Title: The Best Thing for My Child (An Alternative Ending for "William")
Author: B.F. Simon
Rating: PG
Written: May 2002
Spoilers: "William," and one little one for "Arcadia"
Disclaimer: A long time ago in a studio far, far away, 1013 invented "The X-Files." But his ongoing mistreatment of the characters we love forces us--the fans--to take appropriate action and prevent any further abuse. Archive: Just about anywhere, but please ask. Feedback: As always, very much appreciated! Bbtreehaus@AOL.com
Keywords: post-episode, MSR
Category: V, Scully POV

Summary: What if Scully decided to take the risk and keep William instead of giving him up for adoption?

Acknowledgments and Author's Notes follow the story.

"I need another 'Good Morning Special'" I shout to Jimmy, the short order cook. He nods absently, and I head back into the bustle of activity of the diner's late morning breakfast crowd. I see all the usual faces: the truck drivers, the farmers, the old timers and the occasional businessmen who make up the local regulars. I weave in and out of tables, taking and serving orders for steak and eggs, toast and bacon, grits and hash browns. Plates clatter, silverware jangles, cups and glasses clink while the ambient buzz of conversation struggles to make itself heard over the constant twang of country music pouring from the juke box.

Suzanne, the other waitress, grins at me from beneath a crown of teased platinum hair and a mask of heavy make-up. She's an old pro at this, and I'm the newbie; but she's grateful for my help. I get the feeling this place has a high turnover.

I'm beginning to tire, but I know we'll have a break here shortly. I tuck a strand of my freshly dyed, mouse-brown hair behind my ear, straighten my apron, then continue with my waitressing duties.

Finally the diner begins to empty of its patrons, and Mabel, the owner/manager, offers to look after the few straggling customers while we take a ten-minute break. We gratefully retreat back into the kitchen.

Suzanne offers me a cigarette. I ought to accept it to blend in and to keep up appearances; but I refrain from temptation for the baby's sake.

I retrieve one of his bottles from the cooler and warm it for a minute. Then I lift William out of his baby carrier in the quiet corner of the kitchen where he has been napping. He is eager for his meal and drinks thirstily.

As I watch him suckling, I recall the desperate series of events that led to this moment--that strange, bleak night in which his uncle, hideously scarred by the same people who'd abducted me, came to tell me the terrible truth about my son.

When Jeffrey Spender gave William that injection, I feared the worst; but incredibly, he was only trying to help him. The magnetite made him normal. Human. But Spender warned me that it wouldn't be enough to save him. They would still come to take him from me because of what he once was.

I considered the possibilities. And I wept in utter desolation.

I sat and watched over my child as moonlight and wind sent shifting shadows chasing one another across the nursery walls. And in those dark hours, I made my decision. I grabbed what cash I had on hand and packed a few meager possessions into a small bag. Then I lifted him from his crib and fled under the cloak of darkness.

I drove to the airport and parked my car where it was sure to be found; I wanted them to believe that we'd left the city by plane. Then we caught a taxi to the Greyhound station and took the first bus out of DC.

Many hours and hundreds of miles later, we arrived here, to this town. It is small and ordinary and inconspicuous. Maybe it's not the very last place that they would ever look for us, but neither will it be the first. Certainly no one would expect to find a medical doctor slinging hash in a roadside diner.

Mabel had hired me without question. She took pity on me, I suppose--seemingly a poor, single mother deserted by her man; she lets me keep William here in the back so I can care for him while I'm working.

I'm reminded of that old TV show, "The Fugitive." Like the fictional Richard Kimble, I've been forced into a life of hiding, of anonymity, abandoning my medical career to take whatever work I can. I often find myself looking over my shoulder, not only with the inevitable paranoia but with a very real sense of guilt. I feel sad about leaving people behind who cared about me. Even my mother doesn't know where I am. But I don't dare risk revealing anything that could lead them here to us. I despise deceit, but I would do anything--yes, anything--to protect my child.

William finishes his bottle and looks up at me with a little smile. I feel my breath catch in my throat, and I look away; he has the smile of his father. I fight back tears and lift him to my shoulder, patting his back. I pray that I can remain strong for him...and that there will come a day when he and his father and I will be a family again. That intangible hope is the one thing that keeps me going.

As soon as William rewards me with a little burp, Mabel steps into the back room and calls to me: "Donna, honey, break's over. We got customers."

"Yes, ma'am," I say politely in my affected southern accent. I lay William back down in his carrier. He continues to smile up at me. How I envy his innocence...

It's lunchtime here now and as usual, Suzanne and I stay busy: taking orders, serving meals, refilling drinks and cleaning tables and countertops. As I serve up a plate of liver and onions to a ravenous truck driver, I think about all the hours I used to spend on my feet performing autopsies. What great training that was for a fledgling waitress, I think wryly.

Another hour passes and the lunch crowd eventually begins to thin out. I want to run back to check on the baby again; but first Suzanne rushes up to me and asks, "Donna, I'm just dyin' for a cigarette...kin you watch my tables fer five minutes?"

"Yeah, no problem. Would you just look in on Billy for me real quick?"

"Sure thing, hon.'"

As she hurries back into the kitchen, I take inventory of her customers to make sure they have everything they need. One guy sits off to the side, dressed in typical country-casual: a checked flannel shirt, faded jeans, and a John Deere cap. He has his face buried in a menu, so I pull out my pad and pencil and ask, "What'll ya have?"

A demanding voice responds, "Woman, git back in that kitchen and make me a san'wich!"

The pad and pencil fall from my grasp. My heart stops beating for a long moment, then resumes again, pounding in my chest. I gasp in disbelief and incredulity as the menu is lowered to reveal the one that I already knew would be there...whom I would have known in any guise. He breaks into that familiar smile, and the tears I've been holding back are suddenly streaming down my face. As he rises from his seat, I rush into his strong arms, sobbing with mingled joy and relief.

"Dana...I found you..." he whispers against my hair, soothing me with tiny kisses and caresses.

Suzanne, carrying William in her arms, steps out of the kitchen, obviously wondering what the commotion is all about. Mulder's eyes widen at the sight of his son, who's grown so during his absence. I carefully take the baby from Suzanne and lay him in his father's arms. As he embraces his child, the tears spill down his cheeks. I hold him tightly, as if I'll never let him go.

A short time later, the three of us climb into a weathered, nondescript pickup truck. As we pull out of the gravel parking lot, we turn back onto the highway, lit by a golden sun, to begin a new journey into anonymity...and together we'll dream about the day that will surely come, when it will be safe for us to return home again.


For Nita, of course...the roadside diner was all her idea, and a wonderful one at that. And for Dal, Jody, Cheryl, Jan, Mary, Liz and all you other hopelessly romantic shippers out there.

Author's Note: Like many fans, the ending of "William" left a bitter taste in my mouth. Since when does Scully abdicate personal responsibility because she's afraid of the risk?! Frankly, it just didn't work for me. Besides, there was nothing to prevent the bad guys from finding William with the van Camps. Every day, ordinary citizens with no previous detective experience find their birth parents even after many, many years have passed. So what's to prevent anyone from tracking down William immediately?! And Scully's a trained, experienced FBI agent...a law enforcement professional. Who better to protect William? The van Camps were just simple country folk who had no idea that William was at the top of the aliens' 10 Most Wanted List. And lest anyone forget: there's nothing stronger than a loving mother's desire to protect her child...

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