TITLE: Almost Home (17/?)
AUTHOR: Shoshana
EMAIL ADDRESS: shoshana1013@excite.com
DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT: Gossamer, Spookys site, Xemplary,
etc.
SPOILER WARNING: Seventh season episodes through Requiem.
RATING: NC-17 (Most of the story is rated R, NC-17 parts will be
clearly marked)
CONTENT STATEMENT: MSR
CLASSIFICATION: SRA
KEYWORDS: Mulder/Scully Romance
SUMMARY: Post ep for Requiem. Mulder comes back... but he's
missing something.
DISCLAIMER: These characters do not belong to me.
NOTE: Thanks to my great beta readers Keleka, Lisa and Sallie!

Almost Home (17/?)
By Shoshana

February 25nd, 2001
Sunday
12:30 p.m.
US Highway One
Rhode Island

"So when are you two lovebirds gonna tie the knot?" Bill asked the
agents, glancing to the backseat of the rental car.

"Bill!" scolded Maggie Scully, seated next to him in the front.

Scully sighed with resignation, then lifted her wrist in the air to
check her watch. "It only took you fifteen minutes to pester Mulder,
Bill. I'm touched by your restraint."

Mrs. Scully turned to her son and added, "Fox just got out of the
hospital, Bill. Leave Dana and him alone. I'm sure you'll be one of
the first to know--after me, that is."

Maggie half-turned in her seat, smiling at her daughter and Mulder.
Mulder seemed embarrassed at her scrutiny, managing a forced smile in
return.

"If we're going to be together in this car for almost eight hours,
Mom, I might as well get the burning question over with, don't you
think?" Bill responded, glancing quickly at his mom.

His hands were gripping the steering wheel tightly, unfazed by his
mother's reprimand. He enjoyed putting Mulder on the spot about his
sister's pregnancy. He was surprised they hadn't rushed over to a
local justice court and done the deed as soon as possible. He
would--if it were Tara in Dana's position.

"I agree," Mulder voiced from the back seat.

Scully shot him a glare, annoyed he might fall for Bill's taunts.
She knew Mulder couldn't resist reacting to Bill, especially when it
involved the subject of marriage. She knew why they hadn't wed
immediately; she'd resisted Mulder's proposal, hoping he'd recover
some of his memories. He'd done so in the last twenty-four hours,
and there was a good chance he'd remember more of the last eight
years shortly.

She knew nothing stood in the way of matrimony now, but she didn't
want to explain Mulder's memory loss to her brother. Bill probably
still believed Mulder had been AWOL the last five months. She didn't
feel the need to encourage his cynicism about her partner.

She also was concerned about something else, pressing her palm
across Mulder's mouth before he could utter another word.

"Mulder, I don't think this is the place," she warned.

He gently pulled her fingers away from his lips and entwined their
hands on the seat beside them. "Scully, there's no way this car is
bugged. Your mom told me they didn't have time to reserve a rental.
No one knew Bill was going to rent it in Newport."

"Why all the paranoia? Are you guys being followed around by
aliens?" Bill asked sarcastically.

"Bill, please stop. You have no idea what Fox and Dana are going
through. I probably know more about that than you do, and as your
mother, I'm going to have to ask you to ease off. They don't deserve
this kind of treatment," Maggie advised her son.

"Look, there's a really simple explanation to why Dana and I weren't
married the day I got back from Oregon--" Mulder began.

"Mulder! You don't have to do this," Scully interrupted.

"No, I do, Scully. I want Bill and Maggie to know." He'd just
started to call Scully's mother 'Maggie' that morning, at her
request. It rolled off his tongue awkwardly, and he had to pause to
collect his thoughts. After a beat, he continued, "I couldn't marry
Dana because I couldn't remember her."

Maggie turned all the way around in her seat as she let out a little
gasp. She extended her hand to Mulder, and asked in a worried tone,
"What did they do to you, Fox? Are you going to be all right?"

Mulder leaned forward and took her hand, squeezing once lightly,
smiling at her encouragingly. "I'll be fine, Maggie. We think it's
starting to reverse itself. That's why I had this episode last
night," he explained.

"So how'd you recognize my sister last Monday? I heard she was over
at your apartment when you came home," Bill asked curiously.

"It's really none of your business how he knew me, Bill. He came
home to his apartment and I was there waiting for him. End of
discussion," she snapped at her brother.

"Scully, it's all right. I don't mind telling him, or your mother.
I want both of you to understand that I had every intention of
marrying Scully from the very first night I got back. No, I didn't
recognize her immediately. In fact, I even pulled a gun on her when
I found her in my bedroom."

Bill and Maggie's mouths dropped open at this revelation. Bill
stared in the rear view mirror, eyeing his future brother-in-law.
Mulder was pleased to render Bill speechless, but didn't want to
upset Mrs. Scully, so he continued, "It took me about thirty seconds
to drop my weapon once I saw it was a pregnant woman. I would never
harm Dana--both of you know that."

Scully stayed silent, her arms crossed tightly over her chest. She
wasn't happy about Mulder's candor, but she knew she couldn't prevent
him from relating the story to her family. He seemed to be getting
some pleasure out of making Bill squirm. She was trying to stay
neutral, but she was relishing a little Bill Scully torture herself.

Maggie placed her hand on her son's shoulder, stilling his next
comment. She had her own questions to ask. "Dana, how can this be?
How have you been coping all week if Mulder didn't remember you?"

"I remembered her," interjected Mulder. He caught Scully's
frustrated glare and apologized, "Sorry, Scully."

"It's okay, Mulder. I think it might be better if you explained it
anyway. I'm the skeptic, right? I think it's a lot easier for you
to explicate your own theories. Not that I don't see some truth in
this one. I do. You go ahead and I'll listen, too."

Mulder reached over to take her hand, but directed his gaze at
Maggie and Bill. "They, whoever held me captive, tried to rob me of
eight years of my life by wiping out my memories. But the
subconscious mind must work in mysterious ways--I knew I was in
the right place, that I belonged with Dana. I didn't recognize her
face immediately, but other senses told me who she is, what she means
to me."

He turned to look at his partner fondly, who returned his attention
with a warm smile. Maggie's expression was still serious; she wanted
to know more about the connection with his collapse the night before.

"You regained your memory? What about your health? Are you going
to have more incidents like last night?" Maggie inquired.

"I gained back some of last year's memories. It's like a big jigsaw
puzzle. The pieces keep coming back slowly, and I only remember
stuff from the last year or so," Mulder responded. He faltered on
the question of his fitness, glancing over at Scully, entreating her
to answer for him.

"We don't know if he'll have another episode, Mom. We'll have to be
careful; stay near a phone, near civilization. I'm afraid he's not
going back in the field as quickly as he'd like," she remarked,
lowering her eyes to their joined hands.

She hadn't broached this subject with Mulder, but she was sure he
knew the score. He couldn't return to active duty for awhile, at
least until they were fairly confident he wouldn't have excruciating
headaches, followed by total blackouts.

"Can you take a leave of absence?" Bill asked, his tone more
sympathetic, more accepting than before.

"I won't do that. I'll work out of the office until we decipher the
medical problem. I'm sure *we* will," he said, looking over at
Scully for confirmation.

Scully lifted her downcast eyes, offering Mulder a reassuring smile.
She had her doubts, but now was not the time to voice them. She
didn't know how to prevent any more trips to the emergency room, at
least not yet. She'd make him see a neurologist, perhaps get a
prescription for something to prevent seizures. She didn't feel
qualified to make the decision herself, but knew Mulder would listen
to a specialist about this. He wouldn't want to jeopardize her or
the baby by becoming seriously ill unexpectedly.

"You'll both be fine. You always have been," Maggie said soothingly.

Scully leaned forward in her seat, grasping her mom's hands in her
own. "Thanks, Mom. I knew you'd understand." She turned her head
to her now taciturn brother and said, "Thanks, Bill. For trying to
understand. I know it's hard for you," she added lightheartedly.

"I'm not a total jerk, am I, Mulder?" Bill joked, glancing first at
his sister, than in the rear view mirror at the man behind him.

"Honestly? I don't remember anything about our previous encounters
with one another, Bill. I have a few notes in my journal, but they
don't bias me about you one way or the other. I'm sure I'll remember
you eventually, but I don't think animosity in the past is worth
worrying about. I don't see any reasons we can't be friendly. I
want to be part of Scully's family--I don't have anyone left in my
own."

Mulder's voice wavered on his final words, and he swiftly averted
his eyes from both Bill and his mother. Scully caressed his hand
lightly with her thumb, wishing she felt bold enough to embrace him
in front of her relatives. It wasn't often Mulder laid bare his
insecurities in front of strangers. She knew he'd seen her mother in
the last year, but she wasn't sure that memory was available to him
yet. She was positive Mulder hadn't seen Bill since 1998, when she'd
tried to adopt Emily.

She'd seen Mulder show his emotions in the company of other men
before, but this was her brother, a man she was sure he wanted to
impress. Scully wanted to take him in her arms, reassuring him that
Bill wouldn't think any less if he broke down into sobs there and
then. She decided against it, sensing Mulder's need to maintain some
dignity after revealing a vulnerability of which only she knew.

Mulder had been lost emotionally for weeks after his mother's
suicide, and despite his statements to the contrary, she felt the
discovery of Samantha's death had depressed him a great deal. He'd
never felt more alone then at that time in his life, and she'd been
so grateful he'd turned to her. They'd become so close since New
Year's Eve that year and she knew Mulder considered her his only
family. She'd accepted that role--even before they'd moved from
friends to lovers she knew she'd never stray far from Mulder's
company the rest of her life.

Maggie Scully broke the uneasy silence with her tranquil voice,
"Fox, you'll always be part of this family. You already were, before
Dana's pregnancy. We're so happy you're back."

She reached across the passenger seat again and offered her hand,
which Mulder took gladly, grinning affectionately at his soon to be
mother-in-law. He released her delicate hand, then leaned forward
and gently slapped Bill on his shoulder, saying "You're stuck with
me, Bill. Maggie said so."

Bill laughed and the two women in the car noticeably relaxed, both
delighted to see the testosterone level was in no danger of further
elevation. Scully and her mother had discussed the merits of putting
Mulder and Bill Scully, Jr. in a sedan for the eight hour drive to DC
while the two men were out of earshot. They'd cleared a big hurdle
by revealing why she hadn't wanted to get married right away. Scully
knew what was next on the agenda, and she'd no way to prepare Mulder
for her mother's next words.

"Well, if there's nothing preventing you from marrying, Dana...
why don't we spend our time in the car wisely and discuss what kind
of wedding you'd like?" Maggie said cheerily.

Scully's first inclination was to groan and tell her mother she
didn't want to talk about this right now. It seemed silly and
inconsequential compared to the problems she and Mulder faced with
the Consortium. However, she and Mulder had already agreed *not* to
tell her mother about threats against the baby. Mulder had kept up
his part of the bargain; he'd come clean on the memory loss, but he
hadn't breathed a word about Krycek's warning.

She welcomed the diversion of discussing ceremonies, dresses,
caterers, and shoes with her mom. Scully was certain Mulder would
doze off beside her after a few minutes of mother/daughter
conversation. Bill would stay awake to the sound of sports radio,
which he was already struggling to tune in. She might tell her mom
about the dangers they were facing later on, but now was not a good
time.

*********************************************************************
******
The Mulder Summer Home, Quonochontaug, Rhode Island
1:30 p.m.

Mulder and Scully scurried around the summer home, gathering their
possessions, then took measures to close the place down until next
time they vacationed there. Maggie and Bill had opted for a walk to
the beach and would return within ten minutes, so they swiftly threw
out the little garbage they had made and recovered the couch and
kitchen table.

Scully was upstairs, packing her bag, when Mulder came up behind
her, "Where's your ring, Scully? I didn't see it on you today or I
would have pointed it out to your mom."

"Oh, dear. It's down in the kitchen. I took it off when we did
dishes last night. Let's not forget it, Mulder."

She slammed her case shut and tried to move away from the bed, but
was penned in on both sides by two Mulder-sized arms. She laughed
and squirmed against him as he refused to let her go.

"Mulder! We have to go!"

"Everything's packed and ready to go. All I have to do is set the
alarm. Just one more kiss to make everything better, Scully," he
teased.

"Okay," she said, turning in his arms as he released his grip on
elbows.

They kissed deeply, trying to create one last memory in this home
before leaving for DC. Neither wanted to dwell on Mulder's traumatic
experience on the second floor landing, nor did they care to consider
how soon such an event might reoccur. Hopefully, they'd put a stop
to his violent headaches and prevent another trip to the hospital.

"Hello!" Bill's voice bellowed from the first floor, signalling
they were ready to go.

The lovers broke their kiss and Mulder yelled back, "Be right down!"
He smiled down at Scully, gathering in how pretty she looked, even
after a long night at the hospital. "Thanks, Scully."

"For what?" she asked, slightly amused.

"For sticking with me through all of this."

"Why wouldn't I?"

"I don't know. I can't imagine a day without you, Scully... and I
want you to know how much I appreciate you. How much I love you."

He leaned down to kiss her once more, cutting it short when he heard
Mrs. Scully's voice call, "Dana!" from the front door.

"Let's go Mulder. If we're lucky Mom will take a nap and stop
talking about great receptions she's known and loved."

"Oh, I must have slept through that part of your conversation.
Conveniently," he said with a smile.

They grabbed their suitcases and headed downstairs. Mulder set the
alarm and they all piled into the car. Bill was about to pull away
from the house when Scully yelled for him to stop. Mulder understood
immediately, reaching for his door, then running back to unlock the
house. He was back in less than two minutes, Scully's ring shoved
into the pocket of his jeans.

"What was that all about?" Maggie asked as they pulled out of the
driveway.

"This," Mulder said, his chest still heaving from his brisk sprint.

He grabbed Scully's left hand, slipping the ring onto her finger
before she could protest. She blushed at the attention she received
from both her mom and Bill, who had slowed the car down to peer over
his shoulder with interest.

Maggie snaked her arm around the headrest, beckoning her daughter to
let her see the ring. She oohed and ahhed until Scully was
sufficiently embarrassed, burrowing her hand beneath her jeans.

"Mom, quit it. It's just a ring."

She was a little exasperated with her mom's reaction, but secretly
pleased the gem had passed her inspection.

"It's my grandmother's ring," Mulder told Maggie proudly.

Mulder was glad her mother was making a fuss over it, and was even
enjoying Scully's discomfort, though he knew he shouldn't. She was
adorable when she interacted with her mother, especially about this
lighthearted stuff. He'd pretended to sleep earlier so he could
eavesdrop on their conversation.

"It's beautiful, Dana. Did Fox just give it to you?" Maggie
inquired.

Scully reddened slightly, much to her discomfort. She didn't know
why this was so difficult to talk about. It wasn't like her mother
hadn't known about their romance last year. Even her brother knew
now. She felt Mulder's hand on her own, his fingers stroking her
knuckles tenderly.

"Yes," she gulped. Her free hand moved to her stomach, resting
there comfortably. "Last Thursday, at the summer house."

"Well, it's lovely. We'll have to get you to a jeweler for wedding
bands before the week is out," Maggie added helpfully.

"Mom! There's no rush!" Scully protested.

Mulder chuckled beside her and Scully threw him a dirty look. He
continued to smile and play with her hand as he said, "I knew Maggie
would be my best ally."

"Co-conspirator is more like it," Scully asserted playfully.

Bill had already pulled back on the road a minute ago after taking a
quick glance at the ring. He fiddled with the radio, finding an
oldies station right away. He looked in the rear view mirror and saw
Mulder yawning lazily, then heard his sister sleepily echo him.
He resisted the urge to yawn himself, sipping some of the coffee
they'd bought at a minimart earlier in the day.

"You two get some rest. You too, Mom. I always sleep like a log
and last night was no exception," Bill said.

"Okay, son. You wake me up if you need me to drive," Maggie
responded. She leaned her head back and closed her eyes, truly
satisfied with her day.

Mulder tugged at Scully's hand to get her attention, then patted his
lap, hoping she'd take the hint and recline against him awhile. He
knew he could sleep sitting up, but didn't want to see her do so.
She had all that extra weight on her back muscles and she'd be more
comfortable lying down.

Scully didn't need much persuasion. Even in the company of her
mother and brother, Mulder's lap made a tempting pillow. She knew he
would brush her hair softly while she fell asleep against the rough
material of his jeans.

fin

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