By Christine Leigh
Summary: Mulder and William playing together -- Christmas time. The first of a series of vignettes centering around Mulder and Will that may also be read as a stand-alone. Set approximately two years after the end of the show.
Category: Vignette, AU
"Daddy, how many days until Christmas?"
Mulder opened his eyes. It had snowed. This much he could see beyond the little face that was blocking his view through the bay window. He yawned and sat up. Some things would never change, and his favorite place for a nap was still the couch. He turned his attention to the small boy whose eyes were so excited. He went into deep thought mode for a few seconds and then jumped into the game.
"Ten -- Daddy, no."
"Are you sure, Will?"
An emphatic up and down motion of a four-year old head was his answer. "Will, I was sure we said nine last night." Mulder couldn't keep this up much longer. He was a marshmallow about to melt at the sight of the little boy who couldn't wait for Christmas. He put a finger to his temple and closed his eyes.
"I think I have it Will. The magic number is ..." He paused dramatically, but just for a few seconds, that turned out to be too long.
"Three, Daddy. You said three."
"Three -- that's the magic number. Come here. How could I forget?" Will hurled himself into his dad's arms. Will thought his dad was the most wonderful person in the world, and the most funny. He laughed at cartoons on television, but no one could entertain him like his dad. They sat huddled together watching the snow. A few flakes were still coming down. Then Will had another proposition.
"We can make snowballs and play catch, Daddy."
Mulder grinned. "Catch? I don't know, Will. That might not work."
"Unless we pack the snowballs really tight and pour water over them so that they freeze hard, they'll smash on impact. And frozen snowballs can be dangerous. If you hit me in the head, I might have a concussion. And then I wouldn't be able to haul the tree in tonight. And with no tree, Santa won't know to stop here." Will pondered this. He sure didn't want Santa to miss their house.
"Daddy, what's cussion?"
"Concussion. It means I'd see stars, and that I wouldn't be able to get up from the couch."
"But you're always on the couch." Mulder grinned again. Either he was getting very old or very silly.
"I get up for dinner, don't I? And I helped Mommy with the groceries earlier. Cut me some slack here, son."
"What's slack?" Will giggled as he asked this, and Mulder lifted him and swung him around. The laughter escalated.
"Slack is when you're nice to your dad because even if it doesn't seem that he knows what he's doing, he does. Let's go bundle you into your snowsuit. Frosty's waiting to be born."
"Oooooh, it's freezzzinggg. I can't move. Will, come here. Give me a push."
A little ball of blue with a face somewhere hidden inside ran toward him. Will poked Mulder on the leg. Nothing. Mulder really was freezing, but he remained a statue and surveyed their work which stood almost three feet high. They'd done well, and the little snowman was recognizable as the real thing. Will poked harder. That did the trick. Mulder crouched down next to his fellow artist.
"What do you think, Will? Does he need anything else?" They had used small pinecones for eyes and a nose, and a piece of twine to fashion a smile.
"Ah, a hat. You're right. Let's go ask Mommy for some help on that one. Maybe she'll give us some hot cocoa."
"And marshmallows, Daddy. I want marshmallows."
"Me too, Will." Mulder grasped the small mittened hand in his, and they started walking.
"Daddy, can we make another snowman after we have cocoa?"
"I don't know, Will. It'll be dark soon. I have to start thinking about the tree. Santa, remember?"
"Daddy -- no. Frosty."
"He's not alone Will. He has us. And Mommy will be his friend, too. I'm certain." Flakes were falling again. Mulder was going to have to get on Project Christmas Tree soon.
"But we're not snowmen, Daddy."
"No? Look at you Will. What is that white stuff all over you? Have you been in my shaving cream?"
Will giggled. He loved to watch his dad shave. Sometimes Mulder would draw figures on the bathroom mirror with the shaving cream, much to Will's delight.
"Daddy -- no. It's snow. You know that."
"Okay, then. Tonight we're snowmen."
"Okay. Will Mommy like us?"
"Will, Mommy will love us. We're very lucky snowmen."
"I love Mommy. She's pretty."
"Will, do you know what other kind of a snowman you are?
"Observant. Let's get inside. I'll explain that over our cocoa."
"I love you, too."
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This story is (c) Copyright 2002 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.