Title: Makeshift Grandson
Timeline: just after "The Truth"
Category: missing scene/continuation; challenge fic; Gibson POV (see end notes for challenge details)
Author's note: I usually go with the timeline established in "The End" - that Gibson was 12 in season five. But for this fic, I decided to go with the counter-claim in "Within/Without"' that he was 12 then.
Summary: Both Scully and Doggett promised to protect him, but Gibson had other ideas.
No black helicopters hung overhead when they got back to DC, but a hard rain drilled at the roof of John's SUV. That's what they kept thinking about, both of them. Black helicopters shooting missiles into the Anasazi Pueblos that had stood for eons. Until now.
Inside the SUV, I sat in the back seat and stared out the wet rear passenger side window. John and Monica spoke now and then, but I blocked most of it out. Their thoughts were harder to hide from, mostly because they were almost as scared as I was.
Not that you could hear it in their voices. "This street, right?" John asked calmly. He peered out into the dark rain, squinting a bit.
"Yes," Monica told him.
I had to take her word for it - I'd never been where we were going.
"You okay back there?" She craned her neck to look at me. "You've been awfully quiet."
I shrugged, noncommittal. I could hear their thoughts, but they couldn't hear mine. I was remembering a conversation just days ago. Funny, it seemed longer...
While John and Monica spoke about the likelihood of getting Mulder out of his jail cell to avoid the bogus charges against him, Dana sat on the couch, quiet and pensive. After a while she looked at me and stood up. I followed her into the kitchen.
"What?" I asked, when she stared at me. It worried me that her thoughts were veiled. I felt deaf, or maybe blind, in away, missing a familiar sense.
"What are we going to do with you?"
"Do?" I echoed.
"Your involvement puts you into danger."
"My life puts me into danger," I corrected her.
No one wanted to admit that I'd been an experiment, but I knew. It was why my parents had given me away when I was eight to play chess without a fuss. They were afraid of what I might be.
Better to be a grand master in chess than a weapon, they thought. Not that they knew for sure what purpose I'd been conceived for, only that my mother had been paid to carry me to term. I tried not to think too much about it myself.
"How can you be so jaded at your age? You're only thirteen!" Scully blurted out.
I stared at her. How could I not be?
She got the hint, because she sighed and said, "When we rescue Mulder, he and I will take you with us."
Suddenly, her thoughts rushed back in like a crash of thunder. With all the doubts chasing after each other in her head, I had to admire the utter conviction in her voice. But it was like I told her long ago - a lot of people think one thing and say another. She'd just gotten better at it since then.
"No." I shook my head for emphasis. "I won't go with you."
Puzzled, her eyes shone with unshed tears that had been there all day. "Why? We could protect you!"
"You'd resent me," I said softly.
"You'd be protecting me, but you'd be thinking about how you couldn't protect him. You're thinking about it now."
It was clear that she knew who I meant. Tears spilled over. "I miss him."
"But we dragged you into this mess, so you're more important than me feeling sad," she said, sounding stoic for my benefit as well as hers.
She didn't understand, and it frustrated me. "There's not a lot I can control, because I'm a kid. But I can put my foot down and say that I don't want to be in a position to be resented for something I can't change and isn't my fault. I'm grateful that you're willing to look after me, but I can't go with you."
After a while she replied. "You can't. Oh God, Gibson, we'll figure something else out."
Things didn't quite work out as planned, so I ended up being separated from Dana anyway. After I told John and Monica where Dana and Mulder were going I expected them to take me with them. I could have helped.
Instead I was left behind with Mister Skinner. He's not a bad guy, just a little gruff, but I was ticked off. I wasn't a baby, so why didn't they let me go too? Skinner thought I was just being a moody teenager. Maybe I was, a little, but my bad temper seemed pretty justified to me.
Not that they mentioned it when the arrived at Skinner's to claim me an hour ago. They didn't say much of anything to me, but the funny thing was that it wasn't because they remembered that I read minds. They were just too worried about, well, everything.
Monica was mostly worried about Dana and Mulder, though she kept telling herself that they probably, probably, got away. That's something John was thinking about too, but he was also thought about me.
Right before they left to find the others, John promised to take care of me. Most grown ups say things like that because they think they're expected to. He, on the other hand really seemed to mean what he said.
I wasn't sure how I felt about that. Because he was thinking about a lost son too. Unlike Dana's, though, his little boy was dead. His thinking about it made me sad. The boy had been real young when he died, even though he should have been older than me.
Maybe living with John wouldn't be as bad as staying with Dana and Mulder. At least it wouldn't make him frustrated that they couldn't take care of their son, but were stuck taking care of me. It would make him sad in a different way, though.
I looked up when the SUV slowed to a stop. "We're here," Monica announced.
The door opened, and a dark-haired woman stared out anxiously. We got out of the vehicle, and she slowly walked over to us, but her thoughts were fast. Full of worries. I don't think she even noticed that she was getting wet because she hadn't bothered with an umbrella.
"Mrs. Scully," John said. He sounded a little stiff.
"Are they alive?" she asked, then put hand to her mouth - she'd meant to ask if they were okay. Recovering a little, she said, "Let's go inside."
John shook his head. "There may be bugs."
This made Mrs. Scully turn pale. "Oh." She was thinking hard, that if her daughter was dead, they would have said so by now.
Monica sensed that too. "They were okay when we parted company," she said to reassure Dana's mother.
"Where are they?"
"Mexico," I said. I may have been the only one who realized that Mulder never intended to go to Canada.
Mrs. Scully blinked and looked at me, I mean really looked at me, for the first time since we got there. "Who's this?"
Holding out my hand, I said, "Gibson Praise."
She shook my hand, and her brow wrinkled a little as she searched her memory. "You played chess as a little boy."
She looked puzzled. "Why aren't you with your family?"
Shrugging, I said, "They're not my family any more." It was easier than explaining that Dana had called my parents to get me after my chess opponent was murdered, and they'd refused to take me back.
"Gibson helped us free Mulder," John offered. "He spoke at the trial and helped...afterwards."
There was no need to elaborate because she knew exactly what he meant. "What will happen to him now that he's gotten involved?"
"That's something we need to work out," Monica admitted.
"It seems to me-" Mrs. Scully said slowly. "That he'd be in danger if he stayed with either of you."
This surprised them both, because neither of them had allowed themselves to think about the danger they might still face, never mind the danger to me. "Maybe," John said guardedly.
"Now that Dana is gone, and very unlikely to return to DC, I think I'm finally going to give in and move out to California like my Billy has been asking me to for years."
"That sounds nice," Doggett replied, faintly puzzled by this confession.
I knew what she was going to say on the hand, and Monica sensed it too. "I'd like to take the boy with me when I do."
"Why?" I asked.
"You helped my daughter and Fox. I think that it would make them happy to know that you're safe in spite of that."
"Mrs. Scully, raising another child, do you really feel up to that?" His objection seemed reasonable, but his thoughts surprised me - he'd really expected that I'd be his responsibility.
"I wouldn't have suggested it if I didn't Besides, he's a teenager, not an infant."
"I'm almost fourteen," I said, but no one paid attention.
"What do you think about living with Mrs. Scully?" John asked me.
I had to stop and think about that. It was probably the best offer that'd come my way. "I'd like that."
They all looked surprised.
"That settles it," Mrs. Scully declared, and you know, it actually did.
One Month Later
After a few seconds, I remembered that was me. It was still hard to immediately respond to my seldom before used middle name. "Yes?"
"Henry Scully, you must stop this perpetual daydreaming. I asked you to provide the answer to question seven."
I liked daydreaming. It made school more bearable. I hadn't gone to a normal public school since I was seven, and there were too many thoughts and too many voices all the time. That made it hard to disconnect and escape into my own thoughts sometimes.
Unfortunately, that made my new teachers angry. Giving her a sheepish look, I said, "the battle of Bunker Hill."
"Correct," the teacher said curtly, and then she launched into a long explanation of the battle.
I didn't listen, Instead I returned to my daydream. It was a pretty simple thing: I was explaining to Mulder why I'd chosen to live with Maggie. If I could, I'd of written him a letter, but since it wasn't safe this was as close as I could get to keeping in touch. In passing he'd once mentioned that he'd read minds for a while. Maybe he would again one day, and my thoughts would cross the miles between us.
"She treats me like I'm really family, which is something I haven't had in long time, so it's nice. I have my own room, and my own chores, and have to do homework every night like a normal kid.
"Tara seems to like me a lot. Even her son Bill treats me okay. He thinks about not liking you though. Mattie is a nice little boy too.
"It was the right place to go to. I'm grateful that Dana and John offered to look after me too, but I'm happier as a makeshift grandson than I would be a substitute son."
Home For Gibson Challenge
- Set your fic at one of three spots
A. after The Beginning
B. after Without
C. after The Truth
Obviously, if you pick a or b your story will be AU, and if you pick C it will be post-series
- Have someone (either an X-Files agent, Skinner, Maggie, Krycek, or the gunmen) officially or unofficially adopt Gibson and give him a home.
- Adjusting to a new home isn't easy for anyone involved. Tell us about (at least) one of the bumps in the road.
If you'd like to write a fic for this challenge, or to view the other 19 challenges go hereThe Nursery Files Challenges