New! BBQ 17: Lights at the End of the Tunnel
Date: Monday, November 29, 1999 


Category: Story, MSR, ScullyAngst, MulderAngst, MulderTorture

Rating: PG-13 for language, inferred images of torture and abuse.

Spoilers: Let's just say through season 7, to be safe. Mulder's amazing
abilities are referred to here.

Summary: The aftermath of his abduction and a new discovery.

Archive: Yes

Disclaimer: The names you recognize belong to 10/13 productions and Chris
Carter. I'm just borrowing them, and since I've learned to play nice in the
sandbox, I promise to return them in one piece.

Author's notes: It picks up in the Barbecue Series Universe and follows # 16.
It would probably make more sense if you knew what makes this universe go
round by reading the prior stories.

To my cyberBud and faster than lightening beta,Vickie Moseley, consider this
one a gift for the holidays <G>! (BTW, my family actually prefers turkey
bacon! <EG>)

And hopefully this will fill at least some of the void for you, Laurie! <BG>

Feedback? Feedback? Yup, I *need* the stinkin' feedback! Feedback is
definitely therapeutic!

The Barbecue Series 17: Lights at the End of the Tunnel
By Susan Proto (

Part 1/3

The doorbell rings, so naturally I answer it. I look through the peephole
first. Ah, Scully would be so proud of me. I'm actually being cautious for
a change. Of course, ten thirty on a Saturday morning is not necessarily the
time one needs to be most cautious, but it's a start, right?

Anyway, I see it's the UPS deliveryman. At least I assume it is; the ugly
brown uniform looks regulation. I've been a little more paranoid of late;
ever since I've become a key figure in my own X-File, I've been a little less
trusting of the obvious. Anyway, I ask who it is and I hear the guy say,
"UPS. Package Delivery."

"Leave it by the door, please," I respond.

"Sorry, Sir, I need a signature," he answers as he holds up that electronic
clipboard so I can see it through the peephole.

Shit. Okay. I can do this. No problem. So why is my hand trembling and my
first inclination is to call out, 'wait a second,' and run screaming into the
bedroom to wake up Scully so she can answer the door.

All right. I'm a big boy, right? I can do this. Not everyone out there is
a member of an alien conspiracy ready to abduct me and subject me to all
kinds of horrific experiments and painful procedures.

"Sir? Do you want to accept the package?" he asks now with a hint of

I don't blame the poor guy. Here it is the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and
the last thing this guy probably wants to be doing is delivering packages to
paranoid morons like me who are too panicky to open up their friggin' door.

"Wait," I call out as I unlock the door. I open it with more caution than
the situation warrants, but I eventually do accept the electronic clipboard,
initial the form, and take the small package from the guy. He smiles in what
I suspect is relief that he's through having to deal with a lunatic and

I close the door, lock it, and then double-check the lock. I shake my head
at the notion that I've become this crazed about my safety. No wonder Dr.
Shapiro refuses to give me medical clearance to return to fieldwork. I've
been trying to convince him that I'm feeling fine, but little incidents like
this one with the UPS guy makes me rethink this.

Everyone kept trying to convince me that if I could survive the Diamond
incident, then I should be able to get over this quickly. For some reason
they had it in their heads that being forced to relive moments of abuse
during my childhood at the hands of a crazed psychopath was more difficult
than what I'd experienced over the Veteran's Day weekend.

Wrong, Kimosabbe.

I know Diamond is dead. He can't hurt me anymore, other than what I allow
myself to remember. That's what I have Dr. Shapiro for; he's supposed to
help realize my memories can't hurt me anymore. But Scully and Skinner, they
think that if I can accept and get beyond the ordeal Diamond put me through,
then I should be able to put the Veteran's Day weekend behind me.

I can't yet. Maybe one day, but not yet. I'm too scared of what control
they still have over me. They have all the control and I feel as if I have

None at all.

I take a deep breath and then let it out. I turn the package over in my
hands as I walk over to sit down on the couch. I look at the return address
and gasp a little. It shouldn't be that big of a deal, but in my mind
lately, everything is a big deal. Just call me Mohammed, 'cause those
mountains just keep popping up all around me. Problem is of course, I keep
making little molehills into those damned mountains.

My mother sent me a package.

I haven't spoken to my mother since I was in Greenwich over Columbus Day
Weekend. I mean, Skinner spoke to her when I was in the hospital, but she
never actually spoke to me. Guess she was able to hire a regular gardener
now that all the mosquitoes died in the area. My alternate occupation as
Mom's lawn boy will have to be put on hold, I suppose. I chuckle a little at
this, though I know I find no real humor in it.

I can't even imagine what my mother has sent me. I'm ashamed to say I hold
it up to my ear. I rationalize that someone could have easily put Mom's
Greenwich address on the return address label, all the while trying to do
Scully and me harm.

I hear nothing.

Okay. This is a good thing. I know this.

So now I put it down and stare at it. I imagine having some x-ray vision
would come in very handy, but alas I discover mine isn't working at the

I want to open it, but to be honest, I'm afraid. Oh, I don't think the
contents will physically harm me, but Mom does have this innate ability of
screwing with my head at the most inopportune times.

Like now.

No matter how much she loves me, she has shown very little desire to forge a
relationship with me. Yeah. I have come to the conclusion that I have to
believe she loves me in her own twisted way. She's my mother. Mothers love
their children, ergo since I am her child I have to believe my mom loves me.

But, as much as I have to believe she loves me, I also know she sometimes has
a tough time showing it. Sometimes she can mess up. Big time. Okay, I know
I've sometimes exacerbated the situation, but I don't know if this is one of
those times. I'm afraid to open the package to see if she's screwing with my
head with my help or if this one's all on her own.

I finger the tape on the box and wonder if I will have the guts to open it
before the next millennium. I decide to go and get a cup of coffee while I
consider the situation.

As I sip the coffee at the counter, I hear movement in the bedroom. My
Scully has finally decided to join the land of the conscious. I pour a cup
of coffee, in anticipation of her unintelligible utterances upon first waking

She comes out of the bedroom and walks directly toward me. All she does at
this point is extend her hand. I place the coffee cup in it. She smiles,


I've been so worried about him. He doesn't realize I only get about as much
sleep as he does lately. I heard the doorbell ring, and I waited to see if
he would run into the bedroom to wake me to help him answer the door.

It's killing me to see him so frightened. I've seen him thrown for a loop
before; I've seen him feel defeated; I've seen him feel angry and frustrated
and scared to death for the people he loves.

But this fearful and nervous man sitting at the counter is a complete
stranger to me. And it scares me, because I wonder if I will ever see the
man I fell in love with return to me.

I need that man to come back to me; I don't know what I'll do if the man
sitting before me remains forever. It frightens me that I have to even
consider this.

I'm amazed he dealt with whoever was at the door. I heard the murmuring of
their voices, but I don't have a clue as to what they discussed. I see him
sitting here in one piece, so I assume it wasn't anything life threatening.
However, I do see his fingers trembling ever so slightly, and I can't help
but wonder what it was all about.

I don't want to ask.

I have to ask.

"Mulder? Who was at the door?"

"You were up?" he asks.

"The doorbell woke me," I lie. He nods his head in acceptance of this. "So?
Who was it?"


"Package?" I'm impressed with myself for being able to hold a semi-coherent
conversation with only a half a cup of coffee in my system.

"Yeah." He points toward the coffee table where I see an unopened, brown
paper bag wrapped package. It's obvious to me he is hesitant about opening
the package up, though it's not obvious as to what his reasons are.

I walk over to the couch, place my coffee mug down on the table next to the
package, and sit down. I look over at the package and take note of the
return address.

Greenwich, Connecticut.

*Ah,* I think to myself, *the mother from hell.*


I feel myself tensing as she sits down on the couch. On the one hand, I'd
give anything for her to do the dirty work and open the damned thing up for
me. On the other hand, something inside me makes me feel possessive of it
and screams for her to keep her hands off of it.

I wonder when the hell I've suddenly begun to feel possessive of my mother.
I feel a little lightheaded at the mere thought of this.

"Mulder? You okay?"

I nod quickly and pick up my mug. I wander slowly over to the couch and sit
down next to Scully.

"So? Any idea as to what it is?" she asks me in that beautifully husky, just
woken voice of hers.

"Not a clue," I say softly in response.

"Are you going to open it?"

"Don't know," I say and then lean back against the back of the couch. I
stare straight ahead; I avoid Scully's stare. I know she's wondering what
the hell I'm thinking, but I'm not sure myself, so I can't give her an answer
to her unasked question.

"Mulder, what the hell are you thinking?"

I burst out laughing, and this of course only causes her to become more
irritated with me.

"I'm sorry, Scully, really. I honestly don't know what I'm thinking
anymore." I turn slightly to finally look at her. "I can't remember a time
when I was this scared," I finally admit. She looks at me, surprised. I
guess she wasn't expecting my little admission, but now that she's heard it,
she's going to run with it.

"What are you scared of?" she asks earnestly. "Mulder, you've faced down
serial killers and mutants, conspiracy and consortium members, and you've
faced the AD and me with guns in our hands. So what can possibly be so much
more frightening than all of that?" she asks me with both a gentility that
soothes me, yet at the same time with a firmness that says she will accept
nothing less than the truth.

"I don't know," I say hesitantly.

"Oh, bullshit, Mulder." So much for gentility.

I can see I've pissed her off, which, believe it or not, actually makes me
feel better. Scully's been walking on eggshells around me these last couple
of weeks. It's been hard enough to recover physically from the shit I was
put through over __, over that weekend, but the psychological crap is worse.

Scully's been afraid I'm going to break into pieces and has been so__, well,
so unlike her. I miss my Scully. I miss the woman who is ready to kick the
ass of anyone who doesn't come up to standard, including me. She was never
afraid to kick my ass into gear before, and for that I've always been

I see fear in her eyes now.

I suppose they merely reflect what she sees in my own.
End of 1/3 (


The Barbecue Series 17: Lights at the End of the Tunnel
By Susan Proto (

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 2/3
I am so scared for him, for me __, for us.

I know it's only been a few weeks since__, since the incident. He came home
from the hospital weak and still in pain, and then within days he made a
miraculous _physical_ recovery.

But he's still afraid of his own shadow.

I want to shake him sometimes, and yet I know he needs time. But I'm fearful
the more time he takes to heal, the more time he'll need to heal. I want him
to just snap himself out of it already! Does that even make sense? I don't
know anymore. I don't know what makes sense anymore.

He's afraid to open the damned box. I sit here and want to rip it open if
for no other reason than addlebrained curiosity. *My God, Mulder! Aren't
you even the least bit curious about what your mother __, _your_ mother,
Mulder, has sent to you?* I think angrily to myself.

"If you want to open it, you can," he says breaking into my self-serving
thoughts. I wonder if he's doing it again; is he reading my thoughts, as
he'd been able to do in the past?

"Don't you want to open it?" I ask, more curious as to why he would offer me
the opportunity rather than he take it.

"I don't care one way or the other," he says.

I stare at him. I believe my mouth has fallen wide open, but I continue to
simply stare at him.

"When did you become so ambivalent about everything, Mulder?" I ask with
anger that I can't recall having felt in a very long time.

"I'm not ambivalent," he replies, but even he knows his heart isn't in that

"What the hell is going on, Mulder? Talk to me, damn it."

He stares at me now and, after several moments pass by, he stands up and
walks into the bedroom. I watch him disappear into the bedroom and wonder
what the hell has happened to him.


I can't believe I just walked out on her. Why do I do things like this? Why
do I purposely shut her out, when I know she only wants to help me?

I sit down on the rocking chair we bought for the bedroom. I feel myself
start rocking in it, only the pace becomes faster and faster as the seconds
pass by. The perpetual motion allows my mind to slip back to memories past,
though I soon realize some memories are best left forgotten.

Unfortunately, once the memories begin to take form, I have little control
over what comes to mind. I'm rocking and remembering, and I'm scared because
I know immediately the memories are recent ones and I don't want to go there.

Not alone.

I can't go there alone, but I'm afraid to call for Scully, because I've just
walked out on her. I'm not too sure she wants to be around me very much
right now, but I need her. Oh God, I need her. I need someone. Oh,
please, someone help me, I need


"Mulder?!" She comes rushing in, but I can't answer her. I can't reassure
her that everything is all right, because everything is not all right.

"Mulder, talk to me." I feel her grab me and in the process, she halts the
rocking movement of the chair. I not sure if this is a good thing or not. I
find comfort in the movement; I can escape in the movement.

"Damn it, Mulder! Talk to me, now!" she screams. I'm frightening her, and
though I don't want to do this, I don't know if I can respond. I don't know
if can answer her at this moment. "Mulder! Mulder, please!"

When I look at her, all I can see is alarm. I don't want this. I want to go
back to the way it was. I want us to be happy. I want us to be like we were
before__, before they did this to me.

I don't want to be afraid anymore.


I'm holding onto him for dear life. I tell him I'm calling Dr. Shapiro.
"Mulder," I plead, "if you don't want me to phone the doctor, then you have
to talk to me. You have to tell me what you're remembering."

I watch his mouth move, but I hear no sound come out of his mouth. His face
is so pale; his lips are drained of color as well and make the contrast
between lips and skin pallor almost negligible. I pull him up out of the
rocking chair, as I can't get a firm enough grasp around him with the rocking

I quietly move him over to the bed and I manage to gather him up in my arms.
I am so grateful for this chance to touch him, to hold him. His skin had
been so sensitive to touch at first; he'd been in so much pain, that I
worried he wouldn't let me touch him ever again.

Once the pain ceased, however, he sought out the touches and embraces like
now. I hold him and I repeat my request for an explanation of what he's

He responds with a small gasp and a sob.

"Oh, Fox, please," I whisper in desperation, "please talk to me."

I hold him tighter.


The words start to form on my lips suddenly, and I know once they start, I
will not be able to stop them.

"I'm strapped down. My arms, my legs, my head and chest. I can't move,
Scully. I can't get away. And they have these huge hypodermic needles ready
to stick into every one of my extremities. I don't like needles; you know I
hate needles, Scully, right?"

I hear her murmuring her agreement; Scully knows how phobic I am about shots
and needles. She knows. I sigh in relief, because I need her to understand
just how horrific it is.

"They're all leaning over me and they're wearing masks, so I can't make out
who they are, not really, but I think I know them. I think I've seen some of
them somewhere, but I can't tell because of the damned masks. Oh, and the
light, oh God, Scully, the light is so bright. It's blinding me.

"I can't see anything except the light, but I know they're there. They're
always there! I hear them talking all the time and all they talk about is
their damned tests! They use those God damned needles to poke me and probe
me and hurt me, everywhere!

"All I want is for someone to knock me out, 'cause it hurts so much, Scully!
Why don't they put me out? I keep asking them to let me sleep, and then
every time I think I'm gonna pass out from the pain and the fatigue, they
give me another shot of something and I'm wired!

"Scully, they're keeping me awake on purpose!" I cry out. "It hurts, Scully,
make them stop it. OH, God, don't! They're gonna cut me, Scully. They're
gonna cut me and no, no don't electrocute me, please, don't burn me. I don't
wanna be burned.

"They're putting the electrodes on me, all over me. First my head, and then
my chest, and oh sweet Jesus, they're putting them __, God, please not there.
They're putting some on my stomach and my groin. Why are you doing this to
me?" I cry out.

I'm there. I'm reliving it all over again, and I can't get out of it. I can
see every move they're making. The light is so bright, I'm practically
blinded, but I can still feel. I can feel their God damned hands all over
me, touching me, and probing me. I'm nothing more than a specimen to them;
something to examine and to manhandle.

I can feel every needle prick, every electrode taped into place, and I know
what's coming next. I know how much it's going to hurt to feel the
electricity coursing through my body.

I remember. I remember. I remember. And as I remember, I feel my body
begin to shudder as the shocks pulsate throughout my entire body.

"Mulder! Mulder, come back to me!" someone screams to me, but I can't
respond. I can't overcome what they're doing to me now.

"Mulder, you're here, with me! Please, Fox, look at me. Open your eyes,
you're home with me. You're okay, everything is okay. Please, look at me.
I'm here, Mulder. It's me! Scully! Damn it, Mulder, look at me!" the voice

I'm shaking, but I don't think I'm convulsing anymore; I think someone is
shaking me. I'm so tired. Please. I just want to go to sleep. Please, let
me sleep.

"Please, let me go to sleep," I murmur softly so whomever is shaking me will
hear me.

"Sleep, sweetheart. Rest now," the soft, comforting voice says. I feel the
smaller hand grasp my larger one tenderly, and the memories fade immediately
as I go into a deep slumber.


What have I done? I pray I haven't done anything irreparable. I'm not
trained in psychology; what makes me think I can handle this situation? How
can I possibly think I alone can cure Fox Mulder of his demons? Damn it!
I've not been able to cure myself of my own demons!

I stretch out next to him, my hand still firmly clenched in his. His
breathing has evened out; he's resting finally. I hope I've gotten lucky and
the episode that's just past was cathartic for him.

I know it was for me.


I have no idea how long we've been sleeping. I don't want to move to glance
at the clock. I carefully scrutinize the woman laying beside me. She's
beautiful, you know. She's even more beautiful now than the first day I'd
met her. There's a maturity to now to the perfect features of her face that
only adds to her beauty.

Her body has finally filled out a little. She's still much thinner than when
we first met, but she's no longer sporting the emaciated thinness she wore
when she was dealing with the cancer. Then, when I snatched an opportunity
to touch her, all I felt was bone. Now, I feel a softness that belongs there.

My eyes immediately go to meet hers, which are now open. My Scully has the
most amazing eyes. Sometimes I think she can see clear through into my
heart. No, on second thought, I know she can.

"Hi," I greet her softly.

"Hi, yourself," she replies in kind. "How do you feel?"

For a moment I'm confused. I know she's asking me for a specific reason, but
for the life of me I don't know what it is. I hesitate several seconds more,
when she cuts me off.

"You had a pretty serious journey down memory lane before, Mulder. Do you

I think my eyes widen a bit when she says this, and all I can do is nod a
little. Suddenly, I do remember, and I feel exhausted all over again at the
thought of it.

"Are you okay?" she asks. "Do you want me to call Dr. Shapiro now? Just so
you can talk with him, Mulder, that's all," she reassures me.

"Maybe later," I whisper in response, "but for now I just want to be with

She nods her agreement, though I'm not sure she approves. I suspect Scully
would prefer I speak with Shapiro and get this one behind me. I would like
that too, if it was possible, but I feel as if there's a piece to the puzzle
that's still missing, and I'm the only one who can find it and make it fit.

All of a sudden we hear a loud rumble that makes us both chuckle out loud.
My stomach is insisting I put something in it, so we finally let go of one
another's hands and get up out of bed. I stretch and move quickly to the
other side of the bed in order to pull my beautiful fiancée into my arms. We
stand there for a few moments, and I relish the feeling of her. I could
stand there forever with Scully in my arms, except my stomach utters its own
personal plea yet again.

As we walk back into the living room my eyes fall back onto the small box the
UPS man delivered a few hours ago. I stop, and I realize Scully has noticed
the box, too. I feel her hesitation; I know she wants me to open the damn
thing and get it out of the way of living our lives.

But my Scully is good. Oh yeah, she's real good.

"Mulder, I'm going to scramble some eggs and English muffins," she announces.

"Okay, sounds good," I say aloud, but my eyes are still focused totally on
the small box sitting on the coffee table.

She leaves my side to walk into the kitchen area. Now, you have to
understand that by doing this she hasn't abandoned me. No, not in the least,
since an open window island divides our kitchen and living room, she can look
into the living and see everything that goes on. We've always loved the
openness of the kitchen when we have friends and family over; we can cook but
still be a part of the conversation.

But now, she can still be an unobtrusive observer. She's far enough away
that I take the next step in my own time, but close enough to pick up the
pieces when I finally do.

I hear her puttering around in the kitchen. She's taken the eggs and milk
out of the fridge. Next she goes back to get the butter. A third trip for
the muffins. As she goes about preparing nourishment for our bodies, I set
about replenishing my soul.

I sit down on the couch and pick up the box. As I finger the wrapping, I
realize it's got some heft to it. I don't have any idea as to what it might
be, but whatever it is, I finally come to the conclusion it can't hurt me any
more than I've already been hurt.

I slowly pick away at the tape; I realize my deliberateness must be driving
Scully crazy and I have to smile a little at this thought. I finally remove
the tape and then carefully fold back the brown wrapping paper. Underneath,
I find a small brown cardboard box. It's obviously something Mom's recycled,
so I still have no clue as to what is inside of it.

End of part 2/3 (


The Barbecue Series 17: Lights at the End of the Tunnel
By Susan Proto (

Disclaimer in Part 1

Part 3/3

I have to pull some more tape off of the seam of the box, and when I do, the
sides automatically pop open. I pull out a small envelope that's tucked in
on top of the crumpled up tissue paper and Styrofoam popcorn pieces. I
finger the unsealed envelope and then pull out the note inside.

I recognize my mother's neat cursive handwriting. The thought that I
obviously inherited my scrawl from my father comes quickly to mind, but just
as quickly, I push that out and concentrate on the words my mother has

'Dear Fox,
I found these while I was cleaning out the basement. I didn't need
them any longer but thought you might find some use for them. I've also
enclosed the book you used when you were a child.
Happy Holidays.

My hands start trembling as the meaning of her words take hold in my mind.
I'm not a hundred per cent sure of what I will find in the box, but I
certainly have a better idea. As I start removing the tissue paper and foam
peanuts, I call out to Scully to ask her a question.

"What's the date?"

"The date?" When I grunted my confirmation she said, "Wait, I have to look
at the calendar." I heard her walk over to where we have one hanging and she
replies, "December 3rd. Why?"

"What does it say December 3rd is, Scully?" I ask tentatively.

"Nothing, Mulder. It's blank," she responds with a tone of confusion.

"Blank?" My mind goes blank for a second as well, but then memory corrects
my error. "Scully, what does it say for tomorrow, the 4th?"

"The 4th," she echoes in confirmation. "Oh, Hanukkah. It says 'Hanukkah,
First Day.'" At this she comes out of the kitchen and sits down next to me
on the couch.

"So? What does it mean, G-Man?" she asks gently. "What's in the box?"

I nod silently as I take out the packing material with a little less finesse
and pull out the still wrapped item my mother had carefully packed. I tear
off the tissue paper and I reveal the small, but heavy, brass menorah I
received as a child. In another carefully wrapped package is a box of
Hanukkah candles. After digging a little deeper, I find the small children's
holiday book that includes the prayers for the candle lighting that is done
on each of the eight nights of the holiday.

I don't realize I'm crying until Scully reaches over and begins to kiss away
the tears that now fall down my cheeks. I can't believe she found it, but
more importantly, I have to wonder why she found it after all these years.

Though it's not quite sundown I want to light the candles now. I can't quite
understand my need for immediacy, but nonetheless, I feel an urgency to light
them. I stand up and get a box of the safety matches and a tray from the
kitchen. I return to the living room and place the menorah on the tray and
set it back on the coffee table. I open the box of candles. They're
multicolored, so I mutely offer Scully the choice of color for the first

She pulls a red candle out and tries to place it into the opening on the left
side of the menorah, but I quickly correct her and point to the far right
opening. When the candle flops over, she strikes a match and carefully
lights the underside so the hot wax will stick and hold it in place.

"All those years of practicing with Advent candles comes in handy," she
murmurs with a smile. I kiss her forehead gently in thanks for her total and
complete acceptance of me and who I am. But it's also to let her know I feel
the same way towards her; I don't want her to ever have to feel she owes me
an explanation for her beliefs.

I pull out a second candle and ask Scully to light it. Next, I open the
holiday book, which somehow still opens to the exact page with little
prodding on my part. There is a special prayer for the first night and I,
miraculously, retrieve the words in Hebrew and recite the prayer. When I
finish, I hand the book over to Scully and point to the English translation.
She reads it aloud.

"'Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified
us by Thy commandments and instructed us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.

"Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has performed
miracles for our ancestors in days of old at this season.

"Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has kept us in
life, preserved us, and enabled us to reach this season."

I say, "Amen," to which Scully echoes and after I've placed her hand over
mine, we light the first candle together. I then place the Shamash candle
into the separate opening on the top of the menorah.

I watch the candles burn, mesmerized by the light. The Hanukkah candles burn
slowly and I lose myself a little bit in their glow. I feel Scully take my
hand and entwine her fingers into mine. She grasps my hand with a loving

"Ohmigod!" I gasp.

"What? What is it?" she asks in a panic. "Mulder?"

I can't take my eyes off of the burning candles. It's almost as if I'm being
hypnotized by their glow, but suddenly I can see so clearly what the light
had previously blinded me to.

"I remember." I take a deep breath, because I know it will take all my
strength and courage to voice aloud exactly what I remember.



"What do you remember, Fox?" I ask. I hear the anxiety in my voice, for I am
sure I know what his answer will be.

"She was there. She was there with me. With them. With all of them."

"Who, Fox? Who was there with you?" I ask ambivalently, knowing on the one
hand how cruel it is to ask him to remember, yet on the other, I know it is
imperative to his recovery that he accepts these memories and moves on.

I wait for what seems like hours, yet I know only seconds pass before he
makes his memory known to me.

"My mother. My mother was there."


I'm trembling a little and Scully pulls the afghan off the back of the couch
and wraps it around me. She holds me and murmurs over and over again, "I
love you. It's okay. I love you, Mulder. It's okay." I feel it's as if
she says it a million times, but I don't know if it will ever be enough.

I feel her arms wrap around me and I hear her whispering over and over the
same words and eventually they sink in and I'm able to respond to her.

"I love you, too, Scully. I know. I love you, too."

I feel the tension that had overtaken her body slowly but surely leave and
she's now able to relax into my body. I hold her to me and begin to share my
newest revelation.

"She was standing to the side and I remember her begging them to give me
something. 'Give him something for the pain, for God's sake! You can't keep
cutting him and doing things to him without anesthesia. You're going to kill

"Scully, I remember hearing her voice and screaming for her. It was like_,"
I feel Scully take my hand and entwine her fingers into mine. "It was like
when you were in Africa searching for the meaning behind the etching, and I
was back in the psych ward."

I can't help shuddering at this memory. I'd screamed and screamed for her in
my mind to come back to me, but she didn't hear me. She couldn't hear me. I
wonder if she was ever able to really hear me.

"Only this time, _this_ time, I was screaming out loud, and she kept calling
back to me. She kept telling me she was there and to be brave for her."

"Be brave for _her_?" echoes Scully incredulously.

"I don't understand it either," I acknowledge quietly, "but I remember trying
to be brave, for both of us." I feel her gather me in her arms more and she
takes my hand once again.

It's with this motion that I remember what is most important to me. I
release a breath of air I hadn't realized I was holding. An aura of relief
washes over me and I know Scully can sense it, too.

"What is it?" she asks.

"I remember something else, Scully." I pause and hold the memory inside for
a moment or two, as it's precious and I'm afraid I may set it free by saying
it aloud, and I'll lose it forever.

"Tell me," she says gently. And then I realize that by sharing it with my
love, it will only bond itself into my heart and mind, and simply make it all
the more real.

I look at her, kiss her gently on the lips, and then turn my gaze back to the
flickering Hanukkah candles. I take Scully's hand into both of mine and share
my memory.

"It was so bright, but finally, when they'd finished with me, they turned off
all of the overhead lights. Then it was dark, too dark. I was so scared,
because as tired and exhausted as I felt, I still couldn't sleep; I was too
wired from all of the drugs they'd pumped into me.

"I felt so alone in the world, Scully. I didn't know if I was ever going to
find my way back to you, and I remember crying at that thought. Then I
remember hearing a click and suddenly there was a small, flickering light.
Someone had lit a candle, Scully. Can you imagine?" I had to chuckle at the
irony of it all.

There I was, subjected to the most horrendous tests and procedures known, and
perhaps not known, to modern medicine, with instruments and machines way
beyond the scope of my knowledge, and what was I left with?

"It was a candle. A small, flickering candle," I murmur aloud. "And then,
Scully, I heard her voice say, 'It's okay now, Fox. I'm here, sweet boy.
I'm here.'"

"Your mother?" Scully gasps in surprise.

"My mother," I confirm. "She sat in the dark with me, Scully, with only a
flickering of the candle to light the room. She came back for me, Scully."

I'm not sure whose tears I feel on my cheeks, mine or Scully's. But it
doesn't really matter, because I know that, for the first time, Scully
understands what this all means to me. I know she does.

"What happened next, Mulder?" she asks in practically a whisper.

I squeeze the small hand I now hold in my two large ones and, with joy in my
heart, I tell her.

"She held my hand, Scully. She sat with me, and she held my hand."

I look into the light of the candle and I realize that, for now at least, it
doesn't matter what the details were of what had happened afterwards. It
only matters that I am confident of something now that I wasn't sure of

My mother sent me a precious gift this holiday. She sent me a reminder of
something that is, for her at least, impossible for her to say in words. But
the light of the candles tells me for her.

My mother loves me.

End of part 3/3

Happy Hanukkah, my friends.

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