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Two months into this thing, she had hoped she’d cleared cravings, morning sickness and headaches but one unpleasant Tuesday morning, Mulder found her attempting to vomit up her toes in the bathroom at 5:17am.

He’d only gotten home two hours earlier from giving two days of testimony for a past case, having taken a late-night flight so he’d be there when she woke up. Instead of surprising her gently by sliding into bed, arms wrapped around her in blissful delight, he found her eating peanut butter/pickle sandwiches in the kitchen, dishwasher running, making a racket, keeping his footsteps stealthy and in her shock to have him suddenly appear around the corner, she’d whipped half a dill at his head.

Now, she was regretting those sandwiches with a grimace on her face and a nasty expression curling her lip, “never let me eat that again.”

“I’ll do my best but if you’re determined enough, I’m just going to get out of the way, all right?”

Watching him lean heavily on the doorframe, throw blanket pulled tightly around his shoulders, bare toes shriveling against the cold tile, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to throw a pickle at you but you have to admit, it was better than a bullet.” Resting back against the wall as her stomach relaxed slightly, “and I didn’t mean to wake you up now. Go back to bed. I’ll be fine.”

Instead, he handed her a glass of water and a wet washcloth, “why don’t you clean up and I’ll go get an empty pot and we’ll meet up on the couch for some pre-Christmas napping?”

“I have to go to work in two hours.”

“Call in pregnant. That’s what I’m planning on doing.”

He won.

Although, to be fair, the guilt hit around 8:15 and given her ability to shower and be out the door in 15 minutes, she still made it to the Hoover building by 9, in the basement by 9:08 … stopping dead in her tracks as Skinner turned from his perusal of their memorabilia wall. “Sir?”

“Agent Scully. Running late?”

Giving him a half-hearted eyebrow, she hung up her coat, “baby bean here decided to kick in the morning sickness.”

“Sorry.” Looking over her shoulder, “Mulder back yet?”

“He came home late last night and I threw a pickle at his head.” Leaving the story at that and amused Skinner didn’t even question, “he might be in later this afternoon but if not, he’ll be here tomorrow.” When he didn’t say anything else, just continued to glance around the room, Scully quirked a lip, walking around him to turn on Mulder’s computer, “so, Walter, what’s up?”

“Didn’t we agree no Walter at work?”

Hip leaning against the desk, she folded her arms, giving him a studying stare, “’sir’ didn’t get me the explanation I need as to why you are wandering around our office; I thought ‘Walter’ might.”

Skinner pinched the bridge of his nose beneath his glasses then, after a re-settling eyebrow wiggle, mirrored her stance, “how angry will both you and Mulder be if I suggest him taking on another partner for the duration of your pregnancy?”

Only debating for a breath or two, “honestly, I’ve been thinking about it since Cartwright and I imagine Mulder will be closed off at first but after a while and with some very good reasoning, he might be persuaded not to punch you in the head.”

Skinner closed his eyes, “that’s what I figured.”

Maneuvering around him again, Scully pulled over a chair, “sit down, please, Walter, tell me what you’re thinking and we’ll work out a way to convince him.”

“You won’t mind if he has another partner?”

“I hate him going places alone and I don’t think it’s good for him. I’d prefer you went with him but I understand that as a director, you can’t, so, what do you have in mind?”


Mulder didn’t come in that day, texting instead at noon and making several inappropriate remarks that made her grin widely. Spending the rest of her time doing the mundane backwork of Mulder’s previous case, she arrived home by six, finding steaming lasagna and piles of garlic bread warming in the oven. Deciding her first order of business was to throw up her mid-afternoon snack, she came back to the kitchen, meeting Mulder’s concerned gaze with a tired shrug, “I’m hungry.” Deciding to broach the idea of a new partner with him over salad, she started with a blunt force, “so, Walter came to visit me downstairs today.”

“Please tell me you called him ‘Walter’?”

“I did and then he asked me what you might think of taking on a new partner while I’m off street duty.”

To his credit, he did not explode. His ears shifted to red, his jaw vise-gripped and his nostrils flared but he did not disintegrate on the spot, instead gently placing his napkin beside his plate, prayed his hands with pointer fingers peaking.

And he stared at her.

For what felt like a very, very long time.

“I do not need any partner but you.”


“The last partner I had was Krycek. I will not have another. I will use Skinner when I need to but that’s it.”

Sliding a squared lasagna chunk onto her plate, she shook on the parmesan cheese before responding, “Krycek was an anomaly, Mulder and you know that.”

“Do I? I wouldn’t be picking my partner, they’d be assigning him and while you turned out okay, he did not but remember, at first you were sent to spy so pardon me if I’m a little wary of bureau assigned lackeys.”

Lasagna forgotten, “I was never a lackey. I was assigned to do something and I did it until I realized you were right, then, of my own free will, I stayed with you. Krycek was a fucking asshole and I will not be lumped into the same category as him so either apologize or there’s a good chance you may not be allowed to meet your child until his or her 18th birthday, if I’m feeling generous that day.”

Deflating slightly at her flashing eyes, “hey, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have put you in the same universe as him but can you see where I’m coming from?”

“I can,” picking up her fork again, slowly nudging it through layers of noodles as she chose her next words carefully, “but can you see where I’m coming from? I’m not there to watch your back, which scares me; I’m not there because I’m carrying your child, which really scares me; I’m not there because I’m carrying your child and if something happens to you, I’m alone and the baby doesn’t have a father, which is so beyond scary that thinking about it right now makes me want to rent that little storefront by the beer shop and start frying Cronuts and crullers.”

“You really aren’t kidding about me being a bookkeeper are you, Scully?” When she didn’t smile, he tried to diffuse not with humor but honesty, “I don’t trust anyone else. You’re it. You’re my person, my partner and regardless of who was out there with me, I’d always wonder if they were watching my back or trying to stab me in it.”

Standing, she moved beside him, letting her gaze drop to his, demeanor slightly below ‘I’m going to beat you to death with a salad tong’, “talk to Skinner. Let him give you files on everyone available and we can read through them and pick one ourselves. If you don’t get a good feeling off any of them, we’ll deal with it, okay? Just, please, Mulder,” moving her palm over his hair, catching the back of his neck, warm fingers on thick tendons, “try … for me … I know it’s only been a few weeks and a couple of cases but I don’t want to have to worry for the next 7 months about you or the baby … or at least I’d like to worry less if possible.”

Mulder reached a hand up, sliding it under her sweater, hoping as he did every morning, that he’d feel a swell of life in her abdomen but finding it flat still, he shut his eyes, dropping so his forehead rested beside the bump of his hand, “and you’re going to help with all this vetting if I decide to do this?”

“Of course. You’ll need me to help pick a very large, very fat, very ugly man or woman so chubby me won’t have any competition.”

Now he simply wrapped his arms around her hips, hugging her close, “you will never have any competition, regardless of how adorably round you get.”

“Enjoy your hugging now. If I balloon like my mother did, you won’t be able to get within a foot of me in the next few months.”

Moving his chin to stare up through the valley of her chest, “I love you, Scully.”

“I love you more, Mulder.”