Title: 2790 Vine Street
Author: Dryad (at puritycontrol dot co dot uk)
Written: December 2005
Rating: mytharc
Spoilers: Pilot, Demons
Archive: You betcha. A note where would be nice.
Disclaimer: Alas, alack, they are not mine. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
Feedback: Be brutal. You know you want to.

Summary: December 27, 1973

Note: Written for the X Files Lyric Wheel.

His mother smoothed her raven hair, tucking invisible strands back under the tortoise-shell barrette. Her reflection checked the diamond studs in her ears, the pearl necklace, blotted her ruby lips one more time.

Dad swallowed the last of his scotch, set the empty rocks glass on the side table, then buttoned his fawn-colored winter coat. "For god's sakes, Teena, aren't you done yet?"

Fox idly kicked the settle's bottom panel, unable to decide which was worse, staying at home or going to the party.

"Bill, do I look all right? I'm not overdressed, am I? Maybe I shouldn't wear Grandmama's neck - "

"You look pretty, Mom," Fox said, heading for the door.

"Wait just a minute, young man," she called. She turned him around, fussed with his jacket, rewrapped his striped wool scarf. "There we are. Now you look like a proper young man about to go to a Christmas party."

Fox grimaced and looked away from her too-bright eyes, her fixed smile. He glanced at Dad, who'd had a long conversation with Jack Daniels all afternoon.

How could they even consider going to a party when Samantha was only a month gone? And why did he have to pretend everything was okay?

They drove to the Wiltses despite the clear roads. Mom was concerned with turning an ankle in the ridiculously high shoes she insisted on wearing, even though no one could see them beneath her black gown. Fox sat in the back and wished he could avoid the whole thing, stay at home and read or maybe watch whatever was on TV.

He knows everyone, of course. He's seen them all since Thanksgiving. He knows Caroline Tilton got a plane ticket to Cancun to visit her brother, and that Jamie Eckland won't be coming back from the Mainland because of the thing he did to Mr Mayhew's chickens. He knows Mrs Millhouse's cousin Daniel paid too much attention to Hannah Mayhew, and that Daniel left the Vineyard on Christmas day. He knows he tried to ignore the presents that sat unwrapped under the tree, and that he wishes they weren't there at all.

After a quick detour into the kitchen to grab a glass of cherry Kool-Aid -

Help yourself, Fox. Deborah and the boys are in the Den

- he skirts around the adults -

Hallo Fox, have you had a happy Christmas? Mulder boy, strange thing Mulder * laughter * world today is coming to

- and finally makes it to the Den, which in reality is an ell that could be turned into an apartment as it has a separate front door, and enough of a porch to keep the snow off your head when it rumbles off the roof. There's a double bedroom, a full bath, and the living room where all the kids are, Russ and Debbie and Gideon and Jeremiah and Joshua, even though Jeremiah and Josh are 20 and drinking beer. Jaqui Millhouse and Hannah are in the corner looking at Tiger Beat, the one with Randolph Mantooth and Donny Osmond on the cover. He still has that one, hidden under his mattress, keeping it safe. He would have kept the other issues as well, but Aunt Bea had thrown them out in a frenzy the day he came out of the hospital.

Ben, Hannah's five-year-old little brother, is in the corner too, coloring. Hannah's all right, a bit weird, but that's only to be expected. He steps into the room and a chorus of Hi 's

- greets him, and he's glad, because he dreads meeting people now. He drinks his Kool-Aid and wanders over to the bookshelves, of which there are three, scans the titles for something fall back upon. Mr Wiltse, whose domain this is, has lots of books on history and fishing and the Napoleonic Wars. Many of the titles are in French and German. There's nothing of interest, no sci-fi, although somebody's shoved an Agatha Christie into a space where it doesn't belong.

He's read them all since Thanksgiving, Sherlock Holmes and the Hardy Boys, too, but nothing can shake his conviction that what happened in the books is neither as simple or dramatic as what's happened to him.

Memories are fragile, and no matter what he imagines the time remains blank, a dark empty place. She's there, and then she isn't. He cannot explain because he does not know why.


Debbie pushes her wheat-blonde hair behind her ears and motions towards a fancy Parcheesi board made of exotic wood and carved stone pieces in red and blue.

Want to play?

He shrugs. Debbie's beating the pants off of him when Hannah announces that dinner's ready.

The kid's table is set up in one corner of the living room in the main house. Gideon, being 18, is allowed to sit in the dining room with the adults and Jeremiah and Josh, so it's just Hannah and Ben and Jacqui and Russ and Debbie besides himself.

The dinner is buffet-style, so he easily avoids the turkey and stuffing, he doesn't like turkey or stuffing anymore, but he takes some mashed potatoes and a couple of slices of ham a l'orange, with pearl onion gravy and peas. He eats until he's done, puts his plate away in the kitchen, decides he has room for dessert.

Mrs. Millhouse and Mrs Cavendish are standing in front of the dessert table, making no effort to soften their voices while he politely waits for them to move.

Cynthia, I'm so glad you gave me 'I'm OK, You're OK'. It's just what Jack and I needed, and Jaqui's been so much happier as well

Mrs Cavendish nods eagerly and touches Mrs Millhouse on the arm.

So, what do you think - should we give it to Teena? I'm thinking it's exactly what she and Bill could use at a time like this - Along with the Joy of Sex - smirks Mrs Millhouse. She looks at Fox when she says it, then turns away and drifts towards the kitchen, Mrs Cavendish on her heels.

I hear Brenda's coming home for New Year's?

Yes, but only if the weather holds. She's absolutely loving Gallaudet

Fox sidles to the table and grabs a bowl. He shoves a slice of rum soaked bundt cake into it, tops the cake with a scoop of homemade black raspberry ice cream and returns to the den.

Russ puts on his new Eagles album, the one he got for Christmas, and Fox starts to relax a little, because no one's spoken to him besides his dad -

Having a good time, son?

it's okay

Good. It's important that we try and get over what's happened. Your mother and I are very proud of you tonight. We know it's difficult, but we can get through this. We will get through this

Midnight plus thirty minutes and he's brushed his teeth, changed into his pyjamas and slipped into bed. His dad had declared the evening a success, the first venturing of the Mulder family into the outside world since Thanksgiving.

"Fox?" there was a knock on the door and his mother peeked in. Her makeup wasn't so bright now, mascara smeared, once-ruby lips worn to bright pink, hair askew. She gingerly walked to his narrow bed and sat down. "Oh, my feet are killing me. Tired?"

He nodded, suffered the pass of her hand through his hair in silence. "Can we stay home for New Year's?"

"I don't know, but I'll talk to your father about it," She started to say something else, then smiled sadly and kissed his forehead. "I think I'd prefer to stay home, too. Pancakes and sausage for breakfast?"


She stood up again and hobbled to the hallway. "G'night, Fox."

"Night," he murmured, turning out the light. He rolled over and stared out the window at the crescent moon. "See how high she flies."

The End

Lyrics courtesy of Rhi.

Note: Thomas Harris' I'm OK, You're OK was the book that started the self-help movement.

Here's an almost completely random fact; Chilmark was the home of America's most prominent deaf community and their finger sign was the basis for American Sign Language. The majority Chilmark residents stemmed from one county in England where deafness was already above average. At the height of the deaf community in 1854, 1 in 25 people were deaf - from a national average of 1 in 5,728. On the Vineyard itself the average was 1 in 155. Amazingly, in Squibnocket, a neighborhood of Chilmark, one in four children was born deaf. You can read more here: http://www.marthasdirect.com/deafness/community.html

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