"Mulder? What are you. . ." She held out a hand for him to help her up, but he ignored it.
"Stay there for now. How do you feel?"
"I’m fine. How did you get here? What. . .?"
"What do you remember?" He slipped a pillow from the sofa under her head.
"We were at the meeting in Skinner’s office, I was trying to keep you awake."
"Do you remember a car driving up?"
"Yes. Oh my god, those men, where are they?"
"We haven’t found them yet. What else happened?"
"Skinner’s with me. I apparently made quite a scene in his office when you vanished from my mind. He insisted on coming."
"So he knows about. . ."
"Yeah, he knows everything. I didn’t know what we’d find. Suddenly you were just gone."
"I don’t remember, they broke in the door and I lose it there."
"Me too. Skinner said he had never seen me terrified before, it’s because I’ve never been so damned scared in my life."
"Can I get up now? The rug doesn’t make this floor that soft."
"Are you sure you’re all right?"
"I think so." She gripped his arm to pull herself into a sitting position, then stopped and as he watched with mounting panic she began the breathing they had practiced so diligently.
After she took the deep cleansing breath he was able to whisper, "labor?"
"That would be my first guess. And Mulder, I don’t think it just started."
"What do you mean?"
"Contractions don’t start out lasting over sixty seconds. Apparently I’ve been in labor for a while."
She smiled at him; "It will be okay, Mulder. Come on, help me up." He got her steady on her feet and began leading her to the bedroom. "I don’t think this is going to take very long."
"It’s difficult to walk. Could you help me to the bathroom?"
"Sure, you need me to. . . I mean, do you want me. . ."
"I can handle this, just please don’t go too far, okay?" She squeezed his hand; "It really will be all right."
"I know, but I think I’m suppose to be the one reassuring you."
"When you get some color back in your face I’ll let you."
"My ‘cool exterior’ seems to have deserted me. If you’re sure you don’t need me in there, I’ll go find Skinner and bring him up to date on what’s happening."
"Good idea." She squeezed his hand again and disappeared into the bathroom. Mulder placed his hand on the door jam to steady himself and took a few deep breaths, then went to find Skinner.
Skinner was checking the outside of the house. "Mulder! Over here. There are no footprints of anyone leaving, I can see where they left the car, but they didn’t go back to it. I don’t like it; they have to be around here. We need to get going, can she travel?"
Mulder shook his head. "We’re not going anywhere." Skinner looked up, puzzled. "She’s in labor."
"Is she sure? I mean. . ."
"She’s sure." They both heard her cry out his name and scrambled to their feet, racing to the house. Mulder burst into the bathroom with Skinner on his heels to find her supporting herself on the sink, breathing heavily.
"My. . . my water broke. Could you get me a towel? And maybe something dry to put on?" Mulder reached up on a shelf and snagged a towel while Skinner silently retreated from the room, and returned a moment later with a nightgown he had found, then left again. Mulder sat her carefully on the edge of the tub and knelt before her to begin drying her off. "I can do that."
"I want to. Keep your hands on my shoulders, I’ll help you change in a minute." He held her as another contraction, much stronger than the other that he had witnessed, racked her body, this one at eye level. "My god, Scully."
"The contractions are always stronger when the amniotic cushion is gone, remember?"
"Is that the second one?"
"No, I had one other before my water broke."
"That means they’re. . ." he swallowed, "we need to get you in bed." She nodded. He unbuttoned the smock she was wearing and gently pulled the nightgown over her head. "I’m going to ask Skinner to help us get you in the other room. Okay?" She nodded again, her eyes closed. Refusing to let go of her, he caught the door with his foot and pulled it open. Skinner appeared in the doorway. "We need to get her to the bed." He nodded and came on in.
"Dana, are you doing okay?" She opened her eyes and tried to smile.
"As well as can be expected, I think, Sir."
"Why don’t we use Walter, under the circumstances." She nodded and then moaned slightly as they lifted her to her feet. Skinner had been busy while Mulder looked after her. The bedcovers were pulled back and there was a large glass of ice on the bedside table. They got her settled before the next contraction crested and Mulder explained to Skinner where the tray they had prepared for this occasion was located. He returned with it in seconds and watched as Mulder gently wiped her brow with a cool cloth. He placed the tray on the luggage rack beside the bed and touched Mulder’s arm.
"Can I see you a minute?"
He nodded, and turned to Scully, "I’m not leaving, I’ll just be at the door." She nodded, keeping her eyes closed.
"Have you ever delivered a baby?"
"No, but I’ve been studying. Why, have you?"
"Well, yeah. Twice in ‘Nam."
Mulder actually sagged a little, as he whispered, "Thank god."
"I don’t want to interfere. I just. . ."
"Interfere, damn it. God, I hate this. I didn’t know it would be this bad. This is. . ."
He was back at her side, letting her squeeze his hand. When it had passed she opened her eyes. "You need to see how I’m progressing. Do it now, before another one hits." He turned to Skinner.
"You can do this Mulder. I’ll be here in an advisory capacity." Mulder started to protest, thought better of it, and slipped on a glove.
"More than seven, almost eight I think. It won’t be too much longer." She nodded, her eyes again closed, trying to relax. "Do you want some ice?" She nodded, then shook her head.
"Wait." She began her breathing again while Mulder watched helplessly. Shortly he motioned for Skinner to speak with him at the door again.
"How long does this take? My god, she can’t go on like this." He whispered.
"She’s doing great. She’s working with the contractions, not fighting them. Its actually going very quickly, she was probably unconscious for most of it. It will take as long as it takes; you need to try to relax a little. You don’t want her to pick up tension from you. Listen I know this is hard, it is for me too, I didn’t know those women in Vietnam, I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time the for the first one, they called me for the second one because I was "experienced". She really is doing well."
"It’s so hard."
"Labor, remember. And face it, you and I are really useless here, she has to do all the work. We can only be supportive at this point."
"Do you have any children?"
"No, the only time Sharon got pregnant she miscarried at five months. We weren’t able to conceive again."
"So am I."
"No! Not anymore! Mulder make it stop!" Both men looked up startled and raced to her side.
"Sweetheart, please do the breathing. It won’t hurt as much if you concentrate on your breathing. Remember what we practiced."
"No, I won’t!" She raised her hand as if to slap him and was suddenly doubled over in pain and gasping for breath.
"Transition! Scully, you’re in transition, it’s almost over, remember?"
"Trans. . . transition. Yes."
"Let me check you, don’t push yet. I’ll try not to hurt you."
"I don’t care, just get him out!" The time between contractions was minimal, so Mulder hurried to slip on the glove.
"Scully, he’s here. He’s crowning, it’s almost over."
"Mulder," Skinner whispered, "If you want to help her push, I can handle this part."
"Yes, please." So Mulder positioned himself in the bed behind her, as they had practiced those nights on the sofa, and with the next contraction she began pushing.
" . . . nine, ten. Deep breath." She relaxed back against him. "A couple more like that and you’re going to make us parents." He wiped the cool cloth over her forehead and then her breasts, which glistened with sweat. "Rest while you can, Sweetheart." She nodded and squeezed his hand.
He felt her body begin to tense again. "Ready?" He whispered. She nodded and he began counting again.
"Dana, one more push and I think we’ll have the head out. You know you need to pant then, not push, for just a minute?"
She nodded, and Mulder once again began counting, faltering as he watched the head emerge from her body.
"Okay, don’t push. Just a second." Skinner quickly suctioned out the nose and mouth and wiped the face a little. "Okay, Dana, let’s finish this up."
"One more push, Sweetheart. Then you can rest." She bore down with the last of her strength and cried out as the shoulders left her body, then collapsed back against Mulder’s chest.
"I’ve got him! It’s a boy. He looks great."
Scully tried to lift her arms to take him, to see him better through her tears, but Skinner placed him on her chest and Mulder placed her arms around him.
"He’s not crying." Mulder put his hand on him.
"No, but he is breathing. He’s fine."
"Scully, are you. . .in touch with him?"
"Yes. He’s doing fine."
Skinner scooped up the umbilical clips and attached them, then reached for the scissors, and handed them to Mulder. "This is your job, Dad." Mulder’s hands were shaking when he took them, but steadied immediately and he separated them, laid the scissors down and took the baby into both of their arms to hold as he caressed Scully’s face with his free hand.
"Hey, guys, one more bit of work and then I’ll give you three some privacy. You ready to push again?"
"Mulder, why don’t you take the baby and wash him off a little while we do this."
"No, I need to be here." She nodded. Skinner placed his hand on her abdomen and together they expelled the placenta. Mulder turned very pale and gulped for breath, but did not flinch from the sight.
"I’ll check it later, Walter."
"Okay," he wrapped it in one of the sterile drapes, "looks intact and perfect to me, but you’d know better. I’ll see you guys in a little bit." He placed everything on the tray and left the room, gently closing the door.
"Are you all right?"
"Are you really asking me that? My god, Scully, what you did. . . I had no idea. The tapes lie."
"The women in the tapes have epidurals, and if the woman has a hard time, you don’t see the tape."
"So there’s no truth in advertising. Scully, he’s gorgeous, I thought all babies looked like red prunes."
"They do, you’re seeing him through different eyes. Well, he’s got ten fingers and ten toes at least."
"Yeah, and I know he’s mine now."
"He’s hung like a horse. I’d know him anywhere." Scully just looked at him, shaking her head and smiling. He winked and got up.
"Where are you going?"
"To get a cloth and start cleaning you up a little. Him too, when I’m finished."
"Thanks, I didn’t realized how tired I’d be."
"You didn’t see it from this side. I’m surprised you’re able to talk. Go ahead and rest. I’ll look after him, just as soon as you’re comfortable."
"He should come first."
"No one is ever going to come before you." She looked up from her son and fresh tears spilled from her eyes. "I didn’t mean to start that over."
"I’ll let you know if I ever get my emotions back under control. Just don’t hold your breath."
She dozed while he cleaned and diapered the baby. Then, to make sure she had quiet; he took the baby into the other room where Skinner was waiting.
"How is she doing?"
"It’s unbelievable. You’d have to bury me after that. She’s resting and says she feels fine."
"Good, we need to get her out of here. My third delivery and I still haven’t done one without being armed. Mulder, those guys didn’t leave here."
"Look at these burn marks on the rug. Three of them, isn’t that a hand print?"
"Are you saying Scully. . . "
"No, him. Your son, he protected her and himself. Those three men were, hell, vaporized. On this one you can see the outline of what I think is a shoe, that one the hand and here, isn’t that a gun barrel outlined in the scorch mark?"
Mulder got down on one knee, still holding his son tightly against him, to see better. After a minute he rose, "You’re right. I never expected a theory like that from you. So what do we do?"
"They never reported in and they didn’t come back with her. Someone’s going to be looking for them and are probably already on their way."
"We can’t move her yet."
"I don’t want to, but I don’t see a lot of alternatives here. We’ll take her back to my place; Sharon can look after her better than we can anyway. Mulder," Skinner grinned down at him, "she’s the Skinner you should have had here. She’s a licensed mid-wife. She does this all the time."
"Then how the hell did I get stuck with you?"
"We didn’t need a mid-wife on the way down, remember?"
"Seriously, I can never thank you enough for what you did. I don’t think I could have handled it alone."
"Sure you could have. You and Scully have always been able to do whatever it takes." Skinner grasped his shoulder and then came closer to give the baby a better look. The baby took Skinner’s finger and looked him solemnly in the eyes. "He hasn’t cried at all has he?"
"Not a peep. Guess he isn’t sad about anything."
"Or he can make his wishes known another way. Why did you ask Scully if she was in touch with him?"
"She’s. . . communicated with him almost from the beginning though she didn’t realize it at first. I think that’s how she kept sane in the beginning, when she first remembered. We think he’s the reason we’ve been able to always be in touch."
"You’re going to have to protect this one. There are a lot of people. . . well; you know more about that than I do. Let’s get everything packed, so when she wakes we can get out of here."
They gathered up all of the things they thought a baby would need and a couple of changes of clothes for Scully and loaded the car, which Skinner had brought up to the house. When everything else was ready Mulder went to wake Scully. This proved to be more difficult than he had anticipated and she was disoriented when she finally did wake.
"Scully, do you know where you are?" He finally asked, anxiously.
"It. . . I’m at your house, right?"
"Yeah, you had the baby."
"The baby. Is he all right?"
"He’s fine. Are you okay?" Her face was slightly flushed.
"Sure, I. . .I guess I was just deep asleep."
"We need to get out of here, Scully. I’m sorry to have to move you, but we don’t know when someone else is going to show up."
She closed her eyes again. When she opened them she grasped his hand; "We need to leave now. Someone is coming."
He didn’t wait for further explanations but gathered her up in his arms. She moaned as he lifted her off the bed. "I’m sorry."
"Hurry. Just hurry. Where’s the baby?"
"Skinner’s putting him in the car. I know he shouldn’t be up front, but it’s all we’ve got."
"He can be in the back with me, in the car seat."
"No, I want you to lie down. You don’t. . .I want you to be comfortable." He handled her as gently as possible placing her in the back seat, but tears still came to her eyes as he tried to position her. "I’m sorry."
She just shook her head, "Let’s get out of here."
He climbed into the front seat with the baby in a seat between himself and Skinner. "You heard her, I don’t think we have much time. Take the back way, it’s a little rougher but no one will find it without having grown up here." It was rougher and he immediately regretted his decision when he heard her stifled moans from the back. He reached back and took her hand. "It’s not far. Try to hold on." She nodded and kept hold of his hand. The baby gazed about bright eyed and seemed to absorb everything about him.
When they finally reached pavement again she seemed to improve, but very shortly he became aware of her labored breathing. "You better pull over, I’m going to get in the back with her."
"She’s not doing too well, is she?"
"No." He crawled into the floor of the back seat. "She’s running a fever. I don’t know what to do."
"Surely Tylenol can’t hurt her. Try to get some down her and keep her head cool. I’ll try to raise Sharon." He dug his cell phone out of his pocket and dialed. "Sharon?"
"Walter? Is anything wrong?"
"Yes, but I can’t go into over the phone. Do you have a key to my apartment?"
"Please go there and wait for me. Bring your bag."
"Walter, are you okay?"
"It’s not me. I really need you." There was pause at the other end as this comment was absorbed.
"I’ll be there, Walter. How long will you be?"
"It’ll be at least an hour. I’ll call you when we’re closer. Don’t let anyone know where you’re going and make sure you aren’t followed. Sharon, please take every precaution. If anyone finds out, you could be in great danger."
"I understand. I’ll have everything ready. Walter, please be careful."
"Thanks. I. . .I’ll call back." He disconnected the call and glanced back at Mulder.
"Sir, are you okay?"
"Fine. How’s Scully?" Skinner had regained his military abruptness and Mulder understood.
"Not good. I don’t know what else to do. Maybe we should take her to a hospital." She squeezed his hand and shook her head. "Scully, you are very sick. You need more than I can do."
"Get me to Sharon." Skinner glanced back, startled, and then caught Mulder’s eye.
She squeezed his hand again. "Yes? What can I do?"
"The baby, I need to feed him."
"No Scully, you’re not strong enough. We can use some of the formula in the bag."
She shook her head. "He needs. . . please." He looked at her a moment longer then reached into the front seat and began unbuckling the child. She was too weak to hold him, so Mulder held him to her breasts. The nursing itself obviously gave her great pain, but she continued to insist until the child was finished. She was markedly weaker following this endeavor and as Mulder was strapping the baby back into his seat he signaled this to Skinner.
With the building finally in sight, Skinner pulled out his cell phone again. "Sharon?"
"I’m here, Walter. Where are you?"
"Pulling in. Send the freight elevator down to the 2nd level."
"I’ll be waiting for you."
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter,10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.