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After the debacle with her house in DC proper, Scully moved back into the Unremarkable House, as they’d come to call it. She set the insurance claim into motion and hired a realtor to sell the Artificial Intellihouse, as Mulder had come to call it. She moved back into his life with a wardrobe of somber suits, a box of books and mementos, and an appointment to see a new counselor. There wasn’t much else remaining of decade of separation.

 

Now, she’s unpacking the box and the suits, rediscovering where Mulder keeps the coffee and bread and firewood. Skinner is still in the hospital two weeks out, and she suspects he’s the reason she and Mulder are on a month-long mandated leave rather than fired.

 

They visit Skinner most days. There isn’t much else to do. After one such visit, Scully drags Mulder to the Target between GW Hospital and home.

 

“I think Target is a liminal zone.” Mulder swings their joined hands after his statement.

 

“A what?”

 

“Come on, Scully. You have a degree in physics.”

 

“That was thirty-three years ago.” She watches in some amusement as he pulls away from her to grab a tiny Washington Wizards shirt off the rack by the door. “No, Mulder-“ Her protest is half-hearted at best.

 

“It’s adorbs.” He grins when she rolls her eyes and tosses it into the basket. “Besides, we might as well blow through our last paycheck before Kersh realizes we got it.” They had been suspended on payday, but the paychecks went through at midnight, two hours before Kersh was awakened, yet again, by a complaint about his two least-favorite agents.

 

“Fine.” She grasps his hand again and they continue wandering through the aisles. “Why is Target a liminal zone?”

 

“We came here for two things right? And we’re going to be here another hour. It’ll feel like five minutes, but we’ll have about seven things we didn’t know we needed when we leave.”

 

“Hmm.” His theory sounds about right. “It’s not beyond the realm of extreme possibility.”

 

“Dear diary,” he starts, pausing to look at dish detergent, one of the things they do need. “Today my heart leapt when- oh, Scully, do you want lemon or lavender or unscented?”

 

“You almost sound like a regular civilian now. You’ve gone from spontaneous combustion to soap.”

 

“I’m on the up-and-up now, haven’t you heard?” He holds up the off-brand Up-&-Up and Scully rolls her eyes again, suppressing a smile. “Lemon?”

 

She nods, and they’re off again. She pulls him through the houseware section, and they quietly walk past children’s bedding, and he’s almost certain that the aisle they’re in is the threshold of Target’s ethereal alternate universe. It’s like another world where they’re surrounded by trees, deer, and fairies. Scully halts and looks at a section filled with 'Woodland Whimsy.' The sheets are patterned with forest animals and evergreens and little tents. Her lips twist, and she bends to pick the matching stuffed fox up from the shelf.

 

“Too cliché?” she asks.

 

He scans the shelf and picks up a bear with a crown of felted flowers. “Not if we get this one, too.” She frowns, eyebrows creasing, so he explains. “If we’re getting a fox, then we need a mama bear to go with.” He knows he said the right thing when she smiles and twists to allow him to drop the bear into the basket.

 

They stop in the ceramics to replace the dishes and mugs that were broken when the assassins had so rudely interrupted what was to be a quiet dinner. Mulder should have replaced them earlier, but he got by with two dishes when it was just him in the house. With Scully back full-time, they need a few more.

 

She decides Scandinavian woods must be the new spring trend when she finds mugs with the same kind of art as Woodland Whimsy. Mulder chuckles at them, though, so they get two: one that says hey there, hot stuff and the another saying bear with me, appropriately decorated.

 

“This bear is you, too, Scully. You can be a real beastwoman without caffeine.”

 

She sighs in mock exasperation. “And does that make you hot stuff?”

 

“Well, it does have a fox on it.”

 

“A red fox. You’re more of a silver fox, nowadays.”

 

He side-eyes her silently. He should have known she had a ready retort when she hadn’t complained about being called a beastwoman.

 

She reaches over and strokes his cheek quickly, unwilling to do more in public. “That’s okay, Fox. You’re exactly my type now. Not that I didn’t like you a couple decades ago, but. . .”

 

He groans quietly. He had set himself up for a whole string of backhanded compliments, and Scully had executed them perfectly.

 

“Shall we?” She leads the way out of faux-Ikea and back to the grocery section of the store, where time seems to resume more of a normal pace. They pick up bread, spinach, oatmeal, chicken, his Men’s 50+ vitamins and her prenatals. It feels strange picking them both up together, and Scully seems to think the same thing, wrinkling her nose as she passes him her vitamins.

 

Ten minutes later, they are outside in the cool spring sunshine, walking back to his ‘stang, each carrying two bags.

 

He glances at his watch as he unlocks the car, and sure enough, it’s close to four, almost two hours after they arrived. He’s not bothered. It’s not as though he has anywhere to be. Scully slides into the passenger seat, and he passes her his bags. They all fit around her feet. It’s more than another hour before they reach home, most of it spent trying to get on and off the Beltway, a nightmare in the late afternoon.

 

Back at the House, his car rumbles into its place next to Scully’s dented SUV. Everything moved so quickly after she crashed that she’d never gotten around to getting it completely and literally straightened out. It was road-safe again, but the paint was still scuffed and the fender was a little crooked yet. Now that they won’t be out of town every few days on cases, they have the time to fix it up.

 

Mulder stretches his arms as he walks around the hood. Scully is already out when he gets to her, but she passes him the bags and leads the way inside. He sets them on the kitchen table, where they immediately fall over. Scully takes the two toys and sets them to the side and watches as he puts the food away.

 

“Dinner?”

 

She shakes her head. It’s not one of her better days. Most of the time, she feels faintly ill, unlike she had with William. With William, she rarely felt sick, which let her work through most of her pregnancy under John Doggett’s nose. Lots of things are different this time around, not the least of which is her age. She suspects that’s why she’s having a harder time.

 

“You go ahead.”

 

“Nah, I can wait for a while. Want to take them-“ Mulder flicks a finger towards the fox and bear. “Upstairs?”

 

In answer, she picks them up and starts for the stairs.

 

“Who’d’ve ever thought we’d fill this house up?” He asks rhetorically. “We have to share the office now.”

 

“Don’t remind me.”

 

“There’s our room, William’s room, if he ever drops by. . .” Mulder is forcefully optimistic that their son will come to see them. Hours after the disaster on the dock, they had been released to go home. It was well past dawn when they’d collapsed onto the bed. Scully had fallen asleep almost immediately, completely drained. Mulder had been drowsing when her sharp gasp woke him. She had bolted upright, eyes wide. Her visions had returned, and she'd seen flashes of a river, a gas station, one of the larger Metro stations- perhaps L’Enfant, with its tall arches and crossing tracks, and William’s black coat.

 

In the time since, she’s only had two more visions, but they are enough to convince both her and Mulder that William was out there. She tries to talk to him, thinking messages as loudly as she could, and she can only hope they would somehow reach their son. She hopes he's safe. He can come to her. She loves him.

 

“And her room? His room?” Mulder steps through the last doorway.

 

They both look around the smallest bedroom. It’s bright, and the ceiling slopes down a little, since it’s at the back of the house.

 

“I think it’ll be her room.”

 

“Got a feeling about it?” Mulder asks. “You don’t know yet, do you?” She’d had one appointment since she’d told him she was pregnant, and he’d gone with. Unless his memory was failing him, the doctor hadn’t said anything about the baby’s gender.

 

“You can’t tell until later, no.” Scully steps into the room, running a hand over the shelf built into the wall. “I just think it would be nice to. . . even the odds.” She methodically snaps the tags off the animals and settles them on the shelf in the sunlight. “Assuming we get to that point.” She was trying to be optimistic, but she knew her medical history, knew how to interpret it.

 

“Hey now.”

 

She casts a glance at him, but doesn't bother replying. They had covered all the angles and arguments already.

 

Mulder sits down on the floor and sprawls backward across it. There aren’t chairs- or any furniture, for that matter- in the room. He can hear Scully settling next to him.

 

“Do you think yellow would be nice?” The walls were a bland cream color. “What about green? We could really rock the Target theme like that.”

 

She chuckles. “It would certainly be fitting.”

 

“For my side of the family, yeah. I suppose we could also go with a beach-y theme for the Scullys. Ocean. Blue. Battleships.”

 

Scully slowly reclines, and he tucks his arm around her. “I don’t know, Mulder. We’ve already made a statement with the animals.”

 

“That’s true. And neither Daggoo or I are too great at swimming. Maybe we should stick with the woods theme.”

 

“Where is he, by the way? He usually comes up with us.” The dog had been living with Scully in her house and made the move out to Mulder’s with her. He seemed to relish his freedom to roam the pasture around the house. In a stunning display of technological competency, Mulder had installed a buried electric dog fence. Daggoo wore the corresponding collar and stayed within the fence boundary, wandering in and out of the house through the new dog door.

 

“Probably outside. There was a dead rabbit out back this morning. He’s probably eating it.”

 

Scully gags, and Mulder readies to jump to his feet and follow her to the bathroom, but she manages to suppress it as she tenses next to him. After a minute of silence she speaks again. “As long as he keeps it outside the house, we’ll be fine.”

 

He stares at the ceiling, tracing the grooves and whorls of the wood with his eyes. Scully resettles against his arm, warm on his side.

 

“Mulder?”

 

“Hm?”

 

“What do you want to name her?”

 

He's surprised. It is unlike her to think so far ahead about the pregnancy. Today seems to be defying the odds.

 

“William. . . ina,” he jokes.

 

Scully snorts. “We could call her Billy.”

 

“Speaking of Bill-“

 

“No, I haven’t told him. It’s not like I have to worry about running into him on accident. He’s still in California, I think.” Last she knew, he and Tara were still at their clapboard, pseudo-Victorian in San Diego. Matthew is nineteen, if she remembers correctly, old enough to be in college or the military. She is sure he’s in one or the other, but she doesn’t know which. She hasn’t been in touch since Maggie’s death.

 

“Will you tell him?"

 

“I suppose so. I mean. . .” There are a thousand reasons why she doesn’t want to talk to Bill or Charlie, but they’re going to have a new niece or nephew, and she can’t deny them that knowledge. Since their mother’s death, Charlie has maintained his usual lukewarm connections to her and Bill, but Bill hasn’t spoken to her once. She’s not sure why exactly, but she can assume it’s the usual: she’s the family black sheep, on the run, in and out of medical practice and the FBI, causing endless grief. He’s never quite forgiven her for Missy’s death, either, and that particular wound still festers, exacerbated by the previous year. “I should.”

 

Mulder sighs. “We could just keep avoiding him. It’s not like he’ll invite us to Christmas dinner either way.” He sounds faintly hopeful at the prospect of not having to tell Bill Scully that Scully is pregnant again. Out of wedlock. Again. Maybe they won’t have to go, even if Bill offers, as Scully will either be near her due date or they’ll have a newborn on their hands.

 

“Mulder. . .” Despite her tone, there is a faint note of amusement.

 

“I know.”

 

“At least Tara makes that marionberry pie you like. If we play our cards right, she might make it when she forces Bill to invite us out for Christmas.” Scully laughs, despite the situation. “He may not want to, but she’s too polite.”

 

“What about Yarrow?” He asks suddenly. Christmas is far away, just like Bill Scully, and he doesn’t want to think about either subject. With retail stores the way they are, Christmas already comes about four months of the year, and that’s more than enough.

 

“What?”

 

“For names. Yarrow. It was an old remedy-“

 

“For infection and pain, yes. They called it soldier’s wound-wart.” It’s pretty, she’ll grant him that. A little unusual, but then again. . . some of the names she’s seen for children recently make Yarrow sound perfectly mundane.

 

“Rosemary. 'That’s for remembrance. Pray you love, remember.'”

 

Scully makes a small noise. “I like that.”

 

“But?” He can hear the objection in her tone.

 

“I don’t want to tie her to the past.”

 

“Not everything in our past is bad. There were some good times.”

 

“That’s true.” She shifts against him again. “Let’s keep it on the list.”

 

“The list?” They had a list? “What’s on it?"

 

“Hmm. Rosemary, Yarrow. . . Not Maggie or Missy. I- It’s- I can’t explain it, but it doesn’t feel right. Samantha?”

 

Mulder rocks his head back and forth against the hardwood floor. “No. Sam is. . . Sam’s gone now. I don’t need to drag her with me anymore.”

 

It’s a powerful statement to be uttered so simply. “Okay. What about Tess?” She throws out another name she’s been sitting on. She doesn’t know any Tesses, and it feels like a fresh start.

 

“Tess. What about Maeve? She was an Irish warrior queen, back in the day."

 

“Back in the day,” Scully laughs.

 

There’s a clicking noise downstairs, and they both pause to listen.

 

“Daggoo must have finished with that damn rabbit.”

 

“No.” Mulder sits up, pulling her up with him. “That was the front door. Dog door’s in the back.”

 

They’re both on their feet immediately, serious again, creeping down the hall to the bedroom, where their personal weapons are. Kersh confiscated their badges and service weapons when he put them on leave, but they both have back ups. Scully waits in the hall and Mulder pulls the guns off the top of the dresser and checks them over quickly before returning to her side and passing her weapon over.

 

“Stay behind me,” he whispers. “I’ll take the left and go to the kitchen. You take the hall.”

 

She nods and they begin easing down the stairs, picking their way to keep the creaking to a minimum. The sun is going down, and the downstairs is dusky, filled with familiar half-shapes and shadows.

 

Dana?

 

Scully freezes on the stairs.

 

Dana, it’s me. Is this your house?

 

Her vision suddenly shifts, and she can see the living room from the kitchen, maybe Mulder’s foot, though most of him is still out of sight.

 

Yes, she thinks, before pushing past Mulder. She catches a glimpse of herself from William’s point of view before her sight is her own again. She staggers slightly on the steps, trying to coordinate her sight with her limbs again.

 

“Scully!” Mulder doesn’t bother being quiet. He trails her as quickly as he can, clearing the hall as she pounds down the last few stairs and runs across the room.

 

“William!”

 

The boy sticks his head out from around the corner and steps out into full view when he realizes he’s not about to be tossed to the floor and handcuffed.

 

“Hi. Uhm, sorry for just coming in. I didn’t have your phone number or anything, and I didn’t know if you could hear me, but I guess this answered that.” He doesn’t look too worse for the wear, a little dirty, but whole. “I didn’t want to wait outside, ‘cause it’s getting cold and I wasn’t sure if you were home. Sorry."

 

She frowns as she remembers what Mulder told her of that night, and sweeps her son’s hair back from his face. There’s no mark on his forehead. She pulls back slightly, and William knows what she’s thinking, even though he doesn't read her mind.

 

“I don’t know what happened. It just. . . I don’t know. It healed up by itself, like, it was still pink this morning, but now it’s back to normal. Or whatever, since this isn’t really normal.”

 

Mulder flips his gun's safety back on. “Your mom can do it.”

 

William whips around to look at Scully. “What?”

 

“No, not really. Maybe,” she says, knowing Mulder is talking about her supposed immortality. “It’s unconfirmed. It’s a long story.” She sets her gun down and takes a moment to look at her son, really look at him for the first time in seventeen years. “What are you doing here? What happened?”

 

“It’s a long story,” he parrots back. “Is it really okay that I just dropped by?”

 

“Yeah,” Mulder says. “We were hoping you would.” He pauses, then smiles slightly. “We’ve missed you.”

 

There is a sudden slap of the actual dog door, followed by skittering noises, and Daggoo rockets around the corner, nearly sliding out as he makes the turn from the hallway.

 

William grunts as the terrier rams into his legs, tail wagging furiously, and then he hoists the dog up, ruffling his fur.

 

Mulder steps up behind Scully and leans forward to whisper in his ear. “The dog likes him, so I think we’re okay.” He’s only half-joking.

 

“Who’s this?”

 

“That is Daggoo.” Scully smiles, and it feels good, like a weight’s been lifted. She turns the tea kettle on and turns to William. “Stay for dinner?” She wants him to stay longer, much longer, but dinner seems a good place to start.

 

“Yeah, that’d be cool.”

 

Mulder tries not to ask too many questions all at once, but he doesn’t have any answers. “Where have you been the last week?”

 

William shrugs and sets Daggoo down again. “I was just kind of around. Washington isn’t a bad place to find places to sleep at night.”

 

“You stayed at shelters, then?” Scully asks, her back turned as she pulls pots out of the cabinets.

 

“Yeah, it was okay. No big deal.”

 

Scully nods, but Mulder knows she’s upset. She doesn’t like the idea that their son- yes, theirs, reconfirmed by quiet DNA testing of the blood he left on the dock- spent a couple weeks on his own rather than coming to her. “How did you get out here?”

 

“Hitchhiked.” He’d thought about Uber-ing and just doing another Jedi-mind-trick to make the guy think he’d been paid, but it didn’t seem right, especially since the drive was so long.

 

“Will- Jack-” she pauses. “Which do you prefer?”

 

“Um. . .” He’s petting Daggoo with one foot. “My pare- other parents called me Jackson, but can we try Will?” He doesn’t feel like Jackson anymore. Jackson died at home with his mother and his father. At the same time, he isn’t William, either. That name belongs to his biological mother, not him.

 

“Sure.” Scully’s voice wavers slightly and she abruptly changes subjects. “Is grilled cheese and tomato soup alright for dinner?"

 

“Yeah, sounds good.”

 

As Scully starts getting dinner together, Mulder goes to the fridge for drinks. “Water, tea, coffee?”

 

“Do you have decaf?”

 

It’s a surprisingly mature answer, and Mulder nods. They’re well-stocked with decaf grounds now that Scully is cutting back her caffeine intake. She near-about lives off of coffee, and the transition to decaf is hard, though it’s better than quitting coffee cold-turkey.

 

“Yeah. Take a seat, if you want.”

 

Will flops into one of the chairs at the dining table and immediately notices the bullet holes. Mulder had sanded them smooth while Scully laughed. He said it added character to the table. He was intending to fill them in eventually.

 

“What’s this?”

 

“Ah-“ Mulder stumbles on his explanation. He doesn’t want Will to feel unsafe in the house, but he doesn’t want to lie, either.

 

“It’s a long story, that’s what,” Scully cuts into the conversation much like her mother used to. “We’ll tell you later?”

 

“Sure.” Will watches her as she slices cheese with an anatomist’s precision. “What do you guys do? I mean, I know you’re FBI or whatever.”

 

“Or whatever. We’re suspended right now.” Mulder sounds slightly pleased with himself. With the latest suspension, they’ve cemented their place as the top two most-suspended agents in the history of the Bureau. “I have a good feeling that we’ll get our jobs back if we still want them, though.” Skinner builds incredible arguments in their favor, and between himself and Scully, they even have five commendations within the last year. She has four of them. Nevertheless, they haven’t decided if they do want to go back. Scully’s thinking about clinical practice again. Her certifications are still current. Mulder is thinking about semi-retiring and acting as a part-time psychological consultant.

 

“Oh.” Will accepts the mug Mulder passes him. It’s not one of the Target ones. It’s one of Scully’s, from Maine. “What are you doing now, then?”

 

Mulder takes a long drink and contemplates his answer, but Scully beats him to it.

 

“Will, how much of our conversation on the dock did you overhear after. . . you fell into the river?” It seems like a non-sequitur, but she needs to know how much he knows before she can begin. She needs to know if she should begin with an apology or if the past can be left well enough alone.

 

He looks at her and frowns momentarily. “Not much, really. Just emotions really. I felt them. You felt. . . sad. You both did. And then scared and excited. Why?”
“You really cut to the chase don’t you?” Mulder says, and Will shrugs. “You get from Scully.”

 

“Will?” She asks. She’s not sure what to tell him, so she decides to answer a question with a question. Diversionary tactics.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“There’s a room upstairs,” Scully tells him. “If you want to stay for as long or little as you like. There’s only one bathroom, but if you don’t mind that, you’re welcome to stay.” So much for just starting with dinner.

 

“Really?” It feels like some sort of trick but for the fact that he knows these people have spent months, if not years, looking for him and maybe even loving him. He’s not really sure if he even wants to stay with the Feds, but he misses having somewhere to call home, even though it’s only been a few months since he had one.

 

“Yes. As long as you like,” she adds, as though she’s read his mind.

 

“Would you, like, want me to go to school and stuff?”

 

She’s quiet. She went through high school in three years, college in three, and was immediately accepted into medical school. Mulder had the old New England pedigree. “I’d like if you went to school, but it’s not a deal-breaker.”

 

“You’re a doctor?”

 

“Yes. I don’t practice anymore. I just perform autopsies for the FBI.”

 

“You used to practice?”

 

“I was a pediatrician for a while, specializing in unusual cases.” As she said it, she realizes how much her description sounds like the formal description of the X-Files.

 

“And you’ve always been at the FBI?” This is directed to Mulder.

 

“Yeah. I’m a psychologist. Always at the FBI, though.”

 

“And between two doctors, you’d be okay if I didn’t do school?” Will sounds skeptical.

 

Scully shrugs. “It’s not our choice, William. It’s yours, and we’ll respect that.”

She’d like him to finish high school, yes, but she can work on that argument if he stays.

 

“Would I have to camp out here, or could I get a job and do normal-people stuff?”

 

“We have a set of documents for you.” The Gunmen’s last gift. Several years back, Mulder had gone back to their bunker to clear it out and found a thick packet of papers both for William Scully and other children bearing his photo but not his name: birth certificates, vaccination records, school records, driver’s licenses and passports current through 2020. It was all falsified, but well-done. They had put together enough information for William to fly under the radar until he was a legal adult, if Scully found him before then and needed to hide him. Mulder has spent much of the previous two weeks thinking about that. He didn’t think they’d need the false documents, but he appreciated the safety net. “You can do normal-people stuff. As long as you don’t blow anyone’s head off,” he adds quickly.

 

Will looks down. “Yeah. I’m trying to work on that.”

 

“Good.”

 

As Mulder gets up to help Scully, their son suddenly remembers he’s been very effectively side-tracked. “What are you doing since you’ve been suspended? Since that night on the dock.” He doesn’t like how they look at each other, communicating silently, so he tries to listen in on their thoughts. He’s not as good at hearing thoughts as he is sending them and projecting images, but he can usually get the general idea from the emotions. Emotions are louder than actual words, though simple sentences come easily. “Do you have. . .” He pauses, trying to piece it together, and it hits him. The feelings he gets from Dana and Mulder are the same as he got from his parents. “Do you have another kid?” Shit, he’s dangerous, can’t be around another kid. What if he does something to it? He pushes his chair back, but Mulder grabs his wrist.

 

“Will, wait.”

 

“I can’t- I’m not safe-“

 

Dana is suddenly at his side, small in comparison. “William,” she says softly. “It’s just us here. And the dog. Please wait.”

 

Her thoughts feel odd to him, but he stops trying to pull free. “I don’t think I’m a good influence on other kids,” he tells her bluntly.

 

“We’ve got time to work on that.” She sits in Mulder’s vacated chair, pulling Will with her. “First things first,” she says sharply, “You need to stop listening in on people’s minds. It’s rude and you aren’t getting the full picture.”

 

She sounds like a mom in that moment, and he looks away and reflexively apologizes. “Sorry. Wait, how did you know?”

 

“I can feel you. It’s like a pressure in my mind. Subtle, but there.”

 

He looks to Mulder, and the man shakes his head. “I’m not part of the club.”

 

“William.” She calls his attention back. “I feel like we’re throwing information at you, and I’m sorry, but don’t want you to feel like we’re hiding things, either. We. . . did have another child. You had a half-sister, many, many years ago.”

 

“Emily,” Mulder supplies quietly as he stirs the soup on the stove.

 

“Yes.” Scully is quiet for a moment. She doesn’t usually think about Emily every day anymore, but lately her daughter has been invading her thoughts more often. Emily would be in her twenties now. “Emily died a long time ago.”

 

“Oh. I’m sorry.” The statement is reflexive again, but he finds he genuinely means it.

 

Scully smiles faintly at him. “Thank you.” She sighs heavily, then reaches out and rests her hands on his. “We may have another child, though."

 

Will is confused. It seems like an awfully sappy way to tell him they still want him. “What?”

 

“I found out two weeks ago that I’m pregnant.” His face must give his shock away, because she laughs at him for a moment. “That’s how we felt, too.”

 

Shit. Shit. Shit, they definitely won’t want him around a baby.

 

“Will. Calm down. I just wanted to let you know. It doesn’t change anything we’ve said. You’re still welcome, more than welcome to stay-“

 

“Are you sure?”

 

“Yes. I’d like to get to know you.” She quotes his own words back at him, and he wonders how her mind works. She didn't initially come off as anything more than another federal suit, but she’s scarily sharp, he realizes. “We’ve got plenty of time to work things out.” She shifts her weight and seems to brace herself for his reply.

 

“That’s why you felt excited and worried, then, on the dock?” He can do the math. The night on the dock was a couple weeks ago, and what he read of the emotional situation would fit with one person surprising the other.

 

“Mm.” His birth mother inclines her head. She’s back in control of herself already.

 

“Why were you sad? Do you not want another kid?”

 

Based on his run-ins with them, they seem like solitary people. They’re out of town a lot, from what he can tell, and don’t seem the type to go out on Taco Tuesdays with their coworkers.

 

Dana- is that what he should call her?- is the first one to speak. She tucks her short red hair behind her ear and sighs. “It’s complicated. I know that isn’t what you want to hear, but it’s the truth. There are a lot of factors going into this, Will, and it’s not as simple as wanting her or not. The short answer is yes. Yes, I want your sister.”

 

He flinches at the title. Sister. His mother- mother?- notices and reaches her hand out to his.

 

“I also have to think about my age. I’m. . . older than ideal, and that has the potential to be a problem. We-“ she tilts her head at Mulder. “Have busy jobs, so we’ll have to figure out what to do about that, assuming they want to keep us on and we don’t just decide to take our pensions and retire.”

 

Mulder laughs. "I think they might finally be ready to wash their hands of me. They like you, Scully. They might even keep you around just to scare the trainees straight. Spooky Scully.”

 

She smiles briefly, then refocuses. “It’s just a lot to think about.”

 

Will just nods.

 

Mulder swears suddenly and turns back to the stove to rescue the grilled cheese.

 

The house is pretty unremarkable, Will thinks, but it feels like home. It smells like lemon polish and wood smoke and now burnt toast. He’s always wanted a dog. He accepts a cup of coffee from Mulder, passes it to Dana, and accepts a second cup. They’re quiet, not uncomfortably so, and Will starts to relax. The setting sun lowers just enough that it catches on something the kitchen windowsill, casting bright reflections. Will looks over and notices a cracked snowglobe next to a cactus and a solar-powered alien.

 

“You kept it.”

 

Dana doesn’t have to check and see what he’s talking about. “Yes. We did."