October Air
By Christine Leigh

Summary: Post-series. About three years or so down the road. AU.
Rating: G
Category: MS, Vignette

"It's beautiful. I'd forgotten just how." She looked out at the ocean as she spoke, not turning to see the face next to hers. It had been too long since she'd experienced this air. His lips brushed her cheek and she had a fleeting memory of something else. Still, she remained standing by the opened window, her gaze fixed on the view. Summer, she thinks she remembers, had been the high season here, but it has gone. Now it's quieter, and she is taking in the display of her beloved sea framed by the red and gold hues of the season. She had arrived alone, but was no longer.

"The place is inhabitable, but it could use some work." He spoke to no one in particular, but since there were only the two of them, he hoped she would hear him. Definitely, he thought, this room could use some dusting. Most of the furniture had been covered, but the covers had accumulated a fine layer of dust over the years, and the process of removing them had scattered it hither and thither.

He looked around the living room of the house that had once been his home. It's true what is said, that the years go by faster than anyone can possibly realize -- and that was in life. Now, in its aftermath, he wonders how long it has been. One thing he believes for certain is that life was an oddity, and something to ponder only when there is nothing better. And at the present, he has better. She is so lovely, standing and looking out the window. Her hair is worn simply, tucked behind her ears and touching her shoulders. She'd worn it that way when they first met, if he recalled, and to see it was to be reminded that there had been good times.

"I think work won't be a problem. I think it will be fully appreciated that whatever effort is required, that it will be worth it." She would like to go back and live a different life than the one that had played out here, but if that were impossible, then at least there is this. If not another chance, then a chance for others. She thought about his kiss. How long ago was that? Time is such a trickster. He'd always been a handsome man, but she'd not seen him that way in such a long while, and it is somewhat overwhelming, even in this space where time and existence had no definition. Had it really been this way between them once before?

"I do believe you see a happy home." His words were plain, and free of the desolation that had pervaded his language during so much of his life.

"Yes. I see no reason why it can't be that way. I remember that it was, once."

"I'm sorry it couldn't last." More plainspoken words. There had been so few of those before. He isn't sure he tried. Too much had been asked of them. He knows that now. She'd always known.

"You do remember it, then?"

"I wouldn't be here otherwise."

"I didn't always want to remember, even the good times. Now, I don't want to ever forget them. Did you hear the laughter this morning?"

"I did. That took me back. And this is just one child. He's a live little wire."

"I'm so pleased that he was named for you."

"I think her father's name was the same?"

"Yes, but I heard what she said to him about the name."

"Well, she didn't dare name the child Fox, that I know."

"No, once was enough." They both smiled at that, and then at a third voice who didn't hesitate to weigh in with an opinion.

"I like Fox. I'm calling him Fox." She was all pigtails, ribbons, and grins. A small girl with a big voice who once upon a time had broken three hearts in one night. Her father picked her up and swung her in a circle, memories and dust swirling all around them. When she was back on the ground, they both moved toward the window.

"Fox never liked his name. You do remember that?" Oh, the teasing that had gone on between her children. They'd never had serious fights, but the teasing could be relentless.

"I don't care. I liked it."

"Your nephew's name is William. You should respect that."

"But he won't know."

"We don't know what he will know. You don't want to scare him, do you?"

The girl remembered then that this was not the same as the time before. Her playmates now are others like her, and a long lost brother and a nephew have no place there. She is still as stubborn as she was in life, though, and she tells herself that she will always remember her Fox. Long summer afternoons at the beach, the scent of apple pies warm from the oven, running to get her favorite horse on the merry-go-round -- these things could fall away, but not her brother. She won't forget him, ever.

"No. Okay. William."

"Good. That's settled. Let's appreciate the view."

The three stood together watching as the brilliant vista turned blue-black, pieces of then tucked in their pockets.


"Scully, aren't you cold?" Mulder hugged himself as he entered the living room.

"Someone opened a window."

"Not guilty."

"And it's too high for William to reach. Plus, he's sound asleep." A look of concern crossed her face, but they'd just checked the house for the night, and all had been secure. She took a long breath of the cool October air before closing the window.

"Our second night here and we have an x-file. Scully, we're back in business."

"Perhaps I forgot that it was open. I think everything's all right." It had been a long couple of days.

"Scully, are you certain you're okay with giving living here a try?"

"Yes, I am. Mulder, it's beautiful here and William already loves it. That beach is his as far as he's concerned." She bent to pick up what looked like a scrap of fabric from the floor. It seemed to be an old hair ribbon. Red. She tucked it into the pocket of her jeans. They had a lot of cleaning ahead of them.

Mulder gathered her into his arms and they stood spooned, listening to the night.

~ End ~

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This story is (c) Copyright 2006 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.