The news coming back was both good and bad. All of the bikes were accounted for, no strangers other than Krycek had been seen and Kevin was still missing. Mulder doubled the teams and sent them farther out, to see if anyone could spot campsites or activity. Surely Kevin hadnít allowed himself to be taken without a fight.
Mulder just couldnít imagine him leaving on his own. And what would he have to do with Katy? It wasnít a coincidence, he could feel it. There was a connection. Kevin had been at the sawmill and never returned to the office, though he had been seen leaving the mill. No one had seen him anywhere near the clinic. Shit!
He had made a short appearance at the office late that afternoon at Walterís suggestion. Heíd spoken to Krycek and according to Walter had sounded normal though harried, which was good. It added to the realism of being too busy to deal with mundane things.
Krycekís request to see Scully was dismissed. She wasnít feeling well and was taking a couple of days away from the clinic. If he wanted to say hello to his fellow travelers from Ohio, that would be fine. Krycekís snort was answer enough.
Walter stopped by the house after closing the office for the evening. "Mulder, itís late. You need to get some rest. Byers has agreed to handle the teams tonight."
"I wonít sleep anyway. I canít just turn this over to him."
"Mulder, Dana needs you. Go to bed, for her sake."
Mulder looked up, guilty. Walter was right, he couldnít do any more tonight. He was practically brain dead already. Scully, heíd left her to her mother most of the day and while he knew she understood, he needed to be there for her now. And he needed her to be there for him as well.
"Iíll take Maggie home. If thereís news weíll be here, otherwise no one will disturb you tonight. Try to rest Mulder, weíll need you tomorrow."
He nodded wearily and rose. Walter watched him enter the bedroom and waited for Maggie. When she emerged he moved toward her. She looked exhausted, more than any night on the trip here. He put his arms around her and they stood there for a moment. Katy might not be his granddaughter biologically, but it felt the same. He hadnít realized someone that young could be so completely under your skin.
"Maggie, I know we havenít actually said any vows - "
"Walter, we canít think about that now. Not with Katy. . . "
"I know. But I canít leave you alone tonight. And I donít want to be alone either. Please come home with me. I just need to hold you. I donít think anyone would mind."
She nodded, tears in her eyes. This man was so good to her. He knew what she needed before she knew herself at times.
Mulder thought for a moment that Scully was asleep, but she turned after Maggie left the room to look at him. She looked terrible, as though sheíd lost weight just since this morning. He hurried to her side and lay beside her, holding her close.
He should have been here, sheíd needed him, but the search was critical too. How could he split himself between the two? Well, now he was here and here was where he needed to concentrate.
"Scully?" She looked up at him through tear-swollen eyes. "Weíll find her. You canít give up."
Rather than answer she buried her face in his chest and pulled him tighter against her. The feel of his hands on her didnít help as much this time as the last when sheíd been in pain. But that was physical pain; not like this. Nothing could help this, except finding their baby.
They held each other, occasionally dozing. He didnít cry; she shouldnít have to spend her energy trying to comfort him. He didnít know how much comfort he was but the way they clung to each other it was obvious they were sinking into a black pit.
The next day was no better. Mulder knew the area better than anyone; heíd spent his childhood here, but even he couldnít think of anywhere else to look. Which meant that Katy and Kevin were no longer in the area. He couldnít face that and again retraced the information in front of him.
He ate when Mary or Anne put food in his hand, but he didnít taste it, the same with the coffee and tea. The only time he focused on anything except the search was when he checked in on Scully. Maggie had been with her all day but Scully was no longer talking.
Maggie looked up when Mulder came into the bedroom again. He noted how worried she looked, but made no comment. Both of their daughters were in trouble and he was the only one that could help either one of them. And heíd never felt more helpless; he could actually see Scully slipping away.
The second night Walter almost had to use force to make Maggie leave the house, but her exhaustion was as obvious as Scullyís. He held Maggie through her tears.
Scully didnít cry that night, just clinging to Mulder, not speaking. His heart broke for her and the relief he wasnít able to give her. She seemed to find comfort from his presence but he didnít know why. Heíd been useless so far.
During the night she rose and headed for the bathroom. He pushed back the covers to follow her but she waved him back, not speaking. When she didnít return in the time he thought she should he rose and went to investigate. He found her unconscious on the bathroom floor. His cry brought Beth racing into the room. He hadnít been aware Beth had decided to stay over but was grateful beyond measure to see her.
"Letís get her in bed Mulder." He obediently gathered her into his arms and laid her gently on the bed. Beth broke a capsule under her nose and she stirred unwillingly.
"Dana, can you hear me?" She squirmed, trying to avoid the scent.
"Donít. . . Mulder?"
"Iím right here Scully." He caressed her face and she turned toward him.
"When did you last eat Dana?" Beth was taking her pulse.
"I donít know, I canít keep anything down." Beth glanced over at Mulder. He was appalled; heíd had no idea she wasnít eating. Others would have to take over the search, this woman was his first priority now. He didnít know how he would survive the loss of Katy, but he did know he wouldnít survive the loss of Scully. End of discussion.
Beth left the room to fix some broth, leaving them alone. "Scully, youíre going to eat what Beth brings back."
"Mulder I canít. Iím not hungry, I - "
"Scully, Iím not giving you a choice here. I am not going to let anything happen to you. Donít you know how much I need you? Donít you realize how essential you are? Weíre going to get Katy back, I promise you that, but how will I handle her if youíre not here to help me?" He pulled her up against him. "Eat Scully, I need you strong."
She wasnít coping. She knew it, but how could she? Her baby was missing. Mulder was sure now that Kevin was with her, but even if he was where were they? She might fool the rest of the world, but not Mulder. She felt his arms go around her and she turned to bury her face in his chest.
"Heíll keep her safe and bring her back."
"Itís been a week! Couldnít he have found a way to let us know?" He pulled her closer. After a moment she pulled away. "Iím leaking, let me - "
He pulled the nightgown from her and took her nipple in his mouth, gently suckling the milk from her engorged breasts. He moved slightly away from her, he was becoming aroused and she didnít need that right now.
She moaned and pulled him back. "I need you Mulder. I need you inside of me. Make everything else go away."
"Scully, itís too soon." She had her body pressed against his now, thankfully driving other thoughts from him as well. She was obviously not listening to practicalities. He needed to keep this slow and gentle for her sake. Her body wasnít ready for this.
They finally both fell back exhausted. At least the unbearable tension had been relieved for a while. "Sleep Love, Iím here."
He held her through her bad dreams and dozed himself sporadically. When he saw the sun begin to come through the window, he eased himself out of their bed, slipped on his shorts and headed for the kitchen to make some coffee.
The knock on the door startled him. Who else was up this early? He opened the door and felt his heart rate soar. Kevin, holding his precious daughter in his arms.
"Katy!" He had her in his arms then, holding her to his chest. Scully had heard the one word heíd managed to utter and came racing from the bedroom, her gown still falling into place around her.
She was doing a physical exam even as he held the baby in his arms.
"Sheís okay. Iíd never let anything happen to her." Kevinís face was flaming, heíd never seen quite that much of Scully before and he would never admit how much heíd enjoyed it. "She doesnít care much for the formula."
Mulder finally surrendered the baby to her mother and helped them both to the couch. "What happened Kevin? Why didnít contact us?"
"I couldnít and there wasnít time when I took her. I hoped youíd trust me enough to know Iíd never let anything happen to your daughter. I owe you that and so much more."
"Owe me? Kevin what happened?" He motioned for the young man to sit, while he sat close to Scully and Katy.
"I was coming back from the sawmill when I spotted Krycek coming out of the office. I donít know how long he was in there or what he saw, but he headed straight for the clinic. I knew how youíd hidden the fact that you were expecting and anyone who sees her knows she belongs to the two of you."
Mulder couldnít help but smile. He looked over at Scully cradling their daughter to her breast. Yes, she was definitely theirs.
"So I took off through the woods for the clinic myself. I ran in the side door. Katy was asleep in her crib. I grabbed her and the bag and headed back out as I heard him come in the front. Then I kept moving. I figured when you realized I was gone too it would relieve you. I never meant to scare you, but I thought it would be what you wanted."
Mulder took a deep breath. "Yes. But why didnít we find you, where the hell did we not look?"
"Iíll show you, but I never saw anyone out looking. Thatís why I thought youíd figured it out and were letting me hide her until it was safe. I saw Krycek sneak out early this morning, and I figured youíd been without her long enough."
"Thatís for sure. Kevin, we owe you a lot."
"Not half what I owe you. Iím just glad I spotted him in time." Kevin was blushing, praise was hard for him to take. Mulder had learned that over the last year, but this was worthy of praise.
Scully looked up from Katy. "Thatís the second time youíve said you owe us. Kevin, if itís living here, you more than earn your keep. Youíre a valuable member of the community. Mulder and Walter rely on you for so many things."
Kevin smiled, his face coloring even darker from her praise. "No, thatís not it. You never have recognized me, but you saved my life years ago and the memory of you saved my sanity a thousand times. I could never repay that."
"Saved your life? How? When?" Mulder was searching his memory.
"Nine years ago. You two had just started working together. You saved my sister too."
"Ruby. Ruby Moore."
"Ruby? Youíre Kevin Moore? You said your name was Milliken."
"Well, it is now. About a year after you saved us Mom married Howard Milliken. He didnít have much use for Ruby, but she was mostly gone then anyway. But he and I got along okay. He adopted me, so I became Kevin Milliken. When you didnít recognize me, I decided it wasnít important for you to know."
"Where are Darlene and Ruby now?"
"Mom was killed a couple of years later in a car accident. Drunk driver rammed through an intersection. Ruby, well, they kept taking Ruby. Sheíd never know when they were coming for her, so she couldnít seem to hold down a job or anything Ďcause when they took her, sheíd just be gone with no explanation. Howard never really believed, he thought she would just run off with a guy and leave her job. After Mom died I quit trying to explain it to him. Then the virus came. Howard was gone in a day. I buried him in the backyard because there was no one to help. I just didnít want him in a mass grave and Mom was cremated, so. . . Then I headed for DC. I thought if I could find you maybe I could help somehow."
"The virus ignored you?"
"Yeah, I didnít think about it at the time, but I was about the only person left at home."
"How did you think you were going to find us? That we were even still alive?" Scully asked.
"I always know where you are. I mean, I donít know what I mean. But I was headed for DC and decided to turn north and sure enough you were here. Itís like Iím plugged into you, I know where you are, what you want. Remember Radar from MASH? Iíve always had that with you, ever since. . ."
"Wait a minute, wait a minute, youíre only 17?" Mulder was looking at his prized assistant with astonishment.
"18, I had a birthday last month."
"I had you pegged for at least ten years older than that. The responsibility Iíve laid on you! And youíre not even out of high school? Hell, a few years ago I wouldnít have considered you old enough to baby-sit Katy. Youíve had her for a week."
"You trusted me. And I look older. Iíve handled it, havenít I?"
"Yes! Itís not that. Youíre connected to me?" Mulder glanced over at Scully to see her look of disbelief. It wasnít there, she was just accepting the words. Well, sheíd no doubt argue with him later over this.
"Ever since that night in the woods, when Ruby came back the first time and you saved me from the motorcycles. When you were holding me I knew what you were thinking. Itís not that strong anymore, even when I touch you, but itís like youíre always there, in my head like some kind of compass."
"Kevin," Scully was watching him closely, "Do you have an implant?"
"No, and theyíve never taken me. I had perfect attendance at school and I never woke up in a strange place. Iím healthier than most of my friends. I donít remember ever being sick after I met you, not even a cold."
Katy made her presence know then, demanding attention. "She probably needs changing, I was running real low on diapers. Those cloth ones take forever to dry."
Mulder smiled down at her, safe again in Scullyís arms. "Kevin, we need some time here and Iím sure you could use some rest. Letís meet this afternoon and go over all the details." Kevin nodded, he was tired. Heíd had no idea how many times babies woke up in the middle of the night. He rose and headed for the door, Mulder was beside him and stopped him, shaking his hand and at the last second pulling him into his arms and hugging him. "We canít thank you enough."
Kevin nodded, not sure how to respond, then left them.
Mulder rejoined his girls on the couch, now needing to touch his daughter again. "She needs a bath."
"Iíll help." No way were they going to be out of his sight for a while.
Mulder wandered back into the bedroom where Scully was standing, watching their daughter sleep. The crowds had finally tapered off leaving the little family to themselves. "You ever going to let her out of your sight again?"
"No." But she smiled up at him. She did allow him to lead her out of the room, leaving the door open so they could hear every sound. He pulled her into his lap and just held her. "Maybe itíll be easier when we have a dozen kids."
His look of panic caused a light chuckle from her. "Donít worry Sweetheart. Iím too selfish, I have no intentions of sharing you with that many people."
He loosened his grip and traced her cheekbone with a finger. "I love you."
She smiled and snuggled against him. "I think I have a taste of what you went through all those years ago. I donít know how you stayed sane."
"A lot of people will vow that I didnít. They might be right, Scully, this threw me a lot worse than I ever could have imagined." He couldnít stop the shiver that ran through him.
"I knew it had Mulder, but you kept it together for me. It made me fall in love with you all over again."
He pulled her to him again, kissing her hair and just savoring the fact that they were all together again.
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter,10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.