The last day of the old year I woke up with the sniffles, no small surprise since all of Charlie's kids had been all over me like flies on a corpse and everyone knows what germ-bags children are. So I snuffled around the house all day, and blowing my nose only bought me about a half an hour of peace. While the Moose was taking a snooze, I went into the master bath to empty my snout and was ambushed by the most gorgeous creature in the world, lounging on the bed.
The modern obsession with thinness has made it almost impossible for the average American woman to believe it, but pregnancy is the sexiest damn thing in the world. Think about it: you look at a woman, round and soft and snackable, her breasts plumping up in anticipation of feeding a hungry little invader, and you think, "I made this."
Of course you only think this, you do not say it, because you do not want to be reminded (as if she would let you forget) that she's doing most of the work. You get bigger tits to suckle, she throws up, and she gets backaches and swollen feet. Sometimes it's good to be a man.
When my GopherGirl was first pregnant, things were a little tense and our sex life was rabid as usual; it was always our way of working off tension. Then, during the second trimester, Scully was insatiable. She claimed it was just hormonal. But so is puberty, and only a teenaged boy could have kept up with Scully -- let's put it this way, I was a revolver and she was a machine gun. We had sex so often that I think my tongue muscles could have won a weightlifting competition. By the holidays, things had slowed down somewhat, which was a mercy. She was still gorgeous, but she was no longer the succubus who left me feeling each night like a tapped-out oil well.
Scully was wearing one of her tent-like nightshirts. She'd taken to staying in nightclothes most of the day, because she claimed that the sailor collars and other design flaws in most maternity wear made her nauseous, and as God was her witness she was never going to throw up again. Without the belly, the shirt would have reached her knees, but as it was it barely grazed the tops of her thighs. She was concentrating intently on her computer screen, her face blank and bluish in the light of electrons dancing. "Hey," I kissed her forehead. "Is that what you're wearing to the party tonight? 'Cause I like it, but I'm not sure Zippy will be able to control himself."
She grimaced. "Tell me again why this is a good idea?"
"Because you've spent the past two weeks bemoaning the fact that the average age of the people you spend your time with is fifteen --"
"And that's not *mental* age, either," she interjected as I took her reading glasses off and set them on the side table. But she closed the laptop and put it next to the glasses as I sat down next to her.
"How are you feeling?" I breathed onto her ear and was delighted by the resultant shiver that went through her entire enlarged body.
"I'm fine, Mulder." Her tone was bored but her eyes were already dilating.
She turned into my body and ran her hand up and down my side. "I see you haven't gotten dressed for the party yet either." Her hot silky voice wrapped itself around my cock and she chuckled as I pushed the nightshirt up, raising her arms obediently so that I could remove it.
Necking with a heavily pregnant woman is an interesting experience; I leaned over her, bracing my left hand against the bed, as I felt her swollen breasts with my right. Her belly operated almost like the Holy Spirit at a Catholic high school dance, keeping us apart from the chest down. But we were well versed in avoiding all manner of divine and human obstacles, and I wrestled her despised maternity underwear off as our mouths gave me a delicious preview of the act to come.
She tasted like orange juice and vitamin pills. I have learned that her mouth never tastes exactly the same way twice, and I plan to spend the rest of my life making sure, like a child examining every snowflake to make sure it differs from the others.
I stood to strip off my clothes and she looked up at me, smiling wetly and licking her lips. "How do you want to do this?" she asked.
"It's still the holiday season," I suggested, "why don't you come sit on Santa's lap and tell him what you didn't get for Christmas." When I sat down, my cock bobbing in my lap with all the ridiculousness of the naked human male, she pushed herself to her feet and shuffled so that she could lower herself down, facing away from me. A crane and harness would have been helpful, albeit distracting, but she managed to straddle my legs and find the blind head of my cock seeking its overcrowded home.
She sank down, gasping as I bit the juncture between her neck and shoulder. I couldn't get very deep inside her in this position, but that was probably a blessing for her. She moaned again when I put one hand underneath her belly, supporting her and flicking two fingers over her clit, and used the other to massage her breasts again. They were so sensitive now I had to remember not to squeeze too tightly, but I must have been doing something right because she was squirming against me. I wanted to see her face but it was impossible so instead I pushed her hair away from her ear with my nose and nuzzled.
"Have you been a good girl?"
Scully pulsed her legs up and down in tiny movements that felt like earthquakes where she surrounded me. "Mmm," she purred, "I thought I had a whole year to work up to being good again." Her arms reached back and grabbed my hips, holding us together as she ground against my hand. "You're earning credit with Santa very quickly here." Her stretched and swollen skin was like satin, rich and whisper-soft against my fingers. I was overpowered by her, devastated by the smallest of her sighs and the tiniest shift of her muscles around me.
"Santa -- ah -- Santa is Jewish?" She was rocking against me more quickly now, finding the rhythm that suited her best. She was hot caramel around my cock and whipped cream where I licked at the nape of her neck.
"Who else would willingly work Christmas Eve?"
"You have a point," she said in her most businesslike tone and then shuddered as she came. I brought my hands around to her stomach to hold her against me and I felt a firm kick under the palm of my right hand. I let go in near-terror and Scully chuckled in between her panting breaths. I thought it was freaky. "Why do they do that?" I asked, proud that my voice didn't shake, as I moved my hands down to her hips and began to draw crop circles on her upper thighs with my palms. My hips were pulsing up into her, trying not to hurt her or dislodge her as I sought more of her heat.
"They're reacting to my heartrate." Her voice was husky as she stroked the insides of my thighs, relying on me to keep us from falling off the bed. I grunted and sped up my mini-thrusts. "So the audience is applauding?" Once again I was struck by the realization that we had made these new lives, combining ourselves inextricably. We weren't just two people anymore. We were 'Us'. And Scully was everywhere around me, her scent on my fingers and soaking deep in my pores, her heat warming my blood, her heartbeat sustaining all four of us.
I came so hard that I thought I'd had a heart attack.
Hey, it's not an unreasonable fear for a man my age. When my vision cleared, we were lying spooned on the bed. I smiled at the thought Scully was for the moment not her usual demitasse size but more of a heaping tablespoon. I kissed her mussed hair and drowned in happiness.
"Mulder," Scully said finally, "we should get ready to go. Wear the blue and green tie with the horses, all right?"
Married life is true bliss. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
Miranda and I had matching green velvet outfits. Hers was a pair of overalls, because bad things tended to happen to ruffles and lace in Miranda's vicinity. With a clean white shirt on underneath, she was frighteningly adorable. I had a simple dress that made me look like a Christmas ornament but was mercifully free from slogans or flowers. My hair, which I had given up getting cut for months, was now brushing my shoulders and had developed a mind of its own, bunching into sloppy curls and refusing to be tamed. I supposed that it was a side-effect from the hormone changes, but at least having fuller hair kept me from looking like my head was far too small compared to the bowling ball of my belly. I was starting to wonder if I was ever going to look human again.
Mulder came up behind me as I examined my silhouette in the full-length mirror in the closet. "Still pregnant, I see," he commented.
"No, Mulder, look -- they've dropped -- they're getting ready." Suddenly there was a space between my breasts and my abdomen that hadn't been there a few hours before.
His eyes widened. "Now?"
"No, I was expecting it for a little while -- it can happen weeks before birth." It was strange; my center of gravity had shifted downwards again and I felt like my body had been rearranged like a Rubik's cube.
Mulder snuffled. Then he coughed. Then he sneezed. I would have suspected a ploy for my sympathy but it was too blatant. I turned and put my hand to his throat, checking for swollen glands and then felt for a fever. Yes, the Mulder luck was at it again. You could have used his forehead to cook eggs. He was sick, physically sick, and we were all going to be miserable by the time the illness worked its way through the family. Just what I needed, then again, Fate had been using me as her punching bag for longer than I wanted to think about.
I sighed. "You'd better take something for that. It looks like this is our last chance to have fun for a while."
Mulder sniffled and turned to go into the bathroom. I heard banging noises as he raided the cabinets, but I knew how Mulder usually dealt with sickness and I wasn't going to brave the lion's den unless he was in actual danger of bleeding out on the floor.
When he came back, his lips were red and sticky with syrup, but he was coherent enough to drive us over to Zippy's for the party.
I kept Miranda in my arms as we worked our way through the crowd, protecting my belly from over-friendly touches. Zippy was glad-handing all and sundry, only deigning to give me a quick kiss on the cheek and Miranda a friendly tickle before he returned to hitting on the more available and non- jailbait ladies at the party.
Mulder was fading fast. I saw him stagger over to the table that held the drinks and he even smiled at two agents I knew for a fact he hated more than the Utah Jazz. I was beginning to wonder if this had been a good idea. He'd need to get the drugs out of his system before he could drive us back home. He wouldn't let me have the keys and I wasn't quite as adept at avoiding notice as I'd been pre-pregnancy, so I couldn't pick his pockets. Meanwhile, I worked my way over to the sofa and smiled sweetly at the man sitting there hitting on the nice young woman next to him. "Excuse me," I said, and he had to get up or look like a total asshole in front of her. I took his vacated seat with relief, and was not too surprised when his friend took the opportunity to join him over by the Christmas tree where the mistletoe was.
But I couldn't escape interaction for long. Mulder's assistant Diane sat down next to me. Miranda was bouncing on my lap, eager to run out among the forest of adult legs, but it reminded me too much of the old video game 'Frogger' to let my little tadpole go play. "Who's this?" she cooed in a Southern accent as thick as hominy.
"Miranda, this is Diane. She works with your Daddy," I informed her, and Miranda looked Diane over with great seriousness. Fortunately for my peace of mind, Diane was a very married woman (three times at last count, according to Mulder) with a no-nonsense manner and a large, hulking husband named Bo who I think was standing behind the couch, watching us.
"Hell-o," Miranda sang. "Cookie?" She'd obviously seen the trays of food arrayed on the sides of the room.
"I'll take her to get a plate, why don't you just relax?" I nodded gratefully at Diane, who took Miranda from my lap. The Mooselet looked at me for confirmation before she smiled at Diane like a vote-hunting politician. It was good that Miranda was gone; I already needed a bathroom trip. Typical, no sooner did I sit down than I realized that I had to get up. The twins weren't born yet and already they were plotting against me. I searched the room for Mulder, finally identifying him by the slight hesitation in his step and the unruly halo of his hair. He was holding a glass of champagne, half-gone, and I realized that we were going to end up in a cab. I could only hope the cab driver's English wouldn't be good enough to understand when Miranda asked to speed up.
I fought my way out of Zippy's sofa and walked over to where three smiling VCS types were talking to Mulder. He was listening to them discuss the various plans they'd made to survive the Y2K problem. "Nobody's flying tonight, that's for sure," one said.
"Or having surgery. Very bad time to go to the hospital when all the equipment goes on the fritz," another agreed.
"So, Spook, you think this is another government plot, planned decades in advance?"
"I think the eve of the millenium is far too blatant for the global conspiracy," Mulder said carefully, so carefully that one might have mistaken him for a sober man. "They're going to make their move when no one's looking. Too many people are out tonight with their shotguns and their stockpiles. I think everything's going to work perfectly. No doomsday scenario. That's how they'll get our guard down. And you can tell Frank Black I said he was full of shit."
"You did remember to get cash from the ATM?" I put my hand on his arm and the VCS agents smiled at me the way that they smiled at all the spouses. It annoyed me but there was little I could do about it as I'd left my gun back in the closet at home.
Mulder turned and looked down at me, surprised that I would hang on to him. "You okay?" he asked with the black eyes of the seriously stoned. "Laurel and Hardy are bladder-dancing again," I explained and rubbed at my lower back, "and I was trying to make it through an hour without getting up."
Mulder bent so that he could whisper in my ear. "Laurel and Hardy? I thought we'd settled on Donny and Marie."
"Sonny and Cher."
"Bill and Hillary." It figured that he'd jump to Democrats. Tina was still pushing for something biblical, like Miriam and Aaron, and I would name my kids LaDwayne and Khrystelle before I'd go along with one of her suggestions. Eventually we were going to have to name them, I knew this, although Mulder suggested that Girl and Boy weren't that bad and being nameless might help keep them out of government records. I wasn't being very helpful because I couldn't stand wading through lists of names; I figured that I was doing my maternal duty just by shooting down Mulder's flights of fancy. Sebastian and Viola, my ass. These kids had enough against them without giving them names that practically invited plots and confused identities and struggles to survive. Not to mention severe playground teasing.
I smiled and released him to go in search of a bathroom.
Five minutes later, still sitting on the toilet, I had an epiphany. Where else, after all, do modern humans have their epiphanies? Two hundred years ago I'm sure most of life's important ideas were had in outhouses or over chamberpots. This realization was directly related to the primary activity, though -- those weren't bladder pains.
Those were contractions.
I looked at my watch. Waited five minutes.
Another wave of sharp pains.
I sacrificed one of Zippy's hand-towels and jammed it in my mammoth underpants just in time. I was halfway back to the living room when my water broke like a cheap condom. Feeling icky and wet, I waddled over to where Skinner, the biggest, baddest wallflower I'd ever seen, was watching the crowd with a look of dyspeptic cynicism. I think he was having a good time. If not, no great loss.
"Are you sober, sir?"
Skinner's face rippled through several varieties of unhappiness. "Why do I hesitate to answer that question, Agent Scully?"
"I need someone to drive me to the hospital." I would have done it myself, I swear, but the Ford was such a monster that I couldn't crank the seat far enough forward to reach the pedals without crushing my overburdened stomach.
"And your husband?" He made it sound like a dirty word.
"Robitussin and alcohol. I wouldn't trust him to drive anyway."
Skinner nodded in understanding. "I'll get my coat. You collect Mulder."
Three glasses of champagne was probably not the bestest of ideas I'd ever had. But you can blame it on the drugs. I did. With my head stuffy from sickness and the combined heat of fifty sweaty bodies in a smallish living room, I was wobbling like King Kong right before he fell off of the tower. Everyone was very friendly, and I was developing theories about it: A, they were sucking up now that I had some actual responsibility in the Bureau. B, a man with a hugely pregnant wife is a sympathetic character. C, I was too looped to make my standard witty remarks, since they'd just seem witty to me but in actuality be quite moronic, and so I wasn't alienating as many people as usual. I was just incoherent enough that the theories seemed clever at the time, which is why I wisely kept them to myself and smiled with the wisdom of old Ben Kenobi.
I saw people moving apart as if pushed aside by an invisible force. But it wasn't invisible, just short. Scully maneuvered herself over to where I was sitting like a tugboat navigating a crowded harbor. I smiled. Her face was serious, which meant ... absolutely nothing. Her serious face had been employed for everything from planned seductions to gunpoint interrogations. I once saw her sing a lullaby wearing that expression. My smile got wider as she leaned over, bracing herself on the sofa back so as not to overbalance, and brushed her lips across the top of my ear. "Mulder," she whispered in her sultriest autopsy voice, "have you ever encountered the theory that the prostaglandins in semen can stimulate uterine contractions, hastening the onset of labor?"
"No, I never -- what?" Heads turned to see who had just sucked down a lungful of helium in order to squeak like that.
We trooped out to the Ford. For some reason, my AA followed us outside. She was cooing at Miranda.
Skinner got the car started while I fumbled with the keys for the passenger side. Behind the car, Zippy was panting like a steam locomotive as he hoisted Scully into the back compartment where she could lie down and ruin the upholstery with ease. I put Miranda into her car seat and she immediately began the "you're not driving!" sob cycle, so I knew that she was all right. I was surprised when Diane clambered in and plunked herself into the passenger seat, twisting herself around so that she could see Scully. >From my position next to Miranda, all I could see in the rear-view mirror was a scythe of Scully's emerald-green belly.
"Why don't you go back to the party?" I suggested weakly as Skinner put the car in reverse and peeled out of the driveway, nearly decapitating several of Zippy's nicer bushes.
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm the only one of you all that has given birth before," Diane said. She sounded like the repressive mother figure in every Tennessee Williams play. "Besides, you can't slow down now."
She was right; Skinner was driving like he was trying to prove that an SUV really could do the Indy 500. Miranda was cooing at him with adoration. The car jerked as he hit the gas so that we could make the last tenth of a second of a yellow light. On my side, two cars on the cross street had actually started to move before we flashed by. "Ah, sir?" I heard the music of car horns rapidly dopplering away behind us. "Sir?" Skinner's mouth twitched as if he'd been cattle-prodded. "Skinner?"
"What, Mulder? I'm a little busy right now," he swung us into a three- quarter turn that made the headlights of the oncoming traffic dance in my vision like the aftereffects of a blow to the head.
"D'you -- d'oh!" I lost my never-too-stable balance and slammed into the side door as we turned again. Was he trying to find the hospital by process of elimination? "D'you think you could *slow the fuck down*, sir?"
"Fuck down!" Miranda sang out and chuckled. If I hadn't been grabbing the armrest in terror I would have buried my face in my hands.
"Your wife is about to give birth!" Skinner did outrage well.
"The average labor for a first-time mother lasts well over twelve hours," Scully informed us from the back. "I have to concur with Mulder in this instance, sir."
I saw the speedometer needle begin to waver and slide to the left and breathed a sigh of relief. I didn't want to get maudlin and remind him that everything I cared about in the world was riding in this car, but I would have. Or at least I would have told him that it was a new car and we hadn't made all the payments.
"You oughta get in the back," Diane advised. "Keep her from rolling around."
The drugs must have addled me even more than I'd thought because it sounded like a great idea and I hurdled over the seat to join Scully. Diane pulled out her cellphone and dialed 911.
Next to me, Scully suddenly grabbed my hand hard enough to make me worry about my fingerbones. I looked down at her and in the flashing lights from the street lamps flickered across her frozen face.
"God, it hurts," she hissed.
"Is it possible that you are in labor?" I asked and the glittering lights from the houses decorated for the holidays pulsed in the sides of my peripheral vision, making me feel vaguely sick.
"It's not possible," she hissed in the same tight voice.
"Was there any bleeding? You must have popped your plug if your water broke," Diane offered from the back seat where she was cooing in her dental drill tone to the Mooselet.
"I didn't notice anythi--" her voice sliced off in mid-word as Scully's body suddenly went into a arched-back spasm as tight as that of anyone I'd ever seen shot.
"You're goin' for sure." Diane said, shaking her head. "Yeah, I got a woman in labor," she said into the phone. "We're on the -- well, we *were* on Richmond Avenue, I'm not too sure where we are now, we crossed Ellis a few blocks back. Yes, they do intersect, don't you go tellin' me they don't because we were just there, mister."
"Are you sure that it's safe for you to be having labor right now?" Skinner inquired as we skidded around a corner on what felt like two wheels.
"I don't think it's my decision at this point," she gasped and gripped my hand even tighter.
"Working on the assumption that Agent Scully is actually giving birth right now and is not adhering to the normal rule, which surprises me not at all, what is the next course of action?"
My brain stuttered for a moment, trying to remember what they had been talking about at birthing class. To tell you the truth, I had hardly paid attention. I was far more interested in the sheer absurdity of twenty upper middle-class couples lying on the floor in the classroom with pillows piled around them trying to assume a calm and relaxed attitude while a creature not much smaller than a football helmet was trying to escape through a tunnel only about as wide as my Johnson. All the while the woman teaching the course jingled her silver jewelry and cooed about deep breaths and cleansing breaths. I needed a couple of cleansing breaths right about then to clear the cobwebs of cold medicine and champagne out of my already thick brainpan.
Scully answered Skinner herself, since she had never been able to let me offer an opinion on her behalf.
She roared like some animal out on the veldt.
Skinner slammed on the brakes and we all jerked around like Boggle cubes, which thrilled Miranda whose laughter added to my general feeling that my brain was about to implode. Scully took the opportunity to reassert command. "Just keep driving, sir. I've got everything else --ungh -- under control." She grimaced and it went straight to my heart. I mean, there's a reason that women give birth in hospitals and not in the back of an SUV. If it were safe, Madonna would probably have done it. "It's okay," she told me, softly enough that the others probably couldn't hear. "Twins are smaller and so twin births are generally less severe. I'll be fine."
"Aren't you the cutest little punkin?" Diane asked Miranda, her voice twanging like an out-of-tune guitar.
"Agent Mulder," Skinner said, his voice strained to the breaking point, "your assistant's accent was charming four lights ago."
"Don't look at me," I said. "I'm trying to remember if there's a good place to dump a body between here and the hospital."
"I heard that," Diane snapped. "No, not you," she told the cellphone. "She's goin' fast now, she's got twins -- do we need to cut the first one's cord before the second comes out?"
"Go ahead and push if you need to," I said miserably.
"Mulder! I can't push now, it's important to relax now in order to avoid tearing!" I could have lived without the image. Well, at least I was providing the useful service of keeping her annoyance focused elsewhere.
Diane looked back at us. "They've just got to slide right out there if she's ready."
Ready or not ...
Scully gasped like a woman transfixed by a sign from God. I could hear her teeth grinding together as she struggled to make her muscles obey her will. I wanted to tell her that I loved her but I thought that it wasn't quite the right time. And then I looked down, and there was a baby coming out of her! Not an entire baby, not yet, but a round wet head like a rubber ball.
"The baby's head is out now," Diane informed the 911 operator breathlessly. Then she held the handset away from her and looked at it as if it had farted.
"He put me on hold!"
Skinner pulled over to the side and parked. He twisted around and conferred with Diane in hushed tones. I was watching a miracle.
"You have to catch the baby," Scully warned and I felt as light as a balloon, like I was only drifting by, but I put my hands out to catch it, feeling the hot wet of Scully's body. The head was first, the eyes closed and the face red with blood and outrage. Shoulders, small and white in comparison to the oversized head, and then a torso.
It looked like an X File. A really juicy one, with slides. Its -- his -- head was huge and red and hairless, his body was covered with a creamy white goo, and he was wrinkled like a golden raisin. He opened her mouth and wailed at me, his eyes still shut against this large unfamiliar world. He had good lungs.
"Welcome to Earth," I said.
He screamed again.
I assume that he meant "take me to your leader," and held him up so he could see Scully.
I realized that I had been spending *way* too much time with Disney movies when I could only define the moment by thinking that I was feeling kinship with Simba's father in The Lion King. Maybe it was the emotions of the moment or maybe it was the cough medicine and champagne mix, but I wanted to sing - with joy. And what did I want to sing? "The Circle of Life," of course. And if that wasn't embarrassing, I don't know what was. Instead, I bundled the complaining infant up against my chest, for once not worrying about my shirt and tie.
Distantly, over the baby's wails, I could hear shouting and cheering. I'd like to think that it was for me, but on the other hand I didn't want anyone else to see me this way. It was the New Year, the final year of the Millenium and the din was intense, even in my somewhat distracted condition.
"Do you realize," Mulder breathed in my ear, his voice bright with excitement, "we're going to have twins who were born one millenium apart?"
I breathed in and out. "Technically, Mulder, that's not --"
"Here comes the other one!" he cried, just so Skinner and Diane wouldn't think that it had all been a big mistake and there was only one kid, plus a whole lot of blubber, in there.
It hurt less the second time. That, or the shock was setting in. Giving birth is probably not quite as painful as getting shot. It is, however, not nearly as pleasant as the standard process by which children are conceived. The baby girl came quietly, and I nearly panicked before Mulder confirmed that she was breathing. As if to bypass Mulder altogether, she began to squeal like a cat in a bathtub full of water. The twins complained in chorus. Mulder had one in each hand and I hoped he didn't take it in mind to start juggling. A Mulder drunk and on cough medicine was a dangerous man.
I passed a few blood clots and the placentae then, about which the less said the better, and finally Mulder gave the babies back to me. I wanted to start nursing right then, to get the antibody-rich colustrum in them immediately before the doctors started stealing them away and sealing them behind glass in the name of safety. I tugged my dress up further -- it wasn't as if Skinner and Diane hadn't seen me in an intimate context already -- and pushed my bra out of the way. Mulder was staring at me like one of his aliens. The first tugs against my nipples were so intense that my pain began to fade, replaced by the awe that Mulder wore so much better than I did. The car began to move again as Mulder covered me with his coat, the babies' cantaloupe-soft heads peeking out from underneath the expensive wool, and I breathed in the hot, organic air around me. We stared down at them, amazed, as their natural sucking reflexes started to work. They were Mulder's, for sure, unwilling to take time away from my breasts even for the standard amount of crying.
We couldn't have been driving for five minutes when the car stopped again, blocking the emergency doors to the hospital, and Skinner leapt out to call for assistance. I heard the metallic creak of a gurney approaching and I smiled up at Mulder. "Cordelia and Bram," I said.
"Perfect," he replied, which might have been the most surprising event of the night, and then the hospital personnel descended on me like MIBs with a fallen angel. They even had tiny hats for the babies' heads to keep them from feeling the chill January midnight.
As I was hustled away from the SUV in a gurney with the twins in their charming knit hats bundled up against me, I saw Mulder, coatless and pale standing next to the vehicle with a well-wrapped Miranda in his arms. She gawped at me as if I'd grown another head or two.
"Bay-bees?" she asked.
"Say 'hi' to your brother and sister, Moose."
"Shit," she said.
Even though the hospital computers had seized up from the advent of the Millenium, there were forms to fill out and questions to be answered, which I did, in a shocky daze. The Moose sat on the counter and accepted the adoration of the ER's night staff. It was an hour before the powers that be let the Moose and me in to see Scully and the babies. During the interval, the silent Bo, Diane's husband, collected her and Skinner to go back to the party to get their cars. There were hugs and backslapping. Diane planted a deep red kiss on my cheek, which I had to wipe off as soon as she left. I think Skinner might have hugged me, but I'm not willing to defame either of our characters by stating it as a fact.
Scully was propped up in a hospital bed, looking better than she usually did under that circumstance. Tired, she looked tired and her hair was in an impressive state of messiness. The twins were diapered and stuffed side by side like pink cocktail hot dogs in white pastry wrapping in a hospital bassinet by her bedside. I don't know who she had to kill to get that arranged, but I know I felt slightly sorry for whatever nurse had been assigned to her. Leaning over the side of the bassinet, she was poking at their wiggling pink limbs and looking down at them with a frown of great concentration.
Since I know my place in the Universe, I held out a cup of coffee I had stolen from the nurses' lounge. Without looking up from the babies, Scully held out her hand for the cup and sipped at it while she watched the pair of babies wiggle and whine. I sat on the edge of the bed and plunked the Moose down where she could look down into the bassinet as well. "Bram," Scully said, pointing at the baby with the powder blue knit hat. "Cordelia," she pointed at the baby in the pink knit hat. We were going to have to do something about those rigid gender roles. Orange and green, maybe.
"Bay-bees," the Mooselet agreed and looked up at Scully to make sure it was all right.
Scully smiled at both the Moose and myself and her smile was brighter than the ball dropping in Times Square.
"They are both over seven and a half pounds each, Bram is twenty inches long and Cordelia is nineteen. Which means that I was basically all baby so you can't make any fat chick jokes."
"Scully, I'd think you were the sexiest thing in the world if you were built like an anteater."
I got the eyebrow for that one, but she continued on without pausing, "There aren't any green polyps or vesicles on either of them, they have the right number of finger and toes, and when you call your mother don't bother scheduling a Bris."
I nodded, as we'd already discussed that and decided that it was best to have the baby boy -- Bram -- circumcised while he was still disoriented and before he knew what he was missing.
"I'm exercising my postpartum prerogative to be antisocial. Will you call my mother?"
I don't know whether it was the residual drugs in my system or just the fact that this call from the hospital was good news, but I agreed without protest and went to find a pay phone. Maggie's voice was bleary from being woken from a deep REM cycle.
"Dana just gave birth," I told her. "If you want to meet the twins I suggest you get over here while she's still sedated."
"How are the babies?" she asked, grandma to the core.
"How are you?"
"Fine right now. Ask me again in sixteen years."
IT'S OVER - GO HOME