Title: We Gather Together
Summary: Somehow, Mulder and Scully have Thanksgiving dinner with William, but things never seem to go as everyone planned.
Author's Note: This story was written for the 2010 Thanksgiving challenge. This is not my first fanfic but it IS the first one I’ve done for a challenge in about 5 years. Please note that for artistic purposes only I have made William ten-years-old as opposed to nine. While this might strike some as odd, I decided it fit best for my story. Besides, I never liked following the rules much. Hope you like it! Enjoy!
Her hands shook as she tried once again to button her blouse. Once finished, she turned, looking this way and that, in the mirror. She sighed. It wasn’t right. The blouse wasn’t right and she turned away, unbuttoning it and taking it off. She tossed it haphazardly across the foot of the bed and went back to the closet.
She turned to look in his direction as he entered the bedroom.
“Why aren’t you dressed?” he asked. “We have to leave in a couple of minutes.”
She spread her palms open to him and sighed.
“What?” he asked her. “What is it?”
“I-I…” she began and her bottom lip trembled. She bit down.
He came to her and touched her face gently, smiling.
“It’s okay,” he said. “I know.”
He pulled her into him and his arms encircled her. She melted into the safety of his arms and a single tear slid down the side of her nose, leaving a small spot on his shirt.
“I haven’t seen him since the day I gave him away,” she said. “I-I want…”
“You want to look just right for him,” he said, then pulled back out of their embrace a little to look down into her sparkling eyes. He kissed her softly. “You do. You look beautiful and he’ll know you’re his mother the moment he sees you.”
She wiped her eyes and turned away from him. She walked back to the closet. He sat down on the edge of the bed and watched her search for something to wear. He picked up the blouse she had thrown on the bed a few moments before.
“What’s wrong with this?” he said, holding it out to her. “Too sexy, right?”
He waggled his eyebrows at her.
She turned to look and tried to frown at him, but a small smile played along her mouth. She simply shook her head at him and said, “Too tight across the shoulders.”
He laid it back across the bed neatly. He heard her sigh.
“I didn’t bring the one I thought I had,” she said aloud, more to herself than to him.
“What about your sweater?” he asked, trying to appear helpful.
With her back still turned, her gesture of placing her hands on her hips told him that that had not been an appropriate suggestion.
Someone knocked softly on their bedroom door and Maggie called to them from the other side of the door. “Are you dressed?”
“It’s okay, Mom,” Scully called back to her. “Come in.”
Maggie opened the door slowly and hesitated only when she saw him sitting on the bed. She smiled at him then looked towards her daughter.
“Why, Dana!” she exclaimed. “You’re not even dressed yet!”
Scully rolled her eyes. Mulder couldn’t help but smirk a little. He got up from the bed and slipped quietly out of the room, closing the door silently behind him.
She saw him leave and knew why without even asking. But as she turned to face her mother, she started to sob. Maggie came to her daughter’s side and hugged her.
“I know, sweetie, I know,” Maggie said, soothingly. “It’s going to be all right, it really is.”
Scully wiped at her eyes.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m just feeling so many things right now. I haven’t felt this emotional in a long time.”
Maggie smiled. “You’re feeling excited about seeing him again. Frightened, because you don’t know what to do or say. You’re also feeling sad that you’ve missed so much of his life and his milestones and you’re feeling that pain of loss all over again. Am I right?”
“I understand, honey” Maggie said and hugged her again reassuringly. “I DO.”
“But what do I say to him?” Scully whispered.
“Why not just start by saying ‘hello’ first and let the rest come as it will,” Maggie said.
“I’m just so afraid that Mulder and I won’t be the people he expects us to be. I’m afraid he won’t like us, that he’ll hate us for giving him up and he won’t want to get to know us at all.”
Maggie hugged her again. “Now, you listen to me…you did what you had to do to protect him. You did what you had to do in order for him to not only be safe but to grow up with as a normal a life as possible. His adoptive parents were good people and they raised him to be a fine and healthy young man. Of that, you can be proud.”
Scully pulled away and smiled at her. “I am, Mom, I am.”
Maggie kissed her forehead and got up to leave.
Maggie stopped at the door, and turned back to look at her.
“Thank you,” Scully said.
“It’ll be all right, sweetheart,” she said and left the room.
Scully got up and went back to the closet to look one last time for something to ear. Finding nothing she liked, she went back to the bed and picked up the blouse she had tossed there earlier. She sighed and thought to herself.
It’s better than nothing.
Mulder relaxed in the driver’s seat. He had concentrated so hard on getting to their destination safely and on time that he hadn’t realized how tensely he had been driving. The ache in his shoulders burned and he knew he had to loosen up on the tight grip he had held for the last twenty minutes.
Scully, on the other hand, fussed beside him. One moment she was looking in the sun visor’s mirror, the next she was staring out the window mindlessly. Another moment she was fussing with the contents of her purse and the next she was staring out of the window again.
He knew she was anxious but he had no idea she was this nervous about seeing William again. Granted it had been ten years but still he hadn’t thought of this moment as much as she had. He felt a pang of guilt about that.
He had barely gotten to know about her pregnancy. He had hardly had enough time to be a father. There had been little, if no, time to even be there to spend time with the boy. Now here he was about to reunite with his young son. It was just too surreal.
Though it was only a short drive to the bus station, Mulder still had time to think. He hadn’t liked the idea of William traveling from Wyoming to Virginia all by himself, but according to the social worker, the parents refused to come. William’s adoptive parents were insistent he do this alone. Mulder felt sorry for the boy and had offered to pay for a plane ticket for William to fly comfortably both to and from his home, but the parents refused; albeit a bit too sternly for Mulder’s taste.
Mulder thought of his ten-year-old son riding along on a Martz, seeing all parts of the country and having to fend for himself. No wonder Scully was as restless as she was. He glanced over in her direction. She was staring out the window again. He reached over and clasped her hand in his. Her fingers entwined and he drew her hand to place a gentle kiss on her knuckles.
“It’s going to be alright,” he said.
A silence spread before them before he quipped at her, “Did I tell you that you look pretty hot for the mother of a ten-year-old?”
That made her laugh a little. “No.”
He reached across and took her hand. He lay a soft kiss on the back of it and then touched it seductively with the tip of tongue before kissing it again.
She blushed, knowing what this sweet gesture meant.
At the bus stop, they stood together anxious to see their son step off the bus for the first time. As they waited, Mulder laid a comforting arm around her shoulders and pulled her to him. She shivered against the cold and he felt her body tremble against his.
The bus pulled into the station a few moments later and she took a step towards it and away from Mulder.
They waited, watching the passengers get off one by one until they saw him coming down the stairs.
There he was.
Scully’s hands automatically went to her mouth and she held her breath as the boy’s eyes sought them out.
He saw them standing there.
He flipped his red backpack onto one shoulder and jammed his hands into his pockets of his baggy blue jeans. To Mulder, he didn’t look as though he were ten years old at all. The boy seemed older, more mature for such a young age.
He walked over to them, slowly, a bit shy. His bangs fell over his eyes slightly and his hair curled up a little on the collar of his jacket. When he got closer, Mulder noticed the familiar shape of the boy’s eyes and mouth. The nose was definitely Scully’s as was his eye color. He was tall and lanky, obviously taking after Mulder’s side of the family.
When the boy approached them, his eyes widen like Scully’s did when she was surprised.
“Hello,” Scully said.
“Hi,” he answered back quickly.
“I-I’m…” she began but stopped as her emotions surfaced.
“I know,” William said. “You’re my mother, Dana Scully.”
Scully nodded to him.
He turned and looked directly at Mulder. “And you’re my father, Fox Mulder.”
“Yes,” Mulder answered with a gentle smile at the boy.
“Cool,” came back his reply.
Scully took a step towards him and started to hug him, but he pulled back.
“I-I’m sorry…I-I just wanted to hug you,” she said.
“Oh, sorry,” he said and embraced her a bit awkwardly.
She held him hesitantly at first and then she relaxed, hugging him as any mother would when reunited with their child again after a long absence. She didn’t hold back now and allowed her tears to flow freely.
“I’ve thought of you and have worried about you every day,” she said. “I prayed for you every night that you were safe and happy and loved.”
Williams said nothing.
She pulled back, placing her hands on both of his cheeks; she looked into eyes and smiled. “I’ve missed you so much.”
William nodded. “I missed you, too, … Mom.”
She hugged him to her again and this time, William tightly embraced her right back.
On the drive back to her mother’s house, Scully sat in the backseat with the boy. They talked softly together as Mulder drove and he caught only a few bits and pieces of their conversation.
“I named you William,” Mulder heard her say. “Is that still your name?”
“No,” he said. “My name is Kyle but my middle name is William. I’m Kyle William McNamara now. But the kids at school call me ‘K-Mac’ for short.”
“That’s a cool name, buddy,” Mulder said as he looked at him in the rear-view mirror.
“So, how are you doing in school?” she asked him.
“Oh, it’s okay,” he told her. “I really like math and science, but I hate spelling. I’m not very good at it.”
“Well, I know someone here who wasn’t that good at it either,” she said.
Mulder shushed her.
“Me!” Mulder said, as he winked at him through the rear-view mirror.
Kyle laughed and for the first time since they met, he finally started to relax a little.
Maggie Scully’s house was full of people. Adults mingled in the living room and dining room and the children were scattered to all parts of the downstairs. Bill and Tara’s children played in and around the arch separating the dining room and living room, while Charlie and his wife were coaxing their two children to eat food from their plates instead of running around like wild animals. Other guests were sitting or standing here and there.
Kyle sat quietly, by himself, in a corner closest to the kitchen as Scully, Maggie and Tara busied themselves with making sure the food bowls on the table stayed full and hot.
He ate his turkey and mashed potatoes, catching Scully’s eye only twice as she passed from the kitchen into the dining room and back again. She stopped only once to ask if he needed something to drink and she got him a glass of sparkling cider when he answered ‘yes’.
Maggie had stopped to ask him if he had plenty to eat and he answered ‘yes’. Frankly, he had had more than enough and the top of his jeans were now straining as he took another bite of turkey.
As he ate, he watched the activity surrounding him. He noticed his Uncle Bill as he huddled in a quiet pow-wow with his oldest child who looked first stricken, then crestfallen. Obviously, he had gotten into some sort of trouble and was now being reprimanded sternly by his father.
Kyle smirked to himself. He remembered getting a stern lecture from his adoptive father too about not leaving the barn door open and allowing the cows to roam freely around the yard. They had eaten all of his adoptive mother’s flowers from the front yard and were working on the herb garden in the back of the house. Neither of them were too happy with him for allowing that to happen.
Mulder watched Kyle from across the room. He saw him watch Bill speaking to his eldest child.
Bill, in Mulder’s opinion, was a man who needed a good enema. However, he had to admit that for all of his indiscretions, he was a loyal family man and, as much as it was difficult to say out loud, a good father. Unlike himself.
Mulder couldn’t bring himself to admit to Scully his nervousness on meeting their son again. He kept his fears hidden and well-masked. She had tried to do the same but he knew she couldn’t hold back her tears any longer. He had heard her weep as he listened at the door of the guest room and had heard her mother speak to her words of comfort. It made his heart ache that she hadn’t confided in him that which he had already suspected. In all their years together, he knew her too well for her to even try to hide her feelings from him. He knew her heart, knew her mind. Knew that she was questioning everything about this moment as though she didn’t deserve it. She still had not forgiven herself for giving William up for adoption and it would haunt her until she drew her last breath.
Mulder saw Bill give his eldest child a small smile to let the child know that although a wrong had been done and a punishment given, love was never withheld for such a small indiscretion. He then glanced over at Charlie and his wife, Jenny.
Charlie was a completely different entity than Bill. While Bill was the stern patriarch since their father’s death, Charlie was the glue which held the family together. He was the one who could elicit a smile from everyone no matter how serious the situation. He was Scully’s favorite sibling and she had always guarded him like her own child.
Charlie had not been there during the time of William’s adoption due to his stint at sea, but he had written to her pages and pages of reassuring words of comfort in his letters. He had given her the boost she needed to go on. Mulder had not been enough but she never let on this fact until he came across one of Charlie’s letters lying on the floor next to her bedside one night.
Mulder had come home late one night and found Scully had been reading it in bed. He thought she was reading a book but in fact it had been a letter from Charlie. A letter so personal and so intimate she refused to share it with him. Mulder was hardly jealous of their closeness, but he felt left out of her emotional struggles with her decision. Charlie seemed to be the only one to reaffirm her and to reaffirm that as a mother she had done the right and proper thing. It helped to lift her out of the depression she had tried to hide and move forward with her life and the work she did with Mulder.
Mulder had not meant to read the letter. He only meant to pick up the fallen pages from the floor and put them on the bedside table. But when he suddenly caught a glimpse of a sentence, curiosity got the better of him and that made him want to read further.
He had gathered up all of the pages that had laid on the floor and placed them in order. He crept slowly and silently back into his study and began to read:
I can’t tell you how happy I was to finally get this letter of yours. Six months at sea is rough enough but without communications from family and friends, its absolute torture!
Now, onto what you said in your letter.
Dana, you shouldn’t blame yourself. There is nothing you did that was so wrong. You did everything a mother is supposed to do in order to protect her offspring and this situation is no different than any other.
I can’t speak for Mulder as I don’t really know him that well and you know I won’t give a shit what Bill says since you know he always was full of crap; even when we were kids.
Look, Mulder seems like a decent guy and I know you love him and he makes you happy so stop second guessing yourself and your feelings and just admit to yourself as well as to him that you love him! End of story!
If the two of you would stop trying to save a world that doesn’t want to be saved, you’d be so much better off. The burden you place on yourselves has gotten so out of hand that you forget what you’re fighting for.
I love you and I want to see you happy with a normal life, but I think I’m wasting my breath telling you that.
Just promise me one thing.
Don’t forget to live for you and not just for him. You deserve to be happy and to be able to smile again. I hate seeing you so sad and unhappy and yes, Mom tells me everything when you don’t. But don’t blame her. Blame me for badgering her with questions. I know you don’t tell me everything because you still think of me as your baby brother and I know you don’t want me to worry about you. I got news for you big sister! I DO worry about you more when you aren’t honest with me and you withhold things. Don’t do that anymore and I won’t worry so much about you.
Can’t wait to see you when I get leave at Christmas! I’ll make sure Bill plays nice with Mulder just so we can have a decent holiday. Don’t want to destroy another tree like the last time, huh?
Anyway, I’m on duty in a half an hour so I need to get shit, showered and shaved.
I love you!
Mulder remembered how he had smiled at Charlie’s words. At that time, Mulder had questioned Scully’s love for him since she had withheld much back then. But Charlie had encouraged her to be honest regarding her feelings and the next day, she had.
Mulder remembered her nervousness before she began to speak, how she had wrung her hands together and how she had refused to look at him directly. That conversation was more of a confessional for her but a wonderful revelation for him. When she stopped talking, she still refused his request that she look at him. That is until he reached over and tilted her chin upward, forcing her to look him in the face. Her eyes were the bluest he had ever seen them. He kissed her right then and they fell into each other’s arms and spent a night of tender lovemaking, lovemaking that seemed to help heal the wound in her heart.
“Hey, Mulder,” a voice jerked him back to the present. He looked up and saw Charlie standing there before him with a beer in one hand and holding out another beer towards him.
“Thanks,” Mulder said as he reached out and took the beer from him.
“So…” Charlie began. “You guys were probably really nervous about today, huh?”
“Yeah, but not as much as Scul--I mean, Dana…was.” Mulder said.
Charlie smiled. “It’s okay if you call her Scully. Bill is the only one who has the problem with that. Not me.”
“Its just force of habit,” Mulder said.
“I understand,” Charlie said and took a sip of his beer. “Listen, we’re going to take the kids out for a little while to give you guys some privacy.”
“Oh?” Mulder said and raised his eyebrows in surprise.
“Yeah, we all agreed it might be better for all involved. We’ll be back though but just not for awhile, okay?”
Mulder smiled genuinely at Charlie now. “Thanks. I know she’ll appreciate the time alone with him, as will I.”
Charlie clapped him on the shoulder before walking away to return to his wife.
Mulder stood up and took his now empty plate into the kitchen. He saw her standing at the sink washing dishes. He walked over to where she stood and placed his empty plate on the counter. She glanced up at him with a smile, took the plate and began to wash it.
He watched her for a moment then leaned down and grazed her cheek with a slow kiss. She tilted her head towards his lips and sighed. He stopped just at the hairline of her temple and breathed: “I love you” into the silken strands. She sighed again and said: “I love you, too.”
Maggie entered the kitchen just as he pulled away.
“Now, Fox---“ she began.
“Not Fox, Mom. Mulder.” Scully corrected as she rinsed Mulder’s plate and placed it in the dish drainer.
“Sorry, sorry, I forgot…” she apologized.
“It’s okay, Mrs. Scully,” Mulder answered. “My mother was the only one who ever called me that, but since she’s no longer with us, I guess I can make an exception for you and you only. Okay?”
Scully turned around in surprise, drying her hands with a dishtowel.
Maggie smiled at him. “All right then… Fox… If it doesn’t bother you that I call you that…”
He shook his head. “It doesn’t.”
Scully stood looking at him as he gave Maggie an approving smile before she left the kitchen.
“Well!” Scully said, folding the towel up and laying it on the counter.
“Yeah,” he answered as he rubbed the back of his head, a little embarrassed.
A moment of silence and then Scully said: “I guess I’ll go and check on Wil—Kyle and see if he needs anything else to eat.”
She started to walk away but Mulder caught her gently by the arm and pulled her back to him. She looked up into his face expectantly but instead of saying anything to her, he leaned down and kissed her.
Soft and sweet, his warm lips caressed her mouth and she melted into him. When he pulled away, he hugged her tightly.
“Are you happy?” he whispered into her ear.
“Very,” she said.
“Want to go talk to your son?” he asked.
“Yes,” she answered and pulled back from him. As she turned, she saw Kyle standing in the doorway of the kitchen, watching them. He was holding his empty plate and glass in his hands.
“Hey, buddy,” Mulder said.
“I’m done eating,” Kyle said. “Could I have some pie, please?”
“Of course you can!” Scully said and busied herself getting him a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream.
“Thank you,” he said politely and stood back watching her as she placed it on the plate for him.
Maggie came back into the kitchen then and asked if they would like some coffee. Scully said ‘no’ but Mulder said ‘yes’.
“I’ll just get it started then,” she said, and then noticed Kyle standing there.
“Oh, sweetie! You startled me!”
“Sorry,” he apologized.
“No, no,” Maggie said. “It’s okay. Did you have enough to eat, sweetheart?”
“Yes, ma’am,” he answered. “I’m just having some pie now.”
“Well, help yourself as there is plenty for all.”
Suddenly Bill came into the kitchen, he looked first at his sister then his mother then Kyle and back at his mother. He ignored Mulder.
“We’re going out for a little while,” he said to Maggie.
“Oh?” she said.
“Charlie and Jenny are taking the kids to the park and Tara and I are going to go along,” he said.
“But I’m making coffee for everyone,” Maggie insisted.
“We’ll be back in a little while, Mom,” Bill said. “It’ll keep.”
“But it won’t be as fresh!” she insisted again.
Bill rolled his eyes. “Mom…”
Maggie frowned at him. “Oh, well, if that’s what you want to do,” she said. “Just bundle the children up well as it’s very chilly out there.”
Bill said nothing as he turned and walked out of the kitchen.
Maggie then turned to Scully with a sad smile.
Scully shrugged. “Nothing ever changes,” she sighed.
“You’d think he’d mellow out in his old age,” Mulder quipped.
Maggie hid a laugh behind her hand as Scully snickered.
Kyle stood by, still holding his empty plate and glass before Maggie started and said: “Oh, sweetie! I’m so sorry! Let me take this from you and get you a slice of pie!”
Maggie bustled over to the sink with the soiled dishes and went to slice a piece of pie for the boy.
“Whipped cream?” she asked him.
He nodded enthusiastically. “Yes, please!”
Maggie turned to Mulder and Scully with a wink. “Never knew a child who ever refused whipped cream!”
Maggie served up the pie to Kyle and got him a glass of milk. Then she escorted him out of the kitchen to the dining room table to eat.
Mulder and Scully watched her.
“She’s so happy to know that Wil—Kyle,” Scully began. “…wanted to see us and spend the holiday here.”
“Yeah,” Mulder agreed. “She definitely a happy Grandma.”
They held each other as they watched Maggie fuss over their son.
“SOMEhow I have to get used to calling him Kyle,” she said.
“I know,” he said. “You will.”
“Hopefully I’ll have mastered it before the end of his visit,” she said.
“Well,” Mulder said. “Given the fact that he will always be William to us, it’s understandable that you or even I would call him that.”
“I know,” she agreed. “But I don’t want to give him a reason to feel uncomfortable around any of us or angry at us for falling back into calling him William as I know that’s not his legal name anymore.”
“I’m sure he understands,” Mulder reassured her.
“But how can he?” she asked. “He’s just a little boy.”
“Who comes from two highly intelligent parents,” Mulder said. “He doesn’t strike me as a dumb kid. I mean, look at him…”
She turned to stare at her son.
“That kid in there is not stupid by any means,” he told her. “He is bright, inquisitive and more mature than most ten-year-olds. Even your brother Bill’s oldest can’t hold a candle to our boy!”
Scully laughed. “You’re just biased.”
He hugged her tightly. “Yes, I am. But am I wrong about this?”
She shook her head. “No.”
“Then don’t worry so much,” he begged her. “Just enjoy his visit here with us and try not to worry about whether or not he likes you. He’s here because he wants to be with us. If he didn’t like us or want to know who we are, he wouldn’t have come.”
She felt her eyes tear up again. “I know. But I can’t help feeling this way.”
He hugged her one more time, kissing her forehead as he did, then pulled back a little. “C’mon,” he said and took her by the hand. “Let’s go out and have some pie with our son.”
An hour or so later, Mulder pushed back from the dining room table a little and heaved a long, painful sigh.
“I…am…STUFFED!” He declared.
“Well, I should think so!” Scully said, amused. “You had three pieces of pie!”
He looked at her a little sheepishly. “I know, but it was just so good! You’re Mom makes the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever tasted. My mom’s wasn’t homemade. It was store-bought. Mrs. Smith’s or Pepperidge Farms or something like that.”
“Well, thank you, Fox!” Maggie said, beaming.
“Truly!” Mulder said appreciatively. “It was the best pie, Mrs. Scully.”
“Yeah, it was really good!” Kyle piped in.
Maggie beamed at them as she cleared their plates and took them to the sink.
Mulder stood up from his chair and stretched. “Well, I feel a bit like a slug.”
“C’mon, buddy, let’s go into the living room and veg-out!” Mulder said, leading the boy into the living room.
Scully watched them go. Mulder had laid his arm along the boy’s narrow shoulders. She felt a pang in her chest. Father and son together at last!
Mulder collapsed in the overstuffed chair in the corner with a groan. Kyle did the same on the couch.
“How you feeling there, sport?” Mulder asked him.
“Ugh,” Kyle said. “I ate too much.”
“My pants feel tight,” he moaned.
Mulder chuckled. “Mine too.”
They sat there in their holiday misery in silence for a little while before Kyle turned to look at Mulder.
“Can I ask you something?” Kyle said hesitantly.
“Sure,” Mulder answered. “You can ask me anything.”
“Why did you guys give me up?”
Mulder knew this question would come up. He had prepared for it. Now that the boy was here before him and asking, he realized that he wasn’t as prepared as he had originally thought.
He took a deep breath inward and let it out slowly.
“Well,” Mulder began. “Your Mom and I work at a job that is very dangerous sometimes and right around the time that you were born, we were working and some of the things that we were doing had begun to threaten our lives.”
He paused and looked over at Kyle. “Do you understand?”
Kyle nodded. “Yeah … sort of.”
Mulder leaned forward, with his elbows on his knees.
“I wasn’t around when your mother made the decision to give you up for adoption, I’m sorry to say. I was … in hiding. A kind of a witness protection thing, but not quite.” Mulder explained. “I couldn’t get a message to your mom whenever I wanted to, but I tried. I didn’t find out what she had done until after I came back from being away and by then you were already with your adoptive family.”
“Weren’t you mad at her that she did it without asking you first?” Kyle asked.
Mulder shook his head. “No.”
“Why not?” Kyle asked. Jesus, this kid knew how to ask some seriously pointed questions!
“Because,” Mulder explained. “I trusted her and her decision.”
“Why did she give me up?” Kyle asked, seriously.
“To protect you,” came Scully’s voice.
They looked up to see her standing there in the archway of the dining room, watching them. She came over and sat on the arm of the overstuffed chair. It was just wide enough for her to sit comfortably. Mulder laid his arm around her waist as she continued to explain.
“Your father and I are F.B.I. agents and the work we do with investigations is sometimes dangerous, life-threatening work. We were doing some of that dangerous work around the time of your birth. I had to protect you from some of the bad people we were investigating because they wanted to kill us,” she said.
Mulder saw Kyle swallow hard.
“We didn’t want to give you away to anyone,” she said quickly, “but we had to do what was best in order to make sure that you were safe, that you would always be safe and that no matter what happened, you would grow up and live a full life,” she said before her voice began to crack.
“I thought you hated me,” Kyle said then.
“No, no, no,” Mulder told him. “It was never like that. We just were …”
Scully broke in. “…afraid that something bad would happen and that we wouldn’t be able to protect you. We always wanted you! But we gave you away to keep you safe from the bad people who were trying to hurt us.”
Mulder nodded in agreement with her statements.
Kyle looked away for a moment then turned back to them both. “Are those people still trying to hurt you?”
Mulder shook his head. “No, not anymore.”
Scully shot him a look.
“At least they haven’t bothered us for a long time,” Mulder added quickly.
“So, if I wanted to come back here with you, I could?” Kyle asked.
They sat, stunned at the boy’s question.
“Uh, we’d have to discuss that …” Mulder stammered slightly. But Scully interrupted him.
“I don’t know if that would be possible, sweetheart,” Scully said. “I gave you up for adoption. I don’t think we could have that reversed.”
“But it’s possible, right?” Kyle asked anxiously.
They looked at each other and turned back to Kyle.
“Why do you ask that?” Mulder asked.
“Well, you’re my real parents,” he answered truthfully. “I should be with you if I’m your son. Why can’t we be a family?”
Scully gasped a little, then said: “Oh, Kyle, we’ll always be a family. No matter where you are or where we are, we will always be a family. You will always be our son. That will never change.”
“Then why can’t I live with you?” Kyle asked.
“Because the law states …” she said. “I signed papers giving the McNamaras permission to adopt you. You have to stay with them. They are the ones raising you and taking care of you.”
“But I don’t want to live with them anymore,” Kyle said. “I want to live with you and Dad.”
That caught Mulder off guard. He hadn’t expected to hear Kyle utter the word ‘Dad’ like that. It was the first acknowledgement and it cut his heart to the quick to hear the word ‘Dad’ uttered by the boy.
“Kyle,” Mulder said. “There is nothing in this world we would love more than to have you with us, living in our home and seeing you every single day. But…”
“… but I’m adopted,” Kyle said flatly. “… and I have to stay where I’m at.”
“For now,” Mulder said. “yes.”
Kyle looked away from them and stared out the window. It was starting to get dark and the sky was turning from orange, to red to a deep purple as the sun sank behind the homes of the tree-lined street of Maggie’s block.
It was then that Scully noticed it. A single tear that ran down Kyle’s cheek and landed on the front of his shirt, leaving a small wet spot. She looked at Mulder and his face told her that he was feeling the same as she was. Their hearts ached as they knew the pain of rejection the boy was feeling just then and it hurt them both terribly.
Scully got up and went over to sit beside Kyle. She gently took the boy into her arms and held him close to her bosom. She stroked his hair softly and in that moment, the boy began to cry. It was all she could do to keep from bursting into tears herself. Mulder sat in the chair and watched silently, not knowing what to do.
“Kyle,” Scully said. “You have to understand that we loved you so much that we had to do this. However, when you make a promise to someone, you can’t go back on that promise. We had promised the McNamaras they could raise you as their son and we can’t break that promise to them. It wouldn’t be right.”
“I don’t care!” Kyle said suddenly, pulling away roughly from her embrace.
They had known somehow that this would happen; that Kyle would be angry with them. They had talked about an outburst such as this from him. It was understandable. The boy had every right to feel what he felt. The feeling of rejection from the first ‘no’ they had uttered. The painful scene was just what they had wanted to avoid and it left them to sit silently.
Suddenly the boy wrenched away from her and jumped up off the couch. He launched into his angry tirade.
“You give me away to strangers! You make me call them Mom and Dad when you’re my real parents! You won’t let me live with you and I’m your son! Don’t you want me? Don’t you want to be with me?? Why can’t I live with you????” he yelled through his tears.
They couldn’t answer him.
“I hate you!” he screamed at them. “I wish I had never known I was adopted or come here to meet you! You guys suck!”
He ran from the room and into the kitchen.
Mulder and Scully sat there in miserable silence.
A moment passed before she spoke. “I can’t stand this.”
Mulder came over to sit with her on the couch. He held her.
“I can’t stand knowing how much pain we’ve caused him,” she said.
“He has every right to feel what he feels,” Mulder said. “He’s only ten years old. We can’t expect him to absorb all this information and process it like we do. It’s too much for him.”
“I know,” she sighed.
They sat on the couch for a long time before their peace was interrupted by the front door swinging open and Bill Jr.’s oldest came flying into the house, calling out for Maggie. He disappeared into the kitchen.
The rest of the Scully brood followed one by one.
“Hey, we’re back!” Charlie called out.
Scully stood up and went into the kitchen.
Mulder sat back against the couch as everyone trooped in; Bill bringing up the rear. He took one look at Mulder and scowled.
“Last again, Bill?” Mulder teased. He stopped and stared at Mulder a moment.
He scowled again and mumbled something about parking the car.
Charlie came into the room then and looked at Mulder. “Where’s Mom and Dana?”
Mulder sat up. “I thought they were in the kitchen.”
Charlie shook his head. “No, no one’s in there except Tara and the kids. I just went in there to let Mom know we were back.”
Mulder jumped up and strode into the kitchen. Charlie followed closely behind.
It was true, only Tara and the children were in the room as Tara was getting her son, Billy, something to drink.
“Was anyone here when you walked in?” Mulder asked her.
She shook her head. “No, just us. But the backdoor was left open…”
Mulder turned abruptly and went back into the living room. Charlie and Tara close at his heels.
“What’s wrong?” Charlie asked.
“I don’t know,” Mulder said. “But I could have sworn that your mom and sister were in there with Kyle.”
Suddenly, Scully burst into the house with Maggie and announced that Kyle had run away.
“I knew this would happen!” Scully said.
“We have to look for him,” Maggie said. “It’s too cold for him to be outside like this.”
“He left his coat behind,” Tara said, holding up Kyle’s Columbia jacket.
“Oh my God,” Scully moaned.
“I’ll go to the bus terminal,” Mulder said. “He’s probably going to try and go back to Wyoming.”
“We’ll drive around the neighborhood and see if we can’t spot him,” Charlie said and went to grab his car keys from Jenny.
As they made their plan of places to search, Bill stood back and watched.
“You brought this on yourselves, you know,” he said.
Everyone stopped cold at his words.
“What did you say?” Mulder turned on him.
“You heard me,” Bill said. “You brought this on yourselves.”
“Shut up, Bill,” Charlie growled at him.
“I won’t shut up,” he said to Charlie before he took a step forward towards Mulder. “Everything you touch just turns into shit.”
“WILLIAM!” Maggie hollered. “That is enough!”
“I have stood by at times over the years and allowed you to bully every member of this family,” she said sternly. “But this time, you have gone too far! There is a ten-year-old boy outside in the freezing cold without a proper coat on and needs to be found NOW!”
Mulder stood by, fuming.
“Either you get your coat on and help us find him,” Maggie continued. “Or you stay here and make yourself useful by calling 911.”
No one moved. No one dared say anything.
“What do you want to do?” Maggie asked Bill, staring him straight in the face with her hands on her hips defiantly.
Bill looked down at the floor, away from his mother’s glaring gaze. “Where do you want me to look?”
Maggie nodded triumphantly. “That’s better. I think you should try the playground down the block and then try and see if he’s made it to the highway and is trying to hitch a ride.”
“Mother, I don’t think he’d do something like that,” Scully said.
“Mom is right,” said Charlie. “We don’t know what he’s capable of, Dana,”
Mulder glared one more time at Bill then went to get his coat. He was slipping it on as Charlie grabbed his.
“Everyone else stay here in case he comes back,” Mulder said and then walked over to Scully. “Keep your cell phone close. If we find him, we’ll call.”
She nodded and hugged him.
“Don’t worry,” he whispered into her hair. “We’ll find him. He couldn’t have gone very far.”
He let her go and walked out the front door with Charlie and Bill trailing behind him.
An hour was gone and still Kyle was nowhere to be found. Mulder had rode with Charlie since he wasn’t too familiar with Maggie’s neighborhood.
They had tried the bus terminal first and left word with the clerk behind the desk of what had happened and that if Kyle should show up to call him on his cell phone. He had left his number with the clerk and left.
Mulder’s jaw tightened as he thought back at Bill’s outburst. However, he smiled when he thought of how Maggie had reined him in. He had never seen her lose her temper like that before and made a mental note to never make her mad like that at him.
“… over by the elementary school?” Charlie said.
“What?” Mulder answered. He hadn’t heard what Charlie said.
“I said, should we try over at the elementary school once more?” Charlie repeated.
“Yes,” Mulder agreed.
They rode in silence until Charlie cleared his throat and spoke.
“Listen, I know this isn’t the best time to say this to you, but…”
“Well, let’s put it this way,” Mulder chuckled. “I’d rather listen to you than to Bill.”
Charlie laughed at that. “Yeah, me too!”
They laughed a little then before Charlie began again.
“Seriously, though,” he said. “I just want to say that I don’t think I could handle all that you and my sister are going through right now with Kyle.”
Mulder glanced over at him.
“I mean, meeting him again like this and having him over for Thanksgiving,” Charlie explained.
“Well,” Mulder said. “Scul—I mean, Dana…wanted to do this.”
Charlie smiled. “Hey, it’s okay to call my sister Scully. I told you that.”
Mulder blushed a little, embarrassed. “Oh, right.”
“Anyway,” Charlie continued. “I think it’s great you included him. He should be forewarned as to the family he comes from, y’know? I mean, the Scully Clan is a rowdy bunch!”
“Except Bill,” Mulder quipped.
“Yeah, well we figured out that Mom must have dropped him on his head at some point in time as a baby.’ Cahrlie joked. “Or Dad probably tossed him up too high that he hit his head on the ceiling!” Mulder laughed.
“I know he isn’t exactly a full-fledged member in my fan club but I figured he’d have mellowed out by now,” Mulder said a little too tersely.
“Yeah, well,” Charlie said. “Bill is Bill. You can’t change him. He’s my brother and all but I don’t agree with a lot of what he says and does a lot of the time. How Tara puts up with him, I’ll never know! But she must have a soft spot for hard-luck cases to have been married to him for as long as she has and pop out two kids with him!”
Mulder said nothing. He couldn’t agree with Charlie as he didn’t feel comfortable doing so, but quietly affirmed his feelings to himself. Bill was a tough nut to crack.
“Hey!” Charlie said, pointing over the steering wheel. “What’s that up there?”
The car’s headlights caught a glint of something light-colored and as they neared, they could see a small figure walking at a brisk pace.
It was Kyle.
“Christ! Pull over!” Mulder yelped as Charlie yanked the wheel quickly to the right and placed the car into park.
Mulder leapt out of the vehicle and hurried over to the child.
“Kyle!” he shouted. “Hey! Stop!”
Kyle kept on going. As Mulder neared him, he could see that he had his arms crossed tightly in front of his chest and he was shivering terribly.
“Kyle,” Mulder called to him as he caught up to him. “Stop.”
Mulder caught the boy by the arm and swung him around to face him. He could see the boy had been crying and his face was still streaked with tears.
“What are you doing?” Mulder asked him.
“I want outta here,” Kyle said, gruffly. “I wanna go home.”
“Without saying anything? Just like that?” Mulder asked. “Come on, let’s get in the car where you can warm up.”
Kyle wrenched himself away from Mulder. “No!”
“Come on, Kyle,” Mulder reasoned. “You shouldn’t be out here without your coat on. It’s too cold.”
Kyle turned away and started walking briskly down the road once more. Mulder strode after him, his long-legged strides keeping pace with Kyle’s shorter ones.
“Leave me alone!” Kyle yelled at him.
“I can’t do that, son,” Mulder said.
“Don’t call me son,” Kyle yelled at him. “You gave me away! I’m not your son anymore! You told me that yourself!”
“That is not true, Kyle,” Mulder said. “I never told you that.”
“Yes, you did!” Kyle accused him.
Mulder reached out and spun the boy around to face him again. He knelt down in front of him, gripping the boy’s forearms tightly to keep him from getting away this time.
“No,” Mulder said, looking him in the eyes. “What your mother said and I agree with her is that no matter where you are or where we are, we will always be a family. You will always be our son. That will never change.”
Kyle shook his head. “No, you said you don’t want me.”
He started to cry now.
“No,” Mulder told him. “I said there is nothing in this world your mother and I would love more than to have you with us, living in our home and seeing you every single day.”
He pulled Kyle to him and hugged him tightly.
“I love you, Kyle,” Mulder said. “I want you to know that I am proud to have you as my son.”
“I love you, too, Daddy,” Kyle said, breaking down even more.
Mulder felt his eyes well up. He felt the boy’s small body shiver against him as he sobbed. He pulled back a little, unzipped his coat and snuggled the youngster against him to warm him. He then picked him up and carried him to the car.
Charlie had already stepped out of the vehicle a moment before and was opening the car door to the backseat for Mulder to slip inside. Once safely in the car, Charlie closed the door, scooted around to the driver’s side and hopped in. He placed the car in gear and headed back to Maggie’s house. The ride quiet except for Kyle’s sobs.
As they pulled up, Mulder could see Scully peeking through the living room curtains, watching for any sign of any of the family returning to the house. When she spotted Mulder and Charlie coming up the walkway with Kyle wrapped snuggly in Mulder’s coat and in his arms, she disappeared from the window.
The front door opened and she stood there looking relieved that Kyle had been found and by Mulder and Charlie. She barely waited for them to step through the door as she reached for Kyle and tried to hug him. Mulder set him down and she curled her arms around the boy, a fresh river of tears erupted from them both.
“I’m so sorry, so sorry,” she said, repeatedly.
“I didn’t mean to run away,” Kyle said to her, muffled by the thick coat he was blanketed in.
“He’s okay,” Charlie said. “A little chilled but nothing a cup of hot chocolate won’t fix!”
Maggie, who had been standing nearby, dashed off to the kitchen to make some.
Everyone huddled around Kyle; stroking and tousling his hair, rubbing his arms to warm him. Everyone was talking at once from Tara to Charlie’s little ones. Everyone wanted to know where he had gone and why he had run away as Scully lead him over to the couch where they sat down.
Maggie returned to the living room with a steaming cup of hot cocoa and shooed everyone out of the way. She handed the mug to Kyle and sat down on the other side of him.
“You gave us quite a scare, young man!” she scolded gently.
Kyle looked down at the mug in his hands and nodded, ashamedly.
“But he’s home now,” Charlie answered.
“Yes, he’s home,” Scully said, smiling as she stroked his hair away from his eyes.
Kyle looked up at her. “I’m sorry, Mom.”
“It’s okay, honey,” she said.
“No, it’s not,” Kyle said, shaking his head. “I didn’t mean to run away. I’m sorry I worried you.”
“Sweetie, it’s all right,” Scully said. “You’re back with us. Nothing bad happened to you so as far as I’m concerned, it’s over and done with.”
Kyle nodded at her and took a sip of his cocoa.
“Just no more nightly jogs, okay?” Mulder teased. “At least until you make the cross-country or track team.”
Kyle looked up at him and smiled. “Okay, Dad.”
Scully hugged him, careful not to make him spill his mug.
“Well!” Maggie sighed. “This has definitely been one of our more exciting family holidays, don’t you agree?”
The sentiment was voiced all around.
“Is this what it’s like every year?” Kyle whispered to Scully. She chuckled.
“No,” she said. “But it does make it more interesting when we gather together!”
Okay, okay, maybe I went a little overboard with the angst but hey! Isn’t it more fun that way?
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