A few days later, Mulder and Scully returned from their first Lamaze class. She couldn't help but laugh as Mulder made his dry attempts at humor when it came to pregnant women and the "breathe in and out" procedure. It embarrassed her, but she was glad to share the experience with Mulder.
Ever since she had taken her maternity leave, she had been having doubts about whether she had made the right choice to leave the FBI. Mulder had noticed her discomfort over the past few days and although he assured her that she owed nothing to the X-Files, she wasn't satisfied.
As Mulder placed the keys on one of the hooks, she sighed as she eased her heavily pregnant form onto the couch. "Scully," he started.
"I know what you're going to tell me Mulder and I'm sorry, but I just cannot help but have second doubts about my decision. I've never given up on anything," she sighed as she rested her head against her hand. She closed her eyes as Mulder moved to sit next to her.
"Scully, you don't owe anything to the X-Files…or to me. You deserve the chance to focus on your family. It was because of me and my quest that you were robbed of your chance of motherhood. I told you to never give up on a miracle, which is what we have here," he said, placing his hand on her belly.
Scully turned to look over at Mulder. "But I cannot ask you to leave the X-Files. I know how much your quest means to you. I cannot ask you to give that up, Mulder," her voice broke and she averted her gaze.
"Dana," he whispered. Mulder consoled, reaching to touch her chin and turning her towards him. Scully bit her lip and tried to look away. "Yes, at one point in time the X-Files were my life, but when a certain red headed woman walked into my office for the first time to try and debunk my work, everything changed. I didn't think I'd like that woman, much less come to love her, but she was my perfect opposite. Who would have thought I'd make that hard headed woman full of rational science become a believer. After all that we've been through, I owe everything to you, Scully. I'm too old to be chasing flying objects…it's time for me to turn over that mission to someone else. My place is here with you and our baby," he finished, watching the tears flood Scully's eyes.
Mulder fumbled in his jacket pocket and pulled out a small black velvet box. Scully watched in excitement and anticipation as Mulder opened the box in front of her. In the small box was a golden single marquise diamond ring. "Dana Katherine Scully, will you marry me?"
"Oh Mulder…" Scully's voice got caught in her words. She brought her hands to her face, tears running down her cheeks.
Mulder grinned. "And?"
"Yes… the answer is yes, Mulder," she whispered
Mulder smiled and removed the band from the box, reaching out for Scully's hand. Scully obliged and he slipped it on her left finger. "I even got the size right," he chuckled.
Scully eyed the sparkling center diamond before placing her head in her hands, beginning to sob.
"Oh Scully," Mulder started.
Scully looked back up and allowed her tears to flow freely down her face. She reached out and pulled Mulder close to her. "I love you so much, Mulder. I couldn't ask for anything more than this," she said before pulling his face towards hers. She closed her eyes and met his lips and they stayed this what for what seemed like an eternity.
Mulder watched over Scully as she slept. This had become a common afternoon routine for her in these last few weeks. Ever since she had had the partial separation, he had feared that it would lead to a complete separation and that they'd lose the baby. Although she had insisted that they would be fine, there was still that small percentage and it terrified him. She'd had a very complicated pregnancy and he had been very protective over her these last several weeks. Scully had humored him and put to rest her own concerns by taking his advice. She'd carried the baby so long that it would kill her if she lost it now.
Mulder gently moved towards her, careful not to disturb her peaceful slumber. Her head was turned away from him and her hand was splayed over her stomach. She did this nearly each time she slept and it brought a smile to his face. Gingerly, he placed his hand next to hers on her abdomen. A moment later, he was rewarded by small, subtle movements. He turned back to Scully who hadn't been affected one bit. Perhaps this happened often enough for her to be used to it. He smoothed his hand over the spot and whispered, "Shh, we don't want to wake mommy now, do we little one?"
As if in response, the movement beneath his hand slowed. He couldn't help but smile. He kissed the spot. "Daddy loves you," he whispered. He then moved to spoon against Scully. Unfortunately, this movement roused her from her sleep and she turned to look at him, smiling. "It's okay Scully. Go back to sleep," he whispered.
"I heard you," she whispered, still smiling. "Heard me what?" he asked, somewhat embarrassed. "Talking…talking to the baby…" she looked at him lovingly before her eyelids slipped closed again. Ever since her partial abruption, her doctor had given her some drugs she assured would bring no harm to the baby. These drugs helped ease the abdominal pain and Braxton hick's contractions she experienced frequently. This was another reason for her frequent afternoon naps and he was glad he was no longer working so he could stay with her each and every moment of the day.
He pulled the covers up further over her body and settled into sleep next to her. "I love you, Scully." He whispered. "Love you too…Mul…der," she whispered groggily before sleep overtook her once more.
Skinner returned to his office later that afternoon after making arrangements for Scully to work at Quantico following her maternity leave. She hadn't given a date of when that would be, but he wanted to make sure everything was ready to go once she decided to return to work.
He closed the door behind him and tossed a folder onto his desk. He removed his trench coat; glad he was finally able to get out of the rain.
"Long time no see."
Skinner jumped and immediately felt his chest constrict as he recognized the voice's owner. He turned around to see Alex Krycek further inside the room. "How the fuck did you get in here, Krycek?"
The rat boy smiled and played with the "visitors pass" he wore on his jacket. "Nice to see you again too, Skinner."
"Get the hell out of my office right now!" he demanded, raising his voice.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you, Skinner. Do you really want to alert your secretary and everyone else?" he tisked.
Krycek smiled. "I asked you once and I'll ask you again. Kill Scully's baby."
"No, I'll have you charged with attempted murder, you bastard." Skinner spat before lunging at Krycek.
Krycek stepped to the side to avoid Skinner, which sent the Assistant Director into the wall. "Uh uh," he shook his finger. "I wouldn't do that if I were you."
Skinner pulled himself up, ready to take another lunge. "Or what?" he demanded. Before Skinner could make another leap, Krycek held up the "Palm Pilot of Doom" and smiled. "Like I said, I have complete control on whether you live or die."
Skinner clenched his fists at the sight of the device that controlled his life. "Why do you want to kill Scully's baby, Krycek? Are you so evil that you'd take the child a barren woman so desperately tried to conceive after being told she could never have children?" he demanded. "That's pretty low Alex, even for you."
Alex smiled and proceeded to take a seat in Skinner's chair. "That's why her pregnancy needs to be terminated, Walter."
Skinner stood staring at Krycek, speechless and unsure what to say.
"That baby is more than human, it's special." He continued, placing the Palm Pilot of Doom on Skinner's desk.
"The baby is normal and even if it wasn't, why do you care Krycek?"
"I just want to destroy the truth before they find out."
Skinner took a breath and looked outside of the windows. "It's too late Krycek. Even if Scully were to terminate the pregnancy, she's nearly eight months along for Christ sake! Her own life would be placed at great risk. You're dammed if you think I'd to do that to her!" he raised his voice once again.
Skinner watched as Alex withdrew his hand from his palm pilot. "Kill me if you like, but I'm not going to be the one with blood on my hands."
"The ex marine and veteran; noble as always."
Alex grasped the object in his hands. Dissatisfied that Skinner had decided against fueling his fire, he stood up. "Whether you decide to do anything or not, Walter, they're going to come after her and take her baby once they figure out the truth. You wouldn't want that on your conscience now would you?" he moved passed the taller man.
Skinner watched as Krycek made a move for the door. "The decision is yours, Walter."
Skinner could say nothing as the rat boy made his exit.
About an hour or so later, the shrill ring of Scully's phone rang throughout her apartment. Mulder practically jumped out of bed and raced to the telephone, afraid to awaken Scully.
"Mulder?" he heard Skinners voice at the other end.
"Yeah, what can I do for you sir?" he asked.
"How's Scully doing?"
"She's resting right now. The drugs are making her consistently drowsy, but she and the baby are doing well," he responded.
"I'm glad to hear that," Skinner said.
Mulder could sense that wasn't all Skinner had called about. "Is everything alright, sir?"
He could hear a long pause at the other line as if Skinner was debating whether he should tell him or not.
"I need to talk to you Mulder and in person, it's important." He could sense his superior's distress and began to feel his chest constrict. Something was terribly wrong. "Okay, where should we meet?"
"I'm leaving work in an hour; meet me in front of the building." And the line went dead.
"Mulder?" he heard Scully's voice call after him.
He turned to see Scully making her way down the hall, her middle making each step a difficult task. "Mulder?" she repeated.
Mulder turned back to the phone he still held in his hand and finally placed it on the receiver. He turned towards her and she must have known something wasn't right by the look on his face.
"Mulder, what's wrong, who was it?" she asked, worry evident in her own features.
Mulder swallowed, knowing he wouldn't be able to get anything past Scully. He moved towards her and gently clasped her shoulders. "That was just Skinner, Scully. I'm going to meet him in an hour."
Scully studied his features. "Something's wrong isn't it?" her voice broke.
Mulder pulled Scully as close as he possibly could, her belly making that a difficult process. "No, there's nothing wrong, Scully. I'm just going to meet him for a little bit, that's all," he consoled.
Not convinced, Scully turned away. "I'm going with you," she insisted.
Before she made any further movement, Mulder moved in front of her and clutched her arms. "No, you can't Scully."
"The hell I'm not, let go of me!" she cried.
Mulder refused to loosen his grip, but at the same time trying his best not to hurt her. He maneuvered his grip so that Scully couldn't break free. "Dammit Dana, please just listen to me!"
At the use of her first name, Scully gasped and halted her escape attempt and her face was frozen in horror and in defeat. When she made no further movement and spoke no further words, Mulder lowered his voice and spoke gently. "Dana, I cannot risk losing you, or our baby. I won't. Please, you have to trust me," he whispered, placing his forehead against her own, loosening his grip on her arms.
"If you won't do it for me, then please, do it for the baby," he said, placing a hand on her stomach.
Scully averted her eyes, she knew he was right, but last time he went off with Skinner alone, he...
Tears welled in her eyes at the thought. She felt helpless, just like she did back in Oregon. Mulder must have sensed her distress, as he pulled her into an embrace.
He felt Scully's body tremble. "I couldn't be with you then, just as I can't be with you now. Oh Mulder, I don't want to lose you again!" tears were making their way down her face.
For a moment, Mulder pulled back and he gently lifted her chin so that her eyes met his. "Don't worry, Scully. Nothing is going to happen to me, I promise. I'm not going to leave you or our baby. You've got to trust me, okay?"
It took Scully a moment, but she finally nodded. She pulled Mulder into a hug as much as she possibly could. "Promise me that you'll come home safely…to us?" she whispered, not wanting to let him go.
He gently cupped her face and placed a kiss to her forehead. "I promise, Scully," he said.
As he parted, he placed both of his hands on Scully's belly and knelt down to place a gentle kiss there. "I'm leaving you to take care of your mommy. Daddy will be back soon, I love you both so much," he whispered.
Tears welled in Scully's eyes as she felt the baby move within her. Mulder stood back up. "I'll be back soon, don't wait up for me."
Scully didn't say anything and she couldn't bear to watch as Mulder exited her apartment. Her back was turned to the door and she listened until she heard it close behind Mulder.
Once again, she felt alone inside her apartment. She felt a loneliness as if Mulder were never there. The baby chose that moment to assure her she wasn't alone by kicking fiercely at the walls of her abdomen. Distraction successful. "Hey, take easy in there," she said aloud and rubbed the abused spot. "Mommy hasn't forgotten about you," she cupped her hands over her abdomen.
She decided to call Doggett. If she couldn't be with him, she was damn well going to make sure someone would keep track of where Mulder was at all times.