Against the Odds
Inspired by this photoset and the fact that I spent half my morning writing about baby clothes. Just a short AU for “Per Manum”.
Tagging at @today-in-fic
“It didn’t take, did it?”
Mulder has spent hours trying to come up with the right words for each outcome. He walked through her kitchen as if taking inventory. As if the fact that she owned three sizes of coffee cups meant anything at all, made any kind of difference. The last hour he spent here, on her couch. A familiar spot. The lumps and indentions fitting his body perfectly as if he belonged there. So he stayed. Stayed and let his thoughts run wild. There were only two outcomes. Two. It’s either one or the other; success or failure. Whatever news she carried with her, though, he knew he needed to be prepared. He fell asleep halfway through thinking up his speech for when it didn’t take. He didn’t even get the chance to consider the idea that it might have worked. Still, Mulder dreamed of blue-eyed babies with auburn hair that laughingly called him daddy when he heard the click of the door, the rattle of the lock.
He’s barely awake, his thoughts trying to cling to the child in his dreams. It waves, runs away. Mulder gets up, tries to put on a smile. His heart beats far too quickly, but he knows he can’t get his hopes up. Hopes that shatter the moment his eyes find Scully’s. Tears. It’s all he sees. It’s all he can think about.
“It didn’t take, did it?” He’s never wanted to be wrong this badly. Tell me I’m wrong, Scully. Tell me, tell me, tell me. He blinks, hopes there are no tears. Not yet. This is about her. This was her dream first. Scully sniffs once, glances at him. All the words he came up with earlier, right before he fell asleep, they’re gone. Vanished like the little blue-eyed child.
“It worked.” So lost in his own disappointment, in his quest to find the right words to comfort her, he doesn’t hear it at first.
“It did take, Mulder. I’m pregnant.” The tears remain, but her lips curl upwards. She’s not crying because she’s sad. She’s crying because she’s happy. She is pregnant. There’s a child growing inside her, part her and part him. The words register slowly in his brain. The child runs back to him, giggles, calls him a silly daddy and he grins at Scully. He didn’t have time to come up with anything to say if it did take. There is nothing to say. Who is able to put joy into words, anyway? Instead he engulfs her in his arms and she squeaks; a sound he’s never heard before and that he instantly falls in love with. He holds her so tightly against him that there’s no telling where she ends, where he begins. Her tears dry against his neck, against his shirt and she clings to him just as desperately.
“There are still so many things that could go wrong, Mulder-” As much as he doesn’t want to, he loosens his grip on her so he can look into her eyes.
“We already beat the odds, Scully. We already beat them.”
“We?” The word doesn’t materialize, remains silently waiting on her lips. Mulder doesn’t repeat it, decides to make her understand in a new way, a better way. He kisses her. Takes the question from her mouth and turns it into an answer.
“Oh, I almost forgot,” he reluctantly lets go of her lips and nearly forgets again when he sees her mouth still half open, waiting, glistening with want and need, “I, uhm, have something for you.” He lets go of her to run over to his coat. He searches through it; how it fit inside his coat pocket at all is a mystery to him. The tiny plastic bag rustles and he smiles.
“This is for you. Well, for the baby.”
“Mulder, what if…”
“Nothing is going to go wrong, Scully.” He assures her, but she’s his Scully. She wants to see it, wants to look inside the bag, but she’s skeptical, and scared. Mulder, the grin on his face a permanent fixture, reaches inside and takes out a small piece of clothing.
“Oh my god.” Scully whispers when she sees what it is.
“I had to buy it. I didn’t know – I mean I hoped. I don’t know what I would have done with it had it not… but look, Scully.” Mulder hands her the tiny baby garment. Scully touches it as if it were made out of glass, ready to break any second. He watches as her finger follows the contours of the comic UFO that takes up half the front.
“Mulder.” She whispers, laughs. At least he hopes it’s a laugh.
“I knew he had to have it.”
“Or she. I know any child of ours will make up their own mind, but look,” Mulder voice is full of excitement,“ ‘I believe’”, he reads from the baby onesie, “'you’re my favorite human’. I know your – our - child will love you more than anyone else in the world, Scully. And I… well, I share the sentiment.” Scully lifts her head and there is the same look again. The one he misinterpreted earlier. He will never make that mistake again. This time it’s her who closes the distance between them, decides that they no longer need words. They hold on to each other and the small onesie between them, ready for the future.