She’s been quiet for the whole afternoon and something’s definitely wrong with that.
Mulder takes notice first, but he knows that with the Scully women, you have to wait for them to come to you with what’s on their minds-- a lesson he was amazed to learn when his daughter was merely 2 and a half years old.
William tries to cheer her up. He draws her a little bunny rabbit with a cerulean marker on her arm. He brings her some strawberry Starburst. He offers her to swing on his arm. But nope, the child doesn’t crack.
Finally, Mama comes to the rescue. Scully moseys over to the little redhead and holds her. “What’s wrong, Koala?”
"Why don't I have any hand-me-downs?" The child asks almost defiantly, and Mulder makes a mental note to pick up some books about childhood rebellion at the library---He knows that Scully was a handful teenager, she snuck out, smoked, even super-glued the door of her high school shut on the eve of her graduation. For many Thanksgivings, he sat in Maggie’s living room listening to Dana shenanigans and laughed at a sulking and slightly embarrassed Scully. And William was no better. Those monster visions and the two girlfriends and the running away from home for months doing god-knows-what.
Those months on the road did him good, though; William came home a changed boy.
William hasn’t been giving them any trouble at all, and Mulder is secretly glad, for he has no idea how to be a strict parent. You play the good parent, Scully; I’ll play the insane parent, he jokes.
Only more often than not, it isn’t a joke.
In the light of his wife and son’s teenage rebellion phrases, he ends up like the model child. But when Mulder recalls of all the rules he and Scully--well, mostly he-- had broken while working with the FBI, he doesn’t need a prediction from a fortunate-teller to know his daughter will be a challenge.
"Cricket, I'm a boy and you're a girl." William takes on the challenge head-on. My brave boy, Mulder nods approvingly.
"Daddy says I can wear boy clothes too." The child spits out her words like an argument and immediately Mulder turns to look at Scully.
"Baby, William is 18 years older than you and...fashion changes." Scully persuades with an encouraging smile. Good one, Mama. Mulder cheers silently.
The girl pouts: "But Daddy dresses like he did 25 years ago. I have pictures to prove it.”
Mulder looks down and sees himself in black Levi’s and a simple gray t-shirt; he feels like he should say something by now. “But Cricket, my ties looks much better now, thanks to mommy.”
“Yeah, Dad,” William turns his chair to face the man, “What’s that about? Did you get your ties from some estate sale for like, 50 ties for 5 bucks or something?”
“Such bad ties,” William mutters under his breath and pretends to shudder. Maybe the shudder is real; Mulder cannot tell.
"You could’ve saved Bullfrog’s clothes for me. Did you not think that you were gonna have me?” The youngster asks accusingly.
The three adults look at one another nervously. Mom and Dad both have their panic faces on, which William is mimicking quite nicely.
“Cricket, baby,” Scully rubs her daughter’s chubby cheeks, “We didn’t plan to have you, but we certainly prayed to have you. Daddy went and got all your baby clothes before he even knew you were a girl. Not getting hand-me-downs should be the last thing to upset you.”
"Why’d cha want ‘em, anyway?" William finally asks.
“I....I...” She bites her upper lip. “I want to have something of yours so I’ll always be brave, like Bobby Orr.”
“The Hockey guy?” Mulder’s eye brows shoot up.
“We read about him in school. He got hand-me-down skates.” Cricket confesses.
“Here,” William takes his sweater off and puts it on her. “This is your very own, one-and-only hand-me-down sweater from your big brother. You should be able to wear that for the next twenty years.”
“Baby, I’ll give you something really special to me, which belonged to your Grandma Maggie.” Scully hugs her daughter.
Mulder clears his throat. “Well. In keeping the true spirit of hand-me-downs, Cricket, I’m giving you all my ties prior to 1998.” He tries hard to keep his amusement in check, “ ‘cause fashion changes, you know.”