Title: The Card
Author: Florimell (Made of Snow)
Classification: VR, MSR
Archive: Anywhere, as long as you tell me first
Keywords: MSR, Existence post-ep
Disclaimer: Much to my chagrin, these characters do not belong to me. They are the precious property of Chris Carter and 1013
Summary: Skinner pays a visit to Scully's apartment to visit Baby William and notices some changes.
by Florimell (Made of Snow)
Skinner rapped on the door, shifting the package in his arms. It was nearly two weeks ago that
William was born, he thought ruefully. His visit was long overdue. He heard footsteps approaching and a moment later Scully was greeting him with a smile and a hug.
"Sir, it's good to see you. Come on in." She swept her hand toward her usually neat, but approaching lived-in-messy apartment.
"No, it's my pleasure, Agent Scully. I'm sorry I didn't come sooner. How are you feeling?"
"I feel good. Wonderful, actually. Thank you for asking." Scully said, instinctively placing a hand over her stomach as had become habit during the nine months she had carried William.
Skinner glanced down at the gift in his arms. " Oh, um, this is for you. For William, actually." He handed Scully the gaily-wrapped box, looking around nervously. "I had to special order this gift, or I would've come sooner. I think he'll like it."
"Thank you, Sir." Scully smiled, admiring the gift as she placed it on the cocktail table. "I will open this with him in a moment. Come, I'd like you to meet William."
Skinner followed Scully towards her bedroom, feeling rather awkward as she walked in to see if William was awake. He had so many questions and curiosities about her new life, but none that it seemed proper to ask. He began to mentally list them as he shifted his feet outside her bedroom door. Would she resume her regular job? Didn't the aspect of danger deter her, now that she had a baby to take care of? How was the birth? Why William? Was it after her father... or someone else?
"Come in, sir. I think William must have known that he was getting a special visitor. Didn't you now?"
Scully's voice, especially her uncharacteristic baby-talk sentence at the end, broke Skinner's musings. However, as he stepped into her bedroom, his biggest question was answered without his having to voice a word. The first thing he noticed was the bag of sunflower seeds rolled up on the end table. Then, a man's black tee shirt over a chair. And a pair of large sneakers half sticking out from under the bed. Two coffee cups. There were two coffee cups left on the other end table, obviously waiting to be taken to the sink after morning coffee. He then realized why Scully's apartment had such a lived-in, almost cluttered look. She wasn't living alone.
"Here he is." Scully had William comfortably in her arms. She tilted him so that Skinner could see his face. If she had noticed his observations, she didn't let on. "Would you like to hold him?"
"Oh, actually, I'm not that great with babies. I wouldn't want to make him cry. But I'd love to get a better look." He leaned in to see William's small face and almost laughed at the obvious combination of his favorite agents. Scully's skin tone, definitely her skin tone. Perhaps even her eyes. But without a doubt it was Mulder's nose. He never really had a question in his mind as to the parentage of the baby, but if he'd had, it would have been answered now.
"He's beautiful." He said honestly. "Absolutely beautiful."
"Thank you, sir. I'll just change him, and then we can sit inside and have tea, or coffee, or,"
She broke off as she laid William on the bed and began seeking a fresh diaper for him. As she produced the clean white square from a brightly colored bag, the front door rattled and then clicked open.
Scully beamed at the sound of Mulder's voice, briefly laying a hand upon William's stomach and turning to Skinner. "Could you just stay here for a second and make sure he doesn't roll away?
I'll be right back." And she disappeared from the cozy bedroom; presumably to help Mulder with the packages Skinner heard being brought in.
Skinner relaxed at the chance to once again look around him. Sunlight filtered in through the curtains, gently streaking across the cradle as if afraid to disturb the peace. The room had a pinkish glow, for some reason he couldn't define, and smelled sweetly of baby powder and love. William cooed and Skinner smiled down at him, suddenly aware that this moment between him and William felt almost like bonding. He'd known the parents of this baby intimately, shared some of their most cherished secrets, and now got to witness the creation of their love.
He sighed contentedly at his own good work in preserving their lives and their jobs, scanning over the room with a softer eye. The bed was unmade, but clearly slept in by two people. Rumpled covers and dented pillows added to the comfy atmosphere. It was then that he noticed the card. It stood up on the end table at what he presumed to be Scully's end of the bed, the side without the sunflower seeds, half hidden by the coffee cups. The better part of Skinner told him not to be nosy, but the better part quickly lost out and he found himself walking to the end table and reverently lifting the card into his large hands.
It was a creamy colored card with a marbled front. There were two fuzzy animals pictured on the front in muted tones of brown. He really couldn't tell what kind of animal they were supposed to be, but they stood facing each other, hands held and lips touching in the sweet kiss that can best be depicted, for some strange reason, by fuzzy animals on cards. Above their heads were small dancing letters, "You + Me = Forever." In blue ink, "Mulder" was printed above one animal and "Scully" over the other. Mulder's handwriting, Skinner recognized.
He tenderly opened the card, long having forgotten rules of propriety in favor of cherishing this evidence of love. The same small letters danced across the center of the inside, "I love you." Each word had been underlined twice in blue ink. Skinner swallowed hard as he read what had been written. Scully, the ink scrawled out at the top at the card, followed by a messy comma. The rest nearly filled the bottom half. "Thank you for making me a Daddy. You are my everything, my one truth. I love you." And underneath the sloppy inscription, "Mulder."
Skinner replaced the card, took a step back from the end table, then leaned over again and shifted it slightly to the left, trying to recall the exact spot that the card had been before he'd picked it up. When he was satisfied, he turned around, and saw Mulder standing in the doorway, an almost embarrassed grin on his face.
"Mulder. I-I-I was just," Skinner sighed resignedly. "I'm sorry. Scully asked me to keep an eye on William, and I just started looking around."
"That's okay." Mulder's voice was soft and smiling. He gave a shy nod towards the card. "I love her."
"I know." Skinner chuckled. "You always have. I've always known that. Congratulations, by the way. You have a beautiful son."
Mulder beamed, scooping William up into his arms and touching noses with his baby. "You can go on inside if you like. Scully put up some water for tea. We'll be right in after you, won't we,
William?" Mulder pausing, gazing proudly at his baby, then looked up at Skinner. "His name is
Mulder, you know. William Scully Mulder."
Skinner nodded, smiling as he walked back to the living room. His last question had been answered.
Author's Note: Feedback is greatly appreciated; please send to above address. Thank you for reading.