Title: My Cousin Needs Another Dog
Summary: Since William misses Sailor, his cousin fills in the gap. Guess how? After you read the story, it is in the Author's Note at the end. (Yes, research time again. Cat lover, though.)
Mulder arrived home one evening to find the mailbox stuffed. "Scully, you'd think Alison and Mandy would have grabbed it."
"Maybe they're late from work. I know Will has a night class, so he's eating out and home around 10."
"Let's see, junk, junk, your Mom, oh no... Bill and Tara."
"Hey, you promised to be nice to my brother. Let's get inside. I have to make supper and Barb Cranston promised to pick up James from pre-school. There's her car. You take the mail and I'll greet James."
*Bill*, Mulder grumbled as he un-locked the door. *Hope they won't visit. We may have room, but what a pain in the... "
"Hey kiddo. Have a good day?"
"Yes, Daddy. We saw a movie about whales. It was fun until I fell asleep."
"That's okay. Just go wash up."
Scully had to smile, as she was handed the letter. "Don't worry, I'll read it after we eat. Don't want to scare you."
"Hah! Hopefully some family crisis."
"Knock it off! You're as funny as poison ivy."
"And you love it. I'll put some tea on for you if you don't mention your brother's name."
"Thanks. I'll mention it later." The woman loved her big brother and was proud that he had followed in their father's footsteps. At least brother Charlie occasionally contacted their mother, even though he disengaged himself from the family and followed in their father's footsteps but seldom came back to America.
"I'll take care of your tea. You're as tired as I am."
After supper, Scully greeted Mandy and Alison around 7:00 and served them coffee. The girls were dog tired and wanted to relax and listen to some music.
"Wait just a minute. I saved supper for you. You know how to use the microwave, and I know too well you stopped to go mall crawling."
The girls agreed thay had window shopped and re-heated dinner before heading to 'Girl Headquarters.'
It wasn't bedtime for James, so he was allowed to watch a family movie in the living room.
Scully and Mulder sipped some coffee as Mulder read the evening paper, and Scully opened the letter.
"Mulder. Take a deep breath."
"Why? Let me guess, they are expecting to give Matthew another sibling. Well, if they are, that makes three, but we have them outnumbered."
"No, Mulder. Bill's on leave, so after they visit Mom... be prepared to see the family on our doorstep in two days. Matthew has permission to take a break from school as he has A's and B's."
"That's okay," the man snickered. "There's so much work at the office I can sleep there. Maybe surprise you by actually cleaning, much as I love Matthew."
"Earth to Mulder! Grow up. Matthew likes Uncle Fox and his wonderful cousins. You can still go to the office, but you will come home to sleep, be nice, and you can't clean worth a... I can't say it right now. If James weren't in the room, I most likely would. Family is family, Samantha is alive. I treat her as a sister."
"Good point," the man moaned. "Okay, I promise to be on my best behavior to some extent."
"To the fullest extent. Time for James to bathe and go to bed. Will would love to see Matthew. They have a lot in common."
"Red hair and brains, just like the girls. At least James has my hair."
"Wipe that grimace off your face. James! Time for your bath and bed." As she escorted her son to his room to gather his pajamas, her husband tried to read the news, but found it hard. *Well, at least I set him straight the last time*, he thought.
TWO DAYS LATER DULLES AIRPORT
Tara, Bill, Matthew and the toddler in her Sunday best were greeted with hugs and kisses by Scully and a pretensive smile from Mulder.
"Mulder, please help them with the luggage."
"Sure." What a dull look he gave her.
Both Bill Scully and Mulder tried their best to be nice to each other.
"Tara, you look great. Matthew, you've grown so much!"
"Thank you, Auntie Dana. Where's Will?"
"College, James is at pre-school and the girls are at work. Samantha Ann and Meg are at school. I have everything ready for you, and you can sleep with Will."
"Good! Oh, Grandma told me about the poodle."
"Sometimes things don't turn out the way we want them to."
Tara patted her son on the shoulder. "Do you have to go to the bathroom?"
"No, Mom. I went on the plane. Please don't treat me like I'm four when I'm sixteen in front of the family!"
"Okay. Your sister may need changing. I'll find a bathroom. Stay with everybody. We won't be long."
Tara was amazed with what had been done with the new house in Washington. "Great job, Dana!"
"Thanks. Matthew is welcome in William's room, and I kept the crib for the baby, nice and clean and ready. There's plenty of room beside the old nursery since we settled Mulder's parents' estates, so the place is affordable. I'm still working part time."
"We'll be fine, Dana. I'll feed Sarah and put her down for a nap."
"Okay. I'll start lunch."
"Bill promised me no acting up. He learned his lesson the last time."
"Yeah," Scully smiled. "I heard the whole thing and the look on Bill's face... wish I had a camera."
"Bet it was precious! Okay, I need to warm up a sippy cup. Sarah still likes her milk warm."
Two bedraggled men walked into the house.
"Two more loads," Mulder muttered.
"You man enough... "
"Hey," Tara said sternly, "You promised me."
"Yes, dear. We're doing it. C'mon, Mr. Fibbie."
Matthew had tried to help the two, but quit, plopping himself on the floor.
Tara turned from the stove. "Up, young man. You're big enough to unpack. Auntie Dana will show you Will's room."
"Good! He's my favorite cousin. Let's go." He grabbed his bags and followed his aunt to the room. He managed to grab nightime essentials and quickly returned.
Mulder and Bill set the last of the luggage on the living room floor as Tara fed little Sarah.
"We can unpack after, Bill. Sit down and relax."
The two men sat at the kitchen and no words were exchanged while Scully made sandwiches.
Mulder decided to break the ice. "We could take Matthew to the park after lunch. Maybe shoot a few baskets?"
That stunned Bill Scully a bit. "Why not?"
They were getting along. Good.
"Basketball! Sure!" Matthew took a seat at the table.
Sarah was taken to the nursery and Tara returned shortly. "I'll help with the tea, Dana."
"Already on. Relax. You must be tired." As she sliced the sandwiches she whispered to her sister-in-law, "So far so good."
"I hope so," the woman whispered back, smiling.
"Okay, lunch is now being served. You can both unpack later."
*The park should be interesting,* Scully thought.
When the three had returned, Bill bragged about out-shooting his brother- in-law.
Mulder agreed. His wife shot him a stunned look.
Tara put food and refreshments on the table. Of course, milk for the growing boy. When Scully shot her a look, she was told, "Common courtesy, Dana. Even if we're visitors, you have a lot of things with a big family."
"Boy, am I ever still hungry," Matthew admitted.
"Juice and crackers," his mother said to son. "No more."
Scully donned a jacket. "I won't be long. Time to get James home. Please, try to keep the big kids out of trouble."
"We're being good!" Mulder shot back.
Scully just shook her head and left the house.
James was happy to see his aunt, uncle and cousin. "Wait till William gets home! Hi, everybody!" He ran straight into Bill's arms.
*Oh, brother,* Mulder thought.
Mandy and Alison came home early.
"Slow day," Alison reported.
Their mother smiled. "I saw that as I passed the stores. Could you please help your aunt and uncle unpack?"
"Sure," Mandy replied.
"Be quite about it," Scully warned them. "Sarah is still napping."
Then came a cry. Tara ran up to the nursery. "Wait until you see her."
Soon, Will came home dragging his feet with plenty of homework. "Matthew! Is he in with me, Dad?"
"We have a lot to catch up on, but don't worry, I can still do my homework."
"You'd better," Mulder advised his son. "This is your first year." Yes, at the age of fifteen.
"C'mon, Matt, I got a new video!"
"After homework," Dad warned him.
"Saved by the bell!" Mandy exclaimed.
"Mind you manners," Scully warned her. "We do have company."
LATER THAT EVENING
"All done," Matthew declared.
"Okay. Just one more paragraph." Will finished an essay and turned off his laptop. "I am off tomorrow. Want to go out tomorrow? It's Saturday."
"Time off from the parents. Maybe I'll show you around the city." Well, Will could only offer. "I know! The mall!"
"Sure! I saved some money. Sixteeth birthday plus odd jobs."
"So did I. I try as much as I can. Let's tell the folks goodnight and hit the hay. We're both tired."
THE NEXT DAY
William and Matthew announced their plans and were permitted time to go out on the town.
Tara beat them to the door. "Could you both kindly be home at the most by one?"
"Sure," Matthew replied, and kissed his mother. *Gee, I hate being treated like a kid.*
William was thinking the same thing.
As they walked down the street, Will turned to his cousin. "Hey, there's a mall about two blocks away. Sports stores, magazines, almost anything you want. All kinds of sodas and snacks."
"And girls!" Adolescent exhuberance.
"You bet! But I don't want 'em to get in my way just yet."
*Hmm,* Matthew thought. *Naw, I saw his reaction to that black-haired chic.* The guy had eyed girls. Will was a red-blooded male.
As the two entered the door, Matthew had seen malls in San Diego, but this one did not compare. As they passed by the sports shop, he remarked, "So this is where your Dad gets the shirts and balls?"
"Yeah. Look at the news stand. You can read up on home."
Matthew chose a San Diego newspaper.
They kept passing by ladies' fashion stores such as Filene's, men's wear shops, a couple of cafes, then Will's cousin's eyes were agape.
"A pet store! Let's check out the rabbits, cats, reptiles, and dogs. Oh, sorry, Will."
The kid patted his cousin's back. "I'm fine. It was hard, but Sailor has a good home with a nice elderly couple near us. I see them walking him sometimes."
Matthew looked at Will for a moment, then a few puppies. "Oh, a red setter!"
"From what I read, Matt, they need a lot of room and exercise. Nobody at home has the time. Don't think about it, let's go have a coffee and donuts and go home."
"Yeah, almost one." The wheels were turning in the youngster's head, but Will couldn't see that. He had to admit to himself he missed Sailor, noisy as he had been, somewhat sadly.
The two were sitting in William's room watching a video.
"Cool. Mom and Dad won't let me watch the action movies since I punched some idiot stick at school," Matthew grumbled.
"With me you can," Will told his favorite cousin.
"Mandy and Alison look like twins."
"Yeah, long story. Kind of weird."
"My Dad thinks your Dad is weird."
"I know. I really wish they'd just bury the hatchet." Was that a frown Matthew saw? "Oooo... look!"
After the video was done, they tried peeking into to elder girls' room, but they were fast asleep, under the covers.
"Nothing to see here," Matthew snickered.
"Upstairs, Matt, I'm hungry."
The adults were in the living room with coffee and conversing about their jobs, childraising and politics. At least Bill and Mulder were calm and cool.
"May we please have a snack?" William asked.
"Sure," Scully replied. "Cocoa and peanut butter sandwiches. Then bed. We have church tomorrow."
"Why? Can't we miss it?" That was Matthew. He disliked having to wear a suit. "We're on vacation."
"You know why," Tara retorted. "It's a family thing."
"But the stores are open Sundays now, and I wanted to go..."
"I mean it. You can go later. By the way, it wasn't that way when your aunt, father and I were younger. Get your suit ready before bed, and don't pull attitude on me. We are going."
Will advised his cousin to agree, and wished sometimes his father would do the same, but he never did.
"All right, then. How about a snack?"
"Coming up, just sit down," Scully told them. She wished Mulder would join the family at church someday.
"Be up at 7:00", Scully advised them. "Mandy and Alison go through a lot of hot water."
"You first," Will told Matt. "Dad sleeps in Sundays, and I want to check the news."
"Lucky. Three bathrooms."
"Just go. I'll get my suit out. I don't like dressing up much either, but go to school in one anyhow."
With his parents' permission, Matthew had changed into tee shirt and jeans and went to the mall. Will and Mulder went to shoot baskets.
Matthew easily found the pet shop and saw what he wanted. He had heard about the problems involving toys poodles and had done some research on dog breeds. He decided on a male beagle, and put money on the counter, asking the cashier to hold the dog for a day. He signed a piece of paper to make sure of that.
Since family was visiting, Scully remained home as Mulder went to the Bureau. "No strange cases," she whispered as she kissed him.
Mulder smiled. "Spoiled sport. Probably a short day. Bye."
*Thank God he's gone,* Bill mused.
Mandy and Alison left shortly thereafter.
Matthew decided to talk over his plans for the day with Tara and Bill in the privacy of the guest room. Sarah wouldn't have known what they were saying.
His parents were already dressed and had had breakfast, as did everyone else. He politely knocked on the door as Bill tickled Sarah.
"Come in," Tara said, happily watching her husband with the toddler.
"Mom, Dad, I have an idea that might make Will feel better about things."
"All ears," Bill said. "Your Mom and I see he looks down. What is your idea? Signing him up for the Navy?"
Matthew laughed. "No, Dad. He's a bit young for that and wants to have a different career. Don't worry, not the FBI either. I think we'll have to run this past Aunt Dana and Uncle Fox."
Tara smiled. "Go on."
"I read up a bit, and saw a beagle at the pet store yesterday. I know they make a better pet than the toy poodle, but with plenty of attention and exercise... "
"Have the money?" Bill inquired.
"They're holding him. I have enough and made a down payment."
"Talk it over with your Aunt and maybe she can go through this with your Uncle. Don't tell Will yet because getting his hopes up for a let down would do more harm than good. I'll take your sister out for a walk and Will can come with us."
"Yes, I know. I'll do that. Thank you."
"I know you need a few things for Sarah, so I'll be out for a while." Bill took his wallet and kissed Sarah and Tara. "I'm off."
As the man left, Tara thought it wise to help out with their laundry, and once the offer was made and accepted, Matthew had his sister and Aunt to himself.
Samantha Ann and Meg were in the playroom and behaving themselves.
Scully was already folding laundry.
"Can I talk to you about something?"
"Sure. Everything okay between you and William?"
"Yes. I have a question, and I hope you won't mind."
"Shoot. I'm finished for now. What is it?"
"Something you'll need to talk over with Uncle Fox."
The woman hesitated a bit. "What is it?"
"Well, it looks like Will is sort of depressed over having to give away Sailor."
"Matthew, we are dealing with it."
"Well, I know a lot of families who have pets. Uncle Fox has his fish, right?"
"Ever since I've known him. So?"
"Will needs a pet. I saw this beagle in the pet store yesterday and I read that book about dogs you gave him. A beagle is a good choice. I found a book about them at a book store by Michele Welton, and as long as they have plenty of room for exercise and are well trained... "
Scully stopped the guy in his tracks. "We went through enough with Sailor. I don't think your Uncle is going to be happy having to deal with another dog right now."
"Well, I already put money down on one, and I would hate to see it gone without giving things a chance. This is a gift from me to William."
"I need to run this past your uncle, Matt. I guess today. Let me call the office. Things are slow enough. We'll see. We know a good obedience school. Give me some time, okay?"
The youngster smiled broadly. "Hopefully this will happen. I have to tell the pet store."
"All right. You go there, and I will try. I promise." *Hopefully*, she thought, remembering Queequeg and the incident with Big Blue. What a tragedy.
"Great! Thanks Auntie Dana. I'd better go now." He kissed her and ran out the door, then turned around. Oh, did you keep the old crate?"
"Yes. Just in case, and because your Uncle hates throwing anything out. Go on."
Matthew was pleased that the manager had been honest enough to hold the dog and agreed for another day or two.
An hour later, Scully slowly dialed Mulder.
"Mulder. Hang on. Not now. I don't take on every oddball tip that comes my way. Shoo!"
"What was that all about?"
"Some kid saying he heard what I do for a living and said he saw a flying saucer in his backyard."
"Oh. We need to talk."
"Let me guess: Plugged toilet, all the chocolate chip cookies went misssing?"
She laughed. "Not exactly. I can take care of things like that easily."
"I don't know how to put it, Mulder. Matthew wants to buy another dog for Will."
The poor man was stunned. "No way."
"Yes way. He did his research very well, we do still have Sailor's crate. You know how Will's been looking lately."
"I understand that. It takes time."
"He's holding a beagle at the pet store on a down payment."
"Okay, maybe... we'll see. Well, uh... a beagle is bright, good with kids. Let me think about it."
"I'll tell him that. He promised not to get our son's hopes up."
"Good. Oh, I'm late for a meeting upstairs. Love to all as usual."
Click. *Maybe someday...* Scully thought.
After supper, with the older girls downstairs, the younger two in the playroom and Will studying, Mulder, Scully, Bill, Tara and Matthew sat around the table kitchen table sipping coffee.
Mulder was first to speak. "I don't know. This is a big undertaking, Matthew."
Before the boy could speak, Bill stepped in. "Hey, he does love his cousin." *Gotta be polite for Dana's sake*, he reminded himself.
"I'm proud of you," his wife smiled.
Scully placed tea biscuits on the table. "I think Mandy and Alison will be back from the movie soon. I'd like to see Will in a better mood. Maybe we can do this."
"That's why I want to do this."
"Okay. It would be worth it."
Scully's face lit up and she kissed her husband.
Bill was about to mutter something, but was stared down by Tara.
"So, can I get the dog tomorrow?"
"Yes," Scully replied. "I'll give you some money for the food. Find out what's best, and we can surprise Will tomorrow afternoon."
The next day, William, Matthew and both men took the dog from the store, fed him, and talked for a few hours.
the visiting Scully's would leave two days later, obedience school had an opening, and Mulder and everyone did sleep that night.
William decided on the name "Lucky" and thanked God and his parents.
As Mulder and Scully retired for the night, the man whispered to his wife, "Since our son was a miracle, someday I will believe in them as much as you do."
"A real miracle would be to see you in church one day," Scully snuggled in and smiled.
"You'd need a miracle for THAT!"
"Oh, shut up and kiss me, Mulder."
Author's Note: My research came from Beagle Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2015