this chapter is all AmorFati32's doing. if you haven't read her story, Another Man's Child, then... wtf are you doing here? GO! READ IT NOW! to AF32 - thank you so so so much for all of your love and support! and this chapter is sweet and gooey and everything I ever wanted to see out of a famfic. mwah.
"Megan…Megan…time to wake up sweetie". Scully sat down on the edge of the bed, smiling as the little girl – the little girl she'd come to know as her little girl – slowly woke up. "Rise and shine little lady".
As she came awake, Meg pushed her comforter off of her. It was then that Scully noticed her flushed cheeks, the ends of her hair damp from sweat. Her baby wasn't going to school she suspected, and she immediately put a hand out and felt Megan's forehead. She was burning up.
"Are you ok baby?"
Megan swallowed before answering. "My throat hurts". She sounded hoarse and full of cold.
"Does anything else hurt?"
"My head a little. And…" she paused before sneezing twice. "My nose hurts".
Great, thought Scully. Just what she needed. Still, she didn't have the X-Files anymore, which meant she didn't have to call in sick. Instead Mulder could take Zach to school while she stayed home and cared for their sick little girl.
"Let me go get you some medicine", she said, running a hand through the little girl's hair before getting to her feet – not an easy task bearing in mind she was now seven month's pregnant and the size of a bus. "I'll be back in a second".
Scully made her way to the kitchen where Mulder was cooking pancakes for the kids. Zach had passed his spelling test with flying colors, so as a reward he'd requested them for breakfast.
"Don't tell me she's refusing to get out of bed again", Mulder remarked, referring to a morning just a week before where Megan had steadfastly refused to get up and ready for school. She eventually relented when Scully threatened to remove her television rights, not to mention cancel a trip to the park she had planned with Maggie.
"She's not going to school today Mulder", answered Scully, retrieving some children's Tylenol and a thermometer from the cupboard. "She's burning up".
"Want me to call the school?"
"Yes please. And can you take Zach in this morning too?"
"And pop to the store? I was going to go grocery shopping after I'd dropped them off".
"I'll write you a list. But make sure you get some extra ice cream. Her throat is scratchy and she says it hurts".
"Of course dear". They both grinned. "I'm Mulder, the Domestic God", he added, thinking how much his life had changed in recent months. "What does she want for breakfast?"
"I'm not sure if she even feels like eating now. I'll sort her out once I've given her some medicine, and you can get Zach ready".
"And how about you?" Leaving the pancakes momentarily, Mulder walked over to Scully and slipped his arms around her waist, pulling her in towards him – as far as she would go anyway considering the obstruction between them that was her protruding stomach.
She stared at him blankly. "What about me?"
"You need to eat. You're eating for two, remember?"
"The size of my maternity clothes right now are telling me I'm eating for at least four", she answered dryly. "I'll have something later. I promise", she added, noticing his look of skepticism. "I'll deal with Meggie first". Pressing a kiss to Mulder's lips, she disengaged herself from his grip and headed back towards her little girl.
"Hey Scully", Mulder called after her. "Still better than the X-Files, right?"
After a moment, she smiled and nodded, not wanting to change their little family for anything.
Thankfully Megan's temperature wasn't too high, and after some medication and a long morning nap, she'd perked up a little bit, but still nowhere near enough for her to go to school in the afternoon. After Scully had made herself breakfast and done the dishes and laundry, she plonked herself on the sofa in front of the television, half tempted for a nap herself, but knowing that she should get more research done on re-certification medical training. Mulder had already surprised her by coming home just a few afternoons prior indicating that he had an interview for psychology adjunct at Georgetown University. Although, when she thought about it, it made sense. Mulder was very eager to go back to work – knowing that not having a job could affect their status in Zach and Megan's adoption case. As for Scully, she was beginning to struggle in her last trimester, though she knew she still had some weeks to go before Junior arrived. Her clothes were tight, her ankles swollen, she had to pee every ten minutes, and she couldn't even remember the last time she'd even seen her feet. Megan tottered into the living room minutes later, sniffing every few seconds, her cheeks still rosy.
"Hey baby", said Scully, rearranging herself on the sofa yet again in a bid to try to get comfortable. "How are you feeling?"
"Can I have a drink please Dana?"
"Of course you can. Do you want to go back to bed and I'll bring it in to you?" Megan shook her head. "I tell you what, why won't we move your bed out here? I'll be right back", she said as Megan pulled herself up onto the sofa. Scully retrieved the little girl a glass of water before continuing to her bedroom, returning to the living room armed with her comforter and two pillows. After handing Megan her drink, Scully sat down next to her and placed the comforter over them, a pillow behind each of their heads.
"Whenever I'm sick I veg out on the sofa too".
"Does Mulder take care of you?"
"You know what? He does actually". Scully thought back to the time when she had cancer, when she came home after her treatments, and how Mulder used to be there for her, holding back her hair while she was sick, making her tea to try and settle her stomach, holding her until she finally fell into a dreamless sleep. "And when I was sick as a little girl, my mom would move my bed out into the living room and we'd just sit and snuggle all day".
Megan rubbed her eyes wearily. Scully suspected that it wouldn't be long before she was sleeping once again.
"My mommy never did that with me".
That came as no surprise to Scully. Megan and Zach had never really spent any quality time with their mom.
"I know baby, but we can do it today if you want?"
Nodding, Megan shifted underneath the comforter, edging closer to Scully but not quite touching. Her thumb darted into her mouth and though Scully was tempted to admonish her and remind her she'd ruin her teeth if she sucked her thumb, she realized her little girl was sick. She'd allow it for today.
"I know you and your mom never did a lot of things together sweetheart", said Scully. "But I promise I'll try and make up for that and do more things with you".
She put her arm around Meg, frowning as the little girl tensed. "Are you ok sweetheart?"
"I don't want to hurt the baby", came a small and uncertain voice.
"What?" Scully thought back to recent months. Megan was always gentle with Scully, particularly in the last few months of her pregnancy, but she presumed Mulder had told the little girl not to be too rough. "You're not going to hurt the baby".
"I might. I don't want to hurt the baby because then you'll hate me ".
"Sweetheart, hugging is absolutely fine. More than fine", she added. "It's just jumping on me that's not so good right now".
"I wouldn't jump on you Dana".
"I know you wouldn't. Oh honey come here". Scully lifted Megan onto her lap – or at least what she had left of her lap; the baby taking up a large part of it. "You are not going to hurt the baby, and I am never going to hate you. I love you Meggie, and anytime you want to snuggle, I'm here for you".
"Even when the baby comes?"
"Especially when the baby comes", Scully answered, though she couldn't help but think about their impending custody case. She only hoped that when the baby came, Megan and Zach were still a part of their family. And if not, she thought sadly. She hoped that Megan's future mom liked to snuggle too. She squeezed her little girl tightly. "The baby is going to need a lot of attention, just like all babies do, but that doesn't mean that Mulder and I won't be here for you or Zach".
"Dana? When is the baby coming?"
It was bold of Megan to ask a direct question about the baby. Scully thought it might mean she was slowly coming round to the idea.
"The baby is due to get here in just under two months' time, although they can come at any time".
"Is it –" Meg paused as she felt something jab her in the side. "What was that?"
"That was the baby kicking me".
The little girl's eyes narrowed. "Why is it kicking you?"
"That's what babies do when they're inside their mom's tummies. It just shows that they're awake and ok and moving".
"Does it hurt?"
Scully shook her head. "Sometimes it feels a little uncomfortable, but I like it". After all, it was the baby that Scully thought she'd never conceive. Everything about this pregnancy – even the morning sickness and swollen ankles, not to mention every sharp jab to her ribs, made her feel blessed.
"Is it a boy or a girl?"
"It's a surprise". She and Mulder had decided not to tell the kids that they were expecting a boy. They didn't want them to feel too threatened by the new arrival. "We'll find out soon when the baby comes".
"Dana?" Megan snuggled up against her, tucking her head in the crook of her neck.
"Mmm?" Scully realized she could stay like that, with Meg wrapped in her arms, forever, if it wasn't for the baby no doubt soon pressing on her bladder.
"How did the baby get into your tummy?"
That wasn't the question Scully was expecting, though deep down she knew one of the kids would ask soon.
"Umm you know what?" She began as the front door opened and Mulder stepped into the apartment, suffocating underneath half a dozen shopping bags. "We'll talk about that later".
"Talk about what later?" Mulder asked, smiling at the picture of the two girls – his two girls – relaxing in front of him.
"How the baby got in my tummy".
Scully smirked at the sight of her partner's panic face. "That's why I said we'd talk about it later".
At this he relaxed. "Good plan. I'm going to unpack the groceries". No doubt plotting his escape from the conversation.
"Did you get more medicine?"
"I did. How are you feeling Meggie?" Mulder asked, moving across the room to press his lips to the youngster's forehead, noticing that her temperature hadn't completely dropped.
"I feel better now Dana's snuggled with me," she said, though she didn't sound much better, instead letting out an impressive sneeze as Mulder pulled away.
He looked up at Scully. "Do you think we should take her to the doctor?"
Scully shook her head. "She's ok at the moment. If her temperature goes up again or she still feels like this tomorrow, I'll take her. I think it's just a cold at the moment".
"Do you need me to take her off your hands? You don't need a cold right now Scully, not with the ba –"
"I'm fine", she said, smiling up at him. "We're good here, aren't we Meggie?" The last thing she wanted was for Megan to think she could hurt the baby with her germs.
"Yeah", replied Megan, her eyelids slowly drooping. "We're real good".
Smiling, Mulder left them to it while he went to unpack the groceries and put them away. He was fully house trained now, he thought to himself, and he wouldn't change anything – he loved his new family, and only hoped they stayed together.
Once the shopping was in its rightful place, Mulder headed back out into the living room, a cup of coffee in one hand for himself and tea for Scully, and placed them both on the coffee table. Megan was now fast asleep in Scully's arms, and he noticed that Scully herself didn't look too far off slumber herself.
"Want me to put her to bed?"
"Not right now," she smiled as Mulder sat down next to her and wrapped an arm around her shoulders.
"Mmm." She sounded contemplative, and Mulder gave her a questioning look. "Megan was asking about the baby just before you got back".
"Yeah? Well that's progress I guess".
"I think she and Zach feel a little threatened by it all".
"That's not surprising; I guess they'd just begun to settle in and then it's shaken everything up. They'll come round".
"We need to keep them Mulder".
"The kids. We need to do whatever we can do to keep them with us".
Mulder gave her a sad smile. "I know Scully, and we will".
"I was thinking earlier that I don't want to lose them. I don't want someone else tucking Meggie in at night or reading her stories or helping Zach with his school projects. I don't want someone else to be their mom".
Mulder squeezed her tightly. "I know, I don't either. They're happy here. We're all happy here, and I'm sure the courts will see it". He hoped the courts would see it. "Don't worry about it Scully, not now. Now we just make some good memories for them both, and wait for Junior to arrive. That's what's important Scully, the kids. We love them and they love us. We're going to do everything we can to keep them. I promise you".
"I believe you", she said softly, kissing his cheek.
"Now", he said, getting comfy on the sofa, "little Meggie here has the right idea by taking a nap. What say we join her?"
"Mulder", she admonished. "I have things to do".
"So do them tomorrow," he replied. "They can wait. This can't". He was right. The kids were important.
And so, forgetting her to-do list, her plans of folding laundry and putting a crib together and tidying the kids' room, Scully instead pulled the comforter up higher and fell asleep with her family.