Title: A Birthday at Christmas
Author: Duane Barry
Email: duane_barry@aol.com
Rating: G

Summary: Gibson's birthday, Christmas style. (Nursery Files Christmas Challenge 2015)

Notes: SHORT & SWEET this is certainly no epic tome. The children of The X-Files tend to get a pretty crappy deal so I decided to make up for some of CC's kid torture with a nice little G rated entry in The Nursery Files Christmas Challenge. I checked online and couldn't find Gibson Praise's birthday so I decided to use him. In true XF style a lot of the important details have been left out of this one. Maybe you guys will let me know if you feel it needs further exploration ;)

Scully arrived at the four bedroom Victorian they called home just as the sun was setting over San Francisco. Thirteen year old Emily trailed into the house behind her, they were loaded down with brightly wrapped christmas gifts and one birthday present in shimmering light blue paper.

"I know I know, we're late," Scully said, shrugging off her thick wool coat. Mulder took it from her and hung it on the coat rack. "We wanted to pick out this..." She gestured toward the birthday gift Emily had placed on the hall table.

Mulder stared at the latest addition to be added to the assortment they had already purchased. He shook his head, humor and affection coloring his eyes.

"Don't you think Gibson has enough presents?"

"You only turn eighteen once." She pinned him with her blue eyes, leaving him no room for argument. There was none forthcoming, Mulder always patiently indulged her desire to spoil the children on their birthdays. Each of them had grown up rough; a childhood spent targeted and on the run was something Scully felt she needed to atone for.

Their lives were peaceful now, the alien threat no longer hanging over their heads. The old players were long gone and the Mulder-Scully family unit had been able to pick up the pieces and move on with their lives. They all decided that California would make for a nice change. Four years of stability in their new home and intensive therapy sessions had finally begun to assuage the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that affected the older children.

"Have I ever told you that you're the most amazing mother I've ever known?"

"Not in the last 12 hours or so."

"Well then let me remind you." He drew her into a kiss and delivered a quick squeeze to her buttock.

"Gross." Emily evacuated the scene with her father's laughter following her down the hall. Mulder kissed Scully again, her eyes softened into twin pools of affection and desire. How long had she been looking at him that way? How many years now? Her love for him had not altered, not through any of it.

"Mom's home!" William's enthusiastic yelling shattered the silence and Mulder released Scully from his embrace as William's footsteps thundered down the hall. He skidded to a stop in front of his mother and flung his arms around her waist. Not letting go of her he leaned back and tilted his face up to flash her a smile identical to Mulder's. "Can we eat now?"

His mother and father chuckled. Their growing boy had a voracious appetite and his father's metabolism. He was tall and lanky for his age with not an ounce of fat on him. Scully had no idea where he put all that food, she was just grateful that he was an active and healthy child.

"Yes we can eat now AND we can have birthday cake after dinner." Scully led her youngest by the hand to the dining room where Emily, Skinner, Frohike, Langly, Byers and Gibson were waiting. Scully cast her eyes over the group as they sat down to eat. She was filled with a fierce, abiding gratitude that these remarkable people had supported them through thick and thin and that she could honestly call each and every one of them family.

Despite the sibling war threatening to break out between the children, Scully couldn't remember a happier Christmas in years. Having those she loved most around her, sharing in good food and good times, it was something she would never take for granted again.

As Gibson blew out his birthday candles she found herself closely watching him to see if he was experiencing the same feelings of satisfaction. He appeared happy, relaxed and in very good spirits; a change from the days of old when she first went on the run with him.

The merry group cheered and took turns embracing the birthday boy as tendrils of smoke rose from the extinguished candles. When it came to Scully's turn, Gibson hugged her fiercely. "You're a man now Gibson." Scully swiped at her traitorous eyes. Ten years she had spent as his mother, she loved this young man as equally as her biological offspring. Gibson gently pulled away to stare at her face lovingly. His eyes were deep and serious as they held hers for an extended moment.

"Thank You... For everything."

He needn't say any more. Scully knew exactly what he meant.


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