Distribution: OK to Xemplary, ATXC, Gossamer.. everywhere else ask me
first Spoilers: Basically the whole Scully abduction/Emily arc, and a few from "Drive"
Mulder and Scully
"Mulder, it's me."
Fox Mulder's ears perked up at the sound of Dana Scully's voice, and a smile blossomed on his usually somber face. Swiveling around in his chair, he made sure the door to his office door was closed . The walls of the Hoover Building had ears, and it was best not to let them catch... anything. Even if he was just talking to his partner - *former* partner, he reminded himself with a sigh – who just happened to be a half an hour late for work.
"Scully, where are you?" Mulder asked. He tried not to sound as if he had been concerned, or checking his watch every five minutes, or looking at the phone constantly wondering if he should phone her. It was best not to let on that he had been worried. Well, it was best to try, at least.
"I was getting worried about you. Are you coming in today? Kersh wants us to go over our report from the Crump case again."
So much for not letting on that he was worried. Saying "I was getting worried about you" was sure fire way to let someone know you were worried about them. So was babbling incoherently. He stopped abruptly.
There was silence on the other end of the line for a moment. Mulder swallowed nervously as he waited for Scully to reply. He knew what she was going to say before she said it. He had gone over every possible scenario in his head, and this had been one of them.
"I can't come in today Mulder, I..." she paused. No surprise there. But there was something wrong with her voice. As always, she was characteristically less than exuberant, but that wasn't the only thing Mulder noticed. Dana Scully sounded...Well, she sounded sad.
"Is everything all right?" Mulder asked, knowing what the answer would be.
A sigh. "Yes Mulder, I'm fine."
No surprise there, either. Did Scully ever tell him when something was wrong? He had become accustomed to being lied to in that regard.
"Mulder, I'm fine". Translation: "I feel like shit, but I don't want to talk about it with *you*. Or anyone."
"I just have a touch of the flu. I already told Kersh, but I wanted to tell you in person. I'm sorry to leave you hanging like this."
Terrible things went through Mulder's mind. So many things had happened to Scully in the past five years, but by far the worst had been her abduction and...It was hard to think about that. He had blocked it out of his mind. He had come so close to losing her. But if She wasn't feeling well, it could mean....
What if the cancer was back?
Mulder, that's ridiculous, Scully's voice said in his mind. Mulder smiled inwardly. His conscience always spoke to him in Scully's voice. Heck, Scully *was* his conscience.
Of course it was ridiculous! She just had a flu. No need to worry. No point in worrying every time she was under the weather. Pretend you're not worried, at least. All right, you already let her know you were worried. Just pretend you're not *too* worried. Lie through your teeth.
"Hey, Scully, it's OK. Just... take care of yourself. Is there anything you need?"
"No, nothing Mulder. I just need some rest. I promise I'll be in tomorrow."
"Don't sweat it Scully. Take as much time as you need. The work will still be here when you get back."
He heard a faint chuckle on the other end. Good. It was always a good sign when she laughed at his jokes.
"Want me to drop by later?" he asked hopefully....just so I can make sure you're OK? He didn't add the last few words. Scully did not like to be checked on.
"No Mulder, I think... you'd distract me too much. I just need to be alone and sleep."
Damn! Shot down again. Why wouldn't that woman let him comfort her once in a while? Did she always have to be tough as nails? The worst part was being a psychologist and knowing that behind any tough as nails exterior there was usually a very soft, vulnerable person who was afraid to be hurt. Mulder had seen that side of Scully once or twice, for a few fleeting moments. Although those moments had scared him, it had been nice to know that Scully was human too.
"I'll see you tomorrow then," Mulder replied dejectedly.
"Tomorrow," Scully said, and hung up without a goodbye. No big deal, Mulder told himself. Saying goodbye was something the two of them never really bothered with on the phone. But this time....
All right, he was worried about her. Worried, and maybe just a little bit insulted that she would refuse his company. All the more reason to believe there was something she wasn't telling. A Scully sick with a mere flu wouldn't mind Mulder coming over to see her. A seriously sick or depressed Scully would, especially if she wanted to maintain her tough as nails exterior, or refrain from worrying him. What if something was really wrong?
No, that's just paranoia talking. She has the flu, and there's nothing to worry about. Put it out of your mind, Mulder!
Mulder sighed and turned back to his computer; to the next X-File he would attempt to recover from destruction. If Kersh could only see him now. "I want you to re-do your report", he had said. Sure, Kersh, I'll re do the report. Later.
Later had come sooner than Mulder had expected. The time had flown by since that morning, and Scully's phone call, and all the worrying. Unfortunately, the report Kersh had asked for would have to wait until Scully was back, and a few other minor assignments had been ignored. That didn't matter. The important thing was that a few more X-Files had been restored. X-Files which hopefully wouldn't fall into the greasy hands of Spender.
And as for Diana... He hoped she wouldn't get her hands on them either. Something about her was wrong. She wasn't the same person he had known seven years ago. He had defended her to Scully at one point, but maybe that was just his own way of protecting his vulnerable emotions. Inside he had felt completely betrayed. Betrayed by someone he had trusted. Not to mention devastated.
All the more reason not to trust anyone but Scully.
She had been on his mind all day. It was silly, he knew, though he couldn't help worrying about her. Her cancer had been such a harrowing experience for her, but Mulder didn't think she had even the vaguest idea how much it had affected him. He couldn't imagine life without her. It didn't matter that she drove him crazy. It was as he had observed before: she was his conscience. His best friend.
"You keep me honest," drifted into focus from his brain's random access memory. "you made me a whole person."
Every word, true. Even the kiss had been the most honest thing Mulder had ever done. He would go to the ends of the earth for her - and he was probably the only man on earth who could truly say he had done just that. The fear of losing her again had been just too much. And now he couldn't help worrying every time she caught a cold.
Mulder, you're pathetic, you know that? His Scully conscience told him. He produced a lopsided grin as he exited the Hoover Building.
Outside, it was raining. This didn't help things. What was it about a rainy, overcast day that made all of your problems seem worse? Mulder contemplated this as he pulled out of the FBI parking lot and headed home, his windshield wipers on high. Mulder tapped his fingers to their oddly infectious rhythm as he contemplated Scully's words to him on the phone.
"I'm fine. I just have a touch of the flu..."
But Scully hadn't sounded sick. She hadn't looked sick the day before. Of course, there were always those colds and flus that crept up on you out of nowhere: one minute you felt great and the next minute you felt like death warmed over.
Scully didn't *get* those. When was the last time Scully got a cold? She was Ms. Healthy. Always eating right, exercising when she had time. No, he had thought of it before and he was certain of it now. Scully was depressed.
Scully had plenty to be depressed about. But there was one thing Mulder knew about Dana Scully - she had never let depression, or emotions, get in the way of her work. Something must be really wrong.
Upon reaching the turnoff to his street, Fox Mulder drove past it and headed for Scully's apartment.
Her lights were out.
This was the first thing Mulder noticed as he drove up to Scully's building. It was barely 7:00 at night, and not a single light burned in her apartment, at least from what he could see. This disturbed him.
She's probably just asleep, right? he told himself. If she has the flu, she's asleep.
Phone, he thought. Yes, that would do. Why hadn't he thought of it before? He pulled out his cell phone and dialed her number.
No answer on the first ring.
No answer on the second.
Third, fourth, fifth, sixth...
Scully's apartment wasn't that big.
Maybe she was a deep sleeper?
Not good enough. He had to know. He parked the car and got out.
Dana Scully wasn't answering her phone. Nor, it seemed, was she answering her door. If she was home, she was most likely sleeping like a log.
Wouldn't it be best to leave her alone, and let her get some rest? Yeah, Fox. Sure. Whatever.
He knocked again. Waited. Waited for the reassuring sound of her small footsteps coming to the door.
Waited for the sound of her voice: "Who's there?".
Waited for: "Mulder, what are you doing here?"
Mulder, you're a worry wart, his Scully-conscience told him when the real Scully didn't answer. What is Scully going to think if this is the way you react every time she wants to be alone?
No, worried people don't answer to rational thought, he told himself with a grin. He reached into his pocket and found his key ring. A blatant miss-use of his key privileges, meant only for emergencies. Well, this constituted as an emergency.
Mulder shut the door behind him as slowly and quietly as possible, wincing when it insisted on creaking its way through the last few inches. He stood there for a moment in the darkness, - yes, all of the lights were definitely out - waiting for his eyes to adjust, and then walked into her living room.
She wasn't there. Strike one.
Her couch was empty. And so it should be, Fox. She's got the flu and she's in bed. Sleeping. You should leave before she wakes up and gets really pissed off at you. Mulder had a brief vision of the last time he had appeared in Scully's apartment unannounced like this. For God's sake, she had almost taken her shirt of in front of him. "Keep going, FBI woman," he had said. He chuckled as he remembered the moment. Man, had she been pissed! "Mulder, what are you doing in my apartment in the dark?"
He smiled despite the fleeting wisp of regret that she had not been happier to see him in her bedroom in the dark.
Don't think that way about Scully, he chided himself, as his eyes scanned the room for evidence of Scully.
It paid off. There was a sliver of light inching its way across the floor on the other side of the room.
Of course! Her bedroom. She was in there, and the light was on, and she was reading, or she had fallen asleep reading. That's good. Now just knock and explain to her what the hell you're doing here. Hopefully you can get a few words in before she kicks you in the balls.
He knocked on the bedroom door. No answer.
This was getting too creepy. He opened the door.
Well, there she was. He breathed a sigh of relief. She was laying there, sleeping, one hand draped off the side of the bed holding ... was it a photograph?
Her other hand was empty, and on the table beside her bed was... oh no....
Mulder dashed to the side of Scully's bed and grabbed the bottle of sleeping pills from her bedside table.
It was full.
He almost laughed at himself. Why wouldn't Scully take sleeping pills? She definitely seemed like the type. Scully was the stress queen. Not only that, but she had been through enough to give her nightmares for the rest of her life. Sleeping pills seemed logical. He inspected the label. They were self-prescribed.
Thank god, he breathed. He put a finger gently to the side of her neck and felt her pulse, beating steadily and assuredly. No problem here. She had taken a sleeping pill to help her sleep.
Curiosity overtook him and he bent down to retrieve the photograph she held in her hand.
Sadness washed over Mulder as he looked at the face in the picture. Sadness not for himself, but for Scully, and for all of the pain she had been through. A little girl grinned back at him, a huge smile on her face as she stood over her birthday cake, oblivious to what she was and the future that would befall her. Emily.
"Oh, Scully..." Mulder said out loud as he fingered the picture. Of course, it explained everything. Scully, depressed over Emily's death, had called in sick and later taken a sleeping pill to help her sleep. Not uncommon. How many times had he felt the same way about Samantha?
This was different, though. It was as though Emily had been a cruel torture to Scully. Scully, who had just found out she could no longer conceive a child, found Emily, her own flesh and blood, only to have her taken away.
It was a terrible thing. It made Mulder seethe with anger every time it crossed his mind. Poor Scully. She had been through so much.
And he would be through more when she found out he'd come into her apartment like this, uninvited, and without her knowledge. She would likely never forgive him.He turned and tiptoed towards the door.
END OF PROLOGUE
So, was she coming in today or what?
Mulder looked at his watch for the 10th time in as many minutes. It was 9:45 - where was Scully? No show, no phone call, nothing.
Scully, why do you do this to me? He thought, reaching for the phone. It rang just as his fingers brushed the receiver.
Mulder quickly drew his hand back and regarded the machine for a moment. One ring, two. OK, it was safe. Didn't want to seem like he was ready to jump on the receiver or anything.
"Mulder," He said as nonchalantly as possible.
"Mulder, it's me."
Ah, Scully's voice. How relieving to hear it, after all the worrying he had done since yesterday morning.
"Scully," he said, trying to sound unconcerned and failing horribly. "Where are you? I'm doing all the work by myself, here."
"I'm coming in Mulder, " she said "I'm sorry. My alarm didn't go off." Indeed, her voice sounded slurred and groggy, as if she had just woken up. Mulder decided it was more likely that the sleeping pills had caused her to sleep right through her alarm. He said nothing.
"Does Kersh know what's going on?" Scully asked.
"I told him you were sick, Scully. That's all he needed to know. He's still waiting for his report from us though."
There was a pause on the other end. "Thanks Mulder. I'll be right over." With no goodbye as usual, she hung up. Mulder sighed thoughtfully as he replaced the receiver and turned to stare back a his computer screen, though the images on the screen never made it past his eyes to his brain. His mind was on Scully. He was still worried about her.
"How many of those X-Files do you have restored now?" Dana Scully's voice asked from the vicinity of Mulder's doorway.
Mulder's head jerked up from the work he wasn't even looking at. He hadn't heard her come in.
"How long have you been there?" he asked, looking up at her. She didn't look good. Her face was pale. She had dark circles under her eyes. Her careful grooming and makeup did little to hide it.
"Long enough to see you were disobeying Kershe's orders... again." Mulder chuckled. "What will he do? Fire me? Then... no! I wouldn't be able to investigate piles of manure anymore!" He gave her a hopeful, lopsided grin. Scully smiled, almost sadly, at Mulder's sarcastic joke.
"You aren't thinking of leaving again, are you?" she asked.
Mulder shook his head. "No, but I'll be damned if I'm gonna let weasel boy and the she-beast destroy the X-Files. Kersh'll have to fire me to stop me. And what he doesn't know won't hurt him." He fixed his eyes on Scully's. "But why don't you tell me what's up, Scully. You look like a truck hit you."
"Gee, thanks," She said, looking offended. "I was sick, Mulder. I still feel sick. Do you think I should look like miss America?"
Mulder ignored the question. "I tried calling you... you didn't answer."
"I was probably asleep." Her words were blunt and emotionless. Mulder sighed. He knew the truth, but there was no way she was going to confirm it for him. If only once... just once, she'd let him know what was going on in her emotions, maybe he could offer her some comfort. Maybe he could do the things friend were supposed to do for friends. If she'd ever let him....
"Well, come on Scully, let's get this shitty report finished," he grinned at his lame joke, hoping he could make her smile again. She did, and for that, at least, he was glad.
"Have a seat," he said, pulling up a chair for her.
"Mulder... I was wondering..."
Mulder's ears perked up. She was going to ask him something? Ask, Scully! Ask anything. Anything I can do to help.
The creak of Mulder's office door opening interrupted Scully's question. Oh damn, Mulder thought. It's probably Kersh checking up on us...
No, it wasn't Kersh. The person standing at the door was a tall, dark haired woman the very sight of whom made a wave of uneasiness wash through the room. Scully shifted in her chair and avoided eye contact. Mulder looked up reluctantly.
"Good morning Fox," the woman at the door said.
Mulder winced. I wish... I wish you wouldn't call me that! Not even my best friends - he glanced at Scully. - call me Fox. You're the last person I want to call me that anymore. Aloud he said nothing. He merely stared up at the woman who had re-appeared into his life unannounced and taken over everything that was dear to him. He had almost trusted her a few weeks ago. He had almost believed she had taken over the X-Files for his own benefit. Two weeks of hearing nothing from her -not a peep of information about the recluse Alien, or of Gibson - had changed that opinion.
Well, she hadn't taken *everything* that was dear to him. Scully was still here. Mulder noted with some irritation that the woman at the door hadn't bothered to address Scully.
"What can I do for you, Agent Fowley?" he asked, calling her by her last name and hoping she'd get the hint.
"Fox, can I talk to you.... in private?"
She didn't get it. Mulder fought back the urge to roll his eyes. "I think whatever you have to say, Agent Fowley, should be suitable for Agent Scully's ears as well."
Scully smiled in spite of herself, but in the end it was she who took the most noble course of action. "I'll wait outside," She said, standing up. She turned to Mulder and gave him a look that said "You'd better tell me what she says or I'll castrate you," and left the room.
Scully stood outside Mulder's office, tapping her foot, and waiting. She had tried a few times to listen at the door, but it made her too nervous. After all, what would Mulder think if he caught her?
She sighed, and her thoughts drifted back to the last day and a half. It had been horrible. It was nearing the anniversary of Emily's death, and all of the memories she had been pushing back over the past year were returning. Emily... such an innocent little girl, with no idea what she was, or what was happening to her. And despite what she was, the fact remained that she was Scully's. Emily had been her flesh and blood, the only child Scully would ever produce - never mind the means of how she was made - and now she was gone. Gone as soon as Scully had discovered her.
Wasn't everything that had happened to her before that enough? The abduction, the cancer... why this added pain, this byproduct of everything else that would remind her for the rest of her life?
Scully felt tears come to her eyes. She brushed them away quickly, hoping it would just look like she had been coughing or sneezing. How long would she have to fake being sick before she could just admit to Mulder she was depressed? Well, she had been about to say something to him, but that was before Diana Fowley had walked in. Scully smiled, recalling the way Mulder had refereed to her as "Agent Fowley." She didn't like Diana.
She tried to tell herself if was just because she found her a suspicious character but it was more than that. Mulder was her best friend, her partner. He meant more to her than that, though she didn't often admit it. They hadn't talked about it much. The fact that they had very nearly kissed outside of Mulder's apartment several months ago was nearly forgotten.
No, that was wrong. It wasn't forgotten at all. It was just avoided. Before she had time to return to wondering what they were talking about, the door opened. Mulder ushered Diana Fowley out of the room without a word, and stood there holding the door open for Scully.
"What did she want?" Scully asked when they were back inside. She could see the anger seething behind Mulder's eyes at her question, but thankfully the anger was not directed at her.
"She wanted the files I've been working on. Can you believe it? Talk about a lot of nerve."
Scully raised her eyebrow. "Any file in particular?" she asked.
Mulder shook his head. "None in particular, but I think she must have some kind of motive. She and weasel boy can't go very far without them."
"How did she know you were restoring them?"
Mulder shrugged. "In a moment of stupidity I must have told her. Shoot me now, Scully."
"Should I bother to ask what you told her?"
"Of course not. Do you think I'd give them to her? Even if I trusted her, which I don't, I wouldn't want that little prick Spender getting his slimy hands on them."
"I just hope... well, I hope she doesn't turn on you like she did before."
Mulder shrugged and sat back down. He was tired of talking about Diana. "Let's get back to this report," he said, hoping to change the subject.
"One more question," Scully said, in spite of noticing that he was getting tired of answering questions. "Why did she want me to go outside?"
"Beats me. She feels threatened. Or maybe she didn't want YOU to feel threatened, but I don't think she'd do something that noble. Can we stop talking about her now?"
Scully nodded, sitting down again. The question she had been about to ask Mulder before Diana had barged in still lingered in her mind. She pushed it aside. Save it for another time.
Another day, another stupid case to investigate.
Mulder blundered into his office early, feeling as depressed as he knew Scully had a few days ago. The report for Kersh had been finished the previous evening. Scully had been informed that same evening that she had been assigned to another case that didn't involve Mulder whatsoever. Mulder wondered cynically what sort of degrading case his new boss would have for him this morning. He thought reminiscently of Skinner for a moment, realizing he actually missed working for the guy. He had been tough, but under that exterior was a man with a strong sense of justice. And Mulder believed that Skinner actually cared about the X-Files and its cause. Kersh didn't, that was plain to see. It was hard to shake the feeling that Kersh was somehow involved with the plan to get rid of the X-Files.
So many conspiracies, so little time. Mulder opened the door to his office. The post-it-note stuck to his office door did little to improve his mood. Mulder just had time to see the name "Kersh" on it before it fluttered to the floor. His heart sank as he picked it up. It was time for the latest crappy assignment.
"Agent Mulder -
Mulder took great satisfaction of crumpling up the note and tossing it into the wastebasket. Then he turned around and left his office, heading down the long corridor Kersh's office. It reminded him vaguely of being sent to the principal's office in High School. Somehow, he was going to get in shit for something.
"Suspended without pay"... the words rang through Mulder's mind in a horrible, taunting echo, like those songs that just won't get out of your head no matter how much you hate them. He shuffled slowly to his office, barely noticing that Scully was right on his heels.
She had been in Kersh's office when he had arrived there, of course. Just in time for Kersh to inform them something neither of them had expected. He knew about the X-Files Mulder had been restoring on work time. He knew Scully had known and had said nothing. In turn, he had suspended them both without pay for the next month. They were not to work on any assignments together afterwards, perhaps forever. They were not to have anything to do with the X-Files.
But it wasn't that Kersh had found out that bothered Mulder the most. No, it was the first words out of his mouth that had bothered him.
"Agent Fowley has informed me...."
That BITCH! Mulder thought, fuming as he was reminded of the incident. But that wasn't the worst part. The worst part was now he was required to hand all of his restored X-Files over to her and... that creep, Spender.
In a brief moment of daydreaming, Mulder saw his fist connecting with Spender's face. Heard the sound of his pointy little nose cracking. He smiled. He knew Spender was working with that cigarette smoking man. He had seen them together. And after today's events, he was almost certain that Diana was involved too. And now she would have access to his X-Files, and he was powerless to stop it.
Well, he wouldn't take them to her. That would be too much. She could come and get them herself.
Mulder entered his office, allowing Scully to enter behind him.
"Well, I supposed being suspended is better than investigating piles of manure," she said, in an uncharacteristic attempt at humor.
Mulder shook his head and began going through the files he had taken so much time to restore. "I'd like to kill her, Scully. She's worse than Krycek. Her and that little bitch Spender."
"I'm so sorry Mulder... all your hard work," Her voice trailed off.
"All *our* hard work," Mulder corrected her.
But Scully hadn't noticed. There was something else on her mind. That question she had wanted to ask him yesterday still nagged at her. And the biggest problem was, it was related directly to these files that Mulder was about to leave in a box on his desk for Agent Fowley.
"Scully - will you do me a favor?"
"Sure Mulder. Anything."
Scully's eyes widened. This was interesting. Come over. Where? To his place? Why? "Ummm... what for, Mulder?"
"Scully... I'm so mad right now, I think I need you around to keep me in line. Is that all right? I'm afraid I might do something drastic otherwise. You know me. You keep me honest."
Scully nodded. That's me, she thought. Always the rock. Unable to ask for someone else to be MY rock when I need it. But I'll do it, as always. I'll keep Mulder honest.
"OK Mulder. But can you do me one small favor. One... tiny favor?" It was time to ask the question, no holds barred.
"What?" He asked, looking suspicious.
"My file," she said. "The one with all of the information on my abduction... and Emily. Do you have it?"
Mulder smiled, a reaction she hadn't expected. She'd hardly dared hope that he had it. Little did she know Mulder was secretly rejoicing. Rejoicing that he had been correct in his assumption. Scully was depressed about Emily.
"I've got it," he replied.
"Can you keep it? Do you think she'll miss it?"
Mulder smiled wider. She was admitting something, at least. It was the first indication she'd given him since the other day that she was even thinking about Emily. Well, it was time to admit something to her.
"Scully, that file wasn't even in the office when it was burned."
Mulder looked at the floor, slightly embarrassed. "I've kept it at home for ages. I was worried the wrong people would get a look at it. And it turns out it was a good thing I did. "
Scully shook her head. "You amaze me, Mulder." Why had he done this? How... odd. It was incredibly odd. He hadn't even kept his own sister's file at home -and he had confided in her that that had been the one file he couldn't find. It was missing. Yet for some reason, Mulder had seen fit to take his partner's file home for safe keeping. Why?
He thought of asking her what she wanted it for, but he felt he already knew. It was obvious, she wanted to keep the information on Emily close to her. Maybe there was more to it, but he'd ask her that later.
It was still raining outside, as it had been all day and the two days before that. Mulder's apartment looked dark and dreary as the two agents made their way in. Scully hadn't bothered to go home. Mulder was still fuming, and he knew the danger of his own impetuousness. It didn't matter. There was no reason for her to go home anyway, except to be depressed.
"You haven't cleaned up in a while," Scully said with a hint of affection as she entered Mulder's apartment. There were clothes on the floor, dishes on the coffee table and on top of the TV, and papers everywhere.
"Scully," Mulder replied, discreetly picking a pair of boxers up from his couch "You've seen me at my worst. You can handle my messy apartment, right?"
Scully smiled and said nothing. This didn't feel right, coming here to help Mulder when she felt like she needed help too. But this wasn't Mulder's fault. How could he know if she hadn't told him?
She still looks sad, Mulder thought, trying to dispose of his scooby-doo underwear without her seeing it. I wonder if I should ask? After all, here she is coming over to my place to support me. The least I can do is offer her some support too. Whether she would accept it would remain to be seen.
"Wanna order a pizza, Scully?" Mulder asked, hoping the offer would cheer her up. He picked up the phone book as if to emphasize.
Scully nodded. "Sure. Beats cooking."
Yes! He quelled the urge to jump for joy. She was going to be a sport. Perhaps she would even be fun to hang out with tonight. He loved hanging out with Scully just for fun. There was something about being with her as friends and not as co-workers that made him feel like he was more to her than just a work partner. He was her friend. That feeling was important to him.
"What kind?" He asked.
"Whatever. No anchovies."
As Mulder dialed, Scully looked around. His apartment was a mess, but that didn't concern her. he was a guy. Guys had messy apartments. What concerned her was that she couldn't get her mind off that file.
I wonder where he keeps it?
"Mulder, about that file..." Scully prompted as she dug in to her third piece of pizza. In front of her, the TV blared out an episode of "Star Trek" which she was looking at but not watching. Mulder had watched in amazement as petite Scully wolfed down almost as many pieces as he had. Had she forgotten to eat for the past few days too?
"Oh, right, the file!" Mulder said, jumping up. "You want it right now?"
Scully nodded. "I kind of have a notion about something..."
"What sort of a notion is that?"
Scully smiled but said nothing as she chewed contentedly on her pepperoni with mushrooms.
The enigmatic Dr. Scully... Mulder thought as he opened the door to what was supposed to be his bedroom. Boxes filled the room, covering the entire floor and stacked as high as the ceiling. Her file was in a box right at the front of the pile - easy access. He opened the box and grabbed it.
I really should clean out my bedroom someday, he thought as he headed back to the living room. He handed the file to Scully.
"So what's this notion of yours?" Mulder asked as he polished off the last piece of pizza.
He had lost Scully a long time ago. her fourth piece of pizza lay unfinished in the box, and her file lay spread out in front of her on the floor where they sat. Mulder had continued to watch Star Trek, which had turned out to be his favorite episode "The Trouble With Tribbles". He had seen it a million times, not once intentionally. It just seemed to always be on when he turned on the TV. It didn't matter. He enjoyed it every time.
"Mulder, you'll think I'm nuts," Scully replied, not looking up.
"Scully," Mulder said, his attention grabbed "Far be it from me to ever say *you* were nuts. Come on!"
Scully raised an eyebrow. "Mulder, you know what time of year this is, right?"
Stupid question, Mulder thought. How could he forget? He had never seen Scully in so much pain. To find out that you could never have children was bad enough, but then to find a child that was your own and have her taken away from you, that was worse. He didn't know how she could bear it.
"Scully..." Mulder said in a warning tone. "That's a silly question."
"OK, Mulder, of course you remember her... It was just a way of bringing it up. I've been thinking about her a lot lately."
Ask it! Now! Mulder heard a voice in his head say.
"Is that why you stayed home yesterday?" there, it was out. Too late to take it back. Scully was less shocked at his question than he had expected. But as always, her face didn't betray her emotions. And neither did her words.
Damn, she was good at lying! Mulder knew Scully would never lie to him about anything important. But when it came to her emotions, lying was kosher with Scully. Her emotions were off limits.
Keep going, Mulder, the voice told him. You're a psychologist, you can get it out of her.
"Come on Scully, I know you weren't sick. You looked depressed but you didn't look sick."
Scully regarded him for a moment and then looked back down at her file. He heard her take a deep breath, as if she was desperately trying to repress some unwanted expression of emotion. It only took her a second and she was back to normal, looking up at him with that raised eyebrow. Years of practice, Mulder thought. Does she even know *how* to express emotions anymore?
"I'm fine Mulder,"
Of course. Of course she was fine. Scully was *always* fine. Mulder shook his head. Well, she wasn't going to confess now. Best to let her get on with her question.
"What I was thinking was... is it possible that Emily wasn't the only one?"
That was not a question Mulder had expected. His thoughts went back to that day... when Scully lay in the hospital undergoing chemotherapy, and he had run off on his mad quest to save her life. He remembered the Kurt Crawford clones, and the rows of drawers containing ova harvested form Scully and the other women like her. He had taken a vial of her ova, but that didn't mean that they hadn't been used before he had done so. More children like Emily? It was not only possible, it was more than likely.
"Scully, in light of some of the things I found... I think it's very likely. Why?"
Scully shrugged and looked back down at the floor again. Had she never thought about this?
"I wonder how I would go about finding them."
Oh Scully, what are you thinking? Mulder wondered. Do you want to put yourself through more pain? These children will be hybrids just like Emily. They won't be human, they won't be anything you could realistically care for. Most of them will probably die just like Emily.
"Why, Scully?" Mulder asked.
Scully shrugged. "Curious, I guess."
This was too much.
"Scully, don't play games with me. I know you're not curious. That's not all of it anyway."
"what *is* all of it then, Mulder?" Scully asked, annoyingly calm and collected as ever.
"You miss Emily. I can see that. I *know* you Scully! You want to go out and find some other kid just like her so you can ease the pain, feel better about the whole thing, right? Maybe find a kid you can adopt? I'm sorry Scully, you *are* nuts. What makes you think any child created by the same means as Emily is going to cause you anything but pain?" Scully sat up straighter. Her defenses were up now.
"You of all people should call me nuts, Mulder. Or warn me about going on a foolish crusade. After all of the crap I've been through with you... I've stood by you, I've lied for you... And here I am tonight protecting you so you don't go off and do something stupid. How can you say this to me?" Her face was turning red, rapidly catching up with the color of her hair. Here comes the Scully Irish temper, Mulder thought.
"No, Scully, that's not what I meant. I just..." he reached out to touch her arm but she pulled away. "Scully, I just don't want to see you get hurt again."
Scully stood up. "I'll be the judge of what I can and can't do," she said, stepping over the papers scattered on the floor and picking up her high heels which she had discarded earlier that evening.
"Scully, don't go..." Mulder pleaded.
"Why Mulder? So you can spend some more time telling me how foolish I am and then go off chasing aliens somewhere and expect me to follow?"
"I was just trying to help, Scully... I..."- I care about you Scully, I do. Why can't I say that out loud?
"I'll see you at work tomorrow, maybe," she said, pulling on those famous Scully high heels that could have been a foot high, as far as Mulder was concerned.
Too late. Short of tying her down and forcing her to stay there was nothing he could do.
Dana Scully left, slamming the door behind her.
Great, Mulder said to himself. One of these days they're going to evict me.
Well, this is a fine mess, Mulder thought, standing at his front window. Outside, he saw Scully start up her car and drive away, quickly and agressively. Boy, was she mad.
What to do now? Of course, he had every intention of helping her if that was what she wanted. For a person so unwilling to show emotions, Scully certainly wasn't afraid of showing anger.
If only he could have gotten past the argument, and into the fact that he *would* help her if she wanted him to so badly.
He looked down at Scully's file, scattered all over his apartment floor as an idea worked its way into his mind. It would be dangerous. Heck, it had nearly gotten him killed once before. But was there really anything he wouldn't do for Scully?
Of course, it was important to take the path of least risk first, and that path lead him straight to the door of Byers, Langly and Frohike. They had once hacked into a file kept on Scully at the Lombard Research Facility. That file had contained information on the gene code that had made Scully sick. If they could try it again, and get more information, maybe... Well, there was hope. And he hoped that it would be that easy again. If he had to go straight to the facility to get the information he would, but if he could possibly do it without getting killed he preferred to try that first.
"Who's there?" a wary voice called from behind the door before Mulder had even knocked.
"It's Mulder, Frohike. Open up."
Mulder waited for a moment as Frohike checked the video monitor to make sure it was really him. He heard the sound of many locks, deadbolts and chain-latches being opened. After what seemed like a half an hour, the door swung open.
"Where's your pretty partner?" Frohike asked as Mulder stepped in.
"Most likely at home throwing darts at a picture of me," he replied with a sly half-smile.
Frohike frowned, but then brightened up as another thought came to him. "If she hates you now, maybe I'll have a chance."
Mulder chuckled at Frohike's innuendo. Frohike and the other guys always teased Mulder about his relationship with Scully. It amused Mulder. Mulder smiled as he followed Frohike into the main area of... well, chaos. Mulder couldn't think of a better word to describe it. Byers and Langly sat there, deeply engrossed in a game of Tomb Raider.
"I was wondering if you guys could help me with something," he said slowly. Three pairs of eyes perked up and looked at him. The game was paused. They were interested. These guys were always interested if there was a conspiracy to seek out.
"Remember a few years ago when Scully was in the hospital? OK, dumb question. You guys hacked into the Lombard Research facility and pulled out a file on her, remember?" Three heads nodded in unison.
"I was wondering if you could do it again."
Three separate eyebrows raised.
"Is Agent Scully all right?" Byers asked , sounding concerned. And he had every right to be. The last time they had done this, Scully had cancer. And while it was in remission, cancer was never something that was cured. There was always the possibility... but that wasn't happening now, fortunately.
"She's fine," Mulder replied. "She doesn't know I'm doing this." Well, that was partly the truth. She wanted it done, sure enough, but she had no idea that Mulder had taken it upon himself.
"What in particular are you looking for?" Frohike asked as he sat down next to Byers and Langly.
"Any information on children made from Scully's DNA."
"Like Emily?" Frohike asked.
Mulder nodded. "I want to find out if Emily was the only one made, or if there were others."
"Won't be easy," Langly said, reluctantly turning off the game. "But we can try."
"How long will it take?" Mulder asked.
Langly shrugged. "Anywhere from a half an hour to all night. Do you want us to call you when we find it?"
Mulder nodded. "Yeah, that would be great. I'll come right back as soon as you call me."
"Say hi to Agent Scully for me," Frohike said as Mulder turned and headed for the door, not sure what he was going to do while he waited. It would be best not to bother Scully now. she'd need at least a few days to stop hating him. Home? He'd probably just get there and have to turn around again.
He had driven for barely 10 minutes when his cell phone rang.
Mulder felt a sense of ominous dread as he headed down the hallway to Scully's apartment the next morning. The dread grew stronger as he neared her apartment door, as if the very energy emanating from behind that door was meant to steer him away. Was she still mad at him? Would she even talk to him? Would she give him the chance to tell her what he had found? Well, she would have to. He wouldn't leave until she did.
He approached the door cautiously, the way he might have approached a felon waving a gun. He gulped, feeling as though his heart was trying to work its way out through his throat. There wasn't much that scared Mulder - he had seen too many things throughout his life to scare him. There were only two things that really made fear well up inside him. One was losing Scully. The other was being around her when she was mad. He knocked.
There was a pause. The sound of footsteps.
"Who is it?" Scully called, even though Mulder knew she could see him through the peep hole.
"Scully?" he said, trying to sound quiet and helpless, like a lost puppy. She opened the door, and Mulder felt his heart sink back into his chest cavity. Her eyes were soft, and her lips formed a smile when she saw him. "Can I borrow you for a second?" he asked with a lopsided smile.
"Sure Mulder," she replied, stepping aside to let him past.
"Mulder, before you say anything," Scully said as soon as he closed the door behind them "I'm sorry. I was very mean to you last night and I'm sorry. You were right."
Wow, Mulder thought. Scully, apologizing! This must be a sign of the coming apocalypse! "I was right?" He asked, more in amazement that she would admit that than in doubt. He smiled his lopsided smile.
"Yes, Mulder... I *have* been missing Emily a lot and I *have* been depressed. I did what I did because I thought..."
"Wait, Scully," Mulder said, putting a hand on her arm. "Before you completely negate everything you said last night, let me tell you what I found." He pulled a stack of computer print-outs from underneath his arm and handed them to her.
"What's this?" Scully asked, taking the papers.
"The Lone Gunmen helped me out on this. They have this handy little computer chip that helped them hack into the Lombard Research Facility's database when you had your cancer. I asked them to do it again, and they found..." He reached out and leafed through some of the pages Scully was holding "... the entire file on you."
Scully peered down at the piece of paper Mulder had revealed to her. Her name was at the top in bold lettering. Below her name was a list of other names, and addresses, and dates.
"Emily Simm" was the first one. It gave what Scully assumed was her birthdate, and the familiar address to which Scully had been led that strange morning in December. Bold lettering beside her name indicated the word "deceased". Scully felt the threat of an onslaught of emotion at reading that word. Deceased. Deceased before I even got a chance to know her. Deceased, just like my ability to ever have a normal child of my own.
But Emily's name wasn't the only one on the list. There were 2, no, 3 more. All named Emily, all with the same birthdate. Their addresses and last names, however, were different.
"These are all..." Scully was too stunned to speak. More children, created in the same manner as Emily. It was horrifying to think that Emily...- sweet, innocent Emily - was not the unique little girl she had appeared to be. She was the byproduct of a horrible experiment. An experiment that was as inhumane as it was unbelievable. Emily might as well have been part of an assembly-line production.
"... All of the children created from you," Mulder finished for her.
"How did they find this so easily?" She asked, astonished.
Mulder shrugged. "Ask the Lone Gunmen and you shall receive," he replied, smiling. "and apparently, Emily wasn't just a name, it was a kind of a code name. I have a feeling all of the children on this list were clones, and Emily was the name given to the clones made from your DNA. Just like the Gregors, and the Kurts Crawfords."
Scully scanned the list again, and something struck her. Besides their names and birthdates, there was only one other similarity that struck her. It was the fact that every one of these "emilys" had the word "deceased" in bold letters beside their names.
"But Mulder, they're all... all..." How could this be true? Why had he bothered to bring her this information.
But Mulder shook his head. "Not all," he replied. If all of the children had been dead, he supposed he would never have bothered to show her. Scully did not want to know about the children of "hers" that had died. She wanted to find the ones that were alive.
"Next page", he told her.
Scully pulled up the page she was reading to look at the one underneath it. It was arranged the same, and gave another series of names and birthdates. Samuel was the name that all of these boys shared in common. That and their birthdates, more than a year after Emily's. And all of the boys shared the word "deceased" beside their names, though it did not specify the manner of death. Scully tried not to think of it. She assumed they had all died in a manner similar to Emily.
All but one.
"Samuel Callan," Scully mused out loud. "Born October 20, 1994." She read farther. "Vancouver, Canada?" She said, looking up at Mulder.
"he's a foster child, not adopted like Emily," Mulder told her. When she gave him a questioning look, he replied "We looked him up while we were at it. I guess that's what these people do - they farm these children out on unsuspecting parents as helpless little foster children, or as orphans. I suspect the parents don't know what they are any more than the kids do."
Scully's eyes fogged over. She seemed about to cry, but a sniffle and a deep breath cured that. She approached Mulder slowly and cautiously fell into him, sliding both arms around him.
"Thank you Mulder," she said.
He enfolded her small frame in his arms. "Your welcome," he replied softly. Anything for you Scully, he added in his mind. Anything to make you happy.
Scully gazed through the airplane window at the vast, sprawling city that was Vancouver. They had broken through the cloud cover a moment before, and Scully was relieved that she would soon have her feet on the ground, and be on her quest to find Samuel.
It was not difficult to find the time to take a jaunt to Vancouver. Suspension for a month without pay left room for many things, with the exception of money. Scully had been surprised to learn that Mulder had a substantial amount of savings, which he had informed her he kept just in case something like this ever happened. Apparently, suspension was something Mulder budgeted for. This didn't surprise Scully one but. But did you ever think you'd be hopping clear across the continent to help your partner search for a child that belongs to her, but that she never gave birth to? Scully wondered to herself. She smiled, but she was worried. Worried about the whole process. Her application to adopt Emily had been rejected, although that had been before it was discovered she was Emily's mother. Still, it did not matter if Scully was Samuel's mother. They would still review her life and check her background to make sure she was a suitable candidate to raise him. They would question her job, but she had decided that after their suspension was over, she would request a transfer back to teaching at Quantico. It would not be denied, of that she was certain. In fact, they had asked her many times to return. A lower stress, less dangerous position like that of teaching would not be as threatening to the approval as her former position on the X-Files.
They would question why she did not have a record of giving birth to a child, but she hoped that simply telling the truth would override that. The records of her abduction, of her missing ova, and of Emily's existence were all available in her medical records. And once it was proven she was Samuel's biological mother, there would be no questioning of the paperwork. The DNA could not be wrong.
But another thing worried her, and that was the fact that she was not in any sort of relationship. She knew - from experience- that these agencies liked to adopt children out into stable families. A single parent - no matter if she was in a less stressful, less demanding job -didn't have a very good chance of adopting a child, even if she was the child's biological mother. Scully sighed and took a long, deep breath, trying to calm the fluttering in her stomach. She couldn't think of that now. What mattered the most was that they were trying, and that their closeness to success was all because of one person. Mulder.
"Mulder," She said. As she spoke, the pilot announced that they would be landing in Vancouver shortly. There was a soft "ding" and the fasten seatbelts light came on at the front of the cabin.
"What is it Scully?" Mulder asked, looking up from the magazine he'd been reading. He fumbled for his seat belt.
"Thank you," she said, stopping him, and taking his hand in hers. "Thank you for doing this for me."
"It's all right, Scully. It's nothing."
"It's *not* nothing, Mulder. You've... we..." Somehow the words would not come. You've risked so much for me, Mulder. You've risked your career and even your life. And now you're doing this. Words can't express how this makes me feel Mulder. Maybe that's why I can't say it. He smiled and squeezed her hand. She didn't need to say it. He knew.
Freedman Child Services, Scully thougt. Dr. Freedman. She had talked to him on the phone and made an appointment to see him prior to their departure from DC. It had gone well, but the feeling of nervousness and worry was still there. Now she sat on her bed, perusing the document containing Samuel's stats for what seemed like the millionth time, at least as far as Mulder was concerned. He had made several jokes about it, perhaps in an attempt to break her from her the serious demeanor she had taken on since their flight had arrived in Vancouver. Finally he had become exasperated with her and had taken to rearranging things in their hotel room. They had picked a small hotel in downtown Vancouver, which looked quaint on the outside but which was nicer than they had expected on the inside. The rooms were inexpensive, which was an added bonus when one was spending one's "suspension-savings" money. It also helped that it was close to everything, including Freedman Child Services.
It had been Mulder's idea that they share a room, and the clerk had looked at them strangely upon seeing a man and a woman renting a hotel room together on a Friday night, requesting one with two separate beds.
Scully had been a little leery of Mulder's idea, though she couldn't fathom why. It wasn't as though she didn't trust him. It just seemed... odd. It was odd sharing a hotel room with Mulder, especially since they hadn't shared one in their entire 5 years of working together. Oh well, she thought, Mulder works in mysterious ways. She smiled for the first time since their landing.
"She smiles!" Mulder said, noticing right away. He stopped fussing with hanging up his clothes and turned his attention to Scully. "So Scully, what are you gonna say to Dr. Freedman?"
Scully set down the paper and looked up at Mulder. She had gone over this many times in her head. It required no thought to call it up again. "I have reason to believe Samuel may be my son and I would like a DNA test done. That's all I'm going to say. "
"What will they say when there's no record of you giving birth to him, or anyone for that matter?"
Scully frowned. She had worried about this too much to be remind of it again. But this, too, she had thought over carefully.
"I'll tell them the truth Mulder. Everything except your strange theories about alien hybrids. They don't need much info to do the DNA test, just a blood sample, but I suppose if they press to hard I'll tell them. Once the DNA test proves I'm his mother, nothing else will matter."
Mulder sat down on the edge of the other bed.
"Scully?" He asked, suddenly serious.
"Are you... Are you going to adopt this child?" It had been an assumption on Mulder's part, and a certainty as far as Scully was concerned, but they hadn't really talked about it.
Scully did not hesitate in her reply. "Mulder, if he's mine I don't care what he is or how he was created. Yes, I'm going to adopt him. If they'll let me."
"What about the FBI?" Am I going to lose you, Scully? As always, it was impossible to say aloud the most important part of the question.
Now that was a tough one. She hadn't mentioned this to Mulder yet. He hadn't asked. But now was as good a time as any to tell him.
"I don't know Mulder. I was thinking of requesting a transfer back to Quantico. They've asked me several times, I have no doubt they'd accept my request."
Mulder had been expecting that. After all, they Kersh had made it clear they would never work together again. It would make sense for Scully to request a job at a less dangerous post, and teaching at Quantico was perfect for her. They wanted her there. She was an excellent teacher, diplomatic, just, and skilled in her art.
"If I can take the danger out of my job, and still HAVE a job, my chances of the adoption being approved are far better," Scully added, though Mulder's mind was elsewhere.
"Will I ever see you again, Scully?" Mulder asked. As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he looked down at the floor, avoiding her gaze. Avoiding those piercing blue eyes that seemed to bore into his soul whenever she looked at him.
Scully had not expected him to say that. She had not expected that it had mattered *that* much to him. Of course they would see each other! Not as much as when they had been working together, but they would see each other.
"Mulder... I... of *course*! Do you think I'd forget everything you've done for me?" Her voice suggested she was appalled that he would even think that.
Mulder smiled, giving Scully his best hurt-puppy-dog look. "No, I can just see you working and being a mother and all that stuff, and I'll be working in another basement office somewhere surveiling credit card frauds and kissing Kersh's ass. "
Scully smiled, but said nothing. She had not thought about this; not even bothered to question it. Of course there would still be room in her life for Mulder if she adopted Samuel. She couldn't imagine her life without Mulder. Maybe she would see him a little less, but...
See him a little less? Why don't I like that idea?
"Mulder, you're my friend. Of course there will still be time for you! But right now, we don't even know if this is going to work."
"I know Scully. Just keep me in mind, all right? You're the only person I know who does."
Scully felt her heart wrench, and suddenly she felt incredibly sorry for Mulder. She really was his only friend, and his only family if she could call herself that. Mulder was not close to his mother. He had no close friends because everyone thought he was "Spooky". Working so close to him, Scully had come to see that he was more than that. He was brilliant, passionate and driven. A bit eccentric, perhaps, but definitely not the man on the brink of insanity that so many people made him out to be... And when Mulder cared about someone, nothing could stand in his way.
Scully looked at the clock. It was 3:30 PM. They had made an appointment to see Dr. Freedman, the head of the agency, before they had left for Vancouver.
Their appointment was for 3:00 in the afternoon, the next day.
"I want to go now," Scully said abruptly.
Freedman Child Services was located in a vast residential area in the middle of Vancouver. If Mulder and Scully hadn't gotten out of their car to look for it, they never would have found the office. It was inconspicuous, the sign on the door too small to be seen from the road.
In fact, from the road, it didn't look like anything but an apartment. A tiny bell above the door rang as Mulder and Scully entered. The main office was brightly decorated in pinks and whites, and immaculately kept. In front of them, a receptionist sat behind a desk, talking on the phone. She looked up at them and raised a finger as if to suggest she would only be a minute.
Mulder wondered briefly if this clean-cut, innocent looking office had any idea that at least one of the children they had dealt with was... what he was. He suspected not, although it was hard to tell. Many innocent looking establishments had sinister backgrounds, as Mulder had discovered throughout the years. He only hoped that this one was as reputable as it looked.
The receptionist hung up the phone and leaned towards Mulder and Scully, who were looking around as if they had no idea what to do.
"Can I help you?" she asked. Her demeanor was friendly, her voice pleasant. Mulder and Scully both felt themselves relax.
"I'm Dana Scully," Scully said, approaching the reception desk. She showed the receptionist her driver's license. "I have an appointment to see Dr. Freedman. Um, it's for tomorrow. We're early."
The receptionist smiled, "yes, Dr. Scully. You're here about the Callan boy, aren't you?"
Scully nodded. "Yes. I.... I couldn't wait."
The woman regarded Scully for a moment longer, still smiling. "I understand. It's hard to wait for something like this, isn't it? I'll go see if Dr. Freedman will talk to you now."
The woman stood up and disappeared through a door behind her desk. Scully turned around and regarded Mulder with a raised eyebrow that asked "do you think this will work?"
Mulder smiled his lopsided, yet endearing smile at Scully. "don't worry" he mouthed. "it'll be fine."
The receptionist returned a moment later.
"He'll see you in his office," she said, motioning for them to follow. Scully started to follow, but Mulder stopped her.
"Do you want me to wait here?" he asked.
Scully shook her head. "No. Come with me," this was hard enough to do. She couldn't imagine doing it alone. She hated to feel like she needed him, but perhaps his presence - a familiar presence - would make her feel more at ease. And Scully knew Mulder too well. He needed to be needed. Well, it was time to allow him that.
They shuffled nervously into Dr. Freedman's office, feeling awkward in their work clothes and trench coats. Mulder decided that they must either look like accountants, or the federal employees that they were.
He smiled to himself, and turned to look at Scully. She looked calm and collected as always, but behind her eyes he could see the nervousness that perhaps no one but he would notice. He rubbed her back gently as they entered the room.
The office was small, and as neatly kept as the reception area outside. In the middle of it was a desk, and behind it sat an older gentleman with kind eyes, and a distinguished demeanor. Scully liked him immediately. He reminded her somehow of Skinner, though he seemed to be softer and more personable.
"Dr. Scully," Doctor Freedman said from behind his desk. "You're here about Samuel," he extended a hand for her to shake.
Scully nodded and smiled, accepting his hand and hoping she didn't look as nervous as she felt.
Dr. Freedman gestured towards the two chairs that rested in front of his desk. Scully took his advice and sat down, with Mulder following suit. "Thank you for seeing us early," Scully told him "We couldn't wait."
Dr. Freedman smiled again. "Yes. Well, I just happened to be free when you came in. And we rarely get people inquiring about Samuel, I felt it would be best to see you earlier than later." He smiled at Scully, and then peered over his glasses at Mulder. "And you are...?"
"Fox Mulder," Mulder replied, not bothering to tell Dr. Freedman his role in Scully's life just yet. The two men shook hands briefly.
"And you have reason to believe that Samuel is your son," The Doctor said, turning back to Scully. " How did this come to be?"
Here goes, Scully thought, hoping she would not come to regret it. If all went as planned, this whole thing would work. Dr. Freedman might not believe her, but the evidence was right there in her medical records and there would be no mistaking the maternity test once it was done. But as always, there was the nagging feeling in the back of her mind that it would not work as planned . Something would go wrong and it would all fall to pieces.
Scully took a deep breath and replied, in spite of her fear.
"I was missing for a period of several weeks, about four years ago. I have conclusive evidence that during that time, my ova were taken from me - you will even find this on my medical records, and I am now incapable of having a child. I can't tell you for what purpose this was done, but it has turned up one child that was my biological child without a doubt. You'll find this in my records as well. Her name was Emily Simm."
Dr Freedman did not look surprised or skeptical. In fact, his demeanor gave no indication of what was going on inside his head. He had quite likely never heard a story such as this one, but Scully had told it in such a way that it did not sound as far fetched as it might have coming from someone else. Scully had concrete proof and records behind her, and that was enough for her. If Dr. Freedman didn't believe her now, he would have to once he saw her records.
"I will look into that, Dr. Scully. And you think Samuel is one of the same children? How did you come to believe this?"
"Through records obtained from a research facility by my partner," she gestured towards Mulder. Obtained illegally by hacking into the research facility computer, she added in her head, but that would likely not be checked into.
"And you would like to do a DNA maternity test," Dr. Freedman finished for her. "I have to admit, Dr. Scully, I find your story rather strange. Downright hard to believe, in fact, but I will not dismiss you until I look into your medical records. This is highly unusual, but Samuel is a special case. His foster family frequently takes children in, but they are overrun right now and would really like to find a home for Samuel. This agency would too. He is one of those children we call hard to place, because of his age. ."
"Does he have any illnesses of any kind?" Scully asked, remembering Emily.
"Not that we know of," Dr. Freedman replied. "He's a healthy, normal little boy, but most people looking to adopt want small babies. Samuel is over 4 years old now, and not many people want to take on a child that age. Why do you ask? Is there a record of illness in your family?"
"Yes," Scully replied, quickly trying to cover up her question. In actual fact she had been thinking of Emily's condition, hidden under the guise of a rare form of anemia.
"I underwent treatment for cancer myself." Scully realized that admitting this might hurt her chances, but it would come up in her medical records anyhow. There was no hiding it. But the fact of her cancer's remission was a promising factor. "It has since gone into remission. I'm very healthy now."
The Doctor nodded and looked down at the stack of papers in front of him for a moment.
"I understand you are a medical doctor?"
"Yes. I studied Forensic Medicine and Pathology at Berkley. I also have a BA in physics from the University of Maryland."
"Excellent, and you are employed with the FBI?"
"Yes I am."
"Good," Dr. Freedman said, mostly to himself. He continued to write things on the paper in front of him. Then he looked up at Scully.
"Well, there isn't much we need to do so far. I need to run a small background check to make sure you are who you say you are, but that won't take to long. We can do the blood sample here in my lab if you like. I assume you still plan to adopt Samuel if the DNA is a match?"
Scully hesitated for a moment. She glanced at Mulder, but she was met only with a warm smile. "Yes," she finally replied. "Yes I do."
"That will require a more complete check of your background, and of whether you are in the proper situation to care for him. But we'll worry about that when we need to," he turned to Mulder. "And I assume this man is your partner?"
"Yes," Scully replied without thinking. Then she caught herself. Of course, 5 years of referring to Mulder as her "partner" had desensitized her to the term. She had forgotten for a moment that it was also a term used to refer to someone one was in a relationship with. Oh great! She thought. What an idiot I am! She turned to Mulder.
"Good," said Dr. Freedman before anyone could say anything. "If you plan to petition for adoption, it's always best to be in a long term relationship. We like our children to go to stable families. How long have you been together?"
Scully opened her mouth to tell Dr. Freedman that she had made a mistake. To her surprise, Mulder replied instead.
"Five years," he told Dr. Freedman.
Scully was astounded. Had he misunderstood the question too? She didn't think so. She looked at him in surprise and he simply smiled back at her with an expression that screamed "don't say *anything*!".
"Married?" Dr. Freedman asked.
"No," Scully replied. "Not yet," Mulder added.
You shit! Scully thought. But somehow she was grateful. It was an out and out lie, but they both knew it would help her case.
Dr. Freedman smiled. "I'll have Cathy phone Samuel's family and have them bring him down. I assume you'd like to meet him before we go through all of this?"
"Yes, I'd love that," Scully replied. "Have you spoken to them already?"
Dr. Freedman nodded. "I spoke to them shortly after I first talked to you. I'm sure they'll be happy to bring him down early. While we wait, come into my lab and we'll do the blood test here. That will be the easiest way. " He headed out the door, motioning for them to follow. Scully did not follow right away. She regarded Mulder with a look of astonishment and questioning, to which he replied quietly.
"I was helping your case, Scully. Don't look at me like that," he walked out of the office, on the heels of Dr. Freedman.
Scully didn't flinch as Dr. Freedman withdrew what seemed like a gallon of her blood from the vein at the crook of her arm. Rather, she watched in a somewhat morbid fascination and clinical detachment as the deep red -almost black – liquid seeped out of her arm and into the small vial Dr. Freedman held in his hand. It was over in seconds. Scully pressed a piece of cotton to her arm and Dr. Freedman placed the vial in a tray and picked up another needle. He turned to Mulder.
Mulder looked at him questioningly.
"Well?" Dr. Freedman asked.
"Well..." Mulder said, not sure what was going on. His eyes shifter nervously.
"I assume you want to do a paternity test as well?" Dr. Freedman said, looking as confused as Mulder.
Mulder's jaw dropped. It took him a moment to realize his moth was open and he clamped it shut again. He turned to Scully, who looked equally as astounded. Her expression clearly conveyed the words "dont look at *me*!"
It was too late to keep Dr. Freedman from noticing their surprise. He cleared his throat.. "Dr. Scully, as sane a person as you seem, I still find your story highly unusual. I have no doubt that you are Samuel's mother. Your resemblance is quite visible. But as Samuel is 4 years old and you have been with this man for 5, it seems logical..."
"Oh," Scully said, smiling as though she had just realized the whole misunderstanding. "I... well, yes. Of course. It won't hurt to try will it?"
Mulder frowned, but didn't protest. It was probably a good idea not to stir up too much attention, especially since Dr. Freedman didn't seem to believe Scully's story. That fact didn't worry him or Scully - it was right there in her medical records and he would see it soon enough - but it was best not to make waves.
Dr. Freedman inserted the needle into Mulder's arm. Mulder winced, feeling silly after Seeing Scully go through the procedure so routinely. It was over before he knew it, and Dr. Freeman placed the vial of his blood in the tray next to Scully's. Scully watched, hoping that this small facade wouldn't get them into any trouble. She tried to convince herself that it was unlikely. They were not married, there was nobody Dr. Freedman would get in touch with who would tell him they had NOT been in a relationship for five years. There was no way this could possibly turn on them, although no matter what the possibilities were, there was always room to worry about it. There was a knock at the door.
A moment later, the receptionist - Cathy - poked her head in the door. "The boy and his parents are here," she said "Would you like them to come in now?"
"Yes, please," Dr. Freedman replied. At his words, Cathy disappeared again.
Scully glanced anxiously at Mulder. He rubbed her back gently again, hoping it would calm her. He could see that Scully was nervous - perhaps more so than he had ever seen her. But her nervousness seemed to melt away at the sight of the little boy who entered the room slowly, cautiously, and by himself.
Samuel Callan was the spitting image of Scully. His features were delicate and clearly defined. His stature was small, even for a 4-year-old. His hair was bright fiery red and his face was covered in small freckles. Only his eyes were not Scully's. His eyes were a deep greenish-brown, and they looked oddly familiar to Scully, though she could not imagine why. She considered it fleetingly for a moment, and then the thought was gone. She noticed that Samuel's parents did not come in behind him. Instead, Cathy followed him into the room.
"He wanted to come in on his own," Cathy explained as she left again, shutting the door behind her.
"Hello," Samuel said in a voice that sounded unusually clear and defined for a child his age.
"Hi Samuel," Scully said, crouching down so she was at his eye level. "I'm Dana."
Mulder could see Scully's eyes start to fog over and he smiled. There was no doubt in his mind who this child's mother was.
"Are you my mother?" Samuel asked.
"Why do you ask that, Samuel?" Dr. Freedman piped in before Scully could reply.
"Anna told me," the boy replied, referring, Scully assumed, to his foster mother. "She said we were going to see if this lady was my mother."
Dr. Freedman didn't look impressed. Obviously, it was not procedure to inform children of such things until after the fact, but the boy's knowledge did not bother Scully. In fact, it comforted her, for the facts did not seem to bother Samuel. He seemed to be intelligent and mature enough to understand them.
"We don't know yet, Samuel. That's what we want to find out," Scully said. Why keep secrets from the boy?
"If you're my mom, will I get to live with you?"
Scully was at a loss for words. She looked Samuel in the eye, hoping she wasn't frightening him as much as he was frightening her. She had suspected the boy would be oblivious to the situation at best. To see him so clearly aware of what was going on took her aback.
"I'd like to live with you," the boy continued, his words carefully chosen and easily pronounced. "If you're really my mom."
Scully felt tears come to her eyes, and one slipped out and slid down her cheek. She wiped it away, hoping nobody noticed.
"We'll see, Samuel. But right now Dr. Freedman wants to take a sample of your blood, so we can see if I am your mom."
Samuel said nothing, and stuck out his arm for Dr. Freedman.
"He's highly intelligent," Dr. Freedman told Scully after Samuel had left with his foster parents, who had hardly bothered to say hello.
Scully assumed their detachment was an act of protection for Samuel. It was obvious the boy was eager to find his mom, and perhaps they didn't want him to get his hopes up.
Dr. Freedman continued. "He has an IQ far above genius level and from what I've heard about your background, Dr. Scully, it runs in the family," he smiled at her and regarded the three vials of blood on the tray. "Now, I can take these samples in, or you can do it yourself. It doesn't really matter."
"I'd like to do it," Scully replied. That way, there would be no possibility of a fraud. She had seen Dr. Freedman take the blood from her, Mulder, and Samuel. If she were to take it to be analyzed, there would be no chance of being misled. Dr. Freedman had seemed trustworthy, but Scully had learned over the years not to trust anyone. Trust No One. Not even kindly doctors who seem to be telling the truth.
"If you would like to let me know when the results are in, and bring them down, then we can go over the final stages of adoption if that is your request," Dr. Freedman said. He picked up the tray and handed it to Scully.
Scully nodded, taking the samples from him. "We'll be in touch."
The weather in Vancouver was not much different from the weather in DC, Mulder noted as the rain poured down around them in buckets. The windshield wipers of their rental car set on high, the two agents drove through downtown Vancouver, taking in the lights and the beauty of the city in the fading daylight. It was not yet 5:00, but being in the middle of November, twilight had come rather quickly. They had left Dr. Freedman's office several hours ago. Scully had taken the blood samples to the Vancouver General for an unbiased analysis. The results would be in the next day, and in the meantime, all they could do was wait. Right now, there was time to discuss other things.
"Why did you tell him that, Mulder? That we were together? Were you planning that all along?" Scully's blue eyes reflected the streetlights as she looked at Mulder questioningly.
Mulder kept his eyes on the road as he drove. "No Scully. It was totally spur of the moment. You remember how being single affected your case when you wanted to adopt Emily, I thought it would help."
"But you lied, Mulder. WE lied. If anybody finds out..."
"Scully," Mulder said, reaching out to take her hand. "Nobody is going to find out. For all anyone knows, we could've been secretly 'doing it' for the last 5 years," he grinned.
"It just doesn't feel right, Mulder," Scully replied.
Mulder sighed. "Scully, he even said to you that being in a long term relationship would help your adoption case. You heard him, and you heard the social worker when you were trying to adopt Emily. You know as well as I do that single people are rarely candidates for adopting children. You told him the truth about everything else, even about your abduction. He's going to see you're not lying, and there's no way he can truly determine if we're together or not. It can't hurt."
Scully turned to focus her eyes on the road in front of her, watching the streetlights slip by her in their never-ending pattern.
"We're partners," Mulder added "We're friends, aren't we? That's what matters the most. We might not be lovers Scully but you are the closest thing I have to a relationship. As far as I'm concerned, what I told Dr. Freedman was true."
Scully swallowed. What is it about you Mulder? She wondered. Sometimes he could seem so callous and unfeeling, and then he would come out with words that touched her like nothing she had ever heard. Where did those words come from?
"You're my one in five billion,"
"You keep me honest"
"I owe you everything, and you owe me nothing."
And now this.
"Mulder, I..." how did you reply to something like that? "Thank you." she said. Oh great. That sounds just lovely. That's almost as bad as saying "I know" when someone says they love you. She turned to Mulder and realized it did not matter what she said. His mind was already elsewhere.
Mulder glanced in the rearview mirror, noticing with some concern the closeness with which the car behind them was following. The same car which had pulled onto the road behind them as they had left the Child Services building. He had seen it then, but had taken no notice of it. The fact that it was still behind them after their trip to the hospital, and after several hours, didn't just disturb him. It scared him.
He quickly tried to dismiss it as Scully spoke. She had found one last thing that nagged at her mind.
"But we don't live together, Mulder..."
"Nobody said we had to be living together," Mulder replied. "Scully, you're driving me nuts!" he said. "Just accept it. Accept what I said, all right?"
Scully thought for a moment. She was trying to convince herself that all of this seemed wrong, but somehow, strangely, it seemed right. After all, if she were to adopt Samuel, Mulder would likely be the closest thing to a father figure that the child had. Mulder was good with children. Scully had seen that when Mulder had been around Emily. She laughed, thinking of his Mr. Potato Head face. He hadn't had much of a chance to talk to Samuel, but Scully knew they would get along. She had even seen something in Samuel's eyes that reminded her of Mulder, though she couldn't put her finger on why.
"I guess it can't hurt," She replied. She paused for a moment, suddenly realizing that he was still holding her hand. She didn't bother to do anything about it and changed the subject. This was getting far to serious and emotional for her.
"I like it here," Scully said. "It's pretty."
Mulder smiled. "What do you want to do now, Scully?" he asked, hoping she would not disappoint him by saying she wanted to go back to their hotel room and study her file some more.
"What do you want to do?" she asked.
Mulder's smile widened. Dana Scully, open for suggestions. It was a rarity and he was going to take advantage of it.
"Let's go out for dinner. I'm feeling weak from loss of blood."
"Sounds good to me," she replied. "Where to?"
Mulder glanced in the rear view mirror. The car was still behind them.
Dinner was over, and Mulder and Scully felt the day's events finally starting to wear them out. The day's events had been physically and emotionally draining, not to mention aggravating. Mulder collapsed face down on his bed as they entered the hotel room.
"No magic fingers," he said, sounding dejected.
Scully smiled. "Nice hotels don't have magic fingers," She replied sitting down on her own bed and slowly removing her high heeled shoes, trying not to think about how much her feet hurt.
"Do nice FBI agents have magic fingers?" Mulder asked, getting up and looking purposefully at Scully for a moment. Scully whipped her head around to look at him, eyes wide. She appeared as though she might slap him right then and there, but Mulder quickly turned away and went to the window. He parted the blinds slightly and gazed out at the street below.
"What is it, Mulder?" Scully asked, noting his expression of determination and concern. Mulder made a motion for Scully to come to the window. She did so, wincing as the her feet touched the floor. She had hoped she would not need to use them again that day.
"See that car?" Mulder asked as she approached.
Scully peered out between the crack in the blinds and noticed a black sedan parked across the street, not far from where the two agents had parked their rental car.
"What about it?" She asked.
"That car was behind us the entire way from Freedman's office. Every time I looked in the rearview mirror, it was there."
He expected Scully to dismiss his concerns, but to his surprise she did not. She looked at the car for a moment longer, studying it with her usual scrutiny.
"I see two people in it," she said. "What do you think is going on?"
"What do I think? I think there's more to Samuel than Dr. Freedman let on.," he paused. "No, scratch that. I think he's honest. I think there's more going on than Dr. Freedman *knows*."
Scully felt fear well up inside her. Of course, she had thought of this possibility. But she had never really let herself believe it would happen. Emily had been evidence of the government's wrongdoings, and so she had been protected. Samuel was evidence in the same sense as Emily. If he was being protected... who knew what lengths they would go to to keep Mulder and Scully from gaining access to Samuel. The boy was no doubt a partial link to some of the truths Mulder had sought. If not an alien hybrid like Mulder believed, still evidence of what the government had been doing to women like Scully. Incriminating evidence.
Neither of them had to voice their concerns. Each knew what the other was thinking. "Mulder, what.... what can we do?"
"Watch our backs, Scully. Very carefully."
Scully opened her sleep-weary eyes, squinting against the bright light of day as she did so. She had slept fitfully all night, worrying about one thing or another. It was amazing what the mind could create when one was half asleep, and how it could magnify small things into terrifying mountains of fear. And when your fears were terrifying when you were wide awake, worrying about them at night multiplied them tenfold. Scully had worried that the maternity test wouldn't match. She had worried that her adoption request would be rejected. But most of all, she had worried about that black car parked outside their hotel room, and the motives of the two people in it.
Waking up to see Mulder standing by the window, peering out of the blinds didn't ease her mind at all.
"Mulder..." Scully said, sitting up on her elbows.
"It's still there Scully," he replied. "They're watching us. I'm sure of it now."
"But what... have they done anything?"
"Nothing but sit there. One of them had binoculars for a while but I think he gave up. Mostly, I think they're just waiting for us to leave so they can follow us."
He saw the fear in her eyes once again. This was unusual and it scared him. Scully was always so collected and brave, but the moment she had realized the possibility that all was not well - that they were being watched, as usual - her demeanor had changed. She was truly frightened. And why not? She was in a vulnerable spot. Scully had hoped for this so much. She was so close to finally having what she really wanted, - and now the possibility had arisen that it might end in tragedy as it had with Emily. Scully could not bear that possibility and Mulder could see it clearly. For once, she was letting him see it.
"Don't worry Scully," he said, trying to sound reassuring. "They probably don't know we're onto them. We'll find a way around them. Go out the back door and catch a cab if we have to, or something."
Scully nodded, still unable to shake the horrible feeling that had befallen her. She glanced at the bedside table. It was past 11 AM. "Stupid jetlag," She mumbled out loud, although according to the time difference between DC and Vancouver, her body clock should have been set 3 hours later. In DC it was already 2 PM. Realistically, she should have woken up at 5:00 in the morning. Exhaustion then. That's what it was. Travel exhaustion.
"Why didn't you wake me up, Mulder?" Scully asked.
He shrugged. "You looked like you needed sleep."
Scully dragged herself out of bed and over to the window. She shuddered at the sight of the black car, still parked across the street, and the two men -or was it a man and a woman? - still watching them. They were dedicated, she would give them that much.
"Is it anybody we know?" She asked Mulder.
"I can't tell. Did you bring your binoculars?"
"As a matter of fact, I did," Scully replied. She left Mulder's side for a moment and returned with a small pair of binoculars in her hand. Cautiously, she positioned them so they would not be visible to the people in the car, and peered through them.
"I can't see - these binoculars aren't very powerful," she complained as she adjusted the focus. "wait, that's better." A face came into focus. A familiar face, and for a moment Scully did not believe what she was seeing. She adjusted the focus again. No, there was no mistaking it.
Scully stared in disbelief at the face she saw in the round viewscreen in front of her eyes. No, disbelief was the wrong word. She had suspected this all along. Mulder had told her many times of his distrust for this particular agent, and now here it was, laid out in front of them.
"Mulder," Scully said slowly "It's Spender."
"Oh Jesus," Mulder said, "that little bastard! I KNEW it! I knew he was up to no good! Can you see who the other person is?"
"Just a minute, I... Oh, shit."
"I think he saw me. They're driving away. Hang on. No, they're gone." Scully lowered the binoculars slowly. "I don't believe it," she said.
"Followed us from DC," Mulder said. "The little weasel!"
"Who do you think sent him?"
"I don't know. Maybe Kersh wanted to see where we went. But I'll bet you any money our chain smoking friend is behind this somewhere. I'd bet my life on it."
Scully let out a sigh, and set the binoculars down. Then without warning, she slumped to her knees on the floor and buried her face in her hands.
"Oh, Scully..." Mulder said, the anger in his voice leaving, replaced by compassion and sadness. "What's wrong?" But he didn't need to ask. He knew. The minute Samuel had walked into the room, he had known. They didn't need a DNA test to know that Samuel had been created from Scully. The boy was the spitting image of his mother, both in appearance and intelligence. And it seemed to Mulder that right from the start, Samuel had felt drawn to Scully, even so far as to say he would like to live with her. After all of that, Scully had to find out that it was not going to be that simple. They were being surveilled, and by Agent Spender, of all people. Why couldn't this just work out once? He wondered. Just once, why couldn't Scully have something good happen to her? Hadn't she been through enough?
Mulder knelt on the floor beside her and put his arms around her, pulling her close. To his surprise, she didn't pull away. Instead, she buried her face in his chest and let the tears flow freely. Mulder held her tightly and said nothing. Her small body shuddered as she cried, and Mulder felt his shirt start to grow wet from her tears. This was probably the first time she had cried this openly in years. There was no way he was going to try to stop her.
The phone, however, was not so understanding. It rang loudly, and Scully leaped to her feet. Could this be the phone call they had been waiting for since yesterday afternoon? Or was it something more sinister?
Scully was on the phone by the second ring. She calmed her emotions. Stifled her sobs.
"Hello?" she said, trying to sound casual. "Yes, all right. Thank you!" She hung up and grabbed some clothes from her open suitcase.
"The results are in," she told Mulder. "come on!" she disappeared into the bathroom and returned a moment later, looking slightly disheveled, but presentable. "Let's go!"
Mulder laughed. All bad thoughts forgotten for the moment, he grabbed his coat and followed her to the door, looking out the window once more just to make sure.
The black sedan containing Agent Spender and his companion was nowhere to be seen, but nonetheless, Mulder and Scully snuck out the back door of the hotel and hailed a cab to the hospital.
Scully's hands were shaking as she opened the package containing the test results. She had waited for the entire cab ride back to the hotel room to see them, and now that she was finally placing them on the table in front of her, she could barely see them through the shuddering of her hands. Mulder sat across the table, equally nervous, almost unable to wait.
Scully pulled the first piece of paper from the envelope.
"DNA Maternity Test" It read at the top. The names on it read as they were supposed to: "Dana Katherine Scully" and "Samuel Joseph Callan". Scully ignored all of the other type. The only thing that caught her eye was the words that indicated the result of the test.
"Result of Maternity Test of Dana K. Scully to Samuel J. Callan: Positive"
That was no surprise. She had known the moment she had seen Samuel. She smiled. The first step was over.
"Is it positive?" Mulder asked, leaning over for a better look.
"Yes," Scully said with a smile. "It's a match. I knew it was. I knew it the moment I saw him," Her face lit up like it always did when she offered one of her rare, full-toothed grins.
"Did mine match too?" Mulder asked with one of his sarcastic grins.
"Gee, Mulder, I'll have to check that out!" Scully said, still smiling in spite of all that had happened.
She pulled the next piece of paper from the package. "DNA Paternity Test" it read at the top of the paper. She read it out loud for emphasis while Mulder looked on, still grinning. "Fox William Mulder and Samuel Joseph Callan". Scully skimmed the test, barely noticing anything it said. It was only when her eyes picked the word "positive" out of the jumble of letters before her eyes. She stopped reading. What did that say? No, it had to be wrong. She went back to the beginning and read through the results slowly and carefully, word for word. "Oh My God," She whispered.
"What, Scully? What is it?" he asked. The smile was still on his face. He still thought she was joking.
"Mulder, you match," Scully told him.
"*What*?" Mulder asked? "You're kidding, right Scully?" he approached the table and snatched up the piece of paper, as Scully released it from her limp hand. His eyes skimmed the paper, skipping over all of the unnecessary details until he came to what he was looking for. He felt his knees grow weak, and grabbed the side of the table for support.
This was impossible. It had to be a mistake. But it was there in plain sight, the words leaping at him from the paper, bold faced and seeming to taunt him with their sinister simplicity. Simplicity that held the deepest and most shocking of revelations.
"Result of Paternity test of Fox W. Mulder to Samuel J. Callan: Positive".
"Wait a minute," Mulder said, catching the breath which had completely left him a moment before. "This can't be right. It has to be a mistake, Scully. It's impossible. How...." His words trailed off. Maybe it seemed impossible, but Mulder was already trying to think of how it *could* be possible.
Scully remained in her place at the table, shaking her head and staring at the small, prophetic document in her hand. She couldn't believe what was going on. In fact, she had already resigned herself to the fact that it was impossible. Samuel, Mulder's child? It couldn't be right. It just...couldn't.
"Mulder, we have to get them to re-do the test," she said finally, "It can't be anything other than a mistake."
Mulder took another deep breath. No matter how much air he took in, it didn't seem to be enough. His chest was tightening up. His nerves were shot. But she was right. She had to be. There was no way in the world that he could be the father of Samuel. Was there?
But what if...?
"Scully, what if it's not a mistake?"
There I go again, Mulder thought. Always the believer.
The famous Scully-eyebrow perked up. The famous Scully-skepticism kicked in right away.
"Mulder, what are you saying? How is that possible?"
Anything was possible, even Scully would agree to that. And this time, there was probably a perfectly scientific explanation for it.
"Scully, you're not the only one who's had unexplained experiences."
Definitely not. Mulder remembered several. Although he had never been abducted like Scully, there had been many, many opportunities for something like this to happen.
"Mulder, you were never abducted like I was. Do you think someone came over to your house one night and harvested your sperm? And even if that did happen, do you think it's just some kind of crazy coincidence that your sperm was used to fertilize my ova?"
Mulder felt a sick joke coming on. And the situation was far to serious for his liking. Time to throw a little Mulder-humor in there to release the tension. "Scully, you know I love it when you talk dirty to me," he said, waiting for the coming eternal damnation from Scully. She would either laugh or she would kill him. He braced himself.
"Dammit Mulder!" Scully yelled. Strike one. " This is serious!"
"All right, all right, I'm sorry," Mulder said. And then he was silent for a moment, thinking, though he didn't need to. Every possible moment in his life came back to him in floods of memories.
"When I was in Puerto Rico, Scully... do you remember that?" There had been strange transmissions. Bright lights. A figure in the doorway. A presence he could not explain. Who was to say something strange hadn't happened? Missing time? Even an abduction? There had been no traces, but he had not really bothered to check.
"How could I forget? " Scully replied. "You nearly got yourself killed and I had to come save your butt."
Mulder smiled. "But I saw something there that I couldn't explain, Scully. You remember. I told you! The blinding light, the figure in the doorway. The man who went outside and just... died, and I couldn't explain why. I don't remember anything happening, but for all I know... Don't you see, Scully?"
To his surprise, Scully said nothing this time. No contradicting remark came from her mouth. She remained thoughtful, looking at him as though she was really listening and perhaps considering his argument.
"And what about that time I was in the Arctic?" Mulder added, hoping he still had her attention.
"Another one of your mad excursions in the middle of nowhere, when I had to save your ass," Scully replied, a hint of a smile appearing.
"Something could have happened either of those times," Mulder went on. " It even could have happened when I was imprisoned in Tunguska. You never know, Scully. I don't think we should write it off. The possibilities are there."
Scully tapped her fingers on the table top as she contemplated Mulder's words. He was right. There was a possibility. A faint possibility, but a possibility nonetheless. But if Samuel belonged to her AND Mulder... what were the implications of that?
Even if they *had* managed to somehow fertilize her own ova with Mulder's sperm, what were the chances that this would happen? Had it been a coincidence? Or had it been intentional? And if it was intentional, one question remained: why?
"I think the first thing we should do is get the test re-done," Scully said, continuing with her tapping. "They don't make mistakes very often, but I imagine they have on occasion."
Mulder walked over to the window, the paternity test still in his hand, and peered between the blinds. No black sedan. They had scared the little weasel and his accomplice off, though there was no telling when they would come back.
"The car is still gone, Scully. I think it's safe. Let's go while we still can."
The ride to the hospital had been uneventful. Nobody had followed them, nobody had protested when they asked to have the test re-done. Now they would have to wait until that evening, or the next day, for the definitive results.
In the meantime, they were back in the car again, and on their way to see Dr. Freedman. Mulder's paternity test was of no consequence right now. Right now, all Scully wanted to do was file for custody of Samuel. If it was ever going to happen, she wanted to get it done so she could get on with her life.
But as they drove down the crowded Vancouver streets, the reality of the situation suddenly hit Scully full in the face. Samuel was her child. That was certain. But if Mulder was Samuel's father, what were they going to do? How would they work their lives around it?
They couldn't pretend Mulder wasn't the boy's father. That would be wrong. Unfair to Mulder and to the boy, who would probably like to know that his biological father was around if Scully did endup getting custody of him. So how would they arrange it?
Have Mulder come for visits on weekend like divorced couples often did? Scully had a feeling that would remind Mulder too much of his childhood. There was no time to avoid it. They needed to talk about it.
"Mulder," Scully said.
"I know, Scully," He replied, almost to quickly as if he had been waiting to jump on the opportunity to speak. "I've been thinking about it ever since we left the hotel. I'm not in denial. I just don't know what to do."
"I don't either. I can't imagine how we're going to work our lives around it if he belongs to both of us."
Mulder, ever resourceful, had an answer, albiet a non-confrontational one. "Let's just think about it some more, Scully. The answer will come to us."
"Dr. Scully," Dr. Freedman said warmly as she and Mulder were hustled into his office, by Cathy, for the second time in as many days. Scully held in her hands the results of their tests, and she handed them to Dr. Freedman with a somewhat forced smile. She was happy, but mixed in with the happiness was confusion.
"It was positive?" Dr. Freedman asked.
Scully nodded, remaining on her feet as Mulder sat down.
Dr. Freedman picked up the test results and began leafing through them. His expression didn't change as he observed the tests.
Perhaps one look at Scully and Samuel together had convinced him of their biological connection.
"I admit I was skeptical, Dr. Scully," he said finally, peering over his glasses at Scully. "But I had a look at your medical records and everything seems to check out. I believe the only step left is to finalize the adoption," the doctor smiled "Although it's hardly an adoption if he's your child, is it? What you're really doing now is filing for custody."
Dr. Freedman stopped talking as he came to Mulder's test result. He studied it for a moment.
"It says here that your partner tested positive as well. In light of what happened to you, and the fact that you've never given birth to a child, how is this possible?"
Great. How do we explain this one without having him thin we're crazy? Scully was at a loss for words.
It was probably best to simply tell the truth.
"I can't even begin to explain that to you, Doctor," She replied. "We're having his test re-done for that very reason."
The Doctor smiled.
"Well, I have to say, Dr. Scully, since DNA testing has been available, I have never seen a test come out inaccurate. There isn't much room for error. Your medical records have made me aware of some very strange, unethical goings-on. I won't question that now. All I need to know is if Mr. Mulder will be filing for the custody as well."
Dear lord, why didn't we think of this? Scully wondered. Why didn't we talk about this sooner? I don't now, Dr. Freedman. I have no idea what we're going to do. We're not really lovers, we're just platonic friends who have suddenly discovered we have a child together and we have no idea in hell what to do.
Unfortunately, Scully realized to late that she had left enough of a gap between words for Mulder to speak.
"I guess I have no choice," Mulder said. "If he's my son."
*What* did he say?
Scully was about to protest, but something stayed her. Well, that was right, wasn't it? It was ridiculous to think Mulder would refuse to recognize himself as the father of his own son. She chose not to protest. As the boy's parents, it was their duty to file for custody. They would work out the details later on.
"Good," Said Dr. Freedman "now Dr. Scully, if you'll sit down, we'll go through the proceedings."
"What are we going to do, Mulder?" Scully wondered out loud as they walked along the street-lit sidewalk back to their rental car.
The routine application for custody of Samuel had gone well. Dr. Freedman had seen no problems, but both Mulder and Scully felt as though they had just revealed their entire lives to a complete stranger. The subject of their dangerous jobs had come up. Scully had assured him she would transfer to the FBI Academy, and Mulder had assured him that his job was no longer dangerous. Not the assignments Kersh was giving him lately.
I investigate piles of manure. You call that dangerous?
Mulder had almost laughed. All in all, they both felt it had gone well. And in the end, Dr Freedman had told them to expect several days wait before they were contacted. Now came the true test. The wait. Scully was almost certain the anticipation would drive her insane.
"Mulder, What... Are we going to do?" Scully repeated when she realized Mulder wasn't listening.
"Look for black sedans, first of all," Mulder replied, scanning the area as they walked. He scanned the street for suspicious vehicles, but the only car within his field of view was the rental car they had come in.
Had being spotted scared Spender enough to send him running? Running back to whoever was giving him his assignments?
Who *was* giving him these assignments?
Mulder was certain that it wasn't Skinner.
Skinner was a good man, with a strong sense of justice despite the moral misgivings of some of the people for whom he worked. He also respected the two of them and their work deeply.
No, if Spender was doing something underhanded, it wasn't Skinner who was to blame.
"I'm sorry Scully," Mulder said when they finally got into the car. . "I just wanted to make sure it was safe."
He turned the key in the ignition. The engine roared to life.
"I know Mulder," Scully replied. "But seriously, what ARE we going to do?"
"I'll tell you what, Scully," Mulder said, pulling out of the parking spot.
"Let me drive. Let's go find a nice park to sit in where we can talk about this quietly, all right?"
As they drove away through the darkening city streets, Scully pondered the day's events.
Something was wrong, she thought. For a man faced with such a strange and unusual circumstance of adoption - Namely, a woman who has never given birth being the biological mother of a child with a man she had never had sex with - Dr. Freedman had been strangely agreeable, unquestioning, and helpful.
Of course, Scully's unusual circumstances were backed up by her medical records. But that didn't matter.
Mulder had said he thought Freedman was innocent. But this time, Mulder might have been wrong.
It had been far too easy.
A bench, overlooking the water. As they had strolled through the park along a sprawling seawall, Mulder had been struck by the beauty of Vancouver's harbor, and the magical twinkling of the city lights across the bay.
Somehow, this brought back fond memories for Mulder, though he had never sat on this particular park bench before. But it seemed that he and Scully were always meeting and talking about life on park benches. It was fitting, now, that they should discuss the outcome of their very future on a park bench.
Mulder sat down, focusing on the city lights reflecting in the water in front of him, trying to calm his nerves. He took several shaky breaths which only served to make him more nervous, for what he was about to discuss with Scully was no light matter.
"First of all, Scully," He said "Don't think you're the only one who's thinking about this. It's been on my mind constantly. I just know that that test wasn't wrong. I can feel it in my gut."
Scully had not sat down yet. She stood hovering over Mulder, pacing nervously. She had apparently not noticed the beauty of the scene in front of him. Or if she had, it did nothing to help her relax.
"Do you realize what we're getting into?" She asked, "With us both filing for custody of him? How are we going to work that out?"
Mulder had had plenty of time to think about this, and he had thought about it extensively. Now, if only his plan would go over without a hitch. :"Sit down for a minute, Scully. I have an idea."
Scully regarded Mulder for a moment. What could he be up to? He had a strange look on his face, like a child about to admit to his mother that it was him - and not the cat- who broke the family heirloom. Whatever he was up to, it had to be good. She sat down.
"I've been thinking about this for a long time," Mulder began "Before any of this happened, actually."
Here goes, Mulder thought. Here's where I admit something to her that I've been afraid to admit to myself. He reached over and took her hand in his just for good measure.
Mulder loved the feel of her soft, fair skin against his.
He loved it almost too much. He took a deep breath and continued.
"Scully, remember what we talked about yesterday? About what you were going to do with your life, and how I was worried I wouldn't see you again?" Scully nodded. This was shaping up to be interesting. The anticipation was almost unbearable now. What was he going to say?
"Well, I don't want that to happen, Scully," Mulder continued. "I can't bear the thought of being without you. You've already been taken away from me in a sense, by Kersh, by the FBI. And I know how much you want to have Samuel, and raise him, and work at Quantico, but Scully...I..."
Why was this coming out all wrong? Dammit, he knew in his mind exactly what he wanted to say. Why couldn't he say it out loud? Was there a short in the connection between his brain and his mouth? He believed there was. It reappeared now and then, usually when he wanted to say something important to Scully. He winced, thinking of all the times he had wanted to say this very thing to her and it had come out in the form of an innuendo or a sick joke. He remembered sitting in the Florida woods surrounded by trees, darkness, and Moth Men. Injured and in shock, he was overcome by Scully's kindness and willingness to take care of him, and all he had thought of to say was some wisecrack about keeping warm by getting naked in a sleeping bag.
Well, this time he wasn't going to blow it. He continued, trying to calm the butterflies in his stomach as he did so.
"I don't want to be without you Scully. Ever again. I want you to go off and be happy and raise Samuel, but I want to be a part of it too. And if he's my son, that gives me the chance to be part of it."
Please let me be part of it Scully, Mulder pleaded in his mind. Please don't turn me down. Don't break my heart.
"Mulder, what exactly are you..." She knew what he had said. She just wasn't sure she'd heard right. Don' leave any room for misinterpretations, Dana.
"Scully, I'm trying to tell you how much I love you, all right?" Mulder said, sounding increasingly exasperated. "There. I said it and it wasn't romantic at all, was it? It was pretty fucking awkward if you ask me. And I want to be a part of your life, and raise Samuel WITH you, dammit! I want you and I to raise OUR son, together. Now, go ahead and tell me you don't feel the same way."
Scully was completely taken aback. Not only by Mulder's words, but by his pleading tone of voice.
But most of all, she simply could not believe what he had said. Had Fox Mulder, in his roundabout, emotionally awkward way, just told her he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her? Had he just told her he loved her? It seemed so. But was it the truth, or just the emotion and intensity of the situation that was talking? One never knew with Mulder. Although sometimes emotional intensity brought the truth out of people who would usually never admit things like this otherwise. Perhaps his judgment wasn't as clouded as she suspected.
"Mulder, do you mean that? " She asked.
It wouldn't hurt to make sure. "Or are you just so emotionally wiped out right now that you're not thinking straight?"
Mulder shook his head. "Scully, I'm thinking as clearly as you're ever gonna get me right now. Most of the time I'm in denial of this. Right now I'm not. Please don't... don't turn me down."
His eyes met hers, and suddenly Scully realized why Samuel's eyes had reminded her so much of Mulder. Upon noticing it, she came to wonder how she had ever missed it. Here was the explanation right in front of her. That test wasn't wrong. There was no way in hell that test was wrong. The eyes on that little boy were they eyes of Fox William Mulder. She would have defied anyone to suggest otherwise.
Scully opened her mouth to reply, perhaps to tell Mulder exactly what he wanted to hear. But she didn't have a chance.
There was a brief moment of silence, of awkwardness. And then she felt Mulder's arms enfolded her, pulling her to him tightly. The sensation was wonderful. There was so much tenderness, and so much caring in the gesture alone that one almost could have gone on the hug alone. The words were unnecessary.
Still, Mulder chose to explain himself.
"Scully, I meant every word I said to you in the hallway that time, you know," He said, his words muffled as he buried his face in her hair. Her hair smelled wonderful. A mixture of her shampoo, her perfume, all the wonderful smells that made her Scully.
"I know, Mulder. I'm sorry I haven't been more willing to talk about it."
"You, nothing. Its been me that's been avoiding it. And when I almost kissed you, Scully - I meant that too."
Please, Scully. Please, please, please don't break my heart.
Dammit, why wasn't she saying anything?
"Am I making a fool of myself or what, Scully?"
Scully wiggled her small arms out of his grasp and wrapped them around his waist, pulling them closer together. That action alone was enough to satisfy everything Mulder had asked that night. But in the end, it was nice to hear the words. And coming from Scully, these words meant a lot. Scully would never say them if she didn't mean them. Far be it from Scully to risk getting close to someone she didn't really, really care about.
"No Mulder" She said, her voice almost a whisper. " Not at all. I guess I've never really thought about it, but I can't imagine myself with anyone but you. The thought of being with anyone else never crossed my mind."
Mulder felt a warmth, a happiness, spread throughout his body. Had he ever felt this content, this wonderful? He doubted it. Scully, you have just made me the happiest man on earth. And making me happy is hard to do.
He tried to hug her tighter but it wasn't possible. There was no way they could get closer together at this particular moment in time.
Not long ago he might have felt this was wrong, but now, what did they have to lose? They would never work together again, Scully would be transferred back to Quantico. Their work lives together had been taken away from them.
Who or What in the world was to keep them from being together in their personal lives, and being happy?
Nothing at all.
Mulder suddenly had a vision of a sinister looking man in a black suit, cigarette smoke swirling around his head like a satanic halo.
He pushed the image out of his mind. That bastard wasn't going to ruin this moment for him. He might attempt to ruin everything else, but not this moment. This moment belonged to he and Scully alone.
"Scully," he said.
"Did I ever tell you how much I hate bees?"
"What does it say?" Mulder asked as once again, Scully sat in their hotel room perusing a paternity test document. They had stopped at the hospital on the way back from the park. The test had been finished, and the result did not surprise Scully in the least. Not after her revelation with Mulder's eyes earlier that evening.
"No error," Scully told him. "The test is right Mulder," she sat down on the bed, the piece of paper still in her hand. She continued to stare at it, perhaps hoping that if she did so enough, the result would change. Wouldn't life be easier if it did?
Mulder sat down beside her, but didn't look at her. It was an awkward feeling, though Mulder had expected it would be. Real life wasn't a bowl of cherries. Beginning new relationships was awkward, no matter what the movies and television tried to tell you.
Especially when the person you were beginning the relationship with was your best friend, and you had just discovered you had a kid together.
"Now all we have to do is wait," Mulder said. And that was the part he was looking forward to the least.
Scully said nothing. She stared blankly at the piece of paper, still trying to will it into saying something else.
Just accept it Scully, Mulder said to himself. You can't change it. I know it will be hard, but just accept it. Please.
A horrible thought came over Mulder. What if she had been just humoring him back at the park? What if he had spilled his heart out to her and she had felt so bad that she hadn't told him the truth?
Would Scully do that?
Well, there were ways of finding out.
"Scully, I hope I didn't scare you back there at the park," Mulder said. It was beating around the bush, but surely it would lead him to the answer sooner or later.
To his surprise, Scully came back down to earth. She looked up from the paper and actually smiled at him.
"No, Mulder!" she said, putting a reassuring hand on his knee. "No. Everything you said.... I'm sorry. I'm no good at emotions. I never have been. I feel the same way you do Mulder. I'm glad you had the guts to bring it up because I never would have."
Amazing, Mulder thought. 5 years of working with her had given him a pretty good understanding of when Scully was lying about her feelings.
She didn't lie to him often. In fact, Scully had never lied to him about anything - except when it came to her feelings.
She wasn't lying this time.
"Do you think we can do this?" he asked, wondering why he now needed to ask this. Hadn't he just been silently berating Scully for worrying about the same thing? Oh well. The human mind was not something that worked on rationalism or logic.
"Do... what?" Scully asked, though she knew very well what he meant.
"Raise a child together, " Mulder said. "Do you think we can make a go of it?"
It took Scully a moment to find a reply, but there was one lurking somewhere in her mind. When she spoke, her words were calm and sincere.
"You're my best friend Mulder. I wouldn't want to make a go of it with anyone but you." "Do you love me, Scully?" Mulder asked. She had admitted she felt the same way, but she had not, at this point, actually said "I love you" to him. What was it about needing to hear those specific words before you could actually believe it?
She turned her head to him and raised an eyebrow again. Damn that eyebrow! It made him nervous. It usually meant that she was regarding him, or something else, with a certain amount of scrutiny. Mulder didn't like scrutiny. He didn't like being analyzed.
"Do you love ME, Mulder?" She asked.
Ouch. That hurt, Scully. Send it right back at me.
"Scully, I believe I already told you that."
"Mulder... I... I'm so bad at this. I 've already admitted to myself that I don't let people get close to me, because I don't want to lose them. But that doesn't make it any easier for me. It's so hard to do this. I'm afraid I'll lose you, too."
"I'm not going anywhere Scully. Not without you," He took her hand in his again. "Just promise me you won't leave me in the dust because you're afraid to follow."
"You won't leave ME in the dust, will you Mulder?" Scully asked. "You have before."
"Because I was afraid," Mulder admitted. "That if I didn't do something callous and ignorant, you'd figure out I was in love with you and break my heart." He smiled. "Interesting the way the mind works, isn't it? And I'm a psychologist. I, of all people, should've figured out what was going on."
Scully smiled at him, but her eyes still held a certain amount of hesitance and fear.
"Mulder, give me time. Give me time to open up. I can't do it all at once just like this."
All at once?
"You've known me for over 5 years, Scully."
"Jesus, Mulder, you know what I mean. I've known you for five years as a co-worker and a friend, but nothing else. Just give me time."
Mulder sighed. Well, there would be plenty of time. All that mattered now was that he had not made a complete ass of himself, as far as he knew. At least Scully returned his feelings to some degree. Right now, that was all that mattered. He could live with that.
He could live with most of that. But there was something else he had to take care of before he could be content.
"Scully?" He asked purposefully.
She didn't reply, but gave him a "what now?" look.
It won't be easy, he thought when he saw that look. We're going to drive each other nuts.
But at this point in time, who cared about that?
Mulder leaned closer to her, allowing his lips to softly brush the skin of her cheek. She didn't protest, so he kissed her again, this time a little bit closer to her lips. It took him several tries, but he finally managed to get up the courage to reach her lips. When he did so, he was met with far more approval than he had ever expected.
He had dreamed about kissing her for so long. Even long before that night in his hallway. when the stupid bee had appeared and ruined the best moment of his life. He thought back to the first time he had wanted to kiss Scully.
Perhaps it was on their first case together, when she had burst into his hotel room scared to death of what had turned out to be two mosquito bites on her back. That could have been it. But Mulder suspected it was sometime after that. He recalled a stakeout in his car, and a conversation about iced tea, love, and rootbeer. That was over 4 years ago. Why had it taken so long to finally get up the courage to do this?
Because they were human. They were imperfect, and both extremists in their beliefs.
Both neurotic, he thought, trying not to laugh as he explored Scully's mouth with his.
But now they were two FBI agents in different fields of work. Co-workers and partners no longer, there was room in their lives for something more. If they were going to be kept from being together as friends, they would have to take it one step farther.
Now be a gentleman, Mulder, reminded himself, feeling his hormones start to get out of control. Don't get overly excited and freak her out more than you already have.
He pulled back. Scully did not protest, but when he looked her in the eye she smiled. Her face was flushed, her hair a little bit tousled. She looked beautiful and more human than he had ever seen her in his life. It made him want to kiss her again. It made him want to do more than kiss her.
Slow down, Fox, he told himself. Don't rush it.
He cleared his throat nervously and smiled.
"It's late," Scully said, obviously feeling as awkward as he did about the situation.
"It is," Mulder replied. And what else was there to say?
Scully got up without another word and disappeared into the bathroom. Mulder watched her go, sighing with regret. Forging an intimate relationship with Scully was not going to be easy. He could see it being pretty damn frustrating.
But you're no prize either, Mulder reminded himself.
Bedtime, he added.
Getting ready for bed was a quick job. One, two, pants & shirt on the dresser, sleep in your boxers and undershirt. He crawled into bed, shivering against the cold and starchy hotel sheets, wondering what the hell they were made of.
Scully emerged from the bathroom dressed in the blue pajamas he had gotten so used to seeing over the past few days. Just something else to add to the list of things that defined Scully. The eyebrow, the yogurt with bee pollen she ate every day, the gold cross she wore around her neck, and now her blue pajamas. He liked knowing these things about her . It made him feel closer to her.
He watched as Scully made her way to her bed slowly. As she lifted the corner of the blankets and began to crawl under, she hesitated, glancing up at Mulder for a moment. They exchanged another nervous smile and Scully looked away again.
She wouldn't get away with it this time.
"Scully," Mulder said, determination in his voice.
"What?" she replied, looking up at him nonchalantly.
"You're not going to sleep there, are you?" There, I said it. Now she can slap me or yell at me... or agree with me. Is that possible?
Scully's eyes widened. She took on the expression of a deer caught in headlights.
Clear it up quick, Mulder told himself.
"No, no, Scully, I don't mean.... what you think I mean. I just... want to be close to you. Is that OK?"
Scully relaxed. Without a word, she got out of her own bed and made her way over to Mulder's.
It was the strangest feeling in the world, crawling into bed with Mulder. Scully had seen him at his worst. She had helped him when he was sick, bailed him out of trouble, saved his life numerous times, and even shot him. Still this one took the cake.
Yet it didn't feel wrong. It was unusual, but the feeling of crawling into a cold bed next to Mulder's warm body was comforting.
Comforting and arousing, let's not deny it, Dana.
She relaxed into bed and snuggled against hi, feeling safer and more comforted than she had ever allowed herself to feel. Mulder put his arms around her and pulled her to him, kissing the top of her head.
You are an amazing person, Mulder, Scully thought. Most guys would take total advantage of a situation like this. But you won't Mulder, I know you won't. You're the most caring, trustworthy person I know.
Sleep came easily for both of them. Easier than it had in many, many years.
Mulder awoke to find the sun pouring through the cracks in the blinds in hazy little slivers. The room was dim despite the sunlight. The clock read 9 AM, and Scully was still sleeping beside him.
There's no way I'm getting out of bed now, Mulder thought. I'll stay here forever.
He rolled over and pulled Scully's small form to him again, hooking their bodies together like two spoons in a drawer. Damn the telephone, Mulder thought when it rang just as he was sinking back into a blissful sleep.
Scully didn't hear the phone. Or perhaps she ignored it.
Good, let her sleep. She needs it.
Mulder jumped out of bed and grabbed the phone.
A moment later, he was shaking Scully's shoulder frantically.
"Scully, wake up!!"
"Huh... wha....?" Scully Mumbled, lingering in the hazy world between sleep and consciousness.
Mulder's words made her day. Her week? No, her life.
"Scully, we got custody of Samuel."
Scully once again felt a swarm of butterflies take up residence in her stomach.
She was getting very familiar with the route from their hotel to Dr. Freedman's office, but for some reason this time it seemed to be taking forever. What was it about anticipation that made things seem to take forever?
Mulder drove in silence beside her. He didn't appear nervous outwardly, but Scully could see it in the way he gripped the steering wheel until his knuckles were almost white. She was sure that when they returned the rental car, Mudler's fingerprints would be permanently embossed in the steering wheel.
They were both nervous wrecks.
And why not? Their lives were about to change forever. Samuel would be waiting at Dr. Freedman's office with his foster parents - belongings packed, and ready to go with Mulder and Scully back to DC.
But something was wrong. Scully remembered her ordeal with Emily. The little girl had not only been deathly ill, but she had also been the subject of a sinister agenda. Samuel was part of that agenda too, but Dr. Freedman had indicated that the boy suffered no illnesses of any kind. He was not subject to any tests or strange treatments. Not as far as they had been told. Was it possible that Samuel was the next step up? A more genetically perfect creation, with fewer flaws than his predecessors? It was possible. But that still did not explain the relative ease they had experienced in getting custody. Surely the people responsible for Samuel would not let her - and least of all Mulder - get near the boy. He was evidence, after all. Oh, they had been surveilled and followed and watched, but no direct action had been taken to prevent the adoption.
And Dr. Freedman had asked far too few questions.
Yes, it had been too easy. That had been established already.
Scully did not voice her concerns to Mulder. Mulder, she supposed, would already have thought of it.
Or perhaps it was because she didn't want to face it.
Still, the ride to the Child Services center went without a hitch. And when Scully walked into Dr. Freedman's office to see Samuel sitting there across from the doctor's desk, she was filled with a happiness she could never have imagined.
It was nice to feel happiness. She wondered how long it would last before it was taken from her.
The little boy sat calmly in a chair that was too big for him, playing with an action figure of some kind. His foster parents were not there, and Scully imagined they had said their good-byes already.
The boy looked strangely calm for a child who was about to be uprooted from his familiar existence by people he barely knew. But that was the odd thing she had noticed about him. He appeared to be entirely accepting of the change, something Scully had never seen in such a small child before.
But he wasn't a normal child, now was he?
"Samuel?" Scully said softly, kneeling down to his level.
The little boy looked up from his activities and a huge smile blossomed on his small face.
"Hi Dana," he said, putting down his action figure. He climbed out of the ridiculously big chair and wrapped his tiny arms around Scully's waist. A hug. Scully couldn't believe it.
"Thanks for coming to get me, Mom," Samuel whispered. "I knew you were out there somewhere."
Scully looked around to see if anyone had heard, but it appeared Samuel's words were meant only for her. She glanced over at Mulder to see that he was smiling brightly.
He called me "mom!"
"I always wanted real parents," Samuel added, smiling over at Mulder.
"We think he's taking this remarkably well," Dr. Freedman, silent until now, piped in. "I've never seen such rapid acceptance of an adoption, but Samuel is an exceptional child."
"He certainly is," Mulder said, marveling at the boy's intelligence, calmness, and most of all his similarity to Scully. If only things would work out better for him than they had for poor little Emily.
It was barely noon when they left Dr. Freedman's office for the last time. Scully took in a deep breath of the fresh air. It was city air, but for some reason it seemed fresh today. Happiness surrounded her like a ray of sunshine. Even Mulder could see that his usual somber partner was walking on air today. In one hand, she held Samuel's suitcase. With the other, she guided the little boy across the street to their rental car.
If this is what it's going to be like, Mulder thought, then I'm happy. Unfortunately, someone didn't want it to be like this. And they were sitting right across the street in a black car.
"Scully," Mulder said in a warning tone. He hated to break her serene moment, but at this point he had no choice.
He tilted his head suggestively towards the black car, hoping the boy - and the people in the car - wouldn't see it.
Scully caught Mulder's hint, and hustled Samuel into the car. She looked up again just in time to see a figure in a black trenchcoat leave the vehicle and enter the building.
It was not Spender this time. In fact, neither Scully not Mulder could tell who it was.
"Not good," Mulder said. "Take care of Samuel. I'll be right back."
"But Mulder you..." ... have no weapon, she meant to add, but it was too late. Mulder was already across the street, following the sinister figure who had emerged from the black car. Scully glanced at the car again, noticing that the driver still sat behind the wheel. She couldn't tell who it was from here, but it didn't look like Spender this time.
Mulder entered Freedman Child Services for what seemed like the twentieth time in less than a week.
Cathy still sat behind her desk. The figure in the trenchcoat was nowhere to be seen. Another bad sign.
"Did someone..." Mulder started to ask.
Before he could finish, the figure appeared again. Black coat, black hat, collar pulled up so the face wasn't visible. And it was coming from the direction of Dr. Freedman's office.
"Wait!" Mulder called as the figure exited the building. At his word, it broke into a run.
Mulder followed in hot pursuit, but the figure's head start was his undoing. He got out the door just in time to see the black sedan pull away and down the street.
He looked over at Scully. She waved at him, indicating that everything was fine.
Mulder gave her the "I'll be a minute" signal and went back inside.
Cathy still sat behind her desk, sorting through papers. It appeared as though she had missed the whole thing.
"Did you talk to that person who just left?" Mulder asked her.
Cathy looked up from her paperwork.
"No, I didn't. I didn't even see them come in. Who was it?"
No time to answer. Mulder took off down the hallway to Dr. Freedman's office.
He was too late.
Mulder had hoped beyond hope to open the door and See Dr. Freedman sitting there staring at him, wondering what the hell Mulder was doing rushing into his office like this. Instead, Dr. Freedman, lay slumped over his desk, blood pooling on the fine wood, and covering the wall behind him.
From the looks of it, he had been shot in the head at point blank range. By that person who had just ran out of the building.
And it wasn't anyone he recognized this time.
This was not looking good at all.
"Cathy," Mulder said when he re-emerged in the reception area. He tried to sound calm and collected, so as not to alarm her.
It didn't matter. His words were going to alarm her no matter what.
"Call the police. Dr. Freedman's been shot."
Dr. Freedman had been shot.
Mulder still couldn't believe it. And even as he drove his own car home to his own apartment in his own hometown, he still did not feel safe. Of course, neither he nor Scully had been implicated in the shooting. Cathy had spoken to Dr. Freedman after they had left the first time, and Cathy had clarified this. The police had come. There had been a routine investigation.
No fingerprints had turned up. The Murder weapon had been unregistered. No motive had been found. Mulder supposed they might have turned up more evidence of a motive, had a bunch of Dr. Freedman's' files and papers not been stolen.
A motive. Mulder had plenty of ideas.
One in particular loomed in his mind over all the others.
Their adoption of Samuel had been far too easy. Why, Dr. Freedman hadn't even questioned the strange circumstances under which Mulder and Scully had turned out to be Samuel's parents.
Dr. Freedman knew more than he had let on about Samuel and who he was. That had to be the answer.
Perhaps he was even a part of the agenda, like that bastard who had been treating Emily. Perhaps he had sought to allow Scully to have Samuel despite his orders. Was that possible? It seemed the only likely explanation. But if Scully's having Samuel was the problem, why hadn't they bothered with them at the office? They were right there, in plain sight, yet they had struck at Dr. Freedman and left their main target alone.
A warning? Or were they working in a specific order?
Eliminate Dr. Freedman. Then eliminate the other interfering parties. Then recover the evidence. Or in this case, the child.
All in due time.
Fox Mulder did a U-turn in the middle of the street and headed back towards Scully's house.
Scully felt a wave of relief wash over her as she unlocked the front door to her apartment. The flight home had been uneventful, save for the fact that she and Mulder had brought back their son on the plane with them.
That term still sounded so odd. Their son.
Mulder's and my Son.
It boggled the mind.
Samuel had been happy to be going with them. He had talked for most of the trip home, telling them about himself and how much he hated living with his foster parents. They had mentioned Dr. Freedman's death to him briefly, but had kept the cause form him. They didn't want to disturb his world any more than necessary right now.
But considering the boy's intelligence and level of observance, it was possible he knew more than they did.
Samuel had asked them many questions.
He has asked why he'd never met him if they were his parents, how they had found him, and so on, and so on. Mulder and Scully had found themselves exhausted by the time the flight had landed, but that was what it was all about.
Their lives would never be the same again.
I miss Mulder already, Scully realized as she opened the door and allowed Samuel to enter. He had simply gone home to check on his apartment, but after almost a week of being with him, and two nights of sharing a bed with him, she suddenly felt lonely again. She found it unusual, but then WAS it so unusual? Perhaps she had just been so lonely before that she had gotten used to it. Now that she knew what it was like to not be lonely, the feeling was magnified tenfold.
But she wasn't alone. Samuel was here, and Scully had never been happier in her life.
Perhaps what she was more than anything was worried. Mulder was by himself. She and Samuel were alone. Together, she and Mulder could protect each other from anything. Separate, they didn't fare as well.
She was almost certain that Dr. Freedman had allowed Samuel's adoption against someone's will, and that he had been killed not only as an evil necessity but as a warning.
The words appeared in her mind without precedent.
Where did *that* come from?
Scully felt herself shudder.
"Am I going to live here forever now?" Samuel asked, his pleasant young voice breaking her morbid thoughts.
Scully smiled, setting down the suitcases that belonged to her and Samuel. She locked the door again, wishing she had more deadbolts and then laughing as she thought of Byers, Langly and Frohike.
"At least until you grow up, Samuel," she replied with a smile.
"Good. I'm tired of changing houses all the time. I'm glad you came to find me, Dana."
Samuel had called her 'mom' only once. Since then he had insisted on calling her Dana, perhaps because she had introduced herself as Dana. Not being used to calling adults by anything but their first names, Samuel was finding it difficult to remember to call anyone "mom".
"You can all me "mom", Samuel," Scully said with a smile.
"OK Mom," The boy replied with an impish grin.
"And I'm supposed to call Fox 'dad" too, aren't I?"
Scully marveled at the mature and articulate vocabulary this 4-year-old had. "Yes, he hates his name so I'm sure he'd prefer 'dad' to 'Fox'".
"Will you call me Sam then, instead of Samuel? I like it better."
Sam. Scully had never thought about it before, but she couldn't help but smile when it occurred to her. Sam, Samuel. Sam, Samantha. Mulder would like that one. Mulder would probably find more meaning in it than there actually was. She smiled to herself.
"Where will I sleep?" Samuel asked.
Ah yes, the boy's room. Well, it would be time to excavate the spare bedroom, wouldn't it?
"Your dad is coming over again later," Scully told him.
That felt so weird.
"Your Dad." Mulder. Her child. Mulder's child. She still couldn't grasp it. She shook her head, trying to clear away the confusion. "He's going to help me clean out my spare room for you."
He would, if it was even safe for them to stay here. Scully had a very strong feeling, judging from past experience, that her home would not be the safe haven she hoped it would be.
"I'm so glad you came to get me, mom," Samuel said, smiling. . "I was tired of being visited by strange people all the time."
Wait, what was this? Strange people visiting him? This called for further investigation.
"What sort of strange people, sweetie?" Scully asked. "The men who came to visit every couple of weeks."
Strange men? visitors? This sounded disturbingly familiar.
Scully knelt down and looked Samuel in the eye.
"What did these men do?" she asked.
Samuel shrugged. "They talked to my foster parents. They never told me what about but I know it was about me. I listened at the door sometimes. I heard my name. "
Scully thought for a moment, saying nothing.
"That's what that black car was doing when we left Dr. Freedmans' office wasn't it? Those were the same men who came to visit all the time. "
"Samuel, did these men ever talk to you?"
He shook his head. "But I know Dr. Freedman knew them. I saw them at his office once."
Things were falling into place. There was confirmation now, that something strange had been going on. Dr. Freedman had known, but had allowed Samuel's adoption anyway. Scully now had no doubt in her mind that this was the reason the man was dead.
Why can't my life just work out normally for once?
She looked at her watch. it was 5 PM, and Mulder had promised to come over for dinner and to help her get Samuel's room ready. But that was not the real reason he was coming over, and they both knew it. They were afraid to be alone, and afraid for Samuel.
And, too, there was the feeling of a new-found relationship and not wanting to be apart from one another, but those fuzzy feelings of lust and romance –however awkward - had to be set aside. What really mattered now was that nobody got killed.
Mulder arrived at 6:00 on the dot, obviously mirroring Scully's feelings of anxiety at being apart.
He hadn't quite expected to feel as nervous as he did. Seeing Scully had never made him nervous before. But this time, when she answered the door, he felt more awkward around her than ever before. And all he could do was stand there for a moment, wondering what he should do. Hug her? Kiss her? Both?
He opted for the kiss. He leaned over and planted a small kiss on her cheek. To his surprise, Scully smiled and pulled him closer, hugging him. Was she actually happy to see him?
"I missed you," she said.
Scully had admitted an emotion. If several weeks ago, Mulder had been asked to define the impossible, that would have been it. Perhaps Scully admitted her emotions to others, but very rarely to him. Yet in the past few days, he had gained more insight into the enigmatic Dr. Scully and her emotions than he ever had. And he liked it. If only it didn't have to be under such strange and awkward circumstances.
"I missed you too, Scully," he said.
"Hi dad!" Samuel called from the living room. He had unpacked some of the toys he had brought with him, and they were already scattered all over the living room floor.
Welcome to motherhood, Scully thought. At least he had remembered to call Mulder "dad"
"Is it my imagination," Mulder whispered in her ear, still holding her "or is he adjusting unusually quickly?"
Scully nodded. "It scares me, actually, but he seems right at home."
She pulled away and looked into his sad, hazel eyes. Mulder's eyes. Samuel's eyes.
"There's definitely more to him than meets the eye," Mulder whispered back. "He reminds me a little of Gibson."
Scully nodded again. Indeed, there was something odd about Samuel. He was a little too mature, too articulate, and too observant for a boy his age. Emily had just been a normal little girl, but Samuel was different.
Wishing to feel as though her life was as normal as possible, Scully quickly changed the subject.
"Mulder, I don't feel like cooking tonight," She said. "What do you say to pizza?" Scully leaned purposefully towards Samuel as she said this.
"Pizza!" Samuel cried in the enthusiastic voice of a little boy who couldn't be happier. It made Scully happy. It proved there was a little boy in there, after all.
Mulder grinned. "Didn't this all start with pizza?"
"I believe it did", Scully replied, and then changed the subject again. She had noticed as soon as she had seen Mulder that he looked concerned, distant, as though his mind was elsewhere. She had been trying to resist asking him why. Perhaps she really didn't want to know. But in the end, curiosity got the better of her.
" Is something wrong?"
The answer he gave was the last thing she wanted to hear right now.
"I was followed here," He whispered so Samuel wouldn't hear. "I couldn't see who it was but I'll bet you anything it was that little weasel Spender again, and I'll bet you anything they're parked outside, too."
Neither of them had dared hope the sinister events would be over with Dr. Freedman's death, and they most certainly weren't.
Trying not to let Samuel notice she was concerned, Scully made her way over to the window and peered out.
Night had fallen. Scully could see the last traces of light in the sky as the sun sank behind the city buildings. Below her the street was quiet. The car parked across the street did nothing to disturb the serenity. She could see the two figures sitting in the front, watching. She could not see their faces.
Scully looked at Mulder and nodded once. That was all she needed to do. He knew what she was trying to say. His fears had been confirmed. They were being watched again.
"What's wrong?" Samuel asked, seeing the concern on their faces.
Yes, unusually intelligent, articulate and observant to say the least. Nothing would get past this boy.
"Nothing Samuel," Scully lied. But why lie? Samuel was obviously smart enough to catch a lie, but if he did he decided it wasn't worth pursuing. He shrugged and went back to his playing.
"I'll order the pizza, Mulder, if you can start straightening out the spare bedroom," Scully said as she picked up the phone, wondering if the voyeurs outside would be interested in what she and Mulder were having on their pizza.
"Is the car still there?" Mulder asked from the warm refuge of Scully's bed. Scully shut the bedroom door behind her as she entered the room, shivering and thinking about how nice it would feel to crawl into bed with Mulder. But was it safe to try and relax?
Samuel was safe in Scully's spare bed. The front door was locked and bolted. "It's there. They haven't come out, they're just sitting there watching." Mulder sighed. This was too much. There was no feeling worse than being afraid in your own home. Or in his case, Scully's home. Where could you go when home was no longer safe?
"Should I sleep on the couch Scully? " Mulder asked. "Just in case? You never know."
Scully regarded Mulder for a moment. She had longed to curl up to him and sleep away the night without worry, but that was now impossible. It would be a good idea to have someone out in the living room. The sooner any potential intruder could be intercepted, the better.
But it would be wrong to expect Mulder to do it.
"I'll do it Mulder" Scully told him "You can stay in my bed."
"Yeah, but...""But nothing, Mulder. I can take care of it."
"But I'm used to sleeping on the couch," Mulder said, smiling.
Scully laughed. "It's OK," she leaned over him and planted a kiss on his forehead. She relished in the feel of his skin against her lips, wishing that there was more time... to enjoy this.
Perhaps there would be.
Mulder pulled her closer and kissed her on the lips gently, tenderly.
"Good night Scully," he said. "I love you."
"I love you too," Scully whispered.
Scully awoke the next morning on her living room couch and painfully recalled the night before. Sleeping on her couch had not been the most comfortable experience. And the knowledge that two spies sat outside her building did nothing to aid in her slumber. But it had to be done.
If anyone tried to get in and harm Samuel, someone had to be there to stop it.
"Wake up, sleepyhead," Mulder's voice called from the vicinity of the window.
"I am awake," Scully replied, opening her eyes. Mulder was fully dressed, and as she had suspected, had resumed his post as the window-watcher.
"The car's still there Scully.," he said. "I'm getting to the bottom of this. I thought I'd wait till you woke up, at least." He moved away from the window.
Is he nuts? Scully thought. Stupid question.
"What, out there? " She said out loud. "Mulder, have you forgotten that we're suspended? They took away our guns. And I think it's more than likely that Spender, or whoever it is out there, is armed."
But nothing could sway a determined Mulder.
"You have a gun, don't you Scully?"
Well, yes, she did. Scully had her own personal weapon, unissued by the FBI, but...
"Mulder, if you use that on anyone while you're suspended you won't just be suspended anymore, you'll be fired! And I will be too, considering it's my weapon. Not to mention arrested."
"I'll use mine, then. I brought it with me," Mulder said with a smile. "Jesus, Mulder, don't mess with my head."
"I can't stand this anymore, Scully. I'm going out there. Will you stay here in case anything happens?"
Scully sat up, throwing some of her blankets onto the floor. "Mulder, you're crazy!"
"Like a fox!" Mulder said, grinning at his silly little pun. He grabbed his weapon and headed out the door.
He *is* nuts, Scully thought to herself as she watched him go. But was there ever any doubt of that?
Crouched behind the bushes of the front walkway, Mulder could see the black car more clearly than he had before.
And the results of this new viewpoint did little to surprise him.
Agent Jeffery Spender sat in the driver's seat of the black car.
Mulder had suspected that. Once a weasel, always a weasel.
He still couldn't see who sat beside Spender, but he definitely held a certain amount of suspicion as to who it was. Especially knowing who Spender was working with these days.
Whoever they were, they would be watching the apartment carefully. They would expect him to come out the front door. Moving from behind these bushes was out of the question.
What they wouldn't expect, would be for him to come at them from behind. The back door of Scully's apartment building led into an alley, which conveniently connected to the road a few blocks up. Within five minutes, Mulder was walking up the sidewalk behind the black car, his heart pounding in his throat like it had several days ago when he had come to tell Scully the news of his search. Fear of Scully's wrath now came a close second to the fear he felt now. Not for himself, but for Scully and Samuel. What kind of life would they ever be able to have? Samuel had been kept under wraps in Vancouver. Now that he had been adopted by the last people his "creators" wanted to hear about, Mulder suspected there would be hell to pay.
The thoughts left Mulder's mind as he drew nearer to the car. He could now see the sides of their faces as he approached from behind. They both had their heads turned, necks craned slightly upward to watch the apartment building. The driver had binoculars.
And neither of them were expecting Mulder to approach from behind.
He could see Spender clearly now. He could also see the other Agent who was with him. The long brown hair and the aquiline facial features were all too familiar.
And it didn't surprise him one bit.
After all, it explained her strange behavior lately.
It explained her strange demanding that Mulder hand over the X-Files to her and Spender.
It explained her underhanded "tattle taling" to Kersh when he refused. They were up to something. And there was no way Skinner was behind this. Skinner was a good man. A just man.
No, these two were working for someone higher up than Skinner. Perhaps out of the bureau all together.
Mulder walked up to the passenger window of the car and knocked on it. Spender jumped.
Diana Fowley jumped higher. Her head whirled around to look Mulder straight in the eye, and her face held the strange expression of a child caught smoking her mother's cigarettes.
Spender gunned the engine and made to drive away, but Fowley stopped him. She rolled down the window.
Is she going to try to explain this to me? That was too ludicrous. "Hello, Fox," Fowley said.
That was enough.
"Don't' call me that *ever again*," Mulder growled, anger seething in his voice. "What the hell do you think you're doing here?"
Fowley stumbled over her own words trying to explain herself. Perhaps she did feel some remorse for spying on the man she had once shared her life with. If she did, it wouldn't do her any good.
And leave it to Spender to ruin it anyway.
"We're surveying what we told might be unauthorized action by you and agent Scully," Spender piped in.
"And what unauthorized action is that?" Mulder asked "Having our own lives? Wanting to be left alone without assholes like you watching our every move? Who put you up to this? Was it that cancer man?"
"Fox," Fowley said. Her tone irked him even more. He was angry, and she was calm, and her tone suggested that she knew full well that she had the emotional upper hand.
"We know about your trip to Vancouver, and about Agent Scully's son. "
"Of course you do. We saw you watching us in Vancouver too. Dammit, tell me who put you up to this! I know it wasn't Skinner. Who do you work for?"
Spender and Fowley exchanged glances. Mulder clamped a hand down on the window of the passenger door. If they were going to drive away, they would have to take his arm with them.
"We have reason to believe the child is a threat," Spender said.
Oh that was rich. That was funny. A great way to cover your ass, Spender. "A threat?" Mulder cried, his anger rising. "A threat to what? To the secrecy of the underhanded operation that created him? A man is dead because of this. Why can't you just let the boy live in peace?"
There was no reply. They would not risk giving anything away.
"Well, you two get the hell out of here," Mulder continued " And tell your chain-smoking boss that if he thinks he's going to get near that boy, he's got another thing coming. "
He stepped away from the car.
"Fox, you're making a big mistake," Fowley pleaded, her eyes wide.
"Don't you ever call me Fox again, you fucking whore," Mulder said. He felt months - no, years - of resentment flow out of him with the words. "You've betrayed me in every sense of the word. Get out of my life."He leaned over, staring intently at Spender. Perhaps he could scare him just a little bit.
"And as for you, you little weasel... Skinner is going to hear about this."
"We'll see about that," Spender said as he put the car in gear. They drove away in a flurry of squealing tires and burning rubber.
Mulder watched the black car drive away. He stood there alone, fighting the urge to draw his gun and just shoot them both.
He would go to prison for murder, but it would be worth it.
Not this time, he thought. He had a responsibility now. He had Scully, and Samuel. He couldn't let them down now by going off on a wild killing spree.
The best thing to do now would be to get Scully and Samuel out of here.
Scully didn't need to ask Mulder anything when he reappeared in her apartment. She didn't have a chance.
"Spender and Fowley," Mulder said. "Spilling out some rhetoric about Samuel being a threat, but that's all they said.
"A threat to their agenda," Scully said. "A threat to their secrecy."
Mulder nodded. "Whatever their reasons, it's not safe here Scully. Not here, or at my apartment. We have to get out of here."
"But where to? My mother's?"
"No, that would only put her in danger. I was thinking more along the lines of my family's old Summer Home at Quonochontaug."
"But... doesn't that cigarette smoking man know where it is? he was there once with your mother, wasn't he? So after our places are ransacked, they'll go straight there. Why don't we go to my family's summer home instead? I have a key."
"Yeah, OK, whatever works, Scully. We just need to get out of here."
Scully sighed. After all the traveling and moving around they had just done, it was now too much to ask to spend a few peaceful days at home. And no matter where they went, it would only be a matter of time before someone tracked them down there, and they would have to leave again.
A life on the run had not been what she had in mind.
But keeping Samuel safe was, and that was all that mattered right now. She had taken on the responsibility, and now keeping him safe was her top priority.
"Let's go," She said.
The Scully summer home looked like nobody had been there in years.
In actual fact, no one had set foot in the house since Bill Scully Sr. had died.
The front door took some effort to open, although after much shaking and rattling it finally swung open. The furniture inside was covered in plastic to protect it from the dust, but the rest of the house hadn't escaped it. Nor had it escaped the multitudes of spiders who had insisted on building homes in every corner.
"This place is creepy," Samuel noted as they entered. He had been quiet the entire trip, and Scully dared not to try fathoming what was going on in the boy's mind. Samuel knew he was in trouble. There was no hiding it from him. He knew why they were leaving, and that people were after him. He didn't seem to be scared. Perhaps he was used to this.
"It'll look better once it gets cleaned up a bit," Scully said hopefully.
"Cleaned up a lot," Samuel offered, nodding. He studied a cobweb curiously. The fact that it still had an enormous spider living it only served to feed his fascination more.
He watched the arachnid closely, poking at its web to see if he could get it to move.
"My god Mulder, that's the biggest spider I've ever seen..." Scully said, staring at the huge abomination her son was playing with.
Samuel jumped when the spider suddenly skittered towards him, and then up the wall into the darkness.
For a moment, Scully wished she could do the same. Just run off into a dark corner and hide from those who would hunt her, and her family.
"Why don't you two go upstairs and clean out the bedrooms?" Mulder asked. "I'll start down here. It'll keep our minds off things."
"Sure," Scully replied, taking Samuel's hand. Anything to keep her mind of things. She started to lead him towards the staircase, but Samuel had other ideas.
"Why do these people want to hurt me?" the boy asked without warning.
Never mind keeping our minds off things, Scully thought. It was probably best to tell Samuel the truth.
"Sam, do you know where you came from?" Scully asked. It was best to approach this as gently as possible.
Samuel shook his head. "No. All I remember is a lot of foster homes."
Scully cleared her throat. How did you tell a child this sort of thing? She glanced up at Mulder, who was looking on as if he really wanted to hear this. "Well, Sam... " Scully continued. "We're your parents, that's all that matters. But let's just say you're different from other kids."
"I know that," Samuel said. "Everyone thinks I'm weird." Scully smiled.
"You're not weird, Sam. But you're different because these strange men made you different. And they don't want anyone to know that they did that. That's why they were always visiting your foster parents - to make sure nobody knew what they did."
"But then why did they let you come and get me?" He asked.
"Dr. Freedman let us come and get you," Scully said. "And we don't think those men wanted him to let us. That's why he's dead. And they don't want us to have you, that's why they're watching us."
"But why do they do this?"
"Because they're bad men, and your dad and I know a lot about them because we work for the FBI. They're afraid of us."
Samuel appeared to understand. If he did, that was good, because Scully did not feel she fully understood her own words.
"The men who visited you," Mulder, who up until now had been silent, asked "Did you ever see a man who smoked a lot of cigarettes?"
Both of them had thought of it. Neither had sought to voice it until now. "Once," Samuel replied. "When I first went to live with Anna and George. He came the first day I was there. "
That was enough. Mulder had known all along what was going on, but Samuel's answer confirmed everything.
Neither he nor Scully spoke, but Mulder's look conveyed all. "We're into something big, Scully."
Big was right. perhaps too big.
"I'm not scared," Samuel said. "You guys will protect me."
If only we could be so sure we can, Samuel, Scully thought. She took his hand again and led him towards the stairs.
Once they were out of sight, Mulder shut and bolted the door behind him. He headed into the living room, observing the dust covered plastic and cobwebs that surrounded him. Why did this have to happen now? It was Scully's last chance to find what she wanted. His last chance to be with Scully, which was the only thing he wanted. Now the possibility that he and Scully might never get to live together in peace with their son loomed over his head. It was too much to bear.
The thought of cleaning up the living room suddenly became unthinkable. Mulder sat down heavily in a plastic covered chair, coughing as the dust rose up around him and clouded the air. The coughs quickly turned into something more. Mulder buried his face in his hands and let the tears come.
Nighttime came with a feeling of ominous dread.
Mulder and Scully lay together in the bed that had once been used by Scully's parents, while Samuel slept on a small mattress on the floor next to them.
They had managed to clean a fair amount of the house, at least to the point of it looking reasonably civilized again. The cobwebs were gone. The spiders had been moved outside by Samuel, who refused to squash them.
It almost looked lived in, though Mulder wondered why they bothered. He had a feeling they would not be staying here for long.
In fact, the feeling was so strong that Mulder very nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard the sound downstairs.
It was a strange sound, hard to recognize at first. He turned to Scully, hoping she could identify it.
She nodded in response to his questioning look. She had heard it too. Samuel, fortunately, was fast asleep.
"What is it?" Mulder asked.
A thumping, metallic jangling sound. She had heard it several times before.
"It sounds like someone trying to jimmy the lock on the front door," She replied, feeling her adrenaline rise.
"Jesus!" Mulder said, leaping up out of bed as fast as he could without waking Samuel. He pulled on his jeans and grabbed his gun. Scully did so too, grabbing her weapon and then grabbing her boy, who woke up with a start, but did not cry out.
"It's all right, Sam. Everything's going to be fine," Scully tried to reassure him.
The sight of his father racing out of the room with no shirt on and a gun in his hand did little to convince Samuel of this fact.
The house was quiet.
Mulder felt himself wince every time a floorboard creaked as he moved stealthily through the hallway. The sound had momentarily stopped. But it didn't take long for it to resume. Now that he was closer, he recognized without a doubt the sound of someone trying to pick the lock. It sent chills up his spine.
He approached the door from around the corner, knowing that whoever was out there could not see him from this angle.
Now, just wait it out Mulder.
The shaking of the lock continued. It was giving the intruder as much trouble as it have given Scully earlier that day.
There was the sound of the lock finally giving in. The shaking stopped. Mulder seized his opportunity. He grabbed the doorknob and flung open the door, aiming his gun at whoever happened to be standing there.
The face he saw didn't surprise him at all.
Unfortunately, Agent Spender turned and ran before Mulder had a chance. No time to think.
Mulder gave chase, wincing as the cold November air bit through his naked upper torso. Spender ran as fast as he could off the deck and into the front yard, but he was no match for Mulder. There had often been comments made at the bureau that if you needed someone to chase down a crook on foot, Fox Mulder was your man. Nobody could run faster than him, and he knew it. He was upon Spender before the younger agent saw him. Spender cried out as Mulder knocked him to the ground.
But before he had a chance to question Spender, or hit him, or yell at him, or do anything else that would give him such great joy, a thought came to him.
What if this was a diversion?
What if someone else was in the house at this very moment, creeping up on an unsuspecting Scully and her son. Their son?
Of course, Scully was perfectly capable of taking care of herself and the boy.
But that wasn't the point. His mission here was not to beat up Spender, as much as he wanted to. His mission was to protect his family.
"To hell with you," Mulder said, getting to his feet.
"What?" Spender asked, wheezing. "You... aren't going to kill me?" His voice was taunting, sarcastic. It was almost as though he wanted Mulder to chase him. He didn't want him to go back to the house.
"Later," Mulder said, getting up. He broke into a run.
"Wait!" Spender yelled. "Mulder, you don't have a chance in hell!"
Mulder didn't hear him as he ran through the damp grass back towards the welcoming light of the house.
All he heard was the sound of the gunshot, and the sound of a child screaming.
The scenario ran through his mind before he even saw it.
Spender *had* been a diversion.
There had been someone else in the house all alone. Seeing that Mulder had left, they had shot Scully and taken Samuel.
These were the things Mulder's imagination created.
He hadn't expected to be right.
Mulder skidded around the corner and into the brightly lit bedroom where he had left his partner and his son a moment before.
The sight that greeted him was something he had hoped he would never have to see. He closed his eyes for a moment, hoping it would go away and when he opened them again everything would be fine.
But it wasn't so.
Scully lay on the floor, her weapon still in her hand. Blood was seeping from a wound in her abdomen and slowly covering the white dressing gown she wore, and pooling onto the wooden floor beneath her. Samuel was nowhere to be seen.
"Scully, no!" Mulder whispered.
Images of a life without Scully flashed through his mind. He got down on his knees beside her.
Just close enough to see that she was still breathing.
He reached down and took her blood-covered hand in his. She stirred.
Mulder breathed a sigh of relief. At least she was still with him for now. There was no telling how bad the wound was.
"It's all right Mulder," Scully said suddenly, her voice weak. "I don't think it hit anything vital."
If only that were true. Would she lie to him so he wouldn't be afraid? He didn't know.
"But Scully...." You'd better be telling the truth.
"Mulder, trust me. I'm a doctor...." She coughed. "I know where my organs are... It's.... not fatal. Not for a while, anyway."
Mulder decided he didn't believe Scully one bit. But if she was telling him this it was for a reason. She wouldn't lie to him without just cause.
"It was Agent Fowley," Scully added, wincing.
"She took Samuel?" Scully nodded, her face twisting in a grimace of pain. "Go get them..."
"But... you're hurt..."
"Dammit, Mulder, I"m fine! *go get them!*"
Mulder sighed in exasperation.
Damn you for being so stubborn Scully. He bent over and kissed her on the forehead, trying not to look at the wound, or the pool of blood that was growing larger on the floor. Fatal wound or not, she was going to bleed to death if she didn't get help.
He grabbed his cell phone from the bedside table and handed it to her. "Do you have the strength to call 911?" he asked.
Mulder kissed her again and ran out of the room.
He made it to the front door just in time to see Fowley running through the front yard with a small, child-shaped burden in her arms. Had she been waiting in the house the whole time, just looking for an opportunity to get out without him seeing? He was falling into all of their traps.
Mulder ran out the door again, this time not noticing the November cold as it bit and stung him. The cold didn't matter now. What mattered was getting his son back.
"Stop, Diana!" Mulder called, running as fast as he could, wishing she didn't have such a head start on him.
"Stop or I'll shoot!" Mulder yelled again.
Would she take him seriously?
She stopped running and turned to face him, holding Samuel tightly as he squirmed in her arms.
Out of the corner of his eye, Mulder could see two more men approaching from the vicinity of the driveway. One of them was Spender. the other was someone he didn't recognize. The man who had shot Freedman, perhaps?
"Don't make me do this, Fox," Fowley said, her voice sounding sad, almost regretful.
Do what? Mulder wondered. What could she possibly do that was worse than she had already done?
"Do what? Do something worse than you're already doing?" Mulder asked, voicing his thoughts.
Fowley didn't reply. Without a word, she propped Samuel's small form under one arm and drew her gun.
"If you come any closer, I'll shoot the boy!" she called to him, pressing the barrel of the weapon against Samuel's small head.
Why would she shoot Samuel? Wasn't he the reason all of this was going on? Wasn't he the very reason they came here? If they wanted the boy dead, he would have been long ago.
Mulder could bet that Fowley was under direct orders not to harm the boy. She was bluffing.
Or stalling him. Spender and the other man were still approaching. Slowly drawing closer.
Mulder aimed his weapon a little more accurately.
"I'm warning you!" Fowley called, pressing the gun harder into Samuel's head.
"You won't shoot him, Fowley!" Mulder called "You can't! You'd spoil the agenda!"
From somewhere up the road, Mulder heard the sound of sirens, growing closer with every passing moment.
The boy screamed.
Fowley reacted, perhaps to Samuel's cry, but moreso to the sound of their impending failure coming from just up the road. She gave Samuel a hard smack with the butt of her gun to silence him. That was enough for Mulder. He fired.
The shot whizzed through the air and struck a tree somewhere behind Fowley. But it was enough. She dropped Samuel. Her attention was off of him just long enough for the boy to start running.
Samuel didn't appear to know where to go.
He just knew he had to run.
Fowley ignored Mulder and gave chase to the boy. Spender broke into a run after Samuel as well.
The third party whom Mulder did not recognize continued to approach him. "Stop it, damn you!" Agent Fowley cried, unable to keep up with Samuel, who ran faster than any child Mulder had seen.
Takes after his father, he thought, experiencing a brief interlude of fatherly pride.
It vanished when he saw Fowley fire at him.
She fired her gun. At Samuel.
At Mulder's son.
It was the last straw.
Fatherly pride became fatherly protective instinct.
Mulder heard his weapon fire before he realized that he had pulled the trigger. She might not have meant to harm Samuel - Mulder suspected not. Perhaps she had only meant to cripple him so he couldn't run, but that didn't matter. What mattered was that she had fired.
This time, the bullet did not hit a tree.
Mulder heard the sickening sound of bone snapping as the bulled hit agent Fowley in the back of the head. She fell to the ground and lay still. There was no time to feel remorse or guilt.
Samuel kept running. He was limping now, but Mulder could not tell if he had been hit.
"Run Samuel!" Mulder called, now able to see the lights on the approaching ambulance and police cars. "Run towards the police car!" he yelled, and began to run towards his son.
Samuel continued to run.
But this time, Agent Spender had the advantage.
He caught up to the boy and grabbed him from the very spot where he stood. Samuel screamed again, causing spender to cover the boy's mouth with his hand to silence him. Mulder gave chase again, ready to blow Spender's head off as well if he did not let the boy go.
Where had the third man gone to?
That was Mulder's last thought before something hard and cold struck him on the head and the world faded to black.
Bright Lights, strange noises.
A beeping noise.
It sounded oddly familiar.
Scully opened her eyes. Above her, a bright yellow light gleamed down from the hospital ceiling. The beeping noise came from the EKG monitor on the table beside her.
What had happened?
It all came back at once. Samuel. The summer house. Agent Fowley firing her gun and the horrible, searing pain. She remember the pain, the blood, and Mulder. And dialing 911 before she passed out.
Scully looked down to see the bandages wrapped around her abdomen. Putting her fingers to the spot she felt a scar, and brand new stitches.
Well, she had been right. The wound had obviously not been fatal.
But where was Mulder?
All she needed to do was look to her left to find him. He sat there, in an uncomfortable hospital chair, sound asleep. A small bandage adorned the left side of his head, but other than that he appeared to be in fine shape.
Save for the dark circles under his eyes.
"Mulder," Scully said, finding out the hard way that it hurt like hell to speak.
He opened his eyes, smiling when he saw that she was awake.
"Scully," he said. I'm so glad you're OK, Scully. If anything had happened to you...
"What happened?" she asked, cutting him off before he could add the words he was thinking.
Mulder took a deep breath, and Scully saw for the first time that his eyes were red and bloodshot, his cheeks streaked red the way they often are when someone has been crying a lot.
Had Mulder been crying? Why?
Where was Samuel?
"Oh god, Scully... I'm so sorry," Mulder said, the happiness draining from his face. "I'm so sorry."
"Mulder!" Scully said. "You're scaring me! What happened? Where's Samuel?"
How could he say it? How could he let her know her dreams of having a child had just been destroyed - again?
"They took him," Mulder replied as gently as he could.
He looked away so he wouldn't have to see the look of pain and devastation on Scully's face when he said so. "I tried to save him," He added. His voice cracked as he tried not to cry again. He had done enough crying when he had woken up in the hospital, and when Scully had been in surgery. He had cried for himself, his loss. But mostly he had cried for Scully. Samuel had been her last chance, and now he was gone.
"I almost had him. Diana... was shooting at him," he said. "So I shot her. She's dead Scully."
"Did she hit him?" Scully asked.
"I don't know."
Scully said nothing, and Mulder quelled his fear and looked her in the eyes. Her eyes were sad. But it was the lack of sadness or shock that surprised Mulder. Had she become so numb to pain like this that she didn't feel it anymore? Or had she simply been expecting this outcome all along?
No, it was neither. Scully was in shock, plain and simple. The reality would not hit her now. It would hit her sometime in the next few days, when she was alone.
"Someone hit me on the head before I could get to him," Mulder continued. " I saw Spender get him. They took off before the police could catch them. They searched for hours for the car they were driving."
"Did they find them?" Scully asked, knowing the answer would be no.
"They found the car, abandoned at the side of the road. No trace of Spender, Samuel, or the other agent. I just talked to Skinner and Spender hasn't reported for duty since the incident. He's gone, Scully. They're all gone."
Scully sat in the drab hospital bed, staring straight ahead at the cold, sterile walls. She suddenly recalled how she had felt, sitting here in this same hospital, dying of cancer. That was all over now, but this pain was far worse. She would have preferred death to this, the loss of another child. The last child she could ever hope to find that was her own.
But somehow, Samuel's loss had not surprised her. In a way, she had prepared herself for it from the moment they had seen that black sedan parked outside their hotel room. It had seemed then that there was no way out, and Samuel's disappearance was only a matter of time.
Perhaps Samuel was just like Emily. A miracle that was never meant to be. Or maybe he was just a miracle that was never meant to be *her* miracle. "Agent Fowley is dead?" Scully asked, trying to keep her mind off Samuel. Mulder nodded.
"I'm sorry, Mulder," She said. "I know what she meant to you."
"She meant something to me once, Scully," Mulder replied "But not now, and not when I shot her. I'm the one who should be sorry Scully. I let them get away. I lost Samuel... I lost our son. I don't know... how you can forgive me. I won't blame you if you never do," he lowered his head.
Scully squeezed Mulder's hand, letting the tears that came to her eyes flow freely down her cheeks.
"Mulder, whatever happened, it wasn't your fault. You tried. I might as well blame myself for getting shot. I could have helped if she hadn't shot me. "
"They hit me from behind..." Mulder said, almost as if he hadn't heard her. He was still trying to explain his failure. His imagined failure. It hadn't been his fault.
"It's OK Mulder," Scully said. "Mulder, I love you. I always will, no matter what happens."
Is there no end to this woman's strength? Mulder wondered. She's the one who should be comforted, not me. Mulder sat up and took in a deep breath. Try to be strong for Scully just once, Mulder.
"Agent Scully," a voice said from the doorway.
Scully and Mulder looked up.
It was a very welcome surprise to see Skinner in the doorway.
"How are you feeling?" Skinner asked, entering the room.
"I've felt better," Scully replied.
"Agent Mulder told me what happened," Skinner said. "I'm sorry for your loss."
There was an awkward silence for a moment. Skinner looked at the floor, shuffled his feet, and then spoke again.
"Well, the reason I'm here, Agents... There was an interesting development. Apparently, AD Kersh is nowhere to be found. He disappeared around the same time as Spender." Mulder's eyes widened. "Kersh?" He asked. He had known Kersh was a jerk, but he had never suspected this. Scully, too, looked surprised, though perhaps not as surprised as he.
"I should have known," He said finally. Why not? Had Kersh ever seemed to have anything on his mind other than destroying Mulder's life's work?
"And I'll bet our chain-smoking friend had something to do with this, too," Mulder said. He didn't have to ask Skinner, he knew.
Skinner appeared thoughtful. "I really don't know, Agent Mulder. Although with that man, you can pretty much assume he's behind everything." Scully had said nothing. She remained staring off into space.
"But that's not all I came here for," Skinner added, clearing his throat.
"There are two open positions at the X-Files now, and we need some passionate, experienced agents to fill those positions."
Mulder perked up. So did Scully. This was unusual. Mulder had talked to Skinner and told him the whole story, from Scully's interest in finding Samuel to the discovery that there was more to their relationship than just friendship. Skinner had taken it well, but Mulder had suspected that was because they no longer worked for him.
"What about protocol?" Scully asked. "Rules? Two agents working together cannot carry on a personal relationship..." she trailed off. She was too upset to worry about this right now.
"I'll expect you two to report in for work once you're ready," Skinner said, ignoring Scully's statement. He left without another word.
"How does it feel, Scully?" Mulder asked, watching as his partner made her way through his living room to sit on his couch, wincing as she did so.
She had made a speedy recovery, but she had been released from the hospital only the day before and the bullet wound was still sensitive.
Still, she couldn't complain. She was alive.
That had to count for something. If not, there was no way she would still be here. It was amazing what one could go through and still want to live.
"Better than when it first happened," Scully replied. She managed to find a comfortable spot on Mulder's couch and relaxed, sighing in contentment as the pain subsided.
"I think I'll be able to start work soon," she added.
"Do you miss Samuel?" Mulder asked as he sat down beside her. It was a dumb question. Perhaps he asked it more as a way of telling her how much he missed the boy. Their lives would never be the same.
"More than you can imagine," Scully replied. "Not a day goes by when I don't think about him. " she paused for a moment, thoughtful.
"Do you think we'll ever find him?" she asked.
Mulder remained silent for a moment. He didn't know the answer. There were times when he was certain they would never see him again. But he couldn't say that to Scully. He couldn't crush her hope. Right now, that was all she had left.
"We've got the X-Files back now, Scully. " was what Mulder said instead.
"We've got an outlet, and we can keep searching for the truth and for Samuel until we find him. We'll find him Scully," yes, that felt right.
And perhaps they would find him.
"Mulder... " Scully began " Do you think he was... a coincidence?"
"What, you mean the fact that he was made from both of us?" Mulder asked.
Scully nodded. "What are the chances of it being a coincidence? But if it was intentional, then why would they do it? What would be the purpose?"
"I don't know Scully," Mulder replied.
"And maybe we never will know," She said. "I wonder if all of the children were made from both of us, Mulder. Did you ever think of that? Maybe Emily was your daughter, too."
Mulder nodded. "I thought of it."
"We could run a test between Emily's blood sample and yours and find out..." Scully's voice trailed off. She was trying to run on false hope again. That was not good.
"Maybe someday, Scully," Mulder said. "But not right now. I think you need time before you start thinking about that."
Scully nodded again. "It was silly of me to think that it would be any different than it was with Emily," she said.
"Why do you say that, Scully? You tried. We both did."
"but if we'd left well enough alone, he'd still be a happy enough little boy. We uprooted him from his existence, put him through hell, and this is how it ends up. Losing him is the easy part. The part that I can't stand is wondering what happened to him."
Mulder sat in silence. She was right.
"I'm sure he's all right," Mulder added. Yes, the boy would have to be fine. They wouldn't harm the child they had come after so diligently. "But I think what matters the most is that he got a chance to know us. to know YOU. He knows who his parents are, Scully. Maybe that will give him more hope, or more happiness than he had before."
Scully wrung her hands together.
"Maybe," she said. And that was what she would have to cling to. The hope that Samuel was alive, and being treated well. And maybe he was better for the experience of meeting his real mother and father.
In the meantime, she had Mulder.
"I'm so sorry, Scully," Mulder said again. "I can't imagine how you must feel."
Scully reached out and tousled his hair with her hand.
"I feel like shit, Mulder," She said. "But I have to go on. Life goes on." Mulder smiled and pulled her close to him, gently so as not to hurt her still fragile body. He soaked in the sensation of having her close to him -the smell of her hair, the feel of her soft skin. This was real life. This was Scully.
Samuel was gone, but he would never let Scully go.
THE END (but there's a sequel Come Get Me also here at TNF)
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