Life Cycles VII: Eight Days
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 1997
Category: MSR, Angst
Rating: PG13 for some language
Spoilers: Through season 4
Summary: A happy event in the lives of our heroes is marred a little by misgivings and fear of the unknown.
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 couldnt afford to be sued on my salary.
Introduction: This is the seventh piece in the series. It takes place on the Proto time line after LCVI: Grieving, and I for one thank God it does, cause even I couldn't handle another one like Grieving so soon! .What can I say? The stories are going in a chronological order, so for continuity's sake you might want to read the others first, but if you don't want to do that, I believe all of them could be stand alones, maybe
Thanks again to Vickie Moseley, for looking at this story with her wonderful eye for detail, and who has promised me she will be writing an addendum to this story, from the "other P.O.V." I, for one, can't wait!
Life Cycles VII: Eight Days
by Susan Proto
Part 1 / 2
Mulder woke up and turned to take a look at his beautiful, sleeping wife. He was mesmerized by her face and her ever changing body. He reached over and gently traced the outline of her bulging belly, amazed that there was indeed a baby growing right beneath his fingertips.
A baby. Their baby. A baby that held him captivated and terrified all at once from the moment he became a reality.
On the day that Scully took the home pregnancy test, neither one of them allowed themselves the excitement one would have expected from such an experience. They had both experienced the trauma of Scully's miscarriage almost a year earlier, and the decision to forgo birth control and let nature takes its course was not one that was made lightly.
But they did, and sure enough within a couple of months, Scully found it necessary to take the pregnancy test. They both sat and waited for the little stick to show the plus sign or the minus sign, and they were equally apprehensive about either sign materializing.
But the plus sign emerged, and while they hugged each other with obvious relief and joy, the terror of what might happen began for them as well. They lost their first baby after only about twelve weeks into the pregnancy. Scully felt if they could get beyond that point in time, everything would be fine.
Mulder, however, remembered the story Walter Skinner related to him one night shortly after Scully's miscarriage. His wife, Sharon, had delivered a stillborn child at the beginning of her eighth month. Mulder felt he couldn't even begin to be confident that all would be well until after that point in time.
But it was. Scully was beginning her ninth month, and he looked at her with such awe. As he lightly touched her belly, he startled when he felt their child poke a hand, or was it a foot, out towards him.
"Hi baby," he whispered to Scully's beautiful form. "It's me, Daddy." Mulder tried to stifle a giggle at this, but he couldn't help himself. Scully opened her eyes and stared up at the ceiling, and smiled at the sound of her husband's laughter.
She was well aware of the fear he felt throughout her pregnancy. She felt it too, but what amazed her was the fact that it was Mulder who began making bargains with God. She was supposed to be the believer and he was supposed to be the skeptic in the religion department.
It had begun one night when it was still so early in the pregnancy no one even knew about it, not even her mother. He had thought she had fallen into a sound sleep, she'd heard him having a one-to-one talk with God.
He had stood near the picture window of their bedroom when she'd heard him begin the most unexpected dialogue.
"God?" he'd begun tentatively. "I know you're probably kind of surprised to hear from me, and I can understand that, but I need to talk to you. It's really important. Really important. You see, my wife, Scully, umm, I mean Dana, well, she's pregnant now.
"And we're both really happy and excited about this, but God? I gotta tell you, I'm a little scared. Wait, check that. I'm a lot scared. I mean I'm really, really scared."
He had paused here and had drawn a deep breath before he had continued. "You see, we did this once before, and well, for whatever reason, Dane had a miscarriage.
"That was hard. Oh God, that was soo hard." She remembered hearing him try to draw in a breath, but the sob had overtaken him. She had debated then whether to get up and offer him physical comfort, but before she had a chance to act he'd begun his private conversation again.
"So you see, God? I want to make this deal with you. I promise, if you see fit to let this little baby of ours be born, that in my search for the truth, I won't automatically turn away from you anymore. Oh, I know, that doesn't sound like much of a commitment on my part, God, but believe me, it's a lot more than you might think. It's a lot more than I thought I'd ever be able to give you.
"You see, I didn't always --_not_ believe in you. There was a time___," he had paused. Scully had realized that he was referring to the time before his sister's abduction, but she hadn't been sure how much of a role religious faith had played in the Mulder household before her disappearance. She wasn't going to find out at that point either, as he had continued.
"I know I haven't been exactly supportive of your existence in the recent past, but God, I swear to you, I won't turn away if you help us bring our baby into the world. Please."
Scully had laid so still, because she knew if she moved even the slightest muscle, Mulder would have known she'd been awake, and she hadn't wanted him to know. She had wanted this pact with God to be his own, private covenant. This was something he had needed to do on his own.
And as each week passed, and Baby Mulder grew inside of Scully's womb, Mulder offered his thanks and pledged anew his promise that if the baby was allowed to be born, when he continued his search for the truth, God would not be excluded from the journey.
But now Mulder was still trying to stifle his giggles which were slowly, but surely, turning into an irrepressible string of guffaws!
"Mulder," she began, barely able to suppress a giggle or two herself, "some of _us_ are trying to get our beauty sleep."
"Well," he began as he turned over onto his side to get a better look at her, "you can just get up right now, because if you become any more beautiful I won't be able to let you out of the house." His beautiful smile radiated happiness as he reached over to tenderly touch her cheek. She covered his fingers with her own.
"I love you, Mulder. You always seem to know the perfect thing to say to me when I'm feeling like a five hundred pound beached whale." At that he moved toward her (since he knew it was no longer an easy task for her to more toward him) and embraced her.
"I love you too, Dane. I love you so much." They laid like that together for several minutes together before Scully declared she needed to get up. "Why?" he asked, snuggling into her even more.
"Because my bladder will burst if I don't Mulder, and that will not be a pretty sight, trust me." He moved quickly to allow her the necessary elbow room to rise from the bed. "God, Mulder, this is getting tougher and tougher. Please, give me a hand, 'kay?" she begged.
He stood up and moved to her side of the bed. He reached for her small hands and pulled her up while she moved her legs over the side of the bed. When she was finally able to get out of the bed, she stood up straight, or as straight as her very full, and very round belly would allow her, and shuffled into the bathroom.
Mulder watched her with a huge smile still plastered on his face. Scully, normally so small, so petite, and usually so graceful, really did waddle like a penguin into the bathroom. He knew she would kill him if he ever said that out loud, but he kept imagining her in a little tuxedo and silk bow tie.
As she walked back into the bedroom, she declared, "That's better," and then contemplated about crawling back into bed. When Mulder saw her hesitation, he patted the bed and looked at her expectantly. "I really shouldn't Mulder," she said.
"Why not? You got a hot date?" he teased.
"Oh, and wouldn't you like to know," she teased right back. When Scully entered her ninth month, she decided to work a part time schedule until a week before her due date. She wasn't due into the office until ten o'clock and she would be out the door by three o'clock, so she really was not in any great rush. Mulder on the other hand was most probably going to be late.
"Mulder, don't you have to get going?" she asked him.
"Yeah, but I've been wanting to talk to you about something, and now seemed as good of a time as any," he replied seriously.
"Is everything all right?" she asked a little anxiously.
"Yes, Dane. Everything is fine. This is just something that I've be thinking about, and, well, I need to share it with you. You're going to probably think I'm nuts, and you may even get a little angry with me, but__," he began.
"__Angry? What is it, Mulder? You're scaring me a little here," she shared.
"Oh Dane, I'm sorry. Don't be scared. It's nothing to be scared about, honestly." He reached over to gently cup her chin in his hand, and reached over to place a sweet kiss on the tip of her nose. "I mean it Dane. There's nothing to be scared about, but you very well may get angry, or at the very least, annoyed with me."
"Okay, spill, because the suspense is making me crazy," she retorted.
"Okay," he began in a small voice. "Remember when you were telling me some names you had in mind for the baby?"
"Of course I do, and you didn't seem to mind then," Scully replied a little defensively. "Why, is there a problem with them now?"
"Dane, please, listen to me. It's not so much as a problem, as a__," he hesitated, and then feeling a bit defeated, Mulder finally relented and admitted, "Well, yeah, there's a little problem. Please don't get mad, Dane. Just listen to me before you say anything. I want to try to explain. I need to explain."
"But I thought you like the names Samantha Melissa and William Samuel. I don't understand, Mulder," she said irritably.
"I'm not sure how to explain this," he said softly. When he looked at Scully, his eyes were wet with tears that only threatened to fall at this point. "I don't want to name our child Samantha or Samuel. I can't do that, because if I do, it's like admitting__," he hesitated and for a moment, Dana thought the tears that were only threatening to fall might actually begin cascading down his face.
"__Admitting what, Mulder?" she asked gently.
"Admitting that she's dead," he said simply, and the tears did indeed begin to fall slowly down his cheeks.
"What? Mulder, that's ridiculous!" Scully replied incredulously.
"Dane," he began in a slightly tremulous voice, "remember I told you I was named for my great-grandfather?"
"Yes, I remember," she said, thinking back to the day before the wedding, when her brother Bill razzed the hell out of Mulder about his first name. Mulder, on the other hand, had quietly explained that Fox was the English translation of his great-grandfather's Yiddish name.
"There's a reason I was named for my great-grandfather, Dane," he said. At Dana's questioning look, he continued. "It's a Jewish tradition to name a baby for someone who's died. It perpetuates the name; it keeps the name alive. But you never name a baby for someone who's still alive. It's bad luck.
"I mean, think about it, Dane, "he began with a hint of a smile, "when have you ever heard of a David Goldberg, __Junior__, or a Mark Cohen __the third__?"
"But Mulder, naming our baby Samantha would honor her," Scully said.
"Honor a memory," he retorted quietly. "I can't believe she's just a memory, Dane. I don't believe that. I won't believe that. I really feel in my heart that she's still alive somewhere, out there," he said, while waving his hand out toward the heavens. The tears were falling more noticeably at this point. "Can you understand this, Dana? And even if you can't understand it, can you at least forgive me and accept that I feel this way?"
She looked at him thoughtfully for a few minutes and then said, "Yes, Mulder, I can accept that you feel very strongly about this even though I don't quite get it."
He looked at her gratefully. "Thank you, Dane. Thank you for putting up with me."
"You're welcomed, but now what are we going to name this child when he or she arrives in a few weeks? I mean 'Hey You' goes just so far," she chuckled.
"Well, I'd like to carry on the tradition, if it's okay with you," he said tentatively.
"Talk to me, Mulder, because it's obvious you've given this some thought," Scully answered.
"Okay. I'd like to name our baby for Nana," he said, and was pleased to see Scully smile at the mention of Nana. "Nana's real name was Eve. Her Hebrew name was Chava. Now you have to understand the English name is not as important as the Hebrew name, but I'd like you to consider Melissa Eve if it's a girl, and the baby's Hebrew name would be Chava Miriam.
"If it's a boy, well the masculine form of Chava is Chaim. Which is perfect because Chaim means 'life'. But like I said, the English name isn't quite as important to get on the nose as the Hebrew name, so I was wondering. Nana's husband name was Adam," he began.
"Adam? Mulder, you're kidding, right?" Scully giggled.
"Don't start Scully. Every time Nana and Grandpa were introduced to someone, someone always ended up giggling or smirking. Anyway, back to question at hand. What do you say to the name of Adam William?" he asked.
"Adam William? Why not William Adam?" she asked. "William was my father's name, and it would mean so much to me to name our son after my father," she said.
"Dane," he began, "I know it would. Oh God, I know it would." He paused to catch his breath, and felt himself needing to take in great, deep breaths before he continued. "I can't do it. I mean, I couldn't name our baby William Adam." Mulder paused, and inhaled deeply. He looked away and avoided Dana's eyes at this time.
"William was my father's name too, Dane. I couldn't. I can't. Every time I would ever call my son's name, I would be reminded of __him__. I don't want to think of my son in the same breath as __that__ man. I can't, Dane. Please, forgive me, but I can't." He sobbed outright now, and tried to regain control, but he found it difficult to do so.
"Oh Mulder, I didn't even think of your father. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," she said as she offered him emotional and physical comfort by murmuring to him in his ear and embracing him to her chest.
"Adam William Mulder is a fine, strong name. They're both beautiful names, Mulder. I would be proud to name our child for Nana. She was one helluva special lady, that's for sure," she said smiling at the memory of meeting her the week before the wedding.
"If it weren't for your Nana's timely appearance, who knows what would have happened? Your appendix could have burst at any given moment, but Nana saw to it that you got the help you needed. So Nana's namesakes will be just fine."
"Thank you, Dane. I love you and I love how you love me so much that you would do this for me." He reached over and embraced her with all of his heart. He wanted to hold onto that feeling of total and unequivocal love from her.
Of course when their child was born, three weeks later, and indeed it was Adam William Mulder who made his grand entrance, Mulder wasn't quite sure how he was going to explain to his wife his next request. Names were one thing, but what he was about to ask for was something even his Scully might not agree to without a fight.
And, technically, he had only eight days to make his case.
End of Part 1/2
Disclaimers in part 1
"Mulder, you're crazy!" she said incredulously.
"Dane, I'm not crazy. Really, I'm not." He cupped her chin in his hand in an effort to get her to look directly at him. When she did, he could see the irritation in her eyes, but at least she hadn't shut down on him completely.
"Mulder, there is no way you're going to convince me on this one. It's so unnecessary and besides, it's barbaric!" she insisted.
"Scully, please, hear me out." Scully smiled inwardly to herself. When her husband went into "Scully mode" this meant he was gearing himself up for a major battle. Well, maybe battle was the wrong word for it, but he certainly was not expecting her to give in on this issue easily at all.
"I'm listening, Mulder, but I'm warning you now. There's no way you're going to convince me to have an unlicensed doctor perform surgery on our son," she declared adamantly.
"The title is a mohel, Scully, and very often the mohel is a physician. If you want to find one that is also a physician, I have no objection to that. It's just that since Rabbi Ginsburg helped marry us and is, in fact, a mohel, I thought it might be more meaningful to have him perform the ceremony," Mulder replied earnestly.
"Mulder, I don't understand why we can't just have the doctors do it now. The longer we wait, the more sensitive the baby will get and, well, Mulder, it really does seem barbaric. What's the point?" she asked, slightly irritated.
"Because he's my son," he replied quietly.
"He's my son too, Mulder, or have we forgotten this little bit of information in your new found zeal for religion?" she asked with a little more bite to her tone than she had initially planned.
Mulder looked at his wife, as she laid in her hospital bed, less than twenty- four hours after the birth of their son, Adam William. He had given her a brief explanation of his conversations with God, and how he planned on including Him more in his life if their baby was born alive and well.
"Dane, talk to me. What is it that's really bothering you about this. It's not like we weren't planning on having Adam circumcised anyway, right?" he asked. Upon seeing Scully grudgingly shrug her shoulders in agreement, he continued to probe her thoughts.
"So, tell me what's really bothering you, Dane. Please, talk to me," he pleaded.
"Mulder, I'm not sure what the ceremony means. I'm afraid it may mean I'm making promises that I may not be able to keep," she replied.
"What kind of promises are you talking about?" he asked gently.
She looked at her husband, her handsome, intelligent, serious, and very sensitive husband. She realized she needed to be very careful in her choice of words. "Mulder," she began, "I am Catholic, albeit a lapsed Catholic, but I am Catholic. The baby is Catholic too, isn't he." Her last query was rhetorical, because they both knew the answer.
"Yes, Dane. According to Judaic law, Adam is Catholic."
"So, I'm not quite sure what point there is to having a Bris for Adam. It doesn't change the fact that Adam is Catholic in the eyes of Jewish law, right? I mean, are we even sure the Rabbi would perform the ceremony for us?" she asked.
"Rabbi Ginsburg said he would. I know a surgeon wouldn't have any objections to performing it at the house, or, if you would feel more comfortable, we could hold the ceremony here in the hospital." When Scully looked at him questioningly, he sheepishly added, " I checked with Hospital Services. They have a room set aside for ceremonies such as circumcisions."
"So you've been doing your homework, haven't you Mulder?" she said dryly.
"Oh Dane, please. I don't know how to explain it to you," he said.
"Mulder, I'm just uncomfortable with the Jewish ceremony," she admitted.
"You didn't object when we included the Jewish traditions in our marriage ceremony," he countered.
"Yes, but they were lovely traditions that didn't commit us to anything," she said in an attempt to explain her anxiety.
"They committed you to me, Dane. And me to you," he offered.
"Yes, I know, but they didn't commit me to Judaism," she explained, but feeling somewhat exasperated because the words were not conveying all that she felt.
"Dane, I am a Jew," she said flatly.
"Mulder, you were born a Jew, but you haven't practiced Judaism at least since I've known you. There's a difference. I may be a lapsed Catholic, but I never stopped believing in God."
He looked at her and wondered how he could explain this unexplainable need to have his son circumcised in the Jewish ceremony. Scully was right. He hadn't been a believer in God in a very long time, but when he learned Scully was pregnant again, he decided he needed to change that. Some might have even said that he wanted to hedge his bets, and in the beginning he wouldn't have been able to dispute that.
But as the months passed, and the baby grew and became more and more of a reality, Mulder found more and more comfort in knowing that he had something or someone to turn during those anxious moments when he wasn't sure about how all would turn out. He didn't know if Judaism or God had all of the answers for him, but at least he was no longer afraid to ask the questions.
"Dane, I don't think I ever stopped thinking of myself as a Jew. I may not have always believed in the tenets of Judaism or religion in general for that matter, but I always knew _what_ I was," he offered.
"Even if I didn't?" she asked quickly. When he looked back at her, his expression was that of confusion, so she went on. "Mulder, in the four plus years we'd known one another, I didn't have a clue about your religious background until we went to your father's unveiling. How am I supposed to now accept this sudden change in your belief system."
He looked wounded at her words. She knew she was being a little harsh, but Scully felt she had to make her husband understand there were some things that she, nor he, would or could take lightly. Believing in God was one of those things.
"Mulder, I'm not trying to pick a fight. God, not today, not after all we've been through. We've been through hell and back again after I had the miscarriage. I promised myself I would never shut you out again of my emotions or feelings.
"So, I'm trying to be as honest as I can, Mulder. I'm just not comfortable with this. You're going to have to accept that for now. But now, you talk to me. I need you to make me understand, and I promise I will try my best to keep an open mind, okay?"
She reached out to him in an attempt to let him know she was not his adversary, but his partner in both life and love. He sat down with her on the bed and melted into her arms. He murmured his "I love you's" and stayed content in her arms until the door opened.
"Hello Mom! Someone's hungry!" called out the nurse. "Oh, look who else is here, Adam! Daddy's here too!"
Mulder stood up to take the crying baby from the nurse's arms. "Come here beautiful boy," he crooned. He stood there with his son cradled in his arms and had the most delicious smile on his face. Scully wished desperately she had a camera at that very moment. The look of pure adulation on both Father's and Son's faces were a priceless gift she wished she could have preserved forever.
Then she heard something she hadn't heard since just before their wedding. "Now you are my shayner boychikel. I love you so much, shayner boychik. I love you so much," he cooed. Those were the exact words that Mulder's Nana said to him.
And then realization dawned on Scully. She suddenly knew, upon hearing Mulder utter those words of endearment, why the Bris was so important to him. It was his way of tethering himself to a happier time, during a time when he had felt little happiness.
He had told her once that the only place he ever felt truly happy and safe, as a child, was in his Nana's home. Scully knew now that all Mulder wanted to give their son was a taste of that happiness and security.
"Mulder," she called out to him gently. He looked up at her and she saw the tears in his eyes. He was so totally in love with this baby, it was palpable. As she reached for him to place him at her breast, she said, "I can't commit to raising him as a Jew, Mulder. But I can commit to raising him to believe in God."
"Scully, that's all I ask," he replied, as he caressed both mother and son. "All I want is the chance to share with him what makes me Fox William Mulder. And I've come to realize that my Judaism is a part of me that I want him to know. The funny thing is it's a part of me that _I_ want to get to know.
"And Dane, that means he's got to know who you are too. You need to teach him about Catholicism. Look, I'm not sure how this is going to play out, whether one religion will 'win' out over the other, you know? But Nana said once, that even though we've found our Gods in different houses of worship, at least we found God."
Seven days later, Rabbi Ginsburg stood in the center of the room while the surgeon stood near the table waiting with the appropriate instruments. Rabbi Ginsburg didn't take offense that his services as a mohel were not required, and was quite content to take the role in this ceremony that he'd been asked to take.
Adam entered the room and was carried in on a ceremonial pillow. First he was passed to his maternal grandmother, and Maggie gave him a gentle kiss. Then, he was passed to his paternal grandmother. Mulder wasn't sure if she would attend, but to his delight, Elizabeth Mulder arrived with baby gifts in hand.
Next, the baby was placed in the arms of Dana's best friend, Ellen, who was named as Adam's godmother. Then Rabbi Ginsburg called over Walter Skinner, who was given the honor as the "sandek" or godfather, and as the baby was brought over to him, the rabbi proclaimed first in Hebrew and then in English, "Blessed be he that cometh."
The surgeon chose to use a circumcision board which allowed the sandek to relax a little. Normally it's the sandek's job to hold the baby down while the mohel performs the circumcision. However, since the surgeon used the board, the baby was strapped down while Walter merely held onto the baby's arms and legs more for show than for necessity. Scully was standing right up front, though she had been encouraged to move toward the back of the room.
"Rabbi, I'm a forensic pathologist," she declared.
"And this is your _son's_ bris," he began. "Today you're role is that of mommy, not pathologist."
Scully made a little "hrummpphh" noise in the back of her throat, and was about to say she'd fought against liver eating mutants and flukemen, but just as she was about to make her retorts, the Rabbi began his prayers again.
The surgeon bent over Adam and began his work. Scully grasped onto Mulder's arm and found herself closing her eyes. "You okay, Dane?" Mulder asked.
"Just tell me when it's over, okay Dad?" she asked, her voice trembling as much as her hands.
The surgeon finally finished his task, much to Scully's relief, and Mulder's too for that matter. The rabbi filled a beautiful wine glass, yet another one from Nana's crystal set that Elizabeth had brought from Connecticut, and passed it around to all. As the baby continued to wail, Rabbi Ginsburg took a sterile gauze and dipped it into the sweet wine.
He then placed the gauze by Adam's small mouth, and, to everyone's amazement, the baby quieted down immediately and suckled the gauze pad. "Nu?" the Rabbi chuckled, " so the child was born knowing what was good!"
Everyone laughed at that, and then the Rabbi had the baby placed back on the pillow. He raised him up, high above his shoulders, and began more prayers that welcomed this new life, Chaim Mulder, into the covenant of the Jewish people and the world.
As the Rabbi finished his prayers and handed their son, Adam William Mulder, back to his mother and father, all that were present echoed the Rabbi in their response to the prayers and said, "Amen."
End of part 2/2
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