After the Future 7 - Part 1 (PG13)


Weakness appeared to be Scullyís only aftereffect but that weakness was profound. Lifting something as heavy as a fork was beyond her and she could only stay awake for minutes at the time. This increased gradually and they moved Katy into the room so that Scully could see her immediately when she was awake. Either Mulder or Katy were always there when she woke.

Mulder moved her back to their home when she was able to stay awake for thirty minutes at the time, foregoing his duties to the group that had assembled around him. He took care of her and the baby nearly full time, though Maggie, Beth, Mary or Anne were usually within calling distance.

Heíd never felt more necessary and for Scully to accept his ministrations without protest, at least at first, was an incredible feeling to him.

He came out of the bedroom to get her lunch. She was awake a lot more recently and her appetite, while not good, was returning. At least the IVs were gone now. Mary was in the kitchen and he greeted her. "Smells good, what have we got here?"

When she didnít speak he looked over at her and was surprised to see the tears on her face. "Mary? What? Whatís wrong?"

She shook her head, but he moved closer taking her arm and seated her at the counter. "What is it Mary?" He hadnít spent a lot of time with her; things had exploded into activity so soon after she arrived. Her help in caring for Scully and Katy had made her an important part of his life though and heíd never seen her cry.

"Are the kids okay? Charlie?"

"I canít . . . I canít talk to Charlie about this."

"I canít imagine anything you canít talk to Charlie about. Iíve seen you two together." He said gently.

"This is too much, I canít put this much more pressure on him."

Mulder touched her arm again. "Then tell me."

She looked up at him, her eyes hopeful; "Iím pregnant."

"Mary, thatís wonderful news. I know Charlie will be happy." He was bending down to see in her eyes now.

"I know he will, but the pressure . . . Heís already so worried about whether or not we have the supplies to get through the winter. He doesnít need Ė "

"Heís worried about the supplies?" Mulder interrupted her. "I havenít been pulling my weight around here, have I?"

Mary looked up surprised. "Are you kidding?" Mulder just looked at her, she didnít sound sarcastic but he didnít know her that well. "Youíre Fox Mulder. Youíre the reason weíre all here. If you sat on a rock out front and just spoke to the people as they walked by youíd be more than pulling your share."

Now Mulder drew back, staring at her. "You donít know." She looked at him wonderingly. "Mulder if you hadnít sent Walter for us, weíd probably be dead by now. You saved us. I guess you donít realize who the population around here is, the people that have congregated around you. Are you aware that you were famous, in a cult sort of way, before any of this happened? Iíve talked to the others. Theyíre here because of you. They feel safe because of you."

"Youíre not serious." He was shaking his head. She was delusional, she had to be.

"Iím deadly serious. If we were still in Ohio instead of here with you and Dana, Charlie would never know about this baby. I wouldn't have it, I wouldnít dare. Not there."

He sat there dumbfounded. Famous? Him? People wanted to be here because they thought he could Ė what? Protect them? It wasnít true, look how well heíd protected his wife and his daughter.

Now her hand came up to touch his arm. "Take Dana her soup. Youíre right, I need to go find Charlie." After a moment, "Are you okay, Mulder?"

He looked at her and shook his head. She smiled gently, "Sorry to catch you off guard like this. I guess I thought you knew. But it is going to be okay and youíre right, Charlie will be happy." She took a deep breath. "Thanks."

Thanks? She was thanking him? Her family had come through for him and his family so much more than he had for theirs. She stood and after a secondís hesitation, hugged him. "Go feed Dana, I have things to do."

He nodded dumbly and stood as well. He had a lot to think about.

Scully opened her eyes when he entered the room, carrying her tray. Still awake, she was getting stronger. He smiled broadly at her. No worry was allowed in this room. After he arranged her in the bed, he placed the tray over her lap and began to spoon the soup to her mouth.

"I should be able to do this." She sighed.

"Later, woman. Iíll have you peeling me grapes and rubbing my feet in no time. Oh, I have some news." She looked up and smiled. This was her favorite time, just the two of them alone together. She didnít even mind that other people were looking after Katy at times like this.

"What?"

"Maryís pregnant. You have to keep quiet, she hasnít told Charlie yet."

She smiled and her eyebrow rose. "But you know? Should I be jealous?"

"Insanely. Actually she was a little upset and I walked in on her so she told me. That surprised me a little, Iím not sure weíve ever talked before, but I think she feels better about it now."

"You have that effect on all the women." She was only half teasing and he caught it.

"Why do you say that?" He moved the bowl away and stretched out beside her, taking her in his arms.

"Because you make people feel safe. Especially me."

He didnít respond, he couldnít keep anyone safe Ė he never had. He took her tighter into his arms. She pulled back slightly suddenly. "Itís a girl."

"What?"

"Maryís going to have a girl."

Mulder looked at her, not sure she was serious. "Well, great. Katy will have someone to play with."

She relaxed against his chest again, resting. The slightest exertion still sapped her strength. She spoke against his chest. "Bethís pregnant too."

Now he pulled back to see her face. "Beth? Frohike!" She nodded, smiling back at him. "When did she tell you?"

"She doesnít know." He just looked at her then, and she shrugged.

"Boy or girl?" He finally asked.

"Boy." She was looking him straight in the eye now.

"They called you Mrs. Spooky because you hung out with me, not because you were the spooky one."

"I donít know how I know it, but itís true. We can test it if you like. And you need to have a little conversation with Melvin about responsibility. You need to ask his intentions toward Beth."

"Me? Iím not her father."

"Yeah Mulder, you kind of inherited that role here." She nestled back against him.

"Come on Scully, Walter, Kevin and Charlie do a much better job of running this place than I ever could."

"Iím not going to really argue about that. They are good at the organization of things, but a community is more than that and youíre the one that makes it a community."

"Have you been talking to Mary?"

"Not about anything specific, why?"

"She just said something like that. I donít believe you."

"You just donít want to believe because you donít think youíre worthy of it. Think about Kevin, tracking us down because of his ties to you. Heís not the only one."

"What are you talking about? I never met most of these people before they got here."

"I know, but you touched their lives anyway. They had read about you or knew someone you had helped. They came here to be near you. Itís a good thing Iím not the jealous type."

He squeezed her lightly, careful not to hurt her. "I wouldnít worry too much about that Scully. You and Katy being the only two women in the world probably isnít a coincidence."

"Good answer."

"Take your nap Scully. Iíve got some things to think about."

When Maggie came over later he reluctantly pulled himself away to head over to the office. Kevin looked up startled as he entered and started to rise. "Is everything okay? Scully? Katy?"

"Has it been that long since Iíve been here?"

"No, no I didnít mean Ė " He was flustered at that.

"Itís okay Kevin, and itís true. I havenít been around. Is Walter here?" Kevin nodded and Mulder headed for the door.

Walter too looked up when he entered, "Is everything Ė "

"Everything is fine. Maggieís with Scully so I thought Iíd check in, see what I could do. Is Charlie here?" He glanced around the small office.

"No, Mary came for him. Youíre sure everythingís okay?"

"Yeah. Whatever Mary and Charlie are talking about is their news."

"News?" Mulder just grinned at him.

"Okay, Iíve been shirking my duties around here. You want to bring me up to date? Why is Charlie concerned about the supplies?" He perched on the edge of the desk.

"Where did you hear that?"

"So itís true? You donít have to protect me."

"Thatís not it. You had other priorities Ė very understandable ones."

"I know and thanks, but I need to get back to work too. If my familyís going to go hungry . . . " Mulder was looking him straight in the eye. No evasions would be tolerated. He rose and headed for his chair.

"It might get close, but I donít think itís as bad as Charlie fears. He had a really bad time before they came here. Weíve built a couple of greenhouses. Weíre working on two more. Our population has grown over the year, but everyone has pitched in. The people that have come here have come to work. Theyíre not going to let you down."

"Me?"

"Well youíre the reason they come."

"Now damn it, donít you start that." Mulder stopped in his tracks before he could reach his desk.

"What?"

"This fantasy that everyoneís here because of me." Walter stared at him, not bothering to speak. Mulder finally moved again and took his seat. "Do people think theyíll leave us alone because of me?"

"Some of them do. Others assume youíre leading the resistance."

"Does anyone realize I just want to live here with my family? I donít miss the intrigue, the paranoia. I have Scully and Katy. I have you as a father-in-law, Maggie, hell I have nephews! I just want to be left alone."

Walter shrugged. "Iím not disagreeing with you. Having Maggie in my life - hell I have grandchildren! Not an easy thing when youíve never had children. But the boys think of me that way and Katy . . . " Now he was grinning. "Iím not disagreeing at all, but think about it. Even the guys and I came here looking for you. What did we want? I guess stability would have been my goal and to be with people I care about. There werenít many in DC."

"Thatís different, we were friends before. These people are strangers to me, or they were."

"Yeah, but you werenít a stranger to them. You were a goal and they reached it. Theyíre happy to be here and they want this place to succeed."

Mulder slumped in his chair. How in hell had he become an icon?

"You donít have to do anything Mulder. Theyíre not asking that, they just want to be here. Nothing has to change."

"Not change? How can things not change? Iím supposed to be everyoneís . . . what? Father? Spiritual advisor?"

"How about leader, Mulder? Just like you were yesterday."

Mulder looked over at him and away again. Then he straightened up, shaking it off for now. It wasnít true and he had work to do. "Let me see the inventory."

They settled down to work. Mulder could see where Charlie was concerned, but they had done good work, not relying on any outside resources to feed them. He needed to put in some time helping with the construction of the greenhouses, but he was going to leaving the canning and other preserving to the women who seemed to know more about it.

He was about ready to head home to check on Scully when the door opened and Charlie entered. He looked at his brother-in-law and grinned. "You okay?"

Charlie faced him with a bemused expression on his face. "I think so."

"Whatís going on?" Walter joined the conversation, watching both men carefully.

"You didnít tell him?" Charlie glanced back at Mulder.

"Itís your news."

"What news?" Now Walter was on his feet, ready to assert his authority if necessary.

That seemed to cause even more amusement between these two "sons" of his. He opened his mouth to speak again.

"Okay, Dad. It seems youíre going to be a grandfather again."

Walterís mouth fell open for a second. "Mary?"

"I should probably be insulted that you would think it could be anyone else."

"Thatís not what I Ė " Then he made a noise that Mulder could only call a growl. "No one warned me of the breeding capacity of Scullyís when I married into this family!"

"You just remember, Iíve been the baby in the family for over 30 years and I want warning if thatís going to change."

Walter went beet red and Mulder lost it, collapsing back into his chair, laughing as hard as he could. Damn he liked this family, a father and a brother he could kid with like this. A family that cared this much about one another, he shook his head. And to think that the aliens heíd fought all his life were responsible for his happiness . . .

He was still grinning when he got home until he saw that she was not in the bed. His heart rate soared until he spotted her in the chair across the room.

"What the hell Ė "

"Iím fine Mulder. I had help getting here. Donít worry so."

"Donít Ė what are you doing out of bed?" His fear made his voice harsher than he meant it to, but his hands were shaking.

"Mulder, come here." She held out her hand to him. "Iím trying to build up some stamina. Iím going to need it. I have two pregnant patients I need to watch and Iím going to have to deliver the babies."

"Beth can deliver Maryís"

"If sheís not in labor herself, or gave birth the day before. Mulder their due dates are on top of each other. Unless you want to deliver them." She managed to suppress her smile but her eyes were twinkling.

He refused to be sidetracked. "Scully, I wonít take the risk. You are not going to push yourself and possibly do permanent damage." He lifted her into his arms, his gentle touch belying the tone of his voice.

"I didnít mean to upset you Mulder, but Iíve been like this for so long. Iím tired of being an invalid."

"Scully," He settled her back in their bed, "It hasnít been that long. You have made remarkable progress."

"Mulder I want to do more than just lie in your arms."

That took him a second to translate. "I want that too. You know I do. But I waited years before and I can wait as long as I need to now. Having you in my arms is more than I deserve."

"Iím married to an idiot." She buried her face in his neck.

"Yeah, but an idiot who adores you." He realized she had fallen asleep already and he gently lowered her to her pillow. He let himself out of the room and checked on Katy, then started getting dinner ready.

Her comment had led him down a train of thought heíd avoided lately, and he found himself reliving some incredible moments in her arms. Thank goodness for his memory, it would be a while before she was able to participate like she had once done, but it would happen.

He fed and changed Katy, a chore he found he enjoyed immensely though heíd probably never admit it to anyone, then checked on Scully.

He was surprised to find her awake again. "You should be resting."

"I am. Is Katy up?" He tried to look stern, but nodded and brought her in, helping Scully hold the baby close to her.

"You know I didnít tell you about my day earlier." She looked up at him, the question in her eyes. "Mary told Charlie about the baby. I didnít tell him it was a girl, you can handle that. I was there when he told Walter. That was a scene. Walter thinks Scullyís are too fertile, and then Charlie told him he wanted to remain the baby of the family. I thought we were going to lose Walter on that one."

Scully chuckled, imagining the scene. "You know, I better talk to Mom about birth control. Iím not sure it couldnít happen."

"Really? I donít think Walter could handle that at all." She shrugged and he decided to change the subject. He just wasnít comfortable with those particular visuals. "Did you miss me when I went over to help out this afternoon?"

"Of course, but Mom and I snapped beans for canning. Mulder, itís going to be an early spring. We need to be careful, but we have enough supplies." He had been taking Katy from her but now he stiffened slightly.

"Whose been talking to you about this?"

"No one. Everyone is following your orders and protecting me." She watched him settle the sleeping baby in her crib.

"Thatís not - "

"Yes it is, but I forgive you. I donít know how I know, but as far as winter, weíre going to be okay. What Iím worried about is the virus. Mulder I want to start working on a vaccine. I know I donít have the medical facilities I Ė

"No. You are to concentrate on getting better, not wearing yourself out experimenting Ė "

"Mulder. Stop. I have to do this. Iím not talking about standing of my feet for hours at the time. I know I canít do that. Byers can help me. But look at these people, our people, I canít just let those other two babies come into the world without trying to protect them the way Katy is. Byers and I can test the people here, see whatís different about you, Katy and me than the others. We can use Katyís stem blood to give a mild dose to Mary and Beth. It wonít hurt the babies and then weíll have more antiviral to work with."

"They used Katyís stem blood on you."

"Only half. I still have enough to - "

"Half? Wait a minute, youíre telling me that they didnít give you everything they could - " She could see the outrage taking over his body and took his hand wanting to calm him.

"They held back some in case I needed a second dose. I didnít, so itís still available."

"Held back, why didnít they talk to me?"

"I understand you were in no shape to listen." She could feel the shudder as his memories of that time were suddenly in front of him. "Iím okay now Mulder. Iím getting stronger every day and I intend to continue that. You have to trust me."

He looked away for a minute. He did trust her, but that didnít mean she always knew what was best for her.

"Letís change the subject Mulder. Did you talk to Frohike?"

"Well, no. Scully I donít know what to say. Theyíre both adults. I canít ask the manís intentions."

"Yes, you can. But I suppose I should talk to Beth first. After all, she doesnít know yet either."

"Youíre really sure?"

She nodded, "But maybe I should run some tests, for her sake. I donít want to Ďspookí her. Why donít you ask her to come over? We can do the testing here. But then you have to talk to him."

"Why canít she tell him?"

"Sheíll be afraid heíll think she tried to trap him." She looked up at him; "She didnít by the way."

He looked up startled, "I never said . . . "

"I know, but it crossed your mind."

"Scully whatís going on? How do you know I had that thought? Why are you so sure Maryís baby is a girl and that Beth is pregnant?"

"I donít know. Ever since I woke up Iíve had little flashes of it. Youíre the only one Iíd had whole thoughts from, but I know what spring looks like this year. Iíve seen those babies. Itís not when Iím asleep. Iím not dreaming. Mulder, you believe me donít you?"

"Donít get upset Scully. Of course I believe you, itís not that. I want you to get well, thatís my top priority Ė your health. If knowing these things, seeing whatís coming interferes with that, I - "

"Itís not. This can help us Mulder. I can be a help again, to you."

Mulder closed his eyes, pulling her close to him. "You have never stopped being a help to me Scully. Donít you know youíre the only reason Iím still alive? Thatís the kind of help I get from you, the will to live. Anything else is more than I deserve. Enough." He interrupted before she could speak. "You need to rest now. Iíll ask Beth to come over later."

"Weíre going to finish this talk." He kissed her and pulled a blanket up over her, not committing to the conversation. Her eyes were already closing.

"And Anne, I need to talk to Anne too." She rolled to her side and drifted off.

Anne? Good lord, she wasnít pregnant too was she? There was no way he could have a father-son talk with Todd. Now Walter was close to him, maybe he . . . Mulder shook his head. He was getting ahead of himself. Scully wanted to talk to Anne, thatís all.

The woman in the kitchen when he emerged was one of the women he wasnít as familiar with and he had to think for a moment before her name came to him. "Kelly, hi. Did they force kitchen duty on you? Why does no one around here believe I can cook?"

"Maybe the wild tales of pizza box towers in your apartment?" She grinned at him, then leaned over to remove a dish from the oven. Her sweater was cut rather low and he couldnít help but notice as she bent forward. Hadnít she been one of the women here when they were planning Maggieís wedding? Sheíd arrived with a small group just at the end of summer. Yeah, three men and one woman - he remembered Frohikeís comment at the time.

Frohike. Damn, he did not want to talk to him. "Kelly, will you be here for a few minutes?"

"Sure. What do you need?"

"Scully wanted to talk to Beth. I could run get her, but I donít want to leave Scully alone with the baby."

"No problem. I can stay as long as you like."

"Thanks." He slipped on his coat and headed out, his mind going over different ways to approach the subject.

*****

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