They had been staying in a hotel in Georgia for over a week now waiting for the baby to make an appearance, and both Mulder and Scully were becoming increasingly cranky in confined quarters. They had agreed that it would be good to be close to the safehouse in case her labor progressed faster than was usual, but Scully was miserable. Her feet hurt and she felt like an elephant. Mulder had been nothing but understanding and gentle with her, but she was sick and tired of this 20 by 20 foot room.
He had gone to grab a pizza for the two of them to share, but the instant he walked in the door to the hotel room, he knew something was different.
Scully reached for Mulder's shoulder, bracing herself. She sucked in a breath. "Mulder?"
He looked down at her, panicked. "Is it time?"
She nodded, wincing as a contraction ripped through her body and she tightened her grip on Mulder.
"Okay, don't panic. We're going to walk to the car. Can you do that with me? I'll grab your bag. Hang on just a second, okay?" He abandoned the pizza box on the hotel room floor at his feet.
"Okay," she breathed.
He snagged the overnight bag from the hotel bed, and was back at her side in a flash. He let her lean on him as they made their way to the car.
He drove as she kept a firm hold on his hand across the center console. "Okay, the safehouse is only a mile away now. Can you hold on for another minute?"
She nodded, unable to speak. He gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. He breathed a sigh of relief as they pulled up to the small house where Monica Reyes was waiting, always reliable. They were safe now.
They slowly walked up to the house, pausing a couple times for Scully to try to breathe through a contraction while Mulder rubbed her back. Between the two of them, they eventually got Scully settled on a bed inside and as comfortable as possible.
Mulder sat behind her, offering quiet and solid support. He patiently wiped the sweat off of her forehead over and over as she tried to rest against him before labor sped up. He massaged her temples to help her calm down and told her stories from when he was little to give her something else to focus on. He helped her drink some water.
Before long, Scully sat rigid, looking panicked. "Mulder, they're getting closer together. It won't be much longer."
He swept a strand of sweaty hair off of her face. "It's going to be okay. You're doing great, Dana. Just keep breathing through the contractions, remember what they taught us at Lamaze? In for two, out for four. I'll breathe with you. Good job."
He rubbed her back, trying to ease some of the tension. "Try to relax your back, okay? I know it hurts."
"I think I may have pulled something."
"I'll be careful."
"I'd kill for some painkillers right about now." Her voice broke, betraying the amount of pain she was truly in.
"I'm so sorry, sweetheart. I wish we could do this in a hospital where you could be comfortable. But you're so strong. You're doing great. We're almost there, okay? Just a little while longer."
Monica sat at the foot of the bed, watching quietly.
Scully heaved forward, and Mulder rushed to push her shoulders back on the pillows, but she resisted. "Mulder, this is it." Her eyes widened, terrified.
Her hands found Mulder's and she held onto him for all she was worth.
Monica sprang into action. "Okay, it's time to push, Dana. You can do this, okay?"
Scully nodded, gritting her teeth.
Mulder tightened his hold on her hand, silently offering support.
She screamed. He'd heard her scream before, but never like this. He'd never felt so helpless to help her. He had always been able to see practical ways to help her, and yet here he was, watching her have to fight this battle alone.
He rubbed her arms, trying to be comforting. "You're doing great, sweetheart, you're almost there. Keep going."
She pushed several times, then fell back against him, breathing erratically.
Her eyes grew wild. "Mulder, I can't breathe." She panicked.
He squeezed her hand. "Okay, breathe with me. In for two through your nose, out for four through your mouth. Good job. Let's do it two more times, okay? And then we're going to push again."
"Mulder, I can't do this. I'm not strong enough." She whimpered.
"Scully, look at me." He tilted her chin. "You are the strongest person I know. If anyone can do this, it's you. Now come on, you've got to do this."
"This is so much more painful than I thought it would be."
"You're doing great. You've been at this for fourteen hours. You're almost done, okay? Now let's do this."
She pushed several more times, and finally...a cry. She fell back against his chest, exhausted.
Mulder gasped, grinning disbelievingly. Monica placed the baby on Scully's chest, hurriedly mopping him up and wrapping him in a blanket. "Congratulations. It's a boy."
Monica stood in the corner, speaking quietly on the phone to the paramedics.
A tear escaped his eye and he wiped it away hurriedly. "Scully, you did it. You were amazing. He's here, he's finally here. Scully, we're parents."
She smiled weakly. "We sure are."
He kissed her temple.
She couldn't stop staring at him. "He's so beautiful, Mulder."
"He takes after his mother."
She breathed a laugh, playing with the baby's tiny, doll-like fingers. His fingers found Mulder's and latched on. He just stared in wonder.
"I can't believe he's real."
Scully kissed his cheek. "He's real."
"I'm a dad."
"You sure are." She beamed, wiping away a tear. "I thought this was never going to happen for us."
He gave her hand a squeeze. "I know. But he's here now and he's so perfect."
Monica cut in. "The paramedics are going to have to airlift you to the hospital, okay? They're sending a chopper now."
Scully gripped her hand gently. "Thank you, Monica. For everything."
The three of them sat in silence and awe, just watching the baby until the sound of a helicopter outside became deafening and two paramedics, a man and a woman, ran in with a stretcher.
Mulder rattled off Scully's medical information from memory, holding Scully closer as the paramedics did a cursory examination. One of them held up the umbilical cord.
"Dad? You want to cut the cord?"
Mulder's eyes widened. Scully squeezed his hand. "Go ahead, Mulder."
The female paramedic handed him the scissors and showed him where to cut.
"Perfect, Mulder." Scully encouraged him.
"Ms. Scully, you've lost a lot of blood. We need to get you to a hospital right away. Let's get her on the stretcher." She motioned to Mulder.
"Scully, we're going to have to pick you up, okay?"
She nodded, wincing.
"I know you're in a lot of pain, but I'll try to be gentle. You can squeeze my hand if you need to, okay?"
Mulder scooped her up, the female paramedic supporting her feet and the male following close behind with the baby. She grimaced and buried her face in the space between his shoulder and his neck, whimpering quietly.
He held her close. "I know it hurts, I'm trying to hurry."
They set Scully down on the stretcher as carefully as possible, but she still cried out.
He brushed her hair off of her sweaty forehead, doing his best to comfort. "I'm sorry, sweetheart. It's going to be okay, we'll get to the hospital and then you can sleep. But not yet, okay?"
She nodded, exhausted. "I think I tore. They'll need to stitch me up and deliver the placenta. And with the amount of blood I've lost, I'm going to be in the hospital for a couple days at least."
He sighed. "I know. We'll be alright."
He held her hand throughout the ride, silently offering support as the paramedics continued to check her and the baby out as well as they could. When they got to the hospital, they carted the baby off to get his first checkup and shots while they delivered the placenta. Scully panicked, shouting at the nurses not to take him, that he was her baby. Mulder pushed her shoulders back onto the bed.
"Relax. I'll go with them. We'll be back before you know it." He kissed her forehead.
After they delivered the placenta, Mulder carried the baby back into the hospital room to feed for the first time. He and Scully watched in awe as the baby ate and Mulder tried not to cry from sheer relief that everything was okay, against all odds. They placed the baby in the bassinet next to her bed while Scully got checked out.
Scully was right. The doctors looked her over, determining that she had, in fact, torn rather severely during delivery and would need stitches. She had also lost a lot of blood, likely due to the tear, so she was stuck on bedrest for the time being. Not that she was complaining.
She fell asleep as soon as the doctors left and slept for six hours straight before the nurse came in with William, stating that he needed to be fed again. She obliged, then fell asleep for who-knows-how long. When she woke up again, Mulder was by her side, waving a plastic bag.
"Three guesses what I brought you."
"You truly are my soulmate, Scully."