Title: "A Brand New Life"
Author: Angela W.
Category: MSR/Mytharc/Crossover
Rating: PG-13
Timespan/Spoilers: This is a postep for "Existence" at the end of season eight. Major spoilers for that
episode and anything that happened up to that time.
This is kinda/sorta a sequel to "Six Weeks", my
previous postep fanfic for "Existence". 
Summary: How far would Mulder and Scully go to protect their son? What would they be willing to give up?
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me. The
ones from "The X-Files" are the property of Chris
Carter and 1013 Productions. The character of U.S.
Marshal Sam Gerard is the property of whoever owns the production rights to the movies "The Fugitive" and "U.S. Marshals".
Archive: Feel free to archive anywhere!
Disclaimer: If you like it or have *constructive*
criticism, feedback is valued.

When F.B.I. Assistant Director Walter Skinner arrived
in the office of Section Chief Kersh, Kersh's
secretary was away from her desk. The simple
occurrence of a low-ranking government employee
needing to use the restroom at that particular moment
was to have a profound effect on the lives of many
people, as it allowed Skinner to continue into the
inner office without Kersh being aware of it. The
section chief was turned away from the door, having a
phone conversation.

"Yes, the boy is the key," Kersh was saying. "The
parents are expendable." Hanging up, Kersh turned
around and seemed startled to see Skinner standing
there. "What are you doing here?" he demanded.

"I received a message that you wanted to discuss
something with me," Skinner replied. "Your secretary
was away from her desk, so I came on in."

"Well, it's not important anymore. The matter I wanted to consult with you on has already been handled. You're free to go. Sorry to have inconvenienced you," Kersh said gruffly.

Skinner left Kersh's office and walked slowly back to
his own. The words he'd overheard, combined with
Kersh's abrupt reversal of his desire to consult with
him and that unexpected apology were setting off
warning bells. When he walked into his office, he
grabbed his coat, then said, "Kimberly, I've got
something to take care of. See you tomorrow."


Fox Mulder grinned as he parked his car near an
apartment building in Georgetown. Although he was
longer an active agent with the F.B.I., he'd been
tapped as an emergency, temporary replacement for an
instructor at Quantico. But this afternoon had been
his last day of teaching and now he was free to spend
all his time with his wife and infant son.

"Hi, honey, I'm home," Mulder called out as he opened
the door.

"Hi!" responded his wife, Dana Scully, as she walked
up to him with William in her arms. Mulder gathered
them both close and kissed Scully softy.

"Are we going somewhere?" he asked. He noticed that
both Scully and William were fully clothed. Usually
Scully didn't bother with shoes around the house and
she rarely dressed William in more than a T-shirt and
diaper if they weren't going out.

"House hunting," Scully confirmed. "I'm beginning to
develop cabin fever. This is a one-bedroom apartment,
designed for a single person; maybe, at a pinch, it
could serve as the home of a childless married couple
or a single mother with only one child. It is not big
enough for a family of three! Between your stuff and
all the baby stuff, I can barely turn around in here

"Okay," Mulder agreed. "Just let me get changed and
we'll get going. Did you have a particular area in

Before Scully could answer, a loud knock sounded on
the door.

Scully, still holding the baby, crossed the room and
glanced out the peephole. "It's Skinner," she said to
her husband, sounding faintly puzzled. Mulder was no
longer an active agent and she was still on maternity
leave. What could their former boss want with them? He was their friend, as well, but if he had simply wanted to come by for a visit, he most likely would have called first.

Scully swung open the door. "Come in," she said,
holding open the door.

"Good, you're all here," Skinner said, taking in the
family at a glance. "I need you to pack the bare
essentials of what you need for yourselves and the
baby and come with me immediately. You've got five

"Skinner, what's going on?" Mulder asked.

"Agents, in the past, you've asked me to trust you. To help you without delving too deeply into the reasons for what we were doing. Now I'm asking the same thing of you. I have reason to believe your lives may be in danger. We need to get you out of here as fast as possible."

Mulder and Scully glanced at each other and nodded.
"You hold the baby," Scully said. "I'll go grab what
we need."

Within less than four minutes, the four were on the
street. "Get in your car and follow me. Do you have
your cell phones with you?" at their answering nods,
Skinner continued, "Agent Scully, call your mother and tell her your family is going to be out-of-town for the next few days; you don't know where, you and
Mulder just decided you'd like to get away for a few
days . If there's anyone else you think might wonder
about your absence — like the Three Stooges or Agent
Doggett — call them too, tell them the same thing.
Keep the calls brief; when you're done, turn off the
phones and place them in the glove compartment. We're
going to pull up to an ATM machine. Take out several
hundred dollars; not more than a thousand, but as
close to that as you can without overdrawing your
account. Mulder, don't lose me."

It was over an hour later when they pulled into the
driveway of a large house in one of the far-flung
suburbs of the metropolitan Washington area. "Hey,
maybe Skinner bought a house for us!" Mulder
suggested. They'd made the calls while they were en
route. Scully had actually talked to her mother and
Frohike; she'd simply left a message on Agent
Doggett's answering machine. The $800 they'd withdrawn from the ATM machine was tucked safely in Scully's purse and their phones were turned off and shut in the glove compartment.

The door to the three-car garage opened automatically. Skinner parked his car and motioned for the agents to do the same. Once they had done so, the door went down. They got out of the car, Scully holding the baby and Mulder carrying the diaper bag and overnight bag. They followed their boss into the house. There they were met by another man who was similar to Skinner in age and build.

"Want to explain what's going on?" Mulder asked.

"I was kind of wondering that myself," the other man
replied. "This better be good, Walt. I pulled every
string I could, bent every rule that needed bending,
to get myself personally assigned to this case at a
moment's notice. Why don't we start with

Skinner nodded. "Sam, these are two of my finest
agents, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. They're married to each other and, as you can see, they recently became parents. Agents, this is U.S. Marshal Sam Gerrard. We were in the same unit in Vietnam."

The agents and marshal shook hands and exchanged

"If everybody will have a seat, I'll get to those
explanations," Skinner said.

"Would it be too much trouble for me to have a glass
of water to drink?" Scully inquired. "I'm nursing and
I need to keep my fluid intake up."

"No problem," Sam replied, disappearing into the
kitchen and returning with a glass of iced water,
which he handed to Scully.

The agents settled on the couch, Scully still holding
their son, while Sam took a seat in an easy chair
nearby. Skinner remained standing then said simply,
"Agents, I have reasons to believe your lives are in
danger. This is a safe house, maintained by the U.S.
Marshal Service for the protection of witnesses. I
want you to stay here with Sam until I can complete a
risk assessment, know if I'm right or wrong."

"Sir, I appreciate your concern," Scully said, "but,
with all due respect, Mulder and I both fully-trained
F.B.I. agents. We can take care of ourselves."

"Really?" Sam inquired. "Night and day, around the
clock? There's never a time when you're busy with the
baby and your husband is in the shower or out running
errands? You don't sleep the same hours? The two of
you never engage in. . .activities. . .that require
the full participation and concentration of both of

"Well, when you put it that way. . ." Mulder muttered.

"I don't think the *primary* threat is to either of
you two, actually," Skinner said. "The person I'm most concerned about is your son."

"William?" Scully inquired, clutching the baby closer. Mulder instinctively tightened his grip on his wife's shoulders.

"Why would anybody be after a baby?" Sam asked. 

"It's a long story, Sam," Skinner said. "Let's just
say there's a possibility that the baby could have
certain. . .genetic anomalies that would be of
interest to scientists. Since his parents aren't
willing to turn him into a human guinea pig, someone
may try to take him away by force; maybe even deadly

"Is William what they call one of those "designer
babies"?" Sam inquired. "Was he conceived

"No," Scully said, shaking her head. "He was conceived in the normal, old-fashioned way."

"However, over the course of our years with the
F.B.I., both Scully and I were exposed to various
materials — toxins, radiation and crap that, quite
frankly, we don't know *what* it was — that could have mutated our genes; caused us to develop certain traits that weren't apparent in us, but which we could have passed along to our son," Mulder added.

"Did you two investigate bioterrorism, something like
that?" Sam asked.

"Something like that," Scully said with a small smile.

"Quite frankly, I hope I'm wrong about him being in
danger," Skinner said. "If I am, then the three of you can resume your normal lives within a week or so."

"And if you're right?" Mulder inquired.

"If I'm right," Skinner said slowly, "then, beginning
tonight, William Mulder, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully no
longer exist. You'll be put into the Witness
Protection Program and given new identities."


The men parked outside the building and went quickly
inside. Once they reached the apartment they were
looking for, they made sure there were no witnesses in the corridor and quietly jimmied the lock. It didn't take more than a few seconds for them to determine that the apartment was empty. Glancing at each other, one of them pulled out his cell phone and dialed a familiar number.

"They're not here," he said to the man on the other
end. "What do you want us to do?"

"Wait for them," the voice replied. "Relock the door
and conceal yourselves in the shadows. Wait until all
three of them have entered and the door has been
locked before you show yourselves. Make sure the baby
isn't harmed, but deal with the parents in whatever
way you see fit. It's unlikely, but not impossible,
that one or both of the parents may be armed. You are
authorized to use deadly force if necessary."

"How long should we wait?"

The man on the other end gave a little grunt of
exasperation. "Until they come home, however long that may be."


After Skinner had left, Sam said, "Look, agents, I
know this is hard. There's nothing worse for a law
enforcement officer than to be babysat by officers
from another agency. But we might as well make the
best of it. Let me explain how things will work: I'll
be here with you, night and day, until A.D. Skinner
tells me otherwise. Other members of my team are
outside; I alerted them to move into position as soon
as the garage door closed. Once a day, one of them
will come to the door, deliver whatever we've asked
for: food, books, videos, newspapers, anything you
might need or want for yourself or the baby. I'll
answer the door. They'll never see any of you. That
way, on the off-chance that I've got a mole on my
team, they won't even know who you are."

"What are we supposed to do in the meantime?" Mulder

Sam shrugged. "Read, watch TV, play cards, cook, take
care of your baby, make love, write your memoirs. . .I don't care, agents. Just so long as it doesn't involve you leaving the house or picking up a phone, you're pretty much free to do whatever you want. What I'd suggest you do right now is make a list of anything you'll need in the next 24 hours. Feel free to go into the kitchen, look at what we've got in stock, add anything you'd like. There's a master bedroom suite with a crib in it upstairs; I'd suggest you look around there, too, see if you need anything in the way of toiletries. After you've made the list, I'll get us some supper; it will have to be frozen dinners tonight, but we can get some fresh food in for tomorrow."

"I usually run five miles or swim 50 laps every
morning," Mulder said. "Will there be any way for me
to get any exercise while I'm here?"

"There's a stationary bike in the other room," Sam
offered. "I'm afraid that's the best we can do."

Shortly after they'd made their lists and eaten
dinner, William begin to fuss. Scully said, "I'll take him upstairs and get him ready for bed, then feed him. I'll probably go on to sleep myself after that. I'm still trying to follow my doctor's advice of sleeping whenever the baby's asleep."

"Unless there's anything further you need to discuss
with me, I'll go on up with Scully," Mulder said to
Sam. "As I'm sure you can imagine, there are things
the two of us need to talk about."

"Just a couple words of advice," Sam replied as Scully picked up William. "Have you ever had a beard, Agent Mulder?"

"No, never. Why?"

"I'd suggest you not shave while you're here. A beard
is one of the most effective way for a man to disguise his features. If it turns out that Walt's right, and the two of you do have to assume new identities, a beard will go a long way toward making it more difficult for you to be recognized as Fox Mulder. Agent Scully, if you've been making an effort to lose the weight you gained during pregnancy, quit dieting. The fuller your face is, the more difficult it will be to recognize you from any pre-pregnancy pictures."

"Anything else?"

"Just remember that I'm on your side, agents. Over the next few days, it may seem like I'm your captor. But my function is to make sure you remain alive."

Mulder nodded and followed his wife and son up the

As soon as Scully was settled on the king-size bed
with a couple of pillows propping her in a comfortable position, she said, "Mulder, I know how difficult it might be, but if Skinner believes we need to do it, I think we should follow his suggestion. Assume new identities."

"You're sure, Scully?"

"If it's the only way to keep William safe. . .then
yes, Mulder, I am."

"You'd be giving up a lot more than I would, Scully.
I'm currently unemployed and, other than you and
William, I don't have a family. You'd be giving up
your career with the bureau, all contact with your
mother and brothers. . .everything."

Scully sighed. "I know. But after all we've lost over
the years. . .our sisters, our fathers, Emily. .
.after thinking I'd lost *you* last year. . .I can't
do this any more, Mulder. I want a normal life! I want to play with my baby and make love with my husband and go grocery shopping and attend church and not always have to be worried that any happiness I'm experiencing is only a brief interlude between disasters."

"Okay, Scully. The fight for truth, justice and the
American way can go on without us. As you say, we've
made more than our share of sacrifices. I'm not
willing to risk losing William — or you — just to
thwart the consortium. And, hell, I've always hated
the name 'Fox' anyway."

"Oh, and one more thing?"

"Yes, Scully?"

"This time, when we go undercover, *I* get to pick our names!"


A.D. Walter Skinner once again found himself in
Kersh's office, this time with several other members
of the bureau hierarchy. During the past 24 hours, a
quiet but unmistakable "buzz" has had been building
around the water coolers and bullpens of the bureau;
the X-Files agents — the original ones, not those two
who were currently staffing that division — had done
it again. No one was quite sure what "it" was, but
everybody knew that Kersh, A.D. Joanna Cassidy, and
several others members of upper tiers of bureau
administration had been searching — in vain, it
seemed — for Mulder and Scully.

"A.D. Skinner, thank you for joining us," Kersh said
as Skinner sat down. "It is a matter of the utmost
urgency that we contact Agents Mulder and Scully as
soon as possible. Do you know where they are?"

"I was unaware that the bureau currently had an 'Agent Mulder' in its employ," Skinner replied. "Are you referring to former Special Agent Fox Mulder? As I recall, he was fired — by you, if I remember
correctly, Section Chief Kersh — several months ago.
He turned in his weapon and his badge. That means he's now a private citizen. If you want to speak to him, I suggest you have a subpoena handy. He no longer has any reason or obligation to come into this office and talk to you simply because you've suddenly developed an interest in what he has to say."

"Agent Scully is still an employee of the bureau,"
Cassidy said, ignoring his reference to Mulder.

"Yes, she's an agent under my supervision," Skinner
answered easily. "She's currently on an extended,
unpaid maternity leave. In keeping with the
government's mandate that we maintain a family
friendly atmosphere in the workplace, Agent Scully is
entitled to up to six months of unpaid leave after the birth of her son. That's in addition to the medical leave she took during the last few months before his birth, due to some complications she was experiencing during the pregnancy. I believe she intends to take the full six months before returning to work."

"Assistant Director Skinner, the employment status of
either Mulder or Scully is not the issue here!" Kersh
snapped. "Do you know where they are?"

"I don't know where they are," Skinner said slowly,
"but I believe they may be out-of-town. I spoke to
them a couple of days ago and they were talking about
taking a trip. I don't know that they had any specific destination in mind; just wanted to get away for a week or so."

"They were taking a trip together?" Cassidy asked.

"Well, I assume they were bringing their son with
them," Skinner replied. 

"I was. . .unaware that Agent Scully's son was also
the son of former Agent Mulder," Kersh said.

No, you weren't, you lying SOB! Skinner thought. Aloud he said, "Really? I thought it was fairly common knowledge around the bureau. They also married several weeks ago, in case you were unaware of that fact."

"Married?" Cassidy asked. "Are you sure?"

"I was the best man at their wedding," Skinner
confirmed. "In any case, if you have a question about
an X-File, I was the immediate supervisor of Agent
Mulder and Agent Scully during the time they worked in that division. Perhaps I can be of help. Or you might check with Special Agent John Doggett. He's been assigned to that division for almost a year now; he would probably have more information on any on-going investigations than either Mulder or Scully would.


Mulder and Scully stared at each other across the
expanse of the living room. It was only 11 in the
morning and they were already bored. They had been
woken at five a.m. by their infant son and had spent
the intervening hours tending to his needs, showering, talking, eating breakfast and reading the morning newspaper. Mulder had also put in a half hour on the exercycle. Now William was asleep. If they'd been home, they probably would have used this time to check their e-mail, make phone calls, tidy up the apartment or make love. But the first two activities were forbidden to them, the third didn't seem to need doing — Sam seemed to feel his role as bodyguard also
included housekeeping duties — and as for the fourth.
. .well, they'd both agreed that physical intimacy
would be limited to nights during the time they spent
under Sam's protection. 

"Agents, may I make a suggestion?" Sam inquired.

"If it will help us pass the time, be our guest,"
Mulder replied.

"Let's go ahead and start thinking up new identities
for the two of you. That way, if you need them, you'll have a head start on familiarizing yourself with them. If you end up not needing them — and I know we're all hoping that will be unnecessary — it's still an interesting intellectual exercise. The challenge is to give yourselves names and backgrounds that are similar enough to your own that you can assume them without undue stress or confusion, but different enough that you won't be found by whoever it is that's hunting for you. Why don't you start by giving me your real backgrounds: full names, ages, education, employment histories and various places you've lived. You first, Agent Scully."

"My full name is Dana Katherine Scully; or Dana
Katherine Scully Mulder now, I suppose, although I
haven't gotten around to legally changing my name. In
addition to my status as an F.B.I. agent, I'm also a
licensed medical doctor; a pathologist. I'm 37 and I'm a Navy brat; I grew up all over, but spent more time in California than any other place. I attended the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Maryland for my undergraduate work. I did my medical training at Johns Hopkins. I was recruited by the bureau out of medical school. During most of my time at the bureau I worked in a small division called the X-Files, with Mulder as my partner. I also worked, briefly, as an instructor at Quantico and as part of the anti-terrorism squad.

"Okay. Now you, Agent Mulder."

"Full name, Fox William Mulder; age 39. I was born and raised in Massachusetts; my family also had a summer home in Rhode Island. My university work was at Oxford; I earned a degree from there that would be the American equivalent of a Master's Degree in
psychology. I was recruited by the bureau the summer
after I graduated. I first worked as a profiler in the violent crime divisions. Like Scully, I've also had brief stints as an instructor at the Academy and a member of the anti-terrorism squad, but my primary
work was with the X-Files division. The X-Files was a
small division where we investigated anything that
didn't fit the normal parameters of bureau
assignments; with Scully's medical background, that
sometimes included bioterrorism, things like that."

"How long have you two been married?"

"About a month."

"A month?" Sam echoed. "I thought. . .I mean, the
baby. . .sorry, it isn't any of my business."

Mulder sighed. "At the time Scully realized she was
pregnant I was. . .on a deep cover assignment. There
was no way for her to contact me without putting my
life at risk. By the time I returned, she was in her
last trimester."

"If we could have married early in my pregnancy, we
would have. Since that was impossible — and since
virtually all our family and friends knew I was
expecting *BEFORE* Mulder did — there really didn't
seem any point in waddling up the aisle when I was
eight months pregnant," Scully explained. "We decided
to just wait until after the birth. We got married
when William was six weeks old. It's not something I'm  particularly proud of, but it's the way things worked out. If we're going to be assuming new identities, I'd prefer a wedding date that comes before, not after, his birth."

"We can do that," Sam agreed. "But I'm afraid you'll
have to lose your status as a medical doctor. Registry with the American Medical Association or the American Bar Association are about the only things we *can't* fake when it comes to formulating new identities."

"That's all right," Scully replied. "I've never
actually practiced medicine, other than performing
autopsies. Well, that and stitching up Mulder a few
times when he got hurt."

"As far as your names — your first names — we're going to have to change yours for sure, Mulder. Fox is just to damned unusual. Agent Scully, you can keep your own first name and change your baby's name or vice versa. We can't have a mother named Dana with a son named William show up somewhere, even if the last name is different."

"I want to keep William's name," Scully said firmly.
"It's the same as that of both my father and Mulder's

"Could Scully just use her middle name, Katherine?"
Mulder inquired. "I've always liked that. If our baby
had been a girl, we were going to name her Katherine."

"I thought I was going to pick our names," Scully said with an amused glance at Mulder. "But if you think that would work, Sam, I'm agreeable to it. My
grandmother always used to call me by both my first
and middle names — she always said Dana Katherine,
never just Dana — so it shouldn't be too hard to get
used to answering to Katherine."

What about me?" Mulder inquired.

"David," Scully said firmly. "I thought it over last
night. You've always said you wished you had a more
common first name and there was at least one David in
every class I ever had, kindergarten through college."

"David," Mulder said slowly. "Okay, I guess I can live with that."


Special Agent John Doggett sat in front of the his
superior, Section Chief Kersh. "Your assignment is simple, Agent Doggett," Kersh said. "Find Agent Mulder."

"Haven't I already been there and done that?" Doggett
inquired. "It seems like we had this same conversation about this same time a year ago. Besides, I thought he wasn't an agent any more. You told me yourself his employment with the bureau had been terminated. If he's just a private citizen, and if no one has filed a missing person's report on him, then no crime's been committed and we have no jurisdiction to investigate the matter."

Kersh gritted his teeth. He had thought Doggett was
someone he could trust to do his bidding, but this man was proving almost as obstinate as Skinner. "When was the last time you spoke to Agent Scully?"

"I haven't spoken directly to her in a couple of
weeks. She left a message on my machine a few days
ago, told me she, her husband and their baby were
going on a little trip, that she'd call me when she
got back. Sort of like a honeymoon, I suppose."

"Most people don't bring their baby along on their
honeymoon," Kersh snapped.

"Most people get married before their child is born,
not afterwards," Doggett replied. "What exactly are
Mulder and Scully under suspicion of, having sexual
relations outside of marriage? If I'm going to bust
them for that, I'd have to bust about 80 percent of
the adult population, including myself and, I dare
say, you, sir."

"Just see if you can locate them, will you?" Kersh
said. "Dismissed."


Mulder stared at himself in the mirror. He tried to
think of the man looking back at him — a man with a
scruffy growth of five days worth of beard stubble —
not as Fox William Mulder, 39-year-old former F.B.I.
agent and Oxford-educated psychologist. Instead, he
was David William Carter, a 34-year-old part-time
psychology instructor and sometime freelance writer.
He had an undergraduate degree from the University of
Vermont and a master's degree from Ohio State. He'd
spent the last several years living and working in

Scully walked in behind him, and her reflection
startled him almost as much as his own did. Her
brilliant red hair was now a medium brown with streaks of blonde. For the first time since the early months of their partnership, she was wearing glasses instead of her habitual contacts. Her name wasn't Dr. Dana Katherine Scully any more, either. She was Katherine Marie Carter — maiden name O'Hara — and they'd met while they were both graduate students at Ohio State. She was 32, with an undergraduate degree in biology from a small Catholic college in Florida and a master's in biochemistry from OSU. She had also worked as an instructor in various California community colleges during the past few years. They'd been married for three years and had recently had their first child, a boy named William.

The call had come from Skinner last night. He was
sure. Kersh was hunting for William. The only thing
they had going in their favor — so far — was that
Kersh was too worried about the bureau's reputation to let the media know two of its agents were missing.
But, if all else failed, that would come. So it would
behoove them to get moving as quickly as possible,
establish their new identities — which Skinner
emphatically did not want to know —  *before* their
pictures were plastered all over every magazine and
newscast in America.

Sam had arranged a job interview for "David" with a
junior college in a small town in Oklahoma. The resume and references would check out. "Katherine" was taking a year off teaching to adjust to motherhood, then would seek a job, perhaps part-time, of her own. They were leaving this house in a few minutes, in the pre-dawn darkness. They'd had several suitcases and a week's worth of clothing delivered by members of Sam's team, so they wouldn't look out of place.

They left in a mini-van with California license
plates on the back and Sam at the wheel. Mulder and
Scully were slouched in the back with hats pulled low
over their faces, William invisible in his infant seat between them. An hour or so later, just as the sun was beginning to rise, Sam pulled into a rest stop. "This is where I get off, agents. I'll wait at least another hour, then call a member of my team to pick me up. Head for Oklahoma. Remember, the credit cards and access numbers for the bank accounts in California under your new names are good. You've got my number; call me if you need me, but only if you absolutely have to. The less contact between us, the better. Goodbye and good luck."

Mulder took the wheel and pulled out of the rest stop, heading west. "Well, Katherine, how are you feeling?" he asked.

"Nervous, sad. . .but kind of excited, too. I guess
this is the way my mother must have felt when she and
my father were transferred to Japan just after I was
born. In a way, it's kind of exciting, beginning a
whole new life, being five years younger. The only
thing I really mind is . . .my mother."

"I know," Mulder said quietly. "But this way she'll be able to say, honestly, that she has no idea where we are. If she'd been given a choice — never see us again or have William kidnapped, maybe killed — I know this is what she'd choose."

They reached their destination in northeastern
Oklahoma about midnight. They checked into the hotel
where Sam had made their reservations the day before
and tumbled into bed, worried but exhausted.

The next morning, David had his job interview.
"Really, Mr. Carter, you seem almost overqualified for a position at a college of this size. May I ask why you applied for the job?" the dean asked.

"My wife and I both grew up in small towns," he
replied easily. "Now that we have a child of our own,
we don't really want to raise him in the Los Angeles
area, which is where we've been living. I grew up in
Connecticut and she was raised in Florida; I wanted
some place with four seasons, but she disliked the
winters in Ohio, where we did our graduate work. So we thought Oklahoma might be a good compromise."

"Will your wife be seeking a position on our faculty
as well?"

"Not immediately. Katherine wants to take this year
off, be a full-time Mommy for a while. If something
becomes available next year, she might be interested.
She's also toying with the idea of going back to
school, maybe getting her doctorate. . .possibly even
attending medical school. Her plans are a bit up in
the air at the moment."

The dean nodded. After a few more minutes, he offered
him the job.


"Nothing?" Kersh asked his operatives. 

They shook their heads. "Last call from either their
home phone or one of their cell phones was the evening they disappeared. Three calls within ten minutes, to Margaret Scully, Melvyn Frohikie and John Doggett; no call more than three minutes in duration. That same evening they withdrew $800 from their joint checking account at a local ATM machine. Since then, it's been like they've vanished from the face of the earth. No more ATM withdrawals, no credit card charges, no reported sightings of their license plate, no phone calls from their cell phones."

"How much did they take with them in the way of
clothes, personal items and luggage?" Kersh inquired.

"It's difficult to tell, since we don't know what they had in the way of clothing and luggage to begin with," the operatives said slowly. "But I'd say not much; maybe enough for a week or two."

"We'll wait then," said Kersh, with barely disguised


Within a week, Mulder and Scully has settled into the
new town and their new lives. After the original job
interview, they'd driven as far west as eastern
Arizona, and gone on a shopping spree where they'd
loaded the mini-van and a small U-Haul trailer with
boxes of newly purchased household items and a few
pieces of furniture, careful never to buy more than a
couple of items at any one store. They'd explained
their lack of furniture by saying most of the stuff
they'd owned in California had been junky — typical
grad student furniture, David had said with a laugh
— and a small legacy from his recently deceased father was enabling them to buy virtually all new furnishings for their home here. So they did more shopping, without being so careful about it, in Tulsa the weekend after the arrived. They were renting the
house, but the landlord assured them he'd be willing
to sell it to them after the end of the year, if they
could agree on a purchase price.

They were immediately caught up in the excitement of a new school year beginning. They joined a health club and the local Catholic church, where David began
taking an inquiry class for adults interested in
possibly becoming Catholic. Katherine soon established casual friendships with several other young mothers she met in their neighborhood, at church or at the health club. David was well-regarded by both his students and his colleagues at the community college; if he seemed a bit reserved, sometimes, well. . .not everybody was outgoing. Everyone understood that, as new parents, the Carters wanted to spend as much time with their baby as possible, even if it meant sometimes refusing social invitations.


Section Chief Kersh shuffled through the pile of
papers on his desk. Surveillance reports of Scully's
Georgetown apartment (which Mulder and their son now
shared with her), the Mulder family beach house in
Rhode Island, the residences of Margaret Scully,
Walter Skinner and John Doggett, the home/office
complex of three individuals known collectively as The Lone Gunmen and the Naval base where Bill Scully Jr. was stationed had all turned up negative. Unless the Mulder family has somehow snuck aboard the nuclear submarine where Charles Scully was currently on duty, they weren't being sheltered by any of their family and friends, nor were they at either their apartment or their beach house. Even if they were staying in no-frills motels or camping out in National Parks, the original $800 they took with them when they left over a month ago would have long since been used up for necessities like food, diapers and gasoline, yet there had been no further ATM withdrawals and no credit card charges.

"We can't wait any longer," Kersh said. "Call a press
conference for tomorrow morning."


They'd been there a little more than a month when the
shit hit the fan. There was no warning. They simply
picked up the Tulsa newspaper one morning at breakfast — as the nearest daily paper of any size, it was delivered to subscribers throughout eastern Oklahoma — and saw their pictures on the front page. "F.B.I. seeks missing agents" blared the headline. A beardless Mulder and a thinner-faced, sans glasses, Scully looked back at them. Kersh was quoted as saying the F.B.I. needed to contact former agent Fox Mulder and Special Agent Dana Scully as soon as possible, and that anyone who had information as to the agents' whereabouts was asked to contact the bureau as immediately. They were assumed to be traveling with their infant son, William. Buried in the last paragraph of the story was a quote from Assistant Director Walter Skinner, stating that the agents were not known to have broken any laws and that Agent Scully was still on an official maternity leave, during which she was not obligated to check in with her superiors.

It was one of the worst day of their lives. Mulder
forced himself to go to work, but checked in with
Scully between every class. She stayed inside with
William, the doors locked. Mulder kept expecting
someone to point out the amazing similarity between
Associate Professor David Carter and missing former
F.B.I. Agent Fox Mulder, but no one did. 

After a few days, they began to breathe again, only to have the breath knocked out of them when they saw a copy of "Newsweek" at the grocery store. Casually
tossing the magazine with their pictures on the cover
in with their basket full of diapers, baby food and
grocery staples, they went home and devoured every

Kersh was quoted in detail as to the need — which he
claimed was one of national security — for Mulder and
Scully to contact the bureau as soon as possible. The
reporters noted, however, that Kersh was vague as to
the exact reason why the agents had become the objects of a massive manhunt. They also pointed out that, as a private citizen, Fox Mulder could not be compelled to report to F.B.I. headquarters unless a subpoena or arrest warrant was issued for him. The situation of Special Agent Dana Scully was a bit more complicated; she was still technically an active duty F.B.I. Agent, and it was standard bureau policy for agents — even those on vacation or medical leave — to leave a contact number where they could be reached in case of an emergency, and she had not done so. But, the reporter pointed out, this was a minor bureaucratic infraction that could easily be attributed to the forgetfulness of an exhausted new mother; it hardly meant the active duty agent and her former-agent husband were involved in some sort of conspiracy.

Skinner was also quoted. He gave a perfectly credible
account of both their previous disappearances and
said, presumably with a straight face, that alien
abduction could not be ruled out as a possibility.
Maggie Scully was quoted, saying she was worried about her daughter, son-in-law and grandson, but that she was sure they hadn't done anything wrong; that her daughter had been in good spirits the last time they spoke.

For a while, it was a media circus. Everybody had a
theory or an opinion. Losing a couple of its own
agents made the bureau look even sillier than it had
when they'd "misplaced" a number of weapons and laptop computers containing classified information. Several editorials and commentators pointed out that it was a free country, that Fox Mulder was no longer an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and had not been charged with any crime; that Special Agent Dana Scully, who might possibly be suffering from postpartum depression, was guilty only of the very slight breach of protocol of failing to leave a number where she could be reached while on maternity leave. But the question did remain that, even if their disappearance was voluntarily and innocent, they must surely be aware, by now, that they were being sought, so why didn't they come forward?

"I like that 'postpartum depression' suggestion. Like, what? I flipped out, killed you, William and myself? Good Lord, I've never been happier in my life than since he was born!" Scully said one evening, after they'd watched the news.

"Somebody asked me at work today what I thought. I
said — you'll like this, Scully — that I thought the
alien abduction theory was a bunch of hooey, because
everyone knows aliens don't exist."


The story gradually died down, only to flare up again
when the time for Agent Scully to return to work after her maternity leave came — and went — without an her reporting to work or contacting her superior to offer an explanation as to her whereabouts for the past months. She was now officially derelict in her duties. The bureau could have fired her in abstentia, but chose not to, as it would have given them less legal standing to continue to search for her.

Never, at any point in any of the articles, was a U.S. Marshal by the name of Sam Gerard mentioned.

Mulder was a bit worried about Scully. After regaining most of her former energy within a couple of months of William's birth, she was now as exhausted as she had been during the weeks immediately after delivery; sleeping almost constantly during the hours she wasn't tending to him, sometimes even napping during William's waking hours, if Daddy was home. He wondered if she was coming down with some sort of bug or if the stress was simply getting to her. A few days later, he got his answer.

"Mulder — David — there are a couple of things we need to talk about. First, I think we have to stop
referring to each other as 'Mulder' and 'Scully', even in the privacy of our own home. I'm Katherine. You're David. That's who we *ARE* now and we have to accept it, stop trying to cling to our old identities."

"You're right, Scu, uh, Katherine. I'll try to

"There's something else. It's something that, with
everything that's been going on in our lives lately,
we've never really talked about. I hope it's something you'll be happy about because, if nothing else, it will provide us with a more perfect cover than anything Sam could have devised."


"Well, the search is for a married couple with one
baby. Before too long, David and Katherine Carter are
going to be a married couple with *TWO* babies."

"You're pregnant?" he asked. At Scully's answering
nod, he swooped her up in his arms and kissed her.



Katherine Carter smiled even as she sighed with
exasperation, trying to get the last of the cake
crumbs up from the dining room carpet. William's fifth birthday party had been an enjoyable but exhausting experience. Now she could hear William and his three-and-a-half-year-old sister, Sally, splashing in the bathtub under their father's supervision.

After being a full-time mother for most of her time in Oklahoma — two babies born barely fifteen months apart had left her with hardly enough energy to brush her teeth, much less contemplate employment — Katherine had begun teaching at the same community college where her husband was employed this past semester. She only worked part-time, and enjoyed the job, but it *had* made her life more hectic.

Finally, when the house was reasonably clean —
Katherine had given up on achieving "totally clean" at any point before both children were in college — and the kids were asleep, she went up and climbed into bed. Snuggling close to her husband, she whispered, "David, do you ever have any. . .regrets? About the life we gave up?"

"What is this? Do you think because I 'officially'
turn 40 next month, I'm about to have some sort of
mid-life crisis? Decide that I prefer the identity of
Fox Mulder, alien-obsessed G-Man, to that of David
Carter, mild-mannered psychology instructor? Do you
actually think I'd want to go *back* to that life?
That I'd put William — and presumably Sally, too, once they knew she existed — into danger like that?"

"I know you'd never *do* it," she assured him. "I was just wondering if you ever wished you could?"

He was quiet for a long moment. Then he said, "No. I'm glad we did it. I'd like to think that we achieved something important; that we did our part to keep humanity free, to fight the future that the aliens and the consortium had envisioned for our planet. But I'm no longer the same man who did those things. As David Carter, I've achieved a goal Fox Mulder thought was an impossible dream."

"What's that?"

"Happiness," he replied, drawing his wife into his
arms for a long, deep kiss.