Offspring (PG13)


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The knock on the door woke him, but he took a minute to orient himself.  Then he stood, brushing a hand over his eyes as he made his way to the door.  He glanced at his watch; it was after two.  Who?  Scully?

 

That thought sped him up and he pulled the door open.  No one was there.  Had he dreamed . . . then something, some movement caused him to look down.

 

What the hell?  Again he looked up and down the hall but the scenery didn’t change.  The thin mewl from the box at his feet forced action from him and he reluctantly made himself bend down.

 

Shit, he needed help.  He picked the box up and entered his apartment, closing and locking the door behind him.  He sat the box carefully on the coffee table.

 

He grabbed up the phone and pressed one on his speed dial.  “Scully, I need you over here, now.”

 

*****

 

He answered the door before she finished the first knock.  “What took so long?”

 

“I had to pick up some things.”  She handed him the bags and moved past him.

 

She carefully moved the blankets aside and stared down at the infant.  It couldn’t be more than a few hours old.  But why the hell would anyone leave a baby on Mulder’s doorstep?

 

“Is it a boy or a girl?”

 

“Scully, I haven’t . . . “

 

“Oh good grief.”  She unwrapped the child and took it in her arms.  “Bring me the diapers.”

 

He hurried to obey her as she moved toward the bedroom.  Scully laid the baby on the bed and completely uncovered it for the first time.  The umbilical cord was still attached to the tiny boy.

 

“Get the alcohol, Mulder and some scissors.  Here, give me that.”  She took the diaper and box of wipes from him.  This baby hadn’t even been cleaned from its birth.  Mulder brought back the items she’d requested.

 

“A boy, huh?”  He sounded inane, but he was way outside of his comfort zone.

 

She nodded, cleaning the child and cutting the cord.  She diapered the boy, then wrapped him in one of the blankets and brought him to her chest.  He immediately began to root around, searching for her breasts. 

 

She looked up at Mulder, blushing.  “He, uh . . . “

 

“Yeah, I’ll fix a bottle.  I can probably figure out the directions for that.”  He looked away.  Maybe she hadn’t been the right person to call, given . . . but who the hell else would he call?

 

The baby was fretful by the time he returned, but she seemed unfazed.  She took the bottle he held out to her and let a drop or two fall on the baby’s lips.  He got the idea quickly and began suckling the bottle avidly.

 

She looked up at Mulder and smiled.  He tried to answer the smile, but wasn’t sure he was successful.  This felt too . . . right, watching her with a baby in her arms.  He mentally shook himself; this was just a short-term thing.  In the morning they would call Social Services or whoever you called for something like this.

 

She had looked back down at the baby, engrossed in watching it as she caressed the top of its head and played with its tiny fingers.

 

“Mulder, why here?  Why you?  I mean, if you’re going to abandon a baby, you pick the most convenient spot.  You don’t come up four stories and go to the end of the hall.”

 

He shrugged; he’d wondered the same thing.

 

The baby lost his grip on the nipple as he fell asleep.  She handed the half empty bottle back to Mulder and raised the tiny boy to her shoulder.  He gave a discrete burp, but didn’t wake.

 

She started to rise from the couch and Mulder was there, his hand under her arm helping her.  “Thanks.”

 

He just nodded and followed her back into the bedroom.  She laid the baby in the middle of his bed and placed a pillow on each side, though she knew the child wouldn’t be rolling around too much.

 

Scully caressed the top of his head one more time, then moved away from the bed.  She turned Mulder’s bedside lamp on the lowest setting, then left the room, turning off the overhead light.  Mulder was right behind her and pulled the door almost closed.

 

“Okay, now we need to find out what’s going on Mulder.  This is how you found him?”

 

“Yeah.  He was in that box and just sitting outside my door.  All I did was bring him inside.”

 

“Okay.”  She leaned forward to check it out, removing the rest of the blankets one by one, preserving evidence.  She heard a piece of paper crackle underneath the last blanket.  “Now maybe we’ll learn something.”  She took a tissue and lifted the note by the corner, bringing it closer to read.

 

She blinked and read it again, then looked up at Mulder, her face ashen.

 

“Scully?”  Something was wrong.

 

He reached for the note and she let him take it.  He was looking at her though, not the paper.  She didn’t look well, but she wouldn’t meet his eyes.

 

Okay, he looked down.  ‘Fox, your son was born earlier tonight.  No one knows, I knew he wouldn’t be safe.  Don’t let them have him.  I know you’ll know how to handle all of this.  I’ll be in touch with you soon.  I love you, Caroline.’

 

He just stared at the note he held.  What the hell?  He looked up at her.  “Scully, Scully I don’t . . . “

 

She rose then, unable to sit still, unable to meet his eyes.

 

He stood as well, “Scully, you don’t believe this?”

 

“I . . . I don’t . . .” She was rocked, unable to speak.

 

“Scully, that is not my baby in there.  You know that, don’t you?  You’ve got to know that.”

 

She didn’t respond, so he moved closer and she flinched.  Scully flinched from him!

 

“Scully, please, look at me.”

 

“She calls you Fox.  She knows where you live.”

 

“Scully.  I’m not . . . people know me, I’m in the damn phone book.  I don’t know anyone named Caroline.  I swear to you I haven’t slept with anyone named Caroline.  Hell, I haven't slept with anyone!”

 

She turned away again, but not before he saw the devastation this was causing her.

 

“Scully, we can prove it.  You can run a paternity test.  Then you’ll know.  Please, look at me.  I can prove it, with your help.”

 

“Mu . . . I should go.”

 

“No!  Scully, you can’t leave me here alone, not with . . .”

 

“With your son?”

 

“Listen to me.”  He took her shoulders in his hands.  “I need you here.  And I need you to believe me.  I don’t know a Caroline and I have not fathered any children.  Scully please!”

 

“I don’t . . . I can’t . . .”

 

He realized he was terrified.  He pulled her against him, needing to hold her, to be held by her, but her arms remained down at her sides.  After a long moment he released her.  He’d never felt so cold.

 

He stepped back and cleared his throat.  “Can you, could you run those tests tomorrow?”

 

“I don’t know that a lab - “

 

“What about the guys?”

 

“I suppose, if you want . . .”

 

“Anything that will speed this up.  That will prove to you - “ They both heard the baby cry and he turned toward the door, but she froze.

 

“Scully, what do I . . . “

 

She brushed past him then and on into the bedroom.  He followed her at a total loss.

 

Scully lifted the child into her arms and cradled him to her breast again.  Mulder circled the bed and saw the tear that escaped her eye.

 

God, this was a nightmare.  Was it a nightmare?  Was he asleep on the couch?  If only.  He watched her sway with the child in her arms and felt a hunger, that she could know this for herself.

 

She left the room and startled, he followed her.  “Scully, what do you need?  I can - “

 

“I’m just getting the rest of his bottle.  I need to warm it up.”

 

“Let me.”  He took the bottle into the kitchen.  He needed to be doing something.  When he returned she took the bottle, then put the baby in his arms.

 

“Hey, wait a minute, I don’t - “

 

“You should feed him.  Sit down.”

 

“Scully, please.  You should - “

 

“I can’t.  Mulder, please don’t ask me to.”

 

He closed his mouth; at least she was still here.  When the baby was asleep again, he placed him carefully on the bed.  When he returned to the other room Scully wasn’t there.  For an instant he panicked, then he heard her in the kitchen.

 

“Scully, you should try to catch a few winks.”

 

“There’s no - “

 

“Take the couch.  I won’t be sleeping.”

 

“I should head on home, you can - “

 

“I can’t.  Scully, I can’t.  I’ll call the guys as soon as it’s light.  Please.”

 

After a moment she nodded.  She removed her shoes and settled in on the couch, pulling the afghan over her.  He knew she had closed her eyes more to block the sight of him than for any rest.  He also knew when she did finally fall asleep.  He could see her slip into dreams, and he saw the tears run down her face.  Damn it!


She woke, less than rested a couple of hours later, to the sight of Mulder, infant on his shoulder, watching her.

 

“Did he wake you?”

 

“No.”  She looked away and he couldn’t think of anything to say for a minute.  Finally, “The coffee’s ready and I called the guys.  They should be here soon.”

 

She nodded, and turned toward his bathroom.  When she heard the guys arrive, she forced herself to return.  The baby was back on Mulder’s bed.

 

“Ah, Scully.  If I’d known you were here - “ Frohike started, then he went quiet at the vibes in the room.

 

“Mulder, what’s up?”  Byers moved closer.

 

“We have something we need you to investigate for us.  We can’t go through the Bureau.”

 

“Of course, what do you have?”

 

“I’ll, uh, I’ll get him.”  Mulder moved past her and Frohike’s face grew grimmer.  Mulder returned with the infant in his arms.

 

“Hey, what the . . . “ Langly stared at the baby, but Frohike was focused on Scully.

 

“We need you to do a DNA test on the baby.”  Mulder spoke softly due to the sleeping child.

 

“And compare it to whose?”  Frohike sounded indignant already.

 

“Mulder’s.”  Scully spoke.

 

The look of outrage on Frohike’s face should have been comical, but the stunned silence of Byers was more devastating to Mulder.

 

“And we need fingerprints from this.”  Scully handed Byers Caroline’s note in a plastic bag.  Byers read it quickly and glanced up at Scully, though he did not speak.

 

“You son of a - “

 

“He’s not mine.”  Mulder stated flatly. “That’s what you have to prove.  We, I need these results as soon as possible.”

 

“We’ll get right on it.”  Byers promised.

 

They swabbed the inside of the baby’s cheeks and Mulder’s.  “Take Scully’s too.”  He said impulsively as they were packing up.

 

“Me?”  She looked up.  He nodded, “There’s no - “

 

“Please Scully.”  After a moment she nodded.  Anything to make this nightmare move forward.

 

Their three friends quickly finished up and moved out.  As soon as they were gone, Scully put back on her shoes.  “Mulder, I need to leave for a little while.”

 

“Scully, please - “

 

“I won’t be long.  I need a shower and some things.  I’ll be back.”

 

“Will you?”  He was watching her closely.

 

“Yes.  I’ll pick up some more formula.”  He nodded, but the thoughts of her leaving actually frightened him.

 

“Scully, should we, do you want to call Social Services?”

 

The question surprised her, but she tried to hide that.  “No, not now.  I need to go.”  She let herself out, ignoring his fearful silence.

 

*****

 

Scully called Skinner from her car, leaving a message that Mulder had a family issue to be resolved and she was assisting him.  Let Skinner believe it had to do with Mulder’s mother’s estate.

 

She did hurry, whatever else was going on, she couldn’t abandon the child.  Mulder needed her support right now, and that was her job.

 

The look on his face when he opened the door for her didn’t bear close analysis, but seemed to settle in the pit of her stomach.

 

“Did you have any problems?” She finally found her voice.

 

“Not with him.”

 

She nodded and moved into the kitchen with her supplies and the lunch she’d gotten.  They didn’t talk much, neither knowing what to say.  But her presence, even now, gave him hope and he was willing to settle.

 

She froze when the phone rang and he answered.  “It’s Byers.” He turned to her and she moved closer to hear him.

 

“Mulder, there are no prints on the note.  In fact, no hand oils on the thing at all.”

 

“You mean . . . “

 

“Whoever wrote it was wearing gloves.  Or they didn’t rest their hand on the paper when they were writing.  That’s not likely.”

 

“No, it isn’t.” Mulder was watching Scully, but she didn’t speak.  “What about - “

 

“Mulder.”  Byers sighed.  “The other is going to take some time.”

 

“I know.  Listen, I . . . thanks.”

 

“Yeah.  We’ll be in touch.”

 

Mulder hung up and watched her.  They continued their nearly silent dance, unable to clear the air between them, but not able to separate either.

 

Finally she turned to him, “Mulder, why don’t you try to get some rest.  I was able to sleep some this morning, but you haven’t  . . . “

 

“I don’t think I could.”

 

“Try.”  After a moment he nodded and made his way to the couch. He slept for a couple of hours, not completely peaceful, and woke to what looked like an empty apartment.  He hurried to his feet and, after a quick glance in the kitchen, looked in the bedroom.  She was there, asleep herself, her body curled slightly around the sleeping infant.  The sight threatened to topple the tenuous hold he had on his emotions forcing him to retreat from the room, closing the door.

 

He’d eaten lunch, but it was a distant memory and he assumed she must be getting hungry herself, so he ordered dinner.

 

*****

 

It was a long night, and an even more uncomfortable morning.  She wasn’t entirely sure why she was still there, but she couldn’t force herself to leave, to abandon the child to his care.  She felt like she was in limbo, a captive of this ‘Caroline’ and her accusations.


She answered the phone when Byers called the next morning.  If he was surprised to hear her voice, he didn’t mention it.  “We have some information.  Don’t want to talk about it over the phone.  We’ll be over in a few minutes.”

 

“We’ll be here.”  And she hung up the phone.

 

“Was that the guys?”

 

She jumped slightly.  She hadn’t heard him come into the room.  “Yes, they’re on their way over.”

 

“Could they have . . . “

 

“Theoretically, if they weren’t working on anything else.”

 

“They weren’t.”  He watched her walk away from him and urged the guys to hurry in his mind.


They really didn’t take too long to arrive.  Scully had just finished feeding the baby and had him on her shoulder when Mulder answered the door.

 

“Everybody doing okay?”  Byers asked into the awkward silence.

 

“Depends on what you have.”  Mulder responded.  “Do you have the DNA?  Can you tell her I’m not the father?”

 

Byers sighed, “The tests were inconclusive.”

 

“Incon . . . damn it!  What do they say?”

 

“The results actually raised more questions than they answered.  A portion of the DNA matches yours exactly.”

 

“That’s impossible!  Scully, it’s not - “

 

“Mulder.”  Byers interrupted, “and a portion matches Scully’s exactly.”

 

“It does what?”  Scully moved forward then, passing the baby to Mulder as she reached for the paper.  Mulder took him, but his eyes never left her.

 

“How?  I didn’t . . . “

 

“Neither did I Scully. Do you believe me now?”

 

“Mulder, these . . . the results are . . . “

 

“They’ve been read by three labs, Scully.  We pulled in some favors.”  Byers answered her next question before she could ask it.

 

“Th . . . three?”

 

“Scully.”  Mulder took her arm and led her into the kitchen, away from the others.  “Scully, you didn’t give birth to Emily either, but she was yours.  Why couldn’t this baby . . . “

 

She looked stricken.  He glanced up at the three men standing awkwardly in the living room.  Mulder placed the child back in her arms and returned to them.

 

“Guys, we need a little time.  Can you protect this information?”

 

“Yeah.  These are your copies.  Listen, Mulder, if you need . . . “

 

Mulder nodded, then he turned to Frohike, “Do you believe me now?”

 

“Mulder, I’m . . . “ Frohike shook his head.

 

“Yeah.  You know don’t you, I’d never betray her.”

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

Mulder nodded and watched the three leave.  After locking the door, he returned to her.

 

“He can’t be mine Mulder.”

 

“He can’t be mine either.  But the DNA . . . “

 

Scully closed her eyes and held the baby close to her.  “I need to go over the information.”

 

“Scully, I . . . yeah, go over the information.”

 

He left her alone, taking the baby into his room to change him and give her a little space.  When he couldn’t stand it any longer, he returned and watched her from the door.  She didn’t seem to notice, though he saw her swipe tears from her face.

 

“Scully?”

 

She looked up then.  “This makes no sense.  There are pieces of your DNA, pieces of mine and then all these others.  What I’m seeing isn’t scientifically possible.”

 

“But you . . . you believe me.”

 

She looked away and his blood pressure rose.  “I don’t know what happened, but the note is beginning to look . . . “ She shrugged.

 

He sank into the nearest chair.  “Yeah.”

 

“Mulder, there are things we need to do.  The baby needs to be checked by a pediatrician, he has to have a PKU test and . . . and I don’t know what all he needs.  It’s not my field.  I need to run out and get him some things, a . . . a car seat, some clothes.  He can’t wear a diaper and blankets for the rest of his life.”  She gave Mulder a half smile.

 

The relief kept him in his seat.  She wasn’t sure, she needed more scientific evidence, but the gloom that had pervaded her since reading the note seemed to be lifting.

 

“It’s okay Mulder, I won’t be long.”

 

He nodded, “Okay, he . . . we need you.”

 

That slight smile was back.  “I’ll hurry.  Then we’ll take him to the clinic where Sherry works.  She’ll look him over.”  She turned to get her purse and his hand touched hers.  She let her fingers encircle his and squeezed slightly.

 

*****

 

She did try to hurry, but she hadn’t anticipated the crowd at the baby store on a Saturday morning.  To be honest, she hadn’t remembered it was a Saturday morning.  She’d gotten a nice car seat and a couple of outfits.  They’d need more later, after decisions were made.  A lot of decisions needed to be made.

 

Traffic had gotten crowded suddenly and then she saw the police cars and the ambulance . . . outside of Mulder’s building.  She went stone cold and pulled into the nearest opening.  She was out and running toward the building, everything else forgotten.  Her badge got her inside.  She didn’t wait for the elevator, knowing this affected her on a personal level.

 

She was right, the door to his apartment was open and the police spilled out into the hall.  Again her badge was out, but the words died in her throat as she saw the paramedics working on Mulder.   The place was destroyed.  He’d obviously put up a hell of a fight.

 

She moved quickly toward the bedroom.  It had been taken apart as well.  The blankets, the diapers, hell, even the box he’d arrived in was missing.

 

“Agent?”

 

“I’m . . . Agent Mulder is my partner.”

 

“Do you have any idea what happened here?”

 

“Uh, no, I was . . . “ The paramedics caught her attention as they started for the door.  “Excuse me.” She hurried to his side.


”Sorry ma’am, we need to move.”

 

“Where are you taking him?”

 

“The Trauma Center.  Please lady.” She’d taken his hand.  “We really need to move.”

 

“Yes.  I’ll meet you there.”  She watched them rush toward the elevator and took hold of the doorjamb to steady herself.


”Agent Scully, this had to be a robbery, a home invasion.  Would you know if anything were missing?”

 

“Missing?”  More than this man could ever know.  “Uh, no, I don’t live here.”  Everything was missing, the information the guys had brought, the supplies she’d brought . . . and the baby.  “I need to go.”  She turned, then stopped.  “How did you get here?”

 

“Neighbor called.”

 

She nodded and let herself out.

 

*****

 

“Doctor Scully?”  A nurse touched her shoulder.  “A Mr. Skinner is here to see you.”  Scully blinked up at her.  “We’re keeping a very close eye on him.”

 

“I . . . thank you.”  Scully rose, a little stiffly, and made her way out of the ICU.

 

“Dana?”  AD Skinner was waiting just outside.  “You should have called me.”

 

“How did you . . . “

 

“The police notified me when there was no family.  I guess they didn’t make the connection that you were already here.  How is he?”

 

“He’s slipped into a coma.  They, uh . . . he was very badly beaten.”

 

“It was, what?  A home invasion?  I don’t understand.”

 

“We, Agent Mulder and I were exploring a new case at his home rather than the office.  The evidence was there.”

 

“This is about an X-File?”

 

“Yes sir.  But all of the, the evidence was taken.”

 

“Do you want me to have someone - “

 

“No.  No, you can’t help.  These people . . . I need to get back to him.”

 

“I don’t have to leave.  Why don’t I get you something to eat?”

 

“No, I - “

 

“Dana, I know you’re here for the long haul.  You’re going to need your strength.”

 

“I can’t leave.”

 

“Fine, I’ll go get you something light.  Stay with him, I’ll let you know when I’m back.”

 

She nodded, her attention already back with him.  She didn’t allow herself to think about the child.  That’s what they’d come for and Mulder had defended him, nearly to the death, but she knew these people, they had made no mistakes.

 

*****

 

In three days his condition had only deteriorated.  He was on a respirator, but she refused to give up, or leave.  She was wearing surgical scrubs now and had allowed herself only ten-minute showers, eating at his side.

 

She returned from her latest break and checked the monitors; if anything he seemed a little weaker.  She took his hand again.  “Don’t you leave me Mulder.  I’ll never forgive you if you leave me too.  Do you hear me?”  She sank into the chair beside him.

 

Finally she dozed with her head on his bed.  She wasn’t quite asleep when his hand twitched in hers.  She was wide-awake instantly.  “Mulder.”  She leaned in to whisper in his ear.  “Mulder, it’s me, it’s Scully.  Can you hear me?”

 

The curling of his fingers around hers couldn’t be a coincidence.

 

“That’s right.  Come on back to me.”  She was pressing the button for the nurse as she spoke.

 

His eyes opened and his head turned slightly toward her.  “You’re on a respirator Mulder.  Don’t fight it.  I’m right here and they’ll remove it as soon as they - “ She was interrupted by the arrival of the doctor, followed by the nurse.

 

“I was at the station.  Well, look at this.  Glad to see you awake Mr. Mulder.”  The young doctor was looking closely into his eyes.  “I need to do a few simple tests.  I promise not to hurt you, okay?  I’m Dr. Griffin, by the way.  We’ll shake later.”

 

Scully managed a small smile.  Dr. Griffin was even younger than she and fortunately had enough unorthodox ideas to have allowed her to stay by Mulder’s side, regardless of policy.

 

The doctor shined a light in his eyes, had him track his finger.  Mulder responded to some easy questions by squeezing her hand.  “That respirator’s really bugging you, isn’t it?  Okay, we’ll remove it, but if you don’t behave . . . “ Mulder’s eyes lightened for an instant.  The doctor smiled back at him.  “Okay, Dr. Scully, if you will - “ the alarms went off as Mulder’s pulse rate skyrocketed.

 

“Mulder, please, I’m not - “

 

“Mr. Mulder it's okay.  I’m not asking Dr. Scully to leave.  I just need her to move to the foot of the bed.  She’ll be the one playing with your toes.  Okay, do you understand?”

 

Mulder relaxed slightly and Dr. Griffin nodded to her.  She transferred her hand to his leg, maintaining contact and squeezing his toes.  “I’m right here.”

 

His eyes didn’t leave her, though he followed the doctor’s directions, coughing to aid in the removal of the respirator when asked.

 

“Okay, we’re going to want to do some more extensive testing in a little while Mr. Mulder, but you just rest for now.  Is there anything we can get you?”

 

“Scully.”  The prone man croaked.

 

Dr Griffin smiled, “I think you already have that.”

 

When they were alone finally, she leaned in and kissed his cheek.  “You scared me.”

 

“I see that.  What happened?” He rasped.

 

“I left to get some things and - “

 

“You were at my apartment?”

 

She looked at him closely then, “Yes, earlier.  Mulder, what do you remember?”

 

“Nothing.  I don’t even know what day it is or where I am.  We weren’t on a case?”

 

“Uh, no.  We’re in DC.  You were attacked at your apartment.  I . . . I returned and, and the police were there.”

 

He closed his eyes and sighed, “Thank goodness you weren’t there.  So what did happen?”

 

“The police are investigating.  You just rest, that’s all that matters.”

 

He nodded, not opening his eyes, just tightening his grip on her hand.

 

She sank into the chair.  Oh god, he didn’t remember.  The child was gone and he had no . . . she closed her own eyes and ignored the tears that escaped.

 

*****

 

He was moved to a regular room late the next day.  Skinner and the gunmen were there to visit.  While Skinner went on into the room, she met with the three out in the hall.  “He doesn’t remember.  Don’t mention what you were working on.”

 

Byers moved closer to her and whispered, “He doesn’t remember the baby?”

 

She shook her head, “Not at all.  He’s still too weak to be worrying about it anyway.  We just . . . there’s nothing we can do.  There’s no proof that a child was ever in the apartment.  No one saw him but you, and if the people that took him could do that to Mulder, you . . . I don’t want you hurt.”

 

“Dana, I’m sorry.”  Byers touched her shoulder.  Langly nodded, and Frohike took her hand, squeezing it.

 

“Scully, we aren’t scared of - “

 

“You should be.  You know as well as I do what these people are capable of.  Don’t say anything to Mulder.  If you still have evidence, make sure it’s not where it could ever be linked to you.”  She looked over at the door, “I need to get back in there.”

 

The three nodded, and Byers handed her his handkerchief.  She managed to smile at this chivalry and dabbed at her eyes, then nodded.

 

Mulder was watching her as she returned and tensed at the evidence of tears, but held his comments for now.  He exchanged jibes with the other three men and assured them that Scully had once again saved his ass.  Their visit was short, due to his weakness, but Skinner motioned for Scully to walk him out.

 

“Is there something I should know?”

 

“Sir?”

 

“He and I both saw that you were upset when you returned to the room.  If there is anything I can do . . . “

 

She managed to smile, “No, really.  He’s much improved, already asking when he can be released.  That’s the most important thing.  I plan to come by the office later today - “

 

“Don’t worry about that.  I had Kim get your expense report to Accounting.”

 

“You didn’t have to - “

 

He looked down at her.

 

“Thank you.  Things will get back to normal soon.”

 

“Normal?  That would be a nice change.  Listen, if you need something, please call me.  I’ll be speaking to the police later today about their investigation.  I will tell you there doesn’t seem to be much we can do at this time, and since Mulder doesn’t remember . . . “ The big man shrugged.

 

“Maybe that’s for the best.”

 

That brought a look of surprise to his face, but he made no comment, for now.  “Get back to him.  If you need a break, want to go home . . . “

 

“Maybe later.  Thank you.”  She turned then and returned to Mulder’s room.

 

“Are you okay?”  He was asking before the door closed behind her.

 

“Of course.  Lie back Mulder.  That was probably too much company at once for you.”

 

“I’m fine, but I’m worried about you.”

 

“About me?”  But she didn’t quite meet his eyes.

 

“What is it?  You were crying.”

 

“No I wasn’t.”

 

“Scully, you don’t have to protect me.  The doctor told me I was . . . did he tell you something - “

 

“No.  Mulder you are healing very well.  I wasn’t crying, maybe they were just being so . . . so geeky sweet it got to me.”

 

“You’re developing a thing for Frohike, aren’t you?”

 

She laughed her surprise.  “We were trying to keep it low key.”

 

“I can still take him.”  He made a show of trying to rise from the bed, but her hand on his shoulder stopped him.

 

“Everything is okay, really.”

 

“Everything but you.  I can see how tired you are.  Look, as much as I enjoy your company, you really should get a decent night’s rest tonight.  Go home, take a shower, read a book, eat something recognizable.  I’ll be okay.”

 

“Did you insult me somewhere in there?”

 

He shook his head, “Never.  Go on, I’ll be fine.  Nurse Godzilla is on tonight.  She’ll keep me in line.”

 

Her uncertainty was poignant to him.  “I guess I could use a real shower and a change of clothes.”

 

“See?  I promise to be right here where you left me in the morning.  You can call to tuck me in and give me phone sex.”

 

At that she rolled her eyes.  “If you’re feeling that much better, maybe Nurse Godzilla should stay with you.”

 

He grimaced, then pulled her closer and down to him.  “Go home.”  He kissed her forehead, then her nose and finally, after a tiny hesitation, when she didn’t pull away, her lips.

 

“I’ll be back - “

 

“In the morning, Scully.  Really, it will be okay.”

 

Finally she nodded and left the room.  She couldn’t tell him that staying here kept her mind away from things she didn’t want to face.  Scully squared her shoulders and went to find her car where Frohike had told her it was parked. 

 

Her packages and the car seat were gone.  Byers had offered to return everything when they left the hospital, and part of her was relieved to be spared the sight of the things.

 

She did go home and take that shower, fixing a small meal in the comfort of her robe.  She talked to him for a few minutes and he reassured her that he was fine and to get a good night’s sleep. 

 

Falling asleep wasn’t easy.  Alone here she could give into her grief about the child that she had finally come to realize, to truly believe she would never be able to find.  His DNA and hers, once again manipulated in the cruelest way.

 

She ended up curled around her pillow and cried herself to sleep.

 

She was possibly more rested when she awoke, but felt the pull of him as she hurried to dress and return to the hospital.  The day nurse spotted her when she got off the elevator and approached.  “I’m glad you’re here.”

 

“Is he all right?”  Scully asked quickly.

 

“Yes, but he had a bad night.  Nightmares, restless.  I didn’t think he’d tell you.”

 

“No, he wouldn’t.  Thank you.”

 

The young woman nodded and returned to the desk.  Scully squared her shoulders and went on in.  “Morning.”

 

“Hey, what are you doing here so early?  I thought you were going to try to get some rest.”  He chided her.

 

“I did, but I not as much as I get in that chair.  Mind if I stay here again tonight?”

 

He looked at her wonderingly, “You want to?”

 

“Yes.”  She said simply.  “I’ll have to go over to the office, at least check our messages, but I think I’ll sleep better here tonight.”

 

He absorbed that, and decided to just be grateful.

 

Two days later he was released, into her custody.  Her insistence that he stay at her apartment didn’t meet with much resistance.  From what he’d heard his apartment wasn’t liveable anyway.

 

She held the door open as he entered leaning on his cane.  He would need to continue physical therapy, but he was alive.

 

He moved toward the couch, but she forestalled him.  “To bed mister.  You’ve been up long enough.”

 

“Ahh, you’re true colors huh?  Always trying to get me in your bed.”

 

“In your dreams, Mulder.  Now lie down before you fall down.”  She took his arm and led him toward the bedroom.

 

He sat heavily on the side of the bed.  She wasn’t far off, though he hated to admit it.

 

“I’ll fix dinner, then - “

 

“Then I’ll come to the table and eat it.  I need to see if I remember how.”

 

She smiled, “Okay.  Rest for a little while now and I’ll call you when dinner’s ready.”

 

He nodded and lay back on the bed, sighing.  She brushed the hair off his forehead, then left the room.

 

She checked, her mother had been here and left some things.  Scully made her decision and began cooking.

 

She was tossing the salad when he joined her in the kitchen.  “Mulder, why didn’t you call me?  I could have helped - “

 

“Just what I need, you watching me struggle to even get up out of a bed.  No thanks.”

 

“Mulder, stop it.  You were nearly killed; you have to work your way back.  Please, don’t push too hard.”

 

He sank into a kitchen chair.  “You know, that’s the part that confuses me the most.  Why me?  Why my apartment?  You know the place, there’s nothing there worth stealing.  I know Skinner thinks it could have been guys on PCP, but I don’t know, it doesn’t feel right.  There was just nothing there worth - “

 

Scully had turned away and now he looked at her closely, was she crying?  He struggled up from the chair, and moved toward her.  “Scully?  Scully, what?”  She was crying.

 

“Nothing, I just - “

 

“Scully.”

 

She buried her face in his chest.  “Nothing, I . . . I came so close to losing you.”

 

He didn’t speak for a moment, just caressing her hair.  “You didn’t lose me.  You won’t lose me.”

 

“Promise?”

 

He chuckled, “Yeah, I promise.  You okay?”

 

She sighed, “Dinner’s ready; have a seat.”

 

After dinner, he sat in the living room watching a little TV while she cleaned the kitchen.  She joined him shortly.  “Haven’t you been up long enough?”

 

“Probably, but I like it here.  Your place feels good, homey.”

 

“Really?  I always thought it was kind of sterile.  Your apartment has a more lived in look.”

 

“I could leave my socks on your floor.”  He offered.

 

“Gee, thanks.  I’ll pass.  Come on, you really do need to get your rest.  I want you back to full strength as soon as possible.”  She rose and started to take his arm.

 

“Nope, let me do it.  Really, I need to do this.”

 

She took a deep breath and stepped back.  Her hands twitched to help him, but he finally made it to his feet.  He gave her a rue smile, then took the cane she handed him and slowly walked down the hall.

 

“Mulder, go on in the bathroom.  I’ll get your things.”

 

He nodded, but didn’t speak.  She tapped on the bathroom door.  “Come on in.”

 

He was looking through his kit bag for his toothbrush.  She put his sweat pants and t-shirt on the shelf.  “Do you need any help?”

 

He leered at her for an instant.  “What kind of help?”

 

She rolled her eyes, “I’ll be in the other room.”  His smile dropped away when she left.  He didn’t know what she was keeping from him and he needed to find out.

 

He made his way to the bedroom, to find that she had turned down his side of the bed.  “Scully, you haven’t slept in a bed in days.  I could - “

 

“There is no way you would get comfortable on my couch.  It’s plenty long for me.”

 

“The bed is big enough - “

 

“Mulder, go to bed.  I’ll be right out there.”

 

He carefully lowered his body and winced as he lifted his legs to the bed.  She pulled the covers over him and to his surprise, placed a chaste kiss to his forehead.

 

“Rest and grow strong, Mulder.”

 

“Yes Mom.”  She turned off the light and let herself out of the room, pulling the door nearly closed behind her.

 

She leaned against the wall, willing herself not to cry again.  It upset and confused him.  He didn’t know what had happened, what had been taken from his apartment.  Knowing would do no good now.

 

She got ready for bed herself and tried to read for a little while, but finally gave up and stretched out on the couch.  She heard him a little later, restless, but not crying out.  She moved into the bedroom.  He was talking in his sleep, but at least it didn’t seem to be a full-fledged nightmare.

 

“Mulder?”

 

“No.  Don’t take . . . he’s Scully’s, don’t - “ He woke then and saw her standing over him, her mouth open, her eyes wide.  “Scully?  What?  What’s wrong?”

 

“Noth . . . nothing.  I, I heard you talking.”

 

“What did I say?  Scully, what’s wrong?”

 

She shook her head.  He moved slightly to the side and patted the bed.  “Looks like you need more comforting than I do.  Come on Scully, talk to me.”

 

She sank onto the bed beside him.  “You should be resting.”

 

“I rest better when you’re beside me.  Stay in here, then I won’t talk or dream.  And I promise not to jump you.”

 

She looked down with a nervous chuckle.

 

“Come on.  You slept beside me in the hospital all this time.  Why not get comfortable too.  Please, you could be my security blanket.”

 

“And you could be mine.”  She spoke so low he almost missed it.  He decided not to pursue it for now.  Instead he moved farther over to give her room.

 

*****

 

She heard him before she got the door open.  Scully dropped the bags just inside of the door as she slammed it with her foot, then raced to the bedroom.  She shouldn’t have left him, but they’d needed a few things.

 

He was flailing around, crying out, "No!  Don't ta . . . ours!  Scully's . . . no!"

 

"Mulder, Mulder wake up.  It's okay."  She caught his hand before he could hurt himself.  "Mulder."  She eased onto the bed beside him, her hands touching his face, wiping the hair from his brow.  "Mulder, wake up."

 

"He's ours.  Don't take him.  He's . . . " He opened his eyes to see Scully's shocked face.  "Scu . . . Scully?"  His eyes widened then, as memory overtook him.  "The baby.  Oh god Scully.  How could I . . . "

 

"Mulder, you were severely injured, you - "

 

"What are they doing to find him?"  He started to rise from the bed.  Her hand on his chest stopped him.  "Skinner, is Skinner - "

 

"Skinner doesn't know.  Mulder, Mulder listen to me.  They aren't looking for him.  No one knows he was there.  There's no proof that there was ever a baby in your apartment."

 

The look of total disbelief and, and horror caused her to look away.  "Mulder, they nearly killed you.  Think what they would have done to Byers and . . . There were no pictures, no fingerprints, no footprints on a birth certificate.  I couldn't -  " He grabbed her arm.

 

"You're not even looking for him?  He's ours, yours and mine!  How could you - " She jerked away, pulling her arm free, and raced from the room.

 

He shuddered when he heard the door slam, coming truly awake with a jolt.  Oh god, what had he . . . He struggled out of the bed, ignoring the pain and not bothering with the cane, moving as fast as he could.

 

The bathroom door was shut, but not locked.  He opened it quickly, needing to see her.  He spotted her on the floor beside the tub, hugging her knees to herself, her chest heaving and tears flowing down her cheeks.

 

"Scully, oh god Scully."  He lowered himself painfully to the floor beside her.  "I wasn't, I didn't . . . "  He pulled her against him, even though she tried to pull away.  He held her until the tears became hiccups.

 

Finally she did pull away and he reluctantly allowed it.  She rose from the floor silently and moved to the sink to wash her face.  He sat where he was, partially to watch her, partially because he wasn't sure he could get up.

 

She turned and moved to help him, but he shook his head.  She retreated as though stung and he regretted his actions on some level.  He managed to lever himself up enough to sit on the side of the tub and then on to his feet.  He followed her out of the bathroom and moved around her.

 

He lowered himself carefully to the couch.  She opened her mouth to protest, have him return to the bed, but he looked her in the eyes and motioned for her to sit beside him.

 

After a moment she did, not sitting close enough to accidentally brush against him.  It pulled at his heart that she seemed afraid of him on some level.

 

"Scully, tell me what happened.  All of it."

 

She stiffened her spine and he nearly reached out for her, but he needed to hear this, really listen, and not be distracted by the feel of her.

 

"I left to get some things, a car seat . . . "

 

He nodded when she paused.

 

"It took longer than I thought it would, and when I . . . there were four police cars and an ambulance.  I knew it was your place.  Mulder, " she looked up again, unshed tears shining in her eyes, "They didn't think you'd make it to the hospital.  I saw it in their eyes.  Your apartment was destroyed.  I glanced in the bedroom, but they didn't want me walking around.  They took everything, even your garbage to ensure there was no evidence that . . . he had ever been there.  No one saw them. There were no fingerprints or loose ends.  Mulder, they were professionals, they didn't make any mistakes."

 

"They made one.  I'm still alive."

 

Her breath shuddered then and new tears escaped down her face.  "Mulder, you can't  - "

 

"There has to be some - "

 

"I've read the police reports, the guys were over there.  They broke in and searched the place too.   We can't prove the baby ever existed."

 

"The guys could have - "

 

"Mulder, look what these men did to you.  What would they have done to Langly?"

 

He stopped then; as much as he hated it, she had a point.  "Okay, but I'm out now, I can - "

 

"Mulder."

 

"I can't just let them have him Scully!"

 

She dropped her face in her hands again and he softened, touching her shoulder.  "Scully, I'm - "

 

"Don't you think I've thought about this?  There was nothing else to do while I sat there praying for you to live.  There's no place to start.  Your neighbors heard nothing, saw nothing.  If they hadn't left your door open, the man down the hall wouldn't have looked in. He wouldn't have called 911."

 

"So they wanted me to live."

 

She blinked at that.

 

"Scully, professionals could have finished the job just as easily."  She looked away then, but he saw the shudder that ran through her.  "I know the trail is cold, but somewhere someone knows something.  Part of him is ours Scully.  He's our child and I have to find him."

 

"And you hate me for not searching for him."  She stated flatly.

 

His look of shock stopped her.  "Hate you?  I could never hate you Scully.  I understand how you had to handle things.  I'm sorry, but the memory was so abrupt, I . . . " He reached out for her again, but she just looked at him.  "Scully, please.  I need you, I always need you."  He pulled her closer and she came then, her arms going around him as his encircled her.  She rested her head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat.  "We'll find him Scully.  He's ours and somehow, Scully, somehow we'll find him."

  

 

 

 

 

 

Author’s notes:  I started this one before the whole William thing and the way it was handled.  I put it away because I didn’t believe Scully could let a baby go.  Then CC did his thing.  A friend found this last weekend in my stack and demanded I dust it off.  Here it is…

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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter,10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.


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