By Christine Leigh
Summary: Circles come full. This story is the ninth in what I call the Party of Three Universe, which is a series of stories and vignettes that are set post-Requiem.
Category: V, MSR
Spoilers: Amor Fati, minor reference to Pilot.
The Vineyard during early summer is usually still chilly, but today it is warm. The view from her chaise lounge on the deck is spectacular; the breeze blowing through the grass on the dunes gently musical. The tide is out right now, so she can hear the sound of the surf only faintly; the same goes for the beach people. When she returned from her walk an hour ago, there had been several groups, family and otherwise, playing volleyball and reveling in the unexpected lifting of the fog. It was a beautiful afternoon and everyone had come out to play.
These days Scully is about as contented as she's ever before been, and happy to a degree that she once hadn't thought possible. The emotion was always there she realizes, but it had been dormant for so long that when it pushed its way through all the walls she'd built, that she'd had to step back before going forward, finally. Their life together – hers, Mulder's, and William's is the most precious thing in this world and she would do anything to defend it. It is true that they are always on their guard; that will probably never change. They are not alone in this, however, and by day the alliance of family and good friends that they have come to rely on is invaluable. By night, they have each other. When she is in Mulder's arms she is able to believe that nothing bad will ever happen to the three of them. It is a superstition of sorts, she knows, but practicing it allows her mind and body to rest. It had been no small decision for them to stay among their loved ones instead of going underground, but these many months later, she is still certain that it was the right choice.
"Do you want to go down to the beach, Scully? It's gorgeous weather. I think Master Will here would like it. You up for some castle building?"
Before she can turn around to answer the voice, a tender kiss is planted on her lips, and a fresh-from-his-nap Will is landed in her lap. She laughs as she hugs her chubby little just-past-one-year-old. Not too chubby, but just right. She adores her little boy, who is also laughing. He wakes up raring to go, just like his dad. They are definitely two peas in a pod in regard to the similarity of their behavior patterns.
"Sounds good to me. Will, do you want to go play in the sand?"
"San." He continues to laugh.
"I'll take that to mean yes."
She gets up with Will in her arms. He's growing so fast – any day he'll be walking, she knows. Both she and Mulder have seen him try over the last month, but so far to no avail. It will be soon, though. Mulder grabs a blanket to take with them, and they head on down.
They don't build castles. Perhaps, it's just enough to dream of them as they watch the ocean. The three of them are on the blanket, Will now on Mulder's lap. It's a little cooler than it was half an hour ago, but it's still lovely. Most of the volleyball games have ended and there are just a few people wandering about.
"Shell for your thoughts." Mulder handed her a tiny sea shell he'd picked up on the way down. She looked at it for a second sitting there on her palm, and then dropped it into her pocket. The circles just kept on completing.
"I was thinking about you." That got her the requisite grin. She remembered the first time she'd seen that grin. It had been on that first day together in the office. A part of her had wanted to slap it off his face that day. She doesn't recognize that woman; she'd been gone a long time.
"Don't keep me in suspense, Scully."
"I was wondering, Mulder, how old you were when you started to walk." That answer got her a smile. A true, sincere-Mulder smile – the kind that makes her wonder who is cuter, Will or Will's dad when he was that age. She's not seen any baby pictures of Mulder. They exist, and he has them, but thus far has chosen to keep them put away. Baby steps. Those seem to be their watchwords in more than one sense lately.
"I was early, I think. Two weeks before I turned one. We were having Indian summer, and Mom had put a couple of blankets down on the patio and taken me out to play in the sun. She was inside looking out the kitchen window when I stood and fell right back down. Then I stood again and did it. Mom was out there with the camera by then, of course." Scully gave his hand a squeeze.
"You want to get down and dirty, huh, Will? Okay, we'll do just that."
"You get to give him his bath, Mulder."
Mulder lifted Will off his lap, and Will lost no time in crawling right off the blanket and onto the sand.
"And who'll give me mine?" On all fours as well, he followed Will.
Scully sat back and smiled. Both sets of backsides were to her now, crawling off into the sunset. She'd happily stay here another week, but they were due to return home on Sunday. Hmm . . . she'd also be very happy to accommodate Mulder and his bath. Perhaps if they crawled far enough, Will would go to sleep early tonight. Yes indeed, that was a plan worth cultivating. She closed her eyes to enjoy the gentle touch of sea mist upon her face. No spa treatment would ever do for her what this did. When she opened them several minutes later, she could see two shapes working their way back to her, the charms of crawling evidently having worn off, as Mulder was carrying Will. He set him down a few feet from the blanket and the two of them just stood there looking at her. Scully grinned. Will was clutching Mulder's leg. Mulder crouched down and spoke softly to his little boy.
"Will, do you want to show Mommy what you just showed Daddy?"
Scully was silent, her eyes trained on her son. His whole demeanor at the moment was Mulder's, or rather, that of the Mulder of yore. He was looking at her, wanting her to believe him. She could feel the little wheels turning inside him.
"Will, Mommy's waiting. Do you want to go to her?"
Will took one step and stopped. Then he took another and tumbled to the sand. He stood right back up, and continued, three more steps in all before Scully couldn't resist. She scooted a little closer so that the next step put him into her arms.
"San. Wa." Scully looked up at Mulder, who was grinning from ear to ear.
"Mommy's so proud of you, Will. You're a big boy now. What am I going to do?" She swiped at her eyes, but it was no use. The tears weren't going to stop. Mulder sat down next to them.
"One minute he was crawling and the next he wasn't. It was amazing, Scully. I wish you'd been with us."
"It's okay. I'm just glad one of us was there."
"Mulder, is he saying ‛water' or do you think maybe, ‛walk'?
"I was wondering the same thing. He knows water, that's for certain, but we've been talking about walking quite a lot lately, so who knows?"
"Scully, what do you say that we ‛wa' back to the house. It's getting cool."
She nodded in agreement. "It's time." She got up and set Will down and folded the blanket. Mulder was a few feet ahead of them. She crouched down.
"Mulder, turn around." He did, and crouched.
"Will, go to Daddy?" She patted him gently on the back as he stood up, and then nearly ran straight into Mulder's arms. Yep, she thought, he's his father's son, all right. He'd probably be running laps by next week. God, she was happy. She moved to join them.
"Scully, we'll have to do some more child proofing now around the place."
"Around both places. But first things, first."
"Baths and meals, or meals and baths, whichever you prefer." He looked at her now dried eyes and what he could only describe as a loopy smile. His Scully, all the way. Still.
"Sounds like my kind of night."
"A meal and bath for Will, and bed, and a bath and meal for us."
"What about bed?"
~ End ~
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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.