Title: Balance
Author: Devin
Rating: PG
Category: SAR
Keywords: MSR, Emily, Angst
Spoilers: minor for Christmas Carol/Emily Disclaimer: Not mine, not mine, not mine.

Summary: It's their first Christmas together. Why isn't everyone happy?

Author's Note: This is part of my Family series. It takes place during Family Matters, so Will isn't born yet but this is the order so far:

Family Matters
Gum and Note Passing
Sweet Sixteen

December 2000

"Daddy, can I ask you a question?"

Mulder jumped in surprise at the question, five-year-olds would make the best spies in the world if they had more than a 30-minute attention span, they're way too quiet in their approach. "Sure thing, Em." He put aside the report he was reading and lifted the little girl up onto his lap. "What's up?"

"Does Mommy not like Christmas?" Mulder tried to reply but Emily continued. "She always looks sad when I mention it or ask if Matt is coming to Grandma's house this year. I don't want to make her sad, Daddy."

Mulder hugged Emily to him, the little girl was still not used to the fact that she was with him and Scully to stay. "It's not you, Em. Trust me; you make your mommy very happy."

"Then why is she sad?"

"I'll find out. Okay, Munchkin?" he reassured her but he was pretty sure he already had an idea as to what was wrong.

Later That Day

Mulder found Scully sitting at her desk holding her first and, for a while, only, picture of Emily. He walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her shoulders and rested his chin on her forehead. "You know, she's a pretty smart kid. She's going to realize something is up if you keep this up."

"It's stupid," Scully said, more to herself than to Mulder. "I buried sandbags, not her, but..."

"You did bury her," Mulder insisted. "Maybe not physically, but in every other way... you had to let go of your child."

A tear slid down her face but she quickly wiped it away. "I can't go through that again, Mulder."

"You'll never have to."

But where his words were meant in comfort they only managed to make her mad. "You can't promise that! You can't promise that I won't lose her or..." she placed her hand over their unborn child and swallowed harshly. "You can't promise I won't lose you," she said this so softly that he wasn't sure he heard it. "I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop... We're never allowed to be happy."

"Scully, I think you've managed to out-paranoid me," Mulder joked but only received a glare for his efforts. "Okay, bad timing obviously." Scully nodded curtly and rolled her eyes. "But seriously, maybe we just get to have balance now. We get to deal with the thankless job of saving the world and the slightly less thankless job of being parents. What could be better?"

"You're crazy, Mulder. You do realize this, don't you?" she asked but he could tell by the slight smile on her face that she feeling better.

"Scully, if you are just realizing this, I'm having them take away your badge."

"Em!" Scully called out to her daughter, not having to wait long as she came running down the hall, already dressed in her pjs.

"Yes, mommy?"

"Do you want hot chocolate or cider?"

Emily looked utterly confused, it was a school night after all, but she wasn't about to complain. "Hot chocolate," she answered with absolute conviction.

"Good choice. Go get some blankets and pillows while I make this."

When both had completed their tasks, Scully set up the couch for them both to be able to lie down and she popped in a tape. Emily was still confused but lay down with her mother, happy to have the bonding time. She relaxed even further when the Muppets filled the screen, singing about how grumpy Scrooge was.

Somewhere between the ghosts of Christmas past and present Emily fell asleep but Scully didn't move her. "Balance?" she whispered to Mulder who had come out to check on them.

He smiled at the sight and nodded. "Balance."

The End

Author's Note Part Deux: Thanks to Heather for beta reading this for me! :)

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