Title: Zephyrs
Author: Becka F.
Classification: S
Rating: G
Spoilers: The Truth Keywords:
Disclaimer: They aren't mine. Please don't sue. You won't get much.

Summary: I'll see you in the wind.

Author's Note: This is a sequel to 'Xavier'. You may want to check that out before reading this. This story takes place approximately 10 years after "The Truth". More notes at the end.


"Watch, Xavier!" William called to his little brother.

Skilfully hoisting the string high above his head, he began to pick up speed. Soon, he was running at full force, cutting through grass like a knife in Reeboks. Suddenly, the kite caught a strong gust of wind, and it soared upward, spiralling higher and higher until the boys had to squint up into the early morning sun to see it.

Xavier squealed with delight and clapped his tiny hands together.

He loved the wind.

He loved everything about the wind.

He loved how it whipped through his hair, how it blew the big poplar tree from side to side in front of their house, and especially how it made their kite soar all the way up to the sun.

He watched his big brother dance around the field from where he was sitting, planted firmly on the blanket Mama made him. From there, he had a bird's eye view of the world around him.

And right now, his world consisted of William.

Like it always did.

Xavier stopped squealing for a few moments in order to catch his breath. He knew better than to get too excited. It wasn't good for his heart.

They watched their sons play from the kitchen window in awed silence. He became rigid and she winced when they saw their youngest son gasping for breath. She held her own breath as he struggled to breathe, wishing so hard that she could breathe for him. When he finally caught his breath, she let hers out in a relieved exhale.

They exchanged worried glances, but didn't say a word. She simply squeezed his hand tightly, and he squeezed right back.

They were truly blessed. She thanked God every day for blessing her with such a beautiful family.

But it had been a struggle.

Adopting William was difficult enough. That was nearly ten years ago. And having to deal with the emergence of William's mysterious biological parents shortly after tested their limits of patience and generosity. But strangely enough, they had all found a way to accept them as part of William's life. And even though they hadn't heard from them since William was a toddler, they had found a kind of peace with the fact that they were chosen as the ones to love a child that wasn't theirs.

When they decided to adopt again four years later, they were surprised at how easy it was, compared to their first attempt.

At first, baby Xavier seemed like a normal infant. However, shortly after he turned a year old, they noticed something wasn't quite right. Finally, after endless trips out of town to see specialists, tiny Xavier was diagnosed as autistic.

As if that wasn't enough, little Xavier faced an even bigger battle not too long ago, shortly before he celebrated his sixth birthday. The boys had been playing outside one afternoon when Xavier suddenly collapsed, and stopped breathing. They rushed him to the hospital, where he was immediately taken to emergency. They managed to stabilize him, and after endless tests, they were given some terrible news.

He had a heart condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy.

Xavier was dying.


She remembered staring down at his diagnosis, simply disbelieving the words in front of her. He'd claim that he hung onto every word the doctors had told them, but in reality, he'd merely stared straight into oblivion as they rattled off their medical jargon.

Their little boy had already been through so much. And after pondering agonizingly for days over their one and only option, a heart transplant, they came to an extremely difficult decision.

They decided right then and there they just weren't going to do that to their son.

They weren't going to put him through that again.

Endless trips out of town to see specialists.

Lengthy check-ups and prolonged doctor's visits.

Test after test after gruelling test.

They just couldn't do it.

So they decided to bring him home.

Forever.


He placed his hand on her swollen belly, and gently caressed the ever-growing bulge.

"Windy day out there," he commented, looking back up as the kite whipped around violently.

She smiled as the baby reacted to its father's touch. She placed her own hand atop his, and together, they felt the strong kick of their unborn child.

"Xavier loves the wind," she replied, looking up at him, and then back down at her belly.

It was unexpected, her pregnancy.

After years of being unable to conceive, only to lose child after child after finally being able to, this baby was truly a miracle. She couldn't count on both hands all the miracles that had happened to them. She couldn't think of two people more blessed than they were, and despite all the heartache, she knew it was all worth it.

He kissed her on the cheek and grabbed his lunchbox.

"See you at six," he whispered in her ear.

And then he was gone.


She frowned when she read the thermometer.

"What's wrong?"

She whirled around to find William standing in the doorway to his little brother's room, basketball in hand.

She quickly stuffed the thermometer underneath Xavier's pillow and stood up.

"William!" she exclaimed breathlessly. "How long have you been standing there?"

He ignored her and slowly entered the room.

He eyed her suspiciously.

"What's wrong with Xavier?"

"Everything's fine," she lied, feeling her heart sink to her ankles.

She tried her best to reassure him, but as she slowly stepped aside so William could take a look, she knew it was futile.

"Why is he so pale?"

"He's sick, honey. You know that."

William nodded solemnly, and took a seat at the foot of Xavier's bed.


They had never fully explained to William the severity of Xavier's heart condition. They felt they really didn't need to. William always understood in a way that most people never could. He had a way of seeing the world differently than everyone else.

She remembers the night that they brought Xavier home from the hospital for good.

William was exceptionally quiet. That only meant one thing.

They were all sitting around the fireplace that evening when he finally spoke.

"Xavier's heart is just too big, isn't it?" And with that, they knew.

William really did understand.


The windows in Xavier's room rattled as the wind swooped across the top of the house, picking up dirt and debris and depositing it wherever it decided.

They watched this methodical dance of nature through Xavier's windows for a few moments without uttering a word. Or making the slightest sound. Finally, William broke the deafening silence.

"How much longer?"

She wasn't ready to answer that for herself, let alone for him.

She just shook her head and let the tears come.

William sighed softly, and after a few lingering moments, he picked up his basketball and headed out of the room.

Soon the could her the repeated 'tap tap' of the basketball as William began taking shots at his basketball net, a gift from them on his ninth birthday. It was his most prized possession, next to his telescope of course.

But what she couldn't hear were his frustrated sobs.

And what she couldn't see, was that he missed every single shot.


He came home that evening to an extremely quiet house. The only sound he could hear was the wind as it hit whipped around outside, and how it made their sturdy farmhouse shudder and groan beneath its grasp.

Dread immediately welled up in the pit of his stomach as he creaked across the floorboards, listening for familiar sounds.

Xavier's laugh.

William's basketball.

Her busying herself in the kitchen.

He heard nothing. Just the wind.

Xavier loved the wind.

He wasn't sure what drew him immediately to Xavier's room. But he was there in a heartbeat - that heartbeat stopping the moment he stepped through the threshold.

Standing around Xavier's bed was his pastor, their family doctor, and his and her parents. She stood in the corner clutching William, who seemed to be surrounded by an eerie calm.

Who seemed to be the only one in the room not wracked with sobs.

Or numb with shock.

They all turned to look at him simultaneously as he appeared in the doorway, but all he saw was his youngest son.

His eyes were closed, but he could see that they were still dancing beneath his eyelids. His pale skin glistened with perspiration, and his sandy hair was matted to his ashen forehead. He watched as his chest rose and fell at an irregular rate, and listened to the sounds of him struggling for breath.

Struggling for life.

The room was eerily quiet, and as if in a trance, he approached his bedside.

He knelt down on one knee and kissed the tiny boy's shiny forehead. He buried his face in his chest for a few moments, trying desperately to retain his composure. He momentarily forgot about the other people in the room, as he held his youngest son for what would be the last time.

He remembers stepping away slowly and embracing William and his wife fiercely.

He remembers sobbing into her hair, and clutching William to his side.

He remembers spending the rest of the night by Xavier's bedside, surrounded by the people he loves, listening to the wind.


They all took turns talking to Xavier, as he drifted in and out of consciousness.

William was the last to approach his bedside.

"Windy day out there, isn't it Xavier?"

He crouched down on his knees and rested his head next to Xavier's.

Without a hint of self-consciousness, William continued to talk to him as though nobody was around. As though this were just another, ordinary day.

He told him about the day Xavier came to live with them, and how happy he was to finally have a little brother.

He told him that he knew from the very first day that he was special.

He told him that no matter how many people looked at him differently, it didn't matter, because he always saw him as Xavier - his little brother.

And that he loved him.

He told him what it meant to be a good person. And how to forgive, and understand why people make decisions they make.

And he told him what it meant to be a family.

"It doesn't matter where you came from. It's where you are now."

William stopped speaking for a few moments, as everyone in the room digested everything he had said. Too awestruck to move, or breathe, they all continued to listen to the infinite wisdom pouring out of the little boy who was much older than his almost-ten years.

William allowed himself to cry then, clumsily wiping the tears away from his face with the back of his hand. He slowly stood up and placed one hand on Xavier's chest.

Xavier's eyes slowly opened as he reacted to the sensation of William's touch. He gazed up at William for a few moments, and smiled weakly.

The window suddenly shook as the wind violently smacked up against it. It continued to rattle for a few moments as the boys retained their eye contact.

"I'll see you in the wind, Xavier."

And with that, Xavier let go.

It was almost like a scene out a movie. The moments following seemed like they were spent in suspended animation. The family prayed well into the night, remaining by Xavier's bedside until dawn.

"Listen," William whispered to nobody in particular, right before he drifted off to sleep that morning.

They all turned to look at him.

He pointed to the window, and held one hand up to his ear.

"The wind stopped."


"Look at this."

He walked over to where she was sitting and peered over her shoulder.

She pointed to the tiny announcement on the Obituary page.

He shook his head sadly as he read the words in front of him over and over again, not really comprehending what he was reading.

He wasn't until a few minutes had past that he spoke.

"Should we still ... ?"

She didn't skip a beat.

"Yes."

And with that, they were on their way.


Even before it began, they knew the service was going to be beautiful.

And as they all walked into the church together, hand in hand, every friendly face, every bouquet of beautiful flowers strewn all around, and the all- around peaceful atmosphere of the tiny church confirmed their suspicions.

But up at the alter where Xavier's tiny white coffin sat on display, was the most breathtaking sight of all.

Sitting atop Xavier's beautiful little resting place was the biggest, most stunning wreath they had ever seen. Glancing around the packed church, they could see it was a topic of much discussion, as tiny gasps were heard on its behalf, beholding its marvel.

They took their seat at the front of the church, not taking their eyes of the most heart-wrenching yet undeniably remarkable sight in front of them.

Nobody knew where the wreath had come from.

There was no card.

No trace of who left it.

Or why.

It remained a mystery throughout the duration of the service.

And what a beautiful service it was.


"Why are we here?"

"Don't tell me you've forgotten already."

"I just don't feel right doing this *now*."

"I don't either, Mulder. I don't want to do this right now as much as you do, but I need to see him. I know he's here. I know they're all here. I just want to hold him, and tell him I'm sorry."

"Sorry for their loss, I'm assuming."

"Of course. What did you think I meant?"

"I thought you meant sorry for ..."

Mulder trailed off, his eyes dropping to the ground.

"Never. Look at these people, Mulder."

Mulder followed Scully's gaze up to the church steps, where the congregation began filing solemnly out the door and into the bright sunshine. The crowd slowly began to get bigger as more and more people began to exit.

"They're all from this tight-knit little farming community. Look at them all supporting each other. All this over the loss of one little boy. It's remarkable."

Mulder nodded.

"I know he's had a great life," she added quietly. "I can feel it ... here."

She placed a hand across her heart and swallowed the lump that was forming in her throat. He slowly traced his hand down her arm and took her hand in his.

And together, they waited.

For him.


She was singing again.

// Michael row the boat ashore ... //

It was the same song she used to sing to him when he was a baby. When he used to cry out for the only person he'd ever known.

His mother.

She told him it always helped to calm him down.

And now she was singing it to Xavier.

William should have felt hurt, but he didn't. He was more than happy to share his special song with his little brother. He wistfully looked around the empty church, noticing that they were the only three left.

Everyone had already filed out quietly, some departing right away, and some remaining behind to console one another. He could hear them, on the other side of the church doors.

He turned back to where they were standing, and watched them as they prayed over Xavier's casket. Feeling slightly out of place, but like he belonged more than ever at the same time, he smiled.

He wasn't sure why he chose that exact moment to make his way to the door.

He wasn't sure what made him leave their side, and Xavier's, and walk out into the afternoon sun.

But as he stood atop the church steps, and came into immediate eye contact with the two strangers standing awkwardly beside their car below, it all suddenly became very clear.


It couldn't be.

She kept telling herself over and over, it just couldn't be. After all this time. After ten years. Ten whole years.

But it was. She knew it was. She knew the second she heard the old wooden church door creak.

She knew the second she saw the rusty brass handles turn.

She knew the second those doors swung open and a beautiful almost eleven-year-old boy stepped through.

She couldn't take her eyes off of him. She couldn't move. Or breathe. Or stand still.

It wasn't a reunion like she imagined it would be. She never wanted to meet like this. Under these circumstances. On quite possibly the saddest day of his young life.

But there they were.

And they sure as hell weren't turning back now. All she could do was shake. And stare. And stare. And stare.

Hearts pounding.

Pulses racing.

Eyes locking.

For seconds. Maybe even minutes. Hell, it could have been hours.

And then he smiled.

He smiled. Only slightly, but it was enough. Oh, it was enough.

Recognition. Reverence. Acceptance.

Joy.

And then they smiled back.

And he smiled again.

He knew.

He'd always known.

A sob escaped her throat, and finally letting go of his hand, she ran.

Faster than she had ever ran before.


"Where did William go?"

He motioned to the doors.

"Outside."

"I didn't even hear him leave. Did he say where he was going?"

"No. Are you ready to go? We'll go find out where he went."

Sighing heavily, she allowed him to help her up onto the pew, and finally to her feet.

Glancing longingly at Xavier's casket, she choked back a sob, and slowly, they made their way hand in hand to the doors.

All of a sudden, the heavy doors creaked open and a wave of light passed through the almost-empty church.

She shielded her swollen eyes from the sun's harsh rays as she squinted to see who was there.

Three silhouettes appeared in from of them. They immediately froze.

"It's me."

William.

"William -- ?" she stuttered, as the shadows gradually morphed into figures. Figures whom recognized immediately.

"They came back. Like they said they would."

William was beaming.

She began to shake.

"Real mommy and daddy," she declared in a broken whisper, feeling her knees buckle beneath her.

"Real mommy and daddy," William echoed in stunned disbelief. He gazed proudly up at the two strangers standing rigidly on either side of him, both awkwardly keeping their distance, when all they really wanted to do was scoop him up and never let him go.

Time was at a standstill.

Silence engulfed the entire church once more, this time, more powerful and more deafening than ever before.

It was eternity before anyone spoke.

And then he did.

"It was you two who left the wreath for Xavier, wasn't it?"

They all turned to look at him, who was still clutching his very-pregnant wife's arm. He hadn't said a word until now, and his sudden revelation echoed loudly throughout the church.

They nodded modestly.

It all suddenly became so clear.

"That was you?" she breathed, wanting to keep them at a safe distance but wanting to draw them near at the same time.

But there was time for that.

There was plenty of time for that.

They nodded again, and she broke down once more.

Suddenly the doors lurched closed behind them, echoing a loud clunk. Once again, the church was dark.

And inside that darkness, five people began to heal.

Hanging on to one another. Drawing support from one another.

Inside that dark church, five people began to slowly rebuild their lives.

Together.


Things were still awkward, but they were getting better.

She had invited them to stay at the farmhouse for as long as they felt they needed. Mulder and Scully accepted their generous offer, and began the slow and extremely difficult process of reacquainting themselves with their son, while at the same time, respecting the two people who had been his parents for the last ten years.

It was difficult.

But it was getting easier. Each passing day brought something new, and something better.

But they had a long way to go. All of them.

Things were pretty solemn for the first little while. Everything was all so new. They had to deal with Mulder and Scully's reappearance, which was difficult and confusing enough. All that on top of missing Xavier terribly.

Nobody ever asked them why they were back. Or how long they had been back for.

Or where they were. Or what they were doing.

Even if they were here to stay.

They felt they didn't need to. Right now, anyway.

Even William, who was gushing with thousands of other questions, never once ventured near the subject. Once again, they knew he understood, without really understanding at all.

Some days were particularly hard for William when it came to adjusting to life without Xavier.

He wasn't sure why, but sometimes he missed Xavier so much it hurt.

He dare not let anyone know.

He knew they missed him just as much.

And he didn't want to hurt real Mommy and Daddy. He was doing so well with them.

So he decided to go alone.

He slipped away quietly after dinner one night while the adults busied themselves clearing up. He grabbed his new basketball and kite and snuck out the back door.

For once, he hoped real Daddy didn't hear him shooting at the net. Last time he joined him. And while he had a great time ... Daddy was an excellent 3-point shot ... he wanted to be alone right now.

He decided to leave basketball alone as he slowly unravelled the string from his kite.

He smiled vaguely as he remembered the day Xavier sat outside, watching him with that kite.

He frowned as he gazed up into the late afternoon sun. There was no wind.

No way the kite was going to fly.

He decided to give it a shot, anyway.

Like he'd done a thousand times before, he began the swift but tedious process of tearing through the tall grass, and flinging the kite upwards. But to no avail.

"Come on," he pleaded with nobody in particular.

He tried again.

And again.

Nothing.

He collapsed, out of breath, into the grass. He dug at the dirt angrily, flinging clumps of it everywhere.

What caught his eyes first was the flying dirt.

"Hey Scully, look."

He motioned her to join him at the window, where pieces of dirt were flying in every possible direction from a spot in the middle of a patch of tall grass.

"What's he doing?"

He shook his head, and couldn't help but smile.

"I don't know, but he's got my temper."

She smiled faintly, but it slowly faded as the dirt continued to fly.

"What's he so angry about?"

As if on cue, William jumped up and tossed the kite angrily in the brush. He began to storm towards the house. As he got closer, they could see his face was red, and it looked like he'd been crying.

They stepped back from the window, and prepared for the door to open.

When it didn't, they ventured to the front stoop to look.

There William sat, his head in his hands, and his tiny shoulders shaking slightly.

She wanted to run to him.

She wanted to run to him so badly and tell him everything was going to be okay.

But he beat her to it.

"Hey buddy."

William jumped as the door opened and Mulder stepped out.

When he didn't answer, Mulder took a seat beside him and followed his gaze into the brush.

"You left your kite out there. Maybe you should go get it."

"What's the point? It's not gonna fly. I hate it."

"I heard you were a master kite flyer, Will. I don't think you hate it."

William didn't answer. Instead he stuck his shoe into the gravel and absently kicked it around.

"Tell you what. I'll go grab the kite for you and we'll give it another go."

William looked up at him, and studied his face intently.

It was almost like looking into a mirror.

Mulder reached out and brushed William's hair out of his eyes, and gently wiped the trails of tears away from his face. He knew he wasn't crying over the kite. He was crying because he was frustrated. At everything. And he didn't blame him one bit. He was so strong.

He was just like his mother.

His eyes twinkled as he slowly got up and headed in the direction of the field.

William sat back for a few moments and watched his father retreat into the brush. After hesitating for a couple seconds, he jumped up and trotted after him.

Looking back, Mulder realized that his son was following him. Grinning wickedly, he began to pick up speed, and soon he disappeared into the brush.

William saw this is as a challenge and took off after him, tearing in the direction of the lost kite.

When he finally caught up to him, he tackled him to the ground. Chuckling in surprise, Mulder wrestled with the surprisingly strong ten year old, tickling him and tossing him around gently in a cloud of dirt.

William shrieked happily, thrashing his limbs in every possible direction, fighting the much older, much stronger man.

Finally, the boys stopped, both out of breath, and both laying sprawled out in the field.

He couldn't remember a time when he felt so young.

William jumped up then, beaming down at him.

He held out his hand and helped him up.

"Let's go find the kite."

They found it a few yards away, stuck in the dirt. Mulder skilfully wrestled it out of the ground and dusted it off.

He looked down at his dirt-covered son and presented him with the kite.

William hastily took it and gazed down at it for a few minutes.

When he looked up again, Mulder was looking down at him encouragingly.

"Try it one more time."

Eventually they found their way out of the tall grass and into the clearing.

She smiled when she saw them reappear, and beamed when she saw them covered head to toe with dirt. Clutching her mug of hot chocolate, she watched as her life began to piece itself back together in front of her eyes.

The moment they stepped out of the brush, the air seemed different.

A breeze.

It couldn't be.

But it was. William felt it on his skin. He felt it in his hair. He saw it in the trees.

He looked up to Mulder in admiration. Hands on his hips, Mulder followed his gaze up to the poplar tree, beginning to sway slightly in the breeze. He shook his head in amazement, and nodded his approval.

Biting his lip, William gripped the kite with his tiny hands and began a brisk walk.

Unravelling it more and more, he started to pick up speed.

Soon he was running, faster than before, across the field and back again.

The wind whipped through his hair, flapping the kite around in his hands.

He chose that exact moment to take a chance, and soar it upwards. He held his breath as it wavered, and prepared for it to dive to the ground.

But it didn't.

Instead, it caught a gust of wind and took off.

He howled in triumph as he continued to run, spiralling it higher and higher.

The wind whipped it around furiously, rocketing it to new heights.

Mulder couldn't remember a time when he felt more proud. More whole.

And he knew she couldn't either.

His eyes connected with hers. She was still standing in the window. She'd stand there all night, as long as she could watch him out there, he decided.

He slowly made his way indoors, William oblivious to his departure. He joined her in the window, and together with the Van De Kamps, they watched him.

Watched their boy fly.


She gave birth to a baby girl two weeks to the day after Xavier passed away.

On William's eleventh birthday.

Hope, they called her.

Scully delivered the healthy baby girl at home, where they had planned to deliver in the first place.

Birthdays were especially meaningful this year.

For everyone.

Late that afternoon, an exhausted William sat with his equally exhausted real Mommy and Daddy on the front stoop, and watched the sunset.

They sat in silence, a silence that spoke infinite volumes. He felt at ease. He felt at home. He felt, for the first time in his life, that he truly belonged.

He clutched his new kite to his chest, and shielded his eyes from the sun.

"Thank you," he said to them then, blinking back tears from his eyes. He held up his beautiful new kite, their gift to him on his special day. Their first of many, they silently vowed.

He ran his fingers over the bumpy letters, spelling out 'Xavier' in a tiny black, glossy font imprinted on the bottom corner.

He allowed himself to cry again, in their arms. And they held him.

They held him until the sun began its slow descent towards the horizon.

They held him as its balmy rays graced the whole farmhouse with a beautiful red-orange glow.

They held him as a gentle wind picked up and lulled them into a peaceful trance.

And then he smiled, breathing in deeply as the gentle breeze encircled them.

Xavier always loved the wind.

And as the last remaining rays gave their all, shining brilliantly upon them, he knew that Xavier was there, too. All around them.

In the wind.

Where he loved to be the most.

And where he would be.

Always.

The End


More notes: I didn't want to leave William's adoptive family with nothing, especially since they lost Xavier and well, they'd be losing William eventually. So I created Hope. I'd always planned to have Mulder and Scully come back and reclaim him. Always. See Chris? You don't create William only to take him away again:)

On a totally unrelated note, this is my last fic for a while. I leave for school tomorrow, so this story is my final, temporary good-bye. For now, I have to stop writing, but I will definitely not stop reading. Keep those fics coming. You all rock:)

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