Mon, 30 Jun 97
Author: Susan Proto
Category: Story, Angst, UST,
Rating: PG (for some language.)
Spoilers: Through the fourth season; the major events are mentioned and/or
Summary: Mulder becomes seriously ill and family and friends must pull
together to offer him and each other comfort and support.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to 10/13 productions and Chris
Carter. Since I sometimes have delusions of grandeur and actually think I
knowwhat I'm doing, I am borrowing them. I promise I won't keep them
(unlessMr. Carter wants me to)and I will give them back at the end of the
Though I have read tons and tons of fan fic, and have marveled at the
incredible quality of it, I must confess this is the first fan fic I have
written with the intention of actually submitting it for public approval.
It is amazing how once you start writing,
these things do tend to take on a life of their own. Keep in mind, I am a
sensitive soul,and would love constructive criticism, but could definitely
do without the flames. And if you like it?? Oh, please, please, let me
know if you like it. Should I take it to the next step, or leave well
enough alone? Thanks.
E-mail me at: STPteach@aol.com
by Susan Proto
The sounds floated around him. He thought they were words; someone
was speaking, but at this point he couldn't concentrate on anything that
might be meaningful. The pounding in his head became more intense, more
rhythmic as every minute passed by. He couldn't remember at this point
when his head did not feel the intense pain penetrating every crevice of
his face. His eyes were trying to absorb the light in the room, but
without success. He squinted at the harshness of the morning's rays that
seemed to blast as lasers might right through his eyes.. *Why can't he
get rid of this headache?* he wondered, *Why didn't the aspirin work?*
He tried to look around the room; he tried to look as though he was more
aware of what was going on, but he felt like he was failing miserably.
And he didn't care; the pain was becoming overwhelming..
"Mulder, what do you think?" Skinner asked. Fox Mulder made no
attempt to answer the Assistant Director of the FBI. Skinner looked at
his field agent, and then looked over at Mulder's partner, Dana Scully.
Scully returned Skinner's gaze with a questioning glance.
"Agent Mulder, it is usually considered proper protocol for an agent
to respond to a question posed by his direct superior," Skinner stated
tersely. Fox Mulder realized the words were now being addressed directly
at him, but for the life of him he had no idea as to what was being said.
All he wanted to do was get rid of the pain in his head, in his eyes, in
4:30 a.m. (6 1/2 hours earlier)
"Damn!!" Fox Mulder cursed out loud as he rose from the leather couch
from which he usually slept. He stumbled into the bathroom and switched
on the light. "Ouch!" he cried out, his eyes closing in self-defense from
the brightness of the bulb's light. He found the bottle of aspirin among
the various bottles of often prescribed but seldom used pain killers. It
seemed Fox Mulder was always getting into some kind of fix, some kind of
accident, some kind of predicament that resulted in his requiring some
kind of medical attention, which often resulted in the prescription of
pain killers. Mulder didn't like to take medication. It certainly had
nothing to do with his wish to keep his body pure. Greasy spoon bacon
cheeseburgers with oily french fries managed to glide down his throat very
easily. Perhaps he felt it was a sign of weakness, or perhaps he felt he
felt he deserved the pain. Whatever the reason was, tonight he knew he
had a whopper of a headache and needed something for it, but even now he
would take nothing stronger than an aspirin. His only concession to the
pain was taking four aspirins instead of his usual three. He switched off
the bathroom light and shuffled back to the couch. Normally he would have
just laid down, turn the television set on, and vegged out on whatever
sports were showing on ESPN. However, Mulder realized he had a 10:30
a.m. meeting with Assistant Director Skinner, along with his partner, Dana
Scully. He also knew that Scully would have his head if he was late for
this meeting. Of course, with the way his head felt at the moment, he
might just offer it to her, on a silver platter! He laid down on the
couch, wondering if perhaps he shouldn't have taken something a little
stronger. Mulder's head was really pounding right now. *Close your eyes,
Mulder,* he said to himself *Get some sleep so you'll be ready to face
Skinner and Scully.*
****Ring**** Ring**** Ring****
"Mulder," Fox Mulder muttered into the phone.
"Mulder, it's me," replied Dana Scully, "Where the hell are you?"
"What time is it, Scully?"
"It's time for you to be in this office, going over our notes so we
can deal with AD Skinner! Common Mulder!"
"Scully, what the hell time is it?" Mulder asked again, gritting his
teeth as he tried to reduce the throbbing each syllable caused in his
"It's now going on 9:20, Mulder. We are scheduled to meet with our
boss in approximately one hour. Do you plan on being here, or you going
to throw me into the lion's den all by myself?" Scully replied, her tone
of voice matching her partner's but for not quite the same reason.
Though Dana Scully would lay down her life for Fox Mulder if they
were ever in a life or death situation, he did tend to exasperate her on
occasion. Actually, that would be constantly! He could be insolent,
stubborn, annoying, and totally obnoxious, yet he was also brilliant,
witty, charming, and he was also her best friend. He would also lay down
his life for her, probably in *any* situation! She was his best friend
too. But at the moment, all she wanted to do was drag his ass into the
office so they could face Skinner together. She was damned if she was
going to face his wrath alone!
"Mulder, get up! Go shower! Get dressed! Get here! Now!!" Scully
practically shouted into the phone.
"I'm going, I'm going..." Mulder answered. He pushed the phone down
somewhere near the receiver. He rose from the couch, cursing himself for
oversleeping. He looked in the bathroom mirror and groaned. He would
have to shave too. "Scully's gonna kill me," he thought aloud. His
headache was no better; in fact it felt worse. At this point his neck and
back were starting to feel very achy as well, and his eyes were more
sensitive to the lightened room. "I must have one helluva a flu bug,"
Mulder thought to himself. "Great, now I'll give everyone the flu, and
then I'll be on everyone's shit list."
Somehow Mulder managed to shower and even shave without causing
himself to need stitches. He dressed in his favorite gray suit and put on
his most conservative tie, which for Fox Mulder meant Mickey Mouse instead
of Marvin the Martian on the front. Then it was time to drive to the
Driving to the FBI building in Washington, DC can often prove to be
an adventure, especially during the rush hour. This is an experience that
Fox Mulder rarely gets to endure, because he's usually at the office at
the crack of dawn, way before most people in DC would even consider
rising, much less going to the office. So today's foray into the
wonderful world of traffic jams was not unexpected, just unwanted.
Especially today; a meeting with Skinner for which he will most
probably be late, and then having to deal with Scully for being late and
not getting the chance to do any preliminary preparation, and last, but
not least, this headache that feels like it will cause his head to
explode at any moment.
"Nice of you to show up Mulder," Scully sarcastically greeted.
"I'm sorry, Scully. You know I never oversleep. It's just this
blasted headache," Mulder replied, trying to explain. Scully would hear
none of it.
"Yeah, right, Mulder. Let's just get in there and get this over
with," Scully answered. "Did you take some aspirin?" she asked as an
"Yeah, but they're not doing anything. I've had headaches before,
but this one's a doozy. I don't think I've had concussions that have hurt
this much, and I'm really starting to ache; my neck, my back. God,
Scully, even my eyes hurt!" Mulder lamented.
"Forget it, Mulder. No sympathy until after we survive this meeting
with Skinner," Scully responded, hardly looking at her partner.
The two agents entered the outer office. Kim, Assistant Director
Walter Skinner's secretary, looked up at the two agents as they entered.
"The AD was expecting you at 10:30 sharp."
"I got tied up in traffic," Mulder mumbled.
"Would you let AD Skinner know we're now here, please?" Scully
Kim picked up the phone, punched the intercom button, and murmured
that his 10:30 appointment was here. She nodded, and as she replaced the
phone, motioned the two agents into the inner office.
Walter Skinner sat behind his desk working furiously on some piece of
innocuous paperwork. He didn't look up, merely ordered, "Sit." He
continued to work on the paperwork for another few minutes and then looked
up and stared at his two agents sitting before him.
He observed Special Agent Dana Scully, MD for a moment. Sitting
before him he saw a determined, strong willed, woman who was both
intelligent and compassionate. She was an attractive woman, petite, yet
one who was physically fit, and also had the stubbornness that befitted
her lovely red hair and Irish heritage. She was also, he knew, the
lifeline tether for the man sitting beside her. Walter Skinner was well
aware of how important these two people were to each other, both
professionally and personally. He began to speak to Scully, first
acknowledging the fact that he was very annoyed by their tardiness, and
insisted that it not happen in the future. Scully nodded towards the
Assistant Director, and offered her assurances that this would, indeed,
not happen again. Skinner next looked over at Fox Mulder. As he stood up
and walked around to lean against the front of his desk, he realized that
Mulder was most likely the cause for the two of them walking in late, and
wanted him to bear the brunt of this particular dressing down.
Walter Skinner thought about his renegade agent. Special Agent Fox
Mulder was certainly an enigma to him. Mulder could be at once endearing
and in the next moment impossible to bear! He was a man who had come to
this point in his life on the share tenacity of his need to find the truth
about the long ago disappearance of his then eight year old sister,
Samantha. He had had a brilliant professional life at the bureau early in
his career as an FBI profiler but gave it all up. Profiling was no easy
task for any agent, but for this man, so young when he began his career,
it was essentially a black hole that would have swallowed him up had he
continued. The emotional stress he endured, as well as the pressure that
was both put upon him by his superiors and the nature of the tasks at
hand, and those he put upon himself, was too great of a burden for this
sensitive being. Though he tried hard to build a wall around himself; an
emotional fortress if you will, there were still a few people that could
see their way around it. Skinner was one of those people, as well as
Margaret Scully, Dana's mother. Scully, on the other hand, was one who
could usually walk right through it when necessary. So, to save his soul,
Mulder, through calling in favors and ingratiating himself upon certain
higher ups in the government, found his way to the basement and the
The X-Files was more than just a department with cases of unexplained
phenomena; Mulder held hope that he would find the truth about his sister
through the X-Files. The X-Files; one more thing to give Walter Skinner
enough agita to last a lifetime. But there was no stopping this brilliant
young man, who had such an innocence about him, yet also the aura of an
old, wizened man, who has seen just too much. How could a man with such
hope in his heart for finding the truth also feel so hopeless so much of
While life for Fox Mulder had not been easy in the past; living it
now somehow seemed to be even harder for him. Yes, Walter Skinner
certainly was aware of how much these two people meant to each other,
depended upon each other. Though he often wondered if the two of them
were truly aware of it themselves. At this point, he just shook his head,
looked at Mulder, and asked him what he thought about the situation as
end part 1/6
11:02 a.m. (current time)
"Mulder, what do you think?" Skinner asked. Fox Mulder made no
attempt to answer the Assistant Director of the FBI. Skinner looked at
his field agent, and then looked over at Scully. She returned Skinner's
gaze with a questioning glance.
"Agent Mulder, it is usually considered proper protocol for an agent
to respond to a question posed by his direct superior," Skinner stated
tersely. Fox Mulder realized the words were now being addressed directly
at him, but for the life of him he had no idea as to what was being said.
All he wanted to do was get rid of the pain in his head, in his eyes, in
"Mulder?" Scully said, looking at him with new eyes.
Mulder looked around the room attempting to focus his eyes. He was trying
desperately to figure out where the voices were coming from. He was so
tired at this point, it was hard for him to concentrate. His eyes didn't
want to focus any longer. All he knew was he wanted to go to sleep. He
wanted to take some more aspirin, or maybe even something a little
stronger, and go to sleep. If he could go to sleep, he wouldn't feel the
continuous pounding of pain in his head. At this point, he thought about
getting up to leave. He thought about it, but his body was obviously
having its doubts.
"I'm going to go home now," Mulder murmured.
"Excuse me Agent Mulder, but I was under the impression that I am the
one who called this meeting, and therefore I am the one who ends it?"
Skinner stated in response.
"It hurts..." Mulder whispered.
"What?" Skinner responded, surprised.
At this point, Mulder did try to stand up. He almost made it to a
fully vertical position, until the spasm took hold of his back, and he
cried out, "Help me, please."
"Sir??!!" Scully called out as she stepped towards Mulder's
collapsing form. Skinner took two long strides and found himself catching
the falling body. As Skinner supported Mulder by the back of his neck and
head, he laid him down on the floor. He looked up at Scully and lamented,
"Oh my God, Scully, he's burning up."
Scully immediately went into doctor mode and bent down to feel Mulder's
forehead. "Sir, please call 911. Now!" Skinner immediately rose and went
to his desk. He picked up the phone, and shakily punched in the buttons
for the emergency services. At the same time, Scully was loosening
Mulder's tie (*Oh Mulder, Mickey Mouse today? You really were trying,
weren't you?*) and murmuring to him that help was on the way and soon he
would be feeling better.
The Emergency Medical Services team appeared just a short time
later, but it seemed like an eternity to Scully and Skinner. They pushed
their way through the door that Kim had anxiously led them to and began
setting up their equipment. It was at that point that Mulder's body
began to convulse. Scully began to attend to his needs, when one of the
paramedics, a tall, dark-haired woman by the name of Ellen, moved to stop
her. "Miss, please, stay back so we can do our jobs." Ellen turned to
Mulder, whose body was seized by an unwanted dance, and moved to turn him
onto his side. She began checking his respiration to make sure he wasn't
choking on anything.
"But I'm a doctor," Scully replied with tears threatening to
overflow. Ellen, sensed that this person might be just a little too
emotionally close to the patient to be effective in the role of medical
"Well, Doctor, how about you let us take the lead and you can
assist us by telling us his symptoms," Ellen replied gently. Ellen
continued to monitor Mulder's seizure. She looked over at her partner,
Steven, an average looking man of average height and build, but with a
great sensitivity to the needs of his patients , their families, and
their friends. He was also completely in tune with his partner's ability
to size up a situation quickly, so as he set up the communication
equipment he reiterated Ellen's question to Scully by gently asking her
to state exactly what she had observed. Scully, quickly gaining a
foothold on her emotions, was grateful to finally be able to do something
useful and described what she had observed.
"He had complained of a headache earlier. In addition, he stated
he was feeling achy and specifically remarked about his neck and back. He
also mentioned that his eyes seemed to hurt as well. I thought he was
coming down with the flu. When we got into the office here, he was sitting
in the chair, but appeared to be having a difficult time focusing on what
was being said. Next thing we knew, he indicated that he wished to go
home-- then he cried out 'It hurts,' and then he seemed to be in pain
when he pleaded for help."
Steven got the communications gear up and running, and called into
the base hospital. "DC General, this is Unit 7. We have a male,
Caucasian, approximately.... How old is he, Doctor?"
Skinner, feeling the need to participate in some capacity to
reduce his feelings of helplessness, responded, "Agent Mulder is 37 years
Steven nodded his thanks toward the tall, balding man who had, up
to this point, remained quietly in the background. Steven regarded this
forceful looking being as he relayed the rest of the information to the
hospital base. "Patient is 37 years old, complaining of headache, neck
ache, and backache pain. Patient complained of pain in the eyes and
sensitivity to light. Patient has had a seizure episode for
approximately the last two and a half minutes.
When Mulder's seizure finally passed, Ellen was able to take some
vitals. "Steven, patient's temp is through the roof - 104.6 degrees. No
wonder he's seizing." Steven relayed this information as well as the
numbers Ellen was getting for respiration and blood pressure. He also
informed base that the patient's eyes were fixed and dilated. Base
directed the paramedics to get the victim stable and to bring him a/s/a/p!
They were to also bring in anyone with whom he had direct physical
contact with in the last twenty- four hours.
Walter Skinner's head cocked quizzically at the directive. Steven
looked at the man again, trying to figure out exactly what the
relationship was between these three people. He was obviously the boss,
yet there was more to his reactions than just a superior being concerned
about his subordinates. There seemed to be an emotional tie as well
between the three of them. The dynamics seemed very unusual, considering
the location of this call. One never expects too much in the way of
feelings when you think of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But these
three certainly threw that theory out the window.....
Skinner looked at Scully, as if to ask her what she made of the
directive heard over the speaker. Ellen broke in and asked if they would
be able to follow in their own vehicle or if they would need to ride in
"We were planning on going to the hospital anyway. I don't
understand why we would be told we have to come. Would you please explain
this to me? Skinner asked, quietly, but forcefully.
"Sir,-- I'm sorry, I don't know either of your names," Ellen
"I'm Walter Skinner, this is Dana Scully," Skinner answered.
"Mr. Skinner, Dr. Scully, it is a precautionary measure. The
doctor at the hospital has some concerns as to what Mr. Mulder's problem
might be." Ellen said.
"They're afraid it might be something contagious, " Scully said in
a flat tone. Then suddenly, Scully cried out, "Oh my God, oh my God,
we've got to get him to the hospital, now!!" Steven looked over at Scully
and realized, with her medical knowledge, she had figured out what the
possible diagnosis was. Steven turned to her and looked at her with
compassion. He then quietly, but firmly stated, "These are precautionary
measures. We won't know anything until all of the tests are completed.
He'll be taken in for the lumbar puncture immediately, and then the
doctors will have a better idea as to what they're dealing with. They
will do everything that is possible. If indeed it is what they suspect,
then Mr. Mulder will be put on antibiotics immediately, and he will have
an excellent chance of recovery. Dr. Scully, do you not agree with this?"
Steven looked at Dr. Scully with an intense eye, willing her to remain
"Yes, I agree," she replied quietly. Walter Skinner, was still
baffled, but even more so, he was scared for his young agent.
"Scully, what the hell is going on? What's wrong with Mulder?"
Skinner asked in a soft, tremulous, voice, that was so unlike the voice
"Sir, I believe they are going to try to confirm a diagnosis of
meningitis," Scully answered in a soft, even, tone. She watched Walter
Skinner's face become crestfallen, while her own heart felt as though it
were going to explode in her chest.
The ambulance arrived at the hospital with the emergency room team
ready to deal with a possible quarantine patient. Scully rode in the back
with Mulder and Steven. Ellen drove with Walter Skinner sitting up front.
Mulder had another seizure on route, but it was a short one and did not
cause the ambulance to have to pull over. Mulder did begin mumbling
incoherently; he was saying something that neither Scully nor Steven could
understand. They could make out "it hurts, make it stop hurting, but they
weren't sure of the other word Mulder repeated over and over. It sounded
like "ah-buh." When they arrived at the hospital, Ellen got out of the
driver's seat to assist Steven in removing the gurney from the ambulance.
While they were wheeling Mulder into the emergency room, Ellen heard
Mulder's plaintive pleas for the first time.
"Abah, it hurts, make it stop hurting, Abah, please. Abah, help
me, make it stop hurting. Abah, where are you?.." Mulder cried.
"Shhh, Mr. Mulder. You're going to get help here. They're going
to help you here and make it stop hurting. Hang in there Mr. Mulder Shhhh,
it's okay.They'll call your family. They'll be here soon. Shhh-- It'll be
okay." Ellen responded in a soothing, quiet voice.
"Ellen," Steven interjected, "you understand what he's saying?"
"Yeah, I guess it's all the practice I get with my three year
old," Ellen answered with a slight smile on her face.
"Okay, so what does it mean?" asked Steven.
"What? He wants the pain to stop," responded Ellen, somewhat
"No, no, we got that part. What the hell does 'ah-buh' mean?"
"Ohhh," said Ellen, smiling. "I guess I should tell my parents
that the twelve years of Religious Instruction actually came in handy
today." Now all three adults looked curiously at Ellen. "You guys,
'Abah' is the Hebrew word for 'father'," Elena finally explained. Skinner
looked at Scully curiously, and Scully returned the same look.
"I don't understand, Scully, " Walter Skinner said, hesitantly.
"Mulder's not Jewish. Why would he be calling for his dead father by a
"I don't know, Sir," Scully replied. "I'm as confused by this as
end of Part 2/6
Once the medical history was taken, and preliminary blood work
taken, Mulder was rolled onto his side so the lumbar puncture could be
performed. Walter Skinner and Scully were allowed to observe from the
outer room, through a small window. Scully explained to Skinner that they
were going to insert a hollow needle into the lower part of Mulder's
spinal canal to withdraw the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the spinal
cord. The doctors will then examine the withdrawn fluid to aid them in
diagnosing meningitis. They watched as Mulder was positioned on his side
with his chin pulled down toward his chest and his knees drawn up. Scully
explained to Skinner this was done to pull the vertebrae apart, so they
would have a clear path to the spinal cord. A local anesthetic was
applied to the area, and a couple of minutes later the needle (which to
Skinner thought looked way too long and as thick to be shot anywhere near
the human body!) was inserted between two of the vertebrae and into the
spinal canal. The doctor drew the fluid and then removed the needle from
Mulder's back. The whole procedure took no more than 25 - 30 minutes, but
for the two people waiting, helplessly, outside of the procedure room, it
seemed like forever. While the nurse applied a sterile dressing the
doctor observed the milky looking fluid.
"Well, it certainly looks like we've got a positive ID on this
one. Okay, let's get this down to the lab for a culture, STAT!" ordered
the doctor. The doctor handed the syringe to the nurse, who in turn
prepared it for transport to the lab. At that moment the doctor, ordered
mega-doses of antibiotics for the patient, and proceeded to walk outside
to speak with the two concerned friends waiting right outside the door.
"Hello. Steven and Ellen brought it to my attention that you are
a medical doctor, Doctor Scully, so please forgive me if I speak to you in
terms you already understand. I'm Doctor Rebecca Ellwood. As I know you
observed I performed a lumbar puncture on Mr. Mulder to determine if we
were dealing with a possible case of meningitis. As you might have seen,
the liquid we withdrew was milky white in appearance." Dr. Ellwood looked
at Walter Skinner and explained, "Normally, the fluid would be clear in
color, Mr. Skinner, so we can be pretty sure that Mr. Mulder has
contracted meningitis." Skinner nodded in appreciation of the
explanation; Scully might have a handle on what all of these medical
technical terms and procedures might mean, but he was totally out of his
element. And that meant he wasn't in control, which meant that Walter
Skinner was experiencing a feeling he rarely liked to admit he even could
feel, fear. Skinner finally found his voice, and asked, " What's the next
Dr. Ellwood replied, "We've sent the fluid down to the lab to get
a culture on it. You see, there are basically three kinds of meningitis;
Tuberculous meningitis, which doesn't apply here, meningoccocal
meningitis, also known as bacterial meningitis, and viral meningitis. The
last two are what we are waiting to find out about."
"I'm sorry, but I'm not sure I understand," Walter Skinner stated
with hesitation. Skinner was not used to having to admit he was
unfamiliar with a subject matter. He was uncomfortable showing what he
perceived as a weakness. "What is the difference between the two types?
Is one better than the other?" he asked.
"Well, yes, I guess you could say one is better than the other,"
Doctor Ellwood confirmed. "Bacterial meningitis has a very quick onset,
within 24 hours, and is treated with heavy, mega-doses of antibiotics.
Viral meningitis takes longer to develop and cannot be treated with
"Oh," responded Skinner, hopefully, "so then we're hoping it's the
bacterial type, since it can be treated with antibiotics."
"Actually, no, Mr. Skinner, it's the other way around," replied
"You see, Sir," Scully interjected, "even though the viral form
takes a little longer to develop and does not respond to antibiotics, it
tends to run its course in about two weeks time. The patient feels like
he was hit with the worst case of flu he'd ever experienced, but within
another week or so, he's back on his feet none the worse for the wear. It
tends to be a little milder than bacterial meningitis, though it still
packs a helluva wallop."
"So what's the deal with bacterial meningitis?" asked Skinner.
"Bacterial meningitis," began Dr. Ellwood, "is the result of an
infection of the membranes that cover the brain and the spinal cord. It
is caused by infectious carrying organisms that travel through the
bloodstream from one point of infection to elsewhere in the body. It is a
serious, life-threatening condition, and needs prompt attention. Often,
patients can fall into a coma from it. That's not to say, if Mr. Mulder
has the bacterial form, he won't recover. But, while the viral form
rarely, if ever, has any after effects, the bacterial form can, in some
cases, cause some brain damage."
"When do we find out which kind he has?" asked Skinner.
"In about 48 hours," replied Dr. Ellwood.
"What?! We have to wait 48 hours before we know?" shouted
Skinner, in a near panic. "You said the bacterial is life-threatening!
You said he needs--"
"Sir!" Scully cut off his tirade. She realized he was only
frightened and wanted to fight for his agent. "The doctor, I'm quite sure
has already begun treatment as if the diagnosis was the bacterial form."
Scully looked at Dr. Ellwood for confirmation, and received a nod of
affirmation. "You see, Sir, though the antibiotics would be of no
medicinal value for viral meningitis, they would also do no harm
whatsoever. The preferred form of treatment then is to treat the case as
though it was bacterial meningitis, and then if the test results come back
negative, the antibiotics are stopped."
"She's absolutely correct, Mr. Skinner," Dr. Ellwood agreed. "We
administered the first round of antibiotics even before the spinal fluid
left the emergency room." At that point, a nurse appeared by Dr.
"Yes, Barbara?" Dr. Ellwood acknowledged her ER right hand.
"Rebecca, has anyone called this Mr. Mulder's family yet? He's
still calling for his father," Barbara stated.
Rebecca Ellwood looked questioningly at the two people before him.
When Fox Mulder was brought in, the two paramedics attempted to give her
a quick background on the situation. Ellwood knew the three parties
involved were FBI agents, though she also knew that Walter Skinner was
somewhat of a big-wig in the organization. Apparently Dr. Dana Scully was
Mulder's partner, but she wondered if there was a more personal
relationship involved. Actually, she wondered if Walter Skinner wasn't
more personally involved with these two agents. He seemed almost paternal
toward them both; highly unusual reactions from a member of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation. Ellwood asked them if indeed Mulder's family was
"Not as yet," replied Scully. "His mother lives in Greenwich,
Connecticut. She had suffered a stroke some months back, and though she
is pretty much recovered, I don't know how unsettling this news might be
for her. I don't know if she would be able to make the trip here."
"What about his father," asked Dr. Ellwood.
"His father was mu-- His father died," responded Walter Skinner.
"I am sorry to hear that, especially since it seems to be him that
Mr. Mulder keeps calling for."
Scully looked perplexed, as did Skinner. They both knew that
Mulder did not have the classic Norman Rockwell, All - American
relationship with his father. Why would he be calling for him, using a
Hebrew term for Father, no less. Dr. Ellwood interrupted their thoughts.
"I understand your concern for his mother's condition, but I would
strongly suggest you inform Mrs. Mulder of her son's condition. Let her
make the decision as to whether she should chance the trip...."
"You think it's the bacterial form, don't you, Dr. Ellwood?"
Scully asked, not so much as a question, but as a confirmation.
"Yes, Dr. Scully, based upon his symptoms; the quick onset of them
and the severity of them, I would have to conclude that he most likely has
the bacterial form. Which is also why you and Mr. Skinner will have to
undergo antibiotic treatments as well, as a precautionary measure,"
Rebecca Ellwood stated. Then, quietly, but with unmistakable conviction,
Dr. Ellwood said, "Get his mother here, as quickly as possible."
After receiving their first doses of antibiotics, Dana Scully went
to the phone to make the call to Mulder's mother. Mrs. Mulder was
certainly no Margaret Scully. Whereas Margaret Scully was emotional open,
and kind-hearted, Mrs. Mulder was detached, guarded, and well, rather
cold. She didn't want to speak to Mrs. Mulder, she wanted to talk to her
own mother.. She didn't really want to do this-- she almost passed the
job over to Skinner, but then realized it was her place to make the call.
Mulder was her partner; he made similar calls to her mother when she was
in trouble. God, that seemed to be often enough, didn't it? She watched
as Mulder was being transferred to the ICU. She knew Dr. Ellwood was
right; she had to make the call. Skinner was following him upstairs.
Scully indicated to him she would follow as soon as she completed her
Scully watched Walter Skinner as he walked along side his fallen
agent. Scully's eyes started to well up as she watched Skinner take hold
of Mulder's hand, letting him know he wasn't alone. She heard him
murmuring to him that he would be helped by these good doctors and watched
over by Scully. Walter Skinner, an Assistant Director of the FBI then told
Fox Mulder that he would be there to protect him too. "I've got you,Fox.
It's going to be okay. I've got you," Skinner said, as he clasped
Mulder's hand in both of his.
Mulder's only response was, "Abah.."
Scully dialed the number listed in her electronic address book.
She hoped Mrs. Mulder would be home, because she certainly didn't want to
leave a message of this sort on an answering machine. As the phone rang
for the sixth time, Scully was just about to hang up when she heard a
voice say, "Hello?"
"Hello, Mrs. Mulder?" Scully asked.
"Mrs. Mulder, this is Dana Scully, Fox's partner."
"Yes, Miss Scully. I know who you are," Mrs. Mulder stated in a
terse manner. "What is it?"
"Mrs. Mulder, I'm calling to let you know Fox has been admitted to
DC General Hospital," replied Scully, somewhat taken aback by the
harshness in Mrs. Mulder's voice.
"Oh. What has happened this time? I'm afraid I can't keep track
of all of Fox's injuries," Mrs. Mulder retorted.
"Mrs. Mulder, Fox has been diagnosed with meningitis. Though the
test results won't be back from the lab for another 48 hours, Dr. Ellwood
feels it's most likely that Fox has contracted bacterial meningitis,"
Scully explained. She waited for some kind of reaction, any kind that
would indicate that this woman had some maternal feelings toward her one
and only son.
"Does the doctor think it's serious enough for me to come there?"
"Yes," Scully said as she breathed a heavy sigh. She hadn't
realized she was even holding her breath.
"I'll catch a flight out of Westchester Airport. That was DC
General Hospital, you said?
"Yes, Mrs. Mulder," Scully answered.
"Good day, Miss Scully."
The next thing Scully heard was a click of the phone
disconnecting. As much as Dana wanted to go upstairs to check on Mulder,
she wasn't quite ready to comfort anyone yet. Her phone call with Mrs.
Mulder shook her to the core. How could this woman react in such a cold,
callous manner to news that her son was sick with a life threatening
illness?? She dialed a second phone number, one that was already
programmed into her speed dial. As she listened to the phone ring, once
again she willed the person on the other to pick up. On the third ring,
Scully heard, "Hello?"
"Hi Mom, I'm glad you're home."
"Hi sweetheart! What a nice surprise! Are you at work?" Margaret
"No, Mom. I'm at DC General," Scully replied.
"Are you all right? Dana, are you hurt? Ill? Talk to me baby!"
Mrs. Scully implored.
"No, Mom. I'm fine, really," Scully said earnestly. She was so
tired of always worrying her mother.
"Is it Fox, sweetheart?" Margaret Scully asked anxiously.
Ever since Dana Scully walked into Fox Mulder's life, Margaret Scully was
pretty much a step or two behind her. She and Fox got to know one another
best during that horrific time of Dana's disappearance or abduction. When
Margaret Scully was willing to end life support, Fox refused to be a part
of it. He had so much faith in her ability to survive the traumatic
ordeal, that he refused to be a part of that decision, even though he was
the witness to her living will. And then there was that awful night, when
he felt so helpless, so low that he was willing to trade his life for
hers, if only it was possible--.. She saw the sense of failure he felt at
his inability to help her daughter, to save her daughter, to keep the one
person he trusted and, yes, loved, alive and whole. It took all of her
maternal instincts to let him know how much he was valued by Dana and
herself. It would be a terrible waste of two lives if he were to follow
through on what he thought was his last attempt to save her, Margaret took
the gun from him and placed it down on the floor next to her. She
remembered then taking this grown man, with the heart of an innocent
child, and folding him into her arms so that he might sense just how much
he was loved. His sobs wracked his body that night, but he was enveloped
with such love, and he gathered so much strength from her embrace. He
survived that night, and so did Dana. She never did tell her daughter how
deeply Fox was affected by her disappearance and long recovery.
"Yes, Mom. It's Fox. Oh Mom, he's so sick," she cried out.
"I'll be there in twenty minutes, Dana. Don't worry, sweetheart.
We've gotten Fox through hard times before, haven't we dear?" Margaret
Scully reassured her daughter.
"Sure we have, Mom. Mom, I love you," Dana said quietly, but
"I love you too, Dana. Now let me go so I can get to the
hospital to you and Fox!" Mrs. Scully replied.
end of Part 3/6
After waiting for the elevator, Dana Scully rode up to the fifth
floor ICU. She was used to being in the ICU with Mulder. He was always
in and out of one with one injury or illness or another. But they were
usually of a more exotic cause- though I guess bacterial meningitis wasn't
exactly commonplace, was it? As she ventured near the open cubicle that
was to be Fox Mulder's home for the next, indeterminate number of days,
she stopped dead in her tracks at the sight before her. She was amazed
that it was even being allowed; she couldn't imagine what the
circumstances were that led to what was before her eyes.
Walter Skinner was seated, at the top of Fox Mulder's bed, with his
long legs stretched out outlining the length of Mulder's body. Skinner
had Fox's head and torso leaning up against his chest, with his arms
entwined around Fox's chest, as if he were holding onto him for dear life.
The nurses were apparently just finishing up getting the various
medicinal lines of life untangled. Scully walked into the room, quietly,
so as to not disturb the work at hand, nor to startle Skinner or Mulder.
As Scully entered, Walter looked up and saw her puzzled expression.
"He started getting hysterical," Skinner said, while looking down at
the now becalmed Fox Mulder. "He was getting so agitated, he was
screaming for 'Abah,' and began thrashing about. The nurses were afraid
he was going to pull out all of the intravenous lines they had just set
up. Finally, I just told him 'Abah' was here. Scully, I don't know if I
did the right thing, but I told him *I* was here. He started crying, and
was trying to get out of the bed to get to me, so I finally figured the
best way of dealing with it was to get into bed with him. He was still
incoherent, but as soon as he felt me holding him, he calmed down
immediately. He just settled right in; Scully, I swear it's as if he were
a child snuggling in for a nap with his parents."
Scully had sat down on the edge of the bed; she wanted to touch
Mulder, to let him know she was there too. She wanted to touch Skinner,
to let him know how grateful she was to him for doing this for him. She
knew it couldn't be easy for him; he was not a man who showed his own
emotions easily, yet, for Fox Mulder, he was placing himself in a most
vulnerable place. Fox Mulder does that to people to Skinner, to her mom,
to herself. So why didn't he affect his own mother in the same way? What
was it about their family that prevented a mother from showing a child
Margaret Scully walked into the ICU not quite knowing what to expect.
She hadn't given Dana a chance to explain to her what Fox was being
admitted for. In the past it was for gun shot wounds, or
concussions....lots of concussions, (*That boy had the hardest head
imaginable,* she thought to herself wryly,) alien diseases, or whatnot.
So she realized it could have been for any one of a number of causes that
Fox was being hospitalized. When she got to Fox's room, she was amazed at
the picture before her. Dana was sitting in the chair placed right next
to the bed. She had one hand on Fox's leg and the other hand on.....Walter
Skinner's leg. Walter Skinner was in the bed, embracing Fox's upper body
as Fox used Walter's chest as a backrest. As Margaret walked into the
room, Walter signaled to Scully that they had company.
"Mom, thank you for coming," Dana said while she rose to embrace her.
"Oh, honey, you know when it comes to Fox, I'll always be there for
you and him," she replied, returning the hug. As they released each other
from their grasp, Dana returned to her position of support, while Margaret
Scully brought another chair over next to her daughter. However, it was
to Walter Skinner that her next comment was directed.
"Do I dare ask what happened to warrant you being in the bed with the
patient?" Margaret asked. Walter quietly explained what the particulars
were that led Walter to playing the role of 'Abah'. It was at that moment
that Fox chose to call out for his 'Abah'. Walter grasped Fox's chest
more tightly, and leaned his mouth close to Fox's ear.
"Fox, it's all right. I've got you," Walter whispered. "You're going
to get well now. The doctors are giving you good medicine to help you get
Fox started to move about, crying out to him. "Oh 'Abah', don't go...
please don't leave me!..." he pleaded.
"Fox, I'm not leaving you. I've got you Fox, I won't let go. I've
got you," Walter was repeating over and over again, as though it were a
mantra. Scully looked at the numbers on the various monitors. She frowned
at what she saw.
Margaret Scully observed her daughter's concern over the various
machines Fox was attached to and asked, "What is it, Dana? What do you
"His temperature is still so high, Mom. They've got to bring the
fever down, or his body will be too weak to fight off the infection. And
his pulse is kind of fast - Oh, wait. It's starting to slow down a little
now," Scully noted as she watched Mulder settle into position in Skinner's
"Dana, honey, I don't even know what Fox's condition is. What do the
doctors say is wrong?" Margaret Scully asked.
"Meningitis. The doctors are pretty convinced test results will show
it's the bacterial form. I just hope the antibiotics do their job soon.
I'm really afraid if he's subjected to this high fever for too much longer
it could.." Scully's voice trailed off.
"What? Dana, could what?" Margaret asked.
Walter Skinner broke in, "-Brain damage. Dana's afraid a prolonged
infection might result in brain damage, Mrs. Scully." Skinner's voice was
tremulous and breaking with these words.
" Well, then we're just going to have to do everything possible to
help him, that's all," Margaret Scully returned. Walter Skinner looked at
this small, dark-haired woman in front of him. He now knew where Dana
Scully got her strength. Having Margaret Scully around was a good thing,
and because of her and her daughter, he found a new resolve to help the
young man cradled in his arms become whole and well again.
Elizabeth Mulder walked determinedly into the ICU of DC General
Hospital. She was surprised to see her son's room filled with guests, as
he was supposed to be in isolation. The young auburn-haired woman she
recognized to be her son's partner. She was fairly sure the balding man
was Walter Skinner, yet seeing him in the position he was in surprised her
greatly. The was certainly not indicative of normal protocol for an FBI
Assistant Director. The other woman, petite with long dark hair, was an
unknown entity to her. As she entered the room, Dana Scully rose to greet
"Hello Mrs. Mulder. I'm sorry to have to see you again under these
"Yes, Miss Scully. It seems we are always meeting together under
catastrophic circumstances, doesn't it?" Elizabeth Mulder retorted.
"Mrs. Mulder, do you remember Assistant Director Skinner?" asked
Scully, hoping to ease some of the tension in the room.
"Yes, I do. Hello Walter. I'm afraid once again we must meet under
unhappy conditions," responded Mrs. Mulder. Before Skinner could express
anything, Margaret Scully broke in to introduce herself.
"Hello, I'm Margaret Scully, Dana's mom. I am so sorry to have to
meet you under these circumstances, but I am glad to finally have the
chance to meet Fox's mom," Mrs. Scully said while she offered her hand.
"How do you do?" Mrs. Mulder responded, ignoring the proffered hand.
"Now if you all don't mind, I would like to visit with my son. Would
you all be so kind as to give us some privacy?"
"Mrs. Mulder, I don't know if that's such a good idea, right now,"
"What do you mean?" inquired Elizabeth. "What could possibly be
wrong about my wanting to visit with my son?"
"Mrs. Mulder, I didn't mean to infer that at all. It's just that
Mulder's been in a very distraught state of mind. The fever has had him
delirious and he's had a couple of seizures today as a result of it,"
"Miss Scully, I have been traveling since your phone call this
afternoon. I am weary, I am upset, and I am concerned about my son's
health. I would like some time alone with him. Please. If you would all
please leave for a little while. Now!" Elizabeth Mulder restated firmly.
"Mrs. Mulder, I know how upsetting this must be for you, but if Dana
feels it best for us to stay, don't you think we should consider what's
best in Fox's interests?" Margaret Scully reasoned.
"Mrs. Scully, I realize your daughter graduated medical school, and
I'm sure you were very proud of her on that day. However, she is not a
practicing doctor, and until I am told by one of the board certified
physicians of this hospital that I am required to have all of you in this
hospital room with me while I visit with my son, than I shall assert my
rights to have you depart immediately."
Walter Skinner looked on with amazement as Elizabeth Mulder ended her
tirade towards Margaret Scully. How had this cold-hearted woman bore a
son with the sensitivity that Fox Mulder possessed? Walter started to
disentangle himself from his position in Mulder's bed. Fox appeared to be
sleeping soundly as a result of the antibiotic cocktail they were feeding
him intravenously as well as the pain killers. Walter wanted to let this
woman know how out of line she was, but instead merely stated that if Fox
started calling for them, they would be right outside in the ICU waiting
room. The three of them left Elizabeth Mulder to visit with her
Elizabeth Mulder woke with a start. She saw her son thrashing about
in the bed..... He began reaching out, reaching for something or someone.
She moved toward him, unsure as to what she should do. Fearful that he
would pull out the numerous tubes he was now attached to, Elizabeth held
her hands out toward his. It was then she heard those impossible words;
words she had not heard in almost thirty years. "Abah," Mulder called out
plaintively. "It hurts Abah," he cried, "Abah, help me please." It was
at that moment the screaming began.
As Scully, Skinner, and Margaret jolted from their seats when they
heard the screaming from Mulder's room, they were able to observe the
nurses scrambling around his room looking totally confused. It was obvious
they weren't sure just who they should attend to first. The patient was
curled up on his side in a now fetal position, rocking to and fro, eyes
clenched shut with tears streaming down his face, repeating over and over
again, "Abah.. Abah.. Abah.."
Mrs. Mulder was leaning tightly against the wall, as though if she
were to move away from it, the wall would come crumbling down immediately.
She was screaming at the top of her lungs, an occasional word or phrase
such as, "NO!," or "Shut up!" or even "It can't be!!" escaped her lips.
Scully entered the room and immediately moved to Mulder's bed.
Skinner took the same route, though as soon as he got near the bed he
quickly removed his shoes. He then proceeded to climb into the bed to
assume the position he had had been in earlier and pulled Mulder into his
arms. Scully was quietly talking, in soothing tones to Mulder, while
Skinner enveloped him back into his arms, all the while repeating in his
ear, "Abah is here, Fox. I'm here."
Margaret Scully saw that Fox was being attended to; she realized
there was someone else in desperate need in the room as well.
6:17 p.m. ( approximately 3 hours earlier)
When the three of them had entered the ICU waiting room earlier that
evening, Margaret observed her daughter fuming aloud as to what kind of a
monster Elizabeth Mulder was. She watched patiently as her daughter paced
back and forth, releasing the frustration and anger she was feeling
towards a woman she did not know, but could only see as playing a role in
the tragedy that apparently, at least to Scully's mind, was Fox Mulder's
childhood. Some time passed, when Dana finally could not hold it in any
"How could she be so cold?!" Dana kept repeating. "How could she be
such a bitch! We were the ones who have been with him since early this
morning and all she could say to us was get out??"
"Dana, she's his mother," Margaret stated quietly.
"That is NOT a mother, Mother!" Dana retorted.
"We don't know everything, do we Dana?" Margaret asked.
"No," Walter Skinner interjected, "No, you don't." Dana and Margaret
looked at the rather fatigued looking gentleman seated before them. Even
when dead tired, Walter Skinner was still a formidable figure.
"What do you mean?" Dana asked.
"I don't know all of the answers, Scully. I really don't. All I do
know is there was a time when Mrs. Mulder apparently was ..... well, she
behaved more like a mother," Skinner replied tentatively.
"How do you know this?" Margaret asked, "What do you know?"
Skinner began softly, in deference to Margaret and Dana Scully,
remembering they lost Melissa, Dana's older sister to a bullet. "When
Mulder's father, Bill, was mur...died, I had requested whatever information
they had on him. I wanted as much knowledge about this man, so that I
might be able to help Mulder to deal with it, if the need ever came to
pass." Skinner and the Scullys remembered Mulder wasn't there for his
father's funeral. "Anyway, I looked through this mass of information; his
business ventures, some details on his professional life in the government
though that was particularly sparse, and information on his family life.
There were notes and pictures....Scully, I think there was a time when they
might have actually been happy. There were snapshots of them, as a
family, prior to Samantha's abduction. They were smiling , Scully, I mean
they looked relaxed and happy. They were a family. Elizabeth Mulder was
actually a beautiful young woman. Fox looks a great deal like her; in
fact they have the same smile."
"So Samantha's disappearance changed her that much? You mean to say
that Mulder's had to live with a witch since he was twelve years old? I'm
sorry, Sir, but that's your son. I don't care what horrible trauma you
have to deal with; that's her son!" Dana screamed.
"And perhaps she's dealing with it in the only way she knows how,
Dana." Margaret suggested. "Fox copes with his sister's disappearance in
the only way he knows how; perhaps Elizabeth Mulder copes on in the way
she knows how. I don't think it is up to us to judge anyone."
At that, Dana stopped her pacing and looked at her mother. "Mom,
when we lost Missy, would you have ever even considered shutting me, or
for that matter, Mulder, out of your life?"
Margaret Scully smiled as she considered her answer. "No, Dana, of
course not. But that is not to say I wasn't one very, very angry Irish
lass there for a while. You're my daughter, and Fox, well you know he's
become like a son to me, and I love you both very much, but Dana, I would
be lying if I didn't tell that I was so angry, and at times I felt
downright hostile toward you, Fox, Walter, and the damned Federal Bureau
of Investigation. I never blamed you for Missy's death, Dana, but I sure
as hell won't tell you that I didn't find all of you accountable for it."
Margaret Scully took a deep breath, and waited for her daughter to
assimilate all that she had just said.
"Mom," Dana hesitated. She wasn't sure how she should react. "Mom,"
she continued, "I'm sorry. I never knew."
"Mrs. Scully. Margaret, you know if there were anything I could have
done to prevent Melissa's death." Walter Skinner spoke, but he felt his
words rang hollow.
"Stop, both of you." Margaret ordered. Then in a softer tone, "I
told you, I don't blame either of you. Walter, of course I know you would
have done anything possible to prevent the death of Melissa. I see how
you are with Dana and Fox. You would protect them with your life if need
be. I know that! All I want you to understand, Dana, you especially, is
that people cope in the only way they know how; sometimes it's for the
best, and sometimes it's for the worse. Suffice it to say, it just may be
the only way."
The three sat quietly after this. After a while, Walter Skinner, the
energy totally drained from him, closed his eyes and slept. Dana, sitting
next to her mother, soon joined him in some much needed sleep. Some time
later, Margaret's eyes began to droop when she heard the screaming begin.
end part 4/6.
10:41 (current time)
Margaret saw Dana take her place at Fox's bedside. Next, she saw
Walter rush to remove his shoes and climb to the top of the bed. She
watched as Dana spoke in soothing tones to Fox and Walter positioned
himself so that he might clasp Fox in his arms. He too, she observed,
began speaking to Fox in hypnotic tones, so as to not only calm him down,
but bring him back to some semblance of reality. Realizing that Fox was
being cared for, Margaret Scully looked towards the person who seemed to
now need her the most, Elizabeth Mulder. Somehow she felt she was the
only one Elizabeth Mulder could best identify with; they each had
daughters taken from them, they each have a second child dealing with a
life threatening disease, (How little she allows herself to think about
Dana's cancer) and they both lost husbands fairly recently as well.
Margaret crossed over to the side of the room where Elizabeth stood,
bracing herself against the wall as if she wanted to melt right into it.
"Elizabeth. Elizabeth." As Margaret gently touched her
shoulders, Elizabeth Mulder flinched slightly at the touch. She looked
blankly at Margaret, but Margaret stared intently into her eyes as she
continued to speak, trying desperately to get Elizabeth to focus on what
she was saying.
"Elizabeth. It's me, Margaret Scully. Dana's mom. Elizabeth,
shhhh dear. Come with me. Shhhh, it's okay. Just come with me. Let's
let Fox get some rest, and you and I can go in the other room. Come dear,
let's go. They'll take care of Fox. Let's go get something cool to
drink." And with that, Margaret Scully managed to lead Elizabeth Mulder
out of Fox's room into the adjacent waiting room.
Some time had passed before Elizabeth Mulder would even acknowledge
another person was in the room, much less actually speak to Margaret
Scully. But when Margaret offered her a glass of juice, Elizabeth did
look up, take it into her hands and murmured her thanks.
"You're welcome, Elizabeth." Margaret smiled sensitively.
"I'm sorry," Elizabeth began haltingly, "I'm not quite sure what
happened in there. I don't know . what came over me"
"You're under a terrible strain, Elizabeth. It's not hard to
understand. Fox is very ill. You've been ill. It must be very difficult
to see him like this. I know it's hard for me."
"Margaret,.. may I call you Margaret?" When Margaret nodded her
affirmation, Elizabeth continued, "It's not seeing him sick Margaret,
unfortunately, I'm used to seeing Fox ill, or injured, or in some kind of
state of need...It's not natural for a mother to say that, but it is true.
No, that's not what upset me so." Her voice trailed off, as if she were
unsure as to whether she could, or should, continue.
"What upset you, Elizabeth? What caused you to become so out of
control?" Margaret probed.
"It was. Oh my God, I hadn't heard it in years. He was just a little
boy. He never said it once she. Oh my God. I can't believe he said it."
Elizabeth began to sob.
Margaret waited a few minutes for Elizabeth to collect herself and
then asked her what specifically it was that Fox had said that caused her
to become hysterical.
"Abah," replied Elizabeth Mulder almost under her breath. "He was
calling for Abah."
Margaret looked compassionately at the woman sitting before her.
Earlier in the evening, when she had first walked through the door,
Elizabeth was such a commanding presence. Her son got his long body from
his mother, that was obvious. She carried herself easily, even after the
stroke. Yet she had appeared, when confronted with Dana, Walter, and
herself, to build a wall around herself. (*Apparently Fox got something
else from his mother besides the swimmer's physique.* Margaret thought to
herself at the time.) But now, now she was but a fraction of what she was
when she first arrived. Somehow she appeared smaller. The chair seemed
to overwhelm for some reason, and Elizabeth Mulder looked lost in it. Her
face, once hiding all emotion, seemed unable to inhibit any emotion. Her
facial expressions were continuously changing, but all reflecting an
anguish that was painful for Margaret to witness. Margaret could not hold
in the question any longer.
"Elizabeth, who is Abah?" she asked as gently as she could.
Elizabeth looked into Margaret Scully's eyes. She so desperately wanted
to relieve herself of this. this burden. Would she understand? Would
she judge her for the monster she felt she was? Elizabeth felt so drained
and void of any emotion at this point. She felt she no longer had a
choice. It was her son.
"Abah was a friend of our family. He was a very close friend.
He,he was practically a part of our family. Bill traveled a great deal
for his government job. Jack, well Jack was there when Bill couldn't be.
Actually, Jack was there more and more, as Bill became more and more
involved in the government work, he became more and more distant both
physically and emotionally. Jack tried to fill in the void for me and
Fox. When Samantha was born, Jack was there more than Bill was.
"Elizabeth, was Jack Samantha's father?" Margaret asked.
"Yes," she replied simply.
"Did Bill know?" Margaret queried.
"He suspected initially; after a time he knew for sure. When Sam.."
Elizabeth took a breath to hold back the sobs that were threatening to
overtake her again. Margaret decided to avoid the subject of Samantha
Mulder's disappearance for now. She wanted to know more about the
relationship between this man Jack, or Abah, and Fox.
"What was Jack to Fox?" Margaret asked.
"He was the father Bill could never be," Elizabeth answered. "When
Fox was little, he was always asking questions, always getting into
things, always. .well, always being a little boy! He was always being a
very bright little boy! He drove Bill crazy. Bill had no patience for
children. He never really wanted any children, but when I found myself
pregnant there was not much he could do about it. I would never consider
having an abortion even if it were a practicality 37 years ago. Bill
accepted the pregnancy, but wanted nothing to do with the parenting or the
baby. As Fox grew and became even more of a presence in the household,
Bill found more and more excuses to go on business trips. Jack was a good
friend of Bill; he often went with him on these trips, but when he was
home he visited our home often. He became very close to Fox. I don't
know quite when it happened; maybe it was when I became pregnant with
Samantha, but Jack took on the parenting role of Fox. But he couldn't
call Jack 'Daddy,' as he did refer to Bill as that, and we didn't want to
confuse the child. After all, as bright as Fox was, he was still only
three or four years old at the time.. so Jack decided Fox, and later,
Samantha, should call him 'Abah.' He explained to the children it was a
Hebrew word that meant father, and since he felt like another father to
them, that's what they should call him. Bill never had a clue as to what
it meant. Once he asked Jack what the hell they were calling him, and
Jack just brushed it off as a pet name they came up with for him. Bill
left it at that; the kids would leave him alone and bug Jack, so Bill
didn't mind in the least. We were so happy! The kids were happy, Jack was
happy, I was happy, even Bill was happy, as happy as Bill could ever be.
And then Sam had her accident."
"You mean when she disappeared?" Margaret questioned.
"No, this was before. She had fallen off of the tire swing, and
broke her collar bone. There was some fear of internal bleeding, so Sam
was typed and cross matched. When Bill innocently heard what her blood
type was, he realized he could not be her father. Something about Rh
negative and positive. It was never the idea that Sam wasn't his; it was
the idea that I was with another man. Bill never gave a damn about the
children; but he was extremely possessive about me. Life changed after
that. Bill put two and two together, and forbade Jack to be anywhere
near me and the children. Of course, there were still times we were able
to get together when Bill went away on business and Bill knew that. I
guess he just didn't want us flaunting it under his nose. But when Bill
was home, things were not good. He was always impatient with the
children, but now he couldn't deal with any indiscretion. For some reason
he took most of his frustrations and anger out on Fox. Maybe it was some
concept of chivalry; not wanting to hurt a little girl, or perhaps it was
Bill's odd method of turning *his* son, which, by the way, he knew for
sure because he did blood tests, into his own image. He felt Fox needed
to be toughened up, and so if it took a beating with a strap, then so be
it... Oh, my poor Fox. First he loses his Abah, the only man who ever
acted like a real father towards him, and then his life is turned upside
down by a madman claiming paternity. Worse of all, I felt helpless to do
anything about it." Elizabeth stopped to catch her breath, and to wet her
dry lips with some now warm juice.
"I don't understand, Elizabeth. Why couldn't you do anything about
it?" Margaret felt compelled to ask.
"He threatened to divorce me and take custody of the children from
me. Margaret, I was an adulterous. There was proof that Samantha was
another man's child. Remember, this was almost forty years ago; courts
were not quite so liberal and understanding as they are today. I couldn't
take the chance of the children having to live with him without me as
their buffer. I couldn't take the chance, especially for Fox's sake. I
don't think Fox would have survived it. My God, he barely survived it
with me there, didn't he?.." Elizabeth Mulder closed her eyes as if to try
to shut out the painful memories she was forcing herself to relive.
"What happened next?" Margaret asked.
"It was time to choose one of my children for the testing. I wasn't
sure exactly what the testing involved, but because Bill and Jack were so
closely involved in the project that sponsored the testing, it was up to
them to find subjects that would help to make it a success. Bill and Jack
told me it would involve the child being sent to a boarding school of
sorts for an unspecified period of time. God help me, but I asked them to
take Fox." Elizabeth noted the surprise in Margaret Scully's eyes.
"How could you choose to have a child taken from you?" Margaret
"I didn't choose to have my child taken from me. I wasn't given that
choice. I was given the choice of which child, and I chose Fox. I chose
Fox because I thought it was in his best interests. I wanted to get him
away from Bill. Margaret, I was afraid Bill was going to hurt him so
badly one day, he would not survive it. I figured Samantha was safer in
the house than Fox." Elizabeth peered into Margaret's eyes, hoping to
find the understanding she so desperately needed at this time.
"Elizabeth, so why did Samantha end up being the one taken." Margaret
"I don't know. They were supposed to take Fox. I suppose Bill had
something to do with it; knowing Sam was Jack's child probably was the
mitigating factor. All I know is, once Sam was taken, Jack never came to
the house again. Bill continued to abuse Fox both physically and
emotionally unmercifully, and I guess I just lost sight of me and became
an emotional wreck as well. My baby was gone for who knew how long; the
love of my life was banned from my house; my first born was being beaten
within an inch of his life on the average of once a month for no good
reason; and I wanted to crawl into a hole somewhere because I felt
helpless to do anything about it..I suppose I actually did crawl into that
hole, didn't I?" Elizabeth breathed a deep sigh.
"But you're trying to crawl out of it, Elizabeth, and that's what
counts." Margaret replied in a comforting voice.
"It seems like it's a very deep hole to crawl out of, Margaret. I
don't know if I can make it all the way out by myself."
"You don't have to make the journey by yourself, Elizabeth. You have
a son who I believe would welcome you back into his life with open arms if
you would let him. And, if you haven't figured it out yet, my daughter
loves your son very much, and anything that would make him happy would
make her happy. She would welcome you into the fold just as eagerly, if
you would let her. Walter Skinner is a good man, Elizabeth. He has been
watching out for our children as closely and as carefully as is humanly
possible. Give him a chance to be a friend. You already have me as one,
if you want it." Margaret's smile was so genuine, that Elizabeth Mulder
could do little else than return one in kind.
"Yes, Margaret, I would like that very much," she replied in hushed
"What do you say we go in and check up on your son?" Margaret asked.
Elizabeth Mulder responded by rising from her seat. Margaret stood up as
well, offered the woman a reassuring hug, and walked her into her son's
end of Part 5/6.
Walter Skinner laid with his arms around Mulder's chest, and his head
laying atop of Fox's head, while he dozed. Dana slept with her head on
top of their legs, as she sat in the chair along side the bed, with her
arms stretched out in front of her, protectively over both men. The two
older women padded in softly, so as to not to awaken any of the occupants.
However, one of them began to stir.
"Mom?" Fox Mulder asked when he looked hazily in front of him.
"Yes, Fox. I'm here," Elizabeth responded.
"Mom," Fox whispered, "Mom, Abah's here."
"Yes, dear, I know," she answered, "now you close your eyes and go
back to sleep. You need your rest my sweet boy. You need to get well."
"Okay, Mom," Fox sighed, "I love you, Mom."
"Oh, baby, I love you too," Elizabeth Mulder said. "I love you so
much." She watched as Fox closed his eyes again, and nestled into the
arms of his Abah. It didn't matter that it was not the original Abah who
was supplying the support and comfort for Fox; all that mattered was there
were people to provide him with that unconditional emotional support that
he knew so long ago.
The older man stood at the information desk of DC General Hospital,
inquiring about the condition of a patient named Fox Mulder.
"He is still in the ICU, sir. He is still listed in critical, but
stable condition," informed the receptionist.
"Is he receiving visitors?" he asked.
"Only immediate family have been allowed in, as well certain close
family friends that his mother has designated. Sir, are you a family
member?" inquired the receptionist.
"I used to be," he responded. He turned to walk out of the hospital.
As the electric doors responded to open his path, he pulled out his
pack of Morleys and lit one up. As he took a deep drag of the cigarette,
he closed his eyes. Quietly, almost reverently, he inhaled the smoke and
then blew out several, perfectly round, smoke rings. He then remembered
back to long ago, another lifetime in fact, a little boy's voice,
squealing in delight, "Abah, make the circles!! Make the smoke circles,
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