TTILE: Who Knew?
AUTHOR: ElleThom
DISCLAIMER: I know. You know. I know you know. You know I know. I know you know I know. You know I know you know I know you know….what was I saying?
FEEDBACK: Call me Audrey II and Feed me. too_spooky_4u@yahoo.com

ARCHIVE: Hey if you want it you can have it,. Just drop me a note so I can have visitation rights..

SUMMARY: Sometimes it is just easier to go with the flow….
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is in response to a challenge on TNF, this is my first challenge fic, and also my first attempt at first person. So, don't hold back, tear it apart, rip into it. I am a big girl I can take it.


Who'd a thought? I know it's a trite term that people throw around on a regular basis, slip it into conversations about anything and everything, from the Pope to baseball.

Oh shit, I'm gonna be late for pick up.

But, with all that is in my life right now, I still have time to ruminate over all of the changes as I point the Mini Van of death into the direction of the little league field.

Yeah, a minivan, you heard me, I didn't stutter, let me say that this in no way affects my otherwise manly reputation.

Yeah right.

Scully would laugh at me and tell me that my manly reputation was gone a long time ago


J. Edgar Hoover Building
Washington D.C.
March 19, 2000 Oh God.

Oh no.

Not this.

Not now.

Oh shit.

The call came in just as I was skirting out of the office for the day, I had planned on going to check on Scully, home sick with a flu that left her pretty much a mass of leaking running and oozing. Gotta love her.

"Agent Mulder?" the voice sounded far away and crackly, like one of those old recordings played on a Victrola. I half expected to hear the man break out into Spike Jones' rendition of Cocktails for Two.

"Yeah?" I asked frowning, as if a scowl could make the voice either come in clearer or just go away altogether.

"Agent Mulder, we seem to have a mutual friend." The man's voice was starting to fade in and out.

"Who is this?" I asked, I was used to shadowy underworld figures and shady informants, but something about this phone call made me want to check to see if my health insurance policy would cover lumbar stab wounds.

The scratchy voice cleared its throat, "There is a bench that you and your—partner are fond of," he spoke ominously, "fifteen minutes."

Before I could go into my usual 'I'm not going anywhere until I get some answers' spiel, the line was dead. Didn't matter anyway, that spiel usually only got two responses, a boot to the head, or me running off anyway.

Which is exactly what I did.

Runners are used to running, it is what we do, heart pounding, feet thudding, I shot through the Hoover building and out to the mall. The other Agents, used to my brand of insanity, merely stepped out of the way, not wanting to be a victim of a Drive By Mulder.

The day could have been sunny, or cloudy, I wasn't sure; I had one single mission, arrive at the spot and make my appointment.

The site that greeted me brought my FloJo impression to a grinding halt. She was seated on the bench, a tiny fragile looking mop, dressed improperly for the weather, shivering and clutching a Hello Kitty backpack.

"Emily?"

She nodded and slid off of the bench. I knew looking around was pointless, whoever left her here was long gone and likely to deliver that boot to the head if I discovered them. Emily grasped my hand in her five-year-old grip, turned those beautiful blue eyes up to me and gave a sad smile. "Can we go home now?" she asks as if I were picking her up from ballet.


"Mulder, you'd better be packing chicken broth and TheraFlu or so help me I'll—"

Yeah, I knew this would shut her up. She had crept out of her cave when she heard my key in the lock, but as she took in the accessory I was packing, her features changed from sick face to all out astounded.

And not let's forget speechless.

Emily ran to her mother, blonde braids and knobby knees and all. "Momma," she squealed as she clutched a still gawking Scully around her waist. Scully fired off a look to me over the clinging girl and I shot her my best 'I don't know look,' to which she answered with the 'we will talk later face'.

Oh man, do we have this communication thing down or what? Team Builders SchmeamBuilders.


"You wanna fill me in on what is going on Mulder? Or should I wait for the usual and follow the trail of smoke?" She wasn't mad, but after having to wait for three hours to get the story out of me, she was a little antsy. Neither one of us wanted to talk in front of Emily, and I didn't feel comfortable interrogating Emily—of course that was all subject to change in ten years when I catch her climbing into her bedroom window at 3am. But I digress.

"Strange phone call, shadowy informant, time and location, badda-bing, badda-bang, Emily."

"I'm serious Mulder." She huffed. "And I am removing your copy of Goodfellas."

I told her all I knew, left nothing out. It was all a one paragraph statement, there was not much more to tell. When I finished Scully fell back onto the couch "So, I take it you are off to see the Wizards?" she intoned finally.

"Yeah Dorothy, and I think we need to get her checked out in the morning, make sure she is ok."

"Way ahead of you Mulder," she smiled waving a piece of paper in front of my face. "We have a full day tomorrow, she's going to see the pediatrician, and then we are going to get some blood work done."

"How are you feeling, Scully?" I asked, already cringing ready to hear her stock answer.

"Honestly Mulder." She began, holy shit, did she just say honestly?? Are we going to talk real feelings here Scully? 'Cause I gotta tell you, this conversation is going on in my head, but my heart is doing jumping jacks.

"Honestly," she repeated as if surprised herself. "I'm a little worried, I don't know if I can go through this again. Part of me is holding back, not wanting to get hurt again."

"I know Scully, I know." My arm finds its way around her shoulder, offering comfort that I now know she will accept. We have been together for a whole month, and had I known sex with Scully would have eradicated the 'I'm Fine' I would have made the naked pretzel with her a long time ago.

"I was so happy to see her Mulder, and she remembers us." Scully scooted closer into me as she spoke. "Its so overwhelming, the joy, and so overwhelming the fear and pain." Man when she opens up she really opens up, Scully has gone from Fort Knox to 7-Eleven in zero to sixty.

"Maybe there is no hidden agenda here Scully; maybe someone thinks we should be happy." I realized how Pollyanic I sound and am rewarded with the LOOK.

"Mulder you are one of the four most paranoid people I know, we have to be realistic here, that little girl sleeping in my spare room could be a ticking time bomb of sheer agony."

She was right, man if I had a dime for every time I've had to admit that to myself…but again I digress. I knew there was the chance that this was a means to cause more pain, and on the drive over to Scully's apartment this afternoon I had considered veering off to the guys first, and breaking it to her later after I had the answers, but that probably would have landed me a return to my couch, and once you've had honey…In the end my need to make Scully happy had won out. I wanted to play Hero, so sue me. Besides, my Spidey senses were telling me that this was a good thing, and you always gotta go with the Spidey senses.

I kissed her and promised to be back soon.


Frohike wasn't much help, Byers wasn't too hopeful, and Langley, well once we got him off Battle.net he promised to do some poking around. By the time I got back to Scully's she was passed out in bed amongst a mass of wadded up tissues and bottles of Maalox. Stepping around the bucket, which I strategically placed on her side of the bed, I found myself spooned around her.


"Yuck, I am NOT eating THAT." Emily frowned at the bran flakes as if toxic waste had just been placed in front of her. "Don't you have any fun cereals?" she whined.

"I'd been saying that for years," I muttered low enough for only Emily to hear.

"You're not helping either, Mulder."

"I'm a KID," Emily whined as if informing us of something that we did not know. "Not a heart patient."

To my credit, I did try not to laugh. I knew that if I did, I would be accused of encouraging her, and that would land me in the same doghouse that I knew Emily was headed to. But by the time I saw the look of seriousness on Emily's face, I was a goner. Scully, fighting a smile herself, gave in, uncharacteristically. "I know Sweetie." She offered. "You can help pick out some cereal when we go to the store ok?"

"Me too?" I ask, half seriously, half trying to remove the imminent threat.

"Sure Mulder," she smiled "Only if you take us out to breakfast before we hit the doctors."

Deal.


"She's fine Mulder, perfectly healthy in every way." Scully had been so excited at the news; she called me from the doctor's office. "And yes her blood is red, no anemia, no health problems, " I could hear the relief in Scully's voice, I wanted to do an end zone dance, but sitting outside of Skinner's office precluded me from more than sporting a shit eating grin. A giant shit eating grin.

"That's great Scully, are you on your way here for the blood work?" I asked trying to sound as professional as I could. In all honesty the only other time I can remember feeling this damn relieved was the day Scully's cancer went into remission.

"We'll be there in twenty Mulder, meet me at the lab?" It was a question, surrounded by a request, wrapped up in an order. That's my Scully.

"Is there a problem?" I asked a little too quickly.

"No just something I want to check out." She hung up then, that disconnection spoke volumes, mostly saying that she was not sure of something and wanted to find out before she told me. Scully was never one to go off halfcocked: that was my gig. If she got a bead on something, unless it was life or death, she had to run it through her scientific methods, make sure every I was dotted and every PCR was cross matched—twice.

"How's Agent Scully?" Skinner asked from the doorway.

"She's getting better; she should be slicing and dicing again soon." I grinned.

"Good, seems that there is a backlog of paperwork and I am not going to let you insult my intelligence by telling me you do your fair share."

"Yes Sir." I smiled.

I am sure that a meeting went on, that open cases were discussed, and past cases were examined, but in all honesty, all I could think about was the fact that Emily was ok, that she wasn't going to explode and start oozing green slime. Vivid I know, but after all I have seen, I have no choice but to be vivid.

Scully was waiting for me at Quantico, Emily seated at the chair as she drew her blood. I don't envy you kid, I thought as I shuddered at my distaste of needles.

"Don't get too comfy Mulder." She shot at me, not even looking up. "You're next."

"Me?" I sputtered in my best twelve year old indignation. "Why?"

She flashed me the 'we'll talk later' look and mentally began to psyche myself up for the attack.

"Don't worry." Emily smiled. "These needles aren't so bad." Her admission sank my heart, and I could tell by the flash of emotions across Scully's face, she felt it too. We had known that Emily was created for experimentation, but somehow her words drove it home.

"You know Scully," I said in a low tone as she placed the tourniquet around my arm. "If you want to play doctor we can…OW!" She had answered my offer with bloodletting. Oh well, "Cowboys and Indians it is then." I muttered as I rubbed my arm. We left the blood at the lab, in the capable hands of our usual favorite tech.

She didn't ask who the kid was or why we were there, simply took the blood and promised to get back to us as soon as possible. She even offered to put a rush on it. We spent the afternoon in man hell. That's the Mall for those of you who don't know. Emily needed things, and Scully wanted to get them. Me, I was there to sit in the uncomfortable chairs and pay. We all had our roles.


By the time we got back to Scully's apartment there was a large imposing looking envelope on her kitchen table. If Emily was at all affected by the uniform drawing of our weapons she did not show it, she scooted behind Scully as I tripped through the apartment checking every room. That's me, Last Action Hero.

"It's clear," I stated when I returned to the living room where Scully was busy eyeing the info inside the package.

"Birth certificate," she said with a funny tone. I looked at the proffered item and nearly choked

"Is this for real?" I asked as I scanned the document placing it into my mental file.

"It looks real, immunization records, medical records." She kept right on as if the bomb had not gone off. Emily was too busy going through her new toys to notice. Hey Scully, how's that white elephant?

"Scully? Did you happen to notice the birth certificate?"

"I read it." She spoke in that same non-interested tone.

"Is that why you drew my blood too?" I asked trying to get anything more than three words out of her.

"She has the same blood type." She spoke shakily. "AB positive is not all that rare—what can I say? I had a Mulder moment." She grinned.

Well knock me across my head and call me stupid. "She's mine."

"We will know for sure when the PCR comes in."

"She's mine," I restate. "Yeah," she agreed, nodding.

"What?" I ask her noticing the odd look on her face.

"Nothing," She insists, then "I have to get used to the idea of having to share her Mulder."

I kind of had an idea this was coming, it's not like Scully is not a giving person, but all during Emily's 'death' she was very closed off about it, internalizing everything and holding it in. I could not have gotten through her walls with a bulldozer and a gallon of Chunky Monkey. Finding out that she is mine put a new spin on an old tale. Not only were we unwittingly made parents, but Scully was starting to feel guilty about keeping her to herself.

"Mulder," she began in a low tone.

"Don't go there Scully, I was sort of a jerk then too, it's not like I was real easy to talk to then. I came to San Diego and made you feel like shit because you wanted to help a little girl. All I could see was a lab rat. If anyone should be feeling guilty right now it's me. I could not even look at my own daughter in her grave…"

"Let's not Mulder," she spit out, effectively reeling me back from It's All My Fault Lane.

I nodded in agreement and hugged her to me, wanting to feel with her this new joy, up until now this was Scully's joy she let me share in. Now this was something between the two of us. She was OURS.

Scully had turned the envelope upside down to try to find some clue anything from where it came from, and that is when we found it. The Note.

THERE ARE MORE.


There were decisions to be made, but in all honesty I was not in the mood to go into them. But Scully, being Scully, decided as we lay in bed that night after making love, she needed to get some things out into the open. Let it never be said that Scully could not take advantage of a captive audience. "Mulder. I want to find them."

"I know, me too. They're ours."

Looking back from my vantage point now, I think maybe we were greedy, maybe we weren't sure of what we were getting into. It's possible we were riding the high of almost having everything we ever wanted that led us to these lofty ideals of family and obligations and responsibilities. Looking back, all I can say now is be careful what you wish for, it just may come true.


PART TWO

Three Months Later

To say that we settled into some mystical routine, ran off into the sunset and lived happily ever after would be a lie, and me, I have always been about the truth. SO to tell the truth, the honeymoon ended after Emily's first week. The once shy solemn five-year-old became a rambunctious, mouthy kindergartener.

At one point, Scully and I had tried to ask her about her past, to which we were met with what could best be described as an all-out tantrum. Emily did not want to talk about the two years between her death and new life. While she excelled at school, she had a hard time socially.

A well meaning parent, who had noticed Emily's dark disposition, and social ineptitude, suggested we give her a sibling. Had I not been there, I am sure Scully would have performed a live brain resection right then and there.

Did I ever mention she keeps a spare scalpel in her purse? Never know when a dead body is going to fall on you in this line of work. To add to the 'joys' of parenthood, Scully and I had been at odds as how to proceed, work, relationship, and even basic childrearing were all topics hotly debated in bed.

We weren't falling apart, and no one had any thoughts of leaving, it was just our way. We argued over things as most people would have foreplay. Hell it made for great sex afterwards. See I told you my Scully knew a captive audience.

For one, she did not want to give up the X-files. I know what you are all thinking out there, that would be my line right? Nope. Scully had long decided that stopping alien colonization could be penciled in somewhere between PTA meetings and ballet lessons.

Me? Well I was ready to trade in my gun and badge for a pipe and slippers. I had never thought of that kind of life before, never even imagined that I could have what I had now. I had given up my apartment and moved in permanently with Scully. There was no discussion there; we just sort of did it. No arguing, funny huh? Amidst all of the crap she and I could find one singularity of thought and act upon it. Part of me believed it was a respite, not fighting on living arrangements left us free to use all of our energy to fight over all the other things. Like marriage.

To tell the truth, I wanted to marry her, I even kept a ring in my desk, just waiting, just in case. Scully was the one pushing for the 'to have and to hold' thing. She being Catholic by birth and therefore guilty by nature, had long pontificated on the extols of holy matrimony. To tell the truth, it had become a bargaining chip. I had reasoned that the minute she decided to give up on the FBI and become full time nobodies, I would marry her. Scully believed that as soon as we got married, she would consider cutting back some of her hours in the field. Can you say Mexican standoff?

I know what you are thinking; the great Fox Mulder is giving up, allowing the beasts to roam free upon the Earth. That is not entirely true, I did care what happened to the world, I now had a daughter that I loved and wanted to see through all the normal life changes, none of that list included alien colonization. I cared, but maybe I just did not have the fight in me I once had.

During one of our 'discussions' regarding leaving the FBI, she pointed out that maybe this was all due to the truths that I had discovered about my sister. That maybe in that single solitary moment where I embraced a phantom image in some cosmic start field, I had let go of the desire to save humanity due to the loss of her. But the real kicker is I did want to save Humanity--mine.

Call it selfish, but I felt a sudden need to wrap the world in foam rubber and dig a hole deep enough for the three of us to live in, only peeking our heads out as spectators, not participants. It was never our intention to hold hostage Emily in the middle of this, and never our desire to have her grow up in a house of sin either, we were just two people trying to live our lives on our own terms, and dragging the others in our lives along with it. It never occurred to either of us that fate or God or whatever would decide to step in and settle matters once and for all that some greater truth would fall into our lives and force us, if not into a decision, then to sit down at the table for some serious renegotiations.


"Stop running through the house Emily!" I shouted over the din of her pitter patter of little feet.

"It's not a house, Dad. It's an apartment." Did I mention she had started calling me that? Not in the way you think, I was dad when she was either in need of something she could not do without, or when she was displaying that smart ass nature of hers. I honestly have no idea where she got that from.

"OOOkay," I muster turning from my seat in front of the computer, trying to remember how much I truly love her "Stop running in the apartment."

"When will Momma be home?" she asked in a dismissive manner. Yeah, really gotta find the one responsible for that stubborn streak.

As if on cue, a pale shaky Scully comes through the door, she did not look like good news. "Mulder, we need to talk." She mentioned as she headed straight for the negotiation room, or bedroom as most people call it.

"What's up Scully?" I asked after shutting the door to ensue the cone of silence. I had bribed Emily with Little Debbies and Nickelodeon. Anyone who said that TV was not a proper distraction for children never had any to begin with.

She inhaled deeply and flopped herself back onto the mattress. "I'm pregnant," she said to the ceiling.

217 Black Ops agents could have stormed the bedroom at that point, shot me full of hollow pointed bullets and then danced naked in a semi-circle, and still I would have not moved.

"Are you sure?" Good Mulder, words are good.

"I'm a DOCTOR Mulder," she pronounced it slowly as if she were explaining it to well, me.

Words are bad Mulder, very bad. So I decided to take my own advice and shut up for what felt like three days. I sat down on the bed next to her and pondered a better form of communication, because nothing I was going to say would come out the right way.

"And before you say it Mulder, yes I know it is supposed to be impossible, but aren't you the King of the extreme possibility?" she smiled then, grasping my hand in hers. I still was listening to inner Mulder and decided to for once in my life I would listen and count my words very carefully.

"Ok," I answered, having decided that those were safe to use.

"Are you mad?" she asked, and that was when I knew, that barring some unforeseen tragedy, this baby was a permanent reality, a tangible inevitable issue.

"No, not mad, just—shocked." I finally manage to offer a smile, not the hundred watt one she was looking for, but not a grimace either. The happy medium seemed to be enough for her, for she returned my smile with one of her own.

"I can't believe this." She adds, still grinning. And so it began.


"Mulder, god I hate talking to these things…Get your monkey ass down here when you get this, and destroy this tape when you are done." The answering machine's only offering for a whole day, and it had to be one third of the stooges. Frohike had a weird note to his voice, a cadence that I could not understand. When I had heard nothing from them from my initial inquiries, I had assumed that no news was no news.

When I'm wrong, I'm wrong. After scribbling a quick note to inform the two women in my life of my whereabouts, I quickly headed in the direction of Paranoia central.

Frohike dragged me into the lair before I even had a chance to knock. "Man, what took you so long? And when did you stop answering your cell phone?" he quipped.

"When it gets locked in my car along with my keys, wallet and everything else I need to get home with. What is all this about? I know you didn't drag me out here to find out about my day. Now spill."

The three exchanged glances between each other, neither one not sure of what to say or how to start. It gave me the creeps, because these guys were always ready to talk about the truth. Hell they were ready to talk about almost anything.

Byers stood shifting his weight between his feet before clearing his throat and speaking. "There was a little matter you asked us to look into about three months ago, around the time you acquired a certain…package." He nervously glanced over to Frohike as if asking for some kind of back up.

"They had decided to close down the project, every couple had a letter." Langley spoke, shoving a stack of files into my hands. "While we couldn't find out a lot of information we did find…"

My tolerance for the Stooges was wearing as thin as Scully's attempt at homemade Spaghetti sauce, who knew Irish Catholics in Baltimore added ketchup? "Guys, this better be leading somewhere…" When all else fails, offer threats, that's it Mulder, go with your strong points.

"We did a check on the net, followed a few leads-"

"Liberated a few key pieces from some unwitting databases." Langley interrupted.

Byers went on trying to ignore Langley. "We stumbled across, that is to say…" Byers stopped, swallowing hard. "We found some tangible evidence…"

"There are a lot of kids out there that are wards of the state that have no known background Mulder. There were twelve couples used in the project. All unknowing contributed DNA. You and er Agent Scully were the fifth ones used, they were still trying to perfect the process when they hit a snag."

"El Rico." I nodded.

"Yeah," Byers agreed. "So here they are all these children with no parents, no background. The pattern kinda found us. We had been banging our heads against a brick firewall, trying to come up with a constant that would lead us down the right trail…"

"Blondie here got the idea to go backwards. What if we narrowed our search to the date of the El Rico fires?" Frohike grinned. "It was magic, that's how we got all of our information. But we still needed to find the E series."

"We cross checked two or three government sites, and man did we hit pay dirt," Langley added shaking his head in awe.

"We have…uh…located some of …uh-" Byers stammered.

"Oh for Christ's sake…Byers grow a set. Mulder we found two more, as a matter of fact they are sitting in the back room now." Frohike hooked a thumb towards the back of their office where God only knew what went on during a normal business day.

"They're here?" I asked, realizing I sounded like that girl from the movie. The syncopated nods gave me my confirmation.

Without another word I stormed off into the back of the offices, threw open the first door I came to and stopped dead in my tracks.


"Scully." She did not sound like the happy Scully; this was not a good sign.

"Scully, it's me." I wasn't sure if she would be happy to hear from me or want to know where I had been.

"Mulder where are you?" she demanded. Bingo.

"I'm on my way home…Scully, is Emily asleep?" it was a dangerous conversation, and I did not want to have it within earshot of any of the children. Throw in hormones and I could be in for riding around in the back of Scully's car with another gunshot wound. I'll take my chances.

"Yeah she passed out about three hours ago, and I was just on my way to do the same." Scully punctuated this statement with a rather loud yawn.

"Scully, I'm on my way there now, I need you to stay up til I get there, don't wake Em, ok?" Maybe it was my voice, or the fact that the hormones were the good ones today. Who knows, but she agreed happily and even sounded like she looked forward to me coming home.

To say she was shocked to be staring at perfect identical replicas of our daughter would be an understatement. Upon greeting the three of us at the door, she clutched my arm and dragged me inside. "Mulder?" she asked, lip quivering. "What, did you find a two for one sale?" She didn't even skip a beat. My Scully.

"Scully. I think we may have a problem…" I helped her make up a spot on the couch for the two girls. They had not spoken since I found them, silently holding each other's hand the entire time. Scully watched them for what seemed like hours before her curiosity got the better of her. She made her way for our bedroom in a manner that left for no argument. I followed her into the cone of silence ready to spill my guts.

After getting her caught up, her face became a mask of confusion. "It never dawned on me that we would actually find them, and healthy at that. Mulder I had prepared myself to say goodbye, not to…" she stopped there, but I knew what she had really wanted to say. As much as she wanted to be a mother, between Emily and the pregnancy, she had felt that she had bitten off more than she could even spit back into her plate. I tried not to be angry, I understood, this was not what she had in mind for happily ever after. "So, what do you want to send them back?" I asked, maybe a little too harshly.

"No, that's not what I am saying Mulder. I, we have so much yet to do. I don't see how this could not affect that."

"Scully, we have had our share of pain and anguish, and I for one am ready to step aside and let someone else deal with it for a while. What we have been given here is a chance to right a wrong, maybe not on a grand scale, but there are three little girls out there that need us."

"I know that Mulder, don't you think I realize that? But I made a promise to Missy, what about her justice? What about everyone else who has died in the name of the truth?" she was really worked up, I could tell because the tips of her little ears were all red.

Focus Mulder, Focus. "What about their justice, Scully?" I was angry and aroused at the same time; it's a lethal combination and one that only Scully seemed to foster. "What happens to them if we turn them away?"

She looked away from me, and I knew she had been thinking it. I knew while she was ready to stay with me, she wasn't ready to stay with the safer less pose able action Mulder. "I don't know, Mulder; this isn't fair to anyone in this situation." She had started to pace, this was not like her, there was more going on, and I just had to get to the bottom of it.

"Scully, what is really bothering you? Is it giving up the x-files? Is it us? What has got you looking like a deer caught in headlights?" I knew the only way to get anything with her was the straight approach; Scully could spot Profiler Mulder at fifty paces.

Scully stopped pacing, flopped onto the bed and sighed. "I don't want to give up Mulder, I don't rant to stop. I know that in a few months I'll be out of commission for a while. But I don't want to wind up teaching a class at Quantico." She looked at me with such honesty that I felt my breath hitch. "And how do we explain them? Adopting a single girl is ok. How do we explain all of them?"

"Adopt? Scully have you told your family that Emily is ours?" Oh boy here we go.

"It's not like that Mulder…" Of course it wasn't. We had taken Emily to Maggie's enough times. She was thrilled with her and had clucked over the little girl enough times, and yet….

"Then what is it Scully, please explain it to me. They already know you're pregnant, what is the problem with them knowing that I am Em's father?" It hurt, yeah, but there was more here that I was missing. She pulled her knees up, resting her head on her chin. "I can't Mulder, I can barely explain it to myself. Em being mine is one thing, Em being created by both of us makes me feel like all those years…"

"That they would all feel you were lying to them?" I finished.

Bingo. Scully hated nothing more than lying, it was more against her nature than her plowing through the mud pits at Woodstock 2000. Oh damn, didn't need that image. She smiled a little and nodded. "Yeah, silly huh?" she offered leaning into me.

"No Scully," I soothed. "Not silly. But that is the least of our problems right now. Right now we have to figure out what we are going to do with THREE identical….clones? Triplets?"

"God Mulder, how are we going to explain all of this?"

"Well, this would go a long way to blow the top off of a certain government cover up…."I hedged.

"I don't think that is fair to those girls Mulder. If it were you or I that had proof undeniable, I would be the first one shouting from the top of the Capital. But you and I both know what would, or should I say, will happen if we did that."

She had gone into Mother Bear mode, something I found intensely arousing. Ok I admit it, there was very little about this woman that wasn't immensely arousing to me.

"I know Scully, but there has to be something here that we can use to our advantage. The clock is ticking…"

"This from the man who wants to get away from it all?" she sneered.

"I never meant to give up Scully; I just want what most men my age take for granted." Years of viewing family had led me to the assumptions that they were not something I would ever have. In my line of work, I got to witness a lot of the dark side of family life. Murders, incest, child custody battles, parents who cared more for their next hit than if their kids ate a decent meal everyday.

And yet, with all that I had seen, each time I jogged past a happy little family scene, I could not help myself. The names unknown, but the faces always melted into the same. Scully. I wanted it yeah; does that make me a bad person? Should I care more about the fate of the world? The universe is expanding everyday at an accelerated rate, and all the egg-headed science geeks over at NASA all agree its going to blow. I don't see anyone trying to stop THAT. Why should the fate of this planet fall directly unto our shoulder?

"You are giving up, Mulder. You still drag into the office every day, you still read those files. But you lost your love of it." Scully shook her head as if she herself could not believe it. "When Michael Jordan retired…"

"Which time?" I smiled. "That's just it Mulder. He didn't come back for the money, or the fame. His body gave out, but the love was still there. He had still tried to buy into a piece of the game."

If the topic had been less serious, and had I not been already sporting a full on, I would have right then. "Dear diary, now she is spouting on about basketball…"

"I'm serious Mulder."

"So what are you saying Scully? I have no love for the game?"

"Exactly."

Damn, she was right again. I didn't know how to go about trying to find that love again. It was as if everything I had felt for the truth had been replaced with this undying love for a certain MD. "I don't know what to say Scully. I haven't been the same since…"

"Samantha," she finished. We sat in a self-induced silence for what seemed like hours. What could be said? She had her reasons to want to continue the fight. I had my reasons for wanting to bail. Yes, a lot of it had to do with the loss of Samantha, but there was so much more. How many times could I be shot, locked on a doomed train, clubbed upside the head….

And, let's not forget all the fun ER visits.

"So," I had finally remembered what had led us onto this topic in the first place. "What do we do about them?"

"Three Mulder." She sighed. "I know I said I wanted to find them, but I thought we would be helping them into the next life not three healthy girls."

"Whatever happens, Scully, we make a decision now and live with it. And it's gonna have to be right now cause Em is going to be awake soon and I have no plans on introducing her to sisters that are not going to stay." OO that's it Mulder put your foot down.

"They're staying, Mulder." She was firm in her answer, but her eyes were so sad. "I just have to acclimate myself with what we have to give up." It was one of those moments in life where a decision was made, and whatever was said after would make or break the future.

I had a solution, hell I had one for a while, ever since she told me about being pregnant. I was not proud of the solution, but I was damn glad with what the results would be. That is if she went for it. See, Scully wanted to find the answers; she wanted to find out what had happened to her and continued to plague mankind. Scully had come along in my quest, but now I fear it has become hers.

"We can't go on like this, Mulder. For the last three months we have been doing this little dance around. Emily spends more time at my mother's than with us. She won't talk about where she has been or what has been done to her. All we have is that little girl as any kind of proof, and I won't parade her or the others around as some sort of consortium side show freak."

I nodded, how could I argue with that? "I am afraid of what this means for us, Scully."

"What it means is that we have reached a point where a choice finally has to be made. No more standoffs. This is not about the last man standing, because we have chosen to keep those girls and not to mention the present situation..." Oh yeah, the baby, THAT situation. "…precludes us from maintaining the life that we have lead for the past seven odd years."

She looked away from me before she continued. "And I have to be honest, Mulder; it's a life I am having a hard time letting go of."

This is where the hero can go either way. Step in and start making a list of demands, followed by a heartfelt romantic notion. I could sit here and start to dictate to Scully what I wanted now. Her guilt had served well; she had obviously been gnawing herself over the situation. Though I have hence pontificated over the wants of a family and some singular notion of what happiness could be, I had to face a cold harsh idea. The fight had to go on, the world could end, which meant that the happy little fantasy that I had entertained would also thusly cease to exist too.

Basically, someone still had to fight, and given the fact that there were no other takers, it had to be us. "I have a solution, Scully."

I smiled, time to play my hand and clear the table. Seems a full house beats two of a kind.


Two Years Later

We all make sacrifices, every day without even realizing it. Like sitting through a Lifetime movie instead of the NBA playoffs, just for the sheer joy of sharing the couch with the one you love. A sacrifice in baseball usually resulted in a better advantage, sure you would not drive in the winning run, but the team could not score without you.

I

was not happy about not being able to have Scully's back anymore. But we both agreed that she would not take any unnecessary risks, and my new position had charges of its own. I had to sacrifice my need to overprotect Scully, and learn to not take responsibility for pains in her life that I did not inflict. Scully, in turn promised no to be gone in the field any longer than she needed to be, and that she would call home if she were late: I promised that I would not over react when she got hurt and in turn she promised to not keep me out of the loop.

Negotiations, all marriages have them whether spoken or implied. I had to insist on no jokes about Mr. Mom, and no calling me the little woman. Fox Mulder, part time psychologist, and full time Captain Dad. It wasn't too bad. That first night we had talked and had hatched a plan, I figured what would be so bad? I could be the silent partner. All I had to give up was my freedom and my eternal soul.

Done, and done.

We had decided that the three girls, oh yeah they all have names. Emily, Eleanor, and Eve. We weren't too happy about that last name, given the idea of cloning, and murder, but we got over it. They are all three remarkable girls. All in second grade now, each in separate classes. Scully and I had decided to give them as much individuality as we could, even going so far as to give them each their own room. No small feat once Will arrived.

Scully isn't home as much as I like, and we have more sex on the phone than we do in bed. But it is a good life and one that while was not in my dream, a compromise of two existences that could not exist without the other. I pass by other families now as I am pushing my son around in his Little Tykes wagon. I no longer envy them. I have what they have, and so much more. IF Scully was not vigilant, if either one of us had caved to the other, we would not be here, but neither would they. If I had to choose one person to save the world, I would pick my red headed, enigmatic wife every single time.

Acton Mulder can do faithful sidekick.

So, I guess this is where we started huh? Eleanor has a hell of a breaking ball, and I am on my way to cheer her on. Will is in the back seat murmuring along to the music, Emily and Eve are both sporting too cool to be seen at a little league game looks. And me. Well I'm one happy lucky son of a bitch. Show's over folks, nothing to see here.

The End


Written in response to TNF and Erin Blair's Emily's Alive challenge http://mulderscreek.com/tnf/challenge17.html

Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most......

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