“Wait! Don’t hang - " the connection was broken. Mulder slammed his hand down on the table.
“Mulder.” Scully’s arms surrounded him and Walter’s hand pressed into his shoulder. They sat in silence together.
They might have sat that way forever if they hadn’t heard Katy stirring in the next room. Scully started to rise, but Walter’s hand on her shoulder stopped her. “Stay with him,” he said quietly, then moved down the hall.
He returned shortly with the baby and a shawl. “I changed her,” he spoke even lower now, watching Mulder. “Go ahead and feed her. I’ll fix some dinner.”
“Dinner, I forgot - "
“I’ll heat some leftovers.” He turned away from her and she watched his back until he disappeared into the kitchen. Mulder still hadn’t moved.
Scully settled on the couch and began to nurse while silently watching Mulder. Finally he looked up at her. “You okay?” she asked, already knowing the answer.
He didn’t even attempt a smile. “I’ll see if Walter needs any help.”
She nodded, then looked down at the baby, unable to face the look of total despair on his face.
Walter looked up as he entered. “There’s not much to do, Mulder.”
The younger man nodded and headed toward the refrigerator. He opened it and took out a beer.
“I have some iced tea made.”
looked up at him and Walter went silent. Mulder popped open the can and downed
it in one long draught. Without a word he reached for another. Walter’s hand
pressed on his shoulder. When he tried to move away, Walter’s hand grasped him
and he looked up. “Let me go.”
“That won’t help, Mulder. This is my fault. I didn’t protect your son like I promised. Take it out on - “
“No. No, it’s not your fault, or Scully’s, or anyone’s but mine. They’ve taken him just like they took Samantha and Scully, because of me.”
“This isn’t like that. Jeremiah Smith has helped us in the past. He was helping returnees when you were missing. If he can train Danny to be safe, then - "
“How do you know it was really him? Why do you trust - "
“I have to. I have to believe he’s going to bring Danny home to us. You have to believe it too, for Scully’s sake if not your own.”
At the sound of her name, he looked up and faced Walter, then turned toward the living room. Scully was standing in the doorway, holding the baby. A tear was sliding down her face.
Stricken, Mulder moved toward her, gathering them both in his arms. “I’m sorry. Scully, I’m sorry.”
“Do you not believe it was Jeremiah?”
Mulder glanced over at Walter. “Walter’s right. It has to be. Why else let Danny touch us. He is okay. If he’ll be safer with training . . . “ He closed his eyes and just held them.
Later, they sat at the table and picked at the food Walter had placed before them, then Mulder encouraged her to go on to bed. He insisted Walter get some rest as well. He cleaned the kitchen and finally joined her.
“You should be asleep,” he scolded gently when he found her lying in their bed, staring at the ceiling.
“I can’t. I can’t turn it off. I need to do something.”
“Let me worry about everything tonight. You’ll be up with Katy soon and you need some rest. Roll over.” He moved her onto her stomach and sat lightly on the back of her thighs. His hands slid under the t-shirt she wore and began gently massaging her back and shoulders, easing some of the tension. “He is okay, Scully,” he whispered to her as his hands gentled her body. His touch grew lighter and lighter as she sank toward oblivion.
When he was sure she was asleep, he cautiously moved away and when she didn’t stir, he slipped out of the bed and returned to the living room.
He sat heavily on the couch, staring into space. The phone ringing grabbed his attention and he snatched it up before the first ring was over. “Don’t hang up!”
There was a tiny pause, then John Doggett’s voice came over the line. “Are you okay, man? I know we weren’t schedule to call tonight, but Monica insisted. She thought something was wrong and now I do too.”
“She was right.” Mulder leaned back and closed his eyes.
“What is it?”
“They, they’ve taken him.”
“Him?” Frohike’s voice sounded over the connection. “Are you saying - “
“Who! Who took him?” John’s voice was loudest now, but he heard all of them in the background.
“We know he can take care of himself, Mu . . . He’s been turning them off, I watched him.” Monica said quickly.
“Not the super soldiers,” Mulder said quietly.
“Oh my god,” she gasped.
“I can be there in a few hours. We can start a search - “ John spoke up.
“We can’t search where he is.”
“No, that can’t be - “ John broke in. “How?”
“We’ve been told he’ll be returned in a couple of weeks. After he’s been trained.”
“What?” Monica beat the others this time.
“He broke in while I was at work. He knocked out Sc - the adults.”
“Jeremiah Smith,” he said; his voice bitter.
There was a long silence from their end. “Are . . . You’re sure,” John said slowly.
“Why?” Monica broke in.
“He said to train him,” Mulder said quietly, not offering anything more.
“Do you believe him?” Frohike asked hesitantly.
“Do I have a choice?”
Their friends exchanged glances. Mulder sounded destroyed and there was nothing they could do. After a few more minutes, they broke the connection. All of them were helpless; they needed to break the connection before anyone stumbled on them.
“Hey, Rob, you got a minute?”
Mulder turned toward his supervisor. “Yeah.”
He motioned for Mulder to follow him to the trailer. Once inside, he closed the door behind them. “You okay?”
“I’m fine, why?”
“You’re not yourself today. You haven’t said two words and you haven’t heard me on at least a couple of occasions.”
“I’m sorry, I’ll - “
“I’m not mad, Rob. I can tell something’s bothering you. Something at home?”
Mulder closed his eyes and sank into the metal folding chair. “Yeah.”
“You want to talk about it?”
“It’s my kid, my son.”
“We, uh, we don’t know. There’re . . . tests.”
“Geez, Rob. I’m sorry. It’s always hard when it’s your kid. Do you need some time?”
“I . . . Maybe when the tests are over.”
“How long are they talking?”
“A couple of weeks.”
“Damn, Rob. I’m, I don’t know what to say. Listen, why don’t you work ground floor today. We’ve got plenty to do.”
“Thanks.” Mulder rose to his feet and shook the hand Phil held out to him.
“If you need to talk . . . “
Mulder nodded and turned away quickly. He hated lying to this man, but it was the only way. He’d been unprepared for Phil’s sympathy. The word spread quickly and more than one of his fellow workers took time to speak to him, offering support and prayers.
They sat around, together but alone. They felt the soft caresses on their brows each evening. They watched Katy, playing on the floor. She would laugh and reach for the hand that she could feel but not see.
Mulder looked over at Scully to see her smiling slightly through her tears. He moved over to her immediately and sat with her, holding her.
“They can’t fake that, Scully. We know him that well.”
“I know,” she said softly. “He, he seems different though.”
Mulder nodded. “Older.”
“So it’s not just me,” Walter commented. “He’s stronger too.”
Mulder looked over at him. “You can feel that?”
“I hadn’t felt him like this until the other day. I don’t think I’ve gotten any better at feeling him. This training - “
“But if the Super Soldiers are no longer a threat,“ Scully looked between the two men, “what are they planning?”
Mulder sighed, stretching. Instead of speaking, he pulled her against him.
The boy was in definite danger of suffocation, but they couldn’t let him go. He was laughing and hugging them back just as hard as he could. Full sentences hadn’t been spoken since he walked in the door.
Jeremiah Smith stood inside the door quietly. Walter stepped away first. After a little while, Mulder took a deep breath and stepped back himself. For another moment he watched Scully hold both of their children to her breast, then he turned toward Jeremiah. Walter moved to stand beside him.
“I told you two weeks,” Jeremiah spoke calmly.
Walter saw the shudder that ran through Mulder’s body. “I want you gone. I want you to leave my family alone.”
“I’m afraid that’s impossible. You need me as much as I need you.”
Mulder opened his mouth to order him out, but Walter spoke first. “You need Mulder? Why him?”
Jeremiah turned to face Walter. “Agent Mulder has been part of the equation for a long time. He’s been watched and studied and thwarted for as long as possible.”
“Thwarted? What are you talking about?” Mulder demanded.
Without waiting for an invitation, Jeremiah took a seat away from Scully and the children. Mulder took a seat beside Scully, with Walter taking the chair opposite Jeremiah.
Jeremiah looked over at Danny who nodded. Jeremiah then turned to Walter. “Agent Mulder has been feared for years; since he was a child. The ‘aliens’ did not think that ‘mere humans’ such as yourselves could evolve into a threat. They were wrong. After his sister was taken, when his parents found him, he was comatose. He was comatose for three days. No one had been that sensitive to their presence before. He was . . . changed by the encounter. I’m quite sure he was a bright boy prior to that encounter, but after that . . . Have you never wondered how he became the best profiler the FBI has ever had?” Jeremiah smiled at Walter. “They’ve kept an eye on him since he was twelve. They decided he should never procreate and set women in his path who understood that.”
“Diana?” Scully asked quietly, not meeting Mulder’s surprised look.
“Diana, and Phoebe. You were a mistake,” he said kindly. “A fortunate one from our point of view. Of course, when the depth of his feelings for you was discovered, they attempted to assure that you would not have children either.”
Mulder jerked, his eyes narrowing, but before he could speak, Scully again spoke. “I discovered I was barren long before we became involved.”
“They thought they had rendered you barren during your abduction.”
“We weren’t - “ she started to say, but the smile on Jeremiah’s face stopped her.
“Apparently they could read the two of you better than you could read yourselves.”
Scully’s jaw dropped slightly. She looked down at Danny, who was smiling at her, then over at Mulder. He took her hand but faced Jeremiah. “You keep saying ‘they’, what about you?”
Jeremiah nodded and answered, “There are many kinds of ‘little green men’, Agent Mulder.”
Mulder opened his mouth to protest the title, but Jeremiah continued smoothly. “We have fought them across the galaxy and will continue to do so. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. Your kind doesn’t take very good care of the planet or each other, but we feel it’s your planet and your right to run it. We too were delighted with the birth of your children. It gives us new hope for leaving stewardship to you.”
“Danny and Katy?” Mulder managed to get out the words.
“They are the first. They prove that evolution can protect this planet.”
“They are just two children. Katy’s still an infant,” Scully protested.
“There are others with the potential. Now that Danny has received some training, he can assist - “
“Assist who? Besides Katy - “
“Since there are no other Mulders, we looked at the other side.”
“Other side - “ Mulder started, but it was Danny who interrupted this time.
“My cousin Matt. He’s a blood Scully and he’s got some abilities.”
“Bill’s son?” Mulder blurted out.
“I understand your surprise, Agent Mulder.”
“I’m not an agent,” Mulder growled, but Jeremiah ignored that.
“A thought occurred to me,” he said, turning to Danny. “What if your mother’s part in all of this was no accident. Two evolved beings finding each other with a little help . . . “ Jeremiah smiled to himself. “I need to do a little research myself.”
“What . . . what about Charlie’s sons?” Scully asked, clutching Katy to her.
“It’s entirely possible, but I would suggest we start with Matt. The two older boys have puberty issues right now and it’s not a good time to enhance anything else.”
“Bill.” Mulder shook his head.
Scully squeezed his hand. “We thought no one knew about Danny.”
“They don’t, not yet. I became suspicious when the, what did you call them, Super Soldiers, when they began disappearing. They don’t keep an especially close look at these things. In their arrogance, they’re not really concerned that anything is going especially wrong. But remember, the few setbacks they have encountered have been related to you, Agent Mulder. Antarctica?”
Mulder closed his eyes, seeing Scully in that glass enclosure once again. He felt Danny’s hand slip into his and squeeze reassurance.
Jeremiah continued. “The super soldiers are no longer a problem. Danny and I have shared information and the remaining few will be taken care of shortly. Danny is going to shift his direction into searching for other children, like Matt, who can be trained.”
“He’s still just a - “
“I’m a child, Dad, but I can do this. It’s less dangerous than the super soldiers. And we don’t have time for me to grow up.”
Mulder and Scully’s eyes met at that. “What do you mean?” Mulder asked after a long moment.
“2012. That’s when they planned to take over.”
Scully paled at those words. Mulder moved closer to her, taking Danny onto his lap. “Where did you get that date?”
“From me,” Jeremiah spoke quietly. “We were able to get the information a short time ago. December 20.”
“The Aztec calendar,” Mulder breathed.
Jeremiah nodded. “We need to get moving.”
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.