Someday Your Child May Cry
Following their return from Antarctica, they’re both ordered to take a week’s medical leave. They’re meant to be resting and recovering from their trauma in their own homes, but predictably, Mulder has invaded Scully’s apartment within twenty-four hours, armed with more salvaged files, which he begs her to help him start re-organizing.
She’s sitting propped up in bed, glasses perched on the end of her nose, trying to bring some order to the chaos that has been dropped in front of her, while Mulder is sprawled by her feet like the world’s largest and most ungainly dog, combing through a file of his own. Lost in thought, he scans a list of names in front of him, victims of a long-dead serial killer, repeating their first names silently to himself.
“Hey, Scully?” he asks suddenly, putting the papers down and sitting up.
“Mmm?” She doesn’t look up from her own file, and for a moment, he hesitates. It’s maybe not the most sensitive of questions, just now, but… well, he’s curious, and he’s never been much good at ignoring his curiosity.
“Have you thought of names yet?” Now she does raise her eyes to his.
“Yeah, names. In case… you know…” He swallows. “In case the next round works.”
“Oh,” she says, dropping her gaze back into her lap. “I… honestly, I haven’t let myself think that far ahead, Mulder.”
“Why not?” She shifts uncomfortably against the headboard, and Mulder begins to regret asking the question, especially now, less than a week after learning that the first round of IVF didn’t take.
“Did you ever read any Steinbeck in high school, Mulder?” He frowns, taken aback at the sudden turn in the conversation.
“Sure, a little,” he says. “What, you want to name the kid after a Steinbeck character? Doesn’t seem like a good omen, Scully. None of them ever got much of a happy ending.” Scully chuckles softly.
“No, that’s not what I mean,” she says. “In one of Steinbeck’s books, The Pearl, the main character is in the process of prying open an oyster that has a pearl so large that its value could mean that he and his family will be wealthy beyond anything they could imagine. His wife, however, looks away as he’s opening the shell, because she believes that wanting something too much drives the luck away.” She blushes slightly and examines her hands, clasped atop the file. “Coming up with a list of names seems kind of like that. Like tempting fate.”
“Dana Katherine Scully,” says Mulder, delighted, “are you telling me that you’re holding off on picking out names because you’re being superstitious?” Her blush deepens, and she looks up at him through her lashes, head still ducked, biting her lip.
“I guess it’s a little ridiculous, isn’t it?” she says, and with a sigh, she sets the file aside. “There are names I like, of course, names I’ve heard through the years and thought, in an abstract way, that I might use them one day.” Mulder puts aside his own file and wriggles further up on the bed. His head’s not quite on the other pillow, but it’s pretty close, and for a moment, he expects Scully to object, but she doesn’t.
“Tell me,” he urges her. “I want to know what names you like.”
“Well… for a boy, I like Caleb,” she says. “And Jonah, Samuel, and David.”
“Big on the biblical names, huh?”
“Not on purpose,” says Scully, defensively. “I just like them, that’s all.” She bites her lip again. “And sometimes I’ve thought… maybe William.”
Mulder’s breath catches. William? As in, his father’s name? His own middle name? But then he remembers.
“Like your father,” he says.
“Well… yes,” Scully says, a slight crease appearing above her eyebrows. For a moment, he thinks she might be holding something back, but then her face smooths out and she continues. “But I feel like Bill would probably assume I was naming the baby after him, and his ego really doesn’t need the boost.”
“No, you’re probably right about that,” Mulder agrees, laughing. “And how about for a girl?”
“I like Elizabeth,” she says. “And Charlotte, and Claire. I used to really like Emma, but now, I feel like it’s… well, it’s too close to….” Her voice trails off, but Mulder doesn’t need her to finish the sentence. He nods. ”But if it’s a girl,” Scully continues, “her middle name will definitely be Margaret. For my mother.”
“She’d like that, I’m sure,” says Mulder.
“And have you bothered to ask her how she would feel about that?”
The sharp voice from the bedroom doorway makes both Mulder and Scully jump… and when he turns and sees Maggie Scully standing there, her arms crossed and her mouth set in a thin line, he scrambles off the bed so fast he sends files spilling onto the floor.
“Mom!” Scully looks horrified. “I had no idea you were coming by today!”
“I made some soup and I thought I’d bring it over,” Maggie says shortly. “I thought I would probably find Fox here, but I certainly never thought….” She looks pointedly at her daughter. “Dana, is there something that you and Fox would like to tell me?”
“Are you pregnant?”
Scully’s face falls, her eyes filling with tears, and the only way Mulder keeps himself from rebuking Maggie for her callous question is by reminding himself that she doesn’t know she’s being callous.
“No, Mom, I’m not,” she says, her voice trembling. Mulder wants badly to go to her and put his arms around her, but he senses that this would not be the wisest course of action at the moment. Instead, he begins gathering up the fallen files and stacking them on Scully’s nightstand. Scully hands the papers she’s still holding to him. “Mulder, would you mind letting my mother and I talk? We can get back to this tomorrow, if you’re feeling up to it.”
“Sure, Scully,” he says. He wants badly to kiss her cheek, the way he’s taken to doing whenever they part, this past week, but somehow, it doesn’t seem like a good idea just now. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” He turns to Maggie. “Mrs. Scully, good to see you.”
“You as well, Fox,” she says, but she doesn’t sound as though she means it.
Maybe it makes him a coward, but right at this moment, Mulder feels nothing but relief to be escaping this room. This is not a conversation that he wants to be a part of.
“So let me get all of this straight,” Maggie says. She’s sitting in the armchair across from Scully’s bed, her posture rigid, her arms still crossed over her chest. “First, you tell me last Christmas that you cannot have children. Then, days later, you tell me you already have a child, but you don’t know how it happened. Now, you’re telling me that maybe you can have children, because Fox… did you say he stole your ova from someone?”
“I don’t think you can call it stealing if he was just taking back what was mine,” Scully says dully. “But yes, that’s the gist of it.”
“And why did you say nothing about these ova at Christmas, when you told me that you couldn’t conceive?” asks Maggie.
“Because I didn’t know about them then,” says Scully. “The specialist that Mulder had taken them to told had him that they weren’t viable, and he didn’t want to give me more bad news when I was already using all my energy to fight my cancer.”
“But he kept them anyway?” asks Maggie, frowning. “Even though they weren’t viable?”
“Yeah,” says Scully softly, smiling down into her lap. “He did. He paid to have them stored for over a year, until he was ready to tell me about them. He knew I would want a second opinion.” It never fails to touch her, the way Mulder had refused to give up on the hopes he has for her. “He was right- I did.”
“Well, he certainly knows you well,” Maggie concedes. “And he’s agreed to… what, exactly? To father a child for you?”
“He’s agreed to be my donor,” Scully says. “We haven’t… we haven’t really worked anything out beyond that.”
“But he’ll be this baby’s father, Dana,” Maggie says.
“I don’t really know if he wants that, Mom,” says Scully. “I don’t know how involved he wants to be- if this works. And that’s a big ‘if.’“
“What if he doesn’t want to be involved? What will you do then?” demands Maggie. “How could you possibly do this without deciding all of these things first, Dana?”
“Because, Mom,” Scully sighs, “I want to do it, one way or another. If he wants his involvement to end with his donation, it’s not going to change my decision. Even if he had said no to donating in the first place, I would have found an anonymous donor and gone ahead with it anyway.”
“But that would mean being a single mother, Dana,” Maggie protests. “Unwed, with a child, and a demanding job. And that’s not even getting into what the Church says about beginning a pregnancy this way.”
“I think I’ve made my feelings on the subject of the Church’s right to dictate what a woman does with her own body perfectly clear in the past,” says Scully coldly.
“Yes, you certainly have,” says Maggie, her lips pressed into a thin line. “Have you thought about any other options? What about adopting?”
“Mom,” sighs Scully, exasperated, “there is absolutely no way any adoption agency is going to consider placing a child with me. I’m a single woman in a high-risk job, a year into remission from what should have been terminal cancer. If I want to be a mother, this is the only option left to me.” She looks at Maggie pleadingly. “Don’t you want this for me, Mom? Wouldn’t you love having a grandchild living this close to you?” Maggie’s face softens.
“Of course I would, Dana,” she says. “And I know you well enough to know that you wouldn’t have decided to do this unless you were certain about it… and I have to say, if any of my children could handle being a single parent, it would be you.” She stands up from the armchair and crosses the room, sitting next to Scully on the bed. She puts her arm around Scully’s shoulder, and her daughter doesn’t hesitate to lean against her.
“I want this so badly, Mom,” says Scully, her voice cracking. “And this is the only way it can happen for me.”
“I know, Sweetheart,” says Maggie. She sighs. “And I have to believe, whatever the Church might say, that God would not have given you such a strong desire to be a mother if there wasn’t some way to make your wish a reality.” She strokes her daughter’s hair. “And if you do have a girl… I would be honored if her middle name was Margaret.”