Scully saw Samantha slip into sleep and gave Mulder a kiss. “I need to help get her to bed.”
He nodded and let her up, squeezing her hand, but not speaking. Katy got up from the floor and joined her mother. Scully took Katy’s hand. “Maybe she’ll sleep through the night,” she smiled down at her daughter.
Katy shook her head. “She doesn’t know night and day. She hasn’t had them for a long time. I don’t think she’ll sleep more than a few hours at the time. We need to put the roll-away bed in the room for Bill to sleep on. Walt can sleep in the bed with her. And we need to leave the light on. She doesn’t remember ever being in the dark. That will really scare her.”
Scully closed her eyes, sighing. “Okay. We’ll do it.”
“And Mom,” Katy leaned in closer to whisper, “she’ll need a diaper.”
Scully blinked. Of course she would. Samantha didn’t have the most basic abilities right now. Even with the children’s help, how long would it take for her to feel ‘normal’?
Todd had obviously overheard and stepped over to Scully. “I’ll get the roll-away. Scully, it’s going to be okay.” He touched her shoulder, then moved away. Katy took her mother’s hand and they walked over to Bill.
“You want me to take her on up?” Bill said quietly.
Scully nodded. Bill gathered Samantha closer to his chest and rose carefully. Samantha only made herself more comfortable in his arms. Mulder looked away and didn’t follow them. Walter was watching him until Maggie rose as well. He took her hand then nodded.
She followed Bill and Scully up the stairs. Walt and Katy led the way.
Bill lay her on the bed, then stepped outside while Scully and Maggie got her ready for bed. Anne joined them after putting Lee down, bringing supplies that could be used as a diaper.
It would be okay. They could do this.
The door opened and Charlie and his family blew in. Scully hurried into the main room from her office.
“Hi, I didn’t know you were getting out today.” Scully took Mary’s scarf.
Charlie shrugged as he helped Missy with her coat. “Haven’t seen you guys lately and when I heard that Mulder hadn’t been over to Frohike’s either, thought I ought to check it out.”
Scully started to respond but Charlie was looking past her. She turned and realized he had spotted Samantha. “We have new people?” He sounded stunned.
“New person,” she said, looking over at her sister-in-law, who was standing uncertainly at the door to the classroom. She was able to take a few steps now, especially if one of the children held her hand. It was progress and Scully knew she had no business being impatient. “Charlie, that is Samantha.”
Charlie just stared at her. “Samantha? Mulder’s sister?” Mary said questioningly.
With a startled whoop, Charlie headed in her direction before Scully could stop him. “You don’t know how happy we are to see you!” He ignored or didn’t see her pull back in his delight to see her. He threw his arms around her and she stiffened, then collapsed in his arms.
Shocked, Charlie’s arms tightened around her and he lifted her into his arms. “What the hell - “
Mulder raced into the room and took in the scene in a glance. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” He grabbed her from Charlie and shoved him back, causing him to stumble and land on his ass. Mulder hurried to the couch with her. The others in the house began to gather as well.
“What were you doing?” He rounded on Charlie. “You can’t touch her. Didn’t you hear her scream?”
Charlie rose slowly to his feet and dusted off his pants. “What are you talking about?”
“She was scream - “
Katy’s hand came to rest on Mulder’s arm. “He didn’t hear her. Dad, it wasn’t out loud.” Mulder looked down at her, then over at Scully. She nodded. He wouldn’t look at Charlie. Others joined them at the disturbance. Bill stood back. He hadn’t heard any screaming either, but something had pulled him into the room. He looked over at Scully, but she was watching Mulder. When he saw Samantha begin to stir he headed toward her.
Her eyes fluttered, then she spotted Mulder bending over her and she screwed her eyes tight shut and cowered in the cushions. Mulder looked up to see Bill there, silent beside him.
Mulder shoved himself away from the couch, and turned his back on the room, moving toward the kitchen. Katy watched him walk away with a yearning expression.
Charlie watched this all in silence, then glanced over at Scully. She wouldn’t meet his eyes either. After a significant look at Mary, Charlie approached his sister. “Okay, I’m going to ask the dumb question first. Are you pregnant?”
“No!” Scully jerked back from him.
“Okay, but that’s the last time I saw him like this. Now, want to explain why our big brother is cuddling Mulder’s little sister?”
She seemed to shrink in front of him. Mary joined them; Missy had disappeared into the classroom. “My office,” Scully turned away and they followed her.
“Geez,” Charlie wiped his hand over his face. “She won’t have anything to do with Mulder?”
“She’s terrified of him. I’m sure it’s his emotions, but he can’t seem to control them around her. Her turning to Bill hasn’t helped any either, though I can’t blame her. Bill saved her life and he’s been wonderful with her.”
“Bill? Bill Scully?”
Scully chuckled then, though there was a sadness to it. “Yes, our brother. Living here is getting to him I guess.”
“Well that’s a good thing.” Charlie sighed. “I’ll go talk to Mulder.”
“Thank you,” Scully looked up at him.
“What can I do?” Mary asked.
“You could help me with a diet for her. The kids are working with her of course, but she’s having to learn to eat again after all these years.”
“Learn to eat?” Mary asked. Charlie stopped, listening.
“Go on Charlie. Mary can fill you in later. It’s Mulder I’m worried about.”
He nodded and headed for the kitchen. He found Mulder on the side porch, working the hides with a heavy hand.
“How you doing, Bro?” Charlie leaned against the work bench, putting himself in Mulder’s way.
“Look, I’m sorry I shoved you,” Mulder managed to say.
“S’okay. I’ve had worse.”
Mulder only looked away.
“I’m glad you got your sister back.”
Mulder shook his head and turned back to his work.
“Mulder, you have Samantha back.”
“Of course you do. She’s alive. You didn’t know that for decades.”
“Decades where she was tortured and used and - “
“And survived. You Mulder’s are strong stock. It’s a good thing she has you and the kids to bring her back.” Mulder cut his eyes at him. “You gonna argue with me?”
“She won’t let me near her.”
“I can’t blame her for that.”
“What?” Mulder did look at him then and the hostility was plain.
“Hell, Mulder, I can feel your emotions from here, and you’re completely red.”
Mulder blinked at that, but Charlie grinned. “I’ve been training. There’s not a lot to do these days unless a weak spot in the weather passes over.”
“Scarlet,” Charlie said dryly.
Mulder’s shoulders slumped. “I’m not - “
“Angry? Want to reassess that, Buddy?”
Mulder slammed his knife down on the table. “I’ve looked for her for years and she . . . Shit, I know it’s not her fault.”
“But you want her to turn to you.”
Mulder glanced at him and away quickly.
“What I would suggest is some of that good Scully lovin’ and step away from this for a little while. Hey,” he grinned at the look Mulder shot him. “I’m the good brother, remember. And I’ve seen what you two do for each other. Why don’t you go get cleaned up and just hold my sister for a little while?”
“I let her down.”
“Who? Samantha or Dana?”
“Scully?” Mulder asked startled.
“Yeah. You don’t think you’ve let her down? You’ve shut her out.”
“This doesn’t have anything - “He stopped at the eyebrow Charlie shot him. It was too familiar. His shoulders slumped. “This isn’t about Scully, it’s -”
“Everything is about Scully,” Charlie interrupted.
“There was a time in my life when everything was about Samantha.”
“You’ve matured,” Charlie grinned, “a little.”
“I’m doing it again.”
Charlie nodded. “It’s apparently a really hard lesson for you to learn. Wash up and go spend some time with Dana. Samantha’s in ‘okay’ hands for now, but she does need you. Not to disparage Bill, but he’s no Mulder.”
Mulder actually chuckled at that, a first since Samantha had been returned. “You might be good for me.”
“I’m excellent for you; almost as good as Dana.” Charlie grinned. They both looked toward the door as Missy joined them. “It’s true, isn’t it Sweetheart?”
Missy smiled and took both of their hands, tugging them toward the kitchen. “Mom is cooking something special for Aunt Samantha.”
“Will she be able to eat it?” Charlie asked.
“Yes. She will if Uncle Bill feeds her.”
Charlie tried to stifle a laugh while Mulder rolled his eyes. “Let Mary and me look after the family for a little while. You have something you need to do.”
Missy looked up at him and grinned.
“No respect, no privacy,” Mulder grouched but gave Missy a hug.
He lost his smile when he approached Scully. He put his hand gently on her shoulder and she turned to look up at him. “Got a minute?”
She nodded and let him take her hand. He led her out of the kitchen and through the dining room. He kept his eyes away from Bill and Samantha. He could feel her cringe, but his steps only faltered slightly. Scully looked over at him but he continued moving toward the stairs.
She was surprised he didn’t turn toward her office, but followed him silently.
He led her to their room and opened the door for her. She entered and he followed, closing the door behind them.
“I’m doing it again.”
She just watched him.
“I’m shutting you out when I should be holding you close.”
Her eyebrow rose but she waited.
“Mulder - “
“I’m sorry. This isn’t about me, or it shouldn’t be. I know that - “
“But you don’t feel it. I do understand. I’m reeling too. I don’t remember asking for her and even if I did, I would never have expected they would do this for you, for us.”
“For us,” he repeated. “I have to let it go. I have to let Bill give her what I can’t right now. I can’t dwell on what happened to her. It’s over now.”
She reached up and caressed his cheek. “Can you do that?”
He shook his head, but smiled slightly. It looked painful. “Not without you.”
“You don’t have to do it without me.”
“Charlie reminded me of that, and he didn’t slug me for knocking him down.”
She chuckled, letting her head forehead rest against his chest. “You owe him one.”
“I owe him a lot more than one.” His arm went around her waist and he pulled her to him.
“Um, what kind of advice has he been giving you?” Her arms went around his neck.
“He’s a very wise man, you know.” He nuzzled her neck.
“I’m thinking more . . . pimp.”
He choked, laughing against her throat. “Better not let my wife hear you talking like that.”
She pulled his sweater up and tugged his t-shirt from his pants. “I’m not complaining. I should have thought to have him come over earlier. You know he’s almost as good for you as I am.”
“Eww,” he mock shuddered. “I’d never want to do with him what I’m thinking about doing with you.”
“And just what would that be, Agent Mulder?”
When they returned downstairs, they were holding hands. The great room was deserted, but they heard voices in the classroom. Mulder looked down at her and she nodded. They headed in that direction.
Everyone looked up as they entered the room. All of the children were there. Charlie was holding Lee; the other babies were on the rug. Samantha, sitting close to Bill, was in their midst. She cringed when she saw Mulder, but then did a double take, staring at him.
He was aware of her scrutiny but didn’t acknowledge her, instead bending down and picking up Chrissy. She laughed in delight and cuddled into her Daddy’s chest. He bent his head and kissed her red baby curls.
Charlie looked down at Lee and said in a conversational tone, “Yes, I am the smartest of the Scully’s. They all pretended to ignore me because I was the baby, but it’s catching up with them now.” Lee waved his arm as though in agreement.
Scully rolled her eyes and ignored him as she’d been accused of in the past. “Has everyone eaten?” she asked, looking around at the kids.
“We did,” Katie answered for everyone. “Samantha liked what Mary mixed up for her.”
“Good,” Scully said, carefully not looking over at the woman.
“She didn’t feed herself,” Bill offered, “but she did hold the spoon, like she was getting used to the feel of it.”
“That’s excellent. You can see her improvement every day,” Scully smiled at Bill, but still didn’t look at Samantha. “We’ll get some lunch and see you in a little while.”
Mulder’s hand at her back led her from the room, without looking toward Samantha. The children all snuck peeps in her direction and smiled to note that her gaze followed the couple from the room.
Anne was in the kitchen with Mary, cleaning up. “We held some lunch for you,” Mary smiled over at them. “Samantha had a good lunch. She even played with the spoon.”
“We heard. That’s great,” Scully took her bowl from Anne. They ate quietly; if Anne or Mary noticed that they played footsie under the table no comment was made.
When they were finished, Scully took the bowls back to the sink and Anne took them. “Do you have a minute?”
“Uh, sure,” Scully said quickly. “Is everything okay?”
“Oh yes, but Todd and I were talking. We wondered what you would think of us; Todd, me and the kids moving into your house. We were thinking Megan and Greg should move in here. Malcolm really couldn’t handle much of an emergency. Lee’s here and fine. Becky and Julie have adults around.”
Scully blinked, she’d been thinking the same thing not long ago. “No, we wouldn’t mind you moving to the house, but I hate to have you living alone.”
“Maybe the weather will break soon and we can all settle back in our own homes again. I’m sure Byers would love getting out of the barn.” Anne grinned.
Scully rolled her eyes, but nodded. She glanced over at Mulder, talking with Mary. “Mulder relies on Todd so much and I’ll miss you.”
“We’re not leaving, just moving to your place for a little while. We’ll take good care of it.”
Scully laughed then. “That’s the last thing I was worried about.”
Anne hugged her then and Mulder looked over to see what was going on. He and Mary moved in that direction. “What’s up?”
“I was asking Scully if we could move, temporarily, into your house.”
“Our house?” Mulder looked over at Scully.
“So that Megan and Greg can move in here. They’re kind of isolated with just Malcolm to look after an emergency. I know he’s one of the kids, but he’s still an infant himself,” Anne explained.
“There’s not room for everyone here?” Mulder asked.
The women chuckled at him, Scully shaking her head. “A little privacy can some in handy occasionally.”
He grinned then and winked, enjoying the light blush on her cheeks. “Okay, I get it, but I hate that I can’t see everyone every day. Scully?”
“I was thinking about this just the other day,” she sighed.
“That’s probably where Ruthie picked it up.”
“This was Ruthie’s suggestion?” Scully asked quickly.
“I think so, but it’s a good idea. We’re not being thrown out, we know that.”
“When do you want this to happen?” Mulder asked.
“Todd thought we should ask MJ when the next clearest day would be here. We only need to pack clothes.”
“And make sure the house is okay, and that you have wood and food. Todd and I can go over and get that started, if you’re serious.”
“Good. We’ll start packing,” Anne nodded and turned back to the sink.
Mulder and Scully just looked at each other. Mary touched Scully’s shoulder and the three left the kitchen.
“Do you think they’ll be okay?” Scully asked them both.
“You know they will, Dana,” Mary answered before Mulder. They returned to the main room and saw that others had drifted in as well. Scully took a step toward Todd, but Mulder caught her hand, pulling her toward him and gave her a kiss. Her arms went around him for a moment, then she moved away.
Mulder felt eyes on him and looked in that direction. Samantha immediately looked down and moved closer to Bill. Mulder ignored it, heading toward Charlie to spend some time with his favorite brother.
Author's note - Happy 7th Anniversary!!
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.