TITLE: Surreal Thing
AUTHOR: Invisivellum
EMAIL: invisivellum@hotmail.com
ARCHIVE: Yes, freely
CATEGORY: V
KEYWORDS: MSR, Mulder POV
RATING: R for language and adult situations
SPOILERS: Requiem. Actually, the entire series, up to and
including Season 7

SUMMARY: Mulder returns.

DISCLAIMER: The characters depicted in this work of fiction do
not belong to me. They are the property of Chris Carter, 1013

Productions and Fox, or some combination thereof.

FEEDBACK: Gratefully accepted and acknowledged.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: I just couldn't settle on a name for the baby
(and believe me, I thought about it). If you like, you can
find-and-replace your favorite name over the generic "X."
More notes at the end.

**

Surreal Thing by Invisivellum
 

To be honest, the first thing I noticed about Scully were her
breasts.

Let me amend that.  Technically, I suppose the first thing I
was aware of was her  voice in my ear, low and soft, calling
my name.

"Mulder?" I felt warm lips graze my forehead and smelled the
scent of her hair. "Good morning."

I cracked open one eye, but couldn't move or speak.  Though I
could see her, and feel her hand slowly stroking my arm, I
thought it might be another dream. I had so many dreams of
her.  In this one, Scully had evidently undergone breast
enhancement surgery.

The next thing I remember is another soft kiss and her voice
saying, "Good morning" again.

**

She wasn't there the next time I opened my eyes, though I
heard her voice echoing down the hallway from some other room,
mingled with the deeper tones of Skinner and someone else,
maybe Frohike.  Late afternoon sunlight streamed through a
wide, uncurtained window across from where I lay.  The light
dazzled and exhausted me and I closed my eyes -- for just a
moment, to rest.  Just before sleep overtook me, I thought I
heard a baby crying.

**

When I was able to open my eyes again, the light was gone from
the window, replaced by the soft yellow glow of a dimmed lamp
positioned somewhere behind me in the room. She was there,
sitting beside me on the edge of the wide bed and all I could
see were these plump, beautiful breasts, peeking out of the
top of a snug sweater.  She was leaning towards me and, I
swear, I could see cleavage for miles.  I thought to myself,
That can't be Scully, and went back to sleep.

**

Not that Scully doesn't have beautiful breasts. There's a
shirt she wears sometimes, a black one, cut low and square
across the top.  On several occasions, while spouting a theory
or arguing a point with her, I have stopped in mid-discourse
and abandoned the topic, my words trailing off as I closed my
eyes and walked away.  Maybe she chalks it up to my latent
attention-deficit disorder.  The truth is, I just can't think
straight when she wears that shirt.

When I opened my eyes the third time, struggling to regain
true consciousness, she was still there, still in that
sweater, and she was smiling down at me.  I saw my own hand,
forefinger extended, reach out and gently prod the tops of
those breasts.  I heard the smile in her voice when she said,
"I see you're feeling better." I blinked, stared up at her and
thought to myself, God, I hope this is real.

** It seemed real enough when, sometime later, I found myself
taking sips of water from a plastic cup.  I foolishly
attempted to breathe and drink at the same time, sending me
into a coughing fit and spraying Scully with drops of recycled
water.  Momentarily revived, I tried to speak. That brought on
another round of violent coughing spasms and my vision faded.

"Slow down, Mulder," I heard her say.

No, wait, I thought, I have to ask you a question.

**

She has told me, since, that I was in and out of consciousness
for the better part of three days after my return.  In some
ways it seems as though I lay in that state for years.  The
memories I have of those first few days are choppy,
fragmented, weird and hazy.

But I remember the first time I saw the baby.

Scully wasn't in the room this time when I awoke.  Lying on my
left side, facing the bare, dark window, I tried to muster the
strength to turn over on to my back.  It seemed the only
movement I could produce was a feeble plucking of my fingers
at the comforter draped over me. The room itself, or what I
could see of it, was not familiar at all.  It was not a
hospital room; I was sure of that.  I puzzled over it, for a
moment, giving up further attempts to make my body move.

My eyelids fluttered shut and I knew I wouldn't stay awake
long enough to see Scully  again, so I tried to call out for
her.  I must have made some sound, even if it wasn't exactly
what I was aiming for, because the shadows in the room jumped
and suddenly the broad-shouldered silhouette of Walter Skinner
was looming over me. His expression was grim, as grim as it
always is, and I thought to myself, Now what have I done?

The relentless pull of sleep was dragging at my eyelids when
Scully appeared at Skinner's side.  Propped on one hip was a
baby, eight or nine months old.  I squinted, but I couldn't
make any sense of that at all, and my world went dark.

**

I stopped struggling so hard to stay conscious.  It must have
been sometime on the third day when I woke up and saw Scully
on the bed beside me, leaning over the chubby baby and making
little noises.  She was smiling down at him, nodding her head
and carrying on a one-sided conversation as she efficiently
cleaned and diapered him.  Above the waving fists, I saw the
silky shine of reddish-blond hair, and the short, straight
nose.  It hit me, then, that the baby was hers.

Scully's baby? Grief crashed over me, disappointment so
powerful I thought I would stop breathing. Because I thought
to myself, Now I know this isn't real. Scully can't have a
baby.  This is just another fucking dream.

* *

I don't remember much.  There are flashes of intense pain.
Inhumanly quick movements.  White light, of course, glaring
down from above. Invasions of various bodily orifices.  The
usual.

I remember -- or I think I do -- that I kept the pain at bay
with memories of Scully. And, I'll be honest, fantasies of
her, too.  The agony of realizing that these latest visions of
her with a baby were merely figments of my imagination sent me
spiraling deeper into unconsciousness, where I kept my
favorite recollections.

I remember the first time I ever saw her in her bra and
panties.  Hell, how long had I known her then?  Two days?
Three?  Although I didn't think so at the time, in my memories
of her then she was just a  kid. Long hair and glasses,
smooth-faced, so sincere.

I remember the first time, in my bed. Waking up to the sight
of her removing her  jacket, while she fixed me with a look of
calm determination. Watching her lick her lips to the sound of
a zipper coming undone, I remember thinking to myself, Thank
you, Sandman, for sending such a fine, fine dream.

Once I realized it wasn't a dream, I remember trying --
somewhat feebly, I'll admit -- to slow her down, to give her
time to think.

"What would happen," I said, trying to sound reasonable and
calm.  "if we didn't go through with this?"

"Hm," she said, thoughtfully, letting her panties slip to the
floor. "Then I suppose Langley would owe Frohike a lot of
money."

I remember Scully laughing, not unkindly, at my fears in the
darkness of my room, shaking her head and shrugging out of her
blouse.  Talking to me about choices, and paths, and peace.

I remember the moment I first touched her, really touched her.
My hands were shaking and I didn't know where to start.  She
was so calm.  How could she be so calm?  I felt like a tornado
on speed, my blood pumping so fast and so hard.  I saw spots
before my eyes, I swear.  Little white spots danced in my
vision when she guided my hands to her breasts, and I felt
their soft, heavy weight in my palms for the first time.

**

These are the memories I trotted out when the pain was too
much to bear, when I had spent hours screaming like a wounded
rabbit, when I was exhausted but couldn't sleep.  Lying on the
floor, naked, listening to the sounds of others who were
experiencing the torment I'd just been through, I would clamp
my arms over my ears and think of Scully.  This is all I can
remember about my time away. I didn't learn anything useful.
Except maybe what it is to have a longing for home so strong
it makes you cry.

**

I remember how that first evening progressed. Every aching,
sweet moment of it is preserved in my mind for all time.  At
the critical point, with Scully astride my lap, her thighs
locked around my hips and her mouth on my ear, I was
overwhelmed. As the head of my cock touched home, I remember
saying, "I can't, I can't..."

And I remember -- very distinctly -- the sparkle in her eyes
and the quirk of her lips as she tilted her hips and pushed
slowly, inexorably downward, saying dryly, "The empirical
evidence at....ah....at hand...seems to indicate that you
certainly can." We shared a trembling laugh at that, a tender
kiss, a deeper kiss, and my eyes rolled back in my head with
sheer pleasure.  Even a top-of-the-line memory wipe can't
erase that.

What I was trying to tell her, what I couldn't quite manage to
say out loud, was that it had been too long, and I'd had too
many years of fantasies very near to this scenario, to hope
for any show of endurance. I was trying to say, "I can't not
come to orgasm immediately, Scully. Don't get your hopes up."

I remember the sound of my own voice, over and over, saying,
"Oh, God. Oh, God." Even to my own ears, it sounded like I
really meant it.  Maybe I did.

In fact, I think I was praying.  Praying to something.
Praying that this was not a mistake.  That she would not wake
up and regret it. That it wouldn't change things between us
forever.

In the gray light of pre-dawn, when she slipped out of my bed
and prepared to leave, I was afraid to open my eyes.  I could
hear her moving around in the bathroom, running the water.  I
stayed, like the coward I am, motionless on the bed until I
sensed her standing over me. Cracking open one eye, I silently
took in the fact that she was nude, gazing at me, and idly
brushing one finger over a rapidly-hardening nipple.  Both of
my eyes popped open at that point. She flashed me an impish,
un- Scully-like grin, and crawled back into the bed with me.
Half an hour later, I fell into a sated slumber and didn't
even hear her leave.

It's all like a dream now.  A distant, unreal dream that could
not possibly be true.  These things don't happen to me.  I
don't get what I want.

**

That's why I knew that I was only dreaming, when I saw her
there on the bed, with a baby.  A wish I would have made, if I
hadn't been sure it would backfire horribly, was for Scully to
regain her fertility.  The desire to give her back all that
she has lost has overtaken the need to keep her near me.

That's how I know that I really do love her.  I'm not the
least selfish person in the world, but in the months before my
abduction I came to the realization that I finally loved
Scully enough. . .

.. . . to let her go.

**

The baby woke me up.  I sat up abruptly, forgetting I wasn't
at home, in my own apartment.  The strange, heavy lethargy
that weighed me down for so many days was rapidly dissipating.
As I sat up in the bed and scrubbed my face with my hands, I
could hear the baby crying down the hall.  From there I could
see a faint blue light, from a television screen or a computer
monitor.  I saw shadows moving and knew that Scully was there,
just a few yards away.

I gazed around the small bedroom.  Frohike was asleep in an
old blue velour club chair by the door, mouth hanging open,
softly snoring.  A lamp in the corner gave off a dim yellow
glow through a dusty ivory paper shade.  The pink roses on the
comforter clashed with the boyish vertical stripes of the
ancient wallpaper.  I rubbed my eyes, still feeling a bit like
a dreamer, but much more alert than before.

I decided to stand up.

**

After Scully and Frohike finished putting me back in the bed,
when I was holding her slender body tightly in my arms and
gasping over her shoulder like a stranded fish, I saw Langley
at the end of the hallway, awkwardly accepting the baby from
Byers'  hands. As Byers came down the hall towards us, I
craned my neck to see past him. I wanted to see the baby
again.  I was afraid to ask for the details, but somehow I
knew it was Scully's child.

Once I was truly awake (a condition precipitated by my tumble
from the high bed), I rejected the dream-borne idea that
Scully had become magically fertile in my absence.  I realized
with a jolt that this child must be like Emily.  Questions
crowded my mind.

I was wondering how she'd found this child, and how long it
would live.

**

In my fantasies, Scully is much more demonstrative than I know
her to be.  I  imagined over and over what it would be like to
see her again. She would throw her arms around me, squeeze the
life out of me, kiss me repeatedly.  We would laugh and cry,
and kiss and kiss.

The reality was closer to the fantasies than I ever hoped.
When she wrapped her arms around my neck and I heard her husky
voice in my ear saying, "Mulder, thank God, thank God," I
squeezed my eyes shut and bit the inside of my cheek, trying
to assure myself that this time I was actually awake and back
among humans.

My ass hurt where I'd hit the floor, and I'd gouged a chunk
out of my elbow on the metal bed frame, but it felt like
heaven.  I couldn't believe it was over, and I was home.
Scully was real, and being uncharacteristically affectionate
in the company of others.

Frohike and Byers hovered at the foot of the bed for a moment,
but I suppose they decided that their hugs and kisses could
wait.  They disappeared down the hall when it became apparent
that Scully and I would be a while.

I know I must have hurt her, but I couldn't get her close
enough, my weakened arms couldn't hold her tight enough to
suit me. I wanted to lock my arms around her and throw away
the key.

When she kissed me, laughing, and her tears trickled between
our lips, the taste was sweeter than anything I've ever known.

**

"I saw a baby," I said, when I could pull myself far enough
away from her to look at her face. It came out sounding like a
question.  Scully hesitated a beat, then nodded and licked her
lips.  Suddenly nervous, she shifted in my arms.

"Where did you find him?"

She looked a little shocked.  At the time, I thought she was
impressed with my deductive skills, or my powers of
observation, or the fact that I was thinking clearly at all,
after everything I'd been through.

It seemed evident to me that the baby was somehow genetically
related to her.  Even the few glimpses I'd had thus far told
me that much and, knowing what I know, it didn't surprise me
that there might be others out there, waiting for us to find
them. "I didn't. . ." When she paused, weighing her words
carefully, I felt the first chill creep up my spine.

She withdrew from my arms, and took my hands in hers. "I
didn't find him, Mulder."

There was a long silence while several unlikely scenarios
played through my mind.  All of them seemed more plausible
than what she said next.

"I conceived him." Her words were stated carefully, her voice
soft.  Her blue eyes held mine, drilling the words home as
gently as she could. "I carried him, and I gave birth to him."

While my mouth worked soundlessly, trying to form a coherent
reply, she was pulling away from me, holding up a hand,
saying, Wait, wait.

**

When she brought the baby into the room, I wanted to preempt
her.

Just give it to me straight, Scully, I wanted to say.  Don't
soft soap it.  I wanted to know how, when, whose...

Mostly how.

I, of all people,  knew that she was completely, irrevocably
barren. Incapable of natural conception.  I couldn't work it
out in my confusion, and it all started to feel like a dream
again.

The red hair, the nose.  He looked like a Scully.  As she
seated herself cross-legged on the bed in front of me, with
the baby in her lap, I wondered how much time had elapsed.  I
studied Scully carefully, noting the absence of a wedding
ring, and the changes in her appearance.  Her hair was a
little bit longer and looked fuller, thicker. Years? Had I
been gone for years?

Then I remembered Scully telling me -- sometime in the minutes
after I'd attempted to escape the bed, when we were both
babbling -- that I'd been gone for fifteen months.  Fifteen
months.  I was trying to do the math, trying to figure out
what month it was when she spoke.

"This is X," she said quietly, looking from him to me.  Her
luminous blue eyes were bright. "He's...," her voice broke and
she pressed her lips together, gathering her thoughts.

"You gave birth to this child." I re-stated it, just for the
record, and met her eyes.  She gave me a short nod and shifted
him in her lap.

Before she could begin an explanation, fear spurred me hard in
the ribs and forced me to speak.  I was afraid to know how, or
with whom.  I babbled for a minute, staving off the
explanation; I don't even know what I said.  Something about
genetics, and boy, you're out of commission for a while and
miss all the good stuff.

Scully gave me a long, assessing look.  I pressed on, trying
to stay in control, feeling everything tilt underneath me.
"Scully, you can't — you couldn't —" my voice trailed off on a
high note. I cleared my throat and tried again.

"How, Scully?" Images came unbidden to my mind, of Scully and
some nameless, faceless, Other. "How did you get pregnant?"

I wanted to be happy for her.  Hell, I was happy for her.  I
was overjoyed for her, on one level.  On another level, I
could feel something under my breastbone crack and break.  I
was happy she had achieved this thing I would have given her
if I could, and filled with soul-searing sorrow that she had
done it without me. I doubted then, everything I thought was
true between us.

"In the usual way." She replied to my question softly and, I
thought, evasively.  Her eyes were cast down at the top of his
head.  She licked her lips and drew a deep, slow breath. "With
some help, I believe, from someone with the right science."

The baby was hopping in her lap, waving his fists up and down,
reaching for me.  Tentatively, I stretched out a finger.  He
took hold of it firmly and tried to draw it into his mouth.

I studied him carefully, letting Scully's words settle down
like rain upon me.  I knew that, if I stayed silent for a
moment, she would explain. I chewed on my lower lip and
focused on the baby.  He was still trying with all his might
to drag my hand closer to his open mouth.

I looked at his eyes.

I blinked, put my finger under his chin and tilted his face up
so I could have a better look. He raised fine reddish brows at
me and clamped his mouth down on the knuckle of my thumb.
Something about his eyes...

I think I stopped breathing.  The room was utterly silent, as
if we had all been plunged under water.  I stared at X
intently, noting his complexion, his mouth.  Long-fingered
hands, long feet encased in little white socks.

His nose, definitely Scully's. His hair, sort of like Bill's
on a good day.

But his eyes... His eyes were all mine.

I blinked rapidly and noticed, winking at me from the sleeve
of his white t-shirt, an emblem.  Dark blue, bright orange.  A
little basketball, with the stylized logo of the New York
Nicks.

**

"Scully?" I don't know how I spoke, because there was no
air in my lungs.

She waited, looking at me steadily.  I saw a tear trickle down
her cheek, linger at her jaw, and drop like dew on X's downy
head.

"Scully?" I said again, desperation and hope mingled in my
strangled voice.

"Mulder, I don't know where to start," she said, running one
of her hands carefully over the front of his body, smoothing
the soft cotton of his shirt against his belly.

He looked up and rolled his head, craning his neck to see her
face. She placed a kiss upon his brow and looked up at me.

Then she told me.  How, on the day of my abduction,  she
fainted.  How she found herself in the backseat of a car, with
Langley on one side of her and Frohike on the other.  How
Byers, at the wheel, refused to turn the car around.  She was
going to the hospital, they told her.  Too tired to fight
about it, and a little concerned herself, she acquiesced.

She told me about the hospital.  How she requested certain
tests, and was denied because of her "condition."  The
confusion that followed. The pregnancy test.  The second one.
And the third. How she trembled as she stared at the results.
How she ordered a reluctant Byers to go to the store and fetch
one of every pregnancy test on the shelf and bring them back
to her.

How Skinner reacted, with confusion at first, followed by hard
questions that she  refused to answer.  Ultimately, she told
me, Skinner came around, and was supportive and helpful.

Somewhere in her narrative, though at the time it hardly
registered, she told me the X-Files Division was closed, or at
least temporarily suspended.  By the time the auditors and
accountants cleared the decks, she was nearly five months
along, and without a partner.  She preferred to spend her time
with Frohike, anyway.  And, of course, with Byers, Langley,
and sometimes Skinner, trying to find me.  Quantico was glad
to have her, so she was able to pay the bills and continue the
search. Skinner declined to reopen the division without us.

In her seventh month, she realized she was being followed.
She found a listening device in her bedside lamp, near the
phone.  Another under the coffee table.  She realized they
didn't care if she knew.  On yet another trip to Bellefleur,
her motel room was broken into and vandalized.  Her laptop,
and all the papers she had with her, were taken.

Skinner, although he was no longer in a position to give her
orders, demanded she stop the search. In an angry
confrontation, he reminded her that the baby she carried was,
in essence, a Mulder, and therefore a target.  His arguments
knocked some sense into her and she accepted the Gunmen's
offer of sanctuary.

"Like something out of a science fiction novel," she snorted,
bouncing the baby gently on her knee. "Decoys and subterfuge,
hi-tech security devices, hideouts, safe houses. You should
have been there."

Yes, Scully, I should have been there.

She stopped, lowered her head and took a deep breath.

"Scully." My voice was hoarse.

I cleared my throat to try again, and then said to myself,
Fuck it. I put my hand around the back of her head and drew
her to me. We were always better at non- verbal communication
anyway.

X had a good portion of my crumpled t-shirt crammed in his
mouth when we finally parted. It was a welcome distraction,
and the few seconds we spent divesting him of his treat were
enough for me to catch my breath and start thinking.

As she lifted him up to reposition him, my arms went out of
their own accord.   She hesitated for a fraction of a second,
then wordlessly handed him to me.

There was so much to ask, so much I didn't know.  When was he
born? Where?  Was it a difficult pregnancy?  Was your mother
with you at the delivery? You weren't alone, were you? Sorrow
overcame me, for just a moment. What have I missed?

Some Scullyish part of my brain piped up and reminded me that
I was becoming emotionally invested very quickly, without
first checking my facts.  She still hadn't spelled it out for
me, and I guess I was waiting for it.  I wanted her to tell me
I was the father of her child. I looked from X to Scully, but
couldn't make myself ask the question.

"He's almost nine months old," she told me as I settled him
more comfortably in my lap.  He was heavier than he looked.
He gazed up at me curiously and put his fist in his mouth.  I
just stared at him, uncomprehending, really. Tears blurred my
vision and I realized I was silently shaking my head from side
to side, hope at war with disbelief. I fingered the logo on
the short sleeve of his t-shirt.

"He's mine." I tried to say it definitively, but it came out
in a whisper.

When she didn't reply, every cell in my body froze.  I
couldn't look at her.  Suddenly sick with the knowledge that I
had jumped to a very wrong conclusion, I was paralyzed.  Doubt
assailed me as I wondered what other man with hazel eyes (and
a high tolerance for being second guessed) had taken my place.

I finally managed to glance at her, prepared to see regret in
her eyes, maybe even pity.  Instead, she was smiling softly,
her eyes fixed on X as he tried valiantly to get a good grasp
on the corner of the comforter.

Where his short arms failed, he tried to compensate by
stretching his body over my supporting arm.  His mouth was
wide open, drool dangling from his lower lip.  Frustrated with
his lack of progress, he uttered a string of nonsensical
vocalizations, and tried to launch himself out of my arms. I
switched my grip and dragged the comforter to where he could
get his mouth on it.

"Scully?" I guess this time the doubt sounded in my voice,
because she snapped her attention back to me, and her eyes
lost their soft focus.

"Mulder!" I think she started to laugh, but she stopped
herself and reached a hand out to my face. "Oh, Mulder.  Of
course he is."

***

Scully has a few theories.  She also has several large manila
envelopes full of test results.  In the hours after my return
to the world of the conscious, she shared some of them with
me.  I listened as attentively as I could, but I was still
disconcerted.  And I was fascinated with X.

My son.

The thought made my head swim. I nodded as Scully informed me
that we were in Canada, in a house that had belonged to
Frohike's great-aunt.  I tried to pay attention while she
pointed out incomprehensible black smudges on large sheets of
plastic film.  I waited patiently while she went in search of
more envelopes full of carefully collected data. Ninety-five
percent of my attention, however, was focused on the wriggling
sack of oral fixation in my arms.

Anything within grasping distance went promptly into his
mouth.  At one point, when I leaned forward to stop Scully's
endless dissertation with a kiss, he tried to fasten on the
cloth-covered tip of her breast.

I watched, amazed, as Scully unfastened her clothing with one
hand and maneuvered him into position with the other.  His
questing mouth latched on to the dark-rose nipple and his eyes
fluttered shut as he concentrated on his work.  Scully's eyes
met mine and we exchanged some interesting non-verbal dialogue
while our son suckled at her breast.  It was, quite possibly,
the most surreal moment I have experienced in almost two
years.

**

Scully handed X to me in order to fetch a protective cloth for
her shoulder so she could burp him.  When she returned,
Frohike, Byers, and Langley trailed excitedly after her into
the room. I guess they'd been as patient as they could.

I sat there, cross-legged on the bed with X in my lap as they
gathered around and cracked wise about the baby, and my
disappearance.  I think I just sat there in a daze throughout
most of it.  I traded the baby to Langley for a tall glass of
orange juice and drank it down in one long swallow.

"Hey, Mulder," Langley said, disentangling his stringy hair
from X's mighty grip. "Scully made us his godfathers, did she
tell you that?"

I glanced at Scully, who gave me a wry look and shrugged.  She
took the baby from Langley and hiked him high over her
shoulder as she paced in short laps around the bed.

"He's a Knicks fan, buddy," said Frohike, confidentially in my
ear. "We made sure of that."

"Yeah, " I gave a short laugh and knuckled at my eyes. "Yeah."

**

Sometime later, deep night by the look of the lone window, I
opened my eyes to an empty room.  I had sprawled in my sleep
and kicked off the comforter.  Moving slowly, carefully, I
managed to maneuver to the foot of the bed and retrieve the
fluffy bedding from the floor.

Pleased with my newfound ability to walk, I took a few
cautious steps toward the door.  The muscles of my legs
quivered, but held.  I tossed the comforter onto the bed,
braced my hands on the walls of the hallway, and headed in the
direction of the flickering blue light at the end.

The living room was devoid of life.  I expected to see the
Gunmen sprawled asleep there, or crouching over computer
monitors in the darkness.  The computer monitors were there —
four of them, perched on card tables and end tables around the
room — but the chairs in front of them were empty, as were the
two sofas and the battered leather recliner in one corner.  I
peered curiously at my surroundings, taking in the layout.

I continued my cautious exploration of the front rooms, noting
a wall-mounted ironing board jutting from a tiny cabinet in
the dining room.  Its surface was littered with papers and
file folders, as was every available surface in the large,
old- fashioned kitchen.

I moved quietly through the dark house, feeling strength and
energy returning with every step.  It felt incredibly good to
walk again, to scratch my mundane itches, to breath and blink,
stretch and yawn.

The old house had obviously been cobbled together over a span
of many years.  Another hallway stretched away from the living
room opposite of the one I'd emerged from and, following it, I
found the bathroom.

I sighed with relief as I expelled what felt like several
years' worth of urine into the rust-stained bowl.  Using the
time to wonder how my bodily functions had been attended to
during my long sleep, I winced as I pictured Frohike -- or
worse yet, Skinner -- helping Scully with a bedpan or
catheter.  When I bent at the sink to wash my hands and face,
my reflection in the spotted mirror caught my eye.

Aside from a few days' growth of beard, and dark circles under
my eyes, I looked pretty normal.  I was thinner, perhaps, and
my ragged hair was long enough to flop over my forehead, but I
was otherwise unchanged.

Unchanged, except for the fact that I was now a father.

Snorting at the absurdity of my life, I fetched a thin white
towel from a hook on the back of the bathroom door and made
for the old, claw-footed bathtub.

**

Scully found me there sometime later.  When her cool hand
touched my shoulder, I started awake and thrashed around for a
moment, sloshing water onto the cracked linoleum and soaking
the little towel on the floor beside the tub.

"Jesus, Scully," I croaked, struggling to stand in the narrow
space.  I stood on trembling legs in the high bathtub, staring
down at Scully in her nightclothes.  She was wearing a little
satin short set, with a button-up top.  I marveled anew at her
enhanced bust line.

"Mulder, you're going to break your neck," she admonished,
reaching a hand out to steady me.  She helped me step out of
the tub, staggering a little as I put most of my weight on
her.  The air was cool, but the space between our bodies
warmed rapidly as I felt her belly pressing against the front
of my hips.  She held me for a moment, leaning slightly
backwards to examine my face.  One of her hands came up to
swipe at the water dripping from my face.

"You're wet," she said, unnecessarily. "Can you stand here
while I get you a towel?"

I didn't answer her, nor did my arms relax their hold around
her back. The momentary weakness vanished and I felt
invigorated.

"You're warm," I told her, running my hands up and down her
spine.

She made me stand in the cold bathroom while she rooted in the
hall closet.  Re- entering the room, she averted her eyes and
handed me a dry towel.

"Your brush with a higher intelligence hasn't improved your
habits much, " she said dryly, flushing the toilet I'd
neglected earlier.  She leaned down and retrieved the towel
from the floor and began wringing water from it into the
emptying bathtub.  "Get some clothes on, Mulder."

"Clothes?" I asked, running the dry towel over my naked body
as briskly as I could.  To my amusement, Scully was studiously
avoiding looking in my direction.  I considered making another
pass, but the air was too cool for comfort and my teeth were
beginning to chatter.  "Where are they?"

"In my room," she indicated a door opposite the entrance to
the bathroom.  "In the suitcase next to the bassinet."

Perplexed by her refusal to meet my eyes, I stopped and
waited.  She continued to look away from me, swiping at the
surface of the sink with the damp towel, as I wrapped the
other towel around my hips.  Decently covered, I hooked one
hand around her upper arm and pulled her to me.

She came, unresisting, into my arms and dropped her forehead
on my chest.  She was crying, very quietly, her tears mingling
with the residual drops of water from my impromptu bath.

"Scully," I murmured into her hair.  She smelled warm and
faintly sweet, like sleep with a hint of baby shampoo. "Why
are you crying?"

Her head shook slowly against my chest and she didn't answer.
I held her for a long moment, savoring the warmth of her body
against mine, the feathery tickle of her hair on my chest. Her
hands gripped my back and I could feel her struggling for
control.

After a few moments, where I absently stroked her trembling
back with my fingertips, I felt her plant a damp kiss on my
breast, just below the collarbone.  I squeezed her and kissed
her back, right on the ear.

"Scully?" I nuzzled her ear, placed a kiss just beneath it on
her neck.

She drew a shaky breath and expelled it.  "It's been so hard,
Mulder. I'm just...," she swallowed and pulled back to look at
me. "I'm just....relieved."

I nodded my understanding.  I didn't know all of the details,
but I had some inkling of the struggle the past fifteen months
must have been for her. I could clearly remember my own state
of mind when, early in our partnership, she'd vanished off the
face of the earth for three months. I hadn't had a mysterious,
miraculous pregnancy to contend with.  Nor a baby who might be
the target of malicious conspiracies, fantastic dangers no one
could prove.  I marveled at her ability to remain sane under
such pressure.

An idea first proposed by Scully, one I'd begun to seriously
consider before my abduction, resurfaced.  I looked down at
her, studying the fine lines at the corners of her eyes, the
faint trace of tears on her face, and felt my resolve harden.

We are getting out.

I could make arrangements. We could liquidate my assets and
disappear. With glib disregard for the details, I spun a
fantasy of the two of us -- make that three of us -- turning
tail and running for the hills.  We would go to Switzerland, I
thought. The Gunmen would help us.   I would take Scully and X
— I would take my family, I thought with some amazement -- and
drop off the face of the earth.

Fuck the aliens, fuck the Consortium, fuck it all. We would
just go somewhere and be normal.

Scully interrupted my thoughts with a kiss on my chin. "Go get
dressed," she said quietly.

Drawn back to reality, I recovered my wit. "That doesn't fit
in with my plans, Scully."  I nudged her suggestively with my
towel-clad hips.

She snorted and shook her head, pushing away from my chest
with the palms of her hands.  "Mulder, you can barely stand."

I ignored her, choosing instead to suck gently on the hollow
of her neck below her ear. "I wasn't thinking of standing all
the way through, though we could try..."

"Mulder, I have to pee," she whispered, clutching at my
shoulders with her fingers while I nibbled my way down her
neck.

"So, pee," I told her, going for her earlobe again. "I am not
leaving your sight."

She inserted the flat of her hand between my mouth and her
ear.

"You are leaving my sight long enough to let me pee in
private," she said firmly, pushing me towards the doorway.
"Go."

**

In the shadowy bedroom, with only the flimsy towel around my
hips, I stopped and stared at the bassinet.  Scully's bedroom
was larger than the one I'd been sleeping in, but furnished in
the same simple fashion. Aside from the old iron bed, there
was only a bedside table with a lamp and alarm clock on it,
and a wooden rocking chair next to the lone window.  It was
much warmer in here.

The bassinet was close to the bed, on the side away from the
door.  A large suitcase sat, wide open, on the floor beside
it, along with a few other bags and backpacks. I made my way
around the bed and peered into the small crib.

X was sleeping soundly on his back with his head turned to one
side. One plump fist was curled at the ready, millimeters away
from his mouth. His tiny chest rose and fell steadily with
every breath.  Forgetting about warm clothing, I sat on the
edge of the bed and leaned over the bassinet to watch him.

"So, you're a Knicks fan, huh?" I asked him softly.  The sound
of my strange voice made him stir and kick his chubby legs,
but he soon settled back into slumber.  Unable to resist, I
reached out and touched his sock-clad foot with a finger tip.
He drew his legs up in reflex and smacked his lips.

My son.

"I'll be a good father to you," I whispered, thinking of all
the ways in which I could improve upon my own father's
performance.  "I'll protect you."

In the darkness, I saw his eyes flutter.  He made a small
noise, a grunt.  His eyes fluttered again, opened, and fixed
upon me.  At the sight of my strange visage peering over the
edge of the bassinet at him, his face screwed up and he
emitted a cry.

The first feeble whimpers  turned insistent and I looked
anxiously over my shoulder at the doorway, wishing Scully
would appear and take over. X was drawing another breath when
I heard the toilet flush. I shushed him ineffectively and
looked at the doorway again.

C'mon Scully.  I scared the baby and woke him up.  C'mon,
c'mon.

I heard the squeak of the bathtub taps and the rush of water
into the tub and realized with a sinking feeling that Scully,
no doubt prompted by my amorous attentions, was following my
lead and taking a midnight bath.  The thought occurred to me
that she must really, really, really trust me if she felt
confident enough to leave me alone with a crying baby.

For a moment, I considered leaving him in his crib to cry
while I fetched Scully.  Instead, I found myself reaching into
the bassinet, pulling back the little knit blanket that
covered him, and lifting him in my arms.

"C'mon, buddy," I coaxed him. "I'm not that bad." I paced the
bedroom floor, repeatedly glancing at the doorway.

I had a revelation as I gave his bottom an awkward pat and a
strange, unpleasant scent assailed my nose.

****

X and I stood outside the bathroom door, listening to the
swish of water from within. "Uh, Scully?" I called, trying the
handle.

It was locked.  I knocked, exasperated that she continued to
be so modest with me.  Granted, we hadn't had much time before
my disappearance to grow nonchalant about certain intimacies,
but I seemed to recall several occasions upon which I was able
to count every freckle God had given her, some of which she
didn't even know she had.

The thought occurred to me that perhaps it wasn't modesty
provoking her to lock the door, but the desire to hide her
tears.

"Mulder, I'm bathing."

"Yeah, Scully, I know, but the baby is awake." I pressed one
ear against the door.

Instead of sniffles, I heard the smile in her voice when she
said,"He probably just needs a fresh diaper, Mulder. They're
in the bedroom, in the bag by the suitcase."

X was still wailing, emitting quite a lot of noise about two
inches from my left ear. I winced and shifted him so he faced
the bathroom door.  I held him forward of my body, close to
the door, so Scully would be sure to hear his angry cries.  I
stood there like that for a few moments, at a loss.  From
within came the placid sound of water lapping at the sides of
the tub.  My arms, not at the peak of their strength, began to
tremble. I settled X in the crook of one elbow and ran a hand
through my hair.

"Come on, Scully," I whined unbecomingly. I didn't want to
admit I'd never changed a diaper before.  She probably knew
that anyway.

"Mulder," she was trying to sound firm, commanding, but I
could hear the laughter that lurked underneath.  "Just change
his diaper and hold him. Rock him.  He likes to be rocked.
I'll be out in a minute."

Jeez, I thought, stomping back into the bedroom with the
hiccupping X under one arm. He didn't like being carried like
that, but I really didn't want to have intimate contact with
the contents of his diaper. The whole scenario made me
tremendously anxious.

I flicked on the bedside lamp, put him down on his back on the
bed and went in search of the diaper bag.  The sudden
cessation of his angry cries alerted me to the fact that X was
capable of both rolling over and crawling, just in time for me
to catch him at the edge of the bed.

"Alright," I said grimly, placing him firmly back in the
middle of the bed. He glared at me and kicked his feet in the
air.  The pungent odor assailed my nostrils again and I
pointed a finger at him.  "Stay. There."

Keeping one eye on him, I retrieved the diaper bag and
rummaged around, finally withdrawing a diaper.

"Okay, buddy," I said, kneeling on the bed and swiveling him
by his legs to face me.  "This is probably going to hurt me
more than it hurts you."

It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the little
adhesive tabs at his hips, but I did have the satisfaction of
testing my reflexes when he began to urinate again as soon as
the diaper was out of the way.  I slapped the front of it back
down and waited to the count of ten.  With my other hand, I
rummaged around in the diaper bag and triumphantly produced a
box of wet towelettes.

The whole business took longer than it should have, but in the
end X was clean, dry, and sporting a snug new diaper.  He had
long ago stopped crying and was merely glaring at me from
under furrowed russet eyebrows, looking remarkably like his
mother.

His mother.

Shaking my head, I hefted X onto my left shoulder and eyed the
tall heap of soiled Wet Ones and ruined diapers I'd tossed on
the floor.  My beleaguered towel came loose and slithered to
my feet.  I kicked it out of the way and walked over to the
window.

"That wasn't so bad, was it?" I asked him, seating myself
carefully in the tall-backed rocking chair.  I rocked slowly,
marveling at the feeling of his soft weight on my chest.  His
head tossed back and forth restlessly on my shoulder for a
moment, then he settled down and seemed to enjoy the rocking
motion.  I kept a steady rhythm going, pushing slightly with
the balls of my bare feet against the braided-cloth rug on the
floor.

My son.

It was too overwhelming, and more than a little surreal.  I've
had elaborate hallucinations, I told myself, more elaborate
even than this one.  This could still turn out to be a dream.
Surely, if I were to close my eyes and relax, I would wake up
in another place.  A flash of remembrance — bright lights and
thin, misshapen shadows --- snapped my eyes back open and I
drew a shaky breath.

Any reality was better than that, even one in which I was cast
in the dubious role of "Dad" to a child who should have been
impossible to conceive.  Absently, I stroked his narrow back
with my hand.  He snuggled closer against my chest and tossed
his head again. I touched the back of his skull, in wonder and
amazement. Slowly, I traced his entire body with my hand,
gripping first one foot, then the other in my hands and
feeling his squirming response.

My son.

A sound from the doorway drew my eyes there to see a damp and
tousled Scully, dressed again in the little blue shorts and
top, eyeing me speculatively.  As I had suspected, her eyes
were faintly rimmed with red.

I offered her a satisfied smirk and gestured at X with my
eyebrow.

"Mission accomplished," I said smugly. "But you get to do the
breast feeding."

I saw a faint smile before she turned and pushed the bedroom
door shut. She gave an exasperated huff when she spied the
mess we'd made, and made a few trips back to the bathroom
cleaning it up.  I watched her, pondering the bizarre
circumstances that always seemed to ensnare us, and how we
would cope with this one.

Finally, she crossed the room to stand beside my chair.  As
she looked down at us, an expression of sadness and wonder
flickered behind her eyes.  A question lurked there.  With my
free hand, I reached out and laced my fingers through hers.

Silently, she leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss on my
forehead.  I grunted my dissatisfaction and lifted my chin for
a taste of her mouth. She complied quietly, letting my tongue
touch the tip of hers before she withdrew and gestured for the
baby.

"Is he hungry?" she asked softly, taking him from my arms.
Then, glancing down at me, she gave a surprised laugh.
"Mulder, couldn't you find your clothes?"

"I was too busy getting Junior dressed," I responded.

She snorted, mouthed the word "Junior" and rolled her eyes.

Somewhat more seriously, I added, "And I can't tell ‘I'm
hungry' crying from ‘I've got a nasty surprise in my pants'
crying."

Scully gave me an amused glance and indicated that she wanted
the rocking chair. I vacated it and turned to watch her settle
in.  X, sensing a tasty treat, was rooting for the nipple
before she could get her top unbuttoned. I watched, bemused
and amazed, as he locked his mouth around the tip of her
breast and began to suck in earnest.

"Is that why your breasts are so large?" I asked, finally
giving in to curiosity. "Breast feeding?"

"Mm," she said, closing her eyes as she rocked the nursing
baby.  "Well, yes.  You know that a natural result of
pregnancy in mammals is lactation, for which purpose the
breasts necessarily become larger. As long as breast feeding
is ongoing, the mother's body will continue to manufacture
----" She stopped abruptly, opened her eyes and fixed me with
a strange look. "Why?"

Looking away, I wandered over to the suitcase and began
rummaging for something to put on.  "Just wondering," I
muttered.

I found a pair of boxers and a t-shirt and clothed myself,
keeping my back to Scully and the baby.  Throughout the
evening, I had been assailed by moments of utter
discombobulation.  Experiencing one such moment during the
brief discussion of breast-feeding, I kept my face turned away
until it passed.

Once clothed and feeling calmer, I switched off the bedside
lamp and sprawled sideways at the foot of the bed. The faint
gray light of the rising moon limned Scully's profile in
silver, touching the soft down of X's cheek against the curve
of her plump breast.  I could see the outline of Scully's hand
as she lifted it repeatedly to stroke his face with her
fingertip.

After several hours of emotional roller-coaster riding, I
wasn't really surprised to feel tears trickling down my face.
I wiped them away impatiently with a fist and thought about
everything I had missed.

As I lay there, the fantasy of absconding with Scully and X to
the hills of Switzerland replayed in my head.  I pondered how
to accomplish it unnoticed.  Recognizing that I was too
mentally exhausted to make a good job of planning, I made a
promise to myself to talk to Scully about it when I woke up.

Sleep came while I watched my son take sustenance and love
from his mother's arms.

**

In my dreams, Scully came to me in the darkness and placed
my hand on her flat, bare stomach.

"Watch," she said.

And I watched in amazement as her abdomen stretched and
swelled under my hand and the miraculous life grew within her.
She gave me a happy grin and ran her hand over the smooth,
taut skin of her rounded belly.

"My God," I breathed, stroking the nearly spherical surface.
"Oh, my God."

** The sound of the bedside lamp being switched on made my
eyes snap open. I was disoriented for a moment, staring at the
dark window and the empty, motionless rocking chair.

"Mulder?" I heard Scully moving around to the foot of the bed
and saw her crouch in front of me. "Are you okay?"

I blinked, squinted and tried to rise.

"No, no, just move up there," Scully whispered, indicating the
head of the bed.  I was still stretched out along the foot of
it.  Sleepily, I crawled up to the top and slipped under the
covers.  Scully followed suit, flicked off the lamp and
smoothed the quilt across my chest.

"You were talking in your sleep," she told me.

"What was I saying?" I asked, staring up at the ceiling.

"I couldn't understand you." In the darkness, I heard her
yawn.  "I thought you were having a nightmare."

I grunted, and scrubbed at my eyes with two fingers. "No."

I thought about what I could remember of the dream, and sorrow
welled up in my throat.  I swallowed.

"But in my dream I realized that I would never see you
pregnant."

Scully was silent for a long moment.  In the stillness of the
room, I could hear her breathing over the distant rattle of
the heating unit kicking in.  From the bassinet came the soft
smacking sounds of X dreaming his own dreams.

I was wide awake now, letting tears trickle silently from the
corners of my eyes, knowing that this emotional phase would
pass away soon enough, and too tired to do anything other than
let it take its course.

The bedding rustled as Scully turned onto her side and moved
towards me. I turned wordlessly and wrapped her in my arms,
feeling anew the wonder of holding her slender body against
mine.

I realized with chagrin that, though I would never enjoy the
experience of being an expectant father, Scully had endured
the entire pregnancy alone, with no help from me.  I held her
tightly and let the tears dry on my face.

What I thought at first was simple comfort turned even more
interesting when I felt her mouth, open and soft, slide warmly
across mine, and the tickle of her nimble hand as it crawled
slowly south of my navel.  I responded with alacrity, sliding
my hand up the back of her silky top.

"You've had a long day," she whispered, momentarily stilling
the movement of her fingers. "Aren't you tired?"

"Scully, if I'm ever too tired for this, call the Gunmen and
hold a wake."

She laughed quietly, and her hand resumed its downward motion.

My fingers made quick work of the satin buttons of her top and
I breathed in awe over the sight of her swollen, rose-tipped
breasts in the moonlight.  Reverently, I planted a kiss on
each one.

My body responded to the promises her hands and mouth were
making, bringing me to full, throbbing erection in a matter of
seconds.  I groaned and shifted until I was leaning over her,
enjoying the faintly-soapy taste of her skin under my tongue
and the friction of her hand through the cloth of my boxers.

"Scully,"I rasped, reveling in the act of saying her name in
this position, shaking with need, and the sudden, overwhelming
desire to sob like a forsaken child. I buried my face for a
moment in the pillow beside her head. When the hammering of my
heart slowed to a heavy thumping, I started inching my way
down her neck again, sucking and nipping at her sweet skin.

Pausing with my mouth over one soft breast, I glanced up at
her.  In the moonlight, I saw an eyebrow arch, preparing for
my question.  "These aren't going anywhere anytime soon, are
they?" I asked, nuzzling one soft mound with my nose.

She snorted and drew me up to kiss my mouth.  "Actually, once
X is weaned you'll be forced to make do with the old model."

"I've got no problems with the old model," I mumbled, cupping
a hand around one full breast. "But these are fascinating."

She gave me a wry smile and watched me kiss my way back down
her chest.

"You know, Mulder," she said, as I indulged my fascination,
"it stands to reason..."

She paused when my lips grazed one swollen nipple, "...and the
appropriate tests confirm..."

I turned my attention to the other breast.

"...that what can happen once..." she groaned as my tongue
curled around the rigid nipple.

Honestly, I was only half-listening.

"...can happen again."

My head jerked out from under the draping bedclothes.  I sat
back on my heels, staring at her in the pale gray light that
filtered past me from the window, and tried to read her
expression.

‘What do you mean?"

Scully blinked at me lazily, sat up, and pushed at the
waistband of my boxers with both hands. "Of course, I'll have
to wean X first." she said evenly.

"Scully." This time, her name was a command and, though she
recognized it, she chose to ignore it. A slow grin crept
across her face, transforming her completely.  She continued
to calmly divest me of my clothing and I cooperated
distractedly, staring numbly at her profile as she leaned over
to toss my t-shirt and boxers to the floor.

"Are you sure?" I finally managed to croak. "This — this ---"

"Yes." She shrugged her top off her shoulders and dropped it
beside the bed. "I appear to have been restored to a normal
state of fertility for a woman of my age," she affirmed,
wriggling out of her own boxers and skimming off her panties.
"That is, I have viable ova and an accommodating uterus." She
smirked at my expression.

"The rest," she breathed, drawing me back down on top of her,
"is up to you."

** End, Surreal Thing 2/2

AUTHOR'S NOTES: I've met hundreds of people via the ‘net over
the past few years, but Barbara D. has to be one of my
all-time favorites ever.  You can thank her for the fact THAT
this story wasn't swamped with adverbs (and the word "that").
Barbara, thank you for your time and your patience. Because of
your efforts, this story is so much better than it would have
been. (Not to mention, it wouldn't even have a title!)

Aside from being deluged with story ideas after viewing
"Requiem," I was also put in the mood to write by a brief,
barely-noticed discussion on atxc that referenced a song
called "Throw Your Arms Around Me" by a band called Hunters
and Collectors. I threw that (great!) song into the mix. Bonus
points if you can find it. (It's pretty muddled by now, but I
think I managed to make M kiss S in at least four places.)

I realize the timing of Mulder's return will probably turn out
to be quite different in Season 8.  But that's why God made
fan fiction!

Feedback welcomed at:  Invisivellum@hotmail.com.
Back to Invisivellum's Fiction

Back to Links Page

Back to Barbara D.'s Page