TITLE: Christmas Eve
RATING: PG-13/R (implied situations, language)
CLASSIFICATION: MSR, babyfic
SPOILERS: everything up to and including Existence
DISCLAIMER: Mulder, Scully, Will and aforementioned members of the Scully clan belong to the Great Surfer Dude and Rupert Murdoch. No infringement intended, I'm not making any money off of this. (If I was, then I would quit my day job in a heart beat)
SUMMARY: Will's first Christmas Eve.
FEEDBACK: Cherished...good, bad, indifferent. Send it along: email@example.com
AUTHORS NOTES: Since the canon timeline is subject to question, and after conferring with my partners in crime, here's my theory: Mulder was abducted in May, so Scully gave birth in February. Make any sense??? I'm not into this whole year-long pregnancy crap so I'll make my own rules ;)
December 25, 2001
Call me selfish, but I wanted to spend Will's first Christmas with just him, me and Scully. At least Christmas Eve. Even though I am in no way religious, I admit that there is some special magic about the night before Christmas. I can't really explain it, but it's something that transcends religion and faith. I had never had a truly perfect Christmas, at least not since I was a young child, and I was harboring this quasi-fantasy of a traditional romantic Christmas, complete with roaring fireplace, carefully hung stockings, a beautiful miracle child nestled snugly in his crib dreaming sweet baby dreams, the delicious smell of cider floating through the air, wrapped packages waiting under the tree and me proposing to Scully in the middle of all of this holiday magic.
Yeah, you heard me. Propose to Scully. Her saying 'yes' is my one true Christmas wish, and I just wanted everything to go perfectly. Over the past year, I had already been dead for three months, and when I missed Will's birth I was heartbroken. I wanted to make up for all of the troubles that life caused to Scully. I wanted her to truly know that I do love her. We have spent the past year adjusting, not evening mentioning the 'm' word, but I want her to know that I would never even think of leaving her and Will. I made a promise to her when we first became lovers so many years ago that she was my only family.
In essence, all I wanted was to be alone for six hours with my beautiful partner, our amazing son, and a dead stick.
However, nothing is ever that simple for Fox William Mulder.
I knew that things wouldn't go as planned when I heard Scully on the bedroom phone extension. Sure, our new townhouse is bigger than both our old apartments, but I was right in the hallway closet, putting away the last of the Christmas wrapping paper before Will, the power crawler, woke up from his morning nap. I swear, my son will be walking any day now. Anyway, Will is quite mischievous when it comes to carelessly discarded anything. I say he gets it from his mother. Scully says it comes from me.
I don't have to tell you who won that argument.
It doesn't take an FBI veteran of going on 15 years to become suspicious when the love of his life quickly murmurs to her mother over the phone "don't worry about it, we'll be there" and then hangs up with a guilty look on her face upon hearing the footsteps and seeing the cast of my shadow in the hallway. What really gave it away was when I heard Scully's little girl voice pitifully whimper "Mulder? Can you come here for a moment?"
I knew what she wanted. It was frustrating. I shouldn't have even bothered planning a night for us, never mind a holiday evening. Something always got in the way. When we were both at the FBI, it was work, and now since I've quit, it seems to be her family spoiling our downtime. I love Margaret Scully, but sometimes her idea of 'helping' me and her daughter with Will turns into more trouble than it's worth. "Scully, I thought we agreed that we would spend our first Christmas Eve as a family alone together, and go to your Mom's tomorrow morning," I calmly explained to her.
Scully must have known my patience was being tried because when she bypassed the usual "Oh Mulder" with the tears welling in her face and went straight for the hug. I immediately melted. Not like I minded that or anything. Scully's had me in the palm of her hand for nearly eight years now. It's just different when she reminds me in a physical way.
"Mom just needs some extra help getting things ready for tomorrow. She doesn't usually ask us, Mulder. But she is getting older, and I don't want her moving all that stuff around by herself. Charlie and Bill's families won't be here until later this afternoon, and she doesn't want to get Bill worked up. Plus tomorrow is going to be hectic and Charlie wants to meet you and Will in the worst way. Mom promised that she would shove us out the door by four, okay?"
As usual, Scully presented me with a fool-proof plan that made it impossible for me to say 'no.' I bent down and kissed her. "I just want tonight to be about us," I whispered, meaning us including Will and excluding him. I don't mean to give my son the shaft, but marriage is about two people. Baby makes three but he isn't taking the eternal vows. If Mrs. Scully keeps her word (which I am sure she will: Being the wife of a sea captain means that she is quite punctual. I know that Billy-boy won't have a problem with me leaving promptly at four, which works out on my end), then I can play with Will and Scully in the living room, then tend to dinner, put Will down to sleep, arrange Christmas presents under the tree with Scully, propose to Scully, hopefully make love to Scully, all before Will wakes up in the middle of the night, which he sometimes does just for the sake of spending some good ol' QT with his Daddy. Kind of a tight schedule, but miracles do happen on Christmas Eve. Or at least they do in the movies.
"It will be, Mulder. I know how important this is to you. Believe me, if my mother hadn't called me three times this morning, I would have said no," Scully sincerely said to me.
"I know. Your mom is important to the both of us," I relented with a small smile.
"You know," Scully slyly purred. "My mom really does feel bad about this. She offered to watch Will for a weekend for us."
I could feel my eyes bulging out of their sockets and a full-wattage grin permeating my face. "When do we leave for your mother's?"
- Sometimes I wonder if Margaret Scully only likes me because I'm a big, strong, manly man. I'm not a sexist pig on purpose, but I can't help but notice these things. I move furniture, she feeds me. I provide her with an adorable grandson, she hugs me. Notice it's not the other way around. Anyway, as soon as I finish moving around the dining room and living room furniture, Margaret set before me a plate filled with homemade corned beef, potatoes and green beans. "Thanks," I smile at my lunch, ravenous with hunger. Scully kissed me swiftly on the lips, handing Will to me.
"What have you been up to, Will?" I asked my son, who just giggles in response. I sat him on my lap as I sat at the kitchen table, feeding him smaller bites of my lunch. "You hungry too?"
"You did good work, Fox," Margaret responded with her mother patented grin as she gave me a glass of soda. "I really appreciate it."
"Thanks, Mrs. Sc-Margaret," I corrected myself.
Like most episodes at the Scully motherhouse, as I refer to Margaret's residence, the simplicity of that particular domestic scene soon gave way to that of a more chaotic nature. Within ten minutes of settling down with Will, I heard the clatter of engines in the driveway and small voices filtering in from the outside. "Gramma!"
Will looked at me with a funny look on his face, as if to say "why are they so loud?" "I agree, Will," I said to him, bouncing him slightly on my knee. "Let's hide out in here."
Will and I stayed quiet in the kitchen, pouring over the newspaper together. I read him the comics and sports sections, (Will agrees with me that the 'news' part of the paper is all rehashed trashed) gleefully thinking of the Snoopy stuffed animal and the newest addition to the Knicks clothing line that were both wrapped underneath the Christmas tree.
The soft voice belonged to a toddler. Although I did not recognize her, I placed her as a Scully. Reddish curls sprang from her head, and her wide blue eyes inquisitively stared into Will's matching pair.
Will grinned and flapped his hands into my arms, his way of greeting his cousin. "Will says hi," I interpreted.
"I know," the little girl, who I guessed to be about three, knowingly responded. She placed a stubby finger in her mouth, and began to shy away from the table where I was sitting with Will.
"Caroline, there you are, silly girl," a gentle and teasing voice softly reprimanded the wandering toddler. The tall woman with raven hair bent down to her daughter's height. She turned to me and warmly smiled. "You must be Mulder. I'm Sarah, Charlie's wife."
I nodded in Sarah's direction. She looked familiar from a few photographs, because I had this feeling that I was supposed to know her. "Carrie, this is your Uncle Mulder and your cousin Will. Did you say hi to them?"
I was taken aback (as much as I could be while sitting) by Sarah's comment. I hadn't really thought about my relationship to Scully's brothers' children. After my previous experiences with Bill, I had kind of figured in my head that I wouldn't have much (if any) contact with the Scully nieces and nephews. The idea of having a tangible relationship with these said children was alien to me-until now. Thankfully, Scully came into the room before I had to carry on some sort of inane, unimportant chitter-chatter.
"Mulder, I would like you to meet my brother Charlie, and I see you've met Sarah and Carrie," Scully smiled. I had never seen her so shy in my presence before. I guess she was more nervous about my first meeting with her brother and sister-in-law than I had thought.
"It's nice to finally meet you, Mulder," Charlie nodded in my direction.
"Same here. I guess you really do exist," I attempted to make the situation a little bit more light-hearted. I could tell that Scully was appreciative of my efforts, for she crossed the room to stand next to me, placing her arm familiarly across my shoulder. What a normal, modern-day American family unit we made.
"What can I say, although I do hate being the destroyer of that myth," he laughed. I had to admit, Charlie was a pretty decent guy, as was his family. I could tell within the first ten minutes of their presence at the Scully homestead that the four children were quite rambunctious and curious. I also had a feeling that Charlie and Sarah's two daughters and two sons reminded Margaret of her own children growing up. It was kind of endearing, actually, being able to physically visualize a typical holiday of Scully's childhood. My thoughts were soon disturbed though, by one of the members of Charlie's brood.
"SANTA'S COMING TOMORROW!"
If I wasn't already an FBI agent who has survived abductions, hostage situations and departmental budget meetings, I would have had a headache by now. In the thirty five minutes that Charles and company have arrived, five-year-old Shaun has screamed that phrase about ten times.
"Only if you're good!" Sarah shouted back to her son as she finished making hot chocolate for everyone. When Shaun scampered back to the kitchen, she softly scolded him for not remembering to use his 'indoor voice.' Shaun then tiptoed quietly out of the kitchen with an innocently devilish grin on his face. I settled back on my chair, with Will dozing in my arms, thinking of future conversations of that nature that Scully and I would inevitably be having with Will. I was beginning to comfort myself with the knowledge that this wouldn't be such a bad holiday. Another hour and a half, and Scully and I would be free to go back home with our son, and the chaos we would face the next day wouldn't be as traumatizing for me or Will.
"Matty's here!" bellowed Shaun.
I put two and two together and figured out what that meant. Bill had arrived. I threw a helpless look at Scully who shrugged in my direction. I had a feeling that she might have guessed that Bill's crew would be arriving before our Christmas Eve departure. "I think that Will wants to watch TV," I said. "Let's go buddy."
Will and I made a beeline to the family room, where the two oldest spawn of Charlie were watching Home Alone. "Your hiding too?" asked Max, who I guessed to be about age eight.
"You better believe it," I answered.
"Uncle Bill's mean," he narrowed his eyes. He caught my look of surprise at his boldness of being so forward of his obvious despise of Bill.
Kerry, the oldest Scully child at the age of ten, and the spitting image of her mother, rolled her eyes from her perch in the rocking chair. I could tell she was using her best 'grown-up' voice when she half-told half-lectured to me, her cousin and brother when she said, "Uncle Bill used to yell at Max all the time. He still does, but I just ignore him so he doesn't talk to me."
"Good plan," I agreed. I could see Kerry eyeing Will, so I asked her if she wanted to hold him.
"Did you guys say hi to Uncle Bill and Aunt Tara yet?" Charlie asked from the doorway about twenty minutes later. His response was in the form of three lopsided, guilty grins and one tearful look.
Scully appeared behind her brother, and rolled her eyes in much the same way as her eldest niece. "Mulder, please don't cry," she reprimanded.
"I have a cold," I protested. "And he's not my uncle!" That last comment provoked giggles of glee from the rest of my fellow refugees who were hiding from the wrath of William Scully, Jr. We were safe in our makeshift cocoon until about three thirty, when I was just sighing to myself that I only had thirty minutes of this Scully madness to deal with until I got to go home.
Of course, I thought too soon.
"WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE!"
I'm not sure which scream was the most terrifying, but my money was on Tara's chime, which occurred right after her husbands, which in turn followed their son's, who took his cue from Shaun who was reacting to some sort of crash/bang explosion.
Scully looked out the window. "Shit," she sighed quietly. "You know that tree that we always thought would fall down?"
"Yeah," replied Charlie.
"Well it's now blocking the driveway. Bill must have hit a root or something pulling up," Scully deduced.
"Will Santa still come?" sniffled Shaun.
"Santa will come even though the driveway is blocked. He flies, remember, Shaun?" Sarah consoled her youngest son. "Go and talk to Daddy about it."
"The tree can't be removed until the twenty sixth at the least." I heard the distinguishable grumble coming from Bill's voice in the next room. Since Christmas was on a Sunday this year, I wasn't so surprised. But I was annoyed.
Incredibly pissed off even.
"I'm so sorry Mulder," Scully slid onto my lap, looking forlongingly in Will's direction. "This is spoiling our first Christmas together. I'm sorry I made you come."
"Sssh," I shushed. "It would have been worse if you came and I stayed back with Will or vice versa. At least we're together this time. And Will will have the presents that your Mom has stashed away, and we can have our own private Christmas when we get back."
"Thanks for being so understanding," Scully whispered back. She nestled against me more closely, a move that almost made me forgive whatever gods (or even Bill) for doing this to us. And in all seriousness, I really wasn't even *that* forgiving. I was actually very bitter. This sweetness I displayed was just a mere facade for the more sinister thoughts (those of the most un-Christmas nature) brewing in my soul. The misery never ends for the miserable.
"At least we're all together and all safe," Maggie tried to sprinkle her adages of fool-proof wisdom to her children, but the effort was completely fruitless considering that all of us were pretty intelligent individuals. (Of course, Bill was out of the room at the moment, setting up a game of Candy Land for Shawn and Matty, so he was exempt from the above comment).
"And the kids all have their presents so there should be no complaints about tomorrow," Sarah added just as Bill re-entered the room.
"So we will be one big happy family right?" Maggie pointedly asked her sons and daughter.
"Of course, Mom," Scully sweetly answered her mother. She entwined our hands together, giving me a supportive squeeze when she spoke. I'm not sure who needed the strength more: her or me. Maybe we both did equally. I wasn't one to argue, especially when it came to her family.
Dinner was subdued, if your definition of the word encompassed two milks tipping over, four arguments (I swear that I didn't know Bill was an O's fan) and five threats of sending Shaun to bed without supper. I spent a good deal of the time wondering who Will would take after personality-wise: the boisterous Shuan or the more serious and subdued Max.
Just as a lull appeared in the conversation that I wasn't really participating in over dessert settled in, Will yawned quite audibly in my lap. The perfect excuse for me to leave the room. "Thanks buddy," I whispered as I dropped a kiss on the top of his head.
"I set up the Port-A-Crib upstairs in the girls' room. I figured that they wouldn't mind sharing their room with him. Carrie will go down early and Kerry isn't much of a talker," Mrs. Scully said. I silently thanked Mrs. Scully. If Scully and I were alone in a room tonight, then things would go according to plan more so than if we were separated. Maybe there is a God.
"Thanks Mom," Scully smiled. "We'll put him up right now."
Scully and I got up and put William down to sleep in the upstairs bedroom, the one that used to be Scully's. "I wish that we had been able to take some Christmas Eve photos of Will. I don't even have my camera with me. It's his first Christmas and his stocking isn't even here."
"We can take pictures when we get back home," I promised Scully. "The spirit will still be there. Plus, it's an extra story we can tell him when he's older."
"Mulder, don't remind me that he's growing up so fast," Scully scolded me. It was true. Will was a good size for his age, and it looked like he was taking after me in the height department. He was also very active for an eleven-month-old, but he hadn't (as of yet) lost his baby sweetness. It was hard to believe that he was nearly a year old.
"Maybe the baby stage won't be gone forever," I added. Scully looked up at me with her wide blue eyes, the ones that she had given our son. We hadn't really discussed the possibility of a second child, but we certainly hadn't ruled it out. Nothing of William's had been thrown out: everything was stored in boxes in the spare bedroom of our new home. Sure, being new parents had been an adjustment to the both of us, but the thought of not having any infant in the house seemed to be a kind of lonely prospect.
"You think?" Scully asked me hopefully.
"Miracles do happen," I echoed quietly.
Our tender family moment was soon disturbed by none other than Big Brother Bill. "I think Sarah wants the kids to go to bed now," he said. "Dana, you can stay here with Will and the girls."
Bill must have sensed both of our expressions of confusion. "Mulder, I thought that you could spend the night with the boys downstairs so they won't try and sneak into the living room at the crack of dawn."
First he just happens to be the one who knocks down the tree which barricades all of us together on Will's first Christmas which Scully and I intended to celebrate at our own home, and now he's separating us. I tried to swallow my anger (not to mention my pride) but Billy boy was making it mighty difficult for me. I knew that Scully didn't want to make a scene, but I could see the softness of her eyes give way to anger.
"Bill," she steadily warned.
Bill put up his hands in self-defense. He's obviously seen this look before. "There's no other room," he shrugged.
Both Scully and I knew that was basically bullshit. Yet we both kept quiet. At least for the sake of Scully's mother, we did not want to create a scene. "Let's go downstairs. I don't want to wake Will up," Scully mumbled, as she tugged my hand and we escaped to the dining room, where the sleeping arrangements were being made.
Bill had beat us down to the dessert table, and by the time Scully and I had resettled ourselves at our seats, he had made his case about separating the two of us. Don't get me wrong, I respect Margaret Scully and her beliefs. I would pretty much understand her not wanting me and Scully to sleep together unmarried, but for God's sake, we hve a *child* together. And honestly, just between you and me, I don't think that she minds as much as Scully thinks she does. If everything went well, or if anything went well tonight, our unmarried status would definitely change (and for the better, in my humble opinion).
I could tell that Sarah and Charlie wanted to protest, but Scully and I sent them "don't-get-in-the-middle-of-this" vibes. After all, I didn't want to start another family fight at Christmas time. Some traditions are not meant to be kept. "As long as everyone agrees with it," Margaret carefully added to Bill's speech. All of her children nodded slowly in agreement. It was decided that the (married) couples would take the upstairs bedrooms, with Margaret in the master room and the girls, Scully and Will in the room where the baby was already settled. Me and the boys would take the family room, and it would be my job to keep them from running into the living room (where the tree was) until a decent hour (preferably before eight). Since Sarah and Charlie had driven all the way from Long Island with the kids, and Bill and Tara had flown from California, they had all the Christmas presents shipped to Margaret's house weeks earlier, either from their home or directly from the company. Margaret had enjoyed wrapping the presents using Santa's magic handwriting. I felt bad about all of me and Scully's gifts to Will being stuck back at home, but knowing Margaret, I knew that she spoiled Will rotten. After all, he was her only miracle grandchild who lived near her.
Miraculously, the rest of the children got to bed before ten. Even Max, who protested that he wasn't going to go "be a baby" and go to sleep like his younger brother and cousins was asleep by nine thirty. Us adults didn't even attempt to put Santa's gifts under the tree for another extra hour just in case one of the children was faking.
It was nearing midnight and Charlie and I were still hard at work putting together the rocking horse that Margaret had gotten for Will. Before going to bed himself, Bill had played the part of dutiful son and arranged the stocking stuffers that Scully had spent the previous weekend putting together at our house. Margaret had also gone to bed half an hour earlier, in anticipation of a crazy day tomorrow (as if today wasn't as bewildering as possible). I know that she had planned on bringing the family to mass tomorrow morning, but considering the fact that her eldest son had successfully barricaded all of us in the house, that wasn't possible. Although I don't share Margaret's faith in a higher being, I do respect her religious beliefs and I hoped that she wouldn't mind too much about missing Christmas Mass.
Finally, all of the presents had been assembled. "I'm hitting the sack," announced Sarah wearily. I didn't blame her: she had driven four hours in horrible traffic with four hyper children. "Thanks for spending the night down here. I'm sure without you, Shaun would be up by five a.m."
"No problem," I answered nervously. I was still upset about the turn of events and unhappy about the sleeping arrangements to boot.
"Do you happen to have a Swiss Army Knife on you, Mulder? I just want to tie this up so nobody trips on it, and I think Max took mine," Charlie said, pointing to the piece of twine that was on the ground fallen from the door frame that was supporting the tree.
"No problem," I answered. "I keep mine in my jacket now because Will is so impish. I'll get it. You go to bed." I could tell that Charlie was trying to give me and Scully some private time, something which I appreciated. I turned to Scully, who was sleepy on the sofa. "I'll be right back."
I went into the front hall, where all of the coats were in the closet. I found my leather jacket and felt around the inside pockets. I don't like to keep dangerous things near Will, especially with him being so active. Scully and I are quite vigilant about our guns. The only reason why we both keep guns in the house is because of the threats that we face every day. Both guns are in locked safes, behind a fake panel in our bedroom. We are the only ones who know their location and it's impossible for Will (or any child, really) to even find the safe, let alone the gun. Just based on that, imagine my paranoia with smaller and equally dangerous objects. Before I found the Swiss Army Knife, my hands brushed something else in the pocket. It took me a moment to figure out what it was, but then it hit me.
The ring. In it's velvet box. Here. At Margaret's house. Not at home. I peaked into the living room, with the dimly lit Christmas tree and a perfectly sleepy Scully unsuspectingly slumped on the sofa. I looked down at my hand, at the ring. I made my decision quickly...or rather I finally made a decision after eight years in the making.
"Mulder, you have that look on your face. What's up?" Scully asked, moving over to make room for me on the couch. I just sat down next to her.
"I just wanted to tell you, Scully, that this has been undeniably the best year of my life," I slowly began, and I looked up at her, tears mixing in both our eyes. "And I just want to make this last week of this year just as good. I want to make the rest of our lives this good. Scully, will you marry me?"
A smile curled her lips and a small gasp emitted from Scully's throat as I somehow managed to pop the question-and the lid of the ring box-at the same time. But my perfect timing wasn't that perfect because before Dana could answer for herself, another Scully responded for her.
"What the hell are you doing?" Bill roared loudly. Very loudly.
"You'll wake up the kids," shushed Scully, pointing in the direction of the next room, where up til now, the three oldest Scully grandsons had been peacefully sleeping.
"Too late for that," I muttered, leaning back against the couch, feeling completely defeated. Within two seconds of that ouroar, Max, Shaun and Matt ran into the room.
"Santa came!" shouted Shaun.
Two minutes later, his sisters (Kerry carrying Will) ran down the stairs, quickly followed by Margaret, Charles, Sarah and Tara. Great, the whole family was here. No matter what Scully said, I would be humiliated. In front of my own son as well.
"Swanta!" repeated Carrie and Matt in unison.
"HOLD IT! All of you, just stand over there by the stockings. Kerry, sit down with Will, okay? You don't want to drop him."
Until now, I hadn't heard Sarah much raise her voice in front of anybody. "Bill, what's the matter?" she asked.
"I came downstairs to get a drink of water, and.."
"You saw Santa?" Shaun asked excitedly, looking eagerly at the pile of presents in front of him.
"I think Uncle Bill just missed him. He woke up 'cuz he heard the reindeer on the roof," Tara insisted.
"So did I!" Shaun exclaimed.
"You and Uncle Bill can talk about it later then, okay?" Sarah distractedly told her youngest son. "So why were you so loud?"
"Because *he* (Bill pointed in my direction) just-"
"All Mulder was doing was proposing, and thanks to you, I haven't been able to accept," Scully went on, but I didn't hear the rest of her words. I held her hand tighter, and as I looked around the room I saw everyone's jaw drop and smiles sprinkle around others' faces.
"Since we know that Santa came, why don't we all go to sleep now and wake up in the morning to open our presents, okay?" Sarah asked kindly. "Because, if Santa knows that you are all up, he might think that he made a mistake and take the presents away."
I think that the kids were too shocked to complain. Margaret lifted Will from Kerry's arms and both Scully and I kissed him as he fell back to sleep. "You two have some talking to do," she whispered. "I'll change him for you."
Soon we were alone again. "Merry Christmas, Scully," I whispered as I slipped the ring on to her finger and kissed her soundly.
"I love you, Mulder," she said.
"I love you too," I answered. I wrapped my arms around her and held her close. We didn't wake up until the next morning, when the kids came roaring in to the room at seven thirty am. I didn't mind.
I already had my Christmas gift.
The End...For Now
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