TITLE: Almost Home (29/29)
AUTHOR: Shoshana
EMAIL ADDRESS: shoshana1013@excite.com
DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT: Gossamer, Spookys. Please ask permission
otherwise.
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. I also do not own
the rights to any Elvis Presley song lyrics.
NOTE: Thanks to my great beta readers Keleka, Lisa and Sallie!

Almost Home 29
By Shoshana

Saturday
March 10th, 2001
Church banquet room

"A toast--to the new bride and groom!"

Bill Scully, Jr. raised his champagne glass high in the air, his
complexion already flushed from the first few glasses he'd imbibed.
He wasn't much of a drinker and overconsumption always affected him
for the worse. Tara would probably put a stop to a fourth glass
before he could be offered another one.

Mulder and Scully sat next to one another, goblets in hand. They
smiled diffidently at their wedding guests, then found shelter in
each other's gaze. Being the center of attention wasn't new to
either of them--they'd received commendations in public, graciously
accepting recognition well deserved.

Being in the spotlight as a real, involved couple was still a
novelty though, bringing a blush to their cheeks which had little to
do with alcohol consumption. In fact, both their glasses contained
sparkling cider--Mulder refused to indulge if Scully couldn't drink
some too. He also wanted to remain conscious for his wedding night--
having never chanced the mixture of phenytoin and champagne before,
he'd decided to lay off the bubbly.

The last week of Mulder's life hadn't provided a lot of time to
experiment with his meds--nor did it even occur to him to do so until
a few hours before their wedding in a small Unitarian chapel.
Skinner had permitted them a day to recuperate from Scully's
kidnapping, serving as an impenetrable shield from the demands of
both the local cops and FBI investigators all day Sunday. He'd
insisted they make themselves available to authorities on Monday
morning, and both agents had complied.

Scully had told her fellow law enforcement officers a version of the
truth which satisfied her good conscience. Only Mulder would know
the details of her conversation with Marita and he wasn't divulging
one word more than his fiancee. Skinner attended the FBI debriefing,
fully aware by the end of the session that something remained
unarticulated. He wasn't about to push for details from two of his
best agents--he knew they wouldn't be forthcoming.

The betrothed couple decided to go forward with their wedding plans
even before they entered Maggie Scully's house on Monday night for an
early dinner. Mrs. Scully wasn't about to pressure them to comply
with the timetable for the event; she was inclined toward a
postponement of the nuptials. However, both Mulder and Scully seemed
untroubled about the timing of the event, if only to give them an
escape from the harsh reality of their strange lives.

This Saturday night, in front of their family and friends, they were
as far away from the outside world as they could ever hope to be. It
was a comfort to both of them; Scully felt reunited with her extended
family--Mulder relished his initiation into clan Scully. Even so,
being focused upon was a mite painful.

They found security in each other's eyes, listening to the second
and third toasts of the evening with half an ear. Someone yelled out
"Kiss her!" and Mulder obliged by closing the gap between them with
care. She looked lovely in her fancy dress and he felt deliciously
drunk with happiness. He was willing and able to fulfill all
requests to kiss his new wife.

The crowd of fifty or so revellers clapped and shouted good tidings
while the bride and groom smooched away. The strains of "Love Me
Tender" spilled out of the speaker system Langly had set up hours
before the reception, bringing the amorous couple back down to earth,
off their euphoric little cloud of temporary privacy. Mulder and
Scully's eyes glittered with laughter--their bespectacled friend had
refused to divulge a song list, assuring them they'd be pleased with
the selection.

Mulder was more than pleased, glancing at Langly in the corner of
the room to convey his approval. His eyes only strayed for a few
seconds, returning to the radiant face of his new bride. He rose
from his chair and offered her his hand, mimicking a similar gesture
made so many years ago in a small midwestern dance club, years before
he and Scully were involved, years he couldn't possibly remember due
to his continuing selective amnesia.

Scully let out a little gasp, recognizing the sweet irony of his
familiar, courtly stance. Mulder misinterpreted, asking her with one
concerned glance whether she was up to the mild physical exertion of
a dance, even a slow one. She nodded yes with a warm smile and they
moved out onto the tiny dance floor amidst shouts and whistles from
the happy crowd.

Pressed tightly against one another, they raised their arms
slightly, beaming with delight as they circled the small space until
the very last words of the song,

When at last my dreams come true
Darling this I know
Happiness will follow you
Everywhere you go.

Mulder leaned down and whispered in her ear, "Truer words were never
spoken." He nipped at the soft flesh of her lobe quickly, then
lifted his eyes to meet hers again.

Before Scully could get another word out, Mulder felt a light tap on
his shoulder.

"Second dance for big brother," Bill Scully told them with a huge
grin.

Mulder pretended to be put out by the demand, but handed over his
dance partner with little fuss. Scully grinned back at her brother,
thinking back to just a few hours ago when he'd escorted her down the
aisle.

"Thanks, Bill. Thanks for all the help you gave Mom this past week.
I know how much she wanted to keep the wedding date."

Bill looked down at his petite sister and shook his head, "It was
nothing. I was planning on helping her anyway. I just wasn't
expecting--"

"Your sister would be kidnapped?"

Bill chuckled mirthlessly at her candor. "Yeah, something like
that."

He paused thirty seconds or so, appearing to concentrate on the beat
of the music. "Dana?" he finally asked soberly.

"Yes?" she responded with equal gravity.

"I know it's not my business, and we haven't had any time to talk
about this all week... this may sound like the most naive thing to
say... but, it won't happen again, will it?"

Scully lowered her eyes as they continued to dance to a popular
tune. She had no honest answer to his question, at least none she
could reveal to him.

She lifted her eyes and faced him at last, "I hope not, Bill.
Skinner's put our bodyguards back on duty. Every precaution will be
followed from now on."

She paused, biting her lip in thought. Her next words were spoken
so softly he had to lean close to catch every one. "I don't think we
can control everything that happens to us, do you?"

His eyes softened with his reply, "No, no one can, I suppose."

The music lulled as Langly combed his CD collection for a request.
Bill squeezed his sister's shoulders affectionately, then leaned over
to kiss her forehead.

"Good luck, little sis."

Dana colored slightly at the sound of her childhood nickname. No
one else would ever call her by that moniker--it was Bill's privilege
forever.

"Love you," she said, yanking gently at his arm so he'd bend low
enough for her to kiss his cheek.

"Love you, sis."

Bill smiled, then turned around and headed toward Tara and Matthew's
table. Mulder had been waiting patiently, chatting with one of
Scully's many aunts when he spotted her availability.

"Hey, wife," he said, approaching her from behind.

Mulder wrapped his arms around her, resting his head on her shoulder.

"I don't think Bill suspects a thing," she told him gravely.

Mulder frowned. He didn't want their day ruined with thoughts such
as these.

"How could he? He lacks the perspective we do, Scully."

She bobbed her head in assent, but he could hear a tremor of sadness
in her unsteady voice, "Yes, I suppose you're right."

He slowly turned her around, meeting her eyes with utter solemnity,
"Don't think about this now, Scully. It's our wedding day. Don't
let this get to you." He grasped her shoulders lightly and leaned
closer to her face, "I won't let anything bad happen to you ever
again."

Mulder leaned in for a long passion-filled kiss, the firm pressure
of his lips calming her anxiety. Family and friends ceased their
incessant chatting and grazing to applaud the sweet display of
affection, and the newlyweds parted with flushed cheeks and tentative
smiles. With a shy nod to their enthusiastic audience, they headed
back to their table to continue with the reception.

They never discussed Bill's misgivings again--not that night, nor in
the future.

*********************************************************************
Saturday
August 11, 2001
The Mulder Summer Home
Quonochontaug, Rhode Island

Little hands explored the tanned plain of his father's chest,
pulling weakly at the fine hairs there. Mulder resisted the desire
to giggle madly, even though the kid was tickling the shit out of
him. The boy gurgled happily, attracting his mother's curious gaze
from underneath their huge beach umbrella. She leaned over and made
eye contact with her little boy, and he bubbled and cooed nonsense to
both adults, clapping his little hands against the bronzed skin of
his dad.

Mulder cradled his tiny fists in his much larger hands and crooned,
"Whose little boy are you, huh? Whose?"

Scully felt her eyes fill with joyous tears; they were so frequent
anymore--even now, when her body had returned to its previous
hormonal balance. They had everything they wanted in the world, each
other, and this beautiful creature with hazel eyes and auburn hair.
Three month old Josh made baby chuckles and Mulder pulled the infant
across his chest, settling the child's dimpled chin flush with his
own.

Scully had provided the boy's patrician nose--thank God, Mulder
thought to himself. It looked well with his chubby cheeks and
multicolor eyes. They had started out medium blue and gradually
became suffused with brown and yellow hues, changing them from green
to hazel to brown depending on the quality of light above.

Mulder bussed him sloppily on the lips, then blew raspberries into
his little chin. This provoked wild laughter from not only his son
but also his amused wife beside him.

"Leave it to you to teach him bad manners at a tender age, Mulder,"
she told him affectionately.

She reached over and smoothed the recalcitrant bangs out of her
husband's eyes so father and son could engage in a goodnatured
staring contest. Mulder blinked first--the kid could outstare most
adults with a gaze that suggested rich past lives. To Mulder, that
is. Scully had already shot down this theory, threatening to adjust
her husband's pharmaceuticals if he dared continue with that train of
thought.

Their little tyke was brand new; she wasn't interested in what or
who he'd been before his present incarnation. He was the most
beautiful child in the world to her, their child. A miracle they
could still not account for, though she highly suspected an
adjustment in her chip months before Joshua's conception.

Cancer Man's last gift to them, one he'd never taken responsibility
for. Marita had suggested the possibility to her months ago--when
she'd imprisoned Scully in a makeshift examining room. Dana hadn't
wanted to believe it could be true, that her fertility had been
restored by that bastard. She and Mulder discussed it once briefly,
then dropped the subject in mutual disgust. Neither of them wished
to be beholden to the Smoking Man, even if only posthumously.

"Babies need to act out their deepest feelings, Scully," Mulder
answered with a smile. "Watch--"

Mulder lifted the child a few inches from his chest and rubbed their
noses together vigorously. The youngster cried out with glee and his
father provided silly nonsense syllables to go with his actions.
Joshua was chirping back non-stop, reaching out little hands to try
and attack Daddy's nose.

"You're full of shit, Mulder. I know you majored in abnormal psych,
not child psych. Leave my baby's deepest feelings alone," she quipped.

"Ah, Scully," he whined, "You know we're just havin' fun."

He gave her a little pout and Joshua reproduced it with perfect
mimicry. Both parents laughed out loud, astonished at their child's
ability to imitate his elders.

"Won't be too long now before he's raising one eyebrow, Scully--"
Mulder threw out, ducking and covering beneath his little boy's
overalls. Joshua giggled wildly, apparently believing this to be a
new game Mommy and Daddy had invented just for him.

Scully punched him goodnaturedly and chuckled, "I'm not the only one
with overactive eyebrows, Mr. Waggles."

Mulder laughed at the absurd nickname. "I think you've been reading
too many Peter Rabbit tales to Josh lately, woman. That has to be an
original Beatrix Potter character."

Josh let out a loud, unexpected burp and Mulder exclaimed, "All
right, Josh. Thattaboy!"

Scully couldn't help but laugh at her husband's enthusiasm, and she
sidled over to her two best boys. Mulder balanced the infant on his
chest, then gathered Scully close to his side. She leaned over to
kiss Josh, then Mulder, on the lips, then snuggled against both of
them, draping her arm around the little boy's back.

Scully became very quiet, then told him solemnly, "I got an E-Mail
today. From Marita."

"Oh," he answered with calculated disinterest.

"The trials are successful. We're relieved of our obligation," she
intoned dully.

Mulder bit his lower lip and fought back anger and tears that
threatened to ruin their calm summer day. He took several deep
breaths and replied, "Good. That's good, Scully. I just hope it's
the end. I hope she means it this time."

Scully strained to keep control of her emotions, "I hope so too.
We've lied to so many people to keep Josh's immunity a secret. If
anyone else had known--the military, some faction against Marita...
I don't know what would have happened. She provided all that
disinformation to throw everyone off Josh's importance. I don't
understand why she did it--"

"She has her own to worry about, Scully. She'd like to see her
daughter grow up. I don't think she'll bother us for any more blood
samples."

"It's not over, though, is it?" she asked sadly.

"No." He sighed heavily, stroking his little son's head as Josh
fell into a deep sleep. "There's still the brain activity angle. We
haven't had enough time to research enough children or adults. It's
another possible way the hostile aliens could invade. I don't know
what to say, Scully. We have to keep trying to find out what all
those tests they performed on me were for."

Scully reached her arm around him, squeezing tightly. She kissed
his shoulder tenderly, then muttered into his side, "Let's rest,
Mulder. We all need to rest today."

He pulled her a little bit closer to his side and kissed her on the
cheek.

"Today we rest," he agreed.

They dozed off in the waning summer sunshine, savoring one small
victory at a time. They were just a normal family, relaxing on the
beach. Saving the world could wait 'til Monday.

Fin!!!

Huge cyberhugs to all my beta readers along the way: Amy, Char,
Keleka, Lisa, Paulette, Sallie and Teresa. They all contributed so
much to this story and enriched it with tales of their own experiences.

Special thanks to Teresa's husband, David, for medical advice on
everything from stun guns to pregnancy.

Thanks to all who sent feedback during the last nine months! I had
no idea this story would exceed 600k and I am very grateful for all
your encouragement.

Please visit my web page at:

http://www.geocities.com/shoshana1013/