He woke slowly, soft sheets, pillow – definitely not his couch. Where the hell was he? Before he could turn he heard the soft sigh and felt warm breath against his neck. A very feminine arm came around him, the hand resting against his chest.
Oh shit, what had he done, and when the hell had he done it? He’d gone to sleep on the couch. Well, that’s the last he remembered. Find out who she is you wimp, and hope you were sober enough to have had safe sex. He turned to look behind him. Scully? A flood of emotion nearly drowned him. Relief that he hadn’t betrayed her with another women and fear that he had most definitely betrayed her trust.
She was still asleep. Maybe he had time to get up and out before she realized. But then she’d think he regretted. . . whatever had happened. He certainly regretted not remembering. During this hesitation on his part she moved in closer, snuggling against his chest, her warm breath now caressing the hair there. She wasn’t wearing enough to matter. She was going to kill him when she woke. The worst part was, he probably deserved it. She slid her knee between his legs and he grew in appreciation.
In her sleep she reached down and cupped him, waking and chucking slightly. "Well. To what do we owe this honor?"
"Scu. . . Scully?" He couldn’t steady his voice.
She looked up at him, still smiling. "I truly do appreciate the tribute, Sweetheart, but I’m not sure we have time this morning."
"Well, you do have that meeting this morning and I have to take Katy in."
"Katy." It wasn’t quite a question, but her smile faded.
"Mulder, are you okay?"
"I don’t know what’s going on. I’m in bed with you and you’re practically nude and you’re not embarrassed or angry."
"Why would I be angry Mulder?" Her voice steady and cool, as though she might have to talk him down off a ledge.
"Did we, uh, do it last night?" Smooth, Mulder, no wonder the women line up outside your apartment every night.
She looked at him with growing anxiety. "Well, no Honey. I was really tired. You didn’t seem to mind."
"Not mind? Wait a minute." He rose from the bed. He was only wearing shorts and they weren’t really enough right now, but he had to get his bearings. "Scully, when the hell did we start sleeping together and how did I miss it?"
"What?" Now she rose from the bed and approached him. Her eyes were beyond worried, on the way to fear. She was watching his eyes. "Track my finger." He did, relieved that she’d turned into a doctor, even though she was wearing that sheer nightgown.
"Mulder, do you have a headache? Blurry vision?"
"No. I feel fine, great." He couldn’t stop his eyes from raking over her again. "What’s going on? Where are we?" He suddenly realized this wasn’t her apartment or furniture. This was a nice bedroom, cherry furniture he thought. Big four poster bed. A picture of Samantha on the dresser along with some others. This sure as hell wasn’t his apartment or furniture.
"Mulder we’re home. This is where we live. I don’t. . . " They both jumped as a cry came from some other room. She turned to leave.
"Scully, wait!" He reached for his holster lying on the dresser but realized his gun was missing.
"Mulder?" There were tears in her eyes now. She shook her head and then straightened her shoulders. "Wait here." She walked from the room.
She was gone a short time and he stood there undecided on what to do. He should probably get dressed. She couldn’t have been serious about them living together. Not that he wouldn’t want to, but she would never agree to that.
She came back in the room, stopping just inside the door. Even that nightgown couldn’t keep his eyes from the child in her arms. A baby girl – a year old? He didn’t have much experience guessing the age of kids. She had a riotous head of curly red hair, but the eyes were what held him riveted. They were his. This baby girl had his eyes. What the hell was happening to him?
The baby turned in Scully’s arms and spotted him, chortling her glee and nearly jumping out of Scully’s arms reaching for him. He just stood watching the two of them, transfixed by the sight. The baby began babbling to him – obviously trying to communicate something. Scully approached him warily.
"Do you want to hold Katy?"
Katy? She’d mentioned her earlier. This was Katy? The baby was straining to reach him, her chubby arms outstretched, her fingers grasping for him.
How could he refuse that? He held out his arms and Scully surrendered the tiny girl to him, staying close by their side. This is what Katy wanted. She began earnestly babbling now, telling all about her dreams or her plans for the day or something equally important to her. Her hand came up and touched his cheek, laughing at the stubble against her fingers.
"Give Daddy a kiss." Scully said. Mulder’s head jerked up and his eyes grew wide as he stared at Scully. Katy shook her head laughing and buried her face in his neck. "She wants you to beard her."
He wanted to ask what that meant, but it was taking everything in him to remain upright and hold this child.
"Lay her on the bed and rub your face lightly on her tummy." Scully explained. She had to stay calm. He was Mulder and he knew her. He wasn’t dangerous. He loved her and Katy. Something else was going on and she’d get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. Right now she had to keep him calm and not scare Katy.
He followed her suggestion, laying the baby girl on their bed. Their bed, that was something he needed to contemplate later. And put his face to her stomach. Katy was delighted, laughing and pulling at his hair so he wouldn’t stop.
Mulder looked up at Scully and smiled, and she felt her chest loosen. Katy let go of his hair and flipped over, crawling rapidly to the head of the bed where she sprawled across his pillow and made herself comfortable.
He had to chuckle. He turned to Scully; "She’s ours?"
"I don’t. . . " He glanced back at the baby. "We need to talk."
She nodded. "I’m going to call us both in sick. Will you be okay with her?"
He glanced back at her, there on the pillow and Scully caught his worried expression. Surely he could look after a little thing like her for a few minutes. "Huh, sure. Go ahead." She gave him a worried smile, but he was the child’s father and an excellent one at that, usually. She quietly left the room.
Katy sat up and started for the edge of the bed. "Whoa. Wait a minute Princess." Princess? Where. . . hadn’t they called Samantha that when she was little? This one was determined to get off the bed now. Did she want to follow Scully? Well, what harm could that do? He lifted her back into his arms, but she wanted down now. She had an agenda and he wasn’t going to interfere.
He placed her carefully on her feet, which seemed to please her. Could she walk? She took hold of his finger and started toddling toward the door. He smiled down at her. This was the way Scully had been as a child, it had to be. That determined little expression, those sturdy little legs, and her insistence that he go where she wanted – as was her due. No wonder "Princess" had come to his lips.
She led him into the room across the hall from the one they had been in. His and Scully’s room. He didn’t dare analyze that yet. This place was bigger than he had thought. This was a house, not an apartment. He and Scully had bought a house? Looked like three bedrooms, two stories. Obviously she’d kept her job or she’d taken over his finances and handled things better than he did.
Well this was most certainly Katy’s room. Bright rainbows covered the wall that had the crib against it, with a blue background and clouds interspersed. There was a white glider rocker in front of the window with its white eyelet curtains. A basket of toys sat in one corner. Katy let go of his finger and toddled on her own toward the changing table. He followed close behind to catch her if she lost her balance.
She reached the table without incident and pulled a disposable diaper off the stack beneath it. She turned and handed it to her dumbfounded father.
"You want me to. . . ?" Why was he asking her? Of course, if she answered he wouldn’t be any farther down the rabbit hole than he already was.
He took the diaper from her and heard the light laugh coming from the door. Mulder turned to her sheepishly.
"Your daughter is very fastidious Mulder. Would you like some help?"
Scully scooped the baby up, tickling her and causing peals of laughter. She lay her on the changing table and proceeded to very deftly change and dress the baby. Mulder watched carefully, he surely would be called on to do this shortly. Looked easy enough, except the little girl didn’t lie still. Well, he could probably handle it. At least there were no pins involved.
Scully lifted the baby back into her arms, sat in the rocker, and unfastened her nightgown. Mulder’s mouth fell open as Katy latched onto Scully’s nipple and began to suckle. He was mesmerized by the sight, Kathy’s little hand opening and closing against her breast, and the little noises she was making.
Scully looked up and caught his gaze. "What is it Mulder? What’s happening?"
He knelt beside her, his hand lightly touching Katy’s leg. "I don’t remember this."
"Don’t remember what?"
"Scully, last night I went to sleep on my couch." Her eyes widened. "When I realized I was in bed with you this morning, I thought you’d kill me."
"Mulder? You’ve forgotten. . . us?"
"Are we married?"
"Yes. Oh yes, Mulder. For nearly three years."
"How old is she?"
"Eleven months." Well, he’d been close in his guess.
"In vitro, from the ova you rescued."
He closed his eyes, trying to absorb this information. He’d woken up to paradise – married to Scully, a daughter that they had created, that she had carried in her body. How could he forget that? What had Scully looked like then? And she’d married him? And not because she’d had to, not if they’d been married three years. Was this some elaborate plot, an hallucination? Oh please, not that.
She was watching his face and saw the fear growing. "Mulder? Are you okay?"’
"What if I’m dreaming? What if this isn’t real? I want this. God, I want this."
Katy lifted his head then at the intensity in his voice. Her milky smile made his heart yearn to take them both into his arms. Scully put her hand on his cheek.
"How do I prove this is real? What would make you believe?"
He shook his head and shrugged. Katy pulled herself up and reached for Scully’s other breast. "I guess we need to put things in perspective." She smiled at him and settled Katy. "Could you hand me that cloth?"
Mulder stood and brought the cloth to her. She took it with her free hand and began to clean herself. "May I?"
She looked up and blushed. "Of course." And handed him the cloth. He was very gentle. The look in his eyes could have been frightening if he hadn’t been Mulder, her Mulder, her husband. What had happened to him?
He looked up and saw her watching him. "It’ll be alright, Scully. Whatever’s going on, at least we’re together." He smiled at that, really together finally. She nodded. Katy sat up, ready now to start her day and attempted to get out of Scully’s arms.
"Oh no you don’t, Princess." Scully pulled her back and began wiping her face.
Princess – she’d called the baby Princess. It had just slipped out of his mouth. Maybe he would remember, maybe it was coming back already. So why couldn’t he remember making love to Scully? That’s one memory he’d only dreamed of ever having – now it was a reality and it wasn’t there in his mind!
Set for her day now Katy demanded freedom from the lap and headed on all fours for the stairs to the first floor. Her speed surprised him and he started to take off after her.
"It’s okay, the gate’s up. Maybe you ought to put on a robe or something."
"Oh." He looked down, still wearing only the boxers, smooth move Mulder. He looked up embarrassed.
"It’s okay with me, but the neighbors, you know."
"Do our neighbors ever see you in that?"
She looked down and laughed. "Strange morning, huh? Let me snag her and I’ll meet you in the bedroom. I mean, unless you want some privacy?"
"No! No, I. . . " He was blushing again. "We’re really married? You won’t throw me out?"
"Would you like to see the pictures?"
"I think I’d better. Whatever is going on I’ve got to get a handle on it."
They dressed, but he found he just hadn’t the courage to stare at her while she did and she found herself grateful. This was way too strange, even for them.
Finally ready he scooped Katy up into his arms from where she had sat solemnly watching them causing her to laugh out loud. "You must be doing something right, Scully. She’s the happiest little thing I’ve ever seen."
"That’s because you’re here at her beck and call. She gets quite jealous of me at times. You’re the best father I’ve ever known."
He looked at her incredulously, his total doubt showing in his face. She smiled and headed for the stairs, where she was able to move the gate with one hand and carry it down the stairs to be reinstalled at the bottom. She looked so competent and he had been practically too afraid to walk down the stairs with the baby in his arms.
"Give her here. You want some banana?" At Katy’s nod, she turned toward the kitchen. "Wanna get the paper?"
"Sure." She pointed toward the front door and disappeared into the back of the house.
He opened the door and snagged the paper, then looked around at "his" yard and neighborhood. Damn! Nicely landscaped, no leaves on the trees. Katy would enjoy playing in this yard. He opened the paper and glanced at the front page. President Gore? What the. . . He searched for the date, stopped, then headed in the direction he’d seen Scully go.
He located them in the kitchen and watched as Scully broke off some banana and placed it on Katy’s highchair tray. "What day is it Scully?" His voice was almost steady.
"The fourth I think, yeah, the fourth of February." She looked up.
Now her eyes focused on him and she forgot the banana in her hands. "2002."
"Scully, when I went to sleep last night it was 1999." They just stared at each other for a moment, until Katy demanded more banana and brought them back to themselves.
He sank into the chair next to Katy. "When did we get together Scully?"
She sat opposite him, tearing off another hunk of banana. "April of 1999. You came into the office on Monday morning, let’s see, April 5, and you were different. I’m not sure how to describe it. You were just, confident. You grabbed me and told me we were getting married and that we were perfect for each other."
Mulder looked like he was about to choke. "And you bought that?"
"Bought it? Mulder, I’d been waiting for it for years!"
The groan that elicited from him caused Katy to look up for a full investigation. "You’re going to tell me I wasted all that time?"
"We wasted a little, maybe, but we got to know each other Mulder. It was worth it to be friends like we are first. That was the first time you mentioned Katy."
"Katy? How could I have known about her?"
"It didn’t occur to me that you did. You said something like "I want a daughter with red curly hair with you, we’ll call her Katy’. That’s the way I remember it. That was before you came clean about the ova rescue." Her eyebrow rose at that memory.
"We’re past that now, right?" He looked a little wary, not a secret he would have given up lightly.
"I suppose, but if you ever keep anything from me like that again. . . " She let the threat trail off.
"So when did we get married?" Change the subject, stupid!
"Two weeks later, April 17. Both of our mothers and Skinner and the guys came. Let me go get the pictures." She rose tossing the banana peel in the trash and handing him the box of Cheerios. "Two or three at a time, Mulder. Don’t you dare give her another handful of these."
"Yes ma’am." Well, there was obviously a story behind that he wanted to hear someday. He watched Katy place the small circle in her mouth and suck on it thoroughly before taking it out and offering it to him. What was he supposed to do with that? He took it from her and pretended to place it in his own mouth. She beamed at him. Good, he’d made the correct choice. Now how did he get this wet thing out of his hand? He was interrupted when Scully returned carrying a photo album.
"Okay Katy. You want down now?" She put the album on the table and wiped her protesting face, then lifted the baby out of the highchair and placed her inside the fenced-in area of the great room. Katy immediately grabbed a blue plastic elephant and began sucking on its trunk.
"That’s Peanuts, her favorite toy. You gave it to her the day she was born."
Mulder just sat there, totally bemused at the competence Scully displayed in this new and strange environment. "Okay, Mulder. This is us at our wedding."
He realized his hand was shaking slightly as he reached for the book. Best damn dream he’d ever had and if not waking up was an option, he wanted it – desperately!
She looked so beautiful. She was wearing a cream colored dress, tea length, a little baby’s breath in her hair and carrying peach colored roses. He had on a dark suit and was grinning like an idiot. Sure enough, there was Skinner and the guys. Who would have thought Langly owned a suit. Both of their mothers were there. Mrs. Scully looked like she’d shed a few happy tears, his mother was stoic as usual, but she was there, that was nice. There was a strange man standing with Scully in one of the pictures and he pointed to him.
"That’s Charlie. Bill couldn’t make it."
"Couldn’t?" He looked up at her.
"Well, things are better between you two now that you’ve made an honest woman out of me and of course, Katy."
"You’re saying I still haven’t really met this Charlie brother of yours." He grinned at her.
"I’ll work on that." She squeezed his hand.
"Wait a minute! This means we aren’t partners anymore! We can’t work together."
"No, Mulder, it’s okay. Technically we are not partners. I’m now a forensic consultant to the FBI, rather than working directly for them. I still get called in on all the juicy cases."
"That’s how we could afford this house?"
She smiled at him; "It helped."
"So do you go on cases with other agents?" He didn’t look very happy at the thought.
"Don’t you trust me, Mulder?"
"Yes, but I don’t trust any other agent at the Bureau, especially not alone with you in another city."
"I held you at bay for nearly six years." She gently squeezed his hand.
"If they’re in the next room thinking what I was thinking, I’m going to kill them now." His voice was light, but the look in his eyes wasn’t.
"Thank you. It’s nice to know you’re not tired of me yet." That look showed he couldn’t conceive of such a thing. He started to speak when they both heard Katy scream.
He was on his feet and racing for her before Scully had time to process the sound. Katy had gotten herself caught behind the toy basket and didn’t have the concept of backing out firmly in her head. Her tears dried magically in his arms.
He turned to look at Scully, still a little shaky. "Am I good to her?"
"Oh Mulder, you’re the best, absolutely the best, father ever and have been since the minute she was born."
"Was I there?" That longing look in his face brought tears to her eyes.
"Every second. I could never have gotten through it without you. You even cut the cord."
Total fascination flooded his face, trying to visualize that scene. "How long did it take?"
"Sixteen hours." She was holding his hand by this time. He winced at her answer. "No Mulder, it was fine. I’d do it again in a second."
"Is that something we’ve discussed?"
"In passing. She’s still a little young and I want her to have all the baby time she needs." He nodded, tearing his eyes away from Scully to look back down at the baby girl in his arms.
"Scully, I think this is what happened."
"What? I don’t understand." She was smoothing back Katy’s hair, but he could tell he had her full attention.
"I was here, I saw this and then I went back to 1999. I knew and that’s where I got the confidence to ask you to marry me."
"Mulder that’s ridiculous. That can’t happen. Something has caused you to forget, temporarily, the last few years." She had stressed the hell out of temporarily. "It will come back to you. I don’t know why you developed that confidence, but I know it wasn’t from time traveling."
"How did I know about Katy?" They had slipped into their roles as partners without thinking. Him with the outlandish theories, her with the logic and scientific take.
Katy, on hearing her name, decided that she had been ignored long enough and grabbed his nose. It broke them both up and he sank onto the sofa with both of them in his arms.
"You know, I don’t care. As long as it happens, okay happened." He winked at Scully, "This is what I always wanted, I just didn’t let myself know it. I was afraid to let myself know it. Can it last Scully?"
"Don’t do that Mulder. It has lasted, even Bill thinks we’re good together, now. We’ve been together going on ten years, you’re still my best friend, even if you can’t see the scientific view yet."
"Maybe I just enjoy listening to you explain it too much to let on." She swatted at him.
"If we’re taking the day off, there are things around here I need to do. Spend some time with your Princess and I’ll check on you in a little while."
"Scully?" She rose from the sofa and started for the kitchen.
"You’ll be okay Mulder. Yell if you get in over your head."
"I love you Scully." She turned back at the tone in his voice and smiled.
"I know." She whispered. "I’ve always known."
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris, 10-13 and Fox – Bless them for it!! No infringement intended.