Title: The Family G-Man
Authors: Neoxphile and FelineFemme
Rating: we're shooting for NC-17, ya'll better take cover
Spoilers: Seasons 1-9
Category: Alternate Reality, Snark, Family Fic, plus a dollop Angst for the beginning (and despite what chapter one leads you to believe, this is *not* a character death story)
Disclaimer: So yeah, we're going to be borrowing CC's characters, and the idea behind "
The Family Man," which put a twist on "It's a Wonderful Life" which blatantly copied "A Christmas Carol." We hope the print doesn't get blurry from being a copy of a copy of…
Summary: What if he could go back and change things, save the son one lost and give the other the family she wanted? Could it keep them safe?
December 24th, 2003
If events had ever set Mulder up for a worst Christmas than the following day would inevitably be, it had to be the one when he was twelve. That year had been agony because his parents were still trying to put on happy hopeful faces that believed Samantha would be coming back to open the presents dutifully bought and laid under the tree. When she didn't miraculously show up, the day passed in stony silence, except for the weepy condolences everyone offered.
But that Christmas he'd only lost one important person, this year he'd lost two. One by accident, the other by hopeless design. It had been only a week since he attended John Doggett's funeral, and he was already facing another. At least Doggett's death had been none of his own doing.
Doggett had been on his way back to the beach where he and Barbara had scattered their son's ashes when he encountered a semi-truck driven by a man who had been awake so long that he fell asleep at the wheel. The car was a twisted ruin, and Doggett was already dead by the time the rescue workers were able to pry him from the wreckage. The only fortunate thing about the whole event is the fact that Monica Reyes had to work late that day, so she wasn't able to accompany him like she had the year before. From talking to her, though, no one dared suggest how lucky she was.
As stunned as he was by the loss of a man he was rapidly becoming to consider a close friend, Mulder had little time to mourn before fate dealt him two more crushing blows. The first of these lead to the second. On December 22nd, a court decided that William S. Mulder was better off in the custody of his adopted parents.
Mulder thought Scully might had been able to live with that, if William hadn't been right there in the courtroom. He had been smaller than Mulder had been picturing, obviously taking more after Scully size-wise, and his hair was her bright red, and long enough to curl at the ends. He also had her bright blue eyes...which had been completely empty of recognition. He knew his son was too young to remember him, but Scully had obviously thought he'd remember her. William looked at her like he'd never laid eyes on her before. Mulder was fairly sure that's what drove Scully over the edge.
She'd celebrated their defeat that night by leaving the house while he was sleeping, and driving to a high, secluded bridge. Her body washed ashore the next afternoon, the afternoon before the one he was living. When he'd driven by the bridge, just to tell himself it was real, he couldn't help but remember another bridge in another life, exchanging a clone of his sister for his partner. Only this time he'd had nothing to give to get her back.
A cloud of numbness had settled over him the day before, which is why he found himself walking through mostly deserted streets near their apartment. He hadn't had any goal in mind, he just couldn't stand to be inside a minute longer, not while the ghosts of things he'd done and said with his friend and his beloved dueled for his attention. In the living room he and Doggett had watched the Thanksgiving ball game; in the bedroom he and Scully had made love. Every room was marked, crowded, and he just couldn't stay there.
He'd vaguely thought of calling Reyes to see if she wanted company, but he'd nixed the idea. Two depressed people just makes misery grow, not lessen it, so he decided to take a walk instead. He didn't know where he was going, and he was so preoccupied he didn't even know where he was. If he hadn't accidentally bumped into someone leaving a liquor store, he might have just keep walking aimlessly until he froze to death.
Instead he blinked and apologized. "Oh! Sorry about that," he told the short blonde woman he'd just bumped into. She glared at him until he helped her pick up her things, none of which had broken he was happy to note.
"You should pay more attention," the woman scolded him.
"I know. I'm sorry, it's…it's been a really bad week," he said, not feeling like going into details.
"Two deaths in one week. That is rough," the woman agreed, with a bird-like nod of her head.
Mulder blanched. "How did you…?" he stammered, his mind a sudden whirl of confusion. "Are you a mind-reader or something?" he asked, thinking of that fraud Yappi.
"No. It's just my job to know these things about people. You're Fox Mulder, FBI agent. Several days ago you lost a friend, and the night before last you lost the love of your life. That's enough to distract anyone."
Mulder's thoughts grabbed onto one part of the woman's words. "What do you mean, it's your job?" he asked her.
"Ok, you got me. It's only part of my job. My actual job is helping people fix the mistakes in their lives."
"Like a therapist?" Mulder scoffed. "I think it's a little late to for that sort of thing. My problem is the fact that people are dead, and no amount talking it out is going to fix that."
"I fully agree," The woman told him." The only thing that would fix your problems is to make your friends undead."
"I really don't think turning them into vampires would be much of an improvement!" Mulder protested.
The woman looked slightly flustered. "Poor word choice. I meant if they weren't dead."
"Well, obviously!" Mulder exclaimed. "Except for the fact that bringing them back to life is impossible."
"That's true," she admitted. "You can't bring someone back to life after they've already died. But you could keep them from dying."
Mulder gave her a suspicious look. "You're not a genie, are you? I've already seen what happens through wish-granting, and I'm positive that nothing good could come from it."
She shook her head. "I'm not a genie. I don't deal in wishes, I deal in change."
"You don't look much like a pan-handler," Mulder replied, looking her over. Her coat and scarf looked pretty pricy to him.
"People changing, not currency, you idiot," she snapped, then immediately looked contrite. "That was uncalled for, I'm sorry. Look, if it was possible to keep your loved ones from being killed, what price would you be willing to pay to accomplish that?"
"Just about anything," he replied instantly.
"Would you give up the life you're now living to do it?" she asked in a wheedling tone.
Mulder gave a short sharp laugh. "Are you kidding? What do I have now? I can't get my son back, the love of my life is gone, and given that she and my friend are dead, my life's work is probably going to be dismantled as well because there aren't enough people left to keep it going. I have nothing."
The woman looked slightly taken aback. "This is usually a harder sell…Let me ask you one question, Mister Mulder. What do you think it would have taken to keep your loved ones from dying? And I don't just mean the car accident or the bridge, I mean what in their lives being different would have kept them from their fates?"
"John Doggett is easy," Mulder said. "If his son hadn't died, he never would have been going to visit where the boy's ashes are scattered, so he wouldn't have been killed by the trucker."
"-and Scully?" The woman asked, making him blink because he didn't think he'd mentioned her name.
Mulder thought hard. "I guess things would have been different for her if she'd had the family she always wanted. She was never the same after trying so desperately to have our son, then losing him."
"There you go!" the woman said with a look of triumph on her face.
"Huh?" Mulder asked, which was a completely legitimate response.
Instead of answering him right away, the woman reached into her coat and pulled out an envelope. Just an ordinary green one that Christmas cards came in. She thrust it into his hand.
"Here. If you really think you can help them by changing those things about their pasts, open this card when you get home, and read it. As soon as you do you'll get the chance to help them."
Mulder gave her a skeptical look. "What's your name?"
"It's Elsbeth, why?"
"Because I like to be able to give the hospital a name when I tell them that a crazy person is wandering the streets of DC on her own. It makes it easier on the people responding to the APB."
"You won't call anyone, Mister Mulder," Elsbeth said firmly. "They never do."
"Ok, whatever. Just promise me you'll head on home without bothering anyone else."
"Oh, I promise," she said in a vapid tone, batting her eyelashes at him. He sighed and walked away, deciding that maybe the apartment wasn't such a bad place to be after all.
Back in his apartment, he thought a lot about what Elsbeth told him. She was insane, but it was something else to think about besides his heavy grief, so he let the ideas she presented consume his fears.
If Luke hadn't been kidnapped and murdered, he might never have met Doggett. Being unattached was probably the main reason he'd accepted the invitation to head up the task force to look for him when he'd been missing. If Mulder could go back and keep himself from being taken without letting Scully go in his place, he definitely would never have met the man. But that would be better than him and the kid being dead, that was for sure.
Scully was harder to think about. She wouldn't be dead if her only baby hadn't been kept from her, and… if he wasn't her only baby. It all went back to when Duane Barry grabbed her and let her go to the aliens instead. If she hadn't been taken, she wouldn't have gotten cancer or think she was barren, and her impossible daughter would never have been born to a life of pain...
Shaking his head regretfully, he pulled out the envelope. Nothing would happen when he opened it, but if there was a trillion in one chance that Elsbeth was a magical being rather than a crackpot, he thought he was ready. So he opened the envelope and –
Nothing happened. Smiling ruefully, he looked at the card. It was almost entirely dark blue, with a silhouette of the nativity being approached by the three wise men on camels. They reminded him a little of the gunmen. The only spot of brightness on the card was the star of David, which looked all the more brilliant because of it's dark background. In all it's a nice enough card, but fairly typical.
He opened the card with a sigh, and read the words in it. Hand written, it said only "Wish you were here." Giving an unhappy laugh, Mulder thought of who he wished was there just then. Depressed once more, he let his eyes close.