Title: 40 Weeks
Author: Malibu Sunset
Email: malibusunset88@gmail.com
Categories: MSR, AU after Per Manum, Pregnancy Fic, Snippet Fic, Mulder POV.
Rating: R/NC-17 Tough call. Not for the kiddos, but not a smutfest either.
Disclaimer: I didn't give birth to them, but I love them like they were my very own.

Summary: What if the IVF attempt in Per Manum had been successful? This is that story.

1. Five Weeks

He realizes when she says it that it wasn't what he expected her to say. He'd done his research. Based on statistics alone, her chances had been somewhere between a snowball's chance in Hell and don't get your hopes up. And yet here she is smiling up at him.

While he says nothing.

The smile begins to dissolve a little and he knows he has exactly two seconds to convince her that he is simply dumbstruck and not regretful. "That's-that's really great. I'm, uh, wow." He's nodding too much. He's not convincing her.

She moves back two steps and slips her jacket off, draping it across the arm of a chair. Her eyes sweep the floor, landing everywhere but on him. He desperately wants the smile back.

"It is great, right?"

"I think so," she says, the implication being that she isn't really sure what he thinks even though she had thought she did. "It's early. A lot can happen."

She walks into the kitchen and opens the refrigerator door, retrieving one unopened bottle of Evian from a line-up of six more identical ones, all with labels facing out. He follows her and just stands there as she drinks. She doesn't offer him one. It could be because it's implied by now that he should help himself, or it could be something much less hospitable. He isn't certain if, when, or how he fucked up. He just knows that he did.

"What do you mean?" he manages. "Like what? You beat the odds so far, right, so then that means-"

"It means that my risk of spontaneous abortion is at least as high as any pregnant woman at five weeks, probably higher. Twenty-five percent maybe."

"Spontaneous abortion," he repeats, the word thick like poison in his mouth.

"Miscarriage," she clarifies with a why-don't-you-know-this sigh.

He absorbs this while she drains her bottle of water, places it on the counter, and opens a second one. Is camel-like thirst a first trimester symptom, or is she trying to float away? He needs to read books. He has no idea what to do, but he could do that at least. "So then there's still a seventy-five percent chance that everything will be fine."

There's a pink ring around her mouth from the water bottle. "Theoretically." She stifles a belch with the back of her hand and he wonders for a split second if she's going to be sick. When does that start? And is there anything he should be doing about it when or if it does?

He needs books.

2. Seven Weeks

"Did you tell your mom?"

She looks up from the expense report she's working on that he is pretty sure has been sitting in his inbox for three weeks now. He was just getting to it. "Yes." Head back down.

He likes Maggie. She's strong, good, there for her daughter when she needs her. Maggie Scully is what you got when you won the parental lottery. "Does she know that I'm um, the uh, that I'm um... involved?"

Her head pops back up. She silently mouths the word 'involved' like it's completely foreign. Her eyes circle the room for a contemplative moment. "Yes."

Maggie Scully now knows he jerked off into a cup. How does he feel about that? And would he feel better or worse if she knew that he had not used one of the stiff, crinkly magazines the clinic had thoughtfully supplied him with, but had rather been thinking about her daughter grinding on his lap with her skirt pushed up around her waist and her blouse flapping open? Not better. Definitely not better. He has other fantasies, though. Ones that reflect much better on him. Ones that are a lot more 'making love' and a lot less 'hurry up and come before someone notices the office door is locked but the light is on.'

"I can imagine your mom must be pretty excited, right?"

"She's very happy for me, yes," she replies, not looking up from the report, the furrow on her forehead growing deeper. "Mulder, you can't expense bolt cutters."

"We wouldn't have gotten into the warehouse without them."

"We didn't have probable cause. Do you want to have to answer for that? Because so far it's been overlooked, but if you go drawing attention-"

"I'll pay for the bolt cutter. Give me the receipt."

She hands over the smudgy, curled paper. It had been in his pants pocket when they'd gotten caught in the rain. Again.

"Are you taking folic acid?"

She places the pen down and stares back at him like he'd just asked her if she was shooting heroin.

He leans his forearms on the desktop, hands folded. "Because I've heard it's a good idea in the first trimester, that's all. So I wondered if you were."

She mirrors his pose and her eyes drift slowly from his hairline to his jaw and then back up to his eyes. "Folic acid, iron, calcium, B12, progesterone injections, and two prescription prenatal vitamins that make me feel like I want to upchuck my oatmeal every morning. I'm off caffeine, alcohol, and have cut my intake of sugar and sodium. And yet, every time I go to the bathroom, I'm terrified I'll be spotting. Every little twinge makes me wonder if-" she stops speaking and looks away from him, biting down on her lip and shaking her head.

"I'm sorry, Scully. I shouldn't have said that." Just add that to the growing list of things I shouldn't have said.

"It's okay," she whispers, picking up her pen again. She draws figure eights and triangles on the desk blotter until the paper is almost worn through and torn. "I wasn't expecting to be this...I don't know."

"Is there something I can do?" Preferably where I don't say anything, because that isn't going so well.

She huffs out a breath and he gets one of those sad smiles, and he figures it's the best he's going to get today. "Buy me a burrito supreme on the way home." She pushes the half-completed expense report haphazardly into a folder and pulls her purse from the desk drawer.

The burrito supreme was the really big one. The one where he could only eat one, unlike the regular one where he could eat about three. "The supreme?"

She points a thin finger. "Don't even start. For the next thirty- three weeks I'll eat whatever I damn well please."

His smile follows her to the door. This should be pretty fun to watch actually.

3. Nine Weeks

Agent Nauss has an inky black letter D stamped on the back of his right hand. From across the conference room table it could look like anything really. Except that Mulder knows what it is because he's worn the same stamp on his hand before, although not in months, maybe even a year. It stands for The Doll House and it's a gentleman's club, and not even one of the classier ones. Jeez Nauss, if you're going to go clubbing, at least wash off the evidence before your 8 a.m. meeting with the A.D.

Agent Keeler passes him a file and Mulder takes a cursory glance through it, half listening to Skinner and half noticing that Scully is fidgeting like a mayfly next to him.

Like clockwork. Third morning in a row.

"Excuse me." She pushes her chair back hastily, and Skinner's verbal pace doesn't miss a beat as eight pairs of eyes trail Scully out of the room.

Five minutes later she's back, looking a bit flushed, but other than that, not a hair out of place. He floats her the visual 'you okay?' and she nods once, reaching for the file that skipped her on the first rotation.

"Agents Hundley and Atherton will be wired and on the inside. Nauss and Granger are covering the south side of the building," instructs Skinner. "Mulder and Scully are taking the front two exits. Everyone else is in the surveillance van."

"And in the event of hostages, Sir?" asks Keeler, pushing a pair of black, square rimmed glasses up his nose. He's fresh. Maybe six months out of the academy and thinking he's ready to conquer the world, one bad guy at a time.

Skinner blinks twice at him and then averts his eyes. "Cardinello has never taken live hostages. That we know of."

A couple of throats are cleared. The last building Randolph Cardinello operated out of ended in thirty-two dead. No hostages.

"But we'll have negotiators standing by, if needed," adds Skinner because it's not nice to scare off the newbies.

He can hear Scully taking measured and slow breaths through her mouth and the tips of her fingers are pressed white against the lip of the table. He can't imagine how much it must suck to feel this badly every morning. And not just morning. The other day he had to pull the car over.

The second time Scully makes for the door, she doesn't even bother with the 'excuse me.' Her eyes look a touch glassy and the back of her hand is pressed to her mouth. Agent Hundley scooches his chair forward to let her by, his eyes on her face just this once instead of her ass.

She still hasn't returned by the time the meetings ends. The suits file out, off to sit at crappy metal desks. Off to drink watered down coffee and not think about the fact that in another twelve hours they'll be risking life and limb on a salary that only affords them a mediocre rent and a non-designer wardrobe.

"Agent Mulder, a word?"

He hates that. Like it's ever really a word. More like several hundred, strung together with disappointed sighs and head scratching.

"Of course."

"Close the door."


The Assistant Director sits and waits for Mulder to get comfortable in a squeaky leather chair.

"What is it, Sir?" Because my partner may be slouched on the bathroom floor tiles again and I thought I'd go and offer up some moral support and perhaps a ginger ale.

Skinner tips his head toward the door. "Is she alright?"

"You mean Scully." Stellar answer right there.

Disappointed sigh number one. "Of course I mean Scully. When I met with her Monday, she had to get up and leave twice."

He met with her Monday? Why was Skinner meeting with Scully without him?

Skinner removes his glasses and rubs his eyes. "She said it was the stomach flu."

Mulder nods noncommittally before it dawns on him that shit, Skinner is worried that the cancer is back. No wonder the poor man looks like he swallowed a box full of thumb tacks. "She's all right, Sir. It's not the...she's still in remission."

Air leaves Skinner's expanded chest like a deflating balloon and he slides his glasses back on. "Okay." He nods emphatically and there's unmitigated emotion in his eyes as they search the ceiling. "Okay, thank you."

"Is that all, Sir?"

Skinner waves a hand and slides his chair back. "Tell Scully to go home."

She's at the sinks in the ladies room when he walks in. Her eyes are red and her complexion slightly pale. "You shouldn't be in here, Mulder."

"You shouldn't be on the task force tonight."

"I'll be fine." She pumps amber liquid soap into her cupped palm and turns the hot water on.

He tugs off a stretch of dry paper towels and holds it out for her. The bathroom door opens and heels click on the tiles, then stop short with a scuff. Agent O'Connell studies them both briefly before shaking her head and huffing out a chafed breath. "Jeez." She pivots on her heels and walks back out, the pistons on the door hissing.

And they wonder how the rumors get started.

They sit tightly together on the tailgate of the surveillance van, both still in Kevlar. "How many?" She hisses as the paramedic dabs astringent to a gash above her left eyebrow.

"Four dead, including Cardinello," he replies.


"It's better than thirty-two."

"Cardinello would have testified." She draws a deep breath and winces, Velcro ripping as she shrugs off the vest.

The paramedic raises his eyes to hers. "You should have those ribs X-rayed. You want to ride in with us?"

She shakes her head. "I'll be fine. I'm just tired."

"Suit yourself," the paramedic says, raising a hand in surrender.


She stands and pushes past him, stretching. There's a small white bandage above her eye and her hair is a tangled mess. It's after 2 a.m. He never should have let her do this. "Scully," he repeats, with a bit more admonition and concern in his voice.

She meets his eyes and they exchange pleading looks. He dips his head closer to hers. "You should be checked out." The asphalt is a sea of agents and swat team members, parting around them like the Red Sea.

No one is paying the least attention to them, but she still whispers. "I can't have an X-ray, Mulder. I'll see my doctor first thing in the morning. I just want to go home. Will you take me please?"

She's asleep in the front seat of his car, her head pillowed against his wadded up jacket when he pulls up in front of her apartment. He carries her up the front steps, into and out of the elevator, down the hall and through the front door of her apartment without waking her.

When he pulls off her shoes, she curls like a shrimp on top of the duvet and yawns. "You can stay here if you want, Muller. S'late." He stands next to the bed, staring down at her and tries to figure that out. Obviously she meant the couch. Obviously.

He drapes the extra blanket that was folded at the foot of the bed over her and then lies down, fully clothed, and watches her take deep, steady breaths.

In the morning, he goes with her to see her doctor. He isn't sure what's expected of him, but when she is called into the exam room, he stays seated and watches her walk away. There's a woman across from him who sits with her hands folded on top of her stomach. She is perhaps the most pregnant person he has ever seen.

A couple sits down in the chairs next to him. The man places a handled infant carrier on the floor and rocks it back and forth gently with his foot. Nestled inside is a squirming pink blanket with ducks on it. Mulder shifts to get a better glance and sees a tiny head with black hair sucking on a red, mottled fist. Are they supposed to be that small?

More women in various stages of gestation cycle in and out as Mulder waits. And waits. He's leafing through a pamphlet on the benefits of breastfeeding, purely for educational purposes, when he realizes she is standing over him. "Learn anything?" She's almost smiling.

He clears his throat and stands, tucking the pamphlet under a stack of magazines with cherubim babies on them. "All set?"

They're in the car again before anything else is said. "So."

"So," she echoes.

"Everything's okay?"

She flips down the visor and reapplies her lipstick. "Everything is fine. We confirmed a heartbeat through transvaginal ultrasound."

He drops the keys onto the floor mat and is pawing for them and staring at her at the same time. "What? You-you saw ...it?"

She smiles patiently. "Yes. There isn't much to see yet, but yes."

He processes that for a moment, rotating his finger through the metal key ring. "The heartbeat..." he trails off, absently.

"I'm hungry. Can we get some breakfast before heading into the office? That pancake place on Jefferson and Third is good."

He starts the car and drives.

4. Ten Weeks

It's past 9 p.m. on a Friday night at her apartment and she isn't yawning yet. That's a good sign. Of what, he's not sure. It's not like they're doing anything exciting. Just overdue paperwork so they can have the rest of their weekend free. The million dollar question is: free to do what?

In the beginning, she used to say "See you Monday, Mulder," on a Friday night and she meant it. They left Friday and saw each other Monday. She might've still been with that guy back then. Ian. Evan. Ethan? Were they living together? All he knows is that the guy answered Scully's phone on several occasions, either late at night or early in the morning. So whatever that meant. Mulder had still been convinced that Scully would last a few months at best, so he didn't give much thought to her personal life.

Then one day, he stopped by her place after midnight to pick up a file she'd taken home with her. She'd invited him in and he'd spent pretty much the entire fifteen minutes there discreetly casing out her apartment for signs of a male presence and trying not to think about why it suddenly seemed important. He even used the bathroom and looked in the medicine cabinet. No second toothbrush, no shaving gear, nada.

He stopped his once-in-awhile, mutually meaningless, hook-ups with Miranda in Finance, and tried not to think about his rationale there either. Miranda had been smart and cute and almost always gone before he woke up in the morning.

Over the years, things had gradually migrated from "See you Monday, Mulder," to "Call you later, Mulder," to eventually "What're you doing later?"

Scully unfolds her crossed legs and stretches so her bare feet are resting on top of the file he's working on. She's smirking playfully down at her legal pad and chewing on a pen cap. He takes a black Sharpie and draws a smiley face on her big toe.

She rifles through a brown paper bag full of takeout trash on the coffee table. "Isn't there a cookie left?"

He looks at her, wounded. "That's my cookie. You had yours."

She pulls the chocolate chip cookie from the bag and sets it down on a napkin between them and they both stare it down like a Rottweiler eyeing a T bone.

"What do I have to do for this cookie?" she asks.

He can't help it. He grins at her.

"Mulder." She clicks her tongue at him in mock disgust. "Really."

"Make me an offer."

She wets her lips. "I'll... write up your half of the Walsh file."

"What! We flew out and back in a day. There was no case. That's five minutes worth of paperwork, Scully." He points at the cookie indignantly. "That's chocolate chip. No deal."

"I'll arm wrestle you for it," she challenges, propping an elbow onto the coffee table with a thunk. Her game face is beyond cute.

His shoulders drop and he rolls his eyes at her. "I'm not going to wrestle you, Scully."

A defensive wrinkle settles itself between her brows. "Because I'm a girl?"

"Because I outweigh you by about seventy pounds."

The sooty lashes bat at him. "Well what do you want for it then?"

He chuckles and shakes his head. Laughs again. She's blushing fiercely. "We could go around and around all night," he quips. "You're going to keep asking that question, aren't you?"

"Come on, Mulder, seriously." She laughs in the cutest, shyest way and he can't keep doing this to her, no matter how much he's enjoying it.

"You can have it." He pushes it toward her and gives the arch of her foot a gentle squeeze.

"How about..." Her voice is low as she breaks the cookie into two perfect halves. "How about I give you a back rub..." She licks chocolate off her index finger. "And then we split it?"

He swallows hard. "Scully...it's okay. You can have it. You don't owe me anything."

"Why, you don't like back rubs?"

Shit. What is she doing?

She walks across the oriental rug on her knees to kneel behind him and he sits up straighter. Her fingers are warm through his shirt, tracing the bumpy path of his vertebrae and his head pitches forward involuntarily. The pads of her thumbs circle each scapula. "Do you want me to stop?" she trills in his ear.

He thought only men had to ask that question. Why would he ever, ever want her to stop doing anything to him?

"No," he replies, hoarsely, suppressing a deep moan.

She starts slow, but firm, the heels of her hands pressing along each side of his spine to loosen the muscles. He releases a breath and closes his eyes. She is skilled at this. Why should he be surprised? He is suddenly jealous of every man she's ever done this to.

"You could lie down," she suggests quietly. "I could reach you better."

It sounds so reasonable the way she says it. He wonders if she'll suggest he remove his tee shirt, but she doesn't and he's a bit disappointed. But then she's straddling him, her bottom making contact with his, her thighs around his hips and he's not even the slightest bit disappointed anymore. He is, however, going to be very hard if she doesn't stop squirming around on him like that. This could not get any weirder.

"How's this?" she asks, kneading his shoulders like dough and all he can do is hum in response.

Her hands are magic. Minutes tick past and he drifts. He's pretty certain he's drooling onto the floor.

Every time she moves her hands from his lumbar back up to his shoulders, she shifts her bottom on him and he thinks that this is exactly the type of thing that could drive a man insane. He wants to call her a tease. He wants to turn over and pull her down and kiss her harder than Hell. He wants to know what else those hands can do.

"Let me know if you want it harder," she says and his eyebrows arch into the carpet. He's busy formulating a slick response to that when he feels her hands dip under his shirt. He jumps slightly and the other 30% of his erection that was lagging behind suddenly catches up. "Sorry," she says shyly, stilling her hands. "That was probably not ...appropriate."

Appropriate. Of all the possible words, she comes up with 'appropriate.' He's pretty sure they beat 'appropriate' to a pulp some time ago. Way before he donated sperm to her.

He lifts his torso off the floor far enough to reach down and drag his shirt up and over his head before collapsing back down. There. That's what he thinks of appropriate.

Her hands begin to move again like lava on his skin and he can't, he just can't get over that they're doing this.

"Scully," he mumbles, in a state of euphoria.


"You've earned the fucking cookie."

She giggles.

The massage lasts another ten glorious minutes, give or take, and then they eat the cookie. She insists they split it, but he just wants to watch her eat her half. He has to sit with his bunched up tee shirt in his lap to hide his erection.

5. Twelve Weeks

So the thing about being in possession of the key to your best friend's apartment, is knowing when and when not to use it. And by some miracle, he had managed not to screw that up. Until now.

He always knocked, of course. And she almost always answered - sometimes because she expected him even when she didn't know he was coming. There was something in that to be analyzed.

Once in a while, he'd knock and she wouldn't answer. On those occasions, he'd listen carefully at the door to determine if she was not home, or home, but unable to hear him knocking, or rarer still, just ignoring him. If it was the first, he'd often let himself in and wait for her. Scully had comfortable furniture and a clean bathroom and food in her fridge. He routinely helped himself to all of them.

If he heard something on the other side of the door to suggest she was home, but not answering, he would knock louder and wait. In the very beginning, he sometimes wondered if he might really be interrupting something - particularly her entertaining a guest of the male persuasion. These days, it seemed quite unlikely. So he never gave much thought to taking liberties with his key.

On this particular rainy, Tuesday evening at seven-thirty, he uses his key after his second knock goes unanswered. He can hear faint music playing, one of those piano pieces that reminds him of Schroeder.

He deposits the brown sack full of Indian takeout on top of the kitchen counter next to a wooden cutting board shaped like a pineapple that is really just for show. "Hey Scully, I hope curry is on the list of cravings for this week because I brought enough to feed a small village."

She seemed to have turned the corner on the nausea recently, and like his Jewish grandmother, he takes great joy in feeding her.

A pile of cream silk and charcoal wool is draped over the footboard of her bed. She's still wearing her regular clothing these days, but just in the last week, he's noticed the strain on the buttons of her blouses. She actually popped one open while swinging her briefcase into the back seat of the sedan the other day and he had to wait ten minutes while she worked some kind of magic with a safety pin found in the bottom of her purse. Scully's purse was a treasure chest of oddities. She could be counted on to produce Sharpies, dental floss, Super Glue, cough drops, Band-Aids, and three varieties of breath mints on a moment's notice. She was like a traveling Walgreens.

The bathroom door is partly ajar and he edges it open with the toe of his shoe.

There are bubbles. Lots of them. She's low in the water, her messy clipped-up hair falling in soggy tendrils around her jaw. He's seen her in the tub before. He can't figure out why she goes off on him this time, her eyes flying open as water sloshes onto the floor, soaking her clean, folded white towel.

"Jesus, Mulder! Don't you know how to knock?"

She pushes up a little against the back of the tub and he sees a bit more than he probably should. He still looks. They're coral pink and floaty, like buoys. He can count on one hand the times he's accidentally seen them. They're equally fantastic every time.

"How long have you been standing there watching me?" she asks accusingly, after he's already spun around to face the wall. He feels like a peeping Tom.

"I wasn't...I just ..." he sighs. He had just been bringing her dinner. Jeez, try to be a nice guy. "I brought dinner. Take your time." He pulls the door closed tightly behind him and watches TV until she comes out ten minutes later, wrapped in white terrycloth like a marshmallow.

She's talking and not facing him as she empties takeout containers onto plates and pulls clean silverware from the dishwasher basket, leaving the rest of the clean dishes there. "I didn't mean to snap at you like that. I should have closed the bathroom door. It's not your fault." When she turns around, she's looking down at the floor, just holding her plate of curry and naan. Her cheeks look rosy and warm. "I'm sorry, it's just really embarrassing."

He's mentally sorting. This is overreacting, even taking the pregnancy hormones into account. Scully was modest by nature, but accidental nudity didn't usually warrant this big of a freakout from her. "Scully, I-it isn't a big deal, I didn't really see anything."

He pulls the chair out for her. She folds a napkin onto her lap. "It's not like I didn't realize it happens to so many women during pregnancy. But sometimes reading about it and experiencing it are different." She's still avoiding eye contact or she would have noticed that he's wearing the exact same expression he wears whenever she describes the molecular structure of an organism under a microscope. "Increased libido is a common side effect of the hormones. I have to admit, I wasn't entirely expecting it."


"Look, I know you joke about doing it yourself sometimes," she says. "But I'm sorry, I feel weird about it."


"So if you don't mind, can we just forget it ever happened?"

He stuffs a huge, doughy blob of garlic naan into his mouth and chews without blinking.

He is officially up-to-speed now regarding what it is she thinks he saw her doing. And he can't believe he didn't actually see it. He's being blamed for seeing something he didn't even have the fucking good fortune to see.

So *that's* where she does it. And to think he had been listening at the adjoining door between their motel rooms all these years.

6. Thirteen Weeks

He suggests lunch outside because it's sunny and he knows that wasting away in the basement office bothers her more than it bothers him. She looks at him like he might have ulterior motives, but she follows him to the corner vendor anyway.

They sit on a shady patch of grass because all the park benches are full at half past noon. She slides her pumps off and bends her knees to the side, ladylike in her narrow skirt. His eyes drift to her waistband.

"What?" she asks, swiping steak sauce from the corner of her mouth. "Is it noticeable?" She untucks her blouse a little more to hide whatever she thinks he's seeing.

"No." He doesn't remove his eyes from her abdomen. "No, it's not."

She looks relieved and takes a self-consciously small bite, like that's going to make a difference.

"How big is it?"

She slows her chewing and crinkles her brows at him, and even though he wishes she'd smile more, he still thinks perplexed is one of her sexiest looks.

"At thirteen weeks," he clarifies, still staring at her flat, but not for long tummy. He holds up his thumb and forefinger, about six inches apart and tilts his head thoughtfully, as if visually superimposing the image onto the front of her navy skirt.

She shakes her head, glancing around to make sure no one they know is within earshot. "Smaller. Only about the size of a peapod. It's developing fingerprints already, though."

He stops eating entirely, his steak sandwich perched in front of his mouth. "Really?"

"Mm," she hums through a straw full of cherry slushie. He's never seen her drink one before, but she'd been eyeing it, sloshing and swirling inside the glass case, and he'd bought it for her without her permission. Her tongue is bright red and her teeth have a hint of pink.

The slushie makes a loud slurping noise and she wedges the cup down into the grass next to her before lying down on one bent elbow. "I could fall asleep right here."

He edges closer and lifts her head onto his thigh.

Her eyes flutter open to regard him from beneath drowsy lids, but she doesn't sit up. "This probably doesn't look too good if someone sees us, Mulder."

He brushes her hair from her neck and shrugs. "You don't think people will have enough to gossip about in a few months?"

"Have you thought about that? What people are going to say when they realize I'm pregnant? They'll assume."

"They already do."

"I know, but when I made this decision, I realized what people would say about me. I didn't give much thought to what people would say about you too. That was selfish of me."

He huffs a breath. "Yeah, I've been meaning to talk to you about that, Scully. Ever since I started associating with you, my reputation has gone to hell."

She chuckles and pinches his knee cap lightly.

7. Fifteen Weeks

When she opens her motel room door to him, he tries to look like he meant to be nonchalantly leaning on the door frame, arms crossed, doing his best Cary Grant. She's His Girl Friday. Only it's a Wednesday and they're stuck in small town Missouri for another sixteen hours with nothing to do.

She's already in pajamas.

"Scully, it's seven o'clock."

She blinks at him. "What happens at seven o'clock?"

He shakes his head, grasps one of her small hands in his and leads her back into her room. "Get dressed and let's do something."

"Like what?" Her sidelong glance is skeptical. Of all the times he's knocked on her door and implored her to get dressed, he can't blame her.

"I don't know yet. Something." She's still looking inconvenienced and very suspicious when she emerges from the bathroom in jeans and the same button down blue blouse she'd worn with her suit earlier that day. No matter how many times he does this, she still goes. No one in his life has ever done that before. It stands to reason that they belong together. He wants to say this to her, but it is only seven o'clock.

They end up on a miniature golf course. She picks the yellow ball and he picks the blue one since he's red/green color blind and he insists it isn't fair for her to choose a ball he can't see. As it turns out, it doesn't much matter. They are both absurdly bad.

By the tenth hole, when it takes her eight strokes and him seven to make it past the rotating windmill, they abandon keeping score. Mulder tucks the stubby pencil behind his ear and folds the score card into his back pocket.

"This was a good idea you had," she chides, picking up her ball and placing it exactly one measured club's width from the wall before putting. The little yellow ball circles the hole once and rolls inches away. She sighs in frustration, then takes another turn, finally sinking the ball. He doesn't tell her it was supposed to be his turn. They're beyond caring and he's noticed there's an ice cream stand at the eighteenth hole.

"Well, it's something we've never done together before. So there's that." He picks his ball up out of the cup and they move on to the eleventh hole where they will be required to hit their ball over a small flowing river before crossing a bridge to the other side of the green. He holds up his club and closes one eye, as if mentally performing some kind of complex measurements and calculations.

"What happens if it goes in the water?" she asks, flatly.

"I guess we fish it out. Or go back to the start and ask for another one."

She stares down at her ball, skeptically.

"Or we could just skip the rest and get ice cream."

She gets mint chocolate chip and he gets chocolate almond. They hadn't been paying attention to how much time had passed, but they're the only car left in the parking lot now. They leave the rental car there and walk across the road to an old, abandoned drive-in theater. It's dusky and their eyes struggle to adjust.

The gunmetal grey speakers are rusted and potholes litter the parking lot. Tall weeds creep up through every crevice. The mammoth screen looms, Oz-like, over all. The doors are gone off the dilapidated shack of a snack bar and they wander inside with rebellious disregard for the NO TRESPASSING signs.

There are curly edged movie posters on the walls for Fame and Urban Cowboy and Dressed To Kill. "This drive-in has been closed for almost twenty years, Scully. It's like people just got up and left."

She fingers the water stained and crinkly picture of John Travolta in a white cowboy hat. "I loved this movie. I was determined to ride a mechanical bull after seeing it. Never did, though."

"We could probably still make that happen."

She smiles. "It's okay. I've moved on."

He pictures her doing it anyway.

There's an old, rusty turquoise metal swing set in front of the screen. The slings are gone, leaving empty, dangling chain links, a mud-crusted slide, and a surprisingly intact see-saw horse swing. They stand in front of it, weighing the odds. "I'll go first. If it holds me, it'll hold you," he asserts, wisely.

It's only about two feet off the ground and he's crouched with his knees practically touching the grass when he sits on it. She laughs at him. "I think you're too big for it."

"I think you're right." He slides back on the seat, making room. "I think you might be a perfect fit, Goldilocks."

She only hesitates a beat before slinging one leg over to straddle the seat, facing him. The swing is meant for two children, not two adults and the only way they fit is for him to stretch his legs around the outside of hers.

They glide a little and their jeans rub together, making swooshing sounds to counteract the squeaky protests of rusty chains.

"Did you come to drive-ins as a kid," she asks, and he can tell she's shocked when he shakes his head no.

"We weren't really the drive-in kind of family."

"God, we were. All four of us on the roof of the station wagon in our pajamas with pillows and blankets, one bucket of popcorn to pass around. I had mosquito bites on me for days afterwards."

"I went as a teenager to make out," he admits.

She smirks. "Well, we all did that." She traces a small hole in the seam of his jeans, just inside his knee, and it makes him stop bobbing his leg. When her finger pops into the hole and touches his skin, he forgets to take his next breath.

He's in the process of deciding if this is an original enough place to kiss her when a pair of moving headlights shine a path across the bottom of the movie screen, floating like beacons. There's the squeak of brakes as Scully clears her throat and stands up from the swing. "Police," she says, smoothing the front of her blouse and squaring her shoulders confidently.

There's the squawk of a police radio and static right before a car door shuts and Mulder hears boots crunching on gravel. "Evening, Folks. This is posted property you're on. Can I see some identification, please?"

Mulder reaches inside his pocket and pulls out his leather badge, flipping it open and holding it next to his face.

The officer swipes the beam of his mag lite over the badge and frowns. "FBI? Both of you?"

Scully nods. "My ID is in my purse, in our rental car across the street."

"What are you guys doing here?" His tone is curious, not contentious.

"Just passing through," says Mulder.

The officer looks them both over again, carefully, before nodding. "Okay then. Sorry to bother you, but we get kids drinking down here all the time." He tips his hat before turning to leave. "You have a good night."

The police cruiser leaves them in the dark once again and Mulder chuckles. "I feel like a teenager who just got busted."

She laughs lightly and takes his hand as they make their way out of the parking lot. "That's probably enough trespassing and loitering for one night, don't you think?"

"Do you want to steal the Urban Cowboy poster, since we're already outlaws?"

Her boots scuff at the gravel as he hums the first few bars of Desperado, their clasped hands swinging. "Nah. I gotta change my ways."

Because you're going to be a mom, he thinks, and how utterly bizarre is that. You're going to have a small person with a chocolate milk mustache and skinned knees calling you mommy. And then it occurs to him that this little interloper will have to call him something as well. What will that be? Mulder? Daddy?

Maybe Scully will give him the honorary title Uncle, and everyone will try and pretend it's not weird that Mommy's special friend, Uncle Mulder, has his own key and raids the fridge and sometimes crashes on the couch. He can just imagine how the preschool unit on families will go now - "Some families have a mommy and a daddy. Some families have two mommies, or two daddies. And some families have a mommy and a Mulder."

That's supposing Scully even tolerates him once the baby enters the picture. Lately she seems to like having him around, mostly. He sees her after work at least every other night. That's about double what it was before his tiny bundle of DNA took up residence inside her. They don't discuss why this is so. It just feels like the thing to do.

He can't believe how giggly she is when they get back to the hotel, fumbling with her key card in the lock like a sorority pledge. She's stone cold sober, of course, and will be until her body is her own again. Not that they ever did that much drinking together over the years anyway, and he feels a twinge of regret. They should have gotten falling down drunk together at least once before having kids, he thinks.

Having kids. With Scully.

If he could go back to that stormy night years ago when she'd dropped her robe for him in a Bellefleur motel room, and tell his cocky self that someday he'd be having a baby with that sexy, brainy little thing in sensible cotton panties...

He watches her slide the key card in, arrow up. "Other way, Einstein," he chides. "What was in that ice cream cone anyway?"

She giggles again, flipping the card around. "I'm just tired. You've kept me up past my bedtime."

"Mmm," he hums into her ear, bravely placing a hand to her hip. She leans back into him and works the lock open finally. "So do you turn into a pumpkin at midnight, Scully? You've still got twenty minutes."

"Why, would that make you Prince Charming?"

He knows there's a good comeback in there that would involve a fairytale kiss, but he's too slow on the uptake and the moment passes. He follows her in and she tosses her purse onto a chair where it promptly slides off onto the dingy grey motel carpet. Then she flops, spread eagle, onto the bedspread and looks up at him from under batty lashes. "I'm too tired to get undressed."

He just stands there and stares down at her for several beats. Her blouse is stretched tight over her breasts, a gap between two buttons giving him an eyeful of something dark and lacy. He doesn't hide the fact that he's looking and she lets him.

"I should go," he says with a hard swallow, feet fixed to the floor like he's wearing cement blocks for shoes.

"If you want."


"Or..." she parrots, with a feline-like stretch, then rolls over, making room for him on the bed. She's absolutely too beautiful for this sixty-nine dollar a night motel, and he vows then and there to start booking the three star rooms from now on.

"Are you going to stand there all night, Mulder?" she asks in her Casablanca voice and he wants to say that yes, he might, and would that be okay?

"I need to use the bathroom," he manages, brilliantly, instead.

She smiles, eyes closed. "All yours."

When he comes out only minutes later, she's curled on her side fast asleep. He removes her shoes and eases the covers over her, planting a kiss to her temple before letting himself out.

8. Seventeen Weeks

He's busy shredding a Styrofoam coffee cup into long, curly peels. She's across the desk from him, her suit jacket removed and her hair tucked neatly behind her ears. The stack of files between them is supposed to be dwindling, but they've been at this since lunchtime and he can't tell the difference.

She sighs and he hears the thud of her heels underneath the desk as she kicks them off. "Here's a case in northern Vermont where several headstones were vandalized back in 1987."

He doesn't look up from his own file. "Graves opened?"

"Um," she hesitates, leafing through paperwork. "No."

"Then no."

Another sigh from her as the file lands with an indignant slap on top of the done pile. "It's not here, Mulder."

"It's here. I remember it."

He feels something swish over the top of his foot and his eyes drift up at her. She's moved on to the K files, gnawing lightly at her bottom lip and tapping the tip of a ballpoint pen absently on the desk blotter. If she had anything to do with that, she isn't admitting it.

"It was an M place," he says. "Mobile? Manchester? Montgomery?"



He tears a small strip of scrap paper, wads it, and flicks it across the desk at her. It ricochets off her elbow and lands on the floor. She ignores him and a few minutes later, he does it again. This one hits the broadside of a stack of folders and comes to rest by the stapler.

She flips pages, jots down a few neat notes. He feels something sweep the top of his foot again, a little slower this time and there's no mistaking it when cool, stockinged toes creep beneath the cuff of his trousers and rest there for a moment before retreating.

He doesn't know how to respond like an adult, so he wads up seven pieces of paper ammo and flicks them at her, machine- gun style, as she sits perfectly composed, pretending to read. Her eyes stop moving across the page and her jaw shifts, ever so slightly.

She nonchalantly picks up one thick rubber band between her glossy nails and slingshots it, snapping him in the upper neck and he utters a surprised and pouty "owww." Before he knows it, she's snagged up a handful of rubber bands in her tiny little fist and is hoarding them tight against her chest like a victorious five-year-old.

"No fair, I only have paper."

She sticks her tongue out at him, her eyes smiling.

"Give me the rubber bands, Scully." He holds his hand out to her, palm up.


"Give me the rubber bands and we call a truce."

"No way."

They lock eyes. He leans across the desk and lowers his voice substantially. "Give me the rubber bands."

She licks her lips, her gaze traveling his face, her eyes provoking. "Make me."

His nostrils flare slightly and his left eyebrow rises right before he launches himself across the top of the desk, scattering a stack of files to the floor, Mothmen mixing with Flukemen. He grabs her wrist tight and holds her steady, ignoring her surprised yelp as he kisses her. It's hard and solid and his teeth press to the back of his upper lip. It is not a gentle kiss and it's long fucking overdue.

When they separate, he watches her eyes drift back open and refocus. Her stubborn little fist is still clenched around the damned rubber bands and he smiles at her tenacity. "Give me the rubber bands, Scully."

He stands and maneuvers his way around the desk, still holding her wrist, and hauls her to her feet in front of him.

She swallows, sweeping his mouth with her eyes and shakes her head defiantly. "No."

He kisses her again, this time nipping gently at her lower lip before pulling back. "Give them to me."

"No." She whispers it this time, with her eyes still closed. He kisses her again, softer this time, barely grazing her lips with his own and she teeters a little on her feet. He places the hand that's not clamped around her wrist to her lower back to steady her. They're pressed tightly together now and he can feel her breathing against him.

Sometime since their little game of footsie minutes ago, she managed to slip her heels back on, giving her the four extra inches needed to keep this from being extraordinarily awkward. He can actually reach her mouth without contorting himself.

"Give them to me," he mumbles against her lips.

She shakes her head again, her "No" not more than an expelled breath.

This time when he claims her mouth, their tongues meet briefly and tangle and that's all it takes. He releases her wrist and wraps both arms around her back to hold her tightly against him. Her fist opens and rubber bands float to the floor like jellyfish. Her hands find his face, cupping his jaw as they kiss and kiss. She feels and tastes better than he could have ever imagined. So lost in the moment, they don't even hear the ding of the elevator doors. The sound of footsteps is right outside their office when she presses her hand to his chest, separating them. It's impossible to tell by the look on Skinner's face what, if anything, he saw. The AD's eyes scan the floor, taking in the blanket of open files, documents and photos strewn about. Rubber bands and tiny, wadded up paper balls.

Scully takes a step back from Mulder and clears her throat, crossing her arms in front of her. Her blouse is partly untucked and her hair looks disheveled. With her suit jacket off, the pregnancy is just barely noticeable if someone knows what they're looking for. He's banking on Skinner not.

"I need you two on a flight to Denver as soon as possible for a consult on a missing person's case. Here's what I've got." He steps gingerly over the mess on the floor and flings a manila folder onto the desk.

Mulder picks it up. "We'll leave tonight."

9. Eighteen Weeks

They've been back from Colorado for over forty-eight hours and he's hardly seen her. She's been in the autopsy bay for the better part of two days. It's after 10 p.m. when he finds her in the morgue, bent over a microscope, her hair falling out of a messy ponytail, mascara smudged.

She looks considerably more exhausted than when he kissed her goodbye inside her apartment door after carrying her luggage up. It had been a sweet kiss, nothing pressing or urgent, although there had been a couple of those while they were in Denver too. Nothing more. There had been no discussion of this shift in the status quo either. All of a sudden, it was mutually acceptable for him to give her a quick peck on the lips when he stopped by her hotel room to pick her up in the morning, and a much longer goodnight kiss as he lingered in her doorway after dinner. They both acted as if they'd been doing it for months or years rather than about ninety-six hours. But who was counting? He didn't want to bring it up for fear she might stop letting him do it.

He places a can of cold iced tea on the granite counter top in front of her and pops open a second one, taking a long drink. She looks up and smiles a weary thank you. She looks bone-tired and gaunt. He's afraid she isn't gaining enough weight. "Go home," he pleads.

She rolls her shoulders back and then stretches her neck from side to side. "I'm almost finished."

"Skinner instructed us to take tomorrow off."

She sighs, wiping off the top of her can on the sleeve of her lab coat before opening it. "I still have slides to go through, Mulder."

He squeezes the top of one of her shoulders gently. "We've been working for seven days straight and pardon my French, but you look like Hell, Scully. Take a day off. Sleep, eat, do your laundry. Come over and do mine."

"She was pregnant, Mulder. Melissa Donovan. I'd say about twelve weeks."

He doesn't move.

"I didn't even know until I cut her open. And there it was." She sniffs and drinks again. Rubs her eyes until they're bleary and red.

He moves closer to her. Wants to touch her again. "Are you okay?"

She nods unconvincingly and begins moving about the lab, cleaning up glass slides and test tubes and tossing various utensils into a stainless steel sink that is streaked red-brown.

He shifts his feet, staring down at mint green speckled linoleum. "It's okay if you're not, you know."

"Well, I am. Stop hovering, Mulder. You were doing it throughout the entire Denver case and it undermines my authority." She tosses a scalpel into the sink from two feet away and he's pretty sure that's not too safe. It clatters loudly, but there's no one in the facility to hear it besides them. No one to hear this conversation they're having either. "I'm pregnant. I'm not helpless. Please don't treat me like I can't do my job."

He just watches her, his silence saying more than any words. She moves about, almost angrily, wiping and organizing and sighing. "You know, when we were working the case last winter in Charlotte with Parker and McKay, she was pregnant." She stops moving to level a look at him, hand on her hip. "Liv Parker was pregnant. Did you know that?"


"You didn't know because McKay treated her the same way he always had. And they've been partners even longer than we have."

"That's different," he says quietly. "They're not-he's not..." His voice trails off, letting the words linger like an aftertaste.

Her eyes drift to the ceiling and she worries her bottom lip. When she finally speaks, it's under her breath and he isn't sure he's even supposed to hear it. "This is too complicated."

He squares his shoulders and faces her, not bothering to check the defensiveness in his tone. "What is? What the hell is too complicated, Scully? Being partners or having a baby together?"

"We're not having a baby together, Mulder! I am," she says evenly. "I'm having a baby."

He feels the sting, even though he doesn't know what he expected. No other arrangement was ever implied. He isn't even sure he wants one. A baby or an arrangement.

Fuck this whole thing. Fuck it to Hell.

He shakes his head and his eyes are colder than the air in the morgue. He keeps walking as she calls after him.

"Mulder. Mulder, wait a minute. Jesus, Mulder, will you wait please."

He ignores speed limits and punches a few red lights on his way home, mentally daring anyone with a badge to pull him over. On nights like these, he wishes he still had a little black book with some names and numbers lying around somewhere. Women whose jobs he didn't have to hear about, whose mothers and brothers he didn't even know existed, whose baggage, both literally and figuratively, he didn't have to carry. For the cost of a couple bottles of wine and some unimaginative conversation, he could wake up satisfied with the smell of a woman on his sheets. He probably even has an unexpired box of condoms around somewhere.

He could be that guy. He used to be that guy.

He hasn't had a book of numbers like that in about six years.

He eats a leftover ham and cheese sub that is three days less than fresh, and then peels his clothing off and kicks them into a negligent pile on the floor. He makes the water in the shower as hot as he can tolerate it, and stands there until his skin is numb.

Then he pulls on his oldest pair of jeans and a faded black tee shirt, and gets back into his car at half past midnight.

It takes her awhile to come to the door. He tells himself he'll count to ten and then leave if she doesn't answer. He starts over after ten and she answers on four. Her robe is untied, but she holds it closed around her. He can tell he didn't wake her, and he's relieved he isn't the only one not sleeping. Her hair is in waves, unruly, her makeup scrubbed off. He loves her like this. The unedited Scully.

He hadn't bothered rehearsing what to say. He figured it would come to him. Or not.

"So how complicated are we talking?"

She huffs a little and dips her head, then looks back up at him with soulful eyes. They step inside her apartment and she locks the door before moving into his arms and resting her head on his chest. He rubs her back and settles his chin on top of her silky crown, sighing.

"Really complicated," she tells his upper arm.

Neither of them moves for a long time and he chalks it up to their unique version of an apology. He feels that perhaps something more should be said, but she's warm and perfect and if this is all they accomplish tonight, well that's okay.

"So then we figure it out," he states with what he hopes is a convincing degree of certainty.

She draws a long, deep breath and exhales and he feels her shoulders getting smaller, so he squeezes tighter and kisses the top of her head. It just feels good to hold her and it's the rare occasion that she lets him for this long.

He becomes aware of her hands underneath the hem of his shirt, tickling over the bumps of his spine, barely touching him, raising gooseflesh in their wake. His hands slow on her back, cautious, curious. After several long moments of this, she turns her face in and breaths hotly on his throat, then nuzzles the slope of his neck, open-mouthed.

His breathing quickens and the cells in his body seem to hum with alertness. He takes shallow breaths through his mouth, his throat wet from her mouth. His eyes drift shut and he concentrates only on the feel of her under his hands, in his arms, against his body.

The palms of her hands are on his chest now, lifting his shirt, caressing his skin, fingernails scraping his naval. He bites back a groan and holds her firmly at the waist. "Scully, what're we doing?"

Her hands slow. "I don't know," she admits in hushed tones. "Is that okay?"

He swallows. "As long as you don't expect that I do."

She drags her mouth to his and their kisses are serene and careful at first, like new lovers. They've kissed, but not like this. There is intent in these kisses and he knows he's not the only one who feels it. When she pulls away to look at him, he's certain of what she wants, and even more certain that there is nothing in the world that could get him to walk out that door right now.

He cups her cheek gently in his palm. She closes her eyes and whispers, "Stay," before he kisses her again, more feverishly this time, hands moving inside her robe.

She's tugging on his belt one second, and the next he's standing there with his fly undone, certain parts of him barely contained. He watches as she moults out of her robe and plucks open the buttons on her pajama top. Evidently, his surprise is visible when she slips out of the silk.

"I'm going to just stand here and look for a minute, okay?" he says, fixating on her bare breasts. There had been glimpses in the past. Never the opportunity to take his time and really study them. And he's pretty much a solid breast man, so this ranks near the top of the foreplay scale.

She huffs a breath and her eyes dip. He'd guess that she's blushing, but he can't really tell in the shadows. They're fuller and rounder, different, but not dramatically so. Even better up close than his estimations. The slope of her tummy is noticeable now without clothing. Just a gentle swelling, a little less pronounced than he would have imagined for eighteen weeks. She's all smooth, feminine curves, quintessentially woman. He's never seen anything more beautiful.

"We don't have to do this," she starts. "I don't know how you feel about..." She crosses her arms over herself.

He startles and manages to drag his gaze from her breasts. "What?" He smiles a little. "You-you think I don't like it?"

She shrugs. Purses her lips and her eyes glance off his, self- consciously.

"Oh my God," he laughs out loud. "Scully," he shakes his head and takes her hand in his, pulling it up to his mouth and kissing the tips of her fingers. "I don't think I could be any harder for you than I am right now."

She arches her brows and closes her eyes, caught off-guard by his brazen honesty and he feels slightly silly for saying it like that, like some horny sixteen-year-old. But she does make him feel that way. He's wanted her for so long he can't remember what's it was like not to. There isn't another woman in the world he'd wait six years for. And the worst part is, he'd wait another six if he had to.

A coy smile forms on her mouth as she leads him slowly by the hand into her bedroom. She turns down the light and they finish undressing, stealing kisses in between parting with clothing, touching each other constantly. His erection prods at her belly button, eliciting a few shy giggles from her. He absolutely can't keep his hands off her breasts. They sway gently as she skims off her panties. She meets his gaze repeatedly in short glances, and he can tell she's as nervous as he is.

They tumble into her bed and he lays next to her, kissing her mouth, his cool palms stroking over the plains and slopes of her skin, exploring. He's grateful that they're here, in her bed with her wrinkle-free sheets and clean bedding and fluffy feather pillows. He makes a mental note to upgrade his linens as soon as possible. She deserves five-hundred thread count minimum.

She arches under his touch and makes little contented sighs. When he gets to the swell of her abdomen his hand slows. He circles and strokes over the smooth firmness of it, marveling at how different it feels from the rest of her. "It's hard," he says, thoughtfully, his eyes focusing off to the side as he palpates her gently. "Like...a small inflated balloon underneath your skin."

"Mm hmm." Her eyes are closed. She's tonguing his neck, his earlobe.

"Can you feel anything yet?"

"You mean the baby?"


She rolls over and straddles him and he clenches his jaw, his breath quickening. "Maybe sometimes. I'm not sure yet."

He's forgotten what the question was. She reaches down, spreads herself, and settles firmly and tightly along the length of him. She feels hot and swollen and slick. He wants so badly to be inside her and he hopes he doesn't lose it, just like this, thumbing the underside of her breasts as she rubs herself on him. She grinds back and forth, maddeningly, and he can't believe this is happening. Going to happen. Jesus, hurry up and happen.

He is not at all surprised that she likes to be on top. It's been so long that he can't recall what he likes best. All of it,really.

She bends forward, kissing him feverishly, her hot little hands in his hair. They're still sliding against each other like prom dates and he's pressing on her hips with his palms. She nips at his chin, her eyes completely blissed out as she shifts back and forth on him.

But the teasing stops abruptly when she shifts just a little higher and he starts to enter her, the bulbous head of his penis gliding into her tightness. Their eyes lock intensely, an acknowledgment of what's happening between them finally. Finally. He feels himself trembling all over. "Oh, Scully," he whispers.

He disappears completely into her and they stop moving, just watch each other's faces, absorbing the intensity of it. This is what your eyes look like when I'm inside you. This is what I've waited all this time to see and it's so much better than I imagined. He pushes at her hips, not wanting to rush absolutely anything about this moment, and yet unable to stifle his need. She begins to rock on him and he shifts beneath her. They have no rhythm yet between them, only sensations.

She is snug and wet and flushed and all Scully. He's never seen her face look like this before. He realizes it's her look of complete arousal and the thought nearly unravels him. He starts thrusting up into her steadily, and her eyes go wide as she spills forward, clutching handfuls of the pillow under his head. Her mouth is opened against his cheek when she comes for the first time, powerfully, silently. He slows, but keeps moving, holding back his own orgasm because he doesn't want this to end. He can't imagine it ever ending. Oh God, she's beautiful when she lets go.

They make love quietly and completely, in labored breaths and hushed moans. His mouth never leaves hers as he kisses her through the waves of her orgasms. When he can't stop himself any longer, he surrenders and surges into her, his hands at her hips, holding her down onto him as his entire body shakes and shudders.

They separate, flopping onto their backs like fish starving for oxygen. "Oh my God, Mulder, Oh my God."

"I know." They're the first words either of them has uttered in a while.

He's chasing his breath, immediately beginning to replay everything in his mind, committing the nuances of the entire experience to memory. He hadn't been prepared for the intensity of it. He feels emotional and doesn't want to scare her, so he's quiet. She takes notice.

"Are you okay?" The self-conscious worry in her voice breaks his heart a little.

He turns and kisses her, lingeringly. "Yeah. Just overwhelmed. Trying to process."

"Me too." She presses her forehead to his. "Did you think this would happen?"

"Tonight? No. Definitely not." He caresses the slope of her shoulder with the back of his hand. "But eventually? Yes. I dared to hope." They're quiet and he waits for her to part with her thoughts, to tell him about her expectations regarding their fledgling relationship. Their professional partnership run amok. It's not as if either of them could claim to be caught by surprise here. They've been on a slow, steady burn for years. He told himself he wasn't in love with her for a while. Then one morning he literally said it out loud in his kitchen as he buttered a stack of toast. "I'm in love with Scully. I am in love with Scully." Like an addict. The first step was admitting it. Except in this case, there was no treatment, no step program, no rehab. And even if there was, he wouldn't want it anyway.

He was ruined for any other woman. He'd known it then. He knows it even more now that he's made love to her. That's it for him. He rubs his temples with his fingers, feeling a mix of both exhilaration and terror at this realization

But in authentic Scully style, the vault remains closed and he gets no midnight confession of undying love from her, even as she scissors her legs with his and nuzzles her head into that spot under his chin that is, not surprisingly, a perfect fit for her.

His hand travels down her side, caressing the slope of her breast with his fingertips. "I have to ask. Are you always that...responsive during sex?"

She's sifting lightly through the hairs on his chest and he feels the subtle tremor in her shoulder as she parts with a small, silent laugh.

"Because, although I haven't exactly had complaints in the past," he continues, "I have to say that this is the first time I've hit quite so many home runs in one inning."

"Yeeeah, it's...the pregnancy hormones."

"Oh. And I was hoping I was just really, really good."

She sighs happily, her eyelashes tickling his jaw as she tilts her face up to kiss him. "You are." Her hand pats his chest once as she rolls over to get up from the bed. "You might just have to work at it a little harder when this is all over." He watches her shadowy form as she pads naked to the bathroom and thinks long and hard about the implications of her statement.

10. Twenty Weeks

He's coming back from the restroom as she's powering down the computer, swinging on her black suit jacket that she hasn't been able to button in a month. "Taking off?" It's not even four.

"Yes." She digs in the side compartment of her Coach handbag for keys. "I have an appointment."

"Oh? Doctor's appointment?" His feigned nonchalance is apparently not working because she looks suddenly uncomfortable.

"Ultrasound, actually." She could have been out the door by now. She's stalling, plucking lint off her jacket.

He moves past her to get to his desk, his elbow brushing her shoulder. "I didn't realize that was this week. Are you going to find out the sex?"

She looks taken aback, almost embarrassed. "I-I already...I know the sex already. I had an amnio at sixteen weeks."

His smile fades a little. "Oh." He opens and closes desk drawers, appearing to look for some critically needed office supply. Punches staples in something unnecessarily with the heel of his hand.

"Did you...I mean, do you want to know?"

He draws a long, thoughtful breath and takes his time answering. His head tilts to the side in appraisal. "No. I don't think so."

She gives a short nod and looks down at her shoes and he hopes she didn't take his answer as disinterest.

"There are so few surprises where you know you won't be disappointed with either outcome," he amends, and he really does mean it.

Her brows arch as she huffs out a breath and smiles gently in agreement, dipping her eyes.

"I assume...everything is okay, then?" he asks, cautiously. "If you had an amnio."

She nods. "Yes. Everything is fine." After a weighty pause, she makes her way toward the door, then stops abruptly and turns back. "You know, you could come with me, if you want to. If you're not busy."

He captures and holds her eyes with his own, then smiles. "I think I've got time."

They sit across from each other at a small corner booth studying menus. Well, she's studying hers. His attention is focused on the small, curly black and white photo sitting face up on the table. He picks it up and rotates it. Tilts his head and frowns a little. Rotates it again.

Her hand reaches from behind her menu and takes the image from him, turns it back the way he had it. "This way."

"I knew that," he says with a sheepish smile. "He looks like me, don't you think? Or she does." Now there's a scary thought.

She smiles down at her menu.

A blonde ponytailed waitress approaches, identifies herself as Lizzie, and places a basket of waxy yellow popcorn on their table. Scully looks at it dubiously. "It's free," assures Lizzie, as if that makes it look more appetizing.

Scully orders chicken fajitas, extra spicy. She's been having spicy food cravings. This baby's going to be born wanting Tobasco sauce in his formula. Or breast milk. Is she going to breast feed? He can't begin to guess. He orders a grilled Rueben.

His finger traces over the chalky smear of what she has assured him is the head of his child. "So you mean to tell me that from this photo, you can tell if it's a boy or a girl?"

"I know what it is."

"But if you didn't. You could tell."

"Yes. But I'm a doctor, so..."

He lays the photo down on the table between them and squints at it. Maybe it's like one of those Magic Eye drawings where you have to stare at it until your eyes go out of focus and then you see Jesus's face or something. Or in this case, a penis. Or not.

She reaches for the photo. "See...right here. If you look at-"

"LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA !" He clamps his hands over his ears, childishly. "I don't want to know!"

"Then stop asking!"

Her inner thighs are milky white and smooth and at the current moment, surrounding his peripheral vision. He takes his mouth away for a second and replaces it with his finger. "Did I mention there's this case I'm looking into in Florida?"

Scully makes a guttural sound and not-so-subtly presses his head back down. He smiles against her pinky slick folds and works his tongue on her. Her pointed toes dig into his sides as her knees begin to tremble. He switches from making long sweeps to focusing all his attention in one tiny spot and her hand leaves the arm of the couch to clutch at his hair.

Since that first time together two weeks ago, they've had intercourse four times. She's ahead of him in orgasms by a ratio of three to one. If you throw oral sex in there, then at least four to one. He isn't complaining because he can't decide if he likes getting off or watching her get off better. It's kind of his new favorite thing to do.

Her breath is forced out of her lungs in several quick bursts and then she cries out, pulsing rapidly beneath his tongue. He maintains the pace, letting her take her time finishing. Her thigh muscles relax around his head and he plants a kiss to the cleft of her mons.

When he rolls to a stand, he feels the pins and needles in his feet where they've fallen asleep on him. He flops ungracefully onto the leather couch cushion next to her. "Like I was saying, there's this case at University of Central Florida. Some kind of a fraternity hazing ritual that people say is like a decades old curse. I think we should go check it out."

Her skirt is still bunched up around her waist and her lipstick is smeared, making her look particularly debaucherous. She rolls her head lazily and eyes the ridge in the front of his suit pants. "Okay. Do you want me to help you take care of that first?" she drawls with a devilish smile.

He swallows. "Yes, please."

She slithers to her knees, between his splayed legs and attacks his belt buckle.

11. Twenty-One Weeks

Scott Arthur is blonde and buff and barely twenty-one. He answers the door of Theta Delta Chi wearing nothing but swim trunks and a Coppertone tan, his gold cross glinting against Ken doll pectorals. The case that Scully had little to no interest in suddenly becomes interesting. Mulder narrows his eyes at her as she flips her official FBI note pad and her hair at the same time.

"So this is the room where the hazing ritual takes place, Scott?"

"No, Ma'am. That would be upstairs." He flashes his Colgate smile. "I'd be happy to show you, if you like."

I'm sure you would. She's pregnant, Biff. So you're a little late to this party.

Another guy in a towel walks past them, carrying a carton of orange juice. Gives Mulder's pressed suit the once over. "Sup."

"Sup," agrees Mulder. Doesn't anyone in this house own a shirt?

Scully's heels click on the hardwood stairs to the muffled down beat of a Black Crowes tune drifting from behind a closed bedroom door. The second floor smells like stale beer, sweat, Doritos, and other things far less legal.

A girl with long wet hair and a guy come out of a steamy bathroom together. They walk two doors down, and disappear behind a bedroom door. Mulder glances at his watch. It's after 1 p.m. on a Sunday. He'd forgotten what recovery from Saturday nights was like.

Scott ushers them into a small dark room at the end of the hallway. There's a pull chain light and floor to ceiling shelves lining the walls. It's not much bigger than his apartment bathroom. "This is the place?" asks Mulder, as he watches Scully trying not to touch anything.

Hands braced above the door frame, Scott leans in. "Yup."

"And what is it exactly that happens in this room?" asks Scully, diplomatically.

"It's called Isolation Night. Basically, pledges drink shots and then are blindfolded and locked by themselves in this room overnight."

Scully raises her brows.

"And you said there were reports of strange occurrences," leads Mulder.

Scott huffs out a laugh. "Supposedly. There are stories of guys getting attacked by something in here and coming out with weird marks on them the next morning. It hasn't happened since I've been a brother, but people are still all freaked about it anyway. The stories go back a long time."

Mulder eyes the ten foot ceiling, presses on the corner of the shelves and frowns. "Can my partner and I have a moment?"

Scott shrugs, unimpressed. "Sure. Whatever you want." He looks at Scully and smiles. "You want some coffee or something?"

Mulder closes the door on him.

The closet seems even smaller when they're standing there looking at each other. Her arms are crossed. "Okay, let's hear it," she sighs.

He leans over her, knocks the back of his knuckles all along the wall. "What makes you think I have a theory?"

"Fine. You want to hear mine?"


"If I were locked drunk in a dark closet overnight, I'd come out with some marks on me in the morning too."

"I think the word used was 'attacked,' Scully. That would have to be some pretty bad tequila to cause that kind of miscalculation."

She watches him stand on top of a pile of dirty metal crates and poke at the ceiling with the end of a broom handle. Little bits of plaster rain down on them and she brushes her shoulders, miffed. "Well, what about hallucinations? Scott mentioned shots of alcohol. That may not have been the only mind-altering substance involved."

"A bad trip."

"Subjects have been known to inflict bodily harm on themselves during LSD hallucinations without even realizing it. Maybe their drinks were laced without their knowledge."

He jumps off the crates, lands close to her and catches himself with a hand to the wall behind her. "I'd buy that if it was one or two times. But similar accounts over decades? "

"Well, short of spending the night here ourselves, I don't see how we're going to-"

She stops talking abruptly when she sees the look on his face. She shakes her head slowly. "Mulder, no. No way. If you think I'm going to spend the night in a fraternity house closet with you, then you're the one who's higher than a kite."

"Not us, Scully, me. You get a hotel room and pick me up in the morning." He pulls his cell phone from his jacket pocket. "I'm getting three bars in here, even with the door closed. I'll be fine."

By the time she drops him back off before midnight with a submarine sandwich and orange Gatorade, she's all argued out. He gets a few strange looks and a couple "Hey mans" as he makes his way upstairs. A guy in a Phish tie dye sitting on the stairs asks him if he has a lighter or matches. Someone has tossed a dingy looking army green sleeping bag in the closet for him. It smells like incense.

When Scully opens the door to him five hours later, he shields his eyes with his forearm and gapes up at her silhouette with vampire eyes. His legs are jackknifed around a couple of old paint cans on the floor and there's shredded lettuce from his submarine scattered across the flannel of the sleeping bag. His bony hip feels permanently attached to the floor.

"Come out of the closet, Mulder."

There's a decent joke in there somewhere, but his brain is as fuzzy as the inside of his mouth. "Time is it?"

"Really early. Come on."

The frat house is quiet, save for one guy playing video games on a ratty plaid sofa in the living room. He doesn't bother looking up as they leave. Mulder's pretty certain the same guy was there last night and he just hasn't been to bed yet.

Scully has yesterday's clothes on underneath her tightly wrapped trench coat and no makeup. She looks girlish with messy bedhead. She frowns at him and looks him over on the drive back to her hotel, and he imagines this is exactly how she'll be as a mom when the day comes that she has to drag her underage kid home from a party in the middle of the night. She's got the disappointed scowl and the "we'll discuss this later" look down pat.

She's booked only one room at the Holiday Inn. Whatever that means. He undresses down to his underwear and flops on top of the mussed sheets of the king sized bed. The pillow smells like her hair.

She runs a scrutinizing palm over his bare torso while wearing her doctor face. Checks his arms and legs and neck. "I don't see any strange marks. Wait, hang on. What's this?" She fingers something on his lower abdomen. "Nope, never mind. It looks like an indentation from a sleeping bag zipper."

He closes his eyes, feeling drowsy and comforted by her touch. "What was that you said once, Scully? About sleeping bags and getting lucky?"

Her shoes clunk onto the floor and she curls herself around him on the bed. "Maybe later. It's five-thirty in the morning. Go back to sleep."

They're eating their second very unhealthy meal of the day in an overcrowded, space agey diner in Tomorrowland. She tosses a leftover cheeseburger carcass down onto the plastic tray and grimaces. "I'm going to be making up for this dietary misstep later."

He shoots her a patient look. "Your OB will be thrilled if you gain a little extra weight and you know it. Besides, a few chicken fingers and a cheeseburger aren't going to give the kid brain damage."

"Chicken fingers, a cheeseburger, two orders of French fries, ice cream, and saltwater taffy in one day. And it's not the baby I'm concerned about. I'm going to have killer heartburn tonight."

"Don't forget the bucket of popcorn on Tom Sawyer Island."

"You're a bad influence on me, Mulder."

"You're just figuring that out now?" He reaches for her rejected fries and folds two into his mouth.

A family with three kids sits down in the booth next to them. A toddler is wedged into a wooden high chair next to Mulder and the child grins up at him while drooling around three fingers. Mulder smiles back. They don't look so bad.

The exhausted mother starts cutting up food while the other two children take turns reaching and whining and slurping drinks. The father is busy trying to fold up an umbrella stroller and find space for the Winnie-the-pooh quilted diaper bag. Mulder slides over a little in his seat, politely.

Scully's crunching ice cubes with her teeth and tying a knot into her straw.

"Why the pouty face?" he asks.

"I can't go on Space Mountain."

"Ah yes. Bad timing." His foot finds hers underneath the table. "Meh, it's some hills in the dark. I'm sure we can figure out something else fun to do in the dark." Scully steps on his foot lightly and stifles a smile. The dad sitting next to them snickers quietly.

Mulder gathers their garbage together onto the tray. "Come on, let's go buy some plastic swords and masks and scare the kids getting on Pirates of the Caribbean."

12. Twenty-Four Weeks

At twenty-four weeks pregnant something happened to Scully. For lack of a better word, she popped.

When she had left work on Friday afternoon, she looked like Scully, just a little plumper, a little rosy-cheeked and healthier. Masquerading under dark suits, it was nothing that would have attracted undue attention. Whenever she removed her jacket in the privacy of their basement office, he saw it - smooth and rounded and stretching the fabric of her fitted shirts.

They didn't see each other all weekend. She claimed things to do and he didn't ask because hell, they did have lives apart from each other. Even if they had been spending an unquantifyingly large amount of time together. Even if he'd seen her pretty much every weekend since...well, just since. He played basketball and picked up his dry cleaning and got a haircut and did a few loads of laundry and washed some dirty dishes that had been in the sink since Wednesday. Guy stuff. He called her Sunday afternoon for no real reason and her machine picked up. He didn't leave a message because he didn't really have one and "just called to see how you were" sounded needy.

At 8 a.m. sharp on Monday, she walks into their office and he does a double take. The skirt is black, knee length, non-descript. Like one of perhaps a dozen in her closet. But he knows he's never seen the blouse before. Crisp, smooth, ironed cotton. Nearly as blue as her eyes, but nothing could ever really be that blue. She wears it untucked, over the waist band of her skirt and when she turns to the side to hang up her coat, his teeth sink deeper into the pencil he's gnawing.

She looks pregnant. Undeniably, unmistakably, with child.

Alert the bullpen, Agent Scully has a bun in the oven.

His gaze wanders over her and she catches his eye, then looks down, self-consciously. He stands and walks over until he's directly in front of her, and hands her a file. "We have a meeting in fifteen minutes with Skinner and ViCAP."

"I know. He left a message on my cell phone yesterday."

He fingers the stitching on the collar of her new blouse, a startlingly intimate gesture for the office. "You look nice."

She huffs quietly and shakes her head at the floor, biting her bottom lip. "Mulder."

"What, I'm not allowed to say that?"

A shrug from her, the vaguest of smiles. They haven't figured out how to do this yet.

He squeezes her elbow before walking back over to the desk, lifting the handset and forwarding the phone to voice mail. She gathers paperwork and files into her soft, black leather briefcase.

"Ready?" he asks.

She raises her eyes to his and they lock in tight. Just the two of them, like always. Spooky, party of two. Well, soon to be three. To hell with everyone else. "Yes," she says, solidly.

He smiles. "Okay. Let's go then."

13. Twenty-Six Weeks

It's a Saturday and he's nowhere near her neighborhood, so naturally, he drops by. She opens the door barefoot, with her fingers wedged in the pages of a book and an apple in her teeth.

"I was in the neighborhood," he says.

She swings the door wide open in invitation and struts back into her living room. He eyes half a sandwich sitting leftover on the coffee table and she pushes the plate toward him with her big toe. "Only if you don't want it," he says, reaching without waiting for her answer.

They sit side by side on her couch and he munches her turkey club sandwich. She bends her knees to the side and scrunches her feet into his thigh while she goes back to her book. "Just let me finish this chapter. I only have a few more paragraphs."

There are paint cards laid across the coffee table. Five of them, each displaying four shades of green. How can there be that many greens? He picks one up and reads the color names. Sounds of Nature. Lotus Flower. Peppermint Leaf. Enchanted Forest. "What's this?"

"For the nursery," she answers, not looking up from her book.


This time she sighs and rests her book face down on top of her stomach. "Green is the color of balance. It also represents learning, growth, and harmony."

"How very Zen of you, Scully."

"I like green." She turns her book back over and buries her face in it again. "It's the color of your eyes."

He doesn't know what to say to that. "I like Peppermint Leaf."

Her eyes track across the page and the edges of her mouth twitch into a smile.

She has an appointment for a manicure at three and he drops her off. Wanders a second-hand bookstore and then an old record store that still carries vinyl and rock concert tee shirts from the sixties and seventies. When he picks her up, they leave the car parked and just walk. A pizza had been discussed, but it's too early yet and it's a nice day.

She slows in front of a group of three Rastafarians playing some kind of calypso for a small crowd. They listen and watch and she doesn't pull away when he rests an arm around her shoulders. "Have you ever played an instrument?" he asks.

"No. I haven't a musical bone in my body. You?"

"Six years of guitar lessons."

She looks up at him, surprised. "Really? Like for real? Why didn't I know that?"

He smiles and shrugs. "I still have an old Martin in the back of a closet. I'm sure it needs to be restrung."

"Why didn't you stick with it?"

"And do what - join a cover band of thirty and forty-something guys who jam out in somebody's garage? I only stuck with it as long as I did because I thought it would impress girls."

"Did it work?"

"Well, you seem pretty impressed." He gets a bemused smile as he peels off a couple singles and tosses them into the guitar case.

They're strolling by a string of boutique shops. She's window shopping like a champ, slowing her gait in front of shoe stores, then passing jewelry shops with awkward haste. She's busy mentally maxing out her credit card in front of a display of Burberry handbags when his eyes wander next door to a window full of pink and blue.

He tugs on her hand a little. She shakes her head.

"Why not?"

"Because I'm sure it's all ridiculously overpriced," she reasons.

"So what. We can look anyway." He shuffles her through the front door where a charming bell announces their presence. A reed-thin sales woman in heels and too much lipstick approaches them. "Good afternoon. Can I help you find anything in particular?"

Scully smiles politely. "We're just looking."

"Of course. Just let me know if I can answer any questions for you."

They wander aimlessly among terry cloth footed sleepers and things that rattle and squeak, all in Easter egg colors. He holds up two tiny gowns with drawstring bottoms. "Pink or blue, Scully?"

She slides the satin binding on a blanket between her fingers. "You know I'll tell you anytime you want to know."

He puts the clothing back. "I don't want to know. I can't believe you don't want to be surprised."

She huffs. "Yeah. Like I haven't had enough surprises." She's looking at the price tag on the ivory blanket. "I had a baby blanket just like this when I was a child."

"Then you have to get it."

She smiles wistfully, lets the soft material slip through her fingers, and then moves on to something else that catches her eye. It's a sleigh style crib in a rich, glossy cherry finish. The saleswoman walks casually over to them. "That's from a new collection. Imported from Italy. Lovely, isn't it?"

"Yes, it is." Scully skims the palm of her hand over the smooth grain.

"It's a special order item," adds the saleswoman. "It takes six to eight weeks to come in. Delivery is included." The front door chimes again. "Excuse me, please." She walks away.

"Do you like it?" asks Mulder.

She flashes him an incredulous look. "Of course. It's beautiful. It's also twice as expensive as the other cribs I've priced."

They make a detour through bedding where Mulder holds up everything and anything with green in it and Scully wrinkles her nose and shakes her head. "I think I'll just go with something softer, more classic. Like cream or beige."

Mulder opens and closes the lid of a diaper pail shaped like Oscar the Grouch's trashcan. "Get this. I insist."

She crosses her arms and smiles patiently at him.

"It has green in it. Come on, Scully, don't you get it? It's a trashcan diaper pail. It's smelly."

He picks up the pail and lodges it under his arm. "What else do we need? Bibs? Bottles? Towels with ducks on them?" He winds up a mobile with stars and planets and turns it loose and they both watch it rotate with fascination. "Would it be weird if I got one of these for myself?"


They make another pass through the store and she announces she's ready to leave. "Go get that blanket you liked. I'll meet you up front," he urges.

She only hesitates a moment before nodding and circling back toward layette.

He approaches the empty front counter and places Oscar the Grouch down, along with his credit card. The saleswoman smiles. "Just the diaper pail today?"

"There's a blanket coming too. And we'll take the crib we were looking at."

The woman's face brightens notably. "Excellent choice."

Scully arrives with the baby blanket and he takes it from her, places it on the counter.

"I'll get that, Mulder." She reaches into her purse for her wallet.

He shakes his head. "Just easier to do one transaction. You can buy me pizza."

She looks ready to argue, but his credit card is already being swiped, so she closes her purse.

She's carrying a plastic drawstring bag with a teddy bear on it, and they're almost to the front door of the shop when the saleswoman calls after them. "Excuse me. I'm sorry, I forgot to get a phone number to call when your order arrives." Scully looks up at him, perplexed. He reaches into his jacket and hands the woman his business card.

"Excellent. Your crib should be here in about six weeks. We'll phone to arrange delivery."

Her eyes go immediately wide and her mouth hangs open. "What did you do, Mulder?"

He palms her elbow and steers her out of the store. "Come on, let's go get dinner."

"WHAT did you do?" She says it slowly, placing emphasis on each word.

"Are you going to buy me pizza, or what?"

She shakes her head at him as he reaches for her hand, leading her down the sidewalk. "What am I going to do with you, Mulder?"

His smile is playful. "I might be able to think of some things."

14. Twenty-Eight Weeks

They're above the clouds and still over an hour from landing when the Boeing 737 hits a rough patch and his glass of ice water slides off his tray and spills down the leg of his wool trousers. The flight attendant passes by carrying a plastic bag and picks up the glass. "The captain has turned on the fasten seatbelt sign." She smiles that saccharine smile that all flight attendants wear whether they're asking you what you want to drink, or they're telling you to brace for impact because the plane's going the fuck down. They must teach that smile in flight attendant school. "Hopefully we'll be flying out of it soon, but just to be on the safe side..."

Scully clicks her belt and pulls it tight beneath the trench coat she'd been trying to snooze under. He can feel the tension in her amp up, even though she always tries to hide it from him. She wraps her arms around herself and sinks a little lower in her seat.

He slides a reassuring hand onto her knee cap. "Just a few bumps."

She nods, unconvinced. Her animosity towards flying is a constant. He feels badly that their jobs require so much air travel. In recent years, she's taken to indulging in one glass of red wine and that seems to help, but that's obviously not an option at the moment.

The plane jars again and she gasps, slamming the window shade next to her shut. He isn't sure what that will accomplish. It's almost 11 p.m. They haven't been able to see anything through the window since they boarded in Phoenix two hours ago. "Relax," he says in a hushed tone. "We'll be out of it in a few minutes."

"I'm fine," she lies, probably more to herself than to him.

"I know." He squeezes her knee.

He wishes he could think of a way to help her relax.

His hand circles her kneecap and her eyes flutter a little as she exhales, allowing herself to be soothed by his familiar touch. He presses his thumb to the buttons on both of their arm rests, reclining their seats and she seems to settle a little. When he lived off-campus his senior year at Oxford, his roommate had a Chocolate Lab that went a little psycho during thunderstorms and chewed the drywall. Flying through turbulence with Scully reminds him of that dog. He doesn't see the advantage to telling her so.

They're seated two rows from the back of the plane and the flight is surprisingly empty. There's a teenager with headphones on in the row directly in front of them, and an elderly couple across the aisle and one row up. Mulder has spent most of the last two hours with his limbs spilling out into the aisle.

He has an idea, which he is seventy-five percent sure will get him in trouble with her, but it's so tempting that he's willing to risk it.

Her head is braced against the head rest and her eyes are closed. She takes shallow breaths through her mouth, much like the ones he suspects she will take during labor and delivery. Wisely, he does not point this out.

With little finesse, he manages to shift his seated posture so that he's angled toward her, leaning closer. He takes a deep breath and upon exhale, slides his hand from her knee cap up under her skirt until it's resting near the top of her thigh.

Her eyes snap open, but remain focused straight ahead on the back of the head rest in front of them. One of her brows lifts slightly in awareness. His fingers climb higher and he expects her thighs to clamp together on his hand at any moment. The fact that that she's letting him get away with putting his hand up her skirt on a commercial flight gives him an instant erection. He wonders what else she'd do, or maybe has done before, at 28,000 feet.

He climbs a little higher and encounters the lacy elasticized band at the top of her stockings and then her bare thigh, as smooth as satin. Her eyes are dark and luminous, still staring ahead, and he watches her swallow and wet her lips just before her thighs fall apart even further.

When he encounters the damp cotton of her panties, he stops for a moment and just trails the very tips of his fingers over the material, feeling her heat. The angle is a little awkward and he has the swell of her pregnancy bump to contend with as well. In a rush of uncharacteristic audacity and perhaps arrogance, he whispers into her ear. "Go to the bathroom and take your underwear off." He says it like she doesn't have a choice, like he can get away with telling her how it's going to be. When she unbuckles her seatbelt without hesitation and leaves the seats, his head falls back hard against the head rest and he groans out loud. She has him so hard. He considers following her to the bathroom and finishing the whole thing there, but he suspects the fantasy of fucking in an airplane bathroom is a whole lot hotter than actually doing it.

She's all Special Agent business- as- usual when she returns, clearing her throat and arranging her coat over her lap again. No sign of any stray undergarments. He wonders where she put them. The idea that she might have abandoned them in the bathroom for some unsuspecting passenger to find is wickedly arousing.

The plane jars again just as he's slipping his hand back up her skirt and he's reminded what started this in the first place. The loudspeaker above them comes to life. "Folks, this is the captain. We're encountering a bit of rough weather over the Chicago area, so I'm going to leave the seatbelt sign on. Sit tight and hopefully we'll pull out of it as we get closer to D.C."

Her eyes are closed now as the aircraft rocks and sways. "Shhhh," he murmurs with his face to her hair and his hand climbing the inside of her thigh.

She exhales when he reaches her labia and begins teasing her opening. Her hips tilt forward against him and press harder to his hand. He swipes once over her clit and she jerks a little, biting down on her lower lip. She isn't soaked, but he's certainly got something to work with. He dips two long fingers deep inside her and then back out, gathering her natural lubrication and spreading it around. There we go. She's circling against his fingers now while he's barely moving. He picks up her rhythm and she turns her face to his shoulder with a breathy "yeah."

Her face is what turns him on the most. The way the crinkle between her brows deepens the more she lets herself go. The way she draws ragged breaths through those parted, plump rouge lips. The way she absolutely cannot keep her eyes open the closer she gets. Look at me, Scully. I want to see the look in your eyes when you come apart. I want to know you're seeing only me at the moment of release. She can't do it. There's a certain vulnerability there. She can get down on her knees and take him all the way down her throat until he shoots like a rocket, swallowing every last drop. But this is too much and she turns her face into his shoulder and bites his jacket.

He rubs her harder and faster and her breath catches in the back of her throat during that split second before he feels her start to tense and release against his hand. She loses her counter rhythm and her hips jerk and spasm like tiny shock waves are flowing through her. He can tell she's struggling to keep silent and he cups a reassuring palm to the back of her hair, holding her, as if to say "that's it, that's it, that's it, Baby."

His hand is still caressing the top of her hot thigh and her head is resting against his shoulder, respiration slowing, when there's static over the intercom once again. "This is the captain. I think we're safely out of the majority of the weather now. I'm going to keep the fasten seatbelt sign on as a precaution, but we're through the worst of it."

The flight attendant walks by and smiles down at them resting comfortably. "Thank goodness that's over, right?"

15. Thirty-One Weeks

When she opens the door to her apartment, he immediately wants to kill her. No wonder she wasn't answering her phone. She's wearing an old denim shirt and a pair of white shorts with paint splattered on them. Her hair is tied back by a red plaid scarf. Classical music blares from the stereo in the living room. He walks past her without being invited in.

"Scully, you've got to be fucking kidding me. You should know better than to be painting."

She does not seem at all rattled by his reaction, arching her brows as she sucks ice water through a straw. "I've got all the windows open and I've been wearing a mask. Besides, I'm just doing the trim."

"I said I'd do it."

Her shrug seems purposely contrary. She makes a pass by the stereo and turns the volume down. "I was bored."

"You were bored. So you decided to breathe some toxic fumes because you were bored. If this kid is born with a predilection for huffing, I'm blaming you. Is there any lasagna left?"

She retrieves the baking dish from the fridge and cuts a sizeable piece, popping the ceramic plate into the microwave. The painful domesticity of her warming leftovers for him makes him feel shitty for going off on her like that. "Do I have any old clothes here?" he asks through a mouthful of ricotta and noodles.

"I think you have sweatpants and a tee shirt in my bottom dresser drawer."

He reaches for his cell phone.

"What are you doing?"

"Calling in reinforcements."

"You're overreacting, Mulder. If you want to help, fine. We'll finish it together."

He shakes his head at her and speaks into the phone. "Hey. It's me. What're you guys doing? Yeah? What about Byers? What's he up to? No, nothing critical, just a favor. Can you and Byers meet me at Scully's place in an hour? There's beer and chicken wings involved. Yeah. Cool. And hey, wear old clothes. What do you mean Byers doesn't have any?"

He hangs up looking smug. Her arms are crossed. "This isn't necessary."

"Get out of here, Scully. Go change your clothes and go shopping. See a movie or go over to your mother's. Just get lost for the afternoon, okay?"

"Your chivalry needs work, Mulder. I'm underwhelmed."

"That's not what you said last night." He jogs his brows at her.

She returns at seven o'clock with tired, swollen feet and an arm full of shopping bags. She laughs nervously and stumbles in front of him as he covers her eyes and leads her down the hallway.

"Okay, you can open them." The childlike expectancy on her face makes it every bit worth the knot in his lower back from standing on a stepladder for hours. "Voila," he says. "I present to you Peppermint Leaf with Enchanted Forest border."

She emits a big contented sigh and smiles, reaching for his hand. "It's perfect."

"It's a whole lot of green, Scully."

"It's exactly what I wanted."

"Our child is going to be oozing with balance and harmony, that's for sure."

16. Thirty-Three Weeks

Mulder has never changed a diaper before in his life. Once, when he was at a family reunion, his cousin Patricia asked him to hold her baby while she used the restroom. He held it very, very still and it stayed asleep. He couldn't tell if it was a boy or a girl. It had a red, wrinkly face and a flaky scalp and its mouth made funny munching movements while it slept.

Scully asks him to attend childbirth classes with her, and he's terrified he will be called upon to demonstrate his level of infant expertise in front of the entire class. Thankfully, when they walk into the small carpeted classroom, there are no dolls and boxes of Huggies lying in ambush. Only a bunch of yoga mats on the floor and smiling couples.

They find a spot in the back, next to a couple that introduce themselves as Dylan and Tori. In all probability, Mulder had a driver's license before either one of them was born. The question that seems to be circulating the room is "Is this your first?" Mulder politely asks Dylan and Tori. Tori's pink bubblegum presses through her teeth when she answers. "It's my first. Dylan has two boys." Obviously, Dylan has gotten a head start.

He sits behind Scully and she leans back into him, wearing black leggings and thick socks.

They get the breathing down pretty easily. The instructor says to think of it like you're blowing up a balloon using short, quick breaths. Mulder thinks it's really more like how you'd breathe if you were being chased by an alien bounty hunter. He whispers this to Scully and she barks out a really loud laugh. The others stop and look at them. They are really not normal.

The culmination of the class is a movie of the actual childbirth process. The lights are dimmed and the video rolls. The first ten minutes are a piece of cake. There's even some decent nudity. After that, things escalate a little and Scully glances his way often, checking his face for evidence of visual trauma.

When the screaming starts, he presses his fingers into Scully's thigh and she pats his hand reassuringly. His eyes are glued to the screen. It's like a horrible accident he can't turn away from. There's more shrieking, bodily fluids, and carnage than The Exorcist, Halloween, and all the Scream movies combined. Jesus fucking Christ, Scully can't be serious about doing this.

He looks at her with terror and doom in his eyes. She seems to read his mind and mouths, "it's okay."

It is not okay. Nothing about this process is okay. There has to be another way to get a healthy baby out of this situation.

He has never been so goddamned happy to be a man before in his entire life.

Scully wants to stop for milkshakes on the way home. How can she possibly eat something? He pulls into a McDonalds, throws it in park, and leans his head against the steering wheel.

"I'm sorry, I probably should have prepared you," she says.

He looks at her and shakes his head. "You can't do that, Scully. There has to be another way. We've still got seven weeks. We'll- Jesus, I don't know, we'll figure something out."

She clicks her tongue sympathetically and laughs, rubbing her hand on his back. "I'm afraid that's how it works, Mulder. Women have been doing it for thousands of years and miraculously, the human race continues. My mother did it four times."

"Why, why, why would she...do that?"

Scully chuckles again. "I think it has something to do with getting a beautiful, healthy baby out of it in the end. From what I hear, it's worth it."

He swallows twice. "You're really not scared?"

She takes a deep breath and lets it out. "Yes, of course. A little. But you'll be there with me." She threads her fingers through his. "And just think of all we've been through together."

He smiles back at her. "You're right. Who else can say they've fought mutants together? Tracked dangerous government conspiracies?"

"Rescued their partner in Antarctica?"

"What's a little childbirth?" He shrugs. "It'll be a piece of cake."

"Well, I wouldn't go that far." She pulls the keys from the ignition and tosses them into his lap. "The least you can do is buy me a chocolate milkshake."

"I don't know, Scully, you're kind of being a big baby about the whole thing."

"Shut up or I'll replace all your porn movies with childbirth tapes."

17. Thirty-Five Weeks

He leaves her body reluctantly, hating the necessary separation. His preference is to stay inside her as long as possible, even fall asleep there after they're finished. But he knows what that tap to his hip means. It means she has to get up and pee. Again.

He plants a kiss to her bare shoulder and rolls onto his back. She waddles off to the bathroom and he can almost hear her sigh of relief accompanying the trickle of fluid. "That's it?" he calls out to her, blatant amusement in his tone.

"Very funny. My bladder isn't full. It just feels like I have to go all the time because the baby has usurped every spare inch of space inside me." She comes back to the bed and stares down at him, spread out on her side of the bed, burrowing into her pillow. "I wonder where it gets it from."

"Stop saying 'it', Scully. You can say 'he' or 'she.'"

"No. Then you spend an hour reading into my use of pronouns and we end up arguing over how you say you don't want to know, but keep baiting me to slip up."

She steals her pillow back and begins the interminable process of trying to get comfortable enough to sleep. He hands her the long one that she likes to wedge between her knees. "Fine. Maybe you should just tell me then."

She barks out a laugh. "Oh no you don't. That ship has sailed, Mulder. You've got five weeks to go. I haven't argued with you about it for the last twenty, only to tell you with five weeks to go."

"I do want to be surprised." He nuzzles into her back.

"I know you do." She reaches for his arm and pulls it over her burgeoning stomach, sighing contentedly. "Are you staying?"

"Do you want me to?"

"If you want to."

"I could. You set the alarm, right?"

"Mmm hmm."

"Well, it's up to you."

"Mulder, you know you're welcome to stay whenever you want."

"Yes, your hospitality is impeccable."

She bristles and rolls away from him. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"I don't know," he answers, sullenly.

"You asked me if you could stay and I said it was fine."

"No, I asked you if you wanted me to and you said I was welcome to. It doesn't exactly answer the question, does it?"

"Well, what do you need then - an engraved invitation?"

He doesn't answer her and the room falls into uncomfortable silence.

"What are we doing, Scully?"

She sighs and rubs her eyes. "Mulder, it's late-"

"Because I think it's a fair question, don't you? I mean, I'm not trying to be a jerk here. I'm just trying to understand what your expectations are."

"My expectations?" She spits the word out like a bad taste in her mouth. "My expectation is that in five weeks, give or take, my life is going to change. And not just a little bit, but a lot. I'm going to be responsible for the life of another human being. I'm going to have to put someone else's needs ahead of my own, not just when it's convenient, but all the time. I'm going to have to consider each and every decision I make based on how it affects my child. And sometimes what I want to do won't be what I have to do."

He sits up on the edge of the bed, digesting her words, allowing the picture to take shape. After a long moment, he speaks. "And you think that...I'm not capable of doing that. And therefore, there's no point in you and I...being involved."

Her silence is enough answer for him, although her voice, when it finally comes, is reluctant and careworn. "I just don't want to expect things of you that you're unable to give. It wouldn't be fair to either of us, or to this child."

"Just so I'm clear, what um...what would those things be?"


"No, I want to know. What are the things that you feel you can't expect from me, Scully? Like what - stability, dependability...commitment?" She remains quiet and thoughtful for a long time, staring up into the shadows.

"Fidelity?" he asks softly.

She sighs audibly, but doesn't answer.

"I haven't been with anyone else in years, Scully. That ought to tell you something." "I know that. I'm not questioning how you feel about me, Mulder." She pauses to breathe deeply before speaking again. "I hope you know the feeling is mutual. But, it's one thing for me to change my life. I've thought about it and I've made the decision that this I what I want. But you-you've always been honest about what your priorities are. The X-Files, finding out what happened to your sister - these things are important to you, Mulder. And I can't be responsible for taking you away from them. You would resent me someday, and I'm sorry, I couldn't live with that." "What makes you so sure that you know what I want, Scully?" He can't help the defensiveness that's crept into his voice. "Sometimes things change."

"Okay. Then why don't you tell me what it is you want."

He draws a long breath and lies back on the bed, propping himself on an elbow. She rolls to face him, her stomach an island between them. He wants to touch the smooth, stretched skin, to run his hand over the lumps and try and puzzle out elbows and heels. She announced to him after her last check-up that the baby's head was down and into position now. Apparently, their child has inherited Scully's uncanny sense of direction. Fittingly, he had been a breech baby.

"When you asked me to help you get pregnant, my only thought at the time was that I'd be crazy not to. I couldn't give you back all that had been taken from you over the years, but this...I could give you this. It was about wanting you to be happy, Scully. And while that's still a big part of it, there's also something else...something I wasn't counting on, and I'll be honest, it's thrown me a little."

She tugs the corner of the sheet over her bare hip and listens. He lays naked and exposed, telling her how he feels. There is no secret he could ever tell that wouldn't be safe with her.

"Phoebe got pregnant when we were together. It was only a couple of months into the relationship."

He hears her breath catch a little.

"She...told me she miscarried, but I don't really know. I was twenty-four and terrified. I would have married her, though, if that was what she wanted. I'm certain of it. Sad thing was, knowing what I know now, I can't even be sure the baby was mine." He bends his face down closer to hers and smiles a little. "This baby is mine, right Scully?"

She huffs quietly. "Unless the lab really screwed up."

He reaches his hand out to tuck the strands of hair away from her face, bringing his thumb forward to caress her cheek. "You see, lately I've been finding myself picturing a little girl with cinnamon hair and laser blue eyes who's too smart for her own good and questions everything I say. She's as stubborn as she is beautiful."

Scully's face is hot against his hand. Cars pass by outside, headlights casting ambient beams of light that drift over her nude body. She looks milky white and pale, like a goddess draped in ivory sheets. "Other times...other times I see a little boy. He's thoughtful, curious about the world, always searching for answers. Restless sometimes, but so full of life. And he has your goodness, Scully. He has your heart."

The hand that isn't caressing her cheek moves down to rest gently on the swell of her stomach. His pinky finger traces over the circle of her naval and the swirly pucker of skin that is visible now through the fabric of her shirts. There is an entire person inside Scully. *Inside her.* Lucky little thing.

"I don't know, Scully. I think we've got a pretty good thing going. I have to think this kid could do worse, ya know. I mean, yeah I'm moody and cynical and impulsive and I have the tendency to piss off anyone in a position of authority. I'm an insomniac, I eat like shit, and let's face it, I'm not the neatest guy around. And you- you're stubborn as a mule, you like to have your own way, and you have trouble admitting when you're wrong. Plus, you're a bit of a nag sometimes and you're not all that great with money. I mean, I've seen your credit card statement, Scully. You do live beyond your means."

"Mulder! Jesus!" She tries to sit up, but fails, encumbered by her belly. Her mouth hangs open at him, clownlike, and she's wearing her pissed off eyebrows.

He laughs. "Come on, Scully, think about it - if that's all the bad stuff, then honestly, this kid could do much worse. And I guess what I'm saying is...I think we could do this. And maybe not fuck it up entirely."

Her face softens and she clicks her tongue, cupping his cheek in her palm.

His eyes connect with hers. "I want to do this. If you'll let me."

She closes her mouth and settles back onto her pillow, looking up at him leaning over her. Her eyes scan his face slowly and he can almost see the thought process going on. She's in full-blown Scully deliberation mode. There is no rushing this process.

"It's a lot," she says, looking at his mouth.

"I know it is. I know."

"It won't be easy," she tells his jaw.


"It's a big deal, Mulder."

He lifts her chin gently with his thumb, raising her eyes to his. "Yes, it is. It's a very big deal." He kisses her lips gently. "It's the biggest decision I've ever made."

She sips at his mouth, pushes her fingers into his hair. "Stay. I want you to."

He smiles a little, eyes closed. "Mmm, I don't know. It's a work night. I don't know if I should."

Her fingernails pinch at one of his nipples as she slides out from beneath him and heads for the bathroom again. "Ass," she laughs.

"Do you have anything good for breakfast? Last time I stayed you fed me cereal that looked like cat food. Tasted like it too."

"You'd better watch out," she calls from the open bathroom door, "or I'll sit on you. And I am roughly the size of a baby Beluga at this point."

He slides over onto her side and sneaks her pillow again.

18. Thirty-Eight Weeks

The inside of Scully's apartment looks like a Babies R Us.

Mulder hauls five more bags in and fails to catch the door with his foot before it slams shut.

"Mulder, is that you?"

"Yeah," he grunts back through the plastic bag that's wedged in his mouth. He trips over the corner of a long box, catches himself on the arm of the sofa, and loses his grip on the two bags in his right hand. Bottles of baby shampoo, powder, and diaper cream make a break for it.

"I'm in the nursery."

Surprise, surprise. That's where she was when he left her three hours ago.

He tosses an annoyed look at the box on the floor that tripped him. It's the battery-operated swing they had discussed, but ultimately decided against buying because it took up a lot of space. They'd settled on the vibrating baby seat instead.

He peeks into the nursery where she is standing at the changing table, refolding the same tiny white things she had already folded yesterday. "Hey," he smiles. "What's, um, what's up with the swing?"

"What do you mean?" Her voice is sing song. He won't be fooled.

"I just thought you didn't want a swing, that's all."

"I didn't say I didn't want it. I said it probably wasn't worth spending money on right now. One of my mother's friends sent it as a gift."

"Oh. Well, maybe you can exchange it for something else."

She stops folding. "Why would I do that?"

He blinks back at her. "Never mind. Hey, they only had one bottle of the baby shampoo, but I figured that should last us awhile anyway, right? Where do you want everything?"

She surveys the room with a Onesie tucked under her chin. "Um, in the cupboard under the bathroom sink, I guess. The diapers can go in the bottom of the linen closet."

He drags the bags into the bathroom and swings open the cupboard. It's already wall to wall Johnson & Johnson. "Is all this stuff really necessary?"

"Yes. You saw the list in the book. I haven't even gotten everything on the list yet."

He picks up something in a pump bottle and sniffs it. "Cause I was just thinking that maybe we could go with what we've got so far and then see what else we need later."

She's standing in the hallway outside the bathroom with her arms crossed over her stomach when he turns around, and he almost yelps. "Do you think you can put the swing together when you get a chance? And also recheck the car seat base that you strapped into the back of my car?" She makes a wiggle motion with her hand and scrunches her nose. "It just doesn't feel tight to me. It needs to be really tight."

"Yeah, sure," he smiles. "Do you want to go out for Mexican later? Hit that place with the really good taco salad you love?"

"Um...maybe...we'll see." Her eyes are scanning the bathroom floor critically, taking stock of the baby loot. "I still have three loads of laundry to wash-damn, I forgot to put more baby detergent on the list. I knew I was forgetting something."

"Can't we just use the Tide?"

She looks at him like he just suggested they wash the baby clothes in gasoline. "Infants have very sensitive skin, Mulder. Everything should be hypoallergenic and free from dyes and perfumes, at least for the first few months."

"Wow Scully, kids sure are pampered these days. I think my parents just shoved me into the kitchen sink with a squirt of dishwashing liquid."

She misses his stand-up comedy routine because she's struggling behind the linen closet door, beating squishy plastic bags of newborn diapers into submission. He read somewhere that breastfed infants can go through 15 to 20 diapers in a day. That's a whole lot of shit. He wonders if Oscar the Grouch is up to the task.

This had all been fun until about a week ago when he was startled from sleep at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning to the sound of dishes clattering. He had rolled from her bed, bleary-eyed, and shuffled to the kitchen to find her scrubbing the insides of cabinets in her maternity nightgown. There was a good joke in there about her being barefoot and pregnant, but he figured she might not see the humor in it at the moment. Every single casserole dish, mixing bowl, plate, saucer and cup was stacked upon the counter. It looked like a flea market where everything matched in aesthetically-pleasing earth tones.

"What are you doing, Scully?" he had asked, innocently.

"I'm cleaning," she clipped.

"Yeah, I can see that. But it's five o'clock in the morning."

She had stopped her frantic scrubbing at that point to stare him down, wearily. Damp tendrils of hair hung in front of her eyes. "I'm bringing a baby home to this apartment in three weeks. I haven't wiped these cupboards out in God knows how long."

He eyed an oblong baking pan that looked as if it had never been used. "Is the baby going to be making a lot of casseroles right off the bat?"

He had crossed the kitchen tiles to kiss her patiently on the forehead, and then led her by the hand back to bed. And since there was only one sure fire way to make her stay in bed, he'd lifted her nightgown and kissed his way down her swollen breasts and over her stomach, tongue-bathing her like a newborn kitten.

Now he thinks that if he can just get her to stop nesting long enough to eat dinner, that would be a good thing. "I called my mother," he says, casually. "I finally told her."

That did it. She peeks her head back into the bathroom, face cautious. "You-you-what did she say?"

"After she got over the fact that I hadn't told her sooner, she said that she wants to come after the baby's born."

She's quiet for several beats, her eyes a little wider than usual.

"Not to stay with either of us, of course. She'll stay in a hotel. She just wants to see the baby."

Scully nods quickly and accommodatingly. "Yes, yes, of course. Of course she does. It's her grandchild."

"She'll stay a few days, max. Spend an insane amount of money on the baby, and then leave. It'll be fine," he reassures.

"I don't think your mother likes me very much," she admits, quietly.

He puts down the baby wash and stands up. "What makes you say that?"

"I don't know. Just a feeling. I'm probably being ridiculous."

He's speculative for a moment. "I'm pretty sure she made the assumption you were my girlfriend a long time ago. This is probably less weird for her than we think it is. I don't...really tell her a lot of things about my life."

She runs a tentative hand from his shoulder to his elbow. "Maybe you should."

He nods once, then squeezes past her down the hallway. "I'm going to get started on that swing."



"I'm glad you told her."

There's a scratch in the back of his throat. He hauls the cardboard box on end and pulls it open. She stands there watching him, hands rubbing circles over her belly. He won't look at her because if he does, he'll go to her, and this damn swing isn't going to put itself together.

19. Thirty-Nine Weeks

There are hands in his pajama bottoms. This is not that unusual, except that the hands are not his own. He was very much asleep and now he is very much not.

"Hey," he says to the soft mouth on his. "Hey."

"I can't sleep." She folds her fingers around his cock, which is also starting to get the wake-up call.

She's dry humping his knee, except she's naked and not so dry. Jesus, how long has she been awake? The bed has been stripped down to sheets and she has a fan oscillating on high. She is always too hot lately. He thought he'd never see the day.

"Is this a good idea?"

"Oh, it's a very good idea," she purrs, tongue flicking like firelight.

They haven't had actual intercourse in a month. She's too uncomfortable and so they improvise. They've improvised pretty much all over her apartment, plus on his couch, and just once in his car, but that was sort of a disaster. Next time he's getting the leather upholstery. It cleans up easier.

"Are you...do you...want to have sex?"

Her hands stop moving on his penis and she pulls her face back to regard him with amusement. "No, I want to play Scrabble."

He rolls to face her, then begins kneading her breasts in his hands. He pushes them both together and licks at her nipples, his face worshipful. They're so full and plump and firm.

She's watching him patiently, smiling.

"Sorry," he says, sheepishly, coming up for air. "You know how I feel about them."

"Take your time."

He moves up to her mouth. "Show me how to do this."

She rolls onto her side, facing away from him. "I'm really not sure. Like this maybe?"

He slides a hand between her legs and she gasps, grinding the knot of her clitoris into the heel of his palm. "I don't want to be a jerk and skip steps here, but wow Scully." He hasn't seen her this worked up before.

"It's okay," she hisses.

He enters her part-way and stops. "Scully, are you sure this is-"

"Oh Jesus, Mulder, will you please shut up and fuck me!"

He wishes he had a recording of her saying exactly those words in exactly that tone. He would never, ever need another video or magazine again.

He stops worrying and gets down to business because she is a doctor and if she says to fuck her, then technically, those would be doctor's orders. He sinks all the way in and starts rocking slowly, feeling her clutching and clenching around him. This particular position has never been the best at showcasing his stamina, and the breathy little sounds she's making aren't helping matters any.

He has no idea where to put his hands. He tucks one under her pillow and holds her hip with the other. She swings her leg over on top of his and now if he looks down between them, he can actually watch himself stroking in and out of her. He can't watch. Can't. Watch.

Their pace is slow and even, which is probably in large part due to the fact that she cannot do anything fast these days. This will work to his advantage. Don't watch. Don't watch. Don't watch.

He wants to watch.

"Scully, I'm not going to last," he pants. "So if you have any ideas, now would be the time."

"Don't stop, don't stop, don't stop, don't stop," she chants, grabbing his wrist and jerking her hips back into him harder.

Not at all helpful.

His eyes clamp shut tight and he feels himself start to come. He can't do anything else but stop thrusting and bite down on her shoulder.

At the tail end of his own orgasm, he realizes that her muscles are throbbing and squeezing around him in rapid, little butterfly pulses. Somehow, she'd managed to go with him.

The whole front of his groin and underneath his ass is soaking wet. When she looks back over her shoulder at him, he's wearing a goofy grin.

"Oh my God, Mulder, you can wipe that smug smile off your face. I'm thirty-nine weeks pregnant, my water breaks, and your mind immediately goes *there*? Now I KNOW you watch too much porn."

He chuckles, guiltily. "I've never seen it happen before. I just thought maybe..."

She's already up, stripping the soaked sheets back when his brain finally de-fogs and he loses his smile. "Scully, your water just broke."

"Yes, it did," she answers calmly.

"This is it, then."

She smiles at him. "Yes, it is."

He stands there for an endless minute, frozen like a statue, eyes glazed, before snapping to attention. "I'll go get the car." He trips over his shoes by the side of the bed on his way to the door.



"Maybe you should get dressed first."

20. Forty Weeks

Their profiles are exactly the same in the filtered moonlight, identical noses that twitch while they sleep. The baby's mouth has gone slack against the swell of Scully's breast. He hates to move, to breathe even, because he's having one of those perfect moments he knows he'll remember years from now. Tiny snapshots that make up a life.

He rests a whisper light palm on the baby and marvels at this compact little person between them, a whole mess of their DNA all rolled into a seven pound, six ounce bundle of possibilities. He digs through the layers of swaddling to touch a foot. It's warm, and as soft as moleskin.

There's a fleeting impulse to wake Scully up and ask her to marry him. He smiles at the thought of how pissed off she'd be that he did it when she was desperately sleep-deprived and hadn't washed her hair since the day before yesterday.

He needs to call Frohike and ask him to fishsit. He needs to do some laundry because he only brought three sets of clothes over to Scully's and it's going on day eight now. If he could share clothes with the sea urchin, he'd be all set. Each day more packages arrive with big pink bows. Sugar and spice and everything nice.

He would forward his mail, but he doesn't want to be presumptuous. It isn't as if they haven't started a conversation about it. "What do you want to do about your apartment?"

"I don't know, what do you think?"

"I don't know. It's up to you."

"We don't have to decide now."


Mostly, he thinks, she just doesn't know what to do with all his shit, which makes two of them.

The baby pulls off Scully's nipple and stretches, making snurgly sounds, mouth opening and closing in a Muppet yawn.

Everything he needs is in this bed. He wants to stay here forever, just like this. When he was a little kid, he used to pretend his bed was a raft and the blue carpet on his bedroom floor was an ocean full of angry sharks. If he stayed on the bed, he would be safe. He feels the same way now. Here, they are safe. Here, he can protect them both.

Scully stirs. She breathes deeply and opens her squinty eyes, immediately looks down at the dozing peachy soft head between them and sighs.

He tucks the sheet around her shoulder, and they share a lingering kiss and a drowsy smile. "Sleep," he whispers. "Everybody's fine. Just fine."

The End


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