Title: I’m Here

Author: Kyo

Rating: PG-13

Spoilers: Three Words and Empedocles

Category: Romance, Angst

Summary: “Scully, what is a partial abruption?”

Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me. This fanfic is intended for the personal enjoyment of myself and fellow X-Files fans.

A/N: This takes place at the beginning of Empedocles with references to Three Words. Has spoilers from Empedocles, but from here on out, I’m making some changes.

“Mulder…I don’t know if you’ll ever understand what it was like. First learning of your abduction…and then searching for you and finding you dead. And now to have you back…and ,uh…” Scully’s voice broke.

“Well, you act like you’re surprised,” Mulder cracked.

Ignoring Mulder’s dry attempt at humor, she continued. “I prayed a lot…and my prayers have been answered.”

He eyed her stomach and said, “In more ways than one.” When Scully looked down at her pregnant body, he continued.

“I’m happy for you; I think I know…how much that means to you,” He finished with a trace of bitterness in his voice.

Scully slowly started to look up. Tears could be seen in her eyes and he knew that he had hurt her. “Mulder…” her voice broke again.

Before he could realize it, the words were out. He never intended to hurt her; that was the last think he ever wanted to do, but he did.

“I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be cold or ungrateful. I just…I have no idea where I fit in right now. I just, uh…I’m having a little trouble….processing…everything.” He looked away.

Scully looked up at him, torn between feeling hurt and angry. Had he no idea what she had gone through the last several months. She bit her lip, trying to force the tears from streaming down her face. “Okay, Mulder,” she managed in a choked whisper. When Mulder looked back at her, she turned away, unable to keep the tears at bay.

“Call me if you need anything,” she managed, placing his keys by the fish tank before making her exit.

Mulder watched as her girth made it difficult for her to make a hasty exit. He felt a lump in his throat as he heard a muffled sob escape Scully’s throat just as she closed the door.

Mulder stared absently at the ground of the hospital, drowning in his thoughts. Ever since he had returned from beyond the grave, Mulder had done nothing but hurt her. That hadn’t been the last incident. Throughout the whole Absalom case, he had done nothing but act like a total ass, only thinking of himself. It pained him at the thought, but at that time, he could have cared less about anything else. Which sadly, included Scully and the baby.

As always, Scully put her life on the line and got involved in the case with him. This time had been different though. He forced her to put her job and baby’s life at risk too. He had gone against her wishes and she followed him anyway. He knew she was torn between him and her unborn child; a choice she shouldn’t have had to make. ‘I’m not worth it Scully.’ At the time, not even that bothered him. He hated, loathed and despised himself for that. After he saw Scully being wheeled away into an emergency room, he was convinced that he was responsible if Scully and the baby would make it or not. He dug his nails into his scalp and clutched his hair. He wanted to scream, to hit something and at that moment he was ready to give his life if he could save Scully’s and her baby’s. He wished he would have stayed dead and none of this would have happened.

A moment later, his thoughts were interrupted by a hand on his shoulder a female voice. “Are you Dana Scully’s husband?”

Mulder slowly looked up to meet the blue eyes of a young nurse. He didn’t understand why he had said ‘no’ the first time around. “Is she okay?” his voice broke, afraid to know the answer.

The nurse motioned for him to stand. “Come with me.” Mulder followed, his heart thudding in his chest the entire way. When they reached Scully’s hospital room, he looked down, afraid to enter, knowing what he might find behind that closed door. Sensing his discomfort, the nurse gingerly laid a hand on his arm. “It’s okay sir, she’s been asking for you.”

Mulder nodded as the nurse opened the door and closed it behind him. His breath caught in his throat at the sight of his partner on the hospital bed. Her head was turned away and her eyes appeared to be closed. His eyes slowly drifted over her, afraid he may no longer see her rounded stomach. Instead, her hand was draped lovingly and protectively over her stomach. He sighed with relief and stepped further into the room.

This motion caused Scully to rouse from her slumber and turned in his direction. When she realized who her visitor was, she gave a weary smile. “Hi,” she whispered.

“Hi,” he responded, moving closer towards her. He stopped once he reached her bedside and looked her up and down. “What did the doctor say?”

“That I had a partial abruption, which means that my placenta started to tear away from the uterine wall. They’re going to need to monitor me for a while,” she explained.

Mulder had no idea what that meant, but it sounded serious. “What does that mean exactly?” he pressed on.

Scully looked down. “There two types of abruptions. Partial or complete separation. About one percent of pregnant women experience this. When the placenta separates, it can interrupt oxygen and nutrients delivered to the baby. If I had a complete separation, then the baby would need to be delivered immediately. It can lead to premature birth and low birth weight or in fifteen percent of cases, fetal death,” her voice broke at that last part.

Mulder nodded. “Do you have any idea what could have caused this?” he asked, part of him not really wanting to know the answer.

Scully took a deep breath before continuing. “While it isn’t entirely known, my doctor said it could be due to my age, trauma to the abdomen and stress,” Scully explained as she remembered being hurdled through glass when she was just a few months pregnant.

“Patients who are thirty five and older have a stronger chance of having placental abruption,” she finished.

Mulder nodded hesitantly. “But, you’re going to be fine right?” he asked, worry evident in his voice.

Scully smiled. “Yeah.”

Mulder looked down to see Scully’s hands still resting on her belly, but they had moved slightly. He reluctantly outstretched his arm and settled his hand on Scully’s abdomen, almost as if to assure himself the child was still there.

Gently, he moved his hand soothingly over where he thought the baby would be. When he felt a movement beneath his palm he looked up and found himself smiling in awe at Scully. Scully smiled warmly at him, enjoying the affection and hoping that he would soon realize that he where he fit in was with her and their unborn. They needed him more than he realized. Mulder reluctantly removed his hand from Scully’s abdomen once he saw her eyes slide closed.

Mulder was just about to head out when a female doctor called out to him. “Mr. Mulder, can I speak to you for a moment?”

Mulder nodded, taking one last look at his weary partner. She didn’t stir at all, surprisingly. Mulder frowned at the thought of all the drugs she must have been on as he followed the doctor outside. She was a short, middle-aged blonde woman. She was one of the same doctors he had met when Scully had first come to the hospital. Mulder could read the concern in her eyes. “Mr. Mulder, I’m very concerned about Ms. Scully’s condition,” she started. Mulder nodded. “Will she be okay?” he asked, glancing back at the window to Scully’s room.

The doctor nodded. “Well, that’s what I want to discuss with you.” Mulder remained silent.

“I’ve been seeing Ms. Scully for a few months now. I’m concerned that she may lose the baby if she doesn’t start her maternity leave as soon as possible.” Mulder began to feel his stomach in knots. The doctor continued. “She’s in such a high risk profession that I don’t think it’s a good idea for her to be out in the field for the duration of her pregnancy. Even before I became her primary doctor, she’d had many prior complications and it is amazing that her pregnancy has progressed this far. You both are very lucky.” The doctor placed her hand on Mulder’s shoulder. “Please try and convince her to take leave. Because of her age and prior complications, a miscarriage or premature birth is very possible at this point,” she finished.

Mulder nodded. “I’ll do my best.”

The doctor smiled. “You’re very lucky; you’ve got a strong woman and child in there.”

Mulder smiled, looking back through the glass. “I know.”

A few days later, Scully had been released from the hospital and to Mulder. He brought her some fresh clothes to change into. Scully pulled a white button down maternity shirt over an undershirt and looked through the glass to see Mulder talking to one of her doctors. He was taking her home today and she hoped he wouldn’t feel awkward. Ever since he had returned, things hadn’t been the same but she still loved him and wanted him to be a part of her and their baby’s life.

She watched Mulder and the doctor intently, wondering what they were conversing about. She ran her hand protectively over the arch of her belly as she remembered when Mulder had made his first connection to their child and how he or she moved quite a bit. She really couldn’t recall the baby ever moving that much. The baby had been quite still ever since, as if waiting for his father’s touch again. She was drawn out of her reverie as Mulder entered the room.

When Mulder saw Scully, the sight of her took his breath away. Once again, her hands were cradling her belly and she looked more radiant than ever. He couldn’t help but smile as he neared her. Scully was taken by surprise as Mulder enveloped her in his arms, despite the growing girth between them. “Are you okay, Scully?” The worry never left his mind.

Scully held him back. “We’re fine Mulder,” she assured. He pulled back and placed his hand on her very pregnant belly. She felt the movement once again and knew she wasn’t dreaming. “He really seems to enjoy your attention. He never moves like that for me.”

Mulder looked at Scully with curiosity-filled eyes. “Really, is it a boy?”

Scully shrugged. “I’m not really sure. Actually, I’ve decided to be surprised. I just don’t want to call it and “it” until he or she is born.”

Mulder nodded. “Are you ready?”

Scully went to grab her bag, but Mulder insisted on carrying it for her. During the drive home, Scully had asked what Mulder and the doctor were talking about. When he told her, there was awkward silence between them all the way home. All else that was said had to do with the investigation that he, John and Monica had been on for the last few days involving his son.

Once they arrived at Scully’s apartment, Mulder got out of the driver’s seat and walked around to help Scully out. He wasn’t sure if he should have just walked her to the door and left or to stay with her for a while. Scully had insisted that he come in and he wasn’t going to refuse, despite the awkward silence between them.

After Mulder helped Scully get settled, he asked her if she wanted some of that pizza she had insisted on getting a few days ago. “Is this okay or did you want me to go out and get another one?”

Scully, who was seated on the sofa, shook her head. “No, it’s fine. If you don’t mind, we can just eat the one I ordered the other day.”

Mulder managed a smile. “Are you sure you don’t want me to be your pizza man for the day?” he asked with a hint of jealously.

Scully laughed for the first time since he had returned. “You are already my hero, Mulder,” she was serious.

Mulder remained silent for a moment as he prepared the pizza. “I’m no one’s hero; I don’t deserve that kind of credit.”

He brought the warmed pizza into the living room and placed it onto the coffee table. Scully was taken aback. “Mulder…” she started.

He sat down next to her. “No, really Scully. I don’t deserve it and I don’t deserve you. I’ve done nothing but hurt you in the last several weeks. I put you and your baby in danger, forcing you to tag along in the blind search for the truth. I am so sorry. I should have listened to you, but I didn’t!”

Tears were making their way into Scully’s eyes as she listened and he continued. “I’ve been a complete asshole since I’ve returned and I think it would have been better if I had stayed dead!”

Tears were now making their way down Scully’s face. “THAT’S NOT TRUE!” she shouted frantically.

Mulder felt his stomach tighten at the sight of her tears, but he continued. “Yes, it is. You were in that hospital because of me. You nearly lost the miracle you were given because of me. If I was still six feet under—“

Scully rose to her feet and cried out. “MULDER, STOP IT!”

Mulder immediately became silent as Scully began to cry. Her breathing became heavy and uneven. “Mulder, you cannot blame yourself for everything. It was my choice to follow you and I will never forgive myself for putting our baby at risk. But if you think even for one second that you shouldn’t have come back, you should know that I always prayed for a miracle: that my baby would have the chance to meet its father and for its father to know he had given me such a wonderful, miraculous gift,” she placed her hand on her belly.

Before Mulder had the chance to speak, she continued. “You told me that you didn’t know where you’d fit in, but I cannot make that choice for you. If you weren’t prepared or planning to be a father, I understand and I won’t force you into anything you are not ready for. I just wanted my baby to have the chance to meet his or her father and to know how special he is to and for him to know, even if he doesn’t know where he’d fit in, that he will always have a place with us--” her voice started to break and she covered her eyes.

Mulder immediately stood to encircle her in his arms, tears starting to make their way down his own cheeks. “Oh, Scully. I never knew, you never told me--” Scully buried her head in his chest as she wrapped her arms around him. “How could you not have known, Mulder? There wasn’t, hasn’t and never will be anyone else!” she began to sob.

Mulder was overwhelmed and unsure how to feel about everything. The child she was carrying was theirs; was his. Now, he completely understood. She’d been through so much and had risked everything for a chance to share this miracle of hers with him. How could he not have realized sooner? Instead, he blindly assumed that he had been replaced while he was gone. This made him feel even worse. Gently he stroked Scully’s back she he allowed her to sob into his chest. “I’m sorry Scully, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me,” he whispered.

“There’s nothing to apologize for Mulder, you’ve been through so much,” she choked.

Mulder said nothing and gently pulled from their embrace. With his finger, he gently lifted Scully’s chin to meet his gaze. Her eyes filled again with tears and she tried to turn away, but was unable. With his fingers, he wiped away the stray tears that had settled on Scully’s face. “Please, don’t cry Scully. I’m here and I’m not going anywhere,” he consoled.

Scully closed her eyes as she slowly began to collect herself. Mulder gently placed his palms on the sides of her face and kissed her forehead. Her breathing slowly returned to normal and Mulder urged her to sit down. “All this stress can’t be good for our baby.” He managed a smile at the latter part.

Scully nodded. Her doctor had strongly urged her to remain in a stress-free environment until the baby was born. Mulder sat back down next to her and could feel her body shaking next to his. He gingerly reached over to grab a blanket and straightened it out over her. “Thank you,” she whispered, trying to ward off the cold. Mulder scooted closer towards her and wrapped his arms around her to keep her warm.

Several minutes had passed before either one of them had spoken again. Mulder was the first. “Please take your maternity leave, Scully. If not for me, for our baby,” he pleaded, placing his hand on the cocoon that held their child. Scully looked up at him again, not wanting to bring up the subject again. “Mulder--”

“Don’t worry; I’m not going to worry you unnecessarily by taking off on blind searches for the truth. You and this baby are the most important people in my life and I don’t want to lose either one of you,” Mulder explained.

“I don’t want you to give up your passion for the search of the truth; I know how important to you that is,” Scully emphasized.

“Not as important as you and our baby. I am willing to take a maternity leave too.” He said the last part with a grin.

Scully couldn’t help but laugh. “Well, there is actual paternity leave, but I believe it only lasts six weeks after the child is born,” she explained.

Mulder smiled. “Well, I’m just going to have to take a longer one. I want to take care of you and our baby. I couldn’t live with myself if anything happened to either one of you. I am going to do everything possible to make sure you have this baby and that there are no more further complications.”

Scully smiled. “I know you will be a great father, Mulder.”

“So, I take that as a yes?”

Scully laughed before playfully tossing a pillow in his direction. “Only if you will.”

“Then it’s a promise.”