trycee: The Teenage Years

Title: The Teenage Years
Author: trycee
Author's page:
Category: X-Files
Genre: Family/Romance
Written: 11/13/2013
Disclaimer: I do not own the X-Files, this is written for fun not profit.
Timeline: Present Day

Summary: The normally recluse Mulder and Scully are being forced to be social by their defiant teenage son William who is entering the dating scene and joined the basketball team of his highschool. Parent meetings, awkward get-togethers are all in their immediate future and they're not too happy about it.

Note: I've drawn from my own experiences as a parent of a teenager. I have had some strange experiences with other parents with my child in both sports and in dating and so I am using them in this story.

Scully was running late as she looked at her watch and then her gas tank indicator. She sighed and pulled off the road to the only gas station in her little town. She glanced again at her watch as she stepped out into the crisp November air and hurried into the gas station. The attendant who was familiar with nearly everyone in the town smiled at her as she paid for her gas but Scully immediately noticed that there was someone watching her. She turned behind her to notice a woman following closely behind her. "Are you Mrs. Scully?" the woman asked.

"Yes," Scully said, noticing she hadn't used "Dr." so she knew immediately the woman was a local and not from the larger city where Scully worked at Our Lady of Sorrows.

"You're William's mother," the woman continued.

Scully's eyebrow's raised and she crossed her arms defensively in front of her and looked the woman up from head to toe. She noticed she was dressed modestly in a thick sweater and a simple flowery dress and tights with a simple pair of black Mary Janes on her feet. Scully's eyes rose back to meet the women's.

"Yes, I'm William's mother," she said, her eyebrow's still raised high.

The woman sensing Scully's caution, smiled warmly. "I'm Susie's mother."

Scully cocked her head slightly, indicating she had no idea who Susie was.

"Susie Carter, my daughter. She talks about William all the time. She was hoping he would ask her out on a date."

"Oh!" Scully said, with a slight smile that she tamped down.

"Well, we're a little old fashioned in our family, Mrs. Scully," Mrs. Carter spoke.

Scully licked her lips. "How did you know I would be here?" she questioned. "At the gas station?"

Mrs. Carter looked puzzled. "I didn't," she said, looking down at the skittles in her hand. "I stopped in for a snack and I saw you. I've seen you before but only in passing."

Scully nodded.

"Anyway," the woman said, undaunted. "My husband and I are pretty old fashioned when it comes to Susie."

"Yes," Scully said.

"We would like to meet you and his father first before they could date," Mrs. Carter stated.

"Ah," Scully said. "Okay."

"You live in that house with the gate, right?" Mrs Carter asked.

Scully cocked her head again and shifted her weight to her other foot. The woman was asking too many questions for her liking. "Yeah..."

"You see, we'd like to sit down and discuss things and check things out for ourselves. You know, make sure that you're values match our values and that your son is suitable for our daughter."

Scully huffed. "We're talking about 14 year old's Mrs., not marrying."

"We'd like to come to visit you and maybe break bread and share a meal."

Scully looked shocked. "At MY home!" she said, alarmed.

"And William's father...You're still together?" Mrs. Carter asked.

Scully looked the woman directly in the eye. "We'll discuss all of this as soon as I get home. Thank you, Mrs. Carter," Scully said, walking out the gas station, slamming the glass door behind her.

Mrs. Carter continued her persuit of Scully and was hot on her heels. She reached out and touched her elbow and Scully swung around to face her, staring in amazement at the women who would not leave her alone.

"Well, maybe we should exchange phone number's or something..." the woman said.

Scully sighed."Do you have a card?"

"Yes," Mrs. Carter said, reaching into her modest purse and pulling out a simple business card. "I'm a daycare mom."

Scully reached into her car, into her briefcase and pulled out one of her own cards and handed it to her. Mrs. Carter's eyes widened. "Doctor Dana Scully?"

"Yes," Scully answered.

"Well...My husband and I will be waiting for your phone call."

Scully watched her as she climbed into her minivan and pulled out and drove out of sight.

She again glanced down at her watch and knew she was extremely late now. She cursed and kicked at a can on the ground that was in her way. She pumped the gas as fast as she could ignoring her frozen fingers from the crisp wind and hopped back into her car and raced up the road to her home. After securing the gate, she drove up to the front porch and was met by Mulder who looked none-too-happy.

"Where have you been?" he asked.

"Got stopped by a very annoying woman. I'll tell you about it in a second," she said.

Mulder grabbed her briefcase from her hand and planted a soft kiss on her lips and hugged her tightly. "You worried me. You know I don't like it when you're late."

"I tried my best, Mulder, but this woman..."

"Tell me in a minute," he said, placing his hand on her back and helping her up the steps into their home.

Scully's eyes focused immediately on their son who was sitting on the sofa dressed in his basketball uniform waiting.

"Mom, you're late," William said, irritated.

"William, you already know I was trying," she sighed. "Give me a minute to change, okay."

Without looking at her, he huffed and rolled his eyes and continued to spin his basketball on one finger. Scully looked to Mulder and he touched her face, reassuring her. "It's okay, just hurry up and get changed. "

She glanced back at William before retreating into their bedroom. Mulder though turned his attention to his teenage son.

"I know what you're gonna say. "

"Then let me say it," Mulder said, coming to stand in front of his son. "You're mother works hard and if you act like that again, you'll have to deal with me!"

"Dad," William said, shaking his head. "You know I still have my powers."

"And I can still whip your ass!" Mulder said, pointing at his son. "Cut the attitude!"

"It's my first game. We're gonna be late."

"No we're not."

"I'm ready," Scully said, half dressing as she made it down the hallway, pulling up her jeans and covering her bra with her t-shirt before entering the living room. She grabbed her jacket by the door, "Let's go!" she said, flinging it open.

Mulder looked at his son. "Cut the attitude!"

"Okay!" William said, rolling his eyes. "Can we just get there, please!" he said, grabbing his basketball and stomping purposely out the door.

Mulder shook his head. "Teenagers!" he sighed, locking the door.

The school gymnasieum was a welcoming site for Mulder but it also caused him a slight amount of anxiety. There were unfamiliar faces in too close proximity to himself and Scully and he knew he didn't like it. He placed his whole arm around her encasing her to him as they navigated past gwaking faces of parents who whispered about the strangers as they walked past. They were searching for an area where they could clearly see William in his debut on the court. Mulder was so proud of his son. He couldn't stop smiling and Scully glanced up to look into his eyes and he knew at that moment she had read his thoughts. William was certainly taking after him. They found a spot and sat down but he was distracted by Scully who was blocking his view as she searched through the crowd above his head.

"You see her?" Mulder asked.

"No," she said, shaking her head. "Oh yes, I see her!" she said, waving her small arms indicating their location.

Mulder's eyes were glued onto his son, watching his stretches and his practices with his team-mates. He could see himself so clearly in the dark auburn haired boy. He was tall just like himself and lean but he still had his mother's coloring and eyes, and his hair was a dark auburn yet red enough to induct him into the Scully clan. Maggie Scully hugged her daughter tightly and blocked Mulder's view again giving him a large hug as well. He hugged her back. "I'm so excited to see him playing," Maggie stated.

"We are too," Scully said, pulling out her camera.

Maggie pulled out her camcorder and tripod and set up her equipment like a professional photographer, ready to take video of her grandson's entire game.

Mulder looked at them both and chuckled. He was going to watch the game, remembering every detail with his ediletic memory but he knew that between the both of them there would be a photo album of today's event and several dvd's of William's first game and any subsequent games thereafter.

Mulder glanced around and could see that they were being watched by several parents. They were the new fish in a tank full of sharks. "Good I guess. This is the first time since we signed William up for school that we've been to anything like this."

"Yeah," Scully sighed. "Why must he be social and drag us out with him?"

Mulder smiled crookedly. "Am I detecting that you don't want to be here?" he asked.

She looked at her mother and looked down at her hands and then gave him a sideways glance. "I'm not ready for all these changes, Mulder."

"It's just a basketball game!" Mulder chuckled.

"No, it's not!" Scully sighed. "It's more than that," she said, turning fully toward him. "Mulder, he wants to start dating."

Mulder's smile quickly dried up. "He talked to you about that?" he said, feeling slighted that William discussed dating with her instead of him.

Scully touched his arm and he could feel her warmth and reassurance in her touch and she waited until his eyes connected with hers. "No, Mulder, it wasn't him that told me that. I told you we'd discuss it later."

"Then who?"

"The noisy mother of the girl William likes," she said.

Mulder looked at Scully. "When?"

"At the gas station," she said. "She kind of cornered me. We'll talk about it later, okay?" she said, looking for Mulder's take on the subject.

"Alright," he said, eager to get back to being able to watch their son practice. "It's starting..."

Maggie smiled at the couple. "Get ready!" she said, a little too loudly, as she turned on her camcorder.

Scully giggled slightly and turned her attention back to the court floor. She could see William, tall and lean like his father and graceful and she was proud. "He's beautiful," she said, as she took photos. "God, Mulder, he's beautiful, just like you!"

Mulder felt a little embarrassed at Scully's admission but he quickly pushed it out of his mind as William grabbed the ball and sank it into the hoop. The crowd erupted and Mulder and Scully were both on their feet hugging each other and kissing and yelling and waving in the direction of their son.

But William paid no attention to his parents. He was glued to a dark-haired girl who sat in the bleachers surrounded by a few of her friends. He walked over to her and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Scully cupped her mouth as she watched from across the court. She could see William saying something to the girl and the girl erupted into laughter along with her friends. He has Mulder's charm, she thought. The whistle blew and William slowly retreated from his girl back to the court, keeping his eyes locked on to her. But once the game started he was back in focus and Mulder, Scully and Maggie all sat back down.

"Well," Mulder said. "That must be the girl..."

"He has your charm," Scully revealed. "My god...He's gonna break so many girls hearts."

"Is that what you think I did?" Mulder asked. "How about it was the other way around."

Maggie shot him a look and Mulder smirked.

"We just got our son back not long ago and now...he's a teenager," Scully said, quietly. "It's like we lost him all over again."

Mulder wrapped his arm around her and pulled her to him. "Just for a short time to some girls. She's cute though."

"Her mother wants to come to our house and feel us out, Mulder...before they can start dating," she said, looking up into his eyes. "To see if our values match their values."

"Sounds like some creepy religious nutcases to me," Mulder announced.

"And our part alien and saved the world from ending and we helped him and spent our entire lives fighting an alien invasion," she said, with all seriousness.

"Yup sounds like a match!"

The game ended and Scully could tell that Mulder was disappointed that Williams school hadn't won their first game. William though was unfazed. He was back with the dark haired girl and he again kissed her on the cheek. Mulder looked down at Scully and she looked up at him, as Susie giggled and her friends watched the teenage couple with envy. But suddenly a meaty hand landed on Mulder's shoulder and tapped him on his back. Mulder turned slowly and was met face to face with Mr and Mrs. Carter.

Scully slid against Mulder's side and he placed his arm tightly around her as they stood staring at the other couple who was looking awkwardly back at them. Finally, Mr. Carter broke the silence. "I'm Dan Carter and this is my wife Tammy Carter."

"Mrs. Scully and I met earlier," she said, to her husband.

"Right," he said. "Well, we wanted to come say hi."

"Yeah, we noticed your son William kissed our daughter Susie on the cheek twice," Mrs. Carter said, nervously. "In public...we typically would not allow our daughter to kiss before she's 16 but especially be kissed in public in front of my minister and fellow church members."

Mulder looked down at Scully and she could see a twinkle in his eye and a curl in his lip and she knew he was about to mess with their heads. "Well," he began. "William get's it from me. See, I kiss his mother ALOT in public. Like all the time. On and On in public. But ESPECIALLY in PRIVATE... but DEFINATELY...IN PUBLIC..."

Scully flashed an embarrassed smiled and then looked up to Mulder who was smiling widely and proudly.

The Carter's looked at each other and Scully could see that Mulder had alarmed them. "Well," Mrs. Carter began. "Did you get a chance to discuss what we talked about?"

"No," Scully said. "We rushed right here."

"Discuss what?" Mulder wanted to know.

"We just wanted to break bread with you both and sit and see if your values matched our values and if your son was well suited for our daughter."

Mulder's eyes narrowed. "You want to see if our son is suited for your daughter! So you want to judge us!"

"Mulder!" Scully whispered, trying to soothingly tell him not to get upset.

Mrs. Carter gasped and shook her head slightly, her eyes darting from Mulder to Scully and back but Dan Carter was looking past them to Maggie Scully. "Is this Williams grandmother?"

"Yes," Maggie said, extending a hand. She'd been packing up her equipment as the two couples talked.

Dan shook her hand. "We'd like to break bread with you as well. It would be nice to have the entire family there."

"Well, I don't know," Maggie said. "When is this?" she said, looking at her daughter.

Scully glanced up to Mulder and then back at the strange couple. "We haven't discussed it yet. But, we will, as soon as we get home."

William, walking with his arm around Susie who had a large smile across her face which highlighted her striking brown eyes came up to the two parents. She was beaming as she looked up at William and he looked down at her with his soulful blue eyes.

"Susie, I'm sorry, but this isn't appropriate," her mother said.

She tried to stop smiling but couldn't as she turned to face William. "I'm sorry, but my parents think we shouldn't be kissing and walking like this in public especially since they haven't approved if we can date or not yet."

William for the first time locked eyes with his parents and then looked down at the ground and then nodded. Susie backed away slowly and her parents turned to walk away but not before Dan Carter said something. "Call us and set up that meal. We can break bread and discuss our common values and see if we can't get these kids together or not. But even with that, there are still certain things we will and will not allow in regards to our daughter."

"I understand," William answered, out of turn.

Mulder gripped his shoulder. "We'll call!" he said, and watched as the Carter's walked off.

"She's pretty cute," Mulder said, looking down at the bowed head of their son. "And she really likes you."

William raised his head. "I really like her. And I really need you both to get along with them and do whatever they want you to do!"

"SAY WHAT!" Scully said. "William, they want to come over to our house so they can judge whether or not you are worthy to date their daughter, as if they're high and mighty or something!"

"I don't care!" he said, looking down at his short statured mother. "I'll do what it takes but I want to be with her and nothing not even you two are gonna stop me!" he said, marching off.

Scully watched as William stormed off. "Where the hell did he get all that bull-headedness," she turned and looked at Mulder. "Oh yeah, that's where!"

Mulder shook his head as he watched his son join his friends by the doorway of the school gym. "Come on, let's go," he said, turning to extend his arm towards, Maggie. He grabbed up her equipment and walked behind them as they headed towards the exit.

Mulder kept an eye on William as they reached the cars. He loaded Maggie's car for her and then opened their car and waved to William in his direction for him to start heading their way.

"Are you coming home with us for dinner?" Scully questioned.

"I cooked a stew this morning," Maggie said. "It's in the crock-pot waiting on me. Remember, I bought you one for Christmas? You need to start using it, Dana."

Scully looked guiltily. "Okay, I'll call you in the morning and you can give me a recipe that I can use before I go into work."

"Unthaw some chicken or beef tonight so it's ready for the morning," Maggie said, as she hugged her daughter. "You've got two growing boys to feed, isn't that right, Fox?"

Mulder smiled. "That's right, Mrs. Scully," he said, hugging her tightly. "Be careful getting home."

"I'm ten minutes from the both of you. I'm fine," she smiled, peeling off and heading home.

William took his time in reaching the car and then climbed into the back seat not saying a word to his parents. Scully rounded the car to her side while Mulder got into the drivers seat. He started the car and began to drive. He looked into the back seat, "Hey, William, I was pretty proud of you with your first game...we both were."

"Thanks," he said, before pulling out his cell phone and texting.

Mulder could tell he was being ignored. He looked over at Scully and she touched his hand. They drove in silence the rest of the way home.

Scully rushed to try to come up with a meal to satisfy them all. She hadn't eaten since lunch at Our Lady and she was starving and she knew William too must be starving having just played his first game. She was sure Mulder too probably only snacked on sunflower seeds as well. So she whipped together a quick meal to feed her family and set the table but William continued to give his parents the silent treatment throughout the entire meal.

After they were all done, she finished cleaning the dishes and the kitchen, she retreated to her bedroom, exhausted and went straight for the bathroom. She turned on her bathwater and poured in her sweet smelling bath-oil and bumped right into Mulder as she walked out.

"What are we gonna do, Mulder? It's obvious, he really likes this girl."

He climbed on top of the bedspread and watched as she stripped out of her clothes and walked back into their bathroom bare naked. He followed her and sat down on the floor as she slipped into the steaming hot water to ease her tired muscles.

"What can we do? We have to invite them over."

"You know this is not going to work..." Scully sighed. "And he's going to be crushed and hate us even more for it."

"It's not our fault, Scully. It's not our fault he can't kiss her on the cheek or walk with his arm around her."

"How weird was that," she said, turning to look at him. "I mean, I get it. I mean, my dad would've killed any boy that even looked in my direction at that age."

"Are you telling me you didn't date at fourteen, Scully?', Mulder said, rolling up his sleeves and grabbing the sponge and lathering it up.

"Date? God no. Mulder, I couldn't even look at boys then. I went to Catholic schools that taught us our natural urges in our bodies were all sins and then I had a Navy Captain father that was strict on us girls, especially with Missy being a little wilder than I was. And then when he was gone...I had...Bill."

Mulder smirked as he pulled her into a sitting position and began to wash her body. "Well" he said. "When do you want them over? I say, the sooner the better. That way we get this over with."

"Well, I do have to work tomorrow. So, maybe the next day. And they want Mom to be here too" she said, looking him in the eyes. "Is that alright?"

Mulder nodded as he concentrated on his task of washing her. She smiled. "You don't hear a word I'm saying do you?"

Mulder did not respond she noticed. She suddenly stood up and Mulder's jaw dropped. She grabbed the fallen sponge and handed it back to him. "Continue," she said.

Early the next morning, Scully called her mother and told her that she'd expect her over the next day when the Carter's arrived. She explained the whole ordeal with her and Maggie was not surprised. She had gone through something similar having had two boys of her own. After jotting down the recipe her mom had given her, she prepared the crockpot meal and then set about preparing the breakfast. William was up first, he had to be on the bus by 6:45. He kissed his mother on the cheek and plopped down to eat his food. Mulder pressed himself into Scully from behind, placing his hand on her stomach and kissing her neck softly. "Mm, I love you..." he said.

"Hey, I'm in the room!" William said, shaking his head.

Mulder looked up. "Oh yeah," he said, grabbing a cup of coffee. "But hey, this was how you got here, so hush!"

"Mulder!" Scully blushed.

"Y'all are gross!" William replied.

"There's nothing wrong with us showing that we love each other," Mulder said, as he sat next to his son. "And we do, a great deal. That will never change. I actually feel sorry for the Carter's, putting up all those rules and not allowing you two to express how you feel..."

"MULDER!" Scully said, as a warning.

William tossed down his fork and stared at his father. "Look, I know it isn't the way we do things. But, I really like her. Can't you tell that? Can't you see that I really like this girl?"

Mulder locked eyes with Scully and then nodded. "Yeah, I get it."

"Okay, then nothing else matters to me," William said. "I don't care what they say, Dad. I'll jump whatever hoop they want me to jump. I just really, really want to see her. I want to get to know her."

"You have such strong emotions for her," Scully said, sitting down in front of them, a cup of coffee in her hand. "But, you're both just high school freshmen, William. I know it seems serious right now but there will be so many girls in your life. "

"Yeah, look at your mom and me. We didn't meet until we were both older and we were assigned as FBI partners. And it was love at first sight for the both of us," Mulder said, locking eyes with Scully.

She could feel the intensity of Mulder's passion in his eyes.

"And it took us seven years before we even admitted that we loved each other."

"Six years," William corrected them.

"What?" they both said.

"You told her you loved her but she didn't believe you," William said, tapping into their memories.

"Could you not do that!" Scully said, her finger pointed in his direction.

William squirmed in his seat. "Sorry."

"Anyway," Mulder said. "It was still 7 years before we BOTH admitted that we loved each other."

"So don't be in a rush," Scully added. "Just enjoy this moment for what it is, okay?"

William nodded. "Alright," he said, pushing back his seat. He grabbed his book bag and put on his jacket. "I better hurry up so I can sit next to her on the bus."

Scully smiled. "Okay. Give me a kiss. I can still get a kiss, right?"

"How about a hug," William said. "I want her to kiss me," he said.

Mulder chuckled. "I understand."

"Okay," Scully sighed and hugged her son. "Get going before you miss that bus."

She watched as William darted out the door. She walked up and watched as he ran down to the gate and opened it and closed it back and waited against it for the bus. The bus pulled up just a few seconds later and picked him up. She hadn't noticed Mulder standing behind her until he had encircled her in his arms. He planted a soft kiss on her neck and then spun her around and planted a deeper kiss. "Doc, you better get going yourself."

"What about the dishes?"

"I'll take care of it."

"Okay," she sighed. "Look, Mulder, I'm trying out that crockpot so don't touch it. Just check it every so often to make sure it has liquid in it okay?"

"Sure," he said, planting another kiss on her lips and helping her with her coat and then handing her the briefcase she needed.

He walked her out and squeezed her hand. "Let me know when you get there."

"I will," she said. "Love you. See you when I get home."

Scully pulled up the windy snowy pathway to her home and she could smell the beef stew cooking from the road. She stepped out and breathed it all in. She was grateful after the load she had at the hospital with two surgeries and several new patients that she didn't have to work even harder in the kitchen tonight. She walked in and saw Mulder seated at the table and it made her smile. She tilted his chin up and planted a soft lingering kiss on his lips. "Waiting for me? You hungry?"

"Not really!" he said.

"OH?" she said, surprised.

"Scully, smelling this beef stew the entire day, I've eaten about five meals I shouldn't have," he said, touching his stomach. "Are you trying to kill me? Is that your master plan?"

She cocked an eyebrow. "What's this?" she said, looking at the paper in his hand. "And where's William?"

"I just dropped him off at Basketball practice. It's a two hour practice M-Thurs now..."

"Oh, yeah..." she said, skimming over the paper. "Oh no..." she said, as she read the paragraphs. "Mulder no...I've had a rough day at work. I'm tired. I just want to soak for a few hours in my tub...I can't...I just can't..."

Mulder pointed to a section of the paper. "Do you see where it says, 'Mandatory Parent's Meeting'."

Scully threw her full weight against Mulder and leaned into his neck. He gripped her around her waist. "It's okay, Scully, here, sit down."

"No, Mulder. The tub is that way," she said, pointing towards the hall.

He took off her coat and hung it up. "I made you some rice and a salad to go with your beef stew so you could eat a wholesome meal."

"What about you?" she said, curiously.

He patted his stomach. "I...I...may have had a bowl or two," he admitted guilty. "Just sit, I'll serve you. You eat it and then take your bath and then we can curl up and watch a little TV before having to drive back to the school for this..."

"Hellish parent meeting," she grumbled.

"That's what I was thinking," he said, turning to fix her food.

The gym was full of sweaty teenagers both basketball players and the teenage girls who were lusting after them with William and Susie amongst them as the practice ended and the socializing began. Mulder took one whiff of the air and covered his nose. "Man, talk about stale air!"

Scully too who had smelled some of the worst smells any human being could ever smell, having handle plenty of corpses in her day was also taken aback. "Teenage boys, Mulder. Not a pleasant smell."

There was an eager looking woman with what Scully could see was a fake smile plastered on her face ushering all the parents into a fume-free room for the Parents Meeting. Once inside they were forced to sit on the thin wooden bleachers that pulled out from the wall. Scully spotted her immediately, the Head of the Basketball's Parents Committee. She was medium in height which meant she was taller than she was and she had dark hair and eyes that lit up with excitement as if she were on Prozac, Scully assumed. There was no reason for her to be this chipper and yet Scully could tell that she had been one of the types that high school had been the highlight of her life. And so she had worked her way up to being the Committee Head, a position she was proud of and hoped to maintain past the time her kid was in high school. She needed it to fulfill a void within herself. Scully was familiar with women just like them throughout her life. She could spot them a mile away. Scully shook her head as the woman locked eyes with the both of them and plastered her patented fake smile and extended her hand.

"Welcome, " the woman said. "I'm Trish Abraham's. I'm the Head of the Parents Committee."

Scully shook her hand. Trish looked from Scully to Mulder. "What's your player's name?"

"William Mulder," Scully answered.

"Ah," Trish smiled. "He's a good player. My son is Bob Abraham's."

Scully and Mulder both stared at her with blank expressions but she just continued her excessive smiling. "Well, we like to welcome all new parents to the meetings. So, how come we've never seen you before?"

"Our son's a freshman," Mulder answered.

"Oh," Trish smiled again.

She was suddenly joined by a few 'friends' enclosing Mulder and Scully in a semi-circle.

"So," began one. "What church do you belong?"

"Where do you live?"

"William, is that the one who wants to date Susie?"

Mulder glanced down at Scully who was holding his hand and without saying a word, he turned and pulled her along with him leaving the noisy busy bodies to themselves. Scully and Mulder seated themselves furthest away from everyone. "I couldn't take all that, " Mulder whispered. "Them coming at us like that."

"I agree," she said, glancing occasionally at the people that were surrounding them.

A few were stared in their direction but turned as Trish began the meeting. Scully tried hard not to yawn noticeably and she hoped that Mulder was paying attention but it had been a very hectic day and her mind was not on all the details of 'Home' games vs. 'Away' games and 'Showing Team Spirit' and 'Parental Support' and all that stuff. She was proud of William for making an effort to be social and to be active and it even gave her a glimpse of what it was must've been like to see Mulder as a teen when he used to play for his school basketball team but she was not much into decorating cars to show team pride or wearing red on Fridays or buying certain snacks based upon the initial of your last name and all that nonsense. She had too much to think about like her four year patient that died on her today and having to tell the parents who had been praying in the Hospitals Chapel during the time their child was dying. She did not have time to know what grocery store was the best store to shop for 'goodies' that all the basketball players loved. She could care less.

Mulder leaned in to whisper in her ear. "This has to be the most emasculating basketball meeting I've ever seen in my life. Why invite us men if they're just gonna torture us with all this girly stuff?"

Scully smiled and leaned into him. "God, I hope its almost over. I swear I'm just about to fall asleep."

At the end of the meeting, it seemed that they had become targets for all the parents who wanted to know just who they were. One after the other approached them and shook their hands, "And you are?"

"We're Williams parents," they answered simply.

They were grateful when they finally could make their way towards the exit and found William along with Susie though Mr. and Mrs. Carter weren't anywhere to be seen. "Susie, these are my parents," William introduced.

Scully smiled warmly and reached out her hand to the shaky teenager. "Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you, Mrs. Mulder," Susie said, shyly.

"It's Dr. Scully," William corrected her.

"Oh, you kept your maiden name. That's cool."

Scully smiled weakly and Mulder glanced up at the wall and then looked back down to the floor and then looked at Scully.

"Will you walk me to my car with them?" William asked.


"Oh, by the way," Scully began. "We'd like for your parents and yourself to come for dinner tomorrow night around 6. "

"You're not working tomorrow?" William questioned.

Scully looked at him. "No, not tomorrow. I can take time to whip up a meal tomorrow. So, let your parents know, alright. Will you do that?"

"Yeah, I'll call them in a minute and tell them," Susie said, as William and Susie walked ahead of both Mulder and Scully out of the school thru the parking lot to their car.

Mulder and Scully stepped into the car and William and Susie chatted a few minutes longer. "That meeting was torture," Mulder sighed. "If one more person were to raise their hand I was going to shoot them dead in their seats!"

"I know," she said. "I had a long day. I lost a patient today."

Mulder reached out and cupped her hand in his. "You didn't say anything earlier."

"We didn't have time," she said. "Plus, I don't think I had time to process it until I was zoning out at the meeting. You know, he was only four years old, Mulder," she said, looking into his multicolored eyes. "We're pretty lucky. We have William and though we missed all those years with him, its like we didn't miss anything at all."

Mulder smiled and looked out his rear-view mirror and could see William and Susie hugging. "No, it's like he's been with us forever."

William climbed into the back seat and began questioning Scully as Mulder pulled out. Scully waved to Susie as she retreated back to the school doorway. "She's a nice girl, William."

"Thanks," he smiled. "But what are you gonna serve? What if they don't like it? Can I decide if we eat it or not?"

"Whoa, slow down there," Mulder said. "Are you trying to impress her or her parents?"

William shook his head. "Her...and them a little."

Scully twisted slightly in her seat so she could see William better. "Okay, what would you suggest?"

William thought for a moment. "It has to be simple. Nothing gourmet. They're like church people and so they wouldn't eat like fancy foods or anything like that."

Scully nodded and closed the car door as Mulder parked in front of their home. The small amount of snow had melted as they made their way up into the door. They hung their coats and Scully placed a hand on Williams arm. He was taller than her, nearing Mulder's height. "Sit and eat."

"Mom, I stink."

"I agree," she said, taking a whiff. "But I bet your starving."

"I am."

"Hurry up and eat and then go take a shower and I'll burn those clothes."

"Ha, ha, funny!" he said.

Scully retrieved a bowl of rice and added the still steaming beef stew on top and served it to her son. Mulder was seated on the sofa and she joined him. She curled up to his side and kicked off her shoes. Mulder grabbed the blanket and covered them both up as Scully's head slowly drifted from his side to his lap. She was asleep in no time. After Williams shower, he joined them in the living room and they watched a few basketball games together as Scully slept. Each time one of their teams scored they'd give out a silent roar trying not to wake her. Eventually, Mulder picked her up and placed her on their bed. He undressed her and the cold air hit her then and she woke up but only briefly when she saw that Mulder was taking care of her. He quickly put her on some pajamas and placed the covers over her and then turned off the lights, letting her sleep. He popped some pop corn and both William and Mulder threw it in each others direction whenever they're team double dribbled. Soon it was time for William to go to bed and so Mulder vacuumed up the floor and cleaned up the kitchen including the dishes and put away the leftovers. He changed into his nightclothes and climbed into bed next to her. He stared in the dark at her small frame and then he wrapped his warm arms around her and spooned up to her. "I love you so much, Scully."

"I love you, Mulder," she said, in her sleep.

He kissed her head and then settled down and went to sleep.

"I don't get it," Maggie said, as she chopped a few vegetables. "Why couldn't we have gone over to THEY'RE house. I mean, why do they have to come here?"

"Mulder and I were wondering the same thing," Scully said as she chopped the celery for the roasts. "Was it a fascination with us? I mean, we've lived here several years and yet no one really knows us. Are they going back to report to the rest of them what they've seen in our house. We don't know."

"I know when I moved in to my new place," Maggie said, adding her chopped carrots and mushrooms to the large heaping bowl of veggies. "I got 20 questions from just about everyone, the neighbor's, the people at my new church. Once I answered everyone's questions to their satisfaction, they left me alone and moved on to someone else."

"So, you're saying by not having introduced ourselves along time ago, we remained a curiosity?" Scully asked.

Maggie looked her daughter directly in the eye. "Dana, all I'm saying is that this entire dinner is a strange idea to me, that's all I know."

"I agree," Scully sighed. "But, this is Williams first crush and he really likes this girl. He's so nervous that when I went to check on him earlier, he was spinning the photos around on his walls with his powers, just lying in his bed making them move faster and faster until I walked in and then they all crashed and of course he easily repaired them. I mean...he is trying so hard to be 'Normal' and not extraordinary and you almost forget that this is the kid that less than a year ago saved the entire world from an alien invasion!"

Maggie smiled and touched her daughters shoulder. "He has your strength, Dana and he is a teenager and teens want to fit in and so they adapt to their environments. Plus, he has ALOT of Fox in him," and they both interrupted into laughter. "So," Maggie said, trying hard to stop laughing. "He," she said, stopping again to giggle with Dana. "He is going to attract women."

Scully smiled and shook her head. "I know...I know...Maybe it would've been easier if he'd been a girl."

"I had two very attractive daughters," Maggie said, looking directly at Scully. "They would come out of the wood work after both of my daughters.

"I don't remember that."

"Good," Maggie said. "That means your father, Bill and I did a good job at blocking them," she said with complete seriousness as she dumped the veggies into the roasting pan with the two large roasts.

"I knew Dad and Bill would get mad at guys but I don't remember a whole bunch," Scully said, looking surprised.

"Oh, I do!" Maggie stated as she seasoned the roast and oiled it and rubbed it down. With Scully's help, she placed it in the stove.

Maggie then washed her hands and turned her attention back toward her daughter. "Missy was a wild card as you know. She gave your dad and I the flux but she was still a good girl overall. I mean, she was home taking care of you and Charles and not running off with her friends and I think all that tarot card stuff was her way of rebelling. But the boys loved her."

"Yes they did," Scully said, rolling her eyes.

"But they also loved the quiet little sister too," she said, raising her eyebrow. "You were a daddy's girl, always trying to please your father or me when you're dad wasn't around. And with the age gap between you and Missy, you kind of held back from Missy a you were a tomboy for a long time but eventually you started coming out of that and you began to blossom and BOY did the guys notice."

Scully looked surprised. Her memories were completely different from what her mother was telling her. "And even Charles got in on the act, trying to keep them at bay. They'd tell all the boys you were a nerd and weren't interested or something."

"And you never stopped them!" Scully said, shocked.

Maggie smiled. "No...You were my baby girl. I didn't want you running off and becoming a hippie like Missy did."

Scully shook her head. "Mom, she wasn't a hippie. She was just...dabbling...exploring."

"Yeah, well, your father would've never let you date at 14, I mean what are the parents of this girl thinking?"

Scully looked at her mother. "Mom, Mulder and I are considering letting William date her at 14."

"Well, he's a boy," Maggie said, "It's different. "

Scully shook her head. "Mom, you and you're old fashioned ideas."

"I know its a different time..." Maggie said, as she helped Scully prepare the side dishes. "I tell you what," Maggie said. "I'm curious to hear what they have to say."

William waited on the front steps despite Mulder and Scully's insistence that he wait on the inside. He stood up as soon as the car pulled up the driveway. He approached the passenger seat and waited by the door until Susie stepped out. When she did, he extended his hand and she placed her hand in his and she stared into his eyes. He smiled shyly and ducked his head down but Mrs. Carter cleared her throat and they both parted.

"This way," William said, as he escorted them to the front door.

He showed them where to hang their coats and pointed towards the sofa. "Have a seat. My dad is in his office and my mom and grandma are in the kitchen. I'll let them know you're here."

The Carter's nodded as they looked around but said nothing. William could hear their thoughts though he tried to ignore them and walked on towards his dad's office. "Hey dad, they're here."

Mulder looked over to his 'I Want To Believe' Poster as if it were to give him strength to get through the evening. "Where's your mom?"

"They're in the kitchen."

"Alright, feed me to the sharks, Junior."

William gave Mulder a look that made him stop in his tracks. It was definitely one he'd inherited from his mother. He followed his son to the living room where the Carter's were seated. "Hi, Carter Family," Mulder said. "Will, go get your mom and grandmother."

Mulder seated himself. "Would you like something to drink?"

"Yes," Dan Carter said. "Water would be nice."

"We'll take whatever you have," Tammy Carter said.

Mulder looked at Susie but she was nervously fidgeting with her hands and so he stood up and passed by Scully and Maggie to gather the waters.

William quickly came back and sat next to Susie with a small distance between them. He opened up his laptop and started showing her photos and videos and they were lost in their own teenage world, oblivious to the adult world around them.

"Hi, Welcome," Scully said.

"Thanks," the two adults said.

"Dinner will be served in about five minutes."

"Alright," Tammy said. "This sure is a lovely home."

"Thank You," Scully said. "It's cozy. Just enough for us," she said.

"You know, this house was bought so long ago, we never knew who bought it," Tammy said, to know one in particular. "It was on the market for years since I was a kid and then one day someone bought it, sight-unseen and we still didn't know who bought it for years until one day y'all moved in...but then we only knew that you moved in, Mrs. Scully."

Scully looked at her mother and then back at Tammy. "Yes."

"And for like six years, we only saw you and then one day we start seeing him," she said, pointing to Mulder who was carrying a tray with three cups of water. "And then after a year or two or was it three?"

"Something like that," Dan added.

"There was William. I mean, he's the spitting image of you both. He's definitely yours. But no one could figure out where he was all this time."

"Mrs. Carter, Mr. Carter," Scully said, her arms, crossing in front of her. "Our personal business is that...PERSONAL."

Tammy looked at her husband and then back at Scully. "I didn't mean to offend you."

Scully glared at her and then turned and walked off back in the direction of the kitchen. Mulder looked at Maggie and she glanced over at the guests who were watching them both and began to pass out the waters. "Less than five minutes, "Maggie said. "I'm setting the table now," She said, taking the tray from Mulder and retreated back to the kitchen.

Mulder plopped down and grabbed the remote. "Well, how about a little TV."

Scully was pacing the kitchen floor when her mother entered. She turned to face her.

"Dana, calm that Irish temper. I understand. I have one of my own." Maggie stated.

"You know, I'm starting to think this whole...breaking bread nonsense was just a ploy to come over here. God, they know more about us than we do!"

"They've certainly been watching this house!" Maggie stated, grabbing the silverware and plates.

"William knows what they're thinking, why isn't he saying anything?" Scully said, angrily.

"Maybe he doesn't want to think about it, Dana. He can hear what they're thinking but he can also choose NOT to know what they're thinking if he wants too. Maybe he just likes this girl so much he is willing to do whatever it takes."

"Yeah well, as soon as this dinner is over, I want them out of here!"

Mulder sat at the Head of the Table and Scully sat at his side. He looked proudly at her and the meal she and her mother had prepared. Maggie sat directly across from Scully and William sat next to Scully and across from Susie. Dan sat at the other end of the table with Tammy at his side.

"We need to bless the food," Maggie stated.

The Carter's immediately bowed their heads for prayer while Scully and Maggie made signs of the Cross. And when no formal prayer was forthcoming, Dan Carter took it upon himself to give a lengthy prayer with references to "the true God" and may the "true God" be known.

They all said Amen except for Mulder who nearly gagged at such blatant religious expression in his own home but then Dan Carter began to speak, again. "I noticed Mrs. Scully..."

"I'm Mrs. Scully," Maggie stated.

"I'm Dr. Scully," Dana said.

"Oh!" Dan said. "Well in that case...Dr. Scully, I noticed you don't have any religious artwork of any kind in your home. "

Scully glanced quickly at Mulder. "I didn't realize that was a requirement of some sort."

"You wear a cross...You must be Catholic."

"We are Catholic, Yes!" Maggie answered.

"Catholics are like Christians but they haven't gotten it right," Dan said. "Kind of like Jehovah Witnesses."

"We certainly have!" Maggie said, getting highly offended. "That has to be the most ignorant statement I've ever heard!" Maggie said.

"Look!," Mulder said. "We are here for William and Susie. Not politics or Religion."

"DAD!" William said, standing up. "What are you doing?" he said, looking at his parents.

"William" Scully said.

"Mom!" he said., "This isn't the time. I thought we were just having dinner."

Mulder patted his shoulder. "Just sit down son."

"You're right." Dan said to William.

Maggie shook her head and began to slice the roast and she passed it over to Mulder who began to place it on each awaiting plate. They passed around the side dishes and sat in silence a few minutes before the Carter's began again. "So," Mrs. Carter said. "What football team are you rooting for?."

All three, Mulder, Scully and Maggie looked at each other but remained silent. Dan turned and glanced at his wife and she shrugged her shoulders and ate without saying a word. When the meal was done. Scully and Maggie retrieved the dishes and placed them in the kitchen. They gave each other a knowing look, wishing the evening would quickly end and grabbed the dessert, dessert plates and silverware and returned. Scully sliced the homemade banana cake and served it along with cups of steaming coffee.

"Now, can we talk about their dating," Dan said.

"OK," Mulder said. "Let's sit on the sofa first," he said, locking eyes with Scully.

"I'll wash the dishes," Maggie said.

Mulder stood up and could see that Scully was uncomfortable. He placed her small hand in he's and then walked into the living room with their guests following behind them. William trailed Susie as Maggie a few yards away cleaned the table.

"What are we discussing?" Mulder questioned.

Tammy looked at her husband and they both looked at Mulder and Scully. "Are you married?" they asked.

Mulder placed his arm around Scully's shoulder. "What does that have to do with our son dating your daughter?" Mulder asked.

"Our values...You're values."

William looked at his parents and then glanced over to the Carters and then to his girl Susie.

"Yes," Scully answered. "We are married," Scully said, finally.

Mulders mouth flew open briefly but he quickly recovered and continued to stared at the Carters.

"Well," Tammy said. "With you having a different name...I was wondering."

"You were sticking your nose where it didn't belong!," Scully stated. "Anything else you'd like. Our tax information, perhaps our blood types." she said, her eyes cold as ice.

Tammy and Dan looked at each other uncomfortably.

"MOM!" William said. "Are you trying to make it so I can't date her. Is that it?" he said, jumping up. "Is that your plan? What, you don't like her!"

"I like her, William. We both like her," Scully said, surprised.

"We're just trying to get to know you too," Tammy said. "Like, We know you're a Dr. and you, Mr. Mulder?"

Mulder stared down at Scully and then back at them. "I'm retired. "

"Oh, from what?" Dan asked.

Scully reached her hand across her chest to grasp Mulder's hand that was laying around her shoulder. "Scully and I are former FBI Agents."

"Oh my!" Tammy stated.

"I used to Head my own Division in the FBI and Scully was assigned to work with me. "

"Obviously, you two fell in love," Tammy stated.

"But it took seven years before they acted on it," William said to the Carters.

Both Scully and Mulder turned to look at William. He smiled meekly back at them. Mulder shook his head.

"What was your Division," Dan asked.

Mulder curled his lip and with a twinkle in his eye he spoke. "It was the X-files."

"Hmm, never heard of that," Tammy said.

Scully rolled her eyes and Mulder squeezed her shoulder.

"What did you do in the X-files?" Dan questioned.

Mulder locked eyes with Scully and they both turned to William and they could see the horror in his expression but Mulder answered anyway as he continued to stare at his son who had thrown his head back against the couch cushions and was staring up at the ceiling. "We investigated the paranormal," Mulder answered.

Tammy and Dan both sat back in their seats and looked around them as if they were afraid of something attaching to them. Suddenly, Dan stood up. "Umm..There's no such thing as the Paranormal, it's all either from God or from Satan."

Mulder chuckled. "Actually, I currently have a Paranormal Investigation business."

"DAD!" William said, covering his face.

"And what is it that you do, Dan?" Mulder questioned.

Tammy grabbed Dan's shirt tail and pulled him back down to the couch. He seated himself and then looked at his daughter who was begging him to please be civil. "I'm a teacher," he stated. "I teach kindergarten through second grade."

"Oh, well that's noble," Scully said. "Where?"

"Our church has a school."

"Oh!" both Mulder and Scully said. "Well, that's nice," Scully said.

"Yeah," Tammy and Dan stated. "Well, it concerns us that your values are so drastically different than our own. I mean. You chase after ghosts...What's next Aliens?"

Mulder chuckled. "We've been known to do a little Alien chasing in our day," he said, glancing at Scully.

She smiled and nodded. "Yeah, once or twice in our heyday."

"We need to talk about all this," Dan said. "I don't know...I mean. She's a Catholic, You are into dabbling with a lot of Devil stuff..."

"No, Daddy, please!" Susie said, begging her parents. "I really like him."

Tammy interrupted."But William is such a sweet boy...perhaps he could go to Church with US and maybe that would save him," Tammy said.

"Absolutely Not." Scully said.

"Mom, I don't mind, if it means I get to see Susie."

Scully turned and looked at her son. "William Mulder, You need to remember who you are! We are not compromising for no one! Now," she said, turning to the Carters. "It was a nice visit, but I would like for you to leave now. "

"Yeah," Mulder stated. "We need to practice our Satanic-Catholic-UFO-Religion in private, if you don't mind!"

The Carters looked shocked. Susie stood up and tried to grip William's hand but Dan grabbed it away and they left quickly. William plopped down hard on the sofa and then flung his head back and outstretched his arms to the sides of him. "You ruined my life," he said. "You have no idea how you ruined my life."

"William," Mulder said. "Sometimes you have to stand up to what you believe in," he said, as William jumped up and raced to his room. slamming his bedroom door.

Maggie touched her daughter's arm. "I think that went well," she said, sarcastically.

"Yeah, and to think this was the first girl he ever brought home. There are still more to come."

"Oh it's not over," Maggie stated. "You're just getting started," she said, heading back to the kitchen.

Scully looked up at Mulder and sighed. "Great...Just Great."

Maggie Scully had gone home leaving Mulder and Scully to deal with their son. They knocked softly on the outside of his bedroom door.

"Leave me alone and you know I can stop you from entering my room!" he screamed.

"William," Scully said. "Come on, we need to talk."

"I know, I can already hear what you have to say in my head."

Mulder opened his bedroom door and they both walked in.

"Ah, PRIVACY!" William said, throwing up his hands.

Scully raised an eyebrow. "We just want to talk and we're going to talk, now!"

William pushed back against the wall, cradling a pillow in front of him, shielding himself. Both Mulder and Scully seated themselves on his bed."I know...there's plenty of girls out there. There will be times when I get hurt but never try to change myself for a girl."

"See," Scully said. "What are you going to do when you start doing that?"

William looked confused. "Doing what?"

"What you just did...reading our minds. William," She said, touching his pants leg. "There will be a girl out there for you that will understand you. That you can share your secrets too. Who will understand it when you start reading minds or moving objects or even..."

"Fighting off aliens," Mulder added. "Well, hopefully not for another million years."

"But," Scully said, giving Mulder the eye. "Pretending to be someone you're not, or hiding who you are to please a girl. That's not right. What would you do when you start saying something that she hasn't told you yet? I mean, then what?"

"So, I should what...not date girls?" William said, alarmed. "What, just be a freak forever?"

"That's not what you're mom is saying, William. I mean, take both of us. We both went through loves in high school, right Scully."

"That's right."

"Mom's lying," William said. "She only had like two boys she was even allowed to date in high school."

"See what I mean. Now, I never told you that. You tapped into my memories and I've told you before, William Mulder to STOP doing that."

William smirked. "Sorry, its a habit."

Mulder wiped the amused look off his face as soon as Scully looked his way. "Anyway," Mulder continued. "We both had loves..."

"And Marcus was my love..." she said, interrupting. He was the 10th grade love of my life," she said, to William.

"Okay, okay!" he said.

"And then as adults we both went through terrible times with the loves of our lives then and we both got hurt severely."

"I was so hurt that when I met your father, it took me a very long time to trust anyone. I wanted to love him but I couldn't let my guard down for a long time," she said, looking at Mulder.

"And I was crushed by a lot of women and..." he said, looking at Scully. "Let's be honest, I would've still rushed into a relationship with you immediately."

"You really wanted to say 'into the sack'," William said. "You really wanted to say, 'I would've jumped into the sack with you'."

Scully looked at Mulder and he nodded. "True, that's true. You know that's what I was thinking, Scully. But," Mulder said, turning back to their son. "I'm glad I waited because I knew that she was the right one. There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her."

"Well, that explains why you lied to the Carter's saying you were married," William said.

"We are married," Scully stated.

"We are?" Mulder questioned.

"Common-law," she said.

"How come you two never just really got married...after the whole...being free from the FBI thing?"

"Well...I...ugh..." Mulder stumbled.

"Dad!" William said.

"I'm getting around to it," Mulder answered.

"Thanks Mulder, that makes me feel better," she said, rising up from Williams bed.

Mulder grabbed her hand. "I am going to marry you Scully. I promise. "

"Yeah, whatever Mulder," she said.

"Don't go!" he said, pulling her down into his arms. "I promise you, I'm going to do it. I guess I already feel married."

"Nice try, Mulder," she said, pushing away.

Mulder tightened his grip. "I'm not letting you go, until you agree to marry me."

"Come on, Mom. Agree!" William said.

Scully began to smile as Mulder nuzzled her neck.

"Ugh, Dad, please with the dirty thoughts...that's my mom!"

"Sorry!" Mulder said.

"I agree!" Scully said. "Now let me go!"

Mulder released her and she kissed him on the cheek. "Now, I guess we'll be engaged another 20 years, huh Mulder."

Mulder chuckled.

"See" William said. "I want a girl that looks at me like Mom looks at you."

Mulder glanced at his son. "You will. But it took a long time before we found someone that looked at us that way, right Scully."

"Yes," she said, sitting down and staring into Mulder's eyes. "I had a lot of men mistreat me and they never appreciated me. Your father was the first one that respected me and loved me and wanted me for me. He was the first man that would wait so long to be with me. It amazes me to this day. And when he looks at me, I see love, I see respect, and I know that he was placed on this planet just for me. And William...she is out there for you. That's what I'm saying, there will be plenty of girls in your life. And Susie is one of them. Don't break her heart and don't allow her to break yours. But don't change who you are to suit her or her parents. I never changed myself for your father and vice versa. As a matter of fact, that was one of the qualities that I most admired about your father...his stubbornness. That no matter if people were laughing and mocking him about Aliens and UFO's and all other paranormal events, he would stand his ground to anyone and he was always right...he was always right."

Mulder smiled, his eyes locked on to hers. "And that was one of the qualities I loved about your mom too. She never wavered. She never compromised."

"It drove you crazy!" William said.

"It drove me crazy, yes!" Mulder added. "Cause she would always rationalize it all but she was as solid as steel and I loved her for it."

"Okay...y'all have turned my 'parent's talk' into some mushy love thing between the two of you and now I'm gonna wretch. Could y'all take that into your bedroom and keep it down, the volume on my headphones only goes to a certain level."

Mulder's mouth gaped open but then he grabbed William and tickled him. "I'll tell you later the difference between dating a girl in high school and dating a woman."

"YEAH?" William perked up.

"When you're mom isn't around." Mulder said, cocking his head in her direction.

"Gotcha!" William said.

"Okay, Okay!" Scully said. "Goodnight, William. I hope you know we love you dearly," she said, giving him a large hug. "And change out of these clothes. Don't fall asleep in them. And pick up this room. Why are they're clothes scattered all over it."

"I knew she'd get to that," William said.

"I'm surprised that wasn't the first thing she said," Mulder said. "Good night son," he said, closing his bedroom door behind him.

The front door slammed and Scully glanced up from the recipe book she was pouring over. She rounded the corner to find William sitting on the sofa flipping channels. "What happened to basketball practice?"

"I decided to skip it. There's another mandatory meeting again tonight though."

"Damn," Scully huffed.

Without a remote, William was flipping the channels rapidly and Scully walked over and placed a hand on his shoulder. "What happened?"


"William, what happened?"

"Susie told everyone that you and Dad were UFO hunters and some of the kids think its cool while some won't talk to me including Susie."

Scully sat down on the edge of the sofa. "I'm sorry."

"I got teased the entire day at school," William said. "They called me E.T. and asked if I were ever probed by an alien and stuff like that."

"And they don't even know the truth," she whispered.

"Maybe I should just wipe this entire day away. Just erase it."

"So, something goes wrong in a day, in your life, so you wipe it clean, cause you can...because you have the power too. And what have you learned, William? What, are you going to do that with every day of your life? Because life is full of bad days, son."

He rolled his eyes and shook his head. "I really liked her and I really liked playing basketball."

"Then why are you here? Why aren't you on the court playing hoops or whatever you call it? Why are you letting them stop you?"

William took in what she was saying. "Can I just stay home until the meeting? I mean, I'll go to practice tomorrow. Can I just stay home?"

"Sure," she said.

Scully smoothed her hand over Williams auburn hair and wiped the tear that was falling down his young cheek. "It's okay, William. It happens to us all."

William wiped his face and shrugged his shoulders as if he didn't care.

"You hungry?"

"Not really," he said, looking off.

She knew he was lying. "I'll fix you something anyway."

Mulder opened his office door and peeked out. He was surprised to see William there. He knew immediately that something hadn't gone right at school. He came down and sat next to his son and flipped the channel until he found a basketball game. He waited until Williams tears had subsided before asking him what team he wanted to be. "Green," William said.

"I'm red," Mulder answered.

Scully brought them both a few sandwiches and drinks. Mulder locked eyes with her and in an instant knew the story.

"There's another mandatory parent meeting tonight Mulder."

"Yippee!" Mulder said.

"I'll get started on dinner. You two, watch the game. It's supposed to start snowing tonight. Any requests?"

"Chili" they both said.

"Okay. Chili it is," Scully answered.

Scully was dreading stepping foot back into the school but she could sense William's dread even more. She turned and glanced back at him. He was staring out at the kids who were talking in the parking lot as Mulder circled around the snowing parking lot, searching for a closer and clearer parking spot. Her heart ached for him but she knew this was his lessons to learn and it was a helpless feeling.

Finally, Mulder found a spot and they stepped out into the fridget Virginia night. They rushed to the school entrance and was grateful the school had the heat turned on blast. They made their way towards the meeting room door but William hung back from them. Mulder turned to look at him. "Where are you going to go? In with us or the basketball court or what?"

William bowed his head down and then stepped towards his parents.

"You ready to hear about the best wash-setting to clean uniforms?," Mulder said "Or something as equally boring?"

William smiled. "Get out of here!" he said, laughing.

Scully raised her eyebrow and William stopped and looked at them both. "I...I...think I'll go see if the second floor really is haunted at night," he said, walking off.

"You know, Mulder," Scully whispered. "That really isn't going to improve his reputation if he goes off ghost-hunting in his own school...if that's the problem the kids are having with us."

Mulder shrugged his shoulders. "Ah, he'll probably just find a bunch of kids having sex up there while we're in this meeting," he said, opening the door for Scully.

All eyes suddenly turned and stared at them. Mulder and Scully entered and they could hear a pen drop. Mulder glanced down at Scully and she looked up at him. "Reminds me of our time in the basement, huh Scully?" he joked.

Mulder placed his hand in his spot and guilded her past intense glares from parents who just a few days before were shaking their hands introducing themselves. They could see that they were the center of attention and every whispered conversation was about them.

Another parent dressed esentrically approached them. "Hi, I'm Rose McClaren," she said, extending a hand towards Scully.

Scully was impressed. This was obviously a brave soul. "Dana Scully and Fox Mulder."

"I'm a transplant too," McClaren said with a smile. "Don't worry about all the gossip, it'll blow over."

Scully cocked her head and perked her eyebrow. "What gossip would that be?"

"That you tossed the Carter's out of your home and that you two aren't Christians and that you dabble in the black arts," she chuckled.

Scully looked up at Mulder and he rolled his eyes. "This is why I don't socialize, Scully."

"This is for William, Mulder, not us," she reminded him.

"See, I can clearly see you wear a cross so that Mrs. Carter is a liar," Rose stated. "I drive to St. Mary's not far from Our Lady of Sorrow's."

"I work at Our Lady," Scully stated.

"Oh, well, I may have seen you," Rose said. "I'm a devout Catholic myself and have been my whole life. In these parts, Catholics and Devil worshippers are the same thing," she laughed. "It's that old time religion and any new ideas and beliefs are frowned upon. They may have a gas station and one store, but New York or D.C. we are not!" Rose stated.

"So what is it that you do?"

She smiled. "I'm a teacher."

"Another teacher," Scully said. "What do you teach?"

"Up to Fourth grade at the elementary school, " she smiled widely. "I have a teenage son, my last one, here at the high school."

Mulder was watching the looks of disgust from the other parents who were angry at Rose for talking to them. He placed a firm hand on Scully's back in his spot and then leaned over. "We've lived here for numerous years and never saw this kind of hostility before."

"Ah," Rose nodded. "That's cause you never had a kid involved in school activities before. The thing to remember is that everyone knows everybody. I'm an outsider so I could care less if they talk to me or not. I've let them know along time ago that if they mess with me, they're kid might end up with a failing grade!"

Mulder chuckled and Scully smiled. She could tell that Mulder liked Rose's gumption.

"They're all into clicks here. They live, eat and breath these little petty school committee positions and they love their school sports and getting their names called out as having volunteered and at this function and having someone pat them on the back. That's what its about. It's not about their son's playing basketball. It's not even if they win or not. It's all about them," Rose said, turning to glare at the other parents who glared back. "So, its nice to see another ousted family. So, if you have any questions, here's my card," she said.

Scully retrieved one of her own. "Ah, DR. Scully. When you said you worked at Our Lady, I thought were a nurse."

Scully smiled. "No, I'm no nurse."

"Certainly not!" Rose said. "Pediatric Surgeon, Forensic Pathologist, any more specialities and there won't be room on the card," she joked.

Scully grinned widely.

"Well, my husband is lost, he's never actually been to the school. Four boys and you'd think he'd come once," Rose said, shaking her head. "Anyway, gotta go track him down. The meeting will probably be over by then. Take some notes for me if I miss anything."

"Will do!" Mulder said.

They sat back down and watched as the small woman disappeared into the blackness of the school hallway.

"I like her," Mulder said. "Our kind of crazy, Scully."

"Yeah, definitely our kind of crazy, that's for sure."

The meeting began and again it was useless information that Scully and Mulder could do without but once the meeting was over, Trish Abraham's approached them both. Gone was her fake smile. She had her arms crossed in front of her. "I am a friend of the Carter's, " she began.

"That's nice," Scully stated.

"I just wanted you to know that we don't want any trouble-makers here!"

"You are just a parent, right? It isn't like you have any real power, right?" Scully said, raising her eyebrow. "Listen, don't approach us again! And unless there's some Basketball Jersey Stain Emergency, we won't be back to one of these useless meetings anyhow. But if we do, don't walk up on us again!"

"Well!" Trish said.

"I guess the Carter's forgot to mention to everyone that we are former FBI Agents, huh, Mulder?" Scully said, right in front of Trish Abraham's.

Trish's mouth flew open and she stepped back away from them.

"Yeah, I guess they did, " Mulder said, with a twinkle in his eye.

"Come on, Mulder, " Scully said, eying Trish as she and Mulder walked past her and the other parents into the hallway.

William was standing against the wall waiting on them. "Hey," he said, when he saw them.

"You okay?" Scully said, immediately touching his forehead and running her hand through his hair. "Everything alright?"

He smiled and she was reminded of Mulder's crooked smile. "I'm fine, mom. It's okay. As a matter of fact, a few other girls gave me their phone numbers."

"That's my boy!" Mulder said, patting him on the shoulder.

"I don't want you bringing them and their parents over any time soon though!" Scully warned. "I'm not ready for that again!" she said, walking off towards the school exit.

Mulder smiled as they both watched her walk on. Mulder placed an arm around William's shoulder and walked with him. "If you find a girl as tough and as gorgeous as your mom, she's a keeper..."

"I'll remember that," William said.

"So you going back to practice tomorrow?"

"I sure am," he smiled. "There's gonna be about four or five girls watching me practice. Watchin' all my moves..."

"Hmmm," Mulder chuckled. "Four or five, huh?"

"Yep," William said. "And this is just my freshman year."

Mulder nodded. "Don't remind us."

Scully sat on the sofa and sipped on her tea as the snow fell outside. William's phone was buzzing every second from the constant texts messages and it was disturbing her peace. "What is that noise?" she said.

"It's girls, messaging me," he said, with a smile.

She looked over to him, laid out on one of the sofa's, a blanket covering him as he texted through the movie they were watching. "How is this spending family quality time if you're gonna chat every minute with some girl?"

"Not some girl...GIRLS...PLURAL."

"Well, at least you're no longer depressed," she said, under her breath.

"He's got the old Mulder charm," Mulder said, proudly as he wrapped Scully tighter in his arms. "I'm so Proud I could burst."

"I see that," she said, feeling his chest puff out.

"Look at the two of us, Scully," he said, squeezing her tighter. "We're both attractive. Our son is a God...literally," he said.

William looked up at them but then resumed his texting.

"Well, tell Adonis here to get off his phone long enough so we can watch ONE family movie together," she said, as she gazed up to the underside of Mulder's chin. "Please, Mulder," knowing Mulder could never resist her pleas.

He kissed her forehead. "Will..."

"I got a DATE!" William interrupted. "But, Mom, you're not gonna be happy."

"And why is that?" she asked.

"Cause her parents are insisting that they meet with you and dad first, just like the Carters. I guess that's what everyone does."

Scully sighed. "Rural Virginia, Mulder! Great idea. Let's go hide out in Rural Virginia, Mulder!" Scully said, jumping up. "How about you don't date until you're 18!"

"Come on, be serious!" William said.

She plopped back down next to Mulder and turned to look at him. "Rural Virginia Mulder!"

He shrugged his shoulders but didn't say a word.

William was staring at his phone. "Her name is Lisa," he walked over and showed them the small photo on his phone of a blond haired girl smiling.

"Nice," Scully said.

"Very nice," Mulder agreed. "Good for you."

"And so where is this meeting supposed to take place?" Scully said with a frown.

"Anywhere you want."

"Not here!" she said.

"Okay, where?"

Scully thought long and hard. "I don't know but not here."

William texted back to the girl and then looked up at his parents. "They're inviting us to their house tomorrow night for a casual dinner."

Mulder and Scully looked at eachother. "That's fine. But one crack about Devil's or black art's or Catholic's and we're out of there!" Scully said.

William nodded. "Okay. I gotta find something nice to wear. I need to go shopping."

"I can pick you up something while I'm in town," Scully said.

"Oh no!" William said, shaking his head. "Absolutely not."

"You're mom has great taste."

"I know but I want to shop for it."

"How are we gonna do all that, William?" she said. "You've got school, basketball practice and then a date and I have to go to work tomorrow. "

"I can pick you out something," Mulder said.

Both Scully and William looked at Mulder. "What?" Mulder said. "Scully, I have great style. It attracted you!"

"Oh it did!" she said, raising her eyebrows. "Oh it did!"

"Oh come on, you two!" William said. "I don't want to lose my dinner here!"

Scully giggled a little. "William, you're dad was probably the only FBI agent ever to wear Armani Suits to work and he would get them ruined on a near daily basis and he didn't seem to mind."

Mulder shrugged. "And oh," Scully continued. "Even his casual clothes," she said, thinking back. "," she said, rubbing her hand on Mulder's leg.

William was trying desperately to block the images his parents were projecting. "You're both dirty minded," he said.

They looked at each other with amused looks on their faces.

"I'll go into town with your mom and I'll pick out something for you. Just tell me what you want and I'll buy it, alright?"

"Alright," William said, stepping back from them. "I've gotta get out of here," he said, still eying them. "Raincheck on the movie, ok?"

"Looks like it," Scully said, as William disappeared to his room.

"Hmm," Mulder said, pulling her closer to him. "So you liked the way I dressed back then, hmm?"

"Oh yeah," she said. "But I liked you even better, undressed."

William was so nervous as he stared in the mirror. Mulder smoothed the lint brush over his shoulder and patted him on the back. "Don't worry, you look good. You smell Good. She'll love you."

"My first date with her and I have to bring my parents," he said, rolling his eyes.

Mulder raised his eyebrows. "Yeah, that kind of sucks. But, look at where we live."

"What was your first dates like?"

Mulder smiled. "They used to have roller rinks. You know what that is?"

William stared at his father for a second, tapping into his mind and seeing his father in 1975 at the age of 14, placing skates on his feet and circling a freshly built roller rink. He could see a young tall Fox Mulder wearing pastel-colored bell bottomed pants as a silver disco ball flashed blindly and loud disco music blared and girls giggled hoping he would talk to them. "Seriously? They thought you were cute back then?"

Mulder popped his son on the top of his head. "OUCH!" William said.

"Anyway," Mulder continued. "My sister Samantha was gone by then and my parents weren't around and the only attention I got was from girls."

William nodded. "Yeah."

Mulder sighed, trying to decided what to reveal and what not too. "So, I would often take a date there when I was fourteen. We'd skate and have a good time. It meant the girl show me off to all her friends and we'd eat at the cafe there and that was about it back then."

"And they liked it because you had money."

Mulder nodded. "Yeah. It was a different time...a different place. I'm sure you're mom's experience was different too. I mean, she was living on a Military base. Her father was a Naval Captain and then your Uncle Billy was in charge when he wasn't there. The older protective brother kept an eye on her."

William nodded. "If Emily would've lived, she would've been an older protective sister to me."

Mulder looked at William. He was almost his height with dark auburn hair and Scully's skin color and blue eyes and his own build and facial features. He placed a hand on his arm. "Do me a favor, William. Don't bring Emily up, ok?"

William cocked his eyebrow.

"You're mom has never gotten over her death, ok."

"OK," he said, feeling a little down. "But, she was my sister. Don't I get to grieve her lost?"

Mulder wrapped his son in his arms and hugged him tightly. "You're right. You're right. I shouldn't have said that. Look...forget about all this. We were talking about you're date anyway. So tell me about Lisa."

William immediately perked up. "Honestly, I've only seen her in class. I didn't think she was interested in me."

"How come?"

"She'd looked at me and turn her head."

"Like how?" Mulder asked.

William demonstrated to Mulder the shy way that Lisa would glance at him and quickly duck her head away.

"So she liked you."

"I didn't know it until all this. And then when you and Mom were in the meeting, she was hanging with all her friends and she saw me and she walked straight up to me and said, 'I like you. I want you to call me'."

"That's my boy!" Mulder smiled.

"There were some other girls that gave me their numbers too but I was really surprised about her. I mean, I thought Susie was the love of my life."

Mulder smirked.

"But now Lisa."

"Whoa, Slow down there..." Mulder said. "Take it one step at a time," he said.

Scully knocked on the door and peeked her head in. "You two ready?"

"Yeah!" they both called out.

She pushed open the door and was surprised. William was dressed in a black sweater and grey jeans that reminded her of the style Mulder would wear that would drive her crazy. She looked at Mulder and could see he was watching her. "You approve Scully?"

"Yes, I approve. She'll love it, William. You look extremely handsome anyway but this was the right touch. You're father is right."

William smiled. "OK. I'm ready. Let's go."

The house was larger than their own home, perched on the top of a hill. Mulder stepped out and opened the door for Scully and she was careful with the bottle of wine that they brought as a gift. William walked alongside his parents. He was wringing his hands and Scully reached out to touch his hand briefly and squeeze it. "It's okay," she said. "Just breath."

The door flew open and a tough looking man opened the door, much to Mulder and Scully's surprise.

"I'm Tim Hayes. Come on in," he said, shaking Mulder's hand first and then Scully's.

She smiled warmly. Mulder placed his arm protectively around her, just as she knew he would. It was his signal to any other man that she was taken. Tim Hayes held out his hand and shook Williams hand. "William."

"Sir," William said.

"A good firm handshake. I like that in a lad."

William smiled.

"Well, come on in. I hope you don't mind dogs and a mess cause we have them both," he said, leading them towards the living room.

Scully could see no visible mess and assumed that was just an expression though she did see two small dogs laying on the floor. He offered to take their coats and then hung them up for them. Jamie Hayes came out of the kitchen and extended her hand. "I'm Jamie, Welcome," she said.

"Williams Parents," Scully offered.

"Well, welcome Williams parents."

Lisa appeared behind her and Williams eyes lit up. She was shy and hid behind her mother.

"Wow, you could not deny that you are his parents if you wanted too," Jamie laughed. "It's like split down the middle, genetically."

Scully smiled shyly and looked up at Mulder. He was looking proudly at both Scully and William.

"So, what's your first name?" Jamie said, looking at Scully.

"Oh, I'm Dana."

"Dana, would you like to help us girls in the kitchen."

Scully glanced down at her dress she knew would probably get ruined but then nodded. "Yes, I would."

"Let's leave the boys to watch football."

Scully tried to hand Mulder her purse and she saw him shake his head no. She glanced over at Tim Hayes and then at William and then walked on to the kitchen following Lisa and Jamie.

Tim had a mini-bar set up in his living room and so he reached in and pulled out a beer for Mulder and a root-beer for William. He stood up and opened a large cabinet to reveal an enormous wall sized flat screen TV. "So, I have over 300 sports channels alone. Pick and choose what game you want to watch."

William looked at his father and Mulder looked back at him. This was more than they had ever seen. "What is it that you do?" Mulder asked.

"I'm a truck driver," Tim said. "How about yourself."

"Retired Former FBI Agent."

Tim sat his beer down. "Seriously?"


"Both my parents were FBI Agents," William explained. "My dad ran his own division and my mom was assigned to work with him."

"Obviously that worked out great!" Tim chuckled, looking at William.

Mulder chuckled with him. "Yeah it did."

"Man...FBI, huh. Wow...So what do you do now?"

"I have a Paranormal Business."

"What like the Ghost Hunters on TV?"

"Yeah, like that."

"You get many calls."

"Not a whole lot in the winter. The summer is my busiest season. I travel and investigate paranormal claims."

"Man...The stories I could tell you," Tim said, kicking back his beer. "Truck drivers see things at night," he said. "We're the first to see it."

"Yeah I bet."

Scully had rolled up her sleeves and was chopping vegetables with Jamie on the counter. They were all laughing and talking. "No, I grew up in Maryland until I was thirteen and then we moved to San Diego and so I started dating in California. So, we never did anything like this."

"Really?" Jamie said, surprised. "I can't imagine not getting to know the family first before the kids start dating. As a matter of fact, when I started dating Tim, I met his extended family. His mother, cousins, everyone, first and THEN we started dating. And we dated all through high school and then got married right out of high school. That's typically how it is in these parts," Jamie said. "People tend to get married straight out of high school around here but they stay married, typically...not always...but they try."

Scully blinked several times and stared at both mother and daughter. "Well I expect William to just maybe enjoy her company and get to know her and grow as a person so he can move on to the next step in his development. "

"Well, don't worry. They're both just freshmen. Who knows, in three more years, they might both be engaged to someone else," she said, moving past Scully to work on the rest of the meal.

Scully shot a glance at Lisa who smiled at her nervously. Jamie turned back to her.

"So what is it that you do?" Scully asked.

"Me?" Jamie said. "I'm a stay-at-home mom. "Tim is a truck driver and I take care of things at home. And you?"

"I'm a Doctor."

Jamie looked surprised. "Wow. Must be in the city, right? Cause there's no place around here to be a doctor."

"Our Lady of Sorrows."

"Oh, we've been to County."

"Right. I know it."

"And you're husband?" Jamie said, gathering up the veggies Scully had chopped.

"We're both former FBI. He's retired now."

Jamie took it all in. "I'm pretty impressed. Were you a doctor then or afterwards."

"I was a doctor then just not practicing."

"That's pretty neat. I was thinking about going back to school when Lisa gets out of school."

"You should go," Scully said, sensing the woman's discomfort. "It's never too late."

Jamie smiled back at her. "That's true. Isn't it."

Lisa watched the interaction of both Women, taking it all in. Jamie turned to her daughter. "Set the table, okay, Hun."

"Yes, ma'am."

"Good girl."

"She'll make a fine wife, someday," Jamie smiled proudly.

Scully cocked her head and raised an eyebrow.

"So, lets gather the men so we can eat. We have more to talk about don't we."

Scully smiled shyly. Suddenly she had an overwhelming feeling and as much as she didn't mind Jamie, at that very moment she just wanted to be with her own family and no one else. She was wishing Mulder was by her side even though she knew he was in the next room. She could hear him shouting at the TV screen but her heart was with him. As if he knew what she was thinking, suddenly he was there beside her. "Everything alright Scully?"

She looked up into his eyes. "It is now," her eyes conveyed. "It's great," she said, out loud.

He nodded and helped her up from the chair and his hand slipped down to hold hers. They walked together over to the dining room table and seated themselves. They sat next to their son and Scully looked at Mulder. His eyes were telling her to just get through this for Williams sake. She glanced over to their son but he was busy looking at Lisa who was smiling widely back at him and Scully knew then that she could endure this. She had to him...for William.

Tim passed a fresh beer to Mulder. "We'll leave the wine to the ladies," Tim chuckled.

Mulder chuckled back.

Scully could tell that Mulder liked Tim. Mulder reached out and held her hand under the table and rubbed her fingers.

Jamie smiled as she served up the lasagna, salad and homemade breadsticks she was famous for. "I love to cook. We should swap recipes. I always have some new ones for when Tim rolls into town."

"I'm gone sometimes a week or two weeks at a time," he explained. "But, it pays the bills," he said, proudly. "That's all that counts, right," he said, to Mulder.

"That's right," Mulder said, as he sipped on his beer.

William cleared his throat. "So, Lisa. How come you never said anything to me before in class?"

Lisa blushed shyly. "I don't know," she said.

Scully was trying to pretend that she was listening to Jamie's chatter about recipes as she piled her plate with more food than Scully ate in a week but what she really was paying attention too was the interaction between Lisa and her son.

"I think you're cute," William said.

Tim stopped mid-sentence. "She's beautiful," he said, directly to William. "And believe me, I've got my eye on you!"

William gasped but Scully placed a hand on his back and he relaxed. "I have nothing but good intentions in mind," he said, to Lisa's father.

"That's all I expect," Tim said.

William nodded. He grabbed up his glass of water and took a shaky sip. He looked at his dad and he could read Mulder's thoughts. "Relax, he's trying to intimate you. Don't worry about it."

William breathed out and began to eat his food, occasionally glancing over to Lisa who would smile shyly at him. "What movies do you like?" he asked.

"I like lots of movies," she answered, in between the adult chatter.

It was hard for them to try to talk but he was trying and he could hear it in her thoughts that she appreciated the effort. "Where should we go on our first date, alone?" he then quickly turned to her father. "If that's okay with you, sir."

Tim sipped on his beer and glanced over to his wife and then surveyed Mulder and Scully. "You seem like good people to me. Sure, why not."

William beamed and looked at his parents and then back at Lisa. "Where should we go?"

"Some place in the city...There's no place here," Lisa said. "I'd like to go maybe to the mall in the city, catch a movie, I dunno. There's not much to do around here. I'd don't get to see the city much."

William looked at Scully and she nodded her head. "That sounds good," he said.

"I work in the city so that's not a problem," Scully said, glancing at Jamie. "If it's alright with you."

"We'll talk," she said. "But, anyway. Anyone got room for dessert?"

"There's more?" Scully almost groaned.

The food was delicious but it was all so fattening and she knew Mulder would be teasing her later about eating even half of what she ate. Her stomach was already doing somersaults from all the grease and salt she was unfamiliar with. This was no yogurt and salad.

"OH YES!" Jamie said, walking into the kitchen and returning with a large german chocolate cake. "We believe in eating here!"

"I see," she said, under her breath.

"Umm," Mulder smiled. "Looks good."

"Stick with me and I'll fatten you up just a little bit," she said to Scully.

Scully put on her best fake smile. Jamie though gladly sliced up a large slice for each person. Mulder dove right in. "This is really good."

"Oh it's got mayonaisse and chocolate and applesauce and all kinds of stuff in there."

Both Scully and Mulder stopped eating and glanced at eachother.

"It doesn't hurt the taste, as you can see," Jamie continued.

Mulder shrugged his shoulders and dugged back into his cake.

"I'm full," Scully said. "I don't usually eat this much."

"Yeah, I can tell that," Jamie chuckled along with Tim.

"My wife can whip up all kinds of food."

"Scully is a great cook in her own right," Mulder said. "And a great baker."

"Thank You, Mulder."

"Yeah we should swap recipes," Jamie said. "Since the kids'll be dating and we'll probably spend a lot time together."

Both Mulder and Scully leaned back in their chairs. "We will?"

"Oh yeah," Jamie said. "You know, holidays...Birthdays...stuff like that. You know, we'll have to share them," she smiled. "Like, we'll decide who'll get them for Thanksgiving dinner and who'll get them for Christmas."

"It's the same as when you're married," Tim chimed in. "I go to my in-law's for Christmas, but they come over here for Thanksgiving. We throw a big dinner party here every year. I mean, Thanksgiving is what, two weeks away, so we'll decide a little later. I mean, this is their first date, so let the kids have their first REAL date together and then we'll decide, ya know...who gets them for Thanksgiving."

"No problem!" William answered, turning to give his parents a stern look. "This is a really good cake, Mrs. Hayes. Almost as good as my mom's and Grandma's."

"Well," Jamie smiled. "Now that's a good compliment then."

When the dinner was over, they stayed and chatted before Scully explained that she had an early surgery in the morning. "What was that?" Scully said, as they drove home.

"I liked them!" William said.

"Tim was a cool guy, Scully and you did like Jamie."

"I liked her," she said, her voice raised. "I liked her but what is with this sharing our son and their daughter on the holidays? And what is with the talk about getting married straight out of highschool too?"

Mulder glanced back at William and could see that he was shaking his head. "I'm too young to get married."


"Just calm down, Scully."

"Mulder, don't patronize me or I'll shoot you in a place that's uncomfortable!" she said, with fiery blue eyes.

Mulder nodded his head and kept his eyes on the road.

When they reached there home, Mulder said. "I wouldn't mind another piece of that cake."

Scully scoffed. "Mulder, this is serious!"

"Scully, you're not gonna like anyone. This is your baby! You're being over protective."

She looked surprised. "You think that's it? "

He stared down at his hands. "I do."

"Can I say something?".

"What?" they both said, glancing in the backseat.

"I think she really likes me."

Both Mulder and Scully began to smile. "She does, son."

"So, when can we go on our date?"

Scully sat on her Mother's sofa. "Is it me or is everything suddenly so strange? I mean, all these years Mulder and I lived here and never, not once did we encounter such luancy."

"Well, it's like that Rose lady said, Dana," Maggie spoke. "You didn't have William with you then. So, if so you would've seen it sooner. It's something about kids that bring the crazy out in people."

They both chuckled.

"Believe me, with the four of you, I have my stories."


"Yes, and we're talking about Navy moms," Maggie said. "They all wanted to prove how loyal they were to the Flag, The Government, to The Navy and to their Husbands. They would compete with each other and they didn't care if they bulldozed over you to get there."

Scully had covered her mouth as she sat with her arm in the crook of the sofa. "Mulder accused me of being too protective of William because he's my baby. He used those exact words. I couldn't sleep last night. I tossed and turned all night," she said, looking into her mothers eyes.

Maggie reached out and pulled Dana into a hug. "It's okay. You lost a lot of time, Dana. You have a right to feel that way."

She could hear a low moaning cry bubble up from Scully's throat as she pressed her mouth against her mother's neck and cried into her. Maggie held her tightly until her tears subsided. She grabbed a tissue box and handed it to her. "I'm glad you got that out. You don't cry enough, Dana."

Scully looked surprised.

"You hold it in way too much."

Scully nodded her head. "I know I do."

"Does Fox know you're afraid of losing William again so quickly because he's growing up?"

She nodded. "He knows but he doesn't understand," she said, as more tears escaped. "For most women, they're children stepping into dating signals they're getting older. But for me, it means that I only have a less than three years left to raise my son. I did not get to see William's first birthday," she said, wiping her tears.

"I know," Maggie said, holding her hand.

"I just got him back. We got him right before the war began which was a miracle in itself and then to see him defeat the aliens, that was incredible," she said, with wide eyes. "Then to see him be a normal kid and's a dream come true," she said. "But, to know it's over in a flash."

"It's not over," Maggie said. "Look at you and me."

"Mom," Scully said. "How many times did I come and see you when Mulder and I were off working?"

"That was different Dana. You didn't know anyone existed when it was just you and two were deeply in love and in serious denial."

Scully blinked. "But there'd be weeks at a time before I'd even call you...and I'm a girl. Look at Charles and Bill."

Maggie nodded. "Boys do go off and create their own families but something tells me William will be different, Dana."

Scully wiped her eyes but fresh tears continued to fall. "How?"

"Because he has your heart," Maggie said. "Because you and William are connected. Because he can feel you and you can feel him. So, are not losing him like you did before. You are just letting him spread his wings this time and this time, you'll know where he is."

Scully closed her eyes. "I want to believe that, Mom. I do."

"Trust me, Dana."

"Okay," Scully said. "I'll try."

"Don't worry, Dana. Everything will be okay."

William and Lisa had been dating for over two weeks and William discovered that he was extremely good at kissing. He prided himself on that fact and he practiced with Lisa every chance he got. They'd gone out on several dates and chatted and saw each other in and after school and were practically inseparable. Lisa cheered him on at his practices and his games and William loved it. He loved having a girlfriend and showing her off in front of his friends.

Thanksgiving was approaching and Scully was getting a little excited. This would be their first Thanksgiving as a complete family. She had not expected to have Lisa joining them though she found Lisa to be pleasant. What Scully dreaded was sharing her son in just four weeks with the Hayes on Christmas day. William would be spending Christmas dinner with Lisa's family. The Hayes's could spare having one less person at Thanksgiving with the amount of guests they had coming from out of town and so Lisa being over at their home would not be too much of a hassle. But to have Williams spend Christmas dinner at the Hayes home, his absence would be quite noticeable for their small family and he would be greatly missed especially since this was the very first holiday they would spend together as one, unbeknownst to the Hayes's.

Mulder could sense Scully's thoughts. He could feel it in the tenseness in her shoulder when she was laying in his arms in bed. He pulled her close to him and she laid her head on his chest and breathed him in. She could feel his heart beating and with his arms wrapped around her, nothing ever made her feel more safe. "I love this," she said. "God, Mulder, I love this. I can't tell you how much."

"I know," he said. "But, you're thinking about the holidays, aren't you?"

"Everythings changing so fast," she sighed.

"It always does."

"Am I being selfish, Mulder?" she said, looking up at him.

He bent down and kissed her lips. "Yes and you have a right to be."

She rested her chin on his chest and stared off. "I want him to be happy. That's all a mother wants. But, I want him to be happy with us."

"He is but he's a teenage boy, Scully. And the only thing that will make him happy from now until the day he dies is girls..."

She smiled and softly slapped him on the chest. "You're right."

"I know I'm right. I'm always right."

"Let's not go crazy!" she said, laying her head down on his chest and squeezing him tightly. "Okay...I can handle this...One holiday at a time. At least I'll have Thanksgiving dinner with him and Christmas morning."

"Exactly, Scully. It means that maybe with William gone over to the Hayes house, we can celebrate our own Christmas tradition for the past several years."

Scully looked up into Mulder's waggling eyebrows. "Hmm...We do have that tradition, don't we?"

"Yes, we do."

She smiled. "Sweet dreams, Mulder."

"MMMmmm...of you covered in eggnog," he said.

Scully erupted into laughter. "That's a new one!"

"It's worth trying!"

"We'll see Mulder. The last time I couldn't get the Maraschino cherries out of the sheets and I had to throw them away."

"It was worth it though!"

They both laughed and snuggled up together. "Mulder, I'm trying to sleep here but I see that's not going to happen."

"Not anytime soon, no," he said.

She looked up at him. "Okay, what do you have in mind?"

Maggie was busy seasoning the Turkey when Scully walked in the door. "I'm so sorry. I got called in at the last minute. I told them I'm officially on vacation now, no phone calls for no reason. They're to send all calls to the attending physician."

"Not a problem," Maggie said. "Just shower and change and come help me. You're brother's decided they're both gonna call tomorrow. They're spending Thanksgiving with their grandkids."

"Oh that's nice," Scully said. "Why are we doing all this today?" Scully asked.

"So, we don't have to work so hard tomorrow," Maggie said. "So, hurry up, Dana, I need your help."

Scully sighed. She knew her mother had taken over the kitchen and there was nothing she could do. "Where's Mulder and William?"

"Fox is picking William up from practice. I think there picking up a few pizza's for dinner."

"Oh," Scully said. "What from the gas station, there's no pizza places here."

"Yep, that's the place."

"Alright, I'm going. I can hear the wheels in your head spinning," Scully said, rushing to her room.

When she returned fresh from her shower, she threw herself into helping. Mulder and William came carrying pizza's. Scully was surprised to see Lisa tagging along. "Oh," she said. "I didn't expect to see you Lisa until tomorrow at Thanksgiving dinner."

"Oh, well, I could help," Lisa said.

Scully smiled genuinely. "Thank you. That's very kind of you."

"Come on honey and Mrs. Scully, let's eat," Mulder said, hanging up their coats.

Scully and her mother quickly finished their tasks and washed their hands and brought out plates for everyone. Scully immediately kissed Mulder on the lips as she set the table. She sat down next to him and smiled at Williams show of affection to his girlfriend. She recognized that he was getting his example of affection from the both of them. He was mimicking their own behavior. She glanced up to Mulder and he was watching her with a smirk as if he too had just realized it as well. They held each others gaze for a long moment until Maggie touched Dana's hand. "There are others in the room," she reminded her.

Scully refocused. "So, William and Lisa, how was your last day at school before Thanksgiving break."

"It was pretty boring," Lisa said, as she gazed at William.

He was smiling back with a crooked smile nearly identical to his fathers.

Maggie looked from Mulder and Scully to William and Lisa. "All this lovey-dovy stuff is making me feel like the odd-woman out."

"Awl, Mom. We're sorry," Scully said. "What ever happened to, what's his name?"

"What's his name...died."

"Oh!" Scully said. "Well, there's still other men out there."

Maggie rolled her eyes. "I'm too old to go through all that again, Dana. Look what happened when you and your brother's found out I might even attempt to date someone. You nearly gave the poor man a heart attack or at least Bill and Charles did."

Mulder nodded. "True, they did."

Scully shook her head. "Anyway, so what all is going on at your house, Lisa with all the guest from out of town arriving."

"It's chaos," Lisa smiled. "Pure chaos. I didn't want to go home just yet. I hope you didn't mind."

"No, I don't mind," Scully smiled warmly. "It gives you and me more of a chance to get to know each other."

Lisa smiled brightly. "I'd like that."

Both Maggie and Mulder smiled proudly at Scully. After they ate, Scully handed Lisa an apron and she joined them in the kitchen. They baked a few pies and did the pre-Thanksgiving preparations. When it was time for her to go home, William walked her to her car and gave her a large kiss and hug in front of her parents. Tim looked at his wife but she held his arm. Lisa climbed into the backseat and they drove off.

Thanksgiving came and went and it was nearing Christmas and Scully was sound asleep when her phone rang. "Hello?"


"This is Dana, who is this?" she said, glancing at the clock. It read 12:32.

"Dana, Lisa is so upset right now."

"I'm sorry. Is this a patient?" Scully said, trying to wake herself up.

"No, this is Jamie Hayes. I'm Lisa's mom. Lisa is crying right now."

"Oh, what's wrong?"

"Because she just got a text from William saying that they needed space."

Scully rubbed her eyes. She could feel Mulder move up behind her. "I'm sorry. Did you just say that William sent Lisa a text saying they needed space?"

"Yes. And I just wanted to know why he would do that?"

"I think I'm missing something here," Scully said, dumbfounded. "Why are we discussing this at twelve in the morning?"

"Aren't you concerned? I mean is William upset? Is he crying right now?"

"I have no idea. Jamie, Mulder and I aren't involved in William and Lisa's relationship like that."

"But tell me why he would do that and right before Christmas?"

"You want me to explain to you why my 14 year old son would do what?"

"Tell her they needed space. I mean, she's crying right now. What am I supposed to tell her? "

Scully took the phone away from her ear and stared at it for a few moments. "Umm, Jamie. They're kids. I don't know why but I'm sure he had his reasons. They're gonna go through different girls and boys throughout high school."

"But she really liked him. I could see them settling down together."

Again, Scully pulled the phone away from her ear. "They're 14."

"Who is it?" Mulder mumbled. "Hang up the phone!"

"Umm, Jamie. I'm sorry, but Mulder wants me to hang up now," she said, ending the call."OMG!"

"What? WHAT?" Mulder said, as he leaned into her neck. She tried to turn but had to push him off of her slightly. "Mulder...first of all, William is still awake and texting at this late of night."

Mulder raised his head and looked at her.

"But I just got a call from Lisa's mom asking me why William and her daughter broke up."

"It's what 3 in the morning?"

"It's twelve but still. OMG, Mulder."

"I hear you," he said, snuggling back down against her chest.

"You don't hear me now. I'll wait and tell you in the morning," she sighed as she rubbed her hand against his back. "God...what is with these mothers?"

Scully awoke bright and early and started the coffee as she usually did. She cut up the veggies and meat and placed it in the crock pot and then cleaned up and started on breakfast. William was the first to come into the kitchen. He kissed her on the cheek and grabbed his plate as was his daily routine. "Morning mom," he said, yawning.

"William, I got a very strange phone call late last night from Mrs. Hayes."

Just then Mulder walked in and grabbed her from behind, planting a kiss on her neck and grabbing up his coffee and breakfast. "You were trying to tell me about it last night but I have no idea what you were talking about," Mulder said, as he made his way to the table next to William.

"She called you asking why I told Lisa we needed a break," William said, reading her mind.

"William Mulder!" Scully scolded. "Tap into my head again without my permission and I'll..."

"And you'll what?" he said, rolling his eyes.

"Oh, the attitude is back!" Mulder said, before sipping on his coffee.

"What happened? Why did I get a call from Crazy Mom at twelve in the morning cause she thinks you're gonna marry her daughter?"

"It was too intense, okay?" William said, looking at the two of them. "Back off, alright. This is my relationship, not yours."

"It involves us, William! It invo..."

"Scully," Mulder said, placing a hand on top of hers. "Let it go. "

"Fine, Whatever," she said, sipping on her coffee.

William sighed. "Look. Thanks for being there for me. I know you don't understand but some of these girls...they try to tie you down and I'm not ready to be tied down just yet. There's too many girls out there."

"Of course not," Scully said. "You're a freshman in high school. There's plenty for you to explore."

"Yeah. I think I want to join band next year too and maybe cross country," William said, rising from his seat. "There's plenty of girls on the track team and in band too!" he smiled. "All waiting for me!"

Mulder nodded his head. "That's right! You go get 'em!" he said, proudly. "Just like a younger me!"

William smiled and grabbed his coat and book bag and walked out the door.

Scully shook her head. "This is just the first year, Mulder. We have three more years of this!"

Mulder chuckled. "Just think, Scully. Band Mom's and Track Mom's and even more of these introductions and midnight phone calls...this is what we have to look forward too."

Her head hung low and she shook her head. "No, no...Give me aliens any day Mulder. That I can face but these crazy mother's and there crazy kids...I don't think I can take it."

"Sure you can," Mulder said, lifting her chin. "Sure you can. Maybe I should get one of those minivan's for you Scully, and start stickering up the back with Band Mom and Basketball Mom."

"NO!" she screamed.

"Come on, Scully!" he teased, as he followed her back to the kitchen. "Maybe you could become one of them."

"Stop teasing me!" She smiled, as Mulder backed her into a corner.

He slid his arms around her and kissed her all over her face and neck and gave her a long lingering kiss. "You're a good mom, Scully," he said.

"We're both good parents, Mulder," she said.

"Just three more years," he said.

"AH, don't remind me!" she smiled.

He kissed her again. "I'll do the dishes, you need to get dressed for work."

"Okay," she sighed, wishing she didn't have to leave the comfort of his arms. "We did good, didn't we, Mulder?"

"Hmm?" he asked, still holding her.

"With William. He's pretty cute and a pretty good kid, isn't he?" she said, looking up into his hazel eyes.

He smiled down at her. "He's the best of the two of us, Scully. Of course. He's the best of us."

She smiled as he released her and they're hands came together. They both stared at their fingers connected just as they always were, joined together until finally, they slid apart. Scully looked up into his eyes and could see them sparkling. "Hurry up so you can come back to me and William and we can do this whole family thing all over again," he said.

She smiled lovingly. "Always," she said, turning to disappear down the hallway.


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