Title: Protecting Sam
Author: Emily Miller
Archive: anywhere, do whatever with it.
Disclaimer: They ain't mine and never will be. They belong to Chris Carter
Spoilers: Demons (I think that's all)
Summary: Samantha's last birthday.
Note: I KNOW the thing with CSM and all happened in Rhode Island, but I'm changing it to fit in with my story.
He had always known, somewhere, that his little sister trusted him more than anybody else in the whole world. Definitely more than their parents, who had in the past few months, or maybe now it was years, been having problems, arguing and letting strange men come into the house.
But just lately it had gotten worse, obviously worse, and 12 year old Fox Mulder knew that they were facing divorce. He hated them, not only for arguing with each other, sometimes yelling with him right there, but mostly for scaring Sam.
He protected her the best that he could, but he WAS only 12. That meant that, when the screaming and throwing things got really bad, he couldn't take her away from the house that now seemed cramped and suffocating. He did his best, though.
Did his best, and made sure that, when her 8th birthday was coming up, he planned something special. A trip to a nearby creek, just the 2 of them. No parents or friends. Just the kids.
Everything was ready a week early, and so he had almost 7 days to wonder WHY he was doing this. He had never done it before and, even though he and Sam got along well, usually, he wasn't the type to plan something like that for her. That was a parent job.
Something felt different this year. He had an urge, a desire, maybe, to stay close to her, not let anybody bother her. Like he could see the future and knew that things were going to change for the worst. Never did he imagine it would happen to her, not him. If something DID happen, he had just assumed that it would be to him. But that was still in the future.
After a couple of days, he decided to quit thinking "why" and just do what he wanted to do. And that was give her a special day when there was no shouting or strangers or fear.
But the day before her birthday, the man came again. The worst of all the ones that came to his house, talked to his parents and sometimes even to him and Sam.
It wasn't really the day before, it was the night before. He was asleep when it happened, with his sister in the bedroom they shared. It had bothered him before to have to sleep with her, but now he felt more protective. Being together at the time he thought was most dangerous- midnight- assured him that he could protect her at all times.
"Fox, wake up!" He heard her pleas for him before he actually woke enough to understand them. "Fox!" It had taken him hours, or what felt like hours, to fall asleep. He didn't want to get up, and tried to ignore her as long as he could.
"Fox! Wake up!" He finally realized what she was saying, what she wanted, and then was up so fast that he skidded on the floor trying to reach her and almost fell. The boards creaked slightly as his weight shifted and he tried to regain his balance.
"Shhhh," She warned, pointing downstairs. Their room was at an odd angle with the rest of the house, almost like half a room within the living room. It had a built-in ladder leading up to it, and no fourth wall, so they could see all that happened down there.
He glanced at his watch, squinting to read it in the dark. It was almost midnight, a time he hated more than any other in the world. Then he crept over to where she kneeled, careful not to make any more noise.
She didn't say anything, just smiled a little at him. He wanted to make her go back to bed and to make her life like other kids' lives. Not a scary one, like she currently lived in. She trusted him with everything, thought he would actually make it all right again just by being there. He wasn't going to tell her otherwise, make her cry and get them both in trouble. She pointed again downstairs, at the open door leading to their parents room. He could faintly hear them in there, arguing in the way he hated, because it was all yelling. He couldn't make out what they were saying, but Sam leaned close and whispered, "They were fighting out here before. Over us, I think. That man was here."
"What man?" He asked softly, although he had a pretty good idea. And was right.
"The smoking one, that Daddy works with."
"Is he still here?"
"I don't know... I'm scared, Fox."
Her voice was rising now, like it always did right before she started crying. Before this year, she had almost never cried, but when their mom and dad started all the crap that made them so scared all the time, she had turned into a regular fountain at times. Sometimes it made him mad at HER, but tonight it made him mad at THEM- all the horrible grown-ups in the world that were ruining their lives. Their parents, the people their dad worked with, everybody.
"Stay here, I'll go see what's happening." He hoped his voice wasn't shaking the way it sometimes did when he got nervous.
"I'm scared, Fox..." She repeated, mumbling now, as he carefully got up. The floor creaked once, and he froze, but nobody appeared to yell at them for being up, and so he continued down the ladder and slowly, cautiously, across the living room carpet.
His mom and dad were having the worst fight he had ever seen them having, shouting and stomping around. His mom was crying and he wanted to run in and have her try to convince him it was alright. At least then he and Sam could get some sleep, even if he didn't feel that it was really "alright."
"I won't let him, I won't!" His mom was yelling, around tears. She clutched at her husband for a second before he jerked away.
"I can't CONTROL this, I've told you!" He was pacing around the room, kicking things whenever he felt they were in his way, whether it be the bed or her. "Please, Bill, please, don't let them take my daughter! PLEASE!"
"Dammit, I CAN'T STOP THEM!"
"Not Sam. You said it wasn't going to happen, that you'd fixed things! They can't have Samantha!"
Who? Who couldn't have Samantha? Before he could stop himself, Fox heard himself utter a small cry of disbelief. Even over all the shouting and crashes of thngs being kicked or thrown, his dad heard him, and they looked each other in the eye for a second before the door was slammed shut.
"You're a little spy," the voice came from acorner of the room, and he whirled to face whoever was there.
That man, the one who smoked. Even now a cigarette hung from his mouth, and Fox felt sick. He hated the smell of those, the way they looked, everything about them.
"What's gonna happen to my sister?" He asked, feeling brave suddenly, as though hate gave him courage.
"That's not for you to know, right now," The man said, blowing the smoke that made their house smell for weeks. Staring at Fox a moment longer, he then turned, opened the door, and walked out of the house.
Fox wanted to yell something at him, to curse him with the words he heard in the locker room at school for all he was worth. But that would scare Sam, and she was more important to him than getting rid of anger. Taking a deep breath and glancing once at the closed door of his parents' room, he then ran over and climbed the ladder back up to their little room as fast as he could.
"What's going on, Fox?" Sam asked immediately, her eyes worried... no, terrified.
He couldn't tell her. It would be too much for her. "Nothin', they're just fighting again."
There was silence for a few seconds, and he saw that she really didn't look reassured. She needed something to make her forget what was happening to make their lives miserable.
He again looked at his watch. 12:18, November 21.
"Hey, Sam," He said, aloud now, and doubting that anybody would hear.
She grabbed his wrist to look at the watch, then smiled, a real smile. She loved birthdays, always had, but she loved her own more than any others. But the smile faded all too quickly. "Mom and Daddy probably don't remember."
"Maybe not." He leaned over and pulled the carefully wrapped package from under his bed. "But I did."
Her face truly lit up then, and she did what was almost the unthinkable. She kissed his cheek, just a ''thank you" gesture, but one that made him freeze just the same. Kissing wasn't something his family did.
He thought about playfully wiping off his face, unsure of what to do, but decided that might ruin everything and remind her what the word "family" now meant to them. So instead he silently watched as she ripped the paper off her gift.
"Thanks, Fox," She said, looking at it curiously.
"You're welcome. Like it?"
"What is it?" She finally stopped staring at the box to glance at him, waiting for an answer.
He desperately hoped she'd like it. It would be something they could do when they were alone in the house while their parents went to parties or a restaurant or while their dad was at work and their mom was in a bad mood like she seemed to frequently be in these days. "It's a board game, it's called Stratego. I'll teach you to play tomorrow, if you want."
"Thanks, Fox," She said again, then carefully put the box at the foot of her bed before crawling back under blankets and soon falling asleep. He watched her for a long time, long after the yells from his parents had faded and he felt safe again, somewhat.
Something bad was going to happen in time, he was sure of it. But, if he was careful, maybe that time would be far into the future. Until then, he would protect Sam with everything he could.
Feeling almost good, at least tired, he climbed into his bed and was asleep in seconds.