Title- Coming Home
Author- Anastasia D.
Archiving- I will send to Gossamer and Ephemeral myself. Everywhere else, go ahead.
Started- October 24, 2001
Finished- November 12, 2001
Spoilers- Very vague season 9- if you know who's not returning, then that's it.
Rating- PG-13
Category- A, R, S
Keywords- Mulder/Scully Romance, Angst, KidFic
Disclaimer- Anyone whom you recognize doesn't belong to me, they belong to Chris Carter and 1013 Productions. No infringement intended.

Summary- A man returns to a home he has been missing from for nine years.


-Thanks- To Ana Hawkman who betaed everything!

-Posting Note- I'll try to have one part out every two to three days. The more feedback I get, the harder my Muse works.

February 22, 2010
Baltimore, Maryland

"Hello?" Will says, looking at me for reassurance that he's doing everything right. I've been allowing Will to answer the phone under my watch, making him feel like a "big boy."

Seeing the puzzled look on his face, I quickly take the phone from his hand. "Hello?" A bored operator's voice transmits itself over the line, asking me if I'd accept a call from George Hale.

My breath catches in my throat. George Hale. Mulder. I nod both Will and Elvis, our black lab, outside as I wait for the connection to be made.

Mulder left Will and I nearly nine years ago to protect us. After two years, I stopped searching for him. Anything that was keeping him from us for more than a year was bad.

"Scully." I hear a soft click and a whisper, a wonderful tenor voice I have not heard in nine years, sends me crashing down unto the black leather sofa behind me.

"Mulder." It's Mulder, my Mulder, but it is not the same man who left us. His voice had changed, it is.. softer, less full than when he left us.

"I shouldn't be talking with you. It's too dangerous, but... I- I need your help." Before I can even take a breath to respond, he cuts me off. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have called."

"No!" I practically scream. "No, no, no... Don't hang up, please. Please, let me help you." I'm pretty sure I'm crying.

His voice is raw, and I suspect he is crying along with me. "I don't... I don't have any money left. I've been sick, the bills..." He trails off, leaving two words in my brain- the only two words my mind could formulate under the circumstances.

"Come home. Please. I'll pay whatever debts you have, just.. come home." My hands are clammy and I feel apprehension causing my heart to leap from my chest.

"...Are you sure?" He sounds surprised that I would consider bringing him home.

"Of course I'm sure, Mulder. Where are you now?" My hand trembles lightly as I begin to absorb what is happening. Mulder was coming home.

"I'm in Los Angeles... in Cedar Sinai." He's in the hospital? Oh God.

"Do you need us to come out there to help you?" Tears spring to me eyes once again. How many times had he been woken by a nightmare, alone and terrified, surrounded by machines and not a loving face in sight? I don't want to know.

His response is hesitant, his voice quiet and wavering slightly. "I'm being released tomorrow, Scully, it's all right." A pause, a short breath of air that is barely long enough to start another sentence, and he's speaking again. I'm savoring the sound of his voice so much I nearly forget to listen. "...doctor's here, Scully. Would you like to talk to him?"

Talk to his doctor? Yes, yes. "Yes, please."

I can't tell you what was discussed between his doctor and I- all that sunk in were the words 'malignant brain tumor.'

It's three days later, and I have officially turned 46. Today, Will be nine, and will come home to a wonderful surprise. His father.

I have always told Will stories about Mulder, the sanitized version of some of our lighter cases. His favorite possession is a baseball signed by the entire 2001 Yankees team- Mulder insisted when he gave it to me, that Will was not to be a Red Sox fan. Another favorite of Will's is a tape mailed to us for his 3rd birthday- a tour of Disney World lead by Mulder. We received two tapes after that- one of Yankee Stadium and one of Madison Square Garden. He's never forgotten a birthday.

I look up as they announce that his flight has arrived, nearly an hour and a half late, my heart leaps into my throat- how different has be become since the last time we saw each other? I don't worry about another woman. I know he would never do that to me. To us.

The passengers have all gotten off the plane, but I don't see him anywhere. Could he have missed his flight? Could he have chickened out at the last minute? God, I hope not.

As I turn to walk to the baggage claim, I see movement out of the corner of my eye- a man in a wheelchair being wheeled from the plane. My breath catches and my heart stops as I focus on his face.


I'm halfway across the terminal before he manages to get up from the chair, but I don't care- he's here, he's real. My Mulder is home. My love, my husband is home. It's taken him nine years to get here.

To me, those nine years have been rewarding, yes- I have my son, and I have been able to raise him well. We have never needed money, have never gone to bed hungry. But those nine years have not been filled the way they should have been. I have missed nine years of the love only Mulder can give me.

I slow as I get nearer to him. He's pale and gaunt and terribly thin. He's lost the muscles in his arms and, despite his age, has lost nearly 40 pounds. His eyes shine with unshed tears, and I nearly lose it. As I reach him, my hands seem to lift themselves to his cheeks. My thumbs slide over the cold dampness of his tears. He's trembling and it's obvious he needs to sit down, so I lead him to a nearby bank of chairs. He weakly sits, clutching a small tan backpack in his too-cold hands.

My thumb skims over his cheek again and I kiss his forehead. When I inquire if he has any other bags, he simply says no, and his eyes tell me not to ask. We sit for nearly half an hour before he feels strong enough to go to the car. Twenty minutes later, I'm leading Mulder into the bedroom and gently forcing him to lay down. He's home now- it's my job to take care of him.

It was when I was no longer able to pay for the medicines and hospital stays that I decided I needed help from someone. I was unemployed and sick- no one wants to insure a man who has no source of income. No one would hire me, either. So there I was, in and out of Cedar Sinai for more than a year before it finally caught up to me. I couldn't access my bank accounts or money- everything had been signed over to Scully before I left. There was no one else to call, so I did something I swore I wouldn't do until I was sure it would be safe for them. I called Scully.

I hear Will for a brief moment, a short "hello" to the operator before handing the phone over to his mother. My Scully.

"Scully." My voice comes out raw and desperately soft. She sounds like she's about to cry. Don't cry, Scully, I want to say, but I don't- can't. My voice is nearly useless, and the fact that I'm being pumped full of drugs isn't helping much. "I shouldn't be talking to you." Great way to start a lame conversation dumbass. I start to apologize, but she screams at me, desperately trying to keep my on the line.

By now, I'm crying and my voice is reflecting it. I explain to her how I've been sick and that the bills have been too much, and I get a response so far out of left field, it came from the right.

"Come home." Those are the only two words I hear, though the sound of her voice continues through the quiet din of my head spinning. Maybe I heard her wrong, so I ask.

She's sure.

Where am I? Oh, Scully. I know you mean where do I live now, but I try to avoid her question. I answer her with the current place of my residency- Cedar Sinai. But only until tomorrow. After tomorrow, I won't be able to pay. And the hospital so needs its money.

"Oh, uh.. my doctor's here, Scully. Would you like to talk to him?" She's still a doctor- Frohike tells me she started a practice a few years after Will was born.

I half-heartedly listen to my doctor tell Scully why I've been in and out of this damned hospital for the last year. I know she hasn't heard anything after he said "He's been diagnosed with a large, malignant brain tumor." God help me, Scully.

God help us.

The flight from LA to DC was one of the worst I've ever taken. The treatment I've been receiving at Cedar Sinai was both physically and emotionally draining, and the flight became too much for me to bear- I wound up coming off the damn airplane in a wheelchair. I am the last passenger off, and when we finally reach the gate, I see her immediately. She's walking in the opposite direction, and I find myself unable to do anything about it- I can barely get out of the chair.

She was already running and halfway across terminal before I realized she had seen me.

I watch her as I slowly ease myself up. She's beautiful- her hair is still that vibrant, shimmery shade of auburn only seen in nature, and her face and body have filled out nicely with age and maturity. She's still very lean- keeping up with a nine-year-old son is no easy task. I wonder if she's a soccer mom.

I've missed so much in my son's life. Frohike tells me Will always makes the Honor Role in school and that he's an avid Yankees and Knicks fan, and that Skinner had something to do with Will's sports education. Will's favorite movie is still the tour of Disney World I sent nearly six years ago, Frohike says. And then the tours of Yankee Stadium during the World Series of 2003. Yankees versus Red Sox- I've never seen a better played series. Three Yankee no-hitters and a four game Yankee sweep. That's my kind of ball game.

I'm finally able to stand up as she reaches me. I suddenly feel insecure and clutch my small backpack full of medicine and a change of clothes to my chest. I've been crying for a good chunk of time by the time she leads me to a chair nearby. Do I have any other bags? No. No, I don't have any other bags. I don't own anything that's not in this bag. It takes me half an hour to get the strength to walk out to her car.

She takes me home, a twenty minute drive that is almost too much for my abused body to handle. I can no longer sit for hours a time in a car- I have to be able to move around now, to give my joints time to recoup from a cramped position. We're home then, Mrs. Scully's house, and she's leading me to the master bedroom to lay down. A *real* bed, not a hospital bed. I can't remember the last time I slept in a real bed. Scully will take care of me.

She always does.

It's two forty-seven, and Will will be home within an hour, more than ready to receive the surprise I promised him as he begged for one present before school started. He thinks its a new game system or computer- or both. He has gotten mostly everything on his list, but this surprise takes the cake. To Will, his father is stories, pictures, and worn-out videocassettes from New York City.

Mulder's eyes open just as I hear the bus pull up. I kiss his forehead, whispering to him that I'll be back. My hands trail a soft path from his chest to his lips, my thumbs caressing a spot they have touched before- a fleeting image of a Yankee cap and white bandages on his head, soft, full lips telling me that I was a truer friend to him than Diana ever was.

I greet Will, pulling him into a hug before telling him that he can have his surprise now. His eyes light up, shining with an innocence and happiness I have long lost and have come to envy. I can tell by the puzzled look on his face as I lead him to my bedroom, that he doesn't know what to expect. A puppy, maybe. Not his father. He would never suspect his father.

I cover his eyes with gentle hands and nudge him gently inside. Mulder's eyes widen with.. something I can't quite put into words. Will squirms under my hands, and I kiss his temple gently, wishing him a happy birthday before removing my hands. His mouth forms a small 'o' of amazement for just a short moment before he rips himself from my arms and flings himself at Mulder. Mulder's eyes are shining brightly with tears, his arms clutching his son to his chest as they both weep tears of joy.

My boys- the two most important men in my life, finally together, finally completely happy. Tears slip down my cheeks unnoticed as I watch my son and my husband bond. Starting here, now, today, we are a complete family. A traditional family- mother, father, and son- all living together happily under one roof, all finally able to lay questions about the absent family member to rest. Today, we are a family.

And a family, we will stay.

Four months have passed since Will and Mulder were reunited. Those four months have been the happiest, saddest, and most trying months of my life. Will and Mulder almost instantly bonded. On his strong days, Mulder and Will would go into the backyard to play football, bastketball, or baseball while I watched from the kitchen window. There were days, though, that Mulder wasn't able to get out of bed. Those were the hardest on Will and myself. Will was always a very gentle, tactile kid- he always loved to be held, or kissed, or tickled. He'd crawl into bed with Mulder, take out the book he was reading, and read it out loud.

Today, we're at home, Mulder curled in the bathroom, his breath coming in short pants as I hold his forhead. We started a new round of chemo, and his body is reacting violently to the poison racing through it. My arms ache from holding him up, but I barely notice it. It's not until I have him safely tucked into bed and asleep that I notice my hands are shaking so badly, I can barely carry the meager tray of soup and bread to the kitchen. Walter's over to help me with Will today. I walk into him, the soup spashing all over the tray and his shirt.

His hands still mine as he takes the tray, nodding back toward the bedroom before turning and employing Will in cleaning up the small mess that was just made. Mulder's coughing cinches any ideas I had of following to help.

I rush back into the bedroom, simulaniously grabbing the small emergancy oxygen tank we keep in the closet and grabbing his inhaler. Pnemonia has been a problem the last few months, and anything we can do to stave it off is good. For now.

I cradle him to my breast as I puff his inhaler, then cover his face with the oxygen mask. I rub his back gently as he wheezes, trying to bring the oxygen into deprived lungs. This attack has lasted longer than all the other ones have. He's getting worse. Dear God, please, please spare Mulder. He's just begun to live.

He's only just begun to die.

If I had been told that my return home would generate such happiness, than I would have done so long ago. My paranoia had gotten the best of me- I refused to believe that even with nine years gone, they were safe. I feared for the two lives I hold most precious- Scully's and William's. If my health had been better, than I would have stayed away longer, perhaps forever. But when my insurance company refused to pay and my doctors were threatening a state-run "long-term care facility," I knew I had no choice. Coming back- coming home- was inevitable.

Scully's fingers touch my lips as the sound of the squeaky breaks of a school bus assault the quiet and stillness of the house. Once Will comes in, I know, the house will be full of an energy of a nine-year-old boy. She leaves my side, her eyes whispering words only heard by me. The sound of a child running into the house is unmistakable, as is his cheerful voice as he begs for one of his presents early. Scully silences him, she must, for I can hear two sets of feet walking up the stairs, but can only hear one voice- Scully's.

She kisses his forehead and whispers in his ear before removing hands that were hiding his surprise. I feel almost voyeuristic, watching a routine that has probably occurred many times. He's so beautiful, so innocent. His eyes hold a wonder I have not been privy to since my childhood. He runs to me, clings to me, whispering Daddy over and over. I hold him tighter, I must, for if I let go, this innocence, this inner brightness that is so missed by all, will disappear. I don't even notice I'm crying until Scully's gently wiping my face dry and hugging both Will and I to her.

The distant sound of an alarm invades my sleep, causing me to roll over to hit the alarm. When I do not encounter Scully, I shoot up in bed, heart pounding. It was a dream. It had all been a dream.

Then there's a soft, warm hand on my face, gently urging me to wake up. Gentle murmurs telling me that I am just dreaming, that it is okay... that she and Will are still here for me, are still loving me. A set of strong, loving arms surrounds me, as does a total sense of completion. My eyes open of their own violation, soaking in the scene before me. I'm in a warm, sun-filled bedroom, filled with the soothing smell of vanilla and peppermint. I'm wrapped in Scully's embrace, my son's bassinet a few scant feet away. I was no longer coming home.

I was home.

Authors Notes: Trust me, I was as surprised as you probably were. I'm in total shock that I finished this. So is Ana. Right Ana? She says yes. But I'd like to thank everyone who's been so kind with feedback. I have the luck and the privilege of being able to post to the best lists in the best fan base for a television show, and that is just an amazing thing, to know that people with the same interests as you will continue to encourage you, to help you along the way. For that, everyone, I thank you. This story was for you.

"To see a hillside white with dogwood bloom is to know a particular ecstasy of beauty, but to walk the gray Winter woods and find the buds which will resurrec t that beauty in another May is to partake of continuity. " Hal Borland, New York Times, November 28, 1948

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