2 Dec 1997
Life Cycles III: Yortzeit Remembered
by Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)
Category: Angst, MSR
Rating: PG13 for some language
Spoilers: Through season 4
Summary: Mulder feels compelled to take a trip to New England to share
the good news of his impending marriage.
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: Okay, so here's where it gets confusing. This is the
fourth piece I've written, but it takes place just before Thanksgiving
Friends. So let's just say here's part III in the series. Notice I
finally got smart and numbered this one. Oh well, so a college education
and 99 cents will get you a cup of coffee nowadays. What can I say? The
stories are going in a chronological order, so for continuity's sake you
might want to read the first two, then read this one, and then read
Thanksgiving Friends, but if you don't want to do that, I believe all of
them could be stand alones, maybe.
Special thanks to Vickey Moseley for willingly looking at my work without
the benefit of anything more than that of undying gratitude and
Oh, just a point of reference that Vickey thought I should mention: the
scene in Paper Clip where Mulder and MaMulder get together is open to
interpretation IMHO. Vickey suggests to those that are sympathetic to
MaMulder to ignore it and pretend it never happened as you read this
story. On the other hand, if you see the dark side of MaMulder, then the
following scene, as described in Pellinor's wonderful Deep Background
site, just shows Ma was upset about Sam being the one taken:
"Greenwich, Connecticut. Mrs Mulder is woken up by Mulder who asks her if
his father ever askedher is she had a favourite child. "Did he make you
make a choice?" he shouts. "No. I couldn't
choose," she says. "It was your father's choice, and I hated him for it. I
hate him still." She cries in his arms."
To each his own interpretation..... the joys of fanfic!!! ;-) Now, to
Life Cycles: Yortzeit Remembered
by Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)
Wednesday, November 27, 1996
As he drove west on I-95 towards Greenwich, he rehashed the
conversation he'd had with Scully so early yesterday morning right before
he'd left. He marveled at her ability to understand his needs and wants,
sometimes even better than he understood them himself.
"Dane," he remembered saying, "I just have to do this. Can you
understand? I promise I'll be back Wednesday night to help you get ready
for Saturday's feast."
"Mulder, of course I understand. I visited Missy's grave, after we
decided to get engaged, for the same reason. Just make sure you get back
as soon as you _safely_ can. I worry about you, that's all. Are you sure
you don't want me to go with you?" she had asked.
He remembered shaking his head no and smiling. Though his eyes glistened,
he said with confidence, "No, I'll be okay. I have something wonderful to
share with her, Dane. This is a good thing and I guess I need to share it
with her on my own."
He had paused and then added, "Besides, on the way home I want to stop in
Greenwich and see Mom. I haven't spoken with her in a few months since
her stroke, and I really want to try to come to some kind of an
understanding with her."
Scully had looked at him, nodded solemnly and then embraced him in a
loving hug. "You'd better pack some warm clothes, or you'll freeze your
buns being so near the water. Is there even any electricity there?"
"There's a generator, so I should be okay for the night. Honestly, Dane,
but I packed a set of thermals just to be sure," he said with a smile.
"Hey G-Man, if you change your mind and want me to come, I can pack up my
own set of long johns in a flash, you know. All you have to do is
"I love you, Dane. If I need you, you'll hear me all the way from Rhode
Island. I promise."
Since it was a long five hour drive from DC to Rhode Island, he was glad
he had left early enough to arrive while there was still plenty of
daylight. He'd dropped his overnight bag at the old summer house in
Quonochontaug and had decided to walk around the property.
He had walked on the beach and rediscovered their favorite haunts.
Cherished memories of games of hide and seek and playing water tag came
back to him in waves. He was able to picture her standing by the rocks
where she played Princess of the Mountain.
Next, he had conversations with the sky and the water, the trees and the
shrubs, the rocks and the sand. He had shared his love for his Scully
with the other most important girl in his life by just being in a place
where they were together, happy and carefree the way children were meant
By the time he'd gone into town to grab a bite to eat the sun was already
setting. After he'd finished his dinner, Mulder spent the night in the
summer house that was the repository for some of the happier memories of
Now, as he drove toward the town of Greenwich, Mulder realized he still
missed Samantha desperately even after twenty-three years. But it was
more than just the aching loss of one sibling for another.
As children, she was his one of his only allies. When their father had a
need to take his frustrations out on something, it was usually on his own
son's body that he would unleash his anger. Fox knew he could always
count on Samantha to cry out for him to stop, for it had usually been her
pleas that caused him to cease his abusive behavior.
His mother had usually hidden in her room with the door closed and the
television or the radio on with the volume up high. Very high.
Mulder's body gave an involuntary shudder as he remembered back to that
time. A lifetime ago. Samantha's lifetime ago.
He'd been driving since just after sunrise, and it was now going on nine
o'clock. Mulder had hoped the commuter traffic would be light today, the
day before Thanksgiving, but he had no such luck. It had been bumper to
bumper from the Norwalk exit 15 all the way down to the Greenwich exit 3
where he got off.
He drove past the restaurant, Manero's, and remembered when his mother
actually took him to dinner there once. The restaurant was known for its
aged beef, as well as their Caesar Salad. Mulder realized the cup of
watered down coffee and stale donut he had eaten while on the road at six
thirty this morning just wasn't doing anything to stave off hunger now.
He drove up to the small guard's house and informed the man on duty he was
visiting his mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Mulder, and that he was, indeed, her
son. When asked for identification, he deftly pulled out his FBI
identification. The guard startled but recovered quickly and motioned
Mulder on through. *Sometimes it's so good to be a G-Man,* he thought
wryly to himself.
As he drove toward her house, he realized why his mother enjoyed this
area. She lived in a small, quiet community that had its own security
force, so she felt safe. But it was also close enough to town that, on a
nice day, she could walk to Greenwich Avenue and do some shopping.
Mulder pulled into the driveway. He marveled at the size of the house.
It had four bedrooms, a formal living room and dining room, a family room,
a large, eat-in kitchen, a utility room which held the washer and dryer,
and a finished basement that went largely unused save for some storage.
The idea behind purchasing such a big house for only one person going
beyond the need to avoid a capital gains tax made Mulder a little sad. He
knew his mother wasn't looking to the future when he or Sam might bring
grandchildren to her home for a visit. She was just looking to stiff the
IRS a little longer.
As he walked up to the door, he became nervous. He hadn't spoken to his
mother in a few months, at least not since she had recovered from her
stroke, and he wasn't sure how she would react to seeing him today.
Today, of all days.
When Elizabeth Mulder came to the door, Mulder could see her face drop
upon seeing him there. He noted her hesitation before opening the door.
"Fox. What's wrong?" she asked without emotion.
"Nothing's wrong, Mom."
"Why are you here then?" she asked.
"Mom, I'd love to tell you, but may I do it from the inside of the house?
It's a little nippy out here."
"All right. Come in then, you're letting all of the cold air in," she
He followed her into the front hallway of the old Colonial home and stood
quietly. Elizabeth looked at him quizzically, and then asked him, "So why
are you here?"
"I wanted to see you."
"And, I wanted to share some news with you," he replied. "You wouldn't by
any chance have any coffee brewed already, would you? I could sure use a
"Come with me into the kitchen," she said tersely.
Mulder followed her into the rather large kitchen that was decorated in
white on white. Definitely not the kitchen of a large family. Mulder
noted how different it looked and felt compared with Maggie Scully's
kitchen. Maggie's kitchen felt lived in, warm and full of life.
Elizabeth Mulder's kitchen, though it looked like it belonged in the pages
of Architectural Digest, was void of any warmth or life. It was as that
thought struck Mulder that he noticed, with a start, the flickering of a
light on the stove.
"Mom, what's that?" he asked anxiously.
"It's a Yortzeit candle, Fox. A memorial candle."
"I know what it _is_, Mom, I just don't understand why you__, he paused
abruptly and stared at his mother with his mouth agape. "Ohmigod."
"Oh for crying out loud, Fox. Close your mouth or you'll catch flies,"
she said brusquely.
"But I don't understand. Why?" he asked in shock.
"It's her anniversary, Fox. What's there to understand?"
"But. She's. Not. Dead," he replied with clenched teeth.
"Oh for God's sake, Fox, stop it! When you were twelve years old your
undying devotion to that thought was noble and sweet. It loses something
in the translation twenty-three years later."
"How can you think she's dead?" he asked incredulously.
"How can you think she's not?!" his mother replied.
"Fox," she continued, "I refused to stick my head in the ground. I've
been lighting a Yortzeit candle for her for the last six years. I had to
bury her. I even bought a headstone for her and had it erected in the
cemetery on Milbank Avenue. It's a lovely little cemetery, and I find it
very peaceful to go visit her there."
"But she's not dead. She can't be dead, Mom."
"Fox, enough already. Here's your coffee." She thrust the cup in his
hands and spilled some of it onto the table.
"Thank you," he said formally. As he picked the cup up to his lips,
Mulder looked closely at his mother. Though he was happy to see there
were little aftereffects of the stroke she had suffered in the late spring
and seemed relatively fit considering the severity of the stroke, he was
unnerved by the discussion that just transpired.
In fact the flickering of the Yortzeit candle flustered him greatly. Was
he putting his head in the sand as his mother insisted? Was he just being
No. He knew what he felt was true. Mulder felt he would know if his
sister was indeed dead, but at this point in his life he had no reason not
to believe she was still alive. He wanted to believe it so badly.
"Mom, if Sam were dead, we'd have gotten some kind of word by now. She's
still alive. I'm sure she's still alive," he said with childlike fervency.
"Why, Fox? Why are you so sure?" Elizabeth was becoming equally
unnerved. The tension in the room was becoming more palpable by the
second. She looked at her only son and finally said what was in her heart
for a very long time.
"Is it because if you _don't_ believe she's alive then you'll finally have
to take responsibility for that night? Do you _insist_ she's still alive
because you really believe it, or because if you don't you'd finally have
to accept the idea that you played a direct part in her death," she cried
out in anguish.
Mulder sat stunned for a few moments. His own mother felt he was
responsible for his sister's disappearance. His own mother, felt his
sister was dead, and in turn, felt he was responsible for her death.
"Mom, you don't think__?" Mulder couldn't even complete the question. He
felt devastated. The one remaining member of his family that he still
had a physical connection with, was repulsed by the sight of him because
she felt he aided in the death of her daughter.
"But she was my sister," he cried out. "She was the only one, besides
Nana, I could trust. Nana died when I was only five years old Mom, so Sam
was the only one left who___." Once again he stopped himself.
He looked at his mother in astonishment, because he realized the woman
hadn't a clue as to what Sam meant to him. It wasn't just the idea of
sibling love that she didn't get, but the fierce loyalty they had for one
another. Elizabeth Mulder never knew about the ties that bound Samantha
Mulder and Fox Mulder together.
"Mom, she was my protector. I loved her, yes, but I needed her too.
Don't you remember what life was like then? Don't you remember what he
used to do?" Mulder asked plaintively.
"Fox, I don't know what you're talking about__."
"Mom!" He interrupted. "How could you _not_ know what I'm talking about?
Mom, he beat the crap out of me, Mom. You're going to tell me you don't
remember that? He beat the living crap out of me__," he stopped and looked
Elizabeth's eyes were glassy, not from tears, but seemingly more from a
desire to hide her emotions behind her eyes.
"Mom," Mulder continued, "When Dad used to come home from work drunk, he
would get angry about something. It didn't matter what it was, but he
would get angry and take his anger out on me.
"He slapped me, and he punched me, and he kicked me, and he threw me
around like I was a rag doll. There were only two people who got him to
stop, Nana and Samantha. When Nana died, I came to rely upon Sam to
always be around when Dad came home, because I never knew what kind of
mood he would be in or if he would be drunk.
"It was a helluva thing for an older brother to look upon his baby sister
as his protector, but that's what she was. That's what she did for me. I
loved her Mom, and I needed her. I would never willingly let anything
happen to her, Mom. You've got to know that. You've got to believe
that," he concluded. He looked at her thoughtfully and then asked a
question that was on his heart for as long as he could remember.
"Mom, why didn't you ever try to stop him? Why did you always go into
your room and lock the door and not come out until it was all over?" he
"I didn't have a choice. I couldn't allow myself to be involved," she
"Couldn't allow yourself to be involved?" he echoed in amazement. "I don't
"It's not as complicated as you're making it out to be Fox. I couldn't
allow myself to be involved with that aspect of your discipline," she
"Discipline?!" he shouted back at her. "My God, Mom, that is the most
ludicrous thing I've heard yet! You call what _he_ did, discipline??
What the hell was he disciplining me for? Looking at him and saying 'Hi
Dad' when he walked in the door from work? Jeez, Mom. What the hell are
you talking about?!"
"You were being trained and I was not allowed to participate. I was told
not to get involved and to withdraw myself from you," she stated without
"But why?" he asked.
"Because it was always supposed to be you, Fox. It was always supposed to
be you that they would take. I knew from when you were a baby that you
were with me on borrowed time. So I couldn't allow myself to become too
involved. I had to withdraw myself from you physically and emotionally
so I would be able to deal with it when you were taken," she stated in a
flat monotone voice.
"It was supposed to be me? I was the one who was supposed to be taken?"
"Yes. It was always supposed to be you. I couldn't allow myself to____."
She stopped and did not continue, but Fox continued for her.
"__love me," he finished the sentence. "You knew I would be taken and you
couldn't allow yourself to love me."
She looked away from him when he stated the obvious. "Mom, even when I
was being beaten? Even when you saw the results? You still couldn't love
"Fox, I couldn't allow myself to love you or else I could never have lived
with myself," she whispered.
"But I'm your son," he stated emphatically.
"I gave birth to you, Fox, but it was made very clear to me that you did
not belong to me. You belonged to the project and I was not to become
attached to you. I was to raise you, but I was to do whatever I needed to
do in order to prepare myself for your departure. Your father was given
the same directive.
"I suspect your father had a more difficult time dealing with the
directive, which is why he took to drinking and taking his frustrations
out on you. If he beat you and dehumanized you, he didn't have to love
you," Elizabeth replied.
Fox felt himself begin to shiver. He realized his body was probably
experiencing the symptoms of shock, but he wasn't sure what to do about
"I don't believe this," he intoned. "How could you allow yourself to
agree to such a situation. I was your son, for God's sake!" he cried out.
"And what about now, Mom? What about when Sam was taken, and _I_ was the
one who remained. What the hell were you feeling then?" he demanded.
"They were supposed to take you, Fox. Instead, they took my baby girl. I
couldn't believe they took my baby girl instead of you. It was supposed
to be you. I was prepared for them to take you. I didn't love you, Fox.
I couldn't allow myself to love you, because I knew they were going to
"But I loved Samantha. Oh dear God, how I loved Samantha. All of the
love I had to keep from you, I gave to her. Your father was the same way.
He could never say no to her. He would grant her whatever she wanted,
so when you say she could get him to stop disciplining you, well, it makes
sense. She was the child we were given permission to love," she stated.
"So when they took Sam and left me, you didn't just no longer love me, you
hated me. You both blamed me for them taking Sam instead of me. You
hated me for something I had absolutely no control over, yet you still
stood by silently while Dad continued to make my life a living hell," he
Elizabeth sat motionless as his words spat into the air, when she finally
said, "It was too late, Fox. How could you expect me to change how I felt
at that point. I'd spent twelve years preparing myself for you to leave
and I prepared myself in the only way I knew how. Was I wrong? Hindsight
is a wonderful thing, Fox. Unfortunately it doesn't change things. It
could never change things."
"So how come there's not one for me?" he asked somberly.
"One what, Fox?" she asked in an exhausted voice. Elizabeth didn't want
to talk anymore about this. There was nothing she could do about, so she
felt the book should be closed on it.
"A Yortzeit candle. How come you don't have one lit for me? I'm
obviously dead to you," he whispered.
"Oh? I'm not dead to you, Mom?," he replied sarcastically.
"No," she replied. "You never belonged to me, so you were never alive to
me, Fox. Therefore you can never be dead for me."
"For some reason I don't feel comforted by that," Mulder retorted.
Suddenly Mulder was exhausted. He couldn't remember feeling this totally
whipped in a long time. All he wanted to do was get home.
Mulder was desperate for Scully to put his arms around him and tell him
that she loved him.
He was desperate for Maggie Scully to hold him and tell him again that he
deserved to be loved.
He even wanted to face his boss, the hard ass of all hard asses, because
Mulder knew that at least Skinner cared enough about him to ream him every
now and then in order to get Mulder to take more precautions and not get
He needed to get out of here. Mulder began to stand up, but became
suddenly lightheaded. When he grasped the table for support, he
inadvertently knocked over the still full coffee cup.
"Damn it Fox. Can't you watch what you're doing?" was the automatic
"I'm sorry, it was an acci___," came out the reflexive answer, but Mulder
caught himself. He stared at his mother through tears and said, "I guess
it's time for me to stop being sorry for things that are not my fault. I'm
going to leave now."
"Yes. I think it's just as well that you do," she replied. As she
watched him walk toward the doorway, she called out to him one last time.
"Fox. What was it that you came to tell me?"
When he turned he had the saddest smile on his face. He opened his mouth
to speak, but he found he needed to take a breath first. Then he said in
a soft, gentle voice, "I'm in love, Mom. I'm getting married in
"Who?" she asked.
"To Scully, Mom. Dana Scully. My partner, my best friend, and the love
of my life," he responded, sad that she wouldn't have known who he was
"Oh." That was all she said as he left the room.
But, when she heard the front door click, the car engine turn over, and
saw him drive out of the driveway, she began to recite from her memory,
"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.
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