Title: Strange Lullabye

Rating: K

Summary: The baby is crying, and so is she.

Author's Note: This takes place while Mulder is gone into hiding. It's just sort of describing how I think Scully must have felt, having to take care of William all alone in the short time she had with him. So very sad.

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The baby was crying. Again. He didn't usually cry very much; he was sweet-natured and not at all fussy, except at certain times of the night, when he wailed and howled. She hated hearing him cry; though she knew that it was just a natural part of infancy, she wanted him always to be happy. This was unrealistic, particularly in the world into which she had brought her son.

It was three in the morning, but she wasn't asleep, anyway. She very rarely slept anymore, because she dreamed very strange things; she saw faces and heard screaming and voices long forgotten. Her dreams were harsh and full of violence; she awoke every morning feeling exhausted, as if she had been doing battle with an unseen enemy in her sleep. And so, she resisted; she stayed awake most nights and tried not to think too much, because if she did she might fall to pieces.

She climbed out of bed, where she had been reading, and walked into her son's room. He was open-mouthed and yelling, his baby face red and scrunched. He batted his little hands in the air and continued to scream. ''Sssshhh'', she said, while bending over and lifting her child into her arms. ''It's okay, my baby'', she said, rocking him gently. ''Are you hungry?'' He had just been fed not that long before; he didn't need to be changed, either. He was just sad, she supposed. He needed to be held.

''It's okay, it's okay'', she repeated, holding her child close and rocking him softly in her arms while walking back and forth across the room. He continued to yell and cry, and she felt like crying as well. She did not let herself, though, she just kept walking and rocking the child and talking to him softly. She walked with him over to the window; what drew her there, she did not know, but she looked out and up, into the black, infinite expanse of night, and felt a sob rise up in her throat unbidden. She tried to fight it, but the grief was so real that it choked her. She held her son even more tightly to her, and cried and cried along with him. They really were a lovely pair, the two of them. The screaming, crying child and his emotional, sobbing mother. She might have laughed if she would have ever before pictured herself this way. ''Not me''. Well, she never thought she would have children before, either.

She never thought she would want them. She never thought that there would be anybody she would love enough to have a child with, she never thought...until she did want one, until she did find that person, until that was taken away from her, and then given back, and, and...it was too much. It was like being spun on a merry-go-round that was going way too fast and making her dizzy.

Staring down at the little miracle in her arms, she recalled a happier time. Well, happy to her anyway. She supposed that normal was all relative, and what seemed like bright and happy days to her would seem dark and frightening to others. Because they didn't know...they just didn't know. Why, why, why, had this been her life? Could she have done anything to change what had happened, or could she in some way affect what would happen, or was she simply a powerless mortal, a puppet, a plaything of the gods?

The child in her arms continued to wail and fuss, and so she did the only thing she could think of. It was instinctive, really. She began to sing. Her voice was nothing extraordinary, it was completely plain, but somehow made beautiful by circumstance. She sang to her child, rocking him close in her arms; this child she wished for all her life without even knowing it. She was a part of a holy trinity, a sacred triangle with one piece missing. She felt off balance, but somehow as the words she sang fell from her mouth like rain, she was slightly comforted by memory, rather than scalded by it.

''Joy to the world, all the boys and girls'' The baby in her arms began to quiet a bit, and she took it as a sign to keep singing, ''joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea'' He was completely calm now, his baby face looking serene and angelic. She recalled her happier time, long before, it seemed, when she sang the very same ridiculous song. She sang this unusual lullabye while holding someone she loved more than life itself in her arms; and now she was singing to his child.

Her baby was almost asleep. His little eyelids were fluttering like butterfly wings, before settling sweetly closed. A kind of dreamy half-sleep had also come over her. The kind of stupor that hits when memory wraps its cloak around you, and the air becomes thick with remembrance like incense. And all the emotion and color and scent and tactile experience of that memory is relived almost as clearly as if it were happening again...and oh god, she wished it were happening again.

She saw trees, she saw rain, she saw earth and sky and desert and snow. She felt warmth and fear and love all at the same time. The pinpricks inside her stomach and all along her arms, the lovely little stab in the pit of her stomach she felt whenever she saw him, the ache inside her heart that could only be borne of love, a love she resisted for years but could no longer fight. It was like holding back the ocean; she could not do it, it swept her along. And the understanding that, this was what she had feared, what she had tried to avoid by turning herself to ice; this hollow, empty feeling of loss. This hole inside her where something once lived and had been violently torn away. She never wanted this, but yet she did.

She recalled those crappy, cliche lines by Tennyson, ''tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.'' And she hated to admit that he was right...she was glad, in a way, despite the pain that was now so real and angry and relentless..she was glad that she had known this great love. She was glad she shared so much, through all the fear, and all the sorrow. But before, when there was pain and sorrow and darkness and tears, she had been comforted by the fact that he was there, always there, always ready to share the world with her and all that was beyond. And now, now there was nothing, and she seemed to have no legs to stand on.

The world seemed to be spinning backwards, and everything was wrong. But the one thing that he always told her was to believe...and she didn't know what she really believed, because everything she had seen, and the truth of it all, had become so blurry and obscured. But she believed in one thing, indefinately..one thing she trusted and held as truth forever, and that was him. She believed that he was not gone, that he was never gone from her. He was so deep inside of her that he would never leave, no matter how they were separated, across whatever distance, whether land or sea or time...it did not matter.

She moved over to the window again, the child in her arms now completely asleep, safe in dreams. She looked at the sky. ''Joy to you and me'', she whispered. ''Good night, William.'' She brushed a kiss against her son's delicate forehead.

She lay him back down in his crib, settling him in among a sea of soft blankets. She stared into the quiet darkness of the room, then, and said in a voice so small she did not even recognize it as her own:

''And goodnight, my love, wherever you are.''

There was no answer; only the curtains rustled slightly, shifted into motion by the hands of a nightime breeze through the open window.