Does fate rule us, direct our lives, show us where to go, who to become? Or, is it the combination of our life experiences that plop us on a path with a firm nudge to our bottoms and a few encouraging words about exploring and learning? Not so much nature versus nurture, as it is fate versus circumstance.

Those who follow a god (or gods) are happy to believe that fate plays a role, big or small, that their creator has a plan for them. Those who do not follow a god, believe in circumstance and free will-- that we direct ourselves, our mistakes and fortunes are our own. Who's wrong and who's right? Is it that simple?

It is not. And yet, it is.

Two people, born worlds apart and with very different life experiences (up until they meet) are tossed together by less than benevolent forces. Can such different life experiences really lead them to the exact same place at the exact same time? Or was their meeting in a cramped, chilled basement office all the work of fate? It's neither and both. Some people have the benefit of living simple black and white lives, these two...did not. All gray, always gray.

Fate and destiny chose them before birth, set them down on that path to life and gave them that smack on the bottom, knowing full well where it would lead them. These two people, this man and woman, they made their own choices, but the outcome was already designed. It had to be. Someone had to save us all. And, they couldn't do it alone. They had to suffer before they became heroes, life wasn't easy for them--ridicule, losing loved ones, nearly dying themselves. No, it was quite miserable for them. But, it had to be that way.

Someone had to save us.

Friday, October 13, 1961, 12:01a.m.

Martha's Vineyard

It was only fitting that he was born at the witching hour on Friday the 13th; that alone should have predestined him for the nickname 'Spooky'.

"Almost out, one more push Teena!" Dr. Gary McNamara called to the young woman sweating buckets in the bed, pushing for all she was worth.

She screamed, piercing and shrill as her child slid out of her body and into the world. The infant gave a wail that would have made a banshee jealous, as the doctor passed him off to the nurse. Teena Mulder collapsed back on the bed, her head lolling from side to side, trying to see her child. Her husband rubbed her hand, and strained to look at the bundle the doctor's assistant took across the room to tend to. He turned back to his wife, and kissed her forehead, whispering that she'd done wonderful.

"It's a little boy," the doctor said breathlessly, still tending to Teena.

She smiled at her husband. They had a son, a little boy. The nurse came over with a beautiful, red and wrinkled bundle squirming in her arms, and set him in Teena's arms. Bill Mulder had stopped breathing at the sight of his boy, and just stared enraptured. His wife caught the beautiful look on his face, the moisture in his eyes, and tears sprung to her own. Not for the first time, she prayed that her son was really their son.

"Do we have a name?" The nurse asked, smiling.

Teena looked at Bill, and he smiled indulgently at his wife. She turned back to the nurse.

"Fox. Fox William."

Bill had argued with her at first, but she'd seen the name in a book, and just fell in love with it. The dashing hero of some romance novel, one of the many she'd read in her last few months of pregnancy. And, just looking at their son now, he already looked every bit the fox. It didn't occur to either of them that their son might hate the name. The dubious expression from the nurse clearly suggested that she was of that opinion also.

After allowing the new parents some time with their son, she once again took possession of the boy, set him in a plastic bassinet, and rolled him down to the neonatal unit. Smiling and rubbing a finger along his cheek, she set him amongst the other babies, noting how his wide greenish eyes traveled along every inch of space he could see, examining everything. Every baby was different, some were sleepers, others wanderers, and Fox William, well, he wasn't a sleeper that was for sure. Even as she parked him amongst the other newborns, the young nurse couldn't help but feel that their was something different about him.

Fox remained awake for some time, staring up at the world, and occasionally shrieking for attention. Amongst the ten newborns in the neonatal unit that day, he appeared fairly unremarkable, another beautiful baby. The new parents, and their family and friends that gawked at the babies through the windows had no idea how special he really was.

The doctor who birthed him, the nurse who tended to him, and even his parents themselves couldn't have known that this child, the boy named Fox, would save them all in forty years. But, he wasn't the only one. Fate doesn't consign people to that sort of existence alone. There was another.

Same Day, Same Time
San Diego

Maggie Scully rubbed the back of her colicky one year-old son, hoping to god he'd stop screaming. Being a new mother wasn't as great as everyone insisted, especially when your husband was out to sea. But, Maggie wouldn't trade her screaming son for anything, or anyone. She'd always wanted to be a mother, and when she married Bill Scully, she knew what she was getting herself into. Weak women do not become sailor's wives.

She just wished that sailor's namesake would stop screaming so much. At least there was no more breatfeeding, she would be thankful for that. Her mother never mentioned how painful it became when the baby started cutting teeth. She shook her head tiredly, and whispered close to Billy's ear. Thank god the neighbor's were forgiving. All military families, at this point only the sailors children and wives, who'd never make another military wife feel bad about a screaming baby.

They'd all been there, or would be there soon. They stuck together these ladies did, just as their husbands did on those ships far away in the sea.

Maggie came from a large family, and wanted a large family: three, four, maybe five if she wasn't crazy by then. She smiled at the thought of giving Billy brothers and sisters, a house full of giggling children. Their laughter, tears, and even fighting would suffocate all the loneliness of Bill's tours out at sea until is disappeared forever.

She didn't know at the time she was trying to soothe her first born, and contemplating future children, that a special little boy was coming into the world on the other side of the country. The soulmate of her third born was fidgeting in his plastic hospital bassinette as she tended to her son. She didn't know that her third-born child would be a girl with fire-red hair, and a spirit to match it. She didn't know her second-born, her first daughter, would die way too young in her younger sister's stead.

While Maggie suffered with her sick son, Bill Mulder smiled proudly at her daughter's perfect half.

February 23, 1964

4:15 p.m.

Base Hospital in San Diego

Bill Scully rushed through the hospital as fast as his legs would carry him, his heart racing in his chest. His third child was coming into the world, and he might not even make it to see. He'd been out on a drill, not far from shore, but far enough that Maggie had been in labor for several hours already. Bill Jr. and Missy had been with Maggie's mother for the last few weeks, while Maggie took it easy. He was glad, their third was right on time, almost down to the day of its due date.

"Uh, Maggie Scully, please," he nervously asked the young nurse at the desk.

"She's already in delivery, you her husband?" He nodded. She handed him a set of scrubs. "Change into these, she's in D5."

He nodded his thanks, found a men's room, changed quickly, and hurried down the hall, barely glancing at room numbers. He found it, and burst through the door, only to feel his heart freeze at the doctor's words.

"You've got to push, Maggie. The cord is wrapped around the baby's neck, we need to get it out quick." His voice was calm, but stern, his eyes piercing hers.

Maggie nodded, eyes wide, a nurse rubbing her shoulder. She saw Bill, and waved him over, tears already falling down her face. Still in stunned daze, Bill walked over to his wife, and took her hand. He helped brace her as she pushed, let her squeeze his hand without complaint. Then the baby was out, and he heard the doctor annouce that she was a girl. Everything sounded hollow, like he'd dived off his ship, and was floating under the surface.

Then she screamed.

Sound and awareness came rushing back to him, his heart resumed it's rapid beat, and Maggie cried beside him with relief. His kissed her forehead, and watched the nurses carrying a squirming bundle over to her, laying their beautiful, breathing baby girl in her arms. He noted the fine red hair that had already begun to grow on her head, but what really stood out to him, what brought tears to his eyes, were her eyes. Bright, ocean blue beauties, just like his mother's.

Maggie smiled up at him, somehow knowing exactly what he was thinking. "I think she'll look just like her grandmother. Let's call her Dana."

His mother's name. Maggie had been thinking of another, had had her heart set on it, but wanted to give him this. So, he decided on both. "Dana Katherine."

Maggie beamed up at him, cuddling their baby girl. He leaned down, and kissed his wife, and new daughter. The nurses returned to get her, and finish cleaning her up, and little Dana objected strenuously.

His little girl was strong, a fighter. He was already proud of her. He couldn't possibly imagine how much she'd rely on that strength in the future. When the nurses put her in his arms, and she looked up at him with those blue, blue eyes, he had no idea he was holding the hope for the future.

Snuggled in his embrace then, Dana was perfect innocence. Helpless, though even now, not as fragile as she might look. But, fate had already chosen her, for whatever reason, marked her. The tiny baby girl with bright blue eyes would grow into the woman who'd save the world.

That little girl gazed up at her father, looking so serious, he had to chuckle. She grabbed his finger, and yawned sleepily. The future savior of mankind was a little pooped.

Martha's Vineyard

Same date, same time

Dana's perfect half stood up in his crib, hands gripping the railing, mouth open, and staring at a star that seemed to be twinkling just for him. He giggled and jumped on the bed, staring at that far off star, staring toward the west. There was a funny feeling in his tummy, a good feeling. Like the kind he got when Mommy got excited cause Daddy was comming home. Something really good was happening, and it made his belly tingle. He just wished he knew what that was. He giggled again.

"Fox?" His mother poked her head into the nursery, puzzled at seeing him awake.

"Mam! Mam!" He cried at her, waving his arms excitedly.

"You should be asleep," she told him, hands on her hips.

He shook his head, that gleaming million-dollar smile on his face. More than one woman had already told her that Fox would be absolutely devastating to women when he grew up. That smile was the least of it.

"What has you so excited, Fox?"

He pointed one chubby, saliva-coated finger toward the window and the star-studded sky beyond it.

She frowned, confusion sweeping her features. She was a little afraid, she knew what her husband was into, and that he to spent a lot of time looking into the sky. She ran a hand over her sons baby-fine hair, his brunette locks just kept growing in, it was hard to keep up with haircuts. She looked to the sky one more time, and felt a chill.

"Come on, I'll tell you a story." Tina pulled him out of his crib into her arms, and carried him into her bedroom. She didn't want him sleeping alone tonight. Fox didn't seem to mind. He stuck a thumb in his mouth, and stared at the pictures of Peter Rabbit and the other woodland folk.

He could still feel that funny bubbling in his tummy.

I don't remember what inspired this one, I've been working on it (or rather procrastinating with it) for a while now. It's in three parts, so it should be finished pretty quickly. Thank you for reading, and reviewing is of course, always appreciated. Oh, and I looked it up, Mulder was actually born on Friday the 13th. I love it. Three chapters to this story.

Added note: This will be my last XF story. I can only handle so many fictional federal agents in my head at a time, and right now, I've got two other teams that are demanding my attention. And yes, I know that makes me sound kind of nuts. Somehow, it's still the clearest explanation.