Mulder thought he was handling it pretty well. Kevin had sense enough not to come into the office grinning like a fool, for which he was grateful. The problem was, even he could see the purple that surrounded Kevin now. Kevin's happiness was only surpassed by Katy's.
He had checked with Scully on that. Katy was delighted with her new life and seemed older somehow. He did his best to avoiding thinking about it. That's why he was startled when the office door burst open just a few weeks later and Katy blew into the office. "Kevin!"
"Yeah, Katy? What?" Kevin was on his feet. Mulder and Walter froze.
“I need to talk to you. Dad, we need just a minute.”
“Is something wrong?” Mulder asked quickly.
“I just need to talk to Kevin. Okay?” She had hold of Kevin’s hand, tugging him to his feet.
“Uh, I’ll just be a minute. Sorry.” Kevin allowed his bride to pull him from the room.
“What the hell was that about?” Mulder stared at the door.
Walter shrugged, and turned back to his schedule. Less than five minutes later the door opened again and Scully joined them. “Mulder, I need to see you.”
Walter’s brow furrowed. This time he decided he was the one to cut out. “I’ll, uh, I’ll see you later.”
Mulder didn’t seem to hear him, focused completely on Scully. She turned to Walter. “Thanks.” He nodded and squeezed her hand as he left the room.
“Is Kevin here?”
“No, Katy came for him. She was . . . insistent. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, but - “
“Mulder . . . Katy’s pregnant.”
Mulder froze, unable to process the words for an instant.
“It’s a boy,” she said softly, trying to get him to speak.
He closed his eyes and turned away from her.
He shook his head and she fell silent. She had hoped he would take it better. Obviously his problem with pregnancy extended to Katy as well.
“She’ll be okay,” Scully offered. “You know the kids will keep an eye on her for the whole time.” He didn’t seem to hear her. "Mulder, are you okay?" Mulder ignored the question, feeling numb. "Mulder?"
"I'll see you later," Mulder answered as he walked out of the room.
Scully started to reach for him, but he evaded her as he brushed by her. She wanted to be exasperated, angry, but he was so devastated. Instead she sank into his chair.
Walter had obviously seen him leave and returned quickly to check on Scully. “Can you talk about it?” he asked Scully quietly.
“It’s good news,” she spoke without looking at him. He took his seat back and waited. “Katy’s pregnant.”
“Uh, wow. So I’m going to be a great-grandfather again.”
Scully cut her eyes at him, then covered her face with her hands. “Why is he like this?”
“Maybe those first thirty plus years when he was abandoned and alone? He’ll never get over the fear of losing someone he loves. It’s too deep and it’s a gut reaction, Scully, totally knee-jerk. You know he’ll be happy when he gets it together.”
She sighed and rose from the chair. “I know, but it’s gonna be hard between now and then.”
Walter grinned and winked at her. “You can handle it, Grandma.”
Her eyes narrowed but she couldn’t sustain it. “A grandmother. Yee gods.” She shook her head and gave Walter a hug, then went in search of Mulder.
She headed for the tree, but he wasn't there, or the house. After a while a new idea came to her and she moved rapidly down a path that wasn't used very often any more.
The shack was in a lot worse shape than the last time she'd seen it. She didn't come here often and as far as she knew Mulder never came here. The door was missing now and the hinges had rusted off.
She quietly stepped inside. He was sitting on the ground, his back against the wall. "Hi." She joined him, sitting beside him.
He didn't respond but he didn't move away from her either.
"Why here?" she finally asked.
"Here? Mulder, Walt's fifteen years old. We're way past his birth. Katy will be fine."
"She's too - "
"Young? No, she's not. She's actually at an optimal age to give birth."
"Optimal age?" He turned to look at her then.
She chuckled, "I thought sounding like a doctor would make me sound more sure. Hey, you know I'm going to be a grandmother here, I'm the one who should be going to pieces."
"You'll be one sexy grandma."
"I hope so. I have to keep you interested."
His arm went around her then. "Don't worry about that." He turned back toward the room, looking at memories. "I, I thought they would wait a little while . . . “
“Until they get to know each other better?” she asked, her lips quirking up into a smile.
He glared at her then looked away. “He said he wasn’t a virgin, Scully. He was just a kid when he got here. Do you think he got with Kelly or - “
“Mulder, that’s none of our business.”
“But, you don’t think he’d cheat on - “
“No! Besides, I don’t think Katy is giving him any time for such activity.”
Mulder looked over at her clearly outraged.
“Mulder, did you honestly think a daughter of yours, of ours, wouldn’t enjoy sex?”
His face darkened and he looked away.
“Oh, Mulder, you’re being unreasonable now. This child has grown up surrounded by loving and loved people. She’s seen ‘purple explosions’ since day one. Unfortunately she’s also seen the other side, because of Ian.” Mulder jerked at those words and his arm tightened around her. She cuddled in. “So she knows the difference. I’m sure Kevin was gentle and loving.” She could feel Mulder’s wince and bit down on her chuckle.
“Damn, Scully . . . “
“This from the man with the extensive porn collection that he didn’t own in his apartment.”
“God, don’t remind me. I’ve been having residual guilt for weeks.”
“You never saw Katy as a sexual being.”
“Scully - “
“Do you feel the same about Walt? He’s fifteen, he’s in puberty.”
He looked over at her. “I’m going to get caught on one of those double standard things, aren’t I?”
“Depends on your answer,” she said dryly.
“I think I’ll keep my balls intact and not answer.”
Scully did laugh then and he pulled her tighter. ”But, couldn't he have waited a little while?"
"He? They both got pregnant. It's a honeymoon baby. It's better than we did."
"I beg your pardon. We were together for years."
"Not as long as they've been together." Her eyebrow rose. "And I was pregnant when we tied the knot."
He nodded in concession. It was true, they hadn't known, but it was true. That didn't help. He was shaken and part of him wanted Kevin's hide. That wasn't an option. Kevin was married to his daughter. He tucked that away. They had to work together and not cause a problem for the community. He could do that. "Scullys’ breed fast. Walter hit it on the nose."
She laughed lightly. "Maybe, Will and Jennifer already have a couple of kids, Sam and Tracy have one. But we're not the only ones; look at Anne and Todd, five kids, Mulder. Come on, we have a regular factory going here and they’re all immune. They'll be part of repopulating the earth. Now we’ll have another generation. Please try to be happy about this."
"Part of me is. Really."
"You could sound a little more convincing. Are you going to hold this against Kevin?"
He didn't answer, just pulling her closer.
Heading home for dinner, his thoughts doggedly on inventory, Mulder was startled when Charlie clapped him on the back. “Welcome to the club.”
Confused, Mulder looked over at him.
“The grandpa club. I heard about Katy and Kevin.”
“Yeah, how about that.” Mulder tried to smile.
Charlie stopped, holding his arm so that he was halted as well. “What?”
“Nothing, it’s great.”
“Great? So why do you sound like your dog died?”
“See how you feel when Missy gets pregnant.”
“I handled it okay with Jennifer and Tracy, I think.”
“But they’re not - “
“Hold it right there. They’re my daughters. They don’t have any parents other than Mary and me.”
“You’re right, I’m sorry. I’m . . . thrown.”
“No shit.” Charlie grinned. “You know Katy’s going to be fine.” Charlie was startled at the pleading look in Mulder’s eyes. Damn, he’d forgotten how this man was around Dana’s pregnancies. His arm went around his brother-in-law’s shoulders. “You need to relax. You’re headed into the good part, where you can spoil and never have to discipline. And get them back for all the grief your kids gave you.” He leaned in and whispered, “They’ll have to learn to sleep through the night at someone else’s home.”
Mulder actually chuckled at that and nodded. “I hadn’t thought of that. Just don’t make me witness this one, okay?”
“Hey, fine with me, but you’ll have to ask the proud parents. There is a tradition you know. Maybe you can get a pass for Walt’s first kid.”
Mulder groaned and shook his head, but he did feel better.
Mulder stopped with his fork halfway to his mouth. The family, along with Walter and Maggie, were together for dinner tonight at their house. All of the children had stopped and were looking at each other. “What? What’s wrong?” he demanded.
Katy exchanged glances with Walt, Lexie and Chrissy, then squeezed Kevin’s hand, and turned to Mulder. “Not wrong, exactly. It’s the others.”
“What about them?” Scully asked quickly.
“Have they left their area?” Mulder was right behind her.
“No, they’re still in what was the middle east. They have no reason to leave. They like the climate and there’s no water. No, it’s . . . they’ve found out about our baby.”
Kevin and Mulder both tensed. “Are you in danger?” They seemed to speak together.
“No, of course not.” She took Kevin’s hand while she caressed her belly and smiled at her father. “Really, I’m protected, but they weren’t . . . they know they can’t harm us. What we’re picking up is,” she looked over at Walt, “despair.”
“De-despair?” Mulder looked between his two oldest children.
Katy nodded. “They’ve known for a long time that they were here to live out their lives, but apparently this baby overwhelmed some of them. Five?” Again she looked over at Walt, who nodded. “Five of them decided to . . . turn off.”
“Suicide?” Mulder asked.
“I guess that’s the closest analogy. They didn’t ‘harm’ themselves as much as quit.”
“You say five?”
Walt nodded. “There’s not that many of them. They lost over fifty of them back when California fell off. At their largest there were only about five hundred of them on the planet. Now they number a little less than two hundred.”
“What’s . . . different is that three of the five weren’t elders,” Katy offered.
“Elders?” Scully asked.
“Yes, these were less than eighty years old, the elders are often over 200 years old.”
“Mulder?” Scully squeezed his hand.
“Just thinking. I don’t know whether to dwell on their age or the fact there were less than five hundred when they did this to us.”
“Why don’t you dwell on the fact they’ve lost hope,” Walter said quietly.
Mulder looked up at him and nodded. “Right, and the fact that they’re half a planet away with no humans around them.”
Mulder watched as Katy moved toward the clinic. She was glowing with both her happiness and the child within her. She never seemed to be alone anymore, with one or more of the children around her. Everyone seemed to want to touch her, caress her belly. That had embarrassed Scully during her pregnancies, even annoyed her slightly, but not Katie. Of course Katie had had such a different upbringing. Scully had moved around all of her youth, while Katie had such a stable home life. Oh there had been rough years, but never a sense of being uprooted or having to leave friends or loved ones behind. And of course there was that ability to be in touch with all of her siblings at all times, he thought ruefully.
Kevin was the same, he had suffered some losses in his life, losing his mother and stepfather and somewhere along the way, his sister Ruby, but he'd been 'home' a long time and he'd had Katie in his life all of hers. Mulder found himself melting a little in his attitude toward Kevin. Maybe he was feeling jealous? Not of their love, he had that, but of their time together. He'd only gotten to claim Scully as his own when he was nearly forty. What would they have been like if they had met earlier? Would they have been closer if they had been together as long as . . . No, he smiled to himself. Maybe longer together, but not closer.
Mulder tapped on the door and entered when he heard his daughter’s voice responding. Scully had encouraged him to accept this invitation to dinner since she wasn’t going to be home until late tonight. She’d wanted to get in one last visit to the village before Katy delivered. Esther had gone with her, leaving Walt and Beth for any problems at home. And, he was aware, give him more downtime to spend with his daughter and her husband.
The distance between Kevin and him was still a little uncomfortable, and he knew it was his fault. Kevin had done nothing to him - his work was still top notch - he’d just married Mulder’s little girl and gotten her pregnant. As Scully said, he should be grateful it wasn’t the other way around. Mulder still couldn’t see the humor she’d tried to inject in that statement. Yes, the age difference still bothered him. A seventeen-year-old - okay, eighteen now - married to a 35-year-old man. Especially a man who had helped raise her . . . no, he had to put that out of his mind tonight. He wanted this to be a pleasant evening. Damn he wished Scully was beside him. She was the one that had always made him presentable in company.
“Hi Sweetie. How you doing?” He kissed Katy and looked with trepidation down at her huge belly.
“I’m great, Daddy. Come on in, dinner’s almost ready. Kevin, Dad’s here.” Kevin emerged from the bedroom. He’d showered and changed out of his work clothes. He did look a lot younger than thirty-five, but Mulder had met him when he was seven and had really known him since he was Katy’s age now. Maybe that was the problem. Enough!
“Thanks for having me over. Scully doesn’t trust me in the kitchen often.”
“There’s a reason for that, Daddy.” Katy grinned.
Dinner was good and Mulder managed to refrain from comment about how little she ate. She was up and down a lot, though both men continually offered to get whatever she needed. She just seemed unable to sit still.
Both men looked up startled when she abruptly rose and went into the bathroom. Mulder turned to Kevin. “Is she okay?”
“I think so. Her energy is pretty high this week. As big as she is I can’t see how she jumps up as well as she does.”
“Yeah, Scully couldn’t do that. Of course, she’s not as big as Scully was, I think.” He found himself visualizing Scully just before Katy was born.
Kevin grinned. “It’s her height. She takes after you there, not Scully. Beth assures me she’s had excellent weight gain. I don’t know how much bigger she can get anyway. Fortunately she only has a week or so to go.”
They turned as the bathroom door opened. “Kevin . . . “
Both men were on their feet instantly. “Katy, are you okay?” Kevin hurried to her side.
“I, uh, I think we should go to the clinic.”
“Katy what’s wrong?” Mulder made himself stay still, forcing himself to let her husband support her.
“Nothing’s wrong. I’m just having the baby.”
“That’s not funny, Katy. Your mother won’t be home for hours.” Mulder was beside her now too.
“I’m not being funny. My water broke. I’m in labor and . . . “
“Katy, it’s okay, I’ve got you. Mulder, I think we ought to get her over there.” Mulder nodded, taking her other arm.
What should have been a five-minute walk took over ten, with the stops for her to hang from Kevin as the contractions grew in intensity. Mulder held the door and helped Kevin get her inside.
“Mulder? She’s not here.” Sam came around the corner. “There was an accident out at the farm. Jose’s leg was torn up pretty bad, broken in a couple of places at least. Beth and Walter rushed over there. She asked me to sit here while she was gone.” He glanced over at the door. “Katy?”
“I need . . . I need to lie down.” Mulder moved back to her side and helped Kevin get her into the first room.
“I’m gonna send Sam for Walt.” Mulder headed for the door, letting Kevin help her undress.
“Dad, they can’t leave in the middle of setting Jose’s leg. I’m feeling a little better now. Just stay here, okay?”
She was making sense, but he didn’t have to like it. His daughter was in pain. Scully wasn’t here and now Walt was off somewhere. The memory of other births came unbidden - Mary, Kelly and of course Chrissy. Damn! He moved to the far side of the room, letting Kevin comfort her, help her through her contractions. This was as bad as watching Scully in pain. When the hell was Scully going to show up? Surely Walt was aware. Couldn’t he do something from the farm? Maybe Missy or Lexie could -
“Daddy. I need you . . . I need you to deliver my baby."
“Katy, Katy hold on. Your mother should be here in less than an hour.”
She almost laughed. “Then she can help us name him, but he’s not waiting for her to be born. He’s coming now.” He recognized that groan - shit!
“Hold on, Honey.” He turned and found the gloves in the drawer. He closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath. “Kevin, I need to exam her.”
Kevin nodded, his face was pale but he was right there, doing whatever his wife needed. Mulder caught his eye and tried to look reassuring.
Well, she was right. This baby wasn’t waiting for Scully or anyone. “Honey, push slowly, steady. That’s right. Kevin hold her, yeah there. That’s good.”
“Mulder, what are you doing here?” Scully put her bag down on the chair as Mulder looked up.
“Well, Grandma, I - “
“Mulder! Is Katy here? Is she in labor?”
“Not anymore.” Her eyes widened and she turned toward the back. He rose to follow her. She pushed open the door and stopped dead still, leaning back against Mulder as she saw Katy and Kevin checking out the newborn in Katy’s arms.
“Oh my god. Katy, are you - oh my god!”
“We’re fine, Mom. Come meet your grandson.”
“Grandson.” She didn’t seem to be able to move, so Mulder gave her a slight push. She was able to approach the bed then and touched the infant's face. “He’s beautiful. He’s got your father’s eyes.”
“I wanted you to be here Mom, but he just wouldn’t wait. Daddy did a great job.”
Scully whirled toward her husband then, “Mulder?” He shrugged. “Where’s Beth?”
“There was an emergency at the farm. She doesn’t even know yet,” Kevin spoke up.
“Oh my god.” Kevin took the baby from Katy’s arms.
“Why don’t you check Katy and him out? I think everything went well, but it was the first time I’ve seen a baby born. I guess we ought to give you some privacy.” His hand caressed Katy’s face. “I’ve got him, Katy. We’ll be right outside. I love you.” He leaned in to kiss her and her arms went around his neck.
“Don’t go far.” He smiled and they kissed again. He moved to the door. Mulder trailed after them.
Once the door was closed Scully took Katy’s hand. “Sweetheart, how you do feel, really?”
“I feel great Mom, honest. And it was so fast. Next time Kevin and I may move home to be closer to you. I wasn’t sure we were going to make it to the clinic.”
“I wouldn’t mention ‘next time’ to the men today. They wouldn’t understand.” Katy nodded, smiling.
Scully did a quick exam. “You’re doing wonderfully, Katy. Did Byers take care of the cord blood?”
Katy nodded. “I know. I didn’t even tear. Walt kept an eye on things even though he couldn’t be here. Mom, he’s the strongest yet, even more than Chrissy.”
Scully pulled the sheet back up over her daughter. “I’m not surprised. Kevin’s had something ‘extra’ since he was a little boy.” She looked down at her daughter, a woman now, and had to blink back tears. “I’ll sleep in my office tonight, just in case you need me.”
“Mom, I appreciate it, but . . . why don’t you get Walt or the girls to stay here with Kevin and me. I think you need to be with Daddy tonight, maybe with some privacy.”
Scully looked at her with concern. “Was it that bad?”
“He was, well you know Dad . . . he was shaken. He certainly hadn’t planned to deliver Kevin’s and my baby. In fact, I’m pretty sure he didn’t even want to attend. I just think he needs to be with you right now.”
Scully leaned down and kissed her daughter. “You’re turning into a very wise woman. I’ll check out the baby, then I’ll find Lexie and Chrissy.”
Mulder looked up, surprised to see her when she entered the house. “I thought you’d be staying at the clinic tonight.”
“The kids are going to stay. They’ll get me if they need anything. They’ve decided their nephew is ‘way cool’. How about a drink?”
“You think I need one?”
“Probably. But I thought we should toast our new grandson.” At his nod she fixed the two drinks and they sat together on the couch. She touched her glass to his, “To Brian Fox - “
He winced at the Fox. “They shouldn’t do that.”
“They want to. It hasn’t bothered any of the other boys here.” Mulder shrugged. “Mulder,” He was deep inside himself and her concern grew. “I’m sorry I wasn’t here. I know how hard that was on you, to have to handle it alone.”
“I wasn’t exactly alone. Kevin was there.” That surprised her; the distance between the two men had bothered her for some time. “He does love her.”
She waited; he had more to say. “They love each other. He was so . . . I recognized his fear, his concern.” Mulder took a deep breath. “When we came up here, that day we escaped Washington, I really thought we’d come up here to die. I was just glad you’d come with me. That however long we had, we’d be together. But now . . . I have a family, kids, a grandson. Hell, you got them to give me back Samantha, but most of all, I still have you.” Tears filled her eyes. “I thought there was no future, but it was just the beginning. And now, with you still beside me, the future looks better than ever.” He pulled her into his arms and they held each other - together for now and the future.
Links to other sites on the Web
Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.