By Christine Leigh

Summary: Set in the future. A happy memory is shared.
Rating: G
Category: MSR, V
Spoilers: None.

"So, where did it come from?"

Kaylene smiled. This was only their second date, but she felt she'd known Larry all her life. They'd talked more during the last three weeks than she'd talked to anyone, except for her mother, in probably the past year. They had just finished a delicious dinner and were lingering over their wine, and Kaylene was wondering if this was it. She was feeling most definitely romantic tonight. Was this what her parents had? She wanted whatever it was they had, but was this it? She returned her mind to their conversation.

"My father gave it to me. He made it up one afternoon after we'd spent most of the day playing together. I was five years old and was home all day with both of my parents, which was unusual, since normally when one was home, the other was at work. But on this day we were together the entire day. Will was in school, Mom was busy with various projects, and Dad was supposed to be writing, but he was easily distracted when there was a willing play partner in the vicinity, so we goofed off and had fun most of the day, until my request broke it up."

Kaylene paused. The story had just come out, without her thinking twice about it. They had been talking about childhood nicknames, and it just spilled out. But, she thought to herself, I'm glad to share this. He's a good man, and I want to share this story about the best man I've ever known.

Larry was looking at her and wondering if he'd ever seen a more beautiful woman. Sappy, yeah, but it was true, he thought. Her eyes twinkled. They couldn't help it. And her smile; she'd had him after the first one, which had come his way upon their introduction three weeks ago. It had taken him about ten minutes to conclude that Kaylene was one special woman. He considered it for a few seconds, and then reached across the table and took her hand. His gesture was not refused.

She continued her story.

"I think I mentioned already that my parents always called each other by their last names. As a young child, I always thought them so mysterious, but in a good way, because of this. I even used to make up stories about them in my head as though they were characters from a fairytale. Well, after spending the better part of a day listening to them, I decided I wanted in on it and told Dad that I wanted to have a special name, too. I can just see the look on his face. He was the most patient father in the world. I don't think I remember him ever looking at me or Will like we were crazy when we asked him a question." Kaylene gave a small laugh. "Nothing was too crazy for him. On the other hand, with Mom all we had to do was watch her eyebrow. It would arch in direct proportion to the outlandish quotient of whatever Dad, Will, or I were discussing with her. Well, Dad took my request very seriously and said he'd have to do some research to find just the right name. He retreated to the study and closed the door."

"He sounds like a terrific guy." Larry gave her hand a gentle squeeze. It felt good to touch her. She smiled her acknowledgment.

"Mom's main project during this day was updating our baby books. She had pictures of Will and me, and of the four of us together spread out over the kitchen table, and she was busy writing things and organizing them and choosing what to put into the books. Anyway, by the time she had finished, Dad was still in the study and I was starting to get impatient, so I went and knocked on the door. When he answered, he addressed me formally. I used to get such a kick out of that. We still do this now if a situation provokes it, that is, call each other Mr. and Ms. while trying to be dead serious over something that's anything but. It was our equivalent of trying to keep a straight face, and it always devolved into a laughing session, usually pretty fast. But that didn't happen this time. He was in serious mode. I knew this because he was wearing his glasses, which he always did when he was among his books. I asked him if he had my name yet, and he said no, nothing had struck him as special enough in the books he'd been going through. Then Mom joined us, holding the baby books which she needed to put away. Well, that was the charm. Dad took mine from her and settled back down at his desk. He became totally absorbed, and I went to my room to play. I hadn't known that making this request would cost me my playmate, and I was starting to wish that I hadn't made it, when finally, there was a knock on my bedroom door. It was Dad. He said he had it, so I let him in. He sat down on the floor next to me and explained what the name was and why he'd chosen it."

Larry was delighted that Kaylene was sharing this. They had exchanged a few family stories during their conversations over the past weeks, but tonight was different. He'd been on so many dates where his brain tuned the conversation out before the entree arrived, and this was the direct opposite of that. He wanted to hear whatever she had to say. She gave another laugh. It was beautiful.

"Bet you didn't think the story of how a nickname was chosen could ever be so involved. This is the home stretch, I promise. Well, we were sitting side by side on my bedroom floor, our backs up against the bed. I remember looking at his long legs next to my short ones. He said that the special name he had chosen for me was Mim. I repeated it, not knowing what to think. Mim, okay. Then after a few seconds, I asked him if he got it from my book. He replied yes, he had, from looking at one of his favorite pictures of me. I was three, and in the picture I'm holding Mom's phone and talking to him. He'd been away from home for two weeks and was missing us all terribly, and Mom decided it was time for me to make my first phone call. My special name, Dad said, consisted of the first letter of each of the three words that made up the very first sentence I ever uttered, and coincidentally his three favorite words in the English language.

"Which were?"

"Mulder, it's me."

~ End ~

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This story is (c) Copyright 2001 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.