By Mary Kleinsmith ( Buc252@aol.com)
Category: Missing Scene for Existence
Spoilers: Everything up to and including Season 8
Summary: A misunderstanding over the naming of Baby William sparks conflict in the Scully household
Classification: Angst, MSR
Archive: Yes, anywhere
Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully, and everything related to them belong to Chris Carter (the jerk!) and 10-13, with magic added by David and Gillian. I'm only borrowing them, especially since the fic writers have a better sense of what to do with Mulder and Scully than CC and Company does (despite the fantastic final Mulder/Scully scene they gave us). Still, I'm not making any money on this.
Acknowledgments: Thanks to Sally, Brenda, and Vickie for the betas on this one, and for encouraging me in my flights of fancy. I'm also proud to finally announce the unveiling of my web site.
Feedback: Please, please, please, please, please, please, please?
By Mary Kleinsmith (BUC252@aol.com)
He's at peace. I honestly never thought that I'd be able to say that, no matter how much I love him. I don't think he did either really. For a while, after he finally had the closure he'd been so awaiting with regard to his sister, I saw it in him; but that peace was fleeting, his guilt over his relief that he had the proof he wanted of his sister's death banishing the peace he'd finally attained.
Now, with his newly-fed son squirming in his arms, he lowers himself into the rocking chair my mother gave me. I'm so glad he's home. I don't understand this discomfort he's developed with watching me feed our son, but he ran from the apartment with some story about needing diapers when the baby began to cry earlier. It would have been the first time he got to see our son eat. I don't understand what his resistance is, but it doesn't matter as long as he has this kind of contentment the rest of the time. I don't have the faintest idea where he will go from here career-wise, but we've talked about our private lives and the plan is intact.
"If you're going to hold him for awhile, would you mind if I took a few minutes for a quick shower?" I ask, fully expecting the smile and nod that Mulder gives me. He may not be comfortable watching me feed our son, but he's become, in the last day or so, an expert at post-feeding baby handling. My "quick shower" extends over the thirty-minute mark, when the water begins to run cold. Still, I take more time and do all those little things I didn't in the last few days. Putting lotion on my knees (which I can finally reach) and my elbows, drying my hair, and even cleaning the bathroom. I notice in the hamper that the dirty towels produced by three people instead of one are piling up much quicker than they used to. It's quite some time later before I finally emerge with an armload of them, heading for the washer. I'm about to ask Mulder if he minds staying where he is just a few more minutes when I realize that both he and William are asleep. I know they'll be fine while I go take care of them and then maybe start a late dinner.
I'm chopping tomatoes for a salad in the evening quiet. This, too, is peace. Suddenly, the doorbell rings, but we're lucky in that William doesn't seem to care. William . . . I wonder if Mulder will go along with my desire to call him that - and not Bill or, God forbid, Billy. Liam or Will would be okay, too. We'll see, I guess. I tell him to stay put, that I'll take care of whatever it is. Truth is, there's no way I'd disrupt what the two of them are sharing at this moment.
I'm not sure that I'm quite ready to experience weightlessness this soon after William's birth, but I'm not given much say in the matter when Bill swoops into the room like a cyclone, sweeping me off my feet and into his strong arms. I've had my disagreements with my brother, but I still love him dearly, and it feels good to be held by him.
He's been oddly out of touch since the day that I called Tara, after three months, to tell her that Mulder was alive. I wonder if that's because he was disappointed at my news or because he just didn't want to intrude on us getting reacquainted; maybe it's something somewhere in between the two.
"Dana, you look fantastic," he exclaims at me with brotherly exuberance.
"I feel fantastic," I respond, smiling up at him as he plants me back on my feet. "But you didn't have to come all this way, you know. I would have emailed you pictures in just a couple of days."
"Are you kidding? And miss the chance to see my namesake live and in person?"
Damn. I should have known this was going too well. I never bothered to explain to my family that the "William" our child is named after is William Mulder, not William Scully, Junior or Senior. This is definitely not going to go over well. Bill already dislikes Mulder, however unfairly. My basic instincts - survival instincts, I guess you'd call them - tell me to let it go. Let Bill think the baby is named after him. What harm could it do? But honesty has always been more important than survival, and I have no intention of changing that policy now. I realize and accept that I want Mulder to think highly of me.
"I'm sorry, Bill, but I guess you were misinformed. The baby's name is William, yes, but we did it to honor Mulder's father." His expression turns on a dime from ecstatic to furious.
"What the hell does that sonofabitch's father have to do with your baby?"
"OUR baby, Bill. Mulder's and mine, and I don't really see why I should have to justify this choice to you."
"So you choose to name him after that loser's father rather than me or our own father? After he got you knocked up and then ran out on you just as fast as those cowardly legs of his could take him? Don't look at me like that - I knew this artificial insemination stuff was bullshit from the start. He did it."
I realize I have a great deal of enlightening to do on my dumb brother's part, and I may as well begin right now. "You couldn't have it more wrong," I tell him sternly. "Firstly, I should tell you that Mulder had nothing to do with the baby's name - he left it completely up to me. William, after his father, was MY choice. Not out of disrespect for you or our father, but because I felt we owed it to Bill Mulder. You see, some things have come to light that tell us that he wasn't the monster we originally thought - a man who traded his only daughter to the government in exchange for his own safety. We were wrong. He was just a man trying to do the best he could, but he lost himself along the way.
"And," I go on in as scathing a whisper as I can manage, "as for this 'getting me knocked up' crap, that was my choice as well. Do you want the truth, Bill? I wanted to have a baby more than anything in this world, except possibly having a family with the man I love. I went to doctor after doctor until I found one who gave me some hope that it might work. And then I set out to find the most intelligent, sensitive, caring, and yes, attractive sperm donor I could find, and that choice was Fox Mulder. And he agreed. Despite his fears and doubts, he agreed because he knew how badly I wanted it. But you know what, Bill? What really put the icing on the cake? It didn't work. Three tries at invitro fertilization, and not a single one took. The doctor couldn't explain it. When I told Mulder that day that it had failed, and that I was giving up, that was the night I finally admitted to myself how much I loved and needed him. How much I still love and need him. This baby was meant to be born from the very beginning of time. Born not out of science, but out of love. And when Mulder died, after being taken against his will, by the way, I wanted us both to die with him; if it wasn't for the fact that I constantly heard his voice in my head, I very well may have. But I went on, and he fought heaven and earth and made it back to me. Back to us. And you call this 'running out' on us? It wasn't in any way his fault. You should be half as responsible as he is, brother." He's lucky I'm not screaming at the top of my lungs at this point, but he's always responded better to harsh whispers than shouting anyway, and I have the baby and Mulder in the next room to consider.
Bill seems to be floundering, but I know my brother, and he's not giving up this easily. "You honestly believe he was kidnapped. That he didn't just walk away." It was a statement, not a question.
"Yes, I do. And do you know why?" I stalk to my desk, removing a thin photo album. I have no intention of ever showing this to Mulder - he doesn't need the reminders - but I knew it was necessary. I shove the book into my brother's hands. "This is how I know, Bill. This is why I'm absolutely, positively sure." He opens the book to the first page. It is a photographical record of each and every bit of damage that was inflicted on Mulder's body while he was gone. I see him cringe at the pictures and know I've hit home. Thank God these pictures are all that remains of those horrible scars. Bill studies the one of Mulder's chest for a particularly long time.
"This looks like an open-heart surgery scar."
"Well, that's pretty much what it is. That scar, and all the others, were made while he was fully awake and unanesthetized, Bill. And you know what's worse? He remembers every single second of it. So don't go judging him for things you know nothing about."
"That just proves that he was hurt, Dana, and I'll be the first to concede that point. He's been hurt before and he'll most likely be hurt again, but I don't want to see him get you hurt along with him."
Seeing red doesn't quite cover what I'm feeling at this exact moment. Where the hell does he get off? "Dammit, Bill, you have no clue what's going on! For your information, Mulder isn't working for the bureau anymore. He's not my partner at work; hell, he doesn't even set foot in the building some weeks."
"So now, not only is he a sorry sonofabitch who is the father of your baby, but he's an UNEMPLOYED sorry sonofabitch who is the father of your baby."
"Not my baby. OUR baby. He is as much Mulder's son as he is mine, and William is going to know that every second of every minute of his life."
"Not if I have anything to say about it. Where is that asshole?" he growls.
"He's in the bedroom but I don't . . ." Before I can finish, he's stalking off in the direction of my room. I race after him, but he's quickly shoving his way through the door. He's drawn up short when he takes in a vision that only makes me sigh with happiness. Mulder is still holding William, but has fallen asleep in the antique rocker. Guess being a daddy is hard work. Amazingly enough, his grip on the baby does not loosen despite his slumber, painting a glorious picture of fatherhood at its best. I draw abreast of my silent brother.
"Is that the monster you mean, Bill? The horrible person who brings nothing but sadness and death? Well, you're wrong, dear brother. He hasn't brought death, he's brought life. And I'm thrilled to be able to bring him this kind of peace." I'm sure the baby is safe in my Mulder's arms, but I move to pick him up anyway. Mulder needs his rest, not to have to keep a little bit of his brain attuned to holding onto William. As soon as I get a grip on my son, Mulder's grasp tightens even more snugly. "It's okay," I whisper in his ear. "I've got him." Hearing me, somehow, in his sleep, his grip loosens and I'm able to cradle my son in my arms once again.
Walking to my brother, I lay the tiny bundle in his arms; he holds him securely. "And this, William Scully, Junior, is William Fox Mulder, your nephew." I watch as my brother moves the blanket slightly to examine the small face. "He's definitely got Mulder's nose," he comments. I almost rebuke him, but, I restrain myself when I sense a change in him. He turns to watch Mulder, still asleep, and examines him for a moment.
"I don't think I've ever seen him like this before. Compared to the other times we've encountered each other, he looks like he's found such peace. Maybe I've been wrong. Maybe he's not a monster after all." I look at him in pleasant astonishment, so he adds, "hey, nobody can ever say that Bill Scully is incapable of admitting when he's wrong."
He coos and cuddles with the baby a minute or so more before moving to return him to me. I hold a hand up in restraint, and he seems only too happy to keep William for a few minutes more. "When he wakes up, tell him I said he'd better take care of you both." His voice drops to a near whisper while he adds, "and that I'm sorry for misjudging him".
"I love you, Bill. And in case I haven't said it directly enough, I'm hopeful that the two men I love most in this world, besides William, of course, can get along. Because having to choose between you and him would kill me." I see the seriousness and the enormity of my words have struck home.
"I don't want you to have to choose either. I can't promise we'll be best friends, but I'll do my best."
"I'm sure Mulder will, too. And I'm sure that will be enough." I enjoy watching my brother holding my son for a few minutes before a light tapping is heard. "I swear, this place has been like Grand Central Station since William arrived. You stay here and I'll see who it is."
I should have realized who it would be when it was a knock and not the doorbell; she must have known that it had less chance of waking William. I open the door to see my mother on the threshold, slight panic on her face. "Oh, Dana, I'm so sorry! I should have called to warn you, but I didn't want the phone to wake the baby, and I got over here as quickly as I could, but Bill said he was coming directly from the airport and . . ."
My Mom is far too kind to let suffer, despite the overprotectiveness, so I grab her by the shoulders. "Hold up, Mom! Everything is fine."
"But Bill . . . You know how his Irish temper is. What if he's hurts Mulder?"
"He hasn't, and he won't," I say calmly. "Follow me." I guide her through the apartment to my room, where she smiles lovingly as she sees her eldest son holding his nephew.
"Hey, look," he says to William. "It's Grandma!" He holds the baby more upright so he can see her, as if those tiny eyes could make out faces at such an early age.
"Bill, there's no way he can tell any of us apart by sight at this stage."
My mom takes William from Bill, bouncing him in a rhythm that seems instinctual to mothers. "No, but you can bet he recognizes voices. His mother's, his father's," she smiles at Mulder, still asleep in the chair, "and definitely his Grandma's. And soon, his Uncle Bill's, too."
William is only quiet in her arms for a moment, and soon begins fussing. "He's probably hungry again," I say, reaching for him, and I know from the look in her eyes that she harkens back to the days when it was socially acceptable for babies to be bottle fed rather than breast fed - that way, she could feed him herself. Oh, we've talked about how good breast feeding is for the baby and for me, and she's always supported me in choosing that route, but that doesn't keep her from wanting the closeness that comes when a grandmother gives a bottle to her grandchild.
He gets a little louder as I wait for her to hand him over, and before I know it, Mulder's up and alert. "What's wrong? Why's he crying?" It's apparent Mulder doesn't know how much time he's missed. "I'm sorry I fell asleep - I didn't hurt him, did I? Drop him or something stupid like that?"
"It's fine, Mulder! Even in your sleep, you had a tight grip on him. The only bad thing was how hard it was for me to get him out of your arms so his Uncle Bill could meet him." Upon my pronouncement that Bill was here, Mulder gets a look in his eyes somewhere between hurt and fear, and unconsciously takes two steps in the opposite direction to where he's just noticed Bill is standing. I look to Bill, my eyes pleading with him to extend the olive branch he'd promised.
"I hope you don't mind my interrupting your time with him," Bill says, extending a hand. "I'm not sure how long I'll be in town, and I really wanted to see the baby."
"And you wanted to be sure your sister was okay," Mulder says, and it's not a question. Bill nods in agreement, and both men smile shyly. It's enough to knock me on my butt in shock.
My mother intercedes with a request for decorum. "Why don't we three go out into the livingroom and let Dana feed the little guy in peace. He'll probably fall right back to sleep afterwards, and then we can all chat."
The men don't need to agree - they simply follow my Mom out of the room. At this point, I feel like I have it all. Mom's right, the baby feeds for just a few minutes before he's asleep again, so I gently lay him in the crib before adjusting my clothing and heading for the livingroom. Before I arrive, I hear Mulder's voice.
"You know, I guess it didn't occur to me that when I told Dana the baby had her eyes and coloring, it would also mean he had Bill's. There's not too much doubt that the three of them are family."
"Yes, Fox," Mom tells him in that gentle voice she has. "But he also looks like you." This is the first admission Mom has made of her belief that Mulder is the father, and Mulder, thankfully, doesn't deny it. Why would he? It's the truth, even if it does make my brother uncomfortable.
There is silence after her remark, and then I hear her laugh. "Oh, Fox, don't look so horrified!" Must be at the prospect of William resembling him.
"Yeah, Mulder," I say, joining them. "He could do a whole lot worse than looking like you."
"I just don't see it," he says smiling.
"Mulder, are you blind, or just stupid?" my brother asks, but he does it with a smile and I know he's being the good boy he promised.
"Fox, he has your nose. Didn't you notice?" Mom says, and watches Mulder cringe.
"Ummm . . ." Mulder is stuttering again. "I didn't notice. Maybe he'll grow into it?"
"If he grows into it in the same way you did, we're going to be fighting off the teenage girls with a stick in sixteen years," I say, planting a kiss on his nose, which, by the way, I love.
"Good thing I have a gun," he jokes, becoming instantly more relaxed. The evening flows, and as Mom and Bill take their leave, I realize that I was right: I have everything any woman could want. I have been blessed, and as I kiss my two men goodnight, I thank God for everything He's given me.