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Tight

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The wisp of hair, crown of peach skin on his forehead, eyes flickering behind delicately creased lids, button nose, cheeks so round and smooth, pursed mouth occasionally opening, Mulder is struck speechless by the beauty of his son in his arms. Scully shifts on the bed and he sits down, gingerly, still unused to the weight, the smell, the preciousness of their treasure.

“He’d better wake soon,” Scully says, pressing her forearm high across her chest.

“Sore?”

“They get tight, like the skin’s going to split,” she says. “If I get too full, he can’t latch on.”

A lifetime ago, Mulder would have made a lame joke, about enormous breasts and spurting milk, but Will makes a gurgling noise and wriggles in his arms, twisting his face into Mulder’s bicep. He smiles over at Scully and his chest is suddenly full, hot, throbbing.

Swallowing hard, he sees in her, there on the bed everything he feels: exhaustion, contentment, awe. Like the journey has come to an end. In his arms, the fruit of their struggle. In his heart, the answers he’s been seeking his entire life. He crooks a finger and strokes his son’s chin. The infant’s eyes pop open and there’s a profound wisdom held there. Perhaps the truth is that children are born knowing everything that really matters. He lifts his son’s face to his own, rubbing his soft forehead gently with the tip of his nose.

Will lets out a small cry, followed by a heartier one. An arm bursts free from the swaddling and his tiny fingers clench with surprising rage.

Scully sits up, cooing. “C’mere, angel. S’okay. Come to mumma.”

As his son nestles into the crook of Scully’s arm, and whimpers and snuffles as he seeks the nourishment and comfort he needs, Mulder rests his forearm across his chest, aware of his own breathing, his heartbeat. Aware that his own skin is splitting and the relief is deep when love pours out.