Scully tucked the blanket around Katy, and they left the apartment. Danny helped her push the stroller as they made their way to the church. At the office, Scully asked to speak to Father Charles. The priest came out shortly and spotted Danny. He smiled broadly and held out his hand to the boy.
“It’s good to see you again, young master Petrie.” Danny grinned at him and shook his hand. “And you must be Mrs. Petrie, and the new baby sister.”
“Yes, this is Katy. Father, I wanted to thank you for looking after Danny the night she was born.”
“I’m just glad we found him before we turned in for the night. That was an incredible gesture for a five year old.”
“I know.” Her eyes misted a little.
The priest turned back to Danny, “Is she a good baby?”
“Oh yes, but she gets hungry a lot.”
Father Charles chuckled, “Well you would too with a tummy that small. Are you a big help to your mother?”
Danny nodded solemnly, “she’s special too.” He glanced at Scully and she smiled.
“Are you Catholic, Mrs. Petrie?”
“Yes, but I haven’t been attending since we moved here. I wasn’t very mobile recently.”
“I understand, I hope to see you more often now.”
She smiled, but didn’t commit. Katy stirred then and opened her eyes. Danny knelt in front of her but didn’t speak. After a moment, Father Charles remarked, “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen such an alert infant. She does love watching her big brother, doesn’t she?”
“Yes, and he’s spent a lot of time with her.”
“Is he in school anywhere?”
“No, I’ve been home schooling him. We’ll see how that goes when school starts in the fall.”
During the lull in the conversation, Danny caught her eye. “I think we need to go Mom.”
“Oh, okay. I didn’t mean to take up any time; I just wanted to let you know how grateful we are.”
“It was my pleasure to meet your new daughter and see Danny again. I hope we see a lot more of you around here.”
Scully rose, the priest’s hand coming out belatedly to assist her when he saw Danny’s solicitousness. It crossed his mind again that this was an unusual little boy as he watched them leave.
On the walk back, Danny touched her hand, “Do you want to go there?”
“I’d like to sometimes. I can’t participate in mass because I can’t go to confession, but I’d like to hear him speak. He seems nice.”
“He is.” Danny nodded. “Daddy used to talk to me about your church.”
“He did?” She smiled down at the boy.
“Yes, he bought a book, so he’d tell it to me right. When I was little I didn’t understand why a book about cats told about the church.” He grinned at her.
“Mulder bought a book about the catechisms?” That stunned her.
“Sure, he thought you’d want him to.”
Scully was silent at that, more moved than she could express. She needed to talk to Mulder about this, thank him.
The phone was ringing when they entered the apartment. Danny darted over to get it. “Hi. We’re fine; we just went to thank Father Charles. It’s not that far. Yes, here she is.”
Scully didn’t need to read minds to figure out that conversation. She took the phone from Danny. “We were only gone about thirty minutes.”
“Hello to you too, Honey.” He was obviously put out with her.
“Sorry, but the surveillance is a little steep here. We got in a little walk, Katy got to see outside. It was nice for a first outing, not as far as the park.”
“But you’re okay.”
“Mulder, I’m fine. Good in fact. You’re not really upset are you?”
“Uh, no, I’m . . . I just couldn’t reach you.”
“I’m sorry; this was spur of the moment since it faired off so pretty. Did you need anything?”
“Just to hear your voice.”
Her eyes misted over again and Danny looked up, then relaxed and turned his attention back to Katy.
“I won’t be late. Kiss the kids. Scully, I love you.”
“I love you too.” She barely got it out; her throat had closed up from emotion. Having her hormones under control again would be a welcome reprieve.
Dinner was nearly ready when he arrived and his mild scolding of her for being on her feet too much was ignored. She shooed him off for a quick shower while Danny set the table.
Mulder returned to the kitchen with Katy in his arms. “She was bored in there all alone.” He explained as he put her in her infant seat on the table.
“Yes, and she has her Daddy wrapped around her little finger.”
Mulder just grinned, unable to dispute it. He started on clean up while Scully nursed the baby there in the kitchen with him, and when Katy drifted off, Scully returned her to her crib and rejoined him.
“Mulder, we need to talk about DC.”
“What?” He knew what she was asking, but needed to stall.
“Walter, we need to know that he’s okay. Just before Katy was born, the guys wanted us to come home. I didn’t pursue it because you were right about my ability to travel - “
“I was right?” He grinned.
She glared at him for an instant, “Once in ten years; don’t blow it now.” She responded. “But Katy’s here now. We need to make sure he’s okay.”
“Skinner’s an ex-marine and a capable FBI agent. We don’t - “
“Mulder, he’s important. Walter was a rock for me when I was pregnant with Danny. He became family.”
Mulder absorbed this. It wasn’t something he’d ever asked, mainly because he didn’t want to know what kind of relationship had developed.
She didn’t seem to notice his distress, and continued. “He got me through your ‘funeral’ and despite Kersh, he had never quit looking for you. Sometimes I didn’t even know, him trying to protect me.” She smiled to herself.
“But when I gave you Danny . . . “ She shook her head, “I wouldn’t have survived that. He was there. I don’t think he left me alone for days, trying to get me to eat, sleep, function. Eventually I did, but it was slow. It was . . . easier to be with him than Mom, at least he knew what I was really going through. He always seemed to know when I couldn’t take any more. He’d show up at my place with dinner or take me out.”
Mulder kept quiet. This was history, she was here now with him.
“Until . . . until I joined you, I thought that he and Monica were the only two people in the world who knew that Danny wasn’t stillborn. The guys never let on that they had been in contact with you.”
Mulder’s head had come up, “Wait a minute, your mother . . . your mother thinks that, that Danny’s . . . “
She nodded, “I couldn’t let her know. She would never understand and I . . . I couldn’t talk to her about it. Mulder, I thought he was dead to me. I thought I’d lost both of you.”
“Scully.” Mulder knelt in front of her. “I didn’t know. Why didn’t you tell me?”
She shook her head, unable to speak. He pulled her against him and she gave into tears. Danny approached the door, but Mulder motioned that it was okay and for him to leave them alone for now. Danny left and retreated to the bedroom in case Katy sensed this and woke.
“Come here, Baby.” He lifted Scully into his arms and carried her to their bedroom. He lay her gently on the bed, then curled around her.
“I’m sorry, I can’t - “
She grew quiet again, relaxing slightly. “I’m a mess.”
“You’re the strongest woman I know.”
“Right, look at me. I shouldn’t be crying like this, I have you with me, I have Danny. That’s something I never thought . . . and now Katy, but - “
“But you just had a traumatic birth with an incompetent mid-wife, and Danny was missing. And maybe you overdid it just a little today? She is only two weeks old.”
She ignored that last part, “You weren’t incompetent. She’s here isn’t she?”
Mulder shuddered slightly, “Because you knew what you were doing.”
“I couldn’t have done it without you Mulder. I was scared to death.”
He blinked then, “I’m damn glad I didn’t know that.”
She squirmed back against him, “You changed the subject. I can’t leave Walter hanging out there alone. I owe him and . . . and he’s important to me.”
“Yeah, I hear that.”
She turned then to see his face. “You’re not jealous are you?”
He gave her a half grin, “I’m trying real hard not to be.”
“Mulder, look at where I am right now.” His arms tightened around her, “And those two kids in the other room, they are ours.”
He really smiled then. “Yeah, they are.”
“You have no reason to be jealous.”
“I know that, but hearing you talk about another man supporting you, looking after you when I couldn’t . . . that hurts.”
She sighed, “I didn’t mean to hurt you - “
“You didn’t. The circumstances are what hurt. And I know what this is going to sound like, but I’m not going yet. I can’t leave you now.”
“Leave me? I’m going with you.”
“You expect me to stay here, while you go to DC?”
“Yes. You’ll stay here with the kids, where it’s safe.”
“It’s not safe without you. We’re all going.” She had that unshakeable Scully look, but he was just as firm on this. His family was not going into danger.
“Mulder, we don’t have to get there overnight, if you’re worried about the trip. We can . . . can take a vacation. Drive a few hours for a couple of days. We need to know if these people have infiltrated the FBI, if they are after Walter.”
“Scully, look at me. You and the kids are not going to DC.”
“Mul - “
He didn’t throw his weight around often, but she saw he was adamant on this one.
She nodded slowly. “Then Walter needs to come here.”
“Here?” Did his voice actually go up?
“If we can’t go to him, he should come to us. It would probably be safer anyway.” She nodded to herself and he just watched her, feeling somehow outmaneuvered.
“Uh, yeah. But no one knows where we are, even the guys - “
“Right. The guys will only be able to start him out, then we would contact him to lead him in. Yes! You’re brilliant.” She leaned over and kissed him, excited about the prospect. He returned the kiss, but seemed . . . wilted.
Danny watched his mother prepare dinner. She was excited, looking forward to seeing this man, happy at the prospect. Danny smiled as he took the plates from her to set the table. He had just finished when he felt his Dad pull up in front of the apartment. At the same time, he watched her head come up and she dried her hands as she moved toward the door.
At first Danny had been confused, even a little annoyed, that his mother wouldn’t admit to being able to read minds like he could. He’d finally come to realize that she couldn’t, at least not like him. She only had the connection to his Dad, and she seemed to be unaware even of that. It was fun to watch, especially when he mentioned it occasionally and she seemed embarrassed.
Scully opened the door and a large bald man entered, followed closely by Mulder. Scully’s smile widened and as Danny watched, she moved closer and put her arms around this new man. The man only hesitated an instant, then his arms closed around her as well. “Dana.”
It startled Danny and butterflies started up in his stomach. He’d never seen another man hug his mother.
Danny looked at his father, who was trying hard not to look like the breath had been knocked out of him. Danny’s eyes narrowed as the hug seemed to continue an awfully long time. He couldn’t help it, he scanned his mother - there was no doubt what his Dad was thinking.
She was happy, delighted to see this man. He was a good friend to her, but there was no . . . he didn’t have the word for it. It wasn’t the way she felt when his Dad’s arms were around her. That was some relief, but he turned to this new man.
He loved her. The butterflies grew and he probed a little deeper. Yes, this man loved his mother, but he knew she was . . . off limits. This man recognized how much his parents loved each other and he . . . he loved his Dad too, like he was his little brother or something. The butterflies slowed and stopped. This ‘Walter’ wasn’t a danger to them, he wanted to help them and keep them safe.
The two finally drew apart, “Walter, it’s so . . . “ She had to swallow, her eyes were moist, “it’s so good to see you.”
His eyes feasted on her again and his smile grew. He made no comment, but looked in Danny’s direction. “Is this . . . “
Scully beamed, “This is our son, Danny. Danny this is Mr. Skinner.”
“He wants to be Uncle Walt.” Danny offered. Skinner had stepped toward him and started to bring his hand up to shake with the boy. Now he stopped and looked over at Scully.
She nodded, ‘It’s okay. He won’t pry.”
“But he can, he can read minds.” It wasn’t a question, but Scully nodded again anyway.
Skinner looked around to see Mulder, but realized he had left them. Even as he turned, he saw him returning carrying something in his arms, but looking at Danny, who nodded - reassuringly it seemed.
“Uncle Walt, huh?” Mulder asked as he placed the bundle in Scully’s arms.
Scully lightly touched Mulder’s cheek and he smiled down at her.
“Walter, this is the reason we couldn’t come to you.” She unwrapped the tiny baby in her arms and Skinner’s eyes widened. “Maybe you better sit down.”
He nodded and sank onto the couch. Scully leaned over and placed the infant into his arms. “No Dana, I never - “
“You’ll be fine.” She took the seat beside him. Mulder sat in the easy chair adjacent to them and Danny took his knee. He was really too old to sit in his father’s lap, but he knew his Dad needed this.
“Her name is Katy and she’ll be four weeks old tomorrow.”
“I can’t believe . . . “ The tiny girl opened her eyes then and looked at him. He gazed back at her in wonder. She closed her eyes again and settled in comfortably. He looked up at Scully who smiled, though there were tears in her eyes.
The timer in the kitchen went off and Mulder glanced in that direction. “What needs to be done?”
“Nothing, just take it out and let it sit for a few minutes.” Mulder and Danny rose, and Mulder turned into the kitchen. “I better feed her. If we want to eat in peace, she needs to eat first.”
“Can I get you a bottle or something?”
She smiled, “No thank you.” She took the shawl off of the back of the couch and draped it over her shoulder. Even the tips of his ears went pink when he realized what was happening.
Danny approached him then. “Would you like to see my room?”
“Uh, yes, thank you.” He took the boy’s proffered hand and rose. He followed Danny into the boy’s bedroom and looked around. *Can you really read my mind?* he thought at the boy.
“Sure I can. I know you love my Mom, but you love my Dad too, so it’s okay.”
Skinner went dead still. “I . . . I . . .”
“It’s okay. She’s really glad to see you. Have you talked to her Mom? She misses her a lot too.”
Skinner nodded, unsure what to say. Danny smiled at him, “Good. You should talk about her at dinner. Mom may cry, but don’t worry about it, it’s just hormones right now.”
Skinner blinked at the matter of fact tone. They both turned when Mulder called that dinner was ready.
Dinner was animated, and Skinner ate with an appetite he hadn’t had in months. Scully wouldn’t let him talk until he was full. He finished his ice cream, covered liberally with chocolate sauce by Danny, then leaned back, patting his stomach. “Enough, please.”
He watched Scully, sitting across from him with her new daughter on her shoulder and Mulder’s arm around her, and smiled.
“Is . . . is everyone in DC okay?” Scully asked.
Skinner glanced over at Danny. “Your mother is doing well. She’s a strong woman and she’s missed you. She never said it to me, but I suspect she knows you ran off to be with Mulder. She may even suspect that . . . that Danny’s alive.”
“Why . . . “ she brushed a tear from her cheek, “why do you say that?”
“Because she is so strong and intelligent. She’s never believed you committed suicide or were taken, not this time.”
Skinner smiled then, “You took the doll.”
Mulder looked over at Scully puzzled, “the doll?”
She nodded, her throat tight. Mulder’s arm tightened around her. “Scully?”
“The . . . the doll you gave me when I was expecting Danny. Remember, from your mother’s house? That’s what was in the box you got out of my closet, that last thing before we left.”
“You kept that?”
“Of course I did. It’s in our closet now.” She turned back to Skinner. “She’s okay though.”
“Yes. She spends a lot of time out of town, with your brothers. I see her or call her every few weeks, just to check in.”
“You do that?”
“We were in contact a lot when you first left. Then Mulder’s friends contacted me, to have me back off. I didn’t tell your mother, but I think she figured it out.”
Scully was quiet then, and Walter noticed that Danny had moved to stand beside her.
Mulder decided to change the subject. “How are the guys?”
“Frohike’s a little craggier; Langly’s hair is still down to here.”
“Jealous?” Mulder smiled.
Skinner chuckled, “Not really.”
Scully cleared her throat, “I need to clean up.”
“I got it, Scully.” Mulder squeezed her shoulder. “Sit here and visit with Skinner some more. We’ll have to get down to business soon.”
“Let me help.” Skinner rose, “Then I need to find a room.”
“You’re staying here.” Scully looked up at him. “Don’t argue. We’ve moved the crib into our room and Danny’s going to sleep on the couch.”
He looked into her eyes, and after a moment nodded, but asked anyway, “Am I a danger to you, being here?”
“No, we have Danny. You’ll actually be safer.”
Skinner blinked, but didn’t ask.
Scully ran a bath for Danny and got Katy ready for bed. Mulder read to Danny while Scully and Skinner visited.
Mulder rose from Danny’s bed. “We’ll move you to the couch after we talk. I’ll try not to wake you.”
Mulder stopped and looked down at him.
“You don’t have to worry.”
Mulder looked toward the living room, where Scully and Skinner were talking.
“Yeah, you know, but you need to believe. Mom does love him and he loves her, but it’s not like the two of you. Do you understand? I’m not sure how to say it.”
Mulder smiled, “Yeah, I think I get it. Can’t say it doesn’t bother me, to see another man with his arms around her.” He shrugged, “It’s not something you should worry about.”
Danny grinned, “I’m not the one that’s worrying.”
Mulder glared at him, but Danny’s grin only got wider. “Go to sleep.” He growled at the boy, then tousled his hair and kissed him goodnight.
Danny snuggled down in his sleeping bag, still chuckling.
Scully looked up as Mulder joined them and smiled, “Is he down?”
“Yeah. He’s a smartass, but he’s down.”
Scully turned at the sound of giggles from the next room. “I’ll kiss him goodnight, then . . . “ Mulder nodded and took her hand to lift her to her feet.
Mulder settled into the chair and looked at Skinner. “Mulder, I appreciate you having me here. It’s been rough.”
Mulder nodded, “While, while Scully’s gone . . . I want to keep my family safe. That’s the bottom line and my main concern. She gave me Danny to protect him from the things that you think are infiltrating the FBI. We couldn’t come to you when Byers contacted us, because the pregnancy was so far advanced, I’m not sure what excuse to use now, but I’m not letting her go into danger, not her and not our kids.”
“I agree, Mulder. I would never put your family, or you, in danger. You know that don’t you?”
Mulder relaxed back in the chair, “Yeah I know that. It’s hard, I didn’t realize until . . . until I got Danny.”
Skinner nodded. “You have an incredible family. If you think I am a danger, tell me. Regardless of Scully’s wishes, I’ll leave right now.”
Mulder managed to smile then, “She’d string us both up.”
“And I’d enjoy it, but why would I be stringing either of you up?”
They both turned to look at her, that eyebrow raised menacingly.
“We were discussing . . . options.” Mulder offered.
“Options.” Her eyebrow rose even higher and Skinner fought the urge to cringe. “I’m going to be a part of this discussion.” Both men nodded. She took a breath, “What’s going on at the Bureau?”
She settled into the corner of the couch nearest Mulder, and his hand rested on her arm. Scully smiled at him, then focused on Skinner.
Mulder and Scully sat silent for a moment absorbing what Skinner had told them. “They’re increasing faster than I thought.” Mulder mused.
“You have an idea.” Scully squeezed his hand. It wasn’t a question.
“Not a good one.”
“Let’s hear it anyway.” She spoke quietly.
He still hesitated, then took a deep breath. “You remember what Danny did to us that night he ‘contacted’ us.”
“He’s a lot stronger now, older. I wonder what would happen if he focused in and really blasted one of them.”
“How, uh, how close would he have to get?”
“Forget it, Scully. Closer than I’m willing to chance.”
“I’ve only seen one of them since we arrived, and that one was worried - “
“Worried?” Skinner interrupted.
“Yeah, Danny spotted him at the grocery. Terrified the kid at first, but then he calmed down and began scanning him. He was upset because the others were missing. We never found out what was going on. We actually searched his house when Danny told us he’d left town.”
“When was this exactly?” Skinner was leaning forward now, alert.
“Seven, eight months ago. I was pregnant with Katy. Why?”
“Several people went missing from the Bureau for three or four days about then. Two of them are people I’ve been keeping an eye on. They all returned; as far as I know they had plausible excuses. A summit?”
“You don’t know where they went?”
Skinner shook his head. “I didn’t suspect two of them. You remember Sanders in domestic terror?”
”We can’t be sure they were all involved, just because they were out of town.”
“No, but in the beginning there was quite a buzz about so many people missing at the same time.”
Mulder caught his eye. “Who quashed it?”
Mulder nodded, “I’d like to know how many have infiltrated and who they are.”
“That sounds like the Mulder I know.” Skinner had a slight smile on his face.
“Yeah, but that was the old Mulder. I’m a family man now, much more conservative.”
“But you still want to help.” She said softly.
He looked at her and Skinner watched that unspoken communication he was so familiar with. He hadn’t realized how much he’d missed it.
“It’s time you turned in. Katy will be up in a couple of hours.”
Skinner thought she was going to protest, but instead she took a deep breath. She nodded and he pulled her to her feet. “Good night Walter. I hope you know how glad I am you’re here.”
“Not nearly as glad as I am.”
Mulder kissed her and watched her leave the room. Once she was gone, he turned back to Skinner. “I spent a lot of years being a fool, thinking I could expose the truth and it would make a difference. Now, with Scully as my wife and two kids . . . I don’t want to ‘find out’, I want to protect.”
“You want to kill them.” Skinner nodded, “I’m not disagreeing. I do wonder if the people they’ve taken over exist anywhere.”
“I haven’t asked Danny that.”
“Would he be able to find out?”
“I don’t know.”
“How close would he have to be to scan the building?”
“He’s five years old.”
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking. Mulder, I’d never put your children in danger. You or Dana either. I hope you know that.”
“I do. Look, it’s been a long day for you too. I’ll move Danny out here and you can turn in. Don’t worry, you weren’t followed. Danny would know.”
“Is . . . is Katy like him?”
Mulder nodded, “We think so. We know she picked up thoughts when she was still in Scully’s womb. Danny communicates with her.”
Skinner sighed, “I’m overwhelmed, of course around you two that’s not that unusual. Mulder, whatever happens, it was great seeing you, knowing you and your family are good.”
“Enjoyed being called ‘Uncle Walt’?”
Skinner grinned, “You’ll never know. Well - “ he rose to his feet, “I’ll see you in the morning.” He picked up his bag from beside the door and turned toward the bathroom. Mulder watched him, then moved quietly into Danny’s room and gathered the boy into his arms.
He laid him gently on the couch and kissed his brow. The boy smiled in his sleep and rolled over. Mulder watched him a moment, then headed for his own room.
He was surprised to find Scully sitting up in bed, nursing Katy. “I didn’t hear her wake up.”
Scully smiled, “She didn’t, I’m cheating. I thought I would top off her tank before we went to bed, maybe get the full three hours.”
“You always were the brains of this outfit.”
“Nice of you to admit it.” She looked down at her daughter, passed out at her breast and started to stand.
“Let me.” He took the baby girl and carried her carefully to her crib, kissing her forehead as well, then settling her in the bed. He returned and sat beside her.
“You okay Mulder?”
“Really? Look at me. You’re not still jealous of Walter.”
“No.” His arms went around her, and he pulled her down, reclining beside her. Her hands found their way inside of his t-shirt and his slid down her hips as his lips found hers.
He reluctantly pulled away from her. “Mulder, I’m sorry. It won’t be long.”
“I’m not, Scully, I’m not trying to rush you.”
“Actually, I’m trying to rush you.” She smiled up at him and he took her lips again.