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Fiction Turned to Truth

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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.

“Mulder?”

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. 

She smiled.


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.”

Chapter Text

April 29, 2018

“Scully?” 

When his call was answered with silence, Mulder shot to a seated position and took careful inventory of his surroundings. Darkness, other than the trickle of light imitating through the cracks of the bathroom door, and the distant sound of water running. He sighed with relief. 

He approached the bathroom, stretching his aching limbs on the way. Since leaving the FBI, the lack of constant motion resulted in the locking of his joints and occasional crick in his back. While frequent runs were still part of his morning routine, his age was beginning to sneak up on him. 

And now they had a baby on the way.

His quiet chuckle was interrupted by a dull thump. Foregoing pleasantries, he pushed the door open, finding Scully on the floor by the toilet. Her forehead rested against her knees and her arms were locked around her legs. 

“Scully?” he called to her softly, not wanting to spook her. She raised her head, hair plastered over her cheeks. “Oh, honey.”

Turning off the tap, he quickly went to her side, taking the empty spot beside her. She was shivering, tiny tremors he wouldn’t have detected from far away. He took the hand closest to him, warming it between his palm. 

“I told you, Scully, you don’t have to hide anything from me.”

She nodded, leaning into his side. 

“Then why do you still insist on running water when you’re not feeling well?” he asked delicately, squeezing her hand in reassurance. 

Shrugging, she sagged into his shoulder. “I didn’t want to wake you…”

He chuckled dryly, shaking his head. Since the docks, he reminded her every day of his unwavering support. He fetched her anything she needed or wanted, massaged her tired muscles every night, and helped her stand—all three things unnecessary according to Scully. I’m barely showing yet, Mulder. I don’t need to be coddled just yet, she said to him at least a hundred times. 

Her insistence fell on deaf ears because he wasn’t going to quit pampering her for the next five months. Maybe ever, if he were being honest with himself. 

“Are you ready to head back to bed?” In the time he’d been here with her, she hadn’t thrown up again and seemed to settle but he shouldn’t assume. Their tiny son or daughter was unleashing hell on her stomach, causing her to spend half the morning and some evenings on the floor of the bathroom. She kept reminding him it was going to be worth it in the end, so he had no choice but to believe her and hope the morning sickness phase would pass.

“I think so,” she said weakly, voice hoarse with exhaustion. She willingly took ahold of his outstretched arms as he pulled her up. 

She wobbled on shaky legs and used his body as a guide to the vanity. “I need to brush my teeth; you can go back and get comfy. I’ll only be a minute.”

“Not a chance. I told you: I’m here,” he promised, searching her face in the mirror. “I’m here for it all, Scully. Even to wash vomit out of your hair.”

She blushed, hand involuntarily moving to her head. “What?”

Taking a clean washcloth from the shelf, he dampened the material and gently cleaned a lock of auburn hair. The rosy flush deepened, spreading down her chest. 

“There,” he said, tossing the washcloth into the hamper. “No need to be embarrassed. We’ve seen the worst in each other. Bodily functions aren’t that big of a deal.”

“It’s still gross,” she frowned, smearing a globe of toothpaste on her brushed, the scent of peppermint wafting through the small space. 

“I’ve seen you naked and covered in green goo on that spaceship, I think that was worse. By a mile.”

“It wasn’t a spaceship,” she mumbled, turning around and switching off the light. He wasn’t going to argue. 

The beginnings of a sunrise poked through the curtains. Around this time a month ago, they’d be up, making coffee and getting ready for their drive to work. Some part of him was still accustomed to the old schedule because he was wide awake.

“I always ask you this and I know you’re going to say no and give me that I’ve-told-you-fifty-times look, but would a little something to eat make you feel better?” 

“Maybe later. One bite of anything and I’d be right back there with my head in the toilet.” She was already under the covers, huddled in her cocoon of blankets and staring up at him. She wore no discernible emotion in her gaze other than exhaustion. “Come back to bed.”

Memories of the last time he heard those four words from her flashed before him, making him grin like a fool. If his damn doppelgänger hadn’t spooked him, he would have crawled back beside her and tried to coax her into a second round. 

“Mulder? What’s with the dorky smile?” 

He shrugged, moving the covers aside and cuddling next to Scully. She wasted no time in wrapping herself around his middle, melting into his body. He shivered in response to her chilled nose meeting the sensitive skin of his neck.

“Your nose is freezing.” 

To his surprise, she giggled—a sound he cherished. Her girlish and childlike laugh was music to his ears, and it was a shame he’d only heard a handful of times for the first decade of their relationship. One of his primary life goals since they came together again was to find every opportunity to make her laugh. Unfortunately, the past few weeks gave him precious few chances, so he was pleased she somehow got a kick out of his little comment.

“I’m glad that’s funny to you,” he teased, dropping a kiss on her forehead. “Are you feeling better? Anything I can do?” 

“I’ll be fine… just keep doing what you’re doing and stay with me.”

As if he’d ever leave? His place was here, hiding the two most important people in his life and this time, not a thing could ruin the family they’ve created. This was it for them, he was sure of it. 

“Always, Scully.”

Chapter Text

June 21, 2018

It was a gorgeous summer afternoon at the end of June, and they were enjoying their newfound freedom. This unaccustomed free time was a strange adjustment, but she quickly found comfort in spending time at home with Mulder. 

Spring had been wet and rainy, but today had been one of the first warm days of the season. The sky was clear and blue, the air was warm in the bright sun, and the whisper of a breeze cooled her heated skin. All in all, it was the perfect afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Mulder suggested they take advantage of the weather and lay out on their front porch together and she eagerly accepted his proposal. The outdoor furniture they purchased last week, and the newly stained deck gave the home a cozy and welcoming feel. The new lounge chairs were calling their names. 

Once outside, Scully went willingly into his arms, uncharacteristically clingy in recent weeks. She couldn’t seem to get enough of snuggling with Mulder. After some squirming around, she found a comfortable position lying diagonally across his lap with her arm around his neck, the other resting on his chest. His arms wrapped around her waist, securing her to his side. She knew one hand would eventually sneak its way to her belly. 

The sun was shining, but the awning provided some shade from direct light, adding to the intimacy of the moment. Their property was secluded, and far from the main road; the only sounds to be heard were the flock of birds chirping in the distance, rustling of trees and Mulder’s heartbeat in her ear. 

What do you think she’ll look like?” Mulder asked after several minutes of silence, his voice rumbling against her ear. 

They had found out the gender of their baby about a week prior during her last appointment. A little girl. Neither of them could believe it, even if Mulder somehow predicted it months before. 

“I hope she has your eyes. Have I ever told you how much I love your eyes?” She lifted her head from his chest to look into those chameleon eyes she admired. They were a bright green in the sunlight, flecked with gold around the center.

He beamed, pearly-white teeth standing out against his tanned skin. “Once or twice over the years, I’d say.”

“Well, they are beautiful. Sometimes they’re this bright green shade with little specks of gold, other times they’re brown and occasionally they transform into the perfect mixture of both. I hope our daughter inherited them from you,” she smiled.

“That’s funny because I’ve always had the same thoughts about you… do you have any idea how often I found myself staring into your eyes without even realizing it? I’m sure you noticed, I wasn’t very discreet,” he admitted, drawing invisible patterns along her arm.

A snort bubbled inside her, escaping as one of her youthful giggles she saved for special occasions. “I recall, Mulder. I’m also sure I did the same exact thing hundreds of times.”

“Either way, Scully, I’ve always wanted our child to have your eyes. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens, huh?” 

“I’d like her to have your dark hair too.” Almost subconsciously, her fingers began to weave their way through the hair at the base of his neck and he shivered. 

“Hmmm, and your porcelain skin with those cute little freckles across her nose and cheeks. I love your freckles.” 

She scowled. Those spots of pigmented skin made her cringe all throughout adulthood. Various people from friends to boyfriends tried to convince her otherwise, but she never understood the appeal. She thought they made her look juvenile and being seen as weak or somehow lesser than her male (and female) counterparts was one of her biggest fears.

Although, she couldn’t help but visualize her baby as a toddler with a light sprinkling of freckles and melt inside.

Before she could provide a snarky retort, the little girl in question decided she had something to add, jabbing her in the ribs. “I think someone wants our attention.”

Moving his hand, she guided him to the swell of her belly; a swift kick greeted them with almost bruising force. This baby was already team Mulder. She could rub her stomach and talk to the baby for hours in an effort to coax her into action, but she wouldn’t listen. 

However, that wasn’t the case with her dad; all he had to do was say hello when he walked into a room and she’d wiggle around, excitedly waiting for Mulder. Scully should have been jealous, if not for the pride and delight she felt with the instant bond their child developed with her father.

“She’s wiggling around a lot today. Maybe she knows we’re talking about her,” he surmised, following the movements beneath the skin of her belly.

She offered her own theory. “It’s you, I think. She senses your presence in the room before I do half the time, and immediately performs a gymnastics routine.”

The baby calmed after a few minutes of her father's rhythmic stroking, and they fell silent. Her mind roamed through the culmination of events that lead them to this place of peace. If she came face-to-face with her former self and was given the task of explaining how they arrived here, she’d be fighting an uphill battle. 

“Do… do you think I’ll be a good dad? he whispered out of the blue.

Mulder had deep insecurities, but he kept them buried under layers of confidence, only voicing his self-doubt when it was important to him.

“Of course, Mulder. I’ve seen you with children before and you’re wonderful with them.” 

“I know, but-” 

She stopped his rebuttal. “I saw you with Emily; she was drawn to you instantly. Within a few hours, she had you wrapped around her finger. I’m not sure if you realize this or not, but if we found a way to save her, you would have been her father figure, Mulder. We weren’t… together yet by any stretch of the imagination, but I wanted you to be a part of her life…” she paused, raising up to a seated position, face inches from him.

“And I saw you with William before you left. You were a natural, Mulder. He adored you. Don’t underestimate yourself,” she continued, forcing him to look at her directly. 

While she loved how easily he fell into a fatherly role for Emily, the few interactions she witnessed between Mulder and his son couldn’t compare. He would snuggle up with them and stroke the baby’s cheek and forehead while he had his meal. She cherished the closeness they established as a family for too short of a time and often dreamed of finding it again.

“I didn’t have the greatest role models, Scully…” he argued lamely, unconvincing in his attempt to justify his concerns.

“You’re not your parents, Mulder. You’re kind, respectful, and compassionate. Our daughter is going to adore you. She already does,” she said with a fond smile, cupping his jaw and tracing the bow of his lip with her thumb. 

“You always know what to say, don't you?”

“That’s what I’m here for, Mulder.” She closed the distance between them, kissing him gently. Drowning out the outside world, she poured her soul into the kiss, hoping he took her assertion to heart. 

They separated a few minutes later, another distinct kick breaking the kiss. Mulder stroked the spot, awe in his eyes. She lowered her head back into the crook of his neck and clasped his hand. She closed her eyes, listening to the steady cadence of his breathing and rustling leaves.

Chapter Text

June 30, 2018

Mulder sighed with relief, the scalding spray of the shower soothing his sore muscles and alleviating the tension he held in his shoulders. 

He had tossed and turned the entire night, insomnia grabbing hold of him once again. Many years of paranoia and fear long behind him now, he still fought the occasional bout of sleeplessness, eventually slipping out of bed long before dawn. Sometimes he’d go for a run, hoping to tire himself out, but it rarely worked. All he ended up with was pain in his knees and the urge to take a hot shower. Other nights, he’d watch television or read downstairs in the living room. Regardless of how he spent his time, nagging guilt always managed to lure him back to Scully. 

Fortunately, she wasn’t privy to his midnight activities. The last thing he wanted was to pile on any unnecessary stress for her or the baby, so he was careful not to make noise. 

Tonight, he admitted defeat around three o’clock and went for a run along the perimeter of their property, taking a shortcut on his third circle out to the small pond. Pausing to breathe in the fresh air, he stretched and tuned into the sound of crickets and smell of freshly mowed grass. It wasn’t until the alarm on his phone interrupted the stillness. 

By the time he climbed the front steps, the sun was already peaking over the horizon, and he hurried to the shower.

In the midst of rinsing the suds from his body, Scully’s voice startled him from his inner thoughts. “Mulder?” 

She sounded perturbed. 

The door opened and shut with a click and footsteps rapidly approached. Before he knew it, a wall of cool air flooded the shower stall, causing him to shiver. 

“Scully? Are you okay?”

Her lower lip trembled, eyes red and glassy. She was disheveled from sleep, hair sticking out in odd angles and pajamas askew. It looked as if she jumped from a sound slumber and ran to the bathroom. 

Without a word, she stepped into the shower and wrapped her arms around his back. Her hold was fierce, almost desperate, as she buried her nose in his chest. Frightened by the sudden invasion of space, he was stock-still for a moment while his muscles caught up with his brain. They did seconds later when he heard the hitching of her breath and felt the perceptible tremors with each inhale. 

Enfolding her in a tight embrace, he noticed she never bothered to strip off the oversized T-shirt she wore to bed; it was soaked through and plastered to her skin. 

“Scully, you’re not-”

“Why weren’t you in bed?” she asked, words muffled. The distress was still evident in her tone.

He stroked her back, dropping a slippery kiss to her hair. “I went for a run and needed to shower, that’s all.”

She mumbled something he didn’t quite catch, and he asked her to repeat it. After another shaky breath, she spoke up. 

“I woke up and you were gone…” she sniffled, her nails digging into his shoulder blades, her rounded belly sandwiched between them. The baby kicked around wildly, sensing her mother’s distress.

It suddenly dawned on him: she thought he was gone. Memories of their first experience with pregnancy flashed before him, his heart clenching. The physical scars caused by his recklessness and their time apart healed, leaving mental and emotional scars in their wake. Neither of them could shake the wounds left behind. Evidence of this lasting impact was currently crying in his arms and clutching at him for dear life. He felt like an asshole for not realizing this sooner.

“I’m not going anywhere, Scully,” he vowed as he tried to extract himself from her grasp to look into her eyes. She wouldn’t budge. “I’m sorry, I should have realized…”

They came to a mutual agreement, a silent promise to wake up together every morning. Similarly, they maintained contact through text if separated for any reason. For instance, he often made grocery store trips at least once a week and Scully made sure to remind him to respond to her messages. Was it a bit clingy? Yes. Were they being overly paranoid? Probably so. Given the disproportionate number of traumatic experiences they faced, it was important for them to take precautions.

“Look at me,” he demanded softly, prying her arms away from his body. He ignored the rapidly cooling water and tipped her chin up. “Nothing is going to take me away from you. Nothing, Scully.”

“But you don’t know for sure, Mulder… we’ve been complacent before, assumed we were safe,” she argued, hand on her stomach. “What if-”

He held her cheeks with both his hands. “The Smoking Man is dead. He’s gone. I shot him multiple times in the chest, and they found his body. He can’t hurt either of us—he can’t hurt her. ” His hand settled over hers, the action reflexive and protective. 

The baby kicked some more, and he detected a ghost of a smile twitching the corners of her lips, there one second, gone in a flash. It conjured up the image of Scully shivering on the docks, tiny smile forming behind her melancholic expression. 

“I know that… I just can’t shake the uneasy feeling. He’s come back before when he thought he was dead,” she reminded him. 

He shook his head, moving his hands to her shoulders. She was cold to the touch, the long-forgotten shower now completely devoid of warmth. He reached behind her and turned off the stream. “We saw his body. I was there when they cremated him. It’s over, Scully. You have to believe that and move on.”

Taking a fluffy towel off the rack, he helped to dry her hair before peeling the shirt off and wrapping her up, then walking her towards their bedroom. 

“You’re freezing. Why don’t we put on some clean clothes and I’ll make us some breakfast?” He directed Scully to the bed and sat her down, grabbing her a pair of stretchy pants and a comfortable top to change into. “We can talk while we eat.”


After taking care of her sopping wet shirt and changing clothes, she brushed her teeth and headed downstairs. She found Mulder, standing at the counter with his back to her. He was too busy chopping vegetables to notice her arrival, giving her the opportunity to watch him and collect her busy thoughts. 

When she woke up in bed alone, she immediately assumed the worst. She jumped to an easy conclusion and panicked. Her natural instinct to yell for him had been hampered by the lump in her throat and accelerated heart rate. The baby sensed the disturbance and began moving about, giving her the push she needed to get out of bed and go to the bathroom where she found Mulder. Safe and sound. The only thing she could do was collapse in his arms.

“Honey? What are you doing?”

Two glasses in hand, he was frozen before the dining room table, a curious expression lining his face. “Are you okay?”

She nodded. “Just thinking, I guess. What’s for breakfast?”

“Your favorite,” he beamed, the frying pan sizzling on the stove. Turning back to the food, he poured the egg mixture on top of the vegetable medley. 

Her heart skipped, differently than before. While the anxiety lingered, his kindness helped to mend the ache she felt in her soul. Deep down, she knew her jitters were irrational, more than likely caused by the influx of hormones. As her pregnancy progressed, she became more and more attached to Mulder… clingy even. She couldn’t escape the past, the consuming fear of abandonment and loss. 

Again, it was illogical. He was right anyway; their adversary was gone. They were safe. The baby was safe. 

“It smells good.” As if on cue, her stomach growled. “I didn’t realize I was hungry.”

He set a bowl of fruit and fork on the table. “Start with this… the omelet will be ready in a minute.”

Silence stretched while he finished cooking their breakfast. She nibbles on a piece of watermelon and watched the muscles of his back flex as he moved about in the kitchen. She had to wonder how Mulder managed to look so damn good. Almost sixty years old and he had the body of a man half his age. He was drool-worthy, in a pair of grey boxer-briefs, naked from the waist up. It wasn’t fair. 

“Bon Appetit,” he said, setting a delicious smelling omelet before her. “We didn’t have any tomatoes. I can pick some up at the store later on.”

She waved him off. “Don’t worry about it. Thank you, Mulder.” 

He coughed, clearing his throat. “I’m sorry for this morning. I haven’t been able to sleep very well lately. I figured a run would tucker me out enough to catch an hour or two of shut eye.”

“You haven’t been sleeping?”

He shook his head, munching on his food. 

“Why didn’t you tell me?” She was concerned now. His sleeping patterns had (somewhat) improved since they officially left the x files. To hear his insomnia came back was worrisome.

“It’s not your problem, Scully. I wouldn’t want to burden you and besides, I don’t think I’ve ever had an entire night’s sleep in my life. I’ll survive.”

“Have you been taking your medicine?” Doctor Scully prodded. 

“No. I stopped the week after I found out about the pregnancy. You know I feel like garbage in the morning if I take any sleeping pills. It works, but it’s difficult to wake up and I’m groggy as hell,” he explained, setting his fork down and guzzling what was left of his juice. 

“I know, but-”

“I was weaning myself off it and up until a few days ago, I was doing good. It’ll pass, Scully. I want to kick the habit before the baby comes, I want to be there for her.”

She softened, offering him a weak smile. “I understand that, Mulder, and you will be. But you need to take care of yourself too.”

He returned her smile. “I am, I promise. If the problem persists, I’ll refill my prescription.”

“In the meantime, can you wake me if you’re going for a run? Please,” she whispered shyly. 

He reached over and covered her hand. “Whatever you want.”

With that, some of the tension evaporated. They finished their meal, discussing their plans to move forward. It was liberating to unload the burden she was sheltering inside. The past still had a cruel way of haunting her, but each morning when she found Mulder gazing fondly or speaking to her belly, the previous suffering faded. She was lucky… they were lucky.

They would be okay.