Author: Kyouryoku Senshi
Keywords: Post-XF, Doggett/Reyes Married, Mulder/Scully Romance
Spoilers: The Truth and references to Audrey Pauley
Summary: Written for the DRR fic Christmas Challenge. In the midst of the approaching colonization, the agents take advantage of the time they have left to celebrate Christmas with their family and friends. Christmas of 2006.
The Challenge: 1.) X-Mas mystery 2.) Gifts 3.) Alien beads 4.) Snow
Notes: This takes place in Canada about five years after The Truth. Mulder & Scully have William back and have a four year old daughter, Vera. Doggett & Reyes also have a daughter, Alicia. I decided to bring the tradition of the German Christmas pickle into this story. I know this takes place in Canada, but this idea really came to me when I was thinking of an idea for the X-Mas mystery. I know they're not living in Germany, but I thought it would be interesting. Although in Germany, they celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, not Christmas day.
Disclaimer: None of the characters belong to me. Only Vera and Alicia belong to me. Also, The card and its sayings do not belong to be at all whatsoever. A friend of mine received it for Christmas this year and it really inspired me to add it into this fic.
9:15PM London, Ontario, Canada
John had been busy adding the final touches to their Christmas tree when his daughter, Alicia ran up to him and began pulling on the bottom of his shirt.
"Daddy, daddy! I want to show you something!" the young girl exclaimed
At this, John's head shot up and a major sense of déjà vu overcame him. Even though he was a skeptic, the thought of the past reoccurring terrified him.
'No, please not again. I can't loose another child. I won't!'
Monica had chosen that moment to enter the living room of their small house. She instantly witnessed John's appalled expression. "Ally Sweetie, would you go get the cookies you made for Santa? Daddy and I will be in there in a second, and then you can show him the great job that you did."
Alicia nodded reluctantly "Okay." She said before she proceeded into the kitchen
Once they were out of earshot, Monica turned her focus back to John, melancholy evident in his crystal blue eyes.
"John, what is it?" she asked gently "What happened?"
John sighed before he was able to form a sentence and spoke hesitantly. "Monica, its Luke. I've just had this weird sense of déjà vu. Just before he disappeared, I remember him saying the exact words 'Daddy, daddy! I want to show you something!' I'm not sure what it means, Monica. All I know is that I can't loose another child; I can't loose my daughter too. I can't and I won't, I refuse." John broke out louder than he intended
Monica looked towards the kitchen, almost expecting Alicia to run back in to see what was going on. Luckily, She didn't. Monica took a step closer to John.
"John, I know what you're feeling. What you fear of." She nodded simultaneously
John remained silent as he gazed deeply into her eyes. He sought refuge in those amber depths. He wanted so much to believe her and allow her to comfort him.
"But, I promise you John that you won't ever have to relive that experience." Monica assured him
Still trying to gather himself from his thoughts, John looked away from Monica and in the direction Alicia had went off into, taking note of the considerable silence.
"Where'd she go?" John asked
Monica followed John's gaze and nodded in the direction of the kitchen. "In the kitchen. Why?"
Without a response, John moved passed her and into the kitchen where he nearly collided into his daughter as she had started to make her way out into the living room.
John cried out in relief as he quickly embraced his daughter and picked her up. "There you are, my little princess!"
Alicia giggled "Daddy, put be down before I spill all of the cookies!" she teased
John reluctantly conceded and gently placed her back down.
For the first time, he witnessed the great resemblance between Alicia and Monica. Alicia shared her mother's tall frame, her straight dark hair and nose. To offset her dark features, she had crystal blue eyes and her father's nose. She was the perfect emblem of the two of them.
For a moment, it felt as if time had stopped until Monica had broken the fierce silence. "I received a reply in my e-mail a few minutes ago from Mulder and Scully. They said that they would be over shortly and didn't want to risk speaking over phone lines even though we are no longer on the U.S. continent."
"I guess old habits really do die hard, but you know how the old saying goes, its better safe than sorry. Especially after all the hell that we've been through for the last five years trying to find a secluded area to settle down and live while we fight our impending fate." John said as he just realized Alicia was still in the room
As always, when her parents spoke of concerns that involved the future, she would remain quiet and continue her task with the outmost sophistication as though in a way, she already understood their situation. There were times John had to admit that he forgot she was still nearly only four years old. Although impressed with his daughter's maturity, what he wanted for her most of all was to have a normal life, a life that his son didn't get the chance to live. He wanted her to laugh when she was happy, to come to him and Monica when she was sad and allow them to comfort her, to tell her that it was okay. He wanted her to be able to go outside and play with her friends, like Vera and William. He wanted her to have a childhood.
Shortly before Alicia had been born, he and Monica as well as Mulder and Scully who was also pregnant at the time had found a small secluded area in Ontario, Canada to settle down and live for the time being.
Turning his thoughts back to the present, John decided that they'd better finish setting the table and cleaning up before Mulder, Scully and their children would arrive and stay for the next few days.
"William and Vera are coming too, princess. Let's say we finish setting the table and bring out the food before they arrive?" John suggested as Alicia placed the cookies for Santa by the fireplace
Monica moved over to stand beside John and clutched his hand tightly in her own. Alicia turned towards her parents and her enthusiasm returned. "Yay, then they can open gifts with us tomorrow after Santa comes!" she said excited
Monica smiled "You sure can sweetie, let's go get everything ready."
Meanwhile Ottawa, Ontario
Mulder and Scully were loading their small car with Christmas gifts and their most needed necessities. They had planned on celebrating Christmas with Monica, John and their daughter for the last few months since they hadn't seen their good friends for awhile. Although, they didn't live quite that far away, there was a significant amount of snow on the streets and the weather had been keeping them isolated in their small home.
They decided that it would be best to give their children a chance to have as much of a normal life possible. Although, Scully insisted that William and Vera be home schooled for safety reasons.
Before they got into the car to leave the small house that they now called 'home', William had been the first to get inside the car and buckle himself into the car seat when Mulder came around to the side of the car.
"Hey buddy, you want me to help you in?" Mulder asked in a teasing tone that hinted that he knew fully well that his five and a half year old son could get himself secured into the seat unattended
"I can do it!" William insisted as Mulder chuckled
"Alright, alright!" he agreed
William and Vera were both highly intelligent for their both their ages, but seeing where they both came from, it was to be expected.
Mulder turned his attention to Scully who approached him holding Vera securely in her arms. "Hi, my little angel." Mulder said gently as he moved out of Scully's way
Vera managed a small smile at her father. Mulder was always the one person who succeeded in making her smile or laugh. She was very small. Her curly dark shoulder length hair and ice blue eyes gave her appearance of the most delicate china doll.
Mulder was always very protective of her, William was as well. She reminded him very much of Scully. She was emotionally strong, yet sympathetic and compassionate towards others. It pained him because of the approaching colonization, because of the truth he'd discovered at Mount Weather nearly five years ago, her innocence had been taken from her.
This was what he had always feared, from when she was born two months premature. They had almost lost her.
Miraculously, after spending a significant amount of time under a heating lamp, she was okay. Mulder and Scully had decided to name her Vera, which meant 'To have Faith or Truth'.
Scully moved in to the back of the seat to place Vera into her car seat. "Want me to do it?" Mulder offered
"It's okay, I've got it." Scully assured him as she gently placed Vera into her car seat "There you go, sweetie. Let's get you in there nice and safe now, kay?" she spoke softly as she remembered that she had once spoken those words to Emily nearly ten years ago
Once Vera was buckled into her car seat, Mulder had made one last trip inside the house to retrieve her fur coat before they had gotten into their car and started their drive over to Monica and John's place.
Monica and John's place wasn't too far from their small home in Ottawa, although the layers of snow on the road made the traffic considerably longer than usual.
Luckily though, they made it within a few hours to the Doggett residence. Monica and John greeted them warmly with fierce 'long times no see' hugs.
Alicia, ever so enthusiastic to see her best friends, was very excited to have someone her age to play with after all those months of being isolated inside by snow.
After Mulder brought in the Christmas presents and set them by the large, vastly decorated Christmas tree, they started eating dinner with Christmas music emanating from the back round. The first song was one of Monica's favorites by George Michael, Last Christmas.
Determined to keep the conversation from turning into a topic of colonization, John turned to look over at Alicia who was sitting in the middle of Vera and William. "So, are you kids excited about Santa Claus? I know all of you have been extra good this year, so I know for a fact that he'll bring all of you something very special." John said with the outmost optimism
John wanted to keep the spirit of Christmas alive, especially for the children. They needed something to believe in. Even if it was fantasy, perhaps it was preferable to the inevitable truth.
"I even made cookies for Santa!" Alicia exclaimed proudly
Vera, who had been quiet the entire time aside from talking to Alicia, perked up. "How will Santa deliver our presents if we're not home?" she asked curiously
"Santa works in mysterious ways, kids." Mulder said with a grin
Apparently satisfied with the answer, Vera quietly went back to eating. The meal consisted of slices of turkey, homemade mashed potatoes, yams and optional beverages of apple cider or wine.
A few minutes later, Monica left the living room and re-entered holding a bottle of blue-berry cider. "I thought I'd try something different this year, so I went to Trader-Joes and saw some blue-berry cider that I decided to pick up." She said before she placed it in the center of the table.
"You just have to try it; its appearance doesn't do it justice." John said
Scully decided to be audacious and poured herself a glass of cider before taking a long sip. "Wow, you've really outdone yourself Monica."
Monica managed a smile "Gee, thanks. I try." She said with a satisfactory smile.
After about two hours or so, everyone gathered around the fireplace in an attempt to draw some consolation from the warmth of the fire.
Vera closed her eyes and rested her head against her mother's side while she soothingly stroked her small locks of light brown hair.
William quietly sat by Alicia who sat mesmerized by the intensity of the fire. They lounged in silence for what seemed like an eternity. It was a safe place they didn't want to leave.
Although none of them spent Christmas with their families back in the U.S., they were quite content with being around the people that they had been through hell and back with. They always considered one another like the family that they've never had.
Monica quickly took notice when Alicia and William's eyes had become glossed over as a result of their far out reverie.
She glanced at her watch to see that it was nearly ten fifteen. She looked over to Scully and Mulder. "We should probably get them into bed. They'll be up before the crack of dawn tomorrow." She couldn't help but say with a smile
Scully nodded soporifically "And so will we."
Monica reluctantly moved out from John's embrace "Come on, we have an extra room you can use. There's two beds. One queen and one twin, so William will be able to stay with you. Vera can sleep in Alicia's room."
"That sounds great, thanks again." Mulder said gratefully
"Anytime, Mulder." John said as he pulled himself up
After Scully and Mulder got settled into the guestroom and William into bed, they made their way over to Alicia's room accompanied by John and Monica.
The two couples entered the room to tuck their daughters into bed and to give them a hug and kiss goodnight.
Once they were assured that the three children were asleep, they went to bed.
The next morning, John and Monica were woken with a start.
"Mommy, daddy! Santa came, let's open presents!" Alicia exclaimed as she crawled onto the bed in an attempt to steal the covers from them
John moaned drowsily as he rolled over onto his back.
"Already? What time is it?" he asked groggily as he turned to face the florescent letters of their alarm clock which caused him to wince and shut his eyes before re-opening them to see that it was only six in the morning.
Monica shifted beside him "John?" she asked trying to break her dreamlike state when suddenly their door nearly flew open as Vera and William emerged into the room, Mulder and Scully close behind
"Rise and shine, agents." Mulder said through a yawn
"Another hour please?" Monica pleaded as she attempted the pull the comforter back over her head
"I don't think the kids would be willing to wait that long, I'm sorry to say." Scully said as she rubbed her tired eyes
"Come on, come on!" Alicia insisted
"Alright, Alright! I'm up, I'm up!" Monica conceded as she and John sat up and literally forced themselves out of bed
"Come on, sweetie." Scully encouraged "Why don't we let your mommy and daddy get ready."
Alicia reluctantly hurried over next to Vera who stood beside Scully. "Kay."
"We'll be in the living room." Scully said before they led the kids out of the bedroom
"I'd kill for some coffee right about now." Monica said with a yawn
"That makes the two of us." John agreed
Monica looked over at John to examine his facial features and the bed head image before her brought a coy smile to her face and she couldn't help but manage a laugh.
"That bad?" John questioned knowing that he probably looked terrible
Monica chuckled as she quickly changed into a casual t-shirt and jeans. "No that's not it."
"Come on Monica, tell me."
"It's nothing really." She assured him
John sighed heavily and silently gave her the 'You'd better tell me now and no buts look.'
Monica took a deep breath and started to speak hesitantly "It's just...I've never felt this way before. Such a mundane experience as this makes our uncertain fate surreal. It's so difficult for me to believe that one day this will all come to an end."
"Monica..." John said softly
"I'm not ready for it to end yet." She continued
John came to an abrupt stop as he pulled his own t-shirt over his head. He and Monica shared a prolonged moment of silence before John enveloped Monica in a tight reassuring embrace.
There was never a need for words to understand what the other was feeling or going through. Every unspoken word was expressed silently in their facial features.
John remembered sharing a moment like this with Monica once before. When he had released his son's ashes into the ocean. It was then that he had sought release. He had finally let her in, broken that barrier that had kept them from consummating their relationship. For the first time, he had been at peace with himself.
A moment later, their bedroom door opened causing them to pull away from their tight embrace. John and Monica looked over to see Scully in the doorway. "Is everything all right?" she asked worriedly
"Yeah...we're coming." Monica said taking one last look over at John before following Scully into the living room
After Monica had prepared a few cups French Roasted Coffee and hot chocolate for the kids, she brought the mugs out along with some creamers out on a large tray and set them gently onto the coffee table before taking a seat on the large sofa.
Both the children and adults took their steaming mugs gratefully. Once everyone was seated, William and Alicia had one another's back and insisted that they open presents. Vera reluctantly joined in with her brother and best friend.
Alicia had been ecstatic that Santa had eaten all of the chocolate chip cookies that she had baked.
"Okay, Will. Why don't you hand out the presents to everyone?" Mulder suggested
William hurried over to place his hot cocoa back onto the table before running over to the lighted Christmas tree to gather an armful of wrapped presents.
One by one, he handed each and everyone a gift until the space once occupied by the numerous presents was completely vacant. When he handed a present to 'Uncle John', he saw something move beneath it if he wasn't mistaken.
Once he was finished distributing the presents, one by one, everyone took a turn opening their presents. Monica received all of Mulder's odds and ends involving UFO's,
Sightings, you name it...everything paranormal. Even the 'I want to believe' poster.
Monica grinned "Gee, thanks Mulder."
Monica also received a bath crystals set from Scully and a 12 karat gold ring from John and Alicia with 'Much Love, John and Alicia' engraved on the inside.
She smiled broadly in appreciation. "Aw, thank you both so much." She exclaimed as she enveloped them in a fierce hug "You still didn't open the card." John chuckled as he pointed towards the crimson colored paper that stuck out of the gift bag. 'Companion, Partner, Friend, Lover.' were written in cursive on the front. Once she had opened the card, she was astonished by the words before her.
'Loving you means having a partner who helps me follow my dreams and who comforts me through my disappointments. It means having a friend to talk with and listen to in total honesty and trust...It means having a lover who fills my world with the warmth of our special times together.
Loving you means having a heart full of joy, at Christmastime and always.'
Let's Have a Wonderful Holiday Together!
"Oh John..." Monica broke and managed to pull herself back together
"Thank you so much." She said as she pulled him back into a tight embrace and consummated it with passionate kiss
"Get a room you two." Mulder teased
"Mulder!" Scully chided
"What?" he asked defensively
"C'mere." Scully insisted as she guided him towards her until his lips met her own
"Hypocrites." John teased
Unamused by the situation, William stomped his left foot. "Come on; let's open the presents from Santa. Come on, come on, please?"
"Alright, alright," The two couples agreed before sitting back down
Scully had received a similar ring. It was silver and had Vera and William's birthstones along with her's and Mulder's. A family ring. Scully's amethyst stone was the first on the left following Vera's turquoise stone. The next was William's emerald and last but not least, Mulder's opal. She also received a numerology book from Monica. 'Great minds think alike' Scully couldn't help but think to herself
Doggett got Scully a precise vanilla scented candle surrounded on a glass platform by granite rocks.
John had received an exquisite bottle of champagne from Mulder and a new coffee maker from Scully.
Mulder received a scarf from Scully, a set of gold plated silverware from Monica and a wide rollout Santa rug from Doggett. Doggett had always been the family man. He always got up at sunrise, had his coffee, went to work and assured that there was always food on the table for his family.
Just as the kids started to open their presents, Vera had indicated the larger present next to John. "Oh Yeah! I didn't see that one there." John said with a laugh as he placed the heavier present on his lap
"Now, I wonder what this could be." John grinned as he indicated the several small holes that adorned the package Monica just smiled as she watched John open his final package. A moment later, a small puppy emerged out of the box and toppled right onto John.
"Maybe we both need pets. They say people with pets live longer."
"I was thinking about getting a cat."
"There's dog people, and there's cat people. You are a dog, person John."
"How do you figure?"
"You're faithful, you're dependable, you're without guile and you're very comfortable to be around. So why a cat?"
"Low maintenance. They don't expect much from you, so you can't disappoint them."
"I don't see you ever disappointing anyone, John."
John couldn't help but smile as he recalled the fond memory. Even if that time was nearly five years ago, he remembered it as if it was yesterday.
"What are you going to name him daddy?" Alicia asked curiously
"I think you should decide that, princess."
"I want to name him Cocoa."
Afterwards when they though that all of the gift giving had come to a conclusion, John raised his hand to silence the room and held a long rectangular Christmas present from 'Santa' in his opposite hand.
"In Germany, at this time of year, the children have to find the Christmas pickle which is hidden under the tree and whoever finds it first receives the Christmas mystery present from Santa." John instructed
The four parents held a countdown before the three children made a wild dash over toward the tree in search for the Christmas pickle which was so vastly a part of German culture and tradition. He was so glad his German and Spanish classes paid off in both collage and high school because he enjoyed experiencing different cultures.
Vera had been the first one to find the Christmas pickle which has hidden under the tree's brush. She slowly held up the pickle ornament between her fingers and smiled shyly when she had become the center of attention.
John gently sat the long present down before her. The small girl gingerly opened the present, oblivious to the long anticipated silence of everyone around her.
She pulled away the glittering wrap to reveal a long rectangular box. With Mulder's help, she lifted the top off and pulled out looked like endless layers of alien beads.
"Oh wow!" Scully said
"Alien beads!" William exclaimed
Vera blushed then smiled.
"Pretty." Alicia said admiringly
"How about we hang these in the front of your door at home? What do say Angel? Sound like a good idea?" her father asked
Vera just nodded while she smiled.
Both families had to admit, that this was the best Christmas one could ask for. The fireplace was comforting and the falling snow outside made the home feel cozy and safe on the inside. Surrounded by the one's that they love and care for most, they couldn't ask for anything more.
Even though they were near the end of the road, it gave them something in life to appreciate. Had life been paradisiacal and perfect, one would be unable to appreciate the fact that life is a gift. The good and bad times we share with those who are able to perceive us most wouldn't be of any significance.
Perhaps the possibility of knowing that there was a chance to consummate this life gave them faith.