Scully couldn’t take the anticipation, the fear building in her chest as she paced the hospital waiting room, the sounds of her heels clicking against the linoleum as the doctors worked on her little one. That phone call was one that she had been dreading since becoming a mother for the second time in her life, that her child was sick.
Mulder was out parking the car since she had nearly leapt from the moving vehicle as he pulled up to the front, her screaming infant in tow as she bustled inside. The daycare had required that she pick their daughter up upon the spiking of her fever, but those words alone were enough to strike fear in her heart and require that Mulder take them in.
She could still feel the vibrations of her baby’s crying against her chest, and for only being four months old, little Scarlett’s lungs knew how to scream. The fear was too much, she was a doctor for Christ’s sake, and what a fever had the ability to do to such a small person, so vulnerable to the world.
She cursed herself for allowing Mulder to convince her to take her out to meet Santa Claus, she was a baby and wouldn’t remember it, but she did it for the sentiments, wanting to give her as normal of a childhood as possible.
But the germs. They were always a lingering voice in the back of her head. She had been safe, allowing others to hold her only after they washed their hands, and made them keep their distance if they felt unwell, but this time it just managed to get through.
She began to chew on her lip, wishing she had at least gone home to change out of her blue button down and navy skirt, the black pumps still shaking her balance, but she felt confident in her abilities, she had been sprinting in heels since nineteen ninety three and she wasn’t planning on stopping any time soon.
She didn’t even have to turn to know that Mulder was near, his distinct stride against the linoleum familiar to her, allowing him to wrap an arm around her waist before pressing a brown plush pig into her hands, the one he had insisted that she needed upon their arrival to this same hospital for her birth.
A birthday present. He had insisted, rolling Scully’s wheelchair outside of the gift shop to wait as he raced in to purchase it, returning with a smug grin and a pink pig that he animated with his voice waving it over her expanded stomach with his goofy voices and loud kisses, the pig mimicking an obscene kiss against her abdomen. She had thought it was ridiculous at the time, mostly due to her ever present physical discomfort, but now she was grateful for his antics and took the toy from him that smelt like her baby shampoo.
“Dr. Scully.” A doctor finally called from the front of the waiting, nearly causing her to trip over the table that was covered in magazines and tissue boxes. Mulder kept timely pace with her to hear the prognosis, but the doctor’s relaxed demeanor put him at ease, allowing him to breathe freely and set his hands on Scully’s shoulders.
“Scarlett Emerson Mulder?” He double checked, both parents nodding urgently at their daughter’s name, Scully’s hand now reaching up to grab Mulder’s, finding solace in how steady it felt around hers. He just shrugged and read the file, offering it over to the worried mother.
“She’s got a cold, she does have a fever, but I have full confidence in you both to bring it down.” He revealed, motioning for them to follow him back to the examination room where their infant was laying fussily on the table while the nurse neatly folded her clothes that they had removed to examine her lungs and heart, all of the important stuff.
“Once you sign the forms you’re free to go.” He dismissed, to him they were just another frantic family bringing their baby into the emergency room during flu season, but to them this little girl was so much more. Mulder watched as Scully placed the stuffed pig into his hands, moving towards their daughter that she now softly whispered to while changing her back into her warm outfit that Scully had lovingly picked out that morning.
“You’re not feeling well, aren’t you?” Mulder questioned, moving towards the other side of the table, tenderly rubbing her head with his thumb. Even in those short four months she had grown from the tiny little being that he watched Scully expel into his hands in complete awe, but he was in no way prepared for this.
“You take her, I can get the car and pull it around.” Mulder whispered to Scully who just nodded in acknowledgement, her eyes not leaving their daughter, causing him to exit to sign the forms and pick up his two girls, preventing them from walking through the sharp east coast winter that was setting in.
What the doctor had explained to them sounded so simple in theory, and their relief that Scarlett wasn’t seriously ill clouded both of their realizations that their four month old had a fever.
Both of them were stuck in a time vacuum that seemed to elongate the hours of dusk, and sleep deprivation caused by her constant wailing. Many times Scully found herself covered in spit up, baby pee, vaseline, and every other home remedy that she could think of to try and get her baby to sleep off the fever. Mulder seemed almost as anxious running back and forth to get whatever Scully was thinking aloud, returning to the bedroom with nose suctions, baby Tylenol, tubs of Vick’s, and endless amounts of diapers.
The crying brought on a new intensity in the both of them that they had never seen in each other. They had battled life and death together, but each time they were well rested and had the capacity to think without someone screaming desperately at them.
Eventually they gave in, Scarlett fought Scully’s breast, telling her that she was no longer hungry, and just curled farther into her skin. Her blue button down was discarded in the corner of the room along with her pristine pencil skirt and heels, clad in one of Mulder’s grey Oxford shirts that stretched down to her knees, now pushed above her breasts as she struggled to feed. Sleep was ebbing at her, but she refused it until her little one seemed to be at peace and feeling better. Mulder came in with a humidifier and tank of water to set up between the bed and her crib, humming tiredly to himself, giving Scully an idea.
“Wait, before you set that up, help me in the bathroom.” She requested, stumbling out of their bed and into their master bathroom where she instructed Mulder to draw a bath, watching the steaming water flow out of their spout. Before he could ask he watched the mother of his child climb into the still filling bathtub with their baby in tow.
She was grateful that she was still only clad in her diaper, swiftly removing it and handing it to her confused partner before maneuvering herself to pull off the grey shirt. She shuddered at the chill of being only dressed in her underwear and black cloth bra, but slowly lifted her baby onto her chest, spooning some of the warm water into her hand to cool off before rubbing it onto her wrinkly back.
She didn’t expect much, but began to perk up as her baby’s cries began to slow down from a less urgent scream to now just a soft whimper. Her eyes shot over towards Mulder who seemed just as surprised, now crouching towards the edge of the tub to stare at his daughter who was now observantly looking over in his direction, kissing her little hand before planting one on Scully’s shoulder.
“How did you do that?” He almost demanded out of pure awe, watching her yank over a towel and soak it in the warm water, draping it over the baby’s back. She seemed to enjoy it and snuggled farther into her mother, her wide blue eyes scanning her surroundings before surrendering to her own cold induced exhaustion.
“I think she didn’t want to be fussed over.” Scully shrugged, something she could relate to quite personally, figuring she passed that intuition down to her daughter who seemed content while sleeping over her mother’s heart. Mulder just chuckled and this time pressed a softer, more tender kiss onto Scully’s lips, this image always bringing him to the verge of tears. He could tell how tired she was, postpartum life a mental marathon for her, especially with her added burden of late night feedings, he wanted her to get her rest, even if they had both called out of work for the following day.
He swiftly bunched her shirt under his arm and grabbed a towel and scooted Scully forward to try and help her out of the now cooling water, replacing the wet towel with a dry one at least until they could make it back to the bedroom.
He swiftly diapered her while Scully stood at the edge of the bed, still keeping her positioned on her chest, not wanting to risk the possibility of her feeling the separation if she set her on the bed. Mulder knew and just replaced the towel with her baby blanket in a speed that she had never seen before.
“When you want to put her down we can give her your shirt.” He suggested, but Scully just shook her head at him and climbed under the duvet, resting her head against the pillows while keeping their baby comfortably positioned.
“We’re fine like this.” She smiled, scooting into Mulder who had also taken his spot beside her, pulling her close to ensure that he could keep an eye on them both if she eventually nodded off with their baby still in her arms.
“Scully, you’re such an amazing mom.” He whispered groggily into his partner’s ear, feeling her grin with eyes closed as she slowly breathed in their daughter’s scent, a little quark that he had noticed ever since she had arrived.
“You’re not too shabby yourself.” She quipped, opening an eye at him to wink, snuggling further into him while their daughter dreamt, hopefully of peace, and warmth, and happiness, which was all they could wish for their daughter.
“I think she stopped crying because I actually had her piggy the whole time.” His joke making Scully now open a less amused eye at the mention of that damn toy that she knew she’d being going to hell and back for if it made their baby that happy. She just scoffed and rested her eyes again and breathed out a tired sigh.
“Shut up, Mulder.”