Title: Another Man's Child

Summary: When Fox Mulder is assigned a new partner on the X Files, the last thing he expected to do was fall in love with her. Or her daughter.

Rating: PG. As the story progresses there may be a few cuss words, but that's about it.

Spoilers: The Pilot in a big way. As the story continues it will draw on a lot of the show, so you have been warned.

Disclaimer: I don't own Mulder and Scully, at least not in the flesh. That honor goes to Chris Carter, who really needs to bring them back out to play for a third film.

Fox Mulder suppressed a sigh as he heard footsteps approaching his office. He knew who his visitor was, and he was half tempted to abandon his slides, get up and close the door before she arrived, but he knew it would be no use. His superiors had already called him into a meeting just the previous week to inform him that he was being assigned a new partner on the X Files, and he wasn't happy about it to say the least. He was much better working on his own; he'd told the Director in charge, though he knew his words were falling on deaf ears – they were no doubt assigning him a partner to rein him in and keep him under control. He'd had a few days to look into his new partner's background and discovered she was no doubt a self-assured, practical, no-nonsense individual – after all, she tried to re-write Einstein as a young student. They wouldn't get along, he told himself. They were far too different.

As he heard the knock at the door, Mulder prepared to meet the new woman in his life. "Sorry, nobody down here but the FBI's most unwanted".

The door opened, and his new partner entered the office and walked over towards him. "Agent Mulder, I'm Dana Scully. I've been assigned to work with you".

Forgetting his slides for just a moment, Mulder reached out and shook Agent Scully's hand. She looked young, like a little girl dressed up in her mother's old-fashioned suit, but she was deadly serious in her expression. "Oh, isn't it nice to be suddenly so highly regarded?" he replied sarcastically. "So, who did you tick off to get stuck with this detail, Scully?" Deep down he knew he was being harsh towards her, but he wasn't there to make friends, particularly with someone who was no doubt reporting back to their superiors on everything he said and did.

"Actually, I'm looking forward to working with you". Scully wasn't fazed by his attitude, and Mulder had to give her credit for it. "I've heard a lot about you".

"Oh really? I was under the impression that you were sent to spy on me".

"If you have any doubt about my qualifications or credentials, th –"

Standing up, Mulder retrieved a paper from his desk. "You're a medical doctor, you teach at the academy. You did your undergraduate degree in Physics". Removing his glasses, he looked down at the paper and began to read. "Einstein's Twin Paradox, A New Interpretation. Dana Scully Senior Thesis." Now that's a credential, rewriting Einstein".

"Did you bother to read it?"

"I did. I liked it". He loaded up the slide projector. "It's just that in most of my work, the laws of physics rarely seem to apply". Walking past her, Mulder switched off the lights, but not before he saw Scully glare at him. "Maybe I can get your medical opinion on this, though". He then proceeded to start his presentation, showing his new partner photographs of what was to be their first case together, before asking her if she believed in the existence of extra-terrestrials. He wasn't surprised when Scully replied in the negative. "See you tomorrow morning Scully, bright and early", he added after he'd finished the slide show. "We leave for the very plausible state of Oregon at eight a.m". Returning to his desk, Mulder sat back down intending to return to his files as Scully left the room, no doubt wondering what the hell she'd gotten herself into.

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Scully was hiding something; Mulder realised not long into their first case. She'd arrived at the airport with barely a moment to spare, looking uncharacteristically flustered, and no sooner had she met her partner at the departure gate she wandered off out of earshot to make a quick phone call. As the case progressed he caught her on her cell phone when she thought he wasn't looking, though he couldn't be sure of whom she was speaking too. He was willing to place a bet that she was calling their superiors, reporting back on his run in with the locals and his insistence that something other-worldly was responsible for the abductions. But still, he was intrigued by Scully and so, one evening after they'd returned to their motel, he decided to see if he could spend some time with her, to see if he could figure her out.

"Who is it?" Scully called as she heard the knock.

"Steven Spielberg", he quipped, before the door opened. Clad in leggings and an oversized t-shirt, Scully looked barely half her age, let alone a professional FBI agent. She almost looked pleased to see him. "I'm way too wired. I'm going for a run, you want to come?"

"Pass. I'm waiting for a phone call".

"A phone call?" As she'd offered up the information, Mulder began to wonder if she was reporting back, or if in fact she'd been talking to a man this whole time. It looked as though he wasn't about to find out anytime soon.

"Yeah, so I'll pass tonight, thanks".

"Ok. You figure out what that little thing up Ray Soames' nose is yet?"

"No". Scully let out an impressive yawn. "And I'm not losing any sleep over it. Good night". With that she shut the door on him, leaving Mulder to wonder just exactly what is was she didn't want him to know.

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It was late the next evening when Mulder heard the knock at the door of his motel room. He knew before answering that it was Scully; the power had gone out just minutes before thanks to the storm. Carrying a candle, Mulder opened the door, surprised to see his partner stood just in her bathrobe, visibly worried about something. "Hi".

"I want you to look at something".

Tempted to fire an innuendo at her, Mulder realised it wasn't the time for jokes. "Come on in". By the time he'd closed the door and turned to face her, Scully had slipped off her robe, revealing her underwear. For a moment he wondered if his partner was propositioning him, but the look on her face revealed fear rather than desire. Following her gaze, Mulder's eyes came to rest on two bumps on Scully's lower back.

"What are they?" She asked uncertainly. As Mulder smiled, her patience wore thin. "Mulder, what are they?"

"Mosquito bites", he finally replied.

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, I got eaten up a lot myself out there".

Sighing in relief, Scully adjusted her robe to cover herself, before flinging her arms around Mulder, who startled in surprise. "You ok?"

"Yes". As though realising she'd overstepped boundaries, Scully pulled away.

"You're shaking".

"I need to sit down".

"Take your time", Mulder commented, as they both took a seat. The storm raged on and as Scully attempted to calm down, he realised it was a good opportunity to find out more about his new partner.

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Somehow as they were talking, Scully migrated to the bed, while Mulder shifted to the floor beside it. Scully had spoken of her childhood, growing up with her sister and brothers and travelling the world with her Navy Captain father, but that was as much as she'd told him before directing the conversation to Mulder's own childhood. And he surprised himself as much as Scully by telling her the truth. "…I was twelve when it happened. My sister was eight. She just disappeared out of her bed one night. Just gone, vanished. No note, no phone calls, no evidence of anything".

"You never found her".

Scully listened with interest as Mulder told her of his sister's abduction, not once laughing as he explained his work with the paranormal and his theories of a government conspiracy, and for that he was thankful. "I've been able to go into my own repressed memories to the night my sister disappeared", he began, as he knelt towards the bed. "I can recall a bright light outside and a presence in the room. I was paralysed, unable to respond to my sister's calls for help". He was animated now. "Listen to me Scully, this thing exists".

She wasn't quite convinced, though he didn't expect her to be. "But how do you know?"

"The government knows about it, and I got to know what they're protecting. Nothing else matters to me, and this is as close as I've ever gotten to it". Suddenly Mulder realised how he must have sounded to his new partner. Not wanting to overwhelm her, he decided to change the topic of conversation. "So Scully, I've told you my secrets, what about yours?"

The ringing of the telephone startled the two of them. Mulder reached out to pick it up. "Hello? What? Who is this? Who is thi-" Hanging up, he addressed his partner and informed her of a death. He didn't need to be an investigator to tell that Scully was relieved their conversation had been interrupted.

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Their journey back to Washington DC was thankfully not quite as eventful as the way out; a relatively calm flight in comparison. Scully spent the journey writing down notes ready to type up once she got home, whilst Mulder studied her from afar. She was definitely hiding something, he'd told himself, as the plane landed and they made their way out of the airport. No sooner had Mulder joined the queue for car hire, his partner walked off, dialling on her cell phone as she went. By the time she returned, he was waiting impatiently for her. "Have I been keeping you from something Scully?"

She looked up at him, confused. "I'm sorry?"

"You've been surgically attached to that phone since we got here. Now I don't know if you're reporting back on me or whether you're simply talking to your boyfriend, but you're supposed to be focused on the case you're working".

"I am focused on the case Mulder", Scully snapped, glaring at him. "I was by your side every time you clicked your fingers and told me to heel, and I went out there with you with barely a day's notice. I was not reporting back on you and I was certainly not organising my social life. Not that that's any of your business", she added. "If you're that desperate to know, I was trying to sort out a family problem. Now I'm sorry I didn't give you my full attention 24/7, but it was urgent, and it won't happen again".

Her explanation made Mulder feel worse. "I'm sorry", he managed after a few moments of silence.

"If you're questioning my professionalism –"

"I'm not, I'm not". And he wasn't. Scully was right – she had been by his side throughout the case. Many other agents would have – and had, in the past – warned him to give them some space, but not her. "Shall we go?"

Hesitating only momentarily, Scully nodded, before following her partner out to the car. It wasn't until Mulder was heading in the direction of her apartment that she spoke. "I have a daughter".

Of all the things he expected her to say, that wasn't it. "A daughter?"

"Yes". She almost seemed surprised that she didn't know. "You mean your background check didn't uncover that information?"

"I didn't do a background check".

"Liar". Scully smiled, almost in spite of herself. "She's three".

"She?"

"Ashley".

"Cute name".

She nodded. "You're right Mulder, I haven't been completely professional these past few days, it's just…Ashley's been sick the past week, and I've had to leave her with my mother. I just wanted to check up on her".

"Of course". Mulder daren't mention the little girl's father, and he had a feeling Scully wasn't about to either. "Is she ok?"

"She's fine, just a bout of tonsillitis, but I just felt bad for leaving her".

"You didn't have to come Scully. Not if your daughter needed you".

"She's been fine with my mom. Besides, I wasn't about to give you the satisfaction of not going with you".

"I don't know what you mean". It was his turn to smile.

"Of course you don't", Scully answered dryly. "It won't happen again".

"You've missed her". It was a statement rather than a question, and out of the corner of his eye Mulder saw his partner nod in agreement.

"Yes I have, but from what I hear she's been spoilt rotten by her grandma".

As Mulder turned the vehicle into Scully's road, she pointed out her apartment. "I appreciate you telling me Scully".

"I don't want you calling my professionalism into question". She smiled, signalling she was joking. "Besides", she added, sobering. "After what you shared with me last night, it was the least I could do".

Nodding, Mulder brought the car to a standstill. "I guess I'll see you tomorrow?"

Scully got out of the car and grabbed her bag from the back. "I'm afraid you will". With that, she walked off,

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Scully laid in bed, unable to sleep despite the late hour. Her brain was replaying the events of the past few days – what they had experienced in Oregon, everything Mulder had confessed to her, even the mortifying memory of dropping her bathrobe in front of her new partner. She was far too wired to even think about sleep. The shrill ring of the telephone broke her free from her thoughts, and she rushed to answer before the noise woke her sleeping daughter.

"Hello?"

"Scully? It's me". She'd barely met him a few days ago, but already she recognised the voice at the end of the line. "I haven't been able to sleep. I talked to the D.A.'s office in Raymon County, Oregon. There's no case file on Billy Miles. The paperwork we filed is gone. We need to talk, Scully".

"Yes", she replied dazed. "Tomorrow".

"Of course". As though remembering his manners, Mulder spoke again. "How's Ashley?"

"She's good, thank you".

"Good…well I'll see you tomorrow".

"Goodnight –" Before she could even finish her sentence, Mulder had hung up. Scully settled back into bed, wondering what else was in store for her and her new partner.

Please review and let me know if you want me to continue. If you made it this far – thanks for reading.