By Christine Leigh
Summary: Christmas tree shopping. Seventh of a series of vignettes centering around Mulder and Will that may also be read as a stand-alone. The series starts approximately two years after the end of the show.
Category: Vignette, AU
"It's too tall. They'd have to cut a foot off the top, at least."
"But it looks like my picture."
Mulder looked at the tree in question. True, it was very symmetrical as was the picture that his little artist had drawn last night. Its branches, however, were not orange.
"Daddy, it's our tree."
"Will, do you know how tall it is? It would take nearly four of you to equal its height. Mommy might find different elves to send on this errand next year if we bring this tree back."
Will laughed. As was their habit, they'd done more of that than anything else since arriving at the tree lot. But this was some serious business they had been entrusted with, and the partner elves, as they had taken to referring to themselves, needed to succeed in their mission.
"How about this one?" Mulder turned to look at a shorter, rounder version of the other tree.
"Will, this is a good tree. The branches are nice and even all the way around. And we won't have to cut a hole in the roof to make it fit."
"A hole in the roof -- the red bird will fly in. Daddy, you won't do that."
"Not a good idea, I agree. So, partner elf, what do you think we should do? Or will the cardinal be joining us for dinner from now on?"
Will pondered that. At the sight of the curly headed little boy with his brow now furrowed in deep thought, Mulder wanted nothing more than to scoop his son up in his arms and hold him tight, but he held back. The past three days had been eventful in the most wonderful way, but time was passing fast, and the one thing they needed to do now was select and haul a tree home tonight. Christmas was only a little over a week away.
"Daddy, if we cut the top off the tree we'll have a big tree and a little tree."
"That's true. Two trees. Do we really need two trees, Will?"
"The big one can be for Mommy and me. And you."
"And the little one would be for?"
"That's what I said, Daddy."
Mulder couldn't resist any longer, and crouched down. "Come here." Will ran into his Dad's arms and for a few minutes all elvery was put aside as father and son shared a good hug.
"Will, are you happy about your new sister?"
"Uh huh." Will nodded his head accordingly. "She's little. Mommy likes her a lot."
"Will, you know that Mommy likes you a lot also, don't you? You're her very special boy. Mine, too."
"Am I Mommy's special elf, Daddy?"
Mulder grinned. "That, too. The most special elf of all."
"Daddy, is Kaylie an elf?"
"I'm sure she will be. I think we need to give her a year at least, though. She can be an elf-in-training. How's that sound to you?"
"Good. I can help her draw a picture."
"When she's ready, you'll be the best teacher, I've no doubt. Now, are you sure Will, that this tree wouldn't be best?" Mulder motioned once more to his choice. "You know what I think? I think that Santa would see this tree and would decide that we'd picked the best tree in the world. It's kind of round and jolly looking, just like him."
"Daddy, would he come to our house first?"
"I think there is a very good chance of that happening."
"I like that tree, Daddy. Get that tree."
"Partner elf, I think we've made a wise choice."
"What about Kaylie?"
"Well, let me think about that." Mulder looked around. There was a pile of greens for the taking by the entrance to the lot. There were also bunches of mistletoe tied festively with different colors of ribbon for sale. He caught the attention of a worker and motioned to have the tree taken to be netted and tagged for the ride home.
"Will, why don't you go over to that pile and find a Kaylene-size tree. I'll bet there's something that's just right for her there."
Will was happy to comply with that suggestion. He'd only had his sister for two days, but so far all was good, and he wanted to give her a tree of her own. And Santa might come to their house first! This was going to be the best Christmas ever. He didn't have to dig too deeply in the pile -- there were plenty of smaller cuttings and he found one that was just shy of a foot and looked almost like a real tree. He picked it up and walked over to where his dad stood at the checkout counter.
"Daddy. Here." Mulder finished writing his check and looked down.
"Will, that's just right. I think Kaylene will love it."
"I want Santa to see her. I don't want him to miss Kaylie."
"Santa knows, Will. He knows about both of you."
"Daddy, I have a sister."
"That you do, Will."
"Do you have a sister, Daddy?" Mulder crouched down again.
"Once, I did. Yes."
"Did she have a tree?"
"I don't know that she ever had her own special one like this one you've picked for Kaylene, but we certainly shared a few very nice ones."
"Was she an elf?"
"Yes, I believe she was."
"What was her name, Daddy?"
"Sa-man-tha." Mulder spoke the syllables slowly. "I called her Sam, though, most of the time. Kind of the way that Mommy and I call you Will most of the time."
"Was she a good elf?"
"We're good elves, Daddy."
"Good? We're the very best. Partner elf, I think it's time to head for home. Can you hold onto this and Kaylene's tree?" Mulder handed Will a bunch of mistletoe tied with red ribbon.
"We did good work here tonight. I think we'll be asked back next year."
"And maybe Kaylie, Daddy."
"Of course. Always Mommy." Not for the first time in the last two days Mulder was struck with awe at the thought of his family. Now they were four.
"Merry Christmas, Daddy." Mulder felt a little hand slip into his. If hearts were really able to melt, his chest would contain a big, warm puddle right now.
"Merry Christmas to you, Will. You're my special elf. Don't you ever forget that." The expression on the little face that looked up at Mulder upon hearing that was priceless.
"You're mine, Daddy."
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This story is (c) Copyright 2004 by Christine Leigh. "The X-Files" and its characters are the property of the Fox Network and Ten-Thirteen Productions and are borrowed here without profit or intent for profit.