Scully stepped into the main room and spotted Julie. She started toward her but saw George come in from the kitchen. His look of fury at the sight of his former wife actually made Scully catch her breath. She had taken a step toward the couple when Katy rushed in from the classroom and ran up to Julie.
“Have you seen what Esther made?” Katy took Julie’s hand.
Julie, who hadn’t seen George, smiled down at the little girl. “No, what’s she done?”
“She was helping us with the maps. Come on, you need to see.” Katy took the woman’s hand and tugged her toward the hall.
George had frozen into place when Katy had appeared. Then he glanced around and retreated to the kitchen. Scully could see that his hands were fisted. He obviously knew that Jerry had moved into his old place.
Rather than make a scene, she returned to her office. She needed to talk to Mulder, and Katy.
There were too many people around at lunch. Mulder knew she was holding something back, but after the last couple of days being unable to work outside, everyone really needed to catch up.
He did manage to get her alone in the hall. “Are you okay?”
A smile erased the worry lines on her face for a moment. “I’m fine, Mulder, really. We need to talk, but it can wait until tonight.”
“Let’s eat at the house, just us.”
She nodded and kissed him, reluctantly letting him go. There was plenty to do around here as well. The few animals they had lost to the cold needed to be prepared and cooked. Scully said nothing to Julie about what she had witnessed.
It was amusing in a way, this group had only been apart a couple of days, but the way they visited while working in the kitchen made it seem that they had missed each other for weeks.
Scully had told Anne about the new baby boy, but the others were still in the dark about that. Occasionally Anne would look over at Scully and smile. Todd still didn’t know, he hadn’t made it in for lunch. Scully knew they would have a wonderful evening.
Mary packed up food for the five of them to take to the house and had it ready when Mulder arrived. He gave her a quick hug and helped Scully bundle up the kids. They had to wait just a minute for Alex to show up, so that Lexie could kiss him goodnight, then they hurried home.
Once they were served and seated, Katy brought up the incident, to Scully’s surprise. “Mom, you shouldn’t get between Julie and George.”
Scully looked up startled. That was what she had been thinking of saying to Katy.
“What are we talking about?” Mulder put down his fork.
At a loss, Scully looked over at Katy, then met Mulder’s eyes. “This morning, George came into the clinic and saw Julie. It was very plain that he knows that Jerry and Julie are together. He approached her. I started to move in and Katy - “
“I had to, Mom.” Katy interrupted
“Katy.” Mulder’s expression was serious as he addressed his daughter. “You need to stay away from George. Let me or Alex or Walter know if George is going to do anything, but we want you to stay out of his way.”
“Mom was going to get between them, Dad.” Katy explained patiently. “He would have hurt her. He would have hurt Mom. I couldn’t - “
“What?” Mulder stiffened and glanced over at Walt, who nodded. “He’s out of here.” He started to rise but Scully’s hand stopped him.
She looked over at Katy. “He was going to hurt me?”
Katy nodded miserably. “I couldn’t let that happen.”
“Would it have been on purpose?” Scully asked, striving to keep her emotions in check.
Katy shook her head, “but it wouldn’t matter.”
Scully raised a shaking hand to her mouth and Mulder moved around the table to take her in his arms. “We’ll talk to him. We’ll send him away. I don’t care what the weather is, or if he has family here. He’s too dangerous to - “
“Dad, you can’t.” Walt spoke for the first time.
Both adults turned to look at him. “Walt, Son, you don’t understand. I will not allow anyone to live here that’s a danger to your mother, or any of our family.”
“We’re going to need him. I’m not sure why, but he needs to stay.” Katy agreed with Walt. “Remember when you didn’t want Alex to stay? But it was important that he did.”
Mulder looked over at his younger daughter. Lexie’s look of sadness broke his heart. He caressed her cheek. “Yeah, it was very important.” She seemed to relax a little then.
“George has to stay.” Katy said firmly.
Mulder and Scully exchanged looks. This was new, the children advising them on issues like this. They were going to ‘need’ him? Mulder finally took a deep breath. “Okay, but he’s going to have a guard. I can’t let him be in a position to hurt anyone.”
“Dad, we can keep an eye on him. We’re not going to let him hurt Julie or Mom or anyone else here.”
“You can’t be with him all the time, Katy. None of you can.”
“We don’t have to be near him, Dad. I think you know that.” Walt said quietly.
“What are you saying?” Mulder looked at all three of the children.
“We’re locked on him.” Walt volunteered. “The thing he’s most afraid of; that the freaks are in his head . . . It’s reality.”
“You are not freaks.” Scully said it before Mulder could.
All three of the kids smiled then, but made no comment.
“Go on, eat your dinner. After you’re ready for bed, I’ll read a chapter of Treasure Island to you.” Scully tried to sound normal.
Mulder straightened up and returned to his seat, but he was obviously distracted. They ate, the kids talking about the on-going map project. It was their favorite pastime.
In a little while Scully shooed the kids off to put on their pajamas and wash up. She picked up her dish. “I’ll get them, why don’t you get ready for bed too.” Mulder took it from her.
“Mulder - “
“Go on. I’ll wash up.” He had turned away and she knew the signs. He was beating himself up. She’d have to talk to him later.
The kids were back quickly and demanded that Mulder join them on the couch for the story. Lexie settled in his lap with Katy between he and Scully, and Walt on Scully’s other side. Mulder closed his eyes and let Scully’s voice flow over him with the adventures of Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver.
Once everyone was tucked in warmly and kissed for the night, Mulder gave Scully a kiss on her forehead. “You should go on to bed too. I know you’re tired.”
“Muld - “
“I won’t be long. I’ll finish up in the kitchen, then get ready for bed myself.”
“Hurry, it’s cold without you.”
He nodded and turned toward the kitchen. She could tell by his posture he was still upset. She’d have to work on that.
She was more on his side of the bed than her own when he emerged from the bathroom. She sat up, allowing the covers to pool in her lap. He hurried to her side.
“Lie down, Scully. You’ll get cold.”
“Not if you join me.”
“Scully, I - “
“I need you to hold me.”
He could never refuse that, but he clutched her to him when he did lie beside her.
“He would have hurt you. And the baby. I don’t know exactly what that means to Katy, but did you see Walt’s face?”
Scully met his bleak eyes. She hadn’t looked at Walt, focusing on Katy’s words. “No, but Katy stopped it. I’m okay, the baby’s okay.” She tightened her hold on him as his body shuddered.
“After Ian . . . How can I let him stay?”
“Because we need him, Mulder. I don’t know what that means, but we have to accept it.”
”I need to tell Walter, and Byers and Alex. They live with the man.” He was thinking out loud now.
“And Kevin, and Jerry, and Charlie . . . “ Scully looked up at him. “I don’t think we should.”
“He’s a danger, Scully.”
“No, not anymore. What did Walt say, they’re ‘locked on’. We don’t know what the kids can do; I don’t think we can even imagine what they can do. But they’re looking out for us.”
“Since when can I trust anyone enough to look after you?” He asked softly.
Scully felt the tears form in her eyes. “Love me.”
“No, Mulder. That wasn’t a question, it was a demand.”
He met her eyes, startled. “You’re tired.”
“Never that tired, G-man.”
He had to admit he felt better in the morning, and wondered idly if Walt was behind that. He didn’t ask. Scully had been up and out of bed before he woke. Before he could scold her, she’d given him the eyebrow and pointed toward the bathroom. He’d relaxed then and smiled.
She fixed oatmeal there at the house, and Mulder let them eat before he cleared his throat. “About George.” Katy opened her mouth, but he continued. “We all know he’s afraid of you guys. Your presence keeps him in line. I’m concerned about when he might be with your mother, or Julie, or someone when you’re not around.”
“Dad, we can handle him. He pretty much stays away from everyone. He’s mostly angry at Julie and Jerry.”
“Okay, you can handle him, but what if MJ or Louise are around him?”
Katy looked confused for an instant, “MJ knows everything I know.”
“He does?” Scully leaned forward, surprised.
“Sure. We all know each other, all the time.”
“Oh.” Scully didn’t have an answer to that.
Mulder looked over at Scully; they’d have to deal with this information later. She shrugged. “Okay, but I want to know if you’ve had to do anything. This is not your responsibility, no matter what you think.” Mulder looked each of his children directly in the eye. They all nodded solemnly. “Let’s get going.”
He and Scully helped them bundle up, then they headed for the clinic.
Walter looked up from his breakfast and smiled as his three grandkids converged on him. “I was looking for you guys. You’re running late this morning.”
“We had oatmeal at home.” Walt explained, taking a seat beside the large man.
“At home, huh? Well, I missed you.”
The girls both hugged him, then turned as Frohike called to them. “Go on, I’ll see you at lunch.” Walter gave all three a hug, then smiled up at Scully. “You doing okay?”
“I’m fine.” She smiled at him as she took the seat Walt vacated. To her annoyance, Walter looked up at Mulder for confirmation. “It’s a conspiracy.” She muttered and rose to head for the kitchen.
Mulder grabbed her hand. She turned and he grinned at her. She rolled her eyes, but when he kissed her, she was smiling again. “Go to work, Mulder.”
“What if I don’t want to leave?”
“You two need to get a room.” Walter shook his head. “Come on, Mulder.” He took Mulder’s arm and drew him away from Scully.
“Now I remember why you were such a joy to work for.” Mulder groused, but he kissed Scully one more time before heading out.
“She looks good, but you don’t.” Walter offered as they walked out.
“Yeah. I need to talk to you. Let’s head over to the office for a minute.”
Walter’s smile disappeared, and he followed Mulder.
“What’s going on, Mulder?”
Walter sighed and took his seat. “What did he do now?”
“Fortunately not anything, thanks to Katy.”
Walter sat up instantly. “What?”
Before Mulder could answer, the door opened and Kevin entered. “Oops, sorry. I thought the office was empty.”
“It’s okay, come on in.” Mulder took his own seat. “I’m bringing Walter up to date on George.”
“Is Julie okay?” Kevin asked quickly.
Mulder nodded, and took a deep breath. “Apparently he started to attack Julie, at least verbally. Scully spotted it and was going to stop him when Katy raced in from the classroom.”
“Katy shouldn’t - “ Kevin spoke up.
“That’s what I said, until she told us that she had done it to save Scully. She said he would have ‘hurt’ Scully, and the baby.”
Walter paled at those words. “No wonder you looked like shit this morning. So are we sending him away?”
Mulder shook his head. “That’s the rest of this. Katy and Walt say we can’t send him away. We’re going to need him.”
“That’s what Scully said about Alex.” Walter leaned back and looked at the ceiling.
“So what do we do? Warn everyone?” Walter asked.
Kevin shook his head. “George is a coward. He only goes after women, and Jerry is a big guy. We’ll just have to make sure he doesn’t have the opportunity to be alone with any of the women.”
Mulder sighed, “Taken care of. According to Walt, the kids, all of them, are ‘locked on’ George.”
Both men looked at Mulder, who shrugged. “We can’t talk about this, not if he’s going to live here. He’s already ostracized because of Ian. I don’t mind that, but if we make it worse, it might make him worse.”
“I hate it when you play psychologist.” Walter shook his head.
“Blame Scully. I wanted to pound him into the dust.”
Walter nodded, regardless of the kids’
assurances, he knew the three of them at least would still be on their guard.
“I’m going to find Jerry.” Mulder rose.
“Megan, on the next contraction I want you to push. The baby’s head is right here. Okay?”
Megan didn’t respond, leaning back against Greg. Greg’s face was as pale as Megan’s was red and it crossed Scully’s mind that he might go down. She glanced over at Beth, who caught her look and nodded. Beth moved closer to Greg. Mulder stood Walt in the chair on the other side of Greg, and winked at the boy. Megan had requested his presence and Scully really had no good reason to refuse. Mulder moved closer to Scully to replace Beth if she needed any help.
“Take a deep breath, Megan. Come on now, push down.” She put her hand on the young woman’s abdomen. “One, two, thr - ohhh.” Scully doubled over in pain. Mulder reached for her instantly.
“Scully? Scully, what’s wrong?” Mulder’s voice rose. Greg and Megan looked at her, not comprehending what was happening; they had other priorities right now.
“I’m, I need to sit down.” She gasped. “Deliver the baby, Mulder.”
His lips moved, but he didn’t know what to say. Scully had stepped away, her hands holding her own swollen belly. She eased herself down into the chair against the wall.
“Walt.” Mulder looked at him.
“This baby first, Dad.” The little boy kept his hand on Megan.
Mulder wanted to protest that, but couldn’t legitimately. He looked over at Scully again. She had her eyes closed, her head back against the wall.
“Mulder, I can - “ Beth started to move toward him.
“The head’s out, Megan.” Mulder said quickly, shaking his head at Beth. “Another push.” He said after he suctioned out the mouth and nose. “Come on, Megan, this is almost over. Give me a big push.”
Walt’s hand touched Megan’s shoulder and she nodded. She bore down, groaning and the tiny boy tumbled into Mulder’s hands.
Megan reached for him, as Greg sank heavily into the chair Beth moved to the bed. Mulder caught Beth’s eye, then was moving toward Scully, while Walt bonded with the tiny boy.
“Scully?” He knelt beside her, stripping off his gloves.
“I’m, I’m okay.” She nodded at him.
“What happened?” One of his hands caressed her face while the other lay gently on her stomach.
“I had a contraction, a strong one.”
“A contraction?” She was barely six months. She couldn’t go into labor now. “Okay, I’m going to take you home. Megan and the baby are fine and Beth’s here. I want Walt to look after you.”
She nodded. “Let the children meet Malcolm. Then we can go.”
Mulder glanced over at Walt. The boy gave him a reassuring nod. He wasn’t reassured, even Walt couldn’t take away his worry when there was something concerning Scully’s health, but it helped that Walt wasn’t upset.
“Beth?” Mulder looked over at the young woman.
“I’ll take him out. It’ll just be a minute.” Beth looked over at Scully and nodded to her. “Don’t worry.”
Greg and Megan watched as Beth and Walt left the room with their son and they murmured to themselves. Mulder didn’t pay them any attention, focused exclusively on Scully. The two new parents glanced over at Mulder and Scully, but respected their privacy. Obviously something was wrong, but there was nothing they could do.
Mulder was aware at the same time as she when the next contraction began. He felt the tightening of her muscles and heard her breathing change. “Just relax, Baby. It’s going to be okay. I think we should stay here tonight. The kids can stay with us or the girls can stay with Mom and Walter.”
Her eyes were locked on him as she breathed through the pain. He could see the fear. Once the contraction lessened, he lifted her into his arms and carried her to other room. He lay her on the bed and rolled her to her left side. “I want you to just stay calm. You’re not going to have this baby yet. Okay?”
“She couldn’t live. We don’t have the equipment - “
“We’re not going to need it. Don’t even think like that, Scully. Why don’t I see what’s keeping Walt.”
“He’ll be here in a minute. Please don’t leave me.”
Mulder worked hard not to show how that statement affected him. “You got it, Scully. I’m not going anywhere.” He kissed her forehead and then her lips.
“She will be okay, won’t she?” Scully squeezed his hand.
“She’s going to be fine. We’ve got Walt and all the rest of the kids. You’re going to be taking it easy for the next few months, then we’ll have another baby girl to cuddle and love and confound us like the others do.” He managed to grin at her.
She knew him, it was a shaky grin, but he was trying and he was right. All the kids here would look after this little one.
Her hand tightened on his as the next contraction surrounded her. She began the slow breathing and he breathed with her.
Where the fuck was Walt? Mulder wanted to look over at the door, but couldn’t tear his eyes from hers. He saw the tears in her eyes. “Scully, just relax.”
“I want this baby, Mulder. From the second you told me about her, I wanted her. I know you were upset, but - “
“Scully, I wanted her. I was in shock, yes, and, and immediately concerned about you, but I wanted her, I want her. Scully, she’s going to be fine.” He pulled her against him, holding her gently.
She relaxed against him. He surreptiously glanced over at the door again, but still no Walt. He kept quiet, rocking her slightly, his hands gently caressing her stomach. His lips pressed against her forehead.
She hadn’t had another contraction by the time Walt joined them. Mulder’s arm tightened around her unconsciously.
“It’s okay, Dad.” He touched his mother’s stomach lightly. “She was just a little confused. She was in contact with Malcolm and didn’t realize what could happen. You’ve already taken care of it.”
“I, I’ve taken care . . . “
Walt smiled up at him. “Sure.”
Scully looked up at Mulder. “I think he’s right. I didn’t realize it, but I think I’ve been having mild contractions since shortly after Megan got here.”
He met her eyes. After a long moment, he took a deep breath. “You’re taking it easy for a while, regardless.”
She nodded. “Why don’t you go tell Beth we’re okay? Check on Megan and Greg.”
Mulder glanced over at Walt. “I’ll just be a minute.” He eased Scully down on the couch again and rose. He hesitated at the door, but Walt smiled at him, so he let himself out.
Scully took a deep breath and Walt sat beside her. “We’ll go home when he gets back.”
“We should stay here tonight.” Walt said quietly. She opened her mouth, but he continued. “For Dad. You’re fine, but he’ll feel better if you stay.” He looked over at the door. “When he suggests it, just agree.”
“How old are you again?” She asked her son.
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.