Title: Living On Love
Author: Jacquie LaVa
Category: Pre-Colonization
Rating: PG

Summary: 'They've been bound to each other, all of their lives, it has seemed...' A prequel to "Familial Survivors"

Dedication: For Linda and Fox, the two IWTB-Babies who escaped birthday calendar detection! Happy Birthday, my lovelies! You cannot escape the bday fic, LOL!

He asks her to marry him on a cold and rainy day. The cabin has been leaking all morning and the threadbare carpet is soaked. They ran out of potable water two days ago and they're low on eggs. Their generator is low on fuel.

But he still gets down on one knee and takes her chapped hand in his, looks into her soft blue eyes, and his voice wobbles a little when he whispers, "Marry me, Catherine..."

Her eyes grow round with shock; though she has to know he's been meaning to ask her for weeks, still the actual question takes her by surprise. And she thinks of practical things, when she stammers, "M-marry...! But, Will... what'll we live on?"

His smile wobbles even more than his voice, when he gathers her close to his tall, lean frame, and whispers, "We'll be living on love."

Their parents won't approve. Will already knows this. He's known it for a long time. Catherine's folks love him dearly, as his parents love her. It's not about that at all. Nor is it their age -not really. They're past the age of consent.

It's not even the lack of money, although it certainly figures into the entire picture.

It's the unknown quality of their future, more than anything - the knowledge that they all exist on borrowed time. It's the more frightening aspects of a world that has slowly been going mad, since as long as he could remember.

Everyone with any level of brain matter knows what is going to happen, any time now. They whisper about it, late at night when they're all huddled in someone's cabin. He's grown up with it, been privy to it, all of his life. His parents have always been honest with him. They had to be, for even as a young child he knew there was something different about their lifestyle - the way they moved, all of the time. Remote places, too - and he only went to school once in a while. Mostly, his mother and father home-schooled him. He didn't mind; he learned so much from them. Everything he needed - It wasn't until Will was twelve years old that he found out he wasn't the only kid living this kind of life, being home-schooled and moving around so much. He found out there was another kid, like him - a few years younger and with an IQ off the charts - home schooled, just like him. But it would be years before he discovered she was meant for him... to love. To marry.


She came along a few weeks after his twelfth birthday, rattling up to their mountain cabin in an old Ford truck that looked as if it was on its last legs.

His father had been out back chopping wood and he and his mom had been in the kitchen, just finishing up a math lesson. They'd heard the truck's noisy engine first, its grinding roar loud in the relative quiet of the mountain air - and his mother dropped the book she'd been holding, and ran to the door, her hands reaching for the gun that always sat on the table nearby the door. He had grown up with a gun sitting on a table by the door...

Will ran after her, silently.

By the time he got outside, the truck had pulled to a stop and his mother had her gun leveled and pointed at the windshield of the dusty vehicle. She never said a word, just kept the gun steady. From the porch he saw his father run around the side of the cabin, ax in hand. And as if in slow motion, he watched the truck door creak open, saw the big man behind the steering wheel climb out, slowly - his hands in the air - saw his mother drop the gun, gasp - her hands flying up to her face - then she ran forward, flung herself into the man's heavily-muscled arms, crying and laughing and murmuring his name...

"Walter! Oh my God... Walter..."

His father also dropped the ax and came forward, smiling with happy disbelief.

Will looked on with bewilderment; his parents had always been loners, it seemed to him. There had never been anyone else in their family sphere. He'd never met this man... or the dark-haired woman who climbed out of the passenger side, and headed straight for his mother, who immediately pulled herself from the big man's arms and rushed to meet the woman halfway, crying more tears as they embraced.


The dark-haired woman had sobbed in his mother's arms. "Thank God we found you!


As Will stood on the porch and watched a reunion he could scarcely comprehend, a little girl crawled out of the front seat and walked slowly toward him. She looked to be about nine, with dark hair and blue eyes. In one hand she carried a ratty teddy bear and she was dressed in faded clothes that looked too big for her overly-thin frame. Just like him... and when she smiled at Will, he smiled back.

In that moment he knew Catherine Skinner was his.

Will knows he should have spoken to Catherine's parents, first. There are many things against them, none the least of it the impending colonization that is just a matter of time. It often saddens him, that so much of the rest of the world refuses to believe. His life, as his folks before him, has been dedicated to spreading the word to as many as can accept and believe - and join the fight to stop it.

As if they could... but they can't just sit by and do nothing. That's what his parents told him, years ago when they sat in the living room of their small cabin with Catherine and her folks. Late into the evening the adults talked, while Will and Catherine curled up on the floor in front of the fireplace and listened with wide eyes and open ears.

"It's a miracle you made it here in one piece. It's also a miracle you found us... thank God we've been able to slip messages out, now and again." Will's father had clasped Walter Skinner on the shoulder, while Monica Skinner had dried a few tears and nodded.

"It's insane, Mulder. You wouldn't believe it. We couldn't seem to make anyone listen to us. It got to be way too dangerous; we'd stayed in one place far too long. I'm so glad we caught you before you moved again!" Her voice had broken and Will's mother had wrapped her into her arms and hugged her fiercely.

Will had been confused; were they going to move? Again? A puzzled glance at his father confirmed it; he'd nodded and his voice had been gentle yet firm.

"We have to, Will. We're not safe here, anymore. We need to move, and soon. The Skinners are coming with us... think about how nice it'll be for you! Someone close to your age, to hang out with..."

Yes, it has been nice. It has been a blessing, a God-send - that Fate found a way to bring Catherine Skinner to him. He has loved her from the very first - how could he not?

Years of lessons, side by side. Learning to profile, even as she learned the basics of medicine, from his mother. They 'graduated' college, together, there in the little cabin he and his folks called home. Catherine lived just down the road a small bit, with her family. He spent his childhood in either her kitchen or his - stole his first kiss, there in her tiny living room - made trembling, virginal, impassioned love to her in her narrow little bed, sneaking in to see her one night while his parents laughed and talked and played cards in the kitchen just three rooms away.

They've been lovers for only four months, but they've been bound to each other for all of their lives, it seems. They always will be - marriage won't change the love they share. Marriage won't change them, not one bit. It'll only add another layer, one they both need, want. They are traditional young adults, descended from other traditional adults. It's the right thing to do...

Their parents will fight them. Maybe just a little, for their love is just too strong. They are very poor. That may never change, not even when they finally venture out on their own. He wants to get a job, buy a place of his own - marry and have children. He's got a degree - she's a doctor. They have their certificates; they have to try. Will knows they cannot venture far - but certainly they can get off the mountain. His folks will fight them. But he has to... THEY have to. And he needs an answer, from his beloved Cat.

"Cat? You haven't answered me..."

She smiles and leans in, kisses him softly. "Will we really just be living on love, Will? How can that be enough, for you? What about if we... have a baby?"

Will gathers her up against him again, holding her tightly. "We are both young and strong - and smart. Educated. We can get jobs. We can have a place of our own. It will be a struggle. And we don't know when it'll hit us, when colonization will come. But when it does, we face it together... okay? Marry me, Catherine... please."

Her lips curve, her blue eyes glow... she presses a kiss into his mouth and breathes to him, "Living on love... I think I like it. I think I like it, a lot.

And when we tell the folks, we do it together... okay?"

"Does that mean you're going to marry me?"

"Oh, yes... it means precisely that. Let's do it, William Mulder... let's get married - and live on love."


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