Title:  How to Blend in With Normal People (By Dana Scully)
Author:  Jaime Lyn
Email:  Leiaj21@hotmail.com
Spoilers:  Everything from season eight that pertains to the little bundle of joy.  However, Doggett and Reyes are not in here anywhere.  I hereby declare this a Doggett/Reyes free zone.
Rating:  PG-13/R.  (Scully doesn’t censor herself here in “non-network land.”)
Disclaimer:  I don’t own Mulder, Scully or the little one.  But I did buy these black and white cookies the other day that are great.
Summary:  There we were, Mulder and I, Mulder naked beside me, me on my side with my face upturned towards the window.  I was watching leaves trickling down from their branches, twigs twisting in the wind and fluttering from sight, thinking about nothing really…Or everything.   Nothing or everything or something like that.  Damned if I can remember.

Author’s note:  This is Scully’s story, really.  I just helped her… edit it.  Actually, after visiting the Haven Boards and reading all the conflicting theories concerning certain events that may or may not have taken place during the episode “all things,” I, of course, wanted to know what REALLY happened.  So I got right on the phone and contacted a Miss Dana Scully M.D of Georgetown, Maryland, and (after I promised I wasn’t a consortium member, or from the National Enquisitor, or constructing a follow up Cops episode) she agreed to tell me the whole darn thing.  This is what she had to say.
 

How to Blend in With Normal People
By Dana Scully
(Edited and compiled by Jaime Lyn)

I: Allow Me to Introduce my Life
(Work Together, Cry Together, Screw Each Other’s Brains Out—Or Something Like That)

Four words:

 “I’ll think about it.”

That’s what I said to Mulder thirteen months ago—or maybe more than thirteen months ago, I don’t quite recall.  I think it was… March?  April?  No—May. Must’ve been May; Rain was pounding like chunks of rocks outside: loud, snarling wind and branches blowing and slapping against the window.  May had the highest percentage of rainfall last year…

Last year seems like such a long time ago.

Mulder and I have a child now.  Did you know that?  A perfectly normal, beautiful little baby boy named William, who looks mostly like me but who can fight sleep long enough to wake me up in the middle of the night just like his father.  William and his dear old Dad share many habits actually, not the least of which is a hearty appetite.  Mulder tells me all the time that the kid “certainly can eat a whole damn lot,” but then again, last week Mulder accidentally grabbed the breast milk out of the fridge instead of the regular milk, and before I could warn him he’d downed the whole bottle---

No—wait.  You won’t understand the importance of that incident if I start there. I need to go further back than that.   Before the baby.  Before May.  Before that one night Mulder and I---

Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

First of all, my name is Dana Scully.  I’m a medical doctor and a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The division I work for is called “the x files,” a highly scrutinized department of mostly unsolved cases that has a penchant for getting blown up, discredited and/or shut down.  Specifically, I’m a forensic pathologist who specializes in assisting the unorthodox investigations into these cases (x files) pertaining to the paranormal.  Vampires, ghosts, aliens, monsters…  Fun times.

These days I don’t get my ass kicked nearly as much.  Since I have a child at home and a—well, a Mulder who likes to play basketball in the apartment, I have other priorities that require my attention.

But I’m getting ahead of myself again.   Back to what I was saying:

For seven long years, most of my waking hours (and some of my non-waking ones,) personal or professional, were spent with my partner, Special Agent Fox Mulder (Mulder, the one I mentioned—but don’t call him Fox) a man who can be described as nothing less than chronically obsessed… with his work, with his search for the truth, with anything important to him and truly bizarre.  Mulder and I worked side by side, crying together, getting our asses kicked together and supporting each other for nearly a decade.  During that time I toughened my skin and racked up so many frequent flyer miles for the hospital, I probably have my own ward somewhere.  Basically, during the course of my work with Mulder I was shot at, chased down, mowed down, thrown through plate glass windows, abducted by unknown forces, tampered with on a biological level and robbed of nearly all chances for motherhood.

I kid you not.

But I’m not a bitch about the irregularity of my life.   It’s just that sentimentality and normalcy are highly overrated in my line of work.  And besides that, life isn’t entirely brutal.  I have my family, a few friends here and there—and Mulder.  Well, mostly I have Mulder.  If not for him by my side all this time I surely would have lost my mind long ago.  He really is this beautifully flawed, incredible human being when he’s not being a total jackass.  When he’s not single mindedly focused on his work—or even when he is.  The way Mulder can take apart a mystery and put the pieces back together in all the right places…

He’s a marvel to watch sometimes.

So where was I?

Ah, yes:  a month and a half before the rainy May night in question, I decided I wanted a baby.  Well, no—that’s not entirely true. My whole life I’d always wanted a baby, but back in February of last year I started wanting a baby more than I’d ever wanted anything in my life.  I wanted to feel a child growing inside of me.  I wanted to feel real, feel whole.  I wanted to be a mother.  I wanted what most women in their thirties wanted: a chance.   The opportunity to take my life into my own hands.  I wanted to say yes, I can do this.  YES, god damn it, this is what I want and none of you bastards can take away my right to chose this path.

But knowing what you want and getting it are two different things.  Like I said, my life with Mulder wasn’t ideal.  Besides the dangerous nature of the work, Mulder and I weren’t a couple.  We were… friends.  And yet I was alone as ever.

Funny how noble it seems in the beginning, waiting like some aristocratic virgin for the man you know you love, but who you’ll never allow yourself to have.  I wasn’t sure how Mulder felt about the subject but he invested in a lot of porn.  And sometimes I caught him looking at my legs when he should have been looking at other things.  Like work.  Then his eyes sparkled when he gazed at me, or when he touched my hand, and there were times I could’ve sworn we’d made love without taking off any clothes.

Professionally, the relationship was sound.  Personally, I spent many of my lunch hours ruminating on how to make love without ever touching someone.   Pathetic, in other words.

So Mulder and I weren’t horizontal.  We weren’t biblical.  We were just friends.  We were comfortable.  Christ almighty, we were living a life that normal people would have laughed at because the ridiculousness of our sexual dysfunction was staggering.

How would a normal person handle loving a man who’s more in love with his work?  Would they do what I did and skirt the subject, take the careful route and ask for some white swimmers in a little plastic cup?  Or would a normal person have just kissed him?  Told him the truth?  Made love to him on the desk like a crazed white rabbit?

Maybe I don’t fucking care.  I just don’t know.

At any rate, I needed a man to have a baby (no kidding.)  And oh, I wanted a baby so badly I couldn’t breathe while thinking about it.  So I told Mulder my idea one night in the basement.  I told him I needed a father with pictures of Big Foot fluttering on the wall behind me.  Above me, the fan spun and hummed from its suspended perch in the ceiling.  Circulating air chilled against the back of my neck.

“Mulder,” I’d said, “I want a child.  The doctor told me it was possible—that I could become pregnant, but my situation is precarious.  I’d need to undergo an in-vitro-fertilization procedure. – I’m sure you know what that is.  It’s…a costly, painstaking process, but my chances are nearly 50 percent, which is better than what I originally thought.  I… this is what I want...at this juncture in my life.  I think you know why I can’t deny myself this opportunity, Mulder.   So in light of that, and of other things, although I didn’t want to ask you this for fear of straining relations between us, there isn’t anyone else I’d ask.  I—I need… you’re the only man I would ever ask to be my child’s father…”

There.  I’d said it.  Whether because of relief or nausea, the room seemed to contract like a rubber band.  A short hug was shared between us friends, an awkward, tight embrace. Then Mulder shot me a tight-lipped smile and nodded (as if to himself) while he hastily backed away from me.  He said nothing.

“You don’t have to give me an answer right away,” I muttered to myself, my hand clutching the corner of his desk.  He was already gone.

So I was left standing there, my head pounding, my body stiff as a piece of sheetrock.   I drove home alone from work fifteen minutes later.  Two hours afterwards I waited at home for a phone call, for a knock on the door, for anything from him.  I sat dumbfounded as I realized the ramifications of my request.  Had I ripped apart our friendship?  Destroyed our working relationship?  No Mulder meant no baby.   I knew this as much as I knew anything.  And I was sure he was going to say no.

But then he knocked.  And I let him in.  “The answer is yes,” he’d said.

Fast forward to one very rainy May night last year:  I came home to find Mulder sprawled on my couch.  The gray clouds that had begun to open up as I walked through the door made the apartment feel dark, ominous.  The weather-man on the radio had mentioned something about rain but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember what.  The air smelled like humidity and evaporation.  For a split second I hoped I remembered to close all the windows.

Mulder twisted his body around on the couch to see me and said something that I didn’t quite hear.  Everything was falling apart.

I was empty: empty and cold and inhuman.  Something was wrong with me, something I could never fix.  I was abnormal, a medical abomination.  And I would never have a baby because of my mutation.  I wasn’t real.  I was a hologram.  I was a faded image.

Mulder stood up, watched me and waited for news of my procedure.  He looked anxious, hopeful even.  Part of me wondered how much of him wanted a baby as badly as I did.  So I took pause, tried to choose my words carefully but nothing escaped my lips. Not one single sound. The tests had come back.  But how to tell him?  Mulder, I’m not pregnant.  Mulder, I’ll never be pregnant.  Mulder, you’d be better off if you got as far away from me as possible.  Hot tears burned my eyes until I wanted to rip my eyeballs halfway out of my skull.

Mulder must have seen the contortion in my face right away.   He said to me, “It didn’t take, did it?”

I didn’t answer him.  Rather, I sobbed, shook, grasped him tight when he took me in his arms to try and comfort me.  There wasn’t anything left to say, was there?  After a few seconds I somehow managed, “That was my last chance.”

Mulder sighed and held me in a fierce embrace: another hug between close friends-- highly dysfunctional, unstable friends, but friends nevertheless.  Mulder told me that it would be alright; he listened to me gasp for air, said everything, everything was fine— never give up on a miracle.

A miracle.

“I think I used up all my miracles,” I whispered between sobs.

Mulder’s lips brushed my cheek.  “You can have some of mine, then,” he said.

I cried.  He cried with me.  Then he pressed a kiss to my neck; an innocent, soft kiss to my neck.  One to my cheek, so like the way he’d kissed me there before.  I turned my head, ran my fingers through his mussed brown hair.  I only meant to thank him for being so wonderful; our noses brushed quite by accident.

I don’t really understand what happened after that except… desperation.  Passion.  Explosion.  Everything we’d ever denied ourselves:

A flurry of kisses, a flurry of hands, a breathtaking scurry of clothing removal and motion and trembling, slick bodies pressing against each other and lips whispering incomprehensible phrases; yes, there, yes, God, please more, please now, don’t stop, not ever, I want, I want—now, make me feel whole, make me feel, just make me feel something—

I never thought we’d allow for distraction, Mulder and I.  Mulder’s focus was always with the x files. My focus was always (or at least nine times out of ten) with the science of it, the truth, seeking answers right there with him.  We’d worked hard for a long time. Sex was something other people did.

Until that night.

So  somehow I was naked.  And Mulder was naked, curled around my back, trailing his fingers up my arm and leaving goose bumps in his wake…

Which is where the story begins.

So like I was saying in the beginning-

It was a rainy night in… May.  (May?)

There we were, Mulder and I, Mulder naked beside me, me on my side with my face upturned towards the window.  I was watching leaves trickling down from their branches, twigs twisting in the wind and fluttering from sight, thinking about nothing really…

Or everything.

Nothing or everything or something like that.  Damned if I can remember.

II:  The ACTUAL Story - Thirteen Months Ago (Give or Take)
(If At First You Don’t Succeed… Aw Hell, You’re Naked.  Just Avoid the Subject)
 

No words at first.

One or both of us rolls away – it’s either Mulder returning to his side of the bed or me returning to mine.  I can feel the space between us on the mattress open like a ravine– a satiny, wrinkled ditch of damp sheets and open air.  We’re both searching for oxygen and space.   Neither of us knows what to say.  When we roll back together a moment later he’s spooning me from behind, one arm draped across my side.   A shiver slithers through me, down my arms and out my toes.  My legs feel long and heavy above the sheets.

Slowly, almost imperceptibly, Mulder’s breathing slows.  Then my breathing slows.  The room is hot, scalding, boiling hot and the sheets are soaked with us.  Our legs are entangled; his face is buried in my hair.  For five minutes silence is a choice.

I take a deep breath.  “So…” I begin.

 “So,” Mulder echoes.  His finger traces around my ear: one thumb languidly brushing over my earlobe then disappearing back into my hair.  He brushes a wet, curling lock away from my face.

“So…” I try again.

“So…” Mulder parrots back at me.

I bite my lip searching for something, anything.  “It’s pouring out there,” I finally say.

“Yes.”

“Lots of um, rain lately.”

“Lots and lots of rain lately.”  Mulder clears his throat, starts absently tapping out a rhythm I can’t decipher on my sweaty, nude shoulder.  “Thunderstorms.  That’s, you know…  weather patterns and complicated—what I mean is--May showers…  I’m sure there’s a um… a whatchamacalit term for it—“

“Meteorological?”

Mulder sighs.  I can feel him shaking his head, though he probably doesn’t want me to know he’s doing it.  “I knew that,” he mumbles.

Usually Mulder is brilliant.   He knows how to articulate.  Get him on things like witches and vampires, beast women ripping out eyeballs or anything ludicrous that pertains to the unexplained and you can’t shut him up fast enough.  And Lord knows I can talk his head off when he gets me started on bizarre medical conditions, modern forensic technology or scientific rationalism.  I know what I’m talking about when I’m in my element. We both do.   We’ve argued for hours on such subjects.

Right now, however, we’ve somehow fucked each other stupid.

“That was…” Mulder trails off, taking a breath.  His hand runs through the back of my hair as if he’s afraid to touch me anywhere else.  I don’t know how I feel about that hand in my hair.   I don’t know how I feel about anything.   It’s as if I’ve been opened up and spilled all over the bed.

“That was…” He doesn’t seem to know how to finish the sentence.

“Words,” I whisper, absently.

Mulder grunts in agreement.  “Subject, verb.  I need an adjective.  Help me out here, Scully.”

I clear my throat but end up saying nothing.

Jesus, this is my partner.  My PARTNER.  The Ops board would have a field day with this.  SKINNER would have a field day with this.  Half the Hoover building would be divvying up the office pool and putting up banners with sayings like, “Congratulations Mr. And Mrs. Spooky on your first fuck.  Here’s to many more.”

I look down and realize my chest is uncovered, my skin slick and dewy.  I feel naked -  probably because I am naked.  I don’t know why this surprises me, since sex often requires some form of nudity, but it feels somehow unattractive to have my breasts just…lying there, slumped like two limp packages.  This must be like one of those dreams where you find yourself wandering the hallways at work naked.  Except my skin isn’t the only part of me exposed and I don’t know how to cover myself up without retreating from my partner.

Mulder breathes in my ear again.  Our legs are twined together, my toes halfway way up his calf muscles.  Mulder’s legs, for the record, are smooth and long and finely toned.  He feels good.  Really good.   He must be keeping up with those six am work-outs.  Okay, damn it, someone has got to say SOMETHING.

I take a deep breath, say a short prayer.  Here goes…

“Mulder—“

“You ever hear of the San Jose lights, Scully?”

Ummm…. “Excuse me?”

“The San Jose lights.”  Mulder chuckles with a nervous twinge that seems to come from the back of his throat.  “You’ve never heard of them?”

I close my eyes in resignation.  “The San Jose lights,” I repeat, disbelief in my voice.  I’m beyond lost here.  What just happened?  Aren’t we still naked?  Am I the only one aware of that?

“Mulder, what does the San Jose--”

“Interesting story, Scully.  See, there’s this little mountain town in California off highway seventy-five—Wanuta, which is primarily known for the infamous, haunted, Santa Ana Hotel. Of course—depending on the latest relevant information on paranormal disturbances and your own personal point of reference, the ghost of Santa Ana may or may not be a poltergeist… It may just be a hot spot for telekinetic energy or a rumor blown into mass hysteria…But that’s not… not particularly relevant.  So um, you can supposedly see the San Jose lights glitter over this one hill top in Wanuta for a day or two, until they actually drift northward into San Jose so that by the third day, these brown and red lights are hovering somewhere over the highway.  But of course, once you get outside Wanuta there’s a lot of light pollution that makes the phenomena hard to spot.  And this goes on for a week or so in May, maybe the third or the fourth Sunday, and only once every three years or so…Actually this year, if I’m not mistaken, is a San Jose light year.  So maybe we could—I mean, maybe we should look into that.  When time frees up for us or…”

The room is suddenly very quiet.  Dangerously quiet.   After about five seconds I can’t take the stillness of it.

“Mulder…”

“Yes?”

“Are you cracking up on me?”

Mulder laughs into my forearm.  He still sounds nervous.  “Technical impossibility, dear Scully,” he says.  “Cracking up would require some pre established notion of sanity.”

“No argument here.”

Silence again.

Right now I’m trying hard not to think about all this.

Difficult task, considering Mulder’s curled up behind me like a long, finely muscled, sweaty cat.  I suppose I could pull away from him or actually get up and dress myself. But I’m afraid to move.  I’m terrified that if I break this unreality I’ll never get it back, and part of me is damned near cheering that I have naked Mulder here while I’m basking in my own sweaty nakedness.

But the other part of me – the dominant part - is scared so wholly and so completely that it hurts to breathe.  Christ.

I drift in and out, allowing reality to poke holes into my strange wonderland; going to the grocery store later, heading for Quantico to consult for an old friends’ research study, meeting Monday morning with Skinner.  All normal things.

Having sex with your government issued partner isn’t fucking normal.

Mulder sighs.  “I can’t believe you’ve never heard of the San Jose lights, Scully.”

I breathe in the musky scent of Mulder next to me; perfunctory soap and sweat mixed with aftershave.  When I focus my eyes, the room wavers like humid oxygen during those hot summer months.  I can’t seem to find reality.   I know it’s here somewhere…

Out loud I say, “I suppose I don’t subscribe to the same science fiction magazines you do, Mulder.  Besides that, flashing lights can mean anything. You know that just as well as I do: Radio towers, airplanes, helicopters… just because some light appears over some hill in some remote farming town, that doesn’t make it any more credible as a UFO than the same scenario of flashing lights over New York City.  Funny how you never hear of mysterious lights flashing over large, densely populated areas.”

Lightning shatters the darkness outside the window.   Light, dark, black, white.  Leaves crashing against the window, twigs whooshing past and whirling away…  The weather reminds me of something: love, hate, and something else.  I don’t know whether I want to shift towards Mulder or roll away towards the edge of the bed.  Sometimes I want to crawl inside of him, stay someplace safe.  Other times I can’t get far enough away.

Mulder shakes his head.  “Automobile industry,” he says absently.  He’s nuzzling my neck and it’s damned fucking distracting.

“What?”  I sigh and close my eyes.  If he doesn’t stop that we’re going to be in trouble all over again.

“It’s actually—Wanuta gets most of its income from the automobile industry.”

Mulder’s mouth moistens a trail behind my ear, slips slowly down the side of my neck.  Holy Mary Mother of God—what the fuck is he doing with those hands?  Is that legal?  Oh, this isn’t normal. This isn’t--

Raspy, I manage, “You know what, Mulder?   How about I give you—“ I swallow back a groan.  “Thirty five cents.   There’s a payphone outside.  I’m sure there must be someone in this world you could call who… oh, that’s nice…. Who would give a shit about Wanuta’s automobile—Uhhmmm…Muh…Muhl..”

Suddenly, Mulder’s lips pull back from my shoulder.  His hands stop someplace farther south.  All I know is that I’m quite possibly losing all lucidity and all the blood in my body is rushing towards my reproductive regions.

“You don’t care?” Mulder asks into my neck, the situation almost completely detoured now.  Oh.  God.  I’m going to kill him.  “The San Jose lights phenomena is well documented throughout the United States, Scully.  I can’t believe you don’t--”

 “Mulder!”

“What?”

I sigh, staring down at the floor.  “Look, I know that somewhere in your warped brain a convoluted interpretation of my last remark is manifesting itself—and I apologize for that.  Really.  However, to be perfectly forthright, I’d care a little more if the present situation were altered.  If I were at least wearing underwear, I’d care deeply about the San Jose lights.”

I feel Mulder nod, his nose brushing my earlobe.  “Okay, Scully,” he says.  “I can get behind that.”

He laughs at his own joke.

“You quite finished, Mulder?”

“For now.”

I stare at the floor some more.

The comforter, a goldish, greenish heap of cotton, is rumpled and curled on the carpet where we tossed it hours ago.  It looks like a grassy little hill, like a pile of freshly raked leaves.  I can remember something from long ago, a memory of raking leaves with my sister Melissa, pushing her back onto the grass when she called me names.  I was so safe then, so unassuming.  I was so innocent and I blended in so well with everyone, all the perfectly normal, perfectly natural, non-fuck-ups.  I was one of them.

What the hell happened to me?

Back when I was a kid I didn’t have to worry about any of this: Monsters and aliens and metal chips in my neck and abductions and being barren, being emotionally drained, being sexually stagnant yet having Mulder with me.  Life isn’t at all easy with him, yet sometimes life is so easy it’s comfortable. So easy I don’t know where to organize and store new information.

Oh the easy, comfortable life Mulder and I lead:  Get up alone, go to work, have some lunch together, talk like professionals talk, like real friends talk, investigate some cases, come back home and have dinner – maybe together, maybe separate.  At least once before the evening ends, the phone rings:  Scully, it’s me.  Have you ever seen El Nino?  I mean really up close?  Did I tell you about the Sasquatch sighting in Arizona?   Me lying in bed, Mulder’s voice like a safety blanket around me; Goodnight Scully.  Goodnight Mulder.

Rain slams against the window, pounds like hail.  Lighting illuminates the sky in whorls of white and blue.  Water drips in the bathroom like a hollow drum: drip, drip, drop, drip.  It’s fucking cold in here now… And I’m naked.  And Mulder’s naked.  What have we done? Oh God—I can’t breathe.  What have we DONE?

I swallow, wrapped in thoughts I can’t understand.

Mulder lowers his nose to my ear, pushes away the tangles of my hair.  “You know, Scully, you smell like…hmm…” He sniffs.  “Ivory soap.”

I turn my head slightly.  “What’s wrong with Ivory soap?”

“Nothing.”

“Then why mention it?”

“No reason.  I was just thinking.”

“Do I even want to know?”

“Know what?” Mulder asks.

He runs his fingertips slowly, tracing skin upwards from my arms to my wrists.  He must be trying to warm me up even though me must be kind of cold too; his hands are cold and slightly clammy.  It’s a cute, endearing gesture.

I lean into his touch and answer, “You were saying about the soap—“

“No, nevermind.”

“Mulder—“

“Seriously.  Nevermind, Scully.”

Oh good grief.  Why does he do this to me?  I can’t go anywhere without my underwear—he knows this, right?

“Oh would you just say whatever it is—“

“You give me an hour and I could probably get you zestfully clean.”

Silence.

I shake my head and say, “How long you been waiting to say that one, Mulder?”

He chuckles.  “About ten minutes.”

Silence.

Memories flash like lightning, hard and fast, moments with vivid color but no sound: Mulder’s pale lips trailing down the hollow of my neck.  My arms, tight and shaking around his muscled shoulders.  My fingernails scraping down, down until he grabs them and holds them in front of him.  He stares first at my knuckles, then at my palms.  Then his eyes find my face—he looks at me, sees into me, sees all of me.  We keep our eyes open—Jesus, we keep them open the whole time.  I’ve never done that with anyone before.  I doubt he has either.

We made love.  Had sex.  Whatever you want to call it.

I breathe finally, long and deep, thrusting away adrenaline soaked thoughts of flight; we made love.  We made love.  So what?  It’s fine. I’m okay.  I will not succumb to panic I will not succumb to panic...

Mulder’s kissing the back of my neck again and Jesus Christ it feels good.  Like a hundred chills shooting through every single nerve ending.  Is that wrong?  Are we wrong?  Shouldn’t we be getting dressed, shaking hands, going off on our merry ways?  I just don’t fucking know.

“How you doing over there?” he asks, pulling his lips away.

“Fine.”  I pause for a moment.  “You?”

“Fine.  Well actually, my foot fell asleep.”

“Oh.”  I take a moment to think.  “You ah, you might want to massage that to correct the flow of circulation.”

Mulder makes a “hmmpphh” like noise.  “It’s awake now.”

“Oh...Good.”

Until tonight I’d loved Mulder at arms’ length.  I loved him from the safety of my room.  I loved him in a safe place where I could pretend that danger and pain could never – and would never-- touch us.  I dreamt of him in vivid Technicolor and I never gave a second thought to the idea that my desperation, my need for him, would ever go beyond the confines of my own mind.

But things change.

“We don’t have to bring this up after tonight, you know,” I say, almost afraid of how he’ll respond.  “It can stay here.”

Mulder sighs.  “That would be…” He takes a second, then finishes, “professional of us.”

“Yes,” I say.

“We work together,” Mulder says.  “And we’re friends.  And I don’t want… to lose you.”  His voice has a dull edge that I don’t quite understand.  “As a friend,” he adds.

“As a friend,” I echo, almost inaudibly.

Oh shit what am I doing oh God Dana shut up just shut up and turn him around and make love to him until his eyes roll back in his head and don’t fucking TALK for chrissakes…

 I have to shake my head to clear it.

 “So where does that leave everything else?” I ask.

Mulder takes a breath.  “Honestly?” he says.  “It leaves us naked.  And still here-- together.  And considering the Earth is still rotating and the building has not yet combusted I’d say that’s pretty much all you can ask for at one o clock in the morning.”

The window shudders again, panes rattling with thunder.  I ask him, “Is it?”

Mulder shivers, presses his lips into my hair.  “Is what?”

“Is that really all that matters?”

His mouth attached to my skin, Mulder mumbles words that sound like, “It’s going to have to be.”

I nod.

Blood thrumming in my ears, I realize that I can feel the most intimate parts of Mulder in the small of my back.  I can feel him long and hard and warm, pressing against me.  Even when he’s not moving I feel him.  I don’t know what to do with that sensation.  I know I want to catalogue it, to tuck it away in the recesses of my mind but the prospect frightens me and I don’t yet know where to go with this.

Mulder continues, “Maybe we’ve managed to outsmart medical science…” He reaches over me and rubs one palm over the slight contraction of my abdomen.  “Maybe miracles aren’t so hard to come by when the sex is really good.”

I suck in a breath. I wasn’t expecting him to say anything like that.  Choked, I manage, “Mulder—“

The next intake of breath is his.  I feel him shake his head.  “Oh Christ, Scully.  I’m sorry,” he says.  “That was in bad taste.”

“No…” I want to curl up inside myself and disappear.  “No, I think I understand…”

But I don’t.  I don’t understand—not really.  I never have.

Mulder rests his damp chin on my bare shoulder and speaks so I can feel his jaw move, his breath warm on my neck, his lips close to my ear.

“I want to give you this,” he says, as if that can justify our situation.  Put things neatly back where they’d been.  “A baby—“

“Is that what this was about?”  I ask.  I can’t look at him.  Mulder knows what I mean.  My head hurts and I’m shivering and I don’t want things to change between us.  I don’t have any clue what I’m ready for.

“Scully,” he says, and my name sounds like a sigh.  He slides his hands up and down my arms, still trying to warm me.  The hairs on my biceps stand on end.  I lean into him, pretend I’m alright when really I’m… I don’t know.  The antithesis of fine.  I lean back and kiss the edge of his shoulder, the only place I can reach.

He says, “No.  You know I wouldn’t… I just want to give you back what you’ve lost, Scully.”

“You wouldn’t what?” I ask, staring blankly out the window.

“Wouldn’t…” He pulls away slightly.  “I don’t know.  I don’t really know what I mean.  We both got caught up in the moment, didn’t we?”

“Caught up,” I echo, remembering the way he held me, the way he whispered during his climax, when he called my name and said ‘only you, only you Scully’ a dozen times and buried his face in my neck.  What the heck was all of that about?  I saw a light, a new kind of single-mindedness in his eyes—it was… love? Was it?  I think.  Jesus, where is all of that now?

“You know… I want to give you your miracle, Scully.  You deserve more than that, of course.  More than I know how to give---” He’s awkwardly tripping over words.  Maybe he’s sorry and he can’t articulate the emotion.  Maybe he thinks we’ve made a huge mistake.  Oh God, is he trying to justify our being here?

“This…” He touches my stomach. “I can give you this.  I can help you make a baby, Dana.”

Dana.

God damn it, Mulder.

No.

I bite back tears that sting my eyelids.  This isn’t about love. It’s about guilt.  He IS trying to justify our predicament.  I can’t deal with that.  Anything but that.  No, I’m not going to cry.  I’m not.  I breathe in and say, “You don’t really want a baby.”  I tilt my chin towards the window.  “Mulder, I can’t – I won’t have you committing to something you don’t want.”

Mulder doesn’t answer me for a moment.  Finally he says, “You’re taking that out of context, Scully.”

“How?”

He considers for a moment.  “Well…” He runs his fingers back over my abdomen until he’s holding me closer.  “I’d never considered the option before.  I guess I always assumed that with things being the way they are, with my lifestyle being so unorthodox, I’d never have children. But with you it’s different.  I would want your baby, yes.”

I close my eyes – whether out of exhaustion or relief I’m not sure.  “You’re serious.”

“Yes.”

Neither of us speaks.  Lightning paints the room in white.  We’re on dangerous ground here.  I don’t think I want to know why Mulder wants MY baby even though he doesn’t really seem to want any baby.  Or why I want him to want my baby. Not that I don’t already know why.  Someplace in my mind I’m sure I must know why, but—

I avoid asking him.  Instead I get out, “And you think… it’s possible I could conceive.”

Mulder presses his cool lips into my neck.     “I don’t know,” he says honestly.

“Mulder—“  What to say to him?

The truth.

“I’m not going to the doctor again.  This is… the end.   The hormones, the procedures…I’m tired.  I can’t afford invitro again.   This is it.”

Oh god… This IS it.

Oh I can’t… can’t think about that---

Mulder wiggles his other arm under me, reaches with his thick fingers until he finds my hand.  He squeezes it and whispers even though we’re the only two in the room.  “It doesn’t have to end like that, Scully.  We’ve already upped the odds.”

“Mulder—“

“And if that didn’t work...” His eyelashes flutter against my shoulder, then my neck, then the sensation is lost in my hair.  “We’ll find a way.”

I swallow.  “But if we don’t—“

“We will.”

“But… our doing this.  We work together, Mulder.  We’re friends.  Neither of us wants to disrupt that balance.”

“It won’t.”

“And if I’m still not pregnant?”

“I could—we could try.  Again.  As many times as you want.”

“But—“ The rain is letting up.  A few leaves hit the window and slide down to the ledge.  Mulder hasn’t told me he loves me, hasn’t uttered it once.  What does that mean?  There are too many variables here, too many problems…

I turn my face to look at him.  Oh, how earnest he looks.  How honest and beautiful. I could so say yes to you, Mulder.  So easily.  I could so tell you how much I love you and want you and need you in this bed forever, for as long as I’m alive.

But somehow I can’t.  Now’s not the time.  Maybe if he and I ever make a baby together our time will come, but now’s not it.

I squeeze Mulder’s hand and say, “I’ll think about it.”

He nods.  “Okay.”

I feel pulled in a million directions.  I don’t know what I feel.  I’m scared and hopeful and disappointed and -- My eyes hurt.  And I’m terrified.  I’m not good at being in love.  He’s not good at it either.  Is this love or is this convenience?  Or maybe this is all about him giving something back to me.  Or maybe we’re just screwing each other and looking for a good excuse.

“So long as I’m not twisting your arm,” I say wryly.

Mulder laughs into my shoulder, his breathing fast and dampening my skin. “Scully,” he says, chuckling, “do you have any idea how many times a day men think about just fucking the hell out of someone?”

I snort.  “Romantic, Mulder.”

“Well, I can do better than that if you like.”

I close my eyes, my hand beneath his, our fingers intertwined.  So safe here, so warm… A perfect moment I wish I could close up in this bed and keep here forever.  “Why don’t we just get some sleep, huh?”

Mulder sighs into my hair.  Not even thirty seconds of my perfect moment have passed when I hear, “Who’s your daddy, Scully?”

My eyes open warily.  “Oh brother.”

“Is it hot in here or is it just you?”

“Mulder--”

“Let’s say you and I get jiggy with it.”

“Mulder.”

“How bout you slide on over here and I show you my Oscar Meyer—“

“MULDER.”

“Yeah?”

“Shut up.”

Mulder chuckles.  “Oh, I get it.  Bossy at work, bossy in bed…” With a finger placed carefully underneath my chin, Mulder turns my head and angles it towards him—not all the way, not like the Exorcist mind you, but just enough so that his lips can reach mine. We stare at each other with wide eyes while he moves in and tilts his face, my eyes remaining open until long after he’s closed his own.  When my lashes finally do flutter shut he’s REALLY kissing me, gently and thoroughly and deeply, and I kiss him back for a good twenty seconds.

Finally, we disengage.  “Kill joy,” Mulder mutters into my mouth.

I raise an eyebrow. “Say that again and you’ll never get laid.”

Mulder smiles.  “Been there, done that.  Besides, Scully, this morning I heard the forecast called for a downpour of sleeping bags.”

I can’t help but smile at him.  “Hmm… strange atmospheric disturbances are right up your alley.   Perhaps an investigation is in order.”

“How bout you roll on over, Special Agent Scully, and I investigate you—OW!  Hey!”

“One more smarmy comment and I get my gun, Mulder.”

“Whatever you say—“ his eyes twinkle.  “But it certainly brings new meaning to the phrase ‘roughing it’—Ah, shit!  Scully!”

The sheets are kicked off the bed rather quickly.  We’re both laughing—and wriggling and twisting and tickling and wrestling and, ok so things get really interesting after that.  (I.E: I’m going to have problems walking tomorrow but that’s a whole other story and I’ll deal with it later…)

III:  Just to Wrap Things Up: Fast Forward Thirteen Months
(Never Drink the Breast Milk)
 

Mulder and I never did “try again.”   Even though Mulder had left the door open for nature, I never asked him.  And he never brought it up.  We even returned to work the next day as if nothing had happened, of course.  Then weeks went by and the topic seemed to float away into the breezes of June.  The more time that passed afterward, the harder it was to bring up.  Besides, after seven years of denial we were good at boxing up our experiences.  Mulder went on obsessing over vampires and aliens as usual and I went on…living.  Wondering “what if?”  Maybe things were too awkward for us to try making love again, or maybe another perfect moment never presented itself.  I don’t know.  Life at work was too busy for me to worry over trivial matters.

Then one day Mulder and I were investigating a case in Oregon: a series of questionable “disturbances” that dated back to 1993 and our very first case together.  Ultimately, the investigation started out routine-like but sentimental in a way, since both of us were able to reminisce about the first time we’d worked together.  Everything was perfectly fine until old alien abductees started disappearing left and right.  And then I got sick.  Specifically, I collapsed.  And my life changed forever.

When I came to in some hospital, nearly a week had passed me by.  Or maybe I was awake for the week but I blocked it from my memory.  At any rate, a week after I took a nosedive into the floor of the lone gunmen office, some doctor in this nameless hospital told me I was pregnant.  And that Mulder was gone.  Abducted, like the people in Oregon.

“Oh,” I’d replied, tears escaping from my eyes.  I didn’t know what to say.  “Can I have a glass of water, please?  I’d really like a glass of water.”

Time passed like liquid after that. Life seemed to stop for awhile.

Six months later Mulder was returned to me, dead but alive, and life began and stopped in intervals.  I was jagged and sore and pregnant.  Very pregnant.  I had a new sort of life.  Mulder, for his part, didn’t know what to make of me.  So I told him, quite simply, that I’d missed him.  I hoped that my affection for him would be enough.  Mulder told me he was sorry for my pain, to which I replied that it wasn’t his fault.  Mulder, of course, thought it was.  For weeks afterward we talked about nothing; the weather and some old cases and this one time we were kicked out of a motel in Boston. But we never talked about that night in May, or the baby.  Not really.  At least not until right before the baby was born.

It’s amazing how the most important things in life happen when you’re either not paying attention or not expecting them.

I expected a normal pregnancy.

I expected to raise my child alone.

When I finally had the baby I’m not sure where I expected Mulder.

So when he cradled William against him and leaned in close to kiss me for the first time in almost a year, I nearly fell over backwards from the shock of it.  One perfect moment encompassed us and I wanted to hold Mulder and make love to him until I turned blue from lack of oxygen.  I wanted to tell him that yes, I understood and yes, it was alright now.

When Mulder pulled his lips away he smiled at me, then at William.  I smiled back and said, “stay.”

He did.

Ahem.  Which brings me to life’s latest epiphany:

Last week.

The six o clock news droned in the background with Joel Markum reporting on a ten car pile up somewhere on the ninety-five.  My coat was draped over the side of the couch where I’d dropped it after work.  My white shirtsleeves were rolled up to my elbows and I was sitting at my desk, signing off on an autopsy.  A raft of papers littered the wooden surface around me, and a tape recorder sat on its side a few inches from my elbow.  At my feet, William played baby games in his blue, Fisher Price Playpen, and occasionally I turned to smile and make faces at him while he gurgled and ate his toes.  William didn’t look especially hungry yet, and that meant I’d probably get another twenty minutes of solid, uninterrupted work time.

After my paperwork of course, I’d have to heat up his bottle.   As part of a baby gift, my mother had given me this old fashioned, glass bottle in which to store milk for the baby.  ‘It’s easier,’ my mother had told me, ‘to occasionally use a breast pump and store some milk in case you’re not in a position to breast feed.’  The bottle, as it turns out, had been mine from when I was a baby, and my mother thought I’d be able to make good use of it.  I liked how the bottle didn’t especially look like a baby bottle; for one thing it was larger than a baby bottle, and for another, it looked more like an old-fashioned milk bottle from the 1940s.

I pressed play on the tape recorder.  My own voice dictated back at me:  “There appears to be some spotting of unknown origin on the epidermis just above the clavicle.  The spotting is greenish in nature and slightly swollen---“

The front door burst open and I turned my head just in time to see Mulder bound into the hallway, sweaty and disheveled and sporting his gray, sleeveless, Knicks T-shirt.  His chestnut colored hair stuck up at all angles and he had a rather dirty looking basketball under one arm.

“Whew!” he exclaimed, dropping the basketball into the entryway and making his way toward the kitchen.  “You know, Scully,” he said, shuffling around into the cabinets, “some of those guys down at the bureau are getting careless in their old age.  In two twenty one point games I made ten rebounds off Whitland. And Samson—who I might add, played college ball, or at least so he always bragged about in the bullpen---was rather easy to dog when to came to jump shots.”

I watched Mulder with a raised eyebrow, my hand still gripping the pen I’d been writing with. “Dog?” I asked.

“So I’m thinking,” Mulder yanked open the refrigerator door,  “Either the bureau’s just letting all these out of shape geezers keep on truckin through, or else Whitland, Samson and Kamron don’t got game.”

I shook my head at him, a half smile on my lips.  “Is there a reason I’m listening to this, Mulder?”

Mulder frowned and grabbed an old-fashioned glass bottle out of the fridge.  “Maybe they’re just not paying attention,” he said, pointing a finger at me over the bottle.  “After Kersh’s suspension all his little cronies got censured.  Whitland and Samson worked directly beneath Kersh.  I’ll bet the bullpen boys think the whole department’s being investigated.  Makes for good distraction on the court.”  He grinned and tipped the bottle up towards his mouth.

William’s dinner.  I sucked in a breath.  “Ah, Mulder--”

“Besides,” Mulder went on, taking a long gulp, waving one arm in the air,  “with Skinner finagling me into back into VICAP, I’ll probably end up being their boss—“

“Mulder, you might not want—“

“And I’m sure they don’t want to piss off the big guy,” Mulder added with a grin, and he went in for the kill. His Adam’s Apple bobbed up and down as he gulped, the bottle tipped almost completely over his mouth.  A few drips skittered down his chin.  I dropped the pen and covered my mouth with my hand.  Part of me wanted to gag and part of me wanted to laugh until I cried and fell off the chair.

Finally, Mulder downed the entire bottle and slapped it back on the counter.  I stared at him, then at the bottle, then at him again with my mouth hanging open like a cod fish.  “Remind me to go buy some more milk,” he said, striding into the living room and planting a kiss on the top of my head.  He frowned.  “And regular milk for that matter, none of this non-fat stuff you like because it tastes… funky.”

I blinked a few times and nodded wordlessly.

Then Mulder was off into the bedroom, peeling his shirt from his chest as he went.  “Oh, sorry Scully,” he called from the other room.  “You were saying?”

I frowned.  “Wha-what?”

Mulder poked his head out from the doorway and smiled at me.  “I was telling you about the game and you were saying something I didn’t catch.”  His eyes darted to the playpen and he made a ridiculous face at William.

My lips pursed, I fought back laughter with such stealth I should have been awarded a medal.  “Nothing,” I said, my voice perhaps a little higher than I would have liked.

Mulder nodded and winked at the baby.  “See?  Your Mommy wants me bad, kid.” He waggled his eyebrows at me.  “She just goes all speechless and weak in the knees when I enter a room.”

Don’t laugh, don’t laugh, don’t laugh…

I propped my chin up on my elbow and stared at him, remembering the breast milk.  “Oh yeah, Mulder.  That’s exactly it.”

Mulder let out a snort and ducked his head back into the bedroom.  A few moments later I heard his voice echo back from the bathroom.  “You.  Me.  Bed.  Later,” he yelled, and turned the water on.

Finally, I couldn’t hold it in anymore.  My hand wrapped securely around my middle, I burst out laughing.  I laughed so hard that tears rolled down my cheeks and I had to bang my fist on the desk to keep myself from bowling over.  I shook my head and wiped the tears away, turning to look at the baby.

“Shh,” I whispered in between giggles, reaching down and scooping William up out of his playpen.  “Don’t tell Daddy he ate your dinner.”  William gurgled at me and waved his clenched fists.

 I walked into the kitchen with the baby balanced on my hip.

I laughed again just for the hell of it.

I realized how normal it was for Mulder to go and accidentally drink my breast milk and I laughed one last time.

“Let’s go heat up some real food,” I said, pressing a kiss to William’s forehead.   “I’m starving and I’ll bet Daddy is, too.  Now that he’s had an appetizer.”

I smiled at the thought of the dirty basketball on the floor of the entryway, even though it was just a dirty old basketball.

Later that night, Mulder—true to his word-- proved to me that no matter what kind it is, milk certainly DOES do a body good.

Then the next day I went out and bought a gallon of regular milk.  I hid the breast milk in the crisper.  And life in the Scully-Mulder household returned to its stunning irregularity.

END

Hey there guys!  Thanks for taking the time to read (if indeed you made it to the end.) Scully tells me that everyone is welcome to archive her story, but please drop her a note at Leiaj21@hotmail.com so I can ah…relay the message.  Right now she’s out looking for a publisher (and hunting aliens and changing diapers…  And doing naughty things with Mulder…) so she’s kinda busy.  But that’s a whole other story.

Shout outs:

To the readers who have stuck by me since the beginning, the ones who always made me smile with their lovely letters of encouragement.  I won’t forget the kindness you’ve shown me.   Jen—just wait till the next movie.  We’ll have to find someone else whose hair we can dye red.  Nickie—yes, I’m still nuts.  Jill—watch out for cacti.

Finally, to David, Gillian and The X Files crew, special thanks for eight great years of Mulder and Scully.

Come visit my healthy little obsession:
http://members.tripod.com/~LeiaSC/leiamain.htm
The one stop shop for all my fanfic.