By Christine Leigh
Summary: Conversation upon a summer afternoon. Ninth in a series of vignettes centering around Mulder and Will that may also be read as a stand-alone. The series starts approximately two years after the end of the show.
Category: Vignette, AU
There was a pool of strawberry running into a bigger pool of vanilla that was melting faster than Will could consume it, and Mulder smiled as his son put his spoon down finally, and pushed the bowl away. The chocolate was nowhere to be seen, having been the winner in this particular contest.
"'Nuff." Will nodded as he echoed his answer. His dad had said that it looked like a very big bowl of ice cream, and Will knew what that meant -- that Daddy didn't think he would finish it. Well, he'd finished the best part.
"You can have the rest, Daddy."
"Thanks, Will." Mulder grinned at the remains in the bowl. "You ate my favorite part, though, so I'll pass. That's very generous of you to offer, though."
They were sitting under the umbrella that covered the table in the backyard, and it was hot. Mulder had known hot in his life, having spent so many years wearing suits in D.C. during the warm months, but this was a different hot -- very arrid. They'd even strung a line to dry laundry at the other end of the yard. Will had thought that great fun.
"Daddy, can we go swimming again tomorrow?"
They'd spent the morning at the pool at the high school that was located a few blocks away, and that was open to the public during the summer. They had started doing this last year and Will had taken to the water like the proverbial fish, much to his father's delight. Mulder knew, of course, that despite the fact that he'd always been a swimmer didn't mean that his son would necessarily follow that path, so that this seemed to be happening made him quite happy.
"I think we should be able to work it in. We have our list, though, before Mommy and Kaylene come home."
Scully and Kaylene had been away for the past week visiting Bill and Tara. The visit had originally been planned for the end of August, and was to have included the entire Mulder family, but Bill's orders changed and he would now be leaving in two weeks, so the visit had been moved up by about a month. Mulder knew how important it was to Scully for Bill and Tara to see the baby before she got much older, and Will had been enrolled in day camp at school through last week, so off Scully and Kaylene had gone, leaving their men behind. It had probably been for the best. Mulder knew that any visit that included Bill and himself would still, at this point in their lives, be fraught with a certain tentativeness. Small strides had been made, mostly via the children. Matthew and Will enjoyed playing together on the two occasions they had met.
"I can sweep."
Mulder envisioned the full sized broom in the hands of the little boy, and stifled a chuckle.
"Okay, then. That's one. Will gets to helm the broom. The kitchen and the porch will sparkle to be sure."
"You can vacuum."
"Daddy, you're smart."
Now, Mulder didn't hold back. Laughter came forth, heartily.
"Why, thank you, Will. I think." He looked at the boy who had a decidedly impish look in his eye. Smart ran in the family, apparently.
"So you can vacuum."
"Will, I don't know when I.Q. points became a measure of one's skills behind the vacuum cleaner, but if you are saying that I have the brains to do the job, then I can accept that. Okay, that's two. The smart one will take care of the carpeted rooms."
Now Will laughed. His dad always made him laugh sooner or later. He loved his mom and his new sister, and his mom made a pretty good playmate as well, but time with Daddy like this was his very favorite time.
"We drank all the lemondade, Daddy. What if Mommy and Kaylie want lemonade?"
"I guess we should make some more, Will. Do you know how to make lemonade?"
"You squeeze lemons. Mommy cuts them and I help her squeeze them."
"Well, I think there's a little more to it, but we should be able to figure it out."
"'Cause we're smart."
"Yeah, that would be part of it. Will, I think we can continue discussing our list inside. It's too hot out here."
"Did you drink lemonade when you were little, Daddy?"
"Did your mommy make it for you?"
"Yes, she did. And her mother, too. We spent a lot of time at her house, my grandmother's that is, during the summer when I was your age."
"Like going to Grandma's?"
"Kind of like that. Like grandma, my grandmother lived in a different town. It wasn't that far away, but because it was on the beach, we went there to see her during the summer, mostly. The house is still there, and one day we may go there. Do you think you'd like that, Will?"
"Is it like the beach where Matthew lives?"
"It's similar. That is, almost. It's sandy and there are waves, but not as big as the ones where Matthew lives. It's an east coast beach, and Matthew's is a west coast beach. One thing about this beach, though, is that it's a terrific swimming beach. I'll bet you'd like that."
"I want to go there, Daddy. It sounds fun."
"Maybe next year." Mulder tucked the thought away, but not too far. It was a good sized house and had been largely unused for many years. Perhaps the time had come to change that. Mulder got up, and Will followed.
"Summer is my favorite time, Daddy."
"Even though we could fry an egg on the patio, if we wanted to?"
"No? To frying an egg?"
"I'll bet you a dollar, Will, that we could do it."
"I love summer." There was a determinedness in Will's voice that reminded Mulder so much of Scully, and that melted his heart to hear. No heat limitus tests would be necessary.
"Will, I think I want some ice cream, and some air conditioning -- and then I'll agree with you."
"You want the chocolate part, Daddy?"
"I sure do. I think we'll have to buy some more ice cream, too, before mommy and Kaylene come home tomorrow. Maybe we should get all chocolate this time."
"That's a good idea, Daddy."
"Well, I can vacuum, remember."
Will picked up his bowl.
"Chocolate is the best."
"Will, you're the best, and you know what?"
"I love summer."
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This story is (c) Copyright 2005 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.