Subject: New! Abah XI: Walking in Your Moccasins
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999

Category: S, A , MSR, Mag/Sk Romance
Rating: PG13 for language
Spoilers: Through Season 4

Summary: A visit from west coast relatives to see the new arrival is marked by a new trauma, but an even greater understanding.

Archive: Yes

Disclaimer: Chris owns 'em, I'm just borrowing 'em. I'll give 'em back.
Later. Any the new names on the block belong to me, but heck, I learned to play nice in the sandbox, so I'm willing to share.

This is a (relatively short <g>) new venture into the Abah Universe. It continues after the events of "Abah IX: The Birth" and "Abah X: Vignette."
There is continuity time line from the first story in the series to this one, so I do recommend you read Abah I-X first. There will be some black holes in this one that may only be filled in by the previous stories in the series. Besides, this is my totally gratuitous means of groveling and begging for feedback on any and all of my "Abah" stories.

Also, it will become obvious I've deviated even more from CC's family canon…oh well. (And I bet you didn't think that was possible, did you? ) Let's just roll with it, 'kay? <G>

The site addy for Susan's Garden (courtesy of the incredible Shirley Smiley/Web Mistress Supreme of MTA) is:

A quick thanks to Ms.X File, for providing me with a story idea, though not
exactly as you'd intended, certainly provided inspiration for this one.

And thank you Vickie for your wise words on this one!

Thanks in advance for all of your kind words, past and future.
Please send e-mail comments to:

Abah XI: Walking in Your Moccasins
by Susan Proto (

Part 1/2

Tara and Bill Scully arrived, with their three children in tow, at Maggie
and Walter's home a few weeks after Sarah's birth. Bill hadn't been to his
mother's home since Dana's wedding, so it was truly a homecoming of sorts.
In fact, Bill hadn't been on shore leave the entire time Dana was pregnant, so it had been quite a while since he'd spent any real length of time with his own family, much less his little sister and her husband.

Her husband.

It was still somewhat of a bitter pill for Bill Scully, Jr. to swallow and
accept the fact his sister had married the guy. Bill couldn't help but
wonder if she hadn't settled for someone not worthy of her. To Bill's way
of thinking, the guy was a loser; he couldn't help but put some of the blame
for his family's woes on this guy. Hell, the possibility that Melissa would
still be alive if Dana had never become involved with Fox Mulder loomed very large in Bill Scully's mind.

But the most telling point that Dana married beneath her was the fact the
guy was, well, for lack of a better, 'politically correct' term, a cripple.
First, the guy walked like he was drunk all the time and couldn't get around
without a cane. Next, he wore hearing aids in both ears, and when he became
really nervous or excited his speech sounded like gibberish. But, the most
disconcerting problem he had of all was he still had, on occasion, fits. He
knew all of this because his own mother told him so in the letters she'd
sent him while he was at sea. Well, perhaps not quite in those terms, but the essence was there.

So, how could Bill not have thought his baby sister hadn't reached high
enough? Sure, she said she was in love with him, but how long would she be
able to play nursemaid to the cripple before she finally started resenting

Hell, Bill wondered how long it would be before Mulder would finally realize
she was only staying with him 'cause she felt sorry for him?

Bill and his family walked through the door and heard the delighted cries of
Maggie Skinner greeting them. Bill looked over his mom's shoulder to see
the tall, imposing AD observing him with little expression. Bill figured it
wasn't that Walter Skinner wasn't happy to see him; he was simply reserving

"Walter," Bill said as he extended his hand to the person who he suddenly
realized, with some discomfiture, was his step-father.

Walter immediately accepted the handshake and replied, "It's good to see you
again, Bill. I know your mother feels it's been way to long since your last

"I know. What with Tara taking child rearing leave from her teaching
position to care for Matty, and her having to deal with two different school
calendars for the two older ones, and me being on land for only about five minutes in the last three years__," he exaggerated with a chuckle. "Well, let's just say it can be damned frustrating being at the whim of the U. S. Navy with regards to shore leave, but I'm glad we were able to work this visit out. I'm looking forward to seeing Dana and the baby," replied Bill.

If Walter noticed the obvious slight of Mulder, he didn't let on. The AD
consciously planned to work very hard at giving his wife's eldest child the
benefit of the doubt.

"They should be here soon," Maggie interjected, as she hugged and kissed her
daughter-in-law and grandchildren. "Dana and Fox are going to be so happy
you're here already. And they are not going to recognize you two!" she
exclaimed with a warm smile as she looked at the two children enveloped in
her arms. She then looked at the third child in his mother's arms and said,
"And they will be delighted to finally make your acquaintance you precious

William Scully III, otherwise known as Billy, Jr. or 'BJ' for short, was now
nine year old. He was a handsome young man, with his mother's blonde hair
and his father (and aunt's) deep blue eyes. He was a sturdy little guy, and
resembled his father in stature when he was that age. As the first born, he
was the serious one, and took it upon himself to be the protector of his
younger siblings. For example, he took great pride in being given the
responsibility of watching his younger sister and baby brother while his mom
did the laundry in the basement, or for those few minutes when she'd run to
a next door neighbor's home to borrow some eggs.

Ceara Elizabeth was always having to correct people on the pronunciation of
her name, which sounded like /Kyra/. She often wondered why her parents
chose such a strange name for her, but all her mom told her was it was a lovely, Irish Saint's name.

She would have preferred it if people didn't mess up her name all the time,
but she also thought it was kind of neat to have something that was uniquely
hers. After all, her big brother had to share his name with their dad, so
maybe having a weird sounding name wasn't so bad after all.

Ceara was three years younger than her brother. She was the visual image of
her mother, with waist length, blonde hair and deep, brown eyes. In
temperament, however, she was her father's daughter all the way. Though she
was normally a good-natured child, who always minded her manners and
followed directions, (she'd had lots of practice with her unusual name and all) she did tend to make snap judgments about people and situations. She also found it very difficult to admit when she was wrong. Ceara was definitely Bill's daughter.

Baby Matthew was another story entirely. He was now almost two years old,
and he was his mother's child in every way. Matty, as he was called, was still very much in 'Mommy Mode' and would not think of stepping out of his
mother's line of vision. However, when he felt secure and in control, he was the light of everyone's eyes. Matty had his mother's personality, in that he was affectionate and open, and as long as Mommy was nearby, loved everyone and anyone.

"Well, come on in and make yourselves at home! Dana, Fox, and Sarah should
be here any moment," Maggie said. "Come, sit down, and let me get you
something to drink while we wait."


Mulder was eerily quiet during the car ride from DC to Maryland. Scully
couldn't quite figure out what the problem was, but she suspected something
was gnawing at Mulder and she wanted him to get it off his chest before they
reached their parents' home.

"Okay G-Man, spill it," she said in a voice loud enough to catch his
attention even though he wasn't looking directly at her.

Mulder turned his face towards hers and found himself smiling slightly. It
always amazed him how this woman was able to read him so perfectly. He
wasn't about to give in quite that easily, however.

"Spill what?" he asked softly.

"C'mon Mulder, we're gonna be there in less than twenty minutes and I'd
really like to know what's bothering you before we get there. I want this to be a good visit," she said adamantly.

"It's nothing, Scully."

*Uh-oh,* thought Dana. *It's something. When he reverts back to 'Scully',
it's something.*

"Fox, what's got you so worried?" she asked in a gentle, but firm enough
tone that showed she wasn't going to let the subject drop.

"It's noth_."

"__Don't even say it's nothing. It's something. C'mon, Mulder, this is me.
Scully. Your wife and the mother of your beautiful, brand new, week old
daughter. Now spill!"

"I'm afraid your brother won' like me," he said a little nervously.

"Why wouldn't he like you, Mulder?"

"I don' know. Tha's why I said it was nothing," he replied with a hint of a
smile. "I know I'm probably being irrational here, Dana, but I've never
been the best in social situations where I don' know the people all that well. The fact that the person I'm going to be dealing with is your big brother doesn' help the situation."

"Bill has no reason not to like you, nor do you have any reason not to like
him. The children will adore you, Mulder. Kids have always adored you. I
suspect they know the truth," she said with a light laugh.

"Truth?" he asked curiously.

"You're one of them. A nice big, six foot plus, overgrown kid," she
explained as she reached out to grasp his hand. "Listen to me, Fox Mulder, you have absolutely no reason to be worried about whether my brother and his family will like you. _I_ like you; hell, I adore you, and your daughter is simply crazy in love with you, so that's all that really counts, isn't it?"

"I guess so," he said, not quite convinced.

"Well, one way to find out. Here we are," she announced as they pulled into
her mother's driveway. As she undid her seat belt with her left hand, she
kept her right hand wrapped in Mulder's. "You okay?" When he nodded in the
affirmative, she leaned over and gave him a sweet kiss on the lips. "Okay,
let's go meet the brood. I can't wait to see Matthew."

Mulder felt himself shrink ever so slightly at that. He knew one of the
reasons they hadn't yet met the youngest of Billy's family was Mulder was in
the hospital at the time of Matthew's birth, and Mulder's health prevented
him from traveling. Scully, of course, refused to leave Mulder's side. Then Scully became pregnant, and it was determined the extra stress of flying was probably not a good idea for her to endure, so it was only at this time the entire family was able to get together.

Mulder opened the door to the car, grasped his cane, and leaned on it for
support as he got out of the car. He then opened the back door and grabbed
their daughter, Sarah's, diaper bag. How his wife managed to get so much
stuff packed into that one bag was beyond him. She had water bottles,
diapers, binkies, changes of clothes, rattles, corn starch (he hadn't known
corn starch was preferable to talc…learn something new everyday!) among
other things.

Mulder waited patiently for Scully to retrieve Sarah from her car seat and
then followed her up the walk to the front door. Mulder paused only
momentarily as he climbed the stairs. He remembered the time he'd had to
climb those stairs when he'd first come here to recuperate from his bout of
meningitis. Those stairs had looked like Mount Everest. Now? They were a
merely an inconvenience.

Maggie pulled the door open wide even before Mulder had reached the top of
the stairs. "You're here!" she called out happily. She quickly reached for her granddaughter and took her into her arms.

"We're here!" Scully replied in kind as she scanned the room.

"Hey little sister!" called out Bill. "Come here, you!" Bill pulled her
into a warm embrace. "It's great to see you again. It's been too long, little sister; way too long."

While Scully murmured her agreement, and Maggie carried Sarah into the
family room to see her grandfather, aunt and cousins, Mulder pretty much stood there feeling like the proverbial fifth wheel. He finally cleared his throat as loudly as he dared without being too obvious and caught his brother-in-law's attention.

"Oh. Fox. How ya doin'?" Bill asked as he extended his hand tentatively.

Mulder grasped it firmly and replied in a soft, but clear voice, "Fine. How
are you?"

"Good. Good." Bill eased himself out of the handshake and then said,
"C'mon. I still haven't had a good look at that baby of yours. Gotta see how much of a Scully she is!" chuckled Bill and pulled Dana into another embrace and prodded her into the family room.

Mulder knew, rationally, Bill didn't mean to slight him; at least he didn't
think Bill meant to slight him. But it disturbed him all the same that Bill
felt it necessary to comment on whether his daughter looked more like Dana
or him, as if looking like Mulder would be a bad thing. It disturbed him
slightly more that Dana hadn't seemed to notice.


Fox walked into the family room, still carrying the diaper bag on his
shoulder and the cane in his hand. He looked about and noticed Dana excitedly greeting the three older children and Tara, as well as Walter.

His Abah.

When Mulder saw Walter Skinner standing in the corner, he breathed a small
sigh of relief. He found his ally in the battle against the Scully clan.
Mulder wasn't sure why he thought of this reunion as a battle, but that was the way it felt. He slowly made his way through the maze of toys that had already managed to find their way onto the middle of the family room's floor.

"Hello, Fox," Walter said, and as was his custom, he leaned forward and
gently placed a kiss on the younger man's forehead.

"Hi, Abah," he replied softly. "Why do I have a feeling this is not going
to be a relaxing day?"

"I'm not sure, but I know what you mean. Let's just both take it one hour
at a time. It's Maggie's oldest child, and I have to be pleasant toward him, okay?"

"Walter, I have nothing against Bill. I think it's the other way around. I
don't think he's all too thrilled with me, but I don't know what to do about

"Just be yourself, Fox, and everything will be fine," he said. Just then
both men someone standing behind them. They turned and saw Tara Scully standing there, holding her youngest child, Matthew..

"Hello, Fox," she said. Mulder returned her greeting and then she said, "I
guess you haven't met Matty yet."

"Hey, Matty," Mulder greeted with a bright smile on his face.

It almost took Walter's breath away to see the sudden transformation in
Mulder's demeanor. One moment he looked like a kicked around, whipped,
little puppy dog, and the next moment he looked like he owned the place. Put Mulder in the same room as a little kid, and he lights up like he's one of them. It was an amazing metamorphosis.

Matty was perfectly happy to play peek-a-boo with the nice man who was
holding a stick. It didn't bother Matty at all that the man had funny looking pegs in his ears, since the man continued to smile and talk with him and his mommy continued to hold him tightly.


Ceara poked BJ slightly in the ribs, and motioned for him to follow her into
the other room. BJ might have been older, but Ceara definitely showed signs
of being the ring leader of the three. BJ followed his little sister into
the kitchen.

"What's the matter with him?" asked Ceara testily.

"Whatta ya mean?" BJ asked in confusion.

"What's the matter with Aunt Dana's husband? He looks weird," proclaimed

"He's crippled, Ceara. Don't you remember Daddy and Mommy talking about it
in the car on the way over? And besides, he was crippled when we saw him get
married," he reminded.

"I don't remember that. I was too little, I guess," she sighed, annoyed with
the idea she couldn't remember something she perceived as being important.

"Yeah, well he is."

"So, how'd he get crippled?" the little girl asked her brother curiously.

"I think he was sick with some disease for a pretty long time. Then he got
better, but then I remember Mommy calling Daddy long distance and talking a
really long time and telling him the Uncle Fox was really sick again, but that
Aunt Dana was all better," BJ related.

"What was wrong with Aunt Dana?" asked Ceara.

"I think she had cancer."

"Oh," she replied, not truly knowing what that meant. "So how did Uncle Fox
get sick again?"

"Well, that's just it. Mommy was telling Daddy that Uncle Fox saved her, but
it made him really sick. Mommy said Uncle Fox's heart stopped."

"You mean," Ceara paused rather melodramatically, "he was really dead?"

"Yup," BJ responded triumphantly.

"Wow. That must have been pretty weird."

"Yeah. Guess so," BJ agreed.

The little girl looked at her brother and appeared to debate with herself as
to whether she should say the next thing on her mind. Finally, her six year
old impulsiveness got the better of her.

"BJ, I don't think I like him. He looks weird."

"But that's just because he was sick, Ceara. I don't think he's a bad guy,"
he responded in big brother fashion.

"Maybe not, but BJ, I don't think I'd want him for _my_ father," said the
little girl adamantly. "I mean he walks kind of funny, he looks a little
weird with those thinks in his ears, and he don't talk right," Ceara ticked
off on her fingers.

"I guess he would be a little weird having him for a father," agreed BJ.
"Makes me feel a little sorry for the baby."

"Maybe we should ask Daddy and Mommy if we should take baby Sarah home with
us?" asked Ceara earnestly.

"Nah, I don't think Aunt Dana would like that," contradicted BJ.

"Oh yeah, I forgot. Well, I'm just glad Uncle Fox isn't my daddy. BJ, don't
leave me alone with him, okay? He kind of scares me a little bit," she said
seriously to her big brother.

"Sure, Sis. I'll stick right with you," he replied.

Just then, Fox appeared in the kitchen doorway. "Hi kids, I'm getting myself
something to drink. Do you want anything?"

"No!" cried out a startled Ceara. "BJ, I wanna go to Mommy," she whined as
she pulled at her brother's arm until he rose from the floor and accompanied
her back out to the family room.

"Phew!" whispered BJ. "That was close! He almost heard what we were saying!"
exclaimed the young boy as he breathed a sigh of relief.

The problem was, however, that the sense of relief was misplaced.
Fox Mulder, hearing aids and all, heard every word the two children had
End of Part 1/2

Abah XI: Walking in Your Moccasins
by Susan Proto (

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 2/2

He stood silently by the kitchen sink. He fumbled slightly with the glass
he'd reached for while the children had still been present. Now, it dropped
from his hands, and Mulder watched it splinter into several large shards in
the sink. He reached in to pick them up out of the sink and, one by one,
placed them in the garbage can Maggie kept under the sink. He did this
carefully and without incident, until the last piece.

"Shit," he muttered louder than he'd wanted. He quickly looked around him to
see if anyone was within listening distance, and when he determined he was
alone, he breathed a sigh of relief. The last thing Fox Mulder wanted to do
at the moment was call more attention to himself. He didn't want to have to
explain his clumsiness to these people. It was bad enough the children were
frightened of him, and Mulder felt frustrated at his inability to make Ceara
and BJ feel at ease.

If there was one thing Mulder had always prided himself on, it was his ability
to make children feel comfortable in his presence. He knew Scully was right;
perhaps it was the fact he was just an overgrown kid. But more likely, he
thought to himself, it was because he had lived through a hellish childhood,
and he knew all too well what it was like to be afraid. The last thing he
wanted to do was instill fear into a child's heart.

Yet apparently that's what he did. The look of anxiety on both children's
faces upset Mulder. He didn't know what he'd done to make them feel so
anxious around him, since he hadn't really said more than a couple of words to
either of them. He'd interacted more with Matthew than with the older children.

He hadn't seemed to scare the little boy, so it made him wonder why the older
ones seemed so much more affected by Mulder's appearance. They were older;
Mulder understood that much. Which of course made them more aware. They were
much more aware of Mulder's disabilities than the baby, so they had more to be
anxious about.

Mulder didn't know how to fix this. He wanted to let the children know there
was nothing to fear from him. Yet, how does a 'monster' reassure children
who instinctively look under the bed at night that he won't be under it?


Mulder was sitting at the kitchen table holding the wad of paper towel tightly
around in his hand. He figured the bleeding must have stopped a while ago,
but he didn't want to take any chances.
He sat and remained lost in his own thoughts, and hadn't heard Dana walk
into the room.

"__Okay, Mulder?" she asked again.

"Huh?" he asked bewildered, since he hadn't heard the first part of her

"I said I'll carry in the pitcher of iced tea and container of juice, and
you'll carry in the paper cups, okay?" she repeated.

"Umm, yeah, sure," he replied hesitantly. All he could think about at that
moment was Dana thought he couldn't be trusted with anything breakable and
therefore reduced to carrying paper cups. Of course the bloody wad of towel
paper in his hand only served to remind him of how true that was.

He was about to say something to show his irritation with the whole situation
when he looked at his wife and saw the joy in her expression. Mulder realized
he needed to put his own needs aside for now. This day was important to
Scully, and he didn't want to do or say anything that would take away from her
happiness. It was because of his own illnesses Scully couldn't be with her
brother before this, so Mulder decided then and there to suck it up and deal
with it.

"Okay, Scully. Let's get in there and visit with your family," he said.
Scully didn't seem to notice the forced brightness in Mulder's invitation, as
she was simply too excited about having Bill, Tara, and the kids in town.
Plus, she got to show off Sarah to her big brother.

But if Dana was just a little more cognizant of Mulder's demeanor, and if she
had listened just a little more closely, Dana would have heard the clue Mulder
threw at her. But she didn't, so, instead, they left the kitchen to go visit
with _her_ family.


When Dana and Fox entered the family room, the two older children immediately
scrambled over to the opposite side of the room. The hurried movement went
unnoticed by everyone except Mulder.

And Abah.

Abah watched Mulder walk tentatively through the maze of toys which remained
scattered on the floor. He watched as his son-in-law walked over to the other
end of the room to sit down in the lone chair, away from the family sectional
everyone else was squeezed into.

BJ and Ceara immediately jumped up and scurried over to sit by their father,
who sat on the far end of the couch. They shimmied in between their parents
and sat quietly by their side, all the while eyeing Mulder with a mixture of
curiosity and apprehension. It was like the feeling you got after seeing a
terrible car accident. You didn't want to look, but you did anyway.

And Mulder felt the effects of being scrutinized under the children's
metaphoric microscope. Abah saw the transformation take place before his

Walter watched as Mulder's shoulders sagged slightly, and his eyes drooped
just enough to give him an unfocused look.

This concerned Walter. He knew Mulder's ability to deal with stress had
improved enormously over the past several months. That Fox was a primary
factor in Walter's own recovery from a serious stroke, and the fact Mulder was
able to keep his senses about him and deliver Sarah during a hurricane were
testaments to that improvement.

However, he also was well aware the stress management went only so far, and
one of the ways his son-in-law body dealt with them was in the form of
seizures. Mulder still took daily dosages of Tegretrol to control his
seizures. Walter knew the last thing Mulder wanted to happen was to fall down
in the throes of a grand mal, especially in front of Bill Scully and his family.

He debated whether to let Dana know something seemed wrong, but like Mulder,
Walter felt it was unfair to take Scully away from her family on the
supposition something _might_ happen. Walter decided to leave both Dana and
Maggie to enjoy their reunion, and he would take care of Mulder himself.

And Mulder's daughter provided the perfect alibi. Sarah started squalling
away. She'd just been fed, so it could be only one thing.

"Dana?" Walter interjected, "Why don't you let me and Mulder take Sarah,
change her, and put her down to sleep in her cradle upstairs? This way you'll
actually hear what everyone is saying."

"Oh, thank you, Walter. That's a great idea. She can't possibly be hungry
anymore, but in case she wants to suckle, there's some water bottles in the
diaper bag," Scully directed.

"Okay. C'mon Mulder. If she needs to be changed that's gonna be your job!
As the Sabah, I just get to do the nice, hygienically clean jobs. You get
to do the dirty work!" teased the new Grandpa.

Mulder didn't respond right away, but Walter didn't want to make a big deal of
it, so he picked up the diaper bag and walked over to Mulder. "Here you go,
Son. Let's get this child upstairs, changed, and into the cradle before she
makes us all need your hearing aids!"

Though Bill and Tara gasped slightly at the irreverent reference Walter made
to Mulder's deafness, Dana, Maggie, and Mulder himself, took it all in stride.
When you've lived with a disability long enough, it becomes nothing more
unique or unusual than needing eyeglasses or dentures.

Walter nudged the younger man, and successfully communicated with his eyes
that this was Mulder's escape. "Thanks, Abah," murmured Fox. Walter merely
nodded his understanding in response and then went to pick up the baby.

Dana, Maggie, and the entire Scully clan resumed their chatter as the two
men, along with the still screeching baby, slowly climbed the stairs. No one
noticed when two small pairs of feet scampered off to the kitchen where there
was another set of stairs that led to the upstairs.

No one noticed a third, smaller pair of feet, that followed.


"What happened?" Walter asked as he gently placed the squirming, crying,
Sarah on the changing mat on the bed. He began to unsnap the baby's sleeper.

"I thought I was suppose' to do tha' " he said with a hint of sluggishness.

"You think you can change Sarah now?" Walter asked kindly as he kept one
hand on her as she wriggled about.

Mulder looked at his Abah and knew the question was not meant as a challenge,
but as a recognition that Mulder was not a hundred per cent. He shook his
head, and watched his father-in-law proceed quite adeptly at changing
Sarah's diaper.

"Oh, no wonder you're screaming your head off, Sarah. You left me the full
package, didn't you?" he asked in the typical sing-song voice of a grandparent.

"You actually look like you know what you're doing," observed Mulder.
"Where the hell did you learn to change a diaper?"

"I baby sat for all of my younger cousins when I was a kid. I used to rake in
a fortune come holiday time, cause my parents would pay me, and then my
aunts and uncles would pay me. To this day I'm still not sure if they knew each
other was paying me or not, but I wasn't about to say anything," replied
Walter as he smiled at his warm memories.

Mulder nodded in acceptance of Walter's explanation and sat down quietly in
the rocking chair. He continued to watch Walter tend to Sarah.

"What happened that's gotten you so down?" Walter asked as he finished
putting the second diaper tab in place.

"Nothing happened," he replied, a little too quickly. Walter looked at him
with a doubting expression and finished dressing his granddaughter. "Abah,
it really was nothing."

"Ah," Walter responded, "that's different. Here, hold your daughter for a
moment while I get the bassinet ready. He laid the infant gently into
Mulder's arms and watched his son-in-law cradle the child tentatively.
"Mulder, she's not going to break."

"No, she's not," he agreed, "but what if I do?"


BJ and Ceara stopped just short of the little room where the baby's bassinet
was. They could hear the two men talking softly and were curious as to
what they were talking about.

They inched closer to the doorway and put their ears up to the door. They
managed to stifle their giggles in order to hear the conversation.

"What would ever make you think such a thing?" Walter asked in a surprised
tone. "You are in the best physical shape you've been since you'd gotten

"I know. I feel good, I really do. It's just that sometimes it gets really
hard having to pretend to be normal when I know, and everyone else knows,
I'm not."

"Mulder, you're as normal as anyone in this house," Skinner admonished.

"No, I'm not. And that's okay, Abah, it really is. I know how far I've
come since I first got sick, but I also know I'm nowhere near the physical
condition I was before that. I'm also smart enough to know I will never get
in that kind of condition again.

"Don't get me wrong," Mulder stated quickly before Walter could argue with
him about becoming more fit, "I know there's room for improvement and I know
with continued therapy and exercise I'll do myself a favor. A big one __."

"__I hear a 'but' coming," interjected Walter.

"But I'm worried that my loving family has a bit of a skewed vision of who
and what I am," he replied honestly.

"What happened earlier?" Walter asked resignedly.

"I overheard the children talking. They think I'm weird." Mulder sat with
Sarah laying content in his arms, slowly being lulled by the rocking motion
and her father's soft spoken voice.

"Mulder, I've got a news flash for you. You are weird," Walter replied with
a broad grin.

"Oh gee, thanks a lot," the younger man laughed loudly, and then quickly
regained control of himself so as not to startle his daughter. "Abah, you
know what I mean, though, don't you?"

"Yes, I think I do," he said. Walter paused for a moment and then,
thoughtfully related, "When I was a very little boy, we had a neighbor by
the name of Omar. Can't remember his last name, but he was Hispanic. I
remember him so distinctly, because he used a wheelchair to get around.

"And I remember being absolutely petrified of that wheelchair. I think I
believed the chair was a part of Omar, so it scared the shit out of me
whenever Omar came near me. My mother, of course, was mortified. She
explained to Omar I was afraid of the wheelchair, and she begged him not to
take it personally," Walter explained.

"And did he? I mean, was he upset?" asked Mulder curiously.

"Actually, no. Apparently he'd encountered this reaction from small
children all the time. In fact, it frustrated the hell out of him, because so often
it was the parents who made the children frightened. You've got to remember,
when I was a child, it wasn't as common to see people with physical
disabilities out in public.

"So, when people did see Omar, he said that the parents of the kids would
hug the children closely to them and demand they not look at the man. They
would instruct the children not to stare because that was impolite. Of course,
the result was they scared the crap out of their kids, because the well-meaning
parents kept the kids totally in the dark as to what they were _not_
supposed to be staring at.

"Well, Omar developed a way for dealing with it. With Omar's encouragement,
Mom brought me outside and there he was. I clung to Mom's leg like I was
going to be whisked away by a tornado or something. Well, all of a sudden,
I hear Omar start singing this really upbeat Latin melody, and the man is
dancing in his wheelchair to it. I mean, he's popping wheelies all over the
place, and moving back and forth on the rear wheels to the rhythm of the
song he's belting out.

"Mom starts clapping her hands in time to the melody, and then I started
dancing. Finally, Omar calls me over and asks me if I want to go for a ride
and pop some wheelies with him," Walter relayed.

"So, did you? Get in the chair with him?" asked Mulder, now totally
engrossed in the story.

"Mulder, what four year old do you know who could resist a ride to pop
wheelies?" he asked deadpanned. "Damn straight, I went!" he exclaimed.
"And it was great! I still remember how much fun it was to ride on Omar's lap
and ride with the front wheels up in the air. I kept asking Mom if I could get
a wheelchair like Omar's." He chuckled at the memory and of his mother's
expression on that day.

"So what are you telling me, Walter? The kids think I'm weird because they
don't know me, and to know me is to love me?" Mulder asked.

Walter's eyes twinkled as he replied, "Basically, yes."

"Yeah. Right."
"Fox, I'm serious," Walter admonished. "The kids spoke out of ignorance. If
they've never had the occasion to see someone who needs a cane to walk with,
or hearing aids to hear with, then it's not unlikely they're going have some
fear of the unknown."

"Like you did of Omar," he thought out loud.

"Yes, exactly."

"Abah," he hesitated for a moment as he looked down at his, now quiet, infant
daughter laying contentedly in his arms, "what about Sarah? I mean, when she
grows up, how will she deal with having me for a father? What about her

"Fox, she'll deal with having you for a father like any child deals with
having an over-protective lunatic for a father. You of course realize that
describes about ninety-nine per cent of the fathers in the world."

Both men chuckled at that, and Mulder realized his fears were foolish. He
was glad he didn't go running to Scully with this problem, because it wasn't
really a problem. He would do his best to get to know BJ and Ceara, and
whatever happened, happened.

Just then Walter thought he heard a noise from behind the bedroom door. He
looked over at Mulder who seemed to be oblivious to everything but Sarah.
"Hey beautiful girl," he cooed, "you gonna finally smile for me?"

And she did. And he melted.

Walter smiled as he watched what he was certain to be a strong Father-Daughter
bond developing right before his eyes. Walter wished Fox could have a vision
of how he looked at that moment. If that were possible, he would see himself
communicating in the very special language that Daddies share with their
daughters, and Fox would never again doubt how close he and his daughter would
become to one another.

But now, it was time to investigate the noise outside the room, and Walter had
a small inkling as to just who it might be. There was a reason he made it to
the level of Assistant Director. Walter stealthily walked to the door and, as
quietly as possible, turned the knob. He then jerked it open and confronted
the two very startled children who'd been leaning against it!

"Well, looks like we have a couple of visitors!" Walter boomed.

Fox stood up and placed the now complacent baby into the bassinet. He then
walked over to the door to see what the commotion was all about. Mulder
looked down and saw two very nervous kids; not exactly the way he'd hoped to
find them the next time they met.

"Hi you guys. Wanna come and see your baby cousin?" Fox asked as he hoped
to break the ice.

"Yeah. Okay," said BJ. "C'mon Ceara, let's go see Baby Sarah." The little
boy grasped his sister's hand firmly and eased by Mulder tentatively.
However, when they got near Walter, they practically ran past him. Mulder
smiled to himself when he realized the children were now apparently more
afraid of the AD then they were of him.

He was merely weird; Grandpa Walter was now the fearsome one. Okay. Mulder
thought he could deal with that for now. He would figure out a way to pop
some wheelies of his own to reassure the children.

Sarah began mewling a bit, and Walter suggested she might like a bit of water.
The big man then looked kindly at BJ and Ceara and asked them if they'd like a
chance to feed Sarah. Both children thought that was a wonderful idea, and
begged to be first. Walter asked that they decide for themselves. The two
went through the routine of rock, paper, scissors and BJ won.

Ceara, to her credit, did not argue the point and sat down on the bed while BJ
got comfortable in the rocker. Walter placed the baby in BJ's waiting arms
and then gave him the bottle.

"Mulder, where's the spit rag?" asked Walter.

"Oh, Dana must still have it downstairs by her. I'll go get it," he

"Maybe I should go downstairs and get it?" Walter asked.

"No, it's okay. I'm feeling a little stiff and could use the exercise," Fox
answered. Mulder picked up the cane that was left by the door and moved to
open the door. Ceara cautiously watched her uncle get ready to leave.

Meanwhile, Matthew Scully decided it was time to climb the mysterious
mountain. At home, his mommy always put up the baby gate that prevented him
from going up or down the forbidden stairways. But there was no such barrier
at Grandma's house, so he began his ascent.

He reached the top of the stairs fairly quickly by climbing on all fours. He
crept away from the top step and then tentatively pulled himself to a standing
position. He began to toddle around the upper level until he heard voices.
When he came to the next room the door was only partially closed. He stood
near the door and listened.

"BJ! Kee-Wah!" cried out the toddler excitedly as he heard his brother and
sister's voices just inside the room. He placed his hands on the door and
began to push it when it suddenly shot open! Matthew lost his balance, fell
quickly forward, and promptly began crying not from injury but from the
suddenness of the action.


As Mulder opened the door, everyone jumped as they heard a screeching cry
and then a loud thud. BJ, thankfully, grasped onto baby Sarah a little tighter
rather than drop her, while Walter dropped to his knees to make sure the
latter didn't happen. Ceara practically fell off the bed when she heard the
first thud.

It was the second crash that caused her to jump of the bed in total

Mulder hadn't realized Matthew was behind the door, of course, so no one was
more surprised than he was to see the small toddler come rolling through the
doorway. The fact that the child fell right by Mulder's feet didn't help the

Mulder realized he was losing his balance and wanted to avoid falling on the
child and possibly hurting him, so, in a desperate effort Mulder jumped out of
the child's way. He lost what little sense of balance he'd had and fell
backwards. By the time he stopped rolling, his head ended up toward the
small table in the corner of the room, while his feet ended up under the foot
of the bed..

The gangly man hit the back of his head hard, and he let out a groan in
response to the pain. Mulder then tried in vain to turn quickly to see if
he'd hurt Matthew in any way, shape, or form, but he had a difficult time
accomplishing that feat. His head suddenly felt fuzzy, and he had difficulty
figuring out where he was in space. It had been a long time since he'd felt
this way; maybe the last time was after the plane crash on his way to visit
his mother.

Suddenly he heard crying, and he worried he'd hurt the little boy. But as time
passed the crying got a little more hollow in sound, as if it were coming from
a wind tunnel. Mulder wasn't able to decide if it was Matthew, Sarah, or one
of the older children. He wanted to get up and calm down whoever it was who
was crying, but everything began to get hazy, and fuzzy, and suddenly,
everything went dark.


Walter looked over as the screeching sound became louder when Mulder opened
the door. The AD saw the small boy come practically flying through the door
as Mulder opened it wide. The child landed practically on top of Mulder's
feet which caught the new father totally by surprise.

Walter could tell Mulder was trying to compensate for the added weight on his
shoes so he would avoid tripping over and possibly onto the child.
Unfortunately, Mulder's ability to sidestep an obstacle had been greatly
reduced in recent years. Mulder's fall backwards appeared to almost happen in
slow motion. Walter looked on, frozen in his spot, as Fox waved his cane in
the air in a vain attempt to regain his balance.

The AD watched in horror as his son-in-law fell to the floor, the back of his
head bouncing hard off of the parquet floor. He quickly looked from Mulder's
supine body to the young boy in the rocking chair, still holding the week old
infant. Walter quickly took Sarah out of BJ's arms and placed her in her

He then quickly gave BJ and Ceara the once over to make sure they weren't
traumatized for life, and upon determining they would survive this , he
checked on Matthew. Walter wasn't sure how Mulder managed it, but the child
was untouched. Mulder, somehow, managed to fall away from the baby. He was
sitting up now, looking curiously at Mulder who was now laying very still with
the exception of his right arm exhibiting a slight tremor.

"Oh damn!" Walter gasped. He looked at BJ and told him to please go down and
get his Aunt Dana quickly. "Hurry, BJ, your Uncle Fox is going to need her.
Go. Now!"

The young boy hesitated for a moment or two before he got up. He looked at
Ceara briefly, and then he left the room to get his aunt. Ceara was ready to
follow her brother when she heard Walter call her. "Ceara, I need your help,
honey," he said very gently.

He saw how frightened she looked, and he couldn't blame her. She'd been
frightened of him before; Walter couldn't even imagine what she was going to
feel toward him after this. But he really did need her help.

"Ceara, I need you to move this table so when I roll your Uncle Fox onto his
side, he won't bump into it by accident. Can you do that, sweetheart?" he
asked hopefully.

When he saw the little girl nod, he smiled encouragingly, and quietly urged
her to come forward and move the table. She walked around her uncle gingerly,
and pushed the relatively lightweight table to the opposite side.

"Thanks, Ceara, I really appre_,' Walter stopped as he realized Fox was going
into a full blown grand mal seizure. "Ceara, grab his legs from under the
bed, honey, and help me turn him on his side."

The little girl looked at Walter and then at Mulder's seizing body. The
tremors took hold of all four extremities and caused a totally blank
expression on the younger man's face. Ceara froze in her place and watched
as her new grandfather tried to turn him over.

"Ceara, please honey, help me. He can't hurt you; he can only hurt himself,"
Walter pleaded in soft tones.

The child looked at Walter's face and made another one of her six year old
snap decisions. She decided she could trust Walter Skinner, so she quickly
moved down to Mulder's feet and helped pull them from under the bed and then
turn them, so Walter could easily turn him on his side.

"Should I hold him down, Grandpa Walter?" Ceara asked seriously.

"No, sweetheart. You don't need to, in fact, you shouldn't. See, even I'm
not holding your uncle now. I just wanted to make sure he was laying on his
side, so he wouldn't choke on his saliva.

"Why does he do this?" asked Ceara innocently.

"You make it sound like he's doing it on purpose, Ceara. He's not, you know,"
he responded with a voice of experience.

"Does it hurt?" she asked anxiously.

After some careful consideration, Walter said, "No, I don't think it hurts
him. But I do know he's going to feel very, very tired. His body goes
through quite a workout when he has a seizure."

"But why does he have them?" she asked.

"Well, Ceara, you know the brain is kind of like the control center for the
human body, right?" Upon seeing her nod, he continued, "Well, the control
center has to receive all kinds of messages from the rest of the body, so the
body can work. Well, the control center can take just so many messages at
one time, so there are kind of like these little guards that help the brain sort
through all of the messages and put them in order of importance.

"Like, for instance, pumping your heart would have more importance than
scratching your nose, right?" Somehow, he'd managed to get a smile on her
face, even though her uncle was still seizing right next to them. "Well, when
your Uncle Fox got sick, the bad germs caused some of the guards in the brain
to disappear. So now Uncle Fox's brain sometimes gets too many messages all
at one time, and his body ends up going into a seizure," Walter explained.

"But he doesn't have seizures all the time," Ceara observed.

"Not any more, he doesn't. In the beginning, when he'd first got sick, Ceara,
he did. He had a lot of these seizures, like fifteen a day. But he takes a
special medicine every morning and every evening that helps stop too many
messages from getting through. Sometimes, though, when he's surprised
suddenly, the messages get through anyway," Walter responded.

"Like cause Matty tripped him?"

"Like cause Matty tripped him," Walter agreed.

"Matty didn't mean to trip Uncle Fox," Ceara said in defense of her baby

"Oh, honey, I know that, and so will Uncle Fox. He won't blame Matty for his
having a seizure," Walter assured the little girl.

The sounds of footsteps could be heard tramping up the stairs and Walter could
hear Dana calling for Billy to get her medical bag in the trunk of her car.
Fox's seizure was abating just as Dana entered the room.

"What happened?" asked an obviously worried Dana.

"Uncle Fox got surprised when he tripped over Matty, so his brain couldn't
handle all of the messages, and he had a seizure," explained Ceara very

Dana looked at the child with awe and then turned to her step-father with a
questioning look. Walter merely shrugged his shoulders and said, "She needed
to know why Fox had seizures, so I gave her an explanation I figured she could
best understand for now."

"Oh," she replied and then smiled. Leave it to Abah to take on Ceara
Elizabeth Scully, and come out on top.

"Here's your bag, Dana," called out Bill. "Ceara, come out of there now,
sweetheart. You shouldn't be in there now."

"Why?" she asked earnestly.

"Honey, you shouldn't be seeing that,'' Bill said seriously. "I mean the
man's having a fit, Ceara. C'mon, you don't belong in there.

"But, Daddy, I helped Grandpa Walter turn Uncle Fox over, so he wouldn't
choke on his sss__? On his spit," she replied confidently, and then she turned to
Walter and said, "I did help, didn't I, Grandpa?"

"Yes, you did, Ceara. You were a big help to me and Uncle Fox," he reassured
the little girl, and then he turned to Bill and said, "She's fine right where
she is, Bill. Really."

"But__," Bill began to sputter, however Dana quickly put an end to her
brother's attempts to instill unnecessary fear in her niece. She announced
she needed an assistant to help her examine Fox and wondered if there were
any volunteers.

"Oh, me, Aunt Dana! Me, please! I was a good assistant for Grandpa Walter,
right, Grandpa?" she rattled on excitedly. When she saw Walter nod in the
affirmative, she smiled broadly.

During the perfunctory exam, Dana asked Ceara to hand her certain medical
instruments from her bag, which allowed her to feel very much a part of her
Uncle's care. Dana declared Fox apparently suffered no real damage and would
merely need some nap time to sleep off the aftereffects of the seizure. After
several minutes passed, Walter asked a reluctant Bill to help him get Mulder
into the bed.

"It's okay, Daddy," Ceara said encouragingly, " Uncle Fox can't hurt you."

Walter thought he was going to burst out laughing at the serious expression
on his granddaughter's face and the shocked expression on his stepson's.
Walter decided he was going to like this precocious little girl after all.

Once Walter and Bill managed to get Fox into the bed, Dana took off his shoes
and began to cover him up. He opened his eyes and looked over at Dana and
smiled at her. "You had a seizure, Fox. Take a nap for now, okay?" she said
as she leaned down to kiss him gently on the lips.

Ceara came over and gently patted him on the cheek. Mulder saw the little
girl smile at him, and Mulder smiled back. Next he scanned the room for
someone and finally caught his eyes.


"Matty's fine, and so are Sarah, and BJ. And Ceara here, was a wonderful
assistant. Everyone is fine, Fox, so rest, okay?" he reassured.

"Hey, Abah," he rasped, as he grasped Ceara's gentle hand, "We popped a
wheely, didn't we?" When he saw Walter's broad smile as he nodded in
agreement, Mulder sighed contentedly, and drifted off to a much needed

End of 2/2

Author's Note: By the way, there really was an Omar in my life, and the four
year old was my own son, Daniel. Thank you, Omar, for being every bit the
compassionate and patient teacher.

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