New! The Barbecue Series 10: Eggies in the Hanty
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999

Category: Story, MSR, MulderANGST, MulderTortureLite, mild Sk/Maggie

Rating: PG-13 for some language.

Spoilers: Let's just say through season 6, to be safe.

Summary: The Scully's learn more about Mulder, but more importantly, Mulder
learns more about himself.

Archive: Yes

Disclaimer: The names you recognize belong to 10/13 productions and Chris
Carter. I'm just borrowing them. I won't keep them. At the end of the story
you can have `em back, I swear, (unless you *want* to give `em to me.) All
other characters belong to me, and if Mr. Carter wants to borrow them, all he
needs to do is ask. <grin>

Introduction: It picks up in the Barbecue Series Universe and follows the
incidents of # 9, so you might want to read it prior to this one...And in fact
addresses an aspect of that story that one of my concerned readers brought up
in feedback to me. So, never let it be said I don't attempt to right a
perceived wrong! Okay MWard?? <g>

And to my resident expert on Catholicism, bless you, dear Vickie! And now I
know I've come of age! I have made it to a Vickie Moseley Signature! <VBEG!>
Thank you for all you teach me!

The Barbecue Series 10: Eggies in the Hanty
by Susan Proto (

Part 1/2

Though we've been back in the X-Files division for a while, I'm still trying
to get my desk back into the desired state of chaos that I work best under, so
when Scully calls out to me with a question I don't quite hear.

"What?" I ask. "I didn't hear you, sorry," I confess.

"S'okay, Mulder. I just wanted to remind you we're going over to my mother's
house for dinner tomorrow night."

"Oh." I look over at my desk calendar to see if I've missed yet another
birthday or anniversary somewhere, but all it says in preprinted letters is
the date and the words, 'Holy Thursday.' "Scully? Is there something special
going on?"

"It's Holy Thursday, Mulder. We're going to have our seder," she says, but
when she sees my eyes open wide in surprise and puzzlement, she explains, "Mom
started having a seder when we moved to Baltimore. Father McKuen was, and
still is, very big on ecumenical services. He and the Rabbi over at the
reformed temple, Temple Israel, I think it is, have shared services around
Easter and Passover for years now. So, Mom had started a tradition of having
a seder on Holy Thursday as a remembrance of The Last Supper."

"Oh." I'm not sure what to say here. For some reason I feel tongue tied, and
I'm not quite sure why.

Well, maybe I'm not as unsure as I'd like to think. I do know why, but I'm
not sure how to bring it up. You see, I don't want Scully to think I've been
lying to her all this time. I mean, I don't think I've been, lying that is.
It's just that the subject's never come up. But I'm afraid she might think
it's been a lie by omission. I'm not sure what to do. I'm not sure how to
tell her.

"Scully," I begin hesitantly, as I'm still not sure what's going to come out
of my mouth, "have you ever been to a _real_ seder dinner?"

"A real seder dinner? What's that supposed to mean, Mulder? We talk about the
symbols of Passover, and Mom serves a really nice meal," she says a little

"No, no," I say quickly. "That's not what I meant." I can't believe I put my
foot in my mouth already, and I haven't even told her yet. "No, what I mean
is, have you ever been to a Passover seder conducted by a Jewish family?"

"Oh," she says with a quick smile. She understands I didn't mean any insult
to Mom. God knows, I could never insult that woman. She means too damned
much to me, as does her daughter.

"No, Mulder, I haven't. Nearly went to one once, when I was in college. A
suite mate invited me to her home cause it fell out on a long weekend. I was
all ready to go, until Ahab got wind of it. He let it be known he was a bit
upset I wasn't planning on being home for Good Friday and Easter, especially
since he was on shore leave. Needless to say, my one opportunity for
attending a Jewish Passover seder came and went."

I looked at Scully and wonder why I'm not feeling totally comfortable at this
very moment. Maybe it's because I'm not sure whether it was her dad's wish
for her to come home to spend the holidays with him, or he just hadn't wanted
his little girl attending a Jewish seder. I can't imagine that second thought
is really a possibility, but I find myself give off a little shudder anyway.

"Mulder, are you all right?" she asks with sudden concern. "You look pale all
of a sudden. Do you feel okay?"

"I'm fine, Scully. Just a little tired," I say. I'm not lying. I really am
okay, physically. I am just a little tired. However, there's also the fact
that I'm a little worried about whether or not my nice, Catholic, almost
fiancée will be upset over the fact that I, her nice, almost fiancé is

It's never come up in conversation before. I've never brought it up, because
it never seemed to be an issue that needed discussing, yet, all of a sudden, I
feel as if there may be a problem.

And the irony is I'm the one who shouldn't be the one who cares. But I do. I
don't see Scully out and out rejecting me because I'm Jewish, but I don't know
if she would be willing to get married outside of her church.

Married. The 'M' word. Yeah. We've both been thinking about it. We haven't
exactly said it out loud. We've been more inclined to use the 'E' word, as in
engagement ring, engagement party, officially engaged, but we haven't done
anything official along those lines either. Yet.

And now I'm worried that it may never come to pass.

Look, I know I'm nuts to give this a second thought. Hell, people look at me
as if I'm nuts over a million other things, so why should anything change?
But given the fact I haven't practiced Judaism in over twenty-six years, I
understand why people might conclude I don't have any business using my
religion as a roadblock to marrying Scully.

I gave up practicing Judaism when I was shown there were greater forces in the
universe that could take an eight year old sister away from her brother, and
no God could stop it. Or fix it. Not then, and not twenty-six odd years
later. So, I know, though I turned toward the truth, I turned away from God.
I stopped believing.

But the fact of the matter is, I've never stopped 'being.'

I'm a Jew. It's what I am. It's who I am. I'm a Jew.

I don't know how to explain that to Scully. I don't know how to make her
understand. Hell, I don't know how to make myself understand. So, for now at
least, I remain quiet.


We're about ready to leave for Mom's house, when I tell Scully to wait, as I
need to get something from the fridge. She looks at me quizzically, and when
I return with the squared wine bottle she looks asks, "What's that?"

"Sacramental wine. Manischevitz sweet wine. Kosher for Passover," I inform.

"When did you buy that?" she asks.

"Last night, when we came home, and I went back out for a run. I figured we
should bring something, and this would be appropriate. Did I do something
wrong?" I ask.

"No, not at all, Mulder. This is very, very sweet of you."

I laugh out loud at her unintentional pun. "Yeah, we could all go into
diabetic coma after four glasses of this stuff," I say with a chuckle.

"Four glasses?" she echoes in puzzlement.

"Yeah, you're supposed to drink four glasses of this stuff at a Passover
seder," I explain.

"Wow, Mulder, you've really been doing your research," she exclaims. "I am
impressed." Before I can explain to her my research was more than just
looking it up online, she says, "Oh! I forgot to tell you! Charlie's going
to be with us tonight."

"Charlie? Karen and the kids too?" I ask delighted to hear the youngest
Scully sibling would be joining us.

"No, just Charlie. He's been called into town for some kind of Naval
brouhaha. Bill nearly came in for it too, but unfortunately he came down with
a really bad case of the flu."

"Aw, that's too bad," I say in a flat, none too sympathetic, monotone.

"Mulder, stop. You two were getting along better. I don't understand what
happened," she says.

"He refused to apologize for accusing me of losing Matty during Mom's Saint
Paddy's Day Barbecue," I say through clenched teeth. That incident still
burns in my gut. I'd gone out to cool off about something or other, and while
I was gone, the baby had disappeared. Everyone had assumed I had something to
do with it.

Even Scully. That hurt. A lot. And I left once the baby was found hiding
under the couch.

It wasn't until Scully had dragged me back to the barbecue, and I found the
baby in my arms, that Bill had reminded everyone of how it was _my_ fault
Matty ended up MIA. Of course I told him that was bullshit, but then he'd
said even Dana had thought it was my doing.

Well, I'd obviously been feeling the effects of the few bottles I'd guzzled,
so I just went off on them all. I'd told everyone I loved them all very much,
and I really, really wanted to be a part of this family, but I would not allow
them to subject me to those kind of accusations. Not when they had to know
how much I loved that child.

Now, the fact that I'd been holding on to Matty for dear life at that point
probably made me feel a little more emotional than if I hadn't been carrying
him. The fact of the matter is, I'd stood there in front of everyone and
started bawling like a baby. I don't know what it is about these Scully
barbecues and my sudden compulsions to open myself up emotionally like that.

By the time we'd gotten back to the apartment, our apartment, Scully had done
her best to beg for my forgiveness. Actually, she'd done a great job, cause
once we were in the apartment, I got to forgive her over and over and over
again. It was a good thing that I'm such a cheap drunk. That alcohol had left
my system pretty much after that first plea for forgiveness.

Thank heavens. I'd been able to forgive that woman all night long and the
next morning too.

But I digress.

So, no, I'm not at all upset that poor Billy has a touch of the flu. With any
luck, it'll develop into pneumonia and give Tara a real break from him. Oh,
wait. I forget. Tara actually loves the moron, though for the life of me I
haven't figured out why yet. But since I really do care for Tara, I'll just
wish him to feel really, really miserable, but not be so sick that Tara has to
wait on him hand and foot.

"I'm looking forward to seeing Charlie. We really didn't get a chance to talk
much during Saint Patrick's Day," I say. Then a thought occurs to me.
"Scully, is the AD gonna be there too?"

Scully sees my ambivalence, but she nods all the same. "Damn," I mutter
aloud. "Are they getting serious, or what?" I ask. I'm feeling a little
territorial over my Maggie Scully, and I'm not sure I like the idea of sharing
her any more than I have to.

"I don't know Mulder. If I had to venture a guess, I'd say they're in real,
serious, 'like' at the moment. Given some time and some nurturing, I'd say it
could turn into love."

"How do you feel about that, Scully?" I ask curiously. As a matter of fact,
I've been rather amazed at how calmly she's taken this turn of events in her
mother's life.

"Well, to be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about it, but I had a rather
serious revelation. It doesn't really matter a hill of beans what _I_ feel.
Mom and the AD's relationship is no more my business than our relationship is
Bill's. Right?" she asks with a disarmingly sense of rationality.

I nod my head in agreement, but then look at her and say, "But, Scully, how do
you feel about it? Because to be honest, I'm a little ambivalent. I mean I
want Mom to be happy, and I know Skinner seems to make her feel happy. But,
this is Mom," I say, and then add in a whispered exclamation, "_My_ Mom."

Scully looks at me and then takes the bottle of sweet wine from my hands and
sets it down on the table. She then reaches around my waist and I
instinctively reach around hers and we draw each other as close as possible.

"She'll always be there for us, Mulder. No matter what, she'll always be
there. She loves us, you know." I pull away from her slightly so I can see
her face. She smiles up at me and repeats, "She really does love us, Mulder.
No matter what."

"How do you know that?" I ask, smiling, because I already know what her answer
will be.

"Because she's our Mom, that's why."


We pull up near the driveway and see there are two cars in it already. Walter
Skinner and Charles Scully must already be inside, which leaves me feeling all
at once delighted and a bit nervous. I know at some point during the evening,
I will share my heritage with the Scullys and Skinner, and I'm not sure how
everyone will react.

As I walk to the door, I realize it's more than likely I'm making more out of
this than necessary. Chances are, Scully will react merely by saying,
'Really? That's nice,' and move on from there.

And I know of a wonderful piece of swampland I'd like to sell you too.... I
sigh out loud, and Scully looks at me with that concerned, Doctor expression

"What's wrong, Mulder? You off your feed tonight, or what?"

"Maybe," I hedge. "C'mon, let's go inside," I say as I guide her toward the
front door. We walk right in and call out to everyone.

"In the kitchen!" rings out Mom's voice. We follow her voice and those of the
others into the kitchen, and we see Mom's putting the finishing touches on the
salad. "Hello, you two! We were just about to call out for the search team!"

"Mom, it's exactly seven o'clock. Isn't that the time you told us to be
here?" Scully asks.

"Well, yes, but dear, you're usually early, aren't you?" she asks with a
twinkle. Mom has Scully's number all right. Of course, then she looks right
at me, and asks, "Is everything all right, Fox?"
Good heavens, the woman has my number too, doesn't she?

"Yes, Mom. Everything is fine," I say, and then hand her the bottle of
Manischevitz. She takes it and thanks me, then orders everyone to get seated
as our seder is now about to begin.

Mom carries the opened bottle of sweet wine to the table along with another
bottle that is probably more to everyone's liking. Actually, I have a
confession to make. I like the sweet wine. I remember as a kid I used to
snatch sips of the stuff at my Aunt Carol's house, when Mom wasn't looking.
The stuff tastes like grape juice. Only drawback is it makes me feel sleepy
as shit.

I sit down and look at the large serving platter on the table. I see a
familiar sight and smile slightly at an old, but very fond, memory. One of
the symbols of Passover is a roasted egg. My grandmother actually hard boiled
eggs, but would then place them under the broiler for a few minutes to brown
them a bit.

I remember Sam and I used to beg to be able to eat those eggs after they were
talked about in the course of the seder. 'So, nu? You vant the eggies in the
hanty, do you?' she would tease. That's what my grandmother called the hard
boiled eggs, 'eggies in the hanty.' Sam and I would squeal, 'Yes! yes!
please!' and she would give Sam one, but she always gave me two. She would
always whisper to me, 'Fox, you're a growing boy. You need two to grow tall
and strong.'

I haven't thought of my grandmother in a very long time. I sometimes forget I
actually have some happy memories from my childhood. I've really got to work
on remembering more of them. I need to be able to share them with Scully, and
someday, I hope at any rate, with our children.

As we seat ourselves, I hear Mom say that in front of us is the seder plate
which holds the symbols of Passover. She's given us each a couple of cards,
each of which describes one of the symbols on the plate.

"The bitter herbs, also known as the moror," begins Scully, "are a reminder to
us all that slavery was a bitter time. Until Pharoh could be convinced to let
the Jewish people go, slaves everywhere would continue to suffer."
It is now my time to read. "The egg represents life. It represents the
rebirth that occurs in the spring. But it also stands for the additional
offerings that were made in the Temples on festivals."

"The shankbone represents the sacrificial lamb, and all of the sacrifices the
slaves of Egypt had to endure," offers Charlie.

"Next are the greens, which represents the Spring," begins Skinner. "We are
to take the greens and dip them in some salt water, for then we can remember
the tears our ancestors shed while they were in bondage." I watch as Skinner
pulls apart the parsley leaves, dips them into the salted water in the bowl
nearby, and passes the salted parsley around to each of us.

I smile as I remember Sam used to make a face whenever she had to eat the
parsley and saltwater. 'But Fox,' she'd whined, 'it tickles my mouth!' I
think I used to stick my tongue out at that point, and listen to my mother
admonish us to behave at the table or we would eat in the kitchen.

"And then there is the __," Mom began but stumbled over the word.

"Charosset," I correct without thinking as I use the guttural /ch/ sound.

"What?" Mom asks.

"It's pronounced 'Charosset,' Mom," I reply softly.

"Why thank you, Fox. I always mess that one up for some reason," Mom says.

"It's not an easy word to say," I reply, again very softly. Suddenly I feel
as though everyone's eyes are on me, yet I know it's probably only my

"You said that like an expert, Mulder," I hear Charlie say. I look at him and
see something in his eyes that I'd never observed before. I'm not sure what
it is, but I know it doesn't make me feel comfortable.

"Dana," Mom interrupts, "please go on and share about the matzoh."

Scully nods and reads from the card, "The matzoh is a flattened bread which
was eaten due to the haste with which the Jewish people were forced to flee
Egypt. Since they didn't have time to wait for the yeast to rise, they ate
these hard, flat boards of cracker."

"Walter, would you please pour the wine?" Mom asks.

I watch as Skinner reaches for the wine glasses and waits for everyone to
indicate which of the wines they want him to pour. When he gets to mine, I
indicate the sweet wine, to which he shakes his head ever so slightly. I
decide to ignore him; my perceived insult from him isn't worth getting into an
argument over.

At which point, Mom recites the prayer over the wine, in English. "Blessed
are thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who createst the fruit of the

As everyone is about to raise their glasses, I find myself uttering the same
prayer out loud, in a tongue I haven't even realized I remembered.

"Baruch ata Adonai, Elohaynu melech ha-olam, boray p'ree haggafen."

The room is absolutely silent. Everyone's eyes are on me, and I suddenly feel
sick to my stomach. I don't know why I feel embarrassed, but I do. I
shouldn't feel embarrassed, but I do. I don't want to feel embarrassed, but I

I fear I will throw up right there at the dinner table, if I don't leave right
then and there. I stand up so quickly, I knock my chair over. Then, I run.
I run for the nearest bathroom, because I know I am about to not only make a
complete fool of myself, but I'm about to make a huge mess doing so.

I hear voices calling out my name; Scully's voice and Mom's, even Skinner's
calling out to me. The only voice I don't hear at the moment is Charlie's,
and that saddens me for a second or two. But then I don' have time to worry
about who is and who is not calling me. I'm too busy puking my guts up.

I've somehow managed to close the door behind me, but it remains unlocked. I
hear Scully calling my name from outside, but I can't catch my breath to
answer her.

I feel physically ill. I'm embarrassed and I feel guilty. The sad thing is,
I'm not exactly sure what it is I'm feeling sad and guilty about. Is it
because I'm embarrassed that the Scully's and Skinner have found out about my
Judaism? Or is it more likely I feel guilty because I am indeed embarrassed
they've found out. At least like this.

I never meant to deny my religion, to deny who I was. But it's been so long
since I'd thought of myself as a Jew. A couple of years back, when we had
that case in New York City that involved the Golem, that had hit pretty close
to home. But, I didn't reveal my inner fears to Scully.

I didn't reveal to her how much I feared people I loved would reject me
because of who I am.

That case in Nevada when I was forced to drive that poor man around only to
have him literally explode inside the car; he accused me of being 'one of
them.' And though I didn't deny it, I couldn't bring myself to admit to it

What kind of a person am I to be afraid to admit to who I am?

And then I think of Charlie's expression. That look he had in his eyes, like
he knows. He knows who and what I am, and it's not a good thing. And I don't
understand why it's not. Yet I've felt that look penetrate me before.

And though I've never consciously denied it, I've learned not to admit it
outright either. I may not have carried the nickname forever, but I've been
looked upon as something akin to 'Spooky' Mulder for as long as I can
remember. I didn't exactly live in a Jewish ghetto growing up on the Vinyard,
and so my religion was never made public by my parents.

I learned why when I went to Oxford. I didn't exactly receive the welcome
wagon treatment when some of my so-called mates made the discovery in the
locker room. The only one who seemed to tolerate that discovery was Phoebe,
and she simply used the knowledge to taunt me.

So Charlie's expression is familiar to me; the fact that it is Charlie who has
the doubts and fears is what hurts. I trust Charlie, or rather I thought I
could trust him. But now?

Now I throw up some more and I continue to dry heave until Scully finally
stops calling my name and simply throws the door open.

"Mulder, are you okay?" she asks breathlessly.

Now, in my mind I'm thinking these wonderfully sarcastic remarks, like 'Sure,
Scully! I'm just doing this new age cleansing routine, ya know?' or perhaps
just a simple, 'Never felt better' in between the dry heaves.

But of course, I don't have the strength to say anything at the moment. My
hands are shaking as they hold on to the porcelain bowl for dear life, my head
is throbbing and my stomach continues to feel as though it's going to come up
through my mouth. I can't seem to catch my breath, and as a result, I'm
feeling even more self-conscious which means taking a breath is even more

I lower my head into the toilet and try to wish this night away. A cool but
firm touch manages to find its way to my forehead. Scully is supporting my
head now, and I can feel her wrap her other arm around my chest. She's trying
to take care of me. I love her for this; I love her for trying.

But all I really want to do right at the moment is find a hole to crawl into
and never come out again.

End of Part 1/2


The Barbecue Series 10: Eggies in the Hanty
by Susan Proto (

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 2/2

"Mulder?" I hear her say my name so softly, it's almost like a caress. "Do
you think you can sit up now?"

I lean into her hands, and then manage to croak out a 'yes.' Next, I feel her
support me as I lean back from my kneeling position and sit back against the
vanity. Scully sits across from me and waits silently.

Several minutes go by when I finally find my voice. "I'm so sorry."

"What's going on, Mulder?"

"I __, I didn't __." I hesitate. I'm not sure how to explain myself, because
the more I think about it the more ridiculous it sounds even to me. "I didn't
know how to tell you I'm Jewish."

"Well, you might have tried, 'By the way, Scully, I'm Jewish,' or even a
'Scully, what do you think of celebrating Hanukkah this year too?' Either of
those might have been just as effective as puking your guts up at Mom's Holy
Thursday Seder," she says with a slight smile.

I know she's not angry, but I feel so guilty. She's absolutely right. I had
no right to do this to Mom and ruin her holiday dinner. I'm such a selfish
bastard; sometimes I think Bill Scully called it right when he'd accused me of
being a selfish sonofabitch.

"I have to apologize to Mom and Skinner," I say forlornly. "And Charlie," I
add with a little trepidation.

"Mulder, you still haven't told me why. Why would you feel it necessary to
hide your religion from me?" she asks.

"No. I never hid it from you!" I respond adamantly. "Well, not
intentionally," I add quietly.

"C'mon, Mulder. Let's have this conversation out there so we only have to go
through this once. I really think everyone deserves an explanation, don't
you?" Scully asks gently. I know she doesn't want to antagonize me and make
me feel like I want to run in the other direction, but she does and I do.

"Scully, I really want to leave," I say without too much conviction. I know
neither one of us will allow me to leave, but it is the way I feel.

"Let's go, G-Man. You can do this, and try to remember these are all people
who care about you, okay?" When I give her a slightly incredulous look, she
confirms, "Yes, Mulder, even Skinner. When you consider how many times he's
hauled your ass out of trouble, you can't possibly believe he doesn't care
about you, right?"

Of course, I see the truth in her words, but they don't seem to make the
anxiety I feel in facing everyone go away. But I take the hand she now
extends to me, and allow her to pull me up. I stand up, and watch her find
the bottle of mouthwash and a paper cup. I rinse my mouth and then wash my
face with some soap and water and dry off. I bury my face into the soft terry
cloth towel and take a couple of deep breaths. I really am scared shitless at
the moment.

I replace the towel back on its rack as carefully as I've ever done in my
entire life. When it comes to procrastinating, I've developed it to a new art
form. If I don't want to face something, I can amaze even myself with my
avoidance techniques.

However, I'm at a slight disadvantage in that Scully is at my side at the
moment, and knows everyone of my little tricks. She finally grabs the towel
from me, pushes it in place and practically pushes me out of the bathroom.

She leads me into the family room, and I see everyone has congregated in here
already. As I sit down next to Scully on the love seat, I look from one
person to the next to try and get a feel for everyone's reactions toward the
whole situation. I know I find a sympathetic eye in Mom, and I think Skinner
is leaning toward forgiveness as well.

The only one I can't gauge is Charlie. I just can't seem to get a handle on
his reaction. It may be because he's yet to make eye contact with me while
the others have. Damn it. I never meant for this to happen. I don't know
what to say to make this right again. I don't know if it will ever be right
again, at least between Charlie and me.

"Fox?" Mom is calling me and I turn to meet her gaze. Unbelievable. All I
see in this woman's eyes is love. Where has this dear person been all my
life? Lord knows, I don't want to ever lose her. "Can you tell us what's
bothering you?"

What's bothering me? I wish I could tell her. I wish I could figure it out
totally for myself. But I owe her an explanation. I owe her big time, so I
try to explain. "I feel as though I've been lying to you in a way."

"Lying? How, Sweetheart?" she asks so tenderly.

"I never told you." I take a deep breath, as I can anticipate what she'll say

"Told us what, Fox?"

"I'm not a Catholic, Mom."

I see Maggie Scully's face break into this enormous smile. "Oh, Fox, I pretty
much figured that out a while ago."

"You did?" I know I look like a wide eyed ten year old, but that's the way I
feel at this moment. "I don't understand."

"Well, that's not to say I knew exactly which religion you were born to, dear,
but I knew it wasn't Catholicism. If you were raised a Catholic, you would
have been more aware of some of our traditions." She pauses for a second, and
then says, "I think it would be lovely if you learned more of our traditions,
Fox. Do you think you might like to do that?"

"Mom," I rasp uneasily, "I __, I don't think I want to convert."

"No, Dear, I should think you wouldn't want to do that, not until you become
more comfortable with the Judaism you were born to. You would need to know
what you were converting from before you could take the step to convert to
something else, don't you think?"

All I can do is nod my head in agreement at this point.

"No, Fox, I'm not suggesting for you to become Catholic. I think it might be
helpful for you to simply learn more about it, and perhaps this will help you
learn more about yourself as well."

I nod again at this woman's wisdom and then turn to catch Charlie's eye. His
expression is not nearly as understanding as his mother's is. "Charlie?" I
croak out. I need to connect with this man again, and I'm not sure how to go
about it. I don't know exactly what he feels about me, and to be honest, I'm
just a little more than afraid to find out. But I press on anyway.

"Charlie, say something."

"What's there to say?" he says tonelessly.

"Charlie, I've come to respect you and appreciate our friendship. I sense you
have a change of heart, and I need to know if that's true and, if so, why?"

Charlie shifts a little in the chair and looks down. I feel Scully shift a
bit next to me and then hear her say, "Charlie, what the hell is your

That's my little sailor, always cutting to the chase.

"I don't have the problem, Dana."

"Are you insinuating someone does, Charlie?"

"Yes! No! Well, maybe. Oh, jeeze, Dana, I don't know what the hell I mean."
He turns to finally look me in the eye. "Mulder, I'm sorry, I don't mean to
feel this way, it's just that, well, oh damn it! You weren't supposed to be
__, I mean, if you were Catholic, there wouldn't be a problem, you know?"

"Charles?" Mom interrupts and asks, "What are you trying to say?"

"Mom, if Mulder's not Catholic, then how can they get married? She'll be
excommunicated, won't she? You've worked so hard to bring her back to the
church, and now you're willing to let her throw it away for a ___."

I'm not sure who gasps louder at this moment, Charlie or the rest of us.
Charlie looks at me and then at Scully. Finally he turns his eyes to Mom and
Skinner and I can tell the poor guy is absolutely horrified. I honestly think
Charlie cannot believe what he was about to say.

"Charles Brian Scully, how dare you bring that kind of thinking into this
house!" cries out Mom.

"Oh, Mom, I'm sorry. I am so sorry."

"I don't believe it's me that's owed the apology, Charles," she admonishes

Charlie tries to look at me, but he can't, so I decide it's my turn to pick up
the gauntlet.

"Charlie, it's okay."

"Mulder, it is not okay," retorts Scully.

"Shh, Scully, let me finish, okay?" I see her nod her assent, and I continue.
"Charlie, it really is okay, because I guess I've felt the same way at one
time or another, but I don't think either one of us means it.

"There was a time in my life when I and my family celebrated our religion, our
heritage, but after my sister was taken from us, our family disintegrated, and
one of the things that disappeared was our faith.

"I lost that aspect of me, Charlie. I hid my Judaism as if it was something
to be ashamed of because my parents decided we needed to change in order to
deal with the missing piece in our lives. Where we'd lived, there were no
other Jews. It was easy to pretend I was something I was not, because I had
no one to compare myself to.

"But Charlie, even though I stopped practicing being a Jew, I never stopped
being a Jew. I don't think I could even if I wanted to, though to be honest,
I'm not sure what I want to do. Mom's right. I can't reject something if I'm
ignorant of what I'm rejecting.

"I don't want to take the church away from your sister, Charlie, certainly not
if it's something she wants in her life. You're right. It took her a long
time to find her way back to it; God, it took her almost dying to find her way
back to it," I groan as if in pain. I suppose thinking back to that time does
cause me pain.

"I think, Dana," I say as I now turn to her, "that's one of the reasons I
never brought up the subject. I'm afraid you'll feel you have to chose
between me and the church, and I don't want to place that burden on you.
Besides, I'm so afraid of what your choice would be." I stop for a moment to
catch my breath.

"Mulder," Scully says, "You have to understand something. I don't _have_ to
chose between you and my faith. I know I can be a good Catholic, and still
love you and be with you. It's not an either or situation, guys. I can have
my faith and my Mulder, too." She grins at that, and I find myself with the
beginnings of a smile forming on my face as well.

"I appreciate your concern," she continues, "but you don't need to worry
whether I can be Catholic and still be in a relationship with you. I am what
I am, unless I chose otherwise. Mulder, you are what you are, unless you
chose otherwise as well. You don't need to burden yourself with the idea we
must travel the same path. We don't, Mulder. We can find our own paths to
God and faith; all you need to know is I'll support you however you choose to
seek it.

"Get this through your head, G-Man. I love you. I'm not going anywhere.
Catholic, Jewish, or Reticulan, I'm not going anywhere," she affirms.

She then turns to Charlie and says, "And you little brother, I appreciate your
desire to look out for my best interests but honestly, I think I'm the one
best capable of doing that."

Charlie looks directly at Dana and agrees immediately. "You're right, of
course. Dana I'm sorry, and Mulder, I really am sorry. I have no right to
judge anyone. I didn't mean to __. My mouth just got way ahead of my brain.
I do value our friendship, Mulder. Really. Oh God, Mulder, please, can you
forgive me?"

I feel as if a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I lean over and
extend my hand towards Charlie and thankfully, he grasps it in his own. I
appreciate this man's devotion to his sister, and if anyone can understand a
need to protect a sister's best interests, it's me.

"Well, now," Mom says with a radiant smile, "I don't know about you, but I'm
really quite famished, and we still have a seder to complete. Would you all
care to join me in the dining room?"

We all nod in agreement and stand up to walk into the dining room. Scully
scoots ahead so she can help Mom get the things she'd put back in the fridge
or in the oven back to where they belong. Charlie follows and then I go.
Skinner is behind me, when I feel him tug a bit on my arm. I turn and look at
him quizzically.

"Are you okay now? I mean, really, okay?" Skinner asks with real concern.

I feel touched by this show of compassion, and I shrug my shoulders. "I guess
for now I am. I still have some decisions to make, but at least now I know I
can make an informed decision."

"It's not always easy being a member of 'the tribe', is it?" he says with
almost a conspiratorial grin.

I confess I'm a little confused by his remark until it dawns on me exactly
what he's saying. "You?"

"Mulder, my surname is Skinner, but the 'maiden' name is Malyshev. My
mother's mother was born in Russia, and had to hide her religious beliefs. It
wasn't until she came to America and gave birth to my mother that she felt
safe to practice Judaism. The first time she was ever in a temple was for the
naming ceremony for my mother. For crying out loud, Mulder, where the hell do
you think I'd get a middle name like Sergei, anyway?" he chuckles out loud.

Skinner chuckling? With me? Well, now this is a side of him I certainly
didn't know existed. And he's Jewish. Go figure. Maybe__. I think about
the possibilities for a moment and then I ask aloud, " Sir? If there ever
comes a time when I need to find out about __, well, you know, if I have a
question about anything___." I stop. Suddenly I feel like a blithering
idiot, but I guess the boss picks up on this pretty quickly.

"Mulder, I'm not an expert on Judaism. I don't practice, I don't go to
Temple, but yes, if you ever want to just talk and get another view, my door
is always open to you. Okay?"

"Thanks," I say, and then I feel compelled to ask one more question. "Sir?"
He looks at me sternly, and I realize that's at least the second time I've
called him 'Sir' when he'd asked Scully and I call him Walter during our off
time. "Sorry," I apologize, "Walter, may I ask you one more question?"

"The answer is 'yes', Mulder. Maggie knows I'm Jewish. I'm not sure when it
came up, or how it came up, but suffice it to say she learned I was Jewish
rather early in the relationship.

"Now, if you ask me if Charlie or Bill knows, I'd have to say, I doubt it."

"I don't think you'll need to worry about it, Sir_, I mean Walter. Mom seems
to be pretty good at convincing her children she's perfectly capable of making
her own decisions," I say with a hint of irony.

"I suspect you're right, Mulder. Oh, by the way, Good Pesach."

"Thanks, Walter. Happy Passover to you too. But now, I think I need to learn
about some new traditions. How about you?" I ask lightly.

"Lead the way, Mulder. Just lead the way."

And I feel as if, now, I can.


End of Part 2/2