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Darkness Returns - Revisited

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Title: Darkness Returns – Revisited (See Notes)

Author: Anne Milne

E-Mail: anne.milne@iterative-consulting.com

Rating: G, I guess

Category: MSR, angst

Spoilers: up to mid S8. Blink and you’ll miss the NCIS reference. Points if you pick up the other pop/TV culture references.

Summary: The Fowley demon reappears to make Scully’s life a mess. Mulder gets a very well-deserved wake up call. Fear not, all will be well.

Feedback:  PLEEEEEEEASE

Archive: Go for it

Disclaimer:  The recognized characters are used Without Prejudice and are the property of C. Carter, Fox and the actors.  No Infringements of these copyrights are intended, and are used here without permission. 

Gratitude: to Sara, for letting me use her great piece, “Darkness Returns” as a springboard.

Author’s Notes:

Sara B.’s Notes: 

When I wrote the original Darkness Returns I had wanted it to follow this scenario but I just couldn’t make it work for me so I went another route.  Anne sent me feedback and said she loved the premise but asked if I would write an alternative version where Scully leaves Mulder behind.  I explained my earlier dilemma and suggested that maybe she would have a better chance.  Anne didn’t think she could write but this story proves she can and she does it very well.  Once you have read her story you will agree and I hope you all send her feedback nagging her to write more. 

To Anne, this has been a pleasure, thank you – enough sentiment get typing, I’m waiting for your next piece!

Anne’s bit:

I loved Sara’s story, but felt that Mulder got away with being a mongrel (Aussie slang for not nice person), and Dana was the one who always had to bend. I’m grateful that Sara let me have a go at this fanfic lark, using her story as a basis. I’d rate this as good for anyone. In other words, there’s no sex or swearing (at least, not from meJ) Little bits of humor, here and there.

Scully was driving home, it was early but because of her many health concerns her OB/GYN forced her to start her maternity leave immediately.  She’d spent the day cleaning up the few things that were open.  She and Doggett met with Skinner to discuss a couple cases and then both of the men made her take her things and leave. 

 

Scully saw Mulder’s car in the parking lot of Casey’s.  He’d been back a month and instead of growing closer the distance between them seemed to be widening.  Mulder found every excuse he could think of not to visit or even talk.  Unbeknownst to him she’d caught him in a few lies too.  He’d claimed he was with the Gunmen a couple times and later she found out they hadn’t seen him.  She hadn’t confronted him because she figured he needed time and space to rationalize everything that had gone on.  Scully knew that he’d been through hell and that her pregnancy was a shock so she’d allowed him his privacy.  However her patience was beginning to wane.

 

 It had been a week since they’d seen each other and they hadn’t spoken to each other much more than for him to cancel any plans they had.  Tonight he promised they would have dinner together and they would talk, so, when she saw his car, she decided to surprise him; why wait?  Besides she didn’t want to give him another opportunity to cancel like all the other times. 

 

Scully couldn’t understand why at a time when they needed each other so much he kept his distance and pushed her away.  When she’d been returned, she reached out to him.  Needed him because, of all the people in her life, she knew he was the only one who would understand; just like she was the only one who could understand his experience.  There was also their baby to think of and decisions needed to be made.

 

~

Scully walked into Casey’s and took a moment to adjust her eyes to the dim light and then she searched for him.  She nodded and smiled towards Jenna, the bartender, and Jim Cohen, a Casey’s staple.  They responded in kind but Jenna’s face looked ‘odd’. She ignored it and continued her search.  She saw Mulder, he was seated at a table toward the back and he wasn’t alone.  Sitting in the booth with him was Diana Fowley, the woman who’d nearly ended their relationship before they even had one.  A woman who was supposed to be dead!

 

They were sitting very close and he had his hand over hers.  Scully watched as Mulder brushed hair from Diana’s face and touched her cheek, a gesture all too familiar.  They smiled and laughed with the ease of people with a shared intimacy.  It was only too obvious to her that this wasn’t their first encounter. 

 

Scully felt her chest tighten and she knew she had to get out of there before he saw her, she couldn’t take any more.  Tears threatened to spill as she turned to leave.  She gave Jenna a pleading look not to tell Mulder she’d been there; Jenna responded with a sad knowing nod. She also quietly asked Jim to not mention seeing her.

 

Seeing Mulder with any woman would have been hard, but the woman being Diana Fowley, there was no description sufficient for the pain it caused.  Not only was Diana Fowley supposed to be dead, she was the woman Mulder really wanted.  Scully knew she was just a replacement and she lived with that because she loved Mulder more than the pain of knowing she would never be his choice. 

 

Diana Fowley had almost caused the end of their partnership.  She had almost ended Mulder’s life with her betrayals.  Once Mulder had been rescued and the details of Diana’s involvement with his hospitalization and subsequent kidnapping were discovered, Deputy Director Cunningham, himself, stepped in and was instrumental in building the case against her.  Only her death kept her from going to prison.

 

None of that seemed to have fazed Mulder because there he was with that woman, looking like reunited lovers for everyone to see.

 

~

Scully didn’t know how she made it home because everything was a blur.  Her mind was running at a furious pace.  This was the last of too many betrayals. Mulder was lying to her, cheating on her and she didn’t even know how long it had been going on.  Could Mulder have known Diana was alive before his abduction?  Was he seeing her, involved with her when they tried the IVF?  When they made a miracle?  He’d made Scully feel so loved then that she almost forgot he wasn’t in love with her.  That she was only a substitute.

 

Scully hated to think it but she knew that he’d chosen Diana over her and their child.  She sat back in the car seat and inhaled deeply and let out her breath slowly.  Mulder had made his decision and it was time for her to face the reality of it.  She placed her hand on her abdomen and rubbed.  She smiled at the response her action elicited from the tight quarter’s occupant.  Speaking softly she said, “I suppose we need to get busy, we have a lot to do.”

 

~

Scully entered her apartment and headed straight to her bedroom, pulled her suitcase out and started to pack as quickly as her swollen body would allow. 

 

No one knew for a fact that Mulder was the father of this child and nothing less than a DNA test could prove it.  With Diana Fowley back in the picture she doubted Mulder would bother.  No, he would be thrilled not to have the baggage.  It would make his and Diana’s life easier not to have a messy baby in the way.  Besides, Diana Fowley didn’t impress her as being particularly maternal.

 

Scully knew to hedge her bets with an escape plan. If for some reason, Mulder did pursue paternity, she and her child would disappear.  She picked up the phone; she had work to do and a short time to do it in.

 

~

Frohike, Byers and Langly busied themselves with her requests.  While Byers and Langly were at her computer setting up a false identity, Frohike went back to Gunmen Central to pack for them.  The men had hurried themselves to her side, without question, when she called. 

 

When Dana told them what she’d seen, the trio was incensed and Byers, of all people, had to be restrained from going after Mulder.  It was Frohike who took charge, telling the others not to waste time and energy on revenge.  They needed to focus on the issues at hand. He told the others to start establishing Scully’s new identity so it would be in place immediately.  He then startled them all by telling them to create IDs for the three of them too.  “I’m not letting you out there by yourself.”  He turned to the others for confirmation and they both nodded.  Scully was ordered to go lie down.

 

Scully watched the ceiling, trying to calm her nerves.  Even without Mulder she had to consider herself blessed.  She had her family and they had been very supportive, even Bill.  She also found out what terrific friends she had.  Besides the three misfits who adopted her as their own, there was Skinner, Doggett and Monica.

 

Those two gruff men had become very protective of her and the baby.  They, along with the Gunmen, had become surrogate uncles to her unborn child.  She wasn’t supposed to know but Skinner had set up a trust fund for the baby.  While Doggett kept buying little stuffed toys until she had to gently put a stop to it out of pure desperation for fear that with all the toys there wouldn’t be room for her and the child. 

 

Monica had become her surrogate sister and they spent long hours talking and planning.  It was Monica who took her shopping for her first maternity outfit.  Scully had been mortified and the memory still made her blush.  ‘Come on, Dana.  The days of oversized smocks and muumuus are gone.  Today’s young professional pregnant woman is ‘sassy and sexy’!  Time to show a little skin, maybe a cropped tee shirt to show off that beautiful big belly.’  Gosh, she reminded her of Missy.

 

If she had to leave she would find a way to stay in touch with everyone she left behind.  Everyone except Mulder.

 

The phone interrupted her musings.  Byers and Langly were at her bedroom door before she had a chance to answer it.  She decided to use the speakerphone. “Scully.”

 

“Hey, Scully, it’s me.  Sorry it’s such short notice but I have to cancel tonight, something’s come up.”

 

“Yeah right,” she couldn’t disguise the disgust in her voice. “That’s fine, Mulder, in fact it’s expected.”

 

Mulder couldn’t miss the tone and harsh words.  “What’s that supposed to mean?”

 

“Nothing, Mulder, it’s just you’ve cancelled every time this week.”  She sighed attempting to regain her composure before continuing.  “Listen, I’m sorry.  I guess I’m just a little tired.  I’ve got to go.”

 

“Scully, I can put off what I was going....”  She didn’t let him finish.

 

“No, Mulder, I’m not up for anything tonight.  You just go ahead and do whoever you planned.” She didn’t even notice the slip but Mulder caught it.  “Now I really have to go.”  Dana Scully said the one thing they had never done in their history, “goodbye, Mulder.”  Tears were teasing her eyes and the duo retreated to give her some privacy.

 

Mulder looked at the phone; he’d heard the snide comment that sounded like ‘whoever’ but let it go.  He decided he better go and see her, he had been ignoring her all week.  He turned towards Diana and she asked, “Fox? What is it?”

 

“Diana, I have to go, I’m sorry but I, well, I just need to go.  I’ll call you tomorrow.” 

 

Diana grabbed his arm and stopped his escape.  “I may not be here tomorrow,” she said.  Mulder sat back down.  He’d call Scully in the morning; it was time for him to come clean.  They continued their conversation, the same one they’d had all week since Diana had shown up at his door last Saturday.  She’d told him how she had to fake her death just to survive; she spent the last year gathering evidence about the consortium and the invasion.  Members, dates and places; all the time he sat there listening something gnawed at him, something about Scully.

 

Byers and Langly had finished setting up new identities, so Langly amused himself by checking into Diana Fowley’s activities. What he found was unsurprising – she was stringing Mulder along. The gnawing question, however, was “Why?” He printed out three copies of what he’d found: one for them to keep, one for Skinner to use at the Bureau, and one for Skinner to give to Mulder. Frohike chose that moment to enter the apartment, with Monica, Doggett, and Skinner right behind him. Monica went into the bedroom to talk with Dana, while the men conferred in the living room.

 

“Here’s the information we found on Diana. This is your copy, to get FBI warrants and searches happening. The other copy is for Mulder, for when he starts screaming that Diana’s innocent.” Byers told Skinner.

 

 “How soon before you leave?”

 

Dana’s response came from the hallway. “Right now. Monica’s coming with us, to help me out. Guys, is everything set?”

 

“Yep. Have you called your mom?” Frohike asked.

 

“Let’s just say that I’ve had simpler conversations with her. I promised I’d call her when we were settled. I can’t take the chance that she’d let slip where we are to Mulder. Mom doesn’t believe that he’s gone back to Diana, and keeps saying that I’m the one he loves. Walter, when you think he’s ready, give him this from me. Just give us at least twelve hours head start, okay?” Dana said as she handed Skinner an envelope with Mulder’s name written on the front. “I’ll miss you both, but we will stay in touch.”

 

She hugged both Skinner and Doggett, and Doggett said quietly to Dana, “just let me know when I can kick his ass, and I’ll do a proper job of it.” Dana smiled sadly, looked around her apartment, and they filed out with their bags.

 

 10 A.M. the next morning.

 

Mulder walked into the office late – Diana had kept him talking until well after 2 A.M., and then insisted he crash at her place. He had overslept, but now he wanted to catch up with Scully, and take her to task over her attitude of the night before. The office seemed quite empty – no Scully or Reyes, and Doggett wasn’t in, although his things were. Mulder was about to pick up the phone when Doggett entered the room. Mulder felt a weird vibe coming from Doggett, so he asked him if he knew where Scully was.

 

“No, Agent Mulder. I haven’t seen her today. I didn’t think I would, though – Dana started her maternity leave yesterday. She was forced to, by her doctor.”

 

Mulder immediately picked up the phone, and dialed Scully’s cell. No response, so he called her home number. The automated voice let him know that the number was no longer in use.

 

“What aren’t you telling me, Agent Doggett?”

 

“Nothing, Agent Mulder. If you want to know more about what’s going on with Dana, maybe you should talk to A.D. Skinner.”

 

Mulder said nothing, but picked up the phone and dialed Maggie Scully’s number. When she picked up, Mulder started to ask about Dana, but Maggie cut him off: “How could you, Fox? Dana needs you, and you run off after your ex-wife?”

 

Maggie, how”, but she cut him off again. “Dana’s gone, Fox, and I don’t want you calling me right now. I’m too angry at what you’ve done. You’ll have to get sympathy from your ex, not me.” The phone at the Scully home was hung up, leaving Mulder perplexed. He aimed a look at Doggett, who simply shrugged, and kept on working.

 

“What does Mrs Scully mean by Dana’s gone, Agent Doggett?”

 

“Like I said, Agent Mulder, talk to Skinner.”

 

“Talk to me about what, agents?”

 

“Where Scully is, and why she’s gone?”

 

“I’ll trade information. I’ll find out where Dana is, if you’ll tell me where Fowley is hiding out.” Skinner growled.

 

“Diana’s got nothing to do..”

 

“Stop right there, Mulder. There are active arrest warrants out for Diana Fowley, and you do not want to push me on this. Unless, of course, you’d like to join her in a federal prison for aiding and abetting a wanted felon.”

 

“But Diana’s risking her life..” Once again, Skinner cut him off.

 

“Fowley isn’t risking her life, she’s playing you. The Gunmen found this information, and wanted me to give it to you when you were ready to listen. I can see that you’re not, but you can read this anyway. Now, where is she staying?”

 

Mulder grunted out the address in Arlington, and Skinner was back out the door, but not before telling Doggett to make sure that Mulder didn’t contact Fowley. Slumping back into his chair, Mulder opened the file. As he read, the scope of Diana’s duplicity became obvious. Large deposits to various bank accounts, all meticulously linked back to Diana or her aliases. The fake death certificate. The bogus burial. Mulder could not believe that he’d been taken in so easily.

 

Doggett looked over at Mulder, and quietly said, “Why is it that you trust this Fowley woman so easily, but you make Dana work for your trust on a daily basis? Hell, you even trust Monica and me more than you do Dana.”

 

Mulder couldn’t answer – the enormity of his screw-up was just beginning to be apparent to him. He had once again tossed Scully aside on little more than a promise of information, and that it was Diana, who Scully had never really trusted, added to the injury.

 

“Makes you wonder why Fowley came back, doesn’t it?” mused Doggett. “What is she really after?”

 

“Did Scully leave anything for me?”

 

“Skinner has it. You’ll have to wait for him to get back from the bust.”

 

“The guys can help me find Scully”, Mulder said as he picked up the phone again.

 

“Actually, they can’t. They went with her, to protect her and her baby.”

 

“I’ve got to find Skinner.” As Mulder moved toward the door, Skinner’s assistant, Kim, knocked. “A.D. Skinner wanted me to give you this, Agent Mulder.” Kim seemed a little cool towards Mulder, and he shivered. It was Dana’s letter.

 

“Mulder,

 

I saw you with her in Casey’s yesterday, and all I could think was that I cannot come second in your life any longer. I deserve better than that, and so does our child.

 

I know, however, that you are drawn to her, so I’m conceding to her. I will raise our child in a loving environment, I promise you that. I can’t be the consolation prize any more. I’ve spent our entire time together being second – to the X-Files, to Samantha, to all the women, to every informant and every false lead. It stops now, before I grow to hate you.

 

I love you more than I can express, and so I release you from this relationship. Be happy, Mulder. You deserve to be. I’m just saddened that you don’t want to find your happiness with me.

 

Forever,

 

Dana”

 

“Help me find her, John. I need her…”, Mulder choked out through his tears.

 

“I can’t – I don’t know how. Wait for Skinner, maybe he can help.”

 

 ~

 Monica Reyes walked out of the front door onto the porch that faced the beach. She mused out loud, “How did the guys ever find this place for you, as well as the one next door for them?”

 

Dana Scully smiled softly, and replied, “I don’t ask, and they don’t tell. I’m just grateful to them – they know that I love the water, and it’s quiet here, which is a bonus.”

 

“Yes – a mile out of Port Elizabeth, and not that far to Portland when you need the hospital. It’s really very soothing here.”

 

“Please, Monica, no whale song today. I really appreciate you taking the time to come and help me settle in. You have the new ID details, don’t you?”

 

Monica grinned. “Meghan O’Connell, recently widowed, and her cousin John Major, both from Virginia. Mel Hoover, from Pennsylvania, and Richie Valens, from California, John’s business partners in their internet security firm. I love the names! Hoover is obvious, as is Valens, but Major?”

 

“John Major was a British Prime Minister, so that fits in with the theme. I think it’s clever of the guys.”

 

“Dana, what are you going to do about Mulder?” Monica posed the question that both she and Dana had been avoiding.

 

“I don’t really know. I can’t go back until I have my emotions under better control. I’m already starting to look for other options as far as work goes – maybe an ME somewhere in Maryland, to be nearer to mom. Annapolis has a good setup, and there’s always work available with NCIS. I have an old friend who works there, and he’s always bugging me with how great his ME is, and wouldn’t I just love to work there?!” Dana laughed a little, then sobered. “In any case, I have 6 months of maternity leave, plus sick leave and vacation days that I can use before I need to make a binding decision. I have to put myself and my child first for once, so I can’t consider what Mulder might think. Besides, he’s made his choices, now I need to make mine. I can promise you that I won’t be hasty about it.”

 

Dana turned and looked at the ocean, blinking back the tears that threatened to fall. “I don’t think that I’ll be coming back to the Bureau, though – it would hurt too much. I’m going to give Jethro a call later.” She said softly.  Monica stepped up to her friend and embraced her tightly.

 

“It’ll all work out, Dana – you’ll be fine.” She thought for a few moments, and then asked, “Do you want me to go see your mom? You know, let her know that you’re okay, and settled in alright?”

 

“Please. Let Walter and John know as well. Mel will give you the new cell numbers that they’ve worked their magic on. That way, you can call me without anyone eavesdropping on the conversation, or being able to trace it.” Dana paused, then hugged Monica. “Don’t be a stranger, and drive safely.”

 

“Yes, mom!” came the laughing reply. Then Monica was gone, leaving Dana to ponder the events of the last twenty-four hours.

 

From the moment that Dana had seen Mulder with Fowley, her emotions had been going from hurt to anger to overwhelming sorrow and back. The only man that she could imagine spending the rest of her life with had deceived her, and all she wanted was space and time away from Mulder. Dana could not believe how she had allowed Mulder into her life and into her heart. Now, as a direct result, there was a child coming who most likely would not really know his or her father. She also knew that there would be no other man for her, so Dana needed to pull herself together, for her own sake as much as for her child. The last thing that Dana wanted or needed was to guilt Mulder into staying with her. There was no point, given that he didn’t want her. If Mulder wanted to be a part of Dana’s life, it would have to be because he really wanted to be, not out of a misplaced sense of duty, or a love that wasn’t there.

 

It had taken them close to twelve hours to cover what should have been a nine hour trip. They had taken hour-long breaks in Trenton, New Jersey, as well as Hartford, Connecticut, before a breathtaking early morning drive along the coast of Maine.  They had pulled into the driveway at about 7am, and all of them were glad to get out of the cars and stretch properly.

 

Frohike had contacted friends of his who owned several beach houses, and arranged to lease two adjacent cottages. Both had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, plus an open living area. Both had big front porches that opened on to the beach. It wasn’t too warm yet, and Dana was looking forward to gentle beach walks.

 

The guys had been great – helping air out the cottages, buying food, checking the furnaces, and generally doing all the things that need doing. Byers was sharing Dana’s cottage, to keep up the fašade of cousins. Frohike and Langly were next door, and had spent a large part of the afternoon setting up a smaller version of their DC headquarters. Monica had taken one look at the setup, and had christened it “Mini Me Gunmen”. The guys were suitably happy with the name. 

 

Dana looked at the delicate gold Celtic knot wedding ring on her left hand. It was exactly what she wanted to share with Mulder, and had a man’s gold Celtic knot ring that came as part of the set. She had no engagement ring – she felt that there was no need for it.

 

Frohike called out to Dana that dinner was now ready, and that the men involved were starving. With a last look at the water, Dana turned and went back into the cottage. There would be time for mourning the loss of Fox Mulder later.

 

~

Hoover building, two days later.

 

Monica Reyes stood beside Walter Skinner, looking through the one way glass into the interrogation room. Diana Fowley was seated facing the mirror, with John Doggett and Special Agent Keith Murray asking her questions. Agent Murray had been designated as the Deputy Director’s SAIC on the investigation, and it was amazing what Fowley was telling them about. She was giving names, dates, and places, and whenever she dropped a name, it was immediately followed up on by a hand-picked team of agents and researchers. It was this immediate follow up that was showing that all Fowley was doing was telling a pack of lies.

 

Skinner looked grimly at the scene. “If we didn’t have the information from the Gunmen, and the suggestion that Scully made to you about checking everything Fowley said, we’d be chasing our own tails right about now.”

 

Monica agreed with him, saying, “Dana figured it out while we were traveling, that it was the baby that Fowley is after. A naturally conceived human with a genetic immunity to the black cancer – if anyone could get a hold of the child, they’d stand to make a fortune in immunising interested parties.”

 

“Does Scully have any plans for keeping the child safe?”

 

“Dana has already begun synthesizing the antibodies from the baby’s DNA – in fact, she and the guys started that project about 4 months ago, while Mulder was still missing. Dana had so much to tell Mulder, but he was never really interested in listening to what she had to say.”

 

“Well,” Skinner grunted, “Mulder’s more of a fool than I’ve ever given him credit for. What’s Fowley saying now?”

 

Diana had started asking for Fox, and that she would only talk to Fox. Doggett nodded, and left the room to get Mulder. Five minutes later, as Mulder came into the room, Diana exclaimed,

 

“Oh, Fox! You’re the only one who understands me, and what I’ve been through! I’m doing this all for you, to protect your legacy.”

 

“What do you mean, Diana?”

 

“You need to get custody of Agent Scully’s baby. That way, you and I can protect it.”

 

“Scully would never go for it, Diana. This baby means more to her than you’ll ever know.”

 

“It’s half yours, Fox – you have as much right to it as she does, and we’ll be better guardians for it than she will.”

 

“What makes you think that I want anything to do with you? I know that you’ve been lying to me, about everything. Every last word you’ve said in these interviews has been false. Every time you said something, it’s been checked out, and it’s all lies. So, tell me, why the hell should I believe you about this?”

 

“Because I love you, Fox, and this child will be the saviour of the human race.” Fowley could see that she had Mulder’s attention with that comment. “It is naturally immune to the black cancer, and so has been attracting a lot of attention. She can’t protect it – but you and I can. You need to trust me on this.”

 

“Trust you? I’ll never trust you. Scully has been right about you all along, and I’ve been a fool to follow you. Never again. Never again.” He rose, and started towards the door. “And, Diana? If you ever want to see the outside of a cell, I suggest that you start co-operating with these nice agents. I don’t want to see you ever again.”

 

Fowley’s voice followed him out the door, “I gave you a chance, Fox, to be a hero and a leader. They’ll take the baby anyway, and your precious Scully will have nothing – not a baby, and not you, because I’ll get you back!” Mulder pulled the door closed, and leant against the wall with his eyes closed. As he was thinking about what Fowley had said, and once again berating himself for his willingness to trust Fowley, he heard Monica talking to someone.

 

“….you were right about the baby, Dana.” A pause, then, “I’m going to visit your mom tonight. Do you want to talk with her while I’m there?” A longer pause, then Monica said, “Okay, Dana. Take care.” Monica hung up the phone, and turned around to bump into a wall of angry Mulder.

 

“You know where she is, don’t you?”

 

“Yes, Agent Mulder, I do, but I’m not at liberty to divulge that information.” Monica replied to Mulder, who was getting angrier by the minute.

 

“And why would that be, Agent Reyes? I am still nominally Agent Scully’s supervisor, and as such I need to be aware of her general location.” Mulder’s voice had become dangerously low, and Monica could not resist a jab at him.

 

“Agent Scully’s general location is within the continental United States, sir.”

 

“Cut the crap, Reyes – I need to know where Scully is. You know as well as I do that the Three Stooges can’t protect her, or her baby. Besides, the chip in her neck will lead the Consortium straight to her. I need to be with her!” Mulder’s voice had risen gradually, until he was just shy of shouting.

 

“What chip? Oh, you mean the chip that Dana removed shortly after the incident at Fort Marlene?”

 

“She what?!”

 

“For someone who claims to love Dana Scully, you really don’t listen to her very well, do you? Long story short, and I have heard the long version, the cancer wasn’t just in remission, it was gone. She went to the guys, and Byers removed it for her. They have it stored in its original packaging, in deionized water. Dana didn’t want to take the chance that she could be called again, and given what happened at El Rico, I’d say she made the right choice. Dana also went back to her doctor after she’d been to Africa, and there was no sign of cancer anywhere in her body at all. They can’t find her, which is why they sent Fowley back. They also knew that Fowley could fool you long enough for them to be able to take the baby, and kill Dana. That’s their ultimate aim, after all.” Monica was brutally honest with Mulder, and hoped that the enormity of what could possibly happen was finally getting through to him.

 

“How do you know that they want to kill Scully?” Mulder posed.

 

“Have you not been listening to what Fowley has been saying? She said that their plan has always been to get rid of Dana, any way they can. Has Fowley blinded you to the facts so much?”

 

“Tell me where Scully is!” demanded Mulder. Monica merely shook her head, and went to walk off. Mulder grabbed her arm to stop her, but dropped it when he saw the look of disdain on Monica’s face. She walked off down the hall, and got in the elevator.

 

 Mulder went back into the observation room to listen to what Fowley had to say. Skinner motioned to Mulder to come closer, and quietly suggested that he take the transcripts home, and read them over. “I think you’ll be surprised at what she’s coming out with,” Skinner said under his breath.

 

“Do you think Scully’s safe?” Mulder asked, and Skinner nodded. Mulder had a great deal to think about, so he bid Skinner goodbye, and headed out.

 

~

Some hours later, Baltimore.

 

Mulder had been surveilling Maggie Scully’s home for the last two hours, hoping to catch Monica Reyes as she left. While waiting, he’d put the time to good use by reading the transcripts Skinner had given him. The scope of the Project was incredible, and it had become more obvious that Fowley was deep in the dirt with Cancerman. It was also obvious that they really didn’t know where Scully was.

 

He had the feeling that Reyes would call Scully after seeing her mom. Finally, about 8 pm, he saw Monica leaving Maggie’s home, so he quietly got out of his car to intercept her. He waited until Monica had pulled out her cell phone, dialed the number, and had started talking to his Scully when he grabbed the phone from her hands and said, “Don’t hang up, Scully. We really need to talk.”

 

“Why, Mulder? You’ve had weeks to talk to me, and you’ve done all you can to avoid even being near me, so what makes it different now?’ replied a very angry Dana Scully.

 

“You left me…” he started, but Dana quickly cut him off with her response. “Because you left me first, Mulder. You left me, emotionally as well as physically, to be with your ex-wife. Have you any idea how that made me feel?”

 

 “But, Scully, you’re the only one I trust – you know that!”

 

“I don’t know that at all, Mulder. What I do know is that every time she shows up, I end up being tossed aside like yesterday’s news.”

 

“But I need you…”

 

“And why would that be, Mulder? You’ve found out that the guys and I were right about Diana Fowley, and now that she’s in custody, you want Old Faithful back? Not this time, FOX. You’ve hurt me for the last time. I may as well tell you that I won’t be coming back to the Bureau after the baby’s born. A friend of mine at NCIS has arranged for me to work with him at Annapolis, as a medical examiner. You won’t have me to push around any more.”

 

Dana’s voice was clogged with angry tears as she let the feelings of loss out. “Do you want to know what I had planned for last week? You know, the night I saw you in Casey’s with Fowley? I had arranged a special meal for the two of us. I was going to have us find out what our child’s sex was, so we could find out together. And then, I was going to give you a ring, and ask you to marry me. I’m glad I saw the two of you at the bar, because I couldn’t have handled your polite refusal, or your laughter at my stupidity. I don’t know why I ever thought that I could take Diana’s place in your life. Second prize Scully, that’s me.”

 

Mulder was truly astonished at what Dana had revealed about herself, and her perceptions of her intrusion into his life. He was grasping for words, and finally was able to choke out to her, “But I love you, Scully, more than I can express.”

 

“That is total crap, Mulder. I know that I’m not your type. At least you got me into the sack, and got me pregnant. I will always be grateful for our child, and that you put aside your usual tastes for a little while.”

 

“Listen to me, Scully, I know that Diana is a fraud – I saw a side to her today that I didn’t know existed.” He thought for a moment, and then continued, “No, I knew it was there, I just chose to ignore it. You and the guys were right all along, and I should have listened to you.”

 

“It’s too late now, Mulder. I never gave you any reason to not trust me, but you had me jump through hoops time and again. I worked hard for you to trust me, every day of our partnership. Yet the few times I needed you to listen to what I was saying and accept it, you wouldn’t. I can’t find it in me to trust you, now.” Dana sobbed, and then groaned in pain.

 

“Scully, what’s going on?” Mulder asked, only to have John Byers answer.

 

“Mulder, give the phone back to Monica right now.”

 

“No. You tell me where you are, and I’ll give the phone back to Monica. Otherwise, no deal.”

 

“Fine,” said Byers, and he disconnected the call. Monica looked at Mulder in disbelief. Mulder stood there, head bowed, trying to get the phone to redial the last number.

 

About a minute later, Maggie Scully came out of her front door, and beckoned to Monica. Monica went over to her, and Maggie explained what was going on.

 

“Dana’s gone into labor, and the boys are taking her to the hospital. They want both of us to go to Dana, and Melvin said that everything will be at the commuter desk at BWI. Do you know what that means?”

 

Monica smiled tightly, and explained to Maggie while escorting her back into her house, away from Mulder.

 

“The guys have set up fake identities, for all of us. I have yours with me, just in case of a situation like this. I’ll explain more in the car on the way to the airport. Go pack some things, and we’ll go.” Monica’s cell began to ring. It was Skinner.

 

“Agent Reyes, I just got a call from Frohike, and he said that you might need some help.”

 

“Yes, sir. I’m taking Maggie to Dana now, and I need you to stop Mulder from following us. Dana really doesn’t want him involved.”

 

“I’ve just given Baltimore PD Mulder’s licence plate, and told them that he is needed back at the Hoover building ASAP.”

 

“Thank you, sir. I’ll call you when I have news.” Monica responded as she started her car. As she looked in her rear view mirror, she saw Mulder shake himself, and get into his car, scanning for Monica’s location. She also saw the flashing lights of an approaching police car, and quietly thanked Frohike and Skinner for being so aware of what was necessary to prevent Mulder following her and Maggie to the airport. She pulled away from the kerb, and her final view of Mulder was the Baltimore PD escorting him in the opposite direction.

 

~

Portland Hospital.

 

Monica and Maggie walked up to the information counter, and Monica asked, “Meghan O’Connell’s room, please.”

 

“And you are…” the clerk asked.

 

“Marion O’Connell, Meghan’s sister-in-law, and Meghan’s mother, Pat Mullaney,” Monica responded, while the two of them produced identification.

 

“Room 303, West wing. Thank you for your understanding,” replied the clerk.

 

As the two women left the information counter, Maggie turned to Monica and remarked, “I’m not sure about all this cloak-and-dagger stuff. Are you sure it’s really necessary? Who are we protecting Dana from?”

 

“Meghan, Mrs Mullaney, and you know a little about what has happened in the past. But, right now, this is about stopping Mulder from finding Meghan. His ex-wife is looking for Meghan so that she can take the baby, and have Meghan killed.” Monica explained in a low voice as they walked along. “Here we are, room 303,” as Monica knocked on the door before opening it and entering to find the guys gathered around Dana’s bed.

 

“Mom,” said Dana, “you made it.”

 

“Of course, baby girl. Where else would I be when you need me?” was the gentle response.

 

“So, Meghan, what’s been happening?” asked Monica. Dana looked sheepish, and said, “Early labor, brought on by stress due to having a shouting match with one Fox Mulder. The doctors here have managed to stop it, but I’ll be in here for at least a couple of days. The guys have been real troopers, particularly while I was screaming in pain.”

 

Frohike took up the tale. “John heard Meghan shouting, and wondered what Marion could have done to upset her so much. Then he realized just who was on the other end of the phone, and was moving in to stop the conversation when Meghan collapsed in agony. We were lucky to not catch any traffic – the pains were seven minutes apart when we rolled in, and five minutes when the doctors got it to stop. Don’t worry,” he said to Maggie when he saw her shocked expression, “that little guy in there is a good kid. He figured out that his mom needed him to stay put for a little bit longer.”

 

“You’re having a boy, Meghan? Fox deserves to know that he’s having a son,” Maggie said.

 

“Please, mom, not now. You know some of the reasons why, and Marion and the guys can explain everything else to you later. Now, the nice nurse obviously wants to kick you all out, so that Patrick and I can get some sleep,” Dana responded sleepily. “John, would you stay a little longer, please? Mel, you, Richie, and Marion can take mom back to the house and fill in the blanks for her.”

 

Monica and Maggie kissed Dana, and Langley and Frohike hugged her tightly. “We’ll see you in the morning, Megs,” said Langly on behalf of them all. With a wave, they were gone.

 

“Now, Mrs O’Connell, you need to rest. Your cousin can stay a little longer, but then you and Junior need to go to sleep,” the nurse reminded her.

 

“Thank you, Nurse Simmons. Just a few minutes more,” was Dana’s response. The Nurse nodded, and left the two of them together.

 

John Byers waited until the nurse had closed the door, then spoke up. “Dana, your mom’s right. Mulder does deserve to know that he has a son. It may be what he needs to help him get his act together.”

 

“Don’t you see, John? I want Mulder to want to be with me because he loves me, not because of the baby, or because Fowley’s unavailable. Why can’t you understand that?” Dana sighed, then continued softly, “I know that you were Mulder’s friends first, and I will always be grateful to all of you for everything that you do for me, but when does it become about me, and how I feel? All I can see is that Mulder only wants me because he can’t have Fowley, or so he can have the baby. You heard about what Fowley told him, about the baby, right? I can’t risk me any more, and I can’t risk Patrick. Mulder will only be around until the next lead, or the next informant, or the next Mulder babe. I can’t take the chance any more.” Dana had tears in her eyes by the time she finished talking.

 

“Okay, Dana. We’ll play it your way for now, but can I at least let Mulder know about Patrick? Nothing else, just that?” Byers asked softly. Dana nodded, the tears trailing down her cheeks. Byers kissed her forehead softly, then rose and left the room, leaving Dana alone with her jumbled thoughts and feelings.

 

~

One week later, Washington DC.

 

Fox Mulder dragged into the X-Files office in the same way he had every other morning. He was looking more bedraggled every day, as his betrayal of Scully and their relationship, and what he was now missing out on, became clearer to him. As he opened the door, though, he noticed Monica Reyes was back at her desk.

 

“Agent Reyes,” he said softly, “Can you please tell me, is Scully alright? Is the baby okay? Please, I really would like to know.”

 

Monica took in Mulder’s sad appearance, and smiled gently at him. “Dana and the baby are fine. She was released from hospital a couple of days ago, and is resting comfortably. It was good for Dana to see her mom. Don’t worry, Agent Mulder. The guys are taking good care of her.”

 

“But it should be me taking care of her, not the guys. Is there any way I can contact her?”

 

Monica paused, as she recalled the heated argument that had taken place 48 hours earlier. Maggie and the guys felt that Mulder deserved to know more about the baby, where Dana was just as adamant that she couldn’t risk her feelings, or her baby, to Mulder’s capriciousness. Eventually, Dana had turned to Monica, and asked her opinion. When Monica had suggested that maybe Mulder was starting to see how poorly he had treated Dana, and that maybe one more effort be made, Dana had grudgingly acquiesced. Dana had, however, made it plain that any contact was to be on her terms, and that Mulder would need to prove himself to her before anything more than mild friendship would be forthcoming. Monica was to be the judge of Mulder and his feelings, and right now, Monica felt that there was hope.

 

“If you want, I can give you a safe email address that you can use. It’ll give you access to the guys as well as Dana. One word of advice, though.”

 

“Anything, you name it,” was Mulder’s eager response.

 

“Quit calling her Scully. She hates it, because she knows it’s one of the many ways that you use to distance yourself from her. Her name is Dana, so start using that. And let her call you Fox – every other breathing female does, with your consent. You can’t even begin to realize how much that one thing has hurt Dana.” Monica seemed to consider her next words very carefully before asking, “How do you really feel about Dana? She is so uncertain about how you feel, and where you are coming from.”

 

“I know you probably won’t believe me, but I love her more than my own life. This time without her has been tearing me apart, and knowing that I caused this separation makes it so much harder for me. Fowley suckered me, and played on my need to know. I can now say without any hesitation that Scu…I mean, Dana is my future. I need her…” Mulder choked out before being overcome with emotion.

 

Monica moved over to where Mulder was slumped in his chair, and placed her hand on his shoulder. “Telling her what you’ve just told me would be a good start. Here’s the email address. Would you like to be at the birth?”

 

“Is that going to be safe? I mean, it’s likely that I’ll be tailed if I go anywhere near Sc…Dana and the baby.”

 

“I think that I can help you with that,” came a welcome voice from the door.

 

“Frohike? Aren’t you supposed to be guarding Sc…Dana?” was Mulder’s response, even as he stood to embrace his old friend.

 

“We’ve been in touch with Skinner, and using his contacts, I’ve just come from a meeting with Krycek. A deal has been made that will guarantee Dana and the baby’s safety.” Frohike explained.

 

“What deal?” asked Mulder, looking askance at Monica. “Did you know about this? No matter, tell me about this deal.”

 

“The deal is this: we’ve given them samples of the antivirus, as well as its DNA codes and the molecular structure, plus after the birth, we’ll give them samples of both the cord blood and the baby’s blood. In return, Krycek will see that the antivirus is made freely available, plus Dana and the baby will never be touched.” Frohike was quite pleased with himself as he described the deal.

 

“Are you sure you can trust Krycek? What guarantees can he possibly give?” Mulder was anxious to know.

 

“Krycek wants two things – to have the power, and to be rid of Diana Fowley. He also said that Dana is the one they’re really afraid of, and if leaving her alone will help her to stay out of the game, then she’ll be left alone. She has already said that she’ll only become involved again if Krycek doesn’t keep his end up. Besides, Dana’s patented everything to do with the antivirus, so she’s going to become one very wealthy woman – along with LGM Enterprises, of course.” Frohike was quite satisfied with himself. “You know us, man – we keep copies of copies, and everything is all set to go on the web if he screws us over. And he knows it, too.” He finished smugly.

 

The mood in the office had lightened considerably with Frohike’s arrival and news. Mulder was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel at last.

 

~

Three weeks later, Port Elizabeth

 

Dana was sitting on the front porch of the cottage, looking out at the waves gently reaching the sand. In her arms was one William Patrick Mulder, who had checked in six days earlier weighing seven pounds eleven ounces, and 21 inches tall. He had blue eyes and reddish hair, and looked somewhat like his proud father, who was sitting on the porch steps.

 

“I really appreciate you letting me be at Will’s birth, Dana. It means so much to me that I could be there with you and for you.” Mulder said, trying to convey with his words and tone that he was genuine. “You did a great job – all I had to do was watch you push him out. Thank you.”

 

“It was only right that you were at our son’s birth,” Dana answered calmly. “It doesn’t mean that I’ve gotten over how you treated me.”

 

“I know that, but I’m going to spend the rest of my life proving to you that you and Will are the number one priorities in my life. Just tell me I have a chance, please?”

 

“Of course you have a chance. I told you that I love you more than I can express, and I meant it. But, you have to be willing to be here because you want it, not out of guilt. I can’t handle being second – I need to come first in your life.”

 

“I’ll give you the empirical evidence of just how important you are to me. You were serious about NCIS, right?” At Dana’s nod, Mulder smiled and said, “well, it’s a good thing that I put a down payment on a beachfront townhouse in Annapolis, isn’t it?” At her shocked look, he quietly asked, “Did you also mean what you said about proposing?”

 

Dana smiled, in spite of herself. Same old Mulder, needing to be reassured. “Yes, Mulder, I meant that, too.”

 

“Fox.”

 

“What?”

 

“Dana, I want you to call me Fox. I’ve spent so much of our time together being an ass, and I want us to begin building something better. What more significant thing can I do, than to have you use my name.”

 

“Don’t think that I’m going to be easy this time.” Dana reminded Fox. “You have a lot of hurt to make up for, and I won’t let you hurt Will,” she said as she gazed at the sleeping infant. When she looked up, it was in time to see Fox kneeling at her side.

 

“Then let the making up commence,” he said as he leant in to softly kiss her lips.

 

The End

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