Truly Madly Deeply I: Runaway

Title: Truly Madly Deeply I: Runaway
Fandom: X-Files
Pairing: Mulder/Scully
Warning: Post-series, alternative universe
Rating: NSFW
Summary: Where has Scully been, and why did she go there?
Notes: Superhuge thanks to zara hemla, bugs, and SLS, who dotted my i’s and crossed my t’s; and Marasmus, who told me how they do things on the other side of the pond. Ladies, you are my sun, my moon, my starlit sky, and I salute you.

~December 5, 2000~

~Leslie, Alabama~

The employees of the Blue Moon Diner spent slow periods that morning putting up Christmas decorations: plastic pine boughs with red velvet ribbons, silk poinsettias, a wreath on the front of the cash register. Spike, the day cook, had his radio tuned to a station that played Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole, and by four o’clock the station had played three different versions of “The Christmas Song.” The little diner was warm and homey, a welcoming shelter against the wet December day.

Scully glanced at the clock, removed the pencil from behind her ear and closed her notepad. “Luana,” she called, “it’s four, I’m going to go.”

“Okay, Katie.” The other waitress waved to her from the other end of the diner. “Have a good night.”

“Thanks. You too. Good night, Spike. Good night, Emmanuel,” she called to the cook and the dishwasher, and they waved to her. “Take care, Katie.”

“Good night.” Scully made her way to the back of the diner, to the staff’s changing room. She’d been there since six-thirty and her entire body ached, particularly her feet. The front of her uniform was stained with egg and syrup and ketchup from the breakfast rush, and she peeled it off gratefully.

Violet, the manager, poked her head into the changing room. “You okay, honey?”

“Yeah, I’m good.”

“I ordered the next size uniform for you and it should be here at the end of the week. Can you manage until then?”

“I’ll be fine. It’s just a little tight around the bosom right now.” Scully wiped her face and arms with a paper towel and pulled on the plain white shirt she’d worn to work that morning. It was a little tight across the bosom too.

“Katie,” Violet said hesitantly, and she crossed her arms. “Are you sure there’s no chance of you heading home before—you know, before.”

Scully zipped up her jeans and smoothed her shirt. “No,” she said quietly. “No chance.”

Violet didn’t say anything for a moment, then blurted, “Did he hit you?”

“What?” Scully turned from the mirror where she’d been pulling out the clips from her hair.

“Your husband—your boyfriend—whoever you ran away from. Did you leave because he hit you?” Scully didn’t answer, turning instead back to the mirror and brushing out her hair, and Violet said, “You’re not the first little thing to show up one morning with no money and nowhere to go. I do try to help you girls but I honestly think it’s better to go home and face your problem than to run away from it. If your man’s been hitting you, you should go to the police.”

“Violet,” Scully said softly, “I can’t go home. My problem isn’t as simple as abuse. I know you mean well—you’re a real sweetheart, Violet, you really are—but it’s just better for everyone that I hide for a while.”

Violet nodded and sighed. “I know you don’t want to answer questions, and I honestly don’t want to pry, but a woman in your situation needs family around and you’re going to need more money than I can pay you to cover your bills.”

“I’ll be all right, Violet. When the time comes I—well, I’ll be all right.” Scully sat down to pull on her sandals. She’d discovered after the first day that no matter how cold it was outside her feet needed the air once work was over.  “You’re a dear, Violet,” she said and stood to kiss the other woman’s cheek.

Violet nodded again. “Take care, dear,” she said, and left the changing room.

Scully stood still for a moment, rubbing her forehead. While she was working it was easy to forget about the loneliness but sometimes—like after a conversation such as this—it came crashing down on her all over again. She hated feeling so far from home.

She lifted her head and straightened her shoulders, picked up her coat and her purse, checked to make sure she had bus fare, and stepped through the changing room door.

She froze when she heard the voices from the diner. Her hand twisted into her coat.

“You sure you haven’t seen this woman? She might be going by another name.”

“No,” Luana said, handing back the photograph to the man across the counter. In the kitchen Spike stood scowling, his arms crossed over his chest. “I’ve never seen this woman, ever.”

“Picture her with brown hair, or even blonde. Please. It’s very important that I find her.”

“I’ve never seen her, sir,” Luana said, her voice rising in her nervousness.

Violet said quickly, “With the bus terminal so close by we see more people than we can keep track of. She might have passed through.”

The man at the counter nodded, putting the photograph away in his wallet. “Could I have a cup of coffee and a slice of blueberry pie?” he said quietly, and sat down on the stool.

Luana hesitated, then put the cup and saucer in front of him. “Just a moment and I’ll get your pie,” she said and went back to the kitchen.

Scully leaned back in the changing room doorway and closed her eyes.

Her heart was racing. She heard Luana approach, and when Luana slipped her hand into hers she gripped it tightly.

“Is that him?” Luana whispered. “He’s so—he looks like a movie star.”

“That’s him,” Scully whispered. She missed him so much she ached inside.

“He’s having some pie, he may be here a while. I’m such a bad liar, I’m sorry, Katie. I don’t think he believed me when I said I’ve never seen you. He had such a pretty picture of you.”

Scully thought she knew which picture he was using. He’d taken a roll of her a few months before, when they’d had a Labor Day picnic out in the country. His favorite had her lying with her face against the grass, the green of her dress blending with the green beneath her. “I’ll stay here for a few minutes, then try to sneak out the back.”

“Is it true?” Luana whispered.

“Is what true?” She opened her eyes to look at Luana’s excited, frightened face.

“Did you leave him because he was hitting you?”

“No. No,” Scully said, though Luana’s expression said she didn’t believe her. “Nothing like that, I promise. He’s—he’s the best man who ever lived.” She wanted to look at him again, to drink in his beloved face and even hear his voice one more time.

Luana said, her tone awed, “I have to get his pie.”

“Put on a little extra whipped cream for me, will you?” Scully said softly, and Luana smiled a little and nodded.

“See you.” She hurried to the kitchen.

Scully waited a few minutes, pacing around the changing room, and then quietly hurried to the kitchen and out the back door by the garbage bin. On her way out Spike handed her a take-out bag, with a wink and a smile. “Thanks,” she whispered, and left.

Her bus came a few minutes later and she sank into the seat, relieved and heartsore all at once. She could have gone into the diner. She could have slid onto the stool beside him and calmly ordered a slice of pie, and he would look at her and gasp, “Scully,” and then they would fall into each other’s arms—

Of course, once their joyous reunion was over, leaving him again would be even harder than the first time.

She buttoned up her coat as far as it would and buried her chin in her collar. She missed him, she wanted him, she was more in love with him than ever.

“Mulder,” she whispered painfully and leaned her head against the window, which was cold and beaded with rain.


Scully had no TV. Every penny she had saved from selling her car was safely in the bank under her new name. She paid her rent and her groceries from the miniscule amount she made from the diner. She even went to bed early so she wouldn’t have to waste money on electricity after sundown.

She did have a small portable stereo, though, and she’d found a classical station that played operas twice a week. She turned on the radio as soon as she got home and smiled at the familiar chords of the overture to The Magic Flute. She put the takeout bag into her tiny refrigerator and hung up her coat, took off her sandals and her jeans, put on her slippers, wrapped herself
up in a blanket and settled down on the futon with her feet propped up on the armrest.

Her feet throbbed, and spasms shot through the muscles in her calves. She could hear Mulder’s voice scolding her in her head: “Why are you working for minimum wage at a nowhere job? You have an M.D., you’re a federal employee, you could do anything. You should be doing anything but this. You have to think about your health.”

Well, she thought. I’ll sacrifice a few varicose veins for a peaceful life.  She stretched out her legs and pulled them up, and began to rotate and stretch her feet in a way that helped the soreness. It would start all over again tomorrow, but that was all right. She’d made this choice and would live with it.

As she stretched her feet she rubbed her stomach beneath the blanket. Her stomach felt firm and round, and incredibly warm to the touch. She hadn’t felt any movement yet, but she supposed that would happen soon.

She’d found a doctor here the second day, right after she found her job—a general practitioner who’d delivered all the babies for the last twenty years within fifty miles. She liked him. He was kind and knowledgeable, and didn’t ask too many questions after the first discreet glance at her left hand. She supposed he assumed the same thing everyone else had: that she had left an abusive relationship and was hiding while she waited for her baby to be born.

Her baby. Scully smiled, feeling the familiar tears of amazement and joy and frustration form in her eyes. She was having a baby with the man she adored and had to hide it from everyone she knew, including him.

And now here he was in Leslie. So close. And it had only taken him two months to find her—she’d thought it would take longer. Apparently her trick of giving post cards to truck drivers to mail from their next stop hadn’t worked. She hadn’t left a paper trail of any kind, she’d been so careful—but what was a thousand miles compared to a man like Fox Mulder?

Even Frohike didn’t know where she was or why she’d gone. He’d been wonderful, better than she could have prayed for—he told her to sleep and he’d take care of everything. So in a few hours she woke up on the couch to find a new Social Security card and driver’s license in her hand, and a note that read, “Don’t leave until I get back, I need to give something else to you too.” That something else turned out to be cash, and she hugged him and said, “Tell Mulder I’ll get in touch with him as soon as I can. Thank you.” She emailed him sometimes from one of the computers in the county library, to tell him she was okay, knowing he would give out the news.

That must be it, she thought, and sighed. She’d hoped a new email account at every use and the anonymity of the library would be enough to disguise her, but apparently not.  To give Frohike his due, it probably had taken a lot to convince him to reveal her location to Mulder.

She sighed again and her hands stilled, and she turned her head to the side and closed her eyes. Maybe he would give up. Maybe if he were denied enough times, he would decide she wasn’t there after all and go on to his next lead.

And maybe the stars would stop in their courses, she thought, and resigned herself to the fact that she couldn’t avoid him forever. In the next few days she would have to either leave or face him.

She didn’t want to leave Leslie, that was the trouble. She had a job, an apartment, friends, a good doctor, and just that weekend she’d bought a crib. She didn’t want to sell the crib and get back on the bus. She didn’t want to run anymore.

That left facing him. Explaining herself to him. Hoping he would understand and leave.

“Hopeless,” she said out loud. “Perfectly hopeless. He won’t leave.” He’d followed her to the ends of the earth before, he’d do it again.

Scully rested a few minutes more, then forced herself to her feet and went to the fridge to see what Spike had given her. A BLT, carrot sticks, fruit salad, and a slice of apple pie.  She ate the meal slowly, washing it down with plenty of milk, brushed her teeth and put on her pajamas. She read for a while, sometimes out loud, and when the opera was over she turned off the stereo, unfolded the futon and got down on her knees.

She wasn’t sure when she’d begun praying again—recently, but before all this trouble started—but it took on a new urgency to her now. She prayed for her family, her sorely-missed friends, the souls of her departed, her new friends, and last and longest for Mulder.

She shivered beneath the blankets until the bed began to warm from her own body, and fell asleep to the tap of rain on the windows.

~Truly Madly Deeply: Runaway 2~

The breakfast rush usually ran from seven-thirty until ten o’clock. Scully had noticed they served more pancakes on Thursdays than any other day, which struck her as an interesting quirk. Her waitressing skills from college had come back to her quickly, though she’d noticed that people were more patient with her now that she was beginning to show. She suspected it had something to do with the gaps between the buttons on her uniform across her breasts, as well.

The constant stream of customers eventually slowed, and Scully and Luana lounged behind the counter. Scully leaned against the counter with her back to the door, holding herself up to take her weight off her feet. Luana drank coffee and told her about her last date.

“So then he said, ‘But Lulu, honey, don’t you think it’s time we move to the next level in our relationship? We’ve known each other for so long.'” Luana rolled her eyes. “First of all I hate being called Lulu. And then that garbage about the next level—I mean, these things should just happen, don’t you think? When it feels right. I hate the idea that you have to sleep with a guy after so many dates. So I said to him, ‘Look, honey, I will stay here with you as long as you want and I will neck on this couch with you as long as you want, but these legs are not opening until I am sure you’re not going to forget my name the next morning.'”

Scully laughed. “You actually said that?”

“I said it. I had to say it in words he would understand.” She laughed too. “So he pouted a little bit but then we ended up necking on the couch a little more and then I went home. And we’re going out again on Saturday and maybe if he’s really nice I’ll be in the mood.”

“More power to you,” Scully said, and they bumped fists, laughing. Behind Scully the bell on the door tinkled.

“He is about the nicest boy in Leslie,” Luana said, starting to move towards the end of the counter to go out onto the floor, but she paused and her face paled. She made a little whimper and looked despairingly at Scully.

“What?” Scully whispered, and put herself off the counter and turned around, just as Mulder slid onto the stool opposite her.

Her breath caught in her chest and she gripped the edge of the counter tightly. He looked tired and sad, and he smiled at her uncertainly. He opened his jacket and from the inner pocket took out a small stack of postcards. He turned them over so that the writing showed, and fanned them out like a hand of poker. Their corners were bent and they all showed signs of wear and crumpling.

He read off one in a soft whisper, “‘Dear Mulder, don’t worry about me. I’m safe. T.M.D.'” He turned to the next, “‘Dear Mulder, I pray for you every day. T.M.D.’ ‘Dear Mulder, I miss you so much, but please believe this is for the best. T.M.D.'” He looked up at her and said, “Do I need to mention I’m not convinced?”

Scully exhaled and said, “How did you find me?”

“Frohike said he was getting emails from you, so I had Byers hack into his computer and find out where they were coming from. You could have emailed me, Scully.”

“I wrote you.”

“But then I could have emailed you back.” He laid his hand on the counter, palm-up. “Will you come home, please?”

“I can’t.” She wanted to put her hand into his so badly her fing
ers twitched.

“Why not?”

“I just can’t. Please. Tell my mother I’m okay and just—please, go home.”

“I’m not leaving without you,” he said, his voice low and firm. “I came here to bring you home and if you’re not coming home then I’ll stay here. I hate being without you.”

The door tinkled again and a group of kids came in, chattering loudly. The local high school was a few blocks over and many of them came to the Blue Moon for lunch. Scully glanced at Luana, who had been watching the two of them closely and biting her lip. Her hands were twisted together between her breasts. “I have to go back to work.”

“Scully—” He glanced around the diner and Luana gave a muffled gasp.

“I have lunch at one,” Scully said. “We can talk then.”

“I’ll be waiting,” he said, standing, and he went to a far booth on the other side of the diner.

Scully looked at him in despair for a moment, and then picked up her order pad and her pencil. “Back to work, Lu.”

“Katie?” Luana whispered.

“It’s not my real name.” She tightened her apron around her waist.

“What is your real name?”

“Dana.” She started towards the table full of teenagers, when Luana grabbed her arm and leaned in to whisper.

“Katie, is he—he’s your baby’s father, isn’t he?”

Scully looked at her, nodded quickly, and went to take the orders.


Mulder drank cup after cup of coffee, and eventually ordered pancakes and sausage to stop Spike’s evil eye. “Should I spit in the batter?” Spike asked Scully when she brought over the order.

“He’s a friend.”

“Oh. So he’s not the greasebag.”

“No. He’s the good guy.”

Spike grunted, pouring batter onto the griddle. “Do you want to hear my theory? This guy adds a whole new wrinkle.”

“What’s your theory?” It never failed to amuse her, how much people speculated about her life story.

“My theory is you were married to a jerk. Then you fell in love with this guy, and when you husband found out he scared you so much you left. Am I close?”

“Your theory touches on the truth but doesn’t quite cover it, no.” She finished pouring the glass of juice and went back to the floor.

Mulder caught her hand when she set down the glass of juice. “How much longer until your break?”

“Half an hour.” Her fingers curled around his hand reflexively. His touch was like a jolt of electricity. “Behave yourself, Mulder,” she said softly.

“I’m tempted to pick you up and carry you out of this place,” he said.

“You’d have to fight Spike on the way out,” she said, and gently pulled her hand from his. “We’ll talk. I promise.”

He nodded, and she felt his eyes on her as she walked away.

Finally the third day-waitress came in and it was one o’clock. Scully put aside her pad and pencil and folded her apron, got herself a chef’s salad for lunch and joined Mulder at his table.

She could feel the hunger in his gaze as he watched her. “You look good,” he said softly. “Really good.”

“I’m doing all right.”

“Do they run you ragged?”

She smiled, still watching her fork move among the components of her salad. “It’s a hard job.”

“It must have some attraction for you, if you’d chose this over, say, a hospital or law enforcement, some place where you actually have some skill.”

“I’m a good waitress,” she said, surprised into looking at him. “How do you think I paid for med school?”

“That’s not what I meant. I just don’t get it, Scully, you’ve got so much education and this is all you could find?”

“They don’t ask questions,” Scully said, dropping her eyes again. His face was so sad she could hardly bear it. She ate a few bites, and put down her fork when Mulder’s hand covered hers.

“You didn’t even say goodbye,” he whispered, and she bowed her head for a moment. “You left and you didn’t even say goodbye.”

“Please don’t make me cry,” she whispered, her eyes already smarting.

“You know, at first I thought you’d been abducted again. I was frantic. I was terrified. That first postcard, Scully—I sleep with it. I’d kiss it because your hands touched it. I’ve missed you so much, Scully.” His voice was low, rough, a breath above a whisper and so intense it made her shiver. “Why did you leave?”

“Will you believe me, no matter how strange it sounds?”

“Of course.”

She leaned forward, and he leaned closer to her in response. She whispered, “I’m pregnant.”

Any number of expressions crossed his face, finally ending with incredulous joy. “Scully,” he whispered, and he lifted her hand to his mouth. He kissed her knuckles and pressed her hand against his face. When he opened his eyes, though, they were troubled. “But I still don’t see—”

“I was going to tell you. I was trying to find the right way, the right time. I mean, we’d never talked about it, Mulder, I honestly didn’t know what your reaction would be. And then—” She stroked his face and took a deep breath. “Then Alex Krycek came to me.”

“Did he hurt you?”

“No, of course not. He told me—he gave me proof—that They want my baby.”

Mulder’s jaw clenched and she felt a deep shudder of anger go through him. “What did he say?”

“He gave me a tape of C.G.B. Spender and one of the nurses who works at my OB/GYN’s office. He was offering her huge sums to give him as much information as she could find about my test results, my due date, everything. He told her he was my estranged father. He said—” She almost choked on this—”he told her he’d give anything to see his grandbaby.”

Mulder didn’t answer out loud, but his hand gripped hers more tightly.

“Then Krycek told me they were planning to kidnap me and hold me until my baby was born. He said he wasn’t sure what they planned after that, whether they’d hold me longer or kill me or convince me my baby had died—or even wipe the pregnancy from my memory altogether. He said he couldn’t let them do that to me, and that I didn’t have much time but I had to leave as soon as I could.”

“Scully,” Mulder whispered, and again he kissed her hand. “Why didn’t you tell me? I could have come with you —”

“Krycek made it sound like if they found us together they’d make the consequences worse for you than they would for me.” She looked at him miserably.

Mulder slid around the booth until they were thigh-to-thigh. “Scully,” he said softly, right into her ear, and Scully had to close her eyes at the rumble in his voice. “You know I would never, never let anyone hurt you. I’m not afraid for myself—”

“But I am.” She leaned her head against his shoulder and spoke against his neck. “I’m afraid for you. Leaving was the only thing I could do.”

“Scully, do you really want to do this alone?”

“I have to.” “You’re not answering my question. If you tell me right now to get up and go, I will get up and go. But if you have any doubts—if you want me at all—don’t make me leave you. If you have any doubts at all I won’t go.”

Scully couldn’t answer. She just leaned her head against his neck again, inhaling the scent of him and trying not to tremble.

He cupped her cheek in his hand. “I know you can do it alone. I have no doubts about that. But I don’t think that you want to.”

“I don’t want to do it alone,” she whispered, and Mulder exhaled and hugged her with one arm.

“Okay, then. Then we need to figure out what to do next.”

“I don’t know what to do.” He was wearing a denim shirt, and she lightly ran her fingers over his chest. He felt warm and solid, and the denim was soft. He smelled like the rain.

“I’ll stay with you. We’ll figure things out.”

Scully reminded herself to breathe again, in and out. “Stay,” she said, and Mulder hugged her again and kissed her forehead.

“Do you want to go now?”

“I can’t just up and leave, Mulder, they’re counting on me.” She picked up her fork again, reluctant to leave the circle of his arm. “I should eat. I’ll finish my shift and we can talk more at home.”

kay.” He looked back at the counter. “Will it be all right if I wait here?”

“Yes. You’re not bored?”

“I brought a book.” He smiled at her and she managed a chuckle.

She ate a little more of her salad, then said, “Tell me how you knew to come back here.”

“Well . . . I didn’t order any whipped cream on my pie yesterday.” Scully made a sound between a sob and a chuckle, and he smiled at her again. “It came back from the kitchen covered in the stuff, and that was the best clue I’ve had all month.”

“Whipped cream.” Scully shook her head. “I told Luana to give you extra. I could have sworn you asked for some.”

“That’s because I usually do, I think.” He kissed her forehead again. “Eat your lunch.”

When Scully was finished she brought her dishes back to the kitchen and put on her apron again. She was about to go back to the floor when Luana pulled her aside again.

“Katie? Or should I call you Dana now?”

“Call me Katie.”

“You know, watching you two—” She glanced at the table where Mulder waited. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that, outside of the movies.”

“Like what?” Scully said, genuinely puzzled.

“The way you talked, like there’s nobody else in the world but you two. He watched every bite you put in your mouth. He looked at you like you’re the air he breathes.” There were tears in her eyes and she blinked them away. “I hope someday somebody looks at me like that.”

“Luana,” Scully said gently, “I’ll tell you something. True love is mostly about shared pain.”

“You really don’t think that, do you?”

“Today I do.” She looked at Mulder, who smiled at her again when he sensed her gaze. “If this story has a happy ending, maybe I’ll change my mind.”

 ~Truly Madly Deeply: Runaway 3~ Leslie, Alabama December 6, 2000

Violet came in at four o’clock, just as Scully was getting ready to leave again. She removed Luana’s purse from the other chair as Scully was pulling on her shoes, and said, sitting down, “I’m told that’s your fella sitting in number eight.”

“Yeah. That’s him.”

“He’s cute,” Violet said artlessly, and Scully smiled despite herself. “Well, as I live and breathe,” Violet said, “you do smile.”

“I have been known to, yes.”

“Then I guess you’ll be heading home.”

“I really don’t know. We haven’t made any plans. He wants to be with me, and that’s about as far as it’s gone.”

“And you want to be with him?” Violet said carefully, and Scully looked up at her.

“More than anything.”

Violet nodded slowly, looking around the cramped room. “I’m going to put the Help Wanted sign back up. You get us your new address when you can and I’ll forward your check.”

“I’ll be in tomorrow.”

Violet nodded, obviously not believing her, and Scully decided not to press her point any longer either. She put on her coat and said, “Goodbye, Violet,” and the other woman said softly, “Goodbye.”

Mulder stood up from the table when she came back to the floor. “Ready?”


“I have my car, I’ll follow you.”

“I take the bus.”

“Then we’ll drive.” He took her hand, and then pulled her into his arms and hugged her tight. It occurred to Scully then that he had yet to kiss her, but she thought, I’d rather be alone when we get to that particular reunion.

The rain had picked up again. Mulder zipped up his jacket and pulled up his collar, and Scully opened her umbrella. It was uncomfortable for-her to hold it high enough to cover them both, and after a few steps Mulder took it from her hand and held it, mostly over her head. They walked close together, and after a few minutes Mulder nudged her lightly with his elbow.

“Sandals, Scully? It’s freezing out here.”

“My feet are hot after work.”

“You’ll catch pneumonia or something.”

“I am taking care of myself, Mulder.”

Mulder shook his head, then said, “Here’s the parking lot.” He stood still, frowning.


“I can’t remember what the car looks like. It’s a rental—I’ve had so many in the past few days I’m not sure which one I drove here.”

“Here.” Scully held out her hand and Mulder gave her the keys. She checked the license number on the key ring and found the car in minutes, and unlocked the door.  “Are you coming?”

“Are you driving?” he said, smiling.

“I know the way, don’t I? Get in.”  Scully got into the car and buckled herself in, and Mulder got into the other side. He shook out his damp hair.

“I have towels at my place,” Scully said, wiping some water from her face.

“Sorry. It was dripping.”

“Do you want to stop at your hotel?” she said as she started up the car.

“Uh, sure. It’s not the best room but we can talk there —”

“I mean to get your things.”

He stopped fingering the water from his hair and looked at her. “Do you want me to stay with you?”

“I thought we agreed on that already.”

“I didn’t want to assume anything.”

“I think at this point that’s something it’s safe to assume.”

“Okay,” Mulder said, looking happy for the first time that day, and Scully pulled the car out of the parking space.


When Scully unlocked and opened her front door, she felt embarrassed about her apartment for the first time. It seemed so stark and spare and small. She noticed the stained carpet, the cracked linoleum in the tiny kitchenette, the complete lack of personality the rooms had. The only spot of brightness was the nook she was putting together for the baby, the crib and the mobile and the blanket and the Beatrix Potter print she hadn’t yet hung on the wall. She was tempted to turn around and tell Mulder they should stay at the hotel after all.

But she stepped inside and closed the door behind Mulder. “I’ll turn up the heat,” she said, going to the radiator.

Mulder stood where he had stopped, twisting his hand so that his bag twirled in lazy circles, and he said, “You’re certainly unencumbered by furniture, I see.”

Scully shoved her hands deep in her coat pockets. “I know. It’s awful.”

“There’s potential. What about the bedroom?”

“You’re standing in it.”

“You mean this is it?”

Scully pointed around the room. “Kitchen. Living room. Bedroom. Bathroom. Nursery.”

He hitched up his bag and said, “This isn’t even a studio. It’s a room. It’s one step above squalor, Scully.”

“Anything better would require a credit check and since the name I currently live under has no credit history this is the best I could do.” She pulled off her sandals and her coat. “Go dry your hair.”

“I’ll be right back.” He went into the tiny bathroom that was just off the kitchenette.

While he was gone Scully hung up her coat, and Mulder’s as well, on the coat rack in the corner behind the door. She looked in the refrigerator for something to make for dinner, but the only items in there were milk, cottage cheese, apples and bread. She thought there might be some packages of ramen in the cupboard, and her box of Cream of Wheat was still half-full, but she was embarrassed to offer any of these to him. He wouldn’t believe she hadn’t had time to go grocery shopping lately. “You’re starving yourself,” she imagined him saying. “You’re starving my child.”

We’re not starving, she thought, and closed the refrigerator door. We get three squares a day and I eat everything the doctor says I should. She doubted Mulder, coming from a family with both old and new money, would ever understand you could live on nothing and still do all right. She could tell him her memories of some lean times in her childhood that might convince him otherwise.

She sat down at the table and wrapped her arms around her middle. There was no point in getting defensive when he hadn’t said anything yet.

When he came out of the bathroom his hair stuck up around his head like prickly hedgehog. He said, running his hands through it and making it stick up even more, “Better?”

“Not really. Come here.”

He pulled the other
chair so he could sit beside her, and bowed his head so she could calm his hair down. Its softness always surprised her. She smoothed his hair and lifted his face, and she leaned forward to kiss his closed eyelids. He shivered and exhaled, and Scully leaned her forehead against his and moved one hand to stroke his neck as the other rubbed the back of his head.

“I’ve missed you so much,” he whispered.

“I’ve missed you too.” Even just the rain-fresh scent of him catapulted her to a thousand memories, the smells and the tastes and the sounds of him.

“Why did you leave, Scully?”

“I told you why.”

He shook his head slowly. “You should have come to me,” he said, looking at her, and she could see the pain in his eyes. “Even if we were apart for a little while we could have found a way. Two months, Scully . . .” His hand gently rubbed her thigh. “It’s been agony.”

“I know.”

“You look exhausted,” he said after a moment.

“It’s been a long day.”

“Lie down. I’ll make dinner.”

“I don’t have much to cook with.” She amended as he stood and went to her cupboards, “I don’t have anything, really. I haven’t had a chance to go to the store for over a week. Usually I get something from work when the cupboards get bare.”

He looked at her with an unreadable expression and opened a few doors and shut them softly. “I’ll get some things. What would you like?”

“Whatever you’d like to eat.” His mouth quirked and Scully flushed, and said, “Eggs, maybe some things for a salad, whatever you’d like for breakfast. That sort of thing. Orange juice.”

“All right.” He spotted his coat and went to put it on. “I won’t be gone long.” He paused and looked at her again with that blank expression. “You’ll still be here, right?”


“Try and rest a little.” He let himself out.

For a moment Scully just sat at the table, her hands clasped together, then she pushed herself to her feet and tottered to the bathroom. She wanted a shower, to wash off the sweat and grease of the diner—and she could admit to herself that she wanted to smell nice for him. If this evening led to where she hoped it would she didn’t want him to find her smelling sour and tired.

She undressed and started the water, and inspected her reflection in the mirror. She thought, and had always thought this from the first moment she noticed it, that her pregnant belly and fuller breasts were beautiful and lush like a piece of ripening fruit, but she wasn’t sure Mulder would feel that way. She looked different, there was no way to deny that.

On the other hand, that he found her sexually attractive at all had always been somewhat of a surprise. The dark, tall, slender women from his past couldn’t be more different from her small, round, pale self—yet countless times he had kissed every part of her body and told her how much he loved it and exactly why. “From your rosebud lips to your sugary toes,” he would say, and she would laugh, and they would collapse into kisses.

Scully wrinkled her nose at her reflection and got into the shower. It seemed like an age since they had been so careless and happy.

When she got out of the shower she dried off and wrapped the towel around her, and opened the bathroom door. She hoped that Mulder had come back, but her apartment was empty and still a little cold. She hastily shut the bathroom door and wrapped another towel around her hair. She ventured back into the apartment and got her pajamas and bathrobe from the bureau against the wall. She dressed, shivering, and turned up the radiator some more. She left the towel around her hair and wrapped herself up in a blanket, turned on the radio and settled herself on the futon.

Her body thrummed pleasantly with warmth and relaxation, and she leaned back her head against the back of the futon and closed her eyes. The radio played Eric Satie and she allowed herself to daydream, to remember, and to look forward to Mulder’s return.


Scully woke up when someone knocked on her front door, and it took a moment for her to untangle herself from the blanket and get up from the couch. She went to the door and said softly, “Who is it?”

“It’s me, Scully. My arms are full.”

Scully unlocked the door and opened it, and Mulder came in, juggling four bags of groceries. “Quick, take one,” he said and Scully grabbed the most precarious one. Mulder set the bags on the kitchen table and straightened his back.

“What did you get?” Scully opened the bag she held, and took out the carton of ice cream. “Mulder—”

“Just the basics,” he said, and started putting the groceries away.

He’d gone overboard, way overboard, and Scully watched him, the pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cradled in her arms. It was an indulgence she hadn’t allowed herself for weeks. She could already taste the marshmallow cream and caramel.

“Mulder, you bought too much.”

“I just wanted you to have a choice. Put the ice cream away before it melts, please?” He started rinsing fruit in the sink.

Strawberries. It was December and he’d bought fresh strawberries. “I bought stuff to make waffles.”

“I don’t have a waffle iron.”

“Then I’ll make pancakes.”

Scully wiped the frost from the lid of the ice cream. She felt near to tears at this very Mulder-like gesture. There was so much food, more than the two of them could eat before it spoiled, surely.

But he had always indulged her this way. Dozens of flowers when she thought she might get a bouquet, silk and lace lingerie when she expected a blouse, Godiva chocolates when she mentioned a craving for M&Ms. Mulder gave love in deluges.

“Or maybe you don’t want pancakes?” Mulder said, and she remembered he was waiting for her answer.

“Pancakes are fine. Yours always were the best.” She put the ice cream into the freezer, shifting and stacking the four cartons until they all fit. Four cartons, all her favorite flavors. His apology for not finding her sooner.

“I guess I should have known you were okay when the only thing missing from your apartment was the portable stereo and your favorite CDs,” Mulder said eventually, when the kitchen was stocked to his approval.

Scully had rewrapped herself in the blanket and watched him from the futon. “I let you know as soon as I could.”

He cracked an egg into the pancake batter, and the two of them were silent as he ran the blender. The trick to good pancakes is plenty of air, he’d told her the first time he made her breakfast. Years and years ago—they’d known each other six months, maybe seven, he had talked her into staying late so they could review a case with a promise of breakfast. She’d thought, Cold cereal and instant coffee, and got Mulder’s pancakes with fresh strawberries and syrup. It had been a pleasant surprise.

She could count on one hand all the times she’d cooked for him, but it would take the two of them together to count the times he’d cooked for her. In hindsight she thought it was part of his courtship, letting her see his domestic side to counteract the wild’n’wacky Mulder she saw every day. She didn’t think he’d consciously decided, Knowing I can cook will drive Scully wild, but it had worked.

She loved his cooking ability the same way she loved his long narrow toes and his often juvenile sense of humor. As she watched him move around her tiny kitchen she sighed, and had to ask herself how she had managed to go two entire months without seeing him. She wanted to just drink him in.

“So,” he said when he shut off the blender.


“Why Alabama? Why this place?”

“Well . . . I wanted a small town, someplace inconspicuous. Someplace we’d never been on a case, of course. We’ve never been within fifty miles of Leslie. And I wanted someplace no would guess I’d go.”

“It’s easier to hide in a big city.”

“Maybe, but in a small town people tell you if someone’s been asking about you. You saw how it was in the Blue Moon. They’ve taken me in. They’ve adopted me. They care about me, and
I care about them. I’ve found a good place to call home.”

“I see,” Mulder said. He ran his fingers under some tap water and threw a few drops onto the griddle. He nodded in satisfaction to the outcome of this ritual, and poured circles of batter onto the griddle. “But aside from the friendly natives . . . “

“And I like my obstetrician.”

“Well, that’s a good reason right there.”

Scully frowned a little, not sure if he was being sarcastic or not, and said, “The bus station is down the block from the Blue Moon. I got off the bus and walked down the street, trying to decide if I wanted to get on the next bus that came through, and I saw the Help Wanted sign . . . I don’t know, Mulder, it seemed like all the answers had been handed to me. I felt safe here from the moment I got off the bus, and everyone was so friendly and understanding. I saw no reason to move on. So here I’ve been.”

He nodded, watching the pancakes. “So your main criterion was just a place that felt safe.”


He said after a moment, “You know, when that first postcard came I stayed in bed for two days.”

“Oh, Mulder,” she said softly.

“There didn’t seem much point in getting up. You were gone, the work had been going nowhere for a long time, you were gone . . . I said that already, didn’t I?”

“You did.”

“Well, that’s the way it felt. You were gone. You’d left me nothing but a postcard, not even an explanation.” He looked at her, his hands braced on the counter. “And now I find out it’s because of Krycek . . . I don’t know what to think.”

“He had a tape recording, Mulder, of the Smoking Man and one of the nurses at my doctor’s office. He offered her five hundred thousand dollars for access to my records. She refused but I could hear her wavering about it. Why would he offer so much money to know about my baby? How did he find out? Why does he care, why are they watching me? Doesn’t that scare you? It scares me.”

“Our baby,” Mulder said softly.

“Our baby. Sorry. Habit. Our baby.”

“That’s another thing, Scully. I’m getting closer to understand the whole leaving thing but not telling me about the baby . . . I don’t know what to make of that.” Scully bit her lip and buried herself deeper in the blanket wrapped around her. When she didn’t answer he sighed and turned back to the griddle. “It feels like you don’t trust me,” he said, slipping a spatula under a pancake.

“Mulder, it’s not that. Never that.”

“Then what? Did I ever say anything or do anything to indicate I wouldn’t be happy if this happened, that I didn’t want children or didn’t like them or something to scare you off about it?”

“No—but you didn’t say anything to show me that you wanted them, either. I mean, not really. Not recently.”

“It never really came up, did it,” Mulder said, his voice low. “I never thought it would happen. You didn’t either, I think. I didn’t mention it because I thought it would hurt you and you never mentioned it because you didn’t see the point.”

“So when it did happen,” Scully said quietly, “I didn’t know what to think or do and . . . and I was scared.” She could feel his surprise that she would admit to this, and she looked out the window for a moment before looking back at him. His face was sorrowful, and he put down the spatula and came over to the couch. He knelt down in front of her and she sat up, and he put his hands on hers and then slipped them around her hands and gripped them tightly.

“You are not alone,” he said fiercely. “You are not alone, Scully.”

She leaned her head against his, and took her hands back to wrap her arms around his neck. “I know,” she said, and shivered deeply at how surely she knew it. She added after a moment, “The pancakes are burning,” and he jumped up to tend to them.

 ~Truly Madly Deeply: Runaway 4~

Neither Mulder nor Scully had much to say during dinner. He had not unpacked his bag, instead putting it in the corner by the coat rack. He was not exactly moping but his face was sad, and Scully did not know what to say to make him smile. She praised his cooking but that barely got a glimmer.

He’s not going to stay, Scully thought, saddened. He’s found me, he’s satisfied I’m safe, he’ll say goodbye and have a nice life. She sighed heavily and hung the dishtowel on the edge of the sink.

“Mulder,” she said, and he stopped stacking the dishes in the rack. “Mulder, I want you to understand something.”

“Okay,” he said cautiously.

“Everything I’ve done, I did because it seemed wisest at the time. Maybe I could have thought more and not acted so quickly, but I honestly didn’t feel I had time to think.”

Mulder leaned against the counter, with his arms crossed over his chest. He said, “But when where you going to tell me? You’ve had two months to make decisions and settle yourself, and it looks to me like you’re no closer to wanting me around than you were two months ago.”

“I’ve wanted you, Mulder, but I’ve been afraid to send for you. Krycek said—”

“Krycek said,” Mulder scoffed. “Why would you believe a thing he said?”

“Even if parts of it were lies enough was true to frighten me. He knew things. He knew how long you and I had been lovers, what nights we spent at your apartment and what nights we spent at mine, he knew cases we’d been on, he knew where we went in our spare time, he knew movies that we’d seen together—” She stopped, shaking her head. “He frightened me, Mulder. He knew things only you and I should know.”

“He knew you were pregnant quickly, didn’t he.”

“Less than a week after I found out.”

Mulder closed his eyes for a moment and exhaled. “It sounds to me like he’s been stalking you.”

Scully blinked—she had not thought of that. “Maybe—or gathering information about us—I haven’t thought about why, really. Just that he knew those personal things . . . He said my leaving would protect you more than anything he could do.”

“What do I need protection from? Did he tell you that?”

“He said to study the baby properly they would need all three of us, but they didn’t necessarily need us alive.”

“Oh, Scully,” he whispered.

“At that point he’d told me so many truths he could have told me the most blatant of lies and I would have believed him.”

“So you left.”

“So I left.”

He said quietly, “When were you going to tell me I’m going to be a father?”

“I really hadn’t thought that far ahead.” She could hardly bear to look at Mulder’s angry, sorrowful face. “My only thought has been to wait until it was safe.”

“And when would that be, Scully? You and I both know that day would never come, if Krycek is telling the truth.”

“I’ve been living on hope the last two months, Mulder, what else do you want from me?”

“You’ve had two months to get used to this and I just found out today. I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what I feel right now. I want to be with you but I’m beginning to think the last thing you want is to have me around.”

“It’s dangerous,” she said softly. “I want to be with you but not if it’s safer to be apart.”

“Do you really think you’re in danger?” Mulder said, sounding like he might possibly believer her.

“I don’t know. I don’t know anymore. I don’t know what to believe.”

“I’m tempted to believe that Krycek told you what he did because—” He sighed heavily. “Because he’s like that, he likes to play mind games. If he’s obsessed with you—which is what it sounds like to me—it wouldn’t surprise me that he would try anything to get you into a vulnerable position. And what’s more vulnerable than a woman who’s pregnant and alone and scared?”

“You think all of this—he did all of this—just to make a move on me?”

“I don’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise me.”

“But the tape, Mulder, what about the tape? That was real.”

“I don’t know what to think about that. That’s the part that doesn’t fit, and that’s enough to make me think there is a threat
of some kind to you. I doubt it extends to me, really.”

“What do you want to do?” Scully whispered.

“I want to stay with you.” Mulder’s voice was low and husky. “I want to protect you. Will you let me do that, Scully? Will you let me take care of you?”

Scully swallowed hard and protested softly, “But if there’s a real danger to you—”

“Tell me to go, then. Tell me to go and I will. But you have to tell me to go, Scully, look me in the eye and tell me to go.”

Scully stared at him, truly lost for what to say. “I want you to stay . . . but I should tell you to go,” she whispered, and Mulder hung his head. After a moment he lifted his head and said, “I’ll stay at the hotel until you make up your mind.” He went into the bathroom and shut the door, hard enough to shake the walls.

Scully sank down onto the sofa, worn out. She felt as sore and weary as if she’d been beaten. She wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed and sleep for an age or two.

That meant making up the bed. She pushed herself to her feet, groaning a little, and unfolded the futon and started to prepare it for bed.

Mulder came out of the bathroom, tucking his t-shirt into his jeans. He didn’t look at her as he said, “I guess I’ll come by tomorrow while you’re at work— if you want me to, of course.” He picked up his jacket, then caught sight of what she was doing. “You going to bed?”

“I’m tired.”

“Do you do this every night?”

“Every night.” She spread the sheet and smoothed it out.

“Let me,” Mulder said, moving towards her. Scully stepped aside and let him finish making up the bed. She took off her bathrobe and hung it over the side of the futon, and when the bed was made he led her to it and tucked her in.

“Sleep well, Scully,” he said, touching her shoulder, and picked up his jacket again and headed towards the door.

“Mulder,” she said. “Mulder, don’t go.”

“I think it’s best that I do.”

“I want you to stay with me.”

He paused, one arm in his jacket, and he said, “You mean just for tonight.”

“No.” She held out her arms to him. “I mean always.” He didn’t move and she opened and closed her hands encouragingly. “Come here, Mulder. Stay with me.”

He dropped his jacket and threw himself into the futon, onto her, and buried his face in her neck. His arms and one leg as well wrapped around her, blankets and all. His face was hot and damp, and it took her a moment to realize he was weeping. Scully stroked his hair tenderly. “Sh, Mulder, sh. It’s all right. We’ll find a way. I promise. It’ll be all right.”


When her alarm clock went off Scully didn’t want to move. Her bed had never felt so warm and soft, and Mulder’s body felt utterly right in her arms. His head was against her breast and one leg nestled between hers. One hand was spread over the upper curve of her belly.

Their times together like this had been altogether too few, she thought. She’d hardly ever just lain in bed, holding him, awake while he slept and savoring this quiet time together.

Finally she kissed his forehead and moved out of bed. Mulder grumbled in protest and burrowed into the warmth her body left behind. He usually did this when she left him first, and she smiled at how some things never changed.

Since she’d taken a shower the night before, she decided she could skip it now, and just dampened down her hair and washed her face. She clipped her hair up and dressed in her usual jeans and button-down shirt.

As she was making her breakfast by the light over the stove, Mulder mumbled, “I’m awake, you know.” He sat up, rubbing his face with the back of his hand.

“Good morning.”

“Do you have to go to work today?”

“Yes,” she said, smiling at that, too. It was rare that Mulder could convince her to play hooky.

He grumbled, shifting a little, and said, “So what am I supposed to do all day?”

“I don’t know . . . just be inconspicuous.”

He grumbled again. “I wasn’t followed.”

“I hope you’re right.” She came back to the bed and stroked his hair for a moment, and kissed his forehead. “The day will just fly, even if you’re being careful.”

“Sure it will.” He wrapped his arms around her again and pressed his face against her stomach. “I think I shouldn’t hang around the diner today.”

“No, probably not.”

“So I’ll pick you up when you’re done. And I’ll drive you there this morning.”

“Thank you, that would be nice. It’ll give me a little more time.”

“Time to what?” he said softly, and his forefinger brushed the small of her back.

Scully shivered and her fingers tightened for a moment on his shoulder. Sixteen hours together and they had yet to so much as kiss, despite sleeping in each other’s arms.

“Time for a leisurely breakfast,” she said in a trembling voice. She cleared her throat. “Would you like some Cream of Wheat and toast?”

“I’d love some Cream of Wheat,” Mulder said, his voice insinuating more than his words ever could. His arms released her and she went back to the stove, where her cereal bubbled merrily away. She stirred the pot and listened to Mulder as he got out of bed, stretching and groaning.

“Oh, my back, Scully.”

“We could always sleep on the floor.” He snorted in response and went into the bathroom. While he was there Scully laid a towel on the table and set the pan on the towel.

Mulder came out as she started the toast, and he set the table with bowls and spoons. He’d taken off his t-shirt and denim shirt to sleep but left on his jeans, and he looked rumpled and sleepy. She loved how he looked in the morings. She hadn’t forgotten this, but seeing him like this reminded her in a way that made her tremble a little and brought heat to her cheeks.

She wished there was enough time to seduce him, that she had the energy and stamina for a seduction. Maybe when things were better settled between them, when she was more certain he would stay. She did not want to seduce him into staying, though it would probably work.

Scully flushed and glanced at him, hoping he couldn’t read on her face what she was thinking. That’s not worthy of him, she thought. He won’t sleep with me if he’s not going to stay, no matter how much he might want to.

Maybe that’s why he didn’t try anything last night, she mused, a bit despondent at the thought, and she watched him sprinkle brown sugar on his cereal and spread butter on his toast.

“Scully? You okay? Do you feel sick?”

“I’m fine.” She added at his look, “My morning sickness has tapered off the last week or so. The second trimester is a little easier than the first.”

“The second?” He swallowed his toast. “You’re in the second trimester already?”

She sipped her juice and said, “Yes.”

She watched him eat for a minute or two, then he said, between bites, “When is the baby due, Scully?”

“Early May.”

“I have so may questions I want to ask you. I don’t know where to start.”

“Well,” Scully said slowly, “I’m healthy. The baby appears to be healthy. Everything is progressing normally.”

“That’s good. And, um . . . how, exactly, do you feel? About all of this, I mean.”

“Excited. A little scared. Lonely,” she added, and Mulder’s eyes held her as firmly as any embrace.

“That’s easily fixed, if you want it to be.”

“I want it to be,” she said softly.

Mulder’s gaze held her for a moment more, then he cleared his throat and continued eating his breakfast. “What time do you need to be at work?”


“Six-thirty to four? That’s inhuman.”

“I get an hour for lunch and two fifteen-minute breaks. It’s not so bad.”

“What does your doctor think of you being on your feet eight hours a day?”

“He thinks I shouldn’t but he understand the economic necessity.”

“You need to take care of yourself, Scully.”

“I also need to eat and pay rent.”

Mulder ate a few more bites and said, “Well, we’ll work on that.”

She set down her spoon. “What does that mean?”

“Just—you know. We’ll wor
k on that. That’s all.” He gestured towards her bowl with his spoon. “Eat, Scully, you don’t want to be late.”

Scully ate a few bites, thinking over their conversation, then she said, “Don’t start making plans for me, Mulder.”

“I wouldn’t dare,” Mulder said, smiling like he would dare and she would enjoy it, too.

~Truly Madly Deeply: Runaway 5~

Mulder pulled the car to a stop in front of the Blue Moon, and smiled at her ruefully. “Bye, Scully,” he said softly. “Have a good day.”

“Bye,” she said, her eyes focusing on his bottom lip. She wanted to kiss him. Hard. Long. Just one kiss, to say goodbye, to say I’ll see you later, to say I’ll miss you.

But she could just imagine what the results of that kiss would be: the two of them necking in the car until the windows steamed up and the car rocked with their passion. As pleasant—no, as wonderful as that would be, it wasn’t how she wanted to restart their relationship.

“Bye,” she said again, ran her hand quickly over his and got out of the car, struggling a little with her new center of gravity. He waited until she was inside to drive away.

Luana pounced on her the moment Scully entered the changing room.

“Katie! You came back! Are you staying? Is he staying? What happened last night?”

“Relax a little, okay?” She started to change into her uniform. “I’m staying, I think he’s staying, nothing happened last night. We talked.”

“You only think?”

“I’m not completely sure. He wants to stay. I want him to stay. We’re not sure if he should.” She sucked in her stomach as much as she could to button the sturdy dress, and exhaled, hoping the buttons would hold. One more week, she thought, at most, and then she would be just too big. The larger-sized uniforms were already claimed by other waitresses and she would just have to wait until the new one Violet had ordered for her came in.  She’d seen the maternity uniform in Violet’s catalogue: a blouse gathered beneath the breasts and flaring out over the belly, and elastic-waist pants. She was not looking forward to that stage of pregnancy—not the clothes part of it, anyway.

“He’s your baby’s daddy, doesn’t that mean anything?”

“It means something,” Scully said, sitting down to put on her shoes. “Of course it means something. We have other considerations, that’s all. It’s not as simple as wanting to be together.”

“I swear, you are the strangest woman I have ever met in my entire life,” Luana said. “Most girls I’ve known in your situation would do anything to make sure their babies had a daddy. But, yeah, before you say it, I know. You’re not most girls.”

“No, I’m not,” Scully said, grinning.

Luana went on changing into her own uniform, then said, “Katie, tell me something.”

“All right.”

“Yesterday, when he read your postcards. You didn’t sign any of them, did you? They just had those initials at the end. T.M.D. What’s that mean?”

“Oh. That. It’s—um, it’s a shorthand. He came up with it. We used to work together and we didn’t want anyone to know we were dating each other. But he likes to tell me he loves me, so he would write ‘T.M.D’ at the bottom of notes and memos and things.”

“But what’s it stand for?”

“Truly, madly, deeply, as in ‘I truly, madly, deeply love you’—I know, it’s silly.”

“It’s sweet,” Luana said. “It’s very sweet. I knew it. He worships the ground you walk on.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t put it that far.”

“I would. He does, doesn’t he, he followed you all the way from wherever you’re from and he sat here all day yesterday waiting for you—it’s the kind of thing most people would die for, Katie. Most people would die for a love like that.”

Scully looked at Luana and said, her voice firm, “I would die for him, Luana, don’t get me wrong. I know the value of this. I know how precious this is. And I would lay down my life for him. I would. But I’m in no hurry to die.” Luana’s eyes had grown very wide and Scully said hastily, “Never mind, Lu, I just—it’s early. I’m feeling melodramatic. We should get to work.”

Luana bit her lip, her forehead drawn in thought, and followed her out to the floor.


The morning went like normal. Scully served pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs and halves of grapefruit. She poured endless cups of coffee and glasses of orange juice. She laughed at jokes, responded gently to the sweet flirtations, and gave icy glares to the crass ones. She picked up napkins and wiped up spills, set up booster seats and held a baby while the mother looked through her purse for the car keys. The baby smelled like talcum powder and milk, and looked at Scully with solemn brown eyes.

My baby will have eyes like that, Scully thought, she’ll have Mulder’s eyes. She restrained herself from kissing the baby’s hot forehead and handed her back to the mother’s profuse thanks.

When the diner slowed down and they started to prepare for lunch, Scully perched herself on the stool at the end of the counter and swiveled her head on her neck until her spine cracked back into place.

“Oh, I heard that,” Sandra, the day manager, said with a grimace. “You’ve got to have that man of yours give you a good backrub tonight.”

“We’ll see,” Scully murmured.

“What’s his name, anyway? You haven’t told much by way of details.”

Scully hesitated, then said, “Steve.” Mulder would make a good Steve.

“Steve?” Luana said. “I would have thought he’d have one of those hero’s names like . . . like Thorn or Blade.”

Sandra hooted with laughter.  “Blade! No mother in her right mind would name her child Blade. You’ve been watching soaps again, Luey.”

“I have a cousin named Blade,” said Carrie Ann, one of the teenage girls who worked part-time. “His parents wanted him called something strong.”

“Some mothers will name their children anything,” Scully said, remembering the revulsion Mulder had to his own name.

“You got a name picked out for your baby yet, Katie?” Carrie Ann said.

“There are a few that I like. I like old-fashioned names for boys, classic names. Like James or Adam or Caleb. His middle name will be William, after my father. If it’s a girl I may be a little more daring. Girls can have stranger names than boys, it seems like.”

“You like Bible names,” Carrie Ann said. “I have a cousin named Shiloh and her sister is named Havilah, and they’re both out of the Bible.”

“Maybe not that daring,” Scully said. “More like Georgia or Roxanne or Bettina.” She added when they all were silent, “Or maybe a good Irish name like Molly.”

That went over much better with the others, and they all started chatting about the strangest names they’d ever heard and what they wanted to call their children. Scully rubbed her stomach a little, listening to them with her eyes closed.

She’d grown accustomed to the smell of cigarette smoke lately—the Blue Moon was not a smoke-free restaurant—and so thought nothing of it when someone took the stool beside her who smelled strongly of cigarettes. But her eyes flew open and she stopped rubbing her stomach when a soft, familiar voice said, “So you want to name your baby after Mulder’s mother. How sweet.”

Every muscle in her body tensed to run, but she managed to say calmly, her voice low to avoid alarming her friends, “What are you doing here?”

“I’m just checking up on my friend. How are you, Dana?” He took out a package of cigarettes from his coat and started to take one out, then put it back with a modest expression. “Forgive me. I should be more considerate of your delicate condition.”

“I’m fine,” Scully said. “I’m just fine. What are you doing here?”

“I told you. I’m checking up on you. It’s a pity, you being alone down here in this strange town. A single woman with a baby on the way . . .” He shook his head in a mockery of pity. “Alone. Friendless. No one to turn to.”

“Stop it,” Scully whispered. “Just stop it. I heard that phone call you made to my doctor’s office. Do
you honestly think I wouldn’t run away as far as I could if I knew about that?”

“I just want to be sure your baby is healthy. You’ve had such a hard time of it, Dana.”

“Bullshit,” Scully hissed, and then glanced at her friends to make sure they didn’t hear her. Luana was looking at her, her expression concerned, and Scully decided to end this conversation as quickly as she could. “You listen to me, C.G.B. Spender or whatever the hell your name is. I will do whatever it takes to protect my child from you. I will go anywhere, I will run as far as I can, I will give birth in a cave if that’s what it takes. I will kill you if I have to.”

“I’m here to help,” he protested. “I’m here to give you anything your heart desires, anything you could want for your baby. The best doctor, a beautiful home, a private hospital where you can relax and let yourself be taken care of—”

“You’d slit my throat as soon as my baby was born.”

“Never. I’d never raise a finger to hurt you or your child. We just want to know how this happened and if we can reproduce it and how it affects your child.”

“You wouldn’t believe me,” Scully said. Luana nudged Sandra and now they both were watching her, trying not to be obvious. “But you can’t reproduce it. It’s more than science can do. “

“Let us try, Dana. Think of the blessing it would be to other women in your situation—”

“All the other women in my situation are dead. Aren’t they?” She glared at him. “Burned by those madmen or eaten away by cancer. I’m the last one alive.”

“There are others.”

“Even if I believed you about that I still don’t believe your motive is altruistic. I’ve seen what you people to do children. She’d be a test subject, an experiment. You don’t know the value of a single life.”

“Depends on where you buy it,” he said, standing, and he said a voice that carried throughout the diner, “You can’t keep me away from my grandchild, Dana,” and he turned towards the door.

“You are not my father!” Scully said, and put her hand over her mouth before she could say anything more. He just smiled at her over his shoulder and left the diner.

The other women were at her side in a moment. Luana put her arm around Scully’s shoulders and Spike came out of the kitchen, a carving knife in his hand. “Should we call the police?” he said.

“No police,” Scully exclaimed. “They can’t help. I have to go, I can’t stay here, I have to go, I have to go now—”

“Who was that?” Sandra said. “Your man’s father?”

“No—maybe—I don’t know. I’m going to be sick. Lu, help me—”

“Come on.” She supported Scully to the ladies’ room and stood back as Scully vomited helplessly into the toilet. When she was finished Luana brought her a Dixie cup of water and a paper towel. She sat down on the floor beside her and stroked her hand.

“It’s not safe for me here,” Scully said miserably. “I wanted to stay here, I really did, but I can’t now that he knows where I am. Where am I going to go? What am I going to do? Oh, God, I thought I’d found a home—”

“Sh, Katie,” Luana said, putting her arms around her again. “Come on, now, is it that bad? Would he really hurt you? Couldn’t you get a restraining order or something, to protect you?”

Scully shook her head. “That wouldn’t stop him. Nothing will stop him but me being out of his reach. I have to go. I have to go today.”

“I’ll call your apartment and see if, uh, Steve is there. You stay here, okay? I promise you’re safe here.” She stroked Scully’s face for a moment, and Scully managed to smile a little despite her rising hysteria. “I’ll be right back,” Luana said, and left the bathroom.

Scully wrapped her arms around her middle and leaned her head against the cool tiled wall. “I’m going to do everything I can to protect you, little baby,” she whispered, and wished fervently that she could feel some movement, a flutter, a kick, something to prove that her baby was thriving inside her. “Everything I can,” she whispered again, closing her eyes, and she couldn’t stop shivering.


“She’s in here,” Scully heard Luana say as she opened the changing room door, and Scully looked up from her contemplation as Mulder came into the room. He paused and then knelt at her feet and wrapped her up in his arms. “It’s okay,” he said. “I promise it’s okay. I’ll never let him hurt you.”

“We have to leave.” Her fingers dug into his jacket. “We have to get out of here. Quick as we can. I don’t know where to go, Mulder, I don’t know where we can go that will be safe.”

“Sh, honey, sh. I’ll keep you safe. I promise. I’ll take you anywhere you want to go. Come on, let’s go.” He started to rise and she clutched at his shoulders. “We can’t go back to the apartment. He’ll follow us. He’s probably waiting outside with a—a tranquilizer gun or something—we have to hide somewhere.”

“Okay, okay, we’ll go to a hotel for a while. On your feet, honey. Your boss said it’s okay, she understands. Come on. Let’s get out of here.” He helped her to her feet, one arm around her shoulders and the other guiding her along as if she were enfeebled. She leaned her head against his chest and closed her eyes. Even thinking felt like too much effort.

Luana was waiting for them. “Katie? Are you going to be okay?”

“Yeah—um—but I don’t think I’ll be back tomorrow.”

“Oh, Katie.”

“Thank you, Lu,” she said, and Luana tried to smile.

“Be safe,” Luana said. “Send us a picture of the baby.”

Scully nodded, too overcome to speak, and Mulder said, “Goodbye, Luana. Thank you.”

“Your name’s not really Steve, is it,” Luana said.

“No. It’s Mulder. Goodbye.”

He had parked behind the diner, next to the dumpster, and he made sure Scully was safely buckled in before going around to the driver’s side. She hadn’t stopped shivering, and she took Mulder’s hand tightly in both of hers when he was beside her in the car.

“Scully,” he said softly, and leaned over and smoothed her hair back behind her ear. “It’ll be okay, honey.”

“I’m scared,” she whispered. “I hate being scared.”

“I know. But it’s okay to be scared. I’m scared too.” He stroked her cheek and said softly, “And I’m sorry I wasn’t careful enough. I thought I was. I did everything I could think of. I paid in cash. I changed cars. I doubled back. I used fake names. I did everything—”

“I think he already knew where I was,” Scully said dully. “I think he was just biding his time until I felt safe and then pounced. He’ll always be able to find us, Mulder.”

“No, he won’t. I won’t let him hound us. We’ll think of something, Scully, I promise. But let’s go somewhere you can rest. You look too pale.” He put his arm around her shoulders again and she leaned against him as he started the car.

~Truly Madly Deeply: Runaway 6~

Scully woke up abruptly when Mulder opened the passenger’s side door. It was still light out: the sun shone strongly beneath the layer of clouds. Scully raised her hand to shield her eyes as Mulder knelt down to talk to her.

“Where are we?”

“It’s called the Sleepy Time Inn. We’re about forty miles from Birmingham.” Mulder smiled uncertainly. “I just drove, Scully. I didn’t know what else to do.”

Scully nodded slowly, looking around the parking lot. A series of low buildings, painted in faded but welcoming colors, enclosed the lot, and there were no other cars.

“Come on,” Mulder said. “I’ve already checked us in.”

“What name did you use?”

He gave a tiny smile and said, “Steve, of course. Come on, Katie.”

She returned his small smile and unclasped her seat belt. Mulder helped her out of the car, and locked and shut the door firmly. He held her around the waist and she pressed her face against his side as they walked to the room. At every step Scully expected a shot to sound, to feel the stinging pain rip through her body.

The only sound was the crunch of their feet on the gravel. Scully exhaled with relief whe
n Mulder closed and locked the door between them and any threat.

She sank down onto the bed and then lay down, huddling into her coat. After a moment Mulder covered her with his jacket and lay down beside her. He wrapped his arms and a leg around her and pulled her close.

“You’re shivering.”

“I’m cold.” She turned towards him and pressed her cheek to his chest.

“Do you want to get under the covers?”

She shook her head. “Hold me for a while?”

“I’m not letting go.” His lips grazed her forehead. “What do you think we should do?”

“I don’t know. Anywhere we go he’ll find us.”


“I don’t want to live on the run, Mulder, I can’t. Not with a child to think about.”

“I know, honey.”

“Maybe we should go back. Maybe he was telling the truth—maybe he wants to make up for all the pain he’s caused us.”

“Scully,” Mulder said gently, stroking her cheek with his thumb.

“There’s no where to go, Mulder, there’s nowhere safe enough.” She pressed her face against his chest. She couldn’t stop shaking.

“Scully,” Mulder whispered, and started kissing her around her face. “We’ll figure something out. We will. I promise. I won’t let him hurt you. I won’t let him near our baby.”

She tilted her face up but when he did not kiss her mouth she sighed and pulled away from him. She sat up and started to unbutton her coat. “I’m warm now, I think,” she said, sniffling a little. She shrugged off her coat and set both coats aside, and let her hands fall into her lap when she felt his hand rest lightly on her back. He traced her spine upwards and Scully stifled a whimper.

“Lie down, honey,” he said in a voice as tender as his caressing hand, and Scully lay down, cradled in his arm. He kissed her forehead and Scully laid her hand on his chest. “Are you comfortable?” She nodded. “Are you warm enough?” She nodded again. His heart thumped steadily beneath her ear.

Lulled by his warmth and the slow way his hand stroked her hair, Scully dozed. She thought drowsily, I wish we could be like this forever, and moved her hand over Mulder’s chest.

“I think,” Mulder began, barely above a whisper. He paused, his fingers still combing lightly through her hair. “I think we should get married,” he said, and Scully’s eyes flew open.

“Now?” she whispered.

“Yeah. Now would be a good time. Don’t you think?”

“I haven’t—I mean—I haven’t thought about it.” He stroked the back of her hand on his chest. “It might be a good thing. You know, legally.”

“Oh,” Scully said. “Legally. Legal reasons are good reasons to get married.” She closed her eyes again. It was ridiculous to feel so disappointed.

Mulder stroked her hand for a moment more, then moved from beneath her to sit up. He picked up his jacket and rummaged in the pockets for a moment, and came up with a small black box. He held it out to her.

Scully sat up too and said, “Mulder? What’s this?”

“Something I’ve been carrying around a long time.”  His face was utterly serious, and he leaned closer to her, still holding out the box. It was cardboard with flocked paper over it and a snap closure. Scully’s hand crept towards it and she pulled it back.

“I—” she said, and her hand dropped. “I can’t take this, Mulder.”

His steady hand faltered a bit. “Why not?”

“We have more important things to talk about. We have to decide what to do about the Smoking Man and where we should go and how we can hide—”

“Our future,” Mulder said. “This is part of it, too.” He said hesitantly. “Don’t you want to be married to me? Because I’d really like to be married to you.”

“Why?” she said before she thought, and Mulder had the grace to look amused.

He finally lowered the box and said, “I think part of it is that you’re having our child -“

“So you want to marry me just because I’m pregnant.”

“No. But if you weren’t pregnant I don’t think I’d ever be brave enough to ask. Do you want to know how long I’ve been carrying this around?”

“How long?”

“Ever since your cancer went into remission.”

“Mulder,” she said softly, and took the little box from his hands. The corners were fuzzy and rounded with wear. The thick paper was scratched in places.

“I’ve been afraid. I’m still afraid. But you might actually say yes so I’m asking. Will you marry me, Scully?” he whispered, his head low.

“You haven’t answered my question,” Scully said in the same soft tone. “Why do you want to marry me?”

“Because . . .” He lifted his head and looked at her keenly. “Because I want to belong to you.”

She studied him for a moment, then flicked the snap that held the box closed. She parted the lid and gasped when she saw the ring. Two bands of white gold held filigreed floralets, which were set with white and blue diamonds. It was delicate and elegant. She knew it would look perfectly at home on her finger.

“I had it specially made,” Mulder said softly. “I took a picture of you to the jeweler and I said, ‘This is what she looks like. Make something that looks like this.'”

“Mulder,” she said again, and took the ring out of the box. She turned it over and over, watching the shine of the metal and the sparkle of the stones. “It’s beautiful.”

“So? Will you?”

“Mulder,” she said in a quivering voice, “I don’t know.”

“What? What don’t you know?”

“Krycek said—”

“Whatever his reasons, I think you did exactly what he wanted you to do. I’m surprised he never showed up to see if his plan worked. He lied to scare you, Scully. He lied.”

“The Smoking Man was there, he’s in Leslie right now! He told me he wants to study me! He wants to study our child! How can you take this so lightly?”

“I’m not taking this lightly. What’s at issue here is our future. I’m not making plans, okay, Scully? This is an option. I just happen to think it’s the right one. We get married. We stay together. We take care of each other. We become a family. Can we do that, Scully, can we make something permanent and meaningful?”

The ring felt hot from being clutched in her hand. She slipped it onto her thumb and whispered, “I’m afraid.”

“I know you are, honey. So am I.”  He moved closer to her, supporting himself on his elbow. His head was nearly in her lap. “But you and I, we’ve always been better together than apart.” He stroked her kneecap. “I’m so miserable without you.”

“I know.” She eased her hand into his hair and he moved closer still, to rest his head on her knee. “I’m miserable without you, too.”

“Then why be apart?” Mulder whispered, and started to rub his open mouth against the denim that covered her knee.

Scully bent over him and wrapped her arms around his head. It was rash—it was foolish—it was asking for trouble and heartache—

I want, she thought, touching her lips to the lightly tanned skin at the back of his neck. I want this future he sees for us. I want us. I want him.

In her arms Mulder shivered and laid his cheek against her thigh. She stroked his hair with both hands and kissed his head. She took the ring from her thumb and placed it in Mulder’s hand.

His fingers closed around the ring. He sighed and raised his head, and looked up at her with sad but resigned eyes. She smiled and touched him under his chin, and held out her left hand flat to him.

“Put it on me,” she said.

His face solemn, Mulder sat up and took her hand. He caressed it a moment or two, and held her eyes with his as he slid the ring onto her finger.

Scully felt as solemn as he looked, as solemn as if she were in a church before a priest. She wanted to say something but every word seemed inadequate. She touched his cheek and he smiled, and took her hand and kissed the inside of her wrist.

“Soon, Scully,” he said. She nodded, closing her fingers around his hand. She hesitated, then lifted his hand to her mouth and rubbed her lips against the back, against his fingers. He flexed his fingers but otherwise didn’t move. She thought he hardly
dared to breathe.

She went on kissing his hand for a few moments more, breathing against his fingers and cupping his hand to her cheek, until he took his hand from her grasp and cupped her face in both. He still barely breathed, while she couldn’t get enough air to satisfy her lungs.

“I missed you,” he whispered.

“I know.”

“I’ve wanted you so much.”

“So have I. I wanted you last night.”

“Why didn’t you say something?”

“We’ve been apart a long time, Mulder.”


“And you were so unhappy last night. I didn’t want you to feel pressured.” She added at the disbelieving sound he made, “And I wasn’t sure you felt the same way.”

“Honestly, Scully . . .”

“Yes, honestly. There have been changes. With me. With my body.”

He continued to hold her with his warm friendly hands, with his dark depthless eyes, and he said softly, “So you thought that because you look a little different I wouldn’t want to touch you. Is that it?”

“It’s been known to happen. Fathers sometimes have trouble adjusting.”

“Mothers too, I think.” He let go of her face and picked up one of her feet, running his fingers lightly along her instep. “Granted, this, for example, looks a little more worn than the last time I saw it. Your poor little feet, working so hard . . .” He rubbed the sole of her foot deeply and Scully inhaled, shuddering. “And what do you think about it, Scully? What do you think about this different body of yours?”

“I think it’s beautiful,” she said, and Mulder smiled, still rubbing her foot. “I think I look healthy. I think that sometimes I even look happy. I think my body is doing just what it needs to be doing right now, and I haven’t tried to hide that from anybody.”

He nodded, looking down at her feet in his hands, and said quietly, “So, can I see you?”

~Truly Madly Deeply: Runaway 7~

Scully blinked, surprised by his question, and whispered, “What?”

“Can I see you?” His voice was soft and reverent.

“What do you want to see?”

He whispered, “I want to see how your body is different.”

Trembling at the familiar tone in his voice, Scully got up from the bed and stood in front of him. Mulder moved to sit on the edge of the bed, watching her closely as she unzipped her jeans and unbuttoned her shirt from just below her breasts to the hem. The two halves of the top fell away, revealing a belly that looked as creamy and round as a scoop of French vanilla ice cream. Mulder’s eyes widened and his lips parted, and he glanced up at her quickly before placing a warm hand on the upper curve. It looked very dark on her pale skin.

A wave of tenderness swept through her—she closed her eyes and put her hand on his shoulder. The father of my child, she thought, and then, Just as it should be.

“This is right,” she whispered, and he glanced up at her again, smiling a tiny bit. His hand smoothed over her belly as if he were petting her.

“Do you feel anything?”

“Not yet. Soon, I expect.”

“Will you tell me when you do?” He sounded shy, and she smiled.

“Yes. Though you don’t be able to feel her kick or anything for a while yet.”

“Her? You think it’s a girl?”

“More boys are conceived than girls are, but more girls are born.”

“Why is that?”

“You men are just fragile, I guess.” She smiled again, moving her fingertips to his hair at the back of his neck. He closed his eyes and exhaled slowly, and his breath brushed her skin.

Scully shivered, surprised at how much it affected her. But then her stomach had always been sensitive. Charlie used to render her helpless by tickling her on her stomach, and Mulder had quickly discovered that a zerbert to the stomach would make her laugh.

His hand paused at her shiver, and he frowned. “Are you cold?”

“No. I’m all right.”

He nodded, and his hand resumed stroking. She was about to tell him she wanted to lie down again when he leaned forward and kissed her belly, just above her navel. She gasped outright and her fingers tightened on his neck reflexively. In response his lips opened and his tongue dragged over the patch of skin beneath his mouth, and when again she gasped his other hand came up to cup the lower curve of her belly. He stroked and massaged her belly, and kissed it with soft wet sounds that seemed to echo in Scully’s ears. She realized dimly he was murmuring something, and at first she thought it was “my baby, my baby” — no, it wasn’t. “My body, my body”? No.

“My beauty. My beauty.”

“Mulder.” Her head was spinning. “Mulder. Please.”

He slid forward, off the bed and onto his knees, still holding her, still kissing her. Her legs trembled and she held onto his shoulders with both hands, her eyes squeezed shut. She rocked back on her heels as his mouth moved ever lower, to the waistband of her panties, and she thought she might cry when he paused.

His voice was hoarse. “Scully?”

“What?” Her lips were dry.

“Do you want me to stop?”

“No,” she whispered, then cleared her throat and said, “No. Don’t stop.”

He moaned in his throat and settled onto his knees, and slid her jeans and underwear from her waist to her feet. She stepped out of them, holding onto his shoulders for balance, and sighed a long soft “Ohhh . . .” as he set her feet apart and started kissing her thighs, her inner thighs, her knees. He held onto her calves and massaged them with strong, sure fingers. He even bent to the floor and kissed her feet, and Scully looked down at him, puzzled but pleased, splaying her toes.

He rose again, onto his knees, and his hands slid upward to cup her bottom. He kissed her stomach again, and then lowered his head and parted her lower lips with the tip of his tongue.

Scully moaned, bending over him, clutching his shoulders. She ran her hands through his hair, traced the curves of his ears and the lines of his jaw. She wanted to tell him things, everything, things she’d never told another living soul, but when she opened her mouth to speak all that came out was his name.

All the while his tongue lapped at her, dragging moisture forward to her clit, which his tongue circled and teased and stroked. He nipped it with his teeth and soothed it with his tongue, and his hand smoothed back her curls and reached up into her, one slender finger soon joined by two more. And he hummed, moaned, softly growled, telling her without words how delicious she tasted.

“Mulder . . . ” She found herself rising up onto the balls of her feet, lowering herself again, anything to bring more stimulation, more sensation, to the orgasm that was coiling inside her. Though his actions were centered on only a small bundle of nerves she felt them throughout her body, tingling in her fingertips and her nipples and the soles of her feet and the top of her head. She felt as though she were burning. “Mulder . . .”

“Anything for you,” he paused long enough to say, his fingers circling a spot inside her that would make her combust if he didn’t stop it, but oh she’d kill him if he stopped it, she would, she would, she would do anything for him, it was true, he knew it and he’d always known it—

“Mulder,” she gasped, clutching at him, and he held her while she shook and cried out and tried not to fall.

His knees cracked when he stood, and they both smiled at the sound, suddenly shy. His jeans did nothing to hide the erection he bore, but as if he were unaffected he lifted her gently and laid her on the bed, where she continued trembling. She held onto him tightly, not allowing him to rise, and he swept back the hair from her forehead and kissed it tenderly.

“Thank you,” he whispered, and she almost laughed.

“I should thank you.” Why was it that men always had such lovely eyelashes? she thought, and cupped his face to feel his lashes under her thumb. The gesture made him smile, and he returned it, framing her face in his hand.

“You taste like a mango,” he whispered, and now she did laugh, a low, pleased sound. “I me
ant it, you know. I’d do anything for you.”

“I know.” Her hand looked small on his chest, and she slid it down and tugged at his shirt.

“Scully.” He grabbed her wrist. “It’s okay.”

“It’s not.”

“I don’t want to do anything that might hurt the baby.”

She looked up at his face. He meant it, she could see that. She wanted to laugh. “You’ve got a lot to learn about pregnant ladies,” she said, pushing herself up on her elbows. “First lesson is you can have sex right up until the end, if you’re so inclined.”


“Really. I don’t know if you’ll want to, necessarily—”

“Oh,” he said, low in his throat, and he moved beside her to start caressing her belly again. “I think we’ll want to.”

A new erogenous zone, Scully thought, letting her eyes fall closed and herself fall back onto the pillows. She looked at him through her lashes and said, “Mulder. I want you to do something for me.”

“Anything,” he murmured, exploring the curves and valleys of her body with his nose.

“You haven’t kissed me yet. Kiss me.”

He paused and looked up to smile at her. “That I know I can do,” he said, and moved up to stretch out beside her again. He took her chin between his forefinger and thumb and grazed her lips with his a few times before kissing her, deep, long, tender, warm. He broke it long enough to whisper, “I love you, you know,” and then resumed kissing her sweetly, as if they had all of forever and then some to make love.

It’s different when you know it’s the first of many, she thought. Almost like a wedding night. Trying to start it right.

And oh, had he started it right.

When his mouth finally left hers it was to travel slowly over her face, her neck. He undid the last few buttons on her shirt and unclasped her bra, and his hand swept over her breasts, testing their weight and heat. Scully grabbed his wrist and watched him as he looked at her, waiting for some sign of distaste at the changes of her body. “Mmmm . . . warm,” was all he said before capturing one in his mouth.

Scully’s back arched and she thrust her hands into his hair. In truth lately she’d been too exhausted to even think about sex. There were rare times when she’d missed him more than usual and sought relief from her own hands, but it had been hopelessly inadequate despite the increased sensitivity of her body. Now, tired as she was, post-orgasmic-lull as she was, at the touch of his mouth to her breast she thought she heard every nerve sing like a chorus of morning birds.

“I’ve missed you,” she managed to say between gasps. “I’ve missed this.”

He released her nipple and gave her breast one more kiss, and he said in a rough voice, “I’ve missed your body. I’ve missed your kisses. I’ve missed your hands in my hair. I’ve missed everything about you.”

Scully cupped Mulder’s face in her hands and drew him up to kiss him. “Don’t,” she said simply, though she wasn’t entirely sure what she was asking him.

“I won’t,” he said, and lowered his head to her breast again.

She touched him as he suckled her, feeling the way that his muscles moved beneath his shirt, her fingers through his soft hair, against his rough cheeks and his blissfully-closed eyes. His heart raced beneath her fingers.

She needed to kiss him and lifted his head from her breast, and pushed him onto his back. Her fingers shook as she tried to unbutton his shirt, and he had to help her with his own shaking hands. Finally she gave up and yanked, and buttons flew everywhere.

“Scully, this is my only clean shirt.”

“I didn’t notice you fighting,” she said, and tore the buttons from his cuffs as well. He began to laugh, raising his arms so she could take the shirt off him, and when she yanked off the white t-shirt beneath it he wrapped her up in his arms and kissed her, still laughing.

“God, I’ve missed you. I’ve missed you.” He stopped laughing but went on smiling at her, running his fingertips up and down the side of her face.

Scully pushed herself onto her knees and pulled off her shirt and bra. Mulder sat up as well and started to gently pull out the little clips that held up her hair. “I like this look, you know,” he murmured,” but I want to feel it in my hands.” She could only nod, and shook out her hair when he had taken out all the clips. He twisted the length of her hair up in his hands and let the curls fall between his fingers. “You’re so beautiful.” His hands slid down her face to her neck and he traced her collarbones with his thumb. “Sometimes when I couldn’t sleep I’d remember one thing about you, one thing that I particularly missed, like this right here.” His thumb settled in the hollow between her collarbones. “I’ve always loved this, right here.” He leaned forward and kissed it. “And this here.” He kissed where her jaw curved into her neck. “And this part here.” He stooped and she leaned back against his supporting hands, and he suckled the skin of the underside of her breast.

Scully focused her eyes on the light on the ceiling. Her entire body heaved with the effort to breathe as he kissed and kissed and kissed her, whispering how much he loved this part and that. She wanted to return the attentions, to lavish her tongue on him and tell him how precious, how beloved, he truly was.

But it was hard to concentrate when his mouth was doing such wonderful things to her.

Breathe . . . breathe . . . breathe . . .

Finally he lifted his head from her. His eyes glittered. “How you doin’?”

Scully managed a chuckle and slid down his body a little to rest on his thighs. The front of his jeans bulged tantalizingly. She licked her lips and tugged on the top button, and Mulder hissed and dug his fingers into the coverlet.

“Scully . . .”

“Gimme.” She popped the buttons down his fly and eased her hand along his hip. He grunted, closing his eyes and turning his head away, and Scully pushed on his shoulder until he gave in and lay down.

She tasted his Adams apple, his ears, his forehead. She teased his nipples and ran her hands up and down his sides, snuffling her nose in his chest hair. She eased his jeans down his narrow hips, kissing his stomach, and whispered, “Up,” as she lowered his cotton boxers from his waist. He raised his hips to help her and his hand caressed her hair for a moment before she slid out of reach. She sucked his toes and kissed his knobby knees, stroked his long thighs and finally settled herself on her haunches, focusing her attention.

His penis was thick, erect, and hot, the color of dark wine. Scully used her fingertips first, drawing them over his testicles and lightly up and down his length. The way he moaned made her smile, and she wrapped her hand around him and began to pump him.

“Ohh,” he breathed, and she nuzzled her mouth against the plane of his stomach on the journey downward.

“Miss me much?” she whispered, and he grunted something unintelligible and put his hands on top of hers.

“Too good — please —”

“I haven’t even started yet.”

He groaned and released her hands, his head flopping against the bed. She could feel his eyes on her, burning with lust, as she licked her lips greedily and took him into her mouth.

He tasted exotic and familiar, salty, warm. Scully felt her eyes roll back in her head and she couldn’t stifle the moan that arose, and Mulder moaned in response. His fingers caressed her shoulders. She polished his hipbone with her palm as she bathed the head of his cock with her tongue, danced her fingers over his thighs. He moaned her name again and again.

Scully wanted all of him at once, the taste and the feel and the heat of him, she wanted to suck on him and fuck him, she wanted his tongue and his fingers and his cock. She was shaking with need for him. She balanced herself on one hand and the other crept between her legs, where she was still slick and slippery. Her fingers passed over her clitoris and she moaned again, and Mulder said warningly, his head tossing, “Scully, don’t do that, please don’t do that.”

She shook
her head lightly, taking him deeper. She passed her fingers over his lower ribs, a silent message: Come for me. Be selfish. Let me take care of you.

His hands fell away from her shoulders and he groaned, his voice rough and low.  She followed the sound of his voice with her tongue and her lips, the rise and fall of his voice guiding her to where and how he wanted to be touched. He had always been a vocal lover, talking and whispering to her until he couldn’t form coherent words anymore.

And now that he’d decided to go along with her preferences his noises were much more encouraging, syrupy with pleasure, from deep within his chest. She felt every moan shiver through him, and they made her moan in response. She closed her eyes as colors danced behind her eyelids, and her hand and her tongue stilled for a moment as she came again, shuddering throughout her body.

It was too much for Mulder. His body arched off the floor, his legs shook, his fingers dug into her scalp and his hips thrust and thrust. Scully gulped his come, one hand still stroking her clit in slow, languid movements to prolong her own orgasm as long as possible.

His grip on her head eased up and turned to tender stroking, and she lifted her mouth from his cock, giving it a few last laps with her tongue, and stretched herself out beside him, her hand on his heaving chest. Mulder gathered her into his arms and placed a sleepy kiss on her forehead, and said, still gasping, “Is it so terrible that I’d like to make love to you tonight? Just good old-fashioned ordinary fucking?”

“Wasn’t that good?” she teased, and he kissed her again.

“You know it was, but that’s not the point.”

“We have plenty of time.”

There was a slight pause, and Mulder said in a hurt tone, “I seem to recall you saying that before.”

“Well,” Scully said slowly, “we’ve got that time back now, don’t we.”

“Yeah. I guess we do.” He shifted a little, turning her more to his side, and kissed her over her face for a few minutes.

Scully stroked his hair and returned his kisses, and then said, “I want to clean up a little bit. I’m sticky.”

He grinned at her, a wicked gleam in his eye, and took her hand and started to lick her fingers. Scully laughed softly and pulled away from him, picking up her discarded shirt. “I won’t be long.” She gave him one last kiss and went into the bathroom, buttoning her shirt as she went.

Dreamily she ran a washcloth under the running tap and wiped away their residue from her hands and legs and face. She reached for one of the complimentary toothbrushes but decided, no. Not yet. She wanted the taste of him to linger.

~Truly Madly Deeply: Runaway 8~

A streetlight shone in through the curtains when Scully woke up a few hours later. She blinked a few times, letting her eyes adjust, and then embraced the nearest pillow to her chest and snuggled her face against it. It smelled like Mulder.

Mulder! She opened her eyes and looked around the hotel room, and finally saw him at the table. He was staring out the window, his chin in his hand and his legs sprawled. He looked over to the bed at the sound of her stirring.

“Mulder?” She sat up, the sheets falling to her waist. “Can’t you sleep?”

“Are you thirsty?” he said in answer, and she saw the heavy glass on the table by his hand. “Do you want something to drink?”

“Yes, please.”

He stood and brought the glass to her, and held the rim to her mouth. He’d put his jeans on again, and Scully found that more unsettling than his silence. Ice clinked against her teeth as she drank and she shivered at the coldness of the water as some ran down her chin and onto her chest.

“You got ice,” she said when he took the glass away.

“Yes.” He wiped up the spilled water with his fingertips, and that made Scully shiver again but with warmth this time. He still smelled of them, a dark base note of sweat and sex in the antiseptic room, and Scully put her hands on his denim-clad hips.

“Come back to bed,” she said softly. With his back to the light his face was cast in shadow, and she didn’t know how to interpret the sigh he gave and the gentle way he laid his hands on her shoulders.

“I can’t sleep, Scully.”

“Who said we’d sleep?” She smiled up at him, circling the top button of his jeans with a fingertip.

“You need your rest.” His hand moved heavily through her hair.

“I had a good nap this afternoon. Lie down with me, Mulder.” He’d lost weight recently. His jeans gaped a bit at the waist and she slid her hand into the gap, against his warm hip. He made a low noise that was neither protest nor encouragement, and his hand cupped the back of her head. He tilted her face upwards.

“There’s still one thing you haven’t told me. Something that I just can’t figure out.”

“What is it?” Soft was the wrong word to describe his skin, though there was something vulnerable and sweet about the skin covering his waist.

“Why you were afraid to tell me about the baby.”

“Mulder . . .” She sighed and withdrew her hand from his jeans. He went on holding her head, however, stroking her cheekbone with one thumb. Like a film noir cinematographer, he’d placed them perfectly: his face in shadow and hers in light.

“Did I ever say I didn’t want children, or didn’t like them? Did I ever do anything to show you that I didn’t?”

“No . . . but it’s very easy to want children abstractly. When you’re faced with it in actuality it’s terrifying.”

“So you faced that terror alone. Like you don’t trust me with your fear.”

“Mulder. . . .” she said again.

“Or maybe you don’t trust me with your joy.”

“It’s not about trust.”

“Everything is about trust. It always has been.”

“How could I have told you? ‘Pass that file and by the way, I’m pregnant’? Come on.”

“Don’t get defensive, Scully.”

“I’m not defensive,” she muttered, and his silence felt like a reproach. She said, “Or maybe I could have left the stick with the little plus sign on your desk. That would have been subtle.”

“It has a certain poetry,” Mulder said, and she wished she could see his eyes, to tell if he was joking or not. “It was on your mind, though, wasn’t it? You suspected for a while.”

“The symptoms added up, that’s all. I didn’t want to believe it.” She felt him sway a little and she said, “I don’t mean it like that. I couldn’t believe it. It seemed so . . . impossible. I was afraid to find out if it was true because I didn’t want to be disappointed. And I didn’t want you to be disappointed either.”

“You never have to protect me from yourself, Scully,” he said, and his thumb brushed the corner of her eye where maybe a tear or two had escaped. “You know, a large part of your allure is that you’re so mysterious and complex but sometimes it gets a little wearing.”

“Forgive me for having a personality,” she said tartly.

“I love your personality,” Mulder said. Scully sighed and leaned her head against his stomach. He stroked her hair and the back of her neck and said, “I love you. I do everything I can to make you believe that. I love you with all of me and I feel like I just wait around for these crumbs . . . I don’t want you to change, Scully, I just want you to remember.”

“I do remember,” she said, her voice trembling. “I live and breathe on it, Mulder. It gets me out of bed in the mornings and it rocks me to sleep at night.”

“If that’s true,” Mulder said in a sad, tender tone that hurt more than a slap in the face, “then why hide this from me?”

Even in the dark his gaze felt scorching. She said, “Because everything is different now and I was afraid of the change. I didn’t want you to treat me differently or think of me differently. I wanted that good time, that wonderful happy careless moment, to last just a little bit longer. I didn’t want you to treat me like I’m fragile.”

“You are fragile,” Mulder said. “You’re my tulip.”

“I am not! This is just what I’m talking about. I’m not a tulip. Good God. I’m a flesh and b
lood woman who happens to be pregnant—which is, by the way, a very healthy state of being.”

“But you’re also everything else that you are to me. My tulip and my little squirrel and my queen of heaven. And now the mother of my child . . . that’s powerful stuff. I don’t think you’ve ever really understood the power you have over me—or if you do, you don’t want to believe it.”

“But I don’t want to have power over you, don’t you see? I just want to love you.”

“And that’s power. Right there, that’s power.” He took her hand and pressed her palm to his chest. “You own this, you know. I just wonder if you really want it.”

“I’m wearing your ring, aren’t I?”

She thought he might be smiling. “That’s a good symbolic gesture, but are you going to back it up?”

Scully straightened her spine and lifted her head. “Name the day and I will. It will be permanent. It will be meaningful. It will be everything you want, because I want it too.”

Mulder exhaled and sank down onto his knees. He lifted her hand from his chest to his mouth and kissed it, and when he cupped it to his face she realized he’d been crying — for a while, from the feel of it.

“Mulder,” she said, overwhelmed by the tenderness she felt for him, “lie down with me. I need to hold you.”

He snuffled a little and stood, stripped off his jeans and got into bed beside her. She turned to him and took her into his arms, so that his head was against her breast and his body enfolded against hers. He sighed, rubbing his stubbled cheek against her for a moment, and then his hand shyly crept down her body to gently rest on the outmost curve of her belly.

“I was afraid to want this,” he said softly.

“So was I. Now that we have it, now what?”

He was silent a moment, and said, “We do our damnedest to get it right.”

“Okay,” Scully said. “I can live with that.” She could feel him relaxing as she held him, his body easing and smoothing against hers. His hand slid lightly up and down her side. She whispered, “I do want you around. I need you.” She looked up at the shadowed ceiling. “Our baby needs you.”

“Our baby,” he murmured. “Have you thought about what you want to name her?”

“I have a few ideas.”


“If it’s a boy his middle name will be William.”

“Fair enough.”

“For a first name I think something solid and traditional, like Caleb or Benjamin.”

“Those are nice.”

“If it’s a girl I think something less traditional. Roxanne. Georgia. Bettina,” she added, and Mulder’s hand paused its gentle teasing.

“Bettina,” he repeated and sighed. “No.”

“I thought it was a Jewish tradition to name a child after a deceased relative.”

“It is, but I don’t want to name her Bettina.”

“Why not? It’s an unusual, pretty name. It’s got personal meaning for us. I think it would be a good way to honor your mother.”

“After the life my mother led giving a child her name feels more like a curse than an honor.”

“You don’t mean that.”

“Yes, I do, Scully. And what would we call her? I don’t especially like Betty and I don’t want to call her Teena.”

“Then we’ll call her Bettina.”

He sighed again and was silent a long time. “No,” he said finally. “Any other name you like but not that one. Please, Scully. I can’t.”

“All right, love, all right. What about as a middle name?”

“Well . . . maybe.”

She nodded, satisfied with that for now. She played with the hair on the back of his arm and said, “What about you? Any names you like?”

“Hey, just as long as it’s not Fox.”

“Or Bettina.”

“Or Bettina. Or Samantha.”

“Why is my family okay and yours out?”

“Because . . . because it is. William is fine. Margaret is fine. What about Margaret? We could call her Daisy.”

“Daisy is pretty . . .”

“Margaret Bettina,” Mulder said. “Daisy. That might work.” He sang against her belly, “‘Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do, I’m half crazy all for the love of you . . .'” Scully laughed softly and he looked up at her. He smiled at her and moved up to hover over her body, holding himself up with his hands planted on the mattress by her head. “Or we could name her after you and call her Tulip.”

“Mulder,” she began, but laughed instead of lecturing him.

“There’s a little anonymous poem. ‘My love is more beautiful than the Rose of Sharon . . .'”

“Mulder. No flower names, all your romantic notions aside. Except maybe  Daisy.”

“That’s a good old-fashioned name, isn’t it. Sweet.”

“Sweet. Very sweet. Kiss me.” She pulled his head down to hers and kissed him, nudging open his lips with the tip of her tongue. He parted his mouth and her tongue darted in, to tease and taste his mouth until his tongue chased hers into her mouth where he gave her the same treatment.

They barely paused for breath between kisses, barely let one end before the next began. Still, he held his body away from hers no matter how much she soothed and stroked him. He caught her hand when she slid it down his thigh and held it by her head.

“Don’t,” he whispered.

“Why not?”

He chuckled slightly against her neck. “Give me a minute. I want this to be good for you, too.”

“It’s always good for me when I’m with you.”

He moaned against her neck, losing the mouthful of skin he’d been working on, and swiftly kissed her mouth before sliding his lips to her soft underarm.

Scully squealed as his tongue tickled her and she tried to free her hand from his. He chortled in triumph and nibbled and kissed his way up her arm to her trapped hand, which he kissed as seriously as if it were her lips. She watched him through half-closed lids, marveling, as she often did, that he loved her body, loved her, with such focused passion.

She caressed his face until he opened his eyes and looked at her. “I want you,” she said simply. “I need you.” “I need you too,” he said, his voice growing more husky with every word, “I need you so much, Scully, every day, all the time, I need to see your face and hear your voice and feel your skin . . . need to touch and taste and smell you . . .”

“I know.” She arched up towards him, gliding her hands to his hips. He settled against her carefully, still keeping most of his weight off her body.

“Are you sure this won’t hurt the baby?”

“I’m sure.”

“‘Cause that’s the last thing I want to do.” He sucked the base of her neck. “I don’t want to hurt her . . . I don’t want to hurt you.”

“You won’t hurt us.”

“Us,” he murmured, and moved down her body to place wonder-filled kisses on her stomach.  “This is so beautiful, Scully. It’s us. It’s you and me. It’s something we made . . . something that exists because we made it.”

“It is beautiful.” She smiled at him and touched his cheek. Part of her was surprised at how quickly he was ready for her again, but it was only a small part. The rest was pleased that he was as hungry for her as he had always been, as she was at this moment for him. Her legs fell open at his touch and Mulder slid inside her, still gentle, still careful. They both moaned, soft and low, and though Scully wanted to close her eyes at the sheer pleasure of the sensations he produced, she couldn’t tear her eyes from his. She could believe anything when he looked at her like that, like she was goddess and lover and friend and companion all at once, keeper of his secrets and guardian of his heart.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist. “Deeper,” she breathed into his ear, and he groaned and kissed her. He grasped her thighs and brought her legs higher, making her gasp. It was hard to respond to him the way she wanted with the unaccustomed weight of the baby, but he seemed willing to make up for it, to maneuver her body to give her the most pleasure he could.

Her hands glided over him, scratching his skin lightly and caressing his face. He turned his head to kiss her hand whenever it passed near his mouth. Sweat began to drip from his hairline, and she gathered it up and sucke
d it from her fingertips. He slid his arms under her head and kissed her mouth, and she parted his lips to him, welcoming his tongue. He kissed her luxuriously, his thrusts within her slow and deep. He paused his kiss long enough to whisper, “Doing all right?”

“Mm . . . yeah . . .”

“You don’t need to rest or anything?”

“I’m good . . . so good . . .” She brought down his head to kiss him again. “Feels so good . . .”

“Yeah?” He withdrew from her almost entirely and thrust again in one long stroke.

“Ahh . . . yeah . . .” She slid her legs up higher until they were nearly under his arms. “Deeper,” she whispered again. “Please, deeper.” Her hands moved restlessly over his sides and back. She didn’t know how to explain it but when they made love she reached a state of heightened awareness, so that everything—the sheets, the walls, Mulder’s skin, the furnishings—took on a new significance, as if she’d never touched them before.

“You okay?”

“I’m wonderful. Don’t stop yet.”

He chuckled low in his chest and took her breast in his mouth. She could sense his control slipping, that he was trying to keep his movements slow and sexy, but his body had other ideas. Scully swept the hair from his forehead and whispered, “Just let it go, love. I trust you.”

Mulder turned his face away for a moment, pausing. A drop of sweat cascaded down the side of his face and Scully flicked her tongue to lick it off, which made him shudder. He wrapped her hair in his fist and tilted back her head, and his mouth fastened onto her neck as he thrust within her, hard and fast. His grunts came from deep in his chest and she moaned, “Let me hear you. I want to hear you.” Her hands fluttered and danced over him. With each contraction of her womb she imagined her baby awash in salty waves like a skiff in a hurricane.

She laughed even as she moaned and Mulder’s mouth released her neck. “Scully?”

“I was just thinking—what Daisy thinks of this—who dares disturb Her Majesty’s slumber—”

Anxiety creased his forehead. “Should I stop?”

“No! God, no. No. Don’t stop. Don’t stop until you’re done. Don’t stop, Mulder, don’t stop,” she chanted as he ground against her, until his body shuddered fiercely and his face closed off to her just for a moment.

He collapsed onto her and then like an afterthought he pulled them both onto their sides. “Wouldn’t do to crush you,” he whispered.

“You’re not going to crush me,” but she made no move to change their position. She loved to be held like this, wrapped up in him as if there was no end to her body and no beginning to his.

Mulder nuzzled his face against her hair but didn’t answer. His breath was already evening out, and she smiled and worked free one arm to slip her hand into his hair. She lightly scratched the base of his skull, knowing this would send him into sleep, and he sighed in contentment.

“Love you,” he whispered.

“Love you.” She hauled herself up a little to kiss his forehead and his lips, and then tucked her head under his chin.

She was on the verge of sleep herself when she felt something in her belly—a quiver of movement like a breeze against her cheek. Her eyes flew open and she held her breath, and after a moment or two she felt it again. It was like a rose petal, like distant music, like a shy first kiss.

Scully took Mulder’s hand and pressed it over the flutter, and after a moment he mumbled, “Scully . . .”

“I can feel the baby move. Go back to sleep.”

“Mm,” he said, and then propped himself up on his arm, his eyes open wide. “Scully? You can feel her?”

“It’s very faint. Can you feel anything?”

“I think . . . no. No, not yet.” He bent and placed kisses on her stomach, beside where she held his hand.

“I was afraid,” Scully said quietly. “My doctor said if I didn’t feel movement by the end of the week he wanted to do an ultrasound, to see if she’d—if I’d—”

“If she’d died,” Mulder whispered.

“Yes.” He looked up at her and she touched his cheek. “But she’s moving.”

He sighed and kissed her stomach again, and laid his head just above where the rise began. His hand stroked her stomach and she caressed his hair.


“Yes, love?”

“Did you pray tonight?”

Scully paused. He’d been bemused by her habit before, never ridiculing it but not taking it seriously, either. She said simply, “No, I haven’t, thank you for reminding me,” and slipped out of bed to kneel beside it. She watched, dumbfounded, as he got out of bed and knelt at her side and put his arm around her.

“I’d like to pray with you.” He looked away a moment, and when he looked back his eyes were damp. “I want to thank somebody for this and God seems like a good idea.”

Scully put her hands on top of his on the blanket, but it was a few moments before she could speak. When she prayed her voice was steady, and Mulder’s hand tightly clasped hers.

~Truly Madly Deeply: Runaway 9~

Scully awoke abruptly, gasping, both hands flying to her stomach. She lay tensely for a moment, her breath harsh in her ears. Her wide- open eyes flew about the dim room, barely noting the pale sliver of sunshine coming in beneath the blinds. She felt like someone had been watching her, as if she’d been surrounded by the Grays that had inhabited the dream that woke her. She felt as if the door had just closed behind someone who should not have been there to begin with.

Behind her Mulder mumbled and pulled her closed to him with his arm across her chest. Beneath her hands the baby made her tiny rose-petal movements and settled into sleep again.

Safe. They both were safe. Her love and her child, safe.

Deliberately Scully slowed her breathing to Mulder’s pace and willed her heart to slow down as well. Calm, she thought, be calm. Just a dream like a dozen others you’ve had. Just breathe, it’s behind you now.

After a moment Mulder ran a sleepy hand through her hair. “Scully? You’re awake.”


“Are you okay?” He placed his hand just beneath her breasts. “Your heart is racing.”

“Nightmare,” she said, and he made a soft sound in his throat and pulled her closer.

“Do you want to tell me about it?”

“I—” She took another deep breath and slowly let it out. “I dreamed that They had you. You and the baby both. I could see what they were doing to you, how much they were hurting you, how much they were hurting my baby. I screamed and my voice made no sound. There was an invisible wall between us and I hit it, I beat on it as hard as I could, but I couldn’t break it down. I could see you both looking at me—your eyes—” Her voice quivered and she turned to Mulder and pressed her cheek to his chest.

“Oh, honey,” he murmured. “Sh, sh, now. It’s all over.”

“You looked at me as if I could save you,” she said and began to cry in earnest. Damn damn damn, she thought, but only kept her face hidden against his chest as he stroked her back and hair.

“Do you want analysis or comfort?” he said after a while, and she choked out a laugh.

“Comfort, please.”

“Always.” He continued to kiss and stroke her, and eventually her tears and trembling slowed and stopped. She lay quietly in his arms for some time longer, though, listening to the steady thump of his heart.

“You know,” Mulder began, then paused.

“What do I know?”

“I understand it’s common for expectant mothers to have dreams about their babies, but I’m not sure this fits into the usual, uh, paradigm.”

“The books say it’s common to have dreams about giving birth to a fish or some such creature—or a hamburger—” Mulder laughed and she smiled a little and continued, “but of course I have dreams about giving birth to E.T.”

“They’re just dreams, honey.”

“I know . . . I’ve never been very good at guiding my dreams, though. Most of the time I don’t even realize I’m dreaming until after I’ve woken up.”

He moved off his side onto his back, so that
she was partially draped over him, her cheek on his chest. “How much, do you think, this dream was influenced by memory?” he asked softly, and she raised her eyes to look at him.

“Very much.”

He sighed and put his hand into her hair to rub the back of her head. “I wish you’d let me take you to a hypnotherapist. You need to get these memories worked out— “

“Mulder . . .”

“I know, I know. I worry, that’s all.”

“I know you do.” She propped herself up on her elbow. “I’d rather deal with these memories my own way.”

He rolled his eyes and flipped aside the blankets to get out of bed. “What do you want to do for breakfast?”

“I don’t know.” Scully lay back, pulling up the sheets, and watched him as he stretched and walked to the bathroom.

“I could get something or we could order in.”

“I doubt anyplace around here delivers breakfast.”

“Or we could go out. How do you feel about that?” He paused in the doorway to the bathroom to look at her.

“I think that would be all right. What time is it?”

“My watch is on the night stand.” He went into the bathroom and shut the door.

Scully hauled herself closer to the night stand and picked up Mulder’s watch. Ten after nine. We need to get going, she thought, and then flopped back despondently to the pillows, clutching his watch. Get going where?

She slipped the watch onto her wrist and turned it so that it faced inwards. The watch was too big, of course, and slid down her arm nearly to her elbow. She turned it to the inside of her wrist and ran her fingers around the face. Ten after nine, nowhere to go, nothing to do but find another place to hide.

I’ve already run, she thought, and look what happened. Mulder found me, the smoking man found me without breaking a sweat. I don’t want to run . . . but what will happen if we stay still?

She drew the blankets up over her head and curled herself up into the smallest shell she could manage.  The panic felt cold and sharp, and she wished for one moment that she could be normal, worrying about nothing more than whether to paint the baby’s room pink or blue.

The bathroom door opened and Mulder said, “Scully?” as he sat down beside her on the bed. He stroked her back through the blankets. “What is it?”

“Mulder—” She clawed the blanket away from her face and grabbed his hands, sitting up. “Mulder, where are we going to go, what are we going to do? I can’t think—I don’t know the answers—”

“There’s a Denny’s just up the highway,” he said cautiously. “I noticed it last night.”

She wanted to hug him and slug him at once, and she said, “After breakfast. Today. Tonight. Tomorrow. What are we going to do?”

“Oh,” he said, wrapping her up in his arms. “Is that all.”

“It’s an important question, or had you forgotten? We have nowhere to go and nothing to live on and a baby to care for, and I need a doctor, Mulder, I need to see a doctor and be monitored and make sure the baby is healthy—I need ultrasounds and tests and vitamins—”

“Scully,” Mulder said, “you are beginning to sound hysterical.”

“I am not hysterical, I am telling you what’s necessary. Where in the world is a safe place for us? Have you thought about that? I can’t stop thinking about that. There is nowhere we can go that he can’t find us. He’ll hunt us down, Mulder, he’ll torture and torment us and we’ll never be really safe, Mulder, don’t you see? I can’t raise my child in a world like that but I have no choice. There’s no safe place. No safe places anywhere.”

“Scully,” he said more firmly, and held her face between his hands. “Scully, look at me. Look at me. Look into my eyes, okay? Are you looking?” She nodded, her eyes locked onto his. “You’re looking? Okay. Listen to me. I will find you a safe place. I promise. Somewhere in the world, there is a safe place for us. You want to know where I think it is?” She nodded again and he kissed her forehead. “I think,” he said, “we have to go back to Washington. I think that’s where we’ll be safe.”

“Mulder, you’re nuts.”

“You knew that already.” He grinned, easing his hold on her face.

“You’re serious,” she said in disbelief.

“Yes. Think about it, Scully, we’ll be close to our friends, your family. We need our friends. You need your mother.” His voice dropped low and he said, “I need you to be in a place where I know people will take care of you if I can’t.”

“Do you expect something to happen to you?”

“No, honey, no. But we have to be prepared. And think of it, Scully: your own doctor who’s attended you for years, and your mother around to pamper you and advise you on what’s going on, and the guys around to buy you goofy presents and spoil the baby. How does that sound?”

She sniffled. “Sounds like a daydream, Mulder.”

“But a nice daydream. Don’t you think?”

“Yes. Very nice.” She leaned her face against his shoulder and wrapped her arms around his chest.

“We can make it real, Scully,” he said in his softest voice, the one that warmed her like spiced cider. “I want to make it real for you. A home of our own, near the people we love. Will you let me do that?”

“And go back to work at the FBI?”

“I still love my work, Scully. I don’t want to leave it unless we have no other choice. Would you want to go back?”

“I don’t know. I can’t imagine leaving Daisy in daycare. I wouldn’t trust anyone enough to take care of her.”

“Would you want to stay home, then?”

“I don’t know.” She lolled her forehead against his shoulder. “I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know . . . I told you I don’t have any answers. I don’t have them. Every option I see seems hopeless.”

“Not hopeless, honey, I promise. There’s hope for us.”

“He could walk into her school and give them a smooth story and take her away. He could take her off the street while she’s playing. He’s so good at lying she’d believe him no matter what we taught her.”

“I’m trying to find the answers for you, Scully.”

“I know, I’m not being very helpful.” She looked up at him and ran her thumb along the side of his face. “I don’t want to live on the run.”

“I know.”

“But I don’t see how we could live a normal life, Mulder. At this point the only thing I can think of is finding some remote hiding place out west somewhere and living in a cabin in the woods.” She sighed. “I want to lie down.”

He arranged the pillows and got beneath the blankets with her. “You know, Scully, if you want me to change my name to Bubba and work in a gas station I’ll do it. But I really think the best thing to do is go home.”

“No one would believe you as a Bubba.”

“Well, there goes that plan, I guess.”

“I’d go anywhere if I thought it was safe enough. Anywhere in the world. Going home seems like asking for more trouble that we can afford.”

“Everything is asking for trouble. That’s what we do, Scully. It follows us around.”

“I’ve noticed,” she said dryly.

“I’d rather be where I know you can be safe, you know, secured away by people we trust, than out in the middle of nowhere.”

“But the Cancer Man—”

“I know, I know, he could do anything to disrupt our lives and probably will do more, but the thing is, Scully, would you rather let him know we’re afraid of him or show him that we’re not?”

Scully scowled. He was doing this on purpose, the bastard. “You said that just to piss me off.”

“Or to make you think. You think better when you’re angry than when you’re scared.” He brushed back some hair from her face and smiled at her sadly. “Let’s go home, Scully. Come home with me.”

She leaned her head against his shoulder again, but not with despair this time. For the first time since she smelled the Cancer Man’s cigarette smoke in the Blue Moon, her mind felt clear and smooth. Every option led one place: home. She wasn’t sure if it was the home Mulder meant or if there was another one waiting for them somewhere, but it hardly mattered. They would find it.

“Home,” she said, looking up at Mu
lder again, “but first we go back to Leslie and get the things I bought for the baby.”

“Are you sure? Do you think it will be safe?”

“I don’t want to leave those things behind.”

“But they’re only things, Scully.”

“But they’re special things. I found the most beautiful christening gown, Mulder, it’s perfect, it’s got tatted lace on the collar and the hem and there’s a little cap . . .” She stopped, because his expression was entirely too indulgent. “I guess I shouldn’t go into why I like the stuffed animals, should I.”

“Because they’re based on the original drawings from Winnie the Pooh?”

“Yes. That is why. The original Eeyore is much cuter than the Disney one. Am I obsessing?”

“Yes, but you’re allowed. If we do go back to Leslie, though, I think I should go the apartment myself. Maybe you could wait in the car or something.”

“Mulder, if something happens to you—”

“Nothing will happen, but I’d feel better knowing you were—you know, elsewhere.”

Scully thought it over a moment, then said, “All right. Take me to the Blue Moon. They’ll watch over me there.”

“All right,” Mulder said softly, and there was something in his tender gaze that made her blush and smile.

“What?” she said, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. “I know I’m a mess.”

“I was just thinking . . . all sorts of mushy things that will embarrass you if I say them out loud, so I won’t.” “Oh, I don’t know . . . I don’t mind mushy things once in a while. Try me.”

He went on smiling at her, and said, “I love way you look in the morning. All tousled and pink. You look like you got some good lovin’ last night.”

“Must be because I did.” She started to stroke his chest and he closed his eyes and chuckled.

“Just call me angel of the morning, baby,” he said in a gravely voice, and Scully laughed.

“Actually, what I really want this morning . . .”


“What I really want is eggs.”

“Oh.” He looked only slightly disappointed. “Time to get you some breakfast.”

“Time to feed the pregnant lady. God, I sound like a zoo attraction. See the amazing expanding woman and her bottomless belly.” She sighed.

“It’s cute, that bottomless belly of yours.” He gave it a kiss and a few loving pats. “Good morning, Daisy Day,” he said, giving her stomach another kiss, and he got out of bed.

“Mulder, wait. C’mere. Give me your hands.”

He put his hands in hers. “I’m not going to feel anything, it’s too soon.”

“Try. For me.” Scully placed their hands on her stomach, moving them around to follow the baby’s movements. “Anything?”

He shook his head. “Not yet.”

“You will. It’s so wonderful, Mulder, she’s moving around.”

He touched her cheek, smiling. “Do you want the shower first?”

“I can wait.” She watched him go into the bathroom, her hands still on her stomach as she felt the baby swim around like a lithe fish. Little fishie, she thought, little Daisy Day. Be well, my baby, she thought, and took a deep breath and let it out. She imagined the last of her panic slip away like an outgoing tide, and in a few minutes she could feel her body loosen and relax. She thought she might even sleep a little longer.

~Truly Madly Deeply: Runaway 10~

“Katie!” Luana cried when Scully entered the diner, and she rushed from behind the counter to hug her. “Are you okay?” Scully rested her head on Luana’s shoulder for a moment, hugging her tightly, then lifted her head and said, “We’re okay. Did he—did that man come back?”

“I haven’t seen him. I don’t think anybody here has—but there’s been a car out in front sometimes. A big silver car, a Cadillac, I think. You sure you’re okay?” She glanced at Mulder, who stood protectively behind Scully with his hand on her shoulder. “Are you here to stay?”

“No. We’re leaving. We’re going home.”

“Oh,” Luana said softly,”I’m going to miss you something awful, Katie.”

“I’m going to miss you, too.” The two women embraced again. “You’ve got me for a few hours more, though.”

“Oh? Why’s that?”

“We need to ask a favor,” Mulder said. “Will you watch over Scully for a couple hours? I’m going to pack up her apartment and then we’ll be on our way.”

“Of course we will,” Luana said. “You’re safe here, honey.”

“Thanks.” She let Luana go and Mulder slipped his hand into her hair and kissed her forehead. “You be careful.”

“I will. Love you.” He kissed her again.

“Love you too.”

He squeezed her hand and left the diner, and Scully stood at the door and watched him through the glass as he got into the car and drove away. Luana hugged her again across her shoulders.

“You’ve got a good man there.”

“The best.” She smiled at Luana briefly and said, “Which table is free?”


Warm, buttery scrambled eggs, orange juice and toast made up her second breakfast of the day, a much more satisfying one than the doughnuts and milk Mulder had bought for them at a convenience store earlier. She ate slowly, trying to pass the time.

Luana had seated her near the back of the diner by a window, and Scully looked up whenever she heard a car pass. None of them were a large silver Cadillac—only the usual hatchbacks and pickup trucks she saw every day in Leslie.

She asked Luana for a pen and some blank paper, and Luana brought her an misprinted order pad and a ballpoint pen. Scully uncapped the pen and hesitated for a few moments, circling the point above the paper, and then started to write.


I don’t know if this name will be yours once you’re born but right now it seems to suit. I’ll have to paste this letter into the diary later. Of course I don’t know if you’ll ever read this diary anyway. I think it’s more for me than you.

Everything has changed since I wrote last. Your father is here in Alabama, which I think I knew would happen eventually. I think I wanted it to. He’s convinced me to go home, back to Washington, and the truth is I’m relieved and glad to go. I’ve missed my friends and family terribly. I’ve missed your father. Someday when you’re in love I’m sure you’ll understand   though I pray with all my heart you won’t have to face what we have faced.

Oh, my baby, my child, I can’t stop being afraid.</em>

She paused and wiped her eyes with a paper napkin, and then wrote resolutely, <em>But I will do whatever I must to protect you. Love, Mother.</em>

She tore the papers off the pad and laid them on the table. Barely forty minutes had passed since Mulder had left. She didn’t think it would take him much longer to finish packing—and though her mind wanted to fly to all the terrible possibilities that could happen she refused to let it. She wrote on another sheet off the pad, in large block letters, “I WILL NOT PANIC. I WILL BE POSITIVE. I AM NOT AFRAID.”

My daily affirmation, she thought wryly, and tore the paper into shreds. She hated to be idle, though, and here was an entire pad of paper and a pen. She picked up the pen again and wrote “Mulder,” and then smiled a little and wrote it again, this time in ornate letters. She and Melissa had pretended to write in calligraphy this way as children, and in junior high school in the throes of a crush she would write the boy’s name in the margins of her papers like this, with the occasional “Mrs.” added on. So she now wrote, “Mrs. Fox William Mulder,” giving it many ornamentations and swirls. It didn’t look right, though: it looked like someone else’s name. “Dana Mulder,” she wrote, in her regular handwriting, and it didn’t look right either. “Dana Scully-Mulder,” she wrote, and that was worst of all.

She scribbled out all the names and put down her pen. They would have to talk about names. They would have to talk about a lot of things. This would take some getting used to, this being married.

Luana slipped into the booth seat opposite her, with a cup of coffee for herself and a glass of orange juice for Scully. “So,” Luana said
, “tell me what happened.”

Scully sipped the juice. “Not much, really. We drove for a while and talked a lot, and decided that home is the place we belong.” She twisted the ring absently.

Luana grabbed her hand. “Katie, honey, this is news.”

“And we’re getting married.”

“It’s beautiful.”

“He had it custom made.” She twisted the ring again. “He’s been waiting a long time.”

“And you only just now said yes?”

“He only just now asked.” Luana leaned closer and said, “And did you celebrate?”

“Luana,” Scully said, embarrassed.

“Did you?”

“Yes.” She could feel herself blushing. “Yes, we did.” They leaned their heads together, giggling, and Scully said, “Lu, there has never been anybody in the world like him. Ever. He should be enshrined. He’s legendary. He’s like a tall tale. Generations from now people will refuse to believe he was real.”

“You’ve got it so bad for him,” Luana said.

“I know.”

“It’s sweet. You look so happy. I don’t think you’ve ever really looked happy before.”

“Thanks,” Scully said softly. “I think . . . I think I am.”

Luana smiled widely and patted her hand, and got up from the booth. “Come say goodbye to me before you go, okay?”

“I will.” She smiled at Luana as she walked away. They would have to keep in touch. She didn’t want to lose a friend like this.

She doodled more on the pad, and soon found herself drawing a head. A small head, with round cheeks and large eyes. Dark eyes, she thought, crosshatching to make them darker. And plump lips, and dimples. It wasn’t a very good head—she was not any better at sketching than she was at calligraphy—but it made her smile. “Daisy,” she wrote beneath it, and then tore that sheet off the pad and laid it with her other doodles, fanned out on the table top.

She sipped the orange juice Luana had brought for her and wiped her mouth with her napkin. Bathroom time again, she thought with a grimace, and slid out of the booth.


“But she is all right, isn’t she?” Scully’s landlord said as Mulder closed the car’s trunk. He eyed the suitcase and folded blankets suspiciously, as if he expected to see severed limbs rolling out. “I’d feel a lot better if she signed out the lease herself.”

“She’s fine.” It was hard to not grow impatient with the man’s natterings, but Mulder didn’t want him to think he’d see them on the Most Wanted list anytime soon. “I’ll have her call you from the diner, if you want.”

“No,” the man said absently, “I guess the girls will let me know. Don’t put that there!” he nearly shouted as Mulder stacked Scully’s pillows in the back seat.


“Keep them in the front. Car trips are hard on pregnant women, she’ll need back support.”

“Oh. Thanks.” He put the pillows in the front passenger seat and shut the door. “That’s everything.”

The landlord shook his head sadly. “Tell Katie I’ll miss her. She was a dream of a tenant.”

“I will.” Mulder decided not to mention his opinion of the man’s property. “Thanks. Goodbye.” He got into the car and started it up, and pulled away from the curb as the landlord watched him dejectedly from the sidewalk.

It had taken too long to get the place cleared out. He’d taken the food to a homeless shelter, just like Scully wanted, and the head of the shelter had been profuse in her thanks—ten minutes of profusion, when all Mulder wanted was to get back to Scully’s apartment. He had to dismantle the crib, which he’d thought wouldn’t take long—Scully had put it together without the benefit of tools, right? Half an hour later he found Scully’s toolbox under the kitchen sink and finally got the crib apart. He had to fit maternity clothes and her regular clothes into one small suitcase, and then of course the things she’d bought for the baby, which had the advantage of being tiny. Then there were things like her portable stereo and the few toys she’d acquired and the Beatrix Potter print. “Don’t forget that,” she had told him time and again in the car.

The physical labor gave him time to think, though, and thought he had done, particularly as he held the fragile christening gown. A baby, a real baby. His baby. Their baby. At last he’d found love and was given this amazing miracle in addition.

Of course he was scared shitless, but he figured that was a given. Here he was at the ripe old age of forty, facing fatherhood. It felt like a cruel gag, the setup to a joke where he would be the punchline.

Except it was real. There was a being, a real person, growing inside Scully, someone who might have his eyes and Scully’s nose and her mother’s hair. Someone who might like science or history or music, who might be a doctor or an artist or a extreme mountain biker. Someone who would call him Daddy.

That felt like the biggest joke of all.

He was tempted, for a brief moment as he packed the tiny clothes, to leave the car in front of the Blue Moon and take off. She would be better off without out him, he thought. She would find someone who knew about being a father, someone who wasn’t a neurotic mess.

Except he knew that he couldn’t let either of them go. Not Scully, never Scully, and not their child. When he first placed his hands on Scully’s belly he had felt something utterly foreign to him—a strange, overwhelming tenderness that swept through him and left him shaken and exhilerated. He wondered if that was what paternal love felt like—this need to love and protect and feed and comfort and hold this little alien, this creature called his child.

Not alien, he thought. Very much a creation of this world. Made the old-fashioned way by two people so in love they can hardly see straight.

Speaking of seeing straight—he eased his foot off the gas, reminding himself that crashing the car at this point would not get him to Scully any sooner.

He finally reached the Blue Moon and slowed the car. There were police cars and a fire truck in front of the restaurant, but he couldn’t see any smoke in the air. He pulled the car to the curb and got out, and walked to the nearest officer.

“What’s happened?” he said, and the officer stepped away from her partner for a moment.

“There was a small fire in the kitchen. It’s under control but we’re waiting for the all-clear to let the patrons back inside. Do you work here, sir?”

“No, my—um—my fiancee was waiting here for me.”

She gestured down the street. “They’re waiting at the corner.”

“Thank you.” He went towards the clump of people she’d indicated. He could see Luana, and some of the others looked familiar, but there was no sign of Scully. Maybe they’d sent her into one of the stores to rest her feet.

He tapped Luana on the shoulder and she turned, huddled into her coat. “Steve—Mulder—um—”

“Where’s Dana?”

“Oh—um—” She took Mulder’s arm and pulled him away from the others. She whispered, “I can’t find her.”

Mulder felt like he had been kicked in the chest, and he managed to gasp out, “What?”

“I saw her go into the restroom and then the fire started and then it got really confused and there were so many people and then—and then—” Her lips trembled and she looked down at her shoes. “And then I couldn’t find her.”

“Luana,” he gripped her shoulders, “did you see anybody in the restaurant who looked really, really out of place? Someone who stood out in a weird way? Someone dressed like a B-movie thug or too aware of people watching him? Think, Luana, please.”

“I didn’t notice anybody. I’m sorry, Steve—Mulder—I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, it’s okay.” He hugged her briefly. “Don’t panic. She’s got to be around here somewhere, right? I’ll find her.”

She nodded, her eyes full, and folded her hands together and twisted them up between her breasts. “I’m going to pray,” she whispered.

“Okay,” he said and went to find someone in authority. He thought, Whatever God listens to us has a very twisted sense of humor.

He approache
d the fire chief, who was talking to one of the police officers. They both stopped talking when they saw him. He took out his badge and showed it to them. “Fox Mulder, FBI. There’s someone unaccounted for.”

“You’re Mulder?” the police officer said, and Mulder had to swallow hard before he could speak.

“Yes. What’s happened?”

The fire chief glanced at the officer, coughed and stepped away. The officer looked annoyed and said, “My name’s Payton. Some items were found inside. Will you come with me, please?”

“What kind of items?” Mulder said as he followed him to the nearest police car.

“A coat, what appears to be a letter, some drawings, and your name written several times over.” He handed Mulder an evidence bag with the papers inside.

“Can I open it?”

“Go ahead.”

Mulder opened the bag and took out the pages. “This is my fiancee’s handwriting,” he said quietly, and sank down onto the edge of the car seat. He went on, turning the pages over, “She’s, uh, she’s expecting. This is a diary to the baby. These—she doodles when she’s nervous. This—” He came to the paper with his name written over and over, and his voice broke.

The officer sighed and knelt down to be at Mulder’s eye level. “Why would your fiancee be nervous, sir?”

Mulder glanced up at him sharply and said, “As you can see from the diary it wasn’t because of me.”

“Yes, sir, I read the diary. It wasn’t about waiting for your return.”

“No. It wasn’t. There’s—” He stopped, trying to find a way to cast their story so it wouldn’t sound insane. “There’s someone after her. Someone she’d run away from before. And I strongly believe that someone is the person who took her.”

“Do you have a name, a description?”


“And why is this person pursuing your fiancee?”

Mulder whispered, “Because he wants her child,” and closed his eyes.

Payton sighed again and tapped his knuckle against the side of the car. “Mr. Mulder,” he said gently, “is he the father of the child?”

“No. He might be mine.”

“Might be?”

“It’s complicated.”

“I understand. Well. If you’ll come down to the station and file a report we’ll get the investigation started.”

“I’ll help in any way I can.”

“Sir, if you’re personally involved—”

“I know, I know, but you’ve got to understand, she’s not just—she’s—she’s everything to me.”

Payton was about to answer when one of the other officers came to the car. “We found another item,” she said and placed a small evidence bag in Payton’s hand. Payton turned it over and then held it up so Mulder could see.

“Do you recognize this?”

Mulder’s throat closed. He said hoarsely, “That’s her engagement ring,” and leaned his head onto his knees.

end part I

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