He woke to find her side of the bed empty. He glanced toward the bathroom, but the door was open, the light off. Where was she? Was she . . . okay? He threw on his robe and hurried to the main room.
Scully looked up to see him slow at the sight of her. His uncertainty touched her and she smiled at him. His returning smile grew as she chuckled. “I know your feet are cold, Mulder.”
He glanced down, she was right. He hadn’t stopped long enough to slip on shoes. He nodded, “You, uh, you doing okay?”
“I’m doing good, Mulder.”
He mock glared at Lexie who was giggling at him. “A little respect, Kiddo.” That brought a laugh from the other two and he shrugged, looking back at Scully’s glowing face. “I'll be right back.”
“Go ahead and take your shower, then you and I can eat.”
He met her eyes. “Sounds like a plan.”
The kids didn’t run off when they got to the clinic, and Mulder noticed the rest of the kids slip back into the main room within moments of their arrival. That kind of communication could save time.
He glanced at Scully and she nodded. The adults looked up when Mulder cleared his throat. “We, uh, we have some news.”
Scully noted that more than one of the adults glanced at the children and seemed to relax when they didn’t seem concerned.
“We, well Scully, is going to have a baby, another girl.”
Over the hubbub that caused, Mulder heard Maggie’s voice. “You knew? Walter Sergei Skinner, you do not keep secrets from me.”
Mulder chuckled as Walter put his arm around his wife. “This was their news, and Mulder’s nearly as intimidating as you are, Honey.”
The women were crowding around Scully now, so Mulder gave her a quick kiss and stepped aside. Charlie offered him a seat. “Sounds like things are better.”
Mulder nodded and looked over at Walter. “Thanks for sharing Katy’s advice.”
“Any time.” His father-in-law grinned. “Think you can tear yourself away long enough to get some work done today?”
“Yeah. I’m in the big garden today, aren’t I?”
Kevin nodded from across the table, grinning. Mulder sighed and they started out.
Mulder made his way over to Jerry as they left the house. He moved them from the crowd and spoke quietly. “Hey, I wanted you to know Scully and I haven’t forgotten what we talked about.”
Jerry nodded, “I knew that. I figured something was up. Is Scully okay?”
“She was having a few problems, but she’s better now.”
Jerry smiled, “Glad to hear it. She’s a special lady.”
“Yeah.” Was all Mulder said, but the look in his eyes caused a wider smile from Jerry. “Just so you know, Scully did talk to Julie and she considers her marriage over. Walter and I are going to have a conversation with George tonight. That’ll probably get unpleasant, so I wanted you to have a head’s up.”
“I appreciate that. Maybe I should have a talk with Julie now. See if . . . well, see if she’d be interested in, you know.”
Mulder looked at the large man beside him. That expression made Jerry look like a high school kid getting up his courage to ask a girl out. It occurred to Mulder that he had no idea about Jerry’s past. It hadn’t come up, and he was a good member of the community. Did his past matter? He hesitated, Scully would think so.
“Jerry, were you ever married?”
“No. I had a real special woman in my life, Pam. We talked about marriage. Don’t know why I waited so long, but then ‘they’ came and . . . “
“Pam had diabetes. She went in the first wave. I think she held off on things between us because she knew she probably couldn’t have kids. I wasn’t smart enough to realize it then, but it wouldn’t have mattered to me, I mean biological kids. Kids are important, and if things hadn’t changed, we could have adopted or something. I should have pushed harder.”
Mulder nodded. Scully had had some of those feelings. They had both thought there would be no children in their lives. Thank god they’d been wrong.
Jerry turned toward the saw mill, then stopped. “Mulder, thanks.”
Mulder nodded. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, Jerry.”
“I know that. But thanks for trying.” He turned away then, but Mulder noted his step was lighter.
At the clinic, once things calmed down and everyone left for their assignment, Scully approached Julie as well. "Julie, I wanted you to know we hadn't forgotten about your situation."
Julie gave her a sad smile, "You've had things on your mind. It's okay."
"Well, I'm feeling better now. I wanted to know if it was okay with you for Mulder and Walter to talk to George this evening."
"This evening?" She looked startled and a little scared.
"If you don't want us to - "
"No, I do. I want them to talk to him; I just hate to be the cause of more turmoil. I guess I didn't really think anything could happen."
"It is going to happen, as long as you're sure."
"I am." She nodded solemnly to Scully, "I am."
Following dinner that evening, Mulder asked Kevin to see his family home, then he caught up with Walter. “Ready?”
“Yeah.” Walter looked around and spotted George heading out the front door. He never hung around following a meal.
They caught up with the man and settled in walking on either side of him. George stopped and looked at each man. “What?”
“We need to have a conversation. Why don’t we head over to the office.” It wasn’t a request.
Walter opened the door and motioned for the younger man to enter, then followed him in, with Mulder bringing up the rear. Once the door was closed, Walter gestured for him to take a chair. Instead he looked back at Mulder. “What's this about?”
Walter and Mulder each took a seat, then Walter looked up at George. “We need to talk about your plans.”
“My, my plans? Are you throwing me out? It’s winter, you can’t - “
“We’re not throwing you out; we’re not asking you to leave. But there are some changes that are going to take place.”
George looked uneasily between the two. “Changes?”
“Julie has asked us to release her from your marriage.”
“She what?” His face went bright red with anger.
“She wants a divorce.” Walter said evenly. “And she has grounds. Even in the old civilization she’d have grounds.”
“I don’t know what you’re - “
“You offered her to another man and when she refused, you beat her.” Walter's tone was matter of fact, non-accusatory, but his face was stone.
The red left George's face then and he went pale. Finally he took the seat they had left for him, dropping into it heavily.
“She’s my . . . she’s my wife.”
“Not any more, George. You’re welcome to stay here. You’re welcome to leave, that’s your decision. But Julie wants to move on with her life, without you.”
George stared at them mutely for so long that Mulder wondered if he understood what they were saying.
“You can’t do this.”
“We have done it, George. You’re not going to bother her any more.” Walter kept his voice calm.
“Why are you - ”
“Why are we doing this?” Mulder asked harshly. “You were trying to force your wife to have sex with another man. That man then - “
“Mulder.” Walter looked over at Mulder and shook his head.
“Is this because of you?” George looked over at Mulder. “I heard Scully was pregnant, so you’re probably gonna want another woman. Is that it? You want Julie for yoursel - “
He didn’t have time to duck the fist that smashed into his jaw. The chair overturned, dumping him onto the floor.
“Mulder.” Walter’s tone was warning, but he made no move to stop him.
Mulder looked down at the younger man sprawled on the floor. “You promised that sicko a woman. She refused, so he went elsewhere. He went for my wife.”
The man quailed, not attempting to rise from the floor.
“I don’t know what your ‘marriage’ meant to you, but I would never consider lending my wife to anyone. She’s the world to me. I won’t be looking for another woman. I suggest that you keep any thoughts to the contrary to yourself. You’re going to be watched.”
Walter had thought no human could get more pale then George had been. He was wrong. The man was ashen now.
"The, the kids? You're going to have them in my head?" He managed to get out.
"No." Walter said easily. "But if you have thoughts that are violent, harmful, they would pick them up. You don't seem to care about the woman, you're never around your children. This frees you up as well as Julie."
"Frees me up . . . You are throwing me out." He wouldn't look at Mulder, but stared at Walter.
“No, I said it before, you’re welcome to stay as long as you don’t cause trouble. You can move into the clinic or find something else. You will have to move out of the house you share now.”
The young man opened his mouth, then closed it. After several minutes, he picked himself up from the floor. He dusted his butt off. “When?”
“To move out of the house? Immediately. You can get the rest of your things tomorrow.”
“She really wants this?” He was still looking at Walter. Mulder opened his mouth, but Walter motioned for him to wait. For a wonder, he obeyed.
“Yes.” Walter said simply.
George seemed to deflate then, and sank back into the chair he righted.
“Are you going to cause any problems?” Walter asked him quietly.
“No.” He met the man’s eyes. “I need to stay until spring.”
“Of course. Remember, we’re not throwing you out. If you want to stay here, close to your family, you can. As long as you leave Julie alone.”
George just looked at him, but both Walter and Mulder could see the smoldering anger. He’d behave for awhile, but violence was his nature. The two men exchanged glances over George’s head.
“Okay, we’ll walk you to the house and then back to the clinic.”
“I can find it.”
“Yes, but we’re going to keep you company.” Again Mulder let Walter do the talking. That air of command he’d almost forgotten was back in Walter’s voice.
George flashed a look at Mulder and rose, his hand unconsciously rubbing his jaw. “Let’s go.”
The other two men nodded and Mulder opened the door, allowing Walter and George to precede him again. Their walk to the house was made in complete silence and they allowed George to open the door and let them inside.
All activity stopped at the sight of a solemn Mulder following George in. “Is, uh, is everything okay?” Peter moved toward them.
“Yeah. Walter, why don’t you go on with George. I’ll wait here.” Mulder looked over at him and waited for the nod. Walter followed George upstairs. Once they were out of sight, Mulder turned to Peter, Chloe and Julie.
“Is something, has he done anything?” Peter asked, glancing over at the stairs.
Mulder glanced at Julie, and she gave him a small nod.
"It's going to be common knowledge tomorrow. George and Julie are no longer married in the eyes of this community. George is moving out tonight to go to the clinic. He'll be gathering his things later." Mulder watched for Peter's reaction.
The young man sank into the chair he'd vacated.
Again the two men escorted George, this time back to the clinic. Scully had arranged for a room to be made up for him, and while Walter led him to his new home, Mulder explained the situation to Byers and Alex.
“Are we supposed to guard him?” Alex asked.
“No. The kids are aware of him. If they give an alarm, I’ve no doubt you’ll hear it.”
“He didn’t look happy, Mulder.” Byers glanced down the hall.
“No and when he’s thought about it, it’ll probably get worse.” Mulder shrugged. “We can’t talk about it, but it was necessary.”
“What if he decides to leave?” Alex asked.
Mulder sighed, “I don’t know.”
“He knows too much. Mulder, he’d be a danger to us out there. Resentful and dangerous.”
Mulder met Alex’s eyes. “I know.”
Mulder waited for Walter and then walked out with him. "Mulder, we need to - "
"Not tonight. I need to get home to Scully."
Walter nodded. "We'll make it work."
Mulder gave him a grim smile, then turned toward his home. He opened the door and was assaulted by his three pajama-clad children. Katy threw her arms around his waist and Lexie hugged his leg. Walt, more reserved, took his injured hand in his hands and took the pain away. Scully observed that in silence.
"Well, this is a nice greeting. I thought you three would be asleep by now." He gathered them against him and sat on the couch holding and being held.
"They wanted to wait up for you." Scully said simply.
"I’m glad they did. You know, I need to lose some weight."
Scully looked at him startled, "There's not a spare ounce on your body. Don't you dare lose any weight."
"But I need to get a bigger lap. I'm gonna have four kids to cuddle soon." He met her eyes and noted the moisture that pooled despite her smile.
"We'll make room for her, Daddy." Lexie said solemnly. "Don't worry."
He kissed the top of her head. "Yeah, you're right. I won't worry."
He motioned for Scully to join them on the couch and they all sat, being together, describing their days. When Lexie yawned, Scully kissed her head. "It's way past bedtime, guys. Come on."
Mulder picked up Lexie as the other two stood up. Once the little ones were tucked in, he joined Scully in Katy's room. "Are you really sleepy Kiddo?"
She shook her head and sat up against the headboard. It caught his breath for an instant, how much like Samantha she looked. He'd seen her in this bed so many years ago. Katy smiled at him and gave him a big hug.
"It's okay Daddy. You should remember Samantha."
He glanced over at Scully, then back at his daughter. "You’re right. I guess you know where I was tonight."
"I, we're not asking you to guard the man. That's my job, but it would help me out if you noticed anything . . ."
"Don't worry Daddy. All of us will keep an eye on him. Lexie is getting to know him pretty well because she's taken over training John."
Mulder looked over at Scully again, "Training?"
"Yes. He was born before the shot, so he can't do everything we do, but he's learning. It's easier really with him than with Will and Sam. He doesn't have to unlearn as much."
"And, and Lexie can teach him?"
"Sure." Katy shrugged, "any of us could."
"Any of you? I thought - " Mulder started to ask, but Katy continued.
"All of us can do all of the stuff. Walt likes to heal, so we let him and he is the strongest, next to me."
"What about MJ and the weather?" Scully asked, smiling.
"He just likes doing it, and Missy likes the plants. The little ones haven't decided yet. Lexie's exploring everything, she's pretty strong too."
"What about this one?" Mulder lay his hand gently on Scully's stomach.
"I think she'll be the strongest so far."
"That won't bother you, will it?" Mulder watched her face, checking for any sign of sibling rivalry. There had been none so far, but he wanted to stay aware.
"No, we'll all use her strength, just like we all use mine and yours and Mom's. Remember when we had to warn Will? With her, we'll be able to reach farther."
Mulder and Scully exchanged looks, then Mulder cleared his throat, "Katy, how much farther do we need to reach?"
"Well, we have sisters and brothers across the ocean now, so that far."
Scully gaped at her. "Across the ocean?"
"Katy, do you think you could show us where these kids are, and how many?" Mulder put his arm around Scully.
"Sure." She yawned, "We can do that."
"We'll talk about it tomorrow. You go on to sleep now, Baby." He leaned over and kissed her forehead, then Scully did the same and tucked the blanket closer around her.
Mulder's arm was around Scully as he led her out.
“I want you to go on to bed now.” He turned Scully toward their room.
“What about you?”
“I’ll be the one wrapped around you.” He grinned.
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.