Scully tapped Julie on the shoulder. “Hi, you got a few minutes, Julie?”
“Sure.” She smiled at Scully. “Dinner will be ready in about half an hour.”
“Good, why don’t we go somewhere. I’d like to talk.” Scully glanced over at the back door.
Julie’s smile faded. “Is something wrong?
Are the kids - “
“The kids are fine, honest. I just want to spend a few minutes with you.” Scully smiled reassuringly and led the young woman upstairs to one of the empty bedrooms.
“You don’t want to talk in your office?” Julie looked around uncomfortably.
“I wanted this to be more private. It's very personal. I need you to be honest with me, Julie.”
The woman’s eyes widened.
“I need to know about your relationship with George. I know you may not think it’s any of my business, but we want you to be at home here, happy.”
“Is George living with you?” Scully asked gently.
Julie evaded her look. “We, we share the house with his brother’s family.”
“He sleeps downstairs, in the living room. We, we haven’t shared a bed since that night.” Her face was scarlet.
“Julie, this is just between us. That’s why we’re here instead of in my office. I want you to think about this, I don’t need an answer right now, but I’m going to ask. Do you still have a marriage with George?”
Julie looked up then, surprised, but she met Scully’s eyes. “No.”
Scully leaned back, “That was pretty definitive.”
“He offered me to another man. I don’t think he ever loved me, not like a wife, but to do that . . . We had to get married. I, I lost that baby and I wanted to divorce him then. My mother wouldn’t hear of it. Then the world changed.” She shrugged. “He needed me then.”
“Did he ever hit you before?”
“Yes, right after ‘they’ came. He was really stressed out. Everyone was dying, he was scared.” She sighed. “I got pregnant with Michael then. It wasn’t a good time.” She said simply.
Scully was the one that looked away then. She hadn’t realized how bad it had been or for how long. She’d been insulated living up here and by Mulder’s love.
“If,” Scully hesitated, “if you could get out of your marriage, would you want to?”
“Yes.” Julie didn’t hesitate. “I don’t want to be with George. There is someone . . . I know legally I'm married to George, but are those old laws still even valid? I mean, if I wanted to be free of him, isn't there some way?"
Scully nodded to the younger women. "Those are questions that are coming up. Women's lib still exists, at least here and if you want to, to move on, you should be able to. I think you have grounds." Scully watched her for a moment. "What are you thinking?"
"Michael. I know George wouldn't want Esther. But what if he decided to take Michael from me?"
"Do you think George would want to leave? I mean his brother is here."
"George was never close to Peter, not until all of this happened." Her gesture seemed to encompass the world. "Until their mother died and it got obvious the world had changed, they barely saw each other. He, George, was completely freaked about aliens. He was always a meat and potatoes kind of guy. He laughed at anyone who even thought about us not being alone in the universe. He used to distrust Hispanics, he hated gays, because they were different. Now . . . now he considers his daughter a freak. He's not exactly a happy man."
Scully nodded. "I can see where it would be hard for him. Does he have a problem with Brittany?"
"Well, he'd rather not be around her. There's not really anyone here he is comfortable around. I know he's lonely and I want to care. He is the father of my children, but I don't. He does feel guilty, Dana, about . . . about Ian. I really don't think he realized the man would go that far. He can't, he can't come to you, but I know he was horrified . . . "
Scully looked away, just the thought of the man causing unexpected nausea.
"I'm okay. It's in the past. I believe you when you say he didn't think Ia - he would go so far. But George agreed with the man's basic philosophy. I do have a hard time with that."
Scully rose abruptly. "I need to check on some things and dinner's probably ready. Thank you for being honest with me. I'll see what we can do." She turned and left then, barely making it to the bathroom before losing her lunch.
Mulder noted the drop in her spirits that evening. Things had been better, she’d put on a couple of pounds and seemed to have forgiven him. This plunge in mood scared him. As soon as the children were in bed he pulled her into their room and gently undressed her, hurrying her into bed where he warmed her with his body.
“What’s going on, Scully?”
“I’m fine, Mulder.” She shook her head at his expression. “I really am, Mulder.”
“But something’s wrong. Byers said you were sick this afternoon.”
“I talked with Julie today.” She looked away.
“What did she say to you?” His finger under her chin turned her back toward him.
Scully shook her head, “I was asking her about her relationship with George. She does want out. She considers her marriage over.”
“That doesn’t surprise you, does it, Scully?”
“No.” She sighed.
“That’s not it. What upset you?” His hand caressed her cheek.
”She, she kind of apologized for him, for George and mentioned that he hadn’t known what, what would happen. I don’t know. Hearing his name just caught me off guard.”
“Baby, you don’t have to worry about him.” He pulled her close to him, pressing his lips to her forehead.
“I know.” She cuddled in even closer. “But he did cause us a lot of pain. I don’t like to even think about him.”
“Okay, but it’s only been, what a couple of months? I do think about it. Not all the time, but sometimes it catches me off guard and . . .” she sighed. “I need you.”
“You have me, Scully.”
She refused breakfast the next morning, taking only a cup of hot tea. She only drank half of it before excusing herself and returning to the bedroom to finish dressing.
Mulder’s eyes followed her.
Katy looked up at her Dad. “She’s okay.”
He glanced down, “What?”
“Mom. She’s okay.”
He let his shoulders relax. He couldn’t talk to his daughter about what was upsetting Scully. The last thing he wanted was for Katy to feel guilty again. “Thanks. But she hasn’t felt good for a week or so and I - “
“It’s just because of the baby.”
Mulder froze looking at her for a long moment. “The baby?”
She nodded, but wasn’t looking at him any more, dripping a little honey into her oatmeal. “It’s a girl.”
He heard her, but he was moving away from her already; moving toward the bedroom. He shut the door behind him and waited for Scully to emerge from the bathroom.
She wasn’t looking up and was startled to see him standing there silently. “Mulder?”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” He meant to not sound accusing, but didn’t quite succeed.
“Tell you what?” She moved closer to him. “Is something wrong? Is this about me not feeling well? I’m fine Mulder. I was just upset last night. I’m not running a fever or - “ His expression stopped her. “Mulder, what’s wrong?”
“You don’t . . . are you telling me you don’t know that you’re pregnant?”
“Think about it.”
She paused and looked inward. “I . . . I guess I hadn’t given it that much thought, I . . . it’s not really surprising I’m late. I have been upset. It, it could even have been beginning menopause.”
“When? You’re never late . . . You really didn’t know?”
“You think I’m . . . you think I’m lying to you?” Her eyes were big and showed her hurt.
“No! But I . . . I know what you can do. You know about the other women who are pregnant around here, before they do. So why . . . “
“It just never crossed my mind.”
“You thought you were in menopause?”
She gave a small shrug, “I just didn’t . . . Mulder are you angry with me?”
“No. I’m not angry, I was just . . . I guess I don’t want to hear about these things from Katy.”
“I don’t know what to say. I didn’t know, I - “ He moved toward her then, taking her into his arms, but it felt awkward. “Mulder?”
“I love you Baby. Don’t . . . I’m sorry.” He gave her a quick peck on the cheek. “I need to get to the greenhouse. Why don’t we have dinner here, alone tonight? Let the kids hang out with Walter and Mom.”
She nodded, not sure her voice was steady. “Mulder, don’t tell . . . Let’s not talk about this to anyone yet.”
“Are you okay?” He finally thought to ask.
“Well apparently I’m having morning sickness, but I’m okay.”
He managed a smile. “Good. Meet me here for dinner?”
“It’s a date.” Her voice sounded a little tight, but he chose to ignore that and gave her another quick kiss, then let himself out.
He was distracted all day. Kevin noticed, but decided not to comment. If something was wrong, Scully would take care of it. He’d learned that if nothing else living with them. His job was to make things easier for Mulder and that’s what he decided to do, keeping others away discretely.
Mulder worked through lunch, Kevin brought in a sandwich and didn’t ask.
When it was time to head home, he allowed Kevin to kick him out, but couldn’t force himself to hurry. He wasn’t angry, truly, and if she hadn’t known, then there was no way she could have told him. He’d told her just a few months ago that he wanted all of the children she could give him. He had meant it, truly. But had she really thought she might be old enough for menopause or was it something else? She wasn’t too old to have a baby, was she? What were the implications for her and, and for the child?
Maybe this baby wasn’t a good idea. Yes, it was early in the pregnancy obviously. If Scully was in danger . . . Who could he ask? Beth? No, but could he and Scully have a conversation about this?
He found himself almost sorry he’d suggested the kids stay with Walter and Mom that night. He wasn’t sure he was able to talk to her. He felt stiff, uncomfortable.
After a long, quiet meal, Scully rose from the table and stood before him. “Are you angry?”
“Angry?" Answering a question with a question, but he needed time to think. "No, no Scully, I’m not angry. I’m . . . I’m concerned.”
“It’s not exactly something we planned.”
“When have we ever planned a pregnancy, Mulder?”
He managed a small smile. “That’s true.”
“So what’s wrong?”
“You, uh . . . “
“Mulder?” She leaned over to look into his face.
“Listen, I don’t, I can’t talk to Walt about this.”
“Talk to Walt? Mulder, please?”
“You talked about being older, about, you mentioned menopause, which is decades away for you, but . . . “
“Mulder.” Her voice was slightly chilly now, but he’d already stuck his foot in, now he had to chew.
“Is it dangerous for you to carry a child now?”
Could he possibly handle this worse?
“Scully, are you able to . . . “
“To carry this baby? Is that what you were going to ask me?” She sounded incredulous, moving toward fury.
“Scully, you’re my main concern. You’re always my main concern. I - “
“You know it’s not Ian’s?” Scully said quietly.
Mulder jerked back. That thought hadn’t entered his mind. He wished it still hadn’t, but he knew the child was his. He’d gotten her pregnant the night they had finally reconnected. This was his fault. He hadn’t given protection a single thought that night in his eagerness to show her his love.
“Of course I know that.” He said harshly. “That’s not what I meant at all. I know this child is mine, but - “
“And mine. ‘This child’ is ours. Someone we created out of love, like Katy and Walt.”
He closed his eyes for a moment. “I’m sorry. I didn’t . . . I was worried about your health. You’ve been through so much recently, I was just . . . If you’re sure - “
“I am.” She turned away from him then and he felt a chill up his spine. Oh yeah, he’d fucked up. Damn it, they had just gotten back to where she felt sure of him again. Yeah, and look what had happened then.
“Scully.” He rose to follow her into their room.
She stopped and looked at him. “I need a minute, Mulder. Just, please give me a little space.”
“I’ll, uh, I’ll clean up dinner.”
“Thanks.” She turned back to their room and shut the door behind her.
God, he should have talked to Walt. At least Walt wouldn’t have been destroyed by the conversation. Was she crying? He hated it when Scully cried, he hated it even more when he was the cause of it.
He straightened up the kitchen, glancing continually over at their room. When he was finished, he moved in that direction. He actually tapped on the door to beg entry.
He opened the door and stepped inside. She was lying on the bed, on top of the covers. There was no book in evidence; she’d just been lying there, looking at the ceiling.
She looked over at him, but didn’t speak.
He approached the bed cautiously, “I did it again, didn’t I? I pushed you away when I should have been holding you close. I - “
“Are you asking me to get rid of her?” Her voice was flat, emotionless.
He shook his head, “No. No, I would never ask that of you. I don’t know what I was thinking. You know how your pregnancies scare me. I . . . I forget how strong you are and focus on the woman. You know I adore our kids, but watching you have them and not be able to do anything . . .” He ran down, not sure what to say.
“I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t have . . . Mulder, Katy's birth did not cause me to get sick and Walt, Walt was born. I wish you'd been there, but he's healthy and so am I." He wouldn't meet her eyes. "I’m tired, Mulder. I’d like to go to bed now.”
After a minute he nodded. “I'll come on to bed too.”
She shrugged and rose, making her way to the bathroom.
Shit. He got ready for bed himself and was in the bed waiting when she emerged. She hesitated when she saw him, then lay down beside him but completely on her side of the bed.
“Scully - “
“I’m tired, Mulder. I just want to sleep.”
He nodded, “May I hold you?”
“I . . . I don’t care.” She turned her back to him. He closed his eyes for a moment, then moved toward her and cradled her against him. She noted his hand did not cover her abdomen, his arm higher, just under her breasts. She pulled away, "It's too warm, Mulder."
He said nothing, allowing her the space. It just felt like a kick in the gut.
Things really didn’t improve. She tolerated him, but kept him at arms length now. The distance wasn’t as overt as before, and the reason behind it not obvious. Mulder had no doubt that the children knew about the new baby, but they hadn’t told anyone yet.
Mulder was surprised to find none of his family at the clinic when he came in from work. Rather than eating there, he hurried on home.
“Hi guys. I thought I was supposed to meet you at the clinic.” Mulder let himself into the house and discretely looked around for Scully.
“Mom wasn’t feeling good.” Katy offered.
He froze and looked toward the bedroom door. “Is she in there?”
“Yeah, she’s taking a nap with Walt.”
He didn’t want to show the girls his fright, but the fact that she was with Walt terrified him. He moved to the door and opened it quietly. She was asleep with Walt lying next to her, his hands on her stomach.
His heart clutched at the sight. Walt looked over at him and smiled, then carefully got down from the bed. Scully didn’t wake.
When Walt got to the door, Mulder picked him up. “Is she okay Buddy?”
Walt smiled, “She’s fine.”
Mulder shook his head, then let his forehead rest against Walt’s. “There is a lot of your mother in you.” He carried the boy to the kitchen and finished getting dinner on the table.
“Aren’t you going to eat Daddy?” Katy asked.
“I’ll wait for your Mom.”
Katy shook her head. “She doesn’t eat much anymore.”
“What? She’s not eating?” No wonder she wasn't gaining. He'd thought the morning sickness was over.
Katy nodded and started eating herself. Mulder made sure that Walt and Lexie had their dinner. His own appetite was gone. He’d fucked up big time. Again. When the hell was he going to learn?
Scully was still asleep when the kids had finished eating. He washed the little ones off and got them to bed. Then he lowered himself to the couch. He didn’t want to disturb her rest. Walt said she was okay, he had to believe that.
After a while he fixed her a light meal, then took it to her in the bedroom. He sat carefully on the side of the bed. “Scully?”
“Um, wha-what time is it?”
“Almost bedtime. You haven’t eaten.”
“I’m not hungry.” She turned from him.
He swallowed, but didn’t move away. “Katy said you weren’t feeling well.”
He ignored that. “You were in here with Walt. Please, talk to me.”
“I, there was some bleeding.” She wouldn’t meet his eyes.
He tensed immediately. “Bleeding? Are you, are you okay now?”
She nodded and rolled away, putting her back to him. Did she, did she blame him for this? Guilt suffused him; he was the cause of her stress.
“Scully, you should eat.”
“I’m not hungry, Mulder. I just want to go back to sleep.”
“Okay.” He smoothed her hair away from her face, but she pulled slightly away. He rose and took her meal back to the kitchen. Shit, she didn’t think he wanted her to lose it? Did she?
He rose before her the next morning, from a non-refreshing sleep. The kids were still down, so he quickly made her a cup of hot tea and returned to their room.
She was up and in the bathroom.
He waited and rose from his seat on their bed when the door opened. "Scully? Are you okay?"
She didn't meet his eyes. "I'm . . . I'm fine. There's no bleeding."
He nodded, but wasn't sure what to say for a moment. "Here, why don't you crawl back in bed and drink your tea. You should stay in bed today, rest."
She took the tea, but didn't draw it to her lips. "No, I'm going to the clinic."
"Scully, you need to take it easy."
"Beth will be there, and Walt, if I need anyone." She sat the untouched tea on the bedside table and began to dress.
"Does Beth know?"
She shook her head, "Unless MJ's mentioned it. I haven't."
"Maybe you should, you know, so she'll . . . "
The chill in her look stopped him.
"Hey, Mulder!" Charlie hailed him as he came out of the office. Mulder and Walter both stopped and waited. "We're getting together a little hunting trip, some venison, whatever else we can hit. MJ says we have a nice window of good weather coming up. You two should come, you're the best shots - after Dana that is." Charlie grinned. "We'll only be gone two or three days."
"Count me out." Mulder spoke immediately, shaking his head.
Walter and Charlie both looked at him, waiting for some explanation. None was forthcoming and the two men exchanged glances. "Is something wrong?" Charlie finally asked.
"I, uh, I can't leave right now."
"Big meeting coming up?" Walter asked, grinning.
Mulder didn't crack a smile. "I can't be away."
Both of the men sobered, "What's wrong."
"Nothing, I - ”
"Mulder, what's wrong?" Charlie moved closer. "It's not the kids, is Dana . . . "
"She's . . . she's not doing too well right now and I don't want to be away." He wouldn’t look at either man.
Charlie took the larger man's arm then and pulled him back into the office. Walter was only half a step behind. "Not doing too well? What the hell does that mean?"
Mulder studied the corner of the desk and Charlie took another step closer. "We, uh, we haven't said anything . . . "
Walter's hand was on his shoulder now. "Mulder, you're scaring me."
Mulder finally looked up and saw their expressions. "It's not . . . Scully's pregnant."
Both men sagged with relief and Walter leaned against the desk. "That's great. God, I was thinking, never mind what I was thinking. Congratulations."
Charlie was watching him closely now. "Mulder? Is something wrong? Is she going to lose it?"
Mulder's head jerked up then, "No! I mean, no. Walt’s keeping an eye on her.” Charlie and Walter both frowned but waited. “She, we're both just a little - ”
Mulder nodded. “She’s had some problems. Walt has, has . . .” He went silent.
The two men took in that information. “Scully’s okay though?” Walter finally asked.
“She’s not a kid. This pregnancy seems to be more difficult.”
“Not a kid?” Charlie said, “You don’t think she’s too old to have a baby? She’s, okay she’s 41. Women have kids at that age.”
“No, I didn’t mean . . . Look, I need to get home.” Mulder straightened up to leave.
“Mulder, do you want this baby?” Charlie asked quietly.
“Of course I do.” It didn’t sound convincing, even to him.
Walter took his arm, “Mulder, look at me. Is there something else?” Walter’s eyes widened, “You don’t think it’s Ian’s?”
Mulder’s face darkened, remembering Scully asking him the same thing. “No.”
“But it crossed your mind, didn’t it.” Walter pressed.
“It’s my child. I’ve known that from the beginning. Ian didn’t . . . I’m just worried about her.”
“Do you know what Katy told Kevin about the two of you?” Walter asked quietly.
“Katy? No, what?”
“She told him that only you can heal Scully. Walt can look after her, but only you can heal her.”
“When, when did she say that?” Mulder looked at his father-in-law finally.
“When, after Ian, when you were having problems before. She said you were red and Scully was all gray. It sounds like you are again.”
“I can heal her?” He looked frightened for a moment. Both men nodded. “I need to, I need to see Scully.”
The men stepped back, out of his way and watched him leave.
"I need you to come with me." He stepped inside of her office without knocking.
"Mulder, I'm busy."
"It can wait." He took her hand, pulling her up from the desk.
"It can?" Her eyebrow was high, but she didn't really resist. She didn't have the energy.
"Yes. This is important."
"Mulder - "
"Are you feeling sick?"
"No, just tired."
He nodded, "Come on. This won't take long."
She sighed but followed him from the clinic, it was easier and right now that’s all she could handle. He turned away from the house and it took her a little while to realize where they were headed. She started several times to ask him what was going on, but he shushed her each time with a quick hand squeeze. Finally she gave in. This was Mulder; he'd tell her when he was ready.
She was truly stunned when he stopped just outside of the shack. "Mulder? I didn't think you ever came here."
"I haven't. Not since Walt was born." He stepped inside to check, then after making sure it was safe, drew her inside as well. He put his arms around her, "this isn't where I want her born, Scully."
She looked at him tiredly but didn’t speak. "But just for the record, I do want her born."
She looked up then a little surprised, then a tiny, puzzled smile appeared on her face. "You do?"
He closed his eyes at that question and touched his brow to hers. "God, Scully, I'm sorry. I should have made that clear from the first instant. I want this baby; I want all of your babies."
"She's . . . it's just such a surprise."
"What? You didn't think I had any good rounds left in me?" He managed to grin.
She lay her hand on his chest. "You'll be brimming over with 'rounds' when you're 80."
"Umm, you'll only be 76. How many kids do you want?"
She groaned and leaned against him. "Oh, you're funny.”
“Let’s go home. I’ll get you settled, then I’ll round up the kids and get us some dinner.”
“That sounds nice.”
Moving back to the cabin he wasn’t just holding her hand, his arm was around her, holding her to him. He let her into the bedroom and steered her toward the bed.
“In a minute. I have to go - “
“To the bathroom, big surprise.” He grinned.
She threw him a dirty look and disappeared into the bathroom. Mulder returned to the main room to get a warm brick from the fire, then folded down the sheets. He turned when he heard the door open. She had stopped and was staring at him, her mouth slightly open.
“What? Scully? Are you okay? What's - ” He moved toward her.
“You, you’re . . . you’re surrounded by purple.”
“You just now seeing that, Scully?” He asked, his voice shaking slightly. He drew her into his arms.
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.