Walter was glad that he had come to the event early enough to snag a seat in the back, as those always filled up, but he never wanted to be near the front, because mandatory seminars were boring. Still, there wasn't a way that he could finagle out of his duty to attend, and so he always sat in the last row so that he could surreptitiously do something different on his phone, while still trying to appear like he was paying attention. He watched Mulder saunter up towards the front, and he couldn't help but watch closely to see if he saved a seat for Scully, since they were both supposed to attend as well.
He couldn't tell right away if he had saved a spot, but a few moments later, he saw one of the BAU agents come up to Mulder and start talking before taking a seat, and Walter let out a soft sigh of disappointment, knowing that Scully would have nowhere to sit if she didn't show up soon. Just as he was going to set his hand down on the chair next to him, effectively saving it for her, someone else sat down, and his shoulders slumped a little. He didn't know why he was so concerned about Scully, but she had looked very tired in the last few weeks, though she denied anything being wrong with her when he had asked.
The meeting started without her appearing, and Walter found that his attention was divided between what was being said and concern over where she was. About ten minutes into the presentation, he felt a familiar presence behind him. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw that Scully had joined them at last, her face extremely pale and tight. When she noticed that he was looking at her, Scully gave him a wan smile as she shook her head, pointing towards the front of the room. He frowned as he cocked his head, and she shook her head a little more strongly. Knowing that he couldn't argue with her in that moment, Walter did as asked and tried to focus on the presentation.
That was a lost cause, though, since now that he knew she was there, his brain refused to focus on the speaker, but on if she was going to be all right standing there. Walter caught snippets of the presentation for the next few minutes, only to have his attention grabbed by Scully once more. His chair jostled a little as she grabbed hold of it, and he quickly looked up at her, seeing that her face was even paler than before. "I really must insist, Dana. Take my seat."
She gave him a grateful smile as she nodded, finally allowing him to get up and swap places with her. As the presenter droned on, Walter couldn't help but keep his gaze from darting between her and the front of the room, concern filling every spare thought in his brain. Finally, the speaker wrapped up his speech, and forty five minutes later they were being dismissed. Walter hoped that someone would send notes through to everyone, since he hadn't really managed to retain anything from the presentation, since his thoughts had been so distracted.
Once a few people had left, he took the seat next to Dana and reached out to rest his hand on her shoulder. When she looked up at him, he knew that she most likely hadn't held on to anything, either. "I'll be fine, sir."
"I don't like to call you out as a liar, Agent Scully, but I think that we both know that is a blatant falsehood. Let's head out for a cup of coffee and you can tell me what's really going on. Any case that Mulder might want to drag you out on can wait for an hour or so." He tried to make his request sound more like the order it was, and she swallowed a few times as she nodded. "All right." He stood up and held out his elbow to her. Slowly, she rose to her feet and slipped her hand into the crook of his arm, allowing him to lead her out of the conference room and over to the elevators. As they waited for it to arrive, Walter felt her weave a little on her feet, and he instinctively moved her hand so that he could slip his arm around her waist to brace her a little more.
"Thank you," she whispered as they stepped onto the elevator, and he gave her a sharp nod as they rode down in silence. He didn't comment on the fact that Dana leaned against his arm, her head coming to rest against his shoulder, but he did relish the feel of her so close to him, knowing that it would be unlikely to happen again. She was Mulder's partner in more than a professional sense, after all, and he needed to keep that in mind.
Getting off the elevator, Walter guided her over to the front doors, and down the street in the direction of his favorite café. "Would you like anything to eat?" he asked as they found a table.
"Yoghurt? And I need something with not too much caffeine, if you don't mind."
He nodded, a small inkling of what was going on entering his brain as he got in line for their food and drinks. In a bit of a daze, he placed their beverage order along with picking up some different food items, both for him and in case Dana changed her mind about just wanting yoghurt. "I hope that you're also in the mood for cake. I know that a lot of sugar isn't ideal for a woman in your condition, but I thought I could tempt you to eat a little more than just yoghurt."
"Thanks," she said, her smile a little brighter this time around. He nodded and set the tray down, picking up the sandwich to eat and letting Dana take her pick of what was left. "I take it they're bringing our drinks?"
"Yeah, that's what the girl said, at least."
A deep quiet fell over the table as she nibbled at the cake, and Walter used the opportunity to study her closely, seeing the few things that he had missed in the last few weeks, the clues that told him what he needed to know about why she wasn't feeling well. "I'm not going to break, sir," she said softly as she picked up the yoghurt parfait he had chosen, eating a large bite before sighing in pleasure at the taste.
"I think that I know that, but I remember the last time you went through this, and how it wasn't a good time for anyone. I want to mitigate that this time around, if I can."
A sappy smile transformed her face, and he marveled at how lucky Mulder was to have Dana in his life. "Thank you. I was wondering about how I would bring this to you, since it's still something that I am trying to wrap my brain around. I'm a medical doctor, as well you know, and I know the likelihood of a woman of my age getting pregnant without intervention is one of the smallest percentages in the world. Like, I've joked with Mulder that I should go out and buy some lottery tickets, as the odds of my winning a jackpot are higher than this happening. But, I am so cautiously optimistic about having a child this time around, and the wonder of it all has filled me with sense of joy and peace that I never knew I wanted. But I don't have anyone to share that wonder and joy with, Walter."
His name was tremulous on her lips, and he knew that she was nervous about calling him that. Giving her a small smile, he went to reply as the young woman who had taken his order came by with their drinks. "I got us both hot chocolate, that way we could be in caffeine withdrawal together."
"That is really sweet, thank you."
He nodded as he picked up his mug, taking a small sip before clearing his throat to get her attention. She looked at him over the rim of her cup, and he couldn't stop the easy smile that crossed his lips. "I thought that you had two brothers, Dana. I know that your mother and sister are gone, but there's still some family on your side. Whereas Mulder doesn't have any family any longer."
"My brothers never understood why I stuck by Mulder's side through all these years, and since Mom died, well, they find it easier not to acknowledge my existence." He wasn't surprised when her eyes filled with tears, since he knew that her hormones were probably fluctuating more than normal. "And we have a lonely existence. I mean, it is really difficult to explain our jobs to people who I would like to interact with, and Mulder isn't one for church, so you're the first person that I've told about this."
Her tears rolled down her face, and Dana made no effort to wipe them away. Walter still felt like he had to comfort her, so he reached across the table and picked up her free hand, squeezing it softly as he stared into her eyes, trying to let her know that he would be there to support both of them throughout the duration of her pregnancy. "Well, I am so happy that you would trust me enough with this news, even though I did sort of figure it out. How far along are you?"
"About ten weeks. I really shouldn't have said anything for another two weeks, since that is technically when the safe zone starts."
"Well, you appear to be having more severe morning sickness this time around, so it wasn't like you could hold off on telling me. Do you feel like you're going to have another boy?"
Dana drew her hand back to caress her still flat stomach, a tender smile flittering across her face as she shook her head. "I haven't told Mulder yet, but if I had to go off my heart, I'm having a little girl. And if he'll let me, her name will be Melissa Margaret. I think that it would be too painful if we were to name her Samantha."
"That's a beautiful name, Dana." He picked up his sandwich once more to eat it, feeling like they needed a bit of a buffer after that difficult bit of discussion. "All right, I suppose that before we head back to the office, we should have another little talk about what's to come in the next thirty weeks. Because I know that you are going to try and make it to full term on this pregnancy." She nodded. "All right, in order to make that happen, I would like to add a third member to your team, so that you can relax a little."
"And who would you suggest as our third, Walter?" she asked, a saucy look quickly darting across her face before a more placid expression settled there.
"I would do it, if I didn't have my responsibilities as an AD. However, I think that I could talk John Doggett into rejoining you for a few months. He seemed to really get along with you and Mulder, which would be an easy way to smooth the transition. And if you plan on taking a long maternity leave, I don't think that Mulder would mind working with just him. Do you?"
"No. And that would be a wonderful compromise." Dana finished the piece of cake before picking up her parfait and swirling her spoon around in it. "Could I ask you a personal favor, Walter?"
"I promise I won't say anything about your pregnancy until you're ready to have it more widely known," he replied, feeling like that would be her question, frowning a little as she shook her head. "What, then?"
"Would you mind being her godfather? I don't know if Mulder is going to want her to be baptized, but it's what I want, and even if it's only you as her godparent, I know that she would be in good hands if something should happen to us. It would truly mean the world to me, Walter."
Once more, her eyes filled with tears, and he found himself blinking back some of his own as he nodded, knowing that he could never refuse a request from her. "I would be honored to do that for you and Mulder, Dana. And though I pray that nothing bad would happen to either of you, I would raise her to the best of my ability until she reached adulthood."
"I know that you would. It's also the most I can give you. If we had met during different circumstances, things might have gone differently. But they didn't, and now my heart is firmly Mulder's." She gave him a tender smile, and he dipped his chin, knowing that she meant every word. "Thank you for this, I really needed a friend to talk to. But I suppose that we should head back now, just in case Mulder has found a new case for us to head out on. And you have someone to call." He nodded as they rose to their feet and made their way to the door. Walter knew that he would have to content himself to guarding over her child, as any good godparent would, and that it would be the closets he would ever be to Dana. A different sort of family than what he might have wanted, but a good one, nonetheless.