Title: Future Imperfect
Author: Lisa
Disclaimer: Nope, these characters aren't mine.
Category: CRA
Classification: Mulder/Scully UST
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Christmas Carol, Emily.
Archive: Gossamer. Spookys. Others ask me.
Feedback: Knock yourself out.

Summary: Scully is visited by three ghosts at Christmas time.

Author's Note: This is a crossover with Dickens "A Christmas Carol." I recently watched the movie with George C. Scott again and the brand new one featuring Patrick Stewart. If you haven't seen it, you should. :-)

Thanks to: Robbie for the quick beta on an inferior computer. <g>

Scully turned off the television and headed to her bedroom. While she was getting ready for bed, she thought about the movie she had just finished watching. Scrooge learned that his future was going to be bleak at best. Of course, he was a greedy, stingy old man who was doomed to an awful fate unless he changed his ways.

Scully wondered what her life would be like in the future. She didn't plan on working on the X-Files the rest of her life, but it was looking that way as of now. After all, she was thirty-five years old and nowhere near getting married or starting a family. Even though she couldn't have children, she didn't want to rule out the possibility of adopting a child someday. Her job was too demanding now and there was no way she could raise a child in her current occupation. She would have to make a choice - Mulder or a family. There was no way she could have both.

Ultimately, it would come down to that. Wouldn't it? Scully pondered that question as she drifted off to sleep.

Scully awoke to a bright light in her bedroom. At first, she thought it was morning, but then saw a young woman dressed like a fairy princess beckoning her to get up and follow. The woman was petite with long blond hair, and reminded her a little of what Emily might look like had she lived to become an adult.

"Come with me, Dana," the woman said softly.

"Who are you? How do you know my name?" Scully asked.

"I'm the Ghost of Christmas Past," she answered.

"Oh God," Scully sighed. "I shouldn't have watched that movie." she murmured to herself, getting out of bed and trailing along behind the spirit.

The ghost reached into her pocket and sprinkled some pixie dust into the air and Scully saw her parents' house on Christmas Eve. They had all come back from midnight mass - Mom, Dad, Bill, Charlie, Melissa, and herself.

Each family member was just about to open one present as was their tradition on this night. Standing near the tree were Bill and herself.

Scully watched this scene play out again. It seemed so long ago; so much had happened to her since being hired by the FBI and beginning to teach at Quantico.

"Are you still set on the FBI, Dana?" Bill asked her.

"Yes, I am." Dana glanced over to her father. He couldn't hear them from here. "I know you and Dad don't think it's the best career choice for me, but I can make my own decisions now and I want to make a difference there. There aren't that many women in the Bureau, and that's another reason I want to go."

"This doesn't have to be your personal crusade, Dana," Bill commented.

"But I want it to be." Dana walked away from her brother and joined the rest of her family on the couch.

Scully tapped the small spirit on the shoulder. "I wouldn't change a thing. I would have still joined the Bureau."

The woman smiled at her and took Scully's hand in hers.

This time Scully awoke to the smell of cookies. This made no sense. Who would be cooking in the middle of the night? She got up and crept into the kitchen only to be confronted with a rounded woman in a dress and apron taking something out of the oven.

The elderly woman turned to Scully. "Good, you're awake."

She reminded Scully of her grandmother. "Let me guess, the Ghost of Christmas Present?"

"Come here, sweetie, and have a cookie before we leave," she said.

"Great, time for another night journey," Scully muttered, grabbing a cookie, nonetheless. They smelled wonderful. Chocolate chip.

"Hold this for me, honey."

Scully took the wooden spoon and the next thing she knew she had been transported to her mother's house.

Bill, Tara, Matthew, her mother and she were all sitting around the dining room table eating the traditional turkey Christmas dinner talking and laughing. All of a sudden, Matthew started to cry.

Scully watched herself pick the toddler up and comfort him, walking with him to the tree. The brightly colored lights and ornaments seemed to quiet him for the moment. She was talking to her nephew and he was giggling at the topic of her conversation.

The old woman put a comforting hand on Scully's shoulder. Scully watched the scene unfold and was surprised to feel tears forming in her eyes, knowing she could never be more than an aunt to a child. Forever Aunt Dana.

Scully saw the wooden spoon clasped in the woman's fingers. She grabbed hold of it. The scene before her changed instantly.

Mulder's apartment. He was lying on the couch half asleep with the television on. Its volume was low. Remnants of food littered the table. Files were strewn on the desk and floor.

"I just assumed he was spending Christmas with his mother," Scully told the spirit.

"You know what happens when we assume, dearie."

"I don't want Mulder to be alone on Christmas. He's been alone too much during his life." Scully said.

"Mulder?" Scully whispered before she remembered he couldn't hear her. She turned to say something to the old woman, only to find she had disappeared from the room.

The fog surrounded Scully, enveloping her in its mist. She knew she couldn't be in her bedroom. The next spirit must be on its way to her. Her fear grew, even though this could only be a dream. Wasn't this ghost the most frightening of the three?

A cloaked figure materialized out of the mist. Scully couldn't make out any features, but spied a hand peeking out of the sleeve. A woman's hand. The fog lifted with the spirit's hand, revealing the inside of a house. A man was speaking.

"I don't have time to go over the papers right now, Dana. I have a big presentation to work on for next week's meeting." the man said.

"The social worker's going to be here tomorrow," Dana said.

"Tomorrow? I can't make it. You're going to have to reschedule or handle it yourself." he told her.

"I don't want to reschedule again. I wanted us both to meet with her. You promised *this* time."

"Honey, I can't talk about this right now. I've got to focus all my energy into this presentation." He hurried off to the study, shutting the door behind him.

Dana sat down at the kitchen table with the papers in front of her. She double checked the paperwork and made a few more notes, trying not to think about her husband's reaction.

Scully came closer to her future self, glancing at the papers on the table. They were adoption papers. "My husband and I are adopting a child?" She turned to the spirit. "This is what the future holds?"

Just then her future self started to cry. She started pacing the floor, glancing at the closed door where her husband was working.

"What's wrong? What's wrong with her . . . me?" Scully asked anxiously. The spirit said nothing, just stood there.

Dana headed off into another part of the house, still visibly upset. Scully followed her.

Her future self ended up in the bedroom, rifling through her top bureau drawer. Dana took out a photograph that had been well handled and sat down on the bed with it. "I'm sorry, Mulder. Things might have been different, but I guess we weren't meant to be." she cried, clutching the picture of her ex-partner to her chest.

"No, Mulder didn't . . ." Scully began anxiously. "Please tell me he didn't die." she said, looking up at the ghost.

"Why won't you talk to me?" Scully demanded.

The spirit just waved her hand again and they were transported to another place. It looked like a hospital corridor.

Scully looked around and saw Frohike. "Frohike?" she asked. The spirit followed behind the little man and Scully hurried to catch up.

Mulder. He was in the room, surrounded by books, papers, and files. In fact, it looked a lot like their office. He didn't look well. He had lost weight and was well on his way to growing a full beard.

"Close the door, Frohike. They might be listening." Mulder said.

He did as Mulder instructed. "You were hoping I was Scully, right? I saw the look of disappointment on your face, Mulder."

"Well, it is Christmas; I thought perhaps . . ." Mulder trailed off.

"I got you a gift, but the orderly took it away. You know, to unwrap it and search it." Frohike said.

"Yeah, thanks," Mulder said. "Did you bring the other stuff?"

"Of course. Would I let you down?" Frohike reached into his jacket and took the rumpled papers out.

"Great. These are great." Mulder began to glance through them quickly.

"Listen, Mulder. I'm sorry I wasn't Scully. I thought the two of you would still be together too, but . . ."

"Yeah, yeah; things didn't work out. She has her own life now. It's what she wanted," Mulder told his friend, not looking up from the papers.

"Well, Merry Christmas, Mulder," Frohike said. "I gotta get back. The weather's getting bad."

"Merry Christmas," Mulder mumbled absently.

"Why is Mulder in here? Did I do something to him? Don't I I don't visit him?" The questions came tumbling out, even though Scully knew the spirit wouldn't answer them.

"This isn't the way it's supposed to be," Scully told the ghost. "I wouldn't let this happen to him. This future is wrong. Very wrong." Scully watched as Mulder read through the papers Frohike had brought to him. He pulled out files from beneath the bed and grabbed a book from the stack in the corner.

"I don't want to see anymore of this," Scully murmured. "Please, I want to go home. Please." The last word was almost a plea.

Scully awoke suddenly a few moments before the alarm was set to go off. It was just a dream. That's all it was. However, she couldn't get it out of her mind the whole day. Perhaps there was some truth that came out through her subconscious.

She had been thinking about adopting a child since Emily's death. Having a normal life. A husband. A family.

Apparently in the dream she had made the choice for a family and wasn't happy. She regretted not being with Mulder. Whatever had happened between the two of them had hurt Mulder. Had the X-Files been closed? Was that the reason he was in a psychiatric hospital? Or did he finally have some sort of breakdown?

Well, it was only a few days before Christmas. If the dream was true she would find out soon enough. Everyone was gathering at Mom's house.

A knock at her door startled her from her thoughts. She somehow knew it was her partner.

"Mulder, what are you doing here?" Scully asked, letting him in.

"Well, Merry Christmas to you, Scully," he said sarcastically. "I came to give you your present now, since you'll be going to your mother's house."

"What are you doing for Christmas, Mulder?"

"I don't know. Haven't thought about it yet. Maybe read up on that case I was telling you about. The one about . . ."

Scully shook her head. "I don't think so, Mulder. Not this year."

Scully did comfort Matthew underneath the tree. She was a bit emotional with her nephew, wondering if she'd ever have a child of her own to hold and comfort. He smiled and laughed at her, the earlier unpleasantness at the table forgotten before his attention was focused on a toy truck nearby.

Her attention was focused on the man holding the toy. She smiled at him and his successful attempt to entertain the toddler.

Mulder smiled back at her.


Happy Holidays everyone!!!

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