Title: Consolation
Author: Angela W.
Written: September 2000
Category: MSR/Religious Themes
Rating: PG-13
Timespan/Spoilers: Takes place a few days after "Requiem". Major spoilers for that episode and minor mention of events from other eps.
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me. They are the property of Chris Carter and 1013 Productions.
Feedback: If it's nice or contains *CONSTRUCTIVE* criticism, feedback is valued.

Summary: Scully talks over her unplanned pregnancy with her priest and her friends.

Note: Major thanks to my friend and fellow fanfic writer, Andrea. She was the one who came up with the premise of this story. She gave it to me after it didn't work out for her.

Dana Scully took a deep breath and entered Father McKay's office.

"Hello, my dear," the kind, elderly priest said. He had helped Dana through so much these last years. Her battle with cancer and her battle with her own doubts about her faith. It was largely due to his help, she felt, that both battles had been won. He had also tried to explain the strange visions that had appeared to her a few months after Emily's death. Now the news she had to share with him was of a happier nature but still might cause him a bit of pain.

"Hello, Father," she replied.

"You said on the phone that you wanted to come in for confession and counseling," he said gently. "Since we're the only ones here, it seems silly to move into a confessional for the first part, but we can do so if that's more comfortable for you."

"This is fine, Father," Scully replied. She knew that most non-Catholics still pictured "confession" as the way the sacrament had so often been portrayed in movies; with the priest on one side of the grill and the anonymous penitent on the other. While that form was still offered and was one she sometimes still availed herself of, it had been perfectly permissible from the time Dana was in her late teens for confession to take place face-to-face.

"Bless me Father, for I have sinned," Scully murmured.

"What is this sin, my child?"

"I'm pregnant," Scully replied softly.

"Being pregnant isn't a sin, Dana. It's a gift from God," he pointed out.

"I know, but I'm not married. I had sexual... knowledge of a man outside of marriage," Scully stammered.

"I see," Father McKay said gently. "This man...is he married?"

"Oh, no, Father," Scully quickly replied.

"I presume that there were no other...extenuating factors? That it's not a matter of rape, or incest or a teenage boy not yet old enough to make a mature, fully informed decision?"

Scully smiled briefly at the thought of Mulder being anything less than mature. "Nothing of that nature, Father. It was just a case of two unmarried adults making a mutual decision to make love."

"Well, Dana, as I'm sure you know, the church places a high value on the sanctity of marriage and the need to reserve sexual intercouse for marriage. But what is more important, at the moment, are your plans for yourself and your child. Have you told your partner about your pregnancy?"

"How did you know it was my partner?" Scully asked, surprised.

"What other word could I use to describe him?" Father McKay asked, puzzled.

Scully smiled as she realized why they were both confused. The priest has used the word "partner" to mean "sexual partner"; a euphemism for "lover". But Scully has responded to the word as she always had; in terms of her work as an F.B.I. agent. Well, in this case, both her "partners" were the same man.

"I'm sorry, Father," she explained. "It's just that my" - she couldn't bring herself to use the word "lover" in front of a priest, so she substituted, "my baby's father is also my work partner. My partner in the F.B.I. His name is Mulder. Fox Mulder."

"Why, I met him, did I not?" Father McKay inquired.

"During your stay in the hospital, when you were fighting cancer?"

"Yes, Father."

"Well, now that we've cleared up the confusion over semantics, let's get back to my orginal question. Have you told...Agent Mulder...that you're expecting his baby?"

"I can't, Father. You see, he's on an undercover assignment for the F.B.I. I didn't find out about my pregnancy until after he'd...left. There's no way I can contact him and I don't know how long he'll be gone. I don't even know, for sure, *IF* he'll ever come back. It's a...dangerous assignment."

"I see," said Father McKay.

"I suppose this is a somewhat...unusual situation," Scully sighed.

"Not as unusual as you might think," he replied. "I dealt with it several times back during the Vietnam War. Young girls would give in to their passion during their soldier-boyfriend's last night of leave. By the time they found out a baby was on the way, there was often no way to contact the father."

"I plan to keep my baby," Scully said.

"I assumed you would," the priest replied. "While it is never a sin to place a child for adoption, 'tis never a sin not to, either. What is important is that you do not establish a pattern of sin in your relationship with your baby's father. Once he returns, the two of you must decide whether you wish to marry or remain celibate. Either is an acceptable moral decision. What would not be morally acceptable is to raise your child in an atmosphere where an on-going sexual relationship outside of marriage was condoned."

"I...I think he'll want us to get married," Scully answered softly. "He doesn't share my beliefs, but he's always respected them. I think he'll be happy about the baby, too, but it's difficult to know for sure."

"Agent Mulder seemed to care for you very deeply when I met him during your hospital stay," Father McKay said. "While marriage is certainly not the solution to every unplanned pregnancy, a child conceived by two adults in their 30s who have known each other for several years and have already developed bonds of trust and friendship would seem to be a situation where marriage is the natural next step."

"I hope so, Father."

"Dana, for your penance I want you to say ten Hail Marys and spend some time in prayer, contemplating the sacred gift of human sexuality and parenthood. More importantly, my child, this is a time to place all your trust in God. The road ahead will be difficult for you; more so if your. . .partner. . .is gone for an extended period. Don't lose your faith."

"I won't, Father."

After Scully has spent some time in prayer at the church, performing the penance the priest had required, she walked slowly out into the early autumn sunshine. She was so thrilled to be pregnant, but she felt so incomplete without Mulder. When she had told her mother about the baby, Maggie's reaction had been much the same as Father McKay's. Mostly happiness, mixed with a tinge of disappointment that a woman who had so recently returned to the roots of her faith had given into temptation the first time it arose.

Both Father McKay and Maggie had assumed that Mulder would be happy, even eager, to marry her once he found out about the baby, but Scully herself wasn't so sure. Mulder wasn't a particularly conventional man. Still, she wouldn't be completely happy if she and Mulder raised their child while they were, as it used to be so quaintly put, "living in sin" with each other. Scully would never, under any circumstances, deny Mulder access to his child. But, when he returned - please, God, let it be "when" not "if", she prayed - and once he'd recovered from his abduction experience, she'd have to give him a choice.

Either they got married or they went back to the way things used to be; partners and friends, but no longer lovers. Would he be happy at the news that he was about to become a father, she wondered? Once, years ago, he had made a remark which indicated he saw children as part of his future. About a year after that, he had jokingly asked her "Marry me?" while they spoke on the phone. But when, a few months later, she had attempted a serious discussion of their future - spoken of her longing for a house, a child, a dog, a husband - he had brushed her off with the insistance that running around the country chasing aliens was a "normal life".

Was it just, perhaps, that he didn't want "settle down" with her?

Scully decided to make one more step before heading home. She'd told her mother and Skinner of her pregnancy while she was still in the hospital and she didn't intend to make an announcement to all and sundy anytime soon. But there were three more people who had a right to know.

"Guys, it's me," Scully said, tapping her foot outside the Lone Gunmen's lair.

"Scully, come in," Frohike said. "What are you doing here? We didn't even know you were out of the hospital yet!"

"Shouldn't you be, um, resting or something?" Langly asked.

"I'm going to go home and take a nap in just a bit," she replied. "There's something I want to tell you guys first, though."

"Does this have to do with why you fainted?" Byers inquired.

"Yes, it does. By rights, Mulder should have been the first person to know this, but he's not here and I've already told Skinner and my Mom. So I thought you guys should know, too. I'm pregnant."

Frohike looked stunned, Byers looked thrilled and Langly merely looked confused.

"You mean," Langly said slowly, "that ova of yours we found several years ago was viable? And Mulder, um, helped so you could attempt an in vitro fertilization?"

Scully giggled. "It wasn't quite as...technical... as that, Langly. Apparently the ova in that vial wasn't my entire supply."

"You mean you and Mulder actually did it?" Frohike squawked.

As Scully blushed bright red, Byers stepped in.

"Would you two quit? You're embarrassing Scully! She got pregnant in the normal, time-honored, low-tech way, okay! With Mulder! If you guys need a crash course in the birds and the bees, I'll be happy to explain it to you later!"

Scully smiled softly. "Thanks, Byers. I just wish there was some way I could contact Mulder. I'm so happy about the baby. It worries me that he might not feel the same."

"He'll be thrilled, Scully," Byers said with quiet assurance.

"How do you know?" Scully inquired.

Byers sighed and gestured for Scully to sit down. "Okay, he made me promise not to tell you this, but under the circumstances, I think he'd want you to know. Mulder and I had a conversation several weeks ago. Based on your news today, I'm going to assume it was probably shortly after the time you and he first became intimate."

"Where were we?" Frohike asked.

"You and Langly were playing some computer game," Byers said. "Mulder and I were having a conversation."

"What did he say?" Scully asked.

"Well, I was actually grousing about Suzanne. You know, how I'm convinced she's the love of my life - how I have dreams about us settling down and raising a family together - but every time I find her, I lose her again. Then Mulder said something about "Well, at least I haven't lost Scully. And I hope someday I can bring up the subject of marriage without scaring her off. But the family thing; we're never going to be able to do that." He went on to explain how he knew it was worse for you than it was for him, but how nobody ever seemed to think that losing his chance for fatherhood could bring almost as much sorrow to a man as losing her chance for motherhood could bring to a woman."

"Oh, God, Byers!" Scully choked out, tears streaming down his face. "I never knew. I never even thought about..."

"And he didn't want you to," Byers said firmly. "That was the one thing he was most afraid of. That you'd feel that you infertility was a burden to him and leave him out of some quixotic feeling that he'd be better off with a woman who could bear him children. He didn't want any other woman, Scully. Only you. But the fact that he's going to get to have it all - you and a baby - is going to thrill him beyond anything he might discover in outer space."

The End

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