TITLE: The Final Piece (Conclusion to Dana’s Dreamland)
AUTHOR: Empress Vader
RATING: PG
CATEGORY: Mulder/Scully romance - X-file
SPOILERS: none I can think of
WEBSITE: http://www.geocities.com/lady_vader21/FanWork.html
Summary: Takes place a short time after "Dana's Dreamland". Scully has now adopted Kayla and William Michael. Mulder must prove that his love for Scully is genuine. And that he's truly ready to dedicate himself to her and the children.

Disclaimer: As you know, the characters Mulder, Scully, Jordan Black, and Frank Black are Chris Carter's brain child, and all rights belong to him, Fox, 1013 etc. I'm getting no money from this; it's all in fun.



"Mr. Fox," Kayla yelled happily as she ran toward me. It felt so good to sweep her up in my arms. I never thought I could love a little girl like this, I had been afraid to love anyone with my whole heart, I had learned at a very young age loving that much was dangerous.

Hell, I never even knew I had come to love Scully until she went away, until Duane Barry took her, until I felt that hole that come from being incomplete. And when I finally got her back, I wanted to hold her, hold her close to me, but instead I held her off with rage--rage at whomever had took her. Yes I had touched her, touched her in little ways because I was curious about her, especially after, well after she gave me a peak into that gorgeous little body of hers. It was our first case together and I was quite sure she was a spy. In that moment, I tried to convince myself that her strip tease in front of me was a game. A ploy to distract me. However once touch told me, she was really afraid and I was more afraid when she fell into my arms, afraid to hold her, afraid of the warmth that comes from being with another human being. Afraid of being alone again, afraid of the moment she would walk away and leave me with the memory, but she didn't walk away. Even when I was with women, I was never truly "with" them. They could never reach that place inside me, a place that always seemed to reveal itself around Scully without me wanting it to.

Despite her small frame, she was strong and determined, nothing got past her. She could make grown men quiver with a glare. But when I had needed it, she'd been there with a gentle touch, a loving embrace, or a sympathetic ear. When she got to close I would do something, I'll admit it, stupid, to distance her. How much I loved her snuck up on me, forced me to remember and act everytime I almost lost her or caused her pain by nearly killing myself.

But Kayla was different. The five-year-old flushed me with warmth whenever I heard her little voice. I could never hide how happy I was to see her. There was something magic about a child.

Scully and I hadn't discussed waking up in the same bed with two kids curled up between us or even going to sleep in that bed together in the first place. She had simply sent me home, holding on to the idea that she couldn't be my partner and their mother.

The ten-month-old little boy who was now her son was lying against her chest. The sunlight striking them in such a way that even in the black they wore for the funeral, they would have made a beautiful photo for one of those picture frames.

I placed Kayla on the ground, but she stayed at my side, taking my hand. The adoption was over, their mother was buried, and Scully was now a mother of two when it was thought she would never even be the mother of one.

"You didn't have to come," she said.

I wanted to tell her how empty I felt walking into that office alone my first day back without her, how incomplete I felt without her. How I felt I had lost half of myself.

"I wanted to come," I said simply. "Couldn't wait to see little Miss Kayla here."

Kayla giggled.

"We were just going to eat," she said placing William Michael in the stroller and securing him. "Want to join us?"

"Lead the way Mom," I said playfully placing my arm around her shoulder.

They say children change you and Scully seemed more relaxed, happy, satisfied. She was glowing.



We ate at a Pizza place and by the time we drove back to Scully's hotel room, the kids were tired. Her room had two beds and William Michael's portable crib. Scully laid William Michael down saying "Goodnight Peanut", she and Kayla had come up with the nickname. Scully said Kayla informed her that Peanuts were her mother's favorite snack.

"I guess I should get a room for the night," I mumbled.

"We're all going back tomorrow. No need for that, I can share Kayla's bed."

"Or we can share a bed," I smiled, testing the ground for our old banter.

"Oh no Mulder, I might not be able to keep my hands off you," Scully said with a smile--well she was in a good mood. "Here," Scully said tossing me a bag of sunflower seeds.

"Aw honey, you remembered," I said opening my arms for a hug.

She ignored me and went to sit on the bed. "It seems in your short time together you taught Kayla your habit. I see I'm going to have to keep a cabinet full of sunflower seeds and peanuts. she asked me something the other day."

"What?"

"Could you be her new father."

I couldn't speak, I only smiled--hoping just the thought of it wasn't making me blush as much as I imagined it did.

"Well, did you tell her I'd be happy to oblige if only her mother would let me."

"Mulder, I know she's smiling right now. But she's still a very hurt little girl. And I think, somehow she's trying to recreate her old family. And to do that she needs a dad. You just happen to be the closest father figure she has right now."

"So you're saying...?"

"Mulder, you know as I do your not ready for it. Your still a little boy yourself."

"I'm not a little boy."

"Mulder, you barely take care of yourself. Every time I go to your apartment there is some new organism growing in there. I'm not saying don't be her friend, or mine, but you can't be her father."

"Is that what you told her?"

"Yes."

I shook my head. Scully was right, I wasn't the most responsible guy in the world. But what single guy was? I wanted her and Kayla and her son, but I wouldn't prove it to her today. Maybe I could never prove it, but I had to stay in their lives. Make me Uncle Mulder for all I care, just as long as she didn't let me go permanently, sending me into the darkness of true loneliness again. But I wouldn't talk about these things today. It had been to stressful with the funeral and the knowledge that tomorrow she would go home and alter her life permanently to be their mother.

I flopped down on the bed beside Scully and clicked on the TV. America's Most Wanted was on. She surprised me by cuddling up beside me to watch the program. I could stay like this forever with Scully, just close, touching, holding each other. I loved her and I wanted to tell her again, but she didn't believe me. She never believed me. She followed me on pure faith, but she always questioned anything I said She only believed when the facts became blinding they couldn't be denied, so I would have to prove that I loved her.

"Mulder," she began during a commercial.

"Yeah?"

"I keep having this dream about Kayla. I watching her stomp out a little sand castle. She keeps saying. 'I told you it was for all of us.' And I say, 'of course there is, we're all going home together.' She says, 'no we're not' and continues to stomp. I really don't know what it means."

"I'm sure it'll be okay once you get her home. It's probably just anxiety about the adoption."

We fell asleep together like that. Me holding her, her holding me.



Like before, the next morning we avoided confronting the fact that once again we had slept in each other's arms.

Me and William Michael, now known affectionately as Peanut, had successfully avoided each other. I didn't know why we were at odds, maybe because he was a baby. Maybe the smallness of him frightened me, true he was almost eleven months old, way past the small infant stages, but still I kept at a distance. So when Scully asked me to change his pamper, I knew there was going to be trouble.

I had picked him up once and only once to hand him to Scully. He had screamed every moment he was in my arms. And now as I approached him, I feared the screaming would start soon. Though at this moment he was standing in the crib looking at me.

"Kay." He said looking at his sister.

"Mr. Fox wants to get you dressed," Kayla said. "We have to go home, Peanut."

"Fos," the baby boy said looking at me, his 'x' coming out in a slurred 's'. But it didn't matter, he had said my name. He had added my name to his little vocabulary. It was like a peace offering. I gently lifted him up, still nervous.

"Mommy, Mommy, Peanut said Fox," Kayla said running into the bathroom where Scully was brushing her teeth.

"Fos," he said again laying his head on my shoulder. I felt some of the tension go away as I laid him on the bed. I still was unsure about opening his pamper, he had sprayed me with milk, I wouldn't let him spray me with "that". Was this all a con game, was he just waiting to get me.

Kayla returned with the other pamper, just as I was loosening the one he had on.

"Thank You Miss Kayla," I said taking the clean pamper and removing the dirty one. Though it stunk like hell, it wasn't as gross as I imagined it and Kayla was quick to take it away. Scully came in with a clean outfit for the boy just as I was closing the clean pamper.

"Well, you're pretty good at that. Think you can get him dressed?" Scully asked tossing me the babies' clothing. "Did he really say Fox?"

"Kind of," I replied.

"Mommy," the baby suddenly cried reaching for Scully.

"No peanut, you've been spoiled by mommy," Scully said leaning over him causing him to giggle. "Yes, you have. That's why you're not learning to walk." She said with a tickle and walked away. He reached for her and cried Mommy again. Yeah, I understand kid, there's nothing like being in Scully's arms.



Scully's family met us at the airport. That was unexpected, it seems after Scully told her mother about the kids, Mrs. Scully had arranged a quick welcome home party. Bill's eyes fell on me and the little girl holding my hand.

"Mr. Fox," Kayla whispered. "Who are all those people?"

"Your new family--guess what?"

"What?"

"You have another Uncle Charlie."

"He's not that sour-faced guy is he?"

"No, that's Uncle Bill, he hates me."

"Then I don't like him," Kayla assured me with a smile.

Scully threw me "the look". Despite everything, she respected her brother a didn't take well to the alliance between Kayla and myself.



Mrs. Scully couldn't wait. We were only a few feet away when she ran to her daughter and grabbed the baby boy.

"Oh Dana, I'm so happy for you," her mother said hugging the baby. "A new grandson, a granddaughter."

"You're my Granny?" Kayla asked. "I never had a Granny before."

"And I never had a granddaughter before," Mrs. Scully said without thinking. For a brief second all our minds traveled to the same place, Emily. But her shadow remained for only a second. It was too joyous an occasion.



I felt compelled, by a little girl in particular, to attend the little get together at Scully's apartment. But Margaret was absolutely taken with her new grand daughter and immediately took my only protection against Bill away to show her the new doll house she had bought her, complete with Family and furniture. So abandoned by Kayla, and Bill decided approached me.

"What exactly are you doing with my sister, Mr. Mulder?"

"What do you mean?"

"Why are you trying to play daddy?

"I'm not."

"Dana's in their telling stories about you and 'the kids' like you're married. Mr. Mulder, I can't remember the last time I saw Dana genuinely smile. She has kids now she can't be risking her life for you. The best way for things to stay that way is for you to get out of her life."

"Bill," Scully said from behind us, surprising us both. "Stop it," she demanded, giving her brother the death-stare.

"Dana I was just--"

"Butting into my life again. Mulder is great with the kids, he is my friend, and he's not going anywhere."

"Are you that desperate to give those kids a father?"

"He's not their father and he's not trying to be."

"Mommy, Mommy," Kayla yelled running into the room holding the mom and dad dolls to her new doll house.

"What is it, Kayla?"

"I love the house Grandma got me. I got a doll a doll for everybody, Me and Peanut and this is you and this is Mr. Fox. I already put me and peanut in bed. Now I want to put you in bed, but I wanted to know if it was okay if Mr. Fox slept with you again."

Scully and I couldn't help but look completely embarrassed, especially since a room full of people had paused and looked at us in that moment.

"Why's everyone so quiet?" Kayla asked. "Is it okay Mommy?" Kayla asked completely clueless about the thoughts she had elicited.

"No Kayla, Mr. Fox has his own place."

"Okay, but since I don't have another place. I'll put him on the couch."

Kayla fled the room. And Scully met her mother's eyes.

"Mom I--"

Mrs. Scully sighed as she lifted her hands to silence her. "Dana, you're a grown woman."

"A grown woman with children," Bill added. "Who should know better than to--"

"We slept, that was it. Come on. There were children in the room Bill," I said jumping in to defend Scully.

"And what about before them, what were you and Dana doing then?"

"Oh well, before them Scully and I were making out ever chance we got. The only reason we ever got two rooms was so our superiors wouldn't get suspicious."

Why I was irking Bill, I didn't know. I knew Scully respected her brother--to a point. So I shouldn't have went there but I did. He knew I was being sarcastic, but a vein started pooping on his forehead anyway.

"Ha ha, Mr. Mulder."

"You know what Scully," I said turning away from Bill. "I'm going to go."

"Mulder, you don't--"

"Yeah, I do," I replied.

I wanted to kiss her, give her a little peck on the cheek just to spite Bill, but I resisted. Instead I met her eyes with mine. She understood, no one else in the room did.



I never went home. Instead I went for a walk. Russia came flooding back to me. After that bastard Krycek proved once again to be a rat and I was left alone with my thoughts in that cold dark cell. I had thought about her, thoughts of her had rushed in on me the way it always did in my moments of peril. Her faith in me has yet to be equaled and I hadn't given as good as I got. When someone showed the smallest interest, the slightest belief in extraterrestrial life--I gave them the benefit of the doubt. Even when it was a man like Krycek. But with Scully it was different, as much as her science got on my nerves--she believed in me. She never stopped believing in me, no matter what she believed about the paranormal. My parents hadn't even put that much faith in me. I didn't have that kind of faith in myself, so how Scully managed it was beyond me. And it was her faith in me that always brought me back. When I put my arms around her in that hearing, when she put her arms around me with a relieved "Mulder", I knew Scully would always be home. Home is where the heart is and that's where my heart was. I wanted to say I love you then, but all I got out was some line about being glad to hold her. Understanding that love scared me more than words will ever express.

I realized at that moment I had circled back around. I was right back in front of Scully's place. I headed back up hoping that everyone was gone, by the time I reached her apartment door it sounded empty inside. I knocked softly and heard Kayla yell, "I'll get it." However Scully came to the door.

"Mulder," she said in a single breath. "I thought you had went home."

"I didn't say good-night to Kayla," I replied. Where that excuse had come from so quickly--I didn't know. "Is the coast clear."

"I'm sorry about Bill, big brother syndrome."

"Well I'm sure I would act the same way if you were my sister and hanging out with a nutt-ball like myself."

"Get in here Mulder," Scully said grabbing my arm and pulling me in.

"Mr. Fox," Kayla yelled as she ran into my arms. "Mommy said I could give you this," Kayla said as she showed me a picture in her hand. It's a picture grandma took of me, Mommy, and William Michael. She said it was for me, but we see each other all the time. You have to go home without us."

"Thank you Miss Kayla."

"You're welcome Mr. Fox. Come see my house please."

"In a minute."

"Fos," Peanut called from his place in the living room.

"How's the little man?" I asked him.

He smiled, grabbed onto a nearby table and began to toddle away from it toward me.

"Oh my goodness," Scully gasped. "He's actually trying to walk without holding on."

Knowing he had never tried this before, we began to cheer the small boy on. He smiled and toddled slowly toward our friendly voices heading straight for me. I was surprised he had decided to walk for me. Then again, I suppose it made sense. He liked Scully to hold him, so he rather not walk. Maybe he thought he had to impress me.

He finally made it to my arms. Scully and I cheered like any couple who had just seen their baby take their first steps. We congratulated the boy and patted him and talked in that ridiculous baby talk. I still wonder who came up with that foolishness and why parents always seem to revert to it in a moment of pride.

When Kayla came to find out what the commotion was about, she was just as excited.



I did play in Kayla's dollhouse later. Then we read a book to her brother. Scully and I put them in bed, where Kayla asked for a goodnight kiss from both of us, and then Scully and I went in the kitchen to wash dishes.

"You know, I could get use to this," I said as I dried a plate.

"Mulder, don't, we had a nice evening. But it isn't always this--" Scully sighed. "Not now okay."

"Okay, so how long are you planning on sharing a bed with Kayla?"

"I'm moving into a bigger apartment--a three bedroom."

"Oh"

"I really wish I could get Kayla her house. I guess that's a part of having children, wanting them to have everything they want and everything you want for them."

"You're going to be a great mom Scully," I smiled involuntarily. I meant it as a sentiment, but I hated when I started smiling uncontrollably. And only one person could do make me feel that way, my Scully. I was standing next to my Scully washing dishes and I couldn't have been happier. One day Scully, you'll see this is where I always want to be.

When the dishes were done, we settled down to watch TV. The news was on and I found myself completely captivated by a mysterious case. A teenage boy in Tennessee had been captured for the murder of three other high school boys. He claimed it wasn't him, that he had a psychic connection to the real murderer. Of course everyone thought he was crazy.

"You think this kid's for real?" I asked Scully knowing what her answer would be, but needing to hear it from Scully's lips.

"Mulder, serial killers displace their guilt by claiming to be controlled by some outside force."

"But this kid is claiming he didn't do it at all--he just is tapped into the killer's mind."

"This is your next X-File, isn't it Mulder."

"I guess it is," I said with a smile. If the kid was telling the truth, there were few who would listen to him. "I know I can't convince you to join me."

"No, not this time. I have to get ready to move, then there's Day Care, school, everything's just too new. You better go home now."

"Before we end up back in bed together again," I asked looking directly into those brilliant challenging eyes. I couldn't resist it, at that moment I wanted to kiss her. I felt myself moving towards her, slowly, giving her a chance to tell me to stop or move away. But instead she met my kiss with her own. Our lips touch delicately, as if to ask if this was okay and they all agreed it was, so they teased each other a little more, still softly, no tongues--just lips. Then, in mutual agreement, we pulled away.

"See you later," I said softly as I got up to leave. I had to leave now before I forgot why I kissed her. Why had I kissed her? Oh yes, to leave her with an "I love you" she would believe.

Scully didn't say anything and I couldn't tell what it was she was thinking. I let myself out.



In Tennessee I met up with the local Detective on the case, Det. Harris. I could tell the detective was still wet behind the ears. It took her five minutes it to tell me the case was open and shit and there was no reason for me to be down there.

"Do you have some objection to me talking to the subject. You know there are well documented cases of someone sharing a strong bond with a killer. On the X-Files."

"Yes, Yes, Agent Mulder. I did my homework. I have the run down of your credentials. But this case is solved and ready to prosecute."

"And what if you have the wrong man?" I asked.

"I don't," she replied snidely and walked away.

I had already talked to the kid's lawyer, I figured he would allow me to talk to the boy.



After I got myself a room and settled in, I went to talk to the boy in question. He was a small boy, looked more like fourteen than seventeen. But his eyes were strong, sure. There wasn't a trace of feigned insanity or false mystical conjuring, like the stupid, I mean stupendous Yappi. He was quite sure of himself.

"Hello William O'Donell, I'm agent Fox Mulder."

"Yes, my lawyer informed me you would be coming." We shook hands and I sat down beside him.

"So, do you really believe me? Everyone else thinks I'm crazy. Are you here to prove it for them?"

"I've been given a few labels myself."

"Ah yeah, for what? I mean what could a clean cut all-American man such as yourself have been accused of?"

"Belief in the existence of extraterrestrial."

Will burst out laughing. "I thought you FBI guys already knew the secrets."

"Well were not hear to talk about my beliefs--we're here to talk about yours."

Will shook his head, ready to get down to business. He put on no show, he didn't pretend to channel saints or anything of the like. "Sometimes I have his nightmares, other times I see what he sees. I can't really tell his reality from his dreams. The only thing that scares me about them is that I understand."

"Understand what?"

"He's gay, like me. I came out about a year ago. It's been a nightmare since. I turned into Kryptonite and everybody was Superman. Except my mother, she believes in me. I might be as crazy as this guy if she didn't. But my mother believes in me, so I believed someone would listen if I kept telling the truth. Have you ever had someone believe in you like that, even when it seemed the whole world was against you?"

I reached into my pocket and pulled the envelope that I had put Scully and the kids picture in. Then I slid it across the table to him.

"Who's this, your wife?"

"My partner, my ex-partner. And whenever the world's against me, she believes."

He gave the picture back and I stowed it away in my pocket.

"Your lucky. So what else do you want to know."

"Tell me about the killer."

"Like I said, he's homosexual, but he's also homophobic. His father is this big macho man who's abused him for years, I get visions of it all the time."

"The abuse, sexual or physical."

"I've seen some physical, some verbal, if it was ever sexual he's blocked it. He's obsessed with pleasing his father because even when his mother pats him up, she tells him not to make his father so angry next time. So that it's still his fault. His father talked about me--about how I'm dammed for being gay. All his victims were boys he was attracted to, friends of his. He's an athlete, so they do little things like slap each other on the butt--you know. And when it's someone he's attracted to, it aggravates him, so he must destroy the desire to prevent his own damnation."

"It's that why he mutilates their faces and cuts off--well you know."

"Yeah, the first time I saw him murder--I was asleep. Mom was working the night shift. I crawled out of bed and spit up. Then I heard about the murder on the news. I was afraid to come forward, I couldn't believe what was happening. I kept getting visions though. Whenever his adrenaline is high out of anger or fear--I see it. I don't want to, ever since that first Murder though, it's been popping into my head more and more often. When the second murder happened I was devastated. Third time, I tried to stop him. Tried to follow my vision even though it was making me sick. That's how they caught me, found me with the body, bloody. He ran when he saw me and I hadn't been paying enough attention to identify him. He's holding back now, but the itch is getting stronger. He will kill again."

" Do you know anything else about the killer?"

"His dad's a hunter, that's all. Always them taught him the manly art of hunting," the boy replied sarcastically.

"You know, we could use a profiler like you down at the Bureau. What are you doing when you grow up?"

"You sure they would want "my kind" in the FBI."

"They let me in," I said with a smile.

He wasn't the killer.



Back at my hotel, I quickly picked up the phone and called Scully. I almost felt obligated to consult her on the case. No I wanted to talk to her.

"Hello," a little voice said on the other end of the line.

"Kayla," I said shocked.

"Yeah, you want to talk to Mommy?"

"First tell me how your day was."

"Mommy took me to school today to get registered. They said I'm so smart I might not even have to go to kindergarten, I can go straight to first grade. Mommy say we should try kindergarten out for awhile. She's still looking for a baby sitter for Peanut and me after school. It's hard to find a Day Care that takes kids my age and babies too. We're moving into a bigger apartment tomorrow. What you doing Mr. Fox."

"My job. What me and Mommy do, catch bad guys."

"What did the guy do that was bad?"

"He killed someone."

"Why?"

"Um, because sometimes people get angry and they do the wrong thing."

"Why?"

I knew if I didn't redirect the conversation, she'd why me forever.

"I don't know if I can explain it Kayla, Let me talk to Mommy now?"

"Okay," Kayla said as she put down the phone and ran off. Five minutes later Scully picked up the phone.

"Mulder?" Scully asked.

"Yeah Scully, it's me. I e-mail you my field notes."

"Mulder, I thought we agreed."

"Come on Scully, you really don't mind looking do you?"

She sighed, "I guess I don't. So do you think the kid's innocent."

"Yeah, he's genuinely disgusted by the killer. He didn't put on a crying show or some other extreme measure to try to convince me of his innocence. The kid says the killer is afraid of his homosexual feelings and I believe he's right about the killer, in that way. This kid, he's admitted it and accepted not being accepted."

"Accepted not being accepted, sounds like a man I know."

A knock at the door turned my attention away from the phone for a second.

"Excuse me Scully."

I got up and answered the door. It was Detective Harris.

"Hello Agent. Mulder, I know you met William O'Donnell today."

"Yes I did and he's not your killer. Excuse me."

I went back to the phone. "Scully. . .Yeah. . .Detective Harris is here. . . .Can we talk later? . . . Alright, bye."

I hung up.

"Is that the wife," Detective Harris asked.

"No, I'm not married. That was my ex-partner."

"Yeah, I knew that. I saw your interview with William. From the way you talked about her to Will, I figured she was much more."

"Detective, I'm sure you are here to talk about more than my personal life."

"We were lucky to catch this kid before he committed to many more murders."

"The kid didn't do it."

"We found him with the bloody body."

"This little town is just so quick to persecute him because he's different. You know I found the harassment reports his mother filed with the school and the police."

BRING! BRING!

Detective Harris' cell phone rang. She answered it.

"Hello. . .WHAT!!", Det. Harris' eyes fell on me. "You were right. They just found another body."

I grabbed my coat and the two of us went out the door.



Det. Harris was a lot more agreeable after we discovered the body. I talked Scully into doing the autopsy and began working on the profile--which wasn't far from what Will had told me. When he was released, we did a lot of talking--going over his dreams in detail. When I had a completed profile, I went over it with local law enforcement. But for the first time I wasn't completely focused on the case. Every time I looked beside me and saw Harris, I wished it was Scully. And every night I could--I called Scully and the kids to say good-night. Scully said Kayla wouldn't go to sleep unless I did.

At the end of the week, I was completely stressed. Will had called me in the middle of the night with yet another vision, but we had gotten to the crime scene just as the killer got away. Except this time he left the weapon--his father's hunting knife. He was easy to track then, by that evening the captain of the football team--Ray Goldbloom--had been arrested for the murder.

Det. Harris' asked me to join her for a drink after we finally locked the guy up. After giving Will a goodbye and wishing him well, I joined Det. Harris for that drink. She started a conversation on the present case, but somehow I started talking about Scully. I didn't even realize it, but suddenly I started talking about an X-File case similar to this one and that's how I got back to Scully. About fifteen minutes later, I was pulling out the kids picture, which hadn't been removed from the envelope in my pocket.

"You really love her, don't you?" Det. Harris asked.

"I'm that transparent?" I asked. She nodded. "Good luck convincing her of that. I suppose I understand. When your in law enforcement and you have kids, when you know just how cruel the world can be--people can be. Then it's--"

"Is she worth the risk?" Det. Harris asked looking into my eyes, as if to confirm some type of solidarity.

"She saved my life Harris, more than once. I suppose partners are suppose to be there for each other. But she always went above and beyond the call of duty. I mean I guess I've done the same for her, but it was my quest--it made sense for me to do those things, but her. It took me four years to kiss her and then it was only on the forehead. I was always testing my boundaries, seeing how close I could get, then I become afraid I was too close and I'd push away, go off somewhere in my head, try to focus on anything but her."

"Would you give your "life's work" up for her?"

"I don't know, I really don't know if I can. I mean a little over a week ago I was with Scully trying to convince her I could, than I find out about this boy and quicker than I can say good-bye--I'm here."

"And still calling Scully to consult her on a case. Do you always call her by her last name?"

"Mostly, her first name's Dana, it's a soft name isn't it. I've only called her Dana a few times, a mutual respect thing. I don't like the name Fox to much for obvious reasons and I told her I preferred Mulder and it's the only thing she's ever called me. But there are times when she says it in the most--" I stopped, here I was in an unfamiliar bar spilling my guts to some Detective I'd barely known a week.

"Here's a life story for you. Both my parents were US Marshals. They met on the job, they were partners--had been for ten years when they got married. Of course they didn't stay partners after, but after mom had me, I was more important than the job. Dad said we could work it out. Mom wasn't willing to risk it. We moved away from dad before I reached my fourth birthday. He died on the job before I reached my fifth. And my mother regretted for the rest of her life that she didn't at least get to spend that last year of his life with him. She said, as a former member of law enforcement she should have known the dangers of the world weren't going anywhere and all one can do is try to have a normal life despite."

I glanced at my watch, it was late and Kayla was expecting my good-night call.

"I have to go, thanks for the company and help on the case."

"You're welcome."



The next day, as I was preparing for my long flight home. I kept thinking about Det. Harris' story. Sure it was a long way from me and Scully, we were on the X-Files--it wasn't your average case of on the job hazards. Or maybe it was, maybe at the end of the day one had to accept life had dangers and someone always got the short in of the stick. Well there's only one man I could think of who would even remotely understand. We weren't really friends, but he would know.



"Agent Mulder?" Frank Black questioned as he looked at me, standing at his door.

"Dad, I'm going to Julie's house," Jordan said as she slipped past her father.

"Jordan," Frank began.

"I know the rules dad, I love you."

Then Jordan disappeared down the block.

"So why are you here Agent Mulder. You know I don't consult anymore."

"Yeah, I know. Actually this is more of a personal matter."

"Come in," Frank Black directed.

I entered the his house and we sat on his couch. The first thing I noticed was a picture of his wife and daughter.

"That's your wife?"

"Yeah."

"If you could start all over, would you change everything."

"Why are you asking Agent Mulder?"

I pulled the envelope from my pocket again and showed the picture to Frank Black.

"I didn't know Agent Scully had children."

"She didn't before, she just adopted them. And because she did, she left the X-Files. Ever since, I've been telling myself that I want to be a father to Kayla and her brother, but Scully, she thinks being on the X-Files would mean neglecting them."

"Is it just for the kids, or do you miss Agent Scully?"

"I love her Mr. Black. It's been getting easier and easier to say that the last couple days. I just don't know if Scully's right. I mean, you lost your wife. And your daughter for a time. Wasn't there a time you just wished you had walked away and given them a chance to lead a normal life."

"What is a normal life Mr. Mulder? For me it was coming home to my family in my little yellow house. I know for certain that if I had never tried to have that yellow house with my wife and my daughter and my dog, I would have been a true failure even if I succeeded in my work. My wife and I weren't even suppose to have a child, but we had Jordan. And that's when I knew, even if the cards are stacked against you, you have to try." Frank Black handed the picture back. "They're beautiful kids Agent Mulder."

"Thanks," I replied putting the picture away. "How are things?"

"I have Jordan."



I hardly thought about what I was doing when I went to Scully's apartment. I hadn't been home yet, hadn't planned what to say. I knocked on the door of Scully's new apartment, expecting Scully or Kayla to answer, instead an unknown woman answered the door.

"Yes, sir?"

"Hi, I'm Fox Mulder. Does Dana Scully live here?

"Mr. Fox," Kayla yelled as she ran out the door into my arms.

"Kayla, you know him?" the woman asked.

"Yeah, this is Mr. Fox, he's my daddy," Kayla smiled.

"Um Kayla, I'm not your daddy."

"I meant my daddy doll," Kayla giggled. "Come on and meet R.J."

Kayla pulled me into the apartment, past what I could only assume was the baby sitter.

"Oh, I'm sorry Mr. Fox. This is Miss Stevie," Kayla said as she paused for a second.

"Fos," I heard a little voice say as Peanut toddled toward me and grabbed onto my leg. An unfamiliar four-year-old boy was standing in Scully's new living room."

"This is Ron Jr., we call him R.J. He's in the playgroup I go to after school," Kayla explained.

"But where's Mommy?"

"She's out with Ron again."

"Again?"

"Yeah, well usually they take us. But not this time. Ron had reservations at some fancy place."

"Fos, Fos," Peanut cried as he put up his arms to be picked up. I obliged him.

"Excuse me Mr. Fox, Mulder, whatever your name is, until Miss Scully comes home I think you should--"

Stevie stopped only because Scully came in the front door. Kayla was smiling as she held my hand.

"Mulder, what are you doing here?"

"Well I was back and--"

"Daddy," the other little boy yelled as he ran to the man coming through the door behind Scully.

"Hey R.J.," the man said picking up his son.

Me and the other man's eyes met over the father-son embrace. Then my eyes fell back on Scully demanding an explanation. However Stevie was the next person to speak.

"I did not let him in here Miss Scully, Kayla pulled him in before I--"

"It's okay, this is my friend Mulder. He's practically family."

"Oh, so your the famous Fox Mulder. I tell you Dana talks about you a lot. Your one interesting man."

"And you are?"

"Mulder, this is Ronald," Scully began, her eyes more focused on the floor than us. "R.J. is in Kayla's playgroup."

Scully fumbled with her purse and pulled out the babysitters payment. Ron said he had to get R.J. home and gave "Dana" a kiss on the cheek as he headed out the door. And I felt myself begin to burn up from the inside, not because he kissed her, but because it seemed all to familiar, comfortable. If I hadn't been aware of Kayla and her brother in the room, if it had been just he--I--and Scully, I might have punched him. That familiarity was suppose to be mine and mine alone

"I'm glad he's gone," Kayla said falling on the couch.

"Kayla," Scully yelled.

"Well I don't like Ronald, he's boring. Every time I eat a piece of candy tells me how bad it is for me."

"This little one is really starting to have a smart mouth and I blame you," Scully said taking Peanut from me and walking into the kitchen.

"Me, what did I do," I asked following Scully.

"She admires you Mulder, you think she didn't catch that look you threw Ron. I saw it, you know I'm not your property."

"Who said you were?"

"Why are you here Mulder?"

"To see you, the kids. Why are you acting like this?"

"Why did you kiss me? Before you left here to go on your big "case", why did you kiss me?"

"Because"

"Because what?"

"Because I wanted to."

"You know, the next time you called me--It was about a case--as always."

"I called to say goodnight every night," I argued not comprehending Scully's logic.

"Yeah, to say goodnight to Kayla. All these years Mulder and you've never called me just to say goodnight. You've fallen in love with Kayla and she's fallen in love with you and I understand because it happened to me, but don't pretend like you want me when it's her you want."

"Where is this coming from?"

"A lot of thinking, in-between your little e-mails about the case and good-night phone calls to Kayla. I realized that its selfish with you and I--it's all about total and complete possession. Neither of us are very good at sharing."

"Stop yelling at him Mommy," Kayla said coming into the kitchen.

"Kayla, go back and watch TV."

"No, your being mean to Mr. Fox," Kayla yelled. "Your going to make him go away and never come back. Just like Mommy and daddy. Why do you keep sending him away Mommy? One day he's not going to come back."

I looked into her little face, on the brink of tears, and my heart broke. Scully was left speechless. William Michael was again the only one left neutral as he examined the faces around him, not understanding what was going on.

"Kayla, come here," I said sitting in a chair and patting my lap. She came to me and sat down.

"Miss Kayla, no matter what happens. Me and you, we're friends now. And just because me and mommy argue doesn't change who we are to each other."

"You promise?"

"Always, Kayla." I sighed, this sentence was becoming easier to say, so I might as well say it. "I love you."

"I love you too Mr. Fox," Kayla said throwing her arms around me.

Children, so accepting of those simple words, until someone taught them it wasn't as simple as the words. If only Scully was as easy to convince. I met her eyes over Kayla's shoulder. Victory, yes that's what I saw. As if she had proven her point. Wrong Scully, I got a long way to go, but I will prove those words to you, also.



I didn't know what to say to Scully that night, so I said nothing. I instead played a board game with Kayla. Peanut sat nearby playing with a talking alphabet table. He kept hitting the "K" key. He was absolutely fascinated with the toy saying his sister's name. I knew how quick one could fall in love with little kids, but I never knew how complete I would feel just by being among them. I didn't want to go back home again, back to the loneliness.

I ate dinner with them, but Scully and I didn't communicate. Kayla shared a story with us and we responded to her only. Each of us took turns with Peanut's task. His mouth was a mess, Scully wiped his face with a napkin. He dropped his spoon, I picked it up and washed it. Little things like that.

After dinner, Kayla took me to her room and showed me the "go away" house she built for her father doll, the one she said was me. It was a shoebox with some cardboard furniture she had made herself. She said whenever I went away, she would put him/me in that box. I would tuck her in bed later and give her a kiss goodnight, while Scully did the same with Peanut. Then we would switch. Then Scully walked me to the door.

"You can't keep doing this."

"What?"

"Living a delusion. We're not---?"

"We lived the delusion before and you ended up with two beautiful kids. Scully what do you think I'm getting out of this?"

"I believe you want this, the family, the stability, the unconditional love, but I don't believe you realize what that means."

"You think I'm immature?"

"That could be a definition of it."

"You know what, you're the one who's immature. You can't handle the truth."

"What truth?"

"This Truth," I said grabbing her with more force than intended and planting a firm kiss on her lips. I expected her to push me away, to smack me, to push me out the door. But instead she responded. Only in my imagination would our lips have met so fiercely? I had been driven by anger to touch her lips, but now I was afraid to stop--afraid rational Scully would appear and stop her from completing this act. The only thing I could think of to prove how much I loved her.

I pulled away from our fierce kiss cautiously. I had to make sure this act wasn't a selfish one. That we agreed upon the next step, that she was my partner in the next move.

"Do you want me?" I asked gently caressing her soft cheek, allowing my finger to gently glide across her lower lips. She didn't have to answer, the look she gave me was all I needed to understand.

So I took my goddess into my arms and led her into the bedroom. She gave me no protest, just opened up to me in a way I never expected. I sunk into her warmth and gave her mine. Neither of us were fighting for control, we simply gave as good as we got. Our love making was completely about the pleasure of the other. And I got to fall asleep with this woman, my partner, who had become my lover, in my arms. I was sorry I hadn't called her just to say hello, but I never did so I guess I didn't think about it.



"Mulder," a soft voice whispered lulling me awake.

"Huh," I said, awakened by her movements out of my arms.

"You need to go before the kids wake up."

"Why?" I asked yawning, but not moving out of Scully's bed.

"Because, I don't want Kayla getting any ideas," Scully whispered as if they were going to be bursting through the door any minute finding their mother in a compromised position.

"Scully, I thought. . .What's going on?"

"Mulder I'm not denying, but--" Scully sighed. "I don't know what I'm doing anymore. I need a handle on myself. I'm not even settled into my role as mother. I can't handle questioning our friendship right now."

"But you can handle Ron?"

"Ron's different, he's a father, we trade parenting tips."

I really did not get this woman, I never had. But I thought giving yourself as we had would at least change her doubt, but it didn't. She still doubted I loved her, really loved her. I thought we had confirmed it last night, let go of the doubt. But obviously I was just the whore Scully had used to let go of some pressure. Angry with her and her constant doubt of me, I searched the room for my pants and pulled them on.

"Don't go away angry," Scully said reading my body language. "Mulder, you are the most important--my best friend."

"Well maybe I want to be more Scully and if you can't see that, maybe--" I stopped myself, I didn't want to finish the sentence. Even in this moment of raging anger, I didn't want to think it.

I was sloppily dressed and out the door before I even thought about my next words.



By the time I got to work, I was tired of agonizing over what was going on in Scully's head. I had given all I could, proven how much I loved her in the only way I knew how. And she had sent me packing. Still, her chair sat before me, reminding me of how incomplete I was again. Another partner, I could never have. No one could ever compliment me the way she could, from day one we had been in opposition yet always traveling the same road.

"Agent Mulder," my boss' voice announced itself, bringing me back to reality.

"Yes sir," I replied to Skinner like an accused kid waiting for his father's reprimand.

I knew my hair was still disheveled and I hadn't really paid attention when I dressed this morning so I knew I looked bad. But since I basically had to do paperwork all day, I didn't really care how I looked, no one would be looking at me. I was in the basement, the lonely cold friggin basement. It didn't matter when she was here, but now--

"Are you okay?"

"Fine sir, I'm the king of the world," I replied leaning back in my chair. I refused to reveal how pitiful I felt.

"Well you don't look fine."

"What are you talking about? This is the look of a free man. You've dealt with a divorce--"

"Your not married to her Mulder, she was your partner."

"Was she? Just my partner I mean."

"No, she was your friend. She was my friend to." Skinner turned to me, "Or was she more than a friend."

"What are you implying Sir? I never compromised our working partnership."

"Well it's none of my business, but no matter what your feeling, you have to--"

"Mr. Fox, Mr. Fox," Kayla yelled running through the office door. I couldn't help but smile when I saw her. I don't think Skinner had ever met Scully's new duo so he was quite shocked to see the little girl so familiar with me.

"Whoa, Mommy said your office was cool."

Scully came in behind the little one strolling Kayla's brother. He smiled when he saw me and began clapping. "Fos," he said struggling to get out. Scully took him out the stroller and he toddled over to me. She greeted Skinner, who told her she had a couple of beautiful kids. Then Skinner excused himself.

"Mulder we need to talk," Scully said sitting in her old seat in front of my desk. Peanut crawled into her lap, Kayla was sitting in mine.

"Fos, that?" Peanut asked pointing to a picture on the desk.

"It's an alien," I said in response to him. "What do we have to talk about Scully?"

"Fos' Alweium," Peanut said to Scully.

"Yes Peanut," she responded to the baby boy. "About a lot of things Mulder."

"Well I have work to do, so..."

"Hey Mr. Fox, what's back there?" Kayla asked.

"Go look," I responded as she hopped out of my lap.

"But don't touch anything," Scully hollered behind her.

We both watched her go to explore the back of the office then turned to each other.

"Scully you've made your point. I'm not going to fight it anymore."

"Kayla asked me why you weren't there this morning."

"And what did you say?"

"Because you had to go to work. She said she wished you were her daddy and that you were there all the time. She needs you, I need you to be there for her. And that's a big responsibility."

"You think I don't know that Scully? I love Kayla."

"And Peanut?"

"It took a little longer, but yes." I sighed, my mind couldn't let go. This was my opportunity to prove I could be responsible.

"Mulder do me a favor, go home, clean yourself up, because your a mess. We'll clean up this paperwork at my house."

"Alright."

"Then we'll talk"

"Alright," I replied.



What the hell did I mean 'alright', that woman had just ejected me from her bed this morning like some whore she had had a fling with for the night. And I was smiling, my stupid ass was smiling. But Kayla was there, how could I not smile? Just seeing her made me want to smile, to hold her, to run away.

Yes, to run away. Wanting them so much made me want to run away. But the need to prove Scully wrong was stronger than the need to run. But did that mean that I would run upon victory. Maybe I didn't have to prove anything to Scully, maybe I needed to prove it to myself.



I had a load of files in my hand as I entered Scully's apartment. I intentionally showed up after the children's bedtime. I had seen them once today, so I didn't feel the need to play with them. Besides, I had to stay serious and mature for Scully and that wouldn't happen around Kayla.

Scully came to me wearing a pair of those lovely silk PJs. She told me to stay quiet, because it had taken her hours to get Peanut and Kayla in bed. I couldn't help asking if I could look in on them. She nodded and I sat the paperwork down before entering Kayla's room.

All the rumors were true, there was nothing like seeing your child asleep. They seem to transform from little monsters to little cherubs before you. They possessed this angelic light all of a sudden. And though they were doing nothing, one was in awe of their frozen moment of complete perfection. Maybe it was because of the innocence of children. There world was so simple and secure, but as time passes they are slowly taught that mom and dad are human and that they can't protect them from everything in the world. It's even harder when you learn mom and dad are the cause of your harm. Was that self reflection again?

Well, maybe I could do better. I would put my all into protecting them. But Frank Black had done the same for his family, only to lose a wife. I couldn't stand losing any of them, but I couldn't run away. I had promised Kayla. And that promise was one I could follow up on, just to be there. No matter what happened tonight or with Scully.

But how I wanted Scully. I remembered the first time I saw her. I thought I had her all measured up, I thought I comprehended everything about her just by reading one stupid file. But she surprised me, from moment one she surprised me, challenged me. Most people exhibited one of two extremes toward me, one they told me what a "bright young man" I was and how I screwed up or two called me crazy. I didn't feel like a "bright young man", profiling was just something I fell into. Maybe I felt understanding madness would give me insight into myself, but I only became more confused about myself. My insight into the heads of mad men had been so clear, but when I reflected upon myself I could see nothing. Then I ran across the X-Files and became entirely fascinated by them, it was as if the doors of perception had been opened and my life had been given definitive meaning. I was consumed by a desire to know it all. Then Scully came along. She fascinated me almost as much as my work. No matter what she saw, she always approached each case with this calm, cool, professional exterior. I was struck with utter awe and disbelief the first time I read an X-File. And as much as I envy her professionalism, I get a kick out of making her lose it. There's just something about "ticked off Scully". Scully, it's such a hard name a rough name. I had called her Dana a few times, but it didn't roll off the tongue like Scully. She had just the right name, a mixture of Soft and Hard.

"Mulder?" Scully questioned as she came into Kayla's room. "Are we going to work tonight."

"Yeah, I guess I just got caught."

"She is beautiful. Sometimes I've stood in their room and watched the two of them sleep, not believing I actually have this little girl, even if--"

"She didn't come from you. Kayla Diana Scully. I sounds right."

"My mother says in was meant to me. William Scully, my father's name. What's the chances of me adopting a child with my father's first name."

"Very high since my father and your brother also have that name."

"And you, it is your middle name. My mom calls him Bill, though everybody else calls him Peanut now."

"A kid with a thousand names."

"We should probably get to work or we're going to spend all night in here."

"What if I wanted to?"

"What if you wanted to what?"

"Spend the rest of my life in a room, with you?"

"Let's not get off track Mulder," Scully said slipping back out the door.



I followed her and we sat down beside each other at the kitchen table and began working like the old pros we were. I have to say working at Scully's apartment was far better than working at mine or at work. She had a nice supply of snacks and thanks to Kayla, this now included Sunflower seeds--loved that kid. Her refrigerator actually had real food, while mine was still waiting to see what food was. She had a nice long table, so it was easy to spread the papers out. And the excellent coffee maker, a gift from her lovely mother, kept you awake with the scent of brewing coffee when you were just about ready to curl up and go to sleep.

You wouldn't have believe Scully was off the X-Files the way she worked that night. Though I incomplete paper work backed up until way before she left, even an incomplete file from the Brown case--Kayla's mother, she was no longer required to help me out like this, so why was she? Because she wanted to. Was she waiting for me to speak?

"So how are things with Ron?" I spoke up, only because I could think of nothing else.

Scully froze right where she was and gave me this unsettled look.

"I know what we did Mulder."

"I didn't say anything about that, I asked. . ."

"About Ron, but you don't want to talk about Ron."

I turned away silent, she had seen through me to fast. Or maybe she hadn't seen through me, maybe she wanted to talk as bad as I did and was just testing me.

"There's something I want to ask you anyway."

"What?"

"Would you be the kids godfather? They love you. It would mean the world to them."

"And to you?" Didn't she get it? I wanted to be there father.

I slowly slid my chair closer to hers. It was obvious Scully had things set in her head that we should be apart for the sake of the children, but she was offering to make me their godfather?

"Why would you want an irresponsible man like me to be your children's godfather. Someone from whom you obviously wanted a single night of wild, hot--"

"Mulder stop."

"I just feel so used," I said sarcastically, but I was quite serious.

"See that's your problem Mulder, I'm trying to ask you something serious and you turn it into a game. When are you going to be serious Mulder?"

Didn't she get it? "Scully, I--"

"Mulder, you what?"

Shit, I could never say just the right thing to her, not with words anyway. I reached for her and pulled her to me, before she had a chance to think about escape and planted a heavy kiss on her lips. I wanted to touch that beautiful body again, to hold her in my arms. But I wanted it to be everyday, overnight, but she didn't believe that. And maybe when things were hard, I would still think of running, but I couldn't run. Scully had been the redemption from my darkness, without her I would have died for my cause by now. Even with the protection of a man who claimed to be my father. This was my last chance at family, this was my last chance at love, and without them I would die.

And Scully was accepting my kiss like a starved woman. Our first time had been very tentative, slow, we had cherished each other's bodies. But now she was a fevered as me, her body asking me to push forward and take hold of her. So I did, I took her body into my possession, made her mine. Refusing to let her go, I near carried her into her room, never letting my lips leave her skin--getting reacquainted with her chest, hair, breast, lips. I swallowed her groans and moans, and gasp of pleasure inside. She was mine, she wanted to be mine, because she held onto me. Is this what she wanted, for me to act.

In the aftermath however, I saw this episode had been just like the first, that we wouldn't talk about it. We would again wake up in the morning and act like we could avoid yesterday, but I couldn't allow that. Lying awake in her bed, holding Scully, I felt complete, truly complete.

"Mulder, Can we do this?"

"We already did it?"

"That's not what I mean, can we fall in love?"

I didn't know how to answer that question. Could we?

"Scully," I whispered softly in her ear.

She started to turn toward me, but I stopped her, wanting to keep curled up in my arms, as close to my body as hers could be.

"Don't move, please. I want to say something, if this all we can have, I don't want anything."

"What?"

"I want it all Scully, I want to give you all you deserve."

"Mulder, for years I've wanted was to lose myself in someone, especially since-- I was afraid, I'm still afraid. I'm as strong as you think I am."

"Yes you are," I said running my hands across her face. "Scully, will you tell me what you were like as a kid."

Scully giggled, a giggle I hadn't heard since we'd played baseball. In ran though me like sweet honey.

"Why in the hell would you want to know that Mulder?"

"Because, I'm curious."

"Mulder, your not going to shape skip into Eddie Van Blunt in a minute, are you?"



We laughed and after some encouragement, Scully bore me a childhood tale--in exchange I offered the same. Most of the stories were of Samantha and I at a very young age. Hers were also about her brothers and sister, her relationship with her parents, friends. We bore our souls in a new way that night, we made love in a new way. Instead of a some disaster bringing us closer, in a moment of pure joy we shared our past.

In the morning, I slipped from Scully's side and went into Kayla's room. She still seemed to be asleep. Her daddy doll was laying on the couch in box next to her doll house. I walked up to it and removed him, placing him in the room with the mother doll. Smiling to myself, I turned and saw Kayla sitting in the bed smiling at me.

"Daddy?" she asked.

I nodded and she ran across the bed into my arms.

"My daddy, forever and ever."

"Forever and ever, I promise," I agreed stroking the little girl's hair. And I meant it, with my whole heart.

THE END

DZ - 1999



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