Title: Hopelessly Romantic
Author: MeGgiE_42
Author Email: dreamland_1013@hotmail.com
Rating: PG-13
Category: Story , Romance, Friendship, Humor, Angst Keywords: None
Pairings: Mulder/Scully friendship and romance
Spoilers: Everything up to and including Season 8. :)

Dislcaimer: Not mine, wish they were, anything and everything XF belongs to CC and 1013, I'm just another phile fulfilling my shippy dreams...G

Summary: A little bit of everything, a lot a bit of shippyness. ;)

Author's notes: It took me over a year to write this fic, but I can say I'm pleased with the results. ;) Please drop me a line if you have a chance! Happy reading!!

Mulder quickly glanced at his watch. He would have to hurry if he wanted to get home before Scully did. After picking up the stuffed teddy bear William had accidentally dropped, Mulder went over the list in his head: Candles-check. Scully's favorite bubble bath-check. The list went on. Good, he thought only a quick stop at Baby Gap and they were finished.

"Come on Will, let's us guys go pick out some 'manly clothes' for tonight." Mulder laughed as the baby yawned. "Don't worry I promise I won't take as long as mommy!" he whispered, referring to the countless hours he had spent trailing after Scully store after store in search of the perfect baby outfit.

Although he would never admit it, he rather enjoyed shopping with Scully. He loved that look on her face when she had finally found the little grey t-shirt that she had been looking for all day.

42 minutes and five shopping bags later, Mulder and a sleepy William were on their way home. He hadn't intended on buying so much. He couldn't help it that his son was so cute. Jenny, the lady working the cash register, was no help either.

Oh well, Scully would be pleased.

Closing the front door, Mulder glanced at the clock. Good, still an hour before Scully got home. Quickly Mulder went to work.

56 minutes later...

Finally he was finished. And with four minutes to spare! Carefully he made one quick check to make sure everything was in place.

Quickly slipping something into his pocket, Mulder picked up William just as the door opened.

Scully opened the door and was greeted with the most amazingly, breathtaking sight she had ever seen. There, in a haze of classical music stood Mulder handsomely clad in a recently pressed tuxedo.

In his left hand he held a dozen red roses. In the other arm, was William-dressed in a matching tuxedo complete with a small rose carefully taped below the small pocket.

"I didn't want to take the chance with pins," Mulder smiled following her gaze. "Scotch tape, it works magic."

"Mulder-" Scully said deeply touched.

"Shh," he said handing her the roses and taking her hand, "first follow me."

Curious, Scully obeyed. She was slightly surprised when Mulder stopped in from of the bathroom door. Scully raised her eyebrow in a questioning look.

"According to a few neighbors there's been some 'unexplained phenomena' going on in there." The corner of Mulder's mouth turned up as his eyes took on that playful look. "Maybe you should check it out G-women."

Shaking her head, Scully turned the knob, only to be greeted by a second amazing sight. Lining the bathtub and window sill was a beautiful array of candles. Their bright light bounced around the comfortable blackness they engulfed, illuminating the inviting bubble bath.

"Mulder I-" gently Mulder put a finger to her lips.

"Relax first. Talk later." He grinned giving her forehead a kiss. Shaking her head, Scully turned and closed the door, knowing she was defeated. A nice bubble bath was just what she needed to soothe her aching joints.

A half an hour later, Scully let out a contented sigh as she wrapped herself in the soft bathrobe Mulder had left folded neatly by the door. After putting on her slippers, another 'Mulder-gift', she began blowing out the nearly thirty candles lining her bathroom. 'Where had Mulder found them all?' She hadn't realized she had that many. A few of them she hadn't seen for a long time. Come to think of it, many of them she had never seen before.

Scanning the room, her eyes fell on a rather large candle she knew she had never seen before. Walking over to get a closer look, Scully picked it up. It was in the shape of an alien's head. The light from the flame seemed to radiate from the top of the grey-not green-head. Scully couldn't help but laugh. 'This has GOT to be a conspiracy' she thought.

She was about to put it down when she realized there was something taped to the back. Turning the candle around Scully found another very 'Mulder-like' object taped to the back of the alien. Arranged carefully in the shape of a heart were eight very large sunflower seeds. In its middle was a note written in Mulder's handwriting, it said:


Curious, Scully quickly blew out the remaining candles and proceeded to the kitchen, little Grey in hand. She was halfway there when Mulder appeared in the doorway.

"Madam, your dinner awaits you," he bowed grinning towards the table. Scully raised an eyebrow following his gesture. Stepping through the door she stopped short, almost causing Mulder to run into her. The kitchen had been transformed from its everyday demeanor into an elegant dream. A black lace tablecloth laid spread across the table. In its center stood a single red rose. Across from each other, were two plates filled with a fresh Cesar salad.

"Mulder where did all this come from?" Scully asked fingering the black lace.

"The, uh, tablecloth belonged to my mother, and I found the china on the top shelf of the cabinet." Mulder said pointing shyly.

"It's up so high I guess I just kind of forgot they were up there..." she trailed off, "Mulder this is amazing."

He took her hand and led her to her seat. "Unfortunately William will not be joining us, seeing as how it is way past his bedtime." Mulder grinned, "But he said to tell you good night."

They finished the rest of the meal in comfortable silence. Once during the main course (pasta) Mulder reached over to wipe some sauce from Scully's chin. The gesture seemed somehow oddly familiar to her.

"Wow Mulder, I've got to hand it to you; I didn't know you were such a great cook."

"I told you Scully, Oprah. Lots and lots of Oprah." She laughed as he added, "And a little help from Mrs. Scully."

"Come on," he said taking her hand.

"Where are we going?"

"You'll see," he said a sly look on his face.

Leading her to the living room, Mulder changed the song. "Scully?" He held out a hand. He didn't need to finish his sentence as she fell comfortably into his warm embrace. Laying her head on his shoulder, Scully closed her eyes and listened to the words of the song.

'Tomorrow morning if you wake up and the sun does not appear. I-I-I, I will be here. If in the dark we loose sight of love, hold my hand and have no fear. 'Cause I-I-I, I will be here'

As the chorus started, she realized just how perfect this was. How much she never wanted to leave his arms.

'I will be here, when you feel like being quiet when you need to speak your mind, I will listen. And I will be here when the laughter turns to cryin' through the winning, losing, tryin' We'll be together. Cause I will be here'

Mulder closed his eyes letting himself sink into the moment.

'Tomorrow morning if you wake up, and the future is unclear hold my hand and have no fear. Cause I-I-I, I will be here. As sure as seasons are made for change, our lifetimes are made for years. So I-I-I, I will be here.

I will be here, and you can cry on my shoulder when the new tells us we're older, I will hold you. And I will be here, to watch you grow in beauty, and tell you all the things you are to me, I will be here.'

As the last few chords sounded, Mulder was the first to pull back, "Scully, there's something I have to tell you."


Regretfully, Scully let go. "Mulder, what is it?" At Mulder's pause, Scully looked concerned, "Mulder?"

He took a deep breath and began, "Scully, you've been here for me through more than either of us could have ever imagined. I just wanted to thank you." He paused for a second, "and tell you that you mean more to me than anything else in this world." He smiled, gently touching her face and added, "or any other world for that matter!"

At this Scully couldn't help but laugh.

"And no matter what life throws at us, I promise that I will always be here for you." Mulder finished, tears in his eyes. "You and William are my all...my life."

Scully could not hold it back any longer; she let the tears flow freely.

"Mulder," she paused staring deeply into his beautiful hazel eyes. What she saw there took her breath away. It was a look of complete trust. One of deep devotion and total love. It was a look she knew well. It was the same way she looked at Mulder. Funny how she had never really noticed it until now.

"Mulder," she repeated, "I feel the same way. We've both been through so much..." her voice caught and she paused for a second before continuing, "But in the end, through all our losses, we've gained the one true thing that really matters..."

"Each other." Mulder finished the sentence for her, grinning through tear-stained eyes. He held up their entwined hands, giving hers a soft kiss.

"There's just one more thing," he said lowering their grasp.

"What is it, Mulder?" she asked, her eyes sparkling.

"Over eight years ago when you first walked into my office I thought you were going to hold me back, to try and stop me from finding my sister. Then case after case, through seven years of aliens and governments plots, you changed me. You made me a whole person. You saved me not only from the FBI, but from myself. And day after day you kept me going, you were my reason for waking up. I realize now if it wasn't for you and Will I would have no reason to get out of bed in the morning. I would be a lonely, alien-obsessed nutcase if you hadn't kept me sane. You were with me though everything. As many times as they shut down the X-Files, you worked just as hard to reopen them. I just want you to know that I love you."

"Oh, Mulder, I love you to. I always have," she replied with tears in her eyes.

He reached in his pocket and pulled out a small, velvet box. "Dana Katherine Scully, will you marry me?"

"Oh, Mulder..." she paused with a sweet smile on her face. The suspense was killing him. "Of course I will!"

He picked her and swung her around. When he put her down, he kissed her lovingly. She kissed him back, grabbed his hand and led him towards the bedroom.

They were halfway there, when Scully stopped- noticing the, now familiar, candle sitting on the coffee table. "I just have to ask you something first."

Mulder looked at her with a somewhat confused/scared look on his face. ~Please don't let her say she's changed her mind~

"Where in the world did you get that?" He laughed, half out of relief and half out of amusement.

"I abducted him." Mulder said deadpan. They both burst out laughing. Suddenly he put his arms around her waist, giving her a nice big kiss on the lips. "Did I ever tell you how beautiful you look?"

"Mulder, I'm in a bathrobe!"

"I know, what's your point?" He grinned, arms still wrapped around her in a loving embrace.

"Mulder, did I ever tell you how incredible you are?" She smiled kissing him back. Instead of answering her, Mulder picked her up and continued towards the bedroom, when suddenly there was a noise...

It was coming from William's room.

They rushed to the door and opened it. William was still in his crib and nothing seemed out of place. He was still asleep so it couldn't have been anything loud or he would have awoken. They walked back to the bedroom, satisfied that is was nothing. They had no sooner shut the door, and they heard it again. They ran out and they saw the shadow of a person in William's room.

Mulder lunged at the figure, hitting it with full force. The two fell in a heap on the floor. Scully ran to William's crib. After making sure he was fine, she turned back to Mulder and the intruder.

In the dark, Mulder couldn't tell who it was. Scully turned on the light, and Mulder turned the struggling figure to face him.

"Who are you and what are you doing here?" Mulder yelled angrily at the man in front of him. Somehow he looked strangely familiar. Now that he thought about it, he kind of looked like-

"Charlie?" Scully ran over, getting a closer look at the man Mulder had pinned.

"What?" Mulder asked confused.

"Mulder, this is my other brother, Charlie." She said offering him a hand. Confused she turned to her brother, "What are you doing here?"

"I-I was just coming to offer my congratulations, and see for myself, but-" he stopped turning towards man standing protectively next to his sister, "You must be Mulder. I've heard a lot about you." He held out his hand, "nice to meet you."

Shaking Charlie's hand, Mulder smiled, "I'm sorry about the whole tackle thing."

"No problem," Charlie grinned, "It's nice to know my sister has someone so loyal to watch her back. She wasn't kidding either!" He rubbed his shoulder.

"Like I said, I'm really sorry. In our line of work you always have to on guard." Mulder apologized.

"No harm done," Charlie smiled at the two of them, "I don't blame you with everything you guys have been through!"

"Charlie, how did you get in here?" Scully asked taking Mulder's hand.

"The door was unlocked," Charlie paused glancing towards his sister's movement, "I knocked, but no one answered. I figured you were probably asleep, so I was just going to peak a look at my nephew and then leave this." He pointed to a beautifully wrapped gift in the corner. "I should probably go now." He turned to pick up his fallen coat. Charlie gave Scully a hug, and shook Mulder's hand. "I'll be staying with mom, so we'll probably see you soon." With that he moved towards the door. "Nice meeting you Mulder. Bye sis, call me in the morning."

They stood there for a while starting at the door after Charlie had left.

"What is it?" Mulder asked, reading Scully's expression. He could see the 'Scully-wheels' turning.

"What?" Scully asked, absentmindedly.

"You just had that look in your eyes." He kissed her hand.

"What look?" Scully smiled.

"That 'there-has-got-to-be-an-rational-explanation-here' look," he laughed, "but I don't see why, I haven't said anything pertaining to work since, oh yesterday." She laughed shaking her head, "It's nothing. I was just surprised to see Charlie."

"Ah, the invisible brother isn't so invisible." Mulder grinned.

"We haven't seen each other in over eight years. I was e-mailing him for a while, but after we went back to Oregon... " Scully trailed off, not wanting to bring back the painful memories.

"Well, at least I seem to have hit it off with him better that Bill." Mulder said lightening the mood. He knew how hard it was for her to think about it. He hated himself every time he had to see her face when she remembered his abduction. When she hurt, he hurt a thousand times more. All he wanted to do was make her happy. No matter what happened, he was never going to leave her side again.

Scully laughed. Leave it to Mulder to find a way to cheer her up. She was so lucky to have him back. He was here, and she was never going to let him leave her sight again.

"Well, anyway," she said taking Mulder's other hand, "where were we?"

~ He kissed her right hand. "Were we here or..." He then kissed her lips, "or here?"

"I think we were right here." She kissed his lips back.

"That's what I thought."

Mulder was awakened at 2 o'clock by a fussy William. He rolled out of bed and said tiredly to a still asleep Scully, "I'll get him." He realized she wasn't awake and went quickly to William's room before he woke her up.

He pick the small child up and carried him to the kitchen where he heated up a bottle of milk. When Mulder tried to give him the bottle he wouldn't take it.

"Come on, buddy."

William just looked at him like ~Where's my mom?~

"Please take your bottle, I don't want to wake your mom up."

Almost as if he understood William took he bottle and cooed happily.

"Thanks, Will. You mommy's really tired." Mulder smiled to himself think of the night before. It was perfect. He loved her so much.

He put William back down and went back to bed.

Amused, Scully watched as Mulder desperately tried not to wake her up. Slowly and cautiously he picked his way through the various pieces of clothing that littered the usually spotless bedroom. He finally made it to the bed and sat down.

"Morning poopyhead," Scully smiled sleepily.

Startled Mulder jumped up, tripping over his shoe that lie on the floor beneath him. Regaining his composure, he sat down next to her. "Morning yourself, honeybunch." he emphasized the last word, letting it linger on his tongue for a few seconds, then grinned. "Sleep well?" he asked leaning down to give her a kiss.

Scully grinned and kissed him back, "Just spooned up and fell asleep like little baby cats."

Mulder raised an eyebrow, "next thing you know we'll be hearing muddy footprints, and be bombarded by your 'friendly neighbors'." He laughed and crawled over to the other side of the bed.

Scully sighed contentedly; resting in the arms of the man she loved. Everything was just so perfect. So right.

Mulder held her close, nestling his head in the soft red of her hair. He could not believe that he could be so lucky. To have this amazing women- his partner, best friend, and soon to be wife- laying here next to him. She had stayed with it through it all. No matter how insane or ridiculous his theories got. How horrible, difficult, or just plain out weird, things became, she had stayed with him through it all. He loved her more than words could describe, and vowed to never let anything bad happen to her again.

As she slowly drifted off to sleep, Scully smiled thinking of everything that had happened in the last two days. Through all they had been through, for as long as she had wanted to tell him so badly how she felt, things were now perfect. Wrapped in Mulder, with Will sleeping peacefully in the room next to them, Scully was happy just being, just existing in this perfect moment.

Mulder planted a soft kiss on the nape of her neck. There was only one thing to think about now... plans for the wedding...

They had different views on the wedding. Scully wanted a big, traditional Catholic wedding in a church, where as Mulder wanted a small, private wedding on the beach in Martha's Vineyard with only the closest friends and family. It was the one thing that they disagreed on.

Mulder got up as Scully fell back to sleep and went into the living room, grabbing his wallet off the bedside table on his way in. He sat down on he couch and pulled a picture out of his wallet. It was a picture of Samantha. He thought about how if it weren't for her being abducted he never would have met Scully, and his life would be so very different. He felt guilty, almost as if he was glad all of it had happened. He had spent so long trying to find her, he never noticed how much Scully meant to him until after he found out the truth about Samantha.

As he set there, his head in his hands, Scully slowly opened the bedroom door. She looked out and saw him with tears in his eyes. Her eyes fell on the picture lying next to him. She caught her breath. Samantha. She knew how much he would have wanted her to be a part of all this. Instead, all he could do was imagine that she was.

She went over and gave him a comforting hug. He looked at her with an eternally grateful look in his eyes.

Mulder took one last glance at the worn photo before placing it back into his wallet. They sat there in silence for a few seconds before she spoke, "Mulder," she said softly placed her hand on his, "I wish she could be here too." She wished all of Mulder's family could be there. Scully knew how much his mother would have loved to see her only son finally settle down and live something approaching a normal life. She would have been proud.

Mulder smiled faintly. He knew that Scully really meant it. The search for Samantha had become just as much Scully's quest as it had been his the day she stepped foot in that office.

Scully gave him another comforting hug. She pulled back, placing her forehead on his. A gesture he had done more times than she could remember. She knew how reassuring it always was for her. It meant that no matter what happened he was always there for her, and they would get through whatever it was that life had decided to throw at them this time.

After a few minutes, Mulder took a deep breath and gave her a genuine smile. Scully's heart leapt. Even after eight years, all that they had been through, and now even being engaged, that smile brought more joy and comfort to her that anything else in the world.

He took her face in his hands and gave her a soft kiss, "Now," he said with a glint in his eye, "how are we going to tell Bill?"...

Scully groaned, causing Mulder to laugh.

"I never even thought about his reaction!"

Mulder thought for a moment before he asked, "How old is Matthew now?"

Scully looked surprised that Mulder remembered about her nephew and laughed. "I honestly don't remember. I feel terrible! I guess he would be about 4 or so."

They set there laughing for a moment, then Mulder stood up and walked to Will's room. The child was still sleeping peacefully. He walked back over and sat down on the couch. He put his arms around her waist and she laid back on his stomach. She felt so safe, so protected, like nothing bad could ever happen. She decided there was no reason to tell him about her dream.

They lay for a long time. Mulder with his arms wrapped lovingly and protectively around her. Scully with her head resting contentedly on his chest.

The dream had been so real. She hadn't even known it was a dream until she had awakened as Mulder went to check on Will. It had been of Samantha and Will.

In her dream she and Mulder had been asleep in bed, Scully wrapped in Mulder's arms-just as it had been when she had fallen asleep that night. Suddenly there was a loud noise and both she and Mulder awoke, startled.

The dream continued with Mulder telling her that he would check it out, and not to worry. Of course she had refused to be left in bed, following him towards the source of the sound. It had come from Will's bedroom.

Taking his gun off the dresser, Mulder would slowly creep towards the baby's room.

Just the thought of what, or who, it was in there with their son had left Scully's heart racing, even after she had woke up.

They would get to the door, and Mulder would slowly push it open. The normally comforting creeeeeaaaak of the wooden door seemed dangerous and forewarning this time.

At this point Scully thought how much her dream resembled that night, when Charlie had pulled his surprise visit. Maybe that was what brought on the dream...

They would finally get the door open, by this time Scully had her gun poised and ready too. Mulder held up his hand, motioning for her to wait while he made sure it was clear. She could hear her heart pounding in her ear. Just as Mulder stepped through the door Scully caught a glimpse of a figure as it lunged at him.

"MULDER!" she screamed as the figure came down on him with a loud thud.

As she looked up there was a flash of lightening (funny, she hadn't even realized that it was raining...) and as she watched a face appeared for a brief second flashing across the window frame. She took in a sharp breath. Until now she had not realized whom the face had belonged to. But now it was unmistakable, it had been Samantha- and it appeared as if she was trying to tell her something...

"Scully, what is it?" gently, Mulder laid a hand on her cheek.

With a start, Scully was brought back to the present. He had noticed that she had a strange, almost painful look on her face.

"What? Oh, nothing..." she replied snuggling closer to her partner.

"Come on now," Mulder looked doubtful, "I know that look Scully, and it never means 'nothing'." He smiled prompting her to elaborate.

"No really Mulder," she smiled hoping that it would convince him it really was nothing that was that important. "I was just thinking...you know about the wedding," she lied.

There was no reason to get Mulder upset about a silly dream. When she thought about it, there was really no reason that SHE should be upset. But then again... Mulder's words came back to her in a flood of memories.

He had once said that dreams were only answers to questions we hadn't yet figured out how to ask...

"Oh, why? Have you finally decided that MY idea about an outdoor wedding is better than yours?" Mulder teased, hoping to get her spirits up. "Or where you just thinking about the wedding NIGHT?" He wagged his eyebrows at her.

Scully hit him playfully with a couch pillow and laughed. Leave it up to Mulder to always make her feel better.

"Why Agent Scully," he gasped in mock astonishment pretending to be deathly injured by the two-foot sack of stuffing.

"We are going to have to hold you here to keep those violent impulses of yours under control!" With that he grabbed her by the waist and pulled her to the floor, planting a big wet kiss on her lips.

"You better watch out Mulder," Scully laughed, "I might have to send Bill after you."

Mulder stared back in utter horror, shuddering at the thought of her big brother.

Scully laughed again, patting him reassuringly on the head, "Don't worry, I wouldn't be THAT evil to you!" She grinned.

Somewhere in the back of her mind the image of Samantha still lingered...

She fought the urge to laugh at Mulder's skepticism at her not Bill after him. She was still thinking about the dream when his voice interrupted her thoughts.

"Why do you think Bill hates me so much?"

She was about to say that Bill didn't hate him, but then decided against it. He did seem to hate Mulder. "I think... I think it's because after my dad died he seemed to want to carry on his job of pushing me to do what was right, what they thought was best for me. I mean, my father was so upset when I decided to go into the FBI and gave up my career in medicine, he thought it was the end of the world. I was his little Starbuck, his favorite. I mean, I know he tried not to show favorites, but I knew it and so did my siblings. He always wanted what was best for me, and I think Bill is just trying to do the same."

"What would your dad think of us, I mean us as in me and you together, not as Agents Mulder and Scully?"

She had tears in her eyes as she replied, "He would be so proud that I finally found the life I always wanted, with a man that he knows will treat me as good as, if not better than, he did. That would be enough for him. That's all he ever wanted."

This was the first time they had really ever talked about her father. She was glad to get it out. She knew everything about Mulder's life, or what she thought was everything. Now he knew more about her. She knew he would be proud of his little Starbuck. Yet something was still wrong.....

Mulder wished Scully's father could be there.

He knew how much it would have meant, to both of them, to have Ahab walk his little Starbuck down the isle.

He noticed that she seemed to be thinking about something. Her brow wrinkled, deep in thought.

"C'mon Scully," Mulder teased, holding up the pillow she had thrown at him, "don't make me beat it out of you."

"Mulder REALLY, it's nothing," she said exasperated.

She jumped up taking his hand, "Let's go check on William."

Mulder grinned and took her hand. 'I wonder what's bothering her' the thought to himself. 'Oh well, it must not be anything too bad. Otherwise she would have told me by now...right?'

Suddenly thoughts of Scully's cancer flooded into his mind causing him to stop, jerking Scully back with him.

"Mulder?" Scully looked at him concerned, "Are you ok?" She felt his forehead for a temperature. He seemed normal.

"Oh, sorry Scully," He said realizing that he had pulled her back when he had stopped walking.

"I...it's just that." he paused, "I just have to know... the thing you keep telling me is just 'nothing'? The cancer it's not..." He swallowed hard.

Quickly, Scully stopped him, "No! I mean, no. Mulder it's not anything like that!" She saw the look of relief flood Mulder's face.

"It was just a dream," she put a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

'What was I thinking?' she scolded herself, 'I should have told him. I feel terrible.'

"A dream?" Mulder asked letting out a relieved sigh.

"Yeah, oh Mulder I feel awful, I shouldn't have made you worry."

"That's Ok." He didn't care what it was, as long as it wasn't news that Scully's cancer had returned.

Mulder leaned down and planted a soft kiss on her lips. She smiled- she was SO in love with this man. The dream was probably nothing. She guessed that it had just been brought on by all the excitement the night before.

"C'mon," he grinned, "let's go check on the little guy."

They quietly opened the door to Will's room so as not to wake him. Their attempt was quiet unsuccessful though. As soon as he heard the door creak, his lip quivered and he let out a wail. Scully walked over to him and picked him up. The child stopped crying almost instantly. Mulder walked up behind Scully, put his arms around her waist and looked over her shoulder at the little boy in her arms. A small smile appeared on Mulder's face as he looked at his new family. He, unlike Scully, had never wanted to settle down and have kids. Now he couldn't imagine his life any different. The problem was he knew that Scully wanted more children, as did he. ~We got a miracle once, maybe we can get another one.~


Scully noticed his smile and grinned back.

"Well, you've definitely got your fathers temper," She grinned giving Will a soft kiss on his fuzzy little head.

"Yeah," Mulder put a finger to Will's tiny cheek adding, "Lonely and complaining, until you come into the room and make everything better again."

Scully shook her head, "Yep, always have to be checking up on my boys, can't let them get lonely and complain-y now can I?" She grinned.

She knew that Mulder had not really ever wanted to have kids or settle down with a family. But now the look in his eyes seemed to tell her different. ~At least she hoped~

She had wanted so badly to have children of her own... and to have them with Mulder made it a million times better. ~Maybe after the wedding they could...no that was probably too much to hope for. But just maybe...~

The sound of Will's "baby snoring" brought her out of her daydreaming.

"Here let me," Mulder said taking the tiny bundle from her arms and kissing her on the cheek.

She handed Will to Mulder, taking in the perfect sight. She loved it when he held him. It was obvious that, although he thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, he wasn't quite comfortable yet. Somehow, though, Scully knew that what it took to be a daddy Mulder had without a doubt. It was as if he was made to be one, he was born with it. She could tell with a little more hands on experience, he would soon be a pro.

She giggled at the thought. ~Mulder, the man who chases after aliens, a baby-pro.~

Mulder noticed her grin and asked, "What's so funny?"

"I can just see you with five little kids running around and....." She went into a fit of giggles.

"Oh, having de'javou are we?"

She looked confused for a minute and then just smiled.

Mulder grinned at the thought. Five little Mulder/Scully clones running around. ~Wouldn't Bill love that~

Checking one last time to make sure Will was fast asleep, Mulder took Scully's hand and led her into the bedroom.

Glancing at the clock, Scully realized that it was almost 5 a.m. It's a good thing that today was Saturday. She wouldn't have to go in to work until Monday.

Sitting Scully down on the bed Mulder whispered, "stay here, I'll be right back."

~Hmm...I wonder what he's up to now~

"I was meaning to do this sooner," Mulder said entering the room carrying a tray full of orange juice, pancakes, and strawberries, "But we were uh, kinda interrupted." He grinned setting the tray on her lap.

"Now is there any thing else I could get for you this morning ma'am," he spoke with a fake French accent. "Coffee perhaps? Tea?"

Scully laughed and shook her head. "All I need is right here." Lifting the tray up, Scully scooted over and patted the bed beside her. Mulder raised an eyebrow in mock astonishment and, still pretending to be French said, "Why miss, I believe my boss would not look to fondly on such a-"

Scully interrupted him, by grabbing his arm and planting a soft kiss on his lips, adding with a grin, "I really don't think this is any of Skinner's business."

Mulder burst out laughing at the sight of their boss's face if he were to walk in at this very moment. He sat down next to Scully, as she gave him a mouthful of strawberries and pancake.

They sat in bed finishing their breakfast for the next half hour. Mulder with his arm lovingly wrapped around his fiancee's waist.

~Fiancee~ Mulder couldn't believe it was true. He had never imagined that this would be a word he could use to describe Scully. He couldn't wait until he could call her his wife.

~It's hard to believe.~ Scully thought, wiping some strawberry sauce off of Mulder's face. ~In a few weeks, Mulder would officially be all hers.~

"Mulder?" Suddenly she realized that they hadn't set a date. For that matter they hadn't even told anybody yet!

"Hmm?" he asked, to engrossed in licking strawberry off of her finger to really pay much attention.

"We should really get up." She laughed as he pouted and pretended to be sad.

"Do we really have to Scully? Couldn't we just sleep until the wedding?" He teased.

"We could, except we don't know when the wedding is yet." She countered back. "C'mon, I'll call Mom and invite them over for dinner tonight."

As Mulder got up, he took the tray with him heading to the kitchen.

Scully caught the look on his face and laughed, "And yes Mulder, Bill will have to be here too." He pretended to cry as she added, "Unfortunately he is my brother, and no matter how much I deny it I do still love him."

Mulder cleaned off the tray and placed the dishes in the dishwasher before coming up behind her. "He may be your brother, but your my Scully, and he's not going to ruin our wedding."

"Don't worry Mulder, I won't let him." She smiled before adding, "and I know my mom won't either!"

"Scully, I think we're overlooking one very important thing." Mulder paused, then added, "when and where are we going to have this wedding?"

Scully seemed to ponder this for a moment, "Well...when do you-"

"As soon as possible!" Mulder didn't even give her a chance to finish. Scully laughed at the look on his face. The look that quite plainly said I'm-not-giving-you-time-to-change-your-mind.

"OK, well, time off won't be a problem, with my maternity leave, and your, well, you know, so it would probably be best to do it right away. Now the only question is where?"

After much thought and a gallon of double fudge chocolate chunk ice cream, Mulder and Scully finally came to an agreement about the wedding.

They compromised, deciding to have the wedding at Scully's church, and invite all that they wanted to. This was decided upon after Scully, and pretty soon Mulder, knew that Scully's mom would want to invite many of her friends to finally see her youngest daughter settle down with that "cute partner of hers" they always saw.

Then, to make things fair, the reception would be held on the beach at Martha's Vineyard with only the closest friends and family. It was a little...different, but hey, Mulder and Scully were expected to have a "different" kind of wedding, right?

Mulder let out a sigh. "I didn't know planning a wedding could be so..."

"Fattening?" Scully interrupted, laughing as she held out the empty carton of ice cream.

Suddenly they heard a noise from the Will's room indicating that the baby was awake, and was going to be awake for a while.

"C'mon," Mulder said taking her hand and leading the way, "let's go get the little guy ready and then go pick up a few things at the store for tonight's 'dinner party'."

They walked into Will's room and Scully picked him up. She got him dressed while Mulder looked at her with sad eyes. "Are you going to dress me too, Scully?"

She looked over at him and laughed. "Only if you're good."

"We'll, then I guess I'd better dress myself," he reluctantly headed for the bedroom.

Seven hours, two grocery stores, and a mall later they returned home with their arms full of shopping bags. They had to make just the right meal to smooth things over will with Bill, but they didn't want to make things too perfect or they knew something was up as soon as they walked in.

They put Will into bed for his nap, and started setting everything up. They decided to make lasagna and garlic bread with a salad. They finished making supper and setting the table right at seven o'clock right before the knock on the door announcing the arrival of Scully's family.

Taking a deep breath, Scully went to answer the door. 'It's now or never.' she thought as her hand turned the knob.

"Dana," Maggie Scully embraced her daughter with a warm hug, "It's so nice to see you." She paused, stepping into the room before adding a little too quietly, "We haven't seen much of you since William was born."

Scully sighed. "Mom I-" She felt like a teenager who had just been caught sneaking back into the house after curfew. "I've just been really busy." she finished.

Just as she had finished welcoming Bill, and was just about to give Charlie a hug, Mulder walked in. He was clad jeans and a dark gray sweater that looked very comfortable. Scully thought he looked great. They had decided not to dress to formally, or else her family would know what was up.

"Fox," Mrs. Scully gave him a warm hug, smiling "It's so nice to see you again."

"And as always," Mulder said, giving her his trademark grin and hugging her back, "it a pleasure to see you Mrs. Scully."

She laughed, "Fox, you can call me Maggie you know."

Mulder grinned shyly, as he noticed Bill glaring at him from the doorway. "Ok...Maggie" Mrs. Scully laughed again.

'Leave it to Mulder' Scully thought, 'nobody can resist that charm!'

Her smile faded as she noticed Bill glaring at Mulder from the doorway. He hadn't said anything since Mulder had entered the room. Forcing herself to ignore him, she invited everyone in.

"Agent Mulder," Charlie offered a warm handshake. "It's nice to see you again."

Mulder shook his hand offering a friendly smile. 'At least ONE of Scully's brothers liked him.' He wished Charlie was the one who lived close instead of Bill.

"So," Maggie said sitting herself on the couch, "where's my grandson?"

Scully laughed, "I'll go get him. I think he just woke up." Motioning for everyone to take a seat, she went to go get Will. As she passed Mulder, she sent him a message with her eyes. 'Just ignore Bill. My mom and Charlie already love you! Just relax and have a good time.'

With that she smiled and, while she was sure nobody was looking, blew him a kiss, which he grinned and pretended to stick in his pocket 'in case of emergency'.

He turned around to sit on the couch. As he sat chatting politely with Scully's mom and younger brother, he could feel the hard eyes of her older one boring into him. Bill still had not said anything. Uncomfortable, Mulder wished Scully would hurry.

"There's my boy!" Maggie held up her arms as Scully walked in with a sleepy Will, who was gurgling sleepily. She placed the baby in her mom's lap.

"Hey there buddy," Charlie bent down next to his mom to get a closer look at his new nephew. He glanced up at his sister and winked. "I didn't get a very good look at you the first time I was here."

William seemed to enjoy all the attention and cooed happily.

"He's got your smile Fox," Mrs. Scully said happily to Mulder.

Mulder grinned, and then added teasingly, "at least it wasn't my nose!"

They laughed. Everyone that is, but Bill, who gave Mulder a scornful look. Scully caught his eye and gave him a warning glance. He caught it and looked away, walking over to his nephew.

As much as Bill hated the fact that this baby was the result of his sister and that man-no he didn't want to think about it- Will was his nephew and he loved him. He did have to admit that the baby was incredibly cute.

"Hey there Will," Bill hovered next to his mom getting a better look at the baby. Will started to cry.

'That's my boy!' Mulder thought secretly grinning to himself.

Scully rubbed William's back soothingly, "He's just hungry," The baby settled down to a sniffle. Scully gave Bill an apologetic look, "I can't believe how much he can eat! He acts like he hasn't eaten anything since 6:00 this morning."

"And all that was, was half of a cream cheese beagle." Mulder leaned in saying it so that only Scully could hear him.

She grinned and added so that only he could hear, "and it wasn't even real cream cheese. It was light cream cheese." She paused then added, "Don't get me started Mulder."

"That's a good idea," Charlie said jumping up from the floor. "So sis, what's for dinner?"

"Lasagna," She said walking into the bedroom to feed Will. Over her shoulder she added, "Mulder, why don't you go ahead and serve everybody the salad, I'll be there in a minute." With that, she closed the bedroom door.

She felt bad about leaving Mulder to deal with Bill by himself. But, she didn't exactly feel comfortable nursing Will in front of Bill. She knew he would have felt uncomfortable about it too. Not because of the whole 'nursing' thing. He had a son- he knew how it worked. She just didn't want him glaring at Mulder the whole time.

"Ok, everyone, to the kitchen!" Mulder turned to Mrs. Scully, "Ma'am, please allow me." With that he bowed, pretending to be a waiter escorting her to the table.

Maggie Scully laughed and took his arm. Playing along she added, "Why thank you kind sir."

Mulder grinned. 'So far so good.'

Bill looked disgusted. How could his mother like Mulder so much? It was just his luck. With her and his sister around, there was nothing he could do but pretend he wasn't there. Even Charlie seemed to becoming friends with him, great. Just great.

Mulder had just finished serving the salad when Scully walked in. Grinning at her, he pulled out her chair and helped her to her seat.

"Such a gentleman." Mrs. Scully smiled, taking a sip of wine.

"Yeah, what's up with that Mulder?" Charlie asked, jokingly adding, "You're making me look bad, you know!" With that he handed his mom the garlic bread.

"All those years of FBI training, and traveling around meeting all kinds of weird people." Mulder laughed, "they've gotta be good for something!"

"Yeah right Mulder." Scully laughed, "They teach etiquette and proper manners in FBI training."

He looked at her innocently, "Why agent Scully, don't tell me you missed that day!"

Scully gave him the look, and he laughed before she could say anything. Before handing her her salad, he kissed her hand and said, "made specially for you miss. By order of the cook."

Scully blushed, noticing her mother's pleased look, and Bills scorn. To keep the mood light she replied, "I doubt you learned that at Quantico."

They all laughed, and Mulder sat down to his own place at the table. While no one was looking, he slipped his hand into Scully's giving it a squeeze. ~Don't worry everything's going great. We'll tell them after dessert.~

"He did not have buck teeth!" Scully was laughing so hard her sides hurt.

"He did." Mulder whispered to the rest of Scully's family, "she's just going through denial."

Scully playfully punched Mulder in the arm.

"Owww!" he pretended like it really hurt, rubbing his "sore" arm.

They had just finished dessert, and things seemed to be going pretty well. Even Bill seemed to be somewhat enjoying it-although he told himself that it was just for Dana's sake, nothing more, nothing less.

Mrs. Scully was just finishing up the dishes (which she had insisted she do) when Scully stood up and suggested that everyone move to the living room. "Where it was more comfortable."

Mulder could tell she was nervous. He gave her a reassuring smile reminding her that he was here, and everything was going to go perfect. ~Whether Bill likes it or not~ he added to himself.

Maggie Scully took a seat on the couch next to her daughter and Mulder. She noticed that Dana was fidgeting like she used to do when she was a little girl and had something she had to tell her parents, but wasn't quite sure how to do it.

"Honey, what is it?" Scully looked at her mom and realized that she had been fidgeting. This was a sure sign to her mother that something was up. Scully knew that it was now or never. She took a deep breath, glanced at Mulder, and started in.

"Well," she cleared her throat; "You all know that Mulder and I have know each other for a very long time." She paused for a second taking his hand, "He's been there for me through more than you guys will ever know. I trust him with my life... and, I love him."

Mulder was just about to say the same, when suddenly Bill burst out yelling.

"You! You son of a-" he was lunging at Mulder with full force.

Stunned, Mulder jumped back to defend himself. But he didn't have to.

Scully was speechless, she was just about to give Bill a piece of her mind when the unthinkable happened.

"WILLIAM CHESTER SCULLY!" Scully had never seen her mom so furious, "You lay one hand on Fox and I swear, I will disown you!!"

The room froze in stunned silence. Mulder couldn't believe his ears. Scully's mom was defending him? He was almost to baffled to silently laugh at Bills middle name Chester??

They sat frozen for what seemed like an eternity. Scully and Charlie stared at their mother in disbelief. Silently they were both surprisingly pleased. Mulder sat dumbfounded waiting for what would happen next.

Bill just stood there, his mouth hanging open. She hadn't used his full name since he was a kid. After a few moments, he regained his composure and mumbled an apology. "Mom, I-I don't know what came over me.... I, I'm sorry."

Maggie Scully looked her son straight in the eyes, "If you're father were here, I don't even want to think about what he would say. It is not me you need to be apologizing to." She gave him a stern look, motioning to Mulder and Scully.

"But mom that man is-" Scully couldn't believe her ears; Bill was actually trying to defend himself after what had just happened? She was furious! She was about to open her mouth when her mother once again cut into the conversation.

"That man." She came up next to Mulder, "Is the best thing that's ever happened to Dana." She laid a protective hand on her daughter. "And not you, or anyone else on this planet is going to do anything to ruin what they have together! I am sick and tired of having to listen to you grumble every time Dana invites us over, because you know Fox is going to be here! It stops here, do you understand me?" She paused calming down, "Now I think you owe everybody an apology."

Again the room was silent. Charlie sat uncomfortably in a chair in the corner. He wouldn't look his brother in the eye. Even though he had just met Mulder, he could tell that what he and his sister had together was special. What Bill did was just unacceptable, brother or no.

Finally regaining from his dazed state, Mulder moved next to Scully, putting an arm protectively around her waist. She looked like she was going to cry. The anger welled inside like a bomb ready to go off. Scully had gone to too much trouble to have Bill go and ruin it all like this. No. He wasn't going to let that happen. He was debating whether or not to say something, when Bill finally spoke.

"Dana how can you just go and-" three Scully looks (and a very nasty warning glare from Mulder) hit him with full force. Mulder could see where Scully got the look from, it seemed it was genetic.

This time is was Charlie's turn to have a whack at Bill. "Jeez Bill just give it up already!" Scully's younger brother threw his arms in the air letting out an exasperated sigh, "Dana's happy, isn't that all that should matter?! She has a son, our nephew, that nobody thought was possible, and best of all she's got Mulder! A guy who-even though I know I'm the one who knows the least about him- I can tell loves her!"

Scully was touched and surprised at Charlie's outburst. It was true that he didn't know Mulder very well, but it was obvious that he had instantly befriended him.

Mulder was just about to open his mouth a second time when Scully finally spoke up.

"Everybody just stop it!" She sat down and this time Mulder was sure she was going to cry. Quietly she said, "I didn't mean for any of this to happen. This was supposed to go perfect, with everybody happy. Instead of yelling at each other we'd be sitting around discussing what kind of flowers we should order for the reception."

It was too much, she couldn't take it any more, Scully broke down and started crying, right there in front of Bill and everyone. Quickly Mulder wrapped his arms around her in comfort. He wished he could just make Bill disappear. If it weren't for him, none of this would have happened.

For a few short minutes, they were the only ones in the room, oblivious to three startled stares sent in their direction.

Even though she had no reason to, Mrs. Scully felt awful. "Dana, honey, come here," Scully looked up from her place in Mulder's arms, "I'm so sorry."

"Mom," Scully smiled tearfully, "it isn't your fault. You don't need to apologize."

"Dana's right," Bill took a step, "I should be."

They all stared doubtfully in his direction. Seeing his sister, the only one he had left, who never let her guard down even in the worst situations, break down and cry right in front of him broke his heart.

"Dana," he took a cautious step forward, noting Mulder's arm as it slipped protectively around Scully's waist. "I'm so sorry." He paused edging closer to give her a hug. "I really don't know what came over me."

"I mean it. I'm really sorry." a pause, "I guess after dad died, I just felt like it was my duty to watch over you." He glanced at Mulder who still looked skeptical. "Protect you."

Mulder snorted at the irony of it all. He thought about the time that Scully had been going through her cancer. Bill was the one who didn't want to try anything. He wanted to just "sit passively back and watch the family tragedy unfold." If Bill truly felt like that he wouldn't have done any of this to begin with.

Scully accepted his apology, and watched as he turned to face Mulder.

"Mulder," he sighed and held out his hand and Mulder shook it.

"I know you hate me." Mulder said lowering his gaze, "and you have a right to after all I've made your sister go through..."

"Mulder no," Scully interrupted, "he has absolutely no right to treat you like this." She took a stand next to him facing her brother.

"But," Mulder grinned at Scully letting her know that he was definitely NOT going to let Bill get off that easy as he added, "I love her more than anything in this world. And like it or not Bill," he emphasized his middle name, "Chester Scully,"

Scully had to bite her lip to keep herself from laughing, she knew how much Bill hated his middle name.

"I'm marrying her whether you like it or not." He said it matter-of-factly. And with that he pulled Scully into his arms and, with her entire family watching, gave her a long passionate kiss.

Maggie and Charlie laughed as Bill just stood there with a dumbfounded look on his face.

"Why you-" This time, Bill didn't care what his mother said, he lunged full force at Mulder. Luckily, Mulder had seen it coming and, with Scully still in his arms, jumped back just in time.

Misjudging Mulder's fast reaction, Bill tripped over the coffee table and fell full force smack into to the cream colored carpet with a loud, "umpf." Just as he was about to get up and try again, he was interrupted by a very loud noise. He turned towards the noise and glared at his brother who was laughing so hard he was crying.

"Oh, oh!" Charlie couldn't stop laughing long enough to finish his sentence.

Mulder and Scully, who had been to busy trying to avoid "the wrath of Bill" to really enjoy his downfall, suddenly burst out laughing too. Maggie, who was trying her hardest not to, couldn't help but join in the fun.

"So this is what goes on when I'm not around."

Still giggling, Scully turned towards the figure standing in the open doorway.

"Sir!" Scully looked surprised, "I thought you said you were going out of town a couple of weeks for a conference." Skinner entered the room and gave her a hug. "It got cancelled." He smiled, shaking Mulder's hand.

"Mr. Skinner," Maggie extended a warm handshake, "it's nice to see you again."

After introducing Skinner to her brothers, she invited him to sit down.

"So, what brings you here?" Mulder asked, hoping it wasn't anything to do with work. He was as surprised as Scully to see the assistant director.

"Just this." Skinner handed him a folder. "I found it under my door this morning when I came in. My secretary said she hadn't seen anyone come in." He paused before adding; "I figured you would be over here, so I tried here first."

Mulder looked curious, "What is it?"

"I don't know," Skinner was looking at Bill with a funny look on his face. Bill was rubbing his head and scowling. "I didn't open it." He glanced at the folder, and then added, "seeing as how it had your name on it."

Mulder hadn't noticed it until Skinner had said something. Written in small block letters across the front of the manila envelope was Mulder's name.

"Why was is under your door then?" Scully asked confused.

"I don't know." was all that Skinner said, eying the overturned coffee table.

He turned to Scully. "Whoever it was probably put it under my door because they knew you wouldn't be in your office."

Charlie and Bill, who was still sore, sat down as Mrs. Scully offered to make some coffee. Mulder sat down and opened the envelope as Scully sat down next to him.

"Mulder?" Scully knew something was wrong as she watched as Mulder's face grew pale. In a concerned voice, she asked, "Mulder, what is it?"

At first Mulder didn't say anything. Charlie sat uncomfortably on the other side of the room feeling that he was intruding on something very personal. Eventually he decided that his mother needed help with the coffee. Bill got up and headed toward the bathroom, he was not in the mood for more aliens and ufos.

After a few minutes, Mulder regained his composer and handed Scully the small stack of photos that he held. Scully was speechless. They were pictures of Samantha. Only she was definitely more than eight years old.

"Mulder, there's got to be some mistake." Scully spoke in a soft voice. She couldn't believe her eyes. There were pictures of Samantha at the beach, playing outside, and one of her at a birthday party which was obviously her own. Scully counted the candles on the cake. "Mulder, according to this picture she's 14 here."

Mulder spoke in a very soft voice. "And in this one." He picked up the photo with one hand, and rubbed the bridge of his nose with the other. The picture was of Samantha and a boy. "She seems to be having a fun time with the Smoking Man's son." he paused before adding, "Agent Spender."

"What?" Skinner finally spoke up, "What are you talking about?"

"See for yourself," Mulder handed him the photo.

Skinner took it. Even though he was only a teenager, there was no question that the picture was of Jeffery Spender.

"I don't understand," the assistant director gave the picture back to Mulder, "After all your years of searching, why would anyone slip these under my door now? And besides, I thought you said that she was... dead" Skinner didn't like drudging up the past.

"Maybe she's not." Scully remembered her dream. She couldn't believe this was happening. Not now. Not after all that Mulder had been through. He was finally free from all that pain this had caused, and now it was happening all over again.

"Scully what do you mean?" Mulder was confused. This didn't sound like the Scully he knew.

For a minute, Scully sat still, trying to figure out what all this meant. She didn't know why she had just said that. She of all people knew that she was not one to go claiming that people were back from the dead. But lately her scientific background had been put to the test. Ever since Mulder had been abducted, everything had gone crazy. It was like an endless bad dream that repeated over and over again, until you woke up sweaty and shaking. She didn't know what to believe any more.

"Scully?" Skinner had begun to get used to Scully being the one to suggest such a thing- while Mulder was gone. But now that he was back, it was just... wrong.

Scully began to tell them of her dream. She was just to the part were she woke up, when a crying William interrupted her.

"Oh, excuse me," She got up to retrieve her, now very much awake, son.

"I'll get him." Mulder said standing up and placing his hand on the small of her back. Then grinning, he added, "Besides, you've got to have him all day. Now's my turn."

As she watched Mulder leave, Scully sat back down sighing. Skinner picked up on her mood and felt the same way. Mulder had already been through enough. He deserves closure just like anyone. They thought they had finally shut the door on this case once and for all. Unfortunately this door had broken hinges. Every time you think you've finally gotten the thing shut, something runs into it forcing it open again. Did it ever end?

Bill, back from his incredibly long trip to the bathroom, snuck into the living room hoping to go unnoticed.

"Bill." He was almost to the kitchen, when Scully stopped him. He was surprised she was even speaking to him anymore. It must be because her boss was in the room. Wincing, he turned around to face her.

"I believe you've met Assistant Director Skinner." Scully said blandly.

"I think the last time I saw you, we were standing around a hospital bed." Bill said sarcastically. "Your Dana's boss right? Well, it's nice to meet you again." With that he continued on into the kitchen.

"What's his problem?" Skinner asked as he left.

"He just had a fight with the coffee table," Scully couldn't help but laugh, "and it seems he lost."

"Oh, I see." Skinner knew how much Scully's other brother hated Mulder. Something was bound to happen when they were in the same room.

Mulder re-entered the room, William in arms, "It seems he wasn't enjoying the fact that the party was going on without him." Mulder teased. Scully thought it was odd that Mulder would just drop the subject of his sister like that, but didn't press any further.

"Hey there little guy," Skinner said walking over to get a better look.

"Here, want to hold him?" Mulder started to hand over his son.

"Uh, no, I mean-" Scully laughed at the A.D.'s look of horror as Mulder handed over the squirming baby. "I'm not really good with kids."

Mulder laughed and handed Will over to Scully. As he sat down, his face changed back to the grim look it was before.

There was silence until he spoke again, "She was 14."

"What?" Skinner asked quietly.

Scully knew what Mulder was thinking about. The diary. In the last entry, Samantha was only about 14 years old. They explained it to Skinner.

"So the pictures were taken before she was...taken." Mulder finished, referring to the day he finally found his sister. He remembered the starlight. As much as he wanted his sister to be alive, he was happy when everything had finally been closed. It was over, he was finally free. He did not want to go back to the nightmare. Not now, not while everything was going so well. They had Will, and he had just asked Scully to marry him. All he wanted right now was sitting right in front of him. It was all he needed, and he had promised her that he would not let anything get in their way. Even if that anything turned out to be Samantha...


Skinner was about to excuse himself to let Mulder and Scully get back to their guests, when he stopped short- noticing the ring on Scully's finger. Seeing the look on his face, Scully followed his gaze and bit her lip to keep from laughing.

They had been so busy talking about the pictures that they had forgotten to explain to Skinner why it was her family was there anyway.

"Um, sir I think there's something we need to tell you." Scully began, eying Mulder.

He was about to say something, when the rest of Scully's family walked in.

"Here we go," Maggie entered carrying a tray of coffee, followed by Charlie, a plate of cookies, and Bill. "Sorry it took so long, I couldn't find your coffee dear." She set the tray down and smiled at her daughter.

"Mom you didn't have to do that," Scully started to get up.

"It was my pleasure," her mom replied. Just then she noticed the strange expression on Skinner's face. His eyes looked like they were going to pop right out of his head. "Mr. Skinner are you alright?"

Mulder laughed, "I think there's something kind of important that we failed to mention."

He then turned back to Scully, putting his arm around her. "Sir, Scully and I have finally decided that, since we spend so much time together anyway, we might as well save on rent and gas money and go ahead and get married." He ducked out of the way before Scully could hit him. The rest of the room, minus Bill, laughed.

"Well it's about time!" Skinner smiled at his two best agents who had, over the course of 8 years, become two of his best friends.

"That is exactly what I've been thinking." Mrs. Scully said teasingly.

Mulder leaned over and kissed Mrs. Scully on the cheek, surprising everybody. "I guess that means we have your blessings?" He grinned.

"Of course you do!" She laughed giving him a hug. "I would be honored to have you as a Son-in-law!"

Bill groaned, now he'd actually have to be related to that guy.

Everyone exchanged hugs and congratulations while Will cooed happily. Finally, after what seemed like hours, Mulder and Scully said goodbye to everyone, and said they promised to call in the morning.

"Phew!" Scully sighed, leaning against the closed door. "I'm glad that's over with."

"Yeah I think things went pretty good." Mulder grinned as she gave him the look. "I mean after Bill decided to attack the coffee table that is." Scully laughed. She had to admit, that the rest of the night had gone by fairly well.

"C'mon," Mulder, now holding a sleepy Will in his arms, put his arm around her waist. "It's late, we should get some sleep." Resting her head on his shoulder, she sighed again. She was exhausted. They stood there for a while, Mulder with his arm around her, and Will in his arms. These were the times that he wished could last forever. To his dismay, Scully finally pulled back and, yawing, headed off to the bedroom for a good night's sleep.

It was two in the morning when Mulder was awakened by the soft cries of William in the next room. Glancing in Scully's direction, he noted that she was still asleep.

As quietly as possible, Mulder slipped his arm out from underneath her, where it had protectively stayed all night. She stirred, but didn't wake up. He went to go check on his crying son.

The moonlight shone through the window of Will's room illuminating the small doll he had given Scully a few weeks before Will was born. The doll had belonged to his sister. His mother had given it to her for her sixth birthday. It had belonged to her when she was a little girl. He had wanted to give Scully something really special that she would always remember, the doll was the first thing that had come to mind. Its tiny face smiled back from the rocking chair where it lay carefully surrounded by a soft white blanket, waiting to be played with.

Focusing on the reason he had gotten up, Mulder walked over to the crib where his son lay. Will was now gurgling happily at the sight of his father.

Bending over and picking Will up; Mulder rocked him silently, swaying back in forth in hopes that he would go back to sleep. After twenty minutes of endless rocking, Mulder sighed giving up on the hope that Will would go to sleep any time soon. He walked over to the rocking chair and sat down, moving the doll and blanket to his lap. He sat humming quietly. Will in one arm, and the doll in the other.

His own humming, and the slow, rhythmic back and forth motion of the rocking chair made Mulder yawn. Soon he could feel himself drifting off to the sound of the mixed breathing of both he and William. Before he could stop himself, Mulder was fast asleep.

Waking up to a Mulder-less bed, Scully yawned and got up. She sniffed...no he wasn't making breakfast. Where was he?

She went to check on Will.

Maybe Mulder had decided to pursue the pictures of Samantha after all. She was just about to call Skinner to see if Mulder was there, when she stopped in Will's doorway.

The scene before her was picture perfect. Snoring quietly, a path of drool trailing down his chin, he looked absolutely adorable. And Will was pretty cute too.

Scully chuckled at the sight.

Mulder was sleeping soundly in an awkward position in the corner rocking chair. Tucked safely in his arms, was Will and the doll he had given her that belonged to his mother. Wrapped around all three, was the white blanket that Scully usually kept on the chair. It was there in case of midnight feedings, or "emergencies".

~Where's the camera when you need one~ she thought, as she took note to tell Mulder that she wasn't the only one who drooled.

She smiled, shaking her head, and turned to go make breakfast.

Scully was almost out of the room, when Mulder's voice startled her. "Mornin' sunshine." Scully could hear the smile in his voice and turned back around.

"Mornin' yourself," She smiled and kissed him lightly. "Looks like you two had a long night."

"Yeah, Will really knows how to have a good time." He grinned, "Woke me up at 2 this morning so he could show me." Mulder groaned and sat up, untangling himself from the uncomfortable position he was in.

"I'm sorry," Scully laughed as Mulder stretched his legs, "You should have woken me up."

"Naw," he yawned, "you needed a good nights sleep." He paused before adding, "Plus we had a good time, didn't we buddy?" Will, who was now awake, cooed happily.

"Guys stuff," Mulder grinned again.

"Oh, I see." Scully picked Will up and gave him a kiss on the cheek. "I don't know if I want you teaching him all your 'guy stuff' Mulder." She teased adding, "At least not until he's older."

Mulder enjoyed seeing Scully in such a good mood. He was glad that last night was over. He put the blanket and doll back in its place, and headed after Scully. In the direction of the kitchen.

An hour and a dozen eggs later- Mulder had insisted on making breakfast, and he seemed to have a little trouble with the eggs- Mulder and Scully sat lazily enjoying the peace and quiet of the early morning.

Scully glanced over the mess on the counter. She had tried to insist that she made breakfast, after his breakfast in bed and all-nighter yesterday, but Mulder kept insisting and she finally just gave up and let him.

Eggshells and various posts and pans littered the counter, making it look like the set of a cooking show...and a messy one at that. Scully sighed. She didn't even know that she owned that many cooking utensils until now! It was funny how Mulder seemed to have a knack at finding things-things that supposedly belonged to her-which Scully herself had not seen in over eight years. She thought about the candles and smiled, wondering if maybe next time she would end up with some new alien-shaped skillet or pot. Mulder noticed her smile, and asked what she was thinking about.

Scully laughed, "I just never thought of you as the cooking type."

"Yeah, well, after 30 years a person starts to get sick of the same old take out every night." Mulder grinned adding, "Although if it weren't for you Scully, I'd probably be eating it for another 30." At this, even Will seemed to be amused. Mulder and Scully looked over at the gurgling baby who was happily failing both arms and legs about.

"Well," Scully glanced at the phone as Mulder promised he would clean up his mess. "I should probably call mom and tell her that we'll be over sometime today to discuss wedding arrangements." She stopped, realizing that Mulder wasn't paying any attention to her, as he was to busy playing airplane with Will. Although Will was too young to truly enjoy the game, Mulder seemed to fully enjoying himself.

Scully just rolled her eyes, mumbling to herself, "Mulder, you never cease to amaze me."

Three hours later Mulder was finally done cleaning up his mess in the kitchen. Flopping down on the couch next to Scully and Will, Mulder let out an exaggerated sigh. "Next time we go to the store remind me to by some Poptarts."

They both laughed as she leaned in and gave him a soft kiss. Scully snuggled closer to Mulder on the couch, Will in arms.

Mulder grinned and put both his arms around Scully and Will, thinking ~how could I possible be this lucky?~

It was amazing how perfect she fit, nestling her head under Mulder's chin.

They lie there for a long time just enjoying each other's presence. Scully felt so safe...so loved. When the phone rang, she groaned not wanting to get up.

"I'd tell you to just let the machine get it," Mulder mumbled into the top of her head, "but it's probably your mom, and if you don't answer pretty soon, she'll have both your brothers and Skinner over hear to make sure everything's all right."

She let out a sigh, knowing that Mulder was right, and carefully handed Will over as she headed out to stop the annoying ring.

Scully picked the phone up off the receiver and said hello.

She heard nothing but rasp breathing on the other end.


There was a soft click on the other end telling her that the caller had hung up.

"Who was it?" Mulder asked, still concentrating on Will.

"No one." She couldn't get over the familiar sound of the caller's rasp breathing. She shook it off, deciding she was being overly paranoid. She curled back up in Mulder's arms and slowly drifted off to sleep.

Twenty minutes later, Scully awoke to another annoying phone call.

"I got it!" Mulder yelled from the kitchen, where he was grabbing a new bag of sunflower seeds. Glancing at her watch, Scully realized that it was probably her mom calling to see when they were coming over.

Back in the kitchen, Mulder grabbed the phone, "Mul-uh, Hello?" He grabbed a pair of scissors to open the bag that was not cooperating very well.

There was no answer.

He asked again, "Hello?" He was greeting only with the monotonous pulse of a dial tone. Shrugging, he hung up and popped a handful of seeds into his mouth.

"Who was it?" Scully appeared in the doorway yawning. She couldn't believe how sleepy she was. She had had a good night's sleep and a nap, and she was still tired!

"Wrong number?" Mulder worked the seeds in his mouth, while picking up a small stuffed bear that Will had throw from his place on the blanket.

Scully remembered the strange call earlier that morning. The sound of familiar breathing echoed in her ears. Shaking it off, she went to pick up Will.

"How's my guy?" Scully gave Will a gentle kiss on his fuzzy little head.

"Oh I'm doing pretty good," Mulder's voice came from behind her. "A little hungry, but other that that..." He trailed off, popping some more sunflower seeds in his mouth.

Scully rolled her eyes, "We should probably call my mom and tell her we'll be over sometime tonight."

She grabbed the pone, and punched in the number, after a few rings Mrs. Scully picked up the phone.

"Hi mom, it's me," After exchanging hellos, Scully asked, "Mom did you call earlier today?"

"No, honey, I just got in from reading the paper outside on the deck. Why?"

"Oh, no reason." Secretly, she was worried. ~Who could it have been?~ she thought to herself. She went on with conversation with her mother, mostly about the wedding. They got talking about bride's maids and things like that. Then came up the question of who would walk her down the aisle.

"Well, traditionally, it should be Bill, but after last night I'm not so sure. It could be Charlie, but that might make Bill feel bad." Maggie Scully's voice indicated though that after what happened last night she really didn't care what Bill thought. Scully pondered for a few seconds before replying. "Yes, I suppose Charlie. I was thinking about Skinner, but he is going to be the best man."

"What about ushers?"

"Oh, three of Mulder's friends are going to be the ushers." Her thoughts turned to the Lone Gunmen. Byers she could see in a suit because he always wore one. But about the other two.... she just laughed at the thought. They ended the conversation and Scully hung up.

She hadn't hung the phone up but about a minute ago when it rang again. She expected it to be her mother, but it wasn't.

Scully motioned to Mulder to pick up the other line.

"Who is it?" Mulder asked, thinking it was Scully's mom again. Scully waved her hand motioning him to be quiet.

They sat silently, each with a phone pressed to their ear. Mulder grabbed his cell phone and began punching in the familiar number. Whispering into the cell, while holding the cordless far enough away, Mulder said, "Hi Danny, it's Mulder... yeah thanks...I'd like to trace a call...Scully's home number." After reciting the number, which he would know in his sleep, Mulder waited.

Scully was about to hang up when a chill ran down her spine. In place of the heavy breathing from before, was something far worse. Heard faintly, almost inaudible in the background, was the soft music of a baby's lullaby. Her pulse quickened, and she held her breath. The normally happy jingle of London Bridges, seemed eerily dangerous in the endless expanse of distance between them and the caller. It was as if he or she was taunting them, daring them to find out who was on the other end.

Suddenly the music stopped. There were a few minutes of nothing but silence, soon replaced by the beeping of an emotionless dial tone.

Mulder hung up the cordless. Into his cell he said, "Thanks Danny...you too."

Mulder looked at Scully.

Scully looked at Mulder.

After a few seconds, he said, "They got a trace." He paused before adding, "you'll never believe where it came from though."

Scully held her breath. "Where?"

"My old house, in Martha's Vineyard. The one that Samantha was taken from." Mulder had tears in his eyes. No one had been to that house in so long.

"Oh, Mulder." Scully walked up to him and put her arms around him.

He wiped the tears from his eyes as he said, "I have to go see who's there. They may not be there when I get there but I can get fingerprints, something. We can't let this go on."

Scully decided she needed to tell him about her dream.

She sat down next to him and took his hand. "Mulder there's something that I should have told you before." She paused then continued to tell him about her dream. When she was done, Mulder sat and stared still trying to hold back his tears. He had vowed that nothing would get in the way of what he had with Scully.

~It's not fair.~ Scully thought giving Mulder a comforting hug. Everything was finally going their way. They were supposed to be discussing wedding plans, not whether or not he should leave to find out who this mysterious caller was.

They sat, Mulder in Scully's arms for a while. Finally Scully took a deep breath.

"Well Mulder, we should call my mom." How many times had she said that over the course of the day?

He looked confused for a minute.

She tried to give him a comforting smile, "We're going to need somebody to watch Will while we go to Martha's Vineyard, right?"

He gave her a hug, realizing how much she didn't want to go, but was doing it all for him.

"I promise you, Scully, nothing is going to come between us, even if that nothing is Samantha."

"But you deserve closure, the truth about her."

"It's not worth losing you and Will. That was so long ago. I've finally come to terms with losing her, I don't know if I could go through with the pain that might come from finding her. You're my life now, Scully."

She went over and sat in his lap, her arms around his neck, and looked in his eyes with tears in hers. She knew how much he was giving up, all of it for her and Will. Finding Samantha had been his whole life, and to give that up for her was like he was giving her more than the earth and the heavens. It was the best thing he could give her.

He continued, "The only reason I am going up there is to put a stop to these calls, not to find my sister." He knew the sacrifice he was making, but it was worth it. He wanted a normal life, well, as normal of a life as you could get with having been part in a government conspiracy. He wanted to spend it with Scully.

She uncurled herself from his loving embrace and went to call her mom.

Charlie picked up on the second ring.

"Hey Charlie," they exchanged hellos, and then Scully asked, "Is mom there?"

"Um, yeah hold on." Charlie left the phone and was replaced by his mother a few minutes later.

"Dana, I'm surprised you called, we were expecting you in a few hours." Mrs. Scully sounded pleased anyway.

Scully hesitated a few seconds, "Mom, we're not going to able to make it tonight." She paused, "at least not Mulder and I."

"Honey what do you mean?" Scully's mom sounded concerned, "has something happened?"

"Something's come up." She glanced over at Mulder still sitting on the couch. He was now holding Will. "Mulder and I have to go out of town for a while, and we were wondering if," she swallowed hard. She didn't want to leave Will as much as Mulder did, but they had no other choice. "If you could watch Will for us while we're gone."

Mulder came up beside her and put a comforting arm around her. He knew how hard it was for her to leave Will, he felt the same way.

"Well, sure honey," Mrs. Scully was still confused, "you know we'd love to have him."

"Thanks mom." Scully leaned in to Mulder's embrace.

"Just promise me you'll be careful." the mother's instinct in Mrs. Scully kicked in.

Mulder motioned for Scully to hand him the phone.

"Mrs. Scully?" Mulder handed Will over to Scully.

"Fox?" Maggie was surprised.

"Yeah, um, I just wanted to tell you that nothing bad will happen to Dana." He paused and glanced at Scully adding, "I promise."

"I know you do Fox." Mrs. Scully smiled, "Knowing that you'll be with her makes me feel better." They finished the conversation, with Mulder saying that they would be by in a little while to drop Will off.

After hanging up the phone, Mulder put his arms around Scully and Will. Nothing was going to happen to either of them while he was around. They were his everything, his life. He reached down and planted a soft kiss on Will's little head, and then repeated the gesture on Scully.

"Don't worry," he spoke softly, "we'll be back discussing how to get Langly and Frohike in a suit in no time."

"Which reminds me........." Mulder jumped up and grabbed the phone.

"Lone Gunmen."

"Hey Frohike, it's Mulder."

"Oh, hey man."

"I've got what's going to be some disappointing news for you."

In the background, Frohike heard Scully laughed.

"Sorry, to tell you, buddy, but Scully and I are getting married."

"What?!? She chose you over me!?! What....." At this point Mulder was holding the phone away from his ear so he missed the next few words, which probably was a good thing. In a few moments Langly and Byers had wrestled the phone away from him.

On the other end Langly was out of breath asking, "What the heck did you say to him??"

"That Scully and I are getting married. And he didn't even hear the rest. Actually, to save my own hearing, I should probably give this piece next information to Byers first and let him relay it to you."

By this point Frohike had calmed down enough to have told Byers, so when Byers picked up the phone the first words out of his mouth were, "It's about time!"

"Actually, there's more. We want you three to be our ushers."

"Of course we will!" He sounded absolutely ecstatic about the prospect of getting to wear a tux.

"Great, that's what I was hoping for. Tell the other two that they don't get a choice, you already accepted for them."

"Now I see why you wanted to tell me." Then under his breath he added, "Good idea."

Mulder gave him instructions of what to do while they were gone they ended the conversation with Byers saying, "And don't worry, I'll get them into tuxes." You could hear the protests already forming in the background. Mulder laughed as they hung up and turned to Scully.

"I have to report to you that little Melvin is a little upset with our engagement," Mulder said with a grin.

Scully just laughed.

"Well, hopefully he isn't too devastated." She laughed at the thought, "I don't want to add to our list of midnight phone calls."

Mulder grinned, "Oh I'm sure he'll get over it," he wrapped his arms around her again, whispering in her ear, "Especially when he finds out that he's finally getting my video collection."

Scully glanced up at Mulder skeptically.

"I know I won't be needing it anymore." he grinned playfully adding, "Of course, I'll have to go over all of them again just to make sure that there's nothing important on any of them."

"Like alien autopsies?" Scully smirked.

"Like alien autopsies." Mulder repeated, a blank look on his face.

"Riiight." Scully nodded.

"No, seriously Scully," Mulder put on his best "really" face and continued, "I accidentally forgot to label the tape before I lost it." He paused before adding, "And I don't intend to just throw away my $29.95 that easily."

Scully just rolled her eyes. "Well, we should go get Will ready to go over to my moms."

"Yeah," Mulder was serious, "the sooner we leave the better."

Scully went to go get Will, when Mulder's voice stopped her.

"Oh and Scully?" She turned around. "What I said about not needing my tapes anymore?" He grinned slyly. "I wasn't kidding."

She laughed, causing Will, who was now in her arms, to laugh, too.

As she was gathering up his things, she came across the doll that had been Samantha's when she was young. She just stared at it for a minute, thinking about her new life. Finally, instead of packing it with Will's things, she decided to take it with her. Maybe it had some connection to the whole thing.

She suddenly stopped, trying to think back. She didn't know what she was trying to remember, but she knew it was something important. After a while she realized what she was it was. As a child, Samantha's favorite song had been London Bridges.

~Oh my gosh. This isn't happening.~ She was trying to think of who the caller might have been, but now she knew it had to be someone how was close to Samantha. Someone who knew Mulder would remember that London Bridges was Samantha's favorite lullaby. It was a good thing Mulder had been talking to Danny at the time. She also realized she almost told him about the music, but something stopped her. Her own repressed memory had kept her from mentioning it.

Now all she had to do was decide to tell Mulder about the song.

She quickly finished packing the rest of Will's things, and went to see how Mulder was coming along.

He was sitting on the couch trying to put on Will's little shoes.

"C'mon little man," Mulder laughed as Will kicked, avoiding the annoying shoe his daddy was trying desperately to put on. "Work with me here."

He glanced up at Scully as she walked into the room. Whispering to Will, he said, "You're making me look bad here." He grinned.

Biting his tongue and sticking in out with a determined look on his face, Mulder finally threw his arms into the air.

"Ta-da!" He bowed very proud of himself.

Scully laughed and gave him a round of applause. "I'm impressed Mulder."

He beamed picking his son up and planted a kiss on his cheek, whispering loud enough for Scully to hear, "thanks for not embarrassing me buddy." He grinned at her again.

"Mulder I-" She was about to tell him about the music she had heard over the phone, but something stopped her. She looked at his face. He seemed so happy. She didn't want to worry him further.

"What?" Mulder stopped talking 'baby-talk' to Will, who seemed quite amused by this, and looked up. "Scully what is it?"

"I, um, packed everything that Will's going to need until we get back." She said changing her mind about telling him about the lullaby. She smiled hoping that he wouldn't pick up on her hesitation.

Luckily, Mulder was too busy getting back into his 'conversation' with Will to notice.

He looked up again, "You didn't forget his blanky did you?" Mulder said referring to the blanket that Will had become quite attached to over the short time that he had been around.

"Would I forget something so important as that?" Scully mocked astonishment as she took Will from Mulder's arms.

"Of course not Scully," Mulder grinned taking the baby bag from her, "You remember everything."

She rolled her eyes, glad that she chose not to mention the music. At least not yet...

When they got to the car, Scully put Will in his car seat while Mulder put the bags in the back. Noting that Scully's bag was partially unzipped he reached to zip it up all the way. Then he saw the doll.

~Why is she bringing it with her?~ He didn't know whether or not to ask her about it. May be it was just because they were going to the house where Samantha had grown up, that it may make her feel closer to his sister, whom she'd never known, but heard so much about. He didn't know what it was, but seeing it made it much harder to give his sister up. ~I've got my own family now, I can't dwell on the past, she's gone,~ he scolded himself. He went up and got in the driver's seat.

"Everybody ready?" he asked, looking back at Will then over at Scully. She nodded as he pulled out onto the road.

On the drive to Mrs. Scully's house they were unusually quiet, both had their minds on Samantha. Scully knew she had to tell him about the music, she just didn't know when, if she didn't say it at the right time, he might just break. She knew he was close. The truth was, the phone calls had started to worry him more than they did her after the trace back to his childhood home. She knew it was killing him to give up on Samantha after all of it. He finally had closure, but the wounds hadn't completely healed. Now they were being opened again and she didn't know if he could handle it. With everything that had been going on, he was emotionally unstable. She knew this not only as a doctor, but as his fianc She believe him when he told her that he wouldn't let anything come between, even Samantha. She knew he would try his best to keep his promise to her, but she didn't know if it was possible. She just had to have faith, she told herself. Faith in Mulder, in their relationship, and in everything they'd been through. She knew that they would get through it all, they always did, but she didn't know if they would get through it before he got hurt again.

When they finally arrived at Mrs. Scully's house, they hadn't said two words since they had left home. Finally, as they were walking up the sidewalk, Mulder asked her, "Are you sure you want to do this Scully? There is so much at stake, but none of it is worth that much. Not so much that I would risk losing you and Will."

She smiled at his thoughtfulness as she answered, "Yes, Mulder, I do."

Hand in hand, with Will in Scully's arm and bag's in Mulder's, they rang the doorbell.

"Mulder there's something-" Scully was cut off as Maggie Scully opened the door. They were greeted with a hugs and hellos, as she motioned for them to come in.

Mulder glanced at Scully. ~What is it?~

~Nothing~ she smiled wanly ~I'll tell you later~

He gave her a smile telling her that he understood, and hugged Mrs. Scully back.

"I think we got everything." Mulder started untangling himself from the various bags stuff full of the necessities one needs when caring for a baby. "Be prepared." he laughed, "We're movin' in!"

At this point, Charlie walked in munching on a freshly baked brownie. "Here," he popped the last remnants of the chocolate dessert in his mouth and wiped off his hands, "let me get that."

Grateful for the offer, Mulder handed Charlie a few bags.

"You weren't kidding about moving in!" Charlie huffed, "what'd you do, pack his entire room?"

"Close," Scully glanced at Mulder, who was trying to keep the diaper bag from spilling its contents into a messy pile on the floor. She turned to her mom, "Thanks for doing this mom." She paused lowering her gaze, "I'm not sure how long we're going to be gone."

"You know we always love to have him." Maggie smiled at her daughter gently lifting her chin to look her in the eyes. "Honey, you promise me you'll be careful...that you'll be home soon?"

Scully nodded, and Mulder once again assured Mrs. Scully that nothing bad was going to happen while they were gone.

Making sure her family had both their cell phone numbers, Scully and Mulder went to tell their son goodbye one last time before they were off.

Scully held Will in her arms, softly kissing his tiny head. She wanted more than ever to take him with them, but she knew that it wasn't an option.

Mulder put his arm around her, giving her a reassuring squeeze. ~It's going to be ok, I promise.~

~I know Mulder, it's just...hard~

Mulder bent down giving his son a quick kiss. "You be good now. Don't give your grandma and uncles a bad time." Mrs. Scully and Charlie laughed.

They stood there a few more seconds trying to convince themselves that it was just a little trip to stop these calls. That they would be back in no time, and finally discussing plans for the wedding.

Looking into Scully's expression, Mulder knew how she felt. They couldn't kid themselves. This wasn't just some "little trip". This could end up effecting their lives more than they could ever imagine.

~Are you sure you really want to do this~

Scully nodded barely perceptible. ~Yeah, I'm sure.~

~Ok then, let's go. The sooner we leave, the sooner we get back~

They said their final goodbyes, and with one last look at Will, headed out the door.

Once outside, Mulder turned to her, "Now what was it you wanted to tell me Scully?"

She shivered, though she wasn't cold. She looked at him and said, "I'll tell you in the car."

He glanced at her oddly. Deciding it was nothing she shrugged it off.

Once they were in the car, he put the keys in the ignition and went to start it, but Scully grabbed his hand.

"What is it?" he asked.

She wouldn't look in his eyes, instead she looked at their entwined fingers. "It's about the phone call the other day."

He knew she didn't want to tell him. For whatever reason, he knew she didn't to tell him. And he was afraid of what she had to say. He knew that Scully tone.

"In the background the tune London Bridge was playing, but is was distorted, almost warning." She couldn't look at his face, it hurt her too much to see him in pain.

Mulder looked confused, then, making the connection, his whole body shook with sobs.

She didn't know how to comfort him. All she wanted to do was make his hurt go away, but she didn't know how to do that. It was killing her inside, to see him like that. Then, for lack of knowing what to do, she held him in her arms like a baby. He welcomed her embrace, clinging to her.

After about ten minutes, he moved away and turned the key in the ignition. The engine sprang to life, and he pulled out of the driveway.

"Say something, Mulder."

Still saying nothing, he drove into town and stopped in an empty parking lot. Climbing out of his seat, he moved toward her. She moved to the side of her seat, so he could sit down, then she climb in his lap. He put his arms around her waist, holding her protectively. He buried his head in her shoulder, crying again. She put her hands around his neck, holding him close.

Finally, he looked up.

"Talk to me, Mulder."

"What do you want me to say? That now that I finally found everything I've ever wanted, and looked beyond the past that I've dwelled on for twenty-five years, all the work getting over it has suddenly turned to nothing! Is that what you want me to say?" His voice was gruff, almost angry.

She pulled away from him, tears in her eyes. All she was trying to do was help.

"Scully, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean for it to come out like that."

"Just drive, Mulder."

Quietly, he moved back to his seat and did as he was told.

"Scully, I'm sorry, please don't be mad at me." It was the first words either of them had said since they pulled out of the parking lot and hour ago.

He didn't need for her to be mad at him. The silence was killing him.

"I'm not mad at you Mulder, I'm just hurt."

"I never, ever meant to hurt you. I just didn't know how else to say it."

Tears welled up in his eyes again. He couldn't drive like that, so he pulled onto the side of the road. Using his sleeve as tissue, he wiped his eyes dry and looked over at Scully. He was surprised to see tears in her eyes too. Once again he climbed into her seat and resumed the position he was in earlier, Scully in his lap, his arms around her waist. He tilted her chin so she was looking into his eyes.

"You know I would never intentionally do anything, to hurt you. I'm don't know how else to say I'm sorry." She could hear the tears in his voice.

"I understand, Mulder, I was upset too."

"I love you, Scully."

"I love you, too."

With that, she kissed his lips gently.

He looked up into her eyes and smiled gratefully.

Her heart melted, to see him smile like that. To know that she could make him smile like that meant so much to her. He went without smiling for so long after Samantha disappeared, he hadn't genuinely smiled again until he met her.

"OK, we'd better get going." Sadly she pulled away from his protective grip and let him get up.

He tried to start the car, but the engine wouldn't turn over.

"What now?" Mulder stared at the hood, trying to will it to start again. Unfortunately it didn't work.

Scully laughed at the frustrated look on his face. "Open the hood Mulder," she said as she got out of the car.

Looking baffled, he did as she had said and got out, too. "Scully, I have a confession, I know nothing about cars. At all."

She laughed as she replied, "Yes, Mulder, I know."

She stared at the engine intently, then looked up at his confused expression. "Just because you don't know anything about cars doesn't mean I don't. I had two brother, remember? I had more fun with them than I did playing house with Missy."

Looking sheepish, Mulder replied, "So, what's wrong with it?"

"Well, it looks like the fuel injector is plugged up. I have a feeling that we're going to be here for a while."

Looking confused, Mulder commented, "OK, the most know about cars is that when you turn the key, it starts, well, in most cases. What does whatever you just said mean?"

"It's just that most likely we'll have to order a new one. And considering the we are in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania it might take a while."

"I knew we should have flown!"

"Hey, you were the one that decided it would be nice for us to drive so we could have the time alone!"

"Yeah, well, it is nice for us to spend the time alone together. I guess I should probably call a garage and get a tow truck out here."

"Ok, I'll try to figure out where we are and find us a hotel. Now I wish I hadn't had my eyes closed, I know how you are with directions. No telling where we are." Laughing, he put through his call to roadside assistance.

"Ok," Scully started, shutting her cell phone, "Ok, we are in Lebanon, Pennsylvania and there is a motel right next to the service station you called. I guess we'll be staying there for tonight."

"Hummm.... Just like old times."

"Well, not exactly like old time, now we are in the same room." He wagged his eyebrows at her as he kissed her lips playfully.

Scully laughed, causing their lips to part. "And this time it's not because of a flying cow."

It was Mulder's turn to laugh. It felt good to laugh after all the tears he had shed over the past few hours.

Scully was glad that Mulder seemed to be in a better mood, although she knew that things would only be getting worse once they finally got to his old house. That is if they ever got there.

Taking Mulder's hand, she sat down on the hood of the car, pulling him down with her. She shivered in the cold of the night's air.

Mulder noticed Scully was shivering and pulled her into his lap wrapping his arms protectively around her, just as he had twice already since they had left her mom's house.

"You know the rational thing to do here," Mulder teased, "would be to get back into the car until the tow truck gets here."

"Since when are you the one to suggest a rational explanation?" Scully laughed.

"It was just a suggestion." He shrugged, "but if you want to stay out here in this cold night air, who am I to deprive you of your desire?"

Scully rolled her eyes, and laid her head comfortably on his shoulder. She tried not to think about the events that had unfolded earlier in the evening. She wanted more that anything for this to be over. Seeing Mulder like that had ripped into the very depths of her heart. Sighing, she snuggled closer to Mulder taking in his warmth.

With Scully in his arms Mulder lay back onto the windshield, hugging her closer. They lie gazing at the stars, Scully in Mulder's arms, for a long time.

It was Mulder who broke the silence, "I love you Scully." He pulled her closer, lowering his chin to the softness of her hair.

She had completely forgiven him for the events earlier, but she could tell that he still felt bad. She turned, as much as she cold still in his embrace to face him, "I love you too Mulder."

It was so peaceful, and Scully felt so protected wrapped in Mulder's loving embrace. She was enjoying it so much that didn't hear the car when it pulled up.

They were awaken from their trance with the beeping of a horn. Looking up, they jumped off the hood of the car, and walked up to the window of the tow truck.

After the formalities, the truck driver said, "The car behind your will take you to your motel. Right before we came I made a call to our part supplier. Since you said you were in a hurry, he said he could most likely get anything you need here by tomorrow, with a few exceptions."

"Thank you very much," Mulder replied, placing his hand on Scully's shoulder and guiding her to the car.

Once they were in the car Scully said, "You know what? This is our chance to really be alone before the wedding."

"Very true, Scully. I'm sorry it won't be more romantic. You know my choice in motels."

"Well, romance is what you make it."

"What are you suggesting Agent Scully?" He looked interested in what she had to say.

"Well, it was very comfortable on the car there with you a few minutes ago, maybe we could sleep outside, you know, under the stars."

He looked intrigued. "I would love to, Scully, but what would we sleep in, or on?"

"Well, ever since we were stranded in the woods in Florida and your suggestion about keeping warm, haven't we always carried a sleeping bag in the trunk of the car?"

He laughed. "OK, we'll walk over to the garage when the truck gets there and sleep out behind the room. But one part of that theory won't work because we'll be in public."

"Humm... Good point, but oh well, we'll make due." She grabbed his hand and placed her head on his shoulder, smiling.

Instead of going straight to the motel, they followed the tow truck to the garage. Once making sure that their car would be ready to pick up the next day, Mulder and Scully went to get the sleeping bag from the trunk.

The mechanic gave them a confused expression.

"She insists that I sleep outside." Mulder had to keep from laughing when he saw the man's face.

"We changed our minds," Scully said giving the mechanic an apologetic smile,

"We're gonna try roughing it for the night."

"Oh," The man, who's name turned out to be Mike, looked relieved. "A night under the stars huh?"

Mulder and Scully nodded.

"Well, in that case," Mike stuck the wrench he was holding in his back pocket. "We could just have the car drop you guys off at the campsite. It's just a few miles from the motel."

Scully looked at Mulder remembering their knack of finding bad things in the forest.

~This time's different~ Mulder grinned. ~No mothmen or little green bugs.~

~Yet~ Scully rolled her eyes and grinned, ~At least this time, we won't have to wait for it to rain sleeping bags~

"Sure why not?" Mulder grabbed the sleeping bag and Scully's hand and walked toward the car.

After thanking Mike and making arrangements for a car to be sent the next afternoon, Mulder and Scully left for the campsite.

Mulder thanked the driver and, sleeping bag in hand, put his arm around Scully's waist.

"Well Agent Scully, I suggest we find somewhere to set up camp." Mulder grinned leaning down to give her a kiss.

Scully smiled, "It shouldn't be to hard to find, now that we're actually camping out her on purpose."

"And in an actual designated campsite." He laughed.

Placing his hand on it's place at the small of her back, he led her to a clearing surrounded by trees that was right next to a small stream.

"How's this?" He laid down the sleeping bag in the center.

"Mulder, it's beautiful." Glancing at the sky Scully sighed. Finally things seemed to be going their way.

Mulder opened the sleeping bag and laid down. Grinning, he offered Scully a hand.

She settled down next to him and cuddled close. It was amazing how perfectly they fit, Scully spooned up in Mulder's arms.

They lie there for a good ten minutes saying nothing. Just enjoying the view, and each other's embrace.

Finally it was Mulder who broke the silence.

"Jeremiah was a bullfrog."

Scully burst out laughing.

Mulder ignored her and continued, "Was a good friend of mine."

She was laughing so hard she was crying. She couldn't believe how sweet Mulder was.

"Never understood a single word he said," Mulder kissed her neck, which only made Scully laugh harder, "But I helped him drink his wine."

Scully turned over trying to regain her composure. "Mulder, you never cease to amaze me." With that she took his face in her hands and kissed him.


Slowly pulling away, Mulder said, "I love you, Scully. You know, even though in the past week I've said that so many times, I still can't get use to saying it. I mean, I waited so long to say those words like this, so passionately, so full of love. I just love saying it, and hearing you say it."

"Mulder, I love you too." In the past week she had seen a totally new side of Mulder, a passionate, loving side, something she'd been waiting to see for so long. He was such a deep person, though it was something he usually didn't show. She loved that about him. But now that she thought about it, she loved everything about him.

She pulled him closer to him, trying to get warm. Slowly, the feel of his hot breath on her face lulled her off to sleep.

Scully had fallen asleep over an hour ago, and Mulder concentrated on the rhythmic sound of her breathing. He loved just watching her sleep. She looked so peaceful, so content, so... Scully. He realized that it was all that he needed to be content himself. Just to be here with her in his arms.

Suddenly a memory flashed through his mind and he laughed out loud. Holmen Hardt- the weatherman's voice echoed through his mind.

"I've seen how you two gaze at one another."

He grinned to himself when he remembered his own response, thinking ~I guess I was wrong. I really do gaze at Scully.~

At the sound of Mulder's laughter, Scully stirred in her sleep and snuggled closer. Even in the dark Mulder could see the grin on her face. Even in her sleep Mulder's voice made her smile.

Scully awoke with a start, heart racing and drenched in sweat. She was breathing hard, and it took her a while to realize that it had just been a dream. Mulder jumped awake.

"Scully!" Mulder tried to move but was pinned down by the weight of the sleeping bag. It took him a while to realize where he was. He struggled to get his bearings.

The sound of his voice calmed her nerves, but Scully was still shaking.

Fully awake, Mulder took her in his arms, "Shhh, Scully it's ok. It was just a dream. I'm here."

~She hadn't said anything...had she?~ At least Scully didn't remember saying anything.

Mulder answered her question, "You were crying out in your sleep." He held her closer and caressed her face. Scully closed her eyes, letting herself fall back into Mulder's embrace. The dream had seemed so real. What little she could remember about it quickly vanished at the sound of Mulder's voice.


"Yeah?" He still had his arms protectively around her, tucking the sleeping bag closer.

"You ok now?" He mumbled into the top of her head.

She looked up smiling. "I am now."

Kissing her softly, he grinned. "You want me to sing you another lullaby?"

She laughed, "That's ok Mulder, I think one a night is enough for me." Mulder laughed, and after a few more moments of stargazing, they both drifted back to sleep.

The next thing Mulder remembered was being woken up by Scully's sweet kisses all over his neck. ~What a way to wake up,~ he thought.

Still acting like he was asleep, he laid there, so she wouldn't stop. Then after about a minute, he tilted her chin up and kissed her lips. Surprisingly, she let out a soft giggle.

"What's so funny?" Mulder asked, faking a hurt look.

"It's just the night we were in Florida, I thought about being able to do this. It's like some type of dej vu, only it was something I thought of consciously." She giggled again. "You know, back then I never would have thought that it would have ever actually happen. I mean, I hoped that it would, but I never thought that anything romantic would ever happen between us. We are both so stubborn that I thought that we would admit that we loved the other one, not in this way. But then again I never thought that it was possible that I could have a child, and we got Will. Two amazing miracles that I never thought could or would ever happen."

"I've always loved you, Scully. Not necessarily romantically as we are now, no that wasn't until I brought you the flowers that I took from the guy with the broken leg, but as my best friend. Every since the night you had the mosquito bites on your back and you came to my motel room. The night that I first told you about Samantha. I realized you were my first real best friend. That night I just felt so close to you, I knew there was something special about our relationship, maybe it was because you had the courage to come into my hotel room almost naked on our first assignment together." He chuckled at the memory and she playfully slapped him hand in the sleeping bag, then grabbed it, and held it against her stomach.

"You know what Mulder, to be honest, I thought you were a total nutcase until a couple of years ago. I mean, beyond help psychotic. The first time I thought about you as in a lover was when the Gunmen and I pulled you off that ship in the Pacific and you were lying in your hospital bed, and you told me you loved me. Don't get me wrong, I've always found you very, very attractive, and at times downright sexy, but I thought it was just a crush based on looks. Now I realized that you've been my first real best friend, too. And I've heard friends make the best lovers." She smiled and kissed him again.

"I agree." Suddenly, his stomach grumbled. "You know what? I'm hungry. Why don't we get up and go take showers and change, the go get some breakfast."

Sighing, Scully got up and picked up their bags off the ground. They walked up to the campground information desk, and asked for directions to the bath houses.

A very country voice, too country for Pennsylvania, answered, "They're up on top of that there hill," he said, indicating a large building on the other side of the camp ground. "I warn you, there won't be very much hot water, probably just about enough for one shower. Even with ya'll being the only customers in the place for the past few days. The water heater is almost shot and we haven't replaced it, basically because the place will pro'aly be going belly-up in a few weeks if we don't get more customers."

"Thank you, sir," Scully said politely as she and Mulder left.

"Did you hear what he said Scully?" Mulder looked pleased at the thought of not enough hot water.

"Yes, Mulder I did," she replied exasperated. "He said there was only enough hot water for one shower."

"And that we are the only one's in the whole place."

She started to see his point. "Are you suggesting what I think you are?" She looked pleased at his idea.

"Yes, I am. I don't see why one shower should be a problem, do you?"

"No, actually, I think it would be better than two." Smiling, she took his hand and they made the long trek up the hill.

The bathhouse was surprisingly clean as far as campground bathhouses go. It reminded Scully of the time they had had to be "cleansed" of all "possible toxins" after Diana Fowley and her herd of quarantine troops had busted down Mulder's door and taken Cassandra Spender. She shuttered at the thought.

Mulder seemed to read her mind. "At least this time we won't have to wear those fashionable way-too- short-and-uncomfortable-government-issue-clothes afterward." He grinned, and wagging his eyebrows, motioned for her to step in.

"Welcome to my humble abode. A place where all your dreams come true."

Scully laughed, "I don't know," she teased, "I have some pretty amazing dreams."

Mulder laughed, "Well, I'll try to do my best. Although I do have to warn you, I sometimes tend to sing in the shower."

Scully faked a horrified gasp, "You Mulder? I never would have guessed."

"I know, who would of thought?" He said matter-of-factly turning on the hot water. Scully laughed again kissing him softly, "Hmmm, must be an X-file."

The warm water on her back felt wonderful. Scully rubbed her neck, sore from a night of sleeping on 'nature's mattress'.

Noticing her gesture, Mulder moved closer and began gently massaging Scully's back. She groaned in pleasure as he worked over her soar muscles. The methodic padding of the warm water made it even better.

Mulder grinned, "I think she likes."

Scully sighed closing her eyes. "Like? Mulder you are amazing, you know how much I love your massages."

He stopped for a second to pour some shampoo into his hand then continued. He massaged her scalp, greatly enjoying every minute of it. Scully was so relaxed she could have easily fallen asleep right then and there.

~This is the life.~ She sighed again turning towards him.

"Come on Mulder, turn around."

He looked confused for a second then laughed as she said, "You slept on the same bumpy ground as I did, I'm sure your back would thank me." She grinned adding with a sly smile, "You didn't really think I'd let you get away with all the fun now did you?"

Giving in, he turned for his turn to be massaged. The feel of Scully's small fingers working it's way magic on his sore muscles made him groan too.

"See Mulder, I told you."

He sighed, "Ahhh... Scully?"

"Yeah?" She started in on the shampoo, having to stand on her tiptoes to reach the top of his head.

"I think I'm feeling a song coming on." He grinned turning his head to see her expression.

She laughed, pulling his face closer to hers just inched from her lips. "Well then, I guess I'll just have to put an end to that now won't I?" With that she lessened the space in between them with a soft kiss, making it impossible for the oncoming song to escape.

An hour, and no more hot water, later Mulder and Scully walked hand in hand into the nearest restaurant that they could find. It was a cute little bed and breakfast just off the campground simply called Granny's Home Cookin'.

An elderly women, that reminded Scully of her grandma, greeted them at the door with a friendly smile.

"Welcome to Granny's," she led the way to a small table in the corner. They sat down and she handed them menus, "The only place you can get real come cooked food within 100 miles."

Mulder grinned, "Sounds good to me."

"My name is Dorothy," She smiled warmly folding her hands. "If there's anything else you need don't hesitate to ask."

They thanked Dorothy before she hustled back to kitchen.


"Oh, my, everything looks so good, I don't know what to order." Scully was staring at the menu intently.

>From behind her she heard Dorothy's voice shout from the kitchen, "I recommend the biscuits and gravy, they're the cook's specialty."

Laughing, she said to Mulder, "I think I've decided then."

Mulder was still debating when Dorothy reappeared.

"What will 'ya have, sweetie?" she asked, directing her question at Scully.

"The biscuits and gravy with milk, please," was her reply, handing back the menu.

"And what for the husband?" she asked, turning to Mulder.

He blushed and replied, "I'll have the same, please."

As she returned to the kitchen Scully said to Mulder, "See, I bet people have thought we were married for years, and just never said anything."

"Yeah," he said, with a half sigh.


Scully laughed, "Don't look so disappointed."

"I'm not disappointed that people think we're married Scully," Mulder picked up his fork and started playing with it, "It's just that all that time everyone else thought that we were married, we never got to have any of the fun that comes with it." He pretended to be sad, sighing forlornly.

Scully laughed again, "Well Mulder, you don't have to worry about that now. And in a few weeks we won't have to worry about people thinking we're married," She smiled placing her hand on his.

"Cause we will be." He finished her sentence grinning.

~How can I be so lucky?~ Mulder gave her hand a squeeze.

~Mulder, you're not the only lucky one.~ Scully looked into his eyes.

~I love you Scully~ Mulder looked like he was going to start laughing. ~I love saying that!~

~You didn't say it~

~Ok, I love thinking it!~

Scully laughed out loud. ~I love you too Mulder.~

They sat there, hand in hand, reading each other's thoughts. They didn't even notice Dorothy as she brought out there food.

"Sorry to interrupt ya." Dorothy set down the plates.

Mulder and Scully let go to make room for the food.

"Thanks," Scully smiled.

"Mmmm," Mulder gave Dorothy his trademark grin, "Just like grandma used to make it."

"You eat up now," Dorothy laughed, giving Mulder's hand a grandmotherly pat. She turned spoke to both of them, "I just wanted to tell y'all that you two make a very cute couple."

Scully blushed, "Thank you very much."

Dorothy smiled again, then hustled back to the kitchen.


Scully grinned, picking up her fork and talking a big whiff of the plate in front of her. Her mouth watered as she said, "See Mulder."

"Yeah," Mulder placed his napkin on his lap, "I heard." He grinned adding in a voice that very much resembled Dorothy's, "We make a very nice couple."

She laughed taking a bite. "You know Mulder," she gestured towards him with her fork, "If you ever had to go undercover as an old lady-"

Scully was interrupted by the sound of Mulder choking on a mouthful of biscuits and gravy.

"What!?" He managed to squeak out without flinging the contents of his mouth over the table and into her lap.

He was pounding on his chest coughing, still trying to recover her first statement, as Scully let out an amused snort. "I was just going to say that you had the voice down pat."

Mulder, recovered from his traumatic experience of flashes of him in an "old lady suit", deadpanned, "I really don't think that there are many old lady's out there with the name 'Mulder'."

"Well," Scully laughed, "I doubt that there are many old lady's with the name 'Fox' either."

"Well," Mulder grinned, deciding to play along, "For the sake of argument."

"Of course," Scully cut in.

He ignored her and continued, "Seeing as how we are under cover, my name would have to be something like," He thought for a second before adding, "Muldrina."

It was Scully's turn to choke. "Muldrina huh?"

"Yeah," Mulder put another forkful into his mouth chewing away quietly, "Has a nice ring to it don't you think...Muldriiinaaa"

Scully just rolled her eyes, "I'm sorry I brought it up."

They finished their meal in comfortable silence.

Every so often Scully would glance up and just shake her head silently chuckling to herself. Mulder would then give her an innocent look pretending that he had absolutely no idea what she was so amused about.

Finally they were done eating and went up to pay.

"It's on the house." Dorothy smiled, "We don't get many folks around here, especially those on their honeymoon."

Mulder and Scully exchanged confused glances.

Seeing their expressions, Dorothy blushed, "The first time I saw you two I figured that you must have been married for years, the way you seem to be able to talk without actually using words. But then after seeing the way you two act around each other, I just assumed..."

"It's ok," Scully smiled.

"Happens all the time." Mulder grinned putting his arm around Scully's waist.

"Well," Dorothy fluttered her hand in front of her, "Y'all er sure to keep confusing us more, I'm sure." She smiled at Scully and Mulder. "I wish you both the best."

"Thank you." They said in unison.

Mulder began to hand her the check.

"Oh no," Dorothy shook her head, "Like I said, it's on the house. I may be old, but I still know true love when I see it." She glanced at Mulder's arm protectively around Scully's waist. "And seeing the love you two have for one another has brought joy to this old heart once again." She paused sighing, "You don't see that much anymore these days. Y'all deserve it. No no no-" She waved away Mulder's hand as he once again tried to pay. "You have a nice day now ya hear?" With that she grinned and turned to go back to the kitchen.

Mulder sighed defeated.

Scully joined him. "Well, so much for that!" She turned toward the door.

"Not quite," Mulder gave her a sly grin as he took the check and tucked it safely into the pocket of Dorothy's apron, which she had left near the cash register. "Ok, now we can go."

They turned and walked put of the diner.

"That was really sweet of her," Scully said smiling at Mulder.

"Yes, it was." He smiled at her, pulling his grip around her tighter.

"What do we do now?" she asked, looking around.

"Well, they said they'd have the car delivered to our campground, and I figure it will be a while before they get it there. We really don't have anything to do, we have no car, no other clothes, other that the one's that we've been wearing all night, and no idea where we are." He glanced at her expression. She was trying to figure out what they could do.

Finally she had an idea.

"Well, we could always go and get a motel room, even thought we won't be there tonight. We could, um, spend the afternoon it." She glanced at him slyly.

He grinned at her cleverness.

"What do you say?" She really didn't have to ask, but she did anyway.

As an answer, he took her hand in his, his other arm still around her back and led her toward the motel.


"And for how many days will y'all be stayin' with us?" The lady behind the front desk drawled, looking up from the novel she had been reading.

Scully glanced at Mulder.

He grinned, "Just for tonight."

The lady (whose nameplate read, "Lola") typed the information into the computer,

"Enjoy your stay." Her tone expressed her boredom with her job, as handed them the key.

"Thank you." Scully said politely, as Mulder picked up the key.

"Will you need any help with your luggage?" Lola glanced around, giving them a confused expression at their lack of suitcases or duffle bags.

"Um, no that won't be necessary," Mulder flashed a smile and turned toward the lobby, steering Scully away with his hand at the small of her back.

Lola shrugged and returned to her book.

Mulder unlocked the door and stepped back for Scully to enter.

It was a quaint little room with only one king-size bed taking up most of the room. The sunlight shone through the window, making the burgundy and forest green curtains seem brighter.

Mulder stepped into the room shutting the door behind him.

"So Scully," He came up behind her wrapping his arms around her waist "We've got the entire afternoon," Mulder grinned, and kissed the back of her neck whispering into her ear, "Just what are we going to do to pass the time?"


"Humm..... I'm sure, kiss we can find kiss kiss something, kiss don't you think?"

"Yeah, I don't kiss think that will kiss kiss be a problem."

Suddenly Mulder's cell phone rang.

"Leave kiss it."

"But it kiss kiss be your mom."

Sighing, she pulled away. He had a point. It could be something about Will.


"Mr. Mulder." It wasn't a question.

"Who is this?" He knew the voice sounded familiar, but he didn't know from where.

"That is of no importance. I have some information that would prove to be very valuable to you."

Scully was tugging on his sleeve, not very happy about getting interrupted.

"What kind of information?" ~Is it a trap?~ he asked himself.

"Information about your sister."

Suddenly, the man had his whole attention. "What about her?"

"Just beware, Mr. Mulder. Beware of the trap you are walking straight into."

The line went dead.

"What's the matter? Who was that?" She was concerned at the look of pain on his face.

He shook it off, he didn't need to worry Scully. "Nothing, just a prank call."

She sighed heavily. "OK, so where were we?"

He kissed her passionately. "I think we were about here."

"I think so too." Her voice was deep and passionate.

Then it hit him. The man on the phone sounded like "X"! ~But "X" is dead,~ he thought to himself.

He turned back to Scully, giving her his full attention.

2 hours later...

knock knock knock

Scully groaned and snuggled closer to Mulder, head on his chest and arms wrapped lovingly around his waist.

"Just ignore them, maybe they'll go away." She yawned pulling the covers closer.

Mulder grinned, tightening his grip around her. "As much as I'd love to, we should probably get that."

"Why?" Still groggy from trying to wake up, Scully was not quite comprehending what he was saying.

"Because if we don't call your mom soon to tell her that we made it to Martha's Vineyard, she'll not only send Skinner and the FBI," He shuttered as he finished his sentence, "But Bill too."

Scully laughed, now fully awake, "Well, we can't have that now can we?"

Planting a quick kiss on the top of her head, Mulder got up to answer the door...


He threw on a pair of pants and walked to the door. Looking through it peep hole, Mulder saw a young black man he didn't recognize. He stood there for a minute, think about the phone call he had received earlier in the day. ~No, there couldn't be a connection.~

Then he noticed the manila envelope in his hand. Maybe there was a connection.

Cautiously, he opened the door.

"Mr. Mulder?"


"Hello, we spoke earlier." There was a pause and I confused look from Mulder.

~How did he know where Scully and I were?!?~ he asked himself.

Noting the look of confusion, he went on, "About bring your car here instead of the campground?"

Suddenly it made sense. It was the man from the service station.

"Oh, of course." He had forgotten that he had called when he and Scully checked into the hotel and asked for them to bring the car there after all.

"I need you to sign here," he said, indicating the paper he had pulled out of the envelope.

Mulder signed, and shut the door. Slipping off his jeans, he got back into bed. Scully shivered because of the cold air that hit her body as he pulled back the covers. He pulled her close, cradling her small, delicate body. Slowly, they both drifted back to sleep.

Mulder blinked, trying to ward off the sleep in his eyes. Yawning he glanced at Scully and, seeing that she was still asleep, glanced at the clock, 1:26. The small red light in the corner indicated that it was still the afternoon. Luckily for them, they hadn't slept away the entire day.

Mulder grinned. ~And what a day it's been.~

He focused his attention back on Scully as she slept peacefully. Mulder was glad that she had finally been able to get some sleep. It was something that seemed impossible for her the past few days, ever since the dreams had started.

As Scully slept, Mulder's mind drifted- something it often tended to do when he was lying in bed enjoying one of his favorite pastimes: Scully watching.

He cherished those moments when she was laying next to him, sound asleep. Those were the times that he could just enjoy watching her face and the expressions it contained with the rise and fall of each breath... without the interruption of everyday life.

He smiled thinking of Will, and how he was doing at his grandma's house. He thought of Samantha, and this whole strange ideal that had come up.

Allowing his mind to drift further, he remembered the day that he and Scully had met, how he had accused her of being sent to "spy on him". At this Mulder laughed out loud, causing Scully to stir in her sleep.

~How far that was from the truth~ He grinned again, adjusting his arm to a more comfortable position around Scully's waist. She let out a sigh, unconsciously snuggling closer.

Mulder's mind wondered to the time after his run in with the Bermuda Triangle when he had told Scully he loved her. The corners of his mouth curved into a grin, thinking of her reaction to their first "kiss". He thought of the presents on Christmas, after their night spent in that haunted house, and how much fun it was teaching her to play baseball...just spending time together not doing something work-related for once.

Suddenly his heart was consumed with pleasure as he realized that from now on all times spent with Scully would be like that. Now there wouldn't have to be excuses like "very early (or very late) birthday presents" or a convenient holiday to hide behind. They had finally stopped being so stubborn and given in to the truth. And he was very glad that they had.

As the 2, 5, and 9 on the clock were replaced with a 3 and two 0's, Mulder decided that they had better get up, suddenly remembering what they were doing here in the first place...

After getting dressed, Mulder moved as quietly as he could to open the door. He had decided to let Scully sleep for as long as possible, while he went to go check out and get the car. His hand was in the process of turning the doorknob as the phone rang. Hearing the phone ring brought Scully out of her peaceful slumber. Reaching out with her eyes still closed, she fumbled to find the receiver.

~That's funny~ She wrinkled her brow ~the phone was not in it's usual place by the bed.~

Thinking that it must be her cell phone, Scully struggled to open her eyes. The bright light from the window quickly halted the process making it impossible for her to see much of anything.

Quickly Mulder went to her side, noticing her confusion.

"Don't worry," he grabbed the receiver as she began to regain her eyesight, "I got it." He smiled putting the phone to his ear. "Hello?"

Finally realizing where she was, Scully yawned glancing at the clock. She couldn't believe how late it was. No wonder they were getting phone calls. Everybody was probably wondering where they were!

"Hello?" Scully noted the look of worry on Mulder's face as he repeated the question. "Hello? Is anybody there?..."

Click the line went dead.

Mulder stared blankly at the receiver until the beep beep beep of the dial tone was audible from Scully's place on the bed.

Getting up, she took it from his hands and gently placed it back in its place.

"Mulder?" Quietly she placed a hand on his shoulder.

He didn't hear her. His mind was focused on the call he had received earlier. Could it be possible that X was still alive?

"Mulder" it was more of a statement that a question.

"Who was on the phone?" She realized how ridiculous the question was, too late to stop it from escaping her mouth. She had been right there- had heard the dial tone...had seen the look on his face.

"Wakeup call?" His attempt at humor failed, giving her a weak smile.

Scully took his hand in hers, "Mulder," she said it in her 'I- know-there's-more-going-on-here-than-you're-telling-me' tone of voice.

He sighed sitting down next to the crumpled sheets. Scully followed, taking a seat next to him, still hand in hand.

"I guess now's a good a time as any to tell you." She followed his gaze toward the phone.

"Tell me what?" Scully's face took on a worried expression.

Mulder took a deep breath, "The phone call earlier this afternoon," he paused and swallowed.

"The prank call?" she urged him to continue.

He didn't say anything for a few seconds.

"It wasn't a prank was it?" ~I should have known~ Scully thought to herself. ~Since when over the eight years we've worked on the X-files has a prank call ever been just that-a prank? Never.~

"You're not going to believe what I'm gonna tell you." At this she cracked a smile. "The person on the phone?" Scully nodded, "I know it sounds crazy, but...it sounded just like X."

"Mulder, you know and I know X is dead." She rubbed his back gently, trying to sooth his frazzled nerves. It appeared to be doing so. "Are you sure?"

"It sounded just like him, but I know it couldn't have been him." He sighed deeply, trying to figure how all of this fit together. He continued, "He told me to beware of the trap I was walking into. He said he had information about my sister." He looked close to tears. "It's just, that I know I have to let her go. You and Will are the most important people in my life now, I can't dwell on the past."

She wrapped her arms around him sweetly and kissed his cheek. "Mulder, whatever we find in Martha's Vineyard won't change what we have, not at all. Our lives may be altered a little bit, but it could never change the relationship you and I have."

He closed his eyes and thought for a minute. Finally he looked up and said, "We had better get going if we want to be back Friday." With that, he got up, hand and hand with Scully again, and walked out the door.

The drive to Martha's Vineyard was slightly longer that either had anticipated. Luckily there wasn't much traffic, and Scully was enjoying the peacefulness of the afternoon.

They rode most of the way in comfortable silence, still hand in hand. Every once in a while, Scully would lean over and rest her head on his shoulder. Mulder would grin and put his arm around her, thankful that she was here with him. He knew that there was no way that he could have done this without her.

The sun was just beginning to set as Mulder maneuvered the car into the last turnoff. Splashes of color exploded near the horizon in a reddish-orange glow that took his breath away.

Scully noticed the look of awe that lined his face. Smiling she commented on the gorgeous expanse of sky in front of them. "It's a lot more alive out here than it is in the city."

Smiling, he nodded in agreement. "Yeah, you can actually see the sun setting."

Laughing, Scully had to admit that he was right. The crowded city lined with government buildings and apartment houses left little room for nature to be itself.

"You know what Scully?" He shifted his weight to a more comfortable position behind the wheel.

She raised her eyebrow indicating a "what?"

"If we weren't so busy all the time chasing down the latest conspiracy or never-before-seen-monster it might be nice to settle down somewhere like this." Mulder took his eyes off the road just long enough to view Scully's reaction. "You know, away from the chaos of it all."

She nodded, surprised, but pleased at the same time.

They continued to drive a while longer, the silence like a blanket of warmth engulfing them both. Scully rested her head on his shoulder once more, concentrating on the rise and fall of his chest that came with each breath. Suddenly she felt his body tense, and his pulse quicken.

"Mulder, what is it?" She sat up, her relaxed demeanor quickly diminishing. She no longer concentrated on the sunset in front of them, but on the object Mulder was looking at.

"I think we're being followed." Mulder glanced in the rearview mirror to be sure. Scully followed his gaze. Sure enough, following them, just barely visible was a sleek black sedan. "It's been following us for the past two hours" Mulder continued, "ever since we took the turnoff."

"Who would be following us?" Scully's expression showed her concern.

"I don't know," Mulder spoke with a worried voice, "but it looks like we're about to find out."

Before Scully could speak, the sedan that had been little more than a blur in the distance suddenly became a very large danger.

"Mulder, look out!"

"What the-" Mulder barely had the words out before they were violently struck from behind, hurtling them forward and into the seatbelts. Without thinking, Mulder's arm flew out in a protective gesture towards Scully's side of the car.

Recovering from the blow, Mulder griped the wheel trying desperately to maneuver the wheel and reclaim control of the vehicle.

Glancing back, Scully winced as the driver took another blow.

Swerving to avoid running off the rode, Mulder cursed under his breath. He glancing over to make sure Scully was ok. She nodded and he continued to steer.

Then, just as suddenly as it had begun, the black car sped up and drove off- turning at the next exit.

Mulder pulled to the side of the rode, heart racing. They sat for a few seconds saying nothing.

"You ok?"

"Yeah," Scully flung a strand of red hair out of her face, "I think so. You?"

"Think so," Mulder did the routine check. Nope, no broken bones.

"Who on earth would want to run us off the rode like that?" Scully adjusted in her seat as Mulder pulled back onto the road.

"I have no idea." He replied, deciding that the car must not have taken on too much damage. He made a note to check when they got there. Before the conversation could continue, Mulder's cell phone rang.

"Mulder." He glanced at Scully. A questioning look on her face as he answered.

After a few brief seconds of silence, the man on the other line spoke.

"Agent Mulder."

Mulder was now fully alert. It was the same man who had contacted him earlier.

"Who is this?" he had to work hard to keep himself from yelling.

"You've been warned."

<<You've been warned>>

~Warned about what?~ Mulder furrowed his brow in confusion.

"Mulder who was that?" Scully's voice took on a concerned tone.

"We've just 'been warned'." Mulder turned to face her.

An eyebrow raised in question.

"I don't know." He sighed, "Maybe this is all just a trap...or somebody's idea of a sick joke."

Scully new this was serious. Mulder wasn't one to give up that easily, especially when it came to Samantha-the Truth that he had spent a lifetime trying to uncover. After all these years, it now seemed as if it was finally taking its toll on him. She could see it in his face. The usual determined look he always held, regardless of what people thought of him, was slowly deteriorating- being replaced by a tired sense of defeat. Scully was determined not to let this happen, Mulder deserved better than this.

"Mulder," she took his hand in hers, giving it a reassuring squeeze. "Whether it is or it isn't, we'll get through this." She smiled in a weak attempt to boost his spirits, "We always do."

He couldn't help but smile at this. It was true. Now that he thought about it, over the eight years they'd been together, there was never a time they didn't get through whatever it was life had thrown at them. This was pretty amazing, considering everything they'd been through.

Scully grinned, seeing the trademark look of sheer determination, one that had become something she normally dreaded-signifying yet another crazy assignment, return to Mulder's face. This time, however, it was different. She didn't have to look in the rearview mirror to know that her expression mirrored his.

Mulder gave her hand a thankful squeeze. ~Leave it to Scully to get me back on track, even if it means that she could be placing herself in more danger by doing so.~ He grinned.

"Let's go see just exactly what it is we're being warned of."

It was beginning to get dark as Mulder turned into the driveway of his old home.

The once most up-to-date house his father had on worked for so many hours, was now aged with time and neglect. His mother's beautiful flowerbed he had remembered so vividly, was gone. In it's place stood a mixture of weeds and leaves that had fallen from the nearby trees.

Scully could see it in his face, seeing the house brought back so many memories for him. She placed her hand on his, giving it a reassuring squeeze.

Mulder smiled, hoping to relay her concern. Glancing back at the house, he put the car in park.

They sat in silence for a few moments before Scully finally spoke, "Mulder,"

"I know what you're going to say," His voice was soft as he lowered his gaze before meeting her eyes and adding, "But I have to know Scully."

She nodded in agreement, taking his hand once more. "Mulder... I just don't want you to get your hopes up."

He smiled indicating that he to was trying not to let this get the best of him.

"I just can't stand to see you hurt again." Scully confessed, lowering her gaze.

Mulder could tell that this was getting to Scully just as much as it was to him. They had been through so much in just the last year that their emotions were running on high, threatening to get the best of both of them. Seeing him like this was making her hurt as well, and he hated it.

Remembered what she had said earlier when he was ready to give up, he suddenly overcome with a new determination. He was not going to let someone do this. He had promised Scully's mom that he was not going to let anyone, himself included, hurt her while they were away (or ever again for that matter) and he was going to keep that promise.

"Scully," He took her face in his hand, lifting her gaze to meet his, "We'll get through this," he smiled, echoing her words. Kissing her gently he added, "We always do."

Slowly pulling away, Mulder took the keys and got out. He stood there, just staring at his childhood home. It was hard to believe this was the same house he had grown up in. It seemed so different now, so lifeless and full of gloom. His memories were of good things, he didn't want to remember the bad, but seeing his home like this, it brought back the bad too. Scully came and stood beside him, her arm comfortingly around his back. Somehow, just her being there with him made it all better.

They stood there for about five minutes before Scully asked, "Are we going to go in, Mulder?"

"I guess we better."

They walked up to the door and out the key in the rusty lock. The door swung open with a creak to reveal a room full of furniture, all under plastic coverings and dust.

There was one thing out of place though; the phone was off the hook and lacking dust.

The sight sent a chill down Scully's spine. By the looks of things, whoever had been here had gone to a great deal of trouble covering their tracks.

Aside from the off-the-hook phone, the rest of the house looked exactly as it had the last time he had been there. Images of his sister running through the living room as he chased her in a desperate attempt at retrieving the remote flashed through his mind, causing a sad smile to cross his face.

Suddenly remembering their reason for coming, Mulder slowly removed his gun from it place at his hip. Glancing at Scully he noticed she'd done the same. Her face held a mixture of caution and concern.

It had gotten considerable darken since they had driven up, as the sun began to set. Mulder flicked the light switch up and down a few times.

"No electricity." He said it mostly to himself that to Scully.

Scully pulled out her flashlight and ran it over the length of the room. Nothing else seemed out of place.

Stepping into the room, Mulder ran his flashlight on the opposite wall, eventually resting the beam on the phone carelessly hanging off the hook.

As he moved closer, something else caught his eye.

"Scully," the tone of his voice made her turn from her spot next to the dust-covered family photos.

She turned toward the sound of his voice. Following the flashlight beam, Scully's breath caught in her throat.

Before Mulder had a chance to say anything, a quick movement out of the corner of his eye made him turn- just in time to hear Scully cry out his name.

Mulder jerked around at the sound of Scully's voice, fear surging through his body.

"Scully!" He barely had her name out as his flashlight was knocked to the floor by a sharp blow to the back of his head.

Before she had a chance to react, he gun was quickly thrust from her grasp as a heavy object met with her right shoulder-sending her gasping to the floor. The force of the impact caused Scully to lose what little hold she had on the flashlight, sending it careening across the room; going out as it hit the corner end table.

In the midst of the confusion, and in total darkness, Mulder had managed to regain his footing and find his flashlight. Quicker that, he thought, humanly possible, Mulder rushed to Scully's side.

Just as he reached her another blow hit with full force, sending a lightning bolt of pain down his back. Shielding Scully from the source of the impact and forcing the thought of pain out of his mind, Mulder thrust his body back-feeling it connect with another jaw line.

The intruder seemingly knocked off course for the time being, suddenly turned and fled in another direction.

Mulder, intently focused on Scully at the moment, barely saw the assailant flee. He laid down his flashlight, cradling Scully's head in his lap.

"Scully?" He spoke softly, yet urgently, trying desperately not to sound as panicked as he felt.

He hadn't seen how hard a blow she had taken, but from the sound of it he wished he could have gotten there sooner.

"Scully?" He held his breath. His head cried out for attention, but he ignored it, pushing it to the back of his mind.

"Mulder," he sighed, relieved, "I'm ok," she paused struggling to sit up.

Mulder gently put an arm around her pulling her into his arms.

"Luckily this-" she turned and pulled out Samantha's doll from the backpack she had been carrying, "broke my fall."

Mulder stared in disbelief, "Scully, how?" He trailed off.

"I don't know Mulder," she was as confused as he. "I could have sworn I had packed it in Will's diaper bag, but I must have accidentally put it in this one instead."

At the truly perplexed look on his face, she couldn't help but laugh.

"Mulder, I'm fine." To ease his mind, Scully gently put a hand to his cheek, kissing him softly.

After the shock had worn off, Mulder smiled, relieved.

"Talk about strange coincidences." Scully laughed nervously.

"Maybe not," he said it mostly to himself.


"Nothing," Mulder grabbed Scully's hand and helped her to her feet, wincing as he stood up.

The gesture did not escape Scully, quickly switching into "doctor-mode".

"Mulder you're hurt." She reached up to examine his head and neck.

"Nothing a little Tylenol won't cure," he lied.

"Mulder, I know that face." Scully gave him a stern look, "You only look like that when you're in, or when you've eaten too much of Frohike's "juevos rancheros" again."

"Frohike's cooking will make anyone look like that," Mulder defended himself, although he had to admit she was right.

"Mulder just let me take a look."

He gave in, bending down as he aimed the flashlight towards the throbbing pain at the back of his head. Hopefully she wouldn't notice his stiff movement from the blow he had taken to his back.

~Luckily I got there in time~ Mulder thought to himself. He didn't wasn't to think what a force like that could have done to Scully's small frame.

"Is it bad doc?"

"You'll live," Scully frowned, "although you may have a slight concussion. As long as you don't drift off to sleep any time soon, I think we'll be ok."

"Well, I don't think that'll be a problem." Mulder grinned as a loud crash of thunder rattled the walls.

~That's funny~ Scully thought, ~It didn't look like it was going to rain...~

The loud crash made Mulder snap back into alertness, pulling his attention away from Scully's tender examination of the lump beginning to form at the back of his head.

Shocked by the suddenness of the thunderstorm, Scully jumped just as Mulder jerked his head around toward the doorway, as if suspecting someone, or something, to be standing in its frame. She noticed the surprised look on his face when he realized there was nothing there.

Searching the surrounding area, Scully eyed her gun lying on the floor a few feet away. Bending down to pick it up, she gasped in surprise as she was suddenly pulled backward and into Mulder's arms.

"Mulder-" she was about to protest as another loud bang rang out.

This time it was obviously not thunder from the storm roaring outside. This sound, although very familiar, sent a different kind of fear throughout Scully's body.

It was gut-wrenching the sound of a gun being fired.

Realizing that neither she nor Mulder had their weapon in hand, Scully felt a chill run through her spine.

~That could only mean one thing,~ Mulder thought.

There was someone else in the house...and by the sound of it he or she was headed their way...

Quickly, Mulder grabbed Scully's weapon and pulled her toward the stairway.

Scully shielded her head and ran, with Mulder's hand guiding her in the right direction.

Three more rounds were fired their way as they skidded to a halt at the top of the stairs.

"This way," Mulder's voice was urgent. He could feel his adrenaline kick in, as the beating of his heart seemed to drown out the sound of gunshots.

Scully let out a gasp as Mulder quickly shut the bedroom door. Both swiftly made sure the other was fine before continuing on.

"You ok?" Mulder made sure his weapon was ready in case who ever was chasing them decided to use them as target practice again.

"Yeah," Scully glanced at the locked door. Taking her weapon from Mulder's hand.

"Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all," Mulder cursed under his breath as the sounds coming from behind the locked door indicated that the gunman was not giving up that easily. "That's not gonna hold them for long," he turned grabbing her hand, "come on, this way."

Scully followed Mulder to the closet door, with a questioning look on her face, as he opened the door and began throwing things around.

"Mulder," she doubted that a closet would stop them either.

Pulling a dust-covered trunk out from behind the wall of clothes, Mulder revealed a trapdoor.

Scully's eyebrow raised in question.

"It's an old secret passageway used when the house was first built to help in the under ground railroad." Mulder grinned, pulling the latch upward. "My sister and I used to use at as our 'secret clubhouse' when we were little." He held out his hand as he helped her down. "It comes out in the shed out back."

Without hesitation, Scully climbed into the dark opening turning to make sure Mulder was right behind her. Just as he was replacing the trapdoor to its original position, the muffled sound of the door being broken down echoed throughout the pitch-black tunnel.

Silently, they made their way through the tunnel, careful not to hit their heads along the top. It was pitch black and full of cobwebs, running into a new one about every three feet.

After what seemed like ages, Scully ran into a door, announcing that they had reached their destination. Carefully, she moved back so Mulder could find the handle to open the trapdoor.

After a few second, he had the door open. Crawling out, they stood up and brushed themselves off. Mulder, more concerned about Scully then himself, noted she was shaking and asked, "Are you okay?"

She nodded and walked over to give him a hug.

After a minute or so they pulled apart and Mulder walked to the door. Glancing out, he saw that the storm had gotten worse. The rain had turned to sleet and the thunder and lighting had gotten closer.

"What do you think Scully, should we wait for it to let up, or make a break for the car?"

"What about whoever was in the house? Don't you want to know who it was?"

He looked around for a minute before meeting Scully's eyes again. When their eyes did finally lock, she saw there were tears in his.

"Scully, I have to tell you the truth, when we came here I was hoping to find my sister. I know I said I wasn't, but I was. But then as we were crawling out here I thought of something. I started remembering all the good memories from when Samantha and I were little. We would play for hours out here, crawling back and forth between the house and here, getting stuff for our "secret clubhouse" and bringing it back. I realized that I don't want to find her because we aren't little kids anymore, she's a grown woman, things wouldn't be anything like they were when we were kids. For all I know I may not be able to stand her now. I want to keep all the good memories and leave her like that. I want to keep imagining her as this beautiful woman living in a little white house with a rose garden and a wonderful husband and three little kinds running through the house like she always wanted." he laughed and continued, "She would spend hours making up the stories about how her life was going to be when she got older and she'd tell them to me. I would just smile at her and imagine all these things she was saying in my head. The cool thing was, they were all possible. You know how most little kids want to grow up to be a profession athlete or a rock star or something like that? Well, not Samantha. All she ever wanted to be was a good wife and mother. That was her dream. And I knew it would come true. Now that's my dream for her. That's how I want to remember her."

By now the tears were flowing freely. Drops of water were cascading down his face, but they weren't tears of sadness. He was just so happy that we finally knew everything he wanted in life. Scully, Will, Samantha, it was just all perfect.



"Let's go home."

Scully smiled and placed a hand gently on Mulder's face, wiping away the rest of his tears.

She smiled feeling her own tears slowly descend. Mulder had finally found what he'd been faithfully, and at times desperately searching for since he was a child. Her heart ached as Scully thought of all the times and all the cases over the years that she had seen her partner struggle through in vain attempts to find his sister.

Many nights had been spent with Mulder in her arms, wishing he could take away his pain. Even after his mother had died and they had found Samantha's diary, he had continued to struggle. But now, after all the tears and disappointment, it was finally over.

Mulder pulled Scully into a tight embrace, kissing her gently on the forehead.

"Thank you." His voice was barely audible over the roar of the thunderstorm outside.

Scully laughed in spite of herself, allowing a few more seconds of comfort in Mulder's arms before pulling back to meet his gaze.

"Mulder, I love you."

Ever since he had been returned to her, Scully did not let a single precious moment to express her true feelings pass her by.

"You're my best friend...the only person who I can truly trust...my other half." She pause before glancing at the ring on her finger,

"Besides, you really didn't think that I'd let you go along on this case did you?"

Mulder laughed at the mischievous look in her eye.

"I may have the ring," she grinned hoping to lift his spirits, "but that doesn't mean I'm going to sit at home like a dutiful wife, knitting socks and twiddling my thumbs while I nervously sky-rocket our phone bill worrying about you chasing the latest government conspiracy."

Mulder deadpanned, deciding to play along, "Well, in that case maybe I should rethink this whole marriage thing."

Scully grinned. He was beginning to act like his normal self again.

In a sudden realization that they had been standing in the cold shed for quite some time with a violent thunderstorm raging outside, Scully shivered.

Instinctively, Mulder quickly took off his coat and placed it over her own, wrapping her in his arms.

"Come on Scully," he searched through sheets of rain for a few seconds before finally spotting the car several yards away. "Ready to make a run for it?"

Scully glanced at the downpour and then back at Mulder, shivering as he tightened his grasp on her. "Ready as I'll ever be."

"Let's get this over with," Mulder grabbed her hand and headed for the doorway.

Mulder's hand was within two inches of the doorknob, when suddenly there was a noise that made both agents stop dead in their tracks.

"Not so fast Mulder."

Scully cringed at the all to familiar voice of Alex Krycek.

Anger and disbelief swept through Mulder's veins. In an instant he was facing the man last seen lying in the FBI parking garage with a bullet through his head. "You-"

Scully quickly placed a hand on Mulder's arm, as Krycek revealed the weapon hidden beneath his leather jacket.

With a smirk on his face, Krycek absently waved the gun towards the two agents.

"You really didn't think I let you get away that easy now did you?" The question was directed at both of them, even though Krycek was clearly speaking to Mulder. He took a few steps closer, aiming the gun at Mulder's chest.

Scully's heart skipped a beat. Frantically, but without making Krycek aware of her gesture, she searched the room for a way out.

"There's just one thing I want to know." Mulder's voice was suddenly calm. ~That's right, just keep him talking.~

Amused, Krycek seemed to lose his grip on the gun for a few seconds. "Just one?"

"Yeah," Slowly, Mulder was edging towards his weapon. Suddenly he realized that it was still in his jacket. And his jacket was on Scully. Trying not to let his panic show, Mulder quickly went on. "How is it that you managed to take a bullet to the head and yet can't find a way to re-grow that arm of yours?"

~Mulder no,~ Scully bit her lip, ~now was definitely not the time for insults.~

Fortunately Krycek saw otherwise. Laughing, he took a step closer, letting the weapon hand from his good hand. "Well, I figured I had more important things to fix. Besides, I've kinda gotten used to the thing."

Feeling Mulder tense, Scully suddenly realized that his gun was in his coat...and she was wearing it. Very slowly, she moved her free hand, now hidden from Krycek's view by Mulder, into the pocket of his coat.

~That's it Scully, don't let him notice.~

"Anyway," Krycek continued enjoying the looks on their faces, "You can thank a certain old man we both knew and loved for my...miraculous recovery."

"The Smoking Man." Scully spoke up for the first time. "But how?"

Krycek snorted, "I believe he talked you into a going on a little 'adventure' about a year ago?" This time he was talking to Scully.

Mulder moved protectively closer.

Krycek continued, "Well, anyway, that little disk that 'mysteriously disappeared'? Let's just say found itself a new home."

Both Mulder and Scully couldn't believe their ears. Slightly caught off guard by this news, Scully lost her grip on the gun, causing her to move just a tad bit too much for Krycek's liking.

"Hey!" He quickly lost his 'having fun making them squirm' face and had the gun poised in an instant.

"NO!" Scully screamed.

It was the last sound heard before the gun went off.

The next few seconds seemed to move in slow motion. Mulder barely had time to react as the gun went off.

She knew it was coming, but there was nothing she could do but try her best to avoid the bullet. Using all the strength she could muster, Scully thrust herself at Mulder-landing them in a heap on the floor.

Somewhat surprised, yet greatly relieved, Mulder landed with a grunt.

Krycek, caught off guard by Scully's cry, had been thrown of target, depositing a bullet in the wooden frame of the doorway inches from where the two agents were now positioned. He hadn't intended on killing Mulder. ~No that would have been too easy.~ Krycek had other plans. He wanted Mulder to suffer for all the trouble he'd brought him.

"Get up." Krycek moved closer, firearm poised and a smug smile on his face.

Despite his pounding hear and the fear surging through his veins, Mulder sounded amazingly calm as he spoke, "Friendly warning, or are you just a poor shot Krycek?" Mulder turned to Scully making sure she was ok.

"I always loved that wit of yours Mulder," Krycek responded sarcastically, forcing the gun's barrel into Mulder's back as he stood.

Scully winced seeing the expression of pain shoot through her partner's face as the weapon was shoved into the already sore spot near his shoulder.

"Yeah well," Mulder tried to eliminate the pain from his voice, "I do my best."

Scully flashed him a look of concern.

~I'm ok~ Mulder offered a weak smile, biting the inside of his cheek to keep the pain hidden. It wasn't that bad, as long as he didn't move. ~Great~

Krycek shoved Mulder and Scully towards the door. Forcing them outside in the rain, he made sure to keep them close so they wouldn't escape, not that there was much chance of that. Mulder's shoulder was hurting him so bad he could hardly move, and Scully wouldn't leave Mulder. They made their way back to the house. Once they were inside Krycek finally spoke.

"Now, let's see, what am I going to do with you two? I could..."

But they never know what Krycek was going to do, because a loud noise suddenly came from the back of the house. Krycek barely had time to look before a figure, dressed in black, came rushing down the hall, gun in hand. Before Mulder and Scully could react, the stranger's gun went off, causing all of them to jump. The next thing they saw was Krycek in a heap on the floor. It had all happened within a matter of 15 seconds. The stranger then looked at Mulder and Scully and dropped his gun. He took off his mask to reveal that it wasn't a man, but a woman. A tall, beautiful woman with long chestnut brown hair and big brown eyes.

The two agents didn't move.

The quiet voice broke the silence inside the house. "Hi, Fox."

The only thing that could be heard for the next five minutes was the raging storm outside the house.

Mulder finally spoke, barely above a whisper, "Samantha?"

Against a flash of lighting they saw his sister smile.

Mulder couldn't believe his eyes. Could it really be? Was this actually his sister? With Scully's help, he cautiously he took a step towards his sister, ignoring the pain in his shoulder.

"Samantha?" He spoke with tears in his eyes.

"Fox," She moved forward embracing her brother in a careful hug, adding in a whisper, "I never thought I'd see you again." Pulling back she wiped the tears from her eyes.

"There's just one thing," Mulder paused trying to swallow the lump beginning to form at the back of his throat, "Are you-are you really my sister?" he repeated, still not quite sure he should be trusting his eyesight.

"Oh Fox," Samantha, slightly taken aback at first, suddenly burst out laughing, "you haven't changed a bit!" She hugged him again, turning to address Scully for the first time, "So you must be the famous Dana Scully." Samantha held out her hand. Scully continued the gesture, a confused look on her face.

"But how?" Scully turned to Mulder, seeing the same confusion.

"I'll explain later," Samantha turned and glanced at Krycek on the floor, "First let's get outta here."

Scully glanced at Mulder, tightening her grip on his arm. It was obvious he was in pain; she winced as she eyed the storm outside.

"Fox, can you walk?" Samantha asked her brother; taking in the look he gave his partner.

"Well," Mulder glanced at Scully, "I won't be running a marathon any time soon, but I think I'll live."

"All right then," Samantha tucked her weapon back into its place and started for the door, "Let's get going!"

Luckily the pain emitting from his shoulder had not affected Mulder's ability to walk to horribly. With Scully's help, he was able to move at a fairly good pace.

After Samantha had made sure the coast was clear, the three of them made a mad dash for the car, becoming completely drenched along the way.

"Give me the keys!" Samantha had to shout to be heard over the roar of the storm.

Without saying a word, Mulder quickly pulled out the keys with he good arm and handed it to his sister. Now was definitely not the time for argument.

Quickly, Samantha unlocked the door and jumped in behind the wheel. Mulder and Scully immediately followed, climbing into the backseat and slamming the door against the rapidly increasing sheet of rain.

There was another bright flash of light, followed by a deafening roar, as Samantha inserted the key into the ignition. At the sound of the engine, three sighs of relief were heard.

"Remind me to send a thank-you card to that mechanic who helped us a few days ago." Mulder muttered near Scully's ear.

Thinking the same thing, Scully turned to Mulder's shoulder as Samantha turned onto the highway.

"Mulder, take off your shirt." Scully began taking off his jacket that she was wearing-in order to maneuver easier.

"Scully..." he had a sly grin on his face as he began to remove his clothing.

Scully rolled her eyes, moving to help him with his injured side, "There will be plenty of time for that later, right now I need to take a look at that shoulder."

With Scully's help, Mulder was able to remove his rain-soaked t-shirt with only a few minor difficulties-revealing a nasty bruise already beginning to form at the base of his scapula.

Scully gingerly touched the tender area, "Well, at least there's no broken bones." She moved to the base of his neck, carefully making sure he was going to be ok.

After a few more minutes, Scully pulled back, handing him his shirt, "Not that it will do you much good." She eyes the soaking piece of clothing and shivered, suddenly realizing that she too was completely drenched.

"Well, we survived yet another attack from the one-armed-man Scully," Mulder grinned pulling the blanket they always kept in the car-just in case-from the floor and wrapping himself and Scully in it.

Shivering again, Scully snuggled closer, enjoying the warmth of Mulder's arms.

"You know," Samantha finally spoke from the driver's seat, "you two really were meant for each other." She grinned, glancing in the rearview mirror. She was truly touched by the bond she saw between them. It was evident in the way they touched, sat, looked at each other. Their relationship was clearly one based not only on love, but on complete trust and undying devotion to one another. Samantha was glad that her brother had had someone like Dana Scully to be there for him all those years he had spent searching for her.

Scully blushed, "Thanks," she whispered as Mulder's arms tugged her closer.

Samantha turned her attention back to the road. It was getting hard to see, as the rain got heavier.

A few moments passed before Scully spoke, "I was sure he was going to kill you Mulder." She laid her head on his chest and gently held his bruised arm in her lap.

"New," Mulder rested his chin atop her head and held her with good arm, "not with Special Agent Dana Scully around to watch my back." He grinned, gently pushing aside a wet strand of hair to plant a soft kiss on her forehead.

Samantha was just about to comment on what a good save it was, when suddenly there was a loud crash of thunder and, in a flash, the road was gone. Before they knew what was happening, a loud splintering noise was heard as a nearby tree was struck by lightning.

"Samantha, look out!" Mulder yelled, instinctively pulling Scully closer as the mass of leaves and bark came hurtling towards them.

Samantha struggled desperately to keep the car under control, veering the wheel left, then right to avoid crashing head on into the fallen branches. Unfortunately, just as she had almost regained control, there was a loud thump and the back wheels were lifted off the ground, spinning them out of control once again.

Scully tried as best she could to avoid smashing into Mulder's injured shoulder, as he tried his best to keep both of them from flying through the windshield. However, the strength of the impact made this feat nearly impossible.

Screeching tires and sound of metal on asphalt mixed with the deafening roar of the storm and splintering wood. Then, as quickly as it had begun, it was all over-leaving only the sound of the rain falling through the cracked windows.

For a few seconds Scully lay still, trying to take in all that had happened in the last few terrifying seconds.

"Scully?" Mulder's voice brought her back to reality.

"Mulder," she struggled to get up.

"You ok?" He helped her to a sitting position.

"Yeah, I think so." Scully let out a breath and removed the hair from her face.

"Samantha?" Mulder turned his attention towards the front seat.

There was no answer.

Panic flooded his mind as he forced out his sister's name again. This time there was an answer.

"I'm ok," her voice was muffled, but at least she was still breathing.

Scully and Mulder moved towards the front seat, glancing over the headrests to make sure she was all right.

"One little bump and these things go crazy." Samantha forced herself out from underneath the activated air bag.

Sighing with relief, Mulder offered his good arm, helping his sister clear from the pillow-like constraints of the front seat.

"What now?" Mulder glanced from his sister to Scully.

"I don't think there's much we can do," Samantha interrupted, smoothing back her disarrayed hair, "Unless..." she trailed off, taking in for the first time the cracked windshield and the jagged hole that used to be the passenger side window. Shards of glass littered the seat and floor. Luckily no one had been sitting there at the time.

"Unless what?" Scully wasn't sure she wanted to know the answer to that.

"There's a gas station located about three miles from here." Samantha gave them a doubtful look before continuing, "But with the condition that Fox is in, and the amount of rain that-if it doesn't stop soon- could last us through all of next week, I don't know if it's such a good idea to leave."

Scully had to admit she was right. Even though it seemed to be their only option, Mulder was in no condition to go running through the rain for three miles.

Mulder gave Scully a look indicating that he was thinking the same thing. Sure, they'd get there eventually, but not without some serious problems and possibly drowning in the process...

They sat there for a few seconds contemplating what they should do.

"I'll go," Samantha climbed past Scully and to the door, zipping up her coat as she went, "You two stay here and try to keep warm."

"Samantha," Scully gave Mulder a worried look, "are you sure that's such a great idea?"

"Don't worry about me," She gave Scully a reassuring grin, "I've been in worse situations."

"Likewise," Mulder murmured, relaxing his shoulder in an attempt to relieve the pain. He'd been hit hard before, but this time it was different. Krycek must have had hit him with something else, no way could a man with only one functional arm hit that hard.

"Samantha," Mulder paused becoming serious, "be careful." He still hadn't quite gotten over the fact that she was actually sitting in the same car, let alone that she was alive. He didn't want to lose her again.

Pulling her hood over her head, Samantha gave her brother's hand a squeeze. "Don't worry, I'll have help here in no time." She turned to Scully, "You take care of him now, we have a lot of catching up to do." With a wink in Mulder's direction, Samantha forced the door open and took off down the road.

Mulder stared silently at the spot where Samantha had been sitting. His sister had been there for no more than a half an hour, and yet it had almost seemed like old times. He blinked trying to convince himself that it wasn't a dream.

"Mulder?" Scully gently laid a hand on his; apparently he hadn't heard her the first time.

Mulder was brought back from his reverie by Scully's soothing touch and the concerned tone of her voice. He knew what she was thinking and quickly gave her a reassuring smile.

The rain was still in high gear as Mulder put his arm around Scully's waist, drawing her closer.

She wrapped her arms around his waist snuggling closer in an attempt to keep warm.

"Mulder you need to keep warm," the realization of what she was about to say hit her and she grinned, "your body's still in shock."

Mulder chuckled as he thought of the last time Scully had said that to him. Suddenly he remembered what he had replied, and moved towards the button that opened the trunk from the inside.

Scully sat up, with a confused look on her face. She shifted to help Mulder maneuver easier. As he reached for the button she knew what he was doing.

Mulder pushed the small gray button and the seat popped forward- revealing a very welcoming sight.

~The sleeping bag! Thank you Moth Men~

Reaching over the prone seat, Scully pulled the sleeping bag out of the trunk and gingerly wrapped it around Mulder's shoulders. She then took her place with her head on his chest, and tucked the corner of the sleeping bag under her chin.

"Hey Scully," Mulder cocked an eyebrow and grinned, "You're forgetting one very important thing."

She knew exactly what he was hinting at and decided to play along, "Why Agent Mulder, exactly what are you implying?"

"I think you could drop the "Agent" part now," he grinned leaning towards her ear and whispering, "after all we are engaged now."

Scully laughed. Despite their situation she wasn't entirely sorry they had made this trip. After all, the incredibly unthinkable happened, Mulder had finally found his sister. And even if it did cost them time away from their son and a minor injury on Mulder's part, at least they were still alive.

Mulder leaned down and gently brushed his lips against hers, feeling the warmth of her touch. Running a hand through her hair, he tenderly lifted her chin and softly whispered, "I love you," before pressing his lips to hers once more.

"I love you too Mulder," there was really no need for a reply. How else could she say it? No matter how many times Scully told him, there just weren't enough words in the English language to express how utterly and completely in love she was with Mulder. And she knew he felt the same way.

Bringing her knees up to her chin, Scully snuggled closer to Mulder, ending up on his lap tucked beneath his chin in a position that seemed was meant for her.

Mulder tugged the sleeping bag tighter and wrapped his arms around her.

The rhythmic beating of his heart and the rise and fall of his chest was almost enough to put Scully to sleep. Despite the fact that she was still soaking wet, she was surprisingly comfortable and warm in Mulder's arms.

"Hey Scully?" She blinked as he spoke.

"What?" Her voice was heavy with drowsiness.

"Do you hear that?"

"Hear what?" she sat up alert.

"I think the rain's letting up." Mulder grinned, feeling Scully relax in his arms. "Let's hope Samantha found that gas station."

Samantha had been running for what seemed like hours through the muddy windblown terrain that led to the gas station. At least she hoped that was the direction she was headed. Stopping briefly to catch her breath, Samantha took note of her surroundings. In the confusion of darkness and the constant bombardment of thick sheets of rain, she had nearly given up any hope that the gas station even existed, let alone that it was in the direction she was headed. Mopping away the constant splash of muddy water and bits of leaves from her face, Samantha stumbled on, determined to find her destination.

~ Meanwhile...



"You asleep?"

Glancing up, Scully was prepared to flash him a look. That was, until she saw his face. He held an expression of deep thought.

"Mulder, what is it?" Slowly she sat up, a concerned look on her face.

"Why now?" By now the storm had stopped, started, and was contained to a somewhat milder drumming on the roof of the car. "After all these years, why now?" Mulder continued, pulling the sleeping bag closer and furrowing his brow-deep in thought.

"I don't know Mulder," Scully knew he was referring to Samantha. Finding his sister had become such a huge quest for Mulder, and then Scully too, that now that they had finally found her, neither could quite believe, or understand, the whole situation.

Scully found herself truly at a loss for words. Giving his hand a squeeze, she tried to think of something comforting to say.

Half an hour had passed and Samantha found herself in the parking lot of the, now abandoned, gas station.

~Great~ She thought, ~Now what?~ Frustrated, tired, and completely drenched, she found her way towards the door.

Finding it unlocked, Samantha cautiously stepped forward and into the darkened room. A noise behind her made her jump. Quickly she turned around. A small mouse scattered across the tiled floor and into a small hole in the wall.

Almost laughing with relief, Samantha calmed down and started to look around. She was somehow not surprised to find that the old convenience store did not have a phone. Coming out from behind the counter, she tried the lights. No electricity. The storm must have knocked down the power lines. Grabbing a towel normally used for washing windows, Samantha tried to dry herself off as best she could. Finding the act useless, she threw the towel back in its place and began to look for supplies. If they were going to be stranded, at least they'd have plenty to eat.

By now it was the dead of night, but the rain had died down to only a light drizzle. The wind had stopped, and both Mulder and Scully had fallen asleep.

"Mulder, no!" Startled by her voice, Mulder jumped awake, instinctively reaching for his gun. Forgetting where he was and the condition he was in, he was quickly greeted with a shocking pain in his shoulder.

"Mulder!" Scully called out his name again, thins time more desperate, on the verge of tears.

Regaining his composure, Mulder gently shook his distraught partner awake.

"Scully," His voice was calm and soothing, "Shhh, Scully it's OK, it's just a dream."

With a start she opened her eyes, a frightened expression on her face. After a few seconds she realized that it had been a dream, and began to calm down. Seeing that Mulder was next to her, she quickly sunk into his embrace.

"It's OK," He whispered again, "It was just a dream."

Closing her eyes, Scully tried to get rid of the horrible emptiness the dream brought on. It had all seemed so real.

They'd been back home and were on their way to pick up William from her mother's. Suddenly the dream changed, and instead Scully found herself in an abandoned warehouse. To her left was a man. She couldn't see his face but somehow he seemed strangely familiar.

Suddenly she heard William cry and turned to find Samantha gently rocking the baby in an attempt to quiet him. As Scully went to take her son, she realized that there was something keeping her from moving. It was then that she became aware of the ropes binding her arms and legs together.

Panic struck Scully as she desperately searched for Mulder. Craning her neck she spotted him a few feet away, lying on his side. He seemed to be ok. Suddenly, the unknown man pulled out a gun and aimed it directly at William. Her heart stopped.

Then, the man let out an evil laugh and instead pointed the gun in Scully's direction.

The next few seconds of the nightmare was a blur of confusion. Samantha took off taking her nephew with her, Mulder was on his feet running towards the gunman, and a shot was fired. Mulder slumped to the ground.

"No!" Scully screamed, and pulled at her constraints with full force. "Mulder!" Before she new what was happening, Mulder's voice had rescued her from the horrible nightmare.

He continued to soothe her, gently rubbing her back and whispering in her ear.

"I'm here Scully, it's ok." After a few seconds she had stopped shaking and, somewhat embarrassed, sat up.

Mulder gave her a comforting grin, and gave her hand a soft kiss. "Come on," he pulled her towards the door, "The rain stopped. Let's go for a little walk. Samantha's surely reached that gas station by now, let's go see if we can spot the tow truck."

Grateful for his comfort Scully followed.

Gathering up as much of the supplies she could carry, Samantha made her way to the counter. Dropping a twenty on the wooden surface, she thought ~Well, wouldn't want to be accused of stealing now would I? I think that should cover it all~ Just as she was turning to leave, a small blinking red light caught her eye. Curious, she laid down the pack and crossed once again behind the counter. A small two-way radio lay tucked beneath the counter. Apparently the force of the thrown towel, now laying only a few inches away, had turned it on. Funny how she hadn't noticed it before... Quickly, she picked it up and radioed for help.


Glancing at the "No Service" message of her cell phone, Scully sighed, placing it back in her pocket. Although still sore, Mulder was able to maneuver much easier than before. Thanks to the first aid kit they always kept in the trunk, Scully had found some Tylenol and he was now feeling much better.

Stepping out into the cool air, Scully breathed in the smell of fresh rain. Closing the air door behind her, she walked closer to Mulder.

"Funny how just when everything seems like it's finally going our way..."

"Things go crazy and it turns into an X-file?" Mulder finished the sentence for her.

"Something like that." Scully grinned.

"Such is the story of our life Scully." Mulder grinned back, wrapping his arms around her waist from behind.

"I do have to admit that meeting you definitely insured never a dull moment." Scully laughed.

"Well then, I guess my purpose in life has been fulfilled."

Scully rolled her eyes, her nightmare forgotten.

"Past history aside, we should probably start looking for that gas station." Mulder said, now feeling much more like his normal self. Glancing at his watch he added, "Judging by the amount of time she's been gone, I'm guessing Samantha has already sent for help."

~Either that or something's gone wrong~ Mulder thought silently to himself.

Ten minutes later they had gathered up only the most important things they could carry and were contemplating which direction they should head. In the dark it was hard to see much of anything.

"Well Mulder, you're the expert on directions." Scully shrugged on her almost dry jacket. "Where to?"

Biting his bottom lip, Mulder glanced in either direction, "Where's the handy dandy government issue flashlight when you need one?"

"You're wish is my command." Reaching into the trunk, Scully pulled out a flashlight. "The way you are with flashlights, I decided it would be a good idea to have a few backups."

Smiling, Mulder took the flashlight, "What would I do without you Scully?"

Scully just shook her head, grinned, and tossed Mulder his jacket, "I don't know Mulder, but with the way our luck with forests goes- we better watch our step."

"Let the Indian guide show you the way," holding out his hand, Mulder pulled Scully towards him. Within a few seconds they had set out into the now starry night.

xx 42 minutes later...

"Uh, Mulder?" making her way around yet another fallen tree branch Scully surveyed the area, "I don't mean to obliterate your dream of becoming a top rate Indian guide, but are you sure you know where you're going?"

"Just going where the voices in my head tell me to Scully." Turning to face her, Mulder grinned, only to be greeted with THE look. They walked on for a few more minutes in silence.

After continuing another twenty minutes through the muddy, tree- branch-littered terrain, Mulder finally stopped. He stood still for a few seconds starring into the dark night.

"Did I forget to mention the fact that I never made it to graduation in Indian Guide training?" Mulder joked, giving Scully a hopeful look.

"I don't blame you Mulder," Scully glanced over her shoulder, "I'm surprised anyone could find anything at all out here. Especially in the dead of night." No wonder Samantha hadn't made it back yet, hopefully she knew her way better than they did.

Sitting down on a nearby log, Mulder sighed, rubbing his shoulder as he gazed into the forest. Scully sat down next to him and gently began massaging the sore area.

"You know Scully," Mulder leaned into her tender touch, "If we weren't stranded in the middle of no where after a thunderstorm, this might actually be kinda nice."

Scully had to agree, if this wasn't an X-file, it could have definitely reached "nice" status.

Taking her hand, Mulder pulled Scully into his lap, wrapping his arms around her in the process. Laying her head on his chest, Scully was thankful for his embrace.

"You know what Scully?" he spoke softly into her ear, "I've been thinking lately." Taking her hand, he placed a soft his on it before continuing, "After this is all over, I think I'd like to try normal living for a while."

Scully smiled, holding his hand in her lap, "Normal living?"

"Yeah you know," he grinned, "the kind of living that doesn't involve aliens, government conspiracies, or mutants?"

"Oh that kind of living." She feigned shock, "are you sure you could handle that kind of life Mulder?"

Mulder laughed, "Well I figured I've probably had my fair share of the paranormal." He shifted to a more comfortable position before staring up into the clear expanse of stars above him.

"Well, if there's anyone who deserves a normal life more, it's definitely you Mulder." Her voice was soft, following his gaze.

"We both do Scully." Mulder brought her face close to his, giving her a soft kiss. Even lost in the middle of a muddy storm-struck forest she could light up his day, as could he her.

Running his hand up and down the length of her spine, Mulder pulled Scully tighter into his embrace. Scully sighed, nestling her head just beneath his chin, realizing for the first time just how tired she actually was.

Scully was almost lost to the overwhelming urge to sleep, when suddenly Mulder tensed. Sitting up, all thoughts of rest were gone as Scully followed his gaze. In the distance a bright light could be seen. It was approaching rapidly, and in an instant both agents were on their feet.


As the lights got closer, Mulder could make out the distinct shape of headlights approaching beyond the thick line of trees. He and Scully quickly exchanged cautious glances.

Carefully making their way through the windblown forest floor and toward the road, both Mulder and Scully were hoping for the best yet-as they could only do from years of working on the X- files- expecting the worst.

As the vehicle got closer, they began picking up their speed, jumping over fallen tree branches and mounds of upset leaves. Soon they could make out the recognizable shape of a tow truck.

"Hey!" Finally reaching the roadside, Mulder began waving his good arm.

"Over here!" Scully did the same, hoping to get the attention of the driver.

Within a few moments the truck had pulled over and the driver rolled down the window.

"Looks like you folks could use a ride," the driver, a clean-cut man of about 50 spoke with a hearty voice. His eyes held a friendly look.

"Didn't I tell you to stay in the car and keep warm?" A head pooped into view from the passenger's seat.

Mulder grinned, "Samantha, you don't know how glad we are to see you."

"Likewise." Opening her door, Samantha gestured for them to get in. After Mulder and Scully were settled into the backseat, Samantha shut the door and turned to face them.

"I'm glad your shoulder seems to be feeling better Fox." She smiled at her brother, then turned to Scully, "He's definitely lucky his partner's not only his best friend, but a great doctor too."

Scully thanked her by saying, "It's lucky for us you have better luck with the outdoors than we do." She grinned, giving Mulder's hand a squeeze.

"Let's just hope we find the car in one piece." Mulder said looking from Scully to Samantha.

"I think that's it up there." Samantha turned her attention to the driver and pointed to a spot near the side of the road.

They pulled the truck over and quickly had everything set. Walking around the battered car, Mulder surveyed the damage. Aside from the shattered windows and a nice sized dent left by the massive fallen tree branch, everything else looked all right. Of course it was still pretty dark out...

"I'll drop y'all off at the hotel real quick before I head on over to the garage." Jack, the driver of the tow truck, whose name they had learned during the process of filling out papers, smiled and started the engine.

They were about ready to pull out when a black Sedan suddenly appeared out of nowhere, swerved around the corner and disappeared.

Scully looked at Mulder with a questioning eye. Too many times have mysterious black vehicles been followed by trouble.

The truck driver muttered something about how people around here should learn how to drive before pulling onto the road.

"This is gonna take a few days to fix," Jack said as he pulled into the hotel parking lot, "But if you want I could have someone drop by a car tomorrow."

Agreeing that having a car sent in the morning would be the best idea, Mulder and Scully made arrangements to have their car sent back to DC after the new windows had been put into place and everything else had been checked over.

Grabbing everything they needed from the trunk of their car, including both the sleeping bag and first aid kit, Mulder thanked Jack and watched the tow truck drive away.

"Talk about Dj vu," Mulder said turning to face the hotel.

After checking in, no easy task since it was now almost 2:30 in the morning, Scully closed the door to the hotel room door and put down the bag she was carrying near the foot of the bed.

"Well," Samantha sighed, turning to face them, "If you two will excuse me, I think I'm going to go take a shower." Still fairly covered in mud, she made a disgusted face before opening the connecting door and heading into her own room.

"I think she's got the right idea," Scully said after Samantha had left, "I feel like I've just ran a marathon through a swamp." Glancing in the mirror she laughed, "I guess I look like it too."

Mulder flopped down on the bed, grimacing as his shoulder sharply reminded him of the day's events.

"In case I'm unconscious when you come out, good night." Mulder kicked off his muddied shoes and removed his jacket.

Eyeing the discarded clothing, Scully just shook her head and moved towards the bathroom. "Good night Mulder."

A hot shower was just what Scully had needed. Drying off her hair, she discarded the towel and headed for the bed. Expecting to find a sound asleep Mulder sprawled across the bed, Scully was surprised to see both him and Samantha sitting at the small table in the corner.

"Couldn't sleep." Samantha smiled, standing to leave.

"Oh no," Scully motioned for her to stay seated, "Don't let me interrupt."

"We were just catching up on old times," Mulder gestured for Scully to take a seat, "I couldn't sleep either."

Felling like she was intruding on the family reunion, Scully sat on the edge of the bed.

"So, just how did you find us?" Mulder asked turning from Scully to his sister.

"It's a long complicated story," Samantha began, "but I'll try to explain it as best I can."

Scully was finding it hard to believe her own ears.

"After I was returned," Samantha paused, gathering her thoughts, " I was raised- at least for a short time- by a man you both know who is now dead."

"The Smoking Man?" Mulder asked leaning back into his chair. They both knew he already knew the answer to his question.

Samantha nodded, "But what you don't know is that I was a part of a project."

Mulder was about to say something, but changed his mind.

Samantha chose her words carefully, "Several years ago you saw part of a project involving human-alien hybrids."

Mulder nodded his head, "They were only children...something involving bees."

"Yes" Samantha leaned forward.

"But we were chased off by an alien bounty hunter."

"That particular project failed." Samantha looked from Scully to Mulder, "But the project didn't stop there."

"What are you saying?" Scully spoke with a cautious tone.

"After I was back I became a part of the new project...One that was successful."

It was Mulder's turn to act surprised, "You mean cloning."

"Something like that." Samantha paused for a moment, lowering her gaze to her folded hands before continuing. When she spoke again, her voice was soft. "That's who you saw the night after you found my diary."

The memory came flooding back. Mulder closed his eyes, rubbing the bridge of his nose.

"Mulder," Scully gently placed her hand on his. He sat up motioning to her that he was ok, and turned to Samantha.

"So how do we know you're not lying? That you're not just another clone?" His voice was weary, and Scully moved closer, waiting for Samantha's answer.

"Because," Samantha took her brother's hand in hers, moving it to her collarbone, "cones don't have the remnants of a carefree childhood accident." Running his hand along the once broken bone, she grinned, "Or the guts to beat a witty older brother in a good old fashioned game of Stratego."

Mulder glanced at Scully then back at Samantha before lowering his hand and grinning.

"Welcome back sis." Jumping from his seat Mulder pulled his sister into a big hug.

"I missed you Fox." Samantha spoke into his chest, hugging him tighter.

"Looks like we'll get to finish that game after all," Mulder beamed, too long had he dreamt of this moment. Never would Samantha ever really know how much he had gone through to find her. "I missed you too."

Scully couldn't help but get teary-eyed. She knew exactly how much this meant to Mulder. It felt as if a huge gap had finally been sealed in all of their lives.

"Samantha," Mulder took Scully's hand lead her closer, "You to haven't been formally introduced yet."



There was a slight pause before both Scully and Samantha started laughing. After everything they'd already been through, neither felt the need for a formal introduction. However Mulder seemed so happy that they both gave in, letting him continue.

"Meet Dana Scully," Mulder grinned, placing his hand on the small of her back, "My partner, best friend, and soon to be wife."

Astonished, Samantha turned to Scully, "Really?"

Scully laughed nodding her head. She was pleasantly surprised when Samantha pulled her into an excited hug, "Congratulations!"

The seriousness that had been lingering throughout the room earlier was quickly forgotten as both Scully and Samantha told each other how honored they were to have the other as a sister-in- law.

Deciding that discussions of how Samantha had found them, or her involvement with the never-ending conspiracies of aliens and government cover-ups, could wait, she gave each of them a hug and headed off to bed.

Yawning, Scully turned to Mulder. He still held a silly grin on his face. She couldn't help but grin herself. Mulder looked like a little kid who had just opened the best Christmas present ever.

In all actuality that was exactly how he felt. He was so riled up that there was no way he could go to sleep now.

They did, however, still have to get up in a few hours, and some sleep would be helpful for the long drive home.

Climbing into bed, Scully flipped off the light, saying once again, "Good night Mulder."

"Night," giving her forehead a kiss, Mulder headed off toward the bathroom.

Drifting in and out of consciousness, Scully was soon put to sleep to the rhythmic sound of running water...

"Mornin' sunshine," hearing his voice, Scully slowly opened her eyes to a grinning Mulder, already dressed and avidly working his way through a bag of sunflower seeds.

"Speaking of sunshine," Scully yawned, sitting up, "what time is it?"

"8:42." Mulder said popping another handful of seeds into his mouth after glancing at his watch, "The auto shop just called a few minutes ago. They said they'd try to send over a car ASAP."

"You mean they're actually trusting one of their cars to us?" Scully smirked, "At the rate we're going, I don't know if I would."

Giving her a lopsided grin, Mulder stood up and headed for the door. "Go ahead and go back to sleep if you want. It's gonna be a long ride home." With that, Mulder popped a few more sunflower seeds and headed out the door.

20 minutes later...

"So after I ran away, I tried to come home." Samantha laid her fork down and a sad look came over her face, "Except I couldn't remember where 'home' was." A few seconds passed and quickly she shook off whatever memory was keeping her from continuing. Clearing her throat, Samantha looked up, "Anyway, I managed to sneak away from the men who were trying to find me. I was determined not to go back to the tests."

"So how did you become involved with Krycek?" Mulder looked up to see Scully entering the diner. Smiling he stood up and motioned her towards the table.

After exchanging the usual good morning chatter, Samantha continued, "A few years ago I came across a letter. It was given to me via the shove-it-under-the-door-and-run method." She paused, finishing off the rest of the orange juice.

"A letter?" Mulder asked, urging his sister to continue, "From whom?"

"From a man named...Jeffery Spender." Samantha stopped talking, awaiting their reactions.

Mulder and Scully looked at each other in complete astonishment. Neither had expected what they were now being told.

"Agent Spender?" Scully finally broke the silence, "But how? And why?" She could tell Mulder was thinking the same thing.

"Before I ran away Jeffery and I became, well...he was like a brother to me." Samantha slowly looked up and, seeing the look on Mulder's face, quickly added, "He was the only other kid my age who was at the base. And since we were both pretty much raised there..." She trailed off.

The image of the handprints they'd found that night flashed through his memory. Mulder closed his eyes-it was suddenly all starting to make sense. Feeling Scully's hand on his, he opened his eyes.

~Mulder?~ Scully raised a concerned eyebrow.

~It's ok Scully, I'm fine.~ He gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. Satisfied, at least for the time being, that Mulder was ok, Scully turned her attention back to Samantha.

"The letter said," here Samantha paused, allowing her cool exterior go for a brief moment. "He told me that his real father, who he had only recently met, had placed him in a section of the FBI known as the 'X-files'. It was through these files that he found out that the Agent whose position he'd replaced," at this she gave Mulder a knowing glance, "had an entire file devoted to someone he'd been looking for for a very long time...His sister."

All three of them were finding it hard to hold back the feelings that weld up inside.

"Immediately he recognized the photo in your file, and quickly contacted me. At first we both had a hard time believing it. I wanted so badly for it to be true, but Jeffery refused to believe it, for it would mean that the stories his mother told him of alien abductions might not just be a figment of her imagination, but the truth." There was a short silence and then Samantha went on, "It was only within a few days after he'd contacted me that I found out that Jeffery had been shot. They say that no one knows how it happened, but I'm sure we can all figure it out. His father, the smoking man" she spat the words as if they left a bitter taste in her mouth, "knew that Jeffery gotten to close to the truth...That instead of following in his father's dirty footsteps, he was turning to the right side. Your side, Fox." She gave him a sad smile.

"After I found all this out, I quickly did everything I could to contact you. But soon I realized that I couldn't contact you without exposing myself or putting you and Agent Scully in more danger. After all, these men who you know so well still believed that I was dead. Well, to make a long story short, I eventually saw my chance after the members of the consortium were all killed, including the man you know as the smoking man. I was pulled away by talk of an alien spaceship-another story completely, which is where I finally ran into Krycek. Seeing my chance, I pretended to be on his side, hoping eventually that he'd lead me to you." Samantha leaned forward, placing her hand on Mulder's, "And luckily, he did."

At first Mulder was quiet, trying to take all that he'd been told in the last ten minutes. Then suddenly, he pushed back his chair and stood up, pulling his sister in a hug.

"I'm so sorry that I didn't contact you sooner Fox." Samantha mumbled into his chest, tears threatening to fall, "I-"

"Shhh," Mulder silenced her, stepping back with a smile on his face, "None of that matters anymore." He wiped away a tear that had escaped and was trailing down his sister's cheek, "The important thing is that we did find each other. And now we can both be happy."

Scully stood up, moving to leave, when Mulder stopped her, pulling her to his side.

"All of us." He grinned, putting one arm around his sister's shoulders and the other around Scully's waist.

"Um, excuse me, Mr. Mulder?" A boy in a red and black waiter's uniform strode up uncomfortably.

"Yes?" Mulder turned around placing his arms back at his sides.

"There's a man here to see you," the boy motioned towards the door, "He ways that your car is ready."

Thanking the boy, Mulder quickly paid the check before joining Samantha and Scully in the car.

"Home?" He turned from one woman to the other after climbing in behind the wheel.

"Home." Scully said relieved. She couldn't wait to get back to William and the comfort of her own home.

"Home." The word held an almost magical taste to it. Samantha couldn't believe she was finally going 'home' for real. "I can't wait to meet my new nephew."

After many days of bad luck, rain, and terror, they were finally on their way home.

It was a long drive home and both Scully and Samantha had fallen asleep.

Mulder turned the corner and popped a few more seeds in his mouth, realizing that he had finished off the entire bag. Scully mumbled something in her sleep and unconsciously leaned her head on Mulder's shoulder. Gently he tucked a runaway lock of hair behind her ear, letting his gaze rest on the peaceful expression of his sleeping partner. A small smile brushed his lips as he silently thanked his lucky stars that she was at his side.

47 minutes later...

Pulling into the gas station, Mulder stopped the car and turned to a somewhat halfway awake Scully.

"Hey," he spoke in a soothing voice, leaning towards her and brushing a finger across her cheek, "Now might be a good time to call your mom and tell her we're on our way home." He grinned at the confused, sleep-ridden, look she gave him and added, "or I could do it if you want me to."

Scully blinked a few times then shook her head, "You go ahead and fill the car up, I can call mom." Slowly, Scully got out of the car trying to rid herself of the last remnants of sleep, "She's probably worried about us." After receiving the 'No Service' message from the face of her cell phone, Scully headed for the gas station.

Mulder quickly filled the gas tank, being careful not to wake Samantha who was still asleep in the back seat.

He had just replaced the gas cap as Scully came up to the car, taking the keys from Mulder's hand in the process. She climbed into the driver's side as Mulder got in the passenger's side-both adjusting the seats to fit the drastic differences from the other's height. They had done this so many times in the past that it'd become routine, one of many 'procedures' to be followed while investigating an X-file...

10 minutes from Mrs. Scully's House...

"Hey," came Samantha's surprised gasp from the back seat.

Mulder twisted to face his sister, a questioning look on his face, "What is it?"

Samantha held up the object of her amazement, "My doll."

Glancing in the rearview mirror, Scully could see the comforting face of the little doll.

"I haven't seen this for years." Samantha smiled, running her hand over the worn childlike face, "How did it get in here?"


Mulder had just ended the story of the 'pizza night' as Scully turned into her mother's driveway. Turning off the car and handing the keys to Mulder, Scully headed towards the front steps.

Mulder turned to his sister in the backseat, "I'm fairly certain you're safe here," His voice trailed off. Nothing was ever absolute, and they had to be careful even now that the Syndicate had been removed. There were still people out to get Mulder and Scully.

Samantha smiled reassuringly. She knew that now that she was officially 'among the undead', they would have tread lightly...watch their step. The danger she had mentioned earlier still lingered in the back of both their minds. It was the whole reason Samantha had resisted contacting Mulder in the first place.

"C'mon," Mulder stepped out of the car and opened his sister's door, taking her hand, "You'll love Scully's family."

~Well, most of them anyway~ He added to himself, silently hoping that Bill would still be out of town.

"Hey there sweetie." Taking her son in her arms, Scully hugged him tightly, "Mommy missed you!" As if in answer, William cooed happily in his mother's arms.

"I tried to put him to sleep," Maggie Scully embraced her daughter with a smile on her face, "but he must have known mommy and daddy were on their way home." She laughed, "He refused to go to sleep."

Scully stepped into the room allowing her mother to take her coat.

"I'm so glad you made it back safely." Mrs. Scully paused glancing toward the door, "By the way, where is Fox?"

At the mention of his name, the door opened and in came Mulder, "Did I hear someone call for me?" He grinned turning from Scully to her mother.

"Fox," Maggie smiled, giving Mulder a hug, "I was just saying how glad I was that you two made it back safely."

"And just in time for dinner!" Charlie Scully strode into the room, spatula in hand, "The burgers are done mom." He waved towards the kitchen. "Glad you made it back ok sis." He pulled Scully into a hug, then turned to William in her arms, "We were having quite a fun time though weren't we buddy?"

Scully eyed him with a teasing look, "Well I hope you weren't teaching him any of your bad habits."

"Me? Bad habits? Never!" Charlie feigned innocence and Scully rolled her eyes.

"Nice to see you again Charlie." Mulder chuckled shaking the youngest Scully's hand.

"Mulder," Charlie grinned, "glad to see you made it back in one piece."

"It was a close call," Mulder glanced at Scully, "but yeah, I guess you'll have to put up with me for a little longer."

Just then there was a knock at the door.

"Oh, I want you guys to meet someone," Mulder placed a hand on Mrs. Scully's shoulder as he opened the door.

"Sorry I took so long," Samantha stood in the doorway, hair pulled back into a smoothly brushed ponytail, "I had to look somewhat presentable for meeting my new in-laws."

"Maggie, Charlie," Mulder escorted Samantha into the room, "I'd like you to meet my sister, Samantha Mulder."

For what little she knew, Maggie understood enough to be taken aback at the mention of Mulder's sister. Mrs. Scully was speechless for a few brief moments. As far as she knew, at least up until now, was that Fox Mulder's sister had been taken many years ago and had, since then, been found to be dead.

Charlie, unaware of past history, threw out his hand in welcome, "Nice to meet you Samantha."

"Y-yes," Maggie smiled warmly trying to recover from her initial shock, "Nice to meet you Samantha." She threw her daughter a helpless look of confusion before she continued; "I was under the impression that Fox had been an only child for quite some time..."

"Mom," Scully tried to hide her amusement at her mother's obvious confusion and polite way of trying to cover it up.

"I didn't mean to fluster you Mrs. Scully." Samantha smiled reassuringly, placing a hand on Scully's arm as a polite interruption, and then turning towards Mulder, "You should have seen his face when I told him who I was!"

"Oh thank goodness." Mrs. Scully brought a hand to her face, "I was beginning to think I'd missed something!"

"Yeah," Mulder grinned we were all shocked when we ran into each other last night."

"Now I'm confused." Charlie glanced from face to face, "What are we all shocked about?"

Scully gave his hand a pat, "It's a long story little brother," she sighed and grinned, "A very long story."

"Great dinner mom," Scully got up from the dinner table and placed her plate in the sink, turning on the water in the process.

"As always," Mulder grinned, following Scully and placing his own dish in the sink.

"Well thank you," Mrs. Scully smiled, "but the credit should really go to Charles here." She began clearing her own place, "He's become quite handy at the grill since we last saw him."

"Yeah well," Charlie picked up his napkin, "A man's gotta learn how to cook sometime!" He laughed, "And we might as well have fun in the process. That's why God invented..."He paused, getting up and moving toward the counter, "Da da da daaa! The Handy Grill!" He held up the small indoor grill, "Complete with accessories and 'How to" video!"

Scully laughed, tossing a towel at Charlie's head, "Hmmm, I guess I never saw you as a cook before."

"You kinda have to be after you can't stand to look at another frozen dinner." here Charlie made a disgusted face and began drying the dishes handed to him by his sister, "And every take-out restaurant in a five mile radius knows you so well they send you Christmas cards..."

Mulder lifted an eyebrow, "Oh, I don't know, I think it's kinda nice getting Christmas cards from take-out places...After so long the discounts get pretty good!" Looking at him Scully just rolled her eyes, and Mulder grinned, "That and I think I was doing pretty god on sunflower seeds and Iced Tea" He pronounced the last two words with a glimmer in his eye.

Samantha gave out a snort and placed the ketchup in the refrigerator. She turned to Scully saying, "You know, it's a good thing you saved him when you did." Samantha grinned, "Never know how much longer he could have held up."

Mulder grinned, placing his arm around Scully's waist, "Yeah, I'd have to agree that I'm a very lucky man."

A cry from the living room indicated that William was not enjoying being left out.

"I got him." Mulder placed a quick kiss on Scully's forehead and headed for his son. Samantha and Charlie soon followed into the living room.

Mrs. Scully beamed, she was so happy for Fox and Dana. They'd been such close friends for so long. She couldn't be happier that they had finally decided to get married. It'd been her wish secretly from the beginning, but she had vowed not to get involved in her children's personal lives. Now it looked like her dream was finally coming true. The look on her daughter's face told her that, even though it had taken many years (and had been down right frustrating at times NOT to interfere), in the end it was definitely worth it.

Scully sighed, placing the last of the silverware in the drawer.

"What is it honey?" Maggie asked curiously.

"It's nothing." Scully said, a dream-like expression lined her face.

"Oh no," Her mother chuckled, "I know that look. Don't try to fool me young lady."

Scully smiled, "It's just that-he's so happy." She gave out a small laugh, turning her gaze on Mulder who was engrossed in an intense game of Peek-A-Boo with William. The baby was happily responding in that content baby way.

Samantha and Charlie were seated a few feet away, laughing as Mulder continued the game.

"I've never seen him so happy." Scully replied, her attention back on her mother.

"You're right," Maggie took in the priceless view in the living room from her place beside her daughter, "And I've never seen you so happy before either." Her lips curled into a grin as she gave Scully's hand a motherly squeeze, "Come on," she led the way to the others, "You both have been working far too hard for much too long. You both deserve this happiness."

Scully set the towel down and followed her mother, "Thanks mom." He gave her mom a hug; she right it was about time she and Mulder got a chance at a 'normal life'.

"Mulder," Scully's voice was soft, as she tried to wake him.

He mumbled a half reply in his sleep, turning over in the direction of her voice. Mulder opened his eyes to a sunlit room and a smiling Scully standing over him.

"It's already 9:30, and my mom invited us over for lunch." She smiled sitting down next to him. She gave him a good morning kiss and added, "She says she wants to go over the plans for the wedding."

Mulder grinned; Scully's mom was as excited about the wedding as Scully was. Yawning, he got up and headed for the shower.


Mulder parked the car and got out to retrieve his son from the back seat. William, who had gotten a good amount of sleep last night after being worn out from so many fun games of peek-a-boo, was in a very good mood that morning and was happy to be once again back at his grandmother's house. Mulder gave his son a quick peck on the cheek and handed him over to Scully.

Walking up to the door, with his arm in its place at the small of Scully's back, Mulder was surprised to see an all too familiar van parked in the driveway. He was just about to ask Scully what the lone gunmen were doing there when they reached the door and were bombarded by shouts of "Surprise!"

Scully was just as surprised as Mulder to find not only the guys, and Scully's family there, but Skinner, Doggett, Reyes, and a few others that Scully recognized as her mother's friends.

Finding her way to the front of the group, Mrs. Scully took her daughters arm and led both Scully and Mulder into the living room. There they were greeted by more "congratulations" and "it's about times!"

Mulder gave Scully a 'wow-I-didn't-see-this-coming' look and grinned.

"Congratulations you two!" Agent Reyes gave them both a hug, and turned to William, "Hey there!" The baby cooed happily and Scully grinned.

"Thanks" Both Mulder and Scully were still trying to get over their initial shock.

"If I would have known this was gonna be a party I would have dressed a little nicer!" Mulder joked, indicating his jeans and T- shirt.

Agent Doggett was the next one to offer his congratulations, shaking Mulder's hand and giving Scully a hug, "It's about time you two had some joy in your life!" Both Sully and Mulder agreed happily, "And don't worry about the X-files." Doggett added in a genuine tone, motioning towards Reyes, "We won't let ya down."

"That's very comforting to know." Scully smiled, thanking him.

"Of course we definitely won't mind the experts dropping in every once and a while to give us a few pointers." Reyes grinned standing next to Doggett.

Mulder appreciated the fact that they still considered the X-files as his and Scully's department. "For now I think we'll try the 'normal' life for a while." He grinned thanking again for their congratulations and turning to the gunmen as they walked up.

"Hey man!" Frohike gave Mulder a hug, "Congratulations!"

Mulder laughed, giving Frohike a skeptical look, and teasingly asked, "You're not here to steal the bride away from me are you?"

Langly and Byers laughed.

"It took a while, but I think he's finally over it." Langly grinned shaking Mulder's hand and giving Scully a hug.

"Yeah, I figured you two deserve each other after all you've been through." Frohike grinned and took a gulp of his own punch, "but you owe me." He added jokingly pointing his finger at Mulder.

Scully laughed giving all three gunmen a kiss on the cheek, "I could never have made it through this past year without you guys."

Byers blushed, "It was our pleasure." It was his turn to congratulate his friends.

"Now, about the tuxes-" Langly, dressed in his usual attire, changed the subject.

"Langly," Byers and Frohike interrupted with warning tones.

"Just wait a minute," Langly protested, continuing before either had a chance to speak, "I was gonna say that you guys are the ONLY people that I'd ever wear a tux for."

Mulder and Scully laughed, and Byers and Frohike gave relieved sighs.

"Thanks man." Mulder gave Langly a pat on the back.

"Yeah but this better not become a habit." Langly gave his friends a suspicious look.

The guys excused themselves, heading over to the food table quietly discussing their latest conspiracy.

Scully gave Mulder a flustered look. So many people were congratulating them at the same time it was a lot to take in. Mulder laughed, he felt the same way. This seemed almost to good to be true.

Skinner found them and steered them towards the food table, "You guys better get some while you still can." He laughed motioning towards the gunmen.

Maggie Scully appeared only long enough to whisk her grandson away before she was gone again.

Scully chuckled, "I haven't seen my mom this happy in a long time."

Mulder grinned giving her a quick kiss, and whispering, "Well then, lets not disappoint her." Leading her with his arm around her waist, Mulder handed Scully a plate and, after filling both their plates, the two headed off to enjoy the party.

Once seated, Mulder and Scully were quickly surrounded by more congratulatory guests complementing them on their engagement and "adorable son".

Scully gave Mulder a look that said 'I've never said "thank you" so much in my life'. He grinned feeling the same way.

Samantha, who had been hiding out in the kitchen for most of the night, finally emerged and sat down next to Mulder and Scully, a tight look on her face.

Mulder picked up on his sister's strange mood immediately and was about to question her about it when he was interrupted by the gunmen returning from their forth trip to the buffet line.

"And who might the lovely lady be?" Frohike asked sitting down next to Samantha and smiling, bringing out his ever present 'Frohike charm'.

Byers sat down, nodding politely in Samantha's direction and getting ready to apologize for any embarrassing acts Frohike might let slip. Langly, convinced that the flower arrangement that made up the centerpiece of the food table was bugged, glanced suspiciously around the room.

Taking into consideration his sister's strange change in demeanor, Mulder introduced his sister as his "friend...Samantha." He hoped the guys would pick up on exactly WHICH Samantha he was talking about.

"Well, it's so nice to meet you-" It took a while, but suddenly the realization of who this woman really was, hit Frohike with full force (that and a nudge by Byers from under the table). Giving his friend a slight glare, Frohike saw that both Byers and Langly where trying to conceal their initial shock. This couldn't really be THE Samantha as in Mulder's long lost abducted presumed dead sister.

"I-It's a pleasure to meet you Samantha." Byers extended his hand, the first of the three men to recuperate.

"Likewise," Langly could barely keep his jaw from hitting the floor.

Mulder nodded slightly knowing from their reactions that they knew.

Scully, slightly confused at first, quickly picked up on the hidden meaning of the conversation.

"I'll explain later." Mulder leaned in so that they were the only ones who could hear him.

"Samantha," He turned back to his sister, "This is Frohike, Langly, and Byers." He motioned towards each as he said their name. Samantha greeted each of them with a smile.

"Mulder-"Scully stopped when she heard William's cries come from across the room where he was being handed around a group of doting friends of her mother's. Mulder gave her hand a squeeze as she excused herself and went to her son.

"I think he's hungry." Maggie smiled, handing Scully the baby, "There you go sweetie, mommies here."

Scully gave her mother a smile, quickly glancing towards the table where Mulder and Samantha sat quietly discussing something.

"Excuse me," she spoke to the other ladies, who gladly allowed her leave, commenting once more on how beautiful her baby was. Scully thanked them politely and turned to her mother, "I'm gonna go upstairs and feed William, if Mulder asks that's where I am." She gave her mother a thankful look, "cover for me while I'm gone." Scully grinned, indicating the rest of the guests.

"Sure honey." Maggie gave her daughter's arm a squeeze and kissed the top of her grandson's head before turning to entertain another guest.

Turning to go upstairs, Scully caught Mulder's eye and pointed to William, mouthing "hungry". Mulder smiled and winked, indicating that he knew what she meant.

He turned his attention back to the table. Skinner, who had joined the conversation just after Scully had left, was still trying to get over the fact that Mulder's sister was sitting in front of him.

"So you think you're being followed?" Byers asked quietly, glancing around the room before focusing once more on Samantha.

"I can't be sure," her voice was soft, "but last night, after leaving your apartment," Samantha spoke to Mulder referring to Scully's apartment as "your apartment", "I received a phone call which I just assumed was a wrong number." She glanced around at the fiver men sitting around the table, "Except the second time I was sure it couldn't have been a mistake because of the noise I heard in the background."

"London Bridges." Mulder spoke almost to himself.

"What?" Skinner was confused.

"How did you know?" Samantha's expression grew wide with amazement.

"Because Scully and I received the same calls before we set out to find you." Mulder sat back in his chair not wanting to know what all of this meant.

"And then on my way here," Samantha continued, "I could have sworn someone was following me."

For a few moments no one said anything.

Suddenly Mulder sat up straight, scanning the room, "Where's Scully?" His voice was urgent as he stood up.

"She went to go feed William." Byers tried to calm his friend's nerves, "Just a few minutes ago, we all saw her."

There was a small cry from upstairs and Mulder raced for the stairway. Seeing the look on his face, and taking in his quick movement, Doggett and Reyes (who had been enjoying a conversation with yet another of Mrs. Scully's guests), rushed over to Skinner inquiring what was wrong.

"I'm not quite sure," Skinner's voice was full of dread, "let's hope it's nothing."

Scully had just walked into the room her mother had set aside for William as a "second nursery". The baby squirmed in her arms as she sat down in the rocking chair near the window and began feeding him.

A breath of wind breezed through the opened window, rustling the pale blue curtains and lingering slightly near the rocking chair as it danced throughout her auburn hair. Scully rested her gaze on the sweet face of her son, brushing the back of her finger over his soft cheek.

"There you go sweetie," She spoke softly, and the baby gurgled happily.

"One word and you'll never see your son or Mulder again." Her blood ran ice cold as Scully felt the unmistakable barrel of a gun pushed starkly at the base of her neck.

She gripped William tighter and tried swallowing the lump in her throat. Every muscle in her body stiffened, as she took a slow, cautious, breath.

"Get up." Scully felt the gun forced against her spine, and re- buttoning her shirt, she pulled William to her chest, standing up.

"I should have killed you when I had the chance." Krycek turned her to face him, keeping the gun trained in its place.

Inside, Scully let out a gasp. She couldn't believe he was still alive! Keeping her eyes on the weapon pointed in her direction, Scully spoke cautiously, keeping her voice at a trained calmness.

"What do you want Krycek?" She held William close, mind running a thousand miles an hour; trying to find some way out of this horrible situation.

Only a few feet below her, friends and family where still enjoying the party, oblivious to the situation above.

In answer to her question Krycek let out a harsh laugh, motioning towards the window, "I guess it'll just have to be a surprise." He spoke in a dangerous tone.

William, who was still upset about having his supper cut short, began to get restless. Seeming to pick up on his mother's tense mood, he let out a small cry.

Krycek tensed and pushed Scully towards the window, as he went to lock the door, eyes never leaving her.

Not wanting to cause Krycek to act in a frenzied moment of panic, Scully obeyed, moving towards the window. She gave William a few pats on the back, trying to calm the baby down. But he was having none if it. William let out another cry this time louder.

"Move!" Krycek placed the gun at the small of her back, forcing her out the window and onto the second story deck. The wind had picked up a little, and Scully could smell the oncoming rain.

"Scully?" Mulder's voice was muffled by the locked door and distance. He sounded concerned.

By this time they had made it down the deck ladder and to the black sedan parked across the street. Scully could hear the sound of people rushing up stairs and Mulder's voice as he called her name again, this time much more urgently.

Scully held William close as Krycek shoved her into the passenger's side of the car.

By this time Mulder had managed to knock the door of the nursery down, charging into the room, gun poised. Skinner, Doggett, and Reyes, soon followed.

"Scully!" Mulder looked around the room frantically, suddenly his eyes rested on the open window.

"Check the other rooms." Skinner turned around to speak to the other agents. Doggett and Reyes quickly obeyed.

"He's got them in the car." Mulder half murmured to the AD as he climbed out the window himself.

"Who?" Skinner called after Mulder watching him climb down the deck ladder in anxious speed.

"Krycek." Mulder called over his shoulder as he reached the ground and ran for the black sedan across the street.

"Sir," Agent Reyes came back with a worried look on his face, "They're not in the other rooms."

"Downstairs," Skinner moved quickly as Doggett came back from his unsuccessful search.

The agents followed Skinner downstairs. At the sight of three people with guns drawn running through the room, the rest of the guests began to panic.

"What's going on?" Charlie, on his way back from the kitchen got no explanation.

"She's going to be fine." Skinner paused on long enough to ensure Mrs. Scully that they had everything under control. At least he hoped. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Scully could see Mulder through the window in the nursery. Silently she willed him to look out the window. If nothing else he would know in which direction Krycek was taking them.

Turning the key in the ignition while still trying to keep the gun pointed at Scully, Krycek muttered something under his breath as he realized Mulder was only a glance away from ruining his entire plan.

It was at that moment that the heavens above let loose, releasing gallons of pent up raindrops.

William began to cry. Scully tried soothing him as best she could, rubbing his tiny back and quietly whispering, "Shh, sweetie, it's ok."

By now, Mulder was already racing towards the black sedan at full speed. No way was he going to let Krycek get away with this after all they'd been through. Scully and William were all that mattered anymore. His life was in that car and Mulder was planning to do whatever it took to keep them from being taken away from him again.

Scully glanced desperately around the car, trying to find some way to stop Krycek taking off. Unfortunately Krycek had seen Mulder coming just as Scully did. With his good hand on the trigger, Krycek floored the gas; aiming the gun away from Scully and directly at Mulder.

"No!" Scully cried out grabbing the wheel from Krycek's grasp and rearing the car dangerously to the right. She suddenly had flashback to her dream in the warehouse, except this time it was a car instead of a warehouse and it wasn't a dream.

The net few moments seemed to pass in slow motion. Mulder thrust open the door to the driver's side. Krycek, unaware that he had forced open the lock as he hit the car door in Scully's desperate attempt to keep him from firing at Mulder, was once again taken by surprise.

The car was still gaining speed as Mulder grabbed hold of Krycek and flung him onto the road. However, Mulder's actions were not quick enough. A shot rang out as the two men hit the pavement at full force, rolling several feet in struggle. More shots were fired as the vehicle, gaining momentum from the steep hill, still continued on.

Scully's heart leapt to her throat, blood pounding in her ears. The car was quickly headed directly for the end of the road- in which led to an embankment and a steep drop off.

Grabbing the wheel, Scully nearly panicked, finding it firmly locked in place. If only she didn't have William in her arms, Scully would have found it easy, albeit painful, to jump from the moving vehicle.

She held William tight, kissing his forehead and praying that, if nothing else, he would make it out alive.

Just when Scully had practically given up all hope, the amazing happened.

Out of nowhere a familiar looking VW bus rounded the corner and sped directly next to the runaway sedan. The Sliding door flew open revealing a wonderful sight. With Frohike at the wheel, Langly Byers, and Samantha were set and ready.

"Open the door!" Frohike tried yelling over the sound of the pounding rain.

Quickly Scully obeyed.

"Hand me Will!" Byers held out his arms for the baby, heart racing. He couldn't believe what he was about to do, inside he kept reminding himself that he just had to concentrate. They couldn't-make that wouldn't let Mulder and Scully down.

A flash of fearful skepticism ran threw Scully's expression.

"You have to trust us!" Samantha shouted, shifting her gaze between Scully and the dangerously approaching embankment.

Scully bit her lip and closed her eyes only long enough to position herself on the edge of the seat. Giving her son one last kiss on his downy head, Scully completed the single hardest act of her life. Grasping her son with all her strength, Scully handed William across the speeding cars, allowing complete trust in the hands of the gunmen.

Byers grabbed onto the baby with all the strength he could muster. Langly and Samantha quickly took hold of William too, reinsuring Byers' grip on the precious life in their hands.

"Hold on to your seats!" Frohike's voice came from behind the wheel as the van reared to the right, making a sharp U-turn, barely missing a telephone pole.

Left up to her own instincts, Scully quickly flung herself from the moving car, hitting the ground and rolling away just in time to see the back of the black sedan, still caught in cruise control, hurtle over the embankment and end in a fiery explosion at the bottom.

Scully shielded her face with her hand, wincing as she stood up.

"Agent Scully!" Agent Reyes' voice could barely be heard over the pouring rain. She ran up taking in Scully's dazed state, "Are you all right?" Scully nodded as Reyes asked, "Where's William?"

"He's ok," Scully brushed her hair from her face. Suddenly a look of panic came over her, "Mulder!" She began running at full force.

"Agent Scully! Dana!" Reyes' voice was lost to the wind. Scully ran until she reached the last place she'd seen Mulder. Her heart nearly stopped beating when she didn't see him.

"Mulder!" She had to yell in order to be heard over the pounding rain. Frantically she scanned over the crowd hoping to find him, or at least someone who could tell her were he was. She started to call out his name again, but was interrupted by someone taking her shoulder.

"Scully!" She turned to face Agent Doggett, dripping wet and desperately trying to catch her attention.

"Where is he?" She held a look of desperation. This wasn't the first time she had uttered those words.

"He's ok." Doggett pointed in the direction of the house, "AD Skinner's talkin' to the police. Krycek's been sent to the hospital, but it doesn't look like he's gonna make it."

Scully barely heard his last words, taking off towards the house.

Mulder had been moved and was now lying inside the house and away from the buzz of police. He had a bandage on his head and his eyes were closed. From where Scully stood it didn't look like he was moving at all. Her breath caught as she hurried to his side.

"Mulder?" Scully swallowed hard, leaning over him and brushing her hand across his forehead. Biting back tears in the process.

"Mulder?" At this point her voice cracked, and she leaned closer, "Mulder, it's me." ~Why wasn't he at the hospital?~

Only then did Mulder open his eyes, groaning slightly but smiling when he saw her face.

"I thought I'd lost you." Mulder's voice was strained yet full of relief, relinquishing his normal humorous remark to voice his true feelings, "That I'd never get to see you or Will again." Scully could see the pain in his eyes.

"For a second there I thought we'd never see you again either." Scully took his hand, placing her lips on his grasp and closing her eyes. And what a horrible feeling that was. She'd already lost him once. NEVER did she want to go through that again.

Mulder cupped her cheek in his hand, "I promised that I'd never let anything tear this family apart again." His voice was earnest as he allowed his eyes to lock with hers. Slowly his lips curled into that trademark grin, "And that's a promise I intend to keep."

Suddenly Mulder's expression changed as he struggled to sit up, "Where's William?"

"Right here," Frohike, Langly, Byers, and Samantha, strode up to the porch triumphantly.

Mulder allowed himself to relax, taking his son in his arms. "Hey there buddy," his fear diminishing, Mulder took a good look at his son. As the baby took hold of his index finger, Mulder added, "Good job taking care of mommy."

Scully chuckled, letting out an emotional surge of energy. She turned to Samantha and the gunmen, speaking straight from the heart, "What would I do without you guys? I don't think I can thank you enough." She gave each of them a grateful look.

"You just did." Byers smiled warmly.

"Besides," Frohike added, "It's all in a days work for our favorite little man." He gave William a pat on the head. "And our two best friends." He spoke, feeling somewhat awkward in voicing his feelings.

Scully grinned and, deciding to allow Frohike moment of bliss, kissed him on the cheek, "Thanks anyway Frohike."

Stunned into paradise, Frohike stumbled backward, hand resting where Scully's lips had last been, "As I live and breathe," he beamed, "I'll never wash this face again."

The room filled with laughter. Langly and Byers began escorting a dazed Frohike back to the van.

"We'll see you later." Byers waved and Langly nodded in their direction, trying to hold back his laughter. Man, Frohike would never hear the end of this!

Three days later...

"Mulder," Scully let out a sigh, "You need to rest." Lightly, she guided him back to the bed, refusing no for an answer.

"But Scully-" Mulder was interrupted by The Look. Quickly he shut his mouth and climbed into bed.

"I'm taking care of you whether you like it or not." Scully said firmly. A grin began to escape her lips; "You are going to be back in top shape for this wedding if it kills us." After considering this statement for a while she added to herself ~And it just might~

"What would I do without you Scully?" Mulder grinned and motioned her to take a seat next to him.

Instead of answering, Scully placed a soft kiss on his forehead, "Get some sleep Mulder. The sooner you get better the sooner we can finally start living a normal life." Grinning she left the room, shutting off the lights as she went, to go check on William.

"There's mommy!" Samantha handed the baby to Scully.

"Hey sweetie," Scully gave Will a kiss on the cheek, "Did you have a good nap?"

"Slept like a log." Samantha laughed, "Unlike Fox, Will seems to enjoy his naps."

Scully laughed before taking on a more serious tone, "I want to thank you for everything you've done." She trailed off, a distant look on her face, "If you hadn't recognized Krycek's car in time, I can't even image where we'd be right now."

"After all these years at least my time spent with these people paid off for something." Samantha took Scully's arm leading her to the couch. "Listen, I don't want you two to worry anymore."

"It's just," Scully gave out a weary sigh, "After everything that we've been through over the past nine years, I just want it to be over." She stroked William's check letting years of pent up emotions finally out.

"I know." Samantha could hear the strain in Scully's voice. So many years and so many cases had definitely taken a toll on both Scully and Mulder.

"Ever since I was a little girl I'd dream about how I'd marry the perfect man and settle down to live happily ever after."

"Never really works out the way you'd planned huh?" Samantha gave out a short laugh.

"At least I got most of my wish." Scully turned her gaze toward the bedroom where Mulder was sleeping.

"And who says you have to stop dreaming?" Samantha smiled at William wrapped his chubby little baby fist around her index finger. "I have a feeling happily ever after is just around the corner for you guys."

"Well," Scully straightened and cleared her throat, "You're more than welcome to stay here for as long as you like."

"Thanks, but after the wedding I really should move on to try finding my own happily ever after." She had a sad look on her face. "After all these years of running, hiding, and working with Them, I don't even have the slightest clue as to how a 'normal life' is supposed to be lived."

"I know what you mean." Scully stood up as the phone rang, "But I hope you stick around for a while...I know it would mean a lot to Mulder."

"I hope to find an apartment in close." Samantha stood up and grinned, "Fox and I have a lot of catching up to do."

Reaching the phone, Scully picked it up, "Hello?"

At first there was no answer and Scully could feel the tug at her heart. A brief moment of panic swept through her body. She swallowed and spoke again, "Hello?"

"Oh Dana," It was Charlie. Scully let out a very relieved breath, "Sorry about that, I was talking to mom. Anyway, she's insisting that you come over for lunch tomorrow. I can tell that she's just itching to start wedding plans."

"I'll talk to Mulder, but I'm sure you can tell mom that we'll be there." The smile was evident in Scully's voice. They spoke for a few more minutes and then she hung up.

William began to fuss and Scully rocked him gently.

"Why don't I take him for a walk?" Samantha offered, "That'll give you and Fox a little time alone for a while."

Hesitant at first, for she was always on her guard-especially when it came to William, Scully eventually agreed and, after changing the baby's diaper and putting his tiny coat on, Scully handed William over to his aunt.

"Come on Will," Samantha took the stroller out of the closet, "Let's go grab some fresh air."

After they'd left, Scully leaned against the wall rubbing the bridge of her nose. She was tired. Walking toward the kitchen, Scully contemplated what to make for supper.

"Hey," slightly startled, Scully jumped as Mulder came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her.

"Mulder-jeez! Don't do that to me!"

"Sorry," He grinned brushing his lips against hers. "I've got a good idea."

Raising her eyebrow, half amusement and half out of curiosity. "What?" She turned in her arms to face him.

"Let's go out to dinner." Mulder lifted her hand and gave it a kiss, "We could both use some fresh air."

"Well that's where our son is now, but I'm sure Samantha wouldn't mind watching him for a little while longer."

"Better go get dressed," His face twisted into a sly smile, "I'm taking you somewhere you deserve."

"We BOTH deserve." Scully grinned and headed for the bedroom, her spirits rising and she went.

"That was wonderful Mulder." Scully smiled as he held the door of the restaurant open for her.

"I'm so stuffed I don't think I'll be able to eat for weeks." Mulder wrapped his suit jacket around Scully's shoulders.

"I hate to tell you this." Scully grinned taking his hand as they moved toward the walk, "But mom invited us over for lunch tomorrow."

"Well then I guess I have no choice." Mulder mumbled before adding with a twinkle in his eye, "I can always take more of that good ol' Scully-cooking."

Scully just shook her head and allowed Mulder to lead her toward the walkway that lined the beachfront restaurant. She couldn't believe Mulder had driven all the way out to the coast just to take her to supper, but she was definitely pleased.

The slight ocean breeze wisped through Scully's hair and rustled the ends of her knee-length black dress. Hand and hand she and Mulder made their way down the walk, enjoying the clear night and the full moon.

"Uh oh." Mulder glanced at the sky.

"What?" Scully stopped, "No uh oh's Mulder."

"I was just going to say that it's a full moon tonight." He turned his gaze toward her, "And you know what happens on a full moon don't you?"

"Is this the part where you tell me that you're some sort of werewolf just before you tell me you love me but you have to kill me?" Scully raised an eyebrow in amusement.

"More like my car's going to turn back into a pumpkin and I have to get home before the mice get away." Mulder laughed turning her to face him.

"Well, I do have to admit that it seems almost to good to be true...like a fairy tale." Scully smiled warmly, brushing her fingers across his cheek and letting them linger at his lips. "Mulder?"

"Yes?" Mulder was entranced by her touch.

"Catch me if you can!" Taking him completely by surprise Scully suddenly flung off her shoes and began running towards the water.

"Don't think you can get away from me that easy." Mulder grinned, adding before he took off after her, "They don't call me Running Fox for nothin'."

Mulder quickly caught up with Scully at the edge of the water, his long legs making up for her head start. She laughed as he easily picked her up in a big bear hug.

The moonlight illuminated the former FBI partners as Mulder bent down and kissed Scully, pulling her closer. It was about time they had some fun. Real fun. Not the type of fun hidden between to cases, mutants, or alien conspiracies.

"Hey Scully?" Mulder pulled back lifting her chin to meet his gaze.

"Yeah?" She stared into those beautiful hazel eyes and was reminded just why she was so totally and completely in love with this man.

"Let's go get married."

The next day at the Scully household was one big excited, hectic, rush of people, planning, and food.

"So did you say you wanted the flowers delivered here or to the church?"

"When is the practice again?"

"Do you still want Bill to give you away?"

"Yes you gave to wear the tux for the reception."

The last of course was Byers speaking to the still reluctant-but true to his word-Langly

"The Church, 3:00 a week from Friday, and although I'm almost afraid to ask, yes." Frenzied, Scully turned to face Mulder, giving out a small exasperated sigh.

Mulder grinned leaning in towards her and whispering, "There's always Las Vegas."

"Yeah right Mulder, my mother is really going to let us elope to Las Vegas." Despite the hectic rush of things, Scully smiled at Mulder's attempt to calm her nerves.

William began crying from his continuously changing position of being handed around the room from one loving friend or relative to the next.

"I got him." Mulder gave her arm a squeeze and went to "rescue" his son.

"I just got off the phone with your Aunt Olive." Mrs. Scully, slightly weary herself, came in from the kitchen, "I told her I knew it was a short notice, but she said they'd try their best to be here for the wedding."

"Thanks mom." Scully gave her mother a warm smile.

"Chow time!" Charlie entered through the front door with three pizza boxes in his hands. Samantha followed in right behind him, carrying an equal number of boxes herself.

"Pizza?" Scully turned to her mother with a thoroughly surprised look on her face. "Wow, we really must be busy around here." Normally whenever company was over Mrs. Scully insisted on cooking a big meal for everyone.

Margaret laughed, "You can thank your fianc for that one." Then she turned and headed off to grab plates and napkins.

Scully turned her attention to Mulder who winked and, taking his son's hand, waved in her direction.

Scully just shook her head, an amused expression on her face, mouthed, "Thank you", and headed off to help her mom.

They had two weeks to make all the arrangements, invite all the guests, and keep each other from going crazy. After things had calmed down, they'd managed to send out all the invitations and convince Langly to go tuxedo shopping under the watchful eye of Byers and Frohike. After everything that had happened, Scully felt it only natural to have Samantha as her maid of honor, and Samantha, touched at such a request, agreed immediately. Finally, after a hard days work, Mulder and Scully said their thank-yous and goodbyes and headed off to home.

"I think Skinner's still trying to get over the initial shock that we're finally doing it." Scully grinned as she turned her attention from the passing scenery to Mulder behind the wheel.

Mulder had a sly lopsided grin on his face.

"Getting married, Mulder." Scully said in that tone of voice. His expression turned to one of complete innocence as Scully added, "I knew what you were thinking Mulder."

"I have absolutely no idea what you might be referring to Scully." His words may have denied it, but Mulder's eyes still held that mischievous twinkle that Scully knew all to well.

They rode in comfortable silence for a few minutes before Mulder finally spoke up, "I wouldn't be surprised if the entire FBI showed up just to see it with their own eyes."

"Seeing is believing." Scully spoke, taking a quick look back at William to make sure he was ok. The baby was sleeping quietly, thumb tucked safely in his mouth, holding his favorite blanket close.

The next two weeks were going to go by in a flash.

It was only three days before the wedding. They'd decided to move the practice to Thursday instead of Friday for Skinner, who had an important meeting on Friday that he couldn't get out of.

Even though it was only a rehearsal, the whole thing seemed so surreal to anyone and everyone present. Mulder stood at this place at the altar while he waited for everyone to get situated.

They ran through the first part quickly and, since Bill was unable to fly in until Sunday, Skinner willingly stood in for him as the one to give Scully away.

On the walk up Scully took hold of his arm, whispering, "You know Sir, if I wasn't obligated to have my brother give me away, you'd be my first choice."

Touched Skinner smiled and, still trying to get over the fact that this was all really going to happen in 3 days, he gave her hand a squeeze and, as they reached the alter whispered, "I would have been honored." As he handed her over to Mulder, Skinner spoke to the both of them, "I can't think of any two people who are more perfect for each other, or who deserve this as much as you two."

Both Mulder and Scully where touched by their former boss, and true friend's, remark. Skinner left their side and joined the Gunmen, standing in his place.

"This is the part where I say 'Dearly beloved...' and then I'll ask you to read you're vows, which I understand you have written yourselves?" Father Mchue spoke in a fatherly tone. Mulder and Scully both nodded. "Then I'll ask for the ring," at this point he motioned for Matthew to come forward, "And then it's 'you may kiss the bride'."

"And we live happily ever after." Mulder grinned, staring deep into Scully's eyes. She smiled back, taking his hands in hers. Before she could reply, Margaret Scully was already on her feet ushering people towards the door for, "Lunch at her house"...again.

Scully sighed, watching her mom hand William to Samantha as she put on her coat, "Sometimes I think she's almost more excited about this than I am." Scully laughed, pondered this for a moment, then looked back at Mulder and added, "Well, maybe not."

"I don't know Scully," Mulder grinned ushering her towards the door by the small of her back, "I can think of at least one person who has been waiting for this day for a very long time."

Scully stepped outside taking William in her arms and turning to Mulder with a smile on her face, "Make that two people who have been waiting for this for a very long time."

Glancing around at all their happy-faced friends, Mulder spoke in a low voice, "We may have to be adding to that list come Sunday."

"Practically everyone here has been waiting their fair share of time to see this happen." Scully scanned the courtyard until her gaze rested on Frohike. Giving a small laugh she added, "Well, almost everyone."

"Places everyone!" Mrs. Scully whispered anxiously as the guests were being seated.

Langly tugged at his bowtie in annoyance.

"Hey man, stop that!" Frohike pulled Langly's arm away from the source of his fidgeting.

"I can't help it." Langly whined.

"You can't do that when we're up at the alter." Byers warned stepping out of the way as the photographer moved quickly into the sanctuary to get positioned.

"Yeah, so humor me while I still have time." Ignoring his friends' orders, Langly pulled at the tie again. Frohike and Byers gave up, turning to whish Mulder good luck.

"Thanks guys." Mulder gave his friends a grin and moved off in another direction. He was clearly in a hurry.

Mulder reached the door just as Mrs. Scully was coming out. She had tears in her eyes.

"Fox," She was surprised to see Mulder, "What are you doing?" Closing the door behind her, Margaret Scully paused and waited for an answer.

"Oh, I-uh," Mulder hadn't planned on Scully's mom to be guarding the bride's dressing room. "Just wanted to give this to Scully." He tried to slip past her. "It'll just take a second."

"Fox," Mrs. Scully placed a comforting hand on his shoulder and smiled, "You know it's bad luck to see the bride in her wedding dress before the wedding."

"Yes Mrs. Scully, of all people I am very aware of that fact." Mulder grinned, "Will you give her this for me?" He handed her a folded note.

"Of course." Taking the note, she gave Mulder's arm a squeeze, "Now go get ready, the wedding is about to start." Mulder obeyed and went to take his place at the altar.

"Who was that?" Scully turned from her spot where Samantha was helping her adjust her veil.

"Fox." Her mom handed Scully the note, "He wanted me to give you this."

Surprised, Scully sat down in the chair next to her and unfolded the small piece of paper. Samantha and Maggie watched as Scully read the note. A smile crossed her face and she blinked back tears.

'Just in case you're having second thoughts, here's a little something to tide you over.'

A photograph fell into her hand. It was a picture of her and Mulder lying on her bed with William nestled between them. Scully had never seen the picture before and remembered the moment, but not the fact that it had been photographed. Turning it over, she read the back-'Surprise! I'll explain later, but let me just say that you can thank the guys for this one...love, Mulder' 'P.S.- knock knock...'

Curious, Scully moved towards the door. Upon opening it, she couldn't help but laugh. Sitting propped against the door waiting for her to open was a bag of sunflower seeds and a bottle of ice tea.

"Mulder," Scully shook her head brining in the items and placing them on the tabletop, "What would I do without you."

Her mother and Samantha, although very curious, knew there had to be some sort of 'inside joke' to all of this. They did, however, love the picture.

"Come on honey." Margaret ushered her daughter out the door, "We don't want to keep Fox waiting."

~No~ Scully thought feeling the best sensation of nervous, happy, excitement. ~No we don't~

Everyone had made it down the isle but the bride. Scully took her brother's arm and was surprised to see that Bill had tears in his eyes. He quickly blinked them away and focused on a nonexistent spot on the floor. Feeling like she should say something, but not knowing what, Scully turned her attention towards the front of the church.

Waiting for her at the altar, Mulder stood next to Skinner and the guys, dressed in his tux, with that same grin Scully had come to know so well over the past 9 years, spread across his face. Scully couldn't take her eyes off Mulder; the sight literally took her breath away. The moment she'd only dreamt of was finally going to come true. They'd fought for so long, and so hard for this moment that she just wanted to run to his side, make sure that nothing else could happen to keep them apart any longer. Taking a deep breath, Scully restrained herself and kept at her brother's pace.
Mulder nervously licked his lips as he stood at the altar and watched the flower girl and Matthew walk down the isle. Glancing out of the corner of his eye, he could tell the gunmen were trying their best not to look too paranoid. Inside Mulder laughed ~You gotta love those guys~

Suddenly the mood in the room changed, and Mulder could feel Scully's presence. Turning his gaze back to the isle his breath caught. For a second he had to blink to make sure he wasn't dreaming. Seeing Scully in her wedding dress, walking down that isle to meet him-Fox Mulder, was almost too hard for Mulder's mind to grasp. They'd been through so much together for so long. All he wanted was to take her in his arms and never let go...to live the life they'd been too afraid to give in to for the past 9 years. Mulder anxiously waited for Scully to reach the altar.

Scully held back a nervous breath as she and Bill reached the altar. As Bill went to place her hand in Mulder's, Scully prayed that he wouldn't do anything rash. She could tell by the look on Mulder's face that he was hoping the same. They were both pleasantly surprised when Bill placed his sister's hand in Mulder's and, fighting back tears, actually smiled. Both Scully and Mulder were so shocked they almost forgot to turn their attention to Father Mchue as he began the ceremony.

Once they were finally facing the right direction, Father Mchue smiled and began, "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to acknowledge and celebrate the love between this man, Fox Mulder, and this woman, Dana Scully." He motioned to each of them respectively, "It is on this day that Fox and Dana pledge themselves to a life of mutual love, honor and companionship."

Scully and Mulder stood hand in hand, unable to take their eyes off the other. Both were trying to hold back tears, and each had an amused look on their face when they heard Father Mchue refer to them as "Fox and Dana". To each other, and all those who knew them so well, they would always be Mulder and Scully.

Father Mchue continued on, explaining that Mulder and Scully had written their own vows, and would now like to read them. He motioned for Mulder to begin.

Holding Scully's hands close to his heart, Mulder, a mixture of boyish enthusiasm and unconditional love, began, "Nine years ago, my life changed as I was assigned a new partner. Someone who was my complete opposite. Someone who I originally thought was sent to spy on me." As he spoke Mulder's mouth quirked into a grin, "But, as fate would have it, this skeptical scientist who held true to her beliefs was just what I needed." He spoke from the heart, trying to put into words nine years of pent up emotions. "Scully, I can't even begin to express how much you mean to me. You're my best friend, and the only one I trust. You stuck with me through the best and worst of times, even if it meant sacrificing your career and your life." By this time both Mulder and Scully were teary-eyed, as were most of the congregation. "I want to thank you for believing in me when no one else did, for helping me realize the truth. You saved me Scully, and I couldn't have made it without you." Mulder paused for a moment to take in the sight in front of him. "I stand here today, to show my undying love for you and to promise that no matter what happens in the future, I will always be there for you. Through all our rough times, and all our years of searching, I finally found the truth, only to realize that I'd had it all along. It was fate that brought us together" For a second Mulder had a flashback of the conversation they'd had during a stakeout many years ago-'If there's an ice tea in that bag...could be love.' 'Must be fate Mulder...root beer.' "And fate means for us to stay that way." With that Mulder lifted their grasp and gently kissed her hand, whispering, "I love you Scully."

Trying to blink back tears, and finding it impossible to do, Scully wiped at her eyes, trying her best to keep her composure in front of the packed church. Looking back into Mulder's eyes, the same familiar eyes that had voiced more in the past nine years than words could ever say, Scully smiled and began, "Mulder, from the moment I met you, I was inspired by your dedication and passion...to your work and those you held close to your heart. And although you may have driven me near insanity at times," At this Scully's lips held a full-fledged grin and Mulder couldn't help but laugh, "It was that enthusiasm and devotion that made me follow you...and fall in love with you." Although she may have held back in the past, Scully was finally giving in to her emotions, speaking the truth she'd veiled for nearly 9 years. "Mulder, when I thought I'd lost you," Scully paused and bit her lip, trying to find the right words, "A huge part of me died. I realized that I no longer cared what happened to me, or what the truth was. I would give it all up just to have one more second with you." Mulder, seeing a tear escape Scully's desperate attempts to hide her emotions, lifted his hand and softly brushed it away. "I love you Mulder...more than words could ever say...and I don't want to lose you again." There was a slight pause and everyone in the audience, especially Mrs. Scully, was dabbing at their eyes. "I stand here today to promise you that I will continue to stand by your side, regardless of what happens, or what life throws at us." Scully finished by giving Mulder's hand a squeeze. "I love you Mulder."

As Father McCue continued the ceremony, Mulder and Scully took a few seconds to truly just enjoy the moment. Mulder stared deep into Scully's eyes, as she did his. A few seconds passed as things began to sink in.

In the front row, Mrs. Scully was wiping her eyes. This was a moment she had been waiting for for a very long time. Next to her sat Charlie, a wide smile splashed across his boyish features. He held William in his lap while the baby enjoyed resting comfortably with his favorite blanket firmly in his grasp.

Beside Charlie, Tara dabbed at her own eyes, shifting her glance between Mulder, Scully and her son. She wanted to make sure that Matthew didn't forget his part in the ceremony like he had the first time they'd practiced. Tara caught her son's eye and smiled. He grinned back, proudly standing with the ring pillow in hand, indicating that yes, he did remember when it would be his time to give Father McCue the rings.

The front row ended with Bill. He sat solemnly, a mixture of emotions masking his face. On one hand he was enjoying seeing his son up there, while on the other he couldn't quite believe this was all happening. His little sister was actually getting married, and to who? Of all people, Fox Mulder. As he sat watching his sister and Mulder give their vows, Bill was suddenly overcome with a sense of defeat. As much as he hated to admit it, as much as he had tried to prevent this very moment, he could not deny the love they shared. He could see it in the way they looked at each other, in the way they touched, even in the way one was completely changed by the very presence of the other. Bill Scully could no longer refuse to accept the fact that Fox Mulder and Dana Scully were meant for each other. Heaving an inward sigh, Bill glanced at his wife, then back at his sister. ~As long as she's happy~ Bill finally gave in to the fact that his little sister was old enough to make her own decisions. Taking Tara's hand in his, he smiled, and decided to enjoy the rest of this wedding, even if it meant Fox Mulder would soon be his brother-in-law.

It was now the point in the ceremony where the bride and groom faced each other as their song was sung. After much consideration, Mulder and Scully had both agreed on "I Will Be Here". As the music began, they both held a slight smile, remembering the night this particular chapter in their lives had begun.

'Tomorrow morning if you wake up, and the sun does not appear, I-I-I, I will be here.

If in the dark we lose sight of love, hold my hand and have no fear. 'Cause I-I-I, I will be here.'

Mulder and Scully stood hand in hand, with the same misty-eyed happiness as they listened to the rest of the song.

Mulder caught Scully's gaze and held it intently. This was a moment that would live on forever in the most cherished section of his photographic mind. Never in a million years did he think that this moment, this absolutely perfect moment, would be happening. He was minutes away from "officially" becoming one with best friend, partner, and so much more than words could ever express. Mulder was so full of happiness he thought his heart would burst.

Grinning, he brushed his thumb against the back of Scully's hand, caressing his other half, the very core of his existence. She was the only reason he was still here, had never given up on this long treacherous journey.

Scully held Mulder's hands with a look of sophisticated bliss. She could never put into words how she felt. How much she loved and needed this man who, over the course of 9 years, had become her other half. He was her best friend, her protector, partner, and so much more-in Scully's mind the only way she could describe him was that well, he was Mulder! They'd repressed their feelings for so long, not wanting to destroy what they'd already had, and finally they were realizing the truth that everyone else had already discovered.

Somewhere in the back of her mind, Scully could hear the echo of her sister's words. When worried about her choice to go into the FBI, Scully had confided in Melissa, who had comforted her by stating that she would never know what the future would bring, or who Scully would meet along the way. Luckily Scully had followed her sister's advice, and her heart, and it had brought her here...to happiness...and to Mulder.

'As sure as seasons are made for change, our lifetimes are made for years. So I-I-I, I will be here. I will be here, and you can cry on my shoulder. When the new tells us we're older, I will hold you, And I will be here, to watch you grow in beauty, and tell you all the tings you are to me. I will be here."

As the song neared its last verse, Mulder and Scully glanced toward the completely filled church. Scully's family in the first row, Maggie and Tara dabbing at their eyes. The second row held Agents Doggett and Reyes. Both agents had knowing looks on their faces. They'd both seen enough to know how monumental this moment was, and how amazing it was that they were all even alive to see it. Doggett nodded slightly in their direction and Reyes smiled as they caught their fellow agents' gazes. Mulder and Scully acknowledged their fellow agents with a barely perceptible nod and a smile.

By now the song had ended and most of the church was crying, or trying their best not to.

"May I have the rings?" Father McCue gave Matthew a smile. Taking his cue, the little boy stepped up to Frohike, who untied the rings from their safe place on the satin pillow. Praying that he wouldn't drop them, Frohike handed the rings to Langly who, in turn, handed them nervously over to Byers who then handed them over to Skinner. Skinner stepped up and handed them safely to Father McCue. Mulder finding it impossible to choose one best man, had decided that this "assembly-line" approach to handing over the rings would be the best way to honor all of the "best MEN" who had helped them so much over the years.

They had asked Doggett and Reyes to be a part of the ceremony but, after the last scare at her mother's house, Scully, Mulder, Doggett, and Reyes had all agreed it would probably be better for them to be in a place where they could keep watch easier and less conspicuously. They had said that, although honored to be a part of everything, it was probably safer for them to be "in the audience". After all, it was Mulder and Scully's wedding, you could never be too prepared with the two of them involved, especially since it was a "normal-life" event. Something strange was bound to happen! However, with practically the entire population of the FBI present, someone would have to be insane to try anything...

Father McCue took the rings in his hands and placed a warm smile on his face. Turning to Mulder he handed him the ring.

Taking Scully's hand in his, Mulder smiled broadly and placed the ring on her finger before lifting her hand to a soft kiss. Scully bit back tears of joy, she loved him so much.

Father McCue continued in his fatherly voice, "Do you, Fox, take Dana to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others as long as you both shall live?"

This was it. He was finally going to be able to say it. With a sparkle in his eye, and that oh-so-familiar grin, Mulder didn't hesitate, "I do."

Although soft-spoken, these two words held the greatest amount of undying love, trust, and devotion that one could possible hope to find.

It was now Scully's turn. Taking the ring from Father McCue, Scully placed it on Mulder's finger, full of emotion for her true other half. She didn't let go of their grasp as Father McCue continued.

"And do you Dana, take Fox, to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others as long as you both shall live?"

Before Scully even had a chance to answer, there was a loud noise from the back of the church and suddenly all the lights went out. Mulder immediately tensed. They both turned to the doorway at the same time, dreading what they'd find. For a minute no one spoke. A church full of FBI agents, exchanged nervous glances debating whether or not they should be reaching for their weapons or focusing once again on the bride and groom.

Mulder and Scully exchanged cautious glances with each other, garnering equal amounts of worried looks from Skinner, Doggett, Reyes, Samantha, and the guys.

Quietly excusing themselves, Agents Doggett and Reyes made their way to the back of the church as imperceptible as they could, quietly and unnoticeably drawing their weapons.

The room held a tension one could cut with a knife. The wedding party stood silently in the darkened room at the alter debating what to do next.

Suddenly there was another loud crash and everyone held his or her breath waiting to see what would happen next.

Mulder clutched Scully's hands in his. She swallowed hard. They both exchanged glanced that clearly stated, 'not now' and 'should we really be surprised?'

Mulder gave Scully a sad smile, and brushed his thumb across the back of her hand as they waited for the inevitable.

Through the tension filled darkness, the outline of a man appeared. Doggett and Reyes quickly reached his side, drawing him to the back of the church so as not to disrupt the already upset ceremony.

"Whoa!" A small pudgy man in his late 50s stumbled back in surprise. Nervously eying the armed agents before him, he quickly held up his arms up in surrender, "Don't shoot!"

Instantly a silent sigh of relief could be felt throughout the crowded church.

Agent Doggett restored his weapon to its holster and led the man to a place out of view, "Who are you?" He demanded, still unsure whether he should be convinced that this man posed no threat.

"I-I, um," The man stammered nervously, "My name is Mr. Cohni, the church handyman." He smiled a little, wringing his fingers in nervous motions, "I was just coming up to make sure the candles were all lit. He gave out an uneasy laugh, "The storm a few nights ago knocked the electricity out and since then we've been having some problems." After a few moments of silence he added, "In the dark I ran into some folding chairs downstairs. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt." Once again he eyed the weapons now tucked securely away.

"I'm sorry Mr. Cohni," Agent Reyes gave the poor man a reassuring smile, "We thought you were someone else." Walking out of the room she caught Mulder and Scully's eye, nodding that everything was under control. They both let out sighs of relief.

"Well, all the candles seem to be lit," Mr. Cohni smiled, somewhat calmed, "So, if you don't mind, I'll be on my way."

"Go ahead, Mr. Cohni." Agent Doggett took the extra candles handed to him. "Sorry for the inconvenience."

The two agents watched as the little man made his way down the stairs and out the door.

Reyes shook her head incredulously, "What a day."

"No kiddin'" Doggett took in a relieved breath. Together they made their way back to their seats.

Seeing that Agents Doggett and Reyes were back in their seats and all seemed to be ok, Mulder squeezed Scully's hand reassuringly. She smiled back and both exchanged reassured glances with the rest of their paranoid wedding party.

~Only at our wedding~ Scully thought ~could the lights go out and a poor handyman be mistaken for another serial killer/mutant/alien/ anything else X-file-related and be almost taken down by half the FBI~ The thought was so ironic she wanted to laugh. Looking at his face, she could tell Mulder was thinking the same.

They both turned to Father McCue. He had a confused, relieved, half smile on his face as he continued the ceremony.

"Well," He cleared his throat, "As I was saying before," Father McCue smiled again, this time genuinely sincere as he spoke to Scully, "Do you Dana, take Fox, to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others as long as you both shall live?"

Scully smiled broadly and answered before anything could stop her, "I do."

"And now, by the power vested in me by God, and the state of Virginia, I now pronounce you husband and wife." Father McCue smiled down at them, "You may kiss the bride."

With the biggest smile Scully had ever seen on his face, Mulder pulled her close. Leaning down he gently brushed his lips with hers, cradling her face in his hands. For that moment, illuminated only by candlelight, there was no one else in the room. Nine years of friendship, loyalty, devotion, and trust was voiced in that single perfect moment. Scully leaned into Mulder, closing her eyes as THE kiss, the one that screamed proudly to the world that Mulder was officially hers and she his, the kiss that would change their lives forever, deepened before breaking off.

Mulder and Scully stood for a few seconds, just taking in the moment, not willing to take their eyes off one another just yet. Scully grinned, Mulder had that same twinkle in his eye that she had come to know and love over the past nine years. Mulder grinned back, unshed tears, mirroring hers, in his eyes. At that moment no one in the world could have been any happier than either felt.

Whispering a silent 'I love you' without words, Mulder-one hand in Scully's and the other in its familiar place at the small of her back- turned towards the congregation gently moving Scully along with him.

Father McCue addressed the congregation, "May I be proud to introduce to you for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Fox Mulder."

Thunderous applause filled the room indicating just how happy their family and friends were that they had finally done it. Joyful, tear-stained faces smiled back at them. Scully practically expected her mother to jump to her feet and grace them with a standing ovation! Luckily William was in her lap, preventing such a thing from happening.

At the sound of 'Mr. and Mrs. Fox Mulder' Scully and Mulder exchanged an amused look. It would definitely take some getting used to, and they would always just be 'Mulder' and 'Scully' to each other, but it would be fun getting used to it in the process!

As they were getting ready to make their way down the candlelit aisle, taking in the faces of their family and friends, the dim light in the church suddenly flickered. Mulder stopped, causing Scully to stop with him. Near the back of the church, the light of the candles seemed to hold an almost magical gleam. Scully's breath caught in her throat and she felt Mulder's hand tense in hers.

For a few brief moments Mulder held his breath, staring wide-eyed at the back of the church. He could have sworn he had just seen his mother and father standing next to Scully's father and Melissa- all held genuine happy smiles on their faces. He blinked and they were gone.

"Scully?" Mulder's voice was barely a whisper. Turning to face her he knew she had seen it too.

Scully stared back incredulously, her mouth slightly open. The look on her face was priceless and Mulder couldn't help but laugh. Instantly they both knew that no matter what they may have said in the past, their family, their entire family was truly proud of them.

Taking her in his arms, Mulder once again led her down the aisle. They'd been through a lot in the past nine years and now they were finally going to get to attempt their luck at a normal life, together, officially as one.

Martha's Vineyard Beach of Mulder's parents' summer home 10:13 p.m.

Scully lay with her head on Mulder's chest, listening to him speak as they both lay on the blanket watching the slow-moving waves flow in and out.

"It was nice of you to dance with Frohike." Mulder grinned, rubbing his fingers absently along the length of her arm.

Scully chuckled, thinking back to the reception that had ended nearly two hours ago, "I must admit the look on his face was priceless."

The reception had gone unusually well, considering they were both expecting something bad to happen...

They had stood and waited out the long line of well-wishers and endured the usual after-wedding chat with smiles on their faces. They'd thanked Agents Doggett and Reyes for attending to the little "handyman incident".

Scully smiled remembering Reyes' comment that their luck seemed to be taking a change for the better.

Mulder and Scully had thanked each of the gunmen whole-heartedly, ensuring them that they were more than welcome to show up at their new house whenever they wanted to-so long as they promised not to bug anything. They all laughed and agreed not to interfere with Mulder and Scully's personal life.

"But if you ever need us again," Frohike had winked adding, "You know where to find us."

Scully smiled, snuggling closer to Mulder. After the guys had advanced to the food table, Mulder had managed to quickly remind her of the photograph of them and William he'd given her earlier. Winking, he had said, "A little surveillance help from the guys." After seeing the look on her face, Mulder had assured Scully that the "surveillance" he'd been referring to had only taken place that one night and only for the sole purpose of capturing the moment. Scully had smiled and just shook her head.

Next through the line had been Scully's family. Her mother had given both of them huge hugs and it was clear just exactly how happy she was. Charlie, Will in his arms, had given his sister a hug stating that their mother had insisted they keep the baby until after the honeymoon. After shaking Mulder's hand, and welcoming him to the family, Charlie moved on tot the punch, followed by Tara, Matthew, and Bill a while later.

Scully had complemented Matthew on being an excellent ring-bearer and he had grinned proudly before giving both his Aunt Dana and Uncle Mulder a hug a hug and hurrying off to the food. Bill had been surprisingly pleasant, hugging his sister and shaking Mulder's hand (even though he held a restrained look on his face the entire time). Tara congratulated them both before hurrying after her runaway son.

Samantha had been next, following the other in the congratulations and saying that she was, "so happy she could be here for this" and that she was glad to "finally have a family again". Mulder had given her a hug, a feeling of completion washing throughout his body. He could hardly believe all that had happened so close together.

Finally, Skinner had made his way through, hugging Scully and shaking Mulder's hand, a sincere smile on his face. He had commented on how happy he was that his two best agents had "finally gone through with it", also admitting that he knew it'd happen some day and that he was happy that he'd gotten to be a part of it.

After the cake cutting, toasts, and a little more chatting, people had started making their way to the dance floor. At some point in the dancing Mulder whispered to Scully to "look". Having followed his gaze she noticed that Samantha and Charlie seemed to be having a fun time dancing together. Mulder had raised an eyebrow and Scully had laughed adding, "We Scully's have always had a good taste in the opposite sex." Mulder had laughed then, pulling her closer and whispering, "Then I guess we Mulder's are just lucky," he grinned mischievously, thought for a second and then stated, "or at least we are now." He'd leaned down then and placed his lips softly to hers.

Agents Doggett and Reyes seemed to have been enjoying themselves and even Mrs. Scully had found a dance partner. Mulder had to suppress a laugh when he realized that it had been Skinner.

They'd danced for a while longer until it was time for Scully to throw the bouquet. It had bounced off a half a dozen hopefully brides-to-be before finding one very unwelcome spot in Langly's lap.

Mulder laughed remembering the horrified look on Langly's face as he stared at the bouquet in his hap as if it were an alien ready to leap out and take him right then and there. Frohike and Byers had had a field day with that and Scully found herself feeling somewhat sorry, albeit incredibly amused, knowing that Langly would never be able to live that one down.

After a while the festivities had died down and guests began trickling off to their respective homes. After a few more "congratulations" and "good lucks" Mulder and Scully were finally alone.

Now here they were lying on a blanket on the beach, Scully in Mulder's arms and a star-filled sky above. Mulder tucked an errant strand of hair behind Scully's ear as he wrapped her into his embrace. He loved just laying there, his wife -~wife~ Mulder stopped for a second, he liked the sound of that-in his arms. There was nothing more that Fox Mulder could want in the world. He leaned down, placing a soft kiss on Scully's forehead before meeting his lips with hers.

Scully was engulfed in pure bliss. Nothing could be more perfect than it was right now. She let out a deep contented sigh as she rested her head back on Mulder's chest. Suddenly she let out a chuckle.

"What?" Mulder glanced down at Scully, enjoying her happiness.

"I can't believe," she spoke thinking back to the reception, "that you had them play "Walking in Memphis" at our wedding reception." Mulder grinned, reminding Scully just how much she loved this man, her husband ~Husband~ she smiled ~I like that~

"It holds sentimental value for us Scully." He eye took on a playful look.

"It was our first dance." Her face took on a similar expression as she grinned.

"But it will definitely not be our last." Mulder whispered, grabbing her hand and pulling her to her feet.

"Mulder," Scully, caught slightly off balance, landed easily in his arms.

"One moment." Mulder held up a finger and bounded up to the house. He returned a few minutes later with two glasses, a bottle of champagne, and a CD player.

After opening the champagne and pouring them each a glass, Mulder made a toast, "To us." He held up his glass.

"To us" Scully smiled, clinked her glass with his and added, "May we never stop believing."

Pleasantly surprised, Mulder grinned. Setting their glasses down he pulled her into his arms adding, "That the truth is out there." He winked pressing play on the CD player.

The first few lines of "I'll Always Be Right There" by Bryan Adams began:

'I swear to you, I will always be there for you There's nothin' I won't do I promise you, all my life I will live for you We will make it through Forever, we will be Together, you and me'

They danced in the moonlight, the sand beneath there feet. Scully rested her chin on Mulder's chest smiling as he began softly singing.

'Oh and when I hold you Nothin' can compare With all of my heart, you know I'll always be right there I believe in us, nothin' else could ever mean so much You're the one I trust our time has come, we're not two people Now we are one, you you're second to none Forever, we will be Together, a family'

They continued swaying to the music. Mulder dipped Scully, grinning playfully. Scully laughed as she was once again brought back into his arms, fitting perfectly into his embrace.

'The more I get to know you, nothin' can compare With all of my heart, you know I'll always be right there Forever, we will be Together, just you and me

The more I get to know you, the more I really care With all of my heart, you know I'll always be... You know I really love you, nothin' can compare For all of my life, you know I'll always be...right there'

As the song ended, Mulder pulled Scully into a deep kiss, eventually pulling back to stare deep into her eyes.

"I love you Scully." Mulder spoke as the fresh ocean breeze rustled its fingers through Scully's hair. The light of the moon reflected the love in Mulder's eyes.

"I love you more than I could ever say Mulder." She spoke softly. It was true, for neither could ever truly express the overwhelming love for the other.

And so, standing heart to heart, the feel of sand on their feet and the soft ocean breeze engulfing them in its warm embrace, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully finally understood something.

As they walked hand in hand up to the house, Mulder and Scully-husband and wife-realized that through all the years, the good times and bad, the paranoia and the skepticism, they'd found the truth. For underneath the layers of hard times and pent up emotions, government conspiracies and alien abductions, in the back of each of their minds Mulder and Scully had somehow always been, and always would be, perfectly entwined in the realm of trust, truth, and ultimately...the hopelessly romantic.

### The End ###

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