Mulder looked down at his hands. They were covered in blood and the tiny baby he held was still and blue. He looked up to see Scully’s head fall back and her hand drop off the side of the bed. He scrambled to her side, getting blood on her face and chest as he searched frantically for a sign of life. “No, no, no, no - “
“Mulder. Mulder, wake up. It’s okay.” Scully was leaning over him as he lay beside her. She wiped the tears from his face.
“Scully.” He breathed the word, then buried his face in her breasts, finding her strong and steady heartbeat.
She smoothed back his hair, murmuring soothing sounds, but she was shaken. His nightmares were a thing of the past. He was secure in her love, in the family they had created. But she knew this was the third night in a row and the worst one yet.
“It’s okay, Mulder. Get some rest, I have you.” He did sleep again finally and she slipped from the bed to nurse Chrissy then returned to his side and held him until her own eyes closed.
He was gone when she woke. She knew he wouldn’t speak of it, still attempting, even after all these years, to protect her.
After she got Chrissy ready for the day, she made her way to the clinic. Anne met her at the door and took the baby from her. Scully chuckled and patted Anne’s growing stomach. “You don’t want a break?” She laughed at the younger woman. “You’ll have enough practice with five.”
”Maybe, but Chrissy and Lee are bonding.”
“Lee? You’ve decided already?”
“Fox Lee after Todd. I know we have time, but we talked about it last night.”
Scully nodded, “Can you point me to Katy?”
“Classroom, the precious map.” Anne pointed, then smiled and disappeared into the kitchen with Chrissy.
Scully found them all there. Katy, Walt and Lexie came up to hug her. The others all looked up and smiled. “Could I borrow you three for a minute?”
They nodded, Lexie and Katy took her hands and Walt led them to her office. She sat in her chair and they settled around her. Lexie sat on the desk, Katy pulled up a chair and Walt sat Indian style on the floor.
“You know what I want to ask about.”
Katy nodded, “Dad’s nightmares.”
“What’s happened? He hasn’t had any since right after Walt was born. Is it Chrissy’s birth?”
“That’s what the dream is about.” Walt said, “When you passed out. Only in the dream, you’re dead and so is Chrissy. His hands are covered with blood.”
Scully closed her eyes. “What do I do?”
“That’s not what’s wrong.” Katy sighed, “That’s what scared him the most in a long time, but he knows you’re okay. The problem is Uncle Bill.”
“Bill? He wasn’t even here when Chrissy was born.”
Katy exchanged glances with Lexie and Walt. “It’s Uncle Bill’s energy. We’ve never seen anyone who was always red. All he does is hate. Because he couldn’t fix anything, he focused on Dad. Now he doesn’t even remember all the real reasons he’s mad, it’s all just rolled into hating Dad.”
“When he’s awake, Dad doesn’t . . . he can ward off the energy. But when he’s asleep, the hate kind of seeps in and settled in his greatest fear - losing you.” Walt added.
Scully’s mouth had dropped open. She hadn’t expected this explanation. She was aware that Bill wasn’t exactly fitting in, but if his energy could do that to Mulder . . . “What do I do?” She repeated.
“He could leave.” Lexie spoke first. Her Alex Daddy was also unsettled by the man and the way he had arrived.
Scully turned sad eyes to her, “Couldn’t you help him, like you did George?”
Katy spoke up then, “We did that for Esther.”
“What about Matthew? If you could find him, maybe he wouldn’t be as angry.” Scully offered.
Katy shook her head, “We haven’t been able to find him yet. His mother didn’t survive like Mary did. Maybe he wasn’t immune enough.”
“Will you keep looking? I know if Bill had someone . . . I only saw the boy a couple of times.”
Walt nodded, “When Emily died.”
A tear escaped Scully’s eyes at her name. She nodded. “He was so little.”
“We’ll keep looking, Mom.” Katy sighed, looking at the other two. They didn’t look confident.
Mulder looked up as Skinner entered the office the next morning. His brow furrowed and he rose immediately. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.” The bald man answered, moving around the desk, “But you look like hell.”
“Don’t Scully me. What is it?”
Walter gave a mirthless chuckle at that, then shook his head. “Nothing, really.”
“Do you honestly think you’re going to get away with that? I can always ask Walt or Katy.”
Walter’s face reddened and Mulder realized it was embarrassment, not anger. “It’s hard to talk about.”
“I could get Charlie, if you’d rather - “
“No! Damn.” Walter took his seat and looked up at Mulder. “Physically I feel better than I have in years. I have more energy, I’m . . . I’m clearer.”
Mulder nodded, “I’m not surprised. Walt fixed you up good. I think that’s true of everyone here now that he’s aware of it.” He took a seat beside Walter. “I think Scully’s finally conceded she’s got a helper now and is planning on some true information exchange. There’s lots of areas Walt or the kids could check out for prevention.”
“So? If you’re feeling so good . . . “
“I’d like to celebrate this new ‘youth’. But . . . Maggie won’t let me touch her.” He was staring at the desk now. The tips of his ears were even pinker now.
Mulder blinked, not what he had expected at all. “Uh, well, I can see why you
wouldn’t want to talk to Charlie. I’m, uh . . . “
”Yeah. I understand it, really. I mean, if William had survived his heart attack, they would have had to be careful. But I had Walt. I’m fine, really.” He sighed and picked up the work roll.
“I could have Scully talk to her. “ Mulder offered.
Walter shook his head, “Forget it, please. Eventually . . . besides you’re in the same boat for now.” He managed to grin. “Want to tell me what’s wrong with you?” He waited.
“Just having a new baby in the house. It’s hard to sleep.”
Walter nodded, accepting that explanation. “Let’s get to work. MJ says we’re going to have a good soaking rain tomorrow afternoon. We need to get as much in the ground as possible.”
Mulder allowed the conversation to move on. He would talk to Scully, but he’d have to be delicate. Besides, the situations couldn’t be more different.
Everyone was heading back to the clinic. They were tired, but they’d gotten a lot done, and they knew that the children were waiting. They were talking quietly among themselves, except for Bill, who was walking alone. Suddenly Mulder’s head jerked up. He broke into a run and the others picked up their pace as well.
Bill, confused, hurried with them.
Mulder burst into the room to find MJ racing toward him. “Mulder!”
“What is it?” Mulder asked quickly.
“Tornados, bad ones, where Robin lives.”
“Where’s that?” He was already following MJ toward the classroom.
“Kansas.” MJ pointed to southwest Kansas.
“How do we warn them? How old are the kids?” He was heading back to the main room where the other children were waiting.
“They’re between Esther and Ruthie. Robin’s the oldest.”
Mulder picked up Ruthie and held her. “Honey, can you say ‘tornado’?”
The adults were quiet, watching. “Nado.”
“Tor-nado, Baby, try again.” Mulder looked into her eyes.
It took a couple of tries, but finally he was satisfied. He gave Ruthie a hug, then turned to Katy. “Will you need me?”
“Yes. You hold Chrissy.” Katy led him to the area in front of the fireplace. He sat in the middle of the rug.
“Katy, Chrissy is less than two weeks old.” Scully looked down at her, obviously torn.
“We need her. It’ll be okay.” Katy assured her. Walt nodded. Bill, in the back of the room watched, his eyes narrowed.
Mulder accepted Chrissy from Scully’s arms, giving her a reassuring smile. She leaned down and kissed him and he nodded to her. The other kids settled around him. Suzie was holding Malcolm. If anyone noticed that John, Pete and Suzie had joined the other children in the circle, it wasn’t commented upon.
Bill watched with growing anger. Was this some kind of show? The children all had a hand on Mulder somewhere, even the baby boy. They closed their eyes and a feeling of electricity rose in the room.
“What the hell is this?” Bill finally couldn’t take it any longer, exploding with anger.
He hadn’t realized that his mother had moved to his side and was startled when her hand slapped over his mouth. “Be quiet, Bill!” She hissed urgently.
Katy’s eyes opened. “Get him out of here.” Katy glared at the man, her arm extended, her finger pointed at him.
Without a word, Jerry and Todd descended on Bill. They each grabbed an arm and literally dragged the man out of the building. He was too stunned to struggle, at first.
By the time they hit the porch, he realized what they were doing and jerked himself free. “What the fuck - “
“Shut up.” Todd spoke as Jerry glared at him.
“What was that little tableau about?”
Todd took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. “There are killer tornados headed for Kansas. They’re warning them.”
Bill just looked at him, disbelief obvious on his face. “Yeah, right.”
Todd’s eyes narrowed. “Keep your mouth shut.” He moved toward the window on the porch. Bill’s mouth opened and Jerry’s hand tightened on his arm. Together they approached the window. Bill leaned closer to see what was happening.
He could see nothing, except the children still sitting around Mulder. Then without warning, their eyes opened and the children dropped limply onto the rug. The adults rushed to their sides and lifted them into their arms.
Jerry released Bill’s arm and he and Todd hurried inside as well. Bill followed more slowly, anger simmering. Todd moved to Anne and took Ruthie from her arms, kissing her. Jerry did the same for John as Julie took Esther up. Will and Sam took Walt and MJ as Kevin cuddled Katy against him. Frohike had Louise in his arms and Maggie took Lexie as Krycek followed closely.
As Bill watched, Scully lifted Chrissy from Mulder’s arms and Byers and Langly helped Mulder to his feet. “Help him to my office. Put all the kids in the classroom together.” The others followed her directions with no questions. They moved around Bill, ignoring him.
Once the kids were settled, the adults, except Scully, returned to the main room. Dinner was postponed, at least for now. There was little conversation. Bill watched everyone, his frustration growing.
“Did they do it?” Byers was the one that asked finally, turning to Will and Sam.
The two young men looked at each other, “Yeah, I think so.” Will thought about it before he spoke.
“Do what?” Bill demanded, his voice was raised and angry.
“Be quiet, Bill.” Maggie spoke softly. “Don’t wake the children.”
“So what was that show?” His voice was lower but the fury was still there.
“Sit down, Bill.” She moved to the couch and patted the seat beside her. After a moment he took her invitation. “MJ realized that very strong storms were - “
“Kansas, right. You really expect me to believe that?”
“Bill, how do you think we knew you and your friendly clone were on the way? Do you think we have time for five men to just stand around out on the road day after day?” Charlie spoke wearily.
“What are you saying?”
“Nothing, just forget it. We’re tired; we put in a full day. Let’s go ahead and eat while the kids are asleep. We can make sure they’re fed when they get some rest.” Charlie took Mary’s hand and led the way to the kitchen.
Bill opened his mouth to protest, but the others had turned away and were moving slowly toward the tables. If he hadn’t been so damn hungry he would have stalked upstairs.
The people who hadn’t worked in the fields that day, hurried to dish up dinner and the others took their seats quietly. Bill sat at the far end of the table and even his mother didn’t sit near him.
It was a little less than an hour before the door to Scully’s office opened and she emerged, holding Mulder’s arm. No one had left.
Charlie pulled out a chair and Mary brought him a plate, heaped with food. He gave a quiet chuckle at the sight and squeezed her hand in gratitude. He was eating when Katy wandered out of the room, rubbing her eyes.
Kevin was immediately on his feet and brought her to the table. Another plate was placed in front of her. After she had eaten a few bites, she looked up at
Byers and smiled. “We did it.”
Everyone, except Bill, breathed a sigh of relief.
“Robin was able to say tornado?” Scully leaned closer.
Katy’s smile grew. “That's what we wanted her to say. What she did say was ‘Mulder says killer tornados’.”
Scully’s eyes widened.
“Well that should increase the legend.” Walter grinned.
Mulder seemed too stunned to respond.
“Finish eating, both of you.” Scully spoke briskly. “I want you home.” She turned then, toward the nursery. Megan did as well, as though summoned. “Chrissy and Malcolm need nursing. We’ll feed them, then everyone go home. We’ll start late tomorrow. Get some rest.” She rose from the table and turned toward the classroom.
Mulder caught her hand, pulling her toward him. He rested his head against her breasts for a moment and she let her hand smooth back his hair.
She and Megan nursed the babies as the other children woke slowly. One by one the parents fed them, then took them home to rest further. Leaving, everyone touched Mulder, his shoulder, his arm. Bill stewed in the corner for as long as he could stand it, then silently returned to his room.
Kevin, Walter and Alex escorted them to the house. They tucked the children in then left Mulder and Scully sitting quietly on the couch. Walter gave Scully a quick kiss on the cheek. “Take all the time you need in the morning.”
Scully nodded and the three men let themselves out. Once they were alone, Mulder pulled her against him and she came willingly. Her arms went around him. “Are you okay?”
He nodded, his arms drawing her closer. His lips touched her hair, then moved down her face and took her lips. He seemed to drink her into himself and she relished it. She moaned as he moved down her throat. “Mulder, we could - “
He froze then and pulled back. She was jarred by what felt like rejection. “Come on, Scully. Let’s go to bed.”
“It’s okay. Let’s just go on to bed. It’ll be morning soon enough.” He tugged her up beside him. She was watching him, but he just led her to their room.
He held her close even after he drifted off. When the nightmare came, he slipped out of the bed and returned to the living room for the rest of the night.
Bill’s irritation was growing daily. He had received no explanations for anything that was going on, even from Charlie. He was too angry to ask the questions that swirled in his mind. He was standing near the door to the kitchen when Frohike brushed past him. For some reason that set him off. “Watch it!”
“Excuuuse me.” Frohike moved on past him, but Bill reached out and grabbed his arm.
“What’s the deal with you? You trying to be some sort of hippie or something? The vest, the gloves. Did you learn that in Canada, while you were avoiding serving your country?”
Frohike looked up at the taller man. “I wasn’t in Canada, man.”
“Yeah? You just go underground here?”
“Actually I was in Viet Nam.”
Bill blinked, “They took a shrimp like you?”
Langly took a step toward them, but Mulder shook his head.
“Yep. My draft number was ‘4’. They got me before I could escape.”
“So why the hippie shit?” He pointed toward the gloves. “This some sort of statement?” The man was obviously itching for a fight. Maggie took a step toward him, but Walter caught her hand and held her with him. Maybe it was time for something to happen.
“You want to see my hands, Bill?” Frohike asked quietly.
“Fro, you don’t have to do this.” Mulder finally spoke up.
“It’s okay. Let him see.” Frohike tugged the gloves from his hands. Scully’s sharply indrawn breath caused Mulder’s arm to go around her.
The scars were old and deep. The torture he’d endured was obvious.
“Melvin.” Scully breathed.
“Didn’t have my man Walter to cover my back then.” Frohike mused. “I was a POW for 158 days. I don’t think they liked me.” He shrugged and looked back up at Bill. The younger man’s face was pale.
“I’m . . . I didn’t . . . “ Before Bill could finish a sentence, MJ and Missy had each taken one of Frohike’s hands and were rubbing the horrific scars that crisscrossed over them. It was obvious they had done this before.
Scully looked over at Walt. He nodded to her. She stepped over to Frohike and kissed his cheek lightly. “Thank you.”
The little man blushed, “Ah shucks, ma’am, tweren’t nothin’.”
She smiled gently at him, then at Beth. Everyone eased away, quietly, leaving Bill alone in the great room. Mulder followed her into her office. She turned to him when the door closed, “You knew.”
He took a seat, “Byers told me, years ago. I’d never seen them.”
“What are we going to do about Bill?” She looked him squarely in the eye.
He sighed, but didn’t avoid her. “I don’t know if we can do anything.”
“The children don’t want to help him. But they did such a good job with George.” She sighed and moved into the arms he held out to her.
“I don’t think George was angry as much as he was scared. That was easier for them to take. Besides, John and Esther love George. I’m not sure anyone loves Bill.” He stopped then; he hadn’t meant to say that.
Her eyes were sad, “I know.”
“Scully, we don’t have to make any decisions yet.”
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.