Summary: Never apologize.
Author's Note: The story takes place 13 months after 'The Beach', Scully was two months along in that story. Might want to read that one first for this to make sense. This was written for xfsafeharbor's challenge. Thanks to Cathey for the beta.
Scully stood by her best friend in front of the beautifully decorated alter, trying to keep her attention on what the priest was saying, but her eyes kept being drawn to the happy, if not unlikely, couple.
Ellen couldn't keep her eyes off Marcus's face, and Marcus was having a similar problem. To look at them now you wouldn't know that they hated each other in high school. Scully remembered being so disappointed when Ellen and her date had decided to go with another group than the one she and Marcus were going with.
They had met again at the High School reunion which Scully had been unable to attend because she was in the hospital giving birth to Molly.
At the thought of her daughter, her eyes strayed from the couple for the first time since the ceremony had started to the bride's side of the chapel. After little searching her eyes locked with Mulder's, who was holding their baby girl. He gave her a smile and, though it was barely a curve of his lips, warmth from the pit of her stomach spread throughout her entire body.
She returned his smile and turned back just in time to see a dopey expression plastered onto Marcus's face as he said, "I do."
It wasn't possible to feel more out of place than Mulder felt at that moment. He was sitting in a room filled with strangers; he barely knew the bride, had met the groom once, and the only people he did know, his partner and his daughter, were not in the room because it was lunch time for Molly.
Most of the guests were now on the dance floor, which saved him from trying to find common points of interest to talk about. He looked at his watch for the millionth time but was distracted from reading the digits by a light tug on his pant leg. He looked up and saw nothing but empty space, so he looked down and was met with the sight of a little boy with a gapped smile, tousled hair, and a bow tie that he had obviously worked very hard to unclip in his hand.
"Hey buddy," Mulder said and knelt down in front of him so that they were closer to being eye to eye.
"Could you help me tie my shoe?" the boy asked with a little lisp. He lifted his leg to show Mulder his untied shoe but being only two, lost his balance and fell backward, his eyes immediately filling with tears.
Mulder sat down next to him and pulled him onto his lap and patted his back comfortingly. "Hey buddy, its okay. Let's see what we can do about these pesky shoelaces." He tied his shoes and then stood him back up. The gapped smile was back on the boy's face. "Where are your parents?"
"Daddy go bye bye. Mommy over there," he pointed in the general vicinity of the dance floor.
Mulder was about to suggest that they go looking for her when a voice behind him asked, "Michael? Isn't Trent supposed to be watching you?"
It wasn't that she was there that surprised him. What did was that the little boy seemed to recognize the voice just as well as he did. "Dana," Michael cried and ran, kind of, over to her and latched onto her leg, in affect hugging her.
Scully laughed and, after handing Molly to Mulder, who had just stood up, picked Michael up.
"Hello my baby Romeo." She then proceeded to exaggeratedly kiss all over his face until he was squealing and laughing with delight. She pulled back and smiled down at him. Michael smiled back and tucked his head in the crook of her neck. Finally, Scully looked up and met Mulder's slightly amused gaze. "So you met Ellen's younger son and my little godson."
"I did indeed. And you fed my little girl here?
"She's fed and ready for her daddy to carry her around while she falls asleep."
Realizing that Molly wasn't going to last much longer, they went to find someone who could watch Michael and to say goodbye to people. The first people they found were Ellen's parents. They gladly took over the care of Michael but wouldn't let them go immediately.
"Wasn't it a beautiful ceremony?" Ellen's mom gushed.
"It was perfect."
Ellen's father nodded in agreement and gesture to Mulder and Molly, "And who are these two?"
"This is Fox Mulder and this," she lightly ran her hand over Molly's downy soft head, "is our daughter, Molly Jeannette Mulder."
Ellen's mother immediately began to coo over the quickly fading baby. "Oh, she's so adorable. When was she born?"
"Dana, why didn't you tell us you got married?" she admonished.
The smile disappeared from the old couple's faces and the man's filled with disappointment and anger. "You mean to tell me you had this child illegitimately? My God, your father must be turning over in his grave. How could you do that to your mother? Even if you weren't going to spare a thought for your own soul you could have at least thought of her." Throughout his tirade his voice had gotten continually louder and he more than likely would have continued if a fist hadn't connected with his jaw and sent him stumbling backward.
Scully hadn't seen it coming either. She had just stood there, her mouth agape as she listened to a man she had known since she was 15 spout these hateful things.
The agony etched on her face was the last straw for Mulder and he lashed out at the source of her pain. He threw a sharp right and didn't even wince at the contact. He would have followed it up with a few choice words against the man, had Scully not grabbed his arm, asked him to stop with one pleading look, and reminded him of Molly who was now wide awake in his arms. Mulder nodded slightly in assent but continued to glare at Ellen's father.
Scully made a hasty apology to some of the people whose attention had been drawn by the scene and got her family out of there before more could come of the uncomfortable situation.
The ride home was as uncomfortable, if not more so, than the wedding. Neither had spoken since they got in the car and the monotony of the drive had put Molly to sleep so they didn't have her baby talk and gurgling to fill the silence.
Mulder was staring straight ahead, his only glances to the rear and side-view mirrors, fists clenching and unclenching on the wheel to release some of the leftover adrenaline. At one point he had reached to turn on the radio, but thought better of it.
He didn't have to look at Scully to know how she would be sitting. She would be looking out the passenger window, body rigid with suppressed anger, as close to her door as possible, either subconsciously or consciously putting space between them.
This half hour drive was going to seem like an eternity.
"Did you even think about it before you did it?"
"Yeah I thought about it. Thought about whether I should punch him in the face or the gut."
"Damn it Mulder. It was my best friend's wedding. You can't just hit her father."
"I didn't 'just hit her father'. Were you even listening to what that man was saying to you? About you? About our daughter?"
Out of the corner of his eye he saw her turn around and moved his head slightly to meet her eyes.
Instead of the loud, angry response he expected he got a quiet almost sorrowful one. "Of course I did but it's not the first or the last time something like that will be said."
"What are you talking about?"
"It's nothing Mulder. It doesn't matter," with that she turned back towards the window.
Suppressing a groan of frustration Mulder took the first exit they came across and pulled into a nearly abandoned Wendy's parking lot. "It's not nothing and we both know it. What were you talking about? Does this have something to do with why you've stopped going to mass?"
The way her shoulders went rigid told him that he'd hit the nail on the head. "I didn't think you noticed."
"You didn't think I'd notice when you suddenly had more Sundays free?" he asked incredulously.
Sighing she amended her statement, "I was hoping you wouldn't."
"What happened, Scully?" he cupped her face and turned it towards him.
"I was supposed to go to confession and apologize for having Molly outside of marriage."
"And you didn't?"
Her eyes flashed in anger. "I refuse to apologize for our daughter. To act like she was a mistake. A wrong turn."
"So you just stopped going?"
"I just stopped going."
They were silent for a minute, both lost in their own thoughts. "We could get married," he suggested suddenly.
She looked at him shocked and then started laughing. She reached up to stroke her fingers down the side of his face. "I love you," she kissed him, a light brush of lips, "but no. We can't get married."
"We can't do it because of outside pressure."
"You know that's not it."
"Can you honestly tell me that if what happened today hadn't you would still have proposed? At this moment?" He didn't have to answer, they both knew the truth. "Let's go home."
For the next week Scully pretended that the 'incident' didn't bother her, and Mulder pretended that he didn't know that it really did bother her.
One night, after he had walked up and down the small hallways of her apartment to get Molly to fall asleep and finally succeeded after 20 minutes, he had found her sitting on her couch staring down at her cross as if it had all the answers to the universe but was refusing to share them with her. That night "Operation Cheer Up Scully" was put into action.
He had started out simple so he wouldn't clue her in immediately. A rose placed on her desk, Superstars of the Super Bowl Volume 2, and a night to themselves for the first time since Molly was born were spread sporadically throughout a month.
Then came the 'I'm going to make you laugh if it, or you, kills me' phase. This included a ridiculous case file consisting of stoned teenagers being talked to by chickens and a singing telegram sung by the worst Elvis impersonator this side of Vegas.
He had another phase worked out in his head but was prevented from following through with it.
"An Elvis impersonator Mulder?" Scully asked the second he walked into her apartment from picking Molly up at Mrs. Scully's house.
He barely tapped down a laugh at her dubious expression. "What? You didn't like him? I can go find another one."
She held up a hand as he went to scour the yellow pages. "Not necessary. Really." She took Molly out of his arms and began whispering questions to her about her time at Grandma's. "So you want to tell me why you felt I was in need of a singing telegram, besides making the neighbors question our sanity further."
He shrugged noncommittally. "You seemed in need of a pick-me-up and-"
She cut him off with a singing out a brief fanfare that could have belonged to any Saturday morning cartoon hero. "Dun duna nah, Mulder to the rescue."
"I would have worn my cape but it's at the drycleaners."
She pulled him down to the couch next to her a kissed him hard. "Thanks." She pulled back slightly so that she could position Molly comfortably while she fed her. Still looking down Molly, she said softly, "So, I was thinking of going to church tomorrow. You and Molly want to come too? We can go to the beach afterwards."
"Sure, as long as we're not apologizing for... anything."
They were both looking at Molly intently now as she finished eating and let out a huge yawn. She began to suck her thumb until Scully pulled it out of her mouth and replaced it with a pacifier.