Airport Story

Title: Airport Story

Author: Vickie Moseley

Summary: Mulder decides to surprise Scully and Maggie

with a Christmas trip to San Diego, but things don’t

quite work out as planned.

Written for IMTP Virtual Season 10, Christmas Special


Rating: PG

Category: MRS, slight A

Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.

Archive: Two weeks exclusive with VS10, then


Notes: This goes out to all our wonderful readers who

have been so supportive. Happy Holidays to all of


Airport Story

By Vickie Moseley

Mulder looked out at the stark whiteness just beyond

the plate glass window and sighed. On the runways,

nothing was moving, not a luggage carrier, not even

the emergency snowplows that had made their last

sweep about an hour and a half ago. The jets, lined

up and hauntingly dark, were slowly being covered in

a huge mound of snow. It was as if someone had just

dumped half the Arctic Circle on O’Hare International


“It’s not your fault.” He smiled at the words as he

felt the small, warm hand grip his tee shirt covered


He continued to stare out onto the field. “How can

you say that, Scully? I made the reservations. I

booked us on a flight with a layover in Chicago,

knowing full well that winter in the Midwest should

have been one of Dante’s visions of hell. And not

only that,” he said, finally braving a look down into

her eyes, “I just ruined Christmas for your mom.”

Scully joined him in a commiserating sigh. “But you

were trying so hard to do the right thing, Mulder.

Yes, a direct flight would have us at Bill and Tara’s

already,” she said, knowing full well that would have

been assured if she’d made the reservations. “But you

did all this as a surprise, for me and for Mom. And

she appreciates it, really, she does.”

“She hasn’t said two words to me since they announced

the cancellation,” he countered.

“She’s been on the phone to Bill and Tara,” Scully

shot back. “And Charlie and Bonnie. If she can’t be

with them in person, Mom likes to talk.”

He wasn’t buying it. “No, Scully, I screwed the pooch

big time,” he said and sighed again. “Now Bill has

more ammunition for our next encounter, and in the

meantime, we’re going to starve to death at O’Hare


“The CinnaBon is still open,” Scully offered


He burped and grimaced. “That icing always makes me

sick to my stomach,” he groaned. “Too bad the Vienna

hot dog guy had a four wheel drive vehicle. He looked

like the enterprising sort. The kind to make a profit

off others misery.”

She affectionately chucked him in the arm. “C’mon,

come sit down. At least the TVs are still on.”

“Showing in glorious CNN technicolor the path of the

worst winter storm in the upper midwest since the New

Years Eve Blizzard of 1978-79.” Mulder stood his

ground for another minute, then sighed again and

turned back to where their coats and carryon

luggage sat at the end of a long row of industrial

strength black airport chairs.

Surprisingly, other stranded travelers didn’t

surround them. Most planes had been diverted to other

airports and many people had taken up the airlines

offer of free accommodations at nearby hotels. But

the DC flight had been one of the last to arrive and

the hotels had reached capacity, leaving about 150

people scattered around the terminal. At least the

American Airlines ticket clerk had assured them they

would be the first to leave when the weather


The shops were all locked down, the Cinna-Bon

eventually closed up and the passengers all found

quiet corners to huddle under trench coats and ski

jackets, arms wrapped around airplane courtesy

pillows that the stranded flight attendants had

secreted off the plane. Scully had given up talking

to him an hour ago, knowing that in his current

mental funk there was no way to reason with him. She

curled up on the floor, resting her head on her arm,

her hand on his foot, as if he might considered

running off.

Mulder sat with his back against the wall, arms

wrapped loosely around his knees, watching the snow

pile up against the planes and the other assorted

vehicles on the runway. In the near silence of

the terminal, the sound of a throat being cleared

caused him to jump a foot.

“Mrs. Scully,” he gasped out, when he realized who

was settling down next time him. “I thought you were


Maggie smiled at him and shook her head. “My bones

are just too old to be sleeping anywhere but in a

bed, Fox. I cat napped, I’m fine for now.”

If it were possible to feel more guilty, Mulder found

a way. “I’m so sorry, Mrs. Scully. You should be

home. Or at Bill and Tara’s.”

He startled when that statement received a snort. “On

their rollaway? No, thanks, Fox. I think I’d prefer a

nice bed over at the Hilton,” she said with a wink.

“Not that Tara isn’t a perfect little hostess,” she

amended quickly.

Mulder smothered his smirk at her little admission.

“No, she was wonderful the last time we were out.”

“Bill, of course, is another matter all together,”

Maggie gave him another conspiratorial wink. When he

feigned innocence at her remark, she linked her arm

in his. “Oh, Fox. No need to play possum. I know that

Bill has been quite a handful where you are

concerned. I just hope you realize that his is not

the majority opinion in the family.”

Mulder turned his head to gaze back out at the snow.

“I couldn’t blame you if it were the majority

opinion,” he whispered.

Shaking her head, Maggie smacked him lightly on the

arm. “Fox William Mulder, if there is one thing I

want to teach you it’s to get over yourself!”

He snapped his head around to look at her. What had

she said?

“You know, it’s all very nice to feel sorry for

things that you’re responsible for. When you used to

run off without telling Dana where you were going,

for example. That was very disrespectful to her, not

to mention downright dangerous most of the time. I

think guilt over those instances would be well

placed. But . . .” she said firmly, squeezing his arm

gently. “But guilt over things that you have

absolutely no control over is just, well, I’ve always

thought it was very selfish, myself.”

He blinked at her. Had her heard her right? “Selfish?

How is it selfish? I’m admitting that I’m no good,

for you daughter, your family. How is that selfish?”

“OK, maybe selfish is the wrong word,” Maggie

admitted. “Egocentric is probably a better term.” At

his wide-eyed stare she chuckled. “Come on, Fox. How

could you possibly have known it was going to storm

so heavily tonight?”

“Oh, let’s think?” Mulder sneered. “Every weather

report for the last five days, Accuweather on the

internet, the Weather Channel . . .”

“All with possible accumulation of 2 to 4 inches

predicted for the upper Midwest, yes, I know, I’ve

watched my share of the Weather Channel late at

night, too, dear. But not in a single forecast did

anyone predict such winds and blizzard conditions.

And I’ve flown out of BWI with three inches of snow

on the ground. So you couldn’t have known what we

were in for.”

“But I know how weather gets in this part of the

country,” he countered. “Remember, Mrs. Scully, I’ve

been traveling around this country for ten years now.

I should have known better.”

She shook her head. “And if Christmas were a floating

holiday, I’m sure all of this could have been

avoided. But it’s not. It comes once a year.”

“And I’ve screwed up two of them now,” he said

mournfully. “And aided and abetted in screwing up a

third. Not a great track record.”

“Now, if you’re referring to the last Christmas we

spent with Bill and Tara, you better just rethink

that right now,” Maggie bristled. “That was not your

doing, Fox. Whatever happened that year, you were a

voice of reason and restraint with Dana and . . .

little Emily. As for the year you kept Dana out a

little late, well, she got home on time, so that

wasn’t a screw up, either. But we aren’t here to

keep score.”

“I just wanted this Christmas to be happy for her,”

he sighed and reached over to stroke his partner’s

shoulder lightly.

Maggie smiled at his tenderness. “Oh, I have no doubt

that this Christmas is a happy one for her, Fox.”

“Oh, yeah. Stranded in an airport. The perfect

holiday,” Mulder replied with a snort.

“You are never stranded anywhere when you’re with the

one you love,” Maggie shot back with a look so

identical to her daughter’s that it took Mulder’s

breath away. “Do you know how many Christmases I

would have paid good money to be stranded anywhere

with Dana’s father?”

Mulder dropped his eyes. “I have no idea.”

“Four. Four years we were separated on Christmas.

Four years I did up all the stockings, I put out all

the presents, I carved the ham. I went through the

motions, for the kids, but my heart wasn’t in it.

It made me realize something. That, and a little

incident that happened a long time ago, on a

Christmas Eve much like this.” Her voice took on a

playful tone, but her expression was far away.

“I sense a story coming,” Mulder smiled at her.

She returned the smile. “You think you’re the only

one to screw up Christmas, as you so artfully put it.

Well, let me tell you, William Scully, Sr, USN, ran

rings around you, Fox. He could screw up Christmas

with both hands tied behind his back!”

Mulder relaxed against the wall, settling in to enjoy

the story.

“It was the year Dana was born. At Christmas time,

that would have made her about 10 months old. We were

living in Newport News, on the Virginia coast. My

family were all New Englanders, and we hadn’t been

home in a very long time. I asked Bill if we’d be

able to get home for Christmas. He promised to do his


“As you well know, weather was treacherous, the

interstate system was still pretty much under

construction, and I was concerned about traveling

with little ones. Bill was only 4, Missy was right

about 2 and a half and Dana, well, Dana had just

started trying to walk the week before. So the

thought of careening off the highway into a snowpile

held no appeal, to say the least. But Bill was a

man of action, and he had promised me we’d ‘be home

for Christmas’. I swear to God, if I never hear that

damned song again, I’ll die a happy woman,” she said

with an exasperated huff, ignoring the bemused look

Mulder gave her at her forcefully colorful


“We started out with clear skies, dry pavement and

more than enough diapers to hold us till we got to my

sister’s house in Portland. It was more than a day

trip, but we’d decided to drive straight through, I

would spell Bill when he got too tired. And to

be honest, that pretty much was the majority of the

trip, until we hit just north of New York City. An

Alberta Clipper, much like this one, was following

the St. Lawrence and dumped a foot and a half of snow

on New York and New England. We were stopped by state

troopers at the New York border and told the roads

were closed.”

“What did you do?” Mulder asked in rapt attention.

“Well, the reasonable choice would have been to turn

around and go back the way we came, find a motel and

sit it out. However, this was William Patrick Scully,

Lieutenant JG we’re talking about, and he wasn’t

going to let something as measly as 18 inches of snow

stand in the way of himself and a promise. Bill

backed the car around, made to go back the way we’d

come and at the first side road, started north again,

on the back country roads.”

“Weren’t those roads closed, too?” Mulder asked,

leaning forward.

“The north-south roads were icy, yes, but many

farmers had put up snow fences, so some roads were

still passable. But just to get from one little

community to another. There were several roads

that were totally snowed under and Bill would take

out the map we’d picked up at a Standard station and

find another route.”

Mulder snickered, remembering the old Standard

stations with their ‘torches’ on the glass signs.

“We weren’t making any time at all, we were going

mostly west because the northern roads were

impossible. It was about 11:30 when we were coming

into another little town. But this time, Bill

Junior woke up and got all excited. There was a

church up the street and people were going inside. He

decided that we were at my sister’s and it was time

to stop. No amount of talking could convince him that

we still had several hours to go. Well, Bill Senior

looked at Bill Junior, all excited about going to

Middle night Mass, as Billy called it, and without a

word he pulled into the parking lot of the church and

shut off the engine. We got the girls out, Dana was

sound asleep and Missy was crabby from being woken

up, but we all went into the church.

“The service was beautiful, but it seemed a little

off to me. Halfway through the homily, I looked at

the cover of the hymnal and realized we were in a

Lutheran church. Well, it hit me that we’d just

traveled a thousand miles and didn’t even get to the

right religion, much less the right church and I

started giggling. It took me several minutes to get

myself under control, but by that time Bill saw what

I’d already seen and he was starting to gather the

kids to go outside again.

“It was a well placed heel on his shin that stopped

his movements and we politely continued with the

service. The children were too little to notice any

difference and I had Lutheran friends in school so

I’d been to their services. It was so beautiful and

it was wonderful just to be still and not in that

darned car anymore. When the service was over, we

knew we had to go outside and get in the car again.

Missy started to cry, which woke Dana up and then

Billy was upset and I couldn’t take it anymore, I

started to cry right along with them. Bill looked at

me like he was going to bust a gasket, and he just

walked off. I thought he’d left us there. But a

few minutes later, he came back, with the Pastor of

the church in tow. The pastor picked up Missy, took

Billy by the hand and informed me that all of us were

coming to the parsonage, his wife was making up the

beds in the spare room for us. I didn’t have a chance

to say no.

“We thought we’d only stay until morning, but as luck

would have it, the gas line in the car froze solid

that night and we were stranded there for two days.

The Wilsons, that was their names, were delightful

people and opened their hearts and their home to

us. We had a wonderful Christmas Dinner with their

children and somehow presents appeared under the tree

for Billy, Missy and even little Dana. I will never

forget the look on Billy’s face when he was told that

Santa had actually found him in a snow storm! We left

the day after with very warm memories. I got a

Christmas card from them every year until Alice

passed away about ten years ago.”

Mulder smiled and nodded. “But Mrs. Scully, I don’t

see any Lutheran churches in the vicinity,” he


She shook her head. “You are so stubborn, Fox. It’s a

wonder the two of you haven’t killed each other in

the last ten years. But maybe that’s what you do, you

balance each other. You’re right. There aren’t any

churches here. But there is Dana. And you and I both

know there have been times we thought she would never

share another Christmas with us.”

He dropped his chin, acknowledging just how much

truth was in that statement.

“And there have been times when she and I have

worried in the same way about you,” Maggie added,

lifting his chin with her index finger.

Mulder looked in her eyes and realized that she was

speaking the truth there, too.

“You are together. And you’re both safe and warm.

What more could you ask for on Christmas Eve, Fox


“Mulder?” Scully sat up, bed head lifting her auburn

hair in a very unflattering style.

“Right here, Scully,” he said soothingly. He pulled

her up so that she rested her head against his chest.

“Right here.”

“Has it stopped snowing?” Scully asked, yawning so

that her words were almost lost.

“No, but it looks a little lighter, off to the east,”

Mulder replied.

“Maybe that’s the Star of Bethlehem,” Maggie said

with a smile.

“Well, any clearing would come from the west or

north,” Scully mumbled and snuggled down on to

Mulder’s chest. “I think we’re stuck here a while


Mulder lifted his hand and stroked her hair from her

face, but she’d already fallen back asleep. He looked

over at Maggie, who was watching them with such

affection. “There isn’t anyplace I’d rather be.”

The end

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