Disclaimer:  Please do not sue.  I do not claim to own them.

Chapter 11

It was another two weeks after Kimberly and John were married before Maggie and Walter finally made it down the aisle. He'd hemmed and hawed about setting a date until Maggie finally informed him that her due date was not very far off and if he wanted to be married before his baby came, they'd best get to it. They finally tied the knot three weeks after Kimberly and John.

On the day of her long awaited wedding, Maggie Scully stood in front of the mirror surveying her appearance. The shell pink gown she'd chosen to marry Walter Skinner in set off the tone of her face perfectly, if only it did something for her now nonexistent figure. She placed her hand on her now rounded belly and sighed. She wanted this
baby and she wanted to marry Walter, but sometimes she wasn't sure if she was
doing the right thing. Maybe she shouldn't do this.

Dana entered the room, her belly preceding that entrance. She looked at her
Mom and tears sprang to her eyes. She looked so beautiful and so happy.

"Are you ready, Mom?" she asked, brushing back a stray strand of hair from
her mother's face. "You look perfect. Walter is going to love you, more
than he all ready does."

"You think he loves me? No, I'm being ridiculous, I know he loves me, but am
I doing to right thing, Dana?"

"Are you happy with Walter, Mom?" Scully asked, tucking the flower in her
mother's hair.

"Yes, he makes so happy and he makes me feel loved and young again."

"Then you are doing the right thing, Mom. Your happiness is all that
counts."

"I still miss your Daddy. I still love him, but..." Her mother trailed off,
"it's different this time." She looked into her daughters eyes and saw
emotion there.

"Mom, you have nothing to worry about. It's going to be a beautiful day and..."
She was interrupted as the door swung open.

"Knock knock" Mulder called, "How's everybody doing in here? You look
beautiful, Mom. And Dana, you look terrific, perfect." He moved in and
kissed her.

Scully was wearing a blue dress. He loved her in blue, all shades; it
brought out her eyes and set off her hair. He'd always found her beautiful,
but now that she was almost seven months pregnant with his twins, she was
radiant. The dynamic in the room seemed off; his mother-in-law seemed tense
and nervous.

"Dana, why don't you check on Walter and let me chat with Mom for a few
minutes okay?"

Scully got his silent message and turned to leave, kissing her mother's cheek
before checking on her stepfather to be.

"What's wrong, Mom?" Mulder asked, approaching his mother-in-law, "This is
your wedding day. You should be happy. I know I was."

"It was different for you, Fox. You and Dana were just starting out in life.
I've been to the circus; I know everything there is to know about marriage
and child rearing. There are no surprises left..."

"Mom, you are marrying an Assistant Director of the FBI, trust me, your life
together will be full of surprises," Mulder said smiling.

"I hope they aren't like the surprises I've faced so far. A pregnancy, a
heart attack, a stroke, what's next, a Mustang, an earring, and a nineteen
year old girlfriend?"

"Mom, you are being unreasonable, not to mention unfair. Skinner would never
do that to you, he'd never do that, period." Mulder tried to keep his voice
calm. He knew Maggie wasn't making an accusation, but he was beginning to
feel a new attachment to Skinner and any attack on the man's character he met
with resistance.

"I know, Fox. I'm sorry. I'm just so scared. I'm so afraid that I'm not
doing the right thing."

"Mom, do you love Walter?" Mulder asked.

"Of course I do, but does he really need to be saddled with a baby. His health
is just starting to rebound, he is still not back to work, and this isn't fair
to him, Fox."

"What are you really afraid of, Mom? I know you're holding something back,
what is it?"

"I still miss Bill. I still love him. It's foreign to me, loving two men.
I don't know if I can be a good wife to Walter while I still love another
man." Maggie massaged her belly and looked on the verge of tears.

"You still love Bill. You shared a lot of time together. You shared your
lives, your children, he's part of you and you are part of him. Walter isn't
going to expect you to stop thinking about Bill, to stop loving him. What he
will expect is that you love him as much, if differently, than Bill. Part of
Walter will probably always love Sharon, for the good times they had in their
marriage. If you can accept that from him, he will accept that from you.

"Now, stop worrying. Dry your eyes and get ready to marry, God help me, my
boss. At least with him in the family, I won't get chewed out as often, huh.
You can mellow him out for me." Mulder said, and then laughed quietly to
himself.

"What"? Maggie asked wiping her eyes.

"I was just remembering how I proposed to Dana." A big grin escaped his lips
again.

"What did you do?" She stared at him. "Fox? Come on, Dana never really gave me all the details."

"Okay. Okay. Well, I'd had a loooooong discussion with Byers about my
feelings for Dana and I came to the conclusion that I was going to marry her no
matter what anyone said. But stupidly I told Frohike and Langley as well and
they both wanted to help me. So I went out and bought this gorgeous ring and
then I'm like "okay so how do I ask her?" So then Frohike tells me to
pretend that he was Scully and they were all shouting "say this" and "say
that" you know. In the end I got up the nerve and drove to the 7/11 to pick
up some supplies and then on to Quantico." Mulder paused as he relived the
memory smiling again broadly. "Scully was performing an autopsy and then
meeting with some old buddies from med school. I walked into the bullpen
and..."

"Bullpen?" Maggie asked.

"A collection of desks where agents sit." He cleared that up for her and then
continued. "Anyway I walked down to her and said all my hellos y'know. Then I
uh got down on one knee and she thought I was ill! And then I said "I know
Scully that I have always been a dweeb to you" and I lifted up a packet of
'Dweebs'. "And that I don't deserve you. I probably never will. But we've
been through a lot together and I was wondering if I could have your 'ham' in
marriage. "And then lifted up a slice of ham. I know that last one was lame
but hey it worked!"

Maggie smiled up at him. He was really a sweet young man. "Were you afraid?"
She tentatively asked.

"Hell yeah! Of course I was. I was petrified. But I overcame my nerves and
asked her. Men hate rejection. That's the problem. We're afraid of being
shunned. Now look where that's gotten me. You are going to have a wonderful day.
Mulder hugged her one last time before disappearing down the hall to check
once again, on the very nervous groom.

Meanwhile, Scully was down the hall talking to Skinner. He was pale and
looked as though he might pass out.

"How are you holding up, Sir?" she asked in a professional tone, trying to
separate herself from the feelings she was having for this man. He was
starting to feel like family. She didn't know if she'd ever seen him as a
father completely, but she respected him and found herself beginning to love
him.

"I'm fine, Scully. Just fine," he said.

"Liar. You're slurring your speech. You only do that when you're mad,
nervous, or upset. I know you aren't mad; Mulder and I haven't worked this
week. Upset doesn't really fit either, so I'd put my dollar on nervous.
Want to talk about it?" She approached him and touched his shoulder gently.

"I'm not sure I'm doing the right thing, Scully. I can't take the place of
your Dad, I'm not even sure I'll be that great a dad or husband. I can't
believe it took me this long to realize it."

"Walter, no one expects you to take Dad's place. No one would want you too.
What I do expect, and Mom and Mulder too, is for you to love her and protect
her and to love and protect your baby. That's my little brother or sister in
there and if you don't take care of business, I'm going to have to shoot you.
And if you remember, I'm one of the best shots in the FBI, next to you, of
course."

That drew a small smile, which quickly faded into another frown.

"There's something else isn't there?" she probed, all ready knowing the
truth.

"Yes. I'm scared, Scully. I never though I'd hear myself admit that. Not
to a woman, not to you. I am so scared that I'll lose your Mom, I'm so
scared that marriage to me will change her and not for the better either.
I've all ready compromised her, made her lose some of her virtues, the things
that make her who she is."

"I don't understand."

"She's pregnant and not married, and she's marrying a divorced man. She's
getting married in her living room by a federal court judge. That is not the
Margaret Scully I know. She's marrying an Episcopalian for God's sake." He rose from his position and began to pace, the slight limp the stroke left him with pronounced with his worry.

"Walter, in about thirty-five minutes, my mother won't be Margaret Scully
anymore. She'll be Margaret Skinner. And Margaret Skinner doesn't care if
she's married in a church or that the man she's marrying is divorced. She
only cares about the man. She only cares about you, Walter, your happiness
and well being. That's what makes her my mother, Sir, nothing more, nothing
less.

"Would it make you feel better if I told you she's worrying that this is the
right thing for you?"

"Why? I'm the one who's asking her to change who she is for me." He looked
lost.

"She still loves my Dad, part of her always will, and she's irrationally
afraid she's short changing you."

"There are different kinds of love, Dana, she'd never marry me without loving
me, and I know that."

Scully moved into his path and made him stop pacing. "Sounds to me like you
both have a case of pre-wedding jitters. I had a good case of them myself
before I married Mulder, remember. Only I threw up on your tux when you came
to see how I was," she smiled and giggled a bit at the memory, "you aren't
going to throw up on me are you?" she asked cocking her head to the side and
raising her eyebrows.

"No," he laughed, "I'm not going to throw up on you. But I am going to kiss
you." He took her shoulders and placed an almost fatherly kiss on her
forehead, "You are something else, Scully. I hope that, if this baby's a
girl, she's turns out exactly like you."

Scully felt her eyes tear up and she leaned and gave him a quick hug.

"Now, I better get back to Mom. See you in a few minutes," she smiled at him
before turning and leaving the room.

Fears put to rest; both bride and groom started counting the moments until
the wedding was actually performed. Suddenly, Maggie couldn't wait to be
Mrs. Walter Skinner. The minutes seemed to creep by slowly, and then her
daughter was at her side and Kim as well, both radiant and smiling.

"It's time, Mom. Are you ready?" Dana asked.

"I am, Dana. As nervous as I was before, I'm so ready to marry Walter now."

"You're going to make him happy, Margaret. I've know him for a lot of years
and he's never been happier than when he's with you."

Margaret hugged her daughter, and then she hugged Kim and took a deep breath.

"Okay, let's get this show on the road," she smiled and followed her two
bridesmaids out the door with a bounce in her step.

Her children had been right, this was going to be the best day of her life,
and all the days after that, well, she'd have to see, but she knew one thing
for sure, she could handle anything as long as she had Walter Skinner by her
side.

Chapter 12

Saturday morning, Two weeks after the wedding

Walter Skinner had spent the night awake. He had a lot to think about. He
was married again, this time to a woman he loved more than his own life and
she was pregnant with his first child. He couldn't stop himself from
marveling over that fact. It was amazing to him, inconceivable that after
years of loneliness and despair that he could have this happiness.

Margaret was nestled against his side, her head pillowed by his shoulder.
She was sound asleep, exhausted from the days activities. He loved to watch
her sleep. She looked so young and carefree, so in need of his protection.
He nearly left his skin when the phone rang loudly.

"Skinner," he barked into the phone, not raising his voice, but annoyance
evident in his tone. He checked that Maggie was still asleep. If this early
caller disturbed her, they would pay.

"Good morning, Dad," came the teasing voice of his new stepson-in-law, Fox
Mulder.

"It was. What is it, Mulder?" he asked his Agent.

"Is Mom awake yet?" Mulder asked.

"No, and if I have my way, she won't be for at least two more hours. Its
only six a.m. for God's sake."

Mulder could tell his father-in-law and boss was upset to have had his sleep
interrupted, but he had to call. Dana had been keeping him awake all night,
pestering him about when they were going to go shopping for the baby
furniture they needed. He'd gotten two hours sleep if he was lucky and even
that was interrupted by Scully's excited, yet annoying prodding.

"I know, Walt. Believe me, I know. Dana has kept me up all night. She
wants to go shopping for baby things and, I'm sorry, as much as I love her, I
can't stand the though of going to stores with her."

Skinner took pity on his comrade in suffering. Shopping with Margaret was a
tiring, stressful, maddening ordeal if there ever was one and she got tired
easily, after two hours they were done, yet it took him weeks to recover.
Scully, with the energy her pregnancy had given her must be worse.

"I know what you mean, Mulder," Skinner sympathized. "Shopping with Maggie
is a fate I wouldn't wish on...on... the Cancerman. If daughter is like
mother, I understand. That still doesn't excuse you from calling me at six
a.m. on a weekend."

"You're upset about that, huh" Mulder inquired all ready knowing the answer.

Skinner surprised him when he sighed, "No, I wasn't asleep. I ah, haven't
really slept since the wedding. I keep waking up to check on Maggie and then
I lay there a while and think. I was all ready up."

"I used to do that when I first got married. I couldn't get enough of
looking at her. Scully of course wasn't pregnant at the time so she'd wake
up and..."

"I don't need a visual aid, Mulder. I've gotten the picture."

Walter swung his legs over the side of the bed and moved away so that his
voice wouldn't disturb Margaret's sleep.

"Well, anyway, while Dana is still in the shower and can't hear me complain,
I called to ask if you and Mom want to meet us for a later breakfast and
shopping for baby things. I could really use a buddy in the trenches man."

Skinner stared at his wife. She'd been feeling tired and rundown since the
wedding, the stress and strain of the last seven months catching up and
wiping her out. He didn't want to keep her out too long. On the other hand,
a day with her two crazy children might do her some good. The worst that
could happen was she got tired and they left early.

"Well, like I said, she's not awake yet. I'll ask her when she gets up and
call you back. Nothing is open until ten anyway. If she says yes, I'll call
you back."

Mulder offered up a silent prayer of thanksgiving. He knew that Maggie would
jump at the chance to spend the day with her daughter, husband, and "son".
Aloud he said, "All right, I'll tell Dana that you'll call. Don't be
surprised if she calls you every ten minutes to see if Mom is up yet. She
woke me every ten minutes to ask when we'd go shopping until I said today.
She's so excited about this."

"And you're not?" Skinner asked. He knew that since Mulder had accepted his
wife's condition and had seen the sonogram photo he'd been smitten with his
children, so his not being excited didn't compute.

"I am excited about the buying part, just not the shopping part. We'll go
to like ten stores and look at all different models and prices and end up
buying the first thing we looked at in the first store. Scully insists on
trying to find the best bargain even though I told her that the money wasn't
a big deal." Mulder was whining now.

"I know what you mean. The Scully women aren't used to being comfortable.
Most of their lives, they had little money so bargains and deals had been the
only way, now they can't seem to break the bonds of the Price Club."

Mulder chuckled, "You too, huh?"

"Me too," Skinner admitted, with another sidelong glance at his bride,
"Listen, I have to go. If I keep talking, I'm going to wake Maggie. See
what you can do to occupy Dana until at least seven."

"I'll try, Sir, and thanks a lot for doing this." Mulder sound genuinely
grateful and Skinner smiled.

"Anytime, Mulder, just next time make it after sunrise, okay?"

Mulder hung up the phone and turned to see that a very pregnant Dana had just
stepped out of the shower.

"Who was that, Fox?" she asked, her eyebrow climbing into her hairline.

"It was...uh, uh, Skinner. I called to invite your Mom shopping with us
today."

"At six a.m., Mulder, you know how tired she gets."

Mulder expected excited squeals and giggles and possibly even a kiss, but
what he got was a frown and the "eyebrow".

"I didn't wake her, sweetheart. Skinner said he'd ask her when she wakes up.
He seemed like he wanted to go though."

If possible the eyebrow climbed higher as Scully unwrapped the towel around
her hair, "Skinner seemed like he wanted to go shopping with us?"

"Yes," Mulder nodded.

"Walter Skinner?" she asked again.

"The one and only," he replied.

"My stepfather?"

"Yes, Scully. Skinner, tall bald guy, broad shoulders, bad attitude, wants to
go shopping with us and your Mom for baby things.

"I can't believe it," she stated and moved for the phone.

"He also said not to call over there again until seven so that you're Mom could
sleep a bit more," Mulder interjected before she got her head bitten off.

"That sounds like Skinner," Scully admitted.

"Oh, Fox," she began to whine, "The stores don't open until ten, I don't know
if I can wait that long to start getting baby things."

"You have to, love. I know you're excited, so why don't we think about what
color to paint the baby's room."

Mulder had no idea what can of worms he'd just opened.

"I was thinking wallpaper actually," came Scully's reply, "Wallpaper with
Teddy Bears on it and an ABC border around the top. Lots of color."

"But Scully, what if the babies don't like Teddy Bears. Paint is easier to
change when they get older."

"Wallpaper isn't so hard to change, Mulder. It just takes patience. Besides,
I've never met a baby who didn't like Teddy Bears." Scully countered sitting
on the bed to pull on her jeans.

"You've never met a grown man who chases aliens either until you met me.
What if our kids are chips off the old Mulder block?" Mulder asked her,
pulling his sweatshirt on over his head.

"For the first two years, it'll be the color they like. I want the room
bright and festive. Happy rooms make happy babies." She pulled on one sock.

"All those books say that babies can't tell colors at first, why both when
the room is going to look like an episode of Leave It to Beaver anyway?"

"What do you suggest we do, Mulder? Paint the room black and white? Great,
our children will start out in life depressed." Another sock.

"No, I don't want to paint the room black and white. I just don't think we
need a garish design on our walls to have a happy baby or babies in our
case." He gelled his hair.

"A garish...Teddy Bears are not garish. Look at your tie collection,
Mulder if you want to talk about garish." A sneaker.

They went on like this, trading barbs, mostly without points, until the phone
rang. Mulder looked at his watch. 7:30. They'd killed time all right.

"Hello," Scully said into the phone.

Margaret Skinner could hear annoyance in her daughter's tone, so she
proceeded with caution.

"Hi, sweetheart. Walter told me you wanted to make a shopping trip today.
I'd love to."

"Great, Mom, great." Her tone was flat; there was no joy in her voice.

"Honey, what's wrong?" Maggie asked.

"Fox is being impossible," she answered glaring at her husband who stood red
faced near the decaf pot.

"Oh, well, I hope a day out with us will do you both good then." Maggie
didn't want to get into her daughter's marital disputes, even though most of
the time they required the intervention of either herself or her husband.

"I'm sure it will, Mom. Why don't you come over here? I'll make breakfast
then we can go."

"That sounds just fine, dear. I've not been in the mood to cook lately and
eating in restaurants all the time isn't good for Walter's heart." Maggie
sounded perky and joyous, just like a pregnant woman in love should sound.

"Okay, see you in an hour," she said hanging up. Then to Mulder, "My mother
and Skinner will be here in an hour. Try and act like a human being before
they get here."

Then Scully turned to the stove and began making batter for pancakes.

Walter noticed his wife's silence on the drive to her daughter's home. She'd
seemed excited and almost perky at the prospect of shopping with her daughter
and son-in-law, not she was quiet and despondent.

"What's wrong, love?" he asked, brushing her leg with his hand.

"Dana," Maggie answered, "She and Fox had another argument."

"They've been doing that a lot lately," Skinner observed, studying his wife
out of the corner of his eye. She frowned.

"Yes, and more that usual it's taken one of us to get them to make it up.
They are both so stubborn." Maggie balled her hand into a fist.

"Stubborn and selfless is a lethal combination. One is constantly fighting
the other to get the other to do what one thinks is best. They never fight
because Fox wants what's best for Fox; they fight because he wants what's
best for Dana."

Maggie smiled at Walter's insight, "I know. At least their fights aren't
malicious. They aren't intentionally trying to hurt each other. At least
not at first. They both have tempers though and that lead to a whole other
ballgame."

"I'm so glad we don't fight like that," Maggie mused, her hand covering his.

"Well, I don't know," he sighed, "If you don't have a good argument every
once in awhile you can't make up and that's fun."

"Oh," Maggie chuckled, "Let's just hope they get to the fun before we have to
step in again."

"Let's just hope," Skinner echoed before turning on the radio and
accelerating a bit as the pulled on the freeway.

The Skinner's luck did not hold. They could hear the shouting from the
driveway.

"Stop acting like a baby, Scully," Mulder yelled, his tone condescending if
not down right mean.

"I'm not acting like a baby; you are acting like a jackass." Scully was
crying, but fighting hard against it.

Skinner pulled out his keys and walked right in, in spite of Maggie's
protest.

"Hey, what is going on in here?" he bellowed, commanding the attention of
both combatants. "I can here you all they way out in the driveway."

Scully finally lost her battle with her tears and ran to her mother's
outstretched arms. Maggie looked at Fox, her face holding no anger for him
as she held her daughter and shrugged at him.

"Mulder, what is going on? I've never heard you speak to Scully that way?"

"Yeah, well," he shrugged. He didn't know why he got so angry sometimes, he
just did. Sometimes, his formerly rational wife just made no sense to him
anymore. Not to mention he hadn't gotten sex from her in like three weeks.
That was unusual for them and he was getting testy.

"Yeah, well what?" Skinner prodded as Maggie took Dana into the other room to
make her a cup of her favorite decaffeinated herbal tea. "You made her cry.
It takes some major shit to do that."

"We had a stupid argument and she's not herself lately. I don't know, I just
got mad." Mulder explained, "You know how it is, nothing you do or say is the
right thing anymore."

"Actually, no, I don't have that particular problem, but didn't you always
say to me that Scully's favorite thing to do was to prove you wrong. What
started all this?"

"Paint verses wallpaper," Mulder admitted, blushing slightly and bracing
himself for Skinner's recriminations. He was disappointed. His boss and
father-in-law didn't yell, he laughed.

"Is that all? Oh, Mulder, will you never learn?" Skinner approached the
younger man and set an arm about his shoulders. "Women love to decorate, and
even more than that, they love to spend money. Scully women not so much as
others, but it's true. I'm betting she wants to wallpaper the room with
something cutesy like Winnie the Pooh, right?"

"Not Pooh, just regular bears. I want to paint it pale green with a yellow
trim since we don't know what the twins will be or like. That sounds
practical to me," Mulder defended.

"It is practical, Fox, but this is Dana's first pregnancy. It's exciting for
her, look at how giddy she is over furniture shopping and you've always told
me she isn't much of a shopper. She wants to do this thing up right. You
have to understand that, and I think there's more to this than that."
Skinner looked at the younger man, eyes inquisitive.

"Not really, she's just not herself and I guess I don't know how to be the
strong rational one." Mulder admitted.

"Well, in two months, like it or not, you are going to be someone's Daddy and
you are going to have to learn to be strong. Scully is going to become like
any other mother, intuitive and a worrywart and it is going to your job to
make sure she does give the kids ulcers before they're ten. Now, what I
think you have to do is apologize to your wife, tell her that you'll pick out
a wallpaper today and let's eat because I'm starving."

Mulder impulsively turned and gave Skinner a bear hug, "Thanks, Dad for
setting me straight on this. I better go eat some crow."

Meanwhile, Maggie was giving her daughter similar advice.

"You see, dear, this is all new to Fox. He's never had to take care of
anyone but himself before. You are a very independent woman and don't need
his coddling. He is in uncharted territory here. He wants to keep things
plain, try and keep them as vanilla as possible, hence his insistence on
paint instead of wallpaper. It's a lot easier to get rid of paint." Margaret
hope her daughter took her words the right way. She knew Dana's rational
mind was not functioning these days, she hoped her daughter wouldn't think
Fox wanted to erase the babies.

"I know, Mom and maybe he doesn't like Teddy Bears, maybe we should just put
a border around the room," she smiled into her cup, "It was a stupid thing to
fight about wasn't it. It's just..."

"Just..." her mother prodded.

"Sometimes, he gets so mean Mom. Sometimes he's nothing like the Fox Mulder
I married."

"He's scared, baby, he can't think clearly either. Male hormones, I like to
call it. Walter has the same thing but he shows it a different way."

Scully smiled at her mother as her husband walked into the kitchen and held
his arms out to her. "I'm sorry, Angel," he said when she went gratefully
into them and let him hold her close, "we can do the baby's room anyway you
want, as long as it's just wallpaper or just a border, not both, okay?" Her
mother and Skinner looked on as Scully smiled and nodded, another crisis
averted.

"Well," Skinner said, running his hand over his stomach, "Now that this is
solved when do we eat? I'm starved."

Scully laughed and turned to the stove, making a disgusted face at it, "I
know I promised I'd cook, but..."

"Let's go out to eat," her mother finished. The idea of standing up long
enough to cook tired her out these days.

The couples departed the house and one hour later were standing inside of
Baby World Baby Superstore. Skinner's and Mulder's hands tightened over
their wallets as they saw the looks that came over their wives faces. Even
for men that were reasonably well paid, this could be dangerous. Their wives
were usually frugal, but baby shopping had the potential for danger.

Soon they were left in the dust. Maggie and Dana moved as quickly as their
pregnancies would allow dashing up and down aisle looking at cribs, high
chairs, car seats...

"Dana," Margaret said to her daughter as she looked at the fourth crib, "You
should consider registering and having a baby shower. That might be more fun
than this, and not to mention less exhausting."

Scully turned to study her mom, "Are you getting too tired, you want to
rest?" She knew that she was beginning to feel a bit sleepy, so her mom must
be.

"I'm not talking about me, baby. I'm talking about Fox and Walter."

Scully turned to see her husband and stepfather leaning against shelves both
breathing hard. She knew why her stepfather was tired. He'd suffered both a
heart attack and a stroke a few months ago and prolonged activity tired him
out, but there was no reason that Mulder should be gasping for air.

She and Maggie hurried over to their husbands, Maggie out of concern and
Scully out of curiosity.

"What on earth are you two doing?" she asked Mulder, glaring at him. Then
she saw it, each of the two men had a cart behind them filled to the rim with
toys. They had filled their carts with everything from teething rings to
baseball mitts to dolls that walked and wet their diapers.

"What did you two do?" Maggie scolded like they were two. Skinner looked
down and blushed from the top of his head to his chin.

"I though...we thought... well you were taking care of all of the practical
items so..."

Maggie smiled and pulled her husband close to her cuddling him. He was so
sweet and adorable and she loved him so much. Skinner cradled her in his
arms, kissing her lips. "I love you, Maggie," he whispered, before pulling
away.

"I love you too, darling, but we don't need all of this stuff." she asked
gesturing to the cart.

Scully had all ready ordered Mulder to put back more than half of what he
bough.

"Maggie, I'm never going to have another baby and I want a chance to spoil
him or her. And you."

She smiled again then took his hand and followed her daughter and son down the
crib aisle once again.

Two Hours Later

"Scully," Mulder whined, "If you were going to get this crib, why didn't you
get it six stores ago? The first time we were here."

"Mulder, do you know nothing about comparison shopping. This is the crib I
liked, this is the best price. Go and buy the crib, Mulder."

"Daaaaannaaa," he whined, "Why did I let you talk me into this parent thing
in the first place?" He strolled away leaving Skinner's ears turning red and
Maggie's mouth agape. Scully turned to her parents and sighed.

"Sometimes, I think he really means that," she said.

"No, he doesn't really mean it, Honey. It's just if you have a baby then he
has to grow up and you know Mulder doesn't want to do that." Maggie answered
when she saw her son-in-law returning with a sales person.

That night Mulder and Scully lay in bed curled up with each other. This was
their favorite time of day.

"Scully, did your mom buy anything today?"

"No, only what Walter bought. It was so adorable," she murmured kissing his
shoulder blade.

"How come he's adorable and I'm wasteful?"

"Because it's not my money he spent. It was wasteful, but Mom made him
promised he'd return all of the girl's toys if it was a girl and vice versa."


"I love you, Scully," he said sincerely, hugging her close.

"I love you too, Mulder. Good night."

She leaned over him and turned out the light.

Chapter 13

Margaret and Walter Skinner sat together in the doctor's waiting room. Since his heart attack and stroke several months ago the doctor's office had been his home away from home. Today was his "red letter day". Today was the day his doctor would decide if he could return to his position as Assistant Director.

Maggie studied her husband's actions. He sat beside her, his face calm and stoic. The only betrayal of his nervousness was in his right leg's continuous rhythm, up and down, up and down. She placed a restraining hand on it.

"Walter, " she let his name roll from her tongue, "relax."

"I can't, Maggie. If he says I can't go back to work I don't know what I'll do. I'm going brain dead sitting in that house day after day.

"I know, Dearest, but working yourself into a frenzy is only going to send your pressure up and hurt your chances." Margaret knew how important his career was to him, how hard he'd worked to earn his way and how complete and accomplished his work made him feel. Yet, there was a part of her that hoped Dr. Sklodonski would block his return to work indefinitely. She'd come so close to losing him, twice, in the past seven months. His recovery had been rapid, but the residual weakness in his left side and occasional stutter were continuous reminders.

"I know, sweetie. And I like being home with you, but I don't feel like I'm useful there. It's not like I'm in the field..." he trailed off, noticing her frown. "What is it, Honey?"

"Assistant Director is such a stressful job. Maybe...Oh, I don' t know. I just don't want to lose you now that I finally have you." She met his probing chocolate gaze and saw something there. She realized that he held these same feeling in his heart in regard to her miracle pregnancy. In four weeks, she was due to give birth to his son or daughter, the result of their love or her hormone therapy, she wasn't sure. In his eyes she could see that there was a part of him however small that was scared to death she wouldn't survive it. She moved toward him and kissed his lips firmly, gently stroking his cheek with her hand.

"Do you know how much I love you, Assistant Director Skinner?" she asked, the answer shining in her eyes.

"Probably as much as I love you, Mrs. Skinner," he replied, placing a light kiss on the tip of her nose.

"Walter," the receptionist interrupted the exchange, "you can come on back now."

Leaning on his cane, the same cane he never used at home in deference to furniture, Skinner rose from his seat and offered an arm to Maggie who was unsuccessfully trying to heave herself out of a chair. A strange look crossed her features and Skinner stopped, his eyes filled with concern.

"Are you all right?"

Margaret straightened and smiled, massaging her belly. "We're fine, Love. Your son or daughter just kicked me a bit harder than usual. Caught me by surprise is all.

Walter nodded and walked back to the examining room, his arm about his wife's shoulders.

Dr. Edward Sklodonski smiled brightly as he watched his patient accompany his wife into the exam room. Their had been a time when he was sure he was going to lose Walter Skinner. The man had had a heart condition for years and the attack left him in severe trouble. It had taken a while to find a drug to regulate his blood pressure, but he seemed to have been restored to relative cardiac health.

"Good afternoon, Walter, Margaret. Let's see how you're doing? Hop up here." The doctor indicated the table.

"It's been awhile since I've hopped anywhere," Walter quipped, pushing himself up as best he could, smiling. The doctor returned the smile, three appointments ago, that endeavor was an extreme effort for Walter.

"Looks like you've gotten almost full range of motion in your arm. That's terrific. Dr Warren will be very happy."

"I'm not sure, Dr. Warren is ever happy about anything, Ed," Maggie said, settling into the chair the doctor had provided as the doctor examined her husband.

"All right, Walter. Give me a deep breath, " Skinner obliged, breathing in slowly and deeply. "And again?" Ed asked, moving his stethoscope to all the appropriate areas. Next, he took Skinner's blood pressure and pulse.

"Well, Mr. Skinner, everything sounds great. BP is 150/80, pulse is 85."

The doctor noticed Skinner bristle at the positive medical report. He knew the man wanted a medical clearance to return to his job. A quick look at Mrs. Skinner revealed that she was hoping he'd make her husband resign his dangerous work. Sadly, he couldn't' oblige her.

"Well, Doc, what's the verdict? Can I go back to work?" Skinner was like a child begging for permission to go to Disney World.

"Well, your pressure is good, your pulse is good. I'd like a stress test and a neurological work up before I clear you for full duty. What I will do is clear you for restricted duty. Nine until two-thirty, no field work After the stress test and neuro exam, I'll clear you for full duty."

Skinner smiled and slid off the examine table, moving caneless for his wife. She tried to smile and be happy for him, but he detected the disappointment and fear in her eyes. He hooked her finger under her chin and raised her head so he could look directly at her.

"There's no reason to fret, Maggie. I'm going to be fine. We all are."

She forced a smile and took his outstretched hand, rising out of the chair. Walter thanked the doctor and scheduled his test, leaving with a renewed outlook on his future.

Margaret said nothing the whole way home in the car. Any attempt at conversation was met with a silent nod. Finally, Walter pulled the car over and turned to face her, "What is the problem here, Margaret. I thought you'd be happy for me."

Margaret shook her head. "Oh no, I'm not happy Walter. I'm scared. I'm very, very scared. Nothing makes me happier than to know your health is improving, but nothing scares me more than to know that you'll be going back the infernal office day after day after damned day. There's nothing for you there Walter. Nothing but the petty miseries of others."

She turned away from him and crossed her arms about her chest. He'd never seen her act this way.

"The...May I remind you, my dear wife, that a lot of what I do at the office every day is done to protect your daughter and her foolhardy husband. Without that the X-files are nothing. Without me, Mulder and Scully are powerless. They have no ally they have no hope of ever finding the truth. I'm the only one they can trust there, Maggie. The only one."

"Don't be vain, Walter," she said simply, "remember what the Bible says about pride."

"Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before fall, Proverbs 16:18, yeah, I know the Bible Maggie, and that is not what this is. This is the plain and unvarnished truth as much as I am privy to say it. Mulder and Scully need me on the X-files. If you couldn't deal with my career, why couldn't you just say so?" He was getting angry. He could feel his heart beating faster, his blood pumping harder, but his speech remained clear.

"I could deal with your career. Walter, when we started, I never expected you to have a heart attack or a stroke, and I sure as Hell never expected to get pregnant at my age. Things aren't the same as they were when we started and God damn it Walter you aren't the only one in the relationship."

"Oh, that's rich. That is God damned fucking rich! You are telling me I'm not the only one in the relationship and yet you are the one being selfish. What? Do you want me to sit around the house for the rest of my life doing nothing but collecting a government pension and watching soap operas? That may be okay for you Maggie, but it sure as Hell isn't okay for me. I didn't ask for any of this to happen, and Sharon, as lousy as our marriage was would never stand in my way over something like this. This is my life and I..."

He stopped as he heard Margaret disconnect her seatbelt and get out of the car. Skinner lowered his voice and got out behind her. "Maggie, where are you going?"

She looked at him, her eyes swimming with unshed tears. She placed her hand on her belly and looked at the ground. "I don't know. All I know is, far away from you."
With that she went and boarded an approaching bus.

Skinner called Mulder and Scully's. He called her friends, Edna and Cassie. No one had seen her. Finally he called the rectory of Maggie's church. She was there. At least he knew where she was. He knew she needed this time alone to think and to be with herself. She arrived home later that night. He took her in his arms, but she did not return the gesture. Instead she smiled at him and placed her hand on his shoulder. Walter took it for what it was, not a loving caress, but a gesture of resignation.

Chapter 14

J. Edgar Hoover Building

Walter walked into his office for the first time in months and was surprised at what he saw. Instead of Kimberly's smiling face he saw another girl, rather nervous looking, sitting in her desk.

"Good morning, Sir," she stuttered getting out of her chair.

Skinner looked at her. She couldn't have been more the twenty-two or three and looked scared to death of him. He had an almost fatherly urge to give her words of encouragement, but he bit it back. He'd save that for his own daughter if Maggie gave him one.

"Good morning, Miss..."

"Nelson. Melanie Nelson. I'm your temp for today." She smiled now, relaxing when he didn't yell at her for not being Kim Byers.

"Where is Mrs. Byers? I wasn't aware that she was beginning her maternity leave until after I started back and she trained a new secretary." He kept his tone light, the kid was so skittish.

"Sir, Mrs. Byers is home sick today," she replied, "your wife called and told me. She said not to call her back though. She said Mrs. Byers tried to catch you before you left, but you were all ready gone when she called."

Skinner nodded and walked toward his inner office. So she still wasn't talking to him, he'd send her some flowers and try to get her to forgive his insolence. He really wasn't being sensitive to her feelings. He understood her fears. They were his own as well. He was terrified of not being there for his children and his wife. He'd wait for her to cool down a bit more then he would call her and tell her he loved her and ask her forgiveness.

"Miss Nelson, would you please call down extension 6148 and ask Agent Mulder to come up to my office please." Skinner then went into his inner office and waiting for Mulder's arrival. Instead when his intercom buzzed his new temp informed him that Agent Mulder was not in the office and that Agent Scully would see him if need be.

"Melanie, tell Agent Scully that I will come down to her office. She needn't bother herself with the trip. And if Margaret calls, forward her to that extension."

"Yes, Sir."

Skinner Home
Crystal City, Virginia

Mulder used his key to get into his in-laws house. His mother-in-law had made coffee. He craved coffee and it had been scarce in his house of late.

"Hi, Mom," he called going over to her and kissing her cheek. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"Do I need an excuse to see my favorite son-in-law?" Maggie asked.

"Yeah, especially when I saw Skinner and he looked like he did that time I totaled two rental cars in the same case. Did you two have a falling out?" Mulder sipped his coffee. He didn't beat around the bush he went straight to the heart of the matter.

Maggie started to cry and Mulder moved to hug her. Dana was emotional lately too but this was different. When she composed herself, Mulder released her and looked into her eyes.

"What happened, Mom?" Mulder asked, wanting to get to the bottom of the situation, although he expected he all ready knew what her answer would be.

"Dr. Sklodonski cleared Walter for restricted duty. We had a fight about it." She stated it simply, her composed facade firmly in place.

"All right. So what can I do about it?" he asked.

"Fox, I know you and Walter don't see eye to eye on everything, on most things, but I know you have the objectivity to see things clearly.

I never intended to argue with Walt over going back to work, but I was so scared for him and I don't understand why he needs to drive himself so crazy. He claims that if he isn't there you and Dana won't be able to do what you do. Then I accused him of being self righteous and well proud and I know I overreacted but I'm just so afraid that he'll...that something..." Maggie stopped mid-sentence, her eyes growing wide.

"Oh, no!" she exclaimed loudly. "Oh, God! Fox!"

"Mom? What is it? What's the matter?" Fox tried to help Maggie to her feet.

"I'm having a contraction. I know it's too early. Oh, Fox, Walter is going to be so upset. He really want this child and now...Oh, Lord, please, don't let this happen," she prayed.

Mulder didn't know what to do. His babies were due soon also. What if they were born early. Maggie wasn't due for five weeks. That wasn't dangerous, but it wasn't good. What if something went wrong and something happened to Margaret and Walter's child? It would kill them. It would kill Scully, her little brother or sister.

"All right, I'll call Skinner and drive you to the hospital. Just try to stay calm."

Mulder jogged upstairs to retrieve Maggie's bag. He called AD Skinner's office and was told by the temp that the AD was not in his office, but that he could be reached at Agent Scully's extensions. To Mulder's dismay, there was no answer in the X-files office or on Skinner's cell phone. Well, he could try Skinner again once he got to the hospital. Now, the only thing that mattered was getting Maggie to a doctor.

"Mom, Walter's not in his office. He's in a meeting or something. We'll call him later just try and relax."

Maggie was crying again, her arms around her swollen abdomen her hand folded in prayer. She met his eyes and said resolutely, "I can't lose this baby, Fox. If I do I know I'll lose Walter too."

Mulder knew that wasn't true, but his mother-in-law wasn't being reasonable now. She was scared and in pain. He assured her quickly. "That won't happen, Mom. It's going to be fine. Let's go."

Approximately the same time
X-Files Office

Scully was packing up her personal items, preparing to take her maternity leave the next day. Her due date was only three weeks away and Paula said that it was time that she take a break. She hated the idea of leaving Mulder alone but her children will have to come first from now on.

Her stepfather entered her office the minute she hung up with his temp. He looked tired and worn out. She felt an overwhelming urge to go to him and hold him he was so like her father now and he seemed so upset, like a frightened lost little boy.

They were at work, however and couldn't let their personal relationship interfere, she kept up her professional decorum. "What can I do for you, Sir?" she asked, "And welcome back, by the way."

"Thank you, Agent Scully. I just wanted to see how things were going."

Scully arched her eyebrow at him, "Things are fine. I'm starting my leave tomorrow, I'm sure Mom told you."

Skinner shook his head, "No, she didn't. When did this happen?"

"At my checkup with Paula yesterday," she answered, still eying him suspiciously.

"That explains it then. You're mother isn't exactly talking to me right now. She's angry with me over wanting to go back to work."

Scully nodded, "She told me she hoped you'd have to retire or be transferred to become the AD of training or something. You can't fault her for it. She loves you. She's scared for you."

He nodded, "And I love her, Dana. I feel her same fears every day. When your Mom first told me she was pregnant, I was so afraid of what might happen I almost ruined the joy of the situation. That's what happened to me last night. I was so happy and now...I'm sorry I shouldn't be bothering you with this at work."

"It's no bother. I'm glad to listen. Now what about helping me carry this thing up to the car so I can get started on the paper...Uh, oh."

"Agent Scully? Dana? What's wrong?" he asked, his voice laced with concern.

"I don't know," she answer, truthfully.

"You don't know?" he was puzzled.

"I'm not sure."

"You're not sure?" He was getting frustrated. She in obvious pain and he was worried, "Either there's something wrong or there's not, it is not a difficult question." His worry was showing through, he was slurring his speech and he leaned on the chair for balance.

"Well, Sir, I've never been in labor before, but if I had to guess this would probably be it. We'll have to stop by the house to get my bag. I need everything in there. And we have to call Mulder, I can't have the baby without a coach." She was so together Skinner couldn't believe it. He was starting to lose it.

"Sscully, are you sure you're, are you ppossitve?" He was really scared now. What if they weren't able to get there on time? What if something happen?

Scully felt the skirt of her maternity suit grow wet and cold. Skinner looked down at her when she gasped and saw her standing in a brownish tinged puddle. "Oh yes, Sir, I'm sure. My water just broke."

Chapter 15

Somewhere in Crystal City 9:49 A.M.


Mulder kept calling Skinner's phone and office, never receiving an answer. Mostly his cell was busy. Maggie's labor pain was intensifying and Mulder was beginning to panic. What if this was the real thing and he couldn't reach his boss? That would mean that he would have to coach his mother-in-law through the birth. That he could live without.

"We're almost there, Mom. Remember the breathing exercise we learned in class. In and out, quick breaths." Mulder abruptly changed lanes and pulled into the fire lane. He ran around to Maggie's side of the car and handed her out, supporting her back as they walked into the emergency entrance.

"Excuse me! Excuse me! I need some help here!" Mulder hit the bell on the desk as a nurse turned her attention to them.

"Well, what do we have here? Jose, can I get a wheelchair over here, please? Ma'am, try and relax. How far along are you?" The petite brunette nurse reminded him of Maggie, she was bright and sweet and was all ready to help out.

"I'm thirty-five weeks. That's too soon isn't it?" Maggie was frantic as a sweet young man, seated her in the wheelchair and started to push her toward the elevator. Just then her membranes ruptured, leaving her clothes soaking wet and an interesting puddle on the floor.

"Fox," she cried out, reaching for his hand, "You have to find Walter for me. I can't do this without him. Please, Fox."

Mulder tried to let go of her hand but she held fast and spoke again, her fear evident in her normally calm tone. "No, don't leave me alone, Fox. If you can't reach him, I can't do this all alone, please. Call him again."

Mulder patted her hand, "Mom, I have to leave and change into some scrubs. Then I promised I'll try and call Skinner. I want him to be here too, but you have to focus on yourself right now, all right."

She nodded as the elevator dinged and Jose and the sweet little nurse escorted her upstairs.

Mulder Home
Georgetown, 10:13 A.M.


Meanwhile, Skinner was pacing Scully and Mulder's house attempting time and time again to reach Fox on his cell phone. He'd tried calling Maggie, but there was no answer. He assumed she was out to lunch with friends. She did that sometimes. He left a message hoping she'd come to the hospital and witness this with him. Maybe that would heal the rift in their marriage. Scully was taking forever in the bedroom.

"Dana, come on honey, we have to get you to the hospital," he tried to be gentle, but he was nervous. What if they didn't make it in time? What if...there were simply no what ifs; she had to make it to the hospital and he had to get her there.

"Walt? I'm ready." She waddled out of the bedroom, bag in hand. She lowered herself to the couch when she reached it and breathed steadily through her next contraction.

"Walter, these contractions are really coming fast." She was sweating and crying and she tried to breath. He had to keep her calm. The unthinkable was occurring in front of his eyes. Dana Scully Mulder was losing her cool. He'd heard that while he was in the hospital the first time, she'd cried and come loose, but that was for someone else. Now she was crying for herself, and he had to help her.

"Scully, listen to me," he instructed, leaning down in front of her. "Breathe slowly in and out, just like in class. I'm going to put your bag in the car and then I'll be back for you. You have to focus and relax."

She met his intense gaze and smiled as he levered himself off the floor and went to attend to business.

St. Catherine's Hospital
Alexandria, VA 10:31 A.M.

Mulder reappeared at his mother-in-law's side dressed in surgical garb. He was still unable to reach Skinner. The doctor's had hooked Maggie up to a fetal monitor and a heart monitor of her own. The baby was in good position and the doctor estimated that at five centimeters dilation her labor could take a few more hours. Dr. Ragner was on her way and all was well except for the absence of the child's father.

"Fox," Maggie asked, reaching for his hand, "Did you reach Walter?"

"No, Mom, not yet. I left a message on his phone and at the house and at the office. He'll call and he'll be here, I promise."

Another contraction hit as she grimaced. Mulder watched as the monitor spiked from a flat line to an almost perfect hill as the intensity of the contraction built.
He felt himself talking her through it, stroking and squeezing her hand.

"Okay, get ready, Mom, brace yourself, it's going to increase. Focus, deep breath in and a deep breath out. Come on, keep breathing. The worst is over...almost gone, Mom. You did it."

"Fox, this is incredible. They didn't have machines like this to monitor the contractions when I had Dana or Charlie. This is terrific. Dana is going to be thrilled when it's her time. I just hope Walter makes it in time for the birth."

Their conversation was interrupted by Dr. Ragner's entrance.

"Well, Mrs. Skinner. That little AD couldn't wait to be born, huh? Where's AD Skinner?" Paula sat down on the stool and began her examination. After a few moments she smiled and looked up at her patient.

"How is she?" Mulder asked. He was worried. He wasn't cut out for this sort of thing. This was something that Scully was good at, or Skinner, not him. Not Fox Mulder.

"Well, everything looks really good here. The contractions are still irregular but they are getting kind of intense. You are dilated to six centimeters and almost fully effaced, this should take just a few more hours. Agent Mulder can I talk to you?" She stood up, smiled at Maggie and allowed Mulder to precede her from the room.

Mulder Home
Georgetown, 10:31 A.M.

Skinner had been outside for a long time. Scully was starting to worry. What if he'd fallen on his way up the stairs? What if he'd gotten dizzy or had chest pains? Scully shook away her fears. No, her stepfather was given a good report at the doctor just yesterday. He was sure of his steps and smart enough not to rush himself. He knew that if something happened to him Scully would be stuck, he'd be careful.

Just then she saw her stepfather standing in front of her. He was blushing furiously and staring at his hands, moving his wedding ring around on his finger.

"What?" she asked him, taking a deep cleansing breath after yet another contraction.

"Um, Scully, we have a problem. I accidentally locked your bag and the keys in the trunk.  It's an older car and I broke the window, but you can only get into the trunk with the key and well, the key it's in the trunk. We're going to have to call someone to drive us. I'm so sorry." The look of contrition on Skinner's face pulled at Scully's heart strings. She wanted to be angry and accost him as to how he could do this, but it wasn't his fault not really. Mulder would have done something like that, but she couldn't imagine the levelheaded Skinner doing something like that.

"It's okay, Sir," she gasped, another contraction tightening across her belly only moments after the last one. "We have to call 911. These contractions are right on top of each other. I can't wait much longer. "

Skinner moved quickly to the phone and dialed 911. After three rings an operator responded, "911 emergency, may I help you?"

"Yes," he said in as calm and as clear a voice as her could muster, "this is Assistant Director Walter Skinner. I have an Agent in labor at her home. We are unable to arrange transport to the hospital and need an ambulance."

"Sir, this is a priority three call. We've had a 40 car pile up on the Expressway and that will prevent medics from responding immediately."

"Shit," Skinner swore into the phone and looked at Scully who was now sitting on the floor panting through yet another contraction. "Scully, it could take awhile for the medics. There was an accident on the expressway."

"Sir," she gasped, tears streaming down her cheeks, "We don't have that much time."

St. Catherine's Hospital
Alexandria, VA 11:06 A.M.

"Cleansing breath," Mulder coaxed, as he demonstrated and Maggie followed suit.

"You're good at this, Mom. By the time Scully has the twins I'll be an old pro too, huh?"

"I don't know about that, Fox. It's much easier on the woman."

Mulder laughed at that as he dabbed her forehead with a damp wash cloth. She was a trooper. She didn't know where her husband was and he apparently was unreachable by phone, yet she was smiling and breathing and helping him deal with her labor. No wonder Skinner loved this woman. No wonder he loved her daughter.

"Fox, could you try Walter again? I want him to see his baby born? Even if he doesn't care for me right now, I know he still loves this baby." Her eyes were beginning to mist over. Mulder couldn't tell what she was upset about, the fact that she was doubting her husband's love for her or the fact that said husband might miss the birth of his first and only child.

"All right, Mom. About how long until the next contraction?"

"Another three minutes, Fox. Don't worry. I can handle it. I've had four other children before you know. Then the father's weren't allowed in the delivery rooms. Go and call Walter. I'll be all right."

Moments later, Mulder returned, once again announcing that no one has heard from Skinner and that he was still unreachable by phone. Maggie smiled and patted his hand, "That's all right. The kind nurse was telling me they tape births now if I wish them to. He has an important..." she broke off as another contraction started before she had a chance to finish her sentence.

This time she whimpered and Mulder held her hand a bit tighter and tried to help her relax. The contraction continued for an unprecedented amount of time. Maggie cried out and that finally brought her nurse in to check on her. The nurse came in, glanced at the monitors and turned on her heel to page Dr. Ragner. She didn't say a word to Mulder, the only indication he had that the monitor numbers were poor was the page heard over the intercom, "Dr. Ragner to Rm. 419 STAT, Dr. Ragner STAT 419."

Mulder Home
Georgetown 11:55 A.M.

Skinner had hung up with that idiot operator a while ago. If he couldn't get Scully to the hospital via ambulance he'd have to take matters into his own hands. He'd phoned the Lone Gunmen and they promised that they would do everything in their power to get to the Mulder's place, however, several access roads were closed do to the pile up.

Skinner was now doing the only thing he knew how to do. He'd helped Scully position herself on the floor, two pillows from the bedroom behind her back. He'd stripped her of her maternity skirt and panties and pushed her knees apart. Once when he was a field agent, he delivered a baby. He could do it again if her had to. For her part, Scully followed his orders as explicitly as possible. She wished Mulder were there. Part of her was embarrassed to let Skinner look between her legs. Skinner had tried Mulder a few times on his cell to find it turned off or busy.

"Dana, sweetie," he called to her. He'd changed from professional to personal mode a while ago when he stripped Dana of her clothing. "Dana, you're almost there, hon. I need you to sit up a bit more. I'm going to call the ambulance again and boil some water just in case. Just hold on."

Skinner felt his heart rate speed up. He looked down at his hands, they were shaking. He had to keep it together for Scully. She was the together one, the level headed one...No, that's not true. He was together and level headed too and he could do this. He had to.

Skinner headed to the kitchen and found the items he was going to need. Scissors, a pot to boil water and several clean linens from the linen closet. He could hear Scully's cries, no actual screams, no longer whimpers. He wanted nothing more than to stop her pain and go through this for her. He made his mind up to persuade Maggie to have a C-section. He'd do anything to convince her including leave the bureau to save her this kind of torture.

"Scully?" he asked, "Where is your medical bag. I'm going to need clamps to cut the cord."

"Up...stairs, bed...room," she gasped breathing deeply against the pain. She could feel herself splitting in two and knew it was almost time to the baby to come.

Skinner returned quickly and knelt in front of Scully. He draped a clean sheet over her knees and readied the white baby blankets Maggie made to receive the new infants. Another quick look told him it was time. His daughter's eyes were brimmed with tears of pain as she half panted, half sobbed through her torturous contractions.

"Dana, you have to sit up a bit more for me. I can see one of my grandbabies right now. It's all up to you, Scully."

Skinner's voice was calming and steady. Scully felt his strong grasp on her knees pressing them open. She was scared and wished for Mulder to be there with her.

"Walter, I want Fox. I can't do this without him."

"Yes, you can, Honey, it's time to push, come on. I'm so proud of you, Scully and I know Mulder will be too. Come on, push on the next contraction."

Scully felt the contraction slice across her belly and bore down the way they told her in class, they way she'd encourage women to do in her own time. She could hear Skinner counting loudly as she pushed.

"Good girl. Take a breath and rest. I need another big push on the next contraction. Feel it, it's coming...Now Push. One, two, three, four..."

Scully gritted her teeth and pushed as hard as she could. Over her own screams she could hear the calm tones of her stepfather's voice. "The head is out Scully. A thick head of dark hair and this is one cute little one. One more push and you're half way there, one more."

With every ounce of strength in her body Scully bore down and pushed. Eons later it seemed, although it took less than a minute she heard he stepfather exclaim through a tear laced voice, "It's a son, Dana. You have a son and he is beautiful."

Skinner placed the little boy in the receiving blanket in the small bassinet Scully had set up in the living room. Then he turned his attention back to his daughter, who appeared to be falling asleep.

St. Catherine's Hospital
Alexandria, VA 12:03 P.M.

Mulder had to wait outside while Paula checked Maggie's rising pressure and gave her some medication to combat it. She wanted to perform a C-Section immediately and although Maggie wanted to wait for Walter and knew he'd be sad he missed it, she wanted to give him a baby even more. Paula told Mulder if he wanted to stay to scrub his hands and put on a mask and meet them in OR 3.

Mulder did just that. His mother, for all intents and purposes, was about to give birth and there was nothing in the world he wanted to see more except, perhaps the birth of his own babies.

Moments, later, Maggie was prepped and ready. Paula administered an anesthetic to numb her body below the waist but not knocking her out. "I'm ready to make the cut. Mark the time at 12:10 P.M. Sixty-seconds from skin to baby. Ready Mrs. Skinner?"

"Yes," she answered. "Just tell me when it's over. Oh, I wish Walter were here, Fox, I'm scared."

Mulder squeezed her hand and smooth her brow with his hand.

"I'm here, Mom. Try to relax. Wait until Skinner sees his offspring, huh? I'll bet he'll smile so wide his face will crack."

Maggie smiled a bit before groaning at the slight pressure she felt when Paula cut her. Mulder was being wonderful, but she wanted her husband, her wonderful, loving Walter with his soothing deep voice and gently reassuring touch. Mulder is that to her daughter and Walter is that to her. She knew in her rational mind he'd want to be here, but she also knew why he was not. Would he ever forgive her for her selfishness?

Maggie's mind must have blocked out the pain of the incision for her next thought was that she heard her baby's cry. Paula held the squirming infant up for her to see. "It's a girl, Maggie." Mulder said, "You have a daughter."

Mulder Home
Georgetown, 12:15

Scully once again found herself focusing in on her stepfather's voice. He was coaxing her to stay awake and bring forth her next child. She was so tired she couldn't think straight.

"Come on, Dana, come on. Almost done and then you can sleep. Deep breath and push now, deep breath and push."

"I can't," she whimpered leaning back into the chair, "I'm too tired."

"You can, Scully. You can. You are the strongest woman I know, next to your mother. She can do this, she has done it, and I know you can too. Now deep breath, look in my eyes, look in my eyes, good girl. Now, push."

Scully lifted her head and met his brown gaze. She took a deep breath and pushed with all her waning strength while her stepfather encourage her and helped her by pressing one strong hand on the swell of her abdomen and pressing down slightly. Finally, the head was out and he moved his hand to catch the child as Scully gave one more triumphant push.

Another little boy, slightly smaller with less hair emerged into his waiting hands. He let out a cry that challenged that of his older brother and Scully smiled at her stepfather reaching for her newest son.

Skinner felt tears dripping down his cheeks. This moment was the best of his life so far and her couldn't wait for his own baby to be born.

"Hello," Frohike called just then, "anybody..." he stopped in mid sentence at the sight of Scully on the floor one child in her arms, the other in Skinner's.

"Oh, my. Guys, we're going to need some help getting in the van.'"

St. Catherine's Hospital
Alexandria, Va 1:30

"How're you feeling Maggie?"

"I've been better" Maggie answered tightly. She held out her arms as her baby daughter was gently placed there.

"Mrs. Skinner. We're gonna keep you on these monitors for a while okay? Your blood pressure is still a tad too high. " the nurse told her.

"Is my baby okay?" Maggie asked suddenly afraid.

"Your baby is fine. You're our priority now."

Mulder started to worry as he stared down at his mother and sister in law. "Maybe I should stay here with you instead of going to find Skinner. You shouldn't be alone. I mean..."

"Fox, go. You need a break and I want Walter here. You've been wonderful to me. Now go and have a strong coffee in the cafe downstairs then find that wayward husband of mine. I have three lovely nurses here to help me. Go" she urged.

Mulder slowly walked out of his mother in laws hospital room with his shirt untucked from his trousers, undone at the collar and his sleeves rolled up. He was absolutely exhausted. All he wanted to do was to get home and curl up on the sofa and hold his wife. Scully should be home by now. This had been a new experience for him, he mused to himself as he headed to the elevator which would take him to the ground floor. Something which suprisingly, he was looking forward to going through with his wife. Mulder never quite reached the elevator, however, for a voice caught his ear and drew his attention to the maternity waiting room. It was Frohike calling his name.

"Hey Mulder!" Frohike exclaimed. "Aren't you going the wrong way?"

"No, I was with Maggie Skinner down the hall," Mulder stated looking at the three men.

"Oooh. She had her baby today, too? What'd she have?" Byers asked.

"Girl 6lbs. 4oz. What are you guys doing here anyway? What do you mean, too?"

"You mean you don't know?" Langly exclaimed.

"No like I said, I was with Maggie since this morning. What do you mean too?"

"Ohhhhhhhhhhh." All three mouthed. "If I were you Mulder I'd go to room '403' and find out." Frohike said.

As it slowly dawned in Mulder's head he did a complete 180 turn and started to sprint around the corner to the other side of the fourth floor.

Mulder skidded to a halt outside room 403 and peeped inside the door. There was Scully, a bundle in her arms talking to Walter Skinner who held another bundle. She looked tired and hot, but she was beautiful. Looking at her holding his child at her breast he felt a pang of regret that he wasn't there to see it and wondered why no one told him that Scully was here. Paula knew he was her husband.

Skinner slowly looked up and saw Mulder in the doorway. He gently tapped Scully's knee and drew her attention to Mulder. "Congratulations, Fox. Two healthy little boys." He stood up and gave the bundle to Mulder who had entered the room even more now. "I guess they finally reached you. We tried calling but you're cell phone was off."

Mulder slowly looked down and pulled back the corner of the blanket and gazed at his son's face. "Wow," he breathed.

"I'll leave you four alone then, shall I?"" Skinner smiled. "Congratulations you two."

"Hey er Walt. You might wanna visit room 419 while you're up here. That's why you couldn't reach me. But why couldn't I reach you. I mean why didn't Paula tell us you were in labor?" Mulder said, still staring downwards.

"Mulder, our sons were born at home. Walt...Dad delivered them."

"Why do I want to check out that room Mulder? Maggie? She's here? There's something wrong with her and the baby, I know it."

With that, Skinner quietly left the room in search of room 419.

"Oh my God. I can't believe it. It's like I'm dreaming. They are so cute. Want to switch?"

"Yeah! I know this isn't how you wanted it Mulder." Scully quietly answered him.

"I can't believe that I missed it all." Mulder said.

"You didn't miss much. That's okay, Skinner took care of me. He's really like a father to me. What's wrong with my Mom?" Scully whispered as Mulder sat on the hospital bed next to her.

"Nothing, you have a sister, Scully. A healthy, beautiful sister. And I did miss something. I should have been there." Mulder answered.

"But look what you're not gonna miss and look what you did with my Mom. You and Skinner sort of swapped places, huh? And he had to deliver the babies, bet you loved that, huh? For the rest of our lives, they will be our children Mulder. For the rest of our lives," she stated staring deep into his eyes.

"Are you glad it was Skinner and not me?" he asked, searching her eyes for the unspoken truth.

"No, but I'm glad it was Skinner and not a stranger. He knew what to do and he was so gentle. He's gonna be a great father." Scully's eyes were misting up and her voice was hard with tears. "And so are you."

Mulder leaned over, careful of his sons and kissed her lips. "I love you, Scully. Thank you for my sons. What are we going to call them?" He asked, one long finger caressing his sons soft cheek.

"Well, I'd like to call one William after ours fathers and the other, Walter after, well you know. I think that would be fitting, don't you.

"Yeah, you're right. It would be," Mulder smiled as he kissed the top of her head.

Skinner moved as quickly as possible to the hospital room that held his wife. If she'd been ill and needed him he'd never forgive himself. What he saw when he walked into the room made him all but fall over.

"Walter," Maggie smiled at him from the bed. She was tired but looked well.

"I have someone I would like you to meet. Papa, meet your daughter. Michaela Patricia Skinner. I think she's going to have your eyes."

Skinner took his daughter from Maggie's arms, tears falling from his eyes for the third time that day.

"I missed it. She's so perfect. Yes, you are," he cooed to the little girl he cuddled. Much to his delight she opened her all ready dark eyes and met his gaze. "Hello, baby. Hi."

"Where were you, Walter? Throwing yourself into work all ready?"

"No, Mom." Scully said from the doorway. She was seated in a wheelchair holding both of her sons while Mulder pushed. "Walter was attending to some more important business this morning than work. He was delivering your grandsons."

"So that's why..." Maggie started,

"I'm sorry anyway. For all of the things I said yesterday. I love you, Maggie and I love our daughter and daughter and our "son" and our grandsons. And I've decided something, if you want me to leave the bureau..."

Maggie pressed her fingers to his lips, "Ssh. I was selfish and I was wrong. Your job is part of you, my love. Just as it is part of Dana and Fox. I love all of you with all your faults and quirks. I not only love you with them, I love you for them.

Now, would you let me hold my grandsons while Dana meets her sister. Dana, this is your new sister, Michaela Skinner. And who are these young fellows?"

"This," said Mulder handing her one child, is William Fox Mulder after Scully's dad and my dad. And this," he said, holding out the second baby, "Is Walter Fox Mulder after you."

As each member of the new larger family got acquainted, the nurses from outside looked on.

"This is a happy day for them, eh, Mary?" asked Annie.

"That it is, Annie. A very, very happy day."