A Father's Right

Author: Langleigh

E-mail: langleigh75@yahoo.com

Rating:PG

Category: S, A, implied MSR

Keywords: Mulder, William

Spoilers: most "William" other S8 & 9 as they crop up

Archiving: Yes at XFMU, Ephmeral and Gossamer. All others must ask me first.

Disclaimers: The characters and concepts of the X-Files belong to people other than me. People with lots more money than me. Such is life...

Summary: William's father comes to claim him

Author's Note: Lara challenged us to write a fic about how we think it should really end. This was inspired by that challenge, but it was too late in coming for to me, or else I would have submitted it for her challenge contest. Also, since I couldn't remember the names of William's adoptive parents, I'm giving the names John and Rebecca Matthews.

"A Father's Right"

[A secluded home in the midst of vast farm land in Wyoming]

Rebecca Matthews was hanging clothes on a line to dry in the warm summer breeze. Beside her, on a blanket spread across the ground, a year-old child sat gurgling happily. He was fascinated with a blade of grass in front of him and the ladybug crawling across it. The woman hums as she works.

A van pulls into the driveway, and a conservatively dressed woman gets out. A lanky man in blue jeans and a non-descript, dark colored sweatshirt follows her. He is wearing a Yankee's ball cap and sneakers. Rebecca recognized the woman immediately--she was the social worker who had brought Baby William from the adoption agency. The man was no one she knew. Instinctively, she picked up her son, clutching him in her arms tightly, and began walking towards her unexpected guests.

"Hello!" she greeted the social worker warmly, trying to hide her uncertainty with a smile. They shook hands. The other woman seemed nervous.

"Is your husband home?" she asked, stalling.

"He's in the garage, working on the lawn mower," William's new mother replied. "I can get him if you'd like?"

The other woman nodded. "That would be nice."

A few minutes later, they were seated in the family's kitchen. Rebecca busied had made coffee, and they each had one. The stranger in the ball cap did not drink his, however. He merely fingered the rim of the cup and cast sideways glances at the baby sitting the lap of his adoptive mother.

"I can't tell you how surprised we are to see you," Mr. Matthews told the social worker. "You said everything was in order with William's adoption. We're just waiting on the papers to come back from the lawyers office."

The woman nodded grimly. "I know that's what I said," she began. "But things have changed somewhat."

"Changed? How?" Rebecca looked straight at the stranger in her kitchen who so far hadn't said two words other than to thank her for the coffee he hadn't touched.

The social worker noticed the look she had given the man and nodded slightly. "John... Becky..." she began nervously. "This Mr. Mulder. He claims to be William's father."

The couple was stunned. They stared at Mulder in silence and then looked at their son as if trying to find a similarity between him and man before them.

"H-how?" Mrs. Matthews choked out at last. "You said William's mother was a single parent."

Mulder cut in before the social worker could answer. "William's mother and weren't together at the time. It was stupid, really." Here he ran his fingers through his hair. "I didn't think I was ready for a family, and after William was born, we fought, and I left. I didn't know she'd given him up until I came back."

Mr. Matthews glared at Mulder angrily. He wondered how anyone wouldn't have wanted a child as special as William. He also doubted this man's story. "How do we know you're telling us the truth?" he asked.

The social worker spoke up now. "Of course, we'd have to have blood tests, just to confirm Mr. Mulder is the baby's father, but..."

"But?" Rebecca asked.

"I'm sorry, Becky," the social worker said with a sigh. "If this man is William's biological father, he has the right to take his son back."

*x*X*x*



[Dr. Dana Scully's office, Quantico, a few months later]



The envelope was unmarked, with no return address or even the name of the sender. Scully knew she should be wary in this age of uncertainty. It could be anything form anthrax to a tiny bomb set to go off when the paper ripped. She opened it anyway, using the letter opener from her desk. It was a letter written on ruled notebook paper...

... and in Mulder's hand.



::Dear Scully,:: he wrote. ::I know you must be surprised to see this letter. Maybe I shouldn't have risked myself like this, but I feel like I owe you an explanation. I'm sorry I stopped e-mailing you so suddenly, but I needed to think about what you'd said regarding our son. I know you did what you thought was right for William, and I had no right to me angry with you. I wasn't there to stop you, after all. But as William's father, I have another right.::

"Uh oh," Scully thought aloud. "Mulder what are you talking about?"

::The right to claim him as my own, on my own. Maybe I shouldn't have, maybe I can't raise a child a child on the run like this, but I can't let him go, either. The only thing keeping me sane has been the thought that the woman I love and the son our love created are waiting for me. And your decision took that sanity from me. And so, you see, I had no other choice to go to Wyoming and get my son.::

Scully gasped, nearly dropping the letter as her hand flew to cover her mouth in an expression of shock. Her eyes were watering.

::William and I miss you, my love, and can't wait for a day when we can be together again. I know we'll find away.::

Also inside the envelope was a single Polaroid picture: Mulder holding his son in his arms. Mulder was where blue jeans, a gray sweatshirt and his Yankee's cap. William had grown considerably in the moths since she'd seen him last. His hair was starting to grow past the light peach fuzz she remembered.

Holding the picture to her heart, Scully began to cry.

(end)