He hurried to Skinnerís office, why was she waiting there? Why wasnít she at the site? Skinnerís vague explanation had said nothing, other than that she was okay. Angie wasnít there; fine he wanted the privacy anyway.
He opened the door. In the second before she turned he saw her, staring out the window. Looking for him to arrive? He didnít think he could have waited another day to see her.
"Scully." He was already moving toward her. She barely had time to turn before he had her in his arms. His lips, oh God, how sheíd missed his lips and his arms around her. How had she lived so long without him?
"Oh god, Scully. Iíve missed you. I missed you so much." He pulled her tighter against him.
"Mulder. Youíre okay. Youíre really okay?" She was running her hands over his arms, up to his face.
"Yeah, Iím fine now. Now that I can touch you." He crushed her against him again. He never wanted to let go. But. . . what the hell was that? He held her out from him, holding her arms.
She was watching his face, and saw the color leave it. His mouth moved, but no words came. His hand seemed to rise of its own accord and place itself on her abdomen.
"Our baby?" He finally looked up and saw the fear she was trying to hide in her eyes. "Is it okay? Scully are you okay? Oh god, Scully are you. . . ?"
"Iím fine, weíre both fine. Are you?"
"I think you know how."
"But I thought. . . "
"So did I. When was nineteen weeks ago."
"Did you know before. . . Scully, how long have you known?" His voice was shaking now and his hands couldnít decide which part of her to touch.
"I found out just before you left."
His grip on her arms tightened. "You should have told me. Scully, you canít keep things like this. . . "
"You couldnít know. You had to be focused. I wanted you home alive. I couldnít risk it."
He had her pressed to his chest again. "I should be furious with you. I might be later. I should have been here for you, I left you alone, can you forgive me?" His emotions were all over the place Ė he didnít know whether to laugh or cry.
"Mulder, I wasnít alone. I had you inside of me the whole time. Thatís such an incredible feeling. And Walter kept a very close eye on us."
"Walter? You mean Skinner?" Why did he feel that prickle at the back of his neck? Another man had looked after her during her pregnancy. Not him. It should have been him.
She knew immediately sheíd said the wrong thing. She hadnít thought it out; of course heíd be upset. But he had no reason for jealousy. Didnít he know that by now? Wasnít her love for him visible now for all to see?
"Letís go home, Mulder. I want to be home with you." That had helped, his muscles were less bunched, his grip slightly looser.
"Home. Yes, I want to be home with you."
She reached up and brought his lips down to her again. "Letís go."
When they reached her car she hesitated, then headed for the driverís side. "Why donít I drive?"
"Yeah, maybe you better. Iím not sure Iíd be safe."
She smiled gently and got in. He couldnít take his eyes off of her on the ride home, alternating between her belly and her face. She finally had to mention it.
"Youíre making me nervous, Mulder. Am I that big?"
"What? No, no I just. . . I never thought Iíd see you like. . . I donít know what to think yet."
"I didnít want to spring it on you, but thereís less choice about that every day. Iím just so glad youíre here and youíre safe." His hand was on her thigh and working its way back toward the baby. It was going to take some time for him to adjust.
Once inside of her apartment he seemed at a loss. Standing just inside the door, he ran his fingers through his hair yet again.
"Mulder? Whatís wrong?"
"Nothing. I. . . I had visions of taking you here and several other places before we even got to the bedroom. Now. . . "
She swallowed nervously. Did he not want her now? Did her body turn him off? Theyíd been so new, could he. . . could they handle this?
"Now Iím afraid Iíll hurt you."
Hurt her? Was that the problem? He wanted her but. . . "Mulder, how do you think it got in there?"
At that she saw his shoulders relax and he was able to meet her eyes. His smile actually seemed shy, but he held out his hand to her. "Can you teach me what I need to know?"
"I canít imagine that thereís anything you donít already know, but I think we can figure everything out together." She took his hand and led him toward the bedroom. He did not protest, still in a daze from everything that had happened so far today.
She sat him on the bed and stood before him, slowly removing her clothes. She was extremely nervous about this part. Her body was so different from when he had left, but there was no way around it if they were going to be together. She could feel his eyes on her face, as though he too was afraid to look elsewhere, but as her clothes landed on the floor he began a visual exploration.
Her breasts were larger, heavier and her nipples huge, would she mind. . .? Later, there was more to see. Her slacks had snaps for expansion Ė heíd never been this close to maternity clothes, and why was he thinking about that? In the time it took to think it, the slacks and panties were on the floor and she stood before him totally nude.
He could no more have kept his hands off of her than he could have held back the tide. His eyes were wide with wonder and watching him watch her caused her breathing to ease, her muscles to relax.
"Mulder?" He leaned forward and kissed her abdomen and continued upward, kissing her breasts and neck and finally lips, drinking her in, accepting all she had to give.
"I canít believe this Scully. I canít believe youíd do this for me." She smiled against his shoulder.
"Itís lonely, being the only one nude." He pulled back then, surprised. Heíd forgotten his own clothes, so caught up was he in exploring her. It took very little time for him to join her, then pulled her down onto the bed with him.
"Is there anything. . .?"
"We can do anything thatís comfortable. I canít imagine anything with you that wouldnít be."
When she reached for him the third time that night, he had to laugh. "I was worried about wearing you out. Scully, youíre aging me here."
"All my energy has come back and pregnancy makes me horny. Since you caused this, you have to keep up your end of the bargain, mister." Her leg slid between his thighs and she knew she had succeeded yet again in her goal. They made love until it was light outside.
"What are your plans today?" She rolled to her side and snuggled her back into his chest, the perfect spoon.
"I thought Iíd run downtown and pick up a marriage license."
"A what?" She twisted to see his face.
"I guess that was a little premature, you havenít actually agreed to marry me."
"I donít remember you actually asking to be specific. But thatís beside the point. You donít have to marry me Mulder. Iím a grown woman, thereís no one with a shotgun looking for you."
"Bill doesnít know about the baby?" She yanked a chest hair out. "Okay, okay, no violence."
"Iím serious Mulder. This didnít happen to entrap you and. . ."
"Scully." He turned her to face him. "A long time ago, when I was a kid and you were just jail bait I vowed that no child of mine would grow up without a father. Not one like mine, a real father. That vow didnít hold a lot of weight for a long time, because we thought you couldnít. . . but now there is a baby and itís ours and I want it to be born in a family. Scully, please, marry me. "
Her first reaction was fear. Marriage to Mulder? Could they stand each other? Well, that was stupid, after all they had been through together and she still loved him more every day. Yes, he was totally infuriating and unreasonable and he left the cap off the toothpaste, but that made him Mulder.
She realized his arms had tightened around her and he was trying desperately to keep the fear from his eyes. How could anyone not love this man? Or not want to live with him and bear his children. Of course sheíd marry him.
He saw it in her face before she had a chance to speak, and pulled her tighter against him. The child protested and kicked at him. "Is he going to be the jealous type?"
"If a girl kicks me there I worry. Hey, do you know?"
"No, I wouldnít let her tell me. Linda has all of my information locked in her safe at home. No one knows anything but her, she even did the ultrasound herself."
"Why all the secrecy? You didnít think I wouldnít acknowledge. . .?"
"That never crossed my mind, Mulder. I just didnít want anyone to know, especially any black lunged demons that lurk in these woods. Only Linda and Walter know, and you now. Mom doesnít even know yet. Avoiding her has been the worst."
"Weíll see her today. I have to ask her for your hand anyway."
"It doesnít feel like itís my hand you want right now. Stop that! Remember youíre an old man." She slapped at his hand and he pulled her on top of him.
"Never gonna happen, Scully. Iíll never be too old to want you.
Skinner looked up as his private line rang, "Skinner."
"Walter, have you seen Mulder?" Dana, he hadnít seen her in several weeks and now that she was on maternity leave he had assumed it would be awhile. She was due in a couple of weeks anyway.
ĎNo, not today." There was something about her tone. "Are you okay?"
"Iím in labor. I canít locate him."
"Do you need an ambulance?" He could feel his blood pressure rise, where was Mulder?
"No, but I need to find Mulder."
"Iíll find Mulder, you just relax. Iíll be there in a few minutes." When she didnít protest, his anxiety level rose several levels. After some quick instructions to Angie, he was gone.
"Dana, its Walter." He called through the door when he arrived at the apartment. It took longer than he wanted it to for her to reach the door, and when she opened it he automatically took her arm.
"Have you. . . ?"
"No word yet, Dana. Heís probably let the battery run down on his phone and hasnít realized it yet."
She shook her head. "No, somethingís wrong. Iíve been having Braxton-Hicks for days. He hasnít let me out of his sight."
Braxton-Hicks? It didnít matter; she had taken hold of the back of the couch and was breathing heavily. Lamaze? Oh shit. "How far between the contractions?" He asked when she straightened up. The answer wouldnít mean much to him, but it seemed the thing to ask.
"Um, between six and seven minutes."
"Shouldnít we go on, I mean. . . "
"Yes. My water broke after we talked. Walter, where could he be?"
"Trying to get here to you. Iíve got people out. We can discuss it on the way. I have your bag." He helped her to the car, but before he could get in himself she was gripping the dashboard. Had it been six minutes?
"Did you call your doctor?"
"Yes. Uh, Lindaís waiting for me." Traffic was relatively light. They made the trip in less than twenty minutes, but sheíd had four contractions. He parked and hurried to her side of the car.
"Can you walk?"
"Iím going to need some help." Heíd never heard Scully admit such a thing before. He got her inside and only raised his voice once during the registration process. The nurses cast him in the role of husband and she did not correct them, clinging to his hand as the contractions grew even stronger. He bathed her brow with cool water and fed her the ice chips, inwardly cursing Mulder for not being where he belonged.
He would have said she wasnít strong enough to hurt him, but her grip on his hand was incredible. He was surreptitiously wiggling his fingers to get back circulation following an especially brutal contraction when she gasped out, "Get Linda! Iíve got to push. Where is he, damn it? Ohhh, get Linda."
He had only to stick his head out the door to bring the nurse to her side. Linda followed moments later.
"Okay, Dana. Weíre on the downhill side now, the fun part. Weíre finally going to let you push. Get on a gown." This last was directed toward Skinner.
"Dana, do you want me. . . ?"
"Please, please donít leave me!"
No way, he couldnít leave, as much as he wanted to. Where the hell was Mulder? Her mother was on her way from Connecticut. She wasnít going to get here in time, that was for sure. The nurse handed him a gown and he donned it quickly. He positioned himself behind her, as he was told, supporting her as the nurse counted for her to bear down. She had no time to rest; the contractions were on top of each other now.
Heíd learned a hell of a lot more about childbirth than heíd ever wanted to know. In his ignorance heíd thought when a woman pushed she had the baby. Scully had been pushing every two minutes for an hour. If he could get his hands on Mulder right now heíd neuter him for what he was putting her through. And he still wasnít here. Walter was beginning to think the SOB had missed everything but the damn conception.
She collapsed back against his chest. "I canít do this anymore. Walter, make it stop." He glanced up at Linda, what was he supposed to say?
"Dana, thereís nothing in the world that you canít do and you and I both know it. Just a little more. Please." He pushed the hair back from her face, it was curling like mad from the all the sweat.
"Heís right, Dana." Linda put her hand on Danaís stomach. "Come on, just give me a couple more. You donít want a section after all this work, unless we absolutely have to."
The commotion in the hall caused them all to look up as Mulder forced his way into the room. He looked like heíd been in a fight and was ready for another one.
"Get him a gown! Hurry." Linda was back to her job after the momentary distraction.
"Mulder!" She was beyond caring where heíd been. He was here. And with him a surge of energy to get this over with. Walter swiftly changed places with him.
"The headís coming, Dana. Bear down. Come on." Walter knew he should leave the room, but couldnít force his feet to move. "Now pant, Dana. Donít push. Just a second, let me clear the mouth. Thatís my girl."
Mulderís fingers were touching her face, tears running down his own. He should have been here, he should have helped her through this.
"Okay, come on Dana, letís get the shoulders out and itíll be over. Take a deep breath and bear down hard. You can do it, girl." Linda spoke reassuringly, calmly, but it wasnít helping Mulder. Heíd been thrown in too quickly. For him it was happening too fast.
She linked her fingers with his and pushed, crying out as the shoulders left her body. Walter knew his face was as white as Mulderís. Heíd never heard Scully scream in pain before. He never wanted to hear it again.
"Itís a boy, Dana! Fox, youíve got a boy. Just relax Dana. Try to breathe regularly. Itís almost over." She placed the squalling infant on Scullyís chest and handed Mulder the scissors. "Come on, Fox. This is your job."
He took them in his shaking hand and looked at her. Scully managed a small smile and nod. He took in the dark, pain-filled circles under her eyes. God, how he loved this woman. He forced his hand still and cut where Linda indicated. His eyes followed the baby as the nurse took him to the other side of the room.
"One more push, Dana. Come on."
"Go on, be with him, Mulder." Scully watched him.
"No, I want to be with you."
"Well then, letís do it, shall we?" Linda interrupted. Walter knew this would be a good time to leave, but he was out of the way and seemed to have been forgotten. He didnít want to draw any attention to himself.
"Fox, I want Dana to spend a little time in recovery. Go get acquainted with your son, okay?"
Mulder kissed Scullyís forehead. "You rest, Iíll keep an eye on him."
She nodded, her eyes closing. Mulder moved over to Linda. "Is she okay?"
"Fox," she drew him away from Scully. His eyes showed his fear. "She had a. . . a rough labor. I just want to keep an eye on her. Sheíll be fine, Fox. Go on."
"But she is okay?"
"Fox, he weighs at least eight pounds. Sheís not a big woman. Let us look after her. Go bond with your son."
He was beside her bed when she woke. "Scully? Weíve got company, and I think heís hungry."
She smiled as she watched Mulder scoop the baby up with an expertise sheíd never seen before. "Where did you learn that?"
"We spent some time getting to know each other while you were resting. You up for feeding him?"
"I think so."
He adjusted the bed and brought the baby to her. He heard the sharp intake of breath when the baby latched on to her nipple. "You okay?"
"Heís rougher than you are."
"Iíll have a talk with him. He needs to work on his technique. You canít get girls by being too rough."
She smiled, but the dark circles were still under her eyes. They both looked up at the tap on the door and Scully smiled as Skinner stuck his head in the door.
"Walter! Please come in."
"Oh, Iím sorry." Heíd realized what was happening.
"Itís okay, please. Isnít he beautiful?" Skinner reluctantly approached the bed, to take a closer look at the infant. He felt the heat of Mulderís stare as her exposed breast was before him. He knew Mulder still resented the fact that heíd been the first to know of the pregnancy, the one to help her through the first few weeks. And now being here for the actual birth. . .
"I canít thank you enough for all you did." He stood paralyzed as she moved the baby to her other breast, oblivious to Mulderís fury. "When I couldnít find you, I called Walter. He brought me in." She hadnít looked up; her gaze fixed on her son.
As she fell silent, Mulder turned his eyes back to her. "Scully? Are you. . . ?"
"Take him, Mulder. Take him and get Linda." Sheíd gone dead white. Mulder took the baby and watched helplessly as she slipped out of consciousness. Walter yanked the door open, demanding help. The response was immediate; Linda hadnít left the floor.
Two nurses entered the room with her at a run. "Lower the bed, get her B/P. And get these men out of here."
Mulder opened his mouth to protest. "Now Fox! Iíll talk to you later." She didnít turn from her patient. Skinner grabbed his arm as the nurse descended on them and took the baby. He led Mulder from the room and toward the small waiting area.
"Whatís happening to her?"
"Theyíll tell you as soon as they know, Mulder. Let them work."
Mulder rounded on him. "You! I need to know something. I know youíre my boss, but right now I donít care." His fury was evident in every word. Skinner nodded. "Are you in love with my wife?"
Skinner looked away, there was no simple answer to that question, and he wanted to be honest. He could feel Mulder tighten during his hesitation.
"It wouldnít matter if I were Mulder. Dana, your wife, is unaware that any man other than you inhabits this planet. You have no reason to doubt that."
He must have said the right thing. Mulder hid his face in his hands and lowered himself into the chair.
"I should have been here. Linda said it was rough."
Skinner nodded. That was one way to describe it.
"I couldnít have done it. She was incredible."
"I shouldnít have left the apartment this morning."
"Where were you?" Heíd wanted to ask that question for ages.
"There was a twenty car pile up on the 95. I think they said I was car twelve or something like that. The cell phone was damaged in the crash. Iíve been trying to get in touch. . . when the cops heard my name they rushed me over here.
"I put out an APB on you."
"You what?" Mulder looked at him in disbelief, that was probably illegal, but Skinner would figure out a way to justify it.
"She needed you and we didnít know where else to look. Her motherís on the way back from Connecticut. There wasnít anyone. . . look, donít beat yourself up anymore. You couldnít have known she was going to go into labor and you certainly couldnít have predicted you were going to get caught in a multi-car pile up."
"Sheís right, we canít thank you enough for. . . "
"I was glad to be here. Heís not mine, but heís about as close as Iíll get." Skinner managed to grin. "It was. . . itís an experience Iíll never forget."
Mulder nodded. They both leapt to their feet as Linda entered the room. "Sheís going to be okay, Fox. She threw some clots, weíve got her on an IV and weíre going to keep her here a couple of days for observation. She was conscious, now sheís sleeping."
"Can I see her?"
"Yes, if you donít wake her."
"We?" Linda looked confused.
"My sonís godfather and I." Skinner looked up, startled. Linda nodded.
"Do you want us to keep him in the nursery?"
"No, heíll be okay with us, I promise." Skinner was speechless, but managed to follow Mulder back down the hall.
Scully opened her eyes slowly and focused on the men hovering over the bassinet at the end of her bed. She felt a moment of relief and peace. Her two favorite, make that three favorite men in the world. The one from which her very life essence flowed, the one created from that essence, and the best friend either of them had, except for each other. With that security surrounding her, she drifted back off to sleep.