Title: The Gift
Author: The Fox
Spoilers: None really
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I think we've been down this road before. No, they don't belong to me. Never have and never will.

Summary: Sequel to the first two stories in this series A New Beginning and A New Life. May need to read these before continuing.

Author's Notes: Thanks for all the support and feedback I have received since I started this series. You can now find my stories nestled in a warm den that Kimpa (www.kimpart.com) has provided. The site is amazing. Thanks Kimpa and also for the beta!


Chapter One

Old Horse Springs, New Mexico Hastings Residence
October 5 12.48pm

"Hey, Scu... Kate, guess who's moving down this way?" Jeff Hastings shut off the laptop computer and stepped into the kitchen to rummage in the fridge.

"Let me guess..." Kate paused in the midst of wiping her son's face with a wet cloth. Will had just finished his favorite lunch. Pasta. The sauce had worked its way on both cheeks, his chin and of course, part of his clothes. "I give up." She resumed her chore, Will protesting that he could manage on his own.

"The Lone Gunmen Productions are moving." Jeff closed the refrigerator door, bottle of soda water in hand. He sat beside Will, inspecting his red stained t-shirt. "Looks like you enjoyed that, munchkin."

Will produced a wide grin and nodded.

"They're really coming down this way?" Kate rinsed the cloth, leaving it to dry on the sink.

"Yeah. I guess it's been pretty quiet in D.C. lately." Jeff finished his soda, placing the empty bottle on the table. "I also have a hunch that one adopted godfather in particular was really pushing to move closer to a certain child."

"He really became attached, didn't he? Do you think Langly and Byers mind?" Kate absently stroked her protruding stomach and leaned against the sink.

"I don't think so otherwise they wouldn't have decided to just pack up and move. What about you? Do you mind them moving here?"

"Why would I? We'll have ready-made babysitters!" Kate laughed. "Will they move here before the ceremony? It's only a week away."

"From their e-mail, it looks like they're planning on it."

"Unc' Gunmen comin'." Will offered, after sipping his water.

"Yeah, but I bet you already knew that?" Jeff ruffled his son's hair.

Will shrugged, not offering a comment either way.

"Daddy, c'n I play 'puter game now?"

Walter Skinner had definitely provided one hell of a toy with the pocket computer game. Will couldn't get enough of it.

"Yeah, we might go for a walk later. Maybe take the ball." Jeff winked at him.

"Okay." Will trotted off to his room.

"It's not healthy for him to be inside all the time." Kate gazed after her son.

"I know. We're gonna have to think about when he starts school, you know." Jeff sat forward, leaning both arms on the table. "He needs exposure with other kids."

"That's not for a long while yet."

"It'll come sooner than you realise."

"I suppose." Kate sighed. "I hope by then we won't have to worry about his every movements."

"You'd still worry regardless." Jeff reached across to touch her hand.

"You're probably right. I still go into his room at night to make sure he's okay." Kate squeezed his hand. "I know you do the same."

"I thought I was being quiet." Jeff chuckled. "I guess I'm out of practice."

"No, I think we're both still very attuned to Will. Do you think this fear will ever diminish?"

"Not entirely, no. But I think it'll get easier with time."

"Easier?"

"Well, maybe not 'easy', but I don't think we can tag along after him once he starts dating."

"Oh, God!" Kate sat back. "I just want him to be able to go to school in a few years."

"You know what I mean." Jeff ran his finger along the neck of the bottle, catching the beads of water before they trickled down the glass.

Yes, she knew what he meant. They couldn't watch Will every moment of every day forever. He needed to go to school. He needed other children. He had been in a world of adults since his birth, isolated from strangers, apart from some days spent in the care of a very private day care center. Those days had been very few and possibly an experience that Will would not even remember.

"So," Jeff decided to change the subject, "are we still on for October 13? You don't want to move it until afterwards." He pointed to her belly.

"I don't think we'll have time once she's born, do you?"

"I s'pose."

"You having second thoughts? Cold feet?"

"No..." Jeff stood, discarded the bottle in the recycle box and returned to the computer desk by the window in the living room. He flipped through one of the files Skinner had sent last week, not really concentrating.

Kate followed, standing behind him.

"No?"

He shrugged. Maybe he WAS having second thoughts after all. It was one thing to marry on paper with falsified names, however legal that now may be, but to marry in your given name... Kate moved closer, kneading her fingers through his hair.

"Are you sure?" Her voice was filled with concern.

"Yeah."

"You don't sound so sure. If you'd rather not, I'd understand. I already told you it wasn't necessary."

Jeff set the file aside, taking her hands in his own. He focused on their entwined fingers, not looking at her.

"I'm sure."

"Tell me. No secrets."

Jeff met her eyes this time.

"Why'd you choose that particular date?"

"The date?"

Kate couldn't recall October 13 as a date of any significance. It was a Sunday. Her family could arrive Friday or Saturday. It would give her mother time to prepare and ask their local priest who had known their family for the longest time. In particular, she would still be relatively small enough to fit into something decent.

"Yeah. Why October 13?"

"Why not? You didn't mention this before. Do you want to change it?"

"No."

"God, Mulder..."

"Jeff."

"What?"

"Jeff. You forgot again."

"Whatever! Dammit! Just tell me!" Kate pushed his hands aside, sitting in the chair opposite.

"It's not important."

"Well, it seems to be by the way you're acting."

"I'm not acting in any particular way."

"Oh, and I'm supposed to believe that?"

"It was just a date that I forgot until yesterday."

"Mind telling me then?"

"I guess you forgot as well." He flipped through the pages in the file again.

"What did I forget? Remind me."

"Not important." Jeff depressed the power button on the laptop. The screen emitted flashes of light.

Okay, fine. If he wasn't going to talk she wasn't going to push it. Let him sulk. She'd find out on her own. She had her ways.


Chapter Two

Old Horse Springs, New Mexico Hastings Residence
October 12 2.40pm

"Mom! You made it earlier than we expected. I thought you were taking the later flight!"

Kate's sandals clicked on the stairs as she made her way to greet her mother in the rental car that pulled into the driveway. The passenger's side door opened, Maggie Scully stepping out, brow creased slightly.

"Sweetheart, don't run!"

"Mom, I'm not running!" Kate noticed the figure of the driver. "Oh my God!"

A tall, handsome man exited the car, stretching his long tired limbs from such a confined space, a brilliant smile forming on his face as he turned toward her.

Kate was riveted to the spot. She was too preoccupied with the emerging form to notice Father Reilly exit the back of the vehicle. The tall form strode from the car to sweep her up into his arms, carefully avoiding her swollen abdomen. Kate was not about to fight back the tears that commenced. Her mother stood watching this reunion with what could only be described as ultimate love and elation.

Jeff halted at the front gate. This was not the scene he had anticipated upon his return from an early afternoon outing with his son. His wife in the arms of another man. He hadn't realized he was squeezing Will's hand until a brief tug of his shirtsleeve brought him back from uncertain thoughts.

"Okay, Daddy. Okay." Will pulled away from his father's grip and trotted over to their guests.

Jeff hesitated. Who was this guy? An old friend? An old flame? Maggie Scully knew better than to bring an entourage of too many people, no matter the occasion. Too many risks involved.

His fists clenched and unclenched at his side as the laughter reached him. His jaw muscles tightened. It was more than risk. The feeling was definitely jealousy. No denying it.

"Gramma! Gramma!" Will announced his arrival at Maggie's side. She gathered him to her, placing kisses over his cheeks.

"Hello, baby. I've missed you."

"No baby, Gramma. Imma big boy now."

Kate was greeting the priest when she glimpsed Jeff standing by the front gate. Even with the few feet between them she could tell his eyes were burning with intensity. What was his problem? She waved him forward. With some apprehension he approached.

Jeff allowed Kate to take his hand. The palm was sweaty.

"I want you to meet someone I haven't seen in such a long time."

The man stepped forward; eyes narrowed and roaming over Jeff, sizing him up. Jeff's grip on his wife's hand tightened. This man was at least two inches taller than he.

"This is Charlie." Kate's smile widened.

Charlie extended his hand. Relief, embarrassment, confusion, to name only a few emotions, gathered in the puddle of what had been his mind.

"I've heard a lot about you, Mr. Mulder." Charlie's grip was fierce.

"It's actually Jeff now, and I've heard about you, too and actually thought you might be a figment of your sister's imagination." Jeff returned the pressure.

Charlie arched an eyebrow, not unlike his sister's. Before anyone could retort, Maggie Scully stepped forward to embrace both Jeff and her daughter, leaving both Jeff and Charlie eyeing each other.

A small hand tugged on Charlie's coat sleeve breaking the standoff. Will squinted skyward. Why did all the men around his family have to be so tall? He figured that it was more than likely to be his own destiny, but for now, it hurt his neck.

"Unc' Charlie?"

Charlie bent down next to Will. They were still not eye-to- eye, Charlie hunching over somewhat.

"You must be William."

"Will. Jus' Will." Will produced a brilliant smile.

"Oh, I see. Well, it's very nice to meet you Will." Charlie chuckled and ruffled his nephew's hair.

"I like you Unc' Charlie," Will announced.

Jeff and Kate turned from the porch, Maggie and the priest almost bumping into their backs.

"Well, thank you, Will. From what I see of you, I like you too."

Will stepped further toward his uncle and wrapped his arms around his neck. Charlie, a little taken back by this show of sentiment from a nephew that didn't even know him, was hesitated at first, reaching around and held Will close. Charlie scooped him up, noticing four sets of eyes watching from the porch. He shrugged, smiled and followed everyone inside carrying Will.


Chapter Three

Old Horse Springs, New Mexico Hastings Residence October 12 11.15pm

"So?" Kate paused, the hairbrush gripped in her hand just above her right ear. She kept her voice low so as not to be heard in the other rooms.

She studied Jeff's reflection in the mirror. He was lying atop their bed, skimming through a paperback he had acquired on their last trip into town. Either he was speed- reading or not really interested as he flicked each page quickly. He pulled off his glasses and regarded her with raised eyebrows.

"So?"

"What did you think?"

"Of?" Jeff placed the book and glasses on the bedside table.

"Charlie!" Kate emphasized with the brush, pointing it at Jeff.

"Well, until this afternoon I'd thought he was a figment of your imagination. I just met the guy. I don't know." Jeff pulled the covers from her side of the bed, patting the pillow. "C'mon. You tired?"

Kate climbed in beside him, cuddling close, feeling the heat radiating from his body.

"Even so, I'd like to have your impression."

"Does it matter? He's your brother." He nuzzled her hair as she snuggled closer, molding her body against his as much as she could with the swelling hindrance of her belly.

"He's family and so are you now. Yes, it does matter."

"You know my impression of your other brother."

"I know, but this is Charlie. He's not like Bill."

"He's still your brother and brothers tend to be protective of their sisters."

Kate drew circles on his t-shirt, making him shiver slightly.

"So you don't like him?"

"I didn't say that."

"Then you do?" She tilted her head to view his expression. He was grinning.

"I didn't say that either What I AM saying, Sc... honey, is that I don't know him at all. I don't want to pass any judgment."

"Will took a liking to him straight away."

"I know."

"He's never done that before. Why would he say that? Do you think that he somehow..."

"Don't." Jeff kissed the corner of her mouth.

"Don't what? I was just speculating..."

"Don't speculate. Just let him be. We don't have to read too much into everything he says or does. He's just a normal kid."

Kate shrugged, not wavering from her locked gaze with Jeff.

"Do you believe that?"

"I have to."

Kate nodded. She wanted desperately to believe that everything was normal now.

"I just..."

Jeff stopped her words with a brief kiss on the lips.

"Let's..." Another kiss. "...not..." Another kiss. "...talk any more."

Jeff held Kate's head to him, pressing his mouth more firmly against hers. His right hand lingered over her rounded abdomen, settling over her breast. He felt her nipple harden against his palm as she shifted slightly to allow him better access. Kate sighed against his lips.

"Daddy?"

Kate pulled away, cheeks flushed, and turned to see her son's face peering through the slightly opened doorway. Jeff sat upright, running a hand through his hair.

"Will, what are you doing up?"

Will stepped hesitantly inside, his face masked by the shadows in the room.

"Can't sleep."

Jeff swung his legs over the edge of the bed.

"Want me to tuck you in again?"

"It's those stories of yours." Kate chuckled. "I don't think they're suitable for his age."

Jeff made a face and turned back to Will.

"C'mon." He motioned to stand.

"Sleep here?" Will took a further step inside.

"Will..." Jeff shook his head.

"Please, Daddy?"

"Will, we talked about this."

"Mommy?" Will changed tactics.

"You know, he's usually very good, but with all the excitement lately..." Kate touched Jeff's arm. "Just tonight?"

Will nodded enthusiastically, a wide smile forming. Jeff groaned, falling back against the bed, eyes shut tight.

"What about MY excitement?"

Kate leaned over Jeff, planting a kiss on his cheek.

"I promise you'll get your excitement tomorrow." She whispered seductively into his ear.

Jeff regarded her with one opened eye.

"Promise?"

"Would I lie to you?"

Kate shifted, pulling back the bed covers, nodding to Will. She patted Jeff's chest, gesturing for him to make room. Will climbed over Jeff, settling into the space between them. Almost at once they heard a contented sigh and Will had closed his eyes.

Both parents watched their son, his chest rising and falling with deep, even breaths, his hands tucked under his chin.

"You nervous?" Kate whispered, lying on her side, head propped on her hand.

Jeff mimicked her position.

"'Nervous'?"

"About tomorrow."

"Why would I be nervous?"

"We didn't have a ceremony before. You still have time to back out."

Jeff reached out to stroke her cheek.

"The rest of the gang'll be here tomorrow morning."

"We still don't have to go through with this."

"I want to."

"Do you really?"

"I did ask you, remember?"

Kate nodded, sighed and leaned into his touch.

"I remember."

"Tomorrow is about us."

"'Us'?" Kate arched an eyebrow.

"The REAL us. Not Jeff and Kate."


Chapter Four

Old Horse Springs, New Mexico Hastings Residence
October 13 10.12am

The Lone Gunmen Productions had moved to Roswell, New Mexico. Moving into new quarters had not been a problem. Moving all the technical equipment they had accumulated over the years proved a formidable task. Unpacked boxes were left piled in several rooms that would serve as their new abode. There hadn't been enough time to place things in any order before their appointment in Old Horse Springs.

They arrived at their destination just after Walter Skinner and his personal assistant, Kimberley Cook, who were standing in the living room greeting the Scully's and Father Reilly as the door opened to allow them access inside.

"Hey guys!" Mulder shook hands with each Lone Gunmen in turn, Frohike briefly hugging his old friend. "Just in time. Come in and meet everyone else, but don't embarrass me."

"I don't think we could do any better than you, dude." Langley smirked.

"You know, man, this place is huge!" Frohike scanned the room and peered around the hallway.

"Well, you know I had both my mother and father's houses as well as the old summer house. Skinner helped with most of those details and you guys were a part of wiring some of that to us."

"A rich fugitive. Very James Bond." Byers grinned.

"Where's the lovely bride?" Frohike was still peering, or rather leering, as far as Mulder could see, down the hallway.

"I think she's still getting ready. I'll go see."

Mulder took a step toward the hallway. A hand gripped his arm. Maggie Scully's eyebrows were knitted in a frown.

"Fox, you're not supposed to see her until the ceremony."

Mulder regarded her with an amused grin.

"Maggie, I just saw her this morning. What difference is it gonna make?"

"It's tradition." Maggie folded her arms, determined to make him listen.

"This isn't a very traditional setting." Mulder chuckled.

"Don't condescend me, Fox. Just go with it." A smile tugged at Maggie's mouth.

"Okay, okay." Mulder acquiesced, hands held in front of him. "I've learned never to argue with a Scully."

"And don't you forget it." Maggie reached up on tiptoe to peck his cheek.

Mulder watched as she sauntered off down the hallway to the bedroom. A weight landed on his shoulder. A large hand belonging to Charlie Scully gripped firmly.

"How about you show me a little of this land you have?" Charlie motioned toward the front door with his other hand.

"You saw most of it last ni..." Mulder searched Charlie's face. He was definitely not interested in looking at the land again. His stomach lurched. God, not another Scully brother that wanted to 'talk' to him!

Mulder looked around at the other guests.

"Don't worry," Charlie opened the door, "I'm sure they can all take care of themselves for awhile."

As they exited, Skinner tipped his coffee mug at Mulder, a wide grin on his face. Yeah, he can smile, thought Mulder he doesn't have to deal with a Scully male.

"It's nice, Fox." Charlie set his large frame on the porch steps, looking out at the front yard, wincing slightly as his knees popped.

"Mulder or Jeff." Mulder settled on the same level step, leaning against the railing.

"What?"

"I'm not really partial to Fox."

"It's your name isn't it?" Charlie squinted in the morning light, leaning his arms on his knees.

"Yeah, but..."

'You let Mom call you that."

"Yeah, but..."

"I'm not sure that I've heard Dana call you that, but it's different, I'll grant you that. I know we're supposed to go by the alias thing, but I think today we can forego that. What d'ya say, Fox?"

Mulder ran a hand through his hair. Was he determined to piss him off or was he trying to gain some insight into the man his sister had chosen to spend the rest of her life with. Maybe a little of both.

"Mulder."

"What?"

"Whatever. Look, Charlie, I don't think you wanted to come out here just to enjoy the view."

"Why do you think we're out here?"

Mulder rubbed his chin.

"You're either going to tell me a few things or warn me. Or maybe a bit of both."

Charlie laughed, leaning back, elbows on the step above him.

"Very perceptive of you. I heard you were a damned good profiler in the FBI."

"Just had experience with a Scully brother."

Mulder raised his head to glance at the door. Bill, Tara and their son Matthew Scully had arrived around 8am that morning. Thank God for Maggie and her delegating ways! She had assisted Dana with breakfast, separating their seats and finally maneuvered Bill out to assist the Hosteens in setting up the back yard.

"Bill is just... well, Bill." Charlie explained.

"Yeah. So, let's get this over with, Charlie."

"All cards laid out on the table?"

"That's probably the best way. No bullshit."

"Okay, then." Charlie returned to his former position, leaning forward, arms on knees. "No bullshit."

Mulder gritted his teeth, readying himself for any kind of admonishment.

"Dana was always my best friend when we were kids. Bill was always Bill, the big brother. I maybe the younger brother, but I was always there for her until I joined the navy. We could always talk and sometimes we didn't need to. From what I've seen since I've been here, you'd know a little about that, Fox."

Mulder shifted, leaning more heavily against the railing, silent.

"Anyway, I used to think I knew what Dana wanted and I always supported her in all her choices."

"But?" Mulder broke his silence.

"What makes you think there's a 'but'?"

"There's no 'but'? Unless you've left something out or prefer to kick mine..."

Charlie roared with laughter, leaning back against the top step again.

"Jesus, I had no idea you could be so pessimistic! Will you let me finish?"

Mulder grinned, despite his growing tension.

"Okay."

"As I was saying, Dana made some choices that the family didn't really approve of but we all tried to understand. The FBI was one thing, the danger she faced was another. I'd support Dana if she'd wanted to be an astronaut or a truck driver. I'm not going to sit here and tell you my brother's feelings towards you are wrong. But I'm also not going to take sides. She chose you and this life. Bill will never accept that or you. That's Bill. I'm not going to say that I will one hundred percent, but I know when my sister's happy. You make her happy and for that, I'm glad to know you. You've also given her the family she's only dreamed about. She's also still practicing medicine. I honestly don't think that I've ever seen her this happy since she was a child."

Charlie leaned forward again. Mulder waited for more. None came. Charlie extended his right hand as he stood.

"Welcome to the family, Fox."

"Thanks Charlie. Wasn't quite the speech I was expecting." Mulder gripped Charlie's hand, allowing to be assisted into a standing position.

"What were you expecting?"

"Something to the effect of kicking my butt and calling me one sorry son a bitch."

Charlie laughed heartily, clapping Mulder on the shoulder.

"Let's hope we can both escape Bill's wrath for today!"


12.30pm

Charlie leaned across to poke Mulder in the side. Jesus, he was so stiff standing there next to Father Reilly in his tux, it was almost laughable! Mulder turned to see the smirk on Charlie's face, looking up at him from the front row of seats.

"Hey," Charlie whispered, handing him his handkerchief. "Relax."

Mulder gratefully accepted, wiping his face. Shit! He hadn't been nervous until a few minutes ago, until he'd seen all the faces of friends and family sitting down waiting for the ceremony to begin. He avoided Bill Scully's glare. He still had time to back out. Dana had given him that option. Was that what he wanted? He shuffled his feet.

Elvis' love song brought everyone's heads around to face the back door away from Mulder and the priest. Frohike manned the audio equipment they'd brought with them. He produced a thumbs-up to Mulder over the amplifier. Frohike definitely knew what music he liked.

Will appeared through the doorway, a small red velvet cushion in one hand. His other hand was outstretched pulling on something behind the door. Dana stepped out in a simple apricot gown, her hair built up away from her face, silhouetted by strands of curls. Tara had adorned her hair with flowers from their garden.

Mulder knew then that this was what he wanted. No other option, no denial. Dana Scully was and always would be his soulmate.

Will lead his mother between the few rows of seats towards the awaiting priest and his father. If he grinned any wider, his jaw would start hurting, but he was just so happy he couldn't contain it. This was a big event to have all these people and he could feel so much happiness surrounding him that he felt like his heart would explode. He also had a very important role to play and so far he had remembered everything his grandmother had showed him.

Mulder ruffled his son's hair. Yes, this was definitely what he wanted. Dana took his hand, as Will stepped aside, gripping the cushion with both hands, the gold rings centered within its folds.

Dana leaned closer.

"Happy Birthday, Fox Mulder." She whispered for only him to hear.

Mulder produced a lopsided grin.

"Thanks, Mrs. Dana Mulder." He returned her whisper. "I think this has to rank as one of the best gifts I've ever received."

The End

Read the last story in this series, The New Arrival.

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