Title: Three Lil' Fishies
Authors: Brit Mulder and Girlie_girl74
Date: 09-09-02
Rating: G
Spoilers: Existence then AU
Disclaimers: They belong to Fox
Category: Baby FF
Archive: anywhere
Summary: Mulder and William go to the Aquarium.

Three Lil' Fishies

It was Saturday afternoon and Fox Mulder was lying on his couch reading the newspaper. "Ripley's Aquarium Grand Opening," he read aloud to no one in particular. William sat on the floor beneath him playing with one of his many toys.

Scully was at a candle party with her mom. They had started to spend more time together since Will's birth. She had suggested Mulder take Will somewhere educational, and going to see the Lone Gunman didn't count. But there he lay, reading the paper and scratching his stomach.

"Da, da, da!" Mulder heard his son shout. He glanced over just in time to see Will pulling the cushions off the loveseat. Mulder threw down the paper and hopped off the couch to stop him. "No Will!" Mulder said as he scooped him up into his arms. "You're a destructive little man." Ever since Will had started to walk, the little boy had done his best to get into everything. Just last week he stuffed one of Mulder's favorite ties down the toilet.

Mulder carried his squirming son around the living room, stopping in front of his fish tank that sat on a narrow table behind the sofa. Will's eye's looked in fascination at the two gold fish swimming in the tank. Mulder crouched down so Will was eye level with the fish. "Say hi to Rob and Laura, Will," Mulder said as Will bounced on his lap. "Fi,fi, fi!" Will babbled in excitement as he slapped his hands against the tanks glass surface, sloshing the water around. "Yeah, you like the fish, don't you Will," Mulder said with a grin. Then it hit him; the new Ripley's Aquarium was open. That was educational and Will did love fish.

Twenty minutes later Mulder and Will were headed to the aquarium.

Mulder paid his admission fee while Will got in for free. He carried the small boy down the long dark hallway that opened up onto a walkway that circled a huge saltwater fish tank. They circled the tank that was filled with sharks and manta rays along with assorted smaller fish. The walkway spiraled down along the side of the tank to the lower level. Mulder sat Will down so he could walk on his own.

The baby immediately took off for a tank that stuck out from the black wall and looked like a half bubble. Will plastered his nose against the glass and watched the sea-horses dancing past him. He screamed and bounced on his toes. Mulder was thrilled by Will's reaction to the fish; it was another interest they shared.

Will toddled over to another tank that was cylindrical and rose almost to the ceiling. It was filled with giant sea crabs crawling across black rocks. Will babbled and pointed at the crabs. Mulder found their appearance unnerving. They looked too much like giant spiders to suit him. "Looks like you want to be a marine biologist, huh kid," Mulder said as he led Will toward the next exhibit.

He boosted Will up to look at the puffer fish. The little boy clapped his hands as the fish puffed up nice and fat. Mulder sat Will down while he studied the puffers. He remembered a case where poison from a puffer fish had been used to kill a man. Scully was the only one to spot and recognize the toxin.

"You've got a smart mommy Will," Mulder said as he glanced down. "Will! Will!" Mulder repeated. The little boy was no where to be seen. Mulder was beginning to panic. Just then he spotted Will in a fish tank! He ran toward the tank screaming Will's name, but the little boy seemed to be enjoying himself. A security guard grabbed Mulder by the arm, "Slow down sir."

"But my son is in the tank!" Mulder spat out. The guard walked over to the tank and reached under it and pulled Will out. Mulder finally let out his breath. The guard handed Will to Mulder.

"Sir, this tank sits on small legs and there is a tube up the middle that allows children to crawl up into it. I have to admit it is a little disconcerting." Mulder blushed and ran his hand over Will's fuzzy head. The security guard smiled, "Don't worry sir, I get the same reaction from other parents all the time."

Mulder put Will down but this time he held his hand. "No more giving your ol' dad a heart attack, okay son." Will chewed on two fingers and plodded along next to Mulder.

They walked into a long glass tunnel and stepped on a moving walkway that took them through the center of the big tank they had circled around when they first came in. The sharks and mantas swam lazily over head and Mulder lifted Will up so he could touch the glass where a large sea turtle rested. Will was having a ball watching the brightly colored fish swimming overhead.

They got off the walkway and went to the snack bar. Will was riding on Mulder's shoulders but had to be put down to sit in a highchair. Mulder wheeled him down the line of snacks. They ordered French fries and a bottle of orange juice. Mulder took the diaper bag off his shoulder and dug out a sipper cup. He poured some of the juice into the cup and snapped on the lid. "Here you go son," Mulder said as he handed the cup to Will who took it and greedily downed it. He then reached for the greasy fries. Mulder blew on a few of the fries and broke them into smaller pieces,handing them to Will. "Don't tell mom we're eating greasy food, she would have a fit." Will' snorted and grinned showing six little teeth before he crammed the fries into his mouth. They finished their food and went to the rest room. Five minutes later they were on the way again.

Mulder and Will followed a class of preschool children to the Titanic exhibit. The room was crowded with people looking at the different Titanic artifacts in glass cases and reading the many facts about the ship posted on the walls. Mulder walked along holding Will's hand so he wouldn't lose him in the crowd.

They came to a demonstration of falling water that was running down a set of steps similar to those on the Titanic. Mulder read on a sign that the water was the same temperature as the water that had frozen many of the passengers to death. He put his hand under the rushing water and yelped, "Hoo that's cold!" He jerked his hand back and looked down at William who was grinning up at him.

Will put out his hand in earnest trying to touch the water. Mulder picked him up so he could put his hand under it. The little boy let out a shriek and pulled his hand back, hitting Mulder on the nose with his elbow. "Ohhh!" Mulder yelled in pain as he held his son in one hand and put his other over his face. Will let out a fit of giggles at the funny sight of his father wiggling his now big red nose. Mulder gave his son a stern look. "You think that's funny, huh?" Will stuck out his tongue and pointed at him still laughing. Mulder couldn't help but grin at his delighted son. "Yeah, yeah. Laugh to your hearts content now that your ol' man looks like Rudolph."

They turned and walked over to a model of the Titanic that hung on the wall. Right below it was a wheel from the ship, Will tried to twist out of Mulder's grasp, wanting down to play with it. Mulder obliged him and put him down. Will spun the wheel with an amused look on his face.

Mulder was studying the layout of the hundreds of rooms on the Titanic when a teenage boy caught his attention. "Sir, your kid just ran off with that preschool class." The young man pointed to the rooms exit. "What!" Mulder said in surprise, looking down to see Will was gone again. Mulder's heart jumped into his throat.He ran out of the room to catch up with the class.

Mulder came to a rest area that had giant models of fish suspended from the ceiling. Benches were strewn around a huge cylindrical glass tube of fish. He spotted the kids near the tank and hustled toward them. A little girl with blonde hair and glasses was walking with her class. She looked down to see a baby toddling along side her chewing on her backpack string. "Mrs. Schultz! There is a baby eating my pack," the little girl whined.

"I'll take him," Mulder said as he snatched William up from the group. He exhaled a sigh of relief. His son was back safe in his arms.

Mulder moved on to the next exhibit. A young man was standing behind a sandbox that stood on small legs. He had several horseshoe crabs crawling across the loose sand. He picked them up and handed them to the children to hold. Mulder helped Will up onto a box so he could peer in. Just then another distraught parent spotted his child in the cylindrical fish tank. Mulder had to laugh, been there, done that, he thought.

"Mister! Mister!" The kid behind the sandbox was talking to Mulder. "Sir, your kid's trying to eat my fish." Mulder looked down just as Will was about to put the squirming crab into his mouth. "Will!" Mulder gasp as he took the hapless animal from his son. Will dug his hands into the warm sand as Mulder handed the crab back to the young man. "Sorry." Mulder mumbled as he pulled Will's hands out of the sand and away from the exhibit.

Mulder and Will had come to the end of their tour of the aquarium. They were passing through the gift shop and headed toward the exit when Will spotted a tank filled with gold fish. He squirmed in Mulder's arms, wanting to be put down. The minute the baby's feet touched the hard wood floor he raced to the tank. The gift shop was selling the gold fish so Mulder lifted Will up and between the two of them they picked out three fish. Mulder paid for them and took Will in one hand while he carried 'Mulder and Scully and Will' in a small plastic bag in the other.

Scully opened the apartment door and sat her packages and keys on a small table. The living room was dark and quiet so she went to the kitchen and got a bottle of water out of the fridge. Taking a long drink, she kicked off her shoes and headed into the living room. She was thinking how nice a cool shower sounded when something caught her eye. There, sprawled on her couch fast asleep was Mulder. His sneaker covered feet hung off one armrest while his head lay on the other one. Across his chest was William. One Ked clad foot hanging off his father's stomach while his arms were wrapped around Mulder's chest. His face was turned toward Scully as he softly snored. She could see baby drool puddling on Mulder's tee shirt. She crept over to them and knelt down grasping Will's tiny hand. She brought it to her lips and kissed it, then frowned. She ran her hand through Will's soft reddish brown curls and drew back her hand, rubbing her fingers with her thumb.

Mulder stirred and slowly opened his eyes. "Hey." He smiled, "I thought I smelled your perfume." He closed his eyes again.

Scully cupped his chin with her hand and shook his head gently. "Mulder," she said, "Why does Will have sand in his hair and his hands smell like fish?"

Mulder's eyes popped open. "Oops."

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