Spoilers for Existence and the entire baby-arc; this story picks up as Mulder is coming off the chopper, and diverts from there. Basically, I answered the question hanging through the entire eighth season, and annihilated that beautiful, shippy ending in the process. I haven't seen this explored yet, and though I'm sure some of you will hate me, I wrote it anyway. Reviews are much appreciated.
"Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?"
Mulder was running through the departing crowd, yelling desperately, but no one answered. The emotionless drones just poured back into their cars, and left the ghost town. "Scully! Where is she? Tell me where she is!"
"Mulder!" A familiar voice called him. He whipped around to see a very exhausted Monica Reyes standing less than three yards away.
He went to her, noting the pasty white pallor of her skin, like all the blood had rushed from her face. Frightened, dark eyes completed the look, and Mulder wasted no time bolting into the house behind her. Something was wrong, terribly wrong.
Scully was on an old bed, propped up on a pillow, a white sheet covering the lower half of her body. She was drenched in sweat, her face shining with it, as she looked down at the towel-swaddled bundle in her arms. She looked even paler than Reyes, her bottom lip was shaking, and when she looked up, he saw the same raw fear Monica had been wearing.
Mulder stopped breathing, his throat tightening. The baby was stillborn. That's why they hadn't wanted it, it wasn't useful to them dead. Then the towel shifted, and he gasped.
"Scully…what's wrong?" He approached her slowly, his chest tightening as the possibilities ran viciously through his head. Almost close enough to see, Scully followed him with her eyes, her face still frozen in horror.
Then he saw it. The little infant Scully had birthed. His knees gave out, and if Reyes had had worse reflexes he'd have ended up on the floor. She eased him to a chair, but he didn't seem to notice; he couldn't think, couldn't feel, couldn't see past the baby.
The child was small, smaller than the average term baby. His skin wasn't flushed baby pink, but rather a more a pinkish gray. His head was widened on top to accommodate the two very large dark eyes the baby blinked his very human eyelids over. His nose was tiny, a button of a thing, but his mouth was human—smaller, and dark gray—but the shaped as a human, the thick half thicker.
It wasn't his baby.
With shaking hands Mulder parted the towel covering it's body. Ten fingers, ten toes, but thinner arms and legs, and a thinner torso than human babies, and he was obviously a he, with human genitalia. Mulder's eyes roved the tiny, helpless little horror show before him. He stopped at the baby's stomach, eyes studying the unbillical cord, the device that connected him to Scully for nine months. She had nourished and carried this creature safe in her womb for nine damn months. Mulder hung his head suddenly.
She had loved him.
He looked back up at her. There was no new mother glow about her, but rather a settled-in misery. She was terrified of the thing in her arms, distraught that it wasn't a completely human baby she gave birth too. She sought reassurance in his eyes, her baby blues practically begged for him to tell her something to make it better.
He recovered the baby, and lifted it from her arms, settling the alien-human hybrid against his shoulder. But he was tense, weary about even touching the child, and the baby began to wiggle.
Scully's quiet sob drew his attention. "Oh god Mulder, what did they do to me?"
His mouth opened, but he had trouble speaking, his voice cracking when he finally managed it. "I, I don't…I'm so sorry, Scully."
It wasn't his baby. He didn't become a father today.
His stomach was tight in knots sailor's would be proud of, but he couldn't shove it away like it desperately wanted to. It was Scully's baby, part of her, and he had to pretend not to be sickened at the sight, for her.
"What the hell am I supposed to do? Mulder, why didn't they want it? They could have taken it, there was dozens of them." Her voice was high, tears sliding slowly down her cheeks, as she struggled hard to stop them, to be strong. Her hands were in fists.
"I don't know, but we should get you checked out at a hospital, and back to DC." He cradled the baby in his arms, trying hard not to look too much at him.
"You can't take that—him back to D.C. or any hospital, what are you going to say?" Reyes suddenly interrupted, still deeply in shock, struggling not to stare agape at the creature she'd just delivered.
Scully put her face in her hands, body jumping as she cried silently. Mulder switched the baby back to his shoulder, rather than look at it, and rested a hand on her shoulder, moving it up to cup her cheek.
She gave choked gasp, and looked up. "What am I supposed to tell my mother? I can't…she can't see him."
Mulder had to turn his attention back to the baby, who was fidgeting, routing around Mulder's chest, as if looking for something. He rubbed the baby's back again, barricading his revulsion in the back of his head. It didn't sooth him though.
"He's hungry." He looked up to see Scully's frown and deadened eyes matching her detached tone.
"Oh." Mulder was clearly at a loss.
The baby yelled. More the bleating of a lamb, than the cry of a human child.
Scully gestured for him to return the baby to her. He laid the horrible little thing gently in her arms, and closed her eyes and inhaled as she pulled up one side of her t-shirt, exposing a breast. Her body tensing almost painfully, and face twisted in a cringe, she guided the little gray lips to her nipple. He latched on quickly, and began sucking.
All three adults looked quickly away, unable to stand the sight. Tears streamed down Scully's face, but once again she kept them silent. She wanted so much to pull the baby off her, and get rid of him as soon as possible, never to think of him again. And, she hated herself for that.
Human, alien, whatever combination he was of the two, he was still a helpless newborn who'd had no choice in his conception or that he be brought to term. This thing nursing on her was still her child, her flesh and blood. She'd held him cradled in her womb, protected him and loved him for nearly a year. How can she be so revolted by it, so ready to be rid of it?
She couldn't forget this baby had gotten her through six months without Mulder, three of those believing him dead. The baby was his then. Theirs. She'd believed he was a miracle, a little piece of Mulder left to her, one for her to love and protect forever. The thing suckling on her was surely not Mulder's child—not the product of any human union.
The tears poured faster down her cheeks. This wasn't fair. No, the was far beyond not fair. The was a cruel, degrading science experiment, and she'd been the vessel for it. But, what was she supposed to do with it?
Raise it as a human child? Abandon it at the nearest hospital, or perhaps military facility? Or, should she just euthanize it?
Could she do that? Could she kill her own child? Even a child that wasn't entirely human?
She couldn't imagine raising it. What if it was sick, like Emily? What if it didn't think or act like a human? God, would she even be able to love it when the thought of hugging it, kissing it made her stomach turn over violently?
Leaving it to the military would be handing it over to their enemies to spend its life as a test subject. Even for this creature she was far too compassionate for that. She'd been a test subject herself, as had Mulder, and she wouldn't wish that nightmare on any one, least of all a helpless baby. Leaving it at a hospital would result in the same.
She turned back to the baby as she felt his lips release her breast, and pulled her shirt down. She burped him, and then held him against her chest. One little hand grabbed her t-shirt as he pressed his face into her body, and Scully tried desperately not to cringe, but felt her body tense anyway. His big eyes slipped shut, and he slept, snuggled against his very human mother.
Her stomach lurched and she turned away from the site, pressing her lips together so tightly it was painful. It didn't matter, she was just trying not to cry. Monica must have noticed her struggle, because she was suddenly beside her, lifting the baby into her own arms, somewhat reluctantly. Reyes avoided her own disgust by simply not looking at him, but focusing instead on Scully.
"You need to rest now. We should be safe for tonight, tomorrow we can figure out what to do, but you just delivered a baby, Dana, you need to sleep." Her dark brown eyes left no room for argument, and Scully certainly didn't have the energy to give one.
"She's right, you should sleep, Scully." Mulder had managed to pull his head out of his hands, and watched her now.
"I'm going to clean him up, I'll be back," Reyes excused herself to give them some privacy.
Two very miserable longtime friends, sometime lovers, and should have been parents stared at each other quietly. There wasn't a lot to say. Over their years together they'd grown more accustomed to dealing with bizarre and dangerous scenarios. Dangerous was normal, bizarre could shake them, but generally they dealt with it fine, but this was more. This was a latest in a long line of emotional tortures bestowed upon them by their enemies.
He took her hand, and kissed it, holding it between both of his. "Sleep Scully, we'll deal with this tomorrow."
"I don't think I can." With all she had on her mind now?
She sighed, and looked at him leaned over her, face inches away from hers as they whispered to each other. "I'm cold."
He understood immediately, and kissed her hand again before releasing it. She shifted over, and he pulled the sheet up over her shoulder, and climbed on the very small bed next to her. Turning on his side, he pulled her body close to his, and held her tightly, offering his presence to comfort her.
She cried softly until her body was too exhausted too continue, and the ragged rhythm of her breathing evened out to slow and steady. Only when she'd fallen asleep did Mulder let his own tears fall. Terrified of her pregnancy at first, he'd eventually let himself believe that it was indeed a miracle. That against all odds, they'd conceived a child together. Though he'd never said it out loud, he'd believed the baby to be his. He'd have a family for the first time since he was twelve, and he'd grown to want it very much.
Disappointing didn't come close to describing the aching pit sinking deeper in his stomach by the minute. It wasn't his baby.
Monica dipped a towel in the hot water, rang it out, and held it in the air to cool a bit before bringing it to the baby's face. It woke him up, his big, almost black eyes opening up to watch her. She swallowed, and forced herself not to jump back. She was at least thankful that his eyes had whites, and weren't typical alien eyes. In fact, if he'd had a human, peachy skin tone, he might have been almost, a little cute. Maybe if his ears weren't so little. Maybe…but probably not. When Dana had breastfed him, she'd had to stay turned away and take deep even breaths so she didn't vomit. How Dana had gotten through it, she couldn't fathom.
If Monica had just given birth to this hybrid baby, she'd have demanded a shower ASAP. She'd have wanted to scour her uterus clean, sanitize it of the alien that had grown there. Of course, that isn't possible, but still, she'd have been freaking out a lot worse than Dana seemed to be. And Mulder? His disappointment was palpable, as was his desire to protect Dana. Both were suffering terribly, having been used again by their abductors.
It was enough to seriously make Monica reconsider her association with the agents from the X Files Division. How long would it be before John was abducted, and returned three months later horribly abused and barely hanging on to his life? Or just dead.
She moved the towel to wipe off his body, and watched he gray figure squirm around on the counter. She cleaned him off, his odd little face scrunch up against the cold air. He began to bleat in protest, and she froze and felt a breath shudder down her throat. Quickly, she finished cleaning him, and wrapped a clean warm towel around him, before bringing him to her shoulder, and bouncing him gently.
Breathe slowly, she reminded herself. Do not panic, just take it easy, she coached herself. He's just a baby. Her heart was racing, and her body was stiff with the urge to run from him. She was very thankful she lived in New Orleans and wouldn't ever be asked to babysit. After tonight, she was relinquishing the child to his mother, and hoping she never saw him again.
Good God, how the hell was Dana supposed to care for this thing?
The baby finally began to quiet down, and let his hand rest on her shoulder, his little hands gripping her shirt just above her breasts. Gray lids slid over his eyes, and he was asleep, curled up against her. Reyes held him with an arm, and pulled out her cell with the other. She pulled his name up in her directory while walking toward the building that held her friends. She glanced in, satisfied that they were sleeping before walking back toward the other building and hitting send.
"Dogget." She sighed with relief at his voice, he very comforting oddly-accented voice.
"John, it's me."
"Mon? Jesus, is everything alright, did Mulder get down there?" He sounded relieved too.
"Yeah, he's here. He and Dana are sleeping. She had the baby, and before you ask, there were no complications, she's fine. And, it's a boy." Oh, and part-alien John. Kind of freaky-looking too, scares the crap out of me, she thought ruefully.
"Thank god. The baby is okay then?"
She froze at that question, unable to answer right away.
"Mon? The baby is okay, right?"
She plastered a fake smile on, hoping he'd hear it. "He's sleeping on my shoulder right now."
"Jeez, you scared me a minute there."
"Sorry, too tired to think."
"I'll bet you are. So, should we sign you up as a midwife?"
"No!" It was a little too loud, and a little too desperate, she cringed.
"Just kidding. Are you sure everything's okay?"
She went silent again, she didn't want to say anything over the phone, but god, she wanted to see him so badly. "Are you coming down here?"
"Yeah, Skinner and I are on the road now. Should be there in about…six hours."
"Six hours…okay, we'll be here." She disconnected, and with the baby still sleeping against her shoulder, sought out a box.
She found one that was a little big for her purposes, but reasonably clean, and arranged a sheet in the bottom. Gently, hoping not to wake him, she lifted the baby from her shoulder, and laid him into the makeshift bassinette. Her eyes stayed on the sheets as she tucked him in, and carried him back to the building where Scully gave birth.
Dana was still sleeping, and Monica figured with Mulder wrapped around her, she'd be out for a while. That was very good, she needed the sleep…and tomorrow would be a day for difficult decisions. She set the box on the closest bed to the couple, and took a third bed for herself. She must have been more tired than she thought, because her eyes drifted closed.
Reyes woke up to the sounds of a car. John and Skinner. She raised herself quickly off the mattress, and turned to glance at her companions. Mulder had pushed himself a bit off the bed, and was looking toward the door. She waved him back down, and at the first signs he was protesting, gestured to Scully. If he moved, she woke up, neither of them wanted that, so he rested back on the bed.
Doors were shutting as she walked out of the building, and though the sun was only just beginning to rise, she had no trouble making out the figures. Tall, bald and broad-chested, walked beside not as tall, crew cut, with a New York swagger. Relief poured through her like walking into a heated room after running through a blizzard. She resisted the desire to hug John as they got closer, not in front of their boss, too weird.
"They still sleeping?" His voice was quiet as he asked.
"Dana is, but Mulder's awake." They kept walking toward the building, until she put out hands to stop them.
"Agent Reyes? What's wrong?" Skinner twitched, spine erecting super-straight.
"I…before you go in…the baby, he's…" She looked at the ground, unable to make the words form on her tongue.
"You said the baby was fine?" John tensed.
"I didn't want to tell you this over the phone."
"Tell us what? What's going on, Agent Reyes? I want to see my agents." Skinner was very unhappy, and growing defensive. John too, judging by his posture.
"The baby isn't completely human."
They stared. Neither outwardly registering shock, but both staring, unable to speak.
"They must have done something to her. Engineered the fetus, and implanted it, I don't know, but Dana's baby is a hybrid."
"How can you tell? He hasn't bled on you has he?" Skinner was instinctively searching her for chemical burns, but found none.
"No, he doesn't look completely human. He has human features, but it's obvious he isn't…well, he isn't Mulder's child."
Though his expression barely changed, Skinner looked away, his face tightening. She knew what he was thinking, even as unfamiliar as she was with all of this; Dana had counted the baby as a product of love. It sustained her through a very difficult time, and now all the stress and heartbreak was going to catch up to her.
John was just staring into space, probably trying to reconcile his inability to believe in aliens with his faith in her. She wouldn't lie or bullshit him, she knew he knew that, but aliens? John would be on Mars himself once he got a look at the baby.
She turned and led the way to Mulder and Scully, relighting the kerosene lamp she'd used last night to light up the room. Mulder pushed himself up in bed, one arm bolstering him, the other still around Scully. She stirred anyway, and looked first to him, and then to their visitors. She pulled Mulder's watch adorned wrist to her face, and noted the time.
"It's already three? He didn't cry at all last night, Monica?"
She shook her head. "No, I guess he was just as tired as you."
Scully only frowned, her head whipping from side to side. "Where is he?" Monica pointed toward the box.
Horror show or not, her maternal instincts were flaring with a vengeance. That wasn't right, he should have been hungry or wet, even both at some point. She climbed quickly out of bed, and hurried to the makeshift bassinette. Trying not to focus on his face, she reached into the box, and as soon as her fingers brushed his gray skin, she knew. Still lifted a little wrist, cooler than it should have been, and tried to find a pulse.
Her fingers brushed along his soft baby skin, hoping for that butterfly soft beat. Unable to find it, she set his arm back against his body, and pulled the towel over his head. With a shaking breath, Scully slid to the floor, head in her hands. Her voice was quiet, and strained, but they heard her.
She felt Mulder beside her, and let herself lean into him. That wasn't enough, she wrapped her arms around him, and buried her face in his chest. One hand in her hair, the other on her back, he tried to sooth her, even before the sobs began.
Though she had contemplated ending his life earlier, she was distraught that her baby was dead. Part alien or no, he was her child, and unlike with Emily, this life she'd nourished inside her own body, this life she'd loved as he grew inside her. This life, she had believed for months to be Mulder's child.
She was relieved. She didn't have to make any decisions today, she didn't have to worry over how to take care of him, how to accept him, how her family would ever accept him. She would bury another child, and force herself to move on again. It was a relief to be rid of him, and that feeling plagued her with guilt. She didn't want, couldn't accept, couldn't love her own child. He couldn't help what he was, but she couldn't love him because of it.
Or maybe she could, and that was why her womb ached with his death.
Mulder's arms tightened around her body, and he rested his chin on her head, reminding her of an embrace they'd shared for years as friends. She longed to return to those days now, days that were so much simpler. Days before her bones creaked with the weight of her loss.