Title: This Is The Way Thanksgiving Should Be
Summary: Scully invites someone who is lonely to a family Thanksgiving.
Author's Note: Dedicated to my American neighbors. You have had a hard year and deserve a Happy Thanksgiving.
*Now this is the way it should be for me, after all these years,* Scully felt, as she was unpacking her new, silky little black dress. The smell of turkey roasting and pumpkin pie permeated the house and she wanted this for herself. Poor Mulder. He was last seen in the basement office, his face in a book and feet on that desk of his. His habit of introspection during holidays worried her each time Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas rolled around. Hadn't he missed real stuffing and real mashed potatoes?
"I have enough to keep me busy every single day. Don't worry about be. Gotta see that football game by myself, so I can say all those words no one can hear. Besides, who wants to argue over all those bad ref calls when I know I'm right? I will see you on Tuesday." Who else would be rifling through old X-Files and checking the hard drive for anomalous messages, if he wasn't there? Mulder looked up from the dog-eared folders and motioned for Scully to leave. "Vamos! Shoo! Home awaits."
"Mulder, if you feel you can't have a real Thanksgiving with your mother, and it's too awkward to be with your her right now, please consider my offer. I think it would do you a world of good." She had smiled that smile and spoken ever so gently. Surely her concern had been noted! Her coat was slung over her arm as she stood by the door.
His eyes softened, and he smiled reassuringly. "Go. I will be fine, and raring to go with some crazy wild goose chase by the time you get back here. Now get going, Scully."
Her smile faded. Back to the business face. "See you on Tuesday, partner. And don't go anywhere without telling me."
"I can do that," he smirked.
Scully left the Hoover Building knowing that this man was lonely. More than that she knew he was unhappy.
Dana Scully was pleased with the way the dress made her look. Time off, a festive occasion, and being thankful with her family. She knew she was very lucky to have them. She felt for Mulder in his loneliness. His family relationships hadn't been that great, and the years of sadness, guilt and separation had to be hurting him. Well, it was time to go downstairs and help with the cooking. As she headed for the bedroom door, her cell phone jingled. *I couldn't turn it off just this once. I'm so damn responsible.* "Scully."
"Scully, it's me."
"Mulder? Is everything okay? Don't tell me Skinner's calling me back to Washington..."
"No, no. Nothing like that. It's just... goodtohearyour- voice. Happy Thanksgiving." Beep.
"Mulder?" She folded the phone and placed it on her night stand. "Okay, lonely boy. Happy Thanksgiving." She guessed it was half-time in the game and he needed to hear someone's voice. *You might see what The Gunmen are doing,* she thought, wishing that telepathy was a bona fide ability.
A kitchen full of women. Why was that always the case? Scully reached for a small dish of chopped parsley. "Mom, how much of this do you want in the potatoes?"
"All of it, honey. I measured it out." Margaret Scully smiled a knowing smiled at Tara.
"Navy wives, Dana! Remember how you grew up? So many things timed just right and organized as good as a ship?"
Scully felt a longing for that sort of arrangement. A family routine. "Yeah. I do. It's been so long. But I do have my own routine down pat. Everything is to the letter as long as there are no surprises."
"You mean sudden Fox Mulder?" Tara asked.
Dana Katherine smiled warmly. She felt like herself, not like her FBI Agent persona. "Uh huh. He does have a habit of getting sudden leads, sudden cases and sudden emergencies."
Bill came into the kitchen with Matthew. "Well, Matthew wants to chase his old man around the backyard. We promise we won't get dirty."
Tara laughed. "He can barely walk yet, honey! You just want some fresh air, I know. Go on."
"Great!" Bill picked up his little boy and headed out the back door.
Margaret dried her hands and started peeling sweet potatoes. "Dana, Honey. Would you check the answering machine for any messages? I invited one of the younger priests to dinner. He's from out of town, and his family has the 'flu this year. He turned me down, but I'm hoping he's changed his mind."
"Sure Mom." Scully smiled. "Are you sure you want to keep the ringer on?"
"Positive." Her Mom basted the turkey. "You just never know."
The only message was from a nervy telemarketer, and Scully erased it promptly. "Someone should clean your ducts," she whispered in disgust.
Having had no success in reaching his partner on her cell phone, Mulder called by land line.
Scully had been on her way upstairs, but quickly ran to the phone. "I've got it! Scully residence."
"Hi, Scully. How's the family?"
"They're great. You sound rather cheery. I'm glad you're okay."
"I bet you've been in a hot kitchen for some time now, and need a break. I know it did wonders for me when I got stir crazy this morning."
"Well, I'm kind of busy, and it's great you're sounding so good, but I really should get back to... "
"You really should get back to a hot kitchen in a stuffy house? Naw. I hear the weather's great where you are. Just step outside that front door for a second, just for me, and tell me you don't feel better..."
"Well I... thing that's strange, but why not? It's a festive occasion."
"And you deserve a treat. Go on. Tell me you don't want to take in the scenery, the fresh breeze, the... "
Scully felt herself smiling at the thought of actually doing that just for the heck of one moment of selfishness. Silly as it all sounded, she did want to see what it was like outside. "Okay. Okay, give me a minute. I'll be right back... "
"Oh I'm not going anywhere... " Mulder's voice said dryly.
When Scully opened the front door, there was Mulder, cell phone in hand. She closed the door, looking back for any sign of brother Bill. "You had me... You're crazy!" She spied a bottle of wine in his other hand.
"I know. Hadn't you better hang up that phone?" He eyed her from head to toe, taking in the dress. There was no innuendo this time. This was a moment of profound respect.
"Come in, Mulder. You're more than welcome! I want you to have a Happy Thanksgiving."
Mulder grinned, and looked into those bright eyes of Scully's. Was that a tear of happiness there he was seeing? "I think the smile I put on your face right now is the best part of this Thanksgiving."