By Christine Leigh
Summary: Post-season nine. Mother's Day events, present and past.
Category: V, A, MSR
Scully was dreaming of the time that Melissa had come home unexpectedly on the Saturday night before Mother's Day. Missy hadn't even known it was the night before that holiday, so wasn't prepared for the wave of emotion that her sudden appearance had brought on. Mom had been so happy, that her older daughter's recent absence from family life hadn't even come up by the time Tuesday arrived, and Missy was once again headed out. In her dream Scully was seeing the looks on their faces that she'd seen on that Sunday night before leaving to return to school. They'd communicated on those matters only through glances, choosing instead to enjoy and share the love that they could. The rest would come another day. In her sleep, she sighed aloud. Another day. She wanted it so.
Mulder had been up since five and was now sitting in the kitchen, ostensibly reading the paper, but in fact was trying to sort through his thoughts. Today was a tough one. Mulder had been thinking about it for at least a couple of weeks now. Every store he'd been in, every time the television or radio was on, everywhere, it was difficult to miss the fact of Mother's Day. Until this year, in his mind it had always been a silly thing, and something he'd not partaken in for the last ten years at least. He remembers sending his mother a card shortly after joining the Bureau, but after that had only spoken to her by chance on this particular day. Some years she'd been away traveling, and most of the other times he just hadn't called. Even after her stroke, he hadn't changed his habit. Now, he wishes he had. It was lousy of him not to have given her that little bit of himself one day a year.
But this year it's a whole new brand of lousy. This year he is worried about Sculy. She hasn't said a word about it; she wouldn't, he knows. But how could she not be affected by this damned day that was staring them in their faces? He wonders if there is a town nearby that they can drive to for the day where there are no retail venues, and no restaurants with those never-ending brunches. He wants to take her to a place where she won't be visually assaulted at every turn. He can't do anything about the assault of her heart; the other perhaps he can lessen for a day.
Dana had been in the kitchen chopping green onions. She'd come home from school late Friday, the night before, and now was helping her mother prepare dinner. Charlie was in the den watching the basketball game and Ahab and Bill were at sea, so it would be the three of them this Mother's Day weekend along with Maggie's mother tomorrow for an early dinner. Dana wasn't too inclined toward cooking, but she could chop, and she and her mother had been chatting and chopping and tossing salad greens while enjoying glasses of wine, when another voice joined in.
"Will a third cook be one too many in the kitchen?" Maggie turned and dropped her glass. She met Missy halfway and they were in a hug before Dana could even register her own surprise at seeing her sister.
"Melissa, oh my dear girl." Maggie uttered this many times before letting goes of her. They both wiped their tears then, and Dana went to get another couple of glasses and did the honors of pouring.
"Missy, I'm so happy to see you." Dana said this quietly, but she was genuinely happy. It had been just over a year since she'd spoken to her sister. She set the bottle on the table and the three of them just sat there in silence for a few seconds. Then they all spoke at once, of course.
"Mom, I know this is..."
"Missy, you look good. You look..."
"Dana, you're home. I was hoping this might be a weekend you'd be here."
They all laughed.
"Well, it is Mother's Day tomorrow." She figured Melissa hadn't known that. Her sister didn't live by any calendar that could be pinned on a wall.
"Oh my God. I didn't know. I really didn't. I just thought it was time to visit. Mom, I didn't know."
"Honey, you're here, and I don't care what day it is." She took Melissa's hand and squeezed it. And then took Dana's and did the same. This was a precious moment for Maggie.
"Is it just you two, or is anyone else here?" Maggie could hear the note of concern in Melissa's voice as she asked this.
"Charlie. He's in the den watching the game. Dad and Bill are on duty." Melissa nodded, more to herself than to her mother.
"Well, shall I go surprise little brother, or just wait to see if he notices another body at the table?"
Maggie grinned and took a sip from her glass. "The table, definitely. That'll be more fun."
Christmas Valley. That was its name. Even in May, there was still a little snow on the ground, and Mulder could see where it would be very pretty in its full winter glory. Very Currier and Ives. He'd found it on an old map in a book he'd perused at the library a few weeks back and had made a mental note. It wasn't labeled on any of the current maps, and he'd wondered if it was really there. Which evidently it was, since they were now driving through it. Markleville would be the town on the other side if they drove that far, but probably they would not. They were in search of a spot to stop and have a picnic lunch, and would most likely turn around and head for home after that. Scully had been quiet, but she seemed all right. He glanced at her. They'd been holding hands for the entire drive. It was a quiet road and he could navigate with his other hand and not worry about safety. They'd seen one other car in the last half hour.
"Mulder, this is pretty. It's probably quite beautiful in the fall with the aspen in full color."
"We'll have to come back for a warmer weather picnic if we're still here then."
"That would be nice." She smiled. It wasn't a heartfelt smile, but it was a smile that he understood. It was the smile that she'd learned after she'd decided that she couldn't go through life and never smile again. No small decision. She'd made an accommodation in order to keep on living and trying to go forward without going crazy. Today was a good day, despite its designation. She was with the man she loved and would always love beyond reason. And if he was the cause of the heartbreak that nearly killed her, he was also the cause of a level of happiness that she'd never thought she would experience in this life, and she clung to that. As did he. They had each other, and if it would never be enough, it was enough for today. This is their life.
It had been a good lunch. They had enjoyed their sandwiches and drinks and had even finished off a couple of good sized brownies. They'd found a spot by a creek and now sat on their picnic blanket looking up at the trees and listening to the water. They were bundled up enough to keep warm, but it would get chilly as the sun fell further, so they had another couple of blankets waiting to pull over them if necessary. The world they'd left behind would call them back, but just now it was heavenly being here and not there, and they were making it last. That was another thing they'd both become adept at over the last year. If a good moment presented itself or if they managed to carve one out, they'd milk it for all they could. This was aside from the nights. Their nights would always be in a separate realm. But their waking moments needed this support system, such as it was.
"Scully, I think I'm getting old. I could sit here for days. I like this quiet; it's a perfect quiet. Not scary or weird."
"I never considered that, Mulder."
"There's a beauty to it, Scully."
She turned her head to look at him. There were lines that hadn't been there two years ago, but he was still impossibly gorgeous. Women would never stop looking. "Mulder, I don't think you need to worry. Your looks are holding."
He grinned at her. He hadn't been serious about the age remark. They should both look at least a hundred years old for all that they'd experienced. Yet, Scully still looked like a teenager at times to him. Catch her with no makeup and her hair in a ponytail doing work around the apartment, and anyone would think she was the babysitter. That is, if one were required. He turned away from her at that thought. She noticed the change in him immediately.
"Mulder, what is it?"
"Don't say that, please."
"Just some thoughts. That led to some other thoughts."
It was no use to hold back, so he told her. "I was thinking that when you have your hair in a ponytail and are doing housework that you don't look any older than someone's babysitter."
"Oh, I see." And she did. That was another thing at which they were both good--system maintenance. At any given moment a random thought or comment could bring the whole thing to a crashing halt if they weren't careful. Careful in this case meaning that they didn't speak for a few minutes.
"Mulder, I'm okay."
"I'm sorry. I didn't want to go there today."
"I know. But, you know Mulder, are we really ever not there? I know we've made adjustments and accommodations, but are we really ever not thinking about him?" She paused for several seconds. "About William?" That was difficult, but then in an instant she felt a little better. She had needed to say his name aloud.
"Then it's all right. I feel better having said his name. What about you?"
He wasn't sure he could. But he looked at her face and knew that it must make it better, somehow. She actually had a spark in her eye that hadn't been there before. He pulled from her what he needed to go forward, and then spoke.
They remained there for another half an hour and then packed up their picnic. They didn't say another word.
It had been a delicious and fun-filled dinner. Charlie hadn't disappointed them. Upon seeing the extra body he'd thrown himself on the floor in a mock fit of surprise. Now he was happily consuming his dinner and plotting.
"Mom, do you mind if I go over to Walt's tomorrow after church? We have some stuff to do for Monday at school."
Maggie was fully aware that her youngest child was working the Melissa's home angle for all it was worth, but couldn't do anything but say yes. He was definitely more spoiled than the others had been, but tonight she was a sucker for his wiles.
"All right. As long as you're home for dinner. Grandma will want to say hello to you. I'm sure she'll want to hear all about your project. You know how she enjoys basketball."
Charlie grinned. "Thanks, Mom."
"You're welcome." She was one happy woman tonight.
"Missy, I'm glad you're here." This from Charlie.
"Yeah, I can feel the love." Her little brother would always be the family goof as far as she was concerned, but she had to admit that she'd missed him. Just not too loudly.
"Dana, how's your semester going?"
"It's going. It's harder than I'd thought it would be, but I'm on top of things."
"I like it. I don't regret any of my choices."
"That's good to hear. I know how much it means to you to succeed in your chosen field, and I've no doubt you will."
Dana blushed slightly. Two years ago Melissa would have been more interested in her personal life than her potential professional one. It was kind of nice to have her interested in that aspect of her life, but in a way it was also a little sad. Missy was the one person who always made her feel like she wasn't just a good daughter and student, but one of the girls as well.
"So, any boyfriends?"
Dana laughed now; her sadness having obviously been premature.
"No, Missy. Sorry. There really hasn't been much time to date or even think about it."
"Maybe next semester. Any cute professors?"
"Melissa, you're incorrigible." This from Maggie.
"No, just hopeful."
"Mom, may I be excused?" This from Charlie.
"Of course. The second half must have started by now. You're late."
Charlie got up and planted a kiss on his mother's cheek. "Mom, you really are the coolest."
"Oh, well, then maybe I'll bring dessert into you shortly. Go, enjoy."
He was gone.
"Mom, I'm going to start cleaning up. You and Missy stay and talk."
"Sweetheart, thank you, but you stay. We'll clean up together. There's no rush. I want to enjoy having both of my girls with me."
Dana got up and walked to where Maggie was sitting and wrapped her arms around her mother's neck in a tight hug. Maggie was surprised and thrilled. Her younger daughter wasn't always the most demonstrative person.
"Mom, I've always thought that Mother's Day was a kind of silly, made-up holiday, but I don't feel that way now. I know I'm a few hours early, but happy Mother's Day. I'm so glad we're here together." She nodded to include Melissa in her comment.
"Sweetheart, you're a very special girl. I don't know what you see for yourself down the road, but I think that one day you'll be a special mother, too. And you too, Melissa. The two of you are so different, but in your very individual ways I think that you would make wonderful mothers."
Dana was amazed to hear her mother say these things. She didn't even know if she wanted to be a mother, but she felt all warm inside knowing that her mother felt this way. She wanted to hold on to this feeling.
"Now, how about some dessert?" Maggie knew when to move on.
"I'm ready. Very ready. That's the real reason I stopped by, you know."
"Of course." It was good to know that Melissa's sweet tooth hadn't disappeared over the year.
"So, I'll put the coffee on, slice up the cheesecake and we'll settle in." Maggie got up and went to the kitchen, leaving her daughters to muse over her comments. Melissa spoke first.
"Dana, you know, I do want to be a mother. Not right away, but some day."
"You'll be good at it. I don't know if I'm cut out for it, though. Maybe I'll just be an aunt."
"No, Dane. You'll be a mother. I can see it. Really, I can."
"Okay, how many?"
"Two, maybe three." Melissa was starting to have fun now; Dana looked a little pale. "Okay, how about one for starters?"
"That sounds better."
"Well then, Happy Mother's Day to us. One day, far, far away." That gave them a giggle.
Dana was suddenly thinking that she didn't want to leave tomorrow after dinner, as she had planned.
"Missy, thanks for turning up tonight. I'm so glad I was here."
"You're welcome. Next time, though, I want some stories."
"Of love, not libraries."
Then across the table came Melissa's hand. She extended a pinky finger to her sister. Dana returned the gesture and they linked.
~ End ~
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This story is (c) Copyright 2003 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.