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Title: Resistance 2.0 - Peggy's Story
Author: Peggy Mulder (as told to Vickie Moseley)
Written: February 2006
Archive: yes
Category: MSM Kidfic Post-Col
Disclaimer: I can't claim most of these people but I can claim Peggy and her friends. Everyone else belongs to 1013 Productions and 20th Century FOX. No copyright infringement intended.

Summary: It's Christmas, 2012. The Mulder family has come a long way, from Mexico into the mountains of Canada. But the invasion isn't far behind them. Resistance sequel.

Dedication: Cyberroses and chocolate Mulders to Lisa, who once again brought this story to life with her beautiful artwork. Many thanks to Chuck, faithful keeper of the S8 canon (which I quite frankly never really committed to memory) and Supreme Beta Reader. Special thank yous to all who wrote me after Resistance 1.0. All the gentle (and pokey) nudges finally paid off because the Muse came back.


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Resistance 2.1: Bethlehem

December 24, 2012
150 miles north of Edmonton, Alberta

It was Christmas Eve. The only reason I knew that was because when we were driving through Edmonton in the dark of night, the stores were closed and the streets were deserted but all the churches had cars in the parking lots. I heard Daddy say something to Mom about stopping but she shook her head and wouldn't look at him. She kept driving.

It seemed like we'd been driving forever, even though it was just a couple of weeks. Everything was such a jumble since Daddy got hurt at work. When Uncle Pete picked me up at school to take me to Mom at the hospital, I didn't think anything good could ever happen again. Mom was crying and the doctor told me that my Daddy might not ever wake up. I thought my world was ending. That was before Will stepped off the elevator.

I knew who he was the minute I saw him -- Will's been in my dreams all my life. Still, it was a little weird to know that the guy in my dreams was my real flesh and blood brother and that now he was with us. I've always known I had a brother, but like my friends who had siblings in college or step-siblings who lived in other states, we didn't all live together. But unlike my friends, I could never talk about Will or even talk to him. Only in my dreams. I remember wondering that night if I was dreaming that he'd come home and that we were going to Canada. I thought I'd wake up in the house in El Paso and find out it was all because I tried to eat the green salsa on my nachos instead of the mild red stuff Mom tells me to use. She told me once that Irish-New English stomachs just can't handle the hot stuff, but Daddy laughed and told me to eat my nachos any way I liked.

It had been hard at first. Will was really upset that his other mom and dad, the people who had adopted him, had been killed. I felt bad for him. I would hate to lose Mom and Daddy. Mom was really upset but she tried to hide it. She always thought Will was safe and after finding out that his parents had been killed, she realized he wasn't any safer adopted than he would have been with us all along. It took her a long time to work that out in her head. I wanted to help her, but she doesn't know I know what she thinks and I'd like to keep it that way.

We left El Paso just a day after Daddy woke up from his coma, and he was awful weak then. Mom was so worried and would look at him all the time when he wasn't looking. She even checked his pulse when he was asleep. I wanted to tell her he was fine, he wasn't dying anymore, but I'm not sure I could have convinced her of that. She had to figure it out for herself.

But that night, Christmas Eve, Will was asleep in the seat next to me. He seemed to be sleeping a lot back then. Sometimes he would dream about his other home, his other family. I could see his dreams, just as I was pretty sure he could see mine, but I never asked him. When he'd have those dreams he'd wake up sort of startled, like he'd gone from one nightmare into another. Then he'd look over at me and smile. Sometimes I'd reach out my hand and he'd grab it and we'd do our 'secret handshake'. We'd grab our fingers like we were going to have a thumb war, but we wouldn't do battle. We'd just hold hands. My fingers would tingle a little but it felt good, like we were even more connected.

Daddy slept all the time at first and Mom said that was good, he needed the sleep to get better. After we crossed the border into Canada, he stayed awake more and kept watching the road and the other cars around us, just like Mom. Once we left Edmonton, we didn't see any other cars. It looked lonely outside. It was snowing and it was so pretty out, but it felt like we were all by ourselves, no one else left in the world. That scared me -- the idea that we would be all alone. But Will took my hand and I felt better.

I just sat there in the back seat and watched the snow. The snowflakes looked like stars in the headlights. A tunnel of stars that flew toward us. One time Daddy asked Mom if she needed a break, that he could drive a while. She ignored him at first but then took his hand and kissed it. "No, you stay put. I'm fine." Daddy grunted something when she said that, but I didn't hear what he said. Mom laughed a little but kept on driving.

Because Daddy couldn't ride for very long, it was a long journey. We stayed in crappy old motels on the back roads. I wished we could stay somewhere with an indoor pool, but knew better than to ask. Every place we stayed Mom would check us in, telling the clerk it was just her husband and daughter with her and ask for a room away from the main road. We'd sneak Will in when we were sure no one could see him. The police and everybody were looking for him for the first few days. That meant we'd get carry out food all the time, too and when we did go to a drive through at a McDonalds, Will hid under the blanket that Daddy had been using. I used to think it was a real treat to eat McDonalds but I never wanted to see one of their salads or breakfast burritos again.

Mom had the car television turned to CNN all the time we were driving. The east coast of the United States had a severe outbreak of the flu. They named it Avian Flu 5 and said it was related to the bird flu that turned out to be not that big a deal back when I was little. But this flu was much worse and the hospitals were already full. They said quarantine procedures were in place and all the international flights had been cancelled and they were advising people not to travel by air at all. When we crossed the border, Mom didn't take the road -- she went across a field at night and we slept in the car until about 10:00 the next morning before we made our way back to the road. The Canadians closed the border a day after we crossed it to stop the spread of the flu but according to the TV reports there were outbreaks in most of the major cities from Newfoundland to Montreal and Quebec. Both Will and I knew this wasn't the flu. Mom and Daddy knew it, too. We also knew that it wouldn't matter if we came across someone who had it -- we wouldn't get sick. We can't get sick from it. That's why the aliens want to find us so bad. What Mom and Daddy didn't know then was that they wouldn't get sick either.

There were other things I knew as we were driving but I wouldn't let myself think of them, just in case _they_ might hear. Like when Will figured out where we were going and I told him not to think about it. It was all about keeping safe, getting to where we were going without getting into any trouble.

Oh, and saving the Earth. But I knew at the time that would come later. When we were ready.

It had been quiet for a long time, just the snow and the road and off in the distance, I could see mountains. "Sweetie, there aren't any other roads out here according to the GPS system," Mom said to me from the front seat.

"I don't think it's on there, Mommy. How far out of Edmonton are we?" Before she had a chance to answer, Will woke up and looked around.

"What is that?" he asked me, frowning at first.

"What?" Mom asked, trying to look at him in the rearview mirror.

"That -- hum," he said, looking out the window at the mountains all around us. I just smiled at him and said nothing. He smacked my arm. "Squirt, answer me," he demanded. Very soon I'd be big enough to smack him back, but he really didn't hurt me when he did it. I'd figured out that was just how big brothers act with their little sisters.

"Look at those mountains, Will," I told him. He stared out the window and shook his head. "Will, look IN the mountains," I corrected myself. Then when he looked, his eyes brighten.

"I see it, now!" he said happily. "Oh God, there's tons of it there!"

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"Magnetite?" Daddy asked. Since he couldn't turn around all the way to see Will, I nodded at him. "Good. We'll need it."

Again, I kept silent.

In just a few minutes, I knew the road we were looking for was right ahead. I squinted through the snow, which was falling harder, and pointed out the front windshield. "There, Mommy, right there. See that little bush? Just past that. Wait till the wind blows a little, you'll see it."

Sure enough, a gust of wind blew the snow around and the gravel of the crossroad was there for all of us to see. "You're sure about this, Peg Leg?" Daddy asked.

"Absolutely," I told him. We were there. We were almost to our new home.

Suddenly, Will laughed. "Mom, Dad, I hear Gibson! He's telling us to go 3.7 miles down this road and then stop. There will be someone coming out to meet us."

The last stretch of gravel had to be the longest road of the trip. I had never met Gibson before then, but I knew that he was as much a part of our family as Will. Our 'other family' as I thought of them. The ones my parents left behind when they went into hiding years ago. I also knew that Gibson was not alone. There were people with him, people my parents hadn't seen in a long time. Just anticipating how happy my Mom and Dad were going to be made it seem that much longer until we saw a beat up old pick up truck at the side of the road.

"3.7 miles, on the nose," Mom said with a smile on her face that I could see in the rearview mirror. She pulled the van in behind the pick up truck. The driver's side door on the truck opened and someone came out dressed in a heavy parka with the hood up. I knew who it is immediately and felt butterflies in my stomach as he battled the wind to approach our car.

Daddy unbuckled his seatbelt and opens his door. He'd been walking a little better the past few days, but Mom was still worried about him. She reached out a hand, she wanted him to stay put, but he was already out of the car and she opened her door to follow him.

The headlights on the snow gave us a perfect picture. The wind was blowing snow fairies all around the three people. I saw the man in the parka push back his hood, showing a black wool cap and his face in the stark light. Suddenly my Dad recognized his face and grabbed the man in a fierce bear hug. Mom looked shocked, but she recognized the man, too and joined Daddy in the group hug out in the snow and the wind. They talked and if I wanted to I could have 'listened in', but I decided to give them their privacy. I knew what they were talking about -- Daddy's accident and Will showing up and 'the date', which had already passed three days before. It was all that had been on their minds the whole trip.

"Who is that guy?" Will asked beside me and I wonder why he doesn't know. I think it's because he had only seen us in his dreams, he hadn't had a chance to really 'read' our parents.

"He's our friend. You knew him when you were little."

Will concentrated for a minute and then looked at me. "Is he bald under that cap?"

I smiled and nodded. "Now do you remember?"

"A big guy. He used to hold me. I - I remember him holding me." Then his face lit up. "Uncle Walter!"

I bobbed my head. "I've never met him. He doesn't even know about me, unless Gibson told him. Mom's probably telling him about you right now." We watched as Walter Skinner tried to look into the blinding headlights with a surprised and happy look on his face. He took four big steps and he was at my door. Mom reached around him and opened it.

He looked in at both of us and we squinted in the sudden glare of the dome light.

"Oh my God," he whispered. "Scully, she looks just like you! Mulder, no one could ever mistake that boy for anyone but your son," he said with a grin.

"Peggy, William, this is-"

"Uncle Walter," Will said with a matching smile. "Good to see you again, sir," he added and I rolled my eyes -- where did the 'sir' come from?

"Hi," I said, smiling too. I'd seen him before, in Mom's dreams of her old home. This man helped both Mom and Daddy. Will was right; he is kind of like an uncle to us. But at that moment he was standing there with the door open and the wind came in making Will and I both shiver.

"Well let's get you all someplace warm. Scully, just follow me. We're only going a little way down this road, around that hill there.

Everyone is anxious to see you."

Mom got in and Daddy hurried to get in his seat. They didn't bother with seatbelts, I could tell they were too anxious. I was so happy for them. Mom pulled the van in behind the pick up. We drove around the hill to find a canyon. The road went down so that steep bluffs rose above us on both sides. After a while the canyon widened and I saw houses. There were probably 30 little houses and a few larger buildings all nestled in between the bluffs. In the snow it looked so peaceful.

"Like Bethlehem," Mom said aloud. Daddy reached over and took her hand.

"More like Egypt," he answered and I could see her squeeze his hand.

Uncle Walter pulled the truck up to one of the larger buildings. Even though it was the middle of the night, there were lights on in all the windows. I saw people walking around. In my head I heard their voices, really their thoughts. They were all worried, but they were also excited that my parents had finally made it. There was an awful lot of hope in that building, the hopes of all the people gathered there. I looked over at Will and I saw he sensed the same things I felt. We exchanged a look -- wondering if we were up to meeting all those people and more. We knew our family was the hope they were all thinking about.

Mom and Daddy got out of the car, Daddy opened Will's door and Mom opened mine. I took a deep breath and stepped out of the car.

It was freezing! I can't remember ever being that cold, even when we hadn't lived on the border of Mexico. We lived in Wyoming for a while and it was cold there in winter, but that cold turned the air in my lungs to blocks of ice. I looked over and saw Daddy having some trouble, clutching his chest. Will stepped forward and put his arm around Daddy, guiding him toward the big double doors of the building.

Mom watched them and I saw tears forming little frozen diamonds on her lashes. I took her hand and we followed right behind them.

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Resistance 2.02: Old Friends

December 25, 2012
12:11 am

Daddy and Will were at the door before Mom and me. Uncle Walter was holding the door and helping Will get Dad over the small stoop. The building looked like a community center, like the one we had in El Paso. One story, a room big enough for girl and boy scout meetings or a chili supper to raise money for new playground equipment at the park.

As we got close, I could smell wonderful scents. Roast turkey and stuffing was the strongest, but underneath it I could smell all sorts of food and coffee. My stomach grumbled and Mom smiled at me.

Finally, we were inside. Uncle Walter was helping Dad out of his jacket and showing Mom where she could put our coats. Daddy was waving off Will's attempt to get him to sit down in a chair. Daddy looked around at all the people and suddenly, the whole room stopped moving.

Everyone was frozen in place and I wondered what was wrong. Then I saw them.

Daddy was staring at the three men in the front of the group of people. He started shaking his head and he got real pale. I could hear him screaming 'no no no' in his head and I wondered why everyone else couldn't hear him. But the shortest of the three men ran over and hugged Daddy hard and patted him on the back, leading him to a chair near the tables. The other two were over in a second, and Daddy was whispering 'you're dead, you're dead, you can't be here,' and they were laughing and shaking their heads.

Mom had been putting away her coat but when she saw what was happening, she ran over to Daddy. That's when she saw the three men and she stopped and stared, too. Tears were running down her face and she started crying for real and I could hear her thinking 'no, it can't be -- not another miracle!' The little man who had helped Daddy turned to Mom and hugged her, giving her a kiss on the cheek.

"We're real, Dana."

"I don't understand," Mom said, shaking her head and wiping tears from her eyes as she hugged each of the three men in turn.

"It was a ruse. We had to go underground. We knew we were compromising everything by staying -- well, alive," said the man with the beard.

"We always told you our kung fu was the best," said the man with blond hair. "Did we do a death scene for the Oscar's or what?"

"I just, I don't believe it," Mom said and hugged each of them again.

Daddy hadn't said a word, but finally spoke up. "I saw you. I saw you in the desert," he rasped. I could see tear tracks down his cheeks, too. Will was really uncomfortable that Daddy was crying, but I knew they were happy tears.

"I know. We hated to fool you like that," the short man said. "You were our test case."

"Holographic imagery," the blond man jumped in.

"We just wanted to warn you off. You could have been killed in those pueblos," the bearded man told him.

"Holograph-" Daddy said, nodding.

"Mulder?" Mom asked.

"I saw... I saw ghosts, Scully. Krycek, X, I thought these guys were ghosts, too, when I saw them, or rather, their images in the desert."

"You never told me," Mom said and she started to cry again. Daddy held his arms out and she went to him. Daddy looked over and saw Will and me standing by the door. He motioned us over.

"Come meet more of your family," he said with a smile. "Peggy, Will, these are your uncles, Jon, Melvin and Ringo. Guys, our daughter Margaret Christina, and I think you might remember the tall young man standing next to her."

"Farm boy, it's good to meet you in the flesh, man," said the short one.

Will's eyes got real big. "Wait, do I know you?" he asked "Ladiesman, Lord Manhammer and Narc, at your service," the blond answered. "But you're welcome to call us Uncle Frohike, Uncle Langly and Uncle-"

"Jon," said the bearded man, shaking Will's hand.

Will broke out into a wide grin and suddenly he was hugging the three men, too. "I can't believe this! I mean, you guys were on Gibson's blog, but to meet you -- to find out you know my Mom and Dad-"

"Speaking of Gibson, where is he," Mom asked.

"Just waiting my turn," said a really handsome man who came forward from the crowd. "Hi, Peggy, Will." He came over to us and shook Will's hand, but Will pulled him into a hug. Then he just hugged me. "I'm so glad everything turned out," he said to Will. He poked me on the nose and I could hear him thinking 'you and I have to talk -- I'm way too old for you.' I blushed and giggled.

"Hey, we put on this spread just for you four, so let's eat. After dinner, we have a house made up for you and we'll let you get some rest and then we'll meet up tomorrow for leftovers and planning."

We filled our plates and had just sat down to eat when I 'heard' a lady. She'd been standing in the back of the room but she wanted to come over. I nudged Will and he looked up at me, a big bite of turkey leg in his mouth. I nodded to the lady and he looked over at her.

"Dad, I think that woman is trying to get your attention," Will said, with his mouth still partially full. I had already discovered that whatever else they might have done for him, his adoptive parents hadn't done the best job of teaching him good table manners.

"Scully, isn't that Marita?" Daddy asked Mom. She looked over to where he was pointing and finally picked her out of the crowd.

"Yes, I think so." Mom stood and waved. The woman broke into a big smile and came over. It was only when she got to our table that I noticed she had a boy a little older than Will with her. He was taller than her and had dark hair and dark eyes. He was really cute. I hoped I wasn't blushing again.

"Agent Mulder, Agent Scully," she said formally and looked nervously back at the boy. "It's so good to see you, especially since the last time we met was under unfortunate circumstances."

Mom motioned for her and the boy to sit down. "Ms. Covarrubias, I'm so glad your here." Funny, Mom sometimes says one thing when she's thinking something entirely different and it was one of those times.

She was thinking she would have to keep a close eye on the woman.

"Yes," Ms. Covarrubias said, looking down at the table. "I wanted to thank you," she said, finally looking up at Daddy. "When I testified -- you could have-"

Daddy reached across the table and patted her hand. "Marita, I never wanted to see you hurt. It wouldn't have helped me."

She smiled and pulled her hand back in her lap. "Anyway, I'd like you to meet my son, Alexi. Alexi, these are the people I've told you about."

Mom's eyes about popped out of her head when she heard the boy's name.

"Is he... his father...?"

"Alex was his father, yes," Ms Covarrubias said sadly. "Alexi had just turned 18 months old when I was called to testify. I was so afraid that they would find him-" She bit her lip and a tear fell down her cheek. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to intrude on your meal. I just wanted to welcome you here and tell you that if you need anything -- anything at all, just call me. We're a tight knit little group that Gibson has assembled and we help each other all we can." She and the boy got up and went back to the food line.

Mom stared after her for a few minutes and I decided not to 'peek' in on her thoughts. I knew she wasn't happy just by the way she was sitting. Daddy did too, because he put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her over to kiss her on the forehead. "Scully, it was a long time ago. The boy never knew him."

"But she did," Mom said in the voice she reserved for people she really didn't like.

"She helped me, she was a good informant."

Mom looked at Daddy and shrugged out from under his arm. "Yes, well, she can inform someone else now."

Daddy chuckled and shook his head. "Those green eyes are showing again."

"Mom's eyes are blue," Will said, totally confused. I just sighed and shook my head. There were so many things I had to teach my brother.

Uncle Walter and Gibson sat down at our table, giving Mom and Daddy matching looks. Only Gibson smiled and dropped his head. I knew he'd read Mom's thoughts.

"She's been a big help, Dana," he said quietly.

"She's was a 'big help' 15 years ago," Mom said, sounding not at all persuaded. "If this is the virus, if this is the beginning of the invasion, what good will a glorified administrative assistant to the UN do us?"

Uncle Walter winced and said nothing, but Dad put on his serious face and looked over at Mom. "She knows where strategic stores of oil and food are located."

"She did, when she was with the UN. How long ago was that?"

"Scully, you're tired, it's been a shock seeing everyone, let's just drop it for now, OK?" Dad asked.

Mom bit her lip, but finally nodded. By that time Uncle Mel, Uncle Ringo and Uncle Jon had joined us.

"So, you just took over a whole town?" Daddy asked.

"It's an old mining town. They resident population had dwindled down to 15 people. They were more than happy to have us move in. We're using the old mine facility for laboratories," Uncle Jon told him.

"What research have you been doing?" Mom asked.

Uncle Walter smiled at her. "Remember the vial of vaccine you left in my safekeeping?"

Mom looked over at Daddy, clearly interested. Daddy looked confused. "I didn't think there was enough left to make a sample."

"There was and we have," Uncle Mel replied with a big grin. "We've managed to do a lot in the last 11 years. We'll show you everything after you've had a chance to settle in."

"Are the reports we've been hearing true?" Daddy asked.

"The news stations aren't giving the whole story, if that's what you're asking. So far the virus has a mortality rate of just under 90 percent," Uncle Mel said. Mom closed her eyes and I could 'hear' her praying. "We have been successful in inoculating about a quarter million folks here in the US. Our counterparts in Europe and Asia have been a little less successful. We haven't heard from our African operations in a few months. We fear the worst."

"Basically, we can do nothing at the moment," Uncle Walter said sadly.

"The world is quite naturally in a panic. We do know that the internet is still operative and for the time being, most of the electrical grid is still up and running. Much of it is automated, so we hope to keep the lights on. But once the initial attack is over, the real battle begins."

"We have maps of the pandemic, Scully, if you want to take a look at those tomorrow," Uncle Ringo told Mom.

"Yes, I would," Mom agreed. "I've studied the old models for a while -- the ones from H5N1 from six or so years ago. I'd like to see if this virus is following that pattern."

"How long can we last up here?" Daddy asked. Mom glared at him and then looked in my direction but Daddy just shrugged and looked back at our four uncles.

"We have huge supplies of oil and natural gas -- that's how we're heating the homes and buildings. Food isn't a problem and when our stores run low we can raid Edmonton. Basically, the diminishing population is working in our favor, at least until we can get self-sufficient. We already have a small farm operation."

"I'd like to help out with that," Will finally broke in. I could feel him on the edge of his seat, wanting to be accepted as a grown up.

Uncle Walter smiled. "I think that would be a fine idea, William.

Maybe you can help us fix the tractor. It's been running rough lately."

"What brand?" Will asked.

"It's a John Deere," Uncle Jon answered.

"Crap," Will muttered. "We'll have to make due," he said. "Let me tinker with it, I might be able to get it running all right."

All that farm talk was making me sleepy. I had finished my dinner, even the piece of pumpkin pie, and I was really getting sleepy. I shoved my plate to the center of the table and laid my head down on my arms. Later, I felt myself being lifted into the air and my head came to rest on someone's warm shoulder. It was Uncle Walter, I could hear him telling Daddy that he didn't want him to drop me. I could hear his thoughts as he carried me out into the cold night.

He was thinking we were the best Christmas present he'd ever been given.

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Resistance 2.03: Christmas Morning

Christmas Morning, 2012
11.21 am

The smell of bacon cooking woke me. I crawled out of bed, a big bed with really pretty blue and white sheets and covers, and looked around.

My room was beautiful, the nicest room I had ever seen. The curtains matched the covers on the bed. I had a dresser with a mirror. There was a little dresser next to my bed and someone had put Tribble's cage there. She was happily running her wheel. It was a room like I'd always dreamed of having. I wanted to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming, but my stomach growled and I knew I was awake.

My stomach made me follow the bacon smell. Along the way I finally got a look at our new home. It was two stories, the bedrooms were upstairs. I saw four bedroom doors. Mine was right next to the bathroom. I peeked into the other rooms, one room had a couple of desks and two filing cabinets, the other room had a big bed like mine. The last door was closed and I knew Mom and Daddy were still asleep behind it so I let them be.

Down the stairs, there was a hallway. Through an archway was the living room and it had a fireplace. I smiled because Mom always liked fireplaces. What made me smile even more was the big Christmas tree sitting in front of the window. There were even four stockings hung over the fireplace. I wanted to peek inside the stockings, but my stomach growled again, louder and I decided I better see what Will was up to in the kitchen and if he could cook.

"Hey, short stuff," he greeted me and I stuck out my tongue at him. It was fun having an older brother, but I wasn't going to let on that it was. "How do you like your eggs?" "Cooked," I said, snatching a piece of bacon. "This bacon's too crisp. Daddy likes his bacon soggy," I informed him.

Will frowned. "You mean floppy," he said.

"Mom calls it raw, actually," I said back.

"I can make him some more. So, how do you like your eggs 'cooked'?" he corrected himself.

It was time to test the waters. I knew he could feel my feelings, but I didn't know how well he could hear my thoughts. I stared at him for a few seconds, just picturing the way Mom always made my eggs.

He looked at me funny at first and then he smiled. "Over easy it is," he said and turned back to the stove. I smiled, too. We knew we'd have a lot of fun with our new trick.

I searched around the kitchen, finding where everything was. It was nice not to have to run out into the cold and unpack the car. There was everything we needed and then some in the kitchen. I found the coffee and started the coffee maker and then decided to make some toast. The freezer held cans of frozen orange juice concentrate, so I made the juice. There was even strawberry jam for the toast. It was really a nice place! We were just sitting down to eat when Mom appeared in the doorway.

"Well, look who's up," she said, coming over to kiss first my head and then Will's. "My, my, my. And someone has been busy!" She snatched a piece of bacon and then went to get herself a cup of coffee.

"Will thinks he can cook," I said and he pulled my pigtail, but not enough to hurt. I grinned at him.

"It looks like he's right," Mom said and sat down to fill her plate.

"How do you like your eggs, Mom?" he asked. "No, wait a minute." He closed his eyes and I had to reach under the table and kick his shins.

'She doesn't know' I tried to send to him as quickly as I could.

Will's eyes flew open and he looked over at me and frowned. "Um, just guessing, over easy?"

Mom shook her head. "Scrambled, please. And if you don't mind, in the microwave--no butter just a little splash of milk. Your father likes them over easy."

I let out a deep breath and went back to eating.

"Did you see the Christmas tree?" Mom asked me. "I think I might have seen some presents under there, too."

I grinned and nodded. "Can we open them after breakfast?"

"If your father is up by then. He was pretty worn out last night. He needs to take it easy now that we aren't on the road."

"Is that coffee I smell, and bacon?" Daddy was standing in the doorway, his hair in all directions. He smiled at Mom and went over to give her a kiss. "I woke up and you were gone," he said.

"Coffee," she replied with a grin. "And guess who made breakfast?"

He looked first at me and I shook my head. Then he smiled over at Will. "You have your old man beat. I can't open a can."

Mom and I laughed, it was pretty much true. She was always shooing him out of the kitchen.

"Did you see what's in the living room?" Mom asked him.

He nodded as he sipped his coffee. "The work of the four elves, I would assume. I saw packages under there, too."

"Mommy said we could open them after breakfast," I reminded both of them.

"Eggs scrambled and two over easy," Will announced and put the plates on the table.

It was so nice, sitting in that kitchen the first time, all of us together. Every once in a while Mom would get a funny look on her face. I knew she was thinking about her family, my grandma and uncles and their families. There we were, having Christmas breakfast before opening the presents and Mom's family was out there in the world, possibly dying from the virus. It made her sad and happy at the same time. Then she looked over at Will and she was thinking so loud it almost hurt my head. 'Just like when I found out about you and Mulder was missing', she was thinking. I had to get her mind back on happier things.

"This is a really neat house, Mommy! My bedroom is so pretty. And I can see the mountains out my window."

"How's your room, Will?" Daddy asked him.

"It's OK," Will said quietly. While I was hearing only Mom, Will had been remembering his family, too. I saw images of his last Christmas with his adopted parents. He got a dirt bike and a new fielder's mitt.

I closed my eyes and thought hard. 'But this year, you got a sister', I suggested. He looked over at me and smiled, wiping his eyes before Mom noticed. 'You're right', I heard loud and clear. 'Can I exchange her for a puppy?' I knew he was teasing and I wanted to laugh, but we hadn't said anything out loud, so the best I could do was get up, pretending to get more orange juice from the refrigerator and kick his shin as I passed him. He was taking a sip of juice and spit it out across the table.

Daddy looked over at him, all concerned. Mom jumped up to get a paper towel.

"Will, are you all right? Peggy, watch where you're going," Daddy scolded.

"Sorry," we both said at the same time.

Mom raised her eyebrow and Daddy just looked at each of us in turn. "I think they're starting to gang up on us, Scully. We better watch our backs," he said and Mom just grinned.

"But we're older and we've been watching our backs for longer," she told him. We finished breakfast without any further excitement. I was getting antsy, I wanted to go see what was under the tree.

It seemed weird, worrying about Christmas presents when the whole world was falling apart. But all the people I knew and loved were in the room with me. We were safe; no one had found us as we ran all the way from El Paso. The house we were in was the nicest house I'd ever seen in all my life. How could I be sad? I was playing with my fork and knife until Daddy glared at me. I must have been drumming. He hated it when I drummed things like my pencil, my silverware. Mom always told him it was his genes showing, but he ignored her. Still, it was so hard to wait for them to finish eating! "I think you've tortured her enough, Mulder," Mom finally said. I took that as my cue and scooped up my plate and Daddy's while Will took Mom's and his to the sink. We dumped the plates in the dishwasher and raced each other to the living room.

The fireplace was gas and it took only a minute to get a fire going.

Mom spent a little while looking around the room. The furniture was nice, not exactly brand new, but better than any I could remember us having before. There was a television and DVR, but we knew the news was the last thing we wanted to hear. The sides of the fireplace were shelves of books and Mom took a few out to read the titles. Daddy cleared his throat. "Now who's torturing them?" he asked.

I was surprised by how many packages were under the tree. There were at least three or four presents for each of us. While Mom and I sorted out the presents, Will dug through his stocking. He found a big stick of peppermint, an orange, an apple and at the very bottom, a baseball.

He looked at the ball for a few minutes and then looked over at Daddy.

Our father grinned and looked exactly like Will, then held his hand up.

Will tossed the ball to Daddy, who caught it one handed.

"No-"

"-throwing baseballs in the house," Mom and I said together and we both started to giggle. There was a knock at the door and I ran to open it, but Mom stopped me and made me stay behind her. She looked out the side window and smiled.

"Look, it's Santa Claus and his three helpers," she joked as Uncle Walter, and Uncles Mel, Ringo and Jon came in, stomping the snow off their boots on the hall runner and pulled off their coats and hats.

"Oh, good, you found everything," Uncle Walter said, coming into the living room.

"Walt, you didn't have to go to all this trouble," Daddy said, starting to stand up, but Uncle Walter put his hand on Dad's shoulder.

"I think I've missed out on more than a few Christmases with you four.

I wanted to make up for that. And the way things are going..."

"Mommy, I saw eggnog in the refrigerator," I said, not wanting to ruin the day talking about what was going on outside the house.

"Um, I think there might have been a six pack of beer in there, too," Uncle Melvin said. "I'll help you, Little Lady."

I giggled, I had grown to like all my uncles in just the short time I'd known them.

"She hasn't had a chance to open her presents," Uncle Jon said. "We know where everything is, you just relax and enjoy."

Will and I took that as our signal. We sat down on the floor under the tree and tore the wrapping paper of one present each. I got a down jacket. Will got a set of thermal overalls. We shrugged and grabbed another two packages. I got a fur-lined hat and scarf and fur trimmed gloves. Will got thermal gloves and wool socks. So far it wasn't exactly what I had hoped to find.

"Here, Peggy, open this one," Uncle Ringo said, pulling a box from behind the tree. It was a big box and we had some trouble getting it out into the front. I opened it with a little worry. Just to be on the safe side, I tried to read his thoughts, but he was thinking about a video game and some lady name Jade Blue, so that was no help at all.

Carefully, I tore off the wrapping paper and opened the box. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was a dollhouse. After looking at it for a few minutes I realized it was exactly like the house we were in, with the bedrooms upstairs and the same furniture and everything. There were even little people to live in the house. A man with dark hair, a short woman with red hair, a blond older boy and a red haired girl. Our family, only dolls. I couldn't help myself, I ran over and threw my arms around Uncle Mel and then Uncle Ringo and Uncle Jon.

"Hey, don't forget the big guy," Uncle Ringo said, pointing to Uncle Walter. So I hurried over and hugged Uncle Walter, giving him a kiss on the cheek.

"We didn't know if you were too old for a dollhouse," Uncle Jon said shyly.

When I looked over at Mom and Daddy, Mom had tears in her eyes.

"You're never too old for a doll house," she said.

"Isn't it perfect, Momma? Don't you just love it?" I said, dropping down next to the house so I could put the furniture in the rooms.

"Oh, man, oh man, oh man!" I looked up in time to see Will dancing around the room. "A fielder's mitt! It's just like-" He stopped and his face just drooped. He chewed on his lip for a minute. I knew he was trying not to cry. "Ah, thanks, you guys. I really... " He looked at Dad and then at Mom and all of a sudden he ran from the room.

We all looked at each other for a minute. Then, Daddy got up. "I'll go see if he's all right," he said.

When Daddy left, the uncles kept looking at each other. They all felt bad. In their minds they were trying to figure out what had gone so wrong. I hated to see them sad and worried.

"It's OK. He's just missing his other family," I said. "He'll be all right after he talks to Daddy."

Uncle Mel reached under the tree again. "Here, Peggy. There's one more present for you."

It was a small box and it didn't take long to unwrap. When I opened the lid, I stopped and looked at Mom. It was a necklace made out of this stuff that looked like shiny plastic but felt like metal. It was dark gray, almost black. I picked it up and held it out for Mom to see.

"Is that magnetite?" she asked Uncle Mel.

He nodded and took the necklace from my hand so he could fasten it around my neck. "The stuff is all over the place up here," he said.

"The turquoise of the northwest territories."

"I love it, thank you," I told them and hugged each of them one more time. "Mommy, Gibson's here. Can I let him in?"

"I didn't hear a knock," Uncle Ringo said, looking at Uncle Mel funny.

I had to remember to keep quiet around everyone. "I heard his boots on the porch," I said, trying to cover my slipup. Right then a loud knock came from the front door. "I'll get it!" I yelled and ran to the hallway.

Gibson looked even better after I'd had some sleep. But he could read me too easily. He laughed, not a mean laugh and I heard him think 'come see me in 12 or 15 years'. Then he tugged on both my braids.

I could have been angry, but I wasn't. It was too nice to have someone else who knew how to read thoughts and didn't mind that I did, too. I looked at him and thought really hard. 'OK, 12 years, but then watch out', I thought.

He laughed out loud and squeezed my shoulder. "You are Scully's daughter, that's for sure," he said and poked my nose like he had the night before. I took his hand and led him into the living room.

"Gibson," Mom said, standing up to give him a hug. "Merry Christmas."

Gibson hugged her back. "Merry Christmas, Dana." He looked over at the uncles. "I hate to bring bad news, but Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington have all fallen. We haven't gotten any news from Europe in over 24 hours. Chicago is still holding on but Atlanta and all of Florida should fall any time now."

"Peggy, why don't you go get your father," Mom said quickly.

She didn't want me to hear all the bad news. Too late, I knew what Gibson was going to tell them before he opened his mouth. He looked over at me and I heard him in my head. 'I'm so sorry, Peggy.'

'It's OK', I thought back to him. "OK, Mommy," I said out loud.

When I got to the top of the stairs, I could hear them, really hear them with my ears. Daddy was telling Will that it was OK to be sad, it was natural, but it was OK to be happy, too, because he was just a kid still and he was supposed to be happy. His parents would want him to be happy. He told him that was all Daddy ever wanted, for Will and me to be happy while we were still children. I hated to interrupt, but I knew Mom and the others were waiting. I knocked on the door.

"Daddy, Mommy needs you downstairs. Gibson's here."

Will wiped his eyes and Daddy squeezed his shoulder. "You gonna be OK, sport?" he asked Will.

"Yeah, I'm OK, Dad," Will said, sniffing once and then putting on a brave face for Daddy.

"I love you, son. Your mother and I -- I can't tell you how much it means to us to have you here. It's OK to grieve, but always remember, you are our son and we love you very much."

"I love you, too, Dad," Will said, and I knew he felt like crying again, but stopped himself. "Go on. Don't keep Gibson and the others waiting."

Dad patted his shoulder and stroked my hair as he passed me. I went in to sit down next to Will on the bed.

"What's Gibson here for?" he asked, wiping his nose on his sleeve.

"They're talking about the virus. Wanta listen?" I asked.

He smiled at him and pulled me over to hug me hard. "Where have you been all my life?" he asked, teasing.

"In your dreams," I said. He laughed and I giggled. Then we settled in to hear what the grown ups were thinking.

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Resistance 2.04: Siblings

Will was frowning. I was trying to concentrate, but he got up and started pacing the floor.

"This won't work. There are too many of them. I can't separate their thoughts," he whined at me.

"Just think of one person. Picture them in your head," I tried to explain. "Think of Daddy."

Will stopped and wiggled up his face. After a minute he shook his head. "Not a good idea. He's wondering why Mom got up so early."

Oops. Wrong person. "OK, concentrate on Gibson," I suggested.

Meanwhile, when he was quiet, I was trying to concentrate on Mom. I could read her thoughts easier than anybody.

"Gibson just told me to butt out, he'll let us know what's going on when it's time," Will said and threw himself on the bed in frustration.

"Peggy, they're not going to let us know what they're doing because they think we're just little kids. And in your case, they're right!"

I glared at him. I almost had Mom in my head and he had to interrupt me to say something stupid. I looked at him and thought hard. 'Spoiled brat!' His eyes grew huge and he sat straight up. 'Takes one to know one -- brat!' "Shut up!" I yelled. "I'm trying to listen!"

"Fine!" he yelled back. "Go ahead, listen! I'm going to my... the other bedroom!"

He was hurt now, and angry. Just like Daddy sometimes. "Will, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have thought that," I said as he stomped out of my room.

"Look, I'm not like you," he said, standing in the hallway, hands on his hips. "I can't just read other people's minds. It gives me the creeps! And this whole deal about everybody in the world dying. Don't you get it -- we're gonna die, too, if we don't do something to stop them!"

"What do you suggest?" I shot back. "Go after a virus with a machine gun?"

His eyes narrowed and I knew I'd done something bad. As Daddy would say, I'd just crossed the line. Before I could say I was sorry, Will turned on his heel and stomped into his room. Before he slammed the door in my face I could hear his thoughts. 'Stay the hell out of my head, Brat!' I didn't try to talk to him or even send thoughts to him. I'm pretty sure he hated me right then and I didn't want to hear his thoughts about me. I went back to my room and tried not to cry.

Outside, it was starting to snow. It was already dark and it was only a little after two in the afternoon. I walked over to Tribble and got her out of her cage. I wondered if hamsters were able to get the alien virus. I didn't want Tribble to die, even though Daddy told me when we got her in the summer that she would only live about 3 years. I sat down on the floor next to my bed and cried.

I heard a noise and looked up to see Will standing in my doorway. "Can I come in?" he asked.

"I didn't kick you out the last time, you left," I told him. I was still sort of mad because he got so mad. Besides, he called me a little kid. I had every right to be mad at him.

"Peggy, you gotta understand, this is all new to me. My whole life has been turned upside down in just a few weeks."

I gave him the meanest look I could. "Oh, yeah, my life hasn't changed at all. My Daddy almost dies, I get a brother I thought was in my imagination, I have to leave my school and my home to go somewhere so cold that I need fur-lined underwear-"

He started to giggle and I guess I couldn't help myself, I started to giggle, too.

"Fur-lined underwear?" he asked and we both started laughing. We were laughing so hard, I couldn't catch my breath. Tribble got scared. She slipped out of my hands and ran under the bed.

"Will! Tribble!" I shouted as I saw her little tail disappear under the edge of the bedspread.

"I'll get her," he promised and as fast as that he was crawling under the bed.

"Can you see her? Don't squish her trying to get her out -- oh, and Will, be careful because when she's scared-"

"Ouch!" Will yelped and there was a thump and another "ouch!"

"Will, are you OK?" I asked.

"Read my mind, genius," he shot back. But he was wiggling his legs and bottom and soon he came out with Tribble firmly in his hand. "Your monster bit me!"

"She's a hamster, not a monster," I told him, taking Tribble from him.

"Sorry, Tribble. Did my mean brother hurt you?"

"Not as much as she hurt me," he said, sticking his finger in his mouth.

Once I had Tribble back in her cage, I took his finger and looked at it. "Did she break the skin?"

"No. But it's sore. And I hit my head under there." He leaned over to show me. I rubbed his head, but couldn't feel a bump.

"Mommy says Mulders have hard heads," I told him. I looked up at him and realized that I really didn't want to be mad at him. So I put my arms around his neck and hugged him tight. "I'm sorry I called you a spoiled brat," I said. Darn it all, I started to cry again.

He patted my back. I felt little drops on my neck. He was crying too. It would have been easy to peek in and read his thoughts, but I knew he wouldn't want that. I just held him while he cried on my shoulder and I cried on his chest. After a long time, I think he got tired. He sat down on the bed and had me sit beside him.

"When Dad was in the hospital, he was dreaming. He knew they were coming. He knew it. But he thought we'd lose. That's why he wouldn't wake up from the coma. I met him on this beach -- maybe it was a dream. I told him we have to fight them. Peggy, back in El Paso, I thought -- I thought we had a chance. I thought they would come in big ships and we'd shoot them down out of the sky like in the movies. I never expected-"

"I know," I said. "I didn't think they'd just make everybody sick, either. But Will, I don't think you were wrong. I think we can win. I think we can beat them."

"How? Everybody will be dead but us. And what happens when the virus comes here? Peggy, how do we even know we won't die, too?"

"You won't." Gibson stood in my doorway. "Sorry, I didn't mean to intrude. I told them I was going to the restroom. Are you guys OK?"

I shook my head no. Will did, too. "You heard us?" I asked.

He smiled at us. "You were kinda loud," he said.

"Did Mom and Daddy hear us?" I asked.

"They thought you were playing," he said. Gibson took the chair from the corner of the room and sat it by the bed. He sat down and smiled at us. "I don't have a lot of time, but I can tell you a little bit about what's going on. You won't die of the virus. You can't die. That's why the aliens and the people working with them were trying to get you, Will. They knew you were immune -- both of you. So are your parents."

"How can Mom and Dad-"

"Exposure. Your parents have both been exposed to the alien virus, a couple of times. And that exposure happened before either of you were conceived. So you carry that immunity, too. It's in your DNA."

Will looked over at me. "That means it's-"

"I know what DNA means," I told him. He really did think of me as a kid! "Anyway," Gibson continued, "you aren't the only ones with immunity.

There are others who have been exposed. And there are people who just haven't gotten the virus, a natural immunity for whatever reason. But I can tell you this, we have to contact as many of the survivors as possible before we can launch the counter attack."

"How do we do that? Do we just make phone calls and hope somebody picks up?" Will asked. He could be as sarcastic as Daddy when he wanted to.

Gibson shook his head and then tapped Will on the forehead. "The survivors, whether they know it or not, are connected up here. All we have to do is find them and use the connection."

"You mean us," I said.

"The three of us, yes -- at first. As we make other connections, we can get them to help us. But we need to work fast. It's going to take time and we don't have long. As soon as they think the virus has eliminated most of the population, they'll begin the second phase."

"Which will be -- what?" Will asked.

"Reforming the planet. They intend to use the survivors as slaves.

Those infected with the virus will act as incubators for their offspring. They aren't coming in big ships. They're already here.

They'll build their army from their young."

I know I made a sick face. "Yuck! That's gross."

"It almost happened to Mom," Will said.

Gibson looked at him, surprised. "I never told you that."

"You didn't have to. Dad still has nightmares. I've seen his dreams.

She was in a spaceship, someplace cold. In his dream, the alien-" He stopped and looked at me and then turned back to Gibson. "Well, you know."

"So how do we stop them?" I still wanted to know.

"We have to work hard and fast. We've laid the groundwork already. We have a vaccine. It kills the alien fetuses. But up till now, it had to be injected. We need a better way of administering it over a large area. And it won't be easy. There will be some that hatch early, the vanguards. We'll have to kill them first."

"How much time do we have before they start to hatch?" Will asked.

"Not much -- about four or five months. The rest of their population will take closer to a year to gestate."

"How do you know all this, Gibson?" I asked. I was being good, I wasn't cheating and reading his thoughts.

"I was held hostage with one once, in a nuclear reactor. I was about your age, Peggy. I read its mind."

Will whistled. "What happened? Why didn't it just kill you?"

He shrugged. "It tried. It was transforming into its most dangerous form when it just -- died. I was thinking how scared I was and hoping someone would find me. I could see your father, he was trying to get into the room where I was being held, so I hid, thinking I could hold out. And then I got mad, because I was sick and tired of being treated like a lab rat. I hated that alien so much. I couldn't stop thinking of how much I hated it. When I finally stood face to face with it, I just thought about how much I wanted to tear it limb from limb and... it just collapsed and died right there. I started to run, tried to get out and somehow I hit my head. When I woke up, I was in a school for deaf kids in the desert."

We didn't know what to say to that. Everything we'd been through was nothing compared to what had happened to Gibson. He was right, he was too old for me. He would probably always be too old for me.

"So, what can we do?" Will asked finally.

"Tomorrow, I'll start working with you both. With a little practice, you should be able to reach out, connect with the survivors. It will take time, but I think we can get started right away -- if your parents are willing."

"Do they know about this? That we would be helping?" I asked. I could already hear Daddy's objections. I knew Mom would blow a gasket at the thought of us 'mind reading' across the planet.

"Let me handle your parents. I've known your Mom and Dad a long time.

I think I can get them to agree to this. But in the meantime, it's still Christmas. We're about finished downstairs. We're going over to the community center and have leftovers from last night. You can meet some of the others. There are even some kids about your ages." He patted Will's shoulder and put his hand on my head. "I know what it's like to be different. But I want you to always remember -- you're still kids. Don't let anybody take that away from you."

"So, we're just gonna let this go, go eat and have another party?" Will asked. He wasn't real happy right then, and what Gibson had said had really made him uncomfortable. I wasn't reading his mind, I could just tell by the look on his face and the way his arms were hugging his chest.

Gibson smiled at him. "You have so much of your father in you," he said. "Take the time to enjoy life while you can. It will give you strength to get through the rough parts."

That satisfied Will, as least for a while. "OK, then. Let's go meet everyone else in town."

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Resistance 2.05: Settling In

Christmas Day
4:00 pm

It was still snowing as we walked to the community center. It was the first time I had a chance to look at the town, since I'd been asleep when we left the center the night before. Our house was at the end of a block of houses just like it, most with lights on and Christmas decorations out front. I saw trees in every window. It was like walking in a fairyland. I couldn't help but think of one of my favorite books, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I felt like Lucy, looking for the lamppost. Mom and Daddy could be Susan and Peter. But that left Will to be Edmund and I didn't like that thought.

I was still a little hurt by his reactions of the afternoon. Yes, his life was upside down, but so was mine. He was worried about the aliens, but so was I. He didn't like the fact that we were being treated like kids, but so did I. He couldn't see past his own nose.

Mom and Daddy had been through a lot their whole lives. No one had ever sat me down and told me the stories, but I could hear it when Mom thought. She lost Daddy a long time ago and that still scared her. I didn't peek into Daddy's thoughts much, but he was afraid of losing Mom just as much. And when they thought about me or even Will before he came back -- sometimes they were just terrified. That was why I wondered how Gibson would ever manage to talk them into letting us help fight the aliens.

It was only a couple of blocks from our house to the community center.

The whole town was only as big as our neighborhood back in El Paso, which was fine by me. I liked small towns. We'd lived in one once when I was little. I learned to sidewalk skate in a small town. I noticed that even though it was really, really cold, no one was driving cars -- everyone was walking. As a matter of fact, except for our car in the driveway, I couldn't see other cars anywhere. I guessed they were all in the garages.

We stepped into the community center and that wonderful smell from last night hit me again. This time, since I wasn't so sleepy and hungry, I walked around the place. I even looked in the restrooms, which were really nice. There was a kitchen in the back of the big room, a really big metal refrigerator, probably where they put all the leftovers. The stove was as big as the one at my old school. There was even one of those big dishwashers.

They were still putting the food out, so Uncle Mel took Mommy over to meet some of the women doing that. Uncle Walt took Daddy over to talk to some of the men who were moving chairs and tables. Gibson nodded his head and Will and I followed him. In a small back room, several kids were playing ping-pong and video games. Everyone stopped playing when Gibson walked in. They all smiled at him and a couple of the little kids ran over and hugged him around the legs.

"Hey, guys, I want you to meet some people. This is Will and Peggy Mulder."

Will opened his mouth, like he was going to say something. I know he was thinking 'my name is Will Van de Kamp' but he closed his mouth before he said it out loud. I was glad he didn't correct Gibson. Maybe he was starting to figure it all out. I didn't have much time to think about it because some of the girls were coming toward me and introducing themselves. The older kids and some of the younger boys were doing the same to Will.

Two girls were my exact age. Elisabeth was tall and blond and really pretty. She said she liked people to call her Beth, not Lizzy and I understood. I didn't like people to call me Maggie, either, even though I knew that was my Grandma Scully's name. The other girl was darker haired, almost black, with skin that reminded me of a lot of my friends in El Paso. Her name was Regina but she liked to be called Reggie. I thought that was funny but didn't laugh because I didn't want to upset her. They had brought their new dolls they just got for Christmas and pretty soon we were playing house in the corner. I looked over and Will was playing ping-pong with three other kids. He seemed to be having a good time.

"So, do you go to school?" I asked Beth and Reggie.

They both giggled. "Sure! Are you going to come to school, too?"

I shrugged. I sure didn't see how Mom or Daddy would let me get by with NOT going to school. "I guess I will. I'm in fourth grade."

Beth looked impressed. "We're in third, but our class is split." I must have looked confused; I didn't think she could read my thoughts.

"Half our class is third grade and half is fourth grade. We don't have enough teachers to have a different teacher for each grade. But we don't have a really big school either. There are only five of us in third grade and now the fourth grade will have six people in it. That will make us the largest class in the school." She was very proud of that fact.

I was amazed. My class in El Paso had thirty-five kids in it and that was just my classroom. Poor Ms. Ramirez just barely kept the peace, Mommy used to say.

"What's the teacher's name," I asked.

"Mr. Byers and he's really nice, but he's also very strict. You have to have your homework in the next day or he sends a letter home to your parents."

Mr. Byers. I shook my head. Uncle Jon was my teacher? "Do you know who Will's teacher is?" I asked.

"What grade is he in?" Reggie wanted to know.

I thought for a second, I knew it but I had to think about it. "I think he's a freshman," I said.

"You don't know what grade your brother's in?" Beth asked with a funny look on her face. I knew she thought I was crazy or something.

"He just got promoted," I said, covering.

"Oh, well, if he's in high school, he has Mr. Frohike for math and science, but Ms. Covarrubias teaches social studies and Mr. Langly is the school's computer and technology teacher. He comes in sometimes and teaches us, too."

"Wow," I said.

"Gibson helps at the school, too, sometimes. He's our playground supervisor and lunch aide," Reggie added. "Sometimes he travels, then we have parents come and supervise."

I thought Gibson would be a good person to have on a schoolyard -- he knew trouble before it started. But I wondered what Will would think when he found out our uncles were our teachers. Or what Mommy would think when she found out the lady she didn't like from Christmas Eve was now Will's social studies teacher. I remembered we had a neighbor who was very nosy back in that small town. That woman was the reason we moved. Small towns can be very crowded, Daddy had told me then.

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"Want to see the school?" Beth asked. When I nodded my head, she took my hand and she and Reggie led me to another little room with a window out the back. "It's that red brick building right there." She pointed to a big two-story building surrounded by streetlamps with a lot of room around it. "That's our room, the one in the left side corner on the bottom. We don't have a lunch program -- you bring a sack lunch, but we have a really nice gym. The older kids play basketball and volleyball there on weekends and during breaks. We're on Christmas break now, so we don't have school until after New Years Day."

I hadn't thought about that, school break and how much I used to look forward to it. It was always fun because I got to spend time with Mom and Daddy and I got to read whatever I wanted to read. "Is there a library in town?" I asked.

"We have one at school," Beth said. "And the town library is a block past the grocery store."

"Good," I said.

I was about to ask the girls more about town when Ms. Covarrubias came to the door. "Children, it's time to eat."

Beth and Reggie looked at each other and then me. "Want to eat with us at the kids table?"

I wanted to, but at the same time, I wasn't sure. "I better ask my parents," I told them and ran off to do that.

Will had already beat me to it. "So do you mind?" he was saying.

Mom looked nervous, but Daddy just smiled. "Sure, go ahead." Will grinned and ran off to a table where the bigger kids were sitting. I saw him give a 'thumbs up' to Alexi, Ms. Covarrubias' son. Alexi nodded and they both went to the line to get their food.

"I met some girls from my new class," I told Mom. "They asked if I could sit with them." I pointed over to where Beth and Reggie were watching us.

Mom licked her lips like she always did when she was about to say no.

Again, Daddy spoke for both of them. "Sure, Peg Leg. But remember, you always go home with the guy who brought you." I must have looked at him funny, because I sure didn't understand what he was talking about.

"Never mind, wrong context. Go have fun."

We had a lot of fun at the kids table. I met the rest of our class. I decided not to tell anyone that our teacher was a close friend of our family. We talked about books and games and stuff. I hadn't done that in a long time. It felt really good.

The next time I saw my family was as we were helping clean up from the meal. Will was talking to Daddy, who was looking pretty serious. I came up and hugged him and he didn't even really notice.

"I just don't know," Daddy said to Will.

"But Uncle Walt is coming. C'mon Dad. We were stuck in a car for weeks. I need to stretch."

"I understand that, but..." He looked over and I could see he was focused on Alexi, standing near the door with some of the other boys.

"But what, Dad? We're just going to the school gym to play basketball. I used to do that all the time at home," Will said, putting his hands on his hips.

I closed my eyes. That was not the way to handle our father. Pushing him just made him angry and then he'd say no. I learned that the hard way.

"That was different and you know it," Daddy said, using his stern voice.

"You won't let me play basketball?" Will whined. I knew he was hurt, and I couldn't blame him. Something was going on and I almost peeked to see what Daddy was really worried about. I didn't get a chance because Mom came over, wiping her hands on a towel.

"What's the matter?"

"I want to go play basketball with some of the guys and Uncle Walt.

Dad won't let me," Will said.

"Mulder?" Mom asked, looking up at Daddy. "What's the problem?"

Daddy wanted to say something, I could tell, but he just kept looking over at Alexi and shaking his head. "Fine. Go. But if Walter leaves, you leave, got that?" Daddy turned on his heel and stomped off.

"What was that all about?" Will wanted to know.

"I don't know, sweetheart. You don't worry about it. I'll talk to him. You just go have a good time. And don't forget to button up and wear your hat. It's cold out there."

Will nodded and started to leave. All of a sudden he turned back and leaned over to give Mom a kiss on the cheek. "Thanks, Mom." He headed to the door before she could say anything.

Mommy was stunned, plain and simple. She reached up and touched her cheek where he'd just kissed her. She looked down at me and I could see tears on her lashes. I reached up and touched her cheek, too and smiled. I knew she wasn't crying because she was sad. Mommy was happier than I'd ever seen her.

"I better see what's gotten into your father. You go play with your friends, OK?"

I nodded and walked slowly over to where Beth and Reggie were helping put away folding chairs. Not really meaning to, I thought about Daddy.

Pretty soon, his thoughts were plain as day.

Daddy knew Alexi's dad. But that wasn't the worst part. Alexi's dad had... no that couldn't be right? Daddy believed Alexi's dad had tried to kill Will before he was even born? I got an image of a man with dark hair, a dark jacket, standing in a parking garage. He had a gun pointed at someone and the all of a sudden, there was a hole in his forehead and blood -- I dropped the chair I'd been carrying. It took me a minute to catch my breath and when I did, I looked over at Daddy. My Daddy had -- he'd killed Alexi's dad. Sure, the man was going to kill my Daddy, but still! I couldn't' believe it.

I felt Gibson's hand on my shoulder. "Peggy, you don't know the whole story." I looked up at him. I wasn't so sure I liked Gibson peeking into my head. Now I knew how everyone else felt.

"Alex Krycek, Alexi's father, was a very complicated man. He never really knew what side he was on. In the end, he chose the wrong side.

He would have killed Will, your father and your mother. You would never have been born if he'd had his way. And it wasn't your Dad who killed Krycek, it was Walter Skinner. Krycek was controlling Walter and wanted him to do his dirty work. Krycek wanted Walter to kill your Dad.

Walter did the right thing back then. Believe me, it was the only thing he could have done."

"Daddy thinks Alexi will be like his father was?" I asked.

"It has him worried. He just wants to watch Alexi for a while, until he knows for sure."

Something suddenly occurred to me, something I picked up from Gibson.

"Alexi's like us, isn't he?"

"Both Alex Krycek and Marita Covarrubias were exposed to the black oil -- the alien virus -- before Alexi was conceived. So yes, he is like you. Not exactly, you two are special. But he's more like you than like the others."

I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. But I knew for certain, we'd find out soon enough.

The End

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To be continued in Resistance 3.0 (unwritten as of 2019)

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