Title: A New Life
Author: The Fox
Spoilers: None really
Rating: PG Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, no I don't own them. I told you, I just like to play.

Summary: Sequel to first story of A New Beginning. May need to read that before continuing.

Author's Notes: Feedback was great and encouraged me to continue with the "New Beginning" theme. Hope it rates well with you guys! ;)


Act 1

Old Horse Springs, New Mexico
September 15 Sunday 2.20pm

"Shit! Shit!"

Kate Hastings leaned over the kitchen counter. Her two-year-old son (or almost two and a half-year-old, going on three, as he reminded her constantly) was playing with the computer.

"Will, don't say that."

"Why? Daddy says." Will swivelled around in the chair a grin plastered on his face, eyes twinkling; the freckles on his nose more prominent in the afternoon light from the living room window.

"Daddy's old and decrepit. When you get that old, you can swear."

"'Old and decrepit', huh?" Jeff Hastings entered the living room wiping his oily hands on an old grey t-shirt. He bent down to kiss the top of his son's head.

"What's 'depit'?" Will swivelled back to the computer screen. He was on his knees in order to be level with the monitor.

"You don't have to worry about that for a while. Watchya doin' there, munchkin?"

"E-mail f'm Unc' Hicky. It's cartoon 'n funny."

"I'll bet. Just don't delete it. I'd like to have a look later."

Jeff stared at the screen for a moment, regarding his son with total awe. A two-year-old checking e-mail. Will was now able to recognise quite a few words lately.

Jeff was still trying to rub the oil off his hands as he approached Kate from behind and planted a kiss on the back of her neck.

"'Old and decrepit'? I didn't hear you complaining last night, or were they moans of disappointment? Sounded more like ecstasy though. I wasn't the one screaming 'more! more!'"

Kate chuckled, turning from the coffeepot. Jeff's lopsided grin stared back at her. A smear of oil streaked his left cheek. He waggled his eyebrows at her.

"I don't scream."

"Yeah, okay. Whatever." He leaned in further kissing the tip of her nose then teased her lips into a lingering kiss.

Kate broke away, pushing her hands against his chest.

"Our son is in the next room."

"Want me to send him to his room?" The eyebrows waggled again.

"You're covered in oil. What've you been up to?" She turned back to the pot. The coffee had just started to drip through the filter.

"Sometimes the engine cuts out at the lights in town. Just wanted to see if I could fix it."

She grinned. The 4WD may not survive his 'fixing'. Brilliant mind, but not when it came to mechanics. Though if he was to study... No, it just wasn't his interest.

"Why don't you take it to the Hosteens?"

"I'd like to try myself. Besides, Hosteen might ask me to give him a hand with the horses again."

Kate couldn't help but laugh at the thought. She'd been doing a lot of laughing lately.

"Go wash up. We'll have a snack."

"You're not having coffee are you? Caffeine's not good in your condition you know." Jeff patted her now protruding stomach.

"I'm having herbal tea. The coffee's your favorite." She placed her hands on her hips. "I have done this before, you know."

Jeff's grin faded as he motioned toward the living room.

"I wasn't there last time."

Kate quickly stepped in front of him, blocking his way.

"I'm sorry. I didn't think. I didn't mean..." She reached up and stroked his cheek. The corners of his mouth curled slightly.

"You know I'm going to make it up to you. Not being there last time."

"That wasn't your fault."

"I know, but indulge me, okay?" He bent to kiss her forehead and headed for the bathroom.

The ringing of the telephone startled Will and he lost his balance on the chair. Normally he would have anticipated the phone call, but he had been too engrossed in the e-mail cartoon from the Gunmen. He slid to the floor and trotted over to pick up the receiver from the coffee table.

"Hello."

Kate placed herself on the arm of the couch beside Will, her palm extended to accept the receiver. Will was still conversing, a huge smile on his face.

"Uh huh. Uh huh. Okay. Real soon? Okay." He placed the receiver in his mother's hand. "Here, Mommy. Unc' Walter."

"Walter?"

"Hi Scu... Kate. How are you?" Assistant Director Walter Skinner's voice sounded strange, like he was in a hollow room.

"Fine. It's good to hear you. Where are you calling from?"

"A phone booth just outside my home. I needed to speak with you."

"With me, or...?"

"You."

"Is something wrong?"

"It's your mother."

"Oh, God..."

"No. No." Skinner cut in. "Don't get the wrong impression. There's nothing wrong, but I think enough time's elapsed and there's been no further enquiries, so if you want, I can bring her out there for a visit. She's been asking to see you for a while now."

Kate found it hard to answer; she was choking back a sob.

Jeff absorbed the scene before him. Kate was gripping the receiver of the phone to her left ear and her right hand was cupped over her mouth, cheeks wet. Will was rubbing her back: a soothing gesture acquired from his parents.

"Scully?" He whispered touching her knee and sitting on the floor, wedged between the couch and the coffee table in front of her.

"No, Daddy." Will leaned over Kate's shoulder, in a theatrical whisper. "Kate. Kate."

"Okay, okay. Kate?"

Kate wiped at her eyes and cheeks and clasped her hands in her husband's resting on her knee. She smiled. His shoulders slumped as relief washed over him.

"I'm sorry, Walter." She managed into the phone.

'Walter? Skinner?' Jeff mouthed. She nodded her reply.

"It was just a bit of a surprise. I'm okay. Just the thought of... When would you...?"

"I was thinking of next weekend. Would that be okay? I'll bring her myself."

"That's... that would be wonderful. This is the best news I've had all week. Why don't you bring Kim with you? You can stay with us."

Jeff raised his eyebrows. Kate ran her index finger across his lower lip.

"That won't be necessary." Skinner was obviously uncomfortable. "I'll stay somewhere in town..."

"We wouldn't have it any other way. You've done so much for us; it's the least we can do. Bring Kim too, please. We insist."

'We'? Jeff mouthed. Kate pinched his lips together with her fingers. Will found that amusing and burst into giggles. He climbed around his mother, bouncing on Jeff in a mock attack, trying to replay Kate's actions, reaching for his mouth. They fell to the floor beside the couch, Jeff bumping his head on the corner of the coffee table.

"Kate?" Skinner had heard Kate hiss an intake of air.

"Sorry, just a slight distraction." Kate bent forward to inspect her husband's head. No bump yet. Will was still giggling on his chest, pushing Jeff's cheeks together attempting to purse his lips to create a 'fish'. Another lump was forming in her throat again and tears were threatening to well at the sight before her. She cleared her throat. "So, are we settled then?"

"Okay, but are you sure?"

"Of course. We have plenty of room."

"I also have to tell you that one of your brothers wants to come along too."

"Oh?" She glanced at Jeff. He was now engrossed in tickling his son. "Which one?"

"I... I'm not sure. Does it matter?"

"I guess not... No." She would deal with it. Just to be able to see part of her family again would be worth it. "I can't thank you enough."

"Okay then, we should arrive some time around noon next Saturday." He paused, thinking. "We'll go straight to your house. I'll be explaining names and other situations along the way. They'll know that they're to use your new names within the town... but... maybe you might think about keeping them away from town until they.... until they're used to the new situation."

"We'll play it by ear."

"all right. I'll see you next Saturday."

"Walter?"

"Yeah?"

"Thank you again."

"I'll see you soon."

"Ol' Uncle Walt coming for a visit?" Jeff rolled on his side still lying on the floor; head propped up on his hand, Will squirming under the other hand.

"Next Saturday."

"'N Gramma!" Will managed around his giggles.

Dana stared at her son.

"Will, did Walter tell you that?"

He was wriggling out of Jeff's grasp.

"Will?" She repeated.

"Huh?" Will's face was flushed, hair dishevelled as he sat up to view Kate's anxious expression.

"Did Walter tell you that your grandma was coming too?"

"No." He shook his head, tentatively approaching her. "I do somef'n wrong Mommy?"

"No, sweetie, no." She smoothed his hair down.

"You mad f' me readin' end of story 'gain?" That was the only way his parents could describe his ability to him - 'reading the end of a story' - warning him to be careful not to display this to anyone else. Ever.

"Never mad at you." Kate pulled him into a hug. "Never. I just wanted to know how you knew that's all."

Kate kissed his cheek. Will placed a kiss on her cheek in return, clasping his arms around her neck.

"I jus' feel f'm Unc' Walter." His voice was muffled into her hair. "Sorry scare you, Mommy." He hugged her tighter.

"You don't scare us, Will. We just want you to be careful." Jeff sat upright crossing his legs. "Hey!" He pulled at the back of Will's pants, snapping the elastic waistband. "Don't I get a hug too?"

Will peeped out from Kate's hair, a huge smile on his face. He pounced on his father in a fierce hug.

"Okay," Jeff stood, slinging Will over his shoulder, "go wash your hands so we can have a snack." He placed him on the floor facing the hallway to the bathroom, patting him on the buttocks as Will started off.

Jeff settled beside Kate on the couch, absently rubbing his head where it had connected with the coffee table. Kate inspected the area again.

"Small bump. I think you'll live."

"Thanks, doc. Is that your medical opinion?"

Kate retrieved her hand from her inspection, intertwining her fingers with Jeff's.

"Skinner says all enquiries seem to have died down now that's why he's bringing Mom for a visit. I can't believe I'll be able to see her again." She squeezed his hand. "I can't even believe it's been so long."

"What's Skinner told her?" Jeff ran his thumb over Kate's palm. "I mean, I know she had to fake a funeral for us and all but she's had no knowledge of our whereabouts or how to contact us."

"I'm sure Mom was able to pry as much out of Skinner as she possibly could." She grinned at the thought. "But he's going to brief them on the way."

"'Them'?" Jeff halted his thumb in mid-stroke. "I thought Kimberley already knew?"

Kate placed her hand on her stomach.

"One of my brothers is coming with them."

Jeff groaned and marched off to the kitchen. She could hear him slamming cupboards and drawers.

Will darted into the living room, stopping abruptly at his mother's arched eyebrow.

"No running!" Will mimicked his mother's words.

He giggled as he entered the kitchen and climbed onto one of the chairs to watch his father fussing over the coffeepot. Although his frame was still too small for the chairs and he could barely see above the edge of the table, he had been adamant that he was too old to be seated in a high chair any more. The high chair had been placed aside for his sister's future use.

Kate followed her family into the kitchen. Her herbal tea was already placed on the table. She reached beside Jeff for the cookie jar. He poured his coffee in silence, a slight pout to his lips.

She placed the jar on the table, sitting next to Will, watching him sip his milk and reach for a chocolate chip cookie.

"You know, it may not be Bill." She traced the rim of her cup. Jeff was still leaning against the kitchen bench, his grip on the coffeepot somewhat tighter.

"And then again, it probably will be." Jeff sat down opposite Kate, his own cup in hand. "I've never met this elusive other brother of yours."

"Charlie." Kate offered.

"Yeah."

"He's not elusive, just busy. He's in a different sector of the navy."

"Well, in any case, the odds are more in favor of big brother Bill, don't you think?"

"Maybe..."

"Oh, come on!" Jeff's voice raised slightly and he glanced guiltily towards his son.

Will peered over his glass, but didn't speak. He was good at reading his parents. He knew when to speak and when to just keep to himself. He munched on his cookie in silence.

"Even if it is Bill," Kate reached across the table for Jeff's hand, "he's part of my family. I'd really like to see them."

"And what are we?" Jeff sat back, his hand slipping away from her touch.

"That's not fair." Kate noticed he'd now folded his arms but she was determined. "This is my life now, but I still want the rest of my family. I still need them. I want you to understand that. I know they can't be involved as much as they used to be but I'd still like to know that they're there. I want Will to know them too. Is that too much to ask?"

Jeff lowered his head, arms placed back on the table, a sigh escaping his lips.

"Okay." He raised his eyes to meet hers. "But he'll be in my domain now."

"Be good."

"I'll try."

"That's all I ask. If it IS Bill, I know Mom will reign him in."

"A true Scully."


Act 2 Old Horse Springs, New Mexico September 21 Saturday 12.35pm

"William, hold still."

Kate tried to produce her best stern voice. Using 'William' and not 'Will' usually gained her son's attention and he knew she meant business. Today, he was just too excited. They didn't receive many visitors, usually the Hosteens and even then not that often. July 4th had been the last time they had seen anyone from out of town and especially someone from their former lives.

Will had spoken of nothing else all morning but seeing his grandmother again. Kate was amazed that he even remembered her. He'd just started to walk and hadn't spoken his first words then. They had been so worried about Will's lack of speech back then.

"Mommy, Gramma, Gramma!"

"I know, just let me tie your shoes first."

"Comin' now!"

Kate looked up as Jeff stood in the threshold of Will's room.

"A car's coming up the road." Jeff's smile was strained.

Kate straightened, rubbing her back. Soon she wouldn't be able to perform such simple tasks. Will scooted past both adults.

"Will!"

Kate sighed, hands on hips, an imploring look on her face to Jeff. He shrugged and followed Will into the living room.

"Will! Don't run!" He stood by the couch amused, watching Will slowing down to a walk before reaching the door. "And don't open the door. You know the rules: 'Watch and wait'."

"But i's okay!" Will reached for the knob.

"Will, one day you could be wrong. Don't risk it."

Will's hand recoiled from the doorknob as his head turned to face Jeff's furrowed brow. A familiar Scully pout formed on Will's lips.

"But, Daddy..."

"No."

Will bounced on the balls of his feet. A Mulder habit. The corners of Jeff's mouth curled slightly.

"Check the window first, then wait till you see who gets out of the car. Remember to stay out of sight."

"Okay!" Will padded to the window, lifting a small portion of the curtain to peer outside. Not exactly undetectable from outside view, but gained a chuckle from Kate entering the living room.

If there were a chance of impending danger, Will would not even be allowed near the door, let alone the window, but they were expecting this particular company and it proposed a good opportunity to practice. You could never be too careful.

The sound of a car door slamming brought Jeff back from his reverie. He decided to remain in the background for now, watching as Kate caught Will's hand and exited the front door.

Walter Skinner stood by the rental Ford, motioning to open the back door for Maggie Scully. Maggie's eyes were already brimmed with tears as she spied her daughter and grandson stepping onto the porch.

"Gramma!" Will bounded down the stairs and into the arms of his grandmother just as her feet were placed outside of the car.

"William!" Maggie gathered Will into her arms. "You've grown so much! And talking!"

"We can't get him to stop now." Kate met her mother's eyes.

"Oh, sweetheart." Maggie embraced her daughter, still holding Will against her.

Tears flowed down both women's cheeks. Maggie pulled back, a look of surprise on her face as she noticed Kate's enlarged belly.

"Dana...?" Maggie stroked her daughter's stomach.

Kate nodded, trying to brush away the tears tracking her cheeks. Maggie set a wriggling Will on the ground and proceeded to hug her daughter more fiercely.

"Dana." Another form approached.

Bill.

Kate searched his face from her mother's arms. There was only concern. Maggie stepped back, allowing her children to embrace. She glanced at the figure watching from the porch and motioned for him to descend the stairs.

"Fox." Maggie pulled him into her arms.

"Hi Mrs. Scully." He returned her hug.

"Maggie. I think we can dispense with the formalities now, don't you?" She smiled up at him, cheeks wet. "I was so relieved to know that you were together."

"I intend for it to stay that way too."

Maggie squeezed his arm and moved back to her children. Kate was ushering everyone inside. There were no neighbors to worry about but it was hot and she was anxious for everyone to join her new world inside.

"Unc' Walter!" Will squinted upward. The sun was overhead and it was hard for him to see his face in the light.

"Hello William." Skinner crouched beside the small figure.

Will rested a hand on Skinner's shoulder, a crease forming on his brow.

"Will, Unc' Walter. Jus' Will."

Skinner roared with laughter. This kid was definitely a Mulder. Jeff stepped beside Skinner. It wasn't often he heard this very constrained person laugh.

"Okay, Will. You've grown again." Skinner ruffled Will's hair.

"I be bigger'n Daddy!" Will beamed.

"I'm sure you will be." Skinner glanced up to Jeff's grinning face.

"Unc' Walter pocket." Will tugged at Skinner's shirtsleeve.

"My pocket?"

"Somef'n for me!"

"Will. It's not polite." Jeff pinched his son's nose.

Will lowered his head but still focused on Skinner.

"Sorry." Will offered Skinner.

Skinner's eyebrows raised above his glasses in surprise. He looked up at Jeff.

"How did he...?" Skinner turned back to Will. "You're right. Don't be sorry. I DO have something for you in my pocket. I was going to give it to you later, but I think it's okay right now."

Will couldn't contain his enthusiasm, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, smiling widely.

Skinner placed a small brightly colored box into Will's hands.

"Thank you!" Will encircled his arms around Skinner's neck briefly. He could detect this man wasn't used to affection like this and pulled away, fiddling with the package. "Can open?" Will searched Jeff's face above them.

"Why don't we go inside first? I think maybe everyone's had a long trip and might like to rest and have something cool to drink."

Will nodded, gripping his present tighter and tugged on Skinner's sleeve again, motioning for him to enter his home. Skinner complied, standing and extending his hand to Jeff.

"No Kimberley?" Jeff gripped Skinner's hand, slapping him on the back.

"Not ready to go there yet." Skinner's jaw muscles twitched.

They laughed together as they ascended the porch, following the Scully family inside.


Act 3 Old Horse Springs, New Mexico September 11 Saturday 3.40pm

Jeff had deliberately avoided eye contact with Bill Scully since they had arrived. Kate and Maggie kept Bill busy with conversation, while he engaged himself with various Bureau discussions with Skinner, popping sunflower seeds into his mouth as they spoke.

Will had also evaded his uncle's company, clinging to his mother or showing his father the operations of the pocket computer game Skinner had given him. Skinner had thought perhaps this particular present may be too complicated for Will yet, but the store owner had insisted that 3 year olds could play it and considering Will would be old enough soon, decided it would be worth it. He had no idea Will would be able to operate it so quickly.

All through lunch Will had sat between Skinner and his father avoiding Bill. It wasn't that Will thought his uncle was a bad person, rather a troubled being with an enormous amount of pent up emotions. Those emotions were confusing to Will and he perceived they were confusing to his uncle as well. Some of those feelings were hostile and directed at his father. Some were directed at him. That was scary, so he kept his distance only greeting him with a 'hello, nice to meet you' and a quick handshake.

Maggie gathered Will into her arms.

"So, Will, for someone who was so talkative before, you're very quiet now."

Will smiled at his grandma but continued to play with his pocket computer game.

"I think someone's missed their nap." Kate reached over and patted Will's knee.

"No, Mommy!" Will groaned, a pleading pout forming on his lips.

"It's either nap now or you go to bed real early."

"Mommy..." Will slid off Maggie's lap, hesitantly touching Kate's arm, his bottom lip quivering. "Please Mommy..."

"I can tell you're tired if you're going to whine and cry."

Will dropped his head onto Kate's lap, not wanting to show the tears forming in his eyes.

"Too big, Mommy... Please..." Will's voice was muted by Kate's dress he was now gripping.

"Will," Kate stroked his back as he whimpered into her lap, "I'm sure Grandma doesn't want to see you so tired. If you nap now you can stay up later and show her and Uncle Bill our garden. I know you want to do that."

For all his matureness for his age, Will was still a two- year-old.

"C'mon, munchkin." Jeff snapped the back of Will's waistband.

Will rubbed his eyes and allowed Jeff to hoist him over his shoulder, taking him to his room.

"He's a good father, Dana." Maggie reached for her daughter's hand.

Kate nodded, squeezing her mother's hand.

"With what we've been through together, it's kind of like a dream state. It's actually a normal life."

"'Normal'?" Bill sat forward next to Maggie. "You call this 'normal'?"

"Bill..." Maggie gripped Bill's shoulder.

"No, Mom. I've kept my mouth shut since we got here, making small talk, but I can't stand it any longer." He slapped his knee for emphasis.

Skinner straightened in the computer chair by the window. He'd heard of big brother Bill but wasn't sure what to expect. He was certain he would get a glimpse now.

"Dana, you really think this life you have here is normal?"

"Bill, it's as normal as I'd ever hoped for." Kate matched her brother's glare.

"You can't even use your own name! Your family had to bury you!"

"It was necessary."

"Yeah, everything you've had to do since you met that man has been 'necessary' or 'beyond your control' or 'of your own choice'. You can't see past him or what he's done to your life! OUR lives for that matter!"

"Bill, I know I can never make you understand..."

"No, you can't! Jesus, Dana, we had to arrange this visit. We can't even call you! No I don't understand and I don't like the thought of you spending the rest of your life with that man. You're always looking over your shoulder, risking your life and the lives of your children now! Is that 'normal'?!"

"He's my husband now, Bill and..."

"'Husband'! Really? And how legal is that?"

"I assure you, it's legal." Skinner added. "I did the paperwork myself."

"Under what names?" Bill sat back. He had not expected Walter Skinner to make any comments but it was not going to deter him from speaking his mind.

"Under their new names, which I can also assure you are legal."

"It may be legal on paper, but not in our eyes!"

"Bill, please. We didn't come here to do this!" Maggie spat these words at her son.

"Mom, you don't approve of this life of hers, do you?"

"Bill, if this is Dana's choice, then I will accept anything she chooses. I can't live your lives for you and you have to make do with what you've got. Nothing is ever perfect, but you have to work at making it as near to that as you possibly can. I don't like the fact that we can't contact Dana, but I know that from what Walter tells me that one day soon we'll be able to. And if that means accepting her as a different person to do so, then I can accept that too."

"Well I don't!"

"I can't ask you to accept anything you don't want to, but I'd appreciate it if you'd keep your voice down. Will doesn't need to hear this and you're upsetting your sister." Jeff entered the living room, walking past Skinner and seating himself in the chair beside his former boss.

"Fox..." Maggie brushed a tear from the corner of her eye.

"Maggie, I know this hasn't been easy for you..."

"'Easy!'" Bill huffed.

"And," Jeff continued, ignoring Bill's glare, "I can't thank you enough for what you've had to do for us and I'm sorry for what you've had to endure. I can only promise you something in return. I can promise you that I'll do everything I can to protect your daughter and our children. I'd give my life for them."

"I know that Fox. I know."

"And it's now Jeff. Compliments of A.D. Walter Skinner."


Act 4

Old Horse Springs, New Mexico September 11 Saturday 11.25pm

"You know, as much as I like and respect your mother, I think something went wrong with your brother." Jeff turned off the lamp and slipped under the covers, drawing Kate against him.

"He's always felt responsible for the rest of the family. My father was away so much that I think he felt he needed to be the man of the house. He's always been domineering." Kate sighed, allowing Jeff's arms to encircle her.

"'Domineering'. Not quite the word I would use to describe him."

Kate chuckled against his chest.

"I'm sorry you had to go through that. You did well. Apart from the little outburst earlier, I think all went better than I had anticipated."

"Yeah, well, we still have tomorrow to look forward to."

"Mulder?"

"Jeff."

"Even in our bedroom?"

"Can't be too careful."

"So, Jeff?"

A laugh escaped him.

"I don't know, Scully, it sounds weird."

"Kate." She suppressed her own laugh.

"Yeah, that's what I meant. Kate and Jeff Hastings. Even calling each other Mulder and Scully would seem a little out of place given our present circumstance, don't you think? Maybe we should stick to terms of endearment, like 'honey' or 'precious'."

"'Precious'? I don't think so."

"No?"

"No."

"I've called you 'honey' often enough. You don't seem to mind."

"That's kind of nice."

"'Nice'. I can deal with that. I think we've done okay so far, especially in town. Will's pretty good at reminding me."

"Hmmm. I can't believe how good he is sometimes. Do you think that he...?"

"No. Don't go there. He's normal but he's very bright." Jeff nuzzled her hair. "Like his dad." Kate pinched his side. "Ow! Okay, and his mom."

They lay in silence listening to each other's breathing for some time until Kate propped her chin up on Jeff's chest.

"Are you happy?"

"What?" Jeff wasn't sure where she was going with that. "How can you ask me that?"

"I need to know if you are... really."

"I think you know the answer to that." Jeff placed a lock of hair behind her ear.

"You're not bored?"

"What's going on with you? Did your brother say anything to you that I didn't overhear?"

"No. It's not.... This isn't the kind of life you've been used to and I just... I wonder whether you're not bored."

"You, Will and this one," he stroked her stomach, "are my life. The job at the university isn't something I would've chosen, but that's not important. What's important is this family: our family."

Kate ran a finger along Jeff's lower lip.

"Actually," Jeff gripped her tighter, "Skinner's offered me another job."

"What?" Kate sat up, pulling the covers with her.

"I was going to discuss it with you after everyone had gone."

"At the Bureau?"

"For the Bureau, but not in it. I wouldn't be FBI, just a consultant. I'd be profiling."

"Isn't that risky? Won't someone find out?"

"No. Apparently Skinner can make it foolproof so that I get to use my credentials with the university here in psychology and I'd only be dealing directly with Skinner. No one else. And no field work."

"I know you were a brilliant profiler, but wasn't it something you lost yourself in? Wasn't it part of the life you left behind?"

"I repeat, no field work. Profiling, that's all. I know I'm prone to exhausting every avenue..."

"And yourself."

"Okay, but you'll reign me in like a true Scully."

"If you'll listen." Kate stroked his cheek. "You want this, don't you?"

"I want you more, so I'll go with any decision that we make together."

"I want you to be happy."

"There you go again. I AM happy. Are you? I heard what you brother was saying about this not being a normal life for you. I can't judge because I've never really had a life that anyone would consider normal."

"I agree with my mother. This life is what you make of it and I think we've put in enough years to deserve this."

"She's a wise woman."

"And don't you forget it."

Kate resumed her position, resting her head on Jeff's chest, pulling the covers back over them.

"So, now that we're having this profound talk...honey..." Jeff began.

Kate sighed.

"It's late and Will always gets up early. Can't we continue tomorrow night?"

"I think we should discuss it now."

Kate propped her head on Jeff's chest, sighing again.

"Okay. If it's about how far into the pregnancy we can still be intimate again, I told you..."

"No." Jeff grinned and then it faded slightly. "I wanted to ask you something."

"What's that?"

"Marry me?"

Kate pressed her lips against his.

"We're already married."

"No. Jeff and Kate are married. Skinner arranged names and we signed papers through a registry office."

"But that's who we are now."

"They're not the REAL us. You married Jeff Hastings."

Kate considered this, running her finger along Jeff's jaw.

"So, what are you suggesting?"

"I'm suggesting... I... Marry me... the real me?"

"How do you expect us to do that? No one..."

"It'll have to be here and only your family. We can have a small ceremony in the back garden..." Jeff noted tears welling in her eyes. "Hey, you don't wanna marry Fox Mulder?"

"I... ah... " Kate sniffed. "I did. I mean, I do. I have. This isn't necessary."

"Yes, it is."

"You're only doing this because of Bill."

"No, for my own reasons. For you. For your mom too. You're her only daughter now and I think she'd like to have a ceremony for you, even if it can't be a big one."

"Have I told you lately why I love you?"

"No, not lately. "

"You're a wonderful man."

"You forgot brilliant, gorgeous, a real stud..."

"'Stud'?"

"Hey, I don't hear you complaining."

"Hmmm. Modest too."

"You didn't answer me."

"About being a stud?"

This produced another laugh from Jeff. Kate tried to stifle his laugh with her fingers, wondering whether all this laughing could be heard in the other bedrooms.

"I meant," Jeff exhaled loudly, "you hadn't answered about marrying me."

"Yes."

"Who are you answering?"

"Who are you asking?"

"Marry me, Dana Scully?"

"Yes, Fox Mulder, I'll marry you."

The End


Hope you enjoyed this further journey with me?

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