“It says, definitely, that Melissa is not Emily's mother, but that they found striking genetic similarities between Emily and Melissa, so many that they ran a test against another sample that they already had,” Scully informed her confused family, while reading the results sent to her.
“What sample?” her mother asked.
“What are you trying to say?” Bill added.
Scully had about million other questions that she wanted answers to, but she had no one to ask.
“According to this…” she heard herself saying. “I am Emily’s mother.”
No one reacted, not visibly at least. The dreadful silence filled the house, as Scully turned the page in the report, read further and dropped the papers as if they were on fire. She gasped and that was it. Her whole world got turned upside down in a second.
“How…” Maggie went to her. “How is this possible?”
Scully just shook her head, unable to speak. Maggie gently led her to the couch and sat her down.
Bill had already picked up the papers and read through them. He wasn’t a doctor or a scientist, but he understood the results just the same.
“That son of a bitch has some explaining to do!” he said angrily.
“What do you mean?” Maggie turned to him, but Bill ignored her, focusing on his sister instead.
“What the hell did he do to you?” he demanded.
“Nothing,” Scully shook her head. “He never touched me. I was never pregnant, you know that! Something was done to me… To us… But I don’t understand… Why would they do this?”
“Dana?” Maggie was still clueless. “What are you talking about?”
“Mulder is the father!” Bill informed her, throwing the papers in rage. He started pacing, trying to calm down. Melissa’s secret pregnancy was a bizarre theory, but the truth turned out to be much more insane. He needed someone to blame, and who else but that-sorry-son-of-a-bitch?
“They wanted to test my sample,” Scully finally pulled herself together just enough to explain. “But there was a mix-up and they used Mulder’s instead. They are arranged by departments so ours were next to each other… Mom, both samples were a match.”
“Are you saying Emily is your and Fox’s daughter?” Maggie calmly asked for confirmation. She wasn’t all that surprised. After all, her daughter worked for the strangest section of the FBI and this maybe even wasn’t the weirdest thing that ever happened to her.
“Yeah,” Scully confirmed, bursting into tears. She felt betrayed and violated in a terrible way. “And they’ve sent this to him, too. He already knows…”
“Oh, honey,” Maggie hugged her and let her cry on her shoulder. “It’s going to be ok. You’ll figure this out, you always do.”
“He’ll hate me for this,” Scully sobbed. “It will change everything.”
“Who, Fox?” Maggie wondered. “He’d never hate you. You are friends. You’ll get through this.”
Bill approached them and placed his hand on Scully’s shoulder, a bit calmer now.
“I don’t know what to say,” he sighed regretfully.
It made Scully cry harder.
* * *
Mulder was just as upset as Scully’s brother. He already made a scene at the laboratory, yelling at everybody and demanding explanations. They repeated the tests on his insistence, but the results remained the same.
He had a child.
A little girl.
Mulder dedicated his life to finding his sister, not a daughter!
Men go through discoveries like this all the time. He was aware of that and he wasn’t a saint, so this happening to him wasn’t outside of the realm of possibilities. No, not at all.
But with Scully?!?
He was sure, damn sure, that he never slept with his partner!
He was damn sure she wasn’t pregnant!
So how the hell… !?
He dialled her number about ten times by now, but he always hung up before it started to ring. What was he supposed to say to her? What was he supposed to do?
Skinner sent him home when someone informed him that he’s been harassing lab workers, so he just sat on his couch, staring at the results as if he could erase them with the force of his will.
Scully’s ova, he suddenly remembered. He still had them and he never told her. She would never forgive him.
Not that it mattered at the moment.
This little girl mattered.
Mulder chuckled at the thought. In a weird, twisted way it somehow seemed fitted. Why would a child of his come into the world in a usual, normal way?
His heart suddenly filled with warmth and he was already proud of a kid that he’d never met.
Proud and worried and thousand other feelings that he couldn’t even begin to explain.
Once again, a little girl turned Mulder’s world upside-down and changed the course of his life forever. His sister did it by disappearing, while his daughter did it by appearing, in just as mysterious and unexplainable way…
He was just standing there, watching them. It felt like he was standing for hours, years, eternity…
His daughter… Her daughter… He still couldn’t believe it, even with the DNA results and all the research he did on the plane. He didn’t rest, but he didn’t find the answers, only more questions.
Behind the glass window of the door, he could see Scully and the little girl playing on the floor. It looked so natural and so bizarre at the same time.
What was he supposed to say to his partner? What does he say to this miracle that wasn’t meant to be? What was he supposed to do?
What does he tell himself?
Mulder pressed his forehead to the cold glass, trying to relieve his headache. Whatever he was supposed to do, he didn’t want to do it. His partnership with Scully was the best thing that happened to him in a very long time and he couldn’t afford to lose it. But this… This was bound to come between them.
He didn’t knock. He didn’t come in. He waited for Scully to take her time, notice him and come to him.
Finally, she did. She left the child and walked through the door, changing everything for all of them. Forever.
“Hi,” she said, looking as embarrassed as he felt, but not the least bit surprised to see him.
“I told you we should’ve used condoms,” he joked, trying to lighten up the mood. It came out wrong, but Scully accepted the game almost with a relief.
“What can I say, Mulder,” she sighed, failing to look him straight in the eyes. He didn’t notice it though, as he was having the same problem. “Not even celibacy works every time…”
“So, do I have to marry you now?” he kept on nervously joking, praying for something to stop him. “Is that why you did it? To get me down on my knees?”
“Mulder, I don’t need a child to have you on your knees,” Scully objected. “All I have to do is talk about aliens, witchcraft, spontaneous human combustion or…”
“Scully,” he stopped her.
“What?” she raised her eyebrow.
“Marry me,” he requested. It made her chuckle.
“I rest my case,” she concluded. “You’re too easy.”
Mulder smiled and the awkwardness was gone. They were able to gaze at each other again with fondness and care, as always.
For a brief moment the elephant in the room, who was peacefully drawing on the floor, didn’t exist.
But then she did. And she needed to be addressed, sooner rather than later.
“Is it true?” Mulder asked, trying not to sound desperate. Scully was a rational one, she could’ve had a perfectly reasonable scientific explanation for their situation, even if he couldn’t find one himself. “I mean, I know it is, but I just can’t believe it. Even as I’m standing here with you, looking at her over there… I still…”
“I know,” Scully agreed. “I can’t understand it either. How… And why… But she’s here.”
“How did you find her?” Mulder wanted to know.
“It’s a long story,” Scully sighed. “And you might want to have the engagement ring ready when you hear it. But I have to go back to her now.”
“Do you want to come in?” Scully offered. “Meet her? She’s a little shy, but she’s a nice kid.”
Mulder wanted to say no, but he nodded yes instead. He didn’t know why. It was all surreal and he pinched himself, hoping against hope it was just a dream.
It was real.
He walked inside and a little girl with Scully’s eyes raised her head to look at him, but quickly turned it away when he smiled at her.
“It’s okay,” Scully told her. Or maybe it was meant for him. “This is my friend Mulder. He came all the way from Washington to meet you. Don’t you want to say hi, Emily?”
A little uber-Scully shook her head no, looking at the floor.
“I told you she’s shy,” Scully smiled at Mulder apologetically. He barely heard her, preoccupied with the little one.
It didn’t take much to make the contact. Scully watched Mulder as he crouched next to Emily, asked her about her drawing and made funny faces. Emily giggled and started to relax. He was so natural with her and Scully felt a pang of jealousy. It felt as if Mulder and Emily shared something she wasn’t a part of.
Of course they did! He was her father, Scully reminded herself, her very biologically related father!
But Scully was her mother, and she wasn’t giving up on her. Not even for Mulder, if it came to that.
Mulder wasn’t thinking anything at all. His full attention was dedicated to Emily, who brought a little bit of peace to his soul, just by existing. He didn’t even know her, but he was totally and completely in love with her, as if he knew her forever and forever would.
He wanted to touch her, one last test to make sure that she’s real. But he wasn’t sure how to go about it. Should he stroke her hair or rest his palm on her shoulder? Pat her on the knee or simply take her by the hand? He didn’t want to scare her, though. He may have been her father, but she didn’t know it. To her, he was just a stranger. A cute, funny stranger, perhaps, but a stranger nonetheless.
Gathering the courage and thinking up excuses to hold this child, Mulder felt a cold air on his back, coming from the direction of the entrance. He stood up and turned around, instinctively protecting Emily with his body. The door opened with a creaking and someone walked inside, intruding on their little gathering.
Maggie Scully entered the room, followed by a young, blonde woman.
"Ms. Robinson came to talk about your adoption request," she said to Scully before noticing Mulder. "Oh… Hello Fox."
"Adoption?" Mulder ignored the greeting, suddenly tensing. "What… is going on here?"
"Can we talk about this later?" Scully asked in shaky voice. "It's just an informative conversation, nothing official yet."
Mulder bit his lower lip and nodded, trying to keep calm.
"Okay," he said after a moment of silence. "I would like to be informed too."
"Mulder, please," Scully practically whispered. "We can discuss this later."
"Why don't you stay with Emily and get to know her better?" Maggie suggested, trying to help. It was her mistake that got them in this situation. She spoke too soon, but how could she know? She was here mere 15 minutes ago and Fox was nowhere around. As far as she knew, he didn't even announce his arrival.
"That can wait," Mulder was determined. "She's my…" he stopped himself. He didn't want to scare Emily by revealing his paternity to her. It was too much for him, so how hard would it be for a little girl who just lost her parents?
"…business," he finished the sentence. "This concerns me too."
"Are you the…" social worker was searching for vague enough words as well. "…other relative?"
"Yes," he nodded, much to Scully's dismay. "I have a right to be included."
"Very well then," Ms. Robinson agreed, while Scully eyed her mother with an evil glance. "Come with me, both of you."
Mulder and Scully followed her, the tension between them growing exponentially with each step. When they left the room Maggie heaved a long sigh of relief. It was never a good idea to get between those two, but having them against each other would certainly release a hell on earth. She could only hope they'd work everything out with social worker and find a solution for their unusual situation.
She certainly wasn't able to figure it out herself. She was well prepared for becoming a grandma, any day now, but not like this. Maggie was expecting Bill's baby, not Dana's… child. A child.
A child who talked and walked and drew pictures on the floor.
A child with special needs and mysterious disease, whose adoptive parents died under strange circumstances.
A child whose biological parents didn't make her, consent on making her or have any idea of her existing.
A child who looked like her own deceased daughter, her beautiful Missy…
What would Bill say, if he could see her? What would her late husband do in this situation?
A child who spoke, bringing her back from her thoughts.
"What was it, darling?" Maggie asked her to repeat.
"Where is my mommy?" Emily watched her with big blue eyes, just like Missy used to look at her, with trust and wonder of a kid exploring the world.
"Your mom is in haven, sweetheart," Maggie regretfully reminded her.
"When is she coming back?" Emily insisted.
"She can't come back. We've talked about this, Emily. You have to be brave and strong. We will make sure you have everything you need, okay?"
"Okay," Emily nodded, not so much with understanding, but wanting to please her. "Will you be my mommy now?"
"No," Maggie's eyes filled with tears. "I am too old to be a mommy again."
A grandmother, she wanted to say, but she didn't. She couldn't promise that. It wasn't up to her, it was up to Dana and Fox, and that lovely Ms. Robinson…
Who were having a heated debate at that very moment.
A debate that Scully was losing, but surprisingly Mulder wasn't half bad at.
"What was your last long-term relationship?" Ms. Robinson asked them. She kept asking personal questions that Mulder and Scully never asked and didn't know about each other. They were both seriously embarrassed at this point, but they had to keep answering, for Emily's sake.
"I never really had one," Scully admitted.
"I was married," Mulder provided information that his partner had no idea about. "Briefly, but we dated for a few years before that."
"I see," Ms. Robinson seemed content with that, much to Scully's dismay. "And what was the reason for your divorce?"
"She cheated," Mulder shrugged. "I wanted to forgive her, but she chose to stay with him."
"You never told me," Scully sounded controllably pissed.
"It's not something I like to talk about," he said. "Why do you think I gave up dating?"
"You two don't talk much, do you?" Ms. Robinson played Eddy Van Blundth on them. Neither of them appreciated it, but they smiled appropriately.
"We are usually too busy," Scully tried to explain.
"As I understand, work comes first for you," Ms. Robinson nodded with a hint of judgement. Mulder valued work just as much as she did, Scully thought, but this social worker wasn't noticing any of that.
"Our work is primarily my life," Mulder admitted, coming to her rescue.
"But for you it's personal, it's about search for your sister," Ms. Robinson noted. "It's all about family for you, isn't it?"
"Yes," he nodded, feeling uncomfortable and torn between the need to help Scully and the need to get his child. Their child, he had to remind himself. Emily was Scully's, just as much as his. Even if, in reality, she didn't belong to any of them, and judging by her parents' fate it would be better for both of them to stay away from her.
As if they could.
Mulder turned to Scully to look at her for the first time since they entered the improvised office with the social worker. She returned his gaze with teary eyes.
"I can't have children," she whispered. "This is my only chance."
For some reason, it made him think about her ova in his possession, that he never got around to mention to her…
He wasn't sure if he could give up on his child. Even for her.
"I want her to have Emily," he turned to Ms. Robinson. "What can I do?"
It wasn't giving up if Scully raised her. It was the best life he could think of for his child. Scully would certainly give her much more than he ever could. He would be around all the time. He already was, anyway.
"You can marry her," Ms. Robinson suggested nonchalantly. Mulder and Scully gaped at her, suddenly left speechless.
"I will process her request, but I have to be honest here. It doesn't look good. A single mother who lives for her work and never had a serious relationship is not exactly a favorable candidate. You, Mr. Mulder, have a slightly better chance. As a couple, on the other hand, your chances grow exponentially. You both seem to be invested in this child, so my advice is to go for it together."
"We can't," both Mulder and Scully spoke at the same time. "We are partners."
"Marriage is nothing but a partnership," Ms. Robinson smiled friendly. "And you are already good at that."
She took out two business cards and handed one to each of them.
"I'll give you time to think about it," she said. "Call me by the end of the day and I can process your request tomorrow. Or… your separate requests."
With that, she left the room, leaving Mulder and Scully speechlessly staring at her direction, afraid to turn to each other and consider her, well, proposal.
"I knew this was a marriage trap!" Mulder joked, not knowing what else to do. He just had to break the silence somehow before turning to his partner and dealing with her reaction.
"What do you want to do, Scully?" he asked carefully.
"You were married," Scully said quietly instead of answering him. Her eyes were filled with tears.
Jesus, Mulder thought. What difference does that make?
He already forgot he said it. Hell, he forgot ever being married. Why couldn't she let it go?
"I'm sorry," he sighed, figuring he should apologize, even if he didn't have any idea what he was apologizing for. "I wasn't hiding it from you. I just… I never think about that. But it's not a secret, Scully. If you'd just read my file…"
"Why would I read your file? You are my partner, not a case!"
"I've read yours," Mulder shrugged.
"That's because you're paranoid."
"In our line of work you have to be," he shrugged again. "But we are not here to discuss my first marriage. We were talking about my second one."
"So it's just a number to you?" Scully sounded hurt, which confused Mulder even more.
"It's not a number," he sighed. "But it's our best chance to get Emily. You heard Ms. Robinson, she doesn't think you can do it by yourself, and frankly, I don't think that either."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"It means that we don't know what we're dealing with and how this child even came to be. We can't explain her parents' deaths or the tests she was subjected to. Adopting her is dangerous and since you are so determined to go on with it anyway, I won't let you do it alone. Have you even considered the risks?"
"Of course I have, Mulder. Regardless, this is the only right thing to do here."
"I agree. But you can't do it alone. If it gets you killed it won't do any good to Emily. You need backup."
"Which means… I should marry you? Mulder, this is crazy! Have you considered the consequences?"
"We get Emily?"
"We get separated and reassigned, maybe to another state."
"They can't send us to different states for getting married. It doesn't make sense. As for the x files, I'm sure that if we explain everything to Skinner he will allow us to remain partners."
"You want to tell him?"
"I'm not too thrilled about it, but I think we have to, Scully. We are going to need FBI resources to get to the bottom of this."
"How can you be so calm about this, Mulder? It's going to change our lives."
"It's just papers."
"Is it? So you don't expect to… consummate it?"
"What? No. I'm not ready to screw up everything we've worked so hard for. Unless… you want it?"
"No! No, of course not."
"All right then! Platonic marriage with platonic child. Just when I thought my life couldn't get more complicated…"
"Are you sure you want to do this?"
"Yeah, I'm sure. We don't have a choice, not if we want Emily to be safe. Besides, it's not like I'm saving myself for anybody. Are you, Scully?"
"No, I suppose not."
They didn't think it through. FBI agents don't have the luxury of time to think about important decisions. They have to act on an impulse, follow their guts and hope for the best. One wrong move and they can end up dead, but contemplating the life-and-death decisions for too long will kill them for sure.
Neither Mulder nor Scully thought it would be too bad to be married to each other. They respected and trusted each other and their partnership was effective. After all, like their social worker had said, what is marriage but a partnership?
It could work, if they weren't such a different people. It's one thing to share an office, but share a home too and even raise a child together? Wouldn't they get sick of each other soon?
Not to mention the physical part that neither of them was willing to provide. Not that it was anybody's business, but they seemed to have been getting only the hard parts of this traditional union.
Could they possibly make it work?
Neither of them thought they could, but they signed the papers nonetheless. They took comfort in knowing that they weren't the first couple to get married over a kid.
Dana Mulder and Fox Scully. Mulder suggested it, think it would be a modern thing to do if they both changed their last names. Scully rejected the idea.
Vixen Scully and Dan Mulder – was his next suggestion. Rejected as well. He was too nervous to come up with better jokes.
Scully got them some cheap rings, to wear in court, not at home. She didn't want her family to know. Mulder kissed her in the forehead after it was over. It seemed too wrong not to kiss the bride, even if their hearts weren't in it.
They've spent their wedding night talking, just like they'd spent their first night on their first case. Only now they weren't talking about Samantha, but her niece Emily. Their child Emily.
Their honeymoon was spent in court.
Meanwhile, Matthew Scully was born, so Scully's family was too busy with him to pay close attention to what was going on in her life. It hurt her how easy it was to keep the unconventional marriage a secret from them.
When Emily joined the family, they were happy, but not as happy as they were for Matthew. Scully couldn't blame them, but it still felt unfair to her. Nobody even asked about girl's new last name and if they did they would know it wasn't Scully.
Emily was Mulder now. Scully wanted to do at least one traditional thing by giving her daughter her father's name. It was also a bit of a compromise, his last name but her apartment for the child to live in. He could visit whenever he wanted and sleep on the couch, which technically meant he was very short of moving in with her. As uncomfortable as that made her, Scully was grateful that she didn't have to do it all alone.
There was still one thing standing between Emily and her new life in Washington D.C. – her health.
"Mommy said no more tests!" Emily warned Scully.
"I know, honey," Scully sighed sadly. "But we need to find out what's making you sick, so that we could help you get better. Okay?"
"No!" Emily refused. "I want my mommy!"
"Can I talk to you?" Mulder interrupted. "Outside?"
"Can't it wait?" Scully was losing patience, snapping at him rather than Emily.
"She's not going anywhere," Mulder noted. He was trying to give Emily a break, but he didn't want to confront Scully in front of her.
"When is mommy coming back?" Emily asked.
"I'll be back soon," Scully answered. She now did that every time Emily asked about her mum, trying to discreetly put herself in mommy role without Emily noticing, until the child subconsciously starts to associate her with motherhood. It felt a little bit like cheating, but it was way less painful than having to repeatedly explain to the child that her mother was dead, like they used to do every time she asked. And Emily asked at least once every hour!
"I'm just going to talk to daddy really quick, we'll be right outside."
"Where is daddy?" Emily wanted to know.
"I'm here," Mulder said. "Can you do me a favor? Can you paint a horse for me? I would really like a picture of a horse to put on my fridge. What do you say?"
He handed her the paper and crayons that conveniently just happened to be there and Emily nodded, getting to work. Mulder quickly approached Scully and guided her out of the room.
"What is it Mulder?" Scully asked when Emily couldn't hear them anymore.
"I don't want to do this to her anymore," Mulder told her, preparing for an argument that he knew was coming.
"Do you think I'm enjoying it? If there was another way I would do it, but she's not well and we have no idea what's wrong with her."
"Her parents knew. Whatever treatments she was getting, they decided to stop them. It got them killed, Scully. I won't let that happen to you. To us."
"What choice do we have?"
Mulder thought for a second, then nodded determinately.
"Can she travel?" he asked.
"I don't see why not," Scully answered.
"Then let's take her home."
"What do you mean? We can't just take her…"
"We have a custody. We can finish the adoption process in Washington. There's no reason for her to be here."
"It's too soon. And we still don't know what…"
"You can do whatever the tests you want at home. But she's not our guinea pig, Scully. She's our child. I don't want her to stay in this hospital and your brother doesn't want her around his newborn baby, which is the main reason she's still here. She doesn't have to be in hospital, Scully. Take her home."
"I don't… I don't know what home is."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean… we are married now and we will be expected to… live together."
"I don't have a spare room for Emily, you do. So I guess I'll be moving in with you," Mulder offered the solution.
"Just for show," he put both of his hands on her shoulders to calm her down. Or to calm himself down. He wasn't entirely sure. "I'll come over to help, stay until Emily's bed time, and she won't even notice that I'm not sleeping there. If anybody asks, she'll think I live with you and she won't have a reason to say anything different."
"I don't know about this, Mulder."
"Do you have a better idea?"
"You don't want me around all the time," Mulder sighed. "Maybe I can work late most days and come 'home' briefly to kiss her good night? We'll figure something out. Just get her out of here."
"Maybe you're right," Scully finally agreed. "There are too many painful memories for her here, this might be the change she needs."
"All right then," Mulder nodded. "Go back to her now. I'll call Ms. Robinson to inform her about our decision."
He turned to leave, but Scully grabbed his arm to stop him.
"I still miss my father, Mulder," she told him. "I think about him every day. I was daddy's little girl and I want Emily to have that too. I do want you around, Mulder. As much as you're comfortable with…"
"Then prepare to be getting sick of me often," Mulder joked gratefully, brushing her cheek with his hand.
"I won't," Scully, on the other hand, wasn't joking at all. "I will appreciate it. Not just for Emily, but for me as well. I don't want to do this alone."
Mulder nodded, not really knowing what to say to that. Maybe it worked for Scully, but in his family daddy's girls didn't end up well. He never seriously thought about having a child, but now that Emily was here it was all he could think about.
Bill Scully already had "the talk" with him, which more or less consisted of implications that Mulder can only suck at this role. Bill, whose son was merely a week old, considered himself an expert at fatherhood.
That man was now Emily's uncle. Which made him a family. More so, they were brothers in law, even if Bill didn't know of that arrangement yet. Mulder didn't want to be around when he finds out.
Then again, it could be an entertaining thing to watch. From a far. Really far. With binoculars, like how he watched Deep Throat's funeral.
"Are you ok, Mulder?" Scully's voice startled him.
"Yeah," he nodded. "Just a bit tired, that's all."
"Me too," Scully sighed. "Being a parent is more exhausted than I thought."
"Especially when your daughter comes with her own X file," Mulder agreed. "But this marriage stuff is a nice little bonus, isn't it?"
"I don't think we'll find time for bonuses, Mulder," Scully smiled. "Maybe in fifteen years, when she's in college."
As terrified as they both were, they were also happy. Being around Emily made them playful and carefree, not just with her, but with each other as well. She brought them closer in a way that they never imagined before.
With anybody else, finding a mutual kid would be a disaster, in so many more ways than they were willing to consider.
Two days later, Scully and Emily were on the plane to Washington, while Mulder stayed in San Diego for a few more days to continue with the investigation.
Mulder was getting more and more restless. His investigation wasn't leading him anywhere and he missed Emily more than he was willing to admit to himself.
It's only been a few days, but Emily was sick and she may not have had much time left. She could die far away from him, while he was searching for a cure that may or may not even exist.
Being away from Scully didn't help either, especially since he was still staying at her brother's house. It wasn't a pleasant experience even with a partner by his side, but now, all alone, he didn't know how much longer he could survive Bill's deadly stares and Mathew's screaming sessions. It was worse than the crappiest motel he's ever been to.
Yet, he stayed. He didn't want to offend Mrs. Scully by leaving.
He wasn't spending much time indoors, anyway. He was rather busy with discovering dead ends, one after another.
Then, out of nowhere, he found more than he was looking for. More than he hoped to find. More than he ever wanted…
"Diana. Why am I surprised to find you here?"
"Fox. It took you long enough. I've been expecting you."
"What do you want? To retrieve your knife from my back?"
"Don't be dramatic, Fox. I want to help you. Help Emily."
Angered, Mulder grabbed her and pinned her to the wall, using his body to block her potential escape. She moaned, which didn't sound like it was caused from discomfort. Not completely, at least.
"What do you know about Emily?" he demanded.
"Everything. I know how she was made, I know who gave birth to her, who adopted her… I know what would've happened to her if I didn't give her to your partner."
"My partner? What are you talking about?"
"I was the one who called her, Fox."
"She told me it was her sister."
"Her dead sister?"
"How do you know that?"
Still holding her pressed to the wall, he brought his face closer to hers, trying to kill her with his gaze. It was a handy skill he learned from Bill Scully. But Diana wasn't intimidated, this woman never was. It's why he once fell in love with her and after all this time he still wasn't immune to her touch.
As if she could feel it, well, of course she could, she pressed her lips to his and it took all the strength in the world for him to pull away.
But he did.
"You probably also know that I'm a married man now," he informed her.
"I do," her voice was low, seductive. He had to release her and take a step back if he didn't want to be caught in her net all over again. And he didn't. He wouldn't. He couldn't. As tempting as it was.
"I also know it's only on paper and that you aren't getting any."
"That is none of your concern."
"There was a time when it used to be."
"That time is long gone, sweetheart. All that matters now is my daughter. I want to know who's behind this. What's been done to her? You'd better start talking!"
"I can't tell you anything about the project, I'm afraid. But I can tell you that I wanted her to be mine. We tried with my ova at first, but the fetuses weren't viable. It seems my genetic material get rejected by the… Well, I can't talk about that. I'm afraid I can't tell you what's wrong with her. But there's one thing I can do. I can tell you how to fix her."
"Why? Why should I trust anything you say?"
"Because I'm the only reason she's still alive. More importantly, I'm the only one who can give you the cure for her. And in order to do so, I risk everything, including my own life."
"Where is mommy?" Emily asked.
"I'm here, sweetie," Scully answered automatically, popping her head from the kitchen. "I'm making lunch. Do you like peanut butter?"
Emily nodded, looking at her drawing on the floor in front of her. There was something about that kid and the floors. She went on with her drawings until Scully returned with the sandwiches.
"But my real mommy, where is she?" Emily decided to reformulate the question.
"I know you miss her," Scully smiled gently and sadly, sitting on the floor in front to her. She put the plate between them. "It's okay to miss her, Emily. It's okay to be sad. But we can't bring her back, darling, nobody can."
"It's not fair," Emily shook her head, then went on with drawing.
"I know it isn't," Scully agreed. "But I'm here now, and I'm going to take a good care of you, okay? Will you help me eat those now?"
Emily nodded and reached for a sandwich, more to please Scully than out of hunger.
"Maybe we should wash your hands first," Scully remembered. "Come."
She took Emily by the hand and led her to the bathroom. The little girl went obediently.
"Are you my mommy now?" she asked.
"If you want me to be. If not, that's okay too. Nobody is going to force you."
"Do you know how to read?"
"I think I can manage," Scully chuckled.
"Will you read me stories before bed?"
"Of course, darling. Do you like Moby Dick?"
"What is that?" Emily wondered.
"Your parents never read it to you?" Scully was surprised. "Well, prepare yourself for a real adventure this evening!"
She helped the kid wash her hands and they returned to the living room floor to eat their lunch.
"This is nice," Scully noted between bites. "It's like picnic."
Emily nodded with a shy smile. It seemed like she reached her talking limit and closed off. Wherever she retreated, Scully hoped it was a safe place.
The knock on the door startled them both.
"Wait here," Scully said, for no particular reason. Emily was the most obedient kid in the world, and also the most static child ever. Wherever you put her she just stayed there, seemingly content, until you came back for her again.
Scully wasn't expecting anybody, least of all her boss, who her unexpected guest turned out to be.
"Hi," Skinner said awkwardly.
"Hi, sir," Scully responded. "Is something wrong? Did you not get all the papers for my maternity leave? I thought I faxed you everything."
"No, that's all fine, Agent Scully," Skinner assured her. "I just… I wanted to see if you needed anything."
Scully stared at him, confused.
"I'm here as a friend," he quickly tried to clarify. "Not as your superior. I just… I suppose congratulations are in order."
"Thank you, sir," she said politely. "But we are not exactly celebrating."
"No, I… I didn't mean your marriage. I was referring to a… kid. I mean… No matter how they come, children are always a blessing."
"Yes, they are," Scully smiled widely and proudly. Now that he mentioned it, it only felt natural for friends to come and celebrate your child. Unfortunately, she didn't have any friends who could possibly understand anything about Emily and see her as anything other than some kind of abomination.
Well, except maybe that one friend who knew more than anybody else ever could what she and Mulder faced on a daily basis.
The man standing in front of her and handing her a small bouquet of her favorite flowers.
"Thank you, sir," she said with a real gratitude. "Do you want to meet her?"
"Can I?" Skinner's whole face lightened up. "I brought a little something for her, too."
"Of course! She's a little shy, but she doesn't mind company."
She led him to the living room and introduced him to Emily.
"Are you my new daddy?" Emily wanted to know.
"I should be so lucky," Skinner chuckled. "No. No, I'm just a friend."
"Is my new mommy going to die, too?" Emily asked without her usual hesitation, as if she somehow figured out he was the boss and so assumed he had all the answers.
"No," Skinner said firmly. "I would never let that happen."
"I'm not going anywhere," Scully assured her as well. "Sir, did you want something to drink?"
"Yes, I could use a coffee, thank you, Scully."
"I'll be right back. Can you watch over her for a second?"
"Sure. No problem."
It wasn't like Emily would wander off or anything, but Scully preferred for her to have a company.
When she returned a few minutes later with coffee and cookies, she found Skinner on the floor, eating peanut butter sandwiches with Emily, who played with a stuffed alien he got her.
Alien! He got her an alien! Scully wasn't sure if he was trying to humor Mulder with that gesture, or piss him off. Or her, for that matter.
In any case, the scene in front of her was hilarious. She couldn't wait to tell Mulder all about Skinner's… domestic side.
But when Mulder finally returned, she didn't have a chance to. His news was more urgent, more serious, and much more bizarre.
He claimed to have found a cure for Emily. A cure! A way to make her be a perfectly normal and healthy little girl who gets to grow up free from tests and hospitals.
It sounded too good to be true.
And it was.
The potential cure didn't come without a price. And complications. So many complications…
"Another child?!" Scully stared at Mulder in disbelief. "Are you out of your mind?!"
"I checked it out, Scully. I have proofs. Medical proofs. It's all here so you can check it all out yourself. It will make more sense to you than it does to me. I know it's a lot to take in, but this may be our only chance, so we owe it to Emily to at least consider it."
"To make another child and use it like a lab rat, Mulder? I thought you were against those things."
"We'd only need a placenta. The child wouldn't be touched. But it has to be a sibling. It has to be ours."
"Well, that could be a problem…"
"What do you mean?"
"I didn't have a chance to talk to you about this, but I think I've mentioned it… I can't have children, Mulder. I was left barren with whatever tests they did on me."
"Yeah, about that…"
Now Mulder looked at the floor, like a naughty child caught in a lie.
"What?" Scully was alarmed. "What is it? There's something you aren't telling me, isn't it?"
"Um, yes, I'm afraid so. There's something I haven't told you, Scully, and I hope you can forgive me and understand why I kept it from you…"
"For god's sake, Mulder, just tell me what it is!"
"During my investigation into your illness, I found your… ova, stored in a government lab."
"My… What? H… How?"
"It was taken from you. All of it. They used it to make Emily. I don't know how they got my… I'm not sure I want to know, to be honest."
"I can't believe this…"
"I know. It's a lot to take in. Take your time. Read the files. Maybe you can come up with another way to cure her. There doesn't seem to be one, but I'm not a medical doctor. If anybody can find it, it's you."
"What if… Mulder, what if I can't? Would you really be willing to father another child?"
"I wouldn't be the one to carry it. It's up to you, Scully."
"This is a bit too much. I already have one child out of nowhere that I can't explain. A sick child. I'm single… and secretly married. I don't know if I can handle a pregnancy on top of it."
"You wouldn't be alone in it. You know that."
"Yeah, but what do I say to people? To my family?"
"Just tell them it was a lonely night…"
Scully was buried in papers. They were all around her, on the coffee table in front of her, on the couch where she was sitting, on the floor beside her feet…
So much work to do and so little time…
She didn't hear Mulder knocking, coming inside or even greeting her. He had to sit next to her and touch her shoulder to get her attention.
"God, Mulder!" she jumped. "You scared me."
"Sorry. How did it go?"
"Doctor Randall says we have a good chance," she watched him carefully now, trying to read his reaction and feelings, if any, that he wouldn't be eager to share with her. "We can start right away."
"Good," Mulder nodded, with unreadable expression on his face. It was driving Scully crazy.
"Do you even want this?" she asked him. "There might be another way, we don't…"
"Do you?" he stopped her. She wasn't the only one hiding her cards until presented with more information. "Because it doesn't have to be you. We can find a surrogate mother. Money is not a problem."
"Mulder, I won't let a stranger carry my baby. Not again!"
"When you put it that way…"
"It doesn't have to be you, either," Scully offered. "I can say I found anonymous donor, I can raise it by myself…"
"No," Mulder shook his head. "I don't want my wife impregnated with anonymous donor. I want to be there for you. All of you. Unless," he lowered his head, turning away from her. "Unless you don't want me to."
Scully sighed and covered his hand with hers. He didn't respond so she gently squeezed him.
"Mulder," she whispered, trying to get his attention back. He finally forced himself to look at her again, afraid of her response more than he would ever admit. After Emily and Samantha, he never wanted anything more in his life and he wasn't sure he could live with rejection. But Scully's eyes assured him he had nothing to worry about. She wasn't going to keep his potential child away from him. Her words only confirmed it.
"Emily adores you, Mulder," she smiled. "You are a wonderful father to her and I want the other child to have that. There's no one I'd rather do this with."
He wanted to kiss her for that. He wanted to kiss her and take her to her bed, then make love to her, only for her, like no one has ever done before. He wanted to pleasure every part of her body, take her to the ecstasy she never thought possible and give her this baby in the moment of perfect pleasure and happiness.
He didn't want to fill sterile cups in sterile rooms while the doctors endlessly poked and probed her, filling her with cocktails of hormones and medicines and inseminated her with cold instruments.
She deserved so much more than that. Their baby deserved more. But he wasn't able to give it to them.
"It won't be easy," Scully said. "In my age lots of things can go wrong. I might not be able to work for a large part of the pregnancy. Field work will certainly be out of question."
"Of course. I'm glad I don't have to argue with you about that."
"You'll need a new partner."
"I can work on my own."
"Maybe, but I can't worry about you. It's not good for the baby."
Mulder instinctively looked at her belly, imagining the said baby was already in there. It seemed unreal, more magical than anything he ever found in the X files.
"How about we make that baby first," he suggested with a playful smile. "And worry about the obstacles when, if they appear."
"It won't be easy," Scully repeated.
"Nothing ever is for us," he shrugged, leaning closer to her and contemplating going for that kiss anyway. Why not give her that moment of perfect pleasure, even if it can't result in a baby? She was his wife, for god's sake!
She looked up for it, or at least he wanted to believe that. With her eyes slightly closed and mouth slightly opened… It's been so long, so incredibly long for both of them…
"Mulder!" she suddenly jumped, breaking the magic. "Where is Emily?"
"She's…" Mulder looked around the room. "…here. Probably in her room. I left her in the hall."
"You left her in the hall?! Jesus, Mulder, you know she always stays exactly where you put her! You can't leave her standing in the hall!"
She hurried towards the hall, while Mulder mumbled some apologies. He waited for her to grab Emily and bring her in, but when she opened the door she just stood there, doing nothing.
Alarmed, Mulder followed her.
When he reached her the first thing he noticed was her peaceful smile. Relieved, he stood behind her and followed her gaze.
She was watching Emily, patiently standing in the hall in her cute pink dress with white dots and two pockets. Emily was carefully taking little sunflower seeds from her right pocket, one by one, then meticulously peeled the husk from it and carefully put it in the left pocket, before eating the seed. This work took forever and Mulder and Scully just stood there without moving, as if they've been hypnotized, and carefully observed their child, fascinated by her actions.
The process repeated itself a few times, before Scully dared to whisper, trying not to disturb her.
"What have you done to my child?"
"I tried to teach her how it's done," Mulder chuckled. "But she insists on doing it the wrong way."
"She must have inherited that stubbornness from you," Scully suggested teasingly.
"No, I'm pretty sure those are your genes," Mulder whispered into her ear, which tickled her. Trying to move away, she ended up with her head leaning against his chest and he instinctively wrapped his arms around her belly, pulling her closer.
Neither of them wanted to move. They inherited that from Emily, just by watching her. She didn't even notice them, or maybe she did but decided to ignore them in favor of sunflower seeds. Now, whose genes were those?
"We forgot about her," Scully whispered. "How can we have another kid, when we can't remember to take care of the one we already have?"
"We'll manage," Mulder whispered back. "Look at her. She's fine. You know, I wasn't meant to grow up as an only child. I want her to have what I didn't."
"Me too. I want her to have what I had."
Scully closed her eyes for a moment, enjoying Mulder's strong embrace. She could do anything with this man behind her, anything at all.
"Hey, Starbuck!" Mulder suddenly called and Emily raised her head, dropping the half-peeled seed. "How about we get you out of that shoes and to your room for a little rest? It's been a long day."
Emily nodded and raised her arms toward him.
Scully felt a mixture of warmth and jealousy when Mulder released her and went to pick up Emily.
"Starbuck?" she raised her eyebrow questionably.
"You've been telling her about your father, haven't you?" Mulder guessed. "She asked me to call her that. Is it ok with you?"
"Yeah, I just… I'm surprised, that's all. Of course it's ok."
Mulder nodded and turned to go, but Emily stopped him.
"Wait! I want to kiss mommy!"
"Of course," Mulder agreed, shifting her towards Scully cheek.
"Mommy wants to kiss you too," Scully said, returning the peck.
Satisfied, Emily turned to Mulder. "Do you want to kiss mommy?"
"Oh, I want to, but I'm afraid she is going to bite me. She has very sharp teeth, like this," he made a grimace, exposing his teeth and Emily giggled.
"Mommy doesn't bite!" she insisted. "Tell him, mommy!"
"Um, I don't know…" Scully pretended to think about it. "Does daddy want to take a chance?"
"Always," daddy smiled and gave her a peck in the cheek, quickly moving away in case she wasn't kidding about those teeth.
"No," Emily said tiredly. "In the lips. Mommy and daddy who died always kissed on the lips."
They had no choice. Emily was right, it was the proper way to do it and if they wanted to play a married couple they had to go all the way. Well, maybe not all the way, but this was a bare minimum.
So daddy did what daddy had to do. He pressed his lips to mommy's, gently, as a friend. She didn't bite, she smiled, so he smiled as well. He turned to check if Emily approved, but her eyes were closed and her breathing heavy. She wasn't feeling well again.
"Take her to bed," mommy said, stroking her hair. "I'll get her medicine."
Mulder nodded. "Come on, Starbuck," he whispered to Emily while he carried her. "You're going to be alright. You just need some rest."
Scully hurried to her medicine cabinet. Her heart was breaking every time she saw Emily like that and she could only hope it would work. Pregnancy, birth, transplantation… So many things had to work in order for Emily to live. And have a brother or sister.
Scully thought about her siblings. One brother who was never around, one who despised her because of her work and a sister who died for her. It didn't seem so fun now, but she loved each and every one of them. No matter what, it was worth having them.
Two weeks later, Scully was lying on the hospital bed, receiving the only two viable embryos. One of them had to take. There were no more ova, no more options. This was her last chance.
One of them had to live.
"Please stop bringing me pictures of her, Fox," Teena Mulder waved her hand in annoyance. "I will not change my mind."
"She's my daughter, mom!" Mulder insisted. "I just want you to meet her. Just once! That is all I'm asking."
"And then what? I'll fall in love with her and we'll be a happy family? That's never going to happen, Fox."
"Why mom? She's my daughter, your granddaughter."
Teena Mulder remained quiet. She picked up her cup of tea, took a sip and placed it down again, gently and carefully. She repeated the similar ritual with a biscuit this time, then slowly wiped her hands. Finally, as if she just remembered her son was still there, she raised her head and pierced him with her gaze.
"Tell me, Fox, is your partner pregnant yet?" she asked him, out of the blue.
Mulder stared at her in shock and disbelief. He hadn't told her anything about Emily's disease, the potential cure, Scully's ova or any of that stuff. She made it clear that she didn't want to know, so he concentrated on getting her to meet Emily, for a start. How did she…
"How do you know we're trying?" he finally managed to speak again.
"Oh, Fox," Teena shook her head. "You tell me this child just appeared and you want to believe she's yours. Do you really think you are the first man who ever tried that? Raise a child that didn't belong to him? Have another to save the first one? As a sacrificial lamb to those that will never reveal their true identity to you? You think it was your idea? You think you can outsmart them? You are not nearly as smart as you think you are, son."
"Mom," Mulder said deeply and harshly, while his whole body shook. "What the hell are you trying to say?"
"Oh please, Fox," she wasn't the least bit intimidated by him. "Don't ask questions that you are not prepared to hear answers to."
"I'm serious, mom! Is this about Samantha? What are you hiding from me? What do you know?"
"All I know is that I was like you once. I thought I could have a daughter. Keep her safe. You know how that worked out. If you want to play daddy with your partner, go ahead! But don't expect me to be a part of it."
Teena stood up and turned her back to him, slowly walking away. She said what she had to say and as far as she was concerned, this ridiculous conversation was over.
But Mulder had other ideas. He caught up with her and grabbed her arm to keep her from leaving. In a swift motion he roughly turned her around, forcing her to face him.
Now there was fear in her eyes. She wasn't tough anymore, she was just… old.
"Fox, you're hurting me," she protested and he immediately released her.
"I need to lie down," she informed him and he nodded, while his heart sunk. He lowered his head so that he wouldn't be forced to watch her leaving.
He knew now there was no point to try again. His mother would never accept Emily or her potential sibling. Not because they were Scully's, but because they were his. She didn't want to be a part of his family, no matter how he built it.
And she was the only one left. His children just lost a chance to ever meet their grandmother, the only living relative from his side.
"Are you still here?" Teena unexpectedly came back.
"I'm still here," he confirmed, raising his head. He hoped against all hope that his mother returned to tell him she changed her mind and that she'll allow him to take her to Scully's place to meet Emily, or bring the child here, whatever she preferred.
Instead, he was given a cloth doll. Very ugly, old doll.
"It's been in my family for generations," Teena explained. "Your grandmother gave it to Samantha. There's really no reason for this to remain in my house."
She didn't wait for response, just disappeared again, like a ghost. Mulder stared at the doll for a long time, not knowing what to do with it. Was it a gift for Emily? For the second child? For him?
Either way, it was the only thing his mother had to give.
She was right about something, though: he really didn't want to know. But he had to. He already tried everything else and it didn't work. Running away from home, not talking to his parents, moving to Europe, moving back home, marriage, divorce, even a couple of times that he found who he believed was Samantha. But it never was. Nothing ever quieted Samantha's voice in his head, screaming his name…
He wanted everybody else to call him Mulder, because Samantha kept screaming Fooox! in his head and any mention of his first name made her screams a little bit louder.
He tried putting it behind him, but he owed it to Samantha to never give up the search, not just the search for her, but for the truth about whatever happened to her.
Now it wasn't just about Samantha anymore. It was about Emily too. A sweet little Scully's daughter that shared his genes, called him daddy, and made his heart burst with joy every time she smiled. He would never let anything happen to her!
His mom was old and her memory unreliable, so even if he pressed her he wouldn't get anything useful out of her. But she strongly insinuated Emily's connection to Samantha and it was an issue he couldn't ignore. One way or another, he had to find answers, and as usual, all roads led to the Cigarette Smoking Man.
Cancerman was never easy to find, but Mulder had some experience with that. All he had to do was make a few phone calls, which he did, and pass by a few security guards.
Which he didn't.
He was left to bleed out on the street, with a hole in his head.
It hurt terribly at first, but then he felt numb. He fought desperately to stay awake, knowing if he closed his eyes, he may never open them again.
Samantha came and he knew she was a vision. He wanted to beg her to stay. Or at least not to take him with her. Not now, when he had so much to lose!
He saw his mom, looking young and happy, holding Emily by the hand. And Scully, kneeling next to him and caring for his wounds, telling him that everything was ok.
And it was. He was surrounded with his women and it was all he needed. All he ever wanted.
But it wasn't real.
None of it was real.
He had to stay awake and not give into a sweet fantasy.
He had to stay.
Scully was gone. Emily too. Mom and Samantha were also nowhere around. There was nothing and nobody around anymore, not even the cold street washed in his blood…
As the darkness washed over him, he couldn't remember how to keep fighting…
"Mulder," the soft, shaky voice brought him into a cold, sterile room.
"Am I dead?" he turned to the source of the voice, the person whose palm was sweating around his, keeping him grounded.
"No," Scully gasped, barely suppressing tears. "Though not for the lack of trying."
"What…" the pain in his head was sharp and piercing, making it hard to think, let alone speak. "What happened?"
"I was hoping you'd tell me. You were shot in the head and it's a miracle that you are still here. Mulder… You've been in a coma for over three weeks now, and after a month the chances of you ever waking up would fall drastically and become almost nonexistent. You scared the hell out of me, Mulder!"
"Sor…" he tried to apologize, but the pain grew exponentially and suddenly he couldn't even breathe.
Scully quickly wiped a lonely tear from her cheek, switching to her doctor mode, and gave him the much needed pain medication. She then pressed her palm on his forehead and ordered him to be still.
"Shhh… Rest now. It's ok."
It took a few long, agonizing minutes before the drugs finally kicked in and he managed to breathe again. His eyes were too heavy now and he wasn't able to open them again.
"Scully…" his voice shook with fear and begging.
"I'm here," he heard her saying and felt his hand being lifted and pressed to her lips. He felt her hot tears, now silently, but freely falling.
He wanted to tell her so many things, but the thoughts weren't forming in his brain.
There were only feelings.
Then nothing again.
She smiled the next time he woke up.
He tried to smile back.
Everything hurt, but this time it wasn't overwhelming. It was bearable. Barely, but still.
"Are you ready to tell me how you got yourself in this condition?" Scully wasn't wasting time.
"I…" he hesitated, trying to remember. His memory was fuzzy and overlapping. "I was looking for Cancerman."
"My mom… She said… something… Samantha… Emily!"
Suddenly alarmed, he tried to get up, but Scully swiftly pushed him back down.
"Where is Emily?"
"Close," Scully's expression was not readable and it scared him. He could feel her hiding something.
"Is she ok?" he demanded to know.
"No," Scully shook her head slowly, with great sorrow. "She's in this hospital, too. ICU. It's gotten worse and with her condition it's hard to make prognosis."
"I have to see her," Mulder tried to get up again, but Scully easily pushed him back.
"You can't. You are not out of the woods yourself yet. Don't make a scene. There's nothing we can do for her at the moment."
"Then you go to her. Don't leave her alone because of me."
"Mulder, I can't…"
"You are her mother! You are a doctor. You need to be with her."
"I can't. It would be too risky."
"For… the baby."
Mulder gave her a puzzled look. Emily made it clear that she didn't like being called baby, so neither of them referred to her like that.
"I'm pregnant," Scully smiled with a mixture of joy, fear and many other conflicting emotions.
Mulder stared at her, searching his messed up memory for anything that could explain her words, but failing miserably.
"But you… can't be," was all he came up with.
"You really don't remember, do you?" she chuckled, amused.
"You aren't barren?" he dared to ask.
"Well, except for this one… Yes, I think I still am."
"How, then? When did you even…? I mean, who did you…?"
"Mulder," she tried to serious, although she clearly was amused. "I'm carrying your child."
He looked at her for a moment, searching for clues that it was a joke, but not finding any. Scully's cheerfulness seemed too genuine for a prank. Mulder closed his eyes, trying to concentrate.
"Damn!" he finally reacted. "How did I forget doing that with you?"
"Don't worry," Scully chuckled again. She enjoyed his confusion more than she was willing to admit. It was her payback to him for ditching her again and getting his head practically blown up. "I wasn't there when you did it. Alone."
"What are you saying?"
"Rest," she advised. "It will all come back to you."
Obediently, he closed his eyes and relaxed. He waited for what seemed to be a dream to end and to wake up in a normal world, where Scully wasn't pregnant with his baby. Pregnant? With his child? He couldn't imagine having a child at all, let alone with his partner.
Then he remembered that Emily was just that. Everything else suddenly fell into its place too. Mostly. Or so it seemed.
He opened his eyes again and gave Scully an apologetic, embarrassed look.
"I'm sorry. I'm an idiot."
"No, you're not," she smiled. "You are just heavily drugged and brain damaged."
She couldn't suppress a laugh anymore, so she burst into it. "You should have seen your face!"
Mulder watched her in amusement. It used to be a rare sight to see her laughing at all, let alone so heartily. He wanted to cherish every moment of it.
Hormones, he remembered. Trying to get pregnant really messed up her hormones. It wasn't an easy ride, for neither of them.
As in confirmation of his thoughts, her laughter turned into desperate sobs and flooding tears.
He took her hand to steady her. There wasn't anything else he could do in his condition.
"I'm so afraid, Mulder," she cried. "I'm afraid of losing this baby. I'm afraid it will be too late for Emily. So much can go wrong, and for me, for us, it always does! Last year I couldn't even dream of becoming a mother and now I have two precious miracles and I'm paralyzed with fear of losing them both…"
"You won't. Calm down. It's not going to happen. We are not losing either of them."
"You can't know that," she said, desperately wanting him to promise it anyway. To prove her wrong, once and for all, in the only thing that now mattered, like nothing had ever mattered before.
"We won't lose them, Scully. You have to believe me. We have to believe it. Emily is strong. She's a fighter, and the baby will be too."
Scully sniffed, calming down a bit. She looked at her husband with adoration, and gently brushed her hand through his hair.
"I thought I was going to lose you too," her voice was barely above whisper.
Mulder took her hand and brought it to his lips. "I had a good reason to come back. Our family."
Scully sniffed again and lowered her lips to his. He opened his mouth a little and so did she, for a gentle and warm kiss, just the way Emily taught them.
"Thank you, Mulder," Scully barely moved enough to speak. "For believing enough for both of us."
"Always," he assured her, closing his eyes and drifting into sleep, exhausted.
"Rest now," Scully said gently. She leaned back into the chair, making herself as comfortable as possible, and placed her hand protectively on her stomach. "We will be here."
But when Mulder woke up again, Scully wasn't there anymore.
Someone else was.