Welcome To The Harem

Morning Ritual by fran58
Summary: Before the beginning... Maggie/Bill Scully. Pre-XF.

Title: Morning Ritual (1/1)
Author: fran58
Email: fran58@fran58.net
Category: V
Rating: PG
Distribution: Wherever - just let me know.
Spoilers: Hmm, can't think of anything.
Disclaimer: Characters owned by Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen
Productions and 20th Century Fox. I do own a red Honda,
Summary: Before the beginning...
Author's Note: Much thanks to addicted2fanfic and nikki
for the beta help. Also special thanks to FabulousMonster
for the beta and the ending.

Morning Ritual

The times when he doubted were erased by the other times, the
times like this. Times when, on a sleepy Saturday morning,
they would send the kids off to watch cartoons in order to
snatch a few more minutes in bed.


He awoke to an uncomfortable bouncing. He could hear rain
tapping against a hard surface and wondered briefly if there
were a storm at sea, and then realized he was at home. In the
grey morning light, he peeled one eye open, and patiently waited
for it to focus. The source of the bouncing was soon apparent.

"Honey, is it necessary to do that this early in the morning?"

"Do we have school today?"

Sighing, he let his head drop back on the pillow. "No, its

"Yea! No school!" The bouncing increased exponentially.

"How come on school days Mom can hardly drag you out of bed?"

"I dunno."

One pair of jumping feet were joined by another. Bill groaned
and pulled the pillow over his face.

"Come on, Dad, get up!" The voice belonging to the first
bouncer yelled.

"It's too early. Let me sleep for a while."

His eldest daughter, the second bouncer, inserted her head under
his pillow. She smelled faintly of little girl sweat (all that
bouncing, he supposed) and Mr. Tippy Children's Shampoo. "Can
I have a cuddle?"

Bill grunted and slid over to make room. "Sure, Melissa. What
about you, Billy?"

"Yes!" His small form bounded up the bed, crushing toes and
kneecaps along the way. He slipped under the covers beside his
sister, and wiggled onto his mother's pillow.

"Ok, settle down now, kids. Your mom and I are tired."

The room grew still and Bill relaxed. A minute ticked by.

"Billy stop it! Dad, Billy's foot is touching my leg."

"That's because your big leg is in my way! Move over!"

"I can't move over, Dad is in the way."

Maggie finally stirred from the other side of the bed. "I
suppose I could just move to one of your beds, since you
don't seem to be using them." She tempered her words with
a sleepy smile. "Maybe Floppy Bear would like to be my
cuddle toy for a while."

"No! Mom, he's mine. You can have one of Missy's toys

"You're awful generous with your sister's things." Maggie
continued to smile. "What's your little sister doing?"

Billy frowned. "Mom, she's a baby. She's sleeping." He was
of the opinion that babies mostly cried, slept and played with
the *most* boring toys. They really weren't much fun.

"She isn't so much of a baby anymore, honey," Maggie said.
"She'll be big enough for a regular bed soon."

The look on Bill Jr.'s face clearly said that he doubted the
smallest Scully would be doing anything interesting soon, but
he refrained from saying so to his mother. She seemed to have
an inexplicable fondness for Dana.

Missy began squirming again and somehow managed to shift most
of the covers onto the floor. Bill Sr. sighed and pulled them
back onto the bed.

"Missy, do you think you could settle down, hon?" He laid a
warm hand on top of her wild crop of hair, hoping to still her.

"Tell Billy to stop touching me!"

Bill sighed and wondered how Maggie coped while he was gone.
He only had to deal with surly sailors and crack - of - dawn
risings. He glanced at his wife, who was curled up with his son
on the other side of the bed. Young, he thought. Too young for
three kids and a husband who was away for half the year. He often
wondered if they had rushed things. Sex too soon, marriage too
soon. It had seemed right at the time. After enlisting, he
hadn't wanted to leave without knowing that she was his, and would
still be his when he returned. Promises weren't good enough.
He knew they were too easily broken. She could meet someone more
exciting, more spontaneous, who would make her forget him and
his plodding ways. It seemed, he felt, that there was some goon
grinning at her every time he turned around.

Bill Scully loved the sea. He could not imagine life without it -
water was life itself in so many ways. At times, however, he
resented the way it took him from the other things he loved. Even
when he was away only a few weeks, there were too many
temptations for both of them. He was not feckless by nature, but
the weeks at sea were often lonely, and he was a young man. He
feared a few too many Scotches one night would be his undoing, so
he often resisted his friends' invitations to 'hit the town' when
they pulled into port. And while he never doubted Maggie's resolve,
he knew only too well that she would only have to smile the right
direction and she could have any number of men. A gold ring and
three kids wouldn't mean a thing to them.

From the shipmates who didn't understand his struggle to maintain
his fidelity, to Maggie's parents who still couldn't quite believe
their only daughter had settled for a mere sailor, at times he felt
like their very union was under siege. It made him wonder if they
had done the right thing. Yet here she was, grinning at his son,
seemingly happy enough.

He reached a hand out to reassure himself and let his fingers come
to rest on her shoulder. She smiled briefly at him.

"Daddy, you're squishing me," a small voice whined soon joined
by another. "Yeah, me too."

"I'm just trying to touch your mother, what's wrong with that?"
Bill asked. "I haven't seen her for a while."

"Girls have cooties," said Billy seriously.

"Boys do too!" Missy chimed in.

"Well, then it shouldn't be a problem, since we all must have
them," said Bill. He gave Maggie's shoulder a squeeze, and felt
shiver shoot through her body. "Our cooties can mingle together."

"Ew, Daddy, that's gross," cried Melissa.

"Ok, one more try kids. How about everybody settles down, and
we sleep for a bit more, O.K.?"

"How about we play a game?" suggested Billy.

"Yeah, I can get my grey cat, and you can get your bear, Billy,
and we could pretend - ," Missy's voice was cut off by her mother.

"If you and Bill Jr. want to play, why don't you go back to your
rooms? Then your Dad and I could have some peace."

For another minute, perhaps two, all was still. Bill held his
breath, not wanting to relax until he was sure...

"This is boring," said Melissa. "I want to play something. Please,

"Missy, I promise you that we will play later. All of us, we'll all
play Hide-and-Seek or something. Your Dad and I just want a bit
of peace. Why don't you and your brother go and watch cartoons
for a while?" Bill glanced at her. Maggie was not usually a
proponent of sending the kids off to watch television, but desperate
times called for desperate measures.

"Yes! Come on, Missy!" Billy yelled.

And they were gone. Perversely, Bill missed them immediately.
He glanced at his wife still on the other side of the bed. She
reached a hand out and trailed it up his arm. "Hey, there," she said
and smiled. Her hand was warm and soft against his morning
chilled skin. He caught it and pressed it to his lips.

"Hey," he said. "What's your name? Got a boyfriend or

Her smile grew broader. "Just a husband. But he's always out at

"He must be crazy to leave you all alone," Bill said.

"No," she answered "Not crazy, just dedicated."

"Mind if I keep you company until he comes home?"

"Not at all, that would be wonderful," Maggie scooted across the
bed and inserted herself under his arm. "How is this?"

Bill could hear the faint sounds from the television drifting down
the hall. He heard Billy, then Missy, giggle. Maggie's head was
tucked under his chin, her body was warm, and he felt a great sense
of calm. It felt safe and right. He bowed his head and breathed in
his wife's scent.

"I missed you," she said.

"I missed you too."

"Want to show me how much?" Maggie's hand slid down his rib
cage , and then back up again.

"The kids are just down the hall," Bill pointed out.

Maggie gave a short, soft, laugh. "You always say that. They're
watching T.V., you know. They'll be mesmerized for hours. If we
let them, that is." She raised her head and kissed his neck. Bill felt
his hand automatically reaching for the night stand drawer.

Maggie stopped him. "Don't need it," she mumbled, her lips
against his chest. She had worked her hands under the elastic of
his bottoms and for a moment her words didn't register.

"What? Why?"

"Later," she said, mumbling again.


Afterwards, sleepy once more, Bill pulled Maggie close and was
drifting off when the words she said earlier snaked back into his

"So what happened?"

"What happened when?"

"Umm, when. When did it happen?"

"Oh. Last time you were here. When else?"

Bill frowned. It wasn't possible. They were always very careful.
They had both agreed that Dana would be the last.

"Maggie, are you sure? There isn't a mistake? We've been so
good about... I mean, I just don't remember when it could have
happened. I don't see how..."

"Oh well then, if it wasn't you it must have been that cute
groundskeeper the base has. The one with the blond hair?"

"Ha ha."

Maggie sighed and shifted slightly, suddenly embarrassed.
"Remember that party we went to? And the walk back home?"

"Yes, but I...oh," his mind flashed on a scene where he and
Maggie, both giggling and giddy, had somehow ended up in a dark
alleyway, her back pressed up against someone's wall. He
remembered the roughness of the brick under his hands and her
muffled sounds as she tried not to make too much noise.

"Oh crap. I forgot all about that."

Maggie raised her eyebrows.

"Well, I did have my share of Scotch that night."

Maggie smiled. "Yeah, I know. I think that's how we ended up
where we were in the first place." She poked him in the chest.
"*I* wanted to go straight home."

Bill frowned. "I don't remember it that way. In fact, I think you
started it."

"Me? Oh come on, Bill. Does that sound like me?"

The answer to the question was a resounding 'yes', Bill thought.
He also reckoned he would keep that particular thought to himself.

"Are you O.K. with this?" she asked.

"Yeah, I'm O.K. Surprised," he paused. "I need some time to get
used to the idea, I guess. How about you?"

"Surprised. And fine. I've already had time to get used to the
idea. Your mom is thrilled."

Bill huffed. "That figures. She thinks everyone should have at
least six or seven offspring."

"Mmm," Maggie's voice was muffled against his shoulder.

"Sleepy?" he asked.

She nodded, and for a moment there was silence. Bill felt himself
relax against Maggie. She was warm and soft, snuggled against his
side. He closed his eyes, only his wife's breathing and the tinny
sounds from the television down the hall in his ears. Maybe he'd
catch a bit more sleep after all.

The relative silence was interrupted by a quiet whine from the
other room that eventually grew louder, then erupted into a

"Mama! Up!"

Maggie stirred slightly and grunted. "Sounds like her highness is
awake." She reached for the covers to pull them back but Bill
stopped her hand.

"I'll get her. Go back to sleep," he said and dropped a light kiss
onto Maggie's head.

She murmured a sleepy 'thank you' as he pulled on shorts and a
pair of pants. He grabbed a sweatshirt on the way out of the room
and closed the door softly behind him.

Dana was standing, hair tousled, one fist gripping a vertical bar on
the crib, the other grasping the top bar. She had one leg thrown
over the side and was well on the way to freedom when Bill came

"Hey, whoa. No jail breaks here, kiddo." He scooped her up and
hugged her close, relishing the baby smell. Dana squealed,
grabbing an ear and tugging mercilessly.

"Daddy!" She enthusiastically pounded on his head.

"Ssh, Mom's sleeping. Let's give her a few minutes." Bill put her
down on the floor. She held onto his first finger tightly. "Let's see
if can we sneak up on Billy and Missy. We'll surprise them and
then I'll get you guys breakfast. O.K.?"

"'K," Dana replied, bouncing on her toes. "Le's sneak." She
trundled off down the hall, not waiting for him, making very loud,
not-very-sneaky noises on the way.

Bill watched his youngest daughter as she paused at the door to the
room where Missy and Bill Jr. watched T.V. The morning sun had
begun to push back the dark clouds and golden light peeked in
through the uncurtained window making her hair glow. She
crouched down, ready to 'surprise' her older brother and sister. So
independent already. Bill watched silently. Dana gathered her
small body and sprang into the front room where the two older
children sat watching cartoons. She shrieked and threw herself on
them, causing a sudden free for all. He needed to remember this,
these seemingly inconsequential times. They were what made him
what he was and kept him true during all those long months away.
Not the bawdy taverns and loud crowds. Not his well-meaning but
uncomprehending friends. Not the women he tried to avoid.

He was struck, as he watched the scene before him, with the
thought of another small body tooling around the house, causing
more chaos and confusion, eating away at his and Maggie's
already meager resources. As if reading his mind, his youngest
daughter, hair tousled from the wresting match with her older
siblings, toddled over and regarded him thoughtfully if a two-
year old could do anything 'thoughtfully.' He looked down at her.

"Pancake?" her eyes seemed bluer since he has last seen her. Bill
scooped her up in his arms and was rewarded with a delighted

"You swabbies want Ahab's famous chocolate-chip banana
pancakes for breakfast?" He took the chorus of whoops from the
living room as a 'yes'.

He put Dana in her highchair with a cup of juice, and tried to
maneuver around Billy and Melissa who had arrived to 'help' him
in the kitchen. He heard Maggie's footfall and glanced up to meet
the amused expression on her face. His youngest chose that
moment to theatrically dump het juice over her head.

As Maggie moved to clean up the mess, and Billy and Melissa
stirred the batter over the edge of the bowl, Bill smiled to himself.

He was going to be a father again.

A father of four.

He could live with that.