Title: Familial Survivors
Author: Jacquie LaVa
Category: Post-Col, V, Angst
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimers: Well, as soon as I strike a deal with the clones...
Spoilers: not really

Summary: 'He's been a fighter and a lover...' (Sequel to Living on Love)

Dedication: For Jenna on her birthday. Happiest of birthdays, my sweet!

Thanks to: Tess, as always a friend and partner, beta and one-woman cheering section! Also thanks to Meridy and Rose for their look-over and thumbs-up!

He's never been so afraid in his life.

He's seen some things, in his years on this earth. Unbelievable. Miraculous.

Hideous. Uplifting and spiritual; nightmarish and hellish. He's been a fighter and a lover, a frightened boy and a courageous man... and through those years he'd always prided himself on the courage that he'd grown into.

Now he would give anything for some bravery, for it seems as though he's lost it all.

So much blood.

It stains the white sheets under the writhing body of his wife. Beneath her tangle of sweat-soaked hair her face is paler than eggshells, gray-tinged and with smudged shadows under her blue eyes. Thin hands twist into the cotton, veins showing bluish and corded along her arms as a result of the strength in her grip. All of her energy, waning though it is... all of it is concentrated in one area of her pain-wracked body - in the distended stomach and the heaving womb, fighting to give life -

To deliver their baby. Jesus Lord give her strength...

He chants it to himself as he pries one of her hands loose and holds it tightly.

He can feel the desperation in her fingers, the fear that matches his own. He strokes her wet hair from her forehead with his free hand and locks eyes with her as another contraction shudders through her body. She opens her mouth to scream, but no sound emerges - her voice died out, an hour ago when the pain had become so unbearable that she'd screamed herself hoarse. But the length of this contraction equals the amount of time her mouth hangs open, silent and damp with the tears pouring down her face - and when it's over her eyes close wearily and she sobs quietly.

His sobs are not so quiet, but they last as long.

In retrospect he supposed they were insane to attempt another child. But oh, they'd wanted one, so badly. It was the worst possible timing, both of them acknowledged it. The world was so fucked up, had been in that condition for years. Hell, he'd known all the risks and let her persuade him. Had in turn persuaded her...

"Oh baby... don't you know how much I want to have a little girl, with you?

Maybe with your pretty eyes and sweet mouth. I want that, so badly. But it's not safe, right now. God, it's barely safe for us! And Willy..." That was as far as he'd gotten, before her wet blue eyes had dried up in a hurry and had gone from drenched to red-rimmed and blazing hot. She'd faced him down.

"Don't tell me about Willy! I KNOW about Willy; I cry every day of my life for him! Three years, it's been three fucking years-" Her voice split and broke and splintered all over him, cutting his skin, marking him deeply. Her shoulders slumped and he caught them between his hands, pulled her close, accepted her tears, which spilled over his collar. He rocked her a little, and she held his head in her hands and whispered, "I'm sorry, sorry, so sorry," and he nodded and kissed her cheek and her hair and whispered back that yes, he knew and he was so sorry and love you so much...

Three months later she was pregnant.

He wanted to call her mother, hours ago. She wouldn't let him. Then he begged her to let him call a doctor. Again, she refused.

"For Christ's sake... I'M a doctor! It's not safe to have anyone here, you know that. It's all right; I'm not dilated that much yet. Please don't call. Not yet, I promise if it gets to be too much you can call-" The rest of her words got swallowed up in another hard contraction.

That was hours ago. And it's too much, he knows it. Now, it's too much. Besides, he's already called. But he won't tell her; she'd only worry needlessly. And right now she needs all of her waning strength. If he could pour his energy into her marrow, he'd do it - he'd give her his life at this very moment if he could.

He can't lose her. Not now. Not after all they've had to endure...

The day they lost Willy was a black day they barely survived.

Both of them, arrogant as can be - both convinced they could protect their son.

Throughout the months of rumor and speculation concerning colonization, when it was dangerous to even breathe... they kept their confidence, that they and no one else could safeguard their precious child. Their perfect, more-than-human child...

When he died it about killed them both.

Yes, Willy was perfect. Yes, he should have lived a very, very long life - but there was an anomaly in him, something that shouldn't have been there - something that he was born with. Neither of them really understood because they were still unsure of what they were dealing with, in the birth and life of their child.

They had three wonderful years with him. Three years of knowing and loving a sweet little boy with dark hair and blue eyes and a smile that stretched from one side of their world to the other. And even though the real world outside their window was crashing down around their ears, even though they'd promised each other that if colonization hit in their lifetime, they'd find a way to hide themselves away, and protect their family... in the end the enemy wasn't outside that window.

The enemy was inside their son... and nothing could have struck with more venom.

One day he was playing with his fire trucks, sitting in the middle of their small living room, snug in their cabin and with snow falling silently outside their Christmas-decorated window - and the next day he was gone. Just like that.

Christmas Day, he laughed and opened his gifts and played with his trucks and ate too much turkey and gravy, like his Daddy. He made a snowman and drank two cups of cocoa to warm himself, splashed and giggled in the bathtub and snuggled under warm blankets, eyes drooping sleepily as his Mommy read him a bedtime story.

In the middle of the night his screams filled the air.


They rushed into his room, in time to see their precious boy thrashing on his little bed, pajamas soaked in sweat, convulsing. For one tiny second they both stood frozen in the doorway of his room, numbed minds disbelieving what they were seeing - and that second was long enough to draw one final, violent shudder from Willy - long enough for the first drops of black and oily mucus to bubble from his small nose.

He died in their arms.

It would be months later before they discovered that their child had been a walking time bomb, the anomaly in his body triggered by the initial colonization sequence, the threat that finally became real. He was not the only fatality, either - reports would begin to trickle in, reports of children of various ages, all dying in the same horrible manner. It would hit the news, but only briefly - as the colonizers found a way to silence the news, quite effectively. It was the beginning of the new world they'd all known was coming - and also the beginning of the end of everything they would hold dear.

The most difficult knowledge of course, was not knowing - what the trigger truly was, where it would strike again, IF it would strike - and whom. Why it only seemed to strike children between the ages of one and seventeen - children who seemed perfectly healthy. How many were in danger - it was impossible to know.

They took their grief, and they went into deeper hiding. Apparently the colonizers either got what they wanted early on in the procedure and didn't care about anyone else, or they were stupid enough to let key people in the overall scheme slip through their grasps. What mattered was they got away - and somehow found a way to go on. To live as best as they could - to survive in a world gone crazy.

To mourn the loss of a son, and decide how in hell they were going to discover any peace, and closure...

He tries not to look at the clock. They should have been here by now. Her mother, God, how he wants her here. She has been his support and sometimes-anchor, in this topsy-turvy world. A strong pair of arms and a stronger heart, she became his mother, too - a long time ago. He needs her bolstering presence, now more than ever. For both of them - for all three of them, when his child finally makes her presence known.

Yes, they know it's a girl, currently causing his wife so much pain. They have no way of knowing if she will be born with this same anomaly, the one that took her big brother. It was one of the greatest risks they took, when the decision was made to try again. It's their greatest fear, too - that they will lose her.

Yet, they had to try.

The contractions are almost non-stop, now. Her strength is alarmingly drained, and he's resorted to praying aloud, as he grips both of her hands and watches her incredible fight - and waits for their child to be born. The baby's head hasn't crowned yet - there isn't a thing he can do yet, to help her - and as she struggles he sobs openly.

The night they chose to try again started as yet another day of despair.

They'd tended their garden and worked around their little cabin, a different one in another anonymous small place in another obscure area populated by other folks who were struggling to make it the same way they were. And even though they only lived a hundred or so miles from their first cabin - and their family - they nonetheless felt reasonably safe to remain this close.

He'd come in with a load of wood to deposit by the fireplace and she smiled at him from the stove where she'd been finishing up supper. In the three years since Will's death they'd both lost weight, from the natural processes of grieving. Their love for each other had been barely enough at times, to keep the nightmares at bay - yet they had managed to get through it. But it had been months since they'd taken the energy and the time to give themselves the romance they'd cut from their lives the night they lost their son. Romance seemed incongruous when compared with the utter pain of losing a child. And yet...

When he walked in and saw her there, stirring his dinner - a soft smile on her face, the first one he'd seen in more months than he could remember - something locked up and buried inside him suddenly let loose and the give of it within his heart almost sent him to his knees. He dropped the load of wood on the floor and his face probably spoke volumes to her because the spoon slipped from her hands and landed in the bubbling pot of chili on the stove. They met in the middle of their tiny living room, found their way into each other's arms and down on the floor in front of the flickering fireplace, in record time. They never made it to the bedroom. They never managed to get their clothes off completely.

What they did manage to do was rekindle so much of the need they'd hidden away much as they'd hidden themselves away, for three years. What they also managed was to reaffirm, with each desperate kiss and every endearment they whispered between them, every nip he took of her skin and each sigh she gasped into his ear when his lips closed hungrily around first one nipple and then the other.

Reaffirmation... in the way his fingers slipped down her body and found her so wet and so ready, after months and months of dryness. Reaffirmation in the first thrust he took inside her and the tightness of the slender legs she clamped around his hips, the puffy moaning breaths she blew into his mouth as they moved against each other, faster and harder and deeper...

The way he threw back his head and shouted when his release bathed her in the heat of eager semen, surging toward a new home. She shuddered and cried out a second or two later, when her climax clamped all around him, still pulsing - and he fought to keep enough breath in his lungs to grind out an uneven, "Hope it's a girl, baby..."

His words made her laugh and cry... and hope.

A stomp on the outside porch causes him to whip his head around, eyes widening in hope and relief as the door opens and slams and his mother-in-law rushes into the bedroom seconds later. She's tearing at her heavy parka and moving to her daughter's side, her gloves still on her hands and her watch cap still jammed on her head. With a teary smile at him she reaches the bed and hurriedly removes her gloves, placing a gentle hand on the forehead of his exhausted wife.

"Sweetie... I'm here, honey..."

Heavy eyes open and stare with unfocused pain up into the beloved face, fresh tears spilling over onto milk-pale cheeks as a hoarsely-croaked, "Mom...? Oh, Mom... it hurts..." reaches his ears.

His mother-in-law blinks back tears of her own, and presses kisses to the damp and pale cheeks. "I know, honey. I need to check you, is that okay? I promise I won't hurt you any more than I have to." Looking up she catches her son-in-law's eyes, gives him a reassuring smile, tells him to get a change of pajamas and some clean sheets.

Grateful to be of use at last, he stumbles to the other room and digs through a basket of folded laundry, stiffening when the cabin door opens again and the sound of a masculine and another feminine voice can be heard over the contraction-induced moans of his wife. He grabs up the clean clothing and sheets, strides into the bedroom - and almost sobs aloud at the welcome sight that greets his tired eyes.

"Oh God, Mom, Dad - I'm so glad you're here..." He's blinking tears out of his blurred vision and his mother and father are embracing him, his father actually rocking him in strong arms while his mother reaches up and kisses him lovingly before she turns and moves to her daughter-in-law's bed, taking a stand at the other side - one small hand reaching across the heaving stomach to warmly clasp the hand of a woman she has learned to treasure as much as a sister - her daughter-in-law's mother.

"Monica... tell me."

Monica smiles through worry and tears, a tender palm stroking her daughter's cheeks. "I think the baby's breech. She's so tired, I don't know if she can help you very much."

A nod and a reassuring, "She won't need to. We're going to do all the work for her and before you know it we'll be holding our brand-new granddaughter. Are you ready?" Blue eyes lock with brown, both sets damp and determined. Monica nods firmly.

"Just tell me what you need, Dana."

William Mulder is one exhausted daddy. And if he's almost comatose he sure knows how his wife must feel.

It's been a nightmarishly long thirty-six hours. Thankfully as soon as their squalling daughter entered the world, Catherine passed out. His mother promptly brought her back to consciousness with a foul-smelling ammonia tablet broken under her nose, then kissed her face and apologized profusely for having to awaken her long enough to have her help with expelling the afterbirth. When it was done Catherine slipped back into sleep and is now snoring a little, a sound that's like music to his ears.

Across the room the grandmothers sit on the loveseat sofa. Between them they coo and smile over a tiny pink-blanket-wrapped bundle. His daughter is blotchy and bald and absolutely beautiful. She only cried once, and Catherine was able to awaken long enough to nurse; actually dozed off before the baby could finish.

Just as well because their daughter fell asleep at her mother's breast and William rescued her and wrapped her up in her blanket before depositing her into the grandmothers' eager arms - all four of them.

William watches his mother brush a tear from her cheek as she gazes down into the baby's sleeping face. He knows what she must be thinking - that this moment was never supposed to come about, not after what happened with Willy.

A large hand cups his shoulder and William looks up into the smiling face of his father, who sits beside him on the larger sofa. Both men regard the scene across the room with tenderness and not a little bit of worry, especially Fox Mulder - who has seen some horrendous things in his sixty-nine years. But he's also seen some miracles... and he's looking at a roomful of them, right now. Children that were never meant to be... a love with his Scully, that transcended everything against it and found ways to survive. Friends that also stayed safe and sound in good health and with blessed longevity, thank you God...

A knock at the door rouses him and Mulder squeezes his son's shoulder again.

"Stay put, Will... I'll get it." With a gentle smile he approaches his wife, kisses her mouth tenderly, whispering, "Hi, Granny..." And she giggles like a teenager as he next presses Monica's cheek in a kiss, before walking to the door and opening it wide.

Against blowing snow and a brisk wind, Mulder stands in the doorway and grins inanely at the man facing him, who grins back just as inanely. The open door invites in the cold but nobody seems to mind, as Mulder manages a hoarse but happy, "Hey, Grandpa... she got here, safe and sound. I think she's got your lack of hair..."

Walter Skinner sends back an equally-hoarse and snappy, "Aah, bite me, Mulder...

as long as she doesn't have your nose-"

Across the room his wife admonishes sternly, "Walt, shut the damn door! And get yourself over here and say 'hello' to your granddaughter..."


"What, Baby?"

"If we can't find a way to baptize her..."

"We'll baptize her, Cat. Don't worry. She'll be baptized exactly on time according to the laws of the Church, even if I have to do it myself."

"Ohh... thank you... But, Will! We need to name her, we never picked out a name!"

"I've got it covered, baby. Remember we talked about it. When you first went into labor. Granted, you were sort of busy at the time... but she's got a name. Margaret Mulder. That's our little girl's name."

"I'm glad we're naming her after your grandmother - no wonder your mom was grinning from ear to ear! But, Will! Did we do the right thing? Do you think she'll live-"

"Yes, Baby. I think she'll live a long life and grow up to be a splendid woman - just like her great-grandmama. Just like you - just like Mom. She'll grow up, baby... this I promise you. She'll grow up."


Have a wonderful birthday, Jenna!

Hope you all enjoyed!

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