Title: The Fruit of Our Labors
Author: L M M
Written: October 1998
Rating: PG
Category: SRA
Spoilers: Redux II
Keywords: Mulder/Scully romance
Disclaimers: Ok, I know we all know this, I don't own them, CC gets all the credit. I'm not making any money off them, and even if I could, I wouldn't see any of it. My daughter would invest all of it in "Beanie Babies". I'm just letting them do what I KNOW the "Great One" would never even consider, not that I'm really complaining all that much, it wouldn't be nearly as interesting. This is the anti-shipper warning...okay `nuff said. This is mildly angsty, very sappy, and definitely sweet.

Summary: Scully learns a little bit of information, and she and Mulder must deal with the repercussions.

I started this piece the Summer between "Gethsemene" and "Redux", after a muse whispered it in my ear. (This would have to fall into the alternate universe guidelines, "Emily" would not happen) I haven't seen anything else like this, but then I haven't read *everything* out there. This is my first post, I've been dragging my heels on it, and in light of recent events, I thought it was apropos. This is not my first attempt, I actually have several others in progress, this just happened to come together first. Feedback would be welcomed at L2Mast@aol.com but please put Feedback in the subject. I have a habit of getting "delete key happy".

I dedicate this to Gillian and her little apple Piper, David and Tea (congratulations), and to my own wee one: Sara, the source of my exasperation and inspiration.

Two months...

Two months. That was how long it had been since it happened. She could remember the details like it had happened yesterday.

Mulder, returned from the "dead", was by her side again as her partner, and friend. Her cancer had gone into remission, with no signs of returning. They had celebrated these events with deep gratitude. Celebrated and rejoiced. For a short time anyway, they could be satisfied that they had beaten the odds and seen redemption.

So, on the night in question, they had decided to spend an evening together as friends, enjoying each other's company; something they hadn't done, or been able to do, in some time. It had started out to be very platonic, two co-workers watching T.V. and eating take-out, nothing they hadn't done before. But, as the night went on, casual innuendoes and teasing, and the joy they grew drunk off of, elevated the casual closeness to higher levels.

It wasn't the sex, although that had been incredible, it was a bonding experience, further cementing an already strong companionship. The next morning, both had been adult about the situation, saying not that it shouldn't have happened, or that it should have happened a long time ago, but that it was just another step in the journey they were on together. It was one night, it was special, it was the only time it would happen.

It was all that was needed.

Scully looked again at the small box in her purse: a couple of pamphlets, some coupons, a small sample bottle of pills, and a doctor's prescription. Pre-natal vitamins. She shoved the box back into her bag, then slammed the drawer shut. This had been the third time she'd looked at it, not including the ten glances in the car on the way back to the office.

She had grown concerned when her "monthly friend" had played a no show for the second month consecutively. She thought perhaps it was a strange complication from the cancer. She had not expected the gynecologist to announce to her she was pregnant.

"I can't be," she told the doctor, "I'm unable to have children. I'm sterile."

"Well, the test is as accurate as it gets, and it says you are pregnant. Do you know when conception might have occurred?"

Oh, she knew all right. The first time she'd been with a man in at least four years, and the only time since.

At first she was shocked. It wasn't the news she was expecting. Then, she was angry. Had Mulder lied to her about the egg harvesting? She knew he wouldn't do that, she remembered the pained expression on his face when he had finally told her. He believed, as she did, she was infertile. It was the reason they hadn't worried about protection that night.

Scully was left to ponder why this had happened. Was this some twist of fate? Or divine intervention? What was she going to do now?

There was no question about keeping the child, for all she knew it would be her only chance to conceive. The question arose when she debated how to tell Mulder, or whether to tell him at all. That was stupid, he was going to find out eventually. Knowing him, and his keen observation skills, probably sooner rather than later. She could lie to him, say she'd met someone after that night, slept with him on a whim, but she couldn't do that to Mulder, she valued the trust they had in each other too much.

An hour had passed while she sat contemplating all that was happening, when the door opened, and her co-conspirator walked in.

"Hey, you're back. How did your check-up go?" Mulder asked.

Scully forced a smile, "Fine."

"No signs of the cancer reoccurring?"

She had told him she was going for another oncologist exam, not wanting to explain her concern about the more personal "female problems" she was experiencing. "I'm fine," she said still smiling.

She struggled with telling him about her condition, she so wanted to share it with him, make it his problem too. But it was her responsibility right now. Until she could come to terms with this, she couldn't say anything. Plus, she needed to decide what to tell him.

Scully quickly changed the subject to work, "I've found all of the files you were looking for on work related deaths a Paulson Inc. I think you'll find this interesting... "

Two Weeks Later . . .

Mulder headed for Scully's the moment he had finished briefing Skinner on their latest case. He was really concerned about her. She was easily distracted, and even easier to agitate. He barely had to do anything and she would lay into him. Every discussion seemed to end as a bloody battle, one or the other retreating in a huff to lick their wounds. He had gotten tired of asking what was wrong, it was always the same, "I'm fine, Mulder," Scullyism, and the more he pressed the matter, the more forced came the response.

But today, he hadn't known what to think. They had been working on this case, and Scully had just lost all rational control. A woman, connected to the case, had attempted multiple times to abort her unborn child, claiming it was the spawn of evil, a' la "Rosemary's Baby," and Scully had started in on a tirade about this woman being psychotic, and how she couldn't believe someone would do that to their flesh and blood. She yelled at him about the importance of protecting innocent children, then after realizing what she was doing, excused herself and went home early.

At first, Mulder chalked it up to her strict Roman Catholic beliefs about abortion, then to her own realization that she would never have a child of her own. But, something deep within him told him there was more to it. Something he was at a loss to pinpoint.

She had been edgy, jumping at everything he did. Whenever he placed a hand on her arm, or gently led her somewhere, she would shy away. He didn't think she even knew she was doing it, but he had made a note of it every time it occurred. There was also the fact that she wouldn't look him in the eye anymore, always down or just over his shoulder.

He couldn't help but conclude it had something to do with that one night, that night that had been so important to both of them. But, why now after all this time? Whatever, he would find out tonight, wouldn't leave her until she told him just what was going on.

Scully felt lousy. Morning sickness was a joke. It was morning, noon, and night sickness. She had been very good about keeping these episodes from Mulder, they hadn't been that frequent, but they were getting worse. And, she could tell from her appearance, another couple months and she would start showing. She could hide it under larger jackets and lab coats, but Mulder would eventually notice.

Mulder. She still had no idea what to tell him. She had agonized over it, and the more she did, the more she began to hate him for it. No, she couldn't hate him, after all it was as much her fault as his. But it made her choices none the easier. Lie or tell the truth? She still didn't know.

Scully sipped at a glass of mineral water and slowly ate a handful of saltines, about the only things she could keep down at the moment. She flipped through a book: _What to Expect When You're Expecting_. The clerk at the bookstore said it was one of their most popular, in between multiple, "Congratulations," and, "You must be so happy." What did she know?

The book was informative, and almost enjoyable under different circumstances, but the stuff on nausea and morning sickness was not helping, and she had tried everything the book had told her. Maybe this was psychological . . .or a punishment from God.

There was a knock at the door, and she suspected one of two people to be on the other side. If it was her mother, she could easily handle the situation by making the excuse she had a case of the stomach flu, and let Mom practice her "motherly magic," something Scully was in dire need of anyway. If it was Mulder . . .she didn't know what she would do. She prayed to all the angels in Heaven it was Mom.

The angels were not listening.

Mulder smiled at her as she opened the door. "What is it, Mulder?"

"I just wanted to make sure you were okay. After this afternoon... I just wanted to make sure," he stumbled over the words.

"I'm fine, Mulder. I'm just feeling a little under the weather is all."

The concerned look on his face sent Scully's heart into panic. "Is it the cancer?" Mulder inquired anxiously.

"No," she replied with a sigh, "I'm just coming down with the flu." One that will probably last for another six and a half months, she thought.

"You're not telling me something," Mulder finally blurted, "I'm not leaving here until you tell me what's going on." With that he moved around her and into the apartment.

Scully could see there was no way out of this. Now, she just had to think up a convincing lie that would satisfy him until she could fess up to the truth. "It's nothing, Mulder, really. I've picked up a flu virus is all, I've been feeling nauseous all day, and I just needed to get some rest. Dr. Zuckerman said I'd be very susceptible to viral infections for awhile because of the cancer, but I'm going to live." Not entirely a lie.

"That's not it," Mulder stated, "You've been acting `un-Scully-like' for the last two weeks. Don't tell me there's a virus that causes a person to stare off into voids and not want her partner within three feet of her. Did I do something? Why won't you look at me directly anymore? Even now you're looking past me, not *at* me." Mulder was pleading.

She hadn't realized her actions had been that obvious. Then again, she'd had a lot on her mind of late. "No, Mulder. You didn't do anything," she sighed.

"Is this because of that night? I mean... if you want to talk about it, I'm here. We can talk. Has something changed that I wasn't aware of?"

Scully wanted to laugh sadistically. Changed? Oh, boy has it changed. Instead she replied, "Nothing's changed, Mulder.

He knew that wasn't true, he could see the emotion in her face. She looked sad and worried, and even a little scared. Of him? No, it was something different. Mulder began to get annoyed, "Dammit, Scully, would you just tell me what is wrong. I want to help, and I can't if you won't tell me anything. I thought we were partners, I thought we trusted each other."

Now it was Scully's turn to become perturbed, "I said everything was fine. I don't know why you can't leave it alone." His persistence was going to wear her down. God, I wish he'd go, Scully thought.

"Because I know you, and I know when you're holding back. What is so bad that you won't let me in?" Mulder yelled.

Scully yelled back, "You really want to know what's going on?"

"Yes, I really want to know."

"Fine, I'll tell you... I'm pregnant," she blurted.

It took a moment for Mulder to comprehend this information, "What!"

"I'm going to have a baby, Mulder. That's what's going on."


"I don't think I need to explain the concept of human reproduction to you, Mulder."

He ignored her snide remark, "They harvested all your eggs, Scully. I saw the test tubes myself."

"Well either they'd lied to you about that too, or they missed one, and by some twisted turn of fate, I was ovulating at the right time."

Mulder was silent for a minute. "Who's the father?"

Scully's face turned red, her voice only slightly above a whisper and all but contained with fury, "I can't believe you just asked that."

"I just...."

"What? Did you think when I found out I didn't have to worry about birth control anymore I'd go out and screw every man in sight?"

"I'm sorry. I guess I just needed to know for certain."

Both were silent again for a long moment. Finally, Mulder inquired, "What are you going to do?"

Scully let out a heavy sigh. "I'm keeping the baby, Mulder. I may never have another chance at this. And it goes against everything I believe in not to have it."

"What do you need me to do?"

If Scully had heard the question the way it was intended, she would have perceived his ready support. But her overwrought nerves and exhaustion diluted the comment, and made it sound to her like he saw this as the final death knell.

"Nothing, Mulder. I can handle this on my own."

"I don't expect...."

"Let it go. This is my problem. I will deal with it."

Mulder began to get angry, "And I'm telling you, Scully, you don't have to. It's my responsibility too. It's half my child."

Scully couldn't think straight, "Go away, Mulder. I didn't expect you to bare this. I still don't. I will be fine. Just leave."

Mulder sat on the couch in his living room, blindly flipping the T.V. channels. He couldn't stop thinking about everything Scully had said. She was pregnant. She was keeping the baby. She didn't want any help from him.

She'd thrown him out of her apartment, and probably out of her life. A cold, sharp pain stabbed into his heart. He felt very alone. If she turned him away for good, what would he do? How could he live without her?

Beyond that, was the baby. She was going to have his baby. He shuddered in both fear and joy. He had never thought about fatherhood before. His crusade for the truth, and his work on the "X-Files" had been all he had known for so long now, the consideration of having a "normal" life had never really fit into that scenario.

But here he was, faced with an unknown future ahead of him. He couldn't believe it. "Scully was pregnant." The thought kept going through his mind. How could she be? It wasn't supposed to have happened. She had been rendered infertile by a bunch of sadistic, greedy men who thought they had every right to play God, and use people in what ever way they deemed necessary. But, they had failed, she had beaten them. *They* had beaten them. Mulder gave thanks to whatever God or fate had given them this chance. Now if he could convince Scully of that.

He had wanted to bare all of his emotions to her that first night. He wanted her to know how much she meant to him. How much he needed her by his side. How much he loved her. But the ever-logical Dana Scully had convinced him that a relationship involving intimacy couldn't happen. It was dangerous, and could mean their being separated and thus, never being able to find the truth they so desperately searched for. Mulder had reluctantly conceded, when what he really wanted was to carry her back into her bedroom and make love to her again.

Was this his last chance to correct that mistake? Could he convince her that they were meant to be together, beyond the partnership they both cherished? To tell her right now, she would see it as his way of righting a wrong he'd done her. She wouldn't accept what she would only see as him committing to her out of responsibility. If she would accept anything from him at all.

She blamed him for this, how could she not? He had told her it wasn't possible for her to conceive a child, and she had put her faith in him based only on his word. Yes, he thought it was the truth, but they still should have been more careful. Now came the repercussions of their actions.

Mulder thought about what kind of a father he would make. If popular theory held true, he would only be as good a parent as his had been, the "learn from example" principle. If that was true, he was doomed to failure. As role models, his parents were a long way from "Ozzie and Harriet." Even before Samantha's disappearance, things had been tense. Mulder had concluded long ago that the only reason his parents had remained married as long as they had was because of him and his sister. The parental wisdom that had been bestowed to him was nowhere near even acceptable.

He knew, by the same right, Scully would make an excellent mother. She'd had the good fortune of growing up with parents who loved and respected each other, and extended the same to their family. He had watched her interact with children on their cases, and she always expressed a gentleness and patience he found enthralling. While he had never envisioned himself as a father, ever since a certain passing conversation on a bench in the small town of Home, Pennsylvania, he had begun to imagine Scully as a mother, and she was beautiful and graceful in the role.

That left the final problem to deal with. How to convince Scully to allow him to be a part of this miracle mistake. With time she may rationalize that she needed him, but he didn't have the confidence or patience to wait. The thought that it was already too late would not leave him.

The phone rang, and Mulder reached wearily for the receiver, "Yeah."

"Mulder," a familiar voice said from the other side.

"Scully?" Mulder's heart imploded with hope, perhaps she'd had second thoughts about throwing him out earlier.

But her next statement made his heart drop into his stomach, "Something is wrong... I ... I need you." He could hear the strain in her voice. Had she been crying?

"I'll be right there."

Mulder used his key to enter Scully's apartment. He walked into the unlighted space, and panic flooded his senses.

"Scully?" No answer. Mulder walked through the apartment, switching on the lights and checking rooms. His vivid imagination filling his head with conclusions.

They knew. They had learned of the pregnancy, and had taken Scully back, to learn why it happened, to have another test subject, to have something to hold over him. It would be the perfect way to destroy him. Keep the woman he loved and his child hostage, and keep him under control. For a moment he knew what his father must have felt, and for the first time since discovering his father's betrayal of Samantha, Mulder sympathized with the man.

He hadn't really thought about any of this before now. Why lie to himself, he hadn't wanted to think about it. He reasoned that by not considering what his enemies would do with this knowledge, it would never be a problem. Human denial at it's greatest. The sobering effect this revelation had on him was creating a terrible pain behind his eyes, and in his soul.

Mulder flipped the switch in the hallway, and noticed a shadowed figure on the bed in Scully's bedroom. He approached slowly, not able to tell who it was. With each step Mulder's breath became more anxious. When he reached the doorway, he could judge the figure to be the petite form of his partner. "Scully?" he asked again as he came around the bed. She didn't move. He squatted down in front of her, trying to make out her features in the darkness. "Scully, what is it?"

She finally spoke in a choked whisper, "I was sleeping. Something woke me up. I went to the bathroom... and there was blood... "

Mulder reached for the lamp next to the bed. With the light on, he could see the tears streaking down her face and her body trembling.

"I think I'm losing the baby, Mulder." Mulder grabbed her shoulders gently, and pulled her to him. She was lifeless in his arms like a giant ragdoll.

Mulder pulled away slightly, "I'm getting you to the hospital."

"No, Mulder. I called my obstetrician. She's meeting me at the clinic, it's not far from here. Can you take me?"

Mulder smiled comfortingly, "Your chariot awaits."

Scully stared out the windows as the scenery swept by. Her mind screamed out in agony. Why was this happening? Who would be so cruel? She had finally accepted her condition. After she told Mulder, she had felt as if a dark shroud had been lifted from her body. She didn't care anymore what Mulder would do, or her superiors at the Bureau, or her family. When she had spoken the words aloud, "I'm keeping the baby," everything became very clear. Her heart filled with such unabashed joy. She was going to bring a new life into the world. She would nurture it, teach it, and love it. She had no time to spend agonizing over others, her focus was devoted to the little creature growing inside her.

But now, if she lost the baby, she felt her whole sanity would be lost as well. She had almost died, on any number of occasions, at the hands of evil people, only to survive. She knew for certain she would die, at least in heart, if she lost this child.

She turned toward Mulder, he continued to stare ahead as he drove. Scully could see the worry in his eyes. He was as afraid as she was, and she'd been so cruel to him. She wanted to say something, but couldn't find the words. How could she comfort him with words she didn't believe herself. Placations and empty gestures were worthless.

Scully had spent nearly twenty minutes weeping for herself and her child before gaining enough courage to call Mulder. And even now as they drove to the clinic, she had to fight the urge to cry unmercifully. She had to remain strong, she couldn't let him protect her now. Later, maybe. Right now, she had to protect him.

Mulder pulled into the space next to another car in the clinic lot, the doctor was waiting inside. He proceeded to shut the engine off and get out, when Scully stopped him, "Mulder, will you stay in the waiting room while I'm with the doctor?"

"Scully, I want to be there for you. I can't let you go through this alone." He was tempted to argue the point about being the father and having a right to be there, but he knew it would only make her angry.

"I know you want to protect me," she whispered, "but you can't. Not from this. I just need to do this alone. It will be hard enough, and I couldn't bare to see the anguish on your face when I've failed you." She bent her head down.

Mulder reached one tentative finger over to her cheek, then brought it down to lift her chin up, "Dana, you could never fail me." He smiled at her. "I'll wait if it's what you want."

She gave a weak smile, and her eyes became glassy with unshed tears. Then Mulder got out of the car and helped Scully into the clinic.

Nearly an hour had passed, as Mulder waited in the outer office of the clinic. His mind imagined the worst. He knew if Scully lost the baby it would kill her. He reflected on what she had said about failing him, how could she ever think she could fail him? She had been his support, his right hand, she had kept her faith in him even when he had none of his own.

If anything, it was he who had failed her. He'd ditched her, left her to face angry superiors demanding explanations for his extreme behaviors, and the ultimate, getting her kidnapped by Duane Barry, causing a chain of events that had changed her forever. Now she was pregnant, and maybe going through a miscarriage, all because of him. Whatever happened, whatever the outcome of this, he vowed never to fail her again.

Mulder heard a door open, and looked up to see the doctor. "How is she? Is the baby okay?" His voice trembled noticeably.

"She's fine," the doctor said, "I did an ultrasound and everything looks perfect. The baby's heartsounds were strong, I didn't hear any distress. It appears Dana was merely spotting. Some women are more susceptible to it then others. It's something I want to monitor, given her recent medical history. Otherwise, I don't see any need for concern at this time."

Mulder breathed the sweetest of relieved breaths.

"Are you the father?" the doctor asked.

Mulder wanted to say yes, he wanted to let the world know, the child Scully carried was also his. But, until he knew how she wanted to progress with this, the fewer people who knew the truth, the better. "I'm a friend ... her partner."

The doctor smiled, "Well she's getting dressed. You can go see her. Down the hall, third door on the left."

"Thank you," Mulder said as he turned to find Scully. The doctor retreated to her office.

Mulder knocked on the door, and heard Scully's muffled voice from the other side, "Come in."

She was just putting on her coat, when he entered. "The doctor said everything is okay," he stated, trying to be reassuring to her, as well as himself.

Scully turned to face him, but kept her eyes on the floor, "She wants me to schedule my appointments for every other week as a precaution. But she doesn't anticipate anything serious. Mulder... "

"Scully. I want to be a part of this. I need to be. It's my responsibility too. I won't let you do this alone."

"Mulder, it's more complicated than that."

"It's only as complicated as we make it... "

"Mulder, I've had a lot more time to consider everything. Just think for a minute, if certain people . . .your enemies . . .were to learn you had a child... If these same people were responsible for you sister's disappearance to guarantee your father's allegiance ... would it not seem logical they'd do the same to you?"

Mulder nodded grimly. "I thought about that. Look, Scully, I'm not suggesting marriage... unless you want me to suggest it . . .," Scully leaned against the exam table, and smiled. "I just want you to know I'm here, and I want to help." He came over to lean against the table next to her, "Don't shut me out, please."

"I can't do that, Mulder. As much as I considered lying to you, I knew if I hurt you, I'd only hurt myself too. I'm not expecting you to carry the weight of this. Actually, you really can't," she smiled humorously, "but, if you want to help, I'll accept."

Mulder smiled, "That's all I ask, partner." He turned to look at a poster about "well-baby visits" on the wall, "Have you decided what to tell Skinner, and your mother?"

Scully winced, "Mom's going to be tricky, she knows when I'm not telling her the truth."

"Better take lessons, Scully. I think it's a *Mom* thing," Mulder joked, glancing side-long at her.

"I guess I'll need a story, a lie if you will. Until I figure out what that is, I think we better keep this between us."

"Sounds fine to me," Mulder said grinning lightly. His focus returned to the poster of the pretty woman with the cute baby, and Scully's gaze followed his to the wall. Then he turned serious, "Thanks, Scully."

She looked up into his eyes, "For what?"

He held her gaze for a moment, before that familiar little-boy expression came across his face, "For giving me a chance at immortality, for letting me share this ... for letting me help." He reached his hand over to rest atop hers, and he squeezed slightly.

Scully squeezed back, "I wouldn't have it any other way."

Four and One Half Months...

Two months came and went, as Scully's pregnancy remained secret. Both had agreed to put off telling Skinner until absolutely necessary. This way Scully could stay in the field, and they could continue their work. After a heated discussion, Mulder had convinced her the only way to guarantee her safety, and the safety of their baby was to find something solid enough, they could use for protection. They couldn't risk the truth never being learned. This became their new quest, on top of the already busy caseload they worked.

They'd done pretty well keeping things quiet. As Scully entered into the second trimester, the bouts with nausea were subsiding, although her occasional emotional breakdowns were still pretty intense. Mulder could count at least a half dozen times when he'd return to their hotel rooms when working on a case to find Scully crying uncontrollably over something minor. At those times, all he could do was hold her and try to calm her with words.

Finally, Mulder felt like he was doing something to help Scully, not just being the cause for her to worry or the partner she had to bail out. It gave him some control, something to do that was important. Possibly, something more important than anything else he had ever attempted. And Scully appreciated him for it.

There were other things too. Scully had, as most pregnant women do, developed an odd craving. Strawberry licorice. She couldn't understand it, she had always hated the stuff when she was little, but now, she couldn't get enough of it. Initially, Mulder had teased her about it rotting her teeth, then packages of it started appearing in her briefcase, or luggage. When she asked him about it, he shrugged and said, "If I get to have my sunflower seeds, then I guess you should be allowed an oral fixation." She laughed at that.

Scully felt happy, more so than she had in some time. Mulder had a lot to do with that. He continued to argue with her, push her buttons, tease her, and pressure her, but he did it to get her mind off deeper concerns. He never again mentioned marrying her, although part of her wondered what she would do if he did.

He stood by her when it finally came time to tell her mother. Scully hadn't wanted to tell her the truth, and had even concocted an elaborate story, with Mulder's help, to tell Margaret. But when she went face to face with the matriarch of the Scully clan, her confidence faltered, and she told her mother everything, with a very nervous Fox Mulder looking on.

Of course, Mom had been disappointed that Dana wasn't married, but with everything else her baby girl had been through, she couldn't begrudge her the happiness she so deserved. She was waiting with anticipation to spoil her new grandchild, and even hugged Fox and told him she supported their decision to keep things quiet for now.

Margaret asked her daughter how she was feeling: if the morning sickness was getting better, if she was eating healthy, if she was getting enough rest, and if the doctor was at all concerned about the cancer she had just recovered from. She answered all her mother's questions with patience.

They were discussing all this, as Scully helped her mother make coffee and serve some cake. Suddenly, Scully's stomach rumbled again, "OH!"

"What's wrong, Scully," Mulder asked worriedly.

"It's my stomach, it's been upset all day. Not like I need to expel my insides into the toilet or anything, just really ... I don't know ... twitchy I guess."

Margaret chuckled, and Mulder and Scully looked at her with confusion. "Does it feel like butterflies fluttering, Dana?"

Scully thought for a minute. "Yeah, I suppose that would be a way to... You mean, that's the baby I'm feeling?"

Margaret smiled, and nodded, "That would be my guess."

Scully's expression took on a surprised and elated look, "Oh my God, Mulder, I can feel the baby moving."

Mulder had his own moment of joy, "Are you sure that's what it is, Mrs. Scully?"

"Trust me, Fox," Margaret said with a smile, "I've gone through four pregnancies. I think I have some experience with these things."

Later, Mulder drove Scully back to her apartment. "Scully?" he ventured after some time.

"Hmmm?" she asked, still basking in a joyful reverie.

"I was just curious. You told your mother the truth, although I know you didn't want to."

"I told you I could never lie to her," she smiled.

Mulder smiled back, "Oh, she's good that's for sure." Then he turned serious again, "I just wanted to know, what are you going to tell him?"

"Him who?"

Mulder gestured at the small bulge protruding from her abdomen. It was still easily disguisable, unless you knew what you were looking for. "Him. I mean, when he's old enough to understand, am I gonna be *Dad* or *Uncle Mulder*?"

"What about *Uncle Fox*?" she teased.

Mulder glared ruefully at her, "I'm serious, Scully."

She turned to look at him. She could see his anxiousness. Smiling, Scully said, "This baby already knows you're it's father. I could never say otherwise."

"You're sure of that? That he knows I'm his dad?"

"You're certain the baby's a boy."

"My gut feeling tells me that you are carrying the first Mulder to ever play point guard for the Knicks," he stated.

Scully chuckled, "Well, my gut tells me this child will never question you being *it's* father."

Mulder glanced at his partner. That term had come to define so much of their relationship, he found himself wondering if he shouldn't ask for more. If he shouldn't ask for that final joining of their souls. He knew he couldn't, at least not yet. Not until he had something to protect them from the demons conspiring against them.

Six Months...

Walter Skinner observed his agents carefully. He knew of very few whose partnerships didn't work smoothly. If ever he could see tension between any of his agents that went beyond simple "bad days", he would reassign them. This, without saying, was why he was proud of the repertoire between Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.

Although, he couldn't take responsibility for pairing the two, he had worked to keep them together. They were a perfect team, solving their cases without stepping on each other's toes, and looking out for one another along the way. They had created a trust in one another even partners with decades between them had not developed, and they had done it in less than five years. Beyond that, they had not let the hours spent together, or the fact that they were two young, attractive people of opposite sex create more to their relationship than friends and co-workers. Or so he thought.

He had passed by their table one day during lunch in the Bureau cafeteria. They had been so involved in conversation, the agents hadn't seen him walk past. Conversation? It appeared to be more argument.

"Drink your juice, Scully," Mulder said placing a glass of orange juice in front of her.

Without looking up from the file in front of her, Scully responded, "I don't want it." She pushed the glass away.

"You need to drink your juice." Mulder slid the glass back toward his partner.

Scully finally looked up from her papers, eyes glaring, "I don't need to do anything, Mulder. If I want to drink the juice I'll drink the juice. If I don't, then I will not. Right now, I don't want the juice."

Frustration apparent in his face, Mulder picked up the glass and moved it to the other side of the table. "Fine, don't drink the damn juice," he mumbled

"Fine," Scully responded, then returned to her reading.

End of conversation.

To someone observing this little show, at least if it had occurred in some other environment, they might conclude it was the bickering of a married couple. This was what bothered Skinner about the incident. He had watched the two agents argue before, but in the workplace it had always remained professional. This had been of a more personal nature, and it made the Assistant Director very nervous.

He knew how close Mulder and Scully were, they had survived a lot together. But what concerned him now as he sat in his office pondering, was had their friendship gone ... beyond friendship? Would they be that stupid?

He could rationalize that partnerships often take on a "pseudo marriage" persona. The agents acting like a normal married couple. He could assume that was what happened in the cafeteria. But something in the pit of his stomach told him it might be more. Something he wanted to desperately ignore.

He couldn't jump to conclusions though. He couldn't accuse them of indecent behavior. He would wait and observe. If anything they did led him to believe there was a romantic relationship, he would call them in.

He only had to wait two days.

It wasn't an unusual case, at least by "X-Files" standards. Mulder and Scully had been asked to assist another department in the capture of a fugitive. The criminal had been embezzling funds from corporate accounts in several national banks via computer. The Bureau had finally been able to locate the guy, and had asked for available agents to assist in his capture. Skinner had volunteered some of his agents, Mulder and Scully among them, to help.

They had surrounded the building with agents, when the suspect became spooked and took his neighbor hostage. Everything was being done by the book until the man began firing a gun randomly out a window. He wasn't really directing his shots at any agent in particular, just further attempting to keep the F.B.I. at bay.

One of the random bullets hit Scully. It was superficial, merely grazing across her shoulder. Immediately Mulder was at her side, protecting her from further injury, and helping to get her to safety.

"I told you we should have begged off this assignment," he said trying to stop the flow of blood the wound had caused.

"And how would that have looked, Mulder?" Scully responded through gritted teeth.

Two hours later the doctor had finished examining Scully at the Emergency Room. While she had lost a significant amount of blood that, in her condition, would need to be replaced, she hadn't suffered anything more serious than to get another scar added to a growing list. The doctor started a transfusion, and ordered her to take a couple days off to rest and recuperate. Mulder's orders were much harsher.

"You're off field duty now, Scully," he stated with certainty.

Scully walked out of the bathroom buttoning her blouse. She had recently given up tying to tuck anything in, it had only accentuated her bulging stomach. But she began to realize that even loose shirts were not hiding anything either. The next step was going to have to be maternity clothes, something she had been consciously putting off.

"And what excuse should I give Skinner?" she asked.

"The truth, I don't care. I won't let you put yourself at risk like that again. It isn't just you out there anymore. You have to remember the baby."

"How could I forget it. I think about it every waking moment, and most of my dreaming ones too. That's why I've been putting this off this long. The fewer people who know about my condition the better off we are."

"But not if it means getting shot, Scully," Mulder spoke softly. "What if that bullet had been a little lower? My God, I don't want to imagine what could have happened."

"But it didn't happen, Mulder," Scully soothed, "I'm fine, the baby's fine, we're both fine. I promise I won't put myself in any endangering situations again."

"Until the next time, and I couldn't live with myself if something happened."

"You worry too much, Mulder."

"Does he have good reason to, Agent Scully?" a voice said from the doorway behind them. Both of the agents turned to face their boss, A.D. Skinner.

Skinner observed Scully's physical state, and forced himself to hide his shock. The round shape of her abdomen, and now that he really noticed it, the rounded appearance her face was beginning to take, could only be the cause of one thing. He could feel a very big headache coming on.

"The fugitive surrendered twenty minutes ago," he stated entering the room, "No casualties, the hostage was released unharmed. Other than Agent Scully's injury, it was a successful take down."

"That's good to hear sir," Mulder said smiling nervously.

"We can add attempted murder of a Federal Agent to the list of charges this guy has accumulated. He won't see the light of day until at least the second half of the next century... Agent Scully, may I have a word with you alone?"

"Yes, sir," she said. She glanced at Mulder, and he read the reassurance in her eyes. He nodded slightly at her, then Skinner, and quietly left the room, closing the door behind him.

Scully turned back to the bed, grabbed her jacket and slipped it on, then turned back to face her superior.

"Is there something I need to be made aware of, Agent Scully?" Skinner finally asked.

"I think it's pretty apparent, sir," Scully said, "I'm pregnant."

"Yes, but I want to know why you failed to make me aware of the situation sooner. Why I had to find out because of incident."

"I'm sorry, sir. I thought... "

"No, Agent Scully, you did not think. You put yourself in danger, your child, and every other agent depending on you in the field. Your behavior in this situation is unacceptable."

"Put yourself in my place, sir. Less than a year ago, I was told I'd been rendered infertile by people who have yet to be brought to justice. I could not risk these people coming after me or the child I was never supposed to have."

"But you had to know they would discover soon enough."

"Mulder and I have been working to find something to use as protection for myself and my baby."

"Agent Scully ... I have to ask... "

"The father is an old college friend. It was one occurrence. He doesn't know about the baby, and I have no intention of telling him," Scully replied before he could finish. She hated having to lie to Skinner, but her life and the life of her child would now depend on how many people believed the story she and Mulder had created.

Skinner nodded, "Although I can't condone you actions in this matter, Scully, I can understand why you might think it was necessary. However, in the future, I expect to be notified of any situations that could further effect your work."

"Yes, sir."

Skinner turned to leave, "Are you happy about this, Scully?" he inquired.

Scully smiled, "Yes, sir. I'm very happy."

Skinner nodded again, then opened the door. Mulder stood in the hallway waiting. "Agent Mulder, effective immediately, Agent Scully will be relieved of field assignment until further notice. I'm sure you will be able to find work for her to do at the Bureau, and if not, I will have her assigned on an as-needed basis at Quantico. Any questions?"

Mulder sighed with relief, "No, sir."

Skinner acknowledged his agents, then turned and left them standing in the hallway.

Mulder gently nudged Scully back into the room, "I take it everything went well."

"He bought the story," Scully sighed.

"We have to hold on, Scully. We will find the truth, and it will save our lives. I believe that." He smiled at her.

"I hope so," Scully sighed.

Seven Months...

The next month went by smoothly enough. Scully kept busy working on cases in their office: filing paperwork, typing reports, doing computer research. In fact, she was still doing pretty much the same things she'd been doing before the pregnancy, only she'd been relegated to doing it at the Bureau, instead of out in the field. She didn't mind too much. With the baby finally making it's presence *well* known, Scully was starting to feel the effects of beginning the final trimester.

For one thing, she was easily tired. Exhausted actually. Mulder had done his best to keep her activities light, but even he could not argue down a stubborn Scully woman. Secondly, she was beginning to get restless. At first she had thought it was from being trapped in the basement all day, but after a conversation with the obstetrician, she realized it was typical pre-natal nerves. She was starting to retain more water, and the baby was beginning to press on nerves and organs she now became physically aware of, her bladder specifically. Plus, she was climbing up and down a hormonal staircase. To add to that, she was fat.

Fat nothing, she was huge. Whenever she looked in the mirror, she didn't see her little 5'3" frame anymore, instead she saw a miniature version of "Shamu". Mulder tried on many occasions to convince her she was not fat, and in fact she had never looked more radiant. Sometimes it worked, most often it didn't.

For his part, Mulder remained the faithful, supportive friend, and secretly the nervous, worried father. "If you don't want to do that autopsy in the morning, Scully, call Skinner and beg off. I think he would understand if you wanted to take a sick day," Mulder was saying from his desk. The agents were finishing up some reports and research late one evening.

"I can do it, Mulder, I just don't want to. I get tired of trying to do dissections around my stomach," Scully replied patting said affliction. "That, and I'm tired of the curious looks I get from the Quantico instructors, as if I have sprouted elephant ears and a hairy lip instead of being pregnant. Are you gonna finish that last piece of pizza?"

"Go ahead, Scully," Mulder said grinning at her hearty appetite. He watched her eat the pizza and thought gravely, "Do you ever wish you hadn't gotten pregnant?"

Scully stopped her actions mid-bite, "What ever gave you that idea, Mulder?"

"I just know how worn out you are, and how uncomfortable. I wondered if you were having second thoughts about doing this."

"Mulder, it's perfectly acceptable for me to feel a little out of sorts. Look at me. I weigh about fourteen pounds more than I ever have, and I'm still gaining," she stated. Looking at the pizza in her hand, she dropped it back on her plate, "I don't really need this either," she said as she pushed the dish away, then continued, "I have a little being growing inside me that at this stage has no real knowledge of it's own existence, let alone that there might be somebody else it is directly effecting. I swear if this kid gets any bigger and presses on my bladder any more, We're going to need a requisition for a porta-potty in this office."

Mulder made a face at that suggestion. "I think we should make other arrangements, in that event, Scully."

Scully didn't rebuke his comment, "The fact is, Mulder, I wouldn't give this up for anything. All the leg cramps, the late night cravings . . .the kicks," Scully winced, as the baby began it's almost scheduled acrobatic routine.

"You all right?" Mulder asked.

Scully sucked in a breath, "Juniors warming up for the Tuesday Night Fights. Gotta good shot at my spleen that time." Slouching back in her chair, she waited for the next punch. She looked at Mulder, and watched his features change from concern to what she could only categorize as guilt or regret. She thought a moment, "Mulder, do you want to feel it?"

He looked at her quizzically.

"I just realized, you've never felt the baby move. Do you want to feel it?"


She stood and grabbed his hand and placed it on her abdomen. "Don't be such a chicken, Mulder." She gently moved his hand with her own to find the best spot to feel the activity happening inside her. It didn't take long before a violent push came against their hands. Mulder nearly jumped when he felt it. He looked at her with surprise. She smiled at his expression of childlike wonder. Mulder continued to run his hand around her bulging stomach, looking for another kick. When the baby complied with his silent wish, the grin that lit his face made Scully's heart grow warm.

"Wow! That's incredible."

Scully caught him in her line of vision, "See now. That's why I wouldn't want to change this, for anything in the world."

After that, Scully noted a very subtle change in her partner, one she had never expected her pregnancy to cause. Mulder seemed to stay more grounded now, not always blindly running off on some crazy crusade. When he was out in the field, working a case, he called nearly every other hour to check on her, then rushed back once the case was complete. If Scully thought about it, she could see the changes as a reality check for her sky-watching partner, typical actions for any soon-to-be father. The possibilities of what might happen after the baby was born excited her, though she hadn't thought much about it until recently.

If the truth came out, that Mulder was this baby's father, what would be the repercussions? Most definitely that the two would be separated as partners no doubt, but was that such a big deal? Would Mulder again suggest marriage? The thought of marrying Mulder had never really crossed her mind before the pregnancy, let alone building any kind of relationship with him that didn't involve aliens and government conspiracies. Since he first mentioned it, Scully had found herself wondering. She knew she loved him, she had for some time. But did she love him in the intimate sense, or was it more practical than that? And did he feel the same love, or was he just trying to protect her again?

That first night, neither of them had ever uttered the word "love". At the time it hadn't really been necessary. Could they say it to one another now? Would it really mean all it implied?

Scully had had plenty of time to think about this, and concluded that it was more important to try to protect the baby than worry about what might never happen. She couldn't let herself hold onto childhood fantasies about fairy-tale courtships and happily ever-afters; the cold, dark world had no room for a little girl's dreams. Reality had slapped her in the face enough times already. And it was about to do it again.

Skinner had called Mulder in for a meeting after lunch one day. Expecting it to be about their most recent case, Mulder left Scully in their office finishing up the report. He entered the Assistant Directors office, "You wanted to see me, sir?"

"Have a seat, Agent Mulder."

"If this is about my case in Duluth, Scully is typing the final notes as we speak."

"I expect to have it on my desk by tomorrow morning. That isn't why I called you in." Mulder watched his superior questioningly. Skinner sat down and placed his hands on the desk. "I'm not going to beat around the bush with this, Mulder, I want a straight answer. Are you the father of Agent Scully's child?"

Silence blanketed the room, as the two men stared at each other across the desk. After an infinite moment, Mulder finally said softly, "Yes... I am." Skinner leaned back in his chair with a soft sigh. Mulder continued, "It was an isolated incident, sir. Scully and I had resolved to put it behind us. If she hadn't gotten pregnant, I'm sure it wouldn't have been an issue."

"What goes on in your personal lives is no concern of mine, Agent Mulder. What does concern me is that both you and Agent Scully led me to believe the father was another man. What prompted you to create a deception? If this is because you were afraid you'd be separated..."

"No, sir, that was the least of our concerns."

"Then what, Agent Mulder?"

Mulder sat still for a moment, trying to find the right words, "We were concerned for Scully's safety, and the safety of *our* child. We have both lost too much because of our work on the "X-Files," if Scully were to lose the baby, it would kill her... and destroy me."

Skinner said nothing, "I know the people my father worked with are responsible for my sister's abduction, at least in part," Mulder stated. "What would stop them from taking my child to keep me controlled?"

Skinner finally spoke, "They may already know... or at least suspect." At the confused look on Mulder's face, Skinner explained, "Who do you think suggested this in the first place?"

Mulder said nothing more as he sprinted out of the office. Skinner caught the smallest glimpse of fear on his subordinate's face.

Mulder ran blindly down halls and stairwells, his focus on the basement office, and the occupant within. He cursed himself for being so arrogant, so ignorant to think they would never find out. They had probably planned it all along. He chanted silent prayers that he would be wrong, that his belief that they'd use Skinner to unwittingly draw him away from Scully was wrong. It would be the perfect way to do it. They could whisk her away under his nose, and then his world would be over. How could he be so stupid?

He reached his office and threw the door open, hoping to see Scully sitting where he'd left her, at his desk typing his report. "Scully?" he rasped.

No response. The chair sat empty, and Mulder's heart felt the same. He walked toward the desk slowly. He had nothing left in him. Everything he was had been because of Dana Katherine Scully. She was his world. When Duane Barry had taken her, he had realized how much she had become a part of him. And after she had returned, she had continued to infuse herself into him, until he did not know which part was his alone. Now she was gone, and the best of him was taken with her.

"Scully," he whispered mournfully, leaning on a chair for empty support.

"Mulder?" a soft voice spoke from behind. A sweetly familiar voice.

Mulder turned to see her walking into the office, a file in her hand. She looked at him confused.

Mulder rushed to her and threw his arms around her, holding onto her for life and sustation. After a moment, she returned the embrace, enjoying the feeling and at the same time questioning the emotional display. He held her for a long time, giving thanks that she was safe and promising her silently he wouldn't let anything happen to her.

He finally pulled back from her, but still kept her in his arms. Tears fell undaunted down his cheeks.

"Mulder, what is it?" Scully asked, concerned.

He took a moment to get his emotions under control, then whispered, "They know, Scully."

He didn't need to say more, her face quickly showed her fear. "Mulder, what do we do?"

At that moment Mulder caught sight of Skinner standing in the door. The Assistant Director watched the agents with concern. It wasn't concern for the indiscretions that had taken place to bring them to this moment, his concern was for two friends and colleagues facing a dangerous situation.

Mulder spoke to Skinner, but didn't take his eyes from Scully, "Sir, can I ask you to take Scully to her mother's and wait with her until I get there?"

Skinner nodded, "Don't take too long, Agent Mulder. We probably don't have much time."

"Mulder, what are you going to do?" Scully asked.

Mulder smiled and squeezed her hands in his, "I need to find you a hiding place."

Skinner waited with Scully at her mother's home. They each took turns pacing the floor and glancing out the windows, waiting for any sign of Mulder, or anyone else.

He finally showed up four hours after they had separated, the Lone Gunmen in tow. Mulder took his partner into the study for a private conversation. "I took the liberty of stopping by your apartment and packing some things for you. Beyers is going to fly with you to England."

"England?" Scully exclaimed, "Tell me you're not serious?"

"I have a friend, an old college roommate at Oxford. His family owns some land in North Wales. I asked him if you could stay there for awhile. It's a great place, Scully, a huge old house, surrounded by acres of beautiful countryside... "

"Mulder, I won't run away with my tail between my legs... "

"Scully, dammit, don't be so stubborn. You need to be protected."

"And you think hiding me away is going to protect me?" Scully countered.

"They have a well secured estate. John assured me he could make arrangements for the family physician to take over your care, even hire a private nurse if you need one. They would never think to look for you there, and if they did, it would be almost impossible to get to you."

"And what about you, Mulder?" Scully asked, "What are you going to do?"

"Same thing I've been doing, trying to find the truth."

Both were silent for a time, then Scully spoke, "How long do you think it will take?"

Mulder sighed, then spoke softly, "I don't know."

"Mulder, what about my mother? She isn't going to like this."

"No, probably not, but I can't think of anything better right now."

"I wish you'd come with me," she whispered in a child-like plea.

Mulder smiled and moved closer to her, "I wish I could too, but I think we need to separate for awhile, we have a lot to work out." He put his hand gently on her bulging abdomen. "Whatever happens tomorrow, or next week, or a year from now, things are going to change. I don't think we've stopped to think about that." He felt a firm kick against his hand.

Scully smiled weakly, "Either he agrees with you or he's angry at you."

"Scully, do you realize you said *he*?" Mulder asked with a boyish gleam.

She shrugged, "I was getting tired of saying *it*, sounds like I'm talking about a piece of furniture." She smiled again, "Besides, you seem so certain, I figured you didn't earn the name *Spooky* for nothing."

Mulder smiled, and leaned down to talk to the little presence, "You hear that, buddy? Please don't make a liar out of your dad, I have a reputation to protect." Mulder felt another push from inside Scully's stomach, and his grin spread from ear to ear.

A moment later he looked up to see tears streaming down Scully's face. The grin faded to a soft assuring smile. He stood up and pulled Scully into an embrace.

"I'm afraid, Mulder. For all of us."

Mulder gently kissed Scully's forehead, and swayed her in his arms. He had thought he knew his partner, as well as he could anyhow. It was rare for her to unlock the door to her emotions, rare for her to let him walk through. He had only been inside on a few occasions. Now she had opened it again, and allowed him to see her fear, and he drew strength from her faith and trust in him. "I'll make it right, Scully, I promise," he whispered into her hair.

She pulled away from him, hope sparkling in her eyes. Mulder used his thumb to wipe the rest of her tears from her cheeks. "So when do we leave for the airport?" Scully finally said with a heavy sigh.

"I'm not going with you," Mulder said."

"Langly and Frohike will take you, they've worked out a little game of cat and mouse in case anyone tries to follow you. They thought it would be best if we said our good-byes here. You're mother too."

Scully nodded her understanding, then watched him a little while longer. Mulder shifted position, nervous under her watchful gaze. Then she said, "I'll miss you."

He smiled at her, and said softly, "I'll miss you too."

After a brief conversation with her mother, with plenty of tears and hugs on Margaret's part, Scully was ready to go. She stopped briefly to speak to her superior, "Sir, thank you for everything you've done."

Skinner smiled, "Just take care of yourself, Agent Scully, and get back here as soon as you can. I need someone to keep your partner out of trouble."

Scully smiled, holding the barest hope that maybe her professional partnership would not change, even if everything else did.

Another hug from her mother, and Mulder walked Scully to the car where Beyers and Frohike waited. "I'll get word to you through the Gunmen, they'll be in touch with you in a few days."

After an awkward moment, Scully reached for his hand. "Bye," she whispered and squeezed his hand.

"Bye," he whispered, squeezing her hand back. With that, he helped her into the car, and Frohike pulled away.

Scully watched the figures standing on her mother's lawn grow smaller and less defined. Finally they turned the corner away from her mother's street, and Scully suddenly had the feeling she had lost something she might never be able to get back.

Scully's mother, Skinner, and Mulder watched as the cars sped away. When the cars turned the corner, Mulder turned and began walking in the other direction. Margaret went back into the house, and Skinner stood in the yard for sometime after, watching his wayward agent walking away. He made a silent vow to himself to help his agents in any way he could. He had realized a long time ago they were a good team together, and he already could see they were no good apart. He had to make sure they stayed together, without worry for their future and the future of their child.

Eight Months...

England was beautiful. Mulder's friend John, and his wife Patricia maintained the family estate. The old house was beautiful, and the surrounding countryside lush and green. It was a working farm, raising sheep and horses. Besides the main house and barns, there was a separate building for the employees and their families living on the grounds. Overall, an ideal place to hide.

Scully had gardens to roam and explore, servants ready to assist when needed, and John and Patty created plenty of constructive activities to keep her occupied. But, after a month, Scully was restless beyond reason.

True to his word, Mulder had gotten messages to her via the Gunmen. Not a day went by without a check of the e-mail. The messages were always pretty much the same: Everything here is fine. Mulder is staying out of trouble. Nothing concrete yet, but everyone is still looking. It was what wasn't being said that had Scully worried. If it was one thing she hated it was when people, men in particular, patronized her. In between the continuous "Don't worry" and "Take care of yourself and the baby" comments, she knew she wasn't getting the whole picture. But she also knew, being thousands of miles away, there was nothing she could do about it.

To pass the time, Scully had begun writing in her journal again. She had found the book tucked amongst her clothes in the suitcase, and had speculated as to whether Mulder had consciously put it in her things, or it being there was a mere coincidence. She had spent that first week staring at the thing, as though she were afraid to touch it, afraid to relive a life that seemed as far away from her now as to be someone else's. She hadn't opened it since she left the hospital in Allentown, even considered throwing the book away. She kept it, possibly out of some sentimental attachment. Finding it now had made her reflect on how far she had come since she first scribed in it's pages. Perhaps Mulder had intentionally put it in her suitcase, knowing it would remind her of the things that were possible, the hope that never faded.

She had finally picked it up one night when getting ready for bed. After reading the passages she had written what seemed like centuries before, she felt the need to embark on the new chapter:

A year ago I stood at a nexis, facing an uncertain future without question or fear. My only regret, the thought of leaving you to search alone. Now I look into that future, and wonder at it's possibilities. It would be the biggest of lies for me to deny my fear now. Not a fear of others, but a fear of myself.

Mulder, I feel the touch of a miracle every waking moment. Every kick, every heartbeat, an affirmation to my life and the life of the child we created. My hope strengthened by your own, I know this baby will grow and thrive in love. But my fear overwhelms me sometimes. Will everything I can give be enough?

I once thought I needed to stand alone to show my strength and courage, now the thought of raising this baby on my own is unfathomable. Never before have I depended on the safety of another as I do you. Just as this baby depends on my body to give it life and protection. Without you I am incomplete, a revelation discovered in it's entirety by your absence now. Whatever the outcome, you should know that you have been my inspiration, my conscious, my heart. Nothing will ever change that.

I once thought our journey together was close to an end, now I see it has only begun, with a measure of time equal to immortality. The future is now screaming life to me.

Scully put down her pen, and read what she'd written. What kind of a future could they have if the journey was spent apart? Call it women's intuition, the heightened sense of awareness brought on by pre-natal hormone production, whatever scientific or other theory one professed to, she knew Mulder needed her. He was as lost in mind and spirit as she was.

That fact aside, she was still a Scully, stubborn and determined through and through. She wasn't one to sit back on her laurels, she had to act. Holding up in England was not the answer. If she wanted to assure her safety and protect her child... Mulder's child, she had to find the truth. She certainly wasn't going to accomplish that playing card games and strolling through rose gardens.

She had to go home.

Scully entered the terminal at Dulles, and checked her watch. 3:00 p.m. She hadn't told anyone she was coming back, so no one was waiting for her. Scully made her way to the baggage claim, knowing where her first destination would be. To see Mulder. She stood waiting for her bags, and running every plausible rebuttal to every argument Mulder could present through her mind. She knew he'd be mad, but she also hoped he'd be as happy to see her as she knew she was going to be to see him.

An hour later she walked slowly through the halls of the Hoover building, making her way to the inner sanctum, the home of the "X-Files," Mulder's office. The door was locked, and she hoped he wasn't out in the field somewhere. She navigated her way back upstairs to Skinner's office. He'd be able to tell her where Mulder was.

When she entered the outer office of the Assistant Director, he was speaking to his assistant. The surprised look on Skinner's face was almost laughable. "Agent Scully?" he blurted out with shock, but then he quickly regained his professional composure, "I thought you were on an *indefinite* leave of absence?"

Mulder hadn't divulged Scully's whereabouts, and Skinner hadn't pressed, knowing the less he knew in his position as their superior the better everyone was. Not that he hadn't been approached by certain people wanting to know where Scully was hiding. He could honestly say he had no clue.

This made her being here in his office a little problematic. That, and the news he was going to have to tell her. "I was looking for Agent Mulder, Sir. Is he working a case?"

Skinner walked toward her, placing his hand on her arm in a fatherly gesture, "Agent Scully..."

Scully pulled away, "What happened?"

"Agent Mulder was shot while on assignment. He's..."

"Where is he?" Scully asked, her mind going on auto-pilot. She was preparing for the worst.

"A hospital in Providence. I'll drive you," Skinner replied, then escorted her out of the office.

On the drive up to Rhode Island, Skinner explained how Mulder had gone to Providence following up a lead. A former civilian employee for the military had stumbled on some questionable files, and had contacted the F.B.I. When Mulder went to meet the man, he'd found him dead, and had been almost killed himself by the other's murderer.

It had been close for the first forty-eight hours, he'd been shot in the right front torso. He'd suffered a collapsed lung and the bullet had lodged between ribs, requiring surgery. That had been just under two weeks ago, and Mulder had been recovering soundly at a hospital there.

"Why didn't anyone call me?" Scully asked, controlled anger in her tone.

Skinner replied, "Agent Mulder did not tell me where you were, and he'd sworn your associates, the Gunmen, not to contact you about his injuries." Skinner looked at the woman sitting next to him, "He knew you'd come back the moment you heard, and he wanted to make sure you stayed safe." He paused a moment, "Why did you come back, Scully?"

She looked down at her extended tummy, and her hands subconsciously rubbing it to comfort... both the baby and herself. "I had a feeling something was wrong."

Scully knocked on the door softly, then entered Mulder's room. She had been ready for battle at this first meeting, but she hadn't been prepared for this. Mulder would have had every reason to be angry: she was being selfish, stubborn, and impulsive. But she was feeling justified in being the angrier. How dare he presume to keep her in the dark about this? His life had been threatened, and he'd almost been killed. If he'd died and she hadn't been there with him, she would have never forgiven him. As it was, right now, she wanted to kill him herself.

Then she saw him. He was sleeping soundly, the afternoon sunlight blanketing him in a warm glow. Mulder's face was cast in an almost sweet innocence, making Scully forget why she was so angry. He was still alive, that's what was more important.

She sat down on the edge of the bed, as Mulder stirred into wakefulness. Groggily, he opened his eyes, and looked at her. "I don't know what painkillers the doctor's prescribed, but now the nurses are all looking like Scully," he said with a lazy smile.

Scully smiled back, "That's because I *am* Scully."

Mulder's eyes shot open suddenly, "Scully! What are you... Why aren't you with J and Patty?"

"I needed to come home. Mulder, why didn't you have Beyers call me?"

"Because I knew you'd come back. Scully, you shouldn't be here, it's too dangerous. We've got to get you out of here." Mulder struggled to sit up.

Scully gently pushed him back down into the pillows, "I'm not going anywhere. I need to be here. I can't let you do this alone. I've never backed away from a fight, and I'm not about to now."

Mulder sighed, and she could see the agitation on his face. "Mulder," she spoke softly, "this isn't just your crusade anymore, we both have a stake in this. Whatever the Truth is, we will only find it that much sooner if we *both* search for it. We are stronger together than we are apart." She smiled at him, "I think we've proved that more than once." Scully took his hand and rested it on her stomach. The baby pressed a foot into their palms.

Mulder smiled at the sensation, only just realizing how much he had truly missed that feeling. He looked up at his bull-headed partner, noting how the sunlight cast her in a smoky glow, like an old movie heroine. He missed her so much, though he couldn't admit it, to her at least. Many a night in the last month he'd spent in his office pouring over case files, and absent-mindedly calling out to her for something, only to remember she wasn't there.

He knew she was safe. He'd called John nearly every day to ask how she was. John would suggest, every time, that he put Scully on the phone, but Mulder knew if they spoke to each other, one of them would cave, and jeopardize the whole plan. He had always thought he would be the one to run to her first.

He smiled at Scully, as he took his free hand and gently caressed her cheek, "All right, Mom," he sighed, "you win."

Scully smiled and patted his hand. She stood up and asked, "So when do you get your walking papers?"

Down to business, the Dana Scully way. "The doctor said I could get out tomorrow morning. We need to make arrangements for you."

"I'm staying here tonight."

"Scully, where are you going to stay? The chair is not going to be very comfortable for you."

"Don't worry about that, I've got it covered. As for the rest, Assistant Director Skinner is assigning me a bodyguard twenty-four hours a day. And until you're better on your feet, I think my apartment is more comfortable. We'll stop at your place and get some of your things tomorrow."

"Are those nesting instincts kicking in, Scully?" Mulder asked with a joking leer.

One arched eyebrow, and Mulder was overcome with laughter. "Oh, how I missed that look," he thought.

Nine Months...

Mulder made his final recovery quickly, most definitely due to Scully's return. He had been back to work for two weeks, but had spent very little time at his own apartment, opting to camp on Scully's sofa. Skinner had chosen good men to be Scully's shadow, and one was always nearby. Whether she was at home, her mother's, or at work, there was always an agent to keep an eye on her.

Mulder, however, felt better when he stayed with her. It was either that, or he was calling her every fifteen minutes. Scully had grown tired of it and finally told him to make himself at home, indefinitely. So, he rambled around her apartment: helped her with putting the crib together, worked on cases using her computer, and basically spent time with his partner.

Five years ago, he would never have imagined himself in this situation. If someone had told him this was his future, he would have called *them* Spooky. Now, however, he couldn't imagine anything else. Sure, he and Scully were keeping everything on a platonic level still, and he had pretty much given up hope that that would change anytime soon. But, he realized that never more so than now had he been given a real sense of purpose. He reveled in this new life.

Scully had continued to work, although mostly doing research at home or at the Bureau. Mulder kept a steady caseload going, and Scully helped when she could. But they were quickly running out of leads... and the baby's due date quickly approached.

Scully threw a file across the room, papers scattering everywhere. "I'm so sick of this," she yelled, making fists in her hair.

Mulder looked up from his place on the couch, "Scully?"

"We are no closer to finding some piece of evidence to hold against them, then if we were looking for a needle in a haystack. I can't take anymore of this," she continued ranting, and ignored the pushes and kicks in her belly. "I feel like my whole life has been dedicated to a war where the enemy is as invisible as air."

Mulder went to her, and kneeled in front of her. "Scully, I know the answer is here somewhere, we just have to keep looking. We can't give up."

Scully's stomach shifted again, "But we're out of time," she whimpered, then something caught her attention.

"We're not yet, Scully. We have to keep looking."

"No, Mulder," she countered, as another, sharper pain struck her, "we *are* out of time." Scully quickly tried to remember the Lamaze exercises.

Mulder's eyes took on an excited, fearful glaze,"The baby? Are you in labor, Scully?"

Scully nodded, "I think so." She started cleansing breaths as the contraction receded. "Mulder, I think you better call Dr Weis, this baby is coming."

Mulder jumped and fumbled about, looking for the phone, the address book, and her bag. He was muttering as he went in a stupefied mantra, "out of time... out of time... out of time..."

Scully spoke between breaths, "Careful, Mulder, you'll lose that cool exterior."

The orderly efficiently wheeled Scully into the admitting area of Memorial hospital. Mulder walked alongside holding her hand, and Agent Walker, her bodyguard du jour, followed. The contractions were still pretty far apart, but that distance was quickly closing. Mulder spoke to Margaret Scully on the phone, while a nurse consulted Scully, and a receptionist put forms in front of both of them. Organized chaos.

Thirty minutes later, Scully was finally settled into a delivery room. The nurse's examination confirmed Scully was dilated to four centimeters, and progressing steadily. After setting up the fetal monitor, the nurse left them alone.

"Are you okay, Scully?" Mulder asked as he helped her arrange her pillows. "Can I get you anything? Water? Soda? Bourbon?" Mulder smiled, and was paid in kind with a meek smile.

"While the later sounds tempting, the book says I should stick with ice chips," she replied. A second later another contraction ripped through her body, and Mulder felt a fraction of it from the grip she had on his hand. He winced at the pain, struggling hard not to let her know it.

When Scully's breathing returned to normal, she spoke hoarsely, "Sorry about your hand." She noticed it turning beet red as the blood returned.

Mulder brushed a strand of hair away from her eyes, "I'll live," he whispered. "You try to relax, conserve your strength."

"I'm gonna need it," Scully chuckled.

Mulder smiled, "I'll go get your ice chips." He stood and gently kissed her forehead.

"Don't be gone too long," Scully said lazily, lulled by his soft, deep voice.

"Agent Walker is outside. I'll be right back," he said as he watched her eyes grow heavy-lidded. A moments respite from the trial to follow.

Scully's labor progressed quickly, a blessing in itself. Five hours after being admitted, Scully began transitional labor. Through cries of pain and tears of exhaustion, Mulder comforted Scully, sometimes with nothing more than a silent expression of hope in his eyes.

"Mulder," she moaned at one point between contractions, "remember when I told you I could have done without that Flukeman thing?" Mulder nodded, "I'm beginning to think that wasn't so bad," she gasped on the last words as another contraction sent her reeling.

Mulder wanly smiled. "Hang on, Scully, you're almost there," he said wiping her forehead with a damp towel.

"I don't think I can do this, Mulder," she whimpered as the pain decreased.

Mulder shook his head and smiled, "Don't think about it, Scully. Concentrate on how you're going to teach our son to always get the last word... at least when he's arguing with his dad."

Forty-five minutes later, Scully had dilated fully and the urge to push overwhelmed her. The doctor and nurses conglomerated around the end of the bed, and Mulder faced Scully focusing all his concentration on her.

"You're doing great, Scully," he told her after a push. "You're almost there."

Scully collapsed back and cried, "I can't do it anymore."

"Yes, you can, Scully," Mulder soothed. "Just another push..."

"I can't," she yelled, then she started crying. "I'm... so tired."

Mulder could see she was absolutely exhausted, but he knew she couldn't stop now. His heart filled with empathy. Everything they had seen and experienced, they had survived because of each other. Now they were facing a future neither had ever considered, and this unknown was more frightening then any alien experience, mutant killer, and conspiracy they had ever faced, because the outcome was contingent on what they did, not what outside forces conspired to put against them. Yet, he knew, they would triumph, as long as they had each other to lean on. And Scully needed to lean on him now, maybe more than she ever had before.

The doctor and nurses were trying to coax Scully. The noises of machines, and voices were overpowering her raw senses, and she began to tune everything out, becoming deaf to the world around her. She wanted to escape the pain, go to sleep and never wake up. The struggle to maintain consciousness was slowly being defeated. She wanted to leave her body, but a small part of her, a little cry deep within, kept begging for her attention.

Then, from within the cacophony of muffled sounds outside herself, a voice rang out to her, as clear as glass. "Dana Katherine Scully," the deep, familiar voice said, "I have never seen you give up on anything in all the time I've known you. Not on me, not on your scientific facts, not even on finding the Truth. Don't you dare give up on yourself now. You have the strength of you beliefs." Mulder spoke soft but firm, a beacon in a sea of chaos. "I love you, Dana."

With those last words, so simple yet so poignant, her mind was focused into reality. She was going to finally bring the life she thought she could never create into the world. She could fail her family, herself, even Mulder, but she would never fail her child.

Scully looked onto Mulder's eyes. All the emotions she had held at arms length for all these years, reflected in his eyes. Fear, joy compassion, but love was the strongest. And his spoken words reinforced that. "I love you, Dana," he whispered again.

She grasped his hand, then leaned forward to push with all her strength. A couple more pushes, and she could hear the high pitched scream of a very upset newborn, followed by her doctor's words, "Congratulations, Dana, you have a son."

Scully felt tears of complete joy fall down her face and wash over her body. Her exhaustion had been thrown aside with the sound of the healthy crying of their child. Mulder held her and kissed her forehead gently. "You did it, Scully," Mulder said, brushing damp tendrils of hair away from her face. Mulder grinned widely, elation and relief shinning in his eyes.

A moment later, a nurse placed the tiny, wailing bundle in her arms. She cooed soft words of comfort, and the child quieted at the familiar voice. Scully made her own cursory inspection of the infant. He was coated with the waxy substance that protected him in the womb and his skin was wrinkled with red blotches. His head was covered in a matted thatch of jet black hair. Ten fingers, ten toes... he was perfect.

Scully looked up at Mulder, whose gaze was focused on the child in her arms. "Oh, Mulder," she whispered in awe, "he's so beautiful."

Mulder drew his fingers across the boy's cheek and gripped Scully's arm gently with his other hand. "As beautiful as his mother," he responded smiling.

Mulder met Margaret Scully in the hall, while the nurses finished attending to Scully and the baby. She was gently pressing him for details when Scully's gurney was rolled into the hallway. Mulder told Agent Walker to go with Scully to her room, while he and Mrs. Scully went with the baby down to the nursery for his initial exam.

They waited outside, watching the nurses and a pediatrician weigh, measure, check heartrate and temperature, and see to the newborn's overall health. Mulder took the opportunity to check in with his superior.

"Agent Mulder, Sir. I thought you should know... we have a son."

Skinner could almost see Mulder's grin through the phone. "That's good to hear. How is Agent Scully?"

"Exhausted, they took her to her room. I had Agent Walker take up position outside. We've arranged for the baby to stay in-room, so we won't need additional agents."

"Agent Mulder, how soon can you be here? I think I have a solution to your current problem."

Mulder held his breath for a moment, and looked at Margaret. She was watching him with concern. "I'm on my way," Mulder ended his phone conversation, " Mrs. Scully, can you take the baby to Dana's room when the doctor's finished? I need to check in at the Bureau."

Margaret nodded, "Is something wrong, Fox?"

Mulder took her hand and squeezed it, "Maybe for once everything is going to be fine," he smiled. "Tell Scully I'll be back later to see her." With that he left.

Mulder knocked on the door, then entered. Skinner remained sitting at his desk. "You found something, Sir?" Mulder asked, taking a seat across from the desk.

"I should have thought of it sooner," Skinner began, "I think we could extend our deal with Albert Hosteen to include the baby. It may at least give you some time to find some hard evidence on these people."

Skinner had informed him of the deal that had been made shortly after his father's and Scully's sister's deaths. He didn't give him the complete details, except to say Albert's knowledge about the MJ files from Mulder's tape had been passed onto others, and that if anything happened to Mulder or Scully, one call and the information went public. Mulder didn't know if it was a bluff... frankly, he didn't care. He could only hope it would work to their favor now. "Make the call," he replied to his superior.

It was late when Mulder returned to the hospital. He walked briskly through the halls to the post-partum wing, checked briefly at the nurse's station, then went to see about Agent Walker's replacement. He arrived at Scully's room, and acknowledged Agent Ryerson standing by the open door. The curtain had been pulled, to give the occupants within privacy, and still allow the guard outside to be alerted if there was trouble.

Mulder quietly moved into the room, and peered around the curtain. The vision he saw made his heart leap. Scully was sitting up, the loosely wrapped form of their son cradled in her lap. Mulder could see that it was dinner time, the infant pressed close as Scully breast-fed. She gently ran her finger along his cheek and whispered tender words of encouragement.

Never had she looked more beautiful, radiating pure love like beams of light into the room. Mulder stood silently and watched. Happiness was no longer just a word in the dictionary, it was the epitome of everything his life was becoming. For over twenty years now he had denied himself happiness in search of a truth he had only glimpsed. Now he could deny himself no longer, the feelings were like a narcotic. These two people had made their way into his life and into his heart with no regard for his own wishes... and he wouldn't have had it any other way.

Scully looked up and saw him standing at the edge of the curtain. Her smile widened when she saw him. "There you are. I was beginning to wonder..."

Mulder smiled, then pulled a little brown bear from behind his back, "I went to five different toy stores to find this," he said sheepishly, "I thought he might like it."

Scully chuckled, "Spoiling him already, Mulder?" she raised an eyebrow playfully at him. Mulder responded with a shy grin, still feeling a little intrusive to the activity occurring on Scully's end on the bed. He shuffled anxiously from foot to foot, wondering how he could politely excuse himself until Scully had finished nursing.

If Scully, however, was at all embarrassed by the situation she didn't show it. She gestured for him to come closer, and Mulder complied, placing the bear on the bedside table. He gently sat on the edge of the bed, putting his hand on the silky down of the baby's head. He watched the hungry child for a moment, then whispered, "He certainly doesn't mess around."

Scully concurred, "He definitely shows signs of being a very determined young man." She brushed her finger across the baby's cheek, "Where do you suppose he gets that from?" she asked eying Mulder.

He smirked back, "I haven't got a clue." They watched the baby again, their silence interrupted only by the sweet noises of their son. "The nurse at the desk mentioned you haven't given him a name yet. Any reason for that?" Mulder finally asked.

Scully smiled, "Actually, there is. I thought I should have your opinion."

"What are my choices?"

The infant stopped feeding, and became restless. Scully quietly lifted him to her shoulder, patting him on the back. "I had plenty of time to think about it while I was in England. I had thought on the off-chance you were wrong and the baby was a girl, I would name her Melissa, that way Missy might live on in her namesake."

Mulder took hold of Scully's hand, and gently kissed it, "And for a boy?"

"That one took awhile longer. I can't tell you how long I contemplated it. Then it came to me," she moved the infant off her shoulder to cradle him between them, "Samuel. How does that sound?"

Mulder stared at the flailing bundle, reaching out a tentative finger to stroke the top of his son's hand, "Samuel... Samuel... Sam," he stopped as a sudden dawning came to him. He looked up at Scully, who was watching him intently. He smiled as he realized how much he appreciated this woman. Only she would know how much a simple gesture such as this would mean to him. If not a namesake for her sister, then one for his.

"Samuel is perfect," he said smiling.

"Then we better tell the nurses, Sam needs to be changed," Scully said grinning.

A few minutes later, a nurse came with a fresh diaper, and Scully was entertained watching Mulder learn the art of "poopy diaper" changing. When the task was complete, Mulder carried Sam back to Scully's bed.

He marveled at the tiny wonder in his arms, so soft and warm. It suddenly hit him, in all the commotion with doctors and nurses, and his quick departure after the call to Skinner, he hadn't actually *held* his son before this moment. He could feel Sam's heartbeat strong and steady. He watched the baby's chest rise and fall with each tiny breath. Pure, undeniable evidence of life, the life he and Scully had created. Mulder watched as the baby's hand wrapped around his index finger, the grip strong, as though instinctively reaching out to grab Mulder's soul and make a lasting connection.

Mulder smiled, "I think we have a problem," he said as he sat back on the bed. "Now that I've held him, I don't think I can let him go." Mulder kissed Sam's forehead, and looked up at Scully. The tears welled in her eyes. "Scully, what is it?" he asked, concern clouding his expression.

"Oh, Mulder... this room, the three of us here... If I could freeze this moment in time, lock us away from the lies and the conspiracies... I want to protect him, I don't know if I can. No matter what we do, there will be a time when we won't be able to watch him. How do we know they won't wait in the shadows for the opportunity to take him from us?"

Mulder brushed her cheek with his hand, "Don't think about that now, Scully. Skinner is working it out. All I want you to concern yourself with is being happy, and making this little guy happy. Everything else is insubstantial."

"Did Skinner find something? What did he find?" Scully trembled anxiously.

"It doesn't matter. If Skinner's plan doesn't work, then I'll take matters into my own hands."

"And do what?"

Mulder looked down at Sam, "I'll leave the Bureau, give up the search altogether. If that's what's necessary to assure you are safe, I won't hesitate."

"Mulder, you can't do that. I can't ask you to sacrifice your search like that. You'd be doing exactly what they'd expect... "

"If it meant giving this up to find the Truth, it wouldn't be a choice. Scully, right now the only two people who mean more to me then my sister are right here in this room. Wherever she is, I know in my heart she wouldn't want me to sacrifice you or our son to find her. She would want me to be happy without her. I think she'd be angry at me if I wasn't when I had the chance."

Scully looked at him mildly skeptical, a faint memory of something she'd... no, he'd said during Sam's birth floated into her conscious. The memories were hazy, the exhaustion and fear she had felt during the labor their own barrier to protect her from the physical pain. Now, one sentence coalesced, "I love you, Dana."

When had he said that? Did he really mean it? She could see... something in his eyes. Something she had either ignored or been afraid to see before. "What are you trying to say, Mulder?" she asked.

Mulder looked away, trying to find the right words, "I never considered trying to build a normal life for myself before, I've always been consumed by my work. When you told me you were pregnant, Scully, a part of me I never knew existed screamed into awareness." Mulder looked down at his son, "If I backed away now, I think I would spend the rest of my life wondering what it would be like... to have a family, a house in the suburbs with a mortgage, all the things that constitute normal existence for everyone else. I think spending the rest of my life wondering about that would be worse than wondering whether there were `little green men' walking around." He turned back to look at her, "What I'm trying to say, Scully, is... Dana... I love you. More than words can express, more than anyone should be allowed to love another person. If I had to give up my work... my life, to assure you were safe and happy, I would do it without any thought."

He brushed a lock of hair away from her face, gently rubbing his thumb at her temple, "You have given me more than I ever asked for: your friendship, your respect, your compassion, now you've given me... we've given each other, something that neither of us asked for nor expected," he looked down at the baby again, "we've given each other a child. A miracle we both needed. I couldn't tell you before how important this is to me, because I didn't think you'd believe me, and I didn't know if I believed it myself. Holding him now... I know this is right, that we're right. Does any of this make sense?" he chuckled.

Scully's eyes gleamed with tears. "Yes," she replied on a choked sigh, "all of it."

Mulder smiled, "I want us to be a family, Scully. If I have to give up the `X-Files' to make that happen then I will. I've been given this chance, I'm not going to let it go, and spend the rest of my life never knowing if this was the choice I should have made."

Scully watched him, her mind overwhelmed with emotions. She had never expected Mulder to say these things, never hoped he would say them for fear her heart would break when he didn't. But he had made all her dreams a reality, and she would do the same for him. "I need to finish filling out Samuel's birth certificate information. I didn't know... I mean, are we... do you want Sam to take your name?" she fumbled.

Mulder gave her a boyish grin. "Scully, the only thing that would make me happier," he whispered, "would be if his mother took my name too."

Scully stared into his eyes, all the hope and anticipation for the future mirrored her own. It was right, she thought, it was so right. "Yes," she said simply to the unspoken question. Mulder leaned forward, and kissed her softly.

Nothing more needed to be said.

An hour later, Scully slept, the events of the day having taken their toll. Mulder sat in the rocking chair, staring at his son in wonder. The boy seemed equally in awe of the man holding him, quietly studying Mulder with steel-gray eyes. Mulder tired to guess what color the bright little orbs would eventually change to, Scully's crystal blue or his chameleon like green. In the end, it didn't really matter. Sam was healthy and safe.

"I don't know if you know who I am, Sam. I'm your dad." The baby gurgled and cooed. Mulder looked up at Scully's angelic form asleep in the bed. "And that beautiful lady over there, is Scully, but you better call her Mom. We both love you very much." Sam continued to stare at his father, the expression on his face was like wisdom, as though he knew some ancient secret about life, the universe and everything, but was unable to communicate it, and in a few short days would forget it altogether.

Mulder watched his son, still in amazement at this little thing that was part of him, and would always be part of him no matter what else happened in the world around them. "I am so glad you are here, Sam," he whispered, tears tripping the edge of his eyes, "I will never let anything happen to you or you're mother. I love you both so much." Mulder leaned down and kissed the petal-soft skin of the newborn's forehead. He then smiled at his son, and would swear till the day he died that Sam smiled back. Scully would argue that an infant less than twenty-four hours old would not have learned a conditioned response so complex. Deny him proof that extraterrestrials existed, that there were more answers in the universe than a mere mortal had questions for, but never deny him the belief that his son smiled at him. Smiled his approval of decisions made, and the path Mulder had chosen for their future.

Mulder felt the tears travel down his cheeks. Not tears of sorrow and anguish, but tears of joy and love. Always love.

Eight months later...

The ceremony was small and simple. Other than the priest, Scully and Mulder stood alone at the front of St. Augustine's Cathedral, the same church where only a few months prior Sam had been baptized. The baby now sat with Scully's family, her mother holding him through the short Mass. The boy paid little attention to the activities around him, taking an entertaining interest in his grandmother's necklace, and how far he could get it into his mouth before she pulled it away.

Mulder eyed his son, and smiled warmly. A day didn't go by in the last eight months when he didn't thank God and the fates for Sam. Mulder couldn't imagine not having him at all. Every discovery the child made was like a rediscovery for Mulder, the reflection on the innocence of childhood. Sam had endeared himself to Mulder's heart as quickly as Scully had.

She stood facing him, a smile on her face equal to his. She could see the sparkle in his eyes and the little crinkles around them, and knew the cause. Their son. Nothing else created that expression on his face, save when he looked at her.

Mulder looked back at Scully, just as the priest readied to pronounce them, and gave her a boyish grin.

At the reception that followed, the bride and groom danced to the band playing "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" while the other guests watched. It could be observed that the couple, partners in every sense, had never looked happier. They glided around the dance floor like the hero and heroine in an old musical, oblivious to everything around them, focused only on each other.

Halfway through the song, Mulder left Scully momentarily. He looked around the room, then spotted his quarry. Sam sat contentedly on Mulder's mother's lap. Mulder quickly retrieved his son, and carried him back to the dance floor, and Scully. She smiled and held out her arms to them, and was treated with happy giggles from Sam and a warm chuckle from Mulder. Mulder placed the baby in her embrace, then proceeded to lead them around the dance floor again. The song ended, and the band began playing: "What a Wonderful World," and for Scully and Mulder, it truly was.


Notes: I know I left the subject of the X-Files and whether M & S are still working on them together open, but I thought it might be better to leave that to the readers imagination. So you can make your own assumptions about what has happened. I also noted after rereading this piece that Scully sounds a little more emotional then she usually is on the show, but what woman isn't a "little" emotional during a pregnancy?

The book, What to Expect When You're Expecting is a real book, and I should give it just recognition, not mine I don't get any money for any part of it. I will say though to anyone who reads this and happens to be pregnant, it is the pregnant woman's bible, I actually pulled out my old copy and referred back to it a little for some information I couldn't remember.

I am thinking about a little side piece to go along with this. Not really a sequel, more a vignette. I just have to actually sit down and do it.

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