This is set after 'Alone', and follows my story 'A Job for a Big Brother', though you don't need to read that one for this to make sense. For Dana42.
I will not be a Neanderthal. I will not be a Neanderthal. I will not be...
Bill plastered a smile on his face as he patiently repeated his mantra. Okay, maybe it wasn't a smile, but it wasn't the scowl he wanted to display. He thought he'd be happy today, he had been happy for the beginning of the day. Bring the kids to his mother's for the weekend, see his mom, and tease his baby sister about her pregnant waddle until she threatened to pull her Glock out. Those were his plans in all their infinite glory.
Even when he saw the 'sorry son of a bitch', it hadn't completely dampened his spirits. It was when said SOB explained that he wouldn't be marrying his little sister that Bill's mood plummeted like a cannonball off a skyscraper. Right now, Bill wasn't sure what was worse--his little sister unwed and about to be a mommy, or the SOB joining their family tree. Yesterday, he'd have said the former, but now he wasn't so sure.
Still, he didn't want to upset Dana, or get into a fight with his mom or Tara. So, he repeated his mantra over and over again, to stop himself from dragging the sob out to the curb by the collar of his leather jacket, and kicking his ass down the block. Then everyone would be pissed at him.
At the moment, he couldn't remove his eyes from the SOB's hand. It was on Dana's belly, his fingertips lightly running over the large circumference, part caress, part massage. His touch seemed to soothe her those moments when tension would seize her body. Sore backs, feet, ankles, hips, breasts, random pangs in the belly, it was not comfortable for a woman. Bill had two children worth of experience to know this. With Tara, it had been strawberry ice pops, followed closely by a cuddle. Of course, with her crazy-ass hormones, she was usually fed-up and pushing him away ten minutes later.
But, Dana was always rather subtle and low-key. It shouldn't have surprised him that something has inoffensive as a belly rub would soothe her. It did surprise him that that inoffensive gesture made him want to rip the SOB's hand off. If he wasn't going to be a real man, and give his child his name, he didn't deserve his child's mother. Yet, Dana was comfortable enough with whatever arrangement they had to take his hand off her belly, and intertwine their fingers.
The tone of the conversation changed, and Bill snapped out of his internal dialogue. His wife, and mother were moving around, saying something about coffee and cheesecake. Mulder's phone started ringing shrilly, and he glanced at the display before whispering something to Dana, and walking outside. Dana looked after him, and when he disappeared, returned her attention to the bag of clothes at her feet. Maternity clothes and baby clothes from Tara's two pregnancies.
He watched his little sister pull out a pair of pajamas that looked like they'd swallow her small frame--at least without the belly. They were flannel and covered in cows. He still didn't know why Tara picked cows. Dana laughed, and set the pajamas on her lap. She pulled out another pair, and a gown before he decided to speak.
"Is pajamas all she put in there?"
Dana looked up in surprise, like she'd forgotten he was there. "Don't know, but they'll be useful either way. I won't have to listen to Mulder whine about my stretching out his t-shirts anymore."
Bill raised an eyebrow at her. "Dana, just what the hell is going on between you two?"
"He isn't giving your kid his name, he isn't taking care of you. What the hell kind of man is that?"
Her jaw was tense as she answered, the clothes forgotten in her lap. "It's complicated, Bill."
"No, it isn't. Either he cares about you and that baby, or he doesn't."
"Our relationship is very complicated, and there's been a lot of change over just the last six months, we're adapting, or at least trying to, but it takes time."
"He got you pregnant, Dana. There is nothing complicated about that."
She sighed, resting her head in her hands. "Bill, just that in and of itself is complicated. I wasn't supposed to be able to get pregnant, remember?"
"Yeah, I do. Tara and I had trouble too, but we've got two kids now."
"It's different, between us."
"Yeah, you aren't married."
"Don't be an jerk, Bill. If you want to talk about this, you have to learn to listen, and stop being so damn judgmental."
He sighed. "Fine. I'll listen."
"Okay, but am I talking to my big brother--who I used to help sneak out so he could grope Patty Taylor--or am I talking to the man who likes to think he's Dad and can run my life?" The sharp look she sent him was a little too reminiscent of their mother for him to do anything but agree to the former.
"You're big brother."
Dana nodded slowly, and was silent almost a minute, choosing her words. "Mulder was gone for six months, and then woke up to see me like this, how would you feel if you were him, Bill?"
He stared at her, considering that. How would have felt, if years ago, before they were married, he came back from a tour at sea to find Tara swollen with their child? He wouldn't have been very happy, he could admit that to himself. But, he would have done the right thing, he would have bought a ring, gotten a base house, and taken care of both of them. And, what if they'd been told that she couldn't have kids?
Bill let his head fall toward his lap, as he realized a less than flattering fact about himself. If she'd told him she couldn't have kids while they were still dating, he probably would have broken up with her. A career in the Navy, and a family. Those were the two things he knew he wanted since he was a kid. He was a little ashamed to wonder, if he'd have loved Tara enough to stay.
"I'd have been thrown for a loop," he finally looked at Dana and admitted.
"Yes, I bet you would have."
"I would still marry a woman I got pregnant though."
She let out a sigh that turned into a chuckle. "I don't doubt that, Bill. That's who you are. But, Mulder and I," she shook her head, a smile on her lips, "we are not the marrying kind. The white picket fence, the station wagon, the dog; we aren't meant for that life. Well, maybe the dog, I do miss Queequeg."
"You don't know that, Dana. It might fit you like a glove." What the hell did that even mean? Of course, she was the marrying kind, she was his baby sister, a Scully!
"I've seen suburbia, Bill, and trust me, we do not fit in." She was still smiling, looking rather amused, though he couldn't fathom why.
"What's so amusing, Dana?"
"Nothing, I guess I just figured I'd know when we finally got out of the car, but I didn't even realize that we had stopped almost a year ago." She wasn't looking at him anymore, but at something in her head that he couldn't see.
"I have no idea what that means."
Dana abruptly shook her head. "Sorry, it's nothing...Are you going to cheer-up now?"
"I still don't get--"
"Bill, I will put this simply, and then this discussion is over. It may be unconventional, untraditional, and unfathomable to you, but we are fine, the baby is fine, what we have will be fine. Alright?" Oh, there was that look again, the one he'd seen on their mother all too often as a kid.
He shifted in his seat, and debated how to respond. There was really only one thing he could say, or at least, only one thing Dana would accept. Bill finally opened his mouth, only to be saved from answering by the sound of the front door.
Mulder appeared, sliding his phone into his pocket, and striding toward them. Dana's attention was entirely on the man, her eyes holding a question for him. Bill couldn't decipher it, but Mulder seemed to have no trouble reading her.
"Just the Gunmen." He sat beside her, his face giving nothing of his phone conversation away.
"Oh? Everything alright?"
He nodded. "They were just looking into something for me."
"And?" Bill listened to his sister and resisted the urge to roll his eyes. They have to bring this shit into his mother's home?
"And, you're on maternity leave, so it's irrelevant."
"I'm pregnant, Mulder, not handicapped." His ultra-stubborn baby sister crossed her arms over her chest, almost glaring at her partner.
Bill was more than a little amused. More so, when he saw Mulder looking at her completely un-intimidated, almost relaxed. He watched them stare each other down, neither giving an inch, until Dana broke eye contact with a surprised exclamation and a hand on her stomach.
He watched Mulder tense, ready to spring into action if anything was wrong. He remembered that feeling very well, when every little peep from Tara had him on his toes in a half-panic.
Dana glanced at Mulder, and was quick to reassure him. "It's okay, the baby seems to have taken up gymnastics for the evening."
A little tension leaked slowly from Mulder's rigid stance, as he held a hand up, hovering over her belly. She took his hand, and rested it beside hers, so they could both feel the baby moving. Bill studied Mulder carefully, noting sudden light in his eyes, and the slight part in his lips. The man was enraptured.
Bill remembered that too. Maybe, he conceded reluctantly, Mulder wasn't a complete SOB. He watched his sister's mouth curve into a smile, as she watched Mulder's eyes. If he made Dana smile, the man was at least good for something. Once again swallowing his pride and anger, Bill decided to do what was best for his little sister. He cleared his throat, and offered the only wisdom he could manage for the moment.
"You think that's impressive, Mulder, just wait until you hold him for the first time--you'll forget to breathe."
Okay, this one was hard to write for a few reasons. The first being that Scully wouldn't tell her brother much, especially that she might be carrying a part-alien government science project, so there wasn't much to defend Mulder's behavior, or their tense relationship with. We weren't even given much information on Mulder and Scully's thoughts of impending parenthood, or how Scully's family felt about it. It took a lot of delicate interpretation of what little we did see to pull this out of my head, and I had to rewrite it a few times, because it wasn't working. That being said, I hope it read as in-character; I tried very hard to keep it true to the series. Thanks for reading, and criticism is very appreciated!