Mulder paced in the living room with Lexie held tight against his chest. Where did she get the energy to scream like this? Neither of the children Scully had carried had done this. Okay, he knew it was colic, but it felt like she'd been screaming for days.
Scully was exhausted, so he had refused to let her take any more night shifts. Walt was sleeping through the night, though how was a mystery to Mulder at this point.
He was tired as well, but he couldn't be as tired as she was. Nursing both kids . . . but there weren't many options. This screaming made him feel helpless. Nothing worked, Scully's milk wasn't too rich for Walt, and Katy had thrived on it as well. This little girl just . . . damn he was tired.
They had finished digging the pit for the icehouse, and the stairs down into it had been assembled. The roof should go on tomorrow. It was a good structure, and they had a lot of food to go into it, but tonight he was feeling his age and it was depressing.
His heart sank as he heard Walt stir. Great, she had finally awakened him up as well. He hurried to the room to get him before he disturbed Scully. Mulder scooped him up and moved back out to the living room.
He had both babies against his chest and looked longingly at the couch, but Lexie never let anyone sit down while she was like this. Well, maybe for just a minute, while he got a better hold on both of them.
He eased down on the couch and lay a baby on each thigh. At least Walt wasn’t crying. Of course, he almost never did. Instead he turned his head as though to look at Lexie.
Lexie, meanwhile, took a breath to renew her screaming, when Walt’s little hand touched her. As Mulder watched, she relaxed visibly. What the hell?
They had kept the kids apart most of the time, though not really on purpose. They had separate beds and totally different sleep patterns. Besides, babies this age weren’t supposed to even notice each other, were they? Not exactly his field.
MJ and Missy had shared a bed occasionally while Mary recovered, but . . . To see what would happen Mulder moved the babies apart again.
He could see little Lexie’s body tense again and even Walt looked upset, his face screwed up like he was going to cry. Mulder moved Lexie back to Walt and the tiny boy reached for her. Mulder blinked; Walt had actually reached for her, not with the floundering of limbs that he had come to associate with babies this age, but purposefully. And it had worked, Lexie was quiet.
Scully woke to find Mulder asleep beside her. That was a relief; he had gotten a little rest as well. And wonder of wonders, it sounded like Lexie was still asleep. She carefully rolled over to check on her youngest. They had moved Lexie’s bassinet close to her side of their bed, so that she could on occasion just scoop her up and nurse her in bed.
The bassinet was empty. “Oh my god!” She sat up straight. Mulder, disturbed by her movement, reached for her.
“Wha -?” He was very groggy after only a couple of hours of sleep.
For about three seconds he caught her panic, then he remembered. “No, no, it’s okay.”
“She’s not here!”
“Shh. Scully, keep it down, don’t wake them. Lexie is fine, she’s over there.” He gestured vaguely toward the other side of the room.
She tried to shake off his hand and rise.
“Scully, they’re okay.”
“Why are they . . . Mulder, Walt could suffocate her, if he rolled over on her.”
“I don’t think we need to worry about that.” But he knew Scully was awake for the day by now. He released his grip on her and rose. She fairly leaped from the bed and he followed her to Walt’s crib.
He smiled when he saw the kids; they were curled around each other, Lexie’s head in the protective curve of Walt’s body, their hands gripping each other.
“Shh.” He led her away. “Let them sleep.” He seated her at the kitchen table and started the tea. Damn he missed coffee.
After a few minutes she spoke, “What happened last night?” She was watching him, partially wondering if she was dreaming.
He shook his head smiling, “I don’t know.” He fixed her tea, poured himself a cup and then sat down beside her. “She was her normal self, I don’t know how you were able to sleep. Then I heard Walt stirring, so I grabbed him so you wouldn’t wake up and brought him in here with us. Scully, it was the damnedest thing. He wanted to comfort her.”
Her eyebrow rose, but it only made his grin wider.
“Scully, I swear. Walt reached for her and she relaxed. I tested the theory, by separating them again, and both of them got upset. When I let them hold each other, they both passed out. I put them in his crib and passed out myself.”
“But that makes no sense. He’s only three months old. He couldn’t . . . “
Mulder leaned back and sipped his tea, watching her try to make sense of it. He hadn’t tried, just deciding to be grateful for the peace. He smiled, she'd come up with some theory and he wouldn't argue.
Scully reached for another green bean to snap and looked back over at the babies. Walt was sitting up alone now. He was earlier at it than Katy had been, but she was getting used to that. His dexterity no longer frightened her.
"They look great." Anne also looked at the kids.
"They do, don't they?"
Anne grinned at her and her hand went to her own rounded stomach. "You treat them both the same, you'd think you carried her too."
"I hope so. I don’t want her to feel any different. It has been easier since the colic stopped." Scully grinned and threw another handful of snapped beans into the bowl in front of her.
"You do know she's Krycek's, don't you?"
Scully looked up at Anne startled. "What do you mean?"
"Well, I know that for a while Kelly, uh, enjoyed herself. I just wanted you to know that after she, after she hooked up with Krycek she was completely faithful to him. Lexie is his child."
For a moment Scully looked at Anne, the beans forgotten in her lap. "Thank you."
Anne looked up at her and shrugged. "I thought you might want to know."
"I know the two of you had become close. Did you and Kelly talk about . . . 'before' much?"
"Not at first. I really didn't know her when she first moved in with Brittany and me. I was too . . . I didn't talk to many people back then, really only Maggie and Mary."
Scully nodded, remembering how the young woman was when she had first come to them.
"It turns out, we had a lot in common. When I got back, after Todd and I got together, she was living with Krycek, pregnant and I suspected I was. We began to talk. Turns out we had a lot in common. We both had . . . experiences after the virus. Experiences with men. We just handled it differently. She used what happened to her, I withdrew into myself. But the beginning was the same. I don't know if you've noticed, but more men survived the virus than women."
Scully's brow furrowed, it was true there were more men living here than women. So far it hadn't been a problem, but she had always assumed that the reason for that was that the trip here was difficult. But Krycek had made mention of that when he'd broken into her apartment years ago. He had said she would be a valuable commodity. Both she and Mulder had dismissed that as Krycek's way of goading them, but . . .
She went over the list of single men in her mind, Byers and Langly of course, the guys that had brought Kelly here in the first place. Her nephews were growing up fast as well. And how could she forget Kevin?
"Dana, I'm sorry if I upset you."
"What? No, no Anne, you didn't upset me. But you have given me some things to think about." She managed to grin at Anne, "In addition to the food supply and the coming winter and the health of everyone here and - "
Anne laughed lightly, "Well, I'm glad I've fixed it so that you won't be bored."
Walt looked over at the two women at the sound of Anne's laughter.
"Dana, that is one special little boy. It's like . . . it's like he's looking after her, all the time."
"We're just putting our perceptions on what we see."
"Do you really think that? Don't you see the way he watches her?"
Scully looked at her, but didn't answer.
"Watch." Anne stood and smoothed her top over her stomach. She moved over to the two kids. Lexie was in her bouncy seat and Walt was sitting on the floor beside her. Walt looked up as Anne stood over them.
Anne held her arms out to Walt to pick him up. Before he responded, he looked over at Lexie as though to make certain she was okay, then held up his arms to be picked up. Anne lifted him into her arms and turned to Scully. "Well?"
"He just happened to - "
Scully stopped and looked away.
"It's okay, you know? He is Mulder's and your son. Just like Katy; he's very special. Katy started the immunity for the rest of the world and kind of gave the rest of us hope that there would even be another generation. She was the first baby born here."
"Is that really how the people here feel about her?"
Anne nodded, "You have to have noticed how people respond to her. Just seeing her makes people smile. Even Langly."
Scully chuckled at that. It was true, and the way Walter was with her . . . He was such a different man than the one she had worked for in DC. He smiled pretty much all the time now. And he made her mother very happy. He'd never be her father, but she loved him, almost as though he were.
Anne settled Walt back on the blanket next to Lexie and rose, stretching her back.
"Anne, are you okay?"
"I'm fine, but I'm sure you remember how it is."
"The backaches, yeah. You're in perfect health, Anne." She added this as Anne looked down at herself.
"I know, but so was Kelly."
"Anne, that was - "
"I'm not really worried. Well, I try not to be. I keep remembering what Mama Ruth said. If I am going to have five children, I must be fairly healthy. And you haven't seen any problems."
Scully managed to smile, though the reminder of her abilities never made her comfortable. Walt made a sound, as though to comfort his mother and drew both of their attention.
"See Dana, he even looks after you."
Scully shook her head, but smiled as well. She reached for some more beans.
Scully stared at the vegetables in her hand. They'd been fortunate; they'd gotten two harvests because of her warning. The squash and zucchini had been abundant too. Her dreams had been more positive lately and even Charlie seemed happy.
"I was just thinking about what's ahead. It's already colder than usual for this time of year."
Anne nodded. "Todd increased the wood pile at our place and over at Brittany's as well."
"That's a good idea. We should do that everywhere, especially here. When it gets bad, it might be better to have people stay here at the clinic. I don't want Mom to have to get out when it's bad. You shouldn't either."
Anne grinned, "Can't you see me waddling through the snow in a few weeks?"
"That's what I want to avoid. Is Todd still planning on going out later this week?"
Anne nodded, "As long as you and Mulder are around, he handles it, but he said this would be his last trip."
"He's done an incredible job. He was so young when I met him, but he brought Mom home to me, he and Walter. Not to mention my dorky little brother and his family. I'll never be able to repay that."
"He's a wonderful man, and he's going to be a great father. I love watching him with the kids."
Scully had to agree.
The snow was coming down heavily now. Scully let the curtains fall back into place. "I'm glad Katy's already asleep. She gets so excited when it snows, we'd never get her down. You're staying here tonight, Anne."
Anne managed to rise from the couch. "Is it that bad?"
Scully nodded. "Mulder should be home soon. Todd will probably be with him; he knew you were over here. I'm going to dish up some dinner for us."
"Dana, I really don't think I should eat."
Scully turned to her quickly. "Are you okay?"
"The Braxton-Hicks have started up again. I'm just not hungry."
"You should have said something."
"They've been off and on for days. I keep trying to ignore them." Scully nodded, then looked toward the bedroom as she heard Lexie.
"Do you want me to get her?" Anne stepped in that direction, she was closer.
"She probably needs changing. Do you feel like it?"
"I'm fine. And I need the practice."
Scully watched her make her way into the bedroom. Now she was even more pleased that Anne would be staying here tonight. The wind was picking up; this was going to be a full blizzard before morning. That was probably what was keeping Mulder, but she was ready for him to be home.
She glanced back over at the bedroom. What was taking Anne so long? Scully took a step in that direction, then heard the toilet flush. She gave a small smile and turned back toward the stove.
"Uh, Dana . . ."
"I, uh, I think my water broke."
Scully swallowed, caught off guard. "Anne, that's good. You were already a little past due. I didn't want to have to induce you."
Anne seemed to relax a little at her matter of factness. "Should we try to get to the clinic? Oh, the kids."
Scully glanced at the door. "I think we should stay here. I don't want you outside. How are you feeling?"
"Shaky, excited. I wish Todd was here."
"He will be soon. Why don't I examine you, your contractions are going to get stronger now and we might as well be prepared."
Scully held her arm and led her back into the bedroom. Both of the babies were asleep. She helped Anne change into one of her nightgowns. They were all too short, but that wouldn't matter now.
"You're looking good Anne. Already four centimeters. The Braxton-Hicks did you some good. Why don't we go back in the living room, you can walk some in there."
Anne nodded and let Scully help her to sit up. "Wait a minute." She tightened her grip on Scully's hand for a moment, then took a deep breath. "Okay."
Back in the living room, Scully built the fire up. If the power did go off, she would need the light as well as the heat. She also gathered what supplies she would need, substituting for the equipment at the clinic, and chastising herself for not anticipating something like this.
She glanced over at Anne who had perched on a barstool as she breathed through her next contraction. "You doing okay?"
"Yeah." She sounded a little breathless. "Right now I'm wondering if I really want five children."
Scully grinned and took her hand. "It's the kind of thing you should decide tomorrow, if you want my advice."
Anne nodded, "I'm awfully glad I'm here, and not home alone, waiting for Todd."
"Me too." She helped Anne back to her feet. Scully glanced back at the door. Where was Mulder?
Things were progressing well by the time she finally heard Mulder stomping his boots at the door. Anne was now having to vocalize to get through the contractions and Mulder stopped just inside the door, startled.
"Mulder, help me."
He was already jerking off his gloves. "Anne?"
She was resting against Scully now, trying to catch her breath. "Is . . . is Todd with you?"
"No. I told him to get on home, to check on you."
"Mulder, support her a minute, let me get the pallet ready."
"Yeah, sure." He eased her off of Scully and held her gently against his chest. "Sorry, my coat's probably cold."
"It feels good right now." Anne smiled tiredly. The smile disappeared quickly as another contraction gripped her.
"Slow steady breaths, Anne. That's right." His hand rubbed her back as he held her steady against him.
"I need . . . I feel like I want to push."
"Not yet Anne. Let Scully get ready. You're going to be fine, she's gotten to be a real expert at this."
Scully glanced over at that comment. It was true of him as well. "Can you help me get her over here?"
Mulder winked at Scully, then lifted Anne into his arms and laid her gently on the pallet in front of the fire. He looked up at Scully then; "Do you want me to go get Todd?"
It was Anne that grabbed his arm. "No, there's not time. I need you here for the birth."
"Me?" Mulder glanced down at her.
"You're at every birth. You . . . " She lost her voice in a moan then.
"Get your coat off, Mulder. I'm going to need you here." Scully's voice brought him back from the comment Anne had made, and he quickly shed his coat and boots as Scully helped Anne into a position for pushing.
He was back, and seated himself behind Anne. He glanced at Scully, who nodded, then he settled Anne against his chest. Scully glanced at him, then did a quick exam.
"You're right, Anne. It is time to push. Brace yourself against Mulder and hold your knees. Nice and steady, Anne, on the next contraction."
Anne nodded and glanced up at Mulder. He smiled reassuringly at her. He could feel her body tense against his and he murmured reassuringly in her ear as she began the task of birthing her child.
Scully looked up and smiled at them. "You're doing great Anne. This won't take long. Again."
Mulder counted for her, slowly and steadily giving her something to focus on. "You're crowning, Anne. Doing great." She reached for a towel as Anne rested against Mulder. "Give me another one."
Anne groaned then and Mulder couldn't hide the wince. Maybe he had been present at all the births here, except for Walt of course, but it hadn't gotten any easier for him to watch.
"Anne, the head's out. Stop pushing for a minute." She felt around the child's neck quickly, no cord. "Okay, let's finish this up. Give me a good one."
"Come on, Anne." Mulder spoke softly and she did as he bade.
"I've got her! Anne, open your eyes, you have a girl." Anne had collapsed back against him and her body shook uncontrollably for a moment. Mulder put his arms around her to comfort her and, after a second, she reached for her daughter.
"She's beautiful." The tears were coursing down her face as she drew the child closer. She watched as Scully tied off and then cut the cord.
Scully bundled the placenta and cord into another towel and put it aside for Byers. No way to get it to him tonight, but she didn't have to worry about finding a place to keep it cool.
Anne looked up from the infant and spotted Walt watching them from just outside the bedroom door. She smiled up at Scully; "We've got company."
"What?" She looked where Anne pointed. "Oh my god." She turned to Mulder. "How did he get in here?"
Mulder looked over at his son and chuckled. "Maybe he wanted to make sure this little one was okay too. He seems to think that's his job." He carefully let Anne recline against the pillows that Scully arranged. She watched Anne examine her daughter more closely.
He rose and moved over to Walt. He lifted him into his arms, "I thought I was the one people wanted to witness births, not you big guy."
The boy smiled brightly at his father and reached for his nose, a favorite game now. Mulder carried him back into the bedroom, then stopped. "Scully, can you come in here a minute?"
Scully glanced up from Anne. "We're doing fine, Dana. See what he needs."
Scully nodded and hurried toward the bedroom. "Is something wrong?"
"Look." He pointed to the crib. The sides were all the way up and Lexie was still sound asleep. "How did he get out?"
She looked up at him. "How did he . . .? Mulder?"
Mulder dragged his eyes from the crib. "We were kidding, but I think he really did want to be there when the baby was born."
"Mulder, that's crazy. He's a baby himself, he can't even walk. How could he possibly - "
"How did he cure Lexie's colic, Scully? I know he's special, he's your son, but I think he's more special than that. You may have that apprentice doctor you've been looking for."
"I need to get back to Anne."
Mulder nodded, "I'll put him down. Go ahead."
Scully placed a quick kiss on Walt's forehead, then a longer kiss on her husband's lips and hurried back.
Walt cuddled up next to Lexie and settled down to sleep instantly. Mulder gazed down at his two youngest for a moment, then returned to the living room to see if Scully needed anything.
Anne and her daughter were cuddling in front of the fire as she nursed for the first time. Mulder watched them until Scully came to stand beside him and wrapped her arms around his waist. "You doing okay?"
"Yeah, it's a little easier on me when it's not you suffering."
She squeezed him, then they both turned at the pounding on the door. "One guess who that is." Mulder grinned as he headed toward the sound.
"Anne's not at the house!" Todd burst into the room as Mulder opened the door.
"She's fine." He gestured toward the fire.
"Anne. Oh god." He was on his knees beside her.
"It's a girl. Ruth?" She unwrapped the baby slightly to let her father get a better look at her. Todd nodded at the name.
Scully tugged at Mulder's hand to lead him into the bedroom, to give them some privacy.
Todd looked up as they moved. "Mulder, were you here?" Mulder nodded. "Thank God. Uh, you too Scully."
"Thanks." She glanced up at Mulder, grinning. He put his arm around her. "Call me if you need anything."
Anne nodded and they left the young couple to bond with their new baby.
Once the door was closed, Scully moved over to the crib. Both of the babies were sound asleep.
"Mulder . . . "
"Don't worry about it tonight, Scully. Everyone's warm and safe. Come to bed. I need to hold you."