Title: Once Again

Author: Sandee

DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Mulder and Scully are NOT MINE. And neither are the rest of these characters! Haven't I said that enough, already?

SUMMARY: People from the past visit the baby

RATING: PG, but totally safe. Nothing anyone would consider offensive. Unless you don't believe in God...

SPOILERS: Through Season 8

ARCHIVE: Anywhere. Ask first though please so I can have a gander.

NOTES: This is sort of a dream-sequence type thing which my preschool confidante, Liaa, thought was really cool. (note to Sarah: not Liaa Navarro, Liaa Rodriguez.) But then again, she's six years old. Go on, read it. It's a fun story.

Thanks to Mo and Danica. To Mo, for the ultra cool beta-ing and to Danica for scaring off those... rotten boys!!! And could the title *be* less original?




"Dana?" a soft voice spoke gently in her ear. "Day? Wake up, please."

Dana Scully awoke to find herself in a very different room from where she had fallen asleep. Instead of the hospital room she expected, she was in a blindingly white place which apparently had no walls. Instead of being on the stiff hospital bed she'd expected, she was lying on a large, soft quilted bed with her newborn baby in her arms.

Mulder was still there, his forehead resting by her arm, his mouth open and he was snoring softly. In her arms, her pride and joy was nestled, asleep like her father.

This is a strange dream, Scully thought. I wonder when I'll wake up.

"Fox," came the voice again. "Would you get up, please?"

Mulder stirred, and then his eyes slowly came open. "Eh?" he mumbled sleepily. "Scully? Are you okay?"

"Yeah," she replied. "that wasn't me."

Mulder yawned, stretched and sat up. He, too, noticed the change in atmosphere. "Where are we, Scully?" he asked, when he noticed that he was no longer in the plastic seat in which he'd fallen asleep, but in an overstuffed red side chair.

"I don't know," she replied honestly.

All of a sudden, the infant in her arms began to wail. She had come awake. Immediately, Scully began cooing at the youngster, trying to get her to calm down as Mulder watched with interest.

Oh Scully, he thought tenderly. You've waited so long for this.

"You're awake!" a voice exclaimed loudly, and Mulder and Scully both turned towards it.

"Oh, my God." Scully murmured in an amazed voice. "Melissa?"

"Dana! How are you?" her dead sister said perkily. "Is that the kid? Aww, she's so cute!"

The surprised looks on Mulder and Scully's faces begged for an explanation. "We all heard about the baby and got permission from the Big Guy to meet, greet and congratulate!"

Scully was apparently at a loss for words, so Mulder piped up. "Aren't you dead?" he asked in a disbelieving voice, one which Scully had used on him on several occasions.

"And I see you haven't changed a bit," Melissa replied snootily.

"No, see, He allowed us to transport you two here temporarily so we could see the baby! I mean, it really isn't the conventional way that dead people up Here give their congratulations--"

"Oh, it's *not* the conventional way?" Mulder muttered.

"--but He thought it best, since there really weren't much people back on Earth to congratulate you. You two seemed to need it."

"Are we in Heaven?" Scully asked, unable to think of anything else to say.

"No. Just a sort of... holding room." Melissa replied. She was still staring at the child in her sister's arms. "She has Samantha's eyes," she commented softly. Out of nowhere, she pulled up a seat and sat opposite Mulder.

"Samantha's here?" Mulder asked ecstatically, looking around the room. Melissa began to softly stroke the baby's little cheek. "Oh, sure," she told him nonchalantly. "Everyone is. Dad, Aunt Lily, your dad, your mom, your sister... and even some of the guys you worked with. That Pendrell kid? Aw, you two broke his heart."

Scully eyed her sister warily. "So you mean you guys know *everything*?"

"*Everything.*" Melissa confirmed, winking at Mulder, who blushed profusely. "We're *always* watching over you."

"Even when...?"

"Yup. Especially when...!"

"So, where are they?" Mulder said quickly. He was obviously trying to change the subject. "Aren't they coming?"

"They'll be here," Melissa told him. She held out her finger and the newborn grabbed it tightly. "She is feisty, isn't she? Just like her mother."

"We're here!" a male voice boomed at them. "Where is our granddaughter?"

"Over here, guys!" Melissa replied, as if she talked to disembodied voices every day. Who knows, maybe she did.

"Starbuck!" the voice boomed again. And when Scully looked up, the vision was astounding.

"Ahab," she breathed at the sight of her beloved father. There he was, standing next to where her sister sat. He was dressed in civilian clothing, making it known that wherever he lived now was a very comfortable home. He looked as healthy as the day she last saw him.

Only now, he looked immensely prouder than that time. "Hey, honey," her father whispered, brushing a kiss to Scully's cheek.

She felt a wave of tenderness wash over her. He was there. And he was proud of her.

At her side, she felt Mulder's fingers entwine with hers. And it occurred to her that the two most important men in her life had not yet met. "Ahab," she told him as he pulled away. She squeezed Mulder's fingers, but didn't look at him. "I want you to meet somebody. Someone very important to me."

"This punk?" he asked gleefully, gesturing at Mulder. Mulder flinched. "I know him. Bill Mulder is your father, right?" he asked the man gripping his daughter's hand for dear life.

"Yes, sir." he replied, a tremor in his voice. What if he doesn't approve of me? he thought anxiously. What if he thinks I'm just the weird freak who got his daughter pregnant?

"Well, your dad's told me all about you." Bill Scully Sr. told him. "You've got quite a reputation around here, young man. Especially around those mutants; you gotta love those mutants. Got nothing but good things to say about you. Well, except that worm guy, he's still a little pissed off that you cut him in half. But otherwise, we all love ya here."

Mulder didn't know how to react. So, he said "Thank you sir."

"No, thank you." The man replied, turning to his Starbuck. She's all grown up, he thought sadly. She's... she's a *mother*. "Even though you were *quite* a jackass sometimes, thank you for all you've done for my little Starbuck."

Melissa, apparently, had seemed to have had enough mush. "Okay Daddy, you love Dana, Dana loves you, Dana and Fox forever, bla bla bla. Where's Sam? Why is she taking so long?"

"Complaining, Missy?" said a familiar voice from behind Mulder. He spun around in his seat; and was left unable to speak.

"Sam," Missy whined. "What took you guys?"

"Got caught up at that reserve of clouds." Samantha said. "You know, the one with that weird lump thing?" All of a sudden, she noticed the man sitting next to her, staring at her like a retard. "Fox, shut your mouth before something flies into it. Hey, Dana! How's the baby?"

"She's fine," Scully said softly. "She's awake now." How come Scully seemed to be digesting this perfectly while he was at a loss for words? Sure he knew this was some sort of delusion, any person could tell you that. But she was eating this up easier than he was.

Samantha smiled at her. "That's good," she replied, leaning over him and peering at the baby in Scully's arms. She began twirling a tiny strand of her curly hair around her fingernail, a habit which drove Mulder insane when they were kids. "Mr. Scully, you should be so proud." she commented.

"I am," he replied. "I sure am."

"Samantha," he muttered. "I can't believe that's really you."

She smiled at him sympathetically. "What, you want a hug?" she asked and he shrugged dumbly. So, she bent down to him and gave his shoulders a squeeze. "My big brother has a baby girl," she whispered to him. "I'm so happy for you."

After that, Mulder began to relax a little.

When Samantha pulled back, Mulder turned to look at Scully. Their hands were still entwined. Scully looked at him and smiled, assuring him that it was okay, it's okay, there is no harm in any of this, dream or not.

"Samantha dear," Scully's father said softly. "Where are your parents?"

"Oh, they're there, somewhere." Sam replied "I think they're just finding a coat hanger for their wings."

Coat hanger? For wings? This was really bizarre.

"Fox," a soft voice said from behind Bill Scully. A voice he recognized. It was his mother's.

And then, there she was. His mother emerged from behind Bill Scully, with his father in the tow. They both looked very happy together, for the first time since Mulder was a child.

"Hey mom," Mulder greeted. It was getting easier to greet dead relatives once they were there. Melissa and Sam were cooing over the baby so he stood up and let Sam take his seat. Scully was watching the, amused. Mulder walked over to his parents and gave them both a hug. Even his dad, who offered to shake his hand instead, was caught up in a great big Fox Mulder bear hug. "Hey dad," he muttered into his dad's ear.

"You're a father now, son," Bill Mulder said when the hugging was over, slapping his son's back none too gently. "Oh God, are you going to hate this."

"Bill!" his mom admonished.

"Sorry," his dad amended. "It's great. It's a wonderful experience."

That's really them, Mulder thought to himself. It's really, really them.

"Mom, Dad?" he said to them before their banter could get any worse. "I'd like you guys to meet some--"

"Dana!" his mom exclaimed, pushing Mulder aside and grabbing Scully's hand. Scully looked surprised. "How's the baby, sweetheart?"

"She's fine... Mrs. Mulder." she said nervously. Guess he wasn't the only one nervous around a partner's parents. "She's a little cranky because she's just gotten up but she's oka--"

Before the last word could form in Scully's mouth, the baby began to wail loudly. "Don't cry, honey," Scully said softly, but to no avail.

"Maybe she's hungry," Samantha suggested and Scully nodded.

"Maybe," she agreed.

"Ooh," Missy piped up. "Are you going to breast feed?" she asked politely.

"I guess," Scully replied, looking oddly at her child. "I've never done this before." She looked at her baby, then to everyone else. "Don't look!" she exclaimed.

The men and Teena Mulder turned around. What a prude.

Now, only Sam and Melissa were watching. Scully handed her baby to Sam as she struggled with her specially-made scrubs, but couldn't seem to extract her breast which, over the past months, had been growing rapidly for her little child. "Dammit," she mumbled. "Can't even take out my own damn boob," Mulder's shoulders began to shake slightly, like he was laughing.

"Hey, maybe Mulder could do it," Melissa suggested. "he seemed really good at it when you were at that airport."

Scully chose to ignore her sister's comment. After a few silent minutes which were punctuated only by the baby's wails from his place in Sam's arms. "Shh," Sam whispered. "Be quiet, angel. Food's on the way." Finally, Scully succeeded. Sam handed the infant to Scully and she latched on instinctively to Scully's left nipple.

"You can look now," Scully said.

The scene touched Mulder's heart. His partner, the most important person in the world to him, was nursing their young child. There was something so unbearably sweet about everything: from the look of maternity and love on Scully's face to the looks of peace on everyone else's. Sam and Melissa were swiping at their eyes.

"What's going on?" someone behind him said. When he turned around, the people there surprised him completely and threw him off.

"Deep Throat!" he exclaimed, throwing his arms around the older man's neck, much like he had in his dream, except his hands weren't restrained. "Pendrell!" he said again, this time to the shorter man, patting him on the back. "How are you?"

"We came to see the baby," Deep Throat told him genially. "And to congratulate you on this blessed event."

"You're a dad now," Pendrell said shyly. He timidly punched Mulder on the arm. "You lucky bastard." But he grinned in spite of it.

Scully caught sight of the two men and waved them over excitedly. "Deep Throat! Pendrell! So nice to see you two again; it's been so long!"

"I *do* have a name you know..." Deep Throat mumbled.

"We've been dead," Pendrell said, as if it would explain everything. He and Deep Throat both planted kisses on Scully's cheeks. "But you obviously haven't. How are things going?"

Scully smiled at the young man. "They're okay," she replied honestly. "I mean, they are totally, totally fine. Oh, hey Pendrell, guess who I found out has a crush on you? Michelle Hawkins, that secretary from the third floor."

"The babe who leaves little cartoons at the end of all her boss' memos?"

"Yes! She cried a river at your funeral!"

"Wow," Pendrell said contemplatively. "I had no idea."

"Wait a minute," Mulder cut in sharply. "How come you all know about our sex lives yet don't know about all this?"

No one said a word; as they all stared guiltily at the floor. Mulder and Scully exchanged glances as Deep Throat laughed warmly.

"It's more interesting." he said in explanation and everyone laughed politely.

By now, the bed was surrounded by people. To Scully's left was Melissa, still cooing at the baby softly along with her father and Bill Mulder. At the foot of the bed was Teena Mulder and Deep Throat, who were contemplating the design on the quilt quite deeply, and they were in quiet conversation. Beside them were Pendrell and Mulder, now discussing the hot girl at the copy place in astounding detail. To her immediate right, Sam was sitting in Mulder's chair, contemplating her quietly.

"What?" Scully asked her. "What is it?"

"I'm just so happy for you," Sam said to her. "and for Fox. All his life, he's been so tortured, you know, and beaten up by guilt. He had nowhere to go; he had no family. We all felt so guilty that we'd left him alone." Then, she smiled and took Scully's free hand. "But now, Fox has a family. He has you and your little child."

"Yes, Dana," Melissa said to her. "You should be really proud to make it this far. You both deserve this, after all that has happened to you and him. The last distance doesn't necessarily have to be traveled alone."

When the two sisters were finished with their speeches, Scully smiled pleasantly at both of them. "Thanks, both of you. I'm so glad we got to see you again."

"So," Bill Scully said loudly, his booming voice echoing around them. "What are you guys going to do about this?"

"Us?" Mulder asked. "What do you mean?"

"Are you going to get married?" Bill Mulder asked. "because, come on, single-parenthood really isn't the way to go."

"And what about the rest of your family?" Deep Throat said. "Surely, they'd want to help with this." At his words, Bill Scully's face softened a little.

"I don't know," Scully stated plainly, brushing her child's face softly. She looked up at Mulder expectantly. "Well Mulder? Are you up for it?" she asked, smirking a little at the look of panic that crossed his face briefly.

"I guess," he said. "Are you?"

A multitude of thoughts crossed Scully's mind. The rest of her life? With Mulder: the most infuriating, intelligent and lovable man she'd ever met? Was she crazy? "Yeah," Scully said surely, looking at all the people surrounding the bed with a look of assertiveness. "I guess I am."

Mulder and Scully exchanged glances and smiled at each other. The child in her arms began cooing happily, letting go of Scully's breast and leaving it exposed to air. Melissa quickly fixed her scrubs. "Well?" Sam told Mulder impatiently. She stood from her seat and motioned for Mulder to sit in it. "Go hug her for God's sake!" she exclaimed, and Mulder did as he was told, for once, bending over her, he planted a quick kiss to her mouth and squeezed her shoulders lightly, careful not to crush the baby.

"Hey," a deep voice from above said. "I heard that."

"Sorry!" Sam apologized heavenward, and Scully looked at her, wide eyed. So did Mulder.

"Was that...?" she asked Sam, amazed.

"Yeah," Sam answered. "He and I are close chums. Well, who isn't? Anyway, He sends you his regards, too."

"Say thanks for us, Sam." Mulder requested of his sister and Samantha nodded.

"You're welcome," the voice said again, and Scully smiled. She looked down at her baby and noticed that she was half-asleep. "Uh, I think she's feeling a bit sleepy now."

"Oh, sure" Melissa said. "Thanks for having us over."

"Like we had a choice," she mumbled as her sister kissed her cheek. Kisses were exchanged, hugs were, too and the whole group of supposedly dead people began to dissipate. Except for one. After everyone was gone, Samantha and Mulder were still talking to each other, about ten feet away from Scully and her child. They exchanged a few words, and then they embraced for a long time. After a while, Mulder returned to Scully's side and Samantha vanished.

"Wow," Scully told Mulder quietly. "Can you believe all this?"

"I don't know. I don't even know if it was real or not. Or if it was a dream. And if it is, is it mine or yours?"

Scully shrugged. "I don't know Mulder. All I know is that I'm tired." She yawned softly and the baby did, too. "Still, are we really getting married?"

"Yeah," Mulder replied sleepily, resting his head next to Scully's "I guess. We can make plans when we wake up."

They remained quiet for a moment. And then: "Scully?"

"Yes?"

"When we wake up and you remember this, could you say 'Flukeman' to me? That'll be our secret word."

"Okay," she agreed, yawning again. "Good night, Mulder."

"Good night, Scully. I love you."

Before she could reply to him, she fell asleep with he child-- their child-- snuggled in her arms.



Dana Scully awoke to a very strange sensation. Like she was floating somehow. When she opened her eyes, she saw Mulder sleeping next to her on his plastic chair, drooling a little on her arm. Nestled snugly in the crook of her other arm, however, was her little baby girl.

That was a strange dream, Scully thought. Strange. Really strange.

Sensing she had awoken, Mulder woke up, too. "Mmm," he mumbled. "Shcully, you awake?"

"Yeah Mulder. Hey, Mulder?"

"Yes?" he asked, lifting his head slightly to rest it on her shoulder. "What is it Scully?"

Very softly, in a voice she swore no one but her and Mulder could hear, she mumbled into his ear: "Flukeman."

"Be quiet," he said sleepily, planting a small kiss on her shoulder through her scrubs. "I hear he's real pissed off at me because I sliced him in half."

Scully smiled. So it was true after all. How else would he have known that? She looked at him and met his eyes. "I'm sorry about that proposal, Scully." He told her apologetically. "it wasn't very romantic."

"It's okay." She told him quietly. "You can do it over tomorrow."

end




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