She used the tub to pull herself back to her feet and managed to take the two steps to the sink. She splashed cool water on her face and reached for her toothbrush. What the hell was wrong with her? Sheíd barely eaten in the last couple of days and she was still sick. She needed to get ready for work, but all she really wanted to do was crawl back in bed until whatever this was had passed.
She shook her head and stepped in the shower. She had no fever, so she wasnít contagious, and the shower was making her feel better. Keep moving, Dana, youíre fine. And she was fine, until around two in the afternoon when she realized she simply could not hold her eyes open for another minute. She managed to rise to her feet; "Iím going to go get some air."
"You okay?" Mulder looked up surprised.
"Yeah, I just need a break." She headed for the door. Walking helped, she didnít feel like her eyes were going to close on her anymore. This had to be a virus. Maybe she should take a day, just to rest up or something. At least the rest of the day, she could run a couple of errands then head home. Yeah, she needed this.
Back in the office she pulled her purse from the desk. "Mulder, Iím taking the afternoon. Iíve got some things to do."
"Oh, okay. Can we hook up for dinner?"
"Let me give you a call." He nodded and watched her leave the room, his eyes drinking her in. As the door shut he glanced around as though to make sure no one had observed him. Talk about paranoid.
The air revived her so she did stop at the market. She knew she was almost out of laundry detergent and a couple of other things. She took the cart down the aisles, putting an occasional item in the basket. She was in the womenís hygiene department and staring at the assortment when she realized she hadnít bought any supplies since. . . when was the last time? She had no idea how long she stood there, or when the home pregnancy test appeared in her hand. When she noticed it she dropped it as though it had burnt her. "No!"
She didnít realize sheíd spoken aloud until she saw the startled face of the man beside her. He bent over and retrieved the box for her, handing it to her but keeping his distance.
She murmured her thanks and he nodded, retreating from the aisle. The box was tossed into the cart and she headed for the checkout, forgetting everything she hadnít already purchased.
The drive home was a blur. Her purchases were dumped on the kitchen table and forgotten except for the one box. That was opened and the instructions spread out in front of her. Wait until morning? Yeah, she could sit here in near catatonia for twelve hours. Sure.
She retreated to the bathroom and opened the sterile
packet. Okay, five minutes, wait five minutes for an answer. She glanced back at
the stick and froze. It hadnít even been two minutes, but already she knew.
She watched the stick fall from her hand. It seemed to take hours before it hit the floor and bounced. She retreated from the bathroom closing the door behind her as though trapping a monster.
Time passed without meaning. She was vaguely aware of a disturbance, then a voice. She managed to look over at the door before realizing that her answering machine was taking a call.
"Scully? Give me a call when you get home. Okay? Later." Mulderís voice quit and she still hadnít moved.
This was her fault. When she and Mulder had finally become lovers heíd offered to use condoms. But the fact was she knew his medical history better than he did, and she knew without a doubt that she was barren. Her abductors had made certain of that. So what had happened? She couldnít even manage to deal with this herself; what was she going to say to him? Was she going to say anything? That thought startled her, what were her alternatives?
She only became aware sheíd zoned out again when the phone rang a second time. The caller hung up when her message began. Mulder, wondering where she was, but not wanting to let her know he was worried.
She had to pull herself together. If this was true, and it certainly looked like it, she had to get her act together. She was facing a monumental life style change. She needed to think, she needed some time.
Scully checked her watch and after waiting a full fifteen minutes picked up the phone. "Mulder? Itís me. Sorry itís so late."
"I wasnít asleep. You get all your errands run?"
"Yeah. Anything come up at work?"
"Nah, itís very dull when youíre gone."
"Too bad, Ďcause I wonít be there tomorrow either."
"Scully, is everything okay?" He spoke quietly, concern coloring his voice.
"Sure. I had a message that they need me to do an autopsy tomorrow at Quantico. Itíll probably take all day."
"Oh, okay. This isnít just way to get me to do more paperwork?"
"Would it work if it were?" She heard his chuckle and marveled at how normal he sounded. He didnít have a clue, no reason to suspect anything was wrong.
She got ready for bed, fully expecting to lie awake all night. Instead she was asleep in minutes and the sun was high when she woke. She glanced at the clock and realized she hadnít set the alarm last night. A wave of nausea hit her. Maybe if she just lay still it would pass. Deep breaths, try to relax. No. She bolted from the bed and made it to the bathroom just in time. When her spasms passed she leaned her head against the cool porcelain.
How long was this supposed to last? She rose, cleaned herself up and stumbled back to bed. It was well after lunch when hunger woke her. So this was what sheíd yearned so for, was her thought as she gobbled down a piece of bread.
Her thought processes were no less tangled than they had been last night. She needed to get away, just for the weekend. Maybe sheíd be able to think straight by then. After a piece of cold chicken, another slice of bread and the rest of the potato salad she took her shower. She was still unsure if she was ready to face the rest of the day.
She threw a few things in her bag, since she had no sense of where she was going the decisions on clothing were harder than they should have been.
A quick call to her motherís machine assured her that she wouldnít be worried about her. She glanced at her watch, great; sheíd screwed around until rush hour. She might as well hang around a little longer. The beltway on a Friday night at this time would be a parking lot.
Scully was headed for her bedroom when the knock on her door startled her. She turned back and checked out the peephole.
"Mulder?" She opened the door and let him in. "What are you Ė "
"Brought supper." He held up the paper bag. "I thought you might be tired from being on your feet all day." She recognized the aroma of Chinese food and struggled not to gag. He couldnít help noticing her lack of enthusiasm.
"Iím just not hungry Mulder."
"Thatís okay. It is a little early." He carried the food on into her kitchen and put it on the counter. Must have been a bad autopsy, she wasnít in a very good mood. "Bad day?" He called back into the living room.
When she didnít respond he turned back. She was still standing in the same place when he returned. Before he could speak he spotted her suitcase near the door. "Going somewhere?" He kept his voice carefully controlled.
"I just need to get away for a little while. I need to think about a few things."
"Without me." He stated it flatly, though his chest now felt tight , constricted.
"I need some time, there are things Ė"
"Hey, I understand. Have a good time Scully. I'll. . . Iíll see you Monday." He moved toward the door.
"Donít you want to take the food?"
"Iíve lost my appetite Scully. You can have it." He was moving faster though not quite running.
"Mulder!" But he had closed the door in nearly a slam and was gone. "Mulder." She repeated uselessly and sank onto the couch. What was he thinking? What did he believe was going on? Shit! Could she possibly handle this any worse than she already was?
Passage of time came to her when she saw the streetlights blink on. She couldnít go out of town, not now. She needed to talk to Mulder. Sheíd hurt him and she needed to fix that. He didnít deserve that from her.
At his apartment she didnít bother to knock, letting herself in with her key. He was on the couch, his arm over his eyes. "Mulder, we need to talk."
"Yeah Scully, I guess we do." He sat up finally and faced her.
"Mulder, I Ė"
"I think itís my turn Scully. You need to know how I feel." She opened her mouth, but he plowed on. "Iíve given you the control in our relationship all these months. Weíve done things your way, we stay in separate rooms out of town, I come to you when you invite me. Iíve made no secret to you that I was in love with you, but Iíve not asked the same from you. If youíre not comfortable with this relationship, if you don't want to be with me, fine. You don't have to sneak out of town to think up some way to let me down easy. Iím a big boy. I can handle Ė"
"- the fact that. . . " It took that long for the words to penetrate. "What did you say?" He wanted to stand now, but wasnít sure he could.
"I said Iím pregnant." His eyes scanned her body.
"I thought. . . "
"So did I. I was going away for a couple of days to figure
out how to tell you."
"I didnít realize I was that intimidating. . . or, are you deciding if you want to have it?"
"What? No! That never, I never. . . " He made it to his feet now.
"So you want to have it?" He was close enough to touch her now, but didnít, just standing over her.
"Of course I want it. That never occurred to me. Itís ours." As though that explained everything, but she wouldnít look him in the eye. He swallowed, at a complete loss of what to say.
She looked up at him then; "Do you really not know how I feel about you?"
He looked at her for a moment, "Wanting to have my baby says a lot."
"You havenít said if you want it."
"What? Scully, I want it. I very much want it." His hands twitched to hold her.
"Really?" For the first time he saw tears in her eyes. That settled it, he gathered her to him, holding her as close as he could. He could feel her nails digging into his skin through his t-shirt trying to get even closer.
He guided her to the couch. "Take it easy Scully. Just relax."
"Youíre really in love with me?" She said it in such a small voice.
"How can you doubt that Scully? Youíre the only person in my life. Well, I guess now thereís two." She looked up startled and saw the grin on his face.
"Mulder, I didnít do this to trap you. Iím not asking Ė"
"I got you pregnant, not the other way around. Have you told your mother?"
"I only found out last night. Iím still in shock."
"But getting rid of it was never. . . " She buried her face in his chest and his arms tightened around her again. "You need to relax Scully. Lean back." He pushed her gently back on the couch, lifted her feet into his lap and slipped off her shoes.
"What are you doing?"
"Iím rubbing your feet." She allowed her eyes to close and took a deep breath. His hands continued their massage, working his way up her calves toward her knees.
"Getting personal arenít you?" Her eyes were still closed.
"Iíd certainly like to." Her foot moved in his lap.
"You certainly would."
"Inappropriate Scully?" She shook her head. "How do you feel?"
"Pretty good right now." She snuggled down in the couch.
"Meaning you havenít been feeling well." There was no response. "Scully?"
Her foot moved again and he lost his train of thought.
"Mulder?" There was a hint of a smile in her voice.
"Iím here." He managed to reply. She withdrew her feet and heard his mild groan. She stood and took his hand.
"Take me to bed Mulder."
"Here?" Theyíd always gone to her apartment, one of her rules.
"Scully, Iíve never been with a pregnant woman."
"Sure you have, we just didnít know."
A slow smile grew on his face. "I guess youíre right there." He led her into his bedroom and seated her on the bed. He lifted her arms over her head and slipped her sweater off, then unfastened her bra. Her eyes were three quarters closed but he could see her watching him.
He lay her back on the pillow and unbuttoned her slacks, easing them down her hips. Her underwear followed and he leaned over taking in the beauty of her body and marveling once again that they were finally together.
"Are you just going to look at me tonight?"
"For a while. I wasnít sure Iíd get the chance again."
"Mulder, Iím sorry, I Ė"
"Your breasts are bigger."
"Iím an FBI agent, I notice things like that."
She smiled up at him; "Youíre a pervert, thatís why you notice things like that." He shrugged, not denying it. "I need you Mulder. Please"
His hesitation was minimal, then his t-shirt joined her clothes on the chair where heíd tossed them, following quickly by his own jeans and boxers.
She was in no mood to play tonight, needing to feel his hard body against hers. She cried out with him as his hot seed filled her and her nails made marks on his shoulders.
Instead of easing his weight down on her, he turned, pulling her onto him, her head tucked under his chin. Neither spoke for a while, just savoring the presence, the existence of the other.
She was nearly asleep lying safe in his arms when he spoke, "Scully, marry me."
"Marry me. Weíll be a family. Iíll quit the FBI, no more traveling, I can teach or something."
"I canít think about that right now. Besides, I could never take you away from your work. You love it."
"I love you."
"I know. We donít have to make any decisions right now. This is enough for now."
He caressed her hair, "Go to sleep Scully. I have you, itís okay. Sleep now."
She was alone in the bed when she woke. Mulderís bed, she knew immediately. Before she had time to wonder where he was the door opened. "You awake?"
"Yeah. What time is it?"
"After nine. You want some coffee?" Her eyes had widened at his answer. He had let her sleep that long? Surprising, he enjoyed the mornings possibly more than the nights.
"Nine? Are you kidding?" He smiled, shaking his head.
"How are you feeling?"
That caught her attention. "I feel fine, I mean really. I feel good. Itís been awhile. I may have to move in."
"I hope youíre not expecting a protest from me. About that coffee?"
"I better not, no caffeine."
"I got decaf."
"When did you buy decaf coffee?"
"This morning, while you were oversleeping. I got juice too, and milk." She couldnít help laughing. "What?"
"Nothing, itís . . . you look after me very well. I havenít felt this good for days. Donít suppose youíd want to join me?"
"You making me an offer I canít refuse?"
"Hope so." He lost no time waiting for a second invitation, shedding his clothes quickly, the breakfast heíd planned long forgotten.
Sated once again he lay with his head on her stomach as though listening for the faint sounds of the baby.
"How big is he?"
"He?" Mulder grinned and shrugged. "I donít know. This isnít my field. Linda will need to do an ultrasound to determine my due date."
"Can I be there?"
"Of course. You can be there for anything you want."
"I want to be there when heís born."
"He again? You donít want a daughter?"
"If she looks like you I would." She ran her fingers through his hair.
"Iíll see what I can do." Her face grew serious and he raised his head to look at her.
"Mulder, youíve never talked about children, wanting them I mean. How do you really feel?"
"I told you last night, I want this baby."
"Suddenly? You just decide you want a family because I tell you Iím pregnant?"
"No. Thatís not it. Iíve wanted a family, I just didnít talk about it."
She swallowed and then spoke quickly before she chickened out. "Because you wanted it with someone else?"
He stared at her, where were these insecurities coming from? She knew better, surely she knew better than that. "No Scully, because Iíve known longer than you about what we thought was your sterility. If it was a moot point, why bring it up?"
She nodded slowly. That was the reason she was in such shock, still not quite believing. Sheíd given up on it, on having a child of her own, his child. And since heíd never mentioned it she had assumed he was relieved not to have to worry about birth control. She hadnít given him enough credit.
Look at what heíd already done for her, getting decaf coffee, milk, asking to marry her - all with less than twenty-four hours to assimilate this information. No, she didnít give him enough credit. But she was going to start now. A lot of things were going to start now.