“Our help?” Alex sputtered, his fury growing as he thought about those words. “Our help! They caused this, they kill us off and now they come to us. Mulder, you’re not - “
“No. We’re not going to help them. They can die, like we did.” Mulder focused on the children and felt Scully’s hand on his arm, calming him. Mulder shook his head, but wouldn’t look at her.
“Mulder, we need to think about this.” Walter’s strong and steady voice drew everyone’s attention.
“Think about what?” Mulder turned, as though looking for a fight.
Walter didn’t look in the least intimidated, though George and Todd exchanged uneasy looks. Bill just sat there stunned.
“We need to find out what they need help for. If it’s to bring the sun back . . . “
Mulder turned away from him, but Scully looked at Katy. “Is that it?”
Katy looked at her father, then back to Scully, and shrugged. “They don’t like cold. That’s why they live in the southwest and near the equator.” Scully nodded; she hadn’t thought about it, but it made sense. The hypothermia slowed the virus. The humans had been in a base in Antarctica. She and Mulder had found the bees in Texas, not North Dakota.
“Are they dying?”
Katy glanced again at Mulder, then Alex. “They’re . . . slowing down.”
“Katy, I thought they couldn’t reach you here; that you were ‘blacked out’ in this area.” Walter drew her attention.
“I am, I mean, we are. Wendy called me.”
“She’s one of our sisters we were able to warn. Her family lived near the Arizona border. Not many of us live in that area, it’s their territory.”
“The planet is our territory,” Alex growled. Walter sent him a quelling look and he subsided. After a glance from Walter, Lexie climbed into Alex’s lap. Alex shot him a look, but cuddled his daughter to him.
Walter turned back to Katy. “How old is Wendy?”
“Almost Walt’s age.”
Looking a little puzzled, Walter turned to Todd. “Could we have gotten vaccine that far by then?”
Todd shook his head, but it was Walt who answered. “She wasn’t born there. They were in Tennessee and left to try to find family. They didn’t take any vaccine with them; Wendy has been alone except for us. The people she’s with don’t really know she’s different. The ones who are alone keep a . . .” he looked over at his father, “a low profile, because of Esther.”
“But ‘they’ knew?” Walter asked.
Katy nodded. “Alone, she can’t really black out.”
“So as a baby, you were exposed?”
Katy blinked. “No, Mom and Dad already had this area protected.”
Mulder turned back then, startled. “We did? Your Mom and I can’t do what you do.”
“Of course you can. You just don’t think you can.”
Scully realized then what Walter was doing; defusing the conversation. Sometimes she forgot what a good leader he had always been.
“If Wendy’s alone, can she look after her people?” George let his hand rest on his injured leg.
“Yes. Remember, all of us can do all of it. If she needs help, she draws it from us.”
“I can’t see MJ helping us delivery a baby,” Mulder said dryly.
worry,” Katy smiled slightly, “he doesn’t want to. We can choose what we enjoy
doing - like Missy with the plants and MJ with weather. Esther likes to work
with Walt, and Lexie coached Will and Sam and Suzie and all.”
“How many are alone, like Wendy?”
“Not that many.” Katy shrugged. “Mitsui is the only one in Japan, but not for long. There’s no one in China, or the Middle East because it’s so hot there. Usually if the vaccine has been there, or someone moves to a new place, they know about it and use it, like in Australia. And people who’ve had the vaccine make more babies.”
That drew a chuckle from Walter, though he nodded. Others smiled slightly and the atmosphere seemed less tense.
Katy’s head went up and she looked over at the door. It opened suddenly and a man stepped inside. Mulder and Walter were on their feet, but Katy was quicker. “Kevin!”
Everyone took a deep breath as they recognized him under the bundle of clothing. He moved quickly to Katy, but looked up at Mulder. “What’s wrong?” He was removing his hat and unwinding his scarf. “I heard Katy.”
“Get warm first,” Maggie interrupted, already dishing him up a bowl of stew to hold as well as to eat. Todd moved an easy chair closer to the fireplace.
Katy perched on the arm of his chair while he ate. Once he was finished, Scully took his bowl and he pulled Katy down into his lap. “Gotta say, I miss you guys.”
“Not enjoying the animals?” Todd grinned.
Kevin rolled his eyes. “I’m a little surprised you let me in. I know I’m not as ‘fresh’ as I’d like to be in polite company.”
“That’s you?” Todd chuckled. Kevin glared at him as Katy snuggled in.
“Are Lynne and Byers okay?” Scully asked.
“Yeah. We’re getting used to each other. Byers tells some pretty good stories.” He glanced over at Mulder.
Mulder shook his head. “Do I need to sue for slander?”
“Hey, if it’s true, it ain’t slander,” Kevin retorted laughing at Mulder’s expression. He looked over at Todd, “I think my hands are warm now. Do I get to meet Lee?”
“How did you - “ Todd glanced at Katy. “Nevermind. Yeah, he should be awake. I’ll go check.” He rose and headed toward the back. Kevin looked down at Katy and winked.
Kevin looked over at Alex. “How’s your arm?”
Alex squeezed Lexie. “Growing.” He grinned a little, “wanna see?” At Kevin’s nod, he slipped off his sweater and then his t-shirt.
Kevin’s eyes widened. “Damn, I can, I can see it’s longer.” He rose with Katy and moved over to get a closer look.
Alex nodded, “Yep. They’re doing a great job.”
“Does it hurt?”
Alex shook his head. “It itches sometimes and the prosthesis doesn’t fit anymore but it’s gonna be worth it.”
“Damn.” Kevin looked back over at Katy. “Okay, how’s it going with Matthew?”
Bill looked over at his son.
“We can touch him now,” Katy said, glancing at her uncle. “We kind of tricked him. He didn’t think Lee was a ‘danger’ because he was just born, so Lee took hold of his finger.”
“Lee was the contact?” Kevin looked up at Bill, who didn’t meet his eyes. “Well,” he didn’t seem to know what to say to that.
“Matt’s doing much better already, but he’s still sleepy. He can remember Uncle Bill now and his Mom. He’s relaxing and that’s what we wanted. We can teach him now, like we did with Esther’s family and Will and Sam. Since he’s a blood Scully, it should be a little easier for him, like it was with the boys.”
Mulder and Scully both looked up at that. It was the first they’d heard of it; another conversation to have with the children sometime soon.
Todd returned with Lee then and placed him carefully in Kevin’s arms. Kevin smiled down at the baby as Lee yawned and got comfortable against his chest. After a couple of minutes Lee began to root around on Kevin’s chest. He glanced over at Anne, who came to his rescue.
Kevin grew serious then, “As much as I’m enjoying this, I’m going to have to get back to my stable. What scared Katy?” He asked the question of Mulder, but pulled her closer.
“We’ve been contacted,” Mulder said, his tone expressionless.
“Contacted by who?” Kevin looked around the room. His eyes widened, “by them? How did they get through?”
Mulder sighed, but it was Walter that answered. “They contacted one of the other children who’s alone.”
Kevin looked down into Katy’s eyes. She nodded at him. “What,” he swallowed, “what do they want?”
“They want to work with us they said, well, they need to. They probably want to talk about what we can do together to bring the sun back,” Katy said simply.
“What about the blackout area?” Walter asked.
“We can get through it, they can’t,” Lexie explained from Alex’s lap.
Walter leaned back, “I think we need to meet with them. I know - “ he held up his hand as both Mulder and Alex opened their mouths to protest. “I don’t like them either, guys, but if we’re going to continue to survive, we’re going to need the sun. If that’s it and we can use them to get it, we’ve got to do that.”
This time it was Scully’s hand that stopped Mulder. “He’s right, Mulder. The last thing I want is to help these . . . but we have to.”
Mulder looked around the room. Todd was nodding, as were Anne and Kevin. Walter was just watching him, his arm around Maggie. Bill was quiet, but Mulder had no doubt to his opinion.
“When, when are we talking about doing this?” Anne asked quietly.
“Not tonight,” Walter said quietly. “This is something we all need to talk about. Tomorrow, or the next day, when we can all get here. Can you guys set that up?” He looked over at Katy.
All of the kids nodded. “Day after tomorrow,” Katy said. “I think everyone would like to get out, even in this cold.”
“We’ll fix something special; make it a celebration.” Maggie looked over at Scully who nodded.
“Good idea, Mom. I know it’s only been a couple of days, but I miss seeing everyone.”
“Can we put a shower on the schedule for all three of us stable hands?” Kevin asked with a wry grin.
“Count on it,” Mulder said dryly.
Kevin cut his eyes at him and Katy laughed out loud at whatever she was picking up between the two. “Okay, much as I’m enjoying being here, I need to get back.
Let me know what time to be here for the meeting.” He rose then and reached for his coat. Katy handed it to him and watched quietly as he bundled up, then walked to the door with him.
Before reaching for the knob, he squatted down to face her, “Don’t let them get close to you. Stay in the black out, no matter what happens. Do you hear me?”
“They can’t - “
“Do you hear me?”
She nodded then. He gave her a quick hug then motioned for her to move back, away from the door. He hurried outside.
Scully rushed to join Mulder in the bed after putting Chrissy down. Now the baby was sprawled in her bassinette in her favorite position, her head tilted back and her arms flung out.
Mulder pulled her to him, warming her with his body until she quit shivering. She pulled back slightly from his warmth and looked him in the eye. “How are you?”
“Scully - “
“No. How are you? I know this contact with them threw you for a loop. Believe me, if it meant all of them dying off and we’d be okay, I’d be for it. Unfortunately -“
“I know. We need each other, because of their arrogance and stupidity.”
She didn’t disagree, her hand caressing his chest. “We need to do this for us, for all of us. We’ve got three new babies on the way, remember?”
He sighed and pulled her close again. She cuddled into his warmth. After a moment she whispered, “You need to talk to Langly.”
He grunted and felt her chuckle against him. “Why me?”
“Because you’re Mulder.”
He snorted then. “What good is that?”
She looked up at his tone. “Mulder, what’s wrong? Are you . . . “
He hesitated for an instant, but she caressed his cheek, encouraging him. “Why did you agree with Walter?”
She drew back, blinking at him. “It wasn’t Walter I was agreeing with, it was Katy. Mulder, we have to have the sun. I don’t want to work with them; I do want them off the planet, or dead. But we have to grow a crop next year and the year after that.”
“I know that, Scully. I’m not an idiot,” he hissed, suddenly angry.
She paled at that, stunned at his vehemence. “You know I don’t think that. I never - You have a longer history with what we’re dealing with than anyone. You were twelve years old when you got involved.”
“Involved, nice term.”
“Mulder, please. We have to do this.”
He closed his eyes. After a moment he nodded. “I can still hate it, right?”
“As long as you don’t hate me.”
He jerked then, pulling her against him. “Not funny.”
“I haven’t heard you sound that angry in a long time.”
“They fuck up and they want our children to fix it.” He seemed slightly calmer.
“Maybe we should be grateful the children can.”
He blinked at that. “I’m sorry.”
“I understand. You’re right, they did this and we have to try to clean it up. I’m on your side, always.”
She felt the tension ease out of him. “I know. Forgive me?”
She kissed her way up his chest, to his chin, lips and finally his nose. “Let me show you.”
The women spent a lot of time cooking the next day. Maggie used some of their special supplies to create desserts for the occasion. George joined them, kneading the bread as Frohike had shown him. The children set the tables and made decorations.
Mulder, Todd and Bill made a trip out to the ice house for additional supplies and to check out the conditions.
In the kitchen, Anne looked over at George and took a deep breath. “George, are you okay with Julie being pregnant?”
Scully looked up stunned. Damn, she hadn’t even thought about that. Everything had fallen apart so quickly after they got the news about the new children. She looked over at George as well.
He was looking down at the dough he was working, but he took a deep breath. He answered slowly, obviously searching for the correct words. “Yeah, yeah I think I am. I mean she’s not my wife anymore, even though we’ll always be connected. I’m not losing John or Esther, I realize that. I think Julie really cares about Jerry and I know he cares about her. I don’t know that I would have felt this way before, but I’m, I’m clearer now.” He gave the women a sideways grin, “when I was injured, maybe they fixed more than my leg.”
Anne returned his smile softly, “Maybe so. They certainly did with me.”
He chuckled, “I doubt you needed as much work, but . . . I do feel ‘smarter’ now. Peter was giving me grief about it the other day. You know, he’s not so bad a brother. Too bad it took me so long to notice.” He dusted his hands off, “well, this is ready whenever the stove’s free. I promised Alex I’d help him move some things around for this meeting. Call me if you need me.” He ducked out of the kitchen, leaving the two women alone.
When she was sure he was gone, Scully turned to Anne, “Thank you. I wasn’t thinking. How could I have let that slip?”
“Don’t worry about it. Ruthie told me I ought to bring it up.”
“I wonder why none of mine said anything.”
“You were kind of busy with Mulder I think. He wasn’t too happy last night.”
“No, he wasn’t. Even though he knows this is necessary, he’s fought against them too long to see them as anything but hated evil.”
Anne nodded, “It was a little unnerving to see him and Walter disagree like that. I’ve never seen it before. Todd was concerned. “
Scully nodded. “They used to go at it tooth and nail back at the Bureau. Mulder physically attacked him once in the hall in front of everyone. It wasn’t Mulder’s fault, he was being drugged, but it is unsettling.”
Scully smiled then, “Walter. He’s a big man and those ex-marines stay in shape. And don’t let Mulder tell you he ‘slipped’. Walter had him under control in just a couple of moves, though he did have quite a bruise on his face for a while.”
“Glad I wasn’t there,” Anne said as she opened the oven to slip the casserole inside.
People started arriving shortly before lunch the following day. It was the lightest part of the day, but still a deep dusk. Even with the lines running between the homes and the clinic, Mulder stood on the porch with a lantern, giving the people a focal point.
After a while, Todd forced him inside and stood out there himself until the final member of the community arrived.
All of the kids headed directly for the classroom, Malcolm, Chrissy and, to Scully’s surprise, Lee included.
“Anne, was that Lee?“
“Jennifer has him and Ruthie insisted,” Anne said, looking in that direction. “Do you think it’s okay?”
“Yes. Katy and Walt won’t let anything happen to him.”
“Why do they need to meet? I mean, they’re in contact all the time, right?”
“Yes, but so few of them were here when Lee was born, I imagine they want to greet him, touch him.”
Anne relaxed at that. “Of course. They did the same thing when Ruthie was born.” She looked toward the hall and smiled, then followed Scully back toward the kitchen.
That reminded Scully that she needed to meet with Megan, Julie and, of course, Becky. She wasn’t the least worried about Megan, even though Malcolm and his brother would be close in age. It was Julie’s third, so she at least knew what to expect. Becky was the one that had her attention, and she couldn’t help but smile - Mulder’s outburst still in her head. Yes, Langly had most certainly reproduced.
Scully caught up with Beth and motioned for her to meet her in the office. When Beth could escape, she hurried that way. “Dana? Is everything okay?”
Scully smiled, reassuring her. “Yes, but I wanted to alert you to a future ‘event’. We’ve got three babies on the way.”
Beth’s eyes widened. “I’m not - “
“No. Not you this time. And not me,” she smirked. “Mulder would have a melt-down. No, this time it’s Megan, Julie . . . and Becky.” She grinned as she patted Beth on the back as the younger woman choked on her tea.
“That’s why I wanted to warn you. Mulder’s reaction was the same. In fact, he’s going to have the same conversation he had with Frohike and he’s even more nervous about it.”
Beth chuckled, “I don’t blame him. What about George?”
“Anne talked to him. He seems okay with it, even commented that he wasn’t losing John and Esther. I’ll have them keep an eye on him.”
“They’re all due the same day, right?”
“Oh yes. I figure if everyone goes into labor at the same time, you’ll handle one, I’ll handle one and Mulder will handle one. Let’s not give him Becky.”
“Agreed. I think you should have her, with Langly as coach.”
Scully laughed out loud as they moved back toward the main room.
Mulder wandered among the arrivals, greeting everyone, but looking for Langly. He finally spotted him at the far end of the dining room. He moved in that direction, trying to look casual. When he was close, he clapped Langly on the shoulder. “Could you help me with something?”
“Sure.” Langly put down the decoration he was admiring and followed his friend.
This wasn’t the man that had staggered into the community so many years ago. At that time he’d done no physical labor in his life. Things had changed, he could chop wood, garden and still work in the lab. The thing that hadn’t changed was his paranoia and inherent geeky-ness. Mulder wasn’t looking forward to this.
They entered the lab and Mulder shut the door. Langly immediately tensed at the look on his face. “What?”
“Something we need to talk about.”
Langly’s eyes narrowed, but reluctantly he sank onto a stool. “Yeah?”
“Yeah,” Mulder sat beside him. “I, uh, listen you need to know - “
Mulder met his eyes. He saw fear was creeping in along with the anger. “I’m handling this all wrong. This is a good thing. Becky’s pregnant.”
There was a dead silence then. Mulder realized he was looking into the face of man in total panic.
“How . . . “
“You don’t really need me to explain that do you?” Mulder asked, trying to lighten the mood.
The pale man flushed a bright red, “I don’t know how to . . . Damn, Mulder. What if she doesn’t . . . “
“Do you want this baby?”
“I . . . I never thought . . . Shit.”
Finally Mulder smiled, “Yeah, that’s kind of how I felt when I found out about Katy. Remember, Scully can’t have kids.”
Langly huffed at that. “I don’t know if Becky wants - “
“Scully’s talking to her. She is sleeping with you, so she had to at least think about it. Did you never discuss it?”
“Not, not really.”
“Living here? Well you’re gonna have to now.”
“What do I say? Jesus, Mulder, how do I . . . “ He slumped on the stool.
“The same way the rest of us did, Big Guy. Do you honestly think Frohike was born knowing how to be a dad? And me? Think about it. You’re not going to be alone in this. I’d put money on Becky being thrilled about this.”
“You would? Having a baby with me?”
“You’re not my type, Langly, but you’re obviously Becky’s. Talk to her.”
Langly stared at his hands for a long moment, then looked up at Mulder. “That can’t be why you called us all here.”
The smile vanished from Mulder’s face. “It’s not. Let’s eat first, visit for awhile. What I’ve got can keep that long. Go find Becky. She probably needs to see you right about now.”
Langly opened his mouth, then just shut it and nodded. He got to his feet and followed Mulder from the room.
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.