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This Is My Life

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August 2009

Spring turned into summer. It was now August, and Dana was feeling the California summer heat. At thirty-four weeks pregnant, she was ready for this baby to come out. Coupled with the high temperatures, she felt tired and cranky, and irritated she still had over a month left of her pregnancy. After her first day of clinical rotations, she just wanted to soak in a nice, cold bath with no responsibilities. However, she had two children that needed her attention. 

After unlocking her apartment door and the girls running to their bedroom, Dana took off her shoes, set her keys and purse down, and waddled her way to the bathroom. The baby seemed to take up every available inch of space left, and her bladder was definitely among them. After using the restroom, she splashed cold water on her face to cool herself off. Slowly but surely, she then trekked to her bedroom. She changed out of her scrubs and into a tank top and cotton shorts, feeling ten times better. Going back to the bathroom, she wiped her skin with baby wipes, removing the sweat and grime that had accumulated throughout the day. 

After checking to make sure the girls were behaving themselves, Dana went into the living room to relax. She slowly sat down on the couch, holding her stomach as she did so, and moved around so she was laying across the couch, her back resting on a pillow. She snarled as she heard her cell phone ring, having just gotten comfortable. Scoffing, she slowly sat up and walked over to her purse. Checking the caller ID, she was surprised to see her lawyer calling. 

“Hello?” Dana answered 

“Ms. Scully, thank you for picking up. I know this is unprecedented, but they absolutely insisted I relay this information.”

“Which is?” she inquired. 

“I do hate to ask this of you, but your ex-husband has requested to see you. And the girls, if he can. He says he has important information to tell you and wants to reconcile.”

“Mrs. Adams, he lost his chance to reconcile a year ago.” Dana tried and failed to hide the anger in her voice.

“I understand,” Mrs. Adams said. 

Dana sighed. This was her chance to finally get answers. As much as she didn’t want to see him, she had to know. “However, I’ll see him. But I won’t bring the girls. I don’t want them in that type of environment.”

“Well, I’ll be sure to let his lawyer know. He said in the case you said yes, he wants you to meet him Wednesday around 4:30.”

“That’s only two days from now, but I can do that.” While she tried not to sound annoyed, she couldn’t help it. She just wished her lawyer wasn’t on the receiving end. 

“Great. I’ll let them know. I’m sorry you have to do this, Dana.”

“It’s alright. Thank you for letting me know.”

Ending the call, she sighed and put her face in her hands. Fuck all of this shit. She didn’t have long to think about it, however, as two pairs of feet stormed into the living room. Gracie and Liv jumped on the couch and laughed as they crowded Dana. 

“Mommy, play with us!” Liv begged. She was finally getting a grasp of pronouncing her Ls and Rs. 

“Mommy’s tired, baby. I would if I could.”

“Is it the baby?” Gracie asked.

“I’m afraid it is.”

“Kaylee said babies make mommies tired. Her mommy had a baby last year and she said she slept a lot. Do you sleep a lot?” 

Dana chuckled. Ever the inquisitive Scully, Gracie asked questions about anything and everything. She wanted to know. “Sometimes. My energy drains faster, so I’m tired a lot.”

“Why don’t you just sleep?”

By this point Liv was playing with various toys in the living room, subsequently making a mess.

“Someone has to keep an eye on you two,” Dana teased. 

That seemed to satisfy Gracie, and she joined Liv in the living room. Luckily, the Scully girls were easily entertained and occupied themselves until it was dinner time. Occasionally they’d have to wake up their mom who’d dozed off, giggling each time.

Later that night, after the girls were in bed, Dana found herself on the couch scrolling through Facebook on her computer. Checking up on college friends and her family, Dana wondered how differently her life would’ve been if she’d never met Hunter. How she connected Facebook to that, she wasn’t sure, but she couldn’t help her curiosity.

She certainly wouldn’t have two sleeping children thirty feet away and another in her belly. Nor would she have the experience of the years of abuse she endured at his hands or the intrusive thoughts that made her way into her mind from time to time. Worthless. Unloveable. Unfuckable. A terrible mother and wife. 

It was his fault, she had realized too late. He was the reason for her trauma. For so long, she blamed herself for the bruises she tried to cover up or the nights he entered into her without asking, causing pain physically as well as mentally. Just take it, Dana. You owe me this. If you love me, you’ll let me do this. I need this. 

She wanted to know. The years of abuse. Everytime he would rape her. Every hurtful word he said. She wanted to know why. He was the perfect boyfriend in the beginning. Appreciative. Understanding. When did it change? Why did it change? 

When did he become a monster, or was the monster always there just waiting to show itself?

Shaking these thoughts away, she focused on another. For some reason, Mulder just wouldn’t leave her brain. He was kind and considerate for someone she’d only known for a few hours several months prior. Curious, she searched ‘Mulder’ on Facebook and only one match came up. 

Oh my God, his name is FOX? No wonder he didn’t want to give his first name, Dana thought as she chuckled. Scrolling through his profile, she found it odd he only had four friends: Samantha Mulder, Richard Langly, John Byers, and Melvin Frohike. How do you even pronounce Frohike?  

What was also interesting were his likes. Unsurprisingly, he liked Planet 9 From Outer Space, Star Trek, and Outer Limits. Of course, Dana thought, smirking. Continuing her “research,” she found he rarely shared posts on his own, as most of them he was only tagged in by his friends. Other than that, there wasn’t much information she could go off of. Fox Mulder was indeed a mysterious man. 

 

X

 

It was now Wednesday, and Dana found herself at the prison Hunter was currently in while the trial was still going on. She gave the guard her name and went through the metal detector. After, she was led to a room with tables and chairs surrounded by bars. 

He spotted her as she made her way over to him and she wordlessly sat down to face him. 

“Dana, I’m so glad you could make it,” he said, faking the sweet-sounding tone.

“What do you want, Hunter? Why did you ask to see me?” Dana asked angrily.

“I see you’re as beautiful as ever,” he commented, eyeing her swollen belly. 

Dana placed her hands over it protectively. “Cut the shit, Hunter.”

“Alright, alright. Fine.” He scoffed and crossed his arms.

“What information do you have? If I were to guess, I’d say none and it was just an excuse.”

“I always knew you were too smart, Dana.”

“Of course you lied,” Dana scoffed. “I expected nothing less.”

“And yet you still came,” he observed. 

“I wanted answers.”

“Oh?” he prompted.

“About why you treated me like shit for years. Why you raped me countless times. Were you always a monster, or did you just wake up one day and decide to become one?.”

“Well, monster’s a little harsh, don’t you think? I only did what I did out of love,” he lied. “And rape ? Day, you know that wasn’t rape. You wanted just as much as me. You were always... ready ,” he remembered, grinning evilly. 

Dana was seething. “That’s shit and you know it. If you really loved me, you wouldn’t have hurt me. And what you did was rape. At first I brushed it off, but natural, physiological  responses didn’t mean I wanted it. And not to talk about the relationships I lost because of you. You cut me off from all of my friends. You cheated on me and paid little to no attention to our girls. Where did it all go wrong?” 

“Oh, Dana. You and I both know I’m not the one to blame. Remember when we were expecting Liv? At first, we couldn’t stop. You were insatiable, always ready for a good fuck. But for some reason, it became too much for you. You never wanted to be with me anymore. I needed you. A man needs to be satisfied, and you just… couldn’t provide. So, I started drinking away my sorrows. But alcohol is only fun for so long, you know. I can’t be held responsible for what I do when I’m drunk, you know that. There were plenty of women willing to do what you couldn’t. A man has needs, and you didn’t fill them. Simple as that.” The little fucker didn’t seem at all sorry. 

“Hunter, I was pregnant, aching all the time, and had a three year old to deal with who, by the way, you never paid attention to. That’s a bullshit excuse. If you helped even a little, then maybe I would’ve had more time for you.”

“I worked to provide for us, Dana. I gave us a roof over our heads and paid for the food on the table. Sorry you got upset about that.”

Dana scoffed. “This is just like you. Always diverting the blame. You weren’t always like this. You used to be sweet and gentle and loving.”

“And you used to be grateful and understanding.”

“I did try and understand! I tried so hard! I was in school with a small child, pregnant, and studying all the time so I could hopefully provide for us too!” Dana’s voice was getting louder and her eyes were starting to water. “I tried to be a good wife and mom. I just needed to get through school, too.”

“You should’ve tried harder.”

Dana struggled to not heave herself off the chair and slap Hunter right there. He didn’t show any remorse for the pain he had caused her over the years.

“You know, Dana, when I got you drunk and knocked you up with Gracie, I thought it’d give you a reason to want to be with me. I was sorely mistaken.”

Dana’s eyes widened and her chest tightened.

What? 

“You got me pregnant on purpose?!”

“Well obviously I didn’t plan on it happening the first time we had sex-“

You son of a bitch!” Dana yelled. Her sorrow turned to anger as she realized while he may not have meant to reveal the secret he’d kept for years, he didn’t even try to be ashamed. Dramatically rising from her chair, her eyes felt hot with tears. “I was in high school! Do you even know the bullying I put up with? I felt so ashamed when I found out I was pregnant, and you planned this?! I was sixteen. Fuck you. I hope you rot in here, asshole.” Dana wiped the tears from her eyes as she struggled to even her breathing and stood at the door waiting to be let out. She was certain she could hear his voice in the background, but she ignored him and the pain she felt in her back and kept walking. 

Leaving the prison, a million thoughts and feelings were swarming through her head. She got in the car and slammed her hand on the steering wheel, letting out a loud yell. Sobbing she put her head in her hands and screamed. So much of her life was a lie. She missed out on so many things due to her pregnancy and subsequent responsibilities as a mom. Her girls were gifts to this world and she loved and would die for them, but in a perverse way she wished they didn’t have to exist. 

For some reason, she was yet again drawn to the kind but loving stranger she had sex with back in April. It was only for a night, but that one night made her feel special, loved, and hell, beautiful even. How was it possible she felt more loved by a stranger than by someone who swore to love her until death do they part? Someone who vowed to cherish her, honor her, love her, and care for her? A complete stranger managed to make her feel those things more than her asshole ex-husband ever did. Even before he changed, sex always felt like an obligation to him, never something she wanted or felt like doing. 

Sex. That’s all it ever felt like. Dana was unsure if they ever made love. Did she even love Hunter when things were good? She certainly loved the idea of being in love. Did she only stay with him because of her pregnancies? What else would she have done in Maryland without him? He paid for their apartment, clothes, food, everything. He insisted on being their sole source of income and refused to accept Dana’s parents’ help. 

That should’ve been red flag number one. She felt so stupid for not seeing it. Only eighteen, she didn’t know better. The signs were all there. Controlled finances, isolation from friends and family, every move she made, he knew. Dana was smart, top of her class at Maryland, and she couldn’t see the signs of a toxic relationship. The only one she’d ever been in, she thought it was normal. No one had told her any different. 

Mulder took care of her. Mulder made sure she was comfortable. Mulder listened to her. Mulder, Mulder, Mulder…

It all came back to him. God damn his considerate self for making her feel this way about him. 

Dana wiped the tears away and called the one person she felt would listen. 

“Hey,” Dana’s voice cracked, “Mon, can you talk?”

 

 

October 2002

Dana Katherine Scully was many things. Daughter of William and Margaret Scully. Younger sister to Bill and Missy and older sister to Charlie. Future Valedictorian (at least according to her report card) of Hoover High School class of 2004. Beta Club member and National Honor Society president. Hunter’s girlfriend. Oh, and pregnant. At sixteen. 

Currently, she was sitting in a hospital bed as her contractions had started to worsen earlier in the day before the sun rose. While she’d had contractions on and off for the past few days, they had started to even and become more painful. She wanted to wait until her contractions were five minutes apart like the books said, but Maggie Scully took her to the hospital when she saw how much pain her daughter was in. Dana had been in labor for over twelve hours now and was tired of it, literally and figuratively. She had been in the hospital for three of them and her contractions were seven minutes apart. Her water hadn’t even broken yet and she didn’t see the need to for all the fuss. 

“Honestly, mom,” she’d said as Maggie made her get in the car, “I’d rather stay here.” 

“We’re going to the hospital and that’s it,” Maggie had retorted as Dana reluctantly got in the back seat behind Bill.

Which is how they found themselves in their current situation. At the moment the tension in the room was high as Bill sat quietly in one of the chairs, occasionally looking in the direction of his younger sister as a contraction coursed through her. While Monica had visited earlier, she had left to go to school and promised to be back afterwards. Now it was just Dana and her less-than-pleased older brother. 

“Bill, it’s okay if you want to go,” Dana said after the pain of another contraction passed. “Mom just stepped out to find a nurse and dad’s on his way.” She meant her words in kindness, but her older brother’s presence made her feel more uneasy. 

“I’m alright, Danes.”

The uncomfortable silence was overwhelming until Bill spoke again. “You know,” he started, “I remember when mom and dad brought you home. Mom had only been in labor for five hours and then all of a sudden I had another sister. Missy was so excited. I remember when you won your first science fair award when you were twelve. Do you remember? And all the report cards you brought home to mom and dad with nothing but As. And when you told us you were National Honor Society president. We were so proud of you, Danes.”

Dana was about to tear up, prepared for the rest of the speech her brother had no doubt prepared. Something was telling her she wasn’t going to like the rest of it. 

“Are you really prepared for having a kid, Dana? They’re a lot of work, you know.”

“I know that, and I’m still on track to be valedictorian. I-” Dana took a deep breath, “I just wanted…”

“Wanted what?”

She turned away, not wanting to face her brother for her next words. Holding her belly protectively, she gathered up the courage to look in her brother’s eyes and spoke again. 

“I wanted to feel loved for being me. Not an extension or being vicariously lived through by mom and dad. Not for being ‘Dana the smart one’ or ‘Dana the future doctor’. I wanted to be Dana. Just Dana.”

“And getting pregnant was your solution? Dana, surely you must know how difficult it is to raise a baby. And as young as you are...do you understand the ramifications? Your entire life is about to change. To be quite frank, I’m disappointed. You weren’t the type of girl who would have a child out of wedlock. We expected more from you. I knew that boyfriend of yours was trouble from the start.” 

Dana couldn’t focus on what he was saying; she held on the bars on the side of the hospital bed as she breathed through a contraction. Maggie came in with her husband near the tail end and held her daughter’s hand, smiling sadly at her. 

“Sweetie, your father’s here,” Maggie informed her. “There’s not a nurse available right now, but they’ll send one when there is.”

Dana nodded, sweaty and out of breath, and reached for her father, who took her hand. 

“Ahab, I’m so sorry,” Dana whimpered.

“Don’t worry about that right now, Starbuck. Just focus on getting my grandchild here, okay?” He kissed her forehead and brushed hair away from her face.

“Mom,” Dana asked, her voice hoarse, “can you get me some more ice please?”

Maggie did as requested and left the room, along with Bill who mentioned he needed to go home for a little bit. Soon Hunter came and kissed Dana, worry plastered on his face as he ran his hands through her hair and cupped her face with both hands. 

“Baby girl okay?” he asked.

Dana nodded, taking his hand and squeezing as another contraction came. She arched her back and gripped his forearm, groaning as the pain worsened. When it was over, he kissed her softly and stood up. He walked over to Mr. Scully and held out his hand for him to take. 

“Sir.” 

Mr. Scully took it reluctantly, glaring at him. “I expect you to be there for my grandchild, do you understand?” 

Hunter swallowed nervously and nodded. “Yes, sir.”

Maggie came back with water and ice for Dana, snacks for those not pushing out a baby, and a nurse to refill the IV bag. About an hour later, Bill came back with Melissa and Charlie in tow to check on their sister. 

“Still chugging along,” Dana said tiredly, popping an ice cube in her mouth. “Fourteen hours and counting.”

Melissa rubbed her sister’s back and smiled softly. “You’re so strong, Danes. You’re gonna be a great mom. I’m sorry you had to be stuck with Bill. I would’ve come with you and mom if he hadn’t insisted,” she whispered, causing Dana to smile.

“Do you think I could teach her how to play video games?” Charlie asked. 

She chuckled. “I’m sure when she’s older, you can. I don’t think babies have great hand-eye coordination.”

Bill just stood near the door. He took after their father in more ways than one. If anything, Bill was just as disappointed in his younger sister as their dad. In his phone calls, he’d tell her about all she’ll miss out on and the looks she’ll get, not to mention the shame she was bringing upon their family. A Scully child having a baby out of wedlock? It was unthinkable. And he’d mention how terrible Hunter was for her. Dana shrugged it off. Bill didn’t live with them anymore and had only been home from his station for about two weeks. He hadn’t even seen her pregnant until then and didn’t know how supportive Hunter was during the pregnancy. 

“I see he conveniently showed up,” Bill noticed angrily. 

“Bill,” Maggie warned.

Hunger walked over to Dana and took her hand protectively. “I am. I’m the father.”

“And also the reason my sister’s become a-“

“Bill, stop.” Dana could feel the tears slide down her cheeks. “I know, okay? I know you’re disappointed in me. I’ve tried so hard to make you proud of my achievements, and now… I just want you to be proud because I’m your sister. I didn’t get pregnant on purpose.” 

Bill huffed and crossed his arms. The rest of the family stood in awkward silence. This was going to be a long labor. 

Monica had come back after school and brought Dana’s work she’d missed that day. Dana was also immensely grateful for her best friend’s support as well. When she called her best friend and said she was in labor, Monica came as soon as she could and stayed with her until she had to leave for school. Now, Dana was trying to focus on school work to distract herself from the pain. Monica sat on the bed with her.

“Okay, so how do I do this again?” Monica asked. They were currently working on their separate math assignments. While Dana had made it into an advanced AP class (unsurprisingly), Monica was just fine with her junior-level pre-calculus class. 

Dana looked over to Monica’s paper. “Okay so since you’re just adding the equations, the parentheses don’t really matter. So what you’re going to do,” Dana took the back of Monica’s paper and wrote the equation, “is just write it out like this. And then you’re going to find like terms. So here, you can add four x squared y to two x squared y since they’re the same. And you’re going to do that with the other polynomials and then finish the equation. So since three x and four x are the same terms, they’ll add together to make seven x. Since you’re just adding, the exponents stay the same as well. It’s a lot of numbers, but you’ll get the hang of it.”

Monica exhaled and scratched her head. “No wonder you’re in an AP class.”

“I just really like math and science.”

“And I’m exactly the opposite.” The two girls laughed and suddenly Dana’s face scrunched up. She groaned and laid her head on Monica’s shoulder, took her hand, and rubbed her belly in an attempt to soothe herself through a contraction.

“Contraction?” Monica asked. 

Dana nodded wordlessly and waited for it to pass. She breathed in heavily through her nose and out through her mouth. “God, it hurts so bad. And I heard pushing is even worse.”

“Sorry, Dana. I wish there was something I could do.” Monica put an arm around Dana’s shoulder. 

“You’re here. That’s enough.”

 

 

Finally, at one o’clock the next morning, Dana was pushing. Wanting everyone out except her mom, Hunter, and Missy (who she wanted for emotional support), she was trying hard not to make ungodly noises while the contractions came hard and fast. Hunter was holding a hand and of her legs so her knee was almost level with her face, and Maggie was holding the other hand and leg. The pain was becoming too much and Dana was crying out loudly.

Scared would be an understatement; Dana was absolutely terrified.

“Okay, Dana the head should be coming out with this next push, okay?” Dr. Smith informed.

“You’ve got this, babe. Remember to breathe.”

Dana cried out as she felt a burning and the tears would not stop.

“It hurts,” she sobbed. 

“You’re doing great, sweetie,” Maggie encouraged. She wiped the tears away from her daughter’s face and dabbed at her forehead with a cool, damp cloth. 

“You can do it, Dana,” Melissa encouraged as she held up a camera, wanting to document her niece’s birth.

“I’m… hot,” she complained and tried to move the hospital gown off of and away from her. Hunter helped and soon Dana’s body was exposed as she continued pushing. Amazing how little modesty took up space in one’s mind while trying to birth a baby. 

Dana felt the urge to push again and felt a burning as she felt her baby’s head come out, and after a couple of more pushes (and less than dignifying noises), the rest of the body soon after along with a plethora of bodily fluids.

“Oh my God, hi,” Dana exclaimed in a high-pitched voice as her seconds-old wailing baby was placed on her chest for skin-to-skin like she’d requested. “I’m your mommy,” she cried as she held her daughter. Her daughter. She was a mom.

“Wow, she’s beautiful,” Hunter praised.

The nurse recommended Dana try to breastfeed to help with delivering the placenta. Hunter watched as Maggie instructed Dana on how to get the baby to latch onto her breast. After what was deemed a successful latch and the oxytocin kicked in, the cord was cut, placenta delivered, and Maggie went to give the news to the rest of the family. 

“Okay, I called Monica, and she should be here soon.” Hunter said as he got on the bed and put his shoulder around Dana, pulling her close. One hand rubbed her shoulder while the other was under her arms, helping support their baby. 

“Thank you for calling her.” Dana kissed him and turned her attention to her daughter. 

“Okay mom and dad, how are we doing?” Missy asked, camera in hand.

Dana looked down at her nursing baby with tears in her eyes. “Sore and exhausted... and wonderful.”

“What about you, dad?” Missy turned the camera to Hunter.

“In awe. She’s beautiful.”

Missy kept recording as the new parents looked at their daughter. 

“She is. She’s so beautiful,” Hunter beamed, kissing Dana’s glistening forehead. 

“Yeah, she is,” she agreed. Her happiness stretched across her face and she couldn’t have smiled bigger if she tried. She still felt sore from the pain after pushing for thirty minutes, but she was too busy being engulfed in her daughter’s squishy red face to notice. 

When Maggie came back, Dana was still nursing, so she told the rest of the family to wait. She sat down on the bed and brush hair away from Dana’s face and Missy stopped recording, moving to sit in one of the visitor chairs. 

“You did great, sweetie. I’m so proud of you.”

Dana looked down at the baby attached to her breast. “Thanks, mom. I just wish dad and Bill could be.”

Hunter kissed her cheek and rubbed her arm comfortingly. 

“They are, I promise. As much as your father is a little strict with you, he still loves you. I can’t speak for Bill, but your father and I are so immensely proud.” She smiled, took one of Dana’s hands, and squeezed her reassurance. 

“So, Hunter, are your parents coming?” Maggie asked innocently, changing the subject.

Dana and Hunter looked at each other awkwardly. They disproved of the pregnancy from the beginning and had made it crystal clear they didn’t want a grandchild out of wedlock. While Dana hoped they’d come around, Hunter was less than optimistic. 

“They’re… away,” he offered as the only explanation. 

Maggie smiled sadly and turned her attention back towards the baby in Dana’s arms.

After Dana finished nursing and put the hospital gown back on, Maggie went to give the okay for the rest of the family to visit. Soon the Scully clan crowded around Dana’s hospital bed cooing over the baby. 

Melissa was the first to hold her after Dana and Hunter, and she gently bounced the baby. “So what’s her name, Danes?” she asked.

The new parents looked at each other and smiled. “Hannah,” Dana said. “Hannah Grace. But we’re gonna call her Gracie.”

“Oh my God, that’s so cute!” Melissa squealed.

“Can I hold her now?” Charlie whined. 

Dana smiled and chuckled. As much as her younger brother considered babies to be ‘gross,’ he sure was smitten with his niece already. 

“She’s so little,” Charlie observed. 

“Just under six and a half pounds,” Dana informed. “She’ll get bigger, though.”

“I officially call dibs on babysitting duty,” Melissa said. “I can’t wait to spoil her rotten.” She smiled at Dana, who chuckled and shook her head. “Ooo, Dana, we need to get a picture!”

“I don’t think-“

“Pleeaassee?” Missy pleaded.

Dana rolled her eyes and reluctantly agreed. Missy instructed Charlie to return the baby to Dana so she could get a good photo. Holding the baby, she leaned into Hunter’s chest, and he placed one arm around Dana’s shoulder and the other over her hands, and rested his head on top of hers.

“Okay, one...two...three!” 

After the picture was taken, Dana handed the baby to Maggie and laid her head on Hunter’s shoulder, intertwined their fingers, and smiled at the love her baby girl was receiving. All the disappointment she felt from her father and older brother seemed to fade as she saw them with Gracie. Surrounded by her family, she wanted to cherish this moment forever.