The next morning all of Mulder’s family hurried over to the clinic for breakfast rather than eating at home. George was already gone. Mulder hunted down Alex and Byers to find out how things had gone the night before.
“He was quiet, but I’m not sure he slept. He was up before dawn.” Alex advised. Byers nodded his agreement.
“Is Katy . . . ?” Byers didn’t need to finish the question.
“She’ll be keeping an eye on him. I’m sure the others will as well. I don’t want to be overt about it.” Mulder glanced back over at his family, sitting down with their plates. “I’ll talk to you later.”
After breakfast, Mulder took the two girls and led them to the classroom. Together they located the maps and began pinning them up around the room. Charlie and Frohike found them there.
“Hi guys.” Charlie gave the girls quick hugs. “We doing geography today?”
“Actually, I was hoping the girls could help us locate all of the other kids that have been born since the vaccine.”
Both men turned to look at him. “Are you kidding?” Charlie glanced over at the girls. “You’ve got world maps up.”
“Yeah, we do.” Mulder agreed.
“We have kids on other continents now?” Frohike lifted Lexie into his arms so that she could reach the map.
Lexie immediately pointed to Finland. “How many, Sweetie?” Mulder asked her.
“Two.” And she held up two fingers.
He nodded and looked over at Charlie. “We’re going to need to color code in order to show how many at each location. See how far you can get, but no need to push.” He gave both girls a kiss and headed for Scully’s office.
“I’m heading out. You take it easy today, Baby.”
She moved into his arms, “I will. Are the girls settled?”
He grinned, “They’re in there dazzling Charlie and Frohike. I can’t wait to see the map this evening.” He kissed her thoroughly and reluctantly left for work.
It was obvious that George was avoiding everyone, and once the news was shared, no one was surprised that he wasn’t around. At lunch he slipped into the kitchen for a sandwich. Anne urged a bowl of stew on him, and surprised, he took it, but he ate standing near the back door and left as soon as he was finished.
After dinner that evening, Charlie invited everyone into the classroom to see what they had accomplished. Not surprisingly, New England had the most children, but there were one or two in nearly every state. Besides the two in Finland, there were several dotted along the western coast of Europe. They were moving inland. Charlie had put sequins on pins to show pregnancies.
There was a large cluster near Momma Ruth’s home in southern Virginia. Mulder stood there for a long moment; this was more than he had anticipated.
“These come from Momma Ruth’s place.” Katy pointed to the ones in the northwest. “They moved there on purpose to spread the vaccine. Some of the people that lived with her used to live there and they volunteered to go back.”
“Momma Ruth is really leading the resistance.” He stated, not expecting comment.
“Yes, in a way. But she’s really doing it to draw attention away from here. Her people teach others how to make the vaccine, like Todd and Anne taught them, and your name doesn’t come up. Some of the people spreading it don’t even know it came from you.” Katy explained.
“It came from you, Sweetie.”
Katy shrugged. “I came from you and Mom, so it’s the same thing.”
Mulder’s eyes locked on Scully and she smiled, though her eyes looked suspiciously wet.
“Well,” Mulder cleared his throat, “it’s getting late. We need to get you guys in bed. We’ll talk about this more tomorrow.” He took Katy’s hand, and put his other arm around Scully’s shoulders.
George didn’t return to the clinic until well after dark. Dinner was over but he found a plate on the stove with his name on it. After eating he wandered into the main room and found Alex setting the screen in front of the fireplace.
He was practically to the stairs when Alex stopped him. “Want to help me close it down for the night?”
“Why?” His voice was belligerent, but he did stop.
“Someone has to check everything. Make sure the lights are out, toilets flushed, no candles burning and the stove off. Stuff like that. It’s a big place and a lot of people use it. It’s best to have a walk through each night.”
George’s eyes narrowed, “And you’d trust me with that?”
“You’d have no good reason to burn the place down. You live here. Your kids would suffer if something happened. And we’re not centralized. We keep supplies in lots of places just in case.”
George hesitated, then followed him around. “Sounds like you’re paranoid.”
“Mulder gave me the title of Security. He and I both learned to have duplicates of whatever we needed a long time ago.”
“But why the candles and woodstoves? The pumps? We have electricity.”
“Yes, but we don’t know why. We’re not sending in a check each month. It’s safer to stay as independent as we can. Who knows when they’ll realize they’ve forgotten to disconnect us.” Alex grinned. “Mulder learned some things from me.”
“So you’re old friends.” George’s voice was carefully neutral.
“Not exactly.” Krycek said, as he opened another door to ensure the light was out.
After a couple of minutes George spoke again, “Guess I didn’t realize how big the place was. Who lived here?”
“I’m not really sure it was ever lived in. It was built after Mulder quit coming up here as a kid. Some CEO built it for entertaining, on the company dime no doubt. That’s why all six bedrooms upstairs have private baths.” He smiled. “I personally am very grateful. And it’s a good place to meet; the guy must have entertained a lot with that kitchen.”
“I’m surprised Mulder didn’t take it as his palace.” Then he clamped his mouth shut, concerned that he had allowed himself to reveal such subversive thoughts.
Alex answered him easily. “I hear he offered it to Scully when they first got here, but she preferred the little house he’d used as a boy. Of course,” he grinned, “they didn’t have four kids then.”
“Isn’t . . . isn’t one of them yours?”
“Why, uh . . . nevermind.” George turned away.
“It’s okay. I was missing, presumed dead when she was born. Kelly . . . Kelly developed complications and had a stroke during . . . anyway; Mulder and Scully took her in and raised her as their own. She knows I’m her father and we spend time together, but it’s better for her to stay there with her brother and sister. Katy calls me her “Alex Daddy”, but she calls both Mulder and me Dad. Funny, when she says it, the correct one of us always responds.”
“She’s in your head.” George voice was low, fear coming through clearly.
Alex shrugged, “Probably.”
“That doesn’t bother you?”
“Yeah, sometimes. I have to concentrate on the upside.”
Alex took a seat in a chair close to the banked fire. After a slight hesitation, George took a chair close to him. Alex took that as an invitation. “I guess I’ve spent more time with ‘them’ than anyone else here. I killed two of them. You saw one die; you know it’s not easy.”
“When did you kill . . . “ his voice trailed off, he had so many questions but would they be welcome?
“They came here, looking for me or maybe Mulder.” He shrugged. “I recognized them for what they were. Kelly and Scully were both pregnant. As far as we know, they don’t know Scully can have kids. They would never have allowed Katy to be born if they’d known. And without Katy . . . “
George just looked at him.
“Go ahead; you think the kids are . . . monsters.” Alex met George’s eyes.
George looked away, “I didn’t say that.”
“Okay, what would you say?”
“It’s getting late.” George started to rise.
“Not that late. Go ahead.” It wasn’t quite an order, but close enough.
“They’re not . . . normal. You know that. They knew about Esther’s accident.”
“It wasn’t an accident, George. You know that. She was attacked because of her abilities.”
“Abilities.” George repeated.
“Yes and her immunity. George, she’s immune to the virus that killed most of humanity. The aliens can’t use her.” Alex noted the wince at the word alien. “You do know what’s going on on the planet, don’t you?”
George wouldn’t meet his eyes.
“Okay, what do you think killed off all those people a few years back?”
“I know, it was, was . . . “
“Extraterrestrials. ET without the cute costumes. These ETs want the planet for themselves, so they decided to take it. We can’t fight them. We could only try to survive.”
“But Mulder decided to, to change the kids. They’re not human any more.” George spat at him.
Krycek watched him. His anger was barely under control. “Oh they’re human, just more so. They’re using parts of their brain we can’t, but we have that part of the brain. It’s just turned on with them. And for the record, Mulder didn’t decide to change them. He’s not that smart or that powerful. He didn’t know what was going to happen. He lucked out. He didn’t have to share, or try to save the rest of . . . well I was going to say humanity, but that makes him sound noble.” Alex chuckled. “Damn, I hate to think I’ve joined the Mulder fan club.”
“You aren’t friends?”
“Our relationship is complicated.”
George waited but Alex didn’t elaborate. Instead he stood, “Think about it George. They really are here and they have the advantage over us. We’re making inroads, because they’re not omnipotent. In fact I’d classify them as damn arrogant. That’s a plus for us. I’m turning in, I’m at the sawmill tomorrow.”
George nodded and rose as well.
Scully smiled as Mulder joined her at the table. He checked out her plate and she rolled her eyes. He caught it and grinned. “Someone has to make sure you look after yourself. Remember you’re eating for two.”
“Thanks, Mom. I have a well rounded meal here.” She leaned up for a kiss and he complied with enthusiasm.
“Did you have a good day?”
Her hand caressed the stubble on his cheek. “A very good day.” She glanced over at the other side of the room. She smiled as Jerry held the chair for Julie. Julie’s smile was shy, but her face was glowing.
Mulder’s eyes followed her. “That looks positive. Has George seen them?”
Scully shook her head. “It won’t be as positive then.”
“He’s not going to bother her. Too many people are watching him.”
“Go get your dinner, Mulder. We can talk later.” He nodded and let his hand squeeze her shoulder as he headed for the kitchen.
Talk turned to the weather over dinner, the temperature had dropped all day. MJ was searched out and brought to the dining room. Mulder kept quiet that any of the kids could have answered the questions, this was MJ’s area.
“It’s gonna be really cold. Not much snow,” he said, “but too cold to be outside. It’s gonna last for most of a week.”
Mulder’s smile slipped away and he looked over at Walter. Walter nodded and rose from his seat. “Can I have your attention, everyone.”
The room quieted immediately. “MJ here says we’re in for some weather. We need to make sure everyone has supplies at their places for several days. I’d like some teams to check out wood, food. Anyone that wants to move into the clinic, just let us know. Mulder and I need to know where everyone’s planning to stay.” He turned to the boy again, “MJ, how much time do we have?”
“Tomorrow afternoon. It will be hard to breathe outside by, uh, by two.”
A low babble began and Walter let it run for a few minutes, “Okay, work assignments for tomorrow will be revamped. Any suggestions, share. We need to make sure everyone is safe during this.”
There were nods and people already making suggestions. Mulder gave Scully a quick kiss and headed over to Walter.
“We’ve got people here who weren’t living here for the big snow, Mulder. Do you think we should have them stay here?” Walter looked around the room, assessing.
Mulder thought about it for a moment, “We have better communication than we had before. The kids communicate easily. Let’s give everyone the option, but make sure they’re stocked regardless.”
Skinner nodded, “I want Maggie here. The cold really bothers her now. Think Scully would mind us using her office?”
“Not at all. She is having problems with the stairs?”
“Only when it’s this cold. Don’t worry Mulder, I’ll keep an eye on her.”
Mulder nodded, but glanced over at his mother-in-law just the same. She had never really gained back the weight she had lost with the fake Bill incident. He didn’t think of her age often and he knew Walter and Walt would look after her.
Mulder made his way back over to his family. “Come on, let’s get you guys home.”
“Mulder, I need to help with - “
“You need to get some rest. I know you were up early this morning. Come on, we’ve been warned, we’ll get it all done.”
Scully opened her mouth to protest, but he had a point. She could barely keep her eyes open. In the morning she’d be fresh and get more done. She nodded and took his hand. After bundling up the kids, she started to pick up Lexie, Mulder’s hand stopped her. “Come on, Mulder, I can carry her. You know I can.”
Before he could respond, Alex scooped Lexie up. “I haven’t seen much of her today. Why don’t I take her and you get the other two?” He swept Lexie up into his arms to her giggles.
Scully rolled her eyes, but kept quiet. They watched Alex head outside and she turned to Mulder. “Now you decide to see eye-to-eye?”
Mulder grinned, “Yeah, who’da thunk it?”
She shook her head and took Walt’s hand.
Will picked up Missy and followed his mother to the door. “Come on, Dad and Sam can meet us at home.”
Mary nodded and pulled the cap down lower on Missy’s ears. Missy was already in bed when Charlie and Sam arrived. Will looked over at Sam and the younger boy nodded and headed upstairs.
“What was that?” Charlie asked, having seen them.
Will cleared his throat and looked at his parents. “Dad, I’ll be staying with Jennifer while it’s so cold.”
Charlie’s head went up startled, “Excuse me?”
“Brittany and Marie will go to the clinic, but Langly and I will stay with Becky and Jennifer.”
“She, uh, Jennifer could stay here.”
“Trisha will be here, with Sam, so it’s just better this way. There’s not really room for all of us.”
“Trisha with, with Sam?” Charlie nearly stammered. Sam was only 15. Hell, Will was only 17.
“Dad, don’t be freaked by this. You know we’re going to be together, don’t you?” Will looked a little confused.
“What do you mean, ‘together’?” Charlie looked over at Mary, who was watching in silence.
“Don’t you listen to Katy?” Will grinned uncertainly.
“Obviously not. What should I be listening to her about?” Charlie took a seat on the couch and held out his arm for Mary to join him. She did, looking up at Will as he stood over them.
“Jennifer and I, we’re getting married. Not yet, I guess, but we are and I don’t want her to be on her own during something like this.”
“Katy told you this?” Mary asked quietly.
He nodded, “I’m not sure she meant to, I mean she didn’t tell me out loud, you know? It kind of leaked through when she was warning me about the alien that was traveling with them. I haven’t, we haven’t made any plans. You don’t have to worry about that.”
Charlie and Mary looked at each other, “Well, that’s, uh, good to hear. Is there anything else we should know?”
“I don’t want to freak you out any more.”
“Go ahead, while we’re numb.” Charlie offered.
“Well, Sam and Trisha are going to be getting together too. That’s why I thought she could take my place while I’m staying with Jennifer.”
“You’ve known this since that trip out?” Charlie questioned.
“Yeah. I didn’t say anything to Jennifer until a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t want her to freak, but after she realized what the kids could do, she understood. I’m not going to rush her and she knows that.”
Charlie slowly turned his head toward Mary, as though begging her to keep his head above water. She took her husband’s hand. “I’m glad she knows you’re not planning to rush her, but we don’t want you to rush either, Will. You haven’t had a lot of dating experience.” Mary said, then saw the twinkle in Will’s eyes.
“You’re right. Ruthie just isn’t my type. Maybe after she’s potty trained . . .” He chuckled.
That brought a laugh from Charlie as well. “I guess I’m glad you’re not making moves on her. Does, does Sam know about this?”
Will nodded. “We’ve talked about it. He and Trisha are treating it more like a joke, but they’re younger. It’ll be a while, and they’re definitely not rushing anything.”
Charlie rubbed his hand over his eyes. Mary’s hand came up to his neck and lightly massaged it. “Will, go ahead and get your things together. There’ll be a lot to do in the morning.”
Will nodded and turned toward the stairs, then stopped. “Dad, are you okay with this?”
“Uh, I will be. Go on, like your mother said.” Charlie nodded at him.
Will headed up the stairs.
Charlie turned to Mary, “You seem to be taking this rather well.”
“I’m not as surprised, but I’ve seen them together. It didn’t occur to me to check with Katy, which won’t happen again.” Mary said dryly. “He said he wasn’t going to rush her.”
“He’s planning to stay with her during this cold spell. I’m sure that means her bed.” Charlie pointed out.
“Yes, he feels responsible for her. He’s very mature and that’s in a big part thanks to you. He’s had to grow up fast and that could have been really terrible for him. If we were still in Ohio, it would have been.”
“I didn’t get us here from Ohio.” Charlie reminded her.
“Yes, you did. You kept us safe in Ohio and helped get us here. You’ve been a great father.” She leaned back and looked at him, “and you’re still cute as a button.”
Charlie rolled his eyes. “Cute, huh? Cute enough to get you to sleep with me?”
“Umm, wonder if Will uses that line on Jennifer?” She laughed at his expression, then tugged him to his feet. “Yeah, you can get in my bed tonight. Tomorrow night we’ll have company, Missy.”
He sighed and let her lead him up the stairs.
The next day dawned bright, clear and cold. Mulder was already up and out before Scully woke, taking the kids with him. She shook her head, but understood. He was still feeling guilty; she’d have to reassure him some more. Not that she minded doing that.
He had left oatmeal on the stove for her and a note that caused a fire-y blush to her face.
She dressed quickly and headed for the clinic. Things were bustling everywhere. There were already stacks of wood at each home, but a large amount was being taken inside each dwelling now so that people wouldn’t have to be out in the elements when it was needed. Apparently not everyone was planning to go to the clinic to stay.
“Morning,” Anne looked up when she came in the house. “Have you eaten?”
“Yes. I didn’t mean to oversleep. I had help.”
Anne chuckled, “You expected different from Mulder?”
Scully shook her head, “No. So what are we doing?”
“Making certain that there’s plenty of food for everyone.”
“No, Byers, Alex, and George will be here of course. Walter and Maggie are moving in. I heard Brittany and Marie were coming and Kevin, so that he’s in a central location. But since MJ isn’t predicting snow, a lot of people are staying in their own places. We will be able to get around, as long as we bundle up.”
Scully nodded, thinking over her charges. “I’m glad Megan’s not due.”
Anne grinned, “Yeah.”
“Well, I’ll get with Kevin, make sure we have a location on everyone, then I’ll come help you.”
“Don’t worry about it, Dana. We’ve got enough help in the kitchen.”
Scully nodded and headed toward her office. Kevin had camped out on her couch and looked up when she entered. “Hope you don’t mind, this was more central.”
“Not a problem, I was looking for you.” Kevin started to rise. “No, I just wondered if you’d seen Mulder.”
“Yeah, awhile ago. He was helping get the animals secured. We have to make sure the chickens survive.”
Scully nodded. “Do we know who’s coming here for tonight?”
Kevin pulled out a sheet of paper, and grinned. “There might be a few surprises.”
”Surprises?” She took the paper from him, and scanned it. Her eyes grew wide, “Will?” She'd have to share this with Mulder when they were alone.
“Yeah, and Jerry’s moving in with Julie. He said it would be less disruptive than moving her and kids to his house. Trisha will be at Charlie’s place. I heard that Missy was going to stay with MJ, doing the twin thing again. The little ones are in the most danger from the cold.”
Scully nodded. “Does George know about Jerry?”
“Not from me, but he will.”
Scully nodded and sighed. “I imagine we’ll have a full bed tonight. I’m glad Mom’s going to be here.”
“Yeah, she’ll be okay. We’ve got some homes without a kid for communication, including here. Greg and Megan, Langly and Becky’s place, Charlie’s if Missy is over with Frohike’s family.”
Katy tapped on the door then and opened it. “Hi Sweetie.” Scully gave Katy a hug. “You were up and out before I could even say good morning.”
“Dad wanted you to get some extra sleep.” Katy smiled.
“I know, but you know I’m fine.”
Katy nodded, “Can I help?”
“May I help?” Scully corrected automatically, “And yes you may, we need your advice. Kevin and I were discussing the houses that don’t have one of the children in them, like Langly or Greg and Megan. We might need to be in touch with them, especially Megan.”
“It’s okay.” Katy looked up at her mother, “Langly and Becky have Will, he can communicate pretty good now, and Sam and Trisha will be with Charlie. Greg can receive a little and we’ll keep an eye on their little boy. We’ll be okay. Kevin could sleep with me so he’ll be warm.” She offered.
“Thanks, Honey, but I’ll be okay here. I need to keep an eye on things.”
There was a small pout on her face, but it was the answer she had expected.
“Katy, you’ll have to let us know if anyone needs anything. I guess we’ll be staying at our house, but I want to have a bag packed with supplies.”
“Dad doesn’t want you to go outside. Walt can handle anything temporarily. This close he can do it alone.” Katy reminded her.
“I still want to be prepared. Did your Dad feed you?”
Katy nodded, “Do you need anything else? We’re still working on the map.”
“No, that’s okay.” She gave her oldest daughter a kiss and watched her leave. It wasn’t until she was out of the room that Scully realized she hadn’t called her. Katy had just known.
Anne, Maggie and Mary made sure everyone had a hot lunch before dispersing.
Then Maggie urged the other two women out, assuring them that she would draft help for clean up.
Mulder found Scully in her office. “Come on, I have the kids bundled up. I want you inside and settled.”
She looked up and he saw the uncertainty in her face. “Are you sure we shouldn’t stay here, Mulder? What about George? He must know about Jerry by now.”
“That’s one of the reasons Walter came here. He and Krycek can handle him. If there’s a problem, we’ll know about it. You are not to worry tonight.”
What if someone needs - “
“Scully.” He pressed his lips to her forehead. “You are officially off-duty. If someone needs something, Walt and I will handle it. Come on, the temperature is dropping like a rock.” He ignored the look of exasperation on her face and led her out of the office.
He had her wrap her scarf over her nose and mouth like the kids and they headed out. The wind was fierce, and he kept one hand on her, Lexie in his other arm, while she held the hands of the other two.
Mulder hurried to build up the fire once they were inside, then helped the kids with their coats, standing in front of the fireplace. A gust of wind shook the house and he met Scully’s eyes. “We’re in for the night, Scully. Just relax.”
She managed a weak smile. For no snow, this was as bad as that had been.
“Well, guys we’re on vacation. What do you want to do?”
Scully fixed the memory of the day in her mind, to return to over and over. She wanted snapshots of this day, one of the best she could remember. Sitting on the rug in front of the fire, in the ‘V’ of Mulder’s legs. His warm hand resting gently on the slight swell of her belly as the kids played a game that wasn’t entirely verbal with very complicated rules; Mulder with his head in her lap as they told the kids X-Files cases - highly sanitized; her on the couch doing some mending as the four of them lay on the rug doing a jig-saw puzzle. The puzzle was much too advanced for the kids according to the box, and over 500 pieces, but that hadn’t deterred them. Even Lexie was handling the tiny pieces with no difficulty.
Scully let the shirt fall forgotten into her lap. The four brunettes in front of her were so beloved. Katy and Walt were so like Mulder in appearance, they could have been cloned and Lexie fit in well with her dark curls. Alex’s eyelashes only added to her beauty. Mulder had some silver at his temples, residual of when Walt was born, but not much anywhere else. It only made him more distinguished, though tumbling on the floor with their children added to his beauty in her eyes.
To think that she had actually told him to go bring Diana up here when they had arrived. She hadn’t understood that he was holding back from her, at least partially, out of fear that she didn’t feel the same, as was she.
She could see colors better now, Mulder always had a faint purple aura when she saw him. The girls were surrounded by a light blue. She knew this meant they were happy. Walt, her calmest child, was also happy but he always had a light green around him as though, like her, he always had the health of their family on his mind.
A large smile broke out on Katy’s face and she flared a deeper blue. She turned to Scully. “Anne and Todd are going to have a boy.”
Mulder turned to Scully, a grin breaking out on his face as he turned a deeper purple. “Well it is cold.”
She shook her head, smiling.
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.