Title: The Thanksgiving Date
Summary: Maggie has met a new man. Scully and her brother's are not thrilled about it. Mulder is not thrilled about dealing with her brothers.
The air was thick, stiff, and it made Scully nervous. She stared at the Sunday paper, the parts Mulder had discarded and anxiety crept over her. This time of year always got to her...less than two years to go...she thought...less than two years to live...and then she thought about William. Her eyes began to well up but she wiped them quickly as Mulder walked out of his office, his cup of coffee empty. He stared over at her sitting on the couch, but her eyes had drifted out to the window, watching the wind blow the leaves around the yard. "Scully?" he said, walking over to her. "You okay?"
"We have less than two years to go," she whispered. "And we're no closer to finding William than before..."
"You need a distraction," he said, sitting next to her and throwing his arm around her shoulders, pulling her into his chest. "Your mom called while you were at work yesterday, did I tell you?"
"No," she said, solemnly. "I don't think I want to go this year, Mulder..."
"And miss out on your mother's cooking? No way...Plus she said she is really looking forward to seeing us, Scully."
"It'll just remind me of William," she said, crying softly into his shirt. He wiped her tears.
"Scully, we may not have much time with them...we need to spend as much time with them before..."
"The End...," she said, looking up into his eyes. "Why can't we just stay here?"
"We've done that before and its depressing," he huffed.
"But being there will just be a constant reminder, " she admitted. "When I see Matthew and Charles two sons...Do you know what that will do to me?"
"They're not coming...it's just us and your mom and some guy she met."
Scully pushed away from him. "WHAT!"
"She met a guy...at church..."
"She's dating someone else?"
"You don't expect her to stay alone, do you Scully? If I died I'd expect you to mourn me the rest of your days... but I know you'd want to move on after awhile...preferably never though..."
"Mulder, my father was the love of her life! I know how she felt finding her soul mate, you can't replace your soul mate!"
"When I died, did you ever think you'd fall in love with someone else, Scully?'
"No, never...I could never Mulder...I'm in shock that she would even attempt to..."
"Live her life?"
"So if I died you'd replace me?"
"There's a cute red head at the Buy and Bag, she's about 60 yrs old...grey hair and worts but she's my next choice," he laughed but stopped when she gave him one of her looks.
"Mulder...I really don't want to go now!"
"Too late I already told her we'd be there!", he said, standing up and heading towards the kitchen. "If your like this now, what's Christmas gonna be like?"
"Why can't Bill and Charles come?" she said, following behind him.
"Maybe because I'll be there," he said, pouring himself a cup of coffee.
"Charles would never act that way..."
"Yes, he definitely would," she said, watching him pour a ton of sugar into his coffee. "Mulder...you're teeth will fall out if you keep doing that..."
"That is a myth, Scully," he said, throwing open the refridgerator door.
"Mulder...Why can't we sit at home and mope about on Thanksgiving...I can tell her I couldn't get off work?" she said, innocently with a smile.
Mulder rolled his eyes. "If I'm gonna mope I'd like to mope with a delicious turkey and your mother filling my plate every five minutes...than to eat a frozen turkey dinner here."
"Oh like I wouldn't cook us a Thanksgiving Feast?" she said, crossing her arms.
"It would still be depressing...It would just remind us of what will soon be happening..." he said, pushing vegetables out of his way. "We have nothing good to eat?"
"Mulder you're not a young man..."
He spun around to face her. "I'm not?"
"There's fruit in the drawer..."
"Ugh," he said, slamming the door closed. He moved over to the cabinets, searching until he found a pack of sunflower seeds. "Scully, we have less than two years to go...Your mom would never make us uncomfortable, so let's go and have a good time."
She threw up her hands in the air. "You're killing me here!"
A smiled formed in the corner of his mouth. "You just don't want to meet her boyfriend."
"Like I said, killing me here!", she said, walking back toward the couch. She picked up her phone.
"Who are you calling?"
"Bill and Charles..."
"Scully...please don't try to convince them to come...I could get the Turkey Leg to myself!", he said, pointing in her direction.
She rolled her eyes. "Mulder, Mulder...", she said, hanging up. "Fine, I'll call mom and find out whats the deal with this new...boyfriend."
"Mom, " she said into her cell phone. "I just got your message. Yeah, I worked late last night. Yes, we'll be there...but who'se this...guy?" there was a pause as Mulder listened from the kitchen, sipping on his coffee. It was too sweet, so he poured it out.
"No, I know you'd never try to replace dad...He's a retired Naval officer too? His name is Willis O'Conner...nope, don't remember him...He worked at the Academy in Annapolis! Did he know dad? He did...No...it's a little weird, that's all...Of course I'll support you, mom. You supported me with Mulder...No, I haven't talked to them yet. I'll see what I can do...Okay, love you mom."
Scully sat there a moment. "He knew my father..."
"Eeww," Mulder squirmed. "That would be like you and Doggett when I died..."
She shot him another look and he shut up. "Mulder, she wants me to convince the boys to come..."
"Ah, nawl...Scully...come on...Turkey Leg, Turkey Leg!", he whined, coming to sit near her again.
"You're still a baby even in your old age!", she mused.
"Not old...aged like a fine wine..."
"A very fine wine," she winked. "A nice smooth, full bodied fine wine...", she said, rubbing his arm.
Mulder leaned in to kiss her but she screamed in his face. "MY MOM with another Man, I can't believe it!"
"Mulder...would you hate me if I call Charles and Bill?"
"Hate you...yes!", he smirked. "You owe me a turkey leg!"
"What do you want me to do put the whammy on him?" Bill asked his sister on the phone. "We were going to Tara's parents house this year...Of course I want to know about this guy...but Tara will kill me!"
Just then Tara walked into the living room where Bill sat in his chair. "I'd kill you because of what?"
"Mom's dating a man now and Dana wants us to come to Thanksgiving to...do what we do..."
"Which is?," she said, and then thought a moment. "Oh, act like a jackass!"
"Exact...", he stopped and looked over to his wife. "No...just let him know she has sons!"
"I'm sure she's told him," Tara said, snatching the phone out of Bill's hand. "Hey Dana," she said, cheerfully. "Oh...well, we could probably come for Thanksgiving...We could spend Christmas with my folks. Actually I perfer it that way...Yeah, my mom's cooking is awful," she laughed. "Okay, see you then...Here's Bill..."
"I guess it's settled," he said, speaking back to his sister. "I promise I won't say a single word to Mulder...I'll be fixed on mom's new man...Willis O'Conner, now why does that sound familiar? What's with her and Naval men? She can't date someone that isn't like Dad? No, let me call Charles...And hopefully this guy is a good guy or else we'll kill him...and then I'll refocus my attention on Mulder! Just kidding...Okay, love you sis. Bye."
He hung up and dialed Charles number. "Hey Junior, this is your uncle. Yes Uncle...How many Uncles do you have? Oh...we'll I'm your dad's brother...yeah...Is he there? Let me talk to him!"
He waited until Charles got on the phone. "Hey little brother. Mom said your not coming to Thanksgiving this year. Well...she is dating someone...Not a joke at all...I'm dead serious...Willis O'Conner. I know I was trying to figure that out too...retired Naval Captain...I know! Why not a retired mechanic or plumber or something...Okay, good...see you then! She'll understand...she hasn't divorced you yet so I think you're safe...don't quote me on that! Alright...Bye!"
"Mulder...Charles and Bill are coming...well, Bill for sure," she said, shrugging her shoulders.
"You're dead Scully and where's my Turkey leg?" he said, pinching her leg.
She giggled. "Sorry to erase your perfect Thanksgiving but no one ever gets a perfect Thanksgiving, Mulder...and you think I want to face mom's new beau alone?"
"You wouldn't be alone, you'd be with me and I'd be happy with all that food to myself," he sighed. "Now I'll have to fight Bill over it...it won't be pretty..."
"You're so cute when your being a butt," she sighed. "You created this situation! We could've eaten at home but no, you wanted to be fed like a toddler ever five minutes!'
"Speaking of food...is there anything in the house that isn't rabbit food?"
"Nope...", she smiled. "Well...maybe...you didn't look in the freezer," she said, pointing towards the kitchen.
He shot up and threw the freezer door open. "Ice cream, that's your snack, Scully...not funny..."
"I thought it was!", she smiled smugly. "Tofutti cream...my favorite."
"This is war! I'm ordering a pizza...full of meat, lots and lots of meat!", he said, dialing the number. "And you can't have any..."
"I don't think so!", she said, coming to his side. "I want on my half...Spinach and Feta cheese."
"Ugh," Mulder said, shaking his head. "That's sacrilege Scully..."
"We've got three days till the family reunion Mulder...Don't plug yourself up with all that meat and cheese!"
He contorted his face. "Now, I look like Bill!"
She laughed. "Alright, Mulder...mega meat pizza!"
"Good," he smiled. "Yeah...that's the address...You know us well...that's right...All meat...Double meat..."
He kissed the top of her head. "I'm glad you're feeling better...see it's better we spend Thanksgiving with your family..."
"You're gonna regret those words," she said, moving back to the couch.
"I know I will..."
"But it'll be fun...Lots of food, lots of tension," she smiled. "A good ole Scully Thanksgiving..."
"What no mud fights, Scully?"
"Perhaps...we'll have to see how you and Bill get along..."
Mulder smiled. "Ha, Ha!"
Mulder could smell the turkey drifting out onto the front steps as he walked up the sidewalk. His hands were filled with wine and pies Scully had baked the day before. She trailed behind him, her hands filled as well with a covered dish. He expected Maggie to open the door and throw her arms around him in an warm embrace but instead was greeted by Bill who only huffed at the sight of him.
Mulder turned back to look at Scully and she stepped in front of him to hug her older brother. "Hi, Bill. How've you been."
"Good," he continued to huff, staring at Mulder. "Come on in..."
He grabbed the covered dish out of her hands and turned heading for the kitchen just as Mulder walked into the door. Mulder followed behind Scully placing the food they'd brought onto the crowded counters. "Is he here, her boyfriend?" Scully whispered to Bill.
"Not yet...we're waiting...", he said, looking at Scully and then resting his eyes on Mulder.
Mulder smiled politely just to irritate him and then turned on his heels to head towards the living room. Maggie entered the kitchen and hugged her daughter tightly. "Dana...so glad you could come. Where's Fox?"
"In there," she said, pointing. She turned to look at Bill and Maggie's eyes followed her.
"You didn't have to bring any food, I have plenty," Maggie said, grabbing her daughter's hand. She turned to shoo Bill out of the kitchen, which he obliged and then whispered in her daughter's ear. "I know you are concerned and I've already has this talk with Bill...I'm not replacing your father...this is just a guy I just recently met...It's not serious yet."
Scully smiled at her mother and hugged her. "Mom...I support you 100%."
Maggie turned to open the front door at the sound of the door bell. Scully made a beeline for Bill. "Okay...She's talking to us before we meet this guy,something's up!"
"I know...I don't like him already!"
"Kind of the way you feel about Mulder?" she said staring up at her much taller brother.
"No, I don't like this guy...I HATE Mulder..."
"Oh...just as long as we're clear on that!", she said sarcastically.
Mulder had his fake smile plastered on his face as he stood uncomfortably by the window, a glass of wine in his hand that he sipped on, trying not to touch anything breakable. He looked constipated...Must be all that cheese the other day, Scully thought to herself as she walked over to join him.
"Mulder, Bill still hates you but I think he won't be messing with you this year."
Mulder exhaled. "Good...The Hate is still mutual...But maybe I can finally relax this year."
"Why don't you sit down with me...", she said, pointing toward the sofa. "Mulder, you've been here for holidays for years now, why are you still acting as if you've never been here before?"
"I don't know...", he said, shooting a look at Bill.
Charles entered the living room and walked over to Dana. She rose to greet her youngest brother.
"Dana...looking good," he smiled. "Mulder," he said, shaking his hand firmly. "You look constipated."
Scully jabbed her brother in the side. "Charles!"
"What? I was gonna give him some Pepto or something!"
"Thanks for being concerned about my...bowels," Mulder said amused. "No, not constipated..."
"Okay, well...you remember my wife and boys?" he said, turning to wave to his wife and two sons who were all wrapped in Maggie's arms.
Scully immediately hugged his wife Jill and then hugged his two adult sons, Junior and Patrick. Junior was as tall as Bill while Patrick, like his father was just a few inches taller than herself. Both men had red hair and were dressed in tailored suits. They were stylish and looked so confident in their young age. "I still see you as little boys in my mind, I can't believe you're both all grown up."
"Patrick is joining the Navy...", he said, patting the back to his youngest child.
"What about you Junior?', she asked the tall young man.
"Army...dad wants me to follow in his footsteps...but I find the Army fits my needs", he said with a deep masculine voice.
"Or you could join the FBI!", Mulder chimed in. "That's where your Aunt Dana and I met!"
Junior smirked. "I thought you chased after Aliens...I thought you were Alien Hunters...You telling me you had REAL jobs..."
"Anyway," Charles interrupted, grabbing his son by the ear. "We've got to see the rest of the family!"
Scully's mouth was open as well as Mulder's. They turned to eachother speaking in that wordless way they communicate. Just then Scully was assaulted by Tara, her sister-n-law who threw her arms around the smaller woman. "Dana, so glad to see you...its been ages!"
She turned to shake Mulder's hand. "So glad to see you too Mulder. I'm glad we made this trip. This reminds me of the time you came out to California... "
She looked at Scully and then smiled apologetically. "Not the best memory is it?"
"Where's Matthew?" Scully asked as Mulder squeezed her hand.
"Oh, he's around here somewhere...probably sneaking some food out of the kitchen.", she said, turning around her. "Matthew?"
"Yes, ma'am," a far off crackling voice answered.
"Come on in here, see your Aunt Dana and Uncle Mulder..."
Scully could see a strawberry blond haired teen walk in from the kitchen, his fingers sticky from whipped cream. "How could he be my Uncle when they're not married?" a teen-aged Matthew asked, cocking his head to one side and looking Mulder up and down. "When you gonna married her dude?"
"Matthew, I'll string you up!", Tara said under her breath.
"Its okay," Scully spoke as Mulder squeezed her hand tighter. "Give me a hug, Matthew, I haven't seen you since the last holiday..."
She embraced her nephew. She could see he was the spitting image of Bill though his face was softer thanks to Tara's genetics. "How old are you now?"
"Fourteen." he answered through metal teeth when he spoke, spraying Mulder with lite spittal.
Mulder looked horrified but tried to contain himself. He'd stuck his hands in worst...fallen into worst...been attacked by worst...He could go on and on...
"How old is your kid now?" Matthew said, reminding Mulder of Bill and his questioning.
The color immediately drained out of Scully's face and Mulder stepped up to Matthew. "I think you better find your cousins now..."
Matthew huffed. "They're all grown...They don't want a little kid hanging out with them."
"I feel the same way," Mulder said, looking Matthew straight in the eyes.
He could see Bill's attention upon them so Mulder smiled briefly at Matthew and then turned from him to go back to Scully's side. He sat down with her, wrapping his arms around her shoulder. "Should we break out with the mud wrestling now?"
"I told you it was going get to me...", she whispered.
"Come on...its one excruciating day...think of the pay-off, Scully."
"What will that be?"
"Stuffed bellies...and you don't have to see them again for another month and then it'll be an entire year before you have to suffer through this again!"
She smiled at him. "You're right...If I leave you to go help my mother, will you be alright?"
"How much worst can it get?"
Just then the door bell rang and everyone was silent, you could hear a pen prick. Maggie smiled as she made her way from the kitchen to the door but she stopped at the living room as her entire family stood frozen in place. She shook her head and then opened the door. Scully could hear the sound of a peck on the cheek and could hear her mother offering to take the gentleman's coat but no one moved. Maggie walked in arm in arm with the stranger and announced. "This is my date for this evening...Willis O'Conner, retired Naval Captain."
Bill immediately walked over to the older white haired Gentleman who stood rim rod straight after a lifetime in the military. He shook his hand but gave him a stiff smile, looking over his black sweater and slacks, which Scully noticed looked similar to Mulder's, though he was dressed in a gray sweater and black slacks. Remind me to get him some new clothes, she thought to herself. "I'm her eldest son, Bill.", he said, giving Willis a direct intimidating stare that could melt still, a family trait.
Charles and his two sons walked over to him as well and stood there, as all three military men stared at each other. Mulder stood up as well though from a distance, letting Mr. O'Conner know that there were five men in the family, in case he had any ideals of harming Maggie Scully. Charles extended his hand and shook the retired Captain's firmly. "I'm her youngest son, Charles. This is my two sons, Junior and Patrick..."
Willis looked over to Mulder but he brought his attention back to the towering men in front of him. Maggie shook her head and told her son's and grandson's to back off a little. They stepped back, their eyes glued onto Willis who smiled reluctantly. Maggie ushered Willis over to Dana's side. She and Mulder stood up. "This is my daughter Dana and this is her...this is Fox. By now, I guess it's common-law husband, right?"
Scully shot a look over to Mulder. He looked at her to convey his message, "I'll make it up too you...as soon as we get through this one holiday, I promise."
"I guess you could say that," Mulder smiled as Scully pinched his hand.
Maggie then guided him over to Tara and Jill and Matthew. Bill and Charles walked over to Scully. "Where do we know this guy from?" Bill asked. "He looks familiar."
"I know he does...", Scully agreed. "So what do you think?"
"I think he looked like he was gonna wet his old folks diaper," Charles added.
"Leave it to you to be gross," Bill spoke to his younger brother. "We need to figure out where we know this guy from..."
"The Academy," Mulder chimed in.
Charles and Bill both turned to Mulder and he smiled and then sat down, after being rejected by the Scully loop. Dana gave both brother's a stern look and they turned back their attentions to her. "Do we even have the right to act this way?" Scully asked. "Come on, Mom's never did this to us..."
"It was your ideal," Bill added. "You called us to come...you knew what we'd do!"
"She asked me to call you...It must be serious if she's risking having you two here."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Bill asked pointedly.
"So you think she may marry this guy...she's introducing him to her family? Is that what you think?" Charles asked.
"I don't know," she whispered. "But we need to find out...You two are both in the Navy, don't you have connections?"
"On Thanksgiving?" Bill said perplexed. "Dana...we regular mortals can't access military databases at the drop of the hat..."
"Is that a slight at my former occupation Bill?" Scully said with tightened fist.
"You two never change," Charles laughed.
He was met by both Dana and Bill's glares. "Anyway...we need to fish him out, see what this guy is like. Not just any man is gonna marry MY mother."
"That's right!", Bill added. "Find out what we can about him! And you," he said, gesturing to Dana. "Find out more about him through mom."
"What makes you think she'll tell me?"
"Because you're so close...", Charles added.
"You're her baby!", Dana said. "Fine...I'll talk with her...You two work on the boyfriend..."
"Alright," both men said.
They looked up to see Maggie smiling at Willis, a glass of wine in both their hands and they stood in the corner of the room talking. "Makes my stomach turn," Bill said.
Maggie could see her children out the corner of her eye as she talked with her date. She could see them huddled together just as they would as children and though they were all grown-up with children of their own, she could tell they were up to something and that something had to do with her date. She smiled at Willis, not really hearing what he was saying, but instead was concentrating on her kids and she knew she would soon have to put her foot down with them and let them know she could date if she wanted, after all she was still a viable, attractive woman and had resisted dating anyone after her husbands death until now. She could tell from the looks on their faces they thought her relationship was more serious than it was. If she didn't get ahold of it now it would grow like a disease and ruin her Thanksgiving dinner and she would not have that. She could also see Mulder sitting on the couch, looking bored, fidgeting around as if he had a nervous condition, she had to finish work on dinner and so she guided Willis over to sit near Mulder, they could have a nice little chat.
"Dana, Jill, Tara," she said in the motherly tone she always used. "Help me in the kitchen, girls..."
Scully glanced over to Mulder and was surprised to see Willis sitting near him on the other end of the couch. Mulder still had the plastic fake smile plastered onto his face and so she walked over to him and kissed him gently, running her fingers through his hair. "Just remember...how worst can it get?" she smiled.
He gave her a look and she smiled and then turned to follow her mother and two sister-n-laws into the kitchen. Bill and Charles and his two sons all had turned their attentions to the two men on the couch. He knew Charles didn't hate him but he knew Bill did and he felt he could relate to Willis at that moment as if they were both facing a similar fate at the hand of a firing squad. Bill motioned for his brother and nephews to follow him, he grabbed up his son Matthew and they all retreated into the den. He could hear the pre-game come on and he wished he were there but he knew he wasn't invited amongst them, no, he was left alone to sit with Willis O'Conner who glanced his way a few times. He turned and reached out his hand. "Fox Mulder."
"Nice to meet you," he smiled.
"I don't think they like us," O'Conner motioned to the opening of the den.
"I'm used to it," Mulder laughed lightly. "So you're a retired Naval Captain. How'd did you know Captain Scully?"
"We grew up together, best friends, joined the Navy together. We're close until he was reassigned to San Diego. The Scully Family and mine would have bbq's together, though I don't think the kids remember those days much..."
"You were his best friend?" Mulder repeated.
"Yes," the elderly man nodded. "I was there when he met Maggie."
Mulder knew that this would not bode well with the Scully children but he kept his mouth closed.
"You were FBI?" O'Conner continued. "That's where you met Dana...Her mother told me..."
"Yes, we were partners..."
"Obviously you became more than partners," the man said cracking a smile.
Mulder nodded, a small smile appearing at the corners of his mouth. "Yes, obviously."
The man's questioning was beginning to irritate Mulder but he knew if he could continue to talk to the man, maybe he could ease Scully's mind about him dating her mom. "Yes one...a boy, William."
"I didn't see him I don't think," the man said, looking around.
Mulder looked the man over carefully and then he turned the question on the senior officer. "Did you have any kids?"
"Two boys, only one is still living. One died on a motorcycle. I just relocated here to be closer to the other one. Maggie and I have a lot in common. We met recently at church and how can you forget how beautiful she is!", he smiled over to Mulder.
Mulder could understand, he felt the same way about Scully. He was unaware of Matthew standing next to him, a cup of steaming hot cocoa in his hand that he accidentally spilled on Mulder's legs.
"Sorry dude," he said trying to balance his Ipod in one hand and a cup of hot cocoa in the other.
"Aunt Dana told me to give this to you."
Mulder shot a half hearted smile to Matthew and then stood up, heading for the kitchen. Scully spotted him right away as he stood in the doorway listening to the women's chatter about Willis, the kids, and their husbands as they chopped food, whipped side dishes, and basted the golden baked turkey. Scully washed off her hands and dried them on a dish towel and then came over to Mulder's side. "What happened?"
"He missed," Mulder whispered, pointing towards his pants.
She smiled broadly and then grabbed his arm, pulling him into the bathroom so she could dab his slacks with a wet towel. She could see right away that the stain was not coming out. "We still have our bags packed in the trunk, you're gonna need to change this...Sorry Mulder, you know...14 year olds and their devices...He didn't do it on purpose."
"I know...I'm just glad his aim was off," he said, looking down towards his crotch.
"Me too," she said, as he leaned into her for a kiss but they were interrupted by Bill who glared at them from the bathroom entrance.
"You know you're conversation could be heard in the den," he announced.
"Whats the matter, not rated G enough for you, Bill?" Mulder asked with a smirk.
"I'm just stopping you before you get any further," he said, with his arms crossed heading back into the den. "Matt's fourteen..."
"What is he the sex police?" Mulder said loud enough for Bill to hear him.
He then imitated Bill's stance which made Scully laughed. "Go get those pants before Matthew spills more scalding hot liquid on you..."
"I will...", he said, turning towards the door.
"Oh," she said, gripping his arm. "What did you find out about Willis?"
"You're mom didn't say anything?"
"Not much...just that she'd invited him here."
He sighed and then placed a hand on her shoulder. "He was your dad's best friend...they grew up together...you used to go over his family's house for bbq's...he has two sons..."
Scully looked down at the floor and then looked up. "O'Conner...oh my god...my first kiss was with his son, Carter...He was such a bad kisser...he tried to feel me up and when I told Bill, he and Charles beat him up!"
Mulder's expression changed. He suddenly hated this Carter guy too. "And now his dad...your dad's best friend is dating your mom...", he said in a teasing tone.
"Keep it up Mulder and I'll have them beat you up!", she said, crossing her arms and sighing loudly.
"Not a chance, Scully...I could out-run them!", he smiled, heading towards the front door.
She stepped out of the bathroom and Bill stepped into the hallway. "We could kick his ass!"
"Bill! That's my...my..."
"You're what?" he demanded.
Dana arched her eyebrow classically and stood straight in front of her brother."The father of my child...my partner, my best friend...and my...Common-law-husband, like mom said," Scully said, turning from him and heading back into the kitchen.
Charles stepped out from the den. "Bill...stop being such an asshole! Leave them alone, will you...plus, mom's date is what we should be focusing on..."
Bill shook his head. "I heard Mulder tell Dana...He's dad's best friend...We used to have cook-outs together, apparently. You remember Carter and David O'Conner?"
"Yeah...we hated those assholes...didn't one kiss Dana?"
"Yeah...that's who his kids are...Can you imagine what a Thanksgiving with them would be like?"
Charles looked horrified. "It gets worst and worst..."
"I think it's time you and I had a talk with O'Conner..."
Willis sat on the couch sipping on a cup of hot cocoa Matthew had managed to bring him without spilling. He looked up at Maggie's boys as they both sat in arm-chairs across from him. Bill looked over to Charles who nodded and then they both turned an icy glare over to Willis O'Conner.
"So," Bill began. "You were our dad's best friend? Carter and David's dad?"
"That's right," Willis said delighted. "You remember now?"
"Not really," Charles waved.
"You just happened to meet our mom at church? Don't you think is odd that you would be messing with your best friends widow?"
Willis smiled at Bill and then over to Charles. "My son lives here. He so happens to live not far from here but he and his wife went to her in-laws for this Thanksgiving. Your mom was kind enough to ask me to come..."
"So you're trying to date our mom?" Charles said tactfully.
Mulder opened the front door, a pair of fresh clean slacks in his hand. He strolled past the living room headed straight for the bathroom. He could see Matthew and his two adult cousins seated around the television listening to the announcers discuss the upcoming game. "Hey, when does the game start?"
"Don't know," Junior said, eyeing Mulder suspiciously.
"Hey Uncle Mulder, " Patrick said, ushering him into the den. "I've got a question for you..."
Mulder stepped in, he immediately looked down at the stain on his pants and Matthew smiled guility.
"Shoot! Ask me anything", Mulder smiled.
"I'm just curious...", Patrick said, glancing over to his brother and then turning back towards Mulder. "You chased aliens for years..."
"Yeah," he said, looking at them closely.
"Did you find any? Are they real?"
Mulder smiled and then looked back at the door. "That's a question you should ask your Aunt Dana...I don't think it's my place to..."
"Just between us," Patrick continued.
"Alright," Mulder nodded. "Yes, they're real and I and your Aunt have seen them."
"You're crazy," Junior said shaking his head.
Mulder bit his lower lip. "Its not crazy...Junior. If you join the Army or the Navy in the next 2 yrs you may be fighting against them..."
Matthew and Patrick smiled his way but Junior didn't look amused. "Thanks for answering that question," the young man said.
Mulder turned on his heels and headed back to the bathroom. He quickly changed and then headed for his spot on the couch in the living room. He could see Bill and Charles interrogating Willis and so he sat down to even the playing field. Willis looked relieved at the sight of Mulder and nodded towards him. Mulder shyly smiled back and then focused his attention on Bill and the sour expression he had on his face. They're seemed to be a stand-off of some kind and Mulder was eager to find out what was happening.
"Are you dating our mom?" Bill asked, his face red, glaring at the older Captain.
Just then Maggie called out to all the men to come into the dining room for the dinner. Mulder shot up out his seat and nodded for Willis to follow him. The elderly man stood up straight, his chest pushed out pridefully and he walked with Mulder towards the dining room. Mulder patted his back and watched as he sat down next to Maggie. Mulder kissed Scully on the cheek and sat down next to her at the grand dining room table, watching as the rest of the Scully clan filed in.
The table was set elegantly with Maggie's finest. She was beaming ear to ear as she looked around the table at her family. "I'm so grateful everyone could make it this year. My entire family is here," she smiled.
Scully glanced over to Mulder and he could see she was thinking, Not the whole Family. He squeezed her hand and she relaxed. Maggie put a gentle hand on Willis' hand and Bill especially glanced over to both siblings. "I have an announcement to make," Maggie began.
Bill's face contorted as blood flooded his entire face making him look like he'd been sunburned. Scully looked panicked, glancing over to Mulder but he too looked shocked. Maggie smiled again as they waited in silence for her to say something. "Willis and I have decided to..."
Scully squeezed his hand harder and he winced in pain.
"Go on a real date," she began. "We have so much in common and we have so many good memories of your dad...that we think we'd try to go to the movies or something," she said, smiling over to Willis. He returned the smile. "If it doesn't work out than we'll remain good friends...but just in case you were thinking we were getting married or something," she said, looking at all three of her kids. "We're not! This is our first official date and I thought it would be appropriate to have it with my entire family present!"
Bill's face relaxed and Scully looked guiltily over to her brothers and then to Mulder. "That's great mom," she said, not looking at her.
"Good for you," Tara and Jill both said to Maggie.
"So stop giving him the third degree!", Maggie said strongly as she eyed her three children. "Got it?"
"Yeah, got it!", Bill said, turning a shade of pink.
Scully and Charles were both blushing pink as well. "I guess we'll stick to our own business," Scully said, looking to everyone but her mom.
"That's right!", Maggie said firmly. "Now, Willis, would you say the prayer?"
Everyone but Mulder bowed their heads and made the sign of the cross. Willis coughed nervously. "Bless us, O Lord! and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. "
"Amen," they all said, making the sign of the cross again.
Maggie smiled over to Willis and then turned towards her eldest son. "Bill, will you do the honors?"
He stood up and grabbed the knife to cut the turkey. Mulder had been eying the turkey the entire time they'd sat down and now he was curious as to what Bill would serve him. Bill cut into the turkey and everyone clapped and then he began serving each plate that was passed to him. Mulder's plate came back to him with slices of white meat and he groaned inwardly. Scully knew immediately what he was thinking and she turned to Bill. "Uh, Bill...Could you give Mulder the turkey leg."
Bill shot a look over to Mulder but then he caught his mother's glare and then smiled. "Sure...", he said as he cut the turkey leg and placed it on Mulder's plate. Mulder's eyes immediately lit up like a Christmas tree."
"Ah, the turkey leg," he said, smiling appreciatively to Maggie.
She nodded and then he turned back to Scully. "My hero," he whispered.
"And you're mine," she whispered back.
"Can you past the gravy?" Tara asked.
The gravy was near Matthew and so he stood up from the long table and began to bring the gravy over to where his mother was seated but he tripped and some of the gravy splashed onto Mulder's face. Scully giggled as Mulder sat there a moment, stunned with the gravy dripping down his nose. He took his napkin and wiped it off. "That kid has it in for me," he whispered to Scully.
"Well, he is Bill's son," she said, with a wide smile.
"Sorry dude," Matthew said, cleaning up the trail of gravy he had made on the table.
"No problem," Mulder said through gritted teeth.
Throughout the meal, Mulder kept a watchful eye on both Matthew and Bill. He couldn't tell from the shy smile that Matthew shot his way if it were a series of accidents or on purpose that he kept getting nailed by Matthew. He was young, tall like his father which may account for his clumsiness but he also saw what he thought to be a prideful look given to him by his father. He knew Bill was happy to see him with gravy all over his face but he couldn't be sure if it were accidental. He could see Scully eying him closely, boring into him, letting him know psychically as they always communicated that she knew what he was thinking and to not even THINK about it. He turned and smiled sheepishly at her but he was waiting for his turn for revenge and he hoped that he didn't embarrass Scully with his childish act or disappoint Maggie in anyway or incur the wrath of Bill, but he just needed one little moment to pay young Matthew back.
His moment came after dinner still seated at the table when everyone braced themselves for dessert. Maggie asked someone to help her serve the desserts and Mulder laid his hand on Scully to stop her from getting up. "I'll help," he told her and then followed Matthew and Jill back into the kitchen with Maggie. He knew Scully would preferred the strawberry Jello with whipped cream to pie anyway, so he reached for it, along with a piece of pumpkin pie for himself. Matthew stood before him, a platter of pies in his hands, various kinds and though the boy was tall, he hadn't yet reached Mulder's height, let alone Bill's yet, so when he saw his opportunity, he 'accidentally' let the Jello fall onto Matthew's strawberry blond curly locks. "Oops," Mulder said, "Sorry dude..."
Maggie shook her head, giving Mulder the same eye that Scully always gave him and then handed a napkin over to a stunned Matthew. Mulder smiled guiltily to Maggie and then tried to help Matthew clean up. Fortunately it wasn't too much of a mess. Matthew shrugged it off and then took the tray back in to serve the desserts and then Mulder grabbed another Jello as Maggie watched him. He then turned to face her.
"Fox...I have to hand it to you, you got your payback, didn't you?"
"Me? No, that was an accident," he smiled slyly. She like Scully could cut through him with her eyes and he could tell she wasn't buying any of what he was selling.
"I'll keep this to myself," she smiled. "Because if Dana found out, you'd be a dead man right now."
He looked down at the his feet and then up to Maggie Scully. He felt like a child getting caught doing something right in front of their mother and then denying it. "Yes, I would be..."
"Come on," she said, gesturing for him to follow her back into the dining room. "Let's go enjoy this family holiday together..."
"Alright," he said, following behind her.
He rejoined Dana at the table, placing the Jello in front of her. She shot a look over to Matthew who still had a tiny piece of red jello in his hair and then to Bill who apparently was none the wiser, and then she re-focused on Mulder, giving him one of her patented, I know what you just did Mulder looks. He glanced over to Maggie and she smiled a reassuring smile and then he dipped into his pie, keeping one eye on his food and the other to the small red head next to him.
After the meal, the men except for himself and Willis had all gathered in the den to watch the Lions game while the women cleaned up. Mulder had asked Willis to join him outside in the fresh air. He wanted to run to work off some of the delicious food especially the turkey leg he now regretted eating though it tasted so delicious. He couldn't run in his slacks and sweater so he asked if Willis would like to join him in walking around the neighborhood. He had to slow his pace to a crawl for the elderly Captain to walk with him but he could tell the man was prideful and stubborn and was doing his best to keep up with him. They didn't talk much though the silence was comforting to Mulder, he didn't really feel like talking. He knew they're conversation would lead to aliens if he did continue to talk with Willis and he at the moment, besides Scully and Maggie were the only ones that didn't think he was crazy and so he didn't want to clue him in just yet. That could wait.
"This was a strange Thanksgiving for me," Willis said, interrupting the silence. "Not having Bill Sr around but still sitting with his family for a meal...felt a little strange."
Mulder looked deep into his eyes. "Do you think you feel perhaps a little guilty?"
"I do," the elderly man said as he stopped in his tracks to catch his breath. "I don't think Bill Sr. would be upset with me for liking Maggie though...I always thought she was beautiful...those Scully women tend to be beautiful..."
"Yes they are!", Mulder quickly added.
"My wife was equally beautiful and we both admired our luck at finding them. I guess I just miss him, that's all. The whole affair just reminded me of my wife and son and of Bill Sr. and Missy...It was lovely though."
Mulder nodded that he understood. His entire family was gone but he only really felt the lost when he was with Scully's family. His family never loved each other as much as the Scully clan did. He was envious of that family closeness. But he was grateful that he could have Scully by his side. But being with the Scully Family on Thanksgiving also made him think of one person that wasn't there...his son. He knew Scully was feeling the same way. He wished that William could join his cousins at the table...That instead of looking over to Matthew, he could see his own son sitting there, happy, healthy and see the contentment and joy in the eyes of Dana Scully.
"Where's your son, if you don't mind me asking?" the Captain spoke.
"He was adopted," Mulder said, looking down at his hands.
"I'm sorry...I'm sure it was a difficult decision for you both," the elderly man said, placing a hand on Mulder's shoulder.
"It was," he said sadly.
"Well, now, let's get back before we get all depressed. Let's go piss off Bill Jr. again. He doesn't realize that when he gets mad he looks just like his dad and it makes me smile to see that. Of course, that's our little secret," Willis smiled.
Mulder twisted his lips in laughter. "A secret for sure..."
"Plus we've got beautiful women waiting on us, don't we?"
"Yes, we do!", he smiled.
When they returned, the women had cleaned up and Maggie retreated with Willis to the sun-room while Jill and Tara chatted on upstairs talking about the various shops they visited in their city in California which left Scully and Mulder alone. He grabbed her hand and her coat and pulled her out into the brisk November air. "I was just walking with Willis but I really do need to walk this food off or you might have to carry me back home tonight," he smiled.
"Fat chance that will ever happen," she laughed, sliding her hand in his and walking past the orange, yellow and reddish leaves that doted the sidewalks.
He swung his hands as they walked and briefly kissed her knuckles turning to gaze at her as he always did. "You know...that Willis guy seems like a good guy for your mom, Scully..."
"Really?" she said, surprised. "What makes you think that?"
"He really respected your dad...and he respects your mom. He thinks she's beautiful..."
Scully's smile broadened and she stared into his eyes. "He does..."
"Yes...Even if they just remain friends...he'd be good for her, you know," he said, kissing her hand again. "Between them they can keep the memory of your dad, your sister and his wife and son alive...they could reminisce. I do think it was a little awkward for him though..."
"Why?" she said alarmed.
He stopped in his tracks. "Well, because the last time he spent the holiday with your family, your dad was there...but I think once they get over that everything will be fine...I have a good feeling about him."
"So I shouldn't worry and maybe tell Bill and Charles to back off."
"Yeah," he nodded. "Oh, but if that would only work with you telling Bill to back off of me..."
"I have," she said, tightening her grip on his hand. "He won't...oh and whats with you dumping Jello and Whipped cream on Matthew?"
"Your mom told you that?" he said with his panicked face.
"She didn't have too," she said, raising an eyebrow. "Mulder, he's clumsy, not vicious...Bill was the same way at that age. His equilibrium is off!"
"I know," he said with a high pitched voice. He knew immediately she knew he was lying.
"Mulder...", she said, yanking his arm.
"Okay, okay...So I evened the score...no harm was done..."
"Would you have done that to William?" she said, getting more serious.
"Actually I would," he smiled. "Your never too old to throw food, Scully..."
She shook her head and pursed her lips and then smiled back at him. "Thank goodness Bill didn't notice..."
"Yeah, thank goodness..."
He stopped in his tracks and then pulled her into a hug. She wrapped her arms around his waist and laid her head into the warmth of his coat. "Are you glad we came?" he said, smoothing her hair.
"I am...We have a long drive back home though...after eating Turkey, the both of us...We might fall asleep half way there."
"We need coffee," he smiled.
"Your right, you know," she said, pushing away so she could look up into his eyes. "We don't have much time left...I'm glad we have this memory."
"I believe we will prevail," he said, pulling her gently with him as they strolled down the street. "I wouldn't give up on us...or William..."
"I never would," she smiled. "I never would..."
He bent down and kissed her firmly on the lips. "No sex police here right now."
"No it isn't," she said, "Come on let's go get that coffee, so we can drive back home...We'll be back here in just a month..."
"To enjoy your family with all the..."
"Pleasure? Or pain?" she said finishing his sentence.
His face lit up. "Ah...a little of both, I'd say Scully...but isn't that what Thanksgiving's about?"
She stood on her tip-toes to kiss him again. "I thought it was all about the turkey legs, Mulder..."
"Let's leave Bill out of this," he joked.
She pinched his arm and he yelled slightly as they walked back towards the house. Maggie sipped on her coffee, sitting next to Willis. She smiled at the sight of her daughter and Mulder and then turned back to Willis. He reached out and held her hand and she felt a tingle move through her for the first time since she fell for Bill Sr. so many years ago. They sat in silence looking out at the view around them, the falling of leaves as the wind picked it up and carried it off to some unknown place.