Mulder spotted Scully on the porch and grinned. She was watching the sky; people did that a lot now. He joined her, giving her a quick kiss. “Are you cold?”
“A little chilly, but not like before.”
He put his arms around her, warming her.
“Why are you out here?”
“It’s getting cloudy again.”
He looked up. “I don’t think it’s going to rain.”
She shook her head. “It’s not that. The days are sunny, but every night, right at this time, it clouds up again.”
“Oh, well that’s the kids doing.”
She leaned back and met his eyes. “The kids?”
“Uh, yeah. Frohike, Byers and I talked to MJ. We explained that the heat we were getting during the day was being lost at night, and that cloud cover could keep it in.”
She looked down and away.
“Scully? You okay?”
“I’m fine. I just don’t think about what the kids can do all the time.”
“It’s not just the kids, Scully. We helped with clearing the atmosphere, we all did.”
“That felt like visualization.”
“Well it was, but it was real too. You can see what we did, and it was planet-wide. Kids from all over the world worked on this.”
“They’re really different.”
He frowned then. “This isn’t anything new, Scully.”
“What? Oh, I know that but I don’t dwell on it.” He pulled her back against him.
“What else is bothering you?”
“Not bothered really. I want Julie and Marie to move in here.”
“Here, why? Is anything - “ He met her eyes.
“No, nothing’s wrong. Like you pointed out, the children are linked. All three of them could come within hours. If I handle one, Beth has one and you have the third,” she had to smile at his panic face, “I think you’ll want to be close to us.”
“Close, yeah,” he muttered holding her close.
“Also Langly and Jerry have never been through this. Greg wasn’t that steady when Malcolm came.”
“As I recall, neither was I,” he murmured, memories of her premature labor with Chrissy flooding him.
“Stop that.” Her hand came up to caress his cheek. He took hold of it and turned it to kiss her palm. “George can trade places with Julie and Jerry. Peter’s his brother. We can put Langly and Becky in Mom and Walter’s room. I think Walter would like to get back to their home.”
“He’s not the only one.”
“Well, it won’t be long. Once all three babies are here, we can evict Todd and Anne. I know he’s been working to get their house ready again.”
Mulder nodded. “We’ll move them over tomorrow.”
Scully smiled as she saw the door to the lab was open and Byers sitting at the table staring at some papers in front of him. She hadn’t realized how much she missed the quiet steadiness of her friends. On impulse she stepped into the lab. “John?” There was no response, “John?” Again, nothing. “Byers?”
He jerked then and rose to his feet when he realized Scully was standing beside him. “I’m sorry. You needed me?”
“No, I just wondered what had you so engrossed?”
Byers blushed then, adding to her curiosity. “Uh, nothing. I mean, I’m not working on anything, anything specific, I mean, I was just -
“John, it’s okay.” Her concern was rising. “What in the world has you this rattled? Is there a problem?”
“No, no not at all. I was just, just thinking.”
He was babbling. Her hand squeezed his. “What is it, John? Can I help?”
He looked toward the door as though contemplating escape, but then sighed. “I, I guess I was thinking about the guys. It’s strange to me; I mean Frohike is happily married with two kids. Langly’s going to be a father any day. It’s just not what I imagined.”
Scully smiled at him. “I have to agree with you there. I don’t think any of us foresaw anything like this.”
“I guess I thought I was the stable one, the one most likely to settle down.” She nodded encouragement. “Suzanne.”
He sighed. “Did you know that I asked Katy to look for her?”
“You did?” That surprised her, after all this time. “Why now?”
“Well, several reasons. Langly, of course, and . . . Katy couldn’t find her. She was probably lost in the first wave.”
“I’m sorry. I know you hoped that . . . “
He gave her a sad smile. “Yes, I did, but at least now I know.”
“Why, John, why did you ask her to search now?” Scully took a seat at the table and he resumed his seat beside her.
“Oh, uh, well that . . . “
“John?” She leaned toward him. “What is it?”
He seemed to wilt slightly. “I . . . Scully . . . “
“John, please. You’re scaring me.”
He straightened up. “No, it’s not . . . I’ve been spending a lot of time with Lynne recently, you know, during the worst of it in the barn and here in the lab and, and around, and, well she seems to be a-attracted to me. I know that’s insane, but she . . . she said some . . . This is stupid, I mean . . . “
Scully turned her head and coughed lightly to cover the laugh. She had never heard the man babble before and it was disconcerting.
“John, did Lynne say something to you? Is she interested in a relationship with you?”
His face colored and after a moment he nodded. “She, she kissed me.”
“She kissed you?” Scully repeated, trying to keep her voice steady. Byers, not Kevin? “Did you kiss her back?”
“I think mainly I just ran.”
“Are you interested in her?”
He threw his hands up in frustration. “Did you know one of the reasons she left Florida was because there was an older man pursuing her and she wanted to get away from him? Well, that ‘older man’ is three years younger than me.” He looked so miserable, she took his hand.
“Obviously you are much younger than him, regardless of physical age, John. And around here, things like that don’t seem to make so much difference. I mean, look at Frohike and Beth, for that matter look at Mom and Walter. It’s the people that matter, not the age.”
“But what if I’ve misinterpreted, I mean, I don’t have a lot of experience in this area and maybe I . . . “
“I would think a kiss is hard to misinterpret. Would you like me to talk to - “
“Would you?” He interrupted before she could even finish the question.
She smiled at him. “Of course I will. I’d be happy to.”
His eyes lightened immediately and when she rose, he stood with her. “I really appreciate . . . I mean, this is . . . “
She did laugh then, and leaned toward him brushing a kiss on his cheek. He gave her a quick squeeze but before he could thank her again, a deep voice spoke. “What the hell is going on here?”
Mulder stepped into the room, his eyes locked on Byers. “Nothing! I, I just, I didn’t . . .” Byers’ face was crimson.
“Mulder, behave.” Scully slapped Mulder’s chest lightly.
“Someone’s puttin’ the moves on my woman, and you expect me - “
“’Your woman’? I thought you were my man.”
Mulder grinned then, “Yeah, I could get into that.” He glanced over at Byers. “You through mauling her?”
“Mulder!” She grabbed his ear lobe and looked over at Byers, shaking her head. “Forgive him; he’s not completely trained yet. I’ll take care of what we discussed.” She led Mulder out of the room.
“What we discussed?” Mulder looked down at her.
“He asked me for a favor.” Mulder waited. “I’ll get back to you, okay?”
It was early the next morning while they were fixing breakfast when Scully looked over at Megan. “Are you okay?”
Megan just looked at her for a long moment. “I’m in labor, right?”
“I think so, early labor.”
Julie and Becky exchanged looks. Scully caught it and smiled. “It won’t be long, ladies.”
“What should she do now?” Becky asked.
“Walk around, see if the contractions continue or stop. If it’s consistent, maybe try to take a nap, though with Walt you might not need that. Labor tends to be a little shorter lately,” Scully commented.
“That’s not always good,” Julie observed.
“Well, it’s intense, but you don’t have to do it for long. Believe me, that’s not bad. I would suggest that the two of you keep your distance, but don’t leave the clinic.”
“I feel like a time bomb,” Becky moaned.
All four women chuckled at that. “That I can agree with,” said Scully as she put her arm around Becky’s shoulders. “How do you think Langly’s going to be?”
Becky chuckled. “I thought he’d pass out when he realized I was going to have to go through labor. Actually being there . . . “
“He’ll be there for you.”
Becky smiled. “I know.“
“Megan, why don’t I give you a quick exam, before it gets too crowded around here?”
Megan nodded and they headed for Scully’s office.
“You’re doing great, Megan. It’ll be a while, but you’re dilated to two with these mild contractions. I’ll send for Greg and you can walk around in here. I don’t think it’s a good idea to go outside.”
“I agree. I’d hate to get stuck in the mud at this weight,” she chuckled. “Should I change?”
“No, that’s comfortable and plenty big enough. Just relax until Greg gets here.” Scully opened the door to her office and very nearly ran into Langly.
“Is that . . . “
“No. It’s Megan. Becky was in the kitchen with Julie.” He turned without a word, but Scully stopped him. “Could you do me a favor?”
“What? Uh, sure.”
“Could you find Greg and get him here. I’m not sure where he’s working this morning.”
“Yeah, I’ll get him. Becky?”
“She’s fine. Go on so you can get back to her.”
He was already moving toward the door. Scully smiled and headed for the delivery room to get it ready. She was finished by the time she heard the front door open again. She came out to greet and reassure Greg when she saw Jerry and Mulder behind Greg and Langly. Well, she shouldn’t be surprised. She headed for the door.
“Everyone is fine. Greg, Megan’s in the office. You need to get her to walk as long as you can. The rest of you go find your respective women and find something to do.” She turned away as Jerry and Langly hurried toward the kitchen, and smiled as Mulder’s arm snaked around her.
“I choose you,” he whispered in her ear.
She turned and kissed him. “I don’t think a lot of work is going to get done today.”
“Well, not out there. Do you want me to get Beth?”
“Not yet. The one you could get is Chrissy. I haven’t nursed her since early this morning and I don’t know when I’ll get another chance.”
“Yes ma’am.” He kissed her once more and headed for the classroom.
When he opened the door, Chrissy was already bouncing with excitement. He had to smile when he saw her. All of his children were beautiful, and he wasn’t prejudice or anything, but this one . . . This had to be how Scully had looked as a baby, with her sturdy little body and unruly red curls.
“Hi, Precious,” he smiled as she raised her arms in the universal symbol of ‘pick me up’. He readily complied and cuddled her to him. “Do you need a diaper?”
She babbled something as he quickly changed her then took her to Scully.
Greg and Megan were wandering the halls, so the office was empty. They took advantage of it and he watched Scully nurse their baby. “Is Megan doing okay?”
“Yes, things got moving when Greg arrived. She’s five minutes apart. I don’t want to do an internal again yet, but it should be a while.”
Mulder took Chrissy back to return her to the classroom. He hated that they couldn’t spend more time with her, but at least she understood. Things like this didn’t have to be explained to their children. He stopped just outside of the office. “Uh, Scully?”
“You might want to check her again.”
Scully stepped out into the hall and looked in the direction he was facing. All of the older children were headed for the clinic. Katy and Suzie were leading the way, discussing something and laughing. Not far behind them, the adults were also beginning to start in this direction.
“Uh, yeah, maybe I better. Is Beth in the parade?”
Mulder craned his neck. “Yep.”
“I’ll go check now.” She turned back to the exam room to find Greg at the door, ready to come get her. “Everything okay?”
“The contractions are still five minutes apart, but they’re a lot stronger.”
“Okay, I’ll check her. Walt and Beth are on the way.”
“Mulder’s here, isn’t he?” Greg asked anxiously.
“Yes, he came when you did, remember?” She stepped around him and made her way to Megan.
Mulder motioned for Walt to join them, then followed Scully into the room.
As they were washing their hands, Mulder looked down at Walt. “Where have you guys been?”
“In the big greenhouse with Brittany. We were transplanting the seedlings into the big flats. She needed little hands.” Walt grinned up at him.
They both lost their smiles at the sound of Megan’s moan. “Show time, Buddy.”
“It is okay, Dad.”
Mulder winked at him and they moved over to Scully. “You’re doing great, Megan.”
The woman let her head rest on Greg’s chest. “I know. It is going faster, but . . . “ Her breathing changed and Walt stepped closer, his hand resting on her tight belly. She relaxed and managed to smile at the boy. “Thanks.”
“He wants out. Mom?”
“Let me check, please,” she sent a warning look at her son.
He grinned impishly but nodded. There was just too much of his father in him at times.
Scully did a quick exam. “You’re right. Megan, give me a long slow push.” Within minutes the head was out. Mulder handed her the syringe and Scully quickly suctioned out the mouth and nose. “Okay, one more, Megan.”
The boy was born quickly after that and Scully placed him on his mother’s chest. “He’s beautiful, Megan.”
“He’s definitely related to Malcolm, too,” added Mulder as he looked down at the newborn. Greg nodded his agreement, then was kissing Megan.
“Okay, Dad. Come cut the cord. We need to get the placenta to Byers,” Scully coaxed him, handing Greg the scissors.
Beth took the baby to check him out as Mulder took the basin with cord and placenta and set it to the side.
“Seven pounds seven ounces. He looks great. Who’s going to take him out to meet everyone?” Beth announced.
“Mulder, would you?” Greg looked up at him.
“Uh, sure.” Mulder looked over at Scully, who ducked her head, smiling. He took the swaddled infant from Beth and headed for the great room.
Everyone crowded around to meet him. Jennifer had Malcolm in her arms and he babbled his hello, touching the baby’s hand. More than one comment was made about the resemblance of the brothers as they admired him.
Mulder saw Samantha over on the couch with Bill and took the baby over to her. She was quivering with excitement. Her lips moved as she caressed the infant’s cheek, but no words emerged. Lexie moved over and climbed into Bill’s lap, taking Samantha’s other hand.
Scully came out with the basin in her hand and Byers spotted her. He joined her and reached for the basin. “I’ve got this. Megan okay?”
“She’s great and Greg’s better than last time,” she said with a grin. He chuckled and nodded. He turned toward the lab and Scully saw Lynne watching him. When he disappeared into the room, the young woman turned and grabbed up her coat.
Mulder came back with the baby and Scully touched his arm. “I need to leave for a few minutes.”
“You what?” he gaped at her.
“I won’t be long. I have to go.”
“We have two more here ready to pop,” he hissed.
“Walt’s here and Beth, and neither are in labor so you should be okay for thirty minutes.”
“What’s going on?”
“Nothing bad, just something I need to take care of.” She rose up on tiptoes and kissed him. “Take the baby to Megan. I’ll be back before you know it.”
“I doubt that,” he said as she brushed past him. He continued watching her as she slipped on her coat, and then returned to the new parents.
“Sc-Scully? What are you doing here?”
“I saw you leave. Are you okay?”
“Of course. I just wanted to check on my babies.” Her smile wasn’t genuine and didn’t last.
“I’m going to need to get back soon, but I didn’t know any other way to be alone with you.”
“Why do you want to be alone . . . John? Oh god!” She buried her face in her hand.
“Hold on, I’m not here to . . . Mulder usually handles these things. Despite being ‘Mulder’ he’s pretty good with people. Remember, I was trained as a pathologist.”
Lynne looked up confused. Scully sighed. “Please, let’s sit down and talk.”
Lynne nodded and motioned toward the ladder. They sat in her old room, on the bed. Scully hadn’t been up there before and spent a few minutes admiring what they had done. “Lynne, this is great. I had no idea how homey you had made the place.”
“It was nice. We were probably warmer than you were, except maybe for the smell, it was a good place.”
“And you got close to Byers.”
Lynne’s shoulders slumped. “I shouldn’t have . . . “
“Are you in love with him?”
Lynne’s head shot up. “Did he tell you what I did?”
“He told me that you kissed him.”
“I’m sorry. I . . . “
“Are you in love with him?”
“The age difference doesn’t bother you?”
Now Lynne met her eyes. “No!”
Scully smiled then. “Do you know you scared the hell out of him with that kiss?”
“Well, I know he couldn’t get away from me fast enough. And that he went to you.”
“He came to me because, because he’s in love with you too and wasn’t sure how to handle it. He doesn’t have a lot of . . . Lynne?”
“He’s in love with me too?” The young woman’s eyes were searching Scully’s, begging her to be honest with her.
Scully smiled, nodding.
“I didn’t drive him off?”
Scully chuckled then. “No, he just wanted to give you a chance to back out.”
“Why would I want to do that?”
“Well, because he’s old enough to be your father in the old world.”
“What about Frohike and Beth?” Lynne countered immediately.
“My words exactly. But I do think you’ll have to be ‘gentle’ with him. Lynne, this has really got him concerned. He doesn’t think he’s right for you.”
“He’s perfect for me. He’s brilliant, he’s sensitive, he’s funny, he made me feel safe and, and warm when nothing in the world was warm. “
“You don’t have to convince me, Lynne. Byers has been a good friend to Mulder and me for a long time. I want him to be happy and, as scared as he seemed to be, he was happy that you made the first move. He couldn’t have.”
“What should I do?” Lynne whispered.
“Talk to him. Tell him what you just told me. And give him a little time to get used to the idea.”
“You think there’s a chance for us?”
Scully took her hand, smiling. “I know there is. I should have seen it sooner.”
Lynne’s eyes were shining now. “If feels right, to you, it feels right.” Scully nodded and smiled as she watched Lynne heave a sigh of relief. “I guess I could have been a little less forward.”
“You certainly got his attention,” Scully said dryly. Her head came up suddenly. “I need to get back. Are you okay?”
“I’m good, I’m so good now.”
Scully nodded and rose, heading immediately for the ladder. She was needed elsewhere.
~ ~ ~
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.