Title: A Life Less Mundane
Author: TJ
Written: August 2001
Rating: G
Category: Babyfic, MSR
Distribution: Anywhere is fine, but could you please just let me know where. I like to keep track of 'em.
Disclaimer: Not mine, therefore not my fault. If Mulder was coming back in the fall I wouldn't have written this story. Well, yeah, I guess I still would've, because the show never turns out the way I want it to;) I make no cash off this and do not accept credit cards, just feedback.

Author's Note: Here's another one that I sat on for over a month before posting it. D, you are too patient when it comes to my procrastinating and empty promises. Thanks to you and Leah for saying, "Oooh, I like it!"

Tiny hands pull at the hem of her skirt.

"Up Mama, up!" the small, but urgent voice demands.

She reaches down and swings him up onto her hip, trying to butter her toast one handed. She can hardly remember a time she used two hands to do anything.

"Mama milk!" the voice directs, as a chubby hand slides inside her blouse.

"No, William, no mamma milk, you can have a sippy." She feels guilty as she says it, but there isn't time this morning, and besides, she knows it's mostly a ploy on his part to delay her departure.

He thrusts out his bottom lip as he continues to grope around inside her blouse. He's figured out how to unfasten the nursing bras, but she's foiled him this morning by wearing a regular one. His lip juts out further at his frustration with the situation. He grunts as he struggles to pull her bra aside, focused intently on getting his way. She sighs. He's so much his father's son some days; always determined, almost impossible to stop once he's set his mind to something, and in addition, orally fixated to the point of obsessive behavior.

"No, William. Mommy's going to be late for work. Daddy will get you a sippy, OK?" She sets her toast down, pulls his hand out of her top and once again, attempts one handed, to refasten the buttons he's undone. William shrieks and arches his back ready to wail at the unfairness of his mother's decision to wean him, but his father comes into the room, managing to momentarily distract him from his mission.

"Oh come on, Mommy, just a little sip. Top him off." Mulder saunters over to them both, ruffling the boy's hair and kissing her affectionately on the cheek.

"Oh thanks, as if I don't have enough guilt over this already," she says as she tries to hold onto the wiggling boy in her arms.

"Then why are you cutting him off?" he asks as he takes a bite out of her abandoned slice of sourdough.

She sighs, snatching the toast out of his hand. She hates to go over all this again. They've discussed and debated the issue too many times already. The decision's been made. She has to stick with it. She has her reasons.

"Mulder, he's 15 months old. He should be drinking out of a cup."

"He does," the proud father asserts.

"Only when I'm not around."


"So, it's getting a little hard to satisfy his thirst without using a cup. And you knows how he feels about bottles." She looks at her son who's now sucking on his fingers unhappily.

"Looks to me like you have enough supply to meet the demand." He leers at her as he gives her breast a gentle squeeze. "He knows where to go for the good stuff."

"Not you too." She slaps at his hand. She can't remember when she had her body all to herself last; not that sharing it with Mulder has been a chore, it's just times likes these that irritate her.

"Sorry," he says, no longer goofing off. He knows well that the look on her face means she's in no mood to be fondled this morning. She's always hated being late and having a baby has meant she's had to lower her expectations about promptness.

"Can you take him so I can finish eating?" she asks, as she accidentally drops a glob of jelly on William's head while trying to spread it on her now cold piece of toast.

"Here big guy. Why don't we go get some toys out and let Mom eat in peace?" he says as her takes the baby from her.

"Mama num num." William points back to the toast as Mulder carries him into the living room.

"Toast. Can you say toast?" Mulder coaxes.

"Toes," William repeats.

"Close enough," he says under his breath with a soft laugh, then tells his son, "That's right, toas*t*." He repeats the new word once more, emphasizing the final consonant. He's proud to say that William is learning a new word every day the past two weeks.

Scully leans against the kitchen counter and watches as father and son begin tossing everything out of the toy box, more than likely having no idea what they're even looking for, but knowing something's in there just the same; totally focused on his quest. It's times like these that she has flashbacks of *Agent* Mulder. Same man, just more sticky now. The jelly on William's head has migrated to the front of Mulder's T-shirt, and if he's noticed it, he doesn't seem to care. A stay at home dad doesn't have much need for business attire or even clean clothes some days.

She closes her eyes and tries to picture how he used to look in one of his best suits; especially the way the fine fabric would cling to his ass. She wonders how she was able to control herself around him for all those years when he looked so damned good; right off the pages of GQ. Well, maybe with the exception of his ties in those early days. They did improve, however.

If everything goes as well as his publisher says it will, he'll be having to dress up a little more to do his book signings next month. For now though, she rarely sees him in anything but jeans, sweat pants or gym shorts. Has she really become so superficial to let that matter? It's not that he isn't sexy in whatever he wears... or doesn't... the suits were just... well... they were nice.

"Hey... daydreamer, we might head over to the park this afternoon, so let us know if you decide to come home for lunch so we won't miss you."

Her eyes fly open, startled by his voice, and she realizes there are unshed tears clinging to her eyelashes. Damn. Her mascara's going to be smudged and she won't have time to fix it if she's going to make that faculty meeting in less than an hour.

Immediately he notices her look and is concerned. The moodswings at the end of her pregnancy and the baby blues afterwards made sense; even her emotional conflict about returning to work was understandable, but lately, she's been crying easily and he has no idea why. She's been looking pale and tired. He dreads to think it has something to do with her health. He noticed a doctor's appointment marked in her planner for next week, but she didn't mention it to him. It's not like her to keep things from him.

Mulder stops his rummaging in the toy box and hands William a rubber dinosaur to chew on then goes to her side, wrapping his arms around her shoulders.

"Hey, what's wrong?" he whispers as he bends to rest his forehead against hers, his hands on her shoulders. It's their own way of offering comfort.

"Just remembering," she answers, trying to blink away the tears so he won't notice. She's embarrassed to have been thinking so wistfully. Since when did she become so nostalgic for FBI dress codes?

"Remembering what?" he asks with trepidation. Sometimes she still wakes up in the middle of the night with nightmares of his death. He's glad he has very few memories of those months that make any sense to him. But for Scully, the horror still sneaks up on her, causing her to cling shivering against him in the middle of the night until he reassures her everything's all right now.

"Our lives. How they used to be," she confesses, ashamed at being so ungrateful at times.

"And that makes you feel how?" His voice is even as he asks the question.

"Don't play psychologist with me, Mulder."

"I'm not, I just want to know what's going on with you lately."

"I don't know... Don't you ever miss it? The way we used to be? The jobs we had, the excitement..."

"The mutilated corpses, the flukemen, the slime... you seem to forget, Scully, it wasn't exactly a glamorous life." Should he feel relieved this is the direction the conversation is turning?

"Fluke-MAN, Mulder. There was only one, and yes, I remember all that... but glamour aside... it *was* a life less mundane."

He laughs now. Is she worried he's bored; not happy with what he's doing with his life? But suddenly he sobers. Maybe she's the one who's unhappy.

"I wouldn't call our life mundane," he states, posturing himself to defend this assertion.

"What would you call it then?"

"Comfortable. And safe. Predictable..." Do those words sound as strange to her as they do to him?

"Mundane," she stops him from continuing as she pulls away from him and crosses to the other side of the kitchen. The distance between them makes him uncomfortable.

"Compared to how we used to live? Well, then yes, I suppose you could say that we live mundane lives, but you have to keep in mind that our previous careers and lifestyles were on the extreme other end of that spectrum and not what I'd call happy, if you remember correctly." He wants to go stand next to her and hold her, but doesn't.

"So you're happy with this? You like staying at home, cleaning up after a toddler, trying to write novels in between changing poopy diapers and folding clothes?" She still cringes when she thinks back to the first load of laundry he did all by himself. It became obvious why he'd always taken all his clothes to the dry cleaners when she had to try and stretch all of his sweaters back to normal size. "Yeah, I'm happy. Does that surprise you? Or maybe the question I should be asking is, does it surprise you that *you* aren't happy?" He tries not to let the possibility of that scare the crap out of him.

"I never said I'm unhappy, Mulder," she says defensively as she puts her butter knife in the dishwasher and shuts the door a little harder than necessary.

"Scully, I know you, better than you do yourself sometimes, and lately you haven't been acting like you're happy." He says it quietly, afraid that vocalizing his observations might give his worries confirmation.

"Maybe that's part of the problem," she says quietly, looking down at the hem of her blouse and smoothing it over the softness of her hips. Damn, she thinks. Despite the kickboxing and yoga, she never did take off those last five pounds.

"What is?" His brow creases in confusion.

"Some days I don't know myself anymore, or you, for that matter. Who are we now, Mulder?" Her eyes search his for the answers she cannot find when she looks in the mirror.

"We're the same people we've always been... just doing different things." He's convinced himself of that finally.

"But our work defined who we were for so many years, now I hardly recognize the person I see in the mirror each morning."

"I know what *I* see, and what I feel each time I look at you, Scully. I just wish you could see yourself the same way I do." He'll never forget how she looked the first time he saw her holding their son and the emotions it evoked in him. No artist could ever capture that kind of radiance and joy.

She moves toward him and lays her head on his chest. He feels much more at ease with the physical space between them closed. She anchors him to all that truly matters in life.

This time she can't blink back her tears. She hates being so damned emotional. It's an irritating side effect of the abundance of hormones that are coursing through her. This is no time to have an identity crisis, or project one on him, but she asks anyway, "How do you see me, Mulder? How do you see yourself?"

"I see you as the same Dana Katherine Scully who walked through my basement door over nine years ago...the same woman who knocked me on my ass with an amount of intelligence, strength and compassion I'd never seen before. There's just more to you now... and before you hit me, I don't mean any weight you think you didn't take off after William. You're more complete then I've ever seen you. All the best of you is even better. I'd like to think that I've changed in those respects too. I hope I've matured at least; hopefully become less egocentric. Having a child should do that to parents, don't you think?" He's gained confidence as a father he never thought he'd have; knows without a doubt he's a good parent and that William agrees. He wants her to agree too.

She never wants him to resent them for holding him back or minimizing his options. She needs to be sure it's what he'd choose again if he had to.

"Then you feel good about this arrangement? You don't care that our lives aren't exciting and unpredictable anymore?" She's trying to talk herself into believing that *he* believes it.

"Hey, you underestimate what a trip to Chuckie Cheese's is like with William when he's on his fourth lollipop," he says with a chuckle.

"You give him lollipops, Mulder?!" she exclaims, though it shouldn't surprise her. He's already started buying their son the kind of cereal with the marshmallows in it despite her protests.

"Uh, well...hey, that's a bad example. Still the same, my life's exciting and unpredictable enough with you in my bed and a son who's ready to climb Mt. Everest before he ever says a full sentence. There was a major downside to our lives before this, Scully," he says with a flourish of his hand toward the living room where William is stacking pillows so he can jump off the sofa onto them.

"It was pretty horrible at times, wasn't it?" She closes her eyes against the monsters that still make appearances in her nightmares.

"We can both give testimonials. But that's not what I was talking about," he rubs his finger over her lower lip, smoothing away some jelly and resisting the temptation to kiss her hard.

"What did you mean then?"

"Being lonely. Whether it was by our choice or circumstance. I like not being that way anymore." He remembers what she told him Padgett said to her, and he's glad one night, her decision to come to him, changed that all.

"No regrets about we left behind?" she asks, feeling silly for being so unsure of this path their lives have taken. Still, she wants to be sure of his commitment to their destination, because the road's about to take one hell of another detour.

"Absolutely no regrets. I have all I want right here. How about you?" He holds her arms' length away, trying to lose himself in the depth of her eyes. He somehow always finds peace there, floating in that infinite blue reflection of both their souls.

"No...except for the suits. I miss you in suits, you know," she tries to deadpan, but her voice wavers. She isn't able to hide behind words as easily as she once was. The moment she went to his room that miraculous night of creation, all of her was laid bare before him. He knows her every secret now. Well... almost.

"I'll give you a private fashion show after stuntkid's in bed tonight. How does that sound?" Mulder strikes a pose, hand on hip, very model-like and she can't help but swoon slightly, despite the goofy face he makes.

A commotion from the other room shifts Scully's eyes away from him and they both turn to watch as William does a somersault into the pillows strew all over the floor. They've both learned not to flinch at every topple he takes. If they did their faces would be frozen that way permanently.

She smiles broadly with a shake of her head then grows very quiet and takes his hand in hers, inhaling in a breath as tears reappear for the third time that morning.

"So. If you're happy, and I'm happy... and I really am happy, despite bawling all the time lately...and you don't think our lives are as mundane as I was afraid they were, then I hope what I have to tell you is exciting and unpredictable enough."

"What do you have to tell me, Scully?" Suddenly he has to swallow hard as he remembers something John Doggett told him about the months he was missing. "I kinda knew she was pregnant right from the beginning," he'd said to him. "She damn near cried over practically everything. Sure, she missed you a hell of a lot, but pregnant women tend to cry more than usual anyway, ya know."

Even at this moment, Mulder still has no idea why Doggett chose to share that little tidbit about Scully with him in the first place, but suddenly he's very glad they had that little heart to heart shortly after the birth of William. Male bonding or whatever it was, that valuable inside information helps make Scully's recent behavior less of a mystery to him now.

"Scully?" he asks, but does he really need her to answer the unspoken question?

He simply smiles then, thinking, 'Now how mundane can it be for a miracle to happen twice?'

The End

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