Once she was settled Byers took her hand. "We need a promise from you." She looked up at him. "If you need a doctor, or to go to the hospital, youíll tell us. Weíre kind of outside our learning curve here."
She smiled slightly, "Yes, I promise that."
"When is, uh, when . . . "
"Iím thirty weeks, ten more to go. Youíll find Mulder, wonít you?"
"Weíre in charge of worrying now. Get some rest, one of us will check on you in little while." She nodded and he was sure she was asleep again before he and Langly made it to the door.
"Dana?" Byers tapped on the door.
"Come on in." She sat up with some difficulty and he moved to the bed.
"You doing okay?"
"Iím fine. Why? Oh my god, have you . . . "
"Yeah. Weíve got him. Heís at Georgetown."
"Is he okay? How did you find him?" She was using him to lever herself up, her eyes scanning for her shoes.
"Weíve had people watching. Heís unconscious and I donít know his status right now. Are you up for going down there?"
She almost laughed at him. "Youíre kidding right? Are you going to drive or am I?"
"I am, the guys will meet us there. Take your time, heís not going anywhere. Iíve got too many people watching."
Taking her time was not something she could do; the only reason she wasnít running was that she wasnít physically able to any more. Byers was never more than a step from her and had his arm around her as they entered his room.
"Oh John, he is alive!" She was clutching his arm, then she drew as deep a breath as possible and headed for his bed. "Mulder? Please Mulder, wake up. I need to talk to you." She had his hand and was caressing his face.
"Iíll get you a chair." Byers watched for a second then let himself out of the room.
"Dana?" She acknowledged him but barely took her eyes from Mulderís face. "Youíve got to be exhausted. Let me take you home, Langly and Frohike will be here. Heís not going to disappear again."
"Iím staying." She said it firmly and didnít even look up.
"Dana, heíll have my hide if I donít look after you. Please, come home and lay down for a little bit. You can come back after youíve rested."
"John, I appreciate what youíre trying to do, but weíd be back here in a couple of hours anyway. I might as well stay."
"What are you talking about?"
She finally looked up at him, "John, Iím in labor. I have been for a while. In fact thatís why I was awake when you came to my room. I was trying to decide if I should get up and tell you. Since we were coming here anyway, I decided not to worry you."
His face had paled, "Youíre in labor right now?" She nodded. "We need to get you checked in. You should Ė "
"No. And I donít want you mentioning it to anyone. Theyíll make me go to labor and delivery. I can labor here just as well. I donít want to leave him yet. John, weíre already at the hospital, you donít have to worry."
He swallowed hard, but she had a point. They were only a couple of flights from the maternity ward. That was better than being back at the apartment. Still . . .
She smiled at him, "Why donít you sit here with me. You can help me time the contractions and keep me company. Okay?"
He pulled the smaller chair closer to the easy chair they had brought in for her and settled in to wait. They talked, about children, about his past with Mulder, about what might be ahead for them. They talked until he couldnít take it any more. After an especially brutal contraction that last over ninety seconds, he stood.
"Thatís it. We might be in the right building, but we are not on the right floor. Youíve got to be examined."
She took a cleansing breath. "Yeah, I think youíre right. Youíre going to have to help me up." He lifted her to her feet, but before he could release her, she was bent over the bed and crying out. Sheíd made moaning noises before, causing his balls to try to crawl back up into his body, but not a sound like this.
"Dana!" He didnít dare release her to go for help.
When she could speak again she looked up at him, fear plain in her eyes. "My water broke. John, the babyís coming. Now." His own eyes echoed her fear.
"Iím gonna get the nurse. Just stay calm." He raced for the door and she look at the chair. No, no way. There was an older plastic settee under the window, barely two chair widths. At least she could recline there. Holding onto the furniture she made her way there and gingerly lowered herself as another contraction took possession of her body.
Thatís when John burst back in, practically dragging the nurse behind him. "Oh crap!" The sour-faced older woman was wide-awake now. She snatched the phone from the cradle and demanded an OB resident stat.
John was kneeling beside her now. "Just hold on Dana. Weíll move you down to maternity in just a minute."
She shook her head, "John, help me! Now!"
He glanced over at the nurse who, to his utter horror, disappeared out the door. He could see the babyís head now. Great holy shit, he was going to have to deliver a baby! "Dana, Iím here." His voice only shook a little.
He was supporting the babyís head now, what was he supposed to do? He didnít see anything wrapped around the neck, that was good, wasnít it?
"Come on Dana. Itís almost over."
She had her eyes closed now. She took a deep breath and cried out Mulderís name, and suddenly he was scrambling to hold the infant that all but tumbled out at him. He stared down at the baby whose eyes were closed, it wasnít crying. He glanced over at the bed and saw that Mulderís eyes were open and heíd turned to look at them.
As though aware of the scrutiny of his father, the baby took a breath and a thin cry came from it. Byers was paralyzed. "John?"
Danaís voice brought him back to the present. "Dana, itís a boy. I Ė "
They both turned as the door burst open and a young man in a lab coat and two nurses entered. The man stopped just inside the door. "Whoa." He took in the scene in front of him. "Looks like Iíll have to split my fee with Dad. Get a cuff on her." And then he was all business. "Why donít you let me take him?" He took the baby from Byersí trembling hands and Byers stumbled back out of the way. He managed to take the towel the nurse handed him, and looked back over at Mulder. He was unconscious, it didnít look like he had moved, but he had been watching them, hadnít he?
The doctor had clamped and cut the cord by now and was handing the boy to the nurse to be wrapped. "Can you tell me your name?"
"Dana." She was getting her breath back now.
"Well, you do nice work, Dana. Iím Phil. Could you give me one more push?" He placed his hands on her abdomen and together they delivered the afterbirth. "Okay, youíre looking good Dana, no tears. We need to take him down and check him out while weíre getting you settled. Dad can go with him or stay with you." He turned to look at Byers.
"Iím not, I, I uh, Iím not," He shook his head to clear it, "Iím not the father." He finally managed to stutter. "He is." And pointed to Mulder.
"Well Iíd say youíre number one candidate for godfather then."
"Go with him John. Keep an eye on him, please." Danaís eyes were wet and tired.
"Of course. Iíll round up the other guys to stay here with Mulder. Donít worry."
"Iím not." She even managed to smile at him. After a second he turned to follow the nurse carrying the child.
"Weíre going to move you down to maternity now Dana. We want to keep an eye on you and let you get some rest, okay?" She nodded and he motioned for two of the orderlies now congregated around the door to enter. She couldnít stifle the moan as they lifted her and Byers stopped, torn between his duties.
"Iím okay John. Stay with him." He nodded and continued out the door.
*****Assignment 2 - part 3
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