Title: Reclamation, Part Fifteen
Rating/Pairing: PG-13, M&S (w/William)
Summary: In the fall of 2012, William Van de Kamp shows up on Mulder and Scully's doorstep. As they learn about the circumstances that brought him to them, they must learn to be a family together while also protecting William from the conspiracy that still seeks to use him for their own purposes.
Feedback: Yes, please. firstname.lastname@example.org
Archive: Not to Gossamer. I'll submit directly there. Yes to anywhere else. Just let me know, please.
Warnings: Mild violence/violent imagery, mild bad language, William-centric (not baby-fic); Post-IWTB, mytharc-ish.
Author's Notes: Written for XF Big Bang 2010. Thanks to all who helped me--my sister, my great beta, Anubis (whose knowledge of guns and ammo came in very handy!) and my great artist, Fidella!
Virginia Hospital Center
William lay in the hospital bed, his right hand stippled with gunpowder, an IV line in the crook of his left elbow. He was lightly sedated and his hands were loosely restrained.
Scully sat at his side while Mulder restlessly paced the room.
Mulder hated to see him like this. It reminded him too much of his own ordeal after his sister's disappearance, but he'd given in to Scully's concerns. William had been through too much for a boy his age and his body and mind needed time to rest.
"Mulder," Scully finally said, "why don't you sit down, or maybe go get a cup of coffee?"
"Sorry," Mulder said, running a hand through his hair and sitting in the chair on the other side of the bed.
"How long do you think he'll be here?"
"I think he'll be better in the morning," Scully answered, smoothing her son's hair and checking his cheek and forehead for fever. "If he has a quiet night we'll probably be able to take him home some time tomorrow."
"Do you think he'll be permanently...damaged?" he asked with a wince, hoping she knew what he meant even though he couldn't quite find the right words.
"He's been through so much since the Van de Kamps were killed," Scully said. "But he hasn't had the time to really begin the grieving process for his parents. I don't know that it's fully hit him yet."
She looked at Mulder for a moment, then looked back at the boy.
"He's very much like you in that way, you know."
"What do you mean?" Mulder asked, a little afraid of her answer.
"He has your ability to focus," she began, "to set everything aside in order to do what needs to be done. When the Van de Kamps were killed, he didn't collapse in shock and panic, but started thinking about what he needed to do. He did all those things--covered his tracks, thought about what needed to be done, and figured out how to get out here to us. Only when he finally got out here did he begin to think about what he'd been through. And then when we pressed him into this fight, he did it again. He put aside the shock of finding out about the aliens and about what they wanted from him. He fought like a soldier and killed those...those...things." A single tear rolled down her cheek as she tenderly rubbed William's hand. "He's still a baby."
Mulder pressed a fist against his mouth to steady his trembling lips, looking at his son, who looked too much like himself.
"It's over for now, Scully," he said at last, through the tightness in his throat. "He'll have time to go back to being a boy." He saw again the sight of William squeezing off round after round, like a miniature soldier. Could he indeed go back to simple boyhood? "I hope."
Scully stood up and stretched her neck and back, working out the kinks from her awkward position at the bedside. Mulder had stepped out to get them something to eat and Scully went to the window to look out at the evening.
The nation's capital was a beautiful place in the fall twilight and it had been many years since she'd had the time or opportunity to enjoy it. When she and Mulder lived and worked in the area, she would often gaze out in the direction of her mother's home in Baltimore.
Her mother..... Scully turned and looked at William, her hand going to her mouth as a smile grew there.
She stepped over to the telephone and dialed the familiar number.
"Hello?" Margaret Scully's voice was casual and warm, just the way Scully loved to hear it.
"Mom," Scully began, "It's me, Dana."
"Oh, my goodness!" Maggie responded, her smile evident over the phone. "Dana, honey, how are you?"
"I'm fine, Mom," Scully said with a quiet laugh, trying to keep her voice down, though she suddenly wanted to laugh out loud.
"Listen, Mom," she went on, "I'm here in Arlington, at the hospital..."
"The hospital?" Maggie interrupted. "Is everything all right? Is Fox hurt?"
"No, no, we're both fine," Scully assured her. "I've got a little surprise for you and I'd like you to come out and see it, if you can. We're in room 416."
"A little surprise at the hospital?" Maggie asked. "Dana, did you and Fox..."
"Mom, I did not have a baby," Scully said with a chuckle. "Um, not exactly... Just come out and see for yourself. I know you'll be very excited."
"Dana, why are you being so mysterious?"
Scully watched William sleeping.
"Come and see, Mom," she said softly.
Maggie Scully knocked gently on the door of room 416. Visiting hours were technically over, but AD Skinner had ordered an FBI agent to wait at the entrance of the hospital to escort her upstairs.
Scully opened the door and smiled broadly at her mother and they shared a long, tight embrace.
Maggie kissed her daughter and paused a moment to just look at her face.
"Oh, honey, I haven't seen you in so long," she said, tears welling up in her eyes.
Mulder came up behind Scully and Maggie drew him into an embrace as well.
"How are you, Fox?" she asked, rubbing a maternal hand up and down his arm.
"I'm fine, Maggie," he said, drawing her into the room.
"Mom," Scully began, taking her mother's hand as they moved to stand at the foot of the bed. "This is..."
"William!" Maggie gasped quietly. "Oh, my God!" She pressed a hand over her gaping mouth as the tears in her eyes began to roll down her cheeks.
She tore her gaze away from the boy to look at her daughter. "How...? Where...?" She couldn't begin to imagine how he had come to be here.
"It's a long story, Mom," Scully said somberly, "and I promise to tell you everything soon, but I just thought you'd like to see your grandson." Maggie nodded, moving up to gaze at the boy's face. Her smile faded as she at last took in his situation.
"What happened to him?" she asked, laying a gentle hand on his chest, not taking her eyes off of him.
"Soon," Scully repeated. "I'll tell you soon. He's going to be fine, though. He's fine."
"Oh, my sweet grandbaby," Maggie whispered.
William stirred slightly and opened his eyes, finding himself looking into the eyes of the woman he had seen in the scrapbook.
"I'm sorry, honey," Maggie said gently. "I didn't mean to wake you."
"William," Scully said, stepping up on the other side of the bed. "This is your grandmother."
He gazed at her with sleepy eyes, a slight smile on his drowsy face.
"You go back to sleep, sweetie," Maggie murmured, bending to kiss his cheek. "I'll see you soon."
Outside of Richmond
Sunday, October 14
The sedan pulled up in front of the house.
Scully went to unlock the door as Mulder bent to lift William from the car. The boy had fallen asleep on the long drive home and Mulder didn't want to wake him. They were all so exhausted.
William stirred just enough to wrap himself around Mulder as he was carried into the house and up the stairs.
As Mulder started to turn toward William's room, Scully stopped him.
"Bring him in here," she whispered, leading him into their bedroom. She stripped the drowsing boy down to t-shirt and underwear and then went to change into her own pajamas.
Mulder and Scully crawled into the bed on either side of William and Mulder drew them both into his arms. He left the bedside lamp on its lowest setting, leaving a warm glow in the room.
"Mulder," Scully whispered.
"Is it really over?"
Mulder was quiet for a moment. Were the aliens still out there in space, in their ships, waiting to try again? Perhaps. But there was nothing to be done about that.
"I have to think so, for now."
"That doesn't sound very certain."
"Nothing in life is certain, Scully. Except this," he said, stretching over William to take her mouth with his. "And us--the three of us."
"Do you think we can be good parents, Mulder?"
"We'll have to be, I guess. I'm sure it will be a learning experience for all of us, Scully."
William's voice startled them a bit.
"Yes, son?" Scully replied.
William took her hand and pulled her arm around his body as he turned toward Mulder and threw his arm across Mulder's back.
"I'm trying to sleep."
Mulder looked at Scully over William's head, a grin growing over his face, a chuckle escaping him.
He leaned his head forward until his forehead met Scully's, letting the warmth of this moment soak in.
Whatever battles he had yet to fight, this was where he would gain the strength he would need. Their son had been restored to them. Their family was whole again and this, this was what their life was about now. This was now his Truth.