Title: Absit Invidia
Author: frogdoggie
Feedback - YES PLEASE, AND THANK YOU SIR, CAN I HAVE ANOTHER? Comments, suggestions and healthy debate are always welcome. Flames? They only serve to warm my body and mind. frogdoggie@hotmail.com
Category: SRA
Rating: NC-17. MSR, SK/SC, M/SC/SK, M/SK - and pretty much in that order. This story contains just about everything, folks. A three-way relationship, very explicit het sex and some slash i.e. m/m sex. So, if you don't like that type of thing - STOP NOW! Forewarned is forearmed. Proceed with caution.
Archive: Sure. Anywhere - as long as my name and e-mail addy stay on it.
Timespan/Spoiler Warning: This is an AU...post-colonization...so sometime after July 4th, 2000. Spoilers would include the entire series, up to "The Great Maleeni". References specifically to SR819, Orison, Fight the Future, and a whole lot of other eps can be found here.
Keywords: story MSR slash Mulder Scully Skinner post-colonization NC-17
Disclaimer: Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, Walter Skinner and all other X-Files characters belong to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions and 20th Century FOX Broadcasting. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made from their use.

Completed in January of 2000.

SUMMARY: A post-colonization story. Mulder, Scully and Skinner survive the invasion...but will they survive for long...and how? Missing a part of this story or just want to read more of my fic? Then surf here: https://www.squidge.org/3wstop




*Author's notes: After I finished "The Baton Rouge Series"...and during it as well...I had a lot of requests to write another threesome story. So, this is the result. This story is an experiment in style and structure, however. I write stream of consciousness a lot of the time and since I'd been doing quite a bit of reading about Gertrude Stein recently in connection with that idea, I was interested to see if I could actually craft a story that approached that style of writing. So, for better or worse...this is the result. If it's difficult to read, my apologies. Maybe it's a failed experiment but it was a good challenge to write and I enjoyed doing it. I also felt when I was done that the style fit the urgency and drama of the story. It also said Mulder POV to me for some reason. I always saw Mulder's mind as firing ideas, thoughts and impressions very quickly. I tried to mirror that idea in the writing as well. So, without further ado, I present...

In the end we went out with a whimper and not a bang. There was nothing I could do. To my everlasting regret...nothing any of us could do. Not me. Not Scully. Not Skinner. Not anyone.

No. 'Veni, Vidi, Vici'. They came. They saw. They conquered...and we ran. There was no choice. Run or die. Me, and Scully and Skinner...we all ran and to my surprise we ended up running together. How? Pure luck. A conference in Chicago, Illinois. Come on to our local Bureau Office, AD Skinner. Strut your DC stuff. Bring us your best and tell us how it's done. Whoa...Mr. and Mrs. Spooky turn out to be just what the AD ordered up? Well, sure enough...surprise, we were the Chicago field office's just before 4th of July entertainment. We should have been doubly flattered and thankful, Scully and I. Thanks to Skinner, we had one moment of glory in front of our peers and then our lives changed forever...everyone's lives changed forever and...we ran...and Skinner ran too...and we...we saved ourselves but I have...God, I...Scully says I need to let go of the guilt for not staying and resisting and dying with everyone else...and Skinner...well he doesn't say much but I can tell from the set of his jaw...he wants to let go of the guilt too. Live to fight another day Scully said. I have to believe that's what we did...what we're doing...but...

Yessir. We did our little dance for the local Fibbies in Chicago. And surprise - it turned into Totentanz - yeah, dance of death. Ring around the rosy, a pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down. Except Scully, and Skinner and I didn't fall because we ran, and it wasn't plague that took everyone else out...it was...it was a shadow government obscured behind fucking clouds of cigarette smoke and bees, FEMA, the National Guard, even some within the FBI...and last but not least ET and he was coming here to phone home.

So we ran. A run for our nightmares. One night or another one or the other of us dreams about it, and we wake up screaming. Their ships illuminating the night skies. Gleaming black in daylight. Invasion. Colonization. Subjugation. Utilization...they took us...as many as they could, using us up for their purposes...survival and continuation of their race and what they didn't take...they tried to destroy. Devastation. Cities, towns, villages burning. Carnage like you wouldn't believe...like none of us could fathom...even Skinner and he'd been to war. Even Scully and she'd seen the burning on the bridge. Even me and I'd seen the aftermath of that myself. No...this was....it was the scale of it. The sheer numbers. The wailing of hundreds upon hundreds upon...panicked voices. The death throttles of so many...dead, thousands upon thousands of dead. The overwhelming stench. The buckets of blood. I still don't know how we got out. Sometimes we hid but mostly...we ran, we walked, we crawled, when we were lucky, we drove. Once we boated, yeah, three little Fibbies in a boat crossing...Lake Superior. The trip's a blur really. From Chicago to Winnipeg, Canada, in five months. Gee...time flies when you're having fun.

We didn't stop to think about anything but survival. Nope. No deep hearted conversations when we were in hiding about Mom, apple pie or the dying US of A. No debates about the Consortium and its machinations or the Cigarette Smoking bastard or Krycek or any of them. No...reminiscing. No...gee, Scully, remember Eugene Tooms, or Clyde Bruckman or Jose Chung or...or...remember that night in my hallway when I nearly kissed you and remember when I did on New Year's Eve and...remember when you hauled my ass out of the Bermuda Triangle and I told you I loved you and...no...remember when the guys...the guys...Frohike. Langly. Byers. God...that one last cell phone call..."Go," I yelled into the phone. "We're gone," Frohike replied, and then he added...a breathless..."God bless you both," click...I hope...God I hope they got out and no...gee, Mulder...remember the first time we really talked in that hotel room...and remember the Apollo keychain you gave me on my birthday and...remember when you held me after Pfaster and then Padgett and...remember when you showed me how to bat and...remember when I showed you that magic trick and...all the times we were there for each other...and even the ditching and...why even say it? I mean...

She knows how I feel, right? I know how she feels...right? The night I held her when it finally hit home that the rest of her family was more than likely dead...she knew. I knew the day she held me when I had to shoot that kid in Concord, Wisconsin. The one who was screaming because something was ripping itself out of his guts in a sick parody of birth...and I put a bullet in his head and its head and lost it...and she rocked me. Yeah, I knew what she felt for me...so there's no need to talk about it, right? Besides...the memories...there's really no point and there's really no time between exhaustion and hunger, fear, pain and fighting to do anything other than watch each other's backs and run...and survive.

So...no discussions and no...recriminations...or acts of forgiveness or...No...gee, Mulder and Scully...please forgive me for all the wrongs I've committed against you forever, and ever, amen because I made mistakes....I towed the line...tried to balance and fell...and I hate myself for all of it more than you'll ever know...and God help me I wish it had never happened and...yes, sir, we forgive you because we know you were compromised and blackmailed...your life in another man's hands....and you're just a man who did what he thought he had to do and...you had no choice in the end. I mean why even say it? The first time I shot a man point blank to save his life Skinner had to know...right? The time Scully dug a bullet out of his arm and held his head while he vomited from the pain I guess he knew we didn't give a shit about the past...right? I hoped so anyway.

But did we talk? No. Nada. Nope. At no time was it...hi my name is Dana and may I call you Walter because as I'm picking shattered bits of glass out of your ass... yeah...don't ask...it occurs to me that calling you 'sir' is just a bit too formal? At no time was it...hi my name is Fox and may I call you Walter since as I'm pissing on your boots because we can't move out of this fucking 'hidey-hole' and I couldn't hold it anymore so I whipped it out and let fly towards you and not Scully it occurs to me that calling you 'sir' is just a bit too formal? No...it was Mulder, Scully and Sir. Fuck...we hardly thought about names or anything remotely...smelling of the finer points of civilization anyway. It's...

It's really rather amazing how you revert to...to the most primitive base instincts...animal instincts when your life is in danger. I never thought I could kill in cold blood...kill without thinking about it...without it being...an act of apprehension or self-preservation associated with the job. But I did. It became like...like a deadly, bloody reflex. I never thought. I sure as hell know Scully never thought she could either, that time with Pfaster notwithstanding, until she did. And she did it to save me at the time and then she did it over, and over again. And Skinner. Christ. I...I can't even tell you. God...what it must have cost him to do what he did. He's a very efficient killer. Semper Fi. Special Forces. Be proud, be a Marine. Uh huh. Sure. Every time...every time I think part of him died. See...he was the only one that could bring it on down man to man on the road. Death up close and personal in hand to hand combat. I mean with a knife to the throat or guts or...a wire...or his bare hands around a man's neck. I couldn't and neither could Scully. You know what he said when I asked him how he could do it? Skinner said, "Mulder, I've died before - twice. I've got death inside me 24/7. I don't mind looking death in the face because I know him." I didn't have an answer for that because...fuck...all I could think of was...it's the truth and most of the damn world is getting to know 'Mr. Death' and I hope to hell it isn't only a matter of time before we get to know him better still.

But we dealt death. We saw death dealt, and sometimes, a very few times, we defeated the Grim Reaper and rejoiced in it. Scully defeated him the most...healing whenever she had a chance. One young boy...I'll never forget. Tiny rural town in Wisconsin after the clone goon squads passed through. Most people had left fleeing for their lives...and this boy and his mother...the boy...maybe seven years old standing mute, his arm just hanging, dislocated and the woman screaming, "Help John, Help John!" and it wasn't even the boy's name, it was her husband's and he was dead in a culvert across the street.

Skinner had to slap her to stop her hysterics. Scully and I took the boy aside. Quiet, he just stared at his mother. "Hey, buddy...what's your name?" I asked. Big eyes on my face. No response. Scully hugged him close and he whispered. "Michael." I smiled at him. "Michael, I'm going to make your arm all better. Can you lean against my friend so I can do that?" Scully asked. Michael nodded and leaned into me. I steadied him...and one quick shift of her hands and Scully put his arm back. The woman, standing, staring at Skinner, her eyes huge finally saying "Thank you, John," and the AD looked away, tears in his eyes. Another woman and her husband came by and took them away. I never knew if they got out. We went North and they all fled...somewhere else. We kept going North...using the compass we found in the Amoco service station in the boy's town...North to where we knew it would eventually get much colder. Too cold for the grays...too cold for the bees.

So we ran and we lived for the moment. Left Winnipeg on November first. No more bees suddenly this past Saturday, November 15th. First hard cold snap and they started to die. Either the cold...or they had some kind of weird shelf-life. Whatever. Hope they stay dead. Still don't know how we managed not to get stung. So we got the hell out of town again and we walked and walked and...

We've been walking for miles when we spot the farmhouse. Reconnoiter, senses hyped, rifles at the ready. Skinner on point. He always goes ahead. The place is deserted luckily. No dead Mr. and Mrs. Green Jeans or little Green Jeans to bury or burn. Hell, I'm glad that's the case. Scully still gets upset sometimes when we find the dead kids...well, we all do. Man it's cold. They have a fireplace and a big old pot-bellied stove in the kitchen. Plenty of wood. It's like heaven inside this farmhouse because we take a chance at stoking 'em both. Heat and light too and more light from a lantern, flashlights, candles and those long kitchen matches we find. Some canned food. Hey...what do you know...the place is still almost a home. But the piece de resistance...the manual well pump.

Portable water for cooking...but more important...bathing. God, another luxury we all miss so much. Damn Skinner's anxious to shave. I have to laugh at that. He's had the beard for weeks. We all reek to high heavens and the AD wants to scrape his face. But...it is a semblance of normalcy and shit...I can't blame him. I want to get rid of my face fuzz too. Scully wants to wash her hair in the worst way, God bless her. She...well she still looks beautiful to me but I know she hates the smell, the grease, the dirt. Hell...if nothing else we just want to get the blood out from under our fingernails.

Rub a dub dub...three little Fibbies draw lots for the tub. Skinner wins. It doesn't take him long even though he has to shave with a 'Lady Schick'. He comes out, shaved and all in just short of an hour. Impressive. Even more impressive...his attire. He's wearing a pair of long underwear. Don't ask. Ok...yeah they're fire engine red. Scully and I both suppress laughter but we don't dare ask or comment. We know he rifled one of the dressers in a back bedroom. I know he's tired too. We tell him to sleep in the same back bedroom if he wants. He opts for the couch. Ever watchful. We lock up tight and place the screamer alarms. If anyone even jiggles a door handle we'll know. Skinner's out like a light in ten minutes. It's Scully up next for the bath.

You live for the moment. I have soap in my eyes when I hear the bathroom door open and quietly shut. Can you believe it...I go for my Smith and Wesson like I can see it. Would have completed the movement if it hadn't been for the soft...

"Mulder, it's me."

"Scully?" I ask rather stupidly, wiping at my eyes with my hand. I'm standing there naked, freshly bathed, rinsing my face after the shave...it isn't like she's never seen me naked but I get the soap cleared away and...she's naked too. I think...what? She bathed already....but she's naked and...she...and then I know this is different then the other times. I know...I think...maybe she really doesn't know...what if she doesn't know how I feel and...I should...

"I love you," I whisper.

"I know. I love you too," she quietly replies.

It took the end of the world is all I can think for a minute...the end of the world...and then she kisses me and...it doesn't matter.

God she's so beautiful. Our lips meet. Mouths open. Tongues war. The taste...we'd had coffee for the first time in months that afternoon and I can taste it on her tongue...and it's so sweet. And then I can taste what must be essence of Scully...and it's ambrosia. We press together...sliding skin...on skin on...lips, and hands, touching, licking, sucking, caressing, kissing. I grow so hard, so fast and her hands....my hands, entwine as I thrust my erection against her. I lift her onto the vanity and...on my knees...her legs around my head...I'm between her thighs...mouth tasting another part of her and man...it's just as sweet. Sucking her...my tongue running in and out and then over and over...she's wet...incredibly...warm, musky and then...shuddering...grabbing at my head spastically and I taste a gush of new wetness and hold her hips and she comes once hard and then again softly, trembling as I lave her.

I rise up, stand in front of her, capture her eyes...I want...I need to know...if..."It's ok," she says and then...my hands shake. Fumbling..."Sorry," I gulp the word...she smiles. I...I almost lose it when she smiles like that at me. Her eyes...the smile travels all the way to her luminous blue eyes. I shift...so close and...oh God...yeah...one slow thrust...slowly...slowly...and I'm inside her, and oh fuck, I can't hold back I...fuck, and I'm like a fucking jackhammer. Scully pulls me close. Legs wrap around my waist. Ankles lock behind. Where do I put my hands...on her....her hips...hips...oh man...I'm gone.

Sweating, flushing, grunting, panting, groaning. She holds me, tells me she loves me, it's good, do it, do it, let go and I'm trying and...warmth rising up out of my balls...and I'm trying and...my cock pounding into her....muscles tightening, tightening....and almost and she moans..."Mulder, come for me," and then...and then...I roar..."UHHHHSCULLY!" I see a white, blinding light and I must be dying but it's fucking glorious and wave, upon wave, upon wave, of ecstasy surges through me and I know I'm coming....spurting cum like a rocket inside...and out and down between her ass cheeks as I thrust spastically against her....burying myself deep inside...and...I cry out UHHHH! in pleasure again....and I hear...the sound of feet pounding down the hallway. Bathroom door smashing open and...I'm thrusting and moaning and finally my eyes are open so I can see...I can see Scully's coming again now too, her head back, mouth open in a silent scream...

Gruff whisper "Jesus H. Christ..."

...and my mind barely registers...Skinner...gun in hand....and then I'm falling into her tits...and Scully's sobbing and laughing with joy and so am I.

Skinner's on the back porch, his jeans and boots pulled on over the long johns. Standing. Facing the setting sun. Looking out over...nothing really. In the cold. I walk over and stand by his side. "Scully's making some food...and more coffee," I tell him. He nods. "Sorry," he replies, his voice rough. Embarrassment in one rumbled word. I shrug. Tense jaw just like in the office as he shifts on his feet. I start to tell him...what? It was the first time? Shit...he shakes his head at my mumbling, glances at me. "None of my business," he says clearing his throat.

Something...a twist of emotion crosses his face before he turns away and I know...I realize...oh shit. He sees me watching but won't look back. "How long?" I ask. He swallows and looks at me at last. Setting sun on his lenses masks his eyes. But his lips flatten in a tight line. "Don't ever say a thing to her, Mulder. I mean it. Never. Please," he hisses, looking away again.

Oh man. He loves her? Loves Scully. I just stare at his profile. Watch his jaw muscles jump. What the hell can I say? I turn and stare blindly into the setting sun. "Want some more coffee?" I finally ask wanting to either scream or pound my head against the wall...or both. "Thank you. I'll be in shortly," he answers not looking at me. I nod and leave his side.

My turn for the nightmare that night. Asleep in the back bedroom, Scully in my arms. "SAMANTHA!" I scream, "NOOOO!" Christ...after everything...maybe millions of deaths and...it's still about my sister. Skinner hears me screaming. This time he knocks. "He just had a nightmare. He's ok, sir," Scully calls through the door. "Can I get you anything?" Skinner asks. "I'm fine. Thanks," I reply. My chest is heaving, sweat rolling off me but...hey...I'm fine. Brief pause...silence outside the door, then..."I'll give you some more time before your watch," Skinner rumbles. "Yes, sir. Thank you," I reply, grateful. Soft padding of feet recede back down the hallway. I wince, guilt welling up. Fuck...he's out in the living room like a damn watchdog...alone and...we should have stayed out there but...it was so fucking awkward...idiotic...stupid embarrassment. Skinner insisted it was 'fine'...damn all-encompassing 'I'm fine, Mulder and Scully...it's fine...everything's fine'...and who are we to argue with the boss...and...ah hell...Scully and I just wanted to be together...to talk and touch and...

"Mulder...are you sure you're all right?" Scully asks interrupting my train of thought. Brow furrowed. She looks just like she did back at the Hoover. Dana 'don't bullshit me' Scully. But I do. I turn away from frowning at the bedroom door. "Yeah. It's ok," I whisper, pulling her close again. It'll never be ok, ever again but...tonight we'll pretend I think. "Go to sleep," I reassure her. "You better not be bullshitting me," she grouses. I chuckle and she snuggles close. Last word, she's asleep and then so am I.

We never mentioned that day in the farmhouse again. The next morning Scully was up early, on watch. "Robot scout ship," she whispered in my ear. It must have seen the smoke from the chimney. We moved on. Never knew if it came back. Staying on wasn't worth the risk. Too close to what passed for civilization anyway. We needed to head further North, into the woods...into the cold.

Cold. God damn, it was too. None of us wanted to admit it but we thought we were through really. Only light packs, our handguns and rifles. Trying to live off the land and the few rations we found in our wanderings. Plenty of water...we were up to our knees in snow after all...and it was deepening. Tripping over the first of several human shaped frozen lumps in the snow. Others had come this way, tried and died. But shit...we were too stubborn to drop in the tracks of a howling snowstorm. One insulated boot in front of the other...march on soldiers.

I remember all of us huddling together, under the heavy bows of a grove of pine trees. Crawling under an improvised shelter we'd made thinking...we're going to freeze to death here. Holding Scully and I swear to God...the first time in my life I ever let a man hold me close. Skinner, trying to gather both of us into his arms. Man furnace. I think it was what saved us really. His big, 'bear' arms hugging us and that blast furnace body of his. We woke up the next morning and traveled on. It was still snowing and the wind cut like a knife. The minutes stretched into hours and we just kept walking...we didn't know what else to do except walk and look for more shelter before nightfall.

It was Scully who spotted the sign. 'Danforth's Lodge. Cabins for rent. 5 miles ahead'. There must have been a road. But the snow...and it was almost nightfall. We lumbered off in hot pursuit. The sun set fast...too fast and the snow blew on. Stumbling about in the dark...fucking flashlight...dead battery...and no sign of anything and I couldn't feel my feet anymore. I could just see Skinner ahead of Scully. We keep her between us so she wouldn't get the wind in her face. Skinner running ahead...his light sweeping...and I'm yelling wait...wait because I can't see and I'm slipping and sliding, and so is Scully, and we're careening into each other and then...row of cabins....and we were saved again.

A lodge all right. Looks burned...tumbled in on one end...maybe. Hard to see much without getting closer. But...some of the cabins are intact. Getting inside is paramount. We'll explore when we're warm. 'Eenie, meenie, miney, mo'...pick a cabin out of the row. Break-in. It's an A-frame. One huge great room really. Sleeping loft with...good golly, Miss Molly...a bed! Living room, kitchen and bathroom. The usual furniture. The couch folds out into a second bed. Huge fireplace. We're in luck ...a well pump again...and it's not frozen. Nice of the owner to insulate it in a little pump house. Someone is looking out for us for sure. We find a couple of buckets, and a big pot, and quickly draw water for drinking and personal use.

Christ we're tired. Sleep. It's on all our minds. Take watches? No way...it's brutal out and we're far enough North...too cold for anyone...or anything. Please...no one can be out in this mess. We should be safe so...we build the fire fast, set the alarms, eat a granola bar each just for the energy...wash up a little, piss or whatever and then...

"Take the loft," Skinner suggests, not quite meeting our eyes. Scully clears her throat but I beat her to the punch. "You sure, sir? I mean we could..." I begin. "No, that's fine. You two...uh...go on," he replies, faltering just slightly in that clipped, terse delivery. He leaves our side and heads to the bathroom...again? Scully tracks him with her eyes. Brow furrowed. I watch his back too...spine straight despite his fatigue. Scully glances back at me. My eyes slide...away. I shrug. "Bed," I mumble. She has something to say...but she's too tired to say it. Reprieve I think. It takes two trips up to the loft. First trip, flashlights...mine taking the last of our fresh batteries, rifles and guns. Second trip...sleeping bags as we climb up the steps. Fireplace heat just reaching the bed. Dusty so we shake out the sheets and comforter. Open up the sleeping bags. Add them for extra warmth over the comforter. Strip...to our underwear and T-shirts. Climb in. Spoon together. Sighs of contentment...dare I hope.

Hear the bathroom door shut downstairs. "Good night, sir," I call down. "Good night, Mulder. Good night, Scully," quiet rumble from somewhere near the couch. "Night, sir," Scully adds.

A sound awakens me and I'm up and at the loft railing, gun braced before I even realize it. "Mulder!" Scully calls out. Skinner, thrashing around in the couch bed. Nightmare. He wakes with a hoarse cry. "Stay here," I caution her as she moves to get up. "Sorry, no," she replies. I frown but I can't stop her. Safety back on the gun. Lay it down on the night table and...downstairs he's sitting up in bed now, white T-shirt, stretched over muscles...both slightly damp. He scrubs at his face. I stand by the side of the couch. Notice the fire needs wood. Scully comes up, stands at my side. "Are you all right?" she asks. His eyes rise...he looks at her standing there in the flickering firelight, in her underwear, nipples a little hard and...before he can hide it I see it in his eyes and I know...Scully sees it too. I look from Skinner to her and...her face goes very still. Skinner looks away. "I'm fine. Sorry I woke you," he rumbles. I don't know what to say so I decide to play parrot.

"You sure you're all right?" I ask. Head swivels to me. "Yes...thanks," he shrugs. Scully clears her throat. "I'll...I'll say good night then," she adds softly. Skinner nods. "Good night, Scully." She nods and then she's gone. Skinner's eyes track her for a moment then...he looks down at his hands. "Can I get you anything?" I query before the implications of those words hit home and I flinch. He looks at me...face oddly vulnerable without his specs. I see...I see his complete lack of hope in anything he could feel for her ever being reciprocated and his acknowledgment that he thinks the best man won and....deep down that hot flicker of desire for her that he tamps down and then...a shake of the head...just a ghost of a smile in self-deprecation. "I could use a shot of bourbon...but I know that's not going to happen," he replies. I chuckle. "No...but I'll get you some water," I reply with a small smile in return. "I'll toss a log on the fire too," I add. He nods his thanks. I squash down the feeling of wanting to scream again at not knowing what to say to him or do for him.

The water goes down...the glass goes back to the kitchen. "Night then," I say as he lies back down. "Night," he mumbles. The log goes on the fire in a tiny shower of sparks. Back to the loft.

Scully silent, on her side, in the dark...I slide in next to her and...she whispers..."Did you know?"..."Yes," I reply. "For how long?" half-angry hiss in return. "Since the farm..." I begin. "Dear God...why didn't you say something, Mulder? How long has he..." she interrupts, confusion and embarrassment taking over the anger. "Scully..." I interrupt. "Mulder, he's in love with me," she whispers again, turning over to face me.

Below we hear a sound like a mini 747 taking off. Skinner. Snoring. I nod into Scully's face...etched in sadness...and...I tell her..."I guess...for a while..." and then I tell her the gist of it. "When you had cancer...he made a deal with the devil to save your life." I shrug. There's nothing else to say. "For that long?" she asks again. I nod. "I think so," I reply. "I never...suspected..." she starts to say. But her voice trails off and...'I' suspect that's not completely true, but she's just now realizing it. I sense....a confession coming. "I kissed him once," she whispers, watching my face. I crinkle up my brow. Smile because I can't help it...the image...what must he have thought? "When?" I ask. She smiles a little in return. "When you were in the Bermuda Triangle. It's...a long story," she replies. "In an elevator...in the Hoover," she adds. "In the Hoover?" I ask. "Yes," she replies. "And?" I prompt. "And...he was so shocked...but..." she muses. "But?" I prompt again. "But...for a moment...there was something in his eyes right afterwards. I...I should have known."

I stroke her hair. "Your mind was elsewhere," I reply. Simple statement absolution and a twinge of guilt for me because..."I guess it was," she replies softly, ruefully, looking up at me from under her eyelashes. There's so much love now in those eyes. I shudder. Hot rush of arousal goes right to my cock. I bend and kiss her hard and she melts against me. Life...this is about celebrating surviving another day, and our love, and the fact that we can feel this electric bolt of lust for each other despite our exhaustion, and so what if we're going to make love, and Skinner's right down there snoring on the couch and...we both know he'd like to be up here doing this with her too.

But we are quiet, so quiet as mouths and hands roam over rapidly heating and sweating flesh. Harsh breathing and suppressed moans. Lift her T-shirt up. I fasten on her tit and suck, and suck and it's...God...the most exquisite feeling as Scully arches up under my lips. Bites her lip to keep from crying out as I plunge one hand down the front of her underwear and stroke...into slick, warm folds and then up over...swelling nub...rotating my finger over her clit...over and over...her hand guiding me to the most sensitive spot. Circular motion. Harder...then my other hand joins the first. Fingers thrust inside her...flicking up...massaging. She buries her head in my shoulder, my T-shirt in her teeth as she comes, groaning low. Jerking once, twice into my hand. Shaking, her arms holding me close. "You're so good," she whispers huskily. "Angel," I murmur into her hair.

Sliding underwear down our legs. Off. She moves onto her back...knees up. I crawl between, and I thrust into her like we've done this forever, and not just once and this time I go slow and easy, slow and easy, rocking gently into her. She meets my thrusts...perfect rhythm and...oh man I can last like this I can...go slow and tease the head of my cock in and out of her cunt, rub it over her clit until she's panting hard and so am I and...then she comes again...whimpering and twisting and I hold her for a minute until she grabs for my cock and urges me in again...thrusting deep and then stilling to gaze down at her. "You're so beautiful," I whisper. "I love you," she murmurs, stroking my hair. We move together again...slowly and then...faster and then...faster, and I start to grunt low with each thrust, and she grabs my ass, kneading it hard with her hands and I feel the warmth pooling in my groin...and my balls...tight...sudden rolling spasm...I thrust quick...quick, deep thrusts...harsh snapped off cry..."Gaa..." Exploding. Spastic thrusts....My turn to bury my head in her shoulder.

Coming down...heavy breathing. Murmuring endearments. Pulling out and sighing at the loss of connected flesh. Spooning together, I kiss the back of her neck. "You know I love you, Mulder...don't you?" Scully whispers. I snort a breathless, quiet laugh. "I had some idea, yes," I reply, kissing her again. "No matter what...I love you," she adds. I pull her closer. "No matter what," I reply. "Forever..." she sighs. "Forever," I echo. She nods, seemingly satisfied and even as her breath evens out in sleep and her words echo in my drowsy mind...I know...I know...

Morning light just peeking through the dusty curtains on the windows that stretch across the back of the cabin. Must be a hell of a view I thought last night. Right into the woods. I wake...and Scully isn't there. And...I know...

I hear subtle movement downstairs. Sounds like...wood on wood and...crackling...wood being added to the fire. I roll to the edge of the bed...in the shadows...and look out through the banisters. I can see the floor below...I can see...Skinner walk to the curtains...pulling the curtains open slightly and then standing...sans glasses... no bows over the ears, T-shirt, boxer briefs...back to me, one hand on the curtain....free hand on hip...surveying the territory...and Scully, plain cotton panties and T-shirt stark white in the dim light...just at the end of the loft steps...walking towards him.

Hairs come up on my neck...in...anticipation. I almost hold my breath. He must hear her but he doesn't let on until..."It's still snowing," Skinner observes as Scully reaches his side. His voice...hushed but I can hear...clearly. See the taut muscles in his neck...stretch...stretch...like so many bowstrings as Scully...touches his bicep. A flinch. Curtain drops and...his head swivels to look down and...I can't see her face but I can see his and...God, the desolation there. He studies her face, his eyes roam over it...long and slow and...he shakes his head. "No," he husks. "No...not..." he shakes his head again and walks away. Scully follows, but next to the couch he whirls on her, grabs her by the arms, his face in her face and...I come up on my hands...but...his face tells me there's no real danger. He speaks...fast, raw, and serious...his voice rough with emotion.

"You can't possibly want...not me...not this way. After what I've done to you... both. After what you have with him you can't possibly want...this..." he stops when she looks down and whispers. I strain to hear. "What you've done 'for' us both 'is' why I want this...and what I have with him is...the knowledge that if you wait...it may be too late. But if you don't, it may be forever...Walter."

I watch and I know...I know this is about compassion and respect and the idea that we may find out about forever very soon...days at the most. Starvation. Snowed in with no food or...discovery and death by immolation, or worse yet, capture and...utilization...and...I know that no man should die without at least attaining one thing he might have wanted most in this world. No man is an island, and no man...no man should have to die thinking he's an unloved, unwanted bastard or be put down like a dog without the one good thing he's dreamed about...so...make-a-wish Walter S. Skinner. An angel is about to grant it and...

He pushes her away hard...but she won't let go. "Scully...no..." he grates out, a warning, a plea...his throat convulsing. She won't let him let her go...holding his forearms tight. His head bows, mouth open, struggling with his breath for a moment...her voice gentle..."It's all right. Let it go," she whispers...and then he does. "Oh dear...Jesus," he half-sobs, in one fluid move going to his knees on the hardwood floor...even I can feel the bruises he'll have and I hear the crack as he hits and Scully grasping...pulling him to her...his bald head against her stomach...his arms around her hips, and...he sobs...sobs quietly into her T-shirt. She strokes his fringe of hair. I feel like a voyeur...but neither of them acknowledge my eyes.

Finally, slowly he rises...up and up and...full height over her but not dwarfing her by any means. Swipes at his eyes, won't meet hers for a moment and then...he does. Tenderness there and...it's no surprise really...the soft brown depths of his eyes...and he's suddenly...alive...so alive again...free...a man again and not a bastard dog and...salvation is here and now and... "I love you," he murmurs. "I know," she replies reaching out her hand. He takes her hand...breathes deeply and speaks..."I...you're safe...you...I can't pass them on. Krycek said...they don't work that way," he mumbles, looking down again. She touches his chest. "I understand," she whispers and he looks up and smiles.

He embraces her. So much gentleness in so large and muscular a man...and he studies her face once more...seeking...permission...granted and their lips meet and I know what he's tasting. He's tasting heaven.

I am a voyeur and they dance across my eyes and I know this scene will dance across my eyelids from now on when I dream...as Skinner...his hands shaking slightly but then...deep breath...more confident...pulls Scully's T-shirt up and...off and then she helps him take his off too. Cotton tossed onto cotton and then tits into chest hair, rubbing, stroking...she smiles. "It tickles," she mumbles...he has more than I do. He smiles. He strokes her hair and she leans into his hand...gazing up at him...expectation written in her eyes. His face...so intense...so...passionate suddenly. "Tell me if it's good," he growls...and once again, sinks to his knees, this time slowly. Lowers his head to her right nipple. Scully arches her neck and he lifts her breast up to take more of it into his mouth. "Oh...yes," she whispers. Soft, wet sucking sounds...moaning around hot skin. God, I know what that's like.

Sucking from tit to tit and back and forth until she's whimpering and then his hands sliding down...down...fingers snagging elastic and cotton...panties pooling around Scully's ankles. "Oh," she murmurs as one large hand grabs her ass and his mouth slides down over her belly and down and...and I suddenly realize...they must know I'm watching...and they're letting me watch this...and they're so focused and they...don't care...and it's like a gift...and my groin throbs and...I lick my lips as Skinner's tongue laps her cunt over, and over and...Scully's hips buck into his face and he shoves his tongue inside her as his free hand massages her clit. Slowly...teasing...then backing off. Tongue in and out and...slowly...teasing....then backing off...teasing...she's writhing and he won't let her fall down, he holds her tight with one arm around her hips and ass and...

He stands again and...Scully, breathless, eyes hooded and mouth slack with arousal...watches large hands cradle and lift...Scully comes up into his arms...biceps flex...and...he...no effort at all...he takes her to the bed. Lays her down and then...pulls his briefs off and tosses them aside. Big, rapidly growing large cock and heavy balls spring free...he lies beside her and takes her hand..."Sit on my face," he whispers...voice harsh with arousal. He lies back...she crawls up over his side...up over his muscular pectorals and poises over his mouth. "Yes," he smiles at the view. "Beautiful...like a rose," he whispers and she lowers herself down.

Oh God...he holds her hip with one hand...his jaws work...more wet...slurping sounds and Scully rocks over him...gently rising and falling, twisting from side to side with subtle undulations of her ass and then....his free hand toys with her tits again....and...as he sucks, licks, thrusts his tongue in and out I'm thinking...how can he breathe and...his hand travels down...finger on clit...and rubs, stroking hard and Scully cries out, arching up, rapid hip movement and then...collapses forward...and he holds her steady as she trembles...and then...shifts her back off his face.

"Wonderful," she murmurs, licking her lips and panting to get her breath back. "Fantastic," he rumbles, smiling with all his teeth. His mouth and chin are slick with her juices. A shiver runs up my spine and my cock would salute if I wasn't lying on my stomach. I rub myself on the bed and...oh...Christ that feels....good...and Scully shifts off and then repositions herself in back of his erection.

"You like it on top?" he whispers...watching her face. His cock is almost erect...damn that thing is huge...as he studies her he takes it in hand and fists himself. Getting it all the way up so she can see...what's getting into her. She reaches a hand forward and slides it up under his...and takes over the work...his hands drop to the mattress...grasp the comforter...fist up...he hisses and struggles not to let his eyes drop shut so he can watch her jerking him...."Any way you want it, Scully..." he tells her and she smiles. "Just like this," she replies...rising up...over...on...and down...sinking slowly and his eyes focus on the point between them....and his jaws clench tight, teeth bared in a rictus of pleasure as he sees her cunt taking him inch by inch all the way in. She comes to rest flush with his balls.

He looks up at her in wonder and his hands come up to gently caress her hips. "Ok?" he grunts, trying to grin. "Full," she nods and smiles. "So...lovely," he rumbles, his voice raw. She smiles again and strokes his hard stomach muscles. "Oh God," he mumbles as she pulls her hips up and then, sinks down...repeats the motion and...he takes up the rhythm and they piston together and I...I bite the inside of my mouth to keep from moaning loud as I slide my cock around on the sleeping bag under me.

No words...they don't utter a word...just harsh gasping...and Skinner's low, forceful grunts in time with each thrust of his hips and Scully's breathy moans in perfect counterpoint...and his hands grip her hips hard, lifting...helping her lever up as she starts to thrust faster and faster...frantic, spastic dance on his cock. He finds his voice then...low...like a big cat..."Do it...good...yeah...good..." he purrs, urging her on...and she bites her lip and looks down, shifting..."Oh God...so close," she whines, rotating and plunging up and down, up and down, riding...sweat standing out on the top of her freckling, flushing tits.

Skinner arches up...powerful ass and thigh muscles working...his face intense...flushing...sweat on his brow...mouth open and panting...changes the angle and she goes off like a rocket, and he has to slide his hands up to support her lower back as it arches. All her muscles contract...stomach muscles spasm tight...neck...face...mouth open...she screams, "DEARGOD!" loudly and he holds on and then..."Ffffuck!" he hisses....hips thrusting up rapidly once....twice...third time hard and deep. "UHHHHH!" he roars and they're straining together, muscles taut except for hips that pump, and pump and pump as they ride into ecstasy. And I...roll over...panting...grab hot swollen flesh and jerk it...air humping...gasping...desperate...please...oh please...oh...yeah...here we...rising...go...rising heat and then...I'm over the edge and riding the lightning...groaning and then spurting all over my chest.

When I crawl out of the loft it's 10 AM. Yeah...my watch still works. I rub at my jaw. Sandpaper I think. Get up and wander down the loft steps. Bright sunlight streams through open windows. Skinner stands backlit by it. Briefs only. I glance at the bed. Scully...sound asleep, burrowed under the covers. Shock of red hair peeks out. I smile.

Pad over, scratching at my stomach...dried semen. Pull my T-shirt down as I reach Skinner's side. "It's stopped snowing," he whispers. Voice slightly rusty...a little hesitant..."I saw a deer," he adds, glancing at me..."Meat for dinner," I reply...giving him a smile. His lips twitch a grin but it fades as he speaks again...his voice subdued and distant. "You know, Mulder...I realize that everything we were or knew, or thought we knew...everything we hoped to ever be or dreamed of or...well it's all changed. But, Christ...sometimes...sometimes it's hard to comprehend. We're...this is new...all so new, and I'm not sure what's SOP anymore. No standard operating procedure...no fucking protocol, no rules and regs and...all of it's gone down the crapper. I don't know a damn thing anymore," his quiet voice explains. Rueful shake of the head before he continues. "But one thing I do know...I know last night...last night a precious gift was given to me. Something I'd dreamed about...dared to hope for, but never thought I had a chance of ever..." he continues. "Sir..." I interrupt.

One glance that begs me to hear him out shuts me up..."Mulder," he rumbles. "I just want to tell you I'd never hurt her, if...if she doesn't want this...to continue...well...I don't intend to interfere or come between..." he lets his voice trail away. Eyes trained out the window, jaw muscles tense. I touch his shoulder. "Sir...absit invidia," I murmur into his profile. Eyebrow arches..."My Latin is rusty," he replies quietly, turning to stare at me. "Let there be no envy or ill will, sir," I reply. Drop my hand. Eyes soften behind lenses as I go on. "I'll never hurt her either...we'll watch over her together, sir...take care of her together...take care of each other together too." He swallows hard. Small smile. "It's Walter," he replies, extending his hand. And I take it...warm, rough fingers on warm, rough fingers...and I grin wider...and he smiles wider and...his whole face...his whole being changes...and his eyes shine...dark...but bright with life, and hope and...then I answer. "It's Mulder. I don't even let Scully call me Fox," I reply. Firm shake. "I rather thought that might be the case," he chuckles. Gruff...but companionable. The new order. Comrades in arms, friends...equals. I nod and our hands separate.

A small sound from the couch draws our attention. Scully pokes her head out, blinks back sleep and smiles. "Go to her," Skinner mumbles. "I'll get... breakfast," he gets hung up on the word "Such as it'll be," he adds with another rueful shake of his head. "We need to find more food," I whisper. He nods, once, curtly and leaves my side.

Skinner was wrong. We do have some SOP. Skinner on point. Mulder and Scully bringing up the rear. We don't complain. If it ain't broke is our motto. Breakfast, such as it was...spam, canned green beans and Ritz Crackers washed down with water, over...we're out...in search of restocking our dwindling food supplies. The other cabins beckon...the Lodge and Bambi wherever he got off to beckon...we trudge, rifles over our backs, through the deep, fresh snow.

Cabins first. Twelve scattered amongst the trees. Scenic. We start with the one closest to our little home away from home. Intact. I start to kick the door in...Skinner stops me. "We need a meat locker," he comments. Close by storage in general. Scully nods. We see his point. So we pick the lock instead. Identical to our cabin...loft...great room...whoa...luggage. Someone left in a hurry. Summer clothing...well...it's better than nothing. Some toiletries too. Eureka...can we hope the other cabins render results such as this one?

Four other cabins are intact...the rest in shambles from weather and a fire started ...and we could guess how and from what and hope we're wrong. Woods around this section burned too. Four cabins...empty. I don't know what we'd hoped...maybe...maybe someone had left something behind in every one? We try to hide our collective disappointment. Regrouping we turn our faces into the sun and the structure off in the trees.

The Lodge. Two stories. Fire had touched here too but not as badly as we'd thought last night. A few sleeping rooms on one end burned...the rest...somehow left standing dark and deserted before us. Cautious we fan out...keeping eye contact. Entry is easy and we sweep the undamaged rooms first. Afternoon sun streams in through windows. Some windows even in the undamaged areas are smashed in. We can see our breath inside. A couple of rooms...are still occupied. We wrap the bodies in blankets and put them in the bathtubs. Later...we'll build a pyre outside and burn them. Then...

We start to find things. More luggage...clothing...toiletries ...Bic lighters and matches...wallets...all sorts of personal belongings. Some pharmaceuticals...Advil, Tylenol, Pepcid AC and the like...prescriptions...Percodan...Valium...someone needed antibiotics too...that's a break...and...a rifle...a shotgun...both with ample ammo...four flashlights and batteries....a camera....no film...two cell phones...a laptop...what good the last three items will do I don't know. We take the laptop and cell phones. Cross country skis and snowshoes? Someone must have been up here during the winter...maybe the owners? An ounce of pot turns up. "Plan on inhaling again, Walter?" I chuckle. He gives me the look and Scully laughs then as well. The dope gets scattered to the four winds. Things are definitely looking up, though. Definitely looking up.

We load as much as we can onto three unhinged doors as improvised sleds for transport back. Lash it all down. Cut a hole in the end of each, attach knotted up sheets as drag lines. Leave them in the lobby and continue to explore and then...we find the dining room and bar and...Skinner practically chortling at the bottles of top shelf Kentucky bourbon. "Now this is more like it," he laughs, brandishing one and Scully running into the kitchen and finding...the larders, full of canned and dry goods and walk-in freezers, full of food...mostly rotten except for some bagels, cheeses and pepperoni...a disappointment. But...the rest...is manna from heaven. Months worth...at least enough to get us into summer and maybe beyond, and we're not going to die from starvation that's for sure and...it's like Christmas and Thanksgiving and every holiday you can think of and...I grab Scully and spin her around, and Skinner laughs...booming echo throughout the room.

And then we find the Lodge office and the radio and the small portable generator...and think...if only we had gas and then I find the gas pump out back. "No electricity...the pump won't work...but..." Scully observes, shifting from foot to foot in the cold. "There has to be an underground tank," Walter surmises. "Exactly," she smiles. "I'll look for a hose to siphon it," I add. Optimistic. Walter and Scully stare at the snowdrifts. Walter runs his hand over his ski masked chin.

By shear good luck we find the hatch to the tank only because it's near their empty garage and somewhat sheltered. Now...we have things to consider for sure. Should we or shouldn't we...communicate our whereabouts? Conclusion...it won't hurt to listen at least. But...it's growing late and we have a lot of trips to make between here and the cabin. We'll need the remainder of the afternoon and part of the evening if the weather holds. Dissembling the radio and hauling it will probably have to wait. We have to figure a way to get the antenna down off the roof for one thing. The gas has to be siphoned and hauled and all that's better done in daylight. The radio's weathered things this long under its plastic cover. Hopefully a little longer won't matter. So...we'll be stocking up...and I think even Bambi will live another day thanks to someone's penchant for canned hams and tuna fish.

Fire in the fireplace. Full stomachs. Baths after we heat water over the fire. Even a bubble bath for Scully...and a good long soak for Walter and then me too. Fresh shaves. Man...we feel almost human.

Some of our bounty is stored next door in the intact cabin. It's cold...but it'll have to do. We have a lot here too. Cupboards are full. Fridge in the kitchen is full of cans since it's not really functional at least until we get the generator set up. Good for storage for now. Supplies in the dishwasher as well. Boxes in the loft, boxes in the great room. Tomorrow we'll definitely get that radio but tonight...tonight we're content to sit and talk and...at last...start to get to know each other. The memories are allowed to come back a bit...and we start to share our true selves and it's pure nirvana. How much we didn't know about each other...how much we can reveal now...and what a pleasure it proves to be for us all.

Skinner on the folded up couch-bed, Scully and I in the big overstuffed chairs...Scully with her feet tucked up...we converse. Small-talk...opening salvos on getting to know you...getting to know all about you. Little things...like...Scully's feet are ticklish...and she's always covered up that mole on her lip because she thought it made her look...less than professional. She blurts it out...like a stripper or something and we all laugh like hell under the circumstances...and she always wanted a dog...and God...I am still sorry about Queequeg...and...she smiles shyly and says...she was the one who dropped the leash. I love her. I'll always love her and I told her neither one of us should shoulder the blame for anything anymore and...

Skinner is a secret chocoholic...and Scully and I laugh because she is too and well...I love my seeds so I'm a saltaholic. Skinner makes a joke...the FBI agent's four basic food groups...alcohol, salt, sugar, and caffeine. Laughter bounces off the walls. And he breaks out the bourbon and baker's milk chocolate chips we found and...we indulge ourselves. Toast. To...life...to hope...to...us. I choke on the bourbon. Large hand pounds me on the back. More laughter...and damn it feels good.

Eventually eyes grow heavy with the effects of full bellies, booze and chocolate and...bed calls. Walter and Scully throw more wood on the fire. I make the rounds of the screamer alarms. Little devices liberated from the world's conquerors. Took us two weeks to figure out they were solar-powered portable electronic perimeter alarms. Now...they guard us and it's poetic justice. Aptly named because they scream like air raid sirens if someone disturbs them.

We're all a little buzzed...loose...feeling better than we've felt in months but...there's some awkwardness as we gather near the couch-bed.

Skinner stares at it. I know...we all know what he's thinking, and I don't want him to be alone either. "Well...I guess I'll turn in," he comments, bending to pull it out. I glance at Scully. She takes my hand and squeezes it...affection...love in her eyes. I nod and so does she. "Look...Walter...uh...the bed upstairs is big enough for three...it'll be warmer and all," I suggest quietly to his back. He drops the end of the couch with a soft thud...straightens...slowly...turns...looks from me to Scully. "You don't have to do this..." he replies...but his eyes...his eyes are moist. "Walter...come to bed," Scully smiles gently, releases my hand...turns and won't take no for an answer...she heads for the loft stairs. "She who must be obeyed," I advise him, grinning. "Who am I to argue then," he replies, pushing the couch back together. He stands, faces me. His smile reaches from ear to ear. We grab his rifle, and handgun, and haul them up to the loft.

Scully swats me when I tell her she makes a cute monkey in the middle. She swats Skinner too when he agrees. She jokes about feeling like she's in a valley between two mountains. We threaten to tickle her feet and she giggles. Scully giggles and we all laugh some more.

But we know who's in charge here. Walter and I know who's setting the boundaries...the new regs...who rules in slumberland...and we're more than happy to bow to the Queen of this new territory. Why not? We're very happy subjects, content and more at peace then we've been in a very long time.

Nevertheless...sleep doesn't claim us right away and I know it's because this is new too...this arrangement. So we talk...plan for tomorrow...what to do next...learning something that we knew all along but maybe never acknowledged...that united we're a formidable force...together we persevere...together...we survive...and...there are no more hidden agendas between us, no...inhibitions...no envy or ill will indeed. I drift off to sleep, my hand over Scully's middle, my arm touching Walter's large hand where it splays out over her hip. And I can say...that night no one has a nightmare and after that...if we do...we don't remember them.

In the early morning Walter is rousted from a sound sleep by suppressed laughter and the springs starting to squeak, and the bed starting to bounce as Scully rides my cock. "Morning," I stutter, laughter breaking out at last and Scully laughs too as she slowly and sensuously moves up and down...and God, I grit my teeth because it's so incredibly good. Walter's eyes track her languid movement and his ears turn red but he starts to sputter and then...laughs like hell. No more...secrets or lies. Nothing to hide...nothing to ever be ashamed of again. We're free and...it's...it's fucking wonderful.

Skinner shifts...legs swing over the bed and his parting comment makes us both shake with laughter on top of our trembling with arousal. "I'll put the coffee on," he rumbles, chuckling. He grabs his briefs off the end of the bed, glasses off the night stand. Glasses on...and then draws his briefs up over his muscular thighs. He has to rearrange his morning hard-on before he can saunter off with that John Wayne walk thing he does. Scully gasps as she looks at his hard, muscular ass. "Breakfast's on me," she says...and I don't think she means food.

God...I would never have guessed she was this insatiable I think as I start to stroke her clit. She bites her lower lip and picks up the pace. Oh man...what a fucking view and...she pants out, "A little harder...oh yes...just...like...that," and I circle her clit, tugging a little. "Come for me...lover," I whisper. She looks down, smiles and I feel her clamp down like a vice and then moaning...back arching...I take her hips and...oh yeah she screams this time...long and high...keening that starts in her cunt somewhere and makes it to..."MULDER!" my name loud on her lips and I thrust up...and yeah...fuck...take it...take it in deep, and...only a few more thrusts, and I follow her over into ecstasy.

It occurs to me later as I watch Scully braced over the kitchen table, Walter taking her from behind that it must be the pheromones or some damn thing and you know...I don't care. We haven't had a reason to celebrate life...even think about sex since the farmhouse and now...well it's a banquet and for now, we feast and hey...yeah...I like to watch...so I went for my second cup of coffee when Scully told Walter it was 'time for breakfast'...after we'd eaten our fill of course. Brought that coffee back to the couch and watched Walter bend Scully over the kitchen table so he could rub his cock all over that luscious ass of hers, and then go down on her, on his knees behind and he ate his fill again and Scully came, crying out and rocking back into his face.

Now I'm guzzling my second cup of coffee, sitting on the couch, and Walter's filling Scully up all right. Something to be said about size, age and staying power. I could get jealous I guess if I didn't know I could make Scully scream too. So I enjoy the show...watch as Walter's big, thick cock pulls partway out and thrusts back in slowly...in and out in long, slow pumps so she can feel every inch...his hands holding her hips...soft slick sounds as they slide forward and back, forward and back...his balls swinging.

Scully looking up, her tits rubbing over the table, nipples hard from the friction and she's on her forearms then, watching me watch her, licking her lips, then mouth open as she gasps because Skinner's picking up the pace. Walter's got those great thighs and glutes, man...and can he use them...oh hell yeah.

He grunts now with each thrust gasping out, "Fuck...you feel fucking...oh God," and laughing because he can't even get out the words, and Scully laughs and it rises to a loud moan as Walter goes up on his toes...his thighs against hers...angling for support. "My God!" Scully's eyes go wide...and Walter groans...rapid, deep thrusts and Scully rocks back meeting him stroke for hard stroke...and then he roars...hoarse, guttural cry, "DDANA!" her Christian name comes unbidden out of straining throat muscles...frenzied thrusting and then Scully cries out too...all her muscles jerk at once and they move like spastic marionettes for a few blurred seconds and then....collapse together on the tabletop. I'm so entranced I don't even realize I'm beating off until I spasm and come, spilling what's left of my coffee down my shirt front.

"Jingle Bells. Santa Smells. Rudolph ran away." That gets me a snowball in the back of the head. "Mulder...it's not even Christmas yet and...that's not appropriate anyway," Scully admonishes.

Sush, sush, sush, the sound of Scully's skis coming up behind me. I grin to myself as she pulls abreast of me and then I turn and grin at her. Face framed in her hood...insulated mask covering all but her...rolling eyes and mouth mumbling "Smart-ass...just because you're getting some..." and then we both laugh.

The Lodge looms up ahead and we slide forward, poles working...as we follow Skinner. Walter's plodding forward doggedly on the snowshoes. Only thing that we found would fit him when we suited up to go out after...breakfast. You know it feels good to be clean under these clothes...and full and...satiated in more ways than one. Will make the day go easy that's for sure. We have work to do. So we glide on and catch up with Walter.

The radio goes back to the cabin first. Then...we all stare at the antenna. The roof is covered with snow. "I'll flip you for it," Walter rumbles. "It's icy," Scully muses reluctantly. "Yeah...but it's not on the peak...it's just on the office gable..." Walter comments. "I'll go," I interrupt. "I've had some experience climbing on ice," I add, glancing at Scully. Duck of her head and pensive, wistful smile. She remembers Antarctica. God...how could we forget. "You'll need something to scrape away the snow...and a screwdriver. There's a tool kit in the office," Walter advises, clearing his throat. I hand my rifle to Scully. It takes the better part of the afternoon, but...that sucker comes down. It goes back to the cabin. A quick lunch of tuna fish and canned peaches and then back to the Lodge.

The portable generator and a couple of gas cans full of fuel siphoned from the gas tank go to the cabin next. I gagged during that job. Glad we have toothpaste. The rest of the time we haul supplies...clean sheets, towels...more food...cut wood...and then...we carry the bodies down and out. Take them on the door sleds to the clearing where the other fire burned and...haul some furniture along too...big old Guy Fawkes bonfire with the bodies on top. We found their ID so when Walter says a few words he can at least use their names. James Pitt and Pamela Santos from Bismark, North Dakota, and San Diego, California, respectively. Ashes, to ashes, to ashes and...Scully crosses herself. Snow to put the fire out. Cover the bones...back to the Earth. And dusk is upon us.

Back to the cabin and...the generator goes in the pump house and the antenna gets propped against the side of the pump house for the night. Radio and microphone are set up on the sideboard in the great room. Walter uses a screwdriver from the tool kit to open it up. Pokes around, checks it out. Shrugs. Seems in one piece, dry and clean. Shuts it and says..."Tomorrow we'll see about getting it working with the antenna." I suggest, "Hook that refrigerator up too." He nods. "We'll need more extension cords," Scully calls from across the room. "Right," Walter replies. I nod and go to join Scully where she's cataloging the supplies we brought back.

Later, after a quiet dinner, we're all a little subdued. The bonfire memory of course. Lost in our own thoughts. I turn on the laptop and discover...the battery still works...and when we have the generator hooked up tomorrow we can recharge it too. Boot it up. It's got a couple of games on it...Tetris and Solitaire... along with personal files for someone named Jessie Sink. Quick look tells us Jessie was a day trader. The PC is full of stock information and personal correspondence. We delete the personal files. Leave the games. Scully and I start a Tetris competition. Walter pulls out a paperback he snagged in the lodge. He found several in the office actually. This one's 'The Hobbit'. I glance at the others where he's put them on an end table. The whole trilogy. I smile. "Ever read Tolkein before?" I ask as Scully flips Tetris pieces on the screen during her turn. "Never got around to it," he comments, adjusting his glasses. "Let me know what you think...I've read them all," I reply. "Me too," Scully adds, biting her lip to make a screen maneuver. "Really?" I ask, "Yes, all of them," she answers without missing a beat and Walter chuckles as my attempt to distract her fails. "Then we'll all discuss all of them," he replies, and then he focuses on the book and we play on.

Snoring jars my concentration as I drop the Tetris cube and it falls off kilter. I scowl and glance at my watch. Late. Walter is asleep over 'The Hobbit.' Scully's head is nodding too. I smile. "Bed," I suggest. "I'm ahead anyway," Scully blurts out, her head jerking up. "You're half asleep," I reply. "True," she nods amicably. "You want to wake 'Gandalf'? I need to use the ladies room," Scully requests with a wry smile. "Sure thing," I reply, as we both get up from our seats at the coffee table.

I shake Walter's arm. He jerks awake, swinging, I jump back. Rueful look in his brown eyes. "Sorry...force of habit," he shrugs. I nod. "You were snoring," I reply. He chuckles. "Time for bed," I add. "Definitely," he replies. We wait our turn in the can and then amble off after the 'Queen of Slumberland'.

We wake with the dawn. Eager to get to work on the radio. Nervous buzz in the air. What if...what if there are others out there...resistance. What if...we can contact them? What if...there's hope that mankind is fighting back? What if...so many what ifs. We need to find out. So...instant coffee and the rest of the canned peaches along with some ham slices on bagels for breakfast. Funny how the bagels didn't go stale. Go figure. Everything still kept cold next door for now until the fridge works.

I risk a solo trip up to the Lodge on my skis and locate some more heavy duty extension cords. Walter and Scully labor long and hard to get the antenna on the roof of the cabin. I return in time to see...in one harrowing moment...Scully falling off the roof slope...Walter standing, holding the antenna dumbstruck in horror...too far away to stop her. She lands on a snowbank, unscathed and I walk over a lot more nonchalantly than I feel and help her up. Dust off her butt. "Glad that's in one piece," I quip and the remark has its effect. Scully gives me the look and then we all laugh...but I know our hearts are beating in overdrive. I wonder for a split-second how long any one of us can dodge a bullet...injury or illness or...I shove the thought out of my mind. It doesn't pay to think about it much.

Walter manages to drill a hole in the wall and pass three extension cords through from the generator in the pump house out into the great room. One for the fridge, one for the radio and one for anything else, like the laptop. It'll do for now. We'll have to keep the generator running and when the gas runs out, that'll be it I guess. Unless we can devise something else. I crank up the generator, Scully relays to Walter as soon as it starts to purr. I join them in the front room. Walter turns the switch on...rotates the dial...static...rotates it again...static...and again...static and...channel after channel of static and...Walter quietly suggests..."Shut it down...we'll conserve the fuel for now since the stuff in the fridge is just canned goods." I nod and run back to the pump house. Not sure what we expected but...time to listen to static later I guess.

When I come back in Walter is just staring at the radio and Scully is massaging his bicep. Walter's shoulders slump. "Next time," I whisper. His head swivels and he straightens, squares his shoulders again. Scully steps back. He assumes a little of the old take control AD Walter Skinner and we let him. It will help him cope with the 'static' disappointment. "Yeah...next time. Listen...I've been thinking about the fridge. We don't really need it until warmer weather. If we ration the gas to the radio...only run it periodically we'll be able to run everything longer," he suggests. Hand on hip, hand gesturing. Scully takes his hand, squeezes it. He smiles at her. I nod. "Good idea," I reply. "I agree," Scully seconds the motion. "I'll set up a schedule," he states...and he does.

The days pass, stretch into weeks. Static on the radio makes us wonder if we'll ever hear or see anyone again but we're as philosophical as we can be about it. We still have hope you see. And...we have each other.

We spend the time in reading, talking, working to make the cabin more comfortable...making love. Walter and Scully, me and Scully...and me watching Walter and Scully and Walter finally, totally unashamed, watching Scully and me...fascinated one night when I initiate Scully into anal sex. And then one night...all three of us in bed together, Walter in front of Scully and me behind, and he enters her from the front, slowly, holding her legs up around his waist and I enter her carefully from behind, up her ass, and for a moment I stare into Walter's heavily aroused face because I can feel his cock on mine inside Scully separated only by thin inner walls of flesh and muscle and the feeling is...indescribable...and I can see him feeling it too and I can see...something in his eyes...and I know someday...if we survive long enough...I may feel that cock inside me too. And then we're moving, rocking Scully gently between us until she's crying with the ecstasy of it and we come...I don't know who first, but our united howling sounds like a fucking pack of wolves, and it's glorious.

And afterwards, later, while Walter sleeps, Scully and I stand downstairs and stargaze through the windows. I hold her close, my arm around her shoulders and I ask her..."Do you think...do you love him now too?" Thoughtful look down. I watch her profile as she muses...she looks up. "Honestly...I don't know for sure. But...I'll know it when I'm sure and I'll tell you...and him," she replies quietly and I smile and hug her tight.

Thanksgiving and Walter bags us two pheasants and I get a rabbit in the morning and we have almost a proper Thanksgiving dinner...the pheasants and rabbit roasted over the fire. God, they're good. That night, over an after-dinner bottle of wine, I initiate Walter and Scully into the wonderful world of Dungeons and Dragons. Walter's partly through the Lord of the Rings and...naturally we talk about the themes and naturally I mention Langly and...ok...I played D&D with his group a few times and we start talking about the connection between that and Tolkein and pretty soon...Walter's a wizard, and Scully's a cleric, and I'm an elf/thief, and we're using a deck of cards we found instead of dice to improvise the move, and fighting, and spell rolls, and fighting orcs, and all manner of monsters, and evil wizards, and...we played for days....and it's the best time and then...

It's Christmas Day. Scully actually catches up with Bambi at high noon so it's going to be venison haunch for Christmas dinner. After dinner we cluster around the small pine tree we cut and propped up in a corner. Erstwhile Christmas tree. It's the thought that counts I guess. We improvised little gifts for each other. Walter carved some small figures for us. God...I wonder when. But, I have a little wooden elf, and Scully a small cleric, and Walter a wizard, and...they're fantastic. I never knew he had such talent. I hand Walter and Scully each huge Cadbury chocolate bars I unearthed on one of my solo trips up to the Lodge. They're like kids when they eat them. Scully hands me a tiny envelope full of hand salted sunflower seeds and I'm so touched because I suddenly remember there were some sunflowers, the heads still heavy even in the winter snow in a small garden in back of the Lodge, and I know she must have picked out those seeds herself.

Walter gets a bottle of Napoleon Brandy that Scully said was in a lower cabinet none of us had checked in the bar. It's dusty it's so old. He shares it and we're all pleasantly buzzed. We end up in bed again, together, making slow passionate love...both of us in Scully at once again, and for the first time Walter tentatively kisses me...just a light brush of the lips...almost as if by accident but I know he's testing the waters, and I never thought...never suspected he swung that way and didn't suspect I would think I could either, and I lean into the kiss a little and he smiles shyly and then later...I wake from sleep, my arms around Scully and I hear static and then...a garbled voice and I'm up like a shot and so is Scully, joining Walter at the radio.

A far off voice...garbled. "Australia calling. This is Perth...can you hear us? Can you hear us...over. We.../blast of static/...underground.../blast of static/...I repeat, the mines...underground...and.../blast of static/. Walter takes up the microphone, thumbs the key switch. "Perth this is North America...Canada...can you hear us? Over," he shouts. "America...God...yes...come in.../blast of static/.../blast of static/.../blast/...Walter fiddles with the knob...more static and then...nothing else. But it's enough. Someone is out there...someone and there may be others closer still. Walter turns off the radio for the night and I run out and shut down the generator, and when I come back Scully and Walter are kissing and I hug them both, and we fall into bed, and laugh, and then...cuddle and fall asleep until just before dawn when we wake and want to see the sun rise. Bundle up...trundle out.

"Fantastic!" Walter exclaims. "Clear day," I add and after a couple of days of new snow it's a winter wonderland again and Scully says, "What's that?" pointing off towards the horizon and we squint to look and then we hear the rumbling. "What...the...fuck?" Walter whispers and then the world roars and the next thing I know I'm lying in the snow and my nose is bleeding because I can feel wet warmth on my lips and taste blood and I'm yelling, "SCULLY! WALTER!" in panic as the air around me roars and then everything goes bright, white, and "MULDER! WALTER!" Scully screams and I feel her hand in mine, and she's half under me, and where's Walter...and then everything's very still. "Jesus, Jesus help us," Scully whispers her voice very small. I hold her close. "Where's Walter?" I ask her looking into her shocked face. "God...I don't know," she replies, twisting under me. I roll off her...and there he is...not ten feet away, on his back, eyes opened, breathing but stunned. We crawl to him.

"Walter, are you all right?" Scully asks, feeling his neck, his wrist. Checking him all over. "Couldn't...couldn't see for a minute...but...I can now," he answers, his voice raw and hollow. "What in the living God was that?" he mumbles, turning to look at us. I look up, off to the right...see smoke and the tops of some trees bent and broken and smoldering...and I think...Tunguska and I turn back to Walter and Scully. "I think ET flunked his driver's test," I quip. Walter nods and slowly sits up. "Yeah...I thought I was nuts. Fucking huge...I saw the underside before...shit...that was no robot scout ship that was..." Walter replies, breathless, stumbling over the words. "Maybe a clone drop ship or.." Scully begins..."Or a transport," I surmise. The ground shakes suddenly and we cling to each other. We hear a far off sound of thunder. "I hope it was a clone ship," Scully murmurs as we struggle to rise. Walter and I nod. Transports would have...merchandise...frozen...but still men, women and children. Not a good thought. We make it upright and Walter wobbles. "Are you sure you're all right?" Scully asks. "Yeah, I'm fine," he coughs. But he wasn't.

Scully had a terrific headache afterwards. Walter and I took turns holding her head while she vomited from the pain. I was headachy and my ears were ringing but I was nowhere near as sick as Scully. She was laid up for about three hours and then better and finally right as rain. We thought, whew, dodged a bullet and then... Walter began to complain of a headache and then...he fell to the floor, writhing in pain. We had to drag him, moaning and then screaming in agony onto the folded out couch. I had to hold him down...and watch his glasses...get his glasses...off...while he flailed and Scully felt his head and all business...Doctor Dana Scully taking over, told me..."He's burning up, Mulder, we have to try to get his temperature down fast." And she ordered me to hold him while she soaked sheets in snow but it wasn't necessary to splay out over him because he passed out.

We didn't know what to do. No medical equipment, not even a thermometer to measure just how much he was burning up...no drugs other than Percodan, Valium, Tylenol, Pepcid AC and Amoxicillin and it was obvious this wasn't a virus...it came on too fast. So he lay for days...throwing up and...incontinent and God...we tried to get an old tarp under him and then...diapered him...he kept burning with fever on and off and...sometimes coherent...sometimes not and we had to finally tie him down with towels because he was so strong in his delirium and he struggled and yelled things like..."VC! VC! Get down!" and "Fuck you, Krycek! Fuck you!" and moaned, "I'm so sorry, Sharon," and Scully cried at one point when he whispered..."I'm so sorry about your sister, Agent Scully."

We bathed him in cold water, even packed him in snow when the fever would spike. Bundled him up when he had the chills. Tried to get water down him when he was awake, and sat with him in shifts, and ate in shifts and never talked about him dying even though it was uppermost in our minds. Slept in shifts too and...one night after I had crawled up into the loft for a couple of hours sleep I heard his voice mumbling. He must have been lucid because Scully said, "Now...don't talk that way...you...you know you're going to be all right," and then more mumbling from the couch and Scully's voice, shocked. "Walter...I can't do that." And then his coughing and mumbling again and Scully saying..."No!" quite distinctly, emphatically and then softly..."I can't...I love you now too." And later, when I came down to relieve her and he was unconscious she said he asked her to end it for him because he thought he'd never recover, and he'd be a cripple or worse...a vegetable, and a burden, and better to end it, and of course she'd said...no...and then he'd passed out again. And of course she told me she loved him. Days, and days and not once did we even bother with the radio, and then...

Sunrise, New Year's Day, 2001, and finally...Walter's last fever broke. We were ecstatic when it seemed a permanent state of affairs. We propped him up on pillows and it was the happiest New Year's Scully and I had ever had...even better than when we kissed last year. Weak but unbowed, it was obvious Walter Skinner had fight in him yet, and the first thing he did was ask for ham and black-eyed peas for the New Year's meal. I asked him if French cut green beans would do, and he smiled and said, "Yeah." Before dinner he bathed, Scully helping him while I stripped the couch-bed. Even with the tarp the mattress was history. I dragged it and the tarp out back to the trash pile. We'd burn it all later. It wasn't really needed. Since we were three in a bed the couch could stay a couch. That night, Walter would sleep with us...and he did. After a light dinner... just enough to satisfy his ham and green bean desires but not overtax his system...we bundled him to bed...put him in the middle this time and cuddled close around him and for a short time theorized about what had happened to us Christmas Day.

Scully and I had talked about it but only in fits and starts. Debating...just like in the old days. New Year's we pooled our opinions and decided that the crashing ship could have emitted a low grade EMP pulse or...something, and it quite possibly affected the nanocytes...destroying them. Walter's illness was the result of his body trying to eliminate his onboard hardware. His piss had been tinted blue and his vomit had smelled metallic. We didn't have any better explanation and we could only hope he'd be fine.

It took a while but one morning at the end of January I came back from a solo trip to the Lodge and Walter and Scully were making very noisy love in the loft, and I put a pot of hot water on the sling over the fire as had become our joke for when two of us were getting it on. Cup of coffee after instead of a cigarette. It always got a chuckle. I could look up and just see Walter's ass thrusting like hell with Scully's legs wrapped around his waist and you know...I didn't get hard or anything...just a sense of relief that he had his strength back and could get it up for her. As I was mixing the instant coffee in the kitchen area I heard Scully cry out and then after a few moments of heavy mattress bouncing Walter's loud, hoarse shout told me all was well in that department too.

Weeks passed and a month and...it was Scully's birthday and we did that up right. Can you believe I baked a cake? Yeah. German chocolate. She beat me at Tetris and we played a marathon game of D&D and she dungeon mastered and Walter and I each played two characters and we found the treasure and...we shared a bottle of wine again and that night we each made love to her, and I heard Scully tell Walter again that she loved us both, and then Walter murmur he loved us both too.

And March...and we listened to the snow melting, and the radio delivering static, and Walter talked about possibly moving on or at least reconnoitering the area to see if we can find more supplies...or survivors or any kind of resistance and...we work on stripping what we can out of the Lodge, and you know there is still a lot of supplies, and we could stay on so...we'll wait and see and...we can feel spring in the air and one night...

I'm taking a bath and Scully's gone to bed early. Long day. We went hunting for fresh meat on the hoof, or the wing, or paw just to vary our diet and we have several pheasants and quail in our new fridge. Walter cranked it up earlier now that the weather's a bit warmer. The gas seems to be holding up. Walter's talking about smoking meat or drying jerky. I called him Grizzly Adams and got the look. At any rate...Scully was beat and she was out like a light. So, I'm bathing and Walter comes in naked, toweling his fringe of hair dry since he bathed before me and he puts the damp towel over a bar and...sits on the edge of the tub and...we talk. He...clears his throat and then...fumbling...his confession of long held desire...interest in...experimenting. One last secret evidently, and I smile because he's so red and embarrassed and hesitant and...I know this is going to be it...because he says...he always wanted it to be me. And, I never...ever touched a man that way and neither had he but...we manage somehow and Christ...it's fucking wonderful.

Walter is so...it's almost overwhelming...the arousal...and he whispers "Mulder...you're so...God...please don't take this the wrong way but...you're beautiful," and I chuckle, and smile, and take his face in my hands, and...we kiss...and then it's full steam ahead. Walter's a feast for the senses...so much muscle compared to me and...I explore it all...warm...male, musk scented skin...drawn over hard work and road trip, conditioned sinew...sucking...licking...touching...tasting...both of us...he goes down between my knees...sucking my cock. God he's good at it...and then my turn and...I can't quite manage his size...gagging a little but he's so excited it doesn't matter and we end up laughing and then...

I knew he was gentle with Scully but never imagined just how gentle...but...so intense too...barely contained power and then I tell him...don't hold it back...don't...I want to feel it all and...he almost sobs in my ear, and he tells me..."I did this with women...but...tell me...tell me if it hurts," and I think...Scully will never know...asleep up in the loft ...crazy guilt for one second but it skitters away with Walter's caress on my hips when I bend over the vanity and then...and then...Walter put his cock up my ass. God, it hurt like hell at first but then, Jesus it was good, so good and...thrusting and...and...no prostate exam ever felt like that and I'm laughing with joy and so is Walter and moaning and...then I almost pass out when I come and Walter finally finishes, bellowing "GOD!" and collapsing on my back. Silence, heavy breathing and then..."I do love you, Mulder. I meant that," he whispers. "I know...I mean it too," I reply, dazed and smiling and content. When we crawl into bed, Scully mumbles, "About damn time," and we know she doesn't mean our coming to bed and we all laugh and...

April, and one morning Scully gets up and vomits. We pass it off...she's queasy but it was probably something she ate. Full day of work looking around the personal quarters of the Lodge owners just in case there are some seeds left over for the garden they obviously had out back. Scully has it in mind to start a garden if we stay on longer. We find seeds and they're still good according to the date on the packages. Green beans, tomatoes, peas, carrots, and zucchini. What the hell, worth a shot when the weather really warms up. I have a fleeting thought...we're homesteading. Gee...who'd a thunk it? I chuckle when I find the sunflower seeds. Jackpot!

Afterwards, back at the cabin...she falls into bed right after dinner...cranky and tired and...we leave her be and Walter and I have a game of Tetris and then climb into bed with her and cuddle close. In the morning she vomits again and now Walter and I are worried and so is she. "Stay in bed...it's got to be the flu," Walter pronounces. Right. Flu...and I'm thinking...it's cancer again. I can't help it. My hands shake and Walter and I talk in hushed tones while she sleeps and he's worried but...asks for symptoms and I remind him about the nosebleeds...and she's had none of course. Some relief. He thinks it's just a bug really so we stay positive. Walter mans the radio for a while...we're still getting static and I can't help but think the ship crashing at Christmas monkey wrenched the radio along with Walter. But he tries...and we still hope. I fix Scully some 'Celestial Seasonings Orange Zinger Tea' and take it up to her.

She's sitting up in bed, a hand rubbing her stomach...pensive look on her face. "Hey," I smile. She looks up at me, smiling a little. "Thank you," she says. I nod and hand her the tea. "Stomach any better?" I ask. "Yes, actually," slightly distracted answer. I feel her head as she looks at the mug of tea. "You're not feverish," I observe. "No...I'm not...no body aches either..." her voice trails off. I wrinkle my brow and when she looks up this time my heart thuds. "Mulder...I don't think this is the flu..." but her face...it..."You don't think it's cancer either, do you?" I whisper. She puts the mug of tea down on the night stand. Looks at me, her eyes fill with tears. "No, Mulder...I think I'm pregnant." I just stare at her and then..."What?" I whisper. "I think I'm going to have a baby," she repeats. "Ok...I thought...I thought that's what you said. But Scully...how...I mean...shit I know how but...well...you know what I mean," I bluster...completely at a loss. She takes a breath, lets it out and then..."You'd better get Walter," and I nod and leave her side.

"You think you're what?" Walter blurts out when she delivers the news. We go through the drill and he sits down on the edge of the bed, speechless. "I know I was sterile," she begins. "But at Christmas...after that ship passed over...I had that terrible headache...in the back of my neck really...here," she rubs where the chip is embedded and realization takes Walter and I at the same time and we glance at each other. "You think it...what...tweaked the chip?" I ask. "Yes...I think...somehow it did and...I ovulated as a result, so guys...one of you is about to be...a father. I'm...I'm sorry," she finishes, looking down. "But...you...you didn't bleed," Walter rumbles...ears reddening a little. "How can you be so sure?" I ask, still bewildered. She looks at us, her eyes swimming in tears. "This sounds so stupid but...I just...know. Maybe I only ovulated once and one of you...well I never menstruated because we caught things before that could happen. And...the vomiting feels just like what my mother said morning sickness was like and...I feel different...full...here," she murmurs, touching her stomach.

"God," I whisper. I reach for her hand and Walter moves close and touches her knee, his large hand gripping it. She looks up at us both. "Don't ever say you're sorry," Walter rumbles, stroking her skin. I nod emphatically. Her lips tremble. "I'm so afraid," she whispers. Moment of weakness, and we've hardly ever seen her show it, and Walter and I draw her close and hug her while she quietly cries. "It'll be ok. We'll get through this just like we've gotten through everything else," I babble. "Rest...we'll talk about things later...get some sleep," Walter adds. She nods. "Drink some tea first," I suggest. She wipes her eyes, smiles. The tea goes down and she goes under the covers. "I'm not an invalid, you know," she bristles finally sounding more like the old Scully as I tuck her in. Walter stands at the foot of the bed. "I know...but...you've put in a day and puked your guts up this morning. I think you're entitled to some downtime," I chide her. "Yes, we'll put you back to work tomorrow, Agent Scully...don't worry," Walter chuckles. She gives us the look and we know we'd better let her pull her weight or else. She curls back up and we go back downstairs.

Walter and I have a bourbon each. We need it. Both of us sit and stare at each other...shock. I venture a question I don't want to ask but I do anyway. "I...I know you and Sharon were childless...uh...not that I want to be...presumptuous but..." he raises a hand to stop my inquiry, lowers it when I shut my mouth. "Sharon had trouble...conceiving. When she did, she lost the baby late in the pregnancy and it was....very difficult. She miscarried early twice after that. We went to a specialist to find out what was wrong. The problem was her unfortunately. It...the situation was partly responsible for our marriage failing. At any rate, my fish swim fine," he explains. "I assume they still do," he adds with a shrug. So there's a 50-50 chance I guess. Good...maybe it's Walter. Does it matter? Would I have preferred it was Walter or not? My genetics...well I'm ambiguous about saddling some poor kid with them given what I know about my parentage now. But...well...no, it doesn't matter...it's going to happen...there's no question...no debate about this baby being born and shit...you know...I'm scared but...it's a shared fear and I voice my response and then Walter echoes my thoughts.

"Ah," I nod. "I'm really sorry...about Sharon I mean." He nods. "Thank you...it was...a long time ago," he replies, his voice caught on the memory. We're silent for a few minutes. Then, throat clearing again. "And you?" he asks. My brow furrows for a second and then I'm honest. "I have no idea...I always used protection before...so...no clue. I assume I'm fertile," I shrug as well. He nods again and speaks quietly. "It doesn't matter anyway. The kid's going to have two dads and one hell of a mom in my opinion. Which one of us is the father is a moot point," he replies, reaching for his bourbon again. "I think you're absolutely right," I smile back at him. Raise my glass. Toast. To Scully. God bless her and the baby both and...

The months pass and oh yeah, Scully's pregnant all right. Her stomach swells, and her tits too, and she becomes incredibly beautiful even though she thinks she's a cow and says so in moments of self-doubt. We cater to her...shamelessly. Make sure she eats right...exercises...she wants to kill us at times but we laugh and then so does she.

And...amazing to me...her libido increases which I gather from Walter's practical knowledge can be the case, and we both make love with her very carefully, and she's so responsive, and afterwards we rub her stomach and talk to the baby. Boy or girl? Scully wants a baby...she doesn't care about gender...just so it's healthy. I suspect Walter wants a boy but won't admit to it. I had a dream...I dreamt it was a little girl with brown hair and...I know it's a Samantha fantasy and the thought should bother me but it doesn't. I decide healthy is the best bet and whatever the stork brings will be fine as well.

One day we're sitting on the couch talking as I'm rubbing her belly and I have a bizarre...and gut churning thought...and voice it because she sees my furrowed brow, and asks, and by now I know better than not to speak up. "What if it's twins?" I blurt out. Quick rueful snort of laughter. "God...I hope not," she laughs. "Can we tell without a stethoscope?" Walter chimes in from across the room. He's on the radio again...ears like a fucking bat though. Turns in his chair...concern on his face. Scully ponders. "Get me a glass," she tells Walter. He complies, bringing it over and she pulls her collar down...places the glass on her chest ...the open end against her skin. "Listen," she tells me. I put my ear to the glass' base and do. "Hear my heartbeat?" she asks. "Yeah...sounds like a steady drumming," I smile. She grins a little. "Ok...now..." she replies, pulling at her shirt. Up comes the end and I put the shot glass on her swollen stomach as requested. "Listen carefully...move it around...listen for my heartbeat and then...the baby's," she instructs quietly. Silence...I slide the glass around and around and then I hear it...tiny beating drum and...only one heartbeat besides Scully's...I think. Walter stands by in anticipation. I double-check. "I'm pretty sure I only hear one baby beat," I state, pulling the glass away. Lips on stomach then I mumble against Scully's skin. "Hey in there...Mulder to baby...how's it going?" and something pokes my cheek and I rear back, eyes wide. Walter laughs. I watch and something...a little hand maybe pokes out at me from Scully's belly. "Man...the kid's giving me the finger already," I quip and Walter slaps me on the back and Scully laughs and...

Life goes on. One afternoon Walter and I are outside putting together what should be our smoke house. It ain't easy... we have only a limited number of nails so we're resorting to a hand drill and wooden pegs too. We're taking apart one of the unusable cabins for the wood. Kind of scaling one down. It's coming along...and I'm surprised I'm as good with the saw as I am. Walter's hammering and suddenly Scully's shouting from the cabin, and we run in, and she's sitting in front of the radio and it's not static, it's a voice, and it's saying..."Pierre, South Dakota...this is Pierre...come in if you hear us...come in please..." and the signal is very weak and Scully thumbs the mike and shouts "Pierre...this is Canada...near Winnipeg...we hear you. Over!" And then a real answer. "Thank God...Canada...I can barely hear you. We're here...some of us are here...some of us are alive...and we're fighting back...my name is Roger Whitcomb. Over," the voice calls. "Roger...my name is Dana Scully...how many of you are there? Over," Scully answers. "Repeat the name...I'm sorry...can't...hear you. We're 400 strong...and growing...where are you exactly....we...damn it...running out of juice...stay on this chan..." and the signal goes to static. "Shit," Walter curses and Scully shuts her eyes and bends her head. I put my hand on her shoulder and slap Walter on the back. "Hey...that's as close as we've gotten," and then we all smile and we know we'll keep checking, tuned to Pierre, South Dakota.

And even as she grows larger and starts to waddle around like a duck...her words, not ours...Scully still pulls her weight. The garden becomes hers...planting...weeding...watering...and she swears she'll harvest too and I expect she'll try at least...she's determined to do it up right...although we do chip in. But she's down on her knees even if we have to help her up and it's remarkable...Scully has a green thumb. The garden thrives and so does she...the pregnancy suits her and we're very glad.

She sleeps a lot too though...needs her rest and we insist on it. "Get off your feet, put them up," Walter orders, old AD voice. Her feet swell and it helps to elevate them. She bridles but after he rubs her feet for her she sighs with contentment and no more complaining. We tuck her into bed and then...Walter and I make love on the couch, as quietly as we can and I fuck him face to face, my cock right up that wonderfully tight ass and he comes hard...jerking, groaning and spurting cum between us. And when I come it's deep inside him and I struggle to keep my eyes open, locked with his and I don't even know how to describe the feeling of what his eyes look like when he watches me. We crawl back into bed and Scully nuzzles Walter and mumbles she can smell me on him, and he chuckles, and tells her he was well fucked, and I chuckle too.

The days pass smoothly for the most part. We have a few problems. Some kind of buzzing flies make life miserable outside for a week or so. They're gone as fast as they arrive. One bad storm drops a tree on the Lodge...gaping hole in the roof. We work to salvage what we can before nature encroaches and there's nothing left to salvage. The four intact cabins become our storage facilities. We're doing pretty good actually. Walter and Scully figure that we should be ok food-wise at least until the baby comes...which should be October at the latest but then...we'll need to hope the garden is bountiful and the game still plentiful or...we'll have to fan out and find more food...or...we know the alternatives...we'll do whatever it takes. We always have and we always will.

Walter turns 48 in June. Scully bakes a cake this time...we do have our choice still of boxed cakes that were in the Lodge kitchen. I wonder if the guests ever knew they were getting instant coffee and boxed cake mixes. Walter's cake is German chocolate too. Well...chocolate is the preferred drug around here I guess. There isn't much in the way of gifts because he insists we keep it low key. I think he's...angsting a little about getting older. I noticed he has to take his glasses off to read up close lately. Bifocal time. So, we downplay things a little. I clean his Smith and Wesson which we ran out of ammo for long ago but I know he likes to keep up. Scully cuts his hair and later takes him to bed and I can hear him protesting because he's a little afraid to be with her in her condition now. But they spoon together and make love, and he enters her gently and not deeply from behind, and I know why she did it...when they come back downstairs there's more of a swagger to his step and I know he's not feeling like an old fart any longer.

Life pretty much centers around the baby coming. Practical matters. Walter constructs a cradle of sorts. He puts a board in the bottom of a wooden fruit crate. Puts some blankets in it...and some rabbit skins he found up in the Lodge. These were store purchased for Lodge ambiance of course. I chuckle. The kid's going to look like Bugs Bunny. I put a piece of foam rubber in a pillowcase over the skins and he nods in satisfaction, slaps me on the back. "That'll do for a bed," he rumbles. Maternity clothes were a trick. Scully wears Walter's shirts at first. Later some of the summer Lodge guest clothes fit. One guy had a hell of a beer belly...and I think his wife resembled Roseanne Barr.

So, Scully's comfortable...although she bemoans her appearance. It's hormones even though she's a trooper. She cries more...is moody...gets cravings. Walter's a rock...so patient...sometimes...I'm less so but...I'm doing pretty good. In August and September we start heavily harvesting the garden. Sun drying tomatoes, freezing some of the other vegetables. Scully makes a valiant effort to help but by this time she's tiring more easily...and she's big and yeah...kind of ungainly and...she's upset she can't stay out there but she sits inside, bagging veggies and manning the radio while Walter and I bring in the harvest and she feels a little more useful. Then, one night after Scully's asleep, Walter claps me on the back and says..."It won't be long now," and then we both realize what he said and we swallow hard. Christ. We don't even know for sure when she conceived and she's huge and yeah...it could happen any minute and...

Discussion about delivery. "Damn it, Walter, I don't know anything about delivering a baby." I whine...trying not to sound like Butterfly McQueen in 'Gone with the Wind'. "I mean I've had the First Aid courses but...this is way different," I add. "Well...I've delivered two babies," Walter confesses. "One was in Nam but the other was just before I made AD. So...I know a little about it. I had the courses too, of course," he admits. "Scully's a doctor...she helped deliver a baby when we were in Florida once," I reply. He raises an eyebrow, gruff snort. "I'm not sure she's going to be in a position to help much this go around," he advises. I shrug. "Well, we'd better get some supplies together," I suggest. "Yeah...there's some rubbing alcohol...we need to sharpen the scissors for cutting the cord," I add. "I think it's a good idea if we put everything in the loft," Walter advises. I nod and then I add, quietly..."Christ Walter...what about the pain and..." I don't want to say what if she needs a C-section...I mean she's so petite and...we're not and...Walter fixes me with a measured look and I know he's thinking the same thing. "She's going to have to bite the bullet, Mulder. We don't have anything that's safe to administer for the pain." I nod and the only thing I can think of is women have been giving birth for centuries, even in the African bush and God...we have got to get through this, and then...on October 11th, 2001, 11 PM...

I wake up and Scully's standing by the side of the bed and her panties are soaked and liquid is dripping and...Oh shit..."Walter!" I yelp, jump out of bed and go to her, and he wakes up and Scully says, "Calm down...it's normal...my water broke," and then she winces...she's in labor. "How long?" Walter asks, getting up, and grabbing his briefs and glasses. "I've been feeling...twinges all day but...I couldn't be sure. I guess I am now," she replies, her voice strained. Walter gives a curt nod. I just stand there...staring...paralyzed. Walter shoves his glasses on...pulls on his underwear, looks at me. "Mulder...put your pants on and then go boil some water," he orders. I snap out of it, snap to it...dress, turn and run down the loft stairs. Sure I know that's what they tell the panicked husbands to do...so?

I throw some more wood on the fire, and think it's lucky it gets cool now at night because it's going to get hot in here. I open a window a little since they're screened over. I put on the water. Everything else is upstairs already and when I come back up with the bucket holding the handle in a towel, Scully's lying on the bed, naked but under a sheet. Her stomach looks like one of the snow-covered mountains around here. The bed's a little wet. I'm glad we brought a spare mattress down from the Lodge. We're going to need it I think as Walter takes the bucket...sets it on the floor, dumps a little alcohol in it, and then reaches for one of the cloths and the bar of soap that are on the night stand. He glances at Scully's stomach...his eyes wander lower. "I'm going to...uh..." he swallows...embarrassed and I almost laugh. This is the guy who's been doing her doggie style over the kitchen table? But then I don't smirk because I realize to Walter this is different now...she's vulnerable, and she's about to become the mother of his child...well 50/50 chance but you know what I mean. "Help me clean up," Scully finishes for him and lays a hand over his. "Yeah," he nods. Between the three of us we get her up and over to the chair we've placed in the corner. Sit her down. Walter washes her...upper and lower and then washes his hands and arms up to his elbows, and I lay clean sheets on the bed...towels over the small wet area that's there, and then I wash up too. Finally we dry ourselves off and Scully too with a big fluffy towel and back to the bed and then...we wait and...she labors. Christ...

She's in labor for hours...we take turns, wiping her brow, rubbing her stomach and back...giving her ice to suck on from the freezer in the fridge. Anything she needs. We talk with her at first, joking, keeping her spirits up. Hours of light labor and then things pick up, and she's very uncomfortable, and we're both up on the bed so she can take our hands when the contractions are rough. It's hard to watch and at one point I go downstairs to use the can, and get fresh water in the bucket, but really just to get away for a minute or two, and then Walter does the same. It's hard to watch the person you love suffer so much and I tell her and she laughs ruefully, gasping a little and says, "It's no picnic, believe me, Mulder, but...I want this baby more than anything right now," and I kiss her and tell her, "So do I, Scully, and I know Walter does too," and she smiles and says, "He said the same thing just before you came back upstairs."

Walter was wrong about her not being able to help. At first she can and she asks Walter to remove the sheet so she can see herself, and then I sit next to her, and he holds her hand, and she tries to describe what it feels like, and what she knows may be happening, and we run down the drill. When to not let her push and when to let her push. We can't do an episiotomy so if she tears, we'll have to do the best we can to stitch her up...we have needle and thread from the Lodge...and don't forget about the afterbirth and how to cut the cord and I'm getting focused and not as nervous as I was and...it's been almost 15 hours, but now I can tell we're getting there because the contractions are harder and close together and...

Walter has a suggestion. He tells us that in Nam the woman he helped with squatted to give birth. Gravity helps and Scully smiles weakly and gasps..."Not a bad idea," so we shift things a bit and I support her back on the bed and scoot her close to the foot, right on the edge and her feet are up on the mattress, legs spread...God...that has to be...embarrassing for her but...we're beyond that really now, and she rests against me, and smiles weakly before the next contraction. Walter sits on the floor between her legs...and still she labors.

Finally the pain has to be so bad, and I hold her tight against me because I know she's fighting it. I look down at Walter and he has his hands on her knees, her legs spread wide, and...she's panting...and I don't know what to do for her, and Walter's low, steady voice...voice of authority, and control and comfort..."Scully this is hard labor...if you have to scream, scream...we won't care," and she does and it's...Christ she's yelling like a banshee and cursing me...cursing Walter...cursing us both for getting her in this predicament, and Walter just nods and takes it, and I hold her hand and she squeezes it almost hard enough to break my fingers.

And she strains...tries to bear down, gasping, wordless...grunting...primal sounds and Walter is yelling at her, voice of command just like in the old days..."DON'T PUSH! DON'T PUSH YET!" and Scully groaning, "My God...I...I need to push," and Walter yelling, "GOD DAMN IT, NO!" when she won't stop, and it works and Scully slacks off a few moments until the next wave. I wipe her brow and she arches against me...panting and I say without even realizing it, "Oh shit...here we go again," and Walter's calm, controlled voice rumbling, "Ok...this is a contraction...now...push,"...and pressing just above her pubic bone. "It's ok...I can feel the head in here, it's in the right direction," reassuring her and she nods, panting...unable to speak and grunting again, and then Walter feeling her groin and then her cunt and finally..."Ok, I can see the top of the head. Push again now...hard...as hard as you can."

And she arches back against me, her face and neck straining...."Christ...it's coming," Walter's excited voice, "Come on Scully...you're doing great, push hard," he coaches. She nods and gasps...whining...as she bears down...I try to bend forward and see, but I can't, and I have to hold Scully as she bears down again, and then again, and I tell her I love her and Scully moans "I love you both so much," and finally she's laughing and sobbing and Walter's saying..."God...he's beautiful!"

It's a boy!? And I see it is and I think right away...thank God...he's not huge at all...and he starts to howl and I laugh, and look at Walter, and blurt out..."Christ he's bald and he even sounds like you...has to be yours," and Walter and I are laughing like hell, and Scully asks me to lay her down flat and I do, and Walter pulls the baby up, cord and all and lays him bloody and bawling lustily on Scully's stomach. Scully looks up at me, her eyes full of love and whispers..."Happy Birthday, Mulder", and I grin wide because holy shit, she's right, it's October 13th and...what a 40th birthday gift and then she adds, "You should cut the ccord," stuttering, exhausted but smiling wide. She's checking over the little guy's fingers and toes while I go for the scissors. Walter murmuring, "There wasn't any tearing...you're doing fine, Scully," and Scully mumbling, voice full of love, and relief, and joy in three simple words..."We did it."

Walter helps and I manage to take the scissors, and needle, and thread out of the bowl filled with alcohol, and clamp, and then cut the cord and stitch up the tiny bit that's left without a problem. Clean the little belly button off with soap and water, and then start to swab him off all over. Scully groans. "The afterbirth," she gasps out. I take the baby, place him in the cradle next to the bed...grab a towel from the night stand. Walter helps Scully to sit up again and several hard pushes and finally the afterbirth flops out into the towel where I hold it between her thighs. A bloody hunk of tissue. I fold the towel up and lay it aside. Walter lays her gently down again and I check on the baby, who's now quiet and watching the action like he's fascinated, but still bloody and sticky. "We've got to clean this up," I tell Walter and he stands and nods.

In short order the floor is clean, afterbirth tossed on the fire downstairs...it doesn't smell great but it's safer than throwing it outside where it might attract the wrong kind of animals. We'll try to wash the laundry later...or burn it more likely since there's so much blood. Walter helps Scully up, supports her with strong arms so she can use the other bucket we have rigged up. While she pees I finish cleaning up the baby and the bloody cradle bedding. I pop him into his dry little nest at last. Little howler...I know he's hungry. Eyes all scrunched shut. Lastly, I drag the mattress off and toss it down over the banisters. It lands with a dull thwack on the wood floor below. Wrestle the clean mattress onto the bed. Walter helps Scully sit in the wooden chair in the corner and bathes her again. We get her back to the bed, towels under her and between her legs to absorb any residual bleeding, and then Walter looks in the cradle. "He needs a diaper," he chuckles, clapping me on the back. Oh. Yeah. "I barely remember seeing my mother diaper Sam," I mumble and shrug. Walter nods. "Well...I'm an uncle...I kind of know how this goes," he advises...I touch his arm...the words are light but...heavy with implication...'I am an uncle...I was an uncle', he lays his hand over mine for a moment. "Let's get a clean towel. We can improvise something," he adds, with a small smile.

Finally, Scully and the baby are bathed and clean and in bed together and...the baby is diapered...little hunk of toweling tied around his hips. Scully has one of the beer belly guy's button-up shirts on and after a couple of moments of fumbling on Scully's part and then my ham-fisted attempt to help...the baby is having his first meal. Walter and I sit on either side of Scully as the baby nurses, Walter near his head.

He runs one large hand over the baby's tiny cranium. "We never talked about names," he murmurs, removing his hand. "No...no we didn't," Scully replies softly, kissing the baby's naked scalp and...he lets go of her nipple...opens his eyes and looks right at me and you know...I get a really good look at his eyes and relaxed face and I was joking before about him being Walter's but now...I reply quietly, "Maybe Walter might be a good idea." They both look at me and I gesture at the baby. His eyes are the color of a Cadbury chocolate bar...dark chocolate...just like Walter's eyes. "Most babies' eyes are that kind of weird bluish color but...brown is dominant so...sometimes..." I let my voice trail off...shrug. Even the kid's nose looks more like Walter's snubbed one more than my beak or Scully's slightly patrician one.

October 13th. If I count back I could almost make a case for the baby being conceived that morning I made a cup of coffee to celebrate Walter's recovery with Scully in the loft. And if I stopped to consider I'd also know that for almost two weeks after that neither of us was with her because all three of us had colds then and sex was the last thing on our minds. I look up at Walter and I can see the wheels turning in his mind as well. Scully looks from one to the other of us and when she speaks it's the perfect solution. "We didn't talk about names but I have been giving it some thought actually. You know...if you two don't mind...I'd like to call him Charles. He was always my favorite brother to be honest. I was thinking...Margaret or Melissa for a girl and Charles for a boy. I could have chosen Bill I suppose after my father, but...well that's Bill Jr. too...and I know Mulder would have had a cow," she adds. I chuckle. "I think that sounds great," Walter replies, nodding. "But I think...really...to be fair it should be Charles Scully-Skinner or...Skinner-Scully or whatever," I mumble, playing with the boy's little hand. Strong grip of little fingers but...he's getting drowsy now...tummy full. "Charles Mulder Skinner," Walter's deep voice replies. "Mulder makes a good middle name," he adds and I look up and Scully smiles. "There you go," she agrees and Walter smiles and I...I feel tears clog the back of my throat and I smile too.

Later as Scully sleeps upstairs, Charles in the cradle sleeping too, Walter and I sit downstairs in front of the fire...a little shell-shocked again. Silent for quite some time. Bourbons in hand. Dazed smiles. "Congratulations," I finally muster. I can tell he's...pleased beyond words really, but..."We might be wrong...there's no way of telling for sure without a blood test. I mean we can try to determine as he ages but...kids change..." he begins. I smile and shake my head a little and he stops talking. "Walter...I really do think he's yours. I did the math. The timing's right for the morning you and Scully were up in the loft...the first time you made love after your recovery," I tell him quietly.

Walter takes a sip of bourbon...puts the glass down on the coffee table and runs a hand over his scalp. "I kind of had that idea all along to be honest, Mulder. I guess...yeah...thanks...I guess we're both right," he replies with a rueful smile. I smirk...time for some gentle teasing. "And you thought you were over the hill...you dog...and right after getting over nearly dying too," I chuckle. "Fuck you," he growls and then we both laugh at the connotations there. We lapse into silence again and then Walter speaks seriously. "Speaking of which...from here on out Mulder...she's fertile...things...things in that area are going to have to..."

Oh man...I think..."Oh shit...yeah...we don't have any protection..." I let my voice trail off.

Walter straightens up and clears his throat. When he speaks I see AD Skinner assert himself and I feel my stomach flutter. I think I know what's coming...all the way down the line and I know I've been dreading it but it's inevitable. "Mulder...I've been doing a lot of thinking about that and a lot of things over the last month or so. We need to...if she's capable of having more children we need to practice some restraint here...something to keep her from popping out kids...or we'll all be in big trouble. And not only that...even if she wants to have another baby...man...I don't know. Hell...I don't want to risk it again. This went well...but next time..." his voice trails off. "We need medical help...I mean besides Scully," I reply. "Exactly," he sighs. "And besides the whole baby issue...if anything should happen where we need medical help at all..." And before he can continue I reply quietly, "I hear you."

Logical to a fault, Walter. And God knows before during and now after the fact...I was scared shitless something would go wrong and to be honest...the idea of sex right now...unless it was with Walter takes on a whole new angle...like scared shitless there too. And Christ...how would Scully feel about it? If I made her pregnant and there were complications from the pregnancy...ah...fuck it. My mind is racing, but then Walter is continuing to speak, and I yank my attention back to him.

"Besides that issue...we have to consider other factors here. Non-edible supplies are a mixed bag. We seem to have a lot of gas left in that underground tank...the well's fine. But other things are running low. We can conserve but...things like toothpaste are going to go here before long. You know we have enough food supplies left to eat well...nutritionally well for the baby I mean into February...maybe. After that...it'll be half rations but the food's not going to last into summer. We're not set up to grow a substantial amount even though we saved the seeds from the garden. Game's in good supply...I suppose we could try to live off the land...but, Mulder...food's going to be...this isn't going to work for Scully. She's going to need to keep producing as much milk as possible and that means..." he lets his voice trail off again, jaw tense.

We have to find another way. I think we've both known this and Scully has known it too. In fact we've all talked about it in roundabout ways...but circumstances kept us from any serious discussion. We felt we couldn't very well leave here with a pregnant woman so for better or worse we waited until the baby was here. Now that the baby's born leaving won't be easy but Scully will be good to travel as soon as she's recovered her strength...and...she's going to have to recover it quickly.

"You're saying we need to leave," I reply. "Yeah," he replies. I sigh. "I've been thinking about it too," I reply. Walter nods and continues. "I think we need to go South before the snow falls. I...I don't want to risk it but...I don't see any other choice." I nod. "South Dakota," I reply. "Yeah...Pierre...even if we can't contact that guy. We at least know there were people there," Walter states. "We need to get on that radio," I advise. "Right. But...I think we need to prepare to leave here by November 15th at the latest...after that we can't count on the weather...I still have those maps we found in the Lodge...and the compass of course...we can use those to navigate to civilization," he finishes. "We need to talk to Scully," I reply. He nods. "Tomorrow," he rumbles.

Walter holds his son on his shoulder...pats his back while Scully tucks her tit back into her sweater. Zips her coat up. Charles burps lustily and I chuckle a little as Walter wipes his mouth with a Kleenex. "He sounds like you more every day," I quip. Walter rumbles a chuckle as well and tosses the Kleenex away. He holds Charles...or Charlie but never Chuck, just like it would never be Walt...and to be honest...Scully and I don't like Chuck either...out in front of him, and the baby gurgles and smiles and pumps his legs a little in his cobbled together 'onesie'. Walter grins into his face. "Well...don't listen to your Uncle Mulder, big man...just keep belching. You don't want to end up popping Pepcid-AC like your old man," he jokes. I smile and so does Scully. Even with everything we've been through, one thing Walter Skinner hasn't needed since we left the Hoover far behind is an antacid.

"Can you hold him for a few more minutes...I need to find the Ladies Room," Scully replies. "Oh...uh..." Walter wrinkles his brow. I laugh harder. "Both of you? Here...give the poor kid to me. I'll hold him while his parents make like leaky faucets." Walter and Scully both give me the look and then we all laugh and Charlie makes some kind of weird birdlike sound and Walter hands him over. He wiggles in my arms...man the kid's strong, you know. "Be right back," Scully comments. Walter and Scully walk off to find a bush or tree and I slip Charlie into the carrier that hangs over my chest. All of us have papoose pouches for him. Scully came up with that idea and sewed the prototype together before we left. First town we hit on the road though we jury-rigged some soft sided backpacks for the job and they work even better. When one of us tires someone else can play kangaroo. He's a good baby...he never fusses...and even if he did...it wouldn't matter. I really like holding my little nephew close.

It's December 16. We waited a few extra weeks to leave the cabin. We wanted Scully to recover more fully. When the weather stayed unseasonably warm we took the chance it would hold, and so far so good. It's been in the 50s and 60s. So, we left our little home early on December 1. We've only been on the road for a short time, but we're managing. Easy stages. We rest often. The maps tell us where the pockets of civilization are and we've skirted larger towns and anything resembling a city. We've passed through a couple of tiny villages. One...Fort Royale was still pretty much intact. No people...no salvageable vehicles...but usable supplies. Most notably...ammo because they had a gun shop. Our service revolvers are reloaded and we carry them now. Each of us carries a rifle too and we brought the shotgun and extra rifle along as well.

Before we left, we built a travois and that's what Walter and I are hauling...like pack mules...but at least it's on wheels now. Once we left the woods and hit the highway and dirt roads we put the wheels on. Amazing what you can do with a couple of old wheelbarrow wheels, some tarps, poles, screws, bolts and ingenuity. The scavenged supplies from Fort Royale are on the travois along with the shotgun and the ammo for all the weapons. Tent, sleeping bags, warmer clothing, food, water. We wanted to take a Coleman stove but carrying the fuel is dangerous and cumbersome. Reluctantly, we rejected it. Each of us carries a light backpack as well...Scully's the lightest with just our first aid kit and diapers for the baby. The drugstore in Fort Royale was a break. We have a decent medical kit now...even a thermometer and stethoscope. Diapers, baby wipes. Condoms...2 boxes, 12 packs each. I haven't felt a twinge in that area to be honest. I'm not sure any of us are ready to go there. I haven't even thought about rockin' and rollin' with Walter much less Scully. All that's up to her anyway really. At least if we decide to go there we can take precautions now. But...we have other priorities and that's fine.

We want to get to Pierre. We heard a very weak signal from there before we left...the same guy transmitting and even though we could hear him he couldn't hear us. His broadcast lasted about 8 hours, fading in and out, with him trying to contact anyone within range. So...we know they're out there...600 strong now and...God...it sounds like...we can hardly believe it...but...it sounds like mankind is fighting back.

I look down at Charlie and he yawns wide and then shuts his eyes and I think...maybe this is going to be a brand new world, kid. A brave, great new world...and a chance to start over, and he's snoozing, and Walter and Scully come back and we pack up and hit the road again.

January 1. We crossed over into the old U. S. of A. today. Now I have to admit...it's cold. This is not good. All of us huddle in a grove of pine trees off the road. Scully holds Charlie and he's crying a little. He's cold I know and Scully puts him right in her coat...and he's better, latching onto her nipple for food, warmth and comfort and Walter scratches his bearded chin and says..."Get out the map again." I fumble my backpack off and unzip it. Fish around for the map we're using at this juncture. Take it out. All of us bend over it, even Charlie since he's tucked into Scully's coat.

The landscape is bare...I mean...deserted and quite frankly it's creeping us out...there hasn't been anyone, anywhere. Granted we've avoided towns...only going in when absolutely necessary to gather supplies. We prefer to sweep and salvage farm homesteads or isolated developments which you could expect to lack inhabitants. But...all of them...everywhere? We can't even speculate. Besides...it's nearing dusk and we really do need to find shelter indoors.

"We're close. This is Rugby. It's small. I think we have to risk it," Scully cradles the baby. "I don't think we have a choice," she replies seriously. I nod. "Agreed," I reply and we fall back into the old ways...senses hyped...on high alert...but with a twist. This time... no one is on point. How can we be? It takes two of us to pull the travois and since Charlie is nursing heartily now...one of them can't be Scully. Neither Walter or I is excited about her going on point...and even though she bridles at the idea...she realizes she's Charlie's only really dependable food source. If she were to be...it doesn't even bear consideration really...and I don't want to think about it. So we walk, together...Scully at my side, and Walter and I pull the travois with one hand and hold our Smith and Wessons in the other.

Rugby turns out not to be deserted although we think it is at first. Small village America. Rustic. We walk into the center of town...Main Street. The buildings show something went through here and none too gently. Ruins a lot of it. But...there's a mostly intact service station and convenience store across from the tiny one-story village Post Office, and it's intact too being brick and still locked up tighter than a drum. No tampering with Federal property...I'll tell you that for sure. We have to jimmy the lock. The door'll still shut but not tightly so we'll need a screamer alarm and rags to shove in the crack. No heat, naturally. But crazily, out back...two rusty Weber grills. I could laugh like hell if we weren't so desperate right now. The Shell station across the street renders up enough charcoal briquettes to supply a church picnic and lighter fluid as well as matches and some more of the ubiquitous Bic lighters to add to our stock of those. So, we're going to have heat and a hot meal I guess....I just hope the grills don't smoke too much. Venting could be a problem. We're just tired and cold enough to go for it though.

Unload the travois...take in the supplies for safekeeping. Scully pitches in as best she can but all of us are reluctant to keep Charlie out in the cold so she goes in and sets up the grills in the postage stamp size room behind the service window. We might just be cozy I think as Walter and I go back outside to bring in the last load. That's when I see the dog. "Walter," I whisper and he looks up too. The dog is standing across the street in the parking lot of the Shell station. Not 50 feet away. "Hey...isn't that...isn't that a..." Walter whispers. "Dog..." I breathe out. "I know that..." he hisses...arched eyebrow. "I meant the breed...that's a..." he continues. "Pete," I reply. "What?" he looks at me confused as the dog stares at us. "Pete...from the Our Gang movies. I think it's called an American Staffordshire Terrier," I muse. "Thought so. Fucking...pit bull," Walter blusters, slowly going for his handgun. "Hey...wait," I whisper. "He's just standing there," I add, hissing. "For now. I saw what those can do, Mulder. On a drug bust once. Nearly tore a guy's arm off. You don't want to screw with one," he insists, withdrawing his gun from the holster. I don't know what makes me do it but I reach across and grab his forearm. "No," I admonish him. "There's been enough death," I add quietly. He stares at me for a moment, anger flaring in his eyes but then his arm relaxes. Gun lowers. "All right...but if he shows any aggression whatsoever..." he hisses. "Ok," I nod. We unload the last bundle from the travois and the dog watches us as we do.

Scully holds Charlie on her hip and looks out the window into the dark. "He's still out there," she sighs, looking back at Walter and I where we add more charcoal to the Weber grills. Walter glances at me. "What's he doing?" he asks. "Lying under the service station overhang. He must be cold," she answers, turning away from the window. Walter shuts his eyes for a moment and I chuckle. "She said she wanted a dog, Walter," I tease them both. He opens his eyes and then shoots me the bird. Scully walks over and gives him a little kick in the insulated boot. I get a swift kick as well. "Cut me some slack, ok? I'm hormonal now. I'm entitled to get all...mushy." All three of us laugh. She goes back and sits down on her sleeping bag with the baby. Charlie doesn't have much to say because she sticks her tit in his mouth again.

It's reasonably warm inside and we've eaten dinner - Charlie in process of course. This isn't going to be bad for the night at all. We'll need to take watch shifts but I think we can manage it. The dog is intriguing but...poignant. Just another reminder of what things must have been like here. Someone's family pet left behind and hanging around to watch maybe the first humans he's seen in months. He doesn't seem vicious or anything. We don't have to go outside again until morning because there's a toilet we can use inside here. So, let the fuzzy voyeur look all he wants. Even Walter has reconciled himself to being on 'doggie cam'.

The day catches up with us. We move all the sleeping bags together in preparation for slipping into them. When we do...we'll only take off our boots. Scully changes Charlie's diaper and swabs him down all over with the wet baby wipes we got in the gas station's attached convenience store. Pretty soon the poor kid's going to need another bath. He gets them, but not nearly as regularly as we'd like. We all fret over cleanliness. The baby wipes will help. Walter fishes in his pocket and brings out a surprise. Hershey chocolate bars for all three of us and a little stuffed Pokeman toy for Charlie. The chocolate's a little stale but not bad. Walter holds Charlie on his lap and the kid is fascinated by old Picachu. Scully uses the time to clean her face a little and then she sits between my legs and lies back in my arms where I sit propped up against the wall.

We watch Walter and Charlie and if anyone ever doubted that Walter S. Skinner is really a big softy they should see him now. Also...if there was any doubt that Charles is his son...they should see him now too. Spitting image. Oh there's something of Scully there too...around the mouth especially...and his lighter skin and freckles say Scully as well. But the rest...says Walter. Yup...Skinner's a dominate sire all right. I smile and Scully asks me what I'm thinking and I tell her...how happy I am even with everything that's happened to have the three of them. She reaches up and brushes my bangs out of my eyes, smiling. I bend down and kiss her gently on the lips. We settle back then and Walter hands the baby to Scully because he's getting sleepy. She cuddles him against her. "I'll take the first watch. Get some sleep," he tells us and we nod and lie down together in the sleeping bags...Charlie in with Scully. I pull them close, the baby on his back between us. We shut our eyes and wait for sleep. I hear Walter add some more charcoal to the grills.

"Mulder...get up...it's your watch," Walter hisses and I come awake instantly but don't jerk. Scully and Charlie are sound asleep right next to me. I nod and gingerly move away and then out of my sleeping bag. I grit my teeth. Christ...I've got a massive hard-on. Must have been a good dream. Either that or the close proximity of Scully. I sigh. Well...I guess my body has a slightly different priority. I follow Walter out of the service area, my gun slung over my shoulder, and out into the miniscule lobby. "Everything's clear. Not a peep for hours. The dog went and came back. Other than that...nada. Quiet," he informs me. We stand by the bank of mailboxes. It's fairly warm out here even with the rags in the door. This building must be well insulated. I shift from foot to foot though, trying to rearrange my dick without being obvious about it. Walter notices however, eyebrow goes up. I glance down, can't help it and then so does he. Small sigh. "You going to be able to concentrate or you want to take care of that so you can?" he asks sympathetically.

I redden slightly. "Shit...you know...I've been pretty good up until tonight...I...I guess...being that close to her and all..." I shrug. "I hear you. It happens," he nods. Slings his gun back over his shoulder, looks away. Clears his throat. "Uh...I could..." he begins. I shake my head. "No...I'll be ok." As much as I want him to touch me I'm half afraid that if he jerks me off I'll get sleepy. "I'm afraid it'll wear me out," I grin a little. He smiles back. "All right," he nods and starts to move away. Then...something obviously occurs to him and he turns back. "Wake her up this time, Mulder. No more pulling that double shift shit," he advises quietly. I raise a hand. "No worries. I know. I learned my lesson from that reaming she gave me last time." He grins and nods. "Thought so. Later," and then he's gone as I chuckle and unsling my rifle.

In the morning the dog is still there and Scully is outside tossing him some scraps of Spam from an early morning snack she fixed herself. I find her just outside the post office door, and the dog closer, in the street. "Walter's going to go ballistic if he sees you feeding Pete," I whisper, coming up behind her. I can't hug her because her rifle is slung over her back. "'I' didn't name him," she retorts and we both chuckle. The last scrap gets tossed and Pete lopes back across the street under the Service station overhang. "He's just afraid...I don't think he's vicious," she suggests as we stand there in the cold. It's not quite as cold though which I'm thankful to see. I observe the dog and notice he's not in very bad shape. He must have belonged to someone. He has a leather collar on but no tags. He must have a food source somewhere too or his ribs would be showing. "He looks like he's doing ok for himself. He'll be all right," I reply quietly. She looks at me, nods and then we hear Charlie crying inside. "I guess someone else wants his breakfast," she laughs gently. I smile and in a reflexive gesture move to place my hand in the small of her back to usher her inside, but I bump her rifle instead and give her a rueful grin and she looks at me tenderly. "I love you, Mulder...more and more...every day..." she murmurs. "I love you too, Scully...more than ever too," and she looks down shyly and proceeds me through the door.

The dog follows us out of Rugby. Walter is pissed as hell. The mutt stays well back, though and after a while we cease to notice him. He doesn't come close, just seems to be content to pad along...watching as the four of us haul down the road. Man...I wish we could find transportation. But so many of the vehicles are gone or wrecked or without gas or if they've got full tanks we can't even hot-wire them for some reason...yes...Walter S. Skinner knows how to hot-wire a car. But...I suspect somewhere along the line there was a lot larger EMP pulse unleashed on the world...or at least over this part of the US because none of the machinery we come across functions at all.

So, progress is slow and we stop often to allow us all to rest and feed the baby in relative peace and we even get to bathe him several times. He's always got a clean diaper and we're continually scavenging for baby wipes and Huggies or Pampers. We're lucky, he's hearty, healthy and surprisingly happy in this weird life he's leading.

A couple of times when we stop for the night and Walter has watch, I touch Scully, kiss her a little and it's obvious she's not ready for it, and I have terrible guilt. Walter hasn't touched her sexually. I ask him and he says...no...the vibes he's gotten said it wasn't a good idea and I also get the idea he's not ready himself either. I chide myself again for being an unobservant 'wanker'. But Scully is sorry too and she tries to explain...the baby...the stress...I know it's fear too...and I feel like an utter shit. Walter tells me to cut the crap...I love her and she loves me...it's just circumstances and I nod, and we all move on.

When we near Bismark, North Dakota, we get what may be the explanation for the monkey wrenched machinery. Blast crater...a fucking huge one. We all wonder if this was the ship we saw...crash landed this far away? Hard to say. Leery of radiation we make a wide detour but the thing is so huge we see the damage caused by it for miles away anyway. Walter pulls out the binoculars we picked up in the gun shop in Fort Royale. We take a look at the crash site from a distance. Grim...devastation. We have to think Bismark itself is totally destroyed. We move on...silent...even Charlie not making a sound and Pete pads after us like a shadowy testament to what was and will never be again.

The days pass again...stretch into weeks and...our progress is slow but steady. The snow holds off which for us is Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into one since we can't really celebrate them on the road. We have enough to eat and drink and the ammo is dry and we're thankful for those things too. Charlie's first Christmas eve is spent in his dad's papoose pouch listening to him sing "Silent Night" to keep our spirits up because God...he has a terrible voice, and Scully and I laugh really hard at him, as we try to find shelter somewhere before silent night becomes a grotesquely appropriate joke. Nightfall finds us in an old dairy barn and since the floor is concrete we risk a fire for a while...it helps but...it's friggin' cold as Walter would say since he doesn't like to curse in front of the kid. We actually set up the four man tent inside the barn, laying hay out under it for insulation, and Scully piles into the tent with Charlie and they're all wrapped up in sleeping bags, and Walter and I pile bales of hay around the tent for insulation too. For the first time...Pete the dog comes close...into the barn and I throw down some hay and an old cow blanket we find in the milk tank room. He makes a nest in the hay and blanket in a corner of the barn.

We talk about setting up watches but...it's just bloody freezing. Walter eyes the dog, totally covered in the hay, and blanket, only his brindle nose sticking out. "You know...I have a feeling if anyone came in this barn..." and Scully sticks her head out of the tent and smiles..."Mulder...that case with Karin Berquist..." she begins and I finish the leap of logic for her. "Yeah...I think we're his pack now. He's on guard. Set a few screamers on the barn doors. Let's...let's all get in and get warm. I think...I think we'll fucking freeze our asses off out here if we stand guard." We douse the fire and turn on our flashlights.

Inside the tent, with the door zipped it's tolerable. We're tired but we talk...try to keep that connection as human beings...that wonderful freedom we had together in Canada. Christmas memories of days past. Walter and Scully comparing stories about how they used to try to sneak peeks at their gifts. Walter telling about the time he dressed up as Santa Claus for a homeless shelter in DC... something we never knew he'd done, and the little boy at the shelter who got so scared of him he pissed in his lap. And Scully telling about the Christmas her father was at sea and arranged leave to be there with them, and how they were all surprised because he jumped out on Christmas day and scared the hell out of Margaret Scully...and I smile and laugh and listen and...don't really have any Christmas memories before Sam was gone that are pain free to relate and after her abduction...well...we didn't really celebrate Christmas much anyway.

And Charlie takes it all in, wide-eyed with wonder as I dangle that stupid Picachu toy over his head...he never grows tired of it...and he gurgles, and smiles, and we quietly sing Christmas carols for him, and before he falls asleep Scully tells the story about all the animals standing up and talking and adds Pete the watchdog to the manger. And...later...Scully and Charlie are fast asleep and they're rolled a little to the side and I finally admit to Walter I have another raging hard-on. "God...what the hell is wrong with me?" I ask him. He holds me close and tells me it's just my body trying to remind me what being alive is partly about, and we unzip our sleeping bags and move them together and he makes love to me slowly, quietly, fully dressed except for my cock and balls which he liberates from my jeans and long underwear.

He pulls the sleeping bags back...hovers over my straining erection and then, works his mouth down over me right down to my nuts. I stroke his head as he sucks and licks and runs his tongue around the head of my cock. "I love you," I whisper as I gently thrust my hips into his face. And he smiles up at me and then his mouth sucks down, and up, and down, and up and...I feel his hand take mine and I squeeze it tight and bite off the hoarse yell that's just at the tip of my tongue as I spasm and shoot down his throat. He doesn't gag at all, swallows everything I have to give and then licks me clean afterwards. Zips me up and then holds me close for a few moments again and I ask hushed, "What about you?" and I feel between us and he's not hard and I stare into his eyes. "I haven't been hard since we hit the road," he whispers. "It's just...circumstances I guess," and I take him in my arms and mumble words of love that I never thought I'd say to another man in my wildest imaginings. Then we both spoon together, and I pull Scully and Charlie close and I sleep as peacefully as the baby does.

By mid January it's snowing but only lightly, and we looked on it as a good sign because at least it isn't 40 below, and we were so close to Pierre and anticipatory, and excited, and we haven't seen anyone yet but that's not making us overly worried, and Pete the dog was still with us watching over us at night and then...we nearly lost it all.

The outskirts of Mint, South Dakota. Another farmhouse, two stories and we thought...man we had it made. Intact. Pot-bellied stove. Lots of wood...well pump...still some canned goods. Very much like that farmhouse in Canada and the cabin too. We unload the travois...crank up the pot-bellied stove and since the bathroom is right off the kitchen it's nice and warm. We set the screamer alarms and then...we all take baths and it's fantastic. I go first so I can get dinner ready and then Walter and Scully take Charlie and all three of them get into the tub of heated water.

It took us a long time to get those buckets of hot water to fill the tub but seeing them together in there...yeah...like a family...was more than worth it. The scene touches me so much and I leave them laughing and cuddling the baby to hide the fact that tears are leaking down my cheeks. I busy myself with dinner...opening cans of salmon, corn and sweet potatoes and putting them on the pot-bellied stove to cook. I even find some cans of Pedigree dog food in a cupboard and take what was most certainly the family dog's dish from the floor of the kitchen, wash it and dump a couple of cans in it. Sure enough when I go out the back door, Pete is sitting at the bottom of the back steps. I proffer the bowl and he cocks his head and sniffs but won't come any closer. I shrug, "Have it your way, 'furball'," I drawl in imitation of Han Solo. I put the bowl down and go back in the house.

After dinner Scully puts Charlie down for the night on a sleeping bag laid out in the living room. By now the downstairs is really warm from the stove. So, Charlie gets only a light blanket as he's placed, clean, diapered with Pampers we found in a closet and tummy full, on his improvised bed. He gives a mighty yawn and falls asleep in no time flat. I take a look out the back door and the bowl of dog food is empty. Pete isn't there but I expect he's around. Sure enough, just as I'm closing the door he comes around the side of the barn and lifts his leg, pissing a bucket on the red paint. He pads into the barn through the half open door...out of the elements. I chuckle and lock us down for the night.

We end up in the living room, talking, me in a chair and Scully and Walter on the couch all of us in our long johns and I can see Walter trying to shift to cover the rather noticeable tent in his lap, and I can't help but smile. So...things are waking up I guess. Scully notices too and I see for the first time something approaching interest there as well. And she shifts over and he puts his arm around her shoulders and absentmindedly strokes her bicep as we talk about whether we should stay here a couple of days and finally I clear my throat. "Uh...look," I begin. "I'm not going to mind if you two want to...turn in. I mean...it's ok, really...go on upstairs to bed. I can keep an eye on Charlie." Scully looks down, reddening a little and Walter coughs and gives me a rueful look. "Seriously...I...I'm a little too tired to even consider it...go on...enjoy yourselves," I prompt. For a moment I feel like Dr. Ruth and Dear Abby all rolled into one but I know this is right because they both need it, and seem to want it, and...I remember what Walter did for me that night in the cow barn and it's only fair. Scully looks up and I see the worry in her eyes. She thinks I'll feel neglected. "Don't forget the Trojans," I add quietly and she gives me a small gentle smile and Walter gets up and takes her hand. The look in his eyes when he passes me on the way out of the living room with Scully makes my gesture completely worth it.

So I find a paperback on top of the TV...'The Firm' and I haven't read it actually...or seen the movie, so I lay down on the sleeping bag on my stomach next to the sleeping Charlie and start to read. It isn't long before I hear soft, high pitched and low, basso profoundo moans coming from upstairs and it's pretty obvious that Charlie's Mom and Dad are indeed enjoying themselves. Some murmuring...some soft squeaking of the mattress, and I hear Scully's whining cry, and I know Walter's making her come. Things are quiet for a little bit and I get some of the book read and then Scully giggles and Walter laughs and then there's more moaning, and movement, and then...Christ...she's coming again. Damn...you know...Walter is a good lover. I shake my head and grin because yeah...I know only too well.

I'm trying to concentrate on 'The Firm' but I finally give up and lie on my back, my hands behind my head while the action progresses above me. Oddly enough...I don't get hard. Maybe I am too tired or just...the stress or the idea too that...Walter has a connection with Scully now that I don't have with her...may never have with her...and that's the little life dozing on his back, next to my armpit. It makes me somewhat sad at the same time that I revel in the fact that I'm helping to raise their son and I know both Walter and Scully love me very much.

So I listen and smile as the bed starts to really squeak and I hear Scully telling Walter..."Oh God you're so hard, so good, oh, oh..." and Walter growling low and rough, telling her, "Beautiful, you're so beautiful," and then fast squeaking and then raw words as they urge each other on. "Oh fuck yeah. Move. Yeah. Just...like...that," Walter pants and Scully moans. "Uhhhh...fuck me," and then finally the bed thuds several times and Walter's guttural roar tells me that's all she wrote. It doesn't sound like Scully comes again but I know it doesn't matter. I can hear her breathy murmur, "I love you, Walter," and his voice a little louder. "I thank God for this, Scully. I love you so much," and I know they're going to sleep up there so I check the perimeter screamers one more time. Say good night to Pete even though I know he's in the barn and can't hear me. Then I go in and cuddle close to Charlie, pulling a sleeping bag over us both.

During the night, Scully comes down and I feel her take Charlie up and I roll over and she's sitting on the couch, her breast bare, feeding him. I get up and sit down next to her. She smiles shyly at me and I grin. "It sounded like Walter rose to the occasion," I tease. "Oh yes...he certainly did," she replies, trying to suppress her grin and finally giving up and smiling. We sit in companionable silence for a few minutes while Charlie sucks and kneads at Scully's tit.

Then she looks at me again and leans into me a little. I reach up and brush the hair from her face. It's gotten long...but it still looks like burnished copper and feels wonderfully soft. I drop my hand and she speaks. "Mulder...I'm sorry...I...I didn't mean to make you feel..." I shush her immediately. "Hey...hey...it's all right. Really. The two of you...you deserved a night together. I was perfectly happy to babysit." She nuzzles my cheek and I kiss into her hair. "Well...next time, it's your turn," she whispers and I know for certain from the look in her eyes that it will be and I can wait.

I look down at Charlie then and so does she. I chuckle. "There's no doubt this is Walter's son...you know that don't you?" I whisper. She nods. "I know...I knew from the night you drew our attention to his eyes. Besides...I did the math too. I calculated the conception date and that day Walter and I celebrated his recovery made logical sense," she states matter-of-factly. "But, Mulder...it doesn't matter. You know he's as much your son as ours, right?" she adds softly. I smile wide and nod because you know...it's true. She finishes up giving the little guy his meal and then tells me, "I'll stay here. I told Walter I needed to feed him so he set his wristwatch alarm. He'll know I'm down here." I chuckle. "Still playing AD and Agent Scully," I tease and she pokes me and then laughs. Charlie falls back to sleep and Scully and I crawl under the sleeping bags and fall asleep too, spooned together, the baby cradled next to Scully's stomach.

In the morning Walter's up early and rousts us all for breakfast. When I walk into the kitchen I notice the used condom in the brown paper shopping bag we're using for trash. I nod...good. It's snowing a little but there's promise of clear skies to the West. Not a bad morning. We decide to stay on another day. We make breakfast. Canned peaches, baked spam and since we found some flour and evaporated milk that was still good, a really special treat...pancakes...well sort of, but they taste great. No sign of Pete, but I put another can of Pedigree out for him, and then Walter and Scully and I gather around the table, and Scully has Charlie at her breast, and Walter's bringing the pancakes over and suddenly the screamer alarms start going off and Charlie starts to shriek because he's scared shitless, and Walter drops the pancakes on the floor, and goes for his Smith and Wesson where it sits on the counter, and all hell breaks loose.

Four armed men kick in the back and front doors, and surround us, and I can't get to my gun or my rifle where they sit in the living room on the coffee table, and I'm cursing myself for being so lax, and Scully's holding the baby close, his head pressed into her breast, and Walter almost makes it to his gun, but one of the men slams him hard in the gut with his rifle butt and he goes down. Scully...looking like she wants to scream, but going into professional mode...years of training coming to the fore...covers the gun stuffed in her jeans waist, and under her sweater, with her son's body. Her eyes wide, she raises one hand in the air in surrender, and I raise both of mine because the tallest man is yelling for us to "get 'em up, get 'em up high!"

Walter curled up around his stomach, gasping, we all stand in tableau. I'm almost hyperventilating, and then I feel a strange calm come over me, and I feel the old training come back as well and I breathe steadily to compose myself. In a matter of seconds my mind races to assess the situation.

Military issue rifles...three guys are wearing insulted vests over worn fatigue jackets...National Guard. Two are grunts though. One blonde...one guy with a shaved head. They're 22 to 25 maybe. Ciphers really...waiting and watching for input. One guy is really young...maybe 16 and he's wearing a snowmobile suit. He's obviously not Guard...and he's scared to death. The other guy is older...30s...definitely National Guard and the stripes say...Sergeant...and that's the leader. Hard, mean, muscular and...I can see it in his eyes...this guy is trouble. Cold air comes in the back door where they kicked it open. Scully pulls Charlie closer still against the cold.

"We've got 'em up," I reply...calm and conciliatory. "We don't want any trouble...there's a baby here," I add in case they didn't notice Charlie crying his head off over the screamer alarms. Abruptly the screamers cease shrieking...but we can all still hear Charlie loud and clear.

"Shut the kid up," the leader spits out and I hear Walter growl low around his pain.

Scully slowly lowers her hand and gets a better grip on Charlie...hiding the gun better in the process and rubs his back. That seems to satisfy the leader as Charlie's cries subside to whimpers.

One of the other guys...the tall skinny guy with blonde hair waves his rifle at Walter.

"Get up old man. Get in a chair."

Walter looks up with anger and hate in his eyes, and I give him a warning look, and he lets his face fall into that AD mask we all know so well, and he gets up off the floor with difficulty. Shaved head takes Walter's gun off the counter and shoves it in his jeans. Walter makes it into the chair across from me and sits down, readjusts his glasses, raises his hands. His chest pumps up and down as he works to push down the gut ache.

"Just sit there. We want your supplies..." the leader grates out.

"Take them...just take them and go," Walter rasps out.

The leader looks at him for a second...assessing...then he barks to his companions, his rifle still trained on us. "Strip the place," he orders. Blondie and Shaved Head nod and sling their rifles over their backs. They move first to our travois supplies where they're stacked in a corner. The kid stands there...hesitating. "What're you waiting for?" the leader asks, looking at him out of the corner of his eyes. "Gheez...Jack..." the kid begins. "Shut your cake hole you idiot. I said no names!" The kid goes beet red but shows some moxie. "I was just going to say we should at least leave 'em their fucking weapons, man...they'll need...I mean Christ...they got a kid to feed," he blurts out, his voice shaking.

The leader's jaw muscle jumps and I hold my breath. I can see Walter's eyes and he's trying to gauge if he can take the leader at all and realizing he couldn't do it before he got a shot off, and Scully is debating if she should say something or prepare for one of us to make a move, and just throw herself over the baby, and then the leader speaks and I let my breath out in relief. "Yeah...leave the guns...but hide 'em in the barn, that should give us time to get away. You guys hear me?" he says, tersely. "You got it," Blondie replies and they go about their business of robbing us of our worldly goods. The kid turns then and I see a look in his eyes directed at Scully, and I know she sees it too...compassion...and then he slings his rifle over his shoulder and goes to root through the cupboards. Walter continues to track them all with his eyes...observing...calculating...and so does Scully.

The leader stays right by our side...watching...looking...at me...at Walter...at Charlie and...especially at Scully. Scully stares back at him...as calmly as she can but I know she can see what's in the guy's eyes and...I seek to distract him. "Where did you guys come from?" I ask. The leader's head swivels to me. "None of your fucking business." O-K I think. "We thought you might have come from Pierre...we heard there were people in Pierre," I reply. The kid pipes up without thinking. "Pierre, yeah...we..." he begins. "Shut up...Rod-ney," The leader hisses viciously...and I know him for what he is then...a vindictive, half-crazy bastard because now we know the kid's name too. I look at the kid and try to smile at his red, sweating face. "It's ok, Rodney...we pretty much knew there were people down there..." and the leader waves his rifle at me...cold eyes. "No more talking unless I ask the questions, asshole"...and I look into his eyes and incline my head to placate him. His eyes wander back to Scully. He looks at Charlie, flicker of interest. Looks from Charlie to Walter, back to Charlie and then focuses on Walter.

"That baby yours, baldy?" The other three men continue to collect our supplies, noisy clattering of booted feet, but Scully and I ignore it all and their conversation as we focus on Walter. Walter's jaw is so tight you could bounce a quarter off it and his eyes are hooded he's so pissed off. He swallows. "None of your fucking business," and I cringe. Christ, Walter...I know they taught you better than that at the Academy. But I know this isn't completely AD Skinner sitting there. This is Walter, Charlie's dad and yeah...Scully's husband for all intents and purposes, and...he's in pain, and afraid even though he's not showing it but...it's coming through now.

Luckily...or unluckily depending on whether you consider what I know is going to come eventually...the leader chuckles. At least he doesn't just shoot Walter. "I don't suppose it is...but...I was just curious as to how a bald, four-eyed old fuck like you got a good looking broad like her to spread her legs...much less knock her up. I mean...anyone else would have given her a better ride I bet. Even Jew boy over here would have been a more likely candidate to show the little lady a good time." I wince and I see Scully shudder, the anger plain on her face. The leader is watching Walter closely, waiting for his answer.

Walter's face goes crimson. He swallows hard. I watch him struggle for control and I hope beyond hope that he masters himself and says the thing I know he should to buy us some more time. When he finally speaks, I know I'm holding my breath again. "Yes, the baby's my son. Please...please don't hurt him or...his mother," he murmurs, his voice quiet and strained. Mother...not wife. There are no wedding rings. The guy would have noticed I know...and it probably wouldn't have mattered anyway because I know what he wants to do, and has wanted to do since he saw Scully sitting in that chair...all the crap about leaving us our weapons notwithstanding. He's just been looking for an excuse to get Walter at least out of the way...either dead or lying with a cracked head on the floor so he could proceed with business. But this was as good an answer as Walter could have given and I see... flicker of doubt, of hesitation in the leader's eyes and I let out my breath...and the leader answers.

"Mother...but not wife, yeah I noticed...no rings. Fuck...whaddya know," he chuckles. "I'll bear that in mind," he finishes with a feral look at Scully. And then he goes back to standing there with his rifle trained on us...looking at me mostly and I know we all know what's going to happen here before he leaves. He'll rape Scully...probably in front of Walter...maybe in front of me too...maybe get the other guys to rape her as well, and then get rid of Walter, and me, and Scully and Charlie...the witnesses because he's not taking any chances we'll come after him. Christ...I know it as sure as I know I'm going to stop him even if I die doing it. And I can see it in Walter's eyes too, and in Scully's...I can see it in Scully's...whatever it takes to save us...whatever it takes to save our son.

Eerie silence and then I think...it suddenly occurs to me...Jesus...no sound...no sound of...Pete...oh man they must have killed the dog. And then finally Shaved Head comes back in from carrying out the last load...where the hell are they putting all this stuff...we didn't hear an engine and it has to be the travois and then..."That's it, except for the guns, man," he advises looking at Jack. Blondie and Rodney come back in too, guns slung over their backs, and they all stand there staring at Jack man, and Jack lowers his rifle a little and looks from Scully to Walter and then looks up and licks his lips.

"Good. Ok...look...Rodney,"...the name again this time used without inflection of any kind..."you and Pete,"...head gesture towards Blondie..."take their guns out to the barn...Greg,"...chin goes up to the shaved one..."you stay in here...help me watch these folks," he orders in a soft, tense voice and when he says the names the three guys glance at each other and they know, and I know...I know we're dead unless we can do something to stop them.

"Whatever you say, boss," Pete responds and Rodney swallows hard. "Say...uh...Jack...why don't I..." he begins. "Why don't you shut the fuck up and do as you're told," Jack spits out. They all stand there. "Move!" he shouts and they do. Rounding up the weapons, Rodney and Pete go out the back door.

Jack shifts...walks over to stand by Scully. "I guess you know what I want..." he murmurs into her face. I see Walter turn crimson again and I shoot another desperate warning look at him. "Watch her boyfriend and the Jew boy," he orders Greg. Greg trains his rifle on Walter and me and I watch Walter coil...coil...like a spring...and I know it's only a matter of moments before he snaps. "Do your job and I'll let you have sloppy seconds," he adds, smirking at Scully. Scully looks at him...proud, unafraid and utterly defiant. He falters slightly at the lack of fear in her eyes. And when she speaks it's in a voice that matches the look in her eyes. "I know I can't stop you but...I'll make a deal with you. If you...if you leave these men and my son unharmed...I'll...I'll make sure you enjoy it. I'll...I'll even go with you so you can enjoy it as much as you want. Just don't...harm them," she finishes and I shut my eyes.

Before Jack the Leader can answer, Rodney and Pete come back in. Pete cuffs the kid in the back of the head, looks at Jack with apology in his eyes. "Sorry...asshole here forgot the shotgun," he comments. Jack's attention is drawn to them. "Get it and get out...both of you," he orders. And they head to the living room to get the shotgun. Jack curls his lips up in contempt and Greg curls his lip up in contempt...at Rodney. Greg and Jack...I see it...the resemblance. I would bet they're related...brothers maybe. Shit...let's keep it all in the family shall we? My stomach flips and I start to steel myself for what I know I have to do.

Rodney and Pete return, Pete carrying the shotgun, and the frightened Rodney bringing up the rear, and I watch them as they head towards the half open kitchen door, and I'm thinking...I can take the kid, I can take the kid, and then...it all happens so fast and...I wondered what the fuck happened to that dog...thought Pete was dead, but Jesus...he wasn't. Growling, snarling mass of dog meat muscle, flashing teeth, scrabbling claws all over man Pete, and he screams loud and high like a woman as the dog grabs his crotch and starts to latch on where it could only hurt the most, and...grinding down until his jaws lock, and...the shotgun goes flying and my God, my God no one is moving and then...

Rodney screams, "PETE! PETE!" And I think shit, same name as the dog, and Greg dashes forward, rifle up but the kid has his rifle slung forward as Greg gets between him and the roiling mess of 'mandog' and flying blood, and BLAM! BLAM! two shots fired and Greg screams, "MUTHERFUCK YOU SHOT ME, YOU..." and down he goes and...

I throw myself to the side, on top of Scully because Jack's shooting...and...Shit shit shit shit...I repeat over and over and we crash in a heap...Charlie under us and the baby is shrieking...shrieking, and not a sound out of Scully because she's trying to hold the kid, and grab for her gun where it flew out of her jeans at the same time, and I'm clawing at her piece too and then we hear a BAAABOOOM! loud in our ears. Fucking shotgun. Oh...God...please....

And I come up with Scully's gun in my hand and there's Walter standing with the shotgun against his hip, blood spattered all over him from point blank shot that took out most of Jack's chest, and Jack lying against the cabinets under the sink, dead, his rifle in his hands and the dog Pete rolling around, growling, gnashing, tearing at the semi-conscious man Pete and the kid, Rodney...in my sights, his hands up crying over, and over, "DON'T KILL ME! DON'T KILL ME!"

And I look in his eyes and his eyes are pleading and I lower my gun. "Get the fuck out," I tell him, slumping slightly and he turns and runs for the front door, never looking back. Scully gets up and I move to her side immediately...start touching her here, there, the baby next...and "Are you all right...is Charlie all right?" and Scully is nodding and the baby is quiet now...taking it in and even smiling a little as Scully rubs his back...and then she looks past me at...Walter.

I turn and track his movements and it's like a dream...Walter walks to the dead Greg, retrieves his Smith and Wesson from the guy's pants...walks over to where brindle dog Pete is still worrying blonde man Pete's thigh. I watch the arterial blood spurt bright red...closer...closer...Walter makes a grab...takes the dog hard by the collar and Scully...Scully cries out, "Walter no! He saved our lives!" and...Walter doesn't hesitate. He pulls the dog back...tells him to sit and incredibly he does, and then Walter puts the Smith and Wesson against groaning man Pete's head, and BLAM! BLAM! the report is loud in the now quiet kitchen. Revenge? Mercy killing maybe more likely. Either way...good riddance. Walter drops the shotgun and the Smith and Wesson on the kitchen table, walks over to us and...we walk into his arms and he hugs us both tight. Pete sits and watches...his tongue lolling out...bloody froth on his jaws as we embrace...Charlie cooing musically between us.

Pierre, South Dakota. We're looking down on Pierre, South Dakota...and it's in ruins. The disappointment is so heavy you can almost cut it with a knife. Since Mint all of us have been in a daze I think. Just putting one foot in front of the other. Something...we lost something in Mint. The only one of us who seems unfazed is Charlie and for his sake we push on...and try to stay positive. But now...Walter puts the binoculars away and we sit down on the crest of the ridge overlooking the highway and...Scully bundles Charlie close where she has him in her coat for warmth. I watch her reach in and shift to place her nipple in the baby's mouth. Charlie comfort...and Scully comfort too really. He sucks eagerly. Walter and I sit in silence, in the snow.

We have all our supplies...even some more we scavenged on the way...we have the travois...the weapons...more ammo...we even have Pete the dog. We just don't know where to go. Walter shrugs and speaks, "We could continue South. It'd be warmer...hell...we could even go West. Warm and dry," he suggests. "Yeah...I always wanted to retire to a place with dry heat," I quip trying to lighten the mood. "Yes...please let's not go to Florida where it's hot and humid...I heard the bugs are terrible there," Scully adds teasing and we all chuckle a little.

I look over at Pete...in all his brindle AmStaff glory where he sits nearby. The hero. He still won't come near us...that one day in Mint was an exception I guess. He's been back on sentry duty however. Our nights are peaceful at least. "Hey, Pete," I address him. "Where would you like to go?" I ask his furry face. And then we watch...transfixed as Pete cocks his head, once, twice and then gets up and slowly, very slowly pads over to us. "Mulder..." Walter hisses in warning as the terrier approaches me. He comes in close and I stretch out my hand....fist closed in case he wants to take a bite...but he pushes his head up under my hand and wags his tail...sits...barks once and then....///Mulder....Fox Mulder...Pete wants to go to Pierre. Over/// and we stare in utter shock.

"What in God's name?" Scully blurts out and Walter's mouth drops open. /// Scully!!! Scully!!!/// excited tiny tinny voice. I grab the dog's collar and look closely...mini speaker...has to be a mini microphone too and...the voice comes again...///Thank God...it's working again...Mulder...is that you?/// and I know who it...God...oh for crying out loud..."FROHIKE!?" I shout into the dog collar like a total fool and Walter says, "What?"...and Scully starts to laugh...half crazy laughter with the stress and..."Is this some kind of sick joke?" she blurts out, and the dog cocks his head and leaves me and goes over to Scully, and the voice comes out of the collar again...///"Would I ever joke about my undying worship of that vision of loveliness named Agent Dana Scully?"/// and then Scully laughs with delight and I think...holy shit...it's just like a whacked out version of that Christmas Eve story about the animals talking in the manger, and Walter grabs the dog by the collar, and shouts into the microphone, his eyes dancing...laughing too. "Frohike...where are you, you damn troll?" and Frohike's tinny laughter is like music to our ears. ///"I'm down in Pierre...we're all down in Pierre...we went underground, my man...in a big way...just...come on down...we're sending an escort...look for Byers...on horseback. We...we have a lot to tell you."/// "No shit," I yell...laughing my ass off as Pete gives us all a huge, slobbery doggie grin.


Eighteen months later...

The irony of our story is...we missed the war. I had a lot of guilt at first built up over the idea that by fleeing and not staying to fight the good fight I somehow...what...shirked my duty as the great Fox Mulder? Spooky Mulder the guy who spent half his career chasing the truth...trying to prevent what happened only to run from it when it did? Fuck it. Scully and Walter said we maybe missed the war but we fought the battle...the battle for survival and the safety of those we love in the hopes we could carry on. And we still fight that fight even now...here in South Dakota...the fight to reclaim what's ours...the planet Earth and the good things we used to have here.

And really...there wasn't any choice, and in the long run no one knew what they were going to be able to do when the grays landed...or that the resistance to them was what it really turned out to be in the end.

Not even the guys. Frohike, Byers and Langly. They ran too...the only reason they didn't run away from the battle was because after my phone call they got a phone call from Suzanne Modeski...before all the phones went dead. Suzanne Modeski...now Suzanne Byers. Oh yeah...she remembered John Byers all right. And when C-Day...C for colonization...came the call went out for the Lone Gunmen. Come to Pierre, South Dakota...we've underground, quite literally here and we're mounting the real plan to combat the invasion. They had no idea...but Suzanne did, and she remembered their expertise and that, and her love for Byers, made her send for them.

Underground bunkers, teams of scientists and a few key players from that other alien race we had an inkling were trying to help us but never were really sure about their motivations...the Jeremiah Smith side of the equation. The last members of a dying race they'd really only wanted one thing...to co-exist if they could. They should have just asked the right people maybe? Whatever...in any event...they were all but exterminated in the first assault...a few of them...still stayed on and with the help of one of the biggest surprises of all...Alex Krycek...were the architects of human survival.

Krycek. He stayed above ground...spying...gathering information...sent most of the Jeremiah Smiths ahead to South Dakota with instructions to communicate over a specially scrambled channel on stolen alien communication devices. They had the key...almost...the means to create a virus that was deadly to the grays...to create it from blood by-products from a woman he and the one Jeremiah Smith that wouldn't leave his side were trying desperately to liberate from a holding facility in Stone Mountain, Georgia. The Jeremiah Smith made it back with Marita Covarrubias and Alex Krycek died laying down covering fire for their escape. So, Krycek...no matter what his motives...died a hero. And I'll never find out why he did the things he did to us before...and I'll never be able to give him another chance either.

The grays herded mankind South...away from the cold. Those they didn't want to use, they just killed outright. Most were taken off planet. It's amazing how fast it all happened. Huge transport ships. Scully and I had seen one in Antarctica of course. We'd seen a few of them in our travels North after July 4th. We'd heard enough from fleeing people to know the gist of what was happening. The upshot...most of the world's population is dead or gone or living in isolated areas in South America in the rain forests or Australia...Africa...anywhere it's warmer...few and far between and no real communication except some short-wave radios. So much communication was shut down by the human collaborators...EMP blasts took care of a lot of the rest...and the resistance in their network of underground bunkers all over the world...worked to construct the virus...and other things.

There's a lot of interesting ET technology floating around in the brave new world. Some of it has been salvaged from downed ships. We have to be careful of some of it...whatever it is that produces the psi-factor in susceptible humans is difficult to work with in the extreme. But we're managing. We're starting to develop things...like fusion as an energy source as well as anti-gravity power...just the embryonic in-roads but everyone foresees great things to come in time. And the Jeremiah Smiths contributed things as well.

The 'Petes'...the name has become generic now...were created for one. Yeah...the dogs are dogs...but more than dogs really. Something the Jeremiah Smiths came up with but ended up not quite operating correctly because it was built to control something a lot more alien than the family pet. A chip that hyped the dog's senses, helped them hunt and survive in the wild better, track and locate people better, encouraged them to guard, to protect people, places, things. The chip also controlled them better to a degree...made them learn and understand more commands and hear and heed their master's voices at any distance. Anytime someone brought in a dog...it was chipped and put to work somehow. Langly and his team came up with the collars for two way transmission over great distances...in theory. The only problem was...the hardware was twonky at first. The prototype dogs...of which our Pete was one didn't always do the job. Oh, they were good close up on sentry duty and search and rescue, but long distance...they were problematical. Half the time they didn't work and the collar communication system was always failing too. Now of course, they've been perfected...even adding tiny video cameras where needed in the dog's collars. The dogs, besides still being essentially man's best friend and great companions...are now also valuable helpmates. Almost everyone has a Pete on the homestead. And yes, we still have our original prototype Pete and he does the job fine enough for us.

But it was Frohike's idea to have them encoded to find certain people. Encoded and then dropped off and later tracked and picked so they could search for those missing amongst them...me...Scully and yes...Skinner and...the Cigarette Smoking bastard if they could. That was the part that did work thanks to the Jeremiah Smiths. They had all the smallpox vaccination information, stolen from the grays after all. The dogs were somehow capable of picking up on it. So...when Pete caught up with us in Rugby...well...it's lucky the technology worked as well as it did. None of the Petes ever found Smokey Spender however. We keep hoping. I have a few choice words to say to that bastard...and Walter has some too.

They finally came up with the virus. Caught a gray...tested it and when it killed it...they released it into the atmosphere. The grays that didn't die, fled. The Earth is uninhabitable for them now. Of course...maybe they got what they came for anyway. Sadly...there are so few of us now. The rest...well...I can only hope they never woke out of cryosleep. And of course I wonder. I wonder about...my sister. I hope wherever she is...well...I hope she never woke up either.

But now...the real work begins. The rebuilding. Six months ago we came back above ground...600 of us. Moved out into the country and ok...it looks like a 60s commune but it's home. Houses went up...all kinds of interesting structures. I mean half the guys here are geeks...computer hackers...God...the world was saved by the 'Revenge of the Nerds' but hell...it worked and now we're all working together to try to send the news out...we're here and we'll try to help. I'm sure the population'll grow.

The radio man, Roger Whitcomb, is our de facto mayor. He was apologetic about their radio problems. Early on they had power problems from unshielded equipment. EMP pulses were tough on them. Roger was a CEO of some tiny software company in Silicon Valley so he was the closest thing to a manager around at the time I guess. He stayed mayor. There are engineers here, chemists, and scientists from several different disciplines. Plain old John Q. Publics too...civilians as it were who made it to the bunkers and weren't turned away before the blast doors were shut down and the resistance closed themselves off. Farmers for one...and extra doctors too...real medical doctors to augment the staff on hand, including Scully and Suzanne who has a degree in medicine as well as chemistry. So, we're well set up to homestead. Word is getting out...others are joining our community. It's a good group of people and a few more trickle in periodically to add interest to the mix.

Frohike is head of research and development. He's really in his glory. And...he found himself a little redhead of his very own actually. I had to laugh the first time she and Scully met. Charlotte...that's her name...said, "I've heard so much about you," and Scully raised an eyebrow and Frohike turned scarlet. We all laughed like hell. She's a bit younger than Frohike...a young farmer's wife...widowed in the war...and they were married three months before we reached Pierre. She's expecting. So it looks like Charlie will have another little playmate before long.

As I said, Byers married Suzanne. That happened almost immediately upon their arrival in Pierre. The only religious leader here at the time was a Sioux medicine man...so they were married in a Native American ceremony. There's an ex-army chaplain here now too and sometimes the church services are very...eclectic. They haven't started a family yet. Byers told me they've just decided to start trying though, so maybe soon.

Langly...well...he's playing marathon sessions of D&D when he's not leading his band of real-life adventurers out into the landscape in search of whatever leftover technology or supplies that may prove useful. He's free of what he calls romantic entanglements...for now. But...I've seen how that one woman, the one who looks a little like Esther Nairn, and is his de-facto second in command, looks at him sometimes. I have to think someday there may be something between them. Only time will tell.

Naturally...Walter is head of security. His group is kind of the cops and the army all rolled into one. It's needed. There are still elements like Jack and his cohorts out there. But we're well guarded with Walter and his men and the Petes and larger versions of the screamer alarms. I lend a hand there too when it's necessary.

I'm still with him as much as I'm with Scully. Almost every day I'm struck by the fact that never in a million years would I have thought that Walter Skinner would be this solid a friend, my confidant...this much support to me...and that it would be a two way street. And I sure as hell never thought he'd be my lover. No shit. Never would have considered it back at the Hoover. I mean...I never remotely realized I'd enjoy being with a man in bed. But oh yeah, I enjoy it...big time. I like being in him but I like having him in me a whole lot. Something about that big cock up my ass. I love being on top...riding his erection...taking him in really deep and having him growling below me like he does when he arches up with those fantastic thigh and ass muscles to fuck me just the way I like it. I'm over 40 now and Walter's pushing 50 but when we're together there's more fire in the furnace than either of us could ever want. I'm so...so very lucky to have him and Scully. So very thankful.

He and Scully and I were married. Yeah...I told you church services here could be eclectic, right? In my opinion a ceremony wasn't necessary. I didn't feel as though I needed it really. But the other two thirds of the arrangement felt strongly about formalizing the relationship in front of God and everyone so the community got together and we had a wedding performed by both the medicine man, Richard Crow Flying and the chaplain, Henry Cabot, too for good measure. Frohike was best man. Langly was the groomsmen. Suzanne was the Maid of Honor and Frohike's wife, Charlotte, was the only bridesmaid. Charlie gave away the bride...with a lot of help from John Byers. So it was official...we were hitched and holy shit...we had a hell of a honeymoon.

Walter, Scully and I built our home here. It's a geodesic dome house and man, it was a challenge to construct in six months but we did it with the help of others in the community. We're still working on it some...getting it just right. But it has lots of glass for the greenhouse effect...solar heating. The ubiquitous pot-bellied stove. Fireplace. Good sized great room, kitchen. We still have an outhouse and will for a while, but we built a bathhouse connected to the main structure with a huge tub big enough for three adults and a little guy...Charlie...to bathe in. Charlie...who isn't so little anymore. God...he'll turn two this coming October. Hard to believe. He still looks a whole lot like Walter but there's a little more of Scully there too. His hair is more on the reddish side...Walter's was black, of course...and sometimes when he smiles...it's that same enigmatic smile Scully has sometimes. He's growing by leaps and bounds. Smart too...very quick and I tease Walter, telling him the kid must have gotten his brains from Scully. That usually gets a cuff on the back of the head or if he isn't close enough the middle finger salute. But I'd say he is...exceptional even if I do have a bit of bias about it. He walked early. Careens around here like a Tasmanian devil sometimes. I'll call him Taz and he'll laugh. He talked early as well...and manages to enunciate better than average I think. Calls me Mudder, though. Well...it's close. As long as he doesn't call me Fox, we're fine. Ah hell...he's just a nice little kid.

Charlie's big enough now to have his own little bedroom downstairs below the loft. Yeah, we have a loft again, and...we're still three to a bed. Everyone is very tolerant here and due to circumstances, family groups can be somewhat unconventional. The most unconventional of all was Marita Covarrubias and one of the Jeremiah Smiths. Needless to say...it's live and let live.

I'm helping Walter, but I'm also teaching a little. There are a few kids here and at the rate things are going...there'll be more. We all take turns trying to keep up their education. I'm teaching English. Scully teaches Science. She chips in at the clinic as well and in her off time...and I use that term loosely...she's planted a garden that's the envy of everyone here including some of the farmers who are homesteading nearby. God...she puts me to shame sometimes with the energy she has and her capacity to help...to shoulder the load...and to persevere.

But the big news regarding Scully is...she's pregnant again. Scully had of course begun menstruating right on schedule after Charlie's birth. So, we knew she was ovulating at least. We suspected the ova were fertile and Scully didn't want a baby right away and we didn't blame her. So, Walter and I used protection religiously until recently.

But...the stork's on the way now by mutual agreement. And guess what? This time...well this time...Fox Mulder is going to be a dad. Yeah, about three months along so far. It was planned...at least by two thirds of the relationship. Scully had mentioned a few times over the last month or so finally about maybe giving Charlie a little brother or sister and I of course, being somewhat dim about things thought...I wonder if Walter wants a girl this time? No clue at all she was thinking about making a baby with yours truly. All right...I still have some trouble realizing that Scully and Walter actually love me as much as they do and that they even want me around at all. But that's just my old inferiority complex rearing its ugly head.

So, I'm oblivious, and Scully and Walter must have cooked up the plan. One night Walter told Scully and me he'd promised to take Charlie over to see Richard Crow Flying and the wolf sculpture he was carving, and he gathered up his son and exited stage left. I heard him tell Pete to mind the store and Pete came in and flopped down in front of the hearth. I was working away on some lessons for the next day and suddenly the lanterns are turned low and a bottle of homemade wine and two wine glasses appear along with Scully dressed in just a T-shirt and panties and I ask her..."Why Agent Scully...are you trying to seduce me?" and she says..."But of course, Agent Mulder," and...a glass of wine each later and we're up in the loft bedroom going at it hot and heavy.

And God...there was something special about that night. That night Scully and my lovemaking was incredible...like the first time we were ever together. Incendiary. I made her come multiple times before I was anywhere near coming myself and we were both loving every minute of it. Finally, I was splayed out over her...so high with arousal I almost forgot about the condom and I rose up to fumble with the night stand when her hand came up and stopped my arm. I looked down at her and she pulled my hand to her lips and kissed my palm. "I need..." I started to tell her that I needed to get the rubber just in case she wasn't thinking quite straight at that point either and she said..."No...you don't...not...not tonight," and she smiled up at me and I gazed down at her...hoping because now...God...finally by this time I had realized how very much I did want to have a child with her but not sure she really meant it, and I asked, "Seriously?" and she laughed such musical laughter.

"Yes...I'm serious. Mulder, I love you...of course I want to have a baby with you," and I laughed and said..."You and Walter planned this didn't you?" and she laughed too and answered, "Yes we did...so..." she let her voice trail off. "So...I guess I've uh...risen to the occasion," I answered. And I had...proudly. And she laughed and kissed me and we went back to loving each other. And when I entered her it was with unparalleled joy because I knew we were going to try to create a new life that night, and Scully told me to knee up and put her ass on my lap so we'd have the best chance of that happening and I did...thrusting in deep and coming really deep inside her as well. After that first night we made sure we gave it a few more shots so to speak, and Walter, the old dog, abstained for almost a month...with both of us so I'd be locked and loaded, and he used protection until we were sure Scully was pregnant. So...in about six months we should find out if Charlie has a new brother or sister.

It's June now. I sit here...rambling...typing our story into this old laptop computer that survived the trip all the way from Canada and I marvel that we survived and how far we've come. Scully, Charlie and Walter are in the sunken living room, Scully and Walter debating whether to add a greenhouse to the house or a workshop for Walter's newly budding carpentry hobby/business and I throw back over my shoulder..."Why not both...I'll help," and they laugh, and Scully throws a paper airplane at me from the pad they're using to sketch some kind of plans out on. Charlie is playing with Pete, rolling around on his side while the terrier lies content and giving us all one of his doggie smiles.

Suddenly, Scully and Walter stop talking and the silence makes me stop typing and turn around. They're looking out the front windows, the windows that face the dirt path that leads from our front door down to the main part of the community. "I think we're going to have company," Scully suggests and Walter replies, "Evidently," and I look where they're looking and see a woman coming up the path. "I don't recognize her," Scully says distantly, and Walter gets up, takes his gun off the top of the mantle, shoves it in his pants, and makes his way to the front door. Pete shifts, dislodging Charlie gently and pads after Walter, on alert. We're still cautious when it comes to strangers. Most are benevolent but we have had those who were less than pleasant over the last year.

But this looks like a woman alone. Probably a newcomer to the settlement. Maybe someone told her we sometimes take in newbies until they find regular housing. She looks tired though, whoever she is...her step is heavy. Walter picks up on it. "I'll go meet her part way," he suggests. Scully and I nod and he and Pete continue to the front door. Walter opens it and they go on out. Scully, with Charlie holding her hand and toddling along, and I get up and walk over to the open door.

We stand and watch as Walter meets the woman, stops her and they converse. Pete sniffs her and then wags his tail, dances about her a little until I see Walter give the curt command for him to stay back. The dog does, standing at Walter's side as he talks to the woman. From here I can see she's fairly tall and thin with long, thick, somewhat wavy brown hair. She's dressed in hiking boots, jeans, a sweatshirt, a wide brimmed hat hangs down her back from the cord around her neck. A backpack and walking stick complete her possessions.

Something...something makes me feel strange as I watch them talk. Some kind of sensation...not deja vu...but something very similar. I watch and the feeling increases as Walter takes the woman around the shoulders and begins to walk her toward the house and I think...what is up with that...he's never that familiar with strangers and I think well...maybe she's exhausted and then they come closer and I look...closely, studying the woman...evaluating...postulating...struggling to...recognize, and thinking...where do I know this woman from and then the dawning realization and...I...I...hear Walter speaking and I can hardly hear his words for the pounding of my heart.

"Mulder...I think this is someone who's been looking for you for a very long time...who you've been looking for, for a very long time..." he rumbles, his voice rough with emotion.

And Walter has tears in his eyes and I hear Scully whisper, "Jesus," and the woman smiles and her eyes are bright with tears. "Fox?" she asks, shyly..."Oh my God...Fox..." and we fall into each other's arms and I sob "Samantha...Sam...oh..." and I choke on the words, sobbing and laughing, and Charlie laughs and says, "Mudder, Mudder huggin'," and Pete barks and Walter's patting me on the back and Samantha is saying..."I've come so far and I've finally found you," and Scully says..."Samantha Mulder, I'm Dana Scully, your brother's wife...this is our home...come in...come inside and make it your home too."



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