By Christine Leigh

Summary: William's tenth birthday. Seventeenth 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
Spoilers: None.

May 20, 2011

"I'm half-way to 20."

"If you're trying to scare me, it's working."

"You don't get scared."

"Today I do."

"Mom didn't get scared when I told her."

"Well, I'll have to see her about a pointer or two." Or three, or...Mulder's not really scared, of course, no, not... it's all part of their game - Father and son are master storytellers - an endless source of amusement to one another. The last ten years haven't been dull in any way, shape, or form.

"Grandma laughed. She said I've always been ahead of the curve."

"And she's right."

There's no denying that Will is wise and smart beyond his age. Always was. Mulder used to worry that his son would be an outsider, but that hasn't turned out to be the case. No, Will, remarkably, is leading a relatively normal life.

"Mom's a little worried about my new bike, though. She didn't say anything, but I know she is." Will's new and most prized birthday gift is a shiny electric powered dirt bike. He'd been allowed a test ride, but the real fun would come in the summer.

"You'll have to make sure you ride responsibly. That's the most important thing. We'll have to have trials."

Will nodded. And after that he and Tom would be having serious adventures. Tom got a bike for his birthday last month, and the two of them are going to own the summer. Tom is even going with the Mulders to the Vineyard this year. It'll be awesome.

"Dad, I love the bike. And the CD player. Thanks." The sleek little player was portable - perfect for the car.

"You made out well, no doubt about it." Mulder tousled his son's hair. Still more brown than anything else, but there is a glint of auburn. He's growing up so fast. So far, so good, though. Given the beginning. "And, you're welcome. Mom and I wanted this to be a special birthday."

"Tell me again."

"We wanted it to be special - Ten's a milestone."

"No, *my* story."

"Oh." Most children in Mulder's experience, the older they got, didn't want to hear the details surrounding their birth. But, Will wasn't most children. Parts of the story have been shared gradually over the years. Not everything. But neither he or Scully felt that it should be treated like forbidden fruit.

"All right then." He paused before starting. It isn't that he doesn't want to talk about it, but it is still emotional for him. He doesn't see that ever changing. "Okay, here we go. The jobs your mom and I had with the F.B.I. involved some very strange situations, and at the time, well, almost all of the time we were with the Bureau, some very bad guys. These very bad guys, in the weeks just before you were born, were after mom." Mulder never added 'and you' when telling this - that part would have to wait. "We didn't know exactly what would happen if mom stayed put where she'd been living and just gone to the hospital to have you, so we chose to take the risk of letting Monica take mom to Georgia. John had connections there, and because of that, this is the location that was chosen. I don't know to this day that I think it was the wisest thing to do, but since we're all still here and alive, I've made my peace with it. The place was secluded and Monica had hoped, unknown, to the bad guys, which turned out not to be the case. They came, in droves. Miraculously, and I say this as one who doesn't believe in miracles, after you were born, they left. We didn't know what to make of it then, and I don't know that we ever will altogether. It's an understatement to say that it was a complicated time in our lives. I wanted nothing more in the world than to be there, Will, when you were born. And while I'll always regret that this wasn't to be, I remember the moment I first laid eyes on you in your mother's arms as one of the happiest in my life. She was so weak, and chaos reigned outside the building where she'd just had you - the helicopter that was going to take us to the hospital was waiting - but the joy that we both felt at that moment can't be disputed. Two days later when mom was released and was able to go home - to her home - no, make that to *our* home - it was the start of the road that has brought us to today. A good one, by all the evidence."

Sensing that Dad is a little wrung out after this, Will gets up and takes Mulder's hand and gives it a squeeze. He's heard this story a few times before, and knows that it pulls at his parents' hearts to talk about it, but all the same, is rather thrilled when he hears it. It's like a movie.

"Thank you for telling it to me again."

"Will, I could go for some more cake."

"And ice cream."

"Of course. We only have ten kinds. It'll crowd everything else out of the freezer if we don't get to work on it."



"Maybe we'll have some help?"

"I think mom, Kaylene, and grandma have had all they want for tonight. Or so they said."

"No, Dad."

The look that accompanied these words clued Mulder in. He smiled, got up, went over to the freezer and opened the door. After his survey was completed, he spoke an invitation to the air.

"We have fudge ribbon, vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, cookie dough, strawberry chiffon, spumoni, chocolate chip, mint chip, and last, but very special - Scully's favorite - black cherry amaretto."

A minute or two passed. And then:

I'll have some of that.

"Yeah, Frohike, I thought that might get you to the table."

Well, there's always the company of the lady who likes it.

"She's in for the day. It was a long one."

Two scoops.


Cool CD player dude. In a few years I'll make you some recommendations.

"Langly - What's your poison?"

Strawberry. What's up with the chiffon? It's strawberry - that's all that signifies.

"Right. Strawberry, hold the chiffon."

Spumoni takes me back. Three scoops, please.

"A classic for the man in the suit. Byers, good to see you."

We were here earlier. It was a fitting celebration. Hard to believe how long it's been. Will, you're a young man. Happy birthday.

"Thank you for coming."

Little Boo, dude, we wouldn't have missed it.

"Frohike, I'm half-way to 20."

How're the parental units with that?

"It scared Dad."

It did? Mulder, my friend, you're on a different planet now, for sure.

"Pray tell. Really. I'm listening."

You have a wonderful life.

"Okay, stop."

No, you do. All so-called sentimental clap-trap aside.

"Dad, what's clap-trap?"

Dude, he's right - I have to say, I agree. And I never watched the movie until I'd left this mortal coil. I have to say, it does speak to me. This from Langly.

"Fake happiness."

"I'm happy. For real." Will looked around as he spoke. Aside from Mom, Kaylene, and Grandma, the kitchen was filled with everyone he loves most. Three were ghosts, true. But that just upped the movie factor of his existence. Cool. Bad guys, helicopters, and ghosts, oh my!

My boy, you're good to go forward, that I know. Give your mother my love. This from Frohike.

"She loves you, too. She says you're my best friends."

Brilliant. She's always been.

"I'm half-way to 20."

So, we've heard. Enjoy the ride. This from Byers.

"Will, what do you want? I'm talking ice cream."

"Chocolate and mint chip, two scoops each, please."


"Dad, guys, this is the best."

"Happy tenth, son. Here's to many more."

~ End ~

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This story is (c) Copyright 2011 by Christine Leigh. "The X-Files" and the characters, with the exception of Kaylene, are the property of the Fox Network and Ten-Thirteen Productions and are borrowed here without profit or intent for profit.