Title: Mulder's Creek: 17. It's a Girl
Author: Neoxphile
Author Email: neoxphile@aol.com
Rated: PG
Category: C
Keywords: XF/Dawson's Creek crossover. Alternate universe.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership to the characters, except those I've created, as they belong to Chris Carter and Kevin Williamson

Summary: Mulder's new sibling is born and that's not the day's biggest surprise.

Opening scene-

Mulder kisses Scully's cheek, and says good-bye as she climbs down the ladder that leads up to his room, something she hasn't done very often since they got older. Mulder watches as she walks down the road, and thinks about how unfair it is that people have to grow older and change.

Not that all change is bad, he thinks as he flops onto his bed. The changes between him and Scully are fantastic, he reflects. But still his mind gnaws at the anxiety he's shoved back as far as he can to a remote corner.

Though he would never admit it to anyone, he's become increasingly worried about his new brother or sister. A small but vocal portion of his thoughts are terrified that he won't be able to be a good brother to the child. He figures that now that he's seventeen instead of four, he should be able to protect the child from all harm, but he's not sure he can, and even less sure that he'd be able to deal with it if he can't. Nothing indicates that the baby will be in any danger, but he's strained his memory, and he can't recall any warning signs that Sam was in danger either. The closest thing to a warning in his memory was the skewed vision that he was shown by a questionable source.

Beyond that, he fears that he won't love the baby. Most of his life has been spent missing a sibling, but that hasn't taught him a thing about what it means to be an older brother. Mulder rolls over onto his side, trying to banish his apprehension and failing. What if, he keeps thinking, I can't love him or her because they're not Sam? Not missing, not lost, all but forgotten, needing to be found...somehow less deserving of a brother's devotion?

It's ok that the baby isn't Sam, he tells himself, his new mantra, it's ok...finally his mind exhausts itself and he falls asleep. His last conscious thought is one of gratitude that he seldomly lets his doubts get the best of him like this. It's May 1st.

Theme song: “Stranded” by Plumb

Saturday 9:30am, base of Mount Chocorua-

Skinner looks over his group of would-be hikers with the stern eye of a drill sergeant. Reyes doesn't notice, because every hike she's ever been on with him has started just this way, but Reed, who is standing close to Scully, looks a bit taken aback. Everyone else looks faintly amused.

"Did you put on sun screen?" he demands of Scully, Reed and Reyes, eyeing their fair skin.

"Yes, sir," Scully says, saluting him. "We put it on before we left and brought more with us, sir!" Reyes smirks, but Reed is surprised to hear Scully give Skinner a hard time.

Skinner gives her a sour look. "Does everyone have water? People tend to under estimate how thirsty they get on a hike, and the water from natural sources isn't safe to drink until it's been decontaminated."

"Everyone has a couple of bottles, Skinner," Doggett tells him. "I handed them out when we got out of the car, remember?"

"I will hold you personally responsible if anyone runs out then," Skinner says gravely.

Doggett rolls his eyes. "Ok, whatever."

Skinner points at the trail map that is posted behind glass. "It should take us two hours to hike to the mountain's summit, and once there we can have lunch and take a break. The hike back down the other side should take us somewhat less. Perhaps an hour and a half is a conservative estimate."

"How long did you estimate it will take us to eat lunch and rest?" Mulder asks, earning a glare.

Skinner opens his mouth to reply when a voice calls out, "Oh great, you haven't left yet." Everyone turns to look.

Krycek smiles broadly as he rushes up the path towards them. He's holding the hand of a vacuous looking blond who seems a little nervous. "You all know Sandy, right?"

"I think I've seen her around school," Doggett admits. No one else seems to remember seeing her before. Krycek chats loudly and excitedly to Sandy about how cool it's going to be to be on the hike. The girl looks less than convinced.

Reyes leans over and hisses into her brother's ear. "Why did you invite him??"

"I didn't!" Skinner whispers back.

As the two siblings discuss their unwanted company in hushed tones, Reed becomes even more worried when he overhears what Doggett, Mulder and Scully are talking about.

"I don't know about this, should we really be wandering around the woods? We don't have the best track record out here," Doggett says.

"Come on, Doggett. The Bigfoot didn't hurt us-"

"Bigfoot?" Scully asks, raising an eyebrow.

Ignoring the interruption, Mulder continues. "And the haunted lodge was in a completely different town. Besides, I just checked the cell phone and it works this time. "

"Good. Ever since I saw the Blair Witch Project I've vowed never to go into the woods without a phone," Doggett jokes.

Reed can't help but gawk at them. Either Skinner's friends are insane, or there's something much weirder about his new home than he ever realized. Neither possibility fills him with much comfort. Fortunately, no one notices that he's looking at them like they have two heads apiece.

Skinner gives up his attempts to reason with Reyes and looks pointedly at his watch. "I think we've wasted enough time here." He turns towards Krycek and Sandy. "Since you're already here... just try to keep up." Krycek is the only one who seems happy about the idea.

As they walk up the footpath, Scully listens to Sandy sing Krycek's praises, and finds herself thrilled that she's never had the displeasure of meeting the girl before. No wonder Krycek likes her, she thinks to herself, she's a complete idiot. She's one of those overly friendly people that tend to disarm you because they act like they know you, Scully adds to herself. Sandy tried to draw Reyes and Scully out, with talks about makeup and hair, and though they firmly but kindly ignored her, she seems too dumb to realize or be bothered by it.

Reed, on the other hand, is finding that he is having fun. Skinner and Scully's friends may well be insane, but they're entraining and they seem to like him. Reed finds himself fascinated by Scully's boyfriend, because he's never met anyone as open minded to the paranormal as Mulder.

"What about ghosts? Do you believe in those?" Reed asks him.

"Sure. Everyone here has seen one," Mulder tells him with a grin.

"There's no proof that's what it was-" Scully and Doggett object simultaneously, making Mulder roll his eyes.

"We saw one," Mulder reiterates.

"What about vampires?"

"I've never seen one of those. I suppose they probably exist though," Mulder muses.

"And aliens?"

"Oh yes. There are definitely aliens," Mulder says without elaborating, which surprises Scully.

"Is there anything you don't believe in?" Reed asks, captivated.

"There is one thing. I don't believe in politicians with people's best interests at heart. That's too far-fetched," Mulder says solemnly. Reed grins.

To Skinner's annoyance, there is dissension amongst the ranks before they are even half way up the mountain. They come to a spot on the trail that had been damaged by winter storms, and part of the damage is to a footbridge. There's no way that anyone would attempt to cross on it, because it looks like it would collapse before anyone got their entire weight on it.

Skinner looks at the bridge and immediately decides that the best course of action would be to walk along the edge of the river until they come to a spot that would be narrow enough to pass over. Almost everyone agrees that this would be sound thinking.

Krycek, possibly made imprudent by his zeal to impress his intended prom date, immediately objects. "Look, there's a nice big log that goes from one side of this river to the other. All we have to do is walk over it."

Scully looks the log over, then peers down. The log is a good six feet above the water level. "No way. We'd never get across without getting wet."

"Sure we would. It'd be easy, right Sandy?"

Sandy gives Krycek a beaming look, possibly losing a few IQ points to her admiration of his braveness. "If you think we can do it, I'm sure we can," she simpers.

Krycek leers at her. "We can do it any time you want, sweetheart." Sandy blushes prettily, and both Scully and Reyes have the sudden urge to slap some sense into the girl. But neither of them cares enough about her to bother.

"Do whatever you want," Skinner tells him. "I'm sticking to looking for another way across that won't require a balancing act. I'll see you on the other side of the river."

Krycek sneers. "You do that. Anyone with balls can follow me," he says, turning and starting to walk towards the log with Sandy in tow.

Everyone else follows Skinner without a look back. Scully whispers loudly to Reyes in an earnest tone "Is Sandy a cross-dresser then?" Reyes giggles, but Mulder looks like he's going to swallow his tongue in his effort not to laugh out loud.

They walk for fifteen minutes, then, just as Skinner predicted, they find a spot of the river that is both shallow and narrow, that they all cross over without getting so much as the soles of their boots wet. When Reed wonders aloud how Krycek and Sandy have fared, people laugh and then change the subject, which makes him wonder why they all dislike the boy so much.

Mulder spends the rest of the hike up asking Skinner "are we there yet?" at five minute intervals until Skinner barks at him to shut up. Mulder assumes a wounded look and tells Skinner that he was just trying to give Skinner a jump start with dealing with noisy offspring. Skinner snorts and tells him that fatherhood probably isn't in the cards for him, all things considered. Mulder gives him a sympathetic smile and tells him to rent The Next Best Thing; a suggestion that does nothing to improve Skinner's mood. Mulder wisely stops pestering Skinner right before they reach the top of the mountain, not wanting to give Skinner a reason to push him over the edge.

Scully looks down from the summit, and silently marvels at how small everything below looks. It's not a large mountain by any means, just over half Mount Washington's size, but it's high enough to make the buildings she can see from her vantage point look like so many monopoly game pieces. The things that are newly blooming mingle with dead foliage on dead trees, turning into a solid picture, much like the quilt Scully made for Mulder. Minus the aliens.

Reyes, though seeing the same thing as Scully, wasn't really seeing it at all. Nor did she seem to have noticed that it is very cold from the wind, and that Doggett is giving her concerned looks because she's the only one who hasn't put her jacket on. Physically there, her mind is miles away. While she has admitted to herself that she has doubts about Fowley's story, it only just hit her that perhaps she ought to confirm that Fowley is really in the danger she claims to be. The doubt in her friend's word is hard to swallow, but she does manage a faint smile when Doggett drapes a jacket over her shoulders.

They are about a third of the way back down the mountain when they hear a shrill voice, and a gruff male one answering. Scully stops for a moment. "Do you suppose that's Krycek and Sandy?"

"Well, who else could be having an argument in the middle of the woods?" Doggett asks.

"I was afraid that you were going to say that... do you suppose we ought to check on them? They're obviously not on the path and probably lost," she says with an air of regret.

Doggett and Skinner shake their heads emphatically, but sighs. "She's got a point, we can't just leave them there. Besides, this would be a good deed, and there's that karma thing. The red sox are doing well this season and every bit of good karma helps." Brightened by the idea of a sox pennant win, everyone follows Scully and Mulder in the direction they hear the voices.

Sandy, who is the only person wearing shorts, now has pink skin that clashes with her blond hair. Scattered throughout her sun burn are bleeding scratches and large welts from bug bites. She looks like she's near tears, but Krycek doesn't look like he's feeling much better. Though he isn't sun burnt and bug bitten, he is drenched from head to toe. He's nearly shouting at her as they approach. "I'm sorry! Ok, I'm sorry. This was supposed to be fun but it wasn't. Now you probably don't want to go to the prom with me ..." he trails off, giving his own version of the puppy dog look.

Sandy looks shocked and squeals, "Oh no, I'm not that mad, sweetie. I'm sorry I blamed you, but...I'm just sorry," she finishes vapidly.

"Sweetie." Mulder whispers to Scully with a smirk. Skinner decides that he ought to be the one to draw attention to the rescue efforts, so he strides over to the pair of gooey-eyed wayward hikers.

"The trail's over this way, if you're interested," Skinner says, pointing with his thumb, then turns abruptly, leaving the pair to scramble to keep up. Once they are back at their vehicles, Scully and Reyes take pity on the pair and provide a blanket and a bottle of Aloe Vera to ease their suffering.

Tuesday 6pm, The Ice House-

The light crowd at dinner surprises Skinner, but Bessie assures him that in May people start to enjoy the lengthening day and begin to eat their meals later to accommodate their daylight goals. Skinner decides not to look a gift horse in the mouth, and takes the down time as an opportunity to chat with Reed.

As they chop up vegetables, Skinner asks Reed, "Did you enjoy the hike this weekend?"

Reed half smiles. "It was fun."

"What do you think of the people Scully and I are friends with?"

"Well, Doggett seems like a bit of a no-nonsense sour puss, and if I didn't sense that Scully would take it as a mortal insult, I'd suggest that she and he had a lot in common. They fight like cats and dogs, right? Your sister is sweet, and Mulder...well, he's entertaining even if I doubt his sanity a bit. I liked them a lot," Reed says, grinning for real.

"I'm glad to hear it. They liked you too. Maybe you could hang out with us more often. It would do you good to get to know people in Capeside, since we still have two years of high school left."

"I know. I try to put my shyness aside, but...it's a hard thing to overcome. I'm outgoing, but only around people I know. It's sort of like being a living example of a paradox."

"I think people probably all have some sort of paradoxical facet to their personalities," Skinner tells him.

"I suppose. That's why a jerk can act nice in some cases...speaking of witch, I've been meaning to ask, what do you all have against that guy Krycek? I can see why you'd have reason to dislike the girl, since she seems like she's been swimming in the shallow end of the gene pool, what with that sickening hero worship thing she was pulling the whole hike, so she was very obviously annoying, but...well, why don't you guys like him? He seemed rather innocuous."

"He's subtle, I'll give him that," Skinner admits. "You'd have to get to know him a little better to figure out why he's so off-putting. He's the epitome of sleaze. Some people can be nice to you then stick a knife in your back, you know? He's like that, which grates on people's nerves. I swear to god that guy is going to be a congressman when he grows up, he's already perfected the art of being pleasant to people to when it suits him and when it means that he can get something he wants from them."

"So I should take this as a warning to avoid him?" Reed gently teases.

"Definitely. Most definitely," Skinner tells him as he dumps the chopped carrots into a waiting bowl.

7pm Witter home-

Doggett finds himself doing something he's done but rarely: knocking on his brother's door. Kersh has an apartment above the garage, and Doggett is usually content to leave him be, but his vow to get to know his brother nibbles at his conscience.

"Oh, it's you," Kersh says by way of a greeting as he opens the door. "Come in, would you? You're letting in the black flies," Doggett doesn't see any flies, so he shrugs as he walks in.

"What did you want?" Kersh asks, getting right to the point.

"Oh, to talk to you," Doggett hedges.

"It better not be about doing something 'as a family' when Gretchen gets home. I've already gotten enough of that from Mom. Why she would ever want to do something with our older sisters when not practically required to by law on federal holidays is beyond me," Kersh grumbles.

Doggett holds up a placating hand. "Trust me, I'm the last person who would urge you to take part in something like family togetherness. I'm still trying to figure out if our nieces and nephews are really one hundred present human, and not the result of some sort of hybridization with apes gone awry. Or maybe our sisters just married Neanderthals, that could account for it too, we see their husbands so rarely that it's hard to tell... Anyway, I wanted to talk to you about you."

"This should be good," Kersh says, nearly rude. "What about me?"

"I wanted to know if you could tell me...why you decided to be a cop."

"I don't know, Doggett. I don't recall ever deciding."

"You mean Dad told you to be one?" Doggett asks.

"No, nothing like that. I mean, I always thought that I was going to be a cop when I grew up. I guess I took it for granted that I was going to grow up and do the same thing as Dad."

"And now we get to the heart of the issue...You talk to Dad a lot, so maybe...Dad made a comment to Mulder about maybe his girlfriend could go to the police academy the same time I do. Does he really expect me to be a cop too?"

"I don't think so, Doggett. I know it would make him happy if you decided to become one too, but I don't think he actually expects you will. Hell, I don't think he had that sort of expectation for me, and I always told him I wanted to become one. If you're worried about disappointing him by doing something else, you shouldn't. As long as you grow up to do something responsible and productive, he'll be happy."

"So I guess ecco-terrorist and roadie for Ozzy Osborne are both out," Doggett jokes, finally feeling better.

Wednesday 4pm, Bentley Playground-

Alexander shrieks joyfully as the swing begins to climb again in its upward arc. He claps his hands against the side of the toddler swing and demands "Higher push!"

Scully reminds him to hold onto the swing and is rewarded with more shrieks as she pushes him even higher. Mulder watches the rise and fall of the swing, and tries to remember when he was so small that he himself fit into the bucket shaped swings meant for the very young. Though he fails to remember that, he does vividly remember his own love of swings as a small boy. One of his proudest preschool accomplishments, on the scale of tying his own shoes and learning to whistle, was figuring out how to pump his legs to make himself move on the swing. It felt like flying, he thinks dreamily.

Amused by the far away look on his face, Scully calls over to him, "Penny for your thoughts?"

Mulder gives her a sheepish look. "I'd be over-charging you. I was just thinking about how much I loved swings as a little kid."

Scully looks at the full-sized swings on the swing set. "So climb on to a swing, then."

"Oh I don't know ..." Mulder says giving the swings a doubtful look.

Scully turns to her nephew. "Wouldn't it be silly if your aunty and Mulder went on the swings too?"

"Yes!" the boy shouts. "You swing!"

Scully turns back to Mulder. "You wouldn't want to disappoint him, would you?" she asks, giving Alex a big push. She then plops into the swing next to Alexander.

Mulder grins in spite of himself, and takes the swing next to her. "So Scully...what's it like having a baby in the house? I don't really remember ..."

"Much like these swings, it has its ups and downs. Babies are cuddly and sweet some of the time, and it's fascinating watching them turn into real people instead of the helpless beings they are at birth. The real fun starts when they start to walk and talk. On the other hand they are loud and demanding, and keep you awake at the worst of times. In a way it's sort of like living with any other person, except they're a lot shorter and you can't win arguments with them. Never argue with a toddler, Mulder," Scully says as she swings.

"Your aunty is silly," Mulder remakes to the little boy, getting a giggle of agreement from him.

Thursday 5pm, Lindley home-

Reyes takes a shuddering breath in a failed attempt to calm herself then raises her fist and firmly knocks on the door. Grams answers the door and smiles when she sees that it's Reyes. Reyes' heart breaks a little, because she suddenly realizes how alone Grams is without Fowley around, and that she hasn't given the woman a thought for months.

"Oh, hello. How have you been, Reyes?" Grams asks, looking pleased to have a visitor.

"Fine. And you ma'am?"

"Never better. My friend Mr. Brooks and I have been keeping busy, with bingo and going to museums. Activity keeps you young you know." Grams smiles. "What can I do for you today?"

"I've been put in charge of gathering candid pictures for an insert that's planned for the yearbook. I we get everything to the publishers this week, they'll print it up and we can pass them out with the yearbooks in June. I was wondering if you had any pictures of Fowley on the trip with her parents?" Reyes says exactly what she's been mentally rehearsing for days.

"Of course, dear. Let me go get one," Grams tells her, then goes up stairs.

Reyes taps her foot softly but nervously as she waits for the woman to return. Since she didn't really expect that there would be any pictures, every second becomes more anxious. Grams starts talking to her as she walks down the stairs. "It's fortunate you came today, because this only arrived here yesterday afternoon. No note from Fowley, she has never been one for writing, but her parents claim she's having a good time," Grams finishes speaking just as she hands Reyes the picture.

Reyes looks at the picture wordlessly. "Thanks."

"That's what you wanted, right?"

"Oh yes. I'll return it as soon as we get it back, ok?"

"Sure. Or you can give to Fowley yourself when she returns in June," Grams says pleasantly.

"Ok, thanks," Reyes says, managing a weak smile, slipping the photo into her backpack.

As soon as she gets home, Reyes pulls out the picture out and stares at it. The back drop is the Eiffel tower, and banners visible in top of the picture make it obvious that the city was in the middle of celebrating Valentine's day. Fowley, flanked on either side by the man and woman who tore her away from Gram's home two days after Christmas, smiles at the camera. And she's a slim as the last time Reyes saw her.

Reyes shakes her head in an effort to clear it. By Valentines Fowley was supposed to be nearly seven months pregnant, but in the photo she clearly isn't. After pondering that impossibility for a moment, Reyes realizes there's only one place she can turn, and reaches for the phone.

"Lone Gunmen e-zine, how can I help you?" Langly's voice asks her.

"Hi, um, it's Reyes. I know you guys are able to do all sorts of useful things...do you think you could find out if a picture was real and where an e-mail originated?"

"Yeah, sure, no problem. Why don't you bring the photo over after school tomorrow? While you're here you can log onto your e-mail from one of our computers, ok?"

"Ok," Reyes says, getting a headache. Every time a she wonders if she's being lied to or if Grams is the one being tricked, her head hurts worse.

Friday, 1am, Leary home-

Mulder wakes up to go to the bathroom and rubs his eyes with his fists. The hallway light is on, which is unusual for that time of night, since his parents habitually go to bed even earlier than he does. At first he wonders if his mother has gone into labor, but since there's no air of panic or frantic activity, he quickly decides that it's probably not the case.

After he leaves the bathroom he becomes aware of his parents' low voices. Feeling as though he's doing something wrong, he can't resist creeping up to their door so he can listen to what they're saying. Mulder presses himself against the door frame and listens hard.

Mrs. Leary sounds worried. "Are you sure that everything is going to be ok?" she asks her husband.

"Gale, we're about to get everything we've ever wanted. Our dream is going to come true. You'll see, after this our lives will be perfect."

"Oh, Mitch, I want to believe you, but...it's been so hard waiting."

Mulder hears his father's low laugher. "It won't be long now. You'll see, it will all be worth it." Mulder imagines that his father touches her belly as he says it. Mulder yawns and walks back to his room with a happy look on his face.

Friday, last period, Capeside high-

Mulder doesn't notice that the teacher takes a phone call, because he's concentrating so hard on his test. He didn't get enough sleep the night before, because it took him a while to fall asleep again after his spying, so completing it is taking more of an effort than he'd normally have to make. Finally, he checks over the paper and gets up to hand it in five minutes before the bell rings.

His teacher looks up at him and says "I didn't want to interrupt you during the test, but I was asked to send you down to the office when you finished."

Mulder clutches his pass and walks down to the office, hoping that his dad is there to pick him up. To his disappointment, the office is empty save only the secretary. The woman looks up at him and smiles, though. "You're Mulder, right?" she asks him and he nods. "I have a message here from your dad, ok? He said that your mom went into labor this morning, and he's sorry not to have called sooner, but he knew you had a big test today. And while he wants you to come to the hospital once school gets out, he'd prefer you didn't drive. Instead he's arranged for Sheriff Witter to come and get you."

"Thanks," Mulder says, thinking that his father is probably right: he'd be too nervous about getting there on time to drive safely, and since he's only had his license for six weeks, he hasn't had a lot of experience driving while under pressure. And, he adds to himself, since I didn't drive here, it would take all that much longer to go home and get a car.

"The final bell is going to ring any minute now, so you can go to your locker now then wait out front for the Sheriff if you like," she tells him kindly.

Mulder takes her advice and, though it seems other wise to him, has a very short wait for the Sheriff who pulls up in his cruiser. Mulder hops in back. "Mulder, this better be the only time I ever see you back there," sheriff Witter says gruffly, but Mulder knows he's joking. The man has been friends with his father for almost as long as he can remember, so both men treat the boys like their own sons.

"You've got it sir. I'll get Doggett to bail me out of trouble before it comes to that," Mulder rejoins, and the older man cracks a smile that Mulder can see from the rearview mirror.

"So, Mulder, are you looking forward to being a big brother?"

"Sure," Mulder says, not bothering to mention that he's been one most of his life.

"Do you have a preference for a baby brother or baby sister?"

"Uh... I sort of hope it will be a boy. The age difference is going to make things strange enough, but at least with a brother I'd have some clue as to what he's thinking."

"Yeah...God knows Kersh was thrilled when Doggett was born. He was scared he was going to have another sister," the sheriff says with a chuckle. Mulder tries to picture Kersh being thrilled about something.

2:25pm, LGM HQ-

Langly greets Reyes at the door a few minutes after school gets out, and explains that Frohike is away. She nods like she wondered where he was, and tries not to babble nervously as the older boys examine the photograph.

After several minutes of looking at it through magnifying glasses and testing it by other means using a computer program he doesn't explain, Byers looks up and says, "I'm about 80% sure that this is an authentic picture. It doesn't seem to have any of the telltale minor errors in it that'd make it likely to be computer altered, since it's so hard to make things match up perfectly on a pixel by pixel error. I know someone I could send it out to make sure that it is, though, if that would make you feel better about it."

Byers looks at her face and gets the feeling that she's not going to feel better either way. For a moment he wishes he knew if she wanted the photo to be real or not.

Reyes is about to make a noncommittal reply when Langly waves them over. He's been trying to figure out where the e-mail she's been getting have been originating from. Reyes chose the first message from FLindley to have them examine, since it seemed to be the one that would present the older boys with the least to be curious about. "I think I've got it."

"Good. What can you tell me about it?" she asks him

"Well, first off I got the location. It was sent from right here in Capeside."

Reyes feels like she's been kicked. "Can you tell who sent it, though?" she asks, trying to keep her emotions in check.

"Yup, sure. Just let me ..." Langly types rapidly on the computer. "I'm just hacking into the customer service logs of the ISP provider. Don't worry, they won't even know we've been here...I think," he continues. "Ok, got it."

"Who is it?" Reyes asks, her composure starting to slip.

"The customer's last name is Morgan. They live at 313 Terrence Green."

Reyes sits down heavily, landing in a beanbag chair. Langly gives her a concerned look, but doesn't say anything to her. Morgan, Reyes thinks. Spender Morgan. Taking a shaky breath she thanks Byers and Langly.

"Are you ok?" Byers asks her as she's about to leave.

"Yeah, sure. I've just gotten a nasty shock is all."

"Well, take care of yourself ..." Langly says, wondering what exactly she had just found out. Something obviously more profound than we'd be lead to believe from the rather innocuous e-mail and picture.

I'll never figure girls out, he tells himself with a shake of his head.

Byers watches her from the window and wishes that she would have stayed long enough to get over her surprise. If anything bad happens to her because of this, Doggett is going to kick our asses, he thinks mournfully.

2:35pm, Capeside hospital-

The cruiser barely has time to park before Mulder hops out. Mulder rushes through the hospital, but tries to slow down when he is glared at by a nurse. On his way up to the maternity ward he passes another nurse and waves: Though she doesn't seem to recognize him, she was one of Scully's nurses in February. He wanders to a couple of dead-ends in his haste, then it finally occurs to him to look at the signs, which he does rather sheepishly. From then on he's doing a better impersonation of someone who knows where they're going.

He skitters to a stop at the nurse's station and talks to the nurse, a friendly looking middle-aged woman, there. "Hi, I'm looking for my mom, Gale Leary."

The nurse smiles. "You must be the big brother. She's in room number five."

Mr. Leary must have heard Mulder coming, because he steps out into the hallway just as Mulder reaches the room. "There you are, Mulder. Did Sheriff Witter give you a ride?" Mulder nods. "Good. I'm sorry I couldn't come and get you ..."

"Did I miss it?" Mulder asks excitedly.

"Unfortunately yes, but not by much. Just an hour or so. 8 pounds three ounces and as a healthy as a horse. Your mom and the baby are in the room," Mr. Leary says with a smile.

For a moment Mulder is disappointed, but then he cheers up; he's avoided hours of sitting around in the lobby. "What is it? A boy or a girl?" he asks excitedly.

"Why don't you ask your mom?" Mr. Leary suggests, continuing to stand in the doorway once Mulder passes him.

Mulder tries to calm himself, and walks quietly into the room, making a beeline for his mother's bed. He thinks she looks tired, but serene. Mulder's eyes are on the dark-haired bundle in her arms. "How are you, Mom?" he decides to ask first, forcing himself to look up at her instead of at the baby.

"Physically I've felt better, but I've seldom been happier," she says, sounding as though she means it.

"Do I have a brother or sister?" Mulder asks, his excitement finally bubbling over.

Mrs. Leary gently places the baby in his arms. "I'd like to introduce you to your brand-new brother, Price Willem Leary."

"Price," Mulder breathes, looking intently at the baby he's holding; the weight of the baby makes him seem more real to Mulder. The infant opens his rosebud mouth and yawns at him. Mulder's heart melts. All his doubts about being able to love a new sibling evaporate instantly.

"Price is a Welsh name," Mrs. Leary says a few moments later, holding her arms out for the baby. Mulder reluctantly hands him back.

Mrs. Leary's face suddenly gets a strange expression on it, one that Mulder has never seen before. She's looking behind him at something he can't see. "I'd also like you to meet your sister," she says very softly.

Mulder spins around and sees someone standing in the shadows. When she steps forward he can see that she looks much as he imagined she would at almost thirteen. Her long brown hair is in a braid, though, and he never pictured that; and though he knew from pictures that her eyes look like his, he finds it startling to look into eyes identical to his own. She gives him a tentative smile, which he knows he should return and would if he wasn't completely in shock.

Everything starts to go gray around the edges, and he's incredulous that he seems to be on the verge of passing out, something he valiantly fights against. I can't faint like some delicate southern belle who has gotten too excited, he rages at himself, even as his knees buckle and he finds himself involuntarily sitting heavily in a nearby chair.

He can barely hear his mother's soft voice, but later will distinctly remember her saying, "We got her back, Mulder. Samantha is finally going to come home."


Produced by CC, KW and Neoxphile

< Voice Over>

This episode of Mulder's Creek featured music from:

Home Town Hero ("Questions")

6Gig ("Tincan Experiment")

Jack Johnson ("Drink The Water")


The Pixies ("Gouge away")

Stay tuned! Mulder's Creek will return with a new season this summer.

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