He woke when the sun found a slit in the curtains and hit him in the eye. It was after 8, they both must have been exhausted. He carefully left the bed and started coffee in the pot provided by the motel. He needed the caffeine to get his mind working, hell under these circumstances he might even relent and let her have some. The guys, heíd call them, see if they could find out anything. No way to contact Skinner. Her mother! Damn, sheíd have a fit with them missing.
Scully stirred and propped herself up on her elbows. It was easier than turning over. "Coffee?"
"Yeah, but only half a cup. Listen, I thought Iíd try to find a pay phone and call the guys, see if theyíve heard anything."
She took a deep breath. "I guess that would be the safest way. They certainly have enough gadgets on their phones. Should I go with you?"
"No. I want you to stay here."
"How long will you be gone?" What a weak thing to say. She had to get a grip, she was a capable adult damn it. He hadnít seemed to notice.
"Just a few minutes. Iíll go make the call and come right back. Then we can get some breakfast and anything else we might need."
"Okay. Be careful, Mulder." She wasnít used to being unable to look after herself completely. This was hard. He kissed her and smiled reassuringly, then let himself out the door.
She tensed, almost expecting gunshots. Of course there were none. No one had followed them and Kurt was on their side, she could feel it. It had made her that much readier to believe last night. She took a shower; nothing was quick anymore, but a short one and put back on the clothes she had worn the day before.
"Yeah?" Langly answered in his usual paranoid manner.
"Itís me, are the machines on?"
"Mulder! Thank god! Where are you?"
"Why? What happened?" Every nerve was on edge.
"Someone took your apartment apart last night. They apparently didnít find what they were looking for and it really ticked them off. Skinnerís ready to blow."
"How would you know that?"
"Because heís already called demanding any information on you from us. What did you do?"
"Nothing. We just got a tip someone was looking for us. Can you get word to her mother that sheís okay, without anyone else knowing?"
"Sure. Is it true, Mulder?"
"Yeah, for now. Weíre going to disappear for awhile, itís the only way I know to keep them safe. Iíll be in touch with you guys, no one else. I need to get off this line. Weíre okay. Tell her mother."
"You got it, Mulder. Let us know what you need and youíll get it."
"Thanks." He hung up and realized his hand was trembling. Kurt had been right. They wanted his son and they would have taken Scully to get him. Those bastards! Heíd thought that was over, the X-Files were practically mainstream now. Why couldnít they leave them alone? And how was he going to tell her? Shit.
He hurried back to the room, taking an alternate route, watching everything. No one that he could spot. Why didnít that reassure him? He took several deep breaths before entering. No reason to panic her, though sheíd probably take it better than he had.
One look at his face was enough. "Was anyone hurt?"
"Just the apartment. Skinner called the guys. Everyone thought they had us. Langly is going to get word to your mother."
At that, Scully began to cry. "Itís okay. Scully, please."
"No, Iím fine. Itís just. . . you remembered Mom, with everything else on your mind and you remembered to have someone reassure her."
"Hey, sheís my mother too, now. And sheíll skin me alive if I let anything happen to you two. You were right, you know. Weíre safe because of you." She tried to smile and almost succeeded.
"Go take your shower. We need to get out of here." She was already anxious to be gone.
"Okay, we need to get some things and decide where weíre going."
After a quick shower he came back in, towel drying his hair. "I thought weíd keep heading. . . Scully? What, why are you crying now?"
"Itís stupid. I was thinking about what they did to our apartment, all our wedding gifts." He couldnít think of a comment to that. It honestly had never crossed his mind. Everything he cared about in the world was stretched out on the bed in front of him.
They stopped at one of the mega-store outlets to get some supplies. Scully was less than thrilled with the selection of maternity clothes. Sheíd left her fairly expensive, more sophisticated suits behind. She held a smock up in front of her.
"Ruffles, Mulder? My god."
"You do look about sixteen years old."
"Great. I think Iíll stick with the denim jumper."
"They make that much denim?"
"Youíre begging to limp out of here." She glared at him. He backed up in mock fear, actually relieved that she would play.
They agreed to one outfit each, as well as nightclothes for her and underwear. They didnít want to arouse anyoneís suspicion by restocking too much. Toiletries were no problem, but they still kept their purchases small and their eyes open.
She refused to wait with their purchases at the door, and since he agreed he kept his mouth shut. They got fast food in order to keep moving, but he promised himself sheíd have a healthy meal that evening.
He insisted on driving no farther than Philadelphia that day, not wanting her to be in the car any longer.
"Scully, letís get an apartment. No one knows us in Philly."
"Itís too close to DC, Mulder. I want to keep heading west, Texas or California."
"You want to drive across country? Now? Scully, you canít. You are weeks away from delivery Ė I want us in a stable environment, near a good hospital Ė not in a car traveling through no where."
"Weeks, Mulder. You said it yourself. Weeks, not days."
"Linda said at your last appointment that you were through traveling until after he was born."
"That was before she knew weíd be running to save his life."
He didnít have an immediate response to that. How was he going to keep them both safe?
"Mulder." She put her hand on his leg. "Iím not helpless. Donít think of me that way. Weíll stay in Philadelphia tonight, then move on."
She was already more in control than he was. Was she really this calm? Her hand squeezed his thigh. "Weíre together Mulder."
He was able to draw a deeper breath at those words. She was right, they were still looking after each other.
He carried in the groceries, allowing her to carry only the milk despite the rolling of her eyes at him. They were putting things away when he saw her wince. "You okay?"
"You know whoís awake." His hand caressed her belly and his eyes widened at the activity he felt.
"Why donít you go lie down, put your feet up."
"Iím not an invalid, Mulder."
"Tell me youíre not tired."
"Well yes, Iím tired. Iím carrying thirty extra pounds in a very awkward way, that doesnít mean. . . "
His lips silenced her, and then he turned her toward the bedroom door. "Iíll put this stuff away and join you. Go on."
She sighed and obeyed his command. He wasted no time putting away the groceries, deciding this was his chore from now on. Heíd had no idea she could stretch to these proportions anyway. And she still had four weeks to go. He was awfully glad they had done all the testing they had earlier so that he knew there was only one baby. He stood at the door watching her lying on her side in their bed until she shifted trying to find a comfortable position.
He slipped off his shoes and joined her on the bed, his hand automatically going to the small of her back. She sighed as his hand eased some of the pressure on her strained muscles.
"We need to think about moving on in the next couple of days."
"Scully, we havenít seen anyone suspicious, no one weíve seen before. I really donít want to move you anymore." His hand did not stop the massage of her back.
"That makes me feel like a whale being air lifted."
"You know thatís not what I meant."
"One more move, Mulder. Even I know we have to quit sometime. I want to be settled before its time too. One more."
"Four weeks, right?"
"Thatís what Linda said." He missed her evasion with that answer, enjoying the feel of her skin under his hand until he realized she had fallen asleep. He smiled, these little naps of hers were becoming normal for him, and he loved watching them. Her abandonment to sleep was total, so he could watch her face and quite often her stomach as his son moved inside of her. It was a sight he never tired of.
His own sleep had reverted to the nightmares of his bachelor days. He realized this was from the stress of knowing they wanted to take what he loved away again, and tried to hide them from her knowing he wasnít entirely successful.
One more move, to a place with an excellent maternity hospital. Linda and all the tests had assured them the baby was fine, but he wasnít willing to take chances. And he wanted to be able to send samples and information to several sources as soon as possible so he could take his family home.
She sent him out for a paper, and began searching the ads for apartments. "Mulder look, a house on a lake."
"On a lake? This time of year it might be too secluded."
"Isnít that what we want?"
"No, Iíd rather be downtown, two and half minutes from a hospital."
"I donít think thatíll be necessary. He is a first baby and Momís already cursed me with a thirty-six hour labor."
"She did what?" He gaped at her.
"Well, I was an eighteen hour delivery Ė her longest. Since Iím not planning on having four children, she thought it was only fair that I have at least twice as long a labor as she did."
"So you were stubborn and reluctant to see new possibilities with her too, uh?"
She glared at him, which didnít wipe the grin from his face. "Hey, what was her shortest labor?"
"Tell me that wasnít Bill." He grimaced as he visualized the large man.
"No, Charlie. Well, he was her fourth, the trail was pretty well marked by then."
Again he grimaced; this was not exactly the part he was looking forward to.
"Call her, at least ask about the house."
"Yeah, I can do that." He kissed her nose.
She settled back with her feet up, listening to his spiel. This man could talk a woman into anything. It was a good thing sheíd taken him off the market before he realized it.
A writer looking for a secluded place to finish his manuscript by deadline. Lots of privacy required, because otherwise he couldnít force himself to finish on time.
The house was perfect and Scully seemed to relax into it for the first time in weeks. Her movements were slow, but he had to admit watching her "play house" was one of the most enjoyable things he had ever done. He found himself relaxing too Ė after deciding the best route to the nearest hospital.
Their landlady had been right, it was very secluded here this time of year. They took walks in the woods, just being together, alone in the world.
It was a beautiful day and the picnic was just what she needed to pick up her spirits. Being underground would be hard at any time, but now with the baby just a few weeks away, she really wanted some stability and her mother. He kept after her to eat more, but after a few bites she was full.
"Thereís no room, Mulder. You eat it."
"Iím not eating for two."
"Well, weíre both full, so forget it."
"Broad is the word." She looked down again at her huge belly and shook her head.
"Youíre beautiful and you know it." He laid his head carefully on her and began kissing her stomach. "Heís been quiet today."
"Shhh! Donít spoil it. He was active enough this morning, thank you."
Mulder grinned and curled up around her, letting her use him as a backrest, dropping off to sleep shortly. She watched him sleep, grateful it was peaceful for him. The nightmares that had gradually gone away after they were married had resurfaced while they were running and she hated to see his torment at night. He was so strong for her every day and there was so little she could do to make him feel safer at night. Sex had become more difficult but their mutual creativity had helped there. He was just so afraid of hurting her, he didnít realize that now she was usually the aggressor.
She was dozing herself when the tightening of her stomach muscles woke her. "What was that?" Mulder asked, disturbed from his nap.
"That was a contraction."
"A what?" He was fully awake now.
"A contraction. You know, labor."
"Youíre in labor? Itís too soon."
"Mulder, Iíve had one contraction. Can I get back to you on this?"
"But . . . "
"It might even be false labor, it is a little early."
"False, how do you tell the difference?"
"If itís real labor, a baby comes out."
"Cute. Damn cute." He ran his fingers through his hair, his anxiety level rising.
"You might want to lighten up a little, Mulder. I could be having contractions like this for weeks."
"Or you could have another one in two minutes."
"Highly unlikely." But she was amused to see how flustered he was, no cool exterior here.
"Is this the first one youíve had?"
"Yes. Mulder, Iím not going to keep something like this from you. Come on. Could you smile? This is a good thing. Once heís born we can go home."
What a shit he was, she was the one that was going to have to endure the pain, do all the work and now she was having to comfort him too? Grow up, Mulder, this is your son and you need to be strong for her for a change. Mulder mentally berated himself as he stood. She raised her arms to be helped to her feet.
"You just sit there while I pack everything. Relax."
"Good advice, Sweetheart, you ought to . . . "
"Scully? Oh shit. Youíre having another one?" She nodded. "Letís get you home. Damn, I should have brought the car."
"Mulder, itís not that far. Weíve got plenty of time, and theyíre not that severe, just help me up." He lifted her to her feet.
"Do you want me to carry you?"
"No. But you could hold my hand." Instead he took her in his arms and held her.
"Iím not going to let anything happen to you, Scully."
"Iím not worried, as long as youíre with me." He nodded and took a deep breath. He didnít want to release her, but forced himself and gathered up their supplies quickly. He slung the bag over his shoulder and put his arm around her.
They were most of the way across the clearing when she stopped. "Oh my god."
"What? Scully?" He could be more scared, surely he had been at some time in his life.
"My water broke." He stared at her speechless. "Well, now we know itís not false labor." She tried to break through his shock.
Shit, she was going to have the baby out here in the middle of nowhere.
"Mulder, Iím not having the baby out here in the woods."
"Did I say that out loud?"
"You didnít have to." She answered dryly. She pulled the cloth from his shoulder to clean herself.
He dumped the stuff he was carrying. "Come on."
Her smile was cut short by the next contraction. She drew the first deep breath sheíd had in weeks. The baby had dropped into position. The phrase "lock and load" came to her mind and for the first time he saw fear flicker in her eyes. His mind frantically recalled every word heíd read about emergency childbirth.
He put his arm more firmly around her and they headed toward the house. To him they were moving agonizingly slowly but she obviously couldnít walk any faster and he was supporting her almost completely. He realized her eyes were closed, to enable her to concentrate more fully on her breathing, trusting him completely to lead her.
He noted shortly, that she could no longer walk during the contractions, hanging from him, letting him completely support her. Neither were talking now, she was really wasnít able, though her moans caused his hair to stand on end. He didnít have a clue what to say anyway. He let his hands and arms give her what comfort they could as she relied on him as she never had.
"Scully, weíre almost to the house. Iíll get you to the hospital as quickly as I can."
"Weíre not going anywhere." She muttered through clenched teeth.
"Iím already fighting the urge to push. Help me to the bedroom."
"Scully, no. I canít deliver the. . . "
She turned to him then, suddenly furious, "Then donít! Go for a walk, go have a beer, I donít care! I just have to get him out!"
Mulder drew back in surprise and almost lost his grip on her as she jerked away, then doubled over in pain.
He scooped her up in his arms and hurried to the door, not bothering with keys, kicking the back door in. She was in agony having his child and he was acting like a total ass, guilt consumed him.
He laid her gently on their bed and brushed the hair from her forehead. "Scully, Iíve got to get some things. Iíve not left you." He wasnít sure she understood him, her eyes were glazed with pain. He realized she was moaning his name, it seemed to be the only word she could form.
He raced to the bathroom, jerking open cabinets and drawers to find what he needed. He grabbed a stack of towels and turned as he heard her.
"MULDER!" He nearly dropped his supplies. They were out of time.
"Iím here, Scully. Iím here." He rolled her gently to her back and propped her up using the pillows on the bed. She was still moaning his name over and over. He took a deep breath and raised her knees. Oh god, the baby was. . . what was the word? Crowning, his son was crowning. Lots of dark hair. Sheíd predicted that, something about heartburn.
"Scully, you need to push with the next contraction. Can you hear me?" He sounded . . . competent. Yeah, right.
She nodded and clasped her hands around her knees. As bad as this was, it was such a relief to actually push.
Mulder watched in horrified fascination as his sonís head began emerging and then slipped back as the contraction subsided. He had his hands on her, massaging her stomach, wanting desperately to help. How the hell was she doing this?
More pushing, he knew if it were him, heíd already be unconscious from the pain. She bore down yet again. The head, the head was out. He had to stroke down on the nose, getting out the fluid. He rubbed a wet cloth over the mouth. "Come on, Scully. Finish it up. You can do this." He actually sounded calm he realized, but she knew him well enough to know he was hiding his terror.
She bore down with all of her remaining strength and shrieked his name as the shoulders left her body, collapsing back as the baby emerged into his shaking hands.
"Iíve got him, Scully. Heís born, Sweetheart." And ugly as sin, his skin had a bluish caste and he was so tiny and pinched. Heíd never seen anything so beautiful. Even as he thought it the baby cried out his rage. His skin began turning pink and Mulder covered him with the softest of the towels. As his warmth returned, the baby opened his eyes and locked gazes with Mulder. His crying ceased and they stared at each other for a moment.
"Oh god, Scully, are you okay?" Her voice bringing him back to reality.
"Yeah." She was still trying to get her breath back, "Let me see him."
"Oh yeah." He laid his son on her chest, watching her eyes spill over, unaware of his own tears.
"You need to tie off the cord, so you can cut it."
"I got some shoelaces."
She smiled. "How did you think of that?"
"Itís what they used when that woman gave birth on the airplane."
"Yes, I remember. About three inches from his abdomen, then the other one three or four inches farther away. Thatís. . . there, thatís good, go ahead and cut." He glanced at her once, then did as she said. "I need to deliver the placenta, Mulder."
He gulped and nodded. It was both better and worse than he had imagined. At least she wasnít in that horrible pain. He looked up to see the baby snuffling at her breasts.
"I think heís hungry."
"I hope he knows what heís supposed to do." She unbuttoned her smock and gasped as he took hold of her nipple. Mulder was mesmerized at the sight. She looked up to catch his gaze and blushed. How could she blush from her husbandís look? When she moved the baby to her other breast Mulder tore himself away to start cleaning her up.
When she finished nursing, he took the baby and helped her lie down. "You need to rest. Iíll take him in the other room and clean him up."
"Mulder, are you okay?" He smiled and kissed her forehead, then pulled the sheet up over her and took the baby into the living room. He hadnít trusted his voice enough to speak. He pulled the door to, and started toward the kitchen. When he realized how badly he was shaking he put the baby on the couch, placing pillows around him, before he fell to his knees. He buried his head in one of the pillows so that she wouldnít hear his cries.
When he finally managed to regain some composure, he dragged himself to his feet, cleaned the baby, and dressed him in one of the outfits Scully had purchased on impulse.