After the Future - VI


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Walter looked up surprised when Mulder walked in the office the next morning. "I sure didnít expect to see you here today."

"She threw me out." He grinned, "But she did agree to take a little more time herself."

"Iím glad. Sometimes she does push too hard. Is Katy okay?"

"Sheís great." Walter couldnít remember ever seeing a bigger smile on his face. He couldnít help but match it with one of his own.

"Listen, I hate to change the subject, but thereís something I need to ask." Mulder nodded and leaned back in his chair.

"Itís Maggie." That pulled Mulder forward again immediately. "I donít know if youíre aware of it, but . . . well Maggie moved in with me while Katy was gone." Mulderís eyes widened. "I didnít want her to be alone, but now . . . well, I fully expected her to move back out. I was thrilled that she didnít but thatís not Maggie. I donít want to put her in a position of ever being embarrassed by our relationship."

Mulder sat just looking at his former boss. He was sleeping with his mother-in-law. Oh god, did Scully know? He realized Walter had quit speaking.

"Uh, yeah, it . . . you wouldnít want her to be embarrassed. I agree. What, uh, what . . . "

"I want to go ahead and marry her, now. But what about a priest?"

"Priest? Yeah." Mulder was thinking frantically, how far would they have to go to find a priest? Were there any still alive for that matter? "What about just a minister? Think Maggie would go for that?"

"I donít know. But we donít have one of them either."

"Well, Frohike."

"Frohike?" Walterís look said it all.

"Well, heís ordained." Well, kind of, Mulder defended to himself. Okay it was a $5 mail order thing, but it was all they had.

"I think Iíd have to cover that with Maggie." Walter said dryly. "My question was, do you think Dana would have a problem with us going ahead so soon?"

"Oh. I donít think so. No, Iím sure she wants her mother to be happy. Sheís mentioned many times how good you are for Maggie."

Walter relaxed a little at those words. "Yeah, well, we should get some work done. Weíve been kind of slack around here for a while." Mulder nodded and the subject was changed.

*****

He couldnít stay away that long. His need to see Katy, to touch Scully, was more powerful than any inventory or work assignment. Scully was nursing the baby when he got there and he stood and admired the sight. Scully looked up and smiled and motioned for him to join them on the bed. He did eagerly, laying a hand on Katyís leg. She turned to him and he was willing to swear she smiled at him, then resumed her task.

"Have a good day?"

"Better now that Iím here." He leaned back after kissing her, relaxing beside her.

"Any news?" That brought back the conversation with Walter full force. He straightened up, sitting less comfortably.

"Well, a little. Did your mother come over today?"

"Yes. She made sure I took a nap while Katy was sleeping."

Mulder grinned, "You know I really like your mother." She swatted at him, but smiled too. "Did, uh, did you talk about anything?"

"We talked about a lot of things. Mostly Katy and how well she endured the separation. She did better than either of us. Why?"

"Did you talk about Walter?"

"In passing." She sat up then, disturbing Katy, "Is he okay? Nothingís wrong is it?" She was watching him closely and knew him so well there was no way he could hide his discomfort. "Mulder, is Walter ill?"

"No! No, nothing like that."

"Then what?" Now she was becoming impatient with him, but it wasnít his place to tell her this. How could he tell Scully about this? "Mulder."

"Well, uh, it seems that Ė just during Katyís absence Ė well . . . "

"Mulder!"

"Maggie moved in with Walter. Now he doesnít want her to leave and he wanted to know how we, well you, felt about them getting married right away." It came out in a rush, but still her eyes grew wider.

"Momís living with . . . " Mulder nodded. "Oh."

"Well, you knew they were engaged, Scully."

"I know. Itís just . . . living together?" He nodded, not exactly sure what his next words should be. She looked away from him, obviously trying to gather her thoughts.

"Are you okay with them getting married?"

"Yes. I mean, well yes, of course. I want them to be happy. Itís just a surprise, I mean that she would . . . "

"Yeah, well since we donít have a priest, I suggested Frohike to perform the ceremony."

"Frohike?" That caused her to look at him again.

"Well, heís ordained, sort of and - "

"That was as a joke."

"Well research is what he called it. But itís the best we have. Hell, Scully, if Iím the Ďlawí in town, they can jump over a broom and Iíll declare it legal. He just wants to make an honest woman out of her and as soon as possible."

Scully nodded. "I need to think about it. I didnít realize it would hit me like this."

"Youíre not jealous, are you?" She looked up quickly to see if he was kidding. Well, he was trying to, but there was a little fear underneath, fear that probably only she could see.

"No, of course not. Iím stunned that my mother would live with a man, any man, but one that I know as well as I do Walter . . . I donít know, it feels strange. She was married to Ahab for so long."

Mulder nodded. Heíd never had to go through this, his own mother had pretty much turned off to the thought of all men after her divorce, himself included.

*****

The next morning he took his time leaving, waiting instead for her mother to arrive. Sheíd been up twice with Katy during the night and he wanted to make sure Maggie was aware. Scully finally cornered him, her eyebrow at new heights. "Go to work."

"Scully, are you trying to get rid of me?"

"Yes. Go on."

"You have a man coming over?" He loomed over her.

"Maybe, but Mom can chaperone. Beside, Mom and I have things to talk about."

He placed his forehead against hers. "You take it easy today. Get some rest, or tomorrow I talk to her - about you."

"You threatening me, Mister?"

"Yeah, and Iím bigger than you." She grinned at him then and he eased up. "I'll see you at lunch." He kissed her again, waved at Maggie and headed out.

"What did he want to talk to me about?" Maggie poured herself a cup of tea.

Scully shook her head and joined her mother at the table. "Katy was up twice last night so heís all concerned about me."

"Dana, he does have the right."

"Donít start, Mom. We need to talk about you today."

"Me?" She looked up startled.

Well, she looked innocent enough. "Mom, are you living with Walter?" Okay, a little blunt, but sheíd never been exactly coy.

"Yes. Walter asked me to move in with him after Katy disappeared. Iím a grown woman Dana, and it was the right thing to do. We both needed the support, and the comfort." She was looking Dana in the eye, not in the least embarrassed. "Are you upset by this?"

"Not upset, but surprised. I never expected you to . . . "

"Well to be honest, neither did I. Things have changed a great deal over the last couple of years. Your father would understand Dana. And we do plan to marry."

"Walterís concerned about finding a priest."

Maggie smiled softly. "Is he? Thatís just like him, to worry over something like that. Thatís not important to me, not this time. Like I said, everythingís different now. Walter and I are older Ė this should be more of a community celebration than a solemn occasion."

Dana felt herself relax slightly. She knew Walter cared for her mother, but now she knew that her mother also cared for him and that she hadnít forgotten their father. "Frohike is Ďordainedí kind of, if youíre interested."

Maggie smiled. "I donít think that will be necessary. Walter and I need to discuss this. I would like to do something soon. While Katy was gone we had, I guess, an excuse, but Iím old fashioned enough to still want a formal arrangement - a commitment."

"You donít have to worry about that with Walter."

"I know." They both looked up as Katy began crying. Maggie started to rise but Scully put her hand on her motherís arm.

"Donít. Iím okay." She rose and headed into the bedroom. She was leaning over the crib when a feeling of weakness washed over her. It was gone immediately and she shook her head. Had she imagined it? Maybe she was more tired than she realized. She tested herself; yes she was okay to pick up the baby.

A couple of hours later she was willing to believe she had imagined the whole thing. She felt fine and did take a short nap after lunch while Katy slept. She was up and fixing dinner when Mulder came home.

Later in the evening after nursing Katy once more, she allowed Mulder to put her down. She watched them leave the room and decided to finish up in the kitchen. This wave of weakness was much stronger than the first and she realized she was physically unable to lift herself from the couch. It passed nearly as quickly, but she couldn't dismiss this one. She began a quick inventory of her physical symptoms. There were none Ė just this wave that came and went.

She was startled back to the present when Mulder stood before her. "Sheís down."

"Oh. Weíre going to have trouble with her when sheís a teenager Mulder. She likes men too much."

He grinned at her, not really worried Ė yet. "Where were you?"

"Oh, just thinking about tomorrow. Weíre going to go through the available wardrobe and see what Mom can wear for her wedding."

"Really? Did they set a date?"

"Day after tomorrow in the afternoon. Weíll have a community gathering and potluck. It is the first wedding weíve had."

"Walterís going to be a basket case. Where will this fashion show take place?"

"Here. Mom says thereís no reason to take Katy out. It is a little cool and we have the most room." He nodded, his mind not really on womenís clothing. He held out his hand and pulled her to her feet.

"Listen, since you were up so much last night, it should be my turn tonight. Do you have a bottle I could give her?"

"Mulder." But it was only a token protest. Maybe an uninterrupted nightís sleep was all she needed.

"We both know I need less sleep than you do. In fact, why donít you go on and get ready for bed now? If Iím invited Iíll keep you company until you fall asleep."

She let her finger glide over his cheek. "What if my husband finds out?"

"Donít you think I can take him?" And he swung her up in his arms.

"Um, you can take me anytime." He leered down at her as he carried her into their bedroom. Even though she did protest slightly, he only held her. He could see her fatigue even if she refused to admit it herself.

She fell asleep almost instantly and when he was sure he wouldnít disturb her he rose and went into the other room, where he cleaned up the rest of dinner and folded a little laundry. He was thoroughly domesticated and loved it.

*****

He had started coffee before he went to wake her the next morning. "Honey, wake up. Youíve got all those women coming over. Youíd better go ahead and shower."

What? It couldnít be morning. She had just closed her eyes. When she finally cracked them open to see if he was serious she could see that the sun was high in the sky. She wasnít rested; it was as though the night had passed in an instant. But he was right; people were coming so she forced herself out of bed.

"Was Katy up last night?"

"Yes. You slept right through it like you were supposed to. I gave her a morning bottle too."

Sheíd slept through all of that? She must have been more tired than she realized. Another wave of weakness caught her in the shower, but not has badly as the previous evening though she did have to grab hold of the wall to remain upright. She should mention this to Beth, have her check her vitals. She didnít need to be coming down with something that she could pass on to Katy.

However, when the women started arriving, she pushed it aside and plunged into wedding preparations along with everyone else.

They settled on a beautiful blue dress that belonged to the woman that Anne now roomed with and was nearly a perfect fit. Mary promised all alterations would be completed before dinnertime. No one seemed in a hurry to leave, enjoying the "girl time", playing with the baby and just visiting. Some of these women were people that Scully did not know as well. The community was growing and though she was the doctor, Mary, Anne, and even Maggie had spent more personal time with these women.

They had a wide variety of backgrounds and their quest to get here was fascinating. So were their tales of how they had heard about Mulder and the rumors they had followed to find him. She felt more than a twinge of jealousy as the stories continued. This was a new sensation for her Ė oh sheíd had momentary twinges of jealous Ė Bambi, Detective White, even Phoebe, and of course Diana. But this was different. These women had hunted down her husband from different parts of the country and come to live near him. She knew he loved her and adored Katy. Theyíd created Katy with that love, but these women Ė they almost revered him. Divine right - would Mulder be tempted?

Mulder stuck his head in at lunchtime. He greeted the women, checked on Katy and pulled Scully into the bedroom for a couple of minutes alone.

"I donít want to keep you from your company, but I had to have some time." He was nipping at her lips, his hands molding her to him.

Her jealousy vanished. He hadnít noticed there were women in the next room. He only saw her. She was the luckiest woman in the world. She pressed herself against him.

"Um, Scully, I agree, but there are all of those people in the next room. Think you can wait until this evening?"

"Only if I have to." His eyes widened. This woman could never bore him. If this were the outcome, heíd be the only one handling the 2 a.m. feeding until Katy didnít need them anymore.

He pulled her close to him again. "Ditch the company and Iíll come home early." He kissed her again after she nodded.

*****

The next morning Mulder finished getting Katy ready so that Scully could leave to help her mother dress, then joined them along with the rest of the community to witness the ceremony. Walter had asked Mulder to stand up with him and Scully performed those duties for her mother.

The entire assembly burst into applause when Walter and Maggie kissed. Scully glanced over at the bassinet to see if Katy was going to wake up. No problem, she was sleeping through it. Scully felt another wave of weakness wash over her, the worst one yet. She put her hand on the chair to steady herself and looked up to see if anyone had noticed. No, everyone was focused on Mom and Walter, good.

People were moving forward to congratulate the new couple. Mulder turned to her to take her arm and was startled when she clutched his. "Scully?"

"Take me home Mulder."

"Sure. Are you Ė " His arms tightened around her as she went limp against him.

"Beth!" He lifted her and carried her to the sofa that had been pushed against the wall to make room for the ceremony. Walter herded everyone away from them to give them room. Beth knelt beside her, taking her pulse.

"Mulder, letís get her over to the clinic." He tried to hide the panic on his face. He nodded mutely and scooped her back into his arms. Beth tucked a blanket around her.

He turned to look at Walter. "Katy."

"Sheíll be okay. Go on, weíll be there shortly."

He hurried to the clinic and laid her carefully on the examining table. "Mulder let me check her out."

"Iím not leaving." She nodded resignedly.

"Then help me. Letís get this dress off of her." She turned to the drawer to get what she needed while he undressed her. He tried to stay out of Bethís way, but never let go of Scullyís hand. "I know sheís not recovered from everything thatís happened, but shouldnít she be coming to?" He finally looked away from Scully to see Beth. Her expression caused ice to form around his heart. "Beth?" His voice had dropped to a whisper, he didnít have enough breath for more.

Beth couldnít disguise the stricken look on her face, her eyes locked on Scully. "Mulder, itís the virus."

"The vi . . . thereís no bees this time of year." An inane comment even to his own ears. "What do we do?"

She finally looked up at him, "Mulder, we never saved anyone. I donít know what to do."

His mouth moved but no sound emerged. He tightened his grip on Scully's hand and his emotions. "She was . . . she was working on the hypothermia."

"It never worked Mulder."

"Would it hurt?" She shook her head hopelessly. "Then weíre going to try it. It might buy us some time."

"Time to do what Mulder? Sheís the doctor. I know enough to assist her, but I canít do her research. Mulder, I canít do anything for her."

"No." The look on his face caused Beth to step back from him. Had he snapped? Heíd been through enough.

Walter and Maggie walked in at that point. Walter instinctively moved in front of Beth to protect her. "Mulder, calm down. Tell me whatís going on."

"Beth says itís the virus."

Walter turned, startled to look at Beth as Maggie gasped. Beth nodded, tears forming in her eyes.

"Weíve got to cool her off!" Mulder turned to Walter, his eyes begging for help, reassurance.

Walter asked Beth the question with his eyes, but she only shrugged helplessly.

"Letís do it." Walter took over. "Maggie, you and Beth get all the ice you can find. Mulder, get her shoulders." Walter had her legs. They moved her into the bathroom and lowered her into the tub. Mulder turned on the cold tap.

"What do we do now?" Walter turned to look at Mulder.

Mulder forced his eyes away from her. "Sheís had the vaccine." He spat at Walter. "She should be immune."

"Maybe weíve bought her some time Mulder. Letís get Byers over here to look over her notes." Mulder nodded mutely. "Will you be okay while I get him?"

Mulder gave a short nod, not taking his eyes from her. Walter put his hand on Mulderís shoulder and squeezed it, then let himself out.

"Walter?" Maggie met him at the door.

"Take the ice in. Iím going to get Byers."

*****

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