Spoilers: Per Manum
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Beta Kudos: to xdks - who keeps me from embarrassing myself. Any left over mistakes are mine.
Thank you Siggy, for allowing yourself to be my sounding board!
Mulder whistled softly as he fumbled with briefcase, take out bags and keys, finally managing to get the key inserted and the door opened. The apartment was dark and silent.
"Honey, I'm home." He let go of his briefcase and dropped the keys into the tray on the hall table. Turning on the lights and taking a quick look as he made his way to the kitchen to set down the containers of food confirmed that the living room was empty.
He made his way down the hall to the bedroom, becoming alarmed when Scully wasn't curled up asleep in her bed. He turned back around, cell phone out and already dialing her mother when he heard her call him. He snapped the phone closed and pushed open the door to the spare room.
"Scully, don't do tha--" he was brought up short by the sight of a rumpled and sleepy Scully. The frame for the spare bed was still propped against one wall but the mattress was now on the floor. The two cribs were partially made up with bedding and bumper pads. He was getting good at knowing his baby paraphernalia. Scully was unsuccessfully trying to get up off the mattress.
"I'm sorry, I must've fallen asleep."
"Scully, you what do you think you're doing? You're not supposed to be moving things." Concern gave way to tightly controlled anger. "You're not even supposed to be out of bed. Why is the mattress back down on the floor?"
"Can you help me up please?"
He bent down and awkwardly put his arms around her, helping her up. She was warm and soft, her face flushed, hair a mess, and her cotton pajamas wrinkled. Those must've been a Mrs. Scully purchase; the only pajamas he recalled her wearing were those silk men's style ones. These were -- cute. If he weren't so pissed off --
It was obvious from the irritation in her voice that she had been trying to get his attention.
"You can let go now."
"Oh. Sorry. Hold on a minute. I'm not the one who should be apologizing here."
"I didn't move anything, Mulder. Frohike came by with that --" she gestured to a changing table he hadn't noticed. It was crammed between the two cribs. A matching changing table, he noted.
"Whatever possessed him to buy a changing table?" He tried to keep the disappointment out of his voice. He'd finally gotten over Bill buying the cribs, and now Frohike of all people had bought a changing table. He was going to send an email to all their friends asking them to leave the furniture buying to him.
"_Mulder_. You keep spacing out on me. Did you hear what I just said?"
"Sorry, I didn't."
"He just showed up with it this morning. What was I supposed to say? No thanks, already have one? He took the time to find one that matches the cribs. And be thankful he only bought one."
"It was very _sweet_ of him, I know. But why?"
"I don't know. I didn't ask. Maybe he's trying to make up for that -- that thing that passes for a monitor?"
"Hey, what's wrong with the monitor?"
"Mulder, I'm betting Frohike hid a video recorder in that thing."
"Frohike? Never! But that still doesn't explain all the --" his gesture included the whole room.
"I certainly wasn't going to let him put it together without someone watching, and since you weren't here that meant me. He takes bed rest as seriously as you do. He was going to put the bed together again, but I convinced him the mattress alone would be fine. You can hardly turn around in here."
"So, this isn't you telling me that you want me out?"
"Of your bed?
She blushed. "And give up those back rubs? Not yet."
"That's good to hear. I don't think I could handle a flashback to my early twenties camping out on the floor dorm style. I'm getting to be an old man now, Scully."
"You try carrying around this extra weight if you want uncomfortable."
"So, Frohike decide to channel Martha Stewart?" He fingered one of the quilts hanging over the crib rails.
"No, I did that. And before you get mad, I stopped almost right away, which is why they're unfinished. Are you done interrogating me now?"
"Did you get a chance to talk to Bill?"
"Yes. Yes I did."
"And what? I said thanks, he said you're welcome."
"You're welcome to both of us, or you're welcome to just my baby sister and have you got rid of your asshole partner yet?"
"He didn't call you an asshole, I think he used the word --"
"Never mind, I don't want to know what he called me."
"Bill's coming around. We just need to give him time."
"Scully, if time was all he needed I'd be happy to give it. Your brother won't be happy until I am out of your life."
He gave her a gentle push to the door, turning to look at the room one more time. "It really is crowded in here, isn't it?"
"And crowded in here." She rubbed her abdomen.
"Scully?" He turned off the light and shut the door behind them.
"Hmm?" She turned around. "I should probably grab my robe or something to throw over these. And comb my hair. God, I must look a mess." She self-consciously wrapped her arms around herself.
"Scully," he took hold of her arms, "you look beautiful." And then, because he couldn't help it, he kissed her. It was quick and not-quite-on-the-lips. Before she could protest he turned her back around and pushed her towards the kitchen.
"And besides, these pajamas with the --" he laughed. "They're bunnies and bears, Scully, cute little pink bunnies and blue bears."
"Shutting up now." He paused, and then said, "Scully?"
He was about to feed her another smart remark, but stopped himself. Her face was still flushed and her eyes -- God, they sparkled. She -- glowed. It was true, pregnant women did glow.
"Forget it; it was nothing, Scully." He passed her one of the takeout bags.
Except I love you, he added silently.
Scully rubbed her eyes. It was dark outside, which meant it was still early morning. She wasn't sure which had woken her, the phone call she could hear or the insistent pressure on her bladder. She rolled herself over awkwardly and sat up slowly. One of these days she was afraid she wouldn't get up fast enough and end up peeing the bed. By the time she made it out to the living room Mulder was disconnecting a call on his cell phone.
"I thought I heard you up. Did I wake you?"
"You and my bladder. Who's calling this early in the morning? Is everything all right?"
"That was your mom. She won't be able to go with you today, so she was seeing if I could. Someone at the church had an accident and broke her hip. Your mom pulled the morning shift, and she wanted to get me before I left for work."
"Why didn't she just call me?"
"She didn't want to wake you. Or get you out of bed, which you are. Get off your feet, Scully. Please? Okay?" He scooted over and patted the spot beside him.
She lowered herself awkwardly to the couch. "God, this was stupid. I won't be able to get up again."
"Here." He grabbed one of the extra pillows and pulled her closer. "You can use my lap, just go back to sleep. I promise to help you up later."
"You're assuming I was sleeping." She stretched out as best she could.
She opened her mouth to deny it, but was stopped by another dull pain in her lower back. One of the surprises in this awkward living arrangement was how deeply Mulder slept. She worried a little that when the big moment came she wouldn't be able to rouse him.
"Where does it hurt?"
"Back." She blew a breath out as the pain subsided and felt his hands slide down to rest along her lower back. "And I can't seem to get comfortable, even with that fancy body pillow. Which is back in my bed."
"I'll get it."
"Don't bother. I spend more time trying to fit my body around it than I do sleeping with it."
"Here, try this." She felt him reach around her and with some maneuvering he managed to tuck two of the throw pillows under her, supporting the bulk of her stomach. He placed another pillow under her leg and began to massage her lower back.
"That feels good. I swear one of the babies is using that spot to test out its leg strength."
She closed her eyes and allowed her body to relax. This wasn't the first time Mulder had done this for her; he was getting good at figuring out where to rub. She just wanted to get a few more hours of sleep, and allowed his firm touch and the warmth of his body against hers to lull her to sleep.
"Everything looks good, Dana." Susan wiped the gel off Scully's stomach. "You can get dressed while I gather the information I have for you. Should I have Lisa call your mom in?"
"She's not here today; she got called to look after one of the older parishioners this morning."
"Don't tell me you drove here? I thought I was clear on how important it was that you take it easy, Dana."
"Relax, Susan. I had Mulder bring me. Between him and my mother I can't pee without someone asking me what I'm doing up. It's driving me crazy."
"It won't be for too much longer. Do you want me to ask him to join you then?"
Scully sighed. "You might as well. He'll pester me for details the entire ride back otherwise."
"Okay. I'll let you get dressed and have Lisa get Mulder." The door closed softly behind her.
Scully pushed herself up and slowly slid off the table. Her stomach still felt sticky, but at least Susan kept the room at a decent temperature. She quickly pulled her pants up and slipped her sneakers on. She'd have to wait to get Mulder to tie them for her. God, she hated this part of being pregnant. She longed for her independence back. And the ability to go fifteen minutes without needing to pee, or feeling like she needed to. She wasn't sure which was worse.
There was a soft knock on the door. "All ready?" The door opened and Susan poked her head in.
"Yes. If you consider this --" she indicated her maternity sweats, "an appropriate replacement for a suit."
"You're just ticked you can't wear those ridiculous heels of yours. Come on into my office. It'll be a little more comfortable."
"Comfortable is negotiable these days." She followed Susan out the door.
Mulder was already seated, his nose buried in a pamphlet, when she entered with Susan.
"That's not your usual brand of entertainment, Mulder." She peered over his shoulder. "Lamaze and The Cesarean Section. A bit of an oxymoron, isn't it?"
"Actually, Dana, that's one of the things I wanted to speak to you about." Susan settled herself behind her desk.
"A section, Susan? I thought you said that it wasn't a given, that it might be avoidable?" Scully heard the whine in her own voice and hated it.
"It doesn't sound all that bad, Scully," Mulder set the pamphlet on the desk. "It says you can use Lamaze techniques until they administer the epidural. And no cone head."
"That's in a planned C-Section, Mulder. I'm not _planning_ on delivering that way. And the cone head isn't permanent."
"You mean they won't be able to wow the senior class with their aluminum can crushing abilities?"
"Can I say something?"
Mulder and Scully, mumbling apologies, turned to face Susan.
"Thank you. Now, I know we're not planning a section, Dana, but I would like you to be prepared for it. It won't be possible for you to attend Lamaze classes, so I'd like to send you home with one of the videos I have."
Susan placed the tape in front of her. Scully poked at it. A perfectly posed couple smiled back at her. The woman didn't have chipmunk cheeks and swollen ankles. And her partner with the perfect hair was sickeningly happy looking.
"Why can't I go out to a class?" She wondered if petulant was better than whining.
Scully tried to listen as Susan answered her question and outlined the pros and cons of a planned section versus an emergency one. She found her focus drift to watching Mulder, his gaze intent as the details regarding epidurals and general anesthetics unfolded and Susan provided brochures for them to read. He had a small mountain of them growing in front of him. She was glad he was listening as closely as he was because all she could think about was how badly she needed to pee _again_. And how hard it was going to be to get up off the chair. And her shoes were still untied. And she didn't want to have a C-Section, even if it meant being awake and not being able to feel a thing. She preferred to be the one doing the cutting.
"You zoned out there, partner. Susan was suggesting --"
"Yes, about the Cesarean. Do I have to decide now?"
"No, you don't have to decide now, Dana. But I want you to seriously consider it. With your size and the problems you've had to date it would be wise. I've included some information for you to read. It's --" Susan chuckled "with Mulder's little pile."
"God, Susan, you don't know what you've unleashed there. He'll be quoting that stuff to me for the next two weeks."
"I'd like to see you at the end of the week, Dana. And if Mulder is going to be in the room it might be an idea to include him at the appointment."
"In the room?" Mulder couldn't help the tinge of panic in his voice. He hadn't really thought about the actual delivery details. It was a topic he worked hard at avoiding. He knew the mechanics of birth, knew it was a messy business, but realizing he would be experiencing all that for himself was a little daunting. Sticking his fingers in alien goo was less frightening. He wasn't sure which was worse, a regular vaginal delivery, or watching someone root around inside Scully. He absently shook Susan's hand and said his thank-you. They were almost to the front desk when he spoke again.
"Pardon me?" Scully stopped and turned.
"I want drugs if I have to be in there.
"You want drugs?"
"Just to take the edge off."
"Mulder, look at me. _I_ am having the baby. I get the drugs."
"You're a cruel woman, Dana Katherine Scully."
"Just tie my shoe laces, would you please?"
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