The Gift 6/? (R)


 

Skinner pulled into the parking slot closest to the elevator, disconnected the car seat, and pulled the seat from the car. "Can I help you?" Mulder was trying to be gentle lifting Scully from the car but it wasnít helping.

"Just get the elevator. Anything we do is going to hurt her."

The elevator door opened and Skinner held it while Mulder hurried inside with her in his arms. Sharon was waiting at the open door when they reached his floor. Once they were all inside, Sharon shut and deadbolted the door then turned. She was obviously overwhelmed with what she saw, but after the first glance realized that Scully was her top priority.

"In here." She led Mulder into Walterís bedroom and helped him lay her on the bed. After a quick visual examination, she turned to Walter. "Did you deliver this baby?"

"Mulder and I did."

"How long ago?"

"About four hours, why?"

"Hours! Thereís no way she could be in this. . . Walter, can I talk to you?" At his nod they walked into the living room, leaving Mulder alone with her. "I canít handle this. Iím not sure anyone could at this point."

"Are you saying sheís dying?"

"Walter, Iím sorry, but yes, I think she is." His head fell, then he looked at her again.

"Please, do what you can." She stared into his eyes, not certain what she saw, and finally nodded. He took her hand and they walked back to the bedroom.

She bent down and felt Scullyís forehead. "Dana, can you hear me?" There might have been a response; it was difficult to tell. "I need to palpate your abdomen. This is going to hurt, and Iím sorry, but it has to be done." She looked over at Mulder seated on the other side of the bed. He nodded and she began. With what energy she had, Scully moaned and tried to get away, but Mulder kept stroking her hair and murmuring to her.

"Thereís a mass Iím feeling. Walter, you did deliver the placenta?"

"Yes, and it was intact and whole. She even examined it herself. I didnít do an exam or anything, but. . ."

"Well, thereís something there. Iím going to have to do a pelvic on her. I need her permission."

"You have mine." Mulder spoke without looking away from her.

"Are you. . .?"

"I have her power of attorney and she has mine. Whatever you have to do to save her, do it."

Walter and Sharon exchanged looks. "Fox, Iím not sure I can. Sheís very sick." He didnít respond, so Sharon pulled rubber gloves from her bag. "I need you two to hold her."

"Hold her?"

"This is going to hurt like hell and I canít have her bucking and trying to get away from me. One on each side, hold her at her shoulder and thigh. Try not to let her move." Walter moved to one side of the bed and Mulder stood up on the other side. They placed their hands as instructed and waited.

"Scully, I donít know if you can hear me, but Iím going to examine you internally. Try not to fight me, Iíll be as gentle as I can." She took a deep breath and began her examination. The men were completely unprepared for the strength left in Scullyís body, or for the shriek that tore from her before she went totally limp.

"Sheís passed out, you can let go of her now." It took several seconds for the men to respond and when they did, Sharon turned to Walter. "Get him out of here."

Walter looked at her questioningly and she nodded toward Mulder. "Now. Get him out of here." Walter nodded and came around the bed to take Mulderís arm.

"No, Iím not leaving."

"Yes you are, Mulder. Youíll be in Sharonís way. She will do everything she can, but we have to let her work. Come on." He led Mulder from the room and seated him in his own favorite easy chair. Then he walked to the bar and poured both of them a generous brandy. He handed Mulderís to him. Mulder took a large gulp and began to choke.

"Itís brandy, Mulder. Sip it." He collapsed into an adjacent chair and began to sip his own drink. Neither spoke for what felt like ages. When the door to the bedroom opened Skinner tensed and looked up, Mulder did not react. Sharon approached from behind Mulder with an object in her hands. She stopped just short of his chair.

"Sheís dead, isnít she." Mulder said in a flat voice.

"No, Fox, sheís actually a little better." The glass slipped from his nerveless fingers and bounced on the carpet. "I removed this from her uterus." She lifted the object in her hand into view.

Skinner stood to get a better view. "That looks like a crystal."

"I believe it is and I donít have a clue how it could have gotten there. If I didnít know better Iíd say it was acting as an additional placenta, except I know thatís impossible. But, but there were veins running through it." Skinner and Mulder exchanged a long look and Skinner took the crystal into his hands. "Fox, she was asking for you, why donít you go on in. Fox?"

It was at that moment that Skinner realized that Mulder was absolutely incapable of rising from the chair. "Come on." He assisted Mulder to his feet and walked him toward the bedroom door. "You okay?" Mulder nodded and looked for what seemed like a long time into Skinnerís eyes. Skinner finally nodded; opened the door and Mulder entered alone.

Scully was lying on the bed with her eyes closed. Mulder approached and carefully took her hand, not disturbing the bed.

{Mulder}

{Scully! Oh god, Scully} He lay down beside her and when Sharon next checked on them, they were peacefully asleep in each otherís arms.

 

 

Skinnerís apartment

6:30 a.m.

 

"Mulder; wake up." Scully brushed his hair away from his face. He came awake instantly.

"Are you okay?"

"Iím fine. The babyís hungry, could you get him for me."

"Are you sure youíre strong enough?"

"I did it before, with your help."

"Yeah. You know thatís some great little communication system heís got going. Still havenít heard him cry." He padded barefoot over to the door, but before he could open it, Sharon came in carrying the baby. She was obviously startled to see them awake and Mulder up.

"I guess he Ďcommunicatedí with you. Walterís been trying to explain things to me."

"Yeah." Mulder grinned, "Iíll take him."

"Okay, call me if you need anything."

Mulder placed the baby beside Scully on the bed, and propped her up with pillows to a more comfortable position.

"Iím not sure Iím strong enough to hold him."

"Weíll do it together. At least we donít have to worry about him fussing. Heís pretty tolerant of my ineptitude."

"Nice to see you be inept about something."

"I donít know about that, youíve made me seem pretty inept about a lot lately. I definitely made the right choice not going into medicine."

"You get by."

He became serious; "I never want to just Ďget byí where youíre concerned. That was too close."

"Weíre all fine now, donít think about it. Come on, heís hungry, is there another pillow?" Together they got him fed, then sprawled on the bed exploring him.

Mulder woke to find Scully crying, shaking her head, softly crying "no" over and over. He shook himself awake, "What? Whatís wrong? Are you in pain?" He quickly scanned both her and the baby. She met his eyes with the bleakest expression he had ever seen.

"Get Sharon." He scrambled to do as she asked, but was stopped at the door when he saw Sharon in Skinnerís arms in the living room, also in tears.

"Whatís going on?" Skinner walked Sharon to the door and took Mulderís arm.

"Let them talk."

"Is Scully okay? Whatís going on?" Sharon went on into the bedroom and shut the door, leaving the two men alone in the living room. "What?"

"Let Scully tell you. Sheís okay, physically. I swear, Mulder, sheís okay. Just give them a few minutes."

Mulder started to protest, but one look at Skinnerís face assured him that he wasnít going to get anything else out of him. He slumped into a chair and rubbed his face.

After what seemed a great deal of time, even though his watch viciously told him he was wrong, the door opened and Sharon emerged carrying the baby. "Is she okay?"

"She needs you." As Mulder hesitated, he watched Sharon place the baby in Skinnerís arms and then the two of them embraced. Too many questions to ask there, he headed into the bedroom to find Scully, eyes red, staring into space.

"Scully, what is it? Please."

"We canít keep him. Sharon and Walter are going to raise our son."

"What are you talking about? No way, heís ours."

"We canít keep him safe, or ourselves either if heís with us. No one can know I even had him, ever. Heís right."

"Heís right? You mean the baby made this decision? He put me to sleep, didnít he? Shit! Scully, we can work something out."

"The decision is made, Mulder. Heís theirs now."

"How can you. . . No, god it would be like losing Samantha all over again, I canít. . . " he stopped at the look on her face and just took her in his arms. His pain was nothing compared to the pain of the woman he adored above all else. How she must be suffering.

*****

"Scully, weíll see him, at least we know where he is. We wonít have to wonder for the rest of our lives if heís dead or alive." At least comforting her gave him something to grasp at.

"You know thatís not the same."

"Weíre together now, we can have a baby in the future, when youíre ready. We wonít have to hide it."

"Iím supposed to replace my son?"

"At least we know you actually can have children now, I mean. . . " He stopped, wishing he could bite back the words.

"What are. . . what do you mean?" She looked up; tears still glistening in her eyes.

"Nothing, itís nothing."

"No, where did you get the idea that I couldnít have children?"

"It was just something, some nonsense. . . "

"Where did you hear I was barren?" She was damn insistent now.

"Why does it matter? Itís not even true."

"Mulder, please!"

"Damn it, it was the clones, the hybrid clones. They. . . they said the same procedure that gave you the cancer also caused you to be barren."

"When. . . " she had to take a breath, her chest had become too tight. "When did you hear this?"

"Scully, forget it. Itís not. . . "

"When did you hear this!" She was shaking.

"The night. . . damn it Scully, the night Penny died."

"But. . . but that was over two years ago! Did you not think I needed, hell, deserved to know such. . . such intimate knowledge about myself?"

"How could I tell you then? You were in terrible shape from the chemo and Penny had just died. I couldnít say anything."

"Well maybe not that night, but in two years!"

"And just when is a good time to tell you something like that?"

"Well, when the cancer was gone. . . "

"Yeah, I was going to ruin that party with this kind of news."

"I donít mean that night! Mulder. . . oh my god!" She was crying again.

"Scully, you werenít trying to get pregnant. We werenít together and if there had been a. . . another relationship in your life that was headed that way, I believed I would know! I would have found a way to tell you. But why hurt you unnecessarily."

"Unnecessarily." She put her face in her hands. He tried to take her in his arms, but she pulled away.

"Scully?"

"How. . . how could you keep something like this from me? What else? What else have you kept from me?"

"No! Iíve kept nothing from you. It wasnít even true!"

"It is true. The crystal, thatís the only reason I was able to. . . itís all gone." She was beyond tears. He took her by the shoulders and forced her to look at him. The emptiness in her eyes was terrifying. "Please let go of me." God, she sounded so formal.

"Scully?"

"Let go of me." He reluctantly removed his hands. "I want to be alone."

"I donít think thatís a good idea."

"Get out. Just get out."

"Youíre scaring me, Scully. I donít think you should. . . "

"Mulder, go away!"

He pushed himself off the bed and went to the door. He turned but she refused to look at him, so he opened it and went out to the living room to find Skinner waiting for him.

"You heard?"

"Enough."

"What do I do?"

"Give her some space, Mulder."

"Will she ever forgive me?"

"Yes, but youíve got to give her some time."

"And in the meantime, I just give you my son." He said bitterly. Skinner looked away for a moment.

"I donít have an answer for you, Mulder."

"You and Sharon arenít even together!"

"Thatís not entirely true. Sheís moved back in, weíre talking."

"And thatís suppose to be good enough? He needs his mother."

"This wasnít my decision, but I agree with it. Heíll be safer with us. Thereís no reason for anyone to bother him. . . he can be a normal kid, or at least pretend to be."

"Shit!"

"You need some time, too. Why donít you go home for a few hours? Take a shower, change, whatever."

"I donít want to leave her."

"Sheíll be okay, Mulder. You need to look after yourself too." Mulder just sighed. "You know Iím right. Go on."

"My carís not even here."

"So take a cab. Mulder, you need some time. Youíve been on adrenaline since you made the scene in my office. You canít go on indefinitely."

"I know. You. . . youíll call me if she. . . " Could he really make himself leave her, even for a minute? Skinner was right, he needed to.

"I wonít let anything happen to her, Mulder."

He nodded and without another word left the apartment. He had the cab take him to the office where he picked up his own car and headed home. Once there the shower did feel good, so did the fresh clothes.

Shortly after hearing Mulder leave, Scully emerged from the bedroom.

"Scully - Dana, should you be up?" Skinner took her arm and led her to the nearest chair.

"I want to go home."

"Thatís not a good idea, Dana. Youíre just not strong enough."

"Iíll be fine. I need to leave here."

"No oneís been at your apartment in months."

"No, my mother has been dropping by to make sure everything was okay, check the mail, you know."

"Mulder will have my hide if I let you leave."

"This is not his concern."

"You are his concern, Dana, whether you want to be or not."

"I still need to leave. Could you please call me a cab?" If she didnít get some time alone she would fly apart. She didnít want to do that, not here.

"Walter." Neither of them had heard Sharon enter the room. "Itís probably not the wisest thing, but she does need some time. Call her a taxi." She knelt in front of Scully and placed a hand on her knee. "Dana, you will call me if you start to bleed, or anything else changes. Promise me."

Scully nodded. Sharon rose and went to gather her things. When the cab arrived, Skinner took her downstairs and helped her inside. "We want to hear from you tomorrow morning, and earlier if you need anything. Please donít worry about. . . "

Scully shook her head. "Thank you for. . . for everything."

Skinner squeezed her hand and gave the driver directions. Then stood and watched her drive away.

Her legs were literally shaking when she let herself into her apartment for the first time in months. She lowered herself into the nearest chair to keep from collapsing. When she was able she forced herself back to her feet and made her way into her bedroom, where she lay on the bed. She was asleep before she could even pull the afghan over herself.

Mulder, refreshed, hurried back to Skinnerís apartment. "I need to see her."

"Scullyís gone." Skinner watched as all the blood drained from Mulderís face and he grabbed Skinnerís shoulder to keep from falling. "No! Mulder, she went to her apartment. She wanted to get out of here."

Mulder blindly found his way to a chair and buried his face in his hands. "I could kill you."

"Iím sorry. I tried to call you, but you had already left. She didnít feel like she could stay here."

"Sheís not strong enough to be alone."

"I agree, but sheíd made up her mind."

Mulder gave him a tight smile, "so you didnít stand a chance."

"Yeah, something like that."

They looked up as Sharon came in carrying the baby. Mulder found himself unable to tear his eyes from his son.

"I didnít realize you were here, Fox. Would you like to hold him?"

"Uh, no. I. . . I should probably leave. Iíll see you at work."

"Why donít you take a few days, Mulder. You had planned a vacation anyway."

"Iíll, uh, Iíll see. Iíll call." He took one last look at the baby and let himself out of the apartment. Sharon came to Skinner and placed the baby in his arms.

"Are you really going to be safer with us?" He looked into the bright eyes of the infant in his arms.
{No, they will be}