Title: Living With and Without Her: When The Cross Came Home
Author: Mezzosoprano
Email: mezzosoprano@blueyonder.co.uk
Category: MSR/friendship
Rating: PG-13
Archiving: Anywhere - but keep the headers attached, please!
Disclaimer: All characters mentioned within are *not* mine, I repeat, *not* mine. (Doh!) They belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, Fox Tv, David & Gillian, and all the other wonderful actors. No infringement intended, no money being made (but cyber kisses gratefully received).
Spoilers: Christmas Carol/Emily (Duh), Ascension Arc (Abduction, Ascension, One Breath), Anasazi, The Blessing Way
Keywords: Post-ep for Christmas Carol/Emily
Author's Note: My take on the days after Emily's funeral.
Feedback: Please, Please, Please, Please, Please, Please!!! (Does that sound *too* desperate?!) Email the above address at your leisure.

Summary: Trying to live - without Emily, but with her memory.

Part One - When The Cross Came Home

It was funny, but Scully had thought - hoped - that emotions would settle a little after the funeral. Perhaps, now that Emily was gone and Matthew was here, the family would step back a bit and give her room to grieve. However, she'd reckoned without Bill's ever growing dislike of Mulder. Back at Bill's house, the atmosphere was oppressive in the extreme. Scully came downstairs from the toilet just in time to catch her elder brother telling Mulder exactly what he thought of him. Tara was sitting holding baby Matthew, and looked up to see Scully standing at the bottom of the stairs.

"Bill," she told her husband, quietly. On hearing his wife, Bill fell silent and everyone looked to Scully.

"Bill," she began, and swallowed. Surveying the room, she saw Bill, Tara and Matthew, her Mom, and Mulder. "I know that this is not the way you expected to spend the Christmas holiday," she continued. I guess that goes for all of us. And I know that this is not the atmosphere you wanted Matthew to spend his first few days experiencing." She swallowed again. "And I'm sorry," she added quietly, blinking. "But, what's happened's happened." She sighed. "Now, there's two days of the holiday left. Let's *try* to spend them as normally as we can." A second later, she stared pointedly at Bill. "But Bill.... if I hear you going on at Mulder like that again, I'll be on the first flight out of here back to D.C. later this afternoon. Okay?" Bill stared at her for a second, then nodded. Scully nodded too, then turned and made her way to the back door, and outdoors. For a second or two, nobody moved, almost as if nobody dared breathe.

Scully ventured out of the back door and found herself in the garden. Gazing upwards, she sighed. A slight breeze ruffled her hair. Moments later, she sensed movement behind her, and knew it was Mulder.

"I'm okay," she murmured.

"Yeah," he agreed, standing beside her. For a few moments, neither spoke. "We've, er.. called a truce," he told her, eventually. Scully nodded, and slid her hands into her pockets.

"Oh..." Her voice was so soft that Mulder doubted himself that she'd even spoken. Nevertheless, he turned his head to look at her, and watched as she slowly drew her cross from her pocket. He bit his lip as she held it up and watched the sunlight reflect from it. "You know, I don't think Mom or Bill will ever totally believe me, or that anyone else will for that matter..." All the time, she stared at the cross. "...But, Mulder... I *know* she was mine." Mulder nodded in agreement.

"I understand how serious you were," he admitted. "And I know how much you loved her. I knew that right from the beginning." Puzzled, she broke eye contact with the cross, and looked at him.

"How?" she wanted to know.

"When she was coloring," he replied. "In the ward at the home. I saw she was wearing your cross. And I..." His voice cracked, and he cleared his throat. "I know what that cross means to you. I.. I know what it meant." Still she stared at him, not in complete understanding yet. "It's you," he explained. "A part of you, that you were giving her. At least, that's what the cross meant to me, when you were missing." Swallowing again, Scully turned her attention back to the cross, and went to put it on. "Here," he said, taking it from her, and placed it around her neck. He touched the cross where it lay, brushing his fingertips against her skin as he did so. "*We* know the truth," he whispered. "Whatever anyone else wants to believe, we *know*... we know that she was your little girl." He blinked back tears. "And very special... just like her Mom," he concluded. She stared at him in amazement, blinking back her own tears.

"Thank you," she managed. "For understanding." As she opened her arms to him, he drew her to him. He held her close as they wept together. "I know now that I was never meant to keep her," she said through her tears. "...but I'm glad I got the chance to be with her... to love her." Mulder stroked her hair.

"When she looked up at me, when I was being 'Mr. Potato-Man'... when she looked up and smiled, that was you. Especially her eyes." He paused. "She was beautiful, Scully." For about five minutes, they just clung to one another and wept, until Mulder heard someone cough. He and Scully turned to see Tara standing there.

"Erm.. if you'd like to come back in, there's a meal ready. If you feel like eating, that is." She half-smiled, and sounded almost nervous. Mulder smiled.

"Thanks, Tara. We'll be right there." Tara nodded, and went to move away.

"Tara," called Scully, wiping away her tears.

"Yes, Dana?"

"Do you believe Emily was my little girl, my daughter?" It was suddenly very important to Scully to know what her sister-in-law believed. Tara played with her wedding ring.

"Dana," she began. "All I know for sure is... you loved that little girl very much, then she died. And now you're grieving." Still Scully stared at her, expecting more. "Erm..." Tara looked back towards the door, hesitating. "Look... I'm not sure how.. I don't even think I want to know, but..." she sighed. "Maybe it's because I've just had Matthew... but, yes. I think she *was* yours, Dana. And I'm so sorry you lost her."

"Thank you, Tara," said Scully, managing a half-smile. "Very much."

"Don't take this the wrong way," Tara continued, "but please, don't either of you tell Bill or Margaret I said so. I think they hold widely differing opinions, and the atmosphere's bad enough." She paused. "I'm thinking of Matthew." Mulder nodded.

"It's alright," he assured her. "We won't say." Tara nodded, and went back inside.

"What do we do now?" asked Scully.

"I think we go eat," replied Mulder. Scully looked at him, and saw him attempt a smile. He offered his hand and she took it, following him back into the house.

About an hour later, they all sat around the table, finishing their meal. Scully had even managed to laugh at one point, and Bill was on his best behaviour. It was nearly seven when the phone rang, and Tara answered it.

"Scully residence."

"This is the Federal Bureau of Investigation, San Diego Field Office. Agent Mulder, please."

"Hold the line a second please," answered Tara. She put her hand over the receiver and looked up. "Mulder? It's the Bureau for you." Mulder got up from the table and accepted the phone from Tara, mouthing 'thanks' at her, and she re-took her place at the table. A few moments later, Mulder replaced the receiver and reached for his jacket. Coming back over to the table, he stood beside Scully.

"Em, I'm afraid you'll have to excuse me," he told them all. "I have to go to the Field Office. A few reports to complete and sign." Scully looked up at him. "It's okay," he told her. "You don't have to go. I'll be an hour, hour and a half tops."

"Okay," she said, softly. He placed his hand on the back of her neck and stroked the catch on her chain.

"I'll see you all later," he told them, and made for the door.

Scully was sitting on the couch leafing through a photograph album when Mulder returned around quarter to eight. Scully looked up and smiled as he entered the room.

"Where is everybody?" he asked.

"Erm.. Bill had to go to HQ for a while, and er... Mom and Tara took Matthew for a walk." Mulder took a seat beside her.

"You didn't want to go with them?" he asked her. She shook her head. He looked down, and saw the album open at photos of Scully and Melissa when the latter was seven years old; Scully would've been about five then, so Mulder quickly calculated the year to have been 1969.

"I was thinking," she began, slowly. "You said the residential home had been completely cleaned out."

"Yeah," agreed Mulder, wondering where she was going with this.

"You also said that all my ova had been extracted during my abduction." Mulder nodded. He was still unsure where she was headed, but his gut feeling was that it was not gonna be good. Next came the bonus question. "Could this happen again?" Mulder stared at her, and decided to be as honest as he could. Too many lies had been told already.

"I don't know, Scully," he sighed. "God, I hope not." Silently, she asked why. "Because, although she was beautiful, and you loved her, Emily was not meant to be. *And* because I don't want to see you hurt again. I know this is tearing you apart." She broke eye contact, studying the photo album again.

"The ironic thing is, if I ever wanted to conceive a child by artificial means, they would be less of a child of mine than Emily. I mean, at least Emily was created using my ova. That won't happen again, at my bidding." She half-smiled. "At least that means she'll be unique."

"She was certainly unique," agreed Mulder. "For all the right reasons, as well as a few wrong ones."

"I tried to talk to Mom and Bill about her, but they didn't want to know." She paused. "And Mom is going overboard on Matthew..." Mulder caught the overtone.

"Scully... he is her grandson."

"And Emily was her granddaughter," Scully retorted, stoically.

"I think it's like you said," Mulder reminded her. "I think she's having a hard time accepting that." He tried to play Devil's Advocate. "You can't blame her, not really. This has been tough on everyone; especially you."

"Do me a favor?" she asked.


"Remind me to cancel Christmas next year? I think I'll take a leaf out of your book and work through." Mulder smiled.

"Hey, you can play 'Bahh Humbug' with me anytime." Suddenly, his smile faltered. "Erm.. something else came to my attention at the field office."

"What was that?"

"We're on record. Skinner's gonna want to know why we were liaising with San Diego when we get back to D.C. I just... I just didn't know how quiet you wanted to keep this." Scully shrugged her shoulders.

"Who'd believe me? I mean, how plausible does this sound to you? I arrived in San Diego on December 21 for the Christmas Holiday; and by the time I'm ready to go home after New Years, I've had a daughter who is three years old, she's fallen ill, died, and we've had her funeral. So, I go back to D.C., to all outward appearances the same as I arrived in San Diego. Almost like nothing ever happened."

"We have to give him an explanation," said Mulder. "Whether or not he believes it is up to him. With everything and everyone he's connected to, he *should* believe it." Scully gazed around the room.

"Oh... this holiday was going to be so difficult to begin with," she sighed. "Apart from Tara being pregnant, and having to deal with that issue, there's this...." Still, she looked around the room.

"What?" asked Mulder. "I don't understand." Scully smiled.

"Most Naval accommodation is exactly the same. They're built in the same way, military procedure. This house is exactly the same as the one we used to have when I was growing up." Mulder's eyes widened.

"Exactly the same?"

"Right down to the last nail. Matthew's nursery is the same room that Melissa and I used to share." She swallowed. "When I arrived and stepped inside here," she gestured at the living room, "..it was almost like stepping back in time. I thought Dad or Melissa was going to appear any second."

"I guess that kind of emotional baggage hasn't made this any easier," observed Mulder. Again, Scully shrugged.

"I dunno. I feel... it's comforting and painful, at the same time, to be here. But.. I think... I want to go home now. I miss D.C. Hell, right now I think I even miss the office!" Mulder laughed. "I want to go back tomorrow."

"What about what you said this afternoon?"

"They'll understand. I think Mom wants to stay on here with Matthew a while, anyway." Reaching into her pocket, she drew out Emily's photograph, the one of her 3rd birthday. "At least I won't be leaving her behind when I go," Scully whispered, staring at the picture. "I'll be taking her home with me. And she'll always be with me," she added, touching her cross. "'Cos we're connected to them still, even after they're gone..." her voice tailed off.

"I know," said Mulder, quietly. He reached out to wipe a tear away from her face, and she smiled. At that moment, the door opened and Tara entered. Scully looked through the open doorway.

"Where's Mom?" she asked.

"She'll be along shortly," Tara told her. "She's showing Matthew off to a couple who, it turns out, knew your Dad." She closed the door.

"Tara," began Scully, "I'll be leaving tomorrow."

"We both will," added Mulder.

"Oh," Tara sounded disappointed. "I thought you were seeing out the holiday here."

"I know, and thank you," Scully told her. "You've been a support, Tara. More than you know, and I thank you for that. I just... I feel like it's time to go. I'm not sure I can explain."

"It's okay," smiled Tara. "I think I understand. Just promise me one thing, if you can."

"What's that?"

"Come back for the christening - and be Matthew's Godmother." Scully blinked back tears.

"I'd love to," she managed. "Really."

"And you've to come too, Mulder," Tara told him. Mulder looked at his feet.

"Erm.. d'you think that's such a good idea? I mean, Bill...."

"You just leave Bill to me," Tara assured him. "I want Dana there, so it wouldn't seem right somehow if you weren't. Please say yes."

"Well, in that case... I'd love to come."

"Great," responded Tara, and turned back to Scully. "And I think I understand. I mean, you loved Emily very much, and you lost her. I know how I'd feel if I lost Matthew."

"Thanks, Tara." Scully sighed. "Suddenly, I feel very tired." She rubbed her forehead.

"I'm not surprised," Mulder told her. "It's been quite a day." Scully slipped the photograph of Emily back in her pocket.

"I think I'll go on up," she announced. Putting down the album, she stood up.

"You okay?" asked Mulder, concerned. She nodded, and knew if she said 'I'm fine' at this moment, he'd probably kill her.

"I'll be alright," she responded. "Somehow." She smiled. "Goodnight, Tara."

"'Night, Dana." Tara kissed her cheek.

"See you in the morning, Mulder," Scully offered, and he gave her a hug.

"'Night, Scully. Yell out if you need me."

"Mm-mm." He let her go and she went upstairs.

"Poor Soul," murmured Tara. "I don't know how she does it. I wouldn't wanna go through what she just has. Is *going* through," she corrected herself.

"Still can't get my head around it myself," admitted Mulder. "It's taking a while to sink in."

"You're really going to leave tomorrow?"

"It's what Scully wants," he explained. "I think it's what she needs. When her Dad died, and when Melissa was killed, all she wanted to do was get back to work - as quickly as possible."

"As long as she doesn't push it too much. Taking on too much."

"I'll look after her. Like she said, we'll get through this somehow."

Finally, Mulder and Scully were on their way home. Throughout the seven hour flight, Scully had sat beside and stared out of the window. Mulder had tried to read, but wasn't concentrating.



"D'you think we're ever going to gain anything out of this?"

"What d'you mean?" he asked, turning to face her.

"We've both lost so much," she explained. "Had so much taken from us. My abduction, you in New Mexico, your Father, Melissa, my sterility, my cancer; now to find Emily just to lose her again... and of course, Samantha. We've lost so much. When are we ever going to gain anything? *Are* we going to gain anything positive out of this, ever?" Mulder sighed.

"We can't give up, Scully. We've got to believe there's going to be something positive, sometime." He looked at her. "We still have work to do."

"Yes, I know. More than ever, now." She glanced out of the window again. "It's ironic," she stated, turning back to him. "Emily's death means more so than ever that we still have work to do. Yet, if she'd have lived, if there had been any chance of that at all... I would've given all this up in a second."

"I know. But, in that scenario, I hope you would've had some use for a former work colleague?" A wry smile formed on Scully's lips.

"I think I've told you this before, but I'll tell you again. Even if I were to quit the Bureau tomorrow, if either of us quit... I'd still be around. And I would hope that *you'd* still be around. Bureau or no Bureau, you're still my best friend." Mulder smiled, relieved. "I know what this is about," she added. "You'll never lose me, Mulder. I'm not going anywhere. I'll always be around. Okay?" He sighed.

"Okay." He thought for a second. "Just as, if you ever want to talk about Emily, I'll always be here."

"Thank you," she told him, her voice barely a whisper.

A couple of days later, Mulder and Scully were in Skinner's office. He was in the outer office speaking to his assistant, having asked them to take a seat and wait.

"Are you okay?" Mulder asked. Scully touched her cross.

"I think so," she replied. "It's just.. having to go through it all again... recount it. It's almost as if it happened to someone else."

"Like a dream," offered Mulder.

"Yeah," she agreed. "What d'you think he'll say?" Mulder let out a long-held breath.

"I have no idea," he told her. At that moment, Skinner came back into the room.

"Sorry to keep you both waiting," he said, and sat down. "Well.. Happy New Years, both of you."

"And to you, Sir," Mulder responded. Scully nodded.

"Ordinarily, I wouldn't have to advise you of anything that came across your desk in your absence," Skinner continued, "..but, I was informed that you had liaised with the San Diego Field Office on a murder investigation, Agent Scully. And that you called Agent Mulder in on it." He paused, studying his Agents' reactions. "What's the story?" Scully took a deep breath and prayed to remain calm.

"Well," she began, "I received information pertaining to an alleged murder of a San Diego woman. Her husband was charged with her murder, but he died in custody, of an apparent suicide."

"How did you receive this information?" Skinner wanted to know. Scully declined to answer. Seconds later, he asked her to go on.

"I had noticed that the couple's adopted daughter, a 3-year-old named Emily, bore a striking resemblance to my sister, Melissa. I began to think that perhaps she had given birth to her and then given her up for adoption, so I arranged for my sister's case file to be couriered to San Diego, along with her PCR results. These I checked against Emily's PCR results. They matched." Scully paused to let this information register with Skinner.

"So.." Skinner was scrambling to make sense of it all. "This little girl was your niece?"

"No, Sir," Scully responded, and swallowed. "The PCR match was not conclusive, so I ordered another test which would be more so. And the results showed..." It was then that Scully's voice began to break.

"Scully," murmured Mulder, quietly.

"I'm okay," she told him, gazing at the ceiling. "I can do this." Skinner was truly confused now.

"I don't understand," he told them. "Just what did the results show?"

"They showed," replied Scully, swallowing again, "..that... that *I*.. am Emily's Mother." She stared at Skinner, and blinked as the tears stung her eyes.

"Well, now I'm really lost," sighed Skinner. "How is that possible?"

"As a result of my abduction," explained Scully, when she was able to continue. "The results were conclusive. There is no doubt that she's my daughter." Skinner opened and closed his mouth a couple of times, searching for the words to ask.

"Wh-where is the child now?" he asked, finally. Scully bit her lip.

"She, er... she was sick, with an incurable condition. She died. I arranged her funeral, which we held a couple of days ago, then Mulder and I came home." She hadn't realized the tear had finally broken free from her eye until it tumbled down her cheek. Quickly, she brushed it away.

"Erm....." began Skinner, "... if anyone else had been telling me all this I would probably have dismissed it out of hand, but.." he sighed. "There really was no doubt that she was your daughter?"

"None whatsoever," retorted Scully, determinedly.

"Then I'm very sorry you lost her," Skinner told her. "Although I can't begin to imagine how any of this eminates from your abduction. However, if you say it's true, I believe you." He paused. "How're you bearing up?"

"I'm okay," she replied.

"If you need any leave-"

"No," she interjected. "I'd rather get back to work, Sir. As soon as possible." Her lip trembled. "Sir.. could I use your washroom please?"

"Of course. Go ahead." Scully stood up to go to the washroom, but suddenly turned back to Skinner, a hand in her pocket. Mulder watched as she brought out her photo of Emily.

"This is Emily," she told Skinner. ""At her third birthday party." She stared at it for a moment, then left it on his desk and went to the washroom. After she'd closed the door to the w/c, Skinner reached over and picked it up.

"Oh My God," he breathed softly, staring at the image.

"Sir?" asked Mulder.

"I couldn't take it all in, but.. she was the very image of Scully, wasn't she?"

"Yes Sir," nodded Mulder emphatically. "Especially the eyes."

"God, yeah," agreed Skinner. He thought for a second. "Did you meet her? Emily?"

"Yes," Mulder replied. "And she was every bit as lovely as that photo. And very special." He paused. "But she was never meant to live. She was somebody's creation. Created to serve an agenda, connected to Cancer Man and all his colleagues... and Scully's abduction." He half-smiled. "At least Scully had a chance to meet her, even though this is tearing her apart. I mean, you don't go to your family for Christmas, discover a daughter you never knew, only to have her die just as you're getting to know her, then have to arrange her funeral."

"It's unfathomable," agreed Skinner.

"I dread someone asking if we had a nice vacation," admitted Mulder. Scully came out of the washroom then, and sat back down. Skinner handed her the photo back.

"She was lovely," he told her.

"Yes," agreed Scully. "She was." She looked at the photo momentarily before slipping it back in her pocket.

"Well.. up to a point this has to go on your personnel file," said Skinner, "but it doesn't have to become common knowledge. Not if that's not what you want."

"Emily was a very special person," said Scully, "and I'm proud that I was partly responsible for her having existed, even though it was not the circumstances it should have been. But this is personal, and I'm not about to start shouting it from the rooftops." She stopped a second, then went on: "Besides, who'd believe it? A few years ago, I certainly wouldn't have."

"We'll keep it amongst ourselves then," assured Skinner. "It'll just appear on your file. The record will show you were called in. It doesn't have to show what we talked about."

"Thank you very much, Sir. I mean it."

"No problem, Agent Scully. "I realize that this is a unique situation and, as such, the EAP is available to you anytime. Karen Kosseff's there if you need.. anything.."

"Yes Sir. Thanks." Skinner nodded, and Mulder and Scully got to their feet, shook hands with him, and Scully left the office.

"Agent Mulder."


"I know I probably don't have to say this, especially to *you*, but... look after her."

"Always, Sir." Skinner nodded, and Mulder left the office too.

Mulder opened the door to their basement office and he and Scully stepped inside. Scully took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

"It feels weird," she observed. "Being back. Different, somehow... but still the same. Does that make sense?"

"In a weird sort of a way, yeah. D'you *feel* different?" They sat down, and Scully pondered the question.

"I know I didn't give birth to her, but I do feel that she was my daughter. So, yes.. I feel different. Sort of. Even in that short space of time.. I feel like a Mother. Which is just such a complete turn-around considering how I felt before Christmas when Tara was pregnant. I'm still getting used to the idea. It fells like she's still with me." Mulder nodded.

"For as long as you want her to be, she'll be with you. All the time. In a sense.. you haven't really lost her."

"I'll always be her Mother," nodded Scully, in understanding and agreement. They were silent for a few moments. "I don't know how I'm going to get through the Christening," she announced, out of the blue. Mulder raised his head and looked at her, slightly puzzled. "It'll be in the Naval Base Church," she explained. "I'm just not sure I could go back there so soon."

"You'll get through it," Mulder told her, resolutely. "I don't know about Bill and your Mother.. but Tara was really supportive, and Matthew. Well, he doesn't have an opinion yet but.. I'm sure he'd come out on your side." Scully allowed a smile to form on her lips. "Do it for him," Mulder concluded. Their attention was drawn to the folders on the desk.

"Right. What about these new cases?" Scully asked, finally starting the rest of her life without the daughter she'd known so briefly but loved so completely. As she and Mulder pored over the new case files, her hand slipped into her pocket and she felt the photograph.

Title: Living With and Without Her: Faces Framed in Silver
Author: Mezzosoprano
Email: mezzosoprano@blueyonder.co.uk
Category: MSR/friendship
Rating: PG-13
Archiving: Anywhere! But please keep these headers attached.
Disclaimer: None of the characters herein are mine (no kidding!) They belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, 20th Century Fox, Fox tv, David & Gillian, and all the other superb actors and anyone else I've missed. No infringement intended, no money being made. (All I've got is a large overdraft and no spare change).
Spoilers: Christmas Carol/Emily, Anasazi, Demons
Keywords: Scully, Mulder and the grieving process.
Author's Note: Just my imagination working overtime on how Scully would cope with Matthew's christening so soon after Emily's funeral. Not living in the USA myself, I have no idea about flight times or routes. And, not being catholic, I have no idea what constitutes the catholic baptismal service. If I've gotten any of these details wrong, please don't take offence - let's put it down to poetic license or something - okay?!
Author's Note2: This is a companion piece/sequel to Living With and Without Her Part1 - When The Cross Came Home. You don't have to read that to understand this - but I'd love it if you did! As long as you know the series, this one can make sense standing alone.
Feedback: Keep my inbox happy with regular feedback-snax! Email the above address at your leisure.

Summary: How does a 3-in-1 High Chair make Bill Scully Jr see Mulder in a different light?

Part Two - Faces Framed in Silver

Mulder and Scully were making plans to fly to San Diego for Matthew's christening. In their office, Scully was routing through the filing cabinet, looking for some files.

"Erm.. I was thinking..." started Mulder.

"I suppose there's a first time for everything," murmured Scully. Mulder smiled. Scully was trying so hard to regain her sense of humour. He decided to ignore the comment though, and continued.

"About the christening." Scully retrieved the appropriate file and closed the drawer. She turned and loooked at Mulder, but didn't move.

"What about it?" ahe asked, with caution.

"It's definitely a family occasion. Maybe I shouldn't be going." Scully stared at him for a second.

"This is about Bill," she stated, finally.

"Thing is," Mulder went on, "I can understand where he's coming from. I would be the same if the situation were reversed, if it were Samantha. He's doing what he thinks best... he's being your big brother." Scully sighed.

"But he only knows half the story, Mulder. He doesn't understand. He doesn't *want* to understand the situation."

"Which is?" Mulder cut in, raising his eyebrows. Contemplating this question, Scully sat down next to him.

"Beyond simple definition?" she offered. It was the best she could do. He smiled. "Look," she continued, "Bill's a bigger sceptic than *I* was when *we* first met. The difference being, I have an inquisitive mind. Something doesn't agree with his way of thinking? As far as he's concerned, it hasn't happened or doesn't exist. He just closes it out."

"Sounds like someone I used to know," commented Mulder.

"Yeah, I used to be like that," conceded Scully. "But, I'm more interested in finding the reasons and facts behind events." He watched her as she spoke. "For scientific reasons, of course."

"Of course," he agreed, with a trace of sarcasm. "But that still doesn't change the fact that he's looking after you. And it *is* his son being christened. If it's going to cause trouble, me being there..."

"I don't know why he has a problem with you anyway. Any given situation I've ever been in, I was involved through my own free will."

"He has to blame someone."

"Yeah? Well, if he wants to blame someone so badly, he can blame me. I have got a mind of my own. When have you ever known me to do anything under protest?" Again, he watched as she spoke. "And if you say 'get abducted', I may just have to shoot you."

"Again?!" He smiled, she sighed.

"Bottom line, Mulder. I really want you to be there. It's going to be a difficult time for me, and I need you with me."

"Regardless of what Bill thinks?"

"Regardless," confirmed Scully. "Anyway, I'm sure Tara'll have him on his best behaviour."

"Well, okay," relented Mulder. "But, I have to tell you. The first sign of any problem, and I'm out of there. I'm sure Tara could do without the stress."

"Don't worry, I'd be right behind you." Again, his eyebrows rose. "As I said, this is going to be a difficult situation for me. If I could get out of it, I would. But... " she sighed. "It's family. And I do love my nephew." She paused. "Having said that, after the ceremony, at the party... if Bill starts anything.. I will have no hesitation in taking the first available flight home."

"It's three days. *Surely* we can make it through three days without incident?"

"I hope so," she told him, with feeling.

A couple of days later, they were both at the airport, waiting for their flight call. They were flying to San Diego via Los Angeles, with a stop in Denver along the way. Overall, the whole thing was going to take around ten hours.

"I still say we should have finished up at lunchtime, gotten some sleep," grumbled Mulder.

"I agree with you," said Scully, exasperated. "I already told you. But the caseload didn't turn out that way today." He watched as she typed on her laptop.

"What are you doing now?" he asked, risking her wrath.

"Completing and updating some field reports," was her answer.

"Oh, stuff that can't wait?" His voice wasn't just tinged with sarcasm, it was positively *flowing* with it. She didn't answer. "You'll give yourself eyestrain."

"You know I don't like flying!" she snapped. "I'm just trying to take my mind off this flight," she added, in softer tones. Mulder had his own thoughts, but chose not to voice them. Just then, his phone rang. A little annoyed at being disturbed, he fished it out of his pocket.

"Mulder." He paused, listening. "Mom?" he exclaimed, in surprise. Scully looked up from her laptop. "I'm at the airport, Mom," Mulder was saying. "Headed for San Diego. Yeah. Scully's nephew's christening, I did tell you. Be back Monday. What?" He paused again. Scully watched him as he spoke. "Well, is it urgent? I could come up Tuesday. Mm, yeah." He realised Scully was watching him, met her gaze, and shrugged. "Okay. I'll see you Tuesday afternoon. I will, yeah. 'Bye, Mom." He ended the call, switched the phone off and slid it back into his pocket.

"What was all that about?" Scully asked.

"I have no idea," replied Mulder. "She wants to *talk* to me. She hasn't wanted to talk to me since-"

"Since you went off the rails in Providence," completed Scully. Mulder made a face.

"Not quite how I would have described it," he retorted, "but yeah. She said it wasn't urgent, didn't sound upset or anything. I'll go up there Tuesday." He thought for a second."Wonder what it's about?"

"Who knows," offered Scully, returning her attention to her laptop. Suddenly, she stopped and looked up at him again. "Hey, she's not feeling ill again or anything?" Mulder considered this for a second.

"No," he decided, shaking his head. "She sounded okay, and I think she would have told me - despite everything." Scully nodded, then resumed her typing.

The plane had made its descent into Los Angeles.

"Damn delay," muttered Mulder, picking up his flight bag. "Still, we're here now." He studied Scully as she gathered up her bags and her laptop, stiffly straightening. "You alright?" he asked. There had been some pretty bad turbulence mid-flight.

"Erm, yeah," she responded. "I'm okay." She swallowed, looking around her, and obviously wasn't okay. "Let's get out of here." She stepped down from the plane on shaky legs, not entirely looking forward to the fact that they now had another flight ahead of them, their connection to San Diego. They now stood outside a restaurant in Los Angeles International Airport.

"Let's get some breakfast," decided Mulder, ever hungry. "We've got about an hour before the next flight." Scully thought about it, and decided she was most definitely hungry.

"Right," she agreed. "I'm starving."

Once they had finished breakfast, Scully looked and felt a little happier. Mulder checked his watch.

"Okay. We have about twenty minutes before we have to board that plane." At the words 'board that plane', Scully pulled a face - but Mulder missed it. "I'm going to use the mens' room," he went on, "And you said you wanted to call Tara." Scully wiped her mouth with a paper napkin.

"God, yeah. I hope I don't wake anyone. If they've been up with Matthew, they'll be tired."

"It'll be okay. They're expecting you to call."

"I guess."

"Mm. I'll, er.. I'll meet you at the ATM in the mall in ten minutes," he told her. "Okay?"

"Yep," she agreed, and Mulder headed off to the bathroom.

It had been six weeks since Emily's funeral; yet, as their plane made its descent into San Diego, Scully felt as if it had been six minutes. Gazing out of the window, lost in thought, she buckled her safety belt.

"Hey," said Mulder, softly.


"How ya doing?"

"Good. I'm okay," she insisted. "Unfortunately, I can't switch my brain off."

"I know what you mean," he said. They picked up their bags, and Mulder placed a hand on Scully's arm. "We'll get through this - okay? Back in DC by Monday." Scully forced a smile, and nodded.

Bill and Mrs Scully were waiting in the arrivals lounge.

"I just don't see why he had to come," Bill grumbled.

"Bill, you've been warned," his Mother reminded him. "He's coming because Tara invited him.. and because Dana wants him to be here."

"And that's another thing," he went on. "We haven't spoken to Dana since... since..."

"The funeral," Mrs Scully said. "Whatever the circumstances, Bill... it was still a funeral."

"What do we say?" he wanted to know. "That's my point. Not that I want to talk about it in the first place."

"Then don't," she advised. "This... this is about your son, Bill. Tara wants this christening to go off without a hitch... and I'm sure that's what Dana wants too. So, all other subjects are best left well alone, especially if they're going to cause rows." She paused. "Fox is a really good person, you know. I think so, anyway. And Dana cares about him a lot." A derisory snort from her firstborn.

"Yeah, well.. I think we'll just have to agree to differ. Cos I thought you said you wanted peace."

"I do."

"Well then." Just then, Mulder and Scully appeared from the disembarkation lobby.

"Dana..." breathed Mrs Scully, going forward to hug her daughter.

"Hi Mom," Scully returned, putting down her laptop and hugging her Mother.

"Mulder," said Bill.

"Hi, Bill," returned Mulder. Both men managed a half-smile. Mrs Scully let Scully go, and turned to Mulder.

"Hello, Fox," she told him.

"Hi, Mrs Scully," he smiled.

"Did you have a good flight?"

"Not bad. Bit of turbulence, but it was okay."

"Speak for yourself," interjected Scully. She turned to Bill. "How's Tara and Matthew?"

"Tara's fine. And Matthew's getting bigger by the day. He looks so like Charles you wouldn't believe... well, you'll be able to see for yourself shortly. C'mon, let's get your luggage to the car."

Tara heard the front door open, and rushed down the stairs.

"Hi, Dana!" she exclaimed. "It's good to see you.." She hugged her sister-in-law. "How are you?" she asked, when they parted.

"I'm fine," nodded Scully, smiling. "And you?"

"Couldn't be better," replied Tara, who then turned to Mulder. "And Mulder. Hi!"

"Hi, Tara," smiled Mulder, kissing her cheek. "You're looking well."

"Thanks," she told him. How are you? Good flight?"

"I'm great, thanks," replied Mulder, going into the living room. "And the flight was okay - depending on who you ask."

"Very funny," Scully told him. Bill and Mrs Scully came in lastly, Bill closing the door.

"Well," began Tara, "Dana... you'll be in with your Mom, and Mulder.. you'll be in Matthew's room. But don't worry - you won't be disturbed. Matthew's still in with us for now."

"Tara, I can just as soon make other arrangements if this is putting you out.."

"Not at all," she assured him. "It's great having you both here. Now, let's get your stuff upstairs; I'm sure you'd both like to get some sleep if you've had a long flight-"

"Actually," Scully cut in, "I wanted to say hi to Matthew and then go for a bit of a walk. Remind myself that I'm back on terra firma," she explained.

"Oh, okay," Tara conceded. "But Matthew's asleep.."

"I won't wake him," promised Scully. Tara smiled and nodded. Scully picked up their flight bags and her laptop, while Mulder carried their cases and they went upstairs.

"The pot's on for coffee..." announced Tara, and Bill and Mrs Scully followed her into the kitchen.

Mulder put Scully's suitcase on the bed.

"I see Bill's making an effort," Scully observed. Mulder laughed, softly.

"It's like he's on his best behaviour," he whispered.

"Oh, I imagine he's been warned," Scully told him. She opened her suitcase and started to unpack. Mulder took a seat on the chair, pensive. Eventually, this came to Scully's attention. "What's up?" she asked, continuing to unpack.

"Just thinking about Mom," he replied.

"If this is gonna bug you til Tuesday, maybe you should call her," she advised.

"No," Mulder decided, shaking his head. "If she was gonna tell me over the phone, she would have done so at the airport." He looked up at her. "I don't think there's anything wrong, really. I'm just curious, that's all." He paused. "The nursery's next door, isn't it?"

"Yeah, nodded Scully. "Turn left as you go out of the door."

"I'll unpack later," he said, getting up. "There's something I want to get from my stuff, then maybe I'll join you for that walk. Get some fresh air. So long as you don't wanna be on your own." Scully smiled.

"You just don't want to be left on you own in here," she told him. He feigned a hurt look, and she became serious. "It's okay. I want you to come." He smiled, picked up his suitcase, and went through to the other room.

After she'd put most of her stuff away, Scully went into Bill and Tara's room. Quietly, she opened the door and tiptoed over to the cot. Baby Matthew gurgled in his sleep a little, and wrinkled his nose.

"Hello Matthew," she whispered. "It's Aunt Dana." She smiled at him, then heard a footstep behind her. Mulder came into the room, and Scully turned to him, a finger to her lips. She pointed to the baby listening monitor on the shelf beside the cot, and he nodded in understanding. Standing beside her, he looked into the cot.

"Bill was right," she whispered. "He's the image of Charles."

"He's bigger than I remember," said Mulder.

"I think he's gonna be tall like his Dad," agreed Scully. They were silent for a minute. The question remained unvoiced, but it still hung in the air. Scully answered it anyway. "I'm okay, Mulder. Really." She swalllowed. "Let's go for that walk."

They had walked five minutes before Mulder realised he knew where he was going.

"Scully... this is the way to the Naval Base Church."

"I know."


"I just.." She sighed. "I dunno... I just wanted to see it again before all the people come tomorrow. Just wanted some time there.." She looked at him. "Does that make sense?"

"I think so," he nodded. They arrived at the church and went in.

"It always amazed me," began Scully, "how quickly time can pass when you're not paying attention. It only seems five minutes since we were here last."

"Six weeks isn't such a long time," observed Mulder. "And we have been flat out since we got back." Scully slowly walked up the aisle to where Emily's casket had lain. After the funeral, to save any explanations for whatever reason, the casket and its' contents had been cremated. That had been the following day, and the ashes had been interred at the local cemetery. Scully had ordered a small headstone, but hadn't seen it yet. She and Mulder had plans to go there the day after the christening. Standing in the spot where the casket had been, and looking up at the cross, Scully touched her own cross.

"She's here, Mulder. I can feel her."

"'Course you can. She's with you. Wherever you happen to be." Scully smiled.

Ten minutes later, they were walking alongside the bay. Upon finding a bench, they took a seat. Scully looked out to sea. Mulder had been wanting to bring up a certain subject for a little while, and decided now was as good a time as any.

"Erm.. I was going through some stuff of mine at home the other day."

"Always said you should tidy up your apartment more often." The humour took Mulder by surprise, and almost shook him from his train of thought.

"Yeah. Em.. Thing is, I came across a bag I'd mislaid since getting back."

"Yeah?" responded Scully, only half listening. Being so close to the sea, especially here, made her think about her father.

"I came across a camera spool," Mulder ventured on. "Figured it was the pictures you took of Matthew the day before we left." Scully nodded, still gazing out to sea. "Anyway, thought I'd get it developed," he continued, unsure at this point whether she was actually listening or not.

"Was it mine?" she enquired, still not entirely paying attention. Mulder swallowed.

"Yeah. And there were photos of Matthew on it. They're back at the house with my stuff." He held up the bag he'd been carrying, and suddenly Scully began to pay full attention.

"You've been walking around with that since we left the house,"she commented. "What is it?"

"It's for you," he replied. She took it from him.

"What is it?" she asked again.

"Open it," he suggested. As she set about doing so, he added: "Matthew's photographs weren't the only ones on that spool." Scully removed a flat, squarish box from the bag. She took the lid from the box and gasped.

"Mulder........" she breathed. Nestled in white tissue paper lay a silver-framed photo, showing Scully and Emily. It had been taken at the Childrens' Center, the day before Mulder had arrived. Scully was holding Emily, who was hugging Scully. Their faces were close together, and you could see Scully's cross around Emily's neck.

"I knew you only had the little snapshot," he explained. "When I saw the photos, and there are two or three, I decided to get one enlarged. I guess you could put it at your bedside or something..."

"I completely forgot about the photos," confessed Scully, still staring at the one in her hands. She ran a finger over Emily's hair, her face, her smile. Mulder watched her blink, profusely.

"Oh God. The last thing I wanted to do was upset you..." Seconds later, Scully looked up from the photo.

"Upset me?" she asked, incredulously. Her eyes filled up. "Mulder... this is beautiful. I love it. Thank you so much...." She leant over and hugged him. He kissed her on the cheek and they parted, and she glanced at the photo again, smiling.

That night, when everyone was going to bed, Mrs Scully entered the room that she and Dana were sharing. Looking over to Dana's bedside, she caught sight of the photograph of Emily and Dana, and went over to look at it more closely. Picking it up, she compared Emily's face with Dana's. 'Such a resemblance,' she found herself thinking. 'Could it have been true...?' So absorbed in her thoughts was she, that she nearly didn't hear Dana open the door. Quickly, she replaced the photo on the bedside. Scully saw the look on her Mother's face as she came into the room.

"Mom? Are you okay?" Glancing at the bedside, Dana saw that the photo had been moved, but didn't comment.

"Yes, I'm fine, Dana. You look tired, though. You and Fox should have gotten some sleep earlier."

"We'll be less jet-lagged tomorrow now," Scully told her, and gathered up her pajamas and her robe. "I'm going to have a shower before I turn in."

"Alright, but try not to make too much noise. Tara's just gotten Matthew to sleep."

"Okay," smiled Scully, and made her way out of the room.

Mulder half-expected the knock, and instinctively knew who it belonged to. However, he asked anyway.

"Who is it?"

"It's me," she said, softly. A second later, he opened the door.

"You okay?" he asked, moving aside to let her in. She nodded, and closed the door behind her.

"I wondered if you had the other photos of Emily," she asked.

"Oh, yeah," he replied, looking around for his flight bag.

"I almost caught Mom holding the framed one," she told him, as he unzipped the bag.

"What d'you mean, 'almost'?" He fished in the bag.

"Well, when I went into the room, the photograph had been moved," she explained. "And she had this guilty look on her face like you wouldn't believe." She paused. "I just wish she'd talk to me about her."

"You can't force her," Mulder reasoned. "Give her time. Ah- here they are." He handed over the folder of pictures.

"I know," she relented. "Thanks for these. I'll go and let you get settled. I'm going for a shower before I go to bed."

"Okay. What time's the kick-off tomorrow?"

"Ceremony starts in the Church at 1pm. Takes about an hour, then it's off to the Mess Hall."

"Sounds fabulous," commented Mulder.

"Don't let the name put you off," Scully smiled. "It's an extremely stylish hall, used a lot for Naval Receptions and the like. Very nice."

"I'll take your word for it," he smiled back, seeing her out. "'Night, Scully."

"'Night, Mulder," she returned, and closed the door behind her.

After drying herself off in the bathroom, Scully put on her pyjamas, robe and slippers. The bedside lamp cast a dim but warm glow over the bedroom, and Scully found her Mother already asleep when she returned. She took off her robe and slippers, and slid beneath the covers. As she stretched her hand out to turn off the lamp, her eyes came to rest on Emily's photograph. She smiled, and Mrs. Scully listened to her daughter say:

"Night-night, Emily. Mommy loves you, Sweetie." Then, the room was plunged into darkness as Scully finally clicked the lamp off.

Scully opened her eyes, fully expecting it to be daylight. Feeling as if she'd been asleep for hours, she was surprised to find the room darkened and the curtains still drawn. Checking her watch, she realized it was a little after 3am, and decided to get a glass of water downstairs.

On reaching the bottom of the stairs, Scully heard someone singing softly, and found Tara in the kitchen, walking Matthew.

"Hi," whispered her sister-in-law. ""He was hungry." Scully smiled.

"I came down for a glass of water," said Scully, quietly, "... but would you like some hot chocolate?"

"That'd be nice," nodded Tara, and went to hand Scully the baby.

"N-no," stammered Scully. "I'll make it..." Tara smiled.

"Dana... you take Matthew. I'll make the chocolate." Scully sighed, then nodded, almost resignedly. She sat down, and Tara handed Matthew to her. Scully rocked Matthew gently. "So, how are you?" Tara asked, taking the milk from the fridge. "Really."

"I'm fine," replied Scully.

"Dana." Scully sighed again.

"I'm getting through. Somehow." Tara put the milk into a saucepan and turned on the stove. She took two mugs from the cupboard, and turned to Scully.

"I'm really pleased you agreed to be here and be Matthew's Godmother, you know. I half-expected you to decline."

"Why?" asked Scully, genuinely surprised.

"I thought that it might be too hard for you, too much for you." Scully smiled, and looked down at Matthew in her arms.

"Tara... no matter how I feel about Emily... I love this little boy. Matthew's my nephew; he's family too. Nothing would stop me from being his Godmother."

"But... it's not the same as your own, is it?" asked Tara, sadly. "I mean, on Base here... we're all kind of like a family. You know that, you must remember." Scully nodded. "But now Matthew's here, he supersedes all of them... so much." Scully looked down at Matthew again, and swallowed.

"Even though I only knew her for such a short time," she began, "I loved.. Emily.. with all my heart. With everything that I am. And i miss her.." Suddenly, she smiled at Tara. "Sometimes, I think 'how is this possible? I only knew her a matter of weeks, but to love her and miss her this much...'"

"She was your daughter," said Tara. "Your baby girl. It's only natural that you feel this way, and that you give yourself time to feel this way. Let me ask you something - this is tearing you up inside, right?" Scully stared at her for a second, almost unsure of how to answer. then, she nodded. "So," continued Tara, "..was it worth it? Was the fact that you only knew her for a short time worth the pain you're feeling now?"

"Yes," answered Scully, without hesitation. "The only good thing to come out of this, apart from the fact that Emily isn't suffering anymore, is that we found each other."

"Then that's how it's possible," Tara informed her. "This was something that had to happen for the both of you. Even though you only knew each other briefly, you had a bond so deep... that's how it's possible. You told me about those tests, Dana. She needed you because you were the only one who could save her.. and you needed her because she was your daughter. Your own. Especially after everything that's happened and you can't have another.. you needed her." A second or two later, they both heard a hissing noise. "Oh my god, the milk!" exclaimed Tara, in a whisper. She turned around, and switched off the stove. Scully suppressed a laugh and, shifting Matthew onto one arm, wiped a tear away. Tara turned back to face her.

"Tara... thank you so much. You are the only person I can talk to who understands. I mean, Mulder tries. He's been a rock and I wouldn't be without him, but..."

"He's not a Mother," concluded Tara. Scully nodded, and sighed.

"I feel like.. I feel as if a bit of a weight's been taken from me," she admitted. Tara set about pouring the milk and adding the chocolate. "Mulder gave me a present today."

"That's nice. What was it?"

"I'd forgotten I'd had some pictures taken of Emily and myself. Mulder found the spool, had it developed, got one of the photos enlarged and had it framed in silver. It's beautiful."

"What a lovely thing to do. I like Mulder. Bill's my husband, and I love him, but sometimes I don't understand when he goes on about Mulder the way he does."

"That makes two of us," Scully agreed. "Don't get me wrong, Mulder has his moments. There are times when I could gleefully put my hands around his neck and throttle him, and..."

"And then there's times like today?" offered Tara.

"Yes," smiled Scully. Tara took Matthew from her and placed him in the moses basket on the table. Then she picked up the mugs, handed one to Scully, then took a seat beside her.

"Tell me about her," she asked. "Emily. I never met her, unfortunately." Scully let out a long-held breath.

"She was kinda shy, but... she had such a personality. When she was around, you knew she was there. And her eyes... When she spotted my cross for the first time... they just lit up.."

"Just like your face is doing now as you talk about her," commented Tara. Scully half-smiled, almost embarrassed.

"I remember when I had those pictures taken, now." She looked off into the middle distance, joyfully lost in her recollection. "I picked her up. She was a bit giggly at having her photo taken.. she loved it. We had a couple taken, then just before they took the next one, she threw her arms around my neck and pressed her face next to mine. Knowing she was mine... I can't describe how that felt." She sipped her chocolate.

"I know," enthused Tara. "When I had Matthew.. the first time they gave him to me to hold.." She shrugged her shoulders and shook her head. "I can't explain that feeling either!" Scully laughed slightly, and finished up her chocolate. Tara glanced over to the clock, which read 4:13 am. "I'd better get this one back up," she decided, peering into the moses basket. "Hopfully, he'll sleep to around 7 or 8 now. I have to be up around 7 am anyway." She took the empty mug from Scully, and put both mugs in the sink to soak.

"D'you want a hand?" asked Scully, as Tara picked up the moses basket.

"It's okay, I've got it." They made their way upstairs. "Dana..."


"I meant what I said at Christmas. Any time you wanna talk... give me a call." Scully broke into a wide smile.

"Thanks, Tara. Thank you so much."

8:30 am found Tara, Bill and Mrs Scully around the kitchen table having breakfast. Matthew was in the moses basket on the chair.

"I've let Dana and Fox sleep on for a little while," Mrs Scully announced. "Yesterday must have been such a long day for them."

"Yeah.. Dana doesn't like flying much, does she?" asked Tara. Mrs Scully smiled and shook her head.

"Yeah.. makes you wonder why she's in a job like *that* if she can't stand flying," observed Bill, then glanced about him in wonder as he found both his Wife and Mother staring at him. "What?" he protested.

"Bill," said Mrs Scully. "You've been warned already."

"What, so I'm not allowed to have an opinion in my own house now, is that it?" Tara put out some toast on the table.

"Not today, Sweetheart," she informed him.

"Okay, okay," he relented. "Best behaviour," he said, holding his hands up in mock surrender. "I'll try, I promise. I dunno, maybe I should do something a bit more palatable; like going to my Superiors and volunteering for garbage detail." He'd said the last part under his breath, largely because he didn't want to face the wrath of these two people so early in the morning. Frankly, he'd rather have been on manoeuvres somewhere in the middle of the Ocean; *which* Ocean, he didn't much care.

Scully opened her eyes, and for the first time awoke to find Emily looking back at her. She smiled, and touched the photograph.

"Morning, Sweetie," she said, softly. She got out of bed, pulled on her robe and slippers, and went through to see Mulder. Gently, she knocked at his door. "Mulder?"

"Oh.. come on in, Scully." She opened the door to find him sitting up in bed.

"Morning... oh, sorry - I didn't wake you, did I?" she asked him.

"Time I was up anyway," he decided, checking his watch. Sighing, she sat down on the bed. "You alright? Big day."

"I'm...." She thought for a second, trying to sum up her feelings. "I'm surprisingly calm. So.. how did you sleep?"

"What, you mean with these mobiles and furry animals and everything?" Scully laughed. "Took me back around thirty-five years, but I slept okay. What about you?"

"Woke up a little after three," she replied. "I went down to get a drink of water, and I found Tara in the kitchen giving Matthew a bottle. She made some hot chocolate, and we ended up talking for a while."


"Mm. It helped. She understands." She looked at him, and suddenly she wanted to reassure him that she wasn't saying that he *didn't* understand. "She's a Mother," she shrugged, and looked to the floor. "It's a shame, really. I'm talking to Tara in the way I *should* be talking to Mom."

"But in the way you *would* be talking to Melissa," offered Mulder, quietly. Scully looked at him again, and nodded slightly.

"Maybe you're right," she conceded. She paused in thought. "Mulder... thanks again for that photograph. I woke up and the first thing I saw was Emily." Mulder smiled. "Thank you."

"S'alright." He thought a second. "Hey, we'll have to sort the present out."

"I know. I'll grab a shower first, then you can get one while I get dressed. We may as well get it all sorted in here," she added, looking around her.


"Right," she said, getting up. "See you shortly."

Three quarters of an hour later, Mulder and Scully were sorting out their presents for Matthew in the nursery.

"I think this part goes here," said Mulder, holding a piece of wood. Scully was holding a piece of paper.

"Well, according to the plans, it's supposed to go there," she pointed. The door began to open, and they looked at one another in horror.

"*DON'T COME IN!*" They shouted in unison. Scully threw down the plans and raced over to the door, popping her head round it. Tara stood there, a bemused look on her face.

"Dana? What is it?"

"You can't come in right now."

"Why? Look, if you and Mulder want to be alone..."

"Don't be ridiculous," retorted Scully.

"Oh, thanks a lot," came Mulder's voice.

"Seriously," began Tara. "I'm changing Matthew's diaper. I came up for a new pack."

"Wait there," instructed Scully, and ducked back inside the room. After a moment or two, she found the diapers and handed them out to Tara. "Now, give us about twenty minutes. You're-"

"Twenty minutes?!" shouted Mulder, incredulous. Scully ingnored him.

"You're not allowed back in here before then," she told Tara, who nodded, rolling her eyes, and set off back downstairs. "No-one else either," Scully shouted after her, and closed the door. Turning round, she was faced with the sight of Mulder, looking completely baffled. A piece of wood in one hand, a screwdriver in the other. She picked up the plans again. "Come on, Mulder. We've battled monsters and mutants, serial killers, and even the FBI Office of Professional Conduct. Surely a 3-in-1 high chair shouldn't beat us?"

"We should have set it up at home first," grumbled Mulder. "Just to get an idea."

"Everything's great in hindsight," Scully pointed out. "But, what if we couldn't have taken it apart again? How would we have gotten it on the plane?" Mulder thought for a second.

"I dunno... d'you think we could've got away with saying it was hand luggage?" he asked, with a sly grin. Moments later, the grin grew wider. "Hey... what about if..." He slotted the piece of wood he was holding into place.

"Brilliant," sighed Scully. "Just another nine pieces to go..."

About a half-hour later, Scully went downstairs to round up Tara, Bill and her mother. Tara carried Matthew.

"Now, I just want you to know," began Scully, "that all this is here because Mulder and I want it to be. It's for Matthew." Tara and Bill looked at one another. Scully went in first, opening the door wide. Mulder was just tidying away the rest of the packaging. On the bed was a bath set, a selection of baby clothes and toys; and on the floor, the pine 3-in-1 high chair.

"Oh Dana.... Mulder..... this is so wonderful!" exclaimed Tara. Bill sighed, this time in admiration.

"Yeah, it certainly is. Thanks, Dana." He kissed his sister's cheek. Mulder turned, and got the shock of his life when Bill shook his hand. "Thanks, Mulder."

"Er... n-no problem," Mulder managed.

"Dana... these clothes are beautiful," commented Mrs Scully, examining one of the suits.

"I liked, them," Scully told her. She picked up the sheet of paper that had been the plans and went over to Mulder.

"He shook my hand," he murmured to her, in total amazement.

"I know, I saw," she whispered, in equal disbelief.

"Well," announced Tara. "There are things to be done now, if we're having the ceremony at 1 o'clock. Mulder, Dana... there's breakfast downstairs if you're hungry."

"I think the chair would be better suited to the kitchen," observed Mrs Scully.

"You're right," agreed Bill, and attempted to lift it.

"Erm.. would you like a hand there?" offered Mulder. Bill looked at him for a second, then smiled and nodded.

"That'd be good. Thanks." They manhandled it down to the kitchen, while the women exchanged glances. Tara glanced down at Matthew in her arms.

"Your special day seems to be having a positive effect on everyone, Darling."

"And I thought I didn't believe in miracles anymore," commented Scully.

"What do you name this child?" Scully and Mulder looked on as the Padre asked the question of Tara.

"Matthew William," she replied. The Padre nodded, and gently lowered Matthew towards the font.

"Matthew William Scully," he intoned. "I baptise Thee in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. May the Lord bless you and keep you, make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. May He lift up his countenance upon you, and grant unto you His peace. Amen." Scully blinked back tears as the Padre handed Matthew back to Tara, and even Mulder had to swallow to get rid of the lump in his throat. Out of sight of the rest of the assembled throng, he felt for Scully's hand - and took it. Both looking straight ahead at the next generation of the Scully family, nobody seemed to know how much Mulder wanted to take the pain away - and how grateful Scully was for his support. She looked on as her brother, sister-in-law and nephew started their new life together, and it hit her full force how happy they were.

"Mulder..." she whispered.

"I know," he whispered back. And, from out of nowhere, she heard her voice:

"I love you, Mommy."

"Photographs!" shouted Bill Jr. Mulder turned his head.

"You okay?" Scully swallowed before answering.

"Yeah." Together, they went forward with their best smiles and hand in hand; but, inside... they clung to one another and cried.

The End

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