Chocolate Brownies

By Jeannine Ackerson

 

March 8, 1997

Rating: PG for the not really sex scene.

Disclaimer (and all you lawyers at FOX take note): The X-Files as well as the characters portrayed therein belong to C. Carter, FOX Broadcasting, 1013 Prod., and most importantly they don't belong to me.

Spoiler warnings: This deals with late 4th season subjects, so you have been forewarned.

Relationship: MSR (which, is here, in a backhanded way. Anti-shippers: try and read to the end.)

Summary: A strange chain of events begins with a plate of brownies and a Saturday night of videos and good company.

Hi All! I saw the Brownie Points Challenge by Atropos, and she commented that she didn't think all 36 (actually 39) points could be done in *one* story. Of course, I have never been one to take to limitations too well, and said I could. So here I am to back it up. The following insanity is all Atropos fault for saying it couldn't be done. <vbeg> So, let's go . . .


Dana Scully got up and headed to the door as soon as she heard the tentative knock on the other side. Opening the door wide, she saw her partner and best friend Fox Mulder standing there, a couple of videos in one hand and a plate of brownies in the other.

"Hey Scully," he said as he walked right in, not bothering to wait for her to invite him. As she turned and closed the door, she saw that he'd gone and shoved one video into her player, dropping the other on top of the coffee table with the plate of brownies. Then he headed into her kitchen, pouring a couple glasses of milk. Returning to the living room, he set them down on the table and sat on the couch. Looking up, he gave her a quizzical look and patted the couch beside him.

"What's going on Mulder? Did you decide you wanted company watching some of those videos that you don't own so much that you had to come over here and inflict them on me?" she commented as she sat down and glanced at the plate of brownies on the table.

"Nah. I wouldn't do that," Mulder replied indignantly, reaching over and unwrapping the plastic wrap on the brownies. Taking the plate in hand, he waved it under her nose, then pulled it back to where she could get one, but only if she stretched for it. "Chocolate Chunk Pecan Brownies Scully. I know they're your favorite, so . . ."

There was a moment of indecision, but she finally reached over and snatched one from the plate, biting in and closing her eyes at the taste. God, she thought, they were so good. If she had discovered one thing about her partner over the years, it was that he could make a mean brownie.

"Ok," she mumbled around a mouthful of brownie, "what videos did you bring then?"

"Amazon Women On The Moon and Return Of The Pod People," he announced with glee, and smiled when she groaned. "Aw come on Scully. It'll be fun."

She sighed and nodded, grabbing another brownie before leaning back against the couch to begin the first video of the night.

Four hours and five brownies later, Scully had fallen asleep and Mulder was loathe to wake her. She looked so peaceful sleeping there. Hell, she looked damn attractive too if he was being completely honest. The fact that her auburn hair hung like a curtain around her face as she slept; her head on his shoulder did nothing to quell that fact.

It had been grueling lately. What with the things they had found out about her abduction, the cancer, the clones . . . It was part of the reason he'd come over with her favorite brownies tonight. If anything, she could find some temporary relief in a chocolate binge. And for him, just being in her presence and having a good time was enough to put him on a happiness high.

Lightly, like he'd done when she'd fallen asleep on their Pusher stakeout, he gently touched her cheek, waking her.

"I think you drooled on me," he said, his thoughts returning to that night with fondness.

She looked up at him with a sleepy smile, remembering the last time they had done this. Remembering sitting until three in the morning waiting to catch Robert Patrick Modell when he came to his phone booth. And like then, she felt incredibly comfortable lying there next to him. Except this time it was even more wonderful, because they were on her couch, instead of an uncomfortable car.

Mulder saw that smile and felt a bolt of heat run through him at the sight of it. With a gentle touch, he ran the finger that had just been at her cheek across her lips. When he saw her part them, voluntarily or no, he couldn't help himself any longer. Leaning down, he kissed her hard and passionately.

Scully was surprised for a moment, but it felt so wonderful that she gave in, responding and giving back as good as Mulder was giving her. It wasn't long until they were slightly out of breath and he pulled back to regard her.

"I want you Scully. Please, even if it's just for this one time, let me make love to you," he whispered in her ear.

Feeling the effects of his attentions to her, she numbly nodded her head in accent. Not waiting for her to change her mind, Mulder reached down and scooped her up into his arms, taking her into her bedroom.

It wasn't long before their clothes were scattered across the room and their bodies were moving together in the most ancient of ways. When at last they came to a stop, sated and exhausted, Mulder curled Scully up in the blankets along with him, the two of them falling asleep.

Scully wasn't aware of anything until there was a loud pounding at her front door. Very insistent pounding. Groggily she got up, threw on a robe and headed for the door. Finally she swung it open to find Assistant Director Skinner standing there. He looked her up and down, taking in her rumpled appearance and wondered what she'd been doing to come to the door looking as unlike herself as he'd ever seen her.

"Sir," she said carefully, concerned as to why he was there.

"Agent Scully, I'm sorry to disturb you on a Saturday morning but something came to my attention that I thought you would like to know about," he announced, walking in without further explaining himself.

"Uh, sir . . ." she began just when Mulder walked out to see what was up.

As soon as Mulder and Skinner saw each other, Scully knew that it was over. It wouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that they'd slept together, and the look on Skinner's face told her that he knew. But he didn't do anything. He simply handed her a manila folder with an X-File label on the front. She opened it to see a picture of Kurt Crawford, the man Mulder and she had met in Allentown.

"What's this about?" she asked, passing the folder to Mulder, who had come over to her side, dressed in only his blue jeans.

"This man, the one you both encountered in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Mulder met in the infertility clinic has contacted the Bureau in regards to you Agent Scully. He says he has important information in regards to your cancer. And that he would only divulge it to you if you would meet with him. Or them, or whatever," Skinner informed her, feeling a bit confused by the whole clone thing, let alone seeing Mulder and Scully half dressed and obviously just out of bed from a bout of horizontal aerobics.

Scully looked over at Mulder, giving him a questioning glance. He was willing to jump at the chance to get her a cure. She knew that. He'd asked Skinner to make a deal for him with Cancerman when she'd been originally diagnosed. Now though, with the prospect of getting answers from another source, he was ready to go anywhere to get the truth, and a cure.

And to tell the truth, so was she.

"There's an address there, on the form. Crawford said you could meet him there today until noon. After that . . ." Skinner said, and Scully looked at her watch to find that they only had half an hour to get there. And the location was on the other side of town.

"Thank you sir," she said in a rush, scrambling back to the bedroom.

Skinner turned and left, leaving the two agents to throw on their clothes and race out the door. Taking Mulder's car, he headed them across town to a private laboratory in a semi-industrial area. Once Mulder had parked the car, they got out and went to the front door, testing to see if it was unlocked. It swung open, and they proceeded in cautiously, guns in hand. At the end of a long corridor, they opened a steel door, and found a chemistry lab, manned by four identical clones of Kurt Crawford.

Mulder took it all in stride, having already encountered the look alikes, but Scully's jaw almost dropped. They looked like her brothers.

"Agent Mulder. Agent Scully," the first Crawford clone said, taking a step towards them.

"We understand that you have some information for us," Mulder stated, stepping in front of Scully, blocking her from any possible attack. That only served to make the first Crawford grin.

"She's not in any danger from us Agent Mulder. The fact is that Dana Scully is our biological mother."

If he hadn't turned around as fast as he had, Mulder would have missed seeing the shocked look that crossed Scully's face. And he also would have missed catching her when she proceeded to faint.

"Scully! Dana!" Mulder yelled, holding her with one arm while he tried to rouse her by lightly slapping against her cheek.

Moments later her eyes fluttered open and she stared up at Mulder with a look of utter surprise. But also there was a recognition. Whatever else these clones had to say might be lies, but this one piece of information was the truth. Scully knew that for a fact. Somewhere in her soul, she had recognized them for whom they were to her. Her sons.

Carefully pulling her to her feet, Mulder still held her upright, an arm looped around her waist. There were more questions to ask, and Scully now seemed ready to ask them.

"If I'm your mother, then who's . . ." she began, but couldn't finish.

One of the other Crawfords looked at the first, and nodded his approval. Turning back to Mulder and their "mom", the first Crawford answered her.

"He is one of the first comers. You may remember your encounters with him. He took you hostage, "mother" when the Samantha clone was trying to escape. Agent Mulder had a run in with him in Alaska, and most recently the two of you fought with him when Jeremiah Smith was trying to leave the hive."

Mulder tightened his arm around Scully's waist as he felt the slight give in her knees.

"You're saying . . ." Mulder started, stunned.

"That the alien bounty hunter we've crossed paths with is genetically your father?" Scully finished,

There was a sea of bobbing strawberry blond heads, and Scully just about lost it.

"Mulder, I don't feel too well. Can we get out of here?" she asked, turning away from the clones and leaning on the door frame.

"Dana," one of the Crawfords said suddenly, and she turned towards him wearily. "We have more to tell you, but it can wait. We'll contact you soon."

With that, Mulder came up behind her and led her back out to the car. She weaved a bit, but he got her there. It wasn't until he left her side to open the car door that she finally crashed under the weight of everything that had happened. Without a sound, she collapsed to the ground, unconscious.

Hurriedly Mulder turned and found her crumpled on the pavement. In a split second of fear and concern, he picked her up and laid her in the passenger seat of the car, then raced around to get into his side. Moments later he was on the road and making his way to Georgetown Medical Center.

Bursting into the emergency room, he hollered for assistance, cradling Scully in his arms. It wasn't even two seconds before several nurses and orderlies came and relieved him of his burden, placing her on a gurney and taking her into an examining room.

As Mulder paced in the waiting room, the doctor and nurses checked Scully over, coming to some definite conclusions. After the doctor had given Scully the diagnosis, she asked him to call Mulder in. She needed to speak to him. Nodding, the doctor got up and went to retrieve Mulder as Scully held her head in her hands.

Once he'd been told that Scully was awake and wanted to see him, Mulder was in the small room like a shot. But his new-found gladness was gone as soon as he saw her face. It was both happy and sad at the same time, and he wasn't sure he knew how to deal with it. Coming to her side, he sat beside her, and took her hand.

"Scully, what's wrong?" he asked, the concern written all over his voice and face.

It took her a long moment before she answered him. And then it was in a very quiet voice.

"I'm pregnant," she whispered, her voice nearly cracking.

"What?! When? How long??" Mulder fired off in rapid succession, shock and disbelief intermixed with anxiousness. He had a feeling deep down that he knew the answer. Because they hadn't used anything last night . . .

"They barely noticed it, but its true. I'm pregnant. And I think you know when Mulder," she remarked cautiously. She didn't want to spook him.

The fact that she had actually gotten pregnant on their first night together was amazing. But even more surprising was the way she was feeling. A child. Hers and Mulder's. God, if someone had asked her two days ago if she would be happy about being pregnant by her best friend, she would have laughed in their face. Yet now she had to admit that the idea seemed more than logical. Who better to be the father?

"Scully," he began, not knowing exactly what to say. "What do you want to do? I want this child with you Dana. But I don't want you at risk. Whatever we decide, I want you to know that I'll be here for you."

"I really want this Mulder. I want this baby. Our baby," she replied, tightening her grip on his hand. He leaned over and kissed her in reply, imagining a little blue eyed, dark haired child with her nose and his pout. It was a very heart-rending dream.

But it wasn't to last. As they sat there, the monitors on the wall began to go of, and Scully seized in front of him. With his hand still in hers, he felt the spasms run through her as her hand gripped his tightly. Suddenly the doctors came rushing in, ripping his hand from hers and shoving him towards the door.

Standing against the wall, he watched as they worked furiously, injecting her with drugs to get her stabilized. When it was over, Mulder nearly bounded back to her side. The doctor waited until Scully was conscious again before he said anything.

"Ms. Scully," he said, looking once at her, and then once at her chart.

"Dr. Scully," she insisted, although weakly. "What's wrong?"

"We've just read your files from the Oncology department. According to them you have a rare form of cancer which you sought treatment for recently," the doctor stated, his tone grave.

"But she's not taking the chemo or radiation therapy," Mulder announced, fearing where this was going.

"But Dr. Scully's cellular structure has been weakened by the chemo, and also from an incident when she was found in a coma several years back when her immune system was destroyed. Effectively, these two things would cause this pregnancy to be more than difficult. I'm saying that you should consider, seriously consider aborting this child."

There was a long moment of silence, and then the doctor made his exit, leaving the couple to make their decision. Hopefully they didn't take too long, he thought with some apprehension. The last thing he wanted to see was this young woman lose her life over this. Not when she was already fighting for it against her cancer.

Mulder only sat there staring at Scully, not saying a thing. No matter how much he wanted to make his opinion count, he knew it would be her decision alone. But he was scared to death that she would discount her own life, just to have their child. He could live without the baby, but not without her. It surprised him how deep his feelings ran for her.

When she finally met his eyes, he could see the decision in them. She would go through with the abortion. To save her life. She knew that she could die, that the baby would most likely as well. And that right now, she needed to be alive. For Mulder's sake at least. Maybe there would be another time . . .

"I'll go get the doctor," Mulder mumbled. Getting up, he started for the door, and then turned back with a sad smile plastered on his face. Walking back, he ended up kissing Scully lightly. "Thank you."

Scully only smiled a little in return. She knew that he knew why she'd decided to go through with it. Because of him, because of them. She wouldn't leave him like this. Not if she could do anything to prevent it. He slipped out to contact the doctor, and she settled back to wait for the inevitable.

An hour later, she woke up in a private room. She didn't much feel like she'd aborted her child, but she knew it had been done. Now she had to concentrate on curing her cancer. That way if there was a next time, she could carry the child to term.

Thinking about children, her mind drifted to the Kurt Crawford clones. Her genetic sons. They had offered her information about curing her cancer. She knew now that she had to get an answer. For herself as well as Mulder. Just as she was starting to look around for her clothes, Mulder bolted in from outside her door as nervous and excited as she'd ever seen him.

"Scully!" he said exhilarated, coming to her side and taking her hand. "They've got a cure. They promised to cure your cancer!"

"Who?!" she said quickly, sitting up in the bed and regarding him seriously.

"The Crawfords. Your "sons". They said that they'd come to the hospital with the cure. We just have to stay here until they get here."

Shaking her head, Scully was hard pressed to believe it. The fact that she was going to be ok stunned her into silence. She had gotten her hopes up too many times in recent days, and she wasn't about to start now. She would believe it when she saw it.

Which she did when the morphing alien bounty hunter walked into her room with one of the Crawfords. As he approached, Mulder got up suddenly, trying to put himself between her and the massive alien being. The Crawford moved to cut him off.

"Agent Mulder, he's here to help. Like Jeremiah Smith, our "father" has the ability to heal. In token gratitude for her part in making us, he's here to heal her," the Crawford clone said.

Still wary, Mulder watched the clone go to Scully's side, reaching towards her face. There was a moment where Scully and the bounty hunter simply stared at each other before she closed her eyes and he placed his hands across her brow. For a long time, it seemed like nothing was happening, but then Mulder saw it. A slight change in the form of the bridge of her nose, where the tumor was. It moved for a moment, then disappeared as if nothing had ever happened. And somehow Mulder knew he'd seen the destruction of the tumor.

With his task done, the bounty hunter took his hands from her head and regarded her seriously, the line of his jaw held tight as he waited for her to look at him. To acknowledge *all* that the healing had done.

Scully opened her eyes slowly, feeling the pressure that she'd begun to live with gone. But along with the healing, she'd found out several other things that she had denied herself knowledge of. Things her now unrepressed memory was bringing back to her. The fact that while she'd been kept "prisoner", the bounty hunter had done his best to protect her, to take care of her. It had been part of the reason he had come now to heal her.

"You know," the bounty hunter said, his husky, deep tone.

Scully nodded, trying to get a reign on her emotions. This was all coming back to her too fast. Then Mulder took the decision to go slowly out of her hands.

"Know what? What the hell are you talking about?" Mulder asked angrily, going to Scully's side.

"I love Dana," the bounty hunter announced, surprising Mulder and the Crawford clone, but not Scully. Mulder looked at her with shock written across his face.

"You knew?" Mulder stated, his voice strained.

"Not until just now," she admitted, then dipped her head so he couldn't see her eyes. "The healing . . . it brought back my memories of when I was missing. I remember what happened then Mulder. I remember that he took care of me. He brought me to the hospital, hoping they could save my life when he couldn't risk using his healing abilities. He did it all out of love for me."

Mulder nearly collapsed into the chair at her bedside. The thought that this alien had been responsible for Scully's coming back to him . . .

But it didn't matter, No matter what this "creature" felt or did, Scully and he belonged together. He was sure of that.

Just like he was sure that he loved her as well. If not more. But he'd never told her.

"Dana," Mulder said, ignoring the fact that there were other people in the room. Now that he'd realized this, he wasn't going to put off telling her any longer. Not when there seemed something strange about her reaction to the bounty hunter's pronouncement. "Dana, I love you too."

This brought a smile to her face, but it didn't stay long. The conflicting emotions that had come from the healing were just so complicated. And in the end, she couldn't fight *any* of them.

"I love you Mulder. But I love him too," Scully admitted, nodding in the direction of the bounty hunter.

"I don't care Dana," Mulder said, taking a tight grip on her hand. "I won't let you go without a fight."

The immensity of her feelings and the insanity of the events unfolding around her had her mind in a turmoil. The bounty hunter was an *alien* for God's sake she reminded herself. But then, there were humans with less humanity. He'd done what he'd done to protect his race, not out of anger for her and Mulder. At the thought of Mulder, her heart tipped the other way. The brief experience she'd had in his arms had proven to her just how deep their feelings ran for each other. She couldn't leave him. She couldn't leave either of them.

Agonizing in silence for a long time, she finally looked up at them both and announced her decision. Or lack thereof.

"I can't decide right now. Can we just go home please?" she said hesitantly.

There was a flurry of activity as her words as the bounty hunter and the Crawford clone headed out to get her released and Mulder scrambled to find her clothes. It wasn't more than an hour later before the whole group were on their way out of the hospital, headed for Scully's apartment.

As they headed out the door, they had no idea that they'd been observed by a figure in the shadows. One that took up a respectable pace behind them. Following them.

When Scully put the key in the lock of her apartment, she stopped dead for a second as she heard a noise inside. Automatically reaching for her gun, she shoved the door open, her Smith and Wesson at the ready. Only to find it pointed at the other three Kurt Crawford clones. Standing in her house. Holding a cake and a box.

Putting her gun away, Scully walked further into the room to see that "Happy Belated Mother's Day Mummy" was scrawled in bright pink letters on the chocolate cake. Touched by the sentiment more than she could say, she leaned over and kissed each one of the Crawfords on the cheek, getting a smile and a blush from each of them.

Then the box was thrust into her hands, and she could feel it moving. Startled, she quickly looked around, then pulled first the red bow then the lid off the box. Peering inside, she found three reddish Pomeranian puppies, all with a tag around their neck. Giggling like a school girl, she went to place the box on the couch and began pulling up one of the little dogs.

Mulder and the bounty hunter came up behind her to watch as she checked the tags.

"Scully . . . you're not naming them . . ." Mulder began, but she cut him off.

"The boys already named them. You won't believe it Mulder. They're "Spooky", "Ahab" and "Starbuck". How did they know?"

The first Crawford came close, and regarded her with a grin.

"We did some research, and thought you'd be pleased."

With that she started laughing. And it quickly became evident that she wasn't stopping anytime soon. Both the bounty hunter and Mulder came to her side, waiting to see what was wrong. When she finally got her laughter under control, she tried to explain herself.

"This is crazy! Here I am with two men I love, four sons who are almost my own age and three puppies that remind me of my dear departed QueeQuag. This is so bizarre, I think I've lost my mind. I mean, there's no way in the world that this "family" could survive the scrutiny. Next thing we know we'll have "The National Enquirer" and "Hard Copy" on our front door," she sighed exasperatedly.

"We don't have to stay Dana," the bounty hunter informed her, taking hold of her shoulder.

Her eyebrows raised, and Mulder had to smile at the sight. His usually skeptical partner was obviously starting to believe in some really "out there" ideas. And this whole set up proved it. At her look, the alien explained.

"There's a colony on Mars that we established a while back. The two of us and the Crawfords could move there. In that place, we would both be highly respected and untouchable. And once there you could marry me without causing any uproar."

That had Mulder up and out of his seat on the couch. That this *alien* was asking Scully to run away with him was one thing. It was totally another for him to want her to marry him. He was ready to say something when she stared at him, stopping him cold.

"I think that might be a good idea," she said softly. "But I can't leave Mulder."

"You can have us both," the bounty hunter admitted apprehensively.

"What?!" both Mulder and Scully said in unison.

"As a breedable female in the hierarchy, you are allowed by custom to take as many spouses as you wish, and that you can support in you household."

They turned and looked seriously at each other. Then a smile began to tug at the corners of her lips, and a wry grin at his.

"So, what do you say Mulder? Can you stand being a second husband?" she asked with a gleam of mischief in her eyes that told him that he'd always be first to her.

"It doesn't matter to me Scully. Wherever you go, I'll go. You know that. So does that mean you're asking me to marry you?" Mulder remarked with his ever ready wit and a huge dash of emotion.

"I am Mulder. What do you say?"

Instead of giving her a verbal answer, he simply nodded, then leaned over and kissed her, sealing the deal. Then she turned to receive a kiss from the bounty hunter as well.

"Ok, now we only have one problem," Scully announced, hauling "Ahab" with her in her arms.

"Which is?" one of the Crawfords asked.

"How do we get off the planet?" she said with as much belief and sincerity she could muster.

Before any of the "boys" or the bounty hunter could answer, the door burst open, revealing former FBI agent Alex Krycek. He held his gun in one hand, and Scully could see that the reason why was that the other was obviously artificial. He trained his gun quickly on everyone there but her.

"Krycek, I ought to kill you right here and now," Mulder growled. At the same time, the bounty hunter made a move towards Krycek, only to be looking down the barrel of the gun.

"I can't let you leave Agent Scully," Krycek informed her, coming to a stop at her side. "At least not until I have the chance to tell you what I need to say."

At this, everyone began looking questioningly at Scully, and Krycek, who had put his gun away and dropped to his knees before her.

"Dana Scully, you are the one woman I have ever known that has the same beauty within and without. I have admired you from afar and now I must declare the devotion and heartfelt feelings I have for you," he said in a flurry of words.

They all stared at him in shock, Scully included. She couldn't believe it. After all these years of not even a date, she had three men all vying for her attentions. And as she thought about it, she decided she kind of liked it.

There was a long pause before she said anything. And then it was as big a shock as Krycek's pronouncement.

"We're leaving Earth Alex. If you want, you can come with us. Live with me and the "guys"," she said simply, almost imperiously.

"Dana!" Mulder and the bounty hunter said in unison.

"Mom!" the Crawfords said together.

She turned to them, glaring at them all. At her look, they all backed down. It had become very clear that Dana Scully had made up her mind.

"Alex, where we're going, I may take as many "husbands" as I like. Would you like to become one of them?"

His eyes glowed brightly as he realized what she was offering him. Sure, he might never be at Mulder or even the bounty hunter's level in her affections, but she was interested in having him as a third husband. He couldn't have asked for more than that.

"Yes!" he announced quickly, taking her hand and kissing it before jumping to his feet.

As there were murmurs of wonderment and acknowledgment of the events, Mulder's cel phone went off. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the phone and answered. After a short, curt conversation, Mulder clicked off the connection and looked at Scully.

"That was Skinner. He wants to see us in his office. Now." he informed her, and everyone in the room.

Scully scanned the room, making a split second decision.

"Fine, then we'll *all* see him. We might as well tell him now that we're going space hopping and that we won't be coming back," she commented strongly.

Grinning at the idea, Mulder headed for the door, the Crawford clones with the puppies behind him, Krycek and the bounty hunter next, and Scully last, closing the door on her apartment. Probably for the last time, she realized with some melancholy. But the future she was going to, with these men she cared for, loved was more inviting and alluring than anything she'd ever known.

They ended up taking two cars to get to the Bureau office. As they trooped through the security check point, the guard and a few agents who were there on a Sunday stared at them. Feeling the intense gaze, Scully let loose.

"Don't you people have a life," she yelled, and the eyes diverted back to their own tasks, leaving the group alone.

It wasn't long before they stood outside Skinner's office. Being a Sunday, his assistant was off, so Scully knocked forcefully on the door until she heard him call through the wood for her to come in. Swinging the door wide, she entered, Mulder right beside her as usual. It wasn't until Skinner saw Krycek and the bounty hunter and then the Crawford clones that he realize something very strange was going on here.

"What's the meaning of this Agent Scully. Agent Mulder?" he stammered, still trying to sound authoritative, even though he felt like someone had pulled the rug out from under him.

"It's like this sir," Scully said, standing and leaning on his desk, regarding him with seriousness that he'd never seen on her before. Skinner had seen Dana Scully serious before, but this was more. It was confident and seductive in its presence. He felt a little awe inspired.

Scully went on to explain everything. When she got to the part about taking Mulder, Krycek and the bounty hunter as her husbands he couldn't help but chuckle and say "You go girl." She arched her eyebrows at that, but made no other comment. When she finally finished, revealing their plans to leave Earth and fly to Mars where she could keep harem, he smiled.

"Dana Scully, queen bee,' he said in a soto voice, under his breath.

"Excuse me sir, I didn't quite catch that," she remarked with a little smile on her face. She'd actually heard him, but wanted to see if he'd fess up.

She watched as he turned a slight shade of red, and then coughed a bit under her scrutiny. He was definitely feeling a bit uncomfortable around this new "Dana Scully". And a bit aroused too. But what startled him was the look she was giving him now.

"You know Walter, as a queen bee, I always have room in my "hive" for one more drone," she suggested wryly. "That is if you're "interested" of course?"

She knew what his answer would be. And by this point, she was starting to like this feeling of power and seductiveness that seemed to have taken her over. As Skinner got up to come to her side, she put her hand on his cheek, and then turned to the rest of the group.

"Walter will be joining us I believe."

Everyone's eyebrows rose, but no one said a thing. At this point, no one wanted to be left behind by questioning her.

"Well, we've got everyone who's going Scully. Where to now?" Mulder asked, coming up to slap Skinner on the back. He'd always known that he had a soft spot for his partner.

Scully looked towards the bounty hunter in hopes of getting the answer.

"There's a few ships in a secret location at Andrews Air Force Base. We could be on our way in a matter of hours."

Nodding her approval, Scully turned back to Mulder and Skinner. There were just a few things left to do.

Going behind Skinner's desk, Scully found some paper and envelopes. Passing them around, she, Mulder and Skinner went about writing notes to the Bureau, giving their resignations and letters to family members, telling them that they were leaving and wouldn't be contacting them again. Once they were done, they sealed them and left them on Skinner's desk to be found in the morning. With that done, they headed out the door to drive to Andrews AFB.

It wasn't long until they arrived at their destination. There was a collective gasp as Mulder, Scully, Skinner and Krycek all looked up at the silver spaceship hidden in the hangar. If they weren't seeing it for themselves, they wouldn't have believed it.

Opening the hatch, the bounty hunter and the Crawfords all headed in to get things started, leaving the "humans" to get themselves mentally prepared. Scully turned to the three men and couldn't help but smile. They were off to the far reaches of the galaxy, but at least she was taking these men with her. Ones that she cared for so much. It was almost too much to take in.

"Come on Scully," Mulder said at last. "Mars awaits."

"Mars?" she said finally, a bit unsure for the first time since the whole thing had begun.

"Well, where else could we go?" Skinner commented as they slowly began to walk on board the ship.

Hearing this, one of the Crawfords piped in his suggestion.

"Well, Reticula is nice and lush this time of year. And they do allow the practice of polyandry too," he commented knowingly.

"Great," said Krycek, finally coming into the conversation. "But no matter where we go, what the hell are we going to do when we get there?"

"If we go to Reticula, I have a place where we could work temporarily," the bounty hunter said.

There were a multitude of shoulder shrugs, and then a bunch of heads bobbing up and down in accent. Then everyone was scurrying for a seat, and then they were off into space, looking for a new home and a new life.

Days later, they had arrived on Reticula, found work and a place to live. All in all, Scully thought wearily as she changed from her work clothes, things were going well.

It had been a long day at the restaurant. She still had to wonder who would name a restaurant "Milliways: The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe." Hell, there were times she wondered exactly how she'd ended up *here*, on Reticula, with four husbands whom she cared for dearly and four cloned sons. How they all had ended up working and running said restaurant. It was all just too much thinking for her tired mind right then.

She sighed and decided she didn't want to think about it now.

Lying down on the massive bed with Mulder at one side, Skinner at the other, and Krycek and the bounty hunter on either side of them, she rested her head on Mulder's shoulder and let her eyes close. She promised herself that it would just be for a minute.

Mulder looked down at Scully, gazing at her fondly as she dozed on his shoulder. He really didn't want to wake her, but it was late and he was getting uncomfortable in the position he was in. He touched her cheek lightly and felt a twinge of deja vu.

Her head jumped up quickly and she saw Mulder there smiling at her. She looked around to see her living room and the snow on the television, where the second video had finally run out of tape. She looked back at Mulder and with a huge sigh of relief, she flung her arms around him.

Surprised, he wrapped his arms around her, and hugged her back. He was still curious what was going on when she finally eased back. She saw the questions in his eyes, and answered him simply, the only way she could right then.

"Weird dream. I'll tell you about it in the morning. Do you want to take the tapes tonight, or come back tomorrow for them?" she said.

"I can come back. Besides, it's late and unlike you, I didn't get a nap," he replied with a chuckle as he got up from the couch and headed for the door.

"Hey Mulder?" Scully called from the couch, making him turn back.

"Yeah?"

"Do me a favor, ok?"

"What?"

"Don't ever let me eat five of your brownies in one sitting again."

There was a big grin on his face, but he nodded.

"Alright Scully. 'Night."

And with that he shut the door behind him, and Scully began to laugh.

She was laughing until she fell asleep ten minutes later in her own bed. Alone.

-End-

Aha! I got you all didn't I?!? Yes, it was all a dream, as well it should have been. <bg> Well, if you were keeping track, all 26 things on the challenge list were in here, plus one or two things of my own. Hope you all got a kick out of it. So, old fans and new alike, drop me a line and let me know if you're out there reading. As you know, I always return my mail. J.

Challenge paramaters: Ok, folks, if you just answer one challenge this year, make it mine . The premise of the Brownie Points Challenge is simple: For following my plot-line, you award yourself a certain amount of brownie points. In this case, a brownie point means that you literally award yourself a brownie (the *cake*, not the other two definitions mentioned above ). Where are you going to get the brownies, you ask? Why, you're going to make them. Attatched to this letter is a recipe for *Chocolate Chunk Pecan Brownies.* Not to worry, the recipe was chosen because it's easy, economical, and delicious. Even people with little to no baking experience should be able to make this easy recipe. Ok, having said all that, let's now, without further ado, get to the challenge itself. Note: 1 brownie point=1 brownie, 2 brownie points=2 brownies...etc. The Challenge: A) Mulder and Scully have sex: 1 brownie pt. Anti-shippers, please don't bail; the challenge does not have to be an MSR. The sex can be due to demonic possession, temporary insanity, a lapse in judgement...etc; be creative and think up some interesting scenarios! B) They tell Skinner they had sex or Skinner finds out on his own. 1 brownie pt. C) Scully gets pregnant: 1 pt. (Remember, 'Memento Mori' never did make it clear whether or not she was barren). D) Scully and Mulder debate whether or not she should have the baby: 1 pt. E) Scully decides to have the baby: 2 pts. Scully has an abortion: 3 pts. F) If Scully decides to have the baby, she experiences complications with her pregnancy because of her cancer: 1 pt. G) The Kurt Crawford clones tell Mulder and Scully that Scully is their mother. 1 brownie point. H) The Kurt Crawford clones tell Scully that their father is Schwarzteralien aka the morphing alien Bounty Hunter. Award yourself 2 brownie pts. I) The Kurt Crawford clones throw Scully a Mother's Day party and have a cake that says 'Happy Belated Mother's Day, Mummy.' Award yourself 1 pt. Give yourself an additional 2 pts if the "kids" also give her three Pomeranian puppies named, 'Starbuck', 'Spooky', and 'Ahab.' J) Schwarzteralien shows up and cures Scully of her cancer: 1 pt. K) Schwarzteralien declares that he's in love with Scully: 2 pts. L) Scully falls in love with Schwarzteralien: 2 pts. M) Mulder realizes that he's in love with Scully too and decides to fight for her love: 1 pts. N) Scully experiences major angst due to the aforementioned events: 1 pt. O) Scully decides to marry Schwarzteralien and pack up the "kids", the dogs, and move to Mars: 1 pt. P) Scully decides to take Mulder as her second spouse: 1 pt. Q) Award yourself 2 pts if you somehow work the one armed Krycek into this melee and have him declare his love for Scully too. R) Give yourself 2 pts if Scully decides to take Krycek as her number three husband. S) Scully and her gang march into Skinner's office and inform Skinner of their plans: 1 pt. Give yourself 2 pts if Skinner, upon hearing that Scully will have three spouses, says to her, 'You go, girl!' Award yourself an additonal 1 pt if Skinner then mumbles sotto voce, 'Dana Scully, queen bee.' Give yourself another 1 pt if Scully overhears Skinner and calls him on it. T) Scully and company decide that Mars would be too gaseous and hot for their tastes and decide instead to move to Reticula, a lush and balmy planet where the local populace practice polyandry: 1 pt. U) Award yourself 4 brownie points if Scully, Mulder, Krycek, Schwarzeralien, and the "kids" all go and work at 'Milliways: the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.' If you followed the entire outline, you should have a total of 36 brownie points. But somehow, I doubt anyone can follow the entire outline . Hell, I *know* I can't, and I'm the one that dreamt up this weird challenge! Well, I suppose that's for the best; you'll probably need to use some of the brownies as bribes (gotta bribe the significant other to do the chores and look after the kids while you work on your XF fanfic). But seriously, even though this challenge is definitely "out there", I'd be more than pleased if anyone at least answered a part of it. And, oh, btw, *do* try the brownie recipe; the brownies really are delicious. Regards, Atropos -- You're living in America At the end of the millennium You're living in America Where it's like the Twilight Zone. ---Jonathan Larson, 'Rent.' For once the shadows gave way to light. ---Jonathan Larson, 'Rent.' CHOCOLATE CHUNK PECAN BROWNIES 1 cup margarine or butter 2 cups sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla 4 eggs, slightly beaten 1 cup all purpose flour OR unbleached flour 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa 1/2 teaspoon salt 8 oz (8 squares) semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped 1 cup chopped pecans* Heat oven to 350F. Grease 13x9-inch pan. In medium saucepan over low heat, melt margarine. Add sugar, vanilla and eggs; blend well. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. Stir in flour, cocoa, and salt; mix well. Add chocolate and pecans. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350F. for 30-40 minutes or until set. Cool; cut into bars. 36 bars. *If you don't like nuts or are allergic to them, simply omit them from the recipe.

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