Title: Beyond The Truth: 4.5 Thanksgiving Confessions
Summary: Which is more shocking? An outsider hearing their old secrets, or the new confessions they each blurt out over turkey and pie?
Author's Notes: New readers - I don't recommend reading this fic as a stand-alone. But if you're okay with not knowing things like who the heck Rory is, or how Emily ended up with more than one dad, or where the three little people who look like Doggett and Reyes came from, go for it. Otherwise, the earlier fics can be found here
Rory Nye, Mulder's recently discovered nephew was the second to last to arrive at Mulder and Scully's for Thanksgiving dinner. Mulder smiled and help the door open. "Come in and meet the folks."
Rory looked over his shoulder at the cars in the driveway. "Not too many new faces, I guess."
"You'd be surprised," Mulder told him. The first stop was the living room, where a dark-haired, older, woman played with Rory's youngest cousin, Calla. "Rory, I'd like you to meet Dana's mother, Maggie Scully."
She smiled warmly at him. "It's wonderful to meet you, Rory. I'm so happy for Fox that he found you, because we'd long thought that all of his family - other than the children, of course - had passed on."
"Surprise," Rory quipped, and then waited anxiously to see if he'd accidentally offended her by being flippant.
Maggie smiled. "Yes indeed."
After pausing to kiss the baby on the head, Mulder motioned Rory forward. "The rest carpooled."
When they entered the kitchen Rory was surprised to see three strange toddlers running around. Mulder pointed at them as they raced by. "The boy is Landon, the one with curls is Jacey, and the straight-haired one is Quinn."
"Not more cousins I should know about, right?" Rory asked, quickly doing math in his head. It was theoretically possible his uncle's wife had triplets shortly before conceiving the baby in the living room. It would be hard to explain why he hadn't met them his last visit, however.
"Ha, no. Three kids are enough, we'd go insane with six," Mulder remarked before he crouched down. "Hey, guys, come here!" The trio toddled over. Mulder smiled and pointed at his nephew. "This is Rory."
"Oh," Jacey said and stuffed her thumb in her mouth.
Quinn just gave Rory an uncertain smile, while Landon studied him. "Like Gib?" he asked Mulder. "Big boy."
"Older," Mulder told the little boy.
"Wow." Landon sounded impressed.
"Their older brother is a sophomore in college," Mulder explained to his nephew.
"Big age gap, huh? They're only about two, right?"
"Almost two and a half, but yeah. Gibson is adopted too, like you. Dana and I have known him since he was twelve, but his adoptive parents took him in three years ago."
"Sounds like they're good people like my folks," Rory said with a grin.
Mulder finally wondered why the little ones were alone in the kitchen. "Where's your Daddy?" None of the triplets seemed inclined to answer. "Or Mommy?"
"Right here," Reyes said, pushing open the back door as she spoke. Her arms were full with a large paper bag. "Looks like they got away from John while I was helping Dana bring in pies."
"Rory, this is Monica Reyes. She's one of Dana and my's partners. Her husband John is the other."
"Hi." Instead of shaking her hand, Rory relieved her of the bag of pies.
"Nice to meet you. You sort of look like your uncle."
"Do I?" Rory asked shyly.
"Yeah, some," she told him. "Don't let it go to your head."
Both men gave her a puzzled look.
Scully entered the kitchen with another bag of food just a moment later. "Hi Rory, glad you could join us."
"Thanks." Rory felt suddenly shy. His uncle didn't remark much on it, but his aunt was drop dead gorgeous, even if she was older.
Her welcoming expression dissolved into one of business. "Why don't you boys take these three into the other room? They make me nervous around the hot stove."
"Hot!" Quinn exclaimed, giving the stove an apprehensive look.
"You've got good reason to be nervous," Reyes told her with a sigh. "At least it was only a first degree burn."
"Don't look so glum, they're going to get hurt. It doesn't make you a bad parent," Scully told Reyes gently. "You just lucked out getting a mostly grown kid to start with."
"Ha, a starter kid. Someone definitely needs to tell Gibson that one," Mulder said, before he bent and scooped up the nearest triplet, handing him to his startled nephew. "Here. I'll get the other two." The girls squealed happily as he pulled them off their feet.
In the living room, Doggett talked Mulder into putting on the local high school football game. As Mulder, Doggett, Emily and Rory talked about the finer points of the game, William and Landon began a mostly incomprehensible chant that seemed to have something to do with sports.
Maggie and the little girls played with the tea set that Doggett had thought to pack, and eventually the young men decided that they'd like to wear feathered hats and gloves too, and joined them.
"You know a lot about football," Rory remarked to Emily.
"Yeah, I do. And if you add 'for a girl' I'm gonna punch you," she said, still smiling.
"Take her at her word," Mulder advised. "Her mother has been teaching her self defense, and that woman has quite the left hook on her."
"I'll keep that in mind," Rory said, managing a straight face.
As they began to eat, Rory decided to just enjoy listening to the conversations around him. Everyone else clearly knew each other well, so it was nice to observe. Not that they excluded him from the chatting.
"What are you studying, Gibson?" Maggie asked pleasantly as she handed him the rolls.
"Japanese. I hope to be translator for the UN after I get out of school."
Mulder grinned at him. "Gee, you wouldn't have an edge with translating, would you?"
Some of the others smiled knowingly, which made Rory wonder if the younger man was part Japanese, or perhaps had lived in Japan, but he didn't feel comfortable asking.
"Oh, maybe a little. I'd still have to understand the language, of course. Maybe Will might consider it as a career choice too," Gibson said dryly, and both Mulder and Scully laughed to Rory's further puzzlement.
"So," Rory said. "How long have you and aunt Dana been married?"
A silence filled the dining room, and Mulder exchanged a sheepish look with Scully. "Actually..."
"They're not married, Dear," Maggie announced calmly. "It used to be called living in sin, but it's considered normal these days."
"Oh." Rory looked flustered. "I just assumed..." He gave his oldest cousin a quick look, and seemed grateful that it didn't seem to be a surprise to her that her parents weren't married.
"Everyone does," Scully told him.
"You should consider why that is," Maggie advised sagely.
Gibson interrupted the awkward exchange with an announcement of his own. "I'm not going to go back to the dorms next semester."
"You're not?" Reyes asked, looking confused.
"You better not be trying to tell us that you're dropping out of college," Doggett said sternly.
"Of course not. Uh... Megan and I are getting an apartment together off campus," Gibson said, blushing.
"You two are a bad influence," Maggie admonished Mulder and her daughter.
"Mrs. Scully, he's an adult," Doggett said. "He's responsible for his own decisions."
"I hope it's a two bedroom place," Reyes told him. "Or that you'll be responsible if it isn't. I don't think I'm old enough to have anyone calling me grandma yet."
"Monica!" Gibson yelped.
"Oh, that's gross," Emily said.
"A sexual relationship is a normal, natural thing for two people in love. Adults," Scully said without looking her daughter in the eye.
"No, I meant that Monica brought it up. Parents shouldn't say things like that about their kids."
"But wasn't he taken in just a few years ago?" Rory desperately tried to remember what his uncle told him about their friends' family. "So she didn't exactly raise him."
"Yeah, so?" Emily asked. "It doesn't change what I said. She's and John are still his parents just like the people who adopted you when you were little."
"We're used to adoption in this bunch. I was adopted too," Reyes told Rory, but tacitly left Emily and William out of her remark. "Both of my birth parents died young, my father before I was born, and my mother not long after."
"No, it's okay. I know you didn't know your real parents either."
A knock on the door made them all look up. Emily got up as she said matter-of-factly. "That's probably my other dad."
"Other dad?" Rory asked, looking shocked again.
Before anyone could explain, Emily returned with Jeffrey Spender. "See?"
"Glad you could make it, Jeffrey," Mulder said happily. "I'd like you to meet Rory. Samatha's son."
Spender extended his hand. "Nice to meet you. If you're Samantha's boy, that makes me your uncle."
"No, my uncle!" William insisted.
"He's Rory and Calla's uncle too," Mulder explained. "A man is the uncle of all of his brothers or sisters kids."
"Oh," William said, sounding satisfied.
"Like how Daddy is really my uncle," Emily added.
Scully touched Rory's shoulder to get his attention. "It's a long story, but both more and less sordid than it sounds."
"So, Jeffrey, how is Kate?"
"She's good. I think she'll be happy when the holidays are over, though. Her family holidays are more stressful than ours." He missed his new nephew's disbelieving look.
Scully got him a plate and he took a seat, too. "Where's Skinner? I thought you were inviting him too."
"We did. But Kimberly stole him out from under us," Scully said with a small smile. "It's a Big Brother like conspiracy if you ask me."
"Don't look at me, she said it," Mulder said defensively when both of his partners turned to look at him rather than Scully.
"Big brother," Landon pointed to his chest. "Me. Big brother."
"You are bigger than your sisters," Scully agreed easily. The boy was about an inch taller that Jacey and Quinn.
Mulder wasn't looking at any of the triplets, however, but at their parents. Parents who quite interestingly seemed suddenly flustered. "Um..." Doggett cleared his throat. "That's not what he means."
"No?" Scully asked, and then gave him a look of surprised recognition. She turned to Reyes. "So, you're, uh..."
"Pregnant?" Reyes supplied. "No."
Mulder looked at Landon, gave him a mischievous smile, and said, "Your parents aren't too good at being straight-forward, Sport."
"Okay," Scully pointed at the other couple with her fork. "How can he be a big brother if you're not expecting a baby?"
"They're adopting again," Emily called from the other end of the table. She looked pleased with herself when her parents turned to look at her. "Bet I'm right."
Doggett nodded slightly. "You're a clever girl, Emily."
Emily looked please.
Mulder, on the other hand, looked puzzled. "You just decided to adopt a baby out of the blue?" Then he paused, looking at Gibson. "Or another kid. Are you having trouble having another baby? It took forever to conceive Calla-"
"No," Doggett denied. "We're not having any fertility problems."
"And it's not exactly out of the blue," Reyes protested.
"Should we continue to ask stupid and potentially embarrassing questions, or would you like to explain what's going on?" Mulder asked.
"We'll explain," Reyes said, sounding relieved. "Starting at the beginning. I take the kids to a multiples group. The kids get to attend a well-supervised play group, and the adults have a sort of discussion group at the same time. Through that group, I've met another mother, Linda, and have become quite friendly with her. Not all of the parents in the group have had their children yet, but are expecting, like Linda."
Trying not to be obvious about it, Mulder shot Scully a look. He was curious how she felt about Reyes having another close female friend, but he didn't detect anything like jealousy on his face. It would have made him jealous to know that his friend was able to maintain friendships with people they didn't work with, but that was him.
"Is she having triplets too?" Scully finally asked.
"No. They thought it was going to be twins but it's...not," Reyes said falteringly, and the adults gave her sad, knowing looks. Fortunately the implication went over the kids' heads. "Just one baby. Which is probably a good thing."
"Why is that?"
Reyes' eyes suddenly looked very sad. "Because three months ago she was diagnosed with cancer."
"Terminal?" Scully asked, swallowing hard. Mulder placed his hand over hers.
"It's an aggressive form, and the window for effectively treating it is quite small. And it has passed." Reyes looked at her hands a moment. "When she found out she had the cancer, she was only at fourteen weeks. Which is right around the time she lost...well. It would have meant a termination if she wanted to be treated, and she wouldn't do it. She said that this one was a fighter, so it wasn't right to take its chance away."
"That's very sad," Mulder remarked quietly. "What does the father think about the situation?"
"Nothing. She used donor sperm," Doggett spoke up. "So she's all alone."
"And she's going to die," Reyes said with a grim finality. "She's hanging on as long as she can to give the baby time to develop, but the doctors have all but promised her that not matter when she delivers now, she's going to be gone by the time the baby's a couple of months old."
"What's going to hap-" Scully started to say, and then blinked in surprise. "Oh. You're going to adopt it after she dies, then?"
Reyes shook her head. "That's what we suggested when she asked us if it was okay if she left us custody in her will, but she said no. Linda is the type of woman who read every baby book she could get her hands on while she was early in her pregnancy, and she's convinced that babies need to bond with their parents as soon as they're born. So she wants us to take the baby as soon as it's released from the hospital."
"Wow. That's such an incredibly selfless thing for her to do."
"I know," Reyes said with a faint smile. "Too selfless. We're going to have her stay with us, until...well, you know."
Rory stared at his uncle's friends. His own parents had adopted him and his brothers, but it hadn't been under such painful circumstances. He thought to tell them that they were courageous, but his parents frequently got annoyed by people commending them for taking in Bleu as well, who wasn't Caucasian.
"If you need any help, you know Mulder and I will be glad to," Scully told her. "And your kids are welcome here if things ever get to be too much for them."
"They know that, Scully," Mulder told her.
"Don't think we won't take you up on it," Doggett said gruffly, but he and Reyes exchanged a pleased look.
"Oh. I'll be right back," Emily said as she slid out of her chair without waiting to be allowed to leave the table.
"Where's your sister going?" Mulder asked William.
William shrugged. "She forgot something."
When Emily returned she was holding an envelope in her right hand which she held out to Scully. "I was going to tell you last night, but I forgot to."
"Tell us what?" Scully asked.
"We got our letters yesterday, Georgie and I. We got accepted at the Magnet School." Emily's face was radiant. "We're going to go into the same science program as Brian in the fall."
"That's great!" Scully exclaimed, hugging her.
"Way to go, Kid," Spender congratulated her.
"It was the science fair project you two did, right?" Mulder asked her once Scully let her go. "I knew it was going to unlock doors when you guys took home the blue ribbon."
"Probably," Emily replied.
"How do you make a school out of magnets?" William asked, but he didn't look affronted when everyone laughed.
Not to be outdone by the others' surprises, Rory decided to make an announcement of his own. "Shortly before I left California to fly here, I was approached by a middle-aged man who said that he needed to talk to me."
"He didn't offer to let you join something called The Consortium, did he?" Mulder was quick to ask.
"What?" Rory shot him a puzzled look. "No."
"Good. Flee quickly if you ever get that offer."
"Um, right. Anyway the guy told me his name. Nicholas Manning."
Mulder stared at him in shock. "Do you think it's really him?"
Rory shrugged. "I don't know, maybe. I'm supposed to meet with him once I get home."
"But if he's really your father..." Scully trailed off, leaving the rest of her thought unsaid.
A deafening silence filled the room. At least until Maggie said "And on that note, I think it's time for pie."
No one contradicted her.
Author's end notes: in my pics on this site Rory Nye is played by Benjamin McKenzie and Emily by Skye McCole Bartusiak.