Title: 4 weeks, 3 days, 7 hours

Author: Gillian

Date: 26 Aug 2001

E-mail: blue_cerulean@hotmail.com

Rating: gentle

Spoilers: season eight

Disclaimer: These characters and all things X- Files are the property of CC and 1013. Story created out of respect for that amazing gift.

Summary: Mulder contemplates what his decision to leave has meant in his relationship with Scully and their son.

Dedication: for Max.

**

4 weeks, 3 days, 7 hours, 12 minutes.

Agony.

We agreed on a complicated, patternless calling schedule, but one that we both knew by heart. It meant that we talked about once a month. Any more than that might be too obvious. And they will expect it, so they will be watching her. Nobody would believe I would leave her and Will, so it had to look as real as possible. The most important thing was that my decision to leave would not put her and Will in any danger whatsoever.

Who am I kidding.

The danger will always be there, and it would be so much smarter if I had been there too. But now I'm here. And she's there, and we talk once a month.

We are becoming strangers. I can feel it with each telephone call. The obligatory information about what we have been able to find, and who we have been able to find, and how Doggett and Reyes are focusing on different elements of the search or not focusing, and what are the cases that are taking them away from this particular search. And each call there is more about Agent Doggett. Sometimes she even calls him John.

Each call the obligatory information gets longer and more complex. And as we seem to draw to the end of some aspect of it, there is another detail that needs to be discussed in full. We both know that it is those details that we need in order to end this search, that in one of those unsuspecting details is the answer, but it keeps us from talking about what we both desperately want to hear and say.

I miss you.

I want to come home.

I want this to be over.

I want to hold you, dance with you, love you.

I want to see the changes in William my son with my own eyes. I love the stories, and I hold each one inside of me as if it is the key to my survival. Each small gesture. The stories of the smiles, the foods he is beginning to like and not like, what he has already grown out of. Agony. I can't be without the stories, but I also can't bear to hear them. It is a reminder of how my decision to be here is keeping me from something I can never get back.

The first year in the life of my son.

Will he grow up thinking that his father didn't love him the way I did? Will he find out about me the way I have found out about my father, through some kind of search? Will he spend his life, the way I have, trying to solve the mysteries of his family? And when he finally learns that my decisions were always made with him at the centre, will it be too late for us to resume a relationship?

This pursuit, whatever it is, has cost me one family, and in the process led me to another. The only kind of family I could imagine, Scully, my partner, and William my son. The two most beautiful people on the face of the planet, and I am away from them. By my choice. Do they know that they mean the world to me? How is my choice to be here and not there going to affect us in the long run? I can't bear the idea that we will be separate.

Agony.

I want to call early. Surprise her. Find out what she is doing. Instead of telling her what I have found and not found, I want to ask her what she is wearing. I want to cover her with my thoughts, touch her with words, move my fingers over her body with my imagination. I want to make love to her in the way we have so many times. With our minds. With the hugeness of our love and trust. Or even better, I want to come home. Slip into the apartment when she doesn't suspect it. Be waiting for her in our room...

I am a selfish bastard.

I could put her life in jeopardy, and yet all I want to hear is "Mulder it's me. Mulder, Mulder, Mulder, Mulder." I want to hear her say my name. Moan my name. Scream my name. I want to see William, not hear about his stories. I want to take her in my arms and love her with all of who I am. Not this shadow of a man controlled by an endless search.

I remember when I finally found out what had happened to Samantha. I remember the strangeness of the night air. I remember that for one of the few times in our whole relationship, Scully not really knowing where I was. And I remember Harold, unable to let go of the possibility that his son was somewhere still alive. At that moment, I remember the incredible freedom I felt of finally having that part of my search end. And, despite getting an answer that was nowhere near what I wanted to finally hear, I remember the feeling of freedom that entered my body. A lifetime of searching. But, without a doubt, it was seven years of partnership with Scully, our intellectual and physical exchange that had enabled me to get to the place that I could believe the unbelievable. My sister was in the starlight, and my search for her had an end.

It doesn't make sense that we are not doing this together. My decision to look on my own, to disappear and work outside of the F.B.I. is a crazy decision. It's not crazy that I need the answer, but it is crazy to think that we aren't together. She makes me whole, and without her, I am unable to get the answers I need.

Why am I here.

Oh god, Scully. Why am I here?

What does this choice mean for us?

What if...

I have asked so much of her in the time that we have know each other. Eight years. I have asked her to follow me to the ends of the earth, and each time she has resisted me fiercely, challenged my assumptions and then given me her ultimate trust and faith. She has shown me the kind of unconditional love that one could only imagine in a perfect partner. And what have I done in

return? I left. I know that this decision was one that we both came to, but it was not her decision. She made it knowing that I had to find out what had happened to me, and that I wouldn't be at peace without the resolution of where I had been for this missing months.

And, somewhere in all of this is the mystery of the birth of William. Not a mystery in that we conceived him together, but that she was able to conceive at all. So much happened to the throughout that pregnancy, so many people wanted a piece of her and my son. And where was I? And where am I know when she needs to find out those answers as well? I am here.

Why is my pursuit more important than hers?

Why isn't my place where she is? Why do I assume that I can only

solve this on my own?

Oh god. Have I made the worst decision of my life? Is figuring out what happened during my abduction more important than being with Scully while we sort out how to be parents? Is it more important than seeing with my own eyes my son's first steps? Hearing his first words? And what if there is something about William's birth that is somehow or other connected to all that we have been through? Do I really want her solving that on her own? Do I really want her partner to be John Doggett while she sorts this one out?

Jesus, Mulder.

He is a very good man, and he cares about Scully. But this isn't the way it's meant to be.

How long since we lasts spoke? 4 weeks, 3 days, 7 hours, 27 minutes

now. Too long. I can't wait another moment.

It's time to go home. It's time we face all of this together. It's time I put her at the centre, and be there to sort out everything. I need to be part of my son's life so he doesn't grow up wondering who his father was and if he was loved. They are my world. It's time for diapers and baths and bedtime stories. Not global domination and aliens and abductions. It's time to let the challenges in my life be about how to be a better person, how to live by example so my son can grow to have all that life could offer him. It's time to be a loving, sensual present partner to the only person in the world who really understands me. Who loves me for who I am. And, who enables me to more fully be the person I am.

But, what if. What if my decision to go home now somehow or other puts her at risk. Jesus. Why am I so selfish. Why have I let my decisions impede the ...

"Mulder, it's me."

I can hear her voice. Is it in my head? Has all of this thinking sent me completely over the edge. I sit up, and listen. I can't see anything in the darkness of the room. And then, again I hear it, the whisper and the words that turn my heart.

"Mulder, it's me."

The door to my small room gently opens and while my eyes smart at the adjustment to the light now entering by the crack in the door, I can see that it is Scully, and that she has William in her arms. How did she find me? It is all I can do to keep from breaking down entirely as she moves towards me, sits with me on the bed, and slowly moves her hands over my face, assuring herself that it is me. And, oh god, the feel of her hands on my face, her fingers in my hair, our lips, finally pressing against each other.

"Are you..." I begin to ask but I can't even shape the question to

anything that will give me the answer I want.

Her voice is firm, and my heart leaps at the sound of her conviction. "I know that we have made decisions about this part of the search. I know that we decided it would be safer for you to try and find out the answers on your own. But I need you with me Mulder. We need you with us. Finding out where you were all those months matters. But there is something that matters more."

With that she paused, and then in a voice that made my heart jump, "Mulder, he has started to pull himself up onto things. And he wobbles. I can't bear that you are going to miss this." And then she turned and cooed at William in a voice that sounded like music, "William, honey, it's daddy."

Her words dance in the air, and the relief I feel in my body, reminds me of that night. The night where that one search ended, and freed me. At that moment I didn't know what I was freed to do. But now I do. I was freed to be with Scully, and freed to be a father to my own son, who maybe one day will have a sister too.

It is finally time to go home.

the end.

 




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