Title: His Most Precious Possession
Author: Xanadu
Feedback: pokybloom@usa.net
Rating: R (Language)
Disclaimer: Scully, Skinner, Cancerman, and Mulder belong to Chris 'I made this!' Carter and company. Christie and everyone else belongs to me. Don't sue, please. You should realize that I must be truly pathetic.
Category: Hmmm...Angst. A little Scully/Skinner romance, but not much at all.
Spoilers: Requiem! S.R. 819, All Things, En Ami. I think that's all.

Summary: A continuation of 'Requiem' from Scully and Skinner's point of views.

Note: This starts out kinda slow, bear with me. It does pick up. I promise.

Raindrops. So many raindrops that can turn in one instant to big chunks of ice and destroy the fragile case I've lived in. Until now.

So many things to remember, so many things to try to forget. So many things to do and leave undone simply because I want to hide their possibilities.

It's a delicate balance of nature. Some women can conceive, some can't. I can not. I have known this for years and accepted it. I've regretted at moments, longed for something more than the life I have been given, but never forgotten. Why, then, do I feel sick with fear as the doctor tells me that I'm going to have a baby? What am I afraid of?

I should be happy, but how can I be happy with so many unanswered questions ringing around my brain. I'm on an island. He's shouting to be from the shore, a civilized, light place. Where I am, it's always night time. The cool nothingness of forever warms the beach and washes footprints away, any evidence that I have stepped there. So, as I stand at a point which shows neither forward nor back, I sit and slouch and cry into my arms.

The fragile truth has been spoken and as it hangs in the air, it

shatters into a million pieces, leaving no trace that it was ever there at all. Except the two words embedded in my brain. Scully's pregnant.

God, how I wish she never told me. How I wish that she wasn't looking at me with such a half smile, expecting me to somehow make it all better, like I have for her and Mulder and their work so many times before.

Mulder. Oh, God. I have no doubt that he's the father.

Though I lack the audacity to ask her, I know he must be. And when a woman who has been medically diagnosed as sterile gets pregnant with a man who has been removed of, assumed innate alien DNA, things like that aren't coincidence. I've no doubt in my mind that there's more than just Mulder, Scully, one night, and the birds and the bees.

Time is so short. Life is so short. There are things that I long to hold that I never will. It's part of being human. Shadows of what once was a life without direction still haunt my dreams, every waking moment is passed wondering what could have been different. The trembling of a small blossom in the wake of a riptide. A fragile, starved body is tossed helplessly from side to side, holding a single wilted flower in its right hand. Sunrise that has the means to break a single dream, separate it from reality with such force it is completely destroyed. Shattered, cracked, and scattered for miles but still held so dear.

I throw various things into a suitcase with fear, though I don't know why. All I do know is that Skinner called me an hour after returning from the hospital and told me to pack. I left with more questions than answers, nobody seemed to know how it happened.

One nurse even told me that 'You wanted to have a baby, didn't you? Well, now you can. It's best not to question it.' I wish I could just leave it at that, but I can't. I hear a knock on the door and open it to the face of a man who I only recently began to trust.

Her face is flushed and anxious and I know I should not have worried her. I want to comfort her, but I'm sure she sees the stress on my own features.

Someone, I don't know who he worked for, walked up to me in the hospital and asked me who the baby's father was. He was dressed in doctor's scrubs but I could see something else in his eyes. Something that wasn't quite right. Though I'm sure I'd never seen him before, I was equally sure that doctors didn't care who the father was. I told him that I was. A stupid thing to do, for personal reasons, but logic had taken over my mind. What sense it would make for Mulder's baby to be extremely valuable to them in making a new race of people immune to the project. His baby may be the first step.

It is, however, possible that the baby would be equally valuable alive as dead. So I told Scully to pack. I know one thing for sure, that we have to get away. Running away would only make an immediate statement of our guilt, but staying would be dangerous. Their personnel prowling the hospitals, trying to determine the truth for themselves. It wouldn't be long until we were discovered and possibly had nowhere to run. Scully turns her back on me and picks up her suitcase. Without a word, she pulls on her trench coat over a white blouse and black pants. She leaves ahead of me.

I don't know what we're running from, but I do know that it must be unbeatable for Skinner to leave Washington in pursuit of haven for us both. He wears black clothes and holds his keys silently at his side. He opens the trunk and I throw my suitcase inside. I can see his reluctance to help me, and I know it's not from lack of consideration, but more for my own benefit. We're taking his car simply because my car is probably first in their records of cars to follow.

I moved mine to the back parking lot of Mulder's apartment building. If they notice I'm gone, they'll think that I am in my own car. Skinner's mind is so logical, he leaves no base uncovered and tries to anticipate the actions of everyone around him. I have no doubt that's why he rose to such a position in the FBI. One thing's for sure, they won't be looking for Mulder's car. Maybe that's the reason Skinner's putting his life on the line. He feels he owes something to me and Mulder. I can see he blames himself for letting Mulder go, when I know there was nothing he could have done. Very much like when I was taken. Not all the trying and sleepless nights Mulder went through could get me back. I don't blame Skinner, but I understand his feelings.

We ride in silence, I know she has so many questions that my reasons are only one of many things in her mind. She realizes I want to tell her everything, but right now we have to concentrate. On leaving.

"Where are we going?" Her voice is so small, timid. As if she has no right to ask.

"As far away from civilization as possible." I tell her, choosing my words carefully. We must stay out of the way for a few days, see what their course of action is. They may be so desperate, they make it public. Then, they have about eight months to decide.

Scully has to be kept out of the light for a while. Hidden from anyone who may be looking. My sister's husband's friend has a cabin on the shore of Lake Ontario. Not as far away as I'd like to be, but logically, they would concentrate their searches around Washington and the opposite side of the country. Not somewhere so close. We were given permission to stay as long as needed.

Though one pressing thought remains with me: Mulder. My need to find him now is greater than before. He has a family now. I owe it to Scully and her baby to find him. I can't, however, let this get in the way of my good judgement. Scully has to come first. And she has to know that. I've never been particularly skittish, but the thought of them taking her and using her for tests got me moving, possibly prematurely.

The world is a cold, dark place. The thought echoes around my brain as I ride with my forehead on the cold window, staring at passing trees and sky. So many stars that I once thought to be beautiful, but now find terrifying. I feel alone as I pull my arms together and feel the cold creep through my coat. Skinner has been driving north. I have a feeling he knows where we're going, but doesn't want to talk. So much indecision in his eyes. "Sir?" He looks at me, wondering what is wrong. "I just want to thank you for helping me get away."

Some of his confusion is eased as he knows I'm not against going away. He glances at me for a moment and my words seem to echo in the silence. Suddenly, he speaks as if the calm should be broken. "At the hospital, someone came up to me and asked who the father was."

I had given this some thought, before but it really was the least of my concerns. I want it so badly to be Mulder, but if this child was conceived by normal means, it didn't explain enough of my sterility.

I look from Skinner to the window again in silence, pulling my arms closer to my body. "I didn't want to tell them who I suspected, just because that would make this child so much more valuable to them."

Now, I look at him with dim curiosity. "Who did you..."

"Me." I look at him for a moment, stunned. "I told them that I...." My heart surges with an undetectable emotion, I believe it's gratitude. So I thank him again.

Though I don't say it, I thank him for protecting me and Mulder. And I believe he understands. He never asks who the father is. And, if he had presented it any other way, I would have been offended at his speculating Mulder, though he does seem the obvious choice. And I laugh. Softly, at the thought of whatever minion they sent out to find the simple answer to a nagging question, as he tells them that I am romantically involved with Assistant Director Skinner, who used to work for them.

She's laughing and I don't know if I should be offended or relieved. What I feel is mostly relief, that she isn't angry. That she knows it's not some sick fantasy of mine coming into play, that I am truly trying to protect her. The gas needle hits empty and I pull into a gas station.

All the money I have is from my last paycheck, which I cashed instead of deposited. I don't dare make a withdrawl or use any credit cards. I ask Scully if she wants anything and she shakes her head, shrinking back into her seat away from the lights of the gas station. I suppose our silence has put her more on edge than necessary.

When it concerns someone's emotions, the words can never come to my mouth. Never. And now, there are things I want to tell Scully. Things that I know she could comfort me for. But right now, I need to stay strong. I can't think of, let alone talk about, Mulder. He was there a goddamn second before I looked away.

Tension between myself and Scully has been hanging in the air. I have a feeling that I'm the only one blaming myself, but that doesn't stop my silence borne of pure shame. I disappointed myself yet again, as I was when I looked back on my life and realized that the line I'd walked so carefully was the cowards' way out. Dissatisfaction with myself, realizing my inferiority to Mulder, who had taken them both and kept them safe while trying to keep the world unharmed.

I'm sure that if Scully were with Mulder now, she would be looking at him with such trust, going anywhere he led them. She might question his reasons, but never his integrity.

I realize I'm torturing Skinner. I realize he's torturing himself. I also realize that I'm not being fair to him. He deserves so much more credit than I'm giving him. I just need to stop and think for a moment until my mind can rationalize out everything that's happened. Or what hasn't happened. Or what may have happened. The scenery blurs by and I look at the clock. It's nearly three A.M. Sleep has overtaken Skinner's eyes and I know neither of us can drive much further. I tell him to pull over so he can get some sleep. For a moment he looks as if he's about to protest but then nods and brings the car to a stop at the side of the road. No other cars pass us, maybe because it's late, or maybe nobody has used this road in a very long time. Either way, the desolation is haunting. He pushes the lock button and reclines his seat.

It's unspoken, he's afraid to rent a hotel room. Perhaps that's where Mulder went wrong. He didn't use caution when it was imperative, let alone when it was a precaution. As I roll over onto my side, I let reality sink its teeth into my fragile skin. There's a baby inside of me, a baby I never expected nor dared to hope for. I want with all my heart to find Mulder and have him take me into his arms, as he has done so many times before, and tell me that it's okay and we will find the truth together. But Mulder isn't here. I don't dare think of who the father is.

I want it to be Mulder so badly, I want to cry. He told me himself I can't have children. I know, from examinations done that it was true. He held my unborn children in his hand, children that would never live or even be given the chance because of the men who believe they may lay claim to anything that belongs to anyone in the world. They believe they can control, and so they do.

I remember Mulder.

I remember going to his room and hearing him smile and say my name. He turned around from his seat in front of his computer and looked at me so slowly, and I wondered again, for about the millionth time that day, about time and fate and moments that bring people together. I wondered what would have happened to me if I had never been transferred to the X-files. I crossed to him and he stood, holding my body against his, so close I could feel his beating heart. And he kissed my forehead.

And I realized how much had been given up because of his quest which had become my own. I told him about my doubts and losses and regrets. He told me that without me with him, his life wouldn't be worth continuing. And I told him that I wasn't sorry. And he knew I lied. And it didn't matter. Nothing mattered except that fate had brought us together for one night, which was not mentioned again.

I pull the car into the long, shaded driveway of the lakeside

cabin. Scully groans and sits up.

"Are we there?"


I shut off the car and she steps out, stretching her arms and legs. I open the trunk and grab all the luggage I can carry after tossing her the key. She stumbles up the walk, seeming almost intoxicated. She hasn't been walking around that much for fear of being noticed. She seems glad for the seclusion and freedom. She opens the door and I walk in behind her. The lights flicker on and she smiles.

"It's beautiful."

The light hits at such an angle it seems almost yellow, reflecting off the wood paneled walls. It's obvious that the person who owns it is wealthy, from the ornate furniture and eloquently designed room.

Scully sits on the couch and looks up at the ceiling. I smile at her, glad she isn't completely unhappy, and turn to bring in more things. It actually surprises me that her happiness is that important to me. I had originally thought I was helping her hide because I owe Mulder that much. But I think it's more than that. Over the course of my years being her superior, I believe I have become more fond of her than even Mulder. She has a certain sweetness, a humility, that is evident but still elusive. And I suddenly want to be someone who can make her happy. A feeling I have to suppress, but at the same time is so powerful, I can feel it consume me.

Skinner and I have settled into a comfortable routine. He leaves for work, a low profile job at a credit card company about a half hour drive away, under an assumed name, and I stay home. He tends to bring me anything I need, but I occasionally go to 'town'. That sounds so strange to say, being as I've always lived in the middle of any commerce area I needed to visit.

My hair has become brown, an inconspicuous color that doesn't draw much attention to me. Skinner still teases me about being a redhead, whenever my temper flares at him. I've put on considerable weight these past two months, but I'm right in the normal range.

Right now, we are Ellen and Adam Stafford.

Skinner was right when he said posing as a married couple would draw less attention, being as we live together and I'm becoming noticeably pregnant. I've actually been enjoying myself, however it shames me to say it. I've put my doubts about where my baby came from aside in order to be more positive about the arrival.

I work sometimes as a substitute teacher for the local school, a job I love. It's nice to be able to get out of the house for a day and actually do something constructive other than go to the doctor. Money isn't a problem, I don't need all that much. Skinner has actually become more of a confidant than anything. He's really acted understanding, and as a sounding board whenever I got so upset about Mulder or unanswered questions or the truth.

I fold the letter my mother will never receive and add it to a stack of the others, hoping to one day give it to her. By now, they're probably searching for us like mad and tension between us is rising. I know Skinner wants this to work out, at least until I have my baby.

Then we can move again. He's upset because we can't find Mulder if we're in one place, and doesn't want to move on since they have no leads that we know of. The only people I'm still in contact with are the Lone Gunmen. They always have the latest information on the search for us. I feel almost like a rat in a cage. They're closing in but the scientists will wait here until I've given birth then it will be complete. I hate the feeling sometimes, but sometimes I ignore it.

I love to look at her, when she moves and when she unconsciously rubs her rounding belly. I love to watch her move. I don't know if I'm truly in love with her or if I'm just so starved for someone who I don't have to pretend in front of that she is the closest I can ever have. There's no reason I shouldn't love her. She's beautiful, strong, intelligent, and compassionate. She's also carrying Mulder's baby. Mulder, my friend and agent of years, who I let down when it really mattered at the last moment.

Every day, I go to work and out with friends. I associate as if I were a normal neighbor, simply so rumors don't start. Scully goes with me to parties and dinners and has some friends as well. It's all a lie. We're lying to people who have no reason to doubt us. No reason to distrust two nice people who live by the lake and are expecting a new baby. And I feel guilty. Deception seems to lurk behind the shoulders of otherwise nice people. And I swear, one day, I will apologize to them.

"How was your day?"

A simple question, asked every day at dinner. Still, so layered with meaning. "Did you see anyone in black lurking in a corner? Did you smell smoke in your car when you got inside?" So many things to ask, all compacted into one almost meaningless question.


She smiles and looks back at the magazine she's reading. Our silence has become more comfortable in recent weeks. She seems to know I think she's beautiful, as she hesitates to look back at me squarely. I realize she sees me as little more than a protector, a friend of both her and Mulder. I stand up and she does as well. I pull her into a hug and she smiles up at me before going up the stairs to her bedroom. I'm left thinking of how soft her hair is and how good she smells.

I feel the needle sink into my skin and close my eyes. As a doctor, I have given numerous injections to patients, but I still haven't gotten completely used to the insulin I need to give myself, since pregnancy has thrown my blood sugar off. I leave the bathroom and Skinner follows me to my bedroom. He holds my arm and helps me lower myself to my bed. I secretly hate what I've become: huge. So many things have happened in the past five months. I felt the baby move for the first time, and Skinner was there to put his palm on my belly and smile when he could feel her kicking. I don't even fit into Skinner's shirts anymore. I'm forced into tacky maternity clothes that I swear I will turn into curtains when this is over with.

December air has frozen the lake and my 'nesting instinct' has grown stronger than ever. I don't want to leave, and luckily, I don't have too much. As it is, Skinner turns off my light and closes the door, leaving me basking in the dark and silence that seems to protect me. I know he's as much in love with this baby as I am, spending so much time looking at the ultrasounds. It seems like forever ago that we began to run from the demons Mulder and I had fought so long and hard. The demons that eventually captured him and never returned him. The search for us is going stronger than ever, as Frohike writes me. They want my baby, and I don't know why. It's a feeling of such helplessness that I can't seem to shake, though I've gotten to feeling safe here. I have a feeling that over the next month, my unease will simply grow until it is unbearable.

They spend so much time looking forward. Even now, I see it in her. Always looking ahead at what may someday be. It saddens me that she can't see the beauty of the present in her mind. I never could before, until we moved here. The slow life had always bored me before, but now I see how someone may be completely happy being with another person all the time.


I sit up and run down the hall to Scully's room. She's sitting up in bed and pulls the covers back. There's a wet spot on her mattress that seems to laugh at me in disgust. She grips the edge of her bed and pulls herself up. I help her and she screams again, instilling fear in my heart immediately.

"Scully?" I almost don't dare speak her name for fear it will cause her more pain.

"My water broke."

"What the hell? You aren't due for...." I check my watch. She's at least a month early.

She only gives me a look that says 'back off, I know what I'm doing.' So I put an arm around her waist and she puts one over my shoulder, we go down the stairs as quickly as possible. I can hear her teeth grit together as another contraction comes. So close. Damn. The hospital's at least forty five minutes away. I open the back car door and she backs inside. I take out my cell phone and call 911, telling them her water broke and we're on the way down. They say they'll send an ambulance because it shouldn't be that long now. As for me, I feel panic rise in my chest and put the car in full reverse.

I feel the pain wrenching my insides as the car bumps down the road. I should know what's going to happen, but I don't. I have no medical thoughts in my mind. I have only the instinct to push. "Oh God, Skinner. Pull over." I'm surprised at the calm I can hear in my own voice. I just know that this baby wants to be born and I can't do anything about it.

He stops the car and looks back at me. I lay back on the seat lengthwise. I see the fear in his eyes as he gets out of his door and comes around, opening the door at my feet.

"This baby's going to come now weather you like it or not." I'm not sure if I'm screaming at him, but his fear turns into terror as he asks me what he should do. The uncontrollable urge to push comes over me again and I know Skinner's praying for an ambulance.

She screams and her sweaty forehead glistens. I try to ignore

the fact that I'm ankle deep in snow and it seems to still be falling on me. I pull the first aid kit our from under the seat and wipe my hands as well as I can with sterilizer. She stops pushing long enough to breathe heavily and tell me that if I see the head, I should help the baby out. I know I shouldn't be shy but I can practically feel my flesh burning from within itself at the thought of it.

I take off my long coat and put it under her, the closest thing we have to a blanket. Her fingernails grip the seat and I tell her to hold on, the ambulance will get here soon. Wishing that, maybe, she could hold back for twenty minutes. She knew it

would go fast when her water broke, she knew. I don't know how she did.

I reach out, on impulse, and touch her sweaty forehead. I brush her hair back in a caring gesture. More than anything else, I don't want her to be alone. I can see her bearing down and she throws her head back and pushes as hard as she possibly can, with a nearly animal cry.

I see the head. God, that is so strange. Funny how that's all I can think of as I ease my hands around the head and help maneuver it out, telling Scully to keep pushing. The baby emerges, blue and pale white.

Scully yells at me to start breathing. I hold the tiny creature in one hand and pat her back with the other. She begins to cry. I can see Scully smile in relief as she hears the baby's first cry in the world. She tells me to cut the umbilical cord and I know I look at her with so much doubt she almost laughs.

I set the baby down on my coat and pull the scissors out of the first aid kit. I have the feeling these scissors are for cutting gauze, not much more. But, surprisingly, they work. I fold the coat over the baby as much as I can and look at her. So small, so completely helpless. She has been taken from her warm world of comfort and security and thrown into Michigan's cold December air in the middle of the night. I hear sirens in the distance and know they're almost here. I see Scully slouch back in pure exhaustion, her breathing still erratic.

I don't remember much from last night, as I lie here with my

eyes still closed. From the sounds around me, I suppose I made it to the hospital. I hear a female voice asking, "Ellen?" I roll onto my back and look up at the nurse speaking to me. "You alright?"

"I think so." I sit up and look around the room, "Where's my baby?"

"She's fine. Right now she's in the nursery, being monitored very

closely. Your husband's fine as well."

"What happened to him?"

"Nothing, just delivering a baby would be a traumatic experience for most any man alive, that isn't a doctor, that is."

"He delivered her?"

"Yeah, don't you remember?"

I shake my head when the door opens and Skinner walks in, rubbing

his eyes underneath his glasses. "I'll leave you two alone."

He waits for her to leave then looks at me. It's obvious he hasn't slept, from the exhaustion in his eyes. "She's beautiful, Scully."

"Can I see her?"

"Yeah, I've already been down there," he easily picks me up and sets me in a wheelchair across the room. He wordlessly begins pushing me to the nursery. When we get there, he knocks on the window and a nurse waves at him, pointing at the door. We meet her there and she gives each of us a mask to wear, so we don't give her any germs.

Skinner takes me to her glass cradle, where she lies with wires attached to her, taking her vitals. I look at the nurse fearfully and I can see her eyes smile from behind the mask.

"Nothing to worry about. She was so premature, we need to make sure she'll be okay." She takes the baby out and places her in my

arms. I can feel my eyes well up with tears, holding her to my chest.

She's the smallest baby I have ever seen, but she's still so perfect. I hold her tiny hand and count every finger and toe. She yawns and the intake of air is so small. I smile and laugh and feel tears pooling in my mask. I look at Skinner and smile again.

"She is beautiful, isn't she?"

He nods and puts his finger to her hand, which she grasps. Her small hands don't even wrap around his finger once. I can feel such pride in my chest, staring at her small face. I kiss her forehead, below her hat and she holds my finger in her hand. I look at the nurse and ask when I can start breastfeeding. She says she'll bring her to my room when she gets hungry.

For now, she takes the little blanketed figure in her arms and puts her back. She immediately starts crying, wanting to be held. I feel my own heart rise to my throat and Skinner wheels me back out to my room, where hospital personnel are already setting up equipment so she can be monitored from there.

After leaving Scully to rest, I walk back to the nursery where I

see a man dressed in a black suit staring into the premature baby carriers. This wouldn't be so strange, but Scully's baby is the only one in there. I put my hand on his shoulder and he turns around, blowing a cloud of smoke into my face.

"Assistant Director Skinner. What a surprise meeting you here."

I know now our cover is blown, but I have a feeling the black lunged son of a bitch knew right where we were the whole time. "What the Hell are you doing here?"

"Looking at my baby."

"What the hell are you talking about?" I have a feeling that he created this child, implanted her into Scully to give birth to then be used as their lab rat.

"It's not really that hard to understand, Skinner." I hate the way he says my name, demeaning me. "A short while ago, Scully took a little excursion with me to get a disc with the so-called cure for all human disease on it. I'm sure you remember the time well, with Mulder beating down your door to go find her."

She has wondered so many times if this child could actually be their doing, but didn't remember any 'missing time' as Mulder calls it. "So this child is just a lab rat to you people?" I want so badly to punch him, I know that's exactly what Mulder would do. I'm not Mulder, a fact I wish weren't true. I'm Walter Skinner. Calm, cool, collected. Ready to get the whole story. He laughs sinisterly at me.

"No. This child is mine. Not 'ours' as you would say."

"What are you talking about?" I pray he isn't going to say what I think he will.

"One night, I drugged her and took her to my bed. She accepted me willingly."

I clench my fist, knowing there's one small bit of hope. "She's been sterile for years. She can not have children. If you're saying that child was conceived in the normal way, that's just impossible."

"Nothing I do is without purpose, Skinner. She's completely fertile now. Reversal of the procedure isn't really that hard, if you understand it in the first place. I took her anticipating there being a child."

"Why?" My jaw is locked so tightly together, I can barely speak.

"Why does anyone want a child? To carry on their legacy, their genes, their lives."

"Why her?" He knows what I'm asking. Why go to so much trouble to reverse the 'procedure' when he could have any young woman he wished?

He blows smoke into my face again, "I'm sure you understand. Besides, she wasn't an unreasonable choice. She would never get an abortion, she has wanted children so badly. I simply gave her that. You should be grateful to me. Both of you. From what I can tell, we didn't do very badly. Did we?" He motions at the baby.

He then turns and walks down the hall, leaving me stiff with anger and regret for not bringing him down right there, in a mess of blood and broken bones. Instead, I back up and sit on a chair, covering my head with my hands. How the Hell am I going to tell Scully?

I unbuckle Christie's car seat and hold her against my shoulder, making my way up the gravel driveway. I whisper, 'welcome home, baby.' in her small ear, which is still covered by a little hospital hat.

Skinner has been so quiet since the first day in the hospital, and normally his silence would deafen me, make me afraid. But my baby's here and safe and nothing else really matters. Since she's sleeping, I set her down in her cradle, which never seemed to find its way upstairs.

Skinner comes in, dragging his feet and I look at him. I'm wearing his light blue shirt, since I probably won't get my figure back for months. I pull my coat off and put it in the closet. Skinner grabs my arm at the elbow and leads me to the kitchen, telling me he needs to talk to me.



"We need to leave."

I have a feeling that's not what he wanted to say, but I nod. I agree. We've been here too long as it is, it's amazing they haven't found us yet.

"Skinner! Look! She's walking!"

Scully holds Christine up as she toddles across the floor to Scully, strengthening her legs. Eighteen months, and she can already take a few steps on her own. I hear Scully laugh and I walk to the door at the sound of the doorbell. Scully picks up Christie and holds her to her hip, following me to the door curiously. I open it to a remarkable stench, one I haven't smelled in about a year and a half. The man standing on the doorstep smiles at me.

"What the hell do you want?"

He smiles calmly and lights his cigarette. "My baby."

I see Scully shrink back out of the corner of my eye, covering Christie's head with her hand protectively. "What the hell is he talking about?"

"Oh God Scully, I'm so sorry I didn't tell you..."

"Do you know where that baby came from, Ms. Scully?"

She looks at him cautiously, not about to speak to him. "About two years ago, we went on a little trip together. I'm sure you remember."

She shrinks back behind me. "Oh my God. You..."

He shrugs nonchalantly. She hands me Christine and stands nearly face to face with the smoking bastard. "You raped me, didn't you?"

"You were quite willing."

"You drugged me and raped me. You God damn fucking son of a bitch!" She leaps at him and I hold her back. She takes Christie from me. "You knew, didn't you? You've known for a long time, haven't you?"

"Look Scully, I'm sorry..." She slaps me as hard as she can and walks down the hall. My cheek will probably have her hand print on it.

Cancerman looks slightly amused as he puffs again on his cigarette. "I am willing to make a trade, however. You give me the child and you can have Mulder. It's not that hard, really. Scully can conceive another child any time."

"Or I kill you and I get the baby and Mulder." Scully walks out, gun trained on him. He smiles and moves back.

He motions at the car parked in the street and the door opens, I see a pair of blue jeans step out. Mulder's face is tired and beaten and worn. He looks completely taken apart, it's obvious from his swollen eye that he's been treated badly.

I begin to go out to him while Scully keeps her gun on Cancerman. Christie begins crying and the split second she's distracted, he pulls out his own nameless, brandless, weapon and points it at Mulder. "Make the choice, Scully. The baby or Mulder." His sneering face adds, "your next baby could be his, just like you wanted mine to be."

"There's no way in Hell that I'll ever give you my baby."

"I'm sorry to hear that." His finger moves on the trigger and all I know is that Mulder needs to be out of the way.

I've never done a truly brave, heroic thing in my life. I've

always walked that line between good and evil and right and wrong. Never have I done anything extreme to help either side. I push Mulder out of the way and feel the bullet penetrate my chest. Just for a moment before another gunshot is fired and Scully runs to me.

I see her collapse on her knees beside me, yelling at Mulder to call 911. I can see the dull look in his eyes respond and he limps inside. She pulls my shirt open and looks at the place where my blood pours from. She presses down on it, with the mercilessness of a doctor but still the tender touch of a friend.

Skinner can't die. He can't. So many memories flash in front of my eyes, him holding my baby for the first time, his panicked look right before he delivered her, him sleeping with her on his chest. Burping her, waking up in the middle of the night so I could sleep, pacing with her singing softly to the midnight sky. He was there for her first laugh, her first step, her first baby food. He changed her diapers and bathed her and played with her. He gave her more love than I've ever seen bestowed on one child. And I know that if I could pick one man for her to grow up with, it would certainly be him.

"Please, please hold on." I feel his breathing go ragged and see his eyes close. "Oh God, please no."

He puts a palm to my cheek and whispers that he loves me. And Christie. He tells me to take care of her. I tell him he's been such a good father to her, shown her so much love, I can't imagine her with anyone else.

And I lose him. The best friend my baby girl has ever had. I beg him to come back, hunched over his body. Mulder pulls me away and wraps his arms around me. I ask him repeatedly why life is so unfair. He has no answer for me, only stroking my hair and listening to my shuddering sobs.

I open up Skinner's desk and pull out the file on top. It has bloodwork inside it. Christie's and mine and Mulder's. And I know

why he never told me about the cigarette smoking bastard. The one

thing he wanted, preservation of his legacy, would never come true.

Skinner knew he didn't succeed.

The End

Author's note: Yes, I know I made Cancerman out to be kinda a dirty old guy, but it seemed like something he MIGHT do, I mean he wasn't being dirty. He had his reasons. (well, maybe if he hadn't killed his own son. Because of that, it's kinda difficult to say he gives a hoot about his 'legacy'. Sorry to all you people who take offense at the use of his character.

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