"Dana, he is adorable!" Pilar gazed down at the face of the infant in her arms. "He looks like David." Dana beamed and glanced over at Mulder. "I can't believe you delivered a baby. You must have been terrified."
"I was." Mulder was watching the baby as he squirmed slightly in Pilar's arms.
"I meant Dana."
Dana chuckled at that. "No, I wasn't scared. David was incredible." Her face grew serious then and she looked over at him. Mulder met her eyes and shook his head slightly.
Pilar watched this interchange and smiled to herself. These two were so good together.
She watched them both freeze when the cell phone sitting on his desk rang. The look Dana shot him looked almost panicked. It rang a second time and still no one moved. "Do you want me to get that?"
"Wha . . . no. I'll . . . “ Mulder picked up the phone and placed it to his ear. "I'll take it in the bedroom." Dana's eyes followed him out of the room.
"Dana, are you okay?"
"I'm fine." She forced her attention back to Pilar.
"You don't think David's talking to another woman, do you? Because I can tell you, he doesn't know there are other women." Pilar cut her eyes at her.
"It's, it's probably his editor."
"Is there a problem with the book?"
"Not that I know about. I'm sure it's not a big deal." Dana purposely turned from the door.
Pilar watched her and decided to help distract her. "You know, I think this one needs changing."
"Oh, give him here."
"Let me." Pilar rose and found the diapers.
"Be sure and protect yourself." Pilar laughed at that and began a conversation on inappropriate behavior to Will. But she kept an eye on Dana; something was definitely bothering her about the phone call. Pilar glanced back over at the bedroom door.
"Are you psychic?" Byers’ voice traveled to him.
"What?" Mulder had closed the door.
"You ask about her parents and her father has a damn heart attack."
"He what? Oh shit. How is he?"
"No word yet on his condition. He's been taken to Walter Reed."
"But he is alive?" Mulder had sunk down onto the bed.
"Yeah, so far. Listen; there is one other thing. This happened about an hour after he had a visit from our friendly colonel."
Mulder was silent for a long moment. "Stay on top of it. Call me as soon as you know anything. Now what do I say to her?"
"I'm sorry man."
"Call back regardless in a couple of hours. Okay?"
"Yeah. Tell her we're thinking about her." The phone went dead in Mulder's ear.
He remained on the bed, reluctant to return to the living room. What words was he going to use? Her father could be dying and she was nearly a continent away. The man didn't know if his beloved daughter was even alive and Colonel Baldwin was involved. Mulder closed his eyes and finally rose to his feet.
Dana looked over at him when the door opened and the expression on his face caused her to shudder. She stood, leaving Will with Pilar. She approached him and put her hand on his arm.
He took her into his arms. "What?" He led her to the couch and seated her, ignoring Pilar who stayed quiet, holding the baby.
"Your Dad's had a heart attack. He's alive Do-Dana. He's alive and in the hospital. They're going to call back as soon as they have any information." His hold on her tightened as her face went white.
She didn't need this, but there was no way he could keep it from her.
"What am I going to - "
"We're going home."
"No, you can't." His eyes glanced over at Pilar and she went silent.
Pilar moved over to them then. She placed the baby in Dana's arms, knowing that was what she needed right now. "Dana, you have to go. Just like I did. You gave me good advice, now you have to take it too."
Dana looked up at her and started to speak, then thought better of it and just brought the baby to her face.
"Listen, you two need to talk. And I need to spend a little time with Michael before I go back to Mom's. Let me know what you decide and what we can do to help. Please." Dana turned to her friend and hugged her, the baby between them. Pilar's own eyes filled with tears to match Dana's. Mulder watched helplessly.
After Pilar left, Mulder put the baby down and tried to comfort Dana. Since there was no comfort that he could offer, he switched gears to planning. "Is he too young to travel on an airplane?"
"Will, is he too young?"
"I . . . no, with a car seat they should let him. As long as his ears aren't infected, and he's been fine so far. But Mulder, you can't go."
"You sure as hell aren't going without me and we both know you need to be there. It's time to let them know they haven't won Doc. We know they can't trace us through DNA with the evidence the guys have. We can have them flood the research facilities with samples, the media too. That would tie up a lot of resources."
"Mulder, it's not enough. No one can guarantee your safety. If I went - "
"Stop right there. That's not going to happen. What I couldn't tell you while Pilar was here, Colonel Baldwin was there, just a short while before the attack."
Her eyes widened, "He was there?" Mulder nodded.
"We have to go. We have to be with your family. They have to know you're alive."
She closed her eyes as he took both of them into his arms and after a moment nodded.
Mulder had the cab driver pull into the driveway in order to have quick access to the garage door. He wanted as little exposure as possible, to the point of not even checking their luggage. They could buy what they didn’t have while they were here.
He'd been adamant about their friends not knowing the time of their arrival or specific plans. If any trace could be made from the information and physical evidence that was even now being delivered all over the country, he would do everything in his power to distance Doc and the baby from it.
Dana fed in the code and ducked quickly into the garage, pulling the overnight bag behind her, not waiting for the door to open completely. Mulder had Will against his chest, under his coat, the larger suitcase in his other hand. She hurried to the kitchen door and was relieved to find it unlocked.
"Charlie? Is that you?"
Tears formed in her eyes at the sound of her mother's voice. She turned toward the sound. Mulder watched the older woman, who resembled Doc around the eyes, enter the kitchen.
She stopped in shock, her eyes impossibly wide. "Dana? Oh my god, Dana!" She threw her arms around her daughter and they held each other in an almost painful grip. "We thought you were . . . Dana." Tears were pouring down her face now. She drew back suddenly, holding Dana out from her. "The baby?"
"He's okay Mom." She turned toward Mulder. "This is Mulder, my husband."
Mulder took a step forward, unsure of his welcome. Her body stiffened and her expression became one of horror. "You! You're the one that kidnapped her."
"No Mom. No, I left with him. I went on my own. I wanted to go." Dana moved to Mulder's side and took the baby he now held so that she could see. "Mom, this is Will, our son."
Her mother managed to tear her eyes away from Mulder and fastened them on the infant. "Oh Dana." She stepped toward her without hesitation and took the baby boy into her own arms.
Mulder remained silent. He had known her family would not be happy with him, but the look of horror on Mrs. Scully's face had been devastating.
"Mom, how is Dad?"
She looked up and then over at Mulder. "He's better. There wasn't a need for surgery. The attack was brought on by stress."
"What did Colonel Baldwin say to him?"
That brought a startled look to her face. "You know about the colonel?"
"He's the reason we had to leave town. Mom, Mulder hasn't done anything, he's been used by the military. Look, it's a long story and I want to tell you all of it, but please, I need to know about Dad."
“They’re keeping him for observation, but he’s out of intensive care. Bill is with him now and I’m expecting Charlie any minute. I thought you were him when I heard the garage.”
“What about Melissa?”
“Oh she’s been here. She’s gone to her apartment to clean up, change.”
“Her apartment?” Dana and her mother were moving now toward the living room, so Mulder trailed behind them.
“Yes. She moved home when, when you where kidnapped.”
“Mom, I wasn’t kidnapped. I know what you’ve been told, but it wasn’t true. None of it. Please.”
Mrs. Scully glanced again at the tall dark man following them. There was something hidden about him, something almost scary. She jumped as she heard the front door open.
“Mom? You here?” Her younger son entered the house as always, loudly and with abandon.
“In here Charlie.”
Dana rose to meet him. As he turned the corner and spotted her, he froze.
“Dana? Dana!” Then he had her in his arms. Mrs. Scully was watching this man Mulder. He had forced himself to remain seated when Charlie took Dana in his arms. He’d had to physically remind himself that this was her brother with his arms around her.
When things finally calmed down a little and introductions had been made, Charlie took his newest nephew into his arms. “Well Grandma, four grandsons. My generation of males sure knows which way a sperm should swim.”
“Charlie!” His mother snapped at him while Dana smiled at him indulgently. “Well I love my grandsons. All of them. But I wouldn’t mind having a granddaughter some day.”
“Well don’t look at Mary and me. We’ve done our duty passing on the Scully name.”
“Maybe Mulder and I can give you that granddaughter next time Mom.”
Mrs. Scully looked over at Mulder and caught the expression on his face. “Do you not want more children, Mr. Mulder?”
“I . . . I . . .” He glanced over at Dana, not sure what to say.
“Don’t mind him Mom. He’s still a little traumatized. Will came a little early and a lot fast. Mulder ended up delivering him.”
“What?” Mrs. Scully looked up aghast.
“Way to go Bro!” Charlie clapped him on the shoulder. Mulder was struck dumb by the casual acceptance of her brother.
“I . . . I don’t think your father could have handled that.” Mrs. Scully stammered.
“Dad!” Charlie chortled, “Hell, I couldn’t have handled it.”
“Well, all I did was catch him. Your sister did all the work.” Mrs. Scully watched this quiet, unknown man and felt herself thaw a little toward him. He loved her daughter. That was undeniable. Colonel Baldwin had fed them a sack of . . . horse manure. This man had not kidnapped nor tortured Dana. Her eyes narrowed, why were they so anxious to get their hands on him that they would lie?
Mrs. Scully brought herself back to the present when Charlie addressed her. “Mom? Did you hear me? I heard big brother Bill is here. Where?”
“Oh my goodness. He’s at the hospital. I was supposed to relieve him, but with everything - “ She rose from the couch.
“Mom, it’s okay. I’m sure he doesn’t mind. You needed the time. Should I go with you?” Dana looked over at Mulder.
“Mrs. Scully, Dana is very anxious to see her father, but I think just showing up at the hospital is a bad idea. I’m not sure startling Mr. Scully would be a good idea, and . . . and I don’t know who might be surveilling the place. I can’t put her in danger like that.”
“Whoa, wait a minute. In danger? What are you talking about?” Charlie looked up.
“It’s a long story, Charlie. I’d rather we only had to tell it once. Maybe this evening when everyone’s here?” She looked over at her mother, who nodded. “Tell Dad I’m here, and that I want to see him, if you think it would be safe. As soon as we know . . . “ She took Mulder’s hand.
Mrs. Scully realized suddenly that Dana was as concerned for his safety as he was for hers. What was going on?
"Charlie, you stay here with your sister. I'll send Bill home, but I'm not going to tell him. After he's gone I'll break it to your father carefully. He's too excitable to be around your father."
Charlie chuckled at that. He knew his brother well. "Yeah, that's probably a good idea. Is Missy coming back over here or going to the hospital?"
"Here. She was planning to cook. I want you to wait for me to tell this story you have. I don't want to miss any of it. Promise me."
"I promise, Mom." Dana hugged her mother again. "Tell Ahab I love him."
"You know I will." Another quick hug and Mrs. Scully headed for her car.
After she was gone, Mulder and Charlie carried the bags up to her old room and found the folding crib that Charlie's kids had used when they were babies. Dana nursed Will and got him down for a nap. When she returned downstairs her husband and her brother were talking. Actually Charlie was talking, telling embarrassing stories about her to Mulder.
"Enough. I can tell him a few stories about you too, you know."
"Yeah, but it's not the same. You're the one he married."
Mulder sat there, watching this camaraderie with fascination. He and Samantha had gotten along okay, more so when their parents had been fighting. He'd tried to protect her, but as was his pattern, he'd failed then too.
She looked over at Mulder and saw that he was struggling, with memories, with being here. Her mother had injured him with her reaction. She'd seen it, but it had happened before she could stop it.
"Mulder? You okay?"
He looked up at her, she knew him too well. Hell, she'd known him before he knew himself. He nodded and gave her a lopsided grin. "Are your other siblings like this one?"
"No." She mock glared over at Charlie. "He's the worst. Bill's in the Navy, like Dad and a very upright citizen. Missy had been gone awhile. I haven't seen her in a long time, but she's always gone her own way."
"Bill's the upstanding citizen? I'm the college professor, married for ten years with two kids."
"How you ever got tenure is beyond me." She shook her head at him as she moved closer to Mulder and took his hand. He pulled her into his lap and kissed her.
"Hey, watch it. She is my sister."
"Yeah, but she's my wife and I can't help myself." Dana stuck her tongue out at Charlie and he laughed. Mulder was mesmerized. What an incredible relationship they had.
They heard Will cry and looked at the stairs. "I think that's for me." Dana started to rise, but Mulder placed her on her feet.
"Why don't you see if Mom has any iced tea?" She headed up the stairs. Mulder turned toward the kitchen. Charlie made some comment about a pit stop and disappeared toward the back of the house.
He heard the front door open and he tensed, checking for his weapon. An attractive young redheaded woman wandered into the kitchen and stopped when she spotted him. Instead of being frightened of this strange man in her mother's kitchen, she looked intrigued. She looked him up and down, and apparently appreciated what she saw.
"I don't believe we've been introduced."
Before Mulder could answer, Charlie walked up behind her. "Interested Missy?"
She accepted a kiss from her little brother. "I could be. Friend of yours?"
"Yeah. He's also the husband of our sister."
Missy's posture changed immediately. "Dana? Dana's here? She's okay? She's married!"
"One question at a time. Yeah, she's here, she's great, and this is Fox Mulder, her husband."
"Fox is right. Wait a minute, isn't he the guy - "
"Yep. Apparently the 'official' story from the military is less than factual."
Mulder just stood there, not sure how to get into the conversation, or if he even wanted to.
"Missy?" Mulder hadn't heard Doc come downstairs.
"Dana!" They threw their arms around each other, both talking at once, with more than a few tears being shed.
Finally Doc pulled Missy over to her husband. "Did you meet Mulder?"
"Not really." And held out her hand to shake with him.
Mulder took it and nodded. "Pleased to meet you."
"I guess I didn't made a great first impression."
"What?" Dana looked between the two as Charlie tried to hide his amusement.
"I didn't know he was your husband, Dana."
Charlie laughed then, "She came on to him, Dana. You better keep an eye on her."
Dana's eyes widened and she looked over at Mulder. He looked back at her kind of sheepishly. He hadn't done anything but stand there while this family interacted around him, but he was embarrassed nevertheless.
"It's okay Dana. I know he's off limits now. Don't worry."
"He's as off limits as it gets, Missy." She had moved into the protection of his arms, which closed around her automatically.
"I get it, honest. But you did very well, Dana." She looked him up and down once again. Mulder looked helplessly over at Charlie, who was enjoying himself immensely.
Finally Charlie decided to come to the assistance of the only other male here. "Missy, aren't you in charge of dinner tonight?"
"As if you could cook. Yeah. It's mostly done, why don't you big strong Y chromosomes get the stuff out of my car?"
Charlie glanced over at Mulder. "I'll get it, but you have to help with clean up." Mulder nodded, and Missy looked a little confused, but didn't ask.
While Missy finished up dinner with Dana's help, Mulder and Charlie set the table and opened the wine. This was definitely going to be a celebration tonight.
When Will stirred, Dana and Missy went upstairs to check on him. As they were coming back down, the front door opened and Bill let himself in. He stopped dead still at the sight of Dana, then moved toward her. Mulder and Charlie had stepped in from the dining room, and Charlie pushed the door closed behind Bill.
Bill crushed his sister to
him and Mulder saw her wince in pain. Charlie saw it too
and put a hand on Mulder's arm. "He's not really hurting
her. It's okay."
His words made Mulder pause. He was hurting her, but it was unintentional, in his joy to have her back. Bill finally released her and she turned toward Mulder. She held her hand out to him and draw him close to her.
"Mulder, this is my big brother, Bill."
Bill turned to see who she was speaking to and froze. "You! You're the son of a bitch who took her!" He lunged for the phone, lying on the entry table.
"No! Bill, no!" Charlie reacted at Dana's words and shoved into the larger man. The phone ended up on the floor and Mulder scooped it up.
Bill watched as his sister moved into the safety of this man's arms. "What the hell is going on here? Don't you recognize him?"
"Bill, please, calm down. This is Fox Mulder. He is not my kidnapper or torturer. He's my husband, Bill and the father of my son."
Bill gaped at her, not taking it in for a second. "He's wanted by the military! He's in possession of information vital to national security and - "
"Bullshit, Bill. We've been fed a load of it. Mom knows he's here. When she gets home, we're all going to have a nice dinner, then hear the whole story. Until then, we're all going to stay calm and not do anything stupid that could hurt our sister. Understand?" Charlie had never been more serious, and Bill hesitated. "Look at him Bill, he's not going anywhere. Dana and the baby are here, where would he go?"
"Please Bill, trust me. He's never hurt me. I'm not entirely sure what you were told, but when Mom gets here, listen to our side. Please."
Bill looked at the four of them. They looked ready to take him on if he didn't cooperate. What the fuck was going on here? Finally he nodded. The man wouldn't be going anywhere, if he wanted to talk, fine, then Bill would call Colonel Baldwin. He nodded curtly.
"Thank you Bill." Dana sighed with relief. "I'd like you to meet my husband, Fox Mulder."
Bill's eyes narrowed but he nodded at the man. "I'd like to talk to you." Mulder nodded, but kept quiet.
"Uh, listen, why don't we all have a drink?" Missy moved over to Bill and took his arm.
"Yeah, I could use one." Bill looked down at Missy's hand and squeezed it.
Bill looked over at Dana. "Better. He may come home tomorrow or the next day." He saw her eyes light up at that news. "How do you think he's going to feel to find this man here?"
"After he knows the truth, wonderful. He'll be happy for me and he'll love his new grandson."
Bill shook his head and turned to follow Missy to the kitchen. Charlie rolled his eyes at Mulder and the three followed them. Bill had the liquor out and splashed a generous portion in his glass, then set the bottle on the counter.
"What would you like, Doc?"
"Iced tea." Mulder nodded and poured them both a glass. He looked over at Charlie. "I think I'll have a drink. Missy?" She nodded.
They carried their drinks into the living room and sat in uncomfortable silence for a little while. Again it was Charlie that took up the conversation and had them talking about what they had been up to recently. That's how Mrs. Scully found them when she returned. They weren't comfortable with each other, that was obvious, but they were civil. Maybe for the present that was the best she could hope.
Dana rose to greet her mother. "Is Ahab okay?"
"He's a thousand times better. He knows that I've heard from you and that you're okay. He's agreed not to give any information to Colonel Baldwin for now. That took a little persuading. He doesn't know you're here, but the doctor's going to let him come home tomorrow."
Dana threw her arms around her mother, then smiled her delight over at Mulder. His smile rivaled her own and Bill watched curiously. Nothing was making sense to him.
The cry of a very young baby startled him. His new nephew, he hadn't actually seen him yet. "I'll get him Doc. Stay here with your family."
That very nearly brought tears to her eyes, but she smiled. Bill just watched the two of them. Mulder took the steps two at a time to check on his son, and to escape the tension in the room.
The three women headed to the kitchen to serve up Missy's meal, leaving Bill and Charlie alone.
"You want to explain what's going on here?" Bill hissed at Charlie.
"I don't know any details, Bill. But I do not believe that man hurt our sister. He loves her; you can see it in everything he does. And he loves his son every bit as much as you love Matt. I just don't think that Colonel Baldwin was as honest as you want to believe."
"The colonel doesn't have to tell us everything. If national security is at stake - "
"Get off it Bill. I know you're gung ho military, but that doesn't cut any ice with me. I want to hear their side. And the fact that the other side is a colonel does not mean I'm going to automatically believe it, you know the opposite is probably true."
Bill shook his head; this was an old argument between them. There was more of Missy in his brother than him. They fell silent as Mulder returned downstairs with the baby in his arms.
"Bring him here, Mulder. Let Bill see him. Matt's getting to be a big kid now. He needs to see what a little one looks like."
Mulder did as Charlie said, and after a slight hesitation, handed his son to the large man. Bill took the boy carefully and nodded slightly at Mulder. That had taken strength on this man's part, and made the most impression yet on Bill.
The baby joined them for dinner, in the seat of honor on the table beside Dana. They all took a glass of wine to celebrate both the return of Dana and the health of their father. Conversation stayed light, up to date pictures were passed around of the other grandchildren.
When the meal was done and food put away, Mrs. Scully turned to Dana. "We need to talk now. Okay?"
"Of course." Dana took hold of Mulder's hand. Missy brought the bottle of wine with them into the living room and refilled glasses for everyone but Dana and Mulder.
Dana held the baby in her arms, sitting in the protective circle of his arm. She started the story after another quick glance at him.