Title: On the Road Again
Author: Fox fireX and Girlie Girl7
Classification: MSR, Baby Fic
Rating: PG to PG-13, did we put any bad language in it, Geeg? I can't remember.
Disclaimer No way in heck we would claim ownership of these guys. That would make us CC, and after the fiasco with the Gunman in S9, we would like to live, thankyouverymuch.
Feedback: If you'd be so kind to foxfirex_00@yahoo.com

Summary: It's a long long drive to California.


I'm not getting out of this, am I?" The open suitcase half filled with clothing yawned before him like a great chasm of terror. The kind of terror that few men were ever called to face. A blinding, slinking terror that coiled in the gut, reaching outward until it arcd along the nerve endings, its blue/white electrical glow illuminating the deepest darkest hidden fears.

"Stop making that face, Mulder, we are going to visit my brother, and that is the end of it." Scully snapped the lid on her own suitcase, placing it on the floor next to Will's assorted luggage. She opened the diaper bag, stuffing it with necessities for the flight.

"Honestly, you act as if I'm sending you back to Tunguska. It's California, we can lie on the beach, play in the sand, you know, have fun. Fun Mulder. Heard of it?"

"Ha ha. You know, you're not at your most attractive when you're being snippy. You know Bill and I barely tolerate each other. Hell, if it weren't for Will, he would have cheerfully killed me by now. I know it's our 'turn' to visit them, but still." He pulled his best pout, "I don't wanna go, Mr. Custer. Besides, he did leave the message on the answering machine wanting to know it the guy who knocked up his sister was coming, too."

"Pack, Mulder. Get it done and I promise I will throw in that black bikini you bought for my birthday." She game him her best seductive smile, it worked, as usual.

He smiled like the hormone driven man he was, and acquiesced. Packing was much easier for a simple vacation than it had been for a case. One good Armani that Scully insisted he bring 'just in case' and nothing in his suitcase but casual clothes. Being thrown out of the FBI definitely had its advantages.

"Hey Scully, what do you think about driving to California?" He caught her in the living room nursing Will on the sofa.

"Drive? Across country with a six month old baby? You are a brave man, my dear."

"Well, think about it. We have that monstrosity of an SUV we bought, plenty of time off since your classes won't start up for another six weeks and I, for once, am not under a deadline. It could be fun."

She switched Will to her her other arm, settling him in as she thought. "Well, I guess it would be an adventure. We've driven the country hundreds of times, but we've never had the chance to enjoy it. Will is still small enough that he sleeps well in the car... ok, Mulder, you're on. I'll call the airline, you start packing for the extra time it will take, and we'll do it."

He reached down to kiss her, never tiring of being able to do that whenever the mood struck. Next he kissed the top of his son's fuzzy head, smiling to himself at the small noises of contentment Will made as he nursed.


Loading an SUV for a cross country trip with an infant was turning out to kick Fox Mulder's ass.

No matter which way he turned the cargo, it took up more room than he liked. He wanted space for Dana to get back there next to Will if she needed to, but all of Will's paraphernalia was getting in the way. He stood back, the picture of masculine confusion with his hands on his hips and a look of disbelief on his face. Surely they did not need this much crap to take a trip.

Scully joined him in the drive way. "Well, do you think we overpacked?"

"Yes, yes I do." He reached for a few of the larger iteMs. "Not his saucer bouncer, you know how much he likes that!"

Mulder kept moving, a man possessed.

"No! Not the swing, he loves to sleep in his swing, and Mulder, come on, the playpen?" She reached around her husband, trying to take it from him.

"Look, we cannot possibly haul all of this stuff all the way to California. He will be driving or sleeping in a motel, he doesn't need the bouncer. The swing is too big, and we have the porta crib, we don't need the playpen, too."

She sighed, resigned. "Ok, ok, I'll help you take them back in. Just leave them downstairs for now, we can move it back up when we get home. The Mulders lived in a two story restored Victorian over the border in Virginia. The proceeds from Mulder's parents houses paid cash for it, the advance for his first book then the subsequent royalties renovated it. His first book was more successful than with of them had dreamed. He found he could throw the same intensity into writing that he had reserved for the X files.


SUV loaded, Will strapped into his car seat, map securely in Scully's hands as always, they were off.

"Did you call your mom to tell her we were going to be gone longer?" Mulder pointed the shiny burgundy behemoth toward the interstate.

"Yes, I did and I called Bill to let him know that we would be delayed and why. Mom says don't worry about Elvis, she will take good care of him." One of the first things Mulder had done when they were settled in the house was buy a dog. Elvis was a border collie that Mulder had fallen in love with on first sight. Took him seven years to figure out he loved me, Scully thought, but that dog was instantaneous.

"Ooooo Scully....this highway is going to take us right through Memphis. Memphis, Scully, think of the opportunities." He was positively giddy.

"Oh, no, you have got to be kidding. You want to go BACK to Graceland?" The miles were rolling by, Will was sleeping like an angel and Mulder was already slamming coffee like days of yore. She envied him that, she was off caffeine until Will was weaned.

"Sure, after all, it will be Will's first visit. Kind of a...father-son bonding experience. On a spiritual plane." He glanced at her and smiled the smile of an innocent man. He was good at looking innocent, too bad she knew better.

"Spiritual. Ok, Mulder. We'll stop at Graceland."

"Whoo hoo! You're the best, red."

"Down boy. Look, there's the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway." They were passing through Roanoke.

"Forest side trip, Scully?"

"No! Thank you, we don't have great luck in forests, Mulder."


Scully woke from a nap, the miles continued to roll by. It was dark now, she straightened in her seat, and looked at her husband.

"You ok, Mulder?"

"Yeah, I'm awake." He flashed her a smile, but it seemed tight, different. She looked over the seat, Will was awake and playing with a toy strapped to the side of his carseat, content at the moment.

"Where are we?"

"Well into Tennessee. Not far from Apison, actually." Ah ha. Apison. Now she understood.

"Mulder, you did everything you could to save them, you know. After all this time, I don't think we've ever discussed it. But you did. Their deaths weren't your fault. Not even hers." Why couldn't she bring herself to say her name?

"I know. If I had gotten there earlier, the mighty men would have just gunned me down in the field. That's actually not what I was thinking about. I was thinking about how I treated you during that time. How we treated each other. Those were tough times, Scully." He glanced sideways at her, then returned to study the road.

"I...I don't like to dwell much on that time, Mulder. It hurt, I won't lie to you. But at that time I had no claim on you, and I had to right to feel like a jealous wife." She sat up straighter, trying to see what she could of the darkened landscape.

"You've always had a claim on me, Scully. Always. I think you have since day one. But, what I didn't take the time to explain, what I needed you to know but didn't tell you was....souls do mate eternal, Scully. We've been together before, we've been together since time began. Melissa was channeling one life, one of many, one where we were friends, but I don't believe that we were always just friends. We rearrange, we might change roles, but we are always together." The muscle in his jaw jumped, as he ground his teeth. He so wanted her to understand what he was saying to her.

"Until we get it right?" She smiled softly.

"That's a popular belief."

"Well, then, I guess we're done with our trials, Mulder, because this time we've gotten it right. This is right. We are right." She reached over and took his hand, lacing her fingers through his.

He visibly relaxed. "Yeah, Scully, this is right." Will let out a sharp squeal, reminding them he was ready to get out of the car, for a change and a meal.

They were nearing a service station whose signs promised 'clean restrooms...snake farm'. "Let's stop there." Mulder was feeling a little apprehensive about the snake part, he really, really hated snakes.

"As long as it doesn't include snake handling, Mulder."

"Don't worry, I think I've found out how adept Catholic girls are at handling snakes."

"Shut up, Mulder."

"You're blushing."


Two Days Later

After spending an entire day in the land of the King, the Mulder family were on their way again.

"Mulder, would you mind terribly another side trip?" Scully had a map across her lap.

"Of course not. How far to the side?"

"Kansas. I think I'd like to stop in Kroner. I want to tell Sheila something. And I think I need to do it in person."

"Sure, as long as we stay in a no flyingcow zone." He smiled at her, she so loved to see him smile, and he did it so often these days.


Kroner, KS KPJK Television Studio

Mulder trotted across the parking lot, back to the car where Scully sat in the middle seats nursing Will. He opened the front drivers door, and climbed in.

"Holman still works here, I got the address for he and Sheila. They live just outside of town."

"Let's go check in to the motel, and freshen up first. I need to find a more comfortable position to feed your gluttonous son, too." She took Will from her breast, his protestations starting immediately as she popped a pacifier in his mouth. She strapped him in his carseat, put on her seat belt and Mulder started the car. They both knew that the pacifier wouldn't last for long, and they had better get out of the car soon.


Shady Oaks Lane Kroner, KS

Mulder knocked on the door of the Hardt's home. It was a house out of a storybook, the whole thing had the look of a gingerbread house. Scully stood behind him, holding a dozing Will on her shoulder.

Holman answered the door, registering shock on his face. He was dressed casually, complete with a dishtowel thrown over his shoulder.

"Agent Mulder? Agent Scully! What on earth are you two doing here? Come in, come in. Sheila!" He gestured to the living room, calling up the stairs.

"We were on a trip to California, actually, and we thought we'd stop in to see how the weather was in Kroner." Holman gestured to the large flowered sofa, the family settling down as Sheila came down the stairs.

Holman laughed. "The weather is just as it should be. No snow storms in July, no heart shaped hail. No laughing clouds or flying frozen cows, thank you." His gaze settled on Will. "Want to tell me what's new with you two?" Just then Sheila rounded the corner.

"Oh my goodness! I can't believe you two are here! This is so wonderful!" Scully noted she hadn't changed much. She was still big and blonde and pretty. Mulder stood, like the gentleman he was and found himself enfolded in Sheila's embrace. Scully smiled to herself at the look on his face, she'd seen that very look before.

Sheila plopped herself down next to Scully peering at Will. "He is just adorable, Agent Scully. Or is it Agent Mulder, now?" She raised her eyebrows expectantly.

"It's Mulder now, thanks. And this is William Aaron Mulder." Scully couldn't help but beam with pride. "And it's just Dana, please."

Sheila held her hands out for Will, Scully hoped he wouldn't awaken and start yelling as she motioned for her to take him. The blonde woman slid him of his mother's shoulder like a pro, never disturbing the baby's nap.

Scully leaned back and straightened her blouse. "You do that like you've had practice."

"We have two children, both girls. They're three and eighteen months. Fortunately they are also both champion nappers, and they're asleep right now."

Holman stood. "I was getting ready to grill in the backyard, want to give me a hand, Agent Mulder?" Mulder stood, also.

"Sure, and it's just Mulder now, I'm not with the FBI anymore." Mulder dropped a kiss on Scully's lips, and followed Holman out the door to the backyard.

Sheila turned to Scully. "So, tell me all about it. When did you guys finally get together?"

"Actually, about two years ago. Although we kept it a secret until it couldn't be a secret anymore." Scully pointed at Will. We married right after he was born, and I went back to teaching at the FBI academy, Mulder started writing."

"Oh, yeah, Holman has his book, I know he would be thrilled if he would autograph it for him. You still call him Mulder?" Sheila giggled.

"Most of the time. We are both trying to get used to using the name Fox . He's not too crazy about it for obvious reasons. But the longer we're together the more it seems to fit him in my mind. It's unique, individual, like him."

"You know, Dana, I'm really glad you came. I have always wanted to tell you thank you for opening my eyes to the truth. I really think that without you and Mulder, I wouldn't have looked at Holman that way, and then my life would have never come to this point."

"That's actually why we came through Kroner, I wanted to tell you the same thing. You asked me in the bathroom if I was in love with him. You know, it really made me think. I mean, it was a long time before I acted on it, but the thought was there. I guess you could say you encouraged the seed that was planted in my heart to grow.


Later That Night

"Do you really have to rush off?" Sheila held her little daughter's hands in the doorway.

"Yeah, I'm afraid we do. We're expected at my brother's house. It was wonderful to see you both, though. And thanks for dinner." Scully smiled at Mulder, returning from buckling their baby in the car.

Mulder and Holman shook hands, exchanging pleasantries. "Come visit us again, anytime."

"We will, thanks again." Mulder's hand took its familiar place at the curve of Scully's waist to guide her to the car.


On the road again...

"Scully, you know, we are heading toward Nevada, but we could make a side trip." Mulder had the map resting on the seat between them.

"I'm not sure I'm going to like the answer, but side trip to where?"

"Texas. Yee Haw you all. We could try to look up your old boyfriend.

"And whom might that be?" Mulder had to give it to her, she could do snotty with the best of them.

"You know, the handsome buck toothed vampire sheriff."

"Mulder, Bill would love to find you sleeping by yourself."

"Sorry dear."


Somewhere in the vastness of the Nevada desert

"Scully, for some reason I have the urge to go to the town of Rachel."

"Funny thing, Mulder, so do I." She stared out at the emptiness.

"I know we didn't find anything when we went there last, but the names Chris and Terry keep running through my mind."

"Maybe they are a couple we ran into there."

"I don't know, but I have the feeling I didn't like them."


Sisipod, Nevada California/Nevada border

The sun was setting, the red and purple hues of the desert a beautiful backdrop to the increasingly indigo sky. Mulder had soft music playing on the radio, soothing the baby in the back. So far he had traveled well, sleeping for long stretches.

"Scully, do you remember my trip with Mr. Crump?" His voice was soft, his eyes distant, remembering. Scully stroked the back of his head, running her nails through his hair. She always knew how to soothe him.

"Yeah, that was a sad case." Her soft tones matched his. She sometimes wished he could forget things like a normal person.

He looked at her out of the corner of his eye, a slight smile replacing the brooding expression. "We sure pissed of Kersh though, didn't we?"

Her own face relaxed slightly. "Those were some dark days, Mulder. If it weren't for working with you, I would have walked away during that time."

"I feel the same way Scully."


And the end of the line... Bill Scully, San Diego

The Mulder family spent the night in a much higher class hotel than they ever got to on the government's dime. Evening turned into morning and they were soon on the way again.

"Scully how long do you think we'll be at your brothers house before he takes a swing at me. I'm taking all bets."

"Mulder, Bill isn't going to hit you."

"Not if I'm holding Will he won't. Never let me put him down."

"Sounds good to me, I could use the vacation." Scully smiled.

Several hours later the Mulder traveling caravan pulled into Bill and Tara Scully's driveway.

Mulder got out, stretching his stiff limbs. Scully opened the side door and freed Will from his restraints. He, too, is happy to be out of the damn car, as Scully had once said.

Just then a scream is heard as a young woman bolts from the front door of the house. "They're heeeeere!"

Tara Scully grabs Dana around the neck, crushing Will in between them.

Lingering in the background, leaning against the porch post with his arms crossed is Bill. Bill, 'I hate that son of a bitch who tricked my sister into marrying him', Scully.

Mulder could tell by Bill's glare all was not forgiven.

Tara let go of Dana and moved onto Mulder, hugging him tightly as Scully walks up the porch steps and is warmly welcomed by her brother.

Tara helps Mulder with a few of the bags and they too head for the house.

Scully and Tara continue on into the house.

Bill takes a measured step off the porch, looking every part the old west gun slinger ready to gun down his adversary.

"Damn where is Will when I need him." Mulder mutters.

Bill steps into Mulders path.

Mulder abruptly drops the luggage, shaken by Bills sudden movement.

"Long drive?" Bill says eying Mulder.

"Too long."

"Yeah."

Mulder gathers up the gear and the two men head into the house.

Well that went well, Mulder thinks as he dumps his burden in the hallway.

Scully appears, looking for Will's diaper bag. She leans into Mulder. "How's it going? No shiners yet."

"No but I'm not turning my back on him. I still don't trust him."

Tara walks in from the kitchen, holding Will in her arms and Mathew by the hand. "Come on, let's eat. You can sort that stuff out later. Mathew looks up at Tara, "Mommy who's dat man?"

"That's your uncle Mulder, Mathew."

"Oh, he's one sorry son of a . . ."

Just then Tara places her hand over Mathews mouth.

"Never mind dear, now run along and wash your hands for lunch."

"See Scully what did I tell you." Mulder whispers to her.

"We'll be there in just a minute Tara, Mulder and I need to clean up too." Scully yells to Tara.

After and uneventful meal that dealt mainly with the topic of the children, Scully settled in to the job of getting Will down for his nap.

Mulder returned to the unenviable task of unloading their beast of burden, the SUV.

He turned to see Bill Scully watching him from the front door.

Scully then took a nap while Mulder went for a run.

They decided to eat dinner out at one of the more family friendly restaurants that dot the San Diego shoreline.

Nighttime finds Mulder and Scully getting ready to go to bed in Bill and Tara's guest room. Will's already zonked out in his portacrib.

"So what did you and Bill talk about today?" Scully asks as she folds down the blankets on their bed.

Mulder pulls his tee shirt over his head and sits down to take off his shoes. "Not much but then we haven't spent much time alone together."

Mulder pulls off his shoes, letting them hit the floor with a thud. He moves over to the crib where Will is curled up into a tiny ball. He gently strokes the baby's fine hair. "You think Will will be able to recognize his old man without any teeth."

"Mulder, I'm sure Bill is not going to hit you."

"Scully, you deal in facts and the facts say differently."

"Okay Mulder if Bill hits you, you have my permission to hit him back. Now go to sleep." Scully says as if talking to a small child.

Mulder slides under the covers as Scully snuggles up to him. "Scully I'm telling you, he's just setting me up."

Scully turns her head and plants a kiss on Mulders lips, "Mulder stop whining."

"Night Scully."

"Good night Mulder."


The next day finds the children fed, bathed, and playing together in the living room.

Dana and Tara are reconnecting in the kitchen while Mulder reads the daily paper on the front porch step. Just as he folds up the paper he catches Bill staring at him from the garage.

"Okay, lets get this over with." Mulder mutters as he lays the paper down and moves toward the garage.

"So Bill what are you doing?"

"Sharpening the mower blades."

Mulder looks down to see Bill holding a razor sharp mower blade in his hand.

Mulder gulps and makes sure his lane of retreat is clear of any obstacles.

"Sooo. . .you do that often?"

"Often enough," Bill says as he continues to run the whetstone over the blade while still eying Mulder.

"I'd better go see if Scully needs anything." Mulder says as he turns to leave.

"Mulder," is all Bill says but it's enough stop Mulder in his tracks.

Mulder turns slowly to face him. "Yeah Bill?"

"Why Scully?"

"What?" Mulder says perplexed at the question.

"Why do you continue to call Dana, Scully?"

Mulder looks down at his hands that are beginning to sweat. "I guess because she has never told me not to."

"That's it?" Bill grunts.

"No, not entirely." Mulder says now in a full blown sweat.

"Look Bill I'd be a lot more comfortable talking to you if you didn't have that lawn mower blade in your hand."

"You think I'm gonna hit you with it?"

"Well that thought has crossed my mind."

"Don't worry, you're not worth going to jail over." Bill huffs.

"Thanks Bill, that's nice to know."

"Look Mulder, I know you and I don't see eye to eye but I've been watching you and Dana together and dammit, I'm not sure why but she really loves you and I can see why you love her, she's a great catch."

"So basically Bill, you're saying she married beneath herself."

"Exactly."

Mulder holds out his hand to Bill, "I can live with that."

Bill shakes Mulders hand while they smile at one another.

Scully appears around the corner of the garage. Bill looks up at Dana just as he releases Mulders hand, "I better go inside and get cleaned up."

"Mulder what just happened here?"

Mulder pulls Scully close. "Bill and I finally found something we can agree on."

"Want to tell me about it?"

Mulder grasps Scully's face with his hands and plants a kiss on her forehead. "No Scully, its just guy stuff."

They turn to leave the garage, Mulder with his arm across Scully's shoulder and Scully with her arm wrapped around Mulder's waist.

"You know, Scully, I can't wait for the return trip. And, after surviving my conversation with Bill I'm feeling lucky. Wanna stop in Georgia?"

"Georgia?"

"Yeah, Hevulman's lake, Scully, I bet this time I can find Big Blue."

"As long as there are no man eating aligators left, you're on."

The End

Author's notes: I put them way down here, because that way if you don't want to read them, you can hit the little 'x' at the top and bail out now. This is my first true attempt to write fic with a partner. I think I am hooked on it. You made it easy to do this, Geeg. Thanks for being my friend and thanks for your Bill Scully insight, couldn't have done it without you. ~Fox

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