Title: Fatherly Duty
Author: Twilight
Distribution: Anywhere but please let me know
Rating: G / K
Categories: Story
Keywords: Mulder/Other Friendship
Spoilers: None
Summary: She is always going to be daddy's little girl because a father's work is never done.
Disclaimer: The characters in this story are the property of Chris Carter and Fox. No copyright infringement intended.

Feedback: Please, this is something a little different so I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Fatherly Duty
By Twilight

You know, they say a woman can never really change a man. Well, I stand here today declaring that that simply isn't true. I mean, I'm sure my wife never intentionally set out to change me, but change me she did.

Perhaps I am being a little unfair. It wasn't just her doing, after all it does take two, and the change didn't really occur until that wonderful day when I heard those magical words. "You're a daddy."

Suddenly there was this little person staring up at me, completely dependent on me for their every need. There is nothing else in this world more humbling than that moment. Then as time passed and the babies kept coming, the sense of duty and over protectiveness became stronger and stronger.

This, you understand, is how I find myself standing here today, in an over priced coffee shop, Starbucks. That makes me smile, how appropriate.

The time is now approximately 6am. I was loath to leave my wife this morning, on one of my precious free and unscheduled days, but I knew I still had my duty to perform. She stirred as I slipped from the bed. "Where are you going?" She asked in her salutary lethargic voice." I smiled and replied honestly, as many years of marriage has taught me. "Out to get a coffee." She simply smiled up at me in understanding, that wife of mine knows me all too well.

So, here I stand at 6am looking at a menu of coffee's that I can barely read let alone pronounce. What in God's name is a Macchiato anyway? Thankfully there is a queue in front of me so I have time to weigh up my decision as I scan the crowd looking for a man I have never met, and never even seen.

I eye the hordes and imagine half the people here never actually went home to bed last night, I disregard them and continue my search. My wife told me last night that she has seen a picture of our daughter's new 'partner'. She told me that he was attractive and had a very distinguished profile. Now, knowing my wife as well as I do I can interpret that to mean he has a honking big nose.

I spy a smart looking man sitting on his own over in the corner. His tie has been loosened, his jacket is draped over one of the chairs next to him and his shirtsleeves are rolled up. He doesn't have that big a nose but I think distinguished covers his profile. He seems to be reading over a file; you know I think this just might be the man I'm looking for.

I see him reach for something in his pocket and I pray it isn't his keys. Thankfully it appears to be a snack that he pops into his mouth then discards something into an empty cup on the table. Oh, a sunflower seed shell. This is definitely the man I am looking for. My daughter let slip to me the other day that although hers and her partners personalities are completely different the only thing they ever fight about are sunflower seed hulls. Apparently he leaves them everywhere, my daughter was always raised to keep things ship shape so she finds this character trait of his rather infuriating.

"What can I get you, Sir?"

My eyes widen. Damn, I had been so enraptured by my intended target that I completely forgot about the menu.

"Ummm, a coffee?"

The girl behind the counter looks at me with sympathy. "Do you like black or white coffees, Sir?"

"Black."

"Okay, and would you like a Tall, Grande or Venti?" She smiles at my blank look. "Small, medium or large?"

"Oh, small." I hand over the extortionate amount of money that is displayed on the cash register.

"Tall Americano." She calls out to her colleague before she turns back to me and smiles. "Your order will be at the end of the bar momentarily, Sir."

I express my thanks before heading to the end of the bar and refocusing my attention on the plan in hand. There are still a couple of tables free and I wonder how best to approach my target.

The door jingles making me turn as a young family walk in, that could have been us back in the day but now all our children have grown and flown the coop. The parents direct the children to the last two tables making me smile. Someone must be watching out for me, probably my old mom, she never could mind her own business, must be where I get it from.

I like to tell myself that it is fate that leads to any given situation and that fate always takes a helping hand. Take for example today's events. How did I know that my daughter's partner would be here today? Well, it was my daughter herself that gave fate that helping hand. She told me only yesterday that a few days ago she had bumped into her partner at this very spot on her way to work. A few well placed questions on time and exact location were all it took to conspire with fate herself.

She had been so engrossed in her story that she hadn't even noticed my questions. She was telling me how amused she had been that rumours had been fuelled after her and her partner had arrived at work together at 7am. When I asked why that would fuel rumours she actually blushed. There are certain things that you don't talk with your daddy about. I know my daughter is not as innocent as I would like her to be, but to me she will always be my innocent little girl.

I accept my coffee from the young Latino behind the bar before I approach the young man. I realise just how intent he is on his work, it seems almost a shame to interrupt him... almost.

"Excuse me son, is this seat taken?" He looks up at me blankly. "All the tables are full." He seems to take a moment to realise where he is and that I am addressing him.

"Sorry, Sir. No, it's not taken. Please..." He indicates the free chair as he shuffles his paperwork into more orderly piles. I can see why this might irritate my little girl.

"I don't mean to interrupt your work, son." He smiles at that, maybe he knows I'm lying.

"It's okay, Sir. I'm about due a break." Sir again. Shows he knows to respect his elders. I think I like him already.

"Are you with the bureau?" I ask casting my eyes to the official looking seal on the front of one of his folders.

He seems to stiffen slightly before following my gaze. "Oh, yes, Sir."

I nod absently. I don't think this is going to be as easy as I thought. My daughter told me her partner was paranoid but even in a coffee shop? Admittedly, I have intentionally met him in order to interrogate him but he doesn't know that. Maybe he just has good instincts. Come to think about it, I think she said something along those lines too.

"My little girl has just joined you guys." I state, hoping that by offering some of myself up he might open up to me.

"Your little girl?" He asks confused.

"Okay, I guess she isn't a little girl any more." I smile and he does the same.

"In what capacity?" He asks leaning back in his chair and crossing his legs at his ankles appearing to have relaxed a little.

"A special agent, an active field agent." He smiles at me knowingly. "I can't say I'm too happy about it."

"You should be proud. It takes a certain kind of person to reach field agent status." He's not passing judgement on me, merely stating his opinion.

"I am proud. Very proud. It's just... she's still my little girl, you know?" Deep down I know I shouldn't worry but I can't help it.

He's smirking at me. I should have known better. My daughter told me he's a psychologist, a behavioural profiler. I bet he's analysing me right now.

"I understand." He assures me. "It's natural to worry."

"Even though she's all grown up?"

He nods, God bless him, I think he understands. "I don't think a parent should ever stop worrying about their child. In my opinion it's a sign of a good parent, a truly devoted one. It should be in the job description."

He's suddenly looking awfully perturbed and downcast. His eyes appear almost haunted. I get the feeling there's a lot more to this man then I realised.

"I get the feeling you never experienced that kind of childhood."

He starts fiddling with the files in front of him making me worry momentarily that he's going to bolt before he digs into his pocket and extracts some more sunflower seeds. I guess it must be a nervous habit.

"I guess you could say I had an atypical dysfunctional family life as a child."