TITLE: Return to Nowhere
AUTHOR: Dyann Zimmerman
SPOILERS: Somewhat for 'all things' but you wouldn't notice if you hadn't already seen the episode. William exists, too.
RATING: NC-17. Language and sex. Many parts are simply gratuitous smut biscuits.
KEYWORDS: MSR; RST; William fic (sort of)
DISCLAIMER: Please sue me! I'd love my 15 minutes.

SUMMARY: Mulder and Scully encounter someone from Scully's past and problems ensue.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: There are no aliens in the world anymore in this fic. They've gone back to whatever planet it is they came from in the first place. Also, there is no Season Nine even hinted at here. So Gillian is $20mil or so poorer-- she'll get by. FEEDBACK: Welcomed and answered at philer@onemain.com


Dana Scully's Apartment
Georgetown, VA
8:32pm

She stood in the living room, their living room, for all intents and purposes, holding their son, her hand under his bottom, the other wrapped around him as she rocked him back and forth. He was wriggling in her arms, fussing and she, too, was beginning to fuss. "I don't know what's the matter with him tonight, Mulder," she said tiredly, noticing the whine in her own voice. "He won't nurse and I know he has to be hungry by now."

"Maybe he's teething," Mulder replied, trying to comfort, but only serving to irritate her further.

"Yeah, I'm sure that's it," her retort more sharp than she really wanted it to be. She sat down on the couch next to Mulder, lifting her blouse and opening her bra again, both in one well-practiced move. She placed William to her breast and, finally, she thought, he began to nurse. Her audible sigh of relief caused Mulder to snicker, an act that got him 'the look', including the eyebrow. He moved closer to her, putting his arm on the back of the couch behind her, jiggling William's foot with his other. He kissed her cheek, which earned him a smile, one that he recognized as an apology for her mood.

"I love you, Scully," he said softly. "And William."

She stroked their baby's cheek with the pad of her finger, leaning in to Mulder's side. "We love you, too. Don't we, William?" she said softly before leaning up to kiss him. "I'm sorry, Mulder. I'm just so tired... And my hormones are still in a state of shock, I think." He gave a slight laugh, holding her closer to him as he continued to watch their son nurse.

William went down easily after that, Mulder changed him and got him into his crib while Scully took a long shower. "Feel better?" he asked when she came out of the bathroom in nothing but a towel. He was already in bed, sitting against the headboard reading a criminology journal.

"Much," she answered, giving him a smile as she searched the dresser for her pajama top. She generally only slept in her top and panties, his preference, not necessarily hers, since Mulder had taken up residence with her in these four months after William's birth. She crawled in under the covers, moving over on her side to lay her head on his lap. She looked up at him, but he was seemingly enthralled with his reading material. "What are you so engrossed in there, Mulder?"

"'Personality Obscurities among Serial Killers'", he answered, still not looking at her. "I'm trying to get a handle on that case I'm consulting on for the VCU. A real wacko, this guy. He's using humans for target practice."

Scully reached up, gently taking the journal from him, closing it equally as gently, before unsystematically tossing it across the room. "Mulder, there are better things to occupy your time with at the moment, you know," she said, moving up slowly to straddle his lap. She and Mulder had only been able to be intimate again for the last couple of months, but they felt so comfortable with each other. She didn't hesitate to do what she wanted or ask for what she wanted and neither did he.

"Oh, yeah? Like what?" he teased, smiling at her.

"Oh... like this..." she said against his neck as she kissed him. "And... this..." she continued, sliding her hand under the waistband of his boxers. "And how about this...?" she mumbled as she moved down to lick his nipple as her hand began stroking his penis.

"Shit, Scully..." he sighed, moving his hands around her, finding the hem of her pajama top to pull it over her head. "Let me get in on the party, okay...?" He rolled her to her back, kissing her, moving his hand to her breast, down her stomach, into her panties. She lifted her hips to help him remove her panties, then bending her knee, opening herself to his hand, which was now stroking her between her legs.

"Mulder..." she sighed between kisses. He moved his lips to her breast, sucking lightly on her nipple, kneading her other breast with his hand. "Be careful, Mulder," she said softly to him, reminding him that her breasts were somewhat tender.

"Ooops, sorry," he said, looking up at her, kissing her as he moved on top of her, opening her thighs as his hips moved between them. He used his hand to move himself to enter her, her low moan confirmation that she felt as good as he did. "Wow, Scully..." he sighed, almost a grunt, overwhelmed by how good they were together. "We don't get to do this often enough..."

She was often tired or up and down with William, especially since she had gone back to work. After Mulder was reinstated as a field agent, he was out in the field at various intervals, often for several days at a time. The times that they could truly be together seemed few and far between.

"Well, we're doing it now, aren't we?" she said between kisses. She stroked his back, moving her hands down over his rear end as his muscles tightened and relaxed as he stroked in and out of her, thinking to herself how much she liked feeling how hairy his ass was. "Mmmm..., Mulder..."

"Good?"

"Perfect..."


Dc Memorial Hospital
Emergency Room
The next day, 4:09pm

"If I ever got out of this goddamned place on time, my kids would pass out from the shock," the large blonde woman complained, loud enough so everyone could hear her, but no one paying any particular attention to her ramblings. She threw her empty pen toward the waste can, not noticing that she missed, as she opened and slammed drawers in an effort to find another one to finish her notes. "And if these fucking doctors would ever write in any language that could be read by a breathing human, I'd drop over from the shock."

"Ah, come on, Lucy. You know you love this place," one of the nurses joked to her.

"Yeah, right! It's Friday night and it's a full moon. Need I say more?" Lucy retorted. "I just want to get the hell out of here before all hell breaks loose."

The 'beep, beep, beep' signaling that an ambulance had backed up to the ER entrance didn't seem to phase her as she continued her complaining as the door flew open, the noise of the EMTs and the gurney suddenly overwhelming everything else. "Fries are done!" she said sarcastically, an attitude everyone who worked with her tolerated because of her efficiency and actual dedication.

"Forty-year-old white male, gunshot wound to the left upper quadrant. BP-71 over 43, pulse is 62 and thready. He has effusion with considerable gurgling on the left side," the EMT relayed to no one in particular, but everyone in general.

"Put 'im in two," Lucy yelled toward them, realizing she had just missed her chance to get out before the deluge. The gurney flew by as a young boy with a nail through his foot in Bay #1 began to cry, scared by all of the fury surrounding the wounded man who had just taken the priority of everyone on duty.

"Do a full trauma panel, including pictures!" Dr. Libby Wheaton, the chief resident, said as she listened to his chest through her stethoscope. "Get a cardiac consult, stat!! This guy is leaking big time!" She listened again, trying to hear over the sounds of everyone scurrying to do their jobs, comparing what she heard with what she was seeing on the monitors. "We got grave dyspnea and likely serious pleural effusion here---I'm afraid the bullet may have hit the heart, definitely the lung," she said to the resident across the gurney from her. "Get a chest tube in now! And who is this guy?" Dr. Wheaton said, looking up to search for Leah, one of the regular EMTs who brought him in.

Leah walked from her place near the exit of the bay, closer to Dr. Wheaton. "Umm..." she started, flipping the notes on her clipboard."Uh, a Fox Mulder."

"Fox? You're kidding, right?" Dr. Wheaton asked at the unusualness of his name.

"Nope. That's what his ID said... Oh..., and he's FBI."

"Where the hell is that cardiac consult?!" Dr. Wheaton yelled to the closest nurse, who immediately picked up the nearest phone on the wall. "Send who's ever on call down to surgery. If we don't get this guy plugged up, he isn't going to last... And, Lucy, you'd better call the next of kin--now."


Dc Memorial Hospital
Emergency Room
49 minutes later

Scully approached the nurse's desk, her ID already open; a tactic she hoped would get her quicker action. "I'm here for Fox Mulder- -he was admitted earlier and you telephoned me," she said, her voice shaking despite her efforts to control it.

"And you are?" Lucy asked, barely looking up from what she was working on.

"Dana Scully. I was called for Fox Mulder..."

"Oh, yeah. If you'll come with me, Ms...., Scully, is it?" Lucy asked as she moved around the end of the counter.

"Please, I'm a medical doctor and I want to see him. I was told it was a gunshot wound?" Scully tried asking, a bit of panic evident in her voice.

"Please come with me Ms. Scully and I'll get Dr. Wheaton for you. She treated Mr. Mulder and she'll talk with you," Lucy told her, a little less detachment to her voice this time. Suddenly, Scully felt like she couldn't speak, like she had no air, and simply followed the woman into the family conference room. "Dr. Wheaton will be here shortly; she's here in the ER," Lucy finishes, closing the door a little too firmly, causing the blinds on the door to rattle and bang against the glass.

Fear suddenly overwhelmed her, knowing that a person wasn't escorted to the privacy of a family conference room if the news was good. She stood in the middle of the room, unsure of what to do, saying out loud to no one, "Jesus fucking Christ, Mulder..."

Breaking her from her thoughts, the blinds clanged again as a rather petite, auburn- haired woman wearing black framed glasses entered the room. She looked too young to be a doctor in her teal scrubs and white lab coat, her name embroidered neatly over the breast pocket, but Scully didn't care what she looked like if she had information on Mulder.

"Dr. Scully?" she asked.

"Yes, I'm Dana Scully. You treated Fox Mulder?" Scully replied anxiously.

Dr. Wheaton moved to sit in the closest chair, a bright orange molded plastic thing that wasn't much more comfortable than standing. "Please, have a seat," she said to Scully, motioning to the chair next to her, which Scully slowing sat in to. "Mr. Mulder is in OR. He has a gun shot wound to his left upper chest area, we think from a 38 caliber weapon. There was considerable pleural effusion at the time of his admission, so much so that I was concerned that the heart may have been injured. We inserted a chest tube and, essentially, sent him directly to the OR."

Scully leaned her head against the wall behind her, closing her eyes before taking a deep breath to settle herself. "Do you know anything more?" she asked quietly.

"No, just that he has been in surgery a little less than an hour, so he is, at least, holding his own, Dr. Scully. I'll try to get some information for you from the OR, but it probably won't be much yet," she said, giving Scully a small smile. "It may be a comfort for you to know that Mr. Mulder is in the best hands he could be in right now. The cardiologist working on him is the best there is. Being a physician yourself, maybe you've heard of him? Daniel Waterston?"

Scully startled, looking at the woman next to her with a look that answered her question. "So, you have heard of him? Then you know your friend couldn't be receiving better care anywhere," she finished as she stood, moving toward the door. "I'll keep you posted with any information I receive. You're welcome to stay in here and have a little privacy."

The blinds clanged again, this time going unnoticed. Scully was holding her breath, knowing that as soon as she let it out, her tears would come. And they did.


DC Memorial Hospital
Four hours later

"Lucy, is Dr. Scully still in the family conference room?" Dr. Wheaton asked her.

"Yeah, I took the poor thing some coffee and a sandwich about an hour ago 'cause she ain't moved out of there since you left. Well, except to call her mom to make arrangements for her kid. I think she's afraid if she leaves we won't be able to find her if we have some news," Lucy finished, thinking to herself. "Or, maybe it's 'cause she don't have nowhere to go."

"Thanks, Lucy. I won't tell anyone you did something nice for this woman," Dr. Wheaton kidded her. "It'll be our secret."

"Well, somebody's gotta take care of these people in here. This place sure as hell couldn't survive with only you white-coats taking care of things!"

Dr. Wheaton entered the room, jarring Scully from her thoughts as she stood, almost as if being called to attention. "Dr. Scully... I didn't mean to startle you."

"No... uh, no. You didn't. I was just..." Scully stuttered, not really wanting any conversation except news of Mulder. "Please, how is he?"

"Mr. Mulder is out of surgery and has been moved to intensive care. The bullet did nick the heart, but Dr. Waterston was able to repair the wound. He is as stable as he can be right now, but, as you know, Dr. Scully, the next 24-hours will be critical," Dr. Wheaton explained, placing her hand on Scully's arm. "But, I think you realize that your friend is a very lucky man..."

'Yeah,' Scully thought. 'The luckiest of the unlucky.'


DC Memorial Hospital
Intensive Care Unit
Room #13

Dr. Wheaton accompanied Scully up to Mulder's room, despite Scully's protests that she could find it by herself. Scully didn't want to have to make small talk on her way, even though she liked Dr. Wheaton and appreciated her directness and easy manner. "You can stay as long as you want, Dr. Scully... I'll clear it for you. If you need anything, you can reach me in the ER..." she offered as she left Scully at the door of Mulder's room.

Scully turned to her, finding herself suddenly emotional at the woman's kindness. "Dr. Wheaton...? Thank you..." Dr. Wheaton nodded, leaving Scully to herself to enter Mulder's room. Scully moved slowly, peering around the edge of the curtain that was pulled only partially closed across the entry to Mulder's room. She staggered at the sight before her, nearly falling as she reached her hand up to hold on to the door jamb, only to find the curtain and nearly stumbling. Mulder's eyes were still taped from surgery, the labyrinth of wires and tubes going into him and coming out of him seemed all new to her, like she had never seen this kind of sight before. The gasps of the ventilator, coupled with the competing beeps and lights of the monitors seemed deafening, almost too much for her. She moved toward the bed, finding his hand to hold, bending to kiss next to his mouth. She said nothing to him, simply looked at him for uncounted seconds before moving a chair close to his bed before she collapsed into it. She closed her eyes... and prayed.


DC Memorial Hospital
ICU #13
The next morning, 5:13am

Scully had spent most of the night in Mulder's room, watching him, watching the machine breath for him, feeling barely able to breathe herself. She had met her mother downstairs in the family conference room after midnight, needing to feed William and... just needing him. She had cried while feeding him, unable to hold back her emotions; breast feeding always made her hormones flare. Her mother had taken William back to Scully's apartment, it being easier for her to stay there with him than at her own home.

Scully had been so torn, needing to stay with Mulder, his situation so tentative, changeable minute by minute; but the other part of her needed to be at home with their son. Scully felt terrible at calling her mother at the last minute and didn't feel much relief despite her mother repeatedly assuring her that it was not an inconvenience. On her way back up to the ICU, Scully had picked up a can of juice and an apple in the vending machine, but consuming very little of either. She was dozing in the chair next to Mulder's bed when she was awakened by a voice it must have taken her several seconds to hear.

"Ma'am, I'm not sure who you are or what you are doing here, but you'll have to come back during designated visiting times," the woman's voice said awakening her. Scully looked up to see a woman in a smock covered with prints of teddy bears and stethoscopes staring at her.

"I'm Mr. Mulder's partner and Dr. Wheaton has cleared my presence here," Scully said, not having the energy to get into it with this woman but not wanting to take any of her shit either.

"Dr. Wheaton?" the woman asked as she was looking at Mulder's chart, comparing it to the current readings on the monitors. "What does she have to do with his case? She's in ER..." she said, suddenly stopping after discovering something in the chart that appeared to answer her question. "Oh, I see. He's Dr. Waterston's patient... Well, you can stay here---just stay out of the way."

Scully barely heard the woman's voice as she stood, leaning over to attend to Mulder as he began to rouse. "Mulder..., Mulder, it's Scully. Can you hear me?" she said softly to him as his eyes tried to focus on her. "Don't try to talk... You have a tube in your throat... Just try to relax."

Mulder's eyes closed, opening and closing again several times before he was able to focus and when he did, the look of panic rapidly spread over his face. Scully immediately touched his face, holding him still until his eyes located hers. "I'm right here, Mulder. Please don't try to move... relax..." she said, stroking his face, talking to him closely, softly. "Relax... that's it... You have a tube in your throat, so don't try to talk," she told him again, hoping he could understand her this time. Mulder's eyes questioned her, questions only she could've understood. "You were shot, Mulder, and you've had surgery... You're at DC Memorial... Do you understand?" she asked him softly, her face only inches from his. He squeezed her hand and blinked, telling her he understood.

Mulder had roused only shortly, falling back to sleep quickly, for the best, Scully thought. She knew he was in pain and hoped the morphine in his IV was enough to keep him from hurting, to keep him sedated, even if she couldn't speak to him. Scully had managed to doze a bit, hoping Mulder wouldn't rouse again while she was sleeping. She held his hand, knowing if he did she would feel it. She vaguely heard voices, seemingly several just outside the opening to Mulder's room. She opened her eyes to find several med students, their backs turned to her so that they could face the voice they were all so intent upon which was coming from just outside the door. She sat up a little further in the chair, but still held on to Mulder's hand. Finally, the students turned around to see their patient, one of their lessons for the morning. If she hadn't been in the same situation herself, the impersonality of their entrance into the room, her life, it would have certainly pissed her off. She sat self-consciously as the instructor finally appeared around the corner, the disbelief probably readable by everyone in the room.

"Dana? What are you doing here?" Waterston said, his tone somewhat sharp.

"Hello, Daniel," she said emotionless. Waterston excused the students, fairly brusquely, not appearing to give them another thought, despite the fact that he was supposed to be instructing them on this informative case. She had stood from her chair, reaching to pour herself a drink from the water pitcher on Mulder's bedside table. Waterston moved closer to her, too close for her comfort at the moment and asked her again. "Dana, is this a friend of yours or something?"

"Yes, Daniel. He's my partner," she answered evasively.

"Yeah, I noticed in his chart that he was FBI... He's a fortunate man, Dana. He coded on us in OR, but, the wonders of medicine and the talent of his dedicated physicians were able to stabilize him," he said, his voice dripping with facetiousness and judgment. "See the rewards you are missing, Dana."

"Please, Daniel. I'm not in the mood for this," she said, her voice quiet and tired.

"Have you been here since last night, Dana?" he asked, looking her up and down, noticing her somewhat disheveled appearance. "You do that for all your co-workers?" he questioned, wondering what was actually going on, who this man actually was to her.

"Daniel, could you just tell me his condition?" she asked, trying to ignore his last insinuation laden question.

Waterston looked at her for a few moments, almost staring at her, before finally glancing down at Mulder's chart, flipping through the pages. "The bullet perforated the tissue of the left ventricle, causing pleural effusion into the thoracic left cavity which, as you know, caused considerable accumulation of blood in the pericardium. As I'm sure you've already assumed, the bullet also perforated the lung, collapsing it," he said, looking at her, his cold clinical attitude a deliberate effort to try to get to her. "We used over six liters of blood to keep him going while we repaired everything. He had over a liter in the pericardial sac by the time we got him, so he's lucky to still be here for you to hold his hand."

Scully looked at him, her irritation growing, but her emotional energy so drained that she didn't react in the least to his efforts to get to her. Daniel continued, seemingly enjoying being in control of her emotions at the moment. "His chest tube is doing its job and the last x-ray shows no residual bleeding, so we might be able to remove that by tomorrow."

"What about the ventilator?" she asked quietly.

"Well, we'll have to wait to make that determination when he wakes up, Dana. Only in your line of work can you make decisions in isolation of the patient... or, I guess, I should say 'body'."

Scully looked at him then, the ire reflected in every bit of body language she was expressing. At just the moment she was about to say something to him, her resolve not to react long gone, she heard Mulder rustle behind her. She turned, finding his eyes opened, his hand moving against the sheet, seemingly searching for hers. "I'm right here, Mulder..." she said, bending her face to his view, holding his hand. She smiled at him, wanting him to feel that she was upbeat, optimistic. "Hi... You gonna wake up, huh?" He squeezed her hand again, a signal to let her know he heard her.

Waterston walked closer, starting to speak. But Scully whirled, giving him a look that he remembered well, a look that let him know he had better not say a word. "Mulder, I need to talk to your doctor," she said softly to him. "I'm just going to step out in the hall for a minute. Go ahead and close your eyes. I'll be right back." He looked at her, his expression telling her over and over that he needed to see her there with him. But she took hold of Daniel's elbow, essentially pulling him from the room into the hallway.

"Please, Daniel, don't do this... Don't. I can't take this right now," she said, more pleading to her voice than she intended.

"I'm sorry, Dana," Waterston said, trying to feign sincerity, knowing she was totally angry now. "I... I was just going to talk to my patient."

"Cut the crap! You and I both know exactly what you were doing, Daniel," she said, trying to keep her voice low. "Your contempt of me does not give you license to jeopardize Mulder's health... He's sick, Daniel. Try to remember that." Scully gave him a final look, moving back in to Mulder's room, leaving Waterston standing there, with nothing to look at but his shoes. Waterston wasn't satisfied, however, thinking that he needed to somehow find out who this man was and, more importantly, who he was to Dana.

When Scully returned to Mulder's room, he was awake, his eyes searching for her, waiting for her to come back in his line of view. She took his hand, smiling at him before bending to kiss him lightly next to his mouth. "Hi again," she said, still leaning over him so that they could make eye contact. "Mulder, I need to ask you a few things. Please squeeze my hand once for 'yes' and twice for 'no'... okay?" He squeezed her hand once and she smiled in approval, him never removing his eye contact with her. "Are you hurting, have any pain?" she asked, feeling two squeezes. "Good..." she replied with a nod. "Do you know how much I love you?" she then asked, almost whispering to him, feeling one long, firm squeeze to her hand...


DC Memorial Hospital
ICU #13
Four hours later

Scully had gone home, staying only as long as she had to to feed William, take a quick shower and change clothes. She cried through her shower where her mother couldn't hear or see her, craving to be near her baby, but also needing to be with Mulder, knowing that he needed her more right now.

"Dana, you will sit and eat--I'm not kidding, here," her mother told her bluntly, Scully knowing that there was no arguing with her. Scully had held William with one arm, feeding herself with her other hand, talking to him, kissing him while she ate. "Dana, please stay for awhile and get some sleep... please."

"Mom, I'll get some sleep at the hospital later. I've got to get back. They may remove Mulder's ventilator and I've got to be there," she said between bites of food and coos at William.

When Scully had returned to the hospital, still not having slept and her anguish at leaving William only renewed from her visit, the Pulmonologist was already in Mulder's room removing the vent. She had immediately taken his hand, identifying herself to the medical personnel around the bed so that they would allow her to be there. Mulder had coughed when it was removed, then grimaced in pain from the strain of his movements. "Breathe, Mulder... Breathe slowly..." she whispered to him, seemingly oblivious to the others in the room. "Take a little sip," she told him, holding his head up slightly, giving him a small drink of his water. "Your throat is dry and the last thing you want to do is cough right now."

Scully had talked with the doctor, getting a status report on Mulder's lung. The chest tube had also been changed, Mulder having considerable pain from the procedure and Scully had gotten him an extra milligram of morphine, only for the time being. She spooned him small bits of ice, accented with soft kisses, until he fell asleep, knowing he would be out for a while and not really able to speak for several hours. He had only managed to squeak out a "love you", his voice cracking from the irritation the vent had caused to his throat.

The room was quiet, now dark since the sun had set only minutes earlier. Mulder continued to sleep, barely stirring and Scully had barely napped, unable to rest, to stop watching the monitors, fiddling with his tubes and wires and everything else. When she wasn't doing something to him, to try to make him more comfortable, she was sitting in the chair beside him, holding his hand... crying... praying.

Scully had taken a few minutes, gone down to the cafeteria to try to find something to eat or drink, anything that didn't sound awful to her. She had returned to Mulder's floor, and was just re-entering the ICU when she felt a hand on her shoulder.

"Dana..." Waterston said, his voice soft and deep. She turned to look at him, her fatigue showing in everything about her. He didn't move away, continued to look at her, his concern expressed in his eyes. "Dana, no offense, but you look like hell," he said, hoping to step in to help her, get closer to her. "Why don't you come to my office and lie down? There's a couch..."

"Daniel..." she interrupted, her distrust of his motives reflected in her tone.

"Dana, please, I'm just trying to help you," he said with a soft tone of compassion that she remembered. "He'll be okay for awhile without you..."

"Look, Daniel. I'm sorry, but I have a lot on my mind," she said, finally looking at him.

"About your friend?" he asked.

She found herself choking up, unable to bring an answer out of her throat, just trying to say Mulder's name. Daniel moved his hand from her shoulder, around her back and stepping into her to embrace her. And as much as she didn't want to do it, she found herself falling into him, accepting his comfort. She didn't return his embrace, but instead, laid her head against his jacket and wept. They stood like this for several moments, only separating when a voice suddenly spoke in the silence of the hall.

"Dana?"

"Mom?... What are you doing here?" Scully asked, jerking herself from Waterston's embrace, seeing her mom coming out of the elevator. She was carrying William in one arm and a large diaper bag draped over the other and Scully immediately moved toward her, now virtually oblivious to Waterston. Scully held her arms out, her mother handing William over to her, an exchange they had made many times. "There's my baby..." Scully said to him, now smiling a smile that had been buried somewhere. She kissed his face, the top of his head, holding him to her body like she would never let go.

"Dana, what's going on? Is Fox...?" she asked, her voice fearful, scared that something was seriously wrong.

"He's fine, Mom. He's... um, sleeping and I was just taking a... um... a walk," she said nervously, turning to look at Waterston. Margaret looked at her daughter, and then to Waterston, wondering who this man was that she had just seen embracing her crying daughter. "Mom, this is Dr. Waterston- Mulder's surgeon," she started, still holding William. "Daniel, this is my mother, Margaret Scully..."

Daniel reached his hand out first, offering Margaret a stilted smile. "Mrs. Scully, I'm honored to meet you." Margaret shook his hand quickly, offering only a return nod. She continued to look at him thinking that there was something about this man that she didn't like, didn't trust. "And who is this?" Daniel said, grasping William's bootie with his fingers, giving it a small shake in a forced gesture at trying to tease him.

Scully thought for a few seconds, thinking only momentarily what she would tell him, then realizing that the best thing would simply be the truth. She turned to face him, looking him directly in the eyes before answering. "Daniel, this is my son, William."

The realization of who William was became as apparent to Waterston as the look on his face. "Well, well, Dana. You've been busy since the last time I've seen you," he said, his voice dripping with facetiousness, knowing now, too, that Mulder was most likely this baby's father.

Margaret sensed the tension and stepped in to rescue her daughter from the uncomfortableness that she knew her daughter didn't need, particularly now. "Dana, can we go see Fox?" she asked, hoping Waterston would take the hint and leave.

And he did. "Well, I'm sure I'll be seeing you again, Dana. I don't want to keep you from your little family," he said nastily, walking away, slapping at the down elevator button as he turned to give her one parting look. Scully didn't miss what was intended by his actions, feeling more sadness toward him than real anger.

Margaret put her hand on her daughter's back, rubbing it lightly. "Dana, you okay?" she asked softly, turning back to see Waterston getting on the elevator.

"I'm fine, Mom. I'm just really tired... and very happy to see my baby," she said, kissing him again, rocking him slowly. "I'll go to the family conference room if you want to go check on Mulder--- he'd be glad to see you. I'll be back after I feed William and you can take him back home."

"No, Dana. I am going to go sit with Fox and you are going to take William home and get some sleep," she said sternly.

"Mom..."

"I'm not budging on this, Dana," she told her adamantly. "Here," she said, handing her car keys to Scully. "Take my car; the car seat is already in it." She took the diaper bag off her shoulder and hung it over her daughter's and gave her a light kiss on the cheek. "Now, go. If anything changes, I will call your cell phone... I promise, Dana. Everything will be fine."

Scully looked at her for a few moments, but then relented, knowing that she couldn't go much longer without some rest. And she needed to be with her baby...


Office Of Dr. Daniel Waterston
DC Memorial Hospital

Waterston was still fuming, throwing the file he had been carrying in the direction of his desk, knocking a stale cup of coffee flying onto the carpet. He spun around, now even more pissed, ready to sweep everything on his desk to the floor as well, when he heard a voice from the direction of the door of his office.

"Daniel?" Dr. Libby Wheaton spoke. "What are you doing?" she continued in obvious response to the trashing of his office.

"Get out Libby. I don't need to see you right now," he said to her, disregarding her as if she were the maid.

She moved closer to him, putting her hand on his back before addressing him again. "Tell me what's the matter, Daniel. Why are you so upset?" He walked away from her, moving to the window, staring out of it trying to calm down.

"Nothing... nothing, Libby. I've just had a run in with... a... a patient's family, that's all. Absolutely meaningless," he finished, then turned to her, placing a smile on his face to placate her. "Come here," he said, holding his arms out as she stepped into them. He kissed her then, softly at first, but then intensifying rapidly until she stepped back from him.

"Meaningless, huh?" she asked, sincere concern in her voice. "Who has you so upset?"

"Libby, I don't want to be questioned on this!" he fired back. "Now leave it alone or get out," he said, giving her a look that almost scared her. "On second thought, that won't be necessary," he finished, walking out the door and slamming it behind him.

Dr. Wheaton stood there looking at the back of the door, still stunned by what had just happened. She looked around a moment before finding herself cleaning up the spilled coffee and picking up the file he had thrown. She noticed the name--Fox Mulder.


Dana Scully's Apartment
Georgetown, VA
Four hours later

Scully waited until she arrived home to feed William, staving off her fatigue as long as she could. She held him, just holding him and rocking him for over an hour after he was fed. Finally, she laid some pillows on the outer edge of the bed and put William down with her while she slept, needing to feel him with her. William had stirred after about three hours, thinking he needed to nurse again since she was there. But Scully resisted, knowing she couldn't breastfeed him this soon without upsetting the cycle she had going now. She had been supplementing her breast milk since she had gone back to work and had fed William from a bottle instead.

Scully had readied herself to take a quick shower, but William had awakened again, so she decided, instead, to take a luke-warm bath with William in it. They had played in the water, William enjoying splashing and just being with his mother. And she let herself enjoy him and her minutes of respite stolen from her current upheaval.

DC Memorial Hospital
ICU #13

Mulder was awake, but groggy, when she entered the room. "Scully..." he said, relief evident in his voice.

"No, I'm sorry, Mr. Mulder," she said as she moved closer to his bed. "I'm Dr. Libby Wheaton-- I treated you in ER when you were brought in yesterday."

"Oh, uh, you look like someone I know," he said hoarsely. "Exactly..."

Dr. Wheaton hadn't noticed before, but after Mulder's mistaken identity, it suddenly dawned on her just who he had mistaken her for. "How are you feeling, sir?" she asked, curious about this man and what his case was to Daniel. What was it about this case that had Daniel in such turmoil--was it Mr. Mulder or the woman she had met in the ER who had been with him? Was it only a coincidence that she was this woman's double?

"I'm here..." Mulder answered.

"Yes, yes you are," she smiled. "And I wasn't so sure you would be when you were brought in, Mr. Mulder." She looked at him then, thinking about how she might ask him about Daniel, but noticed he was drowsy again, dropping off to sleep. And it would be more appropriate if she confronted Daniel, not playing games with a patient. She left the room, determined to get to the bottom of things.

Scully had returned to the hospital, and William was asleep against her shoulder, so the transfer back to her mother went without incident--- well almost. William had gone without incident, but Scully had cried, again, her lack of sleep and raw emotions making her tears seemingly as easily triggered as her breath. She checked with the nurses; checked Mulder's chart and monitor readings before allowing herself to sit and hold his hand, to let her mind wander to better times.

"Mmmmm..." she heard him groan, waking her from a momentary doze. He looked toward her, immediately returning the smile he saw on her face.

"Hi..." she said through her smile, standing to put the straw of his cup of water to his lips. He took several draws before she removed it, not wanting him to take too much. "Better? Now, feel like you can talk a bit?"

"What time is it?" he asked, totally having no idea what day it even was.

"Time for you to stay awake for a little while, Mulder..." she said, bending to give him a soft kiss on his lips. "You need to sit up a little while if you can." She pushed the button to elevate his bed, raising it so that he was sitting up about half way, looking a bit more like himself than she had seen him in two days. "How's that?"

"Okay... good," he answered, telling her what she wanted to hear, reaching his hand out so she'd take hold of it.

"What happened, Mulder? How did this happen to you?" she asked softly, sitting next to him on the bed.

"I'm not sure, Scully... the bullet just came out of nowhere; presumably from the sniper we'd been tracking..." his voice fading with fatigue. "Did they get him?" he managed to finish.

"They think so... they're analyzing the bullet they took from you..." she continued, trying to remain calm, detached, the only way she felt she could fully contain her emotion.

"Good..." he said, closing his eyes.

"Come on, Mulder... Let's try to stay awake for a little while, okay? I can get you some sherbet or applesauce or something if that sounds good to you..." she said, him shaking his head. She looked at him, his pale pallor, his glazed eyes, her ability to control her emotions waning with every second. "Mulder, please try to talk to me..." she pleaded, her voice breaking. "You don't know how scared I've been that I would never hear you say my name again..." Her capacity to hold herself together disintegrated, then, tears trickling down her cheeks before she began to sob, laying her head against his shoulder. She felt his hand against her face, his thumb lightly wiping at her tears...


DC Memorial Hospital
ICU #13
The next day, 8:09am

Scully had managed to keep Mulder awake and alert for progressively longer periods of time for the rest of the day and evening. His chest tube had been removed and his most recent x-rays had revealed no residual bleeding. His Pulmonologist commented, several times, how the immediate and excellent trauma care and surgery saved his life, a life that probably wouldn't have been saved without it.

Mulder had eaten a little bit of breakfast, a few bites of scrambled eggs and half a piece of buttered toast, and he was much more alert than he had been the previous day. Scully's mother had brought William to the hospital again, and they were able to hold him in front of the window on the door of the ICU so that Mulder could, at least, have a glance at him. Scully had told her mother that she would be home sometime later in the morning, as soon as she could after Mulder's doctor had made his rounds.

Scully had given Mulder an abbreviated sponge bath and was just finishing his shave when she heard a voice outside Mulder's room that she recognized. The voice was harsh, delivering a condescending scolding to an unfortunate nurse who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Scully knew the time would come when she would have to introduce Mulder to Waterston, putting it off until Mulder was feeling a bit better. So, she guessed today would be the day.

"Good morning, Dana," Waterston said, a derisive tone to his voice, noticing the intimate act of her shaving Mulder. She immediately remembered that tone, his moods infamous throughout the medical school and certainly clearly remembered by her.

"Good morning," she replied, deliberately not calling him by name.

"Good morning, Mr. Mulder," he continued, moving to stand next to the bed, as Scully finished wiping Mulder's face. "You look like you're feeling better today... no doubt benefiting from having your own personal nurse," he said, his sarcasm vividly apparent. Waterston didn't look at her, actually turning his back to her as if she wasn't in the room. He didn't introduce himself to Mulder, seemingly almost daring her to do it. "Well, Mr. Mulder, in reviewing everything here in your chart, it appears that you are coming along remarkably well... your labs, x-rays, everything look great. Is your pain under control?" he asked, barely glancing at him, continuing to leaf through the chart.

"Yeah, I'm doing okay," Mulder spoke. "When can I get out of here?" he asked then, knowing it wouldn't be within the next few days.

"We'll decide that in a few more days, Mr. Mulder. I don't think you fully understand how serious your injuries are or you wouldn't have asked me that question," he said coldly. Mulder just looked at him, deciding not to address his irritation with this pompous ass. "I'll check in with you tomorrow, Mr. Mulder. Any questions?" he finished offhandedly.

Mulder gave him a small deliberate smirk, choosing not to say much of anything, knowing he would get all of his answers from Scully. "No, no questions," Mulder answered flatly. Waterston turned to leave the room, giving Scully a cursory smile as he left.

"Mulder, I'll be right back. I just want to speak with your doctor for a moment," she said, giving his hand a squeeze, walking out after Waterston.

"Daniel, what the hell was that?" she said, catching up to him barely down the hall from Mulder's room.

"Why Dana, I was just checking in on my patient. That's what doctors do."

"You were just goading me, Daniel," she said, her hands on her hips.

"Why haven't you told him about me, Dana?" he said smugly.

"I have told him, Daniel. Everything... a long time ago," she said, thinking if he only knew what else had finally happened the night she had told Mulder all about him. "That isn't even the issue," she said, her voice softening, deciding he wasn't even worth her ire. "The only thing he doesn't yet know is that it was you who performed his surgery."

"You mean he doesn't yet know that it was me who saved his life. I'm not sure you even know that, Dana," he said, stepping closer to her. "Do you--- do you know realize that your little boyfriend in there wouldn't even be here if it weren't for me? That you owe me, Dana?" he continued, raising his voice.

"I OWE you? Owe you what, Daniel? What the hell are you getting at?!" she asked, unsure of just what he did truly mean.

"Look, Dana," he started. "Why don't we go have a coffee or something, calm down... talk... We used to talk half the night, remember?" he said, his voice now almost syrupy as he touched her shoulder, moving his hand down her back before she could move away from him.

Scully looked at him, incredulous, not believing what he was asking, what she knew he was insinuating. "Daniel, I'm going to tell you this so you'll know. Mulder and William are my life now. They are all I have ever wanted. Okay?" she said sensitively to him. "All I ask of you is that you treat Mulder as you would any other patient. Nothing more," she finished, giving him one last look before she walked back into Mulder's room. Waterston just stood there, total disbelief written distinctly across his face. He wasn't used to not getting what he wanted.

Mulder was awake when Scully came back into the room, just watching her as she came directly to the bed and sat down, putting her head on his shoulder, holding him as she could while avoiding his injuries. "It's okay, Scully," Mulder said, rubbing her back as he held her with his one movable arm. "I know who he is..."

She sat up slowly, looking at him, suddenly feeling very guilty. "I should've told you, Mulder," she said softly.

"It's okay, Scully... really."

"No, while it hasn't been the first thing on my mind-- not even close-- but I admit, I have avoided telling you even when I had the opportunity... I'm sorry," she said, looking directly at him.

"It's a non-issue, Scully. He isn't a threat to me," he said, reaching to touch her face with his palm, before reaching to hold her hand. "We've been through too much to let someone-- anyone-- to threaten what we have," he said, his eyebrows arching as if asking for some kind of confirmation.

"You're right, Mulder. I know you know that, as do I. But that doesn't excuse me from telling you as soon as you were able to hear it," she explained, smoothing her fingers over his lips before kissing him. "I love you..."


DC Memorial Hospital
Room 1014
Five days later

Mulder was chomping at the bit to get out, sitting in a wheelchair, strumming his fingers on the armrest impatiently, waiting for the nurse to come back in with the release papers before he could actually leave. "Mulder, that isn't going to make them come in here any sooner," she said, his strumming beginning to get on her nerves. She sat on the other side of the room, probably wanting to get out of there more than he did, needing to breastfeed so badly that she had leaked a bit, something she hadn't had much of a problem with since her first week back at work.

"Well, Mr. Mulder, I see you're leaving us today," the voice boomed from just inside the door. Waterston moved into the room, then, looking at Scully before again addressing Mulder. "I guess I'll sign your discharge since I know the kind of care you're going to get after you go home." Mulder bit his tongue, not wanting Waterston to get the best of him, to see how badly he was pissing him off.

"Daniel, if you could get the orderly in here to take us out, we'll be on our way," Scully said quickly, hoping to intervene so that Mulder wouldn't respond to Waterston's innuendo.

"That's why I'm here. I'll take you down myself, Mr. Mulder," Waterston said to him, taking hold of the wheelchair handles and moving toward the door. Scully and Mulder just looked at each other, both of them telling each other the same thing-- just let Waterston have his little fun and be done with it. They wouldn't have to deal with him anymore.

After they had gone down to the main floor to the patient exit, Scully had gone to bring the car around to the door and, against her better judgment, leaving Mulder and Waterston alone. "So, Mr. Mulder, how long have you and Dana been together?" Waterston asked bluntly.

Mulder struggled to stand, turning to look at him, giving him a stare that he knew that any man would understand. "Look, Waterston. I'm grateful for what you did. I'll give you that. But just hear one thing... leave Scully alone. You understand?" Mulder said, his full meaning very clear. "She doesn't need you or want you-- get it?" he said, tapping his finger against Waterston's chest. "Now you go on back in there to your little world and stay out of ours," he finished, just as Scully drove up. Mulder gave him one last look and walked out of the hospital hoping that neither he nor Scully would ever have to cross paths with the man again.

When he had left Waterston at the hospital and after she had helped Mulder into the car, she could see immediately that something had happened between the two. "What did he say to you, Mulder?" she asked quietly as she pulled the car out of the parking lot. She glanced at him, quickly, not wanting to take her eyes off the intersection as she merged into the stream of traffic. He didn't answer her, instead fingering the buttons on the door of the car, trying to move his seat to a more reclining position.

"I know you had words, Mulder and I want to know what they were," she said, not giving him any room to avoid answering to her.

"Scully, that guy is so totally unimportant to us that I really hesitate to dedicate another breath to him," he said, finally finding a position that seemed comfortable. "I simply told him to stay away from you and out of our lives. Okay?"

She smiled at him, her reaction surprising him, before reaching to squeeze his hand. "I couldn't have said it better myself, Mulder. Thank you," she said, smiling at him again.

"Gee, Scully. I thought you'd be pissed..."

"Well, if you want me to be, I'll see what I can do. But otherwise, I'm just so thankful to be taking you home, that anything to do with Daniel Waterston is just like him-- ancient history," she finished, squeezing Mulder's hand again, before he brought it to his lips to kiss her fingers.

Office Of Daniel Waterston
DC Memorial Hospital
Two hours later

Waterston had been furious, angry that Dana's 'boyfriend' had made him look like a fool, excusing him like he was just another orderly who had helped him to the hospital exit. Waterston could barely contain his temper, trying in vain to concentrate on a pressing case that he had been requested to consult on. He stared at the x-rays he had just hung on the lighted screen on his office wall, but felt like he was looking right through them, unable to focus away from his anger. 'It was a cold day that someone got the best of him' he thought to himself-- and he meant it.

"Daniel, what are you doing in here in the dark?" the voice called to him, concerned. He didn't move when he heard her, continuing to sit in his chair, his feet on the desk. "Daniel?" she asked again.

"Libby, I don't want any visitors," he told her coldly.

"Daniel, please talk to me. There's something wrong and I want to help," she said, walking closer to the desk. She looked at him and could see an anger in him she hadn't witnessed, would've never thought he could possess. "It has something to do with this Mulder case, doesn't it?"

"What?!" he yelled, spinning around in his chair, standing to face her. "What the fuck is that supposed to mean?!" he yelled even louder before realizing how he must appear. He gained his composure in a few seconds, trying to put on a better temperament for her to see. "I'm sorry, Libby. I... um... well, a... we need to talk, Libby," he said, gradually realizing what would be best for him at the moment.

"Is there something wrong?" she asked, a shy fear permeating her voice.

"Yes. I don't think this... " he said, motioning between them with his hand, "between us is going to work out. I think we both should move on, Libby," he finished with an attitude that there would be no discussion.

"What?" she said incredulously, almost stumbling to sit in the nearest chair. "What are you saying, Daniel?"

"What I am saying is that we aren't going to see each other anymore, Libby. We've had what we've had and now it's time to end it," he said as if he were settling a business deal with a stranger.

"Daniel..." she started, her voice breaking, too stunned to continue.

"Libby, I've got rounds to make, so I'll give you some time to yourself. Take as long as you need; I won't be back in the office for the rest of the day," he finished, grabbing the x-rays from the light box and exiting the room without another glance towards her, leaving her sitting there sobbing... alone, in the dark.

Dana Scully's Apartment
Georgetown, VA
Later that evening, 8:30pm

They had arrived home in the late afternoon, finding William awake and anxious to play with Daddy. Scully held him while Mulder played with him, kissed him, missing not being able to hold him, but Scully had feared he might accidentally hurt Mulder's wound. Mulder had gone to bed fairly soon after he arrived home, his exit from the hospital and the travel home taking its toll on his stamina. Scully had helped her mother get her things to her car, thanking her almost excessively for everything she had done during the past week. They embraced tightly, an act that caused Scully to cry again, the sleep deprivation she had been suffering from making all of her emotions hang close to the surface, appearing instantaneously, it seemed.

Scully had breast fed William, despite the fact that her mother said he had just eaten about an hour earlier. She had put him down for a nap and by that time, had felt absolutely drained herself and needing to be with Mulder. She had taken a short shower, wanting to take a long, hot gourmet bath, but wanting to lay down with Mulder more. He was still sleeping when she climbed into bed next to him in only her robe, snuggling up to his right side, laying her head on his shoulder. Tears slowly formed in her eyes, finally slipping down her face, dropping onto Mulder's bare skin.

"Is it raining in here?" he asked into the quiet of the room, moving his arm around her shoulders. She laughed then, giving a soft kiss to the cool skin of his chest.

"I'm sorry, Mulder. I just can't seem to stop crying," she said, propping up on her elbow to look at him. "I'm just so thankful that you are here with me." She leaned a little further over him, their eyes never losing contact as she bent to give him a lingering kiss on the lips, her hand subconsciously rubbing his stomach. "I've wanted to do that everyday for the past week," she said, smiling at him.

Mulder smiled at her, reaching up to give her a kiss in return. "Where's William?" he asked, wondering if maybe Scully's mother hadn't taken him with her.

"He's in his crib. I nursed him. That always puts him out," she told him, reclining again to lay her head against his shoulder.

"Always puts me out, too," he said, leering at her.

She ignored his remark and continued with her train of thought despite having a mental flash of how nice that would be. "He'll probably be up half the night going down this early, but I just needed to... to reconnect, I guess," she said softly, a pensive sadness present in her voice, feeling guilty at barely seeing her baby for the past week. Even when she fed him on her couple of visits each day, she knew her thoughts were more with Mulder. But now she could have them both and was almost desperate in her gratefulness that Mulder's life had been spared once again.

Scully had taken a personal leave from work, needing to be at home with Mulder for a couple of weeks, at least until he was up and around a little bit more independently and could handle William.

"I know what you are thinking, Scully and you didn't desert him. You did what you had to do. I would've done the same thing had the situation been reversed," Mulder told her softly. "He won't be traumatized for life because you haven't been able to be with him for a few days."

"I know you're right, Mulder. But how come I still don't feel any better?" she said, a slight melancholy laugh to her voice.


Dana Scully's Apartment
Georgetown
The next day

William had indeed been up later that night, for several hours and wanting to play. Mulder had slept through it all, his pain medication making him sleep more soundly than even Scully usually did. Even though Scully was dead tired, she didn't really mind being up with William, allowing him to play until he couldn't keep his eyes open.

She and Mulder had had a nice breakfast together before he needed to lie down again to rest. William had napped also until mid- morning, finally waking ready to be fed again. Scully had also decided that it would be a good idea for Mulder to be up for awhile as well and took William into the living room where Mulder was propped against the pillows on the couch.

With William on her hip, she bent to give Mulder a kiss to wake him. He startled, smiling at them when he realized what had woken him. Scully moved to the vacant end of the couch, opening her blouse and bra, William immediately finding her nipple and latching on. Mulder watched in awe, almost unbelieving of what he was seeing, feeling how beautiful the act of a mother feeding her child from her own body was and totally blown away that it was Scully and the son that they had made together.

"You're beautiful, Scully... You and William... like that," he said, almost choking on his words.

"I love you, too, Mulder," she responded, giving him a loving smile. "And while I sometimes questioned whether I was ever going to make it through my pregnancy, I can't begin to express to you how overpowering this part of motherhood is... It's absolutely..." she struggled. "Well... absolutely beautiful."

"I'm sorry I wasn't there for you, Scully... for your pregnancy, I mean," he said sadly.

"I'm sorry, too, Mulder... for you," she said, reaching over to grasp his hand softly. "Well, for me, too, but mostly for you. I wish we could've been together when William was born... but we're together now, Mulder, all of us."

Their mood was broken by a knock at the door, Scully going to check the peephole to see who it was. Seeing that it was her mother, she didn't cover herself before letting her in and William continued to suckle without noticing much else. "Mom... hi," Scully stepped back, opening the door to let her mother in, William temporarily losing his connection to her breast, fussing a bit. "Come on in..." Scully said, making her way back to the couch as she maneuvered William to her other breast.

Margaret removed her coat, laying it over the back of a kitchen chair, setting her packages on the table before joining everyone in the living room. "Fox, you're looking better... much better," she smiled, seeing the way he watched her daughter and their child.

"Yeah, I'm feeling better... I've been dead once and I don't wanna try that again-- at least not for another 50 years or so," he said, the return of his offbeat humor a questionable improvement.

"Mulder..." Scully said, her tone admonishing his choice of humor. "So, Mom, what's up?" Scully asked, finally glancing up from William to look at her.

"I knew you had some errands you needed to run and I thought I'd stay here with William and you could do whatever it is you need to do," she said, watching William, hoping he would finish soon so she could hold him. "Besides, I miss William."

Scully had taken her mother up on her offer, needing to get several things at the pharmacy for Mulder, diapers and baby food for William, not to mention food for the both of them. And if she were honest with herself, she could just use a bit of a break... some fresh air. She walked out the back entrance of her apartment building, unaware that someone was watching her... and following her car out of her parking area.


Mansfield's Grocery
Georgetown, VA
40 minutes later

Scully hated grocery shopping-- always had. She had to admit it was somewhat more interesting since she had started shopping for Mulder and William instead of just for herself, but she still would just about rather go to the dentist than grocery shop-- well, shop for anything, but particularly groceries. She always felt out of place in a grocery store, generally full of mothers and housewives, she thought. The children she would see would either get on her last nerve or break her heart, probably depending on her moods or what day of the month it was. So when necessity forced her to the store, she went with a list, got what was on it and left. She paid no attention to specials or displays, barely paid attention to the other patrons and was fairly oblivious to what was going on around her. That is why she missed him behind her, pretending to shop.

"Hello, Dana."

Startled, she turned around, meeting him face to face. "Daniel? What are you doing here?" she asked, a bit flustered.

"I eat, too, Dana," he answered, giving her a smug smile. "How's your boyfriend? I think he's due again in my office in a couple of days, isn't he? For another follow-up?"

"Um, he's... um... doing fine. Very well, actually," she said, trying to act like talking to him wasn't actually unnerving her. "And, yes, he's due to see you on Friday... Are you going to be civil, Daniel?"

"Look, Dana..." he started, moving closer to her, softening his voice. "I'm sorry for the way I acted at the hospital... it's just that seeing you there, with him, with a child... it just, well, I guess I had still held out hope that you and I would eventually find our way back to each other."

She looked at him then, thinking what a pitiful man he had grown to be. What had become of the dynamic, intelligent, self- confident man she had known not all that many years ago? "Daniel, I'm sorry," she said softly. And she was sorry; sorry for him.

"Dana, please... let's go somewhere and talk. We could--"

"Daniel, stop. Please don't do this... I need to go, I need to get home to my family," she said deliberately, the description still almost unbelievable to her, too. She began to walk away, guiding her cart between his and a cereal display.

"Dana!" he said, grabbing her arm, holding on to her so that she wouldn't move. She stopped, staring at his hand grasped tightly around her bicep for several purposeful seconds before moving her stare to him, intending her anger, and her unspoken threat to let go of her, to be very obvious to him.

He stared back at her before releasing his grip, almost slinging her arm as he did. She continued to stare at him a moment, then deciding to walk away, just wanting to be away from him. But before she was out of earshot, he called to her. "Dana, this isn't over!"


Daniel Waterston's Office
DC Memorial Hospital
Later that day

Waterston had just stood there, watching Scully until she had turned the corner of the isle, then shoving his cart into the cereal display before storming out of the store. He had gotten a speeding ticket on his way back to the hospital and was now so angry that he was practically foaming at the mouth. Crazy thoughts had gone through his mind about ways he could get her to come to her senses, to come back to him.

He sat at his desk, the only illumination the light from the x-ray viewing screens on the wall behind his desk. He couldn't sit still, tapping his fingers, swiveling his chair, biting his already bitten fingernails. He swung his chair around, putting his feet against the wall, leaning back, taking a deep breath to calm himself. He laid his head back against the high back of the chair, just sitting there staring at another man's x-rays still hanging on the screens. "Cardiac tamponade. Surgery tomorrow in am," his rote memory ran through his head.

Suddenly, he sat up, and then stood, staring at the x-rays, a vicious smile making its way to his lips. If anyone else had been in the room, they probably would have been witness to a light bulb appearing over his head. He had an idea that would solve everything. Everything!!!!


Dana Scully's Apartment
Georgetown, VA
Later the same day

Scully had hoped that by the time she arrived home from the grocery store the anxiety she felt would have dissipated to the point where neither Mulder nor her mother would be able to read it. Her mother had helped her put things away and they had a chance to talk some while Mulder and William were napping. She felt like she had barely thanked her for helping so much after Mulder's injury. After her mother had gone, Scully laid down with Mulder for awhile, needing a nap and some time to calm down and what better place to do so than next to Mulder in bed.

They had a quiet dinner, William sitting with them, alternating between his bottle and a teething ring. "Scully, when William's tooth comes in, how are you going to breast feed?" Mulder asked, Scully finding his manly ignorance of the whole 'mothering' process quite endearing, despite her.

"The baby suckles, Mulder. He doesn't chew," she said, smiling at him. "Not that he doesn't bite once in a while-- he does that now. Gums aren't exactly painless, so I don't really want to think about him having teeth..."

"How long are you going to nurse him?" he asked, his mouth full of food, seemingly always starving since getting his appetite back a day ago.

"It's best for his immune system if I can do it for a minimum of six months. I'd like to do it longer if I can," she said, a quiet melancholy to her voice. She looked at him, smiling a soft smile. "I have to admit, however, that... much of the reason I continue to do it... is because of the way it makes me feel."

"Tell me," he said, putting his fork down, giving her his full attention.

"I don't know... just connected, I think-- like it's a continual reaffirmation that he's of my body, of our bodies," she finished, reaching across the table to grasp his hand. "I just get this most peaceful feeling..."

"You look peaceful when he's nursing. Really, Scully. You have this kind of 'Zen' thing going when I watch you feed him. I'm jealous," he said, only half-kidding.

"Of him or me?" she teased, watching his reaction as she ate a bite of salad.

"Both," he smiled, picking up his fork to finish his dinner.

They had laid around on the couch for the rest of the evening, playing with William, watching at the television, not paying much attention to it. She was back to nursing William only three times a day, supplementing with formula. She knew that if everything went well at Mulder's check-up, she would need to return to work the next week, at least part time. And she knew she needed to tell Mulder what had happened earlier in the day.

"Mulder, I need to tell you something-- something I didn't want to talk about in front of my mother," she begins, after crawling into bed next to him. He was leaning back against the headboard, a couple of pillows behind his back. This was the first night he was going to try to sleep without any pain medication, Scully trying to gradually wean him off of it. She moved over to sit cross-legged next to him, bending to give him a quick kiss.

"Sounds serious," he said, smiling at her none-the-less.

"No, I wouldn't call it serious, per say, just kind of... weird, really. I ran into Daniel at the grocery store today. Or should I say he ran into me," she began. "Mulder, I really think he followed me there..."

"He what?" he asked incredulously. "What did he want?"

"It was sad, really. He... he, sadly thinks there is still hope for us to be together," she said, almost embarrassed.

"He said that to you?"

"Yes... essentially."

"Well, what did you tell him?" Mulder asked seriously.

"I told him that I was dumping you tonight and I would move in with him tomorrow," she answered dryly. "What the hell do you think I told him, Mulder?"

"I didn't mean it that way, Scully. I just meant how did you get out of it, away from him?" he explained, reaching to rub his hand on her thigh.

"Well... Mulder, I'm going to tell you this because I want to be totally honest with you. But I don't want you to do anything stupid, okay?" she warned.

"Continue..." he said, wondering what on earth she was preparing him for.

"He grabbed me, squeezed my arm and became quite angry... right there in the store."

"That fucking bastard," he said, shaking his head. "That's it, Scully. We're finding another doctor to follow up on my surgery. I'm not fucking around with this man anymore. I warned him..."

"What do you mean, you warned him?" she asked apprehensively.

"At the hospital... I told him to stay away from you," he confessed, somewhat embarrassed at his alpha male stance, truly knowing that Waterston would never be a threat to him where Scully was concerned.

She just looked at him, deciding not to make any more issue of it. "We'll get another doctor, Mulder. Hopefully, Daniel will just fade back into the woodwork somewhere and lead his life," she said, moving to lay her head against Mulder's shoulder, grasping his hand, playing with his fingers. "He's become such a sad, almost pathetic figure, Mulder. How life can change," she finished, looking at him smiling a knowing smile, telling him with her expression that she meant that for them, too. She moved her hand up to caress his face, kissing him... hard, passionately, feeling arousal that she knew they could do absolutely nothing about.

He held her as he could with his right arm, his left still somewhat painful to move, returning her kiss, equally as passionately. He broke away then, looking at her, smiling. "You think at my check-up I'll be released for more strenuous activity?" he said, kissing her, down her neck, down into the vee of her pajama top.

"God, I hope so," she said, moving back a little to give him better access to her. She sighed then, every ounce of her frustration emanating from only that simple release of breath. He stopped then, Scully laying her head back down against his shoulder, caressing his neck, his face, again. "I love you so much."


Office Of Dr. Libby Wheaton
DC Memorial Hospital
The next morning

"Libby, I need to talk to you," he said, bursting through the door to her office. "I need your help."

"Daniel... wha..." she stammered, shocked to see him since he had quite effectively dumped her only two days before.

"I need you to look at this film," he pressed, already across the room, flipping on the switch of the light boxes, jamming the x- rays into the grooves at the top. "Tell me your honest opinion-- what you see..." he said, setting up what he wanted her to witness.

Dr. Wheaton was still staring at him, not understanding his behavior, why he would come to her, for personal and professional reasons. The last she knew, he didn't want to see her anymore and she wasn't even close to being a cardiac specialist. She was a trauma specialist and he had never once asked her for a consult in the year she had known him. "Daniel, why are you here?" she asked tentatively, just standing there staring at him.

"These belong to Mr. Mulder, Libby. You remember him? You treated him in ER and sent him to me in surgery?"

"Yes, yes I remember him," she answered, finally walking toward the screens, her curiosity peaked.

"Tell me what you see."

She looked at them for only a short time, noticing a fairly large darkened area in the lower left area of the pericardial sac. "It looks like fluid or blood coming from somewhere," she said, pointing to the shaded area. "I..." she started to continue, but was interrupted.

"Cardiac Tamponade. The repair I did to the gunshot damage is leaking," he told her, making sure she heard his specific diagnosis. "If he doesn't get in here for surgery, Libby, he could go into cardiogenic shock and die."

He was wound, hyper almost in his anxiousness for her to see and hear what he wanted her to. "Daniel, why are you showing me this?" she asked quietly, still totally in the dark.

"Because Mr. Mulder needs to have this repaired as soon as possible and he will not listen to me if I call him," he tells her flatly.

"Why?" she asked, truly puzzled.

"He... I... used to know his... his companion... she was my student in med school. And he hates me and doesn't want Dana around me," he finished nonchalantly.

"What does that have to do with me, Daniel," she said tiredly, leaning against the edge of her desk.

"I want you to call them. You met her in ER and were involved in his case, at least initially," he said. "If it hadn't been for your quick thinking, Libby, he might have died right there in the trauma room," he added, trying to draw her in to his plan.

"You want me to contact them for you?" she said, almost unbelieving he had come to her with this situation. She wanted to believe him, to work with him, but a voice in the back of her mind was telling her that something was not quite as he was trying to make it seem.

"Please, Libby. Whatever you may think of me, do it for Mr. Mulder. His life is at stake," he asked, an almost desperate tone in his voice.

She looked at him, and then at the x-rays, realizing that the bottom line of what Daniel was telling her was true. This man needed surgery now. She gave him one last glance and took the file from his hand, opening it to locate the number as she picked up the phone.


Dana Scully's Apartment
Georgetown, VA
The same morning

Scully felt a tickle against her ear, not quite waking her, but causing her to shift in the bed. When she felt it again, she opened her eyes to find Mulder staring at her, his smile immediate when she looked at him. "Having fun, are we?" she asked him, returning his smile, albeit sleepily.

"We could have more fun," he said, giving her a lingering kiss. He had propped himself up on his right elbow to watch her, using his left hand carefully to start to undo the buttons on her pajama top.

"Mulder, you can't," she said, reaching to stop his hand.

"No, I can't. But you can," he said, wagging his eyebrows at her.

"Mulder...."

"Come on, let me, Scully. I'll make you feel better..."

She removed his hand, scooting to sit up against the headboard. "Mulder, I will feel better when you feel better."

"Scully, I heard you last night. I know this is frustrating..."

"Is that what you think I am missing, Mulder- - physical gratification?" she asked, irritation present in her voice.

"Well... yeah, aren't you?"

"What I am missing, Mulder, is making love with you, not having my physical needs taken care of like some morning grooming routine."

"I didn't mean it that way, Scully. I just wanted to touch you, to make love to you in the only way available at the moment," he said, now feeling frustrated and disappointed that she had taken his overture in the wrong light.

She looked at him then, her expression softening, moving back down to lie next to him. "I understand, Mulder. I know you meant well..." she said softly, stroking his hair. "But, I only want that kind of enjoyment if you're enjoying it, too."

"Oh, trust me, Scully. I would've enjoyed every living second of it," he laughed. She laughed then, too, moving to kiss him, caressing his face, looking at his face, suddenly overwhelmed by how much she loved him.

Their mood, and William's sleep, was broken by a ringing phone. Mulder kissed her quickly and reached to answer the bedside phone as she moved to get out of bed to get William.

"Hello," he answered, wondering who would be calling this early in the morning.

"Mr. Mulder?" the voice queried.

"Speaking," he answered, sitting up in the bed.

"Mr. Mulder, this is Dr. Libby Wheaton from DC Memorial Hospital-- I treated you in the ER..." she said, identifying herself thoroughly, hoping he wouldn't hang up.

"Yes... What is it?" he asked, thinking it might have something to do with Scully having asked for his records to be transferred to a different physician, an acquaintance of Scully's from Georgetown Memorial.

"Mr. Mulder, I hate to get into this on the phone, but you need to come in right away. Your most recent x-rays showed an abnormality that you need to address immediately," she said, trying not to totally alarm him over the phone.

"I'm having my case transferred to Georgetown Memorial, Dr.... Wheaton, was it?" he told her flatly, looking at Scully's inquiring look as she returned to the bed, William at her breast. "Could you hold just a second?" he said, holding his hand over the receiver to talk to Scully. "It's Dr. Wheaton from DC Memorial. Maybe you should speak to her," he said, handing her the phone.

She adjusted William and took the phone, answering firmly. "This is Dr. Scully..."

"Dr. Scully, how are you this morning?"

Scully wasn't interested in small talk and resisted her immediate reaction to be terse with the woman, remembering how attentive and comforting she had been to her in the ER, and later when she came to the ICU to check on Mulder. "I'm fine, Dr. Wheaton. I'm just not sure why you would be calling us..."

"I'll tell you frankly, Dr. Scully. We have found a serious cardiac tamponade on Mr. Mulder's x-ray and he needs to get in here as soon as you can. We don't know exactly how fast it's leaking and the x-ray is already over 48 hours old."

Scully was dumbfounded, unsure why this was just now being diagnosed, but not wanting to take any chances. "Umm, I, uh..." she stammered, her shock getting the best of her for the moment. "Where should we meet you?"


DC Memorial Hospital
Emergency Room
Two hours later

Scully had explained everything she knew to Mulder as they dressed, hurrying him along as she dressed William, Mulder telephoning Margaret for emergency babysitting. After Margaret had arrived, they left, making fairly good time through morning rush traffic. Scully was disbelieving that this could be happening, having to stress to Mulder the seriousness of the situation in order to get him to come. The drive had been fairly silent, Scully concentrating on the traffic to get them there safely.

"Dr. Scully, Mr. Mulder," Libby said as she entered the room, a private office used by the residents in ER. "I'm glad you could make it so quickly. I'll get right to the point." She had showed them the x-rays, Scully immediately seeing why this visit was so urgent. Her heart pounded. She hoped her absolute fear wasn't reflected in her expression, at least to Mulder. She turned to him, reaching for his hand.

"Can Daniel perform the surgery?" Scully asked Dr. Wheaton, not looking at Mulder, fearing how he would react. But to her surprise, he said nothing, just gave her hand a squeeze. He knew that Scully would not ask if she didn't think Waterston's expertise was not absolutely necessary to do the surgery successfully.

"I told him you were coming and he has an OR ready as we speak," she answered professionally. "We just need to get a few more x-rays and get Mr. Mulder prepped."

"Can we have a minute?" Scully asked quietly and Dr. Wheaton had left them alone, going across the hall to the intern's lounge. Scully moved to sit on Mulder's lap before Libby had barely closed the door. She put her arms around his neck, laying her head on his shoulder, trying in vain not to let her tears come. "I thought we had made it through this, Mulder," she said softly.

Mulder held her, rubbing her back before lifting her chin to make eye contact with her. "We will," he said, giving her a soft kiss. He moved to let her off his lap, standing from the chair, never moving his eyes from hers. "Let's get this show on the road."

When Dr. Wheaton had walked into the lounge, two interns were lounging on the couches in the back area and she couldn't help but overhear part of their conversation, especially when she realized they were talking about Daniel. "Yeah, the asshole about bit my head off. I only wanted to watch the surgery. I had never seen a cardiac tamponade repair before and figured the big-headed bastard would have his ego stroked by someone wanting to watch an extra one of his surgeries," the intern complained.

"Yeah, something was up his ass all night. And what's he doing here on midnight shift anyway?" the other intern commented.

"I don't know, but I think the guy is wigging out. He's been wound as tight as Nurse Bean's legs all night. I was ready to call Psych earlier this morning..." he trailed off, finally noticing Libby standing just inside the door listening to them. It didn't bother her that they had said what they said. What had bothered her was that she knew that something was seriously wrong with Daniel.

Mulder had gone for x-rays before being taken down to surgery, Scully doing a better job of containing her emotion when the orderlies had come for him. She was just sitting in the same office, staring into space, realizing that she could do nothing but wait... and pray. Dr. Wheaton entered the office, taking the chair next to Scully in front of the large, cluttered desk, the glow from the x- ray screens giving the room an eerie blue glow. "Dr. Scully..." Dr. Wheaton said softly. "Is there anything I can do for you?"

Scully looked at her, giving her a slight smile of thanks, not wanting anything except for Mulder's full recovery. But then she stood, unable to make eye contact to ask her question. "Yeah... can you tell me how to get to the chapel?"


DC Memorial Hospital
Operating Room 4

Waterston was scrubbing his hands and arms, his intensity and fervor not going unnoticed. "Hey, Daniel... you okay?" the assisting surgeon inquired, noticing Daniel's preoccupation and agitation in the way he was scrubbing his hands.

Waterston startled, totally unaware that he was being watched. "Yeah, just wanting to get this surgery going, that's all," he answered. "I'm just waiting for the x-rays to get here." Waterston had the x-rays from his other patient, labeled as Mulder's, indicating the serious tamponade that he had so carefully plotted for everyone to think belonged to Mulder. He would destroy the x- rays taken earlier that were actually Mulder's, no one the wiser. Then Mulder's surgery would just be too late, too late to save him. He was nervous, yes, but absolutely confident, knowing that everything for his scheme was in place and everything was going exactly as he knew it would. He knew his plan would work; no one ever questioned the great Daniel Waterston.


DC Memorial Hospital
ER Residents' Office

Scully had no more than left the room, when an orderly walked in, carrying an over-sized manila envelope. "Here are those stat x-rays you ordered, Dr. Wheaton," he said, handing her the x-rays and exiting the room in virtually the same motion. She didn't know which x-rays he would be giving her, so she removed them from the envelope, holding them up in front of the light. She noticed Mulder's name on the bottom, shocked to realize the orderly had mistakenly brought them back to ER when the films were so urgently needed in OR. But as she started to slide them back into the envelope, she noticed how absolutely clear the picture of his heart was. She stopped, almost deciding she couldn't afford the time to take a second look, but, instead, holding one up for another review. "Oh my God..."

Dr. Wheaton flew from the office, heading down the west hall, hoping that Dr. Scully had indeed gone to the chapel and hoping that they wouldn't be too late. Libby entered the chapel, finding Scully sitting in the back, her eyes closed, tears falling silently down her face. "Dr. Scully," she whispered touching Scully on the shoulder as she spoke. Scully didn't startle, simply opened her eyes and looked toward the source of the voice she had heard whispered amidst her prayers. "Dr. Scully, please come outside-- I need to speak with you. It's urgent," she continued softly, not wanting to disturb the few others in the chapel.

Scully stood slowly, expecting the worst, knowing Dr. Wheaton wouldn't have tracked her down and appear so rattled if she had good news. Scully followed her out of the chapel, continuing to follow her down the hall until Libby went into a room and closed the door after them. "I've got something to show you and I don't know what to think," she said, Scully now noticing the fear in the woman's eyes. She showed her the x-rays, telling her that the tech had delivered them to her in ER by mistake; that they were supposed to go to Daniel in OR instead. "These x-rays show absolutely nothing wrong..." she said trying to contain her true reaction of near panic. "Mr. Mulder's heart is absolutely healthy, Dr. Scully."

"But the other ones... I saw them. Mulder had a tamponade that could have caused death at any moment. I saw it," Scully said, her voice beginning to tremble... unsure if what she was beginning to suspect was what Dr. Wheaton was thinking also.

"Dr. Scully, I don't think those were Mr. Mulder's x-rays," she said slowly, almost afraid to speak the actual words. They looked at each other, both knowing what conclusion each other had drawn and suddenly realizing what they must do. "They're in OR 4!" Libby yelled as they both ran from the room, Libby shoving open the nearest stairwell door that was labeled 'Staff Only'.

They ran down the stairs, taking two steps at a time, their hands sliding down the handrails, until they reached the first basement floor, the floor containing OR 4 and Daniel and Mulder. Scully felt like she couldn't catch her breath, still unbelieving what she was believing Daniel was going to attempt to do. "This way!" Libby said to her, taking a left down the next corridor.

They entered the alcove to the room, the blinds drawn on the windows to the actual operating room. Scully jerked the door open, Daniel's startled look over the top of his mask the first thing she saw. Voices started yelling. "You can't be in here!" "Who are you?!" "Get out of here!" But Daniel said nothing. He just stood there staring at her, his scalpel in his hand, unable to move but his mind working all the more quickly. Then all of a sudden, he seemed to come to life, seemingly instantaneously figuring another way to finish his plan.

"Get that woman out of my operating room!" he yelled as a couple of the others in the room moved toward her. Simultaneously, Scully pulled her gun from under her jacket and Libby walked in behind her.

"Daniel, stop! Don't do this!" Libby yelled, frozen in her spot just inside the door.

Scully pointed her gun at him, calmly speaking, her FBI nerve finally finding its place. "Daniel, put down the scalpel. I don't want to use this gun, but I will... and you know I can." One of the other staff in the room started to move toward her, but Libby interrupted him.

"She's FBI," she said, hoping the others would stay calm and realized this just wasn't some strange woman gone mad.

"I'll tell you one more time, Daniel. Put the scalpel down and step away from the table," she repeated, moving around the table, hoping to be able to tell if he had already started his 'surgery'.

Waterston pulled his mask down, trying again to weasel his way out of the situation. "What the hell are you doing, Dana?"

"You know very well what I'm doing, Daniel. We know about the x-rays. We know what you were planning to do," she said, continuing to move so that she would have a clear shot if she would need it.

Then he panicked, lunging toward her, his scalpel raised. "Goddamn you!!!" he yelled before falling to the floor as the shot rang out. Blood flew, splattering all of the sterile blue linens that covered Mulder, a big chunk of Waterston's right arm flying with it. She barely gave him a glance, but instead moved to the operating table to see Mulder. He was out under the anesthetic, but there wasn't a mark on him. Daniel had failed.


Dana Scully's Apartment
Georgetown, VA
One week later, 9:30pm

Waterston had been charged with attempted murder, but had been transferred to a psychiatric lock-up ward. His medical license had, of course, been suspended; the likelihood that it would ever be reinstated, even if he miraculously got out of the charges, as unlikely as Mulder converting to Catholicism. Scully had taken everything quite badly after it was all over. She had actually developed physical symptoms, spending a couple of days in bed, having episodes of vomiting and diarrhea that she chalked up to the flu, but Mulder knew better. She had felt such severe guilt that her association with Waterston had almost cost Mulder his life... and William his father. She had told Mulder almost two years before that her past affair with Daniel had been her biggest regret in life and now she was paying for it all over again.

Margaret had helped with William for a couple of days, while Scully was sick, taking him out several times, allowing her and Mulder to work things out, to give her some time to heal. But Scully had felt better on the third day, after she and Mulder had spent most of the night talking, him helping her to realize that what had happened between she and Waterston years before had nothing to do with the person he had become. She had even gone back to work, feeling like getting out and wanting to let everyone at Hoover see her and get over the gossip she knew had been flying again.

Mulder was on the couch with William when she arrived home from work, the two of them looking forward to a nice peaceful weekend together. Scully had brought home take-out from Mulder's favorite Thai restaurant and a bottle of sparkling grape juice that the manager had recommended. She missed the usual wine she would buy with the take-out, but not enough to drink anything stronger while she was still breast feeding.

Mulder's health had been great, his new doctor releasing him to return to desk duty, to begin the next Monday. He had taken William to the park earlier in the day and to a book store, finding him a new plastic book to chew on. His tooth had come through and a second was just under the gum, so he needed something in his mouth most of his waking hours.

After dinner, Scully had played with William for a while, Mulder giving him a bath while Scully got things gathered for the laundry and dry cleaners, getting things ready for them to return to some kind of schedule come Monday. William hadn't felt like napping during the evening, foiling their plans for a shower together. Mulder had taken his first and had taken William in the bed with him while she took hers. Mulder was reading and William was sleeping against his chest when she came out of the bathroom.

"Mulder, don't let him nap now. I still need to nurse him and I'll never be able to get him to bed if you let him sleep now," she said gently, not wanting to sound like she was chastising him. She put on her panties and a pajama top, but not buttoning it, knowing she would be feeding him soon. When she crawled in bed, Mulder had William awake again and he was fussing, wanting his mother and his late-night snack.

"William, take it easy..." she said, laying her head back against the headboard, sighing at the relief she felt when he began to suckle in earnest.

"Takes after his daddy," Mulder said in his silliest voice. She laughed; a full-bodied, loud, hearty laugh that was pure music to his ears. It had been too long since he'd heard her laugh, since, he knew, she'd felt like laughing.

"Mulder, you are so..." she started, deciding not to finish what she was going to say, instead leaning over to kiss him. "Please don't tell anyone I laughed at that joke."

"It'll be our little secret," he said, feigning hurt that she was making fun of his lame sense of humor. When William was finished nursing and he had burped, Mulder making the same lame joke in response, Scully laid him on the bed between them, hoping he would go to sleep quickly so that she could put him down. And he did, barely lasting 10 minutes before he was out.

After Scully had put him down, she returned to bed and Mulder had already turned out the lights and lit several candles on the dresser. She smiled at him, taking off her top and panties before getting back into bed, lying down next to him. Mulder had quickly moved over her, placing his mouth on her breast, his leg between hers, even before kissing her.

"Jeez, you weren't kidding, Mulder," she sighed, the feeling of him against her body igniting nerves that had missed him. Eventually, he looked up, smiling at her before bending to kiss her passionately on the lips.

"I have so missed this," he said, his hand wandering down her body to between her legs, moving them apart with his knee. He continued to look at her, watching the look on her face as his fingers found her center. Her moan was almost imperceptible, but he felt himself harden against her thigh, as did she. "God, Scully... I want you so badly..." he said, his voice low and sultry. He could tell that she was ready; felt how wet she was, could tell by her sounds, by the way her body, her hands were moving.

"Mulder, please..." she said, her voice almost desperate. He moved further on top of her, Scully reaching down to touch him, to help guide him into her. As soon as he entered her, her back arched, her breath catching before he even started to move, his thrusts deep and hard from the first one. He increased his pace, grasping her right knee, lifting her leg as he continued to move and that was all it took.

"Uhhhhhhhh!!!" she yelled, actually yelling out loud as she rose underneath him, her muscles tightening so hard she lost full control of them, her hands losing hold of him, her arms falling to the bed. He stopped thrusting, barely able to do so, but wanting her to ride this out before he moved again. Finally, she was able to move again, her body falling back to the bed, her internal muscles pulsing hard, Mulder now unable to stay still, moving within her again, knowing he wasn't going to last much longer. She wrapped her arms back around him, locking her ankles together just at the small of his back, encouraging him to finish-- to feel what she had just felt. It didn't take him long and he emptied into her with several hard, erratic thrusts.

They lay together afterwards, his head on her chest, her leg draped over his. He idly moved his fingers over her ribs, her breast, her hand smoothing over his back. "I think the neighbors heard you on that one, Scully."

"That's not funny, Mulder," she said quietly.

"Oh, come on, Scully. I'm just teasing you," he said, moving to lay his head beside her on the pillow so that he could look at her.

"I know, but it... embarrasses me... It makes me self-conscious," she said, unable to look at him.

He touched her chin with one finger, physically asking her to look at him and she complied, giving him a rare shy expression. "Scully, don't ever be uncomfortable or be sorry for anything we do in this bed," he told her earnestly.

"I'm never embarrassed or self-conscious with you, Mulder... never you," she said, moving to kiss him softly. "It's the neighbors I'm concerned about," she finished dryly. "Mr. Cope won't be able to look me in the eyes... Of course, he'll probably have a whole new admiration for you though." Mulder smiled at her, slipping his arm under her neck, gathering her to him. He pulled the sheet and spread up over them, intending to settle in for the night, but then noticing the candles still lit on the dresser.

"Shit," he said, moving to get out of the bed.

"What?" she said, wondering why he was getting out of bed. She watched him get up, the back of him clearly visible to her in the candle light. She closed her eyes then, trying to take a breath to settle what she was feeling, the beauty of him almost taking her breath away. Even after he had extinguished the candles, she could still see him by the illumination of the nightlight in the bathroom. She watched him, the front of him, as he walked back toward the bed. He didn't notice her expression until he reached the bed, then wondering what the hell had happened.

"What is it, Scully?" he asked, totally unaware, as he got back into bed.

Scully couldn't get to him fast enough, laying half over him, giving him a kiss that would've killed a lesser man. She finally broke the kiss, looking at him, grinning. "Goddamn, Mulder...!"

"What? What?" he asked, half laughing, still wondering what the hell had gotten into her.

"Do you realize how absolutely, fucking sexy you are?" she said, his eyebrows rising at her rarely used term.

"I would rather you tell me that I'm sexy fucking," he said dryly.

"Well, that, too," she said, still smiling at him, rubbing herself against him, kissing and nuzzling his neck.

"Oh, shit, Scully..." he said, knowing that it was going to be a long night.


Dana Scully's Apartment
The next morning

Scully had been up early, having woken when she heard William fusing, wanting his breakfast. After feeding him, she carried him on her hip as she made coffee, putting a coffee cake in the microwave for a few seconds to freshen it. She was idly singing to William as she moved around the kitchen, half listening to CNN on the television in the living room, when she noticed William grinning and beginning to giggle. She turned around and found Mulder standing in the doorway with nothing on but a t-shirt.

She looked at him for a moment, trying not to laugh. "In case you hadn't noticed, Mulder, you aren't wearing any pants," she said dryly, managing somehow to keep a straight face.

"Well, I was hoping my nudity would do for you today what it did for you last night," he said, giving her his goofiest grin.

She laughed then, shaking her head at this man she found herself loving beyond words. "Go put something on, Mulder, or we'll have to find a babysitter for the rest of the weekend..." Mulder moved over to kiss her, then taking William with him back into the bedroom to find a pair of clean boxers and to check William's diaper.

The phone rang and she hurried to the living room to answer it, wondering who would be calling this early on a Saturday morning. "Hello," she answered, seldom using her name to answer on the weekends.

"Dr. Scully? Dana Scully?" the woman's voice asked her.

"Who's calling, please?" she asked, the woman's voice sounding faintly familiar.

"This is Libby Wheaton."

Scully suddenly felt strange, feeling very uncomfortable talking to this woman again, hoping that everything with Daniel was behind her, at least until his trial. "Yes... Dr. Wheaton. What can I do for you this morning?" she asked, keeping her distance.

"I wanted to call you and tell you this before you heard it somewhere else," she said, Scully starting to get a bit irritated at this woman seemingly dragging out some kind of mystery. "I don't really know how to say this except just to say it. Daniel hung himself last night... in his room at the psychiatric hospital," she told her bluntly, her voice breaking.

Scully almost stumbled, falling into the nearest kitchen chair with a thud. She couldn't say anything, her voice caught in her throat. Finally, she spoke unable to hide the shock evident in her voice. "God... Dr. Whe-- Libby... I... I don't know what to say," was all she could muster, truly at a loss for words.

"I know... I..." she started, sounding like she was going to say something else, but deciding against it. "I just wanted you to know, Dana... I'm sorry... sorry for everything," she said, beginning to cry.

"Libby, please don't... don't take any responsibility for this. And remember, if it hadn't been for your intervention, I'm not sure Mulder would be here with me and our son right now," she said, her voice wavering now, too.

"Thank you, Dr. Scully... thank you," she finished, the buzz of the dial tone ringing in Scully's ear before she realized Dr. Wheaton had hung up. Scully sat there a few moments, letting her mind adjust to the information she had just been given, trying to contain her emotions, but then just giving up and letting her tears come. She buried her face in her hands, her sobs overcoming her, her body shaking with emotion.

Mulder walked back into the kitchen, carrying a freshly diapered William against his shoulder, unprepared for what he would find. "Scully, Scully, what's happened?" he said, putting his arm around her, bending to be at her level. "Baby, what is it?" he said, using an endearment he never used, but not even realizing he had said it. Scully turned to him then, putting her arms around him and William, continuing to sob against Mulder's shoulder.

"I'm okay... I'm okay..." she managed to snuffle out. She sat up then, looking at him, touching his face before standing to get a tissue from the antique secretary in the hall. She returns to the kitchen, taking William from him, holding him tightly, kissing his head softly, taking him into the living room. Mulder just followed her; unsure of what was even going on. She laid William on the floor on one of his several hand-made baby blankets, gifts from various aunts and cousins that she barely knew, and handed him his new 'chew book' that Mulder had gotten him. Then she just went to the couch and sat down, looking up at him with a look that he couldn't read.

Mulder sat down beside her, turning to put his arm behind her on the back of the couch, taking her small manicured hand in his other. He sat there silently with her for awhile, waiting for her to talk. "I'll wait until you're ready, Scully, but you're scaring me..." he said, fearful that something had happened to her mother or to Skinner or... Monica... or even Doggett.

"Daniel's dead, Mulder. He killed himself... hung himself in his room last night," she said softly, all her tears seemingly already shed. "That was Dr. Wheaton on the phone."

"Oh, Scully..." he said, moving his arm to cover her shoulders, her robe half hanging off her left one, the light spattering of freckles noticeably visible. She laid her head against his shoulder, accepting his comfort, needing his comfort. She just felt numb.

"I never imagined, in my wildest dream, that this would be his end, Mulder. Never..." she said, placing her other hand over theirs together resting in her lap. "Mulder, what happens to people? Why is it that even after all that we've been through, we have survived to finally find happiness and someone like him... ends up this way...?"

"I don't know, Scully. I just think he was obviously, a very sick man... a man who maybe just didn't appreciate what he had when he had it..." he said, Scully finally looking up to see him. "And when he didn't get what he wanted, he just couldn't accept it. And try as he may to replace it or force others into giving him what he wanted..."

"You mean me," she said, a statement, not a question.

"Yeah... you and Dr. Wheaton."

"Dr. Wheaton? What do you mean?" she asked, totally unsure of what he meant.

"You did notice your resemblance, didn't you, Scully?" Mulder asked quietly, suddenly realizing that she hadn't.

"My resemblance? To whom?" she asked.

"Scully... if someone didn't know, they would swear that you two were sisters. Hell, the first time I saw her, I thought she was you... And you had to have, at least, noticed that there was definitely something going on between her and Waterston. You did realize that, didn't you?"

"Well, yes, I kinda guessed that, Mulder. But her resemblance to me-- you mean you think that is why he and Dr. Wheaton...?" she asked, unable to say it out loud.

"Yes, I do, Scully. That's exactly what I think. And I think, in his mind, she was good enough until you appeared again..."

Scully looked at him, knowing that he was probably right and realizing what a truly sick man Daniel had become. "He was such a great doctor, Mulder; he was so different when I knew him..."

"Maybe, Scully. But maybe you were just so different, too, that you weren't meant to recognize his problems... People become sick. It happens..."

"Maybe you're right, Mulder... Maybe you're right. I guess I'm just having a difficult time trying to figure out why this has hit me so hard."

"I think, Scully, that it's kind of like when Diana Fowley was killed. I knew she had betrayed me, had deceived you, taunted you, but you still have these very sad feelings because you knew how they were and realize what they could've been... should've been... and that makes it all even more tragic... more sad."

"At least it's over... maybe he'll find what he always thought he was missing in this life," she said, leaning into Mulder further, closing her eyes.


Dana Scully's Apartment
Georgetown, VA
Later that night

Scully had been fairly quiet most of the day, both of them taking a nap with William mid- afternoon, feeling drained from the news they had received that morning. She just wanted to forget, wanted her memories of Daniel to fade. "You know, Scully, maybe Daniel's purpose in your life was only meant to be that he brought us together... Had he not shown up last year, we may never have gotten together and William wouldn't exist. Did you ever think of it that way?" he had said to her later. She hadn't really, but realized that Mulder may be right; that all people enter our lives for a reason and maybe that was Daniel's reason for being in her life. But she didn't want to think about it any more; she just wanted to be with her family.

"Mulder, are you coming to bed?" she called to him from the kitchen, Mulder still lying on the couch watching some movie with fake lizards and subtitles. She walked over to the couch, checking to see if he might be asleep. And then he grabbed her, pulling her down on top of him, her giggles a welcomed sound to him.

"Gotcha," he said, holding her to him, smiling at her like a goofy kid. She returned his smile, then bent to kiss him, knowing he was just wanting to make out on the couch for a while, one of his favorite activities.

"What is it about you and couches, Mulder? Is there some childhood secret I should know about?" she teased.

"No, but there might be a few adult tales of me and my couch that you might find interesting," he answered, moving his hands to squeeze her bottom.

"Shut up and kiss me, Mulder," she responded, him pulling her to him, kissing her soundly. He tasted good, the flavor of the beers he drank earlier still present on his tongue. "You taste like beer..." she said between kisses.

"Why don't we move this to the bedroom and let me see what you taste like tonight?" he said to her, kissing her neck, moving his hands up under her blouse to feel her skin.

"I don't think it'll be beer," she kidded him, feeling her body beginning to thrum with sensation at the thought of what she knew he was going to do after they got to bed.

"Mmm, no..." he mumbled, moving her up so he could reach her breast with his mouth, sucking on her nipple through the soft fabric of her blouse. "More like fine wine." She giggled again, in spite of herself, reaching to unbutton a few buttons on her blouse, pulling the cup of her bra down so that he could have her bare breast. He could only lick her, nip at her nipple, knowing that if he sucked she would start lactating and he hated the taste of that stuff.

"Be careful, Mulder. I don't want to leak all over you," she said, bending to kiss the tip of his nose. He put his hand down her pants, over her bottom, dipping a finger inside of her. She sighed, laying her head down into the crook of his neck, kissing and licking him.

"Leaking, Scully?" he teased her, feeling how wet she already was for him.

"Take me to bed, Mulder," she sighed, the teasing in her voice long gone.

Mulder had picked her up, Scully wrapping her legs around his waist, laying her head on his shoulder. He managed to flip the light off, moving into the bedroom by the light of the bathroom nightlight. He laid her down and she remained virtually still as he removed her clothing, her arousal ratcheting up a notch every time he touched her. She still didn't move when he stood to remove his own clothes, just watching him, loving the sight of the beautiful man she knew belonged only to her.

He carried through with his earlier promise, getting back on the bed closer to her feet than her head, her anticipation almost more than she could bear. He bent to kiss her abdomen, kissing the inside of each thigh as he gently parted her legs, lying on his stomach to reach her more comfortably. He parted her lips with his fingers, noticing how swollen they were, how her fluids glistened in the darkness. He kissed her again, right on her labia, an act that caused her hips to buck, her hands now grabbing at the spread, low, soft moans emanating from her that made him absolutely rock hard. He didn't know how long he'd be able to do this before he'd have to progress to something more.

He took her clitoris into his mouth, tonguing it before sucking on it hard, eliciting another sharp movement of her hips, this time garnering an "Oh, Mulder" that just about did it for him. He slowly slipped two fingers inside her, bending them to rub the top of her vagina, knowing he'd found her g-spot when her muscles tightened and he felt his hand fill with her liquid. "God, Mulder!" she gasped just before her orgasm hit, her groin muscles tightening so tight he could feel them against his cheek. "Ohgodohgodohgod," she breathed as she was coming down, Mulder moving up over her, reaching for a tissue on the night stand to wipe off his hand; he didn't want to smear the excess all over her and he had more plans for that hand.

After a few moments and she was able to process a thought or two, she turned to look at him next to her, pushing against his shoulder to lay him on his back. She kissed him, tasting the strange taste on his lips realizing it was her own, totally not understanding what Mulder liked about it, but just thankful that he did. She began kissing her way down his chest, his abdomen, taking him in her hand before taking him in her mouth. She gave him a slight suck before licking down his shaft, sucking a testicle in her mouth before doing the same to the other. She began to suck on him again, but he stopped her, telling her he didn't want to finish that way.

She crawled up his body, kissing him the whole way, finally making it to his neck, whispering in his ear, "You want me on top?" she asked, her voice low and soft.

"Oh, shit yesssss," he sighed, thinking he'd already died and gone to heaven. She moved up on her knees, taking him in her hand, having to hold him firmly to move him where she wanted him. She slid down on him; her hands on his chest, stopping before she was all the way down on him, taking the last couple of inches more slowly, allowing herself to adjust to fit him. She was sitting up straight now, her hands holding the sides of his abdomen as she began to move, her thigh muscles providing her impetus.

"Talk to me, Mulder... I need to hear your voice," she said to him softly, not even sure he heard her.

"I love you, Scully. More with every second of every day that passes," he managed to say, his voice low and breathy, sounding absolutely beautiful to her. His hands stroked her body, her legs, caressed her breasts. "I love you with every... uh, God... ounce of my body, of my soul... my heart... oh, shit, right there, Scully," he said as she bent further over him, Mulder feeling the fluids from her labia wetting his skin. "You have the most amazing mind... you are everything to me..." he said, unable to say much more as she was pumping harder now. He could tell that she was close, too, by the way she was panting, by the pitch of the sounds she was making. "Jesus, Scully, I'm really close... I'm..." he said, unable to say anymore.

She tilted her hips forward, then, knowing she would go as soon as her clitoris pressed harder into his pubic hair and she was right, her second orgasm of the night rocking through her only a second or two before his hit him. Mulder held on to her hips as he thrust up into her, gushing into her virtually every time he pushed into her, her body no longer having enough control to meet his thrusts. She laid over him, her legs still spread as he slipped out of her, every muscle in her body now as limp as he was becoming. "You still with me there, Scully?" he asked softly.

She put her arms around his neck, burying her face in the crook of his neck, not saying a word, him just stroking her back, petting her hair. Suddenly he felt moisture drip onto his shoulder, realizing that she was crying. "Scully..." he said close to her ear. "What are you crying about?" She just grasped him more tightly, if it were possible, still unable to speak what she was feeling, but Mulder felt her body shudder... twice.

Finally, she rose up, giving him a moist kiss, tears still covering her lips. She moved to lay slightly to the side of him, her leg between his and his between hers, and laid her head against his chest, placing her hand over his pounding heart. Mulder covered them with the blanket, still waiting for what he knew she was still formulating in her mind to say.

"Mulder, did you know that the chemical composition of tears is different, depending on what kind of tears they are?" she said to him, her sated state very obvious in the tone of her voice.

"No, Scully, I didn't know that."

"Or, to be exact, that there are five different kinds of tears?" she asked further, Mulder unsure of what she was really getting at and deciding to play along.

"Really..."

"Yes, really. Pain, happiness, sadness, grief and... sexual ecstasy. Now, care to guess why I was crying?" she asked coyly, her voice still low and satisfied.

"Are you trying to tell me that you are grieving over having had sex with me?"

She laughed then, moving fully on top of him again, propping her chin against her fists on top of his chest which raised her head just high enough so that she could see the sparkle in his eyes. "I'm trying to illustrate how much I love you... love you loving me."

"I think you did that already," he said, his hands smoothing the skin of her back, her shoulders and arms. She smiled at him, then, sliding her tongue over his lips before kissing him again.

"Oh, Mulder..."

THE END

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