Title: Mulder's Creek: 07. Break
Author: Neoxphile
Author Email: neoxphile@aol.com
Rated: PG
Category C
Spoilers:
Keywords: XF/Dawson's Creek crossover.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership to the characters, except those I've created, as they belong to Chris Carter and Kevin Williamson

Summary: Everyone suffers during the holidays.


Opening Scene-

Blankets cover Mulder from head to foot. He groans and rolls over onto his side, opening his eyes. As soon as he does, he notices that Scully is sitting by the side of his bed. And she's dressed like one of Santa's elves. He's not sure which he should ask first: why she's there or why she's dressed like that.

Nice outfit," he finally says.

"You have to get out of bed," Scully tells him.

"Sure, but why?"

"Only 36 hours until the big day," she intones.

"You mean Christmas? It's Christmas today," he says, still confused.

"Get up! Up!" she insists, tugging on his arm.

"Ok," he says, swinging his feet over the side of the bed. He's astonished

" to see a pair of candy-cane shaped slippers on his feet. "Where did the slippers come from?" Scully ignores him and pulls him to the open window, and starts climbing out it. "There's no ladder!" Mulder warns her, then covers his eyes as she walks off the roof anyway.

Hoping he can catch her before she plummets to her death, he reaches out the window for her. And startles himself fully awake. Mulder groans and rolls over when he hears the hall clock ring five times.



Theme song -"Stranded" by Plumb

5:30am, Potter home-

Scully is awakened suddenly by the sound of tiny feet running down the hall. Someone fumbles with the doorknob several times before getting it to turn. She's already sitting by the time her nephew bursts into the room.

"Christmas, Aunt Scully, Christmas!" Alexander says, his face dimpling with delight.

She ruffles his dark curls before yawning and asking, "Why don't you go tell your mom?"

He scrambles onto her bed and pouts. "Mommy's door locked."

"Smart mommy," Scully mutters, scooping the boy up. "I'll tell you what, we'll give your mom a half hour to wake up, then we'll go see what Santa brought you." He seems about to protest when she pulls The Polar Express off of her night table. He snuggles in her lap and points at the pictures as she reads to him.


6am Lindley home-

The unexpected scent of coffee greets Grams as she walks into the kitchen. To her utter surprise,

Fowley is already in the kitchen, and putting sweet rolls in the oven. Fowley turns when she

realizes that she's no longer alone in the room.

"Merry Christmas, Grams."

"Merry Christmas to you too, dear. I hope you won't be insulted, but what possessed you to make

breakfast?"

"Oh, it used to be a tradition with Mom and Dad. Once I was old enough to use the stove safely

they had me make the rolls so I'd be too busy to wake them up for a few more minutes."

"That sounds nice," Grams says, then pauses. "Do you miss them much?"

"Sometimes I do. But most of the time I'm happier here with you to be honest."

"That's the nicest thing anyone has said to me in a long while."

That's a shame, Fowley thinks. "Hopefully the rolls will be done before Mr. Brooks gets here.

Are you sure he hasn't say anything nice to you lately?" Fowley gently teases. Grams turns

slightly red.


Leary home-

Mulder has slept only fitfully since his odd dream, so when he hears voices coming from downstairs,

he decides it's time to join the world of the awake. He first looks carefully at his feet to make

sure there aren't any slippers on them. To his relief there aren't.

He's almost to the foot of the stairs when he sees her near his parents and pauses. Since he's

not fully awake his first thought is, how did they make Sam older than me? He's about to say her

name when he realizes who it is. The tall slender girl is not his sister.

"Mulder!" Arden cries. "It's great to finally get to meet you."

Slightly less dazed, Mulder says," I had no idea that you were coming."

Arden laughs. "My mom thought it would be cute to surprise you. She and dad are paying the taxi

driver right now."

"You must have flown though, right? It'd be expensive to get a taxi from California." Mulder jokes.

"Our plane got in at 4am, believe it or not. We were supposed to get here late last night, but

with the new regulations at the airports there were hours of delays."

"I'm not to surprised. Logan has been talking about tightening security for months now, and anything

they do towards that goal is going to add to the time travelers spend waiting." Could this conversation

be any more boring? Mulder thinks to himself, and is thrilled when his Mom decides to come over

to fuss over Arden.


Potter home-

Scully is stretched out on her belly looking under the tree while Alexander walks up her legs. She

rolls over and grabs him, which makes him giggle.

"Don't do that, kiddo, you're going to hurt me," she says. For a second he looks like he's about

to cry so she deftly distracts him by handing him the package she just fished out from under the tree.

Bessie looks over and comments "Nice save."

"Thank you, I try."

Alexander throws wrapping paper around the room while impatiently waiting for someone to help him

unwrap the gift that Scully had handed him. Since Bessie is looking at the tag of another gift, Scully

lends him a hand, and he squeals in delight to see that it's a Blue's Clues toy. Without any warning,

he drops into Scully's lap and nearly knocks the wind out of her.

"Bessie, please take him before he kills me." Scully whines.

Bessie picks up two packages and trades them to Scully for her son. "Is this some sort of weird joke?"

Bessie asks, pointing at the presents.

"What do you mean?" Scully asks, puzzled.

"Well, look at the labels. 'to Scully from Santa' and 'to Mulder from Santa.' You two have a strange sense of humor."

"Bessie, I swear I didn't have anything to do with this."

"Then I guess it was Mulder's doing?"

"It could have been. I suppose he could have put them under the tree when..." Scully trails off

as soon as she remembers Alex is playing very close. "When he put out gifts from S-a-n-t-a for you know who." She finished doubtfully. "I'll ask him when I see him next."

"Uh, huh," Bessie says without interest, because she's trying to keep Alexander from tripping over her.


9am Thompson Medical Facility-

Skinner feels his chest tighten as the hospital comes into view. He reminds himself that it's only his Mom that he's going to see, not anything scary. His efforts to reassure himself are close to completely ineffective, and he feels even worse when he notices how excited Reyes and their father seem to be.

As they walk inside he doesn't contribute anything to the conversation, and instead concentrates on making himself smile at the damaged souls they encounter along the way to his mother's room.

His only bit of relief comes when they are forced by protocol to sign in, which he does with

painstaking care, because it takes longer.

At last they get to her room, and he steels himself for what he's dreadfully certain will come next,

he fixes his smile and follows them into the room. His mother is sitting in an arm chair reading a

book. She looks up with a welcoming smile and says to her husband," Oh, Honey, you brought Tim,"

while looking right at Skinner. It hurts him deeply even though he thought he had prepared himself

for it.

"Mom, it's me, Skinner," he says, with as steady a voice as he can manage.


Thompson Medical Facility-

For a second Mrs. McPhee looks startled, then her eyes clear, and she quickly composes herself. "Of course you are. You just looked like Tim in this lighting for a minute is all." she attempts as a cover. "Tim's dead, I know that."

Skinner is momentarily saddened, because the lighting would have to be absent completely for anyone to mistake him for Tim. Her current lucidity heartens him, " I'm glad to see you, Mom."

"Me too," Reyes chimes in.

"I'm glad you've come, because I've missed you kids terribly. I wasn't expecting to see anyone, but the head nurse said you were on your way. And today is Christmas?" Anxiety colors statement so it sounds as if she's asking a question.

Reyes assumes it is one, and answers as such. "It sure is."

"I know it is, I just said so." Mrs. McPhee says with a note of irritation in her voice. Then she smiles again and asks. "What did Santa bring you?"

"Santa hasn't brought us anything in a long while, Mom." Reyes answers, sounding confused.

"I was joking! Can't I make a joke," she says, looking at Mr. McPhee.

"Of course you can, dear," he says in a placating way.

Skinner notices how upset Reyes is beginning to look and suddenly announces, " Reyes and I forgot Mom's present in the car. We'll be right back." Before his father can protest he grabs Reyes' hand and nearly drags her out of the room.

Skinner fumbles for his keys when they get outside, and finally finds the trunk key. When he looks upset he notices that Reyes is so upset that she's shaking, so he puts his arm around her and says firmly," It's not your fault."

"Yes it is. It was my idea to come here because I thought it would make Dad happy, maybe even her or us too, but I can't say anything right. I can't even talk to her without upsetting her, and that will make Dad sorry he brought us, so we might not see her again for months and months, and it will be because of me."

"Stop it. You know that it has nothing to do with you. She's been like this since Tim died, and that was her fault, if anyone's, so I won't let you blame yourself."

"But how can you blame her?" Reyes demands.

"Who else is there to blame? She got tired while driving him back to college after his winter vacation, and drove the car into a tree. It was a terrible accident, but it was her fault. Do you know how many times I wished that day had gone differently? Wished that she'd taken Dad up on the offer to take him, or let Tim drive her there like he asked right before they left? Or even wished she'd just gone to bed at a normal time instead of staying up doing Tim's laundry after he told her he was bringing it to the laundry mat? Everything that could have possibly changed revolved around her and the stubborn insistence that she could and should do everything herself. Now she can't control her own life at all," Skinner says, finally saying what has been on his mind for several months.

"Does that mean you'll never forgive her?" Reyes asks quietly.

"No, but I'll never be able to forget that if she hadn't been so controlling, I'd still have an older brother. "

"You say that almost like I don't know what it was like to lose him."

"I know you lost him too, but it's different. Having an older brother to beat a path for me through the world was something I expected and depended on. Because he was male, and because he was older, I could go to him and he'd know what to tell me because he'd done it all before me. I love having a twin sister, but you and I have a completely different relationship than Tim and I did."

"I know. Sometimes when we were little I would think to myself that it was very lucky for me that you and I were twins, because I couldn't hope to match the bond you and Tim had. I thought if I'd been younger, maybe you would have shut me out too. Like Tim did a lot of the time without even realizing it. Sometimes I feel guilty, because I knew from the time we were toddlers that I liked you more than him."

"But you know that thoughts can't hurt anyone right?" Skinner demands of his sister, and waits for her to nod. "You can't let yourself take blame for things that can't be helped. Don't let guilt get a stranglehold on your life like Mom has, especially about things that you can't control- feelings, and other people's reactions. Promise me."

"I promise," Reyes says, still thinking about Tim, who would have been a sophomore in college now, had he lived. If he had lived they'd probably still be living in Connecticut, and never have heard of Capeside. Instead it's been almost a year in Capeside for them, almost a year in the ground for Tim, and almost a year here for their mother.

When they go back to their mother's room they can hear their parents have what sounds like a pleasant conversation, so Reyes begins to feel better. Their mother looks quite happy when they bring in the presents. "I was just telling your Dad how happy I am that you could be here for Christmas. I just wish that Tim was here too, but he called me yesterday to say he was sorry he couldn't come. It was nice to hear from him, though."

Skinner doesn't dare look at Reyes face to see her reaction.


Afternoon, Lindley Home-

Grams and Mr. Brooks insisted that they would wait until after lunch to exchange gifts. Fowley persuaded

Grams not to hold her to that, which doesn't seem to bother Mr. Brooks much. Fowley finds herself

very curious what Mr. Brooks is giving her grandmother, because he looks happy for the first time

that she notices when Grams starts to open it.

"Oh, Arthur," Grams says when it's finally unwrapped. Fowley is proud of herself for not demanding

to be told what it is that makes her grandmother sound so happy.

"I thought the only way I could get you to go away to Atlantic City like we've been talking about

for months would be if I bought the tickets myself. Two hotel rooms, so you won't have to worry about

what the church committee with think," he adds deviously " You will go, won't you?"

"Of course I will. Fowley is old enough to look after herself for a couple of days."

"Where are you leaving?" Fowley asks Mr. Brooks.

"Tomorrow. We'll be gone until the 28th."

"No parties." Grams tell her sternly. "Though I don't suppose you need me to tell you that."

"I won't cause any destruction to your home, I promise. Though that means I can't invite home sailors

on shore leave..." Fowely says, causing Grams to look upset for a moment before laughing.

"I hope you two win a bundle."

"Thank you dear, but the experience alone will be wonderful even if I don't win a cent." Grams

says. "Who wants pie?"

"I do, I do!" Fowley and Mr. Brooks chorus, making her laugh more.


11pm, Leary home-

Mr. And Mrs. Leary, as well as Arden's parents, decide to turn in early, leaving Mulder alone with his cousin- something he's been dreading all day. He has managed not to talk to her much since their conversation this morning, but he can't avoid her now without sounding rude.

He's desperately trying to think of a reasonably interesting topic of conversation when Arden surprises him by speaking up first. "There's something I've been dying to ask you all day, but not within hearing of our parents."

"What?" Mulder asks warily.

"Where's your sister?"

Mulder takes a shuddering breath; he's shocked that a family member wants to talk about Sam. "I don't know."

"You really don't? I was hoping if someone would tell me something, it'd be you."

Mulder makes a helpless gesture. "She disappeared a couple of weeks after she was born. My parents never talk about her. "

"You were only little, so I can sort of understand them not talking to you about it."

"I meant it when I said never. I don't think they've said her name in my hearing since the night she disappeared," Mulder says resentfully.

Arden gives him a sympathetic look. "Do you remember anything about it?"

"I'm not sure. I sort of remember someone or something being in the room, and waking up later to her crib being empty. It's strange that they had her crib in my room then, since there was a nursery. I think they might have just painted it though. The only other thing I remember was that my parents wouldn't tell me where she was, and I asked and asked, but finally gave up."

"Was there something wrong with her? It's not a nice possibility but sometimes when a baby has problems people whisk it away so they don't have to deal with it."

Mulder shakes his head violently. "I have pictures. And I remember a little before she disappeared that my parents cooed over her about how perfect she was."

"So it's a mystery." Arden summarizes.

"One that I'm trying to solve. I think she's still alive. I know she was in 1993, and my parents know that too. I'm going to find her if I can."

"I'll help you if I can, Mulder. I'm sure my parents know something about it. There might be letters or something at my house."

"Thank you," Mulder says gratefully.

"Don't sound so surprised by the offer, Mulder. She's my blood too, so I have a stake in finding her a well. It's not right that a part of our family is unaccounted for, and seemingly not missed by the older people in our family."

"You know something, Arden? I'm really glad I finally got to meet you." Mulder says, meaning it.

"Likewise. But promise me one thing," she says.

"What?"

"Let's never talk about airport again."

"Deal."


Early morning, December 26th, Leary home-

Things are hectic in the house because the two Mrs. Leary's are dragging their reluctant husbands out to do after-Christmas clearance shopping. The looks on both Mulder's father, and his Uncle's faces make it apparent that shopping is the last way either of them would like to spend the day after Christmas. Neither of the women notice.

"Oh, and if you buy anything that can't fit into your carry on luggage, you could fed-ex it to yourself right from the mall," Mrs. Leary says to her sister-in-law.

"That's a great idea. That way we won't miss out on any of the bargains due to lack of space. Maybe they'll even have some cute baby clothes on sale, too. You'll have a cute baby to wear them by then," she replies fondly.

At the last minute Mrs. Leary decides to try to coax Mulder and Arden to come too. "No thanks, Mom, I think we'll stay home and watch a movie." Mr. Leary mutters something to his brother about wishing they'd thought of that, and earn dirty looks from their wives.

When they're finally driving away Mulder turns to Arden and says," I hope you don't mind, but I would rather show you some stuff instead of starting a movie right away."

"As long as it's not a body, I'm game." Arden teases.

Arden waits in Mulder's room while he goes up into the attic for his box. He brings it down and she exclaims over how cute his little-boy scrawl on the lid is. He pulls out the book the other photo is in, as well. "These are pictures of Sam," he says, spreading them out.

"She was an adorable baby," Arden says. "But I might be a bit biased, because besides the shade of her hair color, she looked a lot like I did at that age. I was blond at first, though."

"Where you blond when you were six?" Mulder asks, handing her the last photograph.

"Yeah, it didn't start to darken until I was eight or so. "She pauses to look at the picture in her hand. "Where did you get this?"

"My mom's sewing kit. Years ago when I first saw it she claimed it was your old first grade picture. But it's not."

"No, it's not. The kid in this picture was too small to be a first grader, anyway."

"She was almost four. The calendar in the corner says it was 1993. She'll be thirteen this winter, so she had to be nearly four in the picture."

"Mulder, do you have any evidence that she's still alive?" Arden asks gently.

"A couple of weeks ago I figured out where this picture was taken. My friend Scully and I went there on a day off from school."

"Did you find anything?"

"We found her initials carved into a tree. It may be naive, but I believe that means she was there again when she was old enough to write. And if she was alive six or seven years after being kidnapped, I find it plausible that she's still alive now."

"If you believe, that's reason enough to keep looking," Arden says, patting his hand.


Afternoon, Witter home-

Doggett waves as two cars leave his driveway, two cars with screaming women, and flailing children in them. Doggett sighs and walks back into the house with Gretchen.

"Well, that's over with," he says.

"Yup."

"And we don't have to do it again until Easter, right?" Doggett asks with a slight note of desperation in his voice.

"Right, not until Easter. You can calm down now."

"No, I don't think I can yet. Maybe by next week. Why are the holidays such a grueling ordeal in this house?"

"Because our older sisters are crazy, and our nieces and nephews are imps?" Gretchen guesses.

"I think maybe you're right. Dad doesn't help though," he says.

"True. I think the three of them enjoy setting each other off though."

"Good point. I've got a great idea."

"What's that?" she asks, suspiciously.

"Let's go get some donuts and hot chocolate, and bring them to Kersh at the station."

"That's sweet, Doggett, but why?"

"If we're nice to him it will make him paranoid." Gretchen laughs and agrees to help him surprise their older brother.


That night Mulder's house-

Mulder's parents are out bringing Arden's family to their plane when he hears a knock on the front door. He opens the door to find Scully standing on the steps holding two packages and looking bemused.

"Hi Mulder, I hope I'm not interrupting anything."

"No, my folks are out and I'm not doing anything much."

"Ok, good." She thrusts the packages at him as she walks into the house. "Bessie demands to know if you're behind this."

"Behind what?" Mulder asks, trying not to drop them.

"These presents. They're to us...from Santa." The surprised look on his face convinces her that they're not from him.

"I didn't do this," Mulder says. "I might have had I thought of it, but I didn't so I didn't. Does that make any sense? It sounded better in my head than coming out."

"I understood what you said, but I don't understand these. What could they possibly be and where did they come from?" she asks.

"As for what's in them, we won't know until we open then. We know where they came from, though, the alien Santa Claus must of left them."

"Mulder-"

"Don't you even say there was no alien. I saw it, I saw you see it."

"I saw something, I'll grant you that, but what exactly we saw I'm not ready to stick a label on."

"Ok, then whatever we saw left them. Happy? Let's open them."

"Which one of us should open them first?" Scully says sounding nervous. She briefly holds the package to her ear, but puts it down with a sheepish look when she realizes that Mulder is trying not to laugh at her.

"We'll open them at the same time. That way we'll have time to react if they're bombs," he says straight-faced.

Scully takes a deep breath and opens it. What's inside leaves her speechless. She glances over at Mulder and sees that he's equally at a loss for words. In Scully's hand is a necklace that her mother promised to her, but never found after her death. In Mulder's hands is a frame that contains a childishly painted winter scene marked in the corner with a year- 1997- and two letters- SL. All they can do is exchange shocked looks.


9am, December 27th-

Fowley wakes up and makes herself breakfast. She idly wonders if her grandmother and Mr. Brooks are having fun in Atlantic city when she hears a knock on the door. She figures that it's Reyes coming over to exchange presents as planned, so she opens the door without looking out the side window to see who it is.

A middle aged man and woman stand on the steps, and Fowley's skin looses all color when she sees them. The only thing she can think of to say is "No." but her denial doesn't make them disappear.

"You know that this was being arranged," the woman says, and Fowley shakes her head violently, backing away.

"You signed all the paperwork-" The man begins.

"Not by choice," Fowley spits out. "If not for the threats against my grandmother I wouldn't have."

"Be that as it may, the document is legally binding," the man says coldly. " You'll need to come with us now. Go get whatever you need, and let's go."

Fowley tells herself not to run, that it will only make them suspicious. She palms the phone on the way by it, careful not to be seen, and barricades herself in her room. She knows she's only buying herself a couple of witnesses who won't be able to really help, but that's all she has time for before they'll catch onto her game, pry open her door and drag her downstairs.


Reyes bikes as quickly as she can to Fowley's house, with a fiery ball of dread making it harder to get there faster. The thing that scares her the most is the brevity of the call: Fowley only asked her to come as quickly as she could, then the line went dead. The memory of the panic in her voice terrifies Reyes, and for a second she agonizes over whether she should call the police before she leaves or not. In the end she decides not to take the time to.

She arrives just in time to see a hysterical Fowley being pushed into a car by a woman Reyes has never seen before. Fowley sees her and only has time to gasp out one thing before the windows are rolled up on her. "They're going to take him away from me." Reyes hears quite clearly, even over the whirl of the window's motor.

Reyes shouts to be heard through the glass," Do you mean Spender?" Fowley shakes her head no, beginning to cry, and the noise from the car's engine obviates anything else she might have tired to say. A door slams and Reyes whips her head around to see a man coming out of the house. He looks at her for a moment before growling," We're her parents, this doesn't concern you." Before climbing into the passenger seat of the car.

Because there's nothing else she can do, Reyes runs after the car a bit, not even thinking of using her bike because she's too preoccupied to remember that its lying on the Lindleys' front lawn. She hopes to see a license plate number, but the car doesn't seem to have one. When she can't run any more she stands in the middle of the road, panting.

Spender lives farther away, and though he suspects what is wrong, and his urgency is no less than Reyes, he only catches a glance of Fowley's stricken face as the car peels past his. He sees Reyes in the middle of the road looking about to collapse, and makes a split decision, following the car probably won't get Fowley back, so he stops his car long enough to pull Reyes into it. Since the radio is off and Spender doesn't feel like talking, the harsh sounds of Reyes breathing are all that can be heard. He glances at her, relieved that her face looks less ghastly than it did a moment ago.

"If you have asthma, you shouldn't have been running."

Reyes tries to catch her breath. "It's only when I exert myself. The man said they were her parents, but-"

"They aren't her parents."

"I didn't think so, either, so that's why I was running, trying to see the license plate number, but there didn't seem to be one."

"There probably wasn't one. Fowley's parents aren't in the country, and I've seen pictures of them- the people driving the car were definitely not them."

"Do you know who they are?" Reyes asks.

"I'm trying to piece that together. I sort of understand what's going on, but not enough to make real sense of it. I'm pretty sure they work for the government though."

"Why would they kidnap Fowley?"

"I don't think they were, exactly. I think is more like she didn't want to go with them more than they were forcing her to. Probably a black-mail sort of arrangement."

Reyes finds that her head is spinning with unasked questions, and worry about why Spender had an idea how to answer any of them. She never had any reason before not to trust him, but now she doesn't know how much of what he says to believe. Instead of asking another question, she says instead," I got there too late to do anything or actually talk to her, but just as they made her get into the car she said 'They're going to take him away from me.' I asked her if she meant you, but she shook her head no."

"I know she didn't mean me."

"Who did she mean?" Reyes can't help but ask.

"She meant her son. Our son," Spender says tersely. "She only told me on Christmas Eve, but she's pretty far along, about four and a half months." Reyes stares at him in shock. "This wasn't supposed to happen, dammit!" he pounds his fist on the steering wheel. "He said if I disappeared that they wouldn't pick her for the experiment, but they think they did anyway. I guess they didn't know she was already pregnant."

"Who told you? What experiment?" Reyes asks, desperately trying to understand what he's talking about.

"I don't know exactly. There are letters, I only got letters with sketchy details. And threats, lots of threats. I can't talk about this any more right now, ok? I just can't. Give me until we go back to school to try to fill in more blanks, and I'll let you read everything, I'll tell you everything I know, then. I just can't talk about it now. Please don't tell anyone about the baby, please, I think it might be safer if no one else knows, we shouldn't tell anyone anything if we really want to be safe," Spender says quickly as though he needs to get it out as rapidly as he can because he's on the verge of falling apart.

"Ok," Reyes agrees, feeling pretty broken up herself. "I'll talk to you after school on Wednesday, then."

"Good, ok. I'm sorry."

Reyes has the impulse to hug him, but since she doesn't know him well, instead tells him to drive home carefully, which he promises to do. It isn't until after he drops her off at her house that she remembers her bike.


Leary home-

Mulder's mother seems very happy, even though she's sitting at the dinning room table, in the middle of writing a list. Eventually curiosity overwhelms him.

"What are you doing, Mom?"

"Oh, Mulder. I'm writing a list of supplies I need to buy, because your dad and I have decided to have one of those huge New Years eve parties like the ones we had when you were little."

"That's nice," Mulder says, thinking back to when he was small and in the way during those parties. His parents had always put him to bed by nine-thirty, and he'd sneak out to the top of the stairs and watch in the dark until they'd come up at 11:55 to "wake" him. Every year he'd watch too long, and have to scramble to get back in bed.

"You can invite whomever you'd like to come," his mother says in an offhand manner. "The more the merrier."

"Wow, thanks, mom!"

"You're welcome," she says, going back to her list.

Mulder has no problem getting Doggett, Skinner, and Scully to come, but Reyes says she doesn't think she's up to it, and there's no answer at Fowley's house. The strangest refusal comes when he calls Frohike.

"We can't come, Mulder. We're starting an e-newsletter."

"You need to work on it at 9pm on New Years eve?"

"Well... we're hoping to have the first issue out on the first." Frohike insists stubbornly.

"I don't see how a couple of hours will effect that one way or the other. What are you calling this newsletter, anyway?"

"The lone gunmen."

"That doesn't even make sense," Mulder says.

"It's a word play, Mulder, a word play."

"If you say so. Give me a call if you, Byers, and Langly think you'll be able to tear yourselves away long enough to put in an appearance."

"Will do. Oh! Will the beauteous Ms. Porter be there?"

"Scully said she'd come, yes."

"Did she say what's she's going to wear?" Frohike asks, which makes Mulder roll his eyes because he can practically hear a leer in the question.

"No she didn't."

"Ah, a mystery. Maybe we can make it after all."

"Goodbye, Frohike," Mulder says, shaking his head as he hangs up the phone.


December 28th, Lindley home-

One thing after another happens at Reyes house, which while the averted mini-disasters serve to take her mind off of what happened the day before, it also means she needs to wait until the afternoon to go back for her bike. She's not thrilled by the idea of running into Grams.

Her bike is no longer on the front lawn when Reyes reaches the house. She thinks that Grams must have put it in the garage, so she finds that she needs to knock on the door. Grams doesn't look upset when she answers, which surprises Reyes greatly. "I thought that might have been your bike," Grams says.

"Sorry."

"That's ok, it's in the garage. Fowley's not here, by the way. I have a note from her parents saying that they decided at the last minute to take her with them to Europe for the rest of the school year. I wish they'd waited until I'd gotten home so I could say good-bye. My daughter has always been impulsive like this, so I can't say it surprises me more than disappoints me," Grams says, sounding as though she believes the note.

"Oh. We'll miss her," is all Reyes can think to say.

"As will I. Don't worry, she'll be back this summer," Grams says with a smile.

"Thanks for putting my bike away," Reyes says, then fetches it. All the way home she wishes that she hadn't promised Spender not to tell anything about what really happened to Fowley. But, she thinks to herself, those people meant business, they might really do terrible things if we don't go along with the story


December 31st, 11:55pm Leary home-

Mulder sits at the top of the stairs, looking out at the party. His parents friends laugh excitedly, but taking care not to spill their glasses of champagne. His friends too, seem to be enjoying themselves as well, except perhaps Frohike who was acting disappointed until he found the young weather person from Mrs. Leary's news station to hit on.

Scully isn't at the party. She called Mulder at ten to tell him that one of Bessie's friends had gotten herself into a bad situation, and needed a sober ride home from a party in Boston. Since it's nearly impossible to get a baby-sitter on New Years Eve, Bessie decided that Scully and Alexander are likely to cause her less worry if they're with her.

As the final count down for begins Mulder sighs. It wasn't until she called that he finally admitted to himself that he had intended to kiss her at midnight.

*** 

Credits

Produced by CC, KW and Neoxphile

< Voice Over>

This episode of Mulder's Creek featured music from:

Transister ("Dizzy Moon")

Guster ("Rocketship")

And

Incubus ("Wish you were here")

Stay tuned for scenes from the next Mulder's Creek


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