He let himself into the apartment with his own key, shutting and bolting the door behind him. “Anyone home?”
He grinned as the little blond burst out of the bedroom and threw herself into his arms. He lifted her from the floor and her arms went around his neck, squeezing him tight. “Mommy! Mulder’s here.” She called back toward the bedroom.
Scully emerged then and smiled at the sight. Only Mulder could see that she was troubled. His eyes asked the question, but she shook her head slightly, so he waited. She would tell him later, when Emily wasn’t around.
He turned back to the little girl. “What did my two favorite girls do today?”
“We went to the park and Mommy started a new book and then she let me help make dinner. You can stay can’t you?”
“I don’t know, do you think there’s enough?”
“We always cook extra in case you come over.” Emily said.
Startled Mulder looked over at Scully. She was bending down to pick up some nonexistent trash, but he saw the pink in her cheeks. “Well, I’ll have to remember that and come over more often.”
“Good.” Emily squeezed his neck again.
“Emily, why don’t you finish setting the table?” Scully asked quietly.
“Okay.” Mulder let her down and she hurried to the kitchen.
Mulder watched her disappear around the corner, then moved closer to Scully so that they could speak quietly. “Is everything okay?” He touched her arm.
She gave a slight shrug, “They’re still coming up with problems.”
“About the adoption?”
She glanced toward the kitchen to make sure they weren’t overheard. “I’ll work it out.” She stepped away from him then and after a moment, he followed her to the table.
“We made chicken,” Emily announced, “and broccoli and rice.”
“Do you like broccoli?” Mulder grinned down at her.
“I like the little tree part with enough cheese, but I don’t like the trunks.”
Mulder took his seat across from Scully, so they were flanking the little girl. He nodded in agreement. “That’s the way I like it too.”
“Well you both need to eat a few of the trunks too.” Scully admonished and raised her eyebrow at Mulder when he made a face. Emily laughed at him and his smile grew. Scully drank in the sight.
Mulder appreciated a few bites, then stopped just to watch the little girl. Scully noted it smiling. At the silence Emily looked up.
“I was just admiring you.” Mulder said, “You look very nice, happy, healthy . . . “
“Yes.” She was looking at her plate again, concentrating on getting maximum cheese on the piece of broccoli. “Ever since I died and Aunt Melissa sent me back, I’ve been real healthy.”
Mulder gaped at her, until he heard Scully’s dropped fork hit her plate. She was staring at the girl and tears had escaped her eyes. Abruptly she rose and all but ran from the room.
Emily looked up startled. “What’s wrong with Mommy?”
“Uh, I uh, I think those were happy tears; knowing you’re not sick anymore.”
Emily nodded, accepting that. After a couple of minutes, Mulder looked back at Emily. “I think I’ll go check on her.”
He stood, and giving her hair a short caress, went in search of Scully.
The bathroom door was closed, so he tapped on it, but opened it without waiting for an invitation. Scully was seated on the side of the tub, her face in her hands.
He sat beside her. “She is okay.”
“I know.” Her words were muffled.
“Scully, there have been hundreds of medically documented cases where the person has a near-death experience and awakened cured.”
“Hundreds?” She finally looked up at him.
He shrugged, “Dozens.” He let his arm go around her then. “What else? Something was wrong before I got here.”
“They still want her. Maybe now more than ever. They keep throwing up roadblocks.”
“A single woman - “
“With no long term relationships, work that demands travel . . . “ They sat in silence for a moment. “Scully, I can fix some of that.” He hurried on before she could interrupt. “Marry me.”
She looked up, blinking, stunned silent.
“I’m not kidding around, Scully. Emily likes me and you’ve managed to tolerate me for years. I know it’s probably not ideal for you, but once the adoption is completed . . .”
“Mulder, Emily adores you. And I more than tolerate you.” She gave him a little quirk of a smile. “I appreciate you even considering something like this, but I can’t ask - “
“I’m the one asking here, Scully. I could get down on one knee, if you - “
“Mulder, we’re in the bathroom.”
He closed his eyes, shaking his head slightly. “Guess I’m not the king of romance here, but I am serious, Scully. Think about it. We could make sure that little girl is protected.”
“Mulder - “
“I know I’ve sprung this on you. Think about it, please. For now, splash some water on your face. We need to get back to her.”
Scully nodded and felt his hand on her arm, helping her to her feet. Marry him? It was a fantasy she’d never allowed herself to explore. Now wasn’t a good time to explore it either.
Emily had finished her meal, and was waiting patiently for them. She rose and gave Scully a hug. “I ate my broccoli, even a few of the trunks.”
Scully looked over her plate. “That’s very good, Sweetheart. I need to run you a bath. Let me get the dishes - “
“I can do the dishes.” Mulder offered. Scully looked over at him. “Hey, it’s the least I can do when two beautiful women cook for me.” He winked at Emily. “Go on, I can handle this.”
Shaking her head slightly, Scully led Emily out of the room. He washed the dishes rather than fill the dishwasher, and finished up just before Scully and Emily, wearing pajamas, joined him in the living room.
“I guess I should get out of - “ Mulder started, but Emily interrupted him.
“Can Mulder read my story to me? He makes the funny voices when he reads.” She looked up at Scully.
“He might be busy.” Scully said quietly, not looking at Mulder.
“I’m never too busy for that.” He grinned at the girl and let her lead him into the bedroom she currently shared with her mother. Emily scrambled into the bed and pulled the sheet up over her legs as Scully picked a book from the stack by the bed.
“Hey, I know this one.” Mulder took it from her and settled beside Emily. He opened In the Night Kitchen and began to read. Scully had to smile; he did use funny voices. She changed her mind about checking the kitchen and stayed, taking a seat at the foot of the bed.
When the book was finished, Emily lay down on the pillow and pulled the sheet up to her neck. Mulder rose and leaned down to give her a kiss on the cheek. She squeezed his neck again and then hugged Scully when she gave her a goodnight kiss as well.
Scully clicked on the small lamp at the door, then pulled it closed behind her and Mulder. He trailed her back to the living room and watched as she peeked into the kitchen. “Did I meet your standards?” He asked quickly.
“You did a very good job, Mulder. Thank you.”
He winked at her, “Just another service I can provide.” He headed for door, grabbing up his jacket.
“Mulder? Are you leaving?”
“Yeah, I have some research to do, and you have some thinking to do. Can I bring a pizza for dinner tomorrow?”
“Come for dinner, but no pizza. We’ll think of something.”
He nodded and opened the door. “Mulder?” He stopped and looked back at her. “N-nothing. See you tomorrow.”
“Count on it.” He stepped out into the hall and pulled the door closed. She moved in that direction and locked up, then sank onto the couch, her mind reeling.
Mulder tapped on the door one more time, then, let himself into the apartment. He was more than a little nervous, but only Scully would be able to tell, and he was going to try to hide it from her. He’d spent some time today researching the roadblocks on her adoption of Emily and all of them were specious and should disappear if she were married.
He set a bag at the end of the couch and straightened up. “Hello?” He called out.
Scully stepped out of the kitchen and he became aware of the delicious aroma coming from that direction. “Hi.”
“Hi. Where’s Emily?”
“She’s changing clothes. She got something on her t-shirt and couldn’t let you see that.” She smiled.
“Good, we have a minute. Come here.” He took her hand and led her to the couch, seating her at the far end. He took a seat beside her. “I hope you’ve had some time to think, but I want to do this right.” He slipped down onto one knee as her eyes widened. “Dana Katherine Scully, would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?” He slipped the small black velvet box out of his pocket.
Her eyes widened and she didn’t seem to be breathing. He opened the small box and heard her gasp. “Mulder, you didn’t - “
“It was my Grandmother Mulder’s. I know it’s not a diamond solitaire, but . . . “
“Mulder, emeralds are my favorite, but this is a family heirloom.”
you and Emily are my family. Come on Scully, say you’ll marry - “
“Oh Mommy! Yes, please say yes!” Emily burst into the room and jumped onto the couch beside her.
“Well, that’s one.” Mulder grinned at the little blond.
“I just don’t want you to feel that I’ve taken advantage - “
“Scully, I’m asking you, remember?”
Emily seemed to be holding her breath now as Scully looked back and forth between the two.
She finally took a deep breath, “I don’t think you know what you’re doing Mulder, but if you’re sure . . . “
“Is that a yes?” Mulder asked quickly.
After a moment, she nodded. Emily’s squeal drowned out Mulder’s sigh of relief. “Kiss her, Mulder!”
Scully’s eyes widened and her cheeks pinked as Mulder’s smile grew. “You think I should, huh?” Mulder looked over at Emily. She nodded vigorously. “I think it’s a good idea too.” He leaned forward and gave her a chaste kiss on the lips.
Scully thought she heard him breathe the word “later” into her mouth, but couldn’t be quite sure. Mulder rose from his knee then and joined his two ladies on the couch.
Emily immediately climbed into his lap and looked up at him and then Scully. “Can I call you Daddy when we get married?”
Scully’s eyes filled immediately as she saw the emotion on Mulder’s face and bobbing of his Adam’s apple as he tried to swallow the lump in his throat. “You sure can, Baby.” He pulled her to him and closed his eyes for an instant, then opened them to look at Scully. “Thank you.” He mouthed to her.
She nodded, keeping quiet herself.
After a few moments Emily sat up. “We made a special dinner tonight.”
“You d-did?” He cleared his throat, looking over at Scully.
Emily nodded. “Come on, you’ll see.” She jumped down and tugged on Mulder’s hand. He rose and held out his hand to Scully. She took it and stood beside him.
“A special dinner? Any occasion?” He whispered to her.
The color rose on her cheeks but she didn’t respond, just headed toward the kitchen. Mulder winked at Emily and retrieved the bag he had hidden. They moved into the kitchen together to see Scully dishing up the beef in wine sauce and baby carrots. Rebaked potatoes were already on the plates.
“Why Scully, you can cook!” Mulder only grinned at the eyebrow rising. He placed the bag on the counter and pulled out two bottles. One held champagne, the other sparkling grape juice.
“Sure of yourself, huh?”
“A mere show of confidence.” He opened the cabinet holding the wine glasses without having to ask, and poured Emily a glass of the grape juice.
Once they were seated at the table, Mulder lifted his glass. “A toast?” Scully picked up her glass and Emily imitated her. “To family.”
Scully realized he wasn’t able to say anymore. “To family.” She quietly repeated and touched her glass to his.
“My family.” Emily said and rose up on her knees to join the fun.
Scully saw him close his eyes, taking in the emotion.
After dinner, Mulder again took over clean up while Emily got ready for bed. He read the story again to his two girls. After he kissed Emily goodnight, Scully motioned for him to wait for her in the living room.
He was on the couch with two more glasses of champagne when she emerged. She took a seat beside him and accepted the glass he offered. “I think we need to talk, Mulder.”
She blinked at that, but took a sip of the champagne and continued. “Mulder, you really don’t have to do this.”
“When is it going to cross your mind that I want to do this?” He watched her.
“For Emily.” She didn’t look up, studying her glass.
She glanced up then, “Partly?” He leaned in then for a second kiss. This one was not chaste; in fact she felt her nerve endings singe as he consumed her. She was clinging to him as the only stability on the planet.
When they finally broke for air, she realized they were reclined on the couch and she was on top of him. They were both breathing as though from running for their lives. He was watching her face and spoke quietly, “partly.”
She pulled back then and sat beside him. She attempted to ignore the bulge in his slacks. She adjusted her blouse and forced her breathing under control. “When, uh when were you thinking . . . “
That got her attention and her head swung in his direction. “This Saturday?”
He nodded, “Before they can come up with other reasons to take her from you. I know that doesn’t give you a lot of time to plan a big wedding.”
“I don’t want a big wedding.”
“You don’t? I thought all women wanted the elaborate ceremony and all the trimmings.”
“No. I’ve planned my wedding many times. I want my mother, Charlie if he can come.”
“He and Tara can’t travel with Matt yet, and I don’t think you’d be that comfortable with him there anyway. Your mother, the guys and maybe Skinner.”
“He came through for us when . . .”
Mulder nodded, then grinned. “You planned a wedding, where my mother came?”
Color flooded her cheeks at that. “Mulder, we’ve all but lived together for years. I’ve imagined a lot of things.”
He was leering now and she rolled her eyes. “We need to talk to your mother.” He reminded her, “Especially if you want Charlie here.”
“I’ll call Mom and we can go over tomorrow night, unless you want me to talk to her alone?”
“No, I want to be there.”
She nodded and he rose from the couch. “I should get out of here. Get some sleep.” He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.
He pulled up in front of Mrs. Scully’s house and parked. Emily had been very quiet on the ride over. He opened Scully’s door and took her hand, then opened the back door and unfastened Emily from her car seat. Rather than walk, she clung to him and he settled her on his hip, his other hand on Scully’s back.
Maggie had obviously been watching for them and opened the front door before they got to it. Her smile was welcoming, but a little nervous too. Mulder knew she wasn’t comfortable around her new granddaughter. Everything about the girl had been disturbing, the way she was found, her parentage, and her ‘death’.
“It’s so good to see all of you.” Maggie touched the little girl’s back and Mulder felt her arms tighten around his neck. “Emily? I’m so glad you came to dinner tonight. I want to get to know my only granddaughter.”
Emily turned to look at her then, from the safety of Mulder’s arms. “I’m the only girl?”
Maggie smiled, nodding. “My son Charlie has two sons, Will and Sam, and my older son, Bill has a new baby, Matthew.”
“Melissa didn’t have any children; that’s one of the reasons she helped me.” Emily nodded.
Maggie looked stunned at those words.
Scully moved closer to Emily. “That’s right, Honey. But you’re with us now.” She gave Maggie time to compose herself.
In a moment, Mulder cleared his throat. “Mrs. Scully, we need to talk to you.”
She looked up at him, “Is something wrong?”
“No, I hope you’ll think something’s right.” He glanced over at Scully. “Why don’t we have a seat?”
“Of, of course.” Maggie led them into the living room.
Emily made herself comfortable in Mulder’s lap. He glanced over to Scully to see if she wanted to take the lead on this and she nodded. “Mom, we have some good news. Mulder and I, and Emily,” she smiled, “are going to get married. That should make the adoption easier and - “
“Married? You and Fox? I . . . “ She glanced down at the little girl. “A ready-made family.”
“That’s right, Mrs. Scully.” Mulder looked her directly in the eye. “I’ve loved Scully for years and now her daughter will be mine as well.”
Maggie blinked, but nodded. “Have you set a date?”
“Saturday.” Scully said quietly. “I’d like to invite Charlie. I know Bill won’t be able to come.”
“This Saturday?” Maggie asked, “Have, have you spoken to Father McCue?”
“No. We wanted to talk to you first.” Mulder answered for them.
“It’s going to be a very small wedding, Mom. Just the family really. You and Charlie, his family if they can come, Mrs. Mulder and some very close friends of ours.”
Mulder watched the woman ground herself.
“Well, we have a lot to do before Saturday. You two girls need dresses. We can go shopping tomorrow. You’d like that wouldn’t you, Emily?”
A shy smile grew on the little girl’s face.
“That’s settled then. We can go to the mall tomorrow, have lunch and pick out the prettiest dress we can find for both of you.”
It was an early evening and after Mulder took them home, he returned to his apartment and called his mother.
“Mom, it’s Fox. Did I wake you?”
“No, I was reading. Is everything okay?”
“Yes, that’s why I’m calling. I’m getting a commendation on Saturday and I’m hoping you can come down for the ceremony.”
“That’s wonderful, Fox. What time?”
“Well, it would be great if you could be here before noon. We could have a nice lunch first.” He closed his eyes, guilt over his lie filling him. He hated that he didn’t feel free to tell her the truth, but Emily’s safety was paramount and as horrible as he felt, he knew his mother had . . . connections he didn’t understand.
“Think you can make it? I’d really like to have you there.”
“That’s very sweet, Fox. Yes, I believe I can make it. I’ll call you back with my arrangements. I’ll probably fly down.”
“That’s great, Mom. I’ll pick you up. Thanks.”
“I’m glad you called, Fox. See you Saturday morning.”
He hung up and did his best not to think about his deception.
The next morning he headed for Skinner’s office first. Kim wasn’t there; Skinner was inside fixing his cup of coffee. He looked up when Mulder tapped on the door. “Do we have a meeting?” He asked quickly.
“No, uh, no Sir. I had a, an invitation for you.”
“Yes, from Scully and I. Are you busy Saturday afternoon?”
“Uh, no, not that I know of. What’s going on?” He walked around his desk and took a seat. Mulder remained on his feet. “Mulder?”
“Scully and I are getting married on Saturday. We’d like you to be there.”
Skinner had frozen; his cup half way to his lips. Mulder couldn’t help the quirk to his lips.
“Married? You and Scully?”
“Yes.” His voice dry. He took a deep breath, “They won’t give Scully full custody of Emily. Right now, they’re using her single status as the excuse. I, we want to fix that before they come up with something else. Right now the only people that know we’re planning this are Mrs. Scully and you.”
Skinner blinked at that, “You, Scully and you, want me there?”
“Yeah, we do.” Mulder nodded.
“Thank you.” He said solemnly. “I’d be honored. Where and when?”
“The Catholic church on 8th.” He grinned at the look on Skinner’s face. “Afternoon, two, in the small chapel.”
“I take it this is confidential.”
Skinner nodded. A bemused expression took over his face.
Mulder sank into his regular chair. “Go ahead, get it out. You can’t believe she agreed to this.”
“Actually, I’m wondering what took so long.”
Mulder gaped at him, unable to come up with a retort.
“Get to work, Mulder. I assume you’re going to want to take a few days. You need to get your paperwork up to date, right?”
“Uh, yeah.” Mulder rose. “Thanks.”
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.