Title: Believing in Miracles
Author: Polly - firstname.lastname@example.org
Classification: Kid Fic, Scully POV, MSR, AU
Spoilers: Everything through Season 8; in this story, Season 9 never happened
Disclaimer: "The X-Files" and its characters belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and FOX. No copyright infringement is intended
Thanks: To Peg's Girl for beta and insight; other notes at the end
Archive: If you want it, it's yours
Feedback: Always welcome and greatly appreciated
Summary: Do you believe in miracles?
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SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2004
"C'mon, Mommy! You're gonna miss the singing!"
The squeals of laughter coming from the other room told me the singing wasn't all I might be missing so I willed the microwave to pop faster. "I'll be right there," I called back, wiping down the countertop and turning on the dishwasher while I waited.
The popping finally slowed and I snagged the bag from the oven, trying to get it open as quickly as possible without letting the steam scorch my fingertips. I coaxed one corner loose, added the bag's contents to the already half-filled bowl, and headed down the hallway.
Will's high-pitched shriek nearly sent the glass bowl flying out of my hands.
"Hey, what's going on in here?" I asked sternly as I stood in the doorway of the family room.
The two suspected rabble-rousers were immediately as quiet as church mice. They sat side by side on the worn leather sofa, stocking feet resting on the edge of the coffee table, rally caps turned backward, two angelic faces staring up at me with matching lopsided grins. They even answered in perfect unison: "Nothing."
"I'll bet." I sat the bowl of popcorn on the table and smiled at Mulder and his pint-sized carbon copy. The World Series was about to begin and my three-year-old was bubbling over with youthful enthusiasm. My forty-three-year-old was only slightly less exuberant.
"Sit down, Mommy." Will patted the empty space next to him on the sofa, while Mulder picked up Will's baseball mitt and fiddled with the wrist adjustment.
I took my seat as Mulder slid the glove onto Will's left hand. He beamed with fatherly pride as Will punched his fist into the pocket of the mitt a few times before holding it up to his face to inhale the aroma of the well-treated leather.
Lately Will insisted on wearing his mitt when we watched baseball on television, wanting to be prepared in case a foul ball came hurtling out of the set. It didn't surprise me that Mulder hadn't explained to Will that the glove wasn't necessary; it was only surprising that Mulder wasn't wearing one too.
They were as alike as two peas in a pod. Will had inherited a few of my physical traits -- my blue eyes and slight nose, auburn highlights in his chestnut hair -- but the rest was pure Mulder. He had Mulder's full lips and long fingers. They had the same build, the same walk. Will even argued like Mulder -- hands on hips, shirtsleeves pushed up to his elbows. There was no mistaking the fact that William was his father's son.
And like his father, he loved baseball.
"Oh my God."
Mulder startled me out of my musings. "What's wrong?" I asked.
He held out his hand, showing me the popcorn kernels in his palm. "First the Red Sox defy all odds to make it to the World Series and now you're serving us buttered popcorn," he said. "That's like two signs of the apocalypse in the same week. I'm wondering if I should start building that fallout shelter."
I acknowledged his sarcasm with a wry smile as he shoved the corn into his mouth and rubbed his stomach, a satisfied "Mmmm" escaping his lips.
"I'm still not sure I understand why you're so giddy about the Red Sox being in the World Series," I said as Will wriggled into my lap. "They did slay your beloved Yankees."
Mulder grabbed another handful of popcorn. "I am a Yankee fan, Scully. But first and foremost, I'm a baseball fan. And as a fan of the game, I have to appreciate the magnitude of what the Red Sox did. I'm just sorry they had to do it against the Yankees."
"They had to win four games to get to the World Series and they did," I said innocently. "I still don't see why everyone, including you, is making such a big deal out of it."
Mulder shook his head at my apparent inability to grasp the obvious. "It's a big deal because they did something that most people, except for their most die-hard fans maybe, thought was impossible," he replied, pausing to wash down his popcorn with a sip of iced tea. "Think about it, Scully. They were three games down, humiliated by the Yankees in that third game, within three outs of being eliminated, and yet somehow, against all odds, they fought their way back and won four straight. What they did was miraculous, something that no other team has been able to do in a hundred years. They made history. And we were here to see it, weren't we, Will?"
Mulder held up his hand for a high five and Will obliged with great enthusiasm.
"And do you know how they were able to do that?" Mulder asked with the timbre of an evangelist addressing his faithful.
Will and I shook our heads.
"Because they never lost faith that they could do it," Mulder said. "And faith is how you make miracles."
Mulder playfully tickled Will's tummy, sending our son into a full-fledged giggle fit. As Will squirmed on my lap, Mulder glanced up at me and smiled. "And I definitely have a much greater appreciation for miracles than I used to," he added.
I reached out and touched Mulder's cheek, his weekend stubble rough against my fingertips. "That goes double for me," I whispered, reminded of how grateful I was to be sitting here with *both* of my miracle men.
Mulder leaned forward, intent on planting a kiss on my ready and waiting lips, but Will used the opportunity to scramble into his father's lap. I shrugged and Mulder rolled his eyes with the resigned sigh of a man who'd become accustomed to amorous interludes being at the very least postponed by an inquisitive and energetic three-year-old. Mulder had even begun to jokingly refer to our son as "William Interruptus."
"Anyway," Mulder continued as he situated Will in his lap, "this year, even a Yankee fan has to tip his cap to the Red Sox."
"You know, that's one thing I've never understood about you, Mulder," I said after a sip of my own tea. "You're a native son of New England and you root for the Yankees instead of the Red Sox. Isn't that sacrilege or something?"
Mulder chuckled. "Well, I haven't always been a Yankee fan. I was a Red Sox fan once."
I raised an eyebrow. "And you *defected* to the Yankees? Isn't that worse than sacrilege?"
He laughed again. "I was a Red Sox fan when I was a kid. My father made sure of that. He loved baseball and he worshiped the Red Sox. Took me to my first game when I was only a little older than Will."
William fidgeted a bit at the sound of his name, and Mulder squeezed his knee to settle him down.
"I'll never forget that game," Mulder continued. "Do you remember that movie where Billy Crystal talks about his father taking him to Yankee Stadium for the first time?"
I nodded, though I couldn't recall the film.
"It was just like that the first time my father took me to Fenway Park." Mulder's eyes softened to a mossy green and I was mesmerized by the dreamy quality in his voice as he spoke. "It was summer 1967. I remember how tight he held my hand as we walked through the stadium. We came out of the tunnel and the first thing I saw was the Green Monster in left field. I remember how blue the sky was, the smell of the freshly mowed grass, the sounds of batting practice. We sat on the first base side right behind the dugout. He taught me how to keep score and he bought me three hot dogs. Lonborg pitched a three-hit shutout and Yastrzemski hit a home run. It was one of the best days of my life."
Mulder rested his chin on top of Will's head and enveloped our son in a gentle bear hug. "We used to go to six or seven games a year," he continued, his eyes fixed on the TV screen. "Then we stopped."
Stupid, stupid, stupid! I knew perfectly well 'why,' but the word came out before I could stop it. "I'm sorry," I mouthed silently.
Mulder put a hand on my knee and nodded his forgiveness before turning his attention back to the television. "Look, Will." He pointed at the set where the players were beginning to assemble along the baselines. "It's almost time."
Will squealed with delight and shifted his weight, allowing me to snuggle closer to Mulder. I listened as the public address announcer started introducing the St. Louis players, but I couldn't contain my curiosity. "So with all that Red Sox history steeped in your veins, why did you become a Yankees fan?"
Mulder put his arm around me and sighed. "To hurt my father."
I looked up into his eyes and he nodded slightly. "When my parents separated and my father moved out, I felt like I'd been completely abandoned. First Samantha, then Dad. All I wanted to do was hurt him, and the best way I knew how was by becoming a Yankee fan."
He paused for a moment and looked down at Will. "All sons rebel against their fathers; it's only natural. But I think that was the cruelest thing I could have done to him. I don't think he ever forgave me for that."
Will joined in as the Boston fans cheered the introduction of the Red Sox players and Mulder smiled. "I guess that's why it's important for me to share this with Will. It's the least I can do for my father. He never got to see the Red Sox win a world championship, but maybe his grandson will."
"Do you really think the Red Sox are finally going to win this year?" I asked.
Mulder pulled off his cap, tossed it on the coffee table, and scratched his head. "I believe the Cardinals are a pretty good team, but I think this year they're facing a buzz saw," he said. "Call it fate, call it destiny. I think this year, without a doubt, the curse *is* reversed."
"That reminds me, Mulder," I said as Boston's starting lineup was introduced. "In all our years on the X-Files chasing down flukemen, mothmen, blue sea monsters, liver eating mutants, and Mexican goat suckers, investigating haunted houses, alien shapeshifters, and every conspiracy theory known to man, how is it that we never once looked into this supposed 'Curse of the Bambino'?"
Mulder put his arm around me again and squeezed my shoulder. "Elementary, my dear Scully. Because that's one X-File I didn't want solved."
I laughed. "I guess you really are a Yankees fan."
"That's right," he replied. "Just like my chip off the old block here." He bounced Will up and down on his knee. "Who's your favorite player, Will? Derek Jeter, right?"
"No, Johnny Damon!"
Mulder grabbed his chest in mock distress. "Ooh, Will, you wound me, son."
Will just giggled.
"You said it yourself, Mulder," I interjected. "Every son rebels against his father sooner or later. It's only natural."
"Yeah, but I wasn't expecting the rebellion to start quite this soon." Mulder shook his head. "I guess that's poetic justice. My father is probably having a pretty good laugh over this right about now."
"I think that your father would be very proud that you're passing down the love of baseball to your son," I said. "No matter what team he decides to follow."
"Shhh!" Will held one finger sternly at his lips and motioned for us to stand. "It's the singing," he whispered.
He pulled off his cap and held it over his heart as Mulder had taught him to do, and the three of us stood there solemnly as Steven Tyler belted out the first few bars of "The Star Spangled Banner."
We were on our best patriotic behavior until Mulder decided to provide air guitar accompaniment. When the song concluded, the stadium erupted and Will and I applauded enthusiastically as Mulder took his bows and moonwalked to the kitchen to refill our iced tea glasses.
A few minutes later we were piled on the comfortable old sofa, Will sandwiched between Mulder and me, and the game was underway. By the end of the first inning, Boston was ahead four to nothing.
"Well, it looks like your 'team of destiny' is off to a good start," I observed.
"With the Red Sox, it ain't over till it's over," Mulder replied. "If Will's going to forsake the Yankees to be a Sox fan, he might as well learn that right now. In fact, no matter how tonight's game turns out, it probably wouldn't hurt for you two to light a candle at church tomorrow."
"Are you saying you believe in divine intervention?"
Mulder shrugged. "I'm saying that even though I don't think the Cardinals have a prayer, no pun intended, I don't think it would hurt to say one for the Red Sox."
St. Louis scored a run in the top of the second and during the commercial break that followed Will crawled into Mulder's lap and rested his head against his father's collarbone. He sat quietly for a moment, pulled off his mitt, tilted his head back, and looked up at Mulder. "How come you don't never go to mass with us, Daddy?" he asked.
Mulder glanced at me, his eyes pleading for rescue.
I shook my head slowly and smiled. "Your son asked you a question, Mulder."
"Grandma makes pancakes after," Will offered as incentive.
"She does?" Mulder stared at me disapprovingly. "Mommy neglected to mention that."
"I didn't think I should have to bribe you into going to church," I replied.
Mulder chewed his bottom lip and scratched his chin. "Well, I guess I am a little overdue saying thanks for a couple of things," Mulder said. "Whatdya say I go to mass with you and Mommy tomorrow? I'll even say a few Hail Mulders for the Red Sox, in honor of you and Grandpa."
"Yay!" Will clapped his approval.
"You going to church of your own free will," I teased. "Better get to work on that fallout shelter, Mulder. The third sign of the apocalypse has just arrived."
Will was usually good for three innings or so and tonight's game was no exception. By the top of the fourth, the score was seven to two in favor of the Red Sox and Will was sound asleep, never stirring when Mulder carried him off to bed. He and Mulder would talk about the game in the morning, and by the end of the discussion, Will would somehow believe he'd stayed awake for the whole thing.
When Mulder returned from Will's bedroom, the score was seven to five.
"How'd that happen?" Mulder asked.
"It seems the road to Destiny has a few detour signs." I gave Mulder a brief rundown of the Cardinals' three-run rally and added, "I guess you were right. It ain't over till it's over."
Mulder switched off the lights and the room was bathed in the soft blue glow from the TV set. He returned to the couch, kicked off his shoes, and swung his legs up onto the sofa cushions, his head falling gently into my lap and his feet hanging off the other end. He grinned up at me before folding his arms across his chest and turning his eyes toward the game.
"Comfy?" I asked with a pinch of sarcasm.
He sighed happily. "Very."
I opened my mouth to scold him, but my heart wasn't in it. As we watched the game in silence, I combed my fingers through Mulder's hair -- nearly as soft and silky as his son's -- and scraped my nails gently along his scalp. Every so often he seemed to purr like a contented cat perched on a sun-drenched windowsill.
This was what I loved most about our lives now -- quiet evenings at home, our son tucked in his bed safe and sound, an opportunity to experience the same ordinary moments that millions of other people take for granted every day. After everything Mulder and I had endured, together and separately, I believed we deserved these moments. We earned them, *more* than earned them.
The Cardinals tied the game in the sixth inning, assisted by some sloppy fielding by the Red Sox, and Mulder chuckled. "Did you see that, Scully?"
He sat up and pointed at the TV. "There. That shadow on the pitcher's mound. I think The Babe has awakened."
I rubbed my thighs, restoring circulation. "Still time to file a 302 with Skinner, open an X-File on that curse," I said.
"Nah." He shook his head. "Actually, I'm kind of hoping the Red Sox will finally put this curse thing to rest."
His eyes narrowed and his lips curled into a wicked smile. "Yeah. Then next year when the Yankees wipe the floor with them they won't be able to fall back on that old lame curse excuse."
I kissed his cheek. "You're all heart."
We took the seventh inning stretch literally. I went to check on Will while Mulder took a bathroom break. When I returned to the family room he had freshened our iced teas and was sitting on the couch, his feet propped on the coffee table.
I sat close beside him, my hand on his knee as I tucked my legs up under me. He fought back a yawn, stretched his arms straight out, and nonchalantly slipped one around my shoulder, a move he probably perfected in high school.
Mulder pulled me closer and brushed my hair away from my eyes. I tilted my head back and he pressed his lips to mine, softly, slowly. I tried to deepen the kiss but he pulled back.
"Any chance of Will waking up anytime soon?" he whispered.
"Don't think so," I replied, barely able to concentrate as he caught my earlobe between his teeth. "With all the excitement, he seems to be down for the count."
"Mupf," was the only sound I could make out as Mulder's mouth was otherwise occupied. I closed my eyes, lost in the sensation; and the next thing I knew I was on my back, stretched out full length on the sofa, Mulder's lips pressed against my jaw. I hoped he hadn't perfected *that* move in high school, and the thought made me chuckle.
Mulder's face appeared in front of mine. "Not exactly the reaction I was going for," he said.
"Sorry," I apologized. "What *were* you going for, exactly?"
His fingers moved to the front of my shirt, loosening the buttons one by one. "The Red Sox have inspired me," he said. "I thought maybe we could start working on another little miracle of our own."
"You don't think we've used up our quota?"
"There's only one way to find out." The last button was freed and Mulder pushed the fabric aside. He placed a soft kiss over my heart before turning his attention to more "sensitive" areas.
While I tangled one hand in his hair, I reached out blindly with the other, catching the waistband of his jeans with my fingers. I was attempting the one-handed button fly release move I'd perfected in med school when I remembered the cheering I heard in the background *wasn't* for us.
I was almost afraid to ask, but knew I had to. "Don't you want to see the rest of the game?"
We both smiled and quickly began to divest ourselves of only as much clothing as necessary -- a skill we'd jointly perfected with a curious youngster in the house.
"Before we go any further, Mulder," I said as I wriggled my jeans over my hips, "I think it only fair to tell you that the chances of us making another miracle tonight are slim to none."
"Oh, ye of little faith."
"Faith has nothing to do with it," I continued. "It's science. Conceiving at this time of the month would be medically impossible."
He adjusted his boxers. "They told us conceiving at all was medically impossible, yet upstairs lies the proof that sometimes science is wrong. God works in mysterious ways, Scully."
"I know that," I replied. "I guess I didn't know that *you* knew that."
"Hey, even with my limited church-going experience, I know that," Mulder said. "Speaking of which, can we get busy here? Otherwise, I'm gonna have nothing to talk about at confession tomorrow."
"Ah, I knew you had ulterior motives."
"Always." He waggled his eyebrows seductively and kissed the tip of my nose. "Do you believe in miracles, Scully?" he whispered.
I laughed. "Remember the day we met?" I asked. "That was the first time you questioned my belief in 'unexplained phenomenon.' It's twelve years later and everything, yet nothing, has changed."
"You're avoiding the question, Dr. Scully," he said. "Do you believe in miracles?"I fingered the gold cross at the hollow of my throat. "My faith promises miracles," I answered. "But you show me that they're possible. You make me believe they can happen."
"They *can* happen," he said. "We *make* them happen. We're a team of destiny too. You believe that, don't you?"
I smiled up at him. "I *want* to believe," I whispered. "Show me how."
And he did.
It was nearly 2 a.m. when I reluctantly slipped out of Mulder's arms and beckoned him to follow me up to bed. He touched the remote and the infomercial pitchman that had been silently hawking rotisseries for the past half-hour faded to black.
We stopped to check on Will, his Sponge Bob nightlight providing just enough illumination. He was curled on his side, his baseball mitt clutched against his chest like a favorite teddy bear. I flashed Mulder a disapproving look for letting him take it to bed and tried to ease it from his grasp.
"He's fine, Scully," Mulder whispered. "Leave it."
I pulled up the blanket Will had kicked off, kissed him on the forehead, and joined Mulder in the doorway. As we stood and watched our son sleeping, Mulder's hand gently slid around mine. He squeezed my fingers and headed off toward our bedroom. I lingered a few more moments, pushed the door nearly closed, and followed Mulder down the hallway.
When I reached the bedroom, Mulder had already slipped out of his jeans and was standing at the end of the bed pulling on his pajama bottoms.
"You know, you're going to have to get up early in the morning and check the internet to find out all the details of the game," I said to Mulder as I removed my shirt and bra. "If you're not convincing with the post-game discussion, Will won't believe he stayed up for the whole thing and he'll be very disappointed."
Mulder moved toward the bathroom as I unbuttoned my jeans and pulled on one of his old gray tee shirts. As I reached down to take off my socks, I said, "I wonder who won, anyway."
Mulder stopped at the bathroom door and leaned against the frame. "Boston scored two in the bottom of the seventh to take a nine to seven lead," he said. "Manny Ramirez made two errors in the top of the eighth and the Cards came back to tie it again at nine all. Then in the bottom of the eighth, Bellhorn hit a two-run homer off the right field foul pole, and the Red Sox won eleven to nine."
I stood up straight and put my hands on my hips. "You got all that with the TV on mute while you were making love to me?"
Mulder shrugged. "Hey, you never said turn the TV off and I can't help it if I'm good at multitasking." He disappeared into the bathroom before adding, "Besides, I didn't hear any complaints."
Well, as much as I hated to admit it, I couldn't argue with him there.
Mulder was already in bed when I finished in the bathroom and as I slid in beside him he switched off the lamp on the nightstand and spooned up behind me. I turned my head to kiss him goodnight, and to my surprise he placed his hand on my belly, spreading his fingers wide as if he were palming a basketball.
"So what do you think, Scully?" he asked softly. "Do you think we made another miracle tonight?"
I placed my hand over his and rested my head against his shoulder. "It's a little too early to tell, I'm afraid," I replied. "But you know as well as I do that you can't always hit one over the fence in your first at-bat. If we struck out this time, then we'll just have to keep trying."
"Fair enough." He kissed my cheek and slid his arms around me. "And if it'll help," he added, "I'm not opposed to a little extra batting practice."
I smiled. "You're a real team player, Mulder."
I closed my eyes until his breath tickled my ear. "You know, Scully, Ted Williams once said that baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer."
"Fishing for compliments or worried about your average?" I asked.
I laughed and patted his arm. "Go to sleep, Mulder," I said. "Church tomorrow ... I mean this morning, remember? Candle lighting, prayers for the Red Sox, Hail Mulders ..."
"And pancakes," he muttered. "Don't forget the pancakes."
Mulder's breaths soon became deep and even, his chest rising and falling steadily against my back. I yawned and closed my eyes again, but before I fell asleep I rested my hand where Mulder's had been only a moment before.
For an instant I thought I felt a slight flutter, probably my imagination. Or indigestion -- I cursed myself for succumbing to the temptation of buttered popcorn. And yet ...
*Do you believe in miracles, Scully?*
You bet I do. If the Red Sox can do it, so can we.
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Note: I started this story the night of the first game of the 2004 World Series, never dreaming that the Red Sox would wrap things up before I did. Real life responsibilities slowed me down, but I went ahead and finished it anyway, even though the Series is now long over. Congratulations to the Red Sox and all their fans and thanks for all the thrills during the post-season.