Miracle
Rating: PG-13
Category: S, A, AU, R, Kidfic
Keywords: Mulder/Scully Romance, kidfic
Spoilers: William, Provenance and Providence
Summary: What if, two years into the future, the child she gave up was to fall ill?
Feedback: Please! It would make my day! CatheyScully@the-pentagon.com or Scully@ga.prestige.net


Prologue

Unknown Location
August 7, 2004

Little William knew quite a lot for being only three years old. He knew he loved to play outside where all the animals on the farm were. He knew that he loved homemade ice cream instead of store bought. He knew how to write his name, and could recite the ABC's forwards and backwards.

William knew that he didn't like most TV programs. He liked cartoons, but ones from far before he was born. Bugs Bunny was especially funny, just like his daddy. His daddy who had taught him how to play baseball, how to be a good sportsman, and how to love the New York Yankees. One thing William's daddy didn't need to teach him was how to love him, William did, unconditionally.

Another thing William knew was that he was special. One reason was that he was extraordinarily smart for his age. Another was that he was adopted. His mama wasn't the woman who'd given birth to him, but his father was his biological daddy. He had two mommies, but one he'd met only as a baby. He only remembered her from the stories that his daddy told him, and the only pictures he had were those that his mind conjured.

His adoptive father died when he was a little over a year old, only about 4 months after he was adopted. Mama had told him that. That was one reason why his daddy stayed so close, so that William would have a father's influence. That, and his daddy wanted to be with his son.

The thing that William knew above all else was that something was wrong. His entire body hurt. He really didn't feel good. Something was going to happen. He dropped his toys and ran inside the house. He crawled up on the sofa, but all he could manage was a soft "Mama," before the world turned black.

End of Prologue


Sometimes the fragility of life hits you like a sledgehammer. It was like that when Frank died. One minute, he's alive and getting ready for work, and the next, his boss is calling you to tell you that he'd suffered a major aneurysm, and died right there in his office.

William was such a blessing even then. Our miracle baby recently adopted after five years of trying to conceive. Almost immediately after applying, William was brought to us. Even as happy as we were to have a child after so long, I could tell that William longed for the solace his birthmother provided.

After a month of having William, a tall, handsome man in his late 30's, or early 40's came to our door. He willingly showed us id and proof that he was William's birthfather. At first I was afraid that he wanted to take William away from us. He confessed that he'd thought about doing so-contesting the adoption-but realized that William would be safer with Frank and me. The only thing he asked was that he be allowed to have a role in William's life. This was something I was only too happy to comply with, especially after Frank's death.

After Frank's death, Fox became a godsend. He was willing to stay for weeks when I needed company, or to take William whenever I simply needed to be alone. It wasn't easy to recover from my husband of 15 years' death, but I daresay that Fox helped me more than anyone. Fox was the reason the social workers didn't take William away from me.

Once, I'd asked for information about William's birth mother, and Fox readily volunteered. Had some of the stories come from anyone but Fox Mulder, with his intense, honest hazel eyes, I wouldn't have believed a word of them. Fox spoke of William's mother with such adoration, that I think even he began to forgive her just a little for giving William up.

Now William is 3 years old. Everyday he looks more and more like Fox, with a few traits that I know he inherited from his mother. It really doesn't bother me much, usually, that I'm raising another woman's child.

The slamming of the screen door drew me out of my thoughts, and I looked down to find my hands still immersed in dishwater. I had been cleaning up the kitchen, washing all the dishes that I hadn't managed to get done in between nightly dinners, and baths for William. Usually when William comes in from playing, he bounds into the kitchen and wants cookies. Instead I heard him plop onto the sofa, and then silence.

"Honey? Are you okay?" I called.

I began to worry when I received no answer. Even when playing a game, William has always been very good about responding. I sighed, drying my hands on a dishtowel, and walked into the living room.

William was curled up on the chair, apparently sleeping. Settling on the ground in front of his prone form, I tried to rouse my son. He was sweaty, but his skin was cold. William's eyelids fluttered, but otherwise he didn't react.

"Willy, baby wake up for mama," I pleaded. After again getting no response, I lifted William up, hell bent on getting him to the doctor.

By the time we arrived at the hospital, William was shivering, and just barely awake. Now, however, his skin was hotter than a firecracker. Without a second thought, I rushed him inside to the ER.


Two hours later, they had William stabilized enough to be able to do a full battery of tests. They wouldn't let me see him until they finished.

I was unprepared for the news I received.

"Your son is displaying symptoms of aplastic anemia. Aplastic anemia occurs because the bone marrow has ceased to produce red blood cells. I'm not going to lie to you; this is quite possibly the most serious form of anemia. If left untreated it can be fatal. The best, most effective way to cure this is a bone marrow transplant. The best potential donors would be siblings, does William have any brothers or sisters?"

"No," I answered quietly.

"The next possible donors are parents. Is there a possibility that you could be a donor?"

I shook my head, "He's adopted. I'm not his biological mother."

"I see. Is there anyway you can contact one, or both of his natural parents? It really is best to have a blood relative."

I took a deep breath, thinking about the card tucked away in my address book at home. On it contained William's birth mother's name, address, and phone numbers. Fox gave it to me in the event that something might happen to him, or to William.

"I'll handle that," I answered, "how soon do we need to start?"

"As soon as possible."

"Alright."

I went over to a pay phone and called Fox, leaving a message on his machine that spoke of the urgency of the situation. Taking one quick look into William's room, I left the hospital to get things done as quickly as I could.


I didn't realize how badly my hands were trembling until I nearly dropped the phone. Taking a deep breath, I steadied myself and looked down at the makeshift business card.

I'd heard so many stories about Dana Scully, from Fox and even from William. In a way I felt as if we already knew each other, or at least as if I already knew her.

That's why, with shaking fingers, I dialed the work number of the woman who had first given my son life, and then given him up.

"Scully-" a husky female voice answered.

I was silent for a few moments before I managed to drum up my courage.

"Dana Scully?"

"Yes," she answered slowly. "Can I ask who this is?"

"My name is Sarah Van de Kamp. I need your help."


Quantico, Virginia
August 7, 2004

Dana Scully stared at her hands. They were shaking, and suddenly incredibly clammy. Jerkily, her mind reviewed the phone call.

William's adopted mother had called. William was sick, he would need bone marrow from a blood relative. Sarah Van de Kamp wanted her to fly out. She wanted her to see her son. She wanted her to help.

William, her little baby. She'd asked about him. He was no longer a baby; three years old. Now he was a little boy. He'd started this journey through life without her. The familiar thought made her throat clog with tears that she still shed.

Taking a deep breath, Scully made her decision and called her superior, requesting two and a half weeks of leave. Once this was done, she booked an airline ticket and left for home to pack.

Once she was on the plane, Scully began to have her doubts return. What if William hated her for what she'd done? What if he didn't hate her? Would she be able to pack up and leave him again? If she didn't, how could she take him from the parents that raised him?

How could she contact Mulder? He had a right to know that William was sick. He would need to know. It was the least she could do.

Mulder had returned home once, right after she'd given William up. He heard what she'd done, and after a week packed his remaining bags and took off again. She heard from him now on occasion, but a loving, trusting relationship between them was now a thing of the past. She couldn't erase her mistakes.

Her first stop when she arrived was to rent a car and drive to the hospital. She found the pediatrics ward and without help, found her son's room. Before going in Scully did a visual perusal of William's adoptive mother. She was normal looking, slightly older than her and Mulder. She looked haggard, worn, and Scully followed her pensive gaze to the bed. A small, pale, auburn haired little boy lay sleeping on it. With a start, Scully realized that this was the baby she'd fought so hard to have.

"Mrs. Van de Kamp, I'm Dana Scully."

"Oh!" Sarah started, wiping her face and shaking Scully's hand. "Thank you so much for coming."

"I," Scully began, searching for what to say. "How is he? Where's his chart? I want to look at it. I'm a medical doctor," she replied to Sarah's unspoken question.

She found William's chart, going visibly pale at his diagnosis. "I can't help. My blood type doesn't match William's," she whispered, not able to look at Sarah.

"Oh."

In her mind, Scully quickly searched for a possible solution.

"His father," Scully realized, "his father has the same blood type as he does. But I, I don't know how to contact him."

"I have. He's on his way. Or he should be."

Dumbstruck, Scully silently rounded over to William. Her fingers stoked the boy's forehead. Picking up his hand, Scully noted the iciness of his skin. Somehow her lips found their way to his forehead.

"Hello, little one. It's been forever since I've seen you. I've missed you so much. I love you so much William. I know you're tired, and it hurts, and I'll bet you're even really, really scared. But you are going to be okay. All these doctors, and Mulder, and I are all going to make you better," she whispered, finding it hard to stop the words as they flowed from her mouth.

William stirred beneath her fingers. Scully retracted her gentle caresses and backed off to the side while Sarah spoke to her baby.

"Mama," he whimpered. Scully's heart clenched at seeing her son call another woman mama.

"I'm here."

"Who's that?" William asked, looking pointedly at Scully.

"Honey, do you remember what your daddy and I told you? About how special you are that you have two mommies?"

Scully's eyes widened as William nodded.

"Do you remember all the stories that daddy has told you about your other mommy?"

William nodded again.

"This is your birth mommy. Say hi," Sarah pointed to Scully, making sure William's attention was focused on her.

"Mommy?" he asked.

Scully felt tears spring to her eyes. Biting her lip, she nodded. William reached for her and Scully settled beside him, drawing her child into her arms.

"Mommy love me?"

Scully rested her forehead on William's. Twin pairs of blue eyes met.

"William, I love you so much, I can't even begin to describe it," Scully whispered, finding that this was the only way her voice would cooperate.

She began to cry, tucking him close. With her arms around her son, she could almost imagine that she hadn't made the mistake she had. She could imagine that she hadn't given her baby up. That Mulder was by her side, and that he still loved her.

Soon her tears diminished and she realized that William had dozed off. His arms were slack around her. Scully cautiously settled him back against the pillows. In his sleep, William grappled for her hand, and she gave it to him. She wiped her cheeks before looking up at Sarah.

"How does he know about me? What does he know about Mulder?"

"He knows whatever Fox has told him."

"Fox?"

"His father, Fox Mulder."

"You've seen him?"

"All the time. Fox practically lives with us. William adores him."

Scully was silent. Mulder had followed through with his promise. The last night she'd seen him, he had vowed to find his son and to be a part of his life.

"Fox is wonderful."

Scully brushed William's hair out of his eyes. "He is, isn't he?" she murmured.

A shadow crowded the doorway. Scully looked over to see Mulder's familiar figure. He walked in, regarding her as a stranger. Embracing Sarah tightly, Mulder whispered,"Sorry it took me so long. I went to the house first to get a few things. How is he?"

"Not good," Scully answered, finding her medical facade slipping in place. "You're going to need a full blood work up to make sure that you're still compatible as a donor," she knew that if Mulder trusted anything she said, it would be her medical judgment.

He wouldn't look at her, but he nodded.

"I'll go get the doctor," Sarah touched his shoulder and looked over to Scully before leaving.

Mulder pulled up a chair opposite where Scully was perched. Reaching out he touched William's cheek.

"Hey buddy, it's me. Your mom's pretty worried about you. You and me are gonna make sure you get better, that way we can convince her that you're alright."

"He's stable for now," Scully's voice was soft. Mulder looked up and his eyes met hers. They hardened, and Scully found herself shrinking back.

"What are you doing here, Scully?"

"I'm here to help William," she began.

"Well I'm here now, so you can go ahead and leave."

"I don't want to argue with you. Not here. Not in front of William," Scully stroked William's cheek and leaned in and kissed his eyelids.

"How are you Mulder?" she asked, looking over at him. When he didn't answer, she stood and crossed over to his side. Taking his face between her hands, she tried to convey all of her feelings, guilt, love, and hope for forgiveness, into her kiss.

Mulder pressed her closer for a split second before pushing her away.

"I think you should leave. I've got everything under control with my son."


Arminto County Hospital
7:54 pm

"Go home," Mulder repeated, pulling himself fully away from Scully. "I've got things under control."

"What if William wants me here? He didn't seem to be opposed when we talked a few minutes ago."

"William's a child. He doesn't know what he wants," Mulder snapped, "he's happy with who he has here. So leave."

"Is that what you want, Mulder? Is that really what you want?" Scully challenged. Mulder looked up at her defiantly. He said nothing however.

"Mulder," she whispered, wishing that he would tell her that he forgave her. When that assurance didn't come, she swallowed the lump in her throat. "If I were to die today, Mulder, would you have hated me to the very last moment?"

She leaned down and kissed William's head, whispering to him that she'd be back soon. Giving Mulder one last look, she left the room, and made her way out of the hospital.

Aimlessly, she drove. Whether it was in an unconscious effort to try and worry Mulder, or just to sort out her own thoughts, she didn't know. She just wanted to drive. Direction mattered not to her.

She'd known that he would be angry. Even after almost three years. Mulder never had been one to forgive and forget. He was more the type to hold a grudge until it ate away at him completely, or until he exploded with whatever emotion was most prominent.

Scully pulled onto the shoulder of the road and stopped the car. She couldn't keep going, not with the lump in her throat a mile wide. Turning the car off totally, Scully buried her face in her hands, finding the tears already wetting her cheeks.

Maybe she should just go back to Washington. It would be the best for William anyway. He was happy and safe. It was everything she'd hoped for him to have when she gave him up. It was wrong to shake up his life like this.

Mulder had made it clear that she wasn't wanted. It was exactly as she'd feared. He honestly hated her. Not that she blamed him, she hated herself too.

Wiping her nose, Scully took deep breaths, trying to calm the jumble of her nerves. In the last three years it seemed that she was always crying. It was time to stop. She loved her son, and wanted what was best for him. Even if that meant that she wasn't in his life.

Scully started the car, turning it in the direction that she'd come. Doggedly she drove back to the hospital. She would say goodbye to William, make her way back home, and spend the rest of her requested vacation leave sobbing in her lonely apartment.

When she arrived at William's room, she looked in without entering. William was curled up in Mulder's arms, both of them sporting bandages on their upper arms. They must have started preliminary treatments while she was gone. With a smile, Scully realized that William's coloring looked better.

"Daddy?"

"Yeah Buddy?" Mulder asked, lifting his head from the pillow. Scully noted how tired he looked. Her fingers itched to smooth the lines on his face.

"Where's mommy?"

"Mama's outside talking to the doctors. We," Mulder paused to tickle his son, "are supposed to be sleeping."

Scully knew that that wasn't who William was talking about.

"Not Mama, Mommy," William stressed. "Where'd she go?"

Scully saw Mulder's eyes close, and he sighed with something that could have been remorse. "I don't know. Go on to sleep kid, maybe she'll be here when you wake up."

"Story," William demanded, settling fully against Mulder. "Bout Mommy."

"Mmm okay. Is there anything particular you want to know?"

"Why don't you want her to stay?" William asked, looking out toward the door as if he were about to get caught doing something he wasn't allowed to.

Mulder looked down in surprise, but smiled slightly, knowing that William was more attentive than he let on.

"I'm afraid," he answered.

"Why?"

"This is supposed to be putting you to sleep, not keeping you awake."

"Why Daddy?"

"Because she hurt me, when I came home and found out that she'd given you to Mama. Because I'd been gone for so long, and the only thing that kept me going was knowing that you and Mommy were at home waiting for me to come back. And so I'm afraid that she'll hurt me again, if she stays."

"I want Mommy to stay," William whispered, his voice sounding more mature than he was. Mulder smiled down at his son.

"I gotcha," he answered, kissing William's head. "Maybe we'll both get our wish then," he whispered, finding William's lips parted in sleep. Mulder held William tighter and closed his eyes. "I can't lose you William, not after I lost your mother," he mumbled, his voice rough with emotion. Scully sucked in a breath.

She walked in slowly, her footfalls soft on the linoleum. Mulder's eyes shot open. She stopped and smiled slightly at him, lowering herself into a chair.

"How did the first treatment go?" she whispered.

"A few more and he'll be fine. You can go back to your own life any time now."

"Do you think this was easy for me, Mulder? To come here and meet the mother of the child I gave up in order to protect him? Do you think it's easy to face you? Do you think I enjoy having you treat me like this? Do you think I don't know that I deserve this? That I'm not trying to make things right by being here?"

Mulder looked down at William, his expression hard to read. Disengaging his son from his embrace, Mulder swung unsteady legs over the side of the bed. He thought about asking for help to the bathroom, but decided against it. His body however had other ideas. Scully instantly reached out to catch him.

"Easy. I remember how bad you are about giving blood. Where are you heading?"

"Bathroom," he murmured, taking in the heat of her body through his donated hospital scrubs. He waited a few moments while long-buried feelings resurface.

Another time, another hospital flashed in his mind. He remembered having been in the hospital again because of suffering a concussion as well as slight blood loss. Scully was by his side, like always. He'd been a little woozy and had nearly passed out on the way to the bathroom. Scully had helped him to and from the bathroom, and back to bed. He wondered if she would do the same right now.

They entered the tiny bathroom, and Scully released him, as well as turning her back to give him some privacy. Silence followed them. Scully's head came up from her chest at the strains of music.

"Michael row, the boat ashore..."

"That's Sarah," Mulder explained, washing his hands. "It's William's favorite."

"Her voice is beautiful."

"She wanted to be a professional, but then she met her husband and plans changed. Did you sing to him, Scully?"

"Not half as well as she does. If you could call my rendition of 'Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog' singing."

"He likes that one too. Calls it the bullfrog song."

"You know so much about him," Scully murmured, "maybe I should just go home."

Scully turned away from him. She hadn't expected this to be so hard. She had already decided to go home, hadn't she?

Mulder touched her arm. Why was he even considering asking her to stay? "You don't have to go. I'll tell you anything you want to know about William. I, my behavior has been out of line, and I'm sorry Scully. I don't hate you, I never could. Deep down, I've always known that you did what was best for William, not what was easiest for you," Mulder finished quietly, not knowing what was causing the sudden rush of forgiveness from him.

Scully stepped quietly into his arms, surprising herself with the strength that she held him. Her actions told him that there was nothing to forgive him for.

"Every day Mulder," Scully murmured, her voice muffled by his chest. "Every damn day I want him back. I want my baby back. I knew he would have been safer without me, but I still wanted my son back!"

"I know, I know," Mulder hummed. "I know you love him. He loves you too. I can't take him away from Sarah though. She loves him like her own. She needs William, because otherwise she'll have no one."

"What about her husband?"

"Frank died when William was still a baby. They didn't take William away because I was here. I can't do that to her."

"And you can do that to me? You can keep my son from me?"

Mulder broke away. "I can't talk about this with you right now."

"I know, I'm sorry for bringing it up. Mulder, how can you stay with him and then leave him again when the time comes?"

"By letting him know that it isn't forever. That I'll see him soon. That I love him and he can call me anytime he wants to."

"Where do you live?"

"About 45 minutes away from Sarah. Will sometimes stays with me, whenever Sarah needs a break. You could, visit if you want."

"Or maybe I could get a place out here and stay. I'll leave Washington if you wouldn't mind having me around."

"I wouldn't, Scully, and I know William would love to have you close. He always asks about you."

"But," Scully interrupted, sensing it in his voice.

"But I don't want you to give up seeing your mom. Or to give up your job. Not immediately. Think about things before you act totally."

"Okay," she answered, helping him back into the other room. Sarah was still sitting with William.

"Any change?" Mulder asked, slumping down into one of the chairs closest to William. Scully perched cautiously on the arm of his chair and he steadied her with a hand wrapped around her hip.

"No, but he looks so much better than he did this afternoon. Thanks to you Fox."

Mulder avoided that, "Scully thinks he should be okay," he picked up one of William's hands.

They all sat in silence, their main focus William. Occasionally Scully would run gentle fingers through Mulder's hair.


Arminto County Hospital
11:34 pm

I've always hated waiting. When I was a child, I would sneak into my parents' closet in order to get a peek of my Christmas gifts. Now if only it was that simple. Now I'm waiting for my only son to wake up. I won't push him, however, because William needs his rest.

So I'm resigned to waiting.

Fox came out of the bathroom, supported by William's mother. They didn't look angry, but they didn't look content either. They still sat down together, with her almost on his lap. Much to my surprise, he didn't push her away. I tried to curb the slight feeling of jealousy that arose. I have no claim to Fox. We both agreed that any type of romance would never work. Not after my one, ill-fated attempt at seduction brought upon out of loneliness, and stress of being a mother to someone else's child.

I'd called Fox over, under the pretenses of him seeing William. It had only been 5 months after Frank's death, so I think that was why he'd indulge my requests for company. Once Fox had gotten to my house, however, I admitted that I had other motives than to simply let him see his son. It was utterly mortifying when Fox pushed me away.

He explained to me about William's mother, about how she'd been kidnapped and taken from him and he'd done the same thing out of grief. Thrown himself at another woman. It hadn't helped, instead he felt like he'd betrayed Dana. Then he'd told me about what Dana meant to him. About why he felt such animosity toward her. But from the way he spoke, any relationship between them was definitely over.

Now he looks, well, content. Complete. Whole. He's with his son, and the woman he, at least at one point, loved. The full sense of happiness is something I've never experienced from Fox. He doesn't seem to mind. Especially not with the way they keep exchanging smiles.

I wondered, feared, what Dana would do now. She'd met the son she bore; she'd reunited with his father, would she try to take him away? Would I let her if she tried? I've never discouraged Fox from being in William's life, but he'd made it clear from the beginning that he didn't want to take William from us legally.

"William," Dana spoke, her voice loud in the silence. "He's a good boy?"

"Every bit as well behaved as his father," I answered. Dana glanced down at Fox and back up to me. I was taken aback by the teasing glint in her eye.

"My condolences, two holy terrors."

"You're not funny, Scully," Fox pouted, and I was struck by how alike he and William were. Dana simply smiled down at him, making my heart clench with the same jealous feeling.

"Dana, what exactly do you do with the FBI now?" I asked, simply trying to be polite.

"I'm still at Quantico, teaching cadets. I'm thinking about making some changes, though."

"Oh? Like what?"

Dana's eyes locked with mine, and immediately, I knew. She wanted William back.

"Scully's thinking about moving out closer to Will," Fox answered sleepily. I watched as he leaned into her lightly caressing hands. He reminded me so much of an attention starved cat that I wondered if he would purr.

"Ahh." I nodded, trying to keep the strain out of my voice.

Fox either didn't notice, or ignored it, because he soon drifted off to Dana's quiet ministrations. One we were sure he slept; Dana and I regarded each other. Part of me wanted to come right out and ask if she was going to attempt to gain custody of William. Finally, I gave up and leaned forward to check on William.

"You're wondering if I want to take him away," she commented, interrupting my thoughts.

"Yes," I admitted.

"I want to, on a selfish level. Moreover, I want what's best for William. Mulder thinks very highly of you, so even if I did, I wouldn't have his support. We're not yet at the point where he trusts me implicitly again."

"What do you want?" I asked plainly. "I will try to accommodate. Fox has had access to William whenever he asked, and quite a few times when he didn't; so we can attempt the same. But he's my son now," I reminded none too gently.

Dana looked down at her hands. Somehow one of Fox's large hands had nestled in between her own.

"I want my baby back in any way I can have him," she admitted. "Tell me about him," she requested, "and about Mulder?"

I felt my defensive posture retreat a bit.

"What does he like?" Dana continued. "What are his favorites?"

"He's very eclectic. He loves old cartoons, but none of the new ones. When it's the two of us, he likes old folk songs. When Fox is around, he likes Three Dog Night. He likes to hear about you from Fox. But he also likes to play outside and have fun like any little boy."

"He's happy?" Scully asked.

"He seems so, yes."

"What about Mulder?" she asked. I tried to ignore the flush of my cheeks as more images from that night came back. I quickly began explaining to her how involved Fox has been, trying to convey to her how much of a godsend Fox is to us. By the end, she had lifted Fox's hand to her lips. I couldn't tell whether it was in an effort to be romantic, or just to stifle her emotions.

"When it was finally safe enough for him to come home, he returned, not knowing how much had changed. Our friends, long-time friends had sacrificed their lives to save others. That was easy for him to deal with after he got his answer to where William was. He left after a week of being home, and then came out here to find William. He would contact me on occasion, just to let me know that he was okay. He never told me that he'd found William."

"Why give up your son?" I asked bluntly. "Obviously it's brought you nothing but pain, so why do it?"

"There were at least three attempts made on William's life before he was even nine months old. Do you think it was easy to maintain the detachment needed to participate in an investigation of the kidnapping of my son? He was taken from Washington all the way to Canada. I wanted him to be safe. There was only a matter of time before I was unable to fight off anyone who wanted him gone. So I gave him safety, I did what any mother who loved her child unselfishly would have done."

I blinked in surprise. Fox had never told me that particular story. "He never told me that William had been kidnapped."

"I didn't think he would. He felt, betrayed, when he found out. He didn't listen to reason, what reason I could muster at the time. I hated myself, but at the same time knew I'd made the right decision regarding William."

"I understand," I answered quietly. "I, can't tell you whether you made the right decision, but William has been loved, and safe."

"That's what I wanted for him. I put my son above my own needs, but now I'd like..." she trailed off.

"You want to be able to see him?"

"Yes."

"Then we can work something out."

Her relieved smile lit up the room.


Arminto Airport, Wyoming
Three Weeks Later

By the time Scully's leave was up, William was being released from the hospital. It would be another few weeks before he and Mulder were cleared for much else other than bed rest. However, Scully still had made plans to go back home for some period of time.

Mulder and William drove Scully to the airport. There was ease between the two adults, even with the things that had been left unsaid. Scully sat in the back with William, holding his hand and talking softly to him.

"I'll be back in a few weeks, baby," Scully whispered.

"No."

"Will, she needs to go home for a couple days," Mulder interrupted, having gone through the same thing with his son multiple times. "She'll be back before you know it."

"Your daddy's right. It'll be just like this," Scully playfully covered William's eyes and then uncovered them. "One minute I'll be gone, and the next I'll be back."

"Peek-a-boo!" William yelled gleefully.

"Exactly," Scully kissed his nose. "Will you be good while I'm gone?"

William nodded eagerly, saying, "yes mommy." Scully kissed his cheeks.

"What about you dad? Are you going to be good while I'm gone?" Scully teased, stretching her arm to touch the back of Mulder's neck. Mulder tilted his head back slightly, giving her a small grin.

"You know me, Scully. I'll be an angel."

Scully snorted, "Why don't I believe that, Mulder?"

"Mommy, why you call Daddy Mulder?"

"Habit, baby. Habit," Scully answered, meeting Mulder's eyes in the rearview mirror.

The three of them walked together slowly. William was still in the recovery stage where he got tired easily, and so Mulder lifted him up. Scully stepped closer to Mulder. The boy's hand drifted down into Scully's hair. Scully smiled, and clasped William's hand with her own. He smiled down at her.

"Mommy?"

"Yes William?"

"You gon' miss me?"

"Of course I'm going to miss you. And I'm going to miss Daddy too."

"I want you to stay."

"I know you do, sweetie. But I'll be back soon."

"Don't leave," William whimpered.

Scully took a deep breath and stroked the hair off of his forehead. "There is a way that I can see you, but I'd still leave," Scully pulled out two tickets from her jacket pocket. Mulder took them.

"Scully-"

"I know," she cut him off. "You don't have to come with me if you don't want to, William," she replied, kissing William's fingers.

"What about Daddy and Mama?"

"Mama said she would stay here while you and Daddy came with me."

Mulder met Scully's eyes. Then he looked down at William. He pressed his lips to William's head. Father and son communicated silently.

"We don't have time to pack," Mulder began.

"I still have everything you didn't take with you when you left."

"What about Will?"

"Why do you think I have so many bags?"

Mulder nodded. "What do ya say Will? Wanna go on a trip? I'll be with you the entire time."

William shook his head, and Scully felt her face fall.

"I'm sorry I was presumptuous." She touched William's back, "it's okay sweetie, I'll see you soon then."

"Hold on Scully, give me a minute with him."

Mulder carried William over to a bench and settled him on his lap. Scully watched as the two men conversed. She saw Mulder pull out his cell phone and he pressed it to William's ear. Scully smiled, Mulder really was amazing with William. After a few minutes of talking, William handed the phone back to Mulder, who said a few words and hung up. Together they stood, William gripping Mulder's hand tightly. Scully smiled wider, waiting patiently for them.

Mulder stopped in front of her, squeezing William's hand before the young boy reached out for Scully.

"I come with you Mommy?"

Scully looked quickly at her watch and knelt. "Only if you want to Willy. If you don't want to come with me, you and daddy don't have to."

Mulder took some of Scully's bags, allowing her to pick William up. William nodded into her shoulder.

"I go with you."

Scully felt her heart lighten. "I'm so glad you are," she answered, looking not at William, but at Mulder.

Mulder met her gaze levelly. "I know," he answered.


Home of Sarah Van de Kamp
5:23 pm

Why I agreed to allow Dana and Fox take William back to DC, I know not. I knew that Frank would be against it, had he been here, but I went ahead. I trust Fox not to run off with my little boy. Even if he might desire to be a family with Dana and William.

William called to say goodbye, and to tell me that he loves me. He seemed bubbling about going with his mother. Fox got on the line and promised to bring him back safely.

"When will they be back?" My long-time friend Kerry asked from her perch on the opposite chair. I called her almost an hour ago, not knowing what to do with myself without William underfoot.

"Dana said that it could be up to two weeks before she can get more leave time, or a transfer approved. Fox wants her to transfer as soon as she can."

"Two weeks?" she asked disbelievingly. I've never been away from William for more than a few days at a time. Kerry knew this, and was prepared to stay with me for the majority of the time William will be gone.

"William and Fox can come home any time they want. I tried to prepare myself for this when I called Dana. I mean, could you fly all the way out here, meet your child, and then leave him again?" I asked, knowing full well that Kerry couldn't do that to any of her four college-aged children.

"No. I couldn't," Kerry admitted. "What if this is only the first step in her attempts to get custody of William? Surely, you couldn't allow that?"

"I'm trying to take this day by day. If it comes to that, I'll do what's best for William. And if that means letting him go, then that's what it will be."

"Oh Sar," Kerry sighed, reaching out to squeeze my arm. "You're so much stronger than I could be. I don't think I could even entertain the thought."

"Dana is the strong one," I answered, standing quickly to move to the kitchen. "She's the one who's been alone for years because of a selfless decision on her part."

Kerry was quiet. I don't know if she was considering what I'd said or not. When she appeared behind me in the kitchen, I waited for some type of comment on her part. Instead the words that were spoken came from me.

"It's so hard without Frank. I could, I don't know. He would help this make sense," I whispered, feeling tears wind down the plains of my cheeks.

"Sarah," Kerry whispered my name and drew me into a tight hug. "I'm so sorry all this has happened, first William getting sick, and now this. It all will work out," she gave me a squeeze, "Frank would be so proud of you for handling this the way you have."

"Frank wouldn't want you to live in isolation out of a sense of duty to him. He'd want you to be happy."

"I am happy. Fox is a wonderful companion."

"But he's not yours to claim Sar. He hasn't ever been. He's here for William, and as a friend, for you," Kerry reminded me gently.

Her words rang true. I had no claim to him. Aside from the common love we shared for William, we had nothing in common. Yet at the same time, we were all each other had.

Until now.

I broke away from Kerry. "I need some time alone Ker. I'll be upstairs."

"Okay. Sarah, things will be okay."

"I know," I smiled sadly.

I settled on my bed and began to think. How long would Fox continue to be satisfied with visitation rights? How long would it be before his desire for a family won out over my feelings? I knew that there were changes to be made.

I didn't know if I could give William up. If I could let him go. He's such a wonderful child. Sweet, innocent, loving. He knows exactly when I need a hug, and exactly when I need to be alone. You can't help but love him.

Which is why I'm willing to do what's right. Even is it means losing him forever.


Dana Scully's Apartment
9:10 am

Scully awoke with a sense of peace. It was something she hadn't experienced in almost four years. Since the day after William was born and she and Mulder had made the biggest, most challenging step toward a loving, committed future. One that was viciously ripped from her.

She tried to roll over, but her movements were hindered. A quick inspection of her surroundings told her that it was Mulder. He was nestled intimately behind her, one hand wrapped around her waist holding her possessively. Scully realized that the other arm that held her was that of the dark auburn haired child who's head rested against her breast. It was William, her only son. Judging by their even breathing, the other two occupants of the bed were still asleep. It had been late when they'd gotten in last night. Instead of bothering with making sure the guest bed was made up for William, Scully allowed him to stay with her. Mulder had joined them sometime after they'd fallen asleep. Scully tried not to let her mind linger too long on that thought.

Instead she took the opportunity to brush fingers over William's hair. He was such a beautiful little boy, with so many features that she saw from herself, and from Mulder. It felt good to be able to hold her son, as well as to be held by his father. If only she could just erase the past. Sadly, Scully gathered her son close.

That morning, right after breakfast, she began packing her things. William tried to help by taking books from her bookshelf and throwing them into the box. Scully smiled and patiently reorganized his mess. Every time he would toss a book inside, he'd look up at Scully for approval. She gave it to him in the way of frequent hugs.

Finally she stopped and looked down at him. William smiled innocently at her and hugged her legs gently. Scully rested her hand on his back and looked at Mulder, who was watching them with amused eyes.

"Care to help out here, dad?"

Mulder crossed his arms over his chest. "You and Will seem to have things covered. I'll just watch you handle it."

"Thanks," Scully smiled sarcastically. She pulled away from William and handed him another book to lob in the box.

"You know me. I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

Scully shot Mulder a glare but softened it with a smile.

Doggett and Reyes came to the door at half past five. They were worried about Scully, considering she had taken off for vacation so suddenly. She also hadn't shown up for work that day, and they needed an autopsy to be conducted for them.

Scully let them in, smiling politely, but internally hoping that they would leave so that she could go back to packing her things. She winced slightly as she heard another pan hit something solid. She could only hope that Mulder and William wouldn't trash her kitchen in their insistence to make her dinner.

"Dana, are you alright? We were worried when you weren't in today."

"I'm fine, Monica, I just needed some time away."

"Dana, is there someone in the kitchen?" Doggett asked, obviously having heard some of the noise her son and his father were making.

Scully smiled slightly, "I have company. They're helping with dinner."

Before either of her guests could respond, a high-pitched scream exploded from the kitchen, followed by Mulder's distinctive curse.

"Shit. It's okay Will, don't cry."

Scully rushed inside to find Mulder cradling William as he sobbed. William was clutching his right hand.

"What happened?" She demanded, kneeling beside her son. William threw himself into her arms, presenting her two reddened fingers. "Ohhh, sweetie, did you burn yourself?" she cooed. "Here, Daddy will get a cool compress for it, and Mommy will make it all better." Scully nodded to Mulder, who did as she said and soon she was rocking William back and forth, holding the sopping paper towels to his hand. Mulder guiltily retreated to a spot near the stove. Eventually William's sobs slowed to whimpers, and then stopped altogether. William stuck two fingers from his uninjured hand into his mouth.

Only then did Scully notice that Doggett and Reyes had followed her into the kitchen. Both were staring at her in utter shock. Scully averted her eyes back down to William and wiped the hair off of his sweaty forehead.

"Dana," Monica gasped.

Scully closed her eyes, pressing her lips to William's temple. "John, Monica, this is William. He and Mulder are staying with me for a while. William, these are some of mommy's friends."

Reyes was the first to approach, walking up beside Scully's chair and squatting to William's level. William hid his wet eyes from her view. Scully rubbed his back comfortingly. "It's okay sweetie, don't be shy."

"William? Is this, him?" Monica asked. Scully nodded. "Dana how?"

"It's a long story, and I don't want to upset him any more by telling it." Scully uncovered his burned fingers. They looked significantly better. She lifted them to her lips, making him smile up at her. "Why don't we let Daddy handle dinner? You and I can go play," she waiting for William's answering nod before standing and hoisting him against her hip. Mulder nodded in agreement. Before Scully could leave the room, William reached out to Mulder.

"You okay, Will?"

"Yes Daddy."

"Good, I'm sorry."

"It's okay, mommy make it better."

"That she did," Mulder smiled softly.

Reyes lowered herself down onto the couch beside Scully and William. Scully rocked William from side to side, holding onto his hands. Scully had turned on the TV for her son, and so he didn't mind when Reyes reached over to touch his hair.

"He's gotten so big," she murmured.

"I know," Scully smiled. "Hard to believe that the screaming baby you helped deliver is growing up to be a big boy," Scully kissed William's forehead and tickled him, making him squirm in her arms.

"Hey Will, feel up to helping me set the table?" Mulder appeared beside Scully. William nodded and eagerly went into Mulder's arms. The two of them disappeared into the kitchen, where Doggett had chosen to stay.

"Dana, how?" Reyes repeated her earlier question now that William wasn't within earshot.

Scully looked at the TV for a few moments, trying to decide what exactly to say. "He was sick. They diagnosed him with Aplastic Anemia, and he needed bone marrow from a blood relative."

"But how does Mulder fit in?"

"He ended up being the donor. He's been in contact with William's, mother, since about a week after he left here."

"Oh."

"If you've known where William was since she gave him up, why the hell didn't you make your case and bring him back to Scully!" Doggett demanded, watching Mulder finish the last of dinner preparations with the little boy in his grip.

"Do you have any idea how guilty she's felt? How lonely she is? How close she came to hurtin' herself?" he continued, his accent thickening with his anger.

Mulder stopped at the last part. He settled William on his feet, "I think we're done for now bud. Why don't you go snuggle with mommy?"

"Okay," William shoved his fingers back in his mouth and ran to his mother. Mulder watched him go before straightening and crossing his arms.

"What the hell are you talking about?"

Scully sighed, knowing that John was probably telling Mulder all that had happened in his absence. Monica touched her arm.

"How long are they staying?"

Scully considered coming right out and telling her that she was leaving, when William jumped onto the back of the couch. She grinned, happy for the distraction. Leaning over to kiss his cheek, she asked, "Is dinner ready?"

Will shook his head, tumbling forward into her arms, his giggle bursting from his lips. Scully beamed, wondering where his energy came from. With her son in her arms, she got the courage to answer.

"Will and his Daddy are staying for as long as it takes for me to pack everything, and either transfer, or quit."

"What about custody, technically..."

Scully cut her off. "I know. I don't care," she answered, nuzzling William's cheek.

Reyes nodded and said nothing else. Scully was on her way to being happy for the first time in years.

"You mean you don't know?" Doggett countered. "She did some crazy-ass things these last few years. Nearly got herself killed more times than I can count. Monica and I even had to stop her from doing it herself once. All because you couldn't forgive her for doing her damndest to protect her son."

"You want to know who's been protecting her son, *I've* been protecting her son," Mulder hissed. How dare John Doggett? How dare he insinuate that everything Mulder had done for William was in an effort to spite Scully? How dare he imply that he hadn't done anything but what was best for his son?

"Scully deserves better than this disappearing act you're so damn fond of pulling. Especially since her son is involved in the equation as well."

"In case you didn't notice the boxes, I'm not the one disappearing."

"She's leaving?"

"Moving out to be with William."

"What about Quantico?"

"You'll have to ask her, William is my top priority," Mulder shrugged.

"Hey, something smells good. Anything we can do to help?" Scully's voice broke through. He turned to see her cuddling William.

"Nope. I've got it covered. About five minutes and it's ready."

"So what exactly is 'it'?" Scully asked, grinning as she approached the stove. Before she could look, Mulder gripped her hips and pulled her away. William and Scully giggled slightly. William clung to his mother tightly, having heard what Doggett had said about Scully hurting herself. Scully smiled again and locked eyes with Mulder.

"Dana, we're going to go. Call me if you need anything," Reyes interrupted their moment gently.

"I will, thanks Monica," Scully noted the look that Mulder and Doggett shared before Doggett turned and left with Monica.

Scully turned back to Mulder. "You gonna feed me?" she asked.

"Of course, Scully. And you'll pack more after dinner, right?"

"If you want. We'll pack more, won't we?" she bounced William, "I need my helper."

Mulder leaned in, "At least until bedtime." Mulder answered, palming her cheek gently. "Then I'll help," he whispered, adding a leer to his grin.

"Food, Mulder," she replied, but smiled back.


Two weeks later
Sarah Van de Kamp's Home
8:56 pm

I knew what I needed to do. I just didn't know if I could. Didn't know if I was strong enough to make the right decision.

When Fox and William returned, Dana was with them. That same day, she moved in with Fox. William was ecstatic. No sooner had they dropped him off at home, before he was already asking for his mother.

"William honey, your mommy's at home. You'll see her, and Daddy soon," I kissed his forehead.

"Tomorrow?"

"Maybe," I answered softly, "Go on to sleep. I love you."

"I love you too, Mama," William mumbled sleepily. Smiling softly, I left his room.

I tightened the belt on my robe walked downstairs. William usually sleeps like the dead, so I wasn't worries about him waking up and my not being there.

Something made me leave my perch, and wander down to the edge of the yard, where a tire swing hung from an ancient oak tree. When Frank and I first moved out to this house as young, blissful newlyweds, we put the tire swing up as a way of amusement. We'd spend long, lazy afternoons in this meadow, laughing, playing, swinging, and most of all, making love. This was before we'd given much thought to having children, before we desperately wanted them. Before we'd found out that Frank couldn't father children. We were young, innocent, and happy.

I settled gingerly on the tire swing. "Frankie, I miss you so much," I whispered to the air. "I'm so confused. I want William to be happy, and I want to make the right decision regarding his future. Dana and Fox both love him so much. Dana didn't want to give him up in the first place, but she made a decision to benefit her son. Shouldn't we be capable of the same?"

The wind flowed softly around me, and I could almost feel Frank's presence. He would want me to do what was right. I smiled tearfully, and pressed my fingertips against my lips.

"I miss you my love," I whispered, blowing the kisses into the air. Regretfully I stood, dusting the loose dirt, and leaves off of my robe. "I will make the right decision."

I wandered back into the house and sat down in the kitchen. My tea from earlier was tepid, but I drank it anyway. I couldn't go to bed quite yet.

I made up my mind. I could make the choice that was right for William. Not the one that was right for me, but for my adorable little boy, I could do it. My only condition would be that I would be allowed to visit William.

This was what needed to be done. I won't have William hate me in fifteen years for keeping him from his natural parents, who love him so dearly. And I won't use William as collateral to keep a reign on his parents. I'm willing to make William happy.

"Mommy!" William's scream broke through my thoughts. I bolted up the stairs toward my son's room.


45 minutes later, I opened the door to admit Dana and Fox. I hadn't been able to calm William after his nightmare, and out of desperation I called Dana, waking them out of a sound sleep.

"Is he okay?" Dana asked, as I led her upstairs.

"He's asking for you," I told her, opening William's door.

She nodded, rushing in, and sitting on his bed. William nestled himself into her arms, whimpering.

Fox touched my back and I turned to face him. His hair was spiked up in different directions, and his nightclothes were rumpled underneath his hastily tossed-on leather jacket. A quick sniff of the air around him told me that sleeping wasn't all he and Dana had done that night.

"I'm sorry if I interrupted anything, Fox."

"You didn't," he assured, his cheeks coloring slightly. "What happened?" he asked, trying to conceal his tiredness from me.

"He woke up from a nightmare crying for his mother. I couldn't get him to calm down, and so I called you."

Fox nodded, seemingly satisfied with the answer.

"Fox, I need to talk with you about something."

"What Sarah? What is it?"

We settled into Frank's old study. This was where I did all of my business. I've found that working from home is so much easier on me, and William.

"I want to talk to you about William's future."

"Sarah, nothing has to change. Scully and I are willing to work with you for us to be able to see William."

"I think things do need to change."

"What are you proposing?" Fox asked.

"I turn over custody to you and Dana, and I get free visitation."

Fox nodded, resting his chin on his hands. "I don't know what to say."

"You love your son, you love his mother. You deserve this, Fox. After everything you two have been through."

"What about you Sarah? Don't you deserve happiness?"

"I want William's happiness," I answered, my voice cracking slightly. "And if he's happy with you and Dana, then I want that."

"You've been so good to him, and to me," Fox stood and settled beside me, drawing me into a loose hug. I looped my arms around his neck and allowed myself to cry. "I won't let you become a stranger to him, Sarah," he murmured into my hair as I cried.

After a few moments I collected myself and pulled away from Fox. Smiling sadly, I wiped my face to clear the tears. "You should take your family home, Fox. We can work things out tomorrow afternoon."

Fox nodded, squeezing my shoulder before standing and leaving the room. He returned a few moments later, smiling sheepishly.

"They're asleep. Mind if we crash here?"

"Of course not. Your room is open."

"Thank you. Night, Sarah."

"Good night, Fox," I whispered, watching him go before I retired into my bedroom for a sleepless night.


The next morning I was up practically at the crack of dawn. I started to do what I always do when I'm upset or nervous. I cleaned. I was still doing so at ten o'clock when Fox entered the kitchen, sleepily rubbing his eyes. That must be another trait that William gets from him.

"Morning Sarah," he said my name around a yawn.

"Morning Fox, sleep well?" I passed him a mug and allowed him to fill it with freshly brewed coffee.

Fox yawned again, "Yeah. Scully and Will are still out. I want you to help me explain to William what's going to go on in the next few weeks."

"Of course."

Fox took a few long gulps of coffee. "I haven't told Scully yet. I didn't have the heart to wake her."

"Didn't have the heart to wake me for what?"

We both turned. Dana stood in the doorway, looking like she'd just rolled from bed, which she had I remembered vaguely. Fox beckoned her over. On bare feet, she padded over to the table and climbed into his lap. This was something that, judging from his surprised expression, she'd either never done, or didn't even consider doing around others.

"How's William?" Fox asked, evading the question.

"Sleeping. Wish I still were. What didn't you want to wake me for?" she asked again.

"Sarah wants us to have custody of William. Her only condition is full visitation rights."

Dana's eyes shot to me. "You're sure?"

"I feel like this is what's best for William."

Dana nodded. She shared a long look with Fox. "It's settled then?"

"Yes," I answered decisively, determined not to cry again.

"Thank you," Dana smiled, a tear sliding down her cheek. She left Fox's hold long enough to embrace me. "Thank you so much," she whispered before returning to Fox. He smiled softly and brushed a kiss over her forehead.

"Mommy!" William's happy squeal interrupted the silence. Dana broke into a grin, turning her head. William rushed into the kitchen and jumped into Dana's lap. Fox grunted at the added weight, but still ruffled his son's hair.

"Good morning William," Dana answered, shifting him so that he saw me as well.

William waved to me, resting his head on her collarbone. She squeezed him lightly. "Baby I'm going to go home with Daddy in a few minutes."

"You're going to stay with Mama for the next few days," Fox broke in, nodding to me. "She has something to tell you."

"Okay," William knew better than to argue with Fox.

An hour later, Dana and I stood with William on the front porch while Fox waited in the car. Dana handed William a sheet of paper and gave him a motherly kiss. Then she stood and addressed me.

"That's my cell phone number, in case he gets scared again. After we change, Mulder and I are going to start hunting for a bigger place. I'll be reachable at anytime. So, until the papers are drawn up, he's all yours."

I nodded, reaching for William's hand. He hugged Dana before moving over to me. Dana nodded, not having much more to say.

"I'll see you soon, William. Call me if you need to talk, okay?"

"Okay."

I smiled briefly, watching Dana walk slowly to the car and climb in beside Fox. He gave us a short wave before backing out of the driveway.

I smiled down at William and drew him into my arms, determined to enjoy the last few days I'd have with my son all to myself.


Epilogue

One year later...

William Mulder tore away from his parents and clambered up onto the monkey bars. The monkey bars were his favorite thing on the playground. Those, and the tire swing. He had a tire swing at his old house, but Mama never used to let him play on it.

Grinning, he looked back to see if his parents were angry. They smiled back and his mommy waved. They weren't mad.

With the tip of his tongue thrust out in concentration, William focused on holding onto the smooth metal bars. Reaching a short arm out, he pulled himself across the monkey bars.

Midway through, his strength gave out and William went tumbling to the ground. Before he could react, Mommy and Daddy had rushed over and were scooping him up and cradling him gently. Mommy ran her hands up and down his arms and legs.

"Are you okay sweetie?" she asked him. William nodded, squirming to be let up.

"Wanna try again," he mumbled, already climbing the steps. Both Daddy and Mommy laughed quietly, and stood back as William started to move across the bars. Daddy stayed close as William got back to the point where he'd fallen.

When it seemed like he would fall again, Daddy took hold of his hips and held him up as William continued across. When they successfully made it over to the other side, Mommy clapped and Daddy held him high on his shoulders.

"I'm so proud of you William," Mommy stretched up and kissed his cheek. He giggled.

"Let me down Daddy, I wanna go play."

Daddy did, and William ran off, giggling, toward the curly-q slide that he loved. From the top he saw Daddy give Mommy a big hug and a kiss. To get their attention he called out, "Mommy! Daddy! Watch me!"

They broke apart, and Mommy smiled up at Daddy. "We're watching," he assured William.

Satisfied, William vaulted down the slide and came out at full speed. He ran, giggling over to his parents. They bent down and hugged him tightly. When they let him go, a flash of movement caught William's eye.

He turned and his smile got bigger. His Mama was perched on a nearby bench with another man that William didn't recognize.

"Mama!" he shrieked joyfully, running over to her. She bent down and received his hug, giving him one back.

"

Hello, William," she smiled, brushing his soft hair out of his eyes.

"Did you see me Mama? Did you?" he asked rapidly, settling on her lap.

"I did sweetheart. You did good."

"Are you gonna visit me, Mama?"

William's smile faded when she shook her head. "Why not?" he pouted.

"William, this is Robert. He's a friend of mine."

"Hi," William pouted still.

"We're going on a trip for a few weeks, and I wanted to come say goodbye before I left," Mama explained softly. William nodded slightly.

"Okay. I see you soon Mama."

"Absolutely," she smiled slightly, almost sadly and William hugged her tightly.

"I love you Mama."

"I love you too William. Always remember that," she whispered, pressing a kiss to his forehead.

William jumped from her lap, running over to Mommy and grabbing her hands. He led his parents over so they could talk to Mama. William wrapped his arms around Mommy's waist. She beamed down at him.

Mama and Robert stood a few minutes later, and joined hands. William waved to them as they walked off. Mama had looked sad, but so happy as well. Squeezing Mommy one last time, he pulled away, giggling, and ran back to the play equipment.

The End

Send me feedback to let me know what you thought! CatheyScully@the-pentagon.com or Scully@ga.prestige.net

To read any of my fics, go to http://catheysfic.tripod.com

Author's Notes: I'd like to say a humongous thank you to the entire MSR_Fanfic_Cheerleaders list. You guys are some of the best friends I could ask for, and I'm not just saying that because you gave me lots of feedback and candy to keep writing. I'd also like to thank Rotem for betaing, even when she did disappear off and on. Another person I'd like to thank is Jessie, who read the original draft of this and encouraged me throughout our horrendous experience in Ms. Hamrick's Spanish class. You're all so wonderful to me as a person, and as a writer, and I'm blessed to know you all!




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