Title: Gentle Christmas
Author: Susan
E-mail: touchstone98@tx.rr.com
Classification: Christmas vignette, sequel to "Quiet Christmas"
Episode: reference to all things Archive: No archive without permission.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to each other, not me.

Summary: Outside the snow has finally stopped, the ground now covered in a quilt of white. Inside he watched his wife sleep.

Author's notes: It's been nine long years since I wrote something in this universe. It was truly a pleasure to revisit these characters... and who knows? With any kind of luck, it won't be another nine years until I visit again.;)


Outside the snow has finally stopped, the ground now covered in a quilt of white.

Inside he watched his wife sleep.

It was a busy day for her today, playing with her grandson, making a big dinner for all of them, trying to keep him away from the Christmas cookies so someone else could actually have some.

And he loved every moment of it.

Watching her with Kevin, her patience, the sparkle in her eye whenever she looked at him, the way she called him "Peanut."

He couldn't seem to get enough of her.

And seeing her with William, watching the way she looked at him when he protectively put his arm around his wife and hearing the pride in her voice whenever she said their son's name.

He savored every moment of that too.

And now he's savoring another moment, watching her as she peacefully sleeps on the couch, her head tipped to the side, her hands clasped together on her lap.

Seeing her like this, still dressed in her green sweater and blazer, a few strands of hair loosely draped across her cheek, he couldn't help thinking about all those years ago when she fell asleep the same way on the couch in his old apartment.

She hadn't come right out and said the exact words then, but her whole life had changed while he was gone in England, and for the first time in a very long time, she allowed herself to be completely vulnerable with him.

Later that night, she came to his bedroom and slept in his arms, and though they didn't have sex then, it was the most intimate time they'd ever shared together.

And now here he was again all these years later, sharing yet another intimate moment with her, watching her sleep beside him as the last of the embers in the fireplace flickered out.

"So are you going to sit there and watch me all night, or are you going to give me back my quilt?" she asked sleepily, her lids heavy as she looked over at him, then down at the quilt bunched up in a pile on the floor.

He bent forward, kissed her forehead. "That depends," he replied, grinning as he picked up the quilt.

Her eyes quickly widened. "On what?"

He gently draped the quilt over her. "On if you let me get under there with you," he said, waggling his eyebrows.

She lifted up the blanket and smiled. "Where else would you go?"

"Oh, I don't know. Maybe here," he replied, leaning over and nibbling on her ear.

His hand slipping underneath the quilt, he slowly traced a path along her collarbone, then down between her breasts. "Or here," he whispered.

"Mulder..."

"Or maybe down here," he teased, diving all the way under the cover and tickling the sides of her waist.

"Mulder, stop," she giggled, playfully swatting his hands away as she joined him under the padded blanket.

"You guys just never quit, do you?" remarked William, startling them both.

Quickly lifting the quilt off of them, Mulder adjusted it over their laps. "Well, can you blame me?" he replied, giving Scully a quick kiss on her cheek.

Shaking his head, William smiled at both his parents and sat down in the chair across from them. "No, I guess I can't."

"What's going on, Will?" asked Scully, the crease in her forehead deepening. "This is the second time you've been up tonight."

"I told you before. It's the time change. It feels like I'm still on Montana time," he answered, fidgeting with his hands.

"That's not why you're up, and you know it," stated Mulder matter-of-factly. "You're worried about something, and I want to know what it is. We both do."

He leaned back in the chair and chuckled. "Okay, you got me, Dad. I have been kind of preoccupied with something."

"And?"

"And Mom...Dad..." He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, then opened them and continued, "Sarah's pregnant."

"You're going to have another baby?" asked Scully, making sure she really heard what she thought she just heard.

"Yes," he said softly.

"That's wonderful news, William, but what's wrong? Is Sarah all right?" asked Scully, leaning forward and resting her arms on her legs.

"She's fine, Mom. We're fine. It's just that..."

"It's just what, Will?" asked Mulder. "What's on your mind?"

"It's my job." Nervously rubbing his hands together, he looked down at the floor. "There's a good chance I may be getting laid off sometime in January...and with the baby coming and Sarah not working right now, I don't know what we're going to do," he said quietly.

"Oh no." Scully was up in an instant then, moving over to her son and sitting on the armrest of his chair. She put her arm around his shoulder. "How come you didn't tell us about this sooner?"

"I didn't want to upset you...not on Christmas," he admitted, still looking down at the floor.

Mulder stood up, walked over to his family, put his hands on Scully's shoulders. "We'd be upset if you *didn't* tell us about it. Jesus, Will, don't you know by now that we're always here for you no matter what?" he asked, a hint of irritation creeping in his voice.

Scully reached up to her shoulder, calmly squeezed her husband's hand. "Your dad's right. If something happens, we'll help you any way we can, but you have to *let* us."

"I know, Mom...Dad." He suddenly stood up then. "It's just that if I can...I want to deal with this on my own. It's important to me," he said firmly as he moved behind the couch.

"I understand you wanting to take care of your family, believe me I do, but it's not just you anymore. You have a wife and a child to think about with another one on the way, and you have to learn how to ask for *and* accept someone else's help if you need it," said Mulder.

"If we hadn't asked for Walter's help all those years ago, we might not have ever gotten you back," he added quietly, closing his eyes briefly, then moving closer to his son. "Bottom line...if you need help, ask us."

"Thanks, Dad," said Will, considering his words, then suddenly pulling him into a hug. Giving him one last squeeze before letting go, he went to his mother next, kissed her cheek, then gently put his arms around her. "Thanks, Mom."

"Now tell us about this new grandchild of ours," said Scully, trying to change the subject to something more positive as she tightened her hold on him for a moment, then let go. "When is Sarah due?"

He smiled. "In May, and before you ask, no, we don't know if it's a boy or girl."

"I prefer healthy," said Scully. "But a beautiful little granddaughter to go with my handsome grandson might be nice," she added with a smile.

"We'll see. Sarah thinks it might be a girl."

"You said before that she's doing fine. No morning sickness this time?" asked Scully.

"No, she's just eating a lot, and she gets tired easily."

"Kevin would tire anyone out," joked Mulder.

William laughed. "You're right about that."

"I know I am, and right now you need to get some rest so you can deal with him tomorrow." Mulder glanced over at the clock. "Come on, son. It's late. Why don't you go back to bed, snuggle up with your lovely wife, and stop worrying," he suggested, grabbing his own wife from behind and wrapping his arms around her waist. "It's what I'm going to do," he added, nuzzling her neck with his nose.

"Dad..." he groaned, rolling his eyes.

"You know I can't help myself when it comes to your mom," grinned Mulder, peppering three quick kisses on her cheek, then releasing his hold on her and moving towards the fireplace.

"I know, Dad," he replied, rolling his eyes again, though secretly he loved the way his parents were so affectionate with each other.

"We'll talk about all of this some more in the morning. Now go on upstairs, and I'll take care of the fire," he said as crouched down and made sure there weren't any remaining embers burning.

"Goodnight, honey. We'll see you in the morning," said Scully, pulling him down so she could kiss his cheek. "And congratulations. I'm really happy for you," she whispered in his ear before letting him go.

"Thanks, Mom...for everything," he whispered back. "'Night, Dad," he said as he left the room and headed back upstairs.

"Goodnight, son," he called out as he finished with the fireplace, then stood up. "He'll be okay. They both will," he said, giving her shoulders a reassuring squeeze from behind.

"Yes, they will," she said, nodding her head.

"So, what do you say, Scully?" he asked, sliding his arms down around her waist again. "You want to take me up on that snuggling-in-bed thing I mentioned earlier?"

Turning around in his arms, she looked up at him, and replied, "There's no place else I'd rather be."

"Me either," he said, kissing the top of her head, then releasing her and holding out his hand.

Turning off the lamp, she grabbed the quilt off the couch, and slipped her hand inside his.

And together they went upstairs to bed.

~end~


Thank you so much for reading. I do appreciate it. I hope your Christmas was as lovely as mine!:)

You can find all three stories here: Christmas & Kids

1: White Christmas 2: Quiet Christmas 3: Gentle Christmas

Originally posted December 2013.

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