Title: Frohike's Baby
Author: Kristina
Written: September 2008
Feedback: schmkb27@msn.com
Rating: PG
Spoilers: DeadAlive, Empedocles
Keywords: MSR, Will
Disclaimer: Clearly I don't own them, or most of S9 wouldn't have happened. I promise to play nice and give them back in similar condition when done.

Summary: Scully carefully guards her secret as Mulder rejoins the land of the living, until it blows up in everyone's face when Mulder has some issues doing the math. Fill in the blanks piece from DeadAlive/Empedocles.

Notes: Time line notes follow this story.

Thanks: E, thanks for keeping me on task... mostly.

I lay covering his body partly with mine, my hand clutching his. My expanded stomach pressed into the side of the hospital bed, tucked out of the way the best I can manage these days. I just can't bear to leave him, my heart may break. What if something should happen, if I should step away and he should slip away again, if he would die alone?

I can't let him die alone.

Again. And yet this position is extremely uncomfortable, but I will not move. I will not. All the times I'd stayed at his bedside before, I didn't have his child to contend with while waiting. The baby within me gives a roll and a frustrated kick to his cramped confinement. Perhaps his baby is what woke me, frustrated as always, about the lack of space. It's then I feel Mulder stir. Perhaps it was his fluttering movements, not his baby's that woke me after all.

"Mulder?" I say with an uneasy pause. His eyes flutter open before me. "Hi,"

I whisper, afraid to break the spell.

"Who are you?" he deadpans. My heart flops, flutters and pauses, only to instantly flutter back to a frenzied start. The baby also leaps inside of me. The voice of his father, paired with my emotional jolt, has startled the baby as well. Much to my relief his face breaks into a slight smile.

"Oh my God.... Don't do that to me!" I gasp and hold onto him tightly.

My heart races, pounding in my chest. Adrenaline pounding in my veins, coursing though our baby's veins as it squirms in protest to the position and my surge of chemical stress. "Mulder do you have any idea what you've been through?" I look up and ask. Tears shining in my eyes.

"Only what I see on your face." He sighs. I stroke his hand, forcing my breaths even and deep. The baby settles slightly, before planting a swift kick or punch on my bladder. How that kid can have such perfect aim, is anyone's guess. I suck in a breath, now I have to pee again.

"Did anyone miss me?" he asks, I laugh in relief and kiss his shoulder, spotting Doggett briefly in the doorway before he slips off.

"Why don't you rest Mulder?" I soothe, watching his eyes struggle to stay open. The small banter has exhausted him. "I'll go call everyone."

His head gives a gentle nod. It's only after I'm sure he's sleeping again that I rise. A soft groan escapes my lips as I stretch my back. My eyes quickly dart to his, and relief washes through me as I realize he's not awoken from my protests. I'm not quite ready for him to see what I carry around these days.

In the lobby, I make calls. Skinner first, then the others. I talk quietly, as if six floors above me he may hear something I'm not ready for him to absorb. The same message, almost, to all of them. Yes he's awake. If you'd like to see him you can come briefly tomorrow. We need some time today. All seem to accept this. All seem to know what lies ahead of Mulder and I.

It's after this my stomach growls and the baby kicks me again. Our son. DNA doesn't lie. I did the tests myself, never letting the vial of fluid my doctor removed from my sight. It's our baby, no hybrid, no alien, and not from IVF. Our miracle. How do I even begin. Gee Mulder, remember how I don't have ova anymore?

Remember how the IVF failed? I promise he's ours anyway.> I must find food.

Quickly I make my way to the hospitals cafeteria. It's a simple meal, but one that will tide us over. A carton of milk, chicken breast, some mashed potatoes, and a banana. Potassium is good for the muscle cramps, my doctors voice chimes in. I eat in silence at the table while staff buzzes quickly in and out. I know I should hurry back, half of me can't believe I actually sat down in here with my food. The other half dreads returning to his room. The baby begins to hiccup, and with each jump his foot jams into my ribcage. Not the most pleasant experience, but cherished in its own right because of the miracle of it all. I finish my last bites, and take my milk along.

Waiting for the elevator back up to his floor I swish my hips gently back and forth. The tiled squares blur together momentarily, thankfully most of the morning sickness has passed. Whoever told me it would past with the first trimester, clearly lied, nausea has followed me the entire time. Rocking our baby to sleep with my back and forth movements calms us both. His hiccups seem to lessen and I'm treated to a few more wiggles before he seems to settle back to sleep. Just in time for the elevator door to ping open. I step aboard and punch the button.

Making my way into his room again, the noise from climbing into the chair beside the bed, stirs him. I find myself back into the position I was in earlier and my back protests slightly.

"Scully?" he whispers, looking down towards me. "Hi, again." I smile with a shaky voice. "So why don't you fill me in?" he asks. Lifting a finger and twirling it in a small circle. The same way he often motions me to spill the facts on a case or the results of a meeting.

"Mulder, I'm not sure you're ready for all this. Or where I'd even start." I begin. A tear creeps into the corner of my eyes. He reaches up to wipe it away, and I turn my face from him, burying it in his chest. I don't know how long I sob. I don't know how long he strokes the back of my hair. "My only defense is the hormones."

I mumble and I lift my face and look at him. The confusion that laces his face leaves me unsure if he's actually heard what I mumbled.

"How long was I gone?" he asks in a shaky voice. My eyes met his. His bore into mine, demanding. It seems he will not wait for the story to come another day.

"Gone or buried?" I ask, my eyes pleading with him not to panic. "Which came first?" he whispers. "Gone."

With his nod I continue. "Mulder, when you left with Skinner I was sick, remember?" Panic washes his face, but the shaking of my head quickly washes the idea of cancer from his mind and I continue yet again. "Mulder you were missing for nearly 15 weeks. Then... I. I... you were dead,"

I whisper as my voice cracks and more tears trickle down my cheeks. He doesn't move to wipe them this time; my eyes tell him not to, that I need this release, not the comforting. His eyes understand and seem to soften under their own moisture.

"And buried?" he asks, his voice still a hoarse whisper of exhaustion.

"We thought you were dead. We all did. When we put you in the ground...." My voice is lost yet again, as I cover my mouth. My back is starting to throb again, but I can't bear to move. Not yet. "Mulder, I died with you. How I got up again, well. I'm not sure how to tell you that."

I search his hazel eyes, and watch with amazement as the brown flecks there sparkle with encouragement and he nods for me to continue. "Mulder we buried you almost 3 months ago. Then there was this week, with Billy Miles being pulled from the ocean. Then they pulled you from the grave..."

"Oh." Mulder sighs, almost a moan, in recognition. I squeeze his hand reassuringly.

"Mulder you were alive under there, because of the virus. Because of what you'd been infected with before, what you became immune to before. I have no doubt that if it had been me; I too, would have lived underground like that."

A smile touches his lips ever so gently at the corners, regardless of the horror, we'll always share that viral bond. "Mulder we treated you this week with cold, and your immune system remembered how to fight it with a little help from anti-virals. This is the first day you've been up. I told everyone they could come tomorrow if you were up for it. Frohike was not too happy about that. But he understood that today was for us."

"That doesn't sound like the toad I know." Mulder huffs.

"He just understands all this." I sigh and rest my head back onto his body. We lay there in silence for a while.

"Scully?" Mulder asks again.

"Hmm?" I murmur.

"I don't think I could have gotten up again without you. How did you do it? You never explained." He probes, gentle, but still a probe. As if on cue the baby gives me a solid whomp. It's as if he's telling me to get on with it already.

"Mulder." I begin, my voice faltering on me yet again. "Mulder it's been 25 weeks."

His hand brushes a lock of my longer hair behind my ear.

"You look good Scully." He sighs in a whisper, "I like your hair long like this."

"Mulder." I try again. "Mulder." My eyes seek his so desperately. Willing him to see it, to feel it, without me actually voicing it out loud or having to show him. I see something, realization of something grand, cross his eyes but he can't place its value. It's then I take a deep breath and releasing it in a grand sigh I pull back from him, from the bed I've used as a shield, sinking into the chair instead of leaning out of it towards the bed. His hand is reluctant to let mine go, I see in his eyes the worry, before the realization hits. He thinks I'm pulling away from him emotionally, not in revelation. I lean back into the chair and my eyes slip closed. As badly as I'd like to see his face and his joy, I fear his disappointment and his regrets more. I rest my hand on the swell of my belly. The baby rolls, happy to have room once more. It's only after Mulder's breathing returns to normal from huge deep pants that I open my eyes and stand. His eyes dig into mine. He's angry, just as I'd feared.

"Scully." His voice tight. "You are very pregnant."

"Yeah, I am," I tell him. "Who's baby is it?" His caustic tone stings me, his gaze does not meet mine, instead it settles on the ceiling tile. The angry coils inside of me. This was not how I envisioned the day Mulder returned. Of course I had never expected him to return from the grave either. I'm so angry at God, the world, the government, aliens and most of all him I can barely see straight. The room takes on a slight spin and blur as I rise.

"Mulder, the fact you have to ask me that is hurtful." I spit, scooping my coat from the opposite chair and though I pause at the door, it's brief. "Maybe it's Frohike's."

I bark leaving him behind, knowing the words will sting him, possibly worse than his did to me.

I don't go to the hospital the next day. I stay at home. I clean, I nest. I curse my nesting instinct, and then nest some more. I even load up all my throw pillows and bring them to the dry cleaner.

Then I go to Mulder's apartment. His lease would be expiring at the end of next month. When he was dead, I toyed with the idea of keeping it forever. Just so the baby would be able to see it. I thought of moving in here, and for a while when he was missing, I slept in his bed. However, I needed two bedrooms, one for me, one for our coming son. I slump into the old leather of his couch just as I had done two weeks ago when I made the decision. I had convinced myself that when the lease expired, I would let it go, baby or not. It wasn't practical to keep and bordered insane. I'd save his things for our child, but keeping the shrine was pointless. I would give it up when the lease came due, but not before.

I give the place a once over with a duster, run the vacuum over his patches of rugs. I change his sheets. Finally satisfied and hungry yet again, I head home.

When I walked through my door I find the three of them sitting there, looking very somber in a row on my couch. For a moment I want to ask if someone has died, but again the fear of him leaving this world alone again is too much, and I keep my mouth shut, it's not an appropriate joke. I slip into my favorite chair and stare at the three of them silently. They all pass looks before Byers finally speaks.

"Dana," he starts "I'm not sure what you said to him."

"It doesn't matter," I say rather forcefully.

"I think you may have broken him," Byers states. I sniff back a sigh.

"I explained it to him. He still had the nerve to ask me whose baby it is." I state rubbing the swell that is Mulder's and my child. "I told him it might be Frohike's." At this they start to chuckle, revelation on their faces.

"That explains why he tried to hit me," Frohike complains. With that I start to laugh.

"Did you correct him?" I ask, putting the giggle away.

"I told him it wasn't mine!" Frohike almost shrieked. "And I used Langly as a shield!"

"Did you tell him?" I ask. They are among the few who know it's his child, sure there are rumors, but the truth is not public in the Hoover Building.

"No. We told him he needed to talk to you, but that it would be okay." With this I nod.

"He did ask when the baby was due," Byers chimes. "We told him that."

"They'll let him out tomorrow." Langly states. I nod again.

"I'll go to get him," I confess, "My pride is just bruised." And its then they decide they must go, asking if I need anything before shuffling out the door.

As I drop him off, I feel awkward and bulky. Mulder, I can tell, feels out of place. He's dead by all means but physical, physically perfect, as Dr. Lim assured him earlier. But a death certificate sits in my dresser drawer, tucked under some of my favorite pairs of underwear that no longer fit. It will take days, if not weeks to make him a living man again. He asks me to go, after finding his molly gone. And he is quick to accuse me with his tone, that somehow this miracle is not ours. That my prayers have been answered by someone else, somehow, while he's been gone. I want to stay so badly, to take him in my arms, to whisper I love you, to hold him to me, to tell him it's his son. But instead, I do as we've always done. I turn around and run home. It's only then I allow my body to cry itself to sleep.

When morning arrives, Skinner and I head over to see Mulder. It's as the events regarding Kersh, maternity leave and Agent Doggett unfold, I get my first glimmer of hope for us all. Mulder wants to get back to work, even if his immediate motive is simply to save the X-Files from Kersh and Doggett, its still a spark of the old Mulder I've missed terribly. Despite feeling exhausted from the conspiracy case surrounding us, my tired pregnant body carries on through the day and even manages to steal a little evidence.

The next evening I'm watching the Discovery Channel, a bowl of popcorn resting on my belly, as the baby kicks at it, threatening to spill its contents he kicks so hard. I find myself pondering on the feeling and marveling at how this tiny baby can create movements so large at times I'm afraid my skin may split. Surely Mulder could find some 'Alien' humor if he were here with us. Then, just as a shark is about to take a diver on underwater footage, the phone rings. I jerk, the baby jumps startled and the popcorn does go flying between the two of us.

"Hello?" I answer flustered.

"Scully. It's me." Mulder's voice echoes.

"Hi," I say weakly.

"I'd like to talk about this now, I think," he says quietly, so softly I think he's afraid to be voicing the idea out loud.

"Would you like me to come get you?" I ask.

"No. I already took a cab." I wander to the window and see him standing across the street, leaning again the opposite building.

"Then come up. It's just me and shark week up here," I tell him. "And I don't bite."

"Okay?" he whispers and the connection is lost. I wander to the door and unlock it. I'm busy cleaning up the scattered popcorn, shielded behind the couch when he slips in and takes off his jacket.

"Scully?" He calls. I pop up from behind the couch.

"Hi," I say. Suddenly shy, picking up a folded throw blanket and hugging it to my chest, before reluctantly setting it back down. "Hi." He smiles weakly back.

"I don't know what to say Mulder." I stand there, arms crossed, resting above the swell of the baby.

"I don't know what to ask,"

he says, falling onto my couch exhaling in relief of his new found resting place. I cautiously sit beside him, teetering on the edge of the cushions.

"Mulder, I'm not sure how to make this any clearer." I state, touching my hand to his palm. I lift it and slide it onto my belly. He tenses up, and for I moment I almost back down and release his arm. It's with a deep breath I begin again, holding his hand there. "I'm 29 weeks pregnant today. You left with Skinner almost 25 weeks ago. Apparently the math is lost on you. Mulder, when the average woman finds herself late, she's technically 4 weeks pregnant already. The egg is fertilized only 2 weeks earlier at that point, but she's still considered 4 weeks regardless. Four down, 36 to go. Forty weeks in all."

His hand spreads across the expanse of my stomach and I release my hold, confidant he won't pull back. He stretches his hand, fingers outstretched to their fullest span. "Mulder, I found out about this baby the day you disappeared. I wouldn't be late for another 2 days, but I was pregnant, 2 days from the 4 week mark." I finish and stare at his hand across my belly, then into his weary eyes as he allows the puzzle pieces to fall into place.

"But I did the math! May minus 9 months puts it at September and I was already gone. And we... we didn't, not until just before." He protests in amazement. His eyes on mine, wanting to believe, but holding the truth back for his own protection.

"Mulder, that was two weeks before. And, 40 weeks is 10 months, not 9. This is your baby," I say with conviction. A tear slips from my eye quickly followed by several silent companions, and his tired finger tip reaches up to brush them away. The remaining hand is still covering my belly when the baby decides to take a hearty roll and kick. His hand leaps from my stomach as if burned, his eyes staring at it in amazement.

"Are you sure?" he begs, asking for more than just paternity confirmation with his eyes as the fear of the unknown shines through. I nod slowly, reassuring him the best I can with my eyes, "It's my baby." He marvels in relief. Both of his hands find their way back to the baby and rub circles across the tight flesh.

"I didn't expect it to be this hard," he whispers, stopping the motion of his hand, reaching up to frame my tear streaked face in his hands. I'm unsure if he means tight swell of our child or the emotion surrounding us now, it doesn't matter. He pulls me to his lips and they crash together. So much passion, grief, joy rolled together in a strangely comforting emotion. So much loneliness washed away. .

"I love you Mulder." I sigh.

"I love you too Scully," he whispers back. "And Frohike's baby."

~X~X~X~ End ~X~X~X~

Notes: I find myself faced with a time line issue here. This fic takes place from the end of DeadAlive to the end of Three words. They see the gunmen late in Three Words supposedly for the first time since Mulder magically rises from the dead. However, with this fic in place, I think that hospital scene can still remain valid. Particularly if the stand off between Frohike and Mulder I've written here erupted immediately after they enter the hospital room. Mulder would have wanted to kill Frohike for knocking up his Scully somehow, but later he would have resolved this issue. The three of them would be relieved later when together again in Three Words, not that he alive and well, but that he and Scully have worked out his role in the "blessed event". Mulder pulls a double take here at Scully regarding his 'role', which can also be contributed to the fact Scully would have obviously kept Will's biological father a secret. Not the best explanation, but I think it's better than what CC did to them!

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