22 Sep 1997

Abah V: Mothers and Lovers
by Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 12 /19

Maggie Scully sat in the room designated as the waiting area alternating
between deep breathing exercises and hyperventilating. She wasn't allowed
anywhere near the operating room in which Dana was receiving her treatment,
so she had no idea as to how it progressing.

She saw the worried look in Walter's eyes. They showed fear, but what was
even more frightening was they showed doubt. Maggie, to be sure, had her
own fears and doubts as to whether this was the best course of action, but
at the same time, she realized they never had any other choice. Oh sure,
they could have opted not to go through with the procedure and then waited
to see if Jack Stein was lying about Dana's prognosis, but of course they
couldn't chance that route. It was too great of a risk.

She worried about Fox too, of course. He really had ingratiated himself
on her, hadn't he? She saw a neediness in that young man from the first
moment she had met him, and she saw the love in his eyes for her daughter
from the first moment she saw them together.

She also saw he needed a mother's love desperately, and since he sought it
from her, she gave it willingly. He craved it and accepted it as any small
child would need affection and security from a trusted adult.

It was odd mothering him while Elizabeth was staying with them. She at
times seemed to resent it wholeheartedly, and then, other times, appeared
totally relieved that maternal affection was neither expected nor wanted
from her.

When Maggie first met Elizabeth Mulder all those many weeks ago, when Fox
was first admitted to the hospital for the meningitis, she was impressed
with the woman's regal demeanor, but distressed at her apparent inability
to mother her very ill son.

One moment she was insisting upon making medical decisions that she knew
nothing about, and the next she was deferring to Dana, albeit begrudgingly,
with her obvious knowledge of Fox's physical and emotional needs.

Maggie knew Elizabeth's feelings toward Dana and her were ambivalent at
best. She at once expressed her gratitude for putting and Fox and her up
at her home during his long recovery period, and then she did a complete
about face and demonstrated total resentment toward the dominant role
Maggie played in her son's life.

She couldn't blame her, Maggie thought to herself. *If it were one of my
sons or daughter being parented by a complete stranger to me, I would
resent it too,* Maggie considered. *But the difference between Elizabeth
and me is, I would never give up my rights to parent my children.
Elizabeth not only gave up her rights, she just plain gave up,* she realized.


Skinner watched the men walked out of the treatment room with the
receptacle that held Dana's potential for life. He couldn't help but
wonder how long the procedure would take on their end. He prayed they
would be successful. They had to be successful, not only for Dana's sake,
but for Fox's well being as well.

Inside Dana's operating room, a hypodermic needle was immersed into the
slimy, oily medium. The doctor drew the plunger up and withdrew a full
dosage of the entities. She then proceeded to insert the needle tip into
the nasal passage of Dana Scully.

As the doctor pushed down on the plunger of the hypodermic, the entities
began their trek around the skull of Dana Scully. She was heavily sedated,
but not comatose, so the entities were quite aware that Dana was very much
a viable host.

The E.B.E.s proceeded to enter her skull and began to feast upon the
cancerous cells that threatened to take her life at any moment. As they
traveled about her skull and brain, the entities continued to absorb the
tumor that lodged itself inside of Scully's brain matter. Slowly, but
surely, the tumor was breaking away from the brain and wall of the nasal

It was a slow process. Several hours passed, but when the entities had
their fill, they proceeded to exit the host quickly. As they passed back
out via Scully's nostrils, they moved but for a few seconds more and then
ceased. Their cancerous feast was what killed them, but was also what gave
Dana Katherine Scully hope for a long future.

The doctors needed to make surgical decisions that would give them the
best access to the remainder of the tumor, but leave the least amount of
scarring. It was decided they would actually do a type of facial peel,
whereby they incisions were done around the hairline, and then the
epidermis would literally be peeled forward and down. The surgeons would
have clearer access and the scars would be hidden by the hairline. Though
this was also a delicate procedure, the doctors were all quite confident
that the procedure would go according to plan.

And it did. As the epidermis was moved forward, the doctors were able to
access the tumor under the skull by cutting a window through the skull just
above the bridge of the nose and below the forehead. They were amazed at
how easily the remainder of the tumor just peeled off. Once inside, the
whole procedure to remove the remaining part of the tumor took less than
ten minutes. They replaced the piece of skull and braced it in place in a
relatively short time. On the other hand, the task of sewing tiny,
minuscule stitches around Scully's hairline took an inordinately long time.


A nurse from Dana's operating room entered the treatment room.
She walked over to the Cigarette Smoking Man and spoke with him. Skinner
noted his head bobbing up and down and then dismissed the man. Skinner
assumed he was returning to Dana's room. He tried to catch Stein's eye,
and when he finally did, Skinner said, "Is there any news about Dana?"

Skinner literally held his breath as Stein drew out the suspense. He
wanted to walk over there and throttle it out of him, but Skinner remained
calm. If it were good news, it would be worth the wait. If it were bad,
then Stein was a dead man.

"It appears Mr. Skinner, the little buggers did just what we hoped they
would do. Your Agent Scully is being stitched up now even as we speak, and
she is, Assistant Director Skinner, cancer free."

Skinner exhaled so loudly that it was a wonder he was actually able to
hold so much of his breath for so long. Skinner said a silent prayer of
thanks, and then asked if Maggie knew yet.

"I sent Nurse Smith to immediately inform Mrs. Scully. I'm sure she'll be
quite pleased with the news, don't you think?" Stein said, rather smug with

"Yes, Stein, I'm sure she'll be very pleased," he said begrudgingly. *Of
course, if you hadn't given it to her in the first place, we wouldn't have
had to go through this, now would we?* he bitched to himself.

With Dana Scully well on her way to recovering, the next major task was to
reawaken Fox Mulder from his very deep sleep. This was the step that had
all of the parties most concerned. This was the part of the treatment that
all of the parties feared would be the most difficult to complete without

And they were right.

End of Part 12/19

Part 13/ 19

Abandoned Facility/DC Area

It felt so good to sleep. There was no strain, no extra energy involved.
He could just lay there, and let the sleep envelope him like a blanket. It
was so much easier.

He thought back to another time when he just wanted to sleep forever. Sam
had cried out for help, and he hadn't been able to do anything for her. He
had laid paralyzed, much as he was paralyzed on this day.

**Help me Fox, Help me!** she had cried out to him.

Yet he hadn't been able to do anything. He hadn't been able to save her!
And when he had been unable to carry out that one small duty to her and his
parents, all he had wanted to do was sleep and never wake up. It had felt
so good. It had felt so safe.

And now, all he wanted to do was sleep. It felt so good. It felt so safe.


As the minutes accumulated beyond the hour mark, the doctors began working
at a more frenetic pace. It became evident that Mulder was not going to be
easily awakened from the induced coma. Every time they thought they had
one minor catastrophe solved, another, sometimes more serious one, cropped up.

The bells and whistles rang from the various monitors. Beeps and blips
that should have been steady and rhythmic were instead erratic or
nonexistent for short periods of time.

The doctors were particularly concerned about the apnea that was occurring
more and more frequently. The periods when Fox did not breathe deprived
his brain of life sustaining oxygen. Without the oxygen, the brain could
suffer damage, and any more impairment on top of what he had already
suffered from the bout of meningitis was not a welcomed thought.

Skinner watched the doctors as they moved seemingly around in circles. He
could tell they were concerned with the slower than expected progress.
Once again, as had occurred several times over the last fifty minutes, the
heart monitor registered a flat line. This time, it was for an alarmingly
long period of time.

"Get the paddles. He's flat lining again!" the doctor shouted. The
nurses and other doctors moved quickly to get the necessary emergency
equipment in place. One of them gelled up the paddles, while another set
the appropriate voltage. The doctor shouted, "Clear!" and pressed the
paddles to Fox's chest.

Nothing. The heart monitor hummed in one continuous monotone beep. The
medical team repeated the procedure in an attempt to save Fox Mulder's life.

"C'mon Mr. Mulder," the doctor implored. "Would you please stop this
incessant dammed swaying back and forth and make the decision to come back
to us. Our arms are getting to damned tired pushing the swing! C'mon
Mulder. Breathe damn it!"


Martha's Vineyard

"But Daddy, you promised to push me on the swing... Please! You promised
me," she whined.

"I'm sorry princess, but I've got to finish this report. This is just too
important. Go play by yourself for now," he replied with eyes, all the
while, on the very important papers laying on his desk.

"But Daddy, you prom__"

"__Samantha, that's enough!" he interrupted tersely. "I said I had to
finish this report, now please, leave my den." Bill Mulder rubbed his eyes
with one hand as he poured the Jack Daniels with the other.

Bill Mulder had set up the tire swing for her the night before. He did it
late at night, after having worked a long day and had a few night caps to
ease the stress of the day. Bill had thought he would surprise the light
of his life, his princess, with the tire swing he had been promising to
hang for the longest time.

When Sam woke up that morning, and looked in the backyard, she squealed
with delight, and woke Fox up in the process. He had tried to roll back
over to go to sleep, but her excitement didn't allow it.

"He did it Fox! He said he would, and he did it! He made me the tire
swing! Isn't he wonderful, Fox? Isn't he?" she chattered away. He didn't
respond with anything but smiles, since she was
so excited she wouldn't have heard his verbal responses anyway.

But now, Fox watched as his little sister walked dejectedly out of their
father's office den. He was planning on going out with the guys, but it
broke his heart to see her so sad.

"C'mon squirt, I'll push you on the swing for a little while," he told her.

"You will?" Suddenly, the biggest smile appeared on her sweet face, and
Fox knew he did the right thing.

So now she climbed into the center of the tire and sat, trying to adjust
her body weight so she wouldn't tip totally to one side. "Push me, Fox,
please!! Push me high!!!" she shouted happily.

Fox couldn't help but be affected by his little sister's infectious
laughter. He practically giggled right along with her as she soared
through the air. Finally, he gave her one big push, and the rope, which
unknowingly to Fox was frayed, broke apart totally and sent the tire flying
wildly in the air.

The tire, with Sam still in it, came down heavily with a thump on the
grassy part of the backyard. Fox looked on in horror, wondering how this
could happen to his little sister. He began screaming, "Help! Mom, Dad,
help!! Sam's hurt!! Come quick!!"

As soon as his mother heard his voice she came flying out the back door.
"What happened, Fox?" she cried, and when she saw her daughter laying
crumbled on the ground, she screamed for Bill to call an ambulance.

The ambulance arrived and the whimpering child was placed in it.
Elizabeth climbed into the back, and when she looked at Bill questioningly,
he told her he would follow in their car. She nodded her head, and didn't
concern herself anymore with him or her son.

Fox was holding the frayed rope in his hands. Tears streamed down his
face as he held the two broken ends. "You used an old rope, Dad. Why
didn't you buy a new rope? This didn't have to happen. She didn't have to
get hurt," he sobbed.

If there was one thing that sent Bill Mulder's gut into turmoil, it was
seeing his son cry, something which he seemed to do a great deal. He was
sick and tired of seeing him as a milksop, because he assumed everyone else
saw his first born son as a weakling as well. This reflected on him, and
he wasn't going to stand for it.

The second thing that he was not going to tolerate was being blamed for
this incident. No, he wasn't going to tolerate being blamed for his
daughter's accident and certainly not by his crybaby of a son. He was
never going to accept that. Bill Mulder needed to teach his son a lesson.

He remembered screaming, and begging, and pleading with him to stop, but
of course he didn't. He never did, not until __he__ was exhausted, not
when Fox was unable to stand it any longer.

This time he used one of the ropes to tie his son's hands behind his back,
and then he whipped him with the other one. When that didn't seem to
torment the boy enough, Bill Mulder went for his belt.

He was always carefully avoided the boy's face. Fox wondered how he did
that, since his face was always visible. His back and chest ached from the
lashings, but the worst was when Bill pulled the boy's pants down. Only
this time he held the belt from the smooth end and used the buckle end to
further punish the youngster. The marks left on Fox's buttocks and groin
area would heal, but the emotional bruises would remain a life time.

After what seemed like forever, his father told him he was going to to see
his sister. He berated the boy for her being in the hospital. Bill Mulder
claimed it was Fox's fault she fell, because he neglected to check the rope.

He told Fox he should have checked the swing before pushing her so hard.
Perhaps if he hadn't pushed her so hard, she wouldn't have fallen. It was
obviously all of Fox's fault, not Bill's. Bill Mulder slammed the door on
his way out.

He sat gingerly on top of a pillow, on the floor. His bent his knees and
rested his chin on them, while he encircled his arms around his legs. He
rocked gently back and forth, humming a tuneless melody.

He finally allowed himself to hear a voice, a male voice, and he shuddered
in fear that his father had returned to punish him some more for hurting

When he listened carefully he realized it wasn't his father, it was
someone else...

"Fox, where are you? It's me. It's Abah."

"Abah?" he whimpered.

"Ahh there you are," he cooed as he sat down next to him. "How ya doing,

When the man reached over to hug him, Fox cried out softly in pain. The
man quickly withdrew the pressure and gently rested his hand on his
shoulder. "I'm sorry, Fox. I didn't mean to hurt you."

"It's okay. I hurt Sam, Abah. She fell off the swing because I didn't
check the rope, and it was frayed. I pushed her too high and it broke.
It's all my fault. Abah, sometimes I just want to___," Fox was interrupted.

"No Fox, it's not your fault. Don't _ever_ blame yourself. It was not
your fault. It was never your fault," his Abah said..


Present Day
Abandoned Facility/DC area

Skinner began to feel the panic well up inside him. The doctor called out
"Clear!" once again. It seemed everyone held their breath as he set the
defibrillator in motion again.


The entire group let out a collective breath of relief. Skinner moved
quickly to where Stein was standing. "Stein," he demanded, "What's going
on? Why isn't he waking up?"

Stein looked up at the tall, broad shouldered man before him. He knew he
was waiting for answers to his questions, but wondered why he really
expected him to have those answers.

"Mr. Skinner, I don't know. I would suspect the difficulty lies in Agent
Mulder's already weakened condition. The doctors are doing everything they
possibly can do, but we knew it was a risk for him to go through with this."

Skinner knew he was right of course. They all realized it was a risk, a
major risk. Elizabeth hadn't wanted her son to go through with this, but
if he didn't, Dana would have been dead in a matter of days.
Unfortunately, Fox may be dead within a matter of hours...

End of Part 13/19

Part 14 / 19

Elizabeth walked into the small waiting room to find Maggie crying. At
first, Elizabeth didn't know whether she should stay or leave, and just as
she was about to retreat out of the door, Maggie looked up and called to
her, "Elizabeth, please, stay with me."

"What have you heard?" she asked anxiously as she took a seat nearby.
"Has anything happened to Fox or Dana?"

"Dana's fine, Elizabeth," she said with wonder, reaching over to touch the
other woman's arm. "The nurse just came in to tell me the procedure went
just as they had hoped it would, though she'll be confined to the recovery
room for another hour or two for monitoring."

"She's going to be okay then?" Elizabeth whispered.

"Yes. She's going to be just fine." Maggie paused but for a moment and
then asked, "Elizabeth, is there any word on Fox?"

"I don't know. I haven't seen Jack since a few hours ago. Have you seen

"No, not yet. I assume he's still inside Fox's treatment room. I'm sure
if there were any news someone would come out to speak with us, don't you
think?" Maggie hoped her voice did not betray her true fears.

In actuality, she was very concerned that no word had come as yet about
Fox. If things were going well in there, Walter would have left to tell
her. The alternative was too devastating to even consider.

"I'm sure someone will be out to speak with us soon, Elizabeth." She
clasped the other woman's hand, and received a small, tired smile in response.


"Okay folks, let's get him stabilized for more than two minutes at a time,
okay?" the doctor admonished.

Stein looked over at the young man on the gurney. Fox looked pale, and
his breathing had appeared shallow. The doctors felt it best to hook him
up to a respirator to assist his breathing. They were concerned with the
numerous breathing and heart stoppages and felt it better to ensure a
continuous supply of oxygen rather than the fits of stops and starts he had
been sustaining for the last couple of hours.

The medical support staff seemed to be in constant motion until the doctor
was finally heard to softly say, "Well, it's about time. Welcome back Mr.

Skinner rushed over to see Fox Mulder's eyes were opened, but he could
also see the look of panic begin to overwhelm him. Walter knew immediately
what was causing the fear.

"Fox," he spoke in a voice loud enough for Fox to hear him without his
hearing aids, but in a tone that he hoped instilled comfort, "it's just to
help you breath until you're stronger. Don't fight it, please. It's just
for a little while, okay?"

Fox began to visibly relax at the sound of Skinner's voice. He couldn't
hear or understand everything he said because of all the other noise in the
room, but he knew he was there for him, and that's all that mattered. Now
he was tired and just wanted to go back to sleep.

"Dr. Allen, is he out of danger?" asked Stein.

"To be honest, Mr. Stein, I don't know. He sure gave us a run for our
money for a while. I didn't know if he would be strong enough to come out
of it. But he's awake now, and I think keeping him on the respirator will
help him gain his strength back. We'll just have to keep a close eye on
him and watch for infection and pneumonia."

Skinner moved in closer to hear the doctor's assessment. He then asked,
"What about recovery? Do you think he'll make a full recovery?"

The doctor made a sardonic chuckle. "AD Skinner, that's like asking if
he'll ever tap dance again and the prognosis was, `of course' and the reply
is, `well, he never did before.'" The doctor paused for a moment, and then
with a more grave expression, addressed Walter.

"Look, I have to be honest. I can't imagine him coming out of this
without some problems. I know he had sustained some disabilities as a
result of the meningitis. I would guess those problems will be magnified
in the initial part of his recovery.

"But I would also be surprised if he doesn't have some new problems to add
to the list. Look, let's take it one step at a time, okay? Right now,
he's out of the coma. That's a major, major step. But he's obviously
exhausted and will need to sleep for a while.

"You're exhausted as well. Go to your family, tell them what's going on,
and then try to get some rest yourself." With that, the doctor turned
around to check over his patient one more time.

Skinner heard the words , but could not fully absorb their meaning. Fox
was no longer comatose and was sleeping soundly. The fact that he might
have sustained more brain damage was something Walter could not bring
himself to accept at that moment.

He looked at Stein and told him that he was going to inform Maggie and
Elizabeth of Fox's condition.

"They must be frantic by now," Skinner said, paused and then added, "Do
you want to join me?"

Jack was taken by surprise by the invitation and nearly accepted it, but
then he shook his head and said, "No, I'll speak with Elizabeth later."

As Skinner left the treatment room, Stein stared after the AD with some
wonder and a hint of admiration.


Maggie and Elizabeth looked up as Walter entered the small waiting room.
Neither one of them could interpret Walter's expression. Maggie spoke
first. "Is he all right?"

"It was touch and go for a while. He's still not out of the woods, but at
least he's no longer in a coma. He's sleeping now."

Elizabeth observed him closely. She realized there was something else
Walter had to say, but he was hesitant. Elizabeth, never one to mince
words asked, "What's wrong?"

Skinner sighed deeply. "He had to be put on a respirator. His heart kept
stopping and he stopped breathing a few times. He became very weak at one
point, and the doctors felt it would help him if recover if his heart and
lungs weren't so stressed."

"How long will he need to stay on it?" Elizabeth asked.

"Until he's stronger." Skinner saw her become crestfallen. "Elizabeth,
he __will__ get stronger," he said determinedly.

Elizabeth looked at Walter and couldn't understand why she wasn't feeling
any sense of relief upon hearing Walter's words. She felt no comfort
whatsoever in hearing her son will be on a respirator only until he becomes
stronger. *Stronger? When will that be?* she wondered to herself. *He
was just recovering from meningitis, for Christ's sake. How is he supposed
to get stronger after all he's been through?*

Suddenly she cried out, "How long do you think he will be attached to that
machine? How long do you think he'll be confined to the hospital
__again__? How long do you think it will be till he's _normal_ again?"
Her hands visibly shook as her emotions got the best of her.

"I don't know, Elizabeth," he responded soberly.

"Damn it. This didn't have to be, you know. Maggie, I'm sorry. I know
this was for your daughter, and I can empathize with you in wanting to do
anything and everything for a daughter. But," she spat, "this was at the
expense of my son's life."

Maggie and Walter both looked at Elizabeth Mulder in disbelief.

"He's never going to be normal again, is he Walter?" Elizabeth asked harshly.

"We have no way of knowing that now," he answered hurriedly.

"Oh for God's sake, Walter, you said yourself he stopped breathing. How
many times? Once? Twice? Six? A dozen? Damn it, if they had to put him on
a respirator, then he must have stopped breathing for a pretty long time,
didn't he?"

"Elizabeth," Maggie pleaded, "don't torment yourself."

"You mean don't torment you, don't you Maggie? I didn't want him to do
this. I knew this would happen. This was your idea. And his," she
shouted while pointing an accusing finger at Skinner. "I said it was too

"You know," Elizabeth continued, "I may never have been a candidate for
`Mother of the Year,' but I have always loved my son. I acquiesced to his
wishes because of how much I do love him.

"I knew how much he loved Dana and wanted to do this for her. But just
because you __want__ to do something doesn't automatically make it the
wisest decision," she concluded.

"No," said Skinner quietly in response, "sometimes it's just the __only__

Maggie grasped Walter's hand at this point. She was so taken aback by
Elizabeth's outburst. She hadn't realized just how self-centered Elizabeth
Mulder was. Didn't she realize that if the roles were reversed, she and
Dana would have wanted the procedures to go forward in the same manner?
Why was Elizabeth behaving this way?

She soon found out.

"Walter, what happens if he doesn't recover? What if the brain damage is
worse? What if he's a vegetable? Who's going to take care of him? Are
you, Walter? Maggie? Are you prepared to watch over him for the rest of
his life if he can't take care of himself?"

"Yes." Walter spoke with quiet confidence. "If he needs me, I'll be
there for him. But Elizabeth, can we say the same for you?" he asked.

"Does it really matter?" she cried out. "He seems to have already
replaced me with __Mom__ here," Elizabeth said venomously as she looked
directly at Maggie.

"Elizabeth!!" Maggie shouted. "How could you think I could __ever__
replace you? My God, Elizabeth, don't you realize just how much Fox needs

"Don't you know how much it had hurt him when you never called to keep in
touch or visited him. Don't you know how much he wanted you to invite him
to Greenwich to spend the holidays with you? When he didn't get that
invitation from you, Elizabeth, he came and spent Christmas with my family.

"How could you ever think he would want to replace you? He loves you and
needs you so much, but you seem to love and need him back only when it's
convenient for you.

"He needs more than a New Year's card or birthday card to show you love
him, Elizabeth. Consider the fact that he had to become deathly ill to get
you to come and stay with him.

"So don't you dare make me the heavy here. I love your son like he's my
own, that's true. But don't you dare insinuate that __I __
have done anything to usurp your maternal position. That was never __my__
doing, Elizabeth. Never.

"The choice was always yours. Yours. And if you would just open up your
eyes and heart, you would see the choice is still there for the making."
Maggie was standing at this point, hugging herself in an attempt to control
her own trembling anger.

Elizabeth stared hard at both Maggie and Walter. How could she make them
understand how the choices she made so long ago still haunted her today,
and those very choices were what made it so difficult to face Fox. She
felt like such a hypocrite using that accusatory tone with Maggie and
Walter, when it was she who deserved to be accused.

She was the one who chose her son for a project that would have him taken
away from her. And when the choice was overruled, she was the one who
chose to ignore the pleading looks and cries of help from him, simply
because it was easy to ignore them while she was in a valium induced stupor.

She was the one who, God forgive her, offered again and again to trade her
son for her sweet, beautiful, innocent daughter, because she couldn't stand
listening to her husband beat him as a way of trying to compensate for his
own failings as a parent.

She was a coward. She was a lousy mother because she was a coward. Fox
never forgave her for her that, and in fact, she had never forgiven
herself. Elizabeth Mulder began to weep. She wept for all of the lost
years, both in the past and in the future.

End of Part 14/ 19

Part 15 /19

Maggie and Walter left Elizabeth in the waiting room. Neither one of
them knew quite what to say to her. Walter felt slightly more sympathetic
towards her. He considered the danger her only son was in and could
understand to a certain degree her anger and frustration.

Maggie, on the other hand, was not sympathetic at all. The woman made
choices that came back to haunt her. She made mistakes. Well everyone
makes mistakes, but what got Maggie Scully's Irish up was the idea that
this woman refused to learn from the mistakes she made.

They went to check on Dana.

A couple of hours had passed and Dana was brought back to her room. She
was still heavily sedated, but she seemed to be resting comfortably. Her
face was covered with a bandage that was reminiscent of the old time movies
depicting someone with a toothache, which was wrapped around the chin and
the hairline. There was already some bruising and swelling, but that would
subside in a couple of weeks.

Maggie was upset by all of the discoloration around her daughter's face,
but the nurse in attendance told her it was quite expected and that it
would fade within time. The doctor who performed the surgery to remove the
remaining part of the tumor came in and assured Maggie that her daughter
appeared to be cancer free. Of course, follow-up visits were advised, but
the doctor seemed to feel there wasn't any reason to believe there would
be a reoccurrence.

The two sat quietly, side by side in their chairs, watching Dana sleep.
Walter grasped Maggie's hand, brought it up to his mouth, and gently kissed
it. Maggie responded with the smile her daughter inherited, and returned
the kiss. "She's really going to be okay, isn't she Walter?" she said.

"Yes, Maggie, she's going to be fine."

He wondered if Maggie knew how ambivalent he felt at the moment. He
didn't begrudge her feelings of joy for her daughter's new found health,
because he felt every bit as jubilant.

He was, of course, worried about Fox and his recovery. It had taken so
much out of him (and everyone else for that matter) while he was recovering
from the meningitis. This battle appeared to be one that would be even tougher.

He doubted they would be able to count on Elizabeth. She had her own
demons to deal with and Walter expected her to be on the next train to
Greenwich within the week. Maybe she would surprise him and stay, but
somehow he doubted it.

No, it appeared an extended personal leave was definitely in Walter
Skinner's future. He told Elizabeth he would be there to take care of Fox
for as long as he needed him, and he was not about to renege on the promise.


Chilmark, MA

The smoke was burning his throat and making it difficult for him to
breathe. It was so hot. The flames danced all around him, and he was so

Fire. He hated it. He hated it!

And it was so hot. He couldn't escape the heat. Everywhere he looked he
saw the air dancing as the cool air mixed with the heat of the flames.

Fire. He was so frightened of it. He was so frightened!

He couldn't breathe. He had to get out of there, but he was so afraid of
the hated flames.

**Help!** he tried to scream, but no sound left his throat. **Help me,
please,** he whimpered.

"Fox, are you there? Fox, where are you boy? It's me, Abah! Tell me
where you are, Fox. Please, tell me where you are?"

**I'm here, Abah. Help me, Abah. It's so hot, and I can't breathe,** he


Abandoned Facility Area/DC area

Stein saw Fox begin to struggle and immediately called over a nurse. He
tried talking to him in soft soothing tones as he once did many years ago,
but his symptoms were causing him alarm. The nurse took one look at him
and pressed the buzzer for the Physician's Assistant on duty, who arrived
almost immediately.

"Talk to me Smith," he said.

"Mr. Stein called me over when he heard the patient seemingly in
discomfort. He doesn't look well, sir."

"What's his temp?"

The nurse produced the aural thermometer and took his temperature. "His
temps 103.4 degrees. He's also trying to fight the respirator, sir."

He listened to Mulder's lungs and scowled at what he heard. "I'm hearing
some congestion in his lungs. There's an increase in fluid.

"Okay, right now get some cool compresses so we can try to lower that
temp. I'll page Doctor Allen. We're probably dealing with a preliminary
case of pneumonia here, so I'm sure the doc will want to prescribe some
massive dosages of antibiotics. Damn, this is one thing this poor guy
didn't need now," he remarked to no one in particular.

The nurse returned with a wash cloth and basin of tepid water. She placed
the compress on Mulder's forehead. The hum of the machines and the hiss of
the respirator were the loudest sounds in the room. Stein watched the
scene from afar. He remembered another time when he was a player in a
scene so similar to this..


Chilmark, MA

"Jack, I'm so grateful you're here. I can't believe Bill chose this week
to go to DC. You would think he would have used a little common sense, or
at least some common courtesy. It was his God damned idea I breast feed
the baby instead of use formula.

"Now he's out of town, I'm physically exhausted, and I'm at my wits end!
Samantha's been crying constantly because my milk won't let down, since
I've been so tired and worried about dealing with Fox," she said in a
torrent of emotion.

"Okay Elizabeth, I'll go take care of Fox. What did the doctor say to
do?" he asked.

"Well, as soon as I described the red splotches, he knew immediately it
was Scarlet Fever. He said to keep Samantha away from him, and me too if
possible because of the breast feeding.

"You have to take his temperature, Jack. He feels so hot."

Jack walked into four year old Fox's bedroom and was horrified at what he
saw. The child laid naked on the sheets, with splotches of red rashes
mixed in with faded, ugly, purple bruises. *Oh God, what has he done to
this child?*

"Hi big boy. How are you doing?" he asked softly.

"It hurts, Abah, and it's hot. I don't like this," he whimpered.

"I know, but I've got to take your temperature, big boy, so roll over."
Stein's mouth gaped as he saw bruises all over the pre-schooler's back and
buttocks. He gently inserted the rectal thermometer, and murmured
soothingly to the child.

After a few minutes, Stein withdrew the thermometer and was astonished to
see the reading. "Elizabeth! Elizabeth, please come here!"

Elizabeth came walking in with Samantha now bawling. "Jack, what is it?
I was feeding the baby," she remarked in an annoyed tone.

"Am I reading this thing right?" he asked anxiously.

She took the thermometer from him and looked at the reading. "Oh my God.
Let me call the doctor back. It wasn't this high before."

"Shouldn't we take him to the hospital? His temp's 106 degrees for God's
sake," he pleaded.

"Let me check in with the doctor first. He said his fever might spike."

Elizabeth took the baby and made the phone call from the other room. When
she returned, she had some clean towels and a couple of bottles of alcohol
in her hands.

"The doctor said to try giving him an alcohol rub to reduce his fever.
Just pour some alcohol on the towels and lay them over him. Can you
manage, Jack? I hear Sammy again, and I've got to try to feed her before I
become engorged." She left before he could answer her.

He rolled Fox back over and told him what he was going to do. The alcohol
would evaporate quickly on his skin and cool his body off. At least that's
what the doctor's thought was best to do at the time.

As Stein replaced the towels with fresh ones, Fox cried out in discomfort.
He became alternately cold with the shivers and hot with fever. Suddenly
the child began to tremble beyond shivering. Stein became frightened by
the continuous jerky motions and realized Fox was having a seizure.

He sat by his bedside speaking in soft, soothing tones in an attempt to
reassure him. Stein had no idea as to whether the child could actually
hear him, but it made him feel better to try.

A few minutes passed and the boy's body quieted down. Fox looked at him
with fevered eyes. Jack saw them well up with frightened tears as well.

"Abah," he started crying out, "it hurts. Make the hurt go away. Abah,
help me, please." Fox began crying and thrashing about in the bed, making
it difficult for him to renew the alcohol rub.

"Fox, lay still. I have to try to get your temperature down, please, lay

"It hurts, Abah! I don't like it. Where's Mommy?" the youngster cried out.

"Mommy's feeding the baby, Fox," he replied.

"Oh. Make it stop hurting. I don't like this," he sobbed.

The child continued to become more hysterical and kicked about in the bed,
when finally, in desperation, Stein picked the child up, and then got into
the bed himself. He sat Fox in front of him, which allowed him to spread
the towels laden with alcohol on top of Fox, but at the same time hold him
and offer him necessary comfort and security.

"I've got you, Fox. I've got you."


Abandoned Facility/DC Area

By the time Dr. Allen arrived, Mulder's temperature rose to 104.7 degrees.
He prescribed massive doses of antibiotics. However, he was very
concerned about the possibility that Fox might have built up a tolerance to
some of the medications as a result of the many prescriptions he was taking
to combat the infections from the meningitis.

He left orders with the medical staff to notify him if Mulder's condition
deteriorated at all. If he worsened, there was a good possibility his body
had become desensitized to some of the medications, and would therefore
have to be placed on new combinations of antibiotics.

End of Part 15/ 19

Part 16 / 19

There was a knock on the door of Dana Scully's room. Maggie called out,
"Come in." When the nurse entered the room she informed Walter and Maggie
of the change in Fox's condition.

"My God Maggie, how much more does this poor man have to endure?" he
wailed. "Damn it, it's not fair. It is just not fair."

She looked over at her daughter who was sleeping so serenely, and she had
to agree. "It doesn't seem fair that one young man should have to take on
so many burdens. I don't know why Fox has to go through this.

"But I have to believe it's because you and I are not privy to God's plan.
There has to be a reason for it, Walter. I don't profess to understand
it, but I have to believe God has a plan for Fox Mulder," Maggie concluded.


Walter insisted that Maggie remain with Dana in case she woke up from the
anesthesia. As he walked back toward the treatment room where Mulder was
being cared for, he saw Elizabeth speaking with Jack Stein. He watched her
hand tremble near her mouth, as Jack continued to talk to her.

As the tears began to flow, Jack took Elizabeth in his arms and held her.
Walter didn't know what was being said, and he didn't want to intrude. He
walked quietly by them and slipped into the treatment room.

It had been only a couple of hours and Skinner could see the change in
Fox's pallor. Now he was extremely flushed, with his forehead covered in a
sheen of perspiration. His temperature had obviously spiked, and Skinner's
own heart was palpitating as he recalled the not too distant past when Fox
fought delirium and seizures from too high fevers.

He remembered the first time he had picked him up and literally crawled
into the hospital bed with him. Fox had nearly ripped out all of his IV's
and monitoring wires because of his vain attempt to climb out of bed to
reach for his Abah.

Walter pulled a chair up close to the side of Fox's bed, and once again
prepared himself to sit vigil over him. He wondered if he would be joined
by Elizabeth, or even Stein. Skinner didn't really care one way or the
other, all he really cared about was helping Fox fight for his recovery.


When Stein and Elizabeth entered the treatment room, Elizabeth stopped
short and almost caused Jack to trip over her. "I didn't realize he would
be in here. I thought I would have some time to be with him alone before I
..." she stopped short of saying the words.

"Elizabeth, are you sure you really want to do this? Do you really think
it would help his recovery if you left now?" Jack asked her plaintively.

"Jack, I don't know how to help him anymore. I was never very good at
dealing with Fox when he was sick. I just don't think I'm a very positive
influence on him, that's all. I think I would do him more good by just
leaving," she sighed.

"You selfish bitch."

Both Stein and Elizabeth turned quickly towards the baritone voice that
spoke those words through tightly clenched teeth.

"Mr. Skinner, I think that was uncalled for," Stein said.

"But it's absolutely true. She's not leaving to help Fox, she's running
away to protect her own fragile ego. I didn't think you would last the
week, but I figured you would stay just long enough to be sure he was out
of danger. I mean, after all, it would be so tiring for you if you had to
fly back again for a funeral," Skinner spewed out.

"Walter, you have no idea as to what my life was like then, nor do you
have any idea as to what baggage I carry with me each and every day of my
life now. So, you can just go to hell."

At that moment, Fox Mulder chose to start choking. The nurse rang for the
doctor immediately, who came running to see his patient asphyxiating on the
build up of fluid. He and his team immediately went to work to remove the
respirator tube from his throat.

Upon the removal of the respirator tube, Fox began moaning and sobbing
hoarsely. As the medical team attempted to calm him down, his reaction
became more pronounced. He started kicking and waving his arms. Skinner
moved over toward the bed quickly.

Skinner called to Fox to get his attention. He held his hands together in
his own, in an attempt to avoid the use of restraints. He continuously
called to him, and then remembered he had his hearing aids. He let go of
Fox with one hand and took the hearing aids out of his pocket. He handed
them to one of the nurses and asked her to put them in Fox's ears.

"Fox, it's okay. You're going to be okay. Can you understand me, Fox?
You're going to be okay." Fox was still unresponsive, with the exception
of his cries of discomfort.

"I've got you Fox. I'm here. Don't be afraid. I'm right here."

Surprisingly, he quieted down, and slowly opened his eyes. He looked
straight at Skinner, and then, just as suddenly, attempted to sit up and
reach out to Skinner. Once again, as he had done so many weeks ago, Fox was
trying to reach out to him.

Then, just as unexpectedly, Fox called out to him in a raspy, but
otherwise clear voice. "Abah."

While Stein and Elizabeth watched stunned, Walter Skinner toed off his
shoes and did what had become so commonplace just weeks ago. Skinner
pulled Mulder forward and then climbed into the hospital bed with him. He
sat at the head of the bed and acted as a backrest for Fox.

"Abah's here, Fox. I'm here," Walter Skinner said.

Jack Stein felt the bile start to come up in his throat. He ran out of
the treatment room and made it as far as the hallway before he threw up the
last meal he had eaten.

End of Part 16/19

Part 17/19

Elizabeth ran after him into the hallway. She stood frozen as she watched
him puking his guts up. When he was finally able to stand up straight, she
met his gaze.

"Are you all right?" she asked. He barely nodded his head. "Jack__,"she

"What the hell was that all about?" he asked tersely.

"What are you so _angry_ about, Jack?"

"Angry? I'm not angry. I just want to know what the hell that was all
about in there." He said it, whether he wanted to admit it or not, angrily.
"What the hell was Skinner doing in there?"

Elizabeth looked at Jack Stein with new eyes. It had been so many years
since she had seen this man show any true emotion. He had become so inured
by the single-minded focus of the consortium, she honestly thought he had
lost all capabilities for feeling anything. Yet here he stood before her,
angry and upset over Walter Skinner's relationship with her son. Jack
Stein was actually jealous.

"Jack," she began as way of explanation, "when Fox became ill almost two
months ago, he was delirious with high fevers and he was seizing from the
high fevers and the infection. When I first got to the hospital to visit
him, that was the very position in which I saw Walter Skinner.

"Fox was calling for his Abah, Jack. He kept crying for him, and each
time he attempted to reach out for Abah, or climb out of bed to get to his
Abah, he threatened to rip out all of his intravenous tubes and wires that
were attached to the monitoring equipment.

"So Walter did what he thought was the best thing. He climbed right into
the hospital bed with him. It calmed him down immediately, the medical
staff were able to administer their medications and draw blood for his
tests. You saw the effect.

"Fox needed his Abah. Walter became his Abah," she stated simply.

"I was his Abah," Jack Stein declared, but in a whisper.

"But you walked out on him, Jack."

"I had _no_ choice Elizabeth, and you know it!" he shouted back furiously.

"Oh for heaven's sake, Jack. Of course you had a choice."

"NO. I did not. His memory was mind swiped for a reason, remember
Elizabeth? We could not allow him to remember the events of that night.

"We couldn't allow him to realize that I, Bill, and _you_ , my dear
Elizabeth, were cognizant of the plan to take him and Sam. We couldn't
allow him to know how we were trying to trade him and his sister as though
they were a commodity on the stock exchange.

"When he went through that treatment, he lost all of his memories of me.
If I had attempted to help him recall who I was, there was no guarantee
that it wouldn't have jogged the rest of his memory, and the mind sweep
would have been for naught.

"My God, he forgot every memory of us," he continued morosely, "every
one of them. And when I realized that, a piece of me died, Elizabeth.

"But now I see I've been replaced with a newer model," he remarked with a
humorless laugh.

"Join the club."

"Excuse me?" he replied.

"Join the club. I've been replaced by Margaret Scully. He calls her
_Mom_. Can you believe it?" Her voice gradually grew in volume. "He
calls _her_ Mom!"

"Elizabeth, what did you expect? Did you really think your relationship
with him could flourish on its own, without any commitment from you?"

She looked at him with contempt, but realized those were the same words
that Skinner and Maggie had just said a couple of hours ago. She now
looked at Jack and observed how flushed his face was and how he played with
the cufflink with his tremulous hand. *The gold cufflink set I bought for
him the year Sammy was born,* she mused to herself.

"Elizabeth," he continued, "did you ever wonder how difficult it has been
for me to do the work I do? I've hindered _his_ work over the past few
years, and it's frustrated me as much as him!

"He would finally get close enough to a clue as to Samantha's exact
whereabouts, and I would be required by _my_ superiors to throw up another

" Did you ever wonder how hard it's been for me to do the work I do,
knowing the unnecessary dangers he often puts himself in, or that I am
forced to put him in?"

Jack's voice dropped to a whisper, and he continued, "Did you ever wonder
how much I have missed the relationship I had with him? Did you ever
wonder how much I loved him?"

"But Jack, you never talked about him after that night. It was as if he had."

"As if he had died. I know. It was the only way I found I could deal
with the loss. I had to grieve, and the only way I could do it was to
consider Fox Mulder dead.

"But, my dear," shifting his tone considerably to one of total control
again, "what's your excuse?" Elizabeth stared back at Jack with total

"How dare you! You know very well why I had to back away from him. Bill
had insisted upon taking Samantha, and then punished Fox for losing her.
If I interfered his anger only became more pronounced and the beatings
became more severe.

"Jesus Christ, Jack, I think we had standing reservations at the
emergency room, we were there so often. We were on a first name basis with
all of the ER staff. They were always cleaning a cut or setting a broken
bone or realigning a dislocated shoulder, or..

".or trying to awaken him from a catatonic state," she concluded.

"Elizabeth, why didn't you just leave Bill?" Stein asked coldly.

"Because he said he would have killed me and Fox if I ever did. Of course
he turned out to be nothing but a blowhard, because when I finally did
move out he didn't do a damned thing. But Jack, at the time I didn't know
that for sure.

"I was truly afraid of him. I knew what he was capable of doing. I saw
what he was capable of doing. I lived with what he was capable of doing."

"So what now, Elizabeth? Do we continue to abandon him?"

"Funny. Up until this moment, I had thought he abandoned us," she
responded soberly.


Maggie woke up, startled. She sat herself up in the terribly
uncomfortable plastic chair. She hadn't realized just how tired she was
feeling. She must have fallen asleep, but was awakened by the stirrings of
the young woman who laid in bed.

She looked over at Dana, and was most pleased to see her eyes were open.
Well, they were nothing more than slits, but she was awake.

"Hi sweetheart? How are you feeling?" Maggie observed her daughter's
bruised face more carefully. It was very swollen from the surgery, and her
speech would sound anything but normal.

"Mom? How's Mulder?" she mumbled.

Maggie smiled at her daughter's use of her partner's surname. No matter
how much in love they were with one another, she was always going to call
him Mulder, and he would always call her Scully. It was just their way.

She decided to try and avoid the subject of Fox's condition for just a
little while longer. Maggie caressed Dana's hand as she spoke.

"Dana, sweetheart, the tumor is gone."

"Mmmm?" was the response. Dana tried to open her eyes wider to get a
better look at her mother's expression. She saw a look of pure joy.

"It's gone, Dana. The doctor said you are now cancer free, and the
likelihood of this type of cancer reoccurring is minimal. Dana, you're
going to be fine. Just fine."

Dana tried to smile in acknowledgment, but her face was so sore. She did,
however, force herself to ask again.

"Mulder. How's Mulder?"

Maggie debated with herself for a moment or two. She didn't know how wise
it was to tell Dana of Fox's difficulty in regaining consciousness from the
induced coma. She knew it couldn't help Fox, and was worried it might have
an adverse effect on her daughter's recover.

Of course, if she didn't tell Dana the truth, the whole truth, and nothing
but the truth, and Dana found out about it, Maggie Scully could kiss their
relationship goodbye. Dana was fiercely protective of Fox Mulder, and she'd
be very angry if she was kept in the dark about his condition.

Maggie sighed and realized she had no choice but to tell the truth. After
all she'd been through, Dana deserved it.

"Dana, Fox is not having an easy time of it."

"What's wrong?" Dana gasped.

"Sweetheart, try to stay calm. Please?" When Dana nodded in
acknowledgment, Maggie continued. "The doctors had a difficult time
reviving him from the coma. He stopped breathing several times. His heart
needed to be defibrillated a few times, and the last time his heart had
stopped, it was for more than a couple of minutes.

"The doctors decided to place him on a respirator to help him breathe
until he's stronger."

"He'll fight it," Dana rasped. "He hates the respirator, and he'll fight it."

"Well, Fox just needs to allow the doctors to do their job, and you need
to allow your body to get some rest. Now get some rest, young lady."

"Mom, I want to see him."

"Dana, it's too soon. You still need time to recover from the anesthesia.
Maybe tomorrow. Rest now, dear. Please."

"Mom, go to him. Tell him I love him. He needs to hear you talking to
him or he won't come back. Please, go tell him I need him. I need him to
come back.." she pleaded.

"I'll go see Fox, if you rest. Okay?"

Dana nodded and smiled weakly. Maggie kissed her daughter's hand gently,
and quietly left the room.


Skinner looked up to see Maggie walk through the door. He smiled at her
in an attempt to reassure her, but he knew as soon as she saw his position
in the bed she would think the worse.

"He's actually resting much easier. He had been choking from fighting the
respirator. I finally got him to calm down enough to allow them to put the
tube back in, so he's breathing easier."

"She said he would fight it," responded Maggie.


"Dana. Dana said he would fight the respirator."

"She's awake? How is she?"

"Oh, for now she actually looks terrible. She feels awful, since her face
is all swollen and she's terribly bruised, but that will all heal
eventually," she concluded.

"Is she in very much pain?" he asked.

"A little, but she's more concerned about Fox."

"You didn't tell her he was having problems, did you?" Skinner asked.

"I didn't want to, Walter, but she persisted. I couldn't lie to her.
What if, God forbid, something did happen and I hadn't prepared her for the
possibility. I would never have forgiven myself, and she would never
forgive me."

"She must have been really upset," he responded.

"Well, to be honest, I think the pain killers helped her stay calmer than
she might normally be, but she insisted I come here to talk to him. She
kept saying he needed to hear us, or he wouldn't come back."

She leaned in closer to the Fox, and spoke directly into his ear. "Fox, do
you hear me? Dana loves you. She loves you and wants you. She _needs_
you to come back. Please, Fox. Come back to us soon."

End of Part 17/ 19

Part 18 / 19

Martha's Vineyard

He remembered looking at the luggage that stood by the doorway, waiting to
be placed in the cab idling outside the front entrance. Neither of his
parents were prepared to accompany him to the airport. He was making this
latest journey alone as well.

"You should be very grateful that Oxford accepted you, Fox. The
connections I have at the school were apparently most fruitful. They
don't always take students as young as you, but I suppose they found your
grades acceptable and your application form in order," Bill Mulder concluded.

He stood there not sure as to exactly how he felt about his father's
little speech. He knew Oxford was a very selective school that rarely took
students as young as he was, but it was his own hard work that got him
accepted and not his father's "fruitful connections."

He had a straight "A" average. How much more acceptable could his grades
have been? He spent hours on the application essay. He didn't receive one
iota of help from his father or his mother. No, he did it all on his own,
but even this one small accomplishment was too much for his father to

Elizabeth Mulder looked on with great ambivalence from outside the door
way. She was at once both heartbroken and relieved that her only remaining
child would be leaving her.

She was heartbroken because she loved the time spent with her son both in
conversation and comfortable silences.

She was relieved because she felt her son's resentment towards her for all
of the years she stood silently by, watching as his father abused him in
mind and body.

She was heartbroken because she loved the times they spent debating a
chess strategy or merely reading favorite books side by side.

She was relieved because she would no longer have to listen to
aftereffects of the continuous siege of night terrors.

She was heartbroken because loved the times they walked on the beach
together and admired a sunset.

She was relieved because she would no longer face, on a daily basis, his
expressions of frustration over not knowing where or why his little sister
was taken.

She was heartbroken because she loved going bicycling with him and
observing the magnificence of New England's Autumn colors.

But most of all, she was relieved because she would be able to pretend his
fears were unfounded, unnecessary, and unrelated to the hell he had to live
through for the past seventeen and a half years.

She was heartbroken because she knew all of the good times she shared with
her son, and there were good times, would be forgotten in lieu all of
those experiences he needed to forget and never would.

She walked into the room where her ex-husband stood across from her son.
She looked at Bill with disdain and went directly to her son.

She observed how tall, and handsome, and beautiful her first born
appeared. He was now, for all practical purposes, a man. She wanted him
to have a chance to grow to be the kind of man _he_ wanted to be, not the
type he would have been destined to be if he stayed within fifty miles of
William Mulder.

No, England was a good place for her son to be. He would be safe. She
would miss him, but he would be safe.

"I love you, Fox. I do love you, my beautiful boy. Come back soon, my
sweet boy. Come back to me soon," she murmured. She leaned up, kissed him
on the cheek, and then left the room.


Abandoned Facility/DC Area

Twenty-four hours passed and Fox Mulder slept for six of them straight in
a row without incident. This was actually a cause for celebration, because
not twenty-five hours earlier, the doctors were expecting to sign a death

His temperature remained elevated but manageable. He remained on the
respirator, since his lungs were still weak. However, if he continued to
take advantage of the respirator and gained more strength, the doctors felt
confident he would come off of the respirator sooner rather than later.

Dana Scully, too, was showing improvement too. Though her face was
covered in mottled shades of red and purple, the swelling was a tad less.
She awoke more alertly than the day before, and even remarked that she was

As she ate her breakfast of red jello, coffee and orange juice, Scully
informed her mother that she planned on seeing Mulder later, and it was not
open for discussion. She had to see him and that was that.

Maggie looked at her daughter's swollen, yet still very defiant, chin
sticking out stubbornly, and she began to chuckle in agreement. There was
no way Dana Scully was going to lose this argument, so Maggie didn't even try.

Elizabeth Mulder was still there. Her ambivalence was evident, as she
vacillated between staying and going back to Greenwich. However, the love
she felt for her son was still very real and strong. If there was anyway
she could help in his recovery, she would. She remembered Maggie Scully's
words. Her son needed her.

Though she and Walter Skinner did not always see eye to eye on everything,
Elizabeth knew what an important role he played in the past and would play
in the future of Fox's recovery. She realized it wasn't wise to alienate
him, but she also appreciated the sacrifices he so willingly made for her son.

So, the nurturing part of her personality actually kicked in when she saw
how worn out Walter Skinner was becoming. She didn't want to see him
getting ill because he was too damned stubborn to admit to being human..

Elizabeth hovered nearby Fox's hospital bed, when it appeared to her that
Walter needed a break. She saw he was exhausted with worry for her son,
and she tried to talk him into laying down. He always refused her, but
Elizabeth hoped Maggie would be able to talk some sense into him.

Maggie Scully moved back and forth between Dana's and Fox's rooms, while
Walter Skinner remained, if not in the hospital bed with Fox, at the very
least, right next to it. Maggie knew her daughter was going to be visiting
Fox later on that day, and she didn't want to have to deal with two extra

"Walter Skinner, you go lay down on the couch in the lounge this instant,"
she commanded.

"Maggie Scully, did anyone ever tell you that you would make a helluva
drill sergeant?" Skinner asked dryly.

"I learned everything from the Captain, Walter, and he taught me well. So
grab a pillow and blanket from the cart outside, and go lay down. Please
sweetheart, go. Now."

When Maggie Scully was in military mode, you didn't argue. Walter stood
up and stretched his stiff limbs. He then leaned over to plant a kiss on
the diminutive Mrs. Scully's forehead. Maggie would have none of that,
however, and reached up to cup his chin.

She drew his face close to her own, and their lips met in a deep, loving
kiss. "I love you sergeant," Walter said affectionately.

"That's `I love you sergeant, _sir_," she replied chuckling. "Now go
rest!" She smiled as she watched him finally admit his fatigue and leave
the room.

Elizabeth walked toward Maggie and said, "I tried a few times to get him
to go rest, but he wouldn't listen to me."

"Actually, Elizabeth, I'm a little surprised he listened to _me_!"

"That's what happens when you're in love, Maggie. Your man will do almost
anything for you. Almost anything.."

"Elizabeth, is that why Jack helped us? Was it because he still loves
you?" she asked curiously.

"Perhaps a small part of it," she replied.

"I don't understand. Why did he finally agree to help Dana recover?"
probed Maggie.

"Fox," she replied softly. "He loved me once, but he'll love Fox always."

End of Part 18/19

Part 19 /19

He stood outside the facility and opened the new pack of cigarettes. He
pulled one out, lit it, and inhaled deeply.

Jack Stein began melting into the background again. He had let his
weakness show once too often in the last few days. Things did not go as
smoothly as he had anticipated.

The meningitis was supposed to have significantly weakened Mulder enough
that he would no longer pose a threat to the project. If he were too weak
to continue the search, then the X-Files would probably have been closed
within the year.

So, curing Scully had been of little consequence to him. What Stein did
not count on were the opening of old wounds. As the Abah of Fox's
childhood, he consoled, praised, supported, and unconditionally loved the
boy of Mulder's childhood.

He hadn't figured those feelings for the boyhood Fox, long ago buried in
the recesses of his heart and mind, would have resurfaced for the adult
Fox. But they did, and it was time to bury them again for the greater good.

Which wasn't necessarily for the good of Jack Stein.

His superiors had contacted him while his "guests" slept during the early
morning hours. They wanted to know what Mulder's condition was, and when
he informed them that he would recover to an unknown degree, they proposed
that Agent Mulder needed to be helped to "less than fully recover."

Stein tried to remain cool and objective. He knew if he showed these
members of the consortium his true feelings for Fox Mulder, both of them
would be dead within twenty-four hours.

So it was time to enshroud the feelings, again. And he did. He informed
the representatives that he would ensure Fox Mulder would not be returning
to active field service any time soon. When asked how, Stein indicated
that would be for him to decide, and there was no need for them to concern
themselves with minor details.

They left within twenty minutes of arriving and seemed content with the
result of their meeting. Jack retreated into the background, considering
his options. At this point, he was able to consider the real possibility
that Fox Mulder would not totally recover, thus negating his Field Agent

It would certainly make his life a whole lot easier. But Jack Stein never
expected life to be easy.


Maggie wheeled Dana into the treatment room around three in the
afternoon. It was uncomfortable for her to be sitting straight up, but she
endured the discomfort, because she wanted to see Fox.

As she neared the bed, she took in all of the tubes and wires and beeps
and blips that attacked her senses. It took her back to almost two months
ago when Fox was first admitted with meningitis. It appeared to Dr. Scully
that they were back at square one where it concerned Fox Mulder's health.

She looked at his face and saw his eyes flutter slightly. He was
dreaming, and she prayed it was a restful dream. As she watched over her
partner, she contemplated what the future would hold for both of them. She
knew they were meant to be together.

No two people could go through what they went through and __not__ be meant
to be together. She loved him with all of her heart and had done so for
quite some time, but stubbornness laced with fear kept her from admitting
it to him until recently.

Hell, it kept her from admitting it to _herself_ until recently . But
now she readily admitted it to anyone who would listen. Her mother had
always approved. Even her boss approved. The one person with whom she
wasn't sure of was Elizabeth Mulder. It was almost as though she wanted to
maintain possession of him as though he were some kind of prize to be won
or lost.

Scully refused to play games, since she neither liked Elizabeth, nor
trusted her. But she was Mulder's mother, and even with all the crap she
put him through, he still loved and needed her. Dana needed to form some
kind of truce with Elizabeth, so they'd be able to make a united effort in
helping Mulder recover.

"Hello Elizabeth," Dana said. Maggie locked her wheelchair in place and
moved to the side.

"Dana, I wasn't expecting to see you up and about so soon," she replied.

"The nurses actually had me up and walking in my room this morning. I
didn't last for very long, but I took a few steps."

"That's good. It's good you're going to be okay."

"Thanks to him," Scully replied.

"Yes, thanks to him," she echoed.

"How's he doing?" Dana asked.

"He's been dozing on and off. Walter left a couple of hours ago to take a
nap. You're mother can be one tough cookie when she wants to be," she said
with an admiring glance toward Maggie.

"She scared the shit out of poor Walter, did she?" she chuckled.

"Yes, as a matter of fact, I believe she did," Elizabeth responded in kind.

"Okay you two, let's stop the debate about my commando skills. Elizabeth,
has the doctor been by lately?" asked Maggie.

"No. Which means someone is due here soon to check on him shortly. I hope."

As if on cue, Dr. Allen appeared in the doorway. He walked over quickly
to Mulder's bedside, and after a quick nod to the family members present,
he began a perfunctory examination. Finally, he asked all present to step
back so he might do a more thorough examination, and he closed the curtain
around him.

The women heard voices behind the curtain, though it was difficult to
discern whose voice belonged to whom and who was saying what. All she knew
was none of them were Fox, as his speech was inhibited by the respirator
tube. For all she knew, he may still have been asleep, though somehow she
doubted it knowing how much Fox enjoyed being prodded and poked during

After about twenty-five minutes had passed, Scully was becoming more and
more anxious. She wanted desperately to know Fox's condition, and she'd
become very impatient. Finally, when she thought she was going to scream,
Dr. Allen opened the curtain.

"Okay," he said, "we're all done for now."

Margaret immediately pushed Dana over to Mulder's bedside. She saw he was
indeed awake, and she hoped he wasn't frightened by her appearance. She
spoke quickly to reassure him, "I'm feeling pretty good, Mulder, so don't
panic about my `beauty marks'."

She saw his eyes open wide, and she continued. "Really, it's
uncomfortable, but it's not painful. The swelling got in the way of eating
anything more interesting than jello. Mulder closed his eyes at the
mention of jello, not a favorite food of his at all. He reached over for
her hand with his left arm, the one that was still bandaged from the lamp

"I should ask the nurses to check this dressing," she murmured. Then,
Scully turned to the doctor and asked, "How is he, Doctor?"

She actually wanted to examine him herself. She still trusted very few
people other than Fox, her mother, and Walter Skinner.

"He's showing improvement. He's still not out of the woods, and he's
going to have a long recovery period, but he's finally showing improvement.
The antibiotics are taking hold, and his lungs sound clearer.

Dr. Allen looked down at Fox as he spoke. "I explained to Mr. Mulder that
we're going to keep him on the respirator for another twenty-four hours.
He's none too happy about it, but I told him the extra day will give his
lungs time to heal and that would mean a shorter hospital stay. He seemed
to like that idea."

Scully was impressed with Dr. Allen's bedside manner. Even though he knew
his patient wouldn't be able to take part in the discussion, he never
failed to include him in the conversation. He never spoke about him as
though he weren't there.

"You, Mr. Mulder, and hospitals do not necessarily belong in the same
sentence, do they?" Dr. Allen asked dryly, all the while smiling at Mulder.

Scully looked at Mulder as she spoke with a smile that crept out onto her
face. "Well they seem to go together all the time, Doctor, but if you're
asking if he's a good patient, then no, he is not," replied Scully.

"And don't give me any of your wide eyed innocent looks, Fox Mulder.
You're an impossible patient, and you know it!" Scully teased.

Mulder merely pointed his finger at his chest, and Scully answered, "Yes, you!"

Maggie Scully interjected the next question. "Doctor, how long of a
recovery period are we talking?"

"I'd say for as full a recovery as can be expected, the short side of six
months to a year."

Elizabeth Mulder's mouth gaped open. "A year? That long?

"Mrs. Mulder," responded Dr. Allen, "as this was a pretty traumatic
experience, six months to a year is considered quite reasonable. In terms
of rehab timelines, that's not as long of a period as you might think," he

"And what can we expect him to be able to do a year from now, Doctor?"

"As I told Mr. Mulder," he said as he glanced back and forth between Dana,
the mothers and son, "he should be talking, walking, and generally
ambulating independently. He may require the use of a cane for stability,
but there's no way of knowing that for sure.

"He'll need to have daily physical therapy sessions, so you might want to
consider placing Mr. Mulder in a rehab center in DC, Virginia, or Maryland."

"That won't be necessary," cut in Maggie. "Fox will be living at my home,
and we'll be able to get him to daily PT sessions. We had a similar
situation to deal with when he came home to recover from the meningitis.
We'll manage again."

"Yes," Elizabeth echoed quietly, but confidently, "We'll manage again."
Both Dana and Maggie looked at Elizabeth. Maggie beamed and placed her
hand on Elizabeth's arm to give her a gentle squeeze of support.

"Brava, Elizabeth. I'm so delighted to hear you say that."

"Thank you, Maggie." Then turning toward Dana, Elizabeth said, "I hope
you feel the same way Dana, because you will be seeing a lot of me. I'm
not ready to give up on my son or our relationship. I hope we can, at the
very least, support one another in helping Fox get well, dear."

"Elizabeth, I would never stand in your way to help Fox, if you're really
committed to helping him. But just understand I won't allow you to
undermine his needs because of any misguided notions on your part as to
what should be expected and what is necessary for his recovery."

As she looked lovingly into Fox Mulder's eyes, Dana placed her hands on
Fox's to emphasize her points. She was not going to put up with any of
Elizabeth's petty bullshit. If she really wanted to help, then she was
going have to adapt to the Scully method of rest and rehabilitation. If
she couldn't do that, then she could just crawl back to Greenwich with her
tail between her legs for all she cared.

"Dana, I may not always get it right, but my intentions are honorable."
Elizabeth walked over to her son and placed her hand on top Scully's and
Fox's. "Do you know how much I love you, Fox?" she asked.

Mulder looked up with tears in his eyes. Of course he couldn't speak
because of the respirator tube down his throat, but Fox Mulder could say
more with his eyes than most people could say with a thousand words.

"What's going on?" asked Walter as he entered the room. "Is everything
all right?"

"Yes dear," Maggie answered with a noticeable twinkle in her eye. "We're
just welcoming Elizabeth to the family. She'll be staying with us while
Fox recuperates." Skinner looked at Elizabeth with surprise, but smiled
just the same.

"It looks like you're going to have a full house again, doesn't it? You
think you'll be able to deal with all of us again, Maggie?"

"Walter Skinner, are you planning on moving back in too?" Maggie asked smiling.

"If there's room at the inn," he replied shyly.

"There's always room at the Scully inn, Walter Skinner." Then Maggie
leaned in and whispered in his ear, "And there's always room in my bed for
you, my love."

"Is that an order Sergeant?" he quipped.

"Damn straight, soldier!" Maggie laughed.

Dana looked down at Mulder, and saw the bit of confusion in his eyes.
"Walter thinks Mom would make a good drill sergeant. She's been giving him
orders right and left these last few hours."

Fox opened his eyes as widely as he could and then slowly closed them. He
hoped Dana would comprehend the gesture as a symbol of understanding. But
then he remembered the sign language manual alphabet he had learned when he
had first lost his hearing, and he finger spelled the following words,
"Bigger Boss."


Jack Stein stood outside the room, listening to the chuckles and laughter
going on inside. He was glad to hear Elizabeth say she planned on staying
in town to help with Fox's recovery. She needed to give herself a new
chance at motherhood, and Fox certainly deserved a chance to get
reacquainted with his mother.

He hoped Fox would get to know the woman he had fallen in love with so
many years ago. The one that would never take any crap from him, and who
could stand on her own two feet.

But then he was recruited by the consortium and had to leave her life for
a period of time. By the time he reappeared, she had fallen in love with
Bill Mulder who had swept her off her feet.

But he was a different type of man from the one Jack Stein was. Bill
Mulder was devious. He lied. He cheated. He was a sick son of a bitch
who took his beautiful, bright, independent Elizabeth and turned her into a
shadow of her former self.

Jack Stein was many things, and he did many things that he was not proud
of, but no one could say he was ever devious or lied or cheated any of his
loved ones. Bill Mulder did all of those things to his wife and children,
the people who were supposed to be closest to him.

But now it was time to get back into the game. Jack Stein had a job to
do. He knew it was for the greater good. He truly did.

But Stein had another mission to fulfill. His inspiration for this new
purpose was on the other side of the door. He took out a Morely and lit it
as he walked toward the exit door outside.

As he inhaled, he realized he would probably need to ask Skinner for
assistance. He was sure he would readily agree, now that he had fulfilled
his end of the deal and had Agent Scully cured.

He realized he would need to procure Agent Scully's help, as well as those
lunatic rebels she and Fox always relied upon for support.

*Was it the long gunman? No, __lone__. It was the lone gunmen.* Yes, he
would definitely require their expertise in the art of subterfuge.

And eventually, when Fox was whole again, he would seek his aid as well.
He might even give it willingly. He hoped so.

It was time to find his daughter.

End of Part 19/19

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