Author's notes

Original Posting Date:Fri, 17 Apr 1998 17:21:47 -0700

Disclaimer: Fox Mulder, Scully Scully, Walter Skinner and any other tangentially mentioned characters created by Chris Carter remain his copyrighted property, as well as the copyrighted property of 1013 productions and Fox Television, a unit of 20th Century Fox. No infringement is intended.

Classification, V

Spoilers, none

Story Rating, PG

Summary, This is a response to a fanfic challenge, 'write something about M and S married to someone else, in the future and happy about it' or something like that. Anyway, I didn't think I could do this, being a die-hard shipper and all that, but this sort of caught me off guard as I was driving home. My poor in-laws, I ditched them in the living room and dove for the computer the minute we hit the door. Hope they forgive me.

Do not post to the ATVXC ng, I will do that. Thanks.

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Paired Off

Scully glanced out of the window again, as a flash of headlights caught her eye. Nope, not them. she wondered what was keeping them. Mulder had promised that just this once he'd manage to be on time, and though she trusted him with her life, she just couldn't bring herself to believe that he'd make it before 7:30. He'd even been late for her wedding, not that that had been any great surprise. Scully paused, letting the water run over her hands as she cleaned the last of the vegetables. It was funny sometimes how life worked out. There was a time once when she couldn't have imagined herself married to anyone but Mulder. Now it seems she couldn't imagine herself married to anyone but Tom.

It was funny how she and Mulder had each met someone at about the same time, and funnier still how they'd managed to keep that information from the other. Scully remembered the day she'd stopped by Mulder's place to drop off a casefile, remembered walking in as she always did only to stop short in the doorway, stunned by the sight of her partner, the always reserved Fox Mulder, wrapped up in one the most passionate embraces she'd ever seen.

She smiled, remembering the confusion and guilt written on his face, probably mirroring the confusion and hurt on hers. Although, other than the fact that he'd kept this new person in his life from her, she didn't have any reason to be hurt. A fact he adroitly pointed the next morning, after telling her of following her down to the street and watching her get into Tom's car.

They'd come clean to each other at lunch, laughing at themselves a bit. Scully knew that he, as well as she, still fleetingly entertained 'what if's' thoughts, or 'might have been's' from time-to-time, but never seriously enough to reconsider their choices of spouse. Her connection with Mulder was unfathomable, something she didn't examine too closely. They'd been there for each other through some of the most horrific things that can happen to another being, and come out on the others side with a bond that was unshakable, despite the best efforts of many.

Scully remembered the look on Skinner's face when he'd heard Mulder was going to stand up for Tom. In fact, that first dinner with the four of them, with her Tom and Mulder's Lisa, had been hysterical. Scully and Mulder had recapped events from that night the next day, each confessing their fears about the evening to the other. Scully had been nervous, afraid that she wouldn't like Mulder's girlfriend, and worried about what her possible dislike would do to their friendship and partnership. Mulder had confessed the same fears to her, and they'd shared a chuckle over it. Tom and Lisa had told them each later that they'd both been nervous too. What a fuss over nothing.

Tom and Mulder got along well, as did she and Lisa. The four of them socialized frequently, dinner and movies being the main events. Lisa's career as a pediatrician and Tom's as a rehab counselor for troubled teens added an extra dimension to evening conversation, a welcome break from conspiracies and aliens.

Hearing Tom come in the back door, Scully waited, silently counting to ten. Before making it to four she was hit by a pair of blond tornado's. Grinning, she spun to face the two holy terrors who'd wrapped their arms around her legs.

Chattering away about their adventures in the 'back 40', the vacant lot of land behind their house, the twins pulled Scully down into an embrace. Closing her eyes, Scully reveled in the feel of the small arms around her neck. This was something she thought she'd never have, and cherished every day.

Scully lifted her face to Tom's and smiled as he kissed her cheek. Ruffling his hair, she watched as he pulled the boys back into the bathroom off of the kitchen, promising to make them presentable for dinner.

Tom's twins had been a surprise to her, something he'd revealed early on in their dating. She'd taken to them as quickly as they to her, and she loved it when they called her 'Mom.' Mulder loved the boys, and they called him Uncle M. while granting Lisa her full first name with the newly acquired appellation "Auntie" in front of that. The boys had had places of honor in Mulder and Lisa's wedding, something Scully was grateful for, since they adored Mulder. Lisa's delightful two-year-old daughter added to the twins' delight over Auntie Lisa, an added addition to their suddenly larger family.

Turning back to the sink, Scully let her gaze unfocus again as she stared out the window. Another set of headlights went by, catching her attention briefly. Still not them. She knew that their co-workers in the Bureau had been surprised by her and Mulder's marriages to other people. Her mom had been. Surprised, but not disappointed after meeting Tom and the boys. The first time Mulder brought Lisa to Scully's mom's for dinner, Mrs. Scully had taken her in as she had Mulder, much to his surprise and pleasure.

Scully knew her mom considered Mulder another son, and had been hoping he and Scully would get together. Not that they hadn't considered it, it just hadn't been right for them. She loved him, and he her, absolutely no question about it. Scully supposed that she and Mulder had been 'in love' with each other too, once in a while. But never at the same time, and never to the degree that was meant to last. Theirs was a warm, loving and supportive link, but not exclusive of the others in their lives. Tom understood her feelings for Mulder, as Lisa did Mulder's for Scully. There was no jealousy on Tom's part, and none on Lisa's as far as Scully knew. They knew that the partner's shared a deep, abiding love, albeit a platonic one. A bond that came from shared experiences and an unstinting respect and appreciation for each other's skills and talents. After nearly eight years of partnership, Scully felt as close to her partner as she did to any living being on this earth. She shared things with him that she couldn't even begin to relate to others. She'd trusted him with her life, and he did the same. Tom and Lisa trusted each of them to keep their spouses safe and sane, able to return home to them. Bright headlights shone in the window, making Scully squint for a second. That would be them. Watching Mulder lean in to pull the baby from her seat, she smiled. Yeah, it was funny how life turned out sometimes, but she couldn't imagine being happier.

As she reached to pull the giant turkey from the oven, she glanced at the clock. 7:45 pm. Scully smiled. Some things would never change, and for that she truly was thankful.