Actions

Work Header

This Is My Life

Chapter Text

It was a cool April morning in Palo Alto, California when 23-year-old Dana Scully hurried up the courthouse steps, her heels clicking against the concrete like seconds ticking on a clock. She had five minutes before she had to meet with the prosecutor, and “late” was not in her vocabulary. Briskly walking past the different people, she briefly questioned their presence. Smoothing down her smart and sensible navy-blue blazer, her hand paused as it met her small, but somewhat noticeable, pregnancy bump. Her hand left almost immediately, and she focused on the task at hand. The prosecutor was waiting for her when she arrived, and led her to the witness room and gave her instructions.

“Now, I know you’ve been told this many times before, but just as a reminder: you’re what’s called a ‘character witness’, so you’ll only be called to testify if necessary,” the prosecutor reminded. “I know it’s not what you imagined you’d be doing today, but you may be needed. And both the judge and defense know of your condition, so the defense knows to tread lightly when it comes time for their questions. However, I fear they won’t, so I’ll remind them to go easy on you.”

“It’s alright. You’ve prepared me should I need to go up there and testify. I can do this. I just hope that you’re able to put him away.”

The woman put her hand gently on Dana’s arm. “I promise I’ll do all I can.” She looked at her watch and told Dana she needed to go. 

“There’s water available and outlets if you need to charge your phone. I’m sorry I can’t do much else.”

The prosecutor walked off and Dana took in her surroundings. There was a table with an older-looking coffee machine and a pack of water bottles. While the room was small, there was room to fit another table with a chair and a loveseat in the corner. She lowered herself onto the loveseat and shifted so she was on her back, feet dangling off one of the armrests.   

It had been a couple of hours she had waited but it felt like three times as long. She mostly texted either her mother, father, or sister, letting them know how she was and just needing someone to talk to. If she wasn’t glued to her phone, she paced. And paced. At some point she looked out the window unto the pedestrians below and wished she could take any one of their places right now. Today was an emotionally wrecking day, and it helped that she had most of her family nearby.

Around noon, she was called to testify. Dana Scully, Part 25. Her heart sank to her feet. Anxiety and doubt started to intrude her thoughts. She honestly didn’t know if she could do this. How many people can say they had to testify against their ex-husband? Okay, probably many, but this case was unique. These thoughts were enough to busy her mind until she found herself with her right hand on the Bible promising ‘to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth’. She sat down and tried her hardest not to look to where she knew he was staring holes into her.

The prosecutor stood up and started to ask questions.

“Can you state your full name for the record?” The prosecutor sounded professional in tone.

“Dana Katherine Scully,” Dana answered.

“And what is your relationship to the defendant, Ms. Scully?”

“I’m his ex-wife.”

She continued to ask the basic questions. When were you married? When did you separate? Divorce? Do you have any children? How many? What are their names? When were they born? Are you employed? Are you in school? For what? Where? How long have you been attending? The questions seemed to go on and on. Until they got to the question she wished she didn’t have to answer.

“Ms. Scully, do you know why you have been asked to appear in court today?”

“Um, my ex-husband has been charged with…” God, she couldn’t even say it. Be strong, Dana. “…sexual assault.” She refused to look at him, but she knew he was wearing one of his notorious smirks.

“Has your husband ever assaulted you , Ms. Scully?” 

“Objection, your Honor. We are only in court for the case of Hannah Carson, not the alleged assault for Mr. Lake’s ex-wife.” The defense attorney finally spoke, his voice low and with a ‘no-nonsense’ tone to it.

“Withdrawn. Ms. Scully, to what degree do you know Miss Carson?”

Dana’s heart was speeding up and her hands felt clammy. Just breathe, Dana. “I don’t know her.”

“Let the record state that Ms. Scully does not know the victim. Now, I’d like to start asking about your relationship with the defendant over time.”

Oh, God. She knew what was coming. Soon she’d be asked about what it was like being with him, and no doubt they’d eventually get to her...it was still hard to think about it, and she lived it. She was prepared to answer the questions, but she wasn’t prepared for the emotional state she was sure to be in after this. Why couldn’t they just have accepted her written testimony? But no , she just had to do this in front of however many people. She had a death grip on her knees and prayed for the universe to open up and swallow her whole right about now. 

“When did you two meet?”

Okay, here goes nothing. “Um, I was fourteen.”

“Can you tell us about the day you met the defendant?”

X

2000

“Danes, are you kidding?! You’re telling me you turned down Jack Willis for the homecoming dance? Are you okay?” Melissa teased, her mouth full of Blizzard. 

“I’m just not interested in going with anyone. Besides, I’m only going because if I don’t, you’re just going to drag me.”

Melissa chuckled and ate a fry from her plate. “You know me so well, oh dear sister of mine,” she joked.  “It’s your freshman year, and you got asked to the homecoming dance by a senior. Do you know how many girls wish they were you?”

Dana only shrugged. “I don’t know what to say. I’m just not interested. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to refill my drink.”

She got up and walked over to the drink machine. Opting for water, she quickly refilled her cup and was about to walk back to the booth she and Melissa were seated at before she ran into a tall person, spilling her water all over them.

“Oh my gosh, I am SO sorry!” she exclaimed as she grabbed the nearest napkins and handed some to them, and the rest to clean the floor. The person kneeled and helped her.

“It’s alright.” 

She looked up and was face to face with a boy. He looked familiar, but she couldn’t pinpoint from where.

“I really am sorry again.”

“It’s okay, I promise.” He smiled, and Dana could feel her cheeks flush. He was so handsome. “Hey, you go to Hoover, right? I’ve seen you around school a few times.”

“Yeah, I just started in August.”

“That’s cool. I’m a junior. You going to the game tonight?”

“Yeah, I’m going with my sister.”

“I’m going with a few of my buddies, so I guess I’ll see you there. Or ‘run into,’ I should say,” he joked and winked at her, causing her cheeks to flush again. “I’m just kidding.”

They finished wiping up the spilled water and after he threw away the wet napkins, he held out his hand and she took it.

“So, what’s your name?” he asked, not letting go.

“Dana.”

He shook her hand. “Well, Dana, it’s nice to meet you. I’m Hunter. I’ll see you around.”

He walked out the door and Dana looked at her sister, who sat there open-mouthed, apparently having had watched the whole interaction. Great, she thought. I’ll never hear the end of this.

Chapter Text

2009

Dana leaned against the elevator wall as she made her way up the apartment building, sluggish being an understatement as to how she was feeling. She rubbed her stomach, the baby moving more than usual Was it the baby? Maybe she was getting those pregnancy hallucinations. Must be the stress. 

Must be the stress. The phrase was now permanently etched into her brain with how often she’d thought it or verbalized it. It’d be a miracle if this baby made it without any complications. As if she needed more. Dana was pretty sure ‘complicated’ was going to be engraved on her tombstone. The baby was complicated. Her ex-husband was complicated. This case was complicated. Her whole fucking life had been nothing but complicated since she first had sex with Hunter seven years ago. Now look where she was.

Divorced. Alone. Well, not technically alone. 

After she was done with her court appearance, she barely made it to her only class she was actually able to go to. Of course, the professor understood, thank God. It’s not like you can opt-out of being called to court. But still, it was frustrating to miss most of her classes. 

Speaking of, she wasn’t quite sure how to describe her two hours of questioning. Disaster? No, that wasn’t quite right. Fiasco? Maybe. Catastrophe? Calamity? Anyway, the point being that it did not go well. As was to be expected, the defense pulled the ‘victim-blaming’ routine and she started to wonder if it wasn’t her on trial instead of her ex-husband. The insensitive “this isn’t about your assault” speech lasted until it became ‘relevant’ to their questioning. She tried to understand that he was just doing his job, but the fact he was her ex’s lawyer and was quick to judge her did not put him on a pedestal in her book. At the risk of jinxing herself, she hoped to never see her ex-husband’s face again. 

Earlier 

Dana had been answering questions for the better part of an hour. She was asked about her past history with her ex-husband and basically retold her life story starting at age fourteen. 

It was now the defense’s turn. “Ms. Scully, in your written statement, you reference back to several times where you believe the defendant sexually assaulted you. Can you elaborate on that?”

“What does this have to do-”

“Just answer the question, Ms. Scully,” the defense interrupted rudely.

“It’s exactly what it means.” 

“You said you believed the defendant assaulted you, but not once did you say with absolute certainty.”

“That’s because I didn’t know it was assault until later.”

“So this was just a case of being regretful?”

“Objection, your Honor! Relevance?”

“I withdraw the question. Ms. Scully, do you believe your ex-husband committed this crime?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Because he’s done it before.”

“How are you so certain? You yourself cast doubt.”

“I only said that because I knew I wouldn’t be believed.”

“If the defendant assaulted you as you allege, then why did you not ask for a divorce until six months ago, after Miss Carson came forward?”

“I could handle him hurting me, but I didn’t know he was hurting other women.”

The defense attorney scoffed and flipped the page. “Ms. Scully, I have in my notes here you are currently expecting. Congratulations, by the way. Who’s the father?”

“Objection, your Honor!”

“Your Honor, my client believes the baby may be his,” the defense stated.

“That line of questioning is irrelevant to the case, your honor,” the prosecution said in Dana’s defense.

“I’ll answer the question. Yes, the baby is his, but only because he assaulted me while he was out on bail. I never consented.” Dana felt her heart race quicken and breathing get faster. Her stomach was in knots and she felt nauseous. 

If you didn’t consent, and you no longer have ties to my client, then why did you keep the baby?”

“Objection! Your Honor, the defense is now harassing Ms. Scully.”

“Sustained. You’re on thin ice, Mr. Cline.”

Mr. Cline held up his hands in surrender.

“No further questions.”

Dana was now in tears and tried to steady her breathing. Her head pounding and heart racing, she was having a hard time focusing. 

“Do you need a break, Ms. Scully?” the judge asked.

She could only nod, a hand covering her mouth. 

“We’ll take a ten-minute recess.” 

Dana was sure she heard the gavel, but over the blood pounding in her ears and being guided out of the witness stand by the guard, it never registered. She found the nearest restroom and quickly emptied the contents of her stomach. 

She knew this would happen. The victim-blaming. Of course the defense would try to make it seem like she consented. Whether it was the hormones, stress, or whatever else she could think of, Dana could only cry. Be strong. You can do this. Do it for you, for Hannah, for the girls. Don’t let them see your fear. You are stronger than they think. Put that son of a bitch behind bars. 

10 minutes, an encouraging pep-talk from the prosecutor, and a bottle of water later, she was called back to the witness stand. She cleared her throat and ran a hand over her stomach. I’m ready. Waiting for the defense to continue their questioning, she gathered up all her strength and stared down the man who manipulated, abused, raped, cheated on, and lied to her since the moment they met almost ten years ago.

Present Time

She got to her apartment and unlocked the door, hoping it wouldn’t look like a tornado had run through. She prayed a silent prayer and braced herself. The door was opened and revealed...a clean apartment. There was no clutter, no toys, not even a pair of shoes out of place. 

Setting her keys in a little bowl next to the front door, she announced her presence.

“I’m home!”

A thunder of footsteps could be heard, two little girls making their way to her as she took off her blazer and heels.

“Mommy!” they said in chorus as they ran to Dana. They wrapped their arms around her and told her how much they missed her.

Dana held on to both of them as a young woman the same age as she walked down the hallway. Dana stood up and turned her attention towards her.

“Thanks so much for staying later than normal, Taylor. I really appreciate it. And taking the time to clean. You didn’t have to.” She started to dig in her purse for cash to give her. 

“It was no problem, Dana. We had a great time, didn’t we?”

“Yep!” the girls exclaimed.

“Oh, and I’ll make sure to email you my notes from Dr. Wilson’s class,” Taylor said.

“You’re a Godsend. Thank you so much. Girls, say bye to Taylor, okay?”

“Bye Taylor!”

“Bye!”

Dana paid the sitter and soon it was just the three Scully women left in the apartment. The smaller of the two girls raised her arms and Dana picked her up, settling her on her hip.

“Now, I believe it’s almost dinner time. What do you girls want?”

“Can we order pizza, mommy? Just this once? Please?”

“Peesaa, pwease!”

Dana chuckled as she took out her phone. They didn’t normally have food ordered, but she’d make an exception this time. 

After the pizza was ordered, she finally had a chance to pay full attention to her girls. She settled on the couch, the girls cuddled up to her. Hannah Grace, affectionately known as ‘Gracie,’ and Olivia Claire, ‘Liv’ to her mom and sister, were Dana’s pride and joy. As hard as it was being a young single mom in school, she didn’t know what she’d do without her daughters. They were light in the darkness that was her life.

Gracie was a carbon copy of her mom and the quieter of the two Scully sisters. Not that she couldn’t talk until she was out of breath, just quietly. Born when Dana was a junior in high school, she experienced a cross-country move at less than two years old and again at five. While only six, Gracie was a big help with her little sister and was always willing to share toys and make sure no one was upset. She had her moments but overall was a sweet child. 

Liv was, well, three. Having just turned three a month prior, she was still transitioning out of the ‘terrible twos’ phase. Liv was Dana’s little fireball. She had all the energy in the world and was also super messy. Dana knew it would pass, but that didn’t make it any less challenging. Liv was born during Dana’s junior year at Maryland and even with the sleepless nights that came with a newborn, a toddler, and classes, Dana graduated Summa Cum Laude and moved to Stanford from Maryland for medical school just over a year later with two little girls in tow. To say Dana had a stressful pregnancy with Liv was an understatement and there were definite scares throughout. However, her younger daughter made it earthside and made life nothing if not interesting.

“Did you have a good day at school today?” she asked her older child.

“Yep! We learned how to count to 100, but I already knew how, and we got to write stories. I ate all my lunch too!”

Dana chuckled and kissed the top of Gracie’s head.

“I’m glad.”

With the apartment quiet as the girls played in their room, Dana thought. She still hadn’t told her girls she was expecting, and it was getting to where she would struggle to hide it soon. After what they experienced, the last thing she wanted was to turn her girls’ lives upside down again. Life had other plans. 

Should I do it tonight? Get it out of the way? It’s not every day they had pizza delivered and it would certainly help ease the blow. Maybe. She hoped. Yeah, I should do it today. Rip it off like a band-aid. God, I hope they don’t hate me. 

Soon the pizza came and Dana was putting Liv in her booster seat while Gracie moved the stool from its location by the pantry to in front of the counter. Gracie was on the shorter side, another trait inherited from her mom, and they had three stools that sat in the kitchen, bathroom, and next to the front door in case Dana couldn’t come to the door and Gracie was needed to check visitors. She stood on top of the stool and waited for her mom. 

After she gave Gracie her plate of pizza, Dana grabbed a plate for herself and put three slices on it, saving one for Liv. Dana and her mini-me made their way to the small area they called the dining room and sat at the four-person table. Dana was cutting up the pizza slice for Liv while her girls chatted away, blissfully unaware of the thoughts taking over Dana’s brain.

In just five to six months, there would be another addition to the Scully family. Three little mouths to feed instead of two. Four people to shop for instead of three. Another round of diapers, spit-up, breastfeeding, midnight cries, and sleepless nights. She took a deep breath and watched as her younger child proceeded to get cheese and sauce everywhere. 

After the little people decided they were done with dinner, Dana wiped Liv’s face and hands and let her out of her booster seat. She went to put the dishes in the sink while Gracie and Liv played in the living room. While only two slices had been eaten by her, Dana was afraid to eat anymore due to her nerves, so she put the uneaten pizza slices in the refrigerator and went to grab her computer bag. She then proceeded to the living room where she was immediately attacked with hugs by Liv. Dana picked her up and gently tossed her in the air before letting her resume playing.

She took out her computer, checked her email for the notes Taylor sent, and got caught up on the work she missed. At this point, Dana was an expert on doing work while watching her children and listening to whatever kids’ songs were popular on a louder-than-average volume. Soon enough, she had four pairs of hands and feet in her personal space.

“Whatcha workin’ on, mommy?” Gracie asked as she sat in Dana’s lap. Liv was busy putting her hands all over Dana’s face. 

Dana gently moved Liv’s hands away and typed. “Just school work.”

“You’re always doing school work,” Gracie pouted.

“Well, if I’m going to be a doctor, I have to.”

“Pway, mommy!” Liv squealed, bouncing and flailing her hands.

“Yeah, mommy, can you play with us?”

Dana sighed and closed her computer, setting it down on the coffee table in front of her. “Actually, there is something I need to tell you girls.”

That seemed to get their attention. She held out her arms and motioned for them to go to her. She managed to fit both girls in her lap and ran her hands through their hair. Do it now, Dana. Rip off the band-aid.

“This is really important, okay? Not even grandma and grandpa know.”

“Mommy, just tell us!”

“You have to promise to keep it a secret okay?”

Gracie nodded. “Okay.” 

Dana took a deep breath. Here goes nothing. Spit it out. Three...two...one...

“I’m going to have a baby.”

The silence was deafening. Even though her first trimester had come and gone, Dana felt nauseous for the second time that day.

Gracie blinked, unaware of how to process the new information. “I thought you were done having babies.”

“I know, sweetie, but mommy didn’t think she was going to have another one.” 

Liv, finally comprehending what her mother was saying, piped up. “Mommy’s having a baby?”

“Yeah, mommy’s going to have another baby. You’re going to have a little brother or sister soon.”

“But I don’t want another baby. You said we were enough.” Gracie was now on the verge of tears, climbing off her mother’s lap.

“I know, baby, but mommy didn’t plan on it.”

“But you said people have babies when they love each other. You don’t love daddy anymore.”

“Sweetie, it’s hard to explain.”

“Is the baby daddy’s?” she asked loudly.

“Hannah Grace, inside voice please-“

“Is the baby daddy’s?” she asked louder. 

Dana took a deep breath and slowly nodded her head. “It is,” she confirmed.

“Why, mommy?! You said we were all you ever wanted!” Gracie was almost screaming at this point, tears streaming down her cheeks and face turning red. 

“Gracie, sweetie, please let me explain-“

“NO! I don’t want a brother or sister! You promised no more babies!”

Gracie stormed off into her and Liv’s shared room and slammed the door, causing Liv to jump in Dana’s arms and cling to her.

Dana felt the tears fall down her face and hugged Liv tighter. She knew the shock would wear off and hopefully, Gracie would learn to love her new brother or sister, but that didn’t make it sting any less now. 

“Baby sistuh?” Liv asked. At least one child was taking it relatively well considering Liv only had a vague idea about babies. 

Dana sniffed, willing herself to stop crying. “Maybe. You could have a brother.”

“Whewe’s duh baby?”

“It’s in mommy’s belly.” Dana took Liv’s hand and placed it on her stomach. 

“Did you eat it?” 

Dana would have chuckled at Liv’s innocent question if she wasn’t so stressed. “No, sweetie, I didn’t eat it,” she answered as she rubbed Liv’s back.

“Den how’d it get dere?” 

Oh boy. “I’ll tell you when you’re older, okay?” Dana wiped at her eyes.

Liv seemed satisfied and moved her hand gently around Dana’s stomach. “I don’ feew anyfin.” 

“They still need to grow. You’ll feel them move soon.” 

Dana continued to hold her younger daughter as the tears kept flowing.

“Don’ be sad, mommy.”

Dana smiled sadly and wiped her tears. “Sorry, sweetie. I’ll try not to be.” 

Soon Liv was bored and wanted to continue playing. Dana got her computer back out and got some more work finished, wiping her eyes on the back of her hand. 

When it got to be around eight o’clock, Liv was getting worn out. She and Dana picked up her toys.

Dana did not miss the way Liv observed her holding her stomach as she bent down. 

After Liv’s bath, Dana carried her to the girls’ bedroom, her younger daughter wrapped in a fluffy towel and head resting in the crook of Dana’s neck. They entered the room and Gracie was curled up on her side facing away from the door. Dana dressed Liv and read her a story, all the while keeping an eye on Gracie in case she moved. Once she felt the steady heartbeat of her now-asleep younger child, Dana carefully tucked her in and kissed her cheek.

She went over to Gracie and gently placed a hand on her shoulder, kissing her cheek as well. As suspected, her oldest daughter was awake and rolled over to face Dana, eyes fresh with tears. 

“Oh, sweetie.”

Gracie sniffled and held onto Dana, clinging to her shirt. Dana stroked her hair and slowly rocked her.

“I think this has more to do than just me expecting a baby. What’s wrong?”

“When you had Liv, you spent more time with her than with me. This baby is gonna get all your attention again.”

“You’re afraid I won’t have time for you?” 

Gracie nodded apprehensively. 

“Oh, sweetie, babies just need more attention. I’ll always have time for you. I may be more tired than usual because of the baby, but I won’t forget to spend time with my favorite six-year-old.” Dana wiped away her daughter’s tears. “I know it’s only us now, and I’m away at school a lot, but you’re still my girl and I love you very much.”

Gracie looked up at her and sniffed again. “You promise?”

“I promise. Now,” Dana got up and kissed the top of Gracie’s head. “It’s time for this kindergartener to get a bath and some sleep because you, little lady, have school tomorrow.” 

“Okay, mommy. I’m sorry I yelled,” Gracie apologized as she got up and hugged her mom.

Dana kissed the top of Gracie’s head again and cupped her face. “It’s okay, baby.”

After Gracie was bathed, dressed, and brushed her teeth, Dana sat with her on her bed and read her a chapter of Charlotte’s Web. Just feeling her mother near helped Gracie drift off and soon she was fast asleep. Dana tucked her in and kissed her goodnight. She went to leave the room and turned off the light, only the dim brightness of a unicorn night light could be made out. Dana looked into the dark room and smiled sadly. After gently closing the door, she made her way to her room, peeling off her clothes and changing into her pajamas, too tired to shower after an emotionally taxing day. 

Even in the dim light of her bathroom, she could see the small outline of a baby bump while standing in front of the mirror. Placing her hands on either side of her belly button, Dana could feel flutters within her. One hand came down to rest on her pubic bone, feeling the curve of her stomach along the way. Being a mom at such a young age wasn’t something she had planned, and especially a young single mom of soon-to-be three children, but she made it work. 

X

2002

Dana was less than a month away from her due date. It was almost fall break and she was antsy about getting out for the week. It was one less week she’d have to put up with being ‘Dicked-Down’ Dana. Luckily, it was the end of the school day, so she was able to go home. She stopped by her locker where her best friend Monica was waiting for her. They were going to hang out at her house after school and hopefully (at least for Dana) get some homework done.

“You okay, Dana?” she asked.

Dana nodded as she opened her locker. “I’m okay, just ready for break next week.” She picked up a loose sticky note that had landed on top of her books. SLUT was written in big black letters. A lone tear made its way down her cheek. This was the third note put in her locker this week, and it was only Tuesday.

Monica gently took the note from her and read it. “Again? Why won’t they just stop? What have you ever done to these people?” While Monica had a soft demeanor, she was fiercely protective of her friends.

“Get pregnant apparently. It’s fine, Mon. Hopefully after baby girl is born, it’ll stop.”

Monica sighed. While she wanted to do something, it would be hard to trace the culprits behind the notes, and it wouldn’t do Dana any favors. “Speaking of butterball, have you picked out a name yet? I feel kinda bad not having anything to call her.”

Dana smiled softly. “I have some names picked out, but ‘Hannah’ and ‘Grace’ are really speaking to me.”

“Ooohh, I love the name ‘Hannah’. It’s such a pretty name.”

“Really? I just can't decide between the two. What do you think?

Monica smiled and gently patted Dana’s stomach. “This is your baby, Danes. Name her whatever you want. If you can’t decide, you can always make one of them her middle name, you know? Like ‘Hannah Grace.’ Simple, yet absolutely gorgeous. And if you’re the nickname type, you can call her ‘Han’ or ‘Gracie.’”

“Okay, you’re right, that does sound pretty.” Dana took out her history book and closed her locker. “Anyway, I think Mr. Bell won’t be happy with us loitering, so we better head out.”

They walked side by side down the hallway leading to the front of the school. They passed a few teachers, but soon reached what was called ‘the Commons.’ It was where they had to sit before being able to go to class in the morning and doubled as the lunchroom. There was a big open space that was connected to it by stairs. It was right at the front of the school but was also where the cheer and dance team would practice if they couldn’t use the gym. This was one of those days. 

Among the crowd of flailing limbs and girls being lifted into the air, there were a couple of girls standing off to the side. With Dana being on the outside, she was within earshot. The girls stopped what they were doing and turned towards Monica and Dana, not hiding the fact they were looking straight at them. 

“Oh, look, it’s ‘Dicked-Down’ Dana. How’s it feel to be a slut?” a girl with light ash-brown hair jided, her arms crossed over her chest. Her friend laughed.

Dana had never met this girl in her life. How did she know who she was? Monica soon came to her defense and moved so their places were switched. They kept walking, but Monica slowed her pace. 

“Oh, shut up, Bethany,” Monica sneered, “we all know you get raw-dogged by Jason AND Trevor every Friday night. Didn’t you also have to get tested once because you hooked up with a rando at Carly’s party last summer?” Monica gestured to the girl standing next to Bethany. She raised her eyebrows and crossed her arms, not breaking her focus on the girl who dared insult her best friend in front of her. “Sure would hate to have to tell your boyfriend...” 

Bethany and Carly stood open-mouthed at Monica’s statements, Dana left speechless as well, running a hand over her belly.

“Monica!” she whispered loudly as they continued their trek.

Monica just shrugged. “What?”

“That was…I don’t even know. How do you know her secrets?” Dana asked curiously.

“I have people. It helps to also be able to sense when people enter a room, so I can hide. I hear lots of things, Dana. Plus people trust me. I’m great at keeping secrets. Well, for the most part anyway.” She put her arm around Dana and pushed the front doors open for her. Sensing the question she wanted to ask, Monica put Dana’s mind at ease. “Don’t worry, though. I haven’t heard anything about you that you haven’t already.” 

They walked to Monica’s car. Having the passenger side door opened for her, Dana slowly got in. She had gotten to the point where she couldn’t see her feet, and her house wasn’t too far out of the way for Monica, so they carpooled to and from school. 

Monica was a light in Dana’s life. If just a little on the eccentric side, Monica was a loyal and supportive best friend. Having moved from New Mexico to San Diego in the seventh grade, a year after the Scullys moved from Maryland, Dana was the first friend she had made. She was sociable and assigned to sit next to Dana in homeroom on the first day of school that year. She talked Dana’s head off, but was also a great listener and put in her share of the work. She was smart and quirky and while she was the first to try new things and Dana was skeptical, they found they had more in common than they realized. The rest, they say, is history. 

“Okay, is the baby hungry? Do we want to go straight to my house and look for snacks? Or does butterball want something on the way?” Monica asked, starting the car and backing out of the parking lot. 

“I don’t know. I don’t feel hungry, but…”

“Better safe than sorry. I get it. We can stop somewhere and go through the drive-thru. What’s the little person hungry for? Any new cravings this week?” she teased as she drove up to the light at the entrance of the school.

Dana lightly swatted at Monica’s arm, but she did currently have one weird craving. “It’s silly, I don’t want to bother you.”

The light had turned green and they were out on the road. 

“Nonsense. You could never bother me.”

Dana sighed. “Well, lately I’ve been craving mac and cheese with barbecue sauce.”

“Alright, mac and cheese with barbecue sauce it is. Although we’ll have to stop at Winn-Dixie or somewhere where we’ll have to get out.”

“That’s fine.”

30 minutes later, Monica’s back seat was occupied by a Winn-Dixie bag with mac and cheese and barbecue packets and a Wendy’s bag. Two large drinks sat in the front cup holders, water for Dana and Sprite for Monica. They pulled up to her driveway and got out of the car. Monica again held open the car door for Dana and also the front door.

“After you, m’lady.”

After the food was long since eaten and homework completed and looked over, Dana decided to call it a night, getting tired easily these days. Monica went up the stairs while Dana put on her jacket she had removed when she came in. Monica came back bearing a yellow gift bag. 

“Oh, Mon-“

“I know, but I wanted to give you something baby girl could have. You can open it now or after I drop you off.”

Dana chose to open it without Monica’s presence. After getting home and parting ways, she opened the front door. The living room was empty as she suspected for nine o’clock at night, and went into the living room. She lowered herself onto the couch and opened the gift. 

“Oh my gosh,” she whispered.

It was a small stuffed bear. With it was a note. 

Butterball, 

I love you BEAR-y much! 

        - Aunt Monica ♡

P.s. You have the best mommy in the world!

 

Dana could feel the tears coming. She was overwhelmed with happiness at having such a great friend, and also sadness at the fact she was pregnant to begin with. She set the note aside and looked at the bear. She hugged it and could feel her baby kicking as if also expressing her thanks. Dana rubbed her stomach and set a hand on top of it. 

“You have the best aunts in the world, baby girl. One is by blood, but the other is mommy’s best friend. I think you’ll love both of them.”

Yawning, Dana slowly got up, put the bear and note back in the bag, and set it on the dining room table. She walked to her parents’ room and knocked, waiting for the all-clear. After receiving it, she opened the door and found her parents sitting in bed, both reading.

“Hey mom, dad, I’m home.”

“Okay, honey, thanks for letting us know,” Margaret Scully said.

Dana kissed both of them goodnight, something that was getting a little hard to do without her rounded stomach touching against them. 

“Night mom, night Ahab.”

“Night, sweetie,” her mom said sweetly.

“Goodnight, Starbuck,” her dad replied, taking a long glance at her swollen stomach as if he were still trying to register its existence.

Dana closed the door and went back to get Monica’s gift. Taking it upstairs with her, she set it down on the dresser and reached for her phone in her back pocket. She had two messages. One from Monica saying she made it home, and the other from Hunter. They had been spending a decent amount of time together, but Hunter had been a little spacey the last few weeks, which was fine. Dana had needed her space before she knew she was pregnant. She just hoped it’d end before the baby came. 

Hey babe. I miss you and bean. Wanna come over Friday? Trey’s gone all weekend. I love you. 

Bean. That had been Hunter’s nickname for the baby, and she loved it. 

Gotta let my parents know, but sure. I love you too.

Dana put the phone on the nightstand and took off her clothes to shower. 

After finishing her nighttime routine, Dana slowly laid herself down on her bed and cradled her baby. Soon she’d be a mom. Though she’d never show it, she was terrified. She was only sixteen. and still in high school for another year. She wanted to apply to the University of Maryland, but would they accommodate her and her baby? Would Hunter come with her? He said he would go wherever she did, but his family was here in San Diego. If he did come with her, would she live with him and not worry about living arrangements, or would William Scully’s strict Catholic upbringing prevent him from allowing his daughter to live with her boyfriend before marriage? She had already gotten pregnant, what’s one more broken rule? These thoughts were enough to mentally tire Dana out, and the baby gave a swift kick to her ribs as if to say ‘mommy, chill out!’ If only I could, baby girl. 

Feeling the cross necklace she always wore, a gift from her mother at her confirmation, two fingers felt at the golden cross. Dana then took the cross and held in her palm, closing her fingers around it. Closing her eyes and look up at the ceiling, she prayed for the protection and well-being of her baby and guidance for herself.

Dana laid on her side, soothed her baby, and drifted off into a restless sleep.  

Chapter Text

January 2002

Her head was pounding. It was bright, that much she knew. She couldn’t remember much, only that Hunter took her to his place and she drank more than she should have. God, she had been so stupid. She should never have listened to him and asked Melissa to cover for her. Hunter was so sweet though; he had bought her flowers and taken her to dinner. He made her feel special. Loved. He knew just what to say to make her feel better. 

At first she was skeptical of going to his place, but he promised nothing would happen. Well, that was a lie, though she didn’t know it at the time. They had been dating for almost a year, and she trusted him. After seeing a movie and dinner, which he paid for, they went back to his house. They had spent maybe an hour just talking about anything, hopes and dreams, regular boyfriend/girlfriend stuff, but when he suddenly kissed her, he went in . This wasn’t just a kiss; they were making out. She had never been kissed by him so deeply before and it made her nervous. Apparently it manifested on the outside as well because she felt herself shaking. He broke the kiss and offered her a shot of vodka, telling her it would help her nerves. Dana had never had alcohol before. She remembered asking Melissa about how it felt after she came home drunk once. According to her older sister, it wasn’t the best, but wasn’t terrible. She eventually caved in after a LOT of coaxing from Hunter: It’ll be fine. You won’t feel anything. I promise it’ll help. Don’t you love me, Day? Do it for me? She took the shot and felt the liquid burning her throat. 

It wasn’t horrible. Hunter offered Dana another shot and she reluctantly accepted. She had always been the “goody two-shoes” of the family and she was almost sixteen, dammit. She just wanted to relax with her boyfriend. The longer time went on, the less anxious Dana became. Hunter was kissing her again, and this time she reciprocated. He moved to kiss her cheeks and moved down to her jawline and neck. He had never been this affectionate before and she was secretly enjoying it. 

She knew her father would be disappointed, but she was tired of all the rules and being this perfect little Catholic girl. Besides, Hunter loved her and told her so all the time. Before she knew it, she had downed five shots while he’d had six. She could vaguely remember the weird feeling of not being able to fully move her limbs. It had felt as though heavy shackles had been chained to her wrists and ankles. Her brain felt fuzzy and her mouth moved but not words came out. The last thing she remembered was being led down a hallway and her clothes being removed. 

Adjusting her eyes to the light peeking through the blinds, she felt an arm over her left breast and a hand covering her right and Dana suddenly realized she was completely naked. Immediately awash with regret and worry, she started to internally panic. Moving her legs, she felt a soreness in her center. Shit. She didn’t plan on staying the night, and she definitely didn’t plan on having sex. She was going to wait until marriage; not because she had to, but because she wanted it to be her choice. Not to mention the fact she was fifteen. Not even a junior in high school and already she’d committed a host of sins in just one night. Would Melissa have covered for her? She’d only planned on spending a few hours at Hunter’s, not the whole night. Her sister was probably worried sick. Speaking of, she reached to feel her phone and luckily it was on the nightstand. The time showed almost ten o’clock in the morning. 

Melissa. 25 missed calls. One voicemail.

Dammit.

She played the voicemail.

Hey, Danes. I’m really worried. I assume you’re with Hunter so I told mom and dad you were with me. Please be careful and call me back. Bye.

Groaning, she tried to move, but Hunter only clung to her further.

“Hunter.” She tried to move his arm. He was probably still asleep. “Hunter,” she said louder, panic evident in her voice.

“Hmm?” he asked sleepily.

“Hunter, what happened?” 

“What do you mean?” He was sitting up now, as bare as she was.

Dana moved to cover herself with the sheet. “I mean I don’t have any clothes on right now. Did we...do it?” She could feel the tears starting to form and her breathing quickened.

He wiped them away. “Hey, hey hey, shh. It’s okay. What do you remember?”

“I remember taking the shots you gave me and kissing you. My mind goes fuzzy after that. Hunter, did we have sex?” Her voice broke at the words. They already knew the answer, but she wanted to hear him say it.

He put his head in his hands. “Yeah, we did.”

“Oh my God.” She was sobbing now. “Did we use protection?”

“I wore a condom, I promise,” Hunter said dismissively. 

Hunter put his arms around her and held her. “It’s alright. Hey,” he cupped her face and turned it so they were looking at each other, “I love you, and it’s all going to be okay.”

She sniffed, wiping more tears that fell, and leaned into his hold. She felt...empty. Releasing his hold, she got out of bed, still covering herself with the sheet. 

“Where are you going?”

“I have to call my sister,” she said, scouring the floor for her clothes. She found her bra and underwear, but the rest must’ve been taken off before they got to his bedroom. She found her other items of clothing as she walked down the hallway and found her shoes next to the couch. 

She also found another boy in the kitchen making eggs and she felt her face turn beet red.

He whistled, and her cheeks turned red. What was it with boys and their constant desire to make girls feel like shit?

“Damn, Hunter, you didn’t tell me your girlfriend was hot!”

“Leave her alone, Trey.” 

She felt his presence getting closer and he moved to stand in front of her in a protective stance. He was now clad in a pair of boxers. 

“Sorry, Day. I apologize for my asshole of a brother.”

“Just callin’ ‘em like I see ‘em, dude.”

Hunter scoffed, turning around to face her and cupping her jaw. “Are you alright? Do you still need to call your sister?” he asked in a low voice.

Dana nodded. 

“Why don’t you get dressed and I’ll wait for you, okay? Or do you want to shower first?”

While Dana didn’t want to spend another minute with Trey, she looked, smelled, and felt like a mess.

“I’d like to shower first.”

Dana walked to the bathroom, Hunter not leaving her side until she got to the doorway. He got out a towel for her and left it on the counter, letting her know which side of the sink was his. After he left the room, she dropped the sheet and turned on the water, using the restroom while waiting for the water to heat up. When it was deemed warm enough, she stepped in and let the tears fall. She furiously scrubbed her skin as if trying to remove it. She felt dirty. This was not what Dana Scully did. Dana Scully didn’t have sex in high school. Dana Scully didn’t go against everything she was ever taught. Dana Scully wasn’t like that...until she was.

She couldn’t bear telling her parents. What would they think? What would they say? Dana didn’t know if she could stomach her father telling her how disappointed he was of her. Do I tell them at all? If I don’t say anything, they’ll never know. But I’ll feel guilty. She continued to cry. 

After 30 minutes, Dana decided she had been in there for long enough. She turned the water off and dried with the towel. Then, she put on her clothes and looked at herself in the mirror. I look terrible . Her face was all blotchy from crying and dark circles found their way under her eyes. Going through Hunter’s toiletries, Dana located deodorant and a comb. Good enough. After freshening up and combing through her hair, she walked out of the bathroom. 

Trey had now moved to the couch and was watching an episode of Friends . Refusing to meet his gaze, she walked past him to Hunter’s room. He was clothed and sitting on the bed. When she entered, he stood up, hands in his pockets. 

“I’m going to call my sister,” she reiterated for the second time, moving to get her phone where she’d left it.

“Do you need me to drive you over there?”

“Maybe. I don’t know.”

“Okay. I’ll give you some privacy.”

He left the room and she dialed Melissa’s number. Melissa picked up on the first ring and she had to move the phone away from her face due to the sheer volume of her sister’s voice.

“Dana Katherine Scully! Where the hell have you been? I told mom and dad you were studying at a friend’s house but you never called me so I told them I took you to my place to spend the night and were asleep so you couldn’t come to the phone. But I haven’t heard from you ALL. NIGHT. You have some explaining to do!”

“Missy, I know, it’s just...I made a huge mistake.”

“Danes, PLEASE tell me you didn’t do anything with Hunter.”

All she could do was sob.

“Oh, Dana. I’m on my way. Please send me the address. I promise I won’t tell mom and dad.”

“Thank you, Missy. I don’t know what came over me. He offered me alcohol-”

“Dana! You’re fifteen !”

“I know, Missy, I was stupid. Please just come get me. 415 Westwood Drive.”

“I’m getting in my car right now. I’ll be there soon.”

Dana hung up the phone and ran her hand through her hair. After a few minutes, Hunter knocked on the door, opening it just enough to stick his head in.

“Can I come in?” Hunter asked, knocking on the door.

“You don’t have to ask, this is your room,” Dana emphasized.

“I know, but your privacy is more important.”

He sat next to her and started to massage her shoulders.

“Missy’s coming to pick me up soon.”

“Hmm.” 

“I just,” Dana sighed, “I’m sorry.”

“You don’t have anything to apologize for. I shouldn’t have offered you vodka.”

“And I shouldn’t have accepted.”

“Even still, I accept full responsibility. Day, you have no fault in this.” Hunter tucked a lock of her hair behind her ear.

“I just don’t want this to be something we regret,” she said with a sense of guilt.

He removed his hands and positioned himself in front of her, taking her hands in his. “Hey, none of that. We may not have made smart decisions, but I don’t regret it for a second. You’re still my number one girl. I love you, Dana Katherine, and I won’t do anything you’re uncomfortable with.”

Dana leaned into Hunter, hugging him, tears falling for the umpteenth time that morning. She released her hold and moved to lay down. Hunter followed, spooning her. One arm laid under her, holding the back of her hand, and the other rested over her stomach. She relaxed into him. 

“I love you, you know. This just...wasn’t something I planned on happening. I think...I just...I need some time to myself.”

“I know, and I’ll be waiting for you.”

Dana gave a small smile and turned her head towards him. He kissed the side of her mouth and she sighed. They laid together in comfortable silence until the honking of a car horn was heard.

“That’s my sister.”

“I’ll walk out with you.”

They got up and made their way to the front door. Hunter opened it, letting Dana out first, and he shut it behind him. Sure enough, Melissa was sitting in her Subaru waiting for Dana. Hunter kissed her on the cheek and she smiled back, squeezing his hand. 

“I’ll see you later, Day. Take as long as you need.”

 

X

 

“Okay, Danes, SPILL,” Melissa demanded once Dana had gotten in the car and they were on the road.

Just tell her. “We had sex.”

“Oh my GOD! Did he hurt you? That son of a bitch-” Ever the caring older sister, Melissa was frustrated. Sensing Hunter was a sketchy dude, she wasn’t surprised he’d try something like this. But this was her little sister. 

“He didn’t hurt me, Missy. I don’t even remember it,” Dana shamefully admitted.

“What?! Then-”

“I could...feel that we had done it.”

Melissa was silent for several moments and her face was ghost white. “You were always the good one, Danes. Well, besides Bill, but he’s a prick.” she tried but could not hide her disdain for their older brother. 

“And I’m tired of it. I can’t be the perfect little Catholic like mom and dad want. I didn’t plan on it, but I just wanted to relax and the vodka was stronger than I expected.”

“How many?”

“What?”

“How many shots?” Melissa clarified.

“Uh… five, I think? I can’t remember.”

“Dana! That’s WAY too many for you! No wonder you can’t remember anything! You’re lucky you didn’t get alcohol poisoning!”

“I know, I know,” Dana admitted, putting her face in her hands. 

Melissa sighed. At least her sister was okay. “Well… as I said, your secret is safe with me, but don’t you think you need to get tested? I mean, who knows what he has.” 

 
“He used a condom-“

“Well that’s a relief.”

“-and I told him I needed a break.”

Melissa turned her head towards her younger sister, who was staring at the houses they passed.

“I think you made the right choice.”

“What if I didn’t? He was so sweet, Missy, and told me he’d wait for me. What if I take too long?” 

“Danes, if he really loves you, he’ll wait until you’re ready.” 

“Since when did you become an expert in these things?” Dana teased.

“I wouldn’t say expert, per se. More like guru. But the most important thing, Dana, is that you’re safe and okay.”

“I am. At least I think I am. I will be. You’ll make sure of that.”

The two sisters laughed and soon fell into a comfortable silence until Melissa pulled into their parents’ driveway. 

“Thanks for doing this, Missy.”

“Anytime. I’m here for you, Danes. I’m always available.” Melissa took Dana’s hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. “Again, I just want you to be okay.”

Dana got out of the car and waved goodbye to her sister. Opening the front door, she found her mother in the kitchen making sandwiches. Her father was in the living room reading. 

“Dana! I didn’t hear you come in! Did you have fun at Melissa’s?” Margaret Scully asked her daughter. 

Dana walked over to her mom and gave her a kiss on the cheek. 

“I did.”

“I’m glad. I’m just making lunch for me and your father if you want anything?”

“No thanks, mom. We stayed up pretty late and I’m tired. I’m just going to take a nap.” Dana faked a yawn to prove her statement. 

“Well, don’t sleep too late or you’ll be too tired for church tomorrow.”

“Okay, mom.”

Dana made her way up the stairs to her bedroom and shut the door. She could hear her younger brother Charlie in the next room playing whatever video game he was obsessed with at the moment. Putting her keys on the dresser, she flopped down on the bed, interlacing her hands on top of her stomach and staring at the ceiling. She pulled her phone out of her back pocket and saw a text from Hunter.

As long as you need.

She put her phone on the nightstand and fell into a fitfull sleep. 

 

X

 

March 2002

It was now the middle of March, school was almost out for spring break, and Dana started to feel different. It had been nearly ten weeks since that night at Hunter’s and she still didn’t feel ready to rekindle their relationship. He was patient and understanding, but it still made Dana feel terrible. 

The thing was, she wasn’t just feeling terrible mentally. At first, she thought it was just the stomach bug, maybe the flu. However, it didn’t go away. The flu doesn’t last for ten days, and not to this severity. Dana took freshmen health class. After a week straight of emesis at all hours and constant nausea, she did some math and realized she hadn’t menstruated since she slept with Hunter. Her health class may not have been adequate, but she knew there was only one possibility. With one particularly horrible bout of emesis one morning after she got ready for school, she knew what she had to do.

Dana told Monica about her suspicions and she agreed to keep it on the down-low. After school got out that day, she called her mother to let her know she was going to Monica's house to study. She then called Melissa and asked if she and Monica could come over. Now that she was 16, her parents had gotten her a car, the same make and model as Melissa’s, but hers was white while her older sister’s was more of a silvery color.  

They made their way to Melissa’s apartment, but not without stopping at a Dollar Tree first. Dana browsed the women’s health aisle until her eyes landed on a section of different colored rectangular boxes. She grabbed two pink ones and two bottles of water. They arrived at Melissa’s apartment, bottles empty and bag in hand, and knocked on the door. 

“It’s open!” Melissa’s muffled voice called out.

They entered and found Melissa in the middle of placing what looked like different crystals on a high shelf. Her sister’s hair was in a messy bun and the smell of organic cleaning supplies Melissa switched to was strong, making Dana’s stomach churn. 

“What’s up, Danes? I’m almost done. Hey Monica.” Sure enough, she placed one last crystal on the shield and stepped down from the stool she was on.

“Hey Melissa.”

Wordlessly, Dana took a box out of the bag and held it up. Melissa walked over to her and took one look. Eyes wide, she sighed and took a box, looking at it. 

“You’re sure? I thought he used a condom.”

“And condoms can break. Anyway, I don’t know for sure, but...” 

“Better to be certain. I understand. Just...I hope it turns out the way you want. But this also means you need to get tested to make sure he didn’t have any diseases or stuff like that.”

“I know. I just didn’t think this would happen.”

A lone tear fell down Dana’s cheek as she took the box back and made her way to the bathroom. Opening both boxes, she looked at the instructions from one and followed them. Soon, Melissa knocked on the door and made sure it was safe for her and Monica to come in. 

“Hey, you doing okay?” Monica asked. 

“I don’t know.”

Melissa sat on the edge of the tub while Dana rested on top of the toilet lid and Monica stayed standing, the two tests sitting on the counter.

“How long does it say?” Melissa asked.

“Uh, two minutes, I think.”

“What are you going to tell Hunter?” Monica piped up.

“I don’t know.” Dana placed her head in her hands. “I never thought this would happen to me. Dad will be so disappointed.” 

Melissa couldn’t argue with her there. William Scully raised his children to be what he considered productive members of society. Their older brother Bill was the golden boy; he followed his father’s footsteps and joined the Navy after graduating in 1999. 

Melissa refused to conform to their Catholic beliefs, believing in healing crystals and homeopathic remedies. Dana remembered her father telling her older sister that if she wasn’t going to go to college or join a respectable career, then she had no place in the Scully home. After Melissa’s graduation in 2001, she became a certified doula and made good money, able to afford a studio apartment in an okay part of town. She worked at a holistic shop as well for some extra cash and stable hours. 

Dana wanted to pursue medicine, hoping to be a doctor of some kind. William and Margaret Scully were proud and couldn’t stop telling everyone who would listen how their little girl was going to be a doctor someday. 

Charlie...well, Charlie was fourteen and just finished his last year of middle school. He was still a wild card. For now he enjoyed playing video games and made good grades.

Melissa just sighed and placed a reassuring hand on Dana’s knee. 

“It’s going to be okay, Danes. If what you think turns out to be true, I’m here for you. You won’t be alone,” Melissa assured.

Monica nodded in agreement. “Yeah. We’ll be here for you and whatever you need.”

Two minutes came and went and the Scully sisters plus Monica went over to the counter. Dana took their hands and they looked at the results. Four vibrant pink lines stared back at her mockingly. She rested her head on her best friend’s shoulder and cried, cursing God or herself, she wasn’t sure.

It was official. Dana Katherine Scully was pregnant. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

April 2009

Rachel Smith had been an obstetrician for the last ten years, and she saw a diverse range of patients. However, Dana Scully was far from a regular patient. A divorced single mom with two kids and one on the way while attending medical school all while having just turned twenty-three. Not many women were in that position, and certainly none she had come across. Despite the odds against her, Dana seemed to be handling everything with grace. However, she was often emotionless. When Dana had first walked into Rachel’s office and discovered she was pregnant, she couldn’t stop crying. Now, it seemed as if she was in a constant state of numbness. When she came in for her twelve-week ultrasound last month, she didn’t even look at the screen. It was as if she had resigned herself to being a single mom of three forever and it didn’t seem as though she had many friends. At least, not in the Palo Alto area. Dana was smart, knew what she should and shouldn’t do during her pregnancy, but this pregnancy seemed anything but easy for her. According to her patient information, it wasn’t the first time with a difficult pregnancy either.

“Hi Dana,” Rachel greeted as she opened the door to the exam room Dana was in.

“Hi,” Dana responded meekly.

“So, have you noticed anything off since you were last here?” the doctor asked sweetly. 

Dana liked Dr. Smith. She had dirty blonde hair that rested just under her shoulders, and kind blue eyes that reminded Dana of summers spent on the beach. While she was older than her by about fifteen years, she didn’t look it. Her voice was soft and soothing, which Dana preferred for a stressful pregnancy such as this one. Not much else was known about her obstetrician, other than she had a girl and a boy in high school and elementary school respectively. Dana was both excited and terrified to see her girls get to the stage Dr. Smith’s daughter was at. Remembering what she and Missy were like as teenagers, she mentally cringed. 

“Dana?” Rachel prompted.

“Sorry,” Dana apologized. “Just lost in thought.”

“It’s alright.”

“But uh, yeah. I started having some pelvic pain last week. Mild, but uncomfortable. I thought it might be SPD, but I don’t know. It’s on and off.”

“Okay. Well, in that case we’ll do a transvaginal ultrasound instead of the transabdominal.”

Dana grimaced. Having a transducer in your vagina was not what she considered a fun activity for a Friday afternoon.

“Sorry about that, I know it’s not the preferred ultrasound,” Rachel said apologetically.

“It’s okay. It’s not like I haven’t had them before.” 

“So if you can just lie back for me, Dana, and we can see how the baby's doing, okay? I’ll try to distract you.”

Dana nodded silently and laid back on the exam table, putting her feet in the stirrups.

“How’s Stanford?” Rachel asked as she put on a pair of gloves and applied a lubricant to the transducer. 

Dana was oddly appreciative she kept the focus away from the pregnancy. It was nice to have someone interested in what she was doing besides growing a person, which is all anyone that saw her wanted to talk about. Dana unfortunately discovered during her first pregnancy that not only is your body not completely your own, but absolute strangers felt they had the right to it. One of her biggest pet peeves during pregnancy was definitely all the unwarranted touches her belly got. Sometimes, she didn’t want to be ‘Dana the mom’ or ‘Dana the pregnant woman.’ She just wanted to be Dana, and was grateful Dr. Smith respected that.

“It’s okay. A lot of work, for sure.”

“Any specialty you’re considering?” Rachel handed her the transducer. 

“I’m, uh,” Dana paused and grunted softly as she inserted the instrument, “interested in pathology.” 

“Kate wants to go into pediatrics for now, but she changes her mind so much, I'm not sure what she’ll end up doing or if she’ll even go into anything medical. She’s only sixteen, so she’s got a couple of more years before she has to decide. One thing about teenage girls you get to look forward to, Dana. They change their minds. A lot. I don’t remember ever being like this at her age,” Rachel chuckled.

Dana smiled softly, wincing as Rachel moved the device around to get a good view for the ultrasound.

“Gracie wants to be a vet and Liv wants to be a ballerina. I’m not sure how I got children so different in personality. They’re like night and day but get along just fine. For now.”

“Give it ten years,” Rachel teased.

With only a little discomfort, Rachel performed the ultrasound and soon the steady whoosh, whoosh of a heartbeat could be heard.

“Okay mom, and here’s baby,” Rachel said sweetly, pointing to a black and white pixelated screen. “We can go ahead and find out the sex if you’d like.”

Dana wanted to know. No surprises. This baby was enough of a surprise.

“I want to know, please.”

“Congratulations, Dana. You’re having another little girl.”

Dana breathed a sigh of relief. As much as she would have loved this baby either way, she wasn’t a huge fan of buying all new clothes if the baby was a boy. At least she could keep her girls’ clothes and she still had some of the baby clothes from when she had Liv, her mother wanting to save them ‘just in case.’

“I gather you had a preference?” Rachel observed. 

“No, it’s just… I don’t have to buy new clothes and stuff now. I still have things from when the girls were little. Plus, I don’t know how I’d be able to handle a boy, honestly. My track record with them isn’t the best.”

“I understand completely. Jake is definitely a wild child. Anyway, you can get dressed while I print out a picture for you. Would you like a copy for your girls?” the obstetrician asked as she gave Dana a towel to clean herself with.

“Sure,” Dana answered, releasing her feet from the stirrups and pulling her underwear and jeans on under her gown. “Um, also,” she started, hoping to get the doctor’s attention as she put on her bra and t-shirt, “I’m still experiencing occasional morning sickness  sometimes, and I was wondering if that was normal. With Gracie and Liv, it was completely gone by the start of my second trimester. With this one, it seems to be lingering.”

“Well, every pregnancy is different, so as long as you’re taking care of yourself and your baby, you should be okay. For some women, they experience occasional morning sickness up until they give birth. It all depends on the woman and pregnancy. With the stress you’ve mentioned having lately, I wouldn’t be surprised if it persisted. However, if it starts to get worse like in the first trimester, you should definitely come back so we can do some tests. For now, I wouldn’t worry. Just make sure to get your fluids and eat when you’re hungry. You’ll be okay, Dana,” Dr. Smith said, laying a hand on her shoulder. “That little one in there’s a fighter.”

Dana breathed a sigh of relief. After putting on her shoes and receiving two copies of her ultrasound picture, she got off the table. Her hand reached for her stomach and she felt the small swell. The bump felt hard now, and it was only a matter of time until the kicks followed. 

“Everything looks good so far, Dana. I know you mentioned having a partial abruption and some hospital visits when you were pregnant with Olivia, but everything is going smoothly. The most important thing is to take care of yourself physically and mentally. Try not to worry about the sickness, okay?”

“Thanks, Dr. Smith.” Dana gave a small smile and after receiving two copies of her ultrasound, made her way out of the room. She stopped at the front desk and made her five-month appointment. It was hard to believe she was 16 weeks along. She was already only a month from being halfway through with her pregnancy and if she was being honest, handling two children and a newborn were not what she had planned for her 20s. 

Stopping by the restroom first to relieve her bladder, Dana had time to think. She hadn’t planned for most of the things that happened in her life, if she was being honest. Children were a wait-until-you’re-30 thing and becoming a doctor used to be her number one priority. She wanted to graduate high school with no hassle. Well, until Gracie came along. Then it was diaper changes, essays written with a baby to her breast, turning down midnight runs to Waffle House for midnight feedings, and the numerous looks she got every day from older parents while dropping off and picking up her baby before and after school and her peers when they saw her with Gracie out in public. She wouldn’t have traded it for the world.

 

X

 

One thing Dana never understood about pregnancy was the simultaneous feelings of arousal, nausea, and ravenousness. Having gotten to the second trimester, she felt like a wanton woman, wanting to bed every warm-blooded man who looked her age. Yet, there was the emesis problem . Just the other day she had to pull over after picking her girls up after her classes to expel what little food she had been able to stomach. Of course her girls worried, but after her appointment earlier in the day, she felt a little better about it. Tonight, however, she was starving. And her OB/GYN specifically said to eat when she was hungry. Technically, she’d be following her doctor’s orders. After asking Taylor to please stay a little bit later, promising to pay extra, she found herself walking through downtown Palo Alto at 4:30 pm on a Friday afternoon. 

While alcohol was out of the question, it didn’t stop Dana from going to her favorite bar and grill restaurant in town. The food was actually pretty good and she could totally go for some wings right now. Her stomach rumbled, as if the baby was agreeing. 

Since there were a lot of people and not enough tables, she was more than welcome to sit at the bar. The irony. She went and lifted herself up on one of the stools, smoothed a hand over her stomach, and ordered water and wings, hold the sauce. Looking around at the people getting a drink in before they have to go home, senior citizens eating their dinner, and the college students getting an early start before they went to the bars, Dana was envious. Not that she was an alcoholic by any means, but what she wouldn’t give to be able to have a good beer right now. She rested her head in one hand and scrolled through her phone with the other. 

As it happened, a waitress placed a beer bottle next to her and informed it it was complimentary of the man next to the window. She turned in that direction, and sure enough, a brunette-haired man made his way over to her. He sat next to her and smiled. 

Think, Dana, think. There is a gorgeously handsome, warm-blooded man sitting next to you who bought you a beer. You want to jump into bed with him yet don’t even know his name. And how do you tell him you can’t drink? 

“So, what’s a pretty lady like you doing all alone?”

“Is that a question you normally ask to pick up women?” she teased.

He chuckled. “It’s Friday afternoon, and you seem like the type of person who’d be here with someone, is all. And since you are here alone, I thought maybe a beer would cheer you up?”

“Well, I’m flattered, but I’m not drinking tonight.” Please buy it, please buy it, please buy it.

The man shrugged and took the bottle. “Alright then, I might as well.” He took a swig and set it back down. “So, honestly, what brings a pretty redhead alone to a restaurant?”

“My, aren’t we curious? You know what they say about curiosity,” Dana teased.

“Hey, can’t blame a guy for wondering. Besides, you looked like you have some troubles, and who knows? Maybe you’d be one of those people who tells their life story to a stranger after having one too many drinks.”

“Am I that obvious?” Dana teased. “Actually, You’ll be saddened to know it takes a little more than too many drinks to get me to spill, no pun intended.”

“I majored in psychology, but obviously I need to ask for my money back.”

Dana chuckled, wanting to show him she wasn’t as cold as he may have thought. “Anyway, you went through the trouble of trying to buy me a drink and I still don’t know your name.”

“Mulder.”

“Just Mulder?”

“Just Mulder.”

“Okay, ‘just Mulder,’ since you like last names, I guess you can call me Scully.”

“Pleased to meet you, Scully.” Mulder held out his hand and she took it. “You seem like the type of person who’s skeptical of strangers, so I’ll let you ask me any question you want to prove I’m not as creepy as I seem.” Mulder took another swig of his beer.

Dana cocked an eyebrow and took a sip of water. Her food came and she took a bite out of a wing. 

“No sauce? Seems kind of bland,” Mulder noted.

Dana just shrugged. “So any question?” she asked, changing the subject. 

He nodded. “Any question. No strings attached.”

Dana was apprehensive, but she was curious about the mystery man who went by ‘Mulder.’ “Alright, so what’s a man like yourself doing here alone?” she asked.

“Just work.”

“Which is?”

“FBI,” he said nonchalantly.

Dana raised both eyebrows this time. “That doesn’t sound like ‘just work’ to me.” She finished off one of the wings and took a sip of water. 

“Well, it’s not, actually. I deal with the more...paranormal cases.”

“Like little green men?”

“Gray.”

“What?”

“They’re gray men, not green,” he informed her. 

Dana made an impressed face. “Noted. So Mulder, do you usually try to pick up women everywhere work brings you?”

He paused, thinking about what he was going to say. “Do you want the honest answer, or the answer you want to hear?” 

Playing it safe. Smooth. “You can be honest. Trust me, you won’t hurt my feelings.”

“Okay then. This is the first time, and I’m not going to lie, I probably looked like a fool.”

“Maybe, but I thought it was sort of cute.” Dana admitted, smiling. 

“As long as I don’t come across completely repulsive, that’s a win in my book.”

Dana nudged his arm. “Give yourself more credit. I’m sure there are plenty of pretty FBI agents wanting to get with you.”

“Maybe, but they’re not as beautiful as you,” he blurted out.

Dana blushed and turned away, eating her food to distract herself. Mulder sputtered and ran his hand through his hair nervously. 

“I’m so sorry. I just... welp, I skipped right past ‘calm and collected’ straight into ‘completely repulsive’ pretty early, didn’t I?”

Was he nuts? Dana couldn’t explain to him how much she had missed hearing those words come from anyone’s mouth. “Oh no! I’m sorry, you’re fine! It’s just...been a long time since I’ve heard those words, and it took me by surprise is all.”

“You sure? You don’t want to run for the hills or anything?”

“I’m sure.” She looked up into his eyes, and appreciated the hazel orbs. Taking in his features, she noticed the way his bottom lip poked out, almost as if he was constantly pouting. Lord help me find the strength not to kiss a complete stranger. Don’t do it, Dana. She could feel the heat from her core and both cursed and thanked her heightened arousal making her feel like a cat in heat. Dammit. Fucking pregnancy hormones. Licking her lips, she continued. “In fact, I can think of a better plan,” she said in a low voice. Well, there goes that plan. Way to be subtle, Dana. Good fucking job. 

Now it was Mulder’s turn to raise his eyebrows. He knew what she meant. Oh yes, he understood very well. “Are you absolutely certain? I don’t...I mean…”

“What, you’ve never had a woman proposition herself to you?”

He scratched the back of his head. “I mean...I just...you’re gorgeous and completely out of my league…”

“One night, Mulder. Just one. No strings attached,” she repeated his earlier statement.

She finished off her food and drink, waiting for him to respond.

“Your place or mine?” he finally asked.

Dana smiled and excused herself. “Just let me make a call and we can go wherever you’re staying.”

 

X

 

Dana and Mulder barely made it inside his motel room before connecting their lips. Just as the door closed, he turned her around and with her back against it, he kissed her fervently, raking his hands up and down her body. Bringing his hands back up to cup her face, he turned them around and led them towards the bed. She slowly lowered herself on the bed, using her hands as leverage. He crawled to her and she giggled. Cupping her jaw, he plastered kisses over her face and neck.

“God, you’re… so… fucking… hot,” he said in between kisses. 

He lifted his arms, taking his shirt with him and tossing on the floor. He went to work on his pants next while she did the same until they were both without their bottoms. Starting to tug at her shirt, he attempted to remove it, but she moved his hands away. He looked at her curiously. 

Okay, Dana. Just relax. He probably won’t even notice. 

Hesitantly, she took a deep breath and moved his hands back to her shirt and he slowly pulled it up and over her head. He kissed her neck while raking his hands over her body, seemingly not noticing the changes. On the one hand, she was glad he didn’t notice her baby belly. On the other, she was a little disappointed. It felt, at least to her, like anyone would be able to tell she was pregnant. Focus, Dana.  

While he continued kissing her, she worked on removing her bra, her breasts begging to be freed. Once it was off, she tossed it towards the edge of the bed. He cupped her breasts, gently kneading them and thumbing her nipples as he kissed her neck. Trying to not groan in pain at the sensation, her eyes watered and she quietly gasped. They felt sensitive and sore, and touching only made it worse. 

“Are you okay?” Mulder asked, sensing she was uncomfortable.

“No,” she said, taking his hands off of her. 

Mulder knitted his eyebrows in confusion. 

Maybe I should’ve left it on. Damn it, Dana. 

“Off-limits,” was all she could manage.

“No problem. I just want you to be comfortable.” 

She sighed in relief and kissed him again. After more rounds of kissing -who were they kidding, full-on makeout sessions- they worked on the other’s underwear, pulling them off until they were both bared before each other.

“What position?” he asked as he continued to kiss her, moving down her neck, feeling the curves of her body. 

“This is fine,” she said breathlessly, her hands in his hair as he kissed her lower belly, dangerously close to her center. No pressure on her breasts or stomach was the goal. “Just try to keep your weight off me, okay?”

“Okay.” He took his time, making sure she knew he appreciated every part of her body, even the parts she was hesitant to reveal. “You are so beautiful.” 

She hooked a leg around his waist, pulling him closer to her. “Just fuck me already, Mulder.”

“Yes ma’am,” he grinned and used two fingers to part her opening. Pushing his fingers into her, he swore he heard a moan as he felt her natural lubrication on his fingers. He added another finger, then another, moving his hand in and out of her. “Do you have anything?”

“I’m clean.”

“What about protection?” 

Well, it’s not like you can get me pregnant. “I’m on the pill,” she lied, assuming he didn’t have any on his part. 

Mulder sighed in relief and sped up his movements. Dana was almost panting at this point. Hunter never did this; he never took care of her needs, so this was a new experience. She felt him remove his fingers and tried to steady her breathing as he positioned himself at her entrance. He ran the hand that just left Dana’s body over his length. 

“Let me know if it hurts, okay?” he asked.

Dana nodded and gasped as he pushed himself into her slowly. She gripped the bed sheet and arched her body a little as he sped up his movements. Not once did she feel this good while with Hunter. Mulder was careful and concerned about her needs, making sure she was comfortable, and he was a complete stranger. Trying to push thoughts of her ex aside, she focused on Mulder, whose face was currently inches away from hers. 

“Still good?” he asked.

“Actually, my back hurts a little.”

“Do you want to be on top?”

She’d never been on top before. “I’ve never been on top...“ she admitted, embarrassed. 

“I’ll help. Just relax, and I can guide you.”

Dana lifted herself up with her elbows and held onto his neck as he grabbed her back. Still inside her, he shifted until they were both vertically upright. 

“We can do it this way, or I can lay down, it’s up to you.”

Well damn, if he isn’t the most considerate partner on this planet. “Um, this is fine.”

“Okay, so you’re in charge now. Just do what feels right.”

She nodded nervously and held onto his shoulders. Trying to remember what she’d read on the internet, Dana started to rotate her pelvis. Her movements were awkward at first, but she gained a rhythm and he was moving as well. Soon she was bouncing up and down, her breasts mere centimeters from Mulder’s face. However, the bobbing motion pained her breasts even more and she wanted to stop. 

“I’m sorry,” she apologized. “Can we try another way?”

“Of course,” Mulder assured, stroking her face. 

Resorting to a position she had been in countless times, she got off of him, turning around and bending over on all fours. She heard him mutter something under his breath, and hoped it was positive. 

“You sure?” he asked, voice cracking.

She turned her head to look at him and nodded. As he entered her again, she moaned at the sensation. Oh yes.

“Go faster,” she said breathlessly.

”Yes ma’am.” 

As he picked up the pace, both of them started to breathe loudly in response coupled with the noise of their bodies slapping together. Mulder started to move his hand around her hip and down and, after a few trial and errors, found her clit. Dana whimpered as a result and it took everything in her not to cry out. Pregnancy made her feel more sensitive, and the bundle of nerves above her vaginal opening was no different.

“I’m not going to last much longer,” he noted. True to his word, after a few more pumps, she felt him release inside of her, still feeling around her nerves. He replaced his length with his fingers, curling them upward. She knew what he was trying to do, and she appreciated the effort. 

“Mulder, it’s okay. Really.” 

He kept going, using both of his hands. “No, I want you to come too.”

“Mulder, seriously. I appreciate your thoughtfulness, but it’s okay. I don’t have to finish.”

“Dana, I want you to get something out of this, too.” He curled and uncurled his fingers, sliding them in and out and rubbing her clit as Dana looked back at him with pity.

“Mulder, I promise, I don’t feel-oh my fucking God!” she gasped. She felt her inner muscles quiver and arched her back. Her eyes closed, she tilted her head back and cried out in pleasure as her legs shook. 

“I told you,” he gloated teasingly. 

Dana, breathless, smirked and turned around, patting his chest. “Excuse me,” she said as she slid out of bed to use the restroom and clean herself up. She picked up her clothes and underwear as she did so. 

“Nice ass,” Mulder said as she bent down, causing her to laugh and shake her head. 

“Men,” she said in mock annoyance before she closed the bathroom door. 

While she was in there, Mulder got a call about his case. He called out her name, but no response was given. After putting on his clothes, he gently knocked on the bathroom door, but all he heard was the sound of retching. Opening the door, he found Dana, fully clothed, over the toilet heaving. He knelt down and held her hair back until it passed. When she was done, he wet a washcloth and she flushed the toilet. Taking the cool, wet fabric from him, she dabbed various parts of her face and mouth.

“Are you alright? Are you sick?” 

“I’m not sick, I promise.”

Confused, but deciding not to press it, he brushed some of the hair away from her face. “I just got a call from work. I hate to cut this short, but-”

“That’s all it was going to be, Mulder. It’s okay. I have to get going anyway.”

She gathered her things and he got dressed back into his work clothes. He opened the door for her and she smiled as she walked out of his motel room. She stopped and turned to face him. 

“Thank you for that, Mulder. I don’t usually have sex with a guy I just met, but there’s just something about you I can’t quite put my finger on.”

“It was absolutely no problem.” He smiled suggestively and she shook her head, smiling as well. They walked to his car and got in. 

“Where do I drop you off?” he asked.

“You can just drop me off back at the restaurant. I parked nearby and it’s not even seven yet. I should be alright.” 

“I just want to say thanks,” Scully spoke up during the mostly silent ride back. 

“It’s no problem.”

“No, I meant… most guys don’t… ask me what I want, I guess is what I’m trying to say.”

“Oh,” Mulder realized. 

“You were gentle and listened, and I really appreciated it.”

“It was the least I could do,” he remarked, turning his head to look at her. 

Dana looked back at him and smiled. “I hope I wasn’t too bad,” she queried. 

“Not at all,” he assured. He turned his attention back to driving. “I had a great time.”

After reaching their destination, they looked and smiled at each other once more. 

“Well, duty calls. I wish you well, Scully.”

“Goodbye, Mulder.” She got out of the car and watched him drive off. 

And so, they parted ways. Two people with lives the other was completely oblivious to. A woman trying to move on from her past, and a man stuck in his. She resigned to single parenthood, and he with no thoughts of parenthood at all. While Dana felt a little regretful for not being completely honest with him, there was no way she could’ve told him about the pregnancy at risk of scaring him off. It was better that way. He was none the wiser about her condition, and she could go on with her life knowing she’ll never see him again. That fact in itself enough to justify the withholding of that particular piece of information. Of course, that was the beauty of ‘one-night stands.’ The less known, the better. No emotional investment, no hurt, and no pain. Just the comfort of another human’s body utilized for the most primal of instincts.

 

Chapter Text

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. The Scullys prided themselves on being modest Catholics, but it took up little 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.

Chapter Text

October 2009

 

“Breathe, Dana, okay? In through your nose, out through your mouth.”

The only response Dana could muster was a groan; she was currently occupying a hospital bed waiting for her third daughter to make her way into the world. Gracie and Liv were in the room as well, worried every time their mom cried out in pain. As their regular babysitter was unavailable and Dana didn’t know many other people with teenagers that could come on such short notice, she had begrudgingly brought her daughters with her to the hospital. Her parents and sister were on the way, but until then she was on all fours on the hospital bed trying to settle her breathing. Her labor had started three hours ago and the contractions were now only three minutes apart. Third babies came pretty fast according to her mom and all the books, so she had gone ahead and called her family members that resided in San Diego. 

“I’m going to check how dilated you are, okay Dana? Do you want to lie down for this or stay?” the nurse asked. 

“Hnngh, this,” Dana gritted her teeth, “this is fine.”

The nurse put a hand on Dana’s hip and lifted her gown in the front to check her dilation. While having a hand in her vagina was uncomfortable, so was labor. By a landslide. 

“Okay Dana, you’re about nine centimeters dilated and almost fully effaced; you’ll be ready to push soon.”

Panic was plastered across Dana’s face. “Wait, I want… I want my mom and sister. They need to be here,” Dana was on the verge of tears. 

“I know, sweetie.” The nurse gave a comforting pat on Dana’s shoulder. “They should be here soon if you called them.”

Another contraction hit and it took all of her effort not to cry out in pain. The nurse rubbed her back and she seriously regretted turning down the epidural. At first, she wasn’t a fan of a needle roughly the length of her hand going into her back, but now she would give anything to not feel the piercing pain of each contraction. 

There was so much confliction swirling around in Dana’s mind it could make her dizzy. While she was mostly excited for her baby girl to be here, part of her was not ready. If she were being completely honest, she felt guilty. Dana had been raised in an environment of believing every unborn life is sacred. Having an abortion was the gravest of sins according to her mother, father, and the Catholic faith. With Gracie, Dana was young. Too young, in her opinion. Sixteen and a baby? Which was worse: shame for terminating a pregnancy or shame because of becoming a teen mom? However, sixteen and pregnant led to twenty and pregnant with a child which led to twenty-three, pregnant, and with two children. 

There would always be a part of her that felt ashamed she had not wanted her daughter until the second ultrasound and she had suddenly decided to look at the screen. She’d already had two kids, could she really afford another? Could she properly care for an infant and two small children? While her views had changed and she believed in freedom of choice, she’d felt like a bad mother for not wanting this pregnancy while she already had Gracie and Liv. Sitting on the exam table with Dr. Smith pointing out the heartbeat, the little black and white pixelated blob pulled on her heart strings and she knew this baby was going to be carried to term. While there was still doubt in her mind about adding another child to her family, this baby would be loved. She’d make sure of that. 

“You’re doing great, Dana. Baby girl should be here soon, okay?” 

“Are you okay, mommy?” Gracie asked as she went over to her mom, placing her small hand over Dana’s.

“I’m fine, baby.” She was in fact not fine. Her back arched as she felt the firey-hot pain wash over her. 

“You’re fibbing.”

Dana sighed. If she wasn’t in so much pain, she would’ve laughed. Gracie was an observant little girl and knew when her mommy was not telling the whole truth. “I know. It just hurts,” she said as she felt herself about to cry. 

At this point, she wasn’t even ashamed to let the tears fall. These people were already going to see the most intimate parts of her and her daughters had seen her cry multiple times. What are a few tears? Considering that within the next hour or so, she will have gained another child by a man who won’t be there to help raise them, not that she wanted him to. She’d soon be a single mother of three, and the fear of not being enough for her girls was enough to make her panic again. Trying to even her breathing, two more contractions passed before the door opened and soon her mother, father, and sister were by her side. 

“Grandma, Grandpa,  Aunt Missy!” the girls chorused and ran over to the older women.

“I’m here, honey,” Maggie comforted as she ran a head through her younger daughter’s hair while receiving hugs from her granddaughters. “How are you feeling?”

“In pain,” Dana admitted.

“We’re here now, Danes,” Melissa said. 

“How’re you doing, Starbuck?” Bill Sr. asked.

“I’m okay now.”

Dana moved to a mostly sitting position and Maggie and Melissa held her hands as she experienced another contraction. While she had her first baby mostly lying down, she’d read it could cause more pain and being upright was best.

“How long until the baby gets here?” Melissa asked as she released her hand and picked up Liv. 

“About an hour or so,” Dana informed breathlessly as her grip on Maggie’s hand strengthened. 

“Is the baby coming, mommy?” Gracie asked.

“Soon, sweetie,” Dana answered through gritted teeth.

“You’re doing amazing, though. I couldn’t imagine ever doing this. You’re a strong woman, Danes.”

“Thanks, Missy. You know, you can start having your own, you know,” she half-joked. “I can’t be the only one to give mom and dad grandchildren.”

“I’ll let Charlie and Bill do that,” Melissa chuckled.

Dana let out a breathy, half-hearted laugh before turning toward her mother. “I don’t know how you did it four times, mom. I’m so tired,” she cried.

“I know, sweetie. The baby will be here soon.” Maggie smiled at her. 

“Just… don’t leave me, okay? Either of you. Please,” she begged breathlessly before turning to her father, “ And Ahab?”

“Hmm?” He had resigned himself to a corner, unsure of how to approach or soothe his you her daughter.

“I want the girls with you, I don’t want them to be in here when the baby come.”

“But mommy-“ Gracie and Liv whined. 

“Girls, listen to your mother,” Bill Sr. commanded. “You’ll get to see your sister soon, I promise.”

While everyone waited for the birth of the newest Scully, Dana’s contractions got closer together and soon it was hard to distinguish when one ended and another began. Melissa paced the room with Liv, who grew anxious by her mother’s discomfort. Gracie sat in her grandfather’s lap, telling everyone about the latest happenings at school, trying to pass the time. 

“Are you sure you’re okay, mommy?” Gracie asked.

“I’m fine, keep talking, it- aaahhh,” Dana cried out, the most painful contraction so far coursing through her body. 

“Breathe, Dana, breathe,” her mother coached. 

Tears fell down her cheeks as she took her mother’s hand. Words did not seem to want to come and all she could muster were cries or whimpers, taking deep breaths to calm herself down. 

“Girls, let’s go,” Ahab commanded, sensing it would be time for the baby to come soon. 

Melissa set Liv down, who went to grab her grandfather’s hand. There was minimal fuss, and soon it was just the three Scully women in the room.

Not even half an hour had gone by before Dana’s body was ready to start pushing. She buzzed for a nurse and tilted her head back if the contractions were more than she could bear. Her mom and sister each held a hand during her contractions. The nurse came in shortly after and didn’t need to be told what was happening. 

“Okay Dana, let me page Dr. Smith for you. She’ll be here as soon as she can,” she had said, getting things ready.

Rachel came in not long after that and confirmed that Dana was, in fact, ready to push. 

“Okay, Dana, on this next one, I need you to push, okay?” she said. 

Dana could only nod and once the contraction came, she bore down. Breathing heavy, she tried not to cry out. 

“God dammit!” she swore, mentally daring her mother to chastise her. 

“You’re doing great, Dana. I see the baby’s head,” Rachel announced. 

Melissa pulled out her phone and started to record. “Okay girlie, you’re about to be born, and your mommy is not too happy about it,” Melissa said to the camera as she turned it towards Dana. 

“Anything from you, mom?”

“Missy, if you don’t get your phone out of my face, I will guarantee you’ll need a new one,” Dana spat through gritted teeth as Maggie attempted to suppress a laugh. 

“Okay, okay, sorry,” Melissa apologized, moving her phone to face Dana’s lower half. “This is it, baby girl! You’re about to enter the world. We’re so excited to meet you!”

Rachel smiled, then looked at Dana. “Okay Dana, give me a big push.”

The mom-of-three-to-be cried out as she bore down, her chin touching her chest. 

“Great, Dana! The head’s almost out. Push again,” Rachel instructed.

After taking a few seconds to catch her breath, Dana gave another push, groaning.

“The head’s out, but I need you to stop pushing. Just follow me. Breathe. In, out, in, out.” 

In pain, annoyed, and sweaty, Dana used what little energy she had left to focus on her breathing. She had felt the baby’s head being pushed out as it stretched her.

“Do you want to feel your baby’s head, Dana?”

“I just want her out of me,” Dana cried exasperatedly.

“Okay, one more push when you’re ready.”

“I’m ready,” she said breathlessly. 

“You’ve got this, honey,” Maggie encouraged as she squeezed her younger daughter’s hand. Melissa just smiled and gave a thumbs up.

“Alright, start pushing again! You’re so close to meeting your baby.”

Dana cried out and pushed again, feeling the baby’s body leave hers as well as other bodily fluids. Dana immediately let go of her mother and sister’s hands and reached for her baby. Rachel handed the baby to her and she pulled her hospital gown down for skin-to-skin contact. 

“She’s beautiful, honey,” Maggie praised as she moved some of Dana’s sweat-soaked hair out of her face. “You did so well.” 

“This is you, baby!” Melissa squealed excitedly as she moved her phone closer to Dana and the baby. “You’re so tiny! Your mommy is too, so get used to it,” she teased before she stopped recording and put her phone in her back pocket. 

Dana rolled her eyes and looked down lovingly at her baby. She kissed her baby’s head and lightly ran a thumb up and down her cheek. The baby gurgled and squirmed, not happy about leaving the warmth of her mother’s womb. Dana pulled her gown down further, exposing her breast. Guiding the baby to her nipple, the infant cried, trying and failing to latch. Licking and rooting, the baby’s face grew redder and redder. Dana thought she would cry. 

“She’ll get it, Dana,” Maggie encouraged. “Just give her time.”

Wiping the tears away, Dana once again guided the baby. She winced at the feeling of tiny hands hitting her skin as the baby wailed trying to find her first meal. On the third attempt and with some help from Rachel, the baby finally latched.

“Oh, thank God. I thought she’d never get it,” Dana admitted.

“Some babies take longer than others. It’s perfectly normal,” Rachel stated. “After she’s fed, we’ll take her and let you deliver the placenta.”

Dana nodded, looking down at her baby and then at Maggie. “The girls can come in. I want to wait until she’s finished before Ahab comes in.”

“Okay, sweetie.” Maggie wiped the stray hairs out of Dana’s sweaty face and momentarily left the room. Soon, she came back, Gracie and Liv hot on her heels. 

Melissa took out her phone again to record.

“Mommy, can we see the baby?” Gracie asked loudly.

“Shh, quiet voice, Gracie,” Maggie said. 

Gracie nodded and went to the bed where her mom and baby sister were situated. Smiling at her mom, she looked at her new sister with amazement. She was just tall enough to see, but Liv wasn’t, so Maggie picked her up to get a better look at the baby. Melissa went to the other side of the bed and held the camera out towards the girls and Maggie. 

“Why is she sucking on your boobies, mommy?” Gracie asked.

The adults chuckled. “That’s how she’s going to be eating for a while,” Dana answered.

“Can I feed her?” 

“Umm, maybe when she’s older, okay? I’m the only one that can feed her right now.”

“Baby sister?” Liv asked.

“Yeah, this is your new sister,” Dana confirmed.

“What’s her name, Dana?” Maggie asked.

“Sarah,” Dana announced. “Sarah Elizabeth.”

“Aww, that’s precious!” Melissa squealed.

“She looks like an alien.”

The knowledge of her… encounter with Mulder months earlier and the sheer bluntness of Liv’s comment made Dana struggle to stay silent. 

“Liv!” Maggie chided, but failed to contain her amusement. Melissa didn’t even try, laughing loudly as Gracie looked confused. 

“I guess she does a little.” Dana smiled at her three-year-old’s innocence. 

“Is daddy coming?” 

The air immediately grew tense and the baby started to kick her feet and Melissa stopped recording. While Liv knew her mommy and daddy didn’t live together anymore, she hadn’t been told the real reason for her father’s absence. 

“Don’t be silly, Liv, daddy doesn’t want us anymore,” Gracie said matter-of-factly.

“Girls, enough,” Maggie said sternly as she passed a sympathetic glance towards Dana. 

The baby started to squirm and Dana patted their bottom in an attempt to soothe them. Melissa took out her phone once again and pressed record.

“Okay, mom, baby number three, how are we feeling?”

“I love her!” Liv exclaimed, causing the adults to laugh. 

Dana switched the baby to her other breast and adjusted her gown. “Like a dream. I can’t believe she’s here,” Dana answered as tears fell down her face. She ran a finger lightly across her new daughter’s cheek. 

“Okay, who wants to cut the cord?” Rachel asked after examining the now-white substance still connecting mom and baby. 

“I do! I do!” the girls squealed excitedly. 

Rachel looked up at Dana, who nodded her approval. The doctor showed the girls how and where to cut. Rachel held Liv’s hands as they cut closer to Dana’s body and Gracie was able to carefully cut the cord closer to the baby. After Rachel tied the small bit left on the baby’s stomach, Dana felt the effects of oxytocin causing more contractions. Taking the baby away from her breast and handing the child to Maggie, Dana grunted as she felt the wave of pain.

“Come on, girls, let’s give your mom some room, okay?” Maggie said as she placed the baby in the bassinet. 

After Maggie, Melissa, and the girls left the room, Dana felt another contraction and Rachel assumed the position. 

“Okay, just a small push and it’ll be out,” Rachel said. 

Dana nodded, bearing down some and loudly exhaled as she felt the mass expel from her body. 

“Are you doing okay, Dana?” Rachel asked as she placed the mass in a medical waste bag. 

“I’m okay,” Dana answered, moving to sit more vertically upright on the bed. 

“I’m just going to make sure the placenta’s all out.”

Dana nodded and felt Rachel place her fingers into her. God, this hurt. 

“I’m done, Dana. You haven’t retained anything. The bleeding has slowed, so I’ll leave you to it. You’ve got one beautiful baby.”

Dana smiled softly. “Thank you,” she said quietly. 

Rachel smiled, then left the room, leaving Dana alone with her thoughts. And her new baby. She looked down at the tiny human that was inside of her not two hours prior, amazed at just how true Rachel’s words were. While she may have looked like a alien to Liv, she was a beautiful alien nonetheless.

 

X

 

Two days later

“Mom, do you know where I put the extra pads?” Dana asked as she fished around her hospital bag and pulled out mesh underwear, a nursing bra, and comfortable clothes. 

“They’re in the bathroom, honey,” Maggie answered as she held Sarah. 

Dana gathered her clothes and toiletries and headed toward the bathroom slowly. She felt exhausted and gross. Hopefully a shower would help her feel better. Luckily, she didn’t need any stitches, but the soreness and bleeding made her constantly uncomfortable. She had found a pregnancy and motherhood Facebook group and one mom swore by putting witch hazel gel and aloe on a maternity pad and freezing them for the postpartum healing and wanted to try it out when she took her daughter home. The woman said the smell was horrible at first, but it felt soothing and had helped her immensely. 

“Do you need anything in case the nurse comes back?”

“I’m good, mom. Thanks.”

Dana showered slowly and carefully. Putting her arms above her head would pull her muscles when she did so, and she would hiss in pain. Having to figure out a way to clean herself that didn't feel like she was pulling every muscle in her body was challenging, but she finally managed to finish her shower forty minutes later. Wrapping herself in a big fluffy towel, she stared at herself  in the mirror. Her face was rounder and her collarbones weren’t as pronounced. While it had been like this since later in the second trimester, she had never gotten used to the weight gain. Dana had to remind herself it was because of her baby that she had brought into this world, but she had always been unconsciously aware of her slim figure and healthily maintaining it.

“Dana, you okay?”

“Yeah, mom. I’m okay,” she called out.

Dana placed a maternity pad on the mesh underwear she brought with her and pulled them on, never liking how it felt. Putting the rest of her clothes on, she came out of the bathroom, her wet hair feeling cool against the back of her neck. Maggie was sitting in a chair while Sarah slept. Dana put the toiletries and used clothes back in the hospital bag and checked on her youngest daughter.

“Mom, you don’t have to stay, we can handle it,” she stated, smiling at her baby.

“I know, sweetie. I just want to be there for you.”

Sarah began to stir.

“I know, and I appreciate it. I really can handle this.”

The baby whimpered and started to cry. Dana carefully picked her up and patted her bottom as she rotated her torso slowly.

“It also gives me an excuse to spend time with my newest grandchild,” Maggie smiled.

Dana rolled her eyes jokingly as Sarah’s cries became wails. Placing the baby against her chest, Sarah began to root. Dana reached under her top and lowered the strap of her bra. Exposing a breast, she helped Sarah latch as she sat in the hospital bed. She leaned back and closed her eyes to rest, having prepared to get as much sleep as she could in between and even during feedings. 

“Oh, I forgot to mention, the nurse came in while you were in the restroom and needed the rest of the forms you filled out so you and the little one can go home.”

“Oh, okay. Thank you,” Dana said sleepily.

“Are you sure you don’t need any help, honey?” Maggie asked.

“I’m fine, really,” Dana reassured. “You forget I’ve done this before. Twice.”

“You just seem so tired.”

“That’s usually what happens when you have a tiny human.”

“I know that, but-”

“Knock, knock!” a voice called out along with the sounding of wood being knocked on.

The door opened and Monica appeared with two bags and a stuffed bear. 

“You came.” Dana perked up at her best friend’s presence. 

Monica went over to Dana and gently kissed her on the cheek. “How are you?” she asked.

“I’m okay. Sore, but okay. It was worth it,” she stated, looking down at her daughter.

“Oh my gosh,” Monica gushed at the nursing baby in Dana’s arms. “She’s so precious.”

“Thank you.” Dana’s smile was wide. She had called Monica soon after the baby had been born and she had been unable to take time off of work on such short notice, but she had now taken the next two weeks off to help with the baby at the chagrin of her boss, but she had plenty of PTO and was unlikely to use more for a while.

“Monica,” Maggie said to get her attention. 

“Hello, Maggie. It’s good to see you.” Monica got up and gave her best friend’s mother a hug. 

“I’m glad you came.”

“Me too. I wish I got here sooner, but I’m here now.”

“And we’re so glad you are.” Maggie placed a hand on Monica’s arm and smiled. 

“Where are the girls?” Monica asked as she looked around.

“They’re at home with Missy and Ahab. They’re watching them for me.” Dana scooted over to make room for the taller woman.

“Oh, okay. When do you take this munchkin home?” Monica asked, sitting on the bed next to Dana.

“Today, actually. I have a few more hours to get everything ready, but she can leave today.”

“Are you going to be staying with Dana?” Maggie questioned.

“Yeah, for two weeks. I’m here for whatever she needs.”

“Oh?” 

Dana sensed her mother’s confusion. “I asked Monica to stay with us. I wanted her to visit and you can come whenever you want.” Dana moved the baby to her other breast and adjusted her top.

“Alright. Just keep me updated, okay honey?”

“Of course I will, mom.”

 

X

 

“We’re home!” Monica announced as she opened the door to Dana’s apartment. 

She held the door for Dana, who was carrying the car seat with Sarah, and Maggie. Once everyone was inside, Monica locked the door behind them as footsteps came thundering down the hall. 

“Mommy!” a chorus could be heard. 

“Hey babies,” Dana greeted. 

Gracie and Liv hugged their mom who they had missed the last few days, then directed their attention to the car seat which had been placed on the floor. The girls squatted down to look at their sister they hadn’t seen since her birth. 

“Let mommy get her, okay?” Dana asked as the girls moved away. 

“Let me do it, Dana.” Maggie stepped forward, not wanting her daughter to hurt herself.

Dana looked at Monica. “Okay,” she gave in. 

Carefully, Maggie squatted and unbuckled the baby. She lifted the small newborn and held her close before handing her over to Dana. The baby sneezed and snuggled her face in the crook of her mother’s neck as Dana patted the baby’s bottom. 

“I love her!” Liv announced, causing the women to chuckle.

“Do you want to see her, Gracie?” Dana asked.

Gracie nodded, moving closer to her mom and sister. She was content to just silently watch as her baby sister yawned and blinked, taking in the world. Placing a finger gently on the baby’s cheek, they gurgled and moved their head. Two figures soon appeared from down the hall and made their way to the small group. Gracie and Liv resigned to the living room, having soon grown bored of the new baby. 

“Welcome home, Danes,” Missy welcomed, smiling. She went to hug her little sister, mindful of the baby. 

“Thanks, Missy.”

“Starbuck.” Bill Sr. gave his daughter a side hug, looking down at his newest grandchild.

“She’s adorable,” Melissa had said to her sister while looking at her niece. Holding out a finger, the baby grabbed it and held on tight. “And has a strong grip,” Melissa chuckled.

“You should see my chest. Her nails have already started to scratch me,” Dana said before realizing her father was standing right next to her.

“I’ll take your word for it.” 

“How were the girls?” Dana asked as Monica went to move the car seat next to the front door. 

“Restless. They missed you,” Bill Sr. remarked.

“Apparently I do voices as well as you do when I read them their bedtime stories. Although they did like the fact I spoil them rotten.” Melissa smiled at her sister.

“Of course you do,” Dana joked.

“Hey, Dana, do you want me to put your stuff in your room?” Monica asked as she came back.

“Actually, I can do it. Do you want to hold her?” she directed to Melissa.

“You don’t have to ask me twice.” 

Dana carefully placed the baby in her sister’s arms and took her hospital bag to her bedroom while Monica busied herself in the kitchen. While taking various items of clothing out of the bag, she felt a pang in her lower stomach. This is normal , she told herself, but that didn’t stop it from hurting any less. After finally getting everything unpacked, she heard the sound of footsteps enter her room followed by whimpers.

“We missed mommy,” Melissa said sweetly as she entered, followed by Maggie.

“Oh, come here baby.” Dana reached for her daughter and snuggled her while Melissa and their mother finished the task she started. After Melissa asking a million questions about what goes where and Maggie wondering what clothes were clean and which ones were dirty, everything finally managed to be put away.

“So Monica’s gonna be staying for a couple weeks,” Melissa noted.

“She is. She wanted to see the baby and lives farther away. Plus I could use the help.”

“I can still come and visit, right?”

“Of course you can. You’re always welcome here, you know that. You’re only an hour away, remember?”

“I just miss the kiddos already and I haven’t even left yet,” Melissa said. 

“We all do,” Maggie agreed.

It was a mutual consensus that Aunt Melissa was the favorite among mommy’s siblings, so Gracie and Liv were closer to their aunt Missy than their uncles Bill and Charlie. This meant that the girls always had more fun with Melissa and missed her fiercely when she left after having spent time together. While there were only sixty or so minutes between them, Melissa didn’t visit as much as she wanted, and the girls agreed. According to the girls, they didn’t see their uncle Charlie that often and they never did get along the best with their uncle Bill. Not that he was mean or rude, but he always made their mommy uncomfortable, and they absolutely did not like it. 

When Dana was in the hospital with their baby sister, Melissa stayed with them and played with them and took them to school. She was interested in what happened during the day and would spoil them as long as they kept it a secret from their mommy. Whenever they had stayed with their uncle Bill without their mom, which was not often, he seemed disinterested and didn’t spend a lot of time with them. He didn’t read them bedtime stories like mommy or aunt Missy did, and they liked his wife Tara much better. She was kind and sweet and engaged with them more. All around, Melissa was definitely the fan favorite of the Scully girls.

“They’ll miss you too, I’m sure. For now, you need to get as many cuddles as you can before you go.” 

“Is that a challenge?” Melissa asked, chuckling.

Dana smirked and led them out into the living room, where they found Monica spinning around wildly with Liv on her back. Gracie was running around them and laughter filled the air. Ahab was booming with laughter.

“My turn! My turn!” Gracie squealed. 

Monica hoisted her up on her back after letting Liv get down and repeated the action, spinning fast enough to be fun but also slow enough not to harm her.

“Are we having fun?” Dana asked, getting their attention.

“Mommy! Mommy! Can Aunt Monica stay? Pleeeaaase?” Liv pleaded.

Monica stopped spinning and let Gracie down, both struggling to catch their breath.

“I'm here for two whole weeks, kiddo,” Monica proudly announced before Dana had a chance to respond. 

“Yay! Yay! Yay!” Liv exclaimed, jumping up and down.

The adults chuckled while the baby squirmed in Dana’s arms.

“Unfortunately, I am not, so I need all the hugs I can get,” Melissa stated. 

Gracie and Liv almost ran their biological aunt over, hugging her tight and showering her with kisses. Melissa laughed along with the girls and Dana chuckled, indescribably happy for the first time in what felt like years. Her family was okay, she brought a new life into this world, her best friend would be with her for two weeks, her kids were getting along and not jealous or mean to the baby, and everyone was happy. Thoughts of Hunter didn’t even register, and the air was lighter and more jovial for it. She felt lighter than she could ever remember and looked down at the now sleeping baby, taking in the pure bliss she felt. It felt as if there was nothing that could possibly damper her spirit.