Title: Confessions II
Author: Sabrina Hunt
Writen: Jul 1999
Rating: PG-13
Classification: S/H/A
Spoilers: Latest episode ?!?

Summary: Mulder. Scully. Camping. Need I say more ?!?

Read on ! Later dudes ! Feedback, is welcome !

Dedication: This section of my story is dedicated to my friends Jen C. and Jen L. both whom greatly helped me with next part. Jen C. banished my writers block, with a very, um, " inspiring " idea... and Jen L. helped me with all the background info. THANKX JEN&JEN!!!!! : )

~ " The course of true love never did run smoothly..." - William Shakespeare **

The bright June sun hung high in the sky, as it had for many days now. It was pure, dry heat, and it sucked the moisture and life out of many living things that call the surface of the planet Earth, home. Many creatures sought out relief from the intense heat under the shade of nearby shadows, or in the local pools of water. Others chose to remain to remain indoors, reveling in the comfort of a man made climate. However, all who moved outside moved at slowed paces, trying to conserve as much energy as possible. Deep in the heart of the concrete jungle, a small, red headed woman set out on a mission of her own. Armed with only her water bottle she trekked down many along street, determined to make it to her partner. It was hard. The smog hung in the air, the exhaust pipes from nearby vehicles spewing toxic fumes into the atmosphere. But the red headed warrior hardly noticed. She was driven by love. Onward she marched, then ascended the stairs, up into the world renown justice building entitled J. Edgar Hoover...

Relief washed over Scully, as she passed through the external doors, into the familiar, air conditioned building. With a sigh, she made her way through the crowd of tourists, and over to the front desk. There stood a tall, muscular, African American man, with a bald head, and innocent brown eyes. An endearing smile spread across his face, as he saw an old friend approaching.

"My, my... If it isn't Agent Dana Scully !" he asked, putting his hands on his hips. He had a warm, rich, friendly voice.

"Hi Benny."

"Where've you been girl ?"

She passed him the navy, canvas knapsack that had previously been on her shoulders. He ran it through the gate for her, as she passed under the metal detector.

"I was sick for a while... Really sick." She said, referring to her amnesia." I've got a new job now though, so I'm only here for a visit."

"Really ? What are you now, DEA ? CIA ?"

"Actually, I'm the head doctor at a clinic." She said, reaching for her knapsack. As she did so, Benny's sharp eyes caught the glint of gold on her left hand.

"Whoa, woman, I don't think those were there before ?!? Check out the rocks!"

Scully smiled, and extended her hand, so he could inspect the rings that adorned her finger.

"These the real things ? This for real ? You're not undercover ?"

She shook her head. " Nope. I'm married now."

He smiled. " Congratulations! Do I know him ?"

"Maybe...?!?" Scully replied, purposely being mysterious.

"What you're not going to tell me ?"

She shook her head, pulling on her bag, and clipping on her visitor ID.

"Well you're still Scully right ?"

His question caught her off guard, and she had to consider for a moment. She hadn't thought about her last name at all, and Mulder hadn't mentioned it... She'd just always been "Scully" to herself, and to him. Besides, how would she explain her partner's name for her, to anyone, if she changed it ? ... Dana Mulder... A small shiver of excitement traveled down her spine...=

"Yeah, for now. But you've given me something to think about..." She headed off, down the somewhat quieter hall, giving Benny a wave, which he returned, as she went.

The long halls were so familiar to her, she found she didn't have to think about which way she was going... She just went. And her mind traveled back to her last thought... Dana Mulder... It sounded so funny to her. The names didn't go at all, but they were so right... She supposed they reflected her relationship with Mulder... Dana Mulder, Dana Scully-Mulder, Mrs. Mulder, Ms. Scully-Mulder, Mrs. Fox Mulder... None of the names seemed to fit together, but they belonged beside each other... And what if she did change her name ? She'd be Mrs. Mulder. Part of her liked the idea... Take his name and prove all the pompous jerks in this building wrong... Show him that she loved him enough to take on his name, and reputation. But part of her didn't like the idea. It reminded her too much of Mulder's mom, the woman who had dumped all the guilt of Samantha's disappearance, onto her son... She'd never actually met the woman. The one and only time they'd met had been in the cemetery, when she'd told Tina Mulder that Fox Mulder wasn't dead. And then, one year later, the old woman had died in the hospital, of a mysterious heart attack... And if she did take his name, some small part of herself made her acknowledge that she was afraid of losing her professional reputation. She was doctor Scully to all her patients and colleagues, to the professional world... Even to Mulder... And she didn't want to lose her professional identity. But the only way to compromise, that she could see, would be to be Dana Scully-Mulder, which sounded like gibberish...

It took her a minute to realize she'd reached the old, basement office door. Nothing had changed down there since she'd left... A light shone on the other side of the shut door, and seeped out from under the crack. Inside, she could hear the scratching of a pen against paper, and a frustrated sigh as something was scribbled out. It sounded like he needed rescuing. She knocked, and heard him yell to come in... So she did. She opened the door, then closed it behind her, seeing he was hunched over his relocated desk, back to her. He didn't know it was her.

"Working hard Mulder ?" she asked, bringing back many fond memories.

She wished she had a camera to capture the look on his face, when his chair swiveled around to her. His bored expression lifted away completely leaving in it's place a huge grin. His eyes lightened and regained their sparkle under the reading glasses he wore. She loved those glasses. He looked so young and sexy and smart in them... And a small smile appeared on her lips, as she realized what she'd just thought... It was so very unlike her. She never thought those kind of things about anyone, let alone Mulder... But then again, he wasn't just Mulder anymore, he was also her husband... They'd been married just over two weeks now, but still their post-marital bliss hadn't worn off yet. They'd taken a couple days off, after the wedding, but hadn't gone on a honeymoon yet. They were saving that for summer vacation...

"I knew that paperwork was going to kill me, and look, an angel has come to take me away." Mulder smiled at his wife. She was wearing jean shorts and a baby blue sleeveless shirt style tank top, flat leather sandals on her feet, her hair pulled up into a ponytail. However, the heat was getting the better of her loose wisps of hair, causing them to curl. She had no makeup on, save some lipstick, and her freckles were starting to show. She looked like she could be twenty eight. A line from a song came drifting into his head... " You're young, you're beautiful, and you're mine..."

"That doesn't look like regulation dress code to me, Agent Scully ?!? What happened to the clothes you were wearing this morning ?"

She held up her knapsack, then put it on the floor, coming over to his desk where she put her arms around his neck, bending down so her chin could rest on his head. " What are you working on ?"

"Nothing much, just paper work. I could use a break anyhow." He swiveled in his chair, so he could face her. As he turned, she was forced to let go of him, but as soon as he was turned around, he reached up and pulled her down, so that she was sitting, side ways, across his knees. He hooked on arm around her waist, holding her in place. " So what are you doing off work so early ?"

"I'm off for the rest of the summer now... I don't have to be back until August."

He smiled. " Really ?"

She nodded. " When do you get off ?"

"End of this week... Then it's honeymoon time!!!" He wiggled his eyebrows at her.

She tried to make a shocked, serious face, but it didn't work. " Where are we going ?"

"Crazy ?"

She smiled at his lame joke.

"Actually, I was hoping that you had an idea, because I don't."

"Well, I have an idea... but it's not exactly a normal honeymoon."

He took off his glasses, and put them on his desk, rubbing his eyes. " What ?"

"I was wondering about camping..."

The idea of him and her alone in nature was intriguing... " Hmm. I could go for that... Where do you want to go ? Lake Okobogee ?"

She shook her head. " It's kind of far, but the park is really beautiful."

"What ? Yellowstone ?"

"Not that far. It's called Algonquin. Ever heard of it ?"

He shook his head. " How long does it take to get there ?"

"A full four days of driving..."

He nodded, trying to figure out where exactly this park was. " What state ?"

"It's not in a state..."

His eyebrows went up and his forehead creased, confused.

"It's in Canada."

His eyes grew wide, with surprise. " Canada ? Isn't it freezing up there ? We'll be attacked by polar bears!"

Scully rolled her eyes at him. " It's only freezing this time of year in the North West Territories, and polar bears don't inhabit most of the provinces. "

He looked at her, mock skeptically. " Promise ?"

She nodded.

"How do you know about this place anyway ?"

"My grandparents used to live in Buffalo, New York, so my brothers and Missy and I used to go visit them for a couple weeks every summer. One year, my grandparents went on a road trip, and came back that summer talking about their wonderful time in this park in Canada. Soon we were registered at a summer camp there. As a part of the four week camp, we went to Ottawa, and I made a lot of friends who were from there... I think we went back for five years running... then we moved to California, and I haven't been back since."

He smiled thoughtfully, imagining Scully as a little girl. " I think camping would be fun... I'm assuming we'd stop in Ottawa..."

She nodded. " Yeah, we'd have to pick up our food supplies across the border, but that's OK... Are you sure this is OK with you ?"

He nodded. " As long as we only bring one sleeping bag, I'm all for it !"

She gave him a sly look. " No, we bring two sleeping bags... but we zip them together to make one large one."

"Ooh, I can hardly wait !" He exclaimed, tightening his arm around her waist. She smiled, but was strangely quiet, thinking about something. He watched as she looked at him, eyes far off...

"What's on your mind ?"

"This... This is so weird... It wasn't supposed to be like this..."

Mulder grew serious. " What wasn't ?"

"Us... God! Look at us, Mulder! How did we ever end up this far ? We're married... I'm married, to you..."

He didn't like the words he was hearing, but she said them so lightly, as if he was interpreting them wrong. " Is everything OK ?"

Suddenly her attention snapped back to him, and her eyes softened, realizing what she'd just said had gone over the wrong way.

"Oh, no Mulder... I didn't mean in the sense that we shouldn't have gotten married... Just that everything has changed so much... I've changed... You've changed... Look at us !" She laughed lightly. " We've gone soft... All dew-eyed, lovey-dovey !"

He smiled. " So ?"

She looked at him. " It's just different. I've never been this way in my life ! I just feel like I've been picked up by a tornado and put down in a whole new world..."

"Yes, but have you gone from color, to black and white, or vice versa ?"

She smiled. " Black and white to color."

He nodded, not totally understanding what she was saying, but not feeling in danger anymore.

"I mean, this time last year, we never would have sat on each other..."

Mulder stood up, causing her to stand up with him. " Do you want to see what we would have been doing this time last year ? Sit on the edge of my desk, and cross your legs..."

She complied.

"And I would have been sitting this chair, " He sat down. "...not two feet from you. Now, I don't know about you, but I know this time, as far back as four years ago, I would have been pretending to listen to you, while really I'm thinking to myself... :: Whoa, Fox, check out those legs...:: And I would have followed them all the way up, yadda, yadda, yadda, until I got to your face, and your unbelievable blue eyes, and I'd just hear the end of one of your long lectures about ditching, or risking myself... You usually say the most dangerous things at the end of those, usually about our partnership, and I'd think, :: God she's beautiful... and what's this she's saying... she believes in me, and that we can find the truth together, without getting killed ? Does she love me, like I love her ? I love you Scully, I wish I could tell you !::..."

Scully was close to tears. " That sounds familiar."

"See, the feelings have always been there, we just couldn't face it... We weren't allowed to face it."

"We weren't allowed to face the truth..."

Mulder smiled appreciatively. He would have said more, but just as he opened his mouth to speak, the telephone rang. Mulder grabbed the receive.

"Mulder... Yes... Yes sir... Now?... Yes sir."

Mulder hung up the phone and sighed. " The temp AD wants me in his office, now."

Scully stood up, shaking her thoughts back to reality. " Is there something I can work on for you ? Type something up ?"

He headed for the door. " I don't think so... Listen, you can go home, if you want. You don't have to stay here..."

She shook her head. " And what would I do there ? Laundry ? I'm kind of getting used to having the basket overflowing..."

Mulder smiled, and waved his hand over his shoulder, closing the door behind him...

... When he came back down, and opened the door again, he found Scully absorbed with filling in his expense reports, covering the form with her neat, precise hand writing. She had that determined look on her face. He didn't think she'd noticed he'd entered, until she spoke up.

"How many bags of sunflower seeds did you consume ?"

"Four."

She slowly rolled her eyes from the paper to his face. " You're getting worse, Mulder. This could be an addiction."

He smiled. " Well, if you're part of the cure, then sober me up, doc!"

She went back to the papers, and Mulder followed her lead, hoping to be able to take a break for dinner. As it turned out, because of their combined efforts, by the time five thirty came around, he was ahead of where he'd hoped to be at that given time. Besides, he was losing concentration, he needed food.

"Scully, you want to get dinner ?"

She put down her pan and rubbed her sore wrist. " Yeah. Do you want me to go pick us up something ?"

He shook his head. " Nah. I could use a break. Want to get a pizza and eat in the park ?"

She nodded, and they both stood up, heading for the door.

"So, do you have camping equipment ?" Mulder asked, as he locked the office door.

"No, but Mom kept our old tent, and I have a sleeping bag... I think I saw a portable stove in the attic, at Mom's, when we did the spring cleanup..."

"I have a fuel lantern, and of course a sleeping bag, but that's about it..."

Scully gave him a quizzical look. " You have a lantern ?"

He nodded. " You just never know when you'll need one... I think I might have a mini barbecue, from Martha's Vineyard."

Mulder untangled his hand from Scully's as they approached the front gates of the building. Though they didn't see it happening anytime in the near future, Mulder and Scully had kept their change in relationship low key, so that if Scully ever tried to return to the x-files, the officials would, hopefully, be unaware of their circumstances, and allow the partnership. However, just as they were heading for the front doors, Benny saw his friend, and called after her.

"Hey ! Scully ! I figured it out ! It's got to be..."

But she was through the doors and outside before he could yell the name of who he guessed was her husband.

"...Mulder." He finished quietly to himself.

The park was beautiful at that time of day. There was a secure sense of chaos as a close mix of locals and tourists wandered around through the luscious green grass, and along the paved pathways.

Mulder and Scully sat down, with their pizza, under the shade of a big tree, near the reflecting pool, and watched the commotion in a comfortable silence. Somewhere down past the Washington Needle someone was playing upbeat music on an accordion. Street vendors were trying to hustle their goods to the tourists. Both young and old couples biked, bladed and walked along the paths. Scully watched as one middle-aged couple stopped at a drinking fountain, not to far from where she sat. The father had a five year old boy on his shoulders, and was showing him the high jinx of a squirrel, while the mom lifted a three year old girl out of her stroller, and held her up so she could drink like a " big girl". when she had quenched her thirst, the mom held her for a few minutes as the boy took his turn. Scully heard the little girl thank her mother, in a sweet little voice, and watched as she puckered up and pecked her mom childishly, wrapping her chubby arms around her mother's neck, and giving her a hug...

Scully looked away, not wanting to be impolite, by staring. Over on the other side of the pool, a very pregnant woman sat on a blanket next to her husband. Scully watched as they talked to each other, not giving any indication that the rest of the world existed. The man lifted his hands and put them on her protruding belly, affectionately, as he kissed his wife... And suddenly, a deep longing sensation filled Scully's heart... She wanted to fill her maternal need. She wanted to have kids with Mulder, carry his baby, have him pamper her in her bloated condition. She interrupted their silence by speaking.

"Mulder, can I ask you something... seriously ?"

He looked at her, knowing by the concentrated look on her face, that she was going to ask him something very important.

"Yes."

"You have to be totally honest with me, and you don't have to answer right away..."

He nodded. " Do you want to have children ?"

He looked at her, her coppery red hair being blown by the southerly breeze, her freckles peppering her cheeks, her blue eyes serious... " Yes."

"Don't just say yes because you think it'll make me happy, OK ? I need to know that you want to have kids because you want to be a father and shape someone's life, share the responsibilities. Not because you want to make me happy, and show me you love me. You have to share with me, fifty/fifty..."

He would have said yes again, right away, because he wanted to for all of the right reasons, as well as some of the wrong ones, but he knew she wanted him to think about it. So he did, for five minutes.

"I want to be the father of our baby, Scully. I want to share that with you. Yes, I want that."

She was quiet, examining him to make sure he was being honest. Then, concluding that he was, she went on.

"Do you think it's too soon to start a family ?"

He'd been expecting her to bring that up. " Well, we aren't getting any younger..."

Scully nodded, knowing she had limited time left on her biological clock.=

"... and most of the time it's not a one try and you're pregnant thing..."

"Mulder... what if I can't have babies ?"

"We know it's possible, because of your abduction..." He hated saying it.

"What would we do ?" Scully asked, feeling more than a little bit worried.

Mulder sensed this and saw that she was avoiding his gaze. She had that look on her face... The one he'd come to know and label as my-great est-fear-is-letting-you-. And though she'd never actually said that to him, whenever she got that look on her face, he always interpreted it that way, and so far he'd never been wrong. He reached up and put his hand on her cheek, turning her face up until he could see into her eyes.

"You're my wife... And I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you. I'd like to share part of that life with our kids, but if it doesn't work out, then there's probably a reason. I can be just as happy either way. You are the most important part of my life... Everything else is just a detail."

Tears stung Scully's eyes, but she held them at bay. She couldn't find her voice to answer him right away, but when he offered her a small, gentle smile, the look on her face told him how she was feeling... Her voice broke when she finally spoke up. " I'm so lucky to have you... "

Mulder nodded and lifted his hand from her cheek, and instead held her hand, as they turned back to their dinner. Several minutes were passed in silence, but Mulder could tell something was still bothering his fair partner... and he had a good idea what that was too...

"You're thinking about Her, aren't you ?"

It was an unspoken agreement between them to never mention Emily Simm's name, unless Scully brought it up.

Scully nodded. " There's just so many things I don't know... will probably never know... She may be the only child I'll ever have... And I don't even know... Was I pregnant ? Did I give birth ? Or did they just..." She couldn't finish the sentence.

Mulder spoke, filling her silence. " I don't know if it'll make you feel any better, but as far as I'm concerned, you've never had a baby. They took a part of you, a part you will never get back, against your will; scrambled the DNA and mixed it with god knows what, to create something, someone, that's used for evil... She's not your child, Scully, in all the ways that matter. There's no love involved."

Scully nodded. " You're right... It's just so hard. I feel so robbed. And I guess one of the reasons I want to have children is so that I can make it right... Mulder, I don't want to die knowing that a part of myself is still out there, undoing everything that you and I conquered. I want to die knowing that someone out there is still our truth, we're still together in some small remote part of some creature we created together..." She shook her head, laughing at herself. " I sound so stupid..."

"No you don't. You sound human. It's something we all share, a common bond, the desire to live forever. We find immortality in our children, and their children after them... Not the immortality of our bodies, but that of the meaning of our lives. We need to know we accomplished something for our seventy years of life..."

Scully interrupted his monologue. " I'm counting on you living to be a lot older than seventy, mister."

Mulder smiled. " I love you Dana."

Scully still found herself being caught by surprise whenever he called her by her first name. And those rare times when he did, she always knew it was because he was trying to tell her how important what they'd just said was. Or how important she was. " I love you too, Fox."

He gave her a sly look, but didn't say anything at all.


The week seemed to drag on forever. Scully came into the office twice, once in the morning, bringing Mulder food, and once near dinner time, bringing Mulder food, again. He'd been working extra long hours in the hopes of being able to take a nice long vacation, without any hassles. Once, Scully had stayed at the office to type a sixty page report for him, while he finished all the other paperwork. At around midnight he'd left her to go relieve himself, and when he came back, he'd found Scully asleep. That's when he'd decided it was time to call it a night, and go home. For the rest of the week, Scully cleaned up the apartment and got everything arranged for their camping trip. Three weeks in the wild, Canadian outdoors, no laptops, cell phones or televisions. Just him and her and nature. She was pretty sure Mulder was going to go into withdrawal...

Finally, Mulder was freed for almost a whole two months from the office, and their journey began, on a bright and sunny Saturday morning...

..." Muuulllderrr..." Scully crooned in his ear, trying to wake the sleeping giant. " Muuuuulllllderrrrr..."

He lifted a hand and limply flopped it around, as if shooing a fly.

"Come on, honey, wake up."

And suddenly he was wide awake.

"What did you call me ?" he asked, sleepily, as he watched her disappear into the hall, having accomplished one task, and setting off for another.

"Mulder." She yelled back in his general direction.

"No, you said something else..."

She wandered back into the room, empty laundry basket in hand.

"Did I ?"

She was being bad. She knew she'd said something else, but was making him pry it out of her. He got up out of bed, hair rumpled, in only his boxers, and put his arms around her, pulling her into a hug. He nestled his face into the soft hair on her head, and drank in her scent as if an addict sniffing drugs.

"Good morning, wife."

She smiled. He still wasn't over that. " About time !"

"What did you call me a minute ago ?"

She squirmed as he tightened his grip of her.

"I told you ! I called you Mulder !"

He squished her, and lifted her off the ground. " Not bad for having just woken up ?!? Now tell me or you're never coming down."

She shook her head.

"Then you leave me no choice !" He walked over to the bed, and threw her down. Then he pinned her, after a short struggle, and while one hand held her wrists over her head, the other explored her ticklish spots.

"Mulder... Muh... Muh... STOP! This is so... oh... oh... UNFAIR!"

"Tell me all of your secrets !"

She fought with him for only a few more minutes, and then she couldn't handle it anymore. " All right, all right... I called you Honey."

Mulder smiled triumphantly. " Why ?"

"Because it came out... I just said it."

"Why did it come out ?"

"Because I love you ?!?" She had that D'uh-Mulder look on her face.

"I think now would be a very good time to start a family Scully."

She shook her head. " Come here."

He complied, and leaned down closer to her.

"No closer."

And then to his surprise, she kissed him. Defenses weakened, she flipped him, and managed to escape.

"I don't think this moment is good. Wait till we have the tent set up."

And so, with that lingering between them, he had no choice but to get up, and get going...

**=

Mulder sighed, and leaned his head back against the soft seat that he'd been sitting in for almost three hours now. Normally, three hours in the car wouldn't have bothered him, but after having spent four days in the car, he was getting tired of watching the Great Canadian scenery. Scully noticed her husband's discomfort, and couldn't help but share his pain. She was driving, because she was the one who knew where they were going , but would have preferred to be the one relaxing. Her backside was numb from siting up straight, in the same position, for three hours. And unlike Mulder, with his long limbs, she couldn't sink down into a relaxed position, and still see enough to drive safely. She sighed, as well, and Mulder looked over at her.

"Is there an echo in here ?"

She smiled, and glanced at him, before turning her eyes back to the road.

"No, just an agreement."

"How much longer is it Scully ?" he asked, his tone slightly more whiny than usual.

She leaned forward and squinted at the bushes to the right of the road.

"Not long..." She replied, turning down a single paved road.

And it wasn't long. Within minutes they were pulling up into a parking lot, outside a large Provincial Park Lodge, where visitors signed in. When Scully pulled up, Mulder was out of the car and stretching, so fast, you would have missed his exits, had you blinked. Scully shut off the engine, and eagerly emerged from the vehicle as well. Together, they walked over to the sign in station.

As Mulder pulled open the door, a small set of bells, that hung against the frame, rang, and a twenty something year old female appeared.

"Can I help you guys ?"

As Mulder examined the maps on the walls, Scully spoke with the girl. She was approximately five foot five, with shoulder length, straight, dark brown hair, and dark eyes, but a welcoming smile.

"We're her for almost two weeks, and we need a campsite..."

The girl, Jen as her name tag dubbed her, smiled. " You're from out of town, eh ? Well, we're pretty full right now, but we have a few sites left in Kea Lake..."

Scully nodded. " Sounds good."

Jen gave her a questioning smile. " No flush toilets, showers, laundry... Still sound good ?"

Scully smiled. " Thanks for the warning, but I think we can manage..." She looked over her shoulder, at her husband, who had a horrified expression on his face. He'd obviously never been aquatinted with pit toilets. She smiled.

Jen passed Scully the forms to fill in, and she did so, signing the bottom. For some odd reason, Mulder had to sign the papers too, so she passed the sheet to him. He was about to touch the pen to the paper, when something about her signature caught his eye. It was indeed in her hand, but she had signed it differently. It read, Dana Mulder. A small, joy filled smile slowly lighted itself upon Mulder's lips as he signed Fox Mulder beside it. Then he glanced at Scully, as he passed the papers to Jen.

She was pretending to be looking at the pictures on the wall, but he could tell she'd seen his reaction to her signature. He would have said something to her just then, but Jen spoke up, passing him their car sticker, and paper permit.

"All right, you're at sight number 24, near the water... Have a good time."

Mulder nodded, and snagged Scully's hand, leading her out of the post, towards the car.

"I noticed," he stated, as nonchalantly as possible. He didn't look at her.

"Noticed what ?" She asked, innocently.

He let go of her hand, and instead put his arm across her shoulders, giving her a small, sideways hug. " Your signature, Mrs. Mulder."

She couldn't help it. She smiled.

"Looks pretty weird, doesn't it ?"

He smiled, and agreed. " Weird, but wonderful."

"Now how are we going to explain why you call me Scully ?"

"I don't know..."...

... However, what he did know was that they were going to have a wonderful two weeks together. As the car pulled up at the sight marked 24, Mulder examined their temporary dwellings. The campsite was surrounded on three sides by thick, lush green vegetation, making the site fairly private. The lower vegetation consisted mostly of leafy shrubs and bushes, which gave way to smaller conifer trees, then very high, leafy maples, which made a canopy over the open parts of the site. Sunlight filtered through the spaces between the leaves, and golden beams of light shone to the ground... The right side of the campsite was slightly higher than the left, and sat obviously open, as the place to pitch their tent. In the middle of the site, set towards the back was a picnic bench, and about ten feet forward from there was the fire pit. Along the left side of the site stood two trees, perfecting for slinging a hammock between. Scully parked the car, just off the road, in the opening to their site, giving their new abode a sense of closure.

"You were right... this is nice." Mulder nodded approvingly at his wife.

"Have I ever been wrong ?"

Mulder opened his mouth to object, but closed it, reformulating his idea.

"I choose to remain silent on the grounds that it may incriminate me." He deadpanned, then got out of the car.

Scully reached down to the side of the seat, and popped the trunk open, before joining Mulder in removing their camping propaganda.

"Well, you'll have to pardon the expression, but you're not out of the woods yet, mister. We still have to put up the tent..."

"No problem." Mulder stated casually, as he pulled the canvas bag and poles out of the trunk.

However, it did turn out to be a problem. Half an hour later, any passer-byes would have seen a small red headed woman straddling a canvas mass, as she tried to hold the poles in their proper spots, while a tall, lanky man tried in vain to figure out where they went.

"Mulder, I can't hold these up much longer..." She warned.

"Just... hold on a minute, I think I've almost got it.." He mumbled, joining the poles together... " Haha! Here we go..."

He cockily brought the mismatched poles over to Scully, and tried to stick them through the canvas slots. They teetered, but held up the others, and so Scully carefully extracted herself from the construction.

"I don't think the door's supposed to be at the roof, Mulder."

He smiled sheepishly, and opened his mouth to say something, when somebody else's words were heard.

"I don't think you've quite figured that out."

"Shall we help them, Carrie ?"

Mulder and Scully turned around and saw two teenage girls sitting on the trunk of their car, observing them. The first girl, who's name apparently was Carrie, was a tall girl, who looked to be about five foot seven. She had an average body structure, lean, though you could hardly be able to tell because of the oversized camouflage army brat jacket she wore, with matching green khaki shorts. Dark brown, almost black curly wisps of hair could just be seen hanging out from underneath a cap she wore which read, " CCM Canadian Hockey". A short ponytail hung out the cap window at the back of her head. Under the brim of the hat, two mocking, playful hazel eyes peered out, and a twisted smile lighted upon her mouth.

"Who are you ?" Mulder and Scully asked in unison.

Carrie jumped off the car and lopped over to the agents, dragging her slightly shier, and more embarrassed friend with her.

"I'm Carrie, and this is Hope." She stated, in a baritone voice.

They both gave the couple firm handshakes.

Hope was a smaller female, only a couple inches taller than Scully. However, like Scully, she carried herself with an air of self confidence that made her feel taller. She had an average bone structure, and a slim body, which was easier to see than her friend's because she wore a dark blue tank top, and white shorts. Her straight, shoulder length, red-auburn hair was pulled back into a ponytail, but one stubborn lock fell down in front of her intelligent green eyes. She smiled, with hesitation. When she spoke, her words came out with the flow of a writer's hand.

"Can we help you ?"

Mulder inspected the girls, who seemed to have good intentions.

"Thanks, but we're OK..."

Carrie began to laugh, an insane tone underlying her lighthearted chuckle. Hope simply smiled.

"Trust no one, eh ?" Carrie proclaimed, more than questioned.

Mulder's hazel eyes lit up with intrigue, and Scully saw the mischievous gleam they gained. " Do you believe in the existence of extra-terrestrials ?"

Scully began to laugh. Carrie was about to speak, but Hope's words were faster.

"My best friend here is proof undeniable !"

Carrie made an offended snort, and whacked her friend's arm. " Dolt!"

Hope grinned, pleased by her quick remark.

"I'm Mulder, and this is my wife, Scully... and if you insist, we could use the help."

"No shit sherlock !" Carrie quipped.

"Oh, come on. We didn't do that badly..."

And then a muffled crash was heard, and all eyes turned to the newly collapsed tent. Hope and Carrie laughed, Mulder sighed, and Scully's eyebrows reached new heights...

Less than ten minutes later, the tent was up and pegged into the ground, this time it's frame securely set up. With a bit of help from the girls, Mulder and Scully stretched a large tarpaulin over their tent to keep off any rain and dew. Soon, their whole camp was set up, and with a certain amount of reluctance, the girls left the couple in peace.

"See you 'round !" Hope called, waving.

Scully sighed. " I'm sure we will..." She mumbled under her breath. And once again, she wouldn't be wrong...

Not long after camp was set up, Mulder pulled out the mini barbecue, and declared that it was time for dinner. Scully pulled herself up out of the hammock they'd put up, and deposited her book in her spot. Then she dragged her relaxed body over to Mulder, who was crouching on the ground, trying to light the barbecue.

"What are we making ?" She asked, leaning against the end of the table, opposite to where the cook was working.

"WE are not making anything... I am making dinner, for you, while you sit and read."

She gave him a sweet smile. " Mulder, you always cook... Let me help."

He shook his head. " You can do breakfast, or lunch tomorrow. I want to do this."

He gave her a confident grin.

She smiled at him, giving him a sly look out of the corner of her eyes.

"Mulder, you better stop soon... You're turning into a sweetheart..."

She walked over to him, and he opened his arms, which she walked into. She felt so small in his embrace. He rested his cheek against her soft hair. And she felt so safe, so protected. She stirred and pulled her head up, so she was looking up at him, her chin resting against his chest.

"You're wonderful, Mulder."

He smiled. " I know." And then he lowered his lips to hers, and kissed her tenderly. He held the kiss for several minutes, before realizing he was becoming distracted, then broke it, ordering her to go relax. She obeyed. However, she didn't read, or when she did, she kept reading the same couple of paragraphs over and over again. She was distracted by watching her mate slave over the barbecue, and make salad. She smiled, wondering how on earth it was possible for such a change to occur. A once sad, haunted man, driven by his determination to find his missing sister, was now the same man who stood before her, humming to himself as he slathered barbecue sauce on their dinner, a concentrated, but pleased look on his face. She wondered how long his happiness would last. Was it permanent, or a cloud nine thing ? What would happen when he reverted, if he did ? What would happen to their marriage ? For a fleeting moment, she feared her decision to promise forever to him, but that passed. She loved Mulder. She'd loved him before he'd converted to the Cheshire Cat, and she knew she'd love him if he went back. It was easier to love him now, but no one ever said his complete happiness would last forever. The important part was that their love lasted.

Mulder felt eyes on him, as he prepared their dinner, and gazed over his shoulder, at Scully. There she was, hanging in the hammock, her blue eyes watching him. He looked back at the steaks, was satisfied, and put down the lid. Then he shuffled over to Scully , a smile on his face. He reached out and put a big hand a top her head, as he crouched down next to her.

"What's on your mind ?" he asked, gently.

"You." She replied.

He pointed to himself questioningly.

"Yeah..." She looked at the book in her hands. " Are you going to love me, forever ?"

He was shocked by her question. " Of course I am... I love you, Scully. You know that."

She nodded, still not looking at him. " You're happy, now. But will you still be happy tomorrow, or the next day, or twenty years from now ?"

He felt sad that she was concerned about the depth of the love he felt for her. " Scully... Dana... I know I'm not always as open as I want to be, as you need me to be..."

She cut him off. " No, that's the thing. You are SO much more open now... now that we have this... " She waved back and forth between them. " But you weren't before... You ran away from me... You shut me out. When the bliss of I Do's has worn off, will you do it again ?"

Mulder was crushed. " Do you trust me, Dana ?"

Scully's eyes shot up from her book. " You're questioning that ?"

He shook his head. " No. I mean, I know you trust me, but do YOU know you trust me ?"

"I do." She said with a small smile.

"Good, then you know I would never lie to you. And you know I'm not lying now when I say I will love you forever... I would never abandon you. "

The corners of her mouth twitched. " Have you given up on Samantha ?"

Mulder was visibly surprised by her question. He was silent for a minute, considering his words carefully. When he spoke up, he spoke in a careful voice.

"The truth is that I haven't. But I have set my priorities."

"Which are ?" She asked, curiously.

"First of all to my wife..." He smiled at her, lovingly. " Then to our relationship, our children, if we have any, then finding Samantha, and blowing out the conspiracy."

She half smiled. " Today my heart, tomorrow the world..."

Mulder nodded. " You OK ?"

She acquiesced. " Yeah, I was just watching you make dinner, humming to yourself, and wondered whatever happened to the dark, driven man I met six, almost seven years ago..."

"You drove him away, you made me a better person."

She laughed quietly, but said nothing.

" You're afraid he might come back..."

She nodded, silently.

"Scully, for the first time in my life, I'm completely happy. With or without Samantha or the x-files. I'm happy with my life, with myself, I'm have a beautiful woman, who I am very much in love with..." He rubbed her head with the hand he'd placed there. Then he slowly stood up, to go tend to the steaks, but before leaving her he added, " Stop worrying Scully. It's not good for you."

She smiled and watched him return to his cooking. And she felt better for having talked to him. There was no way he could promise her he'd never change, but she knew now that no matter what happened, he'd still love her. That much he could promise her.

She only had time to read half a chapter, before Mulder stated that dinner was ready. With a sigh, she once again abandoned her book to go join Mulder at the table. She laughed when she saw what he'd done.

Laid out on the wooden table top was a plastic table cloth, on top of which sat two, colorful plastic plates, topped with steak, garden and potato salad. It didn't sound like anything elegant, but he'd laid it out elegantly, and topped it with parsley in the attempts to spruce it up. It looked delicious and fancy, despite the flatware.

"You've outdone yourself !" She said with a smile, as she seated herself on the hard, wood bench. He smiled and sat down as well, before reaching under the table, and surprising Scully by pulling out a bottle of red wine.

"Ooh, Mulder..." She raised her eyebrows at him.

"Hey, it's our honeymoon !" He said, with a charming smile, as he poured the dark liquid into plastic cups. He handed one to her, and lifted hid up. " To my angel."

She smiled. " To my wonderful husband."

And she laughed as they sipped from each other's cups.

Dinner was delicious, as had been suspected. Years of bachelor hood had made Mulder quite the chef. She only hoped one day she'd be able to repay him, but making something edible for him...

After dinner was finished and cleared up, Mulder and Scully had gone for a walk around the campground. There were campfires and barbecues burning, children running around... It was wonderful. As they walked along the dirt road, past a small beach, Scully slowed for a minute and stopped, looking out across the water, as the sun descended with it's rosy glory to the gentle lake. It was beautiful, life was beautiful. She felt so relaxed and happy... For the first time in years she felt no rush, no push, just peace... She tightened her hold on Mulder's hand, and he stepped closer to her, pulling her back against his chest as they watched twilight set in. The sky melted into a soft gray purplish tone, and gently one by one, the stars came out. She was glad she'd set up their fire before they'd left camp. If she hadn't, they wouldn't have been able to linger at the small beach watching the night sky's thousand eyes open and shine back at them... And with a reluctant sigh they moved on, heading back to camp. Not a word was said between them, but words were not needed.

Once back at camp, Mulder changed into sweat pants and a sweat shirt as Scully lit the fire. When he emerged several minutes later, total darkness had descended, and a roaring fire burned and crackled, sending luminous sparks up into the all ready light speckled sky. Scully, who had changed into her sweat clothes earlier was in one of the woven chairs they'd brought, feeding the fire. when Mulder exited the tent and saw her sitting on the other side of the fire, her hair matching the flame's shade, her eyes focused far off into the blaze, he was sure he'd never know just what he'd done to deserve such a beauty. Quietly, he shuffled over to the chaise lounge they'd set up opposite her, and kicked his feet up. Neither of them spoke, once again finding comfort in silence. Many minutes went by like that, before either of them felt the need to speak. Mulder was the first to interrupt their silence.

"When I was little, Scully, Samantha and I used to have these camp-outs, at the Vineyard... We used to build huge bonfires, and then tell stories around them..."

Scully imagined Mulder in happier times, with his kid sister. " What kind of stories ?"

"Sam was still pretty little at the time, so nothing overly gory, like most stories told at a fire pit... I remember she had this one favorite one. Every time we camped out she asked me to tell it to her..." Mulder smiled, remembering old ghosts.

"Tell me." Scully said, wanting to hear the story.

Mulder smiled at her. " I don't remember it, just bits and pieces... There was a princess, and she always had all the attention of the kingdom. Unfortunately, she had a brother who was always up to no good... One day the prince broke his sister's favorite mirror, but instead of yelling, she dubbed him a knight, because he had rescued her from her own vanity. And together they lived in harmony, happily ever after." His eyes looked up to Scully, a small smile on his face.

"We'll find her Mulder." Scully began, her eyes speaking to him over the fire.

"Not if it means risking you. " He stated. " I love her Scully, but I love you more. In you I've found my strength and my weakness..."

And she knew he felt no more pain in recalling his sister. She smiled at him understandingly as their eyes met over the fire...

"INCOMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Carrie's voice broke the stillness of the night, as a package of marshmallows flew through the air and landed in Mulder's lap. Startled, they both looked up and saw the two girls had come to join them.

"Hi! " Hope said, a cheerful tone in her voice. In her hand she held a couple chocolate bars, and four, long, pointed sticks. She smiled at Scully.

"We're here to help liven up your campfire!" Carrie declared, flopping down onto the ground. Hope followed suit.

"Have you ever made s'mores ?"

Scully rolled her eyes and shook her head, knowing they were never going to get rid of the girls. " No."

Hope and Carrie turned to each other and grinned, devilishly. " We're going to teach you !"

Mulder, who was enjoying trying to psychoanalyze the girls, smiled.

"So what do we do ?"

Hope handed out sticks, as Carrie opened the box of graham crackers, and broke up the chunks of chocolate. Scully was slightly more cooperative once she saw that chocolate was involved...

"OK, stick a marshmallow on the end of the stick, then put it in the fire, just above the coals until it's brown and fluffy."

Scully, surprisingly, managed to cook hers to perfection, where as Mulder's went up in flames. Scully laughed as he desperately blew it out, then looked at it's blackened, crispy surface.

"Looks like Cecil L'Ively!" He deadpanned.

Scully laughed. " I wonder what's become of Phoebe ?"

Mulder gave her a questioning look. " I could honestly care less. She probably has HIV from sleeping her way around London's upper class."

Scully smiled. " I was so mad at her..."

Mulder grinned. " Dana Scully, jealous ?"

Scully pursed her lips. " Well, she was throwing herself all over you !"

Mulder's grin spread. " But I was imagining it was you I was dancing, kissing..."

She held his eyes over the fire, again, and again they spoke volumes in silence. Meanwhile, Hope and Carrie watched, intrigued, as Mulder and Scully got lost in each other's stare.

Hope leaned over and whispered in her friend's ear. " I think we better teach them fast and split, or we might end up witnessing indecent acts..."

Carrie gave her friend a disgusted, but acquiescing look.

"Hey, guys! Scully your marshmallow is on fire !" Carrie screeched, grabbing the couple's attention.

Scully pulled the burning sugar ball from the fire, and blew it out.

"OK, now carefully put you marshmallow down on top of this cracker and chocolate..."

Scully did as commanded, while Hope sandwiched the goo ball with another cracker, then told Scully to retract the stick.

"Here you go !" Hope handed Scully her s'more as Hope helped Mulder construct his.

Scully smiled a tight lipped smile, before sinking her teeth into the cracker sandwich.

"My gog! Dis is..." She swallowed, trying to detach her tongue from the roof of her mouth. " This is really good!"

Mulder nodded his approval, and agreement, because he was not able to speak.

Hope smiled, and stood up, pulling her friend up as well. " Mission accomplished. Have fun!"

Carrie smiled at her friend, and then they both waved, heading off.

Scully raised her eyebrows at Mulder, as they left. " That was too easy..."

Mulder nodded, but neither of them saw the girls for the rest of the night...

... However, the girls saw them. Once they were out of sight, they crept down behind some leafy green shrubs which provided adequate camouflage. then they carefully parted the bows, and watched the partners in action. It was nosy, it was intruding, but god, was it fun...

Hope smiled at Carrie and whispered. " I swear, they're so cute ! I never thought that two people could love each other so much! They've got soul mates written all over them !"

Carrie gave her friend an amused expression, but said nothing. So Hope, being the garrulous one of the duo, continued.

"I mean, you always read about it, see it in movies... But this is the real thing!" She squeaked delightedly, then let out a satisfied sigh.

"You are so pathetic !" Carrie shook her head.

"What ?"

"Umm... ::True love, sigh. Soul mates, sigh. If only it would happen to me, sigh.:: Sound familiar ?"

Hope glared at her friend, but couldn't argue with her about it. She was a hopeless romantic, and both of them knew it. Carrie was about to elaborate on her views of Hope, when the latter declared, " Action on the set..." And both turned their eyes back to the adults...

Mulder silently watched as Scully fidgeted in her seat as she swatted at mosquitoes. She looked so little, as the sleeves of her shirt whipped back and forth, trying to dissuade the insects.

"Scully, you got ants in your pants ?" He inquired mischievously.

She frowned, miserably. " No, I've got mosquitoes all over me !" She sighed exasperated.

He smiled. " Come here." He ordered, pointing to the end of the lounge chair.

Not wanting to remain under the cloud of bugs, she complied, seating herself in front of him. However, as she sat down, he stood up.

"Where are you going ?" She asked.

He smiled cryptically. " Close your eyes."

She did as instructed and listened to him as he opened the trunk of the car and got something out, then shuffled back over to her vicinity. Her curiosity peaked when she heard him light a match, and walk around her. Finally, she felt him sit down behind her, as he instructed her to open her eyes.

Her mouth fell open in surprise as she saw that he'd surrounded the chair in citronella candles, which were driving away the insects, but were appealing to her. She twisted around so she could see his face, and was greeted by his playful eyes and his lips puled into a triumphant smile.

"Surprise." He whispered.

She smiled her cute little smile, touched that he was always trying so hard to please her. She reached her hands up and rested them on his cheeks, holding his face in her hands.

"You are unbelievable."

"That's what everyone's said all along!" He joked. Then he reached forward, and pulled her back towards him, so they were both reclining, Mulder against the chair, Scully against him. He rested his head gently a top hers, and wrapped his arms securely around her, as they both fell back into a comfortable silence, each one thinking about the other...

" Awe, look at them!" Hope whispered, happily.

Carrie was trying to keep a straight face to shame her friend, but she couldn't. A wide grin spread across her face. " Come, let's stop spying on them..."

Carrie was about to stand up, but Hope held her down.

"No Carrie... They're so inspiring... I'm going to write a story about them !"

Carrie looked at her friend, blinked, then stated, " Nut ball".

Hope smiled, and reluctantly stood up, following her friend back towards their campsite. Just as they left, they stole one more glance towards their favorite couple. And once again, Hope let out a contented, but wishful sigh...

Mulder watched the fire leap and dance, it's orange tongues licking the darkened sky. Sparks flew out of the snapping dancers like a million fireflies... He thought about the first time they'd been in the woods together, when she'd first joined him in the x-files. He hadn't known, and still didn't, what it was about her that made him open up to her, so quickly. Though he had remained guarded about exactly what he disclosed to her, by the time they were on their next trip to the woods, he had grown to love her, if only as a friend. He could distinctly remember the feeling of desperation that had overcome him, when he'd woken up in quarantine, and seen her lying so still... And then their was their more recent outdoor investigation, when they were supposed to have been at an FBI conference on communication. Of course he'd convinced her to stay and investigate with him, but for once it had been him that had gotten hurt, and he was glad she'd been there for him. He smiled remembering the good time they'd had, despite their situation. He was lucky to have her...

Scully felt him moving behind her, as his head came up off of hers, then went over to the left, resting his chin against her ear. And he deposited a sweet and gentle kiss just on her hair line, at the sensitive spot on her temple.

"I love you so much, Dana." He whispered into her ear.

Surprised by his sudden show of emotion, she looked up over her left shoulder, to look at him. And he was looking straight back at her, no tears, no grin, dead serious.

"Where did that come from ?" She asked, puzzled.

"My heart."

She smiled coyly at him. " You're a sweet-talker."

But her flirty banter didn't shake his serious expression. his eyes searched her face, and she felt herself growing serious too.

"Is something wrong, Mulder?"

He shook his head. " No."

"Then why are you acting so serious ?" She asked, as her right hand went up to touch his slightly stubble laden cheek. He put his hand on hers, squeezing it, then gently pulled it off, leading it to his face, where he kissed her palm.

"I need you to know that I seriously love you."

She smiled, confused. " Mulder, I wouldn't have married you if I hadn't known that. I know. And I seriously love you too."

Then she twisted herself in his arms, so her lips could tease his gently, sweetly. However, she made a small sound of surprise when he held the kiss and intensified it, her eyebrows shooting up.

"What do you say we blow out the candles, put out the fire and call it a night ?" he asked lowly, as his lips brushed hers, his face not an inch away. She smiled and stood up heading for the pail of water. One fire was put out, but another would burn for the rest of their lives. **

The following day was as beautiful as it's predecessor. Mulder was woken bright and early, a little after six, by the chirping of birds and the glare of the sun through the green canvas. Silhouettes of branches that were waving outside in the gentle breeze fell against the walls of the tent, and Mulder watched as they moved rhythmically. Slowly, he rolled over in the super large sleeping bag to face his sleeping wife, or at least the spot where she was supposed to be. All he could see of her was a large bump under the cover, no part of her visible with the exception of a few strands of red hair. Carefully he reached out and folded back the cover, exposing her peaceful face. He smiled. He couldn't believe he'd held back his emotions from her for so long. It was so much easier and so much more fun, when he could surprise her with little affectionate things, like candles and wine from plastic cups. He loved the reaction he always got out of her; the small, touched smiles, the eyebrows raising, the little sounds of surprise... He gently brushed her soft cheek with the back of his hand. She smiled in her slumber, then stirred, opening her sleepy eyes.

"Good morning." He said quietly.

"Hi." She yawned. " What time is it ?"

Mulder looked at his watch. " Quarter after six."

She groaned and closed her eyes. " You're supposed to sleep in when you're on vacation Mulder!"

He grinned and sat up, taking the covers with him. " Who are you kidding ? We have so much to do!"

"Like ?" She sighed, rubbing her eyes.

"Go on a hike, go canoeing, go fishing, go swimming..."

"Relaxing?"

"Yeah, that too, but we can do that later..."

"We can do ALL that later. Now..." She said, pulling him back down by the arm, "...we sleep."

And with that she put her head on his chest, and closed her eyes, fading back into sleep.

It was several hours later that she woke up, alone. Mulder had vacated the tent, and she had no idea where he'd gone. Curious, she unzipped the tent door flap, and peered out. The day was bright and beautiful, and it took her eyes a couple minutes to adjust. However, when they did, there was still no Mulder to be seen. Slowly, she herself emerged from the tent, clad only in her gray satin boxer shorts and matching shirt top that Mulder had bought her for her birthday. As she did so, she noticed that the car was also missing, and wondered where he'd gone without her. As if in response, the sound of tires on gravel was heard, and their car rounded the corner and pulled up, Mulder behind the wheel. He smiled when he saw her and parallel parked the car.

"Hey Firefly..." He said out the rolled down window, as he shut off the engine.

She smiled at his nickname for her, and ran her fingers back through her messy hair, as she waited for him to get out of the car. When he did, he brought with him two canoe paddles and a bag of groceries. He walked over to her, and despite his loaded arms, gave her a quick kiss, before putting the bag of groceries on the table.

She watched him, hand son her hips, as he deposited the canoe paddles, then walked back over to her.

"Where did you go ?" She asked, curiously eyeing the paddles.

He put his hands on her shoulders, smiling down at her. " I went to the camp store, and bought some food for during our hike, which we are going to take as soon as you're ready to go."

She noticed he conveniently left out the reason for the paddles.

"What are those for ?"

He smiled. " A canoe."

She shook her head at him, smirking. " Yeah, but where's the canoe ?"

He grinned. " At the docks. I rented one, so that we could go fishing for our dinner."

She smiled. " You have everything planned out, don't you ?"

He nodded. " You. Me. Alone. Nature. Endless possibilities Scully!"

She turned and flopped her hand at him, as she silently walked back to the tent, to get dressed.

When she came out, she was wearing a forest green T-shirt, beige khaki cargo pants, and had a black sweatshirt tied around her waist. Like Mulder, she wore Nike hikers on her feet. Her hair was put up into a clip at the back of her head, in a messy twist. In her hands she held two canvas knapsacks, and a bottle of bug repellent, which she sprayed upon herself.

"Want some ?" She asked, showing him the bottle.

He nodded, and she covered his skin.

With that accomplished, they packed the knapsacks with the food Mulder had bought. In went a couple apples, bottles of water, pre-wrapped sandwiches, and in Mulder's, secretly, some trail mix and chocolate bars he planned to feed to her later on. Then they set off for the trails...

... Twigs snapped underfoot. as birds chirped overhead, and Mulder and Scully trampled the underbrush. They'd been hiking for almost two hours now, in almost complete silence, each one taking in nature. Scully walked just ahead of Mulder, her hair falling out of it's clip. As they started going uphill she pulled herself up the steep edges by tugging on rocks and roots. It was hard work, so few words were said, to spare breath. As she climbed up and up, though, she was reminded of another time, another mountain. Skyland mountain. When Duane Barry had pulled her out of the trunk and dragged her up the hill. The whole time she'd been hopping, praying, that Mulder would reach her... But he'd never come. She'd been terrified and calling him. And he hadn't been there... Suddenly, when she was at the top of the hill they'd been climbing, a blind panic filled her.=

"Mulder!" She spun around, and looked behind her. He had to be behind her... And there he was, pulling himself up over the last steep edge. He heard the strain in her voice and looked up at her, concerned. His eyes met hers, and what he saw there scared him very much. He saw fear.

She looked at him, and she knew he could see her fear. She didn't want him to see it, didn't want him to see her weak or afraid. She looked away from him, biting her lower lip.

"Oh God." She gasped as she looked away. She crossed her arms in front of her, to keep herself from shaking. She felt Mulder come up behind her, and place a steadying hand on her back. She closed her eyes, trying to calm herself. Where had that panic attack come from ?

"Dana, what's wrong ?" He demanded. He stepped in front of her, and left one hand on her shoulder, the other turning her face up to him.

"I'm fine..." She lied.

She didn't have to look up to know that Mulder was shaking his head at her. They'd been together far too long for him to be deceived by her faked emotions. As if simply being her partner wasn't enough for him to have learned the difference, they spent all their time together now, as a couple, and he was surprised by how much more he'd learned about her, in their few months of togetherness. He could see through most of her walls now, just as he could see through this one.

In his silence, she opened her eyes, and slowly looked up to him. Seeing the warmth and care there, she went out on a limb. As if she was fooling anyone but herself anyhow. " I had the most frightening feeling you weren't behind me..."

His face grew semi-sad, as he uncrossed her arms in front of her, and held her small hands up in his. She followed his gaze down to her hands, which were shaking like leaves.

"You're shaking," he stated the obvious.

She nodded.

"Are you all right ?"

She nodded again, unsure if she actually was or not. She wouldn't look at him.

"Hey..." He said, making her face him. " I'm here. Talk to me."

She smiled weakly. " I need a hug."

He chuckled, and pulled her close to him. One hand on the small of her back, one resting on the back of her head, he held her for several minutes. Then, kissing the top of her head, he released her, and was pleased to see that she did look better.

"You OK now?"

She smiled, and nodded gratefully.

He leaned in and kissed her, quickly, before pulling back, and swinging the knapsack off his shoulders, extracting a camera.

"See the field down there ?" he asked, pointy to a small field filled with long grass and wild flowers.

She looked down and was surprised. " No, I hadn't noticed it before... I was kind of distracted."

He smiled. " I want to take some pictures of us down there."

She nodded, and set off down the steep slope. Mulder followed close behind her. Upon reaching the bottom, they took a couple minutes to explore, Mulder scanning out the picture possibilities, Scully checking out the flowers.

"Hey Scully!" She looked up upon hearing her name. She had been crouching down, inspecting a flower. When she looked up, Mulder snapped a photo

"MULDER!?!" She stood up. " No fair! No taking pictures of ME!"

He grinned, mischievously, and held up the camera again, ready to snap away.

She cocked her head and put her hands on her hips, raising her eyebrows at him. " You wouldn't..."

But he did. The camera clicked again.

Her mouth fell open in surprise and she walked towards him, hand outstretched. " Give me the camera Mulder."

He grinned and ran backwards, away from her.

"Mulder, I'm warning you..."

"Come and get it!" He challenged.

So she took off running after him. He kept turning around, looking back at her, but when he did so he couldn't see where he was going, so he tripped over a log, falling onto his backside.

Scully laughed as she caught up to him, finding him sprawled on his back, smiling like a happy cat.

"Give me that!" She said, taking the camera. Then she backed up and took a picture of him, in the flower filled field, before joining him on the ground.

"Maybe we should have some food." She stated, pulling of her backpack.

He nodded and sat up, picking up his own bag. He rubbed a huge green apple against his shirt before sinking his beautiful, white teeth into it. It was juicy, and it dripped down his chin, until it met Scully's finger, which wiped it off.

"Thanks." He said, as she ate her own apple.

They ate mostly in silence, enjoying the scenery. But as they were finishing off, Mulder spoke up.

"I want to take some pictures of you, before we head back." It was more of a statement than a question.

"Of me ?"

He nodded.

She rolled her eyes. " Why ?"

He smiled. " Because you're beautiful."

She smiled, sweetly. " Oh, all right."

He grinned, standing up. She was going to follow him, but he told her to lie down.

"If this in any way involves me removing my clothing, forget it."

He grinned again, but shook his head. " Just lay there and smile like you do when I tell you you're beautiful."

She did as commanded.

"Thanks, now roll over onto your stomach, and put your head in your hands... Yeah, like that..."

He got down on the ground and parted the grass, so the camera was peaking through it, to capture her.

"OK, stand up, and put this in your hair..."

He plucked, then handed her a violet.

"I've got one..." She said, after he took the picture. She turned herself square on to the camera, and held a couple flowers in front of her face, as if smelling them. But she turned her head down slightly and the flowers covered most of her nose, and all of her heart shaped mouth. Her eyes were the most prominent features in the photo. Mulder whistled before snapping some more.

Finally, he paused, and she commanded him to give her the camera. He did so, and she put it in her bag.

"I get it for the trip back..."

He eyed her suspiciously but said nothing, as they headed back towards the hill...

It was just after one o'clock when Mulder and Scully got back to camp. They were both hot, but the hike had done them quite a bit of good. Scully knew she hadn't been pushing herself to stay in shape, as hard as she had been when she was with the bureau, but the hike had felt nice.

"So, what are we up to next ?" Scully asked, as she emerged from the tent, with her hairbrush in hand.

Mulder was seated in one of the chairs surrounding the fire pit, nursing a can of root beer. " We should go fishing," he stated, not directly asking her for her opinion.

She sat down in the chair beside him, and pulled the clip out of her hair, then reached out, capturing his drink. " Sounds good."

"What are you doing ?" he asked, watching her sip out of the can.

She swallowed. " Stealing your drink."

He smiled, and shook his head at her.

"What ?"

"You're so good and straight laced, down to earth. You follow all the rules. Then you pull something like that..."

"I'm not breaking any rules by stealing my husband's drink."

He just shook his head.

"Fine." She extended him his drink.

"Nah, I didn't want the rest anyhow." He said, not taking it from her.

She rolled her eyes at him, and emptied the can in one long chug. Meanwhile, he took her hairbrush and came up behind her.

"What are you doing ?" she asked, putting the can on the ground.

"Stealing your hairbrush."

She gave him the patented eyebrow look.

"What ?"

"What are you going to do with my hairbrush ?"

"Brush your hair."

She gave him a puzzled look, but he paid it little heed. instead, he carefully ran the bristles through her hair, marveling at it's luster. And despite her reservations, she found it extremely relaxing.

Mulder ran his hand over her silky hair, after he was finished.

"Your hair has grown, Scully." He commented, surprised that her red gold locks were as long as they had been the first day he met her.

"Yeah, I haven't cut it since... I guess since I had amnesia."

Mulder put his arms down, over her shoulders, then crossed them in front of her, giving her a small hug. " I can't believe that happened..."

"Neither can I... It seems like we've been together, forever."

"But that's a good thing, isn't it ?"

She smiled. " Mmmhmm. I can't remember time when I didn't love you."

Now it was his turn to smile. " Really ?"

"Well, except when I walked in on you and Detective White. I could have killed you then..."

He groaned. " She was such a dog..."

"I know." She assured him.

He snorted and gave her a playful slap, then stood up, taking her brush back to the tent. " Come on, Scully. We should get moving."

She nodded and stood up as well, pulling her freshly brushed hair back, into a ponytail.

"So where's the canoe ?"

Mulder closed down the tent, and fished the car keys out of his pocket, opening the trunk in order to retrieve their fishing poles. " Not far from here, supposedly. Just over the hill there, and down to the right." He said, pointing. As he took out the fishing poles, she extracted her tackle box. Then they headed up the road together.

"Where did this stuff come from, anyway ?" he asked.

"From Mom's attic... It's Ahab's old stuff... I used to go fishing with him all the time. We'd go out in the rain, because the fishing was always best then... Once, he woke me up at two in the morning and we snuck outside to go find dew worms. Mom caught us coming back into the house, hands covered in dirt... I'm not sure who received the most severe punishment. Myself or my father..." she smiled, reminiscent.

"I wish I had met him..." Mulder stated, sincerely

Scully looked up at him, surprised. " Really ?"

Mulder nodded. " But somehow I get the feeling I wouldn't have been good enough."

She shook her head. " That's just because of Billy... Besides, NO ONE was ever good enough, in his eyes, for his little girls. "

Mulder looked away, sadly.

"Mulder... I know he would have approved of you. Mom approves of you... She thinks so much more of you than just approval... And if Mom likes you, that's all my dad would have needed."

Mulder nodded, but didn't speak.

"What's bothering you ?"

"I wish I had had a friend as good as you when I was younger..."

Scully's brow caved. " What do you mean ?"

"I mean, if I had had someone like you to talk to, after Samantha's disappearance, after my parents split up, I could have become a better person."

"Mulder, don't say that. You're the most wonderful man in the world. You're sweet and gentle, but driven and determined. You're passionate and focused, but you don't push. You're smart and funny, and you always make me smile, but you're serious when I need you to be..." She smiled adoringly at him.

"I don't deserve you," he stated.

She surprised him by frowning. " Don't ever say that!" She scolded him. " Don't ever think for a minute that you don't deserve me. I love you."

"you can tell me not to say it, but you can't stop me from thinking it. You can't stop me from believing it."

"No, no I can't." She stated, looking at him angrily.

"You're so good to me, Scully..."

she shook her head at him. " When will you see, I'm not married to you because I think you need me. I don't run all over hell's half acre because I think you need my help. I do it because I want to. I do it because I want to do it for you. I would do anything for you. I'm in love with you, trust me."

He looked at her. At her beautiful, scornful face. " I've made you mad. I'm sorry."

She sighed, heavily. " Stop apologizing!"

"I can't stop if I can't stop hurting you."

She shut her eyes, and took a deep breath. " Stop right now. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, and to me. Just, for once, listen to me. I love you, Mulder. I love you so much sometimes it hurts, but now you're pissing me off. You have to learn when is enough, when to shut up and jut say "I love you". If I say I trust you it's because I trust you. Don't disbelieve my words."

"But I don't want you to be unhappy, with me, or with the life I've forced you into." He said the words slowly, lowly.

She felt like she waned to punch him, to smarten him up. But she knew if she did so, she'd just be trying to kiss it better a minute later. " Mulder, you haven't forced me into anything. You've never made me do or give you anything I wasn't willing to give you myself. But then again, you probably don't believe me when I say that, do you ? What do you want to hear me say ? Do you want me to lie to you, and say that I hate you, that I married you out of obligation ? I can say those things if you want, if that's what you want to hear, but there's not an inkling of truth behind them, and you know it. "

Mulder looked at her long and hard, the hands that were carrying the paddle and tackle box were balled into fists, her knuckles white. She was breathing rapidly, and her eyes were piercing him like knives. A crooked smile appeared on his face, and he choked out a laugh. " After all these years, I can still push your buttons, make your hair stand on end..."

She took a deep breath and rolled her eyes, before shutting them, and dropping her head, shaking it. When she looked up, he was still smiling. And against all her willpower, she smiled too. " Yes you can, Mulder. I suspect you will always be the one and only person who can do that. And I don't think you'll ever forget how to do it either."

Mulder grinned. " Too many years of practice..."

Scully smiled. " ...and many more to come."

That's when they realized that they'd reached the docks. In front of them, stretched along the grassy shore, were rows of canoes, padlocked to their frames, waiting to be lifted into the water.

"We have number 16." Mulder stated, depositing the fishing gear near the shore. Scully put down the tackle box and followed him over to their rented boat. Then together they carried it to the water, and set it afloat. It wasn't long until they were a good ways into the lake, paddling upstream, watching the weeds off the shore, looking for a nice place to drift, as they fished. Soon they'd found a weed bed in a quiet corner of the lake, and cast out.

"I haven't done this in years!" Scully exclaimed, happily, as she dropped the bail, and released the line, watching it fall with a plop into the water.

"Me neither." Mulder contributed, almost wistfully.

Scully looked over at him, concerned by his sad demeanor. " Talk to me."

He looked up at her eager to listen face, and decided it wouldn't hurt to talk.

"I used to go up to the ocean with my dad... To creeks when we were in Chillmark. We always had a bonding thing going on... We'd drink Dr. Pepper and talk about the World Series. Once he gave me this one really special lure... I lost it somewhere along the way, on our last fishing trip. We never went after the divorce... I guess I lost him too... And then, all those years of holding my life against him seemed so short after he died. He couldn't tell me himself, the truth about the past, his past, his lie. He was a coward. But still I wish I could go back."

Scully was deeply touched by Mulder's unbound words. " You know no matter what happened Mulder, he loved you..."

Mulder looked at her. " How do you know ?"

"The same way that I know that my father was proud of me. He was my father."

Mulder nodded, and looked away from her. " But what if I turn into him ?"

Scully was surprised he was thinking about that. It hadn't occurred to her that he was thinking as much about being a father as she was about being a mother, which was quite a bit more than she was admitting...

"What if I have to make the same choices he did ? Between children, or you ? What if..."

Scully cut him off. " You will be a wonderful father, just like you're a wonderful husband, and we'll never get a divorce, and you'll never have to make that decision. No one could chose..."

"My father did..."

"And we ended up together. You learned from it. Mulder, everything bad that has happened to you, to us, we have learned from. It doesn't darken ourselves to know what was done wrong. It helps us make sure that it never happens again."

He nodded. " You know I could never chose anyone, including our children, over you..."

She watched him, carefully reading him. " Mulder..."

"Before we have a family, you have to know that. No one is more important to me then you. Nothing. No one."

She shook her head. " Mulder, I..."

"I'd die without you. There's no way, not a chance in hell, I could raise a child, our child, without you."

She looked at him sadly, attempting a stern look, but failing. " You'd have to. For me."

Mulder eyed her, saying nothing.

"Promise me, Mulder, you won't just abandon our child if something happens to me."

He swallowed hard.

"If something happens to me, I'm still alive in a piece of that child. If that should turn out to be all you have left of me..."

"I promise."

"You promise what ?"

"To never give up on our child, or you."

She nodded. " Remember that."

He nodded.

And all was silent.

An hour later, they were still fishing. They'd caught very few fish, and those which had been caught were too small to eat.

Now Scully sat reading her book, dripping water on herself every now and then to cool off. She'd attached a bobber to her line, and a bell to the line, so she didn't have to pay attention. She was quite relaxed and peaceful.

Mulder, however, was bored to tears. His book wasn't holding his attention, and he kept getting distracted by mindlessly watching the tiny drops of water Scully splashed on herself, drip down her chest, and disappear under her shirt.

"Too hot Scully ?" he asked, trying to start a conversation.

She just nodded and kept reading.

"Scully ?"

"Uh huh ?"

"Are you having fun ?"

"Uh huh."

"Really ?"

"Uh huh."

"Oh... Good book ?"

"Yup."

"What's it about ?"

"Love."

"Sound like us ?"

"No."

"It doesn't ?"

"No."

"Why not ?"

"Sad."

"Oh. Then I'm glad it doesn't sound like us."

"Uh huh."

"Why is it sad ?"

"Fights."

"I'm glad we don't fight."

"Uh huh."

"I love you."

"Uh huh."

"Uh huh ? What does that mean ?"

"Ditto."

"Okay... Scully ?"

"Uh..."

"Want to play a game ?"

"Nuh uh."

"No ? Want to go swimming ?"

"Nuh Uh."

"Too bad!"

Mulder began to rock back and forth, trying to tip the boat. That got Scully's attention, immediately.

"WHAT The HELL?!?"

Mulder grinned. " We're going swimming!"

"MULDER!"

He stood up, beginning to rock harder.

"STOP!"

She stood up, trying to counter weigh his actions. The boat dipped dramatically. Finally, having no other choice, in one quick motion, she sat down in the middle of the canoe, and pushed him out. Thankfully he was the only thing to fall in.

Mulder resurfaced, sputtering.

"Scully, you pushed me!"

"You left me little choice. It was you or everything."

He stuck out his tongue.

She mimicked him, and extended him a paddle, to haul his water logged body back into the boat.

"Well now at least I have your attention," he stated, as he slunk into the boat.

She shook her head. " Such a little boy sometimes... Let's get you home and dried off."

She picked up a paddle, and headed for the docks.

Somewhere between the weeds and docks, he trailing lure must have caught some fish's attention, because her pole and it's attention line began to unwind. Mulder jumped at the sound of the bell and wound in, with some difficulty. He was amazed when he pulled in a twelve inch fat mother of a bass.

"There's dinner." Scully stated.

It wasn't long before they were back at camp, Mulder being dried off and scolded by Scully , Scully being irritated by the fact that Mulder was enjoying her reprimand. She considered the fact that though they were married, nothing had really changed between them. They were still just Mulder and Scully, to each other. She smiled to herself, picking up Mulder's wet clothes, to go hang them on the drying line they'd strung. She really, really, really missed being his partner. she missed their work together. They'd been such a good team, probably for the same reasons they made such a good couple. They equaled each other out. Her rigid scientific faith was counter balanced by his extreme beliefs.

Mulder noticed the smile on her face, and hoped it was of his doing. He liked making her smile. No. He LOVED making her smile. He loved her. He adored the challenge she put up, making the times when he succeeded all the more rewarding. Lately though, he found it was becoming easier and easier to convince her to smile. Her happiness meant a great deal to him, but he missed the times in the past when her smiles were few and not often bestowed upon the likes of him. That fact was what made him cherish them so. And he had to admit, he missed having to clear a space on the desk for her. His job wasn't nearly as interesting as it had been, when she was constantly beside him.

And they both thought that even though they'd gained so much together, they'd lost something as well. The base of their relationship. the very thing that had made them, so strong...

"Scully ?"

She was ripped from her thoughts by the very person she'd been thinking about. " Yeah ?"

"Do you ever regret anything we've done ?"

"I regret it when we fight about stupid things..."

"Yeah, but I mean things like..."

"Kissing at Christmas ? Getting engaged ? Saying " I love you" ?"

He nodded.

"No. Do you?"

"No."

"Then why did you ask ?"

"Because I miss you as a friend."

Scully looked at him, seriously considering his statement. Her brow descended in worry, but then relaxed again. " Haven't you learned that I can be your wife, and your friend... " She questioned. " And your partner, and your lover, and your enemy, and your pain in the ass...?" She added, trying to keep her face serious.

Mulder shook his head, smiling slightly.

"I can be everything and anything you need me to be."

Mulder smiled, reaching out and touching her cheek.

"I know, it's just..." He shrugged, but Scully wasn't going to let it drop.

"Just what ?"

"Well, if we were having problems, with our marriage..." Mulder cut off his own sentence at the trying-to-be-concealed look of shock on Scully's face. " IF Dana. We're not having problems. I love you. But if I had been married to someone else, and was having those problems, I would have turned to you. Now, because it's YOU I'm married to, I can't..." He looked in her eyes, trying to find some kind of assurance that she understood him. " Do you understand, at all ?"

Slowly she nodded.

"Sometimes I just feel we had more when we were less..."

She shook her head at him. " No, we have more now, there's just more at risk. You..." She poked him with her index finger, and left it against his chest. "...have to learn to be secure with yourself, AND me. That's marriage. You have to trust me enough to be able to tell me anything, good or bad, and not be afraid that I'm going to run."

Mulder objected. " But I do trust you Scully, you're the ONLY one I trust..."

She decided to challenge him. " OK, so tell me one thing that you hate about me."

Mulder hesitated. " I don't hate anything about you..."

Scully raised her eyebrow. " You see, you won't tell me because you're afraid of my reaction. Now tell me..."

Mulder thought for a minute, then tentatively began. " I don't like it when you won't admit to being wrong." He waited for the outburst he was sure was coming, but didn't. Instead the tent was filled with her laughter.

"Why's that funny ?"

"Because you're right. I hardly ever admit defeat..."

Mulder looked at her, shocked. " You're not mad at me ?"

She shook her head. " No, because I'm human. I have flaws. I wouldn't want to have them pointed out 24/7 but there's no one I'd rather hear them from than you."

Mulder's jaw dropped.

Scully smiled, again.

Mulder decided to change the subject. " Why do you smile so much more now ?"

Scully straightened her face, but her eyes were still glowing. " Because I'm happy."

"Weren't you happy before ?"

She nodded.

"Why didn't you smile then ?"

"She shrugged. " I don't smile all that often for people. Hence the nickname, Ice Queen."

Mulder shook his head. " It's not rue at all though. Why don't you ever prove them wrong ?"

She shrugged again. " I'm not worried about it. I save my smiles for important people."

She gave him a well placed grin.

"It's just that I used to have to work so hard to get you to smile. Now you give them to me for free."

"Would you rather I didn't smile ?" Her face melted into the FBI emotionless mask that had been his main view of her for a long time.

"NO! Don't ever stop smiling Scully." He was shaken by how fast and how well she could change her face and hide her emotions. It just helped compound the all ready well known fact that she was a complicated woman. " It's just that your smile seemed to mean so much more back then."

She shook her head at him. " That's just because that was the most affection I could show for you, the most happiness I could let you see. Now I can do so much more... You make me very, very happy in many other ways..."

Mulder imitated her skeptical look. " Like how ?"

"Like when you make me breakfast in bed, or when you hold me and tell me I'm beautiful, or today, when you brushed my hair..."

Mulder looked at her incredulously. " Brushing your hair made you happy ?"

She smiled.

"Scully, I found another fault, though it's hardly something I abhor..."

"What's that ?"

"You look like a chipmunk when you grin."

Scully let her mouth fall open in mock indignation, before she took his clothes, and zipped open the tent door flap. " Get decent Mulder. We're going swimming."

"I all ready did that..." He whined, trying to get her to come back.

"We're going to go swimming Mulder, real swimming."

"Are you going to wear a bikini ?"

Her head stuck back into the tent. " Do I own one ?"

"No, I don't think so..." He said, dismayed.

"Are you sure about that ?"

His eyes shot up from his bag to her face, which was smiling at him devilishly.

"Did you buy a bikini Scully ?" he asked, surprised.

"You just never know, do you ? I had that whole week off before we left..." She said, innocently, before backing out again. And suddenly Mulder was in a rush to get to that beach...

Luckily, the beach wasn't too busy. Mulder was thankful, because could think of a million things he'd want to do to Scully, if she was indeed wearing a bikini... But the innocent laughs of a few five year olds building sand castles, reminded him that this was a public area.

Scully laid her towel out across a dune of sand, under a big tree. She thought it was odd to find a tree on a beach, but then again, this wasn't a natural beach. Either way, the shade would keep her from burning. It also meant that she could stretch out for a while, antagonizing Mulder because she was indeed wearing a bikini, and wouldn't need sunscreen right away... She sat down on her towel, and pulled her brush out of her bag, quickly pulling her hair up into a ponytail. Meanwhile, Mulder laid his towel out beside hers, and sat down, looking at her expectantly.

"What ?" She asked, trying not to smile. For once she was successful.

"Aren't you going to show me what you've got on under that T-shirt and sarong ?"

She shook her head, pulling her book out. She spoke to him as she tried to find her page. " Nah, I'm not warm enough yet."

Mulder sighed, frustrated. Now he was more sure than ever that she was wearing a bikini... He closed his eyes, sulking, but must have dozed off because he was quite a bit warmer when he woke up.

"Scully ?"

She put down her book, and looked at him. " Yes ?"

"Are you warm yet ?"

She considered his question than nodded. " Actually, I am..." And off came the clothes that had been covering her.

It was worse, or better, than he ever could have imagined. It was your typical style bikini, dark blue and skimpy, and it showed off so much of her creamy skin and well toned body.

"You look like a Goddess Scully." Was all Mulder could manage. His jaw was way too lose to work.

She just smirked at him, and lay down, putting her sunglasses on. All was quiet for a few minutes, before Scully spoke up. " It's not polite to stare Mulder. Pull your tongue back into your mouth and stop that tail from wagging."

Mulder groaned. He was being punished for something, maybe just for fun...

"You're going to burn Scully." He warned, realizing she didn't have sunscreen on yet.

"But oh, it's worth the pain to see that look on your face..."

Mulder sighed again. " Scully, you're driving me crazy!"

She smiled sweetly. " I know."

Mulder had exhausted his every means of convincing Scully to let him touch her godly image... All that is, except one.

"No! No puppy dog faces!"

But he showed no mercy, just as she had. And she finally gave in.

"Fine, fine, fine... I have to get out from under this tree at some point..."

Mulder grinned like an idiot, and scooted over behind her, squeezing sun cream onto his hands. He did a deliberately slow, but subtle job of covering all her exposed skin, paying due attention to her fine facial features. When he was don painting her, they decided the water looked very inviting. It welcomed them very nicely too.

"The water is cool..." Scully commented, slowly walking out into it, letting her body adjust to it's coolness. Mulder, however, dove right under, then came up with a splash beside his wife.

"The water is great!" He exclaimed watching as it's level rose to her belly button. " Come in." He lunged for her, and she shrieked, as she was submerged. She opened her eyes underwater and found him grinning at her. She smirked and resurfaced.

"MULDER!!!"

But it was hard to be mad at a man who looked like a little boy, with his pouty lips, oversized nose, soft eyes and wet hair dripping and hanging into his face.

"You're so bad..."

He grinned. " But you love me anyhow ?"

Scully nodded, before plunging under and swimming away.

They swam for close to an hour, just going back and forth, chasing each other or floating around. Finally, when Scully's fingers began to resemble raisins, they decided it was time to come in. They hadn't been drying off, baking in the sun for long, before loud music was heard coming from the park road. Accompanying the music were the laughs and chattering voices of a dozen or so teenagers... Two of which were Hope and Carrie.

"Hi Scully ! Hi Mulder!" Carrie called, waving.

Mulder grinned and waved back. Maybe the forces unknown were punishing Scully for her bikini punishment on him.

Carrie and Hope lead the pack of rowdies over to their favorite couple. Upon closer inspection, Mulder learned that there were ten young adults, four of which were boys.

"Hi Scully !" Hope said, smiling at her.

"Nice bikini." Carrie deadpanned, wiggling her eyebrows at Mulder.

"I want you two to meet my friends. " Hope said. " Guys, GUYS!" All her friends shut up. " This is Scully and her husband Mulder."

Everyone mumbled something to the effect of hello.

"This is D'Arcy." Hope said, pulling a tall, lanky girl who looked like a rower, over to the couple. She had blue gray eyes and long, straight brown hair, as well as a goofy grin. Despite the heat she wore pants and a black T-shirt.

"This is Elizabeth !" She stated, opening her fist to show Mulder a paralyzed ant. " He's a boy."

Hope began to laugh and told D'Arcy to put "Elizabeth" away.

While Mulder was trying to figure out how Elizabeth could possibly be a boys name, and what the hell was wrong with D'Arcy, Hope introduced Dora.

Dora was taller than Hope, but not that much. She had a cute smile and spiked up , gelled blondish brown hair. She was wearing big, baggy shorts and an Econoline Crush T-shirt.

"Do you have any sugar ?" She asked, pleadingly.

Hope handed her a pixie stick and satisfied her friend.

Next came Amy, who would have been shorter than Hope, except for the fact that she was wearing Spice Girls style sandals. Scully couldn't imagine walking on sand in those, without twisting an ankle, but Amy seemed to be managing. She had short blond hair and hazel eyes which were working in harmony with glasses, as well as a smile that could be interpreted as sweet and insane at the same time.

With Amy stood Ness. She was taller than both girls, but not as tall as D'Arcy. She had blue gray eyes and blondish auburn hair. Tucked between her hip and arm was a volleyball, as it was evident that she was a sports enthusiast. However, contradicting her previous image was a face she kept making at Hope which resembled a drug abuser sniffing away...

All the boys, despite the fact that they were called upon individually, came up together. They were obviously feeling outnumbered in a negative sense, by the more numerous females.

Billy, who was introduced as D'Arcy's boyfriend was as tall as Mulder, if not taller, and had absolutely no hair. He said hello in a bored manner, bringing to light his apathetic nature. And no he did not care to elaborate upon how he had ended up bald.

Scott was as tall as Ness, with medium brown hair and what could only be called fascinating eyes. They were a varying shade of turquoise blue, but one had a large section of light brown in it. It looked as if someone had spilled iodine in it. He waved, as he looked for a way out of the situation. Also conspiring to escape from the over enthusiastic girls were Chris and Caleb.

Chris was shorter than Hope, but not much. And it was evident that his height was the bane of his existence. He had blue eyes and floppy, strawberry blond hair. He greeted the duo in almost a shy manner, as did his friend Caleb.

Caleb was much taller than Chris, shorter only than Billy. He had floppy, slightly curly dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. It was obvious to Mulder immediately that neither of the two boys were as calm as they led on.

When Hope was done her introductions, she invited the two adults to participate in a game of beach volleyball. Persuading them by bringing to light the fact that they were two players short of a two full, six a side teams. Mulder and Scully reluctantly agreed. However, when it was over, and they all journeyed to the water to rinse the sand away, Mulder confronted Scully on her obvious enjoyment of the game.

"See, that wasn't too bad, was it ?"

Scully looked over at the pack of animals, commonly known as teenagers, who were yelling and splashing.

"Nah. It was fun."

Mulder smiled. " You looked pretty hot up there, digging for the ball."

"I used to be on the volleyball team in high school... I think there's a picture of us in my yearbook."

Mulder grinned. " I didn't mean "hot" like that..."

Scully blushed and dunked him underwater, until she knew he was sufficiently out of breath.

"SCULLY! What are you trying to do, kill me ? Jesus!"

She smiled and swam away, but he was close on her tail.

"Yearbook photos... Now THAT sounds interesting..."

Scully rolled her eyes. " Honestly, they're scary."

Mulder grinned. " Scary or Spooky ?"

Together they headed into shore, passing the teenagers, only getting caught in two monster splashes.

"Well... I'm glad that experience didn't totally turn you off kids..." She stated, lightly.

Mulder smiled, knowingly. " Don't worry Scully. You'll have your chance." He snagged her hand and pulled her down onto his towel, so they were sitting, crossed legged, face to face.

"Mulder..."

"Well, we haven't been using anything to prevent it..."

She smiled, and shook her head, but was still quiet.

"You're really worried about it, aren't you ?"

She turned her face up to look at him, to find some sort of reassurance in him. Finally she spoke. " Yes." She stated, nodding. " I never really realized that it was something I wanted, until it turned out that I might not be able to have it."

Mulder nodded, taking her hands in his. " What would you rather have, Scully, a boy or a girl ?"

She considered his question seriously. " I don't know... Right now either would seem like a blessing."

Mulder nodded.

"How about you ?"

Mulder smiled. " I would love both, but I'm partial to little girls..."

That made Scully smile. " Really ?"

He nodded. " Especially if they look like you."

She smiled sadly, thinking of Emily.

"Scully, if we have a little girl, do you want to call her Emily ?"

Scully's eyes shot up from their hands to his eyes. " No."

She looked upset by his innocent and well meaning question, and he felt bad. He hadn't meant to cause her more pain.

She knew he felt bad, so she opened up a little. " I wouldn't want to name her Emily for the same reasons you wouldn't want to name her Samantha..."

Mulder nodded in understanding. " Tell you what, when we get back home and settled in again, we'll go to a fertility clinic, OK?"

Scully nodded. " Thank you, Mulder."

"For what ?"

"For being supportive, for being my wall to lean on."

He pulled her into his arms. " God only knows how long you've been doing the same for me... I've always needed you Scully."

She nodded against his chest. " As I have you, Mulder."

**=

Night had fallen, and the fires were burning, Mulder and Scully's being no exception. Scully was lazing in the hammock, feeling like a happy cat, after the excellent dinner of fish they'd made together. She had the feeling that dinner had been excellent because she'd been able to help him. It had felt right, like she was breaking even for all the times he'd cooked for her. She rolled over onto her stomach, letting her arms fall over the sides, and smiled. She'd been the one who'd filleted the fish. Mulder had winced and turned away when she'd chopped off the head, gills still moving... And when she had nothing left but two slabs of white fish, she'd tossed them on the barbecue, quite pleased with herself. Mulder was giving her that disgusted, I'm-happy-I-have-you face. Otherwise, he'd have had to have been the one to get scales all over himself. The only downside was that her hands still smelled vaguely of fish...

Scully heard him come over beside her, then felt his hands come down onto her back, where they started scratching.

"Ooh... Oh.. up a bit." She sighed.

Mulder laughed and continued scratching for a few minutes, before his claws turned into feathers and began to tickle her. She wiggled and tried to escape, but her attempts were in vain, for the hammock held her like a fish in a net.

"Mulder... stop... please..." She begged him through fits of laughter.

"No way. This is too much fun!"

And then, the inevitable happened. She wiggled to hard to the right, and fell out of the hammock, at his feet.

"Oh my god, Scully ?" He crouched down over top of her, a slight laugh still in his voice. When she didn't respond, he reached out and gently touched her back, pulling the hair away from her down turned face. " Scully ?"

She groaned a bit. He knew she was trying to fake him out, so he decided to keep the upper hand. He stood up, and bent over from the waist, wrapping his arms around her own waist. And before she knew what was happening, she was slung over his shoulder, being carried over to the campfire.

"MULDER!"

He carefully laid her down on the lounge before kissing her like he was crazy.

"Mmm... Mulder... what are... you... doing ?"

"Loving you." He mumbled.

"Mulder..."

But before she could finish her sentence, music was heard, coming from somewhere in the bushes...

Hope smiled, as she pushed play on the portable stereo her and Carrie had lugged over.

"This is absolutely the BEST idea you've come up with in ages !" Hope stated to Carrie.

"What about the s'more bit ?"

"Yeah, that was good too... But now I get to really rib you for thinking up this!"

"What did you put on ?" Carrie whispered, wondering at Hope's smile.

"Only You..."

The old music flooded into the campsite, and Mulder smiled at Scully, pulling her up close to him. She smiled back, and watched him with fascination, as he mouthed the words of the song to her.

Only you Can make this world seem right Only you Can make the darkness bright Only you And you alone Can thrill me like you do And fill my heart with love For only you...

Mulder leaned forwards a bit, and whispered into her ear. " You know we haven't danced since our wedding..."

She smiled. " Our wedding... OUR wedding... I can't believe we're married..."

"It's weird, isn't it Agent Scully."

"Yes. "

"Who would have thought we'd end up here ?"

"I walked in to that office, so many years ago..."

"... Not knowing whether I could trust you, not wanting you with me..."

"... And now, I wouldn't change a day."

"You looked so fresh, so smart. You came in, cleaned up, and saved me from myself..."

"And you, sitting there, looking so smart, in both senses, not wanting me with you, at all... Now we can't live without each other..."

Mulder laughed. " I can't believe that you, my beautiful, wonderful, Dana Scully, married me."

"Correction. Dana Mulder."

Only you Can make this change in me For it's true You are my destiny When I hold your hand I understand The magic that you do You're my dream come true My one and only you

Hope clapped, quietly but delightedly. And for once, Carrie was just as enthusiastic as her partner in crime. But then again, this had been her idea...

Mulder bent Scully over his arm, as he had at their wedding, and kissed her with no less intensity as well. Completely spellbound, she felt like Jell-O in his arms. He pulled her back up and smiled, noticing her dizzied expression.

"Feeling OK, Firefly ?"

She nodded and leaned in closer, resting her head against his chest. As she did so, he whispered the last line in her ear. " You're my dream come true, my one, and only you..."

The song ended, and he peacefully held her in his arms.

"You want to pack it in ?" he asked, noticing how tired she looked.

She nodded. " I'm beat..." And she yawned... then jumped out of her skin as very loud, very raucous music came on.

Suddenly, fierce whispering was heard from the bushes.

"Hope ! What the hell is that ?"

"I don't know !?! Blur..."

"Turn it off!"

There was a loud scuffle, and Mulder smiled at Scully.

"Don't bother, girls. We're packing it in."

And suddenly, everything was quiet. The girls had silenced the music, as well as themselves, not even breathing for fear of being caught.

"Goodnight girls." Scully said.

Then the sound of tent zippers were heard, and Mulder and Scully's voices talking softly, before silence fell again.

**=

Scully was woken, in the morning, by the sound of raindrops pelting against the tarp they'd put over top of the tent, to keep off the water. She was glad because it sounded like it was really coming down, and wasn't going to let up for quite a while. The air had turned cold and damp, the kind of weather that had coined the phrase, " Chilled to the bone." She shivered in the sleeping bag, and shinnied closer to Mulder. After several minutes of just laying there, listening to the sound of rain and his heartbeat, she pulled out her book, and began to read. No sooner than when she was just getting into it, did Mulder wake up and tear her away from her reading.

"Rain," he stated, before even opening his eyes.

She put down her book and rolled onto her side, watching him. He had stubble along his jaw, and his hair was rumpled, sticking up every which way. His eyes were bored and tired, as he also rolled over to look at her.=

"Are you feeling all right, Mulder ?" She asked, thinking he looked under the weather.

He sighed. " Yeah, I don't know... Maybe I don't feel so great..."

She nodded and could tell by his irritable behavior that he was coming down with something.

"Hungry ?" She asked, sitting up.

When he nodded, she crawled over to the storage attachment flap that had come with the tent, and pulled out their dry foods cooler. She proceeded to remove all the fixings for peanut butter and jam sandwiches, then made them. Mulder sat up and smiled, for the first time that morning, gratefully accepting Scully's breakfast.

"Hmm, delicious." He declared after sinking his teeth into it.

Scully smirked. " Mulder, a Neanderthal could make these."

He smiled. " Well, yours are the best PBJs I've ever tasted."

She rolled her eyes at him. " Don't think you can slack off on the cooking, now. You know the deal. You do dinner, I do laundry."

He nodded. " I promise."

She shook her head at him...

Five hours, seven chapters, four hands of crazy eight's and a game of strip poker later, it was time for lunch. Scully was dressed in her sweats and cold, and Mulder, who had lost the game of poker was sitting in his boxers, had a fever and was boiling. However, when it came time for lunch, Scully insisted she be the one to suit up, and go heat the soup. She didn't want Mulder to catch pneumonia.

So now she stood in the cold, wet rain, and stayed warm by jumping up and down on spot, as she waited fort he soup to boil. Mulder watched her from the tent door screen, and smiled. She looked like she was six years old. She was wearing big, black Wellington rubber boots, sweat pants and a bright yellow rain slicker, with the hood pulled up over her head. Despite the protection of the hood, her hair was getting wet, curling with the dampness and humidity.

"Scully ?" He called from the . She looked at him, waiting to hear his statement.

"You're the only person who can make that yellow thing look sexy..." He grinned.

She smirked at him, and shut off the portable oven, bringing over the soup. She handed the pot to him, as she stripped out of the wet garments. When she came into the tent, she discovered that he'd pulled the cooler out to use a table, and had stuck two spoons into the hot liquid. She smiled and shivered.

"Here. Put these on." Mulder said, passing Scully his sweat clothes, when he noticed hers had been soaked by the rain, despite the rain gear.

She took them, and put them on, but only felt slightly warmer. Of course, eating the soup helped, but her chilled bones and cold spirit lasted all day, and well into the night. Through the afternoon they once again spoke of children and Emily. And despite the fact that as they spoke, he was gentle as ever, that night, sleeping in his arms, her heart froze over.

At first it just started as a dream. Everything was black and hollow, echoes of her title that were being called bouncing off unseen walls. Her tiny gentle voice, calling to her, begging her for help, but she couldn't move, she couldn't see her daughter. Her only daughter. The one who reminded her so much of her sister. Emily called her mother, in her dream, over and over. But Dana Scully was bound by unseen chains. She couldn't see her little girl, or feel her. She could only listen as her once gentle calls turned into high pitched screams... " Mooooommmmy... Mooommy... Mommy... Mommy... Mommy... MOmmy... MOMmy... MOMMy... MOMMY!... MOMMY!!... MOMMYYYYYYY!!!!"

Scully shot straight up in bed, panicked, a cold sweat covering her. tears streamed down her face and her hands shot up, to cover her mouth silently screaming. How could they have been so cruel ? She looked down at her sleeping husband, wondering if her ever dreamed of children. She doubted it. The only child he ever thought of was Samantha. His words traveled back into her mind as her thoughts traveled in circles. " It's very likely Miss Scully will never conceive a child..."

Scully unzipped the tent, and walked out. Some time during the dark hours the rain had stopped, but the world outside was still wet. The clouds had vanished, leaving in their place a beautiful crescent moon. She sat down on the lounge, in the moonlight and began to cry.

Mulder woke up about five minutes after her exit. He couldn't say what had woken him, just a feeling that something was wrong. And he realized something was wrong when he heard his wife crying, outside. His first impulse was to go to her, but he held himself back, deciding that she might need a minute. He lay in the sleeping bag, listening to her heartbreaking sobs, wondering why she was crying, and why she wasn't coming to him. Having the mind of a psychologist, he began to weigh things out. A beautiful, smart woman marries a Spooky man. Not a month after their wedding she's crying at night, not letting him know. She's unhappy with the marriage... Mulder chided himself, Scully's voice coming into his head, reminding him of their earlier conversation about not being good enough. She'd said she loved him a million times. Surely she'd tell him if something wasn't right ?

Finally, not hearing her tears subsiding and not being able to stand listening to her cry any longer, he got out of the tent and saw her. She was sitting in the moonlight, tears falling off her face like stars in the night sky. Mulder came to her, and sat down behind her, pulling her to him. He gently caressed her back, arms and head, comforting her, slowing her sobs. He whispered reassurances in her ears. And eventually they went back into the tent, and back to sleep.

Mulder thought he'd ended her crying that night, when her tears had stopped falling. He thought her nightmare had been vanquished. But it hadn't. It was a long ways from being over. This was just the beginning...


End Part 9.... < geez this is getting long >... is on the way. ibelievex@hotmail.com

Disclaimer

None of the characters you recognize are mine. Most likely they are property of Chris Carter and 1013 Productions for the Fox television network. If you don't recognize the characters, then they are mine. No infringement of any sort to anybody was intended in the making of this story. Though you could sue, imagine how many x-philes you'd lose if they could no longer fantasize over their favorite characters??

All full set of song lyrics, and parts of songs, are property of their artists and their record label. They are in no way mine, I just used them to enhance the moods in my story.

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT WAS INTENDED IN The MAKING OF THIS STORY

All characters and related subjects are property of Chris Carter for his TV show "The X-Files" 20th Century Fox Television Network and Ten Thirteen Productions =E3 1992

"The X-Files" is a trademark of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


** ~ " No more "I love you" s, the language is leaving me in silence..." ~ Annie Lenox **

Scully was hardly aware of her actions as she closed the door behind her, leaning on it, looking for strength. It wasn't as if she hadn't been expecting it, but it hurt so much. Too much. She had no idea why she let herself get attached to anyone, anything. It only ended in heartbreak. And since when was she a dreamer ? Since when did she let anything give her hope, before being proven or justified ? She'd become a dreamer when she'd married Mulder...

The rest of the summer vacation had passed in a blur, the days being filled with laughter and smiles, but the nights becoming more and more associated with nightmares. It was now the third week of August, and since that rain night on their honeymoon camping trip, the nightmares had increased and become more vivid. That's why she'd been thankful when she'd returned to work. It was something too keep her mind busy. But the distraction hadn't diverted her attention for long, and soon she'd been losing sleep. She hadn't told Mulder about the dreams, she'd just pushed them back and away. In doing so, she'd made them worse. She knew that Mulder knew something was wrong. She rarely smiled and had bags under her eyes. She'd shed ten pounds, and her once open face had returned to the porcelain mask she'd worn for so many years, hiding her emotions...

And it was with that face on that Mulder found her, coming home from work that evening.

Mulder didn't know what, exactly, was wrong with Scully, his once open and caring wife. It seemed as if she was drifting away from him, and it hurt. He tried not to let it show, but he was afraid. He was terrified that their marriage was falling apart. But like all the other days that week, he didn't ask her about it when he came home...

Scully heard the jingle of keys at the door, and prepared herself. She would tell him. There was no way she was going to back down.

Mulder knew something was wrong when he stepped through the door and found the apartment spotless. Scully only cleaned like that when she was really upset. His eyes sought her out, and found her, heading from their bedroom towards him. He falsely smiled.

"Hi Scully." He gave her a hug, which she returned. Her emotional floodgates almost opened, but she kept them locked down.

"Hi Mulder." She wouldn't meet his eyes.

Mulder immediately began to read her by her body language, the way he'd had to before they were married. She looked upset, guilty, tired, worried and ashamed, all at once, all trying to be hidden.

"How was your day ?" He casually asked as he kicked off his shoes and un tucked his shirt, heading for the bedroom to change.

She quietly followed. " I learned some... interesting... things about myself."

He looked up at her, briefly, before pulling his shirt off. " Scully ?" He prompted.

"I went to the fertility doctor."

And silence fell, thick and heavy. He slowly turned around, everything suddenly making sense.

"Oh my god, Scully... " He opened his arms and walked towards her, but instead of going to him, she took a step back and away. Her actions made him stop.

"Why didn't you tell me ?"

"You were working. It wasn't important."

"Yes it was, Scully. For you it was. I'm so sorry..." He tried to come to her again, but she backed up some more, putting her hands up in a manner that told him to stop. And that's when the alarms went off in his head.

"There's nothing to be sorry about, Mulder. It's just a fact. Just the way it is."

"Scully, you need to talk about this..."

She cut him off, speaking more harshly than intended, as she headed for the door. " DON'T, don't tell me what I need to do. I know what I need, and you don't."

He was hurt and snapped. " have you thought about this ? Have you thought at all ?"

She frowned at him. " There's nothing to think about. It just is."

He frowned back. " Scully, be reasonable. I know this hurts..."

She interrupted again. " No you don't. You have no idea." And she reached for the door handle, grabbing her car keys

"Where are you going ?" he asked, gently this time.

"For a drive. I'll be back in a while. Don't wait up." She opened the door.

"Scully, I love you."

She paused for a moment, then looked at the floor, before closing the door, saying nothing...

She didn't know where she was going, she just went. She couldn't face him now. She'd rather die than see his disappointment in her on his face. Her worst fear had been realized. She'd let him down, and there was nothing she could do about it. So she just drove, farther and faster, not thinking, and not feeling. She had to be alone...

...Mulder collapsed onto the couch, his mind reeling, his body suddenly feeling ten times it's weight. He felt so bad. But what felt worse was the fact that Scully wasn't coming to him. He knew it was her style, to shut down and shut out, but he'd really thought that their marriage might have changed something. Maybe he'd been naive, as usual. He wondered where she was going, if she even knew...

As the evening wore on, he didn't move from the couch. He didn't eat. He didn't do much of anything but feel numb and stare at his cell phone. He didn't call her for hours. At first, he wasn't worried, but by the time ER was half over, he began to wonder where she was. Maybe she was staying the night at her Mom's house... Mulder picked up the phone and dialed Maggie's number.

"Hello ?"

"Hi Mrs. Scully."

"Fox, what's wrong ?"

Mulder smiled briefly. " Nothing. Is Scully there ?"

"No, I haven't heard from her at all. Why ?"

Mulder paused, suddenly feeling like he'd let her down. " We, uh, had a fight. I haven't seen her since five thirty. She went out for a drive... I just..."

"You're worried about her."

Mulder's silence answered for him.

"I'll give you a call if she shows up, OK ?"

"Thanks Mrs. Scully."

Mulder hung up, then hit the auto dial for Scully's number. The LCD flashed and told him that her phone was off or out of range...

... An hour later, his phone said the same thing, and now he was getting worried. She'd been gone six hours. Where had she gone ?

Where had she gone, indeed. Scully looked at her watch and at the bleak landscape around her. She was driving through some woods, god only knew where, on some deteriorating state road in what she believed, logically, must be Michigan. She cursed herself for not thinking. She should have at least been watching, trying to figure out where she was going. Mulder had been right. She wasn't thinking at all... Her heart crunched at the thought of him, sitting at home, probably worrying about her. How could she have just walked out on him like that ? She sighed. Why was everything so hard for them ? They'd been married close to three months now, and already they were fighting. It was just so hard for her to open up. During their post-marital bliss it had been so easy, but now, she was once again putting up walls. She didn't know why... It wasn't like she didn't want the marriage to work...

Finding herself becoming increasingly disturbed by her thoughts, she went back to thinking logically. She'd found out she was sterile, was afraid of his reaction, so she'd ran, to Nowheresville, USA. Despite her brave front, she was weak, and she needed Mulder. She loved him... She realized she had even bigger problems when she noticed that the gas light was on, and the needle was way past the E...

It was now twelve thirty and Mulder was really worried. it wasn't like her to be gone so long, seven hours, his mind reminded himself, without at least calling to say she was all right. Margaret Scully hadn't called, and he knew she would have, even if Dana didn't want her to. He was just reaching for his phone, when it rang, Scully's number on the LCD.

"Scully ?"

Silence came from her end of the line. He sounded to hopeful.

"Scully, are you all right ?"

She smiled, slightly. " I love you too, Mulder."

She could almost hear him relax.

"Where are you ?"

"I don't know. I'm lost."

She could hear him chuckle a bit, a very good sign. " Any idea whatsoever ?"

She looked at her surroundings. " I'm sitting in an all night truck stop diner, somewhere in Michigan."

"MICHIGAN ?"

"Yeah... just a sec."

Mulder heard mumbling in the background, and the phone changed hands. A gruff male voice came on the line.

"Hey, I'm Len, and I'm bein' told ta call ya Mulder..."

"Yeah, that would be me... Who are you ?"

"Oh, I'm a trucker. Been sittin' here with Dana fer an hour er so... Yer her husband ?"

Mulder thought it was very odd that he wasn't feeling threatened by the fact that his wife was in another state talking to truckers. " Yes. Where is she ?"

"Oh, she's here with me... Oh, oh ya mean directions..." Len gave Mulder directions on how to get there, then passed the phone back to Scully.

"So, Scully. You've been entertaining the big, burly men ?"

She could hear him locking the door behind him, and heading to his car.

"Yeah, I told them all I was an exotic dancer."

Mulder laughed and she realized it was the first time, in quite a few weeks, that they were teasing each other.

"I'm sorry Mulder..."

He stopped laughing, and was quiet. " We can talk about this when I get there, OK ?"

"Mulder..."

"I want to talk this through with you Scully, but in person... I need to..."

"I know, Mulder... I've been thinking a lot about us..." She looked down at the gold rings on her finger, absent-mindedly twisting them.

:: Uh oh.:: thought Mulder. :: Here it comes. Divorce.::

"Dana, we can make this work, we can work it out..."

She was confused by his quick and panicked words. " Make what work ?"

"Our marriage."

And for the first time in a month, a small laugh escaped her. And she realized, all this time, while she was worried about losing him, because of the baby situation, all he'd been worried about was them. The baby didn't matter, as long as she was fine, as long as he had her. He'd said it himself. The problem was it did matter to her. She suddenly found herself at loss for words, tears falling.

Len, who was at the bar, heard Mulder calling her, and her not responding, so he gently took the phone from her, to talk to Mulder.

Mulder heard her start to cry and pushed down on the accelerator, speeding up. " Scully ?"

"Hi Mulder." Len said, picking up the phone.

"Is she all right ?" Mulder asked.

"Yeah. She's tired I think. She's laughin' though she's cryin'. She loves ya a lot ya know."

"Really ?" Mulder asked, surprised to hear that coming from a third party.

"Yeah. We were talkin' 'bout ya all night."

"Thank you, for watching her..."

Len smiled. " She ain't hard on the eyes."

Mulder just couldn't get his head around the fact that he wasn't feeling threatened, at all, by Len. Here was this guy, surely joking about Mulder's wife, to him, and he wasn't feeling territorial. He realized it must have something to do with level of trust.

"Well, I best be going... I have a delivery route to follow... G'night"

"Good night." Mulder said, before Len gave Scully her phone back.

"Hi."

"Scully, I want you to go lock yourself in the car and get some sleep. I won't be there until sevenish, and you need to rest."

"Mulder, I won't be able to sleep without you beside me..."

He made a small, indistinguishable sound, then continued. " Scully, you've just spent three weeks sleeping as far away as possible from me, in bed. One more night won't hurt you..."

Scully felt bad, noticing the small, undertone of accusation he was trying to hide. " OK, Mulder. I'm going to listen to you." She stood up, heading for the doors.

"Sleep tight."

She yawned and crawled into her car, locking the door behind her. " I'm sorry." She stated, then quickly hung up, not wanting to hear the argument that would surely have followed her comment...

Seven long hours later, Mulder pulled up into Didi's Truck Stop Diner, and ran from the parking lot, through the pouring rain and into the small diner. No one looked at him when he came in. No one except a small red headed woman, who sat in a back booth, blanket wrapped around her, coffee in hand. He froze when he saw her sitting there...

... She heard the bells on the door jangle and looked up to see the dripping wet form of her husband standing there, looking at her. For a moment a smile flickered across her face, before her eyes dropped away from him, ashamed. She heard him walk over to her and slide into the seat across from her. She fixed her gaze on a spot on the table. It didn't escape her when put his hands on the table top, palm up, waiting for her to put her hands in his. She folded them tightly in her lap.

"Hey Firefly."

She didn't answer, and he could see her lip quiver, just before she spoke.

"Are you mad at me?"

He didn't hesitate. " No."

"You're lying. " She sensed.

He paused. " I'm upset that you didn't come to me..."

"I let you down." She looked at him, looked him in the eyes, and he saw so much sadness, fear and self hatred there that he wanted to cry. However, he knew it was time to tell the truth.

"Yes, you did."

Her eyes fell once again and a single tear escaped. He reached out and caught it on his finger. " Hey, no crocodile tears..."

She smiled, briefly. " What's wrong with us? With me?"

Mulder shook his head. " Nothing. We're human."

"Are you afraid, Mulder?" Her hands had relocated from her lap to the edge of the table.

"Afraid of what?" he asked, a concerned expression on his face.

"That we're not going to make it, together..."

His eyes faltered.

"Mulder, I know things haven't been easy lately..."

Mulder let out a tremulous breath. " We were closer when we were first introduced..."

Scully swallowed that one, but it had a bitter aftertaste. " I know. And I miss it. Sometimes, I'm sitting at work, and I think about you and how happy you make me... But recently, I've been having these nightmares..."

" About Emily. I know. You cry in your sleep and you call her name."

Scully's jaw dropped slightly. All this time, he'd known. " What are you most afraid of ?"

"Losing you... What about you ?"

"I have two."

Mulder looked at her, scrutinizing her.

"One is that you would betray me, but even greater is that I would let you down..."

He shook his head at her. " You've never let me down Scully."

She looked away. " Until today."

"No. I know I said it two minutes ago, but two minutes ago you hadn't admitted what was wrong. You constantly redeem yourself Scully. When I let you down, I do it big time. You make it all worth while."

"Mulder, you know I'd marry you all over again, don't you? That hasn't changed." She could tell that her words had lifted a great weight off of him.

"I'm glad. I love you with everything I am Dana. And when you're ready, I'd like to talk children..."

She slid her hands into his and squeezed them. " Now, let's talk now."

He shook his head at her and stood up, pulling her with him. " Not here. We have a seven hour car ride ahead of us, plenty of time... Besides, if I have you locked in a moving vehicle, in the middle of nowhere, you can't run away..." He smiled, though only half joking...

Scully told him everything she'd learned, at the doctor's. It made Mulder mad that they'd blatantly told her, to her face, that should would never conceive a child. She'd cried a bit, after confessing that to him, then had fallen into a fret less sleep. Mulder was envious of her. He hadn't slept in almost twenty four hours...

Finally she woke up when they were reentering the city, sometime just before two...

"Scully..."

She rolled her head over and looked at him with sleepy eyes. " Hmm ?"

"I was thinking. I know you'd rather not adopt..."

She shook her head, cutting him off. " It's not that I don't want to, it's just... I want our child to be ours. Half your genes, half mine..." She looked at the road. " But that isn't possible."

He paused before continuing. " Yes it is."

She looked up at him, arching her perfect eyebrow.

"I know this might not be the best time to be telling you this..."

"Mulder?" She prompted.

"When you were in the hospital, with Penny Northern... I was out chasing Dr. Scallon. I found his facility, and a cloning lab."

Scully's brow furrowed, not understanding.

"They had all the abducted women's ova. They showed me... I pinched a vial of yours."

Scully looked at him, shocked. " You stole my ova ?" She shook her head. " But why ?"

Mulder shrugged. " I guess I thought if you died back then, I'd at least still have some physical part of you... And I thought I had the power to bring g you back, if I wanted to."

Scully didn't know what to think. " Are you saying that you would have... kept me with you, by making a baby, and you were going to father it?"

Mulder shrugged again. " I don't know what I would have done, but I considered it... I was desperate... And there's more. You know Byers' pet interest in cryonics ?"

Her eyes grew wide. " He still has them ?"

Mulder swallowed. " No guarantees. They're pretty old, and they were warm for a while, before I gave them to Byers. They sat in MY freezer for a while..."

Scully tried to remain clam. She was feeling angry at him, for not telling her, at the same time that she was feeling hopeful, glad that he had done what he'd done. " Can we try ?"

Mulder nodded, excited by the prospects too.


Mulder and Scully pulled up two blocks away from the Gunmen's Lair, as was the rule, and hoofed it to their steel lined door.

"Hey Guys! I brought my bride!" Mulder called up into the hidden camera, installed above the doorway. He grinned at Scully, who was looking apprehensive. They heard the locks and bindings clink, then the door swung open to reveal Frohike.

"Mulder, long time no see..." He stared at Scully. " You are a vision, as always..." Frohike took her hand and kissed it. Scully didn't say much, indulging the little troll.

"Yeah but a vision of what?" Mulder asked, dodging her pointy elbow.

"Intellect..." Langly offered

"Integrity..." Byers jested.

"Intimacy." Frohike stated.

"ENOUGH!" Scully cut them off with a look. " I'm married. Not game!"

"Ooh, I'd love to play a game..." Frohike tried again.

Scully intervened. " Please. Don't offend my virgin ears!"

"HAH! A virgin ? With Mulder ?"

"Somebody lock him up!" Mulder requested.

"Ooh bondage... But lock me up? I'm not the animal, Mulder..."

"Animal ?"

"Shoot me now..." Scully muttered, leaving Langly to mediate between Mulder and Frohike, following Byers.

"So why'd you stop by ?" Byers asked, the first civilized question in ages.

"To talk about my sex life, of course." Scully said dryly.

"You've been hanging around Mulder too long." Byers stated.

She smiled. " Actually it was to speak with you..."

Byers looked at her questioningly. Mulder came up behind her, and put his arms over her shoulders, hugging her to him.

"Yeah, we're looking for your frozen produce aisle."

Langly smiled. " Way to go, Dude!"

Frohike shook his head and wandered off muttering something about "offspring".

Byers smiled gently. " This way."

He led them to a small freezer on a storage shelf. " When do you need them for ?"

Scully looked at Mulder.

"Tomorrow. We're going to see a doctor tomorrow."

She smiled. " What do we do ?"

Byers instructed them on how to keep the vial properly frozen, and wished them luck. " I don't know if these are any good anymore, but we'll keep our fingers crossed."

Langly nodded in agreement.

On the way out, Frohike stopped them by putting on a melodramatic display.

"Since you so obviously are together, please grant me one last wish..."

Scully raised her eyebrows.

"Name your first son after me."

Scully rolled her eyes and walked out. Mulder shook his head. " Melvin Mulder... That name will get him places!"

Frohike frowned.

"Later Dudes."


Mulder walked in after work the following week to find Scully making dinner. That was *very* unusual. She stood in the kitchen, stirring a pot of noodles, when she heard him come in. She smiled. It was going to be hard to tell him straight faced...

"Hi Scully!" Mulder called, as he wandered into the kitchen, wondering if any damage had been done.

She stopped stirring for a moment and turned around, smiling.

"Hi Mulder."

She opened her arms, and he hugged her, kissing her forehead.

"What are you making ?" Mulder asked, curiously looking over her shoulder at the pots on the oven. He let her go and began peaking under the lids.

"Dinner."

"Ooh shrimp! What ARE you making?"

"Tomato and shrimp sauce on angel hair pasta."

Mulder looked surprised. " Wow. I didn't know you knew how to do that!"

"I didn't, until I found the recipe and felt adventurous."

Mulder nodded. " Looks good. I'm gonna go get changed..."

Scully nodded and watched him wander off, grinning like the Cheshire cat, behind his back. He hadn't guessed what was up, so far. She knew it wouldn't be long though...

The pot hissed as it boiled and She turned it off getting ready to serve up. Mulder came into the kitchen and helped out, amazed at what she had done.

"This is really good!" He stated, sampling his supper.

She smiled. " Good. I'd like to think I could make something more than grilled cheese for our kids."

He looked up at her, eyes meeting hers across the table. She tried so hard not to smile.

"Do you have something to tell me Scully?" he asked calmly.

"The fertility clinic called."

"And?"

"It worked. The egg is fertilized. They want to set up an appointment to have it infused."

Mulder smiled and got up, going over to her side of the table, where he proceeded to crouch down next to her.

"We shouldn't get our hopes up, Mulder. There's still only a very small chance it'll work."

But he just kept on smiling. " Scully, however this turns out, I love you. No matter what."

She smiled. " I know." **

Scully almost tiptoed out of the room. She knew she didn't have to, but she felt like she should. She didn't want anything to happen to the tiny life that had just been planted inside her...

Mulder heard the door open and looked up expectantly from the hard plastic hospital chair he sat in.

"Scully ?" He stood up, and looked down at her with hopeful eyes. " How'd it go?" He looked just about as anxious as she felt.

"Good. We just have to wait now." She stated calmly, trying to remain detached.

"How do you feel ?" he asked, curious, as he put a hand on her shoulder.

She looked up to him. " I'm scared."

Mulder smiled, and pulled her into a hug. It reminded her of the time when he'd hugged her, in the hospital, after Penny Northern had died. They'd both felt so scared, much the way they did now...

Mulder let her go, but held her hand, as they walked towards the elevators and the parking garage.

"Do you think we're ready for this ?" Scully asked, nervously. She still felt like tiptoeing.

He squeezed her hand. " Nobody is ever ready, no matter how much they plan."

She nodded. " I know. I've... * we've * just never never really been exposed to kids before. What if we can't handle all this?"

He stopped walking and turned her so that he was directly in front of her. "We'll be fine Scully. We've handled serial killers and mutant monsters, remember ? Besides, you're a natural. You've been protecting me, picking me up and keeping me happy for seven years! You'll just be doing the same things with a knee-high, instead of a giant."

She smiled at him. " You'll make a great Dad."

He raised his brow. " You're crazy."

"I married you." She stated.

He chuckled, and led her away. " So who's sense of humor do you think it'll have ?"

She rolled her eyes. " Heaven forbid yours!"


One week passed without event. Scully laid down a lot, her medical knowledge chiding her for letting herself be a fool to old fashioned beliefs. She knew it wouldn't make a difference, but she did it anyhow. She'd sit between patients and nap at home. Mulder had been continually supportive, always asking her how she felt. She knew he was trying to be grounded for her, so they both didn't get their hopes up, but she could tell he was excited. She knew she wasn't safe yet, but she was feeling so hopeful...

Mulder watched Scully who was lazing on the couch, reading his new OMNI. He was in the kitchen, drying dishes from dinner, as he found himself wondering about the tiny life growing inside Scully. Who would it look like ? Who would it act like ? Was it a boy or a girl ? He was scared and delighted at the same time, by the prospect of becoming a father. Would he be good enough ? He held half that child's life in his hands, the other half resting in Scully's... Which brought him to the subject of her. His Scully. The one who had changed everything him for him. Caused his once plummeting life to sky rocket, his pulse to quicken, simply by walking in the room, hearing her groggy voice on the other end of the line at two in the morning... He missed her so much at work. Skinner had returned, a short while ago from his medical leave. As soon as he'd returned, he'd asked about Scully. Mulder hasn't told him anything, and Skinner had tried to find him a new partner. Mulder had been going to tell Scully, but not now. Not when she was carrying a child. She'd be too easily a target if they ever came close to the truth... The truth... It had taken on a whole new meaning to him. He still wanted the conspiracy exposed, but his ultimate truth was now his love for Scully. He realized it was something that had been with him all along... And now, here they were, expecting a baby. Mulder's heart was on fire.

Putting the drying rack away, he came over to her, cautiously. She noticed his hesitation, despite the fact that the magazine was obstructing her view of him.

"Yes Mulder?" She questioned, putting down the magazine, and swinging her feet off the couch to make room for him. He sat down next to her, but just kept watching her.

"What?" She asked.

Instead of answering, he looked at her, then tentatively placed his hand on her abdomen.

She watched his actions than smiled to herself. He could be so sweet sometimes. And that's when her last thread of self restraint snapped. Excitement coursed through her as she considered the fact that she was going to be a mom. They were going to be parents!

"Mulder..." Even his name sounded different to her. Not just Fox Mulder her partner, best-friend and husband, but soon Father-to-her-child too.

He nodded seeing tears in her eyes. " I know, Scully... I know..." And he pulled her closer to him, giving her a bear hug.

She smiled, thinking of all that was to come, and of all the love involved. A first kick, first steps, first words... But before that, new clothes, new furniture, names..."

"If it's a boy, we're NOT calling it Fox Junior. I refuse."

Scully pulled back and smiled, knowing he was thinking about the same things as her. " All right. Agreed. But only if we don't name a girl,= Phoebe."

He made a disgusted sound, then kicked his feet up on the couch, pulling her back down, on top of him. He then picked up the magazine she'd been reading, and began to read an article...

"Finished ?" he asked, getting ready to flip the page.

"Mulder, what are we going to do with a baby?"

Mulder began to laugh. the way she put it, it sounded like a ridiculous, useless acquisition.

"What do you mean ?" He chuckled.

"Where are we going to put it?" She asked, sounding panicked.

"I think it would look decorative on your mantle, up there..." He said, pointing to the place between the clock and the vase.

"Mulder!" She exclaimed, exasperated.

"We can put it in our room, until we find a bigger place."

She sat up, sitting on his lap. " We have so much to do!"

He pulled her back down. " And three quarters of a year to do it in, Scully. Relax."

She flipped over, so she could look him in the eyes. " I feel stressed already..."

He kissed her. " Just relax. We have plenty of time..."

As it would turn out, they had more time than expected...

Mulder opened the door to the apartment he called home, and immediately looked around for Scully. He'd been waiting all day to come home and see her. He knew it was ridiculous, but he missed her so much when he was at work. Now that she was pregnant, he wanted to spend every waking moment with her, to make sure that she was OK, that she had everything she needed. It wasn't like she was codependent, she didn't actually need him, he knew, but he was very protective of her.

"Scully?" He called into the apartment, but he didn't get an answer. It wasn't often that he beat her home, but it had happened before. Unconcerned, he wandered towards the bedroom, only to find the door closed, which was odd. He knocked.

"Scully ? You in there?"

He waited a minute, and thought he heard a muffled sound, but no form of confirmation. He opened the door, only to find her laying, back to him, on the bed. He figured she must be sleeping, and silently entered the room, circling the bed to catch a glimpse at what he thought would be her sleeping face. Instead he found her wide awake, eyes rimmed and unfocused.

"Scully ?" he asked, fearfully, as he sat down on the edge of the bed in front of her.

Her eyes shifted from nowhere to his face, and a tear fell out. He didn't have to ask her what was wrong. He already knew.

"Oh my god, Scully..." He reached out and put a trembling hand on her sticking cheek.

"Come here." He offered opening his arms to her. She just looked at him, then closed her eyes, not moving.

"Scully ? Speak to me."

When she didn't answer, he pushed a lock of damp red hair off her face.

"Dana?" But he was afraid she was already too far gone. She had already put up her walls, and she wasn't going to let them come down.

"I'm not pregnant Mulder." She stated. Her voice sounded so cold and detached that it scared him. He'd never heard her speak so unemotionally.

"What happened?" he asked, watching her carefully.

"It just aborted. It didn't take."

"Are you all right?" He knew it was a stupid question and so did she.

She responded with her favorite reply, " I'm fine."

A chill shook his body and he knew that things were not fine, at all. They weren't going to be either. But he didn't feel like fighting her. Not tonight.

"I love you, Dana. You know that don't you ?"

"So you say." She said in the same tone of voice. Mulder looked away, defeatedly, then sank down onto the bed next to her. He'd suddenly lost all reasons to remain awake and breathing. So he just laid down next to her, and did exactly what she did. He went numb. Neither of them changed or ate that night, and neither of them slept. None of those actions were carried out again for a very long time...

As the days turned into weeks, Mulder picked himself up and kept on living. It hurt, so he remained numb, but he took care of himself, and her. She, on the other hand, wasn't doing so well. She'd lost another ten pounds, her weight now just above one hundred. She hardly ate, preferring to push her food around miserably and maybe put a few fork loads in her mouth. Then she would stare blankly at the television screen until ungodly hours, long after Mulder had given up trying to get her to come to bed. And when she did take his advice, she slept for less than six hours.

Mulder was concerned, not only for her physical health, but her emotional and psychological selves as well. He tried to get her to talk about it, if not to him than to her Mom. Margaret Scully had only seen her daughter once since the in vitro had failed, but one visit had been enough to cause her plenty of worry. She'd talked briefly to Mulder and together they'd conspired to help Scully, but nothing had come of it. And so, things had just kept on disintegrating. Mulder would come home after work to find Scully crying, for stupid reasons, or even worse, he'd find her doing nothing at all. He knew she was trying to put herself into something non-personal, turning her attention to work and professionalism, but it was hard to give something your all, if it didn't exist. He'd find her, some nights, reviewing patient files, trying to discover possible future conditions, by going through their histories...

Then one day, Skinner called Mulder to his office and declared that he was to be assigned a new partner, as soon as a suitable agent was found. Mulder took that piece of information home that night, knowing it just might prove to be the break both of them needed. A return to the base of their relationship. A full circle...

It had been an evening like all the others. He'd come home from work, done nothing, said little to Scully, ate next to nothing, tried to get her to eat, and done nothing again. Nothing special. However, he knew he possessed a piece of knowledge that just might turn things around. He just needed the right moment to tell her... The moment arose just before Caroline in the city came on. He was sitting on the couch, channel surfing, when he heard glass shatter in the kitchen. Alarmed, he put down the remote, and ventured into the kitchen. There he found Scully looking pale, gripping the counter, glass shards on the floor.

"Scully?"

He put a heavy hand on her shoulder. She smiled weakly and falsely.

"I'm fine Mulder."

She crouched down and began picking up the glass, Mulder helping her.

"Are you sure you're OK Scully ?"

She shot him an aggressive look.

"I said, I'm fine."

She dumped the glass into the garbage, then stood up. As soon as she did so, she blacked out again. Disoriented, she stumbled, before her vision returned, distorted. Mulder saw her falter and stood up.

"Scully ?"

His voice sounded distant and unreal. Vertigo set in all around her and she shook her head to try and relieve herself of her extreme dizziness. She blacked out again.

Mulder saw her begin to fall and he caught her, lowering her to the ground, carefully. He swore under his breath and checked her pulse, before touching her cheek.

"Scully ? Scully ?"

He was just about to call an ambulance when she opened her eyes, her world normal again. She tried to sit up, but Mulder told her to stay lying down.

"Scully, what happened ?"

She looked at him and hated herself for causing him to worry. She could see how much the past few weeks had affected him. His eyes were so sad now, so desperate, and the worry lines on his face, more prominent. He looked like he'd aged by many years.

"I blacked out... I don't know. I was just getting down a glass..."

She looked confused and sad. Mulder picked her up, in his arms, and carried her to their bedroom, where he put her down on the bed, then sat down beside her. He gently reached out and cupped her cheek, lightly rubbing his thumb along her drawn out cheekbone.

"We need to talk, Scully," he stated.

She rolled her head away from him, but she knew there was no way to avoid this. She was surprised it hadn't come up already. " All right."

"What's wrong ?" he asked. He knew the answer, but he wanted to hear her admit it to herself.

"Nothing... I just don't feel-"

He cut her off. " Scully, you're sick. You're really sick. Look at yourself. You've lost so much weight, you don't sleep, you don't do anything..."

She scowled at him but didn't say anything.

"You're still beautiful to me, Love, but you have to take care of yourself. You'll never conceive a healthy baby if you keep abusing yourself."

She snapped. " I'm not going to conceive a baby, at all. I can't get pregnant Mulder."

He looked at her sadly. " No one knows that. We can keep trying, because we have nothing to lose."

"Look, Mulder, if you want kids, find someone who can have them for you and leave me!" She said angrily, before rolling over and hiding her face in the pillow.

"Enough of this bullshit Dana! I love you so much! I'd die before I'd leave you; but I'm losing you here. You never smile, you don't laugh. I want Dana Scully back. MY Dana Scully. The one who always did anything but cry when someone told her something was impossible. You never gave up before, so why start now ?"

She didn't respond.

"Do you have any idea what it's like, watching you drift away ? Watching you deteriorate ? I'm trying to be strong Dana, but I can't be anymore... I fall asleep alone to the sound of the TV and feel like we're a million miles apart... I miss you.'

He heard a muffled sob come from the pillows, before she rolled over to face him.

"You lost the baby Scully, but I'm losing BOTH of you."

"Oh Mulder..." She whispered. " I'll try, for you."

He nodded and smiled slightly. " You need to eat something, and then you're going to sleep, and neither of us are going to work tomorrow."

She nodded, and he got up to get her food. " I'll be back in a bit..." He called, before she fell asleep...

...Scully woke up the smell of warm Moo-goo-gai-pan and the feel of soft kisses on her cheek. It had been a long time since she'd felt so good.

"Mulder..." She called, her voice full of sleep.

"Dinner is served..," he stated, reaching down to the floor and pulling up a folding table. She smiled, and he smiled back at her, glad to see her old self, as well as her appetite, returning to her.

"This looks good." She stated.

"It IS good, try it." He returned, knowing that the most important part was that she take that first bite of food.

And so, she ate, and she ate it all, and when she was done he smiled broadly, deciding now was the moment he'd been waiting for to bring up work.

"Scully, are you happy at the clinic ?" he asked carefully.

"Yeah, it's all right." She nodded.

"What if I told you that you could come back and work with me...?"

Her heart skipped. " In the x-files ? Like before?"

He nodded. " Skinner's trying to assign me a partner."

She smiled. the first real smile of elation he'd seen on her face in a long time.

"Yes. Can we work tomorrow?"

Mulder looked at her, and nodded. " I'm in the middle of a case right now, and you're going to have to fill in a lot of paperwork..."

She nodded. " I love you."

"No saying that at the office, Agent Scully..."

"All right, Agent Mulder. As you wish. But I will be thinking it..."

He smiled. " I love you too, my Dana."

**

All went well for a few weeks. Mulder's birthday came and went, smiles and laughter from Scully being the best gift he received. Work was great... No, it was wonderful. He'd cleared off her half of the desk and tidied the place up. When she'd come in that morning she'd found a bouquet of wild flowers on in spot with a welcome back card signed, " From your *husband*". She'd smiled at him, and given him a lingering look with a small hug, but that was as close as they got, while at work. They put a lot of energy into following the case and being professional. In the first two weeks that they were reunited they opened and closed two cases, which pleased Skinner very much. In a private meeting he'd asked Scully about her reason's for leaving the Bureau in the first place. She'd told him she'd fallen at Christmas and had amnesia, and that's when she met her husband. She didn't go into details, and thankfully he didn't ask.

Mulder was glad she'd come back to work with him. He could tell having something to focus on was making her happy. She would smile now, and laugh occasionally. But she was still sick... Though she wore a happy mask on the outside, inside she was still grieving. Mulder knew because she still wasn't eating, and she was still restless in her few hours of sleep. However, she was trying, and that counted for a lot. None the less, he was worried about her, and today caused him no less worry...

He was sitting at his desk, writing a report, long hand. Every now and then he'd glance up to see what she was up to. Once, he looked up and she was just staring off into space. Wondering what she was thinking about, he stood up and went to her, bending over behind her and placing a gentle kiss on her cheek.

"Are you OK, Dana?" he asked, standing behind her, putting his hands on her shoulders and giving them a gentle squeeze. He saw her nod, and then she twisted around in her chair, to look up at him.

"Mulder..."

He looked at her encouragingly. " What is it?" he asked, smoothing her hair back, off her face.

"I need a hug." She stated.

He smiled and wrapped his arms around her, holding her gently, but she pulled herself tightly against him, wrapping her arms around his waist, burying her face into his chest. He smelled like Mulder, a distinct combination of coffee, sunflower seed oil and cologne. It was comforting to her, it made her feel secure. She breathed him in, then exhaled slowly, resting her cheek his chest. She didn't know what she'd do if she didn't have him. It sort of scared her that she'd become so dependent on him, as much so as he was on her, but she didn't want to feel vulnerable anymore. If feeling safe meant being next to him, being reliant on him, then so be it. She'd always felt safe next to him.

He rubbed her back and absent-mindedly fiddled with her hair as he held her close. He wondered where this had come from. It didn't really matter though, he was just glad she'd come to him. He dropped his head, kissing the top of hers, then pulled back as she let go of him, facing him. she didn't smile, she just looked at him, watching, trying to read him. He took her hands and, deciding that she needed more happy thoughts, said " You're so beautiful..."

The corners of her mouth twitched and she eyed him, them smallest of smiles crossing her face. " How long do you think we can keep up this charade ?"

"What ? That we aren't married ? As long as we want."

She shook her head. " They'll catch on, Mulder."

"And when they do, we'll deal with it then."

"I'm so glad we're back here together..."

"It feels good, doesn't it?" he asked, smiling.

"It does. It feels safe." She agreed.

He squeezed her hands, and then they both went back to work...

However, that feeling of safety, of security she had with Mulder began crumble, as October came to a close. At first, it was just him smiling for no reason, which wasn't bad, but he hadn't done that in a while. And then he began going out in the evenings, insisting she stay home and relax, while he ran the errands. He'd come back hours later, with the groceries and all, but long after the stores were closed. It was at that point that Scully began to feel that he had a secret. He was going somewhere, doing something, without her... At first, she rejected the atrocious ideas that popped into her head, telling herself that Mulder was just going to surprise her with something... But that something never came. And as the second week of November concluded, she found that her excuses for him were just not pulling it. It had been too long. So working up the courage to face the truth, she began to deal emotionally with the fact that he was cheating on her...

It was another Friday night, like all the rest had been. She was at home, reading, while he was out. Scully tried not to think about what he was doing, but she just couldn't shake the ideas from her mind. She put down her uninteresting book, and closed her eyes as a feeling like a hot poker traveled through her. She swallowed the bile she could feel rising. Grabbing a pillow from the couch, she clutched it against herself, feeling hollow inside. Music blared from the radio she'd put on, to try and control the resounding silence that filled the apartment. But instead of making her feel better, it only made her feel worse.

Here it is again Friday night Everyone is laughing Carrying on Going out Having a ball But I stay at home Waiting for a phone that never rings Surrounded by memories and all your things

She should have seen it coming, when she married Mulder. She knew she wasn't his type... She vaguely wondered if he was with a tall, leggy blonde, or a dark and mysterious brunette... But her love for him had been, and was still, blind. She'd walk through the fire for him... And now, how did he repay her? He left her sitting at home, crying, alone...

I know that you're out Having fun cheating on me Telling pretty lies Making her promises now You don't think of me You don't care about What's happening here And every time you kiss her I cry a tear...

She'd loved him so much. She still loved him so much. But if what she suspected was true, then she wouldn't stay with him. She didn't deserve that kind of life, and if he didn't love her, then he didn't deserve the dead weight she left on him. She wondered what had happened. Where along the way had he decided to run amok? Was it something he started, or did she drive him away? It didn't matter. She just wanted to feel him one more time, believing he loved her. Feeling safe. Feeling loved. Because it wouldn't last long.

She stood up and turned off the radio, going to the closet and pulling out his bomber jacket. Whenever she felt low, she put it on, because it smelled like him. Only today, much to her surprise, it wasn't his scent which came wafting off the fabric. It smelt like a woman's perfume... And not a perfume she wore. It was a beautiful scent, but terrible, as it only furthered her suspicions.

Disgusted, she threw it on the ground and ran to the bedroom, willing herself not to cry. There, she went through his drawer until she found his Quantico sweat shirt. Bringing it to her face it smelled like him. She unfolded it, but when she did so, something dropped out of it. She looked down shocked to find a simple, but incredibly sexy, black bra and underwear. They weren't hers. She picked them up and looked at them, anger filling her. Why did it turn out like this? Seven years of trust, and then this...

She heard the keys turn in the lock, and heard Mulder come in.

"Hey Scully!" He called. He sounded happy.

She sat down on the bed and didn't move, waiting for him to find her. He came into the room and smiled at her.

"Hi." He said.

She looked at him, then turned her head away. <Calm and icy.> she reminded herself.

"Where were you?"

He noticed her frigid, controlled tone immediately.

"Getting the groceries." He said, confused.

"Then where did you go?" She asked, in the same voice.

Mulder furrowed his brow and shook his head. " Home..."

She turned her head to face him.

"The grocery store closed over an hour ago."

He didn't know where she was going with this.

"What are you getting at?" he asked, his good mood suddenly gone.

Scully took a shaky breath, then set her jaw, looking up at him. Her chin trembled slightly, her lip slightly curled. " Tell me the truth, Mulder."

He looked at her. "Scully?" He still wasn't catching on.

"Who are you flinging with?" Icicles seemed to fly from her eyes.

Mulder was shocked by her words.

"You think I'm cheating ?" He whispered, head spinning.

She looked at him and nodded.

The room suddenly felt cold, very. very cold.

"How could you think that?" he asked, his tone just as cold as hers now.

"How could you DO that?" She questioned.

Their eyes locked in mutual contempt.

"I'm not doing anything," he stated, his tone of voice rising.

"Mulder, don't lie to me." She said, shaking her head.

"I'm not lying."

"Yes, you are."

"No, I'm not."

"Then who's are these?" She asked, producing the undergarments from behind her back.

His face fell and he looked at them, then back to her.

"Where did you find those?"

"Hidden in your drawer, in his sweatshirt." She said, loudly, grabbing the shirt.

"They're yours," he stated, swallowing hard.

"Don't bullshit me, Mulder. These aren't mine. Why did you do this to me?"

"They ARE yours, Scully. It's not what it looks like..." He cursed himself for sounding so cliche.

"Oh, it's not ?!? Well your jacket smells like women's perfume, a scent that isn't mine! I loved you , Mulder! Dammit, I love you!" She was yelling now as she stood up.

"Let me explain!" He yelled over top of her.

"I don't need an explanation, Mulder. I need a husband who cares. About me. I need a husband who's honest!" She was yelling full force now, to keep from crying.

"I love you, Scully. I love only you, and you know it!"

"I thought I knew that. But it was another pretty lie wasn't it?"

"DAMMIT, LISTEN TO ME SCULLY!"

"NO. I'M TIRED OF LISTENING! YOU LISTEN TO ME! NOW I KNOW I'M NOT YOUR TYPE. I'M NOT PHOEBE GREEN. AND I CAN'T HAVE YOUR CHILDREN. BOTH OF WHICH YOU WANT!" Her voice dropped suddenly and cracked. " Let's be honest Mulder. We don't work as a couple..." Then she whispered, " ...I think we should get a divorce."

He said nothing. He couldn't say anything. He felt like he'd just had the wind knocked out of him. His world slowed as he watched her, standing there, staring at him, lip curled, her breath falling in and out, quickly and unevenly... And just as quickly as time had slowed, it sped up again. His stomach rolled violently and rose to his mouth. There was no way he could save his dinner, so he ran to the bathroom, expelling his fear, violently. And when he emerged several minutes later, she was gone...

Margaret Scully was woken at eleven at night by the insistent ringing of her doorbell. She sleepily opened her door, but was wide awake the second she saw her daughter standing there, tears streaming down her face like a waterfall.

"Dana?" Maggie questioned, extending her hand to her daughter's shoulder.

"Oh Mom." Scully whispered through her tears.

Maggie brought her hysterical daughter into her house and seated her on the couch. For a good five minutes Scully just cried on her shoulder. When her tears slowed, Maggie questioned her.

"Whatever happened?"

"It's over Mom. Mulder...he cheated on me... We just had a huge fight... He says he didn't but everything... He doesn't love me Mom..."

Maggie stiffened. " Are you very sure, Dana?"

She looked at her mom. " Mom?"

"Did you let him explain? Did you listen to him?"

Scully looked away and shook her head.

Maggie was just opening her mouth to speak when the phone rang.

"I'm not here, Mom." She warned her mother.

"Hello?"

"Is she there?"

Mulder sounded terrible. His voice was gravely and tight.

"Oh a survey?" Maggie asked, glancing at Scully. " I have company right now..."

Mulder caught on and began asking yes no questions.

"Is she there?"

"Yes."

"Is she all right?"

"No."

"Is she hurt?"

"No."

"She's crying?"

"Yes."

"I'm coming over."

He knew it was rude but he hung up on her.

Maggie put the receiver down, then went back over to her daughter.

"Dana Katherine Scully *Mulder*, listen to me. I will not listen to this anymore. I am your mother, and I am here if you need me, but you have a husband who loves you very much. You have to talk to him about your problems."

And with that, her mother left the room, leaving Scully in shock. She couldn't believe her mother had just said that...

Not ten minutes later the doorbell rang. Maggie opened the door to her son-in-law, and smiled briefly, bringing him in, but then leaving them alone.

Scully watched Mulder come in with both feeling of dread and hope. He looked terrible and deflated like he had during her abduction. His eyes were sad and red-rimmed, and she realized he'd been doing some serious crying. He didn't make any move to come into the room, instead leaning against the door frame, arms crossed in front of him, looking dead.

Scully spoke first. " Hi."

"Hi." He mimicked.

She was silent for a minute deciding between being aggressive or caring. She chose a neutral tone. " We need to talk."

He nodded.

"So talk." She said.

"Hi, my name is Fox Mulder and my wife, the only person I've ever trusted just ripped my heart of my chest and stomped all over it."

She swallowed. " You're angry." She stated.

"Yes."

"Do you love me?"

"Yes."

She met his eyes.

"Are you cheating?"

He stared straight back.

"No."

"Then why do you reek of someone else, and why do you have those."

She didn't have to say she meant the underwear.

He looked at her dully, then reached into a bag he'd brought. He extracted a wrapped present and a card which he lamely threw at her. They landed with a thud on the couch.

With quivering hands she opened the card, but could barely read his all ready messy handwriting, through her teary vision.

"My love, Scully. Happy 6 month anniversary! With all my heart I love you ONLY, always. Mulder. XOXO."

She sniffed, then tore open the gift. It was a bottle of the new CK perfume, entitled ONLY.

"Smell familiar?" He said bitterly, throwing his bomber jacket at her. She didn't have to smell them to know they were the same. She looked up at him with watery eyes. He looked coldly back.

"I went shopping on those nights I was out late, looking for the perfect gift. I was at the mall and got sprayed by the perfumers. As I shopped the smell grew on me. It reminded me of how beautiful you looked on our wedding day, and how excited we were. It made me think of you."

A tear escaped Scully's eye. " And the underwear?"

"I hadn't wrapped it yet."

She looked at her hands, feeling lower then pond scum, and began to cry. But he didn't come to her. He just maintained his position and watched her straight faced.

"How could you think I'd betray you?" He whispered.

She shook her head. " I'm so sorry... What have I done?"

She cried for a minute longer, then turned to face him.

"I'm so, so sorry... I... I can't excuse myself... I've just been so awful lately... I wanted that baby so badly... But I got so wrapped up in what I didn't have, I neglected what I did have... You... I don't know what to say to make it up to you. I guess I'm just scared that you'll leave. I don't want you to go... I do love you."

He nodded, but still felt a million miles away. She looked at him and could see how much her words had affected him.

"I've been a terrible wife... I should just leave and never come back."

At those words Mulder was across the room in two strides. He put his hands on his shoulders and shook her.

"Don't ever, EVER say that!" He hissed, then realizing what he'd done, dropped his hands, and eyes. " I'm sorry."

"It's OK... I needed that." She nodded uncertainly.

They were standing so close, but not touching. And suddenly he was looking down at her eyes, scared.

"Do you really want a divorce ?"

She shook her head. " No. That's why it hurt so much when I thought you were cheating. I love you so much. I didn't want it, us, to end."

He nodded, and she hesitantly slid her hand sup around his neck. When he didn't object, she hugged him. And the best part was that he hugged her back.

"Forgive me?" She pleaded in a whisper.

He kissed her forehead. " I love you so much... I thought you knew that."

"I do... and I did. I was just scared."

"Because you thought I'd leave you because of the baby situation ?"

She nodded. " It's certainly made me a little crazy lately."

"I told you I'd love you no matter what. You have to trust me."

And then something totally unexpected happened. She felt something wet hit her head, and looked up, only to see him crying. She could count on one hand, minus the thumb, the number of times she'd seen Mulder cry. A small, incredulous sound escaped her as she wiped a tear off his cheek.

"Hey, no crocodile tears..." She stated, with a tiny smile.

And he smiled back.


After that night, everything was all right. they went back to being the happy couple that they'd been before. Their anniversary passed with much love. Both were happy to be celebrating the fact that they were still together. Scully put on ten pounds, which pleased Mulder very much. she was still underweight by ten, but she looked less like a skeleton, and more like the woman he'd married. Work went well, though they both knew that Skinner was catching on. However, they didn't mind so much. they'd pretty much decided that it was time to fess up, but he was going to have to guess, before they confirmed it. And before they knew it, it was Christmas time again. By the second week of December, a foot of snow had covered the ground and for three days, a citywide state of emergency had been declared. No one was to go outside unless absolutely necessary. But of course, Mulder and Scully didn't listen. They went for long walks through the fluffy white substance Scully adored so much. And it pleased her when it didn't melt. Instead, it just kept falling, as it was tonight...

Scully wandered out of the bathroom, wrapped in a towel, another towel being used to rub her head. Her small, naked feet slapped against the hardwood floors with a hurried pace as she quickly walked over to Mulder, grabbing the remote control for the TV from his hand, and shutting the TV off.

"Scully!" He complained loudly, watching her head back to the bathroom.

"Get moving Mulder, or we'll be late." She yelled.

He grumbled and reluctantly stood up, lazily wandering to the bathroom. There he found her standing in her underwear, blow drying her hair with curlers in her hair, a blue popsicle sticking out of her mouth. She looked ridiculous.

"Where did you get that?" he asked, taking it out of her mouth, tasting it.

"The freezer." She stated.

"Doesn't it make you cold?" he asked, shivering, as he put it back in her mouth.

"Nope... Go get dressed, Mulder. Your tux is on the bed."

He shook his head in reluctance and went to get changed. Several minutes later he emerged, looking like Mr. GQ. He once again ventured to the bathroom, still trying to find an excuse not to attend the FBI gala.

"Are you sure we have to go to this?" He complained, tugging at his shirt collar.

She was leaning into the mirror, putting on eye shadow. " Yes, Mulder. Come on, it'll be fun. At least it's not a talent show."

He smiled about that. " What are you going to wear?" he asked.

Having finished applying all make-up, except lipstick, she raised her eyebrows and gave him a mysterious smile.

"You'll see."

And with that she exited the room, heading for the bedroom, closing the door behind her. Mulder sighed and turned on the TV hoping to bide his time...

... Scully stood in front of the full length mirror and made a careful, final examination. She was wearing a baby blue satin dress with a skirt that fell following her hips tightly, then flaring out more towards the knees and continuing down to her ankles. There was a slit up the back, which provided peeks at her skin every now and then. The bodice was formfitting, with an exposed back, and no sleeves, but a collar. Draped over her shoulders was a long piece of baby blue rayon. Her feet were clad in matching blue flats. She wore very light pink lipstick and frosty blue eye shadow. She still had yet to cut her hair, so it hung down to her upper shoulder blades, but didn't look that long because though it was mostly straight, the very ends of her hair were curled in corkscrew fashion, as well as one solitary bang. She smiled, satisfied with the image, and opened the door anxious to see Mulder's reaction.

Mulder heard the door open and looked up.

"Scully?" he asked, more incredulously then needed.

She flashed her very rare thousand kilowatt smile, and approached him.

"You like?" She twirled around, showing off.

"I can't take you out like that!?! The guys will be all over you!"

He turned off the TV, but was turned on, himself.

"I know. But won't it be fun to tell them I'm married... To Spooky Mulder?"

He smile, wiggling his eyebrows.

"Lucky man, Mulder." He sighed, referring to himself in the third person. "So you're actually going to tell everyone...?"

She nodded. " But only if they ask... I got you something."

She reached behind herself.

"He came closer to her. " Show..."

She produced a baby blue satin bow tie that matched her dress.

"If that doesn't declare I'm use, I don't know what will!" He said,= smiling.

She smiled back. " Here. I'll tie it on for you..."

He knelt down in front of her hall mirror, and she tied it over his shoulders. Mulder watched her and smiled as he caught her eye in the hall mirror. She watched him back as she pulled the bow tight.

"Deja vu." He whispered, then stood up and surprised her by kissing her passionately.

"Mulder!" She exclaimed, catching her breath.

He grabbed her hand, squeezing it instead of her, so as not to ruin her careful work.

"I love you... You look beautiful, Firefly."

She smiled. " I love you too Mulder, even with lipstick on your cheek."

He reached up to rub it off, but she helped him with it, as he was unsure of it's location. What he was sure of though, was that it was going to be an incredibly long night...

... The hotel ballroom was packed. It seemed as if every person on staff, including the janitors, were there. A thousand black and navy tuxes bustled back and forth, complimented by fewer, classy dresses, that the minority sex were wearing. However, Mulder hardly noticed them all. He just couldn't take his eyes off Scully. The only time she'd looked more beautiful had been at their wedding. He soon noticed that he wasn't the only person staring at her, though. She was receiving many glances from other men... Mulder gently put his arm across her back, resting his hand on her hip, pulling her closer to him.

"It's starting all ready..." he groaned, seeing Colton nearby.

Scully smiled at him. " Do I smell testosterone?... Don't worry, Mulder. I'm not going home with anyone but you."

"You better not!" He exclaimed, teasing her.

And hard though he tried, it wasn't long until the two of them were separated, Scully talking to Holly and Colton, among others, while Mulder spoke with quite a few women. However, it wasn't until one guest showed up, that things became interesting.

Mulder was talking to Colton, trying not to bite, when he saw her. She was coming straight for him with a look in her eyes that told him he was her dessert. She walked in a seductive slink, her emerald green and black silk dress caressing all her best spots. Her chestnut hair was longer then when he'd last seen her, tied back into a ponytail, but the tail part done in ringlets. Her make-up was thick and her lipstick bright, in a shade that looked to be burgundy. Before he knew what was happening, she stood right in front of him, hands on his chest, poking the buttons on his shirt.

"Hello, Fox." She purred.

He looked uneasily into her big brown eyes.

"Hello Phoebe."

She smiled at her name on his lips.

"Longtime no see. How's life treating you?"

She was biting her lip, looking at him in a puppy-dog manner, as she slid her hands up, caressing the back of his neck.

"Great..." He reached up and removed her hands, holding them down, firmly, in his grip. " I'm married."

The look of shock on her face was the best expression Mulder had ever seen on her. Unfortunately though, she recovered quickly, replacing the gaping mouth with a twisted smile.

"Really? How interesting! Is she here?"

Mulder looked around and saw Scully behind him, about ten yards away. And apparently she saw him too, as well as the woman he was with. She looked... "interested" in what they were saying. Mulder shot her a desperate look, then looked back at Phoebe.

"Yeah, she's here. She's pretty hard to miss, she looks so gorgeous."

Phoebe looked flustered for a minute, but regained her composure. Mulder smiled, as he'd known his comment would rub her the wrong way.

"If you'll excuse me, I'll go find her, and introduce you two..."

Phoebe gave a quick nod, as he walked off...

... Scully watched Mulder take Phoebe's hands off him, and smiled in delight. Only she was allowed to touch him like that. However, when Mulder shot her his desperate look, she was unable to go save him because precisely at that moment, Skinner approached.

"Agent Scully, you're looking in fine shape..."

She smiled politely, trying not to look too distracted.

"As are, Sir..."

He nodded his thanks.

"So... you're married?" He questioned.

She smiled and nodded. " Yes sir. Seven months now..."

He looked genuinely interested. " Congratulations... Is your husband here?"

She nodded. " Yes, as a matter of fact, he is... He was here two minutes ago..."

She looked over in Phoebe's direction, but saw her standing alone.

"...I'm not sure where he is..."

Skinner nodded. " I'd very much like to meet him... Have he and Mulder met?"

Scully tried not to smile. " Yes. They're close friends, actually. They have a lot in common..."

Skinner looked surprised. " Really? I didn't think Mulder would be... At any rate, I'm happy for you both."

"Thank you, Sir."

Skinner turned and walked off, leaving Scully on her own, but only for a minute. It wasn't long before Phoebe had found her.

"Ms. Scully?" Phoebe asked, extending her hand.

"Hello Ms. Green. Please, call me Dana."

Phoebe nodded. " How are you?" She asked, making conversation.

"I'm very well, and you?"

"Fine, simply marvelous! I saw Fox earlier... You two are still working together aren't you?"

Scully nodded. " Yes."

"So he's married?"

"Mmmmmhmmm..." Scully covered a laugh by yawning.

"I can't believe it! I never thought Fox was the marrying type..."

Scully nodded but said little. Fortunately, Phoebe didn't need much prompting.

"I'd have loved to have thrown him a bachelor party... Perhaps you would have joined me?"

Phoebe had no idea. Scully found it amusing, so said nothing.

"He's such a good, good man..."

"Yes he is. He's always been a good friend..."

"... I didn't mean like *that*..." Phoebe raised her eyebrows.

"So you two have...?" Scully didn't say the word.

"Yes... Oh yes... It was a very long time ago though, but it wasn't something easily forgotten... To get my hands on the lucky bitch that has him all to herself..."

Just then, Scully felt a familiar, warm hand being placed on her back, and soon Mulder was standing beside her.

"Phoebe, I see you found Scully..."

Phoebe nodded. " We were just talking about you..."

Mulder feigned a surprised look. " Really?"

Scully nodded, smiling. " Yeah. Phoebe wants to meet your wife."

Mulder looked at Phoebe. " Well then, Phoebe Green, meet my wife, Dana Scully."

Phoebe looked stunned. She just stood there for a moment, staring at them. To add insult to injury, Mulder kissed Scully. Finally, thinking of no possible way to get out of what she'd said, Phoebe excused herself and fled their presence.

Scully laughed and turned to face him, putting her hands on his chest, imitating Phoebe.

"Hello Fox!"

He smiled. " I like the way you say it *much* better."

"Fox..." She said in her normal voice.

"Dana..." He added, and she smiled.

"You know I proposed to you a year ago tonight..."

She dropped her eyes to her hand, touching the gold, diamond studded band that sat next to her wedding ring.

"If I asked you again a year later, would the answer still be the same?"

"Yes!" She said, emphatically. " Yes a million times over."

Someone behind Scully cleared his throat. Surprised Scully turned around to see Skinner.

"Please tell me Mulder has an identical twin brother..."

Scully laughed and Mulder grinned.

"Yeah, this is Mulder's *good* twin... Sir, meet my husband."

Mulder continued grinning, and Skinner groaned a bit, but smiled and patted Mulder's back.

"Congratulations, you two. It took you long enough." He smiled.

Scully was shocked. She couldn't believe Skinner had just said that.

"You two make a good team. You give me bad headaches, but you're a good team... And I knew your secret long before you told me. Someone anonymously delivered wedding photos."

Mulder looked surprised and Scully a bit spooked, but the confusion didn't last long.

"Frohike's revenge." Mulder whispered.

"I have a belated wedding gift for you." Skinner stated.

"Sir?" Scully asked.

"You're being allowed to continue working together."

Scully beamed. " Thank you, sir."

He smiled. Skinner actually smiled.

Somewhere the music started playing, both old and new songs, some familiar, some Scully had never heard before. She was just trying to figure out what was playing, when she drifted back in on the conversation between Skinner and Mulder.

"Mulder, if you don't mind, can I have a dance with your wife?"

"Sure, if it's OK with her..."

Scully nodded and walked off with Skinner, Mulder watching them leave. What he didn't know though, was that he was being watched. Seeing her opportunity, she made her move.

"So, Fox, you married your precious Dana?"

Mulder whirled around to face Phoebe.

"Yes I did."

"Well that's nice... She's a nice woman, I suppose, if she's your type..."

Mulder knew Phoebe wasn't as innocent as she was pretending to be, but he humored her.

"Would it be too much to ask a friend for a dance?"

Mulder considered Phoebe, then obliged her. She plastered herself to him, as they moved across the dance floor.

"Remember how we used to dance, Fox?"

"How could I forget?!?" He groaned.

They switched directions and as Phoebe whispered old memories in his ear, he turned off his hearing and looked for Scully. He caught her eye and gave her a grin when she glared at Phoebe. He silently told her to watch his next move.

"Fox, how about you tell Dana you're driving me home, and we can do some dancing of a different kind, back at my hotel room?"

Mulder dipped Phoebe and smiled at her.

"Drop dead."

He said it loudly enough, then pulled his arms out from under her, almost laughing as she fell to the floor. And with that he turned on his heels, walking away, not even thinking of helping her to get up. Luckily the song ended, and Scully escaped from Skinner, after having seen Mulder's move on Phoebe. She dashed over to him and smiled broadly.

"That was beautiful!" She enthused.

"You liked it?" he asked her, grinning.

"Oh yes." She nodded, and she surprised him by pulling him down and kissing him with as much enthusiasm. He knew neither of them were big on public displays of affection, so her *very* public smooch surprised him, as well as elicited many murmurs from other agents.

She broke the kiss and smiled at them, extending her hand. " Relax. We're married."

They turned their eyes away.

"Scully!" Mulder gaped.

She smiled at him. " What? I want to boast, OK?!? I *love* you."

She said it loudly.

He shook his head. " I know. I love you to. Come dance with me, Dana..."

Still smiling, she let him lead her to the dance floor. However, as they were heading over, she seemed to drag back a bit. Wondering what was wrong, he turned around. What he saw was displeasing.

"Scully?" he asked, looking at her with concern. Her eyes were unfocused and she looked pale. " Scully, are you OK?"

"Um... yeah... I was just... I don't know, "gone" for a minute..."

He hooked an arm around her waist, to steady her. " Maybe we should go sit?"

She shook her head. " No, let's dance." She looked at him and smiled, but didn't look better.

"Scully..."

But she was being obstinate, and Scully being obstinate was not a force to be reckoned with, so he let her get away with it. He pulled her close to him, placing his hands on her lower back, her arms circling his neck. She rested her cheek against his chest, closing her eyes. She had become very tired suddenly, but ignored her disoriented vision, not wanting to stop dancing...

Mulder could feel Scully's grip growing tighter on his neck, and was increasingly concerned.

"Scully ?" he asked, hoping to find out what was wrong.

"Mmmhmm?"

"How are you feeling? You OK?"

He felt her cheek move against his chest, and knew she was smiling.

"Yeah, I'm just tired... And I feel really small in my flats, next to you."

"Good things come in small packages..." He whispered into her ear.

"Good things come in really big packages too."

He smiled. " you want to go home soon?"

"No... We don't get to dress up and go out very often..."

"We could. Do you want to?"

"No... I like hanging around home with you..."

It seemed like she was going to say more, but suddenly she was feeling light headed and dizzy, her world fading to black...

Mulder felt her slipping and hugged her closely.

"Scully?" he asked as he struggled to keep her up.

She looked up at him, before her eyes faltered, then rolled back as her body went limp.

"SHIT!" He cursed loudly, lowering her to the floor. " Someone call an ambulance!" He yelled at the growing crowd, before turning back to Scully.

"Scully? SCULLY? DANA?" He pinched her ears, but she didn't respond, she had a pulse and was breathing, but seemed to be unconscious...

Somewhere along the way, he became aware that he was riding in an ambulance, with her, the crew confused over what had induced her unconscious state. they asked a million questions, most of which he tried to answer. But he wasn't aware of what he was saying. He only knew one thing, and that was that he was scared to death...


It seemed strangely quiet as he sat in a hard plastic chair in the hall. There were no more sirens, no more doctors, just silence, which was far more frightening. The doctors had kicked him out of the ICU when she'd been brought in to do some tests. No one could figure out what was wrong, so now as he sat alone and scared in the silent hall, while Scully was laying unconscious having blood tests, among others, done.

Mulder was terrified of what they might turn up. What if it was her cancer returning with a vengeance? How long would she have? Probably not long enough to see their first anniversary. His heart crushed for the millionth time that night. How would he survive without her? It was so unfair. Fate had given him a taste of heaven when he'd married Scully, only to take her away... Surely she wouldn't be so cruel? A line of a dark song played over and over in his head...

And in that moment heaven seemed insane Because heaven was to blame For taking you away...

Mulder heard the airlock doors open, and saw the doctor come out, approaching him.

"Hello, I'm doctor Burnaby. You must be Fox Mulder, Mrs. Mulder's husband?"

Mulder nodded. " How is she?"

"She's stable. She looks like she's just sleeping, but she's unconscious. We're not sure why, so we just ran some tests. The results should be back in an hour or so..."

"Is it... cancer?" Mulder asked, fearfully.

Doctor Burnaby hesitated. " It doesn't seem to be, but we won't know for sure until the results come back."

Mulder dropped his eyes. " If it is cancer... Will she wake up before she dies?"

"...Probably not... But don't consider that yet. We'll know soon enough. In the meantime, I need you to answer some questions for me."

Mulder nodded spiritlessly.

"Has your wife been sleeping a lot lately, or had problems sleeping?"

Mulder felt guilty. " Yeah. We were trying to start a family, but we lost the baby. She's been kind of upset about that for a while... But she was getting better."

"How long do you think she's sleeping?"

"Five, maybe six hours a night."

"And how about eating disorders?"

Mulder once again felt guilty. " She doesn't eat a lot. She'd lost twenty pounds, but regained ten recently. I've been trying to make her favorites so she'll eat more."

The doctor nodded. " Sounds like you're trying to take care of her." He gave Mulder an encouraging smile. " Why don't you go to the cafeteria and get a coffee or something. You've got some time to kill..."

The gift shop wasn't interesting, but Mulder still had half an hour to kill, so he perused the magazines, and other novelty items. He saw a large selection of chocolate bars and smiled, thinking of Scully's chocolate addiction. They even had her favorite kind, " Hershey's Burnt Almond". Deciding she'd want one when she woke up, he picked one up and paid for it. He almost screamed out of shear frustration when he saw her picture smiling up at him from his wallet. Taking the chocolate, he quickly returned to the ICU...

However, when he got down there, he was told she'd been moved to her own room, which *had* to be a good sign... He opened the door to room 234 and immediately saw her still form resting peacefully. He walked over to her and, pulling a chair up, sat down beside her. What if she never woke up? He gently reached out and took her hand in his. When he did this, machines began to beep and a nurse came flying in.

"What happened?" she asked.

"Nothing." Mulder said, surprised. " She just squeezed my hand when I held hers."

"Are you sure you didn't touch anything?"

"Yes, why?" he asked, confused.

"She hasn't been responding to touch. She doesn't move or speak when we speak to her. Her brain waves are active but... watch."

The nurse took her hand and called her name. Nothing happened.

"See, nothing happened, so nothing should have beeped."

"I swear to god I didn't touch anything!" Mulder exclaimed. " Watch."

He took Scully's hand in one of his, and she smiled, folding her fingers around his, causing a cacophony of beeps. He kissed her hand and she smiled, then sleepily spoke.

"Muher..."

Mulder looked at the stupefied nurse.

"She knows it's you!"

Mulder nodded.

"Don't move!" She ordered, then ran out to get the doctor. A couple seconds later they were running back in mid conversation.

"She knows it's him!" The nurse exclaimed.

"But how?" The doctor demanded.

"I don't know!" She cried.

Dr. Burnaby looked expectantly at Mulder.

"She's responding to you?"

Mulder nodded, then touched Scully's cheek, gently.

"Hey Scully, I'm here if you need me. I love you."

She stirred, and a small smile crossed her sleepy face. " Muher... Muher, a luff hoo..."

Dr. Burnaby's jaw dropped. " She's responding in her sleep. That's very good. She'll probably wake up in a little while."

The nurse left the room, and the doctor pulled a file out of his huge lab coat pockets.

"We've got the test results..."

"Is it cancer?' Mulder asked, cutting him off.

"I'm getting to that, if you'll let me explain..."

"Is it cancer?" Mulder demanded.

The doctor glared. " Your wife is sick, Mr. Mulder..."

"Damn-it! Answer me!"

"No. There were no signs of cancer, but there is a growth..."

Mulder looked away. " Terminal?"

"Not at all. your wife is pregnant."

Mulder whipped his head up. " What?"

"Your wife is one month pregnant."

It took a minute for everything to sink in. Mulder just sat there, dumbfounded.

"Are you sure?" He stuttered out.

"See for yourself." the doctor said, handing Mulder an ultrasound picture.=

He examined it closely. In small white letters along the top, it read "Mulder, Dana K S - 4 weeks". And right in the middle of the blur of her womb was a small white blob. Their baby.

"That's why she fainted and fell unconscious. You two obviously didn't know she was pregnant, and she wasn't getting enough sleep, or proper nutrition. so her body shut down to support the fetus..."

Mulder looked up at the doctor a small smile on his face. " It wasn't supposed to be possible... Thank you."

The doctor nodded. " I can tell you wanted this, but now it's important that you do as I say."

Mulder nodded.

"You must make sure that she gets well over eight hours of sleep per night, and recovers those ten pounds, as well as a couple extra per month. It is vitally important that she eats properly, so the fetus can grow."

"What about before? Before we knew?"

"As far as I can tell, the baby is healthy, despite the risks you took. But for the next two months you have to be very careful. At this point, anymore weight loss or insomnia will cause the baby to abort."

Mulder swallowed hard. " Thank you."

Doctor Burnaby smiled, and left the room. With him gone, Mulder looked back at the photo in his hands. That was their baby, half her, half him. He was going to be a father. And he suddenly felt terrified but elated at the same time. He tucked the picture in his wallet, then looked at Scully. And she somehow looked different to him, more beautiful and mysterious then ever. She was going to be so happy...

... Scully woke up, confused, in a hospital bed. For a few minutes, all she could see was the harsh glare of the fluorescent lights, but as her vision returned, she saw Mulder resting his head on the mattress, beside her, slumped over in sleep. she put her hand on his cheek, feeling the stubble, and she wondered how long she'd been out. And why was she here? She noticed Mulder was still in his tux, so he must have been here watching over her. She stroked his head gently, running her fingers through his thick, messy hair, a small smile on her face.

And that's how he saw her, when he woke up. Laying there watching him, her blue eyes serious, as her fingers threaded through his hair. He sat up quickly.

"Hey Firefly!" He leaned down and kissed her gently. " How are you feeling?"

She looked at him. " Confused. What happened?"

"you passed out while we were dancing, and didn't wake up."

"Can I leave?" She asked, sitting up. " I hate hospitals."

He shook his head. " Not until you promise me something..."

She raised her eyebrow.

"You're going to eat properly, and sleep lots and lots, so this doesn't happen again."

"OK. I promise. Let's go."

In the following days Mulder didn't tell her. He had a plan, and everything was going to be perfect...



Snow was falling softly outside, from the gray clouds that hung in the air. It was one of those days when you slept in until noon, and laid in bed for another hour, long after your eyes had first opened.

Scully lay on the bed, staring at the ceiling, awake but not active. Mulder was sleeping, head resting on her stomach, his breath falling against her gray flannel pajamas. It was hard to believe a year had gone by since they'd fled this very room, to go to the tropics... Mulder stirred against her and rolled over, straightening himself up so he was parallel to her. He smiled, thinking about the present he was going to give her tonight.

"Merry Christmas Eve Day." he said, before kissing her happily.

She smiled back, feeling in the Christmas mood.

"Merry Christmas to you too." She kissed the tip of his nose. " I guess we should get up, hunh?"

He nodded and sat up. " We have a lot to do today."

He kicked back the covers and stood up, stretching.

"Like what?" She asked, around a yawn, watching him lazily.

"Well, we have to decorate our tree, and make dinner, and go for a walk in the snow..."

She smiled. " I'm too tired to do all that."

He smiled at her, knowing why she was so tried...

..." There." She said, sliding off Mulder's back, after having put the frosty blue star on top of the tree. They both stood back and examined what they'd done together. Well, at least she thought they were both looking at the tree, but when she tore her eyes away and looked at him, she noticed his eyes were on someone else. Her.

"Isn't it beautiful?" She asked.

He smiled. " Yeah... And the tree is pretty nice too..."

... During the afternoon, Scully had started a fore which heated the house as they prepared dinner together. Frank Sinatra played in the background as Mulder showed Scully how to prepare the turkey, then left her in charge of the vegetables. Together they worked, making a mess and having fun. Mulder made the turkey dance and Scully laughed, despite the tears flowing from her eyes because of the onions... Finally, when they were all done, they cuddled up on the couch and watched Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and Frosty The Snowman. While she was zoned out, watching TV, Mulder thought about the tiny life growing inside of her. And he realized, with great satisfaction, that this time next year, they'd have a justified reason for watching kids' specials...

... Dinner was delicious. Scully was stuffed, and sleepy, so she had a nap while Mulder washed the dishes. He was more then happy to do that for her. Then, when he was done, he woke her up and together they went for a walk in the snow... Scully looked cute, dressed in her jeans and red, fleece coat, white mittens and headband on to keep her warm. Mulder wore his bomber jacket and black stretchy gloves... It was dark out, the moon and street lights making the fluffy snow sparkle. They walked through the park remaining relatively quiet, until Mulder lobbed a snowball at her, then they burst into fits of laughter as they attacked each other, falling over into the snow. Their laughter didn't last long, though, because soon they were both cold and wet, and decided to head back home to thaw...

... Mulder walked into the living room, hands behind his back, hiding the small box he held. She didn't notice as he hid it behind a pillow, then sat down on the couch between her and the hidden treasure. She was sipping her hot chocolate, staring into the fire, warm in her flannel pajamas. When he sat down next to her, she put her mug down and leaned over onto him, snuggling in close.

"this day was perfect." She stated simply.

"I'm glad." He replied. " I wanted everything to be right for you... and there's more."

"Oh no!" She exclaimed, mockingly, then yawned. " I'm so tired!"

"I have an early present for you..."

She smiled at him, pulling herself up. " All right, all right..."

He reached behind the pillow and gave her the small box.

"This isn't going to be embarrassing is it?" She asked, carefully.

He shook his head. " Nope. It's something beautiful."

Curious, she opened the small folded card.

"Scully... You hold the future... Love Mulder, XOXO." She read aloud before removing the paper. Then she lifted the lid off the box. Mulder watched as her brow went down in confusion, reaching in and pulling up a baby's pacifier. She held it up, and looked at him, but he motioned to the box. She pulled out a piece of cotton, and then her eyes went very, very wide, as the color drained from her face. With trembling hands she reached in and pulled out the small photo, saying nothing. She looked at it carefully, noting that it was indeed in her name.

"Is this a joke?" She asked. " Because it really isn't funny." She looked at him seriously.

He smiled and shook his head. " No. It's very real." He wanted to say more, but decided to let her go for a while.

She looked at the small, white blurb, then carefully put it down, turning to face her husband.

"Is that what it looks like?" She asked, dead serious.

He just nodded, a smile on his face.

"How?" She stuttered.

"I don't know. A miracle maybe..."

Her blue eyes pierced him for a minute, before her face crumpled and she leaned forward, reaching for him. He held her close as she silently cried on his shoulder.

"Am I dreaming?" She asked, quietly.

"Only if it's a dream come true."

She started to cry harder.

"Why are you crying?" he asked.

"I'm terrified." She admitted. " What if we lose the baby? Or what if it's stillborn?"

He hugged her tightly, and rubbed her back. " It'll be fine, Scully. The doctor said it was healthy. Just take care of yourself. You're eating and sleeping and breathing for two now."

She sniffed and pulled back, smiling.

"You're going to be a Daddy!" She exclaimed.

He smiled and cupped her cheek in his hand. " And you're going to be a Mommy."

She beamed. " We're having a baby, Mulder!"

She was so excited, she was laughing and crying at the same time. He nodded, grinning.

"Merry Christmas, Mom."

She was still crying as they lay their hands together on her abdomen. Mulder began to laugh.

"What?" She asked.

"I love you so much. I love you *two* so much."

She smiled. " *We* love you too, Dad."

She cried some more, as he held her, them, close. He laughed as he caught tears on her cheeks and whispered in her ear, " At least we can blame these waterworks on hormones."

She laughed too.

It was still snowing when Scully woke up on Christmas morning. Mulder had once again used her stomach as a pillow, but now she knew why. She smiled sleepily and considered their future. This was going to change their lives in a drastic way. Even now, when they were married, she had a hard time picturing them carrying around a baby. Could they do this? Would they be good enough parents? For a moment she panicked, imagining her and Mulder running through a cornfield, chasing aliens and suddenly stopping, wondering where they'd left the baby. Luckily her panic passed as Mulder woke up.

"Relax, Scully... We'll be fine." He said, before even opening his eyes.

She smiled. " How did you know I was thinking about the baby?"

"Why wouldn't you be?" he asked. " You've only been wishing for it for how many months?!?"

"Are you scared?" She asked, timidly.

He opened his eyes and looked at her.

"See, look it's my panicked face." He said, pointing to himself. " ...But we'll figure something out. We always do."

She smiled. " This is the best gift you could have given me..."

"Merry Christmas, Scully." He smiled.

"Merry Christmas, Mulder."

Maggie heard the doorbell ring, and put down the towel she'd been using to dry the breakfast dishes. She hurriedly headed to the front door and threw it open, happy to see her children.

"Merry Christmas, Mom." Scully said, hugging her mother.

"And the same to you, Dana. Where's Fox?"

Scully smiled. " He's still out at the car, getting the presents."

As if on cue they heard the trunk slam and the sounds of feet on the snow.=

"Merry Christmas Mrs. Scully!" He called, as he headed up the front walkway.

"Come here, Fox!" She said, putting her hands on her hips. " Give me a hug!"

He smiled and complied.

The house was exactly as Scully remembered it being, every Christmas since she was small. There were ribbons and bows, wreathes and mistletoe everywhere, helping to encourage the Christmas spirit. The house held a sort of positive energy, everyone curious about just what exactly was hidden in those wrapped boxes, under the huge tree...

After taking off her outdoor gear, Scully headed into the living room, finding all her siblings there.

"Merry Christmas guys!" Scully said with a smile.

Charles bounded off the couch and over to his sister. " Hey Dana!" He said, warmly, giving her a huge hug.

"Hey Charlie." She smiled.

Mulder came up behind her.

"Hey Mulder!" He punched him, mockingly.

"Hey Charles." He knocked back.

Scully headed over to greet Bill and Tara, curiously watching her almost two year old nephew.

"Matthew, say hello to your Auntie Dana and Uncle Fox."

He paused from trying to fit toy blocks into a shape and sort bucket.

"Hi." He said, shyly.

"Hi." Scully said, crouching down next to him. " What are you doing?"

He looked at her, holding up a block. " Dis goes in dere," he stated, pointing to the bucket.

"Does it? Can I try ?" She asked.

He picked up a circle and gave it to her.

"Doe this fit through there?" She asked, pointing to the round opening. He nodded and she dropped it in. " Hey, you were right! You're a smart boy, Matthew."

He smiled, as did Mulder, watching Scully playing with Matthew. knowing her secret purpose

"He's cute." Mulder said, facing Bill, deciding to get that out of the way.

"Yes, we think he is." Bill smiled, extending his hand. " Merry Christmas, Mulder."

Mulder hesitantly took his hand. " Merry Christmas."

"So are we going to open these or what?" Tara asked, happily.

Maggie consented, and soon all the presents had been distributed. Maggie sat in a sofa with Charles, Bill and Tara in the other, with Matt on their laps. Mulder sat on the floor, in front of the cushy chair Scully had begrudgingly accepted after Mulder had shot her a warning look about taking care of herself.

"Fox, why don't you start." Maggie suggested, and so he did.

"To Mulder, Merry Christmas, love Scully." He read aloud, before opening a huge box. Inside he lifted out a Three Dog Night single of Joy to the World, with many laughs. Then of course they had to tell the whole story to everyone. Next he pulled out a pair of silk boxers with Marven the Martian on them, and a t-shirt which read, " Property of D.K. Scully." Mulder grinned when she started laughing at herself. And finally, in the bottom, there was a basketball backboard with the Knicks' symbol on it, as well as all of the signatures of the players.

"Oh my God, Scully! How did you get this?"

She smiled and shrugged mysteriously. " I told you good things come in really BIG boxes."

He grinned at her... And there were many more smiles as the morning progressed to afternoon. In front of Mulder sat his gifts from Scully, an expensive pen set, a new basketball as well as season tickets to every game in the DC area. He had also received a very good camera from Maggie, who had seen the photos he'd taken of her daughter while they were camping. Impressed, she'd encouraged him to take more, much to Scully's dismay.

In front of Scully was a pile of presents which consisted of an expensive silver watch, a pair of earrings and some lingerie Charlie had bought her to poke fun at Mulder, who'd grinned, and to totally embarrass his sister. From her mom she'd received an ancient leather bond original print of Moby Dick, as well as a beautiful boat in a bottle, which was a replica of the boat in Moby Dick. Now, she held her last present, a tiny box, from Mulder. Everyone was looking at her expectantly.

"Does everyone know what this is except me?" She asked.

They all nodded, except Mulder, who was sitting on the arm of the chair, hovering over Scully. She looked up at him.

"What did you do?"

He shrugged. " Open it."

She opened the card. " To Scully, Really HUGE things come in really small boxes. Merry Christmas! All my love, Mulder."

Then she opened the box, only to find a dirty, old key, on a satin ribbon.

"What's this?" She asked, confused.

Maggie shot Mulder a look.

"We'll be back by dinner." He said, standing up. Scully followed him.

"What is going on, Mulder?"

"We're going for a car ride," he stated.

"Where to?" She demanded.

"You'll see."

He opened the front door, heading for the car.

"Mulder!" She put on her boots and went after him. When they got to the car, he tossed her the keys.

"You're driving." he said, before jumping in...

...About forty minutes, and many navigational commands from Mulder, later, they were driving down a nice, old, expensive neighborhood near Georgetown.

Scully was watching the pretty, snow covered houses go by, when suddenly Mulder said to stop.

"Turn into the driveway over there." He said, pointing to a house on the corner of a street. She complied and parked the car. She sat in silence, examining the house. It was a large, old house, with a fair sized front lot, on which stood two tall pine trees, who's foliage didn't start until almost the second story, and whose peaks were well above the roof. A small, slightly S shaped walkway led from the side walk to the wide half circle style front stairs. The house itself was beautiful, done in a tan-ish stucco with dark green, almost black shutters and front door. The windows were large and clearly showed two stories, with a third if you counted the seemingly finished attic. Vines crawled up the walls and into the eaves troths. The car was parked in front of a garage, which had a small walk and covered roof, joining the house to it. However this entry point, as well as along the sides and the back yard, were blocked off to the public by a tall, elegant, wood fence.

"So?" Scully asked, looking over at Mulder.

He looked at her seriously. " Do you like it?"

"Yes. It's a beautiful old house... But what are we doing here?"

He looked very pleased with himself.

"Merry Christmas, Scully."

She looked around at it, then back at him. " Haha, you're funny Mulder. Why are we here?"

Instead of answering, he got out of the car, and headed for the front door.

"Mulder!" She opened her door and got out, standing in the frame.

He turned around, arms outstretched, a huge smile on his face.

"Merry Christmas, Scully!" He yelled. " It's our new house!"

Her brow knitted in disbelief, as she looked up at it.

"Oh, you're kidding me!" She said, closing the door.

He shook his head. " No, but if you don't believe me, try the key."

He tossed her the dirty metal thing on the ribbon. She caught it, and with trembling hands, walked up to the front door and inserted the key. She hesitated a moment before turning it, then pushing the latch down. It opened.

"Why don't you go in?" Mulder asked, coming up behind her, pushing her slightly. She stepped inside and he followed, closing the door behind him.

they were standing in a small coat room which was part of the main hall. Through the glass door, about ten feet away was a large staircase which led up to the second level. Wooden banisters running down the sides of the stairs, it divided the hall into two smaller passes, which ran around behind the stairs.

Scully banged the snow off her boots and journeyed in. The first door on the left of the hall was closed. It was a large, carved, sliding door. She took the handle and slid it back, exposing a large room, which appeared to be the study. There was the large front window they'd seen from the outside on one wall and two smaller window on the corner wall. Mulder had set up all his apartment furniture inside, an organized manner. On the back wall he'd put up some bookshelves, but there was still room for more, books all ready on the shelves. On the corner wall, between the two windows was the TV, set on a small cupboard style stand. On the front wall was his large, rectangular table, with the computer set up on top. On the fourth wall, the one that ran beside the hall, was another smaller table, with a banker's lamp set up on it. in the middle of the room, facing the TV, was his black futon.

Scully was completely in awe. She turned and left the room, crossing the hall and heading through twin glass doors into what would eventually become the living room. It was obviously awaiting some of her furniture. Once again, the large front window was on the front wall, but instead of windows on the corner wall, there was a fireplace. The back wall held a closed glass door which evidently led to the dinning room, the room at the back right of the house. The dining room had a window on the back wall, and a window on the side wall. A small hall ran between the dining room and the back left room, which was the kitchen. The small hall was behind the stairs, and was where the two divided passes once again became one.. the whole first floor was made of hardwood flooring, except the kitchen, which had a newly vinyl tiled floor in a black and white diamond pattern. There was a huge window on the back wall, under which was the sink and the counter, cabinets beside it. These counter and cabinets ran across the back wall and down two thirds of the side wall, where they stopped when they reached the fridge. In the center of the room was an island with the stove and oven in it, a set of hooks, for pots and pans, hung from an equally sized, square, overhead light fixture.

Mulder waited patiently at the front door of the house, as Scully made her explorations. She came back to the front of the house, looking for him, a bewildered expression on her face.

"We can't afford this, Mulder!" She said, in a rational tone.

He smiled. " Yes we can."

She put her hands on her hips, giving him a look. " How?"

"I got a raise at Christmas last year, which I've been saving. I moved out of my apartment when I moved in with you, so I haven't been paying rent since February. I finally sold off my Mom's house, as well as Chillmark and the cottage at Quonocatog. It all makes for good money."

She looked at him, concerned. " You sold off all that, just so you could buy this for me? For us?"

He nodded.

"Come here, you." She said, giving him a huge hug. " I love you so much. You know you didn't have to buy a big house to please me. You could have bought a tool shed, and so long as you were there, I'd call it home."

He laughed. " Now you tell me!"

He let go of her and took her hand, telling her his big ideas for decorating and furnishing.

"I wanted to let you decide the living room and dinning rooms, because you did so well with your apartment. When I bought the house, I thought we'd have more time for painting and moving in, but..." He patted her stomach. " No heavy lifting and paint fumes for you!"

She smiled. " I'll just order you around... I bet we could get Charles to help."

Mulder nodded. " Come se the upstairs."

At the top of the stairs was a large window, overlooking the large back yard. Scully looked out and noticed the trees on the back fence, as well as the large, wooden deck that had been built against the back wall of the house...

Choosing to go left first, she headed down the narrow hall beside the stairs, and opened a door which led to a large guest bedroom. It was the only room on the left side of the house, so she crossed over and opened a door to a fair sized bathroom. The next door on the right was to a small room, she immediately knew was going to be the nursery. It was a cozy room, with a window on the side wall, which would let in plenty of sunlight. She smiled and looked at Mulder, who was smiling at her too.

"The baby's room." Mulder stated.

She nodded.

The hall ended with a door, which she opened and discovered the master bedroom. The room tool up the whole front of the house, so it had many windows along the front. The left side wall was solid, and had a new, queen size frame bed, topped with a mattress, on it. She looked at Mulder who smiled in a guilty fashion. On the back left wall was a walk-in closet. Then, in the middle of the wall was the door she'd entered by. On the right side of the door was a small bathroom, which stuck out into the room. Because the bathroom stuck out, there was a small cut out between the front wall of the house and the advanced back bedroom wall. In the cut out was a steep, narrow, metal, spiral staircase, which led to the attic.

The attic was a long, narrow, rectangular room, with a window at the front and the back, as well as a skylight. As suspected, it was finished.

"This is wonderful!" She exclaimed to him, as she looked out the skylight.

He smiled. " Do you really like it?"

She nodded. " I do."

He grinned. " I bought a new bed... The first one I've ever bought."

She smiled. " Will you share it with me?"

He nodded. " Anytime and always, Scully."

As promised Mulder brought Scully back in time for dinner. Everyone asked about the new house, and Scully said it was terrific. And of course, they all offered to help move in. It was this, among other things, that the family spoke of during dinner. However, after dinner, when Mulder volunteered to help do the dishes with Maggie, the conversation turned to more personal things...

Mulder stuck his hands into the hot water, wiping the plates clean, every now and then looking up to observe Scully playing with Matthew, while she talked to Tara. It was during one of his observations that Maggie began to turn their conversation to him and his wife.

"So how are things between you and Dana?" She asked, warmly.

He smiled. " We're great. I think we were under just a little too much stress for a while..."

Maggie nodded. " She's very happy, you know. She may not always show it, but she's told me she is."

Mulder looked at her. " I'm glad to hear that. I thought she was happy, but sometimes, I just don't know anymore."

Maggie shook her head. " So is she pregnant, or what?"

Mulder looked at her, alarmed. " Did she tell you something to that effect?"

"Don't looked so panicked, Fox! She hasn't said anything. I just wondered. She's acting like she is."

"She is?" Mulder asked, incredulously.

"Yes. Look at how gentle she's being with herself, and the way she smiled. And I know that if she is pregnant, you know, because she looks at you in a certain way..."

"She does?" he asked again.

"Yes. It's the same way you look at her."

"Oh." Mulder said, turning back to the dishes, and letting the water go. " I guess you'll have to talk to her."

And with that, he left. Maggie watched him go over to Scully and say something. She then put Matthew on the floor, and headed toward the kitchen.

"Hi Mom." She said, curiously. " You wanted to see me?"

Maggie smiled. " Yes. Did Fox tell you why?"

"No."

"Do you have something to tell me, Dana Katherine?"

Scully's eyebrows went up. " About what?"

"You didn't drink any wine at dinner, you're yawning, and you seem to be showing quite an interest in Matthew... Plus you have a glow to you..."

Scully smiled. " And what would you infer based on those facts?"

"I'm hypothesizing that my baby girl is pregnant."

Scully gave her mom a chipmunk grin and nodded. " You're conclusion is correct."

Maggie smiled radiantly. " That's wonderful! How old is he/she...?"

"We don't know what it is, and we don't want to, but it's just over a month old."

Maggie looked very pleased. " I'm so happy for you! If you need anything, *anything*, advice, help, a shoulder to cry on... just ask."

Scully smiled. " I will. Mulder is really excited."

Maggie nodded. " I suppose he would be. Your father almost did cartwheels when I told him I was pregnant with Bill Jr."

Scully laughed at the idea of her naval captain father doing flips.

"Mulder is really careful with me, and very protective. Almost infuriatingly so."

"Well, you have to let him run with it. It's all he can do. He can't say, " Here, let me carry the baby for you."..."

Scully nodded. " yeah, well, he gets diaper duty."

Maggie laughed, as did Scully, at Mulder's future career...

By Scully's birthday, they were completely set up in their new house. Charles had been more then willing to help out, which had made the job of repainting, decorating and moving in much easier. When he'd learned why he'd been asked to help, while Scully gave orders, he'd been elated, which had helped him paint faster.

Finally, when they were all done, things looked terrific. The study had been painted an olive green, and looked very much like all the studies in the early movies. The living room and dining room were a light shrimp shade, and resembled Scully's apartment very much. The kitchen was white with a floral border, and looked new age. The main hall, was well as the upper hall were an off white, which leaned very slightly to a gray-blue shade. The guest bedroom had been done in cornflower blue, as had the bathroom. However, it was the nursery and the master bedroom that both Scully and Mulder liked best. Their bedroom had been sponge painted with royal blue and navy to look like the night sky. A celestial border had been put up, which had gold touches on it, as well as dark yellow. The odd gold star had been stenciled here and there on the walls. Right above the headboard of their bed hung a large, simply framed, scientific photo of the moon. It looked beautiful, as did the nursery.

The nursery had also been sponge painted, in sky blue and white, as well as marbled, so the walls resembled the sky. On the ceiling, a large, decorative sun had been painted. The border around the room depicted clouds, birds and sunshine.

All the floors in the house had been polished, remaining hardwood floors, except for the bedrooms, which had been carpeted. All of the rooms had been furnished, except one. The nursery sat vacant, waiting for Mulder and Scully to go shopping for all the necessities. They were anxious to go out together, and buy the stuff, but it was hard to find time. The days were filled with work, the evenings with rest. Mulder had given up trying to persuade Scully to stay at home, but was still very protective of her. so when they came home, he'd make sure she was resting while he made dinner and everything. And so the only time left for shopping was on the weekend, when they frequently slept in and had housework to do. However, one day Mulder decided he was going to take her out. No more putting it off. For the time being, though, they still had work to do.

Scully had, once again, slept through the alarm clock's insistent beeping, and as a result, was rushing around their room, trying to find clothes.

"Where is my jacket?" She asked herself, scanning the room. Not seeing it, she went to the stairwell and called down to Mulder, who was making breakfast.

"Mulder, is my jacket down there?" She yelled.

She heard the stairs creak, and suddenly Mulder was there, toast sticking out of his mouth, jacket and pantyhose in hand. He handed them to her, then followed her into the room, sitting on the end of their unmade bed.

"Breakfast awaits." He declared, as she dashed back and forth.

She was just standing in front of the full length mirror, trying to tuck her blouse in, when Mulder jumped up and stopped her.

"Mulder, we're going to be late!" She exclaimed, as he pulled her shirt back out, and undid her skirt. "Mulder, what *are* you doing ?"

He shook his head at her and looked down. A small smile lighted upon his face.

"Look." He said, pointing to the mirror.

She did. " What?"

He grinned. " You're bulging Scully!"

She pulled her shirt down, self consciously, but he stopped her, putting his hand on the newly formed mound of flesh.

"That's the baby." He said, in awe.

She smiled at him. " Yes, it is."

She was taken by his gentleness and curiosity.

"How long is it, Scully?" he asked, letting her get dressed.

"Six more months, Mulder."

He sighed, and went back down stairs. he couldn't wait six more months. he wanted to know who the little person inside her was...

... A month later, the moon was shining brightly, seeping in from the outside world. However, no one in the Mulder-Scully house was paying attention. Both persons were sleeping, one more peacefully then the other. Mulder was out like a light, but Scully was restless. Though she was asleep, something was keeping her from finding total relaxation...

A sharp jabbing pair shot through her abdomen, and she woke up with a start, sitting up quickly. her speed made her nauseous, but not severely so, and so she sat, stark still trying to figure out what had happened.

Mulder, who had felt her sharp movements stirred, but didn't wake...

And then it happened again. Another quick pain. Only this time she knew what it was. She slowly twisted sideways, putting her hands on Mulder, shaking him gently.

"Mulder... Mulder wake up!"

He groaned a bit, then realized she was awake and woke up promptly.

"Scully? Are you OK?" He looked at her.

"I'm great. Come here." She said, pulling him up.

"I don't want to wrestle... Besides, it's two against one." He joked.

She smiled at him, leaning back onto her elbows.

"Put your hands on "The Bulge"." She ordered.

He gave her a quizzical look, but complied. After a minute, he shook his head.

"I don't... What am I supposed to..." He cut himself off and his face fell, as he felt the big, bump move, and something poke.

"What was that!?!" He exclaimed.

She smiled. " The baby. It's started moving and kicking."

He gaped at her. " Will it do it again?"

She nodded. " It should do it regularly now. It's a good sign. It means it's healthy."

Mulder smiled, then leaned forwards and kissed her stomach, before kissing her and laying back down, as did she.

"Thanks for waking me, Scully. I'm glad I didn't miss that."

She smiled. " Let's just hope the kid doesn't decide to move at this time, every night."

And with that, she fell asleep. **

 

By April Scully had developed a significant bulge. She had also begun to get odd cravings and aches. Mulder did the best he could to fulfill her desires, whether they were dill pickle and fluff sandwiches or a back rub... Or words of encouragement...

It was another glorious Saturday morning in early spring. Mulder and Scully had slept in late and lingered over the newspaper for a long time... They'd been stretched out in the sun, on the warm floor in the study, glasses of orange juice close at hand. Though they both missed their morning caffeine, they'd gone off coffee a while ago, for the baby's sake... Mulder rubbed his face and listened to the floorboards overhead creak, wondering what Scully was doing upstairs. Somewhere between the city section and sports, she had gotten up to refill her glass and had disappeared... Curious he stood up and went to find her...

Quietly he snuck into the room, and immediately noticed the door to the bathroom was partially opened. He leaned against the door frame and peered in, amused by what he saw. There stood Scully, in front of the mirror, shirt pulled up over her stomach. She was inspecting the bulge with a rather discontented smile on her face... Mulder was intrigued by this, considering that Scully, even after years of partnership and marriage, had hardly ever allowed herself vanity in front of him... No tongue over the teeth, no applicating lipstick, no complaints about bad hair days... So it was understandable that he felt like he had stumbled upon a forbidden fruit when he watched her standing there, obviously displeased with her figure.

She heard the door slightly squeal and turned to face it, and Mulder, pulling her sweatshirt down as she went.

"Hey... What did you do that for?" he asked, reaching over and pulling her shirt back up. She tried to fight it and keep it down.

" Mulder, what are you doing?"

He smiled. " I think the bigger question is, what were *you* doing?"

She blushed. " Just looking."

He grinned. " Why?"

She shrugged, irritable. " I don't know, you can put the shirt down now."

He shook his head. " Nope. I'm not done interrogating you yet."

She sighed and crossed her arms, on top of the bulge. " What do you want?"

" I want to know what you think of this." He said, pointing to the bulge.

They were now both in front of the mirror, staring at their reflections, Mulder behind Scully, grinning, Scully, arms crossed, grimacing.

"I think..."

He nodded.

"You think you're fat and ugly."

She scowled at him, but nodded.

"You're wrong."

She looked cross. " How can I be wrong, Mulder. It's how I feel!"

He smiled at her. " Don't feel that way. I think you're sexy."

She gave him an incredulous look. " You think *this* is sexy?"

He nodded.

"You're crazy." She tried to turn away and leave.

He hugged her tightly, and put both his hands on the bulge.

"I think you're the most beautiful woman in the world, and that this bulge is our baby, a part of us, a manifestation of our love, and it's beautiful too."

She smiled at him, uncrossing her arms and putting her own hands on the bulge. " Sweet talker. You're the one who got me into this. "

He grinned. " It takes two to tango, Wifey."

She pursed her lips in mock contempt. " OK, Hubby. Would you like me to cook you dinner, sew your socks and put another log on the fire for you?"

"Would you?"

She smiled at him in the mirror, and poked his wedding ring. " Don't you ever wonder how we got this far?"

He nodded. " It's pretty incredible."

And it was...

As the days and weeks progressed Mulder demonstrated that he wanted to be as much a part of the pregnancy as possible, which Scully appreciated. It also gave her insight into what the future held. His avid interest in her and the baby made her believe that he was going to be an excellent father. It meant he would hold true to his words, that he wanted to share the responsibilities... Today, he was accompanying her to the monthly check up...

...Scully lay in the cushioned chair, stomach exposed. Mulder sat near her in a plastic chair, observing what was going on. Scully sucked in a quick breath as the doctor put jelly on her. Mulder was quick to question her actions

"You OK?" he asked, as nonchalantly as possible.

He relaxed and sat back again.

"OK, now we have to find the baby, which shouldn't be too hard..." The doctor announced, moving the wand across her stomach. " Close your eyes, I'm going to make sure the sex isn't visible."

They complied, and waited till the coast was clear to open them again.

"There it is..." The doctor said.

Scully smiled, seeing her baby, then rolled her head so she could see Mulder. It was the first time he'd seen the baby, live time. He was staring at the screen in fascination, the same way he had looked when inspecting the cow mutilation slides and abduction scars. Only this time he looked slightly more moved. He was star struck. His eyes were shining with that mischievous gleam.

"Shall I put the audio on?" Asked the doctor.

"Is there something to hear this time?" Said Scully, surprised.

The doctor nodded, and Scully stuck out her hand, flapping it, to get Mulder's attention. He slid his hand into hers and gave it a tight squeeze. Then, from a speaker, the rapid steady beat of a heart was heard, over top of a slower, quieter beating. She looked at Mulder.

"That's..." He couldn't even form a sentence.

"The slow one is mine, and the louder, faster one is the baby's."

Mulder shook his head, unable to speak.

The doctor smiled at Scully, nodding towards Mulder. " Your first, right?"

Scully nodded.

"Well your baby appears to be perfectly healthy. We have your urine sample, so we'll call if there's a problem, but I wouldn't expect a call."

As the doctor was speaking, the baby moved slightly, and Mulder smiled.

"So, I will see you back here in a months time... Take care. Keep doing what you're doing and take it easy."

She tidied up the machinery and goo up, and they were free to go. Mulder left the building, grinning.

"That was amazing, Scully! I love you, and the baby. I can hardly wait to be able to hold it." He enthused, in a very quiet voice.

Scully was surprised he was being so vocal about his excitement, but went with it.

"So, you want to go shopping?" She asked, taking advantage of his Father-to-be high.

He nodded. " Yeah, but if you get tired..."

She smiled. " I know, I know..."

An hour later they'd run around and bought a really nice, pine, baby bedroom set which consisted of a dresser, a changing table and a really nice crib, complete with mattress and bumper pads. They knew they still had to get a highchair, playpen, toys, diapers, baby bath set and god knows what else, but they felt they had a good start. Scully was getting sore and tired, so they were exploring one last shop, before heading home...

Mulder was examining the baby seat carriers, while Scully picked out some bottles.

"Hey Scully, check this out." He said, holding up one that looked really comfortable and secure. She nodded.

"You want to get that?" She asked.

He smiled and nodded, so she agreed. They were just heading for the front, when she passed a rack of clothing and had to stop, something catching her eye.

"Oh Mulder, look!" She said, holding up a tiny sleeper outfit. It was white, with blue and silver stars and moons on it, and built in feet. It had snaps and was really soft. She held it up and gave him a sweet smile. He grinned, and put it in with their stuff. She watched him do so, and noticed a small stuffed lamb was with it. She picked it up and gave Mulder a look.

"It's so soft and small and... squishy." He vouched for it.

She smiled. " Squishy, Mulder? I have never heard you say that word."

He made a sheepish face, and snatched it, holding it up, making a puppy dog face.

She rolled her eyes. " All right, all right. Geez, it's not even born yet and it's getting spoiled! No cars for sixteenth birthdays Mulder!"

He made an innocent face. " Wouldn't dream of it, Scully..."


Scully switched off the TV and closed her eyes. She was so tired but didn't want to sleep. She was waiting for Mulder to call from Seattle... The case they'd been fervently working on involved many unexplained disappearances from the same year as Samantha. They felt they were close to something, but discovering what that something was involved on scene investigation, which of course required air transportation, something that Scully could embark on safely, in her condition. So now she was waiting for Mulder to call, and fill her in... She was just about to dose off when the phone rang.

"Mmm... Hello?"

"Oh, I woke you. Sorry Scully."

"That's OK, I awake. What's up?"

"I found her." He said calmly.

"WHAT?" She sat up quickly, wide eyed.

"I found Sam."

She felt like the wind had been knocked out of her. She couldn't believe it. After all this time, after all these years of devotion and searching, they'd finally found her. It seemed too good to be true.

"Are you sure it's her?" She asked, rationally.

He hesitated. " No. But we'll find out soon."

Scully was quiet. " So is she there with you?"

"Nope again. I saw her earlier today, at the police station, by chance, and apparently she was looking for me too. She's ready to talk! She wants to know what she's been missing all these years... She couldn't talk then, because she said she was being followed, but she wants to meet in Dover's Park, in Boston..."

It was a beautiful day in Maine. The sun was shining warmly, and a fresh spring breeze blew off the ocean. The grass was green and the flowers thriving, soaking up the moisture from the early morning dew. Birds chirped high above the treetops, joining Mulder's soaring spirit. Things couldn't be better. He was walking calmly, hand in hand with Scully, his beautiful woman, but more importantly, his best friend... And their baby. Though it was still three months away from being born, Mulder considered it as being with them... And in half an hour, he was going to meet his sister, whom he hadn't been in almost three decades... Whom he had spent the better part of his life missing, and the best part of his life searching for. She was also the reason he'd met Scully... He looked over at her, observing the way her newly cut, red hair, brushed against her cheek and swooshed as she walked with graceful, strong strides. It was definitely a feat to walk gracefully, when one's stomach protruded as far as hers did. It wouldn't be that way much longer though. Soon, she would be occupying a maternal role, baby in arms. Her calm yet ever serious face made her look as though she had all ready gained that maturity, and Mulder knew that she was mentally far older then her years. She'd seen so much, lived through so much to get to here, to today, to this meeting in the park...

Scully turned her head and looked at him looking at her.

"What?" She questioned, concerned.

"Everything and nothing." He replied. " I can't believe we're here. Finally."

She offered a small smile, before turning her eyes away. She would not tell him that she felt this was wrong. Something just wasn't right. Maybe she was wrong, she'd never believed in hunches before... But she couldn't deny that something didn't feel right.

"Hey!" He touched two fingers against her cheek, turning her face back up to him. " I was enjoying the view."

She gave him another quick smile, but said nothing.

"What is it? What's wrong?" he asked, sensing her emotions.

"I don't know. That's the problem."

He shook his head at her, not understanding.

"Is it the baby? Or is it you? Are you OK?"

She considered a moment. " No. Something isn't right, Mulder. It's too easy."

He looked at her, his expression fluctuating between hurt, anger and trust.=

"What? Why do you think that?"

She looked up at him, brow knitted, shoulders shrugged slightly.

"I don't know... I just really feel something is wrong."

He looked at her, his expression unmistakably one of an angry man. He twisted his torso away, breathing deeply, before turning back.

"Why are you doing this to me, Scully?" he asked, lowly.

She immediately became defensive. She looked hurt for a minute, before the walls went up. " I don't want you to get hurt, Mulder."

He chuckled at the irony. " You don't want me to get hurt? Then what re you doing?"

He hadn't meant to sound so bitter, but it had come out that way and there was nothing he could do to take it back. She looked like she'd just been slapped in the face, and he immediately regretted his words. Unfortunately, he didn't have time to speak before a tall woman with long, wavy brown hair approached.

"Fox?" She asked tentatively.

Mulder turned quickly, facing the woman.

"Sam?"

She smiled and hugged him. " Hi Fox."

Scully stood about five feet away, watching the whole thingy, feeling very much an intruder. This wasn't her victory. Her victory would be finding those who abducted her, and created Emily... But unlike Mulder, she doubted she'd win.

"Sam, I want you to meet someone. She's been with me for eight years, helping me find you. She's the one who kept me going when I couldn't go on..." He looked back at Scully, who was looking... upset? He ignored her and smiled at Sam.

"This is my spy, then partner, friend, best-friend, lover and wife of almost a year, Dana Scully."

Scully smiled an only half fake smile, but didn't have time to say anything before Sam hugged her.

"Thank you, Dana..."

What do you say to a woman you've been looking for, for eight years, simply on the faith of your partner's memories?

"You're welcome..." Was all Scully could think to reply.

Samantha let her go, then straightened, standing almost equal height with Mulder. He shot Scully a look, begging her to be happy, but she frowned.

"So do you want to sit down?" Sam asked, facing Mulder, but obviously catering to Scully.

"Sure." He said. " You lead."

So Sam set off just a few feet ahead of Mulder, as he hung back, scowling at Scully.

"Come off it, Dana!" He whispered, fiercely. " Why aren't you happy?"

She glared at him, but before she could speak, something blurred past them and Samantha screamed. A man dressed in all black had Samantha thrown over his shoulder, and she looked limp, like he'd injected her with something. Before they knew what was happening, two other men had come out of the woods and were on them. Mulder watched in terror was the man with Samantha grew smaller and smaller, but was ripped from his observation by an even more frightening sound. Scully screaming.

"Mulder, watch out!"

He spun around and ducked, a bullet grazing his shoulder, then lunged at the man, delivering a solid knock to his jaw, before forcing the butt of the guy's own gun onto his temple. The attacked went limp. He heard Scully scream again, and stood up seeing her trying to stop her attacker from giving her some sort of tranquilizer, which would surely harm their baby. He threw himself onto the guy's back and pulled him to the ground, only succeeding in stopping him because of the element of surprise.

Scully heard the branches crack and knew more men were on the way, ones they would surely not escape from.

"Mulder!" She yelled. " We have to go NOW!"

He leapt off the guy and to his feet, running through the open field with Scully, trying to reach the other woods. She was fine until she hit the edge of the brush, then things got rough. The underbrush here hadn't been cleared, because it was on the outskirts of town, so the running was tough to begin with, never mind being pregnant. Scully ran, following Mulder as best she could, but her lungs were burning and her vision was distorting. The branches slapped at her face and arms, cutting her, but not seriously. She kept running, even though every part of her was protesting...

Mulder turned around every few minutes, making sure she was behind him. She had been right. She'd known something was wrong, and he'd ignored her. Again. He'd become angry, he'd hurt her, and now they were running for their lives. He heard a crash behind him and looked back, seeing Scully struggling to get up. He dashed back and helped her. For a moment their eyes met, and they both saw fear, but Mulder saw something more. Anger. Directed towards him.

"I'm sorry, Scully."

She shook her head. " Not now, Mulder. Run."

And so he ran, making sure she was with him. He could see she was bleeding from many small cuts, and she looked in pain from something more severe. She stopped and bent over herself, clutching her stomach.

"Scully?" He ran back toward her an put an arm over her, supportively.

She tried to straighten, but as soon as she did so, her abdomen contracted again, as pain flashed through her.

"Mulder... the baby... we're losing it..."

She began to cry, and Mulder panicked. he could hear the men in the brush approaching.

"Scully? What's happening?" He whispered.

She shook her head. " The baby..."

"Scully, we have to keep running..."

"I can't... I can't..."

That was not what he wanted to hear. " We have to, Scully!"

She shook her head again. " Go Mulder... I can't. Save yourself."

He looked like he wanted to rip his hair out of his head. " No. No I refuse to accept that. You've never given up before."

"I've never been pregnant before!" She yelled.

Suddenly a shot ripped through the forest, and with a sharp pang, ricocheted off a rock and directly into Scully's right ankle. Her mouth fell open as she screamed silently at the unimaginable pain. Then she collapsed to the forest floor.

"SCULLY!!!" Mulder screamed before scooping her up into his arms. He tried to run through the trees with her but he wasn't getting very far, very fast.

"Scully, answer me."

She didn't answer.

When he thought he was a safe distance away, he set her down on the forest floor. She looked up at him, barely conscious.

"Scully... Oh god, My Scully." He gingerly lifted her wounded leg, inspecting the damage. It looked pretty bad. Besides bleeding profusely, it looked very purple and distorted, swollen. He ripped off the bottom of his shirt and began to wrap her ankle, to try and stop the bleeding. Tears streamed down her face, and she bit her bottom lip until she could taste blood, but she didn't cry out in pain. When he was done, she slowly opened her eyes, looking at him sadly.

"You have to leave me here, Mulder."

He shook his head at her. " I can't Scully." He felt so torn, looking into her scared yet courageous eyes.

She looked back at him, his decision made for him.

"Yes you can and you will. You can bury me under leaves, here, beside this log, and find me later..."

He hesitated, then nodded, knowing he had no choice. In his mind her cursed her ever logic personality...

She watched as more and more leaves covered her, until soon, all that was showing was her face. She was frightened, not only for herself, but for the baby and Mulder as well. Her ankle was throbbing, sticky with blood, but is was the part of her that hasn't in pain that scared her most. She couldn't feel the baby moving. Her midsection felt tight, as if stuck in contraction, and that wasn't a good thing. She could feel her thighs were damp with secretion, and she feared it was blood. She knew that if the baby was born this early, it had almost no chance of survival... She wouldn't think of that though. All she was concentrating on was getting out of here alive, and soon.

Mulder touched her cheek with such tenderness it could have been the first time he'd caressed her skin. She closed her eyes, as single tear escaping. with those same fingers he touched his lips, then gently carried his kiss to her own.

"Wait for me..." He whispered.

She nodded, and the sky was blacked out by fallen, brown leaves.

Mulder ran, as far away as possible from the spot where he'd just buried her. He shuddered at the words, the mere idea. He'd buried her. Alive. He could only hope she'd be the same way when he disinterred her...

He ran for what seemed like hours, always listening to the sound of the stalkers following him. In the distance Mulder heard sirens approaching, and figured some bystanders must have called the police. Then the sirens stopped. The woods were silent...

...He must have passed out, because he woke up, crumpled on the ground, a dog licking his face. However, as soon as the dog saw him stir, it jumped back and barked. Mulder sat up, trying to correct his double vision, and pull things into focus. He jumped at the sound of someone approaching, but didn't have him to move before a gun was pulled on him.

"Boston PD. Don't move."

Mulder half smiled half grimaced and shook his head, warding off the fuzzy feeling. When he did, he was able to concentrate, and noticed that there was at least four police officers wandering through the woods, one of which had his gun trained on him.

"It's OK, you can put the gun away. I'm FBI."

Mulder slowly retrieved his ID, and passed it to the cop, who put away his gun.

"What happened here?" He questioned.

He was a short, stumpy man, with a well worked body and piercing brown eyes, as well as a neatly trimmed mustache.

"My wife and I..." Mulder suddenly panicked. " OH MY GOD, SCULLY!"

He whirled around trying to remember in which direction she was buried.

"Who is Scully?"

Mulder pulled out his wallet and showed him a picture. " This is my wife, Dana Scully... Also a Fed."

He was distracted momentarily as he once again tried to remember where she was...

"She's six months pregnant. We were being chased by armed men... Dammit, Samantha!"

He swore loudly, recalling everything.

"Sorry. We were meeting my estranged sister today, but these armed men, dressed in all black, came and kidnapped her, trying to capture Scully and I in the process. We were running away, when she was hit in the ankle by a stray bullet. I buried her under leaves, beside a log, so they wouldn't find her, and led them away... WE HAVE TO FIND HER!!!!"

Mulder was frantically looking around, trying to locate her.

"OK, calm down. We'll let the dog go after her..."

The dog sniffed Mulder then was sent off, after Scully. The German Shepherd ran through the trees, back about three hundred yards, and began to bark, pausing beside a log. Mulder was close on his heels. When he reached the log, he fell to his knees, and began to pull away armloads of leaves. Then there she was, still as... death? Mulder covered his mouth with the back of his hand, not even coming close to concealing his anxiety. He lay two fingers across her neck and thankfully found a weak pulse. Her breath made the leaves stir slightly, but still didn't wake.

"An ambulance is on the way." The officer said, behind him. Mulder hadn't even known he was there. He carefully slid his arms under her and lifted her out of the small dugout. She was undoubtedly unconscious. As he carried her out of the woods, in his arms, he didn't speak a word, though a million thoughts raced through his head. What would he do?... He laid her down, carefully, when they approached the grass, a silent, solitary tear escaping. He felt as if he had returned to five years ago, not a day having passed in between. He felt like she had been taken all over again. He kissed her dirty forehead, the smell of dry dirt and leaves tainting her usually fresh, sweet scent.

"Please don't go, Scully..." He begged udder his breath, as he gripped her hand. " Please wait for me..."


Scully's senses slowly returned to her, as she uncovered herself from the blanketing layers of consciousness. Somewhere in between unconsciousness and the ordinary world, she hovered silently, pain very prominent. However this acute awareness of her screaming ankle dwindled as she came to...

Mulder was sitting in a chair, to her right, her hand enclosed in his own two, which were held in front of his mouth, his arms tented off her bed. His eyes were focused far off, as he gazed upon something inside his memory, until he felt her stir. Then his eyes snapped back into reality, and his gold and copper flecked green windows to his soul were the first things she saw when she opened her own muted blue. Though they could be almost sapphire at times, today they were gray, matching her mood.

"Mmm..." She half groaned, half sighed. rolling her head to face him.

"Scully?" He kissed her knuckles, holding her hand tighter, hopefully.

"Hi." She smiled halfheartedly.

He looked like he'd been tense for hours, and she wondered how long she'd been out. He also looked like he'd been crying.

"Mulder?"

His gaze shifted away from her, as his face crumpled, and he brought his forehead down to rest on her bed. Alarmed, she stretched her left hand across herself, and put it on his head, playing with his hair, soothingly.

"Mulder?"

He lifted his head. " I'm so sorry, Scully."

Her eyes grew wide. " What? Oh god... The baby?!?"

Her heart beat double time as her hands went for her stomach. She was only minorly relieved to find the bulge still there. " Mulder what happened?"

He looked up at her, guilt complex returning. It had taken her years of work just to partially break it down. Now it was returning full force.

"The baby, luckily, is fine. That's why your ankle hurts so much. We've given you one aspirin for the pain, because we were afraid to use anything stronger..."

She shook her head. " I don't remember..."

He nodded. " You came in, you'd lost a lot of blood. Your ankle was drizzling still and you were bleeding out. The baby was in distress. We managed to stop the bleeding in your ankle, but the baby was going to abort or be born... They gave you something to stop it... Then they took you into surgery and replaced your ankle..."

"Replaced?" She raised her eyebrows.

"A bullet ricocheted off a rock and smashed your ankle up. We're so lucky... An inch lower and you'd be limping for life. Your joint was pretty much totaled so they removed the fragments and put plastic in, stitched you up..."

Scully looked horrified, but said little. They hadn't given her any anesthesia because of the baby.

"Is the baby OK?" She asked, hesitantly.

Mulder nodded. " It should be, but we were so close to losing it, and you, Scully... So close..."

He closed his eyes.

"And Samantha?"

The eyes opened, and he once again shook his head. " Gone again."

Just then the door opened and a frenzied looking Maggie Scully popped her head in.

"Am I interrupting?"

Mulder shook his head and stood up, kissing Scully on the cheek before leaving.

"I'll be back in a bit, Sweetheart.", he threw over his shoulder on the way out. Scully wanted him to stay, but didn't want her mom to feel bad, so she let him go... Had he just called her Sweetheart?

Maggie sat down in Mulder's chair, dumping her purse on the side table before reaching down to hug her daughter. Scully could tell her mom was upset.

"How're you feeling, Dana?" Maggie asked, brown eyes full of concern.

"My ankle is screaming bloody murder, but I'll survive. I don't want to risk the baby..."

Maggie laid a hand on the bulging belly.

"Is it OK?"

Scully nodded, uncertainly. " Mulder said it was all right, but he didn't know what they gave me. We almost lost it, Mom."

Scully's voice faltered, terrified of the idea of losing her child. And for the first time, she knew how her mom had felt, at Missy's funeral.

Maggie nodded. " I heard. Fox called me while you were in surgery. He sounded hysterical. Is he OK?"

Scully thought for a moment. " I'm a little worried about him." She smiled at herself and looked away. " I'm always worried about him."

Maggie laughed, halfheartedly.

"Have you thought of names yet?" She asked, changing the subject.

Scully smiled. " No, actually, we haven't. We probably should... We don't have diapers or clothes yet either."

Maggie nodded. " I had you named, before I was even married. I'd decided one day, I think when I was fifteen, that if I ever had a little girl, her name would be Dana. Your father was very keen on Melissa, so we had both."

Scully smiled. " Did you know you were having a girl?"

Maggie nodded. " Before Melissa was born, I had a dream she would be a girl. You, however, were more of a subconscious knowledge. I was fixated on pink things and such... When you were born though, you hated all the little pink snugglies and clothes. You'd cry and we didn't know why. Then one day, your father came home wearing his blue uniform, and you just wouldn't let go of his shirt. We thought you were after him, but he was playing with you, on our bed, while he changed, and as soon as his shirt was on the bed, you were reaching for it. When he gave it to you, you curled up and slept, like a baby, if you'll pardon the expression."

Scully smiled, knowing her mom was recalling happier days, in the silence that followed... There were many, many minutes of silence...

Mulder came back that evening, saving Scully from the Saturday night TV lineups. She smiled when he came through the door, and he tried to smile back, but it wasn't genuine. Immediately the TV went off.

"Hi Scully." He said, voice tired and rough.

She observed him carefully. He jeans were loose and his Henley shirt half untucked, the buttons undone and his hair disheveled. He looked completely worn out and disturbed.

"Hi Mulder."

He sat down on the edge of her bed as she scooted over to make room for him.

"How are you doing?"

A hand absentmindedly ran through his hair.

"All right. They put brace on my ankle, and did an ultrasound..."

He looked away towards the door.

"And ?"

She was feeling shunned.

"It's fine."

Mulder nodded, but said nothing.

"Why don't you lie down with me?"

He shook his head.

"I'm not tired Scully."

She looked at him and begged to differ.

"It's been a long day..."

"I said no, Scully." He snapped.

She recoiled emotionally, and physically.

"Sure. Fine. Whatever."

He turned to look at her, but she was looking the other way, out the window. Her jaw was set in a manner that told him she was angry.

"Hey, I'm sorry Dana."

She nodded, but didn't say anything.

"I shouldn't have snapped. I'm not the one with the busted ankle and the baby."

She shook her head. " No you're not."

He carefully laid down beside her and put a hand on her stomach.

"Why don't I ever listen to you? I ignored you when you said something was wrong, and you got hurt. Again."

She looked at him, rolling her head over in his direction. His eyes were full of guilt. She reached to get his hand, but when she did, she noticed something was wrong.

"Mulder, where's my engagement ring?"

His eyebrows shut up, as if remembering something forgotten, and he sat up. Reaching up to his neck, he undid the chain and pulled off her gold cross. Next to it hung her ring.

"They had to take them off when you went in for surgery. They wanted to take off your wedding ring too, but I wouldn't let them."

She nodded and smiled when he put her ring back on her.

"Have you thought of any names?"

He looked at her blankly for a minute, then understood. " Oh! The baby?"

She nodded.

"Not really."

"Do you have any names you like?" She asked, raising her eyebrows.

"I like Dana..." He grinned.

"Yeah, well, I like Fox."

"Oh no! We are NOT naming our son Fox Jr. No bloody way."

Scully laughed. " OK, but no Bambi or Phoebe either."

He nodded vigorously. " No Bambi, no Phoebe... But I always liked the name Lauren."

Scully nodded. " it's pretty and classic, old fashioned sounding. It reminds me of a Ginger Rogers movie... Lauren Mulder... Hmm."

"Hmm." He agreed. " What about you?"

She shrugged. " I don't know. Maybe we should get a book?"

Mulder agreed, but looked distracted again.

"What's wrong Mulder?"

He considered, then shook his head. " Not now."

That only made her more determined. " Yes now. Right now."

Mulder sat up and got out of bad, pacing. This wasn't going to be good. Many minutes passed in silence, before he spoke, and even then he was choosing words carefully.

"They kidnapped Samantha, but they're holding her hostage... They made her call me..."

"What do they want?"

Mulder shrugged, looking helpless. " They want me to be in China, in less then a week. If I'm not at the terminal and in a hotel by Friday next week, they're going to kill her and send me the body."

Scully swallowed hard. " Go Mulder."

He looked at her, seeing her try to be brave. She was clenching her fists, trying to control her emotions. He shook his head.

"I can't Scully. Our anniversary is next Saturday, you're almost six months pregnant, your ankle is busted and you have to stay in bed because of the baby scare. I can't leave. For all I know, they're trying to get me away from you, so they can hurt you and the baby, without me being there to stop them."

He looked lost.

"You have to go, Mulder. This is your guest, everything you've worked for. Don't give it up now, because of me."

He was sincerely frustrated.

"Who will take care of you, Scully? I can't leave you..."

She nodded. " Yes you can, and you will. My mom can stay with me, she'll be more then happy to..."

"I don't know how long I'll be gone. I don't want to miss the baby being born..."

She shook her head. " I've got over two months to go, Mulder. You'll be back before then..."

"Are you sure, Scully? Say it and I won't go. Any small reservations and I'll stay."

She shook her head.

"If I made you stay, I would never forgive myself."

He nodded and it was silently agreed he would go, rescue Samantha... **

It had been a long month, for both Mulder and Scully. After the meeting in the park, they'd returned home to DC, but only for a few days. Though Scully was staying at home, confined to bed for two weeks because of her injured ankle and the baby's health, Mulder wasn't staying. As soon as Maggie had settled in and Scully relaxed a bit, Mulder had reluctantly packed his bags for China. He kissed his wife good-bye with a promise to celebrate their missed anniversary once he returned, and ordered their unborn child to remain unborn, until he came back.

Then he was gone.

He called everyday, sometimes more often, updating her on his situation. It seemed the abductors were making him play a game, follow clues to his sister. Neither of them enjoyed that idea, but so far, no one had been hurt. The first week apart wasn't too bad, but by the end of the second, the fact that his absence would be for an undetermined amount of time, sank in. As her pregnancy advanced, she became more and more achy, missing his comforting hands and presence. Maggie did everything she could for her daughter, but couldn't replace Mulder. And as for him, he was increasingly homesick, which was a new feeling for him. Never before had he missed his home. He'd fall asleep every night in cheap, roach infested motels, thinking about Scully. And as Scully lay in their big, soft bed, she thought of him too. It was in this manner that one month passed. Even despite their regular conversations, they missed one another a great deal, which was why Scully was so happy when she received an important call from him, one day in mid June...

The sun was shining brightly through the windows, streaming into the small bedroom where Dana Scully was arranging baby clothes, toys and accessories. Earlier that Ellen and some friends had thrown her a baby shower, so as a result, the baby's room was in disorder. She had finished the clothes and was reading the instructions for the baby monitor, when the phone rang. She distractedly picked up the cordless which lay beside her and answered.

"Hello?"

"Hey Gorgeous."

He had her immediate attention.

"Hi Mulder." She said with a smile.

"What's new?" he asked, happy to hear her voice again. He closed his eyes and imagined he was there with her.

"Ellen threw me a baby shower a few days ago, remember? I'm getting the baby's room ready. You should see some of the clothes..."

Mulder chuckled quietly, imagining Scully in the baby's bedroom, going through clothes.

"I'll see them soon, Scully. I'll coming home tonight."

Her end of the line was quiet for a few seconds, then a small, whispered, " Really?" ,was heard.

"Yes. I'm on the 2:45, your time, flight out of here. Number 160883, to be exact.

Scully was elated. " I miss you so much. I'm so glad you're on your way." She paused... " Is Samantha coming?"

There was air space on Mulder's end, then a feminine voice spoke. For a split second, Scully was jealous, then she realized it was only Sam.

"Hi Dana. I heard what happened to you, because of me. Is your ankle OK?"

"Yeah, I can bend it now, but I can't put too much weight on it. Still on crutches."

"I'm so sorry... And the baby?"

"It's moving about as we speak."

"I'm glad to hear that... Um, Fox wants you back, so I'll pass you over... Bye."

"Bye Sam."

The phone once again switched hands, and Mulder's voice returned.

"I'm back."

"Good... Do you want me to meet you at the airport?" She asked.

"No, you stay home. There's no way I want you on the road in your health."

She snorted. " OK, fine."

"Listen, we gotta go get to the airport. I'll be home soon. I love you."

She smiled. " Be careful. I love you too."

That's how they said good-bye...

For the rest of the day Scully rode on a happiness high. She moved about the house, straightening and cleaning, always smiling. It seemed as if she was checking her watch every five minutes. She could hardly wait for Mulder to be home. She was achy all over, and dearly missed his big, gentle hands rubbing her back and... She stopped thinking about that and moved on to other things, trying to make the time pass more quickly.

Just after six she wandered into the kitchen, where her mom was making dinner. However, Maggie didn't notice when her daughter hobbled in. She was absorbed with watching something on the small TV Mulder had bought for the kitchen...

"Mulder's coming home in less then three hours..." Scully stated as a greeting.

Maggie jumped and turned around quickly, grabbing the remote and turning off the TV, as if hiding something. Her eyes were large and upset, almost teary. She stared at her daughter for a minute, before hastily looking away. All this didn't escape Scully, and she was quick to question.

"What's wrong Mom?" She asked, concerned.

Maggie looked upwards, trying to decide what to do.

Suddenly Scully made the connection. Her mom had been watching the six o'clock news.

"What did you see?" She asked, grabbing the remote.

"I think you should sit, Dana." Maggie said, with a shaky voice.

But Scully was quick and had the TV on in no time. The announcer was just ending the piece when the screen snapped to life...

"More to follow on the crash in an hour..."

The color drained from Scully's face, and her mind was working almost as fast as her finger was, trying to locate another news broadcast. Had he just said crash? Her question was answered when she hit CNN.

On the screen was an old, well aged, silver haired reporter in a pin stripe suit. A picture in the upper right corner of the screen showed a broken airplane.

"This hour, we have received news of an international passenger plane crash just inside the Chinese border. With live coverage, here's Cassidy Parker."

The screen flipped to an over head shot of a crash site, taken from a helicopter. It looked very similar to the crash that had killed Max Fenig. Scully gripped the counter, nothing in world existing except the news broadcast and her.

"Three and a half hours ago, flight 160883 took off from the Hong Kong airport, with 133 passengers on board. An hour after take off it crashed, killing all who were on board..."

The report continued, but Scully wasn't listening. At the sight of the horrible crash site, a weak hand flew up to cover her gaping mouth as tears stung her eyes. The outside world didn't exist to her. All she saw was the crumpled plane, all she heard were her own thoughts.

That plane that was on the ground was Mulder's flight. The one which burned, and from which there were no survivors. The words sunk in. He husband had been on board. Her sweet, handsome, loving Mulder was... dead? Her world took on a sense of vertigo as the footage continued. Body bags and burned, crumpled corpses. memories inundated her. Their cases, their kisses, their wedding... While one hand held like a vice to the counter top, the other lightly rested upon her stomach. He baby. Their baby. It was all she had left of him. It wasn't supposed to end like this. He was supposed to support her and encourage her when it came time for the baby to be born. He was supposed to be there when she first held their baby. He was supposed to smile in awe at the child. He was supposed to love her and help her parent their kid, forever. He was supposed to be here with her, to see and know all that. He wasn't supposed to be dead. She couldn't do this on her own... And their baby, his child, would never know who it's father had been. It'd never meet the sensitive, strong, intelligent man who had helped create it. No baseball games in the rain, when any sane parent would be inside. No walks in the park, no tree forts. No late night stories, no Halloween tours of duty...

She was vaguely aware of her mother's presence when she turned off the TV, and tried to console her shocked daughter...

"He could still be alive, Dana... Maybe he didn't board the plane, or maybe..."

Snapping out of it she shook her head and silenced her mom.

"No Mom... please... Let me be." She said quietly as she took her crutches and headed off to the bathroom, where she heaved for half an hour...

It wasn't the last time she was sick.

For a week, no word came. There were no calls from foreign coroners, but there were also no calls from Mulder. Scully withdrew from the outside world, trying to deal with her loss, and her foolish sense of hope. The days became restless and the nights sleepless as one week faded into another. Somewhere along the way she noticed everything was quiet, their normally, pleasantly noisy, full of life neighborhood was suddenly still as death, but she didn't care. Her newly discovered apathetic attitude helped shield the pain and take it away. Until one day she realized it had taken away more then just the pain...

...She was dreaming she was outside, sitting on their deck. The day was glorious, sunny and warm, but she didn't feel the heat of the sun's rays. She was waiting. Waiting for a friend, her lover maybe... She had no idea. However, she was clued in when a small girl appeared in the back yard. She smiled brightly when she saw the person who awaited her on the steps.

"Hi Mommy!" The girl chirped, excitedly as she ran towards her mom.

Scully watched, shocked, as a tiny, six year old version of her ran towards her, ponytail swishing, backpack jumping on her shoulders. She had red hair and freckles, as well as her mother's build. But her eyes... Her eyes were Mulder's.

Scully felt like crying when the little girl crashed into her and wrapped her slightly chubby arms around her neck.

"Hi Baby..." Scully smiled, reveling in the feel of her daughter's embrace.

"Look what I made!" She exclaimed, pulling off her backpack and pulling out a rolled up painting.

"Ms Elderidge told us to paint a picture of our families. See."

She thrust the paper into her mom's waiting hands.

Scully carefully unrolled the paper both happy and sad when she saw the childish figures.

"That's me." She said, pointing to the little person with red splotches on it's head and blue overalls.

"That's you." She smiled and pointed to an equally small red splotched figure in black, with a big red smile.

"That's Grandma." She explained, pointing to another small person with brown splotches and purple clothes.

Scully examined the picture. No dad. Her heart crushed and she noticed her child had grown quiet. Her tiny mirror image was scowling, looking at her feet.

"What's wrong, Sweetie?" Scull asked, lifting the child to her lap.

She looked up and Scully saw that she had, without a doubt, Mulder's eyes.

"The kids in school all painted pictures with big boys in them, and asked me where mine was. I said I didn't have a daddy and they said that *everyone* has to have a daddy... Why don't I have one?"

Scully felt like she'd been shot. She physically ached with emotions of sorrow.

"When you were a baby, before you were born, your Dad..." She paused, taking in a tremulous breath, as she started crying. " Your Dad died, Baby."

The girl looked upset, but didn't cry as her mother did. She had never known him.

"What was he like, Mommy?" She begged to know.

"He was a big boy. He was higher then you can reach stretching your hands way above your head, on your tiptoes... He had thick, soft, brown hair that was always massy and a big grin that always made Mommy happy..." She looked at her child who looked like she was trying to imagine him.

"More Mommy... please?"

Scully's heart was breaking but she continued.

"He was a gentle, funny man, and his eyes always had a mischievous sparkle... The exact same one you have in your eyes." Scully smiled through her tears.

"Did you love Daddy?" She asked, innocently.

Scully nodded. " I loved him very, very much. And he loved me too. He loved you as well. He was so excited about you."

Her kid pouted a bit, considering this last piece of information, and a few tears began to fall from her eyes.

"Hey, no crocodile tears, Sweetie..." Scully said with a smile, wiping them away.

"No croc-o-dile tears, Mommy..." Her baby said, using small fingers to rub her mother's tears away... But when she opened her eyes, it wasn't her child who's fingers held her miseries, but Mulder's.

"Please don't cry, Dana..."

Scully shot up in bed, her face drenched in tears. Slowly she realized she'd only been dreaming... But she was still living a nightmare...

The next morning, Scully hopped downstairs to discover the morning newspaper on the table, next to her breakfast. Her mom had made pancakes, one of her favorites, but she showed little interest in them, compared to the paper. The headline read, " Investigation into International Disaster". Underneath the headline was a photo of the downed plane. Immediately Scully lost her appetite. The last few days had been particularly rough on her. As if losing Mulder wasn't enough, the baby had suddenly stopped moving, and that had caused a great amount of stress. Once a baby starts moving, it's supposed to do it regularly, but her baby had ceased it's movement. So after two days of worrying she'd fearfully gone for an exam. Luckily, the baby hadn't died, as she had feared, but was simply tired and so was making only small adjustments... That's why, on this particular morning she was surprised when the baby began to kick furiously, when the door bell rang.

"I'll get it!" Maggie called from the front of the house where she'd been reading.

Scully heard the door open, but no words, and wondered who it was. She looked up questioningly when her mom came into the room, avoiding her gaze.

"It's for you..."

Foregoing her crutches, she limped to the door, but no one was there. She was almost glad. She was afraid some official would be there asking her to come ID a body. But where did the person go? She received an answer when someone reached over her shoulder and shut the door from behind her. Immediately she tensed. Before she could turn around, arms were wrapped around her shoulders, locking her against the man behind her. She couldn't move, but then again, she didn't want to. She would have recognized the strong arms that held her anywhere. She relaxed back, enjoying the feeling of his embrace for a moment, as they remained silent. She knew a long, probably heated conversation would soon follow. She felt him kiss her neck, then nibble on her earlobe before his heavy, somewhat hoarse voice whispered in her ear.

"Special delivery..."

She closed her eyes, trying to dispel her tears. " Where do I sign?"

He grinned as she shifted to the side to look up at him over her shoulder. He tapped his lips as he spoke.

"Right here."

Their lips met and relief washed over her. He wasn't dead. He was very much alive and kissing her...

She woke up from her nightmare.

He let her go, turning her around to face him. He'd missed her so much, and he told her so. She seconded his emotion, but said little.

"How's my baby?" he asked, rubbing her stomach. It felt good.

"Pulling through... It's healthy, but it stopped moving a few days ago... I was so scared it would be stillborn, but apparently it's perfect. I have a new picture of it... It's just on the mantle in there..."

She pointed to the living room and shifted her weight as if she were about to walk off and get it, but he stopped her. She was rambling and not making eye contact, very obviously upset. He cupped her cheeks in his palms and forced her to look at him.

"How's my babe?"

She smiled slightly and took a deep breath, trying to stay calm.

"You know, aches, pains, fatigue, vomiting..."

"He gave her a sympathetic look. " Vomiting? I thought that was only for the first month?"

She nodded as he played with the ends of her hair, twisting it back and forth affectionately.

"It is, usually."

"Then why were you sick?"

"I was worried about a lot of things. Whether the baby was OK, if it'd be happy, if I was ready for this, if I would be a good mother, if it'd have a father..."

Her eyes met his on the last statement and his actions ceased.

"You didn't call Mulder... I was so worried... I thought..." Her voice broke. " I thought you were dead... Then our baby stopped moving... I didn't want to do it without you.... I couldn't."

He looked at her sadly. " I'm sorry you had to live through that..." He tried to pulled her closer but she denied him her comfort.

"Why didn't you call?" She asked, relief giving way to anger.

He still had that sympathetic look on his face. " Not now, Scully. Please. You've obviously been upset all ready..."

She shook her head, tears threatening to spill. She was happy, confused, exhausted, angry, sore and relieved, all at the same time. She felt like she'd drunk too much coffee, but she hadn't had any in seven months.

"I need to know Mulder. I thought you were gone, I thought I was alone. And now you're back from the dead. I love you, Mulder, but I'm hitting the end of my rope..."

He nodded, knowing she was frazzled. Of course, being pregnant didn't help either. There was too much happening all at once.

"Promise you won't flip out?" He questioned her.

She nodded, waiting for his explanation.

"Sam died on that plane. It's no coincidence that she was on it, and it crashed. I was supposed to go with her. She had just gotten ahead of me, onto the plane, when something caught my eye. I told her to go ahead and board the plane and that I'd be on in a second. Krychek jumped me and knocked me out..."

Mulder closed his eyes and thought about Samantha. Scully knew this and approached him.

"I'm sorry, Mulder." She put her arms around him to hug him, but he winced and she saw it.

"What?" She asked, pulling back. She gave him an odd look and tried to pull up his t-shirt. He tried to stop her but she was too quick.

All up and down the right side of his torso was covered in gauze, medical tape holding it to his well toned body. The strip was about thirteen inches up and down and six inches wide.

"Oh my god..." She whispered, gingerly touching it. Dried blood encrusted parts of the dressing and fresh blood was still seeping through. She pulled him down to her, holding him the same way she had when he'd run off to New Mexico, that night when he'd been so sick. She made him lay down on the couch as she gently peeled the gauze back, her eyes flickering back and forth between his face and his wound.

"Oh my god, Mulder... This is serious... It could be infected... Let me clean it..."

He shook his head, gently removing her hands. " Scully..."

"It needs to be looked at, Mulder. This-"

"Scully!" He cut her off, his tone sharp. " It's fine. It doesn't hurt the much. I couldn't call because I was in the hospital, getting my ribs set. Krychek cracked two ribs and slashed me... But I'm fine. I snuck out and I ran away and came back to you. I knew you'd be worried."

Her face crumpled, and he pulled her close to him, hugging her fiercely, as she cried out over a month's worth of frustrations.

"It's over, Scully. Samantha really is gone. Now all I have is you, and my baby. It's over... It's finally over..."

That night a part of Mulder's heart died, the part that had held hope for Samantha Ann Mulder. What he didn't know was that not long from then the pain of loss would be replaced by the joy of creation, and a new stage, a new quest would begin...

It was almost a week later when all amends were finally made. The joy of pre birth had returned to their lives, with the return of Mulder. She'd shown him all her gifts, as well as the newest photo of their baby, and both parents eagerly anticipated it's arrival. However, they still had quite a few jobs to accomplish, in order to be prepared for when it would come home with them. They were supposed to have another month and a half to go, but Mulder had been having dreams of it's birth. He called them premonitions. She called them wishful thinking manifesting itself in his dreams. He wanted to believe the baby was coming. She was reluctant to go along with his beliefs. She didn't want the baby to come so early, as a birth at this stage of development had the odds stacked against it's survival. She told Mulder this and he cooled his jets. The last thing he wanted was his baby to be in danger. He was still eager though. Scully knew this and she couldn't help but smile. He kept on dreaming or predicting and they both kept on countering each other. Some things would never change...

It was the night of Wednesday, July seventh in the year two thousand. It was a stormy night, the usual summertime storm having blown in off the bay. Lightning crashed and caused dramatic rolls of thunder as rain pelted against the windows, it's steady rhythm a sharp contrast to the sporadically illuminated sky. Scully loved these kind of storms and would normally have been near a window, watching, but tonight she had better things to do. She was sitting on the living room floor, in front of the fireplace, Mulder behind her, rubbing her back which she had been complaining was immensely sore. As he rubbed she sipped a vanilla pickle shake Mulder had made her in the blender, to suit her cravings, while she read from a baby naming book. They'd been at it for hours. Scully was achy and tired, bothered by her unusually sore back, and was ready to call her kid the first thing she saw... Venetian, was nice. Was it really so associated with blinds?

Meanwhile, Mulder was listening intently, rolling possibilities around in his head. He wanted the perfect name for their perfect child. And no, he didn't like Venetian, nor Vanilla.

"Amissa... meaning truth..." She smiled arching her back and letting her head fall back, so that she was looking at Mulder, upside down.

"Amissa Melissa Mulder..." He made a so-so face and she sighed, tilting her body forward again.

The middle names had been decided upon, unless they sounded dreadful with a first name they really liked. A girl would be Melissa and a boy, William.=

"Gillian... I like that name. I like the soft G. I always felt close to that name... What do you-OUCH!"

She stopped mid sentence and yelped in pain. Immediately his hands left her back.

"I'm sorry." He apologized, thinking he'd hurt her.

"No, it wasn't you, the little monster just kicked me like a football player going for a field goal."

A year of marriage to Mulder had forced her to learn her sports.

"Are you OK?" he asked, resuming his soothing motions.

"Yeah, but I think we're going to have a star soccer player."

He grinned at the idea of a small red haired girl who looked like Scully dressed in a soccer uniform.

"We're going to have to decide on a name to print on the back of a jersey."

She sighed again and thumbed through the book. " Rosalyn... Roz..."

"ROSWELL!!!"

"Forget it Mulder. We aren't naming our daughter, or son, Roswell."

Then once again she grabbed her sides in pain, as another, longer, more excruciatingly painful wave passed through her.

"Scully?"

She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, the pain passing.

"Mulder... That wasn't the baby kicking... I think that was a contraction..."

He scooted around beside her, not sure if she was kidding or not. The look on her face told him, not.

"Are you sure?" he asked, incredulously.

She shook her head. " No. I'm not sure... It could be false labor. Besides, I'm only on my thirty first week. Birth before thirty four weeks is usually the cutoff for likely hood of survival. Forty weeks ensures it."

He nodded, looking serious, and she could hear the gears turning in his head.

"What are you thinking about?" She asked, returning his serious expression.

"If you had the baby now, is there any hope it could survive?"

he asked his question hesitantly, as if afraid of the answer.

She nodded. " Yes. If it's healthy and strong and in good hands..."

Just as before, another contraction tightened her body and forced her to control her breathing. She closed her eyes momentarily. When she opened them again, Mulder was staring at her, waiting for her to speak.

"I think..." She paused, avoided his gaze, then began again, a slow smile spreading across her face. " I think we should go to the hospital, Mulder."

He nodded, and offered her a little smile, as he helped her to her feet, and to the front door. Before heading out into the pouring rain, they both glanced back into their house and hesitated. This could very well turn out to be their last night alone together for a very long time. Neither of them spoke, but neither of them needed to. They were at the turning point. Finally, Mulder kissed her gently and pulled her out, forever closing the door on their life as a family of two.

"Come on, Dana Katherine Scully Mulder. Let's go have ourselves a baby!" He whispered happily to her, before they ran to the car...

Hours seemed like minutes in the time that followed their arrival at the hospital. Scully'd been whisked off for an exam, to see if this really was it, then taken to a room to change, and eat a bit, before settling into the room where the baby would be born. During all this, Mulder had had to sit and wait in the reception area, going out of his mind. Finally a young female doctor arrived to inform him that one Dana Mulder was in room 432 of the maternity ward, demanding he be present with her now and during the birth. The doctor barely had time to say congratulations before Mulder was off and running...

The door to room 432 quietly opened and a tall, lanky man came in. Laying only partially reclined in bed was a hospital gown clad, red headed woman, who seemed to glow. Her eyes lit up when she saw him.

"Hey Gorgeous." He said with a smile.

"Hey Handsome." She returned.

He carefully sat down on the edge of her semi-wide bed, but didn't move to touch her in any way. She could tell he was just as nervous as she was, so she smiled, making the first move by opening her arms. He accepted her gesture and hugged her gently.

"I'm scared." She confessed in a whisper, as she held on tight.

He knew that she knew that he was scared to, but decided he had to be strong and encouraging for her.

"You'll do fine, Scully. You've never ever let me down."

She smiled a tight lipped smile.

"Mulder... The doctors are worried that there could be complications... They say that because the baby is coming prematurely, my hips haven't widened yet, and it could cause problems..."

He shook his head. " Don't worry about it too much... Our baby has proved, time and time again that it's a fighter... It's you and me..."

She smiled, but her expression turned into a wince as another of the more frequent, more painful contractions began. They also lasted longer. She controlled her breathing and it passed. When it did, she continued their conversation.

"You're going to stay, aren't you?"

He nodded. " I wouldn't miss this for the world."

And he didn't miss a thing. He was there on the morning of Thursday, July eighth when the doctor and nurses came rushing into the room. He was there when Scully pushed with all her strength. And when she cried out, clutching his hand, crushing his bones, he barely noticed the pain, because he couldn't imagine what she must have been going through. She'd been offered pain killers, but she'd turned them down, opting for a natural birth. He'd applauded her for her bravery. He also encouraged her, even though she called him names often replaced by bleeps, and threatened to buy her own bed. Through all this, only one thing lingered in his head. How beautiful she was. Then, finally, the last contraction came and she pushed for all she was worth. In that time a silence fell as she felt herself semi-relax. The worst was over. And out of the stillness came a few tiny cries. Their daughter spoke to them for the first time.

"It's a girl!" Declared the doctor, holding the tiny, bloody baby up for all to see.

Scully smiled and began to cry. It was over, and she was relieved, as well as exhausted. She slumped back onto the pillows and felt Mulder's arm slide over her shoulders. She looked at him with all the love and relief of the world in her eyes. He was crying too. Gently he reached up and smoothed her sweat soaked hair back off her face. She was flushed and sticky with sweat, her eyes sparkling.

"I'm so proud of you, Dana..." He whispered, his voice suddenly gone.

Her eyes grew wide and she let out a sob.

"What?" he asked, surprised by her reaction.

"That's the first time you've ever told me that."

He shook his head. Surely he must have told her before?!?

"Really?"

She nodded.

"I'm such a jerk! I'm so very, very proud of you, my Dana..."

She nodded her head. " I know. I love you too."

She smiled. " Will you go call my mom?"

He nodded and stood up, knowing the baby wouldn't be back for a few minutes...

When he opened the door again, Scully wasn't alone. They'd cleaned her up and turned the lights down, then left her alone with her tiny new daughter.

The door clicked open and Scully looked up, smiling at her husband. Their eyes met for a minute before she dropped her gaze to the tiny person, bundled, cuddled and cradled in her arms. Mulder stood just inside the door for a minute, staring at the scene before him. Then, very slowly, as if in a trance, he walked over to the edge of the bed and stole a peek at his baby girl. She was the tiniest thing he'd ever seen, her little arms folded over her chest, hands tucked up under her chin. She had such pink skin, and just the smallest hint of fuzzy, red hair, sticking up like peach fuzz from the top of her head. her baby eyes were closed but her tiny cupid's bow mouth was open a tiny bit, as she filled her minuscule lungs with air. He stared at his tiny creation for a moment, before looking up at Scully who was watching him intently, a big smile on her face. The expression on his face made her smile even more. he looked completely shocked.

"That's..." He lost all his words.

"That's your daughter. Our baby, Mulder."

His gaze flickered back and forth between the insy-weensy person and his wife.

"Oh my god."

She smiled and scooted over in bed, making sure not to bounce or jiggle the bundle in her arms.

"Sit with me." She ordered him, and he obeyed.

He sat up in the bed, next to her, an arm thrown protectively around her shoulders. He hesitantly lifted his other hand, letting it hover above his baby.

"You can touch her, Mulder. She won't break."

He looked at Scully and smiled uneasily.

"Are you sure I won't hurt her?"

She smiled and nodded.

With the greatest amount of gentleness and care, he lightly ran the tips of two fingers over the top of her head, as if smoothing her almost nonexistent hair.

"She's so small! Her head can fit in my hand!"

Mulder grinned at Scully.

"I know..." She nodded, with a smile.

He turned his gaze back to his baby and gently lifted her little hand with his pinkie finger, then put it back down. He was in total awe of the tiny creation, and the woman who had brought her to life.

"You're the most incredible woman in the world, Dana. I love you."

He kissed her cheek bone then her temple, hugging her with his arm.

"God, I love you so much... And I love her too. I love you both."

Scully laughed quietly. " I love you too Mulder. Do you want to hold her?"

His eyes grew wide. " I don't want to hurt her."

She shook her head, " You won't."

Mulder carefully took the baby into his arms, with shaking hands. She felt so small. He could support her on his forearm alone. And she was warm. As they watched her together, Scully leaned her head down onto his shoulder, and closed her eyes.

"I'm so tired..." She confessed, yawning.

He nodded. " Rightfully so. You were amazing."

She smiled. " Thanks."

He was quiet for a minute. " Will she be OK Scully?"

She nodded. " The doctors say that she's healthy, and doesn't have any obvious illnesses or disabilities. with a few days in the hospital and some TLC, she'll be perfect."

Once again they were quiet, both of them focusing their love on the baby.

"Kaitlyn..."

She looked up at him, smiling. " Kaitie."

He smiled back at her. " It's Irish, like you. It means Pure."

Scully grinned as Mulder handed her their warm, squishy baby.

"Kaitlyn Melissa Mulder."

Mulder laughed. " Perfect."

And just as they engaged in a quick kiss, small movements were made by the baby and both her parents looked down, stunned. She stirred, wiggled her arms and sleepily opened her eyes, making small gurgle noises.

When she looked up she saw a pair of caring, warm, hazel eyes and a pair of dazzling, loving, blue eyes, looking down at her, in amazement.

"I'm your Mommy, Kaitlyn." The blue eyed one said with a smile. Then she felt herself being moved, so she could see the hazel eyed one better.

"And I'm your Daddy." The hazel eyed one had a different, deeper voice.

"We love you very, very much." The Mommy added.

Of course, she couldn't answer yet, but she was determined to one day be able to respond. Right now though, she was tired. Before she drifted off again, safe and warm in her mommy's arms, she spoke in tiny baby gurgles that only she could understand.

"I'll have my eyes on you two.." she gurgled.

And not only was she gifted with beautiful green eyes, but she also was gifted with the second sight. All ready she knew the future would hold many more mysteries and adventures.

END **

Disclaimer

None of the characters you recognize are mine. Most likely they are property of Chris Carter and 1013 Productions for the Fox television network. If you don't recognize the characters, then they are mine. No infringement of any sort to anybody was intended in the making of this story. Though you could sue, imagine how many x-philes you'd lose if they could no longer fantasize over their favorite characters??

All full set of song lyrics, and parts of songs, are property of their artists and their record label. They are in no way mine, I just used them to enhance the moods in my story.

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT WAS INTENDED IN The MAKING OF THIS STORY

All characters and related subjects are property of Chris Carter for his TV show "The X-Files" 20th Century Fox Television Network and Ten Thirteen Productions =E3 1992

"The X-Files" is a trademark of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. **


~ " Never forget who you are, Little Star... Never forget how to dream, Butterfly... God gave a present to me, made of flesh and bones, My life, My soul, You make my spirit whole, Never forget who you are, Little star, shining brighter then all the stars in the sky. Never forget how to dream, Butterfly, Never forget where you come from, From love. You are a treasure to me,You are my star, You breathe, New life, Into my broken heart, Never forget who you are, Little Star... Never forget how to dream, Butterfly, May the angels protect you, and sadness forget you, Little Star. There's no reason to weep, Lay your head down and sleep, Little Star. May goodness surround you, My love I have found you, Little Star... ~ **

The weeks and months following Kaitlyn Melissa Mulder's birth were hectic to say the least. The baby must have found her life very easy and relaxing, because she was waited upon hand and foot, but Mulder and Scully were running themsleves ragged trying to be the best parents possible. There were many, late, sleepless nights, and awkward, learning days. Kaitie cried a lot which distressed Scully...

One day Mulder found Scully crying while walking around their room with Kaitie, trying to get her to stop screaming. When he asked her what was wrong, she'd said it was because Kaitie wouldn't stop crying, even after she'd changed her, fed her, burped her, loosened her clothes, and checked her temperature... Mulder had smiled and given her a small hug, telling her not to be upset. He knew the late nights and hormones were playing with her emotions, so he took Kaitie and told her to go take some time for herself, which had worked.

However, hard as he tried to get Scully to relax, it seemed she was always doing something with the baby. Most of the time it was because Kaitie needed feeding, and since Scully had chosen to breast feed, Mulder couldn't really help. Then there were other times when she could have been relaxing, but instead decided to put Kaitie in the sun, so she could get some color instead of having the slightly jaundice skin that most preemies have...

On one afternoon, Scully had left Mulder in the kitchen, making lunch, to go feed Kaitie, responding to her cry. When he'd called out to tell her lunch was ready, less then half an hour later, he received no reply, so he went to her instead.He found her asleep, sitting in the wooden rocking chair which had been pulled into the sun. Kaitie was cradled in her arms, also asleep. He was glad to have the camera Mrs. Scully had given him...

At other times, when Kaitie woke up in the middle of the night, it was usually Scully who'd roll out of bed to soothe her, despite Mulder's objections. She also snuck out of bed when Kaitie wasn't crying, just to watch her small miracle sleep... Unfortunately though, all her nighttime visits were wearing her out, and Mulder could see this. That's why one night when Kaitie woke up crying, he made sure he was the first out of bed. When her shrill cry rang out through the house, Mulder heard Scully groan and start to move, but he was ll ready on his feet. He kissed her quickly and told her to sleep. she smiled appreciatively and settled back in.

Mulder quietly entered Kaitie's room, and silenced her by lifting her out of her cozy crib. She whined for a few seconds, but then finally shut up. Unfortunately, it wasn't just her crib she wanted out of. She began to whimper again and he held her carefully and gently, rubbing her small back as she rested against his shoulder.

"Ssh... Ssh, Baby... It's OK."

He carried her out of her room and into his, where he had more room to walk around. He whispered to her quietly, trying to get her to fall back to sleep. He took her to the window where they looked out together, and he pointed out the moon and stars. She waved her arms, and opened and closed her hands, trying to point like he was, or maybe she was just trying to capture the moonlight in her tiny fist.

"You like that, don't you?" he asked her, though he knew she wouldn't respond. " Did you know that way up there, very far away, there are intelligent creatures like you and me?" They're small and green and have little antennae that stick way up... When you can talk, you're gonna have to help me convince your mom."

Mulder added the latter part of their conversation because he knew that Scully was listening and watching. He'd felt her eyes on him the moment he'd walked into the room, baby in tow.

He truned away from the window, his back to Scully, and swayed side to side, over and over again, trying to make Kaitie sleep, like a baby. She wasn't cooperating. She was too busy peeping over her daddy's shoulder, watching her mommy watch her.

"Who's back there, Kaitie? Who's there?" Mulder teased. " Is Mommy there? Sleepy Mommy?"

Mulder made his voice high and squeaky, holding his daughter's little wrist, making her wave at Scully.

"Hi Mommy. You should not worry about me so much. You'll get sick. Daddy can take care of us. I'm very sorry I scream so much. Daddy wants me to go back to sleep now, so he can get back in bed with you..."

"Maybe Daddy should bring you over here, so we can talk..." Scully said, quietly.

And so, Mulder brought a delighted Kaitie over to their bed, where he proceeded to place her on her back, between her parents, before he deposited his own body next to hers. Kaitie gurgled and kicked her feet, causing Scully to smile. She knew when her baby was happy, and right now Kaitie was very pleased.

"You know, we really should stop taking her out when she screams, or she's never gonna learn that it's bad." Mulder stated, practically.

Scully nodded in agreement. " I know. I just can't stand listening to her cry... It makes me feel like a rotten mom."

Mulder gave Scully a very serious look. " Dana, you're the world's best mother and if anyone ever doubts that, they'll have hell to py with Kaitie and I. Right kiddo?"

He tickled their three month old baby and she squirmed then lifted her arms to her mom, as if asking to be rescued. Scully lifted her infant into her arms an hugged her.

"Okay, Kaitlyn. Time for you to sleep, all right?"

Kaitie awned as if accepting her fate, and Mulder took her back to her crib. When he returned Scully was fast asleep...

It was in this manner that months passed. Kaitie seemed to grow like a weed, but never lost her sweet baby qualities. She stayed awake for longer periods and her hair started to grow. No longer was she the fuzzy peach. She now had tiny, soft baby curls of red hair. But the best part was that she was sleeping through the night. For two weeks straight, both Mulder and Scully had a decent night's sleep, and both were beginning to feel alive again.

Life went on as usual, Mulder going to work for nine and leaving the office promptly at five. He was no longer the workaholic he had been. He loved his job and gave it his all, but only from nine to five. After that it was a race home to his family.

Scully had requested an indefinite period of time off, with the understanding that she would receive no pay. However, whenever she wanted she could terminate her leave and return to her job. She was called into the office fairly frequently, to consult upon matters that normally would have been her problem, but weren't, for the time being at least.

When the phone rang in her Georgetown home one evening in early February, she assumed it was Mulder who answered it. Scully assumed it would be an agent requesting her skills for the next day. she was just coming downstairs, from putting Kaitie to bed, when Mulder hung up, an odd expression on his face. It was neither a good, nor bad visage, but one she hadn't seen in quite a while. He looked suspicious.

"Who called?" She asked, throwing Kaitie's dirty, food-crusty covered clothes down into the basement, where she would pick them up later, when doing laundry.

Mulder watched her quietly before answering. He followed her out into their back yard, and they sat together on the deck steps. It was an above seasonal February, the temperatures hovering above ten degrees Celsius, and both of them wore heavy sweaters, so they were warm. What little snow they'd had to begin with had melted the first week of the New Year. Now the ground was dry and cracked, dead leaves fluttering on a chilly wind. It felt more like November.

"Skinner called." Mulder stated, picking up her abandoned question.

She din't look surprised. " Let me guess, you have to go on a field investigation?"

Mulder hadn't been flown out of state, overnight, since before Kaities birth, and Scully knew it was only a matter of time until she would have to fly solo in the baby duties, while he was investigating.

Responding to her previous question, Mulder shook his head. " No, he uh... You want a coffee?" he asked, getting up.

She nodded, accpeting his offer, and didn't call him on changing the subject. He disappeared into the house, then returned several minutes later, with two steaming mugs. She took a sip and smiled.

"Good." She stated simply. " So what did Skinner want?"

Mulder took a deliberately long sip of coffee, then finally answered.

"He wants to see us in a private meeting, tomorrow. All of us."

Scully raised her eyebrows at the insinuation. " As in Kaitie too?"

Mulder nodded.

"Why Kaitie?" She wondered.

Mulder shrugged. " I don't know Scully. It sounded like he just wanted to see her, as a friend, but... I can't help but wonder about alterior motives."

A gust of wind blew and the old pine trees creaked. The sun was finally under the horizon, and darkness was setting in.

"Why do you think he wants to see her?" Scully asked, seemingly open to what could be one of his sensational theories. He wondered if maybe she'd become just as paranoid as him.

"I don't know. it could have something to do with my past, some deal my father made that he and his son after him, then his possible grandson would be forced to honor..."

She seemed unfazed. " You mean choosing a child." She stated, more then questioned.

His silence answered for him.

"To be honest, I'm not sure I want to be parading our daughter around that building anyhow. We know the smoking man's been in there before..."

Mulder nodded. " Do you think we're overly paranoid?"

She smiled then drained her cup, standing up. " Paranoia is healthy if there really is someone out to get you."

He chuckled and headed in as well.

Despite that night's conversation, the next day they all went to work. Mulder was sure he must have looked ridiculous, walking through the main lobby with Scully Though they were dresed darkly, their faces emotionless, just like FBI agents, Mulder carried the baby in the car seat carrier with him. Luckily, Kaitie was sleeping, so she remained quiet, not drawing more attention then was necessary. For that Mulder was ever grateful. Fortunately, it didn't take long to reach Skinner's office, and when they arrived he was waiting.

Scully felt odd stepping through the door into her boss' office. she was torn between being a professional agent, and a mother.

Skinner greeted her warmly, shaking her hand and congratulating her on the birth. She smiled poltely and said little. Then in from the hall stepped Mulder, Kaitie in tow, and Skinner smiled broadly, welcoming Mulder, and looking at the agents' daughter.

"She's a beautiful baby." Skinner complimented, as he shut the office door, and motioned for them to take a seat. He could tell both parents were on the defensive, simply by their mannerisms. Mulder sat close to Scully, putting Kaitie down between them. He seemed especially guarded, not only of his baby, but of Scully as well. Skinner decided to clear the air between them, before going any further.

"First of all I'd like to make my intentions perfectly clear to you, as I imagine you are suspicious of my asking to see you daughter. I know in the past my loyalty and position in sides hasn't been clear, but I have always had your best interests at heart. I wanted to tell you that the higher powers are aware of the birth of your daughter and though at this time nothing threatening has drifted my way, I just wanted to give you the heads up, and tell you that I will do everything in my power to shield you from any harm, and that I will warn you in advance of any negative actions being made on the part of anybody threatening to your family."

Mulder nodded and smiled, still guarded, but a little more relaxed. The same went for Scully.

"I just asked you to bring your daughter so that I could meet her..." Skinner stated, leaning against the front side of his desk, almost smiling. Scully got the impression he was genuine, and gave Mulder a nod before squatting down in front of the carrier, lifting her sleepy baby from her seat.

"Her name is Kaitlyn." Mulder offered, watching Scully ease their still small baby out of the seat and into her arms.

"Kaitlyn Melissa Mulder."

"That's a beautiful name. I can't believe you two have a baby!"

Mulder grinned. " After all these years, you still haven't learned to believe in the unbelievable?"

He heard Scully chuckle as she righted herself.

"I see she inherited her mother's build..." Skinner joked, commenting on her small structure. And it was true. There was no doubt that Kaitie would be vertically challenged like her mom.

For several minutes they spoke of Kaitie and of the future, joking about their past and speaking of predictions for what was to come. However, their pleasant conversation ended when Skinner told them that he had something else to tell them...

"Agents Mulder and Scully, I don't really really know how to bring this up, or what to say, but my wife and I have decided that it's time for a change. She's been after me to spend more time at home for quite a while, and I think I agree with her. As you can understand, she means everything to me..."

Skinner looked at Mulder, who smiled, one ear listening to his boss, the other receiving soft gurgles and coos that his wife and child were exchanging.

"Anyway, I promised her that in less then five years, we'll move to California so..." he let the sentence trail off, giving them time to prepare for what was coming.

Scully was stunned. Never did she think she'd see the day when Spooky Mulder would be appointed Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation but it seemed... Her thought was interupted by incredible words...

"Agent Scully, if you're willing, I'd like to extend your title to Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau, Justice Department, Special Agent Dana Scully Mulder MD."

A bomb could have exploded in her lap and she wouldn't have been more blown away then she was by these words. Though her face betrayed no emotion, Mulder had learned to read her eyes, and they were suddenly blank. She was shocked to say the least. Meanwhile Kaitie sat gurgling away in Scully's lap, oblivious to what had to be only the most important career opportunity of her mother's life. Mulder reached over and lifted Kaitie to his own lap, noticing Scully's hands were shaking. Kaitie sucked on Mulder's tie. Silence. Several minutes of silence. Skinner finally spoke again.

"You would, of course, be the first woman assistant director, so there would be some unrest, but I have no doubt in my mind that you would do an above above superior job of controlling everything. You'll see, after a while, you'll just be, one of the guys. I know this must seem impossible to you. I must be joking, right? I'm not. In five years I have to move on or lose the love of my life, and I couldn't in clear conscience leave the bureau with an agent like Colton, or Patterson, in command. The x-files, everything you worked for would be gone, as soon as I stepped out. Also, speaking in terms of family security, I believe that you will be at less risk, in this position, then the one you currently occupy. Because you will be a prominent figure with hundreds of agents under you, nothing can be easily pulled over on you. You have proof, now I'm offering you the power to blow this whole thing out of the water. Whether it be aliens, or cover ups... I don't need a response right away. Think and get back to me on it. We'll be in touch."

That afternoon, Mulder drove home, the car, silent. Kaitie slept and Scully leaned back in her seat, eyes closed, but she was not asleep. Mulder could practically hear the gears turning in her head. her silence spoke volumes. She would be the first woman AD, and would surely be a very controversial figure. Whether it was good or bad in her mind, he didn't know, but he didn't think about it. He vowed he would not influence her decision. He'd support her either way. Could she really expose the conspiracy. yes, he had no doubt that she could. Would she though? If it cost her her family, could she do it? He knew she couldn't. Kaitlyn and himself were her ultimate Achilles heel, and if either of them were threatened in any way, she would do anything to protect them. Mulder felt them same way about the two women in his life.

And so, for a month, Scully said nothing about her job offer. Mulder gave her room to think, and they continued on with their daily life. She never brought it up, and he never asked, but they both understood, through tacit agreement, that this silence couldn't last forever. Nor could it make this decision for her.

The silence ended abruptly one day in early April...

It was a Saturday morning, indifferent from any other spring morning. Scully and Mulder had slept in after having a late night with Kaitie fussing, and were now seated in the living room of their house, reading the newspaper. Every now and then Kaitie's voice would crackle over the baby monitor as she played with toys in her playpen, upstairs. Other then that, the only sound was of pages turning. That is until Scully spoke.

"Mulder?" She put down her section and looked at the back of his head. She was on the couch and he was on the floor.

"What?" he asked, irritated by being distracted. He didn't notice the need in her voice.

"What do you think?"

"About what?" He sighed.

"Me becoming AD of the FBI."

He slowly put his newspaper down and turned to face her.

"What do you think I think?" He teased. He meant well but she wanted a straight answer, not games.

"I don't know, that's why I asked..." Her words came out sharp, her frustration dripping off every syllable.

He frowned. " I'm behind you, whatever you want to do."

She sighed and rolled her eyes. " That doesn't help. I'm asking you to help me for once. You always leave it up to me." She knew it wasn't true, but all her pent up emotions were causing her to lash out in ways she normally wouldn't.

Mulder was angry. " That's bullshit Scully, and you know it... And I'm not going to be blamed for screwing up your career and life because of some shallow, personal interest."

She glared at him, her Irish temper flaring. " You think I'd blame you? Have I ever done that before?"

He glared back challenging her.

"Damn-it, this affects you too! And Kaitlyn. Yuo're her father, so you're supposed to have her interests at heart!"

"So now I'm a rotten father too?!? You're her mother! This is your life! Since when are you dependent on me?"

Their voices were slowly raising, and suddenly they were yelling.

"Damn-you Mulder! Since I married you, since I fell in love with you! I care. Is that so hard to believe?!?"

"Sometimes it is, yes." He lied.

Upstairs Kaitie sensed the friction and heard their angry voices. She began wailing.

"Shit." Mulder swore, heading for the stairs to get Kaitie. He wasn't sure if he was cursing his stubborn wife or his banshee baby, but everything seemed wrong. He hated fighting with Scully... He opened the door to Kaitie's room, and lifted her out of her playpen. what she cried out surprised him enough to forget the fight...

Carrying Kaitie downstairs, he discovered that in the short time it had taken him to get the baby, Scully had disappeared to the basement, and into their exercise room. Kaitie was silent as she surveyed her surroundings, for she was seldom brought into the basement. There were four closed doors she would later learn were a bathroom, s laundry room, a workshop and an exercise room. From the latter room which was equipped with a treadmill, bike, rowing machine, weights and punching bag, blared the sounds of an engry rock band. Even in the hall with the door closed, the music was loud. Mulder hated to guess how loud it was in the actual room. He creaked open the door, the Smashing Pumpkins yelling at him about life's cruelties. Scully had changed into boxers and a sports bra and was murdering the punching bag, peppering it with short, sharp jabs.

Setting Kaitie on the floor he let her crawl into the room, where she stopped a safe distance away from her mom and covered her ears. It wasn't long before Scully noticed this and kicked the bag, hard, before shutting off the music. She eyed Kaitie who was watching her through troubled eyes, spotted the open door and guessed.

"Mulder, you dumb-ass! What are you trying to do, deafen our kid?"

He stepped into the room, smiling, which only aggravated her more.

"Hi."

She gave him a look that would kill if it could.

"Kaitie has something to say to you." He declared.

She raised her eyebrow even more, then softened her expression when glancing at her daughter.

"I'm not going to fight with you in front of her." Scully declared, heading for the bike, minus the music. She began to pedal hard and fast, ignoring all. Kaitie once again crawled in front of her mom. This time Mulder came in too, and sat, on the floor, with Kaitie.

"Isn't she sexy when she's mad?" Mulder asked Kaitie, who giggled, though she had no idea what he meant.

Scully pedaled harder.

"Please stop for a minute Scully. This is important." He begged.

"I don't care if it's important, remember?"

He puppy-dogged her and she slowed.

"What?"

"Who's that, Kaitie?" Mulder asked, pointing at Scully.

She smiled. " Mum... Mummummmm..."

Scully's brow knit.

"Mum is Dana Scully. Can you say Scully?"

Kaitie looked at him blankly.

"Is that Dana Scully?" Mulder asked, pointing again.

Kaitie paused and pointed at Scully, making a crinkled stubborn face.

"Mummy."

Scully smiled a small smile and looked like she was going to cry. " Sweetie..."

She dismounted and knelt down in front of Kaitie. " That's very good... You're a smart girl, Kaitlyn."

Kaitie smiled and raised her arms in a manner that meant she wanted up.

"Mummy."

Scully lifted her and hugged her tightly, closing her eyes.

"Mommy loves you, Kaitlyn. I love you, Sweetie."

It was then that she suddenly realized Mulder was gone. She'd been paying so much attention to her baby, she hadn't seen her baby slip away. That scared her.

Taking Kaitie with her, she climbed the basement stairs and looked for Mulder. He wasn't outside, nor was he anywhere on the main floor. she suspected their harsh words had affected him, and that he wouldn't be upstairs either. Not surprisingly, she was right. Mulder had to be in the attic. Deciding not to take Kaitie withher, she left her daughter to play in her room, before ascending the steep, spiral staircase. She found Mulder laying on his back on the mattress they'd brought up there, under the skylight. His legs were crossed at the ankles, his hands over his face, as if he were just waking up after the alarm sounded too early.

Scully suddenly felt like she'd been transported back in time, to three long years ago. She found herself feeling as she would have back then, glancing upon Mulder when he was so vulnerable. She was no longer Scully the woman, nor Scully the mom, but =FCber-Scully, Mulder's other half. She was quiet and gentle as she approached him, seating herself perpendicular to him, legs crossed under her. she didn't say a thing. She didn't need to. Instead she just laid down beside him, her cheek resting against his rising and falling chest. It was peaceful. She could hear his heartbeat pulsing under his flesh.

Mulder felt Scully rest her head upon him, and smiled a tiny, satisfied smile, though his hands obscured her from seeing it. Removing one of the shutters to his soul, he reached down and timidly laid a hand on her head, burying his fingers in her fiery hair. It was warm, the sun shining through the skylight falling down upon her and heating it. He didn't know where time had gone, these last few months, but it seemed to him that with every passing day, he became less himself and more machine. His life had become a series of actions; wake up, go to work, come home, make dinner, put the baby to sleep, sleep yourself... He never had time with Scully anymore. She was always busy doing something. Cleaning, working, feeding Kaitie, cleaning Kaitie, playing with Kaitie, taking care of Kaitie... And when the hour of eight rolled around every night, after Kaitie had been put to bed, they were both too tired to do much of anything, other then crashing in front of the TV. No late night wqalks, no card games, no pointless gab sessions about everything and anything...

He stroked her hair several times, before resting his large hand on the nape of her neck. Scully watched dust specks fly through the beam of light, then rest on her face. She could smell heat and Mulder, a relaxing combination of sweet and spicy, warmth and energy... From the stillness came his voice, low and secretive.

"I think you drooled on me."

The corners of her mouth turned up, a tight lipped smile crossing her features. It suggested that the world was not fogotten, just on hold for a minute. Mulder was a bit dismayed by the absence of a quick retort on her part, but replaced the silence with kinder words.

"I know you care, Dana."

A quick breath escaped her and she sat up, looking down at him with soft, sory eyes.

"No..."

He objected to her moving and pulled her down into his arms. He held her closely, laying parallel, face to face. She watched him watched him through clear blue eyes, meeting his own warm hazel ones. She knew the ghost of the traumatized twelve year old was still in there, somewhere, lurking inside his brilliant mind, but he was much harder to find now. In his place there was a passionate, happy man, who cared deeply for his family. Scully suddenly felt possessive and laid her hand on his cheek. Her wedding band shone in the sun.

"You always had the most beautiful eyes..." She whispered.

He blinked. " That's debatable. I know a killer pair of blue ones."

She smiled and kissed him softly.

"We can't stay up here forever."

He kissed her back. " Yes we can."

She raised her eyebrow and Mulder grinned. " If I could take only one thing with me, to a completely desolate place, I wouldn't bring food, water or anything. I'd bring you."

"Lucky me." She quipped. " But what about Kaitie?"

He smiled. " Ah, I love her dearly, but sometimes..." He sighed.

She nodded. " I know it's tough, but she needs us. She needs her Mommy, *and* her Daddy."

Mulder nodded. " Just as long as I get her Mommy too. I need her too."

Scully kissed him again, then got up. " Come on. Reality doesn't wait."

He rubbed his face. " I need a great big remote control with a great big pause button."

She smiled and offered him her hand, pulling him up. She was letting go when he tightened his grip and she turned to face him, sensing he had something to say.

"I love you, my Dana. You know that don't you?"

She nodded. " You tell me every morning when I wake up, and everynight before I got to sleep..."

He frowned. " I never once heard my father tell my mother he loved her."

She squeezed his hand. " Well this mother is telling this father that she loves him, and that that will never change, no matter how many arguments they have."

He looked unsure but smiled a little, as if to please her.

"Come one, now. We have a little baby daughter that needs us."

He grinned and led the way.

Things were in no way settled after that day, but Mulder and Scully coped all right. For the first time since Kaitie's birth Scully felt like they were a family. Sure, it had been great before, but now when Kaitie began to walk and talk, identifying " Mummy" and " Daddy", she felt a never before experienced sense of pride. She had created this wonderful person. They had created her and taught her. Now, one long year later, she was being rewarded. She was loved and cherished. She belonged somewhere. She had never been so sure of herself...

However, as there were her happy days, she also had low days. Somedays, she didn't feel as happy as she thought she ought to be, and she knew why. Though Kaitie had united Mulder and Scully as a family, she had divided them as a couple. She took so much energy that at night, the only time Scully had alone with Mulder, she was often too tired to do much. And Mulder kept working later and later. One night, he wasn't home until nine, offering an apologetic smile as he came through the door. He was surprised when no one was there to greet him. However, he could hear the soundtrack of Sleeping Beauty coming from the study. After dumping his coat and locking his gun and holster in his briefcase, he quietly slid open the heavy wooden doors, in case Kaitie was asleep. Instead he found her sitting on the floor, hugging a stuffed cat. When she heard him enter, she stood up and blocked the sofa off to him, eyeing him suspiciously. She didn't recognize him, since he was hidden half in shadow. Her reaction to an "intruder" intrigued him, and he watched her "guard" something on the sofa, before he turned on a light and recognition overcame her.

"Daddy!" She cried and toddled over, into his waiting arms.

"Hi Monkey... Give Daddy a kiss?"

She nuzzled her face into his cheek and pecked him, then smiled. It was a small, shy, tightlipped smile that reminded him of Scully, everytime he saw it.

"Where's Mommy?" He inquired, lifting her up as she played with his tie. she always played with this particular tie, which was striped in dark shades of green and purple. Scully hated it. Kaitie loved it.

"Mummy." Kaitie repeated, then waved a small hand towards the sofa.

Accepting her indication as to her mother's whereabouts, he quietly crept up behind the old futon and looked over. There Scully was slumped over, asleep, mouth slightly open, deep breaths falling on the cushion.

It was then that he recognized how tired she must truly be. She would never allow herself to fall asleep while watching Kaitie. He felt bad for having neglected her and his familial responsibilities, even if it was just for a couple nights.

He set Kaitie down and she squirmed and giggled as his fingers tickled her soft tummy, then sat her on the ground.

"Mummy?" Kaitie inquired.

"Yes, let's wake up Mommy."

Kaitie made a serious face by pursing her lips. She shook her head.

"Nooooo..."

"Why not?" Mulder asked, putting his hands on his hips, mocking her.

She recognized this and grinned, scrunching up her nose.

"Come here, you!"

He lunged for her and she giggled, running to the couch. Giving chase, he "ran" after his escapee child, and met her by the futon where her mother still slept.

Kaitie rested her hands on the edge of the sofa, watching her mom with great interest.

"Feepy." Kaitie stated, pointing.

Mulder nodded. " Yeah, Mommy is sleppy. This is how you wake her up..."

He gently smoothed the stray hairs off Scully's face, then kissed her very softly. Kaitie, trying to mimick her father, patted Scully's head then puckered up and pecked her. Scully stirred, then woke quickly.

"Oh God! Kaitie!?!"

Recognizing her name, Kaitie made eye contact.

"I Feepy, Mummy."

"Yeah, *now* you decide you're tired!" Mulder groaned, then held Kaitie, preparing to take her up tobed.

"Mulder... How long have I been out?" Scully asked, confused.

"I have no idea. I got home about fifteen minutes ago, and Kaitie was watching Sleeping Beauty..."

She looked shaken. " I..."

Mulder shook his head. " Don't worry about it. Kaitie was a perfect angel, weren't you?"

She smiled a little again, then yawned, and burined her face in Mulder's neck.

"I'm gonna go put her to bed and change..."

Scully nodded distractedly, then watched them head off.

When Mulder came back down, Scully was in the kitchen. He walked in wearing his black boxers and his old " Property of DK Scully" t-shirt. However, she didn't notice him as she was bent over the counter, slicing something. He came up behind her and hugged her, arms snaked around her waist.

"Hey! What's this?" he asked, poking his finger into a cake with chocolate frosting. She replied as he licked his finger.

"Chocolate truffle cake. Want some?"

He nodded and she cut him a piece, as he reluctantly let her go to get plates. They then seated themselves across from each other, at the island, sitting on tall stools.

"This is really good!" He stated, shoveling cake into his mouth.

She smiled liked her daughter, tightlipped and shy. " I made it."

He choked and she laughed.

"Don't look so shocked Mulder!"

He swallowed and grinned. " You really made this?"

She nodded.

"Then it tastes twice as good!"

She leaned across the empty plate and met his kiss half way. It felt really, really nice. They hadn't kissed like that in a very long time. Something, more like someone, always interrupted them... Mulder was just thinking about forgetting the cake when, as if on cue, Kaitie cried out. Their lips froze. Scully pulled away and sighed in a disbelieving manner. Mulder left the room...

A couple minutes later he returned, the house silent again.

"Now, where were we?"

Scully woke up that Friday morning to an almost silent house. All around the air was quiet and still, except beside her where a very cozy looking Mulder was snoring slightly. Deciding it must be too early to be awake, she rolled over and was greeted by the bright red numbers on her alarm clock glaring into her eyes. 10:06AM. She sat up quickly, her first thought becoming that they'd overslept and that Mulder was late. her second thought was, " Why is Kaitie so quiet?"

Getting out of bed, she tiptoed down to Kaitie's room, only to find the crib empty. She was stunned. At first, she couldn't even breathe as the panic rose in her. She felt her chest constricting, but was unable to inhale. There was no way Kaitie could have gotten out on her own, but there was also no way anyone could have gotten in to take her. One of the first things she and Mulder had done was install a *VERY* elaborate security system. There was even a wide angle camera hidden in the tree in their front yard which transmitted to the Gunmen's lair. This camera monitored any and all traffic that went in and out their house.

Finally, she sucked in some air. It was just enough to keep her from blackingout, and enough for her to expel in a scream,

"M U L D E R!"

She ran back towards their room. She crashed headlong into his chest. Luckily he'd been bracing for her impact. She looked at him eyes wide with fright, shaking terribly.

"Kaitie..." She couldn't utter another word.

Mulder's face relaxed and he hugged her to him, stroking her hair.

"Ssh. It's all right. Kaitie's fine. She's at your mom's."

Scully pulled back and looked up at him. " Really?"

Mulder nodded and never saw her hand coming.

She glared and slapped him across the face. " How could you! I almost died of fright... I... Oh God, Mulder..."

She realized what she'd done as he touched his jaw gingerly, and winced a bit. However, he didn't lay a finger on her. He never had and he never would, for the rest of his life. Her eyes welled up and she dropped her head.

"I'm sorry... God, Mulder, I'm so sorry..."

A tear fell which he gently wiped away, then turned her chin up to him.

"I didn't mean to scare you, Scully. I called in sick to work and took Kaitie to your mom's for the day..."

"Why?"

"Because I want to spend the day alone with you. A Mulder and Scully day. We can go shopping, eat out... I just want to spend the day in love with you, Dana."

She smiled the mother/daughter shy smile. " I'm so lucky."

He kissed her, lazily. " Not lucky. Wonderful, perfect, beautiful, sweet, sexy, all of the above..."

"This test is multiple choice?" She teased.

He nodded.

"I choose f. Do I pass?"

Mulder grinned. " With flying colors."


A single, solitary drip of ice cream, traveled further and further down the cone, trying desperately to reach her hand and make a sticky mess. It was almost there when a soft pink tongue darted out and swept it away. The drip ceased to exist.

"Mmmmmmm..." Scully sighed, leaning back against the wooden bench, rolling the cold, rich, chocolate flavor around in her mouth. Her eyes were closed and her head was tilted up, a look of complete ecstasy on her face. Mulder sat beside her, enjoying his accomplishment. He licked at his own mocha flavored ice cream cone while watching Scully. It had been a long time since he'd seen her this way, or had enough time to enjoy it when he did see it. He loved Kaitie more then life itself, but she required a lot of attention. He could hardly wait for the day when she would become independent... Suddenly an image popped into his head.

He was standing in the kitchen, over the stove, when heavy feet were heard coming up from behind him. He turned only to discover a sixteen year old version of Kaitlyn. She stood about five foot seven, including the four inch platform, suede runners she wore. Her legs were covered by semi-flare jeans which she wore at her hips, pierced belly button exposed. She was covered by a not-so-covering black cotton tank top which had satin spaghetti straps and was cut off just above her navel. In his dreaming state he found himself shocked by the sight of cleavage on his little girl. Off course she wasn't showing off too much, but any is too much in the eyes of a father... Kaitie had long, thick, dark auburn hair which currently fell in wavy curls onto her upper back. It was a couple shades darker then Scully's red, but still undeniably red. She had delicate, beautiful, sharp features which were almost identical to Scully's, only more refined, if that were possible. She also had Scully's pale, fair complexion, but unlike her mom her cheek bones were splattered with many tiny, pale freckles. She tried to hide them with cover-up, but didn't succeed, much to her dismay. She didn't like them but Mulder did. He watched as she blinked and her long eyelashes rested upon her cheeks, briefly. Then she opened her lids to reveal bright green eyes. Unfortunately, Mulder recognized a lot of himself behind them...

"MULDER?!?"

He was ripped out of his daydream by Scully. She was staring at him eyes wide, a twisted smile on her face.

"Welcome back!" She declared.

He noticed she held both ice cream cones in her hands, and sudddenly realized his hand was sticky. Shaking her head, he pulled a napkin out of his pocket and cleaned himself up. Scully laughed. It was a truly beautiful, whole hearted laugh, and it made Mulder smile.

"Where were you?" She asked when her laughter subsided. She handed him back his dripping ice cream cone, which he licked, quickly.

"I'm not sure. One minute I was looking at you, the next I was staring at this beautiful, sixteen year old version of Kaitie..."

Scully smiled. " That eager for her to grow up, are you?"

Mulder smiled also, but shook his head.

"Yes and no. She's *a lot* of work, but I'd miss her diaper-waddle walk... Mind you, that's not to say I'd miss her diapers!"

Scully laughed again. " Look at us, Mulder! We go out to spend time alone with each other and we talk about our daughter!"

Mulder grinned. " Ever heard the expression, "Wrapped around her little finger"?" **

That night they didn't get home until one in the morning. After dinner they went shopping again, then went to the late movie. Scully came home with a new sun dress, new shoes and a solitary blue sapphire necklace bought for her by Mulder. It hung around her neck in place of the gold cross she'd given Mulder over two years ago, which he still wore. Scully had managed to convince Mulder to buy a couple new ties, and a pair of boxers, but that was it. They'd bought a new pair of purple overalls for Kaitie, some barrettes, and a play necklace of rainbow beads. Scully could hardly wait to see the excited loook on her baby's face...

Dumping all the bags in the kitchen, Muldernoticed the answering machine light was flashing. Pressing play he heard Mrs. Scully's voice as well as Kaitie's.

"Hi Dana, hi Fox! I...(baby squeal)...*We* just wanted to let you know that we're fine, right darling?...("Gama" ads Kaitie)...Right...Say goodnight to your Mom and Dad, Kaitlyn... ("Mummy...Mummmummmmm" baby giggles "DahhhDahhhdy")... Goonight kids!"

Scully who had walked in and heard the whole thing smiled broadly at Mulder, who was grinning like a fool.

"I love you Muldaaahhhh..." Scully teased, mimicking Kaitie's voice.

He pursed his lips but couldn't hide the smile in his eyes. " Very funny. I love you too."

"We're doing good, Mulder."

He seemed to beam with pride. " You think so?"

She nodded. " I know so."

"Well for once, I think I agree with you, Doctor Scully."


Mulder and Scully were doing well, as a family, as a couple, and as parents. even their careers were going well. Mulder, who was still in the x-files, was solving cases by the dozen. Unfortunately, that also meant that he was out of town about every second week. So far it wasn't so bad and Scully was adjusting well enough. As for her own career, she'd finally decided to accept Skiner's promotion, which was exciting as well as scary, at the same time. It was decided that in January of the year 2002, Dana Katherine Scully would officially be promoted to Assistant Director of the FBI... However, there were many, many people who wanted to be sure that she would never make it to that level... People who were willing to do anything to ensure themselves of the final result...

Saturday the first of November, 2001, was a clear, crisp day. Though the trees were bare of any leaves, the sidewalks and front yards were covered in them.Mulder and Scully's house was no exception. Mulder was out of town on another case and Scully had just received a fax, asking her to come downtown for a couple hours to straighten out some paperwork. Though Margaret Scully had come over early to watch Kaitie, while Scully popped out, Scully was late. Kaitie was putting up a fight about her"Mummy" leaving, which was odd as she was usually very happy to have time to play with "Gama". Troubled by her odd behavior, Scully had stayed an extra couple minutes to try and calm Kaitie, but it was no good. Kaitie really didn't want Scully to leave...

"Kaitlyn Melissa, stop right now. I'm coming back. I'll only be gone for a little while."

Kaitie, who was in Scully's arms, nodded sadly, teary eyed. " Mummy stay."

Scully put her down on the ground, then crouched down with her.

"Give Mummy a kiss?" She asked, puckering up.

Kaitie nodded again and pecked her mom.

"Thank you." Scully said, politely.

"Weh-cum." Kaitie smiled, showing off her manners.

With that Scully stood up and headed for the door, much to Kaitie's disapproval. She stared crying again and tried to climb out of Maggie's arms and down the front steps... She knew something was wrong. She'd seen it in her dreams last night. But no one would listen to her, and she couldn't speak.

"Muuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyy!" She wailed.

Scully put her keys in the car door...

"Mummy noooooooooooooooo!"

She opened the door...

Even though she was over fifty feet away, she could see the flashing clock display, in her head. In her mind's eye.

Scully put her key into the ignition and twisted it on...

"MUMMY NO! NO NO NO NO NO!"

Kaitie broke free of Maggie's clutches and and towards the street. Their house was on a corner lot and Kaitie ran towards the street running perpendicular to that on which her mother's car was parked. Both Maggie and Scully saw her heading towards the street and also saw the speeding car heading in her direction...

Scully bounded out of the car and ran faster then she thought was humanly possible, catching Kaitie's overall straps, just before she hit the curb. Kaitie smiled at Scully who was clutching Kaitie tightly to her, shaking. It had been so close... The car sped by, causing a mechanical breeze... Silence lingered for a few moments before the car door was slammed shut by the breeze. Kaitie had seen the ensuing explosion hours before then. She'd seen it with her third eye.

A huge ball of fire swallowed the car Dana Scully had been sitting in only seconds earlier. The force of the explosion knocked her to the ground, covering Kaitie protectivly. She listened as the living room windows exploded inwards...

When nothing could be heard but the crackling of the flames which had engulfed the car behind her, Scully sat up, her eyes open wide with shock and fright. The first thing she saw was Kaitie smilling at her, shining as if to say, " I told so you!". Scully knew the look well. It was the same expression Mulder's eyes often betrayed...

"Mummy stay. Good Mummy." Kaitie declared, before crawling up into Scully's lap, giving her a hug. Scully returned the hug. What else could she do? Her infant daughter had just saved her life...

Telling Mulder really wasn't what Scully had wanted to do, but she'd had to. He'd almost cried when he heard about Kaitie's encounter with the speeding car. He really did cry when Scully told him about the bomb. For an hour an a half they spoke of what could have happened, and decided what would happen next. By the time they hung up it was determined that Scully would postpone her promotion for another year or so, and return to the x-files with Mulder. Maggie Scully was to be appointed legal guardian of Kaitlyn Melissa Mulder, should her parents be out of town. Last, but not least, it was decided, in Mulder's mind, that Kaitie had a gift which couldn't be ignored... **

It was the fifth of May, 2003 when the next string of events took place that affected the lives of the Mulder-Scully family. In seven months, Dana Scully was due to be appointed Assistant Director of the FBI and once again the shadowy figures of the syndicate were nervous...

Kaitlyn Melissa Mulder was now almost three, her paretns 42 and 39 respectively. Though the years had brought many small changes upon them, everything was basically the same as it had always been. Mulder's hair had developed white flashes on the temples, which Scully adored, and the crows feet at the corner of his eyes had become slightly more noticeable from smiling. Scully's hair was lightened with the odd strand of ash, but no one except Mulder noticed. And though Scully often talked about dying her hair, Mulder would hear nothing of it for as she loved his grey, he loved hers. He also loved the smile line which had stealthily appeared by the corners of her mouth one day.

However the biggest change of all was in Kaitie. She was still small for her age, which wasn't a surprise. She was now at the stge in her life where everything was done running on wobbly toddler legs. Mulder had been warned of his daughter's speed by Maggie and Scully, but he'd learned the hard way when he tried to dry Kaitie off after her bath. With a giggle she'd leapt from his embrace and gone streaking through the house trailing drops of water behind her. It had taken him at least five minutes to capture her... Her speed wasn't her only physical change. Her wavy red locks hung to her shoulders now, and her freckles were more prominent. She also had her full set of pearly white baby teeth, with which she loved to grin mischievously. She was quite the little monkey. She loved to gang up on her mom with her dad and play practical jokes. Of course she never really understood what was funny about most of them, but the important part was to elicit a laugh from her mother whom she had come to adore and revere as much as Mulder did... She'd heard many stories from her dad about the heroic things her mother had done. In fact, a night time true fairy tale had become a pre-slumber ritual...

"Please Daddy! I want 'nother story."

Mulder pulled the covers up and tucked them under Kaitie's chin tightly, just the same way he did to Scully when she was sick or sleeping.

" No more tonight, Monkey. You know the rule. One per night."

"Daaaaaddyyy... Mommy said. She said two!" She tried to be straight faced.

"Did she now?" Mulder asked mockingly, poking her stomach. She giggled and wiggled.

"Mooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmyyyyyyyy!"

Scully entered the room, with a suspicious smile.

"Kaitlyn, it's time for bed." She stated, standing behind Mulder with her hands on her hips.

"Noooo!" Kaitie giggled. "Time for playing!"

Scully put on a stern face, which Kaitie could completely see through. She knew her mom & dad weren't in an enforcing mood tonight. After almost three years of practice she knew how to read their moods, subconsciously or not, and tonight they were definitely playing.

"Want 'nother story, please."

"I'll tell you the story of Orey O'Morey and now my story's begun. I'd tell you another about his big brother, but now my story is done."

Kaitie made a sour face at Mulder. " No be silly, Daddy!"

"I'm not being silly."

"Yes you is."

"Are, Kaitie. Yes you ARE."

"Is so."

"ARE not"

"So."

"Not."

"Enough you two! Bedtime now."

"You heard the lady!" Mulder shrugged then hugged Kaitie. " G'night Monkey." He inhaled deeply before letting go and standing up to make room for Scully. He loved the way his baby smelled of crayons, sunshine and Scully's mothering.

"Sweet dreams, Baby." Scully kissed her daughter. " We love you."

"I know!" Kaitie beamed.

Scully smiled at Mulder before they filed out of the room and shut off the light. For once they were peacefully alone...

However, the peace dissipated slowly as the night progressed until all was shattered by a piercing scream at 2:30 in the morning...

It was drk. Much, much too dark and overly musty, considering the open window. A cold, raw breeze blew in and parted the curtains to the nursery. The rocking horse moved eerily slowly and the door squealed as it shut, then locked itself. It was all too weird. She could have sworn she'd closed the window and locked it before putting kaitie to bed.. With a start she realized the bed was empty, the sheets long since grown cold. The child was gone, but blood remained. It seeped up through the cracks in the floorboard and drizzled down the walls, showering her. Quite suddenly it turned to rain and she found herself outside. She was running chasing something, a shadow, or maybe someone. she was disoriented her lungs burning. She couldn't afford to stop though 'cause they'd catch her and she'd never find her daughter. It was then that she discovered tht her pockets were stuffed with money, dollar bills pouring out , fluttering to the ground, everywhere... She fell to her knees in an icy puddle and began to pick them up. She had to count them all. There had to be one million. That's what the ransom note demanded... She had nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine. One was missing. One... She saw it flutter past her and into a small door in a tree... She scrambled over and thrust her arm in... Then she was falling... Down, down, down... Then hands, these horrible twisted hands, wer poking and proding her... She landed on the cold cement floor of a warehouse, chained and shackled to a wall... In front of her sat a VCR with a note, demanding she push play. She complied and the white washed walls wer cast in white light as the projection screen turned on... It was an old film, which buzzed and crackled, as the picture slowly came on...

Alice in Wonderland... They were all there, gathered around a butchers table, sipping out of English china... The Cheshire Cat, The Mad Hatter, The Rabbit and The Caterpillar... Only they had different faces. There was Modell with a tale and a grin, John Roche in the tall stiped hat, Donnie Pfaster with ears and a cotton tail and Cancer Man blowing smoke rings from eight different Morely's held in eight different hands... And then there was Alice, pouring them tea while they looked at her with hungry eyes.

"Say Alice, that's pretty lipstick you're wearing... I believe the color is Indian Summer, isn't it?"

Alice grinned, " Yes, fank you."

Scully broke down.

"Alice, I bought you new pyjamas. Don't mind the hole over the heart..."

Scully shut her eyes.

"Alice would you like to play a game? Take this toy gun and aim it at your Daddy... Don't worry, there's only one bullet..."

Scully's eyes flew open as Mulder came on screen. However, Alice didn't shoot Mulder. Cancer Man dropped all eight Morely's as he fell to the ground.

"BASTARDS! I'LL KILL YOU!" Screamed Scully, as she yanked against the chains.

"Alice... Alice... Where's your Mommy?" Mulder begged of the little girl.

"HER NAME IS KAITLYN! Not Alice... Mulder save her! Take her!"

She screamed at the image, but he walked off the screen, oblivious to all...

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Scully sat up in bed, screaming, drenched in a cold sweat. Before Mulder even had time to open his eyes he felt the covers being tossed back.

"Scully?"

The lights came on and blinded him momentarily, but he could hear her racing intothe room next door. The door slammed open and into the wall. he was out of bed and down the hall in three seconds...

Scully looked into the room and saw the open window. The one she had she'd shut and locked was now wide open. A cold breeze blew in...

"Kaitlyn!"

She hit the wall switch and flooded the room with light, just before leaping on the bed and tosssing back the covers. There, to her relief, she found a very stunned, very sleepy, Kaitie.

"Why you wake me up, Mommy?" Asked Kaitie, yawning. " Not play time. Feepy time... Silly Mommy..."

Scully reached down and hugged her baby tightly. Her whole body shook as she kissed Kaitie on the forehead.

"Mommy go back to bed... We play 'morrow morning."

"OK." Scully whispered before quickly leaving the room, brushing shoulder with Mulder who stood in the door frame. He reached out to grab her but she shot him a warning glance like none he'd ever seen before, as she headed straight for the bathroom. As he turned back to look in on Kaitie, he heard Scully violently retching.

"Why mommy wake me up?" Kaitie asked, sitting up, rubbing her eyes.

Mulder sighed and walked into the room, sitting down on the edge of her bed.

"Mommy was scared, and she had to make sure you were OK."

"Mommy is scared of me?" Kaitie asked, wide eyed.

Mulder smiled and pushed a lock of hair out of his daughter's eyes.

"No Baby, she's scared FOR you."

Kaitie still looked confused.

"Kaitlyn, sometimes bad things happen that we never want to remember or have happen again, right?"

Kaitie nodded solemnly.

"Well sometimes as hard as we try to forget the bad things, they come back to haunt us, so we can't forget, and they make us scared."

"Like ghosties?"

Mulder nodded. " Exactly like ghosties."

"I no like ghosties, Daddy."

"Neither do I, Monkey."

"Did a ghostie hurt Mommy?"

Mulder looked at his innocent child and considered a moment.

"No. Mommy's fine now. She just got scared by a ghostie in her sleep."

"Why?"

Mulder smiled. " Because we love you very, very much, and Mommy was worried that a ghostie was going to hurt you. She came running in here to make sure you were OK and that nothing was scaring you."

"I not scared. Not of nothing. Not even the dark."

Mulder grinned and kissed her cheek, laying her down and tucking her in. " I know Monkey. You're my rave warrior girl, right?"

"Right. And Mommy's your Dragon 'Stroyer."

"Yup. Mommy's my Dragon Destroyer. Night-night."

"Night, Daddy."

Mulder cosed the window and locked it before shutting off the light and leaving the room. He headed for the bathroom where the door was still closed.

"Dana, can I come in?" he asked, knocking gently. The door opened nder his touch. Getting no answer, he swung it open farther, and saw Scully staring at herself in the mirror.

"You OK?" he asked, not daring to make any move to touch her.

She smiled tightly at his reflection.

"I'm fine."

"Ooh, it's been a long time since I heard that one..." He came in further and put a hand on her shoulder. " Wanna talk?"

She shook her head and shrugged off his hand.

"I do."

She met his eyes in the mirror and crmbled. She turned her face away, her back to him, clutching the edges of the sink.

"Go back to bed, Mulder."

"Are you coming?"

"...No."

"Then I'm not going."

She gave him a look and began to run a sink of cold water.

"Go away."

Mulder took a step back, but didn't leave. Instead he leaned against the closed door.

"You're mad at me."

She splashed water on her face.

"Why?"

She toweled her face. " You're not going to like this."

"It can't be any worse then you being mad at me."

She stared at him. " Who would you choose?"

He gave her a puzzled look.

"Kaitlyn or me?"

Mulder looked away. " Jesus Scully!"

She stared again at him for a moment, then turned away. " That's what I thought."

"Scully..."

"Don't. Just don't, OK."

She left the room. He followed close behind her.

"No, it's not OK. I want to know what's rattled you Scully. And you already know who I would choose. You've known for a long time."

"I had a bad dream, Mulder. That's it."

"What happened?"

He sat down on the bed and watched her stand by the window, in the moonlight.

"I dreamed... It was weird. Kaitie was kidnapped and while I was looking for her, they grabbed me too. They made me watch a video of Alice in Wonderland, starring Modell, Roche, Pfaster and Cancer Man. Kaitie was Alice. I saw you walk in on their party. You went up to her, asked her where I was, then left her. You just left her with all those monsters..." She was crying quietly.

He got up and stood beside her at the window. " That would never happen. I could never do that, and you know it."

she nodded. " But if it came down to that. Me or Kaitie, it would still be me, wouldn't it?"

Mulder nodded, replying honestly, though he knew it wasn't what she wanted to hear. All was quiet for a minute, before she spoke in a whisper...

"Why?... Why do you love me so much?"

Mulder cupped her cheek in his hand and stroked the tears off her cheek with his thumb.

"You're beautiful. You have a beautiful soul. A beautiful personality. Even your faults make you more real and wonderful. Any man would love you. But besides that, you complete me, Dana Scully. You make me whole. And what's more, you love me back. Me, the half assed crazy lunatic of a social outcast. The best day of my life wasn't our wedding, wasn't Kaitie's birth... It was the day you told me you loved me back, for who I was. It was something I'd never imagined or dared to hope was possible. You came in with an open mind. You accepted me, then made me better. You make me want to be a better person. You saved me from myself. I owe you everything. And now you've given me a life. You married me. You gave me a beautiful daughter. You're perfect."

She shook her head. " I'm not perfect, Mulder."

"You are in my eyes."

She looked away. " How can you love me more then your own flesh and blood?"

Mulder smiled. " You see that half moon Scully?"

She nodded.

"Scully, that's me. I look beautiful on the outside, at night, half cloaked in darkness. But I'm only bright because of the sunlight that touches me. I need the light. Without it I'm just a big, lonely, cold, airless space that's good for nothing. You are my sunshine, Scully. Remember that song? And your love is the sunlight that makes me beautiful. Do you understand?"

She reached up and pulled him into a hug. " If I'm the sun and you're the moon, then what does that make Kaitie?"

Mulder picked her up, eliciting a gasp from Scully, then carried her to the bed.

"The earth. The small, full of life planet that our solar system revolves around."

Scully smiled. " You've got your astronomy all screwed up."

"Do I?"

She nodded. " Our solar system revolves around the sun."

"Whatever you say, Scully..." **

The next day passed smoothly, without another word being said about Scully's dream. However as the sun set that night and darkness descended, the fear slowly seeped back into her. So while Mulder, Kaitie and herself were sacked out on the couch watching Snow White for the hundredth time, Scully' s mind wandered and began thinking up plans to keep her family safe. Though she hadn't told Mulder, she'd called the Gunmen earlier in the day and asked them to go over their surveillance videos. The scary part was that while the video showed no disturbances, the motion detector had picked up some movement climbing off the garage roof, up the trellis and to the base of Kaitie's window. How the intruder had managed to open the window and why he or she had fled remained a mystery...

"Mommy? Mommy, I'm firsty."

Scully smapped back to reality.

"Huh, what?"

"I'm firsty Mommy."

"What would you like?"

"Cokecola please."

Scully narrowed her eyes and looked at her husband who was suddenly intrigued by the movie.

"Mulder, did you give Kaitie Coke?"

"Isn't this part scary Scully?" He didn't look at her.

"Mulder, answer... Oh never mind. No Coke, Mulder. If you can't drink any form of soda without refraining from indulging your daughter with it, then I will stop buying it. Keep it up she'll be on beer at six and in AA at ten!"

"How 'bout apple juice, Monkey?" Mulder asked.

"Yes please." replied Kaitie.

Mulder stood up to get it but Scully stopped him.

"It's all right. I'll go."

"Sure?"

She nodded and headed for the kitchen. All was fine and well until she began looking out the big window and at all the shadows that lay beyond. anyone could see her if they were looking. The glass they'd put in all the windows was bulletproof, but not stalker proof. With a shudder she turned of the lights, reducing the glare off the windows. And once again she stared out, searching... Then she saw them. Two eyes staring straight back at her. Her skin began to crawl just before the neighbor's cat marched through the backyard trailing a string behind it... Which gave her an idea...

"Daddy, I'm firsty."

Mulder nodded, acknowledging Kaitie as he listened to Scully moving about upstairs. He couldn't figure out what she was doing, but she'd been at it for a while.

"Need jushe, Daddy."

He stood up and checked to make sure the windows were locked before leaving Kaitie on her own to go get juice. It was extremely paranoid, he knew, but he didn't want Kaitie on her own.

In the kitchen he found Kaitie's juice poured already. He brought it back to her and while she guzzled it, he went upstairs, following Scully's footsteps. When he found her she was in the guest bedroom, taping long pieces of almost invisible thread across the windows.

"What are you doing?" he asked watching as she moved to the door.

She pushed him out of the room, then closed and locked the door behind her, before taping a piece of thread across it's base.

"Running a security check." She stood up and looked around. " Before we go to bed, remind me to do Kaitie's door and ours..."

"We can't leave her in her room like that!" Mulder stated, slightly amused by Scully's paranoia.

"I know. She's sleeping with us tonight."

She looked at him and he shook his head.

"Scully... But... Can't we put her on a mattress on the floo-Ok maybe not."

He changed her plans when her face changed looks.

"Good... You locked the windows before you left her down there didn't you?"

Mulder chuckled at her. " You say I'M paranoid. Ha!"

Scully smiled. " You did, didn't you!?!"

Mulder rolled his eyes. " Maybe..."

Scully smirked. " Vindicated! You hypocrite."

She lead the way back downstairs.

"What can I say, Scully? Old habits die hard!"...

Things went well that night, Scully and Mulder slept with Kaitie nested between them, happy as a clam...

However, no one was happy in the morning, when they discovered someone had opened their door in the night. The trail of broken threads lead from from their garage door, through the subterranean door from the garage, to the basement, up put of the basement, upstairs, into Kaitie's room then into their room. The trespasser had obviously aborted his or her sinister mission when they saw where Kaitie was and left through her window, which was left blatantly open as a taunt...

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the city, tucked back in the shadows of an old warehouse, an old man took a drag from a Morley cigarette and exhaled it into the face of Alex Krychek.

"You failed, Krychek," he stated.

"I postponed. To have taken the child then would have been too risky... Besides, I can go back, whenever."

The smoking man shook his head slowly.

"No. We've raised their suspicions. They're onto us now... We need another plan which had better work after your failed bomb and botched kidnapping. You have one last chance."

Krychek sneered before falling back in to the shadows. " I won't let you down."

"Excellent." Affirmed the old man, before snuffing out his cigarette, and plunging the room into darkness. **

It was seven months after the last attempt. The seasons had changed twice, Christmas came and went, as well as their birthdays, before Kryckek made good on his promise to Cancer Man. Even though Mulder and Scully had regained confidence in their security system, they spent Christmas away, tucked up in a small, cozy cottage in Quebec, Canada. They went for walks in the snow which often came up to their thighs. Of course, they carried Kaitie athere was no way she could have made it through the fluffy, white drifts. After all, they were as tall as her! They went tobogganing and snow shoeing, and on one, warm January morning, they built a snow family. There was a big, happy snowman with twigs for hair, which stood up in every direction. There was a short, snow woman, whose arms were bent branches which rested in a reprimanding manneron her hips. Then there was a small snow girl with a huge smile and stick arms which were spead to the sky with joy. They all had great fun building the snow family, and were surprised when Kaitie began to roll another snowball. Mulder gave Scully a quizzical look, which she returned.

"Now what are you making, Kaitie?" Scully asked, curious.

"I'm making more family." She stated, in newly acquired perfect English.

"Whose it gonna be?" Mulder questioned.

She smiled. " Not who, what!?!"

"What is it, Monkey?"

Kaitie beamed. " A doggie!"

Mulder shot a look to Scully who smiled and shrugged.

"You like puppies, hunh?"

Kaitie nodded and kept rolling.

"What kind of puppies do you like?" Asked Scully.

"Big black ones!" She giggled.

Mulder picked up Kaitie and turned her to face him and Scully.

"Put me down, please!" She stated.

"In a minute. Do you want a big black puppy, Kaitlyn? As a present? As your pet?"

Kaitie's eyes grew wide. " Really?"

Scully smiled and nodded. " If you promise to feed it and brush it and take it for walks..."

"But I'm too little..." she said miserably, hanging her head.

"No you're not. I'm not too little and neither are you. We'll take care of it together, with your dad's help. It'll be our puppy."

Kaitie beamed. " I promise! I promise! We can really get a puppy?"

Scully laughed. " Yes Sweetheart."...

And so on their wqay home from the great white north, they picked up an eight week old Black Lab, German Shepherd cross, who was a police dog's son. He was promptly named Bowser by Kaitie. Neither of her parents knew where she'd heard that name, but it seemed to fit the dog so they let it go. Though their decision to buy a dog had been on the spur of the moment, they never regretted it. As Kaitie grew older, as did Bowser, and as Kaitie's safety became increasingly threatened, Bowser became more and more protective of his "pack". Mulder loved having Bowser because he protected Kaitie and Scully, but also because he was a great companion on his early morning jogs. Scully loved Bowser because he was a great help to her, as well as Mulder and Maggie, with watching Kaitie, and because he was a friend. Kaitie loved Bowser like the sibling she'd never have... **

Scully dashed across the room and grabbed her blazer from the loveseat, then hurried down stairs. She shoved her earrings in and did one last make up check in the hall mirror, before scooping up her keys and dumping them in her coat pocket.

"Mom, Kaitie, I'm leaving!" she called out, wrestling with her pumps.

Kaitie came running into the hall, Bowser on her tale, Maggie following both of them.

"Bye Mommy..." Kaitie pouted. She had Mulder's puppy dog look down to a science.

Scully smiled. " Don't gimme that face! I'll only be gone a couple hours! Besides, you'll be able to see me! Now gimme a kiss for luck!"

Kaitie grinned and pecked her mom.

"Are you really gonna be on TV?"

Scully nodded. " You watch and see!"

She stood up and hugged her own mother.

"See you later, Mom."

"Good luck, Dana!"

Scully blew them a kiss before backing out the door, and running to the car. She opened the door, slid in, and slammed it shut behind her in one fluid motion.

"Go! We're going to be late!" She cried, as she buckled up.

Mulder reved the engine but didn't move, too busy staring at his wife.

"What?" she asked.

"You know what that burgundy suit does to me, Scully!"

She rolled her eyes. " Kiss me now, Mulder, 'cause there'll be cameras watching later!"

He did as commanded. " I'm so proud of you, Dana."

She smiled shyly, blushing slightly.

"Come on, let's go."

He pulled out onto the street and headed for the press conference...

...The place was a zoo. She'd been told that there were reporters attending from every major newspaper and magazine across the Unites States, but she'd taken it for an exageration. Now she knew it was true. There were hundreds of reporters cramming into the large room, all of them hoping to get an adequate amount of information on the first female Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Out in the hall, surrounded by security, she clenched and unclenched her fists nervously, going over her speech in her head. It was long and it wasn't hard, but it was very difficult to remember at a time when she was having to remind herself to breathe...

... Kaitie clapped as a silence fell over the room, and Maggie turned up the volume. Soon, a man formally dressed in black appeared from off camera and stepped up to the podium, turning on the microphone.

"Good afternoon members of the press. As you already know, we are gathered today to witness the formal induction of the first female into the position of Assistant Director of the FBI. So, without further ado, I pass you over to the lady herself, Ms. Dana Scully."

All the cameras flew up and flashed as a very focused, very serious version of the woman Kaitie knew to be her mom stepped on screen and up to the podium. She allowed a couple moments to pass as the camera flashes went off, then began.

"Ladies, gentlemen, members of the press, thank you for coming out today. Over the past few decades, women in our society have become increasingly involved in the workplace. Jobs that were traditionally occupied by men are now shared with keen, driven women. I fel honored to be one of the women who have stepped out of the crowd to break ground for our future generation of females. Being a woman, working in a man's world, I do not and will not demand prefertial treatment. I do not and will not use my gender as a crutch. However I do not and will not accept ignorance and disprespect for my role in the chain of commands. All I ask is to be treated as an equal. And I hope that by means of equality our society can achieve and maintain a higher quality of life. Thank You."

Maggie smiled and applauded, proud of her daughter. Kaite followed suit...

...In the back of the room, one man began to clap. He stood up and grinned crookedly at his wife, winking from across the ocean of journalists. She returned a reserved smile, as everyone cheered. Cameras flashed and hands shot up, begging to have their questions answered.

"Yes, The Washington Post?"

"Thank you, Ms. Scully. What are your policies on the employment of the visible minority?"

Scully considered for a moment. " To update the quote of a very famous man, " All men and women are created equal, whether they be of American, African, Asian, or any other decent."

"Ms.Scully, how do you plan to change the structure of the FBI?"

"I don't plan to "change" anything. I intent to "improve" our system. Over the last decade our efficiency has declined, our rate for solving unsolvable cases, plummeted. I know our agents can do better."

"Ms. Scully, do you have a daughter, and in what way do you think your current employment will affect her future?"

Scully's jaw clenched. " My personal life is of no consequence at this time."

"Ms. Scully, do you plan on making your last project, the so-called "x-files" a department which deals with paranormal and alien crimes, a larger part of the FBI?"

Scully froze. Everyone held their breath in anticipation. Her eyes skimmed across the room and rested upon a dark haired man, with beady black eyes and a prosthetic arm. He smiled.

Before she could answer his question, she felt a familiar tingling begin in her forehead, and a warm line of fluid flowed down and out her nose. Her finger shot up to catch the blood.

"Excuse me." She stated, then fled from the room, hearing startled cries behind her. However, she paid them little attention as she focused on the blood flow. The doors to the back room, into which she had just fled, burst open as Mulder came rushing in.

"Scully, are you all right?" He was scared and she could hear it.

"Yes, I'm fine. Just nervous I guess." She knew he wouldn't buy it, and neither did she.

"What if---"

His question was interrupted by the arrival of the opening speaker.

"Ms.Scully, sorry to interrupt, but the media want to know if you'll be coming back out, and if you're OK?"

Scully nodded. " Tell them I'm fine, but that I'll be happy to answer their questions at a later date."

The man nodded and disappeared through the door by which he had just entered...

...Maggie gasped as she saw the familiar trickle of blood slide over her daughter's upper lip. Tears welled to her eyes and Kaitie saw this.

"Gramma, don't cry. Mommy's all right. It's just a little blood. She'll be OK."

Maggie was forced to smile when she heard Dana's words coming out of Kaitie's mouth. She'd used those very same words when Kaitie had skinned her knee.

"Yes, she will be OK. She has to be, doesn't she?"

Kaitie nodded and went back to playing with Bowser...

...The bleeding had finally stopped, but now Scully felt weak. She hadn't felt so weak since... since a very long time ago. She didn't dare think about that time. Not now... But she knew Mulder was thinking about it.

Not a word was spoken as they went back to the car. They sat in silence for a minute, before Scully buckled up and turned to him. His eyes were dark and his lips downcast in a face she hadn't seen him put on in over five years. She suddenly felt like his partner again, like before their lives had drastically changed. She felt like she was back in 1997.

"Are we going home Mulder?"

He looked out his window, in the mirror, at the steering wheel... Anywhere but at her.

"Do you think we should?"

She hesitated. " Why wouldn't we?"

He hesitated as well. " I thought maybe we should head over to your oncologist."

She looked down at her hadns, folded in her lap, a very serious expression on her face.

"I... I'm afraid to, Mulder."

He nodded and put a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

"I know, I am too. But if it is... If it has come back, the sooner you get back into the ring and fighting, the better the chance you have of beating it again."

She nodded. "This can't happen, Mulder. It can't. What about Kaitlyn? What about my career?"

Mulder pouted. " What about me?"

She offered him a small smile. " That's my biggest and most frightening question."

Mulder started the engine and pulled out onto the street. Scully picked up her phone and called her mom, telling her where they were going. After that, no words were spoken...

...Maggie heard the key turn in the lock, and jumped up from the couch where she'd been watching a rerun of " I Love Lucy." It was after ten PM and she was more then a little worried.

She stood, hands clasped over her mouth as she waited to see her daughter come in. She cried when she did.

Scully opened the door and smiled with a great amount of effort. She then averted her eyes to the floor and slid out of her heels.

"You saw it, didn't you?"

Maggie nodded, seeing Scully's red rimmed eyes. She was crying inside, confused and frustrated, but on the outside she was hiding it well, as always.

"Dana?"

Scully nodded and hugged her mom tightly.

"It'll be all right, Dana."

"I hope so." She whispered.

But as much as either of them reassured each other, on the inside they felt no better...

... That night, Mulder woke up from a nightmare ridden slumber, only to find himself alone in bed, which was exactly what his nightmare had been about. He rubbed his face vigorously then tossed back the covers, quietly venturing out into the hall. There he found the door to Kaitie's room open, and peered in. He saw Scully sitting on the edge of their daughter's bed, silently crying. He stood outside the door watching her for a moment, before turning and heading back to bed. This battle she would have to fight on her own...

...In the morning not a lot had changed. Scully woke up early and went downstairs to cook a five star breakfast. She'd learned how to make homemade waffles from her mom, so as they baked she took in a coffee and watched the sun rise.

Kaitie woke up and came downstairs, one step at a time, a little after seven. With the scuffle of tiny feeting, she shuffled into the kitchen and came over to Scully, who smiled broadly to see her baby girl.

"Morning Mommy." She said sleepily.

Scully bent down and picked her up, suddenly fearing the day when she'd be to weak to pick up her three year old.

"Morning Kaitlyn. Did you sleep well?"

Kaitie shook her head. " No. I had scary dreams..."

She leaned in against Scully's shoulder and wrapped her arms around her mother's neck, closing her eyes.

Scully felt tears well up and kissed the top of her head, before resting her cheek on the angel soft hair that was so similar to her own.

"Do you want to tell me what it was about?"

Kaitie nodded. " Yes. You were gone Mommy. Daddy was being scary and had funny eyes. Bowser ran away and Gramma was sick. I was all alone."

Scully swallowed hard. " You know I'd never leave you, Sweetie. I love you."

Kaitie once again nodded. " I love you too. And Daddy. And Bowser. And Gramma."

It was at that point that Mulder came in, hair all askew, jaw covered in stubble.

"Something smells good..." He smiled, groggily.

Kaitie wiggled and Scully handed her to Mulder, as she kissed him good morning.

"Mommy's making waffles!"

Mulder nodded. " So I smell. Do you think she'll share?"

Kaitie acquiesced.

Scully looked at them, father and daughter, speaking so low and happily to each other. They had such a connection, that she knew she was a part of, but that they could live without. She had to believe that they'd be all right.

Mulder shot Scully a look, from which she turned her eyes... He knew what she was thinking about, just like he always did. Yesterday, after having spoken to the oncologist, they'd discussed their plans for the future. They knew they were going to have to explain the situation to Kaitie. They also knew she probably wouldn't understand. For that reason, they'd decided to take the rest of the week of, so they could do everything they'd ever wanted to do, together...

Mulder set Kaitie down and she shuffled over to her usual chair, climbing up to the table. Mulder circled his arms around Scully, and hugged her from behind, kissing the top of her head as she poured more batter into the waffle iron.

"What are we going to do today?" He whispered.

She ducked out from under his arms, and dumped a stack of streaming waffles onto a plate.

"Explain things to Kaitie..."

"'Splain what?" She chimed in.

Mulder shot Scully a look and she nodded. No time like the present.

"We have to tell you something very important Kaitie."

She set down the fork she'd been playing with and folded her hands on the table, a mannerism she'd picked up from Scully. Her parents sat down on either side of her.

"You know we both love you very, very much, right Sweetie?"

Kaitie beamed and nodded.

"And you know we'd never leave you, right Monkey?"

She repeated her prior action.

"Well, we have a small problem. Mommy's sick."

Kaitie turned her eyes from Mulder to Scully, before climbing up into the latter's lap and putting her hand against her forehead.

"Mommy doesn't feel sick."

Scully hugged her.

"I'm not sick on the outside, Kaitie, but on the inside I'm very sick. So I'm going to have to go on an adventure and live in the hospital for a while."

Kaitie looked confused.

"Will you come back?"

Scully swallowed hard, her eyes welling up with tears. She turned her face away.

"Yes, of course Mommy will come back. She can't leave us behind." Mulder contributed.

Kaitie turned back to Scully and was alarmed to see her strong mother crying. Tears sprang to the little girl's eyes.

"How long will you be gone, Mommy? I need you. Daddy does too."

Scully's voice came out sounding rough.

"Hopefully only a couple months."

Her eyes grew wide. " Months?"

She nodded.

"That's a very long time to be gone, Mommy."

Again she nodded. Mulder intervened.

"But Kaitie, what we're gonna do is this. Your mom's gonna live at the hospital and fight off the sickness, and we're gonna go visit her for a few hours every day. A month won't seem so long. You'll see."

Kaitie nodded solemnly.

"I'm scared Mommy. But I want for you to go. I want for you to fell better. I'll be brave."

Scully smiled sadly. "That's my girl."

Kaitie smiled back. " No croc-o-dile tears!"

Scully shook her head. " No. No tears." END **

Disclaimer

None of the characters you recognize are mine. Most likely they are property of Chris Carter and 1013 Productions for the Fox television network. If you don't recognize the characters, then they are mine. No infringement of any sort to anybody was intended in the making of this story. Though you could sue, imagine how many x-philes you'd lose if they could no longer fantasize over their favorite characters??

All full set of song lyrics, and parts of songs, are property of their artists and their record label. They are in no way mine, I just used them to enhance the moods in my story.

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT WAS INTENDED IN The MAKING OF THIS STORY

From: S Hunt <ibelievex@hotmail.com> Date: Thu, 22 Jul 1999 11:58:23 -0400 Subject: Confessions II - Part 4/4 Source: direct

Title: Confessions ( 11/ 11 ) Author: Sabrina Hunt < ibelievex@hotmail.com > Rating: PG-13 Classification: S/H/A Dedication: To anyone who has fought for their lives with a fatal disease and had the courage to keep trying in the face of death. Summary: Scully is in the hospital, dying of cancer, and missing her everyday life. Mulder and Kaitie have to learn to cope without her. Keywords: Told in POVs of various characters. Journal entry format. Read on ! Later dudes ! Feedback, is welcome ! < ibelievex@hotmail.com >

Confessions - 11/11 by Sabrina Hunt

** Diary of Dana Mulder ~ " O Rose, thou art sick, the invisible worm, that flies in the night in the howling storm, has found out thy bed, of crimson joy, and his dark secret love, does thy life destroy..."

January 28, 2004

Home. I can't help but think about it as I lay here, alone, in this cold, sterile room. I miss my husband and my daughter, more than anything. I miss our dog and I miss my work. I miss my life which is all too rapidly slipping by me. Though time seems to move so slowly I think I might lose my mind, it also moves way too quickly. Every second I spen lying in this bed is a second less from the rest of my existence...

My treatments began today. this time the huge machines don't seem as imposing, as intimidating. Perhaps it's because they are so familiar to me. A fact which I find extremely sad. That I should know these machines and procedures as well as the back of my hand is alarming to me, as it says a lot about my health. For over a decade I have been slowly dying. I'm not ready to go. I want to live to see my grandchildren. I want to live to see my fiftieth wedding anniversary. But most of all I HAVE to live because if I die, so will my family, very slowly.

Mulder, as much as I love you, as much as I trust you, in this matter I can hold no faith in you. Though I don't blame you for your weakness, your inability to deal with my mortality leaves a heavy burden on my shoulders. If I die, so will your spirit. We are so close, so bound to each other, that it will be so. We have a daughter though, who needs you more than anything. If you lose spirit, we lose her... I can't die now.

~~~ February 5, 2004

I'm sitting here staring at my naked hand, sadly, as I write this. They made me take off my wedding rings today. I can't believe how naked and I feel and how light my hand seems. I hate it. I never wanted to take that gold ring off. Never. I wanted to be buried with it on, having never been removed since my wedding day... I know it's absence affected Mulder. He walked in and gave me a big hug, then noticed the rings hanging on the chain of my sapphire necklace. Without saying a word he fingered it gently, smiled slightly, then set the warm metal against my clavicle again. He then kissed my ring finger and held me even tighter...

I had my first full treatment today, as well as a very long discussion with my doctor. He says my chances of surviving this aren't very good... Something like 15%. He thinks I should write my will now because he says that when my cancer metastasizes, I won't have more then a month to live. What a vote of encouragement. I began to rebute him, telling him that I had to survive, that I would survive, when my nose began to bleed profusely. How convenient. Worse then that though was the look he gave me. It was sympathetic, demeaning and patronizing... So now I really have to survive this, to prove him wrong.


February 12, 2004

Mulder brought me a newspaper today. As I feared, I am the newest scandal for the Washington Post, among others. They dug up my history and printed a front page story about, " First Female AD has Fatal Disease!". Then there's the Whisper, a tabloid none the less, which reports, " It's a man's world, Ladies." and says that I was given my cancer by a shadowy men's club to keep females from infiltrating into the club. Sadly, they're almost right. Too bad no one except Mulder reads those. I now know why so many of our x-files came from there!

I guess I knew it was coming. I could tell that the media would be all over it. Luckily Mulder has managed to keep our private lives private and Kaitie out of the harsh flash of the cameras... There's nothing to do now but to wait for my fifteen minutes of fame to pass. By tomorrow I'll be yesterday's news( Figuratively and Literally)! Gone but hopefully not forgotten...

Thinking about being forgotten, I am reminded of a poem I once read. I think it was called "At Home" and was by Rossetti. Anyway, it was about a ghost who came back to it's former home, to see if it's family was grieving, only to find them all feasting and thinking of the future... There is one upside to all this attention. At least I am now immortalized on journal paper...

"Tomorrow said they, strong with hope; And dwelt upon the pleasant way; Tmorrow cried they one and all, while no one spoke of yesterday; Their life stood full at blessed noon; And I only I had passed away; Tomorrow and today they cried. I was of Yesterday."


February 19, 2004

My spirits are considerably higher than usual today. It's Friday so Kaitie and Mulder stayed longer. They always bring me such hope when they visit. They love me no matter how sick I am. They love me no matter how much weaker and incapable of love my heart is becoming...

Kaitie brought a very special book with her today. She told me about how Mulder and herself had been doing spring cleaning. She told me she'd been to the attic for the very first time. She told me how Mulder had let her use the telescope to spy on our neighbors. ( I'm sure they appreciate it, Mulder! Better start making Bundt cakes!) She also told me that she'd found our photo albums. With the pout of a lip she'd asked me to tell her the story. And so I had. For three magical hours I relived my life with Mulder, before and after our marrigae. I relived my Honeymoon and pregnancy. I relived the birth of my beautiful daughter. ( Needless to say, it was that "chapter" that Kaitie liked best. She especially liked seeing how "fat" I was while she was still "hiding" inside me.)

...Though at the time of the telling of my autobiography the feeling was wonderful, I now wonder if it was my flashback on life. As I lay here in bed writing this, memories seep from my veins and I wonder... If veins carry our life force, and if our life force is blood, when I bleed and lose my memories, is that the end? Or do I get a blood transfusion and new memories? Is there life after death? I hope so, because otherwise my existence was a big waste of time.

~~~

February 24, 2004

Yesterday was the best day I've spent in the hospital in all my life. I'd fallen asleep the night before last, sadly realizing the arival of the next day would bring with it my fourtieth birthday. I would be spending it here, alone in the hospital... However, my previous night's angst was forgotten when I woke the next morning only to find that my room had been filled, floor to ceiling, with flowers... I'm not sure how you did it, Mulder, but it was amazing... I waited impatiently for four o'clock to arrive... Finally it came bringing with it my wonderful husband, my daughter and my mom. They brought me cake and presents and even more flowers... Mulder handed me three roses. One tall black one, one red one, and one dwarf white one. It made me cry tears I didn't think I had left in me. For the whole evening we talked and laughed, and as Mulder took a siesta by the window, Kaitie sat in my lap and I read her fairy tales... I never really realized how much I love having her near me, asking her million and one questions, until I was no longer able to answer them for her any minute of the day... I wish our lives were more like her fairy tales, though I think yesterday was the closest I'll ever come to living one.


February 5, 2004

I received the most wonderful gift today, given to me by none other than Kaitie. It's a small plaster heart with a cast of her hand in it, and her name written across the top. Around the edge of the heart, my mom had "helped" Kaitie write out a poem. It read,

" Sometimes you get discouraged,

Because I am so small

And always leave my fingerprints

On furniture and walls

But every day I'm growing

I'll be grown up someday

And all those tiny handprints

Will surely fade away.

So here's a special handprint

Just so you can recall

Exactly how my fingers looked

When I was very small."

I cried when I read it, and Kaitie gave me a big hug. She has matured so much since I've been gone. Maybe I've only noticed now because I spend less time with her, but it really seems like she's grown up before her time.

Mulder says that she's still very much the three year old she was before, but that when she visits me she's much quieter. I almost wonder if she doesn't see me as a delicate flower now, like Mulder does. I wonder if he hasn't rubbed off on her... Damn you, Mulder for making me the weak one. How can I survive this if I'm the ever tender flower?


March 12, 2004

I believe today was the worst day I've spent here yet. I ache all over and my skin is bruised and peeling from the radiation therapy. I can barely roll over without feeling nauseous... I can't help but think about how much of my life is slipping past me. In the month and a half since I've been here, Kaitie has expanded her vocabulary greatly, surprising me by using bigger words every time we speak... This fact also reminds me that in a few months she will be celebrating her fourth birthday... My baby isn't such a baby anymore... In September she'll start scholl, attending classes for half a day. My mom says her motor skills have improved. She's coloring within the lines consistently, and her letters are very straight... I miss seeing her development. She's the only child I'll ever have and I'm missing her childhood... I didn't see her nor Mulder today. I had a full treatment of radio and chemo therapy, and they don't usually visit me on these days because I'm usually too tired and out of it, and if Kaitie saw me like that, it would scare her. The last thing I want is for her to be scared of me... That would be a fate worse then death.


March 19, 2004

The weather outside is cold and grey today, raining. I can hear it pounding monotonously against the window and it's lulling me in and out of sleep... I am reminded of a poem I read sometime ago...

Yellow lights in the dark

And streets are weak with rain and men

I'd rather never have been born

Then feel the way I do again

I'd rather never see the light

Then see it through a window pane

On which I feel myself run down

In weakness with the drops of rain...

I can think of no better way to summarize how I feel. Inside my room, I feel it is raining too. All the flowers Mulder gave me on my birthday have wilted and are begging to be carried away. All of them except the single red rose which represented me. I laugh at the irony. But I hope above all hopes that that one rose is a symbol, a sign from God. I will survive.


March 26, 2004

I want to go home. I want to go home so badly it hurts. I'm beginning to lose hope that I will ever see my gorgeous house again. I can close my eyes and look out the skylight in the attic. I can feel the heat seeping out of the sun heated floorboards. I hear the crackle of the fireplace on a cold night... Mulder told me today that they'd built a doghouse in the backyard for Bowser. He's now close to six months old and he's huge. They brought me pictures, because I'm too weak to get out of bed and look out the window. They also wouldn't let mulder bring Bowser on hospital property...

I've been in the hospital two whole months now. The days move impossibly slowly and the nights which I spend with my family seem to pass with the quickness of one breath. I miss Mulder, more than anyone though. He's my strength and my weakness. That's the way it's been for a long time. I wake up longing to feel his lips pressed against mine, or simply to have his hand holding mine. Everytime I wake up, I'm disappointed again... I don't want to die without ever feeling the comforts I once knew again. If I am fated to die, then I want to be at home when I go... However, if I leave this hospital, it will be so. I will have no options left to me but to die... If I stay here though, I still hold a tiny chance of surviving. So I can't leave the hospital because departure would mean surrender and to my family, surrender would mean abandonment.


 

April 2, 2004

The Grim Reaper came to visit me today. He wore a long cloak over his green skins. Around his neck he wore a device with which he can listen to our lives. He can listen to our breath flow in and out and in and out... And never come back in. He can here out hearts whisper beneath our flesh, " I live, I live, I live, I---" He can hear and see when our bodies abandon us. He can bring us death when our bodies are weak... With an outstretched hand that looks like yours or mine he rests it on the victim and opens his mouth letting out despair like death from Pandora's Box...

My doctor told me my cander has metastasized.

He told me I have two months, at best, to live.

And so it begins, or maybe it ends. I haven't decied as of yet. Is my glass half full or half empty? I settle for a happy medium...

It is the beginning of the end.

The weeks and hopefully months that will follow will bring with them nothing but sadness. I have but a few short weeks to wrap up my life, to cross all the T's and dot all the I's. To lay down the final period. I only hope that in tying off all loose ends, it'll make my departure easier for those I leave behind...


April 9, 2004

My life has been reduced to daily struggles. Today I struggle with finding the courage to tell Mulder I'm really going now. I struggle to find the strength to shatter his illusion about my being immortal. I tried to tell him no one was immortal last time I was in the hospital. Actually, I tell him every time I'm in the hospital, and every time I survive. I survive and survive and survive because I fight and fight and fight. I want to live, but I can accept my unavoidable end. We all die, it's part of life. However, death, more specifically my death, is the only thing Mulder refuses to believe in. Just the other day we were talking about what would happen when I died ( What a lovely subject!) and right in the middle of our discussion he came up with this line... " You won't die Scully." He said it so simply with such a smile, it broke my heart to see him so deep in denial.

"Everybody dies, Mulder. No one's immortal. I'm not immortal." I replied, with the greatest care, but authority.

"You are to me." He smiled again.

I wanted to cry, to scream at him that he was making this so hard... But I also wanted to hug him and never let go. It was one of the sweetest things he'd ever said to me.

So now I sit, alone in my room again, dreading his imminent arrival.


My Sweet baby Kaitlyn Melissa,

I can hardly believe I will miss your fourth birthday. Being a doctor I know that most children don't have a memory from before their third year, so I know that you probably won't remember me. This fact alone is tearing me apart. So I am writing you this letter so that one day when you are old enough to read, you'll be able to talk to your Mom... Well, as close as you'll ever come to speaking to me. But I digress. I have but a few short lines in which to offer you a lifetime of love... I have no idea what to write...

You were a miracle to me, Kaitie. I wasn't supposed to be able to bear children, yet one day, there you were. I don't know how, but I know that had you not come along, my life would have been awfully boring. You make me laugh, you make me cry, you make me want to scream in frustration and jump right into the middle of a big puddle, just like you do, all at once. I love you so much that the thought of never seeing you again makes me physically ache. I know I won't see your first day of school, I won't give you the brids and the bees speech, I won't see you graduate or get married... But I'll always be with you...

My Mom once told me that the stars are the spirits of the dead shining down upon us, watching us from above... Now I tell you this so that one night, when you miss me terribly, as I hope you will even though it's selfish, you can look up and spot the biggest, brightest star, and know I'm not so very far away... I know it's not like seeing me personally, but just look in the mirror if you ever wonder about me. I know, and your father will agree, that we look almost identical. ( Plese don't hate me for those freckles, or those chubby cheeks!) For this reson, don't be put out by your father giving you sideways glances. My departure will be hardest on him. I know life will be hard, perhaps at times unbearable, but as long as you remain constant and don't let his erratic behavior get to you, he will be fine. He needs an anchor to reality. I was that anchor, so now I pass the torch onto you.

This above all else. Be strong and hold your head high. Don't ever let enyone tell you tht you can't do something that you think you can. Go with your instincts and trust no one but yourself and your father.

I love you now and will forever,

Goodbye Sweet Kaitie

Love,

Mom xo


Mulder.

I could have begun my letter with " Partner", "Best friend", "Lover", "Soulmate", "Husband", "Handsome", any of the above, but instead I chose your name because to me it means all that and so much more. I can't even begin to explain how you have touched me, changed, shaped my life. You make me complete, and filled with love to the point of bursting. I *love* you, so much...

My heart is breaking as I sit here writing you this letter, as I know yours will when you read it. Nevertheless, this needs to be said.

I know you've blamed yourself for all that's happened to me, and I know you carry that guilt with you, wherever you go. Don't Mulder. Please. Just let it go, and me go with it. I brought my own fate upon myself in choosing the FBI. I *chose* to stay with you in the x-files. I *chose* to put myself at risk. And given the choice again, I'd do it all the same if it meant being with you, for no matter how short a period of time...

Mulder, I dreamed of seeing our fiftieth wedding anniversary. I wondered many a night how different we'd be by then, but never did I guess that we might not hit that milestone. For a while I grieved for the times we'd never spend together. I moped and cried over something I cannot change, or believe me, I would. Now, however, I see the light, that I want to share with you, just as you have shared so much with me. I can't cry for what we'll never have anymore. Instead I cry tears of happiness for the *twelve* beautiful years I've known and loved you. And like I said, I wouldn't change a day... Except maybe that Flukeman thing.

Don't be overburdened by guilt, but be responsible Mulder. We have a daugter now who needs you so much. Give her all the love you would have given to me. Raise her and shape her the way we both dreamed of all those nights when you gave me back rubs, while I was pregnant. I know it'll be hard, but do it for her. Do it for my memory, for she is my final legacy. As long as you have her, you will always have a piece of me.

I love you. Never forget that. And we will be together again. " Evil, evil comes back as evil, but love, love is always together..." Sound familiar?

In a way, I'm glad to go. At least this way I'll never have to spend a day alone and missing you...

This is not goodbye, just until we meet again.

Forever yours,

Dana Scully Mulder

xoxoxoxoxo

~~~ ** Diary of Fox Mulder ~ " Death finds meaning in the face of a child, whose only sin was being born..."

April 30, 2004

Scully is dying. She's wasting away day by day. My beautiful, strong, enigmatic Scully is leaving. I can't stand it...

Scully would kill me if she knew just how guilty I feel. So guilty that I haven't slept in our bed since our last night together, over two months ago... So guilty that I eat maybe one meal a day, and only because I'm in the presence of Kaitie... So guilty that I wake up in the middle of the night after yet another nightmare, and dry heave for half an hour... It's worse than it was the firat time around because now I have to be responsible. I have to be a father to Kaitie... It's almost impossible. She looks so much like her mother, I have to force myself to look at her. And when I do, I want to cry.

This isn't fair. I *can't* live without Scully. I *can't* raise a child, nevermind *our* child, without her. Our baby will grow up to be a pathetic, loser, basket case like me...

I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I'm the one who did this to her. It's her blood on my hands... I should be out looking for a cure, but I can't because of Kaitie... And because Scully won't let me. As weak as she is becoming, I still can't deny her anything. She says she doesn't want to die not knowing where I am. She wants to die in my arms, her last breath being used to whisper her undying love for me... And so I stay.


May 1, 2004

I brought Kaitie in to visit Scully today. I was shocked to find a red headed Sinead O'Connor in her place. She smiled hopefully at me, rubbed her head and asked me if I liked it. I returned her smile and nodded slowly, putting Kaitie on her bed with her. For a moment I felt a deep sense of loss as I looked at her. All her beautiful red hair that I loved so much, which was practically her trademark, was reduced to a half inch fuzz around her head... Scully would be beautiful to me, no matter what, so I wasn't exactly lying when I said she looked great...

Kaitie, however, didn't take as kindly to it.

"Where's your hair? Why'd you do that?" She'd demanded, as she crawled up into her mother's lap. After a brief hug Scully'd replied,

"Because you know when you get those really big, really painful knots in your hair? Now I won't get any!"

Kaitie'd seemed satisfied by this answer, and had rubbed Scully's cranium.

"It's fuzzy! I wanna cut my hair too!"

Oh to have seen the horrified look on Scully's face when she heard those words! For a minute I almost forgot why her hair was gone in the first place.


May 8, 2004

I dreamed again last night. A dream so terrible I will never sleep again. Never. When I close my eyes I can still see it... Her still, iridescent, white form, calling to me, her arms outstretched, her mouth moving but producing no sound. She stands there in the middle of our room, in the moonlight, her white satin wedding gown and miles of flame red hair spooling out behind her and blowing out the window, down into the yard where there sits an open grave, with the tombstone I helped choose ten years ago.

"Help me, Mulder... I need you... I love you..."

The wind is her voice and it howls in my head, over and over. The same words over and over.

Then she's gone.

I never even tried to stop her, to help her.

I always wake up, drenched in sweat, discovering that I have once agin fallen asleep on the sofa, in front of the still illuminated television screen. Terrifeid, I long to run to the hospital to hold her, to know she's still alive, but I can't. I won't know until five o'clock the same night. And so I do anything to keep sleep away. I sneak upstairs and silently watch my baby sleeping, or I drink a pot of coffee... But sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I fall asleep again only to dream the dream again.


May 15, 2004

I love my daughter. Sure I all ready knew that, but I only really realized it for the first time today. I love her complete innocence, but still knowledgeable gaze. The way she seems like she knows so much more then you could ever know, but in order for her to communicate it, you have to send her into the outside world which ultimately leads to the loss of her innocence and the jading over of her previous knowledge. It's a lose, lose situation.

Luckily she still has a few months to go, before our society starts to program her mind. So for now, I enjoy watching her little, inoocent, idiosyncrasies.

She can be so much her mother's child, yet still be her own person at eh same time, though I'm not quite sure how. Maybe it's only because she's so little, but she's so much more optimistic than either of her parents... When we came into the hospital today, Scully's head was wrapped in a towel, her eyes red rimmed with blue bags underneath, her cheeks drawn in like the rest of her... I've come to recognize her suffering, no matter how hard she tries to hide it. I know she's in pain, and it kills me to see her keep her brave face... Anyway, it was painfully obvious to me that Scully really was going, but Kaitie, even tough I'm sure she knows it too, just smiled and said, " You look like a princess, Mommy! I want a crown too!" Then Scully began to cry and without tearing up too much, Kaitie hugged her as I made a tiny towel turbin on her small head. With little chubby hands she wiped away the tears and exclaimed, " No croc-o-dile tears, Mommy!"

A couple minute later she was saying it to me as well.

~~~ May 20, 2004

Today is our five year anniversary.

I can hardly believe I've been *married* never mind to *Scully* for five years! Even as she grows steadily worse, to the point where she can't sit up on her own, she's still beautiful to me... Unlike the rest of the world.

Before I knew Scully, the world was gray and monotonous. I took everyday, commonplace, sights and sounds for granted. I was interested only in the odd paranormal phenomenon. Perhaps that's why, when she came, I was so intrigued by her. She woke my senses and brought the world into focus... A type of focus I had not experienced since before Sam's abduction. It had been so long, I had forgotten what it was like to love life... She made me notice the wonderful smells wafting from the various cafes we had lunch in. She made me notice the unique beauty of the trees blowing with the wind, and their images in the reflecting pool. I saw the world again, through new eyes. Then one day, she told me she loved me... Suddenly my world was in Technicolor. I remember one time, right before our Honeymoon whe she told me that she felt like she'd been thrown over the rainbow...

That was five years ago. Now we have a beautiful daughter and a house I call home. I should be in the psychedelic color range, but my world is gray again. Without Scully, there is no light. There's no love. There's only life, a vast expance of insecurity and uncertainty that looms ahead.


May 29, 2004

Scully slipped away today. Her consciousness left her, so now she lies in a coma. They haven't put her on life support yet, though they say it will be necessary shortly.

I didn't bring Kaitie in. I tried to tell her that her Mommy was sleeping, but then had deep regrets. I can't lie to her, no matter how little she is. So I told her the truth. She was sad and we cried a bit together, but she dealt with it very well. More like a six year old than an almost four year old. She asked if Mommy was hurting and I answered honestly...

She then hugged me and said, " I love you, Daddy."

It was the first time in her short life that she came up with that on her own. Stunned, and moved beyond words, I hugged her back, then eventually seconded her emotion.

"We'll be OK, Daddy. Mommy all ready told me about dying. She said she'd come back and visit us. She said she had o prove that good ghosties were real for you!"

I had to laugh then. It sounded just like something Scully would say, in the hopes of making her death seem less final...

I want her back. I need her back, but Kaitie is right. If she does move on to a better existence, we will survive. We have to.


 

Diary of Margaret Scully ~ " Nothing is more final, nor more everlasting than the death of a loved one..."

June 5, 2004

I have to keep reminding myself that I can't die now, though I feel like I'm going to have a heart attack.

I sit here on the couch, in the sun, watching my granddaughter Kaitlyn Melissa as she colors in a coloring book, while watching an old Bugs Bunny rerun on the TV. Over the past four months we've built a bond almost as strong as that of mother and child. Though Fox ought to have been the one taking Dana's place, he and I both understand that he is uncapable of that at this time... Especially now that Dana is gone. Not just gone as in unconscious, but physically gone. You see, Dana was taken again late last night. Fox went in alone to visit her, only to find herbed empty. fearing the worst he'd questioned the staff, but no one knows where she went... As I sit here consumed by terrifying ideas of what is being done to her, Fox is out waving his gun at various officials in the hopes of reclaiming his dying wife.

I'm not sure what's worse. Having her die and having a sense of closure and release, but know she's never coming back, or having her disappear like this, and be unceratin as to whether she is gone or not...

I fear that these last events will be too much for Fox to bear, and that he will fall over the edge... Poor Kaitie really has the worst of this though because in losing one parent, she's lost both...


June 12, 2004

Fox still hasn't come home. I don't know where he is anymore. He hasn't called in three days, and I know Kaitie's starting to worry. I'm trying to carry on with our usual activities, but neither of us are putting our hearts into them anymore. I've been paying close attention to Kaitie, and I've noticed she's been drawing lots of pictures of trains... Or at least there's a train in every picture she draws...

Fox told me about all the times when Kaitie "knew" something was going to happen. He's told me about her "gift" as he calls it... I'm not sure I'd go all the way to say she's psychic, but she most definitely has a heightened awareness... Which is why I'm wondering about this train fixation. I asked her about it, but she just smiled and said very little. I would ask Fox about it if I could reach him...

If Dana could see what's become of her family, she really would die, all over again. I'm not sure how much more of this I can take. I'm desperatly clinging to the hope that she's still alive, for my own sake, and for those of Kaitie and Fox. Bill Jr. has no idea of the magnitude of what's going on and frankly doesn't seem to care. Charlie has taken up drinking and I fear he'll end up in rehab again. Fox is clinging to sanity by only one thred, his connection to Kaitie. I caught Kaitie crying to herself late last night, and she told me she missed her Mommy and Daddy. I know this is serious because Kaitie never cries. She's the tomboy that her mother once was... Dana if only you'd know that you were the keystone to our family...=

We've all come undone...


June 18, 2004

The end is nigh. Fox finally called two days ago and spoke with Kaitie. Her face lit up like a floodlight when she heard his voice. She's so sweet. She asked him when he was coming home and he said soon. She kept reminding me of that statement for three days afterwards... I told Fox about the train drawings, then barely had time to say good-bye before he hung up and dashed off to the old train yard in Virginia...

Three days later he appeared at the door, undernourished, hung-over and filthy with a couple weeks worth of stubble on his face. He warily greeted me before opening his fist to reveal Dana's rings and necklace... Then Kaitie, who had heard the doorbell despite the fact that it was four in the mrning, came rushing downstairs. she seemed to glow as she ran to her father, then wrapped herself around his legs. Upon seeing his baby his face softened and the tension drained from his body. Pulling her off his leg, he picked up his ecstatic child and held her tightly against him.

"Don't leave, Daddy." I heard her whisper.

"I promise I won't." I heard him reply.

Having been reassured, she squirmed and wiggled and pulled back a bit, then pinched her nose as she smiled and stated,

"Daddy, you stink! Bath time!"

Fox laughed and looked at me with gratitude in his eyes.

"Thank you, Mom." He said to me, kindly.

I smiled in return and told him it would be wise to heed his daughter's advice.

And so he walked upstairs, baby in arms, whispering quietly to her. And though something was still missing, the healing process had begun.


July 8th, 2004

In the pre-dawn glow, a lone figure made it's way up the steps of the large stucco house and to the front door. Within a few seconds they had retrieved a hidden key and had the door to the abode was swung open. A big black dog greeted the intruder, not disturbed in the least by the invasion.

"Hello Bowser. Did you miss me? Quiet now."

With the wag of a tail and a few hundred licks, the dog trotted back to the pool of light which was just starting to appear on the hardwood floor.

It felt so good to be home.

Dana Scully Mulder slid off her shoes and made her way to the back of the house, being careful not to step on any of the squeaky floorboards. She had long ago memorized their locations, and was pleased when she found she could remember where they were...

Once in the kitchen she set to work. Cake pans and ingredients made their way out of their usual places. Balloons were blown up and streamers strung. There was even a big box of Fruit Loops set out on the tble, a sugary nothing cereal that was usually left at the supermarket...

By seven o'clock everything was ready. then the guest of honor appeared, right on time...

Kaitie made her was down the stairs, one hadn holding the banister, the other rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. The feet on her all-in-one, purple cotton, long underwear style pajamas scuffed across the floors and back towards the kitchen. They suddenly stopped short.

Kaitlyn Melissa Mulder noticed all the balloons and decorations announcing her fourth birthday, but she really only saw one thing.

"MOMMY!!!"

Mulder was ripped from his much needed slumber by the sound of his child yelling at the top of her lungs.

"MOMMY!!!"

He groaned and rubbed his hadns over his face, groggily sitting up, wondering if he was dreaming or plagued by delusions. A moment later he wondered if was insane too. He swore he'd just heard Scully's voice, muffled by the closed wood doors of the study, in which he slept.

"Happy birthday, Sweetie!"

Deciding he had to be dreaming, he layed back down and closed his eyes...

"You're back, Mommy! Are you all better?"

"Yes. And I'm never leaving again."

As much as Mulder doubted his sanity at that point, he swung his legs off the couch and stood up, stretching. At least if he looked he'd know he was truly insane. Maybe he'd stop by the loony bin later that afternoon and sign himself in...

Quietly he pushed apart the huge wood doors and lopped down the hall. The whispering voices stopped suddenly, as they heard the slap of his big, naked feet approaching. He yawned sleepily and stretched again as he made his way past the stairwell and back towards the kitchen. He walked a few steps blindly, eyes closed to the early morning sun. When he opened them he was immediately awake...

The earth seemed to slow and fade out when he saw her standing in a beam of sunlight, child in arms. A thousand kilowatt smile slowly spread across her face and her blue eyes gleamed with laughter as she watched the form of her sleep ruffled husband...

...Her hair was red as ever and had grown back out a bit, brushing the tops of her ears in a pixie cut. She was no longer skeletal and seemed to glow, once again strong. Kaitie turned in Scully's arms and grinned at her dad who was not moving.

"It's my birffday!" Kaitie chirped, breaking the spell.

Mulder grinned.

"Yes it is. Your fourth birthday," he stated, approaching slowly, and not taking his eyes off Scully for fear his apparition might disappear...

...He looked adorable, dressed only in his rumpled, black silk boxers, morning stubble on his jaw, hair sticking up every which way...

"Why don't you go get some Fruit Loops?" Scully asked her daughter.

Kaitie grinned. " Loops!... Will you leave?" she asked, suddenly serious, clinging tightly to her mom.

"Believe me, Monkey, she's not going anywhere!" Mulder contributed, now only ten feet away from his wife.

Kaitie wiggled out of Scully's arms and ran over to the table, Bowser following her, hoping to mooch a fruity-o from her.

Mulder and Scully now stood face to face, Scully turning her head up to look him in the eyes. For a minute they just stood there, so close but not touching, communicating solely through exchanged glances, small smiles on their faces.

:: I missed you so much...::

:: I missed you too.::

:: Are you OK now?::

:: I'm fine, Mulder.::

:: Is it... gone?::

:: Completely.::

:: How?::

:: I don't know.::

:: Promise me you'll never leave again?!?::

Her eyes danced. :: I promise. I love you.::

Mulder's grin spread and he couldn't hold back any longer. In one swift motion he lifted her up into the air and held her tightly against him. Her hands went up through his thick, soft hair, then clasped at the back of his neck as they locked in a passionate kiss...

Not twenty feet away, Kaitie sat at the table, feeding Fruit Loops to Bowser while watching her parents. They were always doing stuff like that, and she assumed they always would be...

With a satisfied sigh she rolled her eyes and went back to building a tower of Fruit Loops.

END


Disclaimer:

None of the characters you recognize are mine. Most likely they are property of Chris Carter and 1013 Productions for the Fox television network. If you don't recognize the characters, then they are mine. No infringement of any sort to anybody was intended in the making of this story. Though you could sue, imagine how many x-philes you'd lose if they could no longer fantasize over their favorite characters??

All full set of song lyrics, and parts of songs, are property of their artists and their record label. They are in no way mine, I just used them to enhance the moods in my story.

NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT WAS INTENDED IN The MAKING OF THIS STORY

 

 

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