Reunion (10/10) PG-13

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Mulder -


There were more people, there had to be, of that he was sure, but none that they had found.  Amazing that two thirds of the way across country and they only had picked up thirteen people.  Others had preceded them, but they hadn't caught up with them.  No one seemed to be traveling west.  That fact kept bugging Mulder, but he couldn't put a finger on why.


The mountains weren't as steep as the Rockies had been, but no more fun to cross.  The nights were cool enough to be uncomfortable and the houses weren't as grand, but they managed.  Mulder's sleep was calmer now; he hoped it was because he was finally close to her, at least in the same damn time zone again.


Their pace was slower now that the roads were narrower, and the remaining traffic more able to completely block highways.  He didn't remember switchbacks like this in the west, nor this steep a climb.  It had to be selective memory, but they hadn't had a wagon to pull then, nor bicycles.  'I'm coming, Scully', his constant mantra even though he no longer realized it.


One thing they had noticed was more evidence of wild life.  They had seen very little as they had moved east; a definite worry for Hal.  At first Mulder and Skinner had been grateful, one less thing to worry about at night, but they had begun to see the implications themselves.  Animals weren't all gone, they had the horses and cows, but how long could humans hang on without their help?  Now there were positive signs.  What had caught Mulder's eye was that they too were headed east.  What the hell was he missing?  Everything wasn't headed toward Scully, but it was beginning to feel like it.


Once on the downward side, tempers cooled and sighs of relief were heard, not only from the humans.  They had pretty much stuck to I64 crossing from Kentucky into West Virginia.  When Skinner had gone over the map with everyone, it had been decided to turn north on I81 to I66 to head to Washington.  They had agreed, but Mulder had fought fiercely with himself with it came time to turn north.  That made no sense.  He wanted to get to DC more than anyone.  He didn't have time for a detour.  He felt more strongly than ever that he needed to get back to her.  The nightmares returned, not as strong but they had been there for a few nights.  No, ignore everything else.  He had to get to Scully.




Scully -


Scully moved out to the main room and saw heads turn toward her, smiling.  There was definitely a lightening of the mood.  Spring was here, there was more sunlight, they were able to be outside more.  But she knew it was more than that.  With the baby here and everyone safely through the delivery it was as though a weight had been lifted from everyone.


She had never seen this side of the guys.  They were always available to hold him, change his diapers.  They had moved a cradle out to the main room so that he could stay with them even when he was asleep.  It seemed the only time she was alone with him was when she nursed him, but that was okay.


His first dark fuzz of hair had fallen out, but now it was growing in dark with a red tint when the sunlight hit it.  His eyes had darkened too and she thought he looked more like Mulder every day.  He was a very tolerant baby, he almost never cried, but then he had no reason, there always seemed to be someone there for him.  Emma was his most devoted slave.  It was as though he was communicating with her. 


Lucy was standing at the kitchen entrance watching them when Scully joined her with a mug of tea.  "Everything okay?" she asked Lucy.




"Uh, want to expand on that?" Scully looked up at her concerned.


"I'm not sure."  She nodded toward the little girl sitting by the cradle.




"Dana, he's an adorable baby.  Besides my own two, of course, probably the most beautiful baby in the world," she smiled, "but Emma is four years old.  She's not allowed to pick him up but she's with him all the time.  Typically she should be bored by him by now.  She's not, she sits where he can see her and she quietly colors or draws."


"She's not going out to play or - "


"She goes out; she works in the little garden, but only when he's napping.  And when he wakes up, she knows it and comes inside."


Scully's eyebrow began to rise at that.  "What are you saying?"


"I don't know.  She knew that Wally and his family were coming before any of us could have seen them.  I hoped that Emma and Rebecca would be friends."


"I thought they were getting along."


"Oh they are.  But they're not close.  Emma's with Wills, Rebecca sticks with Randy, which isn't surprising.  Whatever Randy's working on she helps.  She's quiet but I think she's happy here.  As long as Randy's around she's good.  That's not unusual, I believe she was closer to her brother than her father before all of this happened.  You've seen how protective Randy is of her.  No, I'm not worried about her, it's Emma."


"She knew I was pregnant."  Lucy nodded.  Scully looked up, shaking this off.  "She's not tried to hurt him, as long as she's just being near him . . ."


"I know.  I didn't mean to upset you.  We're all keeping an eye on Wills and there is something about him that makes us all feel good.  Maybe it's the hope, Spring, maybe I'm just getting old and seeing things that aren't there."


Scully squeezed her arm, "It's definitely not that last one.  You're right about Emma, I've noticed it.  I just haven't . . . He's going to hungry soon.  As soon as I've nursed him I'll join you in the garden."


At dinner they all caught up with what they had done during the day.  Lunch was less formal, everyone catching something when they took a break.  They were all sitting around the table now, Wills in a place of honor in his carrier next to Scully.


"We found some rabbits today," Randy announced, smiling. 


"Rabbits?  That's wonderful," Lucy said, her eyes gleaming.  "Can you show us where?  It would be wonderful to build a hovel for them.  Not to be indelicate, but we haven't had fresh protein in a while."


"I've noticed more wildlife too," Byers remarked, tearing a hunk of bread from the loaf being passed.  "I realize I'm no expert, but it's like they're 'arriving' here like we did.  I'm sure I caught sight of a deer this morning."


Wally's head came up.  "Do any of you hunt?  I haven't in years, but I used to go with my Dad.  I've gotten a couple of deer over the years, some wild turkeys.  That could certainly come in handy.  We've got that big old empty barn out there.  It would be nice to have some livestock."


Scully could feel the level of excitement grow in the room.  New discoveries like this made everyone feel hopeful.


"I've got some news too," Wally smiled.  "I hiked over to the west today.  There's a good size farm and some crops have volunteered.  I saw some corn, not enough to do much eating, but we could certainly get seed corn from it if we keep any animals away from it.  But the biggest news is, in one of the old out buildings I found a steam powered tractor."


Everyone seemed to freeze at this news.  "Do you think you can fix it?"  "Where is it?"  "Can we get it over here to work on it?"


Questions overlapped and flew around the table.  Scully looked down and saw Wills was awake, watching the people calmly.  Scully's finger came out and brushed his soft little cheek.  Mulder, please, hurry home.  You need to be here.  We need you so much.




The next morning Wally and surprisingly, Langly, headed back over to the other farm to check out the tractor.  They all had untapped skills and were beginning to find them. 

Scully smiled at memories of Byers and Jeremy working by lamp light at the laptops, the irony strong, as they cataloged in spiral notebooks the information on each of the thumb drives and disks they had brought.  Jeremy would have made a great fourth gunman if circumstances hadn't changed so.


Cassie was a great help in the kitchen, learning to cook for a group along with Scully under Lucy's supervision.


Frohike spent most of his time in the gardens, getting help from Randy and Rebecca.


Chuck had ensured that all of their buildings had survived the winter with no significant damage.  He'd already repaired the few places he'd found.  He was also now exploring the territory, more to the east as Wally had taken west.  What he wanted most now was reliable transportation that they could use for the items he was finding.  The grocery carts had done their best, but had never been built for the kind of work they'd been used for lately and weren't big enough in any case for some of the things he found.


He and Jeremy were checking out a tool shed in a nearby farm, the food long moved over to their place, when they heard them.  People, more people!  Carefully Chuck moved out into the open and they stopped.  Three of them, a man, woman and boy, closer in age to a man himself, watched at him.  They were well equipped with backpacks, boots and looked healthy.


"Hello, good to see you," Chuck called.


"Are we, are we there?" Stan asked, looking him over carefully.


For an instant Chuck was confused, then he seemed to understand.  "Not quite. But you're very close.  Come with us, we'll take you home."


They moved close enough to shake hands and Chuck called Jeremy out to meet them as well.   Stan and Liz, with their son, Bob exchanged information as they headed back to Scully and home.


Everyone was waiting when they arrived, Emma having once again given the alert.


After that it seemed to be almost a daily occurrence.  They came in small groups, two, four, in varying states preparedness for the trip.  The second floor was long since full and the four outer cabins were turned into men and women's dormitories.  The large house was given over to married couples.  Every new party came to her, which was a little embarrassing but Scully had given herself over to the necessity.  They wanted to be welcomed, accepted and it seemed it had to be her.  Her 'guards' were always around her and Wills was carefully hidden in her or Cassie's rooms.  He never participated in this ritual and was kept out of sight as much as possible.  Scully wore him in a sling when she left the house with him.  Lucy or Cassie stood guard when she couldn't.


The day a party of eight arrived, Scully sank into her chair after the formal greeting.  "Where are we going to put them?" she asked Lucy, not really expecting an answer.


"I don't know," Lucy chuckled, "but they have goats!"


"Goats?" Scully's head came up quickly.


Lucy nodded.  "So now we have rabbits, turkeys and goats.  The barn's getting some use after all.  Now I guess we'll have to learn how to make cheese."




Mulder -


Mulder was traveling too fast for the conditions.  He knew it, but he was back.  He was in DC and almost within reach of Scully.  He didn't want to think about the trip across the Rocky Mountains or the winter spent on a deserted ranch or the long slog across the mid-west.  He didn't care about the small caravan they had led east, picking up people as they went, all already heading east and grateful to join up with a larger group. 


The small group that had joined them as they traveled along part of the Appalachian Trail just a few days ago hadn't slowed things down.  The three of them, a man and two women, Robert, Blaine and Ellen, had brought their numbers up to twenty.  Twenty from across the country.  He didn't want to think about that now.


He didn't care about the fact that after seeing their scars, Brenda had turned into a mother bear around Gary and Joe, or that Joe had fallen for Patti.  He had made it to Washington and he had to see her.


He couldn't think about the fact that his nightmares had changed after that horrible torture scene he'd dreamed.  Oh, he still dreamed of her, but they were different now - softer, warmer and he didn't know how to feel about that.  Once he had allowed himself to think she was angel-like.  That had scared him to near paralysis.


"Mulder!  I know you're anxious, but you can't push the horses on this pavement.  We're here, come on."


Mulder wouldn't face him, but he did slow down.  Hal had cautioned him about the same thing before he and Skinner had taken off to check Scully's apartment.  Everyone else had stayed back at the camp, but Skinner wouldn't let him come alone.  "Scully sent me with you, to keep you safe.  I'm still on duty." 


Mulder had nodded then, a slight smile on his face.  Now they were practically in sight of her apartment and Skinner wanted him to slow down.  They had left the others behind, leaving most of the weapons with Hal and Carl.  There was definitely more evidence of people here, but they hadn't actually seen anyone.


They turned the corner and he could see her apartment.  Her car wasn't there, but he refused to acknowledge that.  At the steps into the building they both dismounted and carefully led the horses inside.  They were too valuable to leave alone; there were other survivors here, that had to be assumed.


Skinner tied them up in the hall while Mulder used his key to open Scully's apartment.  It was empty and he couldn't quite shove aside the stab of despair.  He hadn't really expected her to be sitting here waiting for him, but . . .


He began looking around.  Someone had removed all of her food and cleaned out her refrigerator.  Her personal pictures were missing, that was a good sign, right?  He headed into her bedroom.  The linens, blankets were missing too.  Someone had stripped the place.  Would she have left on her own?


Something made him turn toward her dresser.  He opened her lingerie drawer and saw it, a envelope with one word on the front - Mulder.  He tore it open and saw her blessedly familiar handwriting on the page.  "Mulder, how did I know you'd look in here?"  He had to smile, teasing him even now.


"I know you're alive, there was never a doubt in my heart.  I know you understood what was happening and you're on your way home to us.  I've felt you, felt your love and that's what has kept me going.  I'm with the guys.  We've looked after each other in turn, waiting for you.  We have to move out of the city, we can't feed ourselves there.  Remember X-File number 965412, the third person we interviewed, and how much I liked the place?  That's where you'll find us.  Please, hurry.  I need you, we need you.  I love you, Scully."


He closed his eyes, relief sapping his strength.  She had survived; she was waiting for him in a place she knew he would recognize.




Skinner's voice brought him back and he turned to face him.  "She's alive.  We need to head south."


"We need to get back to our group," Skinner corrected him.


"No, I - "


"No.  You aren't going off alone.  I've followed Scully's instructions this far; you're not going alone."


"We could - "


"And leave behind the people we've brought this far?  They need us, they need us more than ever here.  You know that.  We can leave at first light."


Skinner could see the conflict in Mulder's eyes but knew he wasn't going to let these people down after all these months of protecting them.  Finally the younger man nodded and they returned to the horses.  Mulder stopped at the door for a last look around the place where he and Scully had spent so much time.  She was safe, that was all that mattered.




Their group had made camp in an empty warehouse, the livestock inside with them in order to protect them.  Patti raced to them as soon as she spotted them.  Her eyes asked the question.


"She wasn't there, but she left a note.  I know where to look."


Patti's smile took over her whole face.  She couldn't wait to meet this Scully.  "She's safe."


He nodded, "And she told me where she is.  We'll leave at dawn."




No one had held him up that morning.  If anything they were ready before he was, wanting him to succeed in his quest, their quest now.  The mood was upbeat and they only smiled as Mulder had to keep reining in his horse, who seemed as anxious as him.  They broke for a short lunch, mostly to feed and rest the horses a little. 


Pete, Carl, Gary and Joe often rode ahead on their bikes, and began moving cars that might block the wagons.  Everyone had gotten every efficient at their roles on their travels.




Scully -


Emma was jittery today.  Even Wally had noted that she was up and dressed early.  Wills had been different this morning as well, not fussy, he was never that, but unable to fall asleep.


"Do you think it's too many new faces?" Scully asked Lucy as she walked with him, trying to get him to sleep.


"He's still a little young to notice, as long as he has familiar arms around him, I'd think, but . . . "


His eyes finally closing as he surrendered to sleep, Scully placed him in the cradle in the main room.  She felt the need to keep him closer than usual for some reason.  Damn, now she felt jumpy.  What was going on?  Was there a storm coming?


Emma jumped up from her seat near the cradle and ran to the window.


"New people?"


"They have horses!" The little girl turned to look at Scully smiling widely.


"Horses?  Are you - " she had started to ask if the girl was sure and shook her head.  Horses!  If they stayed that would be such a help to them.  Well, everyone else had stayed.  They had a regular campground in what had been the parking area now.


Scully headed for the door, not waiting for her 'delegation' to assemble.  Horses, maybe this was why everyone was so excited today.  They were all catching it from Emma.  She smiled and stepped out onto the porch in time to see two men ride up to Wally and speak, then dismount.




Together -


Mulder, slightly ahead of the rest, spotted the gates to the compound Scully had referred to in her note.  Skinner pulled up next to him.  "This the place?"


Mulder nodded, his throat tight.


"Looks well kept, gardens everywhere."


"She'd do things right," was Mulder's comment.


"Well?  We going in?" 


"Uh, yeah."  Mulder urged his horse forward. The gates were still open as workers were still coming in from the fields.  They were being watched but no one had approached them yet.  Maybe newcomers weren't that uncommon here.


As they approached the gate a man stepped out with his arm up.  "Evening.  I'm Wally, welcome.  Where you from?"


"Originally DC, but we've come from Washington State."


The man's look of surprise was comical.  "Washington State?"


"Yes sir.  I'm Special Agent Fox Mulder, this is Assistant Director Walter - "


"Are you shitting me?" the man interrupted them.


"Uh, no," Mulder looked over at Skinner.  Okay, they weren't adhering to FBI dress code but -


"Mulder?  The Fox Mulder?"


"Far as I know."  Mulder swung down from his horse and eased his pack to the ground. They all turned as a small red headed woman emerged from the main house and approached them.  She had a long red braid over her shoulder and wore jeans and t-shirt with a flannel shirt over it. 


She stopped dead for a moment as recognition hit her like a blow.  Over a year of longing shown in her eyes.  Then she was moving again as was he.  He moved faster, nearly knocking over one of the men in his way.  And they were together.  Her arms clasped around his neck as his arms lifted her to his lips.  It didn't matter that her feet dangled several inches above the ground; she wouldn't have been able to feel it anyway.


He was alive.  He was here.  She was in his arms and the rest of the world vanished.  They didn't feel the dozens of eyes on them as they held one another.


She had no idea how long they stood that way, clasped in one another's embrace.  Time didn't matter anymore. 


When they were able, he reluctantly lowered her to her feet but didn't release her.  Her hand was shaking as she caressed his bearded cheek.  He couldn't look away from her eyes which were brimming with tears.


"Scully," she closed her eyes to take in the sound of his voice and the tears spilled over.


"You're here.  You're really here."


He pressed his lips against her forehead and pulled her close.  She pressed her face against his chest.  After a moment she opened her eyes and looked over at his companion.


"Walter?"  She looked up then and he stepped closer.


"It's good to see you, Scully." 




She was leading him to her quarters.  She had a vague memory of turning Skinner over to someone to get him settled but he had made some comment about the 'others'.  It didn't matter, nothing mattered but that Mulder was here and alive. 


He kicked the door of the room she had led him to shut behind them, their hands too busy reacquainting themselves.  She was thinner, too thin but strong.  Her grip on him showed that.  Her hair was long, longer than he'd ever seen it, but then she'd never seen him with a full beard and ponytail before.


Words were interspersed with kisses, caresses but they made little sense.  He had her in his arms, her feet again dangling above the floor and he was moving vaguely in the direction of her bed when he heard the knock at the door.


"Dana? I'm sorry - " someone called through the door.


"Ignore it," he managed to get out between kisses.


"I can't.  Wait here."  She straightened her spine and with a last kiss stepped out of his arms.


He stared at her in disbelief.


"You need to see this," she said over her shoulder and opened the door.


He kept quiet.  There had to be a good reason, she'd been enjoying him as much as he had been enjoying her.


He couldn't hear what was being said, but he took the opportunity to catch his breath.  He took a seat on the side of her bed.  From his angle he could see her take something, he hoped it wasn't food, he wasn't hungry for food.  But maybe it was good that they had slowed things down.  He didn't want their first time together to be rushed, really.


She turned then, closing the door behind her and stood looking at him.  He was starting to rise when he finally grasped what she had in her arms.  A, a baby?


"What is - "


"He's hungry."


That didn't compute, so he just stared.  She took a seat in the rocking chair he hadn't really noticed and pulled up her t-shirt.  He sank back down onto the bed, not able to stand.  She was watching him, just watching.


"Wha- who?"


"I call him Wills, Fox William Mulder, Junior."


If possible Mulder's eyes widened even further, but he didn't speak.


"I wasn't sick in Washington, Mulder," she said gently, waiting, giving him time.


He couldn't seem to form words but now his eyes were riveted on the child suckling at her breast.  The baby released her nipple and turned to look at him.  Then Wills smiled. 


Scully's eyes widened.  "He's never done that before, you were here to see his first smile.  He's ours, Mulder."


His mouth moved, but no sound emerged for several long moments.  "O-ours?"


She nodded and looked down at the boy.  "He's got your hair, your eyes, maybe my nose."


It took two tries, but he made it to his feet.  He approached them as he would have a bomb.  The baby, his first hunger slaked, let go of her nipple and looked up at him with obvious curiosity.  Mulder's knees felt like they wouldn't hold him any longer and he sank down beside her.  Samantha's eyes looked up at him.  Still unable to speak, his head turned to meet Scully's eyes.  They were filled with tears.




"We're so glad you're home."






Author's notes:  The title is Reunion.  They're together.  Yeah, I'm sure there's more to the story, but not under WIP deadlines <g>.  We'll see you back in Millboro soon!



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