He was in a foul mood as she let them back into the apartment. He was tired, and sore, and a hell of a lot more aware of just how far down he'd allowed himself to sink.
And he was annoyed that she seemed to be walking on eggshells around him. He wasn't angry with her, surely she understood that.
With her help and the cane, he managed to make it to the couch, where he collapsed into the cushions.
"Can I get you anything?" She asked quietly.
"Scully, you don't have to wait on me." He groused.
"Maybe not, but you look like you're all done in. What about a hot bath? You could soak out some of the soreness and just relax."
That did sound good, if he could maneuver himself in and out of the tub. "Scully, you know I'm not mad at you, don't you?"
She gave him a small smile, "Yes."
"Good, the person I'm most pissed at right now is me. I had no business letting myself - "
"Mulder, it's okay. You'll get back to where you were."
"Promise?" He still looked forlorn.
"Absolutely. Let me go run you a bath and - "
"Finally. I thought you only did that for young victims." But his mood was lifting.
She rolled her eyes at that memory and turned toward the bathroom. He watched her leave, she did seem . . . better somehow. Maybe the fact that he was finally taking steps to get well pleased her.
In any case, he needed to get undressed. He stopped halfway up from the couch. No way could he get in and out of that tub alone, but if she helped him there was also no way he could hide his reaction to her. Shit, he'd started to look forward to soaking in her tub.
"Mulder? Come on." She approached him now to help him to his feet.
"Uh, Scully, I'm not sure I can manage the tub."
"I'll help you."
"That's the problem." She looked hurt suddenly. Shit, that's not what he wanted. "Scully, if you're going to gaze on the bod, I'd rather it be in better shape."
Understanding and color flooded her face then. "We'll manage."
He looked wary, but allowed her to help him to his feet. She left him to undress, which he did as quickly as possible, leaving only the boxers. He was trying to pull on his robe when she tapped on the door.
He started to chastise her about this being her room again, but thought better of it. "Come in." She entered and held the arm of the robe so he could slip it on. He remained silent.
In the bathroom, she took the robe again and hung it on the hook inside the door. "Mulder, do you want to - "
"I'll leave these on." He interrupted and she gave a quick nod.
"Why don't you sit here on the side of the tub and I'll help you get your legs in."
"I'm a lot of trouble." He griped.
"You always have been high maintenance, Mulder."
He looked up startled, then saw the tiny curve of her lips. Teasing? She hadn't teased him in forever. It felt nice.
He slipped carefully into the very warm water and saw his mistake. But what would have worked better?
She didn’t quite meet his eyes, then left the room to get his medicine.
Why hadn’t he realized that wet boxers molded to the body? Shit. The one part of his body that was working and it was the most unwelcome.
Great, he was real relaxed now, he thought sarcastically. Was she impressed, horrified, indifferent? How did he stack up to Jack Willis or, or Tattoo Boy? Could he satisfy Dana Scully? Damn, how long had it been since he’d been with a real woman?
There was that disastrous attempt with Vampire Girl. But at a critical moment Kristen had touched the small gold cross around his neck and things had fallen apart. Since then it had just been easier to be alone. He’d realized then that he wasn’t interested in being with anyone else. Too bad he hadn’t tried to move closer to her when he’d gotten her back.
The tap on the door startled him. “Mulder?”
“Yeah.” He grabbed a washcloth and covered his boxers in an attempt at a little modesty.
"Mulder, you're not . . . insecure about anything." She tried to meet his eyes, but he avoided her. "Because you have absolutely nothing to be insecure about. I'm the one that's been tucked up against you for the last couple of nights and I know. It . . . it's where I want to be."
He gaped at her then and saw the color take over her face. She wanted to be pressed up against him? Oh god.
“Well, uh, you call me when you’re ready to get out.”
“Are you sure?” She didn’t want to rush him.
“Okay, be careful.” She let the water drain from the tub, but held the towel to give him what privacy she could. She left him alone once the towel was around him. “Can you get dressed from here?” He nodded. “Okay, I’m going to change.”
He hobbled into the bedroom clutching the towel around him. She’d laid his pajama bottoms on the bed, but was no where to be seen. He sank onto the bed, exhausted from his activity and reeling from her revelations. She wanted to sleep tucked up next to him.
Mulder eased himself into the bed and tried to relax, waiting for her.
She entered shyly; the thought of a bride came to him before he could stop it. They weren’t, they hadn’t had that kind of relationship, despite his fantasies. Was there a chance now, well, when he was healed? Another reason to get well.
She slipped into the bed beside him and got comfortable, her hips touching his side. He rolled toward her, curling around her. “Scully?”
“I wanted to, to tell you something.”
“Okay.” She turned to face him.
His eyes searched her face.
“I’m not drugged, at least not the good stuff.” He managed a weak grin. “I need you to know, I, I love you.”
She blinked, caught completely off guard by his words.
“You don’t have to . . . Scully I just need you to know that.”
“Mulder, you don’t - “
“I do. It’s way past time I said it out loud.”
He had a slightly larger smile on his face now. “I’ve said it to you in my head for a long time.” His smile dimmed as she didn’t respond. He watched her as she swallowed hard and her lips parted, but she didn’t say anything. She turned in his arms, her back to him, but pressed against him. She took his arm and pulled it over her as though anchoring him to her, but nothing was said. His mouth was too dry to form words, and the thoughts of escaping from the room came to him. Unfortunately, he wasn’t capable.
He did eventually fall asleep, after listening to her breath for an hour or so. That didn’t exactly make for a good morning and he couldn’t think of anything to say. There wasn’t much conversation and she seemed damn uncomfortable when she left.
His day didn’t get better. He worked on his exercises, but they made him think of her. What didn’t make him think of her anymore?
She was quiet when she got in, but he didn’t push. She was still working too hard, first at work, then with him on his physically therapy. She continued to sleep beside him at night, but there was a difference now.
He didn’t really want to analyze that. He’d told her he loved her and she had turned away. She hadn't asked him to leave. Too much pity for him probably. He was pretty sure she’d been crying in his arms that night, but she hadn’t wanted him to see, hadn't wanted to make him feel worse.
He had obviously badly miscalculated, but it hadn’t been mentioned. She hadn’t asked him to leave and still allowed him to hold her to him every night. He clung to that.
After dinner, while he helped her with clean up, she turned to him. “Mulder, I, Skinner called me in today.”
Mulder looked up at her, immediately on edge.
“He’s sending me to Missouri on a case.”
“Missouri?” He managed to keep his voice steady.
“It’s not an X-File. They just need a forensic pathologist.”
“And you’re the best.” He offered.
“I’m available.” She said quietly.
“It’s hard for me to see you go off on a case without me, after what happened in New York. How long?”
“I’ll be careful. I probably won’t even get out of the morgue. It shouldn’t be but a couple of days.” She started to reach out to take his hand, but stopped. He closed his eyes and turned away, leaving the rest of the clean up to her as he headed for the living room.
“Mulder - “
“I need to get started on my exercises.” He stopped at the door, but didn’t look back. “When do you leave?”
“In the morning.”
"Maybe this would be a good time for me to clear out of your way. They tell me the place is put back together, habitable again, at least for me." His humor fell flat even in his own ears. She hadn't spoken so he turned to look at her.
She looked like he'd punched her in the gut, frozen, her eyes wide.
"Do you, do you want to leave?" Her voice was quiet, pitched low. Anyone else would have said she was calm, just asking a casual question. He could hear a million nuances to her question, or was that what he wanted to hear?
"No, but I've been here a while. You're not exactly charging me rent."
"I think you should stay." She finally stated, no explanation offered. No I want you to stay, I need you . . . I love you.
He nodded, but it looked to her as though his shoulders slumped slightly. She started to speak again, but he was already out of the room.
Mulder heard the knock on the door from the kitchen. He’d filled the dishwasher and straightened up after breakfast. She’d be back in a couple of days; it was his litany. She’d already been gone longer than she’d originally thought.
She'd called every night, but she didn't sound like herself. If he'd had the strength, he'd have told her she didn't have to check on him. The truth was he relished the calls, the sound of her voice. He didn't think she'd been sleeping, at least not well. That might be projection on his part. The warmth of her bed, the comfortable casual of her apartment weren't enough without her there to transform them to life. He was counting the hours.
He was proud of the fact that he didn’t need the cane to make it to the door. He was making progress, not where he wanted to be but . . . He checked the peephole. The man was facing away and at an angle. But there was something familiar . . . Krycek?
Mulder jerked the door open. “What the hell are you doing here?”
Krycek looked him up and down. “Well, Fox, you look like shit.” He tilted his head to see past Mulder into the apartment. “Aren’t you going to ask me in?”
“Hadn’t planned to.”
“I might have some information you were . . . pursuing.”
“I understand you’re looking for someone.” Mulder’s eyes narrowed. “Someone short, doesn’t talk much, wears diapers . . . ring a bell?”
Mulder felt his blood pressure rise. He moved slightly to the side and Krycek entered, then turned and smiled at him.
“Nicer digs than you’re used to, Mulder. How long you planning to stay here.”
“Why are you here, Krycek?" Mulder ignored the jab. "If you have information, give it; if not, get out.”
Krycek smirked at him, then made himself comfortable in the chair next to the couch. After a moment, Mulder eased himself down as well. He waited.
"I hear congratulations are in order. It's a boy." Krycek's smile faded at the look of pure rage on Mulder's face. For a moment, Krycek wondered if he could take the man if he did attack. "Sorry. Cheap shot."
Mulder blinked; the man sounded . . . sincere. "What do you know?"
"I heard a child was slipped out of a project and delivered to you. Word has it the individual responsible 'sleeps with the fishes'."
"Why would someone that works for them do that?" Mulder's tone was wary.
"The breath of 'human' kindness? Hell, some of them do have a conscience, Mulder. I imagine you have fans there as well."
"Why are they doing this to Scully? They can hurt me, I'm used to it, but why her?"
"Mulder, she's not the only woman they've done this to. There have been experiments going on for years. She happens to be a good test subject, but there have been a lot of women abductees that have had ova stolen."
Mulder closed his eyes, the memory of that cold room and Kurt pointing to the drawer was back with him. "And the men, hundreds of them as well, I suppose."
"Men?" Krycek asked confused.
"Men, the other half of the equation. They're jerking around the human race, so to speak, and we just - "
“Mulder, you're the 'man' in the equation. I thought - "
"Me? For this baby, yes, but you - "
Krycek looked at him, stunned. "Don’t you get it, Mulder? They want you because you’ve been exposed; you’ve been a test case for years.”
“What are you talking about? That vaccine they gave me in Russia? That was - “
“No, though that did get their attention.” Krycek watched him. “You do know you’re the only one that it worked on, don’t you?”
“Only one? No. Why?”
“Because you’d already been exposed years before.”
“You’re crazy. I was never - “
“When your sister was taken. Something happened to you to put you in a coma for three days. They used you then.”
“Used me how?”
“Mulder, I’m sure you were a bright boy even then, but not the brilliant young man you were at Oxford or the Bureau. They enhanced you, years ago.”
“Enhance . . . Spooky?” Mulder looked up at him, eyes wide.
Krycek grinned, “Yeah, Spooky. They created you, your father protected you from the consortium as long as he could, but he didn’t know you were going to be working against the very people that used him.”
Mulder was quiet for a long time, unable to absorb the information Krycek had put before him. Finally he turned to Krycek, “That’s why they used me. Why Scully?”
“She was a good subject when they took her, and you trusted her. She was a good tool to keep you off balance originally. Turned out she was much more than that.”
Mulder’s eyes narrowed, “How much more?”
“Well, even without your enhancement, she had the qualities they were looking for when they wanted to create . . . “
“They created him.” It wasn’t a question.
“You gonna offer me a beer?”
Mulder ignored that. “How can you be sure he’s her son?”
“I don’t know about that, but he is the kid that was taken from your apartment the day you got taken apart.”
Mulder looked away, turning thoughts over and over. Finally he looked back at Krycek. “What do they want from me?”
“They’re not making this offer.”
Mulder’s face went carefully blank, “You? Why the hell would you come to me with this?”
Krycek shrugged. “He’s not what they thought. Not what they were trying to create. They don’t need him anymore.”
Mulder stiffened, “How do you know that?”
Krycek shrugged, “I hear things.”
“What would they do to him?” Mulder’s voice was low, dangerous.
“He’s a liability.”
“They’d just . . . give him to me.” Mulder watched Krycek.
“No, I didn’t say that.” Krycek smirked.
"What are you saying?" Mulder's voice was harsh.
“I’m saying I may be able to get - ”
“Anxious? I have an idea. He’s not guarded any longer. I can get in; I just have to get him out.”
“That’s where I come in. You don’t know anything about looking after an infant.”
“And you do?” Krycek smirked. “You don’t look like you can look after yourself right now. I don’t need a gimp with me.”
“Like I could trust you alone.” Mulder forced himself up off the couch and turned toward the bedroom. Krycek followed him and saw him clip his gun to his waistband. Krycek’s eyebrow went up when Mulder had to sit to strap the second gun to his ankle.
“Oh, you’d be a lot of help. I can handle this.”
“No way. We’re going.”
“Now? Right now?” Krycek’s incredulous voice caused Mulder’s face to harden.
“Yeah, right now. Where?”
Krycek paused, looking the man over once again. Mulder was completely serious. “Kentucky; Ft. Campbell.”
“Military, I should have known - “
“Yeah, it keeps people away.”
“It’ll take us at least twelve hours to get there. There isn’t much time, is there?” Mulder pinned him with his eyes.
Again the younger man hesitated. After a moment he looked away. “No. I don’t think there is.”
Mulder grabbed the pad by the phone and scratched Scully a note. Now that he had the information, there was an urgency he couldn’t ignore. She’d be concerned, but there was something telling him he couldn’t wait.
Mulder woke as Krycek slowed down near the entrance to the base. He hadn’t meant to fall asleep. Silently he cursed his weakened condition again. He was not going to slow things down. This was too important.
“We should be okay, Mulder. This time of day most of the staff is gone. They just have the skeleton crew here to monitor in the main part of the labs. The baby you want isn’t in the experimental section any more.”
“Have they hurt . . . “
Krycek met his eyes, but kept quiet. Mulder was the one that looked away.
Krycek pulled onto the base and handed an ID to the guard. “We’re headed to Building O.”
Mulder noted the soldier’s reaction, quickly covered. He’d snapped to attention. “Yes sir. You know the way?”
“Yes.” Krycek spoke with authority. The guard nodded crisply and stepped back. Mulder kept quiet until they were out of range of the entry, then looked over at Krycek.
“You’ve been here before.”
“A while back. The ID gives me clearance, and the fact that I’m aware there is a Building O.” He drove over a mile, and finally turned to a building set off by itself. He parked in the small area in front of the windowless building. There were very few vehicles around. “Put on this lab coat and keep your mouth shut.” Krycek tossed the white coat to him.
“What about you?”
“I told you, I’ve been here before. I have access. Just keep quiet.” Krycek approached the guard booth; Mulder trailed him.
The ID wasn’t questioned and Mulder wasn’t acknowledged. The lock hissed open and the two men moved into a sterile area to await the next door. After an airlock type area, they were finally in a regular hall. Krycek moved to the right, looking and moving as though he belonged.
He finally stopped in front of a hospital door. There was a rectangular wired glass window above the handle. He looked at Mulder, but didn’t speak.
“Why haven’t we been stopped?” Mulder whispered.
“I told you, chill. The ID - “
“Fuck the ID, we’re in a restricted building. Is this some sort of trap?” Mulder hissed at him.
“Why did you come with me if you thought I was leading you into a trap?”
“Because I want to save him.” Mulder faced him squarely.
“Maybe I want to help you.”
“That’s real hard for me to believe.”
“Can we have this discussion later? I don’t want to hang around in the hall. Let’s get him and get out. Maybe then you’ll believe me.”
The door wasn’t locked. Krycek looked up and down the hall, then pushed the door open. He and Mulder moved inside and Krycek shut the door behind them. The room was full of equipment. Mulder had seen less in ICUs. Then he spotted the hospital-type bassinette in the corner. There was no sound, no movement coming from it. He moved in that direction, ignoring the aches and stiffness in his body.
The baby was lying there. His eyes were open but the only movement was the slight rise and fall of his chest as he breathed. He was wearing only a diaper and didn’t react to the sight of Mulder leaning over him. There were no monitors on him. “Jesus, they’re just letting him die.”
Krycek didn’t respond.
Mulder looked underneath the bassinette and grabbed a handful of diapers and a can of formula from the shelf, shoving them in the large pockets of his lab coat. That caused Krycek to move again. He opened the small refrigerator on the shelf above him. “Mulder, there’s a couple of bottles in here.”
Krycek nodded and stuffed them in his pockets, though Mulder didn’t even turn to watch. “I’m here, son. You’re going to be okay. You hear me?” His finger lightly caressed the boy’s cheek. “We’ve got to get out of here.” Krycek looked up from the clipboard he was holding. “What’s that?”
“I think it’s his medical records.”
“We’re taking that with us. Scully will need it. Come on.” Mulder gently wrapped the boy in the blanket from the bassinette and held him to his chest.
“Put him under your coat. I don’t want to advertise.”
Mulder nodded and pulled his lab coat around the boy, then took the clipboard and held it in front of him.
“Can you keep him quiet?”
”I wish that were a problem.” The baby didn’t seem to be any larger than when Mulder had found him that night. He’d imagined him growing, thriving. Mulder moved to the door and waited.
Krycek blinked, then headed for the door himself. He opened the door and looked out. He nodded and Mulder followed him.
“Sir, do you want us to stop them?” The military man looked up from the monitor to the older man.
“No. No, let them go. As soon as the car is off base, I want all surveillance tapes since they entered.”
“Yes sir.” The soldier’s expression didn’t even change.
The older man took a long draw on his cigarette and smiled slightly. It was the least a grandfather could do.
Mulder slid into the front seat and uncovered the baby. “That was too easy.” Mulder looked around to see if anyone was following.
“Maybe we’re doing them a favor.” Krycek also checked. No one was in sight.
“Do you believe that?” Mulder asked him. Krycek didn’t respond. “Give me one of those bottles.” He looked up at Krycek, and took the bottle he handed him. “Come on, take the nipple.” He spoke to the unresponsive infant. “You need to eat.”
Krycek pulled out of the parking slot and headed toward the entrance of the base. “What’s his name?”
“I . . . we didn’t name him.”
“You might want to think about it.” Krycek said dryly. “Put him under your coat again. We still need to get out of here.”
Mulder complied, murmuring to the boy. As soon as Krycek turned left onto the state road, Mulder uncovered him again. He brushed the nipple against his lips, letting a little of the formula dribble into his mouth.
“Come on, baby. Drink this. You have to get stronger.”
Krycek glanced over at him, then back at the road. He kept his mouth shut.
He had his key in the door when it was jerked open and she threw herself at him. One of his arms went around her to steady her as much as to hold her. “Watch it, Scully.”
She looked exhausted, her eyes were red and her face showed signs of tears. His words caused her to flinch and he instantly regretted it. She had thought he was gone, dead or lost to her forever.
She stepped back, his tone confusing her. He let his jacket fall open and she spotted the infant he held close to him. She froze. He could see she wasn’t breathing; he wasn’t even sure her heart was beating.
He stepped to her and placed the tiny boy in her arms. They closed around him. “Oh my god, oh my god.” It was just a whisper. She finally tore her eyes from the baby and looked up at Mulder. “It’s him.”
Then she seemed to grow in front of him, bristling, her expression fierce. She drew back, and he knew she was ready to defend the child to the death. He turned to see what she was looking at and realized Krycek had entered the apartment. Krycek actually flinched from her stare.
“Scully, Scully look at me. It’s okay. It’s a long story, but I promise to tell you every word. Just not now. Come here.” He led her to the couch, though her eyes never left Krycek.
Once she was seated, she looked back down at the boy. “Is he okay? Is he - “
“You’re going to have to tell us that. He’s awfully lethargic, but better than when we found him.”
“I can’t believe . . . this is where you went?” He leaned over and brushed the tears from her face, unaware of his own.
“He’s wet. We don’t have any diapers.” She looked back down at their son.
She was surprised at the huge smile that broke out on his face. “He’s wet? His kidneys are working.”
“His kidneys? Mulder, what did they do to him?” Her concern turning to fear.
“I don’t know.” He turned to Krycek and held out his hand for the papers. Krycek relinquished them, looked at Scully and then retreated to the kitchen. They heard the refrigerator door open. “I said I’d explain and I will, Scully. Check him out. I think his problem now is neglect. They were, they were letting him die. They were through with him.”
“Oh god.” She brought the baby to her chest again. Mulder’s hand brushed the child’s head.
“I have some supplies in the car. I’ll be right back. Will you be okay?”
She glanced toward the kitchen, then nodded. He wasn’t gone but a few minutes. She hadn’t moved from the couch, cuddling the boy to her breast. “He hasn’t cried, Mulder.”
“I think he learned there wasn’t much use to it.”
“We’ll have to make up for it.” He took a diaper out of the already opened package and dug for the wipes. Then he headed for the bathroom and grabbed a towel for the couch. “I’ll heat up a bottle in a little while. He prefers it warm.”
“Yeah?” He met her eyes.
“You’re moving a lot better.”
He smiled then, “Yeah, I had to.” He left them alone then; she needed time with the baby. He found Krycek in the kitchen, a sandwich nearly made on the counter. “Help yourself.” Mulder said dryly.
“Thanks, I will.” Krycek took another swig from the bottle of beer, then finished making the sandwich. “Want one?”
“No. Listen, I need you out of here.”
“You’re welcome, Mulder.” Krycek said dryly as he took a seat at the table and started eating.
“I do thank you. I owe you, but Scully and I need some time alone with him.”
Krycek nodded and took another bite of the sandwich.
“Do you have a place to go, money?” Mulder heard himself say the words.
“Gee, I didn’t know you cared.” Krycek sneered.
Mulder swallowed, “My place is empty. It’s been cleaned up, I hear. If you need to crash there for a couple of nights . . . “
Krycek just stared at him for a long moment. Finally he took the last bite of the sandwich. “Yeah, I could use that.”
Mulder nodded and took a key from his pocket and handed it to Krycek. “There’s no food there.”
“Was there ever?” Krycek actually grinned and Mulder chuckled.
“Not much. Listen, I can’t - “
“Not now.” Krycek stopped him, “I gotta go. I, I hope he’s okay.”
Mulder nodded and looked toward the living room. Krycek rose and headed for the door. He glanced over at the baby being rocked in Scully’s arms, then let himself out without another word.
Mulder locked the door behind him and then took a seat beside them. “How does he seem?”
“Quiet.” She looked up at Mulder. “Talk to me.”
“Let me get that bottle first. I’m not sure they fed him regularly lately.”
Her eyes widened, but she watched him move toward the kitchen. He was moving better, some of that confidence was back in his step.
When he returned, he handed her the bottle and resumed his seat. He watched as she played the nipple over the baby’s full lower lip as he had done. The boy latched on, his eyes following the woman’s face above him. She hummed to him and murmured loving words until his eyes closed. Mulder drank in the sight.
“Scully.” He was whispering, “I’m sorry if I scared you.”
She finally looked up. “You did. I was terrified. You could have said more in your note.”
”Scully.” He shook his head, “I . . . I didn’t know what would happen, but I felt this terrible urgency to get to him.”
She looked back down at the boy. “I think you were right.” The nipple fell out of his mouth as he drifted off to sleep. She held up the bottle to check. “Only a couple of ounces.”
Mulder nodded, “I’ve been feeding him every hour. He doesn’t cry or fuss. Scully, he was just laying there, waiting to die.”
Her head jerked up, fresh tears filling her eyes. The baby shifted slightly, adjusting to her arms. “God, how could they . . . “
Mulder shook his head, he had no answer to that. “We need to name him.”
“How are we going to keep . . . “
“He’s ours. We can prove it. If we do a private adoption . . . “
“They wouldn’t let me, before.” That remembered sorrow on her face nearly undid him.
“You were alone then.”
Her eyes asked the question she couldn’t form.
“Not now, you’re not alone now. I know we haven’t discussed . . . Scully I won’t bother you, I won’t ask for something you can’t give, but I think we’d have a better chance - “
“Won’t bother me?” That statement confused her, and he wouldn’t meet her eyes now. He was focused on the baby.
“We’re friends, Scully. We already spend a lot of time together. You, you’ve let me stay here with you. The guys can do some creative documentation. What kind of maternity leave can you get at the Bureau for an adoption?” He managed a smile, weak, but it was there.
“What?” The change in subject catching him off guard.
“William, for all the important men in his life, and mine.”
Mulder nodded, “You don’t think Bill - “
“Bill had his chance and decided on Matthew.”
“Your father would like that, I think.”
“Do you want to put him down?” Mulder offered.
“No. He needs to be touched, more than anything he needs to be held and loved. Every child needs that.”
Mulder nodded. He agreed.
“Why didn’t you tell me where you’d gone?”
He didn’t look at her, “I didn’t know what would happen, what I would find.”
“If you’d be back?” She offered.
He did look up then, and gave her a sad grin. “Where would I go, Scully? Wherever I go, I always come back to you.”
Her eyes widened and her arms involuntarily tightened around the boy.
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to push.”
“I said I wouldn’t bother you. I won’t, I - ”
She stared at him, her mouth falling open. “You did this for me. You, you really do love me.”
He looked up startled. “You didn’t believe me?“
“I thought, I thought you were trying to let me off the hook. I knew it was my fault they had gotten away with him.”
“Your fault? Where do you get that? Scully, it was never your fault. Never.”
She sniffed, forcing composure. “Tell me what happened.”
They were reclining on her bed now, William lying between them. He’d eaten again, nearly three ounces this time and was still awake. They both had their hands on him, their voices soft. Occasionally they looked up at each other, but mostly they watched him even though their words were for each other.
“You do believe me now, don’t you, Scully?”
She didn’t look up, but he saw her smile.
“It’s taking a little getting used to.” She finally said.
“How could you doubt it? We have a baby together.”
She did look up then, her eyebrow at maximum height.
“Well we do.” He defended his statement.
She laughed. She actually laughed and he drank in the sound. He hadn’t heard it since before William showed up at his door. He couldn’t speak, but his hand left William and touched her cheek.
She realized what she had done and blushed, then pressed into his hand. “Yes, I guess we do.”
He looked at her for a long moment, then leaned in. She watched, but didn’t pull back. His lips brushed against hers. He looked at her, and seeing no resistance, did it again.
William gurgled between them, for the first time waving an arm.
“I think he approves.” Mulder looked down at him.
“He’s a smart boy.” Scully let William grip her finger.
Mulder blinked, “Yeah, he is.” He looked around the room, “Is he, uh, is he gonna sleep between us tonight?”
“No, that wouldn’t be safe.” She tried to keep her lips from twitching.
“You know I’m not . . . fully back to - “
Her lips took his then. “I promise not to rush you. But it is my bed. I’m here and you’re here.”
“Yes ma’am, I am.” The gleam in his eye caused another blush. Mulder looked down at the baby again, his eyes were growing heavy. “Maybe we should put him in his own bed.”
Scully nodded and gently cuddled the baby to her breast as she carried him to the basket she had set up for him. She leaned over and kissed his forehead, then straightened up and just looked at him. She felt Mulder behind her and leaned slightly into him. His arms came around her as they watched the baby sleep.
“He looks beautiful sleeping there.” He offered.
“I think it’s beautiful seeing you sleep in my bed too.” She turned in his arms. Their lips met again, a promise this time and an acknowledgement. They had things to discover.
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.