Title: Third Time
Author: Philemom
Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine, they're Chris's and Fox's and 1013's – second verse, same as the first.
Time Period: Way past season 8
Spoilers: None.
Classification: Married fic, full o' fluff – not a case in sight
POV: Primarily Mulder's
Archive: Anywhere – just keep my name on it and let me know where it's headed.
Feedback: Love it – egbement@yahoo.com
Rating: PG Summary: Bedtime Story part II, later that night

He was on a beach. That in itself was odd – he never dreamed of the beach. At least, not anymore. Not for about three years. And then he remembered and looked around.

Sure enough. Same beach. Same sand sculpture. Same kid.

"Hello again," he said to the young boy. "Do you remember me?"

"Of course I remember you. I live in your unconscious," the kid answered, not diverting in the slightest from his sculpting. "Duh."

Mulder was a little taken aback, but what did he expect from something that lived in his head?

"So you're building another ship?" he asked.

"Brilliant deductive reasoning, Mulder," the kid answered. Funny, the kid was starting to sound like Scully. Pleased with that, he picked up a shovel and started to help.

"Haven't seen you in a while," Mulder said casually.

"She hasn't been pregnant for a while," the kid answered simply.

And then he realized it. The kid that had come to him in the throes of brain trauma had become a mental image of his own child. One he only thought of when he was about to gain another.

Not that he'd ever expected to have a child. Fatherhood had been far out of the big picture for him. Especially when he'd discovered that the woman he loved was barren. Not that she had known at the time that she was barren, or even that he loved her. But he did, and that was enough to banish the thought of children forever.

But then he'd returned from his six month absence battered and bruised to find her pregnant with their child. And as smooth as her pregnancy had gone once she'd completed her first trimester, they'd decided to try again right away. They realized that they weren't getting any younger and didn't want Meg to be an only child.

Their current baby-to-be was an accident, pure and simple. A New Years Eve, the girls with their grandmother, and one very large bottle of champagne.

"Fox?" the kid said, eerily sounding even more like Scully.

"What?" he responded.

"Fox!" he said, only from further away.



"What? What's wrong?" Mulder shot straight up in bed, then turned to his wife.

"It's time," Scully grimaced as another contraction hit.

Mulder looked over at the clock. One thirty. "Shit, Scully. Do you always have to do this in the middle of the night?"

"You gonna sit there pissing and moaning, or are you gonna call Mom?" Scully ground out, her voice strained.

"God, I love it when you're in labor," he smiled, leaning over to kiss her on the forehead before jumping away from a probable left hook. "Brings out your warm fuzzy side."

Scully gave him an anatomically impossible suggestion to get him moving. In short order, he'd called Mrs. Scully, drawn Dana a bath and took her suitcase out to the car. He'd gotten this routine down to a science, even though it had been over three years since he'd done it.

They'd both been nervous as hell when Scully went into labor with Meg, but were more relaxed with Katy. And now? Now he just wished she could have waited another few hours. Sleep would be precious enough in the next few months.

"Dana?" Mulder poked his head into the bathroom, waiting for a missile attack. When it didn't come, he went all the way in. "Your Mom just drove up. Do you need help getting out of the tub?"

"Sure. You planning on setting up a block and tackle on the ceiling? I'm fine, Mulder. Go let Mom in."

Mulder only laughed. And was then hit with a wash cloth. Never failed. A Scully in labor was a Scully not to be messed with. So, of course, he messed with her as much as possible.

"Got it, G-woman. I'll be waiting for you to waddle downstairs." Mulder laughed again when he heard a bar of soap hit the door as it closed behind him.

"Is she okay?" Maggie Scully asked as Mulder entered the family room.

"In fighting form," Mulder stopped when he realized his mother in law wasn't alone. "Sir," he greeted his boss.

"Under the circumstances, you may want to call me Walter," Skinner said, looking very out of place.

"All due respect, Walter, but under the circumstances, you may want to hide in the closet until we're gone."

"I beg your pardon?" Skinner asked.

"You've never seen Scully when she's in labor, sir. She's a little…." Mulder paused, not knowing how to describe it in front of Mrs. Scully. He'd tried his best to explain it to his boss before, but knew he hadn't come close to the real thing. And as delightful as she was, he didn't know what her reaction would be once she saw him.

"She's not quite herself," her mother said simply. "And Fox may be right, Walter. I don't think this is the time for her to find out we're not just friends." She turned to face Mulder. "I'm sorry if this is awkward for you, Fox."

"Not at all," Mulder said, only half meaning it. "Uh-oh. Her maternal self is on the way."

Walter Skinner, second in command at the FBI, ducked and ran for the kitchen as fast as he could.

"We'll talk later?" Fox whispered to Maggie.

"I'm sure we will," Maggie smiled and then turned to greet her daughter.

"Ah, Scully," Mulder placed a hand dramatically to his chest, "you look beautiful. Like a tree, blossoming with the fruit of life."

"That's it. I'm getting my gun, Mulder. Hi Mom," Dana gave her mother a quick hug before heading for the door. "Come on, chuckles, get moving."

Four hours later, they sat side by side in the car. A steady, if silent, stream of tears tracking down her cheeks.

"It's okay, Dana," Fox took her hand.

"It's not okay, Fox. I'm a doctor. Hell, I'm the mother of two. How could I not have known this wasn't the real thing?"

"Believe me, Dana. We all thought it was the real thing. You were you're usual sunny self right up until we reached the hospital." Mulder squeezed her hand tightly. "It just means we're getting close. You'll see those little feet again soon."

Once home, Mulder pushed open the front door and then wished he'd knocked, or called first.

Maggie Scully sat on his old leather couch, her head resting on Skinner's shoulder. Both were fast asleep. If it hadn't been for the shocked look on Dana's face, he'd have bust out laughing. Mrs. Scully was in the same position, on the same couch, that her daughter had been in just before Meg came into existence.

"Mom?" Scully said when she found her voice.

This time he had to bite the insides of his cheeks as the pair of them sprang to a standing position at the same time.

"Dana? What's wrong, why aren't you at the hospital?"

"False alarm," Mulder clarified.

"Oh." Then Maggie seemed to realize why her daughter looked so strange. "Um, I can explain…"

"As fun as that would be, Mom, can you just call me tomorrow? I'm exhausted." Scully kissed her mother's cheek and walked straight up the stairs. "Sir," she said as she passed Skinner.

Maggie and Walter said their good-byes as well, uneasy looks on their faces. Mulder felt a little odd, caught between a hormonal near-term wife and a mother in law having an affair with his boss. But then again, his life hadn't exactly been a Norman Rockwell painting. Feeling a little odd was a step up.

"Scully?" Mulder whispered when he entered their room.

"Did you check on the girls?" she answered softly.

"Yes. Looks like they didn't even notice we were gone." He shed his sweats and crawled next to his wife. "Are you okay?"

"Yes, just disappointed."

"I guess it's hard seeing your mom with another man," Mulder began tentatively.

"What?" Scully turned to face him. "I meant I was disappointed about the baby. I've known about Mom and Skinner for over a month."

"You have?" Now Mulder was perplexed.

"Yes. At first, I didn't know who it was, but she told me she was seeing someone. Then I saw them having lunch together when I was at the Bureau for a consult."

"And you're okay with it?" Mulder was pleased, but surprised.

"Of course. She's been alone a long time, Mulder. And there's no one I respect more than Skinner." Even in the faint light coming from their window, Scully could see the look. "Except for you, Spooky."

"Thanks," he paused, "Mrs. Spooky."

And as the conversation drifted into laughter and yawns, the Mulders quietly drifted off to sleep.

Two days later, Mulder picked up the phone to call his wife.


"Just a minute," Scully said, and he could hear the muffled sounds of his girls clamoring for their mother's attention. "Okay, I've settled the beasts with cheese and crackers. What's up?"

"How are you feeling?" Mulder asked tentatively.

"Why?" She asked.

"No reason, just calling to check." But when she didn't respond, he knew he'd better continue. "Okay, okay. Doggett just called. There's a body coming in this morning from our New Jersey case. He wants you to take a look at it."

"Oh, God. Not the flukeman thing again, I hope."

Mulder chuckled. "No. Just something strange about the listed cause of death. We both want your opinion. But if you're not feeling up to it…" Mulder trailed off.

"Actually, it would probably do me good to get out of this house. I'll have Janet come stay with the girls and I'm pretty sure Mom can drive me down. Say, in about an hour?"

"See you then."

Scully disconnected the call and placed two more, to the neighbor and to her mother. She hated not being able to drive, but this close to delivery, she took no chances. Besides, her mother probably wouldn't mind seeing Skinner while she cut open a corpse.

Her heart raced at the prospect.

"Agent Doggett," Scully said as she approached her former partner.

"Agent Scully," he turned, a smile on his face. "You're looking, uh..."

"I think the word you're looking for is big," she smiled back.

"That'd be the one. Are you ready?"

"As ever," Scully grinned as she entered the one place she knew was her province alone – the autopsy bay. She was just reaching to secure her gown when she felt it.

"Agent Scully?" Doggett questioned.

"Oh man," Scully grunted, bending herself over as well as she could. "Call Mulder."

"What's wrong?"

"Tell him it's the real goddamn deal this time," she grunted again.

"I beg your pardon?" Doggett asked, still confused.

"Just call Mulder." He fumbled a little with the phone, but the moment he dialed the number, Scully grabbed it out of his hand. "Mulder, it's me."

"Man, Scully, you are fast. What did you find?"

"Stop chattering, Mulder. I'm in labor." She paused and listened. "Yes, I'm sure. My water just broke all over the autopsy bay. And I am not having this baby surrounded by corpses so you better haul ass down here."

Doggett could only stare at her as he took the phone back from her and pocketed it.

After a flurry of activity, during which Scully rather vehemently, and colorfully, declined an ambulance, Mulder, Scully, Skinner, Maggie and Doggett all headed to the hospital.

"Come on, Scully, breathe in deep then blow it out," Mulder instructed as Scully panted through another contraction.

"You blow it out, Mulder," she said between pants.

"How far?" he asked the nurse when she finished her preliminary exam.

"She's dilated to six. And moving fast this time."

"Hear that Scully? We're almost there."

"What the hell do you mean, we? I don't see you on a table attempting to pass a cantaloupe without any drugs. Christ, you take an aspirin for a goddamned paper cut. Why don't you do something productive, instead of standing there like a goddamn cheerleader."

Down the hall not quite out of earshot, three jaws dropped.

Maggie broke the silence. "Fox told me she got a little out of hand," she gasped. "But I never imagined."

Skinner and Doggett merely exchanged looks, both trying to cover their urge to laugh. They lost it when Mulder came down the hall, grinning like the Cheshire cat.

"I take it you heard the sweet nothings Dana was whispering in my ear," he said. When no one answered, he continued. "We're almost there. She seems to be going pretty fast this time, so it won't be long now."

"Mulder? Get in here," Scully's voice carried down the hallway, causing Maggie to cringe.

"Is she really okay, Fox?" Maggie asked, her concern apparent.

Fox sat next to his mother in law and took her hand. "She's fine, Mom. Believe me, this is nothing. When she had Meg, she told the OB to leave. That she was a doctor too and could do a better job. Of course, she used, um, different words."

Doggett, who'd heard Mulder's rendition of Scully in labor before, kept his mouth shut. On a need to know basis, Maggie definitely didn't need to know.

"Mulder!" She yelled again.

"Back to work. Hey, Doggett, could you call Byers? I was supposed to head over there this afternoon." Then he headed back down the hall towards his blushing bride.

"Where the hell did you go? Getting your ya-ya's out with your buddies, right? God, knowing you you've got Frohike out there just dying for a peek at me in stirrups."

"Nope. You get all my ya-ya's these days, love. And I'd never let Frohike near you when you're like this. I'm not a cruel man." Mulder risked a punch in the mouth, but leaned down to kiss her anyway. Luckily, he caught her at a lull in the contractions.

"I love you, you, you… bastard." Scully nearly got the endearment out, but another contraction got in the way.

An hour later, the OB announced that it was officially time to meet the newest Mulder. Fortunately, it meant the end of a raving wife. Once it was time to push, Scully lost all of the acid and became herself again.

Mulder got into position, behind Scully with his legs on either side of her. As she pushed, he helped her to sit forward. When she relaxed, he rubbed his thumbs into the small of her back. The lamaze coach called it counterpressure. He was just glad he could do something that helped.

"That's it, Dana," Mulder coached as they waited for the next contraction. "Just a few more."

"It hurts, Fox," Scully said, her voice strained.

"I know. But the baby's almost here. She wants to meet her mommy."

"His, Fox. I told you, this one's a boy."

Mulder didn't argue the point, or remind her that she'd said the same thing with both Meg and Katy. "My mistake," he said instead. "What? Another one?" he asked as she tensed and tried to sit forward.

"Yes," she hissed, already taking in a deep breath. "Fox," she stretched his name out as she began pushing their child out again.

And hearing her scream as the baby's head inched closer to them, he wanted to scream, too.

He teased her, baited her, and generally made a joke out of the whole ordeal. And Scully put up with it because she knew that was the only way he kept from breaking down. It was hard to watch the woman he loved wracked with pain and not be able to do anything to stop it.

But that last push did it. The next thing they heard was the distinct sound of an extremely pissed off Mulder filling the room.

"Congratulations," the doctor said as he held the baby up for them to see. "I guess the third time was a charm."

Scully leaned back into Mulder as the doctor handed her the baby. "Oh Fox," she gasped, still catching her breath. "He's beautiful."

"He sure is," Mulder agreed because he knew he had to. No matter that it was his child, no matter that he already loved him. He still considered newborns pretty near the ugliest creatures on the planet. Give the kid a month, though, and he'd agree with that sentiment wholeheartedly.

"Mr. Mulder?" the nurse interrupted. "We need to get your wife and baby cleaned up."

Mulder shifted and got off the delivery bed. As he lowered Scully back to a prone position, he placed a kiss to her sweat dampened forehead. "I love you, Dana."

"Back at you, Fox," she smiled, and then closed her eyes.

Mulder walked down the hall a moment later, stunned to find that the group had doubled. Skinner and Maggie sat on a couch together while Doggett was obviously disagreeing with Frohike and Langly about something.

"Well?" Byers was the first to see him. The rest of them gatherered around as he approached.

"Dana was right this time. It's a boy," he grinned.

"So, we're agreed, right?" Scully asked as they sat in the hospital room staring at their sleeping son.

"We're agreed. Thomas William. But he carries that name on one condition," Mulder warned.

"Which is?"

"I get to tell Bill Jr. we're naming the baby after him," Mulder grinned.

"Deal." Scully grinned back.


Author's note: I know not everyone agrees with Mulder and Scully ever calling each other by their first names. I agree, it would sound too weird, imho. However, for the purposes of this story, with M and S married with children, I would like to think that the need for that distance would have dissipated. That's just me, tho.

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