CATEGORY: V; MSR, A
RATING: Light R for adult situations (though a friend said it was probably PG-13 since I don't go into the specifics.)
TIMESPAN/SPOILER WARNING: "Requiem". Aspects of Season eight are mentioned peripherally. I'm not sure who owns copyright on the song "Frosty the Snowman", but I'm making no profit off using it in here. And I apologize if I get the lyrics wrong, not having a carol book handy.
ARCHIVE INFO: It goes to Gossamer through xff. Can be archived anywhere as long as my name, addy and disclaimer stay intact.
THANKS TO: Gerry Hill for unfailing quick turnaround time and honesty.
DISCLAIMER: The X-Files, the episodes referred to, Mulder and Scully and all other characters from the show belong to Chris Carter and his team of writers, Ten Thirteen Productions and Fox Broadcasting, and are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended, no profit will be gained. Characters not recognized from the show are mine.
SUMMARY: A Christmas concert in the future.
Friday 15 December:
The stage looked lovely - a perfect Christmas wonderland. After the hours that Scully had put in over the last week, making decorations, it was a relief to see that her efforts had come to fruition. Though if she saw one more roll of crepe paper she would bludgeon the teacher with it.
No, she had been glad when Mrs. Webster had asked if she could 'possibly' do little Sharon Gilmore's mother's share, since the poor woman had come down with a bad stomach bug. Something to keep occupied with of an evening was a good thing for Scully, once the round of bedtime stories was done.
Mrs. Webster's class was filing onto the stage now, or at least entering with as much decorum as a group of excited six year olds could manage. Scully was relieved and proud to see that the twins were behaving themselves - dressed as angels they had taken the roles to heart, for now - but her heart ached that Mulder was not here.
Trust Mulder to not only have managed to get her pregnant against all odds, but to give her twins. Nothing by halves. Thea and Keren were not identical, so that meant that her own body - and God's will or luck or sheer serendipity - had certainly delivered as well. Pre-birth tests confirmed that the girls were normal and healthy and one hundred percent Scully and Mulder's children. But Mulder had been abducted before she knew about the pregnancy herself, let alone had those results.
Now as the children took their places for their part in the concert, parents waved and cameras flashed. Scully took a few photos of Thea's exuberant grin and Keren's sweet smile, then put the camera back in her lap for the moment. Other parents were jockeying for space with their video cameras, but Scully was friends with the woman whose daughter was next to her own two in the line-up, so would get a copy of her tape, plus the school's official video.
Under directions from the teacher, the music started up, and the children began singing 'Frosty the Snowman'.
Almost immediately Scully felt like she was about to cry. She willed herself to hold it in but wasn't sure how successful she was because the man next to her gave a sidelong look. At this time of year ambivalent feelings had a habit of taking her hostage. Now, watching Mulder's girls, their brown heads and tinsel halos bobbing to the music, she wanted more than anything for him to be here to share in this.
That Christmas so many years ago now, when she was pregnant and alone, even though she had spent the day at her mother's. Trying to reconcile the joy of the miracles she carried, tempered by the losses. What if she couldn't find him? How would she cope raising their children alone? To spend the rest of her life without seeing him again.
Now she tried to reason with the ache, with the strength of how much she was missing him, but it was hard with the group bringing their song to a close. "...and he waved goodbye, saying don't you cry, I'll be back again someday..."
Scully joined in the applause, the noise covering the sniffle she couldn't avoid. When the cheerings and clapping and flashes died down, the teacher announced a short break. "A longer break for coffee will follow Mr. Bahnsen's class." As the teacher started to lead the children offstage, Scully gave the girls a final wave and turned to answer a question from the woman sitting to her left.
Yells made her head shoot up. Her daughters had broken out of formation and were racing off the stage - not into the wings, but down onto the hall floor. Down the central aisle, towards her, but they weren't looking at her. There was someone coming down the aisle from near the doorway...
"Daddy!" And they threw themselves into the waiting arms of Fox Mulder.
Scully was vaguely aware of the man next to her getting out of her way so she could get into the aisle with all due speed and without climbing over his lap. The woman on her left managed to save the camera as it slid towards the floor, but Scully barely noticed in her haste.
Kneeling in the aisle, Mulder was wearing - apart from his clinging children - a thick coat that had a dusting of snow over it. He looked exhausted but happy.
Tears burned in her eyes and the lump was high in her throat as she approached her husband. It brought to mind that freezing Christmas long ago when she had gently refused her mother's offer to spend the night. Scully had just wanted to go home. She recalled awkwardly and carefully navigating her expanded frame around patches of ice in the parking lot. Entering her apartment building she then found Mulder lying unconscious in her doorway, like a last minute Christmas delivery.
"Did you see our song, Daddy, did you?" Thea demanded, pulling her back to the present, but her focus was on her family, not the hall of people.
"Yes, Xena, I saw most of it. I just missed a little of the start," Mulder was saying, as if he hadn't been subjected to Frosty with alarming frequency every evening he had been home over the last month. "You two did great. And you look great too." He tweaked a lopsided halo.
"You came. I knew you would," Keren said from the curve of his neck, the Gabrielle to her sister's Warrior Princess personality. Naturally, Mulder was the one who had provided the nicknames, when the girls were about a year old.
They let go long enough for Mulder to stand up to receive his wife. She breathed him in with gratitude and relief as they held each other. She could feel the girls holding onto the legs of his pants.
"I thought all the flights were booked up," she murmured, barely trusting herself to speak.
"Doggett and Miller said they'd do the wrap up, so I sat at the airport, waiting to see if I got lucky. There were several ahead of me on standby. Then when the plane was in the air, there was still the chance that by the time I got through the airport and the traffic, I'd miss this, so I thought best not to raise any hopes." He pulled back a little and studied Scully closely. "Are you okay?"
Mulder gave her the 'hey we declared an embargo on that line when I put the ring on your finger, remember' look.
She managed a stronger smile. "I'll explain later. But it *is* okay. We'd better give the kids back to the teacher and find some seats." His arm around her shoulders, her arm around his waist, they set about doing just that.
Later that night
Wrapped in each other's naked embrace, Mulder and Scully were still awake. Once the girls were asleep, Scully had wasted no time in hustling her husband to the bedroom - "Hey, I'll come willingly, no need to dislocate my arm!" - and he had certainly gone with the flow (or thrust) of things. Now they were basking contentedly.
"Welcome back," she said in his ear.
"I hate being away, but boy, the reunions are spectacular!"
He and Scully were supervisors of the X-Files division and were able to pick and choose what cases they went out into the field in and how frequently, but sometimes bad timing couldn't be avoided, like the case Mulder had just finished.
His hand stroked her face. "What happened at the concert? Were you okay?"
"Yeah. Just thinking about Christmases past. Getting a little melancholy. But ultimately thinking about how blessed I am."
"You deserve all this, Scully. We both do. And we'll never take it for granted."
Scully held him tighter. The old Mulder would have said that she deserved this and that he was lucky to be part of the deal. However, just as Mulder had cured her of 'I'm fine's', she had also managed to cure him of his feelings of undeservedness and even managed to stop his ditchings.
Now Mulder sat up slightly and gave her a very intense look. His fingers... "Husband! What are you up to?"
"Wife, I can't be 'up' to anything at the moment, but that doesn't mean that we can't get you to the heights again. I'm the gift that keeps on giving, even when empty."
"Yes... I'd never want to exchange you. Oh..."
A few seconds later, she jumped as a handbell rang.
Mulder let out a noise that was half a groan and half a laugh, his hand stilling. He looked at the closed bedroom door. "I swear, those kids are psychic."
"No, they've just got your timing."
The handbell sat on a sidetable out in the hall. Thea and Keren had been taught when old enough not to just barge in on their parents, but to knock and wait for an answer before entering. (The bell was put into use when it became clear that it carried much better to hormone-filled ears than the noise that a tiny fist or a little voice could make.)
Scully still blushed at the tale of a show and tell session earlier this year - the details of which had worked their way back to her. Sharon Gilmore had told the class that she and Granny had bought her mother a lovely nightgown for Mother's Day. Thea had immediately piped up: "I won't get my mommy one of those - she and Daddy sleep naked."
Thea later extrapolated on her comment, fortunately just to her parents. "I guess Mrs. Gilmore has to have a nightgown because Mr. Gilmore is dead, so it must get cold at night."
After Scully had made sure that her husband didn't require the Heimlich maneuver (he had his mouth full at the time), she had asked him if he thought they needed to print off posters saying that their daughter had been exaggerating a tad.
He shook his head. "Heck, we survived the classic: 'Daddy finds dead bodies for Mommy to cut up' comment on their first day of school, so I guess this is at least less gruesome."
Now Mulder put his robe on and went to fetch both daughters some water, as requested. He soon returned and quickly climbed under the blankets, but stayed away from his wife while he warmed his feet and other extremities. She lay watching with affection and amusement.
"Okay," he said with an air of perfect innocence. "The kids are back in bed. Where were you and I up to?"
"You were bedding me. And you weren't 'up to' as much as 'down to'." She directed his hand.
"Oh yeah..." His lips then captured hers with a passion that had never dimmed, then pulled back long enough for him to comment, "And to all a good night!"
Merry Christmas all!