Title: Life Cycles: The Unveiling
Author: Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)
Category: Angst, MSR
Rating: PG13 for some language
Summary: Mulder is asked to endure one of life's rituals that brings back tortured memories of his childhood. Scully is there to help him through it, and shares the journey with him. Definitely has a Shipper's viewpoint, folks.
Disclaimer: Mulder and Scully belong to 10/13 productions and Chris Carter. Since I have learned to play nice in the sandbox, I am only borrowing them and promise to return them at the end of the story. Honest. I promise. Believe me. Please, because I couldn't afford to be sued on my salary.
Introduction: This is a little ditty that's been swimming around my head from the time I finished Abah V. It's a stand alone, and is not related to the Abah series, though I see a possibility in _this_ becoming a series of stand alone vignettes…. (just how long is a vignette anyway? ;->) revolving around, well life cycles. We'll see. Depends a lot upon your reaction, so react people!! Good, bad, or heaven forbid, indifferent! (I can take good, I can take bad, but I think I would cry if you were indifferent!!) Thanks in advance, folks. You've been wonderful to me re: "The Abah Series." I look forward to hearing from you about this (and if anybody out there has read "George Jacobs Elementary School," could you let me know? I haven't heard from to many of you on that one…. Is it the title???)
Oh, and once again thanks to Vickie Moseley for doing what she does so well!! Thank you my friend!
Send along any constructive criticism and comments to my e-mail at: STPteach@aol.com
Life Cycles: The Unveiling
by Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)
"Good morning Mulder," she said as she entered their basement office promptly at eight thirty in the morning. She realized he had probably been there since before seven.
They'd been working together for the better part of three plus years, and she'd only recently begun to think of it as "their" office. When she received no response, she tried again.
"Mulder, good morning," she said with a little more volume. She unzipped her briefcase to pull out some files she had been working on the evening before. She stacked them neatly on her work area (it wasn't really a desk ,per se, it was more like a table that held her "stuff.")
She looked at her partner and wondered, what exactly was in that file that held his attention so much that it caused him to be deaf to her morning greetings.
She walked over to him and gently touched his shoulder.
"Jesus!!!" he shouted, jumping clear out of his seat. "Damn it, Scully, couldn't you have at least warned me you were here?"
"I said 'good morning' to you twice. You were oblivious to my warnings, Mulder," she replied. "What the hell's in that file that's so damned interesting?"
"This?" he questioned. "Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I've been reading the same paragraph over and over again for the last forty minutes." He put it down with a disgusted toss.
He looked distressed, but Scully couldn't put her finger on why. She glanced at the file he had been looking through, and noted it was one of the more recent files that had found its way to their office, but nothing that seemed too outlandish.
Scully shrugged her concerns off and sat down by her terminal. When she signed on, she checked her e-mail. There must have been at least fifty pieces. She deleted the pieces that she figured only Mulder would appreciate ("Hot Sex available-Call Me, Trina") and then began to skim through the remainder. When she finished she clicked off her e-mail.
"Great! Another twenty bucks bites the dust," she stated dryly.
She took her checkbook out of her purse. "Hey Mulder, what's the date?"
"What?" he asked.
"The date, Mulder. today's date. I just got an e-mail that Connie Anderson is retiring. You know her, she's the gal in the prints department."
Mulder merely nodded. "Well, anyway," Scully continued, "they're collecting twenty bucks for a party and a gift. So, what's the date, Mulder?"
He visibly blanched at her question.
"Mulder, are you okay?" Scully asked, suddenly concerned.
"Yeah," he responded trying to control himself, "I'm sorry. It's April,….. April 12h."
Scully noticed he shuddered ever so slightly. "Mulder, do you feel all right? You look like you have the chills."
Mulder looked at her and then slowly shook his head. "I shouldn't be here," he mumbled. "I have to go…" He started to walk towards the door, but stumbled so that he had to catch himself on the back of the chair.
Scully immediately moved to stand in front of the door to block his path. "Where do you think you're going?"
"Home. I have to go home," he whispered.
"Mulder, what's wrong?"
He looked at her with watery eyes. He was becoming more and more upset. All he wanted for now was to get out of there. "Not now, Scully."
"If not now, then when? Something's bothering you, Mulder. What?"
"Scully," he cried out, "just drop it. Please."
Scully looked at him carefully. She knew he was distraught, but didn't know if this was one of those times when she could press him for the reason. But, she didn't want him to bolt without giving her an idea as to where he was going.
"I'll take you home," she said finally.
Scully figured it was the most sensible thing to do. She wouldn't have to press him into disclosing what was upsetting him so much, but at least she would have him close enough that she knew he would be safe.
"Scully, you don't have to do that. I can drive myself home," he responded, but his voice was trembling and his hands were shaking.
"I don't think so, G-Man. Just wait there for a minute while I call Skinner and let him know." Scully phoned upstairs to inform their boss that she was taking Mulder home as he wasn't feeling well.
He allowed her to lead him to her car. He didn't say a word as he got into the car, nor for the entire car trip. When they arrived at their destination, Mulder spoke for the first time since leaving the basement.
"Scully, this isn't my apartment building."
"I know that."
"Scully, this is your apartment building."
"I know that too. So, do they give those Oxford degrees out by mail order?" she said with a lot of playful teasing. "Let's go Mulder. Upstairs. Now."
Fox Mulder got out of the car. He really wasn't sure if he wanted to deal with Dana Scully, master inquisitor. He wasn't sure if he'd be able to handle dealing with the questions, much less giving the answers.
"Do you want coffee or hot tea?" she asked, playing hostess. Dana wanted to make Mulder as comfortable as possible so he wouldn't be reluctant to share what was disturbing him so much.
*Oh boy, you're not feeling a hundred per cent, are you Mulder ol' boy? You never drink hot tea unless you feel sick to your stomach,* she thought to herself.
"Tea it is, and I think I'll steep a pot and join you in a cup," she replied to him.
Mulder stood by the window, looking out pensively toward the back of Scully's complex. He began to absentmindedly rub his left shoulder. He stood there for a while, quietly lost in his thoughts, when Scully called out to him.
"Tea's ready." She brought a lovely oriental style tea service to the coffee table. She poured the tea into small, dainty, teacups and handed one to Mulder.
He started spooning teaspoon after teaspoon of sugar into the cup. "Have a little tea with your sugar, Mulder," Scully reacted sarcastically.
"Oh, sorry," he replied softly. He sat quietly, drinking the tea. He tried to avoid direct eye contact with Scully. He wasn't ready to speak about what was bothering him, but Scully had other ideas.
"Okay, Mulder. What's wrong, and what can I do to help you?" she asked in her very Scully-like, straight forward manner.
"Nothing, Scully. Nothing that you can do anything about, anyway," he replied quietly.
"I'm sorry, but you cannot tell me there's nothing wrong here. I insist upon driving you home, and you don't argue. I bring you here instead of your apartment, and you don't fuss. I ask you if you want coffee or hot tea, and you choose tea! Now I know something is wrong.
"C'mon Mulder, what gives? I thought we were friends. I thought you trusted me," she prodded.
"Oh Scully, you know you're the only one I trust. The only one," he repeated emphatically.
"So what gives? Why won't you tell me what's bothering you so much that you're hands are shaking?" she asked with gentle forcefulness.
She watched his face change ever so subtly, with each new emotion appearing as if in battle with the last. His eyes began to well up again, and all Scully wanted to do was go over and wrap her arms around him to comfort him. Whatever this thing was that was bothering him, it was obviously important to him.
"I have to drive to Boston today," he whispered.
"What?" she asked, unsure as to whether she heard him correctly.
"Boston. I have to drive to Boston. I wasn't going to go. I mean I didn't want to go. But she called me this morning and asked me to go. She actually asked me to do her a favor and go. God, Scully, the woman hardly speaks to me, but she asks me to do this," he concluded in a tired voice.
"I'm sorry Mulder, but I'm still a little confused. What's in Boston?"
"My father," he replied, and at that Scully's eyebrow automatically raised up in a questioning gesture. "My father's buried in the Parkway Cemetery, in Boston, Scully. "
"Okay, but why does your mother want you to go to your father's grave now? I mean, have you even been there yet?" she asked, obviously confused.
"No. I haven't been there yet."
"So why now?" she probed.
"Scully," he said, once again unconsciously rubbing the left shoulder, "tomorrow's the unveiling."
Now Scully was really confused. She looked at him as he stood up and began to pace back and forth wearing a hole in her carpet. He continued to rub the shoulder, until she finally asked him if it hurt.
"Does what hurt?" he asked.
"Your shoulder. You keep rubbing it," she explained.
"Do I? No, it's okay."
"So what did you say tomorrow is?" she asked again.
"The unveiling. Tomorrow's the one year anniversary of my father's death."
Scully gasped audibly. She honestly hadn't realized the significance of the date. He kept rubbing the shoulder _she_ shot in order to prevent him from killing Alex Krychek with Krychek's gun, the weapon that killed his father.
"Oh Mulder, I'm sorry. I didn't realize__.
"It's no big deal," he interrupted. There was no way that he wanted Scully to feel badly or guilty over his father's death. The man screwed up everything when he was alive, and he screwed up everything when he died. He refused to allow himself to lose any more sleep over William Mulder.
"So what is tomorrow? I didn't understand what you were talking about," she asked.
"The unveiling. It's the Jewish custom to set up the headstone on the first year anniversary date of the death," he replied.
Scully stared back at him. *Jewish custom?* she wondered. She never knew Mulder was Jewish. "Forgive me if I'm a little surprised. I didn't know you were Jewish."
"I haven't practiced since… for a long time, so I can understand your surprise. I hadn't planned on rejoining the flock again either, except my mother called and asked me to attend the unveiling."
"Is she going to be there?" Scully asked.
"No. That's why she wants me to go. She said she divorced the man, but he was still my father," he laughed without humor.
"Do you want to go, Mulder?"
"No. I don't want to go, but I have to go. Look, it's not often my mother asks anything of me, so this one time, I don't feel like I can refuse her. Can you see that, Scully?" he asked, wishing for understanding.
Scully really wanted to ask him what his mother had done for him lately, but after a moment, she nodded in agreement even though she wasn't so sure. Fox Mulder was a grown man, yet he still fell back into the insecurities of a young child whenever his parents, alive or deceased, came into play in his life.
"So what do you do at this unveiling?" she asked.
"It's no big deal. You go to the grave site and a rabbi says a prayer over the new headstone and the grave. My mother told me the whole thing won't take much more than ten minutes.
"She's right. The last unveiling I went to was longer, but that's because there were a lot of people at that one. There won't be anyone but me and the Rabbi at this ceremony."
"When were you last at an unveiling, Mulder?" she asked curiously.
He looked strangely pensive. His mood changed even more drastically, Mulder seemed to withdraw into himself even more than usual. "My Nana's unveiling. I was four years old. I had just started kindergarten, and Nana got sick. She died before my fifth birthday, and I didn't have my party that year. The unveiling was a year later, and I didn't have my party that year either. Ahh, the joy of having an eidetic memory.
"Anyway, there were so many people there. Everyone loved Nana." Then in a small, sad voice, " I loved Nana so much. I needed her so much."
He was trying to be so nonchalant about the whole situation, yet now she caught the tremors in his voice and hands, as well as the shakiness of his breathing.
"Mulder, if you don't want to do this, then don't do it. Just don't go."
"I don't want to do this Scully, but I have to go. I have to do the right thing." He sat down heavily on the sofa. He brought his hand up and rubbed it across his face. When he glanced back at Scully, she saw just how drained he looked.
"I'll go pack," she said as she got up off the couch.
"Scully, you don't__," he began.
"Mulder," she interrupted, "don't even think it, much less say it. Do you hear me?"
"Mulder, don't argue__," she started.
It was his turn to interrupt. "Thank you."
End of Part 1/
Life Cycles: The Unveiling
by Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)
disclaimers in part 1
They swung by Mulder's apartment for him to change into traveling clothes, pack a suit as well as a change of clothes, and feed the miraculously, still alive fish. Next, they decided to take the time to grab a bite to eat first, as they no longer had to worry about hitting any of the morning rush hour traffic. So, by the time they actually started driving to Boston, it was a little after eleven o'clock.
Mulder began the first leg of the trip. He headed toward the Baltimore-Washington Parkway that led them to Interstate 95. Every now and then he stole a glance at Scully. He knew she didn't understand his real motivation for making this trip. Hell, he wasn't even sure if _he_ understood it, but he knew if he didn't go to Boston he would have regrets for the rest of his life.
It was almost as if he wished this trip would help him exorcise him of his father's demons. Mulder wasn't sure if it would be successful, but he did know one thing. He was very grateful to have his best friend along for the ride.
He knew she would be there to help him pick up the pieces, because whenever he had to do anything that included his mother or father, dead or alive, there were always pieces of him that needed to be picked up.
"Bill, we're going to be late. Please dear, you promised you would attend at least one of the High Holy Day services with us. I really don't want to be late for the memorial service," Elizabeth Mulder chided her husband.
"Damn it Elizabeth, you know how much I hate going to these things. I feel like a God damned hypocrite. Makes me wonder why we spend all of that damned money on Hebrew school for the boy. He thinks it's a crock of shit too, don't you boy?"
Both Fox and his mother cringed at the obscene language which was obviously brought on by too much Jack Daniels.
"And why the hell are we bothering to send Samantha? She's a girl for God's sake. It's not like she has to be a bat mitzvah!" he said in drunken exasperation.
"Mom, maybe Dad should stay home today. There's always tomorrow's Rosh Hashanah Service. Maybe he'll be feeling better by then," a very soon to be twelve year old Fox said hopefully.
"Oh don't be ridiculous, boy! I feel fine. I'm in my New Year's finery, what more could I ask for?" Bill Mulder explained.
"A refinery?" Fox shot back. He regretted the play on his father's words immediately after he said them. Bill's hand walloped him on the back side of the head. William Mulder was never one to hit Fox in an area that would show bruising.
He next pulled Fox up by his arm, threatening to dislocate his shoulder. He began dragging the boy over to the chair and then pushed him into it. Unfortunately, Fox missed the seat, and ended up landing on the small of his back, flat on the floor. This of course infuriated his father even more.
"Get up you God damned klutz!" he shouted, and with that he pulled him up from under his arm, causing more pain in the shoulder.
Fox reacted with a sharp gasp at the pain the motion caused him. He looked toward his mother for help, but as usual, she chose to look in the other direction. "Mom?" he whimpered.
"Shut up boy! Your mother has nothing to do with this. Elizabeth, go get Samantha and let's go already to the damned temple. Now." He watched his wife hurry out of the kitchen to go get their younger child. "You coming?" he asked Fox.
The pre-teen looked up at his father incredulously. His shoulder was very probably dislocated, he was hit hard in the head and felt dizzy, his back was killing him, and his father wanted to know if he was going to temple?
He wanted to go to the hospital. His father had pulled his arm out of its socket before, so Fox was well aware of how much pain he was going to be in soon.
But instead, he replied, "No. I'll stay home."
"Stay home, what." Bill Mulder replied between clenched teeth.
"Stay home, sir," Fox spat out.
"Elizabeth," he shouted, " let's go." Bill Mulder left the boy where he was.
He remained there until his family returned from the High Holy Day services, whereupon his mother took him to the emergency room for treatment of a painfully dislocated shoulder.
Scully watched as Mulder took a trip down into his memory lane. She always could tell when he was remembering an incident from his past. He got a far away look in his eyes, and his response time to outside stimuli was a tad slower.
The memories were usually difficult ones, though seemingly easier to handle during daylight hours than at night. Perhaps the visual memories weren't quite as clear during the day time versions, which made them easier for him to handle.
Scully saw him shudder and try to refocus his gaze. "Hey partner," she said to him, "how about we pull over and I'll take over the driving." He had been driving for the last three hours. They were now traveling north on the Garden State Parkway. "We're coming up to a toll booth. Pull over after the toll booth, Mulder."
He didn't argue. He merely nodded. Scully was very worried about him, very worried. She realized if the daydreams were bad, the darkness was going to bring night terrors.
As Scully drove, she took in the east coast sights. They traveled across the Garden State Parkway onto Interstate 87. After paying a few more tolls, they came to the Tappan Zee Bridge.
Scully remembered this was the bridge that had the movable lanes during rush hour. She was almost sorry it wasn't rush hour, since she was curious to see how the whole system worked in its ability to change the lanes.
Sometime later, as she continued to drive, till they came to Interstate 84 in Connecticut. When she stole a glance at Mulder, she became a little nervous about what she saw. He had fallen asleep, but it was obviously not a restful sleep.
Suddenly he saw him wave his hands and arms in front of him, as though he were fending off someone. Then the whimpers and the moaning began. Scully decided she needed to pull over, so she could wake him out of this latest dream of horrors.
"Mulder," she said while gently tapping his shoulder. "Mulder, wake up, it's just a dream." Mulder's eyes shot open. It appeared as if he looked straight through Scully. Just as quickly, however, Mulder regained his sensibilities and immediately groped for the passenger door handle.
"Mulder, what are you doing?" she asked.
"Door…. Open…… Out ….. Car…. Sick," he panted.
"Shit, Mulder, if you're planning on being sick, please don't do it in the car. Please!" All the while she pleaded with Mulder to control himself, she was outside and running to open his passenger door to help him out.
"Scully, I feel sick." Mulder was out of the car, retching, and throwing up whatever remnants of this morning's breakfast. He ended up on his hands and knees on the side of the road.
Scully moved over to him, and watched as he continued to heave and vomit. She knelt down behind him and wrapped her right arm around his chest to support him, while she braced his forehead with her left hand. He continue vomiting and gagging for a few more minutes. The dry heaving became painful for Mulder, and he whimpered quietly in between breaths.
After a while, Scully felt him begin to relax a bit in her arms as he leaned back on his rear and then practically laid back on Scully's lap. Her knees were numb, so she finally sat down on the ground behind him positioning his back and head so he was laying on her lap in a relatively comfortable manner. She never let go of him; she continued to hold him, while gently wiping his face with a tissue.
He continued to breathe hard. He reached for Scully's arm, and held on to her tightly. She held onto him that much tighter, bringing her chin down to touch the top of his head. She then, without thinking, gently kissed the top of his head.
She pulled her head up suddenly when she realized what she had done, though she didn't really understand why she was so uncomfortable with what she did. She was only offering him comfort, that's all. Really, it was just some comfort.
Mulder felt his heart racing a mile a minute. He wanted to tell Scully about it, but he didn't know where to begin.
And then he felt her kiss his head, and his breathing turned more rapid, and not all because of the dream…..
"Do you want to rest a little more?" she asked him.
"Just another minute or two, okay Scully? Just until I catch my breath," he replied honestly, but he also realized he liked being in her arms.
"That one must have been a humdinger, Mulder," she said evenly. Mulder smiled at that.
"Humdinger, Scully?" He almost started chuckling, except his throat was very sore as a result of the vomiting and dry heaving.
"Ahab used to use that expression with us kids," she said affectionately. She closed her eyes for a moment, reflecting on the fact that she was able to remember her own father with such joy and love in her heart, while when Mulder thought of his father, he puked his guts up. Something was definitely wrong here.
"Well, to respond to your statement, yes, it was what you might consider a humdinger," Mulder pronounced.
"Do you want to talk about it?" she asked.
"Not now. Probably later. It's been kind of a reoccurring one, so I'll probably have to deal with it again tonight. So, I'll tell you about it later….maybe….," he replied. He squeezed her arm gently as a way of letting her know it wasn't anything personal. He just didn't want to deal with the negative thoughts right now.
It was now going on four o'clock. She realized the idea of food would now be out of the question because of Mulder's sensitive stomach, but she also knew she would be hungry soon, as would Mulder. They would pick up something at the next rest area.
He was already moving toward the driver's side of the car when Scully shot him a look that told him he'd better not even think of trying it. He meekly took the hint and got back in the passenger side.
"We've got about a hundred miles to go on I-84, Mulder. When we get to I-90, I'll let you take over, okay?" she asked, hoping to placate his somewhat bruised ego.
He nodded yes and sat back in the seat. He wanted desperately to close his eyes and sleep, but he feared what images the slumber would bring him.
"Scully, you don't by any chance have anything that would help me sleep, do you?" he asked tentatively.
She realized he was desperately tired. Mulder normally abhorred medication of any kind, unless he was in extreme pain or duress, so for him to have actually requested something to help him sleep was most telling.
"In my black meds bag, Mulder. Let me just pull it out of the trunk, okay? She found some Tylenol with Codeine which with Mulder's sensitivity to medication, could conceivably knock him out for the rest of the trip. Which wouldn't be a bad thing.
Fox had come home from the hospital the night before, but you would have never known it from the silence that permeated throughout the house. Though he was no longer in a catatonic state, he remained mute for those first several hours at home.
Not because he couldn't talk. Not because he didn't want to talk. It was because no one spoke to him. No one came near him. No one came to be with him. He was left alone.
Fox's mother was fast becoming best friends with a small medicine bottle filled with small pink pills. A very dainty, feminine drug. A good companion. One that would never ask her to deal with more of life than she was ready to handle.
Fox's father and his best friend, Jack Daniels, remained inseparable. Bill Mulder kept the bottle within five feet of him during the entire time he was at the Vineyard.
And neither parent so much as stepped into the boy's bedroom to check on him. Neither parent asked him if he was hungry or thirsty or tired or hurting or sad or angry. Neither parent cared to see if Fox Mulder was coping with the abduction of his little sister. Neither parent cared to deal with him. Neither parent cared about him.
That evening he came downstairs to the kitchen when he thought everyone else was either asleep or not home. Fox knew his mother and father couldn't stand the sight of him. He knew they blamed him for Sam's disappearance, and that was okay with him. He blamed himself too. The weight of the world became heavier and heavier to bare for young Fox.
"What do you want?" the gruff voice asked in the darkness. It was the first time since he was home that anyone had actually addressed a question towards him. He didn't know if he would be able to find his voice to answer.
"I'm hungry." His voice was raspy from disuse. Fox hoped it wouldn't annoy him too much, but apparently it did. Bill Mulder chose that very moment to express his annoyance by rapping his son in the mouth with the back of his hand. Fox immediately brought his fingers up to his mouth and felt the blood.
Bill Mulder surveyed the damage, finished his drink, and got up to leave the kitchen. He looked at the boy and told him, "Wash your face."
Fox went to the sink and rinsed the blood off his mouth. His lip stung a little, but he'd felt worse. Next, he opened the refrigerator to find something to eat. Obviously, food was no longer a priority in the Mulder household.
He saw a couple of slices of old American cheese with the edges turned hard and dark. There was no milk, no orange juice and no fruit. He found the jar of jelly on the door. He opened the freezer to find a half a loaf of bread.
He took out two slices and put them in the toaster. He filled a glass up with water and ice, spread some jelly on the toasted bread, and proceeded to eat at the counter. Dinner at the Mulder household was a lonely time for Fox Mulder.
End of Part 2/
Life Cycles: The Unveiling
by Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)
Disclaimers in part 1.
They paid the last of the tolls on Interstate 84 and reached Interstate 90 at about 6:00 p.m. The rush hour traffic was having an impact on how far they progressed to Boston. Also, Scully's stomach was starting to rumble, as the granola bars they had picked up from the vending machines at the last toll area just did not satisfy her.
"Mulder, do you think you could handle some dinner. The traffic's going to be a little heavy for a while longer, and I'm getting really hungry."
He looked at her and immediately felt guilty, again. "I'm sorry Scully, why didn't you say anything?"
"Mulder, I just did." She sounded a tad exasperated. "Don't go traveling on some guilt trip because I'm hungry, okay? We've got far enough to drive without you taking any detours," she said seriously, but with the hint of a smile on her lips.
"Okay," he replied. "I guess I'm feeling a little hungry too, since I used up my reserves a while back."
"Good, so let's find a diner, eat, and then you can drive the rest of the way since you're a little more familiar with the area than I am. Deal?"
"Deal," he replied.
They kept driving until they saw a sign for Food and got off the exit. They found the small diner easily, parked the car, and entered the nondescript eatery. The young waitress led them to a booth and left them with a couple of menus.
"So, how are you feeling now, Mulder?"
Scully looked at him and wondered just how far from the truth that was. He slept in the car after she gave him the Tylenol, but he would only take one instead of the normally prescribed two. Since he was tall, the potency would be that much less than it would be for someone, say of Scully's stature.
"Are you hungry?" she asked.
"Yeah, sure." He wasn't all that convincing.
"Better make sure you eat something light, since your stomach probably isn't totally settled yet," she advised. She wanted to make sure he ate at least something.
When the waitress returned, Scully ordered tuna on whole wheat with lettuce and tomato, and a cup of tomato soup, while Mulder ordered scrambled eggs and toast with jam. Scully requested a cup of coffee, while Mulder requested just ice water.
"No iced tea?" she asked curiously.
"No, for some reason I'm just in the mood for ice water. Weird, huh?" he asked with a lop sided grin formed on his face.
They had eaten pretty much in silence. Scully ate her sandwich hungrily, while Mulder picked at the eggs and toast. He was thirsty, as a result of being dehydrated from the earlier incident, so he drank the ice water eagerly.
After freshening up in the rest rooms, the partners climbed back into their car. This time Mulder was in the driver's seat, while Scully took the navigator's side. They drove back to the highway and continued for another hour till they got to the entrance to Interstate 93.
"We're practically there, Scully. Actually, we made pretty good time, considering we made a few stops." By the time they actually arrived in Boston proper, it was a little before eight o'clock. The partners were tired and desperately in need of stretching their limbs out after the almost nine hour trip.
They found a Comfort Inn and went to check in. Scully went in to do the honors. She considered the fact that this trip was on their own time and therefore was their own expense.
"I'd like a double room for the night please."
"Do you want two doubles or two queens?"
After only a moment's thought, "Two queens, please."
Scully handed over her credit card, signed them in, and got the key cards. She returned to Mulder, who was waiting in the car, and told him to drive over to room 137.
Mulder parked the car in front of the room, and popped the trunk. He removed the luggage and dropped Scully's bags in front of the door marked 137.
"Where's my room, Scully?"
She looked a little uncomfortable, but decided that it really was the most practical way of approaching things, so she nonchalantly said, " Right here. I decided we'd save some money, since this bill's not being picked up by Uncle Sam, so I thought we would share a room. You don't mind, do you Mulder?"
Mulder's mouth gaped as he stared back at her. "Scully?" he asked, "Are you sure about this? I mean, you know how little I sleep. I'm afraid I might disturb you."
"Mulder, it's because I know how little you sleep that I figured this might make the most sense. You, yourself, said you've been having a reoccurring nightmare. I don't want to be too far from you tonight, just in case you need me, you know, my medical expertise."
Scully felt herself blushing. *Need __her__ indeed,* she thought. *He needs a family who's not so damned dysfunctional, that's what he needs.*
Mulder felt himself blushing. *__Need__ her indeed,* he thought. *I've needed her for so long, but now I want her even more.*
"Okay, Scully, it's your call." He grabbed the bags while Scully opened the door.
After Scully hung up their dress clothes in the closet for tomorrow's service, and unpacked the few pieces of clothing from their small sports bags, she asked Mulder if he would like to go out for a walk. He appeared to hesitate at the invitation.
"It's a beautiful evening, and I really need to stretch out a little. C'mon, I don't want to walk in the dark alone." She knew that last line would twist his arm.
"With pleasure, m'lady." And he offered the crook of his arm, which she happily pushed her hand through. With the other hand she grabbed the key card and left.
They walked silently together along the town road, each immersed in their own thoughts, but feeling most comfortable walking along the side of the one person they trusted the most.
April 13, 1995
He remembered being surprised when he called and asked him to come to _his_ home in West Tisbury. Mulder wasn't feeling well himself at that point, and didn't know if he was up to dealing with his father.
He hadn't gone to his home often and was reluctant to go there now, but when Bill Mulder phoned he sounded upset. And he told him there were things he needed to discuss with him. Things that needed to be told.
Mulder watched as the door opened in front of him. When he saw his father standing before him, he saw a tired, defeated man. Mulder offered his hand to shake, but the older man reached towards him to embrace him.
Mulder returned the hug in shock. He couldn't remember the last time his father hugged him. He couldn't remember the last time his father expressed any kind of affection for him.
"Dad? Dad, what's wrong?"
The senior Mulder motioned him into the living room. He seemed worried and apparently wanted to discuss something. After a bit of small talk, Bill Mulder excused himself.
"I have to take some medication, Fox. I'll be right back. Then there are things I need to get off my chest. There are things you should know, Fox, " he said uneasily.
He left to go to the bathroom, where he kept his medication. Mulder sat and fidgeted in the living room, waiting.
April 12, 1996
Scully felt him gasp for air. She felt him clutch her arm tighter, and she in turn, grasped him more firmly as well.
"Mulder? Are you all right?"
"Yeah, Scully. I'm all right," he said a little breathlessly. "I just think a little too much for my own good."
She gave him a knowing look and then said, "You know, I'm getting a little tired. Would you mind if we went back to the motel room now?"
"Not at all," he responded gratefully. Mulder realized Scully could have kept walking all the way to Quincy Market, but she was well aware that he was feeling drained and fatigued.
When they returned to their room, Scully announced she was going to take a quick shower and change into her pajamas.
"So, you want company, Scully?" he asked teasingly.
"Not tonight, Mulder. May I take a rain check?" she asked, way too seriously for Mulder to take it calmly.
"Anytime you want to cash it in, you let me know," he responded in a tone that he tried very hard to keep even.
"I'll let you know, don't worry." And with that, Scully grabbed her night clothes and went into the bathroom.
About a half hour later, they traded places. When Mulder emerged from the bathroom with his hair wet from the shower, he saw Scully was already laying in the bed closest to the television. She was channel surfing with the best of them.
"Hey Scully, I figured I would take that bed since I'm usually up all night watching the tube anyway."
"It's okay, Mulder. We can share," she responded casually without taking her eyes off of the television.
Mulder's incredulous look was wasted because Scully never took her eyes off of the screen. He watched her pat the bed as an invitation to join her, so he slowly walked toward the bed.
"Scully?" He wanted to make sure he wasn't misinterpreting her actions. She scooted over to one side and pulled the bed sheet and cover up to allow him access.
He crawled into the bed and sat stiffly by her. Scully smiled inwardly at his shyness, and decided she needed to let him know there was no pressure, no threat, nothing to fear. She inched her way to his side and laid close to his arm.
"I think I'm going to close my eyes, Mulder. Good night." She relaxed her body as much as she could while laying next to him. She wanted him to know how much she cared about him and wanted to be there for him, but at the same time, she wanted to avoid pushing him into a situation neither of them might not be ready for.
"Good night Scully." He allowed himself to relax more and more as the minutes ticked away and Scully herself fell into a deeper sleep. As she slept, he felt her unwittingly nestle closer to him, until he had no choice but to raise his arm and pull her closer toward his chest. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders and breathed in the scent of her hair and her whole being.
He felt her snuggle into his arm and chest, and he moved still closer to her as well. He actually felt relaxed. He felt sleepy, and decided it was time to rest. He left a wake-up call for six thirty a.m. and closed his eyes. He fell into a deep sleep within minutes.
November 27th, 1973
He was laying there, wondering if he would ever move again. His body felt as if it were frozen stiff. He felt cold. He felt so cold.
He heard the voices all around him, but he couldn't discern what they were saying. He recognized high pitched voices, women's voices, but he couldn't tell if one of them was his mother's.
He was sure he heard his father's voice among the many different male voices that surrounded him. He knew it was his father, because it sounded angry. Why was he angry?
Fox laid so still, the anxious figures that hustled around him thought he might be dead. However, one of the men in the dark suits shouted out that he could see him breathing, and directed someone to get an ambulance to the site as quickly as possible.
Fox opened his eyes. He could see unfamiliar faces milling about the room. He looked to the center of the room and saw the Stratego game laying on the floor where he and his sister were going to play a round of it. He noticed the television was on, but the sound was turned down so he wasn't sure if The Magician was still on or not.
He looked over to his left and saw his father's handgun laying on the floor. Fox didn't understand why it was on the floor. His father always kept it locked up in a box at the top of the closet.
His father. Where was his father? He heard his voice talking angrily with someone. Was he yelling at his mother? Where was his mother? Who was his father shouting at? No, it sounded like another man was yelling back at his father.
Fox wanted to yell to Sam, and ask her what all of the excitement was about. He wanted to ask her a lot of questions when another person, a woman, came over to him.
"Hi Fox. I'm Amy. Fox, can you hear me?" she asked in the most gentle voice he'd ever heard.
Fox made eye contact with Amy, but that was about all he could do.
"Fox, do you know remember what happened here tonight?" she asked, even more gently then before.
He shook his head slowly. He wanted to know why all these strangers in dark suits and ties were in his house. Even Amy was wearing a dark suit. He didn't understand why everyone was so nervous.
"Why?" was all he could manage.
"Fox, your sister, Samantha, has disappeared," she responded.
Fox stopped talking after that. The events of the evening came back in a torrent of memories. He saw the bright lights. He tried to get his father's gun, but it fell out of his hand. He saw the strange, short, yet at the same time, elongated figures at the front door.
He remembered watching Samantha as she was levitated toward the light in the window. He remembered hearing her scream for help, but he could only lay frozen, as if in suspended animation. Now, he could hear his father's voice, along with some others he'd known only as men from his father's job.
"What the hell did he see? What the hell did he see?" Bill Mulder screamed at the group of consortia members.
"Bill, calm down. He probably won't remember a thing. And if he does, you know that can be taken care of," the man with the cigarettes responded as he placated him.
"Damn it, Jack. It wasn't supposed to happen like this, and you know it. How could they have taken her? They were supposed to take him. You know they were supposed to have taken him.
"Now he's of no use to anyone. God damn it Jack! Who screwed up here? I want someone to own up to this, Jack. I want the person who fucked this up to admit it!! They were supposed to take him, God damn it. Him! Not my daughter, him!" Bill Mulder shouted. "Go take care of this Jack. I mean it, go get my daughter back, now!"
Bill Mulder dismissed him, and watched him go into the next room to use the telephone. He looked over and saw his wife, Elizabeth, looking on helplessly. "Get out of here, Elizabeth!" he shouted.
"Amy, give her something. Now!" he ordered. The young woman went to a black medical bag and retrieved a hypodermic. She filled it with a heavy sedative and proceeded to easily lead the already dazed Mrs. Mulder into her bedroom.
Bill Mulder looked around the room as the various members of the consortium picked up evidence to clean the area before the police and paramedics arrived. He was still seething about the screw up. He was becoming angrier and angrier by the minute. The others could tell he was close to exploding and kept their distance.
The next thing Fox remembered was seeing his father hover over him. Bill Mulder's face was screwed up in a grotesque grimace of anger. Suddenly, he began kicking the child as he laid on the floor.
Fox felt the kicks in his back and his kidneys and his groin. Before anyone realized what the older Mulder was doing, Fox felt a kick in his face which caused the child to involuntarily yelp out in pain.
"Shaddup you no, good, worthless piece of shit. They were supposed to take _you_! You! Not Samantha. They were never supposed to take my little girl. My little love. My beautiful little love. Damn you! Damn you!" he shouted over and over as he kicked his already bruised body over and over again.
Finally someone noticed the beating Bill Mulder was bestowing upon his helpless twelve year old son, and with the help of another consortium player, pulled him off of his son. The boy was now lying in a fetal position, moaning softly to no one in particular.
"It was you! I wanted them to take you! You, you little bastard, you!! You little bastard! You!" Bill Mulder screamed over and over.
end of part 3/4
Life Cycles: The Unveiling
by Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)
Disclaimers in Part 1
April 13, 1996
"No, nooo, nooo, please!" Fox Mulder was crying out in his sleep, "I'm not, nooo, I'm not!"
Scully woke up with a start. It took her a moment or two to get her bearings, when she saw she was in bed with her partner. *Right,* she thought to herself. *I did this on purpose for just this reason,* she realized as she fended off one wildly thrashing arm after the other.
"Mulder, Mulder, shhhh. It's okay, it's just a dream. Wake up, Fox. It's just a dream," she repeated over and over, all the while patting his back in an effort to soothe him.
Some time past and Mulder calmed down enough that he sat with his knees up to his chin and his arms wrapped around his legs. He rocked himself slightly, but continually. Scully wasn't all that positive he was fully awake yet, but at least he was no longer in the throes of whatever nightmare was causing him to panic.
"Mulder, can you hear me?" she asked softly. "Mulder, please, if you can hear me, you've got to answer me."
Mulder continued to rock back and forth, hugging himself for comfort.
"Please, Fox. You're scaring me. Please show me that you're still here with me," she pleaded while she caressed his arm.
At the sound of his first name, he turned to look at her quizzically. "You called me Fox."
"It got your attention, didn't it?" she replied softly, as she gently began rubbing his back.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare you," he said.
"I know you didn't. I just want to make sure you're okay, that's all," she replied. After a few moments, while still rubbing his back, she stated, "That was the humdinger, wasn't it?"
Fox stopped rocking and turned his head towards her. He nodded his head and then propped his head down on the top of his knees. Scully sat up on her knees in an effort to position herself as close to him as possible.
"Tell me about it, Mulder."
"I can't," he whispered.
"You have to. You have to get this out, Mulder. It's eating you up inside. Please. Tell me what the dream was about."
She moved to embrace him, and though he stiffened up at her touch, she continued to hold him, no matter how much he thought he didn't deserve it.
"I think I'm remembering something. I don't think it's so much a nightmare, as more of a real memory." Scully nodded in acknowledgment . Mulder continued.
"Every time I've dreamt this, I've seen a little more and heard a little more. It's from the night Sam was taken." He paused and took some deep breaths. This was the part that was so difficult for him to accept.
"Oh God Scully, it wasn't supposed to be her. It was me! It was always supposed to be me. He never wanted me. Never. He never wanted me," he sobbed.
Mulder leaned into Scully to seek her warmth and comfort. She, in turn, embraced him in a tight hug. "I'm so sorry, Mulder. I'm so sorry." She held onto him tightly, whispering in his ear .
"Scully," he cried, "he said I was a bastard. He kept saying he never wanted me. I don't think I was his. I don't think I was his son."
"It's okay, Mulder. It doesn't matter anymore. He's gone, Mulder. He's dead and gone, and tomorrow we're going to finally lay him to rest."
Mulder continued to sob on her shoulder. Scully could only offer him small words of comfort and gentle caresses of tenderness.
"Scully, what is it about me?" he asked in between sobs.
"What do you mean?"
"What is it about me that's so unlovable?" he cried.
"Oh Mulder, it was never you. Don't ever think it was you. It was him. He was the one who couldn't deal with life's glitches. He was the one who never had the love to give. You were never unlovable, Fox Mulder. Never.
"In fact, you are one of the most lovable people I've ever known," she concluded.
"Scully, my own mother can't even love me," he retorted.
"But don't you see? That's __her__ problem. It was never your problem. You know how to love. You do, Fox Mulder. You are one of the most loving, lovable people I know. You are, and if I have to remind you for the rest of our lives I will."
"Scully, I __," he began.
"__Not now, Mulder. We're both tired, and we need to get up in a few hours to go to the cemetery. We have a lifetime to deal with all of this, with us. Right now, I want us to both go back to sleep."
"I'm too tired to argue." He slid back down under the covers, and Scully sidled up next to him. He wrapped both of his arms around her and gently kissed the top of her head.
"Good night, Mulder," she said sweetly.
"Good night, Scully. Scully?" he paused.
"I love you, Scully."
"I know that Mulder. Good night."
He smiled as he closed his eyes and allowed himself to drift into a satisfying sleep, because he knew she loved him too.
April 13, 1996
When they arrived at the cemetery, they stopped at the main office. He asked for directions to plot number 41385WM. After he got the directions, he asked if there was a rabbi available to perform a short service.
Mulder was told by the clerk there was indeed someone available for a small fee, but since it was the Sabbath , no money could be exchanged between he and the Rabbi. So the fee needed to be left at this office and designated for the appropriate Rabbi to be picked up after sundown.
Mulder wrote the check for the nominal sum. When Scully looked curiously at him as he wrote the amount in as eighteen dollars, he explained that eighteen is a significant number in Jewish life. It represents "chai" which translates to "life."
Mulder of course found the irony in that, and smiled inwardly as he finished writing the check out for the graveside service. He placed his hand at the small of Scully's back and guided her to the site of the unveiling.
Prior to seeing the site, Mulder hadn't given a thought as to how he would react to seeing his father's grave. He hadn't thought he would care one way or the other. In fact as they slowly walked towards the plot, Mulder finally began confessing to Scully how ambivalent he was really feeling.
"You know, it's almost funny in a way. I always feel so damned guilty about everything. Even today, Scully, I feel guilty."
"What could you possibly feel guilty about, Mulder?" she asked, genuinely surprised.
"Well," he began, "I don't think I feel anything for this man. I mean I hardly knew him. Sure, I knew him well enough for my face to connect with his fist every now and then, but I didn't really know him.
I didn't know who his favorite sports team were, hell I didn't even know if he liked baseball, or basketball, or any of the things I liked. He was in essence a complete stranger to me. Shit, Scully I didn't even know what he did for a living, other than the fact that he worked for the State Department.
"But the strange thing is I don't feel guilty for not knowing him. And that my dear Dr. Scully is the rub. I feel guilty for _not_ feeling guilty! Talk about shooting myself in the foot, eh Scully?!" he laughed ironically.
Scully smiled at him, and realized just how nervous he was about all of this. They walked a bit further when Mulder pointed to the left and said, "There it is." They passed by about four or five other graves and came to a stop in front of William Mulder's grave site.
The tombstone was indeed covered up. When the Rabbi appeared he introduced himself as Rabbi Aaronson. He was an older man of about seventy years of age, but he was still a tall, big man. Mulder graciously shook his hand as did Scully. He first observed them both and then looked directly at Mulder and said simply, "I take it __you__ are the relative of the deceased?"
"Red hair give it away?" Scully asked, slightly annoyed.
"No, my dear, but the crucifix gave me a hint," he replied kindly.
Scully fingered the gold cross around her neck and smiled shyly at the Rabbi. "Very observant, Rabbi."
"I try to be my dear, I try to be."
Mulder smiled at the double meaning behind the Rabbi's response. He thanked him for performing the service.
"Do you know why we have an unveiling?" he asked them both.
"I just assumed it was a custom of the Jewish people," replied Mulder.
"Well it is, of course, but it has roots in the practical too. You would find that most of the Judaic customs have a more pragmatic origin.
"The mourning period is officially one year. Jewish law requires that we erect a tombstone for the deceased so he or she is not forgotten during or after the mourning period.
"Of course there's another reason. Graves that had tombstones were less likely desecrated.
"So nu? Let's begin. The rabbi took out a simple, black yalmulkah, similar to the skull cap he wore on his own head, and handed it to Mulder. He put it on without protest.
Next, the rabbi pulled out an old, tattered prayer book. He recited the prayers in Hebrew, but then kindly offered a quick English translation so both Mulder and Scully would get the gist of the meaning.
Next, Rabbi Aaronson told them they would say the Mourner's Kaddish. Ironically, he said, the prayer does not mention death. It's more of an affirmation of life for the living. He went on to explain it was similar to the act of sitting shiva after the death of a loved one.
Unlike a wake where the focus is on memorializing the deceased, sitting shiva allows the focus to be on the family and loved ones left to deal with the death.
"Did you have the opportunity to sit shiva for your father, Mr. Mulder?" he asked gently.
"No, Rabbi," Mulder whispered in response.
"It would have helped," he replied kindly. "But now, let's begin."
He began to recite the Mourner's Kaddish.
"Yit-gadal v'yit-kadash sh'mey raba, b'alma di v'ra hirutey, vyam-lih mal-hutey b'ha-yey- hon uv'yomey-hon uv'ha-yey d'hol beyt yisrael ba-agala u-vizman kariv, v'imru amen.
Scully observed in fascination, as she watched and listened to Mulder recite the words right along with the rabbi. It was as if all of the years he ignored his religious faith were erased away.
Suddenly, Mulder looked like he could have actually belonged to someone or something. The next set of words, Mulder recited by himself.
"Y'hey sh'mey raba m'varah l'alam ul'almey alma-ya."
Rabbi Aaronson translated those last words for Scully. "It means 'May His great name be praised to all eternity."
Scully listened as the rabbi finished the rest of the prayer by himself, though she heard Mulder join him on the "amens." At the conclusion of the prayer, Mulder was then directed to pull off the covering to unveil William Mulder's headstone.
"Good luck you two. Maybe you'll think about converting?" he said smiling while looking at Scully. But then, after stealing a glance at Mulder, he added, "And then maybe, just maybe, you could help him return to the fold. He looks like he could use someone to believe in."
Scully nodded in agreement and thanked the Rabbi for his time. She shook his hand and then watched him as he went to bid his farewell to Mulder. The Rabbi placed his hands on both of Mulder's shoulders.
"It is time, my boy, to let go of the past and move on to the future. And it looks to me young man, like your future is only a few feet away from you. Just do me a favor, okay? Ask her to at least consider converting, okay?" Mulder smiled slightly at that request.
"Good luck Mr. Mulder. May G-d rest your father's soul. Amen"
"From your mouth to G-d's ears," he murmured as he watched the good Rabbi depart.
End of part 4/5
Life Cycles: The Unveiling
by Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)
disclaimers in part 1
Scully looked on from a few feet away to give him some distance and privacy. She wasn't sure how he was going to handle this, now that the reality of his father's death was unveiled before him.
Mulder stood silently looking at the headstone. It was a very simple stone, which only stated his name, dates of birth and death, and that he was a loving father. *A loving father,* he thought.
Well, it was true for one of his children. He really was loving toward Sammy. She could do practically no wrong, whereas he could do absolutely no right.
"Well Dad, I guess this is it," he stated aloud directly at the headstone. "You've finally committed the ultimate selfish act, you know. You had to go and die on me without telling me about you, and Mom, and why you treated me the way you did.
"You had to go and die on me before you could tell me about Sam, and why they took her and not me. Yeah Dad, I know you knew the whole story behind it. I _know_ you knew it and I figured you were going to tell me about it that night one year ago, weren't you? But you had to go and die on me, didn't you?
"I hate you for that, Dad. I really hate you for that.
"I hate for all the times you hurt me, for the times you hurt me a little and for the times you hurt me a lot. I hate you for all the times you made Mom look the other way when you raised a hand to me.
"I hate you for that Dad. But most of all, I hate you for not loving me back, cause, Daddy, I loved you in spite of it. I loved you Daddy, and all I wanted was for you to love me back. I just wanted you to love me back. Daddy, oh Daddy…"
Mulder dropped to his knees and began sobbing uncontrollably at this point. Scully rushed to kneel by him and embraced him as he allowed himself to be held and comforted by her.
After awhile, when Mulder was able to catch his breath, he found his voice.
"Damn it Scully, I promised myself I wouldn't do this."
"Do what?" she asked gently.
"Cry for him. I promised myself I wouldn't cry for him. I feel like an idiot, I mean the man couldn't stand the sight of me, and here I am blubbering like a fool over him."
"Oh Mulder, you're right. It would be foolish to cry for him. He doesn't deserve your tears, but don't you understand? You're not crying for _him_, Mulder. You're crying for you, and that's perfectly all right. In fact, it's damned necessary."
Mulder looked back at her with a puzzled look, as if he were trying to process everything she just said and correlate it to see if it, indeed, really applied to him. "But Scully__," he began.
"__Don't 'but Scully' me, Fox Mulder!" she interrupted. "You haven't allowed yourself the chance to grieve yet, and I'm not talking about grieving the death of your father. I'm talking about grieving over the death of what could have been, what __should__ have been your childhood.
"I'm talking about allowing yourself to grieve for what __you__ lost, Mulder. Remember what the Rabbi said before? The act of sitting shiva is to give the living the chance to come to terms with the loss, it's not to immortalize the dead. It's time for you to sit shiva, Mulder," she concluded.
They remained knelt on the ground, arms around one another for some time. Finally, Mulder picked his head up gazed directly into her eyes.
"Scully, when did you get so smart?" he asked.
"I've always been smart, Mulder. When did you finally notice?" she retorted with a grin.
"I guess I've always noticed, Dana Scully. I just never allowed myself the joy of sharing that knowledge with you," he said shyly.
"Well, I guess it's time for us both to begin sharing things with one another, isn't it," she responded softly.
"Yeah. It is. Dana, I'm ready to leave now. I'm ready to go home and get on with my life. I still need to search for the truth, but I don't need to dredge up the past to find it. Not any more," he concluded.
He stood up and then extended both of his hands to help Dana up to her feet. She looked at him with wide eyes, as she realized that he was calling her Dana. She didn't think he was even aware of this, and wondered if it was as significant as she _thought_ it was, as she _hoped_ it was.
"Let's go home, Dana," he said.
"Definitely, Fo__," she began. Not yet. Soon, but not yet. "Let's just go home, Mulder," she concluded.
She steadied herself and brushed the loose, grassy turf from her skirt. She looked up at him and watched as he reached for her hand. She clasped his and intertwined her fingers around his long, slender ones. They started the journey home, together.
End of Part 5/5
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