Title: Miracle Season
Categories: Kidfic, multiple birth, Holiday, FT, Challenge fic.
Challenge details: late entries still be accepted here
Spoilers/Timeline: though season nine, but pretend that William's adoption was foster care (or revoked) and that he returned to Scully not long after "The Truth".
Summary: A Christmas tale about merry little multiples for the Mulder and Scully, and for Doggett and Reyes… and Fowley torture.
It was cold enough out to steam Mulder's breath while he worked to scrape a thick coating of frost off his car windows. Given it was December, that it was cold enough to frost windows and steam breath came as no surprise. Clearing off the windows should have felt like a small triumph, but doing so allowed him to see inside the van...which soured his mood.
Five-year-old William was quietly entertaining himself by looking at a picture book. He seemed oblivious to the chaos surrounding him, but he'd developed coping mechanisms so he wouldn't go insane from sensory overload.
Both Mulder and Scully had themselves feared insanity a few times over the past four years, but they'd been assured that it was a normal feeling for the parents of quadruplets. As he continued to stare into the van, he tried to remind himself that.
Jeremy had somehow managed to free himself from his boaster seat, and was screwing with the CD player by ejecting and inserting the CD over and over again. Back where they belonged, Brian and Eric were having a fight over a toy they'd found, and were swatting at each other. Alison, the only girl, and the only one with red hair rather than brown, looked like she was behaving. Mulder knew better through experience than to be fooled by her appearance of innocence.
Sighing, he opened the van door, picked Jeremy up and put him back in his seat, then took the toy away from Eric and Brian. Once everyone was settled again, he got behind wheel, getting the show on the road.
A man had to be out of his mind to volunteer to bring that crew Christmas shopping. Mulder, however, was willing to risk being put away in the loony bin in order to do all the shopping once, rather than in five separate trips like they'd done the year before.
His first stop was to drive to Doggett's place, so he could pick up him and his three-year-old daughter Kylie. But when he got there, he saw Doggett waiting with two car seats. Both Kylie and her twin brother Kevin were hanging on his pant legs.
"Monica dropped Kevin off. Hope you don't mind," Doggett said, sounding slightly frazzled.
Doggett wasn't used to having his son, so it didn't surprise Mulder much that he was feeling overwhelmed. At least, Mulder reflected, there weren't four of them. "The more the merrier," he replied evenly. Six kids to look after or seven, what was the big difference? Either way he and Doggett were severely out-numbered.
"No Scully?" Doggett asked after he'd buckled his kids into the van's last bench seat.
"Not this time. She's spending the day with her mother, trying to brace herself for the holidays ahead."
Doggett looked back over the seat for a moment, studying Mulder's noisy children. "I guess I can't blame her."
"It's hard to," Mulder agreed.
Ten miles later an unprecedented silence fell over the kids, making Mulder check the rearview mirror anxiously. They were asleep, all of them but William who was still quietly looking at a picture book. The steady drive must have lulled the younger ones to sleep.
"Are you nervous?" Doggett asked, breaking the silence.
"Always. But about what in particular?"
"It's almost miracle season," Doggett replied, looking over his seat again.
That made Mulder cringe a little. Miracle season is what the beleaguered X-Files agents had dubbed the third week of December. "No. I refuse to worry about that any more."
Doggett nodded, but he didn't look terribly convinced. "I guess you're right. Nothing has happened over the last two years, after all."
"Yeah," Mulder agreed, not looking at the other man. He'd never told anyone, not even Scully, that he thought he'd seen Marita Covarrubias in a store a few months before, pushing a carriage with three blond toddlers in it. "Besides, it would be someone else's turn, wouldn't it?"
Glancing in the rearview mirror again, Mulder couldn't help but see his children and think about the day his and Scully's lives were inexplicably changed forever.
December 20th, 2002
The phone startled Mulder out of a pre-holiday malaise, nearly making him drop William's clothes. It had taken him until now to even consider dressing himself or his son, despite Scully's warning that she expected them both to be downstairs for lunch by noon.
Scully must have had her hands full too, because the phone continued to ring. After he finished wrestling the shirt over William's head, Mulder grabbed for the phone. "Mulder." He fully expected it to be Maggie, since he couldn't think of another person who'd be calling him or Scully while they were on vacation. They hadn't been popular since their return to the Hoover building, despite a full acquittal for Mulder on all the trumped up charges. No one but Doggett, Reyes and Skinner gave them the time of day any more.
"Your office has been broken into." Skinner's terse voice came over the line.
"What was taken?"
""Nothing? So how do you know that there'd been a break-in?" He swore under his breath. "Is the office trashed?"
"The office is okay. I know someone was there because something was left behind."
"I don't want to tell you over the phone. Just get down here as soon as possible, and bring Scully with you," Skinner said. "And Mulder, try to find a sitter. You don't want William with you."
A knife twisted in Mulder's gut; he wondered if there was a body in the basement. "We'll find someone."
The heels of their shoes clicked as they rushed towards the office. Doggett and Reyes were entering the office as they rounded the corner.
When they got into the room it was crowded and chaotic. A woman wearing a white lab coat carrying a rack of blood vials squeezed past them and left.
"What's going on, sir?" Mulder asked when he reached him.
"It's probably better to show you..." He gestured at the very back of the room.
Following Skinner's hand with his eyes, Mulder noticed for the first time that there were two wicker boxes sitting on the floor. "Are there body parts in those boxes?" Mulder asked, disturbed by the idea and the memory of the person whisking blood samples off.
"After a manner of speaking," Skinner said calmly. "Take a look in them."
Though Mulder and Doggett stepped forward, both of the female agents hung back. Mulder glanced over his shoulder at Scully, deciding that she must be worried that the deceased was someone they knew, since she wasn't normally squeamish.
Doggett reached the boxes first. "What the hell?" He picked something up and handed it back to Reyes. It was an envelope with the two agents' names on it.
Stepping up himself, Mulder saw a similar envelope addressed to him and Scully. It took him a moment to force himself to pick it up, because he was stunned by what was in the bottom of the box.
"What is it?!" Scully hissed.
Shrugging, Mulder reached into the first box and extracted one of the things in the bottom. Seeming startled to be suddenly raised in the air, it flailed a little.
"Mulder! That's a baby!" Scully shouted, making the baby in Mulder's hands wail in alarm.
"I figured that out for myself," he told her, jiggling the baby to quiet it. "Come look."
Besides the baby in his hands, there were three more in the boxes addressed to him and Scully.
"The letter says they're yours," Reyes told them. "How could that possibly be?"
"Don't be obtuse, Reyes," Mulder said shortly. "There's been ample opportunity to gather what's necessary to create babies." What he wondered more was why there'd been a copy of the letter addressed to the other two agents. Maybe he and Scully were expected to have their hands too full to read themselves.
"Why would someone break in here and leave four newborns?" Scully asked, making Mulder think that she obviously put two and two together and came up with something other than four.
"I don't know," Skinner told her. "We read the letters before you got here. And I had blood drawn too, so we can begin DNA tests."
Mulder rolled up his sleeve. "I assume you'll need our blood too."
Skinner shook his head. "Actually, no. We have all of your DNA on file."
"That's good, I guess," Scully said faintly, looking at the babies without much emotion in her gaze.
Mulder looked at them too, wondering what would happen next.
"All of?" Doggett asked, looking confused. "Why do you say that?"
"They could have gotten…samples… from you too," Scully pointed out. "Both of you have spent a lot of time in the hospital since joining the X-Files."
After anxiously peering around the room, Doggett had confidently declared, "But there aren't any other babies here."
"Yet," Scully said grimly.
Little did Doggett know then that Scully had been right about everything.
Shortly after New Years the final confirmation came in that the four infants were indeed the offspring of Dana Scully and Fox Mulder, just as the letter had said; though they'd long since taken the infants home with them. That confirmation, and with it the assurance that they didn't need to turn the babies over to anyone, had lead to a scramble to buy a house so they'd have somewhere large enough to raise not one, but five little kids.
"And I'm going to be in debt until I die," Mulder muttered to himself.
"What?" Doggett asked, blinking the way people do when you interrupt their thoughts.
"Ah, I was just thinking about when Scully and I bought the house."
"Maybe Monica and I should have done that," Doggett said wistfully.
Unlike Mulder and Scully, Doggett and Reyes had not been romantically entangled when their own surprise package arrived after another break-in a year later. After long discussions, they agreed to each raise one of their twins, and Doggett had asked to take the girl because she didn't look nearly as much like his dead son as the boy did.
"You still could," Mulder suggested.
"After three years? She'd think I was insane for suggesting it," Doggett replied with a deep frown.
"Who knows, maybe Santa will bring you triplets for Christmas, and you'll get to revisit the subject." Mulder was surprised that Doggett didn't hit him.
"Someone made these kids and brought them to us, all right, but I'll bet dollars to donuts that it wasn't Old Saint Nick. Mulder, seriously. How often do you think about investigating the X-Files in the back of your van?"
"Never," Mulder said promptly.
"Never? Come on, be serious."
"If I think too hard or look too long, they might bring more," Mulder said with a shiver. "Ignorance may very well be bliss."
"Aww, Mulder. The kids aren't that bad."
Eyes on the road, Mulder wasn't sure he fully agreed. The kids were healthy and smart, and every one of them was a handful.
Something irritated the dreamer's slumber. Scrunching her eyes more tightly the woman whined softly and tired to block it out.
It finally became so insistent that she did open her eyes. Everything was a fuzzy blur, like the time she'd borrowed her cousin's thick glasses and looked through them when they were ten.
Moving her arm, she found that she barely had the strength to do so. How long had she been sleeping? The beeping eventually registered. She was in the hospital. She couldn't remember getting sick, or having an accident, so the lack of recall coupled with being so weak suggested that it had been an accident that had her in the uncomfortable bed. She'd probably been there for a long while, too.
It was weak too, but her other arm worked, and when she flexed her knees, they responded. Apparently she wasn't too badly hurt, then.
Looking around the room, she didn't see any sign of a doctor or any nurses.
"Hey," she croaked rustily, her voice sounding like she hadn't used it for a long while. "Anyone there?"
Silence greeted her. Gritting her teeth to prepare for pain, she pulled the IV needle out of her hand, and noted with a shudder that the liquid in the IV bag wasn't clear, but a sickly greenish-yellow. Then she leaned back to rest.
After waiting a long while, she got frustrated and decided that she was going to have to see if she could find anyone to tell her what was wrong with her.
Her muscles protested sluggishly as she swung her feet over the side of the bed, and the world tilted too, making her feel woozy. After white and gray stopped eating the edges of her vision, she gingerly put her feet on the floor, then held onto the mattress while she attempted to stand.
Given that she didn't immediately collapse to the floor, she thought she was making pretty good progress. That in turn made her a little less scared about being in the hospital without a clue as to why she was there.
Her feet moved forward in a shuffling gait. She frowned, and then looked down to see if there was a reason why they were responding so poorly to the commands she gave them. To her surprise, she couldn't see her feet.
Blinking in confusion for half a second, she noticed something that she hadn't before, and it struck her as odd that it hadn't occurred to her before. She was fat under her hospital-issue gown. Really fat. That didn't make a lot of sense though, because from what she knew of prolonged hospital stays, people lost weight while unconscious, not gained. And her arms were thin too, so why was her belly so huge?
In response to her stupid question, something in her moved.
Panic instantly flooded her. They'd infected her with one of those things, and it was going to explode out of her after eating her from the inside. She held up a trembling hand, expecting to see translucence.
All she saw was the hand of a typical middle-aged woman. The veins were ropier than she would have liked, but other than that it looked like the hand she remembered. When she let her hand drop, it fell on something metal. A medical chart.
Snatching it up, she leaned against the bed and she opened the chart.
The words in it didn't make a lot of sense at first because it was in someone's shorthand. Then, as putting together certain words painted her a picture, her eyes filled with horror.
Con- March 16th, 2001
Con – April 14th, 2002
Con – March 20th, 2003
Con – March 30th, 2004
Con – March 12th, 2005
Con – March 20th, 2005
Con – March 30th, 2005
Con- March 29th, 2006
The chart she held with hands that had begun to shake told her several things. One, that it was at least 2006, so she'd missed several years of her life if the dates were accurate. Two, while she was sleeping, her body had been violated, and someone had seen fit to use her as an incubator, apparently for other people's children. Nine of them! Now as well, if the movement in her was indication. And three, somewhere out there, she had a biological child that had lived. A boy.
What sort of hospital allowed something that monstrous to happen to a comatose woman? Looking around the cinderblock room, it occurred to her that maybe it wasn't a hospital at all. "I've got to get out of here," Fowley muttered to herself. Her eyes spied a robe, so she grabbed it and put it on, and after some effort got her feet into the slippers that were on the floor under the robe.
Before doing anything else, she tucked the chart under her arm. Then, moving cautiously, she edged her way towards the door. It wasn't locked. Sticking her head out the door, she looked both ways and saw no one. No one was guarding her, probably because they didn't expect that she'd wake up.
Well, they were in for a surprise. Keeping an eye out for people who might try to stop her from getting away, she made her slow way towards the outer doors.
A Mall in DC
"Stand still and be quiet, dammit!" Mulder hissed at the seven children who were running around making too much noise. A couple older women glared at him, but most of the other shoppers looked both approving and relieved.
His own brood knew he was serious, so they instantly stilled and shut up. Taking their cue from the older kids, Doggett's twins did likewise.
"You were trying to say?" Doggett asked calmly.
"I was saying that I was hoping you'd take the girls and William for a little while so they can pick out gifts - except for gifts William and Alison will give each other - and I'll take the rest of the boys to do some of their shopping. Then we can regroup and get the rest of their shopping done. Eventually."
Sighing, Doggett nodded his head. "We really need to work this out with more adults some year."
"Yeah. This is proving to have a steep learning curve," Mulder agreed. Bending down, he addressed his only daughter and William. "You two behave for John. If you don't, Santa is going to find out."
Wide-eyed, Alison gave him an innocent look. "He will?"
"Yeah," William piped up. "Santa's gots GPS on us to watch us all by sadeelit."
Doggett threw Mulder a startled look, but Mulder wouldn't look him in the eye. Trying not to smile, he instructed William and Alison to hold Kylie's hands. Within two minutes they disappeared from view.
Mulder turned to survey the remaining kids. Without being asked, Eric and Brian were already holding hands, and Jeremy grabbed Kevin's smaller hand. "Okay troops, let's march." Mulder told the little boys.
Taking him at his word, his sons began to march, and little Kevin did a fair job imitating them.
For a moment Mulder did feel like he was leading a battle. With luck, the casualties would be light.
A Street in DC
Fowley nearly fainted with relief when she got outside unmolested. She scurried away from the building as fast as she could, which wasn't very. Still, she was blocks away before long, even though she had no real idea where she was. Eventually she had to stop and rest, so she leaned up against a box meant for newspapers.
After a couple minutes of panting, it occurred to her that she could figure out the date by looking at the newspapers in the box. But first she shook her head ruefully. Her mind was still sluggish, and it didn't make things any easier.
The date on the paper said "December 15th, 2006" and it was definitely a DC paper, so at least she had some idea where she was. She pulled out the chart and stared at the last entry. No wonder she was so big, whatever she was carrying was going to be born soon, which was all the more reason to find help quickly.
But who could she get to help her? She'd yet to see anyone to ask for help, and she didn't have money to use the phone a hundred feet away. Staring at it gave her an idea, however, so she hurried over and grabbed the plastic encased phonebook that dangled from the phone by a metal cable. Flipping through the pages, she quickly found what she was looking for.
Mulder, F. 42 Cohanant Street. 555-1993
The number wouldn't do her much good without the fifty cents for a call, but the address might be an asset. When had the cost of a phone call jumped from a dime or quarter to fifty cents, she wondered, annoyed. A few more things like that and she was really going to start believing she'd been unconscious for years.
She was still hunched over the phonebook when a voice floated towards her. "Lady, are you okay?"
Straightening up, she ripped the page out of the phone book and turned towards a concerned face staring at her out a car window. "Not really."
"Is there anything I can do to help?" the woman asked.
"Do you know where Cohanant street is? I'm in trouble, but if I can get there, I'll be okay."
"You're not in labor or anything, are you?"
"Good. I'd of called an ambulance if you were…Yeah, I know where that street is, so hop in."
"Bless you," Fowley said, feeling something other than fright and confusion for the first time since she opened her eyes.
"What are you doing out here dressed like this?" the woman asked after putting the car in gear.
"I don't really know. I woke up somewhere strange, and all I know is that my friend is the only one who can help me figure out what happened."
"That's terrible! It sounds like you were drugged or something. To do that to a pregnant woman!" Her rescuer shook her head. "Let's hope your friend is as helpful as you think."
"Yes, let's," Fowley replied, suddenly feeling quite worn out.
A Mall in DC
Eric tugged at Mulder's hand after they left one of the toy stores with bags. "Aren't we gonna go see Uncle John now?"
"No. First we're going to go to one of the gift wrapping stations and get this stuff wrapped."
"How come?" Jeremy demanded to know.
"So no one cries if someone sees their present before Christmas," Mulder explained. That had happened last year – Brian had seen what Alison had got him, and they'd both cried over it.
"Oh yeah," his son agreed, perhaps remembering the incident as well.
"Does we gets to pick the paper?" Eric asked.
"I think so."
Their excitement was cut short when they saw how long the lines for wrapping were. Even Mulder felt depressed when he saw Doggett waiting with three kids, and bags of wrapped presents. He hated to waste the time, but there wasn't a better way of doing things than having those guys wait for them.
Fortunately the line moved pretty quickly. Unfortunately the boys began to argue about who was going to pick which papers as soon as they moved close enough to see the patterns. To his amazement, Jeremy suggested that they each pick one paper they liked, so they could have all the presents they bought wrapped in it, and be able to identify who gifts were from Christmas morning that way. What amazed him was that the other kids thought it was a good idea, and they'd each picked a paper in less than two minutes. He was pleased, but silently praying that the wrappers didn't run out of each paper before they got the second half of their shopping done.
In just a few minutes they were able to rejoin the rest of their party. Alison held up her presents. "Lookit, I got all mine wrapped in this paper. It was Will's idea."
Mulder smiled to himself when he realized that not only had William come up with the same idea as Jeremy, the other kids had picked completely different papers. "Wow, I've got some smart kids," Mulder told them.
"Yup." they both agreed, smirking at their other siblings.
Doggett and Mulder shuffled the kids, and set off again. A wave of depression hit Mulder as he looked at the crowds and realized that it would still be a long while before they were going to leave.
42 Cohanant Street
Scarcely five minutes after Maggie Scully dropped Scully off, the doorbell rang.
Expecting it was her mother coming back, she swung the door open, saying, "Did you forget something-" Then she stopped dead. "Diana!"
Fowley didn't look pleased to see her either. "Agent Scully."
"We were told you were dead!" Scully exclaimed. "Years ago."
"Surprise." Fowley's look was grim. "Is Fox here? I was hoping he could help me."
Scully took the other woman by the arm. "Come in before you freeze to death."
Once she had Fowley sitting, she stared at her and reminded herself that this woman was the reason that she'd been able to save Mulder. That helped tamp down the jealousy that had flared the moment she'd seen who was at the door. "Mulder is out shopping. I expect him to be back this evening."
"But maybe I can help you." Scully took note of the woman's enormous belly. "You're pregnant."
"My, aren't you doctors quick," Fowley said sourly.
"I can't believe it, you're not dead, and you've found someone to start a family with-" Fowley's sudden bark of laughter made her stop.
"I don't know whose baby this even is," Fowley told her.
Scully was confused, she'd never thought Fowley was that much of a slut. "You don't know who the father is?"
"No. Or the mother, either."
"You don't know who the mother is??"
"All I know is that I woke up in a faux hospital room today after being comatose for years, and discovered a chart by my bed that indicated that this isn't the first time I've been pregnant. Whoever had me was using me for a living incubator. Apparently I've had several babies that aren't mine."
Scully turned milk white. "Is that the chart?"
Fowley handed it to her. "Here."
Scully sat down, and ran her eyes down the page, then felt very faint. "Oh God."
"Oh God, what?" Fowley asked sharply.
Scully's finger stabbed the second entry. "This. That's Jeremy, Eric, Brian and Alison."
Looking at the entry, Fowley had an epiphany. FM was Mulder and DS was- "Four down, five to go."
"You're taking this calmly," Scully told her. "I don't think I'd take it so calmly to find out that I'd carried quadruplets for a woman I hated."
Fowley didn't correct her statement about hate. "What's done is done. It's not as though I remember it."
"It doesn't make sense," Scully muttered. "If you've been comatose for years, you should be too weak to walk, and the babies should have been punny, sickly little things, not the fairly big – for quads, anyway – babies they were."
Shrugging, Fowley told her about the IV. "I think it was what they were feeding me. It wasn't glucose. I couldn't understand most of the ingredients, but protein was one of them. And it was green."
Across from her, Scully shuddered. "Perhaps it's for the better that we don't know what it is." Her finger stabbed the page again. "This one is Kylie and Kevin."
"Who are the parents?" Fowley asked. "I don't know anyone by those initials."
"Their parents are agents Reyes and Doggett. They joined the X-Files after… after we thought you had died."
Fowley peered down at the list. "AK is Krycek, then, I take it."
"Probably. And Marita." She looked up at Fowley. "Krycek died, um, too."
A faint smile played across Fowley's lips. "Or so we're lead to believe."
"I suppose. And this first one…"
"Do you want to find him?" Scully asked her.
"Wouldn't you, if it was your child?" Until the words were out of her mouth, she didn't realize that she did want to find her little boy.
"I did," Scully said softly, making Fowley give her another sharp look. "My daughter, Emily. I found her years after she was born."
"Yes. I think Fox mentioned her once," Fowley said in a neutral tone.
"We'll help you any way we can," Scully promised her.
"Why?" Fowley demanded to know.
Scully shrugged. "Even if you didn't do it willingly, or knowingly, you've given Mulder and I a lot."
"You have the children, then, I take it?"
"The quads? Yes. Mulder has taken them and their older brother Christmas shopping."
"You and Fox had a child the conventional way?"
"Something like that," Scully agreed. "William. He's five and a half."
"My son's age," Fowley said softly, then laughed sharply. "I never thought those words would come out of my mouth."
"Neither did I," Scully told her. The other woman wondered if she meant that she never expected to hear Fowley say the words, or if she herself never thought she'd say them either. Fowley supposed it didn't matter.
Weighted down by bags upon bags, Mulder felt like a pack mule. "Will, open the door, would you?" he said, trying to give his oldest the keys.
"No, I wanna!" Eric shrieked, grabbing the keys first.
"Dad told me to!"
"Nuh uh, he gave the keys to me!"
"You took them, he didn't give them to you!"
"One of you open the door!" Mulder shouted above their squabbling.
Looking contrite, Eric gave the keys to his brother, then waited for William to work the lock.
Apparently unaware of their father's self-comparison to beasts of burden, the five kids ran into the house ahead of him without offering to take anything in. Mulder sighed and lugged everything into the house.
Because the bundles obscured his sight, he could only wonder at first what lady Eric was talking about when he asked his mother, "Who's the lady?"
"An old friend of Daddy's," Scully told the boy, sounding oddly nervous to Mulder's ears.
A somewhat familiar voice remarked, "They look just like him. Except the girl."
Something nagged him about the voice, because the woman sounded a lot like Diana, and he didn't know anyone else that did. Therefore, it shouldn't have come as a shock to walk into the room and have Fowley look up at him with a grim smile, and say "Hello Fox."
But it did.
"Diana! You're not dead!" he said, staring at the woman who was apparently dressed in some of the sweat clothes he meant to return because they'd been too large for him.
"People keep saying that," she said dryly. "You all sound so disappointed."
"Um…" Mulder stammered.
Scully stood up abruptly and looked down at the abnormally quiet children. "Nap time. Come on."
For once not one of them protested, but followed their mother docilely, so Mulder realized that he wasn't the only one shopping had taken a lot out of.
"Where have you been for the last seven years?" he asked Fowley after collapsing onto the couch.
"Apparently I've been hooked up to life support and used as an incubator while comatose," Fowley told him, sounding way too calm, in his opinion.
"So it was you," he replied softly. "We always wondered where they came from."
"Surprise. I know I was." She put her hand on her belly, as if to make it clear that she'd not just developed a fiendish interest in sweets. "If not for this, I would have thought that the chart I found was some sort of terrible joke. This, and the massive scars on my belly. I guess whoever delivered the babies I carried before wasn't too concerned about how I'd look in a bikini."
"They're already asleep," Scully announced when she returned. She sat next to Mulder and possessively threaded an arm around his waist. "Shopping wore them right out, I guess."
"It did me too," Mulder confessed. Turning to Fowley, he asked, "Do you have any idea when you're due?"
"Apparently I was…used again, in March. So, very soon."
"Especially if there's more than one fetus," Scully said. "Which seems to be the pattern."
"Unfortunately," Fowley agreed, while squirming to get comfortable.
"I can pull some strings to access a portable ultrasound machine, so we can check on that for you."
"Check on it where, then?" Fowley asked, keying in on the word portable.
"Here, of course, since you'll be staying with us," Scully told her, and Fowley's eyes widened in shock. "There's bad blood between us, but not enough for me to turn out a woman days away from giving birth. You'll stay here until the babies are born. Then we'll talk about what happens next."
The following day Scully had Mulder lug in the ultrasound she managed to sweet-talk someone into lending her.
"Well, are you ready for me to take a look and see what you've got in there?"
Fowley cast her an apprehensive look. "I'm scared."
"That it isn't human. Or they, probably."
"Why would you worry about that?" Scully asked, reaching for the bottle of medium she'd set by the bed. "You've seen the quads, and while they might occasionally act like little monsters, they're fully human."
"Yes, but they're yours and Fox's. I don't know whose babies these are. Who do you think fathered my son? It says unknown for a reason."
"You're beginning to sound as paranoid as Mulder."
"Don't you think I've earned the right to be a little fucking paranoid?" Fowley yelled. "I mean, look at me dammit! Someone kept me alive as their science project for seven goddamn years!"
"I know. I know," Scully said soothingly. "I wasn't thinking."
Scully's admission deflated her. "Let's get this over with." Fowley sighed tiredly, and raised the hem of her shirt.
After a moment of moving the wand, Scully smiled down at the other woman. "It looks like three perfectly normal -human- babies. Probably a boy and two girls."
"No alien fetuses?"
"Doesn't look like it," Scully assured her, wondering if Mulder had told her about what he and Doggett had found in her obstetrician's office.
"Good. Now all that's left to do is give birth, find their parents, and have them taken off my hands." She stared down at her belly. "The sooner the better. You're a doctor, couldn't you do a c-section or something?"
"That's not really in the best interest in the babies."
"Do you honestly think I'm thinking about their best interest? I just want my damn body back."
"But what if they're yours?" Scully asked her. "You'd feel terrible if you delivered them before they were ready and it caused them problems if they're yours."
"What are the odds of that?" Fowley snipped. "One in ten at best. But all right. I'm suddenly not feeling in the mood for abdominal surgery."
It won't be long either way," Scully promised her.
"Easy for you to say," Fowley grumbled.
"So," Mulder began in a conversational tone. "Before you became a pawn in the evil schemes you were a player. Can you think of anyone who might still be involved?"
Fowley shook her head, making her unusually short dark hair move like a curtain. "They're all dead."
"Who do you mean? Humor me," he added when she gave him a look.
"Your father, of course," she said in a way that made it clear that she didn't mean Bill Mulder. "He's the one who got me involved. Alex Krycek. To a lesser degree Jeffery Spender."
"He's not dead," Mulder told her.
"My half-brother, Spender. He resurfaced about five years ago. All scarred to hell, too. Another of their special science projects."
"I doubt he'd still be involved, in that case," Fowley commented.
"Don't be so sure. I have a feeling that trying to leave the consortium is a lot like leaving the mob. I'll give him a ring."
Mulder left the room to make his call, leaving her on the couch. She leaned her head back, and caught herself thinking of beached whales.
Tiny noises alerted her that the kids were creeping back into the room in their father's absence, like roaches when the lights went out. She didn't mind their peeping, but she hoped that none of them would try to talk to her again. Every time they did she quickly found herself inexplicably tired. Maybe it was because there were so many of them, and her own boy wouldn't make her feel that way.
Her own child. She'd carried him the same as these, yet even without having seen him, yet, she felt a sort of possessiveness, or perhaps a proprietary interest.
Looking at her ex-lover's children, she felt absolutely no connection to them, as if they were strangers off the street, not denizens of her womb for most of a year. It was just as well, given that they were well cared for, and she would never want them.
"Scram," Mulder said authoritatively as he returned, and giggles accompanied little footsteps.
"Spender will be here tomorrow."
"He knows something?" Fowley struggled to sit all the way up.
"I think he might know everything," Mulder said grimly.
The Following Afternoon
Mulder and Scully's children were thrilled to death that Kevin and Kylie had accompanied their parents when they arrived. Soon all seven of them were running around, shrieking, and making a large mess of the playroom. Their parents barely noticed because they were more concerned with the man who was walking towards the house. The kids were sent back to play as Mulder opened the door for him.
Everyone but Fowley looked shocked when Spender walked into the house. To Fowley he looked no different than she remembered, which was what everyone else was struggling with.
"Now I understand your motive to continue working with them," Mulder said humorlessly.
"Well, I don't! After everything they did to you, how could you go back to them?" Scully asked, giving Mulder a vivid mental picture of her asking friends the same question about abusive boyfriends or husbands.
Jeffrey Spender pointed to his face. "I know many women didn't consider this much to look at before my injury, but it was, and is, a hell of a lot better than looking like a damn monster. You would make a deal with a devil too, if you were in my shoes." Mulder wanted to deny that claim, but he wasn't sure that he was all that more noble than Spender when it came down to something like that. No one else objected either.
"What do you know about what was done to Fowley?" Mulder demanded of his younger half brother.
"They said that she could still be useful to the project," Spender said calmly.
"But I was told she was dead!" Scully cried.
"Of course you were. If you plan to use a comatose woman in an insidious breeding program, you don't want people out there looking for her, do you?"
"I suppose not."
"But why did they do it?" Mulder asked.
Spender shrugged. "It seemed like an opportunity. If you use a woman who is not only comatose, but loyal to the project, you don't have to worry about messes later, like having to kill off the mothers to keep them from leaking secrets. Otherwise healthy comatose women don't often fall into your lap."
"They do if you're the one who shoots them," Scully muttered darkly. "True enough," Spender agreed. "I suppose Diana and I are lucky that my father was a poor shot."
This elicited a bitter bark of laughter from Fowley. "Thank god for small favors, I suppose you mean. Tell me, Jeff, what was the point of what they used me for?"
"After decades of controlling people, they realized that the easiest people to control were parents. Tie a person down with a kid or four, and they become a lot more cautious. Less nosy. So they handed out children like leashes." He stopped and looked at the two nephews of his who were currently climbing on their parents. "I'd say that their scheme worked well."
Scully nodded slightly, and asked. "Why were they all born in December?"
Spender shrugged. "By its very nature, December is the most chaotic month of the year. When better to throw your foes even more off balance?"
"It worked," Doggett said, watching the rest of the kids sneak back into the room, too.
"What about my son?" Fowley asked. "What was he made for? It's clear from the way that I was unguarded that no one expected me to wake up, so they weren't trying to tie me or good ole 'unknown' down."
"No... Your son was an opportunity for a different sort of project: hybridization."
Turning her head towards Scully, Fowley said "I told you!" but there was no triumph in her voice.
Scully in turn sounded defeated. "The boy isn't human."
"Go ahead and say it," Fowley encouraged angrily. "I know you're all thinking it. My child is a monster."
"Not being entirely human doesn't make him a monster. Emily was a hybrid," Mulder reminded everyone. "And human as far as anyone was concerned."
"The boy is slightly more alien than Emily was." Spender pulled something from his pocket and handed to Fowley. "He can pass too, though. Now."
"He looked more like his... father... as an infant."
"You've seen him?" Fowley asked without looking up from the picture.
"Many times," Spender replied.
"Am I carrying another baby like him?" Fowley asked, running her thumb along the edge of the photo. "I know from the chart they spent all of March last year hoping I'd carry another hybrid to term."
"I believe it's possible," Spender admitted. "That did seem to be their goal, and I don't expect it's changed much. But I doubt it's more than one of the fetuses. The…samples are hard to come by, and I don't think they'd risk more than one hybrid embryo at a time after the first time."
"My stillborn daughter," Fowley acknowledged. "That's a shame, but the boy lived. I want my son. Get him for me, Spender," she demanded.
"I can't-" He held up a hand to stem off argument when she snapped that he owed her. "I can't get involved and blow my cover. But I can get someone in there."
"We'll do it," Doggett announced, and winced when Reyes kicked him in the shin. "Monica, we owe her. We wouldn't have the twins if not for her."
Mulder smirked to himself but they pretended not to notice. Nothing was stopping them from making kids in the usual fashion. Still, despite having split the kids up, they did both seem happy to have them.
Reyes frowned at Doggett but told Spender. "Yeah, we'll do it."
"Thank you," Fowley said softly.
"Good. You should go for the child on Christmas eve," Spender announced.
"Christmas eve? Why then?" Reyes asked plaintively, already thinking about the typical traffic that night.
"Like everyone else, the boy's keepers want to spend the holiday with their families. Around three that afternoon they'll leave meals he can heat himself with a microwave. They won't be back until the 26th, so I suppose you could wait until Christmas day if you're inclined-"
"No, no." Reyes waved the suggestion off, looking rather alarmed. "They plan to leave him all alone for a day and a half? He's five!"
"You have to understand, agent Reyes, they consider him an inconvenience rather than a child. He is an experiment that wasn't very successful, and keeping him alive is a burden."
Fowley paled noticeably. "Keeping him alive, what do you mean...putting it that way suggests they've discussed the alternative."
He nodded. "Tentative termination plans have been brought up."
"My God!" Reyes squeaked.
"Now you understand why I've come forward to assist you. It wasn't just Mulder's badgering me about 'owing him one' after lying to Scully about William." He glared at his older brother. "This child's situation has become dire. It's quite fortunate for him that his mother chose to rejoin the waking world now."
Mulder wanted to ask if Spender really would have stood idly by had Fowley not have recovered from her coma state, but he was afraid to hear the answer.
"Okay, this is how you'll do it..." He only half listened as his little brother explained to his friends how they would go about rescuing Fowley's son. The rest of his brain was too busy being grateful that all his children were accounted for.
December 19th, 2006
A children's birthday party is an unstoppable juggernaut.
At least that's what Scully concluded when she realized that it was far too late to cancel the party for the quads fourth birthday. Reyes had offered to call Doggett and arrange for the two of them to "forget" to bring the twins over to keep the party a little smaller, but Scully told her not to. Two more kids just wasn't going to make much of a dent in the size of the party, so it wasn't fair to deprive the twins of the party when no one else was going to cancel.
There were a total of seventeen kids there, all under the age of seven.
Things did seem to go pretty well for the first part of the party, though Scully and Reyes were kept busy dishing out food while the guys took on the duty of kid wrangling.
At least until Scully heard a faint voice calling. "Help… Oh god, help me."
The call for assistance was coming from the guest room. She and Mulder had told each of their kids about fifteen times each not to "go in there and bother Daddy's friend" but the temptation proved to be irresistible to all of the kids, even William, who was usually the best behaved.
It was to Scully's modification, but not surprise, to see what had happened. Mulder and Doggett were not the kid wranglers that they bragged to be, because five of their charges had escaped their supposedly watchful eyes.
Naturally, Alison was the ringleader. "Look, Mommy! It's just like the book you read us. With Gully's travels." The girl looked rather proud of their accomplishment.
"Gulliver's travels," Scully corrected absently while she beat herself up mentally for not taking the camping equipment from the kids as soon as they opened them. "I want you all to go back to Daddy. Right. Now," she said in her best growly voice, and all of the little hooligans scattered.
Then she had to concentrate very hard on not laughing.
Fowley had gone to lie down for a nap. And apparently while she was sleeping, Alison got the idea to enact the book that Scully now regretted reading to her spirited children. Using the bungie cords from the camping set, and the ropes too, the kids had managed to truss up the sleeping woman just like the Lilliputians had Gulliver.
It was a pretty good job for kids that young, but the fact that Fowley had slept through most of it probably helped a lot. "I'm sorry they did this." Scully apologized, and her face turned the color of her hair.
"Just get me free, please."
"Oh, of course. And as soon as I do, I'm going to send Mulder to the hardware store for a hook latch for the door."
"Thanks. I can't believe a bunch of little kids did this too me." Fowley looked like she didn't know if she should laugh or cry.
"I'm sort of surprised they didn't think of a way to do it sooner," Scully confessed. "These kids…they're a handful some times."
"But you don't regret the fact that you have them, do you?" Fowley struggled to sit up once Scully had untied her.
"No, no. I'm glad that if anyone has them, we do. I'd hate for them to be out there somewhere without us. Like Emily had been."
"Or like my son is," Fowley remarked.
"It's only a few more days until Doggett and Reyes can rescue him, don't worry."
"But what if I suck at being a mother?" Fowley blurted out.
Scully shrugged. Instead of mouthing hollow reassurances that neither of them would really believe, she said instead, "Even if you do a crap job at it, you'll be doing it where he's free, instead of locked up like he is now."
"For what?" Scully asked.
"For not lying to me."
"I can't tell you that you'll be a good mom, because I can't see the future. And the fact that I don't like you much doesn't mean you won't be a great mom, so I can't tell you that you'll suck, either. You'll just have to wait and see how you do."
Fowley laughed. "At least no one can accuse you of being a sentimentalist."
"I suppose not. Why don't you come get some cake? We can ward off the kids more easily if we can see their target."
"Good plan." As she struggled to her feet, Fowley decided that living with 'the enemy' wasn't so bad if the enemy had it within themselves to be kind. She wasn't sure that she would have if their places were reversed, but then, she and Dana Scully were very different people.
Christmas Eve Day
Scully is reading while the kids take a nap, glad for the peace. William was getting old enough that he didn't really sleep during nap time, but he was content to play quietly in his room, which contented Scully and Mulder well enough too. The other kids slept hard for an hour or so before lunch every day, still.
"Uh, Dana?" Looking up, Scully saw that Fowley was standing in the doorway.
"Um…what do contractions feel like?"
"At first they might feel like a nagging pain in your back-"
"And then they feel like someone's stuck their hand in you and is pulling on your insides?"
"I guess that's one way to describe it," Scully agreed. "How long have you been feeling like that?"
"My back's been aching since last night, but it's only been an hour or so since I've felt the worst cramps of my life."
"Hmm. It might be today that you have the babies, then."
"The sooner the better-" Fowley started to say, then broke off in a gasp.
"Why don't we go up to the spare room and check things out?" Scully asked, then gave her a sad smile. "I hate to tell you this, but this could still take several more hours."
"I didn't expect it to be easy," Fowley remarked as she and Scully made their way back to the other room.
"Good, because it probably won't be."
Outskirts of DC
Just as they were told it would be, the house Doggett pulled up in front of was completely abandoned. No cars but theirs stood in the driveway, and there were no lights on anywhere.
Using lock picks, it was quite easy for him and Reyes to gain access to the building. They were inside in two minutes. It was still and rather sterile inside.
At one point Reyes grabbed Doggett's arm and whispered, "There's no Christmas tree."
"I'm not surprised. This place seems awfully short on cheer, holiday or otherwise."
"It's just so sad to leave a little boy alone in a place like this on Christmas eve of all nights...And it's his birthday, too!"
"Good thing we're taking him away with us, then. Once we find him, that is." He frowned at the hallway. "This isn't a very big place, so he must be around here somewhere."
They opened a couple of doors and found a bathroom and a linen closet. Eventually a door opened into what seemed to be a small bedroom.
A small dark-haired child sat silently on the made bed, apparently staring at the wall.
Her heart aching, Reyes decided to get his attention. "Hey."
The little boy looked up at them with luminous blue eyes. Unusually large eyes.
Reyes nudged Doggett with an elbow. "Does this kid remind you of anything?"
Actually, I hate to say it, but he reminds me a little of Parenti's little subjects. But not nearly as strange looking."
"I was afraid of that." She sighed. "If he's a hybrid too it would make sense that the differences would be more pronounced when they're babies, though."
"It does?" Doggett shot her a puzzled look. Clearly they were not on the same page.
"Yeah, think about how big a baby's eyes normally are. Make them even bigger than that, and they'll seem completely freakish. Maybe this little guy has grown into his eyes."
"Maybe. Momma always predicted that Dale would grow into his huge ears, and he nearly did."
All through this, the boy continued to stare at them like they were the aliens. Frowning sheepishly, Reyes addressed him. "What's your name?"
He seemed to have heard the question, but didn't respond.
"Maybe he can't talk," Doggett suggested. "If so, how will we figure out his name?"
As if on cue, the child raised his right hand and pointed a long finger at something on the wall.
A wooden plaque, obviously hand-painted -maybe even by the child himself - boldly stated "Kadien's Room."
"Oh, so you're Kadien," Reyes said, and was rewarded with a vigorous nod. "We're FBI agents, and we've been looking for you."
Taking a stab in the dark, Doggett asked, "Does the name Fowley mean anything to you?"
Smiling, the little boy brought his hand up to his face to make some sort of complicated gesture.
"I think this child is mute," Reyes announced.
Doggett smirked at her. "Gee, did the fact that he hasn't said boo lead you to that conclusion?"
"I mean really mute. That gesture he made was sign language."
"Oh." He leaned down to speak to Kadien. "So what do you say, Kid, do you want us to bring you home to your mother?"
More happy nodding, which prompted Doggett to remark, "She must not have been lying about never having met him."
"John! That isn't nice."
"Neither is she," he replied mulishly. "Okay, Kid, do you have a bag I can put stuff you want to take with you in?"
Kadien scrambled off the bed, and pulled a duffel bag out from under it. Reyes smiled at him. "Your mother should enroll you in the boy scouts. You'll like their 'always be prepared' motto."
The little boy gave her a quizzical look, apparently not understanding her comment. Shrugging his small shoulders, Kadien turned to help Doggett pack his bag. Before long they'd stuffed most of the boy's possessions into the bag, which made the adults sad since it was a fairly small bag.
"Ready to go?" Doggett asked, meaning the question to be rhetorical.
Instead of replying, Kadien stood stalk still with his eyes closed. A look of intense concentration was plain on his face.
"What's he doing?" Doggett whispered.
After a moment the boy opened his eyes and they noticed that he was now holding a thick folder, which he jammed into his bag.
"Where did he get that?" Reyes wondered as the boy took her hand.
"Maybe we're better off not knowing. Come on, let's get out of here," Doggett suggested, and opened the bedroom door.
Eventually Mulder caught on that he'd been spending most of the day with the kids wasn't so that Scully could do some last minute wrapping, but so she could frequently check on how Fowley's labor was progressing.
"I didn't think it would make a difference if I told you or not, so I just didn't," Scully told him, and ignored his indignant reply that of course it made a difference to him.
"How long do you think it will be, Scully?" he asked anxiously once she seemed inclined to listen to him again.
"Probably a few more hours."
"So we've got time to bring her to the hospital then." He looked relieved.
"We can't bring her to the hospital, Mulder," Scully quietly informed him.
"Why not? She's in labor, Scully!"
"I know that. Have you looked at the picture Spender gave us of her son, Mulder?"
"Yeah. He's a little strange looking, what of it?" Mulder asked impatiently.
"The boy's a hybrid, you know that. For all we know she's carrying another one too, and Spender admitted that it was a good possibility. We can't risk having a baby like that born in the hospital. It would end up in captivity, or worse."
"Shit, you're right. So what do we do?" Instead of replying, Scully stared at him. "Oh no, us? Here?"
"What about the kids? We can't have them running around underfoot if you're delivering babies."
"Get me a pen and some paper, okay?"
Confused as to how either of those things could be helpful unless she planned to wrap the kids up like presents themselves, Mulder did so, and watched as she wrote something down. "Here. Go to the store and get these things. But hurry back!"
He looked down at the list in his hand.
"Are you sure we need all these things?" Mulder asked nonplused when he spotted several things he couldn't possibly relate to birthing a baby. The thought of the mini-marshmallows and babies alone gave him an instant headache.
"I'm sure. Get going, Mulder!"
Affronted, Mulder muttered, "On my way."
When Mulder returned forty-five minutes later, he was surprised to see Scully standing at the stove, finishing up a pot of macaroni and cheese. "Scully, what-"
"Oh good, you're back. Microwave the turkey, would you?" Setting the pot on the pot rest, she walked to the doorway. "Kids! Go wash your hands!"
Seconds later the sounds of ten little feet headed towards the bathrooms. When the timer went off, Scully squeezed by him to get the turkey out of the microwave. "Here, start putting their plates out, please. And fill their glasses with milk."
"Um, okay." Mulder did as he was instructed, and the first couple of kids were already there with wet hands by the time he was done. "Where's Fowley?"
"Taking a nap while she can," Scully told him. "It's only going to be a few more hours as best I can tell."
"Oh yay, turkey!" Alison exclaimed happily as she clambered up into her chair.
"I like turkey," William announced, sitting next to her.
"We all do," Scully told him. Once everyone was seated, Scully made an announcement. "I've got some good news and some bad news, kids."
"What, Mommy?" Jeremy asked.
"Yeah what?" Brian and Alison asked at once.
"The bad news is that I was watching the news before you got home, and they said there were lots of germs for a really yucky flu at the Mall today, so you have to take some medicine after dinner." There had been no such story, but Maggie had taken them out to lunch at the mall.
"How come?" Eric asked, giving her a fierce pout.
William rolled his eyes at his little brother. "So we don't feel sick. It would suck to be sick on Christmas."
"William!" Mulder scolded.
"Sorry, Daddy," the little boy said, but didn't look contrite.
"It sure would," Scully agreed. "Daddy got one that tastes like bubble gum, though, so maybe it'll not be too gross. I've got good news too."
"Daddy also bought stuff to make real hot chocolate with milk, so as soon as you're done eating, you can have some before you go to bed."
"With marshmallows?" Alison wanted to know.
"Of course with marshmallows. What kind of person do you think I am?" Mulder asked indignantly. His daughter giggled.
"Can we leave some for Santa too, Mommy?" William asked.
"Yes," Scully replied. "But I'll put it out for him later, so it doesn't get cold."
"We gotta go to bed early so Santa can come, right Daddy?" Brian asked.
"Sure do. Santa won't come unless everyone's in bed."
Alison put down her fork and suddenly looked apprehensive. "But what if I can't sleep?" she wailed; of all the kids, she was the one who most inherited Mulder's insomnia. "I don't want to make Santa not come!"
"Santa knows that it's hard for some kids to sleep. As long as you stay in bed with your eyes closed, and try to sleep, instead of getting up to see if you can find him, he'll still come."
William put a hand on his sister's shoulder. "See? It's okay, Ali."
Fixing the kids with a stern look, Mulder told them all. "If I hear anyone get up, I'm going to tell Santa. He doesn't like kids who try to peek at him."
"He's shy?" Jeremy asked.
"We won't get up, Daddy!" they all promised.
"The hot chocolate's ready," Scully told them as she and Mulder began to clear the kids' plates off the table. "And we've got some cookies left over from making them for Santa, so you can each have one. But medicine first."
Twenty minutes later the kids were yawning as they lead them upstairs for a story before bed. Mulder read them Twas The Night Before Christmas, then tucked them all in. Jeremy and Brian were asleep by the time he shut off their lights, and the rest were drifting off too, even Alison.
"Okay, what was that story about the flu about?" Mulder asked Scully as they went to check on Fowley.
"Benadryl puts them all out like lights. What better way to get them to take it without much of a fuss?"
"I'm glad that I never promised myself that I wouldn't lie to my kids." Mulder smirked, and then gave her a kiss.
"I'd say 'get a room' but I've got yours," Fowley said from the bed. In anticipation of the arrival of Fowley's son, Scully had moved the pregnant woman into her and Mulder's bedroom.
After promising Mulder that the rubber sheet left over from when four toddlers would insist on sleeping with them would protect the bed.
"How are you doing?" Scully asked her.
"You've had a baby, how do you think?" Fowley moaned. "I've never been awake for this before. This is horrible!"
Just then, the doorbell rang.
"Get that please, Mulder. I need to examine her to see how things are moving along."
"No problem." It might be some guy's fantasy to see their beloved do an internal examine of their ex-lover, but not his.
Looking out the window, he was thrilled to see his friends standing on the doorstep. Swinging the door open, he saw that they weren't alone. A small boy held Doggett's hand.
"Hey Mulder. This is Kadien."
"You found Fowley's son," he said with relief.
"Sure did. But we've got to get home to our own kids, now," Doggett told him.
Reyes put her hand on his arm. "Maybe you and Kylie could spend the night at my place. It's getting late, so you don't want to drive all the way home, do you?"
Neither of them noticed Mulder's knowing smirk.
"So, Kadien, would you like to meet your mom?"
"He doesn't talk," Reyes told him. "At least not that we've seen. Uh, heard."
"Okay." Mulder took the boy's hand. "You two drive safely. And enjoy the rest of Christmas Eve with your kids."
He waved when they drove off, then lead the child into the house. "You know, I bet their kids wish that Santa would get their mom and dad together for Christmas. I wonder if he will."
Kadien smiled knowingly too.
Mulder stopped outside the bedroom door and knocked softly until Scully stuck her head out. "Is she up for a visitor?"
"A short visit," Scully agreed.
"Good, because this visitor is short. Look what Santa dropped off," Mulder joked, leading the boy into the room. "This guy seems to be Kadien Fowley."
"So you're my son, Kadien," Fowley said, sounding equal parts tired and pleased.
The little boy nodded.
"I'm glad to finally meet you."
"Kadien, your mom isn't feeling well right now, but she'll probably be feeling a lot better in the morning," Scully told him. "I'm sorry to cut this short, but Mulder here will give you some dinner, then put you in the guest room to sleep, okay?"
"Do you think he knows what Christmas is?" Fowley asked.
"I don't know," Mulder told her. "But Scully sent me out to get a few things for tonight, and I grabbed a few t-o-y-s a boy his age would like. I had faith that Doggett and Reyes would retrieve him."
"Thank you, Fox." Fowley looked close to tears.
"Don't worry about it. Come on, Kid, let's get you something to eat. Me too, I haven't eaten either." Glancing back over his shoulder, he asked, "What about you two?"
"We ate while you were gone, Mulder. It wasn't turkey, but it did in the circumstances," Scully said.
"Guess we're lucky, then," he told the boy.
When they got downstairs Kadien proved himself to be a normal child by smearing himself with the last of the fudge that Mulder offered him for desert. That made Mulder wince, because he really liked fudge himself.
Scully didn't tell him to drug Kadien too, but since she didn't say not to, Mulder decided to take the initiative. Soon there were six children sleeping under their roof. And one man who wished that his bed was empty so he could take a nap too.
Mulder supported Fowley's back while she labored, and Scully crouched between her upraised knees. "Push, Diana!"
Fowley groaned and bore down. After a few more pushes a perfectly formed baby girl slid out into Scully's ready hands. She wiped the baby's mouth and waited for the baby to wail before speaking to Fowley. "Good Job, Diana! It's a girl!"
"I don't care!" Fowley cried. "It's not mine anyway."
She began to push again, and soon another little girl joined the first. This infant too cried lustily. "Another girl." Scully placed the baby in the basket with her sister.
Crying out in pain, Fowley gave birth to the third and final baby. Instead of announcing if it was a boy or girl, Scully softly said, "Dear God."
"That one is mine, then," Fowley said grimly. "Is it alive?"
Scully walked to her and held out the baby for her to see. The baby, a boy, moved his little pink limbs feebly like other newborns are inclined to do. Unlike other newborns, though, he had long spindly fingers and toes. And unusually large almond eyes. "He's not pretty, but I think he's healthy."
Holding out her arms, Fowley demanded to hold him. "My baby freak." Despite her harsh words, her tone was fairly gentle.
"What did you mean when you said the girls aren't yours?" Mulder asked.
Fowley looked up. "When your friends rescued Kadien, he brought files about what was done to me with him, somehow. He got up and brought them to me while you two took a break to put out presents. Reading them I found out whose babies I was carrying, and the genders, so I knew my baby was the only boy."
"So whose babies are the girls?" Scully asked.
"Yours," Fowley said with a yawn. "Guess they wanted to tie you down more."
Both Scully and Mulder gave the sleeping girls horrified looks.
"Why didn't you tell us sooner?" Mulder asked numbly.
"Um… I had other things on my mind, being in labor and all. Looks like you need to think of two more names," Fowley added. "But this ugly little fellow is Curran."
"What are you going to do?" Mulder asked her.
Fowley sighed. "Take my boys and disappear until the baby looks more human. What else can I do?"
Mulder shrugged helplessly.
Scully looked torn, but finally she suggested, "If you're not interested in having more children-"
"At my age?" Fowley asked, then laughed unpleasantly.
"-I'd suggest a hysterectomy. It's nothing I'd normally advise anyone, but if you want to be absolutely sure they never use you again like this, it's the only way to go."
"That, or hunting them all down and killing them," Fowley casually replied.
"That too," Mulder said. "More time consuming, though."
Fowley struggled to sit up. "Can I get a ride to the airport? My aunt left a place in the Adirondacks, so that's a good place to go."
"You can't leave now!" Scully admonished.
"I can't leave later."
"At least wait a couple of hours so I can make sure that you're not going to hemorrhage en route to your place in the mountains," Scully pleaded. Mulder thought it was more the doctor in her talking than anything.
"Okay, a couple of hours," Fowley agreed grudgingly. "Then I've got to go."
"I'll drive you," Mulder told her.
At three a.m. Scully carried a sleeping Kadien out to the car, and Mulder brought out Fowley and the baby. Scully immediately hurried in, as to not leave the other babies alone longer than a couple of minutes.
Fowley was surprisingly steady on her feet, and got into his car without help. "I found a baby carrier up in the attic that lets you completely block the baby from sight. I think you'll find it useful."
They didn't say anything else on the drive, but Mulder wished her good luck at the airport while she bought tickets, then watched the three of them melt into the crowd as if they'd never been there at all.
The car felt strangely empty on the drive home. He stopped off at a store he was both relieved was open twenty-four hours, and angry it had employees there still, and bought a couple of cribs and a complete, cooked, turkey dinner – with a pie and cranberry sauce -that happened to be on sale for a desperate 35% off to get them out of the store. Stores that sold a range of products like that proved that it was a crazy world.
"Will, get up!"
Yawning, William pushed his little brothers' hands away from him, and then looked over to see that his sister was standing in the doorway. "What time is it?"
"Dunno, Will!" Jeremy told him. "We can't tell time."
"Oh yeah." The five and a half year old boy kept forgetting that time was a new skill for him, and not one his younger siblings shared yet. "It's five-thirty."
"Good!" Brian cried excitedly.
"Yeah, they said we can wake them after five," Eric added. Then he gave the clock a suspicious look. "five-thirty is later than five, right?"
"Yup," William agreed, getting out of bed.
"Time to wake up Mommy and Daddy," Alison said gleefully, leading the charge to their parents' bedroom.
Five pairs of eyes took in the scene: the bedding was crumpled, but there was no one in the bed.
"Hey! They're not here!" Jeremy looked disappointed.
"Maybe daddy caught Santa Claus!" Eric suggested. "Let's go see!"
They had asked Mulder to do that while at the mall, so it seemed like a logical possibility to all five kids, so they ran down the stairs as quickly as their little feet would carry them.
And discovered their parents sitting on the floor by the lit tree.
"Hey guys, come see," Mulder invited them.
The kids walked over and noticed that both parents had things on their laps.
"Babies!" Brian squawked.
"Did Santa leave them?" Alison wanted to know.
Their parents exchanged looks. "Yes."
"For who?" William asked. He didn't want a baby, so he hoped neither of them were for him.
"For your mom and I," Mulder told him, smiling when the kids looked relieved. "These babies are your new sisters. Their names are Promise and Hope."
"Yeah," Scully muttered. "She promised we'll never get another surprise like this, and I hope she's right."
For a moment all five kids exclaimed over the pair of newborns. Then Alison's attention wavered, and she looked around the room. "Daddy, where's your friend?"
"She had to leave," Mulder told her.
"Gonna spend Christmas with her family?"
After hesitating for a second, he nodded. "I guess she is."
"Can we open presents now?" Eric asked, nearly wiggling off the couch with excitement.
"Sure," Scully told him.
Then she and Mulder had to block the babies from the flurry of wrapping paper that suddenly rained from the sky. Watching the kids enthusiastically open their presents, and glancing down at their sleepy newborns too, these two parents decided that they were glad that miracle season had arrived once more, but even gladder that it probably wouldn't come again.
* Give at least one of the following people multiples: Scully, Reyes, Mulder, Doggett, one of the Gunmen, Marita, Fowley, Krycek, CSM, Spender or Skinner.
* These kids can be naturally occurring offspring resulting from a regular pregnancy, an irregular pregnancy, surrogacy, adoption, or even evil lab created and/or clones.
* How old these kids are – babies to teens - is up to you, and you can make it as AU as you like.
* All does not go smoothly on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, and it's one or more child's or baby's fault. How are they driving mom and/or dad nuts? How badly? Is it resolved?
* Someone does something with your real-life favorite holiday treat. "Something" does not have to be eat it…kids can be creative that way.
These fics can be romantic, sweet family fare, silly, horror, complete parental __!torture, tragedy, snarky comedy, crossover, or even bad!fic.
Read the sequel: Birthday Week