BBQ19-Son-Up to Son-Down
Date: Sunday, April 16, 2000

Category: MSR, ScullyFamilyAngst, MulderAngst, Mild SkinnerTorture

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

**Warning** There are images portrayed in this story that reflect the act of
the crucifixion. If you are of the mind that this would disturb you, by all
means save yourself the heartache and bypass this story

Spoilers: Let's just say through season 7, to be safe. This could almost
maybe possibly fit into CC's timeline…(Okay, let's use our imagination here,

Summary: The family sees a side of Mulder that not many are privy to see,
nor would want to see.

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 # 18.
It would probably make more sense if you knew what makes this universe go
round by reading the prior stories.

Thank you, Vickie Moseley and Michelle Kiefer, for the benefit of your
knowledge and you much needed CyberEyes.

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

Barbecue Series 19: Son-Up to Son-Down
By Susan Proto (

Part 1/7

I take a deep breath as we pull into the driveway. We haven't been here
since around Christmas, and here it is now the Saturday after Good Friday.
Maggie Scully has somehow managed to volunteer our services to dye fifteen
dozen hard-boiled eggs for her church's annual Easter Egg Hunt. As much as I
want to spend the day relaxing with Scully, I've always found it difficult to
refuse Maggie Scully anything. She so rarely asks for anything.

Given this pull Scully's mother has on me, I find it hard to believe how long
it's been since I've stepped foot in this house. On the other hand, it's
still difficult for me to believe just how much has transpired in my life in
just four short months.

My mother died, for one. She'd had a difficult life, my mother, though she'd
chosen to keep the most important details of it to herself. Apparently she
was going to have a difficult death as well and chose to end it prematurely.
Though I wish she'd chosen to share with me the information I've so
desperately searched for, for almost all of my adult life, I suppose I don't
have it in me to hate her for choosing to take her own.

It saddens me that she didn't feel I was up to the task of knowing the truth.
Maybe, as Scully has tried to convince me, Mom really did want to take away
my pain. It was a noble gesture at best; a selfish one at worse. But, I
don't find myself dwelling on it all that much, which I suppose is the best I
can hope for.

You see, I've learned that Samantha is dead as well, and though the
circumstances that surround her death would probably make one hell of an
X-file, I don't feel the desire or more importantly, the need to go
investigating it. She's at rest, and that's all I care about.

I really am free.

And then of course there was that little scare with our Smoking friend. I
understand why Scully went with him; he played on her emotions and even
Scully is not impervious to everything.

But I still have trouble believing it. The Smoking Bastard? I've never
considered Scully naive. Well, not for a very long time, at any rate, but
this time? Naive is the polite way of saying it.

Of course, if saying out loud how foolish, unthinking, and gullible I thought
she really was could prevent this from ever happening again, I would. But
the truth of the matter is, Scully will always speak with her scientific mind
and act with her compassionate heart.

No matter how much the woman denies it.

I sigh, as I open the driver's side door, to which Scully asks, "What?"

"Nothing," I reply, and then quickly add, "Just thinking about how long it's
been since we've visited your mother."

She nods and makes some innocuous remark about how busy we've been and that
'Mom understands.' I cringe a bit at that remark, though to be honest I'm
not exactly sure as to why.

As we walk up the driveway and arrive at the front door, Maggie Scully pulls
it open and greets us. However, as she moves to hug us both, I can see she's
busy looking about around us. She's looking for something, but I don't know
what. Scully notices it too, and finally asks her about it.

"Mom, what are you looking for?"

"Not what, who," she responds. Scully and I both remain silent as we wait
for her to continue. She doesn't. Scully does.

"Who?" she says in a slightly exasperated tone.

"Walter. I was expecting to find him here when I got home from mass, but he
hasn't arrived yet. I thought maybe he came with you," she says.

Scully and I look at one another, puzzlement definitely showing on both our
faces. "No, Mom, we haven't heard from him today," Scully says gently.

Maggie nods silently, but her face screams with worry. She knows this is
unlike Walter Skinner, poster boy for the perpetually on time. If Skinner
says he'll be somewhere at ten o'clock, he'll be there at ten o'clock.

Not nine fifty-nine, nor ten-O-one. Ten o'clock. So the fact that it was
now going on noon, made us all pause to think. And I, for one, was not happy
with what I was thinking at all.

"Let's go inside and try calling him again. Maybe he got tied up with
something at the bureau," I offer. Mother and daughter nod in agreement with
this possibility, but my gut says I'm offering false hope. This is so unlike
Walter, especially in light what I'd learned about the intimate turn his
relationship with Maggie Scully took this past Christmas.

"When are Bill and Charlie arriving?" Scully asks. Both of her brothers were
on naval business in the DC area this week, but their families remained in
California and Texas, respectively. Both women want to spend Easter with
their own families, since they'd spent Christmas with Maggie.

I'm sorry they're not here; I enjoy their company and I love seeing the kids.
But maybe it was divine providence that they haven't come this trip, what
with Walter possibly missing.

"They should be here any minute," responds Maggie nervously, and I wonder if
perhaps she's projecting dire circumstances upon her sons as well as Skinner.

"I'm going to call the security desk to see if anyone noted his coming or
going," I say. I pull out my cell and do just that, only to discover that
the AD had not put in an appearance at the bureau this morning.

At this moment, the front doorbell rings, but the door is slammed wide open.
Bill and Charlie arrive noisily and show no clue of recognizing the somber
mood of those of us already in the house.

I do sense a bit of relief on Maggie's part; her sons have arrived safe and

"Hello, family!" calls out Charlie heartily. Bill echoes his greetings,
though without the same exuberance as his younger brother. The paranoia in
me says this is due to my presence.

"You didn't see Walter, did you?" responds Maggie quickly.

The brothers look startled, as they are certainly not the first words they
expect to hear out of their mother's mouth. "No, why would we see Walter?"
asks Bill.

"He's late," she says quietly and then whispers as if to herself, "too late."

"Have you tried calling him?" Bill asks.

I suppose I shouldn't, but it's purely reactionary on my part. I roll my
eyes, and of course Bill notices this and responds, "What the hell is your
problem, Mulder? All I asked was a simple question!"

Okay, now the man has always had a tendency to leave himself wide open, but
this remark invites a whole football team to go on the offense. Simple,

"Mo_," I hesitate momentarily, though no one seems to notice, before I
quickly change my mind and say, "Your mother has been trying repeatedly to
get through to his home and his cellular. I have just now checked in with
the bureau's security desk and have been informed the AD has not been in the

"All right, let's think this out logically. What time did you expect him,
Mom?" asks Charlie calmly.

"Well, he knew I was going to the church early this morning to hammer out
some last minute arrangements for the Children's Easter Egg Hunt tomorrow,"
she answers almost to herself as she tries to reconcile herself to the stress
of the situation. "He told me he'd be here by ten."

"You told me you weren't going to make it home before ten-thirty, maybe even
eleven o'clock, Mom," remarks Scully innocently.

"Oh, you're right, sweetheart, I don't. Walter knows to let himself in," she
explains matter of fact.

"Lets himself in?" responds Scully innocently.

Holy shit, I think to myself. She doesn't know. She doesn't know what I'd
discovered a few months ago. Walter and Maggie are, well, they're intimate
with one another in the biblical sense, you know? I know it bothered the
hell out of me when I'd discovered Skinner's travel case in Maggie's bathroom
back in December. I never did mention it to Scully, mainly because Bill was
around at that time. I didn't want to be the bearer of potentially
unsettling news; I certainly didn't want to give Bill Scully any ammunition
for 'killing the messenger.'

But now I realize none of the Scullys knew their mother was sleeping with my
boss. I look at Scully and realize she hasn't a clue her mother is sleeping
with _our_ boss. Given the fact that I haven't told her that I've been aware
of this little known fact for quite a while, I wonder if she'll have my head
for not telling her.

On a silver platter. Shit.

I look over at Maggie and realize she's had the same epiphany I've just had.
I suspect we have the eyes of the proverbial deer caught blinded in
headlights. I also realize she's now well aware that I know what she knows
the others do not.

It's definitely a time for a change of venue.

"I'm going over to Skinner's apartment," I say.

"I'll get my bag," says Scully.

"Um, Scully, maybe you should stay here with Mo_, with your mother," I say.
Now Scully gives me a funny look. I'm not sure why; I'm not sure if she even
knows why.

"Mulder, I don't know if it's a good idea for you to go over there alone,"
Scully begins.

"Why?" gasps Maggie. "Why isn't it a good idea?"

"Mom," interjects Charlie, "don't worry. There's no reason, which is why
Dana will stay here with you. But since Dana doesn't want Mulder to go over
to Walter's apartment alone, then I'll go with him. I mean, it's not like
this is official business, right?"

"Why you?" asks Bill, who appears to suddenly feel left out.

Great, Jessie James and Billy the Kid wanna come out and play cops and

"Why me? Because you and Mulder can't stay in the same room together for
more than hour without getting on each other's nerves, that's why me,"
retorts Charlie.

"Look, neither of you have to come with me. In fact, I think you should wait
here," I say as I stand to leave. "I'll call you from the apartment."

"Mulder, wait. This is absurd. I'm coming with you," calls out Scully.

"Dana?" We all turn toward Maggie. "Dana, I think I really do need you to
stay with me. Please."

Scully pales a little bit at this. I sit back down, too. Scully wants to
desperately go into partner mode and solve this little mystery fast. I
figure she feels that Walter's taken ill, or simply has gotten involved in
some work and his cellular is out of order. But if her mother tells Scully
she needs her to stay here with her, she can't possibly say no.

Can she?

I can tell she's considering it. If ever the telepathy that I once had could
work again, this would be the time. I try sending her thoughts that tell her
to stay put. Her mom needs her. Her mom actually asks her to stay and
support her, and Scully is considering denying her that?

If only my own mother were capable of making such a request when she was
alive. Now, she's taken those opportunities away from both of us.

"I mean, it's like Charles said," says Maggie. "This isn't official
business, or anything. I mean, if Walter were just oversleeping and his
phone was out, well, he'd be terribly disgruntled if you both came charging
in like the light brigade to check up on him, don't you think?" Maggie asks
in an attempt to rationalize the entire situation.

"Okay," Dana agrees, albeit reluctantly. "But Mulder, you will call in as
soon as you get into the apartment, understand?"

"Yes, Mom," I respond easily. Scully looks at me a little strangely again.
So does Maggie. Damn, I wish they'd stop doing that.

I stand back up and find that The James Brothers are following me. "Um guys,
I really can handle this one on my own," I say with only a hint of

"Look Mulder," begins Billy with an equal amount of animosity, "this guy
means a lot to my mother. So, if you don't mind, since this isn't 'official'
business, I'm gonna tag along to see what this guy's up to."

"Mulder," chimes in Charlie, but with a tone much more amiable, "What would
it hurt for us to tag along? She's all of our mother."

I flinch. I don't know why, but I flinch. Suddenly I feel like I've got to
get out of there, and I don't give a damn who comes with me.

"I'll call you when I find out something," I say hurriedly and leave. I
don't even kiss Scully or Maggie good-bye.


Part 2/7

We arrive at the Crystal City Apartments in a little under forty minutes. I
flash my bureau ID at the security guard and am given permission to go up to
Skinner's apartment even though he doesn't answer his intercom.

I wait patiently for my two shadows to catch up with me as the elevator door
opens. We walk through, push the button, and ride up to the twenty-second

Having been to Skinner's place on a few occasions, I walk directly to his
door without hesitation and ring the buzzer. We wait impatiently, and I ring
it again. Finally, Bill says, "I guess he's not home."

Master of the obvious this one is.

I look to the left and then look to the right. Now, I suppose I could go
back down to the lobby and inform the security guard that I need to get into
Skinner's apartment because I suspect foul play. The only problem with this
plan is that if there is no foul play, and I call the cavalry in, the AD will
not be a happy man.

So, I do what I do best; I stick my neck out so far it's just ripe for the
chopping. I pull out my pick kit and get ready to break into my boss's home.

"Mulder, what the hell are you doing?" gasps Charlie.

"Trust me, it's better this way," I say, as I have the door opened within a
couple of minutes. I guess Skinner counts on the security downstairs to
protect him, because the dead bolt on his door is worthless.

We enter the apartment and I take a quick look around. I've been there a few
times in my life, so I have some idea of what 'normal' looks like. It looks

Kind of .

I can't put my finger on what's amiss immediately, so I start walking around.
I notice Bill and Charlie hesitate before they too start looking around. I
automatically put my hand in my jacket pocket and pull out a latex glove.
Unfortunately, I only have one.

As I carefully pull it on, I notice Bill reach out to touch something on
Skinner's hallway table. I immediately shout out, "Billy, no!" He looks at
me with one of these 'dare to fuck with me' glares, but in this instance I
have to make him understand.

"Bill, I'm sorry, but if there is something awry, we have to be careful not
to compromise the evidence, so please, please do _not_ touch anything. If
this turns out to be a crime scene, it has to remain as is until forensics
can be brought in to take samples."

"You're touching things," he says almost belligerently.

"I'm also wearing a glove to keep my prints off of anything I handle." He
still looks at me annoyed. I sigh and say with as much confidence that I can
muster, "Please do as I ask on this." I pause, take a breath and then add
quietly, "I'm good at this, Bill. There are lots of things I'll admit to
fucking up on, but if there's one thing I'm good at it's my job. Let me do
my job."

Bill takes a quick glance over at Charlie who nods slightly and Bill grunts.
I watch him put his hands behind his back as a reminder to not touch.

I look around the place and try to take in the scene as a whole, and then I
start breaking it down into its smaller parts. I do a wide sweep of the
ground level and then move into smaller niches to try and uncover the clues
as to where Walter has disappeared.

And he has disappeared; that much I can determine. Though it's April the
weather remains unseasonably cool, yet his jacket remains hanging on the coat
tree. Breakfast dishes remain in the sink, which I imagine is highly unusual
for Skinner. I've seen him hop up to wash dishes as soon as they're cleared
from the table in Maggie's house. I'm sure he's as fastidious about his
place as he is about hers.

I walk upstairs to check something in his bedroom. Walter's shoetree appears
full. I have no idea of how many pairs of black leather dress shoes the man
owns, but I suspect that with Walter Skinner there is a place for everything
and everything has a place. I don't see anything obvious missing, with the
possible exception of a pair of slippers. I would expect to find a pair of
bedroom slippers meticulously placed at the side of his bed, but I find none.

Of course, I may be off track, but I don't think I am. When it comes to
profiling people, I'm rarely wrong. I've spent the last five years or so
profiling this man on the sly, so I've had a lot of practice.

I see a bathrobe hanging on a hook in the bathroom, and a pair of pajamas is
folded neatly at the foot of the bed. But there are no bedroom slippers, and
that seems eerily out of place, though I have no real way of knowing whether
Walter normally wears slippers or not.

Of course, I know there's a way to find out. I pull out my cell phone and
dial Maggie's house. Scully answers and asks if we've found out anything. I
tell her we're still looking, but I need to speak to her mother. Maggie
comes on the line and I take a deep breath.

"I have need of an answer to a specific question, and I suspect you can
answer it for me. Is that okay?" I ask softly.

"Of course, Fox," she says before she realizes what the nature of the subject
is that I'm about to ask.

"Does Walter normally slip on bedroom slippers when he wakes up?" I ask.
Several seconds pass during which I hear only. Then, finally, she whispers,

"Does he normally keep them by the bedside?" I probe again.

"Yes," is her hushed answer.

"Okay," I respond, "thank-you." I don't say another word, and before Scully
can get back on the phone, I hang up. I guess I'm not in the mood to discuss
why I would know to ask such a question of my partner's mother.

I walk back downstairs after deciding there's nothing else amiss upstairs.
Bill and Charlie keep to their word and do not touch anything, though Bill
does call me over to tell me to look under the coffee table.

I look down and notice what appears to be a piece of paper that lays three
quarters of the way under the sofa, but with a piece of it visible under the
glass coffee table. I bend down and reach under the coffee table to pull out
the paper.

It's a photo. An old photo.

With a very young Skinner.

"Damn," pronounces Bill as he looks over my shoulder, "the man actually had a
full head of hair."

Charlie takes a peak and chuckles a bit. Bill laughs out loud at this point,
but I stare intently at the picture. It's a black and white picture of eight
men, including Walter, posed in front of what I assume is a Vietnamese hut.
They're standing closely, side by side, with arms slung loosely around each
other's shoulder, including Walter's shoulder.

I have to assume these are members of Walter's platoon from so long ago, but
I find myself musing who they are and what their relationship was with the
young marine who once had a head of hair that rivals my own. I wonder why it
was under the couch. How long had it been there? Knowing Skinner, I can't
imagine that it was there for very long.

This is important, but I need help. I don't know who these men are, but I'm
quite certain that it has something to do with Skinner's disappearance. I
take a quick look in the kitchen and find confirmation of what I suspect.
There are two coffee mugs in the drain board by the sink.

Skinner had a visitor, and it was most likely early this morning. Now all I
need to do is figure out who it is.

Six hours earlier
Crystal City Apartment Complex

I stand in front of his door with all the nervousness and trepidation of a
small child entering school for the first time. I cannot believe I'm finally
here. I finally get to meet this man.

This man.

I look at my watch and thank the powers that be that gave me the wisdom to
plan carefully. I know the security guard steps out at six twenty-five a.m.
to pick up his morning ration of caffeine at the local coffee shop, which
opens promptly at six-thirty.

This little bit of knowledge allows me to slip by unnoticed, and I quickly
ride up in the elevator to his floor. I stand in front of the door, and I
poise to knock. I feel the butterflies in my stomach and decide to first
tend to my appearance.

I smooth out the nonexistent wrinkles of the uniform that I've worked so hard
and long to fill out. I pat down the various medals that adorn my chest and
then straighten my cap. I tug at my sleeves and then check my buttons. I
know I look exactly like the man I want to be. I am ready.

I rap the door hard with my knuckles and wait. A few seconds pass and I
knock once more. I know this man is awake. I've watched him. I know his
schedule. He is more predictable than the weather, though no less volatile.
I've seen him in action.

Finally, I hear muffled footsteps advancing toward the door. I wait
anxiously, but I remain stalwart and stand at attention.

The door opens and I hear him gasp. I want to sing with joyful excitement;
the man knows who stands before him. I've obviously achieved one of my
heart's desires ten fold.

"Frankie?" he says in absolute awe. "My God, it can't be you." I realize
now that his reaction is more than just surprise at my appearance; it's
shock. This marine's pallor is chalk white, and his pupils have become
blackened orbs.

"Mr. Skinner, Sir," I say to get his attention, "My name, sir, is Joseph. I
am Joseph Thompson, Sir." I stand up even straighter than before.

"Joey?" he says in disbelief. "Joey, you're __, you're a man," he says,
still shaking his head with wonder at my arrival.

I am delighted beyond my wildest dreams by the reaction I've gleaned from the
man standing before me. This man, who will learn what he needs to learn
about Joseph Thompson, son of Sergeant Frank Thompson, USMC.

This man will learn how he robbed me of my life. He will learn.

And he will pay.

"Joey, come in, please. I can't believe you're standing here," he says as he
rubs his eyes a bit. "C'mon, I'll put up a pot of coffee."

"Thank you, Sir, that would be most welcomed."

"You're the spitting image of him; my God, I thought you were him," he
practically whispers.

Of course he does. I've worked my ass off to be the man I was destined to
be. Every year, as I approached the age he was when he __, when he left this
earth, I've worked to mold myself into becoming him.

I stand proud as I think of my dear mother, may she rest in peace. She
watched with me with great respect while I worked to shape not only my
physical being but also my emotional being into that of Frank Thompson. I
became not only the son she bore, but also the man I was destined to become.

"Have you had breakfast? I can whip us up some scrambled eggs," he says to
me. I nod my head in agreement and watch him happily go about preparing us
some fortitude. It is wise of this man to fuel himself this morning, for I
do not know when he'll next see nourishment. Oddly enough, I do not know
when I shall see mine either.

I watch in fascination. I never imagined this man as one who 'putters', but
that's exactly what he's doing. He moves about the kitchen rambling about
this and that. I have no idea as to what he's talking about, nor do I
suspect that he does either. No matter, I shall eat the eggs with great
relish and then share my plan with him. Until then, I shall be content to
watch him continue to dabble about the kitchen.

We sit together, more in silence than with words at this moment. He finishes
his eggs, juice, and coffee while I simply push the food around. I discover
I am much too excited to eat unfortunately, as I know I should build up my
reserves. But it is nourishment enough to see this man building up his own.

I watch him out of the corner of my eyes. I don't want any distractions when
I share with him my grand plan for the future. I don't want anything to
prevent me from carrying it out either.

I watch him scrape the dishes into the garbage and then place the dishes into
the sink. He offers me more coffee, but since I haven't touched the cup he
first gave me, I decline graciously.

He finishes cleaning up, and we adjourn to the living room. It is here that
I pull out the photograph, which I've kept close to my heart every day for
the last three months. Mother passed on a little less than seven weeks ago,
but she handed me this photograph on the day she died. I looked at it, and
she managed to rasp out Walter's name.

"I want to share this with you, Sir," I say in a benevolent tone. I see him
look curiously first at me and then at the photograph I hold in my hand, but
he doesn't reach over to grab it.

Polite or cautious? I'm not sure, but it doesn't matter. I extend my hand
over towards him, the picture in my hand. He in turn reaches out and takes
it from fingers. I watch his face closely; I'm curious to see how he reacts.
And he doesn't let me down.

He looks at the photo closely and then looks back toward me. I know he is
awed at the likeness my father and I share. It is extraordinary; even I
marvel at it. Of course, the fact that I have worked hard to achieve the
greatest likeness possible must not be overlooked. I shall be sure to let
Mr. Skinner know that.

"You're definitely your father's son," he says quietly. I nod in agreement
and wait to hear what else he has to say. "I remember conversations we had
about you, Joey. Your dad could talk for days about you and your mom."
Skinner appears to startle for a moment and then says, "Your mom, how is she

I feel a cold darkness penetrate right through me. He does not know of her
passing. This man who took my father's love and ultimately was responsible
for his death, is unaware of my beloved mother's passing. I tell him she
went to meet our Heavenly Father six and a half weeks ago, and he offers me
his condolences.

"Your dad loved her very much, and I know from the letters he shared with me
that she loved him just as much," he says.

"Yes, my mother loved my father very much," I say, and then feel compelled to
add, "She loved me very much, too."

"I'm sure she did, Joey. I'd never gotten the opportunity to meet her, but
I'm sure she was a very special woman," remarks Skinner.

I nod and sit quietly for a moment or two. I am just about ready to explain
my plan to him, when he says, "Well, I'm very happy you stopped by, but I'm
expected at a friend's home to, believe it or not, dye Easter eggs for her
church's annual hunt. Maybe we can get together for dinner this week," he
adds, though I doubt he is being nothing more than polite when he makes the
invitation. I can see his discomfort around me; I remind him too much of his

When he looks at my face, he sees what should have been, but is reminded what
once was. My father should have lived to see the new millennium, but this
man bore his way into my father's heart and soul. He stole my father from
me. He stole my father's life from me, and I need to take it back for him.

I must take it back for him, so I too can survive.

Part 3/7

Bill and Charlie insist upon following me to the Lone Gunmen's lair. I don't
know how well this is going to go over, but I don't want to waste time
arguing with them. I need the boys to get on this as quickly as possible. I
suspect that time is of the essence, but I'm not sure how to convey this to
the Scully brothers, so I simply drag them along without further comment.

We arrive and I knock on the door. Yes, it's a secret knock, and I feel
slightly ridiculous rapping the door in the five-two-six-one pattern, but I
do and it gains me immediate access to the building. Of course the boys
aren't exactly counting on my Scully shadows following me inside, but then
Frohike notices my expression and waves us all in without a word.

"What's up G-Man?" he asks. "You look like a man with a mission?" Then he
realizes exactly who it is that's accompanied me and immediately asks, "Is
Scully all right?"

I nod just as quickly to relieve him of any concerns. I know Melvin Frohike
has had an unrequited crush on my partner for years. I also know if anything
ever happened to me, I could count on him to protect her with his life.
"Scully's fine, Frohike, it's the AD that we're concerned about," I explain
as I point to the Scullys.

"Oh," I say as an afterthought, " this is Charlie and Bill." Knowing the
Gunmen as well as I do, there's probably no need for introductions much less
the mentioning of last names.

Frohike nods curtly in their direction. "Skinner's in trouble?" he confirms,
getting right down to business. When I nod, he excuses himself to, I
assume, go and get Moe and Larry. We wait a couple of minutes and my
assumptions prove correct.

"What's up, Mulder?" Langly asks.

I say hello to both him and Byers who enters the room last, and I bring them
up to speed about what we've found. I then show them the picture and ask
them if they can scan it and find out who the hell these guys are.

Frohike takes the picture and nods. "Shouldn't be a problem, Mulder. Give
me an hour or so, okay?"

"We need it as fast as possible, guys," I say.

"You think he's in some kind of danger?" Byers asks.

I turn to look over at Bill and Charlie who watch me with great anticipation.
I quietly nod and whisper, "Yes. I don't think we have a lot of time."

"We'll get right on it," Langly says as he snatches the photo out of
Frohike's hand. Normally Frohike would argue, but I think he sees just how
anxious I am to get the search started. And the best way is to start with
the best clues.

The photo is the best clue I have.


By the time Charlie, Bill, and I arrive back at Maggie Scully's house, it's
almost five o'clock. The boys showed their kung fu today, that's for sure.
Not only were they able to create several blown up shots of the individuals
in the photo, they even managed to identify everyone in the picture. They're
all from the 2nd Battalion, 1rst Marine Division that Skinner had served with
in Nam, so we now have names to go with the faces in the photo. Now all I
have to do is figure out which of them is responsible for Skinner's

The problem with this is that the boys were also able to confirm that every
man in the picture is dead, with the exception of Skinner, of course.

I hope that's still true. I look at Mo__, Maggie and shudder a little bit.
I know that she and Skinner have become damn close over the last few months;
I've seen evidence of that closeness the last time I was here.

I know what I went through when my mother killed herself. I don't want
Maggie to go through that kind of pain.

"Mulder? You should have something to eat." That's my Scully, when it comes
to feeding my face she always makes a declarative statement, never a

I nod my head in the affirmative. I know it's best for me to grab something
now, because it may be a while before I'm in the mood to eat again. I've
never done well in keeping my stomach in check when I start to profile.
Scully knows this, so I follow her advice.

I go into the kitchen and see Maggie in there. She's puttering around,
warming up some leftovers in the microvave. She looks over at me, smiles,
and then cocks her head a bit. She's looking at me as if I have three heads,
and suddenly, I'm very uncomfortable. The thought of eating doesn't sound
quite as appealing as it did five minutes ago.

And I don't have a clue as to why.

"Fox, something's wrong," she says slowly and deliberately.

"Other than the fact that my boss has gone missing? I don't know, Maggie,
seems to me you'd be more on the ball than this," I retort. I know she's not
joking around, and my own attempt to deflect her comment falls seriously
flat, but I can't help it. I also can't stay in the same room with her, and
I can't help that either.

And I don't have a clue as to why.

"I want to get started on working up a file. I'll grab a bite later," I say
as I walk quickly out of the room. I suspect I've left Maggie standing there
with her mouth open.


I watch him try to watch me, though he doesn't have too much success. I've
taken his glasses, and he's apparently blind as a bat without them.

He squints in an attempt to bring the world into better focus, but I can tell
he does not get the results he hopes for. Of course, he also must struggle
with the bindings on his hands and legs. I've made him uncomfortable; I
realize this, but I have no choice. The drugs that I've given him in order
to get him to this place have all but worn off now.

While we were back in the apartment, I asked Skinner for a glass of water so
that I could put a bit of Rohypnol into his coffee. He returned and handed
me the glass. I in turn, raised it in toast to my father, knowing that he
would never dishonor my father by refusing to toast with me.

He drained the coffee cup and within minutes he was higher than a kite, but
completely pliable and amenable to my suggestions. I managed to divert the
attention of the security guard by calling down to the desk and posing as
dear, elderly Mrs. Pottsfeld in Apartment 17J. I pleaded with the security
guard to come up immediately to 'my' apartment, as 'I' feared a stranger was
in the house and would kill 'me.'

Ben, that's the name of the security guard, left his post immediately to
attend to poor Mrs. Pottsfeld. This gave me my opportunity to help a very
disoriented, but still quite mobile Walter Skinner walk out of his apartment
complex. It was so ridiculously simple, that even I was surprised at the
ease with which I was able to escape with my prey.

However, now I watch my captive struggle with the ropes, which bind his
wrists and his ankles on the makeshift cross I've built just for this
occasion. He doesn't resemble the Son of God at all, of course, but that
doesn't matter at all. This man is here to serve my purpose. He is here so
he may go with our Heavenly Father, just as he was supposed to have done
almost thirty years ago.

I see my Marine is frightened, though he tries hard to hide this fact. No
matter, I can see through his mask and note the fine bead of sweat that forms
on his forehead. It is cool in the room, but his body becomes wet with

I do not speak with him yet; not since we arrived to this place of
resurrection and redemption. Soon. I will speak with him soon.


I've been staring at the pictures for the last hour and a half or so,
nonstop. I think I'm starting to worry Charlie and Maggie. Well, I know I'm
starting to worry Maggie. I can't believe I practically flew out of her
kitchen before. What the hell is wrong with me? Why can't I face her?

I concentrate more on the blow-up of Skinner; for some reason I find it
easier to think about a potential maniac who might very well kill my boss,
instead of dealing with a woman who has acted more like a mother to me than
my own mother.

The photo is revealing something; I just don't have a clue as to what it is
yet. I know that five out of the eight men pictured had families. The other
three, one of which is Skinner, were childless, though of the three, only one
was never married. Skinner, on the other hand, is a widower.

So which of these men gave an order from the grave to deal with Walter

"Well, if you ask me, it's gotta be the guy that's got his arm around him,"
Billy says as he looks at the original photo showing all of the men. "I
mean, look how the guy has his arm around him. That's gotta mean something,

Bill rolls his eyes and sashays his hips a bit. Obviously, he's alluding to
something; which knowing what I do about Skinner's and Maggie's sleeping
arrangements, well, let's just say Billy's barking up the wrong tree.

"Mulder," interjects Charlie, who's been watching me almost as closely as
I've been looking at the photograph, "is it possible that Bill's right about

I have to be careful here. The situation is difficult enough already, so I
certainly don't want to alienate either man, but the truth is Bill's theory
is totally wrong. I just wish I could give both men a clear explanation as
to why. Just because I can't tell them that I know Skinner is presently
sleeping with their mother doesn't mean he hadn't participated in alternate
life style type relations in the past.

What the hell am I thinking here? Good God, this is Walter S. Skinner I'm
talking about.

"I can't be sure," I say cryptically, "I don't want to jump to conclusions.
They've all got their arms around one another." I pause for a moment.
Something is beginning to click, but I'm damned if I know what it is. I
finally mutter aloud, "I know the photo is telling me something, but I'm not
sure what."

"Sounds like you're looking for something out of left field, Mulder," remarks
Bill in annoyance. He's smart enough to realize my non-answer was really a
rebuke of his theory. But then something occurs to me; something Bill said
made the light bulb turn on.

Left field.

"It's him," I say just above a whisper.

"What did you say, Mulder?" asks Scully who walks in from the kitchen with a
plate of fish for me to eat. I look on the plate and there's even a piece of
matzo. I smile to myself at this bit of courtesy on Maggie's part. Though
I'm far from observant, I'd mentioned to Scully that I thought I might try
laying off the bread during Passover. I recall she hadn't made a comment,
but obviously she remembered to say something to her mother.

I love how Dana Scully looks out for me. They both do. Maggie and she must
have been conspiring for the last half an hour or so trying to figure out a
way of getting food into my stomach.

I can't help it. I smile. It always amazes me how the Scully women look out
for me. Maggie looks my way and smiles back at me, but now I quickly look
away. Damn. I don't understand what it is that's bothering me about being
around Maggie Scully, but I hope the reason ends soon.

I miss her.

I'm in the same room as she is, and I have this empty feeling. Why don't I
feel a part of her anymore?

"Who is it, Mulder?" repeats my partner.

I must have zoned out for a moment or two, because I don't know what she's
talking about.

"The picture, G-Man, who's the UNSUB?"

"Oh." I blink my eyes a little more rapidly to focus them on the picture in
my hand. I then point and say, "Him."

"Him?" echoes Bill who is standing over my shoulder. "Why the hell would you
think it's him. He's standing no where near Skinner; shit, he's not even
looking at him."

I hear the others murmur their agreement, but I look hard and fast at the
photograph, and I know that it's him. I just know. But then I look at the
blow up of Skinner. The photo lost some of its clarity when it was enlarged,
but the blurry details are just clear enough to confirm my suspicions.

"Look here," I say as I point to the blow-up. Look at Skinner carefully, and
tell me what do you see?" I ask in an attempt to show them why I am right.

"I see Skinner. Someone has their arm around his shoulder," describes
Charlie. I know Charlie wants to give me the benefit of the doubt, but he's
not positive of my choice yet either. He will be. Soon.

"Yes, but what else do you see?" I ask. I'm trying to remain calm, but
patience never was one of my virtues, was it?

"I see Walter smiling," offers Maggie. "He seems to be enjoying the company
of the others." She then picks up the original photo and remarks, "They're
all smiling and happy, Fox. They all seem to feel safe and secure in one
another's company."

I look over at my future mother-in-law with unexpected pleasure. She has it.
She understands.

"Yes," I readily agree, "and look at this. Tell me what you see here?" I
put my finger near Skinner's left shoulder.

"Oh," whispers Scully.

"You see it?" I ask. When she nods, I ask her to tell the others what she

"It's a second person's hand, isn't it?" she asks. I nod. "Whose is it?"

I pick up the original photo and, using a pencil point, point the path from
which the second, mysterious hand comes. It points to the man standing not
next to Skinner, but one over from him.

I reach over for the list of names that matched the men in the picture.
"Franklyn Thompson," I announce aloud, "was the sergeant of the platoon that
Skinner was assigned to. He's also one of the five men that were married and
had a kid. Um, looks like it was one boy, a Joseph Thompson."

Scully is reading the information over my shoulder. She skims ahead of me
and notes the illness of Franklyn's widow, Marion Thompson. "Apparently
she'd been suffering from cancer for quite some time. It states here she
died a short time ago."

"How short?" I ask.

"About six, almost seven weeks ago," answers Scully, but then I see her do
her little 'eyebrow' thingy.

"What?" I ask, but when I get no answer, I ask again, a little louder. "What
is it, Scully?"

"The date of her death." She looks at me with wide eyes. "Marion died March
8, Mulder."

"And the significance of that is __?" I query.

"Ash Wednesday," interjects Maggie. "It was Ash Wednesday, the start of
Lent. Is that important?"

And tomorrow is Easter, which celebrates the morning during which the risen
Christ was first found . Well, no one has to hit me over the head with a bat
to figure out this one. We don't have a lot of time before Joseph Thompson
decides to become one with Jesus and Mother Marion by offering Walter Skinner
as a sacrifice.

"We've got to figure out where he is; where would he take him?" I say

"I don't understand," responds Maggie. Bill and Charlie look equally
confused. Only Scully has picked up on my train of thought. Poor woman, she
has been hanging around me much too long.

"I think," I begin very carefully and deliberately, "Joseph Thompson feels
Walter is somehow responsible for his father, Franklyn's death. I think he
wants to try to resurrect his own father by offering Skinner as a

The room is absolutely silent for several moments, until Bill cries out,
"That is the most absurd thing I've ever heard! What the hell are you
talking about, Mulder?"

"Bill, he's talking about some whacko who has their boss locked up
somewhere," answers Charlie defiantly. He can get just as pissed off with
his older brother as I can.

"But how does he know this crap about resurrecting his father? That's
bullshit, Charlie and you know it!" he retorts.

"No, I don't know it, and neither do you," Charlie responds with ire oozing
out of his gritted teeth. Then he turns to me and asks, "What do we do now?"

Scully clears her throat and we all look over at her. "We call in the
cavalry and get everyone and their mother out looking for him, that's what we
do." She sees I'm about to object, but she's faster than I am. "Mulder, we
can't possibly do this by ourselves, and we don't have the time to screw
around. This is Walter Skinner we're talking about, remember?"

I do remember, but on the off chance that I've forgotten, all I have to do is
look at Maggie Scully's face and see that my partner is right. We do need
help on this one, if for no other reason than to start canvassing churches or
__, or something.

I ask Scully to call in the reinforcements and to inform them we'll be
meeting in sixty minutes at the Hoover. I start gathering our materials so
we can get going immediately.

"We're going to find him," I say to Maggie softly. I stand at arm's distance
from her, put my hand on her shoulder, and reiterate, "We will find him." I
can't bring myself to move any closer to her, though. I sense her hurt, and
I want nothing more than to gather her in my arms and tell her everything
will be fine.

But I don't.

I can't.

Because I don't know if it will be.


Part 4/7

The period of my mourning and sacrifice had begun right on schedule when
Mother died on March 8th. She'd been too weak to attend mass with me for
quite some time, so I'd gone, alone, to church to receive my ashes and when
I'd returned home, it appeared that Mother had fallen asleep. It wasn't
until two, perhaps three hours passed before I'd realized Mother was dead.

So, it was the timeliness of her death that inspired my plan; my desire to
right the terrible wrong that had happened twenty-seven years ago. The
Heavenly Father never meant for it to be Frank Thompson to die in that tragic
ambush. It was supposed to be this man who hangs on the cross before me.
And it will become this man. When the sun comes up, the son will rise up as
well and do what needs to be done.

"Joey? Joey, please talk to me. Why are you doing this? Don't you realize
that I loved your father as if he were my own."

"But he wasn't your father, Mr. Skinner! He was my father. _MY_ father, not
yours!" I remind him vehemently.

"Joey, I'm sorry. I never meant for the sarge to die."

"But he chose to sacrifice his life for yours," I say accusingly.

"What are you talking about?" he asks. He acts confused, but surely this is
nothing more than a ruse to throw me off guard.

"Oh please, don't tell me you're unaware of the circumstances surrounding my
father's untimely death," I say with resentment.

"We were ambushed, Joey. No one saw it coming. One moment we're walking
through the jungles of Binh Son, and the next moment there are bodies flying
through the air. Damn it, son, we were ambushed and never knew what hit us.
No one should have survived it, Joey __, no one. It's a miracle I survived."

"No. No miracle," I deny adamantly. "It was because my father thought he
had to sacrifice himself for you. He thought of you as a son, as if you
could take my place!" I accuse and admonish all at once. "You said it
yourself, Mr. Skinner. You thought of him like a father, and he treated you
like a son. But you have to remember that you're not his son. I am. He
should have nurtured and guided me, not you. It was never meant to be you."

I'm breathing hard now; the adrenaline is definitely pumping. I know it will
be just a few more hours for the process to begin, and that I must be
patient. It will be a long, hard wait for sunrise, Easter Sunday morning,
but I will be strong. I will be strong for my father.

"Joey, what do you want from me?" he asks.

I laugh. I laugh in astonishment that he believes there's something he can
do to save himself. "I want nothing from you," I tell him after I calm
myself down.

"What are you going to do with me?" he asks.

Ahh, this is better. He knows I have the upper hand. "You will know by the
time the sun goes down. It is then you will understand."

"What time is it now, Joey?" he rasps out.

"Dusk has just about passed. You have a several more hours before my
Heavenly Father rights the wrongs of yesterday," I answer.

"Joey, which Heavenly Father are you talking about?" he asks desperately.

I smile at the tremor I hear in his voice.

I leave the room.


I'm not sure how or why, but for some reason Bill and Charlie have joined
Scully and me at the bureau. I'm sure this is not allowed, but I suppose
since our boss is the one who's missing, there's no one to ream me about it.

They insisted upon coming. I suggested that perhaps Maggie could use some
moral support and that their place was with their mother, but the brothers
shook their head in stereo. Bill said since he and Charlie were in on the
beginning of the investigation, then he felt it was only proper that they see
it to its conclusion.

I remember trying to look over at Maggie to see her reaction. I caught a
glimpse of a nod. Apparently she felt her two sons could be of some
assistance. I know I could have argued the point with all of them, but since
Scully showed no concern, I wasn't about to waste the energy.

I figure we can bury them down in the basement while we have our strategy
meeting with the team. I'm about to direct them to the X-Files office when
Charlie states, "We'd better get moving. You told your people we'd be
meeting in an hour. It's just about that time."

I look at him and wonder if that's a hint of a smile on his face. I think
Charlie is getting into playing 'cops and robbers,' but the only problem is
this is no game. This is real and a man's life is at stake.

I'm about to point this out to him when my partner says evenly, "He's right.
Let's get upstairs as quickly as possible."

I bend down slightly to speak only to her. "Are you sure this is a good
idea?" I whisper in her ear.

"It won't be a problem, Mulder, and it may give them a better idea that we're
not playing 'cops and robbers' all day long," she replies in kind.

Now I have to smile to myself. That's my Scully and her ulterior motives for

We arrive in the large meeting room next to Skinner's office. I take note of
the agents that have been assigned to this case. I can only guess that given
the fact that Assistant Director Taylor is normally in charge of only White
Collar Crimes and its divisions, he must have left the decision of whom would
be assigned to this particular task force to the Division Heads of VCS and
BSU. It's an interesting mix of people, and I have no doubt they're all
capable of doing the job at hand.

There's only one person I'm having doubts about at the moment. But pangs of
self-doubt last all of about thirty seconds when AD Taylor arrives and
informs the teams that I am the SAC for the case and that Scully is the
Assistant SAC. I notice Billy and Charlie's heads jerk up at this

Why do I have the sudden urge to stick my tongue out at Billy and taunt him
as if we were playing on the schoolyard? It's probably because he tends to
treat me as if I was a schoolboy playing a game instead of performing an
important public service. I don't know what upsets me more. The fact that
Bill and perhaps Charlie as well, have no idea that my work is important, or
that they doubt their sister's professionalism by virtue of her association
with me.

Maybe it is a good idea to have the Brothers Scully come and see how the big
boys 'play.'

I manage a smile for a moment before I put my game face on. It's time to go
to work.


It's getting late and I'm becoming more and more fearful that we're not going
to find him in time. Over four hours have passed since we've arrived at the
bureau, and I feel as if we're spinning our wheels. It's a difficult time of
night to reach potential witnesses or known associates of Joseph Thompson.
I've assigned different teams different tasks in the hope that we will catch
a break and be able to determine where this lunatic is holding my boss.

Scully pauses for a moment in perusing the files we've gathered and calls
Maggie to see how she's holding up. I wish someone were with her; I don't
think she should be alone, but Bill and Charlie ask how they may pitch in.

"I wonder if there's any possibility that the area churches keep their doors
unlocked. I figure it would give us a chance to find out if anyone noticed
any unusual activity," I say in response to their request.

Bill cocks his head and sighs. I get ready to defend my idea when he
surprises me and says, "No, that's probably a good idea, especially tonight."
He sees my confusion. "You don't get out much, do you, Mulder?" he says
with a hint of a smile.

"It's the night before Easter, Mulder. Churches would not be 'closed down',
at least not Catholic churches. Easter Vigil Mass is as big as Midnight Mass
at Christmas. They last forever, and it's when all the adult converts are
initiated into the Church with a huge Baptism and Confirmation service.

"It's a big deal, Mulder, so there's more than likely to be quite a few
people around the church who might see something strange going on. Of
course, I don't know if our guy would be able to pull off anything elaborate
because there may be too many people around."

"Thank you, Bill," I say sincerely. "That's good information. I really had
no idea. At this point, I would be inclined to say you're probably right,
but since we have so little to go on, it probably couldn't hurt to check with
a few of the area churches. Just to be sure," I pause and then look directly
at Bill for his approval, "if you think it might be at least a remote

I swear the man grows an inch right before my eyes. Give the guy a little
show of respect and he's my best friend. Go know.

"Well, given that we have so little to go on, I suppose it can't hurt," he
responds. Both Bill and Charlie roll up their sleeves and get right to it.

"How is she?" I ask when I notice that Scully finally clicks off the
cellular. She looks over at her brothers as they work the phones and smiles
a little. But then she turns back to me.

"Worried," she responds honestly. "I couldn't tell her not to, Mulder. I
wish I could, but I'm worried, too."

I nod; I can't voice my doubts. I figure there's got to be something in the
research we've uncovered to help us figure out where he's holding Skinner.
We continue working all through the night, as we try to gather the necessary
evidence from the files of information we've accumulated from over the
various data bases the bureau has at its disposal.

Scully notes one of the lab reports that a 'gopher' ran over moments ago.
"Mulder, I have the results taken for the leftover coffee found both in the
coffee pot and the two cups found in the sink."

"And?" I ask in anticipation.

"Nothing unusual found in the pot __," she begins.

"__And only one cup showed positive for a drug," I conclude while she nods in
agreement. "What was it?"

"Would you believe, Rohypnol?"

"The date rape drug?" I ask, trying to get all the facts organized and
squared away in my mind. Scully nods. We exchange worried glances and then
quickly get back to work.

It's not until a couple of hours later that we seem to catch a break.

"Excuse me, SAC Mulder?" One of Agent Bryant's team members comes into our
'war' room. "I've just learned some information that may be helpful." I
motion for the young agent, Sarah Halpern, to enter. God, she looks like
she's about fifteen years old. Did I ever look this young?

"What have you found, Agent Halpern?" I ask. I smile a bit when I notice her
startle at my use of her name. An eidetic memory can keep anyone and
everyone off balance, though that's the last thing I want to do with Ms.
Halpern. If anything, I want her to feel more part of the team, hence my
attempt to personalize the situation some more and use her name.

As she begins to speak, I notice two other pairs of eyes staring at me. Yes,
Boys, I really do know how to act civilly. I'm just about to return their
stare when they both go directly back to work. I turn my full attention to
Agent Halpern.

"Joey Thompson had been going to church every single day since his mother's
death. Given that it's Easter, it took a while, but I finally got a chance
to speak to his priest. He expressed some concern about Joey Thompson's
emotional stability. He said that Joey was very distraught over his mother's
death for a few days, but then became almost gleeful. Father Kendrick said
that Joey started coming into the church practically whistling after the
first week and a half.

"When the Father asked Joey how he was doing, Joey answered 'fine. Couldn't
be better!' When Father Kendrick asked how work was going, he told the
priest he took a personal leave from the company he works for."

I nod at this. I learned of the personal leave a little over forty minutes
ago. We're just not sure how our Joseph Thompson was spending all of his
free time. Apparently, during some of it at any rate, he was getting

"Well," Agent Halpern continues, "Father Kendrick asks him what he's doing
with his time when he's not at mass. Now this is the interesting part," she
says, though she blushes at her sudden realization that she's editorializing.
I smile, nod my head, and urge her to continue.

"He said he was keeping busy doing research. He needed to study for the
biggest test of his life." She pauses for a moment as if to contemplate the
words she'd only just said. "What could he possibly have to study, Sir?"

"His prey," I answer. He had to study the AD in order to discover his
patterns, his habits, his routines so he'd be able to take him without a

I immediately ask Halpern who interviewed the security guard over at
Skinner's apartment complex. She informs me it was Agent Brodsky and I dial
the extension where I know Brodsky is assigned and ask him about his
interview with the guard.

Brodsky says the guard claimed nobody unusual or unknown entered the building
this morning. "He said he'd have a record of any visitors that came in, but
there was no one before ten thirty this morning," concludes the agent.

"Did you ask the guard about his own schedule, Agent?" I ask.

"His own schedule? I'm not sure what you mean, Sir."

"Did the guard, what's his name __?" I hesitate.

"Benjamin Wilson, Sir."

"Yeah, did you ask Mr. Wilson about his own schedule. What times did he
leave his post unattended?" I elaborate.

"Leave? Well, no, I assumed he wouldn't leave his post," he replies weakly.

"C'mon, Agent Brodsky, surely you're able to assume that a person would
require a break here and there. Coffee or bathroom?"

I hear the young agent hesitate and simply direct him, as calmly as possible,
to call the guard back for that information. The young fool actually has the
balls to object to making the phone call due to the hour of the morning.

"I know it's almost two o'clock in the morning, but when there's a life at
stake, the time of day can't be a factor in searching for the truth." I let
this little pearl of wisdom sink in. This may be the key in explaining why
Skinner disappeared without a trace.

Finally, I can't contain myself any longer and allow my crankiness to peak
out and say, "And Brodsky, if you would have asked the right questions in the
first place, you wouldn't have to wake the poor guy up at two a.m."

I'm seething a bit by the time Scully comes over. She takes one look at me
and starts massaging my neck and shoulders. "What's up?" she asks calmly.

"We may have lost a little time, because the newbies don't know how to
conduct an interview," I reply tersely, though my neck certainly begins to
feel better.

"They have to learn sometime, Mulder, and they'll learn about it from the
best. Now, don't worry about the things you can't control. Concentrate on
what you can."

I nod in agreement, but I feel the start of a pounding headache.

It's time to get into the head of Joseph Thompson.


Part 5/7


I return to find him in a fitful state of semi-consciousness. I suppose
being bound to the cross is uncomfortable to say the least, but our Father's
only blessed son was bound in just such a fashion, so I feel no guilt.

If my Father is to find me again we must make sacrifices.

The private lifts his head up and I can see his eyes are glassy. He shivers
a bit, yet beads of sweat appear on his forehead. Shock. I am well aware
this was a real possibility; unfortunately there is little I can do about it.
I leave him hanging in position, with nothing more than a shroud to cover
his hips and groin.

"Please, may I at least have some water?" he rasps.

I consider this and decide I must be merciful. My dear mother wouldn't want
me to be any other way, so I nod my head and go to the rear of the basement
where there is a laundry area. I grab a cup and rinse it thoroughly of its
soapy residue and fill it with water from the utility sink.

I hold it up to his mouth for the private to drink, and when he takes his
first sip he grimaces. I must not have rinsed it enough, but he'll have to
take it or leave it. He takes one more sip, makes another face and then
shakes his head. He's had enough.

I set the glass down on the floor. I look at my watch, which he notices
because he asks, "What time is it?"

"It's getting closer to the time that you meet our Heavenly Father," I reply.

"You keep saying that, Joey, but you don't answer my question. Which
Heavenly Father?" He tries to maintain calm, but I can feel the fear in his

"The one who will right the wrongs of the past," I respond, as I turn to


I stop. My back remains facing the private.

"Please, let me call someone," he pleads.

"What?" I ask incredulously as I turn around to face him. "Do you think I am
a total fool? Do you think I would allow you to tell someone so they could
stop the miracle from happening?"

"NO!" he shouts out over my ranting. "No," he says more quietly as I quiet
down as well, "I want to tell someone who believes as much as you do. I want
to call Maggie."

Maggie? Magdalene? He wants to call Mary Magdalene? Oh, Heavenly Father,
this is a sign, is it not? This is a sign from you that this miracle will
truly take place tonight on this miracle of nights.

"I will call her. You tell me her number, and I will speak to her," I say in
cautious wonderment.

He gives me the number and I dial the number on my cell phone. It rings all
of one time when I hear a lilting voice answer, "Hello?"

It is she. It is Mary Magdalene. I am awestruck that I am able to speak
with her.

"Hello," I reply hesitantly. I wonder if my voice will hold up. "I wish you
to be here to witness the miracle," I whisper. "I need you to be here, to
help me greet our Heavenly Father."

"Who is this?" she says. Oh dear Lord, she doesn't know of tonight's
miracle. She hasn't been forewarned, of course, for I am the one who has
worked to plan it all these weeks.

"It's me, Mary Magdalene, it's Joseph. It's time for us to witness a new
miracle. I wish you to join me tonight to witness. He wants you here, too,"
I urge.

"Who wants me there?" she asks anxiously, and then adds with a forced
gentleness, "Is Walter with you, Joseph?"

"Of course he is, Mary Magdalene! Where else would he be but with me? The
miracle must take place tonight; it is the night of all nights. It is the
dawn of the Resurrection. Surely you know that, Mary Magdalene!"

"Of course I do," she says with a new calmness. "Yes, I would love to come
to you and witness the miracle. It is important that I be there with you,
isn't Joseph? It was, after all, our Lord and Savior who experienced the
first of the miracles, isn't it?"

She understands. Oh, sweet God, she understands. Of course she does. It
is Mary Magdalene, follower of Jesus, son of our Heavenly Father. Yes, of
course she would understand.

"Tell me where you and Walter are, dear," she says evenly.

As I give her the information she needs to find her way to the miracle site,
I wonder what the odd sound is that distracts me for a moment. Since it
stops almost as quickly as it starts, I ignore it. What possible harm could
Mary Magdalene do to me?


"Mom, you are incredible!" Scully shouts as she disconnects her phone. I try
to ask her what the ruckus is all about when I see her rush over to my desk
and punch in a phone number. She quickly explains that Maggie called her
cell phone when she realized she'd gotten a call from Joseph Thompson. I
perked up at this information and I'm about to ask her what she said, when
she puts her finger up to quiet me for a moment. When she hears the response
on the other end, Scully switches it over to speakerphone.

"Mom, I got it all down. Now listen to me, you are not to go anywhere, is
that understood?" Scully orders in her best, no nonsense tone.

"Dana, I am going, and I will not allow you to talk me out of it," Maggie
replies in a tone that proves there's something to this genetics theory.

"May I ask what the two of you are talking about?" I interject. Something
important just happened, and I need to be brought up to speed.
Unfortunately, Bill and Charlie bounded over as soon as Scully cried out
about their mother's incredibility.

"I am going to Walter," she responds matter of fact.

"Oh? And where might that be?" I ask innocently enough.

"He's at 142 Arch Street in downtown DC. He gave me directions. I _am_

"Oh, no you're not, Mom," yells out Bill. "There is no way I'm going to
allow you to risk your life for just another sorry sonofabitch FBI agent, so
you can just forget about this," he rants.

The man does not know his own mother very well, does he? Demand Maggie
Scully to do what she does not wish to do, and that's a guarantee that she
will go ahead and do it. The woman will not be commandeered by anyone, least
of all her eldest, equally stubborn son.

"Mom," interjects a softer speaking Charlie, "Don't you think this might be
dangerous. How do you know Walter is even there? This may be nothing more
than a trap. It's possible someone called to just lure you into a trap."

"Of course I've given thought that this is dangerous. And William Scully,
Jr. I don't know where you get the idea that you have the ability to put
constraints on my activities, but you do not. You do not make my decisions
for me; I do. Now, since I do have some common sense and realize this is
something I cannot handle myself, I figure I'll need some help. Fox? What
do you call it?" she asks me directly.

I have to smile at the chutzbah this woman displays. She's got balls, this
Maggie Scully, that's for sure. Yup, as I look over at a slightly
disconcerted Dana Scully, there is definitely something to this genetics

"Back-up," I respond with a slight smile. "You're going to need back-up."

"Yes," I can practically see her nodding her head. "Okay, Fox, so you and
Dana will be my back-up, right?"

"Damn straight we will," responds Scully immediately. She has quickly
realized there will be no talking her mother out of participating in this
little plan, so she quickly jumps on board to help in the planning. "Mom,
what time are you supposed to be there?"

"Within the hour," she replies.

"It doesn't give us much time to coordinate," I muse.

"We'll manage," Scully says determinedly. And I know we will.

"So, what do we do?" asks Charlie.

I look at him with an expression that must be almost clownish in nature.
Bill picks up on this and says, "Mulder, close your damn mouth before you
start catching flies. Now, where do you want to place us?"

"I'm sorry, but gentlemen, as much as I appreciate your offer of assistance,
this time I have to decline it. We don't know exactly what we're getting
into and I can't risk having two, inexperienced people on the site," I say
with a gentle firmness.

"Like hell!" shoots back Bill. "You're willing to let _my_ mother get
involved in this little sting operation, but you don't want us involved?
What's up with that, Mulder?"

"Oh, Billy, please," Scully tries to intercede, but Billy continues his rant.

"You think just because the woman says you're like a son to her that you can
go and involve her in something this dangerous without consulting her family?
_Her_ family, Agent Mulder, not _your_ family. Why the hell don't you go
deal with your own family and stop trying to involve mine in situations that
tend to get them shot at, abducted or killed!" He looks as if he's just
getting started, but Charlie must have noticed the blood drain from my face.

"Billy, shut up," he says quickly. "Mulder, don't mind him. Bill's just
worried about Mom, that's all," he placates.

I have to wait a moment before I can find my voice. Scully is strangely
quiet; I guess she's equally worried that something may go wrong. Funny how
she misses my obvious discomfort, but then again it's not _my_ mother who's
about to face a possibly crazed lunatic.

Suddenly I'm very cold and feel myself shiver slightly. Several moments pass
before I manage to say, albeit in a whisper, "I know you're all concerned
about your mother. I know you fear her life may be in danger, and you wonder
how we can allow her to take part in this and not you.

"She has unwittingly become an integral part in finding the Assistant
Director. It's not a position that I wish for her any more than you do, but
be that as it may, she is and has accepted that position willingly without
being coerced.

"I thank you for your willingness to join us in this operation. I really do
understand that your intentions are well meaning and that you truly feel you
can be of help. For all I know, you may be __."

"__Okay then!" Billy interrupts like a child who has finally wheedled his way
into getting what he wants.

"No, please let me finish." Bill looks warily at me again, but I know I've
at least got his attention. "As I was saying, for all I know you might be a
great asset, but then again, you could hamper the operation."

"Oh, but Mulder __," Charlie begins innocently.

"__No, Charlie. You have to understand that FBI agents are trained for just
this type of unknown scenario. We've been put through our paces so we can
anticipate just about any situation. Gentlemen, you have not been through
that training and I don't know how you will react to an unexpected

"I don't know how you'll react period. Hell, I don't know how your mother
will react, and quite frankly I'd much rather have to just worry about
keeping her safe than keeping her __and__ her only two sons safe as well."

I pause for a moment before I give them my final word on the subject. "I'm
sorry guys, but you will stay here."

Neither one argues with me.


We meet Maggie at a site a few blocks away from the address she's been given.
We've learned that it's the address of the building in which Joey Thompson
had lived his childhood. Apparently he felt you can go home again.

Maggie looks determined, but I suspect she's every bit as nervous as I am. I
hate it when we have to involve civilians in an operation; I hate it more
when said civilian is my partner's mother.

"I want you to wear this," I say as I hand a wireless microphone to Scully to
pin on her mom in a discreet place. "We need to hear exactly what is going
on, do you understand? We don't want to spook the guy, in case he's got
Walter in a tenuous situation. I don't want anyone hurt, but I don't want
you to take unnecessary chances, do you understand?"

"Yes, Fox."

I draw in a large breath when I realize something. This is the most I've
spoken to Maggie Scully since I've first seen her earlier today. I guess
when I'm in G-Man mode, I don't find it as difficult to speak directly to
her. I shake my head slightly as I ponder this latest puzzle.

"What's wrong, Mulder?" Scully says and interrupts my self-serving thoughts.

"Nothing, Scully. Everything is going to go just fine."

As we slowly tail Maggie to the destination, I'm in constant communication
with the agents that have the place surrounded. 142 Arch Street is an older
building, but it's not a tenement by any stretch of the imagination. The
residents keep the area neat and tidy, and have made an attempt to brighten
up the place with window boxes on the apartment windows.

Maggie finds a parking space across the street from the building and gets out
of her car. I've asked her to keep talking softly so we could get some
volume levels and to make sure the wireless is working. She does and it is.

I can't look at Scully at this point. I know she's nervous about this; I
know she'd give anything in the world to pull her mom back from this, as
would I. I realize if anything does go wrong; if she's harmed or Skinner or
both, well, I'm the SAC on the case. Let's just say it won't bode well for
my career or my personal life if anything goes wrong.

I watch Maggie walk into the building. I watch as she pushes the door open
and walks in. She heads for the basement of the building, just as Joseph
Thompson has instructed her.

Maggie is on her way, and it's time for us to do our damnedest to protect


Part 6/7


My Mary Magdalene is on her way down. She is here to witness the new miracle
and to help me once again become connected with my Heavenly Father. I wait
by the door in anticipation, and when I hear her knock on the basement door,
I look at her through the dusty, glass pane in the door.

I am enchanted. She reminds me of my own mother, may she rest in peace. She
is small and virtuous looking, and like my mother, she has the kindest face
I've ever seen.

I open the door and say, "Hello Mary Magdalene. Welcome."

She smiles. I think she is nervous, but she smiles anyway. Oh, this is a
good, kind woman. I am full of contentment that she is here to witness this
miracle with me.

"Joseph, you told me that my friend, Walter, is here. May I please see him,"
she asks so politely.

"Yes, of course, but first, may I get you some_?" I ask in an attempt to be a
proper host.

"__No," she responds at once, almost rudely, in anticipation of my question.
She recovers her demeanor quickly though and apologizes for her curt
response. I tell her it's forgotten, and then I do what she most wants.

I invite her to see where the miracle will take place.

"Come with me Mary Magdalene, come see where the miracle will take place," I
say as I offer her my arm.

As we enter one of the back utility rooms, the one where my mother once
stored my childhood toys and my father's memorabilia from so long ago, I hear
a gasp from the dear woman's mouth.

"What's wrong, Mary Magdalene? Surely you remember having seen a crucifix
before?" I admonish gently as we gaze at the well-muscled man that hangs
bound from my crude cross.

"Walter?" she calls out in a hush. "Walter, are you all right?"

He hasn't moved since we've walked in, so I understand the question, but I
resent her insinuation that I do not take care of my guests. Yes, I consider
even Mr. Skinner a guest in this dwelling of my past. He is an important
guest, as a matter of fact, as I need him to complete my destiny.

"Of course he's all right," I say lightly. "I've given him a little
something to help him rest, that's all. The sunrise will bring a new dawn
for him, for all of us," I explain.

"What will happen at sunrise, Joseph?" she asks, her voice full of curiosity
and anticipation. If I didn't know better, I'd say that I sense fear as
well, but Mary Magdalene knows that this sacrifice must be made for the
greater good. A terrible wrong must be righted tonight.

My own dear mother always told me that someday I would be reunited with my
father, just as she would be, too, someday. I've gone to mass everyday so
that I could pray that just such an event would happen and soon, while I was
still young enough to appreciate it.

I didn't want to wait until I was dead and meet him in heaven. I want him on
this earth, with me, as he should have been all of these years. My mother
was so proud of me as she watched me grow up and become a man so like my
father in physical presence that it sometimes took her breath away when she
saw me.

Now, once again I have someone to stand vigil with me as we wait for the
miracle to occur. I don't know exactly when it will happen, but I do know
that Walter Skinner will rise up to take the place of my Heavenly Father, and
Franklyn Thompson will come down to join his son where he has always belonged.

"Joseph, why are you doing this to Walter?" she asks.

"He was not supposed to be the one to live," I answer.

"Why, Joseph? Isn't it possible that God has a plan for Walter Skinner?
Isn't it possible that God meant for Walter to live that day, while all of
his platoon comrades died in a horrible, tragic ambush?" she asks in a voice
as gentle as a breeze.

I am almost hypnotized by this voice, but then I realize that it's most
probably a trick. I suddenly wonder if this woman isn't the sinner who
should be stoned after all; I suddenly realize that it must be the devil that
has entered my sanctuary.

"NO!" I scream at her. I frighten her now, as she jumps back in a startle
reflex. "No!" I call out again, "You are not my Mary Magdalene, you are the
devil incarnate! You will not destroy my plans. You will not put a halt to
my miracle!"

Just then I hear a loud moan, and I look over at the private. He's slowly
waking up. The woman devil calls out his name and he responds in a sluggish
manner, "Maggie? Maggie, please, what are you doing here? Get the hell away
from here! He's crazy, Maggie. Go. Go away!"

I am angry now. He should not say untruths.

"You have no right to say this filth. You, of all people, Mr. Skinner, have
no right to accuse me of being anything less that the devout man that I am.

"I am not crazy. I am devoted.

"I am not crazy. I am faithful.

"I am not crazy. I am loyal to the one true Heavenly Father that I have
known all my life. And now, Walter Skinner, it is time for you to die and
take my father's place so Franklyn Thompson may be resurrected at dawn on
this joyous Easter Sunday.

"I am not crazy, Mr. Skinner. I am a dutiful son, unlike you who allowed my
father to die!"

I raise the knife that's been sheathed in my pocket and begin to move toward
my target. It is time to mark this man, and let the Heavenly Father know
that it is he who should be with him.

I move quickly, and hear her scream!

"Joseph, NO! Please, don't do this!" she cries out.

"I have no choice!" I scream back, and I make one long slash across the
private's abdomen. I can hear him gasp out loud at the steel's cold
sharpness, but that is all I hear of him, for the next thing I hear is a
man's loud voice shouting.

Shouting at me. I turn to see who is shouting.

And then the ring of a gunshot pierces the air just before it pierces my


We're listening carefully to the conversation going on as Maggie first enters
the basement room. She seems to be okay; she doesn't seem to be overly
nervous or in any particular danger at this point.

I've told her to keep the conversation to a minimum on her part. Let him do
the talking, so we're better able to determine his state of mind. But she
dives right in and asks about Walter's whereabouts.

Damn it.

I fear this may go down faster than any of us have anticipated. I look at
Scully and try to read her expression, but I know she's put her FBI mask on.
It's probably the wisest thing to do; I wish someone would find mine.

The next thing we hear is Maggie uttering a panic stricken 'no' and I realize
this is all going to go to shit very quickly. I quickly call in the teams
and tell them to be on standby. No one is to shoot until I give the call. I
repeat those directions, as I want to make sure that everyone is aware that
it's not only the AD whose life is at stake, but a civilian who just happens
to be my future mother-in-law.

Damn it.

I can't remember the last time I've thought of Maggie as this. I look at
Scully one more time and nod. We're moving in.

Next, I'm listening to the man begin ranting about how sane he really is.
I'm getting this queasy feeling; the one I always get when I know there's a
likely chance I'm going to have to bring down a perp which is something that
has always scared the crap out of me.

Wearing a firearm is a powerful feeling; I don't know if any man is meant to
have this much power, and I chafe at the notion that I may have to use it. I
say a quick, albeit silent, prayer to whichever God is listening that if I do
need to fire my weapon, it hits the intended target.

We've got the door open and I can hear him through the door just as clearly
as I can hear him through the microphone. Maggie is calling his name, but he
doesn't respond to her. We're at the door, and suddenly I hear Maggie
scream, "Joseph, NO! Please, don't do this!"

I ram the door open and watch a man in uniform, screaming words that have no
meaning to me at this point, slash at Walter's stomach. I scream, "FBI!
Drop your weapon!" A second later he turns around with his weapon still in

I shoot.

He drops.

I watch as Maggie Scully rushes to help Walter and Scully moves toward the
perp to check his vitals.

I speak into the microphone and let the team know that the site is secured.
"We need the paramedics in here, now!" I say with some urgency. "We've got
an agent down and the perp has been shot."

Other agents rush in soon after. Some help get the AD down off of the cross,
while others tend to the perpetrator lying on the floor. I find myself
standing on the periphery more and more. We've got our man who is being
tended by Scully. We've found Skinner, and though he's probably going to
need some stitches, I'm pretty sure he's going to be all right. I can see
him speaking with Maggie and trying to comfort her. Agents are pulling on
latex gloves and bustling around the area gathering evidence.

I'm in a room full of people, yet I feel so alone.


Part 7/7


I've been standing by the car for the last twenty minutes or so watching
agents rush in and out with evidence bags and whatnot. I see Joseph Thompson
brought out on a stretcher. He doesn't look to be in good shape; I must have
gotten him square in the chest and maybe collapsed a lung. He's on full
oxygen and IV's. I watch my partner follow the patient into the ambulance,
though she nods toward me first to let me know she'll meet me at the

Next, the paramedics finally bring out the AD. I see him talk to Maggie
while she holds his hand. He's fully conscious, for which I'm grateful.
Maggie waves at me to come over. I stand by the side of the AD's gurney and
ask him, "How ya doing, Sir?"

"Okay. I'm okay, now." He closes his eyes for a mere second and then says,
"Mulder, thank you."

"Just doing my job, Sir."

"Mulder, don't give me__."

"__Sorry, Sirs, but we really need to get this patient in transit,"
interrupts the paramedic.

"No problem. I'll see you at the hospital, Sir." I now see Maggie hesitate
for a second, and I tell her she should ride with the AD to the hospital. I
then turn before she can respond and walk back to the car.

Before I drive myself to the hospital, I call the war room to let Bill and
Charlie hear the good news. We caught the perp and the AD suffered some
relatively minor wounds. All is well with the world.

So how come I feel like crap?


He's been calling for his Mary Magdalene. Scully and I leave Skinner to
receive the remainder of his stitches and accompany Maggie into Joseph's
room. He looks so different in this light, from the room in his makeshift
altar. There he appeared threatening, while here he's weak and fragile. He
doesn't have long. My bullet did catch him square in the chest.

I hear him weakly call for his 'Mary Magdalene' and Maggie answers him.

"I'm here, Joseph. I'm right here," she says gently. I see such sympathy in
her eyes for this poor, lost man. I feel as if there's a two-ton weight
pressing down on my chest.

"I'm sorry Mary," he rasps. "I wanted you to see a miracle. I wanted so
badly to see my father, to show him the man I've become. But now I won't.
Now I'll be sent straight to hell for my failures."

"No, Joseph, no," Maggie murmurs. "You've been misguided, but you're a good
man. You took care of your mother, didn't you, after your daddy died in the

"Yes, ma'am," he whimpers.

"You watched over her and made sure she had her meals and you helped her do
the laundry and dust the house, didn't you?" When he nodded she murmured,
"You're a dear man, Joseph. Your mother is proud of you. Your father is,
too," she reassured.

"Thank you, Mary Magdalene," he says.

"You're welcome, Joseph."

He dies as I leave the room.


I'm standing alone in the waiting room nearby Skinner's room. He's just been
admitted, though they don't expect him to be here for more than twenty-four
hours. This is a good thing.

I don't realize she's entered the room until she's standing right next to me.
I turn and try not to show my surprise, but I startle and jump back a bit.

"Fox, what's been going on?"

"What do you mean?" I ask.

"You know perfectly well what I mean. Fox, when you first came to my house
this morning, you treated me as if I was a pariah. You wouldn't speak to me,
you wouldn't look at me, and __," she hesitates for a moment and then says in
a hushed voice, "__and you refused to call me 'Mom.'"

She looks away, but I know it's only because she doesn't want me to see her
cry. What is it about these Scully women that refuses to let me see them
when they're weak?

I suppose the same thing that makes me refuse to acknowledge when something
is wrong. Except for now, that is. I know there is something wrong; I
simply can't figure out what it is. I love this woman like she's my own
mother. Shit, there have been times when I thought I've loved her more than
my own mother.

Oh, God.

"Oh, God," I moan quietly as tears begin to trail down my cheeks.

"Fox?" she says as she turns around no longer hiding her own tears.

"My mother is dead," I say in hushed tones, as if it's the first time Maggie
is hearing the news. It's not, of course. I know that it's not, but I
realize it's important for me to share this with her, here and now.

"I know, Sweetheart. I am so sorry for that," she replies gently.

She starts to reach out to me, but I flinch slightly and she draws back. I
didn't want to do that; I simply couldn't help it.

"I'm sorry. I don't know why I did that. I don't know why I feel like I've
lost you," I say.

"Lost me? Fox Mulder, you can never lose me. You're going to be marrying my
daughter sometime in the future, and you think you can lose me?"

All I can do is nod. I don't know what's bothering me. I don't know why I
feel like I can't have her be the person I want her to be.

"I miss you," I admit.

"I miss you, too," she counters.

"I miss her," I whisper, and the truth comes out.

"I know you do, Fox. I know you do," she reassures and I believe her. Then
she says, "You know, Sweetheart, I never intended to replace Teena. I
couldn't, even if I wanted to. Teena Mulder was and will forever be your
mother." Now she does reach out and starts caressing my arm soothingly.

"But_," I begin, but I don't think I can continue. I feel so badly for
having the thoughts, for simply thinking them. How can I possibly give voice
to them and ever feel free of guilt?

"But, what?" I shake my head in denial, but she urges me again, "Fox, but

Finally I just blurt it out, "What if I wanted you to be my mother? What if
I'd wished her dead for all of the times she'd snubbed me and ignored me and
lied to me and refused to tell me the truth about anything! Oh God, forgive
me, but there were so many times that I wished she weren't my mother and
then__, then I found you.

"And it was okay, because my mother was still alive and I still had time to
make it all okay, so I could live with the idea of having two mothers because
someday I was going to make it right with my own mother.

"But she didn't give me the chance. Damn her, she couldn't even give me the
chance to make it right with her, and now__."

I stare at her. I can't do this. I don't even want to do this. I murmur my
apologies and get ready to bolt out of there, but Maggie holds fast to my arm.

"Sit down, Fox."

I hesitate for a second, but then I sit. The woman has a helluva grip.

"I'm sorry Teena Mulder couldn't deal with the troubles life dealt her, Fox.
I'm sorry she couldn't show her love for her son in an appropriate manner.
I'm sorry Teena made you so hesitant about accepting unconditional love from
others, but I will tell you this.

"I am most grateful to Teena Mulder for giving birth to a child who has grown
into a man any mother would be proud of. I am most grateful to Teena Mulder
for raising a son who knows how to care for others and see the potential in
others, no matter how much they hurt him. Otherwise, why in heavens name
would you put up with Billy's bullshit all the time."

I open my eyes wide at that, and she shushes me. "I was married to a sailor
for over thirty years, Fox. Surely you didn't expect me to not pick up some
salty language along the way!"

Her eyes are twinkling a bit now, and she looks at me with so much love.
"And I am most grateful to Teena Mulder for raising a son who could love
others so unconditionally, without care or thought to himself. Oh,
Sweetheart, loving me no way diminishes the love you have for Teena. And
even if there were times you couldn't feel the kind of love you wished you
had for her, in the end it's all a game of averages.

"Teena gave you what she could from the beginning of your life till the end
of hers. Yes, it should have been longer, but we take what God gives us.
That's all we can expect from this lifetime. Hopefully, we'll get to pad the
pot a little in our next life.

"I love you, Fox Mulder. You are not just like a son to me, you have become
a son to me. And that my sweet man, is the way it is. Accept it, because
you have my love no matter what."

She grabs hold of my hands and squeezes them both. The woman does have a
helluva grip, and I start to chuckle a bit at that thought. She looks at me
a little quizzically and I just smile and shake my head.

I do love this woman so much. I do. I believe her and I'm finally able to
tell her so.

"Thank you. Thank you for understanding, because I do love you. I do, you

"Then, please, say it," she says softly. For a moment I don't know what she
means, and then understanding hits me like a ton of bricks. Sometimes I can
be so dense.

"I love you, Mom."


End of Part 7/7

Please accept my wishes for Happy Easter and Happy Pesach to you all. Send
Comments to .