by bardsmaid

AUTHOR: bardsmaid
DISTRIBUTION: Yes, but please let me know where SPOILERS: Herrenvolk
CLASSIFICATION: Christmas vignette
DISCLAIMER: The X-Files characters are the creations of Chris Carter and 1013 Productions; no infringement is intended.
SUMMARY: She can feel more than see it: a warm place, a tree brought in from the outdoors, a boy.

She stirs and, rolling over, sees the star suspended in the blue-blackness of Alberta's night. It is larger than the rest, brighter, and somehow it reminds her of...

Of something.

Her eyes close momentarily. She squeezes against her thick mind, seeking focus, but no clear image comes. One hand slips from the warmth of the blankets as if drawn; she places the pad of a finger against the icy glass. Small, soft puffs of breath cloud the space in front of her.

Finally it comes, like a shadowed form just out of view that will evaporate if faced. She can feel more than see it: a warm place, red and silver and green ribbons, a tree brought in from the outdoors. The heat of a fireplace warms the memory of cheeks and fingers; she hears muffled, smiling voices. Sees a boy.

A different boy, not like the ones she knows: the boy who bunks below her, the one in the next house, the many who work in the fields.

For a moment he stares at her, this curious boy with the brown hair. Her finger starts to move against the cold glass, tracing small, automatic patterns.

Eventually her hand slips back into the blanket. She shivers, crosses her arms and tucks her frozen fingers into the warmth of her armpits.

When the light-haired boy shakes her at dawn, she wakes immediately and gets up as she always does, automatically, pulling on her clothes quickly, braiding her hair and then reaching for her bucket. As she follows the boy out the door, she pauses for a moment. Looks back.

Her eye lights on the windowpane and she scowls momentarily at the strange glyphs traced there until, drawn by instinct, she hurries out to start the day.

Months later, a drifter passing through the nowempty complex happens upon the little cabin. As he looks around the bedroom, the sunset's glow highlights two smudged words on the glass. 'MERRI' reads one that stair-steps its way up the cool pane. The other, at some little distance, reads 'FoX'.


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