Hermaphrodite
 
By
 Jo B.

Title: Hermaphrodite
Author: Jo B purplefox@usfamily.net
Keywords: M/D M/D/Sk Slash mpreg
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Mulder discovers true happiness with the men of his dreams.
Spoilers: Existence, season 8, and some from other seasons.
Disclaimer: The X-Files characters are the property Chris Carter, 1013 productions and Fox Broadcasting. No money is being made from their use.
Warning! This story contains sex between two or more men.
Double Warning! This story contains male pregnancy.
Triple Warning! Sappy romance.
Archive: DitB, Slashing Mulder, Mpreg, Doggett-Slash all others please ask first.
Special thanks to Vyper, Bertina, and Sonja Blue for the excellent job they did beta-reading this story. Thanks to Neige for the cover artwork!


Monday, July 30, 2001

A white mist rolled in off the Chesapeake Bay, snaking inland along the sandy shore, filling the low-lying trenches and hollows along the Maryland coast.

On a cliff above, a lone man stood looking out over the misty predawn waters of the bay. His hand rested on his protruding belly as he reached an inner peace. Taking a trembling breath, he stepped off the cliff. His body somersaulted twice before breaking on the rocks below.

***

University of Maryland
Monday, July 30, 2001

Outdoors the sun was shining warmly and the birds were singing. For such a beautiful summer day, the lecture hall was standing room only as Professor Mulder strolled back and forth enthusiastically across the front of the room, clicking the button on the overhead projector as he gave his lecture. His students sat mesmerized, listening as he explained the workings of a serial killer's mind.

Most in the audience were female, and while captivated by the lecture, they were equally fascinated watching their professor, who was dressed in a pair of worn jeans and a grey T-shirt with a tweed jacket over it. The T-shirt and jeans were Mulder's concession to the hot summer day, instead of his usual shirt, tie, and slacks.

"Most serial killers displayed many behavioural problems early in childhood that would not be considered normal. While individually some of these traits would be little cause for alarm, but if the child displays many of these traits it may indicate a future problem. The traits are: excessive daydreaming, compulsive masturbation, isolation, chronic lying, bed wetting, cruelty to other children, cruelty to animals, self-mutilation, convulsions, temper tantrums, fire setting, destroying possessions, stealing--" Mulder glanced over toward the doorway, leading into the hall. Doctor Charles Burks stood there pointing at his watch.

"That's all for today, class. You can find the rest of the traits on page fifty-four of your textbook. Tomorrow we'll be taking a field trip to the Annapolis city morgue. Those with sensitive stomachs may wish to play hooky." Mulder started collecting his notes.

"Hey cool! Are we going to see dead people, Professor Mulder?"

Mulder gazed up at Brian Morris, a twenty-one year old with a nose ring and a pierced tongue. Morris was one of his more enthusiastic students. "For you, Brian, I've arranged for us to view an autopsy," Mulder said.

"Wow! Thanks, man!"

"Brian, were you a bed-wetter as child?" Mulder asked with a straight face.

"No way, man!" Morris gave him a sweet smile as he picked up his backpack. "I did like to set fires and masturbate."

Mulder chuckled as Morris sauntered out of the room.

A young woman dressed in a tight blue skirt and angora sweater approached the front of the room.

"Professor Mulder, will you be available later this afternoon to go over my paper with me?" Melanie Gagne gave him a perky smile.

"Sorry, Melanie, I'll be out this afternoon. Why don't you drop your paper off with my assistant and I'll look it over before the field trip tomorrow?" Mulder said, packing his papers and slides into his leather satchel.

"'kay, I suppose," she sighed, giving him a disappointed pout before heading toward the door.

Burks moved into the room as she stepped out into the hallway. "Mulder, you're the envy of every male teacher at our humble university."

"How so?" Mulder asked, slinging the satchel over his shoulder.

"You've only been teaching here three months and already you have the most popular class on campus with the hottest female students. All willing to do anything for a C-." Burks proceeded Mulder out the door and they made their way toward the cafeteria.

Mulder sighed. "It's rather a nuisance, Chuck. When I took this job I thought I'd be teaching students that were interested in learning about criminal profiling and the paranormal. Not over-sexed college groupies."

"My heart bleeds for you, Fox," Chuck quipped.

"At least the seminars I teach for local law enforcement agencies are doing some good," Mulder said as they stood in the cafeteria line.

"Fox, we really should go into business together. With your intuition and brains, and my science we could corner the market on investigating the paranormal."

"If my academic career doesn't pan out, I'll take you up on that offer, Chuck."

***

Quantico
Monday, July 30, 2001

Scully spoke into the microphone as she examined the body of the John Doe found at the bottom of a cliff just north of Annapolis. The subject's abdomen was grotesquely extruded. Thoughts of the last corpse that had a similar protruding stomach weren't far from Scully's mind.

"The subject is a Caucasian male, age approximately...." Scully looked at the bloody face and broken body, frowning. "...early to late thirties, height six feet, weight 197."

She placed her gun within easy reach as she picked up a scalpel and carefully made a deep incision into the bloated abdomen, cutting up from just above the man's groin to his sternum.

Fluid rushed out of the incision. Scully set the knife down and pulled the flaps of skin aside, exposing the reason behind the man's bloated belly. "Oh my!" She quickly glanced down at the man's sex organs, before reaching her gloved hands into the corpse and lifting out the body of an infant. She placed the tiny body with the umbilical cord still attached on the man's chest.

"Agent Scully, I have the identity of your John Doe," Agent Sawyer said, stepping into the autopsy room while covering his nose against the smell. His eyes widened as they fell on the body of the infant. "Is that a baby?"

She ignored his question, not ready to answer until she was finished with the autopsy. "What do you have, Agent Sawyer?"

"The man's name is Samuel Jacob. He was reported missing by his wife over eight months ago. The detective in charge of the case turned up no leads."

"Do you have the phone number and address for his wife?"

"Yes. It's in the case folder. I'll put it on your desk--" Sawyer's eyes kept wandering back to the two bodies as he crossed the room toward the door.

Scully stripped off her gloves and went across the room for the lab's camera to make a visual record of what she had discovered.

***

Six weeks later
Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Special Agent John Doggett drove by a basketball court on his way to Mulder's apartment building. He noted a tall lanky white man amongst the many mixed hues from the neighbourhood vying for the ball. Parking his car across the street, Doggett climbed out and crossed over to the other side and walked up to the wire mesh fence where he stood silently watching the game for several minutes. Most of the players were African American, a few Latinos, and one of mixed race. Mulder was the only white man on the court and he was holding his own pretty well. Doggett couldn't help but admire all the toned and sweaty bodies, especially Mulder's, and the grace with which they moved. The men ranged in age from their late twenties to mid forties.

It was over six months since Doggett had last seen Mulder. He had thought of calling him a few times over the months. But he couldn't think of an excuse other than one of his X-Files cases, which was out of the question since Kersh had forbidden him from involving Mulder in any of his cases. So Doggett spent a few minutes taking in every detail of Mulder's sweat glistening body. The low riding sweatpants, the slender waist, the sweep of hair going down from his bellybutton and disappearing inside his sweatpants. The telltale bulge that made Doggett believe the tales about men with big feet, and Mulder had very big feet. Doggett loved a man with nice nipples and Mulder's were exceptionally nice. He shook his head clearing his thoughts; he couldn't forget the real reason he was here.

Doggett called out, "Mr. Mulder, I need a word with you!"

The game stopped and everyone turned to stare at the man in the suit, while forming a protective circle around Mulder.

"Milk, you need us to run interference so you can get away?" A tall muscular black man in his early-forties asked quietly, while glaring at the suit.

"No thanks, Sam. I know this man. He probably wants a piece of my ass for sticking my nose into one of his cases," Mulder said, smiling over at Doggett and nodding. Mulder ambled over to the bench and picked up his discarded T-shirt, using it to wipe the sweat from his body as he walked out the gate to where Doggett was waiting.

"Do you want to tell me what the fuck--" Doggett's voice rose with each word.

Mulder interrupted, "Not here, Agent Doggett, my friends might not take kindly to you threatening me. I need a shower, so I suggest we go back to my apartment." Not waiting for Doggett to agree, Mulder started across the street on his way to his apartment building on the corner.

Doggett followed him, while secretly breathing in the heady smell of musk wafting off Mulder's hard, toned body. He noted how much better Mulder looked since the last time he'd seen him. Unfortunately, the smell and the sight of the shirtless man made his heart beat faster and sent blood rushing down to his dick. By the time they entered Mulder's apartment, Doggett was glad for the suit coat he was wearing.

"I'm going to grab a quick shower, help yourself to a beer or an ice tea in the fridge."

Doggett didn't try to stop him. Currently he was more concerned with getting his libido under control. It had been years since another man had stirred such strong feelings in him, and this wasn't the first time he'd gotten a woody being around the infuriating former Agent Mulder. He looked up at the clock as he opened a beer. It was after four o'clock in the afternoon. Close enough to quitting time.

He wandered around the living room, stopping to stare into the fish tank at the familiar fish. A pile of student papers was stacked up on the coffee table. He spent a few minutes leafing through them. Each had a grade marked in the corner and throughout was detailed comments in Mulder's handwriting. He had heard somewhere that Mulder was teaching at the University of Maryland. Doggett then noted the new computer on Mulder's desk along with several file folders next to it. They resembled FBI case files. He opened one and discovered the photograph of Senator Malcolm Woods' only child, Marcus. It was clipped to several sheets of handwritten notes and diagrams. Marcus Woods was abducted five days ago while jogging along the riverfront in Baltimore. Doggett wondered what Mulder was doing with the file.

"Senator Woods asked me to check into his son's disappearance." Mulder's voice startled Doggett as the young man padded barefoot across the room and took the file from him. "These are my personal notes." Mulder was shirtless wearing only a pair of tight fitting jeans, a combination that had Doggett's heart racing again.

"That's not why I'm here, Muldah. You've been looking into one of my X-File cases," Doggett said gruffly, angry with himself at how Mulder was affecting him.

"I've been looking into cases that I believe are tied to Marcus Woods' abduction," Mulder said, walking into his kitchen and taking a beer out of the refrigerator. "The Senator promised me that my investigation into his son's disappearance would not be interfered with."

Doggett swore under his breath. Senator Woods was a powerful man in Washington. He chaired two important committees and had the President's ear. The Senator was also a close friend of FBI Director Morris. It would not be good to get on Woods' bad side.

Doggett was surprised that Woods would ask Mulder to look into his son's abduction. There was already a massive effort underway to find his thirty-two year old son. It involved a large FBI task force and detectives from the Baltimore PD. To date they'd turned up nothing. "Does anyone at the FBI know that you're looking into this case for the Senator?"

"Counting you? One."

"Just what type of connection have you found between Samuel Jacob and Marcus Woods?" Doggett couldn't figure out how a dead hermaphrodite could tie into this abduction.

"That Jacob and Woods, in addition to two other men and four women were all kidnapped by the same unsub over a span of five years. Only one of them is still alive." Mulder sipped his beer and sat on the sofa, propping his feet up on the coffee table. The impromptu game of basketball was the first break he'd taken since meeting with the Senator three days ago.

"Do you want to share these connections of yours?"

Mulder frowned. He wasn't ready yet to share anything with the FBI. Then again he could use the FBI resources to speed up his investigation. Time was running out for the Senator's son and Jennifer Summers. "Maybe we can work together on this...?"

"Kersh will not go for it!"

"One call to Senator Woods and Kersh will have no choice," Mulder said. He had the Senator's word that he'd have a free hand in investigating his son's disappearance and any interference would be dealt with swiftly. The Senator had particularly stressed that where the FBI was concerned. It was the first time Mulder had met the Senator, but he took the man at his word.

"Really? One call...I'd like to see that." Doggett was surprised by Mulder's cool confidence.

"My advice to you, Agent Doggett, is to go back to the FBI and arrange for my full involvement in the case. I want a VIP pass to the FBI facilities, not a visitor's pass. Full access to their labs, databases, and personnel to handle research. Then I'll share my leads with you and we can proceed together on this investigation." Mulder knew that if Doggett refused, he'd have to share his leads anyway. He could not allow pride to get in the way of rescuing Marcus and Jennifer.

"Kersh is not going to like this, which is why I'm willing to go along with your request, Mulder." Doggett set his beer can aside, opting not to finish it, since he was going to have to go back to the bureau now. "Do you have anything that will convince them you have a real lead?"

"Have these two graves exhumed. According to my reports neither victim was properly autopsied. I want Scully to perform the autopsies. It should be enough to convince you of the connection." Mulder handed Doggett two file folders from his desk. He had the information stored on his hard drive, and an additional copy had been sent to the Gunmen.

Doggett glanced inside the folders and noted that both cases were from two years ago. The man, Philip Egan, committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree in his front yard. The woman, Anna Travis, was found decapitated five months prior. The causes of death were obvious, so only a cursory autopsy was performed. He couldn't see how either case was connected to Marcus Woods' abduction. "These cases tie in how?"

"I'll tell you during the autopsy." Mulder was worried that if he told Doggett now, the man would refuse to have the bodies exhumed due to the outlandish nature of his theory.

Doggett had heard all the stories about Spooky Mulder's uncanny ability at pulling leads out of thin air, so he decided to go along with him for now. "I'll get working on it, Mulder," he said, walking to the front door and opening it. "I'll see if A.D. Skinner will approve your VIP pass without us having to go through Kersh."

"Thanks, Agent Doggett."

Mulder closed the door after Doggett departed, locking and bolting it. He wandered over to the window and stared down at the sidewalk until Doggett walked out of the building and up the street toward his car. Mulder hadn't realized how lonely he'd been lately. Although he met dozens of people a day at the university, he still missed the company of his peers. A knock sounded on the front door as he was heading into his bedroom for a shirt.

He peered through the peephole before opening the door.

"Mr. Mulder, the Senator would like to see you. I'm here to drive you to his estate," the chauffeur said.

Mulder let the man in. "Give me a minute to dress." He headed back into his bedroom to change into a suit and tie.

***

Two people sat huddled in the corner of a dirty, foul-smelling cellar. There was one dim light bulb hanging directly above where they sat. The light didn't reach the far corners of their prison, nor to the locked door that prevented them from leaving. The light was enough to keep the rodents away. The man and the woman clung to each other for warmth and comfort as they listened to the muffled sounds of a foghorn and the crashing of waves against the shore. Demetrius peered through the small, barred window in the door, secretly watching his captives. The male, Marcus, was beautiful, just as he liked them. The woman was as close to a carbon copy of Marcus as he could find. He hoped that Marcus would accept his gift, and not commit suicide, like Samuel and Philip had.

It had saddened Demetrius when he learned of Samuel's death over a month earlier. Samuel hadn't been able to deal with his elevated status. Only one of the three men accepted Demetrius' gift without ending his life. Demetrius had mistakenly assumed Samuel would be like Andrew who was currently living happily with his wife Gloria and their four-year-old daughter. The couple had tried for over a decade to conceive before Demetrius kidnapped Andrew and solved their problem for them. Andrew and his wife had kept his pregnancy a secret. She was a registered nurse and assisted her husband during the birth of their daughter.

Glancing back into the dimly lit room, he smiled. Tomorrow the cleansing ceremony would begin. Once the moon was full, the sacrifice would be made and he would impregnate Marcus.

***

Senator Malcolm Woods maintained a calm exterior, but on the inside he was in emotional turmoil over his son's kidnapping. He learned from his twenty-five years in the U.S. Senate how critical it was not to show any sign of weakness. The Senator studied the restless young man in the seat across from him with great interest. Fox Mulder was a handsome man, seven years older than his son Marcus, but to the Senator he appeared younger. When Woods had met with Mulder three days ago, he'd been too upset to study the man. Now he took in every detail.

A gentle breeze lifted the silky strands of Mulder's hair as he sat uncomfortably under the Senator's scrutiny. They were sitting outside on the veranda of Woods' D.C. mansion. Mulder lifted the wineglass to his lips and took a sip as he waited for the Senator to address him.

"Mr. Mulder, I can see by looking at you that the rumours were true."

"What rumours are those, sir?"

"After your abduction...when you were returned, your body had been heavily scarred. Now all the scars have miraculously healed, including old bullet and knife wounds I was told. Your skin is smooth--flawless, even wrinkles have vanished."

Mulder fidgeted looking at the dignified Senator with mild surprise. "That was classified information, how do you--"

"I know all about you, Mr. Mulder. Ever intimate detail. The sexual relationship you had with Senator Matheson. Your career with the FBI, including all of your X-File cases." The Senator paused, meeting Mulder's eyes. "I'm a believer, Mr. Mulder...I'm also a powerful man, more so than Richard Matheson ever was. I can get you rehired at the FBI as it's new Deputy Director if it suits me." Woods enjoyed watching the younger man's growing unease. It was a game with him to keep people off balanced.

"Why are you telling me this? Are you propositioning me?" Mulder was ready to stand and walk out on the Senator. He never would allow anyone to use him again.

"No...I'm hopelessly heterosexual." The Senator smiled sadly, the grief he felt over his son's abduction making an appearance for the first time. "Mr. Mulder, my son Marcus is gay. I want you to know how much he means to me. I've always been supportive of his life style, even though it meant he would be the last in our family line. He is my life, Mr. Mulder! I will do anything to get him back alive. If you help find him, I will give you anything...just name your price."

Mulder nodded relaxing, satisfied with the Senator's answer. "Senator, I have uncovered a connection between your son's case and seven other cases. If my lead proves correct your son will be returned to you alive within seven days--"

"This is great news! What leads? Do you know who's holding him?" The Senator rose to his feet.

Mulder frowned. "Senator, before you get your hopes up there's more. It might be too out there for you to believe."

"I told you, Mr. Mulder, I'm a believer." The Senator read the disbelief on the younger man's face and realized Mulder needed convincing. "I'm also the head of a secret society that's been studying the paranormal for over thirty-five years. It's one of the reasons I ran for the Senate. I wanted to be in a position to make a difference--affect change. Most of my society's members hold high profile jobs in business, law, medicine, and government. Your cases have provided us with a plethora of knowledge over the last nine years. So feel secure in the knowledge that whatever you tell me will be viewed with an opened mind." The Senator often thought about approaching Mulder and offering him membership into their exclusive group. The only thing holding him back was Mulder's high profile--and the fact that several different groups were watching him closely.

Mulder took a deep breath. "When your son is released, he will be pregnant."

"What?" This was something the Senator wasn't expecting to hear. "That's not--"

"Possible." Mulder smiled weakly. "Over the last five years three men and three women have been abducted, all three women were brutally murdered. During the autopsy on the bodies of two of the women it was discovered that their reproductive organs were missing. The third was buried without a thorough autopsy being done. Six weeks ago, one of the men, Samuel Jacob leapt to his death. When his body was autopsied--"

The Senator interrupted. "I know it was discovered he was eight months pregnant." He had read Agent Scully's autopsy report. "How have you tied this Samuel Jacob's case in with that of my son's abduction?" Woods marvelled at the cool intelligence he saw behind Mulder's eyes. He knew, however Mulder had tied the two cases together it would be dead on.

Mulder picked up his satchel and rifled through it, pulling out eight photographs. He laid the first six out on the table in front of the Senator. "This is Andrew Riley and Margaret Hood, they were abducted five years ago. This is Philip Egan and Anna Travis, they were abducted over two years ago. This is Samuel Jacob and Nancy Jones, they were taken nearly one year ago. Do you notice anything unusual about them?"

Woods nodded, looking at the pictures. Both Riley and Hood were blue-eyed blondes and had similar facial structures. Egan and Travis had dark brown hair and brown eyes. Jacob and Jones had black hair and grey eyes. "Each pair looks as if they could be twins."

Mulder then laid Jennifer Summers' photo in front of the Senator. Woods gasped picking up the photo of the young woman who bore an uncanny resemblance to his son. "Who is she?"

"Jennifer Summers. She was abducted in Providence, Rhode Island two days before your son's abduction."

"Mr. Mulder, just what is going to happen to my son and this young woman?"

Mulder frowned and ran his fingers anxiously through his unruly hair. "I believe that the person who abducted them has the power to transform the male into a hermaphrodite by stealing the woman's reproductive organs--"

"So the man is a Doctor?"

"No. Both Margaret Hood's and Nancy Jones' organs were removed without any sign that surgery was performed. In Hood's case they assumed that she was born without reproductive organs, since she was single and came from an impoverished family that didn't have health insurance. Her mother gave birth to all of her children at home and other than the required childhood shots, there was no record that Margaret ever saw a doctor. Jones on the other hand was more of a mystery. She was married and had given birth to one child. Neither of the two cases were ever connected."

"What about Anna Travis?"

Mulder nodded, the Senator had been paying attention. "Travis' body was never given a complete autopsy. They listed the cause of death as decapitation."

"Isn't that unusual in a homicide?"

"It's more usual than most people would like to believe. I have asked Agent Doggett to have her body and Philip Egan's body exhumed and sent to the FBI to be autopsied."

"This Philip Egan, how did he die?"

"He hung himself."

"What about Andrew Riley?"

"Riley returned to his home in Delaware four days after Hoods' body was discovered in Maryland. The police never tied the two cases together. Riley denied any memory of what had happened to him while he was missing for those two weeks. Nine months after Riley returned home, his wife supposedly gave birth to their only daughter--"

"Supposedly?"

"Gloria Riley's medical records had listed her as barren. The Riley's had tried for more than a decade to conceive. Then suddenly Mrs. Riley is mysteriously pregnant, but she doesn't go in for any prenatal tests and ends up having the baby at home. Three months prior to their daughter's birth, Andrew drops out of sight, refusing to see anyone. Gloria told relatives that he was having a difficult time cooping with her pregnancy and his abduction."

"So you think that Andrew Riley gave birth to their daughter? That he possesses Margaret Hoods' reproductive organs?" the Senator asked, leaning forward intrigued.

"Yes."

"Is there anyway we can have Riley submit to a thorough medical examination?"

Mulder shrugged his shoulders. "Not legally."

"This is most fascinating." Senator Woods leaned back in his chair happy in the knowledge that his son was not going to be killed by his abductor. It disturbed him that Marcus might return similarly to how the other men were returned. He would see that Marcus was given the best private medical care available. "Mr. Mulder, I would like to make one request of you. When Marcus is found and if he is with child, I would like that information suppressed. I don't want him turned into freak before the nation."

"Sir, I can understand how you feel. I wouldn't want your son to experience anymore pain over this incident than is necessary. With luck we'll be able to rescue him and Miss Summers before the unsub has a chance to carry through with his plans," Mulder replied.

"If you need my help expediting anything, just give my assistant a call. It was a pleasure talking with you, Mr. Mulder. Sometime in the future I'd like to have a lengthy conversation about the paranormal and aliens with you."

Mulder shook the Senator's hand. Then he was led out of the mansion by the butler. The limousine was waiting to take him home.

Senator Woods walked over to the wrought iron railing surrounding his veranda and looked out across his grounds. His thoughts were warring with each other. On the one hand he wanted his son back safe and sound, but on the other he secretly craved a grandchild. No, he could not allow his selfish desires to get in the way of his son's welfare or the life of the young woman abducted with his son.

His thoughts turned to Mulder and his uncanny ability to see the most obscure patterns in a case. The former FBI man's mind did not function the way a normal human's did. Woods wondered if this was the result of the experiments conducted on the young Fox as a boy.

***

Hoover Building
Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Heads turned as Mulder strolled purposely down the corridor of the Hoover building. He had taken extra care with his appearance today, including dressing in a new Italian black silk suit. Whispers followed him as he walked into the reception area outside of Skinner's office.

"Hi, Kim, is the A.D. in?"

When Kim realized she was staring, she closed her mouth and stammered, "A-Agent Mulder...ah...no...I mean, Mr. Mulder. A.D. Skinner is in a meeting with Deputy Director Kersh. If you'd like to take a seat, he should be back in about ten minutes."

"Thanks, Kim." Mulder smiled and took a seat against the wall.

She noted the VIP pass clipped to his pocket. "Would you like a cup of coffee?"

"No. I'm fine."

"You're looking fine. Your new job must agree with you." She wondered what he was doing for a living now. Going by the suit he must be making a ton of money.

"My work has been interesting. When I'm not consulting with various law enforcement agencies, I teach a course at the University of Maryland. My friend Doctor Burks convinced me to take the position."

"What type of class? Does that make you Professor Mulder?"

"Criminal profiling and a study of the paranormal. Yes, it does make me a professor."

"Is there much interest at the college in criminal profiling?"

"Not when it was first listed, but word of mouth seemed to have gotten out. Now there's a waiting list to get into my class."

Kim smiled knowingly. She'd sit through any class, no matter how boring, if she could stare at Professor Mulder. "It's been quiet around the bureau since you left."

"I'm sure Kersh must be happy."

Kim glanced around then walked over to where Mulder was sitting. She whispered, "I don't know about that. Agents under Kersh's command have dropped the ball on three high profile cases in the past five months. Director Morris was not happy. Rumour has it that your name came up during the dressing down he gave Kersh over the last one."

Mulder looked into her blue eyes, intrigued. "Really? In what context?"

"That you could have solved those cases blind-folded while standing on your head, if some pompous jackass hadn't fired you, and that Kersh better not screw up another case or he'll be out the door." Kim's satisfied smile turned slowly into a frown as she added, "A.D. Skinner has been working around the clock on the Marcus Woods' abduction case. Kersh is really riding everyone hard."

As if on cue, Skinner walked through the door. Mulder noted his tired expression and the way his shoulders were slumped with exhaustion.

Skinner lips turned up in a slow smile when he saw Mulder sitting outside his office door. "Mulder." He held out his hand and they shook. "John informed me that you'd be assisting in the Woods' investigation. He said you had a lead on the case."

"Walter, shall we go into your office and discuss it?" He grinned at the look Skinner gave him over the use of his first name. Now that Mulder no longer worked for Skinner, he decided it was time they dealt with each other as peers.

"Sure, Mulder." Skinner allowed Mulder to proceed him into the room. Instead of taking a seat behind his desk, Skinner chose to sit on the sofa.

"You look like shit, Walter," Mulder said, sitting on a chair next to the sofa.

"I feel like shit."

"When did you eat last?"

"I don't remember," Skinner answered truthfully. "The hours have all started blurring together."

Mulder stood and pulled Skinner to his feet. "C'mon, Walter, I'll buy you a garlic roast beef sandwich and fries at Casey's. We can talk there as easily as here."

"Make it onion rings and you have a deal." Skinner stifled a yawn as Mulder led him out of his office.

Kersh was standing by Kimberly's desk with his arms folded across his chest. He had a scowl on his face as he looked at Mulder. He snarled, "Mulder, I heard you were in the building. I'd like a word with you in my office."

Mulder smirked. "Alvin, it's nice to see you, too. I can't talk now, but I'll catch you after lunch." He casually pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and dialled the basement extension as he and Skinner stepped into the hallway. Kersh followed them as Mulder spoke on the phone. "Agent Doggett, would you and Agent Reyes care to join A.D. Skinner and me for lunch down at Casey's? I'm going to fill him in on the case and I would like to discuss the progress you've made. Okay, we'll meet you there."

Kersh blocked their way. "Mulder, if you leave this building before talking to me, I'll suspend your VIP pass--"

Agents paused in their daily activity to listen to the exchange of words between their Deputy Director, who looked like he hadn't slept in days, and the former Agent Mulder who looked like he just stepped off the cover of GQ magazine.

"Look, Alvin, I doubt you'd want to do that. I was having a glass of wine with Senator Woods on his veranda last evening and he promised me the total cooperation of the FBI." Mulder knew that Kersh knew that not only was Woods good friends with the Director, but one of the Senator's committees wielded a lot of power over the FBI.

Kersh reluctantly stepped aside. "I want to speak to you when you get back from lunch, Mulder."

"I'll stop by your office some time this afternoon," Mulder said offhandedly, stepping onto the elevator with Skinner at his side.

Both men were stone faced as the elevator headed down to the parking ramp. Then Skinner started to snicker and it soon turned into a full belly laugh. "Oh, my God, Mulder, remind me never to get on your bad side. I thought Kersh was going to piss his pants when you mentioned you were having wine with Senator Woods last night!"

Mulder sighed contentedly. "I've dreamed of taking that arrogant bastard down a notch."

"I think you've succeeded." Skinner followed Mulder over to his car and climbed in the passenger side.

Mulder slid in the driver's seat and buckled his seatbelt. He backed out of his parking space.

"I've missed you, Mulder."

"Well, I've missed working for you, Walter. Life gets pretty damn lonely at times," Mulder said wistfully as he drove out of the parking ramp.

"I thought you were happy teaching?"

"There's a bit of a generation gap between the eighteen to twenty-two years old I teach. Most have no idea what it's like to stare down the barrel of a gun or race against time to stop some madman from killing again."

Skinner studied Mulder carefully. Beneath that perfectly groomed exterior was a lonely man who was hurting badly. There was a time when Mulder wore his pain and loss like a second suit, now it was carefully tucked away. "You should have called. I would have loved to spend some time with you in my off hours."

Mulder smiled over at him. "I'll do that, Walter. Sometimes it helps to have someone to talk to--someone who would understand." Mulder pulled into the parking lot of Casey's. Doggett's car was already in the lot.

They found the agent sitting alone in a booth. Mulder slid in next to him while Skinner sat across from them.

"Where's Reyes?" Mulder asked.

"She's driving to Quantico. Philip Egan's and Anna Travis' bodies just arrived. She wanted to be present when Scully started the autopsy." Doggett took a sipped of cola. "Now, Muldah, do you want to tell us what you expect Agent Scully to find?"

Mulder sighed at the way Doggett pronounced his name. It was hit or miss whether he'd pronounce it correctly. "I expect her to find that Ms. Travis' body doesn't have any reproductive organs."

"What? Are you suggesting that the unsub removed them?" Doggett asked in astonishment.

"Yes. And I expect that we'll find them in Philip Egan's body along with a five month old fetes."

A waitress walked up to their table. "Gentlemen, what may I get you?"

"I'll have the garlic roast beef, fries, and an ice tea," Mulder said.

"I'll have the same, but with onion rings instead of fries," Skinner replied.

The waitress turned to Doggett.

"The cheese steak sandwich and onion rings."

After she left Doggett turned back to Mulder. "Do you want to tell us how Egan, Travis, and Jacob figure into the Marcus Woods' case?"

Mulder nodded, and started filling them in on everything he told Senator Woods last night. The waitress came back with their meals halfway through Mulder's explanation. They ate while listening to him.

"Whoa, Mulder, do you honestly expect anyone in their right mind to buy this theory of yours?" Doggett asked.

"I buy it, Agent Doggett," Skinner growled.

Doggett turned his steely blues on Skinner. "Sir, no one has the power to magically transfer the reproductive organs from a female into the body of a male, turning him into a fully-functioning hermaphrodite. It's just not possible!"

Softening, "John, I think Mulder has done a fine job explaining that it is possible. How would you explain Samuel Jacob?"

"He could have been born a hermaphrodite."

"His wife said he was one hundred percent male." Skinner took a sip of his ice tea wishing for something stronger. "If the DNA from Nancy Jones' body matches up with the reproductive organs found in Jacob would that convince you?"

Doggett sighed. "I couldn't argue with hard science."

Mulder chuckled. "I don't know...I've won countless arguments with Scully over the years. Her hard science against my wild theories."

"Well, none of your theories have given us any clues on how to find this unsub!" Doggett said.

Mulder knew he was right. "I think we'll need to bring Andrew Riley in for questioning."

"And if he doesn't want to cooperate?"

Skinner spoke firmly, feeling revitalized. "We'll show him Margaret Hood's photo and remind him just what it cost her. And what will happen to Jennifer Summers if we don't find her in time."

Mulder smiled at Skinner. It felt good working as part of a team again, even if it was only temporary. They finished their lunches and Mulder decided to head back to the bureau to talk to Kersh, while Doggett and Skinner drove out to Quantico to view the autopsies.

***

Demetrius sensed that something was wrong as he clicked on his television set to watch the daily press conference being held by the FBI. The press conferences were meant to keep the public informed on their progress in the search for Senator Woods' son. Demetrius had been watching their conferences over the last four days only this time something was different. Standing to the left of the podium, where the stocky black man was speaking, was a tall, beautiful, white male wearing an expensive suit. He felt a stirring in his loins for this attractive man, enchanted by the full pouty lips and the sexy mole on his cheek. The way his soft brown hair fell across his forehead. Unfortunately, he couldn't make out the color of the man's eyes over his television set.

His attention was suddenly drawn back the black man at the podium. "With the assistance of Mr. Mulder...." The black man nodded to the beautiful man standing to his left. "We've been able to link Marcus Woods' abduction with several other unsolved cases. Due to the sensitive nature of this case we're not at liberty to disclose any further information at this point."

A reporter in the audience shouted. "DD Kersh, does it have anything to do with the bodies of Philip Egan and Anna Travis that were exhumed this morning and sent to the FBI labs in Quantico?"

"No comment," Kersh said gruffly. "Now if you'll excuse us, we have work to do."

Demetrius stood stunned. He had no idea how the FBI could have connected Egan and Travis to Woods. His eyes stayed focused on the image of the beautiful man being led out of the press conference by DD Kersh and two beefy agents. He tapped a manicured, painted, nail to his lip. "Mulder, who are you and just what assistance are you providing the FBI?" Demetrius was determined to find out everything about this tall beauty.

Walking into his bathroom, he stopped at the sink to freshen up his makeup. Then he selected a dark shade of lipstick from his makeup case, applying it with professional ease to his lips. He strolled into his bedroom, stripping off the robe and tossing it on the unmade bed. Choosing a pair of leggings and an oversized sweater from his closet, he walked back into the bathroom and hung them on the hook on back of the door, before digging through the cabinet for a fresh tampon. He placed one foot on the toilet and reached under his balls for the string hanging from his vagina. Tossing the used tampon into the trash he inserted the new one.

Demetrius dressed and slipped on a pair of flats. The final touch was a long black wig that fell in waves over his shoulders. He smiled at his image. It was impossible to tell that he wasn't one hundred percent female. No Adam's apple was evident and his face was smooth and hairless.

Before leaving his house, Demetrius walked over to the altar he had set up inside a walk-in closet. He scrapped a long nail over the ancient tome resting on it. The secrets of the universe had been revealed to him inside this book. The more he learned, the closer to a God he became.

***

Mulder arrived at Quantico just as Scully was finishing up the last autopsy.

Walking anxiously over to Agent Doggett, he asked, "Well?" Despite the confidence he had in his theory, there was always a chance that he could be wrong.

"It was as you said, Mulder. Egan has female reproductive organs in his body with a mummified fetes inside the womb and Travis was completely sexless. Agent Scully has sent tissue samples from both victims to try to match the DNA from the female organs inside Egan with Travis," Doggett said, growing a whole new respect for the ex-agent.

Skinner walked over to them. "How did your meeting with Kersh go?"

Mulder shrugged his shoulder and sighed, "He decided to use me in his dog and pony show to the press. I suspect if we don't rescue Marcus Woods, I'll be the one getting the blame for it."

Skinner looked disgusted. "If we do rescue him, Kersh will be the one getting the credit."

"What else is new?" Mulder glanced through the doorway at Scully as she removed her soiled gloves. Agent Monica Reyes was hovering closely by her side. Mulder hadn't been surprised when Scully told him that Monica had moved in with her. He'd suspected that the two women had become more than just friends over the past several months.

"What's our next step?" Skinner asked.

"We need to bring Andrew Riley in for questioning," Doggett said, looking at Mulder for confirmation.

Mulder nodded in agreement and added, "We'll also need to get DNA samples from the fetes and Jacob's dead infant. We'll need a court order to get a DNA sample from the Riley's little girl so we can match them against the unsub when we capture him."

"You think the unsub is the father?" Doggett asked, his eyes never leaving Mulder's handsome face.

"I'm banking on it."

"Look, Mulder, I'd like to discuss this case further with you. If you're free tonight...say for dinner. My treat," Doggett said. His desire to get to know Mulder on a more personal level was taking precedence over his common sense. He didn't even know if Mulder would be open to a sexual relationship with another man.

"Sure. Where?"

"My place...say around seven o'clock. I make a mean chilli."

"Okay, I'll see you tonight." Glancing down at his watch, Mulder sighed. "I need to get over to the university. I have papers to grade."

Neither man noticed the look of confusion and sadness on Skinner's face.

Mulder paused on his way out the door and turned back to Skinner, he smiled. "Walter, call me sometime."

Skinner forced a smile. "I'll see you tomorrow, Mulder."

***

As the chilli bubbled away in a pot on the stovetop, Doggett used a wooden spoon to stir the spicy concoction. He hadn't been able to get Mulder off his mind since seeing him playing basketball yesterday. His decision to invite him for dinner had been impulsive, but he was glad he had. The timer went off on the stove and he pulled the cornbread out of the oven while thinking back to the last man he had a sexual relationship with--Tom. His relationship with Tom had lasted longer than any of his previous relationships, including his marriage. Tom had been killed in the line of duty three years ago. Mulder was the first man, since Tom's death, he wanted to get to know on a more intimate level.

The doorbell rang and he nervously rubbed his sweaty palms on his faded jeans as he went to answer it.

Mulder was standing on his stoop wearing a worn leather jacket over a black T-shirt. He also wore a mischievous grin on his face. Bringing his hand up from where it was hidden behind his back, he handed Doggett a colourful bouquet of wildflowers. "One of my students informed me that it would be rude not to bring you flowers, if you're cooking dinner for me."

Doggett took the flowers and looked at him warily. "You discussed us having dinner with your students?"

"My students are mostly female and they seem to have taken an interest in my personal life. Would you like to read the stack of love letters I've received over the last two months?" Mulder asked, following Doggett into the living room and taking off his jacket.

Doggett chuckled. "So you used having dinner with me as a means to discourage their advances?"

"I was getting desperate." Mulder draped his jacket over the back of a chair.

"I better put these in water," Doggett said, walking into the kitchen. He opened the cabinet trying to remember if he even had a vase. His eyes landed on an oversized beer stein. Pulling it off the top shelf, he filled it with water, then plopped the flowers in and carried the stein into the dining room and placed it in the middle of the table.

He glanced into the living room where Mulder was going through his CD collection.

"Go ahead if you want to put some music on," Doggett said, coming up to stand beside him.

"You have a nice collection." Mulder selected Billy Joel's The Stranger CD.

"Mostly old favourites." Doggett watched as Mulder popped the CD in and waited for the first notes of Moving' Out to start playing. "Dinner's ready if you want to take a seat at the table, I'll be right out with it."

"Do you need any help?"

"No. Just relax, Muldah."

"John, it's pronounced, Mul-der or Fox take your pick."

"Hey, it's not my fault your name is so hard to pronounce. So I guess I'll go with Fox as long as it's all right with you."

"Yeah, it's all right." Mulder took a seat at the table, noting that Doggett had taken the time to set it and light candles. He wondered for the second time if Doggett had more on his mind than discussing the Woods' case.

Doggett returned with a pitcher filled with margaritas and a basket of cornbread. He filled their glasses. "I've been watching my sodium intake, so I hope you don't mind that I didn't salt the glasses. I didn't bother buying salt at the liquor store."

"No. I don't mind." Mulder picked up the glass and took a sip while Doggett headed back into the kitchen. He came back with two bowls heaping with chilli and placed one in front of Mulder then took a seat at the table. "It smells good." Mulder slowly brought a spoonful to his lips.

Doggett smiled at the cautious way Mulder tasted the first spoonful. "Don't worry, it's not too hot."

It was hot, but not too bad. "Mm, John, this is really good. You wouldn't believe some of the bad chilli I've had, where the only two ingredients seemed to be Tabasco sauce and habanera peppers."

"I've had some of that chilli. It gets you coming and going."

They ate for a few minutes in silence and listening to the music. Before Mulder found the courage to ask what was on his mind. "John, you didn't really want to discuss the case tonight, did you?"

"It wasn't my main reason for inviting you," Doggett confessed.

"What was your main reason?" Mulder asked softly, watching the guilty look on Doggett's face.

"I wanted to get to know you better. Look, Fox, I find you attractive and interesting." Doggett waited for Mulder to laugh or make some sarcastic remark. When he didn't Doggett looked over at him and saw a deeply troubled man.

"What's wrong?"

Mulder looked at him with sad eyes. "Just what are you suggesting, John?"

Doggett realized that Mulder wouldn't be satisfied with anything but the truth. "I'd like to pursue a relationship with you, if you're inclined."

Mulder stirred his chilli, so he wouldn't have to meet Doggett's eyes. "My one and only sexual relationship with another man ended badly. I haven't had another since Richard."

"Richard? Do you want to tell me about it?"

Mulder shrugged his shoulders. He hadn't talked to anyone about his six-month affair. "It was twenty years ago. I was working as an intern for Senator Matheson while attending college--"

Doggett interrupted, his eyes widening. "*Richard* Matheson? You had an affair with a U.S. Senator?"

"Yeah. Unfortunately, my dad found out. Him and Richard were friends. It was how I got the job as the Senator's intern. I've never seen Dad so mad in my life. After Samantha was abducted he virtually avoided any contact with me, but for some reason finding out that his friend was fucking me sent him into a rage. It ended with me being sent away to college in England." Mulder looked sadly down at his meal. "I really hated disappointing my dad, so I stayed away from men after that incident."

"None of your relationships with women have worked out, have they, Fox?"

"No. John, I'm gay...I finally accepted that fact and stopped dating altogether."

"It was noble that you wanted to please your father, but, Fox, you should never have allowed him to dictate how you lived your life. You're an adult...you should put your happiness first." Doggett placed his hand on top of Mulder's. "Let me show you how good it can be...that is if you're interested?"

"I-I." Mulder hadn't given any thought to starting a relationship with anyone. He swallowed nervously. Feeling slightly nauseous as his nerves became tangled between his desire to accept what Doggett was offering, and the desire to flee. "Just what are you proposing, John?"

Doggett saw the look of fear in Mulder's eyes and realized the younger man was scared to death. He rose and kneeled next to Mulder's chair. "I don't want you to be afraid of me, Fox. We don't have to do anything if you don't want to. We can start by being friends...having dinner together, going to ballgames, watching TV together. If we move our relationship past friendship, it will be your decision."

"You'd be willing to settle for us just being friends?" Mulder sucked on his lower lip, beginning to relax a little.

"I find you fascinating, Fox. I've never met anyone like you before and I seriously want to get to know you better."

Mulder sighed with relief. "Okay, I'd like to get to know you better too, John."

Doggett smiled. "Finish your dinner, Fox."

They spent the remainder of the meal talking about sports. Doggett was happy to discover that they were both Knicks fans. Mulder insisted on helping Doggett with the dishes. By the end of the evening, each had a better understanding of the other.

Doggett watched sadly as Mulder pulled on his leather jacket. He was willing to wait for Mulder to be ready to move their relationship to the next level, but he still desired to touch and taste the other man.

"Thanks, John...I really enjoyed having dinner with you. I'll see you at the bureau tomorrow." Mulder wasn't sure if he wanted to kiss Doggett or not, he was still worried about rushing too quickly into another doomed relationship. Instead, he held out his hand. Doggett shook it firmly keeping the contact a bit longer than was normal.

"Fox, my cousin has a cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains...once this case is over I'd love to take you there. We can do some hiking and maybe a little fishing. Just kick back and relax."

"That sounds good. I could use some downtime, but it might have to wait until fall break."

Doggett chuckled. "Fox, you've been hanging around those geeky friends of yours too long. Downtime is for computers. Vacations are for people."

Mulder grinned sheepishly. "I'd love to take a vacation. Nothing could be more beautiful than when the fall colors are at their peak up in the mountains."

"I can think of one thing more beautiful," Doggett said, staring intensely at Mulder.

There was no doubt in Mulder's mind what he meant. He blushed. "I-I better get home...I need to get up early tomorrow."

"Bye, Fox." Doggett stood in the doorway and watched Mulder walk to his car.

***

Once home Mulder walked into his bathroom and stared at his reflection in the mirror. What was there about him that would interest John Doggett? Long ago Mulder had put up defensive blocks around his heart in the form of self-effacing sarcasm. He couldn't stand the pain of being hurt again. Dana Scully was the only person he'd ever let behind his shields, and even she had hurt him to the point that he was having a hard time letting anyone else close.

He walked out of his bathroom and picked up his old FBI nameplate that was residing on his bookshelf. It had rested on top of his basement desk for nearly a decade. He had rescued it once when Jeffrey Spender briefly took over his basement office. Only to have Dana Scully, years later, put it into his desk drawer as a means to shut him out of her mind so she could move on with her life. Maybe he should be grateful that she hadn't tossed it into the trash. It had hurt him, finding out that the one person he trusted above all others had given up on him after only two short weeks. Every one of his friends had moved on with their lives. No one even had the time to mourn his disappearance for long. No one really seemed to care.

Now John Doggett wanted to get to know him better with the promise of more. Mulder wasn't sure if he could handle another rejection. Then again, he wasn't sure he could go through life knowing that no one really loved him. It was a conundrum.

Kicking off his shoes, Mulder sat on the sofa and pulled his feet up. He lay on his side still clutching his nameplate and fell into a troubled sleep. The sound of his telephone buzzing woke him. He snatched it off the hook.

"Mulder?" he mumbled tiredly.

"Fox, we're bringing Andrew Riley in for questioning. I thought you'd want to be here?" Doggett's voice was filled with concern.

Mulder glanced at his desk clock...it was close to noon. "Damn. I'm sorry, John, I must have overslept. I'll be there in an hour."

"Are you okay?"

"I'm fine. Did I mention that tequila and me don't get along?"

"You only had one margarita last night."

Mulder smiled at the concern he heard in Doggett's voice. "See...tequila really hates me." His voice softened, "John, I'll be there in an hour." Hanging up, he picked the nameplate off the floor and dropped it in the trashcan. "It's time to let go of the past," he whispered.

When Mulder walked into the Hoover building, he was wearing his best grey suit and had the VIP badge displayed on his pocket. Men and women went out of their way to greet him as he strolled down the corridor as if he were some long lost relative. Doggett was pacing the basement office when he arrived.

"Fox, we need to get up to interrogation room three. Kersh has already assigned someone to interview Andrew Riley."

"Who?"

"ASAC Tom Colton."

"God, that asshole will ruin the case!" Mulder grumbled as he and Doggett hurried out of the office and up to the second floor's interrogation rooms.

They stepped into the observation room where Skinner and Kersh sat secretly viewing the interrogation. Kersh glared at Mulder. "Your theory that Riley was a victim of our unsub is falling apart, Mulder."

Mulder angrily got into Kersh's face. "My theory is sound, it's the jerk off you have interviewing him that's fucking up this case. Agent Doggett or A.D. Skinner should be conducting this interview not Colton! They know what questions to ask!"

"Get out of my face, Mulder! I'm the Deputy Director not you! I'll decide who interviews Andrews!"

"You're the DD today, but one call to Senator Woods and you'll be out on your ass! Is that what you want?" Mulder shot back.

Skinner and Doggett both stared at Mulder with their mouths hanging open.

"You're bluffing."

Mulder pulled his cell phone from his pocket and dialled the Senator's number.

"Senator Woods office," a soft female voice answered.

"This is Fox Mulder. Is the Senator in?"

"I'll connect you, Mr. Mulder."

"Mr. Mulder, how may I help you?" the Senator asked.

"Sir, I'm receiving some interference from Deputy Director Kersh. He's insisted on having an unqualified agent conduct the interview with a prime witness into your son's abduction--"

"Let me speak to him, Mr. Mulder."

Mulder handed the phone to Kersh.

"Senator?" Kersh said. His palms were sweating as he held the phone.

"Mr. Kersh, do you like your job?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then why are you trying to get your ass fired?"

"Sir?"

"Continue to interfere with Mr. Mulder's investigation into my son's abduction and you'll be eating out of garbage cans before this week is out. Do you understand me, Mr. Kersh?"

Kersh gulped. "Yes, sir."

"Good day, Mr. Kersh."

The DD handed the cell phone back to Mulder. He pushed the intercom button to the interrogation room. "ASAC Colton, Mr. Mulder and Agent Doggett are going to be taking over the interview."

Doggett's face remained unemotional as he and Mulder walked out the door and entered the interrogation room. Inside he was laughing his ass off. He'd kiss Mulder if he knew the younger man wasn't still skittish.

"Mr. Riley, I'm Special Agent John Doggett, this is Mr. Fox Mulder. We'd like to ask you a few questions."

Riley was an attractive man in his late thirties. Doggett thought there was something slightly effeminate about him.

"I've already told that other agent everything. I don't know why I've been brought here. I'd like to talk to my lawyer--"

"You're not being charged with anything, Mr. Riley. So there is no need for your lawyer...unless there is something you're hiding?" Doggett asked.

"I'm not hiding anything."

Mulder sat on the chair across from Riley. He opened his satchel and pulled out a series of photographs, lining them in front of Riley. "Do you recognize the woman in these photographs?"

He watched Riley's expression when he placed the photograph that showed Margaret Hood's decapitated head in front of him.

"I don't recognize her," Riley whispered, feeling nauseous.

Mulder said softly, "Look again, Mr. Riley, I think that you might be mistaken. Think back five years ago when you were abducted. Miss Hood was abducted the same time as you were by the same man--"

"I don't know her!"

"You have her uterus and vagina inside your body. I can get a court order to prove that fact, so I suggest you cooperate with us."

The color drained out of Riley's face. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

Mulder leaned forward. "I believe you do, Mr. Riley. I know that you gave birth to your daughter Caroline."

Riley slumped down in his chair. "What do you want from me?"

"We want your help in capturing the man who murdered Margaret Hood and turned you into a hermaphrodite. Mr. Riley, the same man is responsible for four other deaths, six if you count the unborn foetuses." Mulder placed two more photographs in front of Riley. "Please help us stop him from killing again. Help us rescue Marcus Woods and Jennifer Summers."

Riley looked at the photograph of the Senator's son and the young woman. He swallowed. "The witch who abducted me is like I am now a hermaphrodite. The creature could pass as either male or female. Mr. Mulder, I don't know how to find the bitch. The only thing I remember was that we were held in the cellar of a house near the ocean or bay. I could clearly hear the sound of a fog horn and the sea."

"I'd like you to work with a sketch artist so we could get a composite of this person," Doggett said.

"I'll never forget her face for as long as I live. I'll help you on the condition that you don't bring my name into this case. I don't want my family to become a circus sideshow."

"Agreed. Mr. Riley, we'd also like to have you examined and a blood sample taken from your daughter for a DNA test. The examines will remain classified," Mulder promised.

"No. I won't allow you to touch my daughter. You can examine me but you have to keep her out of this." Riley trusted the government only slightly more than the creature who abducted him.

Mulder and Doggett exchanged looks, silently communicating with their eyes.

Doggett turned back to Riley. "Okay, Mr. Riley, you have a deal," he said. Picking up the telephone, he arranged for a sketch artist. Then for Riley to be examined by Agent Scully.

***

Early evening
Thursday, September 13, 2001

Doggett walked into the task force room followed by Mulder. Skinner was there along with all the agents that had been assigned to the Woods' case, eight long days ago. He walked to the front of the room while Mulder strolled over to stand beside Skinner.

"People, listen up," Doggett said. "We have our first real break in the case." He handed the nearest agent a stack of fliers. "Pass these out, Roger." Doggett kept one and held it up. "This is a composite sketch of our suspect. We have already sent copies by courier to the newspapers and the television stations. It will be up to us to man the phones to weed out the loonies from the serious callers."

One of the agents looking at the sketch whistled. "Damn, I wouldn't mind dating her! Six feet four inches is a bit too tall, but damn she's hot."

Doggett looked at him sternly. "Dale, it's a he or more precisely a hermaphrodite."

"Well scratch that, I'm no faggot!" Dale said.

"Agent, watch your language!" Skinner barked.

Dale swallowed nervously. "Sorry, sir."

Mulder stifled a laugh as he smirked sideways at Skinner. It was good to see that his former boss still had the ability to make agents quiver in their shoes.

"Mulder, if you start laughing I'll have you thrown bodily out of the building," Skinner hissed under his breath.

"Sorry, Walter, you're just so cute when you're all surly."

"Maybe I should send Kersh a box of chocolates for firing your ass," Skinner quipped.

"Be nice, sir, or I'll ask Senator Woods to get me my old job back."

Skinner met his eyes. "Maybe, I want you back," he said softly.

Mulder raised an eyebrow, looking at him questioningly. Before he could ask what Skinner meant, Doggett came up beside them.

"Well, we're all set. I have a really good feeling about this."

***

Annapolis
Friday, September 14, 2001

It was early morning as Demetrius paused at the newspaper dispenser outside a convenience store. A cold sweat broke out over his body as he inserted coins into the slot and pulled out the paper. On the front page was a sketch of him in his female persona.

He needed to get back home and pack. It was only a matter of time before one of his neighbours contacted the FBI. Hopping into his car, he started for home.

He scanned his neighbourhood as he drove down his road. The homes were nicely spread out with his nearest neighbour’s house being a hundred yards away. He opted to park down the road from his house. Demetrius didn't have that much to retrieve; he mainly wanted the tome and his potions. He regretted having to leave Marcus and Jennifer, but there wasn't enough time to bring them along.

***

Hoover Building
Friday, September 14, 2001

Agent Stewart hung up the telephone and handed Doggett the slip of paper he had been scribbling on.

Doggett studied it and went over to the wall map where dozens of pins had been inserted. This was the third call they had received about a strange man who liked to dress in women's clothing that lived at a house over in Plum Point, Maryland.

Skinner sipped a cup of coffee as he manned one of the dozen telephone lines. Doggett waited until he hung up before approaching him. "Sir, I think we have one that we should check out."

"What do you have, Agent Doggett?"

"We've had three reports of a man matching the description who lives down at Plum Point. The town is located next to the Chesapeake Bay. It fits Riley's description of where he was held. The suspect's name is Demetrius Tatev."

"Okay, take a team of agents and investigate."

***

The hairs on the back of Demetrius' neck stood on end as he packed the last of his possessions into his car trunk and slammed it shut. He quickly climbed into the driver's seat, placing his hand on the tome he recited a short incantation. Thirty seconds later, four cars sped past and screeched to a stop in front of his house. Two agents jumped out of each car and fanned out around the house. Demetrius sat watching, comfortable in the knowledge that the spell he had just cast would keep him invisible from prying eyes for the next ten minutes.

He watched as the beauty from the FBI's press conference walked up to his front door with a hardened agent wearing an FBI flack jacket. The hardened agent placed his hand on the beauty's arm and shook his head motioning that he should wait outside. Mulder seemed about to refuse when the agent whispered something and a look of tenderness passed between the two men. Demetrius thought that was interesting as he waited for his chance to drive away.

When the agents were all in place they stormed inside the house. Mulder waited on the front stoop, for a couple of minutes, before slipping quietly inside. Once the beauty stepped inside, Demetrius started his engine and drove off down the street. His hand resting all the while on the ancient tome.

***

Mulder found the entrance to the cellar first. The trap door was under a rug in a walk-in closet. He held his breath against the foul smell as he shone his flashlight into the murky depths.

"I thought I told you to wait outside?" Doggett growled.

Mulder smirked at him. "Didn't Skinner ever tell you how bad I am at following orders?"

Doggett put his hand on Mulder's arm and aimed his gun down the hole. "Fox, I'll go first."

"Agent Doggett, I'm quite capable of defending of myself."

"You're an unarmed civilian. What are you going to defend yourself with?" Doggett snapped as he made his way down the steep steps. He found a cord attached to a light bulb and yanked on it.

Mulder followed him down and used his flashlight to illuminate the parts of the cellar the lone light bulb didn't reach. "Over here, John," he said as his beam of light landed on a wooden door with a small bar-covered window.

They made their way across the dank cellar, stooping to walk under the low hanging beams while brushing cobwebs out of their way. Mulder shone his flashlight through the bars and around the dirt-covered ground, until its beam landed on two figures huddled in the corner. When the light reached their faces, they covered their eyes, unaccustomed to the light. The only light bulb in their prison had burned out two days ago. The room reeked of feces and urine.

Doggett pulled at the door handle discovering that it was locked. He briefly thought about kicking the door in, but some of the ceiling beams appeared rotten and he was worried about causing the ceiling to cave in. He walked over to the bottom of the steps and called out, "Hey, we found them. Call an ambulance and someone bring down a crowbar."

"Help us, please," Marcus whimpered weakly.

Doggett came back to stand next to Mulder. "Don't worry, Mr. Woods, we'll have you out of there in a few minutes."

"Are you both okay?" Mulder asked.

"I-I guess. We haven't had anything to eat in three days. The bitch said she was cleansing our bodies for some ceremony."

"Did you catch her?" Jennifer asked fearfully. Her head rested weakly on Marcus' shoulder.

"Not yet."

Agents Stewart and Adams climbed down the steps. Adams was carrying a crowbar. "Stand back, guys," he said, as he jammed the end between the door and the wall, prying the door open. The old wood splintered, sending sharp pieces flying back at the men.

Mulder cried out as one chunk of wood tore through his slacks and speared his left thigh. "Damn, another pair of suit pants ruined." He reached down to pull the two-inch long splinter out of his leg.

Doggett's hand stopped him. "Don't touch it. You don't know how deep it goes, it might have cut a vein. If you pull it out, you may bleed to death before the paramedics get here."

"It's not that...." Mulder pulled his hand away at the concerned look Doggett was giving him. "Okay I'll leave it. Just go help Marcus and Jennifer, I'll meet you upstairs." He limped across the cellar toward the steps as Doggett went into the room with the other two agents. An agent standing at the top of steps rushed to help Mulder.

"That's one nasty piece of wood you have in your leg, Mulder."

Mulder cringed as he looked at the mouldy splinter in his thigh. His fingers itched to yank it out of his flesh. He held off as he heard the distant sirens.

Five minutes later the paramedics rushed inside the small house. Doggett and the other agents had helped Marcus and Jennifer up the steps a couple minutes earlier. The two captives were in pretty good condition, with the exception to some sores and malnutrition. Mulder's leg injury was cleaned and bandaged, and the paramedic advised him to go in for a tetanus shot and stitches.

"I'll take him to the hospital myself," Doggett said as the paramedics helped Marcus and Jennifer into the lone ambulance.

Mulder fingered his torn pants. The paramedic had slit the fabric open. "At least this was an older suit," he sighed.

"Maybe if you didn't spend a small fortune on a suit, it wouldn't be so bad," Doggett said as they headed to his car. The other agents started stringing yellow crime scene tape around the perimeter of the house.

"In the past the FBI reimbursed me for my suits damaged in the line of duty," Mulder grumbled.

"No wonder the X-Files were always over budget," Doggett quipped.

Mulder shrugged his shoulders and smiled. "We did it, didn't we?"

"You did it, Fox. Without your leads, we never would have found them in time." Doggett smiled over at the dust-covered man sitting beside him as he started the car and sped down the road after the ambulance.

"I almost forgot how good it feels to help save someone's life." Mulder looked out the window as he rested. "When do you want to go up to your cousin's cabin?"

"When's fall break?"

"Over two months away, during Thanksgiving week. I don't think I can wait that long. Why don't I put in for a week off in October...we can go during the peak of the fall color," Mulder suggested.

Doggett took one hand off the wheel and placed it on Mulder's uninjured thigh squeezing affectionately. "Okay, Fox, that sounds good. It will give your leg time to heal."

***

Skinner rushed down the corridor of the hospital. The press was already outside in droves. News of the rescue had reached all the major networks minutes after the ambulance had been dispatched to pick up Woods and Summers. However, that wasn't why Skinner had rushed to the hospital. He'd spoken to Agent Adams and was informed that Doggett had taken Mulder to the hospital with a leg injury.

He paused in the doorway of the examine room where Mulder sat with a sheet across his lap as a female doctor stitched up a half inch cut in his leg.

Mulder looked over at him and grinned. "Hey, Walter. It's just like old times, isn't it?"

"Mulder, this is one old time I could do without. How's your leg?"

"Better than my ass. The nurse gave me a tetanus shot. It hurts like a son of a bitch."

"Walter," Doggett said, stepping into the room.

Skinner levelled him with a firm look. "Agent Doggett, how come you allowed a civilian to enter that house?"

"You mean Fox?"

"Yes." Skinner scowled at Doggett's intimate use of Mulder's first name.

"He's not a very cooperative civilian. I did ask him to wait outside."

"Hey, I'm sitting here!" Mulder said. "Walter, I'm quite capable of looking after myself."

"If you were, you wouldn't be sitting *there* now would you?"

"Accidents do happen." Mulder sighed, "Walter, I'm going to be fine, then it's back to teaching, so you really don't have anything to worry about."

"I'm sorry, Mulder. I didn't mean to snap at you. You did a hell of a job on this case. I'm going to see that you get full credit," Skinner said.

"Thanks, but it's not necessary."

The Doctor stood and patted Mulder's good leg. "Mr. Mulder, I'm done. I'm going to write you a prescription for some painkillers and schedule your appointment to have the stitches removed. The leg will probably hurt for a few days."

"Thanks, Doctor Miller." Mulder stood, looking around for his ruined pants.

"Sir, I'm going to take Fox home. If that's all right with you?" Doggett asked.

"Sure, John. Then take yourself home after. You look like you could use some sleep, too."

Doggett grinned. "Look who's talking."

Skinner looked his agent up and down. "Well, at least I've taken time to shower and shave this morning. You look like someone who just came in from an all night drunk."

Doggett rubbed a hand over his stubble-covered jaw. "Point taken. I'll be back in the office later this afternoon."

***

Demetrius hid his car off an old lumber road and started hiking up to his hideaway inside a cave hidden up in the mountains. He'd been stocking it with supplies for years, knowing that someday he would need it.

The cave had a hot spring in the lowest cavern that kept the temperature at a constant sixty-five degrees, even in the winter. With fresh water from a nearby stream and plenty of wild game he could survive for years without ever leaving the mountain.

It hadn't been by accident that Demetrius had found the cave. He used a spell from the ancient book and a crow guided him through the mountains to this place. He needed to make a couple trips back to his car for the rest of his possessions. His thoughts turned back to Mulder, already deciding that he would be a perfect candidate to receive the gift. Once the furor had died down, he would start making plans.

***

Once home Mulder stripped out of his ruined pants and tossed them in the trash.

Doggett walked into the bedroom as Mulder was draping his suit coat over a chair. He handed Mulder the roll of plastic wrap he found in the kitchen. "Here. Wrap this around your leg to protect the bandages, then you can take a shower."

"Thanks, John. So are you leaving now?"

"No, I thought I'd fix us lunch first. And, if it's okay with you, I'd like to use your shower, then take a nap on your sofa for a couple of hours. I need to get back to the bureau and I think it would save time."

"I don't mind. You can have the bed if you'd like. I need to finish grading papers...I've fallen behind this week." Mulder finished wrapping the plastic wrap around his thigh and headed into the bathroom.

Doggett carried the roll back to the kitchen and started hunting for something to make them for lunch. Mulder's kitchen wasn't very well stocked. Doggett decided to make grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Mulder looked like he could use a hot meal, and he knew he sure could. Removing his suit coat, Doggett hung it on the coat rack by the door, before he started preparing lunch.

Mulder came into the kitchen ten minutes later as Doggett was turning the sandwiches in the skillet. He wrapped his arms around Doggett's waist from behind and looked over his shoulder. "That smells good."

Doggett relax into Mulder's embrace. "*You* smell good, Fox. Why don't you dish up the soup?"

"Okay. I wonder if they've made any progress on tracking down Demetrius Tatev." Mulder pulled a couple of soup mugs out of the cabinet.

"I'm sure I'd receive a call if they found him." Doggett carried the plates into the dining room as Mulder followed with the soup. "Fox, can I ask you something?"

"Sure."

"What's going on between you and Walter Skinner?"

Mulder looked up at him puzzled as he sat at the table. "I don't know what you mean? He's my ex-boss, John. Skinner sacrificed a lot for Scully and me over the years. He'd probably have Kersh's job if it weren't for his support of the X-Files and me. I owe Walter a lot, and I respect him. I consider him a friend. Why?"

"I think he might be interested in more from you than friendship--"

Mulder choked on the mouthful of soup. "John! Walter is not interested in me sexually if that's what you're implying. The man is as straight as a two by four."

"I've seen some pretty warped two by fours in my day."

"You know what I mean." Picking up his sandwich, Mulder dunked it into his soup.

"I've seen how Walter looks at you and how upset he was at the hospital."

"Okay, say that you're right. Does it bother you?"

"Yeah, it bothers me. I don't want to lose you to Skinner."

"John, I've known Skinner for over eight years and not once has he asked me for a date. Don't you think he would have done something by now?" Mulder took a bite of his sandwich, wondering if Doggett might be right.

Doggett wiped his hand on a napkin. "Fox, Walter's an honourable man and you were his subordinate. He might not have wanted to approach you under those circumstances."

"I've been out of the FBI for over seven months now, John, and until this case I haven't seen Skinner in five months."

"Maybe you reminded him of just what he was missing."

"Well, he's not missing much. I'm going to be forty in a month--"

"I'm forty-two, so what? Besides, you could pass for thirty."

"That's thanks to the aliens." Mulder pulled down his T-shirt exposing his smooth shoulder. "Before I was abducted I had a scar from a bullet wound here courtesy of Scully. It along with all other scars on my body disappeared along with a few wrinkles. I'm starting to feel like Dorian Gray."

"Then why the age hang up?"

"I don't know, it feels like I should have accomplished more by now. Instead I'm back in college."

"You're teaching at college, there's a big difference."

Mulder shrugged his shoulders and sipped some soup. "It's not what I wanted to do with my life."

"Do you want to get back in the FBI?"

"No." Mulder knew that much for certain, he didn't want to answer to anyone ever again.

"What then?"

"If I knew, I'd be already doing it." Noticing that Doggett's plate was empty, he stood and said, "Why don't I clean up and you go grab your shower and a nap. My razor is sitting out on the sink. Feel free to borrow socks and underwear from my dresser and clothes from my closet."

Doggett stood, he placed his hand on Mulder's arm stalling him from clearing the table. Then he kissed him softly on the lips. "Wake me if I sleep more than two hours."

Licking his lips, Mulder watched Doggett head toward the bathroom with a growing sense of unease. If only he could get over this fear of rejection and allow John to get closer. Love or loneliness? This should be an easy decision to make, why was he so frightened? Maybe if he approached it as only sex, he'd be okay. Maybe he should get some help...talk to someone. Mulder wiped his hands over his face in frustration. He had no one in his life he could talk to about this.

***

Demetrius turned on the gas generator that powered his radio and lights. On the radio, he could only pick up a couple of stations. One of them was an all talk and news station out of D.C. They were covering the news of Marcus' and Jennifer's rescue. Most of the credit was being given to Fox Mulder. It was the first time Demetrius had heard Mulder's first name.

"Fox." Demetrius smirked. "That's a perfect name for a hermaphrodite."

He would start his search for the perfect female match for Fox Mulder, and he wouldn't even have to leave his mountain. He picked up the ancient tome and opened it to a page with a spell for conjuring up a gargoyle. He would use the creature to do his bidding. In the past Demetrius had been hesitant about using such spells, but as he became stronger and more confident in his abilities, he started practicing on conjuring smaller creatures. Carrying the book to its new place of honour in an alcove off the main chamber, he set it on the stone altar.

***

Hoover Building
Saturday, September 15, 2001

The Hoover building was alive with activity, which was unusual for a Saturday morning. Mulder sat in Skinner's office with Doggett, Reyes, and Scully. Scully was going over the findings from the DNA tests she had conducted on the bodies, along with the results from Mr. Riley's examination.

Standing at the slide projector, she flipped through the different photos she had taken of Riley. "As you can see, the vagina and anus are about an inch bit further back than normal. My guess it's so his scrotum isn't crowded during vaginal intercourse."

Mulder grimaced. "In other words, so his balls won't be crushed during sex?"

"That's another way of putting it." Scully smirked at him.

"Is Mr. Riley still capable of becoming pregnant?" Skinner asked.

"Yes. He even has a menstrual cycle."

"Poor guy." Mulder groaned, shifting uncomfortably in his chair. "Is his male sex organ still functional?"

Scully nodded. "In all known cases of hermaphrodites they never have both the male and female reproductive organs fully functioning. But, in Riley's case both sex organs are one hundred percent functional."

"His hormones must be completely whacked out," Skinner said.

Doggett stared at the photos fascinated. "Did you ask him about giving birth to his daughter?"

Scully nodded. "He said it was the most painful experience of his life and he doesn't want to repeat it." She picked up two transparencies and held them up. "These images are of Miss Hood's and Mr. Riley's DNA strands. Something interesting I discovered was that the DNA from Mr. Riley's uterus does not match Miss Hood's DNA. Same with the other victims."

"Dana, are you saying that Riley doesn't have Hood's reproductive organs in his body?" Reyes asked.

Scully smiled at her lover. "No. I'm saying that once inside Riley's body they changed, becoming part of him. No trace of Hood is left."

"So it wasn't necessary for Demetrius Tatev to find an identical female?" Mulder asked.

"Nope, it wasn't necessary. The reproductive organ, including the ovum, picked up every genetic trait of the male."

Skinner's telephone buzzed, picking it up, he answered tersely, "Skinner." He listened, nodding. "I'll send them right down."

"Mulder, John, Senator Woods has sent a limousine to pick you up. He'd like to see you at his mansion," Skinner said.

"Both of us?" Doggett asked, puzzled.

Skinner nodded. "Both of you."

"C'mon, John, we shouldn't keep the Senator waiting," Mulder said, standing.

"Why would he want to see me?" Doggett grumbled as they headed toward the elevator.

"Oh I don't know...could it be that you rescued his son?" Mulder smirked at him.

"Brat."

"Hero."

"Stick it."

They continued bickering until they were outside and climbing into the backseat of the limo.

"Hey, Mulder."

"Hi, Josh. How's your son doing?"

"He's been accepted into the marines," the driver said, smiling.

"Good for him."

"I hope he sees it through. By the way, congrats on rescuing the Senator's son. You guys are all over the news."

"Tell me about it. My voice mail had over sixty calls on it this morning, and I had to sneak out of my apartment," Mulder grumbled.

"You did?" Doggett looked at him concerned.

"Yeah. If you haven't noticed my name and picture are plastered all over the news. I suspect the Senator and Skinner had a lot to do with it."

Josh glanced through his rear-view mirror at the two men. "The Senator really likes you, Mulder. He doesn't send me to pick up just anyone. Most people have to drive themselves," he said.

"Fox, you can stay at my place if you want to lay low for a while," Doggett offered.

"Thanks, John. I might just take you up on that if CNN's mobile unit is still parked in front of my apartment building."

The limousine pulled through the gates of Senator Woods' mansion and drove up the long driveway.

Doggett whistled. "Wow! How much does a U.S. Senator make again?"

"John, Woods was an extremely wealthy man before he ran for the Senate," Mulder said.

They were shown into the Senator's private study. Woods was sitting behind his desk. He smiled, and stood, walking over to greet his guests.

"Mr. Mulder, you are truly a remarkable man. Thank you for finding my son." Instead of a handshake Woods hugged Mulder, and then held out his hand to Doggett. "Agent Doggett, it's a pleasure to meet you."

"Senator."

"Okay, Mr. Mulder, name your price? Do you want your old job back? Do you want Kersh's job?"

Mulder glanced over at Doggett who was staring at him with an unreadable expression.

Mulder turned back to the Senator. "I don't want anything for myself, but I would like to see Assistant Director Walter Skinner promoted to Deputy Director. If anyone deserves that position it's him."

The Senator smiled. "Done. It will mean that Kersh has to be demoted back to an A.D. or do you wish to see him in a lower position?"

Mulder shook his head. "I don't really give a damn about Kersh. I only want Walter Skinner given the promotion he earned years ago."

"You don't disappoint, Mr. Mulder." The Senator turned to Doggett. "Open your mind to extreme possibilities, Agent Doggett, and you will discover a whole new world. Now, take good care of Mr. Mulder. I'm sure you two will be quite happy together." Woods went back to sit behind his desk and press a buzzer. "You will each be receiving a token of my appreciation in the near future. You may leave now," he said as a butler appeared in the doorway.

"Gentlemen, this way."

Doggett walked beside Mulder as they followed the butler back to the front door. Josh, the chauffeur, was waiting to drive them back to the Hoover building.

Once inside the limousine Doggett turned to Mulder. "That was the strangest meeting I've ever had. What did he mean we'll be happy together? Who is this guy? How could he know?"

Mulder sighed, feeling depressed. Well at least their relationship hadn't progress too far before it ended. "Welcome to my world, John. You probably want to bail now."

"What do you mean?"

Mulder shrugged his shoulders, looking out the window. "I've been under surveillance by various groups in the past, including the FBI. It appears I'm still under surveillance."

"I'm not leaving you. We'll consult those geeky friends of yours. Maybe they can provide us with a way to counter these assholes." Doggett reached for Mulder's hand, cradling it in his lap. "Fox, I want to see Walter's face when he's promoted to DD over Kersh. That was a damn decent thing you did."

"Walter deserves it. Hell knows he's lost so much because of me and my quest."

"Don't go blaming yourself. Walter's a big boy. He knew the score far better than you may think. If he helped you, it was because it was the right and honourable thing to do and you don't owe him for that. It's part of what makes Walter one of the good guys."

"He is that." Mulder enjoyed the feel of holding Doggett's hand.

The limousine pulled in front of the Hoover building. "John, I'm going to be heading home now. I need a couple of days alone to think."

"Fox--" Doggett squeezed Mulder's hand. "Please, call me when you've worked it all out."

Gazing into the other man's concerned baby blues, Mulder said softly, "Come over to my place for dinner Tuesday evening. I will have figured it out by then."

Doggett watched him walk down the sidewalk to the parking ramp. Tuesday seemed like a long ways off, but he was willing to wait. He walked back inside the building pondering the Senator's words and wondering what the token of appreciation was going to be. If the Senator had good spies watching them then he hoped it would be courtside tickets to the Knicks' game.

***

Mulder's apartment
Tuesday, September 18, 2001

Mulder took Monday and Tuesday off from the university. The Dean was very understanding, assigning a substitute teacher to fill in for him. Monday, Mulder spent at a park. Sitting on the grassy shores of the Potomac River, where he pulled each and every relationship he'd ever had up from the dark depths of his memory into the sunlight and examined them as he watched the cold waters drift by down stream. By the time he was through, Mulder was ready to give a relationship with John Doggett a chance. They were alike in some ways and total opposites in others. He knew it wouldn't be easy.

His desire to know what it would feel like to be made love to by John was becoming an attractive proposition. The brief relationship he had with Senator Matheson had been one-sided at best, with the Senator only interested in his own gratification. At the time Mulder had been too young and inexperienced to realize that fact. Now he wondered what it would be like, having a male lover, who was his equal in bed as well as in life.

Mulder had to admit that Doggett's desire for a relationship with him had shocked the hell out of him. And here, Mulder thought he was the one who believed in extreme possibilities, only to be one-upped by a man who had a hard time opening his eyes to anything paranormal. John really surprised him...maybe they could be good for each other.

Tuesday, Mulder spent all day cleaning, grocery shopping, and cooking. He wasn't a great cook, but he wasn't inept in the kitchen either. He could follow a recipe pretty well and had spent some time watching the food channel, memorizing the basic cooking techniques. He decided to make something easy and hoped that John would like it.

Glancing up at the clock, Mulder suddenly noticed how late it was getting. He hurried to light the candles on the table and went back to look inside the oven.

When he heard the knock on the front door his legs became rubbery. He walked slowly to the door and opened it.

Doggett stood there grinning happily. He held out a bouquet of blood-red roses. "I was once told it was poor manners not to bring flowers if someone cooked dinner for me."

Mulder chuckled taking the roses and pulling Doggett inside his apartment. He closed the door and took Doggett by surprise when he shoved him up against the door and kissed him with a passion he'd never felt for anyone before. Their tongues warred for dominance, neither winning, as they explored the hot recesses of each other's mouths. The kitchen timer went off, causing them to end the kiss.

"John, hang up your coat. I need to get dinner out of the oven before it burns." He carried the flowers into the kitchen and set them on the counter then pulled the loaf pan out of the oven. He found an old vase under the sink and filled it with water, putting the roses in it.

"Mm, something smells good. Do you need any help?" John asked, stepping into the kitchen.

"There's a bottle of Merlot on the table. Can you open it and fill our glasses? The corkscrew is next to it."

"Sure." Doggett tried to see what Mulder had made them, but Mulder's body was blocking his view.

Doggett finished filling the wineglasses as Mulder stepped into the room carrying two plates.

Doggett's face lit up. "Hey, meatloaf. That's one of my favourite meals."

"Mine, too. I used to love leftover meatloaf sandwiches as a boy. This is the first time I've tried to make it myself."

"It looks and smells good, so I'm sure it'll be fine." Doggett picked up his fork and took a taste. A smile spread across his face. "Yep, it's good, better than my Ma's even, but don't tell her." He then sampled a forkful of green beans that had been sautéed with bacon and almonds. "Mm, a little garlic in the beans would give them some added flavour."

"I haven't advanced past following a recipe." Mulder took a sip of wine amused by Doggett's cooking advice.

"Tom used to put garlic in everything. I sort of got used to it."

Mulder looked at him questioningly. "Who's Tom?"

"Tom was my boyfriend. He was killed three years ago, while investigating a domestic assault."

"I'm sorry."

"I still have a hard time getting over the fact that he's gone."

They spent a few minutes quietly eating. Mulder glanced across the table several times waiting for the right moment. Finally he said, "I spent the last three days thinking about us." He absently pushed the mash potatoes around his plate with his fork then lifted his eyes to meet Doggett's who was watching him closely.

"And?"

"And, I'd like to pursue a relationship with you. I'll admit that I'm scared, but I'd rather be hurt again than to be left wondering if it might have worked."

"I won't hurt you, Fox. We might have our disagreements, but we're both mature adults. We'll work out any problems we may have."

"That's what I'm hoping. Do you want to spend the night?"

A wide grin spread across Doggett's face. "I thought you'd never ask."

Mulder picked up his wineglass, and returned the grin. "I picked up a toothbrush for you at the store this morning. I was kinda hoping you'd say yes."

Doggett raised his wineglass and toasted, "Here's to a start of a wonderful relationship." They clicked glasses and took a sip.

"How's work been going?" Mulder asked, picking up his fork.

"Fine. Walter received his promotion to Deputy Director this afternoon. I hear he was more stunned than Kersh was about being demoted back to Assistant Director."

Mulder smiled. "I hope he doesn't find out I had anything to do with it."

"Who? Kersh?"

"No. Walter. He might be too proud to take the job if he knew."

"Why? He earned that position. He'll be the best DD the bureau has ever seen."

"Walter might not look at it that way, but I agree he will make a great DD."

"Fox, what will you do if Walter offers you your old job back?"

"Turn it down. I don't want to go back to working for the FBI."

"How about as a paid consultant?"

Mulder thought for a few seconds. "I might be willing to consult, depending on the conditions of my contract."

They ate quietly for a few more minutes. Doggett finally found the courage to ask what had been on his mind for the past couple of days "How are things between you and Agent Scully, and the baby?"

"Scully and I haven't been talking much lately, and I haven't seen William in six weeks."

"Why? Don't you want to see him?"

"What I want isn't important." Mulder frowned. "William is Scully's son. She and Reyes have had plans every weekend that I've called to see him." Mulder felt that it was intentional, but he didn't want John to know that. "It doesn't really matter, John, I'm glad that Scully has found someone that makes her happy. I really don't want to intrude in their lives."

"William is your son. Aren't you paying child support?"

"Yes." Mulder took a sip of wine his eyes filled with sadness. "John, Scully's life was ruined because of her involvement with me and the X-Files. I don't want to cause her anymore pain."

"He's your son, Fox."

"He's Scully's new lease on life. I don't want to deny her this chance at happiness."

Doggett frowned. He didn't like Mulder's reasons for giving up his rights as William's father. Doggett knew that the lost of his own son had a lot to do with his reaction. "C'mon, Fox, I'll help you wash the dishes, then I think we should go to bed."

"Isn't it a bit early--" Mulder stopped talking at the lecherous look he was receiving from Doggett. His eyes widened and he chuckled, feeling stupid. "Oh, to bed but not to sleep."

"And you were once considered the most brilliant agent at the FBI?" Doggett quipped, carrying the plates into the kitchen. He frowned at the mess piled up in the sink. "You don't have a dishwasher?"

"Nope. Is that a problem?"

"No, but it does make doing the dishes a lot easier."

Shrugging his shoulders, Mulder squirted some dish soap in the sink. "Usually it's only me."

"It's not only you any longer." Doggett embraced Mulder from behind, kissing his neck. Then he started sucking on the spot just under Mulder's jaw.

Heat coursed through Mulder's body as he melted against Doggett's chest and tilted his head to give him better access. "Oh fuck, John, stop, that's going to show," he said weakly, his cock swelling against the zipper of his jeans.

Doggett smiled against his throat. "I know. I want those students of yours to know that you're taken."

"I think that ought to do it," Mulder murmured, touching the hot wet spot just under his jaw.

"We better get this mess cleaned up." Doggett reluctantly let him go and went to put the remaining meatloaf and vegetables away as Mulder started washing the pots and pans.

"So did you receive anything from the Senator yet?" Mulder asked, trying to take his mind off his throbbing dick.

Doggett picked up a dishtowel and started drying. "Nope. Skinner's promotion is good enough for me."

"Me, too." Mulder had a warm feeling in the pit of his belly, knowing he'd helped Walter get out from under Kersh's command.

Both their shirtfronts were wet by the time they finished putting the last plate away. Now that it was time for bed, Mulder was feeling like a nervous virgin. It was not something he was proud about. So he took the offensive, pushing Doggett up against the counter and kissing him.

Doggett's fingers wove through Mulder's hair as he kissed him back enthusiastically. He felt the hard press of Mulder's erection against his hip. His own pants were uncomfortably tight. "Fox, let's move this to the bedroom. I'm going to come in my pants, if I don't get out of them."

Mulder reached between their bodies and squeezed the hard bulge in Doggett's pants. "Is this for me?"

"God, Fox...stop!"

Taking pity on him, Mulder grabbed Doggett's hand and pulled him toward his bedroom. They watched each other strip, dropping their clothes carelessly to the floor.

Mulder licked his lips as he gazed hungrily at Doggett's fat erection. The length was only about seven inches, but its girth was impressive, Mulder wondered if he could even fit his mouth around it.

"I knew you'd be hung like a horse," Doggett said, crossing the space between them and wrapping his hand around Mulder's stiff organ. It was longer than his cock by a good two inches and while not nearly as wide, it was still impressive. He was looking forward to feeling it inside of him. Lowering his head, Doggett sucked and nipped a dusty pink nipple. "Did I mention that I love your nipples?"

Mulder moaned as Doggett's tongue swirled around his tit until it was a rock hard nub. "No...what else do you love?"

Doggett manoeuvred them over to the bed and pushed Mulder onto the mattress then straddled his thighs. "Your lips...they are sinfully seductive." He kissed them. Then ran his tongue over Mulder's mole, purring, "Your mole, it's damn sexy."

Mulder sighed as Doggett's tongue brushed over his mole. He hadn't been this turned on in years. His hands caressed over the other man's wide shoulders. So different from the women he'd made love to over the past two decades. Then there was Richard Matheson. The Senator hadn't come anywhere near to stirring the types of feelings inside him that John was stirring. Mulder's fingers brushed through his lover's hair while Doggett sucked the side of his throat. "John, I'd like to taste you."

"Hmm? Are you sure? We can take it slower--"

"I've waited twenty years, I don't want to wait any longer."

Doggett rolled off him. "How do you want to do this?"

"I want you to just lay back and let me pleasure you."

Doing as ordered, Doggett lay on his back in the center of the bed resting his head on a pillow. He watched Mulder intently, hoping the younger man was ready. To his surprise Mulder seemed comfortable, straddling his legs and going down on him. His hips pushed up at the feel of Mulder's tongue lapping around the head of his cock. Long elegant finger's squeezed and fondled with his balls, while his cock was engulfed into the steamy depth of Mulder's mouth. It was wonderful. Tom had been one of the few men who could handle his girth.

His fingers clutched the sheet as Mulder started humming around his cockhead. The vibration sent a wave of pleasure from his balls shooting up to tip of his nose. "Oh God, Fox." He pushed up with his hips wanting to get more of himself into that hot mouth. Mulder obliged him by swallowing the length of him then pulling back and repeating the process. Doggett never experienced anything like it as the tightness of Mulder's throat muscles squeezed his shaft. Not even Tom was able to handle the entire length of him. It only took a few seconds before he came explosively, actually seeing stars. "Ugh!"

When Doggett came back to himself, he was looking up at Mulder's sweet face.

"You passed out. I was worried for a second," Mulder said.

"Where did you learn to do that?"

"Matheson...he liked me sucking him off more than fucking me." Mulder frowned, hating himself for bringing that man's image into his bed. "He wasn't as big as you...I'm sure I'll have a sore throat during class tomorrow."

"Fox, lay down, I want to return the favour."

"It's not necessary. I came while I was blowing you." Mulder smiled sheepishly. "The bedspread needs to be washed." Mulder's hand stroked up and down Doggett's side. "I'd like you to hold me. I've never slept in another man's arms before."

"Matheson never held you?"

"It was only sex. I never spent the night with him...he was married after all."

Doggett climbed out of bed and pulled down the covers. "Get under the covers, Fox."

Mulder scrambled under the covers, turning to watch Doggett slide into bed beside him. His arms looped around Doggett's waist as he pulled him closer, tugging the blankets over them. "Hmm, I could get used to this," he murmured, kissing Doggett's shoulder then resting his head next to the other man's.

"You're not the only one," Doggett smiled contently as his arms held Mulder against his side. Closing his eyes, he laid there relishing the feel and smell of the other man. They fell asleep wrapped in each other's embrace.

***

Hoover Building
Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Doggett whistled as he entered the basement office. Reyes and Scully were both there talking quietly. "Ladies." He crossed the room to the small refrigerator they kept in the corner.

"You're in a good mood, John. What's in the bag?" Reyes asked.

"Lunch. A meatloaf sandwich and an apple." Doggett looked at them grinning. "Fox fixed dinner for me last night and this is part of the leftovers." He and Mulder talked this morning and while they decided they weren't going to herald their relationship to all corners of the earth, they weren't going to keep it a secret either. They had enough secrets in their lives.

"*My* Mulder cooked you a meatloaf dinner last night?" Scully was astounded and a little put out that Mulder hadn't confided in her about Doggett.

"Correction, Agent Scully, he's mine. I'll let you borrow him under certain conditions," Doggett said, feeling smug.

"What conditions?" Scully wasn't sure she liked this.

"That you remember that Fox and I are lovers and don't try to interfere in our lives. You allow Fox to see William more often. Fox is his biological father after all and he is paying you child support."

"I've never denied Fox from seeing William!"

"No? When was the last time you allowed Fox to see him?"

"He could stop by any day during the week--"

"He teaches college during the week and often doesn't get home until late. His weekends are usually the only time he has free." Doggett didn't really want to get into an argument with her over visitation rights, but he felt strongly on the subject. If William were his son, he wouldn't allow anyone to deny him from seeing the boy.

Scully glared at him. "Agent Doggett, Mulder and I had an agreement that I'd be *my* child's primary caregiver. If I have plans during the weekend with my lover and son, it cannot be helped and I'm sure Mulder understands. He's just going to have to accept his limited part in William's life."

"He's the boy's father, that's not a limited part."

"He was only the sperm donor. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get down to Quantico." Scully pushed past him out the door, she was too angry to even say goodbye to her lover.

Reyes sighed watching her go. "John, what's going on between Dana and Mulder doesn't involve you. Let them work it out themselves."

"Monica, Fox feels responsible for everything that has happened to Agent Scully, during her time on the X-Files. He's not going to fight for his rights as William's father. It's just not right," Doggett grumbled.

"Why do you care?"

"I just do."

"This is about Luke, isn't it, John?"

"Monica, I know how special a father's relationship with his son can be, I don't want to see Fox throwing that away. He'll regret it later."

"It's his life, John. You cannot force him to live it the way you want him to." Monica sensed that her partner wanted to be part of the boy's life as much as he wanted Mulder to be.

They looked up at the knock on the door and Skinner stepped into their office.

"Sir, congratulations on your promotion," Reyes said, holding out her hand.

Skinner shook it. "Thank you, Agent Reyes." He looked Doggett in his eyes. "It came as a real surprise to me."

Doggett smiled, knowing that Skinner knew just who was behind his promotion. "Sir, what can we do for you?"

Skinner looked around the cramped office. A feeling of nostalgia washed over him as he picture the countless times he had been down here to speak to Mulder over the years. "I've spoken to the head of facilities and asked him to relocate the X-Files to a larger office in the building. This space really wasn't meant for two people."

"Thank you, sir." Reyes smiled.

Skinner nodded, looking uncomfortable.

"Was there anything else, sir?" Doggett asked.

"Can I speak to you in private, John?"

Reyes grabbed her purse. "I need to...use the lady's room."

After she left Doggett leaned up against his desk. "Walter, what's wrong?"

"What's your relationship with Mulder?"

"As of last night, we're lovers."

Skinner frowned and said, "Congratulations."

Skinner's response confirmed what Doggett had suspected. "You've wanted him for years, haven't you?"

Skinner shrugged his shoulders. "It doesn't matter. It would never have worked, even if I had the guts to pursue a relationship with him. Take care of him, John. Mulder deserves to be happy." Skinner turned and walked out of the office.

Doggett planned to do exactly that.

***

Twelve weeks later

Friday, December 21, 2001

Doggett climbed tiredly out of his car, pulling his overnight bag from the backseat. He'd been out of town on a case for the last four days, working sixteen hours days. He was dead-tired, but all he wanted right now was to spend the night with his lover. He didn't even bother going home first, choosing instead to come straight over to Mulder's apartment from the airport. A cold wind whipped down the deserted street, scattering snowflakes in its wake. It was going to be a white Christmas this year. He shivered as he hefted the bag over his shoulder and hurried up the steps, using his key to enter Mulder's building.

When Doggett arrived at Mulder's fourth floor apartment he noticed that the front door was ajar. He panicked, dropping his bag and pulling his gun from its holster.

A voice spoke softly from behind him. "John, what are you doing?" Mulder asked, walking down the hallway.

"Your door was open--"

"I was throwing out the trash."

"It's not like you to leave your door open...." Doggett tried to explain, feeling foolish.

"Oh, you were worried about me?" Mulder smiled and kissed him. "I missed you."

The man down the hall growled as he headed out his door for the elevator. "Hey! Can you homos take it inside?"

"The natives are getting ugly," Doggett said, holstering his gun.

"I know, it's starting to get irritating," Mulder muttered, bending down to retrieve Doggett's bag, he carried it into his apartment.

"Don't let them get to you, Fox. Go by my motto...screw'em." Doggett closed and locked the door behind them.

"No...screw me, John boy." Mulder dropped Doggett's bag and jumped him. They ended up on the floor with Mulder straddling Doggett's hips and smirking down at him. "I can feel how happy you are to see me," Mulder purred, grinding his ass against the hard bulge in Doggett's pants.

Doggett's fingers clutched Mulder's buttocks squeezing the firm mounds affectionately. "Fox, you know I love you, but I'm as sore as hell right now." He barely stifled a yawn.

Mulder paused and studied him. "Not to mention you look like shit. You're working too hard, John. C'mon, it's into a hot bath for you then to bed."

The front buzzer sounded as Mulder was pulling Doggett to his feet. Mulder answered it. "Yeah?"

"I have a delivery for a Mr. Fox Mulder that requires a signature."

"Come on up." Mulder buzzed the man inside.

"It's rather late for a delivery. I wonder what it is?" Doggett said.

"We'll find out in a minute," Mulder replied, opening the front door to wait for the courier.

A young black man strolled off the elevator and down the hall to Mulder's apartment. "Fox Mulder?" At Mulder's nod, he handed him two manila envelopes, then held out his clipboard. "I require your signature here."

Mulder signed and handed the man a five-dollar tip. "Thanks."

"Merry Christmas!" the courier said, before heading back toward the elevator.

Doggett closed the door as Mulder stepped back inside the apartment.

"They're from Senator Woods. John, this one is addressed to you." Mulder handed Doggett his envelope.

"I wonder how he knew I'd be here?"

"You're always here or I'm always at your place."

Doggett tore open the envelope and a key fell out, clattering on the hardwood floor. He bent and picked it up, freezing as he read the letters embedded into the metal. "Fuck." He pulled the title out of the envelope and whooped as he read it.

"John, what is it?"

"He gave me a fucking Harley Davidson! Fox, do you have any idea how much I've always wanted a Hog?"

"From the expression on your face, I'd say a lot."

"There's a two year waiting list to get one of these custom beauties. There's an address where I can pick up the bike."

Mulder felt his envelope "There's a key inside mine, too. Maybe we got matching hogs." He frowned when he pulled the key from the envelope. It wasn't for a motorcycle. It looked more like a house key. Then he pulled out the deed.

"What's wrong, Fox?"

"It's for a house. He bought me a house in D.C." Mulder recognized the neighbourhood. It was one of DC's upper middle class neighbourhoods, not too far from the Senator's mansion.

"Hey cool. I hope it has a garage where I can park my bike."

"John, I'm not sure if I should accept it."

"Why not? You saved his son's life. It's not as if you're facing a conflict of interest in accepting his gift. Take it, Fox."

"What about you? Isn't accepting that bike a conflict of interest?"

"Nope. The Senator has nothing to gain from giving me the bike. Besides, it's four days before Christmas, so I believe this can be viewed as a Christmas present."

Mulder put the deed and key back inside the envelope and set it on the dining room table. "C'mon, I was going to run you a hot bath, then I think a massage is in order."

"You spoil me, Fox."

"You're the first person in my life that I've wanted to spoil."

***

Mulder spread cream cheese on his bagel as he looked over the deed one more time. "John, it says the house has four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, a detached two car garage...I bet it even has a dishwasher."

"You're going to accept it then?" Doggett reached for his coffee mug as he looked over the top of the newspaper at Mulder. They'd settled into a comfortable rhythm over the past three months.

Mulder nodded. "I think so. I can't believe he gave me a house."

"Yeah, and here I was hoping for Knicks' tickets." Doggett chuckled.

"This has to be the nicest Christmas present I've ever received," Mulder said, going back to reading through the deed.

"C'mon, Fox, let's go see your house," Doggett said, standing he walked into the kitchen and poured his unfinished coffee down the drain. Then he walked back into the small dining space and bent to kiss Mulder on the lips.

Mulder smiled and stood, following Doggett over to the front door. They grabbed their coats off the coat tree and strolled out of the apartment.

"Do you have the key?" Doggett asked as they waited for the elevator.

"Yep."

It was only a twenty-minute drive from Mulder's apartment. Doggett whistled as they pulled up in front of the residence. It was a three-story row house. He didn't think it was a coincidence that the house was only a couple blocks from the Senator's mansion.

"Nice neighbourhood," Mulder commented, looking up and down the tree-lined street as they climbed out of the car. Across the street was a small park with a fountain. The fountain had been shut off for the winter. Through the bare trees and shrubs, on the far side of the park, Mulder could make out a row of shops, including a coffee shop and bookstore. He probably wouldn't be able to see the shops from where he stood in the summer when the leaves were on the trees and bushes.

Doggett opened the gate that led up to the front door and waited for Mulder to pass through before following him up the step. The door was painted red with a half-arched window above it. The stucco siding was white and the windows framed with dark green shutters.

"This place is huge," Mulder said, inserting the key. "I don't think I can manage it alone."

"It's closer to the Hoover building than my current house. I could move in and help you with it," Doggett suggested, not wanting to pressure Mulder. Over the last three months he had been thinking about asking Mulder to move in with him.

They stepped into the foyer and Mulder started to look panicked as he saw just how big the place was. "John, don't tease me...you better be fucking serious. There is no way I can take care of this place alone. I know nothing about home maintenance, lawn care--"

"Whoa, Fox, I'm serious. This place is a hundred times nicer than my house. Besides, it has one feature I cannot do without," Doggett said, pulling Mulder against his chest and kissing him.

Mulder kissed him back, relaxing. "Good. Shall we look around *our* new home?"

They wandered around the downstairs, which had a living room, a half bath, dining room with a cover porch off it. The kitchen and breakfast rooms were in the back of the house, along with a laundry room. The back door led out to a detached garage and an alley that ran behind their home.

[Floor plan: http://slashingmulder.com/JoB/rowhouseFP.gif ]

"I like this room," Doggett said, standing in the breakfast area, looking out a sliding glass door that opened onto another cover porch.

"It's nice. Let's go upstairs...I want to see the master bedroom." Mulder strolled out of the kitchen and through the dining room. He took the steps two at a time until he reached the top. Ducking into the first bedroom, he thought it was too small for the master. The second bedroom was a lot larger, but it shared a bath with the small bedroom.

"Hey, Fox, get your sweet ass over here!"

Mulder sprinted down the hallway to a bedroom that was in the front of the house. Doggett was standing in the doorway leading to the bathroom.

"I guess you found the master bedroom."

"I found something better. Look at the size of the tub in the bathroom."

Mulder stepped around him and into the bathroom. A smile lit up his face as he looked at the large bathtub. Romantic images of candles and champagne flashed before his eyes. He was becoming sentimental in his old age.

"I'm going to fuck you in that tub every chance I get," Doggett purred seductively, nibbling on Mulder's earlobe.

Mulder's penis twitched with arousal. "John, you make me so hot."

"When do you want to move in?"

"We can start moving some of our stuff in this weekend then hire a truck to move the larger pieces in next weekend." He sighed, "I'm going to be out some money for breaking my lease early."

"You won't have to pay rent any longer so it shouldn't be too bad. Fox, I think we should hire a cleaning service to come out once or twice a week." Doggett wrapped his arms around Mulder's body, hugging him from behind.

"I think you're right. We've much better things to do with our free time." Mulder chuckled, turning around in Doggett's arms.

Doggett expression turned serious. "This is really a big step we're taking, Fox."

"I never lived with anyone before," Mulder confessed. "Do you think we're making a mistake?"

"No. Fox, you're the best thing to happen to me in years."

***

Nine months later

Friday, September 13, 2002

Demetrius painted a fresh pentagram in the middle of the cavern's stone floor. He followed the pattern of an older one that had faded over the months. In the center of the pentagram were several pairs of iron manacles. Steel bolts were imbedded into the stone floor where the manacles were attached by a chain.

It was time. A year had passed since his plans were interrupted and he was forced to flee up to his mountain hideaway. In that time he had located the perfect female match to the beautiful Fox. He glanced over at his captive. She sat huddled against the wall looking fearfully between him and the winged creature that had brought her here. Only her looks mirrored Fox Mulder, while pretty, her soul was pure evil.

When the gargoyle found Jena, she was in the process of sexually torturing a young woman to death. All for the amusement and pleasure of her husband who sat whacking off to the creative uses his wife found for their empty beer bottles.

"What the fuck do you want from me?" Jena yelled.

Demetrius ignored her while he finished painting the pentagram. It was necessary for her safety. When he left to collect the pretty Fox, he wouldn't be able to prevent the gargoyle from ripping her apart.

After he finished his task, Demetrius gazed over at the frightened, hazel-eyed woman. "You have blood on your hands, Jena. How many women and girls have you tortured to death for your husband's entertainment?"

Jena glared at the tall man...there was something decidedly sinister about him that chilled her blood. His head was cleanly shaved and he looked feminine. She stifled her growing unease and asked, "Was one of those cows a friend of yours?"

"No. I don't like women. I've killed my share of them, too." It gave him satisfaction to see the fear pass over her lovely features. It wasn't hard for him to see into her dark soul; she was like an open book. "Jena, you took great pleasure in torturing a ten year old girl to death. You got off on her fear as I'm going to get off on yours."

She had no idea how he would know about that. The ten-year-old was her first victim. Jena had lured the child out of the park on the pretence of helping her look for a lost puppy. "Let me go! My husband has money--"

Demetrius laughed, walking away. The gargoyle would see that she stayed put.

After an hour had passed, and he was sure that the paint was dry, Demetrius dragged Jena inside the pentagram and attached the manacles to her ankles.

He placed tow plastic gallon bottles of water next to her and a bucket where she could relieve herself in. "I will be gone a couple of days, maybe longer. You'll need to make the water last. As long as you remain inside the pentagram you will be protected from the gargoyle."

"Look you bald-headed piece of shit, my husband will cut you into tiny pieces!"

"Your husband has already found a new cunt to plough, bitch."

"You're lying!" Jena's bottom lip quivered. "What do you want from me?"

"Jena dear, you have something I need to create the perfect human."

"What?"

Smiling evilly, he purred, "Something you won't miss--your reproductive organs." Turning, he stalked out of the cave.

Jena blanched as she watched him leave. The gargoyle hissed and stalked around the outside of the pentagram. "HEY! Don't leave me here with this thing!"

Demetrius had disposed of his old car in a nearby lake. He used the money he had stashed to purchase a used car with a big trunk. It was time to collect the Fox and the Dog. Demetrius chuckled at his joke. The decision to use Agent Doggett in his plans had been difficult. Demetrius wanted to avoid the pretty Fox committing suicide like Samuel and Philip. He figured if Fox were pregnant with his lover's baby, he'd be less likely to kill himself.

He could have sent the gargoyle to abduct the two men, but he didn't want to chance Fox being killed accidentally by it.

Doggett walked through the back door of his and Mulder's house. He smiled when his eyes fell on his lover, who was sitting at the breakfast table with a stack of papers spread out across it. Mulder was wearing his glasses and looking so damn sexy that Doggett wanted to jump him.

Mulder glanced up and smiled tiredly. "Hey, John. Did you remember the wine?"

"Yep." He held up the large paper bag, containing several bottles of wine. "Mm, something smells good. What are you cooking?" Doggett asked, setting the bag on the counter. He walked over to the oven and peered inside. They invited Skinner over for dinner tonight and Mulder had promised to start the meal as soon as he got home from the university.

"Roast beef with those little red potatoes, and acorn squash."

"Walter ought to love that. Do you need any help?" Doggett asked.

"Yeah, can you make the salad?"

"Sure. Let me run upstairs and lose the suit first." He paused at the table. Bending, he kissed Mulder on the top of his head.

Mulder took off his glasses and rubbed his tired eyes. "What type of kiss was that?"

"The type one gives a lover who has his face buried in...? Just what are you working on?"

"A Baltimore PD detective asked me to check into three homicides. He thinks they might have a serial killer on their hands."

"What do you think?"

"I think Detective Bayliss has good instincts."

"And that means?"

"I'll tell you over dinner." Mulder grabbed Doggett's tie and pulled him down. "Now give me a proper kiss then get your ass out of that suit."

It was an order Doggett couldn't refuse and he kissed Mulder deeply. His tongue probed his lover's mouth, tasting the sweetness of the iced tea Mulder had been drinking. When the kiss ended, they were both breathless and aroused. He gazed lovingly into Mulder's warm eyes. "You do know this is our one year anniversary?"

Mulder looked puzzled for a second then smiled. "Of course, how could I forget. You cooked dinner for me on the pretence of discussing the Woods' case."

"And you brought me flowers."

"We should have done something to celebrate."

"We can celebrate the first time we slept together," Doggett said, brushing his fingers through Mulder's thick hair. "I love you, Fox."

Mulder grabbed Doggett's hand and held it. "John, I don't remember ever being this happy in my life."

"You've never say it. Why?"

Mulder knew John was referring to him never telling John that he loved him. "You know that I do."

"I would like to hear you say it at least once."

At Mulder's silence and troubled expression, Doggett caressed the side of his face. "Hey...it's okay, Fox, whenever you're ready." He turned and strolled out of the room.

Mulder watched him leave, feeling guilty. He loved John, but he feared if he ever said the words aloud, fate would step in and ruin their happiness. Like it had throughout his life. Lately, he'd been having feelings of foreboding that something bad was going to happen to them. In the living room the mantle clock struck seven and Mulder realized he had to hurry; Skinner would be there in less than an hour. He shoved the papers back inside the folder and carried it up two flights of stairs to the third floor office. Tomorrow was Saturday; he'd finish going over it then.

***

Skinner pulled up in front of the house. This wasn't the first time he'd been invited to dinner. Mulder and John were inviting him more frequently lately. He found their company enjoyable and their conversations stimulating. Deep down he still pined for Mulder, but the joy of seeing his former agent truly happy gave him a warm feeling inside.

He picked up the bouquet of flowers lying next to him on the passenger seat. After Mulder and John told him about their first two dinners together, Skinner had never shown up without flowers.

Doggett opened the front door and smiled at Skinner, pulling him into a bear hug. "Thanks for coming, Walter."

Skinner returned the hug, enjoying the close contact. "Thanks for inviting me." The affectionate greeting he received, whenever he visited, almost made Skinner feel apart of their family. Becoming an intimate part of their lives was something Skinner often fantasized about.

"You know we enjoy your company." Doggett took the bouquet of cattails and wildflowers. "These are cool, Fox is going to love them."

They walked into the dining room and Doggett stopped at the table where a vase sat half-full with water. He arranged the flowers while Skinner continued through to the kitchen.

Mulder was standing by the stove, having just removed the beef roast. "Hey, Walter!" He walked over and hugged Skinner, enjoying the feel of broad shoulders and hard muscles under his fingertips. "You're looking good."

Skinner returned the hug affectionately. "So are you." Pulling back, he nodded toward a stained glass artwork hanging from small chains over the kitchen sink window. "That's a nice piece. Where'd you find it?"

Mulder looked over at the stained glass. It was of koi swimming in a pond. "John found it when he was in Wisconsin last week. We're going to be putting a small pond in the backyard next spring. I've been pricing koi at the aquarium store."

"It's lovely. Where in the yard are you putting the pond?"

"In the far northwest corner...on the other side of the garage. We want to build a small stone waterfall."

"If you need any help, just ask. I love building things with my hands." Skinner missed having a backyard. His apartment was nice, but it felt so small and impersonal at times. Mulder and Doggett's house had the personality of both men, from the fish tank in the living room to the rifle rack in the upstairs office.

"Fox, do you want to carve the roast here or on the table?" Doggett asked, scooping the little red potatoes into a serving bowl. He'd come into the kitchen while his lover and Skinner were talking.

"Here, John." Mulder turned back to Skinner. "If you want to come and watch the baseball game tomorrow, we'll be having roast beef sandwiches."

"I'd love to," Skinner said. "Do you need any help?"

"Yeah. Do you want to carve the roast?" Mulder pulled the carving set from the drawer then placed the carving board on the counter.

"Sure." Skinner took the carving knife and fork from him. Mulder placed a plate next to the board as Skinner lifted the roast out of the pan.

Mulder licked his lips watching the ripple of hard muscles encased in a tight fitting T-shirt as Skinner started carving the roast. He yelped as Doggett swatted his ass.

"You can look, just don't touch," Doggett said, hugging him from behind. At least not yet, he thought.

Mulder chuckled. "A man can fantasize." Turning in the Doggett's arms, Mulder kissed him and whispered, "My heart belongs to you, John boy."

Skinner watched their interplay, straining to hear what the two men were whispering. He felt lonely watching them, knowing he'd be going home to a cold empty bed.

They ended the embrace and Mulder walked over to the oven. "Did you bring the salad to the table?" he asked, opening the oven door to remove the pan of acorn squash.

"Yes." Doggett stood at the counter, opening one of the bottles of wine.

Skinner carved enough meat for three. It was cooked just the way he liked it medium-rare. "So what have you been up to lately, Mulder?" he asked, following his former agent into the dining room with the platter of beef.

"As you know, I'm still teaching, and I've been consulting more often with different police departments."

"Fox is currently consulting with the Baltimore PD." Doggett filled the wineglasses on the table as Mulder and Skinner took their seats.

"They have a serial killer on the loose in their area," Mulder said.

"You were able to deduce that from those three murders?" Doggett asked, taking some beef from the platter then reaching for a jar of horseradish.

"Yep, it doesn't fit the normal pattern of a serial killer, but those men were killed by the same unsub." He passed the bowl of salad down to Skinner.

"They were all men?" Skinner asked.

"Yes. The men were all different ages, religions, and races, plus the men were murdered with different weapons."

"What did the victims have in common?"

"Each man had brown eyes and smoked."

"That's not very much to tie the cases together."

"Walter, my instincts are telling me that they were killed by the same person. Don't worry, I'll find the link between them." Mulder popped a tiny parsley covered potato in his mouth.

"I'm sure you will." Skinner took a sip of wine, then picked up his fork.

They ate in silence for a few minutes.

Skinner took another slice of roast beef. He looked over at Mulder. "I really wish you'd come back to work for the FBI, Mulder."

"Sorry, Walter, but I love my freedom too much." He smiled and reached for his wineglass.

Doggett shook his head. "Walter, did you know we're prisoners of the F-B-I?"

"I was wondering what all those armed guards were for," Skinner quipped.

Mulder rolled his eyes, spooning some squash into his mouth. "John, the next time you come dragging your tired butt home after being out of town on a case all week, don't come begging me to kiss it."

Doggett winked at Skinner. "Foxy, you love kissing my ass, among other things. You'd only be punishing yourself."

Skinner chuckled. "That I'd like to see."

"Walter, are you proposing a little threesome action?" Mulder teased. The idea of Skinner in their bed turned him on.

"Somehow I don't think you're serious, Mulder." Skinner would jump at the chance, if he thought he'd be an equal partner in their lives. He liked both men enough that the thought of having sex with them would be a wet dream come true.

Doggett looked closely at his lover. "Fox is serious, Walter." They both had grown to enjoy Skinner's company and he knew Fox used to fantasize about Skinner.

Mulder looked up surprised, before he could deny it Skinner interrupted.

"How do you feel about it, John?" Skinner eyes locked with Doggett's.

"Walter, I'm pretty old-fashioned. I've never been much into sharing," he said, maintaining eye contact with Skinner. "But, I think we should discuss this further. I have thought about us having sex quite a bit lately. Walter, I do find you attractive," Doggett confessed.

A feeling of apprehension seized Mulder's heart. Why had he brought up threesomes? What had John meant, he'd thought about having sex with Walter? Was John tired of their relationship and now wanted one with Walter instead? Was this what his recent feeling of foreboding about?

"Fox, are you okay?" Doggett placed his hand on Mulder's forearm.

"I'm fine."

"You're not fine. I know that tone."

Mulder stood suddenly, tipping over his wineglass. "If you wanted to dump me for Walter you could have found a better way to tell me!" He stormed out of the room and up the staircase.

"Sorry, Walter, I'll be right back." Doggett rose and ran after him.

Skinner sighed and rubbed his temples. Then he stood and went into the kitchen for a rag to clean up the spilled wine.

Doggett slammed their bedroom door. "Fox, I'm not dumping you! You're the one who wanted to have a threesome!"

"I was joking!"

"You were not joking. I know you have feelings for Walter."

Mulder took his overnight bag out of the closet. "I didn't know you had feelings for him. Why didn't you tell me?"

"I can't believe this! You're jealous! Fox, what did you want me to tell you? That I've fantasized about having sex with Walter on several occasions?"

"Was one of those occasions while you were fucking me?" Tears ran down Mulder's cheeks as he set the bag on the bed and opened it. "I thought you loved me? Was the past year a lie?"

Doggett grabbed the bag and threw it across the room. "Fox, I love you and I'm not dumping you for Walter! This is why I suggested that we discuss this threesome issue. It's clear you don't trust our love and commitment enough to make Walter a part of it."

"What if you discovered you enjoy being with him more than me?"

"You seriously think I'd chose Walter over you?"

"It wouldn't be the first time a lover dumped me for someone else."

Doggett grabbed Mulder's shoulders and shoved him up against the wall. "I love you, Fox William Mulder! Get that through your goddamn thick skull!" He kissed Mulder hard, bruising their lips and grinding their bodies together. When he pulled back Mulder was looking at him stunned.

Mulder licked his lips, then wrapped his arms around his lover's body, resting his head against John's. His whole body shook as he cried. It took several minutes before he could pull himself together enough to speak. Doggett held him in a secure embrace the entire time.

"John, I'm sorry for being such an ass."

"Shh, Fox. This isn't about Walter is it?"

"N-No. I've been having a strange feeling that something bad is going to happen to us. The feeling's been getting worse."

"Is that why you haven't been sleeping well lately?" When they first started sleeping together Doggett had been awoken numerous times by Mulder thrashing and crying in his sleep. The nightmares his lover experienced were mostly related to his abduction and torture. It'd been months since Mulder had any of those dreams.

"Yes. I know you don't believe in these things, John."

"Fox, I've become a lot more open-minded since living with you and working on the X-Files. But do you seriously believe making Walter a part of our lives will cause something bad to happen to us?"

"I don't know. It might have nothing to do with my feelings of foreboding. I just don't want to lose you."

Doggett held him tightly. "How long have you had this...fear that something is going to happen to us?"

"About three weeks."

"Okay. I'll tell Walter this isn't a good time to discuss bringing him into our bed. I'll leave it up to you to decide, if and when, you want us to develop a sexual relationship with him."

Mulder sighed with relief. "Thanks, John. Can you tell Walter that I'm sorry? I can't face him just now."

"Okay, Fox." He kissed him softly on the lips. "Why don't you turn in. God, knows you could use your sleep."

"I will."

Doggett walked downstairs and found Walter in the kitchen putting the leftover food away. The sink was filled with suds as the pots and pans soaked.

"Walter, you don't have to do that. You're our guest."

"I don't mind. How's Mulder?"

"He's embarrassed by his behaviour." Doggett opened the dishwasher and started filling it. "Fox still has a hard time believing that I love him."

Skinner scrubbed a pan in the sink. "It's not surprising. Everyone in his life has betrayed him at some point, including Scully and me."

Doggett frowned. "Walter, Agent Scully is a sore subject with me. I wish you hadn't approved her transfer request."

"There wasn't much I could do, John. If it's any consolation I sympathize with you and Mulder. I've always wanted a son or a daughter." Skinner had tried to talk Scully and Reyes out of transferring to the San Francisco office, but Scully felt it would be a better location to raise her son.

"It broke Fox's heart. We were really starting to become attached to Willie...I think that was one of the reasons Agent Scully requested the transfer," Doggett said.

"John, do you really think she transferred so Mulder wouldn't be able to see his son? That seems a bit cold even for her."

"Walter, when I was assigned to investigate Fox's abduction, I thought it was strange how quickly Agent Scully moved on with her life. If my partner of seven years were missing, I wouldn't stop looking for him after only two weeks. I'd never stop looking! She put her own needs and wants ahead of any feelings she may have had for him. Right now she wants to raise William her way without any interference from Fox or me!"

"She was devastated by Mulder's abduction--"

"Walter, when Fox arrived home from the hospital, Scully told him all about how his abduction had affected her. Fox was barely hanging on to his sanity, but she told him, he wouldn't understand what it was like finding out he was abducted or searching for him. She told this to a man who spent over twenty years searching for his abducted sister! A man who never gave up searching for Scully after she was abducted. Agent Scully didn't even bother to ask how he was doing, it was all about her. Fox actually felt guilty and apologized. As if she had suffered more than he had."

"I didn't know that. But none of us were there for Mulder when he came back." Skinner regretted that he hadn't spent more time with Mulder. It had been so difficult for him--Mulder's death, resurrection, Krycek, the birth of Scully's and Mulder's child."

"Walter, if it weren't for you, Fox would still be buried alive. I was more concerned with how having his body exhumed would affect Agent Scully than the possibility he might not be dead."

"But you did think he was dead. At least you didn't try to kill him like I did!"

"You did so to protect Agent Scully's unborn baby from Alex Krycek." Doggett grabbed a towel and dried his hands then tossed it to Skinner. "The pans can wait. C'mon, let's take the bottle of wine outside on the back porch."

Skinner dried his hands and followed Doggett out the sliding door to the porch off the breakfast room. There was a high fence, blocking the view of the alley. It was a pleasant evening. Skinner sat on a lawn chair while Doggett took the porch-swing.

Doggett passed Skinner a glass of wine then filled his own glass, setting the bottle between them on the wood planking. "I'm worried about Fox. He's working too hard. I'd like it if he'd choose between teaching and consulting. I think the stress is getting to him."

"Good luck...Mulder never was one to do what's best for him."

"Walter, I talked to him about you. I feel deep down that he wants the three of us together, but he's afraid of rejection. He's worried I'll leave him for you."

"That's ridiculous."

"I know, if anyone should be worried it's me."

Skinner raised an eyebrow. He had been wondering why John proposed they talked about a threesome. "Why aren't you?"

"I'm secure in Fox's love for me. He's never said the words, but he shows me daily just how he feels. It's a good feeling, Walter. To be loved so deeply."

Doggett looked at Skinner who was sitting silently listening to him. He could sense a longing inside his friend. "Walter, Fox is afraid something is going to happen that will change our relationship."

"Is there a basis for his fears?"

"Just his intuition."

Skinner nodded. "That might be enough."

"I'm leaving it up to Fox whether he wants us to have a sexual relationship with you."

Skinner sipped his wine and looked out over the backyard. "John, I'm only willing to have a relationship with you and Fox if I'm a full partner. I don't want to be a weekend fuck or a third-wheel."

Doggett smiled. "I wouldn't want you to be anything but a full partner. If Fox agrees, we'll see how it goes for a few weeks then discuss living arrangements."

Skinner relaxed and grinned. "Do you think Mulder will let me call him Fox?"

"Just call him Muldah a few times and he'll be begging you to call him Fox." Doggett chuckled.

A gentle breeze swirled through the cherry tree as Skinner watched the lights of a car pass by through the gaps in the fence. "Do you sit out here often?"

"Yeah, or upstairs on the veranda off our bedroom. Fox often goes out there when he's having trouble sleeping."

They fell into a comfortable silence. Skinner hoped Mulder would want to proceed with a relationship with him. He'd love to move in here with them. To be able to come home to their company every night.

***

Demetrius parked his car down the alley and crept back to the house, hiding behind the garage to spy on the two men sitting on the back porch. He wondered whom the bald man was sitting with Agent Doggett. The lights on the first floor were on, but he couldn't see Mulder through the windows.

He spent over an hour watching the two men, but not seeing Mulder from his current position, Demetrius decided to walk around the block to the front of the house. Demetrius moved stealthily down the alley, straightening when he reached the sidewalk and casually strolling around the block. He crossed the street over to the park. He took a seat on a park bench across from the house. It took him a moment to spot the man standing against the railing on the second floor veranda.

It would be so easy to climb up there. He would use the veranda tomorrow night to break into the house.

Mulder noticed the person across the street in the park. He seldom saw anyone there this late who wasn't walking a dog. The shops across the way would have closed a half-hour ago. He took a deep breath of the sweet night air. It was beautiful outside...the person probably wanted some fresh air.

His thoughts turned back to his lover and Skinner. Mulder had fantasized about Skinner for years. His fantasies mostly ended once he became involved with John. In the past three months, he only beat off once thinking about Walter, and that was when John had been away on a case. He had felt guilty afterwards.

Now John wanted him to consider bringing Walter into their bed? Mulder wasn't sure if he could control his jealousy. It was a brand new feeling for him. He never was the jealous type. Then he never had anyone he loved as much as John. Could he deal with his insecurity if it meant having Walter as an intimate part of their life? Would he come to love Walter as much as he loved John?

Mulder smiled. That was what it was about after all--love and companionship. If they both came to love Walter as much as each other, and if Walter returned their feelings, then it would work out.

The only problem would be putting up with two extreme alpha-males. Okay, once his feelings of pending doom passed, Mulder would give his approval to bring Walter into their life. With that decision made, he walked back inside their bedroom.

Mulder stripped off his clothes and left them piled on a chair as he walked naked into the bathroom. He brushed his teeth, then gave himself an enema, before taking a long relaxing shower. After towelling off, he grabbed the lube from the cabinet and prepared himself. He was looking forward to some make up sex. The moonlight was coming in through the window as he turned down the bedcovers and slipped between the cool sheets. Sighing with contentment, he was asleep as soon as his eyes closed.

***

Skinner and Doggett had knocked off three bottles of wine before they called it an evening. Doggett offered Skinner the use of the third floor guestroom. Skinner accepted it happily, not wanting to drive home this late at night after spending the last four hours drinking.

Doggett walked into his bedroom and turned on the small lamp on the dresser. It was enough light to see by, but not enough to wake Mulder. He frowned at the pile of clothes on the chair, picking them up he carried them into the closet where he tossed them into the hamper. If Fox planned on wearing them again, he should have hung them up. Doggett stripped off his T-shirt and tossed it into the laundry bag then folded his jeans and placed them on the shelf.

He used the bathroom then strolled back into the bedroom. His eyes roamed over Mulder's delicious form spread out beneath a thin sheet. Doggett could tell that his lover was naked. He smiled. A naked Fox meant that he wanted to have sex. So he walked back to the closet and stripped off his briefs, tossing them into the hamper.

Doggett climbed into bed and spooned behind his lover. Then he slowly started waking Mulder by kissing his shoulder and caressing his body. He breathed in the sweet scent of soap on Mulder's warm flesh.

"Hm, what time's it?" Mulder murmured, raising one of his legs to give his lover better access to his ass.

Doggett slipped a finger inside. "After two o'clock."

"You and Walter were up talking that long?" Mulder relaxed as Doggett's skilled fingers stretched him.

"Yeah. We really have a lot in common...including you. Fox, Walter has it bad for you. He's been in love with you for years." Doggett pulled his fingers free and positioned his cock.

Mulder glanced over his shoulder at Doggett. "He told you that?"

Pushing in, Doggett captured Mulder's lips in a gentle kiss. "Yeah, babe. If he didn't love and respect you, I wouldn't want him in our lives even as a friend." Doggett had stopped seeing a couple of his buddies that had a low opinion of Mulder.

Mulder moaned as his lover started slowly fucking him. "What about you? How does Walter feel about you?" His fingers clenched the sheet.

Doggett reached over Mulder's hip and started stroking his cock as he continued the slow thrusts into his body. "We share a mutual respect and attraction. I wouldn't call it love, but in time I'm sure I can grow to love him."

Mulder's body jerked as Doggett hit his prostate. "Oooh God. H-Harder."

Doggett smiled. This was his favourite time during sex, when Fox became so aroused that he couldn't speak more than a couple words at one time. Doggett raised himself up on his elbow, so he could thrust in harder and deeper. He enjoyed the feel of his lover's ass gripping his cock and wondered briefly what Walter's ass would feel like or if Walter would want to be an exclusive top. His lover's anal muscles contracted at the same time he felt the come spurt over his fist. He picked up the pace of his thrusts; he came shortly after Mulder.

Mulder sighed as Doggett's body folded around him with his cock still buried up his ass. The sheets had fallen off them and sweat plastered their bodies together.

"I can never get enough of you, Fox."

"John, I spent some time thinking about us and Walter. It seemed so sudden tonight, but it really wasn't, was it? We've been inviting him into our lives more and more over the last six months, but you've noticed that and I didn't."

"At times, Fox, you aren't very observant. I never had any trouble seeing the feelings you and Walter had for each other."

"I don't have--"

"Stop denying it, Fox. You used to fantasize about him all the time."

"I stopped almost completely after you came into my life."

Doggett caressed Mulder's side. "*Almost* the operative word."

"Okay. We both are attracted to Walter, and we both want him in our lives as more than a friend. John, as soon as I no longer have this terrible feeling that something is going to happen to us, we can bring him into our bed."

Doggett kissed Mulder's shoulder and pulled out, rolling onto his back. "I knew you'd come to your senses."

Mulder slipped out of bed. "I came to my senses once I realized that I'd have two sexy men fucking me." He entered the bathroom and soaped up a washcloth, cleaning the semen from his stomach, ass, and thighs. Rinsing it, Mulder carried it back into the bedroom and gently washed Doggett's penis and balls then cleaned the sweat from his body.

"Fox, do you think Walter's a top?" Doggett lay with his hands behind his head, enjoying being pampered.

"In my fantasies he was always a top, but he might be like you." Doggett liked being topped occasionally. Mulder enjoyed those occasions thoroughly, although he preferred being a bottom more. He loved giving up control to John. He carried the washcloth back into the bathroom and left it next to the sink.

Doggett turned on his side and watched Mulder walk to the bed. "We'll play twenty questions with him over breakfast."

Mulder slipped into his arms and pulled the sheet over their bodies. "Walter's still here?"

"Yeah, he's upstairs in the guestroom."

"Do you want to make us your killer omelettes tomorrow?" Mulder asked.

Doggett hugged him closer. "Anything for you, babe." He closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.

Mulder smiled then frowned as a sudden feeling of apprehension intruded upon his peace. He eased out of his lover's arms and walked over to the window. The park bench across the street was empty, but he felt as if he was being watched. Mulder chewed on his lower lip as he climbed back into bed, no longer feeling that Walter was the threat to their relationship, but something else was.

Demetrius watched Mulder gaze out the window. Unlike his other chosen ones, this one had prognosticative abilities. Fox was going to make the perfect human. He turned and headed back to his car.

***

The birds were singing when Skinner opened his eyes. It took him a moment to remember where he was. Stretching, he climbed out of bed and went to use the bathroom. He was washing his face when there was a knock on the door and he hurried out of the bathroom to answer it.

Mulder was standing outside looking slightly embarrassed and carrying a small bundle in his arms. "I heard the water running and thought you might want to shave and brush your teeth."

Skinner took the items. "Thanks, Fox. Do you want to come in?"

Mulder raised an eyebrow at the use of his first name while he stared at the handsome man standing before him in only briefs. "I...sure. John is downstairs making us breakfast."

"Then I better be quick," Skinner said, strolling into the bathroom. Mulder followed, staring lustfully at Skinner's firm ass encased in skimpy white cotton. He stood in doorway as Skinner laid the shaving gear and toothbrush on the sink.

"Walter, I'm sorry about my behaviour last night."

Skinner smeared shaving gel on his face and said, "You should be, Fox, you behaved like a spoiled brat."

It wasn't what Mulder expected to hear. "Well, I am sorry. I think I'll go see how John is doing with breakfast."

"I'm not done talking to you."

Mulder frowned. "Walter, I said I was sorry. You called me a spoiled brat, I don't see what else there is to say."

"How about, I love you, Fox. I want to learn to love John, but we need to clear the air between you and me first."

"How can you love me when we haven't even had sex?"

Skinner chuckled. "You love Scully and you never had sex with her."

"I love Scully like a sister." Mulder leaned against the door jam, watching Skinner shave.

"Point. I don't love you like a sister. I've never felt like drilling my sister through the mattress."

"What if I preferred to drill you through the mattress?"

Skinner looked down at Mulder's crotch. "As long as you have the equipment."

Mulder smirked. "Oh I have the equipment. Walter, what do you really prefer, top or bottom?"

"I prefer topping, but I can be flexible depending on whom I'm with."

"Well, I prefer being topped, but I still would like to fuck you."

Skinner picked up his toothbrush. "Then I don't see that we have a problem."

Mulder waited for him to finish brushing his teeth. "Walter, there is one problem. If you become part of our lives, you're going to have to be exclusive with us--no other lovers. John and I don't use condoms, but until you've passed the HIV tests, a year from now, you'll have to wear one."

Skinner smiled. "Is that it?"

"No. We're equals in this household. If you feel like playing the boss take it to the office." Mulder wasn't about to be dictated to.

"Fox, I'm sorry if I offended you earlier. I just wanted you to know that I wasn't going to steal John from you. You're the main reason I want to be part of your lives. John is just an added bonus." Skinner pinned Mulder against the door jam and kissed him, thrusting his tongue into the willing mouth.

Mulder closed his eyes, wrapping his arms around Skinner's neck. He felt light-headed and aroused by the time the kiss ended. "W-Walter, I think we should go downstairs and eat."

Skinner smirked, enjoying the look of arousal on Mulder's face. "Just let me get dressed."

Mulder nodded and watched Skinner as he pulled back on the clothes from last night. To Mulder's amusement Skinner had to struggle to get his zipper up.

Doggett was just finishing the last omelette as they walked into the kitchen. "Good morning, Walter. Did you sleep well?"

"I slept perfectly. Are you both good cooks?" Skinner asked, looking at the food.

"We've both gotten better over the past year since we started cooking together. Before we started living together my breakfast usually consisted of a frosted pop tarts or a bowl of corn flakes."

Mulder carried a plate of toast over to the breakfast table. "I have to stop John from putting garlic and hot sauce in everything, so we're still not perfect."

"Well, at least my meals aren't bland," Doggett snipped.

"No and neither are you, John boy," Mulder said softly.

Skinner chuckled; walking over to the coffeepot he poured himself a mug full. "I don't think either of you can be bland even if you tried. I'm surprised however you're not both fat."

Doggett spread some jam on his toast. "We usually jog together, either in the morning before work or after work at night."

Mulder leered at him. "We also have other ways of exercising that are a lot more fun."

"Someday, I'd like a demonstration," Skinner said, sitting next to Doggett and picking up a fork, he sampled the omelette. "Mm...I'm definitely going to have to start hitting the gym more."

"You could come jogging with us. Greta and Ingrid will owe me big time," Mulder said.

"Who are Greta and Ingrid?"

"The Olson sisters, they live on the corner. They're in their late fifties and usually sit out on their front porch and make off-color comments when we jog by," Doggett said.

"Walter, they're nice in their own weird way. They even brought us a welcome to the neighbourhood basket when we first moved in." Mulder winked at John.

Doggett chuckled. "It contained a bottle of brandy, suntan oil, two imitation tiger skin thongs, glow in the dark condoms, brownies, and a discount coupon for a tongue piercing."

"Other than the coupon and the brownies, we've used all the items in that basket."

"Where did you wear the thongs?"

Mulder smiled, sipping his coffee and looking mischievously over its rim at Doggett. "We sunbathed on the deck off the third floor office. Thankfully, it's out of sight of the Olson sister's house."

"Walter, Fox talked me into it," Doggett whined. "I'm only glad I wasn't shot or injured this summer. It would have been kinda hard to explain my tan lines."

"You're both lucky that pictures haven't shown up on the web." Skinner chuckled, finishing his omelette as a pleasant image of Fox and John wearing thongs flashed into his mind. "I think, I'll run home and change before the baseball game this afternoon."

"Bring your overnight bag," Doggett said, getting up and walking with Skinner to the front door. "You can use the guest room again."

They paused in the open doorway, looking at each other questioningly. Then Skinner tilted his head and moved in to capture Doggett's lips in a kiss, which the other man returned with enthusiasm.

Once the kiss ended, Skinner smiled at him. "I'll do that, John. Thanks for breakfast."

In the park across the street, Demetrius watched with growing interest. It was a good thing his car had a large trunk. It looked like it would be filled for the journey back to his cave tonight.

***

Demetrius parked his car in the alley behind Mulder's and Doggett's garage. He had waited an hour after all the lights had gone off inside the house to move in. Closing his eyes, he recited a spell that would render the three men inside into a coma like sleep.

He climbed out of his car and pulled a duffel bag out of his trunk then made his way toward the house. The bag made a rattling sound as he carried it through the back gate and around to the side of the house. He easily scaled the wall and pulled himself over the railing onto the second floor veranda. The French door leading into the bedroom was locked. So he broke the small, glass pane nearest the doorknob then reached in, unlocking the door and cautiously entering the bedroom.

The glow of moonlight shone on the bed, caressing the two naked men entwined in each other's arms in its gentle radiance. The metal rattled inside the duffel bag as Demetrius set it down on the bed. He took hold of Doggett's wrists, pulling them behind the agent's back and attached a pair of handcuffs. He repeated the procedure with Mulder. The two men didn't stir as he turned on the overhead light. Going into their closet he found two pairs of sweatpants, socks, and shoes. He carried the items back into the bedroom and dressed the two men before attaching the manacles around their ankles.

Demetrius stood back to admire them as he peeled off a large piece of duct tape. He imaged what a child would look like created between them as he placed the tape over their mouths. He then pulled two blindfolds from the bag. When done, he carried them, in a fireman's hold, one at a time down the steps and out the backdoor off the kitchen, laying them inside the carpeted trunk.

He went back inside the house for the large bald man, finding Skinner asleep on a queen-sized bed on the third floor. Demetrius licked his lips, looking appreciatively at the muscular body, tight abs, and handsome face. It was going to be a chore carrying him down two flights of stairs. Going to work, it wasn't long before he had Skinner dressed and handcuffed. A half-hour had past, by the time he had him in the trunk with the other two unconscious men. The spell would be wearing off shortly. He slammed the trunk and quickly climbed behind the wheel to start the long drive back toward his mountain.

***

The smell of gasoline assailed Doggett's senses as he drifted back to consciousness. He panicked when he realized he was handcuffed, gagged, and he couldn't see. His panic increased when he identified Mulder spread out beside him by his lover's scent and the hard length of his body. He was more concerned with Mulder's welfare than his own. It took Doggett only a few seconds, once he calmed, to realize they were inside a trunk of a car. The gas fumes and noise of the tires rolling over pavement were clear indicators. Suddenly the car started bouncing as it drove onto what felt like an unpaved road.

The jarring woke Skinner and he struggled against his bindings bumping into Mulder who was lying beside him.

Mulder made a startled sound as he returned to consciousness, tried to talk, then started thrashing trying to escape. He had a panic attack, fearing he was back in the hands of the aliens.

Doggett rolled on top his lover, trying to calm him. It worked. Mulder soon stopped thrashing and lay breathing heavily beneath him. His lover seemed to take comfort in having their bare chests pressed together. Doggett rubbed his face against Mulder's trying to dislodge the duct tape. When he freed one end of the tape, he was able to wet his lips and work the remainder free. "Fox...babe, calm down. I'll try to get the tape off your lips. Did I hear Walter?"

Skinner harrumphed.

"I'll get to you next, Walter." Doggett started working on the tape over his lover's mouth when the car came to a sudden stop.

A couple minutes later the trunk opened, letting fresh air in.

Doggett stayed protectively on top of Mulder, lifting his face toward the fresh air. He could see light around the edges of the tight blindfold covering his eyes. "Who's there?"

"The gags are no longer necessary. You may scream all you want and no one will hear you." Demetrius peeled the duct tape off Skinner's then Mulder's mouth. He reached into the trunk and grabbed Skinner, manhandling him out onto the dirt and gravel ground. "The manacles will allow you to take small steps. Don't try to flee. I have no intention on harming you or your friends if you cooperate."

"What do you want with us?" Doggett asked as he was lifted out of the trunk.

Demetrius remained quiet as he finally dragged Mulder out of the trunk. He tied a rope around each of their chained wrists, linking them together.

Pushing Skinner, he growled, "Start walking."

Skinner took small steps, feeling his way with his feet.

Demetrius' hand wrapped around Skinner's forearm. "Don't worry, handsome. I won't let you injure yourself."

Skinner scowled at being called handsome by their captor. "Why have you abducted us?" he asked.

"I find Fox to be extremely lovely. He's wasted being a mere male."

Mulder swallowed as he suddenly realized whose hands they had fallen into. "Don't do this, Demetrius. It's not right."

"Once you and Agent Doggett have your first child together, you'll thank me. You see, Fox, I've been watching you these past seven months. I know you desire a child to replace the one that redheaded bitch took from you. So I'm going to make your dreams come true."

Doggett heart nearly stopped. This was what Mulder had feared...something that would change their lives forever. "Touch him, scumbag, and I'll kill you!"

Demetrius walked back to Agent Doggett and slapped him hard across the face. "Watch you mouth, Agent Doggett, or I'll gag you again."

"Don't hurt him," Mulder said, turning his head toward the sound of the slap.

"If he behaves no harm will come to him."

Doggett licked the blood from his lips. "Fox, no matter what happens, I'll never stop loving you. Remember that."

Demetrius chuckled. "Agent Doggett, I knew I hadn't made a mistake when I decided to use you to impregnate Fox. Your love for each other will carry you through the birth of your first child."

Mulder face flushed red with anger. "I don't want what you offer! How can you expect me to accept the killing of a young woman, so that I can be changed into a freak!"

"Don't worry about her, Fox, she's pure evil through and through. She has killed nine women and young girls for the pleasure of her husband and her own lust for blood." Demetrius laughed. "It would amuse me greatly to let her live afterward. The thought of her husband having no cunt to fuck and Jena no longer getting off on shoving gasoline-filled condoms up her victim's vaginas. Alas, the spirits demand a sacrifice, so she must die."

Mulder felt nauseous. He didn't want this evil woman's organs inside his body even if they were transformed to his genetic makeup.

They entered the cave and were led down a steep incline.

"It's about fucking time you came back!" Jena said, "I'm fucking hungry!"

"Shut up, bitch. I've brought you company." Demetrius chained Doggett and Skinner to the wall and removed their blindfolds, allowing them to see for the first time.

Demetrius held Mulder's arm as he led him into a small room off the main cavern. He then helped Mulder to his knees on the soft bearskin, fastening a chain around his ankle to the wall, then gently removed Mulder's blindfold. He talked softly, "In three nights there will be a full moon, my dear, and we'll proceed with the ceremony."

Mulder blinked, looking around the small cave. He started at the gargoyle crouching next to him and scooted away from it as far as the chain would permit. His eyes met Demetrius' for the first time. His captor was smiling smugly.

"You're going to make a perfect hermaphrodite."

"You can't do this!" Mulder's eyes followed the tall, bald-headed man as he paced around the small space.

"I can and I will. Fox, you might hate me, but in time you will thank me for elevating you to a position above that of a mere man."

Mulder wrapped his arms protectively around his knees, looking across the space he wondered where John and Walter were. His breath caught in his throat as the gargoyle stalked toward the entrance to the main cavern.

Demetrius stopped it. "I am through with you, my pet. It is time to send you back from where you came." He recited a chant and the gargoyle shrieked and vanished in a cloud of putrid-smelling smoke.

Demetrius left Mulder to his thoughts and entered the main cavern. He picked up the bucket of waste from inside the pentagram and went outside to dispose of it.

Jena looked at the two men. "Look, assholes, there are four of us, we can over power him."

"Would you like to suggest how we can get out of these handcuffs and manacles?" Skinner said.

"Look, dickless, use your fucking brain and figure it out!"

Demetrius returned with the bucket. "Jena dear, if you continue to talk to my guests in that manner, I'll cut out your tongue."

Skinner decided it might be easy to reason with their captor. "Look, Demetrius, you don't want to do this. It's a crime against nature."

"No, it's an improvement upon nature."

Doggett couldn't contain his temper. "If you touch Fox, I'll cut off your dick and shove it down your fucking throat!"

"Watch the way you speak to me, Agent Doggett, or I'll have Walter impregnate Fox not you."

"Neither of us is going to impregnate Mulder!" Skinner yanked at his chains.

"Would you prefer him to be carrying my baby or one of yours?" Demetrius smirked as the two men exchanged worried glances. "I thought not." He walked away to check on Mulder in the other cave.

"Walter, what are we going to do?" Doggett whispered.

"If we can't get out of this, John, then you're going to have to impregnate Mulder. We can't allow that bastard to touch him," Skinner said in a low voice.

"I don't know if I could do that to him."

"We'll take Fox in for an abortion as soon as Demetrius let's us go." Skinner was confident that he wouldn't be able to hold them for nine months.

Doggett swallowed back tears and shook his head. "Walter, I'm pro-life...I could never consciously take part in killing my baby. Not even for Fox."

"You can't expect him to have the baby?"

"Riley did...."

"John, its Fox's body, so it's Fox's decision."

Doggett closed his eyes. "Let's pray it's a decision he'll never have to make."

***

Hunger gnawed at Mulder's belly, it had been four nights since he'd last eaten. Demetrius had kept him on a diet of only water, in order to purify his system. To make matters worse, Mulder hadn't seen his lover or Skinner since the day of their abduction. He could hear their voices coming from the cavern next to the small cave he was in. The one time he tried to call out to them, Demetrius silenced him by putting a ball gag in his mouth.

"It is time, Fox." Demetrius kneeled beside him and unlocked the ankle manacle. He gripped Mulder's handcuffed wrists and pulled him to his feet.

Mulder staggered against him, too weak to walk unsupported as Demetrius guided him into the larger cavern. His eyes fell on Jena's nude body chained spread-eagle inside the left half of a pentagram. A hood was over her head preventing Mulder from seeing her face.

His lover and Skinner were chained to a wall on the far side of the large space. Mulder could see bruises on both men's ankles and wrists from their countless struggles to free themselves over the past few days.

"John, I love you," Mulder said, a tear ran down his cheek as he gazed longingly at his lover.

The words brought tears to Doggett's eyes. "Fox, I'll love you always. I'm sorry I failed to protect you."

Demetrius started stripping his captive when Mulder suddenly lashed out. Both men tumbled to the ground as Mulder slammed his elbow into Demetrius' throat. The hermaphrodite gasped for breath as Mulder struck him repeatedly. Mulder scrambled for a large rock lying on the floor several feet away. Demetrius regained his breath and started chanting, weaving a spell. Mulder dropped the rock and discovered his limbs wouldn't move.

Demetrius stood and wiped the blood from his lips as he walked over to Mulder. He kneeled beside him and finished removing his captive's clothes, cutting the fabric off Mulder's cuffed wrists. His hand stroked the warm flesh of Mulder's back and ass.

"Leave him alone!" Doggett twisted at the chains holding him prisoner.

"He's beautiful, isn't he? I can see why you both love him." Demetrius scooped Mulder's lanky body up in his arms and easily carried him into the pentagram, where he chained Mulder spread-eagle beside Jena. He then painted a symbol on Mulder's stomach, using Jena's blood. He recited an ancient incantation as he brushed on each line of the symbol. Incense and black candles burned throughout the cavern, casting an eerie light. They dimmed as dark shapes rose through the cavern's floor.

A loud wailing sounded and a crack of thunder, so loud, Skinner and Doggett thought their eardrums would pop. Wind swirled sand into the air, pelting them with sharp particles. They had to close their eyes.

Jena started screaming. Demetrius held a curved knife over her body, watching as her belly became concave. Then he drove the knife through her heart. The spirits flowed around her dead body lifting it as far as the chains permitted. Demetrius unlocked the manacles, and the spirits carried her to the bottomless pit on the other side of the cavern and surged in with her.

Skinner peered through partially closed lids, watching the terrifying spectacle. He never heard the body hit bottom. He opened his eyes as the wind stilled and glanced at Mulder's unconscious body. He gasped at the paleness of the flesh that was lit by dozens of candles. Demetrius freed Mulder's limbs and spread his legs. He smiled with satisfaction at what he saw.

"It is time, Agent Doggett," Demetrius said, leaving Mulder he walked over to the two men. He left Doggett hands cuffed behind his back as he unlocked the manacles holding the agent to the wall.

"I can't do thi--" Doggett kicked out at him.

Demetrius was ready, grabbing the foot and twisting it. Doggett landed on his belly and Demetrius grabbed his hair, pulling the agent's head back. He tightened his arm around Doggett's throat. "You will or I'll kill Walter and impregnate Fox myself. Is that what you want?"

"No."

"I didn't think so. As soon as you plant your seed within his womb, I will set you all free." Demetrius unlocked the handcuffs and left Doggett lying on the ground as he walked over to Skinner and held his bloody knife against Skinner's throat.

Doggett felt sick as his eyes met Skinner's.

"Remove your clothes, Agent Doggett."

Doggett did as ordered. Then he walked over to Mulder's body and kneeled between his lover's legs. He swallowed when he got the first glimpse of the vagina that was now a part of Fox's body. His hand shook as he positioned his penis against his lover's new orifice. Doggett was surprised to find that he was hard and dripping as his cockhead touched the hot entrance. The orifice felt tight and moist as he thrust all the way home. He detached himself from his surroundings as he quickened his thrusts, wanting to end this as quickly as possible for him and Fox.

A moan escaped Mulder's lips, bringing Doggett back to the present. He gazed into his lover's bewildered hazel eyes just as the first, of several orgasms racked Mulder's body, sending a shiver up Doggett's spine as the vagina squeezed his shaft exquisitely.

Mulder felt disconcerted as he experienced extreme pleasures of multiple orgasms. It was as if he was removed from reality and it took him a moment to realize just where he was and what was happening to him. He gazed up at his lover's distressed face just as John climaxed inside of him.

Demetrius smiled. "It is done. Fox, you are now carrying Agent Doggett's baby inside your womb."

Mulder shook his head weakly and passed out.

"You've done your job, it is time for you to return home." Demetrius recited a spell and all three men were rendered unconscious. He dressed Mulder and Doggett then carried all three men one at a time to his car for the long drive back to D.C.

***

Mulder stared off into space. He didn't respond when Doggett walk into the room and draped a blanket around him.

The doorbell rang and Doggett glanced sadly at his lover before going to answer it.

"Hi, John. How is he?" Skinner asked, stepping into the foyer.

"I think he's in shock."

"Maybe we should take him to the hospital."

"No." Doggett walked back into the living room and sat next to Mulder, wrapping his arms around his lover. "I don't want anyone finding out what happened to him. We agreed, Walter."

"I know but I thought he'd come around by now."

"It's only been a day. Give him time."

Mulder rested his head on Doggett's shoulder and softly wept.

"It's going to be okay, Fox." Doggett kissed the top of his head and held him closer.

Skinner felt his heart wrench. "John, they're asking questions. They want to know why Tatev would abduct us. I told them it was for revenge, but Tatev had a change of heart and let us go."

"Did they believe you?"

"I don't know. No one questioned me further and they're launching a full-scale manhunt into all the mountain ranges within a days ride of D.C."

"They'll never find him." Doggett reached into his pocket and removed a key from his key ring. "Here."

Skinner took the key. "What's this for?"

"So you don't have to ring the doorbell." Doggett stood, helping Mulder to his feet.

"Thanks, I need to get back to the office. " Skinner paused in the doorway. "Scully was pretty upset that you wouldn't let her see Mulder."

"If she wants to apologize for treating him like shit, I'll let her see him once he's better," Doggett said.

"They've risked their lives for one another--"

"Maybe she should have remembered that before taking William away from him."

"I'll stop by after work to see how he's doing."

After Skinner left Doggett helped Mulder upstairs and put him to bed.

***

Mulder pushed the cup of broth away. "John, where...?"

Doggett sighed. "God, Fox, you were beginning to scare me. We're at home...we've been home for over three days."

Mulder's eyes widened. "It wasn't a dream then, was it?"

"No."

Mulder shoved Doggett out of his way and ran into the bathroom. He dropped to his knees in front of the toilet and vomited.

Doggett wet a washcloth and kneeled beside Mulder. He wiped his lover's sweaty brow and mouth. "Fox, I love you. Nothing is going to change that."

"The bastard's turned me into a fucking freak."

"You're not a freak. You're the same man I fell in love with." Doggett tried to hug Mulder, but was pushed away.

"Don't touch me."

"Fox."

"Please don't crowd me."

"Fox, I just need to know that you're okay. You spent the last three days in a catatonic state."

"I don't know if I'll ever be okay again!" Mulder said, "Maybe you should rethink being in love with me."

"Never! Love isn't something you can turn on and off like a light switch."

"I-I'm going to sleep in the guest bedroom." Mulder stood and hurried out of the bathroom. His whole body felt strange and he couldn't tolerate being touched.

Doggett stayed kneeling as he watched him go. He rubbed his hand over his face in frustration. He was determined to be patient for as long as it took.

The telephone rang and he hurried out of the bathroom. "John Doggett."

"John, its Walter. How's Fox?"

"He's back among the living, but he's having a hard time dealing with what's happened to him. How's Minneapolis?"

"The field office seems to have everything in order. I wish I could be there right now."

"You're the Deputy Director, Walter, Fox will understand."

***

The image in the mirror looked like him, but Mulder knew that it wasn't. He was no longer the same man...God, he was no longer a man. It angered him that John wasn't upset about what happened to him.

How could John want to touch him, knowing that he had that woman's--

Fuck, he couldn't even think it! Mulder could feel it between his legs, secreting some moisture into his boxers. He hadn't attempted to touch or look at it. Maybe it would disappear if he didn't think about it.

He walked into the bedroom and curled up on top of the covers fully clothed. It's been two days since he came back to awareness and he hadn't bothered to change his clothes. Closing his eyes, he fell into a troubled sleep.

When Mulder came down to breakfast the next morning, he ignored Doggett who was at the counter watching him. Mulder poured himself a cup of coffee and went to sit at the breakfast table.

Doggett attempted to ignore the rumpled state his lover was in--Mulder was beginning to smell bad. After three days of not shaving Mulder was finally getting a five o'clock shadow, which was another indication of his change.

"Fox, would you like me to make you an omelette?"

"No."

"Are you planning on going to work today?"

"No."

"Did you call the University?"

"No."

"Would you like me to call for you?"

"Yes."

"I'm going to ask for two weeks of emergency leave for you. Is that okay?"

"Yes."

"I have to go into work today. Are you going to be all right alone?"

"Yes."

Doggett frowned. He hated leaving Mulder here alone, but he really needed to get back to work.

After Doggett left, Mulder walk over to the telephone and hesitantly picked up the receiver. He dragged the phone number up from his eidetic memory and dialled it.

Mulder's hand shook as a man answered. "Riley's residence."

"May I please speak with Andrew Riley?"

"Speaking."

"Mr. Riley, I don't know if you'll remember me. My name is Fox Mulder, I--"

"Of course I remember you. What can I do for you, Mr. Mulder?"

"I'd like to stop by and ask you some questions... Ah, nothing official and all answers will be held in the strictest confidence."

There was a long pause on the other end, before Riley spoke again. "Okay, but I prefer we meet out in public."

"How about we meet for lunch at the Papermoon diner in Baltimore?" Mulder knew that it was close to Riley's office.

"Okay, Mr. Mulder, I'll meet you there at noon."

After hanging up, Mulder hurried upstairs, he needed to shower and put on some clean clothes before heading to Baltimore. He peeled off his smelly clothes and threw them into the hamper in their closet. Mulder hesitated in front of the full-length mirror in the bathroom. It was the first time he'd been nude since his abduction. He was relieved that he couldn't see any outward sign of the vagina from his front or as he turned to look at his rear.

Mulder reached down and touched his penis then wrapped his fingers around its soft length and started pumping until it thickened and lengthened. He breathed a sigh of relief and let go of it, no longer worried that his change had affected that part of him. Since female and male sex organs don't usually function on normal hermaphrodites, one sex is generally favoured over the other. Whatever Demetrius had done to him and the others, it allowed both sex organs to function normally. He turned on the shower and stepped under the spray. Soaping up, he avoided washing between his thighs for as long as possible. Finally giving in to the need to be clean, he ran the soapy washcloth over his anus and new orifice. He shuddered as he cleaned some slimy fluid away from the opening.

He turned off the water and stepped out of the shower, towelling off as he walked into the closet searching for something to wear. Mulder pulled on a pair of boxers, jeans, and carried his sweater into the bathroom, hanging it on a hook behind the door. He went to the sink and shaved, splashing on some after-shave.

Mulder was five minutes late when he arrived at the diner in Baltimore. He found Riley waiting in a back booth for him. "I'm sorry I'm late."

The waitress sashayed over. "May I get you something to drink?"

"A glass of water please," Mulder said, reaching for a menu and scanning the items. Most of the items made him nauseous, even his favourite greasy burger.

The waitress came back with his water and pulled out her order pad. "Are you both ready to order?"

"Yes, I'll have the Porky Burger and add a slice of Swiss cheese to that," Riley said.

"Bring me a cup of chicken noodle soup and a turkey sandwich," Mulder said, opting for the blandest sounding food on the menu. Even the perfume the waitress was wearing made his stomach turn. He hoped he wasn't coming down with a flu bug.

After the waitress left, Riley turned to Mulder. "Okay, ask away."

"How long did it take for you to adjust to what Tatev did to you?"

"I still haven't completely adjusted. I don't think I ever will. If it weren't for my wife I might have killed myself early on."

"But how were you able to deal with it?"

Riley's laughed. "I had two choices, Mr. Mulder. I could crawl into myself and hide or go on with my life and learn to live with what he did to me. I chose life and I have a healthy daughter to remind me daily of all that I have to live for."

"How did it feel to be pregnant?"

"Terrifying and at the same time incredible. I don't think I can describe what it felt like the first time I felt my daughter move and I'll never forget her birth."

The waitress came back with their meals. Riley picked up his burger and took a bite out of it. Grease ran down his chin. Mulder felt his stomach lurch and quickly excused himself, making it into a stall in the men's room just in time. He flushed the toilet and rinsed out his mouth in the sink.

Riley looked up at Mulder as he slid back into the booth. "Are you all right, Mr. Mulder?"

"I'm fine...it's just a flu bug." Mulder picked up his soupspoon and ate quietly as he thought about what Riley had told him.

"Have I answered all of your questions?"

"Yes." Mulder wanted to ask him specific questions about having a vagina, but figured Riley would start to get suspicious.

Doggett was exhausted when he finally arrived home. Over a week's worth of paperwork had been waiting for him when he arrived at work this morning.

He was surprised to find Mulder in the kitchen with their dinner warming in the oven.

"Fox, you cooked?"

"Yeah, I figured you'd be hungry." Mulder opened the oven and removed the pork tenderloin with roasted vegetables. "Do you want to change out of your suit first?"

"No. I'm starving." Doggett opened the refrigerator and pulled out the jar of applesauce.

Mulder smiled. His lover couldn't eat pork without applesauce or chicken without cranberry sauce. It was one of the quirks Mulder loved about John, that, and his secret stash of pop tarts.

Doggett reached up hesitantly and caressed the side of Mulder's face. "You're smiling. I didn't think I'd see you do that for a while." He wanted to tell Mulder how beautiful he was, but he held off worried about the response he'd receive.

"I met with Andrew Riley today. I decided to take his advice."

"You didn't tell Riley about what Tatev did to you?"

"No."

"What advice did he give you?"

Mulder shrugged his shoulders. "I asked him how he was able to coop with what had been done to him. He said there wasn't any choice but to accept it and move on with his life."

Doggett pulled Mulder into his arms and hugged him. "I'm so happy to have you back."

Mulder froze, squashing the desire to push him away. "L-Let's eat, John boy."

Doggett frown at the edge he heard in his lover's voice. "Okay, Fox."

***

Thursday, October 3, 2002

First Month - 1st trimester

Skinner parked in front of Mulder's and Doggett's home. He walked up to the front door and entered using the key Doggett had given him. It had been almost two weeks since he was here last. The past ten days Skinner spent traveling to different field offices throughout the country and touring their facilities.

He found Doggett in the kitchen preparing dinner. "How's Fox doing?"

"Better, but he still hasn't accepted that he might be pregnant. I bought one of those home pregnancy kits, but he refuses to take it."

Skinner leaned up against the counter, watching Doggett chop up several carrots. "John, we need to find a doctor we can trust to examine him. I think we should ask Scully."

"No. I don't want her involved in this. We'll find someone else." Doggett picked up a potato and handed it to Skinner with a paring knife.

Skinner took the hint and started peeling it. "Maybe we should ask the gunmen. They might know of someone we can trust."

"I was thinking about going to see Senator Woods. He likes Fox and has offered to help us, if we ever need it."

"How much will you tell him?" Skinner asked, picking up another potato, while Doggett cubed the one he had peeled.

"I'd be surprised if he didn't already suspect or know what has happened to Fox. The man is so well informed it's spooky."

"John, I'd like to go with you when you talk to the Senator."

"Thanks, I could use your support." Doggett tossed the cubed potato in the stew pot, and then leaned back against the counter. "Walter, I would like you to consider moving in with us? Fox needs both of us right now."

"I was going to suggest it, John. When you're away on field assignments, I don't like the idea of him being here alone."

"We have an extra-large, King-sized bed, so you won't have to use the guestroom." Doggett nervously met Skinner's eyes--they hadn't had sex yet so he might be asking too much.

"Shouldn't I have a say?" Mulder said from the doorway, his arms hugging his body.

John looked into his lover's eyes. "I thought we already agreed, Fox?"

Mulder sighed, "I guess we did. I just don't like the feeling that I'm getting a babysitter. Walter, if you move in with us, it will be as our lover, not on the pretence of taking care of me."

Skinner walked over and hugged him. "Fox, I wouldn't have it any other way." He sealed their lips with a kiss. His hands trailing down to Mulder's ass, squeezing and caressing the firm globes. Skinner could feel the swell of an erection against his hip.

Mulder suddenly pushed him away, turning he fled from the room.

"Fox! Wait! What's wrong!" Skinner started to go after him, but Doggett stopped him.

"Walter, give him some space. He's having a hard time being touched."

"Isn't there something we can do?"

"Don't crowd him...allow Fox to initiate any contact. Until five days ago, he was sleeping in the back bedroom. As long as I don't touch him down there, he's fine being in bed with me." Doggett dumped the remaining vegetables in the stew.

"Maybe we should take him to see a psychiatrist," Skinner said.

"Maybe we should give him some time to adjust to what's been done to him." Doggett took a beer out of the refrigerator. "Do you want one?" At Skinner's nod, he tossed him a beer.

***

Mulder stood in the middle of the bathroom his face red with embarrassment. Not only had he gotten an erection while Skinner was kissing him, but he felt a sudden dampness between his legs. He peeled off his pants, relieved that there wasn't a noticeable wet spot. His boxers were damp. Reaching between his legs, Mulder probed the source of the dampness. The vagina was hot and slick. He brought his finger away and sniffed the familiar smelling fluid. He'd never forget that scent. Mulder had lost track of the number of times he had orally pleasured female lovers over the years.

He stripped off his boxers and tossed them in the hamper, hoping he wasn't going to have to buy a box of panty shields. Talk about humiliating. Mulder wet a washcloth and thoroughly cleaned and dried himself. Dressing, he decided to go back down to the kitchen, instead of hiding up in the bedroom.

He found his lover and Skinner sitting at the breakfast table drinking a beer. A cold beer sounded good, so Mulder walked over to the refrigerator and pulled out a Miller Light.

"Put it back, Fox," Doggett said.

"Why? I'm thirsty."

"Then have some juice or water. You shouldn't be drinking in your condition."

"What condition is that?" Mulder opened the can.

"You're pregnant."

"I am not pregnant."

"Then take the test and prove it." Doggett stood and walked over to him, taking the beer away. "I won't allow you to harm our baby."

"Okay, fine. I'll take the damn test, but if it comes up positive I'm getting an abortion." Mulder pulled the pitcher of orange juice out of the refrigerator, not in the mood for a confrontation with his lover.

"You know how I feel about that, Fox."

"It's my body."

"It's our baby."

Skinner silently sided with Mulder. He felt it wasn't his place to get in the middle of their argument--at least not yet.

Mulder carried his glass of juice over to the table and sat next to Skinner. "Walter, I'm sorry I ran earlier."

"Do you want to tell me why?" Skinner asked as Doggett joined them at the table.

"It's embarrassing." Mulder blushed and looked down at the table. "I...was so turned on when you grabbed my ass that I wet my boxers."

"You peed--"

"No...the vagina secreted some fluid."

Skinner and Doggett exchanged glances over the table.

"Fox, you have nothing to be embarrassed about. Those things happen--" Skinner started to say, but Mulder cut him off.

"Those things don't happen to men."

"Maybe we should talk about this," Doggett said. They all knew from Scully's examination of Andrew Riley that it was impossible to remove the reproductive organs without killing him. Whatever Demetrius had done to these men, it was irreversible.

Mulder rubbed his temples. "I-I'm at my wits ends, John. How can you stand being near me? I have that evil woman's--"

"God dammit! Fox, I love you! The organs are one hundred percent yours. They contain your genetic makeup and DNA. The baby you're carrying will be yours and mine," Doggett said.

Mulder ignored the last part of his lover's rant. "Doesn't my having a vagina repulse you?"

"Fox, don't take this wrong, but I'm turned on by the idea of you having one more area where I can pleasure you and receive pleasure," Doggett said.

Skinner placed a hand on Mulder's shoulder. "We haven't made love yet, Fox, but I totally agree with John."

"You don't consider me a freak?"

"No, Fox."

Doggett stood and walked over to the stove and put the stew on simmer. He walked back to the table and yanked his lover to his feet. "C'mon, Fox. Walter and I are going to show you how much you turn us on."

"John, I don't--"

"Shut up, Fox." Doggett stopped his protest with a kiss. "You brought up the subject. It's now up to Walter and me to convince you how we feel."

Skinner stepped behind Mulder and wrapped his arms around the lean body, grinding his erection into the younger man's ass. Then he kissed Doggett over Mulder's shoulder.

Mulder was turned on watching them. Then both men focused on sucking, kissing, and licking his face and neck. His head fell back on Skinner's shoulder. The sensation of being sandwiched between two strong bodies with their mouths leaving erotic marks over every inch of his exposed flesh was turning him to mush. His erection pressed against John's while moistness spread between his legs. "Oh, God." His legs felt weak and he was grateful that his lovers were holding him up.

Doggett deftly unbuttoned Mulder's shirt as his lips trailed down his lover's chest, finding and sucking a nipple. He relished the salty taste of sweat and the feel of the hard nub against the tip of his tongue. His hand moved to lovingly caress his lover's flat belly.

Mulder laced his fingers through Doggett's hair, holding him in place. While his other hand snaked around the back of Skinner's head as the large man made another mark on the flesh above his collar bone. Mulder was writhing and moaning non-stop as pleasure shot through his entire body. He cried out as their loving caresses and mouths caused him to come. Mulder suddenly found himself on the kitchen floor without his clothes. Somehow Skinner had moved from behind him to between his spread thighs. Doggett was sucking Mulder's cock as Skinner positioned Mulder's legs over his shoulders and pushed inside his tight heat.

There was a brief moment of discomfort then the weirdest sensation Mulder had ever experienced. It took him a moment to realize that his anus hadn't been penetrated. He experienced a fleeting moment of panic that was replaced by a rush of pleasure, causing his hips to rock in time with Skinner's downward thrusts. Mulder wondered just how large Skinner was, it felt like a baseball bat ramming into him.

Skinner was making grunting sounds as he thrust into Mulder. He wanted to tell Mulder how much he loved him, but the incredible feeling of finally being inside the younger man and the arousing scent coming from him was more than his brain could process...he was at a loss for words. Skinner didn't want this moment to end, and was looking forward to the day when he could ride Mulder bare, without the condom. He looked down at Doggett's head bobbing up and down on Mulder's cock.

Doggett swallowed it, his throat muscles squeezed around the sensitive head, causing Mulder to come explosively. Multiple orgasms wracked Mulder's body as his vagina bore down on the hard shaft penetrating it. The world narrowed and dimmed again. Coming back to consciousness, Mulder was surprised to find John now fucking him while Skinner kissed and caressed his sweaty face. As Skinner's tongue licked over his lips, Mulder opened his mouth taking it inside.

"I love you, Fox," Skinner said softly.

"I-I love you, too." Mulder looked up at him with wide eyes, realizing he actually did love Walter. It took saying the words to John for him to admit his feelings for Walter, too. As Mulder felt himself about to come again, he tightened his muscular legs around Doggett's body. Throwing back his head, Mulder cried out as he experienced another mind-blowing orgasm.

"Oh God, Fox...you're so fucking hot and tight," Doggett moaned. The speed and length of his thrusts slowed as his shaft was squeezed in a vicelike grip. His balls crept up and he came with a cry, collapsing on Mulder and crushing his lover's balls and penis between them.

Skinner's hand stroked Doggett's back while his fingers combed through Mulder's hair.

Mulder was breathing heavily as he lay with his head on Skinner's lap. Under his back the hardwood floor was damp with sweat. He noticed that while he was completely naked, his lovers were still partially clothed. Their shirts stuck to their sweaty bodies and their pants were around their ankles. They must have been in a real hurry to fuck him. Mulder turned his head and nuzzled Skinner's large penis, happy with the size of his new lover. It took several minutes before any of them were in any condition to move.

Doggett raised his head and smiled down at Mulder. "I hope you're hungry, Fox."

"For some reason I'm famished." Mulder knew John was worried about how little he'd been eating during the past two weeks.

Skinner brushed the damp bangs off Mulder's forehead. "Fox, why don't you go and take a shower while John and I clean up the mess we made."

"You both could use a shower, too," Mulder said, allowing Doggett to help him to his feet.

Doggett pulled up his pants, zipping them then went to wash his hands. "I need to finish dinner. Why don't you and Walter share a shower? I'll grab one after dinner."

Mulder walked over to him, placing his hand on Doggett's arm as he leaned in to kiss him. "Thank you, John."

Skinner picked up Mulder's shirt, pants, and shoes, while the younger man recovered his underwear and socks. Watching Mulder's ass as they climbed the stairs to the bedroom was turning Skinner hard again.

"Walter, just toss your clothes in the laundry bag. We take turns doing the washing and ironing." Mulder placed his shoes on the closet floor. "We'll have to shift some stuff around in here to make room for your things, luckily John isn't a clothes hound."

"Fox, you were really upset earlier. Are you sure you're all right now?" Skinner asked, while pulling off his clothes.

Mulder smiled and shrugged his shoulders. "I'm still scared out of my mind, but you and John helped me to see what's...who's important in my life."

"I'm here for you, Fox. If you ever need to talk, I'm willing to listen." Skinner followed Mulder into the large bathroom.

Mulder turned on the shower. "What if I'm really pregnant?" He knew he couldn't keep denying it, not when he just spent the last forty minutes being fucked up his vagina.

"You'll get an abortion--"

"No. I don't think I can do that." Mulder stepped into the shower.

Skinner joined him. "John will come around in time."

"You don't know him like I do. John loves kids. We even discussed adopting once after Scully transferred to San Francisco." Mulder wasn't sure he could go through with an abortion. He was pro-choice, but if he was pregnant, he doubted he'd be able to abort the life growing inside him.

"I guess, I don't really know John as well as you. Fox, I'll stick by you no matter what decision you make." Skinner used the shower gel to smooth soap on Mulder's chest.

Mulder returned the favour, soaping up Skinner's hairy chest. "I lost quite a bit of body hair since I changed."

"It must have to do with the hormonal changes your body has gone through. You really need to be checked over by a specialist, Fox."

"I need to find someone I can trust. I thought about calling Scully, but I don't want to intrude on her new life."

"John wants to check with Senator Woods."

Mulder smiled softly. "I should have thought of that. The Senator has been supportive of John and me over the past year. If anyone could find a specialist for me and keep this quiet it's him."

"Fox, just how close to Woods are you?"

"He's been like an uncle to me this past year. John and I have been invited to dinner with him and his son numerous times." Mulder hugged Skinner's slick body and rested his head on the larger man's shoulder. The water beat down upon them as he sighed. "I had an informant who was killed because of me. The Senator reminds me a great deal of him. I have a feeling that it was Woods who Deep throat worked for."

Skinner hugged Mulder back. "I'm sorry, Fox."

"C'mon, Walter, let's rinse off and see if John has dinner ready."

***

Mulder's eyes widened as he stared at Senator Woods, standing in their front doorway. The Senator had never visited their home before, he always sent a limousine to pick them up. Stepping aside, Mulder allowed the Senator and a dark-haired man carrying a doctor's bag to enter.

"Senator, this is unexpected...."

Doggett and Skinner came out of the kitchen and looked equally surprised to see the Senator.

"I know, Mr. Mulder." He smiled warmly. "I think we all need to talk. Shall we go into your parlour?"

They followed him into the living room off the foyer. The Senator made himself at home, taking a seat beside the fireplace. "This is Doctor Dale Moore, he's a board certified obstetrician and gynaecologist. He's also been a member of my secret society for the past twenty years. You can trust him to keep your secret, Mr. Mulder."

"You know?" Mulder paled.

Doggett put a comforting arm around his lover's waist. "It's okay, Fox. He's here to help us." Doggett was upset that the Senator had found out, without them having to tell him, but for Mulder's sake he wasn't going to show it.

"I've known since the first week you were returned. Mr. Mulder, you're one of the bravest men I've ever known. It's not like you to take two weeks of emergency absence from your teaching job. Something traumatic must have happened to affect you, but not Agent Doggett and DD Skinner. I just put two and two together."

"Don't worry, Mr. Mulder, I can keep a secret, and I look forward to being your Doctor," Moore said.

"We still don't know if I'm pregnant." Mulder crossed his arms over his chest, feeling uncomfortable with everyone's attention focused on him.

"Mr. Mulder, is the baby's father Demetrius Tatev?" Woods asked gently.

"*If* I'm pregnant, John's the father."

"Then that's the first thing we need to determine," Doctor Moore said. "Is there a room in the house where I can examine you?"

Mulder looked at the Doctor suspiciously. Moore was slightly older than Walter, and had the air of a military man about him.

"We can go to our bedroom." Mulder chewed his lip nervously.

"John, go with them. I'll stay and keep the Senator company," Skinner said, not trusting the Doctor alone with Mulder.

"Don't worry, Deputy Director Skinner, Mr. Mulder is in good hands," Woods said as the three men left the room.

"I always worry where Fox is concerned."

The Senator smiled warmly. "I've noticed that over the years. You threw away your career to protect him."

"He is worth more to me than my career. Would you like a drink?"

"Yes, Scotch if you have it?"

"I have excellent Scotch at my apartment." Skinner walked over to Doggett's liquor cabinet. "I'm not really sure what John has--" He smiled at the collection of alcohol in the liquor cabinet, but not a bottle of Scotch in sight. Most of the bottles, except a bottle of Jack Daniel's, were unopened. Skinner pulled out a bottle of Rock and Rye.

"Is that Rock and Rye? I haven't had that since I was in college, pour me a glass on the rocks," the Senator said.

"I've never tried it." Skinner studied the label. "My father used to drink it. I think I'll join you."

"Its name comes from the piece of rock candy at the bottom of each bottle."

Skinner carried the ice bucket into the kitchen. The dishes were soaking in the sink. They had been in the process of cleaning up when the Senator arrived. At least they had finished eating. He smiled remembering how much food Fox had packed away.

He returned with the ice, plopping a couple of cubes into each tumbler and pouring the liqueur over the ice. He handed the Senator a glass then sat in the chair across from him.

"You're doing an excellent job, DD Skinner. The FBI needed someone with your attention for detail and concern for your agents for a long time." The Senator sipped his drink.

"Thank you, Senator. How's your son doing?"

"He's fine. He wants to go into politics, so he's going to run for the Maryland State senate." The Senator looked firmly at Skinner. "Always keep your love ones safe, DD Skinner. They're more important than all the money and power in the world."

"Is there a reason you're telling me this?"

"Fox will need both you and John in the coming months. He's about to go through an experience that few men could handle. If it comes to choosing between the FBI and him, I hope you make the right decision."

Skinner looked resolutely into the Senator's wise eyes and said, "Don't worry, I'll choose Fox. You already know that I'm moving in here with him and John."

"I suspected it. I'm happy for you, DD Skinner. The child will have three loving and protective fathers to raise him or her."

Skinner wondered how Mulder was getting on with the Doctor.

***

Doctor Moore looked at the strip, confirming that Mulder was indeed pregnant.

He walked back into the bedroom. "Congratulations."

"I hope you're congratulating me because I'm not pregnant," Mulder said. He sat cross-legged on the bed dressed only in a robe with Doggett sitting next to him holding his hand. The Doctor had examined Mulder's female organs earlier and took a pap smear. He also took a urine and blood sample.

"No. You're pregnant." He put the samples into his case.

Mulder sighed. "Doctor, what should I expect...?"

"This first month you might experience nausea, food aversions or cravings, fatigue and sleeplessness. Your emotions may be in turmoil, you might be irritable, act irrational, and be quick to cry."

"Oh great," Mulder muttered. He was already experiencing sleeplessness, but he doubted that was from being pregnant.

"We'll need to set up a room in your house with the proper medical equipment. I'm sure you wouldn't want to come to my clinic." The Doctor smiled. He was excited by the prospect of taking care of a pregnant male patient.

"No. We definitely would not want to come to your clinic," Doggett said. "What equipment are we going to need?"

"I'll give Senator Woods a list. He's offered to pick up the expense of the items and my bills."

"That isn't necessary, we have money--" Mulder started to say, but Moore interrupted.

"Mr. Mulder, you need to keep a low profile. If you paid for my services and the medical equipment, it might get out to the press. We both know how important it is to keep this quiet."

"We know, Doctor Moore," Doggett said. "Fox, do you want to get dressed? I'll take the Doctor downstairs." He was rather surprised that Fox hadn't asked the Doctor about aborting the baby.

"Sure, John." Mulder lay back on the bed, his hand resting over his belly. "Just give me a few minutes...I need to think."

Doggett leaned down and kissed him softly. "Take as long as you need. Walter and I can work out any necessary arrangements with Senator Woods and Doctor Moore." He climbed off the bed and led the Doctor back downstairs.

Mulder stared up at the ceiling as his hand caressed the flat plain of his belly. Now that he knew for certain that he was pregnant, Mulder realized he couldn't go through with an abortion. Not so much because of how John felt, but because of how he felt. There was a certain curiosity on his part about what it would be like to experience a life growing inside him. Then there was the desire for a child--he hadn't realized how much fatherhood meant to him until Scully took William away. Mulder sat up, swinging his feet off the bed. He stood and strolled over to the chair where his clothes were piled and started dressing.

The four men in the living room all turned and stared at Mulder when he entered.

"Fox, Doctor Moore is making a list of the prenatal vitamins you'll need to be taking," Doggett said.

Skinner crossed the room and hugged Mulder. "Fox, are you okay?"

"I'm fine. I'm going to go through with the pregnancy."

"Are you sure?"

"I'm sure, Walter. I'm scared shitless but--"

"We'll be at your side throughout it." Skinner took Mulder's hand in his.

Mulder squeezed Skinner's hand. "I've been doing some calculating. I'll be having the baby in June. So by February or March I'm going to be dropping out of sight. I should be able to cover up my condition until then--" Mulder looked at Doggett who was grinning from ear to ear. "What?"

"When you decide to go through with something you don't mess around." Doggett pulled him into an embrace. "Thank you, Fox. I know this was a difficult decision for you to make." His smiled turned silly. "We're going to have a baby."

"We'll need to figure out what to put on the birth certificate when the baby is born," Skinner said.

Mulder held his head proudly. "We put down the truth, Walter. That John is the father and I am the baby's mother. I don't want there to be any question who the parents are, if we ever need to defend our rights to raise our child."

Skinner smiled. "Okay. Now that that's settled, what's our next step?"

Doggett couldn't contain his excitement. "First, we need to get you moved in with us. Second, we need to clear out the large back bedroom for the medical equipment and upgrade the wiring. Third, we need to turn the other bedroom into a nursery and child proof our house."

The Senator chuckled. "You have time to decorate the nursery. I better be on my way. Congratulations, boys...I'll keep in touch."

The Doctor held out his hand and shook each of their hands. "I'll be back when the medical equipment arrives. Since we're keeping this quiet, John, I want to train you and DD Skinner to assist me with the delivery of the baby."

"Anything you need, Doctor. And thank you." Doggett held the door open, closing it after the two men left.

Mulder walked into the kitchen. His stomach was churning with nervous excitement. He opened the dishwasher and started loading it.

Skinner touched his hand. "Fox, you don't have to do that. Why don't you go and relax. John and I can finish cleaning up."

"Walter, I'm not bedridden. I can still pull my own weight."

Doggett walked behind Mulder and hugged him, kissing the side of his face and neck. "You can't fault us for wanting to pamper you, Fox."

"Guys, I'm going to be carrying this kid for nine months. Let's give it a rest until I really need your help."

"Sure, Fox."

Skinner and Doggett both worked fast to clean the kitchen, getting in Mulder's way so that the younger man finally gave up and went to sit at the breakfast table. Mulder hoped his lovers would tire of coddling him.

***

Skinner couldn't take his eyes off Mulder as the young man stripped for bed. When Mulder went into the bathroom, Doggett walked over to Skinner, smirking.

"I bet we're thinking the same thing."

"How damned lucky we are?"

"Yep. Fox usually likes sleeping on the side nearest the bathroom, but I think he'll be sleeping in the middle from now on."

Mulder came out of the bathroom wearing a pair of blue pyjama bottoms. He looked at his lovers both wearing only their briefs. "What are you two talking about?"

Doggett walked over and placed his hands on Mulder's hips. "Which side of the bed Walter is going to sleep on."

"Which side is that?"

"The side nearest the bathroom, since you'll be sleeping in the middle."

"Hmm, I think I'm going to like this arrangement," Mulder murmured. Running his hands over Doggett's bare chest as he gazed lustfully over at Skinner. "C'mon, Walter, let's see if the bed is big enough for the three of us."

Mulder scooted to the center of the bed as Doggett turned off the overhead lights. Skinner climbed in beside Mulder, turning on his side so he faced the younger man who was lying on his back. He placed his hand over Mulder's belly, relishing the feel of the warm flesh. "It so hard to believe that you have a baby growing inside you."

The bed dipped as Doggett stretched out on the other side of Mulder. "I'll say it's hard to believe. What do you want, Fox? A boy or a girl?"

"A healthy human would be nice."

"Seriously?"

"I don't really care. How about you?"

"A daughter," Doggett said. "What about you, Walter?"

Skinner was surprised to be included. "I've always wanted a son. Someone to carry on my name."

"That brings up a new issue. Fox, what do we name our child?"

"Good night, John boy," Mulder murmured tiredly, rolling on his side and resting his head on Doggett's shoulder. Reaching back, he pulled Skinner's arm over his hip and smiled as Skinner moved closer spooning behind him. Mulder thought, life at this moment was good.

***

University of Maryland
Thursday, October 31, 2002

Second Month - 1st trimester

Mulder rinsed out his mouth in the sink of the faculty washroom.

"Mulder, are you all right?" Burks asked, coming out of a stall.

"I'm fine, Chuck."

"You've been throwing up an awful lot lately." He washed and dried his hands, while glancing at Mulder with deep concern.

"How would you know that?"

"Men talk. We're worse gossips than women." Burks leaned against the sink. "Do you want to tell me what's going on?"

"It's just a flu bug--"

"I don't know too many flu bugs that make a person throw up every morning for weeks."

"Chuck, just drop it."

"Okay, but if you start gaining weight and wearing looser clothes, we're going to have a long talk." Chuck turned and left the washroom.

Oh great, Mulder thought. Why did one of his closest friends have to be a scientific expert on the paranormal? Mulder stepped out of the washroom.

"Hey, Professor Mulder! Are you handing out Halloween candy at your house tonight?" A couple of twenty-year-old male students ambled up to him.

"Yes." Mulder looked at their mischievous faces. "Let me remind you, Lenny and Ron. I live with two FBI agents, so no tepeeing our trees or egging our house."

"Would we do that?"

"Someone did over the 4th of July and the Olson sister's description matched you two gentlemen to a tee."

Ron slugged Lenny in the arm. "Lenny, I told you those old hags would rat us out."

Mulder sighed, "Guys, aren't you late for class?"

"No, Professor."

Mulder arched an eyebrow. "I'm late for class and you're both in my class."

"Oh."

***

Skinner parked his Lexus in the garage next to Mulder's car. Doggett's motorcycle was parked in the back of the garage. The agent preferred driving his truck to work. The truck he parked on the driveway behind Mulder's side of the garage, since Skinner and Doggett were usually the first to leave in the morning and the last to return home at night. Doggett's truck was already parked on the driveway. As usual Skinner was the last one home. He pulled his briefcase out of the backseat and headed toward the house.

The sun was almost down, meaning that the trick or treaters would soon be out in force. He used his key to get in the back door. The stereo was playing in the living room and the kitchen smelled of hot apple cider. Doggett stood at the stove, stirring the cider in a large kettle.

"Walter, you're just in time to sample," Doggett said, holding up a spoon. "Tell me if it needs more cinnamon?"

Skinner took a sip. "Nope. It's perfect. Where's Fox?"

"He's setting the bowl of candy by the front door."

Frohike came strolling into the kitchen. The little man was dressed as a punk rocker, complete with purple hair. "Hey, Skinman, welcome home! John, is the brew ready?"

"Yeah, Melvin, if you want to get a mug and help yourself."

Skinner watched as the little man ladled a small amount into a mug then he pulled a tiny bottle of rum out of his pocket and topped off the mug. "Melvin, we have a whole cabinet full alcohol, you didn't have to bring your own."

"I don't want Mulder to see me drinking. Especially, since he's unable to imbibe."

"Are John and Langly here?"

"Yeah they're in the living room arguing over the stereo," Frohike said.

"Hello, Captain Skinner, welcome home!" a low sultry female voice said.

Skinner groaned as Ingrid Olson sashayed across the kitchen. Her wide hips swinging seductively in the tight catwoman costume. "Ingrid, its Deputy Director not Captain."

"Oh, poor baby. I think you should have made Captain by now, handsome. You're every bit as good looking as that Captain Picard." She ran a bright red fingernail down Skinner's chest and purred, "Only you'd never be able to wear that uniform without driving every woman on the ship crazy as they gazed upon your jiggling manhood."

Skinner just looked at her speechless as Frohike and Doggett doubled over laughing.

Greta entered the kitchen, wearing a dominatrix costume complete with whip and six-inch spiked heels. "Oh, there you are, dear. Walter, I hope my sister isn't disturbing you. She's been dipping into the sherry all afternoon."

Skinner shook his head. "No, Greta. I'm about to beam up to my bedroom to change. Ladies, if you'll excuse me." He hurried out of the room, bumping into Mulder in the hallway.

"Walter, slow down."

Skinner kissed him quickly, not even commenting on the Indiana Jones costume Mulder was wearing. "I can't, Fox. Our horny neighbour is talking about my jiggling manhood, and my balls have crawled up inside my body for protection. It's damn uncomfortable."

Mulder chuckled. "They're a bit eccentric--"

"Fox, the gunmen are a bit eccentric. The Olson sisters are crazy. Did you ever see the movie Arsenic and Old Lace?" Skinner asked, starting up the stairs.

Mulder stared at him dumbfounded, not quite sure if he was joking or not. The doorbell rang and he went to answer it. Six adorable little firemen, ghosts, and vampires stood holding open their bags. Their parents stood on the sidewalk.

"TRICK OR TREAT!"

"You're all so cute!" He scooped up six full-sized candy bars and deposited one into each bag.

"THANK YOU!" The kids dashed off the stoop on their way to the next house.

As Mulder was closing the door a hand stopped it. "Hey, milk, let us in. We've brought treats." A tall muscular black man and slightly shorter woman entered the house carrying a foil-wrapped rectangle casserole dish.

Mulder smiled. "Hi, Sam, Claire. What did you bring?" Sam was a police detective with the DC PD. He lived in Mulder's old neighbourhood and they still played basketball together on occasion.

"My famous, extra spicy chicken wings."

"Mm, I might have guessed. They're making my eyes water from here," Mulder quipped.

"Mulder, thanks for inviting us." Claire gave him a peck on the cheek. "Is that apple cider I smell?"

"Yep. John's special brew, just go back to the kitchen. He'll serve you each a mug and you can put the wings in the oven to heat up."

After they left, the next batch of kids arrived. Mulder passed out the candy and watched as they ran toward the next house. He smiled when he saw Jimmy Bond strolling up the walk. The young man was dressed in a Zorro costume.

They had quite a large crowd coming tonight--John's friends, Walter's friends, and his friends. It might be like trying to mix oil and water.

"Hey, mom to be, I brought you special flowers," Jimmy said, holding out the bouquet.

Mulder blushed, taking the peach roses. "Jimmy, my condition is a secret. Please don't discuss it with anyone else." He was going to kill Frohike for blabbing.

"No problemo, Mulder. Frohike has already sworn me to secrecy. I haven't even slipped around Langly and Byers."

Mulder had no idea why Frohike would tell Jimmy and not Langly or Byers. He was still kicking himself for even telling Frohike that he was pregnant. "Jimmy, can you man the door, while I put these in water?"

"Sure, Mulder," Jimmy said, selecting a candy bar to eat.

Mulder wandered back into the kitchen and selected a vase off the top of the baker's rack.

"Who are the roses from?" Doggett asked.

"Jimmy." Mulder glared at Frohike. "He knows. Someone with a big mouth told him."

"Fox, most of your close friends are going find out in a few months anyway," Doggett said.

"Find out what?" Sam asked, while monitoring oven.

"That I'm pregnant with John's baby."

"Okay, don't tell me."

Mulder shrugged his shoulders, heading back toward the hallway. "I need to relieve Jimmy."

The party was in full swing two hours later and the number of kids coming to the door had dropped off to only a handful. They ran out of food so Skinner called out for several large pizzas. The doorbell rang and Mulder hurried to answer it, thinking it was the pizza man.

Scully was standing on the stoop holding William. The eighteen-month-old was dressed in a Tweedy Bird costume. "Hi, Mulder."

"Scully, what are you doing here?"

"I was needed to teach a seminar at Quantico. Didn't John tell you?"

"No."

The little boy held out his hands toward Mulder.

"Hey, Wee Willie." Mulder took him from Scully, hugging and cuddling the little boy against his chest. It had been nearly five months since he'd seen his son last. "Come in, Scully."

"You and John are having a party." Scully observed.

"John, Walter, and I are. Walter's living with us now."

"Why would he be living with you?"

Mulder looked wearily at her as he steered her into the kitchen. The living room was too crowded and noisy to talk. The kitchen and breakfast area weren't much better. They had almost a hundred guests milling around. Some had taken refuge outside on the porches off the dining room and breakfast area. Mulder couldn't see John or Walter in the mix of people. He frowned. "Let's go upstairs."

Mulder led her back through the hallway, up the stairs and into their bedroom. He set William on the floor and closed the door as soon as Scully entered.

She looked around the bedroom, stopping at the dresser to look at the photographs. Most of the pictures were of Mulder and John, only a couple was of them and Skinner. Then she wandered over to the French door leading out onto the veranda. She'd been at their house before to pick up William, but never upstairs. She was usually in too much of a hurry and turned down Mulder's requests that she stay and talk. "This is really nice, Mulder. Monica and I could only afford a small place in San Francisco."

"We like it."

"I wouldn't mind having a tour of the place."

Mulder's mind flashed to the medical equipment set up in the back bedroom. How would he explain that to Scully? Or the nursery that John and Walter were working on. At least they hadn't moved the bassinet into the bedroom. "Maybe some other time. I saw Frohike and Greta heading upstairs...no telling what those two are doing."

"Greta?"

"A neighbour of ours."

"So are you going to tell me what Skinner is doing living here?"

"He's our lover."

"Yours and John's? Are all three of you...?" Scully stared at the big bed.

"Sleeping together? Yes."

"I'm not sure how I feel about that, Mulder."

"You don't have to feel anything. This doesn't concern you."

"It does if I allow you to see William--"

"You moved to San Francisco so I wouldn't be able to see him. So what's your point?" Mulder felt suddenly angry and on edge.

"That's not why we moved and you know it!"

"No, I don't. You never told me why you requested a transfer, other than looking for a better environment to raise our son. There are a lot of closer field offices you could have transferred to."

"Not all of them are open to two women living together."

"Scully, don't put me in the position of choosing between my son and my lovers." His anger melted to anxiety as his voice trembled.

"I'm not denying you from seeing William. You can see William whenever you come out to San Francisco, but I don't want him to visit you here. It would be too hard for him to understand why his Dad is sleeping with two men."

"Okay, fine, whatever. I knew going in I was only the sperm donor, so I shouldn't be surprised that I have no say about our son."

"Mulder, you're being childish now."

"Scully, maybe you'd better leave, before I say something I'll regret."

"Okay. I'm staying at my mother's house if you want to stop by to see William you have all weekend. We'll be leaving on Monday." Scully picked up William and headed out the door.

Mulder sat on the bed and stared off into space as tears slowly made their way down his cheeks. He couldn't understand his jumbled emotions or why he allowed Scully to get to him this way.

Skinner came strolling in the room. "Fox, I just saw Scully...." He stopped as he noticed Mulder's tear-stained face. "What did she do?"

Mulder shrugged his shoulders. He wasn't about to tell Skinner what Scully had said to him. "Nothing. You know I've been overly emotional lately. I hate this, Walter."

Skinner kneeled beside the bed, placing his hand on Mulder's knee. "Your hormones are out of whack. We'll talk to Doctor Moore and see if there's something he can prescribe."

"I'm going to take a shower and go to bed. Say goodbye to our guests for me." Mulder stood and headed into the bathroom.

Skinner watched him before standing and heading out the door. He thought about calling Scully and finding out just what she had said to Mulder, but decided against it.

***

Thanksgiving
Thursday, November 28, 2002

Third Month - 1st trimester

Looking into the bathroom mirror, Mulder frowned at the pimple on his chin and the puffiness around his eyes. He'd been so tired lately. Today of all days, he wanted to look his best. He was meeting Walter's parents, sisters and their spouses and children for the first time and he had a zit. John's parents were also coming along with his younger brother. It made Mulder sad that he had no family left. He was the last...he paused and placed his hand over the slight swell of his belly barely noticeable at ten weeks. Well, maybe not the last. Then, of course there was also William...Scully.

"Fox, do you want to come downstairs and help us?" Skinner asked from the doorway.

"I look like shit. I can't remember ever having a pimple, even as a teenager."

Looking at his handsome lover, Skinner believed him. "It's not that noticeable, just put some of that blemish cream Doctor Moore sent over on it."

Mulder sighed dramatically as he reached for the tube. "Your parents are going to hate me."

"They're not going to hate you."

"They're going to blame me for corrupting you. Just you watch."

"Fox, I had a long talk with them about you and John. They might not be happy, but they've accepted that this is my life and my decision to make. Once they meet you and John, I'm positive that they'll like both of you." Skinner was more worried about his brother-in-laws.

"We better finish preparing dinner, they should be here pretty soon," Mulder said, fixing his tie.

They walked back downstairs together. Mulder paused in the dining room to admire the table. Skinner had put in the extra leaves and used their best linen tablecloth. The table in the breakfast room was set for the children.

The doorbell rang and Mulder glanced nervously at Skinner and followed him to the front door.

"I bet it's my parents. They're always early." Skinner opened the door and smiled. "Mom, Dad, how was the drive from Buffalo?" He took the suitcase from his father. They were going to be staying the night in the guestroom.

Doctor Ed Skinner pulled his son into a hug and said, "Not too bad, Walter. Luckily they aren't predicting snow until next week."

"May I take your coats?" Mulder asked, feeling awkward.

"Mom, Dad, this is Fox Mulder."

Mulder held out his hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you both. We're happy you were able to make it."

"It's nice to meet you, Fox," Mrs. Skinner said, as she and her husband took off their coats and handed them to him.

"Well, Fox, we wanted to meet the men who have turned our Christian son away from women--" Doctor Skinner started to say.

Mrs. Skinner interrupted, "I can see why. Walter, Fox is adorable. Don't you think so, Ed?" She didn't give him time to answer as she placed her hand on Mulder's forearm. "Come, dear, show me to the kitchen so I can help with dinner. Oh and call me, Nina."

Mulder smiled at the charming grey-haired woman as he led her down the hallway. "We have most of it ready, but we could use your expert assistance. This is the first Thanksgiving meal we've attempted." He stopped at the hall closet and hung up the coats.

Skinner glared at his father. "Dad, I'll show you up to the guestroom, then give you a tour of our house." He led the way to the third floor guestroom.

Back in the kitchen, Doggett wiped his hands on a towel. "Mrs. Skinner, it's a pleasure to meet you."

"John, please call me Nina. Walter's told us a lot about you." She nodded her head toward the apron he was wearing. "If you have another apron I'd like to help."

Doggett was about to say it wasn't necessary, but Mulder shook his head and said, "We have a couple more aprons. They might be a bit long." Mulder opened the pantry door and pulled two aprons off the hook, handing one to Mrs. Skinner and putting the other on over his suit.

"Thank you, Fox."

Upstairs, Skinner senior was examining the extensive medical equipment in one of the back bedrooms. "Walter, do you want to tell me what's going on? Who's pregnant?" Skinner's father was a general practitioner. He'd practiced family medicine for almost fifty years and knew the use for the assembled equipment and medicines.

"This is one of the reasons I brought you up here. Dad, I know this is going to sound incredible, but Fox is pregnant with John's baby. The equipment is so we can keep his condition a secret while he is under the care of a highly qualified obstetrician."

Doctor Skinner looked closely at his son. "You're not yanking my chain are you, Son?"

"No, Dad."

"How is this possible?"

"When we were abducted ten weeks ago, our abductor had special powers. He ah...he changed Fox into a hermaphrodite during a ceremony that involved sacrificing a young woman. We haven't been able to find any trace of him or anything about the young woman's identity. There have been no missing person's reports filed." Skinner hadn't thought there would be, considering what he'd learned about Jena from the three days being confined with her.

Doctor Skinner was having a hard time believing his son. "Walter, would Fox allow me to examine him?"

"Dad, this is a very sensitive subject with us. When Fox is further along, he might allow you to listen to the baby's heartbeat." Skinner watched his father check the medical equipment.

Skinner was shocked by his father's next question.

"Do you think he'll be agreeable to having your child?"

"Dad, I doubt he'll want to go through this more than once."

"Pity. I really would have liked a grandson to carry on the Skinner name."

Skinner sighed. "Dad, even if Fox and I were to have a son together, he'll more than likely be named Mulder."

"No, Walter, the baby is always named after the father."

"Not always, Dad." This conversation was getting too strange for Skinner. "Let's go downstairs to the living room. John has a bottle of Rock and Rye, I know you used to drink it when I was a boy."

"I still drink it, but it's getting harder to find."

"One more thing, Dad. We want to keep this quiet, so don't tell anyone."

***

Nina Skinner was enjoying the company of her son's boyfriends. She found John to be very polite and Fox to be charming. She wished her two daughter's husbands were more like her son's friends.

"Mrs. Skinner, would you like a glass of wine?" Mulder asked, taking one of the bottles of Pinot Noir from the refrigerator.

"Fox, I told you to call me Nina," she said, pouring the corn pudding mixture into a casserole. "And yes, I'd love a glass of wine if you and John will be joining me."

Doggett pulled two wineglasses out of the cabinet. "I'll join you, Nina. For medical reasons Fox isn't supposed to be drinking alcohol. We bought some sparkling apple cider for him and the kids."

"Walter never mentioned that you were ill, Fox."

"I'm not ill, Nina."

"Then what's wrong with you, dear?"

"According to your son, he's pregnant," Doctor Skinner said, entering the kitchen followed by his embarrassed son.

"Dad, I asked you not to mention anything," Walter said.

"I never keep secrets from your mother, Walter. It's why we've had a successful marriage for fifty years."

Mrs. Skinner looked at Mulder with concern. "Fox, is this true?"

Mulder frowned. "Nina, we really would like to keep this quiet."

"So, it's true?"

"Yes."

"Is Walter...?"

"No, John is."

"When's the baby due?"

"July 2nd...I'll be at forty-two weeks."

Nina patted Mulder on his hand. "Ed and I will be coming back in May to take care of you, dear."

"Nina, that isn't necessary--" Mulder started to say.

"Nonsense, Walter and John will be working and I don't think it's a good idea for you to be home alone. What if something happened?"

Skinner smiled. "Mom, that's a great idea. Fox, my Dad has delivered hundreds of babies while he was practicing medicine. If anything should happen he'll be able to take care of it."

Doggett nodded his head. "It sounds like a good idea to me. I was thinking we'd have to hire a live in nurse as Fox got closer to his delivery date. This would be even better."

"Dad, are you okay with this?" Skinner looked at his father, while ignoring Mulder's exasperated expression.

"Son, if he's really pregnant, I wouldn't miss it for all the tea in China."

"Walter, may I speak with you in private?" Mulder said.

Before Skinner could respond the doorbell rang. "Fox, couldn't this wait?" He didn't want to get in an argument with his lover on Thanksgiving.

Mulder frowned. "Okay. But we are going to talk before bed tonight."

John hurried to answer the door. His parents, Betty and Paul, and his younger brother, Rolf, were on the stoop carrying packages.

"Ma, you guys didn't have to bring anything."

"Twaddle, Johnny. You know how much Fox loves my sweet potato pie, and of course, I wouldn't forget to bring your favourite chocolate pecan pie," Betty Doggett said. She was pudgy with a round, jolly face. Her auburn hair was styled in a bob framing her face.

"What's in the other bags?" Doggett asked worriedly.

"Photo albums. I thought Fox and Walter might want to see what a cutie pie you were."

Doggett groaned, looking pleadingly at his father.

"Son, I did try to stop her but you know your Ma." The senior Doggett was rail-thin a sharp contrast to his wife. His weathered skin was that of a man who had worked outdoors his whole life.

"Pa really did try, Johnny." Rolf chuckled.

"Hush, Boys," Betty said. "Johnny, now introduce us to Walter and where is Fox."

"They're in the kitchen with Walter's parents." Doggett took the bags from his mother. She'd been to their house before and knew the way to the kitchen. They followed in her wake.

She smiled broadly and threw open her arms when she spotted Mulder. "Fox, come give Ma some honey."

Mulder smiled and hurried over, hugging the short round woman. "Ma, it's so good to see you again."

"You're looking fine. What's that on your chin?"

"Ah...a blemish."

"Oh, my Johnny had the worse case of acne when he was a teenager." She looked over at Doggett. "Didn't ya, honey?"

"Yes, Ma." Doggett knew better than to extend his torture. Short simple answers were always the best with his mother.

"Ma, let me take your coat," Mulder offered, helping Mrs. Doggett off with her coat.

"You're such a gentleman, Fox. Your parents would be so proud of you, rest their souls."

"That's a beautiful dress, Mrs. Doggett," Skinner commented. He and his parents stood out of the way, during the jubilant greetings.

"Oh you must be Walter. I'm Betty, but you may call me Ma, and this is my husband, Paul, and our youngest boy, Rolf."

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Ma." He reached out to shake her hand, but she pulled him into a hug and stood on her tiptoes to plant a kiss on his cheek. Skinner blushed and turned to greet Paul Doggett. "Mr. Doggett--"

"Call me Paul, Walter." He had a firm handshake.

"Sure thing, Paul." Then Skinner turned to the youngest Doggett, who was in his early twenties. "Rolf, I bet you weren't teased much growing up with that name."

"Oh, only every day of my life."

Skinner chuckled, and turned toward his parents. "I'd like you all to meet my parents...Ed and Nina Skinner." The Doggetts and Skinners exchanged handshakes.

Betty Doggett clapped her hands together. "Why don't you boys, go play in the parlour, while Nina and I finish with supper."

"Ma, it's already done."

"Johnny, have you mashed the potatoes? Did you make the giblet gravy? Pan fry the kidneys for your Pa?"

Doggett lifted the cover off a sauté pan, inside were sautéed kidneys with sweet onions and bacon. He next lifted the cover off a pan of mashed potatoes and next to it, was a saucepan of giblet gravy. "Now, Ma, go into the parlour with Walter and he'll fix you a drink...I have a bottle of Jack Daniels."

Betty Doggett frowned at her son.

Mulder was checking out the pies that the Betty had baked. He walked over and kissed Betty on the cheek. "Thanks for remembering, Ma. You've made my day. You wouldn't believe the craving I've been having for your sweet potato pie."

Betty's frown turned into a smile. "You're welcome, Fox. I never saw anyone who liked my sweet potato pie more than you."

He smiled sweetly at her. "Why don't you let us wait on you today?"

"Okay, honey." She turned to Nina who was sipping a glass of wine while listening to them. "Let's go join our men, Nina. I want to hear all about your Walter."

The doorbell rang as they were leaving the kitchen.

Doggett smiled at Mulder. "Thanks, Fox. Ma tends to be a little overbearing."

"I love your parents, John." Mulder pulled the serving bowls out of the cabinet while Doggett checked the turkey.

"Hey, Fox, the red button has finally popped up. I think I'll carve it in here."

The doorbell rang again as Doggett was pulling the carving set out of the drawer. Mulder started carrying bowls of food to the buffet table in the dining room. He could see Walter in the living room surrounded by five little girls. Next to them, were two women in their late thirties or early forties...it was hard to tell. He smiled at the strong family resemblance. Mulder went back into the kitchen for the casseroles and dinner rolls. As he was setting out the sweet potatoes with peaches and pecans, Walter stepped into the dining room with his sisters and their husbands.

"Fox, I'd like you to meet my sisters Barbara and Jill, and their better halves Hank and Joe."

"It's nice to meet you," Mulder said, holding out his hand. Walter's sisters shook it, along with Barb's husband Hank. Joe was a bit standoffish.

"And these are my lovely nieces." Walter touched each of their heads as he introduced them. "Katie, Rose, Carol, Susan, and Tricia." They ranged in age from eight up to twelve.

"Hi girls. I hope you're hungry."

"We're starving! Your house smells really good," Rose said.

"Fox, you guys have a lovely home. Are you going to decorate it for Christmas?" Jill asked.

"Yes. We're going to string white lights on the trees in the front yard--"

"And we plan to decorate the inside," Skinner said. "I know you're busy with your in-laws Christmas day, but we were hoping you'll be able to stop by Christmas Eve...Mom and Dad are if the weather permits."

"Yes! Mommy, can we...please?" Susan asked.

"We'll see, Susan."

Doggett came out carrying a platter of carved turkey. "Hey, who brought all the pretty girls?"

"We're Uncle Walter's nieces," Tricia said as her sister and cousins giggled.

"Well, it's a good thing I made extra food."

Mulder walked back into the kitchen while Walter introduced John to his relatives. He was feeling rather melancholy after seeing the love that existed between his lovers, their parents and siblings. Something he was denied after Samantha was abducted. He tried to turn his thoughts away from his pathetic childhood years and focus on how happy he was now. If he didn't, he'd end up crying again, something he was doing too much of lately. Carrying the basket of rolls to the buffet table, he interrupted Walter. "Walter, can you let everyone know that it's time to eat. I'm going to get the wine and cider."

Barbara and Jill helped their daughters fill their plates and carry them through the kitchen to the breakfast room. The table was nicely set with a linen tablecloth and napkins. It had a short bouquet of flowers, and they used their good crystal and silver.

Mulder opened the wine and cider in the kitchen. "Would you, ladies, like sparkling cider, milk, or juice with your meals?"

"Do you have Pepsi?" Rose asked.

"No. We don't have any pop in the house...sorry."

"Then I'll have the cider."

"Me, too." Katie held up her glass to be filled.

"Me, three." Carol smiled sweetly. She was the youngest.

Mulder smiled back, filling their glasses. The girls were all wearing pretty dresses with matching tights.

"Fox, I'll take the wine into the dining room," Jill offered.

"Thanks, Jill."

"I want milk, please," Tricia said.

"What type of juice do you have?" Susan asked as Mulder walked over to the refrigerator for the milk.

"Orange, grape, cranberry, and tomato."

"I'll have grape juice."

"Fox, do you need any help?" Nina asked from the doorway.

"Grandma, isn't our table pretty?" Susan said.

"It's very pretty. Your uncle and his boyfriends did a fine job of decorating."

Mulder finished pouring Susan's juice. "Nina, I have everything under control. Girls, if you need anything just shout. Your grandmother and I are going to be in the main dining room."

"Thank you," Susan said. And the other girls chimed in.

"You're welcome."

The dining room table was a little crowded. They had managed to fit twelve chairs around it. Mulder noticed that his spot had been moved to between Nina and Betty. He filled his plate as Walter walked around filling the wineglasses. They waited until everyone was seated before Doctor Skinner led them in grace.

The conversation around the table started with catching up on family matters. Mulder listened as he ate. He enjoyed hearing about Walter's nieces.

Nina turned to Mulder. "Fox, I take it both your parents have passed on?"

"Yes."

"Do you have any brothers or sisters?"

"I had a sister, but she died a long time ago."

Walter interrupted from across the table. "Mom, this isn't the best time for this conversation." He could see that Mulder was starting to become withdrawn. It seemed the slightest thing made his lover cry lately.

"Why, Walter?"

"Mom, let's just leave it for now, please," Skinner said.

"Okay, Dear." Nina turned back to Mulder. "So what are you hoping to have, Fox?"

"MOM!" Skinner nearly choked on his wine.

Doggett swallowed nervously, looking over at his parents. "Nina, we wanted to keep this as a surprise."

Betty looked inquisitively at her son. "Johnny, you know I don't much care for surprises. Nina, what did you mean?"

Mulder sipped his sparkling cider as he watched his lovers try to keep a lid on his pregnancy. Things were starting to get interesting.

"Sorry, Betty, it isn't my place to say."

"Fox?" Betty looked pleadingly at him. She really hated having things kept from her.

"Ma, she wants to know if I'd prefer having a boy or a girl." Mulder turned to Walter's mother. "Nina, it really doesn't matter to me, but John would like a daughter, so I guess I'm hoping for a girl," Mulder said calmly. Lifting his fork, he scooped up some mash potatoes.

"You can't be thinking of adopting a child! No court in their right mind would allow three gay men to adopt a baby," Joe said.

"We're not adopting," Mulder said, ignoring the insult.

Skinner glared across the table at his brother-in-law. "Joe, if we had decided to adopt they'd take our character into consideration. I don't think we'd have any problem, but as Fox said we're not adopting."

"Did you hire a woman to be a surrogate mother? That would make sense since you don't know what sex the baby is," Jill said. "What if she changes her mind?"

"We didn't hire a surrogate." Mulder dunked his roll into the gravy.

"Okay, so you're not adopting or hiring a surrogate. What's left?" Paul Doggett asked.

Mulder looked him in the eye and said, "I'm pregnant with John's baby."

Paul looked back then started to laugh. "Oh you boys had us going but good there! How long have you been working on that joke? And, for shame, getting Walter's mother involved."

"You've caught us, Paul." Mulder winked at Nina then went back to eating.

Rolf looked quizzically at Mulder and his brother. Something was definitely up with them.

Betty sighed; she really wanted to be grandmother again. "I think you boys, should consider adopting."

"Mrs. Doggett, a child needs a *mother* and a father, not three fathers," Joe said.

"A child needs a loving family, and there is plenty of love in this household," Betty said. "My son was an excellent father to his son, Luke...God rest his soul."

Doggett set his fork down. "Look, Joe, it's none of your business if we decide to bring a child into our family. You seem to be of the opinion that gay men aren't fit to raise a child. What do you think we are: pedophiles, sexual predators, perverts?"

Joe stood his ground. "It's not normal. If God had meant for two men to have a baby together he'd have made it possible, but he didn't, you need a woman for that."

"Not necessarily," Mulder muttered under his breath, only Nina heard him. Everyone else's attention was focused on John and Joe.

"Joe, it still isn't any of your business whether we adopt a child or whether Fox gives birth to one," Doggett said.

"Yeah, well, if he can give birth to one then you'll get no argument from me," Joe scoffed.

Doctor Skinner had enough. "Joe, let it drop. We're here to celebrate Thanksgiving, not to argue about morality."

"But you do agree with me, Dad, don't you?" Joe asked.

Doctor Skinner gave it some thought. "No...I don't. Walter would make an excellent father and I believe the same about Fox and John. Joe, I've treated many abused children over the years that came from households with a mother and a father. Now that is all I'm going to say about this matter."

Everyone became quiet for a few moments after that, then they steered their conversation on to safer subjects. Dinner ended and Walter's sisters and brother-in-laws offered to do the dishes.

Walter took Mulder's hand and led him upstairs to their bedroom. "Fox, I'm sorry I told my Dad before checking with you. I hope you're not too angry."

"Walter, it's not that. We're eventually going to have to tell John's parents." Mulder opened the French door and stepped out onto the veranda. "Your parents are nice, I just don't want to put them out. They must have better things they could be doing in May and June, instead of babysitting me."

Skinner was confused as he followed his lover out onto the veranda. "Fox, I figured you wouldn't want anyone to take care of you."

"Are you kidding? My biggest fear is that I'll go into premature labour and not be able to reach Doctor Moore or you and John. Walter, I don't want to have this kid alone." Mulder shivered as the cold air bit through his dress shirt.

Skinner wrapped his arms around Mulder from behind as they stood at the railing. "I don't think you'll have to worry about that. Once Betty finds out, she and Paul will probably insist on staying with us, too."

Mulder chuckled. "Ma might be a little overbearing, but she's a great cook and a sweet lady."

"You seem comfortable around her and Paul."

"I've spent some time with them. They came to visit John and I on New Years when we first moved in here, and they drove up a few times in the spring last year. Over the fourth of July, John and I spent a week with them at their farm in North Carolina. It's only a three-hour drive from here. I really feel comfortable around them. They're totally accepting of our relationship." Mulder leaned back in Skinner's arms. "Betty and Paul are still broken-hearted over the loss of their only grandchild. I hope this child will take away some of their pain."

Skinner held him as they stood quietly for several minutes. "Fox, we should get back downstairs. I don't want to leave John alone with Joe for too long."

"I'll be down in a moment, Walter. I just want to spend a few quiet minutes alone."

Skinner turned Mulder's face toward him and gently kissed on the lips. "Thanks for putting up with my family."

Mulder smiled, watching Walter go went back inside.

Christmas
Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Fourth Month - 2nd trimester

Mulder lay on the sofa with his head on Doggett's lap and his feet up on Skinner's lap. They were snowed in. The gifts they had purchased for Walter's nieces were piled up under the tree. Christmas music was playing on the radio and they had a fire blazing in the hearth. Mulder felt totally at peace and happy, only one thing could make him happier.

"Walter, I'd love one of your fried banana, peanut butter, and anchovy sandwiches." Mulder smiled at Walter's look of exasperation.

Skinner set down the magazine he was reading. "Fox, the goose should be done cooking in a little over an hour."

Mulder frowned. Then his eyes widened suddenly in awe. Resting his hand over his belly, he said, "I think...I just felt the baby move."

"Really? What did it feel like?" Doggett pushed Mulder's hand away and rested his on the round bulge of his lover's abdomen.

"A fluttering...there, did you feel it?"

"I think...yep, I felt it that time." Doggett's eyes lit up. "Walter, you have to feel this."

Skinner placed his hand under Mulder's sweater and on top of the warm swell of his belly. He smiled at the slight fluttering under his fingertips. Doctor Moore was coming out tomorrow to do their first ultrasound. They might be able to tell the sex of the baby. Moore was a bit concerned by the amount of weight Mulder was putting on and the strange fatal heartbeat he detected on his last visit. He confided to Skinner and Doggett that he thought Mulder might be having twins.

Skinner dipped his hand into Mulder's sweatpants and grasped the firm shaft, running a thumb around the wide head already leaking pre-cum at the contact.

Mulder moaned, pushing his hips up into Skinner's hand. The firm strokes were arousing his whole being. He felt a sudden moistness on his chest, as his sensitive nipples rubbed against the knit material of his sweater. "Walter, stop. My nipples feel strange."

Doggett set down the baby name book and looked down at his lover. "Fox, your nipples have been sensitive for the last several weeks. How can they feel stranger?" He loved how dark and full Mulder's nipples had become. His lover even filled out a little around his breasts, but not to the point of needing a bra.

Mulder lifted his sweater. There was a thick yellowish fluid dripping from his nipples. "Oh shit! What the hell is this stuff?" He swung his legs off Skinner's lap and sat up.

"I'll call Doctor Moore," Skinner said, reaching for the telephone on the end table.

Doggett held Mulder's sweater up and looked closely at the yellow fluid. "Fox, I'm sure it's something perfectly normal. My ex-wife had something similar after she gave birth to Luke and started breastfeeding. I think the fluid was yellowish at first."

"You think, John? This was after she'd given birth, not at fourteen weeks." It took a moment for the implications of what John had said to sink in. "You don't think I'm starting to produce milk?"

Skinner was on the telephone describing the fluid to Doctor Moore. "Colostrums. Then it is perfectly normal? Okay, thanks, Doctor." He nodded at something the Doctor said. "Yes, we'll see you tomorrow. Have a Merry Christmas." Hanging up the telephone, Skinner turned toward Mulder and Doggett.

"It's perfectly normal. Your breasts are starting to produce colostrums."

"Walter, I don't have breasts." Mulder lifted his sweater. "See, still perfectly flat and male."

"They're a little fuller, Fox."

Mulder glared at him then whined, "Why am I producing this stuff now? John's ex didn't produce it until after their son was born." He crossed his arms over his chest and pouted.

"You can ask Doctor Moore tomorrow." Skinner looked at his lover's distressed face. "Do you still want that sandwich?"

"No. I'll wait for the goose." Mulder licked his lips as his thoughts quickly turned to his favourite subject of late--food. "Let's save some of the goose fat. My grandfather used to eat goose fat sandwiches with a little salt. For some reason I have a craving for one of those sandwiches."

"You remember your grandfather? Didn't he die when you were six?" Doggett asked.

"I remember him. Those are some of my better childhood memories," Mulder said wistfully.

Skinner made a face. "Okay, we'll save some goose fat. I can't imagine that it's very healthy."

Mulder yawned. "I'm going to take a shower and grab a quick nap. Call me when dinner is ready." He'd been feeling extremely fatigued for the past few weeks and found he needed to take an occasional nap just to function normally.

Skinner and Doggett waited until he was upstairs, before heading into the kitchen for a couple of beers.

Skinner corned Doggett against the kitchen counter and refrigerator and kissed him.

Doggett fumbled blindly to set his beer can behind him on the counter. With both hands free, he pulled Skinner closer and deepened their kiss. They slowly humped their groins together as they groped each other's asses.

They both loved Fox with a passion, but since Thanksgiving, Doggett and Skinner had gotten a lot closer and more physical. Fox had been experiencing headaches and other discomforts that prevented him from having sex on a normal basis. In addition, he moved from sleeping in the middle of the bed to the side closest the bathroom because he needed to pee more frequently. Doctor Moore had informed them that as the pregnancy progressed Mulder would start to feel very horny and their sex life would improve considerably. But for now they should give him his space.

"We should finish dinner," Doggett said, after their kiss ended. His hands rested on Skinner's denim-clad buttocks.

Skinner kept his body pressed against Doggett's. "John, can I ask you something personal?"

"Sure."

"When your wife was breast-feeding your son...did you...ah...did you ever sample her milk?"

Doggett shook his head. "No." Then he smirked. "But, I know where you're going with this topic. I do have a strange urge to sample Fox's milk...once it turns a normal color."

"Me, too. I was worried it might be a bit too perverted." Skinner stepped away and walked over to the stove.

"It's not." Doggett took out a package of frozen corn. "We'll find out tomorrow, if we're having twins. Do you think we should tell Fox?"

"We probably should have told him two weeks ago after his last examination."

"I know, but he was throwing up his guts at the time, and not nearly as calm as he is now."

Skinner drained the potatoes, retaining some of the liquid for making the gravy. Then he added a little milk, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Pulling out a handheld mixer, he started whipping the potatoes.

"So what did you get him?" Doggett asked. They were going to open presents after dinner.

"It's really something for all of us. So you'll have to wait and see," Skinner said grinning. He spent a lot of time and money finding just the perfect present for them.

***

Mulder dried himself then stood looking at his image in the fall length mirror. Pressing his fingers around his nipple, he watched as a bead of liquid appeared on its tip. He wiped it off with the tip of his finger and sniffed it. He then looked down at his swollen belly, sighing, he could no longer fasten his pants and had started wearing looser clothes to teach in. Of course, his friend Chuck noticed and Mulder had no choice but to tell him that he was pregnant. Doctor Burks wasn't the slightest bit surprised. He had already suspected for weeks that might be the case.

After winter break Mulder was going to turn in his resignation to the University. There was no way he'd be able to cover up his condition much longer. Once the baby was born, he would be unable to continue working there and consulting. Besides, he wanted to spend some of his time writing. In the coming months, Mulder still hoped to do some consulting with law enforcement agencies, over the telephone and through email.

He strolled into the bedroom and climbed on top of the bed, using his robe as a blanket. Mulder wondered if Scully received the presents he sent William. He hadn't spoken with her since Halloween. Maybe he should call and apologize.... The next thing he felt was John shaking him awake.

"C'mon, sleeping beauty, dinner's ready."

Mulder sighed and rubbed his sleep-encrusted eyes. "It's a good thing we don't have guests. I'd feel funny only wearing my sweats to dinner."

Doggett helped him off the bed. "Well, our friends and family would understand. How's your nipples?" he asked, stroking them through the fabric.

"Fine. I think they're like my dick...only leaking when they get excited."

"Since, Walter and I plan on exciting you quite a bit, do you think you'll need something to prevent any unsightly accidents?"

Mulder made a face. "Like what, a nursing bra?" He started down the stairs. It was already late afternoon.

"Sort of. We can have something specially designed for you."

"As long as it looks like an undershirt. I'm not wearing a bra. No way, no how."

"Don't worry, we'll make sure it looks like an undershirt."

They stopped in the dining room where Skinner stood carving the goose.

"Wow. You both outdid yourselves," Mulder said, admiring the table and food. "I wish I could have done more to help."

"Fox, we really preferred that you rested today," Skinner said. "You spent the last two weeks teaching and working with Detective Bayliss on his serial killer case. You're wearing yourself out."

"It's the first lead we've had on the case since September. We're so close to catching the guy--"

Doggett interrupted, "Fox, you have to put our baby's welfare first."

"John, I am. I haven't had alcohol since I became pregnant. I've even started taking naps for crying out loud!"

"Yes, but you're still doing too much. Let Detective Bayliss handle all of the legwork on this case. I don't like you running to Baltimore in the evenings to meet with him. Have him come to our home." Doggett sat at his place at the table.

Mulder sat next to him. "John, it's not practical for him to come to our home. The paperwork and evidence we're reviewing is at the Baltimore PD."

"Fox, you've been too worn out lately. Once our baby is born you cannot be doing two jobs. You're going to have to choose between teaching and consulting," Doggett said.

"John, I was thinking about giving up teaching even before I became pregnant. I'll be handing in my resignation in January. I hope that makes you happy?"

"Yeah, for now." Doggett hadn't liked how many consulting jobs Mulder had been taking on. He hoped they wouldn't increase dramatically once his lover stopped teaching. He spooned cranberry sauce onto his plate.

Skinner looked between the two men. "Maybe we should look at hiring a nanny to help with the baby."

Doggett frowned. "I hate the thought of bringing a stranger into our home."

"If we can find someone we all like, I think it's a good idea," Mulder said. "I'd rather have a live-in nanny than having to drop our child off at daycare. At least we can afford to hire a nanny."

"Okay, as long as we all approve of this person," Doggett said, backing down.

They finished eating then did the dishes before retiring back into the living room to open presents.

Doggett handed Mulder and Skinner the presents that his parents had sent them.

Mulder unwrapped the gift and held up a kitchen witch and Skinner held up a colourful knit cap.

Doggett chuckled. "Ma's into crafts."

"I like the witch." Mulder smiled, holding it by the nylon string. "I think I'll hang her from the ceiling over the refrigerator."

"Well, the cap will come in handy when we go out to shovel snow later." Skinner set it aside.

"I'm next," Mulder said, pulling out two large boxes that were sitting next to the tree.

"What did you get us?" Skinner asked, ripping off the paper. Each box contained a child's car seat.

"I figured we should each have a car seat in our cars," Mulder said.

"I think it's a good idea," Skinner said.

"Yeah, Fox. I agree." Doggett handed Skinner a box and Mulder an envelope.

Skinner smiled at the leather bomber's jacket inside the box and the pair of leather gloves. He brought it up to his nose and breathed in the wonderful scent. "Thanks, John, it's just what I wanted."

Mulder ripped open the envelope, inside were a couple of keys and a title for an extended cab Honda Odyssey minivan.

"I figured you can dump that old beater you've been driving. Plus, we needed a larger vehicle we can take trips in." Doggett almost purchased an SUV, but if his lover was having twins, they'd need the roomier minivan.

Mulder wasn't excited about driving a minivan. "John, this is too expensive--"

"Fox, we don't have a mortgage payment."

"I like my car, it's easy to park downtown."

Skinner could see Mulder was upset over owning a minivan. "You can use my Lexus, Fox, if you need to run downtown. I'll drive the van."

"Thanks, Walter." He turned to Doggett. "John, it's not that I don't appreciate the minivan, it's just that I'll feel weird driving it."

"Fox, since when have you ever cared about what anyone thought?"

"Since, I fell in love with you and Walter." Mulder shrugged his shoulders. "I know it's stupid."

"It's not stupid. Just wait until you drive it. You're going to love it. It has leather bucket seats, a satellite-linked navigation system, power windows, stereo, cruise control--"

"What color is it?"

"Dark green."

Mulder loved seeing the childlike excitement in John's eyes. He kissed Doggett sweetly on the lips. "John. Thank you."

Skinner handed Mulder and Doggett a package. "This is really for all of us."

Doggett opened the box and took out the small album. He and Mulder started leafing through it. Doggett whistled. "Wow, this is incredible, Walter. Just what our family needed."

"I got the idea from, Fox, while he described going up to your cousin's cabin a couple of times. It sounded like something our family could use. The cabin is on a mountain lake that doesn't allow speedboats, only fishing boats and canoes. There are walking trails through the woods and mountain. The realtor told me the lake is stocked with game fish. We have two hundred feet of shoreline and a small private beach. The cabin is heated and has indoor plumbing, so we can go up there in the winter. I've hired a part time caretaker to plough our driveway and check the cabin during the week. It's less than a four-hour drive from here--" Skinner paused, noting that Mulder was being awfully quiet. "Fox, don't you like it?"

Mulder looked up with happy tears streaming down his cheeks. "These pictures are beautiful, Walter. When can we drive out and see it?"

"Once the snowploughs have gone through our neighbourhood, I'll call Mike Adams and see what the road conditions are around the cabin. If they're clear, we can test-drive the minivan. Hopefully we can leave on Friday, then spend Saturday and Sunday up there," Skinner said.

"Since we're all off work next week, there's no reason to hurry home," Doggett said. "We should make a list of things to bring. Is there a grocery store nearby the cabin?"

"There's a small town five miles away. I used the furniture I had in storage to furnish it. We still need some bedroom furniture."

"How many bedrooms are there?"

"Three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms."

"It looks like we'll be inviting our families up for an occasional weekend," Doggett said.

Mulder looked out the window, closing the album. "We should shovel the drive and the sidewalk before it gets too dark."

"How's your back doing?" Skinner asked as they stood.

"It's not bad today." Mulder took his jacket from the coat tree in the hallway and stepped into his boots.

Doggett pulled on his jacket. "Fox, if it does start bothering you again, go into the house to soak in a hot bath. Walter and I will finish shovelling."

"You'll get no arguments from me," Mulder said. He hated losing sleep because his back was hurting.

***

Mulder lay on the examination table while Doctor Moore smoothed a gel over his belly. He had his sweatpants pulled down just above his groin. Skinner and Doggett stood on the other side of the table and watched. The viewing monitor was set up next to the doctor. Mulder squirmed uncomfortably as the Doctor's hand smoothed over his full bladder. Moore had him drink several glasses of water an hour before this examination. He said it was to help view the pelvic organs.

"You're rather large for being only fourteen weeks along, Mulder."

"What are you thinking, Doctor?"

"I'm thinking you might be expecting more than one baby."

Mulder raised his head. "More than one! Like in two or more?"

"Calm down, Mulder, we'll find out in a second." Moore positioned the transducer on his abdomen and moved it along. An image appeared on the monitor. The Doctor pressed a button and a print was made. Mulder turned his head to watch.

"There!" Doggett shouted excitedly. "It looks like two heads!"

"Right you are, John." Doctor Moore pointed to the image. "Two heads, four legs, four arms. They look about the right size for fourteen weeks...roughly nine inches. Would you like to know their sex?"

"I'm having twins?" Mulder's eyes widened as he gazed at the monitor. He could barely make out the images.

"Fox, the Doctor wants to know, if we want to know their sex?"

"John, he just told us we're having twins! How can you be so calm?"

"I'm not calm! I'm excited, can't you tell?"

"No."

Skinner ran his fingers through Mulder's unruly hair. It had gotten thicker since he became pregnant. "Fox, calm down."

"Walter, I'm having twins and you expect me to be calm?"

"Not really." Skinner smiled reassuringly. "Do you want to know their sex?"

Mulder pouted and looked at the Doctor. "Okay, what are they?"

Moore smiled at his patient. "One of each."

Doggett's grin increased. "Did you hear him, Fox? A boy and a girl! Can you make a couple of extra prints, Doc?"

"Sure, John."

"Fox, I think it's about time we told my parents."

"So, you're going to send them one of my ultrasound pictures?" Mulder watched as the Doctor made four more prints.

"Yeah, and I figured Walter would want to send one to his parents."

Mulder squirmed uncomfortably. "Doctor, can you hurry, I really need to piss."

"Okay, Mulder. I'm done." He wiped off the transducer as Doggett helped Mulder off the table and into the bathroom.

Doggett watched as his lover aimed his penis into the toilet bowl.

"John, we're going to need two of everything." Mulder sighed, as the stream of urine rushed out of him and the pressure on his bladder eased.

"We still need to decide on names."

"We have five months." Mulder shook his head. "Twins. How are we going to handle twins?"

"The same way we were going to handle one baby."

"We'll definitely need a nanny."

Skinner stood in the doorway watching them. "Do you still want to run up to the cabin tomorrow?"

"I'm still game. I think the shock is starting to wear off," Mulder said, washing his hands. "John, can we hold off telling your parents until February?"

"Okay, but we can't put it off much longer than that."

***

Seven weeks later

Valentine's Day
Friday, February 14, 2002

Fifth Month - 2nd trimester

Mulder was bored. His last day of teaching had been four weeks ago. The first week at home went fine. He was still consulting with the local law enforcement agencies over the telephone, through email, and through courier services. He even met with Tim Bayliss here at their home. Unfortunately Mulder's expanding waistline had not gone unnoticed by the attractive detective, even with the baggy sweater Mulder wore. Mulder chuckled, recalling the disbelief look on Bayliss' face when he confided in him that he was pregnant. It took allowing Tim to feel the babies move for the detective to believe.

Mulder was feeling extremely self-conscious lately. He turned down several cases over the past two weeks and hadn't left the house. At the end of his fifth month he had grown too large to fit into anything but a pair of Skinner's old worn sweatpants. Even Mulder's shoes had become too tight. He groaned when he realized that he was literally barefoot and pregnant.

He sat in front of his computer monitor in the third floor office and sent Frohike an email. They had started interviewing candidates for the nanny position. So far they only had one promising prospect, but John and Walter refused to even consider Jimmy Bond for the position. All the other applicants had something in their pasts or present that ruled them out. So Mulder was pushing for Jimmy.

Jimmy might be a bit slow, but he was good with kids, trustworthy, and had a good heart. Mulder glanced out the window and noticed Doggett's truck pull up in front of the house. His lover jumped out and ran up the sidewalk to the door. He was carrying a box and a bag.

"Fox!"

Mulder walked to the top of the steps and called, "John, I'm in the office!" He heard Doggett's footsteps running up the stairs. Then his lover was looking up at him from the bottom of the second floor landing.

"Get dressed. Walter and I are taking you out to dinner."

"John, I'm in no shape to go out in public. Besides, none of my clothes fit any longer. I can't go to dinner in sweatpants and a robe." Mulder held onto the railing as he climbed down the steps.

"C'mon, I brought you something to wear." Doggett dragged Mulder back into their bedroom and put the box and bag on the bed. Inside were a couple pairs of maternity jeans and an over-sized T-shirt, with a denim jacket. "You should look okay in this outfit."

Mulder held up the jeans. "Where did you get maternity jeans in my size?"

"Walter and I had them specially made. We're getting a few more pairs made that should see you through the next four months. Oh, shoes." Doggett pulled a shoebox out of the bag.

"Did you remember boxers?" Mulder asked as he reluctantly stripped off the robe and sweatpants.

"Ah, sorry, Fox--" Doggett stopped talking. He suddenly pulled Mulder into his arms, kissing him. The sight of the round belly turned him on. Just knowing that inside his lover grew their son and daughter touched Doggett deeply.

"Hmm...what was that for?"

"You look great. You're positively glowing."

Mulder smiled sheepishly. "I'm going to make you a list of things I need. You and Walter can go shopping tomorrow." He pulled on the jeans. They were a little large, which was good, he might be able to wear them a month before he outgrew them. The T-shirt and jacket covered up his belly. Mulder looked in the floor length mirror, thinking he didn't look too bad. He hadn't filled out in his face yet and only his ankles and feet were swollen. "Can we get a treadmill? We can put it up in my office. I really need to exercise more."

"Sure, Fox. As long as you use it for walking and don't try jogging on it," Doggett said. "Have you been doing those Kegel exercises Doctor Moore dropped off?"

"Yes. All but one."

"Which one?"

"The one for tightening my urinary track muscles. I don't have the equipment to worry about that one," Mulder quipped, pulling on his socks. The larger he got the harder it became to reach his feet. He looked up at Doggett and smirked. "I've been tightening other pelvic muscles groups. Shall we give it a whirl tonight?"

"Fox, you know I love giving your ass a whirl."

Mulder had been incredibly horny this past week, looking down at his belly. "God, I'd love to fuck you too, John boy."

"Poor, baby." Doggett heard a horn honk. "Come on, Walter is waiting for us out front." They hurried downstairs and Doggett grabbed his leather jacket off the coat rack as they headed out the door. He had left his suit coat in the bedroom.

Mulder slid into the front seat. Skinner leaned over and kissed him. "Happy Valentine's Day, Fox."

"Oh shit...I completely forgot what today was," Mulder said.

"Fox, the Doctor said it is common for pregnant women to be absent-minded. I'm sure the same would apply to you," Doggett said.

"John, I never forget anything." He watched Walter manoeuvre the car through downtown rush hour traffic. Both Skinner and Doggett were still dressed in their suits. Mulder felt underdressed. "Where are we going? I'm not really dressed for anywhere fancy."

"Don't worry, Fox. We're going to 'Famous Dave's Barbecue Shack. You're dressed more appropriately than we are," Skinner said, turning onto the ramp for the interstate.

"At least I won't look out of place." Mulder turned in his seat to stare back at Doggett. "How was work today? Any interesting cases?"

"Nothing much. One report of vampires in San Francisco, I might check it out."

"How's your new partner working out?"

"Ben has a better eye for spotting hoaxes than Carl did. Unfortunately, he's even more sceptical than I am," Doggett said.

Mulder chuckled. "So does that make you the believer?"

Doggett sighed dramatically. "Someone has to look at the cases from that angle."

Skinner looked at Mulder. "How was your day?"

"I've never been more bored."

"I thought you were going to start working on your book?"

"Writer's block." Mulder turned on the radio. He unconsciously rested his hand on his belly while watching the traffic fly by.

Skinner took one hand off the wheel and placed it over Mulder's. "How are you feeling?"

"Strange. The babies are more active. It's so weird feeling them moving inside me. My back and feet have been killing me."

"You're looking incredible." Skinner meant it. Mulder's complexion had cleared up and he was positively glowing. He couldn't remember him looking more beautiful. Pulling into the restaurant's parking lot, Skinner found a spot near the door.

Mulder climbed out. "I need to use the restroom."

"I'll come with you," Doggett said, not comfortable leaving Mulder's side.

Mulder looked around the crowded restaurant, until he found the restroom sign. "John, I'm only going to the restroom. Go with Walter and get us a table."

The music boomed from the speakers as Mulder made his way across the room to the men's room. He glanced at the two large men standing at the urinals and decided to use the toilet instead. He bolted the stall door and sat on the toilet aiming his penis between his thighs.

When Mulder came out of the stall, he was alone in the restroom. He washed his hands and looked at himself in the mirror. His skin problem had cleared up, but he had dark circles under his eyes from not being able to sleep. He made sure his belly was concealed before he left the restroom. Mulder's eyes scanned the restaurant until they fell on Doggett who was standing up waving to get his attention. He didn't notice a pair of eyes looking at him appreciatively.

When he reached the table, he found a tall glass of iced tea sitting in front of his place setting. "Did you order for me?"

"Yep. I hope you're hungry, we put in for the six-bone rib platter for you," Doggett said.

"I'm starving." Mulder looked at Skinner and Doggett. "You both should have changed before we came here. You're going to get barbecue sauce on your clothes."

"There wasn't time to change. This place fills up pretty fast, and if we weren't here by six-thirty, we'd have nearly an hour's wait for a table." Skinner nodded toward the door where a line of people was already forming. "See."

Mulder nodded, then turned to Doggett. "John, do you think your parents received your letter yet?"

"We would have heard from them if they had," John said. He had sent the ultrasound print, from seven weeks ago, along with a letter explaining Mulder's condition to his parents.

"Are you going to tell Scully?" Skinner asked.

Mulder frowned. He sent William a Christmas present, and was still sending child support checks, but he hadn't seen his son since Halloween. There was no way he could travel to California in his present condition. "I don't know if I want her finding out."

"She's going to find out someday. How will we explain the twins?" Skinner asked.

"Why do we owe her an explanation?" Doggett asked, sipping his beer.

"She's the mother of his son, and his former partner of seven years."

"I still don't see that it's any of her business."

The waiter came over to their table with their food. Mulder's mouth watered at the sight of all those ribs covered in barbecue sauce.

Skinner watched with amusement as Mulder dug in. His lover only lifted his head from the tray to take a sip of tea. Skinner handed Mulder a couple of paper towels from the roll on the table.

Mulder grinned, and wiped the sauce from his face and hands. "They're a bit messy. What are you eating, Walter?"

"The barbecue brisket sandwich."

"It looks good." Mulder set the rib down and sighed, standing. "I need to pee again." He wove his way through the tables to the restroom. This time there was no one inside so he walked over to the urinal and pulled up his T-shirt and unzipped his jeans. As he was finishing the door opened. One of the two large men from before stepped up to the urinal next to his as Mulder zipped up his pants.

"You're a good looking man. You should exercise more and cut back on the beer to lose that gut."

Mulder shrugged his shoulders, walking over to the sink. "I'm working on it."

"I can help you. I own a health club and gym."

Mulder dried his hands and started for the door but the larger man stopped him. He spun Mulder around and slammed him up against the door.

"Hey! I'm talking to you?" The man suddenly found himself flat on his back with blood dripping from his nose and an extremely pissed off Mulder staring down at him.

"Touch me again and I'll have you arrested!" Mulder said, opening the door and stalking angrily out of the restroom.

Doggett and Skinner knew something was wrong when Mulder sat back down at the table holding his hand. "Fox, what's wrong with your hand?"

"I think I might have broke it."

"What? Broke it how?"

Mulder looked over toward the restroom door as the large man stepped out. "On his face."

"Fox, that man is the size of a linebacker. What happened?" Skinner asked. Him and Doggett stood ready to protect Mulder as the man approached their table.

The man held up his hands. "Guys, I'm not looking for trouble." He tossed his business card on the table next to Mulder. "The name's Frankie Faba. No one's ever knocked me down with one punch before. I was serious...I'd love to help get you in shape."

Mulder picked up the card and looked up at the man. "How's the nose?"

"Sore. Your hand?"

Mulder flex his fingers. "Bruised."

"Call me." Frankie turned and headed back to his table.

"Fox, you punched that man? He doesn't even have a neck. He could have seriously injured you," Doggett said, glaring down at his lover. "Now tell us what happened?"

Mulder sighed. The adrenaline rush he had experienced while defending his unborn babies was giving way to exhaustion. "I was using the urinal and my belly didn't go unnoticed. He made a comment about my looks and wanted to help me lose the gut. I ignored him, which he didn't like, so he slammed me up against the wall. I was scared to death that he might hurt the sprogs, so I hit him as hard as I could."

Doggett just stared at him speechless.

Skinner laid some money on the table for a tip. They had paid at the counter when they ordered their food. "I think we should go home and discuss this further."

The three men never noticed Frankie sneaking out the side door as they left.

***

When Skinner pulled the car into the garage, they become aware that the kitchen light was on. Skinner and Doggett both checked to make sure their guns were accessible.

"Stay here, Fox."

The back door opened suddenly. "Is that you, boys?"

"Ma! What are you doing here?" Doggett said.

"What do you think I'm doing here? Your Pa and I drove right up as soon as we read your letter. Fox, how are you feeling honey?" Betty Doggett hugged him then patted his belly.

"I'm fine, Ma. If you'll excuse me, I need some ice for my hand." Mulder stepped around her and walked into the house. He found Mr. Doggett leaning up against the counter. "Hi, Paul, it's nice to see you again."

"Fox, I tried to tell Ma that you boys were just pulling our leg, but she wouldn't listen--"

He stopped talking as Mulder lifted his T-shirt and unzipped his jeans. "Do you want to feel your grandchildren move? They're pretty active right now."

"You weren't joking?" Paul nervously placed his callous hand over Mulder's swollen abdomen. A smile lit up his weathered face when he felt movement under his fingertips. He pulled Mulder into a hug. "Gawd, this is unbelievable. Betty, we're going to be grandparents."

Mulder had to hold his pants up to keep them from sliding down his legs as John's father hugged him. "Paul, do you mind if I zip up?"

"Fox, how come you're not wearing any underwear?" Betty asked.

"None of my boxers fit."

Betty turned and glared at her son. "Some father to be you are! You couldn't go out to the store and buy Fox some new underwear?"

"Ma, he could have gone out to the store--"

Her glare silenced him. "It's a good thing I'm here. Fox, have you been eating okay? Taking your prenatal vitamins? Getting enough sleep?"

"Yes. Yes. And somewhat."

Skinner put a few of ice cubes in a towel and wrapped it around Mulder's hand.

"What's wrong with your hand?" Betty asked.

"I hit someone in the restroom of the restaurant we were at tonight."

It was Paul's turn to glare at his son and Skinner. "Where were you two when he was fighting in the men's room?"

"Pa, we didn't think anyone would attack him in the men's room."

"That's right you didn't think!"

Skinner looked up from the table where he was treating Mulder's hand. "Paul, we won't make that mistake again. Anytime Fox goes out in public from now until the babies are born either John or me will be with him."

"Good to know, Walter. Ma is going to be staying with you boys until the babies are born. I need to get back to the farm tomorrow."

"Paul, that isn't necessary--" Fox started to say.

"Don't you start with me, young man! Not after, you go out of the house tonight without underpants, get into a fight in a public restroom and endanger your unborn babies' lives. Ma's going to take care of you. Is that clear?"

Mulder had never seen John's father so adamant. Usually he was good-natured and docile. "Perfectly, sir."

"Good. I'll go put our bags in the third floor guestroom. Next weekend, I'll bring up the rest of Ma's things." Paul left the room, going into the hallway where he had left their bags.

Mulder, Doggett, and Skinner exchange troubled looks.

Betty Doggett fluttered around the kitchen. "Fox, I'll go to Kmart tomorrow and pick you up a six pack of cotton briefs."

Mulder shot Doggett an annoyed look.

"Ma, Fox was going to make a list for Walter and me of things he needs. He doesn't usually wear briefs--"

Betty shook her head. "It's easier to attach a pad in a pair of briefs than boxers. You have purchased pads haven't you, Fox?"

Mulder groaned and dropped his head to the table. "Ma, can we discuss this in private tomorrow?"

"I'm not embarrassing you, am I?"

"As a matter of fact...yes."

"Okay, honey."

Frankie Faba drove slowly by the house. For some reason he had been turned on being close to the pretty man from the restaurant. There was something strangely appealing about him, if he overlooked the beer gut. The rest of him seemed in good shape. Faba was determined to find out everything about him. He wrote down the address.

***

Six weeks later

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Month Seven - Third trimester

Mulder stood out on the veranda and stared off into the darkness. It was two o'clock in the morning and as usual he was having a hard time sleeping. He shifted his bare feet on the cold wood. There was a delicious ache coming from his ass, closing his eyes Mulder smiled, remembering the fucking his lovers had given him earlier. God, he was still hornier than hell.

He took a deep breath. The fresh air usually helped him to relax and get back to sleep. His robe was undone and his hand rested on the large swell of his belly. The twins were up and kicking. Mulder murmured softly to them.

In the morning, they were all heading up to the cabin for a four-day weekend. Paul Doggett was meeting them there, along with Skinner's sister Jill, her husband Joe, and their two daughters Rose and Carol. Mulder thought this would be the best way to tell Walter's sister and homophobic brother-in-law about the twins. In fact, he was almost looking forward to seeing the look on Joe's face.

***

Frankie Faba stood hidden across the street in the park. After first spotting Mulder on the second floor veranda weeks ago, he started coming here almost every night. Faba discovered everything he could about the three men in the house. It probably was stupid on his part to lust after someone who had two FBI agents for lovers. But he found himself growing more and more attracted to Mulder.

After studying Mulder and his lovers through binoculars for weeks, Faba finally determined that the young man didn't have a beer gut. The conclusion he reached had stunned him at first, but at the same time turned him on immensely. It was hard to fathom how Mulder could be pregnant, but after talking to several people, he determined that the only way a man could possibly be pregnant was if he wasn't really a man at all, but a hermaphrodite. Frankie next went to the library and read everything he could find on hermaphrodites. He turned his attention back to Mulder as the veranda door opened and Skinner stepped outside.

***

Mulder turned and smiled at Skinner. "Hey."

"Hey, yourself." Skinner hugged Mulder from behind and placed his hands over Mulder's belly. "They're kicking up a storm, aren't they?"

"Yeah, but at least they seem to have the same sleeping schedule." Mulder leaned back in his lover's arms.

"It's rather chilly. If Ma knew you were out here in your bare feet, she'd take a wooden spoon to both our butts."

Mulder chuckled. "Ma's bark is worse than her bite, but I wouldn't want to test her. So, let's go back inside. The sprogs seem to be running out of steam. Maybe they'll let me get a few hours of sleep."

Skinner shook his head in amazement. "You're remarkable, do you know that?"

Mulder smiled. "And you're a sex machine. I love you, Walter."

"Come back inside, Fox. I want to hold you while you sleep." Skinner took Mulder's hand and walked back inside with him.

Faba watched the lights go out in the bedroom window before heading back to his car. It was parked on the other side of the park. He heard a twig snap and glanced nervously around him as he reached his car. He opened the door, only to have it slammed shut as a large man ploughed into him. The man was unusually strong, lifting him by his throat as if he were a child. Faba reached into the pocket of his jacket and pulled out a knife. He stabbed it into the man's side as he struggled to breathe. Only to choke as a strong vapour burned his eyes and seared his throat.

The alien bounty hunter let the body drop to the ground. He opened to driver's side door and pulled the trunk release lever then dragged the body back, dumping it into the trunk. A police cruiser turned the corner as he slammed the trunk and morphed into Faba. The cruiser slowed and the officer studied the man, sliding into the driver's seat.

Seeing nothing out of the ordinary, the police officer continued on his way.

***

The cabin

Doggett started a fire in the hearth, while Skinner showed Betty Doggett to the room she would be using. It was still rather cold up in the mountains.

Mulder waddled into their bedroom. His back and feet were killing him from the four-hour car ride. So he decided a hot bath was in order. He toed off his shoes and undressed, heading into the bathroom. The tiled floor was cold under his bare feet and goose bumps broke out across his flesh. They kept the temperature set just warm enough so the pipes wouldn't freeze, and only turned it up when they came up to the cabin. Mulder turned on the water in the bathtub and poured some foaming bath oil under the spout.

Steam rose from the tub as Mulder climbed in. He turned around several times trying to figure out how to manoeuvre his body into a sitting position without falling on his ass.

"Fox, let me help you," Doggett said, hurrying across the room and taking Mulder's elbow then wrapping his other arm firmly around his lover's waist.

"You're getting wet," Mulder warned as Doggett eased him down.

"Better me wet than you falling and cracking your head open." Doggett kneeled beside the tub and kissed the top of Mulder's head. "Have I told you, I love you yet today?"

"Yes. Once this morning when you were fucking me then again over breakfast." Mulder sank to his neck in the water, which didn't quite cover his belly. "I love you, John boy."

Doggett smiled and leaned into the tub to kiss Mulder's lips. His hand caressed over the large pregnant belly.

Skinner stopped in the doorway and smiled. "We're having a pool party and I wasn't invited."

"Unfortunately, my fat ass is taking up most of the pool, but you and John can share a bath later. I'll even light the scented candles and serve the champagne." Mulder eyes sparkled with delight. Instead of being jealous watching John and Walter make love, he found that it turned him on.

Doggett turned off the water and caressed his lover's belly. "We need a deeper bathtub."

"At least our home tub is big enough for three...and I'm not talking about me and the two sprogs," Mulder quipped, placing a warm washcloth over his belly.

Skinner heard the front door open. "I'm going to check to see who just came in."

He found his sister, nieces, and brother in-law standing in the doorway.

"Uncle Walter!" Rose and Carol shrieked, running across the room and into his arms.

Jill walked across the room and hugged him. "Walter, thanks for inviting us. What a beautiful location."

Joe meekly followed his wife. "Yeah, Walter, I'd love to come back here in the summer to fish.

"Joe, the lake is stocked with bass, sun fish, walleye, and pike. If Fox and John are agreeable we can have a mid-summer fish fry here. There's enough room for everyone if we use the couches and sleeper sofa in the den. Of course it all hinges on Fox's condition," Skinner said.

"Walter, is there something wrong with Mulder?" Jill asked.

"It's one of the reasons we invited you here--"

Joe interrupted. "He doesn't have Aids, does he?"

"No. Remember our conversation from Thanksgiving?"

"About you guys wanting to adopt?"

"No...about Fox being pregnant."

"That was a joke."

"It wasn't a joke. He's been pregnant since mid September."

"Walter, that's impossible!" Jill was stunned.

"Not quite impossible, he's due July 2nd."

"Walter, I don't believe it," Joe grumbled.

"That's why we invited you here, so you can see for yourselves. Joe, let me help you with your bags. I'll show you and the girls to your room then give you all a tour of the cabin."

"Is Uncle Fox really having a baby?" Rose asked.

Skinner kneeled next to her. "He's expecting twins, Rose, but this is our secret. Okay?"

"Okay."

He showed them upstairs to their bedroom. It had a queen-sized bed and a bunk bed for the kids. As they were heading back downstairs, they ran into Betty Doggett.

"Hi, Betty, it's nice to see you again," Jill said.

"Jill, it's nice to see you, too. And, Joe, don't go upsetting Fox." Betty waggled her finger at him. "I'm going to see about lunch. I hope soup and sandwiches are okay with everyone."

"That's fine, Ma," Skinner said.

Skinner showed his sister and brother-in-law the laundry room in the basement. "We always wash the towels and sheets, and put them back in the linen cabinet before we head back home. If you ever want to use the cabin when we're not using it, we'd expect you to do the same."

Then he showed them up to the kitchen. Betty was in the kitchen fixing lunch. Mulder and Doggett were sitting at the counter discussing baby names.

"Fox, it's true!" Jill rushed over to the counter to get a good look at his belly.

Mulder was wearing sweatpants and a T-shirt. He had slippers on his swollen feet. "Hi, Jill...Joe." He smiled down at Walter's nieces. "Hey, Rose, Carol. I hope you're hungry...Ma is making us tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches."

"We're very hungry," Carol said.

"Fox, can I...touch you?" Jill asked.

"Sure." Mulder turned in his chair so she could feel his belly.

Joe rolled his eyes. "C'mon, Jill, they're yanking your chain. Fox is wearing a foam pad."

"How many foam pads kick, Joe?" Jill asked, running her hands over Mulder's belly.

Mulder met Joe's eyes and smirked as he lifted his T-shirt and pulled down his waistband enough to expose his stomach. "No foam, Joe, it's all me."

Joe walked over to him and hesitantly placed his hand on Mulder's belly. He felt the movement under his fingers. "I'll be damned. You really are pregnant. How is this possible?"

"You have be willing to believe in witchcraft and the occult to understand." Mulder adjusted his clothes, covering up his belly, turning back toward the counter.

"What are you saying a witch put a spell on you?"

"No. He was no witch, but he did have supernatural powers," Mulder said, "He changed me into a hermaphrodite."

"Walter?" Joe looked pleadingly at his brother-in-law. This was far more than he wanted to believe.

"It's true, Joe. Fox is both male and female."

"You mean you have a...?" Jill gestured with her hands toward Mulder's lap.

"Yep. Now can we let it drop? We mainly wanted you to know where our twin babies are from before they are born."

Betty set a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich in front of Mulder. "Here you go, Fox." She went back to dish some up for Walter's nieces that had taken a seat at the counter.

"Thanks, Ma." Mulder picked up the spoon.

"Can I help you, Betty?" Jill asked.

"No, Jill. Why don't you and Joe have a seat at the table? It will be just a couple of minutes for me to grill a few more sandwiches."

Joe frowned as he watched Mulder. "Mulder, did they catch the man who did this to you?"

"No."

"So, he's still out there doing this to other men?"

Mulder shrugged his shoulders and picked up his sandwich, not wanting to think about Demetrius Tatev.

Skinner touched his brother-in-law's arm. "Joe, give it a rest. The FBI is looking for him, but unless he tries this with someone else we may never capture him. He's the same man wanted for abducting Senator Woods' son."

Doggett wanted to take Mulder's mind off the conversation and Tatev. He opened the baby name book. "Okay, Fox. How about Lily?"

"Lily Munster."

"Okay, how about Jade?"

"That's a pretty name, Johnny," Betty said, placing a bowl of soup and a sandwich in front of him.

"Hmm, Jade Mulder." Mulder smiled. "I like it."

Doggett closed the book. "Finally! So...we're agreed? Jade and Jack." They had decided to give their daughter Mulder's last name and their son Doggett's last name.

"Agreed. John, I like both names." Mulder slid off his chair and kissed Doggett. "I'm going to get my walking shoes on. How about we take a hike?"

"I'd love to. Let me finish eating first." He took a big bite out of his sandwich.

"Walter, do you want to go hiking with us?" Mulder asked, stopping at the dining room table.

Skinner hooked his arm around Mulder's back, pulling him close. "Sure, Fox." He grinned mischievously as he rested his face against his lover's belly. "Besides if you should fall, it might take two of us to get you back on your feet."

Mulder smoothed his hand affectionately over Walter's bald head. "You want some tonight you'd better be nice to me."

The closeness of his lover was highly arousing. Skinner looked up into Mulder's hazel eyes as he took a hold of his hand. He arched up from his chair as he pulled Mulder down. Their lips met half way for a lengthy kiss. Two minutes later Skinner pulled away. "I want some and more, Fox. Now get your butt in the bedroom and get ready. Put on a sweater...it's cold on the paths."

Betty served Skinner his lunch as Mulder waddled off to the bedroom. "You take it easy with him today. His back has been hurting him quite a bit."

"Don't worry, Ma. We just want to tire him, so he's able to sleep tonight."

"Well, if he starts feeling dizzy, I want you to bring him right back here."

"Uncle Walter, can I go hiking with you?" Rose asked.

"If it's okay with your parents."

Joe looked up from his soup. He'd watched the display of affection between Mulder and Skinner and didn't much care for it. "As long as you guys can keep your hands off each other while around my kids."

"Joe, I'm not going to stop showing my love for Fox and John just because it offends you. My nieces already know that their uncle is living with them."

"Walter, all I'm asking is that you don't grope each other in front of my girls."

Skinner bet their definition of groping was completely different. "I'll tell you what, Joe. We'll keep all physical contact legal...nothing that can get us cited for lewd behaviour in public."

"Does that include kissing?"

"Not simple kisses."

"Walter, all I'm asking is that you guys..."

Doggett headed into the bedroom and closed the door, leaving Skinner to argue with his brother-in-law. "Fox, do you need any help?"

"Yeah, can you please tie my shoes?" Mulder had his foot propped up on a chair and was trying all angles to reach the laces.

Doggett kneeled and quickly laced up the leather walking shoes. They had bought them two sizes larger than Mulder usually wore. "Your feet are pretty swollen today, do you really want to go walking?"

"John, I've been going stir crazy being cooped up in our house the last six weeks. I need to get some fresh air."

Standing, Doggett caressed the side of Mulder's face. "Are you dressed warm enough?"

Mulder nodded. Since John's mother came to live with them, he never had to worry about not having clothes that fit. Betty would see to it that John or Walter would go out immediately and purchase anything he needed. She even had her husband bring up her sewing machine. She'd hem and alter any clothes that didn't quite fit his odd shape.

"Shall we go see if Walter is ready?"

"All right."

Rose was standing at the door with Skinner, wearing her coat. Skinner handed Doggett his jacket and helped Mulder on with his coat. They headed out the door and Rose took Mulder's hand, smiling up at him.

"Are the babies sleeping?" she whispered.

"They seem to be."

"I'm going to be eleven in October...can I baby sit for you?"

"If you pass the babysitter's test." Mulder smiled at her as they walked down the narrow path. Walter was in front of them and John was walking behind them.

"What's the babysitter's test?"

Doggett chuckled. "You need to know how to change diapers, how to feed and hold the babies, and you should have memorized all of the emergency numbers."

"Rose knows basic CPR," Skinner said, looking back proudly at his niece.

"Well then, she goes to the top of our babysitter's list," Mulder said.

They walked a couple of miles talking about old movies and television shows, then started up a steep incline. By the time they reached the top, Mulder's feet and back were killing him. He realized that he might have over taxed himself as he started feeling dizzy. God, he needed to sit down.

"Fox, are you all right?" Skinner asked noticing how pale Mulder's face appeared.

"N-No." The world spun and the lights dimmed as Mulder felt the ground drop out beneath him.

Doggett caught Mulder as he fainted and lowered him to the ground. Skinner was at their side in a flash.

"Is Uncle Fox all right?"

Skinner took his pulse and checked his breathing. "He'll be fine, Rose."

"Walter, we need to get him back to the cabin. He's burning up."

"We'll carrying him between us."

"Can I help?" Rose asked.

"Yeah." Skinner struggled to remove Mulder's shoes then handed them to her. "Carry his shoes, Rose."

Doggett and Skinner got on either side of Mulder and lifted him by making a chair with their arms.

"Damn, he's heavy," Doggett said as they started back down the hill.

By the time they neared the cabin Mulder was regaining consciousness. "Guys...put me down...I can walk."

"Shut up, Fox."

Mulder closed his eyes and licked his dry lips, feeling nauseous.

"How are you feeling?" Skinner asked.

"Woozy...my feet hurt."

"How's the babies?" Doggett glanced anxiously at his lover's face.

"Don't worry, John, I think I'd know if something was wrong."

They came out of the woods and saw the cabin a few hundred feet away. Rose ran ahead to get help.

"Pa's car is in the driveway," Doggett said, watching Rose enter the cabin.

Paul Doggett rushed out a few seconds later followed by Joe and Jill.

"What happened?" Paul tried to take over for his son, but John would not let go of Mulder.

"Pa, he got dizzy and fainted."

"Paul, I'm fine. I just didn't take into account how thin the air is in the mountains--"

"Did you bother telling Johnny and Walter that you were feeling dizzy?"

"I wasn't feeling dizzy until I fainted."

They carried him into the cabin and set him on the sofa. Betty rushed over with a glass of water.

She placed her hand over Mulder's brow as he drained the glass. "How are you feeling? Do you feel any cramping?"

"I'm fine...except for my feet and back."

"You're burning up. Boys, take Fox into the bedroom, get him out of these hot clothes, and into bed."

"Ma, it's only five o'clock...."

"Don't argue with me, Fox Mulder! You're lucky you didn't harm your babies."

Mulder pouted as they helped him into the bedroom. Skinner hung up his clothes while Doggett helped him into the bathroom.

"Fox, your feet are really swollen. You're not going to be able to get these shoes back on."

Mulder sat on the toilet to pee, since it was easier than standing. "Seeing that I'm being sent to bed, it doesn't really matter."

"Ma's right, Fox, you could have hurt our babies. Going to bed a little early isn't going to kill you."

Mulder didn't want to admit that he was tired. He waddled into the bedroom, and found Skinner beside the bed. His lover had the bedcovers turned down and the pillows fluffed.

"You're both trying to drive me crazy, aren't you?" Mulder sat on the bed then laid on his back, feeling too much like a beached whale he turned on his side. "Walter, can you get my pillow?"

Skinner walked over to their bags and pulled out a small foam pillow. He carried it back to the bed and placed it between Mulder's thighs. "Better?"

"Much...thanks...." Mulder's eyes closed and he drifted off to sleep immediately.

Skinner pulled the covers over his body and kissed his forehead.

Doggett walked out of the bathroom and over to the bed and smiled. "Hey, he's already sleeping?"

Skinner put his arm around Doggett's waist as they watched their lover sleep. "C'mon, let's go grab a beer."

Mulder woke hours later, sweating profusely. His bladder felt like it was ready to burst. He struggled out of bed and stood. Beside him, Walter and John lay sleeping with John's head on Walter's shoulder. He peered at the glowing digits on the clock sitting on the nightstand. It was ten minutes after one o'clock in the morning. Mulder couldn't believe he'd slept for nearly eight hours straight.

He waddled into the bathroom and emptied his bladder. At least his feet were no longer swollen up like balloons, he thought, stepping into his slippers and pulling on his heavy velour robe. He needed some fresh air, so he headed over to the French door leading out onto the deck, glancing back briefly at the bed to make sure Walter and John were still sleeping.

The deck was bathed in moonlight as Mulder walked up to the railing. He turned at the sound of a match flaring. Joe was leaning up against the railing watching him as he lit a cigarette.

"How are you feeling?" Joe asked, shaking out the match and dropping it to the ground. He didn't move any closer to Mulder, staying down at the other end of the deck.

"Better."

"It really is unbelievable. I'm surprised you went through with the pregnancy and didn't get an abortion."

"I wasn't able to bring myself to abort them." Mulder turned and looked at Joe, folding his arms across his chest. It was freezing outside...he could even see his breath.

"Mulder, are you scared?"

"Yes."

"Who's going to deliver them? Where are you going to have them? How are you going to keep this a secret?"

Mulder smiled patiently at the sudden rush of questions from Walter's homophobic brother-in-law. "I have a doctor, and I'm going to have them at home. My doctor is teaching us Lamaze, but I might insist on an epidural block. We have some powerful friends who are going to help us keep our children's conception and birth a secret."

"Fox, would you get your ass back in here?" Doggett stood in the doorway shivering.

"John, I just needed some fresh air." At Doggett's glare, Mulder sighed and walked toward the door. "See you later, Joe."

Doggett stepped back allowing Mulder inside then he closed and locked the door.

"I think I'll go watch TV in the living room." Mulder started for the bedroom door, but Doggett's arms wrapped around his chest, stopping him.

"I think you're coming back to bed." He ground his erection into Mulder's ass.

"Do you need any help stripping him, John?" Skinner's lusty voice sent a shiver down Mulder's spine.

"No. Get the lube."

Skinner pulled the lube from the nightstand, as Doggett peeled off Mulder's robe.

Doggett chuckled. "Ma would be pissed if she knew you went outside without any underwear on."

Mulder stuck out his tongue.

"Watch it or your face might freeze like that," Doggett said. He walked around Mulder caressing his soft flesh before pulling him toward the bed. They found the best way to fuck Mulder in his present condition was while he was on all fours.

"Are both of you going to fuck me?" Mulder's eyes sparkled with arousal as his penis lengthened and thickened. He crawled up into the middle of the bed and spread his legs wide, looking back wantonly at Skinner who had moved behind him.

Skinner spread the lubed down Mulder's crease. "Fox, once you have the babies John and I would like to try fucking you at the same time."

"You mean through my anus and cunt?" Mulder shuddered as a finger slipped inside of him.

"Yep." John sat on the bed and stroked Mulder's belly that hung almost down to the mattress. He felt a baby kick and smiled. "Walter and I are also going to get you back in shape after the babies are born."

"That's going to be a big job," Mulder said, enjoying the feel of John's warm hands caressing his belly and Walter's fingers inside him. "John boy, would you touch my dick?"

Doggett nuzzled his face against Mulder's belly as his hand moved down and started stroking his lover's erection.

Mulder moaned at the sensation...gasping as Skinner's cock pushed slowly inside him. The wide mushroom-shaped head spread his sphincter to the point of pain before it closed around the narrower shaft. Mulder was starting to experience sensory overload. The babies were both awake and kicking, his arousal was causing his nipples to leak. Walter thrust into him with long hard strokes while John stroked his cock. Suddenly he felt the hotness of John's mouth around his cockhead and the tip of his tongue teasing at the slit.

"Ooooh...."

Doggett couldn't get more than the head in his mouth; Mulder's belly was in the way.

Mulder started rocking in time with Walter's thrusts and pushing into John's eager mouth. When Skinner started playing with his nipples a bolt of lightening shot to Mulder's groin. His balls tightened and it only took Walter's cock hitting his prostate for him to come explosively into John's hungry mouth. Skinner's arms tightened around his body, preventing Mulder from collapsing on the bed.

Mulder closed his eyes and concentrated on the feel of Skinner's cock sliding in and out of his body while Doggett's lips and tongue sucked and lapped at his nipples. His lovers ravished him for twenty minutes before Skinner finally came. When he pulled out, Mulder's cock was rock hard and weeping again. Mulder moaned at the feeling of emptiness.

"How are you holding up, Fox?" Doggett asked.

"Are you going to talk or fuck me?"

Skinner was lying on his back panting. He looked up at Mulder's sweaty aroused face. "You're insatiable."

"I'm horny."

Doggett positioned himself behind Mulder. There was no need for any lubricant; Skinner's semen provided enough slickness as he thrust to the hilt inside his lover.

Mulder's back and knees were beginning to bother him, but not enough to stop him from enjoying John's fat cock sliding into him or the way his lover's chest felt against his back. With each erotic touch, every delicious thrust, his body hummed for more and all too soon, he was coming again. When he came back to himself, he was lying on his back with John and Walter folded around him.

Mulder smiled and closed his eyes, falling back to sleep fully sated and loved.

The birds were singing when he awoke the next morning. Walter and John were already up. He could hear them fooling around in the bathroom. The bathroom was steamy when he entered it. His lovers were sharing a shower. He could see their outlines in the steam-covered door. After he used the toilet he shaved and brushed his teeth.

"Hey, babe, did you sleep well?" Skinner asked, stepping out of the shower.

"I slept fine. Did you leave me any hot water?"

"There's enough left for you," Doggett said. "Would you like me to wash your back?"

"If you wouldn't mind." Mulder walked over to the shower.

Doggett smiled warmly. "I'll never mind, Fox."

After breakfast Mulder took his laptop out onto the deck and started working on his book. Paul sat next to him sipping a mug of coffee.

Mulder saved the file and turned off the laptop. He breathed in the fragrant aroma of coffee. Not being allowed to drink more than one cup a day had been one of the most difficult parts of being pregnant. "Paul, I don't mind that I can't drink alcohol...I never was much of a drinker to begin with, but I sure miss my coffee."

Paul smiled sympathetically and patted Mulder's knee. "I know what you mean. I've drunk four cups of coffee a day for fifty years and I'd never be able to give it up for anything. At least you only have a couple more months to go."

"I'm going to be nursing the babies, so it will be longer than that."

"How can you nurse when you don't even have breasts?"

"Paul, it's possible. Besides even women with tiny breasts can nurse."

"It just seems strange."

"Tell me about it." Mulder changed the subject to something more normal. "How's the farm?"

"It's difficult without Betty around to help with the chores, but Rolf and I are managing."

"Paul, I really appreciate her helping me these last several weeks. Walter's parents are coming up the first week in May, so Ma should be able go back to the farm."

"Yep, we talked about that. She hates the idea of leaving you in anyone else's care. So she plans on coming right back after we get the crop in the ground," Paul said, pulling out his pipe. He moved to stand against the railing, down wind from Mulder so he didn't have to breathe his pipe smoke.

Mulder smiled, it gave him a warm feeling being such a deep part of John's family.

***

Friday, May 2, 2003

Eighth Month - Third trimester

The doorbell chimed and Betty wiped her hands on a towel as she strolled out of the kitchen. The Skinners weren't due for an hour. She opened the front door, on the stoop were a woman and a toddler.

"Can I help you?" Betty asked.

"I'm looking for Fox Mulder," Scully said, wondering if Mulder might have moved and not bothered to tell her. She had stopped by the University before coming here and was surprised to find out that Mulder was no longer teaching there.

"He's not taking visitors. May I give him a message?"

"What do you mean he isn't taking visitors? Is he sick?" She hadn't heard from Mulder since Halloween. If it hadn't been for the presents and cards he sent William, she wouldn't even know if he were alive or not.

"Young lady, that's hardly any of your concern. Now I'm in the middle of fixing lunch, so state your business and skedaddle."

"Look, Ma'am. I'm Dana Scully and this is Mulder's son William. Just tell him we're here."

Betty folder her arms across her amble bosom. "Oooh...so you're the one who moved across the country with his son."

"I don't know who you are, but that really isn't any your business!"

"I'm Betty Doggett, Johnny's Ma. I've been taking care of Fox for the past eleven weeks, so his well being is my business."

This scared Scully. Mulder never needed anyone to take care of him. "What's wrong with Mulder? What do you mean, you're taking care of him?"

Doctor Skinner and his wife Nina choose that moment to walk up to the door. "Excuse us, young lady."

"Ed, Nina, come in," Betty said, stepping aside. "You're early."

Scully moved to the side of the door with William, noting that the elderly man was carrying a doctor's bag and a suitcase.

"Hi, Betty, how's Fox doing today?" Nina asked. She carried her purse in one hand, in the other, a bag with gift-wrapped boxes peeking out.

"He's grouchy. Maybe y'all can help cheer him up some."

"We'll do our best."

"Thanks, Nina." Betty turned to the elderly man. "Ed, I moved my belongings into the nursery, so you and Nina can put your things up in the guestroom." Betty was heading back to the farm on Sunday to help with the spring planting and cleaning.

"Thanks, Betty. We had better allow you to get back to this young lady. Come along, Nina, let's go see how Fox is doing."

Scully was starting to get upset. Who were these people? What did she mean nursery? "Would someone just tell Mulder I'm here!"

Betty sighed. "Okay. I'm allowing you in against my better judgment. Wait in the parlour and I'll check with Fox on whether he wants to see you."

Scully picked up William as Betty showed them into the parlour. She looked around after the older woman had left. The room was filled with personal effects from all three men. Paintings and family photos were displayed on the walls and shelves. The furniture was eclectic, but blended together nicely. There was a warmth about the room, she found appealing. She could picture all three men relaxing together with a fire blazing in the hearth.

"Scully."

She spun around at the sound of Mulder's voice. Her mouth dropped open in shock. The elderly man was standing at Mulder's side.

"Fox, would you like to sit down?" Doctor Skinner asked.

"Ed, I can manage sitting on my own. It's the standing part that I'm having a problem with lately. Why don't we go into the kitchen? The stools are easier for me to get on and off."

Scully found her voice. "Mulder, you're pregnant."

Mulder arched an eyebrow looking down at his huge belly. "Is it that obvious?"

"Yes. Demetrius Tatev did this to you, didn't he?"

"Yes, but it's John's, not Tatev's." He led the way into the kitchen. "Ma, do you mind if we talk in here?"

"No, I don't mind, Fox. Would you and your guest like some iced tea?"

"Sure, Ma."

"Ed?" Betty pulled the pitcher out of the refrigerator.

"No thanks, Betty, I'm going to run outside and get the rest of our luggage." Doctor Skinner paused at the counter. He held out his hand to Scully. "I'm Doctor Skinner, by the way, Walter's father."

"It's a pleasure to meet you, sir. Are you Mulder's Doctor?"

"No. I'm retired. Fox has a specialist overseeing his condition. I better get those bags."

"Scully, would Willie like some juice?" Mulder noticed the little boy was staring at him bashfully. It was sadly obvious to Mulder that his son no longer remembered him.

"William, would you like some juice?" Scully asked.

"Yes."

"He talks?" Mulder studied his two-year-old son. The boy looked a lot like Scully.

"He says a few words."

Betty pulled out a bottle of grape juice and poured a little in a plastic cup for the boy.

"Ma, have you met Scully?" Mulder asked.

"I met her," Betty said. She turned her back on them and went about fixing lunch.

"Mulder, why didn't you tell me?" Scully asked.

"Scully, why should I have? It's not as if you've given a damned about me. The only contact I've had with you recently is sending you a monthly child support check."

"That's not true."

"Isn't it?"

Scully ignored that and continued staring at Mulder's belly. "Since you and John are having a baby does this mean you'll have no time for your son?"

"You've already seen to that, Scully."

Scully sighed. "Okay, so maybe you're right." She looked down at her glass, watching the beads of liquid run down the side. "Mulder, I didn't want anything to happen to our son. I wanted him as far from the X-Files as possible. Is it wrong for me to want him to have a normal childhood? Not to put his life at risk because of who his father is?"

"So you consider me to be a danger to our son's life." Mulder rested a hand on his belly. He was worried about the same thing. Would he be able to protect Jack and Jade?

"I'm sorry, Mulder."

"Don't be. At least I can agree with why you took him away from me."

Betty slammed a cabinet door. "Fox, don't let her go making you feel guilty! You're no more a danger to Willie than you are to your unborn son and daughter."

"I wish you were right, Ma, but I've made a lot of enemies over the years--both on and off this planet." Mulder had started writing his book several weeks ago. It was a detailed account of his experiences since his sister's abduction and his knowledge of aliens. Recording all of his memories had scared the shit out of him.

Scully touched his arm. "Mulder, at least the syndicate's gone...."

"No. They're still around but under new management." Mulder slid off the stool and walked over to the kitchen window. "Scully, all these years it was CGB Spender who was protecting me, but I found out recently that he's dead. If the syndicate sees me as a threat, I don't doubt that they'll take me out."

"What are you going to do?"

"I'm being more careful. Walter and John are helping me take steps to protect our family. When we're done, it will cost those bastards too much to harm any of us," Mulder said. With Senator Woods help they had compiled enough evidence that would topple several governments. It was stored in half a dozen locations across the country.

"Fox, is your friend staying for lunch?" Betty asked.

"Scully, would you like to stay?"

"I wouldn't want to put your ah...mother-in-law to too much trouble."

"It's no trouble, Miss Scully," Betty said. "Why don't y'all go have a seat at the table.

Nina Skinner walked into the kitchen. "Betty, do you need any help?"

"No, Nina, you just relax today. You can help me tomorrow if you'd like." Betty pulled a shepherd's pie out of the oven. "Why don't you set yourself down with the young'uns."

Nina took a seat next to Scully who was holding William on her lap. "He's a cutie, isn't he? I'm Nina Skinner."

"Dana Scully. This is my son William."

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Dana. Does William take after you or his father?"

"Mulder is William's father."

"Oh...you introduced him as your son, it didn't even occur to me that this was Fox's son. Walter mentioned something about Fox having a child who lived in California with his mother."

Betty carried over two plates with a slice of shepherd's pie and potato chips on each, placing one in front of Mulder and the other in front of Scully.

"Ma, can I have some catsup?"

"Sure, Fox." She brought it back with a slice of the pie for Mrs. Skinner.

"This looks really good, Mrs. Doggett," Scully said.

"Would you like a small plate for Willie?"

"That's not necessary, he can share with me."

"Mm, something smells really good!" Ed Skinner said, walking into the kitchen, he took a seat on the other side of Mulder.

"Did you get all of your luggage upstairs?" Betty served herself and Ed a slice of pie.

"Yep."

She was about to sit when the doorbell chimed. Sighing, she went to answer it and returned a couple minutes later with a large box.

"Fox, you got a package from Baby-style. Now what did you order?"

"Just some things for the babies."

Betty turned to the Skinners. "He's been charging up a storm on the Internet."

"I haven't been spending that much. In fact, I've spent less on your grandchildren than John, Walter, or you and Paul." Mulder smirked.

"You haven't just been ordering things for the babies."

"Ma, it's not like I can run out to the store."

"Johnny and Walter are always more than--"

"Ma, look...I like being able to buy some stuff on my own." Mulder was beginning to feel stifled under John's mother watchful eye. He found some items he wanted to order at an online leather and bondage store, but no way could he purchase them with Betty Doggett in the house.

"Betty, if Fox wants to buy some things online, it's his business," Ed said, "Now can I have seconds? This is the best shepherd's pie I've ever had."

After lunch, Mulder showed Scully the room they had the medical equipment in.

Scully nodded her approval as she checked out the custom hospital bed. "This is really a nice bed, it should help a lot during the birth of the twins. When's your due date?"

"July 2."

William was clinging to Mulder's leg. "Da-Da, up."

"Willie, I'd love to pick you up, but I can't bend down that far."

"You could go earlier," Scully said.

"I'd love to deliver at thirty-eight weeks, but my doctor wants me to go full term." Mulder touched his belly. "This is getting really difficult. Scully, I want to go jogging and play some B-ball. I want to stand up to pee, and I want to sleep on my belly. I miss swimming at the Y...."

"My pregnancy was difficult, too."

"At least you were able to leave the house."

"True, but it was no picnic. I wasn't even sure my baby was human. Not to mention the conditions I was forced to give birth under."

"At least you're female and weren't pregnant with twins."

"Agent Scully," Walter said, stepping into the room and ending their bickering.

"Hello, sir."

"Walter, you're home early."

He walked over to Mulder and kissed him as he lovingly caressed Mulder's belly.

This was the first time Scully had seen Skinner and Mulder together in this manner. She'd seen how deeply Mulder and Doggett loved each other, but not her boss and ex-partner. It surprised her how tenderly Skinner touched Mulder's belly. She had friends whose husbands weren't this passionate with them while they were pregnant. Scully wondered if Skinner and Doggett shared the same sort of love and passion for each other as they both apparently shared with Mulder.

Skinner bent and picked up the toddler. "You're getting big, William."

The boy looked at him with wide blue eyes then rested his head on Skinner's shoulder and started sucking on his thumb.

Skinner hugged the boy. "With John out of town I thought I should come home and supervise the men who are dropping off the items for our garden pond this afternoon. Tomorrow, I thought I'd start digging the hole for the rubber liner."

"Well, at least I'll be able to supervise you," Mulder said. He'd been looking forward to the physical aspect of installing the pond. Now it looked like he'd only be able to watch Walter work.

"You can still help."

"Doing what?"

"I bought you one of those foam rubber gardening pads. It has handles that will help you stand and kneel, so you can help me arrange the rocks around the pond. I'll also give you the hose and you can fill it."

Mulder leered at him. "If you give me the hose, I'll definitely fill it."

"Fox, save that thought for tonight." Skinner turned back to Scully. "I received yours and Reyes request to transfer back to D.C."

Mulder looked over at Scully who was leaning up against the bed. "You want to transfer back here? Why didn't you say anything earlier?"

"I wasn't sure if our transfer request would be approved." She looked at Skinner. "I'm still not sure."

Skinner handed William back to Scully. "Agent Scully, we have a lot of agents who've requested transfers to D.C. I cannot immediately approve both yours and Reyes request after only just transferring you to San Francisco a year ago."

"Sir, when do you think positions will be open?"

"The earliest, December."

"Thank you, sir." She turned to Mulder. "We better get going. Monica and I are staying with my mother until Friday, if you'd like to call and talk."

"Okay, Scully."

"I'll show you out," Skinner said.

***

Mulder glanced around the dark bedroom before easing out of Skinner's arms. Something had awoken him, but he didn't know what. The babies weren't kicking his ribs in and he didn't need to use the bathroom. He had a strong desire to get some fresh air, so he pulled on his robe and stepped outside onto the veranda.

He didn't see the man hidden in the shadows until he was pushed up against the wall and a hand covered his mouth. A rush of panic set in as Mulder stared into the alien bounty hunter's cold eyes.

"Fox Mulder, you are full of surprises." His hand moved down clenching Mulder's throat to silence him. While his other hand opened Mulder's robe and caressed the large pregnant swell of his belly.

Mulder struggled as the alien hand pressed against his belly. "Please, don't hurt my--"

"I have no intention of harming your babies." He tilted his head as he brought their lips together and ravished Mulder's mouth in an all too consuming kiss. There was nothing sexual about it. The bruising contact was a means of dominating him.

Mulder's struggles increased as he tried in vain to throw the large being off. Suppressed memories of similar contact and penetration during the time he was held captive came flooding back. It was making him physically ill.

"Fox Mulder, you will always belong to us...."

"...Fox! Wake up!"

Mulder started awake and stared into the rich brown irises of his lover's eyes. At first he didn't know where he was as he quickly glanced around their bedroom. The room was bathed in a warm early morning glow.

"Walter...?"

Breathing a sigh of relief, Skinner pulled Mulder into his arms, hugging him against his chest. "Fox, you scared me half to death. You were screaming and thrashing around...I was afraid you might hurt yourself and the babies."

Mulder arms tightened around Skinner's back as he rested his head on the large man's shoulder. "Oh God, it was only a dream."

With Mulder's stomach press firmly against his, Skinner could feel a baby move. "What did you dream about?"

"The morphing alien was waiting for me outside on our veranda...he wanted me back." There was something else important that was on the edge of his memory, but he couldn't quite remember it.

"You're safe, Fox."

"Walter, something happened to me onboard their spaceship...besides the torture."

"Fox, maybe you shouldn't think about this now. You're shaking like a leaf." Skinner helped Mulder out of bed. "C'mon, I'm going to run you a bath."

Mulder stood with his arms folded across his chest over his belly, watching Skinner fill the bathtub. He had avoided thinking about the aliens and the possibility that they might take his children from him. Instead, him and his lovers focused on removing any human threat to their family. Now he was scared to death and didn't know what to do. How could he protect his family when he couldn't even protect himself?

"Fox, we'll do everything to protect you and our children." Skinner took his hand and helped Mulder into the bathtub.

A sigh of pleasure escaped Mulder's lips at the silky feel of the water against his flesh. "Walter, I want to look forward to the future--you, John, and our kids. I don't want to spend my every hour worrying about those bastards ruining our happiness."

"Then don't. Concentrate on our future together and enjoying the present. Fox, I love you and John. I never realized I could be this happy and no fucking aliens are going to take this away from me." Skinner kneeled beside the tub and washed Mulder's back.

Mulder's wet hand wrapped around the back of Skinner's neck and pulled him into a kiss. "I love you, Walter. You have a way of chasing my demons away."

***

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Ninth Month - Third trimester

The sun was high in the western sky as the temperature approached ninety. Sweat trickled uncomfortably down Mulder's back between his shoulder blades as he picked up a glass of iced lemonade. He sat self-consciously on a cushioned lawn chair that was positioned beneath a large umbrella on the new patio off the kitchen. It overlooked the backyard and the new garden pond. Around him were the guests that Frohike had invited to the baby shower.

Mulder glared over at Walter and John, he was still pissed that they hadn't talked Frohike out of this latest humiliation to his manhood. He set the empty glass down and picked up the present from Tim Bayliss. The Baltimore detective had started coming out on a regular basis, even after they finally caught a suspect in the serial killer case in April. He always had some new case he wanted Mulder's advice on.

Inside the box were two tiny denim jackets and little sneakers. "Hey, Tim, these are really cool. John, don't you think?" Mulder passed the package to his lover.

"Yep. Now all we need are tiny jeans and T-shirts."

"Open mine next," Langly said, tossing Mulder a paper bag.

Mulder opened the bag and chuckled, pulling out two pairs of tiny denim jeans. "Did you two plan this?"

Paul Doggett stood. "Fox, would you like some more lemonade?"

"A glass of ice water would be great, Paul."

Paul went into the house, while Byers handed Mulder a fancy gift-wrapped box. Inside were two fancy outfits, a tiny suit with a clip on tie and a green velvet dress with a matching headband. "The twins will be styling in these, John. Thanks."

Chuck Burks walked over to the cooler containing the beer. "Does anyone want one?" he asked, pulling out a Miller light.

"I could use another one," Sam said.

"Me, too." Rolf drained his bottle setting the empty under his chair.

Mulder set the box next to the two stuffed bears dressed in trench coats that his friend Sam had given them.

Paul came back out with a tall glass of ice water and handed it to Mulder.

Mulder took a long drink, then set the glass aside. "Walter, can you give me a hand up?" His bladder, among other things was protesting again.

Skinner took a hold of Mulder's hands and pulled him to his feet. "Do you need any help?"

"No. I can manage." Mulder was wearing white cotton shorts and an oversized cotton shirt. He waddled into the house through the back door. "Hi, ladies." He nodded at Betty, Nina, Jill, Claire, and Barbara. The women were sitting at the kitchen table playing cards. Frohike had decided that the baby shower was for men only.

"How's the party going, Fox?" Nina asked.

"Fine. The babies are going to be well-dressed." Mulder walked through the dining room and into the washroom. Another twisting pain wrenched his gut. He'd been having them since last night. Until now he'd been blaming them on the spicy food they had for dinner. This time he was aware that something wasn't quite right. He started closing the door when he felt a sudden rush of liquid pour down his legs.

"Oh crap...MA!"

He heard the sound of chairs being pushed back and the pounding of several feet.

"Fox dear, what's wrong?" Betty asked, pushing open the bathroom door. "Oh my. Nina, get Johnny and Walter! Fox's water broke."

Mulder was leaning up against the wall holding his belly, standing in a puddle of liquid. He was visibly shaking.

"C'mon, dear, let's get you upstairs and out of these wet clothes," Betty took his hand and led him out of the bathroom, past Jill, Barbara, and Claire.

"Ma, I'm scared," Mulder said, allowing the petite woman to lead him toward the stairs.

Skinner and Doggett rushed into the hallway as Betty was helping Mulder up the steps.

"Walter, call Doctor Moore. Johnny, give me a hand with Fox," Betty said.

They made it up to the master bedroom, where they stripped Mulder out of his clothes and got him into a robe.

"I still need to pee," Mulder said, calming a little.

"C'mon, I'll help you," Doggett said, guiding him into their bathroom. He opened Mulder's robe and held his penis, pointing it into the toilet bowl.

Mulder sighed as the stream of piss flowed out of him. "John, is it too late to change my mind?" He gasped as he experienced a strong contraction.

Betty was waiting in the bedroom for them when they came out. "Fox, do you know how long you've been in labour?"

"I don't know. I was having cramps last night, so I suppose it could have been sixteen hours. I thought I had gas from the chilli."

Betty sighed. "Let's get you into bed, then Johnny will time your contractions."

Mulder followed them to the back bedroom and Doggett helped him into the hospital bed.

"Lay on your side, Fox. You'll be more comfortable."

"Oh God!" Mulder gasped as another sharp contraction twisted his gut. It couldn't have been more than four minutes since the last one.

Doggett looked at his watch as he kicked off his shoes and climbed onto the bed to hold Mulder. "I got you, Fox."

"John, I want drugs. Lots of drugs."

Skinner hurried into the room a couple minutes later. "How's he doing?"

"He's been in labour since last night, but he thought it was gas."

"Oooh," Mulder brought his knees up, this was nearly as painful as when the aliens cut his chest opened.

"Fox, it's only four minutes since your last contraction." Doggett looked up at Skinner. "Walter, when's Moore going to get here?"

"He's ten minutes away. What should we do?" Skinner felt panicky.

"Boys, let me handle it," Doctor Skinner said, stepping into the bedroom with his doctor's bag.

Skinner breathed a sigh of relief. "Dad, tell us what do?"

"First rolled Fox on his back." Doctor Skinner set his bag on the table. "John, you can get behind him and hold him...I need to check how far he's dilated. Betty why don't you go downstairs and make us a fresh pot of coffee."

Betty took the hint as Walter's father slapped on a pair of surgical gloves.

"Fox, spread your legs," Doctor Skinner said.

Mulder eyes widened and he pulled the robe more tightly around him. "Ed, I think we should wait for Doctor Moore...oh shit...." Mulder gasped, his fingers dug into Doggett's forearms as he arched his back. Once the contraction ended, he reluctantly eased his legs up spreading his thighs.

Doctor Skinner sat on the bed and spread Mulder's buttocks then inserted a gloved finger into his vagina. "Fox, your cervix is opened about four centimetres."

Mulder's face flamed red as he stared down at Ed's baldhead between his thighs. "What does that mean?"

"You're in active labour, you can expect your first baby to be born anywhere from two to six hours."

"Six hours? I want drugs! Good drugs!"

Doggett stroked Mulder's head. "Shh, Foxy. Walter and I will help take your mind off the pain."

"John, I don't want my mind off it! I want it gone!"

"Ed, I take it my patient is experiencing labour pain?" Doctor Moore said, stepping into the room.

"Yes, he's dilated to four centimetres."

"Mulder, I'm surprised you didn't call me sooner." The Doctor wheeled a heart monitor over to the bed.

Mulder bit his lip as another contraction seized his belly. "Oh, fuck... Doctor, I didn't know I was in labour." The doctor opened his patient's robe and taped the sensors on his belly. He then draped a sheet over Mulder's crotch and legs.

"I need to monitor the babies heartbeats," Moore said as took Mulder's blood pressure.

"Doc, is there anything you can give Fox for the pain?" Doggett asked.

"I'd rather hold off. There's no telling how his delivery is going to go...I want to keep him alert."

Walter smiled reassuringly as he combed his fingers through Mulder's hair. "Fox, we've spent weeks going through Lamaze training, let's try what we learned."

Mulder pouted, pulling the sheet over his belly. "I suppose."

"Walter, why don't you, John, and Ed change into scrubs. I want to keep this room as sterile as possible."

***

Downstairs their guests had settled into the kitchen to wait.

Frohike headed into the living room and opened the liquor cabinet.

"Melvin, isn't it a little early to be drinking," Byers said, following him into the room.

"My best friend is upstairs about to give birth to twins. I think it's plenty early to be drinking." He poured two fingers worth of whiskey into a tumbler.

"Melvin, pour me a drink," Paul Doggett said.

"You're nervous about becoming a Grandfather?"

"Yes and no. I love Fox like a son. At this point, I'm more worried about him coming through this okay than I am about my unborn grandchildren. What happens if something goes wrong during delivery?"

Byers frowned. "Pour me a drink, too."

***

"Are you sure the clock is working?" Mulder asked for the hundredth time. He was kneeling on all fours on the bed while Skinner massaged his lower back. This was the eighth position he moved into over the past seven hours.

Doggett held a photo under his eyes. "Fox, just focus on this photo. Remember how much fun we had up at the cabin in December? Look at how beautiful the snow looks on the evergreen trees. Concentrate."

Mulder looked up at him with pain-filled eyes and said weakly, "I want to lay on my back now, please."

"It won't be much longer, Mulder," Doctor Moore said, "You're at nine centimetres."

Once on his back, Mulder attempted to get comfortable. A scream ripped out of him as the baby pushed into the birth canal.

"I can see its head!" Moore positioned Mulder's legs into the stirrups.

"Breathe, Fox," Skinner said.

"Okay, Mulder, I want you to push during your next contraction."

Doggett gripped Mulder's hand as the next contraction wrenched his lover's belly. The muscles in Mulder's neck strained as he bore down and Doggett watched in stunned silence as their first baby was born.

Doctor Moore deftly cleaned out the baby's mouth and nose with a bulb suction tool. She started to cry loudly as he cut the umbilical cord. "Ed, will you clean her and record her weight, length and vitals?"

Moore checked Mulder for tearing then checked his pulse and blood pressure. Skinner stayed at Mulder's side while Doggett wandered over to watch Doctor Skinner bathe his new daughter. Then Ed wrapped her in soft white swaddling clothes.

"Would you like to hold her, John?"

"Yes." He took the baby into his arms and studied her as he walked back to the bed. Doggett looked down at Mulder who was breathing heavily while Skinner mopped the sweat from his forehead. "Fox, you should see her. She's beautiful."

Mulder gave him a weak smile. "Hold that thought, John boy. I think her brother is about to join her." He clutched Walter's hand as another painful contraction wrenched his belly. Twenty minutes later the next baby's head crowned.

"It's almost over, Mulder, just one more big push," Doctor Moore said.

Skinner kept a tight hold on Mulder's hand as his lover strained to push the next baby from his body. The doctor caught the baby and proceeded to clean out his throat and nose, then patted him on the bottom to get him breathing. The baby had a hearty cry. After cutting the umbilical cord, Moore handed the infant to Doctor Skinner who carried him over to the table.

Then he checked Mulder again for tearing, while Skinner ran a damp washcloth over Mulder's brow.

"You're doing fine, Mulder, all that's left is for you to deliver the afterbirth. Then we'll get you cleaned up and into bed."

"God, I could sleep for a week," Mulder said.

***

Downstairs everyone smiled with relief when they heard the sound of a baby crying.

***

It was nearly ten o'clock in the evening by the time Walter, John, and Ed came downstairs. They had changed back into their jeans and T-shirts.

"Congratulations, Johnny," Paul said, hugging his son.

Doggett was giddy with excitement. "Jade was born first she weighs six pounds eight ounces. Jack weighs seven pounds exactly."

"How's Fox?" Betty asked.

Walter was smiling proudly. "He's sleeping. Doctor Moore is with him and the twins. He wants to monitor them for a few hours before he leaves. I should bring him up some more coffee."

"I'll do it, Walter, you and Johnny just rest." Betty was anxious to see her grandchildren.

Paul smiled. "Boys, do you think the Doc would mind if some of us go upstairs to see Fox and the babies?"

"If you could go up two at a time, I think it will be all right," Doggett said, taking a seat at the table.

Frohike was swaying next to Jimmy at the kitchen counter. "Neat man. Let's toast to their health."

"Shall we open the champagne?" Jill asked.

"This is so cool. I'm an uncle again," Rolf said, pacing back and forth.

***

Mulder opened his eyes at the sound of whispering. He was still in the hospital bed in the back bedroom. The sheets had been changed and he wasn't sticky with sweat and other bodily fluids. He turned his head toward the voices. Byers and Langly were looking at the babies, sleeping in the bassinets. "Hey, guys."

"Hey, Mulder. It's amazing that these two perfect babies came out of you," Langly said, "I was expecting something more bizarre."

"They are perfect, aren't they?" Mulder smiled tiredly.

"Yeah. How are you feeling?" Byers asked.

"I'm sore and stiff, but it feels so good to lose the large belly." He still had a gut and stretch marks, but he planned to be back in shape before the end of summer.

Doctor Moore stepped back into the room with John and Walter.

The Doctor spoke to Langly and Byers. "If you can excuse us, gentlemen. It's time for Mulder to learn to nurse the babies."

Mulder blushed when Langly snickered and headed for the door with Byers.

Doctor Moore cranked up the bed, until Mulder was in an almost in a seated position. He then opened the front of Mulder's cotton pyjama top. "John, would you bring Jade over first," he said.

The Doctor took the baby from Doggett and positioned her in Mulder's arms. "Now, pinch your nipple and nudge your daughter's mouth open with it. Then insert it into her mouth. It might take a bit before she catches on."

Mulder spent several frustrating minutes trying to coax his baby to open her mouth before he finally succeeded.

Skinner and Doggett stood next to the bed watching. They grinned when the baby started suckling.

"You should feel some pain and discomfort at first but it will disappear after they have been nursing for a while."

"I don't feel any pain." Mulder smirked at Walter and John, and his lovers blushed.

Moore didn't notice the look that passed between the three men. "You'll want to feed her for five minutes from each nipple every two hours. Once she gets a bit older you should increase the time to fifteen minutes per nipple and feed her every four hours."

"Doctor, between her and Jack that's an awfully long time to be feeding them."

"With practice you should be able to feed both babies at once. When they're a few months old you can offset nursing with bottle feeding." The Doctor glanced up at the clock. "Okay, switch her to your other nipple."

"How? She's latched on pretty well."

The Doctor smiled. "Use your finger to break the suction by pressing down next to your nipple."

Mulder did as instructed. She made a mewing sound as he switched her to the other nipple. "How do I know that she's getting enough milk?"

"She should wet at least six diapers and have one bowel movement every twenty-four hours. I'll be stopping out regularly to check their growth and weight. If something is off, we can always start them bottle feeding earlier." He watched the baby until five minutes had passed. "Walter, would you like to burp the baby?"

"Yes." Skinner nervously took the baby from Mulder. "What do I do?"

The Doctor put a white cloth over Skinner's shoulder. "You can turn her on her belly or place her on your shoulder, then gently rub her back. John, bring your son over to Mulder."

The whole process took less than a half-hour and Mulder was tired again. He yawned. "Hey, Doc, when can I have sex?"

"Give it a few days, then you can start having anal sex. Wait about six weeks before having vaginal intercourse. I'm going to stay until the babies have their first bowel movement. Then I'll show you all how to properly clean and diaper them."

***

Three weeks later

Monday, July 14, 2003

Mulder was sitting in the kitchen, typing on his laptop while Jade and Jack slept in their bassinets next to him. Walter and John had left for work seven hours earlier. This was the first time he'd been alone in the house in months. The last few weeks had flown by. Their relatives had all gone home and the guys finally had the house all to themselves again.

The twins slept in two bassinets next to their bed at night. They thought it was still too soon to move them into the nursery. Skinner and Doggett took turns changing diapers and bathing the babies, while Mulder recuperated and started a mild exercise program.

"Hey, Mulder!" Jimmy said, barging in through the back door. He was carrying a duffel bag and a suitcase. Behind him, Frohike, Langly, and Byers walked in carrying boxes.

"You're early, guys."

"There's a thunderstorm heading this way and a strong wind advisory has been issued. We wanted to get Jimmy's things moved in before it gets here," Frohike said.

"Well, the back bedroom is cleaned out and ready for him."

"Thanks for giving me this opportunity, Mulder," Jimmy said.

"Jimmy, you were the best applicant for the position."

Jack started crying and Mulder sighed, shutting off his laptop. He picked up the infant and undid his shirt. "Jackie, you're always hungry, just like your dad."

Jimmy stood watching as the three gunmen hurried out of the kitchen. "How often do you need to breast feed him?"

"I don't have breasts, Jimmy." Mulder didn't want to admit that his chest had gotten puffy.

"Where does the milk come from then?"

"Milk sacs don't have to be very large to produce enough milk to feed two infants. Once they get older we'll have to switch to formula."

"How often do they nurse?"

"About every three hours. Jackie nurses more than his sister, I think he mostly wants something to suckle." Mulder smiled, remembering how Jackie latched onto John's nipple while he was holding him.

"I better get my bags up to my room."

Mulder noticed through the window that the wind was starting to pick up as the storm moved in. He decided to move the bassinets away from the windows. He carried them into the living room and set them against the inside wall. Then he walked across the room and closed the drapes.

A crack of thunder sounded nearby as the gunmen went out for the last of Jimmy's things. Mulder switched on the radio to listen to the weather reports.

"Mulder, do you mind if we hang until the storm lets up?" Frohike asked.

"Nope."

"Do you mind if I hold one of the rug rats?"

"You can hold Jackie as long as you keep your nipples covered."

"Mulder, have you ever seen my nipples?" Frohike asked, picking up the infant.

"No. And I'd like to thank you for it."

Strong winds and rain started pelting the house. Mulder rushed to the front window and pulled the drape back to peer out. He could barely see the trees across the street it had gotten so dark and the rain was coming down in sheets. The lightening flashed and Mulder was positive he saw a man standing across the street looking at the house, but on the next bright flash there was nothing. He shut the drapes and looked at the mantle clock. "Guys, can you watch the babies? I need to start dinner."

The gunmen and Jimmy had the television on and were lounging in front of it. Frohike was holding Jackie while Jimmy held Jade and was making faces at her.

"Sure, Mulder. Do we get to stay for dinner?" Langly asked.

"Sure." It was times like this that he really missed Betty Doggett. He decided to make bratwursts, instead of the meal he had planned. Mulder pulled two packages of brats and buns from the freezer and a couple cans of beer out of the refrigerator. Emptying the beer into a pan, he dumped in the frozen brats and set them on simmer.

Walter came rushing through the back door, sopping wet in just the thirty feet from the garage to the door. "It's raining cats and dogs."

"As long as it's not raining cows," Mulder said. "You're home early for once."

"I wanted to make sure you were okay. Where are the babies?" Skinner hung his wet trench coat in the laundry room before coming into the kitchen. The bottom of his suit pants and shoes were wet. He grabbed a dishtowel and dried his head, then took off his glasses.

"I'm okay. Our sprogs are with the gunmen and Jimmy in the living room."

"Did they get Jimmy's things moved in?" Skinner walked over and wrapped his arms around Mulder, nuzzling his throat.

"Yes."

"Mm, you smell so good."

Mulder hugged Skinner back, enjoying the feel of their groins together. He squeezed his lover's firm buttocks, and leered at him. "So do you. Why don't you go and get out of those wet pants?"

"Fox, I know that look. You want to be on top again?" Skinner sighed. For the last two weeks Mulder refused to be on the bottom preferring to fuck either him or John.

"Well yeah, I thought you liked me fucking you?"

"I do, but I prefer fucking you more." Skinner's hands caressed and kneaded Mulder's buttocks as he leaned in for a kiss.

They jumped as thunder boomed overhead and the power went out. It was only five o'clock in the afternoon, but the storm cast everything into darkness. Skinner lit a couple of candles.

"At least our stove is gas," Mulder said as Byers rushed into the kitchen.

"The living room is pretty dark, do you have any candles?"

Skinner handed him one of the candles. "John, there are a couple of candles on the mantle you can light."

One of the babies started crying and Mulder hurried into the living room. Jimmy stood rocking her, trying to quiet her frantic cries.

Mulder took her from him and checked her diaper. "C'mon, Jimmy I'll show you how to change her."

"I can show Jimmy, Fox," Skinner said. "Why don't you finish dinner?"

"Okay." He passed Jade to Skinner who cuddled her lovingly against his broad chest.

Mulder checked Jack who was sleeping in his bassinet with Frohike sound asleep on the recliner next to him. Langly was sprawled out on their sofa listening to the battery-operated radio. Byers stood looking out the front window at the storm. Mulder heard the back door slam shut and walked back into the kitchen.

Doggett stood, dripping wet, in the small hallway leading into the kitchen and laundry room. A puddle was forming under his feet. Unlike Walter, he wasn't wearing a trench coat.

"Hey, John boy, you're wetter than Walter was."

"I had to park down the alley. The gunmen's van is in my parking spot."

Mulder handed him a kitchen towel. "Strip in the laundry room. I'll run upstairs and get you something dry to wear and a bath towel."

Doggett grabbed his wrist before he could leave. Tilting his head, Doggett captured Mulder's lips. "I've been looking forward to kissing you all the way home."

Mulder reached up and caressed the side of Doggett's face. "Strip...I'll be right back."

Mulder returned and handed Doggett jeans, a T-shirt, and sandals. Then he went back into the kitchen to finish dinner.

The power went back on as Mulder was turning the brats on the gas grill. Doggett came out of the living room carrying Jack in the crook of his arm and the bassinet in the other. Skinner followed with Jade and her bassinet. They set the bassinets against the wall in the breakfast room and sat at the table holding the infants.

Frohike helped Mulder with dinner by slicing up a tomato and an onion for the brats.

"Frohike, can you get a jar of sauerkraut from the pantry."

"Sure, Mulder, I was going to ask if you had any."

"Can I help?" Jimmy asked.

"Yes, can you drain the corn on the cob and put it in a bowl? Then bring in another chair from the dining room." Mulder poured the baked beans into a bowl and carried it over to the breakfast table.

They soon had everything on the table and Skinner and Doggett reluctantly put the babies back in their bassinets.

"Fox, did you get any writing done today?" Skinner asked, putting a brat on a bun then squirting on some mustard and scooping on some diced onion and tomatoes wedges.

"I got a lot of writing done. I'm writing about my abduction...everything I remember from the time I was taken to waking up in the hospital with Scully at my bedside."

"How much do you remember?"

"Too much, and not enough. I feel like there is something just outside my memory that is important, but I just can't reach it. I'm thinking about seeing a hypnotist."

"Fox, I wish you wouldn't. I don't think hypnosis is very reliable or accurate," Doggett said.

"I need to find out everything that happened to me."

"But how do we know that the hypnotist wouldn't be putting false memories into your head?"

"John, I'll find a hypnotist that I can trust. You and Walter can sit in on my session, if he or she tries to lead the questions, you can end it."

"I still don't like it, but okay, as long as Walter and I are there." Doggett spread the sauerkraut over his brat.

The gunmen ate silently as they listened to their friends' conversation.

Frohike finally asked, "Mulder, do you want us to store a back up copy of your book...just in case?"

"Why don't you just ask me if you could read it?" Mulder said.

"Can I?"

"When it's finished, I'll let you guys edit it."

"Can we print a series of excerpts from it for our magazine?" Byers asked.

"It all depends on how you handle the content." Mulder spooned some beans into his mouth. The book was about his life and he was worried that what he wrote might be mocked or diminished.

"We won't take any liberties with your story."

"Okay, but only if I get to approve the copy before you publish the articles."

"Sure--"

Both babies started crying hungrily. Mulder sighed as his nipples started to leak. He wiped his mouth with a napkin then set it next to his unfinished meal and stood.

"Fox, do you need any help?" Doggett asked.

"No. I'm going to take them into the living room and feed them," he said, picking up the bassinets. Once in the living room, he set them on the floor next to the recliner. Then Mulder unbuttoned his shirt and unsnapped the undershirt he was wearing before picking up one baby at a time. He sat on the recliner and positioned one at each of his nipples.

Mulder stared down at their small faces as the suckled hungrily. After three weeks it was still hard for him to believe that he'd given birth to them. What a totally mind-blowing experience it had been. He shifted uncomfortably as the stimulation from their suckling caused him to get an erection. Although, he realized it was perfectly normal, it still bothered him.

When Walter stepped into the room the storm had ended and the sun was out. He walked over to the mantle he blew out the candles. "Are they almost done?"

"I think they finished a couple minutes ago. They're just suckling now."

Skinner looked down at them. Both babies had their eyes closed and every couple of seconds their lips would move. "I put your dinner in the oven to keep it warm. Let me take the twins so you can finish eating."

"Thanks, Walter."

The gunmen were helping Doggett with the dirty dishes. Doggett stopped what he was doing when Mulder stepped into the kitchen. "Fox, sit down. I'll get your meal," he said, grabbing a hot pad.

Walter carried the two bassinets back into the breakfast room.

"I was thinking, guys," Mulder said.

"Thinking about what, Fox?"

"I love this house and the neighbourhood, but once the kids get older it will start getting a little crowded. I think we should think about putting on an addition."

Doggett chuckled. "When we first moved in you were worried that the house was too large."

Mulder smirked. "It's shrunk since we moved in. Having both yours and Walter's parents staying here at the same time was enough to convince me of that."

"I think it's a good idea, Fox," Skinner said. "So what do you have in mind?"

"I think we should try to get at least two more bedrooms and an entertainment room. We can have the entertainment room soundproofed so the sprogs won't drive us nuts when they hit their teens."

"I'll hire an architect to come out to look at the house," Skinner said, "We can tell him just what we're looking for."

"As long as were talking about an addition, I wouldn't mind if we added a work room onto the back of our garage." Doggett had to put most of his power tools in storage since there wasn't any room for them at the house.

Skinner liked that idea. "We do have a good fifteen feet of space in back of the garage we could use for the workshop. John, why don't you call the city and get a permit for the addition? We can start that project right away. If we insulate the garage we should be able to heat the workroom in the winter."

Mulder wasn't much into tools or building things with his hands, so he stared at his lovers perplexed. He wanted to bring in professional builders. "You're planning on building the addition onto the garage yourselves?"

"Yeah, Fox. It should be an easy project." Doggett noticed Mulder's worried expression. "Don't worry, we'll hire some pros to help with the home addition."

"We better get going," Byers said, "Thanks for dinner."

"You're welcome, John," Skinner said.

"Jimmy, take care of yourself and don't drop the babies," Frohike said.

"Don't worry, Frohike."

"Bye, Guys," Mulder said, walking them to the door. He turned back to the breakfast table to find Walter and John roughing out a sketch of the garage expansion. Jimmy Bond was watching them and throwing in the odd comment.

"It's not going to be big enough for all of our tools," Doggett sighed.

"Why don't you guys add an additional room above the garage?" Bond said.

Skinner liked that idea, but he wasn't sure if the city would approve of them adding a second story onto the garage. "Hmm, we'd have to check with the city, but if we could match the style of our garage to our house then they might approve the plan."

"Whatever you guys do is fine just make sure there's a roof on the garage before winter," Mulder said. "Do you both want to give the twins a bath before bed?"

"Sure, Fox. Walter, we can come back and work on this plan later," Doggett said, standing. "We'll need to install a good ventilation system."

Mulder watched as they both took a bassinet and carried them out of the room.

"Mulder, what's wrong?"

"Nothing, Jimmy." Mulder had the feeling that once this workshop was completed then both his lovers would be hanging out there instead of in the house with him.

***

Eight weeks later

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Mulder bent down and gave the tiny belly a raspberry. The baby kicked and made a breathless sigh as a smile lit up her face. "You're my precious baby girl aren't you, Jade? Would you like to go to the coffee shop with your brother and me?" Mulder finished dressing Jade. At three months old both babies were able to roll over on their own, but hadn't quite figured out how to sit up or crawl.

Jack was on the carpeted floor playing with a set of plastic keys. Mulder scooped him up then carried both babies downstairs and placed them into the double stroller sitting by the front door. He made sure their knit caps covered their ears. It was a cool sixty degrees outside this morning.

"Mulder, I can't find the grocery list?" Jimmy said, coming out of the kitchen.

"It should be tacked up on the refrigerator."

"It's not there."

"Check inside the refrigerator."

Jimmy headed back into the kitchen. "Found it!"

"Jimmy, can you pick up some more formula? I forgot to add it to the list." Mulder was no longer nursing the babies. He decided to get them use to bottle-feeding before he went back to work.

"Can do!"

Mulder opened the front door and eased the stroller down the single step. He'd been making daily trips to the coffee shop for the past month now. The traffic was light on their street and he only had to wait a minute at the curb to cross over to the park. He took the paved path through the park to the other side then crossed at the light over to the line of shops on the other side of the street.

The bells above the door jangled as Mulder entered the coffee shop.

"Hi, Mulder." The woman behind the counter smiled at him as he pushed the stroller to a corner table.

"Hi, Wendy. I'll have the usual." Mulder left the babies at the table as he strolled up to the counter. The place only had three other patrons.

"How's the twins this morning?"

"They're fine. I'm starting back to work tomorrow, so I'm going to have to leave them with their nanny."

"How's Jimmy working out? He seems like a sweet guy." She handed Mulder his coffee.

"He's working out better than I had expected. He's conscientious and the babies love him." Mulder carried the coffee cup over to his table. He smiled down at his kids who were looking around the coffee shop.

A large man was sitting at the table next to theirs, reading a newspaper. Mulder recognized him from Valentine's Day at Famous Dave's barbecue shack. He was the man who had assaulted him in the men's room.

Frowning, Mulder sipped his coffee as a feeling of apprehension crept over him. John was out of town on a case and wouldn't be back until tomorrow. Walter should be home on time; it was his turn to cook.

Mulder finished his coffee and tossed the empty cup in the trash then pushed the babies out of the shop. He looked up and down the sidewalk before pushing the stroller to the corner and waiting for the signal to change.

The weather was perfect he thought as he pushed the stroller through the park, coming out in front of their house. He looked both ways and hurried across the street. By the time he got into the house, his feelings of apprehension had vanished, kneeling beside the stroller he removed the babies little sweaters and caps. He placed Jack into the playpen that was setup between the kitchen and the breakfast area and carried Jade to the table where he sat, cuddling her in his arms.

"Tomorrow I'm starting back to work, sweetness. Don't worry, Jimmy will take really good care of you and your brother." He stood and walked over to the refrigerator, taking a couple of baby bottles from it. Mulder had stopped nursing them several days ago, wanting to get them used to the formula.

He heated both bottles and tested the milk, before carrying them and Jade into the living room. He laid her on the sofa, placing the bottles on the coffee table then hurried back for her brother who had started crying for attention. "Shh, Jackie, I haven't forgotten you."

Mulder returned to the living room and picked up the remote, flipping on the television to the food network as he sat with Jack in his arms. He sifted the baby so he could pick up both bottles, placing one nipple in Jack's mouth and held the other to his sister's mouth.

He sat back and watched TV. His mind wandered as he watched Emeril prepare a duck. The feeling of apprehension he had over a year ago was back. It wasn't as strong as it had been when Tatev abducted them, but it was there nonetheless. Mulder looked down at his babies and smiled softly. He didn't feel that they were in danger, only him.

Two weeks ago him and his lovers had gone in for his hypnosis session. The psychiatrist hadn't been able to pull up any new memories from Mulder about his abduction. It made Mulder feel all the more helpless. If he could just remember then maybe he could stop them from taking him again.

Skinner stepped through the backdoor, carrying a large pizza. It was his turn to cook dinner but his meeting ran long.

He found Mulder waiting for him, wearing a white silk robe that was opened displaying a matching pair of white silk boxers. He'd never seen Mulder looking more beautiful. The lights were off in the kitchen.

Skinner placed the pizza box on the counter. "Fox--"

Mulder looped his arms around Skinner's neck and kissed him. "Go upstairs and grab a shower then put on the robe I have laid out on the bed for you."

"Fox, what's going on? Where are the babies?"

Mulder smoothed his hands over Skinner's broad shoulders. "They're upstairs with Jimmy. Walter, this is the first time we've had an evening alone together since I've gotten back in shape. I thought we could have dinner, then make love in front of the fireplace."

Skinner smiled. "I'll be back in a few minutes." He hurried upstairs. In their bedroom he found a navy blue silk robe on the bed and shook his head at how sappily romantic Mulder could be at times. He'd discovered that since moving in here with them. Spontaneous candlelight dinners and quiet evenings with them just making out in front of the fireplace.

He removed his gun and ejected the clip from it, making sure the chamber was empty before locking it in an iron strong box, then locking the ammunition in a separate box.

By the time he got back downstairs, Mulder had dinner on the coffee table in the living room. The room was only lit by candlelight and there was a fire blazing in the hearth.

"I took the rest of the pizza up to Jimmy," Mulder said, admiring Skinner's hard body. His lover had left his robe open and didn't even bother with underwear. Skinner's cock stood proud and his balls hung heavy between his muscular thighs. "Jimmy's going to avoid coming into the living room tonight."

"I wish I knew you were planning this I would have stopped for something more romantic," Skinner said, picking up the glass of deep red wine.

Mulder smiled mischievously and smeared some pizza grease on Skinner's furry chest. He lowered his head and licked it off. "I don't know...I think pizza has romantic possibilities." He picked up his wineglass and drank while watching Skinner lustfully over its rim.

Skinner set his wineglass on the floor and pulled Mulder down on the pile of cushions that were positioned in front of the fireplace. Then he reached back for their plates. He held up a pizza slice and fed it to Mulder then took a bite of it himself.

Mulder placed his hand on Skinner's lap and playfully fondled his penis as his lover gave him another bite of pizza. The organ expanded and grew even harder as he continued to stroke it.

"You know, Walter, we won't be able to do this once our babies get older."

"Sure we will...we just need to send them to bed." Skinner set the pizza aside, hungry for something else. He took the wineglass from Mulder's hand and downed its remaining contents. Then he pushed Mulder back on the pillows. "I hope you remembered a condom. I want to fuck you here." His hand caressed over Mulder's silk-covered vagina. Mulder hadn't allowed him or John to fuck him there since before their babies were born.

Mulder moaned and reached under the sofa cushion, pulling out a foil-wrapped condom. "I was hoping you'd want to...." he sighed.

"Fox, I've wanted to for months." Skinner took the condom and opened the wrapper with his teeth.

The fire crackled and popped as Mulder shrugged out of his robe and boxers. He reclined on the pillows and enjoyed the warmth on his bare flesh as he watched Walter roll the condom on his imposing erection.

Skinner leaned down and kissed Mulder, tasting the fruity flavour of wine on his breath. Mulder's legs wrapped around the back of his thighs brought their groins together. He started rocking, stimulating both their organs as he sucked on Skinner's tongue.

Skinner slowly worked his way down to Mulder's nipples, sucking each in turn and savouring the small amount of fluid that came out. He peered up at Mulder's aroused face. "Too bad, I really enjoyed the taste."

Mulder chuckled. "I couldn't go through life with leaky nipples."

"I suppose all good things must come to an end."

A distant sadness appeared in Mulder's eyes as he thought how true that was.

"Fox?"

Forcing a smile, Mulder said, "Hmm, nothing. Are you going to fuck me or talk?"

Skinner looked into Mulder's eyes, no longer seeing any sadness there. He lowered his head to Mulder's cock and started licking and sucking on the hard length. His tongue caress over the throbbing vein on the underside as he worked his way back up to the smooth bulbous head. Skinner smiled against the flesh as Mulder tried to push into his mouth. He pressed the tip of his tongue against the salty tasting slit and held Mulder down as the young man bucked. He had mercy on him and took the wide head into his mouth. Sucking it like an ice cream cone as he worked his tongue around and around its smooth surface. Skinner's hand caressed and squeezed his lover's balls, alternating between them and taking more of Mulder's shaft into his mouth.

Mulder was moaning and rocking his hips in a steady rhythm.

Skinner pulled away and pushed Mulder's legs back against his chest so he could orally pleasure his lover's other sex organ. Mulder's moans increased as Skinner's tongue probed and lapped at his snatch. Ten minutes later, when Skinner was sure Mulder was ready he pulled away, positioning his cock against the slick opening he shoved in. He'd never get used to the feeling of his lover's furnace encasing his cock, although it felt similar to women he'd had sex with. His male lover having one was just so strange and erotic.

Mulder wrapped his long legs around Skinner's waist, then quickly rolled them until he was on top. He smirked down at Skinner's surprised face. "I've been working out," he said, bending and kissing Skinner sweetly. He started slowly riding his lover's cock, moving so it stroked over his pleasure point with each downward motion. He kept a steady rhythm for a half-hour. Every time Skinner was about to come he'd stop and wait.

"Fox, you're killing me."

"Do you want to come, lover?"

"Please."

Mulder quickened the pace of his rocking, bearing down on the thick organ. His own cock was standing proud and purple against his flat stomach. He felt the pressure of Skinner coming inside of him at the same time watching his lover's face twist in pleasure. He continued rocking faster and pumping his cock until it was shooting white ropy strands of come on Skinner's chest. Mulder experienced dual orgasms, his cunt throbbed its pleasure. After it ended, Mulder collapsed into Skinner's arms and the large man held him against his chest.

"Fox, I love you."

Gazing up at him, Mulder smiled fully sated. "I love you, too." He rested his head on Skinner's shoulder and fell asleep.

Skinner dragged a pillow under his head, taking pleasure from the feel of his cock still buried to the hilt in his lover. He rubbed Mulder's back, closing his eyes he joined him in sleep.

Mulder woke first. He slowly eased off Skinner's cock. Turning, he started to peel the condom off his lover. His stomach sank as he realized that it had torn. "Oh shit."

"Hmm." Skinner stretched and yawned as Mulder stood and headed into the kitchen.

"Shitshitshitshit," Mulder muttered, tossing the condom in the trash, then walking into the laundry room for a washcloth. He had to look at this logically. It was only one time and he hadn't started the dreaded menstrual cycle yet, so more than likely he's not pregnant. He cleaned himself, before rinsing the washcloth and carrying it back into the living room. Should he tell Walter?

Walter was lounging contentedly on the pillows, sipping a glass of wine as he watched Mulder kneel next to him. "Fox, we should do this more often."

"Yeah, we should." Mulder ran the washcloth over Walter's penis and balls. "You and John should have a romantic evening together. It seems that I'm hogging too much of each of your attentions. I think maybe you and John should go up to the cabin together."

"John and I had a lot of evenings together while you were pregnant. Fox, we don't need to exclude you to strengthen our relationship. The only reason you get more of our time, is that you don't have to go out of town as much as John and me."

"Walter, I just need to know that if anything ever happened to me, you'll both be here for the twins and each other."

Skinner sat up and set his wineglass down. "Fox, nothing is going to happen to you."

"Neither of us can predict the future. I want to know you'll be here for John, Jade, and Jack."

"Fox, I'll be here for them. I don't know why you're suddenly worrying about this."

"I'm starting back to work tomorrow. It will be the first time I'm away from the twins since they were born...I'm a little nervous." Mulder wouldn't tell Walter the real reason for his concern. How could he? When he couldn't even explain it to himself.

"You've bonded with the twins, it's only natural that you'd be worried about them."

"Yeah."

Skinner stood and pulled Mulder to his feet. "C'mon, let's clean this mess up and go to bed."

***

Eleven weeks later

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Mulder steered the minivan down the alley behind their home. God, he felt like a total idiot. How could he be pregnant again? Scratch that! He knew how! He also knew he couldn't put off telling Walter and John any longer. It was a good thing that his lovers went to work before him, and never witnessed him vomiting almost every morning for weeks.

Doctor Moore wanted to set up a room in their home again to monitor his condition. He could still hear Doctor Moore laughing his ass off as he tried to explain the broken condom.

Mulder frowned as he drove into the garage and parked next to Walter's car. John's truck was parked behind it, and both his lovers were in the new workshop fiddling around. They smiled at him. He was hoping they'd be in the house.

"Hey, Fox. How was work?" John wiped his hands on a rag.

"Fine. My new assistant Michael has been a godsend and smart, too."

"Is your office space okay? We could start looking for something larger, if it isn't," Skinner said.

"Everything is fine. I like my little hole in the wall...it has ambiance. What are you two building?"

"We're planning a outdoor play area for the twins with swings, a covered sandbox, jungle gym, and a slide."

"There's a park with a playground right across our street," Mulder said.

"We want them to play in our backyard. It will be easier to keep an eye on them."

Mulder smirked. "I'll bet. You and Walter want to lounge on the patio with a couple of cold ones while the twins wear themselves out."

"Now you're catching on," Skinner quipped.

Mulder smiled and looked toward the house. "I have some news...if you are done here I'd prefer we talked inside."

"What's wrong, Fox?"

"Inside." Mulder turned and headed out of the garage. When he walked through the back door, Jimmy was in the kitchen fixing dinner. Jimmy was not a very good cook, so his meals were always an experience. At least they only had to experience his cooking once a week.

"Hey, Mulder."

"Hi, Jimmy. How were they today?" He walked over to the playpen and scoop Jack up in his arms. The baby cooed his bright blue eyes sparkling with excitement upon seeing his dad. Jade held up her arms and Doggett scooped her up when he stepped into the kitchen.

Jimmy turned off the oven as he turned to answer Mulder. "Jackie's first tooth finally broke through. We celebrated with a little vanilla ice cream. Then we spent part of the day having baby races. Jade's faster, Jackie gets distracted easily."

Mulder smiled. "Did your girlfriend, Yves, or the gunmen stop by?"

"She's not my girlfriend, Mulder." Jimmy grinned sheepishly. "Greta stopped by and Betty called to check on the twins."

"Fox, what did you want to tell us?" Skinner asked, going to the refrigerator for a beer.

"Remember that night we had sex in front of the fireplace in September?"

"Our romantic pizza evening."

"Yep. Well, there was something I didn't tell you about that night."

"What?"

"The condom broke."

"Fox, what are you trying to tell us?"

"I'm eleven weeks pregnant."

Skinner's eyes-widened. "With my baby?"

Mulder shrugged his shoulders. "Yep."

Skinner's legs became rubbery and he sat heavily on the nearest stool. "How do you feel about it? Are you going to keep her?"

"I'm not thrilled...can't believe I was so careless." Mulder sighed, seeing the apprehension on his lover's face. "Walter, I won't abort her. How do you feel?"

Skinner let out a deep breath. "Shocked...happy." A broad smile lit up his face. "I'm going to be a father."

Mulder shifted Jack in his arms so he could kiss Walter. "Your dad should be happy if it's a boy, he'll have someone to carry on the Skinner name."

"Are you sure, Fox?"

After worrying for the past eleven weeks, Mulder felt a sense of calm. "Walter, John and I decided if we had a boy, he'd be named Doggett and a girl would be named Mulder. I think the same would apply here."

"Fox, don't you want your name to be carried on?"

"Jade can carry it on as well as Jack could have. Women often get taken for granted, maybe she'll change all of that."

"Can I tell my parents?"

"Let's wait until I'm at least five months along." Mulder was still feeling apprehensive about the future, and didn't want to get Ed's and Nina's hopes up.

Doggett had been quiet as he took in the news. He passed Jade to Walter and went to hug Mulder and his son. "It's a damn good thing that we're adding on that addition."

Mulder smiled tiredly. "I'm hungry. Jimmy what are you making?" It actually smelled good.

"Lasagne. Greta helped me with it."

"Ingrid didn't touch it did she?" Skinner asked.

Jimmy shook his head as he pulled the pan out of the oven. "No. Greta said that her sister went to New York for the weekend with her new boyfriend."

Skinner's eyebrows rose in suspicion. "Boyfriend or next victim?"

"Walter, stop it," Mulder said, rolling his eyes, "Ingrid and Greta aren't serial killers."

"Fox, why have every man they've ever dated died unexpectedly?"

"Frohike's still alive."

"How much do you want to bet this new guy dies within a year."

"I'm not betting. Let's eat." Mulder set Jack in his highchair then went for a jar of pureed peas and a jar of pureed pears.

Doggett gave Jimmy a hand at the stove scooping up the lasagne and garlic bread, while Walter took care of feeding Jade.

Mulder smiled across the table at Skinner. "You're a natural, Walter. I usually end up with more food on the baby than in him."

"So how did your day go?"

"Good. I have ten new cases the FBI wants me to take a look at," Mulder said.

"Maybe you should cut back a little bit. You can't keep working twelve hour days."

Doggett set a plate of food in front of Mulder and Skinner as Jimmy carried their plates to the table.

"I agree with Walter, Fox. Even if you weren't pregnant you're still putting in too many hours," Doggett said, sitting next to Mulder.

"Guys, I'm trying to get my business off the ground. Long hours are the norm at first."

"You're going to have to turn down some of the jobs," Skinner said.

Jimmy listened to their discussion go back and forth. "Maybe you could hire someone to help with some of the cases."

"I already have one employee. I'm not sure if I can afford to hire another one just yet." Mulder alternated between eating the lasagne and feeding the baby. Jack kept spitting out the pureed peas, so Mulder set the jar aside. "Okay. Shall we try some pureed pears instead?"

"He's going to need a bath after dinner," Doggett said, looking at his son covered in green peas.

"John, you can bathe him. He likes taking a bath with you." Mulder spooned a little pears in Jack's mouth smiling. "Don't you, Jackie?"

The baby grinned back, slapping the tray with his hands.

Skinner held the bottle of juice for Jade, while eating with his other hand. "Do you want to head up to the cabin tomorrow night?"

"I'd like to, but I'm going to have to bring my laptop and some files," Mulder said.

"We still need to put on the storm shutters and pull the boat out of the water. We should have done that in November." Doggett finished his meal and carried the plate to the sink.

"We also need to cut some firewood," Skinner said.

Jimmy had weekends off and planned to hang out with the gunmen. "If you'd like help at the cabin. I can chop wood."

"That's okay, Jimmy, you need your time off."

***

Friday, December 12, 2003

Mulder sat in the back of the minivan so he could work on his laptop as Doggett drove the van to their cabin. It was pitched black outside. The overhead clouds blocked out the stars.

The babies slept peacefully in their built-in car seats in the middle of the van. Walter would swerve his bucket seat and attended to any of their fusses.

The van turned onto the road leading to their cabin. A sudden feeling of anxiety fell over Mulder like a black shroud. He looked out at the darkness surrounding them then gazed up at the sky.

"Guys, promise me that you'll stay together and take care of Jade and Jack."

"Fox, what are you...."

The van's engine suddenly went dead. Doggett pulled over to the shoulder of the road as the headlights blazed bright and went out. The vehicle started shaking as a loud humming sounded around them.

Mulder closed his eyes, trying to quiet his racing heart.

"Fox, what's going on?" Skinner looked back at him.

"They want me bac...."

A blinding light encased their van and Skinner and Doggett shut their eyes. When they opened them again the light was gone along with their lover. Jack and Jade were crying as Skinner opened the door, burning his hand on the hot metal handle.

Doggett stumbled out of the van. He stared opened mouth as a UFO shot by overhead disappearing into the cloud cover.

"NO!" Skinner fell to his knees at the side of the road. "FOX!"

The van's headlights went back on and the engine roared to life.

Doggett stumbled over to Skinner and kneeled next to him. "Walter, c'mon...we need to get the babies to the cabin."

Skinner sobbed openly. "Those fuckers took him again!"

"Walter, there's nothing we can do here." Doggett tried unsuccessfully to keep the tears at bay as he hugged Skinner. "W-we need to think about Jade and Jack. It's cold out here, we need to get them to the cabin."

"I...." Skinner took a deep breath. "Okay, John, but I'm not covering it up this time. Fox deserved better from me last time. I will use all resources to find him!"

They rose and walked back to the van. The babies were still crying and kicking. Skinner went back and kneeled beside them. His good hand soothed them as Doggett drove them the remaining mile to their cabin.

Once at the cabin they carried the babies inside and turned up the heat. Doggett attended to Skinner's hand as Walter called and reported Mulder's abduction.

Skinner hung up and look into John's eyes. "He knew they were coming for him again."

"Walter, they returned him last time."

"They returned him after they tortured him to death."

"We can't give up hope."

"I'll never stop looking for him, John."

"We'll never stop looking."

***

It was unclear to Mulder how long he had been there, but by the size of his belly it must have been months. The table he was strapped to wasn't as bad as the chair from hell he'd been in the last time he was abducted. At least this time he didn't have metal spikes driven through his ankles and forearms. The aliens probed and tested him constantly, but they didn't slice him open nor do anything that caused him too much pain.

Most of Mulder's conscious thoughts were centered on his family. He hoped John and Walter were getting on okay, and not worrying too much about him. He worried that the twins weren't getting enough attention.

A sharp pain tore through his belly. "Oh God! Not here...not now." He pulled at the soft material holding his arms immobile and tried to bring his legs together, but they were elevated and spread apart exposing his most private parts.

The bounty hunter walked across the cavernous space to stand beside Mulder. He placed a large hand on the human's swollen abdomen. "Your child wants to be born, Fox Mulder."

"No, please, it's too soon!"

The alien tilted his head as he studied Mulder's pain-filled face. "No, he's at full term."

"That's not possible. I haven't been here six months...have I?"

"Time's irrelevant here. We can make it pass slower or faster than it does on your Earth."

Mulder tried to weigh what he was being told. "If I've been here six months how much time has passed on Earth?" The last time he had been abducted, Mulder had been with them less than a month, but three months had passed on Earth. Then there were the countless people who've lost nine minutes, only to find, through hypnosis, that they've been abducted and experimented upon for hours or days.

The bounty hunter moved between his spread legs. A cylindrical object descended from overhead. The alien grabbed the long thin device and inserted it up Mulder's vagina.

"Stop! What are you doing?"

The being just stared at him with emotionless eyes.

Tears rolled down Mulder's cheeks as he had another contraction, but no way of to close his legs or move his arms.

***

Skinner walked tiredly through the backdoor of their home. He didn't have energy for much of anything since Fox had been abducted six weeks ago. Christmas presents remained unopened in the closet. They hired someone to stay at the cabin, just in case Fox was returned there. Skinner looked into all reports of UFO sightings and met with abductees, hoping for any information that would help bring Fox back to them.

"Hi, Jimmy, how were they today?" Skinner scooped Jack out of the playpen and the baby started crying. "What's wrong, Jackie?"

Jimmy looked at him sadly. "They've been cranky most of the day. I don't know what's wrong with them. They wouldn't eat, so I called Doctor Moore and he couldn't find anything wrong with them."

Skinner hugged the baby and kissed his head.

Doggett came through the back door.

"Hi, Guys."

"John."

Jimmy wandered over to the phone. "I'm ordering out for dinner. What would everyone like?"

"It doesn't matter to me," Doggett said, picking up Jade.

"I'm not really hungry." Skinner carried Jack into the living room and turned on the TV to the nightly news.

***

The contractions were coming seconds apart. Mulder shrieked and twisted in his bindings as the baby's head crowned. He panted, trying to control his breathing. The aliens stood around the table watching him. The one he had come to think of as the morphing alien bounty hunter stepped between his legs. This was the first time Mulder saw emotion on the being's face. It was a look of concern as it inserted its hand inside him to feel around the baby's head. Mulder shrieked at the painful intrusion. Sweat stung his eyes making it hard for him to see.

"The umbilical cord is around his neck. Don't push," the alien said, working the cord free. "Okay, Fox Mulder, it is time for your baby to be born."

Mulder pushed with all his strength during the next contraction. The baby slid out followed by a rush of fluids.

Two aliens stepped forward and untied Mulder's arms as the bounty hunter laid the newborn on his chest. Mulder held the infant protectively and sobbed. He was unsure of what sort of future they would have.

The bounty hunter stared down at them. He reached out, brushing a teardrop off Mulder's cheek with the back of his finger. He brought it to his lips tasting the salty liquid.

***

Skinner sat on a chair next to the fireplace, going over some reports of UFO sightings out west.

Doggett picked up Jade off the floor. "I'm going to put the twins to bed. Jimmy, can you grab Jack."

Suddenly the lights went out and the house started shaking as a bright surrounded it from outside. The light vanished and the shaking stopped as suddenly as it began.

"Whoa! What was that?" Jimmy asked.

Skinner dashed outside. He looked up at the night sky but couldn't see anything beside stars. He then searched the yard and garage before heading back inside.

"Did you find anything?" Doggett asked.

"No. Nothing." Skinner headed toward the phone. "I'm going to call the gunmen to see if anyone spotted anything tonight."

"After I put the babies to bed I'll be right back down. We can search the neighbourhood together," Doggett said, heading upstairs with Jimmy following behind carrying Jack.

The babies slept in a crib in the master bedroom. The guys hadn't moved them into the nursery yet.

Doggett entered the bedroom and stopped in his tracks. His mouth dropped open as he muttered, "Oh my God." He turned and called, "Walter, get up here!" Then he hurried over to the bed, where Mulder lay sleeping under the covers with a newborn infant in his arms.

"Is it really Mulder?" Jimmy asked.

"Yes. Jimmy, put Jack in his crib and go call Doctor Moore."

Walter came rushing through the doorway. "What?" His eyes widened as he walked slowly to the bed. He pulled back the blanket, exposing Mulder's bruised and battered body. There was blood on the sheets. The infant made mewing sounds as he sought blindly for a nipple to suckle. Skinner was uncertain where the baby had come from. It couldn't be his and Mulder's. Mulder would only be in his fourth month.

"He's bleeding, John." It wasn't enough to cause immediate panic, but it was enough to stain the sheets below Mulder's hips.

Doggett placed Jade in the crib next to her brother, then hurried back to the bed. "Fox, can you hear me?" He brushed the hair away Mulder's forehead it had gotten quite long.

Mulder moaned and opened his sleep-encrusted eyes. He thought he must still be asleep as he gazed up at John's and Walter's concerned faces. Both his lovers hovered anxiously over the bed. He looked down at the little infant in his arms and unconsciously positioned him so he could nurse. Then he looked back up at Walter and John. "It's not a dream. We're home." His voice was rough from the screaming he'd done.

Skinner smiled as tears rolled down his face. "No, it's not a dream. Fox, where did the baby come from?"

"He's your son. I just gave birth to him." Mulder smiled softly, looking down at the infant.

"How could that be? You were only missing for six weeks."

Mulder sighed. "I was worried it might have been years. Time isn't linear where they had me."

"Fox, you're bleeding. I'm going to get a washcloth. How are you feeling?" John asked.

"Tired...sore."

Skinner couldn't pull his eyes off the baby suckling Fox's nipple. "He's really my son?"

"Yes. He needs to be bathed." The baby still had dried blood, and other by-products of his birth on his skin. The aliens must have cut the umbilical cord. Mulder vaguely remembered delivering the afterbirth.

"I'll take him into the bathroom and wash him," Skinner said, easing his son out of Mulder's arms. "He's so tiny." He carefully held the fragile bundle.

Doggett was back with a basin of soapy water and a washcloth. He sat beside Mulder and started cleaning the blood off him. Mulder closed his eyes and fell back to sleep.

Doctor Moore rushed into the room. "How is he?"

"That was fast, Doctor."

"I was at Senator Woods' mansion. His chauffeur rushed me over here."

"He's just given birth. Walter is in the bathroom bathing the infant."

The Doctor snapped on a pair of gloves and went about examining Mulder. "He needs a couple of stitches. I'm going to numb the area and stitch him up." Moore pulled a syringe from his bag, while Walter walked back into the room with the baby wrapped in a white towel.

"John, can I see you in the bathroom?" Skinner said.

Doggett followed Skinner back into the bathroom. "What's wrong?"

Skinner laid the baby on the counter and unfolded the towel. He then lifted his newborn son's legs and revealed an opening under his tiny balls. "He's a hermaphrodite."

"We'll need to have the Doctor examine him. He might not be a fully functioning hermaphrodite like Fox." John caressed the baby's cheek with his finger. "He's a beautiful baby, Walter."

"He is, isn't he?" Skinner said proudly. "We're going to have to take him and Fox in for x-rays and further tests to make sure those bastards didn't do anything to them." Skinner wrapped the towel back around his son.

Mulder opened his eyes and watched the Doctor as Walter and John came out of the bathroom with the baby.

"Fox, what do you want to name him?" Skinner asked, wanting to take Mulder's mind away from what the Doctor was doing.

"I don't know. Do you have any suggestions?"

"How about Shane?"

"After your favourite western."

Skinner shrugged his shoulders. "I like the name."

Mulder thought for a second. "I do too."

Doggett chuckled. "It took us months to choose names for the twins, and you two decide in less than a minute."

Doctor Moore finished stitching Mulder up. Then he took Shane from Skinner and carried him over to the changing table. Skinner hovered close by, telling the Doctor what he had discovered while bathing his son.

Doggett went to the linen cabinet for a set of clean sheets. "Fox, do you want to take a shower, while I can change the sheets?"

"Yeah, if you can help me. I don't think I'm going to be able to stand on my own."

Doggett helped Mulder into the bathroom. His lover was as weak as a kitten. Doggett sat him on a bench so he could strip and join Mulder in the shower. "Do you want to talk about what they did to you?" he asked softly.

"Not yet, John."

"Why did they return you?"

"I don't know."

The shower was nice and steamy as Doggett helped Mulder under its spray and gently cleaned him. He took extra care around the bruised flesh.

Mulder leaned against the wall and held onto the soap dish for support. He closed his eyes, enjoying the sensation of the water washing over him and the soapy washcloth against his skin. "Mm, I missed this."

Doggett eyes turned hard as he soaped over Mulder's torn wrists. "I'm going to pamper you until you're better, and I don't want any arguments." He kissed Mulder's wet shoulder then hugged him close as he wept. "I've missed you so much, Fox."

Skinner had the sheets changed on the bed by the time they came out. Doctor Moore was just finishing with his examination of Shane.

Doggett helped Mulder back into bed.

Mulder was sore, but the shower had helped soothed his aching muscles. It felt good to wear pyjama bottoms and to be able to sleep in a real bed again.

"I got the bassinet out of the garage and cleaned it," Jimmy said, carrying it into the bedroom. "Welcome home, Mulder."

"Thanks, Jimmy."

"Your son appears to be in good health." Doctor Moore placed the infant in the bassinet. "Mulder, I'm scheduling appointments for you and Shane for tomorrow. I want to run tests to make sure you're both okay."

"Okay, Doctor."

"I'll see you tomorrow then," he said, heading out the door.

"Fox, would you like anything?" Skinner asked.

"I want to see the twins." Mulder was far too weak to make the trip across the room to the crib.

Skinner walked over to the crib and lifted Jade out. "Hey, sweetness, Daddy Fox is back?" He placed her next to Mulder on the bed.

Mulder smiled and hugged her. "I've missed you, baby." Jade giggled with delight, recognizing her father immediately. Walter put Jack on the bed. The baby instantly climbed on Mulder. "Hey, Jackie. You've both gotten so big."

"Fox, I'm going to call my parents. Everyone has been so worried about you," Doggett said.

Skinner nodded, hovering protectively by the bed. "Yeah, I need to call my folks, too."

Mulder hugged his babies near, closing his eyes. Sleep took him back in her tender embrace. Skinner sat on the bed, allowing the twins to sleep with Mulder. When John returned he stepped out to call his parents.

***

The sound of voices and a baby crying woke Mulder. He was surprise to find John's and Walter's parents in his bedroom, along with Scully, Reyes, and the gunmen. His newborn son was crying hungrily as Walter held him.

"Fox, you're awake. How are you feeling?" John asked.

"Stiff. What time is it?"

"Six o'clock in the morning. We drove all night to get here," Ed Skinner said.

Walter rocked the infant in his arms. "Fox, Shane's hungry again. Would you like to feed him?"

"Oh God! It's been over eight hours since I fed him last. You should have woke me," Mulder said as Walter placed the baby in his arms. He adjusted the sheet to provide himself with some privacy.

"He's nursed three times while you've been asleep. We didn't want to wake you."

Mulder looked under the sheet at his son suckling his nipple. "At this angle he looks a lot like you, Walter," he quipped.

"I'm glad to see you haven't lost your sense of humour," Skinner said, sitting on the bed next to him.

"Fox, it is so hard to believe that you were missing for six weeks and return with a full term baby," Betty said. "The twins are less than eight months old...how is that possible?"

"Walter and John explained it to us, Betty. You should have watched Star Trek with me more often, you'd have an easier time understanding it," Paul said.

Mulder's stomach growled. "I'm hungry."

"You stay right where you are, Fox. I'll go make you breakfast," Nina said, hurrying out of the room.

"I'll help you, Nina," Betty said, following.

"So now you have two sons and a daughter. Are you going to be having anymore?" Frohike asked.

"He has three sons, Frohike," Scully said. She was holding William's hand.

"Scully, have you and Monica transferred back to D.C. yet?" Mulder asked.

"Monica and I transferred back a few weeks ago. We're renting a townhouse two blocks from here." Scully looked at him and sighed, "Mulder, I'm sorry for the way I behaved...you had every right to be a major part of William's life. I never should have moved without talking to you first."

"Scully, I would have understood your reasons for moving, but I'm glad you're back."

Jack started crying and Jimmy scoop him out of the crib. "Mulder, I'm going to take the twins down for breakfast. I'll bring them back up after they've eaten."

"Thanks, Jimmy." Mulder shifted Shane to his other nipple. "John, did Doctor Moore say what time our appointment is for today?"

"He wrote it down." Doggett picked up the note on the dresser. "One o'clock."

Skinner waited for the baby to finish nursing. Then he took his son and gently burped him before putting him in the bassinet beside the bed. "John and I would like some time alone with Fox, so if everyone wouldn't mind going down to the kitchen."

Ed was standing beside the bassinet, looking down in wonder at his new grandson. "Okay, son."

Mulder sighed after everyone left. "Thanks, Walter. I need to use the bathroom. The pad is soaked."

They helped Mulder up. He was still having a difficult time walking.

"Fox, why did they take you?" Skinner asked.

"They were curious about my change and wanted to study my pregnancy and the birth of our child. I don't know if what they learned was of any use for them."

"But they returned you here...to our bed. How come they didn't dump you in a field like last time?" Doggett helped Mulder out of his pyjama bottoms. Blood had stained the back of them and his boxers.

"Last time I was suppose to change into a replicant, so my well-being wasn't important. This time they didn't want anything to happen to me." Mulder debated standing or sitting. He felt like less of a man every time he had to sit down to pee, but he was still bleeding.

"You're back now, that's the important thing," Skinner said, turning on the shower.

"How have you both been getting along?" Mulder asked.

"As well as can be expected under the circumstances," Doggett said, helping Mulder into the shower as Skinner went into the bedroom to check on the baby. Doggett smiled. "Walter's really thrilled about his son."

"At least something good has come out of all of this," Mulder murmured. His eyes grew distant. "John, they might take me again. I don't know if I can live through another abduction."

Doggett hugged him. "Fox, we need to live one day at a time. Look at all you have to live for, Jade, Jack, Shane, and Walter."

"And you. I love you, John boy."

***

Mulder and his lovers stood in front of the light box, studying the scans from Mulder's and Shane's examination yesterday.

"As you can see, Shane is clean. He's has no implants," Doctor Moore said.

"Is he like me, Doctor?" Mulder asked.

"Yes. He's a full-functioning hermaphrodite."

Skinner was frowning at the scan of Mulder's head. "Doctor, is there anyway we can have the implant removed?"

"Sorry, Walter. They placed it in an area of his brain that would cause severe damage to him, if we tried to extract it."

Doggett felt a stirring of emotions from anger to helplessness. "Do you know the purpose of the implant?"

"No. It might be as simple as a tracking device or it might be there to monitor his thoughts and vitals. Who knows? Unless, we can extract it we may never know its really purpose," Moore said.

Mulder sighed, "Guys, it doesn't matter. The important thing is that Shane doesn't have an implant. I could live with my having one as long as the bastards don't touch our kids."

"Fox, it matters to us. We don't want to lose you again," Skinner said.

"I don't want to be taken again either." Mulder glanced over at Doctor Moore. "Doctor, I would like a prescription for birth control pills. I don't want to ever get pregnant again."

Moore smiled at him. "I'll write a prescription for you now. Hold off taking them until after you're no longer breast-feeding Shane."

They waited while the Doctor wrote the prescription then took it and headed out the door.

Walter and John hovered protectively on either side of Mulder. Their lover was still having difficulty walking. He took small painful steps as they walked to the elevator. They took the shuttle bus back to the parking garage.

"Should we stop for something to eat?" Mulder asked as Skinner helped him into the passenger seat.

Doggett chuckled. "Fox, Ma and Nina wouldn't be happy if we ruin our appetites when they spent all day fixing a huge meal."

Mulder hadn't been paying much attention to what was going on at home. Other than his trip to the hospital for tests yesterday, he spent most of the day in bed. "What are they cooking?"

"My folks brought one of their smoked hams with them from the farm."

"Mm, I love Paul's smoke hams, Mulder said, "They are so much better than they sell at the store. I hope Ma makes her sweet potato pie for dessert."

"Fox, Ma and Nina are cooking up all of your favourites," Skinner said. "I think they intend to smother you with love."

Mulder swallowed back tears when he realized that he had become a son to Walter's and John's parents. No longer was he without a family. He had the largest and most loving family that a person could want.

***

Epilogue

Five years later

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A gull cried overhead, causing Mulder to open his eyes and search for it in the pale blue sky. A towel covered the lounge chair he was lying on, soaking up the sweat dripping off his body as the sun blazed down, caressing his bare flesh. He closed his eyes listening contentedly to the sounds of his lovers and children on the beach.

"Daddy! Look what I found!" Jade raced across the sand her pigtails flapping in the wind.

Mulder peered through hooded lids and smiled at her as she placed an old wheat back penny on his chest. "Where did you find this?"

"On the beach. We're building a city and I was digging the river," her hazel eyes flashed with excitement.

Mulder glanced down at the beach where Walter, John, and their sons were making buildings out of sand, using paper cups and small boxes for moulds. Scully, Reyes, and William were going to come up to the cabin on Friday to join them.

"Why don't you put this in your treasure box," Mulder said, swinging his legs off the chair and standing. "Would you like to help me with lunch?"

"No. I want to hunt for more treasures."

At six years old Jade was the adventurous one, much more so than her two brothers were. Mulder had to keep a close eye on her. "Okay, Jade, but stay near your Dads." He bent down and kissed the top of her head.

"Don't worry, Daddy, I won't ditch them again!" She turned fled back to the beach.

Mulder caught Walter's eye and made sure that he was watching Jade before heading inside. The last time she ditched them, it had taken them nearly a day to find her, and caused them to age several years from worry.

Shane came inside a few minutes later, wrapping his arms around Mulder's knees and staring up at him with big doe brown eyes. "Daddy, I thirsty."

Mulder sighed at the sand that his son had dragged in. "C'mon, let's shake the sand out of your clothes first." He bent and scooped Shane in his arms and carried him outside onto the deck to brush the sand from his clothes and hair.

"Would you like lemonade or water?" Mulder asked as they walked back into the kitchen.

"Water, please." Shane scrambled up on a stool. "Daddy, what are you making?"

Mulder placed the glass of ice water in front of him. "I'm making BLT sandwiches."

Shane stuck out his tongue in disgust. "I don't like BLT, can I have a grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich instead?"

"Okay, squirt."

Shane smiled. "Daddy, I love it here. You and my other Daddies don't have to go to work when we live here and I get to play with you all day long."

Mulder spread some peanut butter on a slice of bread. "That's 'cause we only come up here on the weekend or for vacation."

"Why can't you take vacation all the time?"

"Because we need money for peanut butter and banana sandwiches."

Shane's expression turned thoughtful. "Oh...I'll have the BLT then."

Mulder chuckled. Setting the sandwich down, he hugged and kissed his son. "I was kidding, squirt. Your Daddy Walter is going to be retiring soon, so you'll have him home all the time."

"For real?"

"Yes, for real, Shane," Skinner said, stepping into the kitchen, holding Jade's hand.

"YEAH!" Shane jumped off the stool and ran over to Skinner, hugging his legs.

Walter bent and picked up his little boy.

"Why is Shane so happy?" Jack asked as he and Doggett came in through the back door.

"Daddy Walter is going to be home with us all the time!" Shane said.

"COOL!"

Doggett winked at Mulder who was putting bread in the toaster. "Well, with Daddy Walter being home with you, I guess we won't need Jimmy any longer."

"No, Daddy! We need Jimmy, too!"

Mulder used a spatula to scoop Shane's sandwich out of the frying pan and then cut it into quarters. He poured a glass of milk and set both on the table. "Jimmy and Yves have been getting really close lately. I think they might want to get married."

"Really, Fox?" Doggett said.

"Yeah, really. I expect we're be getting a wedding invitation any day now."

"Has Jimmy ever found out her real name?" Skinner asked.

"I don't think so...." A distant look passed over Mulder's face.

"Fox, what's wrong?" Skinner crossed over to him and touched his arm.

Mulder shook himself. "Ah, nothing. Do you want to slice the tomatoes?"

After lunch Mulder went into their bedroom and put on his running shoes. "Guys, watch the kids. I'm going jogging."

"Fox, you never go jogging this time of the day. What's up?" Doggett asked.

"I need some time alone to think."

"About what?"

"Life, the universe, and all," Mulder said, opening the door.

"Daddy, can I go jogging with you?" Jack called, running to him. His blue eyes pleading with him.

Mulder looked down at his six-year-old son and picked him up, kissing his cheek. "Not this time, Jackie. When I get back we can go swimming together. Okay?"

Jack sighed and hugged Mulder round the neck. "Okay."

Skinner did the dishes after Mulder left. Then he wandered into their bedroom, opening the closet to get a clean T-shirt. He noticed that the metal strong box they kept the handgun in was open and the gun was missing. A cold fear washed over him as he dashed out of the bedroom.

"John, watch the kids."

"Walter, what's wrong?"

"Fox took the gun with him."

The first thought that flash through Doggett's mind was that Fox had gone off to commit suicide. Their lover had more than hinted that if the aliens ever came back for him again, he'd rather die than go with them.

Skinner sprinted out the door. Mulder had a fifteen-minute head start on him.

***

Mulder stop beside the boulder looking out over the valley below. He glared up at the tall bald man sitting on top of it with his legs crossed.

"Fox, you are looking lovelier than ever. Motherhood agrees with you."

"Demetrius, why are you here?"

The hermaphrodite smiled. "You no longer regret what I did to you. In fact you're happy with your change."

"I don't regret the direction my life has taken. I wouldn't give up my children for anything. I do regret that it cost a woman her life."

"No you don't. You don't regret Jena's death. She was an evil woman. If you had a choice...your three children or her life, you'd chose your children," Demetrius said smugly.

Mulder shrugged his shoulder. "You didn't only kill evil women to turn men into hermaphrodites. She just happened to suit your purpose."

"I do now since finding out from Agent Scully's research that I don't need an exact match. Killing them is so much more satisfying."

"Why did you come here?" Mulder asked again.

"Truth is, I don't live too far from here." Demetrius stood and stretched.

Mulder frowned. The idea that Demetrius' cave was anywhere near their cabin was disturbing. "How long have you known we were here?"

"It wasn't by accident that Deputy Director Skinner found this cabin and fell in love with it. I had a hand in your being here."

"You're lying."

"Am I? I've watched you through the years. I was nearby the time you fainted during your first pregnancy and Agent Doggett and Deputy Director Skinner carried you back to the cabin." Demetrius licked his brightly painted lips. "You were beautiful...your round belly ripe with lives of your babies."

Mulder paled. "What do you want from us?"

"Your son Shane is a true hermaphrodite like you. Did you know that Andrew Riley's daughter has a penis and scrotum? They decided to raise him as a girl, but she's just like Shane." Demetrius jumped off the boulder. "Your twins are quite unique. Jack would have been born a hermaphrodite if his sister hadn't stolen that part from him. It would be easier for him to have it back now and grow up a hermaphrodite."

"You're here to murder my daughter!" Mulder growled, leaping at the man, only to be held immobile by an invisible force when Demetrius raised his hand.

"Murder is such an ugly word, Fox. I'm here to give your son the ultimate gift while setting your daughter free from the shackles of life."

Mulder fought with all of his strength to force his limbs to move. If he could reach his gun he'd be able to end this nightmare forever.

Skinner suddenly came racing down the path, temporarily distracting Demetrius. It was enough, Mulder found that he was free and quickly pulled the handgun out of the waistband of his sweatpants and without hesitation shot Demetrius between the eyes.

Skinner slowed and stopped beside Mulder. "Fox?"

"He was going to kill Jade. I couldn't allow him to live."

"No. I would have killed him, too." Skinner kneeled beside the body, making sure that he was indeed dead.

"His cave is nearby. All these years of coming up here and that bastard lived in our own backyard."

"We'll search for his cave later. For now we need to dispose of his body. Fox, go back to the cabin and get a tarp and a shovel from the boat house."

"We're not going to call the police?"

"No. Fox, you shot an unarmed man. I don't want to take the chance that our enemies will use this against us."

"You're probably right. Walter, I'll be back shortly." Mulder jogged back to the cabin. He was grateful that they were on vacation and it was Wednesday instead of the weekend. There was less chance that someone would stumble across the body.

John was waiting anxiously outside with the kids when Mulder came jogging into their yard. He ran to Mulder and hugged him. "God, Fox, you had me scared to death. Where's Walter?"

Mulder held onto John, looking down at the kids, he whispered in his lover's ear. "I killed Demetrius Tatev...Walter's with the body."

"Where?"

"At the end of the mountain path near the cliff. I need to bring Walter a shovel and a tarp."

"I'll do it, Fox. You watch the kids." He kissed Mulder sweetly on the lips.

"Thanks." Mulder did not wanted to see Tatev again--living or dead.

***

Mulder stood beside the bed gazing down lovingly at his sleeping children. When at the cabin all three kids slept together in the queen size bed in the upstairs bedroom. They all had their own bedrooms at home. He heard the door open downstairs and the sound of footsteps walking around. Gazing back down at his daughter's face, Mulder sighed. What if he hadn't sensed Demetrius' presence?

"Fox?" Skinner's voice whispered from the doorway.

Mulder bent and kissed each of the children before turning and stepping out of the bedroom. He looked at Skinner questioningly. "Is it done?"

"Yeah."

"You and John were gone for hours."

"We wanted to make sure his body would never be found, so we buried it over ten feet deep and planted a tree on top of the grave. Then we spent a couple of hours searching for his cave," Skinner said as they walked downstairs.

"How are you doing, Fox?" Doggett asked. He was waiting for them at the bottom of the stairs.

Mulder sighed sadly. "Andrew Riley's daughter is a hermaphrodite. I called Scully after you left. She didn't autopsy Jacob's or Egan's unborn infants. I think they were probably hermaphrodites, too."

"Jade and Jack aren't--" Doggett started to say.

"Only because the egg split, giving us twins."

"Okay, say you're right. Other than Shane, we no longer have anything to worry about."

Mulder blushed and went to stand by the window, staring outside. "I'm pregnant again," he said softly.

"What! How? When? Whose is it?" Skinner and Doggett asked simultaneously.

Mulder shrugged his shoulders, not looking at them. "The usual way. Remember eight weeks ago when we went out to that club dancing until one in the morning? Then we came home, killed off another bottle of wine, and spent remainder of night making love. Neither of you used condoms, and I forget to take my birth control pill, so I'm not sure whose it is."

"Hey, it's going to be all right, Fox," Doggett said, hugging him from behind.

Skinner stepped around to face Mulder and kissed him sweetly on the lips. "You never fail to amaze me, Fox."

"I feel rather stupid. I'm forty-seven...." his voice trailed off.

"You don't look anywhere near forty-seven." Skinner hugged him and Doggett.

Doggett smiled. "Fox, at least we have six years of experience under our belts now."

"I want drugs this time," Mulder quipped, feeling a sense of peace for the first time in years. He had a wonderful family that really cared about him and loved him. For once he no longer sensed any danger to him or his family.

***
The end

Jo B.   Authors

 

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