Title: Pulling the Thread
Author: firstofoctober
Rating: PG-13
Category: F/M
Relationship: Fox Mulder/Dana Scully
Characters: Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, Walter Skinner, William Van de Kamp
Keywords :Fluff and Angst, Post-Episode s10e06 My Struggle II, The X-Files Revival, Reunion

 

Notes: When I wrote Five Wishes, I had a lot of story notes that didn't make it into that fic. I also wanted to try writing Scully. 

This fic takes place before Chapter 2 of Five Wishes.

As always, a huge thank you to Sarah (@jamofappreciation) for being such a fabulous beta.

AO3/Tumblr/Twitter: @firstofoctober


Scully started to feel the past couple of days begin to catch up to her as she sat by the gate waiting to board her flight to Colorado Springs. She checked her phone for the tenth time in five minutes.

Nothing.

She desperately wanted to believe Monica was trustworthy, but the memory of their conversation the previous day left her head spinning with doubt. Skinner seemed to trust her and right now, Scully didn’t have any other options.

It had nearly destroyed her once to leave Mulder on his deathbed during the summer of 1999 and that was before they were together. For what felt like the millionth time, she cursed her own stupidity for ever leaving him. They could have had all that time together and she had just thrown it away. She didn’t even have the courage to draw up divorce papers when she knew he’d never do it himself.

Lost in a spiral of her own regrets, Scully almost missed the boarding announcement for her flight. She pulled out a dose of Xanax and swallowed it with a long drink of the room temperature Diet Coke she had been able to find in a vending machine nearby. Scully closed her eyes and forced herself to regain control of her thoughts.

Mulder was currently stable and at the hospital under the care of Dr. Huang. Scully reminded herself that Skinner trusted Monica. And now she only needed to trust Skinner. Still, her thoughts kept returning to Mulder. She needed to trust that Mulder knew she had never stopped loving him.

She only hoped their son knew she felt exactly the same way about him.

And with that last intrusive thought, Scully felt her stomach drop. She pinched the bridge of her nose for a few seconds, then moved to gather up her carry-on bags and went to stand in line to board the flight.

 

 

The touchdown of the wheels on the tarmac jolted Scully out of her slumber. She rubbed the sleep out of her eyes and checked her watch. It certainly didn’t feel like she had slept for three hours. She reached for her phone and waited for it to turn on again.

Mulder always made fun of her for never failing to turn off her phone in the air. Scully, if this airplane’s in danger of crashing because of something I got at RadioShack, then we’ve got bigger problems.

She had a text from Monica that said she’d meet Scully at the airport. Scully was so tired of questioning the motives of every person who came into her life. She so wanted to trust her old friend, but why would Monica work with CGB Spender? Monica had a front row seat to the atrocities that man inflicted on those who stood in his way. Monica knew he had subjected his own son to torturous experiments, who in turn had deceived them all and brought harm once again to William. And Scully knew she had told Monica about Spender’s treatment of Mulder and herself: His and hers abductions, infertility, murdered sisters, an inoperable tumor, an implanted computer chip, Emily, a trip to Antarctica she could barely recall, impromptu brain surgery, William...

Scully’s mind quickly rejected any connection beyond purely genetic between that man and her husband or that man and her son. She gritted her teeth at the thought of CGB Spender. Mulder’s father was dead. Bill Mulder had died in 1995 and Scully had attended his funeral.

As she stood to collect her bag from the overhead bin, Scully was stopped by an officer in a clean, blue dress uniform. She guessed the blonde probably had at least six inches of height on her.

“Can I grab your bag for you, ma’am?”

“Oh, yes, thank you, it’s just the dark grey one there,” Scully pointed out her bag and she spied the small silver eagles adorning the tops of the tall woman’s shoulders as she effortlessly pulled the bag down. She smiled at the officer as she took her bag from her. “Thank you, Colonel.”

The officer seemed to be caught off guard by Scully’s quick identification of her rank. “No problem, ma’am. Are you a civilian contractor? I’m afraid don’t recognize you.”

Scully knew she stuck out like a sore thumb in her dark suit on a flight with mostly uniformed military officers. “No, I’m with the Bureau-”

Suddenly, a frantic young man in blue came up to the women and gave Scully a sharp nod before he spoke to the blonde woman beside her, “Excuse me, Colonel O’Neill, but the General’s on the phone for you.”

“I’ll be right there,” She turned around to again face Scully. “Best of luck with your work, Agent. We need our best people working out there. Especially after the past week we’ve had.”

Scully nodded and let the woman move past her.

Mulder would hate that she had just let a high ranking Air Force officer off without twenty questions. But Scully didn’t want to interrogate the woman. She didn’t care about military contacts.

All she wanted was her partner at her side again.


Scully had offered to drive the couple of hours from Colorado Springs to Cheyenne, but Monica insisted she was fine. Monica had left DC two days ago by car at Skinner’s direction. Two days ago, all flights had been temporarily suspended. When Skinner had called Monica last night with her flight information, only then did she stop and rest before meeting Scully.


The pair had only exchanged a few sentences since leaving Colorado Springs. Scully had so many questions for the woman who was once her closest friend, but feared the answers she might get from her. She had already emailed Skinner to let him know they were on their way to Cheyenne and promised to update him with any news. Skinner’s response was brief and contained no news of Mulder’s condition.

Not having much of a desire for conversation, Scully fished her laptop and glasses out of her bag. Agent Einstein had submitted her report to Scully, but too many details had been excluded. No doubt Einstein was rightly hesitant about including some of the more extraordinary aspects of the virus and its vaccine in her writeup. Scully was long past caring about the effect of the X-Files on something so unimportant as her career with the FBI.

She had just started re-checking the compounds they used for the vaccine against what Agent Einstein had included in her report when Monica broke the silence.

“Dana, about the other day…”

“I’d really rather not discuss this now,” Scully quickly replied, clenching her teeth as she spoke. She refocused her efforts on the chemical analysis on her screen.

Monica ignored her rebuff. “Please, Dana. Hear me out.”

Scully said nothing but closed her laptop as a temporary peace offering.

“When Spender contacted me back in 2004, I was in a shitty place. John and I had gotten transferred to Utah. Skinner could barely stay above water back in DC. No one knew where you and Mulder had gone since his trial or if you were even still alive. If Skinner knew where you were, he never said a word.” Monica looked at her curiously.

Scully shook her head. “He didn’t know. Not then anyway.”

It had been a long time since she thought about those couple of years she and Mulder spent on the run together. For nearly two years they never stayed longer than a couple of months in a single location. Her memories of the time were complicated due to the extreme emotional highs and lows of that period of their lives together. She and Mulder were ecstatic at being reunited again, but they each missed the lives they left behind. Neither knew how to properly mourn the chance at perfect happiness that had so cruelly been ripped away from them. Scully’s gut churned as she remembered a time when the loss of their baby was so fresh and raw; her grief had been nearly unbearable.

Monica looked over at Scully and nodded as she brought her gaze back to the road.

“After I met Spender for the first time, he had slipped me a bunch of surveillance photos. They weren’t just of me, they were photos of my parents, my sister, my nieces and nephews, John… you and Mulder….” Monica hesitated before she continued, “...and William.”

Scully’s heart was instantly in her throat. Her vision started to go black around the edges. She forced herself to take a deep breath.

“He threatened my son? He knows where William is? Monica, how could you not tell me immediately ? You may have not known where we were, but you knew how to contact us.” Scully’s voice had started to increase in volume as it became more frantic.

What had been the fucking point of it all? She had chosen to put herself and Mulder through over a decade of unimaginable despair and heartache over the loss of their child. And for what? For the continued amusement of some entitled, crusty old men who seemed to get their rocks off by manipulating her and Mulder’s lives? And now the life of their child they had been forced to abandon as well?

“Dana… Dana. William’s fine. I believe his photo was included to show how easily he could pull you two out of hiding. If any of them desired your cooperation, they knew what to do to ensure it. He wanted to show me that he still held all of the cards. It became clear Spender had no interest in harming William. He had surmised early on that your son’s genes were affected and was actually pleased it was his grandson who possessed the first natural immunity.”

Scully didn’t know which was worse to her: the idea of Spender threatening William’s well-being or Spender’s smug pride about William’s genetic origins.

She closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. “I believe you Monica. The past few days have just been long. First Mulder, and then the rest of the population, and then meeting with you, and now we’re going to get William - it’s just all so surreal and all I want to do is wake up in bed at my house and end this nightmare.”

“If you want, I have the photos that were given to me. I should have showed them to you the other day. I’m sorry.” Monica reached behind her seat and handed Scully a brown envelope.

Scully pulled out the collection of photos from the envelope. The first ten or so photos on top were of the same people, but Scully didn’t know know who they were. She guessed they were Monica’s family. Scully flipped past pictures of Doggett and of Skinner.

She almost didn’t recognize herself in the photos of her and Mulder. Her hair was much longer and had been a light blonde color at the time. Mulder had grown out his beard, claiming he needed the warmth for the winter they spent holed up in Alberta.

The next series of photos took Scully’s breath away. William was older than she had ever seen him. He appeared to be about three years old and was playing outside on a playground. Her eyes feasted on the images before her as she wiped away the tears that rolled down her face. She noticed the small beauty mark near his ear that had been there since he was born. His hair was already a dark red color. William’s bright blue eyes didn’t appear to have changed since Scully had last seen him, but seemed to be even bigger and wider in the face of this toddler she’d never know.

The little boy in the series of photographs was clearly very happy. Scully saw hints of Mulder’s smile in the child’s face. She slowly traced the outline of their son’s face with her fingertip.

The few times Scully let herself dream about seeing William again, Mulder was always there with her. He wasn’t supposed to be dying in a hospital bed across the country without her while she had to ask the biggest favor from the child she gave away over a decade ago. He was supposed to meet his son. She was supposed to finally get to do that for Mulder. It was the least she could do after she had ripped his son away from him; no better than the conspiracy of men who took his beloved sister from him decades ago.

With the back of her hand, she wiped the last of the tears from her face and shoved the pictures back into the envelope.

“I just hope Dana… that you can begin to understand. I’m not asking for your forgiveness. I couldn’t pass up the chance to keep an eye on Spender’s activities - not that he gave me much of a choice in the matter. The minute I thought there was any real threat to you, I came to you.”

Monica’s justifications for her traitorous behavior made Scully’s head swim. She had once known Monica to be a good person, but now she couldn’t move past the feelings of betrayal. Scully was able to follow Monica’s logic to understand why the woman had joined up with Spender, but still felt uneasy.

Nodding her acceptance of Monica’s reasoning, Scully re-focused on the task at hand and continued, “Was Skinner able to locate the address for you?”

“He sent me the encrypted records earlier this morning, but we’re actually headed to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.”

Scully’s stomach dropped. She was sure she heard Monica confirm William had inherited her immunity to the virus. Had she come all this way only to be forced to witness her son’s final suffering? Skinner had made no mention of William being in the hospital when she had spoken to him outside Mulder’s room before she left to catch her flight. What if it all was for nothing? What if death took not only her husband, but also their child?

Forcing herself to not lose control over her emotions again in front of Monica, Scully took care to be sure her voice was level when she asked Monica about William’s condition.

“I’ve told you, Dana: William is fine. But his father has been in the hospital for a week with pneumonia.” Monica paused and took a breath. “He’s… he hadn’t responded to the vaccine the way he should have by now.”

He was dying. Monica didn’t have to tell her. Both of her son’s fathers were dying of this fucking virus.

A stop-gap variation of the vaccine created by Scully and Einstein had been quickly engineered by the CDC. The chemical makeup of the stop-gap vaccine was simple enough for medical facilities to quickly and easily reproduce. The variation had slowed the progression of the virus in the majority of those who had begun showing symptoms. The manufacture and distribution of full inoculations created from her DNA was still being overseen by the FBI and the CDC.

While the simpler and much weaker version of the vaccine proved effective for most, it was not enough for the most vulnerable populations. An email from Einstein showed only a twenty percent survival rate for the old, the very young, and the sick. Assuming the virus was not in its final stages, the survival rate for otherwise healthy individuals was closer to ninety percent.

Scully could just picture it all now. Hi! Remember me? I’m your birth mother who didn’t try hard enough to keep you and gave you away when you were just ten months old. That’s so sad about your dad, but would you mind terribly if I stuck you with this giant needle right in your hipbone? My husband - your father - is dying and we just need to get some of that bone marrow so we’re able to go back to living our happy adult lives together without you! That shouldn’t be too much trouble, should it?

She swallowed against the panic that threatened to overtake her senses. Monica reached over and squeezed her left hand. The kind gesture brought a small smile to Scully’s lips. Monica had been a true friend to her during some of the most amazing and most horrific times in her life.

It remained to be seen what the next few days would turn into.


Monica turned into the hospital’s parking lot shortly after two o’clock in the afternoon. For the thousandth time that day, Scully wondered what they would find inside.


They made their way to the main reception area in the entrance. The lobby of the building was nearly filled to capacity. Scully was relieved to note that those waiting didn’t appear to be ill or otherwise suffering from the virus. More likely than not, they were waiting on news of a loved one. Within a few minutes of their arrival, the line in front of the information desk had dissipated and a young man looked up as they approached the desk.

Monica moved from her position beside Scully and approached the receptionist. She spoke in a low voice.

“I’m Monica Reyes and this is Dr. Dana Scully. We’re here on behalf of the FBI and the CDC. We’re looking for a Mr. Pete Van De Kamp. If you could provide us his room number, we’d appreciate it.”

Scully pulled her badge from her pocket and held it out for the young man to see. His eyes widened at her credentials.

“That’s V-A-N-D-E-K-A-M-P,” Monica clarified.

Scully could tell her friend was already getting impatient. The man quickly refocused his attention on the computer and typed a series of commands.

“Pete Van De Kamp. I can give you his room number but for anything else I’ll need to get my supervisor.”

Scully gave him a sharp nod. “Just his room number will be sufficient.”

“Looks like he’s in 8011. That’s in the East Wing, so you’ll want to use the bank of elevators on the left when you leave reception.”

Armed with the next piece of information, Monica and Scully quickly thanked him and left to go find the room of Mr. Pete Van De Kamp.

 

 

Stepping off the elevator, Scully immediately located the nurse’s desk and asked to be pointed to Mr. Van De Kamp’s room.

“You’re here for Mr. Van De Kamp?” The young nurse tucked some loose hair behind her ear as her eyes scanned the charts in front of her.

Scully had felt more comfortable in the hospital than she had all day. Being in a hospital allowed her to forget. She could lose herself in the comfortable rhythm of talking with patients, nurses, and her follow physicians. It didn’t matter if she was in DC or Virginia or Minnesota or California. The faces and the interior decorating changed, but the medicine and the science were constant.

“That’s right, Pete Van De Kamp. Admitted six days ago with pneumonia.” Scully confirmed to the nurse.

The nurse had reached for a file. As she opened what Scully assumed to be Mr. Van De Kamp’s chart, the corners of the nurse’s mouth began to tighten.

Scully didn’t need her degree in medicine to be able read the look on the nurse’s face. He was dead.

“Excuse me, but did you say you were looking for Pete Van De Kamp?” A woman stepped toward Scully and Monica with a puzzled expression on her face. 

“Yes ma’am, we did.” Monica’s voice was strong and clear.

“Pete Van De Kamp is… was my brother. He… he passed away a few hours ago. I had to pick up my husband and then drive in from Rock River. They took him away just a few minutes ago. What did you want with him?” The woman’s eyes were narrowed as she fixed her stare at Monica and Scully.

“Ms. Van De Kamp, I’m Dana Scully and I’m with the FBI. I’m here on some personal business. I was wondering if we could we talk privately?” 

The woman nodded, clearly at a loss for what kind of personal business this strange redheaded woman might have with her brother.

“And it’s Jones, actually. But you can call me Kathy. I haven’t been a Van De Kamp in quite some time. No one kept their name back in the 70s. At least not here,” Kathy said with a small smile on her lips.

Scully returned the older woman’s smile and looked around for somewhere she could speak to Kathy alone.

Monica hung back, lightly squeezing Scully’s upper arm to show her silent support.

Kathy approached the nurse at the desk and got her attention. “Excuse me, but when my husband and nephew come back from the cafeteria can you let them know I’ll be right back?

The nurse nodded.

Scully found an empty corner and motioned for Kathy to sit down.

“Ms. Scully? Is everything alright? What’s going on?” The woman was exhausted, and looked like she wanted to sink even further down into the chair.

“Mrs. Jones… Kathy, I’m a part of the group of people who has been working on the vaccine and treatment for the recent pandemic responsible for your brother’s death.”

“But what does my brother have to do with this? And besides he’s dead now. His doctors said your treatment gave him an extra day, but his lungs were already so weak…” Kathy’s voice trailed off.

Scully nodded. “I’m sorry Kathy, I’m so sorry about your brother. We’re still working on a vaccine. This virus was so fast-acting, and Pete’s lung function was likely already compromised by the pneumonia in his system. We’re still researching this virus, but once it has reached its advanced stage the patient typically will become comatose.” 

“I’m still not sure why you needed to speak with my brother… He’s a… well, was an English teacher. He wouldn’t know anything about this sort of thing.” Kathy looked Scully up and down, clearly confused. “And you look like you’ve been traveling for some time...”  

Out with it already, Dana.

“I...I’m actually here about your nephew. I was hoping to speak to your brother about this, but I only learned en route that Pete was in the hospital-”

Will? He’s just a kid! I don’t understand… What would the FBI want with a fourteen year old boy? He’s not showing any symptoms or anything, at least that’s what Pete’s doctor told me earlier.”

Scully took a deep breath. “Kathy, I’m with the FBI, but that’s not why I’m here. My husband was one of those who fell ill. He’s in the hospital back in DC.”

“I’m so sorry, dear. I don’t know what I’d do if anything happened to Sam.” The woman paused before continuing. “But I don’t think I understand. Why are you here instead of in DC with him?”

The part of Scully that had been asking herself the same question on repeat for the past day made her stomach churn with guilt.

“There’s a small percentage of the population that has a natural immunity to this virus. The vaccine will eventually ensure everyone has this immunity, but that’s at least a few weeks away. Immunities can also be shared through stem cell donations. However, due to the rarity of the immunity in the first place and the trouble of quickly finding compatible HLA matches, such a solution is a practical impossibility. Early on in my research, I discovered I was one of those very few with the natural immunity to the virus.”

Kathy seemed to be following her explanation, so Scully continued and didn’t dare to stop for fear she’d lose her nerve.

“Your nephew, he was adopted, right?”

Although she still looked perplexed, Kathy slowly nodded. “Yes… Liv couldn’t have kids. Will was such a blessing to Liv until the accident took her from us.”

“Kathy… I don’t want to bring you or your family anymore pain, but I’m here because I have no other option and I can’t lose my husband.” Scully blinked back the tears that rapidly began to form in the corners of her eyes. “My stem cells with my immunity won’t work for my husband - we don’t even have the same blood type, we’d never be a compatible HLA match for the donation procedure.”

Scully let out another shaky breath. “My husband and I were in an impossible predicament nearly fourteen years ago. We had both been with the FBI for some time and had garnered some powerful enemies. We had each lost family members as a result, threats were made against our lives ...and the life of our infant son.”

Kathy’s head had snapped to Scully’s face, suddenly understanding exactly what Scully was saying.

“...Oh.” The woman reached out and grabbed Scully’s hand.

Scully looked down; Kathy’s grip was tight and warm around her own hand. “I-... We didn’t have a choice. Our son deserved a happy life, away from any fear or the forces that plagued us relentlessly through those years. And then later, we didn’t want to complicate his life or the life of his family.”

“But now you think Will can help your husband - his biological father - I presume? With his stem cells?”

“If you’ll allow it and he’s willing, it’s a simple procedure. I wouldn’t have bothered your family if it wasn’t my husband’s only chance at survival.” Scully knew she was pleading but was past caring at this point.

Kathy rubbed her thumb on the back of Scully’s hand which she was still grasping. Scully looked up and met the woman’s eyes. They both had tear tracks running down their cheeks. Kathy’s mouth turned into a sad smile.

“You know, Ms. Scully-” 

“Call me Dana. Please.” 

Dana then, I can’t begin to imagine what kind of courage and strength it took for you and your husband back then to give your baby away to strangers. I’ve had five babies  - all long and grown now. And even just the thought of being separated from them, especially as little as Will was when he came to us, makes me ache in a way I don’t want to think about. I don’t imagine it was easy to come here now either.”

Scully shook her head, just grateful Kathy seemed to understand how terrible she felt for asking so much from people who owed her nothing. Kathy reached out with her other hand and clasped Scully’s shoulder, forcing the younger woman to look her in the eye as she continued to speak.

“But I think we need to let Will make his own decision about this. He’s had a rough few days with Pete… You’ll have to explain that medical stuff again to him though, I’m afraid I didn’t catch much of it, dear.”

Scully sniffed and nodded her agreement.

Kathy searched Scully’s face. “You know, I see it now. I had never seen such wide blue eyes before I met Will, but there they are. I’d love to see a picture of your husband if you have one with you.” 

“Of cou-”

Two people, one old and one young, had stepped off the elevator and were speaking to the nurse from earlier who pointed in the direction of Scully and Kathy.

She stopped. For a second, she swore she was unable to breathe.

William.

**

Scully felt the ever-present hole in her chest more violently than ever before. A piece of herself that she had been forced to part with almost fourteen years ago stood only thirty feet from her. It was as if no time had passed and her poorly healed wounds were once again open to the air.


“Excuse me, dear.” Kathy stood up and walked over to join her husband and nephew.

Scully felt Monica’s eyes on her asking a million questions. She lowered her head into her hands. Closing her eyes, she tried to take some deep breaths.

Feeling a bit calmer for the moment, Scully looked up and saw Kathy’s strong hands gripping William’s shoulders as she talked to him. William’s gaze flickered over to where Scully was sitting and he nodded to something his aunt said. Kathy removed her hands from his shoulders as she stepped to the side to let William approach Scully.

Scully moved to stand as soon as she noticed her son making his way toward her. Her eyes couldn’t help but to search his face, desperate to see the infant she once knew as well as to analyze every inch of her son who was now a teenager. Aware she was blatantly staring, Scully couldn’t help but be taken aback by how much the fourteen-year-old in front of her resembled his fifty-four year-old father.

“Ummm, my aunt said you needed to ask me something? Are you really with the FBI?” William’s eyes were wide and curious. She suspected he was more nervous than he’d like her to know.

“Let’s sit. I’m Dana Scully.” She smiled and reached out to shake his hand.

William gave her an uneasy smile and returned the handshake. “Nice to meet you Ms. Scully, I’m Will Van De-... ah... I mean, William Van De Kamp.”

She wasn’t sure which twist of the knife hurt more: being called Ms. Scully or simply her baby introducing himself to her as if he hadn’t been the miracle she once prayed for. As if she was nothing but a complete stranger to him.

Except that’s exactly what she was to him.

Will.” She liked the way his nickname sounded. It suited him. She continued, “I’m so sorry about your father. And I’m so sorry to put this on you right now. But my husband was one of those affected by the virus and I need your help.”

William was clearly puzzled by her statement.

“Can’t he just get the treatment they have?” he suggested. Realization crossed Will’s face. “...Or did it not work?” He was no doubt thinking of his father’s failure to respond to the treatment.

She shook her head. “It’s too late to even try that now, I’m afraid. He was one of the first people to get sick and has an advanced form of the virus. I’m a medical doctor and my team is working to develop a vaccine that will eventually be distributed to everyone.” She paused and then asked, “Do you know how vaccines work?”

“It’s like a little bit of the disease, right? And then you can’t get the disease anymore?” Scully was unprepared for the ripple of maternal pride that washed over her with her son’s clever response to her question.

She beamed at him. “Right. Exactly. Vaccines allow us to develop immunities to diseases. A very small number of people were already immune to this disease and we’re using that information to create a new vaccine for everyone, but that’s weeks away and time my husband doesn’t have.”

Will’s eyes met hers and slowly nodded in shared understanding.

“Immunities can also be shared through the transfer of stem cells between individuals. I… I’m one of the few who does have this immunity-”

Will tilted his head and drew his eyebrows together as he interrupted her. “Then can’t you just give your him your cells so he’s better?”

Scully shook her head. “It’s not that simple. It’s sort of like blood types, you can only donate blood to people with compatible blood types. My husband wouldn’t be able to receive stem cells from me.”

She braced herself for what she had to do next.

“But… And this is why I’m here… He would be able to receive stem cells from you. I know it’s a lot to do for a stranger, but I can’t give up on him.”

“From me? What? I’m immune?” His face was still scrunched in confusion at her words.

Scully knew she wasn’t making much sense to William. But he had to understand why she was forced to ask such a selfish favor of him. The last thing Scully ever wanted to do in her life was to cause her son pain or distress. The current circumstances dictated that she had no choice but to inflict both upon him.

“There are billions of possible HLA types which makes finding a donor many times more difficult than matching blood types...but like blood types, there is a much higher probability of finding a match between… between related individuals.”

William’s head snapped up; he was on alert.

She continued, “You would have inherited my immunity. I’m so sorry to have to ask this of you, I know this is a lot all at once…”

Scully felt William’s gaze as he scrutinized her features. She assumed he was comparing them to his own as he read between the lines.

William…” Her plea for his understanding, for his forgiveness died in her throat.

He still studied her face as he spoke. “You’re my mo… my birth mother, aren’t you?”

Scully simply nodded in response.

William’s gaze had hardened as he drew the connections. “And he’s- I mean… your husband… he’s my… my biological father?”

Scully stepped toward him; she wanted nothing more than to take him into her arms. She clenched her fists at her side and her nails dug into her palms.

As she moved toward him, he stepped back from her, shaking his head.

“I need… I need to go talk to my aunt and uncle.” He turned away from her and quickly made his way over to the older couple who had been watching the exchange from across the room.

Scully fumbled behind her for the chair and lowered herself down before her legs gave out. Elbows balanced on her thighs, she rested her forehead in the palms of her hands.

When she looked up again, she saw William and Kathy walking away together. They went around a corner and were then out of Scully’s view.

Scully’s reunion with her son marked the reappearance of a familiar feeling deep within her gut. Almost like a rubber band, the distance between her and William now seemed stretched, as though he was impossibly far away even if he was in the same building. The pull had been unbearable when she had passed him off to the private adoption services. The intensity of the sensation had lessened with time; only to violently snap back on her now.

Leaning back in the uncomfortable chair, she sat up suddenly when she felt someone sit down beside her. An older man, Kathy’s husband, looked at her with a curious expression.

“So. Kathy tells me you’re William’s birth mother?” He was direct, which was something she appreciated.

Scully nodded, not having the strength to do much else.

“Well. Alright then. Don’t you worry now, William and my wife went to take a walk. It’s been a long day for him with his father, but he’ll be fine.” Sam had the same gentle demeanor as his wife.

His calm, knowing words brought a small feeling of comfort to her. At the same time, an unpleasant pang of ugly jealousy coursed through her veins; these people not only had the chance to love her son, but were more familiar with his moods and knew so much more about him than she did.

“I can’t help but to feel as though I’ve made a giant mistake coming here.” Scully lacked the energy to stop herself from verbalizing her thoughts.

“How I understand it is that you didn’t really have a choice to come here, to him. A life is on the line.”

Scully didn’t say anything, but instead made a small noise of agreement.

Sam reached to grasp her hand as he continued to speak to her. “Look dear, I don’t know how or why William was placed with my brother-in-law, but what I can see is how much you’re torturing yourself over this. I don’t think that it was an easy decision for you and your husband to give your baby to a pair of strangers. You obviously care a great deal about him and I’d bet your husband does as well. And so do Kathy and I. And so did his parents, may God rest their souls. He’s a lucky boy, despite it all.”

Thank you,” Scully told him. She still wasn’t sure asking such a selfish favor of the son she had abandoned was the right thing to do.

“I don’t know if Kathy told you, but after Liv’s accident, we were named as Will’s guardians if something were to happen to Pete.”

“That was smart of him.” Scully wished she had gotten the chance to meet the man who had been Will’s father for the past thirteen years of his life.

“Well, at the time I thought Pete was just being morbid in his grief. But that was years ago though. Will was only eight at the time when it happened.”

Her heart broke for her son and his loss at such an early age. Sam went on to explain how Pete had leased out their farmland after his wife’s death and moved with Will into Wheatland where he already taught high school English. Without Liv’s help, the maintenance of the farm took too much time and would have required Pete to stop teaching.

Scully relished every detail of her son’s life, which Sam was all too happy to provide. She hoped he and Kathy would be open to letting her visit William once the dust settled from this mess. Scully didn’t know if she could survive another thirteen years without seeing him again. If he even wanted to see her again. If he didn’t hate her after what she asked of him, for only reaching out now that she wanted something from him. Of course, maybe he had already hated her for years since she abandoned him as an infant.

Well, fuck.

Maybe Sam and Kathy would at least add her to their Christmas card list.


William and his aunt returned to the eighth floor waiting room about an hour after they had left. Sam had started to doze off, while Scully and Monica each had their laptops open in front of them. Scully suspected Monica was working on a report for Skinner. The assistant director had alluded to the former agent’s cooperation when Scully had first spoken to him about the possibility of locating William.

Kathy walked up to her husband and loudly sighed. Then, without being too gentle about it, she shook his shoulder to wake him up.

“What the hell, woman?!” Sam jerked awake.

Kathy shook her head at her husband. “Oh be quiet, Sam. You aren’t that old and you weren’t sleeping.”

Sam grumbled his protest as he stretched and stood up.

Pleased that her husband had rejoined the world of the living, Kathy took his hand. “You’re taking me down to the cafeteria. I didn’t have a chance to eat since you and Will went when I was with the doctor earlier.”

“Alright, alright.” 

Next to Scully, Monica shut the lid of her laptop and slid it back into her bag. “Mind if I join you?”

“Only if you swear your loyalty and pledge to defend the little honor I have left, Ms. Reyes.” This got Sam an eye roll from his wife.

Monica laughed at the older couple’s antics.

The set-up was obvious and the three adults quickly left to find an early dinner in the hospital’s cafeteria. Scully hadn’t been this alone with William since hours before she handed him over to the social worker along with a piece of herself she knew she’d never really ever get back.

Once again hyper-aware of William’s presence, she immediately noticed when he started to walk over to where she was seated.

“Ummm...I’m sorry for just leaving earlier.” William stood in front of her, staring at his shoes. He ran his hand through his dark hair in a way that so resembled his biological father that Scully felt her heart clench at the familiar mannerism.

Scully shook her head and rejected his apology. “No. You have nothing to be sorry about, Will. I shouldn’t have put this burden on you now. It wasn’t very fair of me to do that to you.”

“Without my cells, is there a chance that he’ll… that my fa… sorry, but what is his name?” William was frustrated with the complicated mess of pronouns.

“Mulder. Fox Mulder. We’re partners together at the FBI,” she supplied.

Scully was curious about the fleeting flash of realization that crossed Will’s face at her answer, but chose to say nothing.

“So without my cells then, could Mr. Mulder still get better?”

“If he survives long enough to receive the vaccine once it’s developed, he may pull through. But since there’s not yet a cure, we’re not certain of its success rate.” Scully tried her hardest to keep her voice level as she spoke. “He’s stable for now but it’ll be a few more weeks until we even have a possible cure to administer to him to see how he’ll respond.”

Oh.” Will sat down across from her, his face pulled tightly together. “Would anyone else be able to use my cells to get better too?”

Scully shook her head again. “No. The matching system for stem cells is complex which makes it very difficult to find matches outside of families. And I would never risk extracting that much marrow from you anyway.”

He nodded his acceptance of her explanation. “So would you do it then?”

“I can’t. But yes, I’d spare you going through this if I could.”

At first Will seemed confused by her answer, then understanding settled on his features. “No, I mean, sorry, I mean would you do the procedure then? On me?” He clarified.

“No, I wouldn’t. I’m not licensed here in Wyoming and besides, the AMA wouldn’t look too fondly on me performing surgery on you. They’re pretty adamant about that sort of thing, particularly with minors.” She thought she saw alarm in his face. “But if you do decide you want to do this, I have a recommendation of an excellent surgeon from my colleague back in DC who is the one treating Mulder.”

“So I’d have it done here? The surgery?” William asked her.

Scully nodded. “It’s a relatively simple procedure and after it’s extracted, the marrow would be sent back to DC with a medical courier.” The sooner Mulder was able to receive the transplanted cells, the better chance he had.

Will continued with his questions. “What about you though?”

“What about me?” Scully was confused by his question.

“Well, won’t you go back to DC with the bone marrow stuff?”

She shrugged. “Not at first. I’d make sure your recovery from the procedure was going well.”

“But what about your husband?”

“Dr. Huang would handle the transplant as well as anything else that might come up. Just like I can’t operate on you, I’m not supposed to operate on him either.” 

This time, it was William’s turn and he shook his head at her answer. “But wouldn’t you want to be there with him?”

She wasn’t sure whether it was curiosity or concern for Mulder or something else that prompted Will’s line of questioning. 

Scully spoke more firmly than she ever had before to William. “Of course I do.” She forced him to look her in the eyes before she continued. “But William, I will not be leaving here until I am absolutely sure that you are okay.” She didn’t drop the eye contact she made with him. She would not be leaving their son until she knew he was on the mend. Scully needed to be able to give Mulder at least that peace of mind should he survive.

William’s cheeks flushed red with comprehension. After everything she had put him through, Scully desperately needed Will to understand that he was her priority. Even if it meant just getting an update from Sam and Kathy if that’s all William wanted her to have.

“I am on spring break right now. I could go to DC if it’d be easier. And then you could see your husband. Aunt Kathy said I could decide what I wanted to do.” He puffed out his chest a little bit at his declaration.

“Will, no, that’s not necessary. You’ll be sore for at least a few days after the procedure. You’ll want to rest at home.”

He shrugged. “I’d just be stuck on the pullout at my aunt and uncle’s.” Will wrinkled his nose at the thought. William continued in a softer voice. “I mean… if it’s okay with you of course. I didn’t mean to be rude and assume... sorry.”

Scully practically jumped to set him straight, but Will kept on talking before she was able to interject.

“I just thought maybe then if Mr. Mulder’s okay after he gets my cells then I could say hi or something before I came back here,” rambled William.

It took Scully a second before she was able to speak again. “If you really want to, it’s fine with me. Mulder… he’d love the chance to see you.” Scully’s voice broke on her last sentence.

Will looked relieved at her response. “Really? I can? You don’t mind?”

Mind? Scully couldn’t imagine anything more amazing than spending more time with William, much less him suggesting and wanting to do such a thing. 

Of course I don’t mind. You’re more than welcome to come with me if you want.” She quickly added, “That is, of course, if your aunt and uncle are okay with you making the trip.”

William shrugged again. “They said it’s my decision. I’m fourteen,” he said firmly, as if she didn’t know exactly how old he was.

Scully acquiesced, “Still, I’m sure they would appreciate you running it by them first.”

“Well... yeah... I know.”

She smiled at him and felt lighter than she had in days. She hoped she was doing the right thing by letting him come back to DC with her. Scully couldn’t bring herself to deny him his request, especially not after he had agreed to donate stem cells to Mulder. He owed them nothing, but their debt to him just grew and grew.

“I’ve never been to DC before! Do you think I can see some stuff before I have to come back?” He asked excitedly.

“Well, actually, you have been to DC before. You just wouldn’t remember.” Scully began to explain.

“Huh? ...Oohhh. Right.” It took William a second to catch on to what Scully was telling him.

“William, are you sure you want to make this trip? You don’t have to do any of this. You can think it over; today’s been a long day for you.” Scully doubted he had even begun to process the death of his father. She hated the idea of further traumatizing him by taking him away from the only family he even remembered when he was so vulnerable.

“I’m fine.” His mouth was a firm line; he did not want to be challenged.

The familiar words thrown in her face by her son made her regret every single time she had ever used them against Mulder. She would not press William further and nodded her acceptance of his statement.

Will’s features softened again when she didn’t argue with him. “So I can come then?” He asked her again.

“Well, yes, of course you can.” Scully prayed she was doing the right thing.

Suddenly, she felt William’s arms wrap around her in a hug. Although she was momentarily caught off guard by his action, she returned the hug. Arms wrapped around his shoulders, she held her child as tight as she could.

**

Early the next morning, Scully and Monica met William and his aunt and uncle in the lobby of their hotel. Scully had been able to get herself and William on a flight leaving from Cheyenne, but it was scheduled to leave just after seven in the morning.


Scully had never been a morning person in her life. Coupled with the insanity of the past few days, she was running on empty. She sipped at the large coffee she had grabbed from the hotel’s continental breakfast area, already knowing it wouldn’t be her last coffee of the day. She suspected William would be as dead on his feet as she felt.

The night before, after Scully and William met up with Kathy, Sam, and Monica in the hospital’s cafeteria, they had all gone out to dinner together. During dinner William had eagerly told his aunt and uncle about his plan to accompany Scully to DC. Scully had been surprised at how easily they accepted his plans.

Scully turned toward the bank of elevators when she heard familiar voices.

“Dana dear! Good morning!” Scully thought Kathy and Sam were far too awake for five-thirty in the morning.

Scully raised her coffee in greeting.

“Are you sure you don’t need a ride to the airport? I don’t think Will would mind it if we just made him ride in the bed of the truck.” Sam teased his nephew.

Will smirked at his uncle in return. “Nah we’ll just put you back there, old man.”

Amused, Scully took a second before she answered Sam sincerely, “Thanks, but Monica’s taking us. It’s out of your way. 

Kathy moved forward with papers in her hand. “Dana, here are the documents you mentioned you might need. Your hospital said they got his records, right? 

Scully nodded as she took the collection of documents handed to her by Kathy. There was a copy of William’s redacted birth certificate, his adoption paperwork, Pete Van De Kamp’s will granting custody to his sister and her husband, and, finally, a grant of medical power of attorney to Dr. Dana Katherine Scully for William Fox Van De Kamp signed by Kathryn and Samuel Jones. Scully raised an eyebrow at this inclusion. They had already been on the phone last night with Dr. Huang together. The procedure had already been cleared with him and his staff as well as the hospital.

Kathy immediately sensed Scully’s confusion. “We just wanted to be sure there wouldn’t be any problems in case of an emergency.”

Scully’s throat was tight. It was too early in the morning.

The older woman wrapped her arms around Scully in a comforting hug. Scully set her coffee down and returned the hug, willing herself not to start crying at five-thirty in the morning in the middle of a hotel lobby.

Kathy still firmly held on to Scully’s arms after she ended the hug. “You’ll take good care of him Dana, I know that. I’m not worried. Hey, listen to me now. That boy arrived at my brother’s house nearly a year old and was damn near perfect. We’ll talk about the future and see what William wants to do when everything’s settled down and you all come back out here for Pete’s service. And I do mean all of you. I want to meet his father.”

Scully smiled at her optimism. “Of course,” she said, praying she wouldn’t have to break that promise.

“Show me a picture to tide me over?” The older woman’s voice was hopeful.

After a few taps at her phone and she pulled up a photo of them Mulder had taken and sent her just last week. They had a warm weekend and spent an entire Saturday doing yard work at the house. Mulder had surprised her with his request for a picture of the two of them together when they had finished. She’d agreed, not realizing at the time how much dirt was still on her face.

Still, it was a nice picture of them and they looked happier than they had in years. Scully hoped there would be more to come and silently sent up yet another prayer for Mulder’s health and eventual recovery.

“Oh my! I’m sorry dear, but he’s just about the spitting image of his father. Sam, look at this!”

Kathy’s husband walked over to see what his wife was hollering about. Sam took a close look at the picture and then looked back over at Will who was talking to Monica. He looked at the picture again, then back at Will. He whistled.

Damn! Will, have you seen this? Guess it wasn’t a stork that brought you into this world after all!” William simply raised an eyebrow at his uncle’s teasing.

Monica and William walked over to join them. William had a small duffel slung over his shoulder. Sam had just finished hugging Scully goodbye as his nephew approached them.

“Ready?” Will asked Scully.

Kathy saw William’s readiness to head out and put a temporary hold on his plans. “Hang on there, William. You’re not leaving until you give me and your old uncle over here a hug and a kiss.”

William’s cheeks turned pink and he made a bit of a fuss, but he gave both Kathy and Sam big hugs before kissing them each on the cheek.

“Behave yourself.”

“Yeah, yeah...

“Let us know when you get there.”

“I will… ” 

“Do what Dana says.”

“I know…

“We’ll see you soon then, honey. Feel better after the procedure today and have a good trip. Your parents would be proud of you and so are we.”

Will sniffed a bit at the mention of his deceased parents. “Thanks,” he said shyly.

And after another round of hugs, they were off to the airport and headed back to DC.

 

 

Only slightly more awake by the time Monica pulled the car into the parking lot the Cheyenne Regional Airport, Scully hoped the small airport had some type of cafe past security. Otherwise she knew she’d end up falling asleep the moment she sat down again.

After she and Will had unloaded their bags from the trunk of the car, Scully felt a pair of arms wrap around her neck.

“Have a good flight, Dana. Tell Mulder hello for me.”

Scully set her bags down and returned Monica’s hug. “I will. Take care, Monica.” The last day had reaffirmed her faith in her friend’s good intentions and kind heart.

Monica released Scully and walked over to Will. She held her arms open and he gave her a shy smile as he rubbed the back of his neck.

Scully watched as Monica leaned down as she gripped William in a tight hug. She thought she saw her whisper something in his ear because Will smiled and nodded his head.

“Ready to go?” Scully asked and held William’s duffel bag out to him. He took his bag from her and hoisted it on his shoulder. Scully turned to address Monica. “I’ll call you in a few day after I have a better idea of how Mulder’s recovery is going go.”

“Bye Monica,” piped Will. Scully was surprised to hear his voice. She had barely heard ten words out of him all morning. Evidently he was also not a morning person.

Monica grinned in response. “Bye William. Bye Dana. Now go you two before you miss your flight.”

 

 

Scully accepted William’s offer to shove her carry-on in the overhead bin for her. He wasn’t taller than her, but his arms were certainly longer.

“Aisle or window, Will?” she asked.

His father usually took the aisle when they flew together, preferring the space to stretch out his legs. William was still far enough away from breaking six feet that Scully figured having enough leg space wasn’t much of a concern for him.

Will shrugged, so Scully motioned for him to take the window seat. She told him he’d be able to catch some good views as they flew into DC. Sitting in the aisle seat would allow her to be able to better defend him if the situation occurred.

She let her eyes close as she sat down. The previous evening had been a rush of getting everything together to make the early flight out of Cheyenne. Skinner would be picking them up at the airport to take them to the hospital for William’s intake.

She hadn’t realized she started to drift off until she was startled awake. 

“Dana?”

“Mhmm?” She pried her eyes open.

Will looked guilty. “Sorry, I didn’t see that you were sleeping.”

“I wasn’t. What’s going on?”

He didn’t look as though he believed her. “I was just wondering if I could see the picture you showed my aunt and uncle? The one of my father?”

Scully could have sworn she had shown it to him back in the hotel lobby, but the caffeine from her first coffee hadn’t even had the chance to kick in at that point. “Of course, Will.”

She pulled up the same photo she had shown to Sam and Kathy on her phone again and handed it over to William. Scully watched his face as he studied the photo. She wished she could know what was going through his mind as he looked at the picture. Suddenly, Scully felt transported back in time to fourteen years ago when he wasn’t even a year old, and she was flipping through pictures of Mulder with William on her lap trying to get him to say “da-da”.

Will continued to look at the photo and made no move to hand the phone back to her, only poking at the screen to prevent it from locking up from inactivity. 

“I can send it to you, if you want. And I should have a few of your baby pictures on there if you’d like to see them,” she suggested, hoping she didn’t sound too desperate.

“You do?” His eyes lit up at her offer.

He handed the phone back to her. She didn’t keep many personal photos on the device, as she preferred the photographs in the albums she had at home. She clicked through her collection of photos to a small album she wasn’t even sure if Mulder knew she had. She rarely allowed herself to look through it.

An intensely private person by both choice and necessity, most of the photos had  been seen by very few. But this was William, and Scully was all too happy to share with their son anything he wanted to see.

Scully held out her phone for Will to see as she swiped through the photos, only stopping to explain. A few of the pictures were older, some almost twenty years old. She had only a few with Mulder from when she was heavily pregnant. The small collection of photos of the three of them after William’s birth were so precious to her. Scully hadn’t dreamed about being able to share these moments with Will in a long time.

The meager amount of photos meant that William didn’t notice when Mulder wasn’t in anymore of his baby pictures. His eyes were hungry as he took in the details of every photo, younger than he had ever seen himself before.

“I was bald!” Will moaned. He was horrified.

“You were not! Your hair was just very fine, but it started to darken up a bit,” she corrected.

He accepted this answer and she continued to swipe through her photos. All too soon, they got to the end of his baby pictures and then it was just pictures of her and Mulder together. She sensed his confusion when he got to a photo from their impromptu wedding on the beach six years ago.

“We got married back in March of 2008,” she supplied. 

“But I thought…” His features were still narrowed in confusion at her statement.

She shook her head. “Nope. Only since 2008. Officially anyway. Long story, but we’ll tell you later if you want to know.”

“Okay.” Will seemed to be satisfied with her promise.

Scully took her phone back from him when the flight attendants started preparing for takeoff. She saw that Will had pulled a thick paperback out of his bag, but it sat unopened on his lap. He was twisted around in his seat and stared out of the window, eagerly awaiting departure. 

On the other hand, she was asleep before the wheels left the ground.

 

 

Scully easily navigated them through National. It was a strange feeling to be back in DC with William. She was anxious to get to the hospital to check on Mulder. 

“Are we taking a cab?” 

“Nope.” She answered, popping the p . She explained, “My boss is picking us up.”

“Your boss?” William had a look of disbelief on his face.

She laughed at his expression. “He volunteered when I told him you were coming back with me. He’s been at the hospital with Mulder and will take us back there.”

Oh. Have I met him before?”

“Yes.” She elaborated, “Skinner was our boss from the time your father and I were first partnered together. He’s been trying to reign in Mulder since the early 1990s, give or take a few years there in the middle. A hopeless task, I should know.”

Will smiled at the affection in her voice she hadn’t bothered to hide.

Dana! Over here!”

Scully made her way toward the set of doors where Skinner was waiting for them. She reached out to him and the pair briefly embraced.

“I’m so glad to have you back in DC, Agent Scully.”

“Good to be back, sir.” She stepped back and motioned for William to come forward. “William, I want you to meet Assistant Director Walter Skinner. Skinner, this is William Van De Kamp.”

Will held out his hand to Skinner for a handshake; Skinner’s eyes held an amused expression at the formality. Even after the handshake ended, she could tell Skinner was looking for similarities between the kid in front of him and the baby he remembered.

Skinner took one of Scully’s bags from her and he motioned for her and William to follow him. When Scully saw that Skinner had parked in a no parking zone, she knew he had resorted to flashing his badge. They loaded up Scully and Will’s bags in his trunk and climbed in the SUV.

Skinner adjusted his rear view mirror so he could see William in the backseat. “You look so much like your father, but I’ll do my best not to hold that against you.”

William’s cheeks went pink, but Skinner wasn’t finished with his teasing. He pointed to his head. “Your parents are why I have no hair.”

Scully rolled her eyes at his blatantly untrue statement. But Skinner got the reaction he aimed for when William snickered in response.

Finally on the way to the hospital, she tuned in her seat to face Skinner. “How is he, Walter?”

Skinner swallowed and replied to her in a low voice once he was satisfied William was adequately distracted by the sights of DC outside the window.

“It’s a good thing you came when you did, Dana.”


“Dr. Huang will be in shortly to get William for the procedure, Dr. Scully. Do you have any questions for me?” The nurse asked as she pulled the blood pressure cuff off William’s arm.

Scully shook her head. “No. Thank you, Claire.”

Claire nodded at her and left the room.

“How are you doing, Will?” Scully was seated next to William’s bedside.

They had gotten to the hospital less than an hour ago with Skinner. Dr. Huang’s staff had been waiting for them to arrive and immediately took Will to be admitted for the bone marrow harvesting procedure. Scully would have preferred it if they had time to collect the bone marrow from his bloodstream, but Mulder’s worsening condition left them with no choice. The surgery was the quickest way to harvest the stem cells from Will.

To Scully’s surprise and immense relief, William had allowed her to be in his room. Though she knew the procedure to collect bone marrow was simple with little risk to him, the need to be by his side was powerful.

“I’m okay,” He responded softly. He was fidgeting with the thin blanket pulled up to his lap.

Her son looked even smaller and even younger than his fourteen years sitting on the hospital bed waiting to go into surgery. As thankful as she was to him for doing this for her, she was about ready to call the whole thing off. She didn’t want anyone touching William. Not even her good friend who was also an excellent surgeon. Not even if it was to save the life of Mulder.

She closed her eyes, remembering the last time she was in the hospital with William. After Jeffrey Spender had injected him with the magnetite, she knew she had no real choice when it came to protecting her son. Scully had given him over to the adoption service only a few days later. She hoped he wasn’t able to remember the numerous dangers he had faced when he was still with her.

“Will, you were so young when… so I… I doubt you remember anything from when you lived with me, but do you remember anything from when you were with me?” she asked, not knowing if she even wanted his answer.

William gave a soft shake of his head. He continued to stare at his hands as they played with the folds of the blanket over his lap. “Not really. But I’ve always known I was little when I was adopted. Really little.” Will looked up at her shyly. “But I thought about you. I’ve known I was adopted since forever. I didn’t know if I was right, but I thought you might have red hair like I had red hair.” He shrugged. 

“It’s not so red anymore,” she countered softly, a sad smile played at her lips.

William shook his head. “It was really red when I was little. I know there are pictures somewhere if you want to see them sometime?”

“I’d love to.” Scully would never be able to have those years back, but she wanted to know everything she possibly could about her son.

He grinned at her enthusiasm. Without thinking, she reached out to smooth back a lock of hair that had fallen over his forehead. Will’s eyes closed at the gentle, comforting touch as she ran her hand through his hair.

His eyes were still shut when he asked his next question of her. “Did… did you guys just not want a kid?” His voice was small and soft.

Scully wasn’t able to stop herself from immediately jumping out of her chair and taking William into her arms. Sitting next to him on the edge of his hospital bed she hugged him tightly as she spoke.

“No, no, William, that wasn’t it at all. I promise. Your father and I wanted you more than anything.” She had never needed anything more in her life at that moment than to reassure him. This is what she had always feared: that he would think he had been unloved or unwanted by her and Mulder.

She felt his arms encircle her waist as he clung to her.

“Then… why did you put me up for adoption?” His sniffed, his voice was still soft.

Scully had known this question was coming. She wished Mulder was here for this conversation, but at the same time, this was her cross to bear. They had both suffered from the consequences, but it had been her decision.

Still holding William, she pressed a kiss in his hair before she pulled away. Scully held his shoulders as she looked at him. With one hand she wiped under her eyes at the tears that had fallen. “Oh honey, it was for your own protection. It’s a long story, and one that you’re entitled to know. Your father and I had powerful enemies and it wasn’t fair to you. You deserved a life free from fear and danger. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. Not a day went by that I didn’t think of you, miss you, and wish you were with me.”

He nodded. “I wondered about what you guys would be like and what you were interested in. I also tried to picture what you looked like and what my father looked like and if I looked like you guys.”

Scully gathered him in her arms again.

“We’ll answer any questions you might have William, but just remember that I love you. We both love you. Very much.” Her throat still felt thick with emotion. She reluctantly let go of him.

“Okay. I’d like that,” Will replied quietly.

Scully gave him a small smile of acknowledgement before the door opened and a pair of nurses came in with Dr. Huang. They were nearly ready to take William back for his procedure. Scully wasn’t sure if she was ready for them to take her son.

She reached for Will’s hand and held it firmly. Her thumb rubbed at the back of his hand.

Still holding Scully’s hand, he asked, “Will you still be here later? When I wake up?”

“If you want me to be here, I will. Of course.”

Will smiled at her. “Okay. Good.”

 

 

She knew she was pacing. She just didn’t give a shit.

William had been taken to the operating room for the bone marrow harvest just fifteen minutes ago. The procedure would probably take an hour and a half and Scully had no earthly idea how she was supposed to stand another hour and fifteen minutes of this tortuous waiting.

It didn’t matter that she had complete faith in Dr. Huang. It didn’t matter that it was a procedure with very little risk. It didn’t matter that this was the only way to save Mulder’s life.

She hoped Mulder would be able to forgive her for wishing she had never gone to Wyoming and made her baby go through this.

Sitting and waiting in William’s room had nearly driven her to insanity within five minutes. So now she found herself outside of Mulder’s room in the ICU. She hadn’t been to see him since before she left for Wyoming.

Mulder had been kept mostly unconscious since she brought him to the hospital. To prepare his body for the new stem cells, he was being flooded with chemotherapy drugs and radiation. His immune system was essentially nonexistent, a necessity if his body was going to be able to accept the donated stem cells. As soon as the cells were collected from William, Dr. Huang wanted to immediately give them to Mulder.

Scully felt absolutely useless. She couldn’t be with William. And in Mulder’s weakened state, she wouldn’t risk exposing him to anything she might have picked up on the plane. She was glad he was unconscious for the chemotherapy. It’s not something she would wish on anyone, least of all him.

Hey, Scully, how about those Yankees, huh?

She sent up yet another prayer for his recovery. You found me a miracle cure once, Mulder. Just please, stay alive long enough for me to give you this one. Our miracle.


Dr. Huang found her still sitting outside of Mulder’s room almost two hours later. They had just finished with William’s surgery and were anxious to transplant the harvested stem cells into Mulder. He assured Scully that William was doing fine and was back in his room recovering from the anesthesia.

Scully watched as they hooked the bag of their son’s stem cells up to Mulder’s central line. He would be watched very closely over the next few days as they waited for engraftment to occur. Neither she nor Dr. Huang had any idea what they could expect from this treatment or how quickly Mulder might recover.

Apparently satisfied that the transplant was going well, Dr. Huang exited Mulder’s room, leaving his resident along with two of his nurses to oversee the rest of the transplant. He saw Scully and walked over to her.

“Dana, you know how this goes. We’ll be doing daily blood tests as we wait for his body to accept the transplanted cells. All we can do now is wait.”

“I know Ed. It’s just, after everything…” Scully looked through the window at the the image of her husband lying in his hospital bed. He was completely unaware of everything that she had done, that their son had done to ensure he would survive the latest threat to his life.

He nodded in understanding. “I’ll be by to check on Agent Mulder later. William should be waking up from the anesthesia in the next hour or two and I’ll be in to see him before going home later tonight.”

“Thank you, Ed.”

 

 

Scully had Newsnight on mute as she waited for Will to wake up from the anesthesia. The media still didn’t know what to make of the virus that almost wiped out a large percentage of the population. Even Scully still didn’t really know what to make of it all.

It felt wrong to her, to just be sitting and waiting. There was nothing she could do in the moment. It would be awhile before they knew if Mulder was responding to the transplant, and William was resting; the stem cell harvest had gone well and would have no long-term effects on his health.

A sense of contentment filled Scully as she watched the rise and fall of William’s chest as he slept. She had once spent many hours of her life simply watching him sleep. She was so thankful to this small, perfect person she and Mulder had made. He had a kind heart and was a good person. Scully knew they couldn’t take much of the credit for what a good kid her son was, but she was still so very proud of him.

Will shifted slightly and moaned.

“William?” Scully spoke softly as she didn’t want to wake him.

He opened his eyes slowly. She reached out and held his forearm gently.

“How’re you doing, honey? Do you want some water?”

He nodded, so Scully reached over to the table near her and grabbed a glass of water. She held the straw to his lips for him.

“Better?” she asked.

“Yeah.” William’s voice sounded a bit hoarse to her. Scully offered him another drink of water which he accepted.

“Is it… is it all done? Is he better now?”

“It’ll be a few days before we know anything, Will. But he’s fine. They gave him your stem cells right away. You just need to rest and focus on feeling better.”

“I’m not tired…” The impact of William’s denial was negated by his slurred words.

Scully did her best to hide an amused smile at her sleepy son. “Of course not, but you’re not going anywhere for now. Do you need anything?” In that moment, Will probably could have gotten anything out of her if he had the energy to ask for it.

He simply shook his head; his eyes were already half-closed again.

Satisfied for the time being that he was alright, Scully put the glass of water back on the table beside her. She again grasped Will’s forearm and lightly ran her thumb back and forth over his skin.

“I’m glad you’re here with me.” His voice was small and sleepy.

“Me too, Will. Me too,” she replied softly.

Scully let her free hand move up to stroke through his hair. The motion made William’s eyes close again as the gesture lulled him back to sleep.

 

 

The day after Mulder had received the transplanted stem cells from William, he had been placed on a ventilator to ease the strain on his lungs.. Although he hadn’t stopped breathing, his breaths had been shallow and uneven. Scully had been by to check on him and the sight of Mulder hooked up to the ventilator had made her dizzy. It was entirely too similar to when she had watched her mother die in front of her. And she couldn’t even be in the same room with Mulder now while his body was fighting to survive.

William was healing well, but he would still be sore for a few days. Scully knew Will hadn’t yet felt up to walking around much on his own. Her son’s weakened state meant that she didn’t have to try very hard to keep him from seeing Mulder.

Scully didn’t want William’s first images of Mulder to be him unconscious in a hospital bed hooked up to a ventilator. She had no intention of reminding him of his adoptive father’s final illness and death. Will could see him when he was doing better.

A few days later, Dr. Huang had come to Will’s room to let Scully know that he had cleared her to visit with Mulder. His blood tests had already started to show signs of engraftment. Dr. Huang had been keeping Mulder’s visitors to an absolute minimum in fear of compromising Mulder’s delicate immune system. Sensing William was disappointed he couldn’t go with her, Scully ruffled his hair and promised that when he was feeling up to it in a few days, she would take him to visit Mulder.

Now she stood in front of Mulder’s room. When she had left Will a few minutes ago, he was playing a game on his computer. She told him she’d be back to check on him before she went home for the night. William had nodded and then waved her off; his attention was already back on his game.

Scully let herself into Mulder’s room. He appeared to be resting peacefully. She sat down beside his bed and took his hand in hers. Mulder was doing better, but he was still unconscious. She missed him and wished he would wake up. Still, it felt good to be able to hold his hand again.

Scully scooted her chair closer to him and laid her head down on the side of his bed. His soft inhales and exhales created a comforting rhythm and she closed her eyes, content just to be near him. A few minutes later, she was asleep.

 

 

Two hours later Scully felt something lightly touch the back of her head. Irritated at the sensation when she was trying to sleep, she tried to ignore it and hoped it would stop. Then she heard her name.

“Scully.”
Scully.
"Scully!

She groaned, still upset at being woken up against her will. As she slowly regained consciousness, she realized who had been speaking to her. Scully looked up and was rewarded with the sight of Mulder staring her. Elated that he was awake at last, she couldn’t help but grin at him.

“Hey,” Mulder said. She didn’t remember ever being so happy to hear his voice before. Tears sprang up in the corners of her eyes.

“Hey,” she replied. Scully paused, taking in the sight of him. “You’re going to be alright, Mulder.”


End Notes

Seriously though, thanks for reading. I've never written this much fic in my life, let alone for a single fandom or story/series.

(Just a reminder if you haven't read Five Wishes, then you should. It continues this story through the beginnings of Mulder's recovery.)

And also thanks to those who caught some of my not-always-super-subtle references to: Fringe, Alias, Stargate SG-1, Daredevil, Hamilton, The West Wing, and The Newsroom. (I had to amuse myself somehow!)

Please drop by the archive and comment to let the author know if you enjoyed their work!

 


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