April 14, 2018
Mulder was running off again and despite herself, she was the one to let him go. Monica had called to inform her of the potential location of their son. Scully knew William wasn’t on that plane, she was mentally connected to him after all, and he wasn’t on that plane. It had to be some kind of ploy.
Trying to convince him of this was an uphill battle, one she lost almost immediately, he already had his foot out the door before she could hang up the phone. He crossed the creaky wooden floors of their home and pulled his jacket from the rack before turning back to her. She tried to warn him, but he continued to vehemently express his intent to find their son once and for all, saying it was their last plausible chance.
At a stalemate, she knew then, it was no use trying to argue. She fought the truth currently clouding her judgement; the truth that slowly climbed its way up her throat. I’m pregnant. We’re having a baby, Mulder. She wanted to tell him desperately. She wanted to run into his arms and never let go, for her sake and now, their unborn child.
Words eluded her. Deep down, she understood it wasn’t the time to tell. Mulder had a one-track mind when it came to her safety and the knowledge of a pregnancy would be a distraction and could put him in harm's way. He needed to focus on the task at hand and she could hold on to this piece of information for a little while longer.
She opened and closed her mouth, struggling to find the words to say. Nothing seemed appropriate.
“Just come back alive,” she told him with a shaky breath, looking at the floor.
Mulder nodded slightly; confusion evident. Then he leaned forward, taking one step in her direction. Was he going to kiss her? Or give her a tight hug goodbye? She silently worried he would. If he touched her, she wouldn’t let go.
Thankfully, he decided against it because the next thing she knew, he was out the door.
Mulder could sense something was wrong with Scully. She was unsure of herself—almost timid in his presence. They were dancing around each other, avoiding something Mulder couldn’t pinpoint.
Closing the door behind him, he stood on the porch, leaned back against the wood and considered going back inside. After the phone call with Monica, Scully was adamant in her belief that William was somewhere else other than the plane. He knew William and his mother were intimately connected and were sharing mental images, so maybe she was right. Mulder had to be sure, he had to know his son wasn’t on that plane. He would be quiet. Discreet. He wouldn’t jump headfirst into a gun fight. It would be simple.
The look on Scully’s face was haunting him. He couldn’t shake the worried look she gave him or the tears in her eyes when she told him about their son.
Just come back alive. Scully was noticeably anxious when she uttered those words. By now, she knew he had the tendency to run wild and find himself in unnecessary danger. Before she told him to come back alive, she had tried to tell him something. He hadn’t pressed the subject since time was running out, but he didn’t miss the way she nervously choked on her sentences and stumbled a few times.
With a few cleansing breaths, he forced himself to push those lingering thoughts aside. He needed to intercept that plane.
After the first update with Mulder, she fought back another wave of nausea and dizziness that nearly knocked her to her knees. Sitting down on his desk chair and placing her head between her knees, she focused on deep breathing until the moment passed.
The moment didn’t pass. She found herself running up the rickety stairs leading to their bedroom and into the shared bathroom. Dropping to the floor, she emptied the contents of her stomach before sitting back against the jacuzzi tub.
Minutes passed while Scully sat on the cool tiled floor, occasionally shifting to dry heave into the toilet. When she felt well enough to stand, she gripped the edge of the sink and examined the person looking back at her. At fifty-four, she looked good for her age. She took advantage of the FBI gym four days a week and kept up a decent diet regime. Her skin was clear with the usual signs of aging; a few laugh lines here and there, the light dusting of freckles over her nose and cheeks Mulder loved, and the mole above her upper lip she loathed. Something struck her though, she looked pregnant. She noticed the early fatigue, the paleness of her skin and the little bit of roundness starting around her cheeks. It hit her suddenly: she was going to be a fifty-four-year-old mother.
Before she could contemplate any further, her phone rang from Mulder’s desk where she evidently left it when her belly rejected her lunch. Taking the stairs two at a time, she answered in a huff.
He sounded irritated. He said he was sick of seeing their son on a video screen and wanted to see him in person, he said. She agreed silently as they mutually hang up the phone.
Immediately dialing Tad O’Malley, she felt like it was time to put it all on the line. All or nothing. FBI be damned. Giving him the green light to use her, Dana Katherine Scully, as his source.
When he called again, she could hear the exhaustion and desperation in his voice. Apparently, William had hitched a ride with a bus driver and used his special powers to “scare the shit” out of him, and now he was gone again.
“I’ve seen it… you’re in grave danger.” She started to tell him after her vision, but he cut her off. She could hear the engine of his Mustang humming over the phone.
“No… I’m too close now. I think I know where he’s going, Scully,” he continued, ignoring her pleas.
She could feel the tears burning her eyes and the lump forming in her throat. It was happening again. She was alone, pregnant and he was spiraling out of control. She hated not having her son but she couldn’t live without Mulder too.
“Mulder, you’re not listening to me!” She was desperate, her tears evident. He echoed the sentiment in her ear, ignoring her unrest, causing her heart to skip in her chest.
“I’ve seen how it ends!” And it ends with his death! She can’t lose him again. Especially now . “Mulder!”
“Look, Scully, I gotta go.” He hung up.
Tears falling freely now, her hand was drawn to her belly, the small bump of her stomach giving her the strength to press on. This child needed their father. This baby was going to grow up with two caring, loving and compassionate parents in its life. Not one.
“Let’s go find your daddy,” she whispered to the baby and went to grab her badge and gun.
Mulder wasn’t sure how long they stood on the pier, arms clutching each other to the point of pain. The harsh thump of Scully’s flashlight hitting the ground, her muffled sobbing and the lapping of water were the only sounds to break through his consciousness.
Scully had slowly begun to quiet, but he could hear the occasional sniffle and shaky breath she took in an effort to soothe herself. Her nails dug into his back as she continued to hold on with all her might.
The calm surrounding them was interrupted by the shrill sound of approaching emergency vehicles and various law enforcement agencies; he wasn’t sure who called them, but he was sure they were headed their way. This dragged him back to the reality of their situation—they had just lost their son for the second time. Scully’s words sliced right through his heart. Having to hear her denounce her maternal responsibility for their son devastated him.
The next bomb she dropped came before he could fully understand the first one. Hearing her worn and raspy voice tell him he was a father and guiding his open palm over her belly nearly knocked him off his feet. He could feel the beginnings of a small bump under her clothing. How could he have missed it? They’d been intimate regularly again for a while now and Scully had moved back home. He should have noticed the swelling of her abdomen.
“Mulder…” her soft voice broke through his meandering thoughts and dragged his attention back to the woman in his arms.
“You okay, honey?” he asked, cringing inwardly. Of course she wasn’t okay, neither of them were okay.
“I’m cold,” she shivered, still holding him close.
After everything they’ve gone through tonight, he seemingly forgot how chilly it was outside. Standing on the edge of the pier, the wind combined with the mist coming off the water added to the cold. He shivered too. “Okay, honey. Let’s get you out of here.”
Once they reached his car, he opened the passenger door and helped her inside, handing her the keys. “One of us is going to need to deal with… this.” He waved his hand in the general direction of the road and incoming vehicles. “I’m sure Kersh will be first in line for questions. Stay in the car and warm up, I’ll be as quick as I can.”
“Please… hurry back,” she said with a slight hitch in her words. Her eyes were watery and desperate.
“As fast as I can,” he promised and closed her door. Taking a deep breath, he prepared to face the firing squad.
After a grueling line of questioning and a contemplative drive, they arrived home a few hours later. Mulder drove up their gravel driveway, the usual dirt kicking up behind his car as their home came into view.
Scully had fallen asleep curled up on her side with one hand tucked under her chin and the other tightly threaded with his, resting on the center console. He secretly hoped she would stay awake so he could give her a little something to eat, but he knew she was worn out.
Untangling their hands, he exited quietly and rounded the side of the car to open her door. Carefully, he moved to pick her up into his arms and carry her inside. She whimpered and one tiny hand immediately flew to her belly, subconsciously protecting their baby. His breath caught in his throat at the gesture.
“Shhh, it’s alright. It’s just me,” he whispered in her ear and kissed her temple, hoping to ease her worry.
“Mulder?” she muttered softly, barely audible.
“It’s okay, Scully. We’re home.”
It took a while but they managed to climb the stairs and unlock the door without incident. He led her towards the couch and locked up behind them—they were safe at home for the night. Unsure of where to go from here, he shed his jacket, still covered in blood, and awkwardly tossed it in the garbage. No use in keeping that anymore.
Running hands through his hair reflexively he started, “You should eat something, Scully. I-I know tonight’s been rough and I know you’ve been through a lot, uh, we both have… I don’t know if you’re feeling okay or not but-”
“Shhh…” Scully shushed him unexpectedly with a gentle finger to his lips, halting any further incoherent rambling. “Relax, Mulder. I’m okay… physically. I could eat something light, but I really need to shower first.”
He smiled pensively and stroked her cheek. “Why don’t you go take a shower and get ready for bed. I’ll make something for us.”
“Thank you, Mulder. For everything,” she gave him a weak smile in response. “We’ll talk later okay?”
He nodded and watched as she shed her jacket and made her way up the rickety stairs to their master bedroom.
The biting chill seeped into her very soul, spreading through her bones until she could do nothing more than curl up under the thick duvet and pray she’d warm by morning.
Scully felt hollow. Hollow for the loss of their son and for the unbearable despair clouding what should have been a joyous announcement.
A baby. Their second child she was told she couldn’t have. Barren. Inhospitable. Years later, the words still left a sour taste in her mouth and a pang in her heart. And yet, she wasn’t barren or inhospitable. The tiny life growing inside of her threw that theory out the metaphorical window. Here she was, grieving one child while thrilled for the arrival of a second.
She was unable to wrap her head around the mere thought of becoming a mother again—of Mulder becoming a father again. Approaching retirement age and coming to terms with the prospect of raising a child. Their lives certainly knew how to throw some curveballs.
A smile slipped free before she could control it. It didn’t feel right to smile when her son was lost to the sea. Cold. Alone. The smile disappeared as quickly as it came. Fighting the urge to cry again, she curled herself up even tighter beneath the covers, willing Mulder to hurry up in the shower and heal her pain.
She knew Mulder was suffering from the same inner conflict. The anguish reflected in his eyes and the bitterness he expressed on the docks transformed into hope and awe. She guided his palm to her belly, the warmth penetrating through a layer of clothing and touching the small bump she’d only noticed a few days earlier. He felt it, his hand moving almost imperceptibly up and down, realization dawning.
When their gazes met once again, she noticed the subtle change in his eyes. Light shone through the fog and hope sprung free. For the briefest of seconds, she caught the ghost of a smile twitching the corners of his lips. He wanted this but was battling the contrasting emotions fighting for control.
Once their embrace was interrupted by sirens, the cavalry arrived, and the moment was halted for the time being. Neither she nor Mulder mentioned the baby since, too shocked to broach the subject.
Before she could contemplate further, the click of the bathroom door and shuffling of bare feet broke through the silence. The relief she felt was instantaneous: Mulder was here.
Damp and humid from the shower, he enfolded her in his arms, spooning her from behind. She relaxed into his chest, his heart beating steadily against her back. They remained motionless, basking in the heat of each other and gathering strength for the conversation ahead.
She was about to speak when Mulder suddenly glided his open palm down her torso to land on her belly once more. Her body warmed instantly, any trace of a chill fading as fresh tears clogged her vision. Tears of appreciation.
He must have felt her small tremor because he tightened his hold on her, pulling her even closer. “Shhh. It’s okay, honey. Everything's gonna be okay,” he said, his voice strong and firm in her ear.
“You’re here, ” she said tremulously, barely above a whisper. Louder this time she repeated: “Mulder, you’re here.”
“Yes, Scully, yes. I’m here with you… the both of you. I’m not going anywhere.” His hand moved in slow, soothing circles on her belly and left a delicate kiss to her shoulder. “Are you okay? I mean... is the baby healthy?”
‘Perfectly healthy,’ Scully’s Doctor had assured her with a supportive squeeze of her hand. ‘We just have to be cautious moving forward, that’s all. You’re strong and the baby is strong. Congratulations.’
“We’re both fine. Just fine.” Thank god. She couldn’t endure another loss. Neither could Mulder.
The protective hand on her belly slipped under her pajama shirt to gently cup the soft swell and she melted. The crumbled remains of her shattered heart began to fuse together once again.
“We’re gonna have a girl this time, Scully. I can feel it,” he said, sure of himself.
Mulder was roused from a fitful slumber when he realized something was missing. The warm body so intimately snuggled up to his side was now gone and a mess of cool sheets were left in her wake. Sitting up and scrubbing the sleep from his face, he noticed the bathroom door was closed. A small stream of light slipped through the cracks and he could hear a faint whimper from within.
The cry broke through his haze and he pushed himself off the bed and towards the door. Knocking gently, he called out to her. “Scully? Are you okay?”
He heard nothing other than another muffled sniffle and the sound of movement. After knocking again, he unlatched the wooden door and poked his head inside, noticing Scully on the floor. She was perched with her back against the ceramic jacuzzi, pressing her thumbs into her temples and quietly rocking herself. Immediately worried something was wrong with the baby, he was by her side in seconds.
“Scully? Talk to me. Is it the baby?” He gently stroked her shoulder, trying to warm her cool flesh as he spoke to her. In response, she simply shook her head. “What is it then?”
After a minute of silence, she reluctantly took her hands away from her face and met his concerned gaze. She had dark circles under her wet blue eyes and tear tracks raining down her pale cheeks. He wiped them away reflexively.
“Morning sickness… but this time, something happened. When I tried to stand back up, I started to shake and my head started to pound,” she stopped and gestured to her temples where she previously massaged. “It’s William, Mulder. He’s alive,” she started to cry before she could continue.
“What? Scully, last night was tough and it’s perfectly understandable that you’d-”
“No! This isn’t a delusion or some twisted way of making myself feel better. I had another vision!” She was practically hysterical now and it worried him.
“Shhh. Scully, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to… shit.” He pulled her a little closer and kissed her temple.
“No. It’s okay, I’m sorry. I just…” her voice cracked, and she backed away slightly to look into his eyes. “I’ve told you about these visions… It’s William, Mulder. H-he told me he’s okay. He told me he’ll come home when it’s safe,” she wavered slightly, and he thought she was going to start crying again.
But then, she started to smile, the corners of her lips curving up a bit. “And he congratulated us. He said he saw us with a newborn… it was foggy, but I know it’s true.” Her smile broadened even further. “He also said he loves you, Mulder.”
William loved him . His son loved him.
Mulder was transported back to the previous night, when he folded William in his arms for the first time in almost seventeen years. It felt like coming home. All the searching and heartache lead to that moment. It was short lived because he noticed William wasn’t hugging him back. In fact, he was downright flippant. In any other circumstance, Mulder would have been slightly amused his son had inherited his ability for sarcasm. However, this was not the time. It nearly broke his heart in two.
Before Mulder even noticed he was crying, he felt cool fingers under his eyes, brushing away the moisture.
“Are you feeling okay, Scully?” Suddenly, it dawned on him what initially brought her to the bathroom.
“I’m okay now,” she nodded, and he helped her stand up, holding her arms. She was shaky from getting sick, along with the emotions she unleashed. “I just need to brush my teeth. I’ll be back in a second.”
Once he assured himself that she’d be okay in her own, he fixed up their bed again and made himself comfortable. Scully emerged not too long after and cuddled back up to his side immediately, savoring the warmth his body produced. Her bare skin was still cold to the touch, so he idly stroked her arms and any skin he could reach, trying to warm her.
“Thank you,” she whispered into his neck, nuzzling his bare skin. “That’s better.”
“Everything will be okay, Scully. I promise.”