She hears seven gunshots. One. A long pause. Mulder yelling. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven.
Mulder alone at the edge of the pier. She runs. Reality tilts, slows. She quakes with the conviction: No. No. No. No.
She reaches him, shines her flashlight desperately at the water. She breathes hard; she doesn’t breathe at all.
“He’s gone.” He is not gone. She looks harder at the water because Jackson is not gone, he cannot be gone, he has to be right there. She only wants her son and he has to be right there.
“He’s gone, Scully.” Mulder turns to her, slow, mannequin slow, a horrific animation. “He shot him.”
No. This is not happening.
“He shot me.”
“No,” she breathes, and stumbles back. She drops her flashlight. Her hands shake; she holds them out in front of her as if she carries a bloody, dead thing. Her face twists like her entire being is about to snap, to sneeze. She lets out a primal scream. “NO!” She puts her hands to her knees to support her weight.
“Not again. William,” she wails, “William,” and then she is shouting it over and over again, screaming her baby’s name, running to the west, the east, the north edge of the pier to look—manic—at the water as if he will rise from it to answer.
She suddenly, frantically looks up.
Mulder tries to catch her around the waist but she shoves his hands off: “No!” and launches herself into the harbor.
Cold. It feels like a hard smack when she goes under and when she opens her eyes against the water it is so, so dark. She opens her mouth as if to continue screaming and her reflexes kick in, sending her up, up, up, sputtering on the surface and struggling against her heavy coat. “WILLIAM,” she screams, and slips under, “JACKSON,” and under again.
Mulder is screaming for her, Scully, Scully, Take off your coat, Scully, SWIM SCULLY, but she only hears snippets, she keeps slipping, she only just remembers—her baby, the baby, she is having a baby—she can’t stay up, she’s panicking, her son, they shot her son—
She splashes, searching for his body desperately but her coat, her shoes, she is so heavy, she can’t pull herself high enough out of the water to see. If only she could pull him to her; the cold water must have stopped the blood—
Water rushes over her eyes, a low wave—her own splash, even—cuts off her air and silences Mulder in her ears. She slides down and looks out into the black. William, she thinks. William.
I want the donor to be you, she’d told Mulder.
Don’t give up on a miracle, he’d said to her.
The truth we both know.
Our son. Ours. Ours. The truth we both know.
She cannot bear one more moment without him; she cannot leave this water without him; she isn’t doing it.
And so it is. Because a long arm winds around her ribs and tugs her hard, again and again, up to the surface. She gasps for air, sputtering, coughing the water out of her lungs.
“Oh, Jesus Christ, Jesus,” Mulder says from the dock, spinning in relief, his whole body sagging. He wipes his face with his sleeve and rushes to the edge of the pier. “Get her over here,” Mulder says, “there’s a ladder.”
“Alright,” Jackson calls too loudly into her ear, panicked. “It’s alright,” he tells her. Her son’s voice. “Breathe.” This is what her son sounds like.
He swims them to the ladder, which Mulder has descended to the penultimate rung, soaking his jeans to the knees. “Jackson,” Mulder pants, reaching for them when they are close enough. “Give her to me.”
Scully makes a blind grab for Mulder’s neck and then he’s lifting her out of the water with one arm and she’s so cold; her whole body shakes. “Come on,” Mulder tells her, “hold on, Scully,” and she wraps her legs around his middle.
“Jackson, let’s go,” Mulder orders, the sternest she has ever heard him in her life. Their son obeys, ascending first. Then Mulder climbs.
“Jackson,” Scully mumbles.
“Yeah, Scully, you got him.” Mulder lays her on the pier with a grunt. “He got you.” He whips off his coat, shoves his phone at Jackson—who watches them, blinking, panting, from five paces back—and starts whipping off hers as well. “Call an ambulance,” he instructs.
“Mulder, my baby,” she tells him.
“You did good, honey.” When she is down to her tank top and pants he wraps her in his sweatshirt, then his jacket, and pulls her against his chest, squeezing. “That was so stupid, Scully.”
“M’pregnant,” she says. “I’m sorry.”
Mulder starts to cry.
“The ambulance is coming,” Jackson says, and his voice wobbles. His eyes fill as he watches his parents—the strong, gentle father; the tiny, crazy ass ginger who jumped into freezing waters for his shitty dead body.
A moment later, they hear sirens.