Title: All I Will Remember
Author: Namarie
Written: April 2010
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters or the show.
Archive: That would be great, but please run it by me first.
Spoilers: Requiem, Per Manum. Very vague references to some events from season 9.
Category: SRA
Keywords: MSR, AU
Rating: PG-13

Summary: After Scully returns to Bellefleur to prevent Mulder from being abducted, unexpected events lead the two on a new journey. Author's Note: The beginning idea of this story started out as a dream. Then several months later, Miss Monkeh's prompt for her winning help ** haiti bid gave me the rest of the inspiration I needed to keep going with it, and the word count blossomed! Many thanks are owed to Hankmoodyblues for taking the time to read and offer excellent suggestions.

Chapter 1

"Scully! Scully, can you hear me?"

Mulder's voice, laced with desperation, brings me out of unconsciousness. I turn my head toward him, noticing before my eyes open that he must be supporting me. There is an arm behind my head and one holding me to his body. Slowly, I manage to open my eyes. "What... what happened?"

He pushes my hair out of my face before answering. "I'm not totally sure. But I woke up in these woods about a minute ago, a few yards away from you. You looked almost exactly like you looked when you collapsed in Bellefleur a few days ago." Then he frowns. "Or at least I think it was a few days ago."

The name of the town reminds me instantly of the purpose of my trip back to Oregon, and the fact that I am in Mulder's arms brings me a feeling of relief. I'd been in time; he's still here. As I come to this realization, I sit up with a little bit of help and look around. Mulder keeps his arms around me loosely. We are in fact in a forest - one that looks totally unfamiliar to me. It doesn't even seem like it could be Bellefleur, since there are very few coniferous trees to be seen. And yet, the last place I can remember being is Oregon. I feel a tingle of unease begin to grow.

"Mulder," I say, turning to look at him again, "what's the last thing you remember?"

"The Gunmen called and told me you were flying out to Oregon because you had an important discovery about the case that I needed to hear," Mulder tells me. The anxiety in his expression increases as he continues, "Then I heard that you were rushed to the hospital after your plane landed. I was on my way to see you... and then I don't remember what happened next."

At this reminder of the stunning news I had received from the doctor, I gasp slightly and put a hand to my stomach. It is still so hard for me to believe.

Of course Mulder notices my gesture, and he tightens his grip on me. "Scully? What's wrong?"

"Nothing is wrong, Mulder," I say, looking at him. "Or, well ** other than this amnesia that we both seem to have. I can't remember what happened after I went to sleep in my hospital room."

He doesn't look reassured. "But why did they rush you to the hospital?"

"I felt dizzy again on the plane," I tell him, "and then I almost passed out when I stood up upon arrival. But it's not because I'm sick." I cannot hold back a wide smile then. "Mulder, they ran some tests... and it turns out I'm pregnant."

Mulder stares at me, and I watch as shock and joy slowly dawn on his face. "Scully, you're... they... they were sure?"

"Totally sure." I am still smiling. "I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it, too, and I can't begin tell you how it's possible. But they ran the tests twice to confirm."

"Scully," he breathes. With a huge grin, he envelops me in a powerful hug - and then pulls back suddenly, looking worried. "I...I won't hurt you, will I?"

I laugh. "No." I take one of his hands and put it on top of mine, resting on my stomach. "We're fine, Mulder."

Mulder is focused on our hands for several seconds. Then he looks up at me, awed. "This is... wow, this is amazing, Scully. How far along are you?"

"Just a few weeks," I inform him. "Probably about four."

I watch him mentally calculate backward, and then he grins again, and chuckles. "I'm pretty sure I can think of a few candidates for that night."

"Me, too." I think my face is getting tired from smiling for so long; it certainly has been a long while since I've been so happy. I barely notice the uneven, cold ground under me as Mulder leans in to give me a long and heartfelt kiss.

When we finally break apart, Mulder clears his throat. His eyes are shining as he moves one hand to rest on my stomach again. He tries to say something but instead just swallows and pulls me to him. I close my eyes and breathe him in for a few long moments. I hadn't really worried that he would react to this news with anything but happiness, but it feels wonderful, anyway. I am so glad that he's here right now... wherever here is.

Almost as if he has heard this last thought, Mulder sighs and reluctantly let's go of me. "Well, I think we should try to figure out where we are."

"Yeah," I say with a sigh of my own. He stands up first and I follow, holding onto his hand when the expected dizziness hits me. Thankfully, it does not last long this time.

"You okay?"

"I'll be fine." I brush myself off and take another look around. We are both in a largish clearing with fairly sparse scatterings of deciduous trees around us. Their leaves are as green as the ones in DC before we left. "At least we can tell not too much time has passed," I remark, pointing at the nearest maple.

Mulder nods and keeps scanning the area. Then he looks at me and furrows his brow. "Scully, what clothes were you wearing last - I mean, before you were in a hospital gown?"

I look down at myself. The slacks, white blouse, and jacket I am wearing are mine, but... "I don't think I was wearing this on the flight out," I answer him. "But these are my clothes, I know that."

"I don't think I was wearing this either, last thing I remember," Mulder says, looking at his blue long-sleeved sweater and jeans. "But it's mine, too."

"So," I say slowly, trying to make sense of this, "we must have gone back to our apartments at least once in the time we can't recall?"

"That would seem to be the case," Mulder agrees. He rubs a hand across his face. "I don't suppose you have your cell phone with you?"

I quickly check all my pockets and come up empty. "No such luck." Neither of us have our holsters, either, I notice, unless..."You don't happen to have your ankle holster, do you, Mulder?"

He shakes his head. "No. At least I'm not the only one who lost my gun this time, though." I just raise an eyebrow, and he continues, "But I don't have my wallet, either."

So we are unarmed, have no food or water, and have no means of attempting to contact the outside world. Silence falls, except for faint birdsong and buzzing insects.

Abruptly, Mulder turns to face me. "Wait, Scully - what was the news you were coming out to Oregon to tell me? Maybe that has something to do with what happened to us."

My heart sinks as I recall what the Gunmen and I discovered. I tell him about the commonality between him and all the previous abduction victims, trying not to panic about our memory loss and its possible connection to this news.

Mulder clenches his jaw, beginning to pace. "So they wanted me, not you. And I would have just walked right into their trap."

"Mulder." I stop him with a hand on his shoulder. Meeting his eyes, I tell him, "I'm just glad you didn't."

He nods once and moves on. "Does that mean we should allow for the possibility that our amnesia is related to an abduction?"

"I suppose it's possible. But it doesn't seem to fit the usual pattern, since we were both returned together in one place, and seemingly not too long after our last memories."

"And we seem to be in good health," Mulder adds, giving me a surreptitious once-over.

*As opposed to being in a coma, given more implants, or covered with horrific scars,* I think, but only nod in response. "I think we should both get a medical exam as soon as we get out of... wherever we are, just in case."

"I agree," Mulder says softly.

After a moment, I clear my throat. "Well," I suggest, "do we pick a direction and start walking, then?"

Mulder gives me a half-smile. "Guess so. Lead on, oh Wise One."

Shaking my head, I make another brief survey of our surroundings. I decide to start in what should be a westerly direction, based on the sun.

We walk for what has to be an hour without much change in the scenery. The terrain is almost completely flat, a fact which we have agreed suggests East Coast or Midwest. The temperature is a little warm; Mulder and I have taken off our jackets, but we are probably already approaching mild dehydration. There has been no sign of a stream or pond as of yet.

I am trying to hide the return of my dizziness from Mulder for the moment. It's no doubt mostly from dehydration, and I don't want him to be any more worried about me than he is. But it has been getting worse and I know I won't be able to conceal it much longer. In fact mere seconds after that thought, I stumble over a protruding root and pitch forward.

Mulder is there in an instant, catching me and bringing me upright. "Whoa, Scully."

"Sorry," I mutter, blinking. "I think I'm getting dehydrated."

He makes sure I'm steady on my feet before letting me go. I see a hint of worry in his expression, but he just says, "Yeah. I hope we come across some water soon."

We start walking again. The dizziness recedes somewhat, to my relief. Within a few hundred yards, I hear the sound of running water, and Mulder does as well. He smiles and quickens his pace.

I decide it's prudent not to speed up, and so I make it over the very small hill separating us from the creek to see my partner kneeling at the water's edge, scooping it into his mouth.

"How's it taste?"

Mulder looks up at me, and wipes his mouth on his forearm. "Nice and cold."

I kneel down next to him and bring some water to my mouth. His assessment of the water matches mine, and I have a hard time quenching my thirst slowly as I know I should.

Eventually, we are both sated. I lean back on my heels with a sigh, and then move so I can stretch out my legs. It's only now that we've stopped that I really feel how my feet hurt. The shoes I'm wearing are definitely not for hiking - though at least they are far from my tallest heels.

"I wish we had something we could fill with water," Mulder remarks. He is leaning back against a tree trunk, legs stretched out in front of him.

"That would be nice," I say. "Unfortunately, I don't even have an empty plastic bag on me."

Mulder turns to gaze at the water flowing over the smooth stones. "We could keep following the stream, see where it leads," he says.

That would mean a change of direction, since it is flowing south. But after all, I consider, I picked west by random. "Sure, let's do that. Why not?"

I get to my feet without any wooziness this time, and we set off. The trees growing alongside the creek provide enough shade that Mulder and I roll down our sleeves, though we still do not put our jackets back on.

After maybe a half hour or so, Mulder's pace slows and he turns to look at me. His expression in the shadow of the trees is hard to decipher.


He looks down at the stream and is silent for long enough that I repeat my question. At that he raises his eyes to mine. "Scully, do you want to get married?"

I stare at him, aware that my mouth has probably dropped open.

Mulder takes a step closer to me. "I...I'm sorry for springing that on you, but... I've been thinking about it, and I don't want you to be worried about my commitment to you, and to our kid." He takes my hand. "And I want us to be a real family."

"Oh, Mulder," I whisper, to keep myself from tears. In some ways, this is not surprising at all - it is a sweet, sincere response I should have expected from this man. I step into his embrace. "I don't doubt you, but thank you for asking. Can I tell you I'll think about it?" My voice is muffled against him.

"That's fine," Mulder says, sounding a little relieved. He kisses my hair. "Besides, we've got about nine months before he or she is born to unwed parents, right?"

Laughing, I pull away just enough to elbow him in the side. I've certainly been thinking about these issues after hearing the news. I haven't had the chance to tell my mother yet, but I know she'll be much happier for me than she will be disapproving. Of course she'd like it if I did get married. But I'm not going to make that kind of decision just to make her happy. It's something I'll have to think about, and I do appreciate that Mulder asked me.

Subject: All I Will Remember (2/7) by Namarie


We continue on our trek, stopping now and then to take a drink from the creek next to us. It's getting toward late afternoon. I untie my jacket from around my waist and put it on. Mulder, seeing this, puts his arm around me and rubs my shoulder. It doesn't bother me that he leaves his arm there.

Mulder is walking closest to the creek, and so it's me who sees the house through the branches off to the left. I stop abruptly and point. "Mulder, look!"

We hurry closer. In the fading light, the house - or cabin, really - appears uninhabited but not abandoned. It's in the middle of a large clearing, and there's a dirt path leading from its front door to the creek.

I turn to look at Mulder, and he shrugs. We walk up to the door and he knocks.

Seconds pass, and there is no sound from inside. Mulder looks at me and shrugs again before turning the knob. The door opens.

"Hello?" Mulder calls. "Anyone here?"

I find a light switch just inside the door and flick it on. Somewhat to my surprise, it actually works, revealing a mostly empty entryway and a spacious sitting room. There are two couches, a bookshelf (full of books), and a fireplace in the corner on the opposite wall.

"Hello?" I call again. There is still no response or sound of movement.

"We should check the rest of the place," Mulder says as he takes a step inside.

"For whoever lives here, or to see what of theirs we can steal?" I ask dryly, but follow him anyway.

We begin searching the cabin, not that there's that much to search. It only takes about two minutes, and we find little definitive useful information. The only things we discover are a day calendar on the bedside table in the bedroom, which is on May 24 - two days after I flew out to Oregon. There is no way of knowing if it's current, but at least we have somewhere to begin. There is also a receipt in the main room from a sporting goods store in North Carolina... but once again, this does not necessarily mean we're *in* North Carolina. There is no phone.

With a sigh, Mulder heads for the kitchen. "I'm going to rustle us up something to eat. I don't know about you, but I'm feeling like I've missed some meals."

"Yeah. I'll be right there." Even though I'm quite hungry, I head for the bathroom first. Not only do I need to use the facilities, but I'm thinking ahead to a medicine cabinet and some supplies we might need to borrow.

A look in the slightly smudged mirror in the bathroom makes me frown, since it reveals that my necklace is missing. I wonder for a moment when I last knew I had it on - but with the amnesia, I know that trying to figure that out is not likely to turn up any answers. *Not for now, at least.*

I bring some bandages, a small bottle of Tylenol, and some multivitamins out into the kitchen. They're bound to come in handy if we end up spending more than a day out in the woods, I figure. Mulder, meanwhile, has found bread, sliced roast beef, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and mayonnaise, and is in the process of making two sandwiches.

"You okay with cheese and tomatoes on your sandwich, Scully?" he asks.

My stomach growls, and I nod in response to his question and his amused expression. "Go easy on the mayo for mine, please."

He gestures over his shoulder with the knife he's been using to slice the tomatoes, toward the fridge. "You can see what there is to drink in there."

I walk over and open the door, remarking, "I wish we at least had our wallets so we could leave the owner of this place some money before we leave."

"Yeah," Mulder says. "Although with all this perishable food around, it's a safe bet that they weren't planning to be gone for too long." He pauses. "Maybe we should, um, put a note on the door or something so they don't shoot us when they come back."

"There's a thought," I answer. I don't relish the idea of being chased out of the cabin, even though the owner would have every right to be furious. "While I'm standing here, do you want water, lemonade, or beer with your food, Mulder?"

He opens his mouth, and then smiles a little ruefully. "I'll take lemonade, so we can both start getting in the habit."

It takes a second for his meaning to sink in, and then I return the smile. "*You* don't have to abstain from alcohol, you know," I point out.

"I know," he answers, putting the last slice of bread on each sandwich. "But I figure, you're going to be doing all of the hard work in these next months, so it's a small price to pay."

"Well, thanks," I say, getting out the pitcher of lemonade. "I appreciate the gesture."

Mulder nods. "I'll go write that note. Go ahead and dig in."

"How about you put the number for the FBI switchboard on there after our names?" I call after him. "If we leave before they get back, at least then they can get reimbursed."

"Okay," he yells.

By the time he returns, I have poured us each a glass of lemonade and made a good start on my sandwich. To save my aching feet, I am sitting on one of the wooden bar stools at the counter. Mulder slides onto the one next to me, sighing in satisfaction as soon as he has taken a bite of his meal.

We eat in silence, other than my cautioning Mulder to eat more slowly at the start. I realize we have no real way of knowing when we last ate - though the fact that I was not a lot hungrier than I have been after skipping a meal or two in the past suggests it wasn't too long. The thought is faintly comforting.

"So, Scully," Mulder says, breaking the silence after he swallows his last mouthful, "any other thoughts about how we ended up in a cabin in the middle of a North Carolina forest - if that is in fact where we are - at least two days after our last memories?"

"Well," I begin, "the fact that we don't have our weapons, ID, or other personal items strongly suggests there was at least one part of the journey that was against our wills."

He nods, and then looks chagrined. "Your necklace is gone, too, isn't it?"

Reflexively, I put my hand to my throat. But it's still not there, just as it was a few seconds ago. "Yeah."

"That necklace has been through a lot," Mulder says, his eyes lingering on my neck for a moment before turning back to his empty plate. "I... kind of thought we'd always get it back to you."

I smile and cover his hand with mine. "It's all right, Mulder. Maybe we still have a chance to find it. And if not, I'll live."

After a pause, he continues, "So you arrived in Oregon, I went to see you at the hospital... and then we go back to DC, and end up in maybe-North Carolina for whatever reason?"

"That seems right, as far as it goes," I say with a shrug. Then a thought occurs to me. "Mulder, we didn't see any tire tracks or anything other than a foot path outside this cabin, did we?"

"No, we didn't," Mulder affirms. Then his eyes widen as he makes the same connection as I have. "So we must be within walking distance of some kind of civilization."

He stands up immediately, and I hold up my hand. "Wait, Mulder- it's almost dark. Should we trust that we're close enough to a town or city to start out into the woods again, or wait until morning?"

"I don't really like the idea of sticking around here, in case the owner comes back," Mulder says, chewing his lip and looking out the window to the rapidly-darkening forest. "But I don't like the idea of us wandering around outside at night, either."

I stand, taking both of our plates over to the sink. "Even if there aren't any Moth Men in the area?"

He smiles. "Even so." Then he yawns. "I think I for one am too tired to do any more hiking today. Maybe we can trespass on this person's hospitality for a few more hours."

"Sounds fine to me." I find some dish soap under the sink. "But put our host or hostess's food away first, Mulder."

"Host, I think," he remarks, "based on the bedroom."

I recall the slightly messy, mostly undecorated room from earlier. "You're probably right."

"Of course I am," he says as he opens the fridge. I just roll my eyes.

Half an hour later, we are getting ready to bed down for the night on the couches in the main room. (I draw the line at sleeping in the cabin owner's bed - or using his toothbrush, although Mulder helpfully points it out before I go into the bathroom again.) Mulder elects to take the couch that has the best view of the door. "Just in case," he says, not bothering to elaborate. I am too tired to argue, and in fact almost as soon as I am lying down, I begin to drift off. Distantly, I feel Mulder pull the throw blanket over me, and hear him lie down as well.

The sound of heavy footsteps on the front steps penetrates my slumber early the next morning. I do not come fully awake until the door opens, the light turns on, and a man's voice yells, "What in the...who the hell are you, and what are you doing in my house?"

I sit up, blinking the sleep out of my eyes and fumbling for my gun before I remember I don't have it. Mulder has his hands out and is speaking in a calming tone. "Sir, we're not thieves and we don't want to cause any trouble. We were lost in the woods all day yesterday and came across your cabin. I, um...I wrote a note and put it on the door..."

As my eyes adjust to the sudden onslaught of light, I see the man set down the paper bag he's holding and turn to look at the piece of white paper taped to the door (which is still open). He takes a few seconds to read it, and then turns back to us. I am standing up by now, a few feet away from Mulder.

"Huh." The man squints, rubs his hand across the stubble on his chin, and closes the door behind us. "You're FBI agents?"

"Yes, sir," I tell him. "I'm Special Agent Dana Scully, and this is Special Agent Fox Mulder."

"And let me guess: you can't show me any ID to prove that."

Mulder glances at me before answering. "Unfortunately not. Before we... got lost out here, we were apparently kidnapped, and our badges and weapons were taken."

"'Apparently'?" He hasn't moved since closing the door.

"I know it might sound odd, but yes, we can't be sure," Mulder says. "We seem to be suffering from some memory loss as well."

He snorts. "Sounds a little too far-fetched to me," he says, pulling out a pistol from his waistband. "You can just start moving toward the door, nice and slow."

Mulder and I raise our hands. My heart is pounding. Even though this man seems more cautious than violent, we're going to have to figure out some way to convince him of the truth of our statements quickly. *Meanwhile,* I reflect, *if I can ignore the return of this dizziness and nausea...*

"Sir," I try, "if you just call that number on the note-"

"I don't have a phone out here," he interrupts. The gun is still pointed at Mulder, but he gives me a piercing glance. "Memory loss? You really expect me to believe that?"

I sigh. "The last thing I remember is flying from DC to Oregon early on the twenty-second of May. I don't even know what day it is now."

"Oregon?" the man repeats. He shakes his head. "Well, if you are thieves, you've sure got a crazy story to cover it up. Are you telling me you think you're in Oregon right now?"

"No," I start to tell him, and then swallow and close my eyes against a wave of nausea. I sway on my feet. Mulder must notice this, because he's at my side when I open them again.

He looks at me in concern. "Scully, are you o-"

"Go ahead and get her to the couch." The man interrupts again, putting away his gun. "I guess you two aren't dangerous, at least."

Mulder holds onto my arm and steers me the short distance back to the couch. I swallow again, tasting acid at the back of my throat. I haven't had time to do much research in this area recently, but I can probably assume I have several more weeks of these symptoms to look forward to. "It's nothing serious, Mulder," I say quietly. I put my hand on my stomach and meet his gaze, raising my eyebrows. It takes a moment, but then his own eyes widen slightly and he nods.

When I look back toward the cabin owner, he has left the room, but returns quickly holding a glass of water. He hands it to me. "Drink it slowly, now."

In other circumstances, I think as I take the glass, I would consider it amusing to have just been given health-related advice by a man who was recently pointing a gun at my partner and me, and whose house we have just spent the night in without his permission. At the moment, all I can feel is relief as the morning sickness decreases to a bearable level.

"Thank you," I say, looking up at the man who is still watching me closely.

"Don't mention it," he replies, a little gruff. "I'm Al, by the way. Al Price."

He turns to Mulder, who shakes his offered hand and gives him a wry smile. "Nice to meet you, Mr. Price. And we're both sincerely sorry about the circumstances."

Al nods, and shakes my hand as well. "Well, I need to go put some groceries in the freezer. I'd tell you two to make yourselves at home, but I guess that's not necessary."

Mulder looks embarrassed. "Is there anything we can do to help?"

"No, no, don't worry about it," Al says. "You just sit down next to Agent... Scully, was it?"

We watch as he heads for the kitchen with his groceries. As soon as he is out of earshot, Mulder sinks back against the couch. "Wow. That went surprisingly well."

I shake my head - which isn't a good idea at the moment. "I guess you could say that."

"Neither of us got shot, right?" Mulder points out. "He only threatened to force us out of here at gunpoint. I say that qualifies as a success."

"Sure," I say. Once again, I am distracted by the dizziness, and I put a hand to my mouth.

Mulder appears to be trying not to look worried. "So, uh... is this morning sickness, Scully?"

"Mmhmm." There is still water left in my glass, but the thought of finishing it makes me even more nauseated. I try to remember what I've read or heard about home remedies.

"What do you need?" Mulder asks. "Water, ginger ale, ice?" It takes me a moment to remember why Mulder asking this kind of question is so darkly familiar - and then I think of the terrible days following each of my cancer treatments. This is not so bad, in comparison.

Al returns just as I make up my mind. "I think... dry crackers, if you have any, Mr. Price?"

"I should," he says. "Just sit tight for a minute."

I take shallow breaths through my nose, hoping I can hold it back, but it is no use. I end up sprinting for the bathroom. Mulder is not far behind, and hands me a damp paper towel when I have finished emptying the (very scant) contents of my stomach into the toilet. I use the towel to wipe my face, and sit back for a moment.

"Feel any better?" Mulder's voice is soft.

"Maybe... a little," I say between breaths. When I look up at his face, the sheer tenderness there is almost enough to bring tears to my eyes. "Thanks, Mulder."

Before he can respond, our host walks up to the doorway of the bathroom. "I, uh, found some saltine crackers. Will they work?"

"That sounds fine, thank you very much." I start to stand up, and Mulder offers a hand for support, which I take.

Price watches us for a moment, handing me the sleeve of saltines as I reach the doorway. "This your first time?"

I blink. "My first time doing what?" Throwing up? Hardly.

"Having a baby."

"I-" Staring at him, I can feel myself flush. I look at Mulder out of the corner of my eye and decide it will probably help Al trust us if I don't bother trying to deny it, since he has already guessed. "Is it really that obvious?"

He shakes his head. "Probably not, but I'm good at reading people." He points to the saltines and adds, "And my wife ate those almost every morning for the first few months when she was pregnant with our oldest son. Those, and ice cubes."

I open the package and eat a few as we walk toward the kitchen. It does seem to help my stomach settle... though now I can't help being a little nervous that someone else knows about my pregnancy before I've gotten the chance to tell my mother, even, or Skinner.

"You can tell me to mind my own business," Al continues, turning to Mulder, "but have you asked her to marry you?"

It's Mulder's turn to blush. "I...I did ask." Then he shrugs and looks up with a small smile. "And it would hardly be fair for me to tell you to mind your own business, Mr. Price, considering we ate your food and slept on your couches last night."

At that, the older man laughs. "Well, I'll give you that. You two are the most polite and the oddest folk I've run into out here in a long time."

I shoot Mulder an amused look at this assessment. Then I clear my throat. "Speaking of which, can you tell us where 'out here' is, exactly?"

"Oh, that's right," Al says, with a slight nod. "Your kidnapping. We're in North Carolina, on the northern edge of the Croatan National Forest. Which is not far from the coast, in case you need a little more orientation."

We absorb that information for a moment.

"And the date is...?" Mulder prompts.

"May 25," he tells us, and then adds, "2000, if you needed that part, too."

I raise my eyebrow in amusement. "I think we'd guessed that much, Mr. Price. But thanks."

So our earlier guesses were correct - but that doesn't help us figure out what happened to us in the two missing days. "Is it far to walk to the nearest town?"

"Not too bad," Al says. He glances outside, at the clear sky promising a warm day. Yawning, he says, "It shouldn't be hard to find, but I could go with-"

"No, that's all right," Mulder breaks in. "We've already disrupted your day more than enough, Mr. Price. But if you wanted to point us in the right direction, we would appreciate it."

"All right." Al frowns then. "But I'm going to insist on you eating a real meal first, and taking some water with you... and I'll get you some cash to pay for a phone call."

Mulder and I start to protest almost in unison, but Al holds up a hand. "Nope. I insist. I don't get a lot of company anymore, so even though we started off on the wrong foot, I want to see if my breakfast making skills are still up to par. Consider it a partial repayment on your part for trespassing."

"That doesn't seem like a very fair way to repay you," Mulder says, scratching the back of his neck.

Al scoffs. "I'll be the judge of that, Agent Mulder. It's a good excuse for me to have a fancier meal anyway. Now, you two feel free to use the shower or whatever you need while I start breakfast. There are extra towels in the closet right outside the bathroom."

Meeting my eyes, Mulder shrugs. "Thank you," I say, and he echoes me.

Our host nods and walks back toward the kitchen. There is a moment of silence, and then Mulder says, "You wanna shower first?"

"That would be nice," I answer. Despite the fact that I will have to put these same clothes on again afterwards, a shower sounds heavenly at the moment. The nausea seems to have faded completely, for which I am grateful. "Stay out of trouble for a few minutes, okay, Mulder?"

He looks wounded. "I can't believe you would think it necessary to say that to me, Scully."

Grinning, I shoot back, "And don't eat all the food, either." ~

Subject: All I Will Remember (3/7) by Namarie

In due course, we are both showered, dressed, and fed. Price gives us each a full water bottle, some cash, detailed directions to town, and the address of his post office box. "Just in case you're ever in the area again and you need anything," he says, and once again waves off our gratitude.

"Please use the phone number we left to contact us if you ever need anything, Mr. Price," I tell him as we shake hands one more time on his front porch.

"I'll do that," he promises. "You take care now."

With a final wave, Mulder and I set off toward the nearest town. It only takes us about ten minutes to reach it. We waste no time finding a pay phone outside the gas station.

Mulder turns to me. "You wanna do the honors, Scully, or shall I?"

"If you find us a good place to eat lunch," I say, "I'll call Skinner. We're going to be waiting here for a few more hours, I'd bet."

"Fair enough."

I use some of the money Mr. Price gave us, and dial Skinner's office. His assistant sounds shocked to hear from me and transfers me through right away.

"Agent Scully," Skinner says, sounding more tense than usual. "Where are you - and Agent Mulder? You've been missing for almost three days."

"I know, sir. Agent Mulder is with me. We're in a little town on the northern edge of the Croatan National Forest in North Carolina." I take a deep breath. "We both woke up in the woods yesterday with no memory of the previous two days, ever since I flew out to Oregon and ended up in the hospital."

There is a pause. "Are you all right?"

"We seem to be, sir," I tell him, "other than the amnesia. But we're missing our badges, guns, and wallets, among other personal items."

"Okay. What's the last thing Agent Mulder remembers?" Skinner asks, and I recall that he was in Bellefleur with Mulder this time.

"He said he got a call that I was coming out there with important news, and then he heard that I was in the hospital and went there. That's it." I look around the gas station parking lot, making sure that there are no customers very nearby... and try not to think about how paranoid I've become. "Sir, do you have any other insight into what happened? You were in Oregon."

"Yes, I was," he says with a sigh. "I went with Mulder to the hospital. He visited you that night, and they let him stay there with you. The next morning..." Skinner trails off, and I have the slightly amazed idea that he might be regaining his composure. "The next morning, you were both gone. The doctor hadn't released you, and no one remembered seeing either of you leave."

I swallow with difficulty. This does not sound good. And why couldn't I even remember Mulder's visit?

"We're going to figure this out, Scully," he tells me. "I'll contact the Raleigh office, and I'll be in North Carolina as soon as I can - and then we'll go from there."

"Thank you, sir." Before he hangs up, I add hurriedly, "And, um, sir... has my mother been worried?"

Skinner assures me that he will call her right away, and I thank him again before he hangs up.

I put down the receiver and turn around, just in time to see Mulder approaching from across the road. He jogs over. "What'd Skinner say?"

"He said he's on his way," I report, and then tell him what Skinner told me about the events leading up to our disappearance. "Mulder, whatever happened, I don't understand why we don't remember seeing each other in Oregon at all. Does that mean we were kidnapped right then, out of the hospital?" That would seem to suggest an organized group of some sort.

Mulder looks as disturbed as I feel by this new information, but he shakes his head. "Not necessarily. It's possible that someone warned us that we needed to get out undetected... which would explain us having apparently gone back to our apartments in DC at some point."

"Yeah, that's true." If only I could remember anything at all after waiting for Mulder to arrive at that hospital. But there's still nothing. I frown, and shade my eyes as I look at Mulder. "So, did you find us a good place to wait around for a few hours?"

"Well, there's a diner," Mulder says, "and a very small library right across the street from it."

I think for a moment. I'm not quite hungry enough to want lunch yet. "Is the library air-conditioned?"

"I didn't go inside," he answers. "Let's find out."

The library, as it turns out, is pleasantly cool inside. There are only a few other patrons, but no one gives us a second glance as we enter. I haven't allowed myself to think too much about the fact that whoever or whatever kidnapped us might still be looking for us... but regardless, this place does not seem threatening in the least.

Mulder and I spend an hour browsing through what the library has to offer. Their most recent fiction is almost a year out of date - and Mulder complains about their terrible selection of equally terrible sci-fi movies - but it is only when my stomach growls that I mention lunch to him. He agrees, looking faintly surprised at how much time has passed.

The diner is less pleasant. Though there are several fans inside, there is no A/C, and the lunch menu leaves a great deal to be desired. Still, we're both grateful to Mr. Price for giving us enough money to find something reasonably satisfying. And thankfully, the greasy food does not aggravate my morning sickness.

Just as we're finishing our meal, a black SUV drives up outside, and Skinner gets out of the driver's seat. An unfamiliar agent exits the vehicle from the other side. Mulder sees this at the same time as I do, and hurriedly leaves some cash on the table. "Let's go."

Skinner's worried expression relaxes slightly as he sees us in front of the diner. "Agents," he greets us. "How are you feeling?"

"Fine, sir, other than the memory loss I told you about on the phone," I report, and Mulder nods.

Our boss looks us over, and seems to accept this answer. "If you're ready, Agent Whitaker will take us to the nearest hospital so we can see if the doctors can give you any further insight." He gestures to the young man who has been standing in the background during this.

Mulder and I get into the back of the SUV and, after a brief conferral, Skinner decides to let Agent Whitaker drive to the hospital. He turns to face us in the vehicle.

"Agent Scully, I contacted your mother and told her you'd been found," he says.

I meet his eyes. "Thank you, sir."

There is a pause. Mulder glances toward the agent in the driver's seat and then says, "Sir, were our apartments searched?"

"Yes." Skinner looks at him questioningly. "There was no evidence of foul play, if that's what you're asking."

Mulder shakes his head. "No, it's just that Scully and I think we may have returned to our apartments at some point during the period we can't remember, and I was wondering if there was any evidence to suggest that."

"The lack of signs of forced entry would at least support that idea," Skinner says, "but what leads you to think you were there?"

He tells Skinner about the change of clothing, and the man nods. "All right. We're going to need to draw up a timeline of what you two and anyone else involved remember, and any clues as to what happened during the days you were missing."

A thought occurs to me, and I wonder if Mulder or I have already told Skinner about my pregnancy during our lost time. It's possible, I suppose. Even the fact that he hasn't mentioned it certainly doesn't mean he doesn't already know, since he would no doubt understand a need for discretion. *I guess I'll find out after the medical exam,* I think.

When we arrive at the hospital after a few more minutes of driving, I can feel Mulder steeling himself for the battery of tests that is ahead for both of us. I do likewise. It seems unfair to have to return to the hospital so soon after my admittance in Oregon - but at least we might be able to discover something about what happened to us. *I hope.*

As it turns out, I have not suffered any ill effects from our adventures - or at least not any that show up after two days. There are, however, minute traces of diazepam in my bloodstream: a potent sedative and anti-anxiety medicine that can be used to cause amnesia. Upon my telling him that I'm pregnant, the doctor hastens to assure me that a one-time dose this early is very unlikely to cause any problems. He suggests careful monitoring as it progresses to be certain, which is so obvious that I nearly roll my eyes.

A few additional tests later, I finally exit the exam room. Mulder and Skinner are in the waiting area, and both of them stand as soon as they see me.

"Everything all right, Agent Scully?" Skinner asks.

"I'm fine, sir," I tell him. I glance at Mulder, and then continue, "The only clue the doctor found was traces of diazepam in my system, which probably explains the amnesia."

Mulder nods. "They found that in my blood, too." He meets my eyes, still looking worried, and I guess what he is thinking about. I try to communicate without words that everything really is fine, and he relaxes slightly.

Skinner, who has no doubt observed this silent communication, clears his throat. "I guess that's one small piece of the mystery cleared up."

"Very small," Mulder says, his voice dry.

Skinner frowns. "We're going to get to the bottom of this," he says firmly. "If it's necessary to go back to Oregon to investigate, then that will happen. But I imagine you both wouldn't mind going home first."

He looks at us, and we both voice our agreement. "Good. I'll get us on the next flight to DC."

As soon as our boss has departed, taking out his cell phone as he exits the hospital, Mulder turns to me. "Scully, you're sure that drug won't hurt you and the...the baby?" He stumbles over the word a little, but he is earnest in his attention.

"It shouldn't," I tell him, putting a hand to my abdomen almost without thinking. "The doctor said it's very unlikely... and I'll be monitoring everything carefully, of course."

"Good," Mulder says, with a relieved smile. Then he looks toward the door. "Skinner said he was at the hospital in Oregon - do you think he already knows?"

"He wouldn't have had any reason to find out from anyone but us, as far as we know," I say, "but neither of us remember. I... I don't think I told him, though."

"I don't think I did, either." He takes my hand briefly. "And I won't tell anyone, Scully, unless you say it's okay."

I squeeze his hand and then let go with a sad smile. I don't know what kind of effect this news could have on our careers at the Bureau, but I don't want it to become some kind of soap opera-esque secret until I can't hide it anymore, either. "Thanks, Mulder. I think Skinner should know, but I'd like to decide when," I say. Though Skinner's actions have been questionable at times, I believe him to be trustworthy.

At that moment, Skinner returns. "The flight's in forty-five minutes," he informs us. "Do you need anything before we go?"

"No, sir," I say. I meet Mulder's eyes for a second. "But... Mulder and I do have something we would like to tell you in private, if we could."

As Skinner ushers us out to a quiet corner of the hospital grounds, I note Mulder discreetly drying the palms of his hands on his jeans. He is nervous; so am I, but this needs to be done and I will do it with as little drama as possible.

Our boss turns to face us both after making sure that there is no one nearby who could overhear us. "What is it, Agents?"

I take a deep breath. "Sir, when you came with Mulder to the hospital in Oregon, did you speak to me or to Mulder after he went into my room to see me?"

He looks faintly puzzled. "Yes, I did. I asked Mulder how you were when he came out of the room for a few minutes, and he said you were all right, that you could be released the next morning pending some further test results." Regarding Mulder, he says, "And you don't recall any of this." It's not really a question, and Mulder just shakes his head. He continues, "I didn't speak with you, Agent Scully, because the doctor came out a short while later and said you needed your rest."

"All right. I'm guessing I told Mulder something else while he was there, even if we can't remember," I say, holding my head up although I can't quite look at Skinner directly. "I'm pregnant."

The look of shock on Skinner's face is almost comical. As our supervisor, he has been informed of the details of my health that have gone into our case reports, and therefore at least has gathered that this was not a likely occurrence for me. He closes his mouth after several seconds and swallows, glancing from me to Mulder and then back again. "Who else knows?"

"Just the doctor in Oregon and here," I tell him, "and the man at whose cabin we spent the night in the woods last night. A Mr. Al Price."

Skinner gives me an odd look at that, but then seems to decide to ignore it for the moment. "I'm sure I don't need to tell either of you this," he says eventually, "but it would be wise for you to keep this to yourselves as much as possible, at least until we find out what happened to you during these past couple of days."

I nod, trying not to let myself start to panic at the implications of his warning. The thought that someone might attempt to harm this child before I have even fully grasped the miracle that I am carrying it is enough to make me clench my fists - and say another silent prayer of thanks that Mulder is here beside me instead of missing.

After a moment, Skinner's expression softens just a little. He looks at both of us again. "I appreciate you telling me this. And I take it I'm not mistaken in offering my congratulations to you both?"

"No, sir, you're not," Mulder speaks up for the first time, in a quiet but firm voice. I do not conceal my answering smile.

Skinner nods. "Well, we have a car waiting for us, Agents. Let's go."

Mulder and I share a look of faint surprise at this last reaction before we follow.

The ride to the airport is almost completely spent in silence. I imagine we're all lost in our own thoughts; mine are centered around Mulder's and my missing time, and how we can solve this case as quickly as possible without putting ourselves at risk.

Despite these worries, I have nearly fallen asleep by the time we arrive at the airport. Mulder puts a hand on my shoulder as the car pulls to a stop. "We're here, Scully."

Skinner has to vouch for us at the airline counter when we check in, since Mulder and I have no ID. Thankfully, this does not cause too much of a problem: our boss has always been good at getting people to abide by his wishes (unless it's Mulder). Once on the plane, I am awake for takeoff - which I worry may bring back my nausea, but it doesn't - and then I fall asleep only minutes later. ~

Subject: All I Will Remember (4/7) by Namarie ~ Chapter 2

My mother is waiting at the gate when we arrive. She has that all-too-familiar worried expression on her face, which clears somewhat when her gaze lands on both Mulder and me. "Dana!"

I return her tight hug, closing my eyes for a moment. Once again, I wish my poor mother did not have to keep being put through this kind of worry for her daughter. As we break apart, she turns to look at Mulder. "You two are all right?"

"Yes, Mom. A little confused, but we're fine," I tell her.

She looks anxious again. "Mr. Skinner said neither of you can remember the last two days."

"That's right," Mulder confirms. "But we're going to try to find out what happened as soon as we can, Mrs. Scully."

Mom nods. "All right. I certainly hope so." After a moment, she gives Mulder a hug as well, which he returns with an expression of mild surprise. Then she smiles at Skinner, who looks a little uncomfortable as he nods in acknowledgement.

"Agents," he says, "I suggest we start the investigation in earnest tomorrow. You should both draw up a report of what you do remember tonight, but I want you to take the evening off besides that." Then he turns to Mulder. "Do you need a ride back to your apartment, Agent Mulder?"

Mulder glances at me, and then says, "Sure. Thank you, sir." He puts a hand on my shoulder blade briefly. "See you tomorrow, Scully."

My mother has been waiting patiently, but she speaks up as Skinner starts to leave, "Fox, if you're hungry, I'd be happy to give you and Dana dinner. And you would be welcome, too, Mr. Skinner."

Skinner smiles politely. "Thank you for the invitation, Mrs. Scully, but I'm afraid I'll have to decline. You have a good evening, though."

"I don't think I could ever say no to a home-cooked meal," Mulder says to my mom. Then he turns to Skinner again. "We'll be in tomorrow morning, sir. Thanks again."

Skinner nods and tells us it's not a problem before departing.

"All right," my mother says, with another smile for me and for Mulder. "Let's get going. I can have dinner ready in just a few minutes."

The drive to my mother's house is taken up by us filling her in with as many details as we do remember of the past two days (Mulder stays mostly silent, allowing me to tell the majority of the the tale but adding a few comments), and her responses. I do not tell her my most important news yet; I'd rather wait until we've eaten, I think.

She is both surprised and grateful as we relate the kindness of Al Price, and suggests that we at least need to mail him a thank-you card, maybe with a gift card inside. It's a good idea.

I hesitate to tell her the findings of the drug in Mulder's and my systems, but decide that a rational explanation for our amnesia is something I shouldn't keep from her. The other times I have suffered memory loss over the years have not provided me with such an easy answer - even if that is the only one we'll get on this case.

"But the doctors said you'll both be all right?" she asks again, after I share this detail.

I reassure her once more, and add, "That specific drug might actually be useful in finding out who did this to us, since it's not widely accessible."

"That's good," Mom answers. She is clearly still trying to process this as much as we are.

As soon as we arrive at her house, Mom hurries into the kitchen. "You two just relax for a few minutes. I'll start dinner."

Mulder and I offer to help, but she waves us away. "You don't look like you've been getting enough rest, wherever you were while you were gone. You both just have a seat."

I look at Mulder, and we walk into the living room. "Um, if you don't mind, Mulder," I say with a yawn, "I think I'd like to change into something I haven't been wearing for more than two days. I'm pretty sure I have some clothes here."

Mulder nods. "Go ahead, Scully. I'm a little jealous, though." He smiles.

"Well," I say, raising my eyebrows, "Bill might have some clothes left here. You could wear those, if you want."

"As tempting as that is," he starts, and then a wicked gleam appears in his eyes. "You know, actually, if you promise that he isn't around, and if your mom wouldn't mind..."

"Wouldn't mind what, Fox?" Mom says, from the doorway of the kitchen.

"I was going to change into cleaner clothes, and I wondered whether Bill had anything here that Mulder could wear," I tell her.

"Oh," she replies, with a faint frown as she thinks. "Yes, I think there should at least be a T-shirt in Bill's old room. You're welcome to borrow it, as far as I'm concerned. Dana, you can show Fox where Bill's room is, right?"

Mulder thanks her, all traces of glee at this development carefully hidden. I, however, don't bother to disguise my amusement at how I can picture my brother reacting should he ever find out about this. Mom gives me a knowing look but heads back into the kitchen without further comment.

Mulder follows me upstairs, and I stop at the door to Bill's room and push it open. "You're in luck, Mulder," I say. "Looks like Mom folded the last T-shirt he left here on his bed. You don't have to go looking for it."

"Good," Mulder replies. "That would be a little too weird even for me, I think. I hope it fits."

I am about to continue down the hall to my room when he calls after me, "Scully."


He lowers his voice. "Are you planning..." He trails off, and then starts again. "Do you want me to be here when you tell your mom? I can leave right after dinner, if you want to do it by yourself."

I blink, and then tell him, "Mulder, I don't want you to leave. I...I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to say to her, but... unless you want to leave..."

"No." He smiles again, self-deprecating. "Only sort of. Just, um, give me a signal or something if you change your mind."

I shake my head and go to change. I wonder if Mulder is afraid that my mother is going to react poorly and throw him out of the house - but he can't be really worried, can he? He should know by now that there are several reasons this is extremely unlikely. She has never once given me an indication that she doesn't approve of Mulder, other than some worries about my safety that I know would be there regardless of who my partner is. She certainly never seems to mind him sitting bedside vigil for me when I'm in the hospital, either.

Dinner passes pleasantly enough. The food is, of course, wonderful and very comforting. Mulder is charming and polite - as he always is when he spends time with my mother and me. When we retire to the living room, Mulder stands to use the restroom, and I catch his eye. He nods, understanding that I plan to tell my mother now. I think it will be easier to begin to break the news while Mulder is out of the room, and he evidently agrees.

"Dana, honey, is there something else on your mind?" Mom asks me, noting my distraction.

I take a deep breath, turning towards her on the couch. "Yes. I... haven't told you what happened right before the time that Mulder and I can't remember. I haven't told you what I found out."

She starts to look anxious again. "Found out? What do you mean?"

"I went to the hospital as soon as I landed in Oregon," I say, knowing that if I draw this out too much longer, I will cause my mother yet more fear. Still, I'm much more nervous than I was when I told Skinner. "I'd been feeling sick the past few days before that."

"Dana, please just tell me," Mom pleads, reaching for my hand. "Whatever it is, whatever is wrong, I want to know."

"Nothing is wrong, actually," I assure her. I smile then, not quite able to meet her eyes. "Mom, they ran the tests twice, and they confirmed that I'm pregnant."

Her silence makes me raise my eyes to hers, and I see shock and joy grow there like they had in Mulder when I told him the news. "Oh... Dana, that's wonderful!"

I smile again, laughing as she pulls me into an embrace that rivals Mulder's in its intensity.

"It has to be a miracle, doesn't it?" she declares, pulling back so she can put a hand on my cheek and look at me directly.

"I think so," I tell her honestly. "I can't explain it any other way."

My mother stares at me for a few seconds, joy still radiating from her face. She strokes her hand through my hair. "How far along are you, honey?"

"About four weeks."

She smiles again, and then hesitates. "And Fox is-"

"Yes. And he's thrilled." I think back to our failed attempts at IVF not too long ago, and take another deep breath. What a strange road we've come.

Mom pauses for a moment. "That's good. I'm glad to hear it." She looks thoughtful.

"What is it, Mom?" Even though she has been nothing but supportive so far, I can't help being a little worried as soon as my mother's mood seems to be turning more serious.

"Nothing, sweetheart," she says, smiling again. Before I can press her on the issue, Mulder comes back into the room, and she stands up. "There you are. Dana told me the news! This is wonderful, Fox."

Mulder ducks his head with a shy but sincere smile. "So you're not going to kick me out of your house, then?" he asks.

She laughs. "Of course not! You're both giving me another grandchild to look forward to." Then she takes his hand and adds, "And I know you're very committed to each other."

"Mom," I warn. I can see where this could end up going.

My mother looks at me meaningfully, but drops the subject. "Would anyone like tea or coffee? I have decaf, Dana."

The rest of the evening passes quickly and with minimal awkwardness, for which we are both grateful. Mom can see when fatigue starts to hit us, and she offers to drive us each back to our apartments.

I can tell that Mulder is thinking about us spending the night in one apartment - but perhaps he feels it wouldn't be prudent to bring that up with my mother. I won't deny it would be nice to sleep in his arms. On the other hand, I reflect, it might also be nice for us both to spend one night in our own environments, so to speak, so we can each start to feel at home again.

"Let me just get my purse," Mom says, after I thank her for her offer.

When she is out of the room, I turn to Mulder. "We could each use one night in the comforts of our own homes, I think."

"Probably," Mulder agrees. Then he lowers his voice to sultry and adds, "Although under other circumstances I'd be willing to settle for the comforts of your home."

I raise one eyebrow, amused. "You know, if I didn't know any better, I'd say you were a little afraid of my mother right now, Mulder."

He looks indignant, and then apologetic. "Give me some time, Scully," he says. "I'll get used to everything soon enough."

I search his gaze, and relent. "All right."

My apartment is just as I left it, as far as I can tell. Whoever searched it must have done a good job putting everything back when they left, I muse.

As soon as I have written up the preliminary report as requested by Skinner, I get myself ready for bed. I am grateful that tomorrow is Friday - any more of a work week would be hard to face with how tired I am. It takes only a few seconds for me to fall asleep as soon as the light is off and I am stretched out on my bed.

My arrival at work the next morning is greeted by stares from my fellow agents - more than usual, I mean. But I am surprised and pleased that a few of the stares are followed up by apparently genuine smiles and "Welcome back, Agent Scully." It's nice to know that some of my coworkers, at least, didn't assume that Mulder and I just ran off together for two days of secret, passionate lovemaking.

Mulder is already in the office and seated at his desk when I open the door.

"Did you get the welcoming committee on your way in, too?" I ask him, but my smile fades as I see the way he is slumped over in his chair, staring at a piece of paper lying on top of what I assume to be the report Skinner asked for. "Mulder, what's wrong?"

He picks up the paper and holds it out for me to take. His eyes show half-concealed rage and fear, but his voice is quiet. "I found this taped to my car window this morning."

I unfold it, reading:

>They missed one opportunity, but they will try again. And she'll be in danger this time as soon as they find out.<

My hands have started to shake, I realize, as I lower the printed paper and look at Mulder. He is gripping the edge of his desk and watching me, now wearing a mask of calm that doesn't fool me in the least.

"But who..." I start, and then trail off. There's no point in even finishing the sentence. From this plain, typed note, we are supremely unlikely to gather enough information to track down its writer. The important thing - the terrifying thing - is that someone has been tracking us very closely. In fact, somehow they have discovered a piece of information that I had thought hidden from almost everyone, except...

"Whoever wrote this must have gotten into my hospital records in Oregon," I say quietly.

Mulder is silent for a moment, and then he stands up suddenly. The intensity of his gaze is almost alarming, but all he says is, "Do we show this to Skinner?"

I blink, and consider the question. "It seems to be related to the case," I conclude. "Maybe we'd better."

Even after I say this, neither of us move. Maybe it's just paranoia brought on by the implications of this note, but I can't help remembering back to Skinner's treacherous behavior during Mulder's illness earlier this year. I wonder if Mulder is recalling it as well. If Skinner is still under the control of Krycek to any extent, then I should not have told him my news yesterday.

Mulder regards me for another long moment. Then he grabs his jacket off the back of his chair and reaches for the note I am still holding. In a resigned, bitter tone, he says, "You know, Krycek instigated the whole second trip to Bellefleur. Somehow I wouldn't be surprised if he knew something about where we were while we were missing, too."

"Are you saying we should go to Skinner *because* he'll pass on whatever we tell him to Krycek?" I protest. And yet I still allow him to take the paper, and I still follow him out of the office.

"No," Mulder says, waiting for me in the hall. "I'm just saying that if Krycek is still playing puppet-master - I mean, he probably put this note on my car - Skinner most likely can't tell him anything he doesn't already know."

Upon some reflection, I had to reluctantly agree with Mulder's assessment. Krycek does seem like the most logical candidate to have given Mulder that cryptic note. There is one thing that doesn't make sense, though. "But, Mulder," I point out in a low voice as we continue toward Skinner's office, "if Krycek is the one who gave you that warning, why did he tell you to go to Bellefleur in the first place?"

Mulder shrugs. "Who knows? Maybe he had a crisis of conscience when his plan to get me abducted didn't work out the first time." He smiles, but not with much real humor. "Although that would require him to have a conscience in the first place."

"I was just going to say that," I mutter.

As soon as we arrive, Skinner's assistant ushers us through to his office. Our boss directs us to have a seat. "How are you feeling, Agents?"

"More well-rested, sir," I reply. "Thank you."

Mulder nods. "We both have the reports you wanted - and a bonus clue to the whole mystery, too." He passes Skinner the folder with our reports, along with the typed note. "This was on my car window this morning."

Skinner looks alarmed as he takes in the warning words. "Have you had the lab analyze this?"

"Not yet, sir," Mulder replies, although it is obvious from his lack of expression that he doesn't expect much from an analysis.

Apparently, Skinner doesn't miss this, either. "I'm guessing you have your own theories about where it came from, then, Agent Mulder."

Mulder shifts in his seat, and says, "It just seems like a huge coincidence to me that Krycek appears and convinces us all that there's still something to be found in Bellefleur. And then someone breaks into the hospital records where Scully was admitted, and then leaves this warning for me to find as soon as Scully and I go back to work."

Skinner's expression flickers at the mention of Krycek, but he waits for Mulder to finish speaking before he replies. "Not that I don't think he's capable of manipulation and breaking into confidential records," he says, "but if Krycek is responsible for it, why would he bother leaving you a warning? Why not just let things unfold?"

I give Mulder a significant look, and he shrugs. "That is the question, sir."

After a brief pause, Skinner clears his throat. "Before we consider the next steps in solving this case, I need to tell you both something I learned while I was still in Bellefleur looking for you."

Sitting up straighter, I exchange glances with Mulder again. He might appear relaxed to the inexperienced observer, but I can see the tension in his shoulders and jaw.

"I got a call from Billy Miles' partner on the force almost as soon as I left the hospital after your disappearance," Skinner reports. "He told me that Billy Miles has disappeared, along with the Hoeses and every other man and woman in Bellefleur who had ever been abducted before. He also told me that Detective Miles had been found locked in his own trunk, unconscious, dehydrated, and with chemical burns around his eyes and mouth."

The air around me seems to grow colder at his words. As much as we had feared this to be true, hearing it confirmed makes it much worse. If I hadn't gone out there to tell Mulder what the Gunmen had found...

"Is Detective Miles going to recover?" I ask, forcing my voice to remain steady.

Skinner frowns, and replies, "They're not sure. He had sunk into a coma by the time they got him to a hospital, apparently."

*And if he does wake up, it'll be to find out that his son is gone,* I think.

"We can pass along the methods Scully used to treat me when I was exposed to the virus," Mulder remarks, sounding subdued.

Skinner agrees. Then he glances back at the note that is resting on his desk. "Agents, in light of the warning in this note and what happened to the abductees in Bellefleur, I advise you to keep a low profile and stay alert for the next while. Whether or not it was Krycek who delivered this, it seems clear that you both are in danger." He hesitates, and his gaze moves from Mulder to me as he adds, "If you feel the need for a protection detail, or relocation, that could be arranged-"

Before Mulder can reply, I break in. "No, thank you, sir." Meeting Skinner's eyes directly, I continue, "For my part at least, I would like to hold off on either of those options until or unless Agent Mulder and I cannot solve this case under our own power. We still have the angle of the drug that was found in both of our bloodstreams. But I do appreciate the need to be prudent and aware while we try to follow that lead."

While I speak, Mulder has turned to look at me with pure anxiety visible in his eyes, but when Skinner asks if he agrees with my decision, he only nods. It's obvious that he would prefer if I took these precautions and stayed out of danger - and I have to fight back a surge of irritation at his protective tendencies. At least he doesn't contest my judgment in front of our boss.

There is another brief period of silence, and then Skinner says, "I'll read your reports, Agents. It's good to have you back."

As soon as we leave Skinner's office, Mulder opens his mouth to speak, and I cut him off. "Mulder, if you're going to tell me I should have accepted the offer of a protection detail or relocation, don't bother. I'm not going to give up that easily."

"It's not...I wasn't-" He shakes his head and sighs, lowering his voice and glancing around us before he tries again. "It's just that this doesn't only affect the two of us anymore, Scully."

My irritation lessens, and I brush my hand across his. "I know," I tell him softly. "But if I can't protect myself...us, now, what chance will I have in a few months?"

He looks at me for a moment, and then smiles. "Well, I may not be a full protection detail, Scully, but I can offer you my services." He stops, and raises his eyebrows. "Whatever way you want to take that."

I can't hold back a laugh. "Duly noted."


Subject: All I Will Remember (5/7) by Namarie

The remainder of my day at the office - mostly full of paperwork, and a few fruitless calls to manufacturers and distributers of diazepam - is cut about an hour short by the return of my morning sickness. Thankfully, it hits with enough warning that I am able to make it to the (mercifully empty) women's bathroom in time. After I recover from the shakiness that follows, I head for the nearest drinking fountain to wash the taste of acid from my mouth.

Mulder is at his desk when I return. He meets my gaze immediately, and I summon up a tired smile to allay his concern. "Nothing to worry about, Mulder. Sometimes it happens in the evening instead of the morning, despite the name. But I don't think it's over yet, so if you don't mind, I might head home for the night."

He stands up and walks over to me. "No, that's all right. Go ahead and go relax, Scully." He hands me my coat, and says, "You, uh... you going to be okay driving home? I could take you, or call you a cab."

I almost shake my head, but I stop myself in time. The nausea has decreased, but as I told Mulder, it doesn't feel like it's gone. "I don't want to take you away from work early," I tell him, closing my eyes for a moment.

"Hey," Mulder says lightly, "it's not like I'd get a lot done without you here to keep me on track, anyway. And it's Friday, just one day after we got back from who knows what. I'm sure Skinner won't mind."

"All right." The nausea is at a constant low level at the moment, but I don't want to risk concentrating on driving. Mulder may be up to his usual protectiveness, but it is perfectly logical this time. *I'll have to see the doctor about the best remedies for this,* I think - and then realize I still need to decide on a doctor for the next nine months. I could go back to Dr. Parenti; I'm sure he would be thrilled for me if I told him my news.


Mulder is once again trying not to look worried, and I realize I must have zoned out for a few minutes. "Yeah. Let's go," I say, and he follows me out.

The drive home is mostly uneventful. There is one moment when the nausea threatens to overwhelm me, but I manage to hold it back - although I can tell that if I'd had to be in the car for even a few more minutes, my control would not have lasted. Regardless, I'm glad to be able to not have to concentrate on the road. By the time I get into my apartment, the morning sickness has receded again.

In the next instant, as I turn on my light, I am glad that Mulder decided to accompany me inside: standing up from my couch at our arrival is Alex Krycek. Immediately, I draw my gun, and hear Mulder do likewise next to me.

"Get the hell out of my apartment, Krycek," I order. The surge of adrenaline is not helping my stomach settle, but I manage to keep my aim steady.

"Oh, I think you'll want to hear what I have to say first." As usual, the man looks maddeningly sure of himself as he slowly raises his arms. He's about to say something further but Mulder cuts in.

"It's all right, Scully. Looks like he's unarmed."

Krycek's expression hardens at Mulder's emphasis on the last word, but he stands still while I keep my weapon trained on him and check to be sure he is not, in fact, armed. This accomplished, I step back with a sigh, swallowing against one more wave of nausea. Krycek turns his attention to me at that moment. "Agent Scully," he says, with exaggerated concern, "you're looking a little pale. Maybe you should sit down."

He moves toward me slightly, and Mulder is across the room and at my side in an instant, gun now pointed directly at Krycek's face. "Don't come any closer!"

Krycek puts his hands up again, looking amused. "All right, all right. You going to let me tell her what I'm doing here, or just keep threatening me?"

After a second, we all sit down. Even as I am thankful for the chance to relax slightly, I'm struck by the absurdity of this man sitting on my couch, in my living room, as if he and Mulder are both dinner guests waiting for the meal to be ready. Of course, the fact that Mulder still has his gun trained on Krycek and is still not even trying to disguise his hatred somewhat damages that illusion.

"Go ahead, Krycek. Enlighten us," Mulder invites, glancing at me briefly before leaning back against the couch. "Maybe you could start by explaining why you sent me to Bellefleur to get abducted, but then turned around and left a warning for Scully and me this morning."

Krycek shrugs. "Things have changed. You both are important players in the coming events - you, and the baby, as soon as they find out about it. You're assuming it's both of yours, right?"

Once again, I fight the reflexive urge to raise my hands to my abdomen. Instead, I straighten my back and meet Krycek's gaze challengingly. "That's another thing. Since you apparently had no problem looking into my hospital records in Oregon, why should I believe that you haven't already told them - whoever 'they' are, exactly?"

"We're on the same side, Agent Scully," he replies, "whether you believe it or not. I don't want plans for colonization to move forward any more than you do. And besides," he adds with a mirthless smile, "if I had told them about your condition, they'd have tracked you down already."

I can't tell whether the renewed surge of nausea I feel after hearing his words is from morning sickness or pure anger and fear.

"Your concern for our welfare is truly touching," Mulder says, fists clenched at his sides. "Go on."

Krycek glances from me to Mulder. His expression is now completely serious. "The main thing you should know is that the Alien Bounty Hunter has already been trying to track you down, since you didn't make your rendezvous with the rest of the group in Oregon. Fortunately, your subsequent disappearance seems to have thrown him off the trail for the moment. Oh, and when the others, the abductees, are returned, they're not going to be the same. Physically, they're going to be changed."

"How do you mean?" I ask. I think of poor Billy Miles, and Theresa Hoese and her husband.

He shrugs. "I don't have all the details. That's all I've heard."

"What about anything from when you were watching us in Bellefleur, Krycek?" Mulder cuts in. "I'd really like to hear your explanation for that."

Krycek shrugs again, and tells us, "I went out there after I found out that Scully was going after you. I wanted to know whether she had succeeded in getting there in time to stop your abduction." He looks at me briefly. "I didn't get there until after you two had already left the hospital. You left in quite a hurry, apparently, and somehow got past any of the doctors or nurses without anyone seeing you. That takes some skill, I'll admit."

Perhaps he notices the lack of comprehension on our faces, because Krycek laughs then, almost incredulously. "Wait a minute. Neither of you even remember how you got out of the hospital, do you?"

"You didn't know that already?" Mulder's continued hostility is now tinged with blatant skepticism.

At this confirmation, Krycek shakes his head. "He must have drugged you good," he remarks with evident admiration.

I tense. "Who?"

Krycek seems only too pleased to inform us that a sometime associate of his - conveniently, he doesn't know any names - had contacted him a few hours after we disappeared from the hospital to tell him that it was imperative that we be taken out of commission and hidden for a while. "I know you're not going to believe me," he finishes, "but I don't know much of what happened to you while you were missing. He wouldn't say what he was planning beyond that. But he probably saved your life at least, Mulder, and possibly yours as well, Scully."

Mulder's eyes are cold. "Well, you're right about one thing: I don't believe you. What information do you actually have - something that will keep me from throwing you out of this building, or not?"

"Oh, come on, Mulder," Krycek protests. "I've already helped you out significantly, more than I had to. What more could you possibly want?"

"You've given us just enough to string us along," he retorts, "just like always. You haven't given us a name, or anything beyond vague warnings about more alien activity."

The man raises his eyebrows. "You want a name? Fine." He stands up suddenly, and Mulder and I quickly follow suit, hands at our holsters. "Parenti."

I can't suppress a gasp, and Krycek nods in grim satisfaction. "I'd suggest finding another doctor for the duration of your pregnancy, Agent Scully."

Without another word, Krycek heads for the door. We watch him leave, neither of us making a move to stop him. I am not sure I could move even if I wanted to do so.

When the door has closed behind Krycek, Mulder turns to look at me. "Scully," he says quietly.

It takes me a good ten seconds to drag my gaze to his. I am trembling again, and this time I don't keep my hand from coming to rest on my stomach.

"Dr. Parenti," I whisper. "What did he do to me, Mulder? What if-"

He says my name again, and I can see the anguish in his expression. "Don't, Scully. Don't start imagining the worst-case scenarios. We don't even know if Krycek was telling the truth."

"Why would he lie about this?" I ask dully. "What kind of long game is he playing with us by putting us on Parenti's trail?"

Mulder shakes his head, and admits, "I don't know. But we need to see if there is evidence, either way."

My mind is in turmoil. It wasn't like I had chosen Dr. Parenti at random when I was searching for a second opinion about my fertility. I had researched him carefully - or so I thought. In the end, every doctor I'd been to had told me there was almost no chance of success... and yet here I am, four weeks pregnant. I've been doing my best to ignore any fears of anything other than a miracle as the source of this pregnancy, but now...

"I can't get an amniocentesis done until week eleven at the earliest," I murmur, mostly to myself. And that's assuming I find a doctor I can trust.

"Scully," Mulder repeats insistently, and I look up at him again. "Let's investigate him first, before we jump to any conclusions."

Too late, I almost say, but instead I nod once. "Yeah." Then I turn and start to walk toward my room. "I'm going to bed."

"It's 5:41."

I sigh, and change course for the kitchen. Even if I weren't already somewhat nauseated, Krycek's visit has left me without an appetite. But I know that an empty stomach could easily make my nausea worse, so I pull out a loaf of multigrain bread and put two slices in the toaster. A meal of dry toast and ice cubes doesn't exactly sound appetizing, but at least it shouldn't turn my stomach.

I can feel Mulder's gaze on me as he stands in the doorway to the kitchen. "I don't think there are any leftovers in my fridge, Mulder," I inform him without turning around, "but you can make yourself a sandwich if you want." I could tell him to leave, and he would - but I don't think I honestly want to be alone right now.

"That's fine," he says.

Somehow, I manage to push aside my worry and tension for long enough that I am able to eat in relative peace. Mulder stays quiet throughout the meal, for which I am grateful.

As I am eating the last few bites of my bland meal, a wave of exhaustion hits me. I'm suddenly so tired that finishing my dinner seems like far too much effort. It's a common symptom this early along, I know, but it still seems odd that I would feel this way at this absurdly early hour.

"If you don't mind me using your computer," Mulder says, breaking the silence so abruptly that I almost choke, "I could start doing some research tonight."

I pick up my plate and drag myself to my feet. "Go ahead. Just turn it off when you're done."

"Okay." He watches me put the dish away, his own food only half-finished, and then says, "Goodnight."

As I get ready for bed, I notice that Mulder has set up shop at my computer. What he's looking for does cross my mind - but I've always been good at denial, at least of the temporary kind. I can't dwell on it right then, or despite my fatigue I will not be able to sleep.

My last thought before I climb into bed is to wonder whether he will be staying the night out there, or whether he will go home. *Or maybe,* I muse sleepily, *he'll stay with me.*

Chapter 3

It can't be more than halfway through the night when my sleep ceases to be peaceful. The fears Krycek's revelation have evoked in me manifest themselves in horrific detail in my dreams. I find myself struggling futilely against faceless men who hold me down while they prepare a surgical table full of medieval looking tools and instruments. One of the men standing closest to me isn't touching me yet... but I know his face. I know what he's going to do. Soon elements of an older dream are added to the mix, as I hear the sounds of a drill descending toward me. I don't even have breath to scream, somehow, but I keep fighting - until Mulder's voice and touch bring me out of the nightmare.

"Wake up, Scully - you're safe. It's just a dream."

I become aware of his hands on my arm and back before I come fully awake and stop struggling. My heart races, and I try to take in deep gulps of air.

"It was just a bad dream, Scully," Mulder says in a whisper now, smoothing his hand along my arm slowly. I feel the warmth of his body right behind me, and I wonder how long he has been there.

My breathing calms, but the feelings of utter helplessness and terror are slow to fade. "What if some of it did happen, Mulder?" I whisper back.

His hand stills. "Dr. Parenti's bio and information all seem to be in order," he says after a pause. "Of course, this is only what I could find out online, but I asked the Gunmen to do some digging, too. They'll let us know what they find in the morning."

I nod, and sigh heavily. I had not expected any different results at this point, but still, at this point, I don't agree that no news is good news.

I lie awake for a long time before finally drifting off to the sound of Mulder's regular breathing. If I do dream again that night, it is nothing I remember by the time I wake again.

As soon as I open my eyes, I can tell that the night's sleep has at least done some physical good for me, although it does not take long at all for my memories of the previous night's events to return. Mulder is still deeply asleep and snoring softly, with one arm wrapped around me as is his habit. I carefully extricate myself from his grip and head for the bathroom. My alarm clock, I note on the way, informs me that it's 5:39. At least I won't have to lie awake for too many hours.

When I climb back under the covers, Mulder stirs and mumbles, "You all right, Scully?"

"Yeah, I'm fine." No morning sickness, at least. "Go back to sleep, Mulder."

"Mm." He pulls closer to me, resettling his arm over my stomach. "Time is it?"

"Not even six."

I can feel him take a deep breath and exhale it slowly. He doesn't reply for a while, and I am starting to wonder if he's fallen asleep when he presses his lips to the back of my neck. His deepened voice, and his mouth only millimeters from my skin, make me shiver involuntarily as he says, "You know, Scully, if you're not going to sleep, I might as well be awake, too."

"Is that so?" I ask him, my heart rate starting to speed up for a much more pleasurable reason than it had earlier.

Mulder's hand begins to roam from its resting place on my stomach. "I could be persuaded to give up some sleep, yeah." He pauses for a second, and then sounds unsure. "If...if it won't cause any problems..."

My distraction means that it takes a few seconds for me to understand what he's getting at. Then I try to hold back a flash of mingled fear and irritation as I shake my head. I have done enough research on sex during pregnancy to know the answer to his question. "No, Mulder, it shouldn't be a problem at all."

He must sense the shift in my mood, because he sighs. "Sorry, Scully. I-"

I turn over and put my hand to his mouth. "Just don't worry about it, please, Mulder." I can see his eyes even in the still-darkened room, and the combination of guilt and anxiety visible there makes me curse Krycek's unwelcome news yet more fervently. I remove my hand from his lips, and cover them with my own.

Mulder responds willingly enough, leaning into the kiss, and I give a mental sigh of relief. Then he breaks away seconds later, panting and regarding me closely. "Scully..." But before he can start to ask again, I pull him toward me, and succeed at shutting him up.

The ringing of my phone jerks me out of contented slumber several hours later. As I fumble for the phone near my bed, Mulder rolls over and grumbles, "If it's Krycek, tell him to go screw himself."

Chuckling, I finally rouse myself enough to be able to pick up the receiver. "Hello?"

"Agent Scully, good morning," Byers' voice greets me, as polite as ever. "I apologize if I woke you, but we've found some information on the topic Mulder asked us to research, and we think you both would prefer to hear it in person."

"All right, thanks," I say, trying not to panic right away. I glance at the clock: it's almost nine. "We'll be there in about forty-five minutes."

"We'll see you then." He hangs up.

Mulder clears his throat. "That the guys?"

"Uh huh." Turning to face him, I sit up fully and take a slow breath. "They want us to come hear what they found out."

He meets my eyes. "We'd better get moving then, I guess."


Neither of us make any motions toward getting out of bed. Finally, Mulder wraps his fingers around my wrist and tugs on it, gently pulling me down to lie next to him. "It might not be bad news. And even if it is, it gives us something to go on, at least."

"I know." I swallow and close my eyes. The sooner we find out all we can about this man, the sooner I will no longer have to live with the awful specter of not knowing what he has done to me hanging over my head. Still, it is only with reluctance that I leave Mulder's embrace and start to prepare for the day.


Subject: All I Will Remember (6/7) by Namarie

We arrive at the Gunmen's office a few minutes later than I'd estimated, but Frohike ushers us inside quickly. "We were glad to hear you're feeling better," he says, and it occurs to me suddenly that the last time I'd seen them, the Gunmen had been taking care of me after I fainted in Skinner's office. Chagrined, I say, "Thank you. And Frohike, I'm sorry I didn't call you after I got to Bellefleur. Things just-"

Frohike waves a hand in dismissal. "Don't worry about it, Scully. Mulder told us about your mysterious hospital exit and what that Krycek guy said happened to you. You've had a lot on your minds."

"Or no longer in our minds, as the case may be," Mulder mutters.

Byers and Langly are gathered around the computer, as usual, and they look up when we come in.

"Hey, Mulder. Scully," Langly greets us, turning back to the screen almost immediately. "We managed to dig up some interesting stuff about this Parenti guy."

"What do you have?" I ask, wondering if I will be able to retain my scientific detachment during this visit. Mulder did not inform the Gunmen of why he wanted a background check on this particular doctor - only that he might be involved with the remnants of the Project. This was done out of courtesy to me, but I'm thinking it might backfire.

Byers speaks up. "So far, we know that his office has ties to Roush Biotech, although they've been doing their best to keep that connection hidden."

I suck in a breath, and avoid Mulder's gaze. There's a name I haven't heard in several years. By the looks on their faces, the Gunmen already know the implications of this name as well. "Anything else?" My voice is mostly calm. *Scientific detachment,* I remind myself.

"Other than Parenti's patient list, not a lot yet," Frohike says, "but we're just a few seconds away from having access to patient files themselves." He pauses, and clears his throat. "We found your name in the patient list, Scully. You, uh, you can look at your record by yourself if you want."

The concern on each of their faces is genuine, and I actually find it difficult to reply for a moment. I finally tell them, "Thank you, all of you."

Mulder moves closer to me as the three of them nod and look both pleased and embarrassed. A moment later, the computer chimes. "Okay, we're in," Langly announces, and stands up from the chair. "Go ahead."

"And let us know if either of you need anything," Byers adds.

Mulder glances at me as we approach the computer, and then calls to the guys' retreating forms, "Hey, how about tickets to the next Yankees game?"

"You're on your own for that one, Mulder," Frohike's response comes back.

There is a pause as I stand behind the chair and stare at the screen. Then Mulder rests his hand on my shoulder. "I'd volunteer to read it for you, Scully," he says, his voice warm and encouraging, "but I'm pretty sure you'd still have to interpret all the medical stuff anyway, so it would take twice as long."

"That's true," I concede. With a sigh, I sit down in the chair and search for my patient file. It doesn't take long to locate, and I do my best to ignore my trepidation as I open it.

A quick scan reveals that Parenti's documentation and records of my IVF procedures seem to be above-board. My name is at the top, and Mulder's is in the place I would expect it to be. In fact, even when I subject my file to a more detailed scrutiny, the only thing that is even slightly questionable is a series of numbers under my name, and the following cryptic words at the end:

>Subject status: NV

Recommended action: None.<

"Nothing looks all that unusual, Mulder," I tell him, "except this here-" I point to these last two items ..."and... do you recognize this sequence of numbers under my name?"

Mulder leans closer to take another look, and nods slowly. "I think so. I think it's the same as the one that was on your file that we found in the Strughold Mining Facility, and in the drawer in the fertility clinic in Pennsylvania where your ova were stored."

I nod once, my jaw clenched. This is what I had expected and feared.

After a moment, Mulder points to the end of the record on the screen. "So, what do you think that means?"

"I'm not sure," I say, "but I have an idea. Let me see if I can test my hypothesis."

Exiting my file, I move from SCULLY, DANA KATHERINE to one of a woman's name close to mine alphabetically - SCHMIDT, RENA ADELLE. I send this woman a silent apology for prying into her medical affairs, and skim through until I reach the bottom of her record. This one reads:

>Subject status: V

Recommended action: Transition to Phase II.<

I have to swallow against my fury and disgust. V and NV. "Viable and non-viable," I whisper. Whatever 'Phase II' is, I was not eligible for it because of what these men did to me in the first place - but this woman, Rena Schmidt, is no doubt being preyed on at this very moment by the doctor whom she trusted would help her with her desire for a child.

I turn to look at my partner, whose expression shows dawning horror and outrage. "This has got to stop, Mulder," I declare, standing up and pointing at the screen. "It goes way beyond me. These...these women are at their most vulnerable when they go to that clinic, and Parenti and whoever else are exploiting that in some way! I mean, who knows how many women have already been victims of this?"

"I absolutely agree, Scully," he says, "but what do you think this means for you? For the baby?"

Crossing my arms, I ponder this question for a minute. Finally, I tell him, "Well, I can't say for sure, obviously, but I think it means..." I have to take a deep breath and let it out before even saying it. "I think it means everything's fine."

Mulder breaks out into a grin, which he tries to stifle. "I was thinking the same thing. And I know it doesn't lessen the importance of what we've just discovered, but that's good news."

"It is," I agree, returning the smile briefly. I'll still be seeking out a trustworthy doctor who can perform an amniocentesis to confirm this child's biological mother and father, but the Gunmen's efforts do mean that I will be able to rest easier until then.

Our next item of business, we decide, is to draw up some kind of plan for how to work toward shutting down Parenti's operation. We fill in the Gunmen a little on what we found, and at first their proposals are enthusiastic but not exactly useful or even close to legal.

"I could come up with a virus that'd wipe their entire mainframe clean in seconds," Langly suggests. "They wouldn't even know what hit them."

Frohike shoots him a look. "Right. And how exactly would you keep it from spreading beyond their systems, genius?"

Before any full-fledged fights can erupt, Byers steps in more calmly. "We could start simply, with a series of anonymous negative reviews of Dr. Parenti's clinic and of his skill." He smiles ruefully and adds, "I know it's only a small step, but if we disseminate the bad PR effectively - which we definitely can - it would at least help prevent more women from being victimized. Especially if you would be willing to help us with accurate phrasing, Agent Scully."

Frohike and Langly look thoughtful, and I nod. "That does seem like a reasonable first step."

Mulder agrees. "Any other ideas? Let's try to limit it to ones that aren't illegal, boys, if we can."

There is some grumbling at this stipulation, but the next fifteen minutes are full of fairly profitable discussion on this topic. Frohike promises that they'll keep digging to try to find anything that would be damaging to Parenti's career if it were brought to light. "Not necessarily for blackmail," he adds with an annoyed look at Mulder, "but so we can send it to the proper authorities."

I have to smile at the idea of these three going through the proper channels. No doubt they'll take even more precautions to make sure that the results of their searches are not traced back to them, so that this doesn't damage their reputation.


Four Weeks Later 4:58 PM

When I open the door to my apartment, I nearly drop my keys in startlement upon seeing Mulder on my couch. He has a file folder and its contents spread out in front of him, but he looks up when I come in. "Hey, Scully." Perhaps taking in my surprise, he cocks his head. "Did you forget? We'd said we would be getting together today after your checkup, to go over-"

"Oh, right," I interrupt, setting down my purse and keys. "The Russell case, with the, uh, mysterious locked-room thefts. Sorry. I guess I did forget." We've still been trying to keep a relatively low profile with our cases, taking the ones that are the most interesting but still able to be worked as much as possible without traveling long-distance.

"If you'd rather not do it now, I could put this away and go home," Mulder starts, but I shake my head and he sits back against the cushions. "So how did the appointment go?"

I sit down next to him with a satisfied smile. "Very well. I'm still liking Dr. Alvarez, and she says it looks like we're on track. Everything is developing as it should be." This was only my second appointment, after a very extensive, careful search for a local obstetrician that I feel I can trust. Mulder had come with me for the more in-depth first appointment two weeks ago, but I wanted to go by myself this time.

"Good," Mulder says, putting his arm around my shoulders. "You ask her about the amnio yet?"

Leaning against him, I reply, "No. I think I'm just going to wait until it's possible for me to have one done. I don't know if there's much point in letting her know of my - our - concerns until then." The first appointment did include me informing her of my attempts at IVF, as part of my medical and reproductive history. I didn't feel like springing everything on her at once was a good idea, though. It'll only be a few more weeks before the amnio can be done safely.

"All right. That makes sense."

We sit together for a while, each lost in our own thoughts, before I sit up. "Well, let's take a look at the case file, then."

After a leisurely dinner, during which we continue to debate the possibility of spectral involvement in the disappearance of several valuable objects at the Russell household, I offer Mulder something to drink. "I have coffee and tea - although mine will be decaf, of course. Or I could get you something cold."

"Am I risking your jealous wrath if I ask for regular coffee?" Mulder asks, grinning.

With an exaggerated sigh, I stand up and say, "I suppose not. But you'll have to make it up to me somehow."

"I can think of a few ways I could do that," he responds, taking my hand as I pass by him on the way to the kitchen.

My answering smile is wide, and I raise an eyebrow. "Then I look forward to experiencing what you come up with."

The case discussion continues, albeit with many more breaks in the flow of conversation, as the evening continues. The decaf peppermint tea I chose is relaxing, although I'm disappointed that instead of settling my stomach, it seems to be causing a return of my morning sickness. And yet it feels somehow different from previous episodes.

Mulder sets down his mug next to mine as I grimace and put a hand to my stomach. "Feeling sick again?"

"Yeah," I say. "I guess it's been a few days." I've been following Dr. Alvarez's dietary recommendations since my first appointment, and up to now they had been holding off the worst of the morning sickness.

"Can I get you anything?"

I get to my feet slowly. "I'll go get the ginger capsules from the bathroom. And actually..." I give him a wry smile. "I think I'd like some ice cream, as cliche as that sounds."

"You want me to get you some?" Looking amused, Mulder stands and goes toward the kitchen. "What kinds do you have?"

I am about to reply when my general feeling of discomfort begins to shift to something more. I frown, and move back toward the couch. Maybe if I sit down and relax...

"If you don't tell me which kind you want, I'm just going to get you some of each kind you have," Mulder calls from in front of my freezer. "And maybe a few dill pickles to go with it."

A sudden sharp pain strikes me in the gut, and I double over, gasping and wrapping my arms around my midsection. My vision starts to swim, and the room rolls and pitches around me as I sink the rest of the way to the ground.


I try to focus on Mulder's terrified face above me, but it's hard to see. "911," I mutter - and then cry out as another stab of pain hits me. Where the pain is localized is adding overwhelming fear to my physical agony. *No... God, please, no!* "Poison," I manage, through clenched teeth. "The baby..."

Mulder has already pulled out his cell phone and started to dial, but at my words his face goes white. I can barely hear his frantic words to the dispatcher over the roaring in my ears. *Think,* I tell myself desperately. *How could I have ingested the poison?*

Thinking back to the feelings of nausea, my suspicions settle on the mint tea I'd made for myself. It has been quite a few years since biochemistry, but I do remember learning about common herbs with abortifacient properties... including pennyroyal, which is related to mint.

I take as deep a breath as I can, noting with increased fear that the poison seems to be affecting multiple organs, including my lungs. "Mulder," I gasp, and his blurred figure draws closer. "The tea... test for... pennyroyal."

Dimly, I hear him repeat the herb name into the phone. Another wave of pain hits, and I close my eyes. I have no idea how long I have before I sustain permanent organ damage - much less the inevitable damage to the fragile embryo I am carrying. It is this added dimension that is causing me more terror for my own safety than I have ever had, not when I was dying from cancer or even from Peyton Ritter's bullet.

The sound of Mulder's voice stops, and I think I hear him running out of the room. He doesn't leave me to wonder where he is for long. "Scully? ...you try... drink... water for me?"

He seems to be fading in and out, but I feel him lift me into a sitting position against him, and then a cool glass is against my mouth. "Mm," I moan, but reach one hand up to hold the glass. I can only manage half of it before another spasm shakes me. Some water spills, but I barely notice the sudden cold as I transfer my grip onto Mulder's shirt. My breathing is becoming increasingly labored.

During the wait for the ambulance, Mulder succeeds in getting the rest of the glass of water into me before I start to lose consciousness. The last thing I hear is his panicked voice calling my name.

Chapter 4

The rhythmic sounds of hospital machinery bring me slowly awake. I blink a few times and groan as I become aware of pervasive dull pain from my head to my stomach. There is a cannula in my nose and an IV pole next to my bed.


I turn my head slightly to my right, and smile faintly as Mulder stands from his chair to come closer to me. Then memory floods back, and the lassitude I'd been feeling dissipates instantly. "Mulder!" I gasp, ignoring the soreness of my raw throat. "Did ** did I lose the..."

"No," he assures me quickly, with a broad smile. "No, you're both going to be okay, as far as everyone can tell."

I sigh and close my eyes, breathing a wordless prayer of thanks. I know that the first trimester is already the time when I am at my highest risk of miscarriage, and to have ingested an herb that was classically used specifically to terminate a pregnancy... I can't control my shudder just then, or the few tears that leak out from behind my eyelids.

Mulder takes my hand. "It's all right, Scully. You're safe now." The way his voice shakes belies the certainty of his words.

After several moments, I open my eyes and take a real look at him. As is normal for when I wake up in a hospital bed, he looks like he hasn't slept in days - and this time, it looks like he hasn't shaved in at least that long, as well. It does appear that he's changed his clothes somewhat recently, at least.

"How long have I been here, Mulder?"

"You're..." he glances at his watch, "about three hours away from your third day. They had to pump your stomach and drain fluid from your lungs, as well as flush as much of the poison out of your system as they could."

"And the baby is fine?" I ask, and then cough, which makes me aware of sore abdominal muscles.

Mulder hands me a cup with a straw, and he elevates the head of the bed for me while I drink it. "That's what they told me. Several times." He shrugs and smiles self-deprecatingly at that. "The doctor said there was some, um -" the tremor in his voice returns for a moment - "bleeding when you were brought in, and it didn't look good for a while... but he told me they did an ultrasound, saw some movement - and they also were able to distinguish the baby's heartbeat. So he's sure the little Scully is doing all right now." He takes the cup and sets it on the table, reclaiming my hand. "And the regular-sized one is going to be fine, too."

I squeeze his hand. I'm tiring out quickly, but I want to talk to him for a little longer before I fall back to sleep. "Was the poison in the tea?"

He nods. "It was pennyroyal, like you guessed - disguised in the tea by its similarity to mint. You drank enough to be lethal for an adult, which not coincidentally is also how much you need to induce a miscarriage."

Once again, I close my eyes, remembering agonizing pain and helpless fear. But I don't want to dwell on that in the least, so I look at Mulder again. "I don't suppose we've tracked down any clues as to who put it in the tea?"

Mulder's expression is hard as he nods. "Forensics got a partial print off the box of tea. Whoever it is, they're not in the system, but we'll find them." His fist is clenched; I can tell that part of him wants to be out there hunting the bastard down right now.

Sighing, I drop my eyes from his. "Mulder... I don't know how to deal with this. Someone tried to kill me, and whether or not they were only targeting me or the baby, they almost killed us both."

He swallows. "This is not going to happen ever again, Scully," he vows in a low voice. "We'll catch the guy, and we'll make sure no one ever tries something like this again."

"How?" I can't keep the bitterness out of my voice, although I can see my words are hurting him. "How can you be sure? Whoever poisoned me - I'm sure they weren't working alone, Mulder."

Mulder sighs, standing up abruptly. He starts pacing the small room. "I think-"

The door opens, and a man in a doctor's coat enters the room. "Miss Scully," he says to me, and then glances at Mulder. "Sorry to interrupt. I'm Doctor Yurczik. How are you feeling?"

After a short conversation, the doctor prescribes a limited amount of pain medicine for the aftereffects of the toxin and its removal from my system, and also a minimum of another four days' bed rest in the hospital. "There is still a high risk of any physical exertion at this point triggering a loss of the pregnancy," he says. "We'll monitor you closely for the rest of this week, and reevaluate after we see how things are going."

As he is about to leave the room to get a nurse for my next dose of painkiller, Dr. Yurczik makes an almost offhand reference to the two guards posted outside my door. This causes me to shoot Mulder a surprised but relieved look.

"How many people know I'm here?" I ask him, when the doctor is gone.

"Just me, and I guess the EMTs who brought you here," he replies. "I told Skinner you'd been attacked, but he didn't want to hear where you were. I guess that's for the best. Just in case." Mulder sighs and rubs a hand across his face. "The doctor and the nurses don't know we're FBI agents, but they've been told to be discreet, since you might still be in danger from an attacker."

I nod, trying not to think about my poor mother who most likely has attempted to call me already, then tried to call Mulder, and is probably beginning to panic at this point. But I wouldn't put her at risk by informing her of my location, either. I will not have another family member threatened because of me.

"Scully," Mulder says, in a cautious tone, "I don't know if you've had the chance to give any more thought to the idea, but do you think it's time to take Skinner up on his offer of relocation?"

Biting my lip, I let my head fall back against my pillow. "Go into hiding? For how long - six more months?" I can't meet his eyes, because I don't want to see the pain that is no doubt clear on his face. "Would I be safe once the baby is born? Or are we talking witness protection and a whole new identity?" I think of the chip in my neck, and wonder bleakly if there even is a place we could hide where it couldn't be used to track me down.

Mulder doesn't answer. I hear him sit down heavily in the chair next to my bed, and I turn to look at him then. He is slumped over with his face in his hands.

"I don't know what to do, Scully," he almost whispers, sounding defeated. "I just... I just want us to be safe. All of us."

His raw admission makes my heart ache, and I feel tears beginning to build in my eyes. How could I have ever kidded myself that this kind of situation would not arise, if I was successful in becoming pregnant?

Before either of us can think of anything to break the silence, there is a knock on the door, and a nurse enters. She stops for a moment, clearly able to sense the blanket of despondency over the room, but she continues forward. "Hi, Dana. It's good to see you awake!" She sets a vial of medicine on the table beside my bed and continues. "I'm Lisa, and I've been looking after you the last few days, as Mr. Mulder here can tell you. He's hardly been out of the room since they brought you in."

Mulder tries to smile and nearly succeeds. "It's just Mulder, Lisa - I told you that the first time."

"Nice to meet you, Lisa. And thank you."

The older woman smiles, and I watch as she readies the syringe for my IV. "So Dr. Yurczik tells me you're feeling sore?"

"Yeah, a little," I reply. Even though exhaustion is catching up with me, I don't think I would be able to fall asleep easily with this lingering, pervasive pain.

"Well, this should do the trick," she says. "It'll probably put you out for the night, too - so you two should say goodnight now if you want to have the chance." She looks over at Mulder, who quickly rises and crosses the short distance to my bed.

"Goodnight, Scully," he almost whispers, bending to push the hair off my forehead and kiss it. "Sleep well." His eyes are full of emotion.

Heedless of Lisa waiting nearby - she is doing her best not to intrude, I know - I catch his hand and bring it to my lips. "Goodnight, Mulder." I continue to hold his hand and look into his eyes until the drug enters my bloodstream and knocks me out, mere seconds later. ~

Subject: All I Will Remember (7/7) by Namarie

The next time I wake, it is to the sudden sound of raised voices outside my room. I blink in the low light of what seems to be early morning, and turn my head toward the door. Just then, there is the thud of what sounds like a body being slammed against the opposite wall of the hallway, and I hear Mulder's voice yelling in fury - though I can't make out the words. Other unfamiliar voices begin to shout as well.

I sit up, wincing at the slight remaining soreness in my abdominal muscles. My heart has started to pound, and I can watch my heart rate speed up on the monitor next to me. I want to get up, to be on my feet and ready to defend myself and Mulder if necessary - but I'm still supposed to be on bed rest.

Just as I am debating swinging my legs over the side of the bed, there is a knock on the door, and Mulder pokes his head in. He is breathing hard, but he only says, "Sorry for waking you, Scully. There was a little trouble out here with an uninvited guest, but everything's okay now."

This is not reassuring. "Are you all right, Mulder? What's going on?"

From behind him, I hear someone call out his name. Mulder turns over his shoulder for a second, and then turns back. "Sorry. I'm all right. I promise I'll come tell you everything as soon as I can, okay? I just don't want to leave Krycek to the guards out here, as dedicated as they seem to be."

"Krycek? Mulder-" But Mulder just gives me an apologetic smile and closes the door again.

I sigh and lie back against the bed. *I guess we can let Skinner know where we are now,* I think somewhat distractedly. Raising the head of the bed so that I am sitting up, and facing toward the door, make me feel marginally less vulnerable - but only marginally. I rest one hand on the still nearly indistinguishable swell of my stomach and wait.

It seems like an eternity, but according to the wall clock, only about fifteen minutes pass before Mulder once again knocks and opens the door to my room. This time, he comes inside, and closes the door behind him. "Hey. You all right?"

"I'm fine," I say shortly. "Mulder, will you tell me what's going on? What was Krycek doing here?"

He comes over and sits down in his accustomed chair. Then he rubs a hand across his chin, thoughtful. "Believe it or not," he says, "I think he came to help. Real help this time, not just cryptic warnings."

I raise an eyebrow. "Really?"

"Possibly," Mulder amends. "It'll have to be confirmed, if we can find any way to do so. But the main thing he told me was that the man who poisoned you is part of a small splinter group who's working to stop plans for colonization."

I am almost afraid to ask, but I press forward. "And what does that have to do with me?"

Mulder sighs, and I see some cracks in his composure. "This guy - and maybe the rest of his group, I don't know - believe that plans for colonization are going to be moved up or put into action when the aliens find out about the existence of our child."

My jaw drops. When I finally find my voice, it still sounds choked as I protest, "That's...that's insane. Absolutely insane. I can't see any reason why anyone would believe that garbage."

"I know," Mulder says, leaning to rest his chin on his hands. I note that it still doesn't look like he's gotten any sleep in recent memory. "I don't understand it either." Then he snorts and continues, "Not that this is really comforting, but Krycek and his sources think this group is a bunch of lunatics. But he did warn me that whenever colonization happens, we can't expect to be left alone, either."

I scoff. "Like we'd be left alone, anyway. You've been thinking about ways to fight against colonization for a long time."

When I look up from the seam of the hospital bed sheet at which I have been absently pulling, there is a strange look in Mulder's eyes - sort of a mixture of hurt and amazement. He opens his mouth, but closes it again without speaking.

"What?" I ask. I try to replay my words in my head, wondering what is causing his reaction.

After a second, Mulder clears his throat. "Scully, I will *never* put you or our kid at risk. I would rather throw in the towel and watch the world burn, with both of you alive and safe. I thought you...I'm sorry for giving you the impression that I wouldn't put you first." With these last words, he drops his eyes from mine.

It takes me a while to figure out how he got from my comment to this conclusion. I want to shake some sense into him - and yet I know that his looking through the lens of perpetual guilt doesn't lessen the truth of his declaration.

Accordingly, I take a deep breath and reach for his hand. "I appreciate hearing that, Mulder. But that's not what I was implying." He looks up at that, and I proceed, "All I meant was that neither of us will be standing passively by to watch the world be destroyed around us - and that I know you especially would already be a target because of your life's work."

"And you, too, because it's become yours." His eyes are still dark with guilt, but at least he's looking at me.

"Which was and is my choice," I remind him firmly. "Please don't start this again." After a moment, he nods, and I twine my fingers through his. "So, did Krycek have anything else to say?"

Mulder seems grateful for the change of topic. "Yeah, he did. He said the Bounty Hunter hasn't been sighted since he dropped in at your apartment - so it's possible I might be off the hook as far as meeting the guy again any time soon. Oh, and he also called me an ungrateful bastard after I almost gave him a black eye when he first showed up in the hall." He smiles wryly. "But don't worry, I called him worse."

I roll my eyes.

Just then, there is a light knock on the door, and a young woman comes in with a tray of food. She looks a little shell-shocked, and I guess that she must have witnessed at least some of the confrontation outside my room. I smile at her, and turn my attention to breakfast.

When I take the lid off the tray, I notice that Mulder is watching me intently. "I'd offer you some, Mulder," I say dryly, "but I think they want me to eat it all myself."

Mulder gives me an uneasy smile. "Don't worry, I'm not all that hungry. I'm just, uh, hoping that the extra security we've got in place in the kitchen is doing its job."

I sigh. Of course his paranoia would only be ratcheted up by this whole incident - but at the same time, I can't say I'm totally free of any fears about a repeat occurrence, either. Still, from what he's told me about the number of law enforcement officers positioned discreetly throughout the infrastructure of the facility...

"Mulder, I haven't eaten solid food in three days," I remind him. The smell of the oatmeal is currently reminding my stomach quite insistently of that fact. "I'm hungry. I need to eat. And I'm in a hospital, just in case anything should get through the security measures - which is very unlikely."

He still doesn't look totally at ease, although he doesn't reply. It is with some trepidation that we both wait after I swallow the first bite. The food tastes and feels normal. Nothing happens - other than my stomach growling. I smile at Mulder, shrug, and continue the meal.

The next few days pass at a surprisingly quick pace. The investigation into the man who poisoned me continues, and Mulder keeps me updated regularly. With the partial fingerprint and Krycek's tip about the splinter group, it seems to be progressing well - which is more than I expected, given our previous record with shadowy assassin figures. On the second day of my health and the health of the baby seeming to remain stable, Dr. Yurczik and I at last manage to convince Mulder to get some sleep. He goes missing from my room for almost twelve hours and looks much less like the walking dead when I next see him.

On the evening of what could be my last night in the hospital, I use the phone in my room to call Skinner on the secure line we had set up. I am still not sure if I can risk contacting my mother myself, but Mulder has relayed to me that she has already tried to call Skinner - who could do nothing but reassure her that I was safe for the time being. I can at least give him a message to give to her. It's causing me both pain and guilt to imagine the way she must be worrying.

The phone rings several times before it is picked up. Once again, my boss sounds concerned as he asks, "Agent Scully, how are you feeling?"

"I'm doing much better, sir," I tell him. "The doctor is going to do another checkup tomorrow, and if everything still looks good, I can be released."

"That's very good to hear," he says. Then he pauses. "I assume Mulder has told you that your mother tried to reach you through me, two days after you were admitted?"

"Yes, sir." I clear my throat. "That's actually why I called. I was hoping you might pass along a message to her from me, just so she knows I'm all right."

"I'd be happy to do that for you, Scully - but I think we can arrange a call directly to her, with a little bit of work."

Gripping the phone more tightly, I say, "I'd really appreciate that, sir, if it's possible to make it work and still be sure that no one is endangered." I know Mom would be more reassured if I could speak to her myself, and to be honest, I need to hear her voice, too.

"Let me get it set up," Skinner says, as Mulder enters the room and heads for his chair, "and I'll call to let you know when everything is ready."

I thank him, and he hangs up.

"Skinner?" Mulder asks, and I nod.

"You going to talk to your mom?"

"I hope so," I say quietly, leaning back against my pillows. I can't wait to get out of here; even if I'll be restricted to desk duty for the rest of my pregnancy, which seems highly likely, it'll be better than being stuck in a hospital room for days on end.

Silence falls between us for a moment. Then I raise my eyes to his. "Any more word on the investigation?"

Mulder shrugs, looking annoyed. "I haven't heard anything new in a while," he relays. "I assume the leads we've got on his identity are still being processed."

I nod. "Good. And, um, Dr. Yurczik's checkup is scheduled for nine tomorrow morning, so we'll know if I can go home after that."

"Yeah." He bites his lip. "Were you thinking you'd go back to your apartment?"

I blink, and then sigh. This issue has definitely crossed my mind a few times in the past few days. The poisoning was only the latest in a long list of crimes committed against me at my apartment. I have good memories associated with that place as well - but I'm not sure they outweigh the negative ones at this point. And of course, there are the added complexities associated with a new baby on the way... and sharing parenthood with Mulder. That is another issue we haven't discussed much since I first told him I was pregnant.

"I'm not sure, Mulder," I reply at last. "I'm not really looking forward to dealing with moving right now, that's for certain, even though now might be the perfect time to do it."

Mulder grins wryly and says, "Yes, now that you have all this free time with nothing else to do."

"Ha ha." It's obvious that he is fishing for an answer to one of those deeper issues, so I decide to cut to the chase. "Are you thinking that instead of me moving back to that apartment, we should find a new place - together?"

It takes me a moment to actually look up to see how he reacts. When I meet his eyes, I see that his gaze is fixed on me. "I didn't bring the ring to the hospital," he says, leaning forward, "but yes, that was what I was going to get to eventually."

"You have a ring, Mulder?" The words come out before I can modulate the surprise in my tone. Though I have not forgotten about his proposal, it has honestly not occurred to me that he would be planning another, more conventional occasion.

He nods, looking a little nervous. "We can wait to talk about this if you want to - at least until I actually have it with me, so I can do the whole box-opening reveal thing."

I smile. "I wouldn't want to miss that," I tell him, lightly but sincerely. Then I pause to choose my words with care. "For right now, let me say that I think a bigger place is a good idea - for the three of us."

"Sounds good to me," he says. The nervousness is gone, to be replaced by a look of relieved satisfaction.

Before either of us can decide the next thing to say in this conversation, the phone by my bed rings. Mulder squeezes my hand and then slips out of the room as Skinner informs me that he's about to hand the phone to my mother.

Eleven Days Later

Dr. Alvarez smiles and stands up. "Well, Dana, all of your levels and indicators are still looking great, I'm happy to say. I know I don't have to tell you that it could have easily been otherwise. But with all of the tests we've done, it looks like there has been no permanent damage." She shakes her head, looking nearly as amazed as she had at the beginning of the appointment when I'd informed her about the attempted murder and my subsequent hospital stay. Even though I'd had my files from Dr. Yurczik transferred to Dr. Alvarez's office, the tests she ran today were much more extensive than they would have been normally. "We'll see you in two weeks."

"Thank you," I reply with sincere gratitude as I stand up from the examination table. "That's very good to hear."

"It's obvious that you're both fighters," the woman says. She walks with me toward the door. "If you or your partner have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to call. Oh!" She snaps her fingers. "Which reminds me: the results of your amnio should be waiting for you at the reception desk. Do you want me to go over them with you?"

My heart starts to pound, but I shake my head. "Thanks, Doctor, but I think I'd like to take it home."

"Certainly." She smiles again. "See you next time."

Mulder stands up from his chair in the waiting room when I exit the exam room. I meet his eyes but head directly for the reception desk. Upon my request, Eleanor at the front desk hands me the folder of the test's results. I thank her distractedly. It's hard for me to comprehend that I finally have the answers to the question that has been on my mind ever since Krycek's news more than a month ago. And it's been on Mulder's mind, too, I know.

When I turn to leave, Mulder is looking pointedly at the folder. "It's, uh, it's the results of the amnio," I explain in a low voice, trying and failing to appear calm. My heart hasn't stopped pounding.

"Oh." Mulder swallows. "Do you...Should we wait until we get back to your apartment?"

"Yeah." To receive this life-altering news - however it turns out - I want to be at home.

The drive to my apartment seems to drag on forever, even though traffic is not bad. The folder lies on my lap the entire trip, and it's impossible for me to stop staring at it for more than a few seconds at a time.

At last, we arrive. Mulder waits silently as I open the door, and then closes and locks it after we're both inside. Then he gives a nervous grin and says, "I guess we should sit down?"

Nodding, I head for the couch, not even bothering to take my coat off first. Mulder sits down about as close to me as possible. I take a deep breath, and open the test results. Mulder spreads them out in front of us, and I scan the pages. When I finally see the confirmation for which I... we have been waiting for so many weeks, I all but collapse against Mulder's side, burying my face in his shirtsleeve. There it is, in black and white: I am the biological mother of this child, and Fox William Mulder is the father.

Mulder is a little slower at getting through the general health-related results that come before the DNA tests, and he's probably delayed further by worry over my reaction. But I know when he sees it for himself, because his arm goes around me and he holds me even closer to himself than I already was. "Oh, Scully..."

I'm crying, I realize, almost silent tears that stand in contrast to the wrenching sobs of almost half a year ago when the IVF failed for the last time. Judging by the way he's shaking against me, I can guess that Mulder is, too. Pulling back slightly, I look up at his shining face, and I know that the same joy is clear in my own.

He reaches out a hand to wipe the tears off my cheeks, and then gives a sodden chuckle. "I guess sometimes scientific proof is a very good thing, right, Scully?"

I return the gesture, allowing my hand to rest on his face. "And sometimes," I point out, "it only confirms a truth we both already knew."

Mulder laughs again. The kiss that follows is long-lasting and deep, a further confirmation and seal of the truth we share.

Author's Note 2: Thanks for sticking with this story until the end! The Title comes from one of many Snow Patrol songs that I love (sorry, Miss M!), "Crack The Shutters."

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