Fourth of July
by Susan Proto
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 1998
Category: Story, Angst, MulderTorture, Mulder/Scully UST
Rating: PG13 for language and minor mention of Violent Images
Spoilers: Very minor mentions/spoilers from Fire, Duane Barry and
arc to Emily.
Summary: Mulder returns to the Scully house for yet another
family get together, with almost tragic results.
Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully & Mrs. Scully, Charles, Tara &
Matthew Scully, &
Charles Scully belong to 10/13 productions and Chris Carter. I'm
borrowing them. I won't keep them. At the end of the story you
can have `em
back, I swear, (unless you *want* to give `em to me.) All other
belong to me, and if Mr. Carter wants to borrow them, all he
needs to do is
Introduction: Well, I wasn't planning on it, but some have made
and so here it is: a follow-up to "Birthday Barbecue."
I would strongly
suggest you read that one first, as I believe you'd gain a better
of where our hero is coming from in this story. "Fourth of
July'' is written
in the same style of "Birthday Barbecue" too, (and, by
now, we all know how
nervous first person narration makes Susan, now don't we??)
Flames will be noted, but constructive feedback will be
As always, thank you Vickie Moseley for being my CyberMuse on
this one too!
Fourth of July
by Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)
It's only the fifteenth time I've driven around the block. There
lined up the entire street, both sides, but there are some spaces
I'm still not sure if this was the wisest thing to do. Maybe I'll
home. Yeah.. I'll just head home, and nobody will be the _____.
Damn cell phone. She's found me. She didn't even know I was lost,
gone and found me anyway. Or maybe she did know. Maybe.
"Mulder," I answer.
"Mulder, it's me. Where are you?" Scully asks.
"Actually, I'm___," I hesitate. Can I lie to her? Can I
say something's come
up and I'm sorry, but I can't make it? Yeah. Right. This is
talking to. Not a chance. "__I'm actually on the block. I'm
trying to find
a parking space," I finally say.
"Oh, well, just squeeze in anywhere! C'mon, Mom's been
asking for you.
Charlie's here and wondering where you are also," she says
"Okay, I'm coming. I'm coming. I see a space. I'm going to
park. Be there
in a few minutes, Scully."
I'm not sure where this habit of just hanging up the phone on one
comes from. I mean, it's not like I'm being rude, it just saves
does it to me too. I don't know, it's as if the cell phones are
extension of ourselves, as if we are speaking to one another face
You don't say goodbye to each other when you're face to face, do
you? I don't
think we ever have. It's almost like we refuse to ever say
good-by to one
another. It's like this unspoken rule between us. If you say
might really never see one another again. So, why tempt the
I park the car and find myself walking up the street towards Mrs.
house. I haven't been here since Memorial Day weekend, and I'm
little nervous. Though there were many good things that resulted
weekend, there were a couple of not so good reasons which give my
reason to do a few thousand somersaults. I walk up to the front
Just as I'm about to knock, the door opens. Standing before me is
one of the
good things that happened. I watch as Scully stands up on her
greet me with a light kiss on the lips. The last time I was here,
of let me know she thought our relationship might have a chance
to go beyond
the professional partnership stage.
"Hi," I say after returning the kiss. "How'd
"I saw you walking up the street. I was kind of keeping an
eye out for you
for the last fifteen minutes or so__," she says.
"Oh." Snagged. "You saw me looking for a space,
huh?" I try to cover myself,
but this is Scully I'm talking to.
"I saw you procrastinating and trying to come up with an
excuse not to come
in," she replies.
Yup, that's my Scully. I can't keep anything from this woman. And
strange reason, I find this very comforting.
"Come on G-Man, the family's waiting to see you," she
says brightly. "By the
way, love the Bermuda khakis," she adds, chuckling.
"It's ninety degrees out, Scully," I retort, wondering
if she really likes
them or is merely teasing me.
"If that's the case, then may it be ninety degrees for the
rest of our
she says as I notice her very obviously eyeing my butt.
I laugh and let her then lead the way. I actually feel pretty
good now. I
always look forward to seeing Mrs. Scully. The woman holds a
my heart ever since Scully had been abducted. Mrs. Scully kind of
to stay sane. Even Melissa Scully, may she rest in peace, was
able to help
keep my priorities straight. There's something about the Scully
me. They're good for me.
Just as I'm thinking this, I feel vice like pincers on the hairs
of my bare
calf and knee. I look down, and see, to my utter amazement, Bill
Scully's son, Matthew, grabbing onto my leg for dear life, while
Karen's kids, Briana and Daniel, are making these very loud
roaring sounds, scaring the poor baby half to death.
I bend down to pick up Matthew who is so frightened he doesn't
I'm not his father. I suspect once he does, he will begin
howling, but for
now I provide him a safe haven from the two whirling dervishes.
"Hey you guys," says Scully, "what are you doing
to poor Baby Matthew?"
"We're playing 'Monster,'" says four year old Briana,
the more brazen of the
"Yeah, we're playing monster," echoes six year old
"Yeah, well, I'm not too sure Matthew wants to play
'Monster' with you
I realize my speaking was probably a mistake as Matthew picks his
head up from my shoulder and takes a good look at me. I can see
the poor kid
trying to assimilate this new information.
Man. Saved life. Not Daddy. Cry or not to cry? That is the
"MATTHEW!" shouts the harsh male voice.
The question is now answered. Cry. With gusto. I look up to
confirm what I
already know. The voice belongs to Bill Scully.
"What the hell did you do to him?" Bill asks angrily as
he literally grabs
the baby out of my arms.
"I __, I __," I try to answer him. I don't know what it
is about this
that always reduces me to a stuttering fool.
"__We was playing 'monster,' Uncle Billy. We was the
monsters, and we was
'scareding' Matty," brags Briana.
"Bill," Scully interjects, "they scared the child
half to death and he
literally attached himself, like a leech, to Mulder's leg. Mulder
up to comfort him."
"Oh yeah? Well, I don't want him__," Billy begins in
"__Don't be a shmuck, Billy. Say thank you to the man for
from being traumatized for life," Scully says sarcastically,
but with a
of seriousness for good measure.
Billy couldn't do it. He couldn't look at me and say thank you.
couldn't look at me. He just walked away, holding onto Matthew
as if I were some plague that would befall him and his son.
I wish I knew exactly why the man hates me so much. Not that I'm
be his best friend, mind you, but still, he's Scully's big
him. I want to be at the very least acceptable in his eyes, and
I'm so tired of feeling rejected by people and not knowing the
My own father rejected me. Well, now that I think of it, I kind
of know the
reason for that. I mean, I lost my sister. He couldn't blame
himself, so he
blamed me, and I blamed myself. He was my father, and supposedly
everything, right? So, I had no choice but to believe him. I had
it was my fault Sam was abducted.
My own mother rejected me. Well, I kind of know the reason for
that as well.
When I lost Sam, Mom not only lost a daughter, she lost a
started drinking all of the time after Sam was gone. When Dad
yelling and __, well, yelling, at me, he was yelling at Mom. She
go for a good defense and began taking Valium by the handful. I
Dad yell all day and night while in a drugged stupor made life
for her. Since I was the reason behind the troubles, I didn't
to her anymore.
Of course, then Samantha came back, or rather, was brought back
to me, but I
was rejected by her too. Well, I kind of know the reason for that
Cancer Man told her all of these lies, and she believed him
rather than me.
Well, who could blame her. I mean, I couldn't save her, but she
him saving her. He raised her as his daughter. Imagine, the
Cancer Man a
So now Bill rejects me, and though I pretend I don't understand
do know the reason for it. I'd lost his sister for three months.
I was the
reason for her being given a deadly form of cancer. I was the
reason she was
in constant danger, all because the powers that be, whoever the
are, want to use me to promote their crazy plans of alien
God, I still don't understand it all. How could I? I doubt they
understand all of the ramifications for what they've gotten
All I do know is I've tried to get Scully to leave me in order to
herself. But she refuses to go.
"Well it's about time!" cries out Mrs. Scully as she
reaches out to hug me.
"Where have you been, Fox? We've been waiting for you!"
"Hi Mrs. Scully," I say as I return the hug and kiss
her lightly on the
"What's this 'Mrs. Scully' business?" she asks. "I
thought we had an
agreement." When I looked her quizzically, she explains,
supposed to call me 'Mom.'"
I looked at her with my mouth open. I thought that was a one shot
mean, when I'd last seen her it was her birthday, and I'd given
card about how she was like a mother to me, and then she said I
her__. I didn't think it was a forever kind of deal.
I didn't have to many forever kind of deals, you know?
"Are you sure?" I ask in astonishment.
"Of course, I'm sure."
"But what about __," I'm about to ask about how her
family feels about it,
she cuts me off. She knows it's not the family in general I'm
"__Billy? Fox, Billy's a big boy. He'll learn to deal
with it. Don't you
worry about Billy, dear." She grabs my arm and leads me to
an older woman I
remember from Memorial Day.
"Fox, you remember my friend, Irene, don't you?" she
"Of course I do. You made Mrs. __, umm, Mom's birthday cake,
"Ahh, you do have a good memory, Fox. I made the one for
today, too," she
"It's amazing, Fox. It's one of those flag cakes with the
strawberries. But Irene is always doing something a little
different to make
her cakes unique," describes Maggie Scully.
"Oh Maggie, there's nothing different or unique about a
little rum added to
the batter!" Irene chided.
"Oh, but it makes it taste so good, Irene!"
"I'll bet it does," I add. Of course, the fact I'd
sworn off rum a very long
time ago didn't matter. These sweet ladies didn't need to know
drowned my sorrows in rum and cokes after Phoebe left me. To this
day, I get
nauseous at the mere thought of rum.
"Excuse me ladies, but I see Charlie and I'd really like to
say hello to
Mrs. Scully, or rather 'Mom' reaches up and kisses me again on
the cheek. "I
so glad you decided to stay, Fox," she whispers to me.
As I walk away, wondering how she knows I'd been having my doubts
in, I hear Irene say, "What a lovely young man. He's perfect
"I know," says Maggie. "Now if they'll just figure
"Perhaps they just need a little nudge," Irene says.
"I'm nudging, Irene! I'm nudging," responds Maggie with
I chuckle to myself as I listen to the modern day 'Yentas' do
I walk towards Charlie Scully, who is in the midst of lecturing
and Tweedle Dee. Those two are a handful.
"Briana, you are not to touch any of those packages, is that
Uncle Bill brought them here, but not for you to touch. Do I make
clear, young lady?" he says in a much sterner voice than I'd
"Yes, Daddy," responds a very contrite Briana.
"And you, young man! You're older. You're supposed to know
supposed to watch out for your little sister," he says and I
cringe when I
hear the all too familiar sounding words.
I think to myself, don't do that to him, Charlie. He's just a
You shouldn't burden a little boy with that kind of
brought out of my reverie by young Daniel's words.
"I'm sorry, Daddy. I didn't know we weren't s'posed to touch
it. I'm sorry,"
Daniel says through tears. "I'll be good. I'll watch Bria
better, I promise.
Don't be mad at me, please?"
My heart is breaking as I listen to this poor little boy pleading
father to forgive him. I remember a similar conversation between
young boy and his father.
They had just returned from the hospital. Their father carried
was all swaddled in bandages. Their mother was cooing to her,
was home now and everything was going to be all right.
She smiled at her son when she saw him, and told him his sister
was going to
be fine in a few weeks. She then followed their father up the
settle Samantha into her bedroom.
When his father came back down, he called his son's name with as
as he'd ever heard.
"FOX! Come in here, NOW!"
His father's face showed a fury Fox had rarely seen. His father
anything to do with him, as he was always busy with work. He
seemed to have
genuine affection for Samantha, and was demonstrative toward her,
him. So, this raging anger he was directing toward him was a new
And it frightened him greatly.
"How could you not watch her? How could you let her fall off
that swing. I
left you in charge, God damn it!" the deep voice boomed out
"Daddy, I was watching her, but the rope broke. I didn't
know the rope would
break. I'm sorry, Daddy. I didn't mean for Sammy to get hurt.
her better next time, I promise," the young boy pleaded.
"Please, don't me
angry with me, Daddy. Please."
"Get out of my sight. You're worthless. I can't even trust
you to watch your
little sister. Her shoulder's broken, you know. And it's all your
because you couldn't follow one simple little direction. Watch.
That's all. Get out of here," he shouted as he picked up the
whiskey and poured himself a glass.
"Worthless, that's what you are... just plain
worthless," the father
to mutter, while the little boy practically crawled out of the
he felt that low, that worthless. Just like his father said.
"Daddy? Please?" cries out Daniel.
I'm about to demand Charlie forgive the child right then and
Charlie acts before I can even get a word out.
"Oh Daniel, of course I forgive you. Come here, son.
Breeka-deeka , you come
here too." Charlie envelopes both children in a bear hug.
My ears perk up when I hear Charlie say that. He's apologizing to
was totally confused for a moment. Then I hear him explain.
"Daniel, I had no right to expect you to take on that kind
You're six years old, and I shouldn't expect you to be able to
brightly colored packages the fireworks come in."
Fireworks. Now understanding is beginning to dawn on me. That's
was so angry.
"No, I don't blame you, but I am going to ask you both to do
grown-up," Charlie begins. "Do you think you can do
"Yes, Daddy. We can do it," both children answer
together so happy to be
in their father's good graces.
"When ever you see something that looks like it could be
lots of fun to play
with, but it's not yours and you're not absolutely sure what it
is, I want
to promise me you won't touch it until you ask me or Mommy, or
grown-up," Charlie says.
"Like Grandma Maggie?" pipes up Briana.
"What about Aunt Dana, or__," Daniel pauses and when he
sees me, adds, "or
"Yep, Aunt Dana or Uncle Mulder would be perfect,
Daniel," Charlie responds.
I find myself smiling from ear to ear at the moment. Did I
just hear Charlie
say I'd be perfect? Whoa. Never heard that word and my name in
before. I'd never heard myself called "Uncle" Mulder
The sad thing is, I really am an Uncle. Samantha told me she had
kids when I
saw her in the diner those many months ago. I really am an Uncle
perhaps even an Uncle Fox. I wouldn't care, actually.
The kids could call me Uncle Fox. I would never deny them that.
Next thing I hear is Charlie saying, "I love you guys, you
know that doncha?
The only reason I got so angry is because I was so scared you two
hurt. I love you and I want you both to be safe, okay?"
"Yeah, Daddy. I love you too," both Briana and Daniel
say and then they're
hugging and kissing Charlie, and he's hugging and kissing them
My stomach lurches a little at the sight of this. I swear, if I
any better, I'd think I was the tiniest bit jealous. I just
couldn't be sure
of who. Seems to me all three of them were getting the best of
I watch as Charlie gives each of his children a love swat on
their rears and
sends them off to play. He then looks back at me, and offers me
his hand. I
take it gladly. I like this man. I like this man a lot.
"Hey Mulder. How are you? It's really good to see you
again," he says
I'm amazed at how good this man makes me feel. I feel like Sally
academy awards. He likes me. He really likes me.
"It's good to see you again too, Charlie. Actually, I'm
surprised you and
Bill were able to come into town again so soon," I say.
"You and me both. It seems months can go by before I have
the opportunity to
come to Maryland to Mom and Dana, but then every now and then,
the 'when it
rains, it pours' syndrome comes into play. Two holidays in a row
I was able to make it in because of some military hoopla they're
that I get to partake in. Get to wear my dress uniform and
adds with a smirk.
"I take it you love hooplas that require you to wear your
dress uniform as
much as I do?" I ask knowingly.
"Let's put it this way. Bill's in for the same function, and
wearing his dress uniform." I chuckle out loud, since I
what he's driving at, but then he adds, "But I guess it's a
small price to
to get a freebie trip to the area, and I get to see Mom and Dana.
I even get
to see Tara and Matthew. And him."
I see Charlie's expression change to disdain when he refers to
"What happened?" I ask, not knowing if it's any of my
business and wondering
if Charlie will tell me just that.
"My brother, the shmuck," he says and I think to
myself, that's the second
time I've heard him referred as that today, so there must be some
"decided the National Fourth of July Fireworks Extravaganza
for him. He decided he had to bring his own fireworks.
"He'd told me a friend of his picked up a shit load of them
where they're apparently legal to buy. Well, my idiot brother
fairly large carton's worth with him and unloaded them on the old
the garage. Guess whose two little curious kittens found them?
hell out of me. God, he's such an idiot! What would ever possess
bring those things here, with kids around.
"Damn, I doubt it's even legal to have them in Maryland, and
even if it
why would anyone want to take the chance?" I look at him and
sympathy and agree with him. He then says, "Shit, listen to
me go on and on.
You don't need to be hearing me get on my soapbox."
"Charlie,'' I say. I don't know if I'm out of line here or
not, but I feel
I've got to say something. "I just want to tell you how
impressed I was with
the way you handled the situation with your kids. It's important
for a child
to hear his parents love him, even when they may have done
Charlie looks at me thoughtfully, so I continue. "It's
even more important
let them know it's okay for them to be a kid and make mistakes.
to let their kid know they'll love him no matter what. You did
Briana and especially for Daniel. You remembered he's just a
Charlie. You did good.
"I mean, I'm no expert here. I'm not a parent, and I don't
pretend to be.
But I was a kid once. You did real good, Charlie."
Charlie looks at me and I'll be damned if the man doesn't look
like his eyes
are a little teary. "Charlie, I didn't mean to upset
you," I say
"No! I'm not upset at all. In fact you just did something I
I'd ever get," Charlie replies. When I look at him with
puzzlement all over
my face, he continues.
"My father had seen Daniel only twice. Between his limited
shore leave and
mine, our schedules so very rarely meshed. Oh sure, I'd sent
it was never quite the same as being there and having your father
your child. Dad never did see Briana in person.
"The last time he'd seen Daniel, Karen had fairly recently
given birth and
couldn't travel. So her mom stayed with her while I brought
Daniel here to
visit with his Grandpa. I never really heard Dad say I was doing
a good job.
I mean, I figured he thought I was, but he never came right out
and said it.
Maybe cause he figured he'd have all the time in the world to do
"But he didn't, did he. So__," he pauses and looks
right at me, "thank you,
Mulder, for giving me an affirmation that I'm doing this right.
It means a
lot to me that you'd take the time to tell me, and it really does
I simply stare at him at this point. I haven't any idea as to
what to say to
this. He thinks I gave _him_ an affirmation. Jeeze, how do I
explain to him
there are so few people in my life that seem to give a damn about
what I say
on any given subject. The fact that he, a man whom I admire,
my words has me speechless.
Charlie seems to sense my astonishment and invites me to find
"C'mon Mulder. Since your mouth is wide open, we might as
well find some
to shove into it," he says grinning.
I close my mouth. Then I laugh as well, and follow the man who
the food is. I look around and see Briana and Daniel playing
Barbie Secret Agent dolls and his toy match box cars.
I also see Matthew creeping around, not tethered to any adult
that I could
see. I thought about saying something, but this was Billy's son,
and I know
he would just bitch at me for meddling into his business, and I
had no right
putting my nose into how he raises his son and__.
Nope, I realize to myself, it is definitely not worth the
say anything. There are enough adults around that could do that
me, and they won't get their heads chopped off.
No, I'm going o see what's on the ol' barbecue. Scully promised
me she'd see
to it there'd be some skewered shrimp for me, since I've sworn
off red meat
and chicken for the rest of my life.
But I've discovered fish, and since I know shrimp and lobster
they've become my number one favorite dishes. Unfortunately I
tastes now, so I don't eat it very often. I usually stick with
scrod, or even scallops when they're on sale. But mostly, I order
take out or pizza.
But today, Scully promised me shrimp. I look around again, and
begins to niggle at me. I don't quite know what it is, but as I
area, something bothers me.
I wish I knew what it was.
End of Part 1/3
Scully's made good on her promise, and I'm sitting here, chowing
down on the
best barbecued shrimp I've had in a long time. I'm even eating
veggies, and for some reason that makes my partner ecstatic.
"I knew one day I'd get you to treat your body better,"
"Oh Scully, let's face it. The only reason I'm eating like
this is 'cause
Albert Diamond was a demented sonofabitch who did things that
still give me
I suspect she still flashes back every now and then to that
too, so she doesn't argue with me. Instead, she comes over and
gives me a
light kiss on the forehead. I'm slightly taken aback, cause
Scully had never
been demonstrative in public before.
Not that I don't like it. I like it. Oh yeah, I like it a lot.
question is, will she allow me to repay her in kind? Well, only
one way of
finding out, so I put my plate down and grasp her wrist. She
looks down at
from her standing position, and I gently pull her down to my lap.
A miracle occurs.
She doesn't fight me.
"Come here G-Woman," I say softly, and as she leans in
to me, I brush my
to hers and give her the softest, most gentle kiss I'm capable of
A second miracle occurs.
She kisses me back.
Now I know I look like a total idiot, because I can just feel
from ear to ear, and I can't stop. My Scully kissed me. In
public, in front
of her friends, her family, her mother, her brothers.
Billy is looking straight at me. Not at Scully, but at me. I
don't know what
to do. I want to stand my ground. I don't want him to think he
intimidate me, (hell, I know he can't intimidate his sister) but
want to be openly aggressive. I'll be damned if I'm gonna let him
feel like the bad guy here.
Scully notices for the first time I'm not staring into her
blues but, rather, across the backyard at her stupid ass older
"Mulder, what's wrong?" she asks.
"Scully, look at him. I mean, if there's some truth to that
old saying, 'if
looks could kill,' I'd be a dead man right now," I reply.
"When are you going to realize Billy is nothing more than
big blowhard?" she
"Scully, I hate it that he can't stand the sight of
"Mulder, Billy is a strange duck sometimes. Once he gets a
notion in his
head, it takes a small miracle to make him change his mind. I
to tell you, except to try and not let him bother you. It's my
need to be concerned about, not my fool for a brother," she
I give her another kiss (to which she reciprocates, thank God)
her return to the kitchen to see if her mom needs help. I return
when I hear Charlie speaking a little louder than usual.
"Tara, I don't know. Briana and Daniel are right here. I
Matthew. Isn't he with Billy?" he asks.
"No, he thought he was with me. Oh God, where could he have
crawled to?" she
I put my plate down, and stand up to offer my assistance. Billy,
unfortunately, has joined us upon hearing his wife's anxious
''Can I help?" I ask softly.
"Mulder, get the hell out of here. We don't need your
"Oh shut up, Bill, of course we need his help," retorts
Tara. It's good to
see Matthew has at least one sensible parent.
"I'll go looking around the side of the house," I say.
"Oh please, how the hell would he get all the way over
there?" Bill asks
"I thought I saw him crawling around in that
direction," I say tentatively.
"You thought? Oh jeeze, Mulder. Get away from me, okay? I'll
Matthew, Tara," Billy says as he stalks off in the opposite
"Mulder, I'm sorry. I don't know why he__," Tara
"__Tara," I interrupt, "don't worry about it.
Let's just go find the baby,
okay?" She nods and I walk to the side of the house, toward
I look around and gently call out Matthew's name. I don't want to
since I remember his last reaction when he found himself in my
arms. As I
walk closer to the garage, I hear a soft coughing. I walk faster
opened garage and look in. I don't see anything at first, but as
I walk in
farther I see the workbench I'd heard Charlie speak of. And on
top of it are
the brightly colored boxes of fireworks.
Then I notice some of the boxes scattered on the floor, and near
is Matthew, happily chomping away on one of the fireworks. I
think it was
once one of those little helicopters.
"Matthew, no!" I cry out and quickly rush to pick him
up. He, of course,
immediately starts crying and I find myself trying to desperately
mouth since I can't tell if he's gnawed through the box to the
gunpowder is stored.
When I stick my finger in his mouth to sweep it clean of any
screaming his bloody head off. And who comes to our rescue?
"What the hell did you do to him now?" Billy growls.
"Oh give it a break, Billy. The kid was gnawing on the God
you brought. I was just checking to see if he had anything of it
left in his
mouth," I explain in exasperation.
"If anyone is going to check my child, it'll be me. I don't
him, Mulder. You're bad luck. When you're around, bad things
happen. Do you
understand? Just stay away from him," Billy demands.
Once again he grabs his son from me, and poor Matthew's screams
louder. I watch him walk away with the child, and I feel myself
I am so pissed off at the moment I want to scream. What the hell
matter with that imbecile? For crying out loud, if the kid ate
powder, he'd have to probably have his stomach pumped!
"DAMN!" I do scream at the top of my lungs. I really
can't take this
I don't deserve the shit this idiot is dishing out to me.
"DAMN YOU!" I
again. I can't stop shaking. I can't remember the last time I
A few moments pass and Mrs. Scully comes into the garage. She
looks over and
we make eye contact, but I'm trembling so badly I can't bring
I'm afraid if I speak now, I might say something that could
Mrs. Scully's feelings, and I don't want to do that. So I keep my
Mrs. Scully comes to my side and touches my shoulder. I'm amazed
simple touch helps to center me. I manage to catch my breath,
unable to calm myself totally yet. But I also don't want to keep
away from her party and guests.
"I'm okay," I say. So what if my teeth are clenched
together so tightly
Scully could easily diagnosis lockjaw.
"That's good, dear. Why don't we wait another few
A wise woman, this Maggie Scully. I realize (and I suspect Mrs.
too,) if I leave the garage at this point I will probably go
William Scully, Jr. and rip his throat out.
The guy is really starting to get on my nerves.
So I wait. And I wait some more.
Several minutes pass. I think I've finally regained control of my
"Mrs. __," I stop when she gives me the patented Scully
'look.' "Mom,'' I
begin, "I think I'm okay now. Thank you." I'm able to
speak in a much calmer
and controlled manner. I believe Mrs. Scully senses I really am
okay at this
"You're welcome, Fox. Let's go inside first and get you some
iced tea, and then we'll greet the rest of the world again.
"Sounds like a plan, Mom." Funny, that time the word
flowed out of my mouth.
Guess I'm getting used to the idea of having a Mom who cares. Or
at least is
able to show she cares. Maggie Scully doesn't ask me what
happened, though I
suspect she has an idea, as she must have passed Billy and heard
cries. I squeeze her hand once to let her know I really am okay
follow 'Mom' into the kitchen.
By the time I return to the backyard, with a second glass of
fresh, iced tea
in my hand, everyone appears to have calmed down enough to let
the party go
back into full swing. The sky is beginning to darken now, and the
plan is to
watch the town fireworks right from Mrs. Scully's backyard.
"What time does the show begin, Mom?" I ask quietly.
Yeah, I can get used to
this family stuff.
"Oh, it usually begins sometime after nine o'clock. About a
half hour or
"Well I say it's time to start the pre-game show!"
"Billy, don't even think about it," Charlie says.
"Oh Charlie, stop being such a wuss. These are perfectly
"Billy, I really don't want you fooling around with this
stuff with the kids
here," Charlie says more adamantly.
"Then bring your kids inside, Charlie," Billy says in a
huff as he walks off
to get the fireworks from the garage.
"Mom, are they even legal in Maryland?" Karen asks in
support of her
"I don't know for sure, sweetheart. I suspect they're not,
but people have
been setting them off for the last couple of days, so I don't
strictly they enforce the law here," replies Mrs. Scully.
I observe Billy carrying the boxes of fireworks in what looks
playpen. He unloads the boxes and hands the playpen to Tara.
says, "set this up over by Mom so Matty will be safe."
I notice Tara takes it reluctantly, and then hear her say,
"Billy, maybe I
should bring the baby in with Briana and Daniel. The noise may
"Tara, don't be ridiculous. I want this to be a really
special fourth of
for him. C'mon, this is going to be fun."
Now Tara grudgingly carries the portable playpen over to where
Irene are sitting. I stay on the opposite side, near Scully,
wondering if I
dare to open my mouth. I mean, there are, after all, not one but
agents sitting in the backyard, and el Shmucko is ready to break
But I know Scully is going to indulge him. He's her big brother
doesn't wish to fight this particular battle. I figure I'm
already on his
shit list, so I keep quiet. I'm not particularly in the mood for
battle tonight either.
Everyone moves back and Billy takes center stage. Just as he
liked being in
charge of the barbecue, he enjoys the attention he's receiving
little sideshow too. He lights some stationary roman candles that
into the ground, and I have to admit, they really do make a
Everyone at this point is oooohing and ahhhhing appropriately.
Next he sets
up the little tanks on the slate patio, and we watch them shoot
another, making crackling sounds and moving about at a speed much
Billy continues to stage his little show, and I'm starting to
Even Daniel and Briana are watching from the back window, and
somehow managed to fall asleep amidst all of the racket.
It's nearing nine o'clock and Billy announces it's time for the
He sets up several roman candles, another stationary piece called
lantern, a few tanks and something new for the finale, some
Now, I assume the helicopters do more than just whirl around on
I become more attentive at this point. I don't know why, but I
have a bad
feeling in my gut. It's times like these I understand how I got
Sometimes I even spook myself.
"Okay, Mom. Turn the music up and let's party!
Present," Billy announces
dramatically, "the grand finale!"
Billy lights the roman candles, the tanks and then the Chinese
everyone is mesmerized by the beautiful colors of the lantern, he
to light the first of the four helicopters.
Suddenly, everyone is looking skyward as the first helicopter
whirling straight up into the sky. As it burns off the gunpowder,
remnants fall back down to earth, and Billy lights helicopter
This one follows the same track, and once again Billy's audience
pleasure at seeing the colors and the flight of it.
Finally, Billy bends down and lights the third and fourth
after the other. We watch as number four shoots straight up, but
appears to be a dud. "Happens once in a while," he
says, "No biggie."
But just as we assumed the show was over, the so-called dud
catches fire and
takes off. Except it's not a vertical flight, it's more of a
Everyone's first inclination is to run like hell away from it,
and I don't
blame them. There's no telling where the sucker might land, and
gunpowder in it, I wouldn't want to be around if it explodes.
Of course, that would be true if I didn't notice the damn thing
straight for Baby Matthew's playpen. So, while everyone else ran
opposite direction, I, of course, run directly towards it. All I
is the baby.
I know people are screaming. I hear them, but everything sounds
like it's in
slow motion. I think I hear Scully yelling, "Mulder,
no!" but my feet are
moving and they won't stop.
Gotta save the baby. Gotta save him.
Gotta stop the bad things from happening, gotta stop the bad
I dive into the playpen, and the ridiculous thing is all I can
that moment is, Billy's going to be pissed that I broke the
playpen and he's
going to make me pay for it.
But I dive into the playpen anyway and cover the baby with my
body. The damn
helicopter lands right next to leg. Figures, I'm wearing my
shorts which of course offer my poor leg absolutely no protection
Damn! That burns! The baby is crying again. I swear, this child
is going to
be permanently traumatized by me. Every time he sees me, he's
going to go
into hysterics simply by associating me with every horrible thing
Maybe Billy's right. Maybe bad things happen because I'm around.
leg really hurts. It feels like it's burning straight through to
the bone. I
hear groaning and at first think it's the baby. Then I realize
crying; it's me whose groaning.
I feel someone leaning over me now. Scully. It's got to be
baby?" I moan, "Is the baby okay?"
I now feel someone rolling me to my side and reach in for
Matthew. Poor kid,
I probably crushed him to death. Oh God, I hope I didn't hurt
him. Great, I
go to save him and probably do him more damage than the damn
And then someone moves my leg, and I scratch that last thought.
Oh God, my
leg really hurts. I wonder if I didn't really screw myself up
this time. I
hear people's voices, but it's all hazy now. The burning pain in
my leg is
all that's on my mind. I really wish I had eaten some of Irene's
Rum always knocked me out.
I'd like to be knocked out at the moment. Scully? Would you
please read my
mind right now and knock me out. I think I'd like to go into a
of unconsciousness about now.
It hurts, Scully. Oh God, it hurts so bad.
"I know, Mulder. The paramedics are on the way. You'll get
something for the
pain soon, very soon," Scully says.
Funny, I hadn't realized I was even talking aloud. And she sounds
in a wind tunnel of sorts. "The baby?" I ask again.
Aloud, I think.
"Matthew's fine, Sweetheart. Not a scratch. You did good,
Fox? That wasn't Scully. No, it was Mrs. Scully. Maggie. Mom.
"Mom?" I gasp. "Mom, it hurts." I know I
sound like I'm twelve years old,
and I'm not exactly proud of it, but damn if my leg doesn't hurt
I really, really want someone to take care of me.
"I know it does, Sweetheart. You were so brave. You saved my
You're a hero, Fox. I'm so proud of you, Fox."
She's proud of me. Jeeze, I can't remember the last time someone
were proud of me. I really can't. I never realized how much I
need to hear
it, until Mrs. Scully says it.
And she cradles me in her lap while Scully is taking my pulse
minutes. I think I can really get used to this family stuff. I'm
groaning more now. I don't try to hold back the tears like I did
as a child.
I feel Mrs. Scully wiping them from my cheeks and she's rocking
me to and
as though I were her little boy. I don't know why, but it helps
a little bit.
I feel a different pair of hands on me now. Strong. Rough.
I cry out. Indiscriminate. They don't care how much pain I'm in
moment. "Mommm!" I cry out. Funny, how I don't call for
Scully. I call for
Mrs. Scully. God, I hope Scully doesn't get insulted.
Great, I'm in excruciating pain, and I still manage to find
guilty about. I am one sick asshole. "OWWW! Oh God, Please!
Stop!" I cry
out. I don't know what the hell they're doing, but if they don't
off, when I come out of my stupor I'm gonna beat the shit out of
"Mulder." Ahh, my Scully. She'll make 'em stop.
"Mulder, the paramedics are
wrapping your leg in a burn bandage. I know it hurts, but they'll
in a minute, and it will really help your leg."
Well, if she can't stop 'em, at least she can explain it to me.
I get the good stuff to kill the pain? C'mon, Scully, I'm dying
me out. "Hurts," I manage to croak out.
"I know, and as soon as they check you out at the er, you'll
the pain," she says.
"Okay," I hear a deep, male voice say, "on my
count. One, two, three, up."
That's all I remember. I guess I got my wish and I finally found
state of unconsciousness after all.
End of Part 2/3
I wake up and find not one, but four Scully women in my hospital
Karen, Tara, and Mom are all sitting in those horrible, blue
waiting room chairs. I feel sorry for them, because I know
endured the discomfort for quite some time waiting for me to wake
I look around and see they're all still asleep, and since I
haven't a clue
to the time or how long we've been here, I don't have the heart
to wake them
I take a surveillance of myself to see what damage I wreaked this
I've got IV's up the wah-zoo. That's nothing new. I quickly reach
under the cover to check for __. Damn it! They had to insert the
Foley, didn't they. They couldn't just let me use the urinal. God
Then I realize it's entirely possible they didn't have a choice.
long have I been out? I have a funny feeling I might be surprised
answer. And then I realize I had yet to check the reason I was
here in the
My leg. Oh God, please just let it be there.
I lift the cover to see if I'm still, relatively, in one piece. I
realize I have my eyes closed as I lift the cover.
"Oh c'mon, Mulder, there's nothing down there that unique
Scully says with a chuckle.
I startle and replace the sheet before I have a good enough look
at my leg,
what's left of it. I still don't know. I'm not sure I even want
to know at
"Hey," I rasp. Whoa. Where'd my voice go? Scully reads
my mind, of course,
and brings me a glass of water to sip.
"Easy, G-Man. We don't want you upchucking it out as soon as
you take it
When I have my fill of the water, I say what's most important on
my mind at
the moment. "Foley. Out."
I hear Scully laugh at that. I guess she figures if I'm
making unreasonable demands, I mustn't be that hurt. Right? I
must not be
that seriously injured.
I guess I'm a little afraid to address that issue.
"What time?" I ask, sidestepping the important
questions for now.
"Oh, it's about five o'clock," she responds.
"I should be so lucky. No, Mulder, it's the A.M. But you'll
be happy to know
you've been in La La Land for the last seventy-two hours.''
"Oh." So, there was a reason for the catheter. I know I
should ask about the
leg. I really need to know about the leg.
"The baby? Is Matthew okay?" I ask instead.
"Oh, Mulder, he's fine. You protected him totally. He was
frightened by the
noise and the commotion, but he's fine. He calmed down
took him into her arms."
"That's good." I look over to where Tara is sitting and
notice she, along
with the rest of the Scully clan, are awake. "Hi," I
greet. "Sorry, didn't
mean to wake you up."
"Don't be silly. Nice to see you've finally decided to join
the land of the
living," says Karen. I like Karen. She doesn't treat me like
She treats me as if I were___, normal.
"How are you feeling, Fox," asks Mrs. Scully.
"A little woozy, but I think I'm okay." I don't dare
say I'm scared to death
that my leg is missing and wonder what the hell I'm going to do
for the rest
of my life if I can't be a field agent.
"We've been worried about you. You do like your beauty
sleep, young man,"
Mrs. Scully admonishes.
"Sorry, Mom. I didn't mean to worry you," I say, and I
mean it. The last
thing I want to do is cause this wonderful woman concern.
"Mulder?" I hear Tara tentatively ask.
"Hey. How's Matthew?" I ask earnestly.
"Fine," she answers quickly. "He's perfectly
fine__. Thanks to you."
"Tara, you don't have__," I begin, but she cuts me off
"__Don't even think it much less say that, Fox Mulder. I do
have to thank
you. If you hadn't dove over there, I don't even want to think
could have happened. You saved my son's life, Mulder, and I need
you'll accept, as meager as it is, my thanks for that.
"Fox Mulder, you are a hero. You're Matthew's and my hero.
Thank you. Thank
you so much," she says, but she's crying now, and I feel
really badly for
I don't want her to cry.
"Tara, I'm just glad I was able to do something." I
hold my hands out toward
her, and though she's unsure at first, she rushes to me for a
hug. I'm glad
I can offer her some comfort. I really don't want her feeling
guilty over a
decision I made of my own free will.
"Well, it looks like our hero has finally decided to join
the party. Well,
Dr. Scully did warn me of your tendency to react unusually to
says a new voice entering the room. "Hello, Mr. Mulder. I'm
Dr. Jacobs, and
I'm the guy who put your leg back together."
I realize I've just let out a sigh of relief that could be heard
"Your leg will be fine, Mr. Mulder," he confirms,
sensing my anxiety. "Of
course, you realize you're going to see some serious rehab time,
regain full mobility of the leg. I happen to do good work,"
Dr. Jacobs said
with a chuckle.
"Thank you," I say sincerely. So what if the man hasn't
an ounce of
If he fixed my leg up, he doesn't need it. "How long?"
"Oh, with some seriously hard work, I'd say you should be
hundred per cent
about six months," he says.
"Six months?" I croak out. "That long?" I
say, not even bothering to hide my
"I didn't say you'd be disabled for six months, I merely
indicated it would
take that long to get back to one hundred per cent motility.
You'll be able
to see desk duty well before that," he explains.
"Oh, well that's something, at least," I respond.
"I'd say you'll be able to return to your office in about
six weeks," he
"Six weeks?" I respond with dismay.
"Mulder," Scully interjects, "don't push your luck
I look at Dr. Jacobs and see him nod in agreement. I keep my
which only causes Scully and the doctor to chuckle out loud. They
these, 'I told you so' glances and Dr. Jacobs says he'll check in
"Dana, you'll need to stop by Fox's apartment and pack a
suitcase for him,"
says Mrs. Scully.
"Huh?" I'm confused. I'll need a change of underwear
and clean pair of
Oh, I guess a clean pair of shorts and tee-shirt would be in
order too. But
"Fox, you'll be in no condition to be on your own when
you're released from
the hospital in a couple of days. And it would make so much more
you to continue your treatments in Maryland, but there's no way
to drive with your right leg being hurt, so, of course, you'll
stay with me.
That's all right with you dear, isn't it?" Mrs. Scully asks
as she looks at
me with those soft, maternal, eyes.
Now, like I'm going to say no to this woman. And what's worse is,
I'm not going to say no to her. And what's worse than that, is
probably _planned_ this whole scenario the moment I got out of
room. And what's more__!
I'm loving every second of it. I definitely can get used to this
stuff. I look at all of the Scully women present, and then look
back at Mrs.
Scully and say, "It's fine by me. Thank you, Mom."
She smiles and I am content. In pain, but content. It's only now
realize the leg that is still reattached is now causing me to see
involuntarily groan out loud.
"It must be time for your pain medication. I'll go check
with the nurse,"
says Scully. I nod gratefully to her and watch her leave.
They must have shot me up with the really good stuff, cause I
as if I'd slept for days. Of course, with my sleep patterns, who
The room is dark and empty, and it's dark outside as well. Good.
Scully and Mrs. Scully have gone home to take a break. I feel a
their lives seem to have come to a halt because of me. I really
Scully to spend the time with her kids and grandchildren, not
Just then I hear a knock on the door. I call out, "Come
in," and see a tall,
slender figure in the shadows. I realize it's Charlie.
"Hey, Charlie, come on in," I say.
"Hey Mulder, how the hell are you feeling?" he asks
with genuine concern.
"Well, at the moment I'm feeling only mild discomfort, but
have me on the really good stuff when things get rough, so I
really bad pain at all."
"That's good to hear. Listen, I just want to say__, I mean
about what you
for my nephew__."
I cut him off right there. I tell him Tara's already said thanks
need me getting a swelled head. I smile to let him know I
words, but I don't really need them. I'm okay with everything.
"Has Billy been by?" he asks.
"Umm, he might have come by while I was asleep, but I
haven't seen him," I
"Damn asshole. You just about save his kid's life, and all
because of his
stupidity, and he doesn't have the decency to come by and see how
doing? Say thank you? Jeeze, sometimes I can't believe Dana and I
related to him.
"You know, Mulder," he continues, "the sad thing
is, he's normally an okay
guy. I don't know what it is about you that turns him into this
none of us recognize," he says.
"I guess he's right." I don't mean to say it aloud, but
"Right about what?"
"Bad things happen when I'm around."
"Mulder, you really don't believe that crap, do you?"
he asks incredulously.
"I don't know what to believe anymore, Charlie. All I
know is, I love your
sister, but I'm afraid to become more a part of her life. Bad
happen to people I care about. People I love."
"Don't you think you owe my sister the opportunity to be a
part of that
decision? Surely you're not going to let something Bill says
deter you from
going forward with a relationship with Dana. God, Mulder! I don't
one she'd draw the gun on first, Billy or you!"
I look at him and note the twinkle in his eye, but I also realize
has a great deal of merit to it. "Okay, I say. I won't
without first discussing it with Scully first. Happy?" I ask
with a bit of a
twinkle in my eye too. Of course, that's probably just the last
the pain killer showing in my eyes too. Now where is that nurse
when I need
Charlie notices I'm grimacing and reaches over for the buzzer. He
and says, "They'll be here soon with something to
I whisper my thanks, close my eyes, and concentrate on getting
rid of the
pain. When the door finally opens I breathe a sigh of relief, but
a voice say, "Oh, I didn't know you were going to be
I open my eyes to see Billy Scully looming over me. I don't
really think I
want to deal with this now. My leg is killing me, and I suddenly
head is going to explode too. I guess this is what you might call
headache, # 38.
I don't speak. I figure no matter what I say, Billy would somehow
twist it around into something negative, something bad. And I
the strength to deal with his shit at the moment.
I mean, I don't mind saving his baby, but I'll be damned if I'm
walk all over me because I did it. So I lay quietly and wait for
him to make
the first move.
"I just came by to see how you're doing," he says
tensely. His teeth are
practically locked together as he speaks. God, this is really
"I hurt. I get pain killers. I sleep. I wake up. I hurt. I
killers. I sleep. I wake up. I hurt. I could go on, if you'd
there's a definite pattern here."
He winces at my words, and I'm not quite sure where the malice in
coming from, but damn him. He has no right to make me feel like
loving his sister or his mother, or his entire family for that
no right to make me feel I don't deserve their love.
I remain quiet now. I figure if he has anything to say, he'll say
it. I know
I don't have anything to say to him. He's already made it
me he doesn't want my input on anything.
"Tara here?" he asks. Now, I'm really not sure what he
means by this, and at
this point I really don't care. The nurse still hasn't answered
initial call, so I press the button again. When I ignore his
addresses it to Charlie. "Tara here?"
"She was here earlier, but left to spend time with Mom and
the kids, and Dana are over there too. Dana's coming back to
relieve me in
about an hour," he explains.
That's it. That's all he says. And now he behaves as though he's
mute. I'm not sure what has me so wound up at this point. The
nerve of this
guy to come in and do me the honor of gracing me with his
presence, or the
pain I'm feeling.
"Oh God," I groan. Well, that was an easy enough
conundrum to figure out.
Where the hell is the nurse? Finally, I can't bear it anymore and
"Charlie? Please. Would you go find someone. It's really
starting to get to
Charlie agrees quickly and leaves the room to just me and Mr.
Funny thing is, I get the feeling he wants to talk, but doesn't
know how to
begin. Maybe, at any other given moment, I'd consider helping him
I'm about ready to chew my leg off, and I just don't have any
Finally, he saves me the trouble.
"Look, I'm sorry you got hurt. I didn't mean for anyone to
get hurt," he
"Billy, do me a favor?" He looks at me curiously.
"Next time, when Charlie
says to forego something as dangerous and stupid as fireworks,
listen to him? I mean, I know he's the baby brother, but he's got
a lot of
common sense. Okay?"
I've just given this little speech through clenched teeth. At
this point I'm
ready to jump out the window, and Billy finally notices I'm in a
"Umm, anything I can do for you?" he asks quietly.
"Please, find someone to help me," I cry out. "Oh
God, Billy, it hurts so
Well, for some reason, this last little plea on my part causes
spring into action. He marches to the door, swings it open and in
gruffest, toughest, seaman's voice, commands, "This patient
needs help now.
Somebody, get in here on the double!"
Well, I'll be damned, but the man gets results. Within minutes,
nurses, one intern, and one resident in my room, along with
"We buzzed you about fifteen minutes ago, folks. Where've
you been?" asks
"We were attending to another patient," replies one of
"All of you?" questions Billy tersely. "This man
is in extreme pain. I
suggest you do something about it. Now. And see to it he's not
left in pain
for that long of a period again. Do I make myself clear?"
"Yes, Sir," responds the other nurse. "We'll do
Charlie leans over to whisper in my ear and says, "See? I
told you the man
has his good points."
I nod weakly. All I want at this point is for the pain in my leg
to go away.
The doctor prepares a hypodermic and shoots its contents into the
IV. I hear
him murmur something about how I should feel better in just a few
I'm asleep before he can even finish the sentence.
The next time I wake up, the room is full to capacity again.
Tara, Charlie, Billy, Mrs. Scully and the three Scully kids are
there a rule about the number of visitors in a room? How the hell
sneak all of these people in here?
"Well, it's 'bout time you woke up, Mulder! We were just
about to pour a
bucket of water on you," says Karen.
"What's going on?" I ask.
"We've come to say good-bye. We've already extended our
little vacations a
few days. The boss ain't gonna tolerate anymore shore leave for
sailor," explains Charlie.
"Yes, and the kids wanted to say good-bye to their Uncle
I look at Briana and Daniel, and wonder if they're okay with all
still hooked up to a million and one tubes. I try to smile, and
coming out like a grimace, and extend my arms to them both.
They both clamor aboard the side of my good leg, and are
and careful not to jostle the affected one. I'm on the receiving
end of a
dozen or so hugs and kisses, and I think I'm enjoying this little
domestic bliss a little too much.
It makes me think about wanting kids of my own. Uh oh. Don't go
Mulder. Scully and I are still at the hand holding, necking on
stage. But maybe__.
"Okay you guys, off. Someone else wants to say
goodbye," says Billy, a
more gruffly then he perhaps intended, but the kids don't seem to
the older children scramble off the bed, I see Billy take Matthew
arms. He carries the baby over to me and says with just the
a tremor in his voice, "And someone wants to say thank you
to you too."
Billy lays the baby gently on my chest, and, of course, I wait
for the kid
burst into tears. I stare at his beautiful Scully blue eyes and
back at me. All of sudden, scrunches up his face. I hold my
breath and wait
for the inevitable.
And then he gurgles and laughs.
And I say the only thing that comes to mind. "You're very
I look around as the rest of the family cracks up laughing. My
eyes rest on
each of them; on Scully and I think how much I love her and how
I'm going to
enjoy loving her more and more each day.
And then I look at Mrs. Scully, and think how grateful I am this
woman is so
willing to give of herself to me. And then I look at the kids and
Karen and Tara, and I think of how lucky I am that I've been
this close-knit clan.
Matthew has now crawled up to my face and has made himself right
He's poking and prodding, and for the first time, doesn't cry
while in my
I look at his father and realize this is the closest thing to a
thank you or
an apology I will receive from him.
And that's okay. I accept that. Why?
Cause that's what family does for family.
End of 3/3
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