The baby's cries woke her, and Mae tapped on the door with him in her arms. “Dana? You awake?”
“Yeah.” She pulled herself into a seated position. “Where’s Mu - David?”
Mae settled the baby in Dana’s arms. “Oh, when I got here he said he needed to run an errand. I shouldn't have anyone else delivering anytime soon. My other Moms aren’t even as far along as you were. I told him to go ahead, I could stay here for a little while. Let me get you some water.” When she returned she sat on the bed and watched the baby suckle. “How are you feeling Dana?”
“Tired, a little sore, but good.”
“What about David?”
“Why do you ask?” She sat up straighter at the question and the baby protested.
“I don’t know, he looked a little traumatized. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him earlier, but I was hoping he would have calmed down by now. I think you’re both doing very well.”
Dana relaxed a little. “It was difficult for him. He was afraid of . . . of doing something wrong. He’s probably still having ‘what ifs’.”
Mae nodded, “That’s probably it. He . . . he wouldn’t be out having a drink?”
“No. He did have an errand. Today kind of got away from us. What time is it anyway? I’ve been busy.”
Mae chucked. “True. It’s a little after 5 in the evening. A busy day for you.” They both looked up as they heard the front door open and Dana breathed a sigh of relief that he was home. The thought of what he had been doing, alone, was painful. To be honest, it was frightening.
He joined them in the bedroom, but stood silently watching this woman with their child. After a long moment Mae moved back to the bed. “Do you want me to take him?”
“I’ll take him.” Mulder moved forward and took the baby. Mae watched him but made no comment.
“We named him.”
Mae turned back to Dana, smiling. “Wonderful! What did you decide on?”
“William David. After his father, and mine.”
“I like it. Why don’t I go fill out the birth certificate?”
“Yeah, that’s a good idea.” Mulder answered her.
Mae nodded and slipped out of the room. She’d obviously never been as close to him as she was to her patient, but right now she was actually uncomfortable around the man. He’d always been quiet, withdrawn. When Dana had joined him here he had loosened up, seemed happy - no, elated that she was with him. Now, Mae realized, she was scared for the man. Had he seen Dana’s mortality? Was that it?
Mae shook her head and pulled out the form. She’d be by to check on them. Dana and the baby were doing well; she was being totally honest with them on that point. But something was making her uneasy. It wouldn’t hurt to drop by.
Mae left as soon as they had signed the form. When she had returned to the room they had been sitting in the bed. He was holding both of them. Stroking her hair. But both of them had seemed far away even as they touched each other.
She had been wrong. Yes, they were far away, but not from each other. In fact they were surprised to realize there were other people in the universe when Mae had reentered the room.
Mulder let Mae out and dished up the dinner he had brought home, then rejoined her. “I can come to the table.”
“I know.” He handed her the bowl of rice and vegetables that was her favorite. She smiled up at him and patted the bed beside her.
They ate in silence, bodies in contact, as they had been when Mae observed them. When he took the dish from her and rose, she put out her hand to stop him. “We need to talk.”
He nodded, but kept moving. When he returned he tossed off his clothes and climbed into the bed with her. His need to feel her against him suddenly critical.
“I sent . . . everything to the guys. I gave them some instructions but they probably know enough people to come up with things I didn’t think about.”
“Are you okay?”
He gave an unamused laugh at the question, and didn’t bother to answer directly. “Get some rest. The crown prince will no doubt be wanting your attention soon.”
“I love you Mulder.” His response was to pull her closer and kiss the top of her head. It was enough, she knew how he felt. She curled into him and closed her eyes. Whatever else, she was in his arms.
It was late the next morning when his cell phone rang. They were both in the kitchen, Will dozing in his seat on the counter. They froze and looked at each other, then he was moving, snatching up the phone.
“Yes.” He held the phone so that they both could hear.
“Is she . . .?”
It was Byers’ voice and Dana heard the panic clearly. “I’m fine.”
“Praise God.” That was Frohike’s voice and Dana smiled at the heart-felt sentiment.
“You have the package.”
“Yes and the instructions. We just had to . . . “
“I understand. It was the second; the first is . . . “ He looked down at her, searching for a word.
“Perfect and healthy.” She spoke into the phone but was watching him. He nodded and held her to him.
“Okay, we’ll get to work.” Byers spoke again. He understood why no more could be said.
“You look after her.” Frohike’s voice was clear and forceful.
“I will.” Then Mulder broke the connection. Dana was watching him. She wanted to offer him the comfort he was giving her, but he was building a wall around himself, being strong for her. She couldn’t let it go on much longer.
They settled into a pattern, being a family. He was quiet, like when they had first met, but his arms were always available to hold her or the baby, and give her at least the illusion of safety.
Will had drifted off to sleep while she held him and she rose to put him in his crib. Mulder looked up and watched her walk into their bedroom. He waited, expecting her to return immediately. The time stretched and a frown appeared on his face. He rose and headed toward the bedroom himself.
She was standing over the crib, watching Will sleep he thought at first. When he stood beside her he realized she was gripping the side of the crib, trying to keep from shaking.
“Doc?” He whispered it so as not to disturb the baby, but he turned her taking her into his arms. “What’s wrong?”
“Why haven’t we heard anything? Why . . .?” He tightened his hold on her and led her from the room. “Mulder, why haven’t they called?”
“I don’t know, but it’s something I can change right now.” He reached for his cell phone with his free hand.
“No, it could be too dangerous.”
He shook his head. “I should have done this sooner. Doc, don’t keep things from me. I need to know how you feel. I thought I was protecting you.”
She shook her head and leaned against him. He kissed the top of her head and for an instant let guilt over what he had done to this woman engulf him again. Then he took a deep breath and dialed the special number they had given him.
“Yeah?” It was Langly’s voice.
“We need that information.”
Mulder could almost feel the man tense up. “Give us 30, we need to add some protection.” The phone went dead in his hand.
He lowered the phone and at her puzzled look spoke softly, not releasing her. “They want to make sure the calls aren’t traceable. They’ll call back soon.”
She just closed her eyes and his guilt rose another notch.
He wasn’t really surprised when the phone rang only ten minutes later. “Hello?”
“We can talk now.” Byers had placed the call. “But we don’t have as much information for you as we had hoped.”
“What’s wrong?” Dana spoke before Mulder could.
“The uh, the information we have is . . . this is hotter than anything we’ve ever handled. The people we would normally go to for help just . . . we don’t trust anyone with this kind of information. If it should be traced back to you . . . we can’t take that risk.”
Dana and Mulder looked at each other. “Thank you.” She spoke softly and he pulled her against him again.
“Well, we’re in your hands guys. Any suggestions?” Mulder finally asked.
“We’re learning as we go, our education wasn’t really geared in this direction.”
“Do you need someone with my educational back-ground?” Dana asked quickly.
“No. That is out of the question. No!” Mulder look down at her, his face a mask to hide his emotions.
“We have to know. If I can help in that . . . Mu - It’s only data, I can handle looking at data.”
Their friends were silent. They understood how he felt about this, but they did need help. They were way over their heads in the genetic codes and DNA. Asking her was not something they were comfortable with, but the decision not to go outside of their small group had been unanimous.
“I think it’s a bad idea.”
She nodded, accepting his statement, then spoke into the phone, “Send the information as soon as possible.” She stood and walked into the bedroom, shutting the door behind her.
There was a long silence but Byers was not going to disturb it. Finally Mulder took a deep breath, “Do as she says. And thank you for protecting us.” The connection was broken and Byers closed his eyes as he collapsed back into his chair. Langly and Frohike exchanged looks but no one spoke.
He actually tapped on the bedroom door, not sure if he would be welcome. She opened the door surprised. “Are you through?”
“Is that why you left? To let me talk to them?”
“Of course. I know how much you want to protect me. Did you . . . did you think I was walking away? That I was angry? Oh Mulder, not at you, never at you.”
He lowered his forehead to hers and let his fingers outline her cheeks and lips. “I don’t deserve you.”
She led him back to the living room, pulling the bedroom door nearly closed behind them and sat him on the couch. Then she crawled into his lap and held him. “I need you to snap out of this Mulder. This is not your fault.”
“Not my fault? I explode into your life from nowhere, literally. I get you pregnant, I abandon you, when I return I drag you away from everything, everyone you know, you can’t even go to a hospital to give birth - I end up . . . you should have had better care, and then . . . “
“Yes, you explode into my life, saving me from a mugger. You make love to me, at my instigation, then you leave town temporarily to make sure that I’m safe and the military doesn’t discover that I know you. When you return you ask me to come with you and share your new life and I accept - knowing that I want to be with you more than anyone else in the world. When our baby starts to come prematurely and the midwife can’t get here in time you deliver our baby and probably save both of our lives. Then while I’m passed out, you have to handle an even more horrendous task - alone.”
“You paint too pretty a picture of me.”
“I see you as you really are. What bothers me the most is that I don’t make you happy. You’ve given me everything - your love, our son, my life. But I seem to only bring you guilt and unhappiness.”
“No! That’s not true. I bring the guilt on myself. You only bring me happiness. I just wish I deserved it.”
“Mulder - “
“I know nothing about my life before you - except that I don’t deserve you.”
“Why? Why do you feel like that?”
“I’ve read my file. Doc, I was a joke. They called me Spooky Mulder. They sent me out ghostbusting, checking out . . . weird things - not real cases. I couldn’t keep a partner, no friends that I can remember - at least none that missed me enough to check when I disappeared. No family - “
“You have one now.”
He did smile then. “Yes, I have one now.”
“Dwell on that Mulder. Let me make you happy. Let me love you.”
“Doc, what scares me is that you might some day stop.”
“Well you can quit being scared about that right now. You’re stuck with me, with us. We have a child together Mulder. No matter what, we’re joined.”
He buried his face in her hair, just holding her.
The information arrived late the next day at a prearranged drop off. He hated even bringing it into the house. She was waiting and she didn’t want him protecting her this way. She was a strong woman, stronger than him. She’d proven it over and over.
He squared his shoulders and let himself in. She was cooing to the baby, playing with him on the couch. “Look, Daddy’s home.” She held the boy up. The baby gurgled at him and Mulder took him into his arms after he dropped the package on the table. “Hi Boy. Miss me?”
“We both did. I’m spoiled being home with you.”
She rose, leaving her boys together as she picked up the package. She watched them as she opened it. He was fascinated by this life they are created. Of course both of her men were fascinated with her breasts, but nothing was wrong with that. Just looking at the child did make him happy, that was plain to see. She felt her own smile grow.
Finally, she forced her attention to the papers in her hand. She found herself quickly fascinated by the information she was reading. Keeping herself in doctor mode allowed her to review the data with detachment.
Mulder looked up as she booted up the computer. It looked as though she had completely forgotten they were in the room.
That became the pattern then. When she was working on the computer he bonded with his son and did the laundry and housework. These things weren’t completely unfamiliar to him, but he’d never worked to her standards before. Occasionally he would stop and watch her, her glasses on her head to be slipped down over her eyes at a moment’s notice, flipping between printouts and the computer monitor. She hadn’t shared a lot of information and he found he didn’t really want to know. He was happy, truly happy, and pushed aside any thoughts of that ending. She loved him, it was insane on her part, but it was a fact.
He was putting Will down when he heard her. He hurried back into the living room. “You okay?”
“Yes!” Her smile was beaming. “The guys just emailed me the results of the paternity test.”
“Pa . . . paternity?” He was stunned and it showed.
“Don’t worry.” She was kissing his face. “There was never any doubt about Will. You were always the only possibility there.” She felt him relax slightly. “But I had Byers check the DNA for all three of us. It took awhile because of the privacy issue. Mulder, the other . . . none of your DNA was there. None of mine either. Mulder, you and I did not create . . . that. I don’t know how . . . Mulder, you and I had a healthy baby and we can have more.”
“More? You’d have more children with me?”
“Of course I would. Did you think -?“
“It . . . it never occurred to me that you would go through that again. I . . . I -“
“Mulder, make love with me.”
“Wha . . . Doc, I want you. You know that, but no. Not tonight. Your body’s not ready - “
“Not ready for one of your marathons maybe.” She smiled up at him as the color rose in his face, “but I know how gentle you can be. We can take it slow, but I need you. Will’s asleep.”
She smiled as she realized her suggestion had caused a reaction, regardless of his words. “Very serious.” She led him into the bedroom.
She was up before him the next morning and greeted him with a beautiful smile when he emerged from the bedroom wearing only his boxers. He met it with one of his own. There was nothing this woman couldn’t do.
He got his robe while she served up breakfast and actually got to eat most of it before Will made his presence known. While she was nursing she glanced over and caught him massaging his forehead. “Mulder? You okay?”
He nodded his head, “Just a little headache.”
“Isn’t that my line, and wasn’t I supposed to use it last night?”
He gave her that fake smile and chuckle and she dropped it, but noticed he took a couple of aspirin. She couldn’t remember him ever taking anything before. He was extraordinarily healthy.
Relax Dana, she told herself. It’s just a little headache. She finished nursing Will, then gave him his bath. She had the baby dressed when she spotted Mulder rubbing his head again.
“Mulder, I’m going to put Will down. Why don’t you take a nap too?”
“You’re the one that needs her rest.”
“Just for a couple of hours, okay? I’ve got some things I can check on the computer.”
“You wouldn’t mind?” That scared her though she hid it. He was hurting more than she realized.
“No, I wouldn’t mind.” She kissed him as she headed to the bedroom. She wanted to help him to his feet, but he would never allow that. When she got the baby down she moved over to the bed and kissed him, pulling the covers back over him. She tossed his robe to the foot of the bed and slipped out of the room, pulling the door almost closed.
She’d been working about twenty minutes when she heard the door open. She looked over at the sound and was immediately on her feet. He was clutching his head, unsteady on his feet. “Mulder, let me help you.”
She had her arm around him, but he staggered and went down. She couldn’t hold him and found herself with him on the floor, him on hands and knees. He sank on down, curling into a fetal position. "Mulder!" She had his head in her lap, checking his pulse.
"Doc." It was a groan.
"Don't try to talk."
"What? What do you remember?"
"You." And he lost his grip on consciousness.
When he came to he was still on the floor, now covered by a blanket. His head was no longer cradled in her lap, but resting on a pillow. There was a blood pressure cuff on his arm.
"Mulder, can you hear me?" His eyes focused on her. "How many fingers am I holding up?"
"Three." He started to rise.
"Don't. Mulder just lie still."
"I'm better Doc." Her eyes showed how little she believed that. He smiled at her but it faded, just gazing into her, seeing deep inside of her.
"Mulder?" Her voice shook slightly.
He nodded and allowed her to help him to his feet. She led him to the bedroom and had him recline on the bed, then pulled the covers over him. He realized he was still only in his boxers. He closed his eyes, trying to organize his thoughts. When he opened them again he saw her fear plainly etched on her face. He took her hand and drew her close to him. She came willingly needing to feel his arms around her.
"I remember you." He whispered into her hair.
"It's all back. The block they put on me - it's gone."
"You remember everything?" She pulled back slightly to see his face. He nodded and pulled her back against him.
"It had to be when you were missing. Skyland Mountain." She shuddered slightly and burrowed into his chest. He tightened his hold of her. "There's no record, I must not have been missing that long, but I was there. There were . . . beings. Like the other, adults. I don't know what they were doing to me." He shook his head. "It doesn't matter. They were moving me; allowing me to walk, exercise. I don't know. Two of them were with me, not speaking. They never spoke aloud. We were passing a cubicle and I heard a woman scream. I heard you scream. I didn't hesitate, I just moved toward you. It caught my escorts off guard, but I was already beside you.
"One of them grabbed me. They're strong Doc. I knew I didn't have a chance. But then one of two with you stopped him. They let go of me and all four of them left the room.
"You were hysterical. I don't think you even realized I was human at first. You were in too much pain. They had, they had hurt you. It took hours for you to calm down enough to let me touch you. I was . . . I was wearing a little less than I am now. You . . . you were nude. There was nothing to cover you with, but I'm not sure you were even aware in the beginning."
Her breathing was shallow and her fingers were pressing into his skin. "Doc, they never came back. They let me stay with you. We were together in that room for what had to be days. Food appeared, but we were left alone. When you could talk . . . Doc you were so strong. You began to trust me, let me help you, hold you. There was only the one table in the room. We . . . we shared it. You slept on . . . on me, but nothing happened except that I saw how beautiful your body is. We were there for each other. You were the only human I saw. We talked; we shared our lives for those few days. Once the original trauma faded and you got to know me, trust me, we . . . we got close. Doc, I fell in love with you then - for the first time."
There were tears in her eyes now, but she didn't speak.
"Then I woke up in my apartment. You were gone from my memory. I didn't remember any of it. I didn't remember you. But it didn't last. Okay, it lasted for a couple of years, but even when I didn't remember, I was . . . I was drawn to redheads." He gave her a slightly embarrassed grin then.
She tried to reciprocate. "I don't know what brought it back. Maybe I saw you, maybe a picture of you. I don't know. But I had to find you. I went back to Skyland Mountain - that was my mistake. I went to them, I went unprepared. And this time they took it all away."
"I don't . . . Mulder, I don't remember any of this."
"I know. Doc, it was too traumatic. But they . . . they did something to you. They implanted that . . . that thing."
She was watching his eyes. "And my, my real pregnancy triggered . . . "
He nodded, "I think so."
They just held each other then, until Will stirred wanting to be fed.
Once he was settled again, she was centered enough to continue their conversation. "Are you in danger, now that you remember again?"
"No. I won't be making the same mistakes again. I'm not looking for them anymore. I have you, and Will. I don't want anything else. Let someone else save the world from ET."
"Will the military leave you alone?"
"If we handle it right."
"Handle it? Do you think they'll find us here?"
"Maybe not here, but I need to take you home. You need to see your parents, your family. And they should meet Will."
"No. I want to see them, I do, but not at the expense of your safety. I won't."
"It will be okay. We have help. I'm not leaving you. And I won't let you be taken from me ever again."