After the Future - XVI (PG-13)

She gasped as pain flared in her arm.  “Mulder.”   It was only a whisper, but before she could move, Katy was screaming.

“Kevin!  Kevvvvin!”

Beth came running from the other room.  “What is it?”  She looked down at Katy, crying and screaming and then at Scully who hadn’t been able to move.  “Scully?”

“Something’s wrong.  Keep the babies!”  She was pulling on her boots and grabbed for her coat.  “No Katy, you can’t - “

“Kevin!”  She screamed in her mother’s face, somehow her own boots already on.

“Lock the door behind us, Beth.   Have the men meet me at the office.”   Then she grabbed Katy up in her arms and was running as fast as she could toward Mulder and whatever had happened.  Later she was to wonder at the impulse that allowed her to carry her own precious daughter into danger, but for now she had to go and obviously so did Katy.

She barely felt the weight of the little girl as she flew over the uneven ground and pockets of slush and snow still not quite melted from the last storm.

Others had already arrived, and she saw Todd and Walter binding a large man.  He was face down on the floor and they were being none to gentle with him.  Walter looked up when he heard her cries.

“In here, Scully.”  He allowed another of the men to take his position on the prone man’s back.  “Lock him in the shed; we’ll deal with him later.” 

He took Katy from her mother’s arms, but she was already squirming to get down.


“I’m, I’m okay Scully.  Check on Kevin.”  He was seated on the floor of the inner office, resting against the desk.  One hand held his injured arm.  She looked where he indicated.  Kevin was unconscious near the door, blood covering his shirt.

Katy was already beside Kevin holding his hand and crying.

Scully pulled her professionalism around her like a cloak and began examining the fallen man.   He’d been stabbed and he was losing blood.  She gently drew his shirt away from his wound and grimaced.  It was a good thing he was out, that should slow his heart rate.  She had nothing with her; she had run out of the clinic in a panic, knowing somehow that Mulder had been hurt.

“Walter, is there a first aid kit here?”

“Yeah.”  He moved quickly to the desk and opened the bottom drawer. 

“We’re going to need a stretcher.  We’ve got to get him to the clinic.” 

Walter nodded and moved out of her line of sight. 

“Mulder?  Can you hear me?”  She didn’t look up from Kevin, she was busy, but she needed to hear his voice.

“Right here Scully.  How is he?”

Scully glanced at the little girl with the death grip on this young man’s hand, “I’ll know better when I can get him cleaned up.”

Mulder heard the control in her voice and didn’t pursue it.  He was still reeling anyway.  The attack had come out of nowhere.  This group had come to ask to join them, and he had agreed.  All but this one man had left his office, when he had suddenly wheeled on him.   He’d felt the knife slash his arm as he had instinctively moved to protect himself.

Things were a blur then. Kevin had reacted instantly, throwing himself at the larger man and bringing him down.  Walter and Todd, who had been with their newest recruits just outside of the door, had heard the commotion and raced back inside.

The four women and two men that had just left the office had stood there, stunned.  It was just as well; neither Walter nor Todd was armed.   They had pretty much quit arming themselves anymore.  Guns were useless against the aliens, and human didn’t attack human very much anymore.  They were too rare and precious a commodity.

He looked toward the door when he heard others approaching and tensed to defend Scully and Katy to his last breath; but it was Charlie who entered the room, followed by Byers and Langly with a stretcher.

“Be careful; gentle there.  We need to get him to the clinic.”  Scully was directing them quickly.

“Beth is already setting things up, Todd was there.”

Walter entered then and moved to Mulder.  “Think you can walk?”

“Sure.  Just get Kevin over there.”

“Mulder, let Walter help you.”  There was no trace of ‘request’ in Scully’s voice and he looked at Walter who gave him a grim smile.  Walter helped him to his feet and kept his arm around him as they moved out behind the stretcher.

Katy still hadn’t let go of Kevin’s hand and trotted beside the stretcher keeping up with no problem.  Scully had fallen back to walk at Mulder’s other side, examining his arm even as they moved toward the clinic.

He hissed as she probed the wound.  “Mulder that’s going to scar.”

“Well there goes my Mr. Universe title.”  He grinned at her.  She was still too shaken to return his smile.  At least the artery hadn’t been cut.  Kevin had saved his life; now it would be up to her to save his.

She saw the others disappear into the clinic and knew that Beth would be taking care of things for now.  Besides, she couldn’t quite tear herself away from his side yet.

“Scully, I’m okay.”  He bent down and kissed her.  “Go on.   Walter here can put a field bandage on me until you’re ready for me.”

She didn’t speak, though she did move on into the clinic, leaving him with Walter.  She knew her voice wouldn’t be steady and she needed to get it together now.  She hadn’t performed surgery in a long time.

Beth and Byers had Kevin undressed by now.  Katy was still in attendance, watching the comatose man’s face for any sign that they had hurt him. 

Scully looked up at Beth, “he’s out now, but I have to keep him that way.  We can’t chloroform him, not with a lung injury.”

“I know, I’ve - “

“Get Walt.”

Both women turned to look at the little girl who was watching them now.  “Katy?  What are you - “

“Get Walt.  He won’t let Kevin hurt.”

“Are you . . . “ Scully stopped, how could she question a three-year old?  But she did have a point; Walt seemed to know how to ease people’s pains.  This was ridiculous; her shoulders slumped.

“I’ll get him.”  Beth spoke calmly, obviously less taken aback at the idea than Scully herself.

She returned immediately with the little boy in her arms.  “Beth?”

“Come on, Dana.”

“I’m supposed to do surgery with children in the room?”

“Yours and Mulder’s children, yes.  Dana, he’s bleeding.”

That brought Scully back to the real issue and she pulled on her rubber gloves.  She saw Byers enter the room again with blood to be transfused and shoved the rest out of her mind.  When she picked up her scalpel, her hand was steady.


She pushed the hair out of her face and sank into the chair next to Mulder.  She automatically reached for his arm.

“Take a minute, Scully.  How’s Kevin?”

“I think he’s going to be okay.”

“But?”  She didn’t sound okay.

“The idea of using my infant son as my anesthesiologist is a little over the top.”

“That’s where Walt’s been?  And Katy?  In surgery with you?”

She leaned back and closed her eyes. 

“Are you okay Scully?”

At his words she began to shake, reaction setting in with a vengeance.  He put his good arm around her and drew her into his lap.  She didn’t even bother to protest that he was injured too.   He rocked her as she gave in to her emotions.   The others left them in peace for a little while, knowing what they gave each other.

When she began to calm down, she sat up and started to leave his lap.  He stopped her, and looked deep into her eyes.

“I’m fine Mulder.”

Even she laughed when he did, shaking her head.  Then she rose to check on his wound.  Walter, or someone, had done a good job of bandaging him, but he needed stitches. 

“Come on, let’s get this over with.”

“Beth can do it.”

“No, you’re mine right now.”  She led him into the prep room and sat him on the table.  “I felt this.”


“When the knife struck you, I felt it.  I didn’t know what it was, but I dropped the book I was holding.  Then Katy started screaming for Kevin.  We both knew; we both felt it.” 

He nodded, but kept quiet, she wasn’t finished.

“Walt . . . Walt kept Kevin quiet, I think he even took away the pain while I worked on him.   Frohike came in and held him, so that he could touch Kevin the whole time.  He didn’t squirm or get impatient.  He’s asleep now, just drifted off when we were sewing Kevin up.”  She looked up at Mulder’s face then. “Do you think Walt’s okay?  Did this take too much out of him?”

“You examined him, didn’t you?”

She nodded, dropping her head.  “But I don’t have a clue what to look for.”

“Was his heart rate okay?  Did he seem upset?”

“No, he was fine, as far as I could tell.”  She took a deep breath and began the small stitches to bring his flesh back together.   When she was through, she doused his arm in alcohol while he hissed, then rebandaged him.

“Mulder, how did this happen?”

He shook his own head at that.  “I was careless.  I was so pleased that new people had made it here, especially after the winter we’ve just had.  Three men and four women.  They seemed glad to be here; they mentioned how they had heard of us - “

“You mean of you.”

Mulder shrugged.  “The guy that attacked me, he stayed in the back.  I didn’t even get a good look at his face.  I can tell you that they’ve all been here while you were in surgery.  They’re devastated.  He joined them a couple of days ago and they didn’t know him well.  When he said he knew me, they accepted him.  Now they’re scared to death we’re going to exile them.”

“I’m not sure that’s a bad idea.”

“Scully, come on.”

“They could have killed you.  Okay, he could have killed you.  Anyone who would bring an animal like that to my home - “

“They didn’t know.”

“They should have.   Have you talked to him; has he said anything?”

Mulder shook his head, “We’re letting him cool off, literally.  He’s in the shed without a blanket or anything.  Just the coat he was wearing when they arrived.”

“I want to talk to him.”

“No.  Scully, I don’t want you anywhere near - “

“I am going to talk to him.  I won’t go alone.  I remember the value of backup; but I want to see him, see what kind of a monster would try to hurt you.”

After a moment he nodded.  There would be a great deal of backup.  She wasn’t the only one who wanted to tear this man limb from limb.  If he wasn’t mistaken, every person that lived here had ‘stopped by’ to check on things.


The three of them checked their weapons once more.  “I don’t like this Scully.”

“Mulder, I’m going with you.  You’re injured and Walter might need help.  The three of us are the best trained for this.  And as I recall, the last time we were at the firing range, I beat you.”

“The last time we were at the firing range, you were not my wife or the mother of my children.”

She smiled at him, “Okay, so things have improved since then.  I still beat you.  I am doing this.”

Walter nodded to Todd and Charlie, so were also ‘armed’ with baseball bats.  “Lets go talk to him.”

The five of them approached the shed and Todd removed the padlock and opened the door.  Walter went in first, fully prepared to use terminal force and it showed.  Todd and Charlie had never seen him in this mode and they were quiet, accepting his authority without question.

Scully was next, her gun steady on the man and Mulder was in the rear, despite his protests, due to his injury.

The man didn’t even bother to look up when they entered.  Charlie moved behind him and pulled his head back by his hair, forcing him to face Walter.  They all froze as Scully jerked.  “Oh my god.”  It was barely a whisper but it chilled Mulder’s blood and he moved closer to her.

She didn’t seem to notice; her gun hand now down by her side.  She had gone deathly pale, but her eyes were now locked on Charlie.  He met her eyes, puzzled.  “It’s Bill.”  She managed to choke out.

Walter looked over at Mulder stunned.  Charlie grabbed the man’s hair even tighter and pulled his face back to where he could see it.  His eyes widened and without a word his hand came up and he savagely backhanded the face of the man at his feet.  “You son of a - you tried to kill Mulder!  You tried to kill the man who has kept my family alive!”

Walter touched his arm to try to calm him and at least he seemed to rethink his idea of kicking the bound man in the ribs.

Bill looked up at him then, unable to wipe the blood from the side of his mouth.  “Mary?”

“Yes Mary, and Will and Sam.  And Mulder helped deliver my new daughter, Melissa.  He and Dana have two kids now too; you wanted to make them orphans?  Is that how you get your jollies now?  How the hell am I going to tell Mom that - “

“Mom’s alive?”

“Yeah, Mulder’s saved us all.”

Bill looked down at the ground, “Tara’s dead, I’ve never been able to find out about Matt.”

“So that gives you the right to kill - “ Charlie shook all over and stepped away from them.

“Charlie.”  Scully reached for him, but he evaded her.  “Charlie, please.”

“I always knew he wasn’t the brightest bulb on the family tree Dana, but this . . . I need to find Mom.”

“No Charlie.  I’ll tell your mother.”  Walter put his hand on the younger man’s shoulder.  Charlie took a deep breath, but then nodded.

Bill’s eyes narrowed.  “You’re Skinner, aren’t you?  You’re their boss.”

“Not any more.”  He spoke quietly, but no one had offered to free the man’s hands or feet.

“Why would you tell my mother anything?”

“Because she’s my wife and has been for three years now.  I hate that you’ve hurt her like this.”

“No.  No, Mom would never remarry and never to - “

“Bill, shut up.”  Dana had finally gotten her voice back, but Mulder hated the defeated note in it now.  She turned to Walter, “How do we tell her?” 

Walter shook his head.  “I don’t know.  This is going to . . . “

“Clean him up.  Let him shower and change.  Mom doesn’t need to see him like this.  Todd, could you handle that?  I’ll get you some backup.”  Mulder spoke for the first time, as he took the gun from Scully’s hand and gave it to the young man.

Bill had flinched when Mulder had referred to her as “Mom” but kept his mouth shut.  Bill watched as Mulder’s good arm went around Dana to support her and the members of his ‘family’ left without another word.

Todd looked down at him, “You’re a real ass, you know that?  I can name a dozen people who want a piece of you right now.  I’m not sure whether this gun is to protect me or you.


He was clean again, and wearing some clothing that had been found for him.  His own clothes were soaking for now.  He was still cuffed, but sitting in one of the chairs in Mulder’s office.   The man that Mulder had assigned to watch sitting behind him, with the gun trained on him, no doubt.  

He was calmer now; his attempt on Mulder’s life had sobered him.  No, the reaction of these people had sobered him.  He had been met with universal hatred from these people.  Had the man truly been responsible for saving his mother, his brother and his whole family?  He had never seen Charlie like that.  Charlie had always been the kid brother, the weakling, the soft one.  There had been nothing soft about him when he had struck Bill a little while ago.

He hadn’t seen Dana or Charlie.  Part of him wondered if he ever would again.  He had come here to avenge them as well as his own family.  Mulder was responsible for this devastation to civilization; he’d known that from the first death.

He looked up as the door opened and his mother, supported by that bald friend of theirs, Skinner, entered.  When she saw him, her hand came to her mouth and she turned back toward the man.  His arms tightened around her and he whispered something to her.

Bill watched her spine straighten and she turned back to him.  “Bill.”

“Mom, I - “

“Please don’t say anything right now.  I’ve been told that you are responsible for Kevin’s nearly fatal injuries as well as Fox’s.  I wanted to defend you, I want to defend you, but it’s true, isn’t it?”  She fell silent and waited.

After a moment, “Yes.  I attacked Mulder and whoever the man was that was defending him.  Tara’s dead, Matthew is lost and he - “

“Mulder is not responsible for that.  I know . . . I know you’ve always had a problem with Fox; I know you’ve blamed him for the death of your sister and for Dana’s illness.  I gave up trying to help you see how wrong you were and then I mourned you for dead after the virus.   Now I find you alive and you’ve taken all joy out of the discovery.  If Kevin dies, I won’t be able to forgive you.”

Bill sat there, unable to speak.  This woman had punished him in the past, but he had never felt this emotion from her.

“Maggie, Sweetheart, sit down.” 

Bill watched as Skinner seated her in a chair opposite him, but back, out of his reach.  Did they think he would harm his own mother?  What kind of monster did they think he was?  One look at Skinner’s face answered that for him, and he feared for his own life more than at any time since he had made his resolve to find Mulder and make him pay.

“Mom, I thought you were dead, and Charlie and Mary and Dana.  I came here - “

“You came here to kill Fox.  I know that, I don’t want to know it, I don’t want to face it, but it’s true.”

“I wanted to . . . to make him pay for what he did to my family.”

“Pay for having us rescued in Ohio?  Pay for bringing us here and keeping us safe?  Pay for helping to save Mary’s life when Missy was born?  Or for his fight to pass his immunity on to the rest of the humans left on the planet; to save us from the virus?”

Bill swallowed, but he didn’t speak.  What was she talking about?  Save Mary’s life?  His immunity?   After a long moment, “I need to speak to Dana.”

“I don’t think she wants to see you.”  Skinner said dryly.

Bill’s eyes narrowed and he leaned forward.  He heard the man behind him place a round into the cylinder.  He forced himself to lean back; these people would not be giving him any leeway.

“Please ask Dana if I may talk to her.”  He spoke politely then.

“I’ll ask.”   


Mulder held her quietly on the couch.  He had forced her to return to the house.  He wished she would cry or something.  Yes he hated it when she cried, but she needed to let this out.

She had wanted to stay at the clinic but he had vetoed that.  All of the kids were asleep, so they had carried them back.  He had insisted on carrying Walt himself despite his injury, needing to know the boy was okay following his own ordeal.  Scully had taken Lexie and Byers had bundled up Katy to bring her to the house. 

The little ones were in their crib and Katy was sprawled on her parent’s bed sound asleep. 

Frohike had also insisted that Beth leave for a little while, so Langly was on nominal nursing duty, but no one had any doubts that if Kevin’s condition changed, Katy would let them know.

When Scully did speak, it was sudden and as though the conversation had already begun.  “What if he had succeeded?”

“Scully, he didn’t.”

“But what if he had?  How would I live with the fact that my own brother . . .” His arms tightened around her, but he didn’t know what to say.  “You used to tease me that my brother hated you, but I never . . . “

“Scully, we don’t know what he’s been through.  It’s been four years that he’s had to live with this.  We knew Tara had died, your mother got word about that before it all fell apart.  We didn’t know that Bill had survived.  He couldn’t have known that we had.  Then he heard somehow that I was alive.  That had to enrage him.”

“Are you making excuses for him?”

“No, I . . . well maybe I am.  Scully look at him; he looks a lot worse than most of the people that have made it here.  He’s sick, sick in body and spirit.”

“I don’t care.  I don’t care what he’s gone through; I don’t care that he’s sick.  He tried to kill you; he nearly killed Kevin.  I wish he had died.”

“Scully, you don’t mean that.  You’re upset and you should be, but don’t . . . Scully don’t turn off your feelings for your brother.  I never had a brother until Charlie, you can’t throw away all those years of happy memories.”

She burrowed herself deeper into his chest, but didn’t say anything.  He caressed her hair, her shoulder for a few minutes.  “Let me get you something to eat.”

“No, Mulder, I can’t.  How can you be so reasonable about this?”

He ignored the question.  “You need to at least have some tea.  The kids are going to want to be fed soon.”

“Anne came in and nursed Lexie.  It’ll be okay.”  Mulder couldn’t quite stifle his grin. “What?”


“It was some comment on breasts, right?” 

He did grin then, “Sorry, there just always seems to be one available around here.  That’s good, I’m really glad that everyone just pitches in and does what needs to be done.”

“But your fetish just loves this.”

“Hey, I’m a red blooded male - “ 

“Who still misses his videos on some level.”

“No, you’re wrong there.  What I have now is so much more than anything I ever had before.  And you undress in front of me every night.”

She shook her head and leaned into him again.  He was trying to lighten things up and on some level it was working.  He really was the best thing that had ever happened to her.  That thought brought her back to the present and her mood plummeted again.  He saw that and sighed.

They both looked up startled at the knock on the door, which opened immediately.  “It’s me.”  Walter entered and sank into the chair nearest them.

Scully sat up then, “How’s Mom.” 

Walter glanced over at Mulder before he answered.  “Devastated.   Mary’s with her now.  I finally got her to lie down.”

“She saw him?” 

Walter nodded.

“I should have been there, with her.”

“No, Scully, she didn’t want you there.  I offered.” 

“Maybe I should go over there now.”

“Scully, she . . . she can’t face you right now, you or Mulder.  She’s - “

“Can’t face us?”  Mulder spoke up then.  “Mom can’t think we blame her for this.”

“I’m not sure what she’s thinking.  She’s not able to talk about it, at least not to me.  That’s why I got Mary to come over.”  He sighed and closed his eyes.

“I think I need to go see her.”  Mulder kissed Scully and started to rise.

“I should go too, Walter could you stay here with the - “

“No Scully.  Let me go alone this time.  I think I need to talk to Mom by myself.”

She searched his eyes and after a moment, nodded.  “Tell her I’ll be over later and . . . and that I love her.”

“Take your time Mulder, I’ll be here.”  Walter watched the two of them and envied the length of their relationship. 


Mulder let himself into Walter and Maggie’s home.  He didn’t know what he was going to say, but he had to reassure Mom that everything was good between them.

Mary opened the bedroom door and spotted him.  She came out, closing the door behind her.  “Mulder, are you okay?”

“I’m fine Mary.  How’s Mom?”

Mary shook her head.  “She shouldn’t have gone to see him.”  She gave a rueful smile, “like we could stop her, right?”

Mulder chuckled.  She was right there, his Scully had learned from the master.  “Can I see her?”

“Mulder, she . . . she doesn’t want to see anyone right now.”

“That’s why she needs to see me.”

“Playing psychologist?”  He shrugged, but didn’t dispute her.  “Go ahead, if anyone can help her . . . “

Mulder took a deep breath and moved to the door.

Maggie had the shades drawn, so it was dark in the bedroom, but he could see she wasn’t on the bed.  Then he spotted her sitting in the chair in the corner.

“Walter said you were lying down.”

“Fox, please . . . “

He sat on the bed, facing her.  “I’m worried about you.”

“You should be worried about yourself and Kevin.”  Her voice sounded flat, toneless.

“Kevin and I have a wonderful doctor, thanks to you, so we’re doing okay.”

“Thanks to me?”

“Yep, you raised Scully to be strong, to be able to handle anything.  I’m completely grateful to you.  You’ve given me the family I never even dreamed that I would have.   Now don’t get me wrong, every family has its black sheep - “ 

“Black sheep?  What Bill did was . . . Fox, please.”

“You are a mother like I never had.  I didn’t know families could be like what I have now.  And you are the matriarch of the whole thing.  Look, Mom, Bill’s damaged.  The woman he loved died while he was away; he has no idea what happened to his son, if he’s even dead or alive.  Look how Scully and I were for that one week that Katy was missing.”

“When Kevin kept her safe.”

Mulder nodded.  “We lost it and it was only for one week with a happy ending.  Bill has lived with this for nearly four years.  Okay, yes he blames me.  But who else was he supposed to blame?  It wasn’t his fault that any of this happened.  If there are people who search me out to ‘save’ them, why wouldn’t there be people out there who think I’m at fault.”

“But Bill is my son.  My son tried to kill another of my sons.”

“There’s some historical precedence for that, Mom.  He didn’t succeed.  That’s really the only thing that matters.”

“Bill needs to leave here.  I don’t want him around you; around the children.”

“Mom, we let Krycek live here.”

She looked up startled, “That was, that was different.”

“Why?  You know at least some of what Krycek did, or what Scully and I think he did.  And if we’re right, he was successful.”

“No, Fox.  I don’t want him here.  I shouldn’t feel that way, but I do.”

Mulder nodded again, “I understand how you feel.  We don’t have to make any decisions, any long-term decisions, right now.  But you have to hear me on this; you have no fault in any of this.  I certainly don’t blame you, I know Scully doesn’t.  The person I’m most worried about right now, is you.”


“You’re my mother and my mother-in-law.  You’re Katy, Walt and Lexie’s grandmother.  You’re Walter’s wife and he’s beside himself right now worrying about you.”  He grinned, “and while I never expected to have ‘Skinner’ as a father-in-law, it’s been part of the best time of my life.  If you make yourself sick over this, then Bill really will have won.  You understand that, don’t you?”

Her eyes were wet when she looked up at him.  “You are a wonderful man, Fox Mulder.”

“All the Scully women feel that way about me.”  He grinned.

She reached over and patted his cheek.  “I do feel a little better.  You need to get back to Dana and the children.  I guess I need to reassure Walter.”

“He could use it right about now.”

Maggie stood and took a deep breath.  “Then I need to see him.  Could you send him home?”

“Don’t you want to come over?  The kids are there.”

“Fox, I do feel better, talking to you, but I’m not up to seeing anyone tonight.”

“Not even Scully?”  She looked down and he dropped it.  He put his good arm around her and hugged her.  “Okay, tonight.  But we’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Where is . . . where will Bill stay tonight?”

“He’ll be at the clinic.  He’ll be restrained, but he should be more comfortable than he was on the road.”

She kept quiet.  “Okay, if you’re sure I can’t talk you into coming home with me, I’ll send Walter home to you.  Why don’t we all have lunch together tomorrow?”

“We’ll see Fox.”

“I’m not letting any of my women go without eating, lunch tomorrow.  It’s a date.”

She smiled wanly, but nodded.  “Lunch, okay.”

Mulder gave her another hug and let himself out.  Mary was waiting.  “Why don’t you take her some tea?  I’ll send Walter home.”

“Good, she needs him.”

“How’s Charlie?”

“He used the boat house.”  She said dryly.   Mulder nodded, it had been a long time since he had tried to batter those walls down.

“Think he’ll be okay?”

“I think he’s finally realized that he’s a man; a better man than his brother.   We’ve never really talked about it, but I think he felt . . . less because he had no desire to go into the military.  Maybe it was being the baby of the family.  I hear that he struck Bill.”

Mulder nodded, she’d obviously had a blow by blow of the meeting from Todd.

“He needed that.  It’s . . . maybe it’s not right, but when Charlie did that it was like he became the big brother.  He’s an incredible husband and father, but it wasn’t enough, or he didn’t believe it was.”

Mulder watched her, he hadn’t thought about this.  He had never known Charlie as anything but an adult and had relied on him as a leader in this community.  He hadn’t seen these insecurities, but if smacking Bill across the face had done this for him, all the better.  He could enjoy it vicariously and just never say anything.

He nodded and gave her a quick hug.  “I need to get back to Scully.”

“You sure do.  Hug her for me.”

He let himself out.  Mary almost always surprised him.  When she’d told him about her pregnancy before Charlie he had been more than surprised.  This insight that she had shared was on the same level.  She just accepted him as family, as someone she trusted and relied on.  He had taken that for granted lately.  After today, he wouldn’t do that again.

He wanted to see Charlie, but there were things that needed his attention first.  Scully needed him and Mom needed Walter.  Besides, with a woman like Mary, Charlie would be okay.

Walter was in the kitchen when he got home.  “Where’s Scully?”

“Feeding Walt.  How’s Maggie?”

“A little better I think.  She needs you, but I tried to put it in perspective for her.  After all, we let Krycek live here.”

“But Scully made that decision, she felt there was a reason for Krycek to be here.  Let’s give it a little time before we open our arms to the man.”

“Yeah.  And don’t think I want him here, I just don’t want Mom to be hurt.”

Walter nodded.  “I’ll see you later.”

“Mom agreed to have lunch here with all of us tomorrow.  Don’t let her back out.”

“I won’t.  See you later.”  He let himself out and Mulder moved into the bedroom.

“Hi.”  He whispered.   She was in the rocking chair with Walt in her arms.  The other two were still sound asleep.

“How’s Mom?”  She whispered back. 

“Better.  Is he okay?”

She nodded and patted his bottom again.  He smiled up at her and then went back to what he really wanted.

“He was hungry.” 

“Yes.  I’m glad Anne fed Lexie, I’m not sure I’d have enough milk tonight.”

“How are you?”

“Trying to keep perspective.  Walt was hungry, it made the most sense of anything that’s happened today.” 

He leaned over and kissed her.  It was true.