Actions

Work Header

here

Work Text:

i.

She wasn't thinking about the baby when she first went to Utah. She's barely thought about the baby at all since she found out she was pregnant; she didn't know how to, with Mulder gone and a new partner and all of it. She just wanted to find him, and that seemed to be all that mattered at the time. Guilt had hung over her like a low fog—finally, she'd gotten what she wanted, she was going to be a mother, and she barely even felt happy about it. When she'd woken up in the hospital after the ordeal in Arizona, she'd been relieved to find out that the baby was okay, fearing the worst after being thrown into a wall, but she hadn't been able to linger too long on it. She hadn't saved Mulder and she was stuck with Doggett and it hadn't seemed to matter.

Now. Now, Doggett has saved her life and she can't think about Mulder. She did, very briefly, when Doggett was carrying her away; she selfishly wished that it was him, that she wasn't going to wake up alone if she woke up at all. But when she was tied to the bed, all she could think about was the baby. How she could protect the baby. She screamed for help even though she didn't know if anyone could hear her; she just wanted to save the baby.

They do an ultrasound a few hours after she wakes up, the wound in her neck stitched up, and she cries when she hears the fluttering thump of the baby's heartbeat. She has no idea what the fuck the goddamn slug did to her, she'd been terrified of what it would do to the baby, and she couldn't fathom losing anyone else. Losing another child, Mulder's child… it was unimaginable. It is so hard to hold back with Mulder gone, when all she wants is to find him, to fill his place, but she has to. It isn't just her own life she's risking; she has to protect her baby.

There's very few people she'd do anything for. Her family, of course, and Mulder, but the living population of people that she would give her life for has grown slimmer and slimmer over time, all the people she's lost. But when she hears the heartbeat, knows that the baby is okay, she realizes that she has added another to the list.

She curls up on her side when the nurses leave her alone; it hurts to put pressure on the stitches. She reaches down and touches the spot where she knows the baby is, thinking of the diagram in her medical textbook from years and years ago. She's only a couple of months along, so her stomach is still flat, but she thinks she can still feel the baby. It's silly, but she feels connected to the baby in a way she's only ever felt connected to Mulder. Probably even more so.

“Hi,” she whispers to the baby, feeling even more silly. She knows that the baby can't hear her, but she can't help it. (Mulder would talk to the baby, she thinks. He’d be overjoyed.) “It's me. Your mom.”

The room is silent, the walls too white. Far off, she can hear the screech of a heart monitor.

“I’m sorry,” she blurts helplessly, and goddamnit, she is crying again. She's cold; she burrows under the blanket, but she keeps her hand over the baby. She wonders if the baby is cold. She wonders if the baby felt the slug burrowing up her spine. She shudders, wipes her eyes with her free hand. “I'm so sorry,” she whispers. “I never wanted you to be in danger. Never. I'm so sorry that this keeps happening.” She blinks back tears, lays her cheek flat against the pillow. Strokes the spot as if the baby can feel her.

“I am going to keep you safe,” she says. “I promise. I'm never going to let anyone hurt you. Ever.”

She sniffles, wiping her eyes and nose again. “And I'm going to find your daddy,” she adds, because it is important that she remember that. That the baby know that. “I promise that, too. He's going to love you so much.”

If she closes her eyes and concentrates hard enough, she can almost hear the phantom ka-thump of her baby's heartbeat. Your baby is just fine, the technician had said with a smile, handed her tissues as she burst into tears.

“I love you, too,” she murmurs. “I want you to know that, okay? I love you more than anything.”

 

ii.

The baby kicks for the first time the night of Mulder's wake.

The funeral is the next morning. She's here in North Carolina, in a too-fancy hotel because it's the only one that didn't make her think of Mulder. Snow is frozen on the window sill, not falling from the sky, almost brown with dirt in the parking lot. She wonders briefly how they will break the frozen ground open enough to lower Mulder into it, and promptly vomits in the bathroom sink.

Her mother tried to come into the hotel room with her, and she coldly responded that she needed time to herself. Closed the door in her face. She would feel bad if she didn't feel so numb inside. She sits alone in the room, curled into the corner of the flowery couch because the bed, with its huge mattress and fluffy comforter, looks too empty. She'll feel his loss, the empty space where he should be, too strongly if she sleeps there, and she still can't believe he's gone. In the soft space between sleep and awakeness, she's fooled herself into thinking she never lost him. And she doesn't want that, not tomorrow, so she sits on the couch alone. Tears smeared across her face, eyes swollen from tears she tried to hide.

People kept coming up all night and telling her that they were sorry. She hid in a corner, tried to stay out of sight, but they still found her. She wondered who had told them that she was his partner, mother of his child. She wondered if you could just see it on her face.

All these people she didn't recognize were there. People who never cared about him. A sample of the FBI’s finest, assorted Mulder relatives that Mulder had never mentioned in his life. Kersh, of all people. Doggett and Skinner and the Gunmen. Her mother hovered near her, holding her hand.

She avoided looking at the coffin. The government who had screwed him over again and again gave him a flag, like he was a hero. He was a hero, but the government didn't know it. Not enough people knew it. She knew it. She loved him so much.

Scully curls up numbly on the stiff hotel couch. She doesn't feel real. She doesn't have any idea how long she's been sitting there, how long until she has to get up and go bury the love of her life. She doesn't know how the hell she's going to do it without him. She just wishes it would stop, all of it. She wants a time machine, she wants to stop any of this from ever happening. She'll save Mulder, his sister, her sister, her daughter. She'd never let him leave. She'd never let him go. She wants it all to stop. She isn't thinking about the baby.

And then she feels a strange fluttering feeling.

She dismisses it at first; between bouts of morning sickness and grief, she's barely been able to keep any food down for the past few days. But it happens again and again, in an insistent sort of way. In a way she can't ignore. Almost like her baby wants her to know she's not alone.

Scully sobs, a sharp, broken sound. Mulder's child. She is having Mulder's child, a child he will never meet. He has left her, but he hasn't left her alone, and he will never know this. She touches her stomach and the baby kicks at her hand furiously. “Hi, baby,” she whispers, dissolving into hiccups. Tears roll down her cheeks and off of her chin, dotting her black dress. She wipes her face and takes steady breaths until she can speak again. “Hi,” she says, and the baby kicks again. “Hi, honey. I'm here.”

She can hear the heater rattling in the background and all the silence there to fill it. She can't remember what his voice sounds like anymore, but she knows he'd be over the moon. She can't remember the last thing she said to him. She hates that. She wants to go back to that moment where she said goodbye, wrap herself around him, never let go. Tell him, I'm pregnant, Mulder. Don't leave me. Don't leave us. This child of hers that will never know their father.

“I'm sorry,” she says, and she feels like she is always apologizing to her baby, but she means every word. “I'm so sorry you'll never get to meet him. He would've loved you. He would've been the best father in the world.” And then she's crying again, too hard to speak, and she presses her hand to the baby, and the baby is moving all the time as if to comfort her, to remind her that she is not alone.

She takes a few shaky breaths, doesn't move to wipe her face, and she rubs circles over the baby the entire time. When she can speak again, she does. “I'm here,” she tells the baby again, and thinks, Thank god you're here. She will get down on her knees and thank God for that. They've left her this, and that is something. She is not alone. “It's okay. It's gonna be okay. I'm here.”

She sleeps restlessly, quivering on the couch cushions, trapped in torrid dreams of Mulder that leave her waking up calling out for him helplessly. But she can feel the baby moving inside of her— quickening , her medical memory reminds her—and she is grateful. Thank you, she thinks, and hopes the baby can hear her.


iii.

When Mulder finds out he is a father, his first instinct is to find something to give the baby. Some apology for these months that he’s missed, how close he has come to never meeting this baby at all.

He digs into some boxes he'd retrieved the year before after his mother passed and finds the doll from his childhood. He'd carried it around for the first four years of his life until his sister was born and his father talked him into handing it over. Samantha had eventually gotten detached from the doll, when she was seven or eight or so, but it had been sitting on her bed when she was abducted, and it sat there until his mom moved out. It had belonged to both Mulder kids and now, cheesy as it is, he wants it to belong to his kid. If Scully wants it.

He drives over to Scully and finds her happy, waiting for a pizza. For one golden moment, he thinks everything might be okay, imagines a lazy day of movies and pizza and teasing each other and Mulder asking every single possible question about the baby. And then Scully bends over, gasping in pain, and all Mulder can feel is fear.

He kneels by the stretcher in the ambulance, gripping her hand. She's nearly unconscious, looking up at him with hazy affection, fear layered underneath. Her hand pressed to her stomach like she can physically shield the baby from harm. He kisses her forehead, reaching down and placing a tentative hand on the swell of her stomach. He offers up a prayer to no one that she is okay, that they are both okay.

---

They won't let him stay with Scully. Normally he'd wait out in the waiting room, but an Agent Reyes calls, asking for his help, and something in him can't say no. The distraction is welcome, but he feels horrible for leaving her alone. He never lets Scully wake up alone in the hospital if he can help it. He goes back as soon as he has an opportunity.

He is so incredibly relieved when Scully tells him that they're going to be fine. He touches her stomach again. They smile at each other like they can't believe it. He is a father, he thinks incredulously. A father.

---

He drives Scully home from the hospital. He doesn't leave her side. They take her down to the car in a wheelchair and he walks down beside her, helps her into the car, notes the doctor's insistence that she take it easy. He takes her home and orders another pizza to make up for the one she missed.

Scully is in love with the doll. She finds it creepy, she proclaims, which is fitting for two X-Files semi-retirees (or whatever the hell they are). “But creepy’s okay, I think. As long as it's not haunted or anything,” Scully adds firmly, smoothing the doll’s yarn hair before setting it down on the coffee table.

“If any family's doll would be haunted, it'd be this one,” says Mulder, completely serious. “Of course, I never experienced anything strange, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. Have you ever heard of that possessed Raggedy Ann doll, Annabelle?”

Scully shoots him a sharp look before dissolving into giggles. “That's the last thing we need,” she says. “Let's not go there, Mulder.”

Mulder covers her hand with his in a tentative sort of way, and she intertwines their fingers warmly, letting her head fall against his chest. “Thanks for staying with me,” she whispers.

He strokes the side of her face with his free hand. “I wish I hadn't left,” he says softly. “But they wouldn't let me back because I wasn't the husband, and Agent Reyes called me in for help.”

“It's okay,” Scully says in a soft voice. “Although there was no reason not to let you back. I'll talk to Dr. Speake.”

He wraps his free arm around her in the tightest embrace they can manage. “I was worried about you,” he says in a choked voice. “Both of you. I was scared.”

“I was, too.” She tucks her face further against his chest and speaks into the fabric of his shirt. “But we're okay,” she says, and she sounds happy when she says it. He sniffs a little, tucking his nose into her hair, cupping the back of her head. “We're okay,” she says again, and he breathes out in relief.

He slips his hand down to touch her stomach again. He hates that he can count on one hand how many times he's done this. Every time feels like the first time, and it is stunning. The baby kicks under his hand, and he sucks in a stunned breath. “Hi, kid,” he whispers to the baby, and he feels Scully smiling against him. “You doing okay in there?”

The baby kicks again at the sound of his voice, and unexpected tears rise to his eyes. “I think… I think your mom disapproves of the haunted doll I've got for you,” he says, swallowing it back, and Scully laughs, shaking her head and drawing back from his embrace. He keeps one hand in hers and the other on her stomach. “But I think you can handle it,” he tells the baby seriously. “If you're half as brave as your mom is, you've got it covered.”

 

iv.

The helicopter that fishes Mulder and Agent Doggett out of the Gulf takes them to a facility in Texas. Scully has done a phone consultation with a doctor down there to instruct them what to look for to see if they are infected. Mulder is relieved—he doesn't want her to get infected, even though he doubts they are infected, and he knows she can't fly this late in her pregnancy—but standing there in soaking wet clothes, sore from jumping from so high and his head spinning from all of it, he wishes that she was here. He misses her.

They're cleared within a few hours and stuck on a plane home. Kersh is furious, Skinner reports over the phone. Scully has gone home to get some much needed rest, but she's offered to pick them up from the airport the next day. Mulder sleeps dreamlessly on the plane, exhausted.

They land in the morning. Doggett doesn't make much conversation, so neither does Mulder. They find Scully by the baggage claim, and relief washes over her face when she sees them. She gives Doggett a brief hug, and Mulder feels brief jealousy curdle in his stomach before she brushes past Doggett and comes to him. She takes his face in her hands and kisses him hard on the mouth, in an angry sort of way. “Next time, you tell me when you leave to go chase some dangerous alien virus,” she tells him sternly, her voice trembling almost inaudibly, and all he can do is nod. She kisses him again before turning to leave the airport. Mulder trails along behind her, awkwardly avoiding Doggett's eyes.

“Kersh is furious, as I'm sure you know,” Scully says as they exit the airport.

Doggett works his jaw back and forth irritably. “More or less what I figured,” he says.

“What else is new,” Mulder adds dryly.  

“It's worse than you expect. I've never seen him this upset.” Scully lifts her face up to meet his eyes, and her own eyes serious. A sort of a warning: this may be the final straw.

Doggett thanks Scully for her help and exchanges an awkward goodbye with Mulder before going to find his car—he'd driven himself to the airport. Mulder has been taking cabs for the past month, since he hasn't been cleared to drive yet. Probably hasn't been cleared to jump off of oil rigs, either, but what the hell does that matter.

Scully is quiet on the walk back to her car, quiet on the drive home. She takes them back to her apartment, and Mulder is relieved; he half thought that she would drop him back at home. “Scully, I'm sorry,” he says as she parks the car. “You're right, I should've told you I was going. It was a shitty thing to do.”

Scully sighs, her shoulders tensing. “It's okay, Mulder,” she says, turning to look at him. “It's like you said. You needed to be out there. Who knows what would've happened to Agent Doggett if you hadn't gone out there? I was just… worried.”

“I know.” He reaches for her hand and she takes it. She rubs at her face with her other hand wearily. He kisses the side of her head gently. “If it helps,” he says softly, “it looks like I might have a lot of time off fairly soon. No more avenues to run off during.”

“Oh, Mulder, I don't know if they'll fire you. This seems so… minor compared to other things you've been reprimanded for.”

“Nah, they've been looking for an excuse.” He presses his lips against the spot above her ear, the console bearing into his stomach as he leans towards her. The idea of being fired terrifies him, but not as much as it once would've, he thinks. He feels as though there are more important things between them now. The baby that is due in a couple of weeks, for one. He wraps his arms around her, stretching the seatbelt around his chest, halfway on top of the console.

Scully hesitates for a moment before hugging him back. “Promise me you won't run off without telling me,” she mumbles. “That you'll be careful, Mulder.”

He nods. He kisses her cheek, her forehead. She leans into his chest briefly before climbing out of the car. They go up to her apartment together.

---

They take a nap in her bed, Scully more than exhausted and Mulder right on the cusp. He falls asleep dizzily, wrapped around Scully, and wakes up a few hours later. She's still asleep, wrapped in his arms, and he smiles, rests his cheek against the back of her shoulder.

The baby is kicking, and his earlier words come to him, unbidden: When he's old enough, tell the kid I went down swinging. He didn't mean it, not really, had only said it in case he really didn't make it back. He doesn't want to leave the baby. He doesn't want to lose his chance at a family.

“Hey, kiddo,” he whispers, mostly because he thinks Scully is asleep. But also because he wants to apologize, even if he knows the baby can't hear him. He palms Scully's stomach gingerly. “Hey. I, uh… I told your mom to tell you I went down swinging if… if I didn't make it back. But I didn't mean to, uh. I didn't want to… I wanted to get back to you, more than anything. And I wanted you to know that I tried if I didn't. But I did.” The baby kicks at his palm again and again, and he smiles, tucks his nose against the base of Scully's skull. “I made it back. I'm here,” he says.

There's a sniffle from in front of him, Scully's hand coming up to cover his. He snuggles into her from behind, puts his other hand next to hers. “I made it back to both of you,” he whispers.


v.

She paces around her moonlit apartment with her son curled in her arms. She's already fed him and he's already stopped crying, but she doesn't want to put him back down yet. It doesn't feel real, any of it, and a smile rises to her lips as she holds William. She has a son . She and Mulder, they did this. It doesn't feel real, after everything that happened, all the times she thought she'd lose him, lose them both, all the times she'd thought it impossible. But he's here, her little miracle.

She's rocking William back and forth as he nestles into her, wrapped in a blanket her mom had picked out with his eyes half closed, and all at once she feels Mulder's arms come around her from behind, his warm palms on her stomach below where she cradles Will. His nose presses into her neck, her hair and the goosebumped skin beneath; she shivers. “Hey,” she whispers sweetly. “Thought you were asleep.”

“I woke up.” He's holding her against his chest, gently; he reaches up with one hand to touch William's little fist. “Wanted to see you two,” he says happily; she can’t remember the last time she heard him this happy.

She's smiling so hard her face hurts; she sways back and forth unconsciously and Mulder sways with her, tightening his arms around her in a desperate sort of way. Will makes small sounds and Mulder shushes him, his chin on her shoulder as he whispers to the baby. “Hey, buddy, it's okay,” he says softly, touching the top of his head.

William keeps whimpering anyway, eventually escalating into full-blown wails. Scully tries to shush him as she rocks him back and forth. “Oh, honey, it's okay,” she whispers. “It's all right, you're okay.”

“Here,” Mulder murmurs, nudging her side as he rounds her to face them. Understanding, Scully lifts William and sets him down in the cradle of his father's arms. Mulder makes small soothing sounds as he bounces the baby up and down. Watching them together makes a lump rise in Scully's throat; he's here , they're together, and she can't believe it.   

She steps closer to them, leans down and kisses her son's forehead gently. “It's okay, sweetie,” she whispers. She reaches up to soothe her son and William curls his tiny hand around her pointer finger. “We're here,” she says, tears welling in her eyes. She leans into Mulder's side where he's not holding the baby, and runs a finger down William's little nose. “We've got you, Will. We're here.”