Title: Absolute Eternity
Author: Erin J.
Written: August 2000
Spoilers: Emily,Season 7 - En Ami
Classification: SRA -- Story/Romance/Angst
Rating: PG-13
Email: Queenbosse@aol.com
Disclaimer: All characters, etc., belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and the Fox Network--oh, and not to mention the individuals that master them i.e., David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, etc. No infringement or any other illegal action intended. This story is just some little spark of my imagination ... And probably a small part of my sanity gone down the tubes (once again) ... you decide.

Summary: Nothing can sever a soul bound by eternity.

Author's notes: Continuation to Unquestionable Truth. There are substantiated episode spoilers that include bits and pieces from almost all of the seasons. I began writing and finished "Unquestionable Truth" prior to the beginning of the Seventh Season and now I have written the sequel several episodes into the season...so, this story for the time being, is/was Alternate Universe. Due to the fact that I had been writing this story prior to the beginning of the Seventh Season, as the season began and unfolded my story seemed to take on bits of truth with the season. Unfortunately, even as much as I loved and adored "all things" and "Requiem" -- this story is not based on the events in those episodes. They were ex post facto. So, this story is more of an alternate reality that began at the end of Season Six. I hope you all like it. Please tell me.

Comments, discrepancies, quarrels, etc. are all welcome just email me at: Queenbosse@aol.com

Continuation to "Unquestionable Truth" by Erin J.

March 4, 2000
1:56 p.m.
Alexandria, Virginia
2360 Hegal Place
Apartment #42

Dana Scully takes Fox Mulder's lips into her own, tasting them as she flicks her tongue across their surface, urging between them. He moans in pur e pleasure and exultation as he wraps one arm around her waist, bringing the other to the nape of her neck. They intertwine with one another's lips, bodies, and souls in an equally passionate battle of affection, love, lust, and harmony.

Breathing a sigh of exhaustion and longing as he releases her neck, Mulder pulls his lips away from hers, "Mmm ... Scully. I want the child inside of you to be ours. If only it could be...." His lips part in a sudden smile of assertion.

Mulder moves gently out from under her body, lifting his right forefinge r to signal her to wait. She shifts to a sitting position with her feet back o n the floor; her curiosity rising. He moves in the direction of his bedroom. Scully reaches for the now tepid food as she searches for plastic silverware in the bag. Mulder returns to her side with his arm cocked behind his back, watching her carefully as she sits staring at him in wonderment as she absently removes the plastic wrap from the plasticware. He sits down angled next to her on the edge of the couch. He decides against it, then moves his left knee to the floor and props himself on his right leg and reaches for he r left hand. He reveals a small black velveteen box, openly displaying a small gold band with a solitaire, calibre-cut diamond and the epigraph: My Truth and Love Forever encircling the inner band.

Scully blushes in astonishment, "Mulder?! What...."

He gazes up into her eyes with a finality and clarity of love in his own, "Scully -- Dana Katherine Scully, I have loved you for so long ... and I'll love you forever. I want us to be together for eternity.... Will you marry me, Dana?"

Her heart flutters in response to her partner's avowal. She remains mesmerized by his eyes as they transform from the normal hazel into a light shade of green, casting out with them the unspoken words of his soul. He removes the ring from the tiny box, cradles her left hand in his as he slips the ring delicately onto her ring finger with his right hand.

"I wouldn't have it any other way. I long for eternity with you, Mulder. We complete each other ... I'm stronger with you." She interlocks her finger s with his and pulls him back up to her level. They gaze into the depths of on e another's eyes for several quiet moments. She reaches her right hand to cup his face and traces his full bottom lip with her thumb, mimicking an action of the past. He watches her with a powerful love and understanding. She then guides her lips to his, pledging the kiss she has so long been meaning to give him. A kiss borne not of desperation or one of a yearning need as those they had shared only a short while ago, but a kiss held captive and ripened by seven years of partnership and amalgamation, truth, passion, and love.

Mulder slowly parts his lips from hers and he rests his forehead against hers. He opens his eyes to peek at her with a smile, "I do believe this brings about an interesting concept, Agent Scully."

"And that would be?" she whispers against his lips, her eyes still close d.

"Lil' Dana Scully, you's gonna be hitched to Spooky Mulder! You're a brave, brave woman," he says imitating a Southern drawl.

Scully simpers as she opens her eyes to see his face aglow with warmth and love. Mulder pulls her into his embrace and settles next to her on the couch.

He returns his voice to normal, speaking with a low, serious, and amativ e tone, "I will do anything for you; to make you happy, to comfort you ... as my wife ... my partner ... my best friend ... and my lover. And I promise yo u with the honesty of my heart and soul, that we will find whatever truth it i s that we have now set to journey forth in search of. We will bring closure to the matters that have plagued us with their unanswered questions and we will be happy ... together ... forever." He lingers on his last few words.

"I believe you."

The sincerity and lucidity of her words elicit ambiguous emotions to their meaning. Mulder earnestly encircles his new fiancée and holds her clos e to his heart as he slides with her back into the flexible leather of his couch. He knows that she trusts him with her life, her soul, and her heart. She believes in him. She believes his words, his feelings, his love. She shares them. They are the truth unquestionable.

Mulder and Scully rest upon each other in a content, peaceful silence. They both lull and soothe one another into a tranquil slumber as they listen to each other breathe; their breath a steady unison all its own.

March 4, 2000
3:33 p.m.
Alexandria, Virginia
2360 Hegal Place
Apartment #42

A sudden and intense pang from her stomach, jars Scully awake as she raises her moist cheek from its warm resting place on Mulder's breastbone. Her slight movements pull him from his serene suspension on cloud nine, back to his partially sunlight apartment and to the woman positioned comfortably on top of his own body.

"Uhh ... ohh ... I think this baby is hungry. My stomach makes that clea r enough," she moans weakly as the rest of her body begins to awaken.

Mulder smiles at the realization and sensation that Scully evinces from his body as she stretches her jaded limbs and arches her back against him. His expression widens as he quickly remembers the life growing inside of her and the ring adorning her small hand.

"Chinese is always better reheated," he says glancing at the coffee table. "And ... so are tamales with melted ice cream."

"Oh, damn! Mulder, I'm sorry," she says with self-reproach as she slowly moves from atop Mulder's body to her feet. She reaches for napkins in the takeout bag to mop up the puddles of ice cream that have materialized as the carton sits in the sun.

"Don't worry about it, just leave it. Let's get some food into you two."

He moves to the edge of the couch and takes the napkins from Scully's hands. He then stands, picks up the cartons of food, and urges Scully in the direction of the kitchen, leaving her no room to further her clean up duty.

"But Mulder, it'll turn into a huge, sticky puddle," deadpanning, "Miss February's gonna stick to Miss March."

"Don't worry about it. Helga the maid'll get it. I'm feeding you before that child cannibalizes your gastrointestinal tract," he guides her into the surprisingly clean and clear kitchen.

"Helga?" she quizzically asks as she crooks her eyebrows and surveys the kitchen suspiciously. "You have a maid named Hel-ga? Since when?"

Impersonating an old German lady as he sets the cartons on the counter and retrieves a washcloth from the sink, "Vere's a vittle vit of Helga in everbod'ye."

Scully nudges Mulder with her hip into the counter as she pushes the release button on his microwave, looking to him with a blithe smile.

"Helga svings voth vays," he leers as he brushes up against her.

"Helga has a mess to clean up. Go!" She demands in stern sarcasm with a wave and point of her finger in the direction of the living room.

Mulder departs to the living room with a gentle nip to Scully's ear, to which she can only smile. She empties the two cartons onto separate plates and places them in the microwave on high for three minutes. Mulder returns; bag of melted ice cream and tamales in one hand, ruined copies of his favorite literature in the other. He tosses them into the trash can.

Scooping a two-finger full of ice cream out of its carton, "Well, Miss February and Miss March survived; can't say the same for their companions."

Scully spins around from her activity of removing the plates from the microwave to find Mulder looming over her. He suddenly and playfully smudges the ice cream onto her nose; catching her in utter surprise.

"Muul-der!" she yells in irate surprise as he quickly leans down, closin g his lips on the bridge and tip of her nose as he sucks off the glob.

"Mmmmm ... better than I'd remembered!" he proclaims seductively licking his lips as he dips away and out of Scully's reach as she tries to ward him off with a slap of her hand.

She flashes a grimace of annoyance, undertoned by gratuitous desire, "Uhhhh! Mulder! You wake up with me in your lap and you act like that damned cartoon French skunk!"

"Pepe Le Pugh? ... Scully, do you have a secret cartoon passion I'm not aware of? Because if you do ... I ... uhhh ... have these--"

She smiles wickedly giving into his tease, "Mulder, I've already seen your Marvin the Martian boxers."

He contorts his face as if insulted and surprised, "When?! Those are sacred."

"Too bad they weren't in the box with our forensics equipment. As I recall, was shattered into pieces."

"I did not! I didn't bring them to California," he retorts in offense, feigning innocence. "Scully, you have not seen them!"

She turns with a sly, wordless grin and smiling eyes back to the plates, picks them up, then heads back into the living room with Mulder trailing flabbergasted behind. They seat themselves, once again on the couch and begi n eating in a silence of sarcastic tension. Scully, for the first time since she has awaken, notices the unfamiliar, yet strangely pleasant feeling of th e warm metal encircling her finger and catches a glimpse of its kaleidoscope o f rainbow rays in the streaming sunlight.

She slowly, carefully chews her rice as she registers her reality in a sudden thought; swallows and speaks slowly, "Mulder ... we're engaged."

He looks up from his attentive concentration on his meal, to see what exactly she means by her rather matter-of-fact statement; if anything else follows. He nods as if in reply to a question as he gives her a questioning shrug to further her speech.

She puts down her fork, removes her paper napkin from her lap, and turns to squarely face her partner, "Is this another one of those alternate realities? ... I can't remember," Mulder outwardly winces at these words and she worriedly knits her brows together, "I mean, am I really me doing the things and saying the things that I'm actually doing?" She pauses momentaril y as she forces down the emotions rising from within and veers her eyes from his heedful stare. "For some reason this doesn't feel like it's happening. I woke up three days ago with an overwhelming belief that I was pregnant. Not more than a half an hour ago, I awoke in your arms with an engagement ring on. Is this--"

Mulder drops his fork into his soy sauce-covered rice and brings his arm s to brace either side of her upper arms and gives her a light shake as his eyes bore intently into hers, "Scully! Don't doubt yourself! This is reality! Yes, I asked you to marry me. Yes, you have told me you are definitely pregnant. But no! This isn't a figment of your imagination." Hesitates as he knows she may break. His worry and shame loom close to his surface and his voice is low, "Oh God, Scully, you've been conditioned for s o long to question, believe, or understand what rationally is not understood, and now you question what you know to be truth and fact. Scully, believe me, as you said you did, when I say I love you. I have loved you for as long as I can remember ... I don't know, probably from the moment you assertively waltzed into my office and my life." He smiles sheepishly, "but know that I am true. Pinch me! Hit me! Kick me! Please, prove to yourself that this is real, that @bb@ am real. I won't fade away ... I'll never go away. I promise you. Scully, seeing is believing and feeling is knowing."

She sighs as she lowers her head and stares at a stray sunflower seed on the floor, "God, Mulder. I'm loosing my mind! I can't think straight anymore ! I don't even know what's real...."

He shifts, once again, to her side as he extends his arms in the invitation of an embrace, "Hold on to me, Scully. *Feel* yourself in my arms and I'll prove to you, that we are who we say we are, and we are living in the 'dreamland of normality.'"

In an instant with a quick, rash thought and action before Scully can move, Mulder pulls his small Swiss Army knife from his pant pocket. He unfolds it, places it to his left index finger, and with a fast jerk of the knife he superficially slices the finger with a slight, grunting gasp. Scull y stares in disbelief and is horrified at his action. The blood immediately wells up and drips onto the floor as he holds it for her to see.

She swiftly grabs his hand, cupping it in her own as she dabs the wound with her napkin, "Mulder! What the hell are you doing!? My God!" Tears emerg e and sting her eyes and she attempts to retaliate her fear and anguish with anger and purpose. She presses his finger as she wraps a new napkin around it.

He speaks softly in reassurance, "See Scully, I bleed because I'm real. I bleed because I am. And you are doing what you know as a truth; a truth to heal because you know it's real. 'You think, therefore you are,' Scully."

Her eyes soften and her emotions pique with the realization he has just asserted, "Oh, God Mulder! You--you ... I can't believe you did--oh, God Mulder, it's you who I've always believed. You are--" she releases his finge r and reaches her hands to his face, cupping it as she traces his jawline with the tips of her fingers. She stares effortlessly into the depths of his eyes as they replay the meaning of his soul and he allows her the freedom of her emotions. "I-I understand ... I believe. I need ... I need to show y-you," the tears overwhelm her eyes and spill to her cheeks. "Oh God, you know my soul ... you are my soul. I love you," she presses her lips to his, feverishly and momentarily. "I love you," to his cheek and brows. Her tears stream down her face on to his. "I love you," to his forehead and back to hi s lips as he holds her closer than before and they are practically one physica l being. He tastes the dulcet salt of her tears and she the metallic tang of his blood; in essence, the necessity and lifeblood of their being. In it, a sweetness that they alone share.

His lips curl close to her ear and he speaks with smooth, soft insistence, "Dana, run away with me for a week. Let's escape this hell of uncertain reality ... and just be. Let's get married now. Forget about our questions and their answers for what they may reveal of the future, and for a week, if that's all it can be -- let's *Live*. Live to know reality ... the reality of the peace, I feel, we bring to each other. You need a break from this reality, in order to find it again. Then, we'll return and then we can continue to search."

She feels his heart beating rapidly beneath her breast, feeling his need for such a flight, "I want to ... ohh, Mulder I really do," she pulls away from his body in order to see his face, "but there may be nothing left to lead us to any sort of truth if we leave now," he nods in understanding. "I need to know ... now. I can't walk away, pretend to be happy for a week -- or at least carefree, when I know that there is a void that only answers can fill. God, only knows who is entirely involved in my pregnancy, if not other s like it. Not to mention the motives, methods, and intentions. How many times have the leads been erased or nonexistent in the first place? ... I have nothing more to go on than a definite assurance from my gynecologist and my own empirical observation that this baby is indeed, no falsehood."

He sees her torment and rebukes himself for causing it to resurface, "Yo u have the sensory memory you described to me, too," he hesitates but then becomes extremely serious and pragmatic, "It could be a result or side effec t of a drug or hallucinogen you may have been subjected to. Scully, I think we need to contact the Lone Gunmen as soon as possible. They could canvass national and international fertility clinical and private databases, check the stats on the newest 'wonder drugs' ... update our Mufon members' activities ... check out the local hospital equipment delivery scheduling --= which hospital did you go to?"

"Georgetown Memorial, but Mulder I-I don't want to address that route yet. I agree, they'll be quite aidant and persistent, but ... they may delve into the matter too personally..." She trails off wary of her own statement.

He straightens his posture and begins to reprove her, "Scully, 'too personally'?! You know that's quite hypocritical of you to say, since you declared a rather similar statement in their presence on your own behalf." H e softens his tone, "Scully, if you're afraid the word of our engagement will get out and cause more chaos, I promise you, we can keep it under wraps unti l you feel ready to divulge it. However, the Lone Gunmen are probably our best asset in any covert handling and dealing, not to mention empathetic allies. We can trust them," he emphasizes as he softly touches her hands as she wrings them in her lap.

She squeezes her eyes shut and exhales a deep, saddened sigh, "I know, I know ... I don't know why I mentioned it. I can't organize my thoughts, Mulder. I feel so out of control. I don't know if it's hormonal ... or something else...."

"Scully, we have to go back to the hospital or to a private, non-governmental practice. I want you to have a full examination to ensure your safety and health." Her eyes flash open and adopt a pleading quality behind her gaze. "Please, we can't risk you're safety, or the baby's for tha t matter, any longer. I'll call the guys," he reaches for his cell phone layin g on his desk. "Do you know of anyone who you can trust personally and medically in competence and who may be open to extreme possibilities?"

Mulder's long-held paranoia begins to resurface and old mantras revive with the suggestion of covert governmental activity and the possiblity of Scully's life falling into jeopardy. He reverts to old habit as his mind begins to fire away strategies for under-handing any organization in question.

After a moment of contemplation, Scully speaks, "I trust my OB/GYN enoug h to allow her limited information." She rigidly straightens her body and features into the stoic mode of medical doctor and federal agent in preparation for her old habit of clinical detachment. "The ultrasound I had, although done earlier than most -- which are usually done at about the eighteenth week after conception, whereas I am approximately ten weeks pregnant; showed no signs of in utero damage or any detectable damage to the embryo. However, Mulder, in order to know anything remotely genetic about it, I'll have to have an amniocentesis or a chorionic villus sampling test," he nods, replacing his hand on hers. "Both tests increase my already high risk pregnancy level due to my past and my age." She momentarily glances away fro m her partner's intent eyes, "Also, they present the problem and possibility o f miscarrying."

Mulder involuntarily flinches at the mention of Scully's possibility to miscarry. He hesitates not knowing what to say and opens his mouth with unformed words. She blinks as tears again threaten to burn her eyes and she tries to regain her professionalism from a moment ago. She reaches for his still bleeding finger as he is holding the blood-soaked napkin around it in his left hand. She uncovers it and inspects the wound. Mulder watches her as she carefully squeezes his finger as he knows she is diverting her attention from her own mental and physical anguish.

He finds words, "What are the procedures? Are there any other ways to determine the genetic information that are relatively safer?"

"Not, exactly. I'm automatically placed in the high risk category becaus e I'm over thirty-five, not to mention the former diagnosis of infertility. So, whatever approach I may take will involve some risks --nothing definite, just the possibility," she searches for a glint of understanding hope in his gaze and he grants it to her with a nod. She releases a sigh then proceeds, "The procedure for an amniocentesis includes the surgical insertion of a hypodermic needle into the abdominal wall and into the uterus in order to obtain some of the amniotic fluid. The CVS, on the other hand, involves inserting a small catheter tube through the vagina to the cervix which removes a tiny bit of the placenta. The plus side to this procedure is that it can be performed as early as the eighth to thirteenth week and results ar e available in twenty-four hours." She ends her rendition of her second year premed basics of obstetrics with a faint, wavering smile as she stares downward at Mulder's hands covering her own, preventing her from further diversion of her own needs. His finger has clotted, yet his blood has staine d both their hands in patches of rusted crimson.

"Do you," his voice cracks as his empathy increases, "want to go through with one of them?"

"Yes, I have to. I need to know where my baby came from ... or," she glances away with a pained frown," what it came from." She releases their hands and rises from the couch, moving to search for her earlier discarded purse. "Actually, I was -- I am scheduled to go back to Georgetown today to be retested. My doctor told me to think about one of the tests. I need to know." Slightly changing the subject as she bends down next to Mulder's feet and their shoes reaching for the purse, "Mulder, my mother, what about her? I have to tell her, but what do I tell her? I can't leave her in the dark, but having her know may pose as an indirect impedance."

"She's always been a guiding light and strength for us. If you feel it's safe, I think she deserves to know. However, if you think -- as it may, plac e her in any sort of peril, then no, we shouldn't tell her. Not, until we know it's safe," he watches her almost nervous actions as she fumbles with the zipper of her purse.

She shuffles in her purse as she walks around the coffee table, "Mulder, pregnancy tells no lies with time regarding appearance. The evidence is inevitable; especially in my family. Within a month or so, I'll begin to sho w and baggy clothing is practically a transparent cover-up in the world of maternal and womanly instincts." She removes a few small items from the bag. A rectangular box -- the pregnancy testing kit falls to the coffee table wit h a rattling thud. Mulder blankly looks at it as he registers its true meaning : Scully, as usual, is incredulous to what she formerly thought to be impossible; only this time she is scared beyond rhyme or reason. She flashes Mulder an expression of annoyance and fluster as she pulls out the bandages she has been looking for, sets her purse down on the coffee table, and reaches for the test kit. Mulder beats her to it. He picks the kit up and reads the immediate print: "Fact Plus -- 'Trust the Facts'"

She is stupefied and angered by her own frantic, irrational behavior, "Mulder, give me your finger. Come on, let's wash it out." She steps in the direction of his bathroom.

The motherly and intrinsic qualities of her personality, are not lost on Mulder as he knows she is feeling the yearning desire of every mother "to make everything better." Yet he also knows she is denying herself the full release of her emotions.

He stands and steps in her direction as he extends his self-inflicted, injured finger to her, "Scully, it doesn't hurt, but I know you are. And you will only hurt yourself more if you continue forward without proper support, either physical or mental. Now, you know I'm here for you, but I want you to tell your mother and I want you to stay with her while I--"

She interrupts him, her voice rising with anger, "While you what?! Mulder, you're not going alone on this one. No, I have to see the truth ... it's 'believing' isn't it? No, I'm going to be right beside you."

He begins to raise his voice in a demanding tone with a hint of pleading, "Scully, I don't want anyone slamming you up against walls or I don't want t o risk you suffering or not being able to handle the emotional effects of what we may find." Horrifying visions of Donnie Pfaster, snakes, green oozing slime, darkened space ship tunnels, and other such evils invade both their minds. "Scully, I'll warn the Gunmen of my concerns and--"

Rage tears at her conscience. He knows it is a good sign, but he does no t want to allow her to harm herself with an explosion of her own fury.

"Mulder! This isn't a self-serving, megalomaniacal crusade! I need to have the tangible evidence in my grasp or see what might reveal the truth to what's happening to me. Yes, I'm scared to death and worried about the baby's safety and I intend to be as circumspect in this journey as I have ever been . However, this isn't something that I'd disagree with you on, if I didn't totally feel the obligation to discover the truth, despite my condition. Not only that, whatever emotions that may be instilled in me in the process alon g with the maternal hormones, are just things that I have to experience and deal with, Mulder. It's life ... it's my life -- Oh my God, the feeling of having said this before is an uncanny dej=E0 vu," a small, ragged laugh es capes her throat as she shakes her head and offers Mulder the bandages without looking at him. She feels slightly dizzy.

Mulder steps away from the couch to take Scully's offering. Suddenly, without warning, she is overcome with an overwhelming nausea that rises from her stomach to her throat. Her eyes roll and bulge as she clamps her hand to her mouth and frantically moves in the direction of Mulder's bathroom. His nerves jump at the very sight of her paling and fleeing in the direction of his bathroom. He quickly strides after her; watching her stumble into the small cubicle of a bathroom and sinking to her knees in front of the toilet. She heaves and gags as she begins to vomit and uncontrollable spasms shake her small body. Mulder kneels behind her; pulling her hair back as she continues to vomit. She ceases, grabs a chunk of toilet paper, wipes her mouth, and slumps as her forearms weakly brace her above the toilet. He rubs her back in tiny circles for several long moments. As he glances at her faintly trembling hands, he notices his own dried blood tarnishing them.

"Scully, wait her a second. Don't move," he requests of her quietly as h e stands and moves to retrieve a clean wash cloth from the bathroom closet. He soaks it under the sink faucet of warm water then returns to her slouched, peaked form. Her eyes are closed and her face is flushed. Realizing the severity of her physical needs, he props her back against his chest, then quickly and lightly dabs her lips and the corners of her mouth with the cloth. He folds it then, gently scrubs her hands to remove the blood stains. He throws the cloth into the sink then squats as he moves to underpin her body in his arms and begins to scoop her into them, "Grab my neck, Scully."

She does so without objection and he lifts her in cradle fashion. He carefully carries her out of the bathroom, into his bedroom. She is decrepit with her body's roller-coaster of hormonal rage and the anxieties that threaten to weaken her mind. Lethargy overcomes fatigue; Mulder's arms becom e the arms of Morpheus as Scully drifts to sleeping state once again.

"It's all a bad dream, Dana. Just a nightmare ... just ... a...nightmare...." she hoarsely slurs to herself as if sleep talking.

Mulder lowers her into his bed, untucks the bedspread and sheet, pulls them up over her body, and tucks her in up to her shoulders. He strokes her hair and pushes it back from her warm, perspiration-beaded forehead. He lean s down and kisses her lightly; tasting the salt of her body once again. He walks silently out of the room, closing the door two-thirds shut behind him. He returns to the living room to clean up their food mess and to retrieve his cell phone.

March 4, 2000
4:06 p.m.
Alexandria, Virginia
2360 Hegal Place
Apartment #42

Mulder has cleaned and rid his coffee table of his and Scully's shortly"enjoyed" lunch. He has also applied one of the bandages she gave him to his cut finger. He picks up his cell phone and dials the Lone Gunmen as he sits heavily on his couch. It rings three times.

"You stick 'em, we lick 'em--"

"Frohike!" Mulder grumbles as his vulgar friend. Frohike whispers to Byers and Langly of the voice on the opposite line. "I need to talk to you guys ... now," he is somewhat distraught at relaying this new information that has only now begun to sink in. "Something ... uhh ... unexpected is going down. Agent Scully ... uhh ... just found out and told me she's ...uhh--"

"We know, Mulder. The stork found Scully," Frohike explains in sober, plain tone.

"What?! What the hell, you guys know already?!" his anger and astonishment alert him, his paranoia grows.

"Yeah, our systems filter data from almost every net system including general ... and not so general hospitals. Of course, you know that though. Scully's name came up and a code number indicating a visit and examination by her OB/GYN. She was validated pregnant. We were all, well ... shocked. So, we started a search for answers ... sorry, we were going to wait for her approval, but we didn't know if the leads would fail by then--"

"Okay, whatever -- just tell me ... well, what can you tell me, Frohike?!" Anxiety and grief pound within, "Is she okay? Please, God, don't let her be ill or dying ... again. Do you know ... uhh ... what--"

"Mulder, you know Big Brother has ears. Bring Scully -- if she can come. We'll tell you what we've got, but not in the hypaethral airwaves. We can't risk Scully," Frohike is sincere and concerned for the woman he and his cohorts deem with the utmost respect and compassion.

"All right, we'll be there when she wakes up, Frohike. Wait.... No, actually after her appointment."

"Safely, Mulder. We give you our best. Keep her safe," he clicks solemnly off the line.

Mulder, too clicks the line off and replaces his phone to its former spot on the desk. He stands and moves in the direction of his bedroom. He peers through the opening into the dimness of afternoon sunlight as it beats against the expelling barrier of the dark shades. He centers his focus on the still form in his bed, straining to hear and see her breathe. Indeed, he is rewarded with the sight of the gentle rise and fall of her breasts accompanied by an airy, light, breath-filled snore. Satisfied with knowing her rest is somewhat peaceful, he creeps carefully into the room; edging quietly to his bathroom. He leaves the door half open to allow him easy access to Scully in case she may stir into a fit or awake frightened; he knows her state with great familiarity. As he unbuttons his white dress shirt, he turns the hot water on into a nice, near-scalding steam. He pulls at and unlatches both his belt and the waist of his pants; letting them glide off of his body into a pile, joined by shirt and boxers. He steps into his shower of unforgiving heat and allows for the rapid drops to beat upon his back in the hope of releasing the agonizing demons of guilt that well beneath his skin at the mere acknowledgment that his Scully now lies in his bed laden with burdens only he should have to carry. His mind swells with thoughts as steady as the water from his shower head.

Please, Scully, let me take some of the pain -- all of it. Hot water won't do it. I deserve the wrath you are too kind to give me. Oh God, I love you, Scully. I need you. Please, please don't leave me. I need you.... You need me ... I know you do. I don't want to see you go through anymore despair, especially if you're going to have a baby. This could be a new beginning for you ... for us. Nobody has the right to take it away from you this time ... or any time. Who gave it to you? Why is this so unreal? Even more so than usual. This isn't just a thread being torn from either of our beings ... it's a thread pulled taut; tainting us to break -- with it, who knows what else? The risks are so high. If you don't know the truth ... it may break you. But what if knowing or the journey to the knowledge breaks you anyway? It's a double-edged sword with no dull blade.

Finally, he feels the pain. Melding with the ardent downpour, tears sting his eyes.

Life, is telling us something.... Is it too late?

A pent up sob racks his body; demons release themselves one by one.

Hearing the steady stream of faintly pounding water, Scully rouses from insubstantial sleep. She squints with tired, swollen eyes at Mulder's bedside alarm clock reading "4:18 p.m." She slowly, carefully, and deliberately pushes herself into a sitting position as she calculates the last twelve hours of her day. The quarreling sides of her conscience weigh on her tired mind.

Oohhh ... this has been an unrealistic nightmare!

*Unrealistic*? Dana, that word is the very definition of your life as it has come to be. Don't kid yourself. Logic doesn't measure into the equation anywhere ... that's because it no longer exists.

It does too! Mulder, is logical ... in as much sense as that can make right now. Yes, we've traded places all right ... that's sadly ironic.

She levels her head with a quick, rebellious shake and subdues the imps of her preconscious psyche. Folding down the bedspread and sheet, she edges her legs to hang over the side of the bed.

How long have I been in ... here ... in Mulder's bed?

Her stomach rolls with a violent swish.

Oh God, this does not feel normal!

She remembers her disgorging episode as she tastes her redolently sour breath.

Glances at the clock once again.

In less than an hour!

Scully cautiously stands on her feeble legs. She notices her blazer laying on a chair; looks down at her attire finding it to be creased in numerous places -- beyond remotely presentable.

Looks like I've been through the ringer! I can't go looking like this -- it only adds to my unkempt and out of whack demeanor!

She moves in the direction of Mulder's wardrobe and shifts through a few drawers before she finds a temporary ensemble. Quickly, with nearly stabilized hands and fingers, she unbuttons her pale blue, collared blouse; replacing it with one of Mulder's gray, cotton tee shirts. She loops her fingers inside her skirt and tugs it to the floor swiftly; chooses a pair of boxers without a second glance, steps into them, pulls them up to her waist and folds the band. She gathers her clothes from all corners of the sunset-encompassed room, and leaves in search of Mulder's iron, ironing board, and a piece of gum.

Mulder turns the faucet off and shudders with the sudden coolness as it mixes with his recently released sorrows. He climbs out of the stall, reaches for a towel, quickly running it over his face and hair. He wraps it around his waist as he steps over his clothes, glances into the steamed mirror, wipes it, and notes his inflamed skin. Despite it, he reaches for his razor, shaving cream, and aftershave and begins to shave the strong, yet superficially delicate surfaces surrounding his cleft chin and jawline.

Scully locates Mulder's ironing board, and by pure luck -- the iron, in a hall closet with sundry items from boxes of old "Celebrity Skin" magazines to a fairly new looking duster. She sets the board up and plugs the iron in at the nearest outlet. She realizes with a glowing smirk that she is wearing the *sacred* Marvin the Martian boxers. She begins to iron her skirt.

Mulder, wouldn't you like to see me now? Not only have I been placed on suspension, divulged my very being to you, confessed my pregnancy, and accepted your proposal all in one day, but to add to the cake ... and maybe to top it off; I'm wearing your beloved *alien* boxers. I think this is the closest I've come to humor today ... in your clothes no less. If this is what it feels like to be my sarcastic, fiery, passionate Mulder ... then I'd like to stay in your shoes ... or clothes for a while longer.

She smiles with ease, for what seems, the first time in the last twenty-four hours. She continues to press her skirt, finishes, then quickly presses her blouse with deft moves of experience. She unplugs the iron and walks back to Mulder's bedroom with her clothes draped over her arm.

Mulder is stooped over his bottom wardrobe drawer with his white, soaked towel clad around his waist. Scully enters the room, immediately noticing the very pleasing sight as his back is to her.

Oh, Mulder! No part of you is, in any way, a tarnished or flawed piece of Man -- body, mind, or soul. However, of the three, this one meets my eye with more pleasure than I should allow myself right now. You know you do that to me though, don't you? You change me in an instant ... for better ... or for worse--

"Hey, Scully ... Scully?!" She nods out of her gratifying thoughts as he turns toward her, aware of her obvious interest in what she sees. "Sooo, you're the one who abducted Marvin?"

She stares wide-eyed, grinning full-toothed and laughs a genuine chortle from within, "I guess I did, Mulder. The possibilities are endless ...endlessly extreme."

He moves in a stealthy, provocative gait to stand in front of her; towel tossing ever-so slightly at his waist, "I like them ... mmm-much better on you."

He towers over her; close enough to smell her, now mint-sweetened breath and to feel it upon his face as she stares with amused excitement up into his smoky eyes filled with desire and rekindled passion. She clenches the fabrics of her skirt and blouse in her hands and her knuckles graze the soft coils of dark hair on his chest. She purses her lips together then opens them to speak as her eyes flutter shut; growing to a level of unparalleled passion.

"I'd make love to you right now, Mulder," sighing breathily into his chest "...if I didn't have to go to Georgetown Memorial."

He brings his right knuckles to gently caress her cheek and whispers impassioned, "I'd take you right now -- boxers and all ... if we didn't have to go to Georgetown Memorial. I'll get dressed again," he pauses with an alluring smile, "Do you want to reserve those boxers for later, Scully?"

She opens her pooling sapphire eyes, "In your dreams, Mulder." She turns away, toward the bathroom, "I don't think I'll need them...."

Scully enters the bathroom and closes the door. Mulder is lost in the wake of her breeze and the words lingering with it. She turns on the shower, pulls the tee shirt off, climbs out of the boxers along with her panties, unclasps her bra, folds the clothes into a nice pile on the sink's ledge, then climbs into the spray of warm water. Mulder hears the water and approaches the bathroom door; grabbing the knob. He looks back at his clock, acknowledging the fact, that once again, he and Scully are going to be late for yet another important meeting.

March 4, 2000
5:49 p.m.
Georgetown Memorial Hospital
Prenatal and Maternity Ward

Mulder and Scully exit the elevator and are greeted by a large Italian family crowding the lobby. The apparent grandparents-to-be (for about the thirteenth time), sit in the immediate part of the room, surrounded by numerous family members from, by the look of it, one to ninety-two. Mulder scans the brimming room as he follows Scully through the sea of love and anxious expectancy. He indirectly catches the eye of the apparent father-to-be. The man approaches them.

He quickly grasps Mulder by the forearm with a light touch, "Excuse me sir, but would you happen to know what time it is? My family--out of either all their love, generosity, excitement or stupidity forgot to put on watches," he nods to the wall clock, "And that one's broken," he glances assumingly at Scully who has stopped, "Ahh, I see you two are yet, in the early stages of 'family bliss.'"

Mulder, a bit startled by the man's approach and observation, glances at Scully with a draw of his lower lip into a bottom-toothed grin and a raise of his eyebrow. She blinks with a blank expression, followed by a quaint, flashing smile.

"Ahhh ... yeah..." he raises his arm as he pulls at his jacket sleeve and looks at his watch, "It's five fifty-two."

"Thanks, sir. Good luck to you and your wife. Believe me, despite my nervous exterior, experience tells me that children are certainly God's eternal gift," he turns with a sincere smile back to his excited family.

Mulder nods to the man with a blind understanding, yet with great comprehension of the power in his words. Scully smiles again as she turns in their intended direction. Mulder supports her as if he is guiding her, by cupping her right elbow in his left palm; unknowingly displaying his unconscious need to hold love and life at his fingertips. She only acknowledges the familiarity of such a touch and welcomes the endless contact. He remains silent until they turn the corner and after a few hasty visitors push past them into the lobby. They approach the nurses' desk.

Gazing down at his confrere, "I think I just saw a miracle, Scully!" He is truly in awe and amazed of what he has just witnessed.

She watches in a reverie a swollen, yet proud mother pad down the hallway with her newborn cradled protectively in her arms. "Huh? Hmmm...what's that?"

Scully snaps her vision up to meet Mulder's gaze, which is soft, warm, and encouraging. He furthers them to the desk, where a young, dishwater blond nurse sits rapidly pounding her computer's keys as another, older nurse assists a patient. They wait behind another couple.

"A miracle; I think we just saw one." Scully looks up to him; searching his eyes and their newfound childish excitement as he explains to her in a hushed voice. "What appeared to be at least four generations of family gathered for a single birth -- well probably," he ducks his head a little, "It's something, believe it or not, I've never witnessed in such proximity.... It's amazing, Scully."

She smiles at his honesty, "You and I don't seem to be given many chances to see the miracles of life," their living reality sobers her," ...we just pick apart the mysteries of death...."

He understands her temperament; offering a reprieve, "What about 'little' Wallace-Ten-Named-Suarez, Junior? That, well -- was sort of a portent in disguise, don't you think? I mean you delivered a baby, Scully! And, you ... uhhh ... saved my life, too." He smiles coyly. "Pretty 'savvy,' Agent Scully."

She reciprocates in earnest regard, "Oh, please! As wonderful as all babies are, Mulder, due to the circumstances, I care not to reflect back on that 'roll' down to Florida. Survival of the event was amazing enough ...that woman's survival of childbirth in those conditions -- that was miraculous." She looks down with a soft blush, realizing and knowing the intent of his remark, "I-I was just doing what I had to do."

He smiles at her unobtrusive acceptance, "Point stated. Point understood. Point well taken."

The couple in front of them finishes their business at the desk and are ushered by the nurse down the hallway. Another nurse continues to mill around the desk area, oblivious to the waiting visitors. Mulder stares at Scully with awe and adoration, as she addresses the nurse behind the station. She converts to her professional medical tone as she brings her glance from Mulder to the nurse.

"Excuse me, Miss." The nurse stops, looks up, and gives her attention as if noticing Scully's presence for the first time. "My name is Dana Scully, I had an appointment scheduled for five twenty with Doctor Betheson. I'm sorry for being late."

The nurse searches the desk and the computer screen, "Oh, no, that's fine. You're Dr. Betheson's last scheduled patient for today. She'll take you in right now, Miss -- Doctor Scully," she glances at her sheet with a surprised correction. "The Prep Room is down the hall, the third door to your left. Your room is four doors down from that, on the right -- Number Seven. Dr. Betheson will be in with you in about ten minutes."

"Thank you," Scully smiles at the nurse who nods then returns to work searching through files. Scully advances in the said direction, tapping Mulder to follow her.

"Do you ... uhh..." he hesitates with obvious concern and uneasiness, "want me to stay with you? I want you to be comfortable. If I'm in there with you and I make you nervous, then I'll wait for you."

She side-glaces in his direction as they near the Prep Room, "No, Mulder. You don't make me nervous ... or uncomfortable. If you want to stay, that's fine. If you don't that's fine, too. The only thing out of the ordinary in this visit, is that this time, a slight surgical process is involved -- I've decided to have the CVS test."

He catches her full eye contact, "You're sure?"

"Sure about what? Yes, I'm sure about you staying with me -- if you prefer it. And I don't see an alternate route as far as testing goes. It is relatively too early for an amniocentesis, yet I'm far enough along to desire and to gain the genetic evidence. The risks are there, but they may stay latent. And if they do manifest themselves, well, then ... at least I'll know one way or another..." she trails off, not wanting to lose her composure again.

Mulder nods in understanding as he is filled with the familiar company of guilt. Scully departs inside the Preparation Room to suit herself to a hospital gown and to store her things in a locker. About five minutes later, she returns to Mulder, who is obviously nervous with the whole feminine ordeal. Especially, because it is Scully's nearly bare legs, capped at the bottom with terry cloth slipper socks, he sees when he looks up from his wavering dance of nervousness along the corridor. The gown is long enough to cover her legs at knee length and supplies enough closure to prevent the bareback experience. She has pulled her hair back with a terry cloth headband; immediately displaying her flush as Mulder inadvertently reasserts his masculine nature as he glances at, then focuses on her breasts as they swell beneath the flimsy garment, revealing her apparent need for warmth. Realizing where his gaze lies, he smiles in embarrassment, then quickly steps closer to her and offers his hand. She takes it.

She smiles somewhat halfheartedly, yet with hope, "Okay, let's do this."

They walk down the hall with loosely linked fingers. Mulder is searching his left pant pocket as he watches Scully's small feet as they step beside his own, much larger feet in his black casual shoes. He turns the corners of his mouth upward with the slight, but profound realization of her small, accentuated, feminine form gliding next to his own taut, masculine body.

Not now! Mulder, you can't get primitive on her now. Shit! Find your keys.

He fishes in his left jacket pocket, "Uhhh ... Scully? Did I put my keys back into my coat after I locked the car?"

They have reached the room; Scully turns the knob. The room is a standard gynecological and obstetrical chamber with the necessary stirruped bed as well as a sonographer machine, among other more threatening instruments strewn on a metal table.

She enters the room and turns to face him as he apprehensively follows, "Mulder, you don't have to stay if this is going to make you uncomfortable. I mean it. It's okay. Go." She urges him with understanding and firm sincerity.

"No really, Scully. It's not that. I just don't have my keys. What the hell? I swear they were ... right here..." he shuffles through his pockets distractedly.

She draws her lips in a small smile and reaches a hand to search a side jacket pocket, "You may have dropped them while you were pacing."

Mulder is beyond vulnerable to the attacks of her light comments and small movements as he tries desperately to level his wildly racing mind and to tame the nervous and excited twittering his internal body emits at her lightest touch. He turns to leave and moves to the door jamb. His face is hot with his expanding desire.

"I'll be right back." He smiles with reassurance against the uproar of his body's responses to the sight of her in her own state of vulnerability; masked perfectly by her straight posture and calmly folded hands.

Scully watches Mulder disappear through the door and close it carefully. She then moves to the uninviting structure of the bed and boosts herself to its edge.

Mulder, you're blushing. Do I change you in an instant, too? Or are you just scared to be in the presence of such an unveiling? I promise, the fear is all mine ... you feel it, but mine is rooted deeper. I want a child, yet if my worst suspicions are true, then I dread the decisions I might have to make.

She stares around the nondescript room realizing the importance and pining for stark simplicity.

Would it be easier to just run away from this life? And to begin a new one on no basis other than our own trust, love, and support? Fairy tales have become enticing in the light of all of this darkness. Oh, Mulder, but I think the nightmares are stronger...

A tap on the door and its knob's jiggling alert Scully to attention; away from her once again plaguing mind. It opens with a slight squeak as a tall, middle aged woman with short, wavy, brown curls advances inward, greeting Scully with an unfeigned smile. The doctor sets her clipboard on the metal table, as she straightens her white lab coat displaying baby cartoon characters.

"Hi, Dana. How are you today?"

"I'm fine," she smiles plainly as she shifts to gain a comfortable sitting position on the edge of the bed. "I've decided to have the CVS test." She pauses with a sigh, "I'm aware of the possible consequences, but my personal circumstances demand that I undergo this test."

"I agree that the performance of this procedure is in the best interest of both you and the fetus," Dr. Betheson give Scully a reassuring smile then proceeds. "All right, we'll begin with another ultrasound to determine the placenta's position. Please, get comfortable and tell me when you're ready to begin."

Dr. Betheson moves to the sonographer; preparing it for use. Scully lays back into the stirruped examination bed; pulling one of the uniformed material hospital sheets over her body to below her navel.

Mulder wanders the maze of unfamiliar, yet strangely similar corridors in search of his lost keys. His body is a little more subdued as he is out of the field of unintentional sexual tension. He scans the floors and obstacles as he traces his steps back to the crowded lobby.

I'm not sure how much longer I can resist these forces that you and I forcefully try to propel ourselves away from. Scully, the mere sight of your unsearched skin or a flicker of your azure eyes sends me to a plane of twisting arousal -- which I would so love for you to join me on. However, I fear if we do step to that plane, we might damage the fragile life within you. I'll wait ... I know I can. I love you. Like I said: Eternity. I'm just tired of conveying my love to you only through vision and mere presence ... I want you to feel how much I love you.

He browses the floor of the lobby with keen eyes; listening to the large family speak in a jumble between fluent Italian to perfect English.

Where are my damn keys?!

He catches sight of dull glinting metal near the base of a plant next to the circle of waiting men who are oblivious to all but the issue at hand. He bends down and picks the keys up and returns them to his jacket.

Damn, I've got to control myself. I'm here for you as I said, Scully. Now I'm going to prove it. If my damn body could just yield these reactions to your extemporaneous wiles; long enough for me to be a civil man in your presence, enough to hold your hand without wanting to join you on the table...

Mulder quickly jaunts back to Scully's room; bypassing the various hospital personnel as they glance at him with careful eyes. He approaches the room, taps the door twice and listens with his hand to the knob.

Dr. Betheson answers from the opposite side of the door, "Ah, yes? I'm in with a patient."

Mulder opens the door slightly and peeks his head inside. Scully rests, from his view, awkwardly on the examination bed; her abdomen exposed as Dr. Betheson traces a manual transducer over the lubricated skin.

"Hey, come on in." Mulder inches in with a bit of reluctance and a sheepish expression. She extends her hand to him; inviting him to her side.

"Karen, this is my partner, Fox Mulder. Mulder, this is Karen Betheson. We attended MU together -- well, actually she graduated my first year of med. school."

He smiles in a faint congenial greeting as he nods his head and moves closer to Scully, "Nice to meet you, Dr. Betheson."

She assumes "partner" to be a double entendre and reflects the gesture, noting her former classmate's obvious good taste in men, "Likewise, Agent Mulder." She glances back to the monitor, "We're just asserting the position of the fetus."

Mulder makes it to Scully's side; effortlessly displaying through his eyes awe and admiration at this new perspective of his partner -- a mother; glowing with life beyond explanation. The radiation of life touches his skin as he takes her hand in his own; absorbing the strangely natural energy emitted uniquely by pregnant women. She stares up into his spiraling pools of light green and hazel as he too, views the ocean in her coves; lapping silently with gentle grace. Their immortal souls connect on a powerful level yet unknown until now. A connection forged and made pact by generations of being common soul mates.

"All right, there it is," the doctor points to the image on the screen; a faint swishing sound and a muffled thumping is heard. "Dana. We've got a picture today! The baby is positioned ideally, even in such an early state; good sign," she points to the darkened silhouette of tiny, yet visible life."I'd say that with the progression of development, as the placenta grows from this position, you'll carry to term with less stress to you legs and lumbar. Lordosis -- if any, should be minimal."

"How is the development of the limbs?" Scully strains to memorize every detail of the image upon the screen; Mulder glances intently between her expression and the screen. "Does everything appear normal as of yet?"

"Yes, everything appears to be stable and developing correctly. We'll make sure of that with the CVS. Are you ready for that, Dana?"

Scully glances from the doctor to Mulder and back to the screen. Mulder tightens his grip around her hand; assuring her of his unconditional support, and the certainty of his presence. She nods to Dr. Betheson.

March 4, 2000
6:57 p.m.
Georgetown Memorial Hospital
Prenatal and Maternity Ward

Mulder acts as a sentry as he paces the door leading to the Prep Room. He is immersed in thought; the pivotal revelations of the day zigzagging through his mind.

Everyday, Scully, I find another way to admire you, your strength, and your courage. You are the most remarkably wonderful person I know. Watching you, as you maintained your even neutrality of thought and body throughout the procedure -- was amazing. Even more amazing, is the new glow you have -- the one they say all pregnant women get, well you've got it. I should have noticed it before. God Scully, you're a gorgeous woman, but you're an unequivocally beautiful mother. I see you now as I dared not to before, and even then it was difficult to control the urge to "get out of the damn car," as you so aptly put it. And now, all I want is to get as far away from the damn car as we can get. I want to take you far away from the road we've been driving down for so long, and I want to take you to a secluded hill, hidden away from the world. I want to feel your heart beating next to mine and feel the life growing within you.... Life is telling us something ... and I believe we've been given a second chance.

Scully buttons the last button of her blouse as she slips into her black high-heeled pumps.

Oh, baby, you seem to be okay. Do you feel the love I have for you? What about Mulder's? He touched my bare skin with the intention of feeling you ...did you feel the love I felt? ... I hope you are the life of good, but my darkest fears doubt the better.... Please, God, let this child be normal and safe. Before, I had distanced myself from you in my weaker moments; I was wrong and I'm sorry. Now, this isn't death, but life -- did you give it to me? This feels ... so, ethereal ... my medical knowledge cannot even quantify or characterize how I feel.

She finishes dressing and collecting her belongings. She emerges from the room as she adjusts the clasp of her necklace.

Mulder turns from his retreating pace to face her as he hears her wonted footsteps, "Ready?"

She shifts her purse on her shoulder and her coat to drape her forearm, "Yeah, I just have to sign the paperwork first."

He nods as he recognizes the distant worry in her eyes.

Dr. Betheson returns from the direction of the nurses' desk. She stares intently at the top paper on her clipboard as she approaches Mulder and Scully.

"All right, we'll start the testing tonight and everything should be processed by tomorrow. I'll contact you as soon as the results are in," she glances to Scully.

"Thank you very much. I appreciate all that you have done," Scully offers her hand to Dr. Betheson and they shake. Mulder nods again and does the same.

Dr. Betheson hesitates awkwardly a moment then speaks, "Dana, I know and I can tell you're an extremely strong woman -- both physically and emotionally. However, I strongly advise you to take your maternity leave as soon as possible." She glances to Mulder as if directing him to abide; he understands. "As you know, the fetus' development in the first stages of pregnancy is quite vital to its health. And as you have a record or physical traumas -- many job-related, it's best to step away now. The fetus is quite healthy, as are you, but you still run the risk of premature over exhaustion to you immune system, since it is still rather fragile."

Scully glances at Mulder who is reflecting the doctor's sentiment, "Thank you. I understand your concern. I'll do my best to take leave early."

Scully and Mulder turn to leave and begin to walk toward their departing destination. Dr. Betheson moves in the direction of Scully's former room.

She calls back to them, "Please do, Dana. I'll talk to you tomorrow. Take care."

Scully nods with a small smile, "Okay, you too."

She then leads the way down the corridor, back to the direction of the lobby. Mulder gaits in stride with her; placing his right hand on the familiar area of her back as she flashes a smile at him knowing he is more than staking a claim to her or merely offering friendly support. Her eyes scan the signs above the doors and attached to the walls. As they reach the end of the corridor, she turns in the opposite direction than of their arrival. Mulder glances at her questioningly for a moment, then realizes her intention. They approach the nursery; encased with glass windows bearing various pastel designs. She stops and stares with a gentle glow into the small, pink faces of the sleeping, crying, and contented babies. She raises her fingertips to touch the glass and traces a small design as she lightly kneads her lips together.

Mulder moves his arm around her waist and rests his palm on her hip as he watches her, "I like this, Scully. Let's stay here ... the life in here dulls the pain of knowledge.... What do you think?"

They linger silently for a few moments gazing at the diminutive, angelic beings as they allow themselves a fraction of well-deserved tranquility.

"Mulder," she speaks softly and looks up into his eyes "miracles happen everyday."

He gazes at her and the aura surrounding her even in the already luminous hallway. He knows she is living proof of her own statement -- in more ways than one. She gathers herself in his gaze; touched by his own radiance reflecting down at her. Suddenly a vision of a man with a child in his arms flashes across her mind. The child is a little girl no less than three, with cascades of curly auburn hair, grayish-blue eyes, prominent yet gentle features of her cheeks, jaw, and nose and a small mouth with a pouty lower lip. Mulder cradles the girl in a playful game of twirling. He is smiling with the same radiance Scully sees flowing from him now.

The image impresses itself into her memory; instilling Mulder as more than just her partner, her best friend, or her significant other -- she sees him as a father.

She looks down with a flush from the overwhelming combination of emotions composing her happiness; she turns in the direction of their arrival. Mulder follows her lead; releasing her from his encompassing arm as they walk back down the hall. Scully approaches the nurses' desk once again.

"May I have the insurance forms and the other paperwork, please?"

"All right, Dr. Scully, please sign here," she points to a line on an insurance and standard hospital information form. "This will verify today's appointment as well as our return information results to you." Scully scans and signs the paper. "That's it. Thank you. We'll contact you tomorrow," she smiles. "Have a nice day."

Scully nods and turns back to Mulder. They walk back to the lobby and head to the elevator.

A man in scrubs follows alongside them and approaches the family. A sudden roar of exclamation and cheer erupts as the large family hugs and congratulates one another. Shouts of "twins," "boys," and various newborn baby information floods the small lobby.

Mulder and Scully near the elevator against the motions of the happy crowd. They smile at the father; he catches their gaze as they board the open elevator with other visitors already aboard. The elevator closes and Mulder presses their garage level. He steps next to Scully's side and they ride down to their level in silence. They exit only after the other passengers have left.

"Scully?" he asks with an impish grin spreading across his face.

"Hmm?" she flashes a questioning glance.

"Twins! Six pounds a piece! What do you--"

"Mulder!" she glares at him in warning. "Don't bite off more than you can chew."

"I wasn't going to intimate anything ... really, Scully," he gives her a slight, callow nudge and changes topic, "Hey, are you ... uhh, hungry? Or are you still feeling ... uhh ... queasy?"

"I'm thirsty actually, but I'll be fine until I get home," she says indifferently.

"No. I'll buy you something in the cafeteria.... I'm taking care of you from her on out," he says stopping as he begins to turn around.

She contests with a knowing sigh and barrier of stubborn independence -- he senses it.

Smiling boyishly, "C'mon Scul-lee, let me become a doting husband -- no objections? Okay, good."

"Mulder! It's okay. I'll be fine. And please, don't patronize me like an invalid! I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself!" she protests in her no-nonsense demeanor.

"Hey Scully, you're the doctor here and you know as well as I do that you need all the fluids you can get, especially when you're in need of them."

He returns his own staid expression and reaches out to cup her elbow as he takes another step in their destination's opposite direction. His stubborn concern begins to mount to a clash with her headstrong impassiveness.

"You're going to use that against me every time I make even the slightest decision that indicates to you that I'm jeopardizing my health, aren't you?" she flashes a patented Look, warning him of her present boundaries that forbid passage.

"Just offering the counterpoint, my Love," he grins as he reflects sincerity, yet recoils from his overbearing disposition.

Scully turns back to the direction of the parking garage and Mulder's hand falls loose from her elbow. He follows her begrudgingly and they pass through the automatic doors to the parking area. Only a few parking spaces from the hospital's entrance, Scully's car is parked with its government stickers displayed.

"You're going to keep doing that too now, aren't you? ... Using terms of endearment to ingratiate yourself with me every time you piss me off. Mulder, step out of line and I'll shoot you again," she smiles coyly with wickedly glittering eyes.

Mulder grins awkwardly at Scully from the passenger side of the car as she unlocks the car doors. They open the doors and lower themselves into their seats, shut their doors and situate themselves. Scully puts the keys in the ignition and starts the car as she reaches for her seat belt. Mulder is caught in another moment of revelation as he watches her mundane actions; suddenly visualizing her while she tiredly paces her bedroom floor as she massages her turgid belly. Enrapt by the beauty and mystery of his Love entering motherhood, he slowly extends his right hand to caress her right cheek as he begins to lean over the console. She turns at his approach; the seat belt slowly slips from her grasp. He cossets her cheek to her neck with gentle fingers as he leans farther over; lowering to secure his lips to hers. Her eyes are hazy with revived desire; her vision obscures and she closes her eyes, succumbing to the pressure of his moist, careful lips against hers.

The new familiarity of their connection through empyreal osculation creates a peace and strengthens the unspoken understanding that has amalgamated their entire beings for ages. Their intermingled breaths become one in the softness of tender lip to tender lip; eventually slowing to a small stillness of space as their lips hover close, yet broken from the kiss. Mulder watches her pearly eyelids slowly unveil her slightly dilated, azure eyes.

He murmurs, barely a breath apart from her, "I love you, Dana. You are everything to me. You have been my happiness ... my salvation ... my only true thing for all these years," he massages her right cheek with his right thumb as he cups her face, "You've brought me life in so many ways, and now this new life within you has given you -- given us a second chance."

"I'm ready to take it," she says whispering into his lips.

The evening sun descends into dusk; the dim garage lot and cars are illuminated with the fading rays. Mulder and Scully disregard the sun's radiance; concentrating on each other's own brilliance. He smiles and pulls her against his chest. She encircles his neck and brings her lips to kiss his forehead as he is bowed downward. She suddenly laughs and smiles into it.

"What?" he asks with a hint of confusion.

She smiles with her eyes and lips as she looks into his, "We've touched today -- probably more times than we have in all of our years together. It feels so good ... so right. Why have we waited so long?"

"Let's chalk it up to professionalism, Dr. Scully," he teases.

She smiles girlishly and rolls her eyes at the now ludicrous concept.

"However, it's never stood in the way of our subtle affection.... I've always tried to stay as close to you as possible. You're so intricate and beautiful," he wags his brows. "I'll never get enough of what you do to me. Every time I'm with you, your presence is assuring -- it holds me together."

"Mulder? -- "

"Huh?" he smiles expectantly.

She grins coquettishly, "You talk too much."

He flashes his Hurt Puppy Dog Look as she quickly catches his bottom lip between her teeth and softly nips it. She edges to his mouth and presses her lips fully into his; kissing him passionately then pulls away licking her lips. The absence of her mouth to his sends a sudden feeling of abandonment and increased longing to Mulder as he hesitates from retreating back into the passenger seat. Scully reaches for her seat belt again and buckles it; noticing his desolate expression as she glances back at him.

"Mulder, don't look so hurt and forlorn. We're adults and federal employees, we can't make out in a hospital parking garage like teenagers at some Lovers' Point. Besides, aren't we expected somewhere? You spoke to Frohike, right?"

He blinks himself back to the rest of the world, "Yeah.... They know something, but he wouldn't tell me what over the phone -- understandable," he assures.

She puts the car in reverse and angles toward the exit, "Buckle up."

He does so.

"So, you mean to tell me that they have information about my pregnancy and yet haven't bothered to tell me."

"I think they just found out, too. He said the information was filtered into their systems only after you had your first appointment."

"Conspiracies are such a pain in the ass! Information is hard to get in any straight form. After this one is all said and done with -- exposed, I think we'll qualify as certified conspiracy veterans and we can just retire all together!" she says with a bitter, sarcastic tone and sighs with vexation.

He looks to her with a faint, sympathetic smile. They both become silent as she rolls down her window while approaching the toll booth and as she pays the attendant. Scully closes the window as they proceed out of the hospital parking area in the direction of the Lone Gunmen's shelter.

"Scully..," he whispers almost inaudibly, "Honey -- I'm starting to fear we've switched personalities! ... I think I've pushed you too hard into conspiracy theorizing. Here you are jumping to conclusions -- maybe, hell I don't know. How can we be sure it's a conspiracy? -- I'm not disagreeing with you, but where's the concrete evidence?" He kicks himself mentally Is there ever really any? "There isn't any, well at least any other than the actual facts."

She side glances at him with a cock of her head, "Mulder, what are you implying?"

He turns away from her glancing eye contact and stares out of the dashboard window, "I don't know. What if -- what if somehow you..." he trails off.

"Mulder? If I what?"

Pain clearly enters his voice, "Scully, God, I'm just so afraid..." he pauses full of grief, "I'm afraid that someone raped you without you even being aware of anything happening to you. Are-are you--"

The pain in his voice and expression reflects itself onto Scully's visage. She is aware of his total and complete devotion to her well-being that causes him to construct every possible scenario -- as painful as they may be.

She extends her right hand to touch his left arm as her face contorts in sad concern, "I-I don't know what happened to me. I can't even claim to understand fully any of this. But Mulder, if I were raped -- conscious or not, I don't think the brutalities of such an act could ever be forgotten or go unnoticed for this amount of time. However, I do agree with you, it's a possibility. Maybe somehow I was desensitized or I-I wa -- " her voice suddenly catches in her throat and she expels a sharp, dry gasp as a harsh realization hits her and she is growing increasingly upset.

Mulder clutches her free hand as he starts to stroke her fingers to soothe her, "I'm sorry, Scully. I didn't mean to upset you. You're -- "

She blinks away the stinging physical effects of her recent emotionalism and releases her hand from Mulder's as she pulls the car into a vacant parking lot, quickly parks it then turns off the ignition. He is staring at her intently with concern. She grips the steering wheel as her shoulders bow and her vision fixes ahead into the fading afterglow and the growing strength of the moonlight.

She whispers hoarsely, "It's not you. It's having no control over my own reproductive decisions due to some obscure, unethical, and sinister agenda that seems to govern the most basic and precious of human abilities." She looks at him with a mixture of conviction and sorrow, "Mulder, I remember something."

He places his left hand on her right shoulder, "What, Scully?"

She stares down toward the steering wheel through the haze invading her mind, "That trip I took," reflecting despairingly, "in defiance to myself and to you -- when I left in search of false promises that only the alias C.G.B. Spender could twine ... I think something happened."

He tenses with immediate anger at the newly rising concepts, "Scully -- "

"No, Mulder. Let me finish," he appeases to her sorrowful expression; knowing she is fighting herself inside. "The night he had driven us to the lake area -- in which he was purposefully exclusive in directional information, he had offered to take over driving. I had driven for what must have been over twenty or so hours and I suppose was in obvious need of sleep. Yet, I didn't trust him for a minute while I had no way of knowing his motive or our destination," he gives her a look of obvious regard toward putting trust in the elusive man. "I fell asleep. The next thing I knew I was in bed, wearing my own pajamas, and it was morning. I checked -- "

"Scully, you -- "

She bores her narrowed, distressed vision into his angry and distraught eyes, "Mulder! Stop it! It's hard enough to get this out without wanting to stab myself ... please don't do it for me."

His face and eyes soften in awareness of the effect of his imminent responses. She pauses with his silent apology and then continues, "I suspect somehow he drugged and desensitized me, brought me into the cabin ... and ...impregnated me -- not physically, but clinically." Contemplative puzzlement crosses her wearied features, "But that sort of technology -- oh God, Mulder! I can't take this! I can't -- "

She is bombarded once again with violent tears of regression and those of her present state of emotion. He reaches to her again and strokes back her hair; she allows herself to be pulled into his arms and to rest against him.

"It's okay, let it go.... I'll kill the bastard!"

"Mulder, I just can't comprehend how any individual or group could ever be so inhumane as to undauntedly inflict such pain ... such violation onto innocent people. Is that just it? Crimes against humanity because all that is humane seems to be deteriorating?"

He muffles into her hair; hugging her close, "Oh God, honey, I wish I knew. I want to take your pain away from you. You don't deserve any of this pain -- you never have. As much as I love you and am endlessly thankful for each day with you," he stifles a few small sobs; becoming anguished and broken, "I can't help but think of how you could be a practicing doctor somewhere, living in a nice neighborhood, married to a nice man, and raising your beautiful children. How, if they had chosen someone else -- anyone else I would have been dead long ago and misery like this would never have happened to you."

Mulder closes his eyes and tightens his arms around her shoulders; drawing support for himself by holding her. Scully raises her head from his jacket's lapel and looks up into his stricken face; the features taut in self-torment. She lifts her hand to caress his brow. He opens his eyes.

"Mulder! Don't you get it?!" she speaks softly. "You don't make or cause me to be miserable." He looks at her with a tinge of hope. "You are the one person that I have ultimate trust, faith, and love in." She strokes his cheek, "I'm here -- like I've told you, because this is where I belong and it's where I want to be.... Fate or whatever it might be is why we're meant to be together and there has to be a reason behind all that we've endured. Because of the same events, we've paid unfair prices ... the ultimate price though, would be living without you. I couldn't do that -- I can't do that. I love you, Fox."

He heaves a sigh of release as his own tears of long repressed fury and grief flow freely, "You're the best thing that's ever happened to me, you know that right?"

Mulder and Scully comfort each other in the darkened car in silence for nearly ten minutes as they restore some of their emotional strength after a day of turmoil.

He licks his dry lips and whispers in a coarse, low tone, "Hey, it's been a hard day, how about I drive you home? You should probably get some rest, Scully. I'll call the guys and tell them we'll see them tomorrow."

"All right, Mulder I'll allow you to chauffeur me home," she smiles at him with her relinquishment of her side of authority. "I'll try to suspend the earnest desire to know what they know, but you're right," he flashes a surprised look; she smiles tiredly, "I should get some rest."

Mulder kisses Scully's forehead then reaches for the door handle and eases out of the car. She follows his action; finding her body to be prostrated and heavy with exhaustion as it reminds her of the importance of a good rest. Mulder adjusts the driver's seat as Scully sinks into the passenger seat and buckles up. He restarts the car and adjusts the radio to a low, yet audible level to offer Scully some pleasant lulling music. She reclines her seat a few degrees, folds her hands in her lap, and closes her eyes. The radio station's jiggle ends as Mulder pulls out of the parking lot in the direction of Scully's apartment. He smiles and glances at Scully as he immediately recognizes the familiar melody as the song begins to play. He watches her lips curl into a smile with the same realization.

"When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we'll see
No, I won't be afraid
No, I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand
Stand by me
So darling, darling, Stand by me
Oh, stand by me
Oh, stand, stand by me
Stand by me.

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
Or the mountains should crumble in the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry
No, I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand
Stand by me
So darling, darling
Stand by me
Oh, stand by me
Oh, stand, stand by me
Stand by me"

Mulder peers at Scully for the tenth time since the song started and as the music fades; she is now in a peaceful slumber-like state. Mulder takes in the familiar sight of his partner resting in the welcomely confined space of a car. Her hair is tousled a bit with a few small stray locks splaying across her forehead. Her lips are slightly pursed and are glistening in the moonlight. The curves of her cheeks, nose, and chin are illuminated. He is inspired by her ever-present, tantalizing beauty as well as the heart, soul, and mind that lie equally beautiful within her.

What would I ever do without you? What would I do if I could never experience another moment like this? ... In moments like these, when I get to observe you in the most honest and vulnerable of states, and you aren't afraid to show me such rare sights to be seen. Or how you silently surrender and allow me to protect you. The intricacy and beauty that compose you always balances me on that fine line between intellect and insanity -- you always keep me guessing ... I know I'd die without you and I'm certain that if you hadn't entered my life I wouldn't be doing much of anything -- I'd have been six feet in the ground never knowing that my head could have saved my ass had I possessed the heart to realize it. But I don't have to wonder about that, Dana Katherine, because I know that you alone are the answer to all my questions -- my soul mate and one true love, who stole the pieces of my heart and put them back together. Love is the sole truth worth seeking, where everything else relatively falls into place....

March 4, 2000
9:14 p.m.
Scully's Apartment Parking lot

Mulder whispers softly to Scully as he brushes her left cheek lightly with his left knuckles, "Scully. Hey, Scul-lee..." He smiles as she opens her unfocused eyes. "Hey, I take it you were sleeping well, but c'mon," she blinks as she wakes up and stretches with a little moan, "let's get you to bed."

Scully smiles still not fully awake or aware after her short nap. Mulder pulls the keys out of the ignition, opens his door as he climbs out of the car, shuts the door and moves to Scully's side. She has unbuckled her seat belt and opened her door; she searches for and finds her purse. He holds her door and offers her unnecessary, gentlemanlike assistance as she slowly emerges from the car.

"Muul-der! Really," she protests softly, "you don't have to do this -- " she motions between them to connote his attentive actions. "You can be," she smirks wearily as she shuts and locks the doors," ... *normal*. I promise, my legs won't fall off or--"

"Scully? -- " he interrupts sternly.

She subdues to his tone and looks to him questioningly, "Hmm?"

He grins as he extends his hands toward her waist, "Anybody ever tell you how damn stubborn you are?" He pulls her to him with a swift, gentle enclosure of her waist in his arms.

"Mul--!" she stammers with his approach.

He expertly scoops her into his arms with an agile motion; she is caught off guard by his swiftness and by his comment. Her expression quickly passes from slightly hurt and surprised to obvious elation. She is forced to put her arms around his neck for balance and they smile at each other, knowing the multitude of levels in their newfound intimacy. Mulder moves toward the building as he carefully supports Scully's lumbar region and her legs as he is mindful of her skirt.

"I like carrying you -- makes me think of jungles and leopard skins," he deadpans with glowing eyes and arched eyebrows.

Scully reflects as she stares into his eyes; her own clouded with sleep and passion, "I don't know, Mulder. I think white terry cloth towels have the same effect."

Mulder makes his way into Scully's apartment building like a true heroic figure supporting his long-lost maiden. All the while they are leering seductively at one another through eyes filled with passion and mirth.

Several tenants pass the jovial couple; recognizing their conservative, stoic, independent neighbor in the arms of her only frequent visitor -- "Ms. Scully's Attractive Coworker" as a few of the older female tenants refer to him as. Scully's usual professional demeanor has diminished as she lolls in Mulder's strong arms; revealing to all the woman beneath yearning for her rightful man.

They reach apartment Number Five and Scully begins to try to edge out of Mulder's tenure to retrieve her keys from her purse and to open the door.

He flexes his arms to tighten his hold, "Uh-un, Scully. I'm not lettin' you down -- not when I can carry you over the threshold." He smiles in remembrance. "Just get them out like this."

Scully rolls her eyes at his persistence, yet obeys and gives into their growing role play. She briefly catches the eye contact of a curious neighbor down the hall who has obviously been alerted of this sight to be seen as she pokes her head out the door. The older lady flashes Scully a secretive, girlish smile then turns back into her apartment. Mulder remains unaware of Scully's brief, fatuous nonverbal communication as he watches her pull her purse into her lap, taking this opportunity to casually inspect any physical signs of Scully's motherly distinction.

"Scully?" he looks to her with a questioning smirk marred with sarcasm as she reaches into her purse, answering with a turn of her head. "Do you think it's instinctive of new ... and practicing mothers to, uh, carry excess baggage?"

"More than you think," she says giving him a clandestine smile as she pulls the keys out of her purse.

Mulder nods, unsure of exactly what Scully may be implying. She puts the keys into the lock, unlocks the dead bolt then opens the door. He steps forward and pushes the door further open with Scully's feet, making their way inside.

"One step closer to marital consolidation -- how's that for progress, Love?"

"Sure, why not? The threshold is a prehistoric symbol for a new beginning -- what the hell, let's make it ours," she gently kicks the door shut as Mulder turns to do so. "I mean, how often do we accomplish anything in an orthodox manner, Mulder?"

He gives her a knowing grimace and they smile into laughter as she drops her purse into a chair next to the door and flips a light on. She then reaches back to the door and locks the deadbolt.

Mulder moves in the direction of her bedroom, making a mental note.

Locking me in, Scully? ... I love it when you play my game. You're better at it, though. Your innuendoes are always a lot more allusive.... And God, how that turns me on -- Jesus, I'm hopeless!

"I think your bed awaits you, Miss Scully," he says edging into the kitchen as he glances at the couch in the living room.

"Hold on. Here -- let me down. I want to make some tea first."

Mulder raises his left eyebrow in a conspicuous manner of mindful objection. He waits momentarily, then reluctantly releases Scully to her feet.

"Thanks," she smiles with depth then turns to assemble her tea kettle."Do you want something to drink? Or to eat?"

"Sandwich?" he asks, a tinge of sarcasm lingering in his tone as he watches her.

She nods toward the refrigerator as she turns on the sink facet and pours hot water into the kettle, "There should be some lean turkey and Muenster cheese in the deli drawer. There might be a small jar of grey poupon on the door -- I'm not sure. Here's the bread," she reaches into a basket, pulls out a loaf of marble rye and plops it onto the counter. She then moves to the stove, setting the tea kettle down as she turns it on.

Mulder turns and stalks toward the refrigerator. He opens the door and stands before the organized shelves, studying their contents for a few moments. He then begins to retrieve the condiments.

"Iced tea -- Scully, this has to be close heaven," he says smiling like a young boy as he pulls a pitcher and the sandwich items out of the refrigerator.

He turns from the refrigerator to find she has left. He shrugs and moves to place all the items on the counter. He pulls a knife from the silverware drawer and begins to assemble his post-dinnertime snack. After making his sandwich he pours himself a glass of iced tea and gulps down half the glass. As he takes a bite of his sandwich, he suddenly remembering that he and Scully were supposed to have a rendezvous with the Lone Gunmen after her appointment. He quickly pulls his cell phone from his interior jacket pocket and dials the Gunmen's number. The line rings three times.

"Yeah?" Langly answers with the hint of preoccupation.

The tea kettle begins to sputter and steam; Mulder quickly removes it from the burner, then takes a cup from a cupboard above the stove and pours the steaming tea for Scully.

"Hey, Langly -- it's Mulder. I took Scully home. She needs to get some rest, but we'll be over tomorrow to check out what you guys found."

"Yeah okay, Mulder. How is she?"

"She's fine. She just went to bed.... Hey Langly, thanks. I'll talk to you tomorrow."

"Glad to hear she's okay. All right, Mulder. Oh! Hey wait!" Langly's voice adopts an excited tone often related to the discovery of yet another impending conspiracy, "Check this out: 'Prehistoric Evidence Reveals Evil Plot' -- it's about a--"

"All right, thanks. Yeah, just tell me about it tomorrow, Langly. I gotta go."

"Okay, see ya then," Langly says understandingly, yet somewhat disappointed.

They both click off the line and Mulder places his cell phone back into his pocket.

He turns from the counter to retrieve a teaspoon from the silverware drawer; stunned to see Scully gliding silently toward him in an elegant white, gossamer satin, floor-length night gown with thin straps and a low V-neck. He is startled, yet immensely pleased as he quickly scans the curves of her slim body in the accentuating gown.

Not so allusive.... Mulder's newly revived racing mind registers as Scully steps directly in front of him and he can only stare at her in loving reverence, mouth slightly agape. He is motionless, regardless of his body's reactions to her approach.

Scully's eyes are hooded in deep, amorous passion and her lips are drawn into a rosy curve at the corners of her mouth as she reaches to hold both of his jacket's lapels and quickly begins to slide the slightly worn leather off of his shoulders.

She croons seductively in a low, husky voice, "Mulder, we never took the opportunity to 'spoon up like baby cats' as I recall.... Is now a terrible time to ask if Scully can be Dana?"

"Never. I'll deny you nothing G-Woman," he answers grinning as he realizes that she has just struck a wall of her own heart and sent it crumbling to the ground.

He smiles lecherously as she encircles his neck with her arms and pulls him to her with an astounding, wanton strength. His hands lower to her hips; tingling as he touches the soft, silky satin and feels the warmth of her body radiating to touch his own skin. She brings her lips to lightly touch his as she edges them in the direction of her bedroom. He allows her to lead them; draping his jacket on a kitchen chair as they pass by it. With proportionate affection and lust, Scully ravenously kisses him from his lips, to his neck and Adam's apple, to the skin she reveals as she adroitly unbuttons his shirt as they edge down the hallway. His fingertips and hands trail the material of her gown as he sedulously explores the curves of her body from her shoulder blades, to the outline of her breasts, to her midback, then to her hips and butt. He lowers his lips to her collarbone; plotting a trail of nips and kisses along the ridge to her neck, and up to her jawbone.

They have entered her room.

Scully rubs her hands along his biceps and he shrugs out of his shirt; it drops to the floor near her bed. He eagerly kisses her neck as she traces her fingertips down his bare torso to his pants and begins to unclasp the buckle of his belt.

Mulder abruptly lifts his head from her neck to look into her eyes as he releases her hips and moves to gently hold her wrists. She stops and stares up into his face with confusion.

Genuine concern and love flood from his eyes into hers, "We can't do this tonight. God, I want to, but we both know we shouldn't tonight," he sinks to sit on her bed, pulling her to sit close beside him. He interlaces his fingers with hers; watching her watch him. "Today has been long and overwhelming ... our new revelations are strong, but strength does last, Dana.... You've just been tested and I wouldn't want to do anything that could remotely harm you or the baby. I just want to hold you close to me....You need peace."

Scully smiles at the man before her; a rare relic of nobility, trust, and eternal devotion. He speaks the truth for all of his heart with his mouth, yet mostly in the way he reflects the words of his soul in the depths of his eyes. Their private emotions speak volumes in synapse of their silence. Their complete understanding of one another leaves words the inadequate form of communication.

Mulder releases her hands and stands motioning her to lay down. He departs in the direction of the kitchen to get her cup of tea.

Mulder returns a few moments later sans shirt, pants, belt, shoes and socks; wearing only a pair of black silk boxers and carrying the steaming cup of herbal tea. Scully is lying on her side beneath her bed covers, her head rests angled on a pillow in the direction of her bathroom; her eyes are growing heavy. She realizes Mulder's presence as he quietly approaches; her eyes widen as he comes into focus.

"Do you want some of this before you fall asleep? It might relax some nerves," he asks kneeling beside the bed as he offers the cup.

She smiles the familiar small smile she grants to gestures of kindness as she slightly raises herself from the pillows then takes the cup from him. He watches her take a few cautious sips then set the cup on the nightstand.

He lifts his fingertips to caress her cheek, "You're so beautiful. I've always been attracted to you," he adds as he inwardly fights the denial of physical love.

She smiles with a faint blush as she leads his face to hers and kisses him softly. He returns it with a smile then stands again as she perks her eyes a little to take in the sight of his virile, taut, and nearly bare body donning his sleek boxers.

"Want me to rub your back?" he asks leaning his knees against the bed.

She nods as she floats between the realms of consciousness and dreamland; slowly she moves to a ventral position.

He is greeted by her approval and moves his knees to the bed and begins to straddle her on his haunches. She rests her head in the cradle of her arms as he begins to softly knead her scapular trapezius muscles with tender caresses of pressure from warm hands. He gradually moves his way down her shoulders and back with the soothing strokes. She relinquishes a few soft, gratifying groans with his touch to her skin.

As quite minutes slide into time, Mulder feels her body relax into repose. Scully has fallen asleep to his ministrations and is snoring to the lightest of degrees. He is pleased with his ability to bring pleasure and peace to he true love. He carefully removes himself from straddling her still form and lays down next to her, watching her angelic features rise and fall with breath. He leans over her, turns off the light on the night stand, then gently drapes his left arm protectively over her waist, cradled in the small of her back by the tender curves of her body. He settles on his right side and watches with certainty in the dark blindness the gradual movement of his very life beneath his fingers. She is serene, despite the weighted lassitude from the day's events; his soothing actions have elevated her to a cloud beyond all her mortal worries.

He trails his fingers in light motions along the silken fabric close to her warm skin. A sleepy sigh escapes from within as she turns yet in her unconscious state to her left side. He feels the feathery caress of her breath across his cheek and automatically, as if an innate or natural movement of time, draws her body close to his own. The gentle rhythm of her body releasing and rising against his, lulls his own weary body into slumber.

Fox and Dana fill the lonely void that each have entertained for so long. It now exists only as a faint memory as their synchronous presence becomes as if it always were. Together, they sleep harmoniously and in this temporary peace, the night allows them both an escape from the world the daylight brings.

March 4, 2000
11:21 p.m.
Apartment #5

Today, the sky is an uncommonly unadulterated shade of blue. I feel a balmy breeze and the calm rush of water.

The ocean.

It reminds me of the day Ahab took Bill Junior, Missy, and me to the beach after he and Mom had told us we were soon going to have a baby brother.

I'll never forget that day as long as I live or as old as I get.

That day I knew what it meant to be happy with life and its responsibilities. Despite my youth, I knew.

My simple newfound purpose and vow to protect my inevitable younger sibling with all my being, had ingrained a new feeling of maturity within me. I had personally and selflessly relinquished my babyhood to the prospect of purpose and responsibility.

That day, I built a sandcastle for the first time as an independent child. Ahab said it looked like Fort Saint Charles.

The sky is pristine azure. The sun is a fading golden hue.

My feet are sinking into lush, moist sand with every stride I take. I feel the cool water curl around my ankles and watch the surf as it crashes calmly into the shore and then recedes. The wind picks up a knot, wisps my hair into my eyes, then subsides again.

The familiar touch upon my back does not startle me, but veers my attention.

I turn and I am staring up into the handsome and inviting face I have come to know so well. His eyes are bright with apparent love, his mouth is curved in a smile that beckons me to it. The sunlight illuminates him and I engulf this glowing radiance with a kiss.

"I now pronounce you husband and wife."

Our lips part and I slowly open my eyes. I am treated to the immediate vision of my Fox Mulder in a very a la mode tuxedo, smiling through both his beautiful golden-hazel eyes and the sexy, full-bottom-lipped grin that never ceases to quicken my pulse. His hands are holding mine and we are both wearing wedding bands.

I am legally married to Fox Mulder. Finally. Yet, in a way, it matters not. This marriage is new, yet we have already been married for so long, in a way that no law has jurisdiction.

Eternity, as I recall it.

The marriage of eternity is absolute. Binding. A force for which there is no escape, nor desire to do so. It is something that two souls are born into and upon their meeting, only is the marriage made pact with destiny. That is why the term "soul mates" exists. It is a gift for which the significance is so complex, yet the simplicity of it is actually quite beautiful.

This day is symbolic of Forever.

I glance behind Fox and my eyes behold a sight that borders ludicrous, yet is essentially appropriate for us.

The presence of our wedding ceremony is small and quaint. The three men we have long been affiliated with and befriended to, stand like staunch butlers, tiering in height from Langly, Byers, then to Frohike. They are all dressed as I have never witnessed before, save for Byers: gentlemen in dapper suits. A singular row of attendants spans the area. My mother is content, her eyes glistening with a relief and pride I have seen before. Assistant Director Skinner sits next to my mother. His expression reflects something so close to a fatherly approbation; I revel in its intention for Fox. To my mother's right are Bill and Charles dressed in their formal uniforms. Bill mirrors my father's image and he is happy -- a peace in its self. Tara, Matthew, and Charles' family sit in close proximity.

Somehow, I know the company of this room is much larger than the people I see before me. I feel a greater presence.

I blink and in an instance, I see them. Truly we are not alone -- ever.

Just beyond our mortal company, I see the light. In it, stands the beauty of our hereafter. I see peace and happiness.

Ahab. Missy. Emily. Mr. Mulder. Mrs. Mulder. ... Samantha.

She is so beautiful. A child, yet a young woman.

They are align in a row. Beautiful people standing on guard as angels.

My eyes feel heavy. Tears. I am happy, and yet these tears fall.

Within my body, I feel a movement. A life still yet to enter this world.

No moment has ever felt so complete. With this feeling of totality, a happiness wells beneath and I cannot and will not stifle this pure joy.

I laugh for all that I am worth.

I will never trade this moment for anything in the entire universe.

I feel my husband's arms wrapped around me.

We are alone and together in the night, bathed in the light of the moon. He is smiling at me, yet he seems puzzled.

March 4, 2000
11:21 p.m.
Scully's Bedroom

"Mulder? ... Mulder? -- Fox?" Scully laughs as she attempts to whisper to him and places her right hand on his chest. She is so profoundly happy that tears stream down her face and some begin to fall onto Mulder's chin and chest as she is poised above him, supported on her left elbow.

He stirs, opens his eyes, and smiles with the sight of her close to him, "What, Scully?" He sits up slightly as he awakens and notices her tears, "Are you--"

Her lips overcome his and he is assured that her tears fall as a result of felicity.

They kiss in the stillness of the night, bathed in moonlight for several moments of physical exertion and mutual peace. As their lips linger close, they hold each other closer, resting in one another's embrace.

"Dreaming visions?" Mulder whispers in question as he already knows her answer. She nods and remains silent for a moment more.

"Mulder..." her eyes meld with his, "I married you a long time ago."

He looks at her puzzled for a moment, smiling at her offhanded comment. She closes her eyes and begins to drift back to sleep.

"Best day of my life..." he says quietly, kissing the bridge of her nose as he reflects on the day a small, brownish-red-head, presumptuously fragile, somewhat arrogant green agent walked into his office and ended up stealing his heart the moment he met her eyes. He smiles as he holds her to him, feeling her heart beating close to his own.

As Mulder closes his eyes once again, a small, almost undetectable movement within Scully's body touches his as they lie close.

March 5, 2000
7:01 a.m.
Scully's Bedroom

Mulder awakens to the peaceful, rhythmic breathing of the bantam form curled loosely next him. He is very well rested, for the only reason of which is awaking next to Scully. This closeness of her body serves to mock his own in a sweet, yet painfully longing provocation.

He gazes at her sleeping form, only now, from a newer perspective.

Gently and with the utmost care, he slides from beneath the covers; not wanting to disturb her in any manner. Glancing at her bedside alarm clock, he reads, "7:04."

God, she is so beautiful. I couldn't ask for a better way to start the day. Well, except for not having to leave our sublime haven to take a piss ... all except for that.

After visiting the bathroom, Mulder once again moves to Scully's bed, yet only to observe her more in-depth as he crouches next to the side of the bed he had receded from. Watching for only a few minutes, the slight flutter of her eyelids as she is in REM sleep.

His newest espial comes not from guilt, that formerly caused him to coerce himself for observing Dana Scully in such a private manner. Yet now, it comes from the pure elation of knowing that she will be by his side night and day; cohabiting together in their growing intimate domestic life as well as their solid professional relationship.

In his extensive visual exploration, he notices the slender curves that he has come to know so well from sight and the occasional touch. Realizing that even as he is watching, the tiny life inside of her will soon grow and expand to demand its existence as it shapes her small form to accommodate itself. He also notices a diminutive foot jutting out from beneath the sheet; each visible toe nail meticulously polished in a light iridescent hue.

Resisting the urge to touch her or to rejoin her in bed, Mulder moves in the direction of her kitchen in order retrieve her newspaper from the front door and to later prepare her breakfast upon her waking.

March 5, 2000
9:15 a.m.
Scully's Bedroom

Scully shifts in bed upon hearing a soft clamor from the kitchen, yet dismissing it in her still peaceful state of semi-unconciousness.

Only a few moments later, her senses overwhelm her as she awakens to the smell of burnt toast and coffee. Her alert and logical mind alarms her of a possible danger in this knowledge as she rolls from her right side to her back and suddenly sees Mulder moving to her side as her vision clears. He is carrying a large glass of milk, a plate full of freshly cut fruit as well as slightly burnt toast. Also, as a true gentleman of humor and appreciative of cliched romanticism, he carries a pink rose clenched between his teeth and sportive grin; all in his attractive and sole ensemble of silk, black boxers.

"I thought--" he smiles as he sees her stirring and begins to speak in muffled response, despite the thorny daggers against his lips.

Scully sits up with her back against the headboard and pillows as she yawns with a sigh of indifference, soon turning into a small smile, "Mul-der?"

He sets the glass of milk and the plate on the night table next to her. Then he removes the rose with a flourish and a leer as he offers it to her, "I thought if I started now," she takes the rose with a tired smile, anticipating his speech, "I could become a doting husband with just three easy sessions of full-fledged protests, followed by a few casual 'really you don't have to's' or a couple of 'this isn't necessary's,' and finally you'd become acquiescent to my earnest persistence that I'd have the freedom to do something for you without that uncanny -- albeit sexy expression, that you give me almost every--" he babbles out as if in excuse of his actions as she interrupts.

"Mulder," he breaks off. They pause for a few seconds and she smiles lovingly up at him as she carefully thumbs a thorn, "It's very nice."

She situates herself then he hands her the plate, a napkin, and a fork. He watches her take a bite of melon. She catches his softly intent eyes with amusement and laughs while chewing.

"What?" he asks with a half smile.

Sleep and seduction loom in her mind, "Mulder..." he nods in response and question, "give me one reason why I shouldn't tug those come-jump-me boxers off and make love to you right now?" her expression is sincere and lascivious.

He is genuinely aroused, yet clear-thinking in response; he crouches next to her bedside, "You're making this very hard -- to say no," he states embarrassed and lowers his voice to a soft tone, "but Scully, I won't allow myself the idle opportunity to tempt fate and destroy your baby. I want you very badly -- you know that, but if we have sex we're running a grave risk."

She sets the plate and fork on the night table then extends her right hand to touch his left shoulder, urging him to sit upon the bed.

She replies in a soft, reassuring whisper, "I know, Mulder. I know. It's just difficult to accept that," she closes her eyes, "this may not be your child and that no matter how much I try, I can't make it yours," he encircles her and she nestles into him, beginning to bite her lip. "I've never wanted anything more than I want that to be true."

He lightly kisses her earlobe, "Scully, that's okay. I've got you ... and this child will be ours because we'll raise it together. No one can change that kind of love."

"I never realized how much I wanted children until it was revealed that I couldn't. And then my sweet Emily," the resistance fails; tears begin to slide through her closed eyelids, "was brought into my life; ripped from it. I was so ready to love her ... to be the one she needed. My greatest fear has become losing the people I love...." he reclaims her fear as he holds her tighter. "Then Matthew was born and the feelings I have had are somewhere between sorrow and longing.... I wish I could give you a baby, Fox...." he holds her in silence. "Oh my God ... but what if ... what if it's not even my baby?"

"Scully! Hey!" he says in a soft, stern tone as he reaches a hand to and places it atop her belly, "This is your baby ... it has to be."

She sobs quietly, "Mulder, my body doesn't seem like my own anymore. These hideous mysteries manifest themselves more often than I'm able to settle down and recover -- if that's even possible.... It's a limbo of fast-paced events that aim in no discernible direction -- I'm not sure I can follow a path without a road anymore.... Mulder, even your proposal -- I'm in love with you, but this shotgun wedding, is more than expected at this time. Hell, I don't even know if I expected anything. I thought you and I were--" she jumbles out in a stream of thoughts spoken aloud.

He interrupts and speaks softly next to her ear, "Scully -- Dana ... I didn't ask you to marry me because you're pregnant. I've been on the verge of proposing so many times -- I'm embarrassed to say I waited this long. Yet, until yesterday all the fears I had of commitment or rejection -- or whatever they may have been, they were all diminished the moment I noticed you by the elevators. To tell you the truth, I had made my mind up to ask you yesterday as it was, but I was planning to ask you to dinner. I remembered that vow when I was holding you on the my couch."

"Why yesterday?"

"All these years I've been afraid that if I asked and it somehow startled you, that I'd lose you in a way I never have before ... emotionally. Dana, you're my human connection ... You're the only person in this world that keeps me from immorality and if I lost that ... if I lost you, I've lost everything...." he shakes his head with a slight, soft chuckle, "Yesterday, I had something more powerful than a 'Praying Mantis Epiphany' -- I had a moment of complete peace," he pauses; she waits. "It's happened many times before, but not exactly like yesterday. Every night that I manage to sleep well enough, it's always because I think of you. I wake up and the first and only thing I think about is you. Yet, yesterday I actually heard you say--"

She interrupts him almost psychically and whispers softly," 'Good morning'?"

He is stunned, "Yeah! How did you -- you weren't here or--"

She pulls away; smiling up at him, "No. I said it.... I normally don't talk to myself out loud when I wake up, but I just said it yesterday ... just out of the blue, so it seemed. What's even more odd though, is that the two nights before last, I truly hadn't slept. I was battling with myself to figure out my pregnancy. I debated whether or not I was having a psychological break or a delusional fugue of some kind. I thought maybe my cancer had relapsed and was beginning to destroy my cognitive centers. But then somehow, I suppose, I had managed to fall asleep. When I woke up I thought of you and the torture of all my thoughts the previous nights receded momentarily.... Mulder, you bring me peace, too."

He is still in shock of their seemingly telepathic event as he turns the concept around in his mind.

We console and complete each other in so many ways. We are connected beyond any normal understanding of connection. We communicate best without words and most honestly through eye contact. Our senses are conjoined even in our absence of one another. We are one beautiful, complex soul in two bodies.

The phone on Scully's night table suddenly rings and jars Mulder from his contemplation and Scully from her silence. She reaches for the portable handset as it rings once more before she answers.

"Hello?" she looks to Mulder with the question she asks into the phone.

"Hello, Dana Scully, please?" the familiar voice of a woman asks from the opposite end.

"Yes, this is she," Scully answers.

"Dana, it's Dr. Betheson. I have your results. They processed faster than I had anticipated..." she pauses as if to allow any possible laughter to subside, then continues. "According to the tests and cultures we ran, well ... we've never seen such a sample before!" Her pause causes Scully to cringe in dread as to what she might hear next and her heart nearly skips a beat. Mulder notices her response and solemn expression; his hand edges to hers."Dana Scully, I believe you are the luckiest woman in the history of modern medicine! Not only did your samples show a growing embryo with not one detectable genetic defect, they also reveal -- to our utter surprise, that your baby already holds immunity against all of the common ailments affecting young children in both the past and present! You are a medical miracle!"

The doctor's excitement and relieving news pushes Scully into a state of modesty, "I don't know what else to say but thank you, Karen. I'm so relieved to hear such wonderful news." Mulder fights to gain Scully's wandering gaze as she tries to concentrate and make sense of Dr. Betheson's words. Her eyes are filled yet again, with tears glistening in the corners of her eyes. His eyes met hers and relief pours out of them.

"Congratulations, Dana! You have a perfect baby.... If you have any questions, just contact my pager and I'll return your call as soon as I am able. Also, don't forget that it is advisable to take vitamin supplements during your pregnancy, however I recommend direct nutrition. Until next month, keep safe," the doctor is truly giddy with her discovery and for Scully's sake.

"Thank very much, Karen. I'll be sure to call you if any questions arise. I'll see you next month. Good bye," Scully clicks the phone line off then sets the phone back on its cradle. She releases a sigh of relief as Mulder encircles her again.

"So? ?" Mulder asks earnestly.

"The baby is perfect ..." she releases another breath of a sigh, "she said that there are no genetic disorders and ... she said ... that this is the first embryo to show immunity to common childhood ailments -- 'past and present,'" she presses Mulder to her. "Perfect ... the baby is perfect," she smiles in relieved happiness.

"How can that be? They can tell immunity this early? I wonder if it's passive?" he inquires confused.

"I don't know. It's a mystery to me," she says reflectively as she realizes the great number of times she has overcome illness and disease.

"What about the sex? Can they tell that this early?"

"No. Not until the second trimester, usually."

"Twins?" Mulder asks with a smirk as he chances overstepping bounds.

Scully lightly thumps his bare back as they continue to hold one another, "Nope, Mulder. Just one embryo. I'm not sure I could fit two growing babies in there." She smiles and he leans down to kiss the bare skin below her neck and in between her shoulder blades.

"One's perfect," he grins. "Although, matching green alien sleepers would have been cute. You know ... the ones with the little footies?"

"Mulder?" she turns her head upward.

"Huh?" he asks still grinning at the idea of babies and tiny sleep wear.

"I have to pee."

March 5, 2000
10:31 a.m. Scully's Bathroom

Scully props her right leg on the closed toilet seat, examining it as water drips down her bare body from her soaked hair. Mulder steps out of her bath tub and reaches for two large towels hanging on a rack.

"Mulder, you missed a spot," she laughs with amusement at her discovery."I can't believe I let you shave my legs."

Mulder has wrapped one towel around his waist and now steps behind Scully with the other spread open and ready to drape around her body. She stands and he moves closer to wrap her in it.

"Well, you should have let me buy you something to drink last night," he says in light vengeful mockery as she turns into the towel and he closes it around her, into his arms, her back against his chest.

"And that's relevant because?" she draws out with a smile to challenge his grin as she turns her head to look up at him.

"I don't know. I guess it's just easier to maneuver around a jaw than it is a knee cap, huh? ... Although, Miss Scully," he pauses and moves to speak seductively close to her right ear, "you have lovely knee caps."

She smiles at his plausible double entendre as he brings his lips to her shoulder and plants a few kisses there and up her neck.

"You, know Mr. Mulder ... yours aren't so bad yourself," she smiles giddily. "I return the compliment in full. Yet, I do ask one thing...."

"What's that?" he questions as he lays his cheek against her wet hair.

"The next shower we take, I get full authority over our cleansing rituals. Shaving included. So, unless you prefer to smell like Gillette Shaving Cream for Women," she turns in his arms to face him squarely, "I suggest we move a few spare items of yours into my bathroom," she nearly commands with a droll grin as she reclaims her dominion of equality.

"Agreed, just as long as I don't turn out to be comparable with a Freddy Krueger victim," he says gliding his hands along her back.

"And what makes you think I would ever be so harsh?" she asks in a devilishly innocent tone.

He acts as if taken aback, "Woman! You shot me! And I know you'd do it again! I almost think you find pleasure in it, you little sadist," he jokes as he recalls the few times she had actually saved his life by physically harming him.

"I suppose I might," she smirks. "However, the next opportunity I foresee you being subjected to my cruelty might be when I courageously refuse an anesthesiologist and need someone to relieve my pain," she forewarns while hooking her arms around his waist and urging him to walk backward out of the bathroom.

Mulder's previous frivolity disappears and his facial features harden with concern as he edges backward into her room, "Scully, you can't do that." He stops them in the middle of her floor and locks his eyes with hers in a plea, "Childbirth without drugs is supposed to be exponentially more difficult than with. Fatalities seem to occur more often in just those kinds of scenarios. I don't--"

"Mulder, every drug, chemical, nutrient -- every ounce of a substance that I put or that is put into me, goes directly into the baby's blood stream. Such drugs as those used in childbearing, often causes paralysis or even brain damage to the newborn if the mother's tolerance is high and the drug goes directly to the child.... Don't worry, I'll be able to handle it."

His eyes are soft and his tone low, "I'm not questioning your strength. God, knows you're the strongest person I've ever met, but Scully, the possibility of losing you at the mercy of a baby or the hands of doctors that bring life into the world, is something I could never bear."

"Why are you being so pessimistic? I'm going to be fine. The baby's going to be fine. It's you that I think we should be concerned about," she says finally moving out of his arms.

Mulder stands motionless and silent for a few moments. He watches Scully as he allows for his body to air dry and for his mind to muster up a persuading response. She turns away and moves to her dresser across the room. As she approaches it, she slides her towel off her shoulders and under her arms and tucks it together above her breasts. She bends down, opens the top left drawer, and removes a few of her own undergarments as well as an unopened pair of dark navy and deep maroon, thin-stripped boxers. She then turns back in Mulder's direction and moves toward him.

"Here," she says offering him the boxers as she holds her bra and panties under her arm. "I was going to give you a couple of pairs for Christmas last year, but I figured if your apartment was ever bugged again, you'd have something here, just in case," she says honestly and smiles, yet to him, it appears she is playing his game again.

He takes them with a skeptical, teasing eye and looks at the band binding them into package, "Ralph Lauren, Scully? You bought me expensive underwear? ... You were lookin' to get some," he baits her flippantly.

She takes no offense to his jocose callowness and grins at its truth, "Well, I can't always be subtle with my desires, Fox Mulder."

He looks at her a bit nonplused by her constant sexual innuendoes. He blinks and in that instant Scully does yet another uncharacteristic action as she reaches her left hand to the towel at his waist and her right hand to the top or her own towel. She then simultaneously pulls both off, also dropping her underwear and bra to the floor.

"We may not be able to make love, but there are other ways to go about satisfying one's sexual hunger," she equivocates as she begins to lower herself.

Mulder understands her intention and quickly grabs her shoulders, bracing her from lowering any further as he pulls her back to her feet. She stares at him a little off guard and dismayed.

"Scully, no! I can't let you do that. It's degrading," he utters dissuasively.

Scully looks away from him, ashamed and embarrassed of her suggestion of a sodomitic act. Her face twists with shame and dejection and she is suddenly drained of something more than just lust. Mulder views this sudden transition as he continues to brace her. She appears to ebb as her knees suddenly weaken and her body threatens to slip to the floor. He catches her and holds her against him as his body continues to be in full attention to her every provocative action. Her damp hair falls onto his chest as her head is bowed and her body begins to rack with endless sobs.

"Oh shit, Scully! I-I didn't mean to hurt you. I'm sorry. Oh God, Scully, I'm sorry," he holds her shaken, nude body next to his own as he guides her over to her still unmade bed. "I just don't want you to do something that's unworthy of your love. You're so much more than that to me. By no means do you have to satisfy me. I can wait for the time we finally make the kind of love you deserve," he says assuringly as he feels guilty of hypocrisy for holding her against his arousal and watching the beauty of her own exposed body while he leads her to and releases her to the bed.

She finally looks up to him as she feebly pulls a sheet over herself. Her eyes are astoundingly blood shot and appear painfully puffy. It looks as if she has been crying for hours as the tears have stained long paths down her cheeks. She sucks in a breath against the jolting of her hysterical weeping.

"What's wrong with me, Mulder?" she pleads in self-castigation. "I'm--" a sob escapes, "falling apart at my seams. This behavior comes to me and I know it's forbidden and uncalled for, but I can't stop it."

Mulder watches her gravely, "Shhh, Scully. Calm down. It's okay," he reaches for her comforter as he notices her body shivering beneath the thin sheet. He pulls it over her curled form up to her chin.

Remembering his own state, he breaks the cardboard band sealing the boxers he has been holding since she gave them to him. He shakes them out of their starched fold, removes the supporting cardboard, steps into them quickly, and pulls them up. He then sits gingerly, angled on the edge of the bed and stretches his arm over the other side of her body and props himself up leaning above her.

Her sobbing has subsided into a weak, low, moaning whimper. She feels as if she may soon be sick. She closes her eyes and swallows hard as if to fight the sickness.

"Honey, I think you may be drunk," he comments slowly and with calculation. He pauses momentarily and she looks up to him pained and disconcerted. "I don't mean alcohol-induced, but hormonally. You're having a neurological, psychosomatic overload caused by too many contradictory emotions and hormones. It's similar to the body's response of a really bad hangover after drinking," he touches her forehead and cheek as a father would do while checking a feverish child.

In the back of her reeling mind, Scully is vaguely aware of such conditions and the doctor in her realizes the general symptoms, diagnosis, and prognosis. Another part of her is grateful to Mulder for his cool-headedness and for the hand she feels caressing her burning skin. She feels the queasiness build.

"Mulder," she pauses, swallowing back the intensifying urgency to retch, "please get my robe. It's on the back of the door--" she gurgles a little, "in the bathroom."

Again, this sight frightens him to the core and he moves hastily to meet her needs. He jaunts to the bathroom and flings her robe off of its hook, then returns to her side in a matter of seconds. She hurriedly climbs out from under the covers and stands wearily as he holds open the robe and she slides into it. Just as he let's go of it and before he can assist her further, she staggers to the bathroom, making it just in time as she repeats the disgorging episode from a day earlier.

"Scully, are you okay?" Mulder asks as he steps into the bathroom to find her kneeling and leaning over the toilet. He moves to her side.

"I'll be fine, Mulder. Just leave me alone, okay?" she says hoarsely and he knows she is shedding new tears, despite her hidden face.

"Please, Scully. Let me help you. I need to," he says pleading for an understanding and forgiveness of his trespasses against her and for her acceptance of his assistance.

"It's just morning sickness, it'll pass. Please, just go get dressed and call the guys to tell them we'll be over in an hour or two," she waits for him to relent. He does a moment later and she adds, "I have a pair of your jeans and a few of your shirts in my closet. You remember where they're at."

Mulder leaves her with one last careful eye, feeling helpless, guilty, and irritated.

Scully bows further down toward the toilet bowl as her tears fall as if they will never dry up. Her robe is open and she is still too ill to tie it and is freezing even more because of it.

March 5, 2000
12:04 p.m.
Scully's Apartment

About an hour after entering her bathroom, Scully finally materializes; tired, cold, and falsely fresh. She has brushed her teeth twice and gurgled almost all of the second half of the mouthwash left in the bottle. As she moves toward her closet, she notices Mulder has made her bed and has removed the plate of cold toast and soggy fruit as well as the glass of room temperature milk from her night table. She is also surprised to hear the familiar tumbling sound of her dryer and realizes that he has also started a load of laundry. She smiles to herself at the thought of Mulder washing baby clothes in the not-so distant future.

After briefly searching her closet, Scully pulls out a pair of old jeans from the back. She believes that the last time she would have worn them would have been before she had lost so much weight after her second year with Mulder.

Deciding to dress a little warmer as she is still quite cold, she removes a black long-sleeved shirt and a baggy, tan corduroy, zippered jacket from the closet. She then moves to find the bra and panties she had dropped earlier. She turns from the closet holding her clothes, closes the door, and scans her room. To her amusement, she finds the articles on her night stand -- folded. She moves to retrieve them as she loosens the belt of her robe, slides out of it, letting it as well as the other clothes fall to her bed. After quickly slipping them on, she steps into her jeans, despite their obvious bagginess, she finds that they fit a little more comfortably than the three pairs of jeans she has been wearing for the past year. Scully then slips into the black shirt, pulls on the corduroy jacket, and zips it up partially as she moves in the direction of her kitchen.

Upon entering her kitchen, she is surprised to find a vase full of mysterious, freshly cut roses of various light shades on her kitchen table. the pink rose Mulder had given her earlier is lying next to the vase along with a small card and a handwritten note. She picks up the card apparently belonging to the delivered roses and reads it.

It reveals them to be a gift from one George Lefbet, congratulating her on her "successful bird watching season." She reads the card two more times and laughs as she realizes it is actually a cryptically encoded message from the Lone Gunmen.

Scully returns the card next to the vase and picks up the second note, immediately recognizing Mulder's handwriting. It says: "11:45

Dear Dana:

It's difficult to listen to you let go of everything by yourself, knowing I could be in there holding you. I respect your wishes, though.

As hard as it is for me to do anything truly constructive, I managed to do a few chores for you.

If you're at all thirsty, I put a cup of water and a tea bag in the microwave. Please, just drink that for me.

I'll be back in about twenty minutes.

Love, Mulder"

Scully feels on the verge of bursting simultaneously into tears and laughter for this man she loves and for the true happiness he tries so hard to bring to her. Yet, just as she is about to allow herself to crumple to the kitchen floor in respite, she hears her deadbolt unlock and the sound of Mulder entering her apartment.

As she moves to meet Mulder's return, still holding his note, he enters the kitchen. He is carrying a handled bag made of recycled paper bearing the phrase, "Natural living is healthy living." He smiles at her faintly, noting her still pale skin and slightly swollen eyes. She too, notes his appearance and how handsome he is even wearing just a pair of dark, stone-washed jeans and a black tee shirt that he had found in her closet.

"Hey. Did you drink the tea I put in the microwave yet?" he asks half in question, half directively as he smiles and sets the bag on the table.

Scully pulls a chair out, yet remains standing, "No, I just got out here. I--"

"Well, good," he interrupts her a bit excited as he thinks she has finished talking. "I just went down to that natural health food store ...and, I got you a little something," he says raising an eyebrow and smiles at her almost exasperated, questioning look. He removes two similar-sized boxes and displays them out in front of her, "Maternity tea; 'guaranteed to keep every growing mother naturally strong.'"

"Mulder..." she smiles at his sweet thoughtfulness.

"Wait, that's not it." He pulls out a small box, "Here's some peppermint oil.... When I was a kid, my mom used to put it in my milk when I had an upset stomach -- it worked," he reflects and she notices the sad tone in his voice.

"Mulder--" Scully attempts to speak, yet he interrupts her again.

"I know, Scully. 'You shouldn't have,' but that's not all either. Here's the best part." He smiles confidently and reaches into the bag once more and pulls out a larger rectangular box. "I got you those rice, Dreamsicle things you seem to like so much. Although, I still can't see why a person would prefer false, tasteless calories, when the real ones are so much more enjoyable," he adds sarcastically.

Scully is momentarily still and silent as she stares at all of his small gifts and then to the note in her hand. He too, glances at the note and shifts his weight as he waits for any sort of a response.

She grants his silent request as she steps to him, reaching to lay her hands on both of his shoulders as she lowers him to her. She chastely kisses him and releases his shoulders. He again smiles, yet now at her gentle demeanor.

"Thank you for being you," she smiles as her eyes glow with the sort of love that reflects true and simple sincerity, yet leaves him bare-boned and crazy for her.

March 5, 2000
1:26 p.m.
Implicit Area
Lair of the Lone Gunmen

Mulder lifts a hand to press the Gunmen's buzzer, activating the intercom.

"Hey, guys, open up the fort. Scully's soaked to the bone," he demands in greeting as he closes the umbrella and notices the annoyed expression connoting 'I'm fine,' flash across Scully's face.

"All right. Just a moment, Mulder," Byers answers.

Mulder looks over at Scully standing pale and stolid next to him. Her hair is nearly soaked and matted, the water runs down her face, and her clothes are damp. All because she had refused to let him guide her through the sudden downpour to the building under the safety of her large umbrella. Instead, she chose to jog anxiously toward the building as he remained climbing out of the driver's seat, fumbling with the umbrella and unaware of her departure.

He knows that her haste to enter the building is due to her eagerness to find out what the Gunmen have discovered. Yet, he cannot help but suspect she might be testing him also. Of what, he is not quite certain. Possibly of his own self-control or of his ability to apprehend from becoming too overprotective as to become obtrusive. To fight the need and will to always want to save or shield her.... To let go.

The sound of several locks and deadbolts unlatching comes from the other side of the door.

Mulder fidgets as he fights the gentlemanly urge to remove the jacket or shirt from his own back and to offer it to Scully. She senses his obvious concern and tries to conceal her shivering.

The door finally swings open to reveal the three men all lined up to usher them inside. Scully, notes how oddly familiar this scene looks as Mulder urges her to go ahead of him and she enters; walking past the other three men.

She turns back to them and flashes a small, expectant smile as she jumps right into business, "So ... what do you have?" She pauses and looks down to the floor distractedly, "Am I the next Virgin Mary or am I going to give birth to a crossbreed?"

Scully's icebreaking inquiry of sarcasm strikes no chord of humor with the four concerned and solemn men. They all look at her then glance to one another in silent understanding.

She's afraid. The truth she may soon learn, could tear at her heart and perhaps shred it.

The men disperse out of their order as Frohike moves toward a back room and Byers moves to their work area. Langly closes and locks the door. Mulder sets the umbrella next to the door then follows behind Scully as she waits for someone to give her an answer.

"Here, Scully, please sit down. Get comfortable," Byers offers as he rolls a high-backed office chair out from behind a reasonably neat desk.

Scully looks up to him a little surprised at the usually implied gesture. She does as he asks, sits down in the cushioned chair, and places her hands on her thighs. Frohike returns and is walking toward her with a large flannel blanket.

"We don't want you to catch cold." He smiles in concern as he stands over her and drapes the blanket over her shoulders.

She stares at the four weird men huddled around her. In their eyes she sees care and concern, underlain with a sort of admiration.

As she is about to speak, Langly speaks first.

"Are you guys thirsty? Or did you need anything?" he looks to Scully then to Mulder.

Mulder shrugs as he has been watching this scene like a spectator and is obviously humored by their insistence and fussing over Scully's present well-being. They are true friends with unlimited loyalty.

Scully is not quite as amused.

"Please! Guys! I'm flattered for all of your concern and I thank you for it, but it's really not necessary," she says with sincere regard, yet insistent that they stop. "I'm okay. I just want to know what's going on," she says with growing pragmatism.

The men look at Mulder, as he had anticipated and warned them when he had called, that she would repress herself and attempt to form a detachment. He also warned them that she had fallen ill to severe morning sickness twice in his presence and that it could probably strike at any time. However, he did not tell them that he fears this time, it might be the final straw to her psychological undoing if no sense and peace can be brought to her soon. For she is trying desperately to grasp some sort of control over her world that has been thrown into greater disarray than ever before. He knows that her emotional strength has been shattered along with the world she once knew.

"All right, Scully ... Mulder, we'll show you what we've got so far," Byers says taking control of the situation as he moves to one of their large computers.

Scully adjusts the blanket around her shoulders, crossing her arms tightly in front of her cold body as she stands and moves next to Byers in order to view the screen. Mulder, Langly, and Frohike gather around them.

Byers pulls up a few menus then displays data charts.

"Although, most of this is from an off-the-record source, it is reliable information. Our informant from the AMA has released to us the names, target purposes, and side effects of several experimental sleep and anesthetic agents."

"A couple of which have a composition and effects close to the purer forms of GHB. However, these drugs don't appear to be lethal and are being legally regulated," Frohike adds as he speaks to both Scully and Mulder as the glow of the computer reflects off of his glasses.

Scully nods in understanding as she continues to listen intently, unaware of the fact that she has begun wringing her hands.

"Right," Byers continues. "Anyhow, after we had noticed the filtered data that indicated that you had checked into Georgetown Memorial for a visit," he says directly to Scully, "And Frohike had recognized the code on your medical records for a pregnancy validation, we figured something to be amiss," he pauses out of a sort of sad regret and respect, "We knew of the unfortunate circumstances you have been aware of as a result of your abduction and we were shocked to learn of such a miracle."

A sorrowful expression falls over Scully's features, as she is all too aware of this.

Mulder edges closer to her, as if in a way to offer her some backbone.

Byers continues further, "After our systems filtered the hospital's visitation directory, we received your full medical record and a sealed file of encoded information. At that point we faxed the encoding to our source, which revealed the file to be your DNA results from your blood test..." he trails off a moment to allow all of this information to sink in.

"Okay, let me get this straight. Somehow you randomly received my medical records and a sealed file of my blood test. How? More importantly, what does it mean, exactly?" Scully sighs as she is confused and fearful.

"Yeah. Well, actually our computers and filters detect specific kinds of information that we request. We have programmed requests for certain types of information as well as requests for any documentation about medical, federal, and criminal activities and other similar information involving our friends, families, subscribers and just about anyone making the daily headlines. If we receive any such information, our systems hold and reserve it until we check it." Langly stops a second then adds, "Your name filtered through our medical circuits and that's when we started our search."

"And after discovering my condition, you sent me flowers," Scully reasserts as she nods with a hint of incredulity in her small smile. "Thank you, by the way. You guys are wonderful and thoughtful. I appreciate your kindness."

"Frohike suggested it. We made sure the message wouldn't spread any rumors" Langly quips and Scully smiles with a slight blush of modesty.

"What about the DNA file? It was sealed and encoded? Did you find out what was in it?" Mulder inquires, breaking his silence.

Byers speaks up, "I was just about to get to that. Our source was able to detect a code for a chemical constituent that was found in small traces in Scully's blood stream. It matched a code similar to one of the experimental drugs. However, if this drug were used to aid in impregnation and you're in your tenth week, theoretically it should no longer exist in your blood stream as it is closely composed to GHB, which leaves the body within twenty-four hours."

"Damn Dr. Betheson and the hospital for not telling me this! So, in other words, I was either knocked up royally with a large amount of that drug, or else it may be some sort of catalyst still taking affect," Scully conjectures as she pieces together the new evidence with the scenario she had mentioned to Mulder last night.

Mulder steps directly to Scully's right side in order to gain her attention and eye contact, "Scully," she turns and looks up into his intent eyes, "you mean if this drug we're pulling out of our asses here -- if it's still in you, it could still be," his eyes are worried and a hateful flame flashes through them as he utters the words that tear him apart, "harming you?"

His question breaks the gates of their past once again, and memories flood forward. All that he can never bear to stand weighs down inside. Of this she has always been aware.

The hate, remorse, and guilt that have filled Mulder for so many years, are the passion that have led him through the years of impromptu searching for his sister as well as every other journey with no clear end. This passion is why he believes he is the reason for which the people he loves are befallen with tribulation.

It is a pain to him even more for paining others. Especially Scully. Her pain is a poison of flames to him and in them he finds a powerful hate to lash out at the world that could threaten to destroy his angel.

The passion is a curse, he has felt, could be easily broken with the ending of his own life.

Just a pull of a trigger.

The look Mulder is receiving from Scully, levels him and calms the rampant sea that has always threatened to take him under and drown his soul. His anchor forevermore and always of the past. Her eyes are telling him what he always forgets due to fear. They show constant reassurance amidst the confusion of a world that swirls around them.

In this moment of intensity, the Lone Gunmen have witnessed in a more open manner, the sparking chemistry and tender understanding that compose their two friends. They have long been aware of the beautiful and uncanny connection that the two have, yet seem to try to conceal. Also, they have each noticed the unfamiliar ring adorning Scully's left hand as well as the strengthened and more obvious expression of love, admiration, and concern masked upon Mulder's solemn and silent face.

Silence falls on all five people.

It is a reconstruction of strategy.

Each tries to find a word to help the growing silence and to fill the almost uncomfortable void.

Frohike shifts his weight.

Byers aimlessly taps the mouse with his index finger.

Langly begins reaching for a file on the desk.

Scully slowly turns from Mulder; knowing his pain, fear, and hate for the forces that seem to govern their lives, are still there, yet calmed by her.

Mulder raises his right hand to cup her right shoulder from behind.

Just to touch her. Another thing he cannot help but do. Too many years of refraining have only caused the urge and need to rise to their pinnacle, never to lower or stifle again.

All of these simple, instantaneous actions occur, none furthering a path to a greater action or resolution. So, as if to call the Devil in their silence and to rupture this strange mundanity, a loud, singular knock is heard.

All heads turn to the door for the unmistakable sound. The silent, panicked question arises as to who could possibly be missing from this meeting.

The Gunmen break the trance of idle, momentary stupidity and Frohike is the first of the three to the surveillance monitor. Scully watches them curiously as Mulder holds her shoulder, and he is suddenly rigid -- almost militant in stature and she feels this movement and straightening of his body behind her. He is foretelling something.

"What the hell is he doing here!" Frohike exclaims with spite and bitter surprise as Byers and Langly immediately echo his sentiment.

"Who?" Scully asks insistently as she moves toward them, almost sure of who it is as the dread and hate well in her.

Mulder has let her go and his right hand soon finds its place on his holster, unlatching his gun, preparing to take hold of it.

Before anyone can mutter who the visitor is or can prevent or cause any further action, Scully is the only one that seems to move; as if light no longer holds a record to a woman scorned, mistreated, and lied to.

She unlocks the door, knowing without answer and paying no heed to the sudden outbursts of negation from the Gunmen regarding the entrance of this visitor. Nor does it occur to her until the split second she reaches for and turns the door knob, that her clawing and prying at the locks have gouged an inch-long scratch into her palm; the blood smears. The men crowd behind her, almost forcing her away from it.


Scully is too quick in the power of her sudden rage and she jerks the door open to reveal the Devil of greater evil (the one she has not killed ...yet).

The man who manipulated, betrayed, and violated her all in the name of a righteous science and the knowledge of her heart.

He is not alarmed to see her, and for a second, stares at her in a nonchalant manner as he reaches toward his suit jacket. A manilla envelope is secured under his right arm, next to his side.

The four men inside of the Lone Gunmen's office stand staggered behind Scully, facing the man; expecting to see the small glow of a lit cigarette and the smug smile behind it as he dwells in a cloud of smoke. They are astounded to find the devil without his fire.

Hate becomes Scully and her control is lost. Her features grow taut, her teeth clench, and she lunges at him on tipped toes.

"I hate you for all that you are!" she screams at him with an animal-like growl in her tone as her hands bolt to the collar of his dress shirt and her fingers and nails claw, dig, and tighten around the skin.

He is thrown off-balance by this malicious and uncalled for greeting. She pushes him and he stumbles backward and drops the envelope as he is reaching to release her hands from his neck as he chokes out, "Agent Scully, you're not yourself."

His eyes show an odd amusement with a trace of fear.

Hers show pure fury and hurt.

"Scully!" Langly and Byers shout simultaneously as they shoot forward to grab Scully off of this uninvited man. They each brace a side of her flexed and flailing arms and attempt to pull her away from him.

Frohike looks back to Mulder in alarm as he watches him hurdle one of their smaller desks and strides out the door in two steps.

"Scully! Jesus!" Mulder reaches his arms around her rib cage under her breasts and tries to pry her vice-like grip from the man.

In his arms, she relents and releases. Her breath is heavy and her body heaving.

The man they know loosely as C.G.B. Spender, adjusts himself and ineffectively straightens his collar and tie now stained with tiny gobbets of blood. He quickly bends to pick up the envelope then pulls his posture to its height, trying to regain the sort of dignity he believes he deserves to possess.

He coughs dryly and reaches his hands to stroke his attacked throat, "I have come as a messenger of reason. However, I see I am the butt of an unyielding hatred for which I now plan to reconcile."

The tension looms heavier than a winter fog and it seems as if the storm outside has grown more furious.

lightning crashes and a distant but loud thunder is heard.

Scully's eyes have not lost their wild contempt, yet they are devoured by tears for which there is no prevention. Her vision bores venomously into C.G.B. Spender.

Mulder tries to turn Scully around and into his chest, but she is stiff and hesitant to take the venom away, knowing Mulder's strength with mold it away and regain it. She feels she needs it, but he persists and she surrenders against him and her arms fall limply to her sides with Spenders skin and blood beneath her nails. Mulder closes his left arm around the top of her shoulders and his right hand reaches again to his holster. He pulls his gun from it and aims it firmly in Spender's face.

The Gunmen have receded back to Mulder's right and left sides. Byers reaches for Scully and Mulder releases her to him. He levels his gun with both hands.

"What force on this planet gives you the right to bring your ass to this door or to Scully's sight? Hell is where you belong, and I intend to send you back this time," Mulder yells as the fury and fear become him.

"Mulder, your impulses have worn off on this once gentle woman--"

Mulder's features tighten as he threatens to squeeze the trigger, aiming toward Spender's right shoulder, "You're the old fuck that's tainted the lives of everyone you've ever met. Why you and your dead cronies ever chose to ruin her life and not just mine, pisses me off more than I think you'll ever be aware of. And I'd let you know, but for her sake, I'll just leave it at have a nice life burning and rotting in hell," his eyes reflect a fraction of Scully's hate on top of all the fury that has built within himself for over the past twenty years.

"Truly, Agent Mulder, I am here to set the record straight with you and Agent Scully. I was just in the neighborhood and--" he says casually as he again reaches into his interior suit pocket and Mulder interrupts him.

"Fuck the record. And fuck the neighborhood and all of your bullshit. Anything you have ever uttered to us has been a goddamned lie!"

Spender removes a small, thin package from his pocket. It is a package of nicotine gum, from which he punches out a piece and slips it into his mouth. He replaces the package, then holds out the enveloped folder to Mulder.

"Here is the reason for all that you two have endured. I attest that our methods may have been extravagant and seemingly harsh, yet they were necessary for complete assurance," Spender explains.

Mulder glares skeptically at the offering, yet takes it with his left hand, still pointing the gun with his right.

Scully watches the exchange, stepping away from Byers as Mulder takes the folder. She extends her hand and Mulder relinquishes it to her.

"Why the hell have you come here? To distort a broken woman's life to the last final obscurity?!" she sobs, waving the folder accusingly at Spender's face.

"Agent Scully, in that file, there are three DNA data charts and three statistical medical sheets, one of which is cross-matched and represents results. The truth is in here, Dana," Spender assures confidently as he looks at Scully with a sort of nervous tenderness.

Scully hesitates as she detects that tinge of tenderness and spies the almost genuine fleck of goodness, she had a few months ago. She lowers the envelope and her attention to opening it. After breaking the seal and opening the tab, she reaches inside, pulling out three transparent DNA charts. She stares at and compares the three with great scrutiny for a long moment.

Mulder stands close to Scully, trying to make sense of the information she holds as he watches over her shoulder. Yet, he cannot. Only her medical training can make sense of it. He watches her expressions as she studies them.

The silent, glaring Lone Gunmen stand in attention, wary of the yielded information and the envelope Scully holds.

Upon registering the information she views, Scully releases an inward noise of affirmation against her incredulity. She stares downward at the charts, slowly nodding her head; speechless. Her emotions halt momentarily as if held by a dam, then suddenly break free as she laughs softly with new tears and a smile that reveals relief. She closes her eyes tightly, a few tears escaping, and folds her lips inward, biting them gently; breathing in.

Mulder recognizes this action as a silent prayer. He lowers his gun and replaces it back into his holster, latching it.

C.G.B. Spender smiles with absolution and a secret happiness for the two people he has long admired and esteemed along the almost hell-bound journey he and his cohorts paved in their young lives.

The Gunmen wait puzzled and alert.

"Scully?" Mulder turns to her and touches her back.

She opens her watery eyes up to him, offering the charts, "These are DNA test results and blood types -- ours. According to the third ... this baby is ours," she tells him with depth and clarity in her eyes, revealing the truth of her knowledge and its validity.

His eyes brighten with her words and his heart beats faster. The fury melts and the skepticism idles.

She smiles with hope and relief through her tears.

Mulder dares the question, speaking softly to her with his eyes as much as his mouth, "How?"

Spender takes this opportunity to begin his explanation, "I congratulate you two on becoming the first biological parents to create a child immune to the atrocities and diseases of this life prior to its birth."

Mulder and Scully listen to this information with perplexity. Both are well aware of the connection they hold and the constant sexual tension they transmit to one another. Yet, the knowledge of never having elevated themselves to a sexual level in their seven years together, leaves them wary and astonished of this wish that seems to have been granted to reality.

"Dammit, why me?! How? ... How did you do it? -- First you steal my natural ability to bear children, only to return it as if to play God!" Scully demands with exasperation.

"You are a strong, beautiful, intelligent woman, Agent Scully -- " Spender begins to explain and with these complimenting words, Scully's face contorts from the perversion they create from his mouth.

"You took my reproductive right away to conceive naturally! My child should have been created from Mulder's body within mine. Not from some bizarre form of in vitro fertilization! -- You could stand here and try to explain your conspiracy to me and attempt to mold what you've done to me into something justifiable, yet I'll never accept an apology or reason for that kind of violation," the drying streaks of tears stain her cheeks and tight features, as a stone is set in her eyes.

"Then I ask not for forgiveness, but then for understanding. I want you to know that I saved you -- a countless number of times. they were going to kill you, but I saved you--"

"Why?! Because it would be more *fun* to control a life than to take it away. To watch it wither away, losing sense with each passing moment? Manipulate it to the last hour, only to promise a new day with a stale lie?!" Scully's venom seeps out. "I'm tired ... tired of the lies ... the pain. What if I had killed myself? What then? A misfortunate tragedy or interruption to your precious plan? Maybe I should have jumped off of a bridge or stuck my gun down my throat to save myself from the hell you put me through!"

Mulder is hurt by her words and wishes her to stop. She notices his response in the slight sagging of his shoulders and angled bow of his neck.

"Never for one moment of my life, did you save it!" she glares at Spender as she extends her right hand backward. "He did. Every time I felt like letting go, I held on to him." Scully turns to face Mulder squarely and takes hold of his left hand, "Because, if it were you, I never would have wanted you to let go. I wouldn't let you and if you wanted to go -- I'd go too."

Mulder is softened by her turn of emotion and the soft honesty she reveals.

C.G.B. Spender and the Gunmen cease any utterances and distill their questions or objections, as it suddenly seems that the fog of tension has been parted. A truth is soon to be set and understood.

Scully holds Mulder's gaze steady and true. Within her heart, she knows, despite the circumstances, that the information C.G.B. Spender has given to them is the actual truth. Her happiness is revived and elevated.

Before the true inquiry can begin and the passion of this new truth can settle with facts, they choose not to stifle their relief nor their happiness.

Without hesitation, Mulder guides Scully close to him as he gently presses the middle of her back with his left hand. Their eyes are steady and true. He lowers to claim her lips as he slightly dips her backward. She meets him and holds on to his back, for what may appear dear life with her fingers gripping his shoulder blades.

C.G.B. Spender, the Lone Gunmen, their office, the hallway, and the rest of the world surrounding Mulder and Scully haze away. They alone, become the sole two people of one another's presence.

They are combine body and soul.

Scully exists.

Mulder exists.

And so does their baby.

In absolute eternity, love is an unquestionable truth.

Never to be severed.


*Feedback please! @ Queenbosse@aol.com It's like water, oxygen, and chocolate*!

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