Title: Life's Little Quirks, part 6
Pairings: M/Sk, M/K (and a tiny bit of D/Sc)
Summary: Mulder and company learn the rest of the truth.
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, they own me. Otherwise I might have a life of my own. Not that I'm complaining...
Warnings: M/M slash, profanity, mpreg, angst, h/c, relationships, love triangles and scheming aliens. All the really great stuff. : )
Author's Notes: I'm really sorry it took so long to post this chapter. Between the Mulder Fuh-Q Fest and the other stories I'm working on...I'm just glad that when I woke up yesterday I felt the muse return with a vengeance. Information on ultrasounds, amnios and twins were obtained from online research.
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Skinner was just finishing a bit of paperwork before he planned to take a trip down to the basement to check on Mulder when his phone rang.
"A.D. Skinner speaking."
"It's 1 o'clock, do you know where your lover is?" Krycek's snide voice immediately put Skinner on the defense, but an instant before he could respond he registered the warning.
"Where is he?"
"Well, just think...where's the very 'last' place he should be? Maine."
Mulder struggled to control the fury that threatened to overwhelm him at Smith's words. How dare he talk about children this way...about innocent unborn babies as if they were merely the result of an experiment?
Which they were...but they were 'his' children, damn it. And William...he didn't even speak of his dead son as if he had been human...no matter how advanced.
Smith was quiet as Mulder sat down once more in his chair, his hands unconsciously still cradling his stomach.
"Who - you said there were two fathers, who are they?"
Smith glanced at the window next to him, but it was covered with a tattered dirty curtain. He then looked back at Mulder and answered. "One of them was chosen for his own acquired resistance to the oil. He has proven to be strong, resilient and has worked for the resistance."
"Alex," Mulder whispered.
The morph nodded once before continuing. "The other was chosen not only for his strength and abilities, but also for his relations with you in the past, his emotional connection with you is even stronger than Krycek's was observed to be."
"Walter Skinner." Mulder marveled at just how much the aliens seemed to know about his personal life and his past. They seemed to know more about him than he did in some ways.
"Yes. Both men were compatible with your DNA, but also likely to respond appropriately in protecting you and the children."
Respond appropriately...Mulder stared at the morph and wondered just how much interference in emotional responses had occurred. He started to ask, but was interrupted by the front door opening.
Alex stepped in, eyes quickly scanning Mulder for injuries and then moving on to glare at the alien still sitting in the chair. "Am I interrupting?"
Scully had listened to the entire exchange in the next room with growing horror. The information she'd learned during the last half hour had been difficult to listen to - most especially that concerning her own pregnancy. The morph alien claimed that her son had been the product of an experiment - an attempt to create a more 'perfect' human. That she had been chosen to carry that child...and had failed.
Failed. She'd FAILED... The word continued to resound in her head as she clenched her fists - nails digging into her palms until they bled.
"Agent Scully...we can't take this - any of this - at face value," Doggett whispered. She turned to the man standing next to her and nodded jerkily. She reached up with one hand to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear and noticed the blood for the first time. John pulled out a handkerchief and she gave him a brief grimace of thanks as she blotted the blood on it.
They continued to listen as Mulder guessed the names of the fathers - Skinner? And Krycek?!
It was too much. She was just about to step into the next room and question the alien herself when she heard Krycek's voice.
Alex noticed Scully and Doggett step out of the next room, but his attention was still focused on the potential threat before Mulder. The morph had his normal placid look upon his face, but it did nothing to ease Alex's peace of mind.
"No, of course not, Mr. Krycek. Our presence reassures me that at least one of the protectors is doing his job. Where is A.D. Skinner?"
"On his way. Why? Does Mulder need protection from you?" Mulder glared at him, but he ignored it. He had a bone of his own to pick with Mulder - when they were alone.
The alien shook his head. "I have informed Mr. Mulder of his circumstances, nothing more. His well-being is in all of our best interests."
"I'm glad we agree. Scully? Perhaps now would be a good time for us to leave."
Mulder chose that moment to lose his temper. "I do not need you to tell me what to do, Alex!"
There was movement outside, just visible behind the curtain. Doggett noticed it as well and pulled back the curtain. In the distance were three rebel aliens with their usual melted faces.
Alex caught the look from Doggett's eyes and nodded. He watched the agent move over to Scully and take her by the arm. Alex reached out to do the same to Mulder, but the other man resisted him - jerking his arm out of Alex's grasp. "Damn it-" Mulder growled again.
// There are several rebel aliens heading this way. I suggest we leave before they decide to take you for safekeeping. Move, Fox. NOW. //
Alex wasn't sure if it was the use of his first name or the mental shout, but he saw Mulder flinch and then look in the direction of the window.
"Alex is right, we'll be leaving now." Mulder stayed just out of Alex's reach, but he moved towards the door of his own volition. Smith nodded with a small indulgent smile. Alex slipped his hand into his pocket and gripped the plam hard.
"Take care of him, Mr. Krycek..."
Alex glanced one last time at Smith's face in the doorway as he hustled Mulder into his car. He was surprised when Mulder didn't argue with him, and instead docilely climbed into the passenger seat, but there was no time to comment as he gunned the engine and tore down the driveway heading towards the road. In the rear view mirror he noted that Scully and Doggett were following in the other car. A cloud of dust rose as they made their escape, partially obscuring the advancing figures coming around the side of the house.
As Alex turned out of the driveway and onto the road, he noticed the aliens suddenly halt at the edge of the property and stand still.
Mulder was unnaturally silent in the seat next to him. Alex glanced at the man several times, but Mulder ignored him, his face turned away from him to stare out the passenger's side window.
"Are you all right?"
Nothing. Mulder continued to stare out at the passing countryside, but a hand went to his belly.
"Are you in pain? Do you want me to stop? Scully can-"
"Scully can't do anything about this. I'm fine. Just fine....I'm carrying two babies as an experiment in stopping the colonization force on our planet. I'm just peachy." His voice was strained and bordering on hysteria. Alex checked the rearview mirror and knew if he pulled over he'd only have Doggett and Scully interfering. Mulder needed to talk about what happened, and Alex was dying of curiosity as to what had happened in that house with Smith.
"Two babies - Smith said something about children, plural. You're having twins?"
Mulder looked over at him finally at that. "Weren't you listening at the door?"
"No. I was a bit busy tracking you down and contacting Skinner - I came in when I got there. All I heard was something about your DNA and protecting 'the children'. What did he say?"
Mulder stared at him. Several minutes of tense silence passed before he finally spoke. "I'm carrying twins...to double the chances of the right 'result'."
"What result? Why impregnate you?"
Mulder turned away again, but not before Alex saw him swallow hard. "Apparently I'm a genetic mutant and mutations in the human race make it difficult or even impossible for the colonization to occur. The rebels hope to increase the percentage of the population with these mutations and further impede the colonizing force."
Mulder put a fist up to his mouth and shook his head. "I don't want to talk about it right now. Just drive."
"Well, what about the babies? Are they completely human then?"
Mulder shrugged and then nodded, still not looking at him. Alex was getting both concerned and a little pissed off at Mulder's avoidance. What was wrong with the man, anyway?
"Well...whose are they? Besides yours?"
Mulder suddenly grabbed the door handle. "Pull over! I-"
Alex jerked the car over onto the grass and stopped as Mulder opened the door and heaved. The car behind them stopped as they did and Scully came running out.
Doggett started to as well, but halted as he saw what the problem was. Alex decided to let Scully handle the situation and walked over to the other man. "What happened in there, Doggett? What did Smith tell him about the pregnancy?"
The older man's blue eyes pierced his own and then looked over at the side of the car where Mulder was leaning against the car. Scully was murmuring to him and he nodded jerkily, avoiding her gaze as he wiped his mouth.
"I think that's for him to say..."
Walter Skinner sat waiting in the small caf that Krycek had directed him to after he had called him and told him Mulder was safe. The restaurant was almost empty and the waitresses were in a corner gossiping over the coffee machine. The wait was aggravating for him. Ever since he'd first heard from Krycek his stomach had been turned into knots.
Why had Mulder run off like that into danger without at least telling him first? Didn't the man care at all about his own health, especially now that he was carrying a baby? If nothing else, this situation proved that Mulder couldn't be trusted to take sufficient precautions. Once he had the man in front of him he was going to shake him (no...that wouldn't be good for the baby) well, he'd find something he could do to get the man's attention...
The door jangled as a group of people entered the caf. Scully led the way, followed by a tired looking Doggett, a sulking Mulder, and Alex Krycek, who looked as alert as ever as he surveyed the place.
Skinner was aware of the sudden attention from the waitresses and kitchen staff and so remained seated, but his gaze was directed at his lover. Mulder's head was bowed and he barely glanced at Walter before sitting down heavily in the other side of the booth. He looked faintly green. His anger cooled as the concern took over his rage and he decided to save his argument for later.
"Are you all right?" he asked Mulder.
"Hey, folks, what can I get you to drink?" A chirpy waitresses plunked menus down in the center of the table before anyone could respond. Skinner waited impatiently as they ordered drinks.
Doggett and Krycek ordered sodas, but Scully intervened before Mulder could speak and ordered him a large milk, juice and water. He scowled at the tabletop, but made no protest. After ordering herself a cup of coffee, she waited until the waitress departed before answering his earlier question.
"He was sick on the way here. I think he's dehydrated and his pulse was a little thready. He should eat something and go home to rest."
Mulder smirked at that, "I'm fine, Scully."
Scully gave him a look over Mulder's head that clearly said 'you deal with him.' He ignored it and focused on his lover once more.
"So tell me what happened, Mulder. Why did you come back to Maine - what happened?"
Mulder looked up at him finally and met his gaze. His eyes were a swirl of grey and green and seemed full of pain. "Agent Doggett was missing..."
They were occasionally interrupted by the waitress, but the story finally came out about Smith and the experiment. At the mention of Scully's failed pregnancy, the tension at the table was unbearable. The entire story was shocking to Skinner, but the biggest surprise was the revelation that Mulder was carrying two babies.
"Twins?" Mulder nodded and seemed absorbed in his empty soup bowl. Walter tried to wrap his mind around the thought of TWO babies to take care of. It was daunting and yet at the same time...amazing. But whose babies were these other than Mulder's?
He was about to ask, but Scully suddenly spoke up. "I think it would be prudent to run some tests before we take any of this new information for granted. A friend of mine has a private practice and we could conduct the examination and tests there..."
"Well, there they are..." Scully pointed.
"So...it's true? I'm having twins?"
She nodded and looked back at the monitor, "You can see both heads - here and here," she pointed them out in the ultrasound picture.
Mulder stared in awe; Walter was clutching his shoulders, leaning over him to look at the picture as well. Doggett and Krycek were somewhere in the background, just beyond his sight.
"And if you don't believe the picture..." she fiddled with a control and suddenly the room was filled with rapid heartbeats, "...that is the sound of two fetal heartbeats..." she looked at Mulder and smiled widely at his reaction.
He was stunned to hear the heartbeats...the faint fluttering, the morning sickness...none of it had really sunk in until now. It was real...the pregnancy, the twins...he was going to have children. It was a scary, but thrilling thought.
"What sex are they? Can you tell?"
Scully shook her head, "No, not yet. Determining the sex from an ultrasound is only accurate after the nineteenth week when the male testes have descended and are visible. Another option to determine the sex is an Amniocentesis, in which a small sample of the amniotic fluid is drawn from the sac surrounding the baby. Since this fluid contains the entire genetic code for the baby, it is possible to find out its sex. The advantage of this method is that one can do this test as early as the sixth week. The drawback is that it exposes the mother and the baby to unnecessary risks."
'Mother.' Mulder flinched inwardly at the term - he was a man, but technically he supposed he was the mother of these children... He pushed the thought aside and returned his attention to what she'd told him. "But, we could look at the genetic code of the babies - to see any abnormalities they might have...any mutations?"
Scully started to answer, but Walter suddenly interrupted, "What risks are you talking about?" he asked.
She sighed. "Well, there's a risk-benefit ratio which should be considered every time you make a decision to perform any invasive procedure during pregnancy. There are three major risks concerning an amniocentesis: infection, trauma and miscarriage or preterm labor. If the placenta is punctured, a significant amount of fetal blood can be transfused to the mother, which can be problematic if she - " she glanced at Mulder before continuing, "or in this case 'he' begins to build up antibodies against these red blood cells. An ultrasound done during the procedure reduces this risk, but it does not eliminate the risk. And if it were necessary to repeat our attempts at testing, the risks would go up quite a bit."
Mulder shifted out of Walter's grip and laid his head back on the table. He couldn't risk it. He couldn't stand the thought of endangering the babies' lives...
"Wouldn't you also be able to tell the paternity of the children?" Walter asked.
Scully gave Mulder one of her looks and he sighed before nodding to her. It was time to reveal one more little piece of information. Wiping the gel off of his stomach, he swung his legs over and faced his lover. Over Walter's shoulder he could see John and Alex feigning disinterest in the corner.
"There's something else Smith told me about the pregnancy...apparently they are fraternal twins and there are two different fathers. One of the babies is yours."
"Mine? How?" Mulder watched as his lover sat down on the edge of the table, his eyes wide with shock.
"Well, that's a good question. Apparently I had a little visit from the rebel alien fairy at some point. I'm trying to think back to when I might be missing some time, but I'm not sure...and then there's the question of how they got samples of your DNA..."
Walter took a minute to absorb that, his eyes coming to rest on Mulder's stomach. "You said one of them is mine...what about the other one?"
Scully crossed her arms at this point and stared in the corner where Doggett and Krycek were still standing, though they had dropped all pretense of minding their own business. Mulder was irritated at her reaction and took Walter's hand as he stood up and faced Alex as well.
"According to Smith...Alex is the other father."
Scully watched as Krycek took a sudden step forward and then halt, staring incredulously at Mulder. He seemed genuinely shocked, but she wasn't completely convinced. The rebels had apparently abducted Mulder at some point in order to perform this experiment and the last time he'd been taken, Alex Krycek had sent him right into the trap.
Had he helped the rebels in return for impregnating Mulder? His behavior lately had suggested he was unusually possessive of her former partner. As for Skinner's DNA being used, Krycek still had the palm pilot last she knew - he could easily have incapacitated the A.D. long enough to get what he needed.
It was enough, on top of all of the past betrayals and lies, to make her seriously doubt his sincerity.
Mulder, for some reason, didn't seem to despite the fact that he admitted that Krycek could block his telepathy at will.
She wasn't sure, but she thought that Doggett agreed with her assessment.
"Well, you can always do a paternity test 'after' the birth, isn't that right Agent Scully."
Scully nodded and gathered the printouts she'd made from the ultrasound. "Yes, if Mulder wants to wait... And as for the birth - well, obviously it will have to be a surgical procedure..."
Krycek was still absolutely silent, but he took one of the printouts still on the table and traced the outline of one of heads that was visible in the picture.
Skinner watched his lover turn off the bathroom light and walk around the bed to his side. He was wearing a white bathrobe and the contrast with his golden skin made him seem exotic. The slightest bulge at the belt line only enhanced that.
Mulder lay down with a weary sigh before rolling over to face him. "I'm exhausted. I don't know how I'm going to manage to get up in the morning..."
"You should take a sick day - in fact we should arrange for additional sick time for you. I can talk to Kersh-"
"I'm sure he'd be thrilled - and I really don't want to try and explain to him that I'd be needing maternity time in a five months." Mulder rolled his eyes and unbelted his robe, the slight rise of his stomach fascinated both of them for several minutes.
"You're going to have to take a leave, you know...or quit all together. You're starting to show and it won't be long before people are talking about Spooky Mulder's amazing abilities."
Mulder didn't look at him or even smile at his joke. "I know," he said quietly.
It was time to change the subject. "So now we have a free loader on our couch out there - what are we going to do about him?"
Mulder chuckled finally. "Charge him rent. He's part of this, Walter...whether we like it or not."
Now it was Walter's turn to sigh. "I suppose so..."
In the den Alex lay listening to the faint murmur of Skinner and Mulder's voices coming from the bedroom. The light from the balcony was just enough to be irritating.
Hell, just the 'sight' of the balcony was irritating. He remembered being handcuffed to the railing all those years ago - shivering and struggling to find the least painful position to sit in. It was a memory best left forgotten in some cubbyhole of his mind, but the damn light and sound of Mulder chuckling at something Skinner said made him grit his teeth further.
What was he doing here? His life did NOT revolve around Mulder and his little mishaps. He used to have goals...plans...places to go, people to see. And here he was sleeping on Walter Skinner's white fucking couch while Mulder slept in a big comfy bed with his lover.
Alex growled and grabbed his jacket as he got to his feet to leave. A piece of paper slipped from the inside pocket and fluttered to the ground. He bent and picked it up, it was the picture he'd taken from the doctor's office. The blurry figures of the babies held him in thrall once more.
Damn it...he couldn't leave. He dropped his jacket and lay back down on the couch, gun under his pillow and picture clutched in his hand as he finally fell asleep.
To Be Continued...
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