From Thu Dec 05 16:29:21 1996
I did not write this - I'm posting this for the author. Please send all
comments to Terri Monture at
Enjoy! Debbie H.
Author gives permission to archive and post to ATXC.

I started writing this story the day I went into labour with my  second
baby, so draw your own conclusions ...

SUMMARY: Future -- MSR -- PG-rated

It's set in the future after Mulder has disappeared and a fearful Scully
gets in contact with him. It's full of serious Scully angst and some mild
but bittersweet MSR ... it's PG-rated for some of the more "adult
situations" ...

I do not own the characters upon which this story is based, those are the
sole property of THE PRODUCER Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions and
Fox Broadcasting, I stole them for my own grotty ends and will realize
absolutely zero profit from the endeavour ... I  grovel endlessly at CC's
feet for creating this amazing show.

Thanks to Debbie Hewett for her deft editorial skills, pep talks and other
nervous author handholding.

And by the way, Carole Isabella Monture-Wicks was born at 12:58 a.m. August
24, 1996. I missed the re-run of "Quagmire" for it ...


An X-Files Tale
by Terri Monture

Berkeley, CA
September 2003
4:35 a.m.

It was always the same dream.

She was standing in the sterile corridor of a top-secret research facility,
her heart beating as loudly and rapidly as a booming drum in her ears.
"Purity Control" someone kept whispering over and over, like a mantra, like
a prayer. A puppet on a string she was forced to walk down the corridor,
approaching the gleaming glass window at the end of the hall with the taste
of fear in her mouth and adrenaline coursing through her body. But there
was no escape. She was compelled to move closer, tugged forward by an
irresistible force.

And then she was looking in the window.

It was a hospital nursery. Row upon row of empty isolettes stacked like
wood *or tombstones* she thought helplessly, hysterically. All of them
empty except for the one front and center. She didn't want to look, but she
looked anyway.

In the slow-motion deliberation of nightmare, she was suddenly inside the
room, looking down at the isolette. Inside was a baby. Her baby. Frail and
tiny, perfectly formed. Her heart swelled. Here was the culmination of five
years of hopes and dreams. Excitedly she reached for the child, wanting
nothing more than to pick it up and hold it close to her heart. Her arms
were no longer empty and she whispered a lullaby, a prayer of gladness and

And then it changed. Its head swelled to grotesque proportions, three times
the size of a normal newborn's. Its skin was a horrible, sickly grey and
veins could be seen pulsing through the paper thin surface. And then it
opened those huge pupil-less eyes and stared unblinking up at her.

"Mama," the tiny voice squealed in her mind.

Her heart stilled its beating, her breath stopped in her throat. She could
taste her fear. And then her breath started again, expelled forcefully in a
terror-stricken scream ...


Dana Scully always woke at that  point, her mouth open in a silent scream,
her hair matted to her forehead with sweat, her hands curled protectively
over the nine-month bulk of her belly. As if in response to the turmoil in
her mind, the baby squirmed, roiling within her body so forcefully it was
indistinguishable from pain.

Her heart hammered in her chest. She turned toward the warmth of her
sleeping husband and thought about waking him, but decided against it.
Geoff was sleeping on his side, one arm flung out over the side of the bed,
his blond hair tousled over his eyes like a child's. She looked down at
him, so peaceful in the dim light reflected from the streetlights and knew
a sorrow that welled like bile up from her stomach.

She could never tell Geoff. He would never believe her, never even consider
that something might be wrong with this child, with this baby that they had
sweated to conceive, utilizing every state-of-the-art scientific fertility
technique to achieve this pregnancy. Five years of heartbreak and hope.

Five years of unspeakable fear that something was dreadfully, horribly
wrong with her.

Dana heaved herself off the bed and padded into the bathroom, splashing
cool, forgiving water on her sweating face. She dried herself off and
wished fervently, hopelessly, with the familiar dull throbbing ache deep in
her chest, that Mulder was here.

She knew that was impossible. Mulder had disappeared.

When their enemies had made it clear that he had crossed them one too many
times, he had gone underground. With the help of several of his shadowy
contacts, he had simply not shown up for work one day. When she had tried
to contact him, she was unable to reach him either at his apartment or at
his cell phone number. She had gone to his apartment later that day. A
young, harried woman with a toddler clinging to her leg had answered the
door of his apartment, the floor strewn with toys and furniture that looked
as if it had been there forever.

Dana Scully had stood there, speechless and flustered, helpless in the face
of the young woman's impatient wonder. And then she had known.

Mulder had gone without even contacting her. And that had hurt worse than
anything she had ever experienced. Worse than a death, for she never had
the chance to say good-bye, there was no grave to mark his passing. It was
like he was in limbo, in purgatory, and there was no way of contacting him
because the danger was simply too great. She couldn't be angry with him for
she knew he had done it to protect her -- letting her know where he had
gone endangered her as well. To the end, he had thought of her, put her
safety before his own. Even as she cursed him for being stubborn, for going
off without her, she respected his choice and loved him for it.

So she had gotten on with her life, transferring back to Quantico and the
forensics lab. After a lonely year of what could only be described as
mourning, she met Geoff Leonard, a software consultant who was developing a
national forensics database to be tied in with the existing VICAP system.
His work and hers often meshed, and they spent a lot of long hours building
the system together. At the end of the project, Dana had taken a long look
at him and realized that somewhere along the line she had fallen into a
kind of love with him. It was strange; based upon a sort of mutual respect
for each other's intellect, and on a genuine affection for each other, it
really wasn't a passionate, soul-melding kind of love. She had decided this
was what adults felt and so had consented to marry him, even following him
back to Berkeley where he taught at Stanford.

She would be a liar if she said she never thought about Mulder. He occupied
her thoughts daily. Dana worried and wondered about him but respected his
silence and never once tried to contact him.

She missed him more than she could say. She especially missed him calling
her "Scully," in his dark drawling voice. She no longer thought of herself
as "Scully" these days. And no one ever called her that. To the rest of the
world, she was Dr. Leonard, assistant pathologist in the Marin County
Coroner's Office.

Dana looked at her reflection in the bathroom mirror. Her face was puffy
and there were dark circles under her eyes. Five days away from her due
date, she was indescribably tired. She had finally stopped working last
week and had spent her time since then trying to sleep, but every time she
lay down, the nightmare intruded and now she found herself clinging to the
shadowy edge of exhaustion.

Dana waddled back into the bedroom and looked at the bedside clock. Only a
few more hours until dawn.

An idea grew in her mind, formless at first, then unfolding itself with
greater urgency. At dawn, she told herself. Then it would be 9 A.M. in
Washington. And they would probably be there.


She shut herself in the spare room that was in the process of being
transformed into a nursery. She and Geoff had spent a weekend painstakingly
stenciling pastel dinosaurs on parade at waist level around the room. It
was an odd contrast to the desk in the corner opposite the crib, where she
kept her work files and lap-top from her Bureau days. Dana sat at the desk
and opened the bottom drawer, withdrawing from it a gunmetal grey
strongbox. She placed this on the desk beside the computer and heaved
herself out of the chair. On the refinished antique bureau was a little
music box that had belonged to Melissa; her mother had sent it to her,
along with reams of baby clothing. Dana lifted the lid and a dancer twirled
around in an eternal pirouette to the tinny refrain of "Swan Lake". She put
a finger through a small tear in the satin lining of the box, extracted a

She had always felt rather guilty about concealing the contents of this box
from her husband, but this was hers, a part of her past that did not belong
to him. Geoff knew a little bit about Mulder, but she had always been vague
and her manner cold when he questioned her about him, so he had long ago
let the matter drop. The key felt cool and solid in her warm palm; Dana
returned to the desk, sat down and fitted it into the lock of the

Lifting the lid, she looked down at the box's contents.

Her FBI-issue Smith&Wesson sat on top, magazine empty; her badge and ID
wallet was next, a younger and less careworn Dana Scully staring seriously
from the photo. These she set aside without another glance.

But now the box was open and a dozen memories spilled out, revealed to the
open air for the first time in five years.

A stupid, garish birthday card Mulder had sent her *I did remember your
birthday, didn't I, Scully?*. The trailer key from Gibsonton, Florida. A
book of matches from the nameless diner in Maryland where they had met
Skinner and bargained for their safety. The necklace that Tooms had stolen
and Mulder had returned to her. She touched it with a wondering finger and
it slid down to the bottom of the box to rest beside the now empty vial
that had held the strange microchip she had recovered from the back of her

A shiver ran through her. The baby kicked again, almost urgently. She
absently rubbed the side of her belly where the kick had been and forcibly
put the thought of the chip out of her mind. There was too much pain
associated with the memory of that strange object and it felt almost as if
it had happened to someone else ... but the fact of her recurring nightmare
put lie to that small comfort.

A photograph. Turning it over, Mulder stared up at her from the palm of her
hand. At first glance, it was a serious, sober Mulder in standard FBI drag,
but the tiny, scarcely noticeable grin and the dark twinkle in his eyes
belied that notion. She had taken it one day when she was testing out a
camera she had been using for a stakeout; Mulder had been her reluctant
test subject but started hamming for the camera once she had persuaded him
to pose. He was standing against the office file cabinet, arms crossed
across his chest, staring straight into the camera as though he were
staring into her eyes.

The sight of this photo sent a pang of longing and a hurt that Dana was
surprised to realize was grief shuddering through her body. She stared down
at it, biting her lip; an absent finger slowly caressed the image of
Mulder's face. The pain of his absence tore at her; with monumental effort
she pushed the feeling away. She did not want to acknowledge how she felt;
it was just another complication. Dana rationalized that what she was about
to do as just another way of making sure her baby was going to be safe and
healthy, and there was only one person who would be able to give her that

At the very bottom of the box she found what she was looking for. A scrap
of paper with a D.C. area phone number on it; this she folded into her hand
and set the photograph carefully back into the box, along with the other
items she had looked at and discarded. Quietly she locked the box up and
returned it to its drawer, then put the key back in its hiding place and
left the room.

Dana picked up the portable phone from the coffee table in the living room
and then changed her mind. A land line would be a little more secure in the
unlikely event she was still a target of surveillance; she uncoiled a
length of phone extension cord for the handset from the kitchen. Phone in
hand, she unlocked the sliding door to wander out into the garden.

Dana had always wanted a garden; in D.C. there had been no place for one
nor the time to tend to it. Here she had both and had spent the earlier
childless years of her marriage putting all of her nurturing energy into
it. Now the heady perfume of late season lilies, dahlias and roses filled
the air, luscious and wet from the morning dew. On the far eastern horizon
a tinge of pink heralded the impending dawn. She eased her bulk down on a
bench set in the far corner of the garden and dialed the number.

The voice that answered was wonderfully familiar and despite herself, she

"Lone Gunman."

"Frohike," she said, suddenly feeling the years drop away. "It's Scully."
The name slipped so very easily off her tongue; it was as if Dr. Leonard
was merely a disguise she had been using and was now free to discard.

"Scully!?!" His voice was surprised and positively delighted. "My God! How
*are* you?"

"I'm well," she answered. In the background she could hear Langley and
Byers shouting hellos at her over Frohike's shoulder.

"Glad to hear it! Is there anything we can do for you?"

"As a matter of fact, there is."

Frohike was boisterous in his eagerness. "Just name it, Scully. I'll try my
best ..."

She ran a hand over the bulky curve of her belly and mentally crossed her
fingers. "I need you to find Mulder for me."

Part  1 of 4 ends ...

From Thu Dec 05 16:29:41 1996
I did not write this - I'm posting this for the author. Please send all
comments to Terri Monture at
Enjoy! Debbie H.

An X-Files Tale
by Terri Monture

Part 2 of 4. Disclaimers in Part 1


Two Days Later
11:21 a.m.

Dana pulled the voluminous maternity smock over her head and frowned at her
reflection in the mirror. She was as big as a house. The discreet pattern
of tiny roses on a cream-coloured background only emphasized the firm bulge
of her abdomen and the sensitive bud of her now-inside out navel. It looked
like she had swallowed a basketball.

"I look like I've swallowed a basketball," she muttered mournfully, but
there was a secret tinge of pride in her voice. She sighed and waddled out
of her bedroom, ignoring the fact that her hair was still wet from her
shower and that she was barefoot. "Only three more days 'til the due date's
up. Then we'll see ..."

Geoff had left the house at his customary 7:30 departure time after giving
her a gratefully received back rub. He had gone with the cheerful promise
of another one when he got home and had hinted at the possibility of a foot
massage, too. She was looking forward to it as the high point of her day.
Her left foot had been cramping and there was a dull ache in the very base
of her spine, one of the myriad pains that she had been prone to in these
last three months.

In the kitchen Dana poured herself a glass of orange juice, wishing it was
a very large and very strong cup of coffee. She padded into Geoff's study
to check the e-mail from his computer, the only one in the house set up to
access the Internet.

She had been doing it roughly every hour since she had talked to Frohike,
hoping against hope for a response; the Lone Gunmen had been infuriatingly
evasive about whether or not they were able to do anything for her,
protesting that they had no idea where Mulder was, making it sound like
they just didn't know whether he was dead or alive.

Dana didn't believe them. She had heard the hesitation in Frohike's voice
and the too-loud denials of knowledge from Langley and Byers and knew they
were hiding something. Years of questioning suspects had given her the
immediate, intuitive ability of knowing whether what she was hearing was
the truth or a lie, and she knew that for all their practice at subterfuge,
the Lone Gunmen were incapable of lying to her.

And so she had been relentless with Frohike, pressuring him with every
interrogative tactic she knew and playing on his fondness for her until he
had agreed to at least initiate a cursory search for Mulder. He had
promised to let her know by e-mail if he had been successful.

Breath held, Dana turned on the computer and logged onto the Internet
server. The mail was infinitely slow downloading; she blew out a frustrated
sigh when she realized it was all for Geoff. Disappointed, she turned the
computer off and left the study.

Dana opened the sliding door and stepped outside; the mid-September sun was
unusually warm this morning, the concrete patio stones almost hot beneath
her bare toes. She frowned at the rosebushes alongside the fence marking
off their property from the neighbour's. There were a disconcerting amount
of deadheads on them and if she wanted to make sure the bushes continued to
bloom, she would have to get rid of them so that the new buds could come
forth. She padded back into the kitchen, found a pair of shears and her
gardening gloves and went back outside.

There was a certain Zen to gardening, Dana had discovered over the years;
the concentration on nothing more than the task before her was calming and
helped clear her mind. This morning the steady sound of the shears and the
sweet perfume of the red roses helped dissipate the remnants of last
night's version of the recurring nightmare and the strain of waiting for a
response from Frohike. She was free to do nothing but breathe the cool
morning air, rapidly warming in the heat of the sun that beat down on her
arms, and feel the spongy earth beneath her feet.

And so it was Dana was slow to realize that someone else had crept into the
backyard while she worked and now stood silently regarding her.

Something caught her attention; whether it was the remembered intimacy of
breath, or scent, or just the fact of the dearly loved enigmatic presence,
she slowly turned when she realized she was no longer alone.

He was standing five paces behind her, his lean form silhouetted against
the morning sky. He was wearing black jeans, a black t-shirt and the
well-worn leather jacket; his skin was bronzed and lines had been deeply
grooved around his eyes from the force of a fierce sun. He seemed thinner
than she remembered him to be, his body taut with a deep, wary-to-the-bone
tension. But his eyes were the same, the bright hazel of them darkening to
a delighted forest green as he looked at her. And then a twitch of that
sensuous mouth, a corner lifting in a brilliant smile.

Dana could only stare in stupefaction, jolted into stillness as though a
ghost had suddenly appeared before her. Goosebumps broke out over the
surface of her skin and she shivered, not with cold but with bewildered
joy. Tears blurred her eyes and she remembered another bittersweet time
when she had thought him dead and he had appeared before her. With a glad
cry she launched herself at him, burying her nose into his chest, inhaling
deeply of his familiar and beloved scent. His arms came around her,
wonderfully solid and real, tentative at first until they tightened around
her so forcefully it was if he wanted to pull her body into his own.

"Scully," Mulder said, his silken voice warm against her ear, "You look
like you've swallowed a basketball."


She made him come with her into the house, ever mindful of his safety.
Geoff had an fervent interest in cryptography; as a result of this
passionate hobby, his study was shielded against all manner of electronic
and photo surveillance and it was here that Scully brought Mulder, not even
noticing that Geoff's presence was everywhere in the room. She didn't care.
All that she cared about at this moment was Mulder. Scully couldn't stop
staring at him, almost afraid to look away in case he should disappear.

He had named her so, and now she could safely think of herself as Scully
again. She felt recharged and renewed, full of fire and purpose. A million
questions came to mind but she pushed them away, suddenly shy with the
weight of six years of silence.

So she found refuge in banter, in the easy camaraderie they had always
shared. "Nice tan," Scully said, handing him a glass of water. "I hope you
haven't forgotten your sunscreen."

Mulder had tossed his jacket over a chair and was carefully examining the
room, but now he turned to her and smiled. She felt warm beneath that smile
and became acutely aware of how much she had missed him. "I've been in the
desert," he told her.

She nodded. "I guessed as much. New Mexico?"

"Sometimes." He was evasive even as he smiled at her. "Scully, you look

She was embarrassed, suddenly made too aware of the circles under her eyes,
her rounded face and belly, the frumpy maternity smock and her bare feet.
"I look like hell."

"Not to me you don't." His voice was soft and warm; there was no hiding the
depth of his feeling for her.

Scully felt the flush creep up the side of her face and looked away. This
was harder than she thought it would be. The weight of six years absence
had made her shy with him, even though she had longed for this moment
almost more than she had wanted the baby.

If Mulder was aware of her embarrassment he didn't show it. He was still
looking around the room. On a bookshelf there was a small framed wedding
photo; this he took down and looked at. A fleeting expression that Scully
couldn't name, but was pretty sure was regret, crossed his face.

"I went to your wedding, you know," he said casually, but there was a
slight tremor in his voice that slipped past his control.

She glanced at him. "You did? How?"

"You'd be surprised how good a pair of eighty power field binoculars are,"
he deadpanned in typical Mulder fashion. But there was no mistaking the
regret he felt as he looked away from her, down at the photo of her and
Geoff smiling happily for the camera. "You were a beautiful bride."

She closed her eyes, feeling the pain of the past, a past that had gone so
horribly awry. "I wish you had been there," she whispered. "You *should*
have been there."

Mulder stiffened. He replaced the photograph on the shelf. "Yeah, well,
forgive me for not RSVPing, but I was running for my life."

"Mulder, why didn't you come to me?" she asked, unable to keep the anguish
out of her voice as she looked up at him. "You know I would have done
anything to help you."

He would not meet her eyes. "I couldn't risk it. I couldn't put you in
jeopardy. Not again. Not ... not after the last time." A low moan from deep
within his throat escaped him. "I only wanted you to be safe."

Scully swallowed the retort about being able to take care of herself that
rose to her lips. He was still tormented by the memory of her abduction.
She knew he had blamed himself and she had some inkling that this was the
reason why he had fled without contacting her, but this, naked pain visible
on his face, this was proof of the depth of his care and concern for her.
And then she realized just what his decision to flee had cost him.

She was flooded with a jumble of emotions -- regret, anger at the way their
lives had turned out -- but more than anything else she felt was a deep and
abiding love for him, built on a tapestry woven of respect and trust that
warmed and strengthened her.

Unable to help herself, needing only to touch him, Scully reached out and
put her hand on his shoulder. He was stiff and strained beneath her hand
but suddenly he slumped, all resistance to her mute statement of thanks

Mulder sighed heavily. He reached up and placed his hand on her own,
pulling her into his embrace. She went willingly, her eyes closing. Nothing
else mattered except the reality of this man, to know that he was safe and
warm in her arms. Everything else -- the nightmares, the separation, the
different paths their lives had taken -- none of these things meant
anything to her for this all too brief moment.

It was Mulder who broke the embrace, pulling himself away from her with
effort. "Sorry, Scully," he whispered. "It's just that -- I -- well, I
really missed you."

His schoolboy shyness made her smile. "Don't be sorry. I missed you, too,"
she murmured, her arms aching to hold him further. "You know that. Are you
okay? Are you still in danger?"

Mulder shrugged. "I'm all right. There hasn't been an attempt made against
me in over two months."

Scully was startled with fear for him . "What -- who --?"

"Don't worry," he soothed her. "It was a very half-hearted attempt. I think
they're getting bored with me. But I'm not planning to let my guard down.
Not anytime soon." He smiled at her. "So you're pretty lucky you got
Frohike to call me when you did. Two months ago there would have been no
way I could have come here to see you."

She didn't ask who "they" were; she didn't want to get into it. "So I take
it you're not going to tell me where you've been  -- or where you're

Mulder shook his head. "No. But only for your safety. I'm not risking that."

There was no point in fighting with him about it. Scully knew better than
to push when his mind was made up. She could only damn the circumstances
that made him this intractable.

The baby chose that moment to kick her, and kick her hard. She gasped
involuntarily with surprise and rubbed the spot. Mulder watched her, his
expression strangely pinched, but there was nothing but concern in his
voice as he asked her, "How are you feeling? Is everything okay?"

Scully nodded. "I -- I'm fine ..."  The words escaped her without thought
but then she bit her lip. There was no point in lying to him; she had to
ask him the one question that had burned in her, had preoccupied her for
the entire length of her pregnancy. "Well ... maybe not. I've not been ...
it's been ... I'm not sleeping too well at night," she finished lamely.

Mulder said nothing but his eyes bored into her. Scully began fumbling with
the computer on Geoff's desk, straightening the mousepad, brushing
imaginary dust off the keyboard. She had never been able to hide her
feelings from Mulder; that much hadn't changed. It made her aware of just
how well he knew her. He was probably the only person in the world who
could claim that knowledge. Not Geoff, not even her mother knew her, had
seen her naked soul in the way that Mulder had. And so it was that she
couldn't lie to him.

"I've ... I've been having ... There's been a lot of bad dreams," she said,
barely audible.

"What kind of dreams?" he asked softly. He perched himself on the desk
beside the computer, as close as he could get without touching her.

Scully took a deep breath, steeling herself. "Remember when ... when they
took you and *he* made the exchange and they shot him? Just after that,
Skinner closed down the X-Files ..."

Mulder nodded, remembering, but remained silent, waiting for her to go on.
"I keep dreaming that ... that I'm back in that research facility, only
this time there's a live baby in there ..." Scully trembled with the memory
of her terror, the dream so tangible and real it had power over her even
here, in the full light of day and in the presence of the one person in the
world who had faced other nightmares with her.

Mulder put a steadying hand on her arm and she drew comfort from that.
"It's my baby. So I pick it up and hold it close, and then I..." The tears
welled up in her eyes and spilled over. She swiped at them angrily, damning
herself for losing control and praying this was just another pregnancy
thing, her emotions so close to the surface. "And then ... it ... it turns
into ... turns into one of *them*." She bit her lip, unable to continue.

The empathy and compassion in Mulder's eyes nearly made her lose control,
but she took a deep breath and went on. "It looks like the fetus that was
in that cryogenic flask. And it ... it calls me ... it tells me I'm it's
mother." This time the tears really did come and she made no attempt to
hide them.

Mulder reached for her again, folding her into his arms and she let herself
cry, the fear that something was horribly wrong overwhelming her. The
safety and comfort that his presence lent her was wonderful and eventually
she calmed herself, her need to always be in control and strong asserting
itself. She wanted to stay in his arms but reason took hold and she
reluctantly pulled away from him.

"Maybe it's just a pregnancy anxiety thing," she managed.

"Maybe," he allowed. "Your hormones are probably bungee-jumping right now."

"Have you ... do you remember ... you remember the place with all the files?"

Mulder nodded, instantly understanding her question. "It's not there
anymore. I checked." He tried to smile at her but it came out strained and
worried. "Surely you had some tests done for the pregnancy ... a maternal
serum screen, an amniocentesis ..."

Scully nodded.  "It took me so damn long to get pregnant, I had to make
sure everything was okay. They all indicate things are within normal
parameters, but ... well, let's just say I've seen things that convince me
that all the ultra-scientific tests in the world don't and can't have all
the answers."

He smiled slightly, bemused at her reluctance to believe in her beloved
science. "And the blood tests, the ultrasounds?"

"The routine blood tests and the ultrasounds have been fine. I just ...  I
just need some reassurance." She took a deep breath. "Those nightmares have
been terribly realistic."

"They're just nightmares, Scully. It's understandable that you're feeling
some anxiety."

"But they're so real," she whispered. Her fists were tightly clenched, she
suddenly realized and shivered, bringing her hands up to hug her arms to
her body. "So real ... You've never seen any other evidence of the tests
... especially ... the tests they performed ... on me?" It took all of her
control to be able to phrase the question.

"No, Scully, I haven't. I'm sorry, I wish I had an answer for you." Mulder
lifted his hand and gently caressed her cheek.  "Everything will be fine. I
know it will."

She smiled up at him, grateful for his faith and nuzzled his hand with her
cheek. "I hope you're right," she murmured. Even though he hadn't been able
to give her the answers she sought, his presence was reassurance enough.
Suddenly she was ravenous. "I'm hungry, Mulder. Do you want something to

Without waiting for his answer, Scully started to waddle out of the den,
planning a lunch aloud. "I think I'll make some omelets, I've got all kinds
of fresh veggies --"

She gasped in the onslaught of the contraction that felt like a steel belt
wrapping itself around her vitals, and there was a gush of warm water that
ran down her legs.

Mulder was alarmed. "Scully -- !"

She looked up at him, wide-eyed with shock. "Oh my God, Mulder, I think the
baby's coming."


Mulder paled.  "Should we call your doctor?" He touched an anxious hand to
her back.

The contraction was subsiding. She managed to take a deep breath. "No, it's
okay, I've got plenty of time."

"What?! Your water just broke! I don't know nothing 'bout birthing no
babies." He was agitated, but she understood that it was only because he
didn't want to see her in pain.

"Relax, Mulder. This is a first baby, and first babies are notoriously
slow. Just let me go and get cleaned -- Owww!!" The force of the
contraction rippled through her body, leaving her with breath only to shout
in agony. She felt a slow trickle of blood ooze down her legs.

"Scully, you're bleeding!" Now Mulder was seriously worried. "I'm calling
an ambulance."

"No!" Despite the discomfort, she could only think of him. "It's not safe
for you. Just let me call Geoff and then you can leave -- Ohhhhh!" She
couldn't believe the strength of the contraction. She sagged against
Mulder, stupefied by the display of her body's will, her legs drained of

"I'm not leaving you, Scully." Mulder was determined. "Just tell me what to

"Something's wrong," she managed to gasp. "These contractions are coming
too fast and hard, this is like second stage labour and they just got
started --" Scully gulped in a frantic mouthful of air as another one hit
her with as much subtlety and warning as a train wreck. She grabbed a hold
of Mulder's arm, her fingers digging into his flesh as she was tormented by
the contraction.

If she hurt him he didn't even acknowledge it. "Breathe, Scully," Mulder
urged. "You're holding your breath and you need the oxygen for you and the
baby. This is like any kind of physical exertion, you have to keep
breathing. Just breathe through it, you can do it, you're strong, you're
the strongest woman I know. That's it ..."

She exhaled sharply. "Mulder, you have to get me to the bathroom because
I'm bleeding all over the floor." She had only time to tell him this before
the next contraction tore through her body.

Mulder picked her up as if she were as light as feather, his strength born
from adrenaline and fear.  He sprinted into the bathroom, Scully clinging
to his shoulders as she bit her lip against the pain.

"Don't hold it in," Mulder panted as he set her down. "Scream if you have
to, you don't need to impress me. Now I'm going to call an ambulance,
Scully, and don't argue with me --"

"Mulder, you can't!" she shouted at him, her breath ragged in her throat.
She went instinctively into a squat, hanging onto the side of the bathtub.
"It's not safe. Besides --" She gulped in another mouthful of air. The
contractions were practically coming on top of each other by now. "I think
I'm having a precipitous birth."

"A what?!"

Scully gritted her teeth. "It's a condition whereby the cervix dilates
unusually fast and the baby's head crowns almost immediately. I don't think
an ambulance will make -- oh God!" She ended in a shriek.

Mulder crouched beside her. "Scully, this is crazy. I'm going to call for a
paramedic team --"

Scully gripped the side of the bathtub so hard her knuckles went white.
"They'll never make it ... oh no, I have to push ..." She moaned, a low
animal sound that made Mulder cringe. When her breath returned, she panted,
"Mulder, you've got to check and see if the baby's head is coming through

"Me?!" He squeaked in an unusually high voice. "Scully, we haven't even
dated --"

"Mulder, *you have to*. I can't -- oh God!  I can't push yet, not until
you've checked to see what the dilation is --" She gritted her teeth and
clawed blindly at him, the pains so intense and strong they were not unlike
being reamed out with a steel spike. She rode out the wave of pain and
managed a weak imitation of a smile at him. "Don't tell me you've never
seen that part of the female anatomy before, I won't believe you."

Mulder swallowed his panic. "Just not yours ... Okay, Scully. But you're
going to have to talk me through it -- I've never done anything like this
before -- Ow!" He ended with a gasp of his own as Scully grabbed his hand,
digging her fingernails into his palm.

"I -- I need -- doctor's bag, it's in a drawer -- bedside table," she
rasped through lips gone suddenly dry. "And towels -- in the cupboard. And
something to wrap the baby in ... Aaarrgghhh!"

Mulder flew out the door and Scully tried in vain to remember the breathing
techniques that she had learned in her prenatal classes, but they were of
little use against the spasms that consumed all conscious thought. She felt
herself gulping in air and then holding her breath against the contraction,
which she knew was wrong but couldn't seem to find the correct rhythm. It
was becoming more and more difficult to breathe properly and she felt
herself on the verge of hyperventilating.

Mulder came back trailing towels and a sheet that, Scully was chagrined to
see, was part of a very expensive wedding present set. No help for it now

"Scully," Mulder knelt beside her, one hand supporting her back, the other
reaching for one of hers.  "You have to breathe, don't hold your breath
like that. Look at me --"  She screamed again, barely hearing him, but
undaunted he put his mouth against her ear and crooned, "Come on, Scully my
love, you can breathe, I know you can do it, it's easy ... Inhale ... good
... now blow it out slowly ... that's my girl ..."

If she had been more in control of the situation, the sweet endearments
that she heard Mulder whisper in her ear would have taken her completely by
surprise, made her lose what little equilibrium she had. But here, in this
moment with the pain so bad she felt like her body was going to be torn
asunder, it seemed only natural that he speak to her this way. Six years of
separation vanished as if they had never been apart and their connection
was re-established.

Scully followed as he had commanded and found a breathing rhythm that,
while it did nothing to take the pain away, at least enabled her to think.
"My kingdom for an epidural ... Okay, Mulder," she rasped as another
contraction began to well up on the heels of the last, "You've got to check
the dilation  ... Owwww ... If you can feel a space ...Ummmpph ... a space
like the one ... Ooohhhhh ... between your thumb and pinkie, then it's safe
for me to push because-oh-God-I-really-have-to-please-hurry-up-and-look!!!"

Mulder flushed but helped her to sit down on the floor with her knees wide
apart. Scully was beyond caring about modesty and wriggled out of her hated
maternity underwear. Kneeling before her, he tore the wrapper off a pair of
latex gloves and fumbled one on, then hesitated a moment. "This is too
weird," he began, embarrassed.

"JUST SHUT UP AND DO IT, GODDAMMIT!" Scully hollered, ending with a shriek
of pain.

This seemed to spur him into action and gingerly he did as he was told.
Scully felt his reluctant intrusion and with a wince braced her feet
against his knees. "I can feel the head!" Mulder said, wonder in his voice.
"It feels -- I think -- I think you're dilated, Scully." He extracted his
hand and peeled off the glove.

"Oh thank God," Scully panted. Her hair was matted to her forehead with
sweat but she felt cold and her teeth were starting to chatter.

"What do I do now?"

"Get -- get the sheet -- scissors out of the bag -- there should be some
sutures in there --"

"I don't know how to do a stitch --"

"Not for me," she grunted. "You have to cut ... cut the cord and tie it off
so the baby ... baby doesn't bleed ... AAAUUUUGGGHH..."  A scream she
didn't know she had the strength for rose out of her throat and her body
seemed to bear down of its own accord. She scrabbled frantically against
the side of the tub and squatted, feeling her insides burn and ripple in
the passage of something hard and round through her lower body.

Mulder knelt before her, the designer sheet spread between his hands to
catch the baby. "Okay, Scully, keep pushing ... you can do it, I know you
can." He was pale and apprehensive, her screams obviously bothering him,
but he was determined to help her. "Keep breathing, you have to breathe ...
there, I can see the baby's head -- what beautiful red hair -- come on, my
love, just a little more, you're doing fine ..."

Scully gathered every last shred of her strength and pushed so hard she bit
through her lip. The pain was so monumental, so staggering that she
couldn't scream, could only whimper.

Mulder was awed and his voice cracked with excitement. "Here -- here's the
head -- what a beautiful little face -- oh God, Scully, the cord's wrapped
around the neck!"

His fear jolted through Scully like a knife. "Gently pull it up and away,
Mulder, you have to get it away so the baby can breathe," Scully managed to
say, sudden terror nearly constricting her throat closed.

"Okay, I think -- there, I've got it. Push a little more, Scully, the
shoulders have to -- that's the way, you're doing a marvelous job -- it's a
girl, Scully! What a beauty -- " He stopped suddenly.

Scully's whole body was shaking, but she propped herself up on her elbows.
"What? Is something wrong?"

Mulder didn't answer.

"MULDER!" Scully screamed his name.

"Scully." His eyes, when he looked up at her, were huge and frightened.
"She's not breathing."

Part 2 of 4 ends

From Thu Dec 05 16:29:55 1996
I did not write this - I'm posting this for the author. Please send all
comments to Terri Monture at
Enjoy! Debbie H.

An X-Files Tale
by Terri Monture

Part 3 of 4. Disclaimers in Part 1...


Scully sat bolted upright, ignoring the pain and dizziness that swept
through her body, the metallic taste of fear and nausea in her mouth.
"She's got to be suctioned," she managed to say, clamping down on her
terror with iron control.  "You'll have to wipe away the mucous that's
blocking her nose and mouth."

Mulder's large hands performed this task with a tenderness that belied his
urgency. "Come on, little one, breathe," he murmured. "Please breathe ..."
He looked up at her, his eyes wider than she had ever seen.  "She's not --"

An animal noise, a kind of keening that raised the hairs on the back of her
neck filled the room. Scully was amazed to realize she had made the sound,
the anguished cry bursting out of her throat before she could stop it.

"No," Mulder whispered hoarsely. "No --" In desperation, unable to bear
Scully's torment, he turned the baby upside down and thumped her back.

There was a sputtering, coughing sound from deep within the baby's chest,
and all at once she took a deep breath and instantly expelled it in a wail
that sounded like rage.

It was the sweetest sound Scully had ever heard. "Oh thank God, oh thank
you," she cried, holding out her arms for the baby. Mulder wrapped the
wailing, empurpled baby in the sheet and gently handed her over to her
mother, the cord still attached to her and staining the sheet bloody.

"Oh my sweetheart, hello," Scully whispered. She quickly looked the baby
over. Ten fingers, ten toes, her eyes were normal sized ... and a sparse
fringe of red hair encircled her tiny head. "You look like your
granddaddy!"  The baby did look like Captain Scully in high dudgeon.

She raised her eyes to Mulder's and held them, unfathomable emotion passing
between them. His eyes were warmly joyous, glad for her but a sad, deep
hurt that he could not hide rested there as well. The realization crashed
over her like a wave -- this child should have been his.

The regret made her feel cold and clammy and she was still trembling, her
arms holding the baby weak and in danger of dropping her.  "The cord, we
have to cut the cord," Scully managed, breaking their eye contact. It hurt
too much to look him in the eye.

Mulder busied himself with the instruments, finding a pair of scissors. He
looked at the cord and swallowed. "Maybe you should do this."

"I don't think I can, my whole body is shaking," Scully confessed. "Just
tie a suture around the end closest to the baby and wait for the blood to
drain away -- then you can cut."

He did as commanded. "What about the placenta?"

Scully was shivering now and feeling very dizzy. "Um -- I think you should
call for an ambulance now," she whispered, hugging the baby to her chest.
"We'll let them deal with it, because I can't possibly push any more --"
She felt the baby slipping from her grasp. "Here, Mulder -- I don't think I
can hold her, I'm feeling too shaky."

He barely caught the baby. "Scully, what's wrong?" he asked her sharply,

She felt herself falling down a dark well.  "I ... I think I'm ..."  She
struggled to form the words. "I think I'm going into shock ... cold, I'm so
cold." Her teeth were chattering.

Mulder looked around wildly, then got up, taking the baby with him. Scully
vaguely heard the sound of doors being slammed, Mulder's excited voice
muffled by the murky veil descending upon her consciousness. Time
protracted and her vision went fuzzy on the edges. She found her earlobe
and pinched it mercilessly between her fingernails. The sharp pain wrenched
her awake for only a minute before everything started to go grey again.

Mulder came back, awkwardly cradling the baby in one arm and carrying a
blanket in the other. "Come on, Scully, you have to stay awake. An
ambulance is on its way."  He wrapped the blanket tightly around her
shoulders and sat beside her, folding his long frame close to her body and
holding the baby so that she could see her. "She's a beautiful baby, Dana.
Looks just like you."  He lovingly stroked the baby's tiny cheek.  "What
are you going to call her?"

Scully was wrapped up in a grey gauze that obscured all rational thought,
but heard his gentle use of her given name and smiled. "Mulder," she said

"I'm flattered, Scully, but that's hardly a name for a little girl." It was
one of those rare Mulder smiles and shone through her haze to warm her

"No ... Mulder, I'm  ... thank you. I want to thank you." And then she knew
that she had to say it, to say the words so that he would hear her. "I love
you, Fox Mulder."

He was startled. "Scully, what --"

But she was glad she had said it before she slipped deeper into the quiet
grey fog.


"... I think she's coming around now ..."

Scully heard the voice from somewhere above her and opened her eyes. Geoff
was hovering over her, his blandly handsome features drawn into a worried
frown. She looked around, feeling like she had been hit by a truck. She was
lying in a hospital bed, an IV needle taped to her left arm delivering
blood back into her body. When he realized she was looking at him he broke
into a relieved smile.

"Hi, sweetheart," he said.  "How are you feeling?"

"I'm fine," she whispered through dry, cracked lips, the lie coming
automatically. "Where's --"

"The baby? She's beautiful, everything's okay, she's in the nursery getting
checked out by a pediatrician." Geoff reached for her hand but she withdrew

His hurt look of non comprehension made her feel guilty. Scully had meant
to ask about Mulder, but realized at the last second she couldn't. The
memory of what had happened flooded over her. "How -- when did I --"

Geoff stood aside for a dark-haired nurse who stepped up to initiate a
flurry of professional activity, checking her pulse, taking her
temperature. "Do you want some pain relief?" the nurse asked, her warm
hands gentle on Scully's forehead. "You were torn up pretty badly and lost
a lot of blood."

"I ..." Scully bit her lip, considering. She only felt numb.

"Well, it's here if you want it," the nurse said cheerfully. She picked up
the chart and scribbled on it, then left the room.

Scully was alone with Geoff. She stared up at him, realizing with a jolt
that physically, he was a blond-haired, blue-eyed and far more sanguine
version of Mulder -- not as intense, not nearly as driven, but a pale
imitation of the man she truly loved. Even his expression now, as he stared
down at her -- she had seen that hang-dog, worried look years before on a
much different face. Geoff was the same height, the same build; shocked,
she saw then that she had unconsciously chosen someone who would remind her
of Mulder.

For the first time since their marriage, she felt she was with a stranger.
And then the revelation hit her -- she had been fooling herself all these
years. She had been using Geoff. She had tried to make him into a
substitute for Mulder. And now that she had been in contact with the real
thing, Geoff was redundant.

The guilt that flooded her made her nauseous. What a stupid situation this
was, she thought helplessly, damning the unchangeable onslaught of years.
At a time when she should be sharing the joy of her baby's birth with the
child's father, all she could think about was how much she really didn't
love him.

"An ambulance brought you in," Geoff said. "Some man was with you. They
thought he was your husband, but he said he was just a delivery guy. He
disappeared before anybody got a chance to ask him anything." He looked
away, clearing his throat the way he always did when he was nervous.
Scully flinched. The habit drove her insane, she admitted to herself. "Did
he hurt you?"

Scully glared at him.  "No, of course not."

Geoff's blue eyes were troubled. "Who was he, Dana? The nurses thought he
was your husband. They said he was really concerned for you, asked all
kinds of questions about you and the baby before he apparently vanished.
They made me show tons of ID and our marriage certificate before they'd let
me come and see you."

Scully managed a weak smile that was intended to reassure him. "He was just
some guy, Geoff," she lied easily. "He was delivering a package from my mom
when I went into labour. He must have called the paramedics for me. I
really don't remember anything."

Her husband searched her face. Scully held his gaze evenly, willing him to
believe her. All at once Geoff's shoulders slumped and he sighed. "Well, we
owe him a great deal of thanks. You could have died, Dana, and the baby
with you." He sounded strained and she suddenly understood how serious the
situation had been. Geoff cleared his throat again. "Did this guy deliver
the baby?"

She licked her lips. "I -- I guess so," she said, injecting the right
amount of querulous uncertainty into her voice. "Really, Geoff, I don't
remember. The contractions started and I --" She turned her head away. "--
I don't know what happened."

Scully could feel how tense he was and how curious, yet he was unwilling to
press her. He had never been able to push her, to make her reveal more than
she wished to, ever; many of the compromises they had made during the
course of their marriage had been on her terms.  Scully knew this and
exploited it ruthlessly. All she could think about was protecting Mulder.

Geoff nodded slowly. "Okay, honey," he said softly. "I'm really sorry I
wasn't there, I should have been there." His guilt was palpable, filling
the space between them. Scully sighed. This was something she should deal
with, but because she knew she didn't love him, she didn't really feel like
easing his pain.

"It's okay, Geoff," she soothed him, forcing a softness she did not feel
into  her voice. "How could you have known what was going to happen? It's
over and everything's okay. The baby -- how is the baby?"

"I think she's fine," he said, visibly relaxing. This was a Dana he could
deal with -- not the remote, cool woman he had just talked to. "They said
everything looked okay. She's a beautiful baby, Dana. Looks just like you."

Scully froze at those words, having heard them so many short hours ago. She
turned her face to the wall and closed her eyes, wondering where Mulder had
gone ... and hated herself for thinking more about him than about her baby
and her husband. About her family, for better or for worse. She took a deep
breath. This was her life and she was committed to it.  With tremendous
effort she erased all thought of Mulder. Opening her eyes, she looked up at
Geoff and reached for his hand.

There was a soft knock on the door and a petite woman wearing a doctor's
coat slipped through, followed by an older, bearded man. They wore
identical masks of professional distance, compassion touched with just the
right amount of detachment. Scully recognized the expression immediately,
having utilized it herself on occasion.

Her grip on Geoff's hand tightened as the woman smiled at her.  "Drs.
Leonard? I'm Dr. Embry and this is Dr. Strombroski."

They nodded at each other. Dr. Strombroski clasped Scully's free hand. "Dr.
Dana Leonard, pleased to meet you. I've heard of you professionally."

Scully forced herself to make the proper small talk. "Likewise, although
I'm afraid I --"

He smiled sadly. "I don't believe our fields would have much contact with
each other. I'm a pediatric neurologist."

Scully looked at him and then at Dr. Embry, who was looking at the floor. A
dawning dread streamed through her body, leaving her numb and cold in its
aftermath. She felt as if she were underwater, her breath catching in her

Dr. Embry straightened her back, finally meeting Scully's eyes. There was
an ocean of compassion in the pediatrician's soft blue gaze. "No," Scully
whispered, the word exhaled out of her in a small sigh.

"We've completed a thorough examination of your daughter--"

"No," Scully whispered again, as if the denial would prevent reality.
Geoff's hand in hers was cold and clammy. She pulled her hand away,
suddenly unable to touch him any longer. The nightmare rushed back to the
front of her consciousness, the antiseptic room, the changeling baby, the
terror that stopped her breath.

"-- And I'm afraid we have some bad news ..."

Part 3 of 4 ends

From Thu Dec 05 16:30:04 1996
I did not write this - I'm posting this for the author. Please send all
comments to Terri Monture at
Enjoy! Debbie H.

An X-Files Tale
by Terri Monture

Part 4 of 4. Disclaimers in Part 1


It was night, maybe an hour after midnight. She had lost track of time. The
muted light from behind the blinds was unchanging and she could hear the
steady footsteps of nurses making their rounds on the floor.

Scully lay on the narrow hospital bed and stared at the IV pole that
dripped blood and drugged fluids into her arm, the cracked vinyl chair, the
ugly print of pastel flowers in a cheap plastic frame. She stared as though
committing the room to memory could conjure up  some primitive magic and
heal her daughter.

Her daughter. That sweet little face, the silky red hair and little hands
like stars ... her beautiful little baby that she had moved heaven and
earth to create ... her flawed little baby with the cornflower blue eyes
that would look out over the world and never recognize it ...

Hot tears seeped out from beneath her eyelids. The hopelessness, the
helplessness welled up in her but with a savagely controlled hand she
pushed it away and refused to let it into the open. Scully willed herself
to think of something else, to think of anything but that. She stared hard
at the wall, the floor. The wall was painted a faded pinkish beige, the
tiled floor flecked with corresponding coloured chips. It looked like a tie
Mulder had worn once.

Mulder. Where did he go when he went into hiding? Somewhere safe, she
hoped, some place were the world didn't intrude, where he could watch
without being seen, where he could continue to look surreptitiously and
carefully for Samantha  ... Idly she wondered if he had made friends, if
there were people who looked out for him, if there was someone who loved
him ... someone who loved him as much as she did ...

Scully closed her eyes against the pain, hearing something that sounded
like a sob. She was not too surprised to realize that it was her weeping.
Her cheeks were wet with unchecked tears and the pain sat like a stone in
the middle of her chest, making it difficult to draw breath.  Rolling into
a ball, her arms clutched the place where her baby had lived, her flesh
soft and doughy like a pillow that had lost its stuffing, and abandoned
herself to her grief. It was easy to muffle her sobs in the scratchy sheets
of the hospital bed, unwilling to let anyone know that her heart was

Scully cried until she had no more strength and lay exhausted in the sodden
sheets, her face and hair wet with salty tears. She took deep calming
breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly, forcing herself to think of nothing
but the sound of her own breathing, eyes closed against her drab

The door was opened quietly and she could hear a small rustle as the
curtains around her bed were pulled aside. It was probably time to be poked
and prodded by the nurse; Scully kept her eyes closed in the vain hope that
the nurse would go away and leave her alone.

"Scully, I know you're not asleep because you're not drooling." His rough
velvet voice shocked her into opening her eyes. Mulder smiled down at her,
his hand reaching down to brush her cheek. He frowned slightly when he
realized how wet it was.

"Mulder ... What are you doing here?" She could not hide the surprise and
gladness in her voice. Feeling better already, she wiped away the tears and
struggled to sit up.

He shrugged and it was then that she realized he was wearing green
emergency room scrubs, a stethoscope slung authentically around his neck.
"I wanted to see you before I left, to make sure you're okay." His frown
had deepened, there was worry and tender concern in his eyes. "But I can
see that you're not."

Scully wouldn't meet his eyes. "Where did you get those?"

Mulder knew she was stalling but let it pass. "Stole them out of a supply
closet. I've been telling anyone who asks that I'm Dr. Carter -- wasn't
that the name of the cute doctor you liked on that TV show?"

He could probably tell her what she had been wearing and what they'd had
for lunch the day she had mentioned that six years earlier. Sometimes his
eidetic memory was unnerving. Scully tried to smile at him, but the
expression was more like a rictus of pain. "Mulder ..." she whispered, all
pretense at being in control crumbling. That he should come here at all, to
put himself in such danger for her was a gift of love, and she knew it.
"The baby ..."

Tears poured down her face, surprising her since she thought she had cried
herself out. Mulder sat down on the bed and enfolded her into his arms.
"Shhh, it's okay, Scully," he murmured.

She shook her head violently. "No, it will never be okay." The words flew
out, bitten off as if she could draw blood. "*They* did it to her."

Her voice wavered on the edge of hysteria and she felt herself falling into
a dark pit of sorrow. Mulder's eyes were shadowed with compassion and
sadness. "Scully --"

Anger came then, flooding through her as if a dam somewhere had burst and
it felt so very good, so much better than blind, impotent grief. "Damn
them. *They* changed me, Mulder, damn them all to hell."

Dawning comprehension shadowed his eyes, and with it, a stark horror and
sadness that reflected her own. "What is it, what  -- it's the baby, isn't

She nodded robotically. "My poor nameless baby. She's beautiful, perfect in
every way ... except there's no evidence of higher brain functions, no
brain waves other than those put out by the autonomic system. The
neurologist who examined her doesn't believe she will live much more than a
month or two at the most."

Mulder went pale and he closed his eyes, reaching mutely for her hand.
Scully looked at the cheap print hanging on the wall and the anger burned
fiercely inside her, so hot that she felt she would turn into a flame. "She
is a newly constructed house, Mulder -- all the lights are on but no one
will ever be home. A little flesh robot without any programming." Her voice
broke into a sob. "She won't ever know who I am, that I'm her mother ...
and God, how I wanted her to be healthy and whole and it can never, ever be
that way ..."

Mulder held her wordlessly until the worst of the sobs subsided. Gently he
asked, "Do they know what caused this?" A horrified note crept into his
voice. "Was it because we didn't resuscitate her in time?"

"No, it has nothing to do with that. She was born this way." Her sigh was
heavy with her pain. "The results of the genetic tests won't be available
for another day or two, but there is indication that there was some
corruption of the base pairs contributed -- and I can't say that I'm that
surprised -- by me."

"Scully --"

The words were like a cry.  "Those goddamn tests ... They changed me,
Mulder, they took everything that is me and corrupted me, made my genes
different ... and they killed my -- killed -- oh God --"

The pain was too great. The anger drained away and all she felt was utter
despair. She moaned out her heartbreak and Mulder cradled her against his
chest, rocking slightly and crooning her name softly, over and over.

He said gently into her ear, "I know you wanted this child badly, Scully. I
know you would have been the best mother you could be for her, and that you
will do as much as you can for her while you are her mother. Don't let them
beat you by giving in to your anger." He tightened his arms around her and
she held on to him as if he were the life preserver that would prevent her
from drowning in her misery.  "The best and brightest thing you can do for
her is to love her."

That he spoke with such great compassion and love soothed her heart. His
voice was lulling and hypnotic. "In a way she's an absolute innocent -- to
never know how hard life is, all of our struggles and heartbreaks, but
neither the joys and beauty. I guess she lives in a perfect state of grace,
a place with no pain and just the transcendent sweetness of merely being
able to breathe."

The tears slid down her cheeks like warm mercury. "Thank you, Mulder," she
said quietly.

"For what?"

"For giving her a name. Grace." A beautiful name that would forever mark
her place in Scully's heart.

At length Scully gathered up the tattered remains of her composure and took
a deep breath, banishing the sadness. This would be the last time she would
cry. "I'm sorry, Mulder," she said, voice muffled against his chest. "I
didn't mean to --"

"Don't apologize," he told her. He tilted her chin up and smiled gently at
her. "Besides, doesn't love mean never having to say you're sorry?"

"That's got to be the lamest --" Knowing he was teasing her she blushed red
to the roots of her hair anyway and rested her forehead against his chest,
not yet willing to relinquish his embrace. "Oh God ... I did say something
like that to you, didn't I?" She slumped against him, her pride struggling
with her honesty. Finally she whispered in a small voice, "I didn't mean to
scare you..."

"Oh, I'm shaking," he chuckled.

"I'm serious, Mulder," she remonstrated him.

"I know. So am I." He sighed. "I wish I had a time machine. I'd erase the
last five years ... or I would have taken you with me when I had to leave,
but I never believed you would drop everything to come with me."

Scully sighed. "You never even gave me the chance, Mulder."

"I know, and I'm sorry I didn't, but all I could think of was making sure
you would be safe." His eyes were weary with the weight of his regret.
"There's been no colour in my life, Scully, without you. All these years,
all this running and hiding ... it seems the only reason I stayed alive was
so that I could come back to you."

The warmth in her chest was her heart expanding, making her feel
light-headed. "Mulder ..."

"All I've been doing is surviving. I'm not living. I can't if you're not
with me." His lips brushed her forehead, close to her brow. There was an
infinite tenderness in his voice as he whispered, "So I guess you know what
I'm trying to say to you, Scully. And I wish I'd said it sooner, if only it
would have changed the past ..." He exhaled slowly and the words were a
mere whisper. "I love you."

Scully closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around him, reveling in the
moment, feeling his lean strength seep into her exhausted and pain-wracked
body. Mulder was the one good thing left in the waking nightmare her life
had become. And then she pulled herself away from him. There was no point
in making this any harder than it was going to be. "Mulder, I --"

He touched his finger to her lips. "Shhh. I know. Let's just pretend for a
little while that everything is neat and tidy, that you don't have a
husband, that I'm not in danger of dying, and that the little baby you had
is ours and she's perfect ..."

The tears welled up again and Scully brushed them away. She had promised
herself she wouldn't cry, and she meant to keep that promise. She leaned
into him, suddenly feeling utterly wiped out. "Mulder," she said sleepily.
"Will you do something for me?"

He kissed the top of her head again. "Name it, I'm yours ... but nothing
too kinky, okay? It wouldn't suit my professional demeanor."

It was a weak joke but she giggled anyway, her exhaustion making her giddy.
"Will you lie down here with me and hold me for a little while?"

"Of course." Scully scooted over for him as far as she could but there was
still hardly any room. Mulder wrapped his arms around her and she was
comforted by the steady beating of his heart and the sound of his
breathing. The last thing she felt was his lips pressed warmly against her

When a nurse woke her to check her vitals, Mulder was gone.


Sanostee, New Mexico
Navajo Indian Territory
March 2004
5:15 p.m.

The sound of the Piper Cub engine was like an angry hornet that faded fast
into the sharp blue sky. Scully watched the small airplane until it
disappeared over the red-brown cliffs in the distance.  A hawk drifted high
overhead, lazily moving in ever-broadening circles.

Great clouds of dust were kicked up by her feet as she walked to the tiny
ramshackle building that stood at the end of the airstrip. A broken-down
porch faced the road.  A wizened Navajo grandmother was sitting patiently
on the porch's only chair, staring at her with dark eyes that were bird
bright with curiousity.  Scully smiled hesitantly, then turned to watch the
narrow, pot-holed road.  With her Scully carried one suitcase and a
carry-all. It was all she had brought with her to start her new life ...
with the exception of one memento.

In a tiny silver frame, wrapped in silk and buried at the bottom of her
suitcase was a picture of Grace Scully-Leonard, two days old, uncommonly
beautiful for a newborn, her big blue eyes blank and unseeing.

Scully thought of her lost child, her special angel, and felt a pang that
sliced through her heart. The pain was still there, would likely be with
her for the rest of her life. The baby had drawn her last breath in
Scully's arms seven weeks after she had been born. It had been the most
excruciating moment in Scully's life, far worse than anything she had ever
lived through. It felt as if her soul had died. Days turned into weeks and
a grieving Scully had walked through that time like a zombie.

The only thing that had kept her going through that terrible darkness was
the memory of Mulder's words to her, his admission of his feelings. In
those moments of her greatest despair she would take out the memory and
replay it, comforting her soul with the blanket of his love. And even
though he had not contacted her during her bereavement, she could feel his
concern and worry for her daily.

Her marriage hadn't been able to survive Grace's death. Geoff had walked
around pretending everything was fine, but his eyes constantly accused her.
Accused her of being flawed, of being secretive, of being unfaithful to
him. Which she had been, she admitted to herself, unfaithful in all ways
except the actual physical way. Once she had admitted to herself that it
was Mulder she loved, had always loved, and that she had merely been using
Geoff as a surrogate partner, she had been stilted and cold with him. Which
had not helped in those dark days after the baby's death. At a time when he
needed her, when they should have drawn together in order to bear the
terrible pain, Scully had withdrawn, unable and unwilling to shoulder the
burden with him.

There was only the dismal memory of the final night of their marriage, when
Geoff had finally walked out. She could hear him throwing clothes into a
suitcase and felt only guilt at how relieved she was. His eyes were dark
with pain and resentment when he told her he was leaving her. Seeking
refuge in a glacial politeness, she told him her attorney would be
contacting him about the sale of the house.

And so it had ended, her marriage as dead as her little daughter. Scully
wasted no time in getting out, getting as far away as possible. She wanted
nothing more than to escape the tragedy that her life had become.

A large dust cloud was suddenly kicked up on the horizon. Scully shaded her
eyes with her hand and saw a red pick-up truck in the center of the roiling
dust. A great welling of anticipation grew in her chest; stepping down off
the porch, she walked forward to meet the truck.

The truck stopped some twenty feet in front of her and the door opened.
Mulder stepped out, his eyes searching for hers with a hopeful intensity
that broadcast itself across the distance. Scully felt her heart expand,
her breath come a little quicker at the sight of him. It was as if she was
dying of thirst and he was the water she needed to sustain her life.

He stopped within arm's length of her. "Hi, Scully," Mulder said quietly,
looking suddenly shy.

A nervousness that made her mouth go dry gripped Scully. "Hello, Mulder,"
she said, but the words came out in a bare whisper.

An emotion that spoke volumes passed between them and Scully lost her
nervousness. She took a step forward and without conscious thought found
herself in his arms.

He pulled her into his body with a soft moan of delight. "I hardly dared
dream you would come."  The whisper was spoken into her ear.

A shiver of pure delight wracked her body. "I had to see you. There's
nothing left for me. Grace ..." The pain stabbed at her and she faltered,
but the strength that his embrace lent her allowed her to go on. "My baby
died, Mulder. She left me. I -- Geoff and me -- it's --"

"Shhh. I know." There was nothing but compassion and a dark sorrow for her
in his eyes. "I wanted to go to you, Scully, to be there for you, but I
couldn't, it's been too dangerous  --"

She put a finger to his lips. "I know you wanted to. I felt your strength
and it gave me the courage I needed to live without my baby." She
shuddered, a coldness passing through her body and he pressed his lips to
her forehead, warming her. "It hurts so much."

"I know it does. And it will for a long time. But I'm here, Scully, and I'm
not letting you go. Let me help you bear your pain."

Scully could only nod, too overwhelmed to speak. He kissed her again on the
cheek, a chaste kiss but one with much promise, then released her to pick
up her suitcase. She followed him to the truck and got in, sitting beside
him in the place where she had always belonged.

And only then did she remember to breathe again.

                            The End