2005 Spooky Awards

Project:TruthSeekers Alt Season Nine: Three Days of Discovery, Part Two

by Char Chaffin and The Truthseekers

[Story Headers]

The New Truth, A Project: Truthseekers Alternate Season Nine

Chapter Five: Three Days of Discovery, Part Two

By: Char Chaffin
Email: char@chaffin.com
Spoilers: Through S8
Rating: R
Disclaimer: Many characters contained herein are the property of 1013 Productions and 20th Century Fox. No profit is being made from the posting of this story.

Summary: "The New Truth" offers an alternative to S9 wherein Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, with the assistance of Agent John Doggett, Agent Monica Reyes and Assistant Director Walter Skinner, establish and lead a global resistance to the impending alien colonization.

Please visit the stories that comprise "The New Truth" at http://truthseekers.xphilia.net/

Chapter Five, Part Two

UNDISCLOSED LOCATION

2:45 PM

"Explain yourselves." The voice was low, controlled, and all the more sinister because of that control.

The two recipients of that modulated threat stared straight ahead, unblinking, expressionless. There was no real explanation; they both knew it. There wasn't a single plausible excuse. And there wasn't any use in trying to dig for one.

"As I thought. Well, I can respect you for not attempting to lie to me, or offer meaningless words in a bid to save your own hides. You were asked to provide a service. You both came highly recommended. You failed." Each accusation was bitten off with an economy of effort, as if the speaker had better things to do with his time than waste it spouting words. One slender hand tapped equally-slender fingers on the polished mahogany desk, the only outward sign of any kind of emotion. The eyes were flat, cold, without one small spark of mercy. They watched their prey with the kind of supreme disinterest that a cat would display, mere seconds before it pounced on an unsuspecting mouse.

The quiet in the room was stifling, deafening. Only years of training kept the would-be penitents on the other side of that desk from running to the window and wrenching it open, leaping out, eager to embrace any sort of an escape for themselves.

As painful as it would be to jump, it was preferable to remaining in the room with this man.

"How seriously have we been compromised?" The query came from the depths of an elegantly sumptuous black leather chair positioned in one corner of the room. Another low voice, but gravelly, gruff.

"It cannot be ascertained yet, Sir. For the moment we doubt anything can be traced, and even if by some chance it can -"

The gruff voice interrupted, "You are not required to doubt. You are expected to know, without any doubt."

Both bowed their heads at the brusque statement, acknowledging the truth of it. Pleading did not enter their minds; likewise an apology was futile.

No apology.

No excuse.

No prevarication.

They knew this. They expected it. They'd been trained to accept it.

When the occupant of the black leather chair rose, walked to them, stood behind them, they did not move. They did not close their eyes when the almost-silent whoosh of the thin, needlelike blade emerged from its sleek casing. They did not flinch when the blade sliced deep into their necks.

They slid to the floor as soundlessly as they had once moved in unfamiliar, dark rooms, when they'd wound their way in and amongst tables, chairs and heirloom clocks. As silently as if they'd never existed at all.

"Remove the evidence." The face that stared at them from across the wide, polished desk held no expression, no warmth; no life except for a glint in eyes that otherwise remained flat and cold. The same eyes that watched as two of his former, trusted underlings hissed and shrank, simmering into a puddle of liquid and fabric, damaging the expensive carpet beneath.

The man on the other side of the desk nodded as he sheathed the weapon and tucked it into a small leather case, pulling out a pair of protective surgical-type gloves from another pocket. "Immediately. As for the other situation... what is your decision?"

"No action. Not until we have properly assessed the damage. You will see to it." It wasn't a request but a demand, and was answered with another brisk nod.

Soft rustling sounds indicated the removal of evidence, of cleaning. The thick carpet on the floor muffled the step of expensive wing-tip shoes as he rose from his desk and walked over to the windows. Behind steel-gray spectacles, eyes of almost pure black looked out over the city skyline; behind those eyes an icy, calculating mind was hard at work.

It was not true anger that he felt. Not exactly. He was incapable of anything other than the most superficial emotion. Not disappointment either, beyond basic dissatisfaction. He dealt in cause and effect, of consequences spawned from definitive action. He gave orders, expecting them to be followed. If they were, and successfully, then those who executed his orders were allowed to live.

If they failed, they ceased to exist.

He'd just lost something of great value, something that had cost a small fortune to produce. He'd helped to develop it, confident in its ability to remain completely unnoticeable, invisible. He'd had total confidence as well, in those genius minds, the ones who had finalized its design and had guaranteed its advanced capabilities.

He'd also lost connection. He'd learned nothing of real use, except that his quarry was closely guarded by watchdogs much more intelligent than he'd first credited them with being.

Well, he'd been warned, by his predecessor. He'd been told it wouldn't be easy. That wasn't necessarily a problem; he enjoyed challenges, as much as he was able to generate enough emotion to enjoy anything.

The game was still afoot, and more than he'd bargained for. His mouth moved into the barest hint of a smile; those who thought they knew him would say he was revealing quite a bit of animation with that miserly smile. Others who understood his true identity would shudder and retreat, upon seeing that same smile.

The door closed with a tiny snick and he was alone in his expansive office. He walked back to his desk, absently running his palm over an exquisite paperweight fashioned from a rare and centuries-old quail egg. His fingers held it up so that he could admire it; his fingers then crushed it into dust... much the same way as a group of would-be rebels had crushed his latest plan.

Well, there was always tomorrow. At least he had one real answer. At least he knew where the boy was.

And that his parents were someplace else. That was a start.


ARLINGTON, VA

"Goddamn it! Shit, shit, FUCK!" Langly strode around the room, wanting to throw something, smash anything. His hands were clenched tightly enough for his fingernails to mark his palms. His pale skin was flushed, his glasses slightly askew and his blonde hair falling out of its fastener.

John Byers rubbed at his face wearily as Frohike cupped the device in his palm, staring down at it, a piece of clear plastic tape coating it as a kind of makeshift scrambler. So tiny. In fact, he'd never seen one like this. That in itself was a major worry; he and the others were scrupulously meticulous in their research. They all possessed the most uncanny ability to seek out and find the latest innovations, whether it be electronic or digital. Whether it was a new game or a new weapon.

The advanced state of their own equipment, and the methods by which they updated and improved it, depended on their talents for rooting out the secretive, the invisible. With the discovery of one miniscule transmitter, those talents and abilities had been thrown into serious question.

"At least we found it. We weren't supposed to find it. The fact that we did means something. We have to remember that." Byers was determined to bring the morning's disaster into a more positive light if at all possible.

"Big fucking deal. We found it. How friggin' LONG was it in place, before we found it, huh? How much did those bastards hear? Do they KNOW we found it? THERE'S a few million-dollar questions for you!" Langly refused to calm down. Of the three Gunmen, he took on the most offense, and consequently the most guilt, when something went wrong. He paused in his frenetic stomp around the room to stare at Maggie Scully as she stood in the doorway with William in her arms. Her face was pale but her tone was soothing and steady as she whispered to her grandson. William's eyes were wide with distress but so far he hadn't uttered a single whimper.

Langly wouldn't have admitted it to anyone, but that baby held his heart, tighter than anything or anyone ever had. He'd never paid much attention to family when he was growing up; always a solitary child, he'd grown into an introverted, solitary man with no friends. He'd preferred it that way, until he met Melvin Frohike and John Byers. His 'soulmates,' though Langly would rather have suffered torture than to let them know how much their friendship meant to him.

When he met Mulder, and later, Dana Scully, the other closed-off portions of his heart opened up a little more and let them in. But when William was born, well... his heart just about exploded. This little boy was everything. It was that simple.

Langly reined in his temper when he saw the way his ranting was affecting William; as soon as he calmed, the baby smiled at him and held out chubby arms. He crossed the room and after a hesitant, inquiring glance at Dana's mother, who nodded at him encouragingly, Langly reached out for William and swung him into his arms. The child sighed and laid his head on the Gunman's shoulder, snuggling close.

Langly closed his eyes and let William's sweet baby-powder fragrance soothe him. Maggie Scully murmured, "I'll make more coffee, and then I'd like to know what's going on." She turned toward the kitchen just as the doorbell rang. Glancing over at Monica, who shook her head decisively, Maggie continued into the kitchen while Monica went to the door and checked the judas hole. Seeing Doggett on the other side, she punched in the override on the keypad and let him in.

He looked tired and angry and frustrated, but drummed up a smile and a quick tickle for William when he reached Langly's side. As the baby giggled and chewed on his little fingers, Doggett walked over to Frohike and peered down at the contents of his hand. "Well, shit. We'd better head over to Mulder's place as soon as possible. I'll bet money there's a few of them over there, too."

Skinner, who'd been leaning against the wall nearest the windows, nodded grimly. "I agree. This one was here in the living room; we found two more as well. One in the kitchen. One in the spare room Agent Reyes has been using."

He watched the way both of his agents flushed and then paled. With resigned acceptance he filed it away for future analysis and added, "Once we found the first one the others were fairly easy to locate. Thanks," he made an effort to smooth out his frown as Maggie brought him a cup of coffee. When he gestured toward the sofa, she took one corner and held her cup between both hands. Monica sat next to her and Langly took the recliner, still cradling William.

Maggie gave Skinner her full attention. "Tell me. And this time, try to forget I'm somebody's grandmother, just another retired homemaker. I want to know what's happening in my own house and I'm not waiting until Dana and Fox get back to enlighten me." She drained her cup, crossed her arms over her chest and leaned back on the sofa. Monica hid a smile behind her hand as she noted Skinner's reaction to Maggie's bluntness. This was no wilting violet they had on their hands, she decided. This woman had known her share of pain and was stronger than any of them could imagine. She'd already lost one daughter. She'd go down fighting before she'd lose another member of her family. It was in her eyes, her body language.

Skinner saw it too, and his admiration for Margaret Scully rose a few more notches. "Simply put, your home has been bugged. We have no idea exactly when. At this point we have to assume the perpetrators have been listening for a while. We also have to accept that because of your relationship to Agent Scully and to William, they've targeted you as a possible leak of vital information."

"I see. What would they be expecting me to leak?" A tensing of her fingers was the only outward sign Maggie gave of any inner struggle.

"Any conversation between you and Dana. Face to face or on the phone. They'd have the patience to sift through the standard family chatter and pick up on whatever else could be of value to them. If they'd spend the money and time to place three of these here, how many more would we find over at Dana's and Mulder's apartment? What about my place? Other agents such as Reyes and Doggett?" He gestured to Monica and she nodded, her expression concerned. "These devices must be highly advanced because the guys' equipment hadn't spotted them just a few weeks ago when they swept. Byers?" Skinner glanced toward the Gunman who stood by the living room door, quietly listening.

John Byers nodded, "True. And when Langly and Frohike updated your system and installed the extra deadbolt, Mrs., um, Maggie, Langly ran a quick sweep. Just to be on the safe side."

When Maggie turned and raised her eyebrows at Langly he shrugged nonchalantly. "Didn't take long. No big deal." A bit pink-cheeked from everyone's eyes on him, Langly busied himself with checking William's diaper for leakage and missed the soft smile she sent his way.

Her brow furrowed in confusion when she looked up at Skinner again. "If the equipment didn't catch anything until now, does that mean their device has been faulty?"

He shook his head but it was Frohike who responded. "No, unfortunately. I wish it did. We caught it as a result of having recently updated our own scanners; completed final testing two nights ago, in fact. It cost a small fortune and a bunch of sleepless nights of frustration. But it's worth it if the end result happens to be busting this little gem." Frohike held the device by his thumb and index finger, studying it with reluctant admiration. "It's tough trying to keep up with technology. So far we've been successful because of talent as well as luck."

"What about the apartment? How on earth can we know how much might have been revealed to these people - and for how long - when we can't be sure when these things were planted?" Maggie twisted her fingers together in worry as she thought of the consequences a listening device would have in a situation such as Dana's.

"You've got a good point. We swept their place last week. Usually we sweep once a week or so. But when we did it, we hadn't updated the scanners yet..." Frohike's voice trailed off as he realized they'd let two vital days go by. Two days that might have cost them God-knew-what in spilled information. "Son of a bitch! We should have gone right over there, as soon as we had the testing done. If we had, we'd have found the bugs before Scully or Mulder might have said something they shouldn't have!" Now it was Frohike's turn to pace in impotent anger, clenching his fist and almost crushing the delicate piece of technology in his hand.

"You don't know for sure if they DID say anything. They're both cautious people, right? As paranoid as us, if that's possible." Byers, ever the voice of calm reason, spoke up. "Let's not borrow trouble, not quite yet. I say we go over, do the sweep. If they bugged this house then you have to figure they bugged the apartment. Let's clean it out and then think of what might need to happen."

"I agree. Take care of it. I'll stay here. Agent Doggett, go with them. After you've found everything, take it somewhere and analyze the hell out of it. And no one tells Mulder or Dana when they call in. Got that?" Skinner waited until everyone in the room nodded; then held out his arms for William. Langly brushed a quick, selfconscious nuzzle across the drowsy baby's cheek before he eased the limp form into the other man's arms. It took a few minutes to gather up their gear, but soon the house was quiet again.

"That baby looks good on you." Monica couldn't resist teasing her boss as he stood in the doorway, big and burly, holding a little boy dressed in red corduroy overalls and a white knit shirt, tiny white sneakers on his feet. Walter Skinner handled the baby like a pro, holding him securely, comfortably.

He spared her a withering glance that he immediately spoiled with a rare grin. "Babies like me. God only knows why." He swayed on his feet a little, a soothing, rocking motion that caused William to yawn as his eyelids fluttered shut.

"Babies know who the good people are, Mr. Skinner. You are definitely good people." Maggie got to her feet as she spoke, collecting cups and spoons, used paper napkins. "Can you hold him a little longer; then I'll lay him down?" She decided to ignore his rather flustered grimace, recalling that her Bill had always had a hard time accepting compliments, too.

"It's all right, I'll do it. I don't mind." Eager to get out of the path of women in general, Skinner moved toward the stairs, William molded trustingly against his shoulder. Monica grinned at the picture they made and helped Maggie clear the living room, walking into the kitchen a few paces behind her.

"Men with babies. Who'd have thought they'd be such marshmallows? Skinner. Langly."

Maggie nodded in agreement. "It's amazing how a little baby can affect even the toughest man. The old saying, 'The harder they fall,' was never truer than when faced with an adorable child who holds his arms out to them."

"We'll keep him safe, Maggie. This I promise you. We'll take care of William, always. All of us." Monica laid her hand on the older woman's shoulder and squeezed it. Her eyes were dark and earnest.

Touched, Margaret Scully pressed her own hand atop the one that still cupped her shoulder.

"I know you will, dear. I know."


Later, when dusk was approaching fast and the house was quiet, Maggie sat in the old rocking chair she'd brought down from the attic and had placed in her room. It had seen plenty of rocking during the reign of four Scully children. Nicked from being moved all over the country, white paint flaking off and one arm spindle missing, the Jenny Lind-style chair was by far one of Maggie's favorite heirlooms, for she'd been rocked to sleep in it as a baby herself. It had stood the test of time, being a solid, well-built piece of furniture.

Like all the Scullys, she thought. Solid. Well-built. Like the sweet boy snuggled up against her, smelling of powder and soft cotton.

She rocked slowly, humming under her breath, watching William's lashes flutter over his blue eyes, then snap open and blink as if trying to clear his vision. He was fighting sleep, not wanting to miss a trick. Just like Dana, Maggie thought fondly, as she stroked the child's silky hair. Her youngest daughter had fought sleep like a small demon when she'd been a baby. Like mother, like son -

As she let her mind drift, full of memories that centered around her Dana at this wonderful age... suddenly, so real that it took her breath away, it was as if she could hear again her daughter's tenmonth old cry, a mixture of teething aches and sore gums, of milk craving and wet-diaper-fury. In her head, stuttering a path from one ear to the other, boring through her brain matter. Sobbing-cryingscared -hurt-scared...

Tears filled her eyes, rolled down her cheeks. She screwed them shut in an effort to stem the hot flow. Her heart actually clenched in her chest; she couldn't breathe. She trembled in the rocker, so hard that her teeth chattered. Her arms tightened around the body of the child she clutched to her pounding heart; the high wail that pierced her senses was clouded in fog; muted and all the more frightening because of it.

Dana. DANA! God, her little girl needed her! She had to open her eyes! She had to get up, go to her! She had to jump out of the rocking chair and go FIND HER, go find Dana, Da, MA, MAAA!!!!

"MAAA!" It was a scream in her head and a thin cry, mere inches from her ears. Maggie forced her eyes open, blinking hard to clear her vision, her head aching, and looked down in awe at the baby in her arms. Face bright pink, mouth open and emitting the most heartbreaking cries, hands curled into little fists that waved about, one almost catching her on the nose...

Not Dana.

William.

NOT Dana.

But the cry in her head still echoed there. In her head, in her very heart. Slowly, Maggie leaned back until she could see into William's face. She made him sit up on her lap, ignoring his frantic wriggling, and positioned him securely. He stared up at her with huge, drenched eyes, his lashes spiked and wet. For several long seconds neither of them moved, barely breathed.

"Mama." She spoke the word softly.

William's eyes never left hers. His hands unclenched slowly; he sniffled and his chest hitched on a silent, shuddering sob.

Maaa!

It wasn't in her ear; it was in her head, as plain as if he'd cried it aloud. How in the -

She didn't understand. Couldn't fathom it.

But there it was. Her grandson knew who Mommy was - that was certainly no surprise. He might even be able to say the word itself, which would have been thrilling to experience since to her knowledge William had not yet tried to formulate anything much past a giggle or a coo.

But this wasn't a spoken word; this was a thought that bloomed like a picture in her mind. From her precious William.

In God's name... how?

"Mama?" Maggie tried again. And again the thought came, not the word, somehow sent to her.

Maaa? This time it felt like a question. How could William send her a question? How was this possible?

It was beyond her. Monica Reyes had sat at her kitchen table that very morning and had told her William was exceptional. Had told her how special he was.

How wanted, by dangerous people.

Oh, sweet Jesus... was this what she'd meant?

Wrapping her arms protectively around her grandson, Maggie struggled up out of the low rocking chair and carried him to the door, her shoes clattering on the stairs, almost running into the kitchen where Walter Skinner and Monica sat with a laptop and a small stack of folders. They both looked up in surprise and concern when she burst through the door.

Maggie didn't give them time to ask any questions; she just blurted out, "Willy can - I think he..." She swallowed hard, stammered out, "I think my grandson can somehow send me his thoughts. Oh, my God..."


RAGGED LAKE
8:15 PM

The fire burned brightly, recently stoked. A bowl of half-eaten popcorn sat on the edge of the hearth, several empty bottles of beer nearby, one balanced on its side. A few feet away, on the faded carpet, three quilts layered together and tossed with pillows served as an impromptu mattress, their soft cushion a haven for the couple who curled into each others' arms, facing the flames, watching them snap and dance.

The day had been slow, lazy, perfect. A few walks on the bumpy trail that wound along their side of the lake; a bit of book-reading, a couple games of five-card stud. An early dinner of mostly junk food, with Scully eating her share of it and for once not worrying about what she put in her mouth. Watching twilight steal over the clearing through the front cabin windows, the silence between them comfortable and good. Chatting when they wanted to, touching when they needed to... making love when desire took them over and there was nothing more vital than giving in to it. And now it was almost dark out and the fire was the only light in the room; their nest was warm, their clothes in a heap on the abandoned sofa.

"Mmmm." It was a purr that tickled his ear. Mulder responded by running his nails down her back, chuckling when she actually stretched like a very satisfied cat.

"I second that. Definitely 'mmmm.' And to think I was worried I'd miss having a television around."

She snickered drowsily. "The pioneers didn't have televisions. All they had were a few quilts on the floor. I'd say they made their own fun."

"No doubt resulting in the 'Baby Boom of Eighteen Fifty-One.' I'll bet that was a wild time on the prairie."

She gave him her best skeptical frown. "There is no such era, Mulder."

"How would you know? Were you there?"

An exaggerated sigh. "Of course, I wasn't. How could my knowledge of American history be so lacking? Thank God I have you to remedy said lack. I may have to go look up Miss Plunket and cuff her about the ears for neglecting me so."

"Damned straight you should be grateful for my superior trivia powers. And Miss Plunket would be a past history teacher? With a name like Plunket she deserves to be cuffed about."

Scully thought hard for a moment, conjuring up an image of thin, bespectacled, mousy-haired and grouchy. She nodded and burrowed closer to Mulder's warm body, yawning, "I remember what she looked like; it was punishment enough. Her name only added insult to injury."

"Mmmm."

They both fell silent, enjoying the fire, drifting a bit, not fully awake and happy to be in that condition. A burned log broke in two and fell sideways, sending out a shower of sparks that popped as they settled back into the red coals. Scully's fingers moved slowly over his chest, now and then swirling into the hair that grew low on his abdomen. It didn't seem possible to actually drown in utter contentment but Mulder figured he was ninety-nine percent there. He stroked her with one hand, thought back over the day they'd spent together and decided there couldn't have been a way to improve upon it.

Oh, they both missed William; how could they not? They both felt some guilt for leaving him behind. But they were also intuitive enough when it came to their own requirements as a couple, to understand they'd badly needed this time alone together. A few days, all they would grab and all the better for them having grabbed it, before they returned and took up their regular lives once more. This weekend would fuel them for a very long time.

He hoped.

"What's going on in that brain of yours, Mulder? You've got that little crease between your eyes; any minute now it'll start pulsing." Scully ran a finger over it, noting the way he relaxed as soon as she touched him there.

With a sigh Mulder tugged at her until she lay over him like a living blanket, her chin now propped on the hands she rested on his collarbone. He smoothed his palms over her shoulders, loving the feel of her silky skin and the way her hair fell around her face, messy and a little tangled. There were no shadows under her eyes; clear and bluer than ever, they regarded him with that peculiar mix of affection and resigned amusement that had marked so many of their early days together, back when their beliefs were so often at crosspurposes. He studied her, his own expression serious and intent, thinking that if there were such a thing as a Wayback Machine for outward appearance then Scully must have hit the mother lode. Each year he knew her, it seemed as if she grew more youthful, more beautiful.

"Mulder? Are you still in there?" She snapped her fingers under his nose, startling him. Her lips curved in a wide smile as if she'd been privy to his thoughts. In answer his own mouth quirked fondly; if anyone could tap into his most private thoughts, it would be Scully.

He decided to tease her, as it had been at least an hour since he'd last done so. "Sorry, I was too busy letting Johnson have his head, so to speak." He pumped his hips up against hers lazily, watched her eyes go from amused to dark and hot in about one second flat. Rising up from the pillow, he caught her bottom lip in a biting kiss, lingered there, snaking his hand under her hair to hold her still while he took his time kissing her.

As a stall tactic, it was top-notch, but Scully had been wise to those kinds of ploys since Year One of their partnership. Mulder had a bounty of ways to change the subject, or put off an answer. In that respect he was legendary. Luckily for her, she could see through most of them.

She broke off the kiss and murmured snidely, "I don't think so. In fact, it's obvious to me that you woke poor Johnson up just to give him a push and a gratuitous pelt-tickle. Try again, Mulder. This time for real."

"Pelt-tickle? Oooh, Scully..."

"Mulder." Her tone held a distinct warning.

"Oh, all right. Since you seem determined to go all serious on me, I was just thinking how gorgeous you are and how year after year you seem to regress instead of age. And oh yeah, also that this weekend will have to sustain us for a long time."

His switch from melting romantic admission to pragmatic resignation made her blink confusedly. "Gorgeous? Young? Mulder, have you checked out my stretch marks recently? Never mind," she grabbed at his hands when one immediately dove for her breasts and the other tried to lodge against her pelvic bone, "you can satisfy your curiosity later. And I love that you feel that way, but I think we should concentrate on your other reason, first."

Mulder opted for linking his fingers through hers as she settled more comfortably against him. "It's nothing, honest. Just that as parents of an increasingly-rambunctious baby boy, any getaway time we might find for ourselves will have to be counted in minutes and possibly hours, instead of days. I think this weekend was the best thing we could have done for ourselves, even though I miss Willy like mad."

She softened, all maternal longing, at the mention of their child. "God, I do too, Mulder. So much. And I worry about his safety, even though with so many bodyguards around, there is no way he and Mom could be anything but safe. However, we needed this time. And I'm so glad we took it."

"Oh, yeah." He slipped his hand over her neck and urged her closer for a gentle kiss that lengthened and intensified with each tender movement of lips against lips. Bare legs twined together as they stroked their hands over warm skin, hot flesh, damp eager centers. As the coals in the fireplace burned down to a bright orange glow, Scully took full advantage of her position, admiring how the fire cast a golden sheen over her lover's skin. She rose up to her knees, straddling him, rubbing over his swollen, hard flesh, then opening herself up to him, bearing down, taking him inside. Deep, deeply inside, until she could feel him pressing against her very heart.

She moaned, one long, low sound of need that whipped her into a sudden frenzy of movement, all-encompassing fury. Fiercely driving him, fast, then faster, neither questioned the reason behind the mad urgency; they just accepted it. With each hard push and hungry plunge, their breath exploding in the overly-warm room, they raced toward completion too fast, too soon... and yet it was exactly what they both wanted.

Not tender, not anymore. Not gentle. Not now, God, not now...

"FUCK!" The harsh, guttural word burst from her throat, as she jammed herself down on him one final time, as the bright burning in her heart raced to her head and imploded behind her open, tear-filled eyes. She couldn't stop her hips from plunging as the orgasm ripped through her; she barely heard Mulder's answering shout as he shuddered, spilling hot and thick within her. Scully sank down, wet skin fused to his, every muscle unclenching and aching, her very bones feeling disjointed. Shaking, she was shaking...

No, not her; Mulder was shaking beneath her; shaking with the aftermath of release as well as... laughter?

He was. Laughing! Groaning and laughing, wrapping rubbery arms around her, burying his chortling against her neck.

She pushed weakly at him. "What's so funny?"

Mulder could hardly form words; he was so wrung out from the tsunamisized climax he'd experienced. "You shouted 'fuck' at the top of your lungs, Scully. I'll bet they heard you in Saranac Lake. God, I've NEVER heard you scream 'fuck' like that..." He was gasping for breath, hearing it once more in his head and laughing all over again.

"Shut up, Mulder." She laid her cheek on his shoulder, weary to the bone, still throbbing and sore and very, very satisfied. After a few moments, she started chuckling.

"I did, didn't I? Screamed it. Jesus."

"It was magical, Scully. I'm so proud."

"Oh, bite me." She let her head fall into the curve of his neck and yawned, feeling exhaustion overtaking her. She dozed off with Mulder's body a comforting mattress beneath her and the feel of him still within, warming her there, too.

He held her close and let himself drift away on a sleepy oath of love and one final, sweet kiss goodnight.


ARLINGTON, VA

9:30 AM

"Maybe we should have told them. Kind of prepared them." Langly sat at the kitchen table, pushing a half-eaten waffle around on his plate. His appetite had deserted him for perhaps the third time in his entire life.

"No. Absolutely not." Maggie Scully topped off his orange juice, moving around the table to fill John Byers' glass as well. She took the seat next to Langly and laid a hand on his arm, noting his concern and liking him all the more for it. "What good would it have done? Only made them worry, maybe even made them decide to cut their weekend short and come running home. They needed this time alone. And I needed to have some grandmother-time with William. We both got what we wanted."

"In your case, Maggie... maybe more than you bargained for." Monica brought another plate of waffles to the table and handed them off to Frohike, who smiled his thanks at her and dug in with enthusiasm. She pressed a reassuring hand on Maggie's shoulder as she sat down. "I think you did the right thing by not mentioning any of this to Dana when you talked to her this morning. They'll be home today. Time enough to brief them when they get here. And I'd bet anything that as soon as William sees his mommy and daddy, he'll be letting them in on his newest talent."

"Double-whammy. Bugs and telepathy." John Doggett helped himself to another cup of coffee and resumed his stance against the far wall of the kitchen. "I still can't quite wrap my brain around it. The telepathy, not the bugs. He's just a baby. How could this be?"

"'Telepathy' might not be the correct word for what William is developing. I'm not sure. We don't know exactly what was done to Mulder while he was... gone. And we know even less about how the virus affected Dana. What may or may not have altered stem cells, irrevocable changes that might never have been made apparent. How it combined in their child, what each of them brought to him that would manifest itself like this..." Monica glanced at Maggie as she spoke, gauging the affect her words had on someone who was just starting to become exposed to the mammoth scope of what they were preparing to fight. "We have so much to learn from him. About him."

To her credit, Maggie looked confused but was listening. Monica hoped she'd listen as carefully to Dana and Mulder when they sat her down and told her the rest of it.

"There's no mistake, what you saw? What you felt?" Doggett had to ask, one more time. If there was still a somewhat-skeptic in the group, it was John Doggett. He couldn't help it.

Maggie smiled at him with a touch of sadness in her eyes. "No. I know what I felt. What I sensed. And judging by the little I've been told so far, about these enemies of ours, I wish I could be mistaken about all of it. I really do. If you say it means William is in danger from these people, then I wish like hell he was the most ordinary, average baby in the world."

"Are you sure you want to hear all of this, Mrs. Scully? Are you ready to know, to understand and to offer whatever support you can? It's a lot to take in. God knows I'm still trying to readjust my thinking, and it's not easy." Doggett drained his cup and placed it in the sink. Looking at the faces around the kitchen table, he was suddenly glad they'd each had their turn at disbelief, wonder, skepticism. And of them all, only Mulder had accepted, had believed right from the beginning.

John Doggett had been dealing with it for almost two years, and it often seemed as far-fetched as ever... but then again, he'd seen things that he just couldn't pigeonhole into any kind of 'normal' slot. Why should a telepathic baby be any harder to accept?

A sharp cry from upstairs signaled that William was awake, probably damp or worse, and definitely hungry. Maggie excused herself from the table and hurried to attend to him, while Byers made himself useful by starting another pot of coffee. They still had a lot of planning to do and would need the extra caffeine. When Mulder and Scully arrived and the real discussions got underway, they'd most likely all need something harder than coffee.


INTERSTATE 87
2:45 PM

So far the drive back had been a quiet one, five hours of fringearea radio stations, sporadic talk and a few potty breaks. They'd caught a quick meal at a travel center near Albany, had fueled up and were on the road again in less than a half hour. Now, with only a few hours to go before they reached Arlington, parental urgency was fast overtaking both of them. It was to be expected.

"I wonder if he's missed us." Scully leaned her head against the window and watched the mileposts speed by.

"I'm sure he has. Having to suck on something made of rubber for three days instead of your much-more palatable nipple. Getting tossed up in the air by a grandmommy instead of his big, strong daddy. Can you imagine? I'd be wild with loneliness, too." Mulder gave her a little nudge with his free hand and she sent him an aggrieved glare.

"I'm serious, Mulder. Our first real time away from our baby... don't you want him to miss us? Just a little?"

"Scully, I'm sure he cried himself to sleep at least the first night. He knows Maggie but not all that well, and having the others around much of the time would most likely seem odd, too. The thought of our boy in a strange environment, unsure, maybe scared... I had a hard time with it. But we needed to be apart from him and your mother needed time with him. She was beginning to ask questions about why she never got to baby-sit for longer than an hour or two. This has been good, for all of us."

He took his eyes off the road long enough to smile at her; his right hand clasped hers warmly. "That said, yes I missed him like crazy. I can't wait to get back and see him. But I'm so, so glad I got to have a few days with his mommy and basically screw her senseless. And to hear her scream "FUCK!" at the top of her very-powerful lungs. Oh, I really enjoyed that."

"Mulder, so help me, if you EVER tell anyone..." Red-faced, Scully let the threat hang between them.

He spared her another glance, eyes wide with innocence. "Now, who would I tell? More importantly, why would I tell? I'd like to think I'm mature enough not to brag. I'm aghast, I might add, simply aghast, that you'd deem it necessary to caution me against kissing and telling." He let that sink in a moment, then smirked, "Besides, half of Ragged Lake heard you. They all know the truth."

"I thought you said Saranac Lake could hear me."

"Yes, but they're more cosmopolitan. They're used to such language."

"You're an utter loon." The conversation had taken a turn that was beyond silly, but it had also taken their minds off how badly they both felt that they'd somehow deserted their child for a selfish weekend away. And it helped - temporarily - to keep them from counting the miles and watching the clock.

Of course as soon as they'd awoken, very early, and packed everything up, they'd called Scully's mother to let her know they were getting ready to hit the road. She'd assured them of William's well-being; that he'd seemed happy and had stopped teething. She'd told them the weekend had been quiet, even with several adults and one active baby. Everything was fine. And yet...

"There was something in her voice, Mulder. Mom's voice. I can't put my finger on it but something didn't sound right, like strain, or tension. Something."

"Maybe it was the fact that you called her on the Iridium. You know how they are. It doesn't take much to distort somebody's voice." He was reassuring, but Scully couldn't shake the feeling. There wasn't a thing she could do but worry, and she prided herself on being sensible, practical.

They'd be home in just a few hours. She could hold onto her inexplicable anxiety, until then.


ARLINGTON, VA

7:15 PM

Scully parked the car on the street since the driveway was already full. Under any other circumstances it would have appeared a party was going on at Margaret Scully's house, except it might have seemed odd to the neighbors that she actually knew someone who drove an ancient faded blue VW mini-bus...

To Scully it was a welcome sight. It meant the guys had made good on their promise to check in on her mother and do their sweep.

She pulled her keys from the ignition and shook Mulder's arm; he'd been dozing in the passenger seat. He came awake instantly, eyes on alert. She grinned at him, full wattage. "We're here, Mulder. Let's go nab Willy." She climbed out and slammed the door, moving around to the other door and yanking it open before Mulder could grab the handle.

He raised a teasing eyebrow at her as she pulled him up the sidewalk. "A tad anxious, are we? He might not be here, you know." When she stopped in her tracks and turned to him with a panickedmommy face, Mulder added helpfully, "Maybe they took Willy to Chuck E. Cheese for a fast pizza and beer."

She almost sagged in relief. Damn him for the ability to get her heart pounding! Scully gave his hand a vicious squeeze and resumed tugging. "And maybe asses fly, Mulder."

She ignored his shout of laughter and ran up the front steps, Mulder easily keeping pace with her. They reached the door and Scully rattled the doorknob, not bothering to knock, completely forgetting about the deadbolt and the added security, in her rush to see William and ascertain for herself that he was all right.

Of course the door refused to budge. "Damn it, I forgot." She knocked and then rang the doorbell, barely restraining herself from shouting aloud to let them in. Mulder leaned against the portico wall and bit his lip to contain his chuckles.

There was a muffled rustling on the other side of the door; then a low-pitched voice growled, "Who goes there?"

She huffed impatiently and rattled the knob again. "Quit goofing around! Let us in!"

The voice dropped even lower and retorted, "Dave? Dave's not here."

Mulder almost doubled over with laughter while Scully hissed in frustration. Morons... She pressed her mouth up close to the door. "Langly, is that you? The neighbors are probably all staring out their windows, you idiot! You're a dead man."

She was still hanging onto the doorknob when it suddenly opened; her arm went with it as she almost fell into the front foyer - and into her mother's arms. Maggie Scully hugged her daughter tightly and grumbled into her ear, "Dave? Dave?"

Scully pulled back in disbelief. "That was you? God, Mom, I've left you hanging around the guys too long!" She looked into her mother's face, seeing the big smile and the sparkling eyes, a glow that hadn't been present in a very long time. "Grandma-hood must agree with you, Mom. You look wonderful."

Maggie hugged her again. "Melvin put me up to it. That boy has the strangest sense of humor." She kissed both her daughter's cheeks and gave her yet another hug. "It's been a lovely weekend, thanks to both of you." Maggie freed up an arm and reached out her hand to Mulder, who took it in both of his, squeezing gently. She pulled them both toward the living room, chattering, "Everyone's here; we just finished dinner. We waited but weren't sure how long you'd be, so I put some aside for you. Lord, I'd forgotten how much grown men can eat!"

They entered the living room, Scully managing to smile at the small group assembled there; then frowning when she didn't see William. "Where is he, Mom? Have you already put him down for the night?"

She was prepared to run up the stairs and snatch him out of his crib, but Maggie held onto her daughter's arm and protested, "Dana, he's fine! Wet diaper. Monica has him upstairs, changing him; she took him up about two seconds before you started pounding on the door."

Relief shone visibly on Scully's face; Mulder murmured, "So much for the cool, calm and collected Agent Scully." Not for anything would he have admitted his anxiety level had easily met hers and had threatened to speed right past it.

He squeezed her shoulder, pushing her onto the sofa next to John Byers, who smiled at her and asked her how their weekend had fared. On the other side of the room Skinner shook his head as if to declare her display of maternal worry a hopeless case. Frohike, standing near the windows, merely grinned at her foolishly. It took a moment for Scully to realize that beyond her mother's enthusiastic greeting and Byers' polite inquiry, nobody in the room had said anything. She stared up at Mulder who had moved to her side and was sitting on the arm of the sofa.

Her expression held new concern; he shrugged but couldn't deny a certain amount of tension could be felt in the room. No, maybe not tension; that might not be the right word. Maybe anticipation.

Weird.

"Okay, we're here. We had a great time. Now, someone mind telling us what's up?"

The words were scarcely out of his mouth when the sound of shoes clattering on the stairs brought everyone's attention to Monica, descending with William in her arms, dressed for bed in his fleecy yellow pajamas and chewing on his fist. His back was to Scully, who'd risen from the sofa and was eagerly moving forward to take her son. Monica grinned at her and turned William around so that he could see his mother coming toward him, his father standing nearby...

And Scully stopped abruptly, face paling, eyes widening, then tearing up, as a solid wall of emotion hit her, the likes of which she'd never before felt. It came at her in waves; the longing, the wanting. Confusion; she felt that as well. It would have buckled her knees if Mulder hadn't grabbed her arm to steady her. She turned to stare at him, and saw his eyes were as damp as hers.

What the -

Then she stiffened as a single thought pressed at her.

MAAA! MAA-MAAA!

In disbelief she gaped at her son, her precious baby, who had his arms out, reaching for her; whose eyes swam with glassy tears as he stretched toward her. She scooped him up and cuddled him close, burying her face in his neck, feeling Mulder's arms wrap around both of them. Still she could sense it. In her head, God, her head...

How?

It was coming from their child. She knew it. When she looked up at Mulder again, she knew he could feel it, too.

They sank down on the end of the sofa, Scully clutching William for dear life and Mulder still holding them both. Scully dashed at the tears on her cheeks and balanced William on her lap, facing the room at large. The baby immediately calmed and started bouncing happily, obviously thrilled to be snuggled in with his parents. While he gurgled and reached for his yellow-covered toes, with narrowed eyes Scully pinned her mother where she stood.

"Okay, now would be an excellent time to tell us what the HELL has been going on while we've been gone."


EPILOGUE

GEORGETOWN
2:15 AM

She held a finger to his lips when he would have spoken. Her eyes flicked over the room, in the corners, along the floor. A wall, the closet. Concern, worry, uncertainty, all showed on her face.

Paranoia; that, too. She couldn't help the way it bubbled up, any more than he could help the expletive he muttered as he caught hold of her arm and pulled her out of the nursery.

In the hallway, Mulder faced his partner, his lover, his mate. She blinked up at him with wide blue eyes, fingers still trying to press against his mouth as if to caution him to remain silent. Impatiently he pushed them away and then held onto them, noting the way her eyes darkened and narrowed with temper.

Well, good. Temper was fine and dandy with him. Temper was healthy. He could live with it. What he could not, would not live with, was this imbalance of uncertainty and all its nasty little byproducts; they'd had more than enough of it. Maybe he'd have to accept the paranoia as part of the deal, but he'd be damned if it would rule his life inside the privacy of their home.

"Knock it off, Scully. There's nothing left; they got them all. You know it. You have to trust it."

She stiffened, ready to blast him, but then her body sagged, leaned into him. He slipped an arm around her and brought her close, told her, "It's a lot to process. My head's still reeling. I don't know whether to jump for joy because of our son's latest talent or kick the nearest inanimate object into next week because we were made to feel violated by the sons of bitches who invaded our sanctuary. I prefer to concentrate on Willy right now; how about you?" He kissed her temple. "Another gift, that's the way we have to look at it. Another amazing, precious gift."

"I know. I'm just, I'm..." She rubbed her forehead against his chest, curling closer to him, needing his warmth and finding her own balance through the support he offered her. When she met his eyes, hers had cleared and were steady. "I can't pretend to not be worried, Mulder. I mean, hell of a greeting we got, right? A pintsized mind-meld with our son and the beyond-unsettling news that for who knows how long, our privacy has been stormed by a new, advanced technology that got past our best defenses. I'm glad they were found and that we're clean again. But how long had those bastards been listening in? What did they hear?"

She shuddered to think of it and fretted, "When did they implement them, Mulder? Did they just walk in the front door, arrogantly bypassing our security? Did they prowl around the nursery while our child played in the living room, innocent and vulnerable? GOD!" Furious once more, she wrenched away and paced up and down the narrow hallway, the anger snapping through her like whips. Fast on the heels of that anger, came the panic as she remembered what Frohike had told them of the devices' locations.

Suddenly she couldn't stand it. This time it was too much; whirling around in the middle of their hallway Scully faced Mulder, hands fisted at her sides. This time the bastards had gone too far; come far too close to them, their privacy; their little boy.

She spat out, "Four of them, Mulder. Four of those things in our home. One in our bedroom, for God's sake! How? While we slept? They seem to be experts in slipping in and out like ghosts; did they come in here while we were in the shower? Did they hear us making love? After the damn things were in place did they sit in a van somewhere around the block and listen to us living our lives?"

Mulder reached out for her but Scully spun away from him, unwilling to be calmed. She couldn't have borne it; she was in dire need of fury-purging. "We've been so careful not to talk here. And yet I know we've revealed more than the basic day-to-day junk that makes up your average life. Except we aren't average. We'll never have that luxury, will we? Do we now walk on eggshells, worrying about whether or not at any given day of the week we're still running clean?" She rubbed at her eyes until they ached, staving off the weakness of tears. To cry would have only made her feel weak. She would NOT feel weak, damn it.

Instead she gorged on her anger. "And the nursery, my good Christ! There was one in the nursery! Those sons of bitches were in our baby's room. The only way I can even deal with it sanely is to tell myself that if they'd gone in there while William was in his crib, he'd have somehow sensed them and would have started screaming bloody murder!" She was wringing her hands, her nails scratching the delicate top skin and not even aware of the damage she was doing.

Mulder watched her, worried as hell. It had been years since he'd seen Scully this out-of control, this raw with emotion. It wouldn't solve anything. It wouldn't make it go away, change a thing. Their lives had never been easy. In truth, when had either of them wanted to take the easy road? When had they ever been given that choice?

Mulder's own anger, held tightly all evening long, threatened to burst free. He slammed the lid down on it, refusing to feed it. Tomorrow, goddamn it. He'd explode tomorrow. Right now he had to keep his head, for Scully's sake.

This had to stop.

"SCULLY!" Mulder stepped in front of her in mid-pace and grabbed her shoulders; she was stiff in his hands but she let him hold her. He ordered, "Stop it! You'll wake Willy, and he'll probably sense your anger and react to it in ways we still don't fully understand. I don't want to be up with him all night; do you? He needs sleep and so do we. Right now we're running on emotional fumes and nothing else. Come on," he led her to their bedroom and made her sit down on the bed, "let's just put it aside for tonight, okay? Tomorrow we'll deal with it. With everything." He took her hands and brought them to his lips; kissed them one by one, soothing her skin.

Soothing her.

At his gentle, calming tone, all of the fight suddenly went out of her. As the tension left her body she relaxed, her shoulders slumped and her head bowed. Replaying some of what she'd said, Scully actually winced. Lord, she'd sounded like a madwoman!

She glanced up at Mulder and gave him a shamefaced little smile, her hands still clasped in his. "When did you become the sensible one?" Her tone waxed lightly sarcastic but she remained seated instead of jumping up and tearing back down the hall to the baby's room. She wanted to sit by his crib and watch him sleep. She wanted to stand guard over him for the next forty or so years...

"I've always been sensible, Scully. I've merely chosen to couch it in layers of snappy comebacks, smart-ass-syndrome and my outstanding good looks." Mulder offered a silly grin as he knelt at her feet and unlaced her sneakers, intent on helping her to relax. She stroked her hand over his hair and let him massage her feet, thinking back on the past few hours.

Surreal. That was the overall sensation. Beyond anything else, those first few minutes sitting with William on her lap, cooing and giggling at her, were just plain surreal. She could feel him in her head, happy-playful-happy baby, as he grinned up at her with two pearly teeth revealed, patting her hand with his chubby little palm. With the abruptness of most young children, his emotional bout had gone from miserable to good-natured in a flash. She'd forced her own emotions to calm and to settle, concerned her son would pick up on them and amplify them using this new ability that she could scarcely comprehend.

Added in was the unwelcome news that while they'd hidden themselves away for the weekend, a new type of transmitter had been found in not only their apartment but in her mother's house, too. She and Mulder had fired off questions to Langly and Frohike, but the answers had been less than reassuring.

"Look, worst-case scenario has to apply right now, okay? We don't know how long these things had been in place before we found them. Maybe a month. Maybe only a day. Whoever planted them left nada behind. No prints, obviously no disturbance, otherwise you'd have noticed it. They bypassed security systems to break in which means they have superior scramblers. None of this is good news, except that we DID find them."

Frohike would rather have lied through his teeth to keep that look of worry from Dana Scully's eyes. Because she'd been thinking like a mother for the moment and not as a Federal agent, he'd kept the narrative as bluntly honest as he could, knowing she needed to hear the worst, before she could pick out the best and build on it.

"Mulder, Dana... do you recall some of what you might have talked about the past few days, before you left? I know you're both very cautious people, but did you say anything about where you'd take William?" Skinner had broken in with a few questions of his own.

Mulder had given it some thought. "Well, sure. We called Maggie from the apartment before we left. Scully used her cell phone and I can't recall which room we were in but we'd still have been within receptive distance, judging by what you've already discovered these devices are capable of. Once we were at the cabin we used the satellite phone Byers lent us. I'm guessing they knew right away where William was but never knew our location."

John Doggett had posed the one question too frightening to consider. "You know, I haven't heard anyone ask this: if they knew where William was, then why didn't they come here and take him?"

Scully had shuddered when he'd asked it. If these nameless bastards had known William's whereabouts, and had already gained access to the house with apparent ease and stealth, then what could have prevented them from coming back and taking him, regardless of how many armed guardians had been watching over him?

And then she'd been the one to find a possible answer. "They couldn't take him! They couldn't because the ones who broke in and planted those devices were not human." When Skinner looked as if he might discount her deduction, Scully hurriedly reasoned, "Think about it. No prints. No disturbance of any kind, and obviously no fear of breaking and entering. They couldn't have been sure how many people were in this house when they came into it, right? Since we have to figure the reason they planted the devices here was because they'd already listened to our plans of leaving William with Mom, then we have to also consider the house might have been full of FBI when they made their little trip out here."

Scully was so intent on convincing Skinner, that she failed to see the way her mother's eyes had widened in shock and disbelief at the words 'not human.' But Mulder had seen.

Scully had cuddled William closer as she elaborated on her theory. "Going with that scenario: they come in, see William; leave him alone. Not because they necessarily fear getting caught by any of you, but because they understand the real danger to them. As far as we know, the only ones who have reason to avoid touching William are the ones who can be hurt by him. Beings like Donny Ranken." She'd spoken the hated name with utter distaste. And again had failed to notice the small jolt her mother gave upon hearing someone referred to as a 'being,' but again Mulder had caught Maggie's reaction.

Skinner had nodded slowly as he'd mulled over what she'd said. "You have an excellent point. Unfortunately we might never know for sure, so as of right now we start expecting the worst even more than we have been, and adjusting our security level accordingly." Everyone had agreed without hesitation.

In spite of the amount of coffee consumed that evening, the group had been tired, needing sleep. But before anyone could even think about disbursing, Mulder had caught Maggie's pleading eyes and said, "Wait."

She'd smiled at him gratefully then had stood and announced, "No one leaves until I get a few answers." She'd looked around the room, had crossed her arms decisively. "I've been a very patient woman this weekend. I haven't asked a lot of questions and I've trusted all of you as to why my house was under guard in the first place. But now, I want to know why there's a group you call 'enemy.' I want to know why my daughter would think some of them aren't 'human,' for God's sake! And if not human, then what could you possibly believe they are?"

There was a hush in the room; nobody wanted to be responsible for saying it first. But Scully had sighed and responded wearily, "Alien. They are extra-terrestrial. Not of this earth. Little green men, although Mulder and I would be the first to tell you they're really gray. It's science fiction, Mom. Except it's not fiction. Not any longer. And nobody in this room was as disbelieving as I was, when I first heard about them. Nobody fought against believing as long as I did. Do you want me to continue?"

Scully had met her mother's questions with hard, blunt answers, and had watched with complete empathy as the color had drained from her face. Whatever she was expecting to hear, Scully knew it wasn't an affirmation of life elsewhere in the universe... and hostile life, at that.

Well, her mother had asked for it, and Scully was determined to make sure she got it. Years of cushioning her family from the real truth, that was over. Knowing that because of her desire to protect them, her family more or less had their heads buried in the sand while the battle raged in deadly silence around them... that wasn't going to happen any longer, either. At least not with her mother.

Scully had rocked her sleeping son in her arms in her mother's lovely, comfortable living room, ignoring everyone except the only person who was still so much in the dark, and waited for her to assimilate. To her credit her mother had not run screaming from her own house.

Yet.

"Mom, tell me if you really want to hear this. If you can accept and believe it." Scully had known there was a pleading note in her voice. But it was so vital that, once revealed, her mother would not discount it. That she wouldn't think eight years of exposure to the job had skewed her daughter's perception. Scully wouldn't have been able to stand it if any member of her family reacted that way.

Margaret Scully's face had been pale and her slender frame trembled a bit, but her voice came out strong and without hesitation. And what she said had brought the beginnings of a proud smile to her daughter's lips.

"Yes. I want to hear it. As much as you want to tell me. For my grandson's sake I want to know." She'd leaned back in her seat, folded her hands in her lap and stated, "Make me believe."

It was very late by the time Mulder and Scully had brought William home and put him to bed.


"I want him in with us tonight. Maybe for several nights." Scully was adamant. Mulder looked up from her foot massage, saw the stubborn expression on her face and sighed. He stood up and walked to the door, opening it wide; leaving the hallway light on, he came back to the bed and sat next to Scully.

Taking her hand in his, he pressed her palm to his lips and murmured against her skin, "No. William stays put."

She glared at him, all the tension returning to her body. "Mulder..." It was a low warning.

He wouldn't budge. "Look, I understand and I feel the same way. But if we start doing this, if we start hovering over our son even when he sleeps, if we bring him into bed with us and make it a habit of doing so... Willy will never want to sleep in his own bed. He's already slept with us a few times and I can tell he likes it a little too much. If we let it happen much more, he'll scream when we put him in the nursery and we'll keep giving in because we don't want our little boy to be upset and feeling abandoned. Before we know it, he's nineteen years old and cuddling between us in a double-wide kingsized bed with a wubbie in one hand and a dog-eared copy of 'Playboy' in the other." He shot a wicked grin at her and chuckled in relief when she first gaped at him in horror, and then cuffed him in exasperated amusement as his words actually sank in.

"Honest to God, I can't believe I willingly share bed-space with you, Mulder. I should probably get my head examined." As usual, his goofiness calmed her down when serious reasoning most likely wouldn't have had any affect. Scully snuggled close, wrapping her arms around his waist, and they sat in silence for a minute or two.

"You know, Scully... if you really need your head examined, I have this wonderful doctor. She wears four-inch heels when she autopsies cadavers and she's got the cutest little mole in this really lickable place." He touched his tongue to the mole that clung to her upper lip and snickered softly against her mouth when she moved her head just enough to catch that tongue where she most wanted it.

They kissed for long seconds, both exhausted but needing the mouth to mouth and body against body connection. They had a long series of days ahead of them, starting with a more involved and lengthier info session with her mother, on a day when their time wasn't limited. Maggie Scully had decided it was time for her to support the resistance however she could. She knew very little about what they were trying to create, and was already struggling to open herself to the kind of extreme possibilities her daughter and Mulder - and the others - had been living with. But Maggie wanted to do what she could. For William, for her other grandchildren and for a future that was worth fighting for... she was willing to believe.

Dana Scully felt she had every reason to be a proud daughter.

The grandfather clock in the living room ticked softly, its heavy pendulum swinging with elegant grace, as they undressed, eased into bed and spooned together under the warm covers. Scully pressed herself along Mulder's back, her arm curved over his waist and her legs tangled with his. He grasped her hand and held it against his chest, over his heart, and by the time the final melodious chime had finished announcing that it was now three o'clock in the morning, they'd fallen asleep.

The silence in the room was broken by their even breathing and the occasional soft snuffle coming from the baby monitor on the nightstand next to the bed. In the apartment in Georgetown three fighters recouped their energy, readying themselves to face another day.

End

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Title: Project:TruthSeekers Alt Season Nine: Three Days of Discovery, Part Two
Author: Char Chaffin and The Truthseekers
Details: 65k  ·  R  ·  Series  ·  01/01/06  ·   Email/Website    pending
Gossamer Category(Keywords): X-File   [Romance, Angst]  
Characters: Mulder/Scully  
Pairings: Mulder/Scully romance
SPOILERS: Through Season Eight
SUMMARY: alternative to S9 wherein Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, with the assistance of Agent John Doggett, Agent Monica Reyes and Assistant Director Walter Skinner, establish and lead a global resistance to the impending alien colonization.


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