Chapter 1

The door creaks open when she enters, startling him from a light sleep. Mulder murmurs an apology, standing, peering at her in the low light, searching for clues. Her expression is murky, unreadable, and a seed of doubt takes root in his stomach.

“It didn’t take, did it?”

She ducks her head, wavering. “It, uh…it did, actually.”

Mulder blinks, wondering if he’s heard correctly. “What? That’s…that’s amazing, Scully.”

“Yeah,” she says, still looking at the floor. “I…I almost didn’t believe it, but…”

She trails off, and Mulder steps forward, reaches out to touch her arm.

“This is good news, right?”

“It is,” she says, looking up. Her eyes are shimmering. “It really is.”

“Congratulations,” he says, watching her throat convulse, her half-smile trembling at the corners. He pulls her into an embrace, feels her heart thrumming like a live wire.

“It’s still early,” she says when she recovers. “I have…I have about ten weeks before I’m outside the average range for a miscarriage. I, uh, I’d like to keep this between us.”

“Of course,” he says.

She takes a shaky breath, and he can feel the world’s axis turning beneath them.

“Hey, we should celebrate,” he says. “My treat.”

“I, um, I feel a little queasy. I don’t know if it’s the pregnancy or what, but…I’m just going to lie down. I need some time.”

“Sure, Scully,” he says, deflating a little. “Whatever you need.”

She smiles. “And my treat, for that rain check. You’ve, ah, already done enough.”

He wants to tell her it could never be enough, but instead, he says, “I’ll get going, let you rest. Congratulations, Scully, I’m happy for you.”

“Mulder…”

“Yeah?”

“Thank you. For…everything.”

He wants to say something profound, to tell her how much this means to him, but all he can manage is a smile.

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