Time of Your Life-Ch.3-Aliens Among Us

by Emerald Starburst


Title: Time of Your Life
Author: Emerald Starburst
E-mail: emeraldstarburst@fuse.net
Website: emeraldsnotepad.com/index.php
Fandoms: Law & Order/X-Files
Archive: X-Files Fuq-Q-Fest Archive, emeraldsnotepad.com/index.php, WWOMB Rating: NC-17.
Feedback: Please! Onlist or private e-mail. Categories: Alternate Universe. Mpreg. Crossover-Law & Order/X-Files. Summary: Oops! Someone is pregnant. Whatever shall they do? Pairing: Fox Mulder/Mike Logan
Warnings: M/M. Mpreg. Mention of past child abuse. Mention of Het. Disclaimer: The Usual. I don't own them. Wish I did. Just borrowing them for awhile to play. Not making any money here. Honest. Authors Notes: Originally written for the X-Files Fuh-Q-Fest #1 In this Alternate Universe, male pregnancy is possible though very rare. #2 Inspired by authors like nikita and rose campion. #3 Special thanks to nikita for being a wonderful beta and suggesting an X-Files spin to the mpreg.
Challenges: #1 Crossover with another show. #2 Mulder must at one point say, "You are naked and you are not in your right mind." #3 Write an MPREG into the story.
Additional Notes: // indicates thoughts. XXX indicates flashbacks.


Nineteen Weeks
Logan Apartment

"Well, here we are," said Mulder, as he held the door open for Mike. Mike's iron level had gone up and his blood pressure had gone down, so Dr. Temple had discharged him with two sheets of strict do and don't and two big bottles of pills.

"Yeah, home sweet jail." Mulder sighed. Mike had at least one week of bed rest ahead of him, and when he was allowed back to work it would be to a desk. As a result, Mike was pissed.

"Mike, come on. Try to make the best of it. Look at it as a mini-vacation." Mike just looked at him. "Well, you can catch up on your reading."

"Yeah. 'What to Expect When You're Expecting/The Dual-Sexed Edition'. I thought the doc was kidding until she actually brought out the book." Mike walked over to the couch and sat down. He sighed and laid his head back.

"Mike..."

"I know, I'm supposed to be in bed. I'll get there in a minute."

"Okay. Fine. As long as you're up, are you hungry?"

"Starving." Ever since his anemia resolved, Mike's appetite had kicked in with a vengeance. "I'd love a steak, but I'll settle for pizza."

"It's no problem, I've got a couple of steaks in the refrigerator. Are potatoes and a salad alright?"

"You went shopping?" Mike asked, puzzled. He looked around for the first time since he came home. He'd let Mulder stay at his apartment, since he'd come barreling into New York without so much as a toothbrush. Mike expected the place to be picked up a little but...

"Did you hire a maid?"

"Funny, Mike," Mulder called from the kitchenette. "You aren't exactly a slob, and it doesn't take that long to clean up an efficiency apartment. Plus, the only food you had was an almost empty bag of stale bagels and half a quart of milk. Which I found on the kitchen counter, by the way, rapidly turning into cottage cheese. That made grocery shopping something of a necessity."

Mike closed his eyes and laid his head back down. "I forgot to put it back. Damn."

Mulder was about to remind him that Dr. Temple had warned him that memory lapses were common during pregnancy, but he decided against it. "I'll put the steaks on," he said aloud.

Mike laid down on the couch and watched while Mulder puttered around his tiny kitchen. True, he wasn't a slob, but his apartment usually had the lived in look of many professionals' apartments where the owner spent little time actually living there. All the surfaces were dusted, the carpet was vacuumed, and the bed was made. Somebody was taking care of Mike Logan, and he wasn't sure how he felt about that. Could Mulder...Fox...really care about him? Or did he just feel guilty about the baby?

While the food was cooking, Mulder pondered the enlightening talk with Dr. Temple about the DS facts of life.

XXX"Here you are," announced Dr. Temple as she spread her papers on the beside table. Mike was sitting up in bed, and Mulder sat beside him. Both leaned over the table and looked intently at what the doctor had brought them.

"Okay," said Mike. "What are we looking at?"

"This," said Dr. Temple, as she tapped at a picture labeled illustration #1, "is a diagram of the female uterus."

"Yeah," said Mulder, regarding the inverted pear-like structure. "I recognize it from first year biology. And?"

"And this," she now pointed to illustration #2, "is the uterus of an individual with DS."

After a few seconds, Mike remarked, "It looks like a pair of tube socks."

"Absolutely fascinating, isn't it? What you're seeing is a deeply bicornate uterus, almost a double uterus."

"Uteri," Mike remarked absently. Mulder did a mental double-take. There was a great deal more to Mike Logan than met the eye, and every now and then little things like this would remind him of it.

"Actually," said Mulder, "it looks familiar, but I can't think from where."

"You must have had some advanced training in biology," said Dr. Temple knowingly.

"Advanced Forensic Science---Oh, my God," said Mulder suddenly. "Cats!"

"Cats?" asked Mike in bewilderment.

"Cats are often used as subjects in dissection classes. Yuck," said Mulder. "I almost failed that class. When I saw the insides of that cat, I threw up on the professor."

Mike rolled his eyes. "This from the guy who strolls around crime scenes with dismembered corpses, through labs analyzing various bodily fluids, and I saw you interrogate the Staten Island Grave Robber. Did he ever go on and on about fingers and noses and..."

"Hey, I was twenty. Cut me some slack here." Mulder was starting to enjoy the conversation, but Dr. Temple cleared her throat and the men decided to behave.

"Yes," said Dr. Temple, agreeing with Mulder's prior statement, "the uterus is remarkably similar to that of the cat. In a way, it's a shame Mr. Logan is only carrying one baby. The DS uterus could theoretically support between four and six. It's almost as if someone designed it for that very purpose."

Mike saw Mulder pale and laughed. "I know how you feel! The thought of carrying six babies doesn't for much for me either."

That wasn't what was making Mulder ill. //My God,// he thought, //is that what they were planning? Human incubators for their hybrid slaves?// Mulder added another item to his list of Things To Tell Mike After The Baby Is Born. It was becoming a lengthy list.

"So how's the kid going to get out?" Mike asked. Mulder winced. He had a very good idea of the answer.

"Well, Mr. Logan, the same way it went in."

"I want drugs," he said a second later.

"We can discuss birthing options at a later..."

"Drugs. Lots of them."

"Well, you can't have 'lots of them', but an epideral is certainly a possibility."

"Great. I want that."

"Mike," said Mulder, desperately trying not to laugh, "you have nearly five months to decide. Let's let Dr. Temple finish telling us about the nuts and bolts, okay?"

"I already decided," he said, but he settled back down to listen.

"Very well. Here we have the anus, and the rectum, just as everyone has, though in this instance they double as the birth canal." She pointed to the illustration again, "Where the sigmoid colon would be, is the cervix. Normally, it remains closed off, until it's stimulated to open by the presence of sperm. Or at least that's the prevailing theory. Ovulation occurs at that time as well."

"That's why Mike doesn't have a period?" Which was a good thing. Mike with PMS did not bear thinking about. "He only ovulates when...ah..."

"He engages in anal intercourse," finished Dr. Temple. "You have it in a nutshell."XXX

The oven timer went off, and Mulder went to check on the steaks.

An hour later, they had finished dinner, and Mike was stripped down to t-shirt and boxers and settled in bed. Mulder, despite Mike's protests, was propping him up with pillows and generally fussing around him.

"You don't have to do this," Mike said for the third time.

"I know I don't have to, Mike. I want to do this. I care about you and the baby. I missed four and half months of this. Let me play catch-up, okay?"

Mike muttered under his breath, but he stopped fighting the attention. After Mike was arranged to Mulder's satisfaction, he went to the couch and pulled out a box he had stored behind it. "Here," he said, handing Mike the box. "Call it a belated baby gift."

Damn, but the box was heavy. Mike popped the lid and nestled inside was a laptop computer. "What is this for? I can't accept this!"

"Yes, you can, and I did it for very selfish reasons. You were the world's worse patient in the hospital, and I don't> expect that to change while you're stuck at home. Now, you have a nice new toy to play with so you don't get bored and drive me insane. Say, thank you, Mike," he prodded.

Mike gave one of his trademark half grins. "Thank you, Mike," he said sweetly.

Mulder snorted. "George Burns just rolled over in his grave. Would you like to see how it works?"

Mulder was just getting to the part about the wireless modem, when there was a knock at the door.

"Who's there?" he yelled through the door.

"Mulder. open up, it's me."

//Oh, God,// thought Mulder as he opened the door to let his partner in. Scully was standing in the hallway with a suitcase he recognized as his own. "I only asked you to send me the clothes, not bring them yourself."

"Sure," she huffed, breezing past Mulder and tossing the suitcase on the couch. "After the message you sent Kersh, you expected me to just twiddle my thumbs in D.C. until you deigned to tell me what the hell was going on?"

"Hello, Agent Scully," said Mike. He stood up, ignored Mulder's frown, and put his hand on the small of his back. Damn, his back was sore.

Scully opened her mouth to utter a scathing reply. Then she closed it, her eyes wide in shock. "Scully?" said Mulder, worried.

"You're pregnant!" she said.

"And you're a witch! Mulder did you..."

"Not a word. Honest." Mulder looked at Mike carefully, and then he saw what Scully saw. He smiled.

"What?" said Mike, irritably.

"Well, you're not really showing yet, but apparently the baby has gotten big enough to shift your center of gravity. You 'stand' like a pregnant person. Especially when you put your hand on your back." Mike quickly pulled his hand away.

"Crap."

"I take it," she asked with a little ire in her voice, "that the reason you're here is that you're the...other parent?" Mulder hated it when she spoke in that tone.

"That's right."

Scully nodded briefly and then slapped the back of his head.

"Ow! What was that for?" The slap had really hurt.

"For being an idiot. Both of you. You're too old not to know better than to engage in unsafe sex."

"Swell." Mulder rubbed his head. "Mike, please get back to bed. We'll talk, okay? All of us," he said in answer to the look Mike and Scully were giving him. Mulder had put off the inevitable long enough. He had to start thinking of himself and Mike as a couple, and that meant bringing him up to speed about who Fox Mulder really was, or at least hit the highlights. 'Everything' would take a few years!

Two Hours Later

Mike was sitting on the closed lid of the toilet seat listening to Mulder pound on the door.

"Oh, come on, Mike! You can't stay locked in the bathroom forever!"

//Wanna bet?// he thought. //Dear God, I'm having the child of a crazy person who thinks he was abducted by aliens from outer space! Who thinks aliens are out to take over the world. Who thinks---God knows what else. God! What did I do to piss you off!//

"Mike." This time it was Scully. "I know you don't want to hear this, but everything Mulder told you was the truth."

//And he's got his partner brainwashed!//

"Mike," said Mulder, "please come out! If Scully can't convince you I'm telling the truth, I can get some others. How about an Assistant Director of the FBI? Hell, I can get two to back me up!"

Mike took some deep breaths. "I think that you 'believe' what you're saying. That's what scares me!"

//Damn,// thought Mulder, //and I didn't even tell him the worst part. I definitely don't tell Mike about the aliens being responsible for DS. At least not until the baby is born.//

"Mike," said Mulder, "okay, I get that you don't believe me about the aliens. That's alright. There's only one thing that I need you to believe."

Mike tensed. //What now? Werewolves? The Easter Bunny? Elvis lives?// "What?" he asked aloud.

"I care about you and our baby, and I would never do anything to harm either of you."

Mike rested his head on the edge of the sink and thought. Hard.

"Mike?"

The lock clicked open and, to Mulder and Scully's relief, Mike walked out."You will never talk about any of this again," said Mike. "As far as I'm concerned, you have a weird hobby that I will try to pretend you never mentioned. Is that clear?" "As crystal," said Mulder, holding his hands up in surrender.

Twenty Weeks

Six days went by. Mike ate, slept, and played with the laptop. He did not say one word to Mulder.

Mulder, sitting on the couch pretending to read a book, looked at Mike surreptitiously and worried. //I wanted us to be a couple, and I didn't want any secrets between us, so I told him the truth. Will be ever trust me again?//

The phone rang and Mulder answered. "Hello."

"Hi, Mulder."

"Hi, Scully." Mike had looked up briefly when the phone rang, but he went back to the keyboard when he heard Scully's name. He studiously avoided Mulder's eyes.

"So, is Mike talking to you yet?"

Mulder sighed. "No."

"Well, what did you expect? The man just got out of the hospital, and you hit him with this."

"Thank you for your support. You called because...?"

"Delahaney."

"Who?"

"AD Delahaney. The head of the New York office? He wants to meet with us to discuss our transfer."

"Today?"

Mulder could almost hear Scully roll her eyes. "Mulder, after that email you sent to Kersh, you're lucky you're still in the FBI." The day after Mulder learned of Mike's condition, he sent an email to AD Kersh requesting an immediate transfer to the New York office. 'And if my request is denied, please consider this my resignation.'

"I am, too," Mulder agreed. "I meant it, though."

"I know," she acknowledged in a softer tone. "Can you be there in an hour?"

"I don't know. I hate to leave Mike alone."

"I don't need a keeper," Mike said. "If you have something to do, just go."

Finally! Mike was talking to him. He still wouldn't look Mulder in the eye, but he was talking.

"Scully, I'll see you there."

Scully said goodby and broke the connection. Mulder put the phone down and faced Mike.

"So, are you over being mad?"

Mike stayed silent so long, Mulder thought he wasn't going to respond. Just as he was about to turn away, "I wasn't mad."

"Then why haven't you been talking to me?"

"You scared me. Just when I thought we were moving closer together, bam, you hit me with this alien garbage. It's not that you believe in this stuff that bothers me, Fox. I've met some people who believe in weirder stuff. It just smacked me between the eyes that we really don't know a thing about each other." Mike unconsciously wrapped his arms protectively around his belly. "I'm pregnant with a stranger's child."

"Christ, Mike!" Mulder felt like having a minor emotional outburst of his own, and he decided to indulge. "I could give you chapter and verse about Fox William Mulder, and you know what? We would still be strangers, because all I could tell you would be facts. And facts are not what people are about. Facts are not what turn people from strangers into lovers. Feelings are what make the difference. Feelings and shared experiences.

"The few weeks we spent together last December told me all I needed to know about you, Mike. You're a warm, intelligent, passionate man. You feel about your work much the same way that I do. You care about people, maybe too much. And," Mulder took a deep breath and took the plunge, "I love you."

Mike said nothing. He looked down at the floor, but Mulder could see his hands shaking slightly. "Before, in the hospital, you said that the man you used to see in your dreams was the monster that molested you. Now, all you can see is me.

"Can you still see only me?"

Mulder pulled on his jacket and left the apartment. Mike stared at the door.

"Damn you," he said to the empty room. "Damn you and God help me, yes. I still see only you."

Fifteen Minutes later

Alex Krycek appeared in the passenger seat and Mulder nearly veered into oncoming traffic.

"Fuck, Krycek!" Mulder swore. "You could give a person some warning!"

"Turn around, Mulder."

"What?"

"Logan is in danger. Turn around!"

"Shit!" Mulder made an illegal u-turn, leaving honking horns and shrieking brakes in his wake.

"It would be useful to get there alive," Krycek snarked just before he vanished.

Same time
Logan Apartment

Mike's furious self-examination was interrupted by a knock at the door. Mike swore, got up, and looked through the peephole. Surprised, he opened the door.

"Lieutenant Stobar, what are you doing here?"

The Lieutenant didn't answer. He just raised his eyebrows in an, 'Aren't you going to invite me in' expression.

Mike sighed. "Come in."

Stobar came in and Mike shut the door behind him. Mike wished he was wearing something besides a set of gray sweats and socks, but he decided to make the best of it.

"Well, what brings you..." That was as far as he got before a hand grabbed the front of his shirt, lifted him like a rag doll, and then threw him across the room. Mike hit the far wall spread-eagled and then slid down to the floor.

Mike shook his head to clear it, looked at his attacker, and then he shook his head again. For a moment it looked as if Stobar's face was shimmering. Mike looked up again. The face stopped shimmering and became someone else. A white male in his late thirties, short dark-blond hair, and a build that a prizefighter would behold with awe.

"What the hell?" Mike's words were cut off when the man reached down, grabbed him by the throat, and hauled him up. Mike could feel the hand cutting into his airway, and he fought to get air. He hit his attacker as hard as he could on the face, neck, and body, but it was like hitting a granite wall. Mike willed himself to stay conscious, somehow knowing that once he blacked out he was dead. But he was losing the battle.

"Please," he forced out with the little bit of air still in his lungs. "Baby. Going to..."

"Don't worry," said the man. The total lack of emotion in his voice and on his face chilled Mike to the bone. He watched helplessly as the blond man reached in his pocket with his other hand and brought out large hunting knife. "I won't cut it out until you're dead."

//No! Oh, God, please. I'm so sorry, Fox. I didn't believe you, and now our baby is going to die. I didn't tell you I loved you. Please, someone, help!//

Mike's eyesight was beginning to gray around the edges, and he heard a dull pop he could have sworn was a gunshot. Abruptly, the huge hand let go and the face, still without expression, fell away. In it's place, Mike saw Mulder in a shooter's stance, holding a smoking gun.

In a shuddering sob, Mike pulled air into his starved lungs. As he exhaled, he said, "Fox." His voice was barely more than a whisper.

At once, Fox was at his side, pulling him up and away. "Mike, help me, we've got to get you out of here."

"Fox..."

"Mike, come on!" Mike last view of the interior of his apartment was the image of his assailant dissolving into a puddle of green slime. Mike lay in the hallway panting and trying to get his breath back. Mulder propped him against the wall, said, "I'll be right back." He was halted by Mike's hand on his sleeve, holding the fabric in a death grip.

"Mike..."

"I love you," he wheezed.

Mulder's eyes popped. "He hit you in the head, didn't he?"

"I love you," Mike repeated. "Thought I was...dying...never get...to tell you."

Mulder gently pried Mike's fingers loose from his suit and he held the hand in his. "It's okay. It's going to be okay. Trust me."

"Always." Mulder heard alarm bells going off in his head. This was not good, but he didn't have time to analyze Mike's behavior right now. He ran back into the apartment and came back a few seconds later with Mike's shoes. He pushed them onto his feet, pulled him upright, and started walking them to the elevator.

"Where...?" Mike started to ask.

"Save your breath. Downstairs to the car. We need to get you away from here."

"Police..." Mike wheezed.

"We'll talk in the car. There may be more of them around."

A few minutes later, they were seated in Mulder's car. Mike said, "Okay." He swallowed, his throat was still sore, but it was easier to speak. "Okay, we're out of the apartment. Let's call the police."

"And tell them what? Officer, I was attacked by an alien bounty hunter. The father of my baby killed him. The body? Oh, that dissolved into a puddle of green goo."

Mike opened his mouth, shut it, then whispered, "Damn."

"Damn is right. Best case scenario, they laugh us out of the precinct. Worst case, they call Children's Services and arrange to take our baby away."

Mike felt cold fear fill his stomach. "I have been more afraid since I've been pregnant than I have in all my years as a cop. Shit!" Mulder noted that Mike was still hoarse. He reached over and touched his throat. Mike winced.

"We've got to get you to a hospital." Mike shook his head, suddenly very tired. "You said..."

"I meant we couldn't tell them the truth. At least not all of it. But you need medical attention, if only to keep Dr. Temple off our backs."

"I think my brain is still oxygen deprived. Why would the doc be on our case?"

"Mike, you have an appointment with Dr. Temple tomorrow. The doctor will examine you. She will see the bruises. Hell, I can see them already," Mulder said with dismay as the purplish-blue blotches started appearing on Mike's throat. "If we don't go to the emergency room, we don't report an assault, and we refuse to tell her how you were injured, what do you think she's going to do?"
Mike thought quickly. "Christ, she'll report a suspected case of Domestic Violence."
"And once there's a police report to that effect, it'll haunt us forever."
"What do we do?"
"Let me think. The best lies consist of partial truths." Mulder put his profiler's brain to work on the problem.


Twenty minutes later
Hospital ER

The physician pulled the curtain around the examination table and smiled at his next patient. "What seems to be the trouble?"

"I was mugged."

Fox waited outside the curtained area. He was wondering why the chairs in hospitals were always hard and uncomfortable when the curtain was pulled back.

"You can come in now, " said the doctor.

"How is he?"

"Everything seems good. The bruises look worse than they are. The swelling in the larynx is a bit worrisome, so we'll keep Mr. Logan overnight for that. The fetal heartbeat is strong, but we've notified Dr Temple to be safe. Her service told us she's on her way. I'd also like our own OB to take a look.

"Ah," he continued, "here he comes. We're fortunate that the head of the department was available."

"Hello," said the new doctor, a personable, balding, middle-aged man. He held out his hand. "My name is Dr. Delbert."

"Touch me and you die," Mike said. To Mulder's amazement, he was dead serious.

"Now, sir, I know you're a little stressed. Just let me take a look." Still smiling, he patted Mike on the shoulder.


Thirty Minutes later

"I can't believe you!" Mulder shouted. "Do you know you broke that man's nose!"

"I told him not to touch me," Mike answered smugly.

"That's the only reason he's not pressing charges! Plus, you're pregnant and you were just mugged. A good lawyer could probably get you off with a diminished capacity defense." Yet, all the while Mulder was ranting, inside he was cheering. //Yes! This is the hotheaded Irishman I fell in love with! He's okay!//

"Man, I should have gotten pregnant years ago. You can get away with murder."

"Mike," Mulder hissed. "An explanation would be very good right now!"

"I'd like to hear that myself," said Dr. Temple. "Hello, Mr. Mulder. Well, Mr. Logan? Do you assault all your obstetricians? Understand, I have a vested interest in the answer."

"Only the ones I arrest." Mike smiled. "I guess the good doctor didn't recognize me without my handcuffs."

Silence.

"Mr. Logan, you arrested Dr. Delbert? He's one of the most respected obstetricians in New York State!"

"He's also a crook. Hey, Fox, remind me not to have the baby at this hospital. I don't like their hiring practices."

Dr. Temple looked thoughtful. "I do remember some talk about some shady financial dealings, but I'm sure that has nothing to do with his skills as a physician."

Mike snorted in disgust. "He's a psycho with delusions of grandeur! The only reason he's not in Sing Sing is that none of his victims would press charges."

"Okay, Mike," said Mulder, "you wouldn't be this upset about a fraud case. What did the good doctor do to get your Irish up?"

"You mean other than inseminate all his female patients with his own sperm?"

Dr. Temple gasped, "What?"

"His own sperm. He had about thirty offspring and counting when we had to drop the case."

"That can't be legal," said Fox.

"It isn't...now. At the time, there were no laws in place to protect people from that kind of unethical conduct."

"That's incredible," said Dr. Temple. She took off her glasses, cleaned them, and them put them back on. "Well, in that case, a broken nose was too good for him.

"Now, tell me how this happened. You were supposed to be on bed rest," she informed her patient sternly.

Mike took a deep breath and gave her the story he and Mulder had come up with.

"I know, I know, but I was going stir crazy. I just went downstairs for a breath of air, five minutes tops, then I was going right back to bed.

"I'd just walked outside when this lowlife comes up to me, pulls out a knife and says, 'Give me your wallet.' Well, I didn't have a wallet. The bastard doesn't believe me, throws me against the building and starts choking the life out of me. He must have been on something, because I hit him hard, and it didn't faze him. He was about to gut me when I heard Fox yelling."

Mulder supplied his part of the story. "I'd forgotten my cell phone, and I went back to get it." Before driving to he hospital, he tossed his phone in the trunk. If for some reason the police felt compelled to search for it, he could explain it must have fallen there. "I saw what was going on, pulled out my gun, and told the guy to let Mike go or I'd shoot. The perp dropped Mike and took off running. I thought getting Mike to the hospital took precedence over catching the bastard, and here we are."

"Understandable. Well, let's check you out, Mr. Logan."

"Mike. It's getting really awkward calling each other Dr. Temple and Mr. Logan."

"Whatever you're the most comfortable with. I'm Irene."

"And I'm Mulder," Mulder quipped. "Only people I sleep with get to call me Fox. Right, Mike?"

"Right, Fox."

Dr Temple rolled her eyes and started her examination. Mulder went to make a belated phone call to Scully.


That Night
The Hospital

"This sucks," said Mike, trying to get comfortable in his hospital bed. "I just got out of the hospital."

"Well, I have something to keep you busy," Mulder said, and presented Mike with some sections of various newspapers.

"Real estate ads? What for?"

"Mike, you live in a one room apartment. Where are we going to put the kid? The bathtub? We need a house."

"A house? How can we afford a house? You on the take?"

Mulder smiled. "No, but my parents left me some property. I'll sell it. It should be enough for a decent house."

"You're already moving your whole life to New York. I feel bad taking all your money. Besides, you should be putting some of this away for William." Mulder was silent. "Fox?"

"William is no longer my responsibility," Mulder responded softly. "Scully is engaged to marry Walter Skinner, my old boss at the X-Files."

"Okay. So?"

"So, they asked me to surrender my parental rights so Walter can adopt William."

"Crap! They've got no right to do that!"

"Yes, they do. I wasn't around for them when they needed me, Mike. Walter was. It wasn't my fault, but it's the way it is. William calls him Daddy," Mulder concluded.

"Son of a bitch. You really love that kid, don't you?"

Mulder nodded. "I love him enough not to play tug of war with his affections. Scully and Walter love him, too. I'll be around, just not as his Dad. I'll be Uncle Mulder."

Mike reached out for him. Mulder climbed into the bed and they held each other close. "You know, this is the closest we've been since Christmas without some kind of crisis going on?"

Mike buried his nose in Mulder's hair and took a deep breath. "It feels good."

"Yeah, it does."

Silence.

"Fox, something just occurred to me. How 'did' you know I was in trouble?"

//Oh, God. Well, it was nice while it lasted.// Mulder sighed. "Mike, are you sure you want to know?"

"It's something weird?" Mulder nodded silently. "Yes, I want to know. I get the feeling it is no longer safe for me to live in ignorance."

"Agreed. This is big, though. I've never even told Scully about this, and I tell Scully everything." Mulder took a deep breath. "I see dead people."

Silence, and then, Mike started laughing.

"Uh, Mike, you're not hysterical, are you?"

Mike shook his head, still laughing. "No, I think I just reached my mind-boggle threshold. I don't think I'll ever be shocked by anything you tell me again."

"Don't make any wagers," Mulder warned. Then he joined in the laughter. He figured they might as well enjoy it while they could.
 

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