He went a little pale at that. "Maybe you shouldnít."
She took his hand and led him to the bed. She sat him down and stood in front of him. "You need to try to listen calmly. Mulder, the baby is full term, it is not breech and the head is fully engaged in the birth canal." He managed not to look away. "All you have to do is keep me company for a while, then when itís time, take the baby as I push it out. Youíre involvement is really a support role, and I know you know how to support me. Youíve been doing it for years."
He swallowed hard and nodded, afraid to speak lest his voice shake. She needed to get him to calm down, because soon sheíd need him to be calm for her. She sat beside him then and took both hands into hers. "Are you ready to hear this?"
He nodded again. "Scully, Iíll do whatever you need."
She smiled. "I know. Okay, weíve got time, so Iíll go over this but then you ask any questions you have, and ask them as many times as you need to. Iíll tell you when I need to push, youíll have to examine me and see if Iím fully dilated, Iíll show you that later. Then when the head is out, youíll have to support it and stroke down on the nostrils to help expel the fluid so he can breathe. Heíll probably start to cry then, donít panic if he doesnít. Youíll have to check to make certain the cord isnít around his throat. If it is, you can just gently pull it from around him Ė Mulder, donít worry about that, okay? Once all of that has happened, Iíll have to push again. The baby will rotate in your hands, donít pull or push or try to help, just support the head and neck. The shoulders will come out one at a time, after theyíre out, the baby can come very fast. You wonít drop him, will you?" She smiled gently.
His eyes widened. Shit, sheíd been trying to lighten his mood, now sheíd given him something else to fear.
She sighed and continued, "Iíve already sterilized the scissors and some dental floss. When the babyís free of me, youíll have to tie off the cord with the floss, about three inches from the babyís stomach and again three inches down from there. When the cord stops pulsing, you just cut it. There are no nerves in it, thereís no pain involved. Okay?" He nodded, his eyes were possibly less fearful. This was something he could understand.
"Mulder I know blood is not your thing, but there will be quite a bit of it. Please donít panic, itís normal. When I deliver the afterbirth, that is quite, well, messy. Just try not to think about it. If I tear when the head or shoulders are delivered, Iíll heal. Itís going to be okay."
Tear? God, he was suppose to just be supportive while she was going through this? Great. Heíd rather go bungee jumping without a rope. "Scully, Iíll. . . Scully? Are you having a contraction? Breathe Scully, come on breathe."
She looked at him, mildly amazed. Heíd been ready to run from the room, but now that she needed him he was fully in charge, supporting her as sheíd known he would. He appeared completely calm and knowledgeable. She closed her eyes, letting him hold her, knowing sheíd made the correct choice.
When the contraction eased, she had him help her to her feet. "I need to be up and walking as long as I can. Itíll speed things up hopefully. Iíd really like for this part to be over."
They walked slowly into the living room. "Tell me what you meant, plots within plots."
"We donít have to talk about that now."
"Maybe not, and I might not remember everything you say, but Iíd like to hear your voice. That tone you get when youíre explaining something out of this world to me. Iíve missed that."
"What tone? I donít have a tone."
"Yeah, that one. Go on." She smiled.
No way he was going to discuss what he was thinking about Sam and the whole deal they had tricked her into. Instead he went over some cases he had worked on without her this past year. Officially the X-Files were closed, but closing the files had not halted strange things from happening. And he was still the resident spooky agent that had the expertise.
At first she supplied the arguments that she always had, but as the contractions grew in frequency and intensity she grew quieter, just listening to his voice. When she grew tired she would perch on the barstool, having forsaken the couch early in the process. She took a short nap at one point, but refused to try that again, after having a contraction jerk her awake without being prepared for it. He silently agreed and tried to make sure she was prepared as each wave swept over her.
His estimation of her strength grew as the time slowly passed. He would have been on his knees begging for medication a long time ago. She could no longer be on her feet alone, letting him support her as she walked and take over completely during the contractions.
His fear, which had never left, was beginning to resurface as this pain she was in dragged on. This contraction now was truly frightening; heíd do anything to take the pain away.
When it finally ended she didnít attempt to draw away from him as she had been doing. He realized she was speaking and he leaned over so that she would only have to whisper.
"I need to lie down." He closed his eyes in relief, watching her continue this on her feet wasnít helping either of them. Without asking he lifted her into his arms and carried her to the bedroom. She sank into his chest relinquishing control, as she had never done before since he had known her.
She seemed more comfortable lying on her side, and he felt able to leave her for a moment to get a cool cloth and some ice for her to suck on. Her wardrobe since leaving her home had consisted of the dress she had been wearing, and the robe from the hotel. Now she opted for nudity, she was perspiring freely from her efforts, her hair curling totally out of control.
He was startled at her choice, she who had always been so modest around him, until he realized the degree of comfort she felt in his presence. This wasnít sexual, not in the most common use of the word. This was much more primal. He was suddenly aware how deeply in love he was with this woman. He must have always known for it to be so all consuming, but the barriers were down now. If it was strange that the first time he ever saw her nude was as she delivered their child, well, that was the way things went with them. Accept it and move on.
"Right here Sweetheart." The endearment slipped out without either seeming to notice.
"I know youíre not looking forward to this, but you need to check and see how far Iíve dilated. Donít make faces at me, and hurry before I have another contraction."
He couldnít remember when heíd placed rubber gloves in his shaving kit, had to be when she was with him. It didnít matter, he was just glad they were here now.
He was easily reminded of why he'd chosen psychology over psychiatry. He hadnít wanted a medical degree. Better to leave this to people who knew what they were doing. Pull yourself together, Mulder, this is Scully. Youíll do whatever needs to be done.
"If Iím doing this right youíre close Scully. At least nine centimeters."
"Good, because the urge to push is more than I can fight any longer. Can you feel the babyís head?" She sounded calmer than she felt, even to herself. No wonder theyíd called her the ice queen, but they had never seen her like this. No one had ever seen her like this except him.
"Yes." It was an awed whisper. "My god, itís right here."
"Not quite. Help me sit up, Iíll need to push against the headboard. Help me arrange the pillows."
"Iíve got you." He helped her find a position that was supported if not comfortable.
"Go get the supplies. Mulder, hurry, I need you here." Since the same was true of him, he lost no time bringing the sterilized instruments from the kitchen, then the towels from the bathroom.
"Okay Scully. Tell me what you need."
"On the next contraction Iíll push. Give me your hand."
Forty-five minutes later she collapsed back against the pillows again. "I canít." She gasped. "I canít do this. Mulder let me die."
His heart stumbled, then gave a triple beat and terror engulfed his body. "Scully. Scully thereís nothing you canít do. I need you to concentrate for just a minute. Think like a doctor Scully. Tell me what I can do to help you. Please Scully." He couldnít keep his voice completely steady.
She groaned as another contraction took over her body, but when it subsided, she managed to speak. "Help me push." He nodded, not sure what that meant. She put his hands on her stomach and his eyes widened, but he nodded again.
During the next contraction they pushed together, and the next. The suddenness of the babyís movement startled them both. He scrambled back to his original position and managed to smile up at her. "I always figured you for a redhead."
"Can you see the head?"
"Yeah. A lot of dark hair. Please Scully, one more time."
She raised herself on her arms again. He watched as the head emerged, supporting it as she had instructed him. He stroked the nostrils and wiped one of the towels over the mouth.
"No, Scully. I donít see it." She nodded and bore down again. A shoulder emerged, the child turning within her to bring the other shoulder out. The rest of the child slid out into his hands. Scully collapsed back against the head of the bed trembling.
Mulder stared down at his hands, at the newborn that had now begun to scream. The eyes were shut and the face screwed up in fury. It was covered in blood and mucus and heíd never seen anything more beautiful in his entire life.
"Itís a, itís a girl Scully."
She opened her eyes. "A girl?"
"Well, I donít want to admit how long itís been since Iíve looked at one, but Iím pretty sure thatís what Iím seeing."
She stretched her arms out to him and he placed the squalling infant on her stomach. "You need to tie off the cord, and cut it."
He was already reaching for the floss. She kept her hand on the baby, soothing it as he cut the cord. Then he wrapped the softest of the towels around her and brought her up to Scullyís arms.
"You do beautiful work Scully." Scully let her eyes close as her head fell back against the headboard. "Are you okay?"
She nodded and brought the child closer to her breasts. The baby didnít wait for a second invitation, latching onto her breast with a ferocious appetite. Scullyís eyes flew open as she gasped. "Definitely your child, Mulder." She managed to get out.
"Only in my dreams, Scully."
That caught her off guard and she looked into his eyes blushing. "We, uh, we still have work to do. You. . . you need to massage my stomach. We need to start the contractions again."
He nodded and watched her nurse the child as he first caressed, then at her insistence massaged her more firmly. When she delivered the placenta she really thought for the first time she was going to lose him.
"Mulder, put your head down. I still need you. Please, take a deep breath." He complied and managed to cover the afterbirth with a towel for her to check later. "You okay?"
He nodded, giving her an abashed grin. "Youíre the better doctor, Scully."
"You do okay. Think you could clean her up? No soap, just warm water."
"Yeah, you rest."
"No instructions or advice?" She grinned.
"Sheís my daughter. Iíll figure it out." Tears again overflowed her eyes. "Let me make you comfortable." He helped her lay down and took the towels from around her, placing a fresh one under her. "Sleep. Iíll be right here." He kissed her forehead and pulled the sheet over her.
The baby was asleep and Mulder was more gentle than he was cleansing. He managed to dress her, improvising a diaper and keeping her warm. He found keeping her against his chest was comforting to him and she seemed to accept it as her due.
He couldnít stay out of the bedroom, so he took her in there to wait for Scully to wake. When she did it was to the sight of Mulder investigating the newborn. The baby opened her eyes and Mulderís widened.
"Mulder? What? Whatís wrong!"
He glanced up and met her eyes then returned his gaze to the child. "Samantha. She looks like Samantha." She took a deep breath, melting into the look he had locked on their daughter.
"Come here." She held out her hand to him. He rose and joined her on the bed. "I hadnít thought much about girlís names, Mulder. I just kind of thought I was carrying your son. Do you want to name her Samantha?"
"No. No, she needs her own name. Iím thinking Katherine."
"Mulder. . . "
"Itís perfect, naming her for the strongest person I know."
Scully swallowed, sheíd be so happy when her hormones were under some sort of control again. "Katherine. Katherine Ann."
He looked up and after a second nodded. "Katherine Ann." She watched as the baby began nuzzling Mulderís chest, becoming agitated.
"I think sheís hungry again."
He grinned, "You wanna handle that?" At her nod he laid the baby beside her on the bed and helped her into a more comfortable position.
"Whatís she wearing?"
"Kitchen attire. Iím going to have to make a run to the store sometime."
"Could you get me a big glass of water?"
"Sure, but you need food. You havenít eaten since last night."
"Youíre right. But I really donít want you to leave me. Not yet."
"Are you okay? I mean, is there something. . . "
"No. Iím fine. I just donít want to be alone with her." He caressed her cheek and nodded. He got her water and placed an order for Chinese to be delivered. "Sheís asleep again."
"Getting born really wears a person out." He took the baby and settled her on the bed heíd made for her. "Youíll feel better after youíre cleaned up too."
"Iíd really like a shower."
"A shower? Can you stand?"
"Not for long. But youíre right, I would feel better. Would you help me?"
"Of course. Let me get the water going." He helped her into the bathroom. She could walk, but barely. He got her in the shower and after only a momentís hesitation stripped himself and joined her.
"Mulder! What are you. . ? " He took the washcloth from her.
"Lean on me. It wonít take as long." Their eyes locked and she settled herself against his chest. He even washed her hair. Then as soon as possible settled her back in the bed, this time wearing her robe. He dressed and was headed for the kitchen when he heard the knock on the door. He relaxed when he looked through the peephole. Food, finally.
He opened the door and let the kid in. He found his wallet and pulled out some cash. "Listen, you in a hurry?"
"Nyah, itís a slow night. Why?"
Mulder pulled out a $50 bill and the kid began to look suspicious. "My wifeís not well. I donít want to leave her alone with the kid. Could you pick up some supplies Ė diapers, things like that?"
The kid relaxed. "Yeah, I guess. What size diapers?"
"Uh, newborn." Now there was a question heíd never been asked before.
"Sure. Anything else?"
"Yeah, maybe some eggs and bread. Oh hey, could you get some rocky road ice cream for her?"
The kid grinned. "Yeah. Thereís a place around the corner. I wonít be long."
Mulder took the food into the bedroom and they ate ravenously. "I donít think Iíve ever been this hungry, Mulder."
"You probably never worked that hard before. I know Iíve never seen anything like it." She jumped as the doorbell rang. "Itís okay. Just some supplies we need. Be right back."
He checked and opened the door to the young man again. He was carrying a couple of grocery bags. Mulder could see the ice cream near the top. They put the supplies on the kitchen table. He pulled some things out of the bag and spotted the sanitary pads near the bottom.
He glanced up at the boy, who shrugged. "Iím the oldest of six and my wife just had a baby. Well, hereís your change." He didnít look like he could possibly be twenty years old. He was already a father?
"Thatís almost $30."
"And more than worth it."
"Look, Iím Gary. If you. . . if you need anything just give me a call. Hereís my beeper number. If Iím at work I can still swing by here."
"Thanks Gary. Listen, one more thing. Please donít mention this to anyone."
Gary nodded. "I better get back. Thanks."
"You too. Iíll call."
He returned to the bedroom with dishes of ice cream and most of the supplies.
The baby woke them a couple of times during the night, but it was mostly uneventful. He made breakfast the next morning, but she insisted on getting up.
"Okay Mulder. You avoided answering me yesterday, and with everything else going on I let you get away with it. Now I need to know what you think is going on."
"Scully, I canít prove anything."
"You usually canít until I get involved." She smiled at him. "Talk to me. Why do you think I was duped and you werenít in danger?"
"Itís mostly a feeling Ė it just feels like a plan to win your cooperation. A plan where you would be willing to bear my child."
She looked at him for a moment. "They didnít need an elaborate plan for that, Mulder."
That statement caught his attention. "Do you mean that?"
"You should know I do. In case youíre wondering, she is yours. I insisted on testing before I allowed the procedure."
"I wasnít wondering. I can see us both in her."
"But why would they care if you and I had a child?"
"Because weíve both been exposed to the black cancer, both been given an antidote. You in Antarctica, me in Russia. They were possibly different variations of the vaccine. They needed to find our if it could be passed on. My guess would be theyíve tried this before and found they needed you, with your immune system, to carry the baby, that their procedures wouldnít work."
"So sheís what they really want."
"Yes, and I donít think you would ever have seen her. They would have told you she died at birth, or they would have killed you if they didnít think they needed you any longer."
"So theyíll be looking for her." He nodded. "How do we keep her safe?"
"Iím working on that. I donít think theyíll find us here. When you can travel Iím going to take you both back to DC."
"No. I want you to stay with the guys. They can keep you hidden, then Iíll be free to move around, stir things up, and see what shakes out."
"Do you really think you can keep her safe?"
"Iím going to keep both of you safe. Thatís a promise."
"Mulder, we could start out today."
"No. The memory of yesterday may have faded for you, but not me. You need more recovery time."
She took a steadying breath. He was right, she wasnít up to a 16-hour car ride, not yet. And the sooner he took her to Byers the sooner theyíd be separated again. She definitely wasnít ready for that.