Simple Choices 15 (PG-13)


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The guys beat him to the kitchen the next morning and had coffee ready.  Still decaf while she was nursing, but since it was for her . . .  Rob was cutting up grapefruit.  They all stopped and turned to him, grinning when he joined them.

 

"I take it you got our 'note' last night," he said dryly as he poured himself a mug of coffee.

 

They nodded.  "We can find the little ones," Stephen said taking a seat.  "We've been worried about them.  And you know there's at least one sister still out there.  Maybe we can save her too."

 

Mulder met his eyes.  "We have to."

 

*****

 

Their return to civilization was low key.  The train ride home was fun, taking turns holding William, knowing they might not see him in the flesh again soon, though they would be 'in touch' constantly.  Mulder was hyper-vigilant wanting to get Dana and the baby inside and safe, but unable to just leave the others at the bus station to look after themselves, especially Rob.

 

No one approached them and they found that the emotions of others around them were easy enough to catch if they tried.  Rob actually peeked into the mind of an impatient businessman at the train station and enjoyed telling them about his turf war with the man in the next office.

 

"You have to be careful about that, guys.  You can't let yourselves get pulled in.  If you check out a homeless guy too closely and he's mentally ill or suicidal, we don't know how you'll be affected."

 

Startled, the guys nodded after thinking about that.  Carson was obviously on their minds.  "But you will let us help with Deep Throat," Rob insisted.

 

"Yeah.  I'm gonna want everyone listening closely there because I'm sure that's information he's not going to want to give up.  But, and this is a deal breaker, only I will push for that information.  If his mind is . . . damaged because of this, it's going to be on my head, not yours.  Do you hear me, all of you?"

 

They agreed solemnly, shaking hands on the deal.

 

Stephen had planned well and everyone was off in minimum time to Mulder's relief.  He bundled Dana and William back in the car and headed  home.

 

She carried their son inside as he carried as much luggage as possible.  He'd forgotten that they had erased her presence and the site of his place without her little touches was depressing.

 

"Don't worry," she reached up to kiss him.  "It won't take me long to get in your way again."

 

"Like you could.  You notice, I'm sure, that we have no baby stuff."

 

"Yes, I did notice that.  We can use a drawer again tonight.  I'm too tired to go shopping anyway."

 

"Are you okay?"  The exasperated look didn't faze him.  "Dana?"

 

"I am fine, wonderful.  I just took a train trip and hung around the bus station for awhile.  I'd like to get William settled and relax a little."

 

*****

 

His family was asleep and he was sprawled on the couch.  The food should be here shortly but at least she was getting a nap.  It had been a long day for her.

 

He was on his feet at the first knock, not wanting her to wake, and opened the door. 

 

"Long time, Mr. Mulder."

 

"Yeah, took some time off.  You didn't change any recipes?"

 

"Who us?  No way.  Enjoy!"  He took his money and left.

 

Mulder put the bag on the counter and pulled open the stapled flap.  He pulled out the soup and the paper boxes and saw the folded paper at the bottom.  He glanced over at the locked door and pulled out the note.

 

"A&A Parking, 449K Street Northwest.  9 p.m."

 

Well that hadn't taken long.  The place must be under surveillance.  He'd wanted to move this along, but not quite this fast.  Rob probably wasn't home yet and there would be a lot of explanations when he got there.  The same for Chuck.  Stephen probably could get away without too much, but not necessarily.

 

He turned as the bedroom door opened.

 

"It didn't take him long to contact you," she mused.

 

"I don't want to leave you."

 

"You won't be leaving me, I'm going to be right there inside your head, listening to every word."  He managed a slight grin.  "All of us will be there.  Have you 'talked' to the brothers?"

 

"Not officially, but since you know, they probably do as well."

 

**Yeah, we do, but we didn't want to appear rude.** Chuck's voice was in their heads.

 

Mulder rolled his eyes as Dana chuckled.

 

**We've got your back, big bro,** Rob added.  **Are you going now?**

 

**I should.  I don't want him to bolt and we need that information.  Remember, only I push.**

 

**We know,** Stephen assured him. 

 

Mulder turned back to Dana.  "You'll be okay here?"

 

"We'll be fine."

 

"I'm leaving my off-duty gun with you."

 

She sighed but didn't protest.  He might be right.

 

"Do you have time to eat first?" She looked at the food spread out on the counter.

 

He shook his head.  "Go ahead, I'll eat when I get back."

 

*****

 

He pulled into the garage and parked on the east side, one level down from the top.  He sat for a moment, then forced himself from the driver's seat.   He walked around the front of the car, and leaned against the wall, resting one foot against the bumper.

 

In just moments Deep Throat approached him from the direction of the elevator.

 

"Long time," Mulder said watching him as the older man came around the car toward him.

 

"I believe you're the one that's been out of town."

 

"Yeah, I took a little time off."

 

They stared at each other for a long moment.  "You didn't drop that area of investigation like we discussed."

 

"I don't really remember a discussion; it seemed to be more an order."

 

"Mulder, you need to understand - "

 

"There's two more out there, aren't there?"

 

"What?  Mulder, you have no idea how dangerous what you're doing could be."

 

"Dangerous for me, or for you?"

 

"For everyone.  You have no - "

 

"So explain it to me.  What's wrong with wanting to have a real old fashioned family reunion?  Come on, an eight year old and a three year old.  If I'm right, we even have one sister left.  And if what I already know carries over, the parents are so happy to have us.  Who are they?  Where are they?"

 

"You're wrong," Deep Throat said quickly.

 

"Am I?  Why stop, why stop now?  You've done so well for so long.  Are you afraid I'll find a mother who doesn't mind carrying and raising someone else's science experiment? Come on, I know about the others, just between us, who's my baby brother?"  He stared into the man's eyes and felt the others join him in his mind.

 

Mulder saw a name rise to the surface of the man's mind.  Debra Parkington?  He'd mentioned the parents, was she one of them, or their last sister?  Why had this name come up and why did he seem . . . uneasy about the woman?  Baltimore.  Good a location for them to start.

 

"Come on you can tell me.  A three year old, an eight year old.  Hell, it's four more years before they're going to take that one's sister."

 

"That's not why I came here.  We need - "

 

"Tit for tat.  You want something from me, I want something from you.  A name, come on, an eight year old isn't someone that can hurt you."  Again he focused on Deep Throat's eyes and felt a surge of strength from a new source, not the brothers, not Dana . . . this was William.

 

The name Greg floated up. **Come on,** Mulder's eyes narrowed slightly as he concentrated and Deep Throat didn't look away. Greg Richardson.  Lily Richardson.

 

"Mulder, back away from this.  Roger's in danger already.  They can get to him at any time.  The project wasn't . . . sanctioned."

 

**Check on Roger!  Warn him specifically.**

 

**Done.** Rob reported back instantaneously.

 

"Was this part of the Litchfield experiment?"

 

Deep Throat winced.  "An off-shoot."

 

"You guys suck at this.  Why keep trying?"

 

Deep Throat glared at him for a long moment.  "I've given you your warning.  Heed it or don't.  I imagine our relationship is at an end."

 

"It doesn't have to be.  Save those three little kids.  I'll do your dirty work, I'll run investigations for you.  Just help me stop it before anyone else gets hurt.  Give me those names."

 

"Mr. Mulder." He turned then and sank back into the shadows.  Mulder followed him with his mind.  Danny, Debra, mistake. 

 

Well that told him a lot.  Danny and Debra Parkington, were they parents?  And the other names, Greg and Lily Richardson.  He needed to get to a computer.

 

**We're on it, Mulder.  We'll find out who they are, don't worry.**

 

**Come home, Mulder.  We love you.** That last was soothing, Dana's mind weaving around his.

 

**On my way.**

 

*****

 

Dana was asleep on the couch when he arrived.  He shook his head slightly at the sight as he removed his coat and shoes, but he wouldn't wake up William talking to her at least.  He knelt beside her and caressed her cheek.  **Dana?**

 

She smiled, her eyes still closed and reached for him.  He cuddled up next to her on the couch and held her for a few minutes.

 

"Tell me what I missed?"

 

"I think you got it all.  Oh, Rob and Chuck are home.  Not sure how happy they are about it, but they're in for the night, and probably for some time to come being grounded as they are.  Stephen should be at the dorm shortly."

 

"Are they safe?"

 

"Yes.  We're all looking out for each other and after that warning about Roger, we're all going to be hyper-aware.  They took their training seriously."

 

"I know.  Those names, Debra, Greg, do you have any idea . . . "

 

He shook his head.  "Not yet.  I was going to get on the computer, but you distracted me."

 

She rolled her eyes.  "Yeah, right.  Go log on.  Since you're here and safe I guess I'll move to the bedroom."

 

He nodded.  "We need to get a bigger place."

 

"Yes, but not tonight.  Go on, do your hunting, then come cuddle up with me."

 

"Oh that's gonna make the search fun," he groused as he helped her to her feet.  She laughed, gave him a kiss and disappeared into the bedroom.

 

He logged on and started his search.

 

*****

 

He couldn't continue the search that mattered to him from work, but at least he'd fixed it so that he didn't have to be out of town.  His frustration was growing but he wasn't sure what more he could have gotten out of Deep Throat. 

 

The brothers had been in touch and they had gotten the same information he had in Deep Throat's mind.  Rob was spending the most time on the search.  His homework wasn't challenging to him and being grounded gave him a lot of time alone in his room.

 

He was the one that found Debra Parkington, married to Daniel, mother of Danny, three years old.

 

**Great work, Rob!** They were all 'together' a couple of days later.  Mulder was on the couch, his arm around Dana as she nursed William.

 

**Are you sure it's our Danny Parkington?** Dana asked.

 

**Yeah, I've touched his mind.  I didn't push, I didn't really get anything.  He is only three, but I recognized him.**

 

**Who is his 'father'?** That question came from Stephen.

 

**He's an executive with the World Bank, travels a lot, has a lot of influence on policy.**

 

**Yep, I'd have to say that makes it a slam dunk.**

 

**Mulder, what are we going to do?  Are we gonna kidnap him?  We can't leave him with them.  If we do, won't he have to go through - **

 

**We can't kidnap him, but we can keep an eye on him regardless.  He's a baby, he's probably happy.  Do you guys remember any problems before they were taken?**

 

There was no immediate answer, then, **He's one of us, Mulder.  He should be with us; well, with you and Dana.**

 

**I'd love that, guys,** Dana joined them, **but why would they give him up?  We don't have any legitimate reason to take him.  We can't exactly say we need to remove him from their custody because in another year he's going to have a sister and eight years after that she'll be abducted and his life will be changed forever.**

 

"I hate it when you're right," Mulder whispered to her, kissing her lightly and taking William into his arms.

 

**Keep an eye out, guys.**

 

**Will do and I think I have a lead on Greg.**

 

**Be careful,** Dana reminded everyone, then she was alone with Mulder and their son.

 

"Mulder, what is your plan?"

 

"I don't have one.  I guess I didn't think we'd find him, maybe them, so quickly.  The kid is three years old.  I want him with us, I want to keep him safe."

 

"I'd love to have him with us too."

 

"Really?" He looked deep into her eyes and saw the truth.  He pulled her to him.  "You're the best, you know that?"

 

"Of course," she laughed.

 

"Don't suppose you're ready to marry me yet?"

 

She blinked at that.  "We haven't talked about it."

 

"We haven't talked about it lately, because we were busy having William."

 

She thought about that for a moment.  "You're right.  I guess I, I'd kind of forgotten that we weren't married."

 

A blinding smile took over his face.  "Then I need to fix it before you remember.  Tomorrow?"

 

"We need a license."

 

"I'll take care of that tomorrow."

 

"I'm never going to fit into anything I like," she said mournfully.

 

"Do you want to wait?" It took effort to ask that, but he managed.

 

"No.  I don't want to wait.  Forget I said anything."

 

"I want this to be perfect for you."

 

"Then you be my husband.  That makes it perfect."  Her lips took his.  "I'll make up the wedding night to you as soon as possible."

 

"Not a problem.  I plan to honeymoon with you for the rest of my life."

 

The tears in her eyes caused them to sparkle as she nodded.

 

*****

 

She called him at the office, still slightly unsure of her ability to speak with his mind.  "Mulder, I . . . something's wrong."

 

"William?"

 

"No, he's fine.  But, but something's wrong.  I keep thinking about Danny."

 

"Danny?"  He immediately sent out a call to his brothers.  "What are you picking up?"

 

"I don't know, but I feel like he's in danger."

 

"I'm on my way.  Listen in, I'm sure the guys will be reporting in any minute.  Dana . . ."

 

"I know.  Bring him home with you if you can."

 

"We gotta get a bigger place."

 

She laughed and blew a kiss, then hung up.

 

He sent a quick email to Patterson rather than face the man himself and raced to his car.

 

He had the address memorized and lost no time getting to Baltimore, cutting the time to 45 minutes with a heavy foot. 

 

**Mulder, it's his mother.  She's gone crazy.** Rob as usual reported in first.

 

**What do you mean?**

 

**Oh shit!**

 

**Rob! Rob, what?**

 

**She's got a gun, she's looking for her husband, then Danny.**

 

**Can he hear us?  Can you get Danny out of the house?**

 

**Just a sec - ** Rob was gone from his mind, but Mulder could feel the others, even Roger, listening, waiting, not wanting overlapping searches to confuse anything.  **Mulder, I got the housekeeper.  I'm not sure what I sent exactly, but she grabbed him up and is running next door.**

 

**She, she used the gun!**

 

**Concentrate on me!** Mulder commanded.  **I need a story, why I'm there.  Do you know what happened to her?**

 

**I think I got that one,** Stephen chimed in.  **Daniel has been talking about having another baby to the people he works with.  If she knows what's really going on . . .**

 

**Shit.  He's three, we've all been four years apart so it's time for her to get pregnant again.  She didn't want to be part of the experiment anymore?**

 

**She never did.** Dana was with them now.  **She suffered from severe post partum when Danny was born.  It could have been because she knew he wasn't hers.**

 

**I can be there in fifteen minutes, maybe - **

 

**Oh god!**

 

**Dana!**

 

**She killed herself.  Rob, all of you, pull out.  We'll be in touch, but pull out now!**  Dana's mental voice was an order and the boys, even Roger obeyed without argument.

 

**Dana?**

 

**She couldn't find Danny.  Rob got him out, but . . . After Daniel, she shot herself in Danny's room.  Oh Mulder.**

 

They were silent for a moment.  **Did the boys see?**

 

**I don't know, maybe Chuck, but we had each taken someone different.  Rob was watching the housekeeper, Stephen had Daniel.  I'm not sure about Roger, but I was watching Debra.  That's why I knew he was in danger.  I wish I was a strong as the rest of you.  I could have - **

 

**No and never think that again.  You saved Danny.  Stay with me while I handle this, I may need 'back up'.  Dana, I love you.**

 

He slowed down, much as he wanted to race to the site, to allow police to precede him.  There was no way he could explain his presence at the house before them.

 

**Mulder,** Rob spoke tentatively, **may I stay with Danny?**

 

**Yeah, that's a good idea, but only with him.**  He could feel the nod of agreement and turned into the neighborhood.

 

Damn nice houses, the size he could see them living in, especially if they were going to have the other two or three kids shortly.  Four kids, could he handle that?  He shook his head, not an issue now. 

 

He was hearing the sirens.  He slowed down a little more.  There was nothing he could do for the parents; he had to make sure Danny was okay.

 

The police were there in full force, he counted six squad cars around the house and yellow tape was already going up.  People were in the neighboring yards watching and Mulder spotted the boy in some strange woman's arms screaming as she tried to talk to the officer.

 

He approached them immediately.  An officer started to block his way, but his ID was in his hand automatically.  The officer attempting to speak with the housekeeper turned instead to him.  "The Bureau?  How did you - "

 

"I'm not here for the Bureau."  He reached for the boy, sending love and security in waves to the frightened child.

 

Danny responded immediately, calming down and reaching for him.  Mulder took him into his arms and held him tightly.  "It's going to be okay, Danny.  I'm here."

 

The housekeeper looked on stunned.  "Who are you?"

 

"Fox Mulder.  I'm here for Danny."

 

A seventh car pulled up then and two plain clothed detectives emerged.  They joined the small crowd around the boy. 

 

"Detective Ross, bring me up to date," he commanded the lead officer.

 

They glanced at the boy, then started to move away.  "He's asleep, go ahead," Mulder followed them.  Sure enough, the boy had hiccupped a couple of times and fallen sound asleep in Mulder's arms.

 

"And you are?"

 

"Special Agent Fox Mulder."

 

"Special - what the - ?"

 

"I'm not here about the case.  I knew something was wrong and came to check on my son."

 

"Your son?" The detective and the housekeeper spoke together.

 

"Could we debrief first?" Mulder pulled them back to the matter at hand and the first officer nodded.  They entered the house through the back door and into the kitchen, the way the housekeeper had escaped with Danny.  She and Mulder, Danny safely in his arms, took seats at the kitchen table while the detective and officer stood a little to the side.

 

"We have a white adult male in the master bedroom, shot once in the chest, dead.  We need positive ID but he is presumed to be Daniel Parkington, resident of the house.  There is a white adult female, again presumed to be Debra Parkington of the home, shot through the mouth in the nursery of the house."

 

"Shit," Detective Ross muttered.  He looked up at Mulder.  "What's your connection?"

 

"None anymore.  Debra didn't want me around the boy, didn't want her husband to find out."

 

"How old is he?"

 

"Three."

 

"You married?"

 

"Yes, and for the record I wasn't when he was conceived.  My wife knows all about him."

 

"What happened here?"

 

"I can only speculate."

 

"Please do."

 

Mulder ignored the sarcasm and looked around the kitchen.  "I've never been here.  I have no idea what their life was like.  From all I've heard Daniel was a good father.  I know she suffered from post partum after Danny was born, but I didn't see this coming."

 

The detective turned to the housekeeper.  "Your name?"

 

"Isabel Hernandez."

 

"How long have you been working here?"

 

"A little over a year."

 

"Did you notice a problem between Mr. and Mrs. Parkington?"  She looked down and the detective took a seat beside her.  "Ms. Hernandez?"

 

"Ms. Parkington was upset recently, but I don't - She didn't talk to me, not about personal things."

 

"And Mr. Parkington?"

 

"He was very happy, excited.  The other day while he was eating his breakfast he told me they were going to have another baby.  I didn't know she was pregnant, but . . . "

 

"Yes?"

 

"She wasn't a very demonstrative mother.  She seemed almost afraid of the baby.  He is a very sweet child, happy, smart, but she didn’t want to spend time with him."

 

"Are there relatives?"

 

"No, sir.  Mrs. Parkington was an only child and her parents are gone.  I'm not sure about Mr. Parkington, but there was no one who came to visit."

 

Mulder kept quiet.  That's the way it was with all of the families that had hosted 'him' as their child, no relatives, no grandparents, aunts or uncles.  Less chance of the resemblance or lack thereof to be noticed maybe.

 

"We'll need to call Social Services - "

 

"I can take him.  My wife and I want him."

 

"You sure your wife wants to take on your love child?  Which by the way we haven't confirmed.  That's not something you can just assume."

 

"Take me to a lab right now; I'll take a paternity test.  He's mine.  I can get my wife on the phone and you can talk to her if you like.  Or you can talk to my AD at the Bureau.  You can see the boy knows me."

 

They all looked down at the little boy sleeping peacefully in Mulder's arms.

 

They were interrupted by the crime scene team.  Things were moving rapidly, no doubt due to the neighborhood and apparent income level of the deceased.

 

"Let me think about it.  Don't leave."  The detective followed his officer upstairs leaving Mulder and Isabel alone in the kitchen.

 

Isabel looked over at Mulder.  "You are Danny's father?"

 

"Yes."  He met her eyes, not hesitating at all, secure in the knowledge that the DNA would back him up.

 

"I did not know.  Mr. Parkington . . . "

 

"He didn't know."

 

She shook her head.  "I believe you.  He thought Danny was very special.  He was very proud of him and showed him off all the time."

 

"Debra - "

 

"Like I told the policeman, she was not like that.  She stayed away from Danny most of the time.  I was very shocked when Mr. Parkington mentioned another baby."  She looked up at Mulder, then down at Danny in his arms.  "She did not want another baby, I am sure of this.  But to, to kill . . . "

 

"You saved my son's life."

 

She looked up startled at that.  "I?"

 

"You must have heard what was happening and you took him and ran.  I will always be grateful to you for that."

 

She blinked and seemed to relax just a little.  "Thank you.  I needed to hear those words.  Would you like some coffee?"

 

"Uh, thank you.  Yes, that would be great, just black."

 

She rose and got a coffee mug from the cabinet.  When she returned she looked down at the sleeping boy.  "He seems so comfortable with you.  Have you spent much time with him?"

 

"Not enough."

 

"Are you sure your wife will be okay with this?"

 

"Very okay, please believe me on this."

 

Isabel nodded then, "I do.  He was terrified.  That's my fault, I was so afraid.   He's always been sensitive and I know he picked that up from me."

 

"You had every right to be afraid.  If Debra could kill Daniel and look for Danny . . . You were very brave to get him out of here."

 

"Are they going to let you take him?"

 

"I'm not leaving without him."

 

She nodded, her expression serious.  "I'm very glad you are here."

 

Detective Ross returned to the room then.  "Agent Mulder, could you tell me why you were on your way here?"

 

"Not really.  I hadn't seen my son in some time.  Something made me think I needed to check on him."

 

"I called Social Services.  They're sending someone out now."

 

Mulder nodded.  "Do I need to get my wife here?"

 

"You'll need to talk to them.  They have to do what's best for the child."

 

Mulder looked toward the main part of the house.  "Can you talk about what happened?"

 

"No details.  It looks pretty cut and dried.  She didn't try to hide what she did."

 

"Was there a note?"

 

Ross shook his head.  "I'd say she snapped.  There'll be an autopsy, possibly drugs.  If she has a history of post partum and she was pregnant . . . " He shrugged.

 

An officer joined them then leading a middle aged woman.  "Detective Ross?  This is Ms. Hall.  She's from the county."

 

"Thanks," his nod dismissed the officer and he shook hands with Ms. Hall.  "Thank you for coming so quickly."

 

"Is this the boy?" She indicated Danny still asleep in Mulder's lap.

 

"Yeah, and we have a complication.  This man says he's the father."

 

"Excuse me?"  She took a seat at the table and accepted a cup of coffee from Isabel while they talked.

 

*****

 

"So, I want to take my son home."

 

"I'm sorry.  I understand your concern, but the child is my only priority."

 

"I do understand, I even agree.  Have you ever heard of a pediatrician by the name of Dana Scully?"

 

Ms. Ross thought for a moment.  "I've heard that name."

 

"Would you please look her up?  I'd really appreciate it."

 

Ms. Ross looked puzzled, but then pulled out her blackberry and got on-line.  After a moment she looked back up at Mulder.  "Yes, Dr. Scully.  She worked at a prestigious practice in Virginia, then moved to DC and works in a clinic.  I've never met her.  Why?"

 

"Would she be qualified to take custody of this boy?"

 

"I, I don't - Yes, but I don't have any idea if she would be interested in fostering - "

 

"She's my wife.  I'll be happy to get her on the phone for you.  I'm not trying to be hard to get along with.  I need to know my son is safe and he needs to know it as well.  Is there someone in your office that you would like to consult with?  I can go with you; we can run by a lab and take DNA samples.  Whatever it would take."

 

The woman was obviously torn and he was following Dana's suggestions to the letter.

 

"I believe I would like to speak with your wife."

 

"Do you need her here?"

 

"No, a phone conversation to begin with."

 

"Thank you."  That was heartfelt and she could tell it.  She accepted his cell phone and looked in the directory herself, finding and pressing the number for 'home'.

 

Dana played her part perfectly.  "Mulder?  Is Danny okay?  Where - "

 

"Mrs. Mulder?  This is Carolyn Hall, I work for Social Services in Baltimore.  I'm calling from your husband's cell phone.  He's right here with me.  I'll put him on in a minute, but I need to speak to for just a moment first."

 

Mulder followed both sides of the conversation with no problem.  Dana was able to give her several references that seemed to reassure Ms. Hall even further.  Finally Ms. Hall handed the phone to Mulder. 

 

"I think I got through to her.  How's Danny doing?"

 

"He's waking up now.  I think he's confused, but he knows me.  I need to get him out of here."

 

"She's definitely leaning that way," she lowered her voice to ensure no one could hear.  It would be easier to just **talk** to him, but not with others around and paying such close attention.  "Call me back."

 

"I will.  I love you."

 

"Good, because I love you too."  She hung up then and he slipped the phone back in his pocket.

 

Ms. Hall still looked torn but as he watched, she straightened her spine and looked at him.  "Let's go by the lab and get the samples.  We can't get an answer today, but it will be in the queue.  I have to make several phone calls to people that your wife recommended.  With the different jurisdictions involved this could become quite complicated.  If I do release the child to you, am I going to regret it?"

 

"Never," he stated firmly.

 

She nodded, still wondering why she was even considering this, but it felt . . . right.  That would not go in her report.

 

*****

 

Denoument -

 

Danny was playing with William, both were laughing their baby laughs at something that Dana hadn't quite caught.  The boys were very good together and she loved having both of them living here.  The tragedy Danny had nearly witnessed wasn't in his mind.  He thought of Dana as his mother and Mulder as his father.  The 'uncles' that fawned over the two little ones were always welcomed.  Danny didn't seem to notice that William was quite often the defacto leader even if he was less verbal and coordinated.

 

Greg and his little sister, Lilly, weren't living with them yet, but had been found and were under constant surveillance by the brothers.  They had some time, maybe as much as four years.  In the meantime, the two children were being carefully made familiar with the minds of their real family.

 

Things were good.  The growing family worked well together.  They each had a part to play and learned well from each other.  Stephen handled their funds and was damn good at it, hence this house that could accommodate all of them when they wanted to get together. 

 

Chuck was majoring in biology at Dartmouth and keeping low key, but kept his research in lots of safe places in addition to the minds of his brothers and his sister-in-law.  Everything was also on the web, unpublished but there to be made public with the push of a button.  He and Dana were in touch often for him to bounce theories off of her.

 

Roger would be out on parole in another couple of months, they were confident of that now and he would be moving in for a short while to get on his feet.

 

Mulder had left the Bureau and opened a psychology practice of his own though he still consulted with the FBI when they needed his skill as a profiler.  He still had access to anything he needed through this new ability that he and the brothers were continuing to develop.  This arrangement made him look as though he was less of a threat and helped their income so that Dana could stay home with the boys.  Having Danny as their son had given Mulder the ammunition to postpone their next child for a little while though they hadn't had any trouble practicing.

 

Rob seemed the most like Mulder, combining both psychology and his interest in law enforcement.  He was good with people, with seeing what they needed often before they knew themselves.  It had come in handy several times and Roger had an especially close bond with him. 

 

Rob spotted her across the room and squared his shoulders.  The cafeteria was crowded, but not around her, never around her.  He made his way over there.  He slid his tray onto the table opposite her and took a seat.  Her head came up as she sputtered.  “What the hell - “

 

“Aren’t you Robin Minette?”

 

Her eyes narrowed.  “Yes.  You want to ask me some personal questions?” she sneered at him.

 

“No.  I’m Rob Trotter and I was just tired of eating lunch alone.”  He held out his hand to shake.  She blinked at him, but for some reason didn’t leave the table.  Finally, to her surprise, she held out her own hand.

 

Yes, she needed him and Dana would be pleased.  Rob gave her an easy smile.

 

 

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