Title: Heirlooms
Author: LaurelSolo
Email Address: Jedi_Lauren@yahoo.com
Rating: G
Spoilers: Through Season 9
Disclaimer: I do not own the X-Files or any of the characters related to the show

Summary: Mulder and Scully's daughter Samantha relives her most meaningful Christmas memories.

Author Comments: I don't think of this as an alternate reality story. I like to think that Mulder and Scully will one day have a child that they can watch grow. The only way I figured for that to happen would be through adoption. I also refuse to believe that everything will end on 12-22-2012. I believe that Mulder's been given misinformation or there's a way that he and Scully can prevent it. Mulder said it himself, "Maybe there's hope." I am choosing to believe in that hope. I am choosing for them to lead a semi-normal life.

Dedicated to my friends and family members who find as much joy in Christmas as I do

Christmas has always been important to me. It has been one of the only consistent traditions my family has been able to uphold in the midst of our chaotic lifestyle. My mom always made sure that, no matter where we were, we always had a Christmas tree. We would always decorate it as a family as Amy Grant and Bing Crosby Christmas CDs crooned in the background. Christmas helps to remind me that, despite the hellish relocations and our uncomfortable secrets, we are still a family. And in spite of a few dark Christmas memories, the majority of my Christmas memories are beautiful and warm.

My earliest memory of Christmas is of my father setting up the Christmas tree in our living room. I was about four years old and I remember really liking the lights that he strung on the tree. It looked like the tree belonged to fairies. Mom would come and go from the kitchen, watching our progress and smiling at us fondly. I remember her coming up, as Daddy struggled with the lights near the top of the tree, and whispering that he looked like a monkey. I had giggled furiously and Dad had looked over at us suspiciously.

"What are you telling her, Scully?"

My parents have always called one another by their last names (Mom kept hers when they married). I have never thought much about it. I guess everyone's parents are weird in one way or another. Mom grinned and winked at me.

"Nothing; absolutely nothing, Mulder."

Dad had smirked as he flung the remaining lights on the tree haphazardly and gestured at mom.

"Come here, Scully."

My mom remained rooted to her spot and grinned, "You think I'm going to fall for that?"

"Well, you tend to do strange things when in the presence of a tall, dark, and handsome man." Dad said as he slowly walked towards my mom.

Mom laughed, "I don't see anyone like that around." She picked me up and hugged me close.

"Using our child as leverage, Scully? You're a terrible mother!"

I squirmed around in her arms and faced my father, "I like being used as leverage!"

They had both laughed and my father had wrapped his arms around the both of us and we just stood there for a real long time. The smell of some sort of soup simmering on the stove, the sound of Bing Crosby singing The Twelve Days of Christmas in the background. I remember feeling safe and warm and comfortable.

When they finally pulled apart I grinned at them and Mom had given me a smile and a kiss while she transferred me into Dad's arms. She turned to go back into the kitchen and Dad had watched her go with this silly grin on his face. I giggled and squirmed and he finally realized that I was in his arms.

"All right squirt, let's see what we can do about this tree."

I watched as he finished with the lights and stared happily at the soft glow that came from the tree.

"Okay, you wanna hear something special?"

I looked up at him from my spot on the floor and nodded. He smiled and walked into the bedroom. I remember thinking that he was going to give me an early present, but when he came back with a small ornament, I was not quite as curious as I was disappointed. He held up a small glass ornament in the shape of a small angel. Apparently, my disappointment was rather apparent on my face because he had laughed.

"Wipe that scowl off your face, Samantha, I'm about to tell you something very important and special. Your mom might kill me because she thinks you're too young to know, but I know you're ready. You're a big girl now."

"I'm four, Daddy! I'm almost a grownup!" I had giggled. I was curious now that it was something I wasn't supposed to know.

Dad sat beside me and smiled, "Okay Sammy, do you see this pretty ornament?"

I nodded and reached out to touch it. It was cold and very fragile. It reminded me of the delightful icicles that hung off the roof of our current house.

"This is a very important ornament." Dad told me; "You know how mommy and I have told you that you are our little Christmas miracle?"

I nodded. They reminded me of this daily. They adopted me the day I was born, on December 18, 2004. The process had been long and difficult. I was born just days after they received the phone call informing them that they had finally been approved. But that was all I really knew up to that point.

"Well before you were born, mommy and I had another baby. His name was William. He was very special, just like you, but something happened and Mommy and I had to find him a new home. We found him a very special mommy and daddy and that's where he lives now. Mommy and I didn't want to give him up, but we were forced to. We miss him very much, so every Christmas we put this ornament up on the tree first. We do it so we will always remember him, and I want you to know this so you can always remember your big brother."

I remember the first thing that crossed my mind was that I did not want anything to happen to me. I did not want my mom and dad to take me away. But I wanted to remember William. I wanted to remember my brother, so I asked if I could put the ornament up this year.

Dad had smiled lovingly down at me before handing me the delicate ornament. I walked up to the tree and gently hung the angel on as high a branch I could reach so our dog Lego would not eat it.

"That looks beautiful, sweetheart," Dad had commented, his voice tight with emotion.

"It looks perfect."

Both Dad and I whipped around to find Mom watching us lovingly. She crossed to the light-switch and turned off the living room light so that only the perfect glow of the Christmas tree surrounded us. I remember being sad at that moment. I was sad that something bad had happened to my mommy and my daddy and my older brother. And I was sad because I did not want anything bad to happen to me.

Mom must have sensed my emotions because she had picked me up and promised that nothing would happen to me. That I was never have to leave them. Dad kissed me softly on my cheek and my four-year-old worries were replaced with the tingly warm feeling of family.

The Christmas I was seven stands out as the worst in my memory. Dad had gone on a "special trip" (code words for a trip we can not tell Sam about) and was supposed to have returned the 22nd of December. Christmas Eve came and he was still gone and no one could get a hold of him.

It was at this point that mom had decided I was old enough to listen to the conversations she had with my Gran. We sat in the kitchen for hours sipping hot tea and trying to drive away our concerns with small-talk. The phone sat in the middle of our kitchen table. Every time it rang we would jump, and when it was not my father's voice on the other end we would try and hold back tears.

Dad came sagging into the house at 1:03 on Christmas morning. I remember the exact time because I had just checked my watch when I heard the back door open. He looked tired and cold and everyone, Gran included, rushed towards him at once. Despite his frozen state he smiled so widely and contentedly that he seemed to warm instantly. He kissed us all and apologized profusely. Mom sat him down and warmed him some soup and started the coffee maker while he just stared at us each in turn, the feeling of thanksgiving seeping out of his pores.

Late that night I awoke and crept downstairs to get a glass of water. At the foot of the stairs a noise caused me to pause and peek around the corner. My parents stood, wrapped in an embrace, in front of the glowing Christmas tree. I watched them for a moment before tip-toeing back up to my room.

To this day I do not know where he went or what kept him away so long. It was not the first time it had happened, he was always going away on trips nobody was willing to talk to me about, but it was definitely the longest we had gone without hearing from him.

It has never been a secret that my family was not 'normal'. I was home-schooled most of my life because we moved and traveled so often. But it was not until the summer before I started high school that my mom and dad sat me down and explained everything to me. When you are an only child you have to learn to be sneaky. And when you do not have many friends you learn to enjoy being sneaky.

Mom and Dad explained the conspiracies and the past fears. They explained the meaning of 12-22-2012 and their part in its prevention, the precautions they took, and the people who gave their lives to stop our world from shattering around us.

I listened to all this knowing that they had long been aware that I knew a lot of what they were telling me. But it was a relief for the whole family to stop talking in whispers and behind closed doors.

They had also explained that they were going to stop running, for the sake of their sanity as well as mine. They felt it was finally safe for them to stay in one spot. They wanted me to have a relatively normal life. They wanted for me to have friends. I was not prepared for that, and I was even less prepared when they told me I could choose where we would live.

After a lot of consideration, I chose a small town in New York, just an hour outside of the city. That is where we have been ever since. Mom and Dad both teach at a small, private college in town. Mom teaches Pre- Med Biology and Immunology and Dad teaches Introduction to Psychology and Abnormal Psychology and has just been made head of the Psychology Department. We attend a local non-denominational church on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, and my parents even lead a small group on Sunday nights.

Every Christmas we spend a few days in New York City, shopping during the days and seeing shows in the evenings. I am involved in Choir at school and Mom and Dad come videotape every single one of my performances.

I guess you could say that we are the 'average American family' except at night. At night, after the table has been cleared of the dinner dishes and the dishwasher is humming in the background, Mom and Dad close the blinds and pull out books and papers to pour over for hours. Their laptops click and they chat about recent abductions and new viruses. They laugh about vampires and small potatoes. They sip iced tea and argue over strange websites whose owners claim to have been abducted by aliens. They talk about friends and family members they miss and sometimes Mom starts to cry about William. Those nights my dad holds her while I make tea for us all; and we sit together in silent prayers for the brother I never knew.

And it is in this house that I have my favorite Christmas memory.

It was two years ago, during my sophomore year of high school and only a week after my 16th birthday. It was the first time since I was born that every single one of my family members was going to be together for the holiday. Mom and I prepared for weeks decorating and for days baking and cooking. Gran even came early to help with the preparations. Dad put lights on the house and even two reindeer for the front lawn. I went to sleep at night in a glow of Christmas lights from the window and the familiar songs of the Nutcracker playing very softly in my CD player.

After midterms were over and school was out for the holidays, I would stay up until one or two in the mornings with my lights turned out, my room bathed in the soft glow of Christmas lights and peppermint candles, chatting to friends on the internet or reading in my bed. I would sleep in 'til ten and then help Mom and Gran in the kitchen. Sometimes friends would stop by and help or I would go over to their houses and help their mothers and fathers.

By the time Christmas Eve rolled around, and relatives began to arrive, our house looked and smelled like a gingerbread house, both inside and out. I soaked up every ounce of joy that I could from my aunts and uncles and cousins galore. They arrived in family units, some large and some small, with armloads of colorful presents and grocery bags of food. My oldest cousin, Matthew, arrived with his wife Brandi. Uncle Charlie's oldest son, Joseph, and Matthew's sister, Elizabeth, engaged in good natured debate over which is better, Harvard or Yale.

Charlie's twins, Maggie and Melissa, and I talked excitedly about school and future plans while their sister, Katharine, sat quietly and listened (every now and then offering a remark or asking a question). After dinner the whole family gathered in the living room to enjoy the warm embrace of the most spectacular fire my father has ever built in our corner fireplace.

The Christmas tree stood, handsome and illuminated in the window, a mound of presents surrounding its base. Mom and I brought in cups of coffee and hot chocolate and suggest starting National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. We ate sandwiches and finger foods in the living room on snowman paper plates and laughed and told stories. It was the first time we had all been together since I was very young.

We were all allowed to open one gift apiece on Christmas Eve and everyone received new pajamas, a Christmas tradition that Gran started with my mom and uncles so everyone would look presentable and pretty for those blasted Christmas morning pictures. This year mine were red flannel with reindeer and they had a matching pair of red slippers. I remember how we all laughed at the alien pajamas my dad managed to find for my mom and hoot and whistle good-naturedly over the satiny pajamas that Matthew got Brandi.

Late that night, after everyone had retired to their hotel rooms, and Mom, Dad, and Gran had long been asleep, I snuck downstairs. I wanted to get one last look at the Christmas tree in the dark of night with presents spread around it. My parents always leave the tree lights on all night long on Christmas Eve. The room was bathed in its light. The fire from the fireplace was mostly ash now, but a few glowing embers had not yet given up. The room had been tidied from the evening's events but still had the lived-in look and feel of family.

I stood in my new pajamas and prayed a prayer of thanks to the Lord and quietly remembered why we celebrate Christmas. As I was whispering Isaiah 9:6, I looked at the tree. One of the soft, white lights illuminated William's angel. It glowed fiercely and my breath caught in my throat. Somehow, in that moment I knew he was safe. and that one day he would be reunited with our family. I felt happiness and sorrow all mix together in my heart and warm me all over.

"Trying to figure out which presents are yours, Sam?"

I turned around quickly and saw my mom and dad standing at the foot of the stairs behind me. Dad was holding Mom's hand affectionately and in his other hand was a small package.

"We knew we'd find you here. You can't stand not being a Christmas mouse, can you?" Mom walked across the room and affectionately brushed her hand across my cheek. Dad pulled me into a warm embrace and led me to the couch with his arm around my shoulders. We all sat down together, and I eyed the package.

"Curious Sam?" Dad asked.

"What's in the package, Dad?"

Mom smiled, "Well, why don't you open it and find out?"

I grinned as I carefully worked off the wrapping paper and then opened the small jewelry box with excitement. My heart gave a lurch when I saw the small silver cross lying on the black velvet.

"It's like yours, Mom."

She nodded, "Yes it is."

"Do you understand the importance of the cross, Samantha?" Dad asked.

I looked at each of them in turn, and thought for a moment, "It means that I'm old enough to understand and take control of my faith. Not just in Christ and the Lord but in all aspects of my life."

My parents nodded proudly, and I continued; "and I do have my own faith. I have faith that I will continue to grow up and make wise decisions. That I will learn in my experiences and in the people that I meet. That I will have meaningful relationships in my life that help guide me and that I will learn out of the good and the bad. That I will love as you and the Lord have taught me to love. That I will one day become as strong and guided as you both are."

I paused for a moment and looked at them. "And I have faith that one day God will reunite our family with William."

My parents looked at me proudly and with such love that it was hard not to let the tears that had welled up inside me fall. Dad pulled my hair back and Mom fastened the cross around my neck. They kissed me goodnight and I stayed on the couch just staring at William's angel.

Over the years that night has proven itself one of the most meaningful moments in my life. I can still remember the way the house smelled, I can see the flicker of the lights and feel the cool air flushing my cheeks. It is my favorite Christmas memory. And it is a memory that I hope, in time, I will be able to pass on.

The End

More Authors' Comments: I have worked on this off and on for two years now. It is not a song-fic in the least, but was inspired by an Amy Grant song called Heirlooms as well as several songs on her A Christmas to Remember CD.

When I was sixteen my mom told me how my aunt and uncle hang a special ornament on the tree before any other ornaments to remember their stillborn child. I remember thinking how special and sad that was. Every Christmas I remember that and I say a prayer for them. A couple of years later I was toying with the idea of writing a Christmas fan fiction and I was reminded of that story. It seemed very natural that Mulder and Scully would remember their child in this way, every Christmas. And out of that grew this story.

Many of the traditions in this story are personal traditions. Watching Christmas Vacation and getting new pajamas every Christmas Eve to name a couple. Christmas is a very special time of year for my family and me. My family, like Samantha's family in this story, is not normal and one of the more normal times of year for us is Christmas. I hope you find this story warming and full of Christmas spirit. Let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas.

Thanks to Ruth and Deanna for support and love. Thanks to Brandi for a new Christmas tradition. And thanks to my family for filling my heart with love every Christmas that I come home.

For unto us a child is born and unto us a son is given.
And the government shall be upon his shoulders.
And he shall be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.
-Isaiah 9:6

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