Title: Second Coming
Author: RocketMan
Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully, and the rest of the Get-Along Gang belong to CC, 1013, and Fox. No infringement is intended.
Spoilers: Requiem....sorry I had to do it.

Summary: "For unto us a child is born." Isaiah 9:6


The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. --Revelation 12:4


I.

She sat down clumsily in the chair, the baby heavy in her tired arms. The little mouth worked in pouting circles against her breast. The tiny fists pushed and pounded against the mother holding her loosely. They rocked, back and forth, in and out of sleep like lazy June evenings on a grandmother's porch.

She looked down and could see the baby girl's face, the soft opening eyes, the blinking lids, the beautiful thick lashes. The red cheeks, the unnatural brown eyes, the pink-peach skin, the white small nails, all the colors of a new child. She held her daughter in weary arms and wished for someone else.

Someone else to come walking through that bedroom door, and take this baby from her weak arms, and kiss her forehead, and let her rest.

She closed her eyes and the phone was ringing and she didn't think she could possibly stand up and get it.


Her eyes opened and she was alone in her bed, and the phone was as sharp-tongued as ever, rebuking her for dreams that she had no reason to be dwelling on. She had time to find that someone, time before the baby came. Scully pushed her feet from the covers and lifted herself out of bed.

She answered, walking out of the room and into the kitchen.

"Agent Scully?"

"Yes..." There was a hesitation in her voice as she tried to place the caller. "Krycek!"

"Ah, very good, Agent Scully. I have something to tell you."

She hated him. She wanted to hang up. It seemed like his and Marita's help earlier had all been a trap for the aliens to lure Mulder into the Oregon woods.

"What?" she asked icily, and clutched the phone tighter in her hand.

"I've been approached."

"Approached? By who?"

"Or what, in this case."

Scully sucked in a breath, trying to keep her hope from soaring but unable to crush it. If she didn't know that it was impossible at twelve weeks, she would have sworn she felt the baby kick.

"The rebel aliens want to get Mulder back. But they need our help."

"What? Why do they want him back? I thought they had him in the first place--this doesn't make any sense--"

"Just listen Agent Scully."

She took a shaky breath and sat down at her kitchen table, closing her eyes.

"I'm listening."

"The alien rebels don't care about us...you have to remember that to survive. They're the earth's version of white supremacists; they think it's degrading to mix their DNA with ours. That's why they've sabotaged the tests, burned the test subjects--"

"Then why do they want to help me get Mulder?"

She pressed the cordless phone to her ear and buried her head in her hands. She felt alone and miserable. She had felt alone and miserable for two months.

"Because you're pregnant."

Her stomach tightened.

"What?"

It was like her worst nightmares were slowly and agonizingly unfolding before her.

"If your child is born with natural immunity to the alien virus, then the rebels have a weapon to use against the alien aggressors. *That* is important enough to stage a rescue mission."

"So what do they want in return? The baby?"

She could barely say the words. Her voice was tight; she knew she would be crying all night.

"No."

"No?" Now she was surprised. Shocked. "What could they want from me?"

"Blood. A test when the baby's born, and a test a few months later, when all the mother's immunities have passed out of the child's blood. They want to know for sure."

"For what reason? To take the baby when they do know for sure?"

"I don't know that, Agent Scully. What I do know is that without their help, you have no chance of finding Mulder alive."


The little girl was a year old, her brown hair in short pigtails that were already coming out. She had dark eyes that watched the world. She was sitting in her mother's lap, pushing at the pages of a book with her little fingers. She glanced back, smiling over her shoulder, looking with adoration at the red-haired woman cradling her close.

"Daddy--bye-bye."

"Daddy's coming back."

"Bye-bye Daddy."

"Daddy's coming back, baby."

"No, no. Bye-bye."

Her mother shook her head and smoothed down the curly brown hair that tumbled into her little girl's eyes.

"He's coming back; I promise."


A phone rang shrilly in the distance, causing her to look up. She blinked and she was at home, in her bed, her hands clutching tightly at air. The phone continued to ring, and she swiped the tears from her eyes, shaking her head.

"Hello?"

"Agent Scully. . ."

That had been the start of a long conversation with Skinner, about the wisdom of her choice. She didn't know if her dream was a warning or an encouragement. She didn't know what was right, and she didn't have Mulder to ask.

Mulder...her partner in everything. He had her gold cross, a token of their vows. She still had a hard time thinking of him gone, completely gone, after only a few weeks of marriage. A sudden midnight proposal, a morning of anxiety, and then they were married. Like a slap in the face to all those who conspired against them.

She sat wearily on the bed, rubbing her still very flat stomach. There was a faint thickness that seemed apparent to only herself, but it was enough to give her courage. Mulder's child.

There was only one way out of this.

*

The thick clumps of forest, unable to see the trees for all the dense shrubs choking for sun, the fight to survive. It mirrored her own deeply rooted fears about getting Mulder back. Scrambling, she was scrambling to reach him. The tightly crowded jungle of Oregon's Crater Lake National Park gave the federal agent the jurisdiction she needed to pass through without being stopped.

Massaging her temples, Dana Scully leaned back against the passenger seat, trying to push away two months of the most intense and continuous grief she had ever known. With Mulder's abduction, (and she was willing to call it that) she had been forced to keep the strength of his beliefs.

She had been frantic to find him before her pregnancy incapcitated her, but cautious that she not put herself in harm's way. Walking the thin line between mortal danger and necessary action, Scully had finally found the temporary allies she needed. But had she made a deal with the devil?

The ATV bounced erratically along the pitted dirt road and her head cracked painfully against the tinted window. The man beside her winced, then squeezed the wheel tighter, concentrating on avoiding the worst of the potholes. He took his job seriously.

New partner. She still hated it. She still wanted to throw up when she thought about walking into the basement and, not only not

seeing Mulder, but also seeing this large brisk man hunkering in her own desk and trying to appear invisible. He had gained her scorn at the beginning, but Agent Robert Daniels had earned her respect within weeks.

Twilight and Daniels drove aggressively along the forgotten forest ranger trail with the ATV's wheels gripping the ground like beasts. She had no fear of his spinning out of control, even with all the mud from the rainstorMs. His thick jaw was set tight and his meaty fingers clamped the steering wheel with something bordering on anger.

Standing next to Mulder, she had always felt slightly off-balance, with his heighth and her own short legs. But standing next to Daniels was like being stalked by a bear: massive and strange. He acted a lot like Mulder as well, over-protective and ignoring her when he felt it was important enough.

She didn't mind that Bear Daniels was driving; she was too exhausted to care. Three days she had spent driving, taking care not to stop at any motels or spend much money. After she had gotten the cryptic message under her door, she had grabbed her emergency bag and darted for the car.

Their drive now was the final leg of the trip. The woods would reveal their secrets, and Mulder would be home again. Home on earth. She shivered thinking about it. Home.

Of course, Bear had caught up to her mad flight. He had followed her home anyway, just as Skinner had instructed him when he was transferred, and forced her to let him come along. She hadn't wanted to admit that she needed help, but somewhere, she acknowledged her weaknesses and allowed him to get in her car. They had abandoned his at a Denny's in Kentucky.

"This man said he'd find us?"

Bear's voice cut into her daze and she glanced over at him. His gruffness, his brisk manner, his deathgrip hands all gave him a fierce kind of look. He was really a gentle and caring man, and she was lucky to have him with her now.

"Yeah."

"I don't like this," he said. It was the eighth time he had said it that day.

"I don't like it either, but there's not much I can do about it. He holds all the cards."

"With all the things he's done--"

"He's helped us before. With information and leads. He's the only one who has the connections to get Mulder back."

"And how is it that only *he* can get Mulder back? Why is that? Why is it the aliens would be so nice and give him back just because Krycek wants them to?"

Scully sighed, shrugging. Lately, reason and logic didn't matter so much to her, as long as things happened. If Krycek got them Mulder, then it didn't really matter how he was able to do it.

God, she was pregnant! Pregnant--and she *needed* Mulder there. So what did she care how he got there?

Her mind chanted its unceasing prayer--safe safe safe. It was all she knew of the words to get him back. A month ago, it had been long and superfluous, thinking God needed all her reasons and all her pleas. Now, she knew that the prayer was better like this. Short and intense.

"Hey, here's the last marker--"

Scully glanced up to see the white strip of fabric tied around the post stuck in the ground. It seemed out-of-place and ominious in the darkening night.

"He should be around here, right?"

"Right," she replied, but she didn't sound convinced.

*

The round face and chubby fingers splashed invitingly across her mind. She turned in her sleep and grapsed tighter to the dream, breathing it in.

The two-year-old girl had short curly brown hair and dark bewitching eyes. She was resting her head on her arms on the back of the couch, her little legs stretched so she could see over it. She was waiting for her daddy, watching the door as if he would walk in at any moment.

Glancing away from the entryway, she noticed her mother standing in the kitchen and waved, her baby fingers only making a fist instead of actually waving.

"What are you looking for, baby?"

She cocked her head, as if she expected her mother to know.

"Daddy."


The vision dissolved and Scully was alone in the dark, the ATV now silent and still. She sat up, looking for Bear, and saw his solid form outside, glancing into the forest. He looked predatory and she wondered why Krycek hadn't shown up yet. The dashboard lights read 1:00 am.

When she popped open her door, Bear swirled around violently, then relaxed as she stepped down. The ATV was brown with mud and sitting halfway in a ditch, the roots of a tree keeping it from sliding down the slight incline. She could see mountains in the distance, even in the darkness.

The air smelled heavy, like rain saturating the soil. The ground was too soft; the mud made a thick sucking noise as she walked towards her bodyguard. He could never be her partner.

"Why isn't he here yet?" Bear grumbled.

"I'm here."

Scully spun around, reflexively drawing her weapon at the shadowy figure moving silently in the trees. He stepped into the beam of Bear's flashlight, his eyes slit with the sudden brightness.

"Where is Mulder?" she asked breathlessly, feeling her heart trip in her throat. She put her gun away.

"I've got him."

"Where?"

"Hold on. He's coming."

Scully blinked, not believing her ears. "He's coming?"

"He can walk. He's not hurt too badly."

She sank against the hood of the ATV, feeling relief and incredulousness mix in a dangerous combination. She was feeling faint again.

Pressing a hand to her belly in silent admonishment, she pushed past Krycek, looking out into the darkness for her partner.

"Mulder?"

"Scully?!"

"Mulder!"

She could hear him crashing through the forest now, taking long strides to reach her. Before she could pinpoint his location, he was falling through the underbrush and into her body, grasping her tightly.

"Scully. . ."

"Mulder, Mulder, oh God, thank you."

Before she could even breathe, he was pressing kisses into her hair, crushing her against him. She could feel slick mud against his pants and his hair was ratty with leaves and dirt. When he pulled back to look at her, he saw the hulking form of Bear.

"Who's that?"

"Bear Daniels. . .Skinner assigned him to the X-Files to help me find you."

"Scully--"

"There's no time, Agents. You've got to get out of here. Out of Oregon. You can't trust the rebel aliens anymore than you can trust me."

Krycek roughly pulled them apart, then stepped between them to head back into the forest. She watched him go for a moment, then felt Bear's strong hand pulling her towards the ATV. Turning, she forgot Krycek and could only focus on getting away from Oregon. Getting away with Mulder.

*

He was weaker than he'd led them to believe. His head rolled along the seat when Bear spun the ATV around, but Scully was holding him up, trying to keep him from falling asleep.

She was also curious as hell to know what had happened to him.

He grunted once and shifted so that he leaned against her shoulder, a better angle to see out the front windshield as Bear drove almost recklessly south. She found a burn that started at the side of his face and melted down his neck. It looked halfway healed.

"What happened?" she whispered, leaning forward to brush the long hair from his eyes.

"An explosion. I was knocked down. Something--Krycek told me the rebel aliens boarded the ship and took me. I don't. . .most of my time in space is furry."

"Furry?" she asked, frowning.

He licked his chapped and cracked lips. "Like there's moments there when I can see what happens, but it's thick and far away. I'm there, but I can't understand any of what my memories tell me I saw."

"How'd Krycek get you?"

"He was there. With them. They were faceless men, Scully, like the ones you saw on the burning bridge. And then Krycek was waking me up and we were in the middle of the forest. Where exactly are we--and how long was I gone?"

"We're in Oregon, Crater Lake National Park, the southernmost region of the state. Krycek warned us that we'd have to leave Oregon quickly, to keep them from coming after you."

"And they can't cross state lines?" he asked, an amused and pained grin on his face.

She smiled and felt the tears creep out of her eyes, hurriedly scrambling down her cheeks.

"Hey," he said softly, surprised. "What's going on?"

She shook her head. There was entirely too much to tell him--everything had happened without him. The baby, the aliens, Bear Daniels, Krycek's deal...

"For some reason, Oregon is one of the few places in America where the aliens can abduct people successfully...Krycek didn't stop to explain. It's why the very first group in this experiment were abducted from Orgeon...you know, Billy and the rest."

He nodded. "You're explaining things very nicely, but still not answering me. What's going on?"

His eyes were intense, boring into her like rocks falling in an avalanche. She didn't know what to say.

"You've been gone two and a half months. Krycek called me two weeks ago and said that the rebel aliens would save you...Apparently, you're a very sought after commodity," she said it wryly and earned a small grimace-grin from him. Mulder sighed and closed his eyes, then leaned forward and kissed her forehead. He felt too exhausted to press her for details.

"Isn't it nice to be so highly regarded, Agent Mulder?"

He grinned now, truly and honestly for the first time since he'd come stumbling from the woods and seen her face.

"Not really. I'd rather go back to a quiet little life."

She smiled, but felt painfully aware of how impossible that seemed now.

"These experiments were started by CancerMan to perfect the alien-human hybrid, one with a natural immunity to the virus. Something that the aliens said had to be done in order to save humanity." She had to explain it to him now, before she lost her courage.

"Do you know how sexy you sound saying alien-human hybrid, after all these years?"

Scully ducked her head, feeling almost silly, as if she were trying to explain alien conspiracies to her mother. For so many years, Mulder must have felt the same way, trying to get the world to listen.

"Mulder..."

"Sorry," he said softly. "Keep going. It's just that...I feel like I've let go of this. Only to have you finally take it up."

She shook her head. "There's...I don't know--"

"Never mind. Tell me the details, and we can talk later."

She nodded, relieved to have dodged that one.

"Cassandra Spender was the ultimate goal of the alien's plans, and it would bring about the colonization. But the rebel aliens got to her first...and that was never CancerMan's agenda. He was all the while looking for a cure, not a perfect hybrid."

"Cassandra was an unhappy miracle. Ironic it was his own wife."

Scully nodded. "In the process of creating the hybrid, CancerMan's experiments concentrated on increasing human abilities, using some alien DNA, but mainly alien technology."

"And you found out all of this in the two months I was gone?" he asked incredulously. "I should leave more often. You do better in two months than I have in my entire lifetime."

She bit her lip, feeling tears threaten again. She was too emotional to have Mulder trying to make light of things he didn't yet understand.

"No. It was only because you were taken that I learned this, Mulder. Skinner felt responsible for your abduction, and he confessed all he knew of CancerMan's plans. I also made Krycek explain everything to me before I agreed to trust him."

"Do you trust him?" he asked.

She shook her head. "No. But I know that he was trying to help. He warned me that the rebel aliens might try to lure me by saving you."

"Lure you Why?"

She bit her lip and glanced out the window, anxiety churning in her stomach.

"I...I'm getting to that."

He let it go, but looked at her differently, paying more attention than he had before. She was glad that the pregnancy was only noticable to herself; she needed this time to prepare him. She didn't think he'd be annoyed by the baby; she was afraid he would hate her for the deal she'd agreed to.

"Okay. Then go on."

"Some of these experiments produced children like Emily...or Gibson Praise. Mistakes and miracles at the same time. Children with mental abilities, or children who needed constant medical attention to survive. Sometimes, they found that medical gene therapy on children would produce needed results. That's what Emily was in the middle of...gene therapy...she might have lived a long time if we'd let her continue treatment."

"Scully...you made the right decision. Living as a medical experiment isn't *living*it's just cruel."

She closed her eyes, feeling dejection and fear and grief wash over her sharply. It seemed Mulder was condemning her before he even knew--She felt a hand brush along her cheek and she glanced up to smile pitifully at him. His soft kiss made her feel like a traitor, to both Mulder and their child.

"Scully?"

She ignored the question in his voice and cleared the tears from her eyes with a deft brush of her hand.

"These children were the future of the project, but most of them were burned at El Rico. Abductees were called by the rebel aliens to bridges and open fields to be burned. The surviving projects collapsed without the support of the principle men in our government, leaving only those original abductees in Oregon. And us."

"Us? No one else has survived?"

She shook her head. "Not anyone with immunity to the black oil. Besides Krycek, whom no one can control. The MUFON women are all dying of cancer, the others were called and burned within the last two months. It's been quick, but brutal, Mulder. Brutal."

He took a deep breath and pressed a hand to his eyes. "That's why the rebel aliens used me to lure you? Because they missed you on the bridge?"

She shook her head. "Not exactly. They definitely want to keep me alive...and you as well, if everything turns out in their favor."

"What turns out--Scully, I don't know what you're talking about."

"Mulder...we, together, have something that could stop the colonization, that would give the rebels a sure victory over the aliens and their human allies."

He shook his head, confused. "What?"

"Our...child, Mulder. Our baby."

"But you can't have children--they know that--"

"Mulder."

In the dark car racing over the dirt trail, Mulder turned to look at Scully and found the truth in her eyes.

"You--we have a baby?"

She nodded and instinctively touched her stomach, despite the absolute stillness and the only slight roundness to her belly.

"...Scully..."

Mulder grabbed her hand tightly, his face crazy with surprise, with joy, with the fear of sudden understanding.

"They want the baby? They can't have it, Scully. You told them, right? You *told* them--"

"They only want proof. For you. I had to--"

"Proof? What--proof? They can't have our child!"

She shook her head, tears streaming down her cheeks without pause, her hand clenched tightly by Mulder's. He was leaning closer to her, pressing urgent questions to the top of her head; she couldn't bear to look in his eyes.

"Two blood tests, Mulder. That's it. To prove the baby's immune to the black oil. Since we both are now, they assume that we'll pass it on to our child. And if that's true, then no one will dare kill us. It seemed the best way...to get you back, to make sure we were all safe--"

She was suddenly crushed in his arms, pulled so tight against him that her tears were soaked into his sweat-stained shirt. He was shaking his head, and she waited for his rebuke.

"We're going to stop all this, Scully. I promise you. We're going to get out of the car."

She laughed weakly, feeling somewhat relieved. "Kind of difficult right now...since we're in the middle of nowhere."

He smiled and rubbed a strand of her hair between his fingers, his eyes tracking hers intently.

"We have the chance to stop this--and at the same time, be normal for a change."

She smiled purely, her eyes reflecting just how badly she wanted that. "Think you can handle normal, Mulder?"

"Only if you help me."


Three years old and smiling with that too bright grin that most happy children have. She was sitting in the rocking chair, pushing back against it to keep it rocking, and waving at her mother. Her stubby legs stuck out from the seat, her blue tennis shoes pointed straight up.

"I'm rockin'" she said with a grin.

Her mother walked into the room and squatted down beside her, smiling back. She smoothed the still curly hair behind her daughter's ear and pushed her fingers through the tangles. The small smiling mouth and light blue eyes seemed to be warning her of something.

"Time to go, baby."

"No. No, please."

Now she was pouting, her eyes looked troubled, her body shrunk back against the rocking chair. She shook her head from side to side.

"Baby, we have to go."

Scully scooped down and pulled her from the chair, moving out of the bedroom and to the front door. Her daughter screamed and flailed wildly, saying "No, no, no," over and over.

"Shh...it's going to be okay," Scully said soothingly.

"Daddy! Daddy! Please Daddy!"

Scully closed her eyes and proceeded to take her daughter away.

"Just to the doctor's, baby."


There was a snap and she was wide awake, breathing hard and fast and feeling her heart pounding in her throat. She couldn't understand where she was for a moment, and then she was being comforted by two arms and a voice...

"Scully...Scully, it was just a dream."

She nodded and rubbed her hands along her eyes. The child in her dreams was so vivid, so hurt by her mother's betrayal, and growing up as the dreams progressed. She couldn't bear to think that this last dream was their future.

"Scully, that's your cell phone."

She glanced up and realized they were still in the ATV, but now out on the highway. Her phone was ringing; it had waked her from the dream.

"Scully," she answered.

"Do you have him?"

"Director Skinner....yes. I have him."

"Good. You need to stay out of DC for awhile. I've just put your mother on a flight to San Diego, to your brother. Go there if you want, or don't. Just stay out of DC."

"Why? What's going on?"

But he had hung up. She stared at her disconnected phone in bewilderment. She could already feel the wheels of the earth moving to grind them up, like grain into flour. Getting Mulder back had started a chain reaction--one she didn't know if she was prepared to handle.

*

"Agent Mulder, I'm very honored to meet you."

Bear Daniels shook the man's hand with a crushing grip, as if testing Mulder's worth. He was protective of Scully, and while Mulder was glad for that, it also annoyed him slightly. Bear didn't need to protect his partner from *him*

"Thanks for watching her back while I was gone," Mulder said, as politely as he knew how. There wasn't much he could say while Scully was standing there, but Bear seemed to get the meaning in his look.

"No problem. Anytime. I'm just glad we could get you back."

Scully was watching the road that ran beside the motel, looking for suspicious cars or staring men with cigarettes dangling from their lips. She was afraid that they would come for Mulder, for her, for their child, despite what Krycek had promised. Skinner's call had upset her.

Redding, California, was a large enough town that strangers weren't recognized as being strangers. That was good for them right now. She had this awful feeling that there was a great beast hunting them, searching them out. A beast with claws and teeth and blood--Her cellular rang, and she jumped. Not more bad news...

"Scully," she answered.

"Dana?"

"Mom!"

She cast wild eyes to Mulder, seeking some kind of rock in the violent storm that seemed to be raging all around her.

"Dana, I'm at Bill's. Charlie's here....he knows some things about your work--"

"Charles? What does he have to do with the X-Files?"

Mulder's eyebrow spiked as he listened to her end of the conversation, probably more confused than Scully was, if that was possible.

"He's been--oh, I don't understand it, Dana. But he wants you and Fox to come to San Diego--he can keep us all safe while--"

She was interrupted and Scully's heart froze in her chest, fearful.

"Dana? This is Charles--"

"Charlie, what's going on? What do you--"

"Come to San Diego. There's an installation in Arizona that I'm taking everyone to. A safe--"

"What's going on, Charlie? I don't understand. Skinner calls and tells me not to come back to DC, and now you--"

"Whatever you've done big sister, it's set off a kind of war. The rebels are burning people, we're fighting back--"

"How do you know about the rebels?! Charlie!"

"Dana. Just trust me. I know I haven't been around in ten years, but I can explain all of it. Get to San Diego--don't fly, just drive. Avoid main highways, if you can. I know I don't have to tell you this, but keep that baby *safe*got it?"

"Charlie, I don't understand--"

"There's no time to make everything clear. Just know that if you don't get to San Diego--they *will* find you. And if you're found, pray it's the rebels--they'll at least let you live."

The phone was dead now. Gone. Signal and everything. She blinked and breathed and couldn't seem to find the words to explain to Mulder, to poor Bear, who was looking as if a trailer truck had run him down.

"We have to get to San Diego, quickly. My brother has a place to take us that will be safe. In Arizona. It seems that everyone is looking for us."

She looked over at Mulder, needing his strength. He was leaning against the ATV, his eyes half-closed and his face haggard. They all needed sleep. Not more driving-- "Get in, Agent Scully."

Bear was gesturing towards the door, his face set into a determined grimace.

"You've been driving for the last two days, Bear. You've got to be exhausted."

"Then you get the next shift. But for now, get in. Your brother's right. We don't have much time."



II.

The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach. --Revelation 12:14


Travelling on US 101, they followed the highways indicated on the beat up map Bear had found in the glove compartment of their rental Ford. The ATV was back in Redding at the Jiffy Lube/Rent-a-Car where they had originally gotten it. This Ford was new and clean and seemed to be alive as they drove through California.

They'd taken a detour because Scully had insisted they not stay on Interstate 5; she was trying to heed her brother's warning. The 101 led them directly to the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco, and from there, they could take Highway 1, right down the coast. As frightening as it was to drive on a cliff, it seemed the fastest way to get to San Diego without taking the widely travelled highways.

"Bear, whenever you're ready, I can drive," Scully whispered.

Mulder was asleep in the backseat, stretched out as best he could, his head propped up on her rain coat. She was in the passenger seat again, occasionally sipping a Diet Coke. The gas tank was full and she was starving, but she didn't think they had time to stop.

She was thankful the pregnancy wasn't further along. Otherwise, they'd be stopping every hour to let her use the restroom.

"When we stop for dinner, you can have at it," Bear said, smiling slightly.

"Bear?"

"Yeah?"

"Skinner assigned you to the X-Files to protect me, didn't he?"

Bear remained silent, neither confirming nor denying her suspicions. She had sort of known all along that was his job; he seemed to lack the experience needed in the FBI's investigations.

"So, where were you before the X-Files?"

He gave her a small grin. "In jail."

"Jail?"

"Ten year sentence. For assaulting an undercover FBI agent. I was on my seventh year."

Scully gaped at him, disbelieving. "That undercover agent....Skinner?"

"Yeah." Bear grinned. "I don't regret it either. I was doing my job--I'm a professional bodyguard."

"Did you know he was an FBI agent?"

"No. Like I said, I was doing my job."

"Who were you protecting?"

Scully glanced to the backseat, checking on Mulder, and then faced Bear again. His past was a mystery to her, and had been since he'd joined her on the X-Files.

"The President."

"What?! The President? And why did you punch Skinner?"

"He was getting too close. I didn't know why at the time. Just too close. So I punched him."

"So...you were Secret Service?"

He nodded. "Yeah. Not anymore. They said I was a problem anyway, and that I couldn't just hit FBI agents....all that. They set me up."

"Skinner?"

Bear shook his head. "He wasn't even pressing charges. He testified in my behalf, even. He did everything he could, but I was snowballed. He always promised he'd get me out."

"And he did...to look after me."

"Pretty much."

Bear turned to look at her for a moment, his face that odd mix of soft and hard, his eyes so bright on her.

"I want you to know...I'm staying with you. Even when you get to your brother's. This is my job--I promised."

She nodded, then gently put her hand on his arm, touched. She knew he was loyal, and she hoped that loyalty would extend to Mulder as well. However, there was something still nagging her.

"I think you know how important this baby is to me...to the world even. I want you...if it comes to it, I want you to make sure that this baby lives--"

"You're asking me to make a decision--"

"No," Scully shook her head. "No. I'm telling you the decision I've already made. If it comes down to choosing between me and the baby--it's the baby. Understand? Mulder's not...he won't be able to decide something--"

"I understand," he said solemnly, shaking his head and looking out at the dark road.

"Thank you, Bear. This is too important..."


Bear was asleep in the backseat, Mulder was beside her, and she was driving 70 mph south to San Francisco, knowing that if they could make it that far in one day, then they could make it to San Diego the next. Her stomach was churning from the bean burritos they'd gotten at a Mexican place in Calpella, just off the highway.

"Tell me again," Mulder was saying.

"I don't...the dizzy spells were because of the pregnancy. I found out about an hour before my mother told me you were gone."

"An hour..."

"The first thing I did was call your cell phone. But you weren't there...of course. I didn't even get a signal--I knew something was wrong right then."

"How many doctor's appointments have you been to?"

She tapped the breaks as they coasted through a curve. She was relieved he seemed so interested.

"Just three. Nothing important yet. You haven't missed anything."

"Except for sharing this with you...finding out...I wish I'd been there. I wish--"

"It's not anything you can change, Mulder. I'm just glad you're here now."

She glanced over at him and saw the mountains glistening white at their tops in the moon. The snow quickly gave way to rich dark purples and browns and greens, like God had painted the scene just on a whim. She felt at home, like everything was finally in place, finally where it was supposed to be.

"If I'd known before, Scully...I wouldn't have gone."

She shook her head. "No. You would have gone anyway, Mulder. For the same reasons. Because it was the one thing that might give us enough answers to finally stop searching...And I would have wanted you to go."

He reached over the console and brushed his thumb along her knee, smiling.

"Do you know if it's a boy or a girl yet?"

She grinned. "Not for sure. But I think it's a girl."


She was four years old and a lot of the chubby baby-ness had left her face. She was still a child, but with an angled, Mulder-type face that left a thick bottom lip and dark brooding eyes. She was lying in front of the television, her hands propping up her chin, intent on a dark screen.

"What are you doing, baby?"

She turned to look at her mother and smiled. "Listening."

The television was not on, and her eyes had been closed.


She looked up, out; the stars were bright from the back window and turning as Mulder navigated the 101. Sometimes, she could see the ocean, but mostly, it was the mountains and the hills, the green and brown of a dry and hot summer, and the sky.

Night had fallen too quickly and Bear and Mulder were debating stopping at a motel. San Francisco's hotels required months in advance to get a room, and they had a better chance of getting started early if they stopped now.

Scully sat up in the back seat, noting a passing sign that read: Marin County. A few more miles and they would be at the Golden Gate Bridge.

"What's the plan, guys?"

Mulder looked back at her, startled. "You're up. Did we wake you?"

She shook her head. "No, just a dream."

They exchanged a look, an asking and answering, and Mulder finally pointed to a city on their map.

"We're going to stop here, in Novato. We have the chance of going east, through Oakland tomorrow. Or we go through San Francisco."

"I want to stay off of Highway 5, Mulder. If we went through Oakland, then we'd be on a major interstate. If we go through San Francisco, then we can take the coastal highway."

He shrugged. "I just want to get there quickly...it seems like we're running out of time."

Scully sighed. "We have the extra few hours, Mulder. Miramar Naval Station is north of San Diego itself, so we aren't in any rush--"

"Scully. It's just...All right. We go through San Francisco."

Mulder looked to Bear, as if to affirm that the man would follow the decision they'd made. The bodyguard only nodded and continued eating up the miles with his fast driving. The exit for Novato was five miles ahead of them, and they could stop for the night, get something to eat.

"Scully? What do you know about your brother?"

The intention in his question offended her and she narrowed her eyes. "I know that he's my brother, Mulder. And he's not going to let anyone hurt us."

He shook his head, running his fingers along the worn edges of the map. It was hard to trust a man he'd never even met, let alone one of Scully's brothers. Bill seemed the type to do something irrational and dangerous simply because he thought he was looking out for his sister's best interests. Who knew what Bill had told Charles?

"I ask because...because it's too difficult to know who's on the right side. I thought Diana was with us, Scully, and you made me see I was wrong. What if--"

"No, Mulder. Charles...Charles hasn't been allowed to tell us what his job is, but it has something to do with Naval Intelligence. I always thought submarines, but I don't know for sure. He's on our side, Mulder."

"I'm sorry, Scully. I just don't...You're the only one I trust. The only one."

"So trust that I know what I'm doing. I got you back, didn't I?"

She smiled at him, hoping to switch the subject. She didn't want to think that her brother was setting a trap for her. But Mulder was right; she hadn't seen Charlie in ten years. She couldn't know for sure...

Stop it, she told herself. Charlie's your brother.

*

The room was small, in a Motel 6, and the beds smelled like stale cigarette smoke. They rented only one room, trying to throw off anyone that was on their trail. Mulder went in to the motel office and signed everything; neither she nor Bear ventured out of the car. Hopefully the clerk would not remember a lone, average looking man.

Even if Scully thought he was rather handsome.

When their clothes were put away, Bear left in the Ford to buy them something fastfood to eat. Scully hadn't eaten since eleven o'clock, and Mulder not since his abduction. That he knew of, anyway.

With Bear gone, Mulder gathered her tightly in his arms and took a long deep breath, feeling suddenly overwhelmed. She led him towards the bed and pulled off his shoes and socks, then his white undershirt. He had forsaken his sweater somewhere in the forest. It was too hot.

"Come here, wife," he murmured, and pulled her into his arms again. She laid back on the bed, feeling home for the first time since he had left her in the Hoover building. Her cross was still around his neck and she gently rubbed her finger along its sleek lines.

"Do you...do you think I made the right choice?" she asked, feeling insecure.

He grabbed her hand and squeezed tightly. "I think you didn't have much of a choice at all, Scully."

"But...but was it the right choice?"

He glanced down into her eyes; she wondered if he could feel her fear.

"It's just two blood samples. That's all. And we know that we'll be protected because of it, Scully. So maybe...maybe it was the only thing we could do."

She nodded, but she still felt like she had traded away her soul, her child, to the devil.

*

She had a new dream. There was no little girl at all, but a bright, horned dragon thrashing his tail across the sky. The stars were swept down, the moon crushed and dying, the ocean was churning with the boiling heat of the dragon's fury.

She closed her eyes, but the vision remained. Just when she thought the dragon was going to open his mouth and swallow her whole, a sword of fire and ice flashed from the heavens and chopped off the dragon's head. The horned head shrunk as the dragon screamed, and rolled to her feet.

Picking it up delicately, she looked into the dragon's eyes.

It was CancerMan, and he was smiling.

*

San Francisco was a blur of blue and brown and grey and dirt. GAP signs and Starbucks and then, the occasional privately owned cafe or t-shirt shop. The city still had its own flavor, but the commercialization of America had already encroached. She felt sad, for no real reason, and watched the city pass away.

Soon they were following the Coastal Highway 1, and driving fast on the outer edge of a cliff, watching water break and foam along the jagged rocks at the bottom. She hoped they didn't meet up with anyone trying to kill them. It would be too easy out there.

She was tired of being on the road, tired of eating fast food, and tired of feeling the twinge in her belly every time Mulder glanced at her with concern. He was the one who had just gotten back from space--he was the one who should be taken care of.

She had no more calls from her brother, and it dawned on her about thirty miles into the trip that she had left her cellular phone at the motel. Perhaps it was better that way. She wasn't sure if a person could be tracked using the cell phone, but it was best to not take chances.

"Want to play cards with me, Scully?"

She smiled at his offer and nodded. He crawled over the seats to sit in back with her, then pulled the deck of playing cards out of his shirt pocket.

"What game?"

"How about Crazy Eights?" she offered.

"Sounds appropriate."

They had only been playing for ten minues when he suddenly grabbed her hand.

"Scully--"

She looked up, worried for a moment. The look of tenderness in his eyes made her heart melt.

"Did you tell your mom...about us?"

She shook her head, smiling. "Besides knowing that the baby is yours, she doesn't know anything more. I didn't tell her we're married."

He shook his head. "Your mother probably thinks I'm awful, taking advantage of her daughter like that. Then leaving her in the lurch."

"Well, you are awful," she said, grinning. "Taking advantage of me. You should be ashamed."

He laughed and leaned forward to kiss her lips. "Every chance I can get...I'll definitely take advantage of you."


Was that the baby kicking? No, it couldn't be. But she felt the flutter in her belly like a butterfly stretching its still-new wings. She smiled and covered her stomach with a hand, thrilled. Completely thrilled.

Glancing up to gain Mulder's attention, she noticed that she was alone in the desert, a dark mirage on the horizon. Stars were gone, the moon was bloodied, the earth looked dismal. She took a deep breath of the putrid air and gagged, retching into the sand.

Her stomach was full and large, laden with the promise. The dragon was the mirage, and it was slithering its way towards her, its scales making that swish-scratch noise that nightmares created for deadly snakes. Claws rippled the sand and a hot blast of breath made the air a furnace.

Oh God, oh God--She felt a cool touch on her forehead, a breath of fresh air, a whisper of white wings. Someone was holding her softly, gently, helping her labor. She realized that the baby was coming, that it wasn't just kicking, but actually shifting down, settling into place in her womb. It would come and be born on this desert land with only the dragon and the angel in attendance.

She looked up at the angel and saw her brother first, and then the face shifted and it was Mulder, and then shifted again and it was Bear. The fourth face was a ray of pure blinding light and she glanced away, comforted even as she was afraid.

It was time, it was coming, it was coming--**

"Scully? Want some dinner?"

She opened her eyes to find Mulder's dark ones peering back at her. He brushed the sweaty hair from her cheek and pulled her into a sitting position.

"It's Subway this time. Maybe a bit healthier. You're still taking those vitamins, right?"

She nodded. She could still feel the hot dragon breath as it waited, crouched beneath her.

"We only have sixty miles, little less than an hour."

She sighed. "Good. I'm tired of this car."

He suddenly hugged her tightly, crushing her body into his with a force she had never felt before.

"Thank you, Scully. Thank you."

She felt bewildered. What had she done?

"I know how much this baby means to you...and still you agreed...you saved me, Scully. You still chose to save me. I've never had anyone--"

She shook her head, biting her lip to keep from crying. Hormones, she told herself.

"You have someone now, Mulder. Don't forget it, okay? You have me."

"And our baby."

She grinned; she couldn't help feeling so very good. So alive. The baby was growing inside her; she could feel it getting bigger each day.

"And the baby," she agreed and pressed soft, eager lips to his. If he had doubted her love, her devotion, he didn't any longer.

*

"Charles!"

She jumped from the back seat of the Ford and met her brother in the driveway, hugging him fiercely.

"I'm so glad you made it, Dana."

She smiled and released him, then was immediately grabbed by her mother, who demanded her own tight hug. Mulder was hanging back along the edge of the lawn, watching her.

"Bear Daniels..."

The burly man's name sprang from Charles' lips and she looked up in amazement as the two clasped hands like long-lost brothers.

"Do you know him, Charlie?"

"Sure. Secret Service."

Bear was nodding and winking at her, which made her think he had known all along who her brother was. She had a feeling that was why he had never protested about the drive to San Diego.

"Charlie, this is Fox Mulder. My partner--and my husband."

"What?!" her mother blurted out, looking shocked. "When did that happen?"

Scully felt Mulder shift to stand closer to her; heat was radiating from his body and warming her heart. Her mother's grin was encouraging as well.

"About a month before Oregon...we didn't tell anyone, Mom."

"Oh my gosh...you didn't tell me even when you found out you were pregnant, Dana!"

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Scully. I didn't know I'd be...gone for so long. She was just keeping her promise to me," Mulder said, placing his hand at the small of her back. She had forgotten just how much she'd missed that.

"Well, if you've eloped, at least it's to a good man." Mrs. Scully rose on tiptoe to kiss Mulder's cheek, then hugged him tightly. "I've always been thankful you're in her life, Fox."

Charles shook his hand and Scully felt the weight of their secrecy lift from her. In truth, their marriage had been a secret so long, she had almost forgotten it. They had no rings, just the promise, and her cross around Mulder's neck.

And now their child.

*

Wings were lifting her up. She was floating high above the crowded, decimated earth. The desert reflected the blue of the sky, the white of the wings. She could feel rain smoothing away the fires, misting her eyelashes.

She turned and the wings enfolded her in a gentle but strong embrace. She kissed a wing and found herself being rescued by Mulder, her angel, her lips to his. The cross was glinting brightly against his skin and he ran soft hands down her body as he brushed away the raindrops.

She closed her eyes in pleasure and felt the first tensing of her body as his mouth travelled along her skin. The sky was holding them up, his wings were beating soft about her face, cooling her even as she was heating up.

His hands, his hands sliding down, his thumbs circling her belly. The touch of lips to her breasts, the heat of his breath along her skin, the arch of her back against his hand--She opened her eyes and found the white ceiling of her brother's master bedroom. The air from a box fan poured cool relief along her flushed skin and the sheets softly smelled of Tide and Downey. Scully opened her hands and spread her slick palms down his back, rising to meet his body as he made love to her.

"Mulder," she gasped and the feel of him everywhere and inside all at once made her dizzy.

"Love you," he whispered back, but she wasn't sure if it was his mouth or his body or his eyes that was saying the words.

He'd come back to her.

*

There was no hiding place in Arizona. Her brother had made it up for the benefit of whomever might be watching and listening. And Scully thought that no one could be more paranoid than Mulder. Instead of driving the long miles to Arizona, they drove a few miles north to the docks at Miramar Naval Station.

Charles tried to explain to them what was going on as he drove, and why he knew so much about their work on the X-Files. Ten years ago, he'd been approached by his father's friend, a man in the Navy Intelligence who had been charged with a very special mission. Convinced of the threat within the United States' own government, President Roosevelt established a kind of task force that would work against men like CancerMan and his shadowy Syndicate. They were jokingly called the Resistance, but this group had come to live up to their name.

Charles informed them that William Mulder had been a double agent within the Syndicate, giving information and materials to the Resistance, but unable to escape CancerMan's plans. While trying to save his family from the danger he knew would come, he sacrificed his life and his children's lives as well, all unknowingly.

"Why was I never told this?" Mulder asked, pushing forward to look Charles in the eyes.

"If people knew the Resistance existed, then the Syndicate would also know. And they'd shut us down. We're not large, but we're highly placed. I'm only telling you now because this child is so very important--"

"To who? This Resistance, the aliens, the rebels? This child is important to us, because it's *our* child," Mulder said, his voice dangerously low.

Scully was feeling dizzy again; the news that her brother was in some secret Resistance, and had all along possessed the answers they had so desperately sought--and at such a high cost--"Charles...why is the baby so important?" she whispered.

"If the baby's immune, then that means there's hope that all humans can also be made immune. These natural immunities within the baby's blood can be used to create a universal cure. Just it's very existence means that we have a chance...don't you see? Dana, you weren't supposed to get pregnant at all--it's part of the Syndicate's project."

"They keep their test subjects sterile on purpose?" Mulder asked.

They were driving towards Miramar, the bright sunshine and sparkling ocean on their left. Scully was glad that Bear and her mother were in another car following them; she didn't want her mother to know half of the horrors they were discussing.

"That's why--this child is a miracle, really and truly. Dana, I've wanted to tell you about all of this ever since Mom told me about your three missing months. I knew right away what it was, and I thought that the Syndicate had found out about me."

Mulder rubbed the bridge of his nose. "No...they gave her the cancer because of me."

Scully shook her head. "Mulder--"

"Dana, I wanted to tell you." Charles interrupted. "It was just too risky. The only reason I'm telling you this now is because you need to know what's going on. This child is the only hope we have. As much as I hate this, the Resistance will keep you safe for the duration of your pregnancy--for a price."

"Charles! What do you mean, for a price? How can you do this--"

"Dana. It's not...we're honestly trying to help. I promise you the baby won't be in any danger. We're not going to take your child. We just want to be able to study the blood, to create a cure for this. Without letting either the aliens *or* the rebels have a chance."

Scully glanced sideways at Mulder, feeling sick because he had been right about her brother. In effect, Charles was taking them hostage, even if for their own good. But she felt better about supporting the Resistance than she did about helping the rebel aliens. The rebels had tried to trick Krycek into leading them to her, using Mulder as bait.

Charles was her brother and he was telling her honestly the way things were.

"Is Skinner in the Resistance?" Scully asked suddenly.

Charles shook his head. "He's the one person outside the Resistance who has any idea that it's going on. He's not certain, but he's smart. He's also compromised, and that's why we haven't approached him. Krycek holds something over him."

"Charles, what's to keep the aliens from taking our child, once it's born and we've lost your protection?"

"I don't know that they won't. Bear told me that Krycek promised that you would be safe. He was either lying, or had been lied to. You're not going to be assured safety."

Scully pressed protective hands over her stomach, trying to clear her thoughts and make the right decisions. Mulder kissed her forehead and his eyes asked her to trust him.

"What if we joined the Resistance?" he asked.

Charles blinked and looked at them in the rear view mirror. It seemed he hadn't thought of that before.

"I don't--I guess if you were to join, you'd be guaranteed our protection. We'd hide you away for as long as was necessary."

"Mulder, I don't want to be hiding away all our lives..."

"Dana? I think...I really think that you'll be safe. You've got some powerful watchers in the Syndicate, who have always known of Mulder's importance, and sort of created your own importance. If we hide you while we manufacture a cure, then I think you'll be safe once we've distributed it."

"Do you know that for certain?"

"No. But it's the best I can offer you."

Mulder glanced at her, asking with his eyes what she wanted to do. Scully hated bartering with her child's life for her own safety, but they were left with nothing else.

Slowly, she nodded her head. Charles stopped the car at the Miramar gate, looking in the rear view mirror to meet her eyes.

"Welcome to the Resistance; Dad would be proud."


A submarine. It was more than she would have thought, and less at the same time. It was cramped and crowded and she was sharing a stateroom with her mother and Mulder. Bear and Charlie were in the crew section on hard bunks that looked no different from the one she and Mulder sardined into every night.

There were two OB doctors on the ship, along with the most comprehensive surgical outfit she had ever seen outside a hospital. Resistance members of course. Even clinics didn't have this kind of equipment. They seemed prepared for war, for anything that could possibly go wrong with her pregnancy. It wasn't very reassuring to think about.

It was called the "Elysian Fields," and it had a skeleton crew of twenty-three, all hand-picked by her brother. The men were cordial, but didn't speak much to her directly. Most had the superstition that it was bad luck for women to be on board, but it wouldn't get in the way of their jobs.

The OB she saw regularly was Dr. Aggelos, which she found out from him was ancient Greek for angel. If that wasn't strange enough, his face always reminded her of her father when she first caught a glimpse of him. She was smart enough not to question anymore.

She had about six more months on the submarine, just waiting, before she could go back out into the sunshine, see the brilliant sky, feel the moon shining on her face. And after that, an interminable period of waiting for the Resistance to create a cure and mass produce it.

She questioned her decision at times, but the dreams of the dragon were gone. That gave her hope.

*

She was lying against him on the small bunk in their room, her back to his chest. His hands were comfortably atop her stomach, now more full and ripe, but still not yet awkward. She let her head fall against his shoulder, wishing for stars and a deep black sky.

"So this is humanity's salvation?" he whispered, spreading his fingers along her belly as if he could encompass the child in his palm.

She smiled. "That's kind of a lot for one little girl."

"Ah, she can handle it. She's your daughter, after all."

Scully threaded her fingers through his, rubbing their joint hands across her belly.

"We ought to think of a name," she said.

"I guess Jesus is taken," he said, grinning. She swatted his shoulder with her free hand.

"Don't be a heretic, Mulder."

"Mmm, we'll think of something. It will come to us at an acceptable time."

She smiled at his paraphrase of one of her favorite Bible verses. He was right; they had months of nothing to spend preparing for their child. And afterwards, years of joy and celebration, and perhaps, freedom and safety.

*

"Mommy?"

"Mommy."

Scully opened her eyes and saw the face of her five-year-old daughter smiling back at her. The room was light blue around her and it smelled like rich chocolate. She inhaled the fragrance and stroked a finger across her child's cheek.

"I'm awake, baby."

"Now's the time, Mommy."

"Time for what?"

The girl held out her hand, gesturing for her to follow. Scully slipped out of the bed and clasped her daughter's small fingers.

"Where are we going, baby?"

The curly head looked up once more to her mother, only smiling. Her eyes were still the unnatural dark brown, but her hair was longer, nearly to her waist. She was wearing jeans with the knees white from wear and a light blue sweater that matched the walls. She had a cross around her neck that looked familiar.

The little girl led her mother down a hallway with dark wood panelling, and then out onto a grassy meadow. Wild buttercups and violets raced down the sloping sides of the hillside and the dazzling sun seemed to reach out long fingers to pick the flowers.

A thick boulder was lying flat in the middle of the field, its sun-bleached face exposed to her eyes. The little girl led her mother to the rock, smiling and letting her hand run through the tall grass. Scully stopped and picked one of the pale purple violets, then threaded it through her little girl's dark brown hair.

She smiled and climbed on the rock, now standing face to face with her mother. Scully took her hands and smiled back.

"Now's the time, Mommy."

Isabel. Like a flower suddenly opening in her soul, the name bloomed across her heart.

"Isabel?"

"Yes. I like it, don't you?"

The girl was grinning widely, smiling into her mother's face with uncontrolled joy.

"Yes. It's very elegant. Did you pick that out yourself, Isabel?"

"No. God told me."

"God told you?" Scully asked, not really surprised in this earthy and bright place.

"Yes, I was listening."

Her baby girl glanced to the skies, taking a deep refreshing breath of sunshine and flowers.

"Is God talking to you now?" Scully asked, feeling a deep peace settle within her.

"Yes."

"What is he saying, Isabel?"

"He's saying 'Well done'--it's like a whisper. Can't you hear it, Mommy? He's saying thank you for doing right..."

She looked like an angel, with her dark rich hair and her face turned to the sky. At any moment, Scully expected wings to burst full and shimmering from her thin shoulder blades.

"Isabel, what does your name mean?"

Isabel glanced back down and leaned forward to kiss her mother.

"Consecrated to God, Mommy. I'm consecrated to God."

end
adios
RM

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