When they arrived at the clinic, Kevin helped the kids get Mulder to the couch. The people who had already arrived at the clinic for breakfast rose at the sight. The shake of Kevin’s head kept them in their place.
Katy came into the large room with Chrissy in her arms. She settled the baby into their father’s arms and rubbed Mulder’s knee. He cuddled the tiny girl close to his chest.
Scully looked down at them for a moment, then turned to Katy, drawing her a little away. “He needs Chrissy? Like, like Bill?”
“No, not that bad, but we need to help him now, before it gets any worse.”
Scully looked back over at him. Worse? God, he was a basket case. It was like his condition was racing downhill, even from yesterday. Had seeing her in Walter’s arms been that devastating to him?
“. . . and Lexie and Missy are getting things ready.”
Scully turned back to her. “What? Getting what ready?”
“When Chrissy is through with him, you can leave.”
“Wait a minute, leave? I can’t leave him.”
“Mom, you’re not leaving him. He’ll be with you.” She took Scully’s hand. Images flooded Scully’s mind. Kevin saw her sway slightly and was beside her, supporting her. He looked down at Katy for an explanation.
Katy smiled up at both of them. “Well? Can you find that place?”
“What? Uh, yes. Why?”
“That’s where you’re taking Daddy. Lexie is getting the horses ready.”
“Have you been there?” Scully asked Katy, still confused.
“No, but Daddy has. He took a girl there one time.”
“Oh?” Scully glanced over at Mulder.
“It’s okay. He only touched her bra.” She looked a little confused, “And I think they played baseball, but I he’s not remembering any bats or gloves.”
“But he got to first base?” Scully asked.
Katy nodded and for the first time in days, Scully’s lips curled up slightly. “What?” Katy demanded.
“I’ll explain it to you later, Precious. But what about Chrissy? I can’t be away from her for hours.”
Katy looked past her and Scully turned. Megan had joined them. “Dana, if Chrissy needs nursing while you’re gone, I’d be honored to . . . “
“Thank you, Megan. I’d appreciate that.” Scully turned to watch Mulder then, rocking the baby slightly. There was more color in his face and his movements weren’t as jerky.
“It’s a little honeymoon for you, Mom. Don’t worry about us.”
“A honey - “
“Well, you never really had one. You need to heal Daddy. You understand.”
“Yes. Will he be okay?”
“It’s a beginning.”
He was calm, almost lethargic on the ride. He answered her questions about the route, but offered no conversation of his own. She was grateful the ride wasn’t supposed to be too distant, it had been a very long time since she had ridden.
He seemed to perk up when he saw the clearing. “Scully?”
“Yes. Do you recognize this place?”
He looked around, nodding slowly. “When I was a kid . . .”
She pulled up and he stopped beside her and dismounted, then lifted her from her mount. His hands didn’t shake when he touched her this time, but they didn’t linger on her body either. She tied the mare to a tree, then took the pack from her horse. He did the same and followed her to the other side of the clearing.
She unrolled the quilt and spread it out in the shade. He watched her then began unpacking what he had taken from his horse. He blinked at the bottle of wine; there were still bottles of real wine? He also found two boiled eggs.
“They shouldn’t have done this.” Scully looked at the food he was unpacking.
“What did they do?” He finally met her eyes.
“They . . . they want me to help you.”
“Help me how?”
“What happened with the girl you brought here before?”
“What? How did you . . . “
“You were young, innocent. Was she pretty?” Scully moved slowly towards him. He’d had a good dose of the kids before they left and of course, whatever Chrissy had done, but that had been over an hour ago.
“I . . . I thought so at the time.”
“What was her name?” She asked quietly.
“Shanna. She let me touch her breast.”
Scully took another step closer. She took his hand into hers and placed it on her own breast. “Like this?”
He looked at his hand and slowly shook his head. Watching him closely, she reached for the top button of her blouse. She unbuttoned it and moved down to the second button. He watched her, she detected the slight increase in his breathing.
It didn’t seem to be distress. After all these years she knew what desire looked like on Mulder’s face. She wasn’t sure what Chrissy had done, but he wasn’t terrified of her right now.
He pulled the drawstring of the pants she and the other women usually wore. They slipped down her legs and his eyes widened.
“You . . . you look like the girl who came to my room and dropped her robe all those years ago. And changed my life.”
She kissed his nose and chuckled slightly, “Thank you, but I believe you’re seeing me with eyes of love.”
“Always, but you really do. Scully, look.”
She dragged her eyes away from his. She blinked, then looked at him again. He was nodding. Her stomach, it was flat. There was no trace that she had carried three children. Her breasts were larger, but firm and high. “Walt? Can he do this?”
“I don’t know.” His hand traveled down to her waist and she moved closer.
He sank to his knees and pulled her after him. Her lips brushed his again and seemed to drink him in. Without pulling away, her fingers found his fly and opened it.
His breath was loud in her ear as he nuzzled her throat. “Scully?”
“I want to be with you.” She whispered to him.
He lowered her to the blanket and loomed over her. She lifted her hips to meet him as he joined with her. They both paused then. She was tight, as tight as the first time they had made love. He grinned at her, “Remind me to raise that kid’s allowance.”
Her peal of laughter rang through the trees.
Kevin stepped into the clinic looking for Katy. What he saw was the children all sitting in a circle on the big rug. They were smiling and laughing, watching Malcolm as he seemed to be reaching for something and chortling. There were no adults in sight.
“Katy? What’s going on? Where is everyone?”
“They’re busy. We’re okay.”
“What are you doing?”
They smiled up at him. “Malcolm doesn’t quite understand that the little purple explosions aren’t something he can touch.”
“Purple . . . Is that what’s going on?”
Kevin’s eyes widened. Everyone? Well, he hadn’t seen Todd and Anne, and Charlie had disappeared right after they started back after lunch. Walter and Maggie? And Greg and Megan had left Malcolm to be looked after by the other kids? What the hell was going on out there with Mulder and Scully?
Katy got up and hurried to him, giving him a hug. “ He’s a lot better already.”
“I . . . I’m sure he is. Uh, Katy, is . . . is anyone pregnant, other than Anne?”
She smiled broadly, nodding. “The horse Mom’s riding. Now we’ll have two colts.”
“But she wasn’t in season.”
“I meant humans, Katy.”
“No. We’re more careful than that. We’re trying to make Dad better, not scare him worse.”
“Right, sorry.” Kevin looked slightly uncomfortable.
“Kevin,” Katy took his hand and led him to the circle, “you’ve been kind of like us since you first met Dad years ago. You’re not scared of us, are you?”
“Not scared, you’re the best kids I can imagine, but sometimes, when I think about what you can do - I mean when I was stabbed and all . . . “
“I wouldn’t let anything happen to you.”
“I know, Baby.” He hugged her to him, then the others. He remained with them, playing and laughing until the others began drifting back.
Walter and Maggie arrived first, as though they had just remembered the children existed. Kevin couldn’t help but grin. Walter wouldn’t meet his eyes and Maggie murmured an excuse and hurried to the kitchen.
Charlie had a shit-eating grin on his face when he arrived and Mary actually blushed when she saw Kevin waiting for them.
Megan rushed in apologizing. Greg was no where in sight as Suzie turned Malcolm over to her.
It was nearly dark when Mulder and Scully rode in. The calm serenity on Mulder’s face, the love in his eyes, eased Walter’s anxiousness almost as much as Maggie had that afternoon. He held Scully’s horse as Mulder lifted her down.
“I’ll take ’em, Walter.” Jerry reached for the reins.
Walter nodded, “Thanks.”
Kevin approached them from the clinic. He was very relieved to see the easy manner in which Mulder’s hand rested on Scully’s lower back. She looked better as well, more relaxed.
“Was everything okay while we were gone?” Mulder asked.
All three of them turned when Kevin chuckled at the question. Scully noted that Walter actually was, was blushing. She and Mulder exchanged glances.
“Aren’t you going to answer, Walter?” Kevin’s tone was teasing.
“Everything was fine.” Walter glared at Kevin.
“Damn fine from what I heard.” Kevin continued unperturbed.
“Okay, what?” Scully demanded.
Walter rolled his eyes. “Uh, while you were . . . apparently the kids thought we all needed a little, uh, relaxation.”
“What? I - “ Scully looked at Walter. He was blushing again. She looked over at Mulder when he started to laugh.
Kevin was laughing with him. Walter just shook his head.
Dinner was lighthearted. Scully stayed close to Mulder and he seemed to have a hand on her most of the time. Occasionally one of the kids would go by and all of them touched him lightly.
When dinner was over, Bill approached Mulder. Scully took Mulder’s arm, standing nearly between them.
“I, uh, could I speak to you for a minute?”
It was most Bill had said to anyone in days.
“I . . . sure.”
“We can use my office.” Scully offered, making it clear that she would be there as well.
Bill nodded and followed them in that direction. Scully shut the door and turned to see Bill eyeing Mulder. “Did I do that?” He pointed to the bruise on Mulder’s jaw.
“I’m sor - “
Mulder waved it away. “Consider it the birthday present I never gave you.”
Bill gave him a confused look, then looked over at Scully. She smiled at him.
“Yeah, uh, I have some questions.”
“Okay.” Mulder motioned to the chair.
“Mulder, it doesn’t have to be tonight.” Scully’s hand rested on his arm.
“I’m better, Scully.” He tucked her hand against him and pulled her down beside him on the couch. “What is it, Bill?”
Bill looked between the two of them, but still hesitated. Mulder was ready to ask again when he blurted it out, “Were we really invaded by little green men?”
“Gray.” Mulder said seriously. Scully’s elbow in his ribs caused a chuckle. Bill only looked puzzled. “Sorry. Yes, the planet was invaded by aliens that have returned to earth. They were actually here first.”
Bill blinked a couple of times. “You can say that, just all calm like that?”
Mulder sobered then, “I’m not calm about it, it’s a defense mechanism. You need to remember that I’ve, we’ve,” he looked down at Scully, “known about this for a long time.”
“When Dana was gone, and Antarctica and, and the cancer?”
Mulder nodded though his grip on her tightened slightly.
Bill seemed to deflate at that. He couldn’t seem to find any place to look. “I . . . I’m remembering things.”
“Bill?” Scully leaned toward him. “Can you talk about it?”
“It’s still . . . fuzzy. I, I lived with them?”
“Is Tara . . . “
Scully nodded. “I’m sorry Bill. Tara died in the first wave.”
Bill was quiet for a couple of minutes. “When I got back, when the ship docked, did I look for Matthew?”
Scully shook her head sadly. “We don’t think so. What do you remember?”
“There’s . . . there’s holes there now. I remembered searching, but now those memories don’t feel . . . real.”
“They aren’t, Bill. You never left the ship voluntarily. You were . . . taken we think.”
Mulder blinked at Scully’s words. He realized that for the last couple of days, since Bill had been with Chrissy, he had been in no position to ask these questions either.
“Why? Why me?”
Scully sighed then, “We think because they knew you were my brother.” She felt Mulder’s hand tighten over hers again.
“What would that . . . “ Bill paused then and looked over at Mulder.
“I’m sorry, Bill.” Mulder finally said.
Instead of speaking, Bill rose and left the office without another word.
“Guess my ‘sorry son of a bitch’ status is still intact.” Mulder said quietly.
“This is going to be hard for him, Mulder. He’s just beginning to understand the truth. And he’s going to remember what was done to him as Chrissy takes the false memories away. He’s safe now, he’ll realize that soon.”
“He didn’t look for Matt?”
Scully shook her head, “He wasn’t given the chance.”
“The kids were working on it. I haven’t had time to ask today.”
Mulder nodded. “It’s getting late. We need to round up the kids.” Instead of rising, he pulled her to him and nuzzled her neck.
“Can you wait until we get home, Mulder?” She asked, teasing him.
“Only if I have to.” He growled.
She laughed then and kissed his nose, then stood and tugged on his hands.
At the house she put a sleeping Chrissy down, then returned to the living room, to find the girls in Mulder’s lap, Walt beside them.
“Everyone okay?” She said it lightly, but her eyes were worried.
“We’re fine. Lexie was telling me about Malcolm and the purple explosions.” Mulder grinned up at her. “Apparently most everyone had a good day.” His smile grew with the color in her cheeks.
She took a deep breath and sat beside them on the couch, drawing Walt into her lap. “I need to know, have you had any luck finding Matt?”
Katy sighed, “It’s hard. Uncle Bill isn’t like Dad or Charlie. He didn’t do anything with Matt. He didn’t feed him or change diapers or take him places alone, and he was gone most of the time at sea.” She leaned against her father who hugged her and Lexie tightly for an instant. “And Matt, if he’s out there, doesn’t have many memories of him either.”
“What about Tara?” Scully asked softly. “They’d both have memories of her. Would that work?”
Katy thought about it a moment, obviously sending the question to the others. “We’ll try that. Chrissy will know Tara best and she’s asleep.”
“We all should be.” Mulder said then. “Come on, get ready for bed. Morning will be here early tomorrow.”
The kids gave them both a kiss and disappeared into their bedrooms. “You know, that looks like a good idea.” He leered at her.
“Again? Aren’t we a little old for - “
His lips cut off the rest of her question. His hands made her forget she’d been asking one.
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.