Spoilers: Per Manum
Disclaimer: Still don't own them and I always put them away dry after playing with them.
Feedback to: email@example.com
Beta Kudos: to xdks - who keeps me from embarrassing myself. Any left over mistakes are mine.
"Mom, I don't really want to get into all this right now."
"Dana, these are some things you need to get settled, the time will go quickly."
"I just don't --"
"Dana Katherine Scully. Honestly. I don't know how the two of you manage to arrive at the same place at the right time with the way you communicate. I think if you'd give Fox half a chance --"
"Mom, I love you, so don't take this the wrong way. Butt out."
"Look, we're talking. I need to go, okay?"
"Will you be over for dinner tomorrow?"
"Yes, we will. Bye, Mom."
She set the phone down a little more forcefully than necessary.
"That your mom?" Mulder set a glass of milk on the coffee table.
"You couldn't tell?"
He chuckled. "Just making sure."
She reached for the milk awkwardly. It was starting to become difficult maneuvering around her growing bulge.
"She has a point you know."
Scully groaned. "She always has a point, lots of points. She tells you, she tells me. I don't need both of you hassling me."
"This is not hassling you." His tone was sharp. "I've come up with an idea."
"One that would make things a lot easier on both of us."
"Easier. On both of us."
"I could move into the extra bedroom, just until we find a house." His words coincided with her taking a sip of milk. It formed a white trail down her chin as she sputtered and choked. Mulder patted her back in an attempt to calm her.
"Where the hell did that come from?" She wiped her mouth with the napkin he held out to her.
"It makes a lot of sense."
"Sense for who?"
"Scully, what do you think I'm going to do? I'm suggesting we share space. It would make it much easier on all of us."
"Is there an echo in here? Yes, share space. God, you'd think I was asking you to live with me or something."
"Well, yes, but not exactly like that. I never planned on walking away, leaving you with all the work. If I were here full time it would make a lot of things easier. I want to help out. Will you just think about it?"
That was part of the problem, she thought ruefully. She thought far too much. She wasn't sure if it was the influence of hormones -- maybe some rogue mothering gene had gotten loose -- but she was once again close to tears.
She spent too many nights with her hands cradling her abdomen as the babies somersaulted in their watery home, wishing she could share the feeling with someone. Well, not just any 'someone.' Mulder. She wanted her babies' daddy to be there beside her, his hands alongside her own, experiencing all of it. She wanted to feel him wrapped around her, she wanted -- God, the books weren't kidding when they mentioned that second trimester increase in the sex drive. Not that she had firsthand experience with anything other than frustration.
"Mulder, wait." She had broken from her reverie to find him poised at the door, ready to leave.
"Look, Scully. I think I'm finally getting it, but I don't know if I can do this. I know you only asked for my genetic contribution, but I guess I'd hoped that something more might come from it. I didn't realize it would feel like this. I don't want to have to fight you over it -- over them -- but I want this, Scully. All of it. Surprise, surprise, Fox Mulder a daddy."
"Mulder, you confuse me." She managed to get herself to her feet, swaying awkwardly. At seven months, with the twins and her short stature, she was a fair size. Mulder moved from the door to grip her arm, helping to steady her.
"_I_ confuse _you_?"
"Yes. I don't know what to think about anything." She pushed his hand away and put some space between them. "What happens if you meet someone? What then?" What happens to me is what she really wanted to know. She had no doubt about his commitment to the children they had created. It was the rest of it she was having a hard time with. She could just imagine the scene now. Mulder inviting his date in for coffee, while she hid in whatever part of their house was designated as her space. The woman would be perfectly coiffed, tall and busty while she would be still carrying around extra baby weight and saggy boobs. She sniffed back another tear.
"What happens if I meet someone? Scully, are those hormones interfering with your hearing?"
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" The woman would be a brunette, no split ends, whereas she would probably be lucky if she managed to comb her hair between feedings. Never mind the bags she'd have under her eyes from being up all night. She was losing the battle with her tears, and damn it if she wasn't still horny.
"Scully, where did you get the idea that I'd be looking for someone else?"
"You wouldn't necessarily be looking, it could just happen."
"You think I'd agree to all this," he gestured towards her abdomen, "and then leave you? Why do you think I want to move in with you?"
"Mulder, I know you'd never abandon the babies --"
"They're not 'the babies', Scully. They're our children. Ours."
She swiped at her face. "I'm sorry. It's just --" she took the Kleenex he held out and blew her nose. She was crying in earnest now.
"Oh, Scully." He pulled her into his arms, laughing as the babies protested the tight confines.
"Can you feel that?"
"First and second basemen, Scully."
"Ballerina and a gymnast."
"Maybe a baseball player and a ballerina?"
"Shhh. Nothing to be sorry about."
She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. He smelled good. One hand held her head firmly against him while the other stroked up and down her back. She groaned. Her lower back ached.
"Yeah, sore back."
"I could help with that, you know. Come here." He maneuvered them over to the couch and she found herself lying with her head resting on a pillow propped on his lap. It felt heavenly when he increased the pressure and began massaging. She swallowed another groan, one that had less to do with the back rub and more to do with how it was affecting her libido.
"Will you think about it?"
"Think about what?" She was having a hard time focusing. God, she needed to move before she embarrassed herself.
"The house. Think about what I suggested."
His hand strayed lower, keeping an even pressure. There were definite disadvantages to having an unconventional relationship. She forced herself to move, sitting up awkwardly. "Mulder, I don't know if I could. Afford it that is. Two babies cost a lot more than one."
"I can afford it."
"But I can't."
"Are you going to argue with me every step of the way? Don't I get a say in things?"
"My mother is right." She rubbed her eyes. "You're just going to wear me down."
"Did she tell you to listen to me?"
"She always tells me to listen to you. I feel like the two of you gang up on me all the time."
"I've thought a lot about this, Scully. I know we haven't talked about any of the details yet, or about money --" he put one hand to her mouth as she began to protest, "about money, or daycare, or whether you should work or not."
"Mulder, those are my decisions to make."
"Mine too. Maybe I'll stay home with them."
"Don't sound so surprised. It's just one idea. I want our kids to have a yard, with a swing set, maybe even a tree fort. Volunteer for cookie duty, or you know -- be the class parent or whatever it is parents do. It's hard to have your own swing set or tree fort while living in an apartment. Just promise me you'll think about it."
She took a deep breath. "Okay."
"Good." He patted her arm, and then hesitantly stroked the hard bulge that cradled their babies. "Is this okay?"
"It's always okay, Mulder."
"Here, lean back and rest for a bit." He pulled her back down and this time she allowed herself to relax against him.
"Mulder, did my mom tell you Bill was in town?"
His hands ceased their caressing and she felt him stiffen. "No. She neglected to mention that."
"Don't worry. I'll run interference. He won't hit a pregnant woman."
"Is your mom hoping for family bonding?"
"I think she'd settle for a respite from the hostility."
"I take it he's not all that thrilled with Mutt and Jeff?"
"Mutt and Jeff?" She playfully punched his leg. "Actually, Mulder," she cleared her throat, "he, um --"
"He doesn't know, does he?"
"Yes and no."
"That isn't exactly an answer, Scully."
"He knows I'm pregnant. He just doesn't --"
"-- know I'm the father." Mulder finished for her.
"Yeah, something like that."
Mulder's head hit the back of the couch with a soft thunk. "You sure he won't hit a pregnant woman?"
8b: Family Matters
Mulder wondered if the vein he could see pulsating in Bill Scully's neck was in danger of exploding. Maybe not just the vein, maybe Bill himself.
"Mr. Mulder?" Bill closed the front door and toed off his shoes.
"Bill. Nice to see you again. And just Mulder will do." Mulder extended his hand, somewhat surprised when Bill returned the gesture and responded with a firm handshake.
"Mulder then. Where's Dana? I didn't see her car out there."
"She'll be right out. We can't go ten minutes without her needing a bathroom stop."
"You try having your bladder used as a trampoline." Scully came around the corner shaking her hands. "My mom needs a towel in the downstairs bathroom." She returned her brother's hug. "About time you got here."
"Traffic. Let me look at you, Dana." He pushed her away whistling softly. "Definitely working on that beached whale look."
She swatted him playfully. "I'm pregnant and armed, Bill. Watch it."
Mulder reached around and settled his hands on her stomach, eliciting a scowl from Bill and a surprised squeak from Scully. "More like a basketball I think, Bill."
"What's all this about my daughter being a whale and a basketball?" Mrs. Scully entered the sitting room with towels in hand. "I heard something about bathroom towels?"
"Thanks, Mom. Here, I'll take them in."
Mulder batted her hands out of the way. "I'll do it. You go sit and relax," he said, taking the towels from Mrs. Scully. "Make sure you put your feet up."
"I'm a doctor, remember?"
"When you start working on live patients, let me know."
"No problem, Mrs. Scully." He was thankful to get out of the room and allow the two women time to read Bill the riot act about guests and manners. It irked him a little that Scully hadn't shared the twins' paternity with her brother, but then again, he could understand her reluctance to do so. Their relationship defied definition and he had learned enough about Bill to know the man had a difficult time with anything outside his own ideas of what was normal. Mulder stopped just outside the doorway when he heard Bill's voice.
"What the hell was all that about, Dana?" Bill's voice was low, but not quiet enough that Mulder couldn't make out the words and the tone.
"All what, Bill?"
"You know very well what I mean, Dana. And why is he here in the first place, Mom?"
"Bill, this is my home and Fox is . . .well, Fox is Dana's friend."
"That's my business." Mulder could hear the irritation in her voice. "Can you be civil, Bill? Because if not, Mulder and I can leave."
"Stay put, Dana. I can play nice. If only to keep from upsetting you and the baby."
"Babies, Bill." Mulder, chose that moment to enter the room. Even Bill's reluctance to accept him in Scully's life couldn't dampen the pride, and yes, the love he felt whenever he had cause to remember those two little ones -- and Scully. He loved her too. She just couldn't seem to trust either his actions or words. Mulder took a seat next to her on the couch, watching Bill process what he'd just revealed.
"Twins." Scully supplied with a small smile.
"Twins." He whistled. "Holy sh--smoke. I knew it was a possibility, but hell, Dana. How're you going to handle two?"
"We'll manage," Mulder supplied watching Bill's reaction.
"Can I get anyone a drink? I've iced tea, pop, juice, or coffee." Maggie's voice was bright and a welcome interjection.
"I'll help you, Mom."
"Only if you feel up to it, dear."
"I'm fine, Mom. I'll be right in."
There was a scramble as both men moved to help her up off the couch. After a bit of fumbling they each took an arm.
Mulder met Bill's scowl with an amused grin. "It takes two of us to get you up, Scully."
Scully squeezed Mulder's forearm, twisting it painfully. "One more comment about my size and you're going down, Mulder."
"Ow! Okay. Uncle. Aunt. Whatever. Just let go, Scully."
"Letting go. Thank you both but I _can_ manage to walk all by mys--" the words were lost as she gasped.
"Scully?" Mulder quickly pushed a surprised Bill out of the way and pulled her to him, his hand joining hers at her lower back. "What is it, Scully?"
She slowly straightened up. "It's okay, it's gone now."
"What's gone now?" Mulder tried to stay calm. Scully wasn't one to let on when things hurt.
"Dana?" Bill moved closer. "What is it, Dana?"
"Was it a contraction? Shit, Bill, what time is it?"
"Calm down, Mulder. It's just a Braxton Hic --" her words were stopped again and Mulder could feel her tummy tightening under his hand.
"What's wrong?" Maggie moved in quickly.
"She's having contractions." Mulder moved so he was better able to support her weight, and leaned close to speak to her. "Scully, Sweetheart, lean back. I've got you."
She pulled away, putting some space between them. "I am not having contractions. Would you stop hovering?"
"Why don't you sit down, Dana?" Mrs. Scully grasped her daughter's arm and led her to a chair.
"_Sweetheart_? What the hell is that all about?"
"Not now, Bill." Maggie attempted to push Dana into the chair.
"I'm fine, Mom. It's just a little back pain; I've had it most of the day."
"Are you sure, Scully? You don't think we should go have the doctor check you out?" Mulder was feeling more panicked by the minute.
"I'm sure, Mulder. One of the babies kicked at the same as a Braxton Hicks, making it feel a lot worse."
"I don't understand you, Mom." Mulder could hear the agitation in Bill's voice.
"Understand what, Bill?"
Bill spread his arms apart. "All this -- this -- what has he got to do with all this?" He pointed to Mulder.
"Billy, if you can't --" Scully was stopped by another sharp pain.
"Damn it, Scully, at least let me call the doctor." Mulder rubbed her lower back until she straightened up.
"We don't need the doctor. I think I just need to go home and lie down. I'm sorry, Mom."
"Don't worry about it, honey. You need to take care of yourself and those two grandbabies of mine. Bill, why don't you go and get Dana's coat for her?"
Bill's look of disgust was not lost on Mulder, and there was a brief moment when it appeared the elder Scully might not take Maggie up on what was clearly an effort to keep the peace.
"Fine. I'll get the coat." He stopped at the doorway, turned around and fixed his gaze on Mulder. "But this is just a time out. I've got some questions I want answered. Soon."
Scully's back stiffened. "Bill, my life is none of --"
Mulder cut her off. "Not a problem, Bill."
"Mulder, what the --"
"Not now, Scully. It isn't good for the babies to have you all upset. We can do this later."
"Fine." She crossed her arms.
Mulder took a deep breath and groaned. Ten weeks to go.
Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org