Life Cycles IX: Journey (15/21)
by Susan Proto (
and Vickie Moseley (

Meanwhile, Rabbi Ginsburg was balancing two weak cups of
vending machine coffee while Dana Scully-Mulder finished
changing Adam for what seemed like the hundredth time. In fact,
Maggie went out to the store to make another diaper run.

Dana folded up the disposable diaper and placed it in the plastic
baggie so she could toss it in the wasted basket guilt-free. As she
held the diaper up, she shook her head and said aloud, "This whole
thing started because of these stupid things."

"Beg pardon?" the rabbi said.

"If I hadn't asked Mulder to go out and get the damned diapers, we
wouldn't be in this mess," she said with annoyance. "All because I
asked him to go out to the car."

"Life is full of 'what ifs', Dana. In Judaism, it is thought that the
Book of Life has our names entered with our fates sealed. Of
course, there's nothing to say we can't change our fate, but who's to
say whether your brother would have not shown his anger toward
Fox at yet another time?" Rabbi Ginsburg asked gently.

"I don't know, Rabbi. Mulder said there were bad feelings between
the two of them ever since the wedding. I thought they'd worked
through it, but obviously I was wrong. I was wrong about a lot of
things," she sighed.

"What things?" he coaxed.

"I was wrong about my brother for one. How could I have loved
and put my trust in someone that was so__ so__?" she couldn't find
the word.

"__so ignorant?" the rabbi concluded for her. "Dana, that's what
bigotry is, you know. It's simply ignorance and in ignorance there's
always fear of the unknown if you don't allow yourself the joy of
discovering something or someone new. Your brother obviously
was more apprehensive about making new discoveries and chose to
fear the unknown instead."

"But Rabbi, this is not a stupid man. He hasn't led a sheltered life,"
she argued.

"No? He's in the military?" he asked.

"Navy," she confirmed.

"Career man?" Rabbi asked.

"Yes. He followed in the footsteps of my father," she enlightened.

"Ahh," the rabbi sighed. "I'm not surprised."

"Surprised by what Rabbi Ginsburg? I don't understand."

"Dana, you and your brother were Navy brats, right? You moved
around a lot because your father was transferred to many different
locations in the course of your childhood, yes?" Dana nodded her
head in affirmation of the Rabbi's points.

"Did you live in private housing or on the bases?" When told the
latter, the rabbi then asked, "So, Dana, as a child, how many Jewish
friends did you have?"

"But one of my best . . . friends . . . is . . . Jewish, . . . Rabbi," she
stumbled when she realized how trite her comment was.

"Yes dear, and you married a Jewish man too, but that doesn't
answer my question. When you were a child, how many Jewish
friends did you have?" he probed.

"None," she said solemnly.

"But then you went on to college and you went out into the world
and you made friends and some were Jewish, and some were
African American and some were Asian and some were
Moslem___. Dana, you opened yourself up to a diverse world
when you went away to college, and medical school, and then to
the FBI."

Rabbi Ginsburg sat quietly, allowing Dana to assimilate everything
he'd just confirmed aloud to her. He observed her as she sat
quietly, simply observing the sleeping baby in her arms and tracing
his sweet baby features with her forefinger.

Some moments passed until she looked up and made eye contact
with the rabbi. When she smiled shyly, Rabbi Ginsburg knew she
understood the point he was trying to make.

"He's seen the world, but he's been blind to the people in it, hasn't
he?" she asked rhetorically. "I guess we were limited in the
diversity of peoples that we were exposed to as children. At least
when I went to college and med school, my horizons opened up.

"But Bill remained in that world," she continued. "He was ROTC,
so his vision of the world was even more limited than had he gone
in as a grunt. I couldn't figure out why he was so intolerant. The
thing is, Rabbi, my father was a career man, and I don't remember
him ever being intolerant of people who were different from us.
Never," Dana said earnestly.

"Dana, how often was your father home, and for how long?" he
asked gently.

"Well, he would be gone at sea for weeks, sometimes months at a
time. But then he'd be home for a long period too, before he'd have
to return to his ship," she said.

"So when he came home, it was like Christmas every time, wasn't
it?" Rabbi Gerry probed cautiously. "Not much time for anything
but seeing his kids and doing fun things together, as a family.

"Right. But my father was a good man, Rabbi," she declared with

"I have no doubt he was a good man, because I see the daughter he
helped produce," he agreed.

"But he also produced my bigoted, imbecile of a brother. Is that
what you're trying to say to me?" she asked with some anger.

"I'm saying, Dana, we are a product of our environment, our genes,
and the common sense that God has seen fit to give us. It's up to us
as to whether we use it or not," Rabbi Gerry said. "Dana, I suspect
your brother is a good man too, just like your father. I would guess
that your father probably had more common sense than your
brother. I suspect Fox believes Bill is basically a good man too, or
else he wouldn't be so adamant about dropping the charges."

"I don't know what to do, Rabbi," Dana implored. "What should I

"Talk to Fox," was his only reply.

St. Anthony's Medical Center
Reception Desk
4:30 pm

"Father Thom! You're early," the pretty receptionist exclaimed.

"Confirmation class later, Angela. I wanted to make my rounds
before I went through the wringer with 20 eighth graders," the
priest laughed.

"Well, that's great, but it's been a madhouse here today, and I
haven't had a chance to make up your list," Angela sighed.

"That's OK, I know most of my people, anyway. What if I just
looked over the new admits since yesterday and pick up the
stragglers," he said with a smile.

"You're a saint, Father," Angela grinned and handed him clipboard.

"I'll make sure you're on my committee, when the Vatican takes a
look at me," Father Thom replied with a wink of his eye as he
accepted the sheets. "So, who came in that I should see?" he
mumbled, mostly to himself. His eyes followed the line of names
until one of them jumped out at him. "Oh no!" he exclaimed. "But
why wouldn't they take him to a DC hospital?" the priest asked no
one in particular. "I better get up there and see what's going on!"

He didn't need directions to find the ICU. Once at the desk, he was
greeted by Patricia. "Hi, Father. How can I help you?" she asked
with a smile.

"Fox Mulder was brought up here last night. His mother-in-law is a
parishoner and he and his wife are having their baby baptised at St.
Mark's in this week. I was wondering how he's doing, can he
have visitors?"

Patricia rolled her eyes. "I'm ready to kick him and the whole
bunch of 'em off the floor, Father," she confided with a twinkle in
her eyes. "But what's a party without one more? Go on in, he's in
number 2. I think the family is down in the lounge, when they
aren't in his room."

"What happened?" the priest asked, concerned. "Car accident?"

Patricia looked furtively around her and shook her head slowly.
"Apparently, his wife's brother and two 'friends' beat him up.
Almost killed him, Father. He's been here since last night--it was
awful. The police have been here, the FBI--like I said, it's been a
Roman Circus. They could probably use some cool heads right
now. Oh, there's a Rabbi in there with them, somewhere," she
added. "Maybe between the two of you, you can calm things down
but you two will probably be outnumbered. It's a downright
shame, that kind of stuff happening and right in front of that sweet
little baby. Why do people act like that, Father?"

Father Thom's stomach had dropped to his shoes and he almost
missed Patricia's last question. He looked up, replaying it in his
mind. "I wish I knew, Patricia. I really wish I knew."

The lounge was around a corner, and Mulder's room was just to
the left as Father Thom entered the floor. He thought about
heading straight to the lounge, but thought better of it and turned to
his left. A man was already leaving, looking very sad. Father
started to nod, then recognized the face. "Richard?"

Richard looked up and seemed to come back to the world around
him. "Father, oh, hello! I'm sorry, my mind was elsewhere--"

"Quite all right. I didn't know you knew the Mulder's. I mean, I
saw you chatting at the class, and thought it was nice, since you all
seem to have chosen the same road to travel, but--"

"Just a small world, Father. I'm defending Mr. Scully--the alleged
assailant," Richard explained.

Father's face dropped. "Oh, Richard. Tell me it was a domestic
dispute, please," he begged.

"I wish I could, I wish I could," Richard murmured. "It appears it
was motivated, Father. There was specific reference to Mr.
Mulder's religious and ethnic affiliation--that's he's Jewish,"
Richard said sadly.

The priest closed his eyes and shook his head. "Poor Maggie. I
know she must be dying inside--she loves her children so much.
And she's considered Fox to be one of her own for so very long,"
he sighed. He opened his eyes and regarded the young man.
"Then, there have been charges made. Which brother are we
talking about?"

"Bill. The older one," Richard explained.

"Another stop on my travels tonight," Father muttered, making a
mental note to visit the jail. "Which precinct?"

"The fifth," Richard supplied and watched as the priest took out a
small notebook and wrote it down.

"How is Fox? I don't want to disturb him if he needs rest," Father
said, looking toward the door to number 2.

"Right now he's more emotionally tired than anything, Father. He
might appreciate a kind word," Richard said. "I need to get home.
Rachael's sick and Leslie's been forced to deal with both the kids
all day--it's time for the Daddy shift," he added with a sadder smile.

"You're a good man, Richard. Leslie is a very lucky young
woman. Give them all hugs for me, won't you?" the priest said,
patting the younger man on the shoulder.

"I will. See you in about three weeks, isn't it?"

The priest thought for a moment. "I do believe I have little Jason
down that week, yes," he nodded. "Are you ready?" he asked with
a knowing smile.

"Yeah, if Leslie's mom can get the Christening gown finished.
She's crocheted every gown worn by any baby in the their family,
you know."

"I know, she does beautiful work. I remember little Rachael's
gown, she looked like a little angel," the priest smiled fondly.
"Well, you better be off. Again, don't forget my hugs and I hope
Rachael is feeling better."

"Thank you, Father--see you later."

The priest stood outside the room. This one is best left in your
hands, Lord, but help me be your instrument, he prayed silently.
Squaring his shoulders, he entered the room. "Hello, Mulder," he
said quietly. Luckily he'd remembered how the younger man
prefered his last name. "I heard you were here, and thought I'd
stop by to say hello."

Mulder had been lost in thought, so it took him a moment to place
the person standing in front of him. It didn't help matters that
Father Thom was going 'incognito'--no collar, but a black polo
shirt instead.

"It's Thom Donovan," the priest said. "Father Thom?"

"Oh, Father, yes, I remember you. Sorry, it's hard to see today,"
Mulder noted, waving toward his swollen face.

"I was speaking with Richard in the hallway. I'm so terribly sorry.
Is there anything I can do?" the priest asked, taking a seat next to
the bed.

Mulder shook his head. "Not unless there's a special talent the
Irish have for knocking sense into each other," he muttered grimly.

"Well, that is what 'walking sticks' were predominantly used for,
but we in the Church tend to frown on the practice," Father
deadpanned, and Mulder broke into a lop sided smile.

"So what do you use now?"

"Well, it depends on who you're refering to. I think the law will
knock some sense into Bill Scully--"

"It's not Bill, it's Dana. She and I have a difference of opinion,"
Mulder sighed and shifted, wincing less that before. He was feeling
a little better, the pain killers were doing the trick. But the
emotions that were being called upon were wearing him ragged.

Father chewed on that piece of information for a minute. "Fox, you
should know that Dana loves you more than anything. You are her
hope. If she's defending her brother--"

Mulder let out a short bark of a laugh. "Not the case, Father. I'm
afraid that if this were a capital crime, Dana would be asking to
throw the switch."

Enlightenment shone in the priest's eyes. "Old sibling rivalries die
hard, is it? Don't look so surprise, Mulder. It happens all the time.
And given the family situation, I'm not at all convinced that if it
hadn't happened now, it would have been a matter of time before it
did come to a head. I remember all too clearly the little 'display'
Bill Scully put on at the rehearsal dinner before your wedding. I
thought there might be trouble then, but when it didn't happen, well
I can't say I didn't hope for the best."

"He's her big brother. He wants to protect her. He thinks she's
made a mistake--"

"And you don't think your religion has anything to do with it?"

"No, well, yes, maybe, a little-- It's all so mixed up. I don't even
know everything about my religion--not all I should know and now
this comes up and it's making me--"

"Question. You're questioning. Is it worth the fight?
Mulder--Fox, I've seen you and Dana together. You supported her
when her faith was being tested--and yours, for that matter. I
remember Maggie calling me after you lost the baby--she was so
worried about both of you. But you struggled through and you
came out on the other side. A great many people would have used
that as an excuse to turn away from God, but you didn't. You
turned toward Him. And from the looks of it, He answered your

"Will He answer them now?" Mulder asked. His eyes were dry, but
only because he didn't have tears left.

"Yes. I believe He will. That's what faith is, you see. Not the
question 'Do I believe?', but the answer-- 'yes I do'."

"So, somehow, Dana will come to understand? I don't want to tear
this family apart. I can't watch that happen--I love them all too
much. Even Bill, though I'd rather not say it to his face right now,"
he added.

"Nor should you, if you don't feel like it. You're a psychologist,
Fox. You know that anger is an emotion and emotions aren't bad
in and of themselves. It's when we let them ride roughshod over
reason that we have a problem."

"So that's what Dana's been trying to teach me all these years,"
Mulder chuckled lightly. "I wish she'd listen to herself this time."

"She will, give her, and God, time. Now, you look like you could
use a nap. I want to say hello to your mother-in-law and then I'll
be going. If there's anything you need--"

"Thanks, Father. You've helped, really."

end of part fifteen


Life Cycles VIX: Journey (16/21)
by Susan Proto (
and Vickie Moseley (

Dana stood outside the door, dreading going in.

It shouldn't be like this, she berated herself. Just 24 hours before,
she'd been terrified to leave his bedside. Now, she was terrified to
face him again. You really are a coward, she chided herself, and
not for the first time.

Her talk with Rabbi Ginsburg had brought something to her
attention. Bill really had led a more sheltered life than she had.
He'd entered the Navy straight out of high school William and
Maggie Scully had always been proud of the fact that they managed
to send all four of their brood to Catholic schools--all the way
through. That was nice and she was glad now that they had done
that, but unfortunately, the Catholic schools of the 70's were often
used as a way of separating the races, as well as the religions. She
knew Bill ran around with some bigoted friends, but her father
never tolerated that. The big problem was, her father wasn't
around now, to put his foot down when it was needed.

Still, it went beyond that. It went to old wounds and hurts that had
festered for a long time. She was a grown woman, and she'd
convinced herself that meant she had to give up on the anger that
had fueled much of her childhood relationship with her older
brother. She now saw that it might have covered over it, but it
didn't make it go away. It was there, just under the surface. Bill's
attitude toward Mulder hurt her because she saw it as a personal
affront. It was as if Bill was again telling her she wasn't smart
enough to make a good choice for a spouse, that she had 'settled'
for the first man who had looked her way.

That is what really upset her. That he was belittling her husband.
Funny thing was, when she looked at it calmly, Fox had very little
to do with it. He was the victim, not a real participant in this little
power struggle between siblings. What really hurt her was that her
husband was telling her to grow up and put it behind her. But the
fact remained--she really didn't want to. Not this time.

Her arms felt empty. She'd been holding Adam as a shield. No one
crossed her when the baby was in her arms. But now, she'd left
Adam in her mother's care and was here to 'talk things out' with
her husband. She knew exactly how important this discussion was.
It was not just a disagreement, it was a drawing of a line in the
sand. Somehow, either they came out of this on the same side, or
not at all. And that thought frightened her more than she cared to

Steeling herself, she walked into the room.

He looked pale, even with the black and blue marks coloring his
skin. She winced at each dark suture that marred his lip. She
ached at the bandages she could see faintly through his thin hospital
gown. The tubes were decreasing in number with each passing
hour, but he was still hooked up to enough machinery to remind her
that he wasn't here for the cuisine. She hated to put him in any
further pain.

He saw her before she had a chance to speak. The smile that lit up
his face erased all the anxiety she'd felt in the hallway. He spoke
first. "Hi, G-woman," he said and reached for her hand.

"Hi yourself, G-man," she answered and grabbed his hand like it
was the last life ring off the Titanic. She sat down on the high
backed chair--her body fitting into the grooves she'd left over the
last 24 hours.

"I've had a few visitors, but I missed you," Mulder said, his eyes
gleaming at her.

"I know. I'm sorry. I didn't want to argue before--I just--" she
trailed off as he took her hand and placed gentle kisses on her

"You've been under a lot of pressure. I'm sorry if I upset you," he
said sincerely.

"Mulder, you jerk," she huffed. "You're the one in the hospital
bed! I'm not supposed to upset _you_!"

"We need to talk," he said tenderly.

"I don't want to talk. I want to sit here and let you kiss my hand,"
she pouted.


"I know, I know. OK, so when last we parted company, I wanted
to throw the book at my asshole brother William, and you were
displaying an incredible capacity to 'turn the other cheek'. Does
that about sum it up?"

"Not exactly. Next time he comes after me, I fully intend to take
him down, make no mistake," Mulder said with a lopsided
grin. "But I don't want the already overburdened court system, not
to mention the prison system, getting all the fun." As always,
Mulder was making light of the situation.

"I don't know if that will stop it, Mulder. I mean, Ahab could stop
it, but sometimes, and I'll be perfectly honest--he used his belt.
He's not here. Maybe all Bill understands now is 'the belt'. Maybe
it's the only way to get through to him." Dane noticed the visible
shudder Mulder's body involuntarily made when she mentioned "the

"Dane, listen to yourself. This isn't some 15 year old punk who
we're going to 'scare straight' by having him spend a night in
county lock up. This is a man, with a wife and family to provide
for. If he does jail time, not just one life is ruined. Four lives are
ruined. His career would be over--the only life he's ever known.
His name, your name, would be muddied. And I don't even want
to bring up what the trial would do to Mom. Dane, it would
kill her. She's strong, but she's not as young as she used to be,
and it scares me to think of putting her through that kind of hell."

Dana was trying hard not to get upset, but she was still convinced
of her position. "You don't understand. If we drop the charges,
he'll think it was all a game. He'll think he can get by with doing
this to me all the time--"

Mulder caught the change of reference and noted it. "Dane, Billy
boy kicked the shit out of _me_. This wasn't about you," he said
softly, but with enough conviction that Scully knew he wasn't
joking around this time.

"Yes, it was," she argued, getting to her feet and pacing the floor.
"That's where you're wrong, Mulder. It is about me. It's about
me and my brother and all the times he teased me and made me cry
and hurt me and locked me in closets because he thought it was
funny--" Tears that she didn't want were falling down her cheeks
but she continued.

"Bill, perfect Bill. Always, every fucking time Ahab went to sea, he
would call us all in the hallway to say goodbye. And he would kiss
Missy and tell her to help Mom, and he would pat Bill on the
shoulder and tell him that he was the man of the house. And then
he'd kiss me and call me his Starbuck and kiss Charlie and call him
his 'tuna' and he'd leave. And the minute Mom's back was turned,
it would start. Bill was a little dictator--Benito Mussolini. He'd
boss us around and yell at us and tear up our stuff--he did it all the
time. And I was the only one who would see it, I was the only one
who would fight back. And I hated him for it, and I still do!"

"Dane, you don't hate him. You may have hated what he did
to you, but you don't hate him." As she was about to protest,
Mulder, holding out his good arm, tenderly said, "Come here."

She shook her head sadly. "No, I'll hurt your ribs," she protested.

"Can't be done, I'm on the 'good stuff'," he grinned. "Come here,
and that's an order. I had Father Donovan slip in an 'and obey' line
in Latin while you weren't listening," he joked.

She gingerly crawled into his open arms. "I know Latin," she
sniffed, trying not to smile.

"Yeah, well, then would you believe I had Rabbi Gerry stick in
an 'and obey' line in the ketubah?" Mulder said, "And don't tell me
you've suddenly developed the ability to read Hebrew just so you
could read our marriage contract," he said with a light chuckle.

He hugged her tightly. "I'm sorry your brother was always such
a shit to you," he whispered in her ear, then moved to kiss her hair.
"If I'd known you then, I'd have kicked his ass for you."

"I can take care of myself," she said, wiping her nose on her hand.
"I need a tissue," she told him and moved to reach one, then came
back to the comfort of his arms. "Mulder, what he said, his
motivation--how can you condone that? How can you let him get
by with that? This is an injustice that has to be rectified. Isn't that
what we've been doing for the last 6 years? Putting scum who do
this kind of shit to people behind bars?"

"First of all, sweetheart, a good deal of our cases dealt more with
actual 'scum' than actual people, if you'll remember," he joked.
"But yes, I see what you're trying to say, but you know, you've just
contradicted yourself." When she looked at him quizzically, he
continued making his point.

"Dane, was his motivation to put my lights out because I'm a Jew,
or because _I_, Fox Mulder, married his little sister, and to make
matters worse, I wasn't even Catholic. I think at this point, you
could probably substitute _any_ religion, or nationality, or race in
the blank, Dane, that _wasn't_ Irish Catholic.

"I don't think Bill cared so much that I was a Jew, as much as I
married his baby sister and also happened to be Jewish. You
yourself said how much he liked to boss you around. Can you
imagine how ambivolent he felt when he learned his beloved baby
sister, who seemed so happy, was marrying someone without _his_
personal seal of approval? And then to find out it wasn't someone
just like him, well, that must have felt like a royal slap in the face.
Like _you_ slapped him in the face, and that was probably worse!
Imagine, a big, strong guy like that having to take that kind of crap
from his little sister.

"So what would we be punishing him for, Dane? For what would
we be throwing the book at him? So, instead of asking what was
Bill's motivation, perhaps the person whose motivation we should
be questioning is yours?" At that, Mulder could feel her stiffen in
his arms, but he held fast to her, and would not let her loose. He
felt it was important to let her know just how much he loved her,
even when he felt she was wrong.

"Dane, don't leave me. I love you, and I know you love me. But,
as angry as you are with Bill, you can't tell me you don't love him.
Please, don't tell me you can throw away love as easily as that,"
Mulder asked emotionally.

When Dane turned to look at him, she realized just how drained
he looked. She was about to tell him that they could finish talking
about this another time, but he interrupted her thoughts and
continued speaking.

"There's also something else to consider. This may sound trite, but,
to be honest, I don't want to bear the responsibility for William
Scully, Jr.'s attitude against all Jews. I'm so afraid Dane, that even
though he didn't start out thinking that way, he might find it
convenient to turn me and other Jews into a scapegoat for his

So the question is, do we charge him with Bias Crimes because he's
so stupid? Dane, I'm not going to tell you it doesn't hurt, no more
than you could tell me that he didn't hurt you in doing this to me.
But I just don't know if throwing him in jail for a goodly number of
years and ripping him away from his family is the lesson we want to
teach him.

"You said I was better at 'Turning the Other Cheek'. I'll be honest,
I don't know if it's that as much as I don't want to feel responsible
for tearing this family apart. Dane, I felt that responsibilty once in
my life already, and I don't want to ever feel that way again.

"You know what my fondest wish was concerning my family? I
mean aside from wanting Sam to return? I wanted them to forgive
me. Dane, they always blamed be for Sam's disappearance, and
they never forgave me. Families are supposed to forgive and love
one another, aren't they? I'd always wished mine had. Please, don't
give up on this family so easily, Dane."

"I don't care," she said flatly, her voice harboring no emotion what
so ever.

"You don't care if this tears my family apart?" Mulder asked, his
voice taking on an edge for the first time. He swallowed down his
anger, knowing it had no place here, between them. "Dane, I've
spent my life trying to accomplish the one thing I thought would
bring my old family back together again--find my sister. I have a
new family, a good and loving family. How can you ask me to be
the one who destroys that family, too? Dane, I've searched for
over two decades for a sister I lost. Please, please don't throw
away a brother who is standing right in front of you. Once lost,
they are just too hard to replace."

She turned to him then, and he could see the torment his words had
caused in her. But Mulder smiled, too. Because in her eyes, and
through the tears, he could see hope.

end of part sixteen


Life Cycles VIX: Journey (17/21)
by Susan Proto (
and Vickie Moseley (

Baltimore County Courthouse
9:30 am

Richard sat at the defense attorney's desk and waited for his client.
He didn't know what was going to happen. When he'd left the
hospital last night, he knew that Rabbi Ginsburg and Father Thom
were there to counsel the Mulders. He hoped they were able to
help them. He hoped they were able to help him and his client.

He had to deal with Bill Scully, and he didn't know what to tell him.
Richard didn't know if the charges were going to stand, nor did he
know if he was going to be granted bail. In his heart, he didn't
know if he wanted this guy out on bail if the charges were going to

He looked around the courtroom and saw a young woman looking
for a seat close to the front of the courtroom. Richard was certain
that the young woman was related to Scully. Perhaps it was the
darkened circles under the red eyes that gave him the clue. Or
perhaps it was the fact that he overheard her ask the bailiff if
William Scully, Jr. had been brought into court yet.

"Excuse me, Miss? My name is Richard Goldfarb. I'm William
Scully's lawyer. May I help you?" Richard asked.

"I'm Tara Scully, Mr. Goldfarb. I'm Bill's wife," she said

"When did you get into Maryland?" he asked.

"I took the red eye and got in about 6 o'clock this morning. I flew
all night and then drove from Dulles to here," she answered.

"Where are your kids?" he asked, more out of curiosity than

"Friends in San Diego, bless them. I don't know how many times
I'm going to have to watch their kids in order to pay 'em back," she
sighed. "But I didn't think it would be wise to bring the children."

Richard mumbled in agreement, and then asked her if she knew
what was going on.

"I know that Bill was arrested for getting into a fist fight with
Dana's husband," she responded.

"Mrs. Scully, I'm afraid it's a little more complicated than that,"
Richard replied. "It wasn't just a fist fight. Mrs. Scully, your
husband and two of his old high school chums have been accused of
Assault and Battery as well as a Bias Crimes Assault Charge,"
Richard Goldfarb explained quickly.

"I don't understand. Assault?" she asked.

"Yes, Mrs. Scully, Assault. Mulder was badly beaten. He was
unconscious for a number of hours, his kidney had been damaged,
and the doctors weren't sure if he was going to make it." At the
shocked expression on Tara Scully's face, Richard paused. He
realized she had been kept in the dark via the long distance phone
calls between Baltimore and San Diego.

"Does Bill know you're here?" he asked gently.

"No, no, he doesn't. I phoned Maggie from the hotel to let her
know. She told me I was lucky that I'd actually caught her at
home, gathering supplies. I should have realized when she said that
they had been at the hospital all night.

"But she had said Fox was doing fine and not to worry, yet if he
was that badly hurt, and there are these charges against Bill_, Oh
my God. This can't be happening__," Tara cried out.

"Take a seat Mrs. Scully. Your husband should be coming out very
shortly," and as if on cue, Bill Scully appeared from the side door.
As he emerged, he caught sight of Richard Goldfarb and breathed a
small sigh of relief. Then he looked beyond Richard and saw Tara.
He thought his heart was going to stop.

"Tara?!" he cried out as a child might when caught by his parents
doing something forbidden, but still relieved that they were there to
save him from himself.

"Bill," she called to him. "Oh Bill, why?"

"Mrs. Scully, I need you to sit down quietly now. This is Bill's bail
hearing and we want the judge to hear only what *I* want him to
hear at the moment, okay? You'll get a chance to speak with your
husband later," promised Richard.

As the bailiff entered the courtroom to announce the arrival of the
Judge, Richard scanned the room again to see if the cavalry was
going to arrive. When the bailiff called for the first defendant,
Richard realized the chances of having the charges dropped were
getting slimmer and slimmer as time passed.

Richard knew he had another four to five names to wait through
before Bill's case number was called. He looked through his papers
once more and then looked up again.

The cavalry had arrived.

He just wasn't sure whose side they were on.

Walter Skinner was staring at the back of Bill Scully's head, while
another man, a young redhead like his client, talked to Walter and
pointed in the direction of Tara Scully. Richard realized he must
have been Bill and Dana's younger brother.

Finally, Richard caught Walter's eye and when Richard mouthed
something that could be interpreted as similar to "What's going
on?" Walter merely nodded slightly and looked at the younger man
standing next to him. Richard wasn't sure if this was a good omen
or not, but it didn't matter since he'd just heard his client's name
called on the docket.

Both client and lawyer both stood before the judge. When the
judge called Bill's name again, he asked him if he understood the
charges against him. Bill nodded mutely, but found his voice when
the judge informed him he needed to speak aloud if he was capable.

"Yes, Your Honor. I understand the charges," William Scully, Jr.
replied with a tremor in his voice. William Scully, Jr. was scared to

"These are very serious charges, Mr. Scully. Very serious. What
kind of bail are you seeking here?" the Judge asked.

"Your honor, as this is Mr. Scully's first offense I would like to
request PR," Richard proposed, knowing full well they'd never get

"Your Honor," interjected the District Attorney, "I can't even
imagine that the Defense would ask for personal recognizance.
This man is on shore leave from the US Navy and must be
considered a flight risk. I respectfully request bail be denied," the
DA proposed, knowing full well he'd never get it.

"Excuse me, Your Honor," called out the strong voice from the
rear of the courtroom. "May I come forward."

Richard turned to see Walter Skinner walk forward with some
documents in his hand. "I apologize for this last minute intrusion,
but I only just received the documents needed to present to the
court with regards to this case.

Richard looked at Walter and saw a glint in his eye. Richard knew.
The cavalry did indeed arrive, but he was going to milk this for all
that it was worth and make Bill Scully sweat a little more. Good.
Richard was all for a little sweat.

"Your Honor, my name is Walter Skinner. I am an Assistant
Director of the FBI based in Washington, DC. The victim in this
case is one of my agemts, Special Agent Fox William Mulder. It
was through my office that the Federal Bias Assault charges were
filed. I have in my hands papers that address those charges,"
Skinner stopped here and waved the papers a bit.

Richard thought wryly to himself, *Walter, you're good. You're
very good.* He looked over at Bill Scully and could feel him
squirming. *Good, Billy boy, squirm away. It's a small price for
what you'd done. A very small price indeed.*

Walter droned on and on for another few minutes, when even the
judge had had enough. "Umm, Mr. Skinner, do you think you
could make your point? We've got a full docket here today."

"I'm sorry Your Honor," Walter said with just enough earnestness
to be believable. "I just want to make sure all of the 'T's' are
crossed as they say. Your Honor, these are the required forms that
need to be submitted in order to drop the Federal charges."

"Oh thank you, God," cried out Tara from behind. Charles Scully
had already gone to sit nearby his brother's wife to offer his
support, and held her hands in comfort.

"Thank you AD Skinner," the judge said as he took the papers from
him. "Since the Federal Charges are dropped, may I ask if the
District Attorney's Office plans on doing the same with the state
charges of Assault?"

"I'm not sure, Sir," replied the DA. "This is the first I've heard
about the federal charges being dropped, but since much of our
case was based upon the federal charges, Sir, I wouldn't be
surprised if circumstances would warrant our office to drop the
state charges as well. I'll have to contact the victim to see if he
wishes to drop all charges."

"Your Honor," Skinner interjected, "if I might offer some additional
information that might help clear your docket more quickly? I've
just come from the hospital where I've had the opportunity to speak
with the victim and his family. They are planning on dropping all
charges against Mr. Scully."

"Given the federal charges are now moot, this additional
information, and this is the defendant's first offense, I will grant
personal recognizance. When the DA's Office learns of anything
further, I assume you'll notify the defendant and my office?"

"Yes, Sir."

When the judge dismissed them, Bill immediately turned toward his
wife and took long strides to take her into his arms. "I knew she
wouldn't let me down, Tara." When Bill looked up, he noticed
Charlie standing nearby. "Charlie! Charlie, thanks. I knew you'd
talk some sense into her. I knew it! I knew Dana wouldn't let me
down," he repeated over and over out of sheer relief.

"You idiot."

Bill turned around to see what the voice of authority wanted.
"What did you say?" Bill asked arrogantly. He was a free man, and
he felt he could take on the world. Even an Assistant Director of
the FBI.

"I said, 'you idiot'," repeated Skinner.

"Look, I don't care what you think. My little brother and my baby
sister didn't let me down, and that's all I care about," he crowed.

"It wasn't Dana. Dana still wanted to see you rot in jail for what
you did to her husband as of 6 o'clock this morning. So, you see, it
wasn't Dana who saved your ass, you idiot." Skinner stared at him.

"Charlie?" questioned Bill, as he looked at his younger brother for
corroboration of his beliefs. When Charlie simply shook his head,
Bill looked back at Skinner.

" It was Mulder who insisted the charges be dropped, all of the
charges. Mulder saved your ass, you idiot.," he hissed, and then
turned on his heels and walked out of the courtroom.


Skinner had left the courtroom before Charlie, but Charlie knew
Skinner had to return a Bureau car back to the DC parking lot by
the afternoon. He had said he would return to the hospital
immediately after he exchanged the Bureau car for his personal car.

Now, Charlie, alone, was driving Bill and Tara to the motel so they
could both freshen up before they all went to the hospital to see
Mulder. When Charlie learned that he and Walter Skinner were
going to deliver the documents that notified the court that the
Federal Bias Charges were going to be dropped, he took the liberty
of picking Bill's things up from his mother's home and rented him a
room in the same motel in which he and Karen were staying. He
figured there would be less strain on the family if he was out of the
family home and in the motel.

Bill was quiet. He was thinking about the inevitable meeting that
would take place between his brother-in-law and himself. He was
also contemplating what his sister's reaction would be when she
saw him. He had assumed all along it would be Dana's decision to
drop the charges, and then all would be right again between them.
But to find out that it was Mulder, instead of his sister, who insisted
the charges be dropped was almost too much for William Scully, Jr.
to bear. He was, in fact, unsure as to which of the two he felt more
anxious about seeing, Mulder or Dana.

Freshly showered and changed, Bill and Tara drove to the hospital
with Charlie. As they entered the parking lot, Bill found his voice
for the first time since they'd left the courthouse.

"How is he?" he asked his brother.

"He's holding his own. They finally moved him out of ICU last
night. He had kept setting off the monitors for one reason or
another, so they were a little leery about letting him leave the more
protective environment. Somehow he managed to convince them
though. He's in a regular room, but he's still hooked up to a
million tubes, or so it seems," Charlie replied.

"How's Dana dealing with it?" asked Tara.

"Better, now that he's in the regular room. She can see light at the
end of the tunnel, ya know?" replied Charlie.

"Has she said anything about me?" asked Bill.

"Yeah, Bill, but for now, let's not even go there, okay?" said

They pulled into the hospital parking lot and parked. The trio
walked to the hospital entrance, and as they were about to enter,
Bill pulled back.

"Bill?" questioned Tara.

"I don't think I can do this," he replied.

"Excuse me?" Charlie responded indignantly. "What do you mean
you don't think you can do this?"

"I don't think I can go face him," Bill admitted. "I don't think I can
face her, after what I did."

"My God, Bill. I think that's the first time I've heard a little bit of
contrition on your part," Charlie declared.

Bill didn't respond, but did follow his brother and wife through the
hospital entrance.

end of part seventeen


Life Cycles VIX: Journey (18/21)
by Susan Proto (
and Vickie Moseley (

Charlie led his brother and sister-in-law to the elevator so they
might go directly to Mulder's room. He knew the new room
number was 542, so he didn't bother to stop at the information
desk. When they got off the elevator and walked towards the
room, Charlie caught the eye of one of the nurses he'd met earlier
that morning before he'd left for court.

"Hi Marcy, how's he doing?" he asked.

"Well, so far so good," she replied. "He's pretty drugged up for
now, and totally out of it. But I think your mom and dad are in
there with him now."

"My mom and _dad_?" he echoed. Charlie looked at Bill with a
quizzical expression and headed toward the room. When he peeked
in, he saw his mom and Walter Skinner sitting side by side, holding
hands while Mulder slept through it all.

Charlie stood by the door and cleared his throat so that his mother
wouldn't be startled by their appearance. He then walked in,
leaving Bill and Tara in the hospital corridor. He saw her look up,
but instead of letting go of Walter Skinner's hand, she seemed to
squeeze it even more tightly.

Next, she turned toward the door and when she saw it was Charlie,
she smiled in relief. "Charlie, I'm glad you're here. Walter and I
could use a break."

"Where's Dana, Mom?" he asked.

"We sent her to the cafeteria with Adam and Karen to get herself
some food. She hasn't eaten much of anything in about twenty-four
hours, and I was afraid it would affect her milk supply," she replied.
"Is he here?"

"Outside, in the hall with Tara."

"Yes, Walter told me Tara had arrived. That's good. He could
probably use her support right now," Maggie replied. "We're going
to go join Dana in the cafeteria for something to eat. It's been
hours since Walter and I have had anything of substance to eat too.
Would you mind staying with Fox for a little bit, dear?"

"No, Mom, but would you bring me back a sandwich or something.
I haven't eaten anything all day either."

"Oh sweetheart, I'm sorry. I forgot you were out at the crack of
dawn with Walter. I'll bring you back some__," she was saying.

"__I'll stay with Mulder," he said from the doorway.

"What?" several voices replied.

"I'll stay with Mulder. You guys take Tara and go get something to
eat," Bill said.

"I don't know if that's a good idea," Walter observed.

"I promise I won't touch him, Mr. Skinner," retorted Bill.

"Bill, stop_," Maggie began.

"Mom, I didn't mean anything by that. I was actually being serious,
since it's obvious Mr. Skinner doesn't trust me yet."

"Can you blame me, Bill?" Skinner asked.

"No, I guess not. But it doesn't change the fact that you all need
something to eat, and I have volunteered to stay with him. So go.
I promise he'll be in one piece when you get back, okay?" he

Reluctantly, they all left for the cafeteria for a bite to eat, while Bill
Scully sat down in the hard plastic chair at the far end of the bed.

He looked at the sleeping patient and noted for the first time the
results of his handiwork. The guy was a mess, and this was two
days later. He could only imagine what he looked like on the night
he was brought in. Bill had no idea as to what Mulder had looked
like on the night of the fight. There was so much blood and he was
so drunk, he wouldn't have been able to figure out his own mirror
image if he were forced to pick it out of a line up that night.

So now he observed a sleeping Mulder. His eyes were really
swollen with brightly colored bruises surrounding them. His cheek
looked swollen too, and he had a pretty heavy bandage on the back
of his head. Scully had a vague recollection of someone kicking
Mulder in the head, but he didn't remember the details.

Scully tried to count the seemingly endless number of wires and
tubes that were attached to Mulder's body. They were connected
to a couple of monitors that made insistent and annoying beeping

sounds. Bill suddenly wondered if maybe it wasn't such a good idea
that he stay with Mulder. The guy seemed to be in "La-La-Land,"
so what did he need him to be there for?

It wasn't so much the thought of a Mulder in slumber that disturbed
Bill Scully. It was the notion of a fully awake Mulder that scared
the hell out of him. Bill wondered what he would say to Mulder if
he actually woke up right now, with him alone in the room with
him, and then he wondered what Mulder would say in return.

Suddenly, it looked like Bill Scully might get an answer to his
question. Mulder started groaning in his stupor, and began stirring
in the bed. Bill couldn't tell if the man was in pain, or if he was
dreaming or a combination of both. As Scully contemplated calling
a nurse in, Mulder began to groan more extensively, and shake his
head from side to side more emphatically.

Next, Bill heard him mumble some words, and disjointed as they
were, Bill understood what Mulder was dreaming about. He was
remembering the night of the beating. He was watching Mulder
relive that nightmare all over again. Now Scully was certain he
needed to call the nurse. The monitors started to beep more
furiously, and all of a sudden, Mulder jerked forward, shout "NO!"

When Mulder opened his eyes, all he managed to focus on was a
large, broad chested red headed figure. The same figure he'd just
envisioned pummeling him as though he was Rocky Balboa's
punching bag. The same figure that watched as his head was used
as a football being readied for the extra point kick. The same figure
that was so drunk, he didn't have a clue as to how much he'd hurt
him or scared him.

Scully became unsettled as the monitors began to beep even faster
and seemingly louder, but he started to out and out panic when he
saw blood begin to trickle out of Mulder's nose. "What the hell?"
he cried out in alarm. He stood up, ran to the door, and called out
in distress, " Help! We need help in here! Please! He needs help!"

Within moments Marcy and another floor nurse came rushing into
Mulder's room. Marcy immediately instructed the other nurse to
page the doctor, and then moved to Mulder's side.

"Mr. Mulder," she said soothingly, "shhh. You need to calm
yourself down. Shhh, your blood pressure is starting to skyrocket.

She turned and looked at Bill Scully. "What happened?" she asked.

"I don't know. One minute he was sleeping, and the next minute he
started moaning and groaning, and mumbling something," answered

"Nightmare?" she asked.

"Guess so," he confirmed.

"Well, it obviously caused him to stress out, because his blood
pressure topped out at 210/130. Damn, and this is with all of the
lovely drugs the man's been pumped up with. I can only imagine
what it would have been if he hadn't been on the the sedative,"
observed Marcy.

Just then the intern walked in and asked Bill to leave so that he
could examine the patient. As Bill walked out of the door, he saw
Dana walking up the corridor. As Dana came closer and closer to
her husband's room, she noted the increase of hospital staff that was
moving in and out of his room. She began to run toward the room
when she nearly ran right into Bill.

"Whoa! Dana, slow down. The doctor's in there with him now,"
he said in an attempt to allay her fears. Unfortunately, the only
doctor at this point she wanted at Mulder's side was herself.

"What the hell happened? Damn it Bill, what the hell happened?"
she angrily asked.

"Dana, I don't know. I think he had a bad dream. His blood
pressure shot up too high," he said.

"How high?" she asked feeling the relative safety of Doctor mode.

"Oh I don't know. I think the nurse said something like 200
something over 130," he replied.

"Ohmigod, that's way too high. He could stroke out," she cried
out. "How could this happen? He was so doped up he shouldn't
have felt anything! How could he have had such a crisis?" she
demanded to know.

"Dana, I don't know. One minute the guy was sleeping and the
next minute he was sitting straight up looking like he'd seen a
ghost. And in case you're wondering, I didn't do or say anything to
him, so you can just knock that ridiculous idea out of your head
right now," he retorted with annoyance.

At that moment, the medical staff started filing out. The doctor
stopped to explain to Dana that Mulder had experienced a bout of
extremely high blood pressure and that they would have to keep a
vigilant eye on it to prevent the possibility of stroke. The injury to
the kidney probably played an initial role in the increased BP, but
this particular episode seemed to result from stress.

"Mr. Mulder," the doctor continued to explain, "is being treated
with drug therapies, and close monitoring will continue for the next
couple of days at least. The nurses will be charting his BP
automatically via the electronic monitors. Visitors should probably
be limited for the next couple of hours at least, just to give his body
a chance to recover from this episode. Any questions?"

Dana shook her head and the doctor excused himself. She then
looked at her older brother and told him it was probably not a good
idea for him to visit with Mulder at this time.

"Maybe later," she offered. "Maybe tomorrow, or the next day.
Maybe never. If you want to do something, please go down and
get Mom. I really need to feed the baby."

"Dana, please," Bill pleaded. "Please don't shut me out like this."

"Why not, Bill? Why not treat you like you've treated me and my
husband? It's not very pleasant to be treated like a pariah, is it Bill?
Well, get used to it Big Brother. Mulder may have decided to turn
the other cheek, and though I finally acquiesced to Mulder's wishes
regarding dropping the charges, that does not mean I've changed
my feelings toward you, Bill.

"I told you once, and I will tell you again. You are dead to me,"
and with that she turned to go into her husband's hospital room.


Bill found his way down to the cafeteria with little problem. His
sister's directions had been simple enough, but his feet were moving
on autopilot and he almost turned the wrong way before correcting
himself. When he entered the lunchroom, he noticed Charlie and
Assistant Director Skinner, deep in discussion in the corner. Bill
frowned and decided to avoid them. Then he spotted his wife,
holding baby Adam on her lap. The sight of her cradling an infant
brought him thoughts of his own children and he ached to hold
them. His mother looked up from her conversation and brought
him back to the present.

"Bill, are you all right?" Typical Mom, always quick to see what
was going on, even when it wasn't what you wanted.

"I'm fine, Mom. Just fine." He shuffled over to the table where
Tara, Karen and Maggie were watching Adam and attempting to
eat at the same time. "Mom, uh, Dana asked if you would bring
Adam up to her. She's . . . ah, . . ." He gestured vaguely across his
chest and blushed.

An understanding gleam came to Karen's eyes. "Ready to burst, I
bet," she smiled as Maggie scooped Adam out of Tara's arms.
"But why didn't she just come down and get him?"

Bill sat down in the chair his mother had just vacated. "Mulder's, .
. . his blood pressure is up again," he said haltingly. "She doesn't
want to leave him right now."

Karen let out a small whiff of breath, but said nothing further.
Maggie swallowed audibly, clutching the baby close to her and
biting her bottom lip. Tara just looked at her husband with
concern. "Did you get to see him at all?" she asked softly.

Bill nodded woodenly. "Yeah. For a minute." He turned his head,
his chest heaving with each breath, trying to hold in his emotions in
front of his mother and sister-in-law. "Tara, can we take a walk?"
he pleaded.

"Sure, Sweetheart," Tara replied and got up, taking his hand and
pulling him up, too. "Maggie, we'll just be out in the courtyard, if
you need us," she said and led her husband out of the room.

Maggie stood there, her heart breaking. She watched as her son
walked slowly out of the cafeteria, wondering when they could be a
family again. Then Adam stirred in her arms. "I'd better get you to
Mommy before she sends out the whole FBI to find us," she said,
but the humor of her words didn't reach her eyes. "Karen?"

"I'll get Charlie and Mr. Skinner. We'll follow you up," she
assured Maggie.

Out in the courtyard, Tara and Bill walked in silence. Tara found a
little park bench and sat down, pulling Bill down next to her. They
sat there, Tara taking in the late afternoon sunshine and the cool
breeze of spring, Bill lost in his thoughts. After the time stretched
out beyond their normal silences, Tara took his hand and kissed it.
"Out with it, Sailor or I'll make you walk the plank," she teased.

Bill drew in shuddering breath and stood up, releasing her hand.
"Probably too good for me," he said sourly.

"Bill--" she started but he cut her off with a glare.

"Tara, you don't know what happened!" he stormed. "You have
no idea!"

"Then tell me, dammit! Stop holding it all in! It does you no good
when you do that, you know," she accused angrily, then seeing the
crestfallen face of her husband, she backed down. "Talk to me,
Sweetheart. You know I love you, nothing will ever change that.
Just talk to me."

"Why do you love me?" he asked, and for the first time since their
marriage, she realized he truly didn't know that answer to that

"Because you are a good and loving man. Because you treat me
and your children as the most important people on earth. Because
you are honest, and caring and you don't have a mean bone in your

"But that's not true, Tara," he sobbed. "It's nice and I'm grateful
you feel that way, but it's not true. I do have a mean streak. I do.
And I've let it take over and cloud my vision and I hate myself for
it--I don't know why you don't hate me, too. Dana does. Charlie

"Bill, don't say that. It's a lie. You're just upset, you've been
through a lot--"

"_I've_ been through a lot?!" he cried incredulously. "_ME_ !
Hell, Tara, what have I been through? I spent a night in jail--big
fucking deal! At least I wasn't bleeding and unconscious and
hooked up to machines all night. At least I wasn't sitting by your
hospital bed, praying to God that you'd be alive in the morning! At
least I hadn't just lost faith in a brother I used to look up to for
everything--FOR EVERYTHING! At least my son hadn't just
been accused of attempted murder--and by all rights was GUILTY!
I didn't go through SQUAT, do you hear me! SQUAT!"

Tara sat there, holding back her sobs, knowing he had to get it all
out and she was the only one who would listen. It didn't make it
any easier, just her job as the woman who loved him.

"I did all those things to them, Tara. Me. Me and my selfish belief
that I always know what's right for everybody. And it wasn't even
that, really. It was, . . . it was . . ." he stumbled looking for words.

"Jealousy," she whispered, but in the silence of the evening it
sounded like a boom in his ears. He looked down at her face,
amazed at her insight.

"Yeah," he whispered in kind. "I think that might have been a little
of it."

"A lot of it, I would wager," Tara said a little louder. She stood up
and put her arms around his waist. "You lost a little sister. I'm not
talking about Missy, either. I'm talking about Dana. She's his
now, but sweetheart, she's been his for a very long time. Just as
you are mine."

"I know that," he whispered, hiding his face in her hair.

"And it hurt when another man called Maggie 'Mom', I could see

"She's _my_ mother, not his," he sobbed.

"But Karen calls her 'Mom' and that doesn't bother you," Tara
pointed out gently.

"No, but then Karen is--"

"A girl. And it doesn't diminish you, does it?" Tara responded and
hugged him tighter. "Sweetheart, I know you know this, but maybe
you need to hear the words. Maggie has more than enough love in
her heart for all of us. Having Fox Mulder added to her brood
doesn't diminish her love for any of us one little bit. If anything, it
increases it," she added, pulling back and taking his face in her
hands. "Weren't you happy when she accepted me?"

"Of course I was," he exclaimed immediately. "I loved you from
the moment we met, I wanted Mom to love you, too. And Dad."

"How about Dana and Charlie and Missy? Remember when Missy
called me uptight?"

His eyes darkened. "I'd forgotten that. But she got over it. She

"Do you see where I'm heading?" she asked, taking him back to the
bench to sit down again.

"Yes, but I don't know how to make it right. It's too screwed up
now to fix," he sighed and threw his head back on the back of the
bench. "I don't think Dana will ever forgive me."

"How about Mulder?" Tara asked.

"If I were him, I'd never forgive me," Bill said grimly.

"Oh, yeah? Boy, you have a great short term memory, Sweets, but
your long term memory sucks," Tara said with a grim laugh. He
shot her a questioning look. "You're telling me you don't
remember? You honestly don't remember my brothers taking you
to that strip joint and leaving you there before our wedding. And
then going down the street and calling the cops and the place was
raided and my father had to bail you out. You don't remember
that?" she demanded.

"I absolutely have to stay the hell away from alcohol," Bill stated
firmly. "But yes, I have to admit, I do have recollections of that
night. I just buried them so deep I couldn't remember for a minute
what you were talking about."

"You forgave them. As a matter of fact, you guys get along great
now," she said pointedly.

"I don't think that's going to happen this time, Tara," he said sadly.

"I don't think you and Mulder are ever going to be 'drinking
buddies', especially if you do swear off the stuff, because you don't
have that much in common. But I do think that you can come to
terms with each other. You have several people in common, and
that means a lot." She took his hand in hers. "But first, you have
to own up to what you did, why you did it, and most importantly,
you have to _forgive_ yourself." She pulled his head down with
her free hand and kissed him gently on his lips. "And I think you're
just the man for that job," she sighed as she kissed him again.

"I've figured it out, Tara," he said, a little breathless when she
released him from the kiss. "You just love my body," he smiled and
hugged her hard as she laughed. "Come on. I want to see how my
brother-in-law is doing."

Tara smiled. It was the first time since the wedding that Bill had
called Mulder by anything other than his name or Dana's husband.
It was a pretty good first step.

end of part eighteen


Life Cycles VIX: Journey (19/21)
by Susan Proto (
and Vickie Moseley (

After his talk with Tara, Bill wandered up to the floor where
Mulder's room was located. He didn't venture too close, just took
a chair in the hallway, around the corner, so that he could see the
door and the people who came and went. When he saw his sister
leave with the baby and the diaper bag, he knew he had an

Glancing quickly around him, he made his way to the door and
went inside. Bill was uncomfortable standing by the bedside and he
knew he didn't have much time. He only needed a minute, he just
needed to get some things off his chest.

Finally, he sat down in the chair next to the bed. He watched the
monitors surrounding the bed, the bags of fluid leading to the IV
line, the face of the clock above the bed--anything but the man
laying before him.

Bill knew everyone was angry with him, still. Now that he'd done
nothing to deserve it, at least not for quite some time, it was
starting to wear on his nerves. It wasn't his fault that Mulder was
still in danger. It wasn't anything he'd done, except make the
mistake of entering the room.

And here he was again. That was probably another mistake, but he
had to do something, he had to try and make it right.

Mulder was breathing shallowly. Bill knew he'd been sedated, the
doctor felt it was the only way to keep his blood pressure down.
Bill also knew, from overhearing Dana speak with his mother, that
Mulder was fighting the sedative. Just like the SOB to go and hurt
himself on top of everything else.

Bill caught himself in that thought and frowned. He had to stop
that. He had to stop thinking of Mulder in those terms. Tara was
right, they would never be drinking buddies. Bill had now sworn
off booze forever and he'd never seen Mulder touch the stuff aside
from the customary glass of champagne at his own wedding. But
they both had a few things in common.

They both loved the same two women.

Bill thought about that for a moment. He could see his own
selfishness, just as plainly as if it were a person sitting and staring
him in the face. He hadn't wanted to share his mother's love or his
sister's. How first grade could he get?

Mulder wasn't a bad guy, actually. He seemed a little stiff shirted
for Bill's tastes, but the guy came from money. He'd gone to
Oxford or Cambridge--one of those uppity colleges in England.
Bill was grateful he hadn't affected an English accent--that would
have really been the icing on the cake. But when all was said and
done, Mulder wasn't that much different than Bill himself.

"You're loyal, I'll give you that," Bill said to Mulder softly,
speaking just above a whisper. "Mom said you never left Dana's
side when she was in that coma years ago. Said you stayed with
her all night, when they thought--" Bill stopped, thinking back to
how close he'd been to losing his sister then and had been too far
away at sea to return to her side.

"And you were there for Mom when Missy died. Another time I
couldn't get back until it was too late," Bill mused outloud.

He sat there, breathing in rhythm with the man laying in the bed.
"You love her. I can see it in your face. Everytime you look at
her, it's like she's the only woman in the world for you. You
cherish my sister in a way that I know my father would have
wanted, would have demanded of any man who looked her way."

Bill swallowed past the lump in his throat. "I didn't know about
the . . . the other baby. I didn't know Dana miscarried. I guess
Mom mentioned it to Tara, but she forgot to tell me. We went
through that, you know, Tara and I. It's horrible. I can't
remember a worse feeling in the world than walking into a room
and seeing a crib that will remain empty, see a blanket that won't be
used--" No longer holding back, a sob escaped Bill's lips. "Oh,
God, Mulder, I'm sorry about that, too. I'm sorry you had to go
through that. That anyone would have to go through that, but
especially not my baby sister--and the man who loves her."

He sat there for a while, letting the tears soak his face, fall silently
on the collar of his shirt. Finally he wiped his eyes with his sleeve.

"You must really think I'm an ass, don't you? And you know what,
given your range of experience with me, I would have to agree with
your assessment. I've been a bully, a dolt, I can't even say, and all
that before the wedding."

"Remember the night of the rehearsal dinner? You were sick or
something, I remember you just needed to leave. And your boss,
Skinner, he was all set to take you home, but Mom, boy, she had
other ideas. That's so typical of her, you know. I remember when
we were kids, and I used to get into fights with Charlie--hey he was
younger, I know, but that little guy was a mean sucker--anyway,
she would make us do something 'together'. This one time, we had
to clean out the garage. I almost strangled the little brat! He kept
picking up the yard stuff--rakes and shovels and crap like that, and
he'd put them over his shoulder so they'd hit me in the back of the
head everytime he'd turn. He had this shit assed innocent look on
his face and then he'd giggle when my back was turned--"

"Well, that was why Mom wanted us to ride to Crystal City
together. I never wanted a ride to end more in my life. I couldn't
think of a damned thing to say to you. I didn't know anything
about you, except what Dana had told me over the years. Not all of
that was flattering, by the way. She used to call sometimes, and
she'd be so mad at you. You'd have gone off--ditched her, she
called it. One time, she was stuck in Alaska and she called ship to
shore--must have cost her a bundle. She sat there on the other end
of the line and cried for 15 minutes until the operator cut off the
call. That's all she did--just cried. Man, if I could have gotten
close to you that night--making her cry like that. Then I found out,
you were in a coma. They'd found you on the ice in the middle of
the Arctic--you were dead for all intents and purposes. I guess she
saved your life, from what Mom tells me."

"I guess, what I'm telling you is that you didn't deserve my hatred
all this time. That wasn't my place. And you sure didn't deserve
what Denny and Pat and I did to you. I always knew those assholes
would get me in trouble--well, maybe I got myself in this mess.
Blaming them won't do anybody any good. But what I'm really
trying to say is, you can't possibly hate me more than I hate myself
when I think of the other night. I don't ever want my kids to find
out their dad could do such a thing. I don't want Tara to remember
it, I don't want Mom to think of it. I sure don't want Dana to
remember it. Or you, for that matter. But it happened, and I don't
know how to get passed it."

"Dana says you're trained as a psychologist. I could have pegged
that one," Bill snorted. "But maybe, just maybe, that might come in
handy. I don't want this to tear the family apart, Mulder. I'm sorry
for what I did--you'll never know how sorry I am. I would like to
just close my eyes and then open them and all of this would have
been a bad nightmare. You know how that goes, don't you? When
something so bad happens that you just don't want to be awake
anymore? That's how I'm feeling right now. I just wish we could
all wake up and get on with our lives."

He sat in silence, waiting for Mulder to answer. When no answer
came, he wiped his eyes and left the room as quietly as he'd come
in. When Dana returned, she had no idea anyone had been there
while she was gone.


Charlie had taken his mother and Karen home an hour or so ago.
Walter Skinner insisted upon waiting for Dana so that he might take
her and Adam back to Maggie's home for a few hours of sleep. He
reminded her that Mulder and the baby needed her healthy, and
staying awake round the clock was not the way to do that.

Dana looked up and saw that Walter had her coat in his arms.
"Let's go," he said. "Tara and Bill are going to stay for a while, in
case they need a family member nearby."

"Tara, " she paused and then added, "and _Bill_?" she echoed with

"Yes, Tara and Bill. I wouldn't have permitted it if Tara wasn't here
too, so let's go. You've been here for hours and hours without a
break, and quite frankly you have this aura of sour milk about you
which is far from pleasant at this point," he teased gently.

"C'mon Scully," Skinner continued, "you need to lay down in a real
bed for a little while and renew your energy. That's not a request,
Dana. That's an order," he said in all seriousness.

"Yes, Sir. I didn't realize you still had jurisdiction over me even on
child rearing leave. I'm impressed," she said with a chuckle that
was sprinkled liberally with some sarcasm.

"Yes, well Scully, since you've had Adam, you are apparently now
very easily impressed," he returned in kind, but with a rare Skinner

"Are you insinuating I'm become 'soft', Sir?" she asked.

"When one smells constantly of sour milk rather than gun powder,
what do you think?" he retorted. "Now let's go. He's out cold,
Dana. He's not going anywhere, and the doctor did leave orders for
him to remain heavily sedated so that he would get some sleep
tonight. Here's your coat. Put it on," he ordered.

She complied, and once her coat was buttoned and tied in place,
Dana leaned over her sleeping husband and said, "You're on the
really, _really_ good stuff tonight, Mulder. There's no way you
should be waking up using this stuff," she assured. "Sweet Dreams,
Fox Mulder."

Somehow, the phrase, "sweet dreams" and "Fox Mulder" rarely
seemed to go together. Tonight was no exception. And the fact
that Mulder was indeed, on the 'good' stuff, made this night even
more of a horror story, because there was no escape to

It started out innocently enough. He found himself inside his
parent's home, where he and Sam used to live too. Only Sam
wasn't there. Her room was too perfectly clean, with every book in
their proper spot. He could pick out the place where she kept her
coveted Fox in Sox Dr. Seuss book.

Fox opened her clothes closet and saw it was empty but for one red
velvet dress with an ivory lace collar and a velvet sash that went
around the waist. That was the dress she was supposed to wear to
his Bar Mitzvah, at least he thought that's what it was, since she'd
described her dream dress to him often enough.

But he'd been forced to stop his Bar Mitzvah lessons, because Sam
was no longer there. His family didn't feel it was appropriate to
prepare for a celebration when their only daughter, their baby girl,
was missing. Fox could still sense her presence though. He could
still smell her scent. He could still picture her as she brushed her
hair a hundred times, and then tied her waist length hair in an

It scared him a little that he was seeing her so clearly, but he missed
her so much that he overlooked the fear just to be with her. But
she wasn't really there. But he was. He and his ever present bottle
of Johnnie Walker Black. Not Johnnie Walker Red. It had to be
the Black label. And Fox could smell his father's essence too. The
essence of alcohol. The essence of his father's bitterness and fear.

Mulder was also afraid. He tasted the sourness of his bile in his
throat. He knew he would be punished for going into her room. He
knew he would be severely punished for opening the closet door.
He also knew his mother would go into her bedroom and close the
door. She'd lock it. She'd then turn on the radio and turn the
volume up so high. So very high. To drown out the frightened
screams in the night.

He looked up and saw his father's ever changing facade of emotions
being displayed on his face. "What are you doing in here?" he
would seethe each and every time he'd walk in on Mulder in the
little room. And each and every time, Fox would stand mutely,
because he had learned over time that no answer would satisfy him.
None. So he stood his ground and waited for the inevitable to

The older man, the stronger man, would raise his hand up high and
as gravity pulled it down, the palm transformed into a fist that
would find its desired location. The drink his father usually carried
would inevitably find its mark on Fox's face or clothes, so the
stench of the alcohol permeated everything.

When the fist connected with his cheek, or his jaw, or his nose, the
father would continue his expression of hate for the child that was
left behind. He was clever though, for he rarely marked his face
more than once or twice in a row. It was much easier to conceal
his anger from the public by connecting with his shoulders, and his
chest, and his stomach, and his back, and his buttocks, and his
genitals, and his thighs, and his knee caps, and his mind.

Fox felt the shock of the pain as it crossed from one side of his head
to the other. He remembered a time when his father's frustration
got even the best of him and he made a rare error in judgment.
After the senior Mulder had knocked the boy down, the father
pointed his toe and began to poke and jab him with it. Then as the
hostility raged within him, Bill Mulder began to poke and jab harder
until he was kicking and stomping his son's head and torso and the
child's blood began to splatter with each additional strike.

The child smelled the Johnnie Walker Black, and felt the dampness
of his father's drink mingle with the wetness of his own blood and
urine. Fox brought his hands across his chest and curled is body up
in a futile attempt to protect himself.

And still he remained silent. The appeals of a very small child soon
gave way to mute pleas of forgiveness, for it was the child who
always begged to be exonerated and not the father. Fox, over time,
learned to accept the fault and the blame for his sister's
disappearance as well as his mother's erratic behavior and his
father's need, yes need, for alcohol. It was always to be the child's

Fox deserved to feel the pain. Fox deserved to feel the guilt. Fox
deserved to be abused by his father, by his father, by hisfather,
byhisfather! He tried to call out and stop his father, but he couldn't
escape the dreams.

He couldn't escape the good stuff.

end of part ninteen


Life Cycles VIX: Journey (20/21)
by Susan Proto (
and Vickie Moseley (

Tara was quietly sitting next to her husband in Mulder's hospital
room. She was trying to read a magazine, but since it was one
she'd already read on the red eye flight she'd taken only last night, it
was difficult to find something interesting to read.

Bill's head jerked up from the odd angle it had been hanging in
while he caught a much needed 40 winks.

"Bill?" Tara asked. "What?"

"I dunno, something's not right," he replied in a husky, sleepy voice.

"What do you mean, sweetheart? What's the something related
to?" she continued to probe.

"Mulder. Something's wrong with Mulder," he stated and then
began repeating himself over and over.

"Bill, what about Mulder? What's wrong with Mulder?" Tara
implored. "Please, sweetheart!"

"The monitor isn't on. Why isn't the monitor on? Tara buzz the
nurse's station. Please." As Tara pressed the call button, Bill stood
up and walked over to Mulder's side. He grasped his good hand
and squeezed it. Somehow, he had to let Mulder know someone
was there for him. He wasn't sure why he knew this or if any of it
would work, but Bill instinctively knew Mulder needed help in
getting grounded back into wakefulness, and he wasn't sure if he
was the man for the job.

As the nurse came bounding in, Bill could feel the fear building up
inside him as if he was able to feel Mulder's terror as his own.

"You'll have to move," the nurse said firmly.

"No," Bill responded in kind.

"Excuse me? I have to ask you to leave so I can check on the
patient," she insisted.

"And I said, no. I can't leave him right now. Look," he said in an
exasperated tone, "I don't understand this any better than you, but I
just know I can't leave him at the moment.

"He's in trouble. The monitor malfunctioned for some damned
stupid reason, but his BP skyrocketed again, didn't it?" Bill asked.

As she finished taking the blood pressure measurement manually,
the nurse looked up at him with wide eyes. "My God, how did you
know? He's at 210/120. If we didn't know, and it didn't lower,
he__," she hesitated as she was both overwhelmed by the
circumstances and the possible ramifications had Bill Scully not
been there.

So Bill finished her thought for her. "__could have had a stroke or
died," he said in an emotional whisper.

"I need to page the doctor. I'll be right back," the nurse informed.

As there was no phone operating in Mulder's room yet, Tara said
she'd go to the pay phone and call Dana at the house, as well as
Charlie and Karen at the motel. She assumed Mr. Skinner was at
the Scully house as well.

So now it was Mulder and Bill, together again, alone at last. Bill
was more frightened now than he'd ever recalled being before.
Somehow he knew that Mulder needed to wake up, but he wasn't
sure why that was or how that could be accomplished. He'd
apparently been drugged to the hilt in the attempt to prevent any
stressful situations.

"Oh God, he's dreaming," Bill gasped aloud. "He's dreaming and he
can't wake up from it."

"Excuse me? Did you say something?" asked the young intern as
he entered with the nurse.

"You gotta get him to wake up. Do something, please. You gotta
get him out of it, now," Bill pleaded.

"Sir, I truly do not know what you're talking about," the doctor
rebutted. He picked up Mulder's chart and gave it a perfunctory
glance and said, " It's apparent that Mr. Mulder is being kept
heavily sedated to prevent any further hypertension episodes."

"But it didn't work, did it?" Bill said pointedly. "He just had a very
severe episode and he's been drugged to the hilt. I'm telling you,
you've got to bring him out of it."

"Look, Mr.__?" the doctor paused in question.

"__Scully, Bill Scully__," he started.

"__Wait a minute, aren't you the guy who put him in here in the
first place? I heard the nurses talking about you. Why the hell
aren't you still in jail?" he asked arrogantly.

"I'm here because my brother-in-law chose not to press charges, not
that it's any of your business. Look, we're wasting time here. I'm
telling you, he's got to be woken up. I want another doctor in here.
Now," demanded Bill.

"Look, I'm the guy on call, so you're going to have to deal with
me," the intern replied.

"I want to speak with the resident on duty," Bill countered.

"Oh c'mon. Give me a break. I'm going to administer more drugs
and that's final. Now get out of my way so I can get to the IV bag,"
he insisted.

"And I said no. Get the resident on duty out here now,"
commanded Bill Scully.

"Shit. He's gonna kill me for this," moaned the intern.

"I don't give a fuck what he does to you, it's Mulder here I'm
worried about. Now leave me alone and go get the resident, oh,
and fix the God damned monitor! I can't be fucking psychic all of
the time!" he shouted.

After fiddling with the monitor and apparently getting it working
again, both the intern and nurse left the room. The intern went in
search of his sleeping superior, and the nurse rushed back to the
main desk where others awaited the latest gossip about the injured,
but handsome, FBI agent and his devoted, but somewhat volatile

"Mulder, listen, we only got a few minutes before the cavalry is
brought in, so c'mon buddy, come on out of this. You can do this.
I'm right here for you. Do you feel my hand, Mulder? I got you,
bro. I got you."

Bill waited for any kind of a sign that he was going to come out of
the night terror. He listened intensely for the monitors to give him
some kind of signal that all will be well, but they just kept singing
their same damn song of dire troubles.

"Mulder, come back to me, man. What you're dreamin' is the make
believe. It's not fucking real any more. It may have been real at
one time, but not anymore. C'mon, Mulder, get your ass back to
reality. Please," he implored.

Bill looked up at the monitors and saw that the beeps were slowing
down ever, ever so slightly. He next saw his wife walk through the

"I had phoned the motel to call Charlie but no one answered, so I
phoned your mother's house next. Karen answered and said
everyone was over there. She told me Charlie hadn't wanted to
leave Dana, so he and Karen went to your mom's to wait for Dana
and Mr. Skinner to return from the hospital."

"That's my baby brother, for you, only he's not such a baby
anymore, is he?" Bill asked rhetorically. He then asked what Karen
had said.

"Karen said it seemed like they'd only just sat down to catch their
breaths when I phoned with the news that Mulder was in another
crisis. Damn it, Bill. Why can't this family catch a break?" Tara

"I don't know, Tara. I wanted to blame him, but I know it's not
anyone's fault. Certainly not his."

"Tara, he's in trouble, and they're going to screw it up. I hope Dana
gets here soon. She'll know what to do. She'll know how to
explain it to the doctors," he seemingly babbled.

Tara was just about to ask what in heaven's name he was talking
about, when a couple of doctors and the floor nurse walked in. She
noted the troubled expression that now graced her husband's face as
they entered the room.

"Mr. Scully, why did my intern have to wake me from the first
sound sleep I'd entered into in the last 36 hours? Would you mind
telling me that? Why won't you allow him to continue with a well
established course of treatment for this patient so we don't have to
give the ICU any more business tonight?" he demanded.

"Because the established course of treatment might kill him right
now, that's why," Bill responded, all the while maintaining his firm,
clasp on Mulder's hand. He was unconsciously patting and rubbing
Mulder's arm with his other hand as well.

"And you received your medical degree from what university, Sir?"
the resident asked.

"Look, do me a favor, my sister, umm, Mulder's wife, will be here
any minute. She _is_ a doctor. Please don't do anything further
until Dana gets here. Please. She's coming from a very short
distance away, and then you can talk in all the medicalese you want.
But for now, I'm not going to let you near him," he stated

"You know what? Fine. I'm not gonna argue with you cause from
what I hear, people who disagree with you end up in the ICU, so
fuck it! When your sister gets here, have someone page me. Until
then, I'm going back to sleep," he ranted, and then turned to leave.

The nurse and intern followed him out the door. Tara, sensing that
her husband wanted some time with Mulder alone, said she was
going to keep a look out for Dana and the rest of the family. When
the door closed behind her, Bill began to speak to Mulder again.

"Mulder, living in the past apparently sucks for you. C'mon bro,
you gotta start thinkin' about the future. About your life with
Dana. She's a helluva a looker, isn't she, Mulder? I mean, I know
she's my baby sister, but hell, I'm not blind. And as time passes, she
somehow gets more beautiful.

"Maybe that's because of you, Mulder. Maybe loving you just
makes her more beautiful. And man, if she's gotten this gorgeous
from loving you, I can't wait to see what happens from loving

"Adam. Believe it or not, Mulder, with all of this shit I'd put you
and Dana through, I'd forgotten about being an uncle again. He's a
gorgeous kid, Mulder. He looks like you, except, thank God, he's
got the Scully nose.

"Nothing personal, Mulder, and believe me this has nothing to do
with you being Jewish or anything. "It's just that the Scully nose
looks good on your kid's face. It goes well with the Mulder mouth
and eyes. Yeah, he's one beautiful baby, Mulder.

"You got yourself one fine looking family, Fox Mulder. Oh, sorry.
I know you don't like being called Fox. I didn't mean anything by
it. And I never would have razzed you about your name had I
known the origin of it in the first place. I may be, unwittingly, an
insensitive clod, but never knowingly. Really.

"I mean, I think it's kind of cool that your great grandfather's name
was Fox. And I think naming someone to keep a name alive makes
a lot more sense than what we do. I mean, we name a kid to honor
someone while they're alive, which is great for the honoree, but it
can be hell on the kid who has to live up to that name.

"Mulder, do you have any idea how hard it was for me to be
William Scully, Jr.? It was a bitch trying to always be as good as
my namesake. Man, I tried, but somehow I always came up short.
Every time Dad went back out to sea, he'd tell me that I was the
man of the house. Could imagine? I was a fucking kid, for crying
out loud. I didn't want to be no freakin' man of the house. But
that's what was expected of me, and I couldn't let Dad down. I
mean, after all, I was William Scully, Jr.

"But trying to be responsible for your sisters and brother can really
suck, Mulder. It's a burden I don't ever intend to put on my kids.
I'm getting out when I hit twenty years, Mulder. It's time for the
ship to sail home, you know? I want to get to know my family, my
wife, my kids. Yeah, and my brother and sister and their spouses.
And their kids.

"Yeah, even you, Mulder. I think I want to get to know you,
Mulder. I mean, I know you're real, real smart. Shit, I've heard
you talk about things using words I'd never be able to pronounce
without help, much less define their meaning. So, ya see, I know
you're smarter than me. I know that, but I like listening to you talk.
You're interesting, man. And maybe you could teach me a thing or
two. And maybe I could teach you how to do something I'm good
at. Maybe someday I could teach you how to sail, okay?"

As he spoke on and on, in soothing, rhythmical tones, Bill Scully
continued to hold onto Mulder's hand for dear life and gently
stroked his arm.

"Oh listen, Mulder, I have something I wanted to run by you. I
figure if _I_ asked Dana she'd say no, just because it came from
me. But if _you_ mention it, well I figure it's as good as gold.

"It's about Adam's Godfather. Now, I'm not so dumb as to not
realize I kinda abdicated my role in that department. I mean, as
much as I really do want to be my nephew's Godfather, I realize
that it wouldn't be possible right now. Maybe, if I can prove myself
to you and Dana, maybe the next one, okay Mulder?

"But I was wondering if you could put a good word in for Charlie.
He's amazing Mulder. I mean, he's been at Dana's side and he's
stood up to me and for me, and he even seems to get along with
your boss, Mr. Skinner. He's good people, Mulder. He would
make a damned fine role model for your Adam. So, would you ask
Dana if she wouldn't mind giving the honor to Charlie. He deserves
it, Mulder. I'm so proud of him. I'm so proud he's my brother."

"Yeah, I'll ask her," said the hoarse voice.

"Mulder? How you doing, man?" Bill asked softly.

"Okay. But thirsty. Water, please."

Bill thought Mulder would have let go of his hand in order for Bill
to more easily reach the water glass, but he didn't. In fact, he
grasped on even more tightly.

Bill held the glass for Mulder while he sipped the liquid through the
red striped straw. Mulder murmured his thanks when he'd had
enough, and relaxed back into the pillow.

"How are my numbers, Bill?" he asked, referring to the blood
pressure monitor.

"I think they look better, if I'm reading it correctly," Bill replied.

"I'm sure you're reading it just fine. You manage to read nautical
charts and instruments, don't you?" Mulder asked slowly.

"Well sure, it's what I do, Mulder," he responded.

"Well, I sure as hell don't know how to interpret those instruments
or charts. And I certainly don't know how to sail. No one ever
bothered to teach me, but then again, I never liked the water all that
much. Seasick. All the time, every time," Mulder recalled.

"Well, there's some pretty good medication on the market that can
take care of seasickness," Bill replied.

"Good, I'll pick some up on the day you teach me how to sail," said

"Sail?" Bill's mouth gaped open all the while he thought to himself,

"Mulder, how much of my rambling did you hear?" Bill finally
asked , somewhat aghast at how much he'd revealed of himself to
this man.

"Enough to know that we're more alike than either one of us might
have believed." Mulder looked away for a moment, but then met
the gaze of his red haired brother-in-law.

"I know how hard it is to live up to someone else's expectations,"
he began with a hitch in his voice. "The only difference between us
is that your role model would go away, himself. Mine tried to
make me go away, in any manner possible. Both of us were damned
if we did, and damned if we didn't."

"Yeah, but I think you were always in the more dangerous place,
weren't you, Mulder?" Bill asked. "You were in that dangerous
place just before, when you couldn't wake up on your own, right?"

Mulder could only nod at this point, the memories that his
nightmares dredged up were often as painful as the reality was.
The tears started to flow when he realized in what a dark place he
had been, and how close he was at not climbing out of it.

He held onto Bill Scully's hand tightly and tried to shift his body at
the same time. Bill realized what he was trying to do, so he helped
him up with his other hand. He pulled Mulder up as gently as he
could, and then did something he'd never imagined himself doing.

Bill Scully reached over to take Fox Mulder in an embrace. As they
maintained their grasp around one another, all Bill could do was
murmur, over and over again, "I'm sorry, Fox. I'm so sorry."

end of part twenty


Life Cycles VIX: Journey (21/21)
by Susan Proto (
and Vickie Moseley (

As Dana ran down the corridor once again, with the rest of her
family trailing her, she envisioned the madhouse that must be
ensuing inside her husband's hospital room. Yet another episode!
He was so heavily sedated, she didn't understand how it could have
been possible. She could imagine hearing the monitors beeping
and whistling as well as the frantic words of the doctor's orders
being carried out.

And Dana also visualized her brother, standing around looking
helpless, yet she knew he was more than likely responsible for this
episode. He had to be. There was no other possibility, was there?

So imagine her surprise when she opened the door and, having
expected to find pandemonium, only found her brother, her hard
assed, selfish, moronic, evil brother, tenderly holding her beaten
down husband in a most warm and compassionate embrace. The
murmurs of an apologetic, "I'm sorry" filled the air, and Dana
looked on in both relief and disbelief.

Dana stood there a moment, confusion flooding her, then relief.
She could see the monitor clearly, and it showed a relatively normal
135 over 90. Higher than Mulder usually maintained, but pretty
damned good for the last couple of days. Tears born of that relief
and the sight in front of her, trickled down her cheeks.

"I really do hate to interrupt," she said softly from the doorway.
Bill jerked up, almost tugging an IV line as he did so. Mulder ran a
hand over his face, wiping it dry.

"Hi, G-Woman," he said casually, but his rough throat gave him

"Dana," Bill chimed in self-consciously. "I was, uh, just trying to
help Mulder . . . he wanted to sit up a little straighter," he
stammered. "I better go find Tara," he announced and made
quickly for the door.

Dana caught his sleeve before he got all the way to the safety of the
hallway. "I want to talk to you. Let me check him out first. Don't
go anywhere," she ordered, but it held none of her early rancor.

"I'll just be down the hall," Bill replied and made a weak attempt of
a wave to his brother-in-law.

"See you later, Bill," Mulder said with a nod and leaned back into
the pillows.

Dana came into the room, arms crossing her chest. Mulder smiled
at her and pointed to the monitor. "See, Sweetheart. It's well
within normal range. Nothing to worry about."

"Is that so?" she said, pursing her lips and regarding him coolly.
"What happened?" It wasn't a question, it was an order.

Mulder shrugged. "You tell me. I was asleep," he answered, and
began inspecting the lint on his white cotton blanket.

"I left with Skinner to go get a little sleep at Mom's. We left Tara
and Bill in the room with you. Next thing I know, Tara's calling us
back to the hospital due to the fact that you are in a crisis and my
'brother' is refusing to let the doctors sedate you further because he
says you can't get out of a dream. He wouldn't let go of your
hand, if what the nurses tell me is accurate." She was leveling her
best glare at him and he had little choice but to give her his account.

He chanced a look at her eyes and winced, then dropped his own
gaze to the blanket again. "I had a nightmare. Those drugs, Dane,
I don't know what they were, but don't give me that shit again! I
have the worst nightmares on that stuff--it is not conducive to a
good night's rest," he exclaimed emphatically.

"The nightmare, Mulder. You're getting off topic," she growled.

"Yeah, the nightmare," he winced again. "It was a repeat. One of
the bad ones. Remember, I told you about--"

"Your dad?" she finished for him. He nodded, not trusting himself
to say the words. "And the drugs kept you under," she added,
coming to the realization of what he'd just gone through. She sat
down heavily and took his hand, her eyes welling up with tears.
"Oh, Sweetheart, I'm so sorry--"

"It was like drowning, Dane. I swear to God that's exactly what it
felt like. And then, all of a sudden, I felt something in my hand.
And I realized it was a person, someone holding me. At first I
thought it was you, and I hung on for dear life. Then I realized it
was too big to be your hand, and too rough. It was about then that
I heard his voice. It was Bill. He stood here and talked me out of
the dream. He brought me back. I don't know anything about the
doctors and more drugs, but I promise you, Dane, if they'd given
me more of that stuff, I'd be dead now. I never would have been
able to break the dream and I would have died." He saw her flinch
at the sound of those words. "I'm sorry, Sweetheart, but it's true.
The good part is, it didn't come to that. Bill wouldn't let them near

"And the hug?" she asked, tears now streaking down her face.

"Let's just say we figured out we have a lot more in common than
either of us knew," Mulder said cryptically. "He's not a bad guy,
Dane. He's a big brother. It's a shitty job at times. Sometimes it
can take up your whole life," he said softly, his eyes distant. After a
second he looked back at her. "He loves you, Dane. And he's
hurting now. You need to talk to him."

"I think you're right," she admitted.

"And I think we should consider someone for Godfather--" he held
up his hand at her immediate reaction. "I'm not suggesting Bill. I
don't think he's ready for it, yet. Not with Adam, anyway."

"Then who?" she asked, chewing her lip.

"Charlie. Think about it, Dane. This guy who everyone talks about
like he's some punk teenager has really stepped into some big shoes
these last few days. If what Bill told me is correct, he's been a big
support to you, Mom, and he even took Bill on. He's been the kind
of man I'd like our son to grow up to be. I think he'd make an
excellent Godfather."

Dana choked a little on her tears, but she was smiling broadly. "I
think you might have a good idea there, Sweetheart. My baby
brother has done me proud through this. And I would be more than
happy to ask him."

"Maybe we can ask him together, a little later. After your talk with
Bill," Mulder said, gently reminding her of her earlier promise.

"I suppose I'm going to get a bill for 'family counseling', huh?" she
joked, wiping her eyes.

"I work free for members of my own family," he teased in return.

"Are you sure you're OK?" she asked, the concern and worry still
dancing in her eyes.

"I'm sure. I'm tired, really. I think I can sleep a little now--without
the dramatic rescue scenes," he added with a wink. "Go on. And
when you finish talking to Bill, go get some sleep. That is an order
from your partner, your superior and your husband."

"That's three orders, then" she shot back.

"And I expect _all_ of them to be followed," he replied and took
her hand into a kiss. "Goodnight, sun."

"Goodnight, moon," she said and kissed him tenderly on the lips.
He was asleep before she lifted her mouth from his.

She found Bill and Tara and the rest of the clan, including AD
Skinner, sitting in the lounge area. No one was talking, everyone
looked up expectantly as she entered the room. She walked over to
her mother and lifted Adam into her arms.

Karen couldn't take the suspense. "Dana, how is he?" she pleaded.
"How is Mulder doing?"

Dana smiled, rocking the baby. "He's doing better. Much better,
really. His BP is back to normal, or as close to it as we can hope
for right now. He's back asleep," she explained and didn't miss the
worried look that came to her older brother's face. "But I think he
won't be bothered by any nightmares this time. And I'm making
sure he isn't given that particular sedative again. I think he's
sensitive to it."

"Damn straight," Bill muttered, which earned him confused stares
from all present except Dana, who tried her best not to smile.

"I think the rest of you can go on back to Mom's. I want to talk to
the doctor for a minute and then I'll be along, too," Dana told

"I'll stick around, give you a lift to your Mom's," Skinner said,
leaning back in his seat.

Dana looked over at him and then at her brother. "If you don't
mind, sir, I think I'll have Bill give us a ride back. But maybe you
could give Tara a ride? That is, if you don't mind going back now,

Tara shot a look to Bill, who shrugged. "That's fine by me, Dana.
Mr. Skinner, if you don't mind--"

Skinner looked hard at Dana, searching her face for any sign of
distress. Finding only her usual calm expression, he squared his
shoulders and stood up. "I'd be happy to give you a ride, Tara."

Maggie hadn't missed a second of this little drama and smiled
inwardly. "Sweetheart, let me take Adam with me. He's asleep,
and I can put him in his crib so he can stretch out. Poor little guy,
he's been sleeping in this car seat for two days now. He's probably
thinking he's regressed to his mommy's tummy," she chuckled and
took possession of the baby, putting him in his infant seat and
buckling him in.

"Thanks, Mom," Dana said, giving her son a gentle kiss on the
head. "Love you, little one," she whispered.

In a minute, everyone had gone and brother and sister faced each

"You wanted to talk to the doctor," Bill reminded her.

"Yes, I just wanted to ensure Fox doesn't get that sedative again,"
she said, nodding. "Want to walk down there with me?" she asked

"Sure," he said, toeing the tile floor for a moment. He seemed
inordinately interested in the flooring pattern all of a sudden.

They walked down to the nurses station and were able to track
down the intern. Dana made sure that the sedative they had been
administering was replaced with pain killers which Mulder had been
given before without incident. Once that was accomplished, and
after giving the nurse instructions on how to be reached, they
started toward the door.

"Wait," Bill said, as they walked past the door leading to the
courtyard. "Hey, wanta take a walk?"

It was Dana's turn to feel awkward. "Bill, I should get back to

"C'mon, Dana. Just a few minutes. Mom can handle the baby.
Besides, between Auntie Karen and Auntie Tara, he's gonna be
spoiled beyond recognition. Just a minute, OK?"

Silently, she followed him out into the spring night. There was a
street light shining, lighting the path to the park bench he and Tara
had found earlier in the day.

"It's so peaceful here," Bill sighed, sitting down on the park bench.

Dana ran her hand over the smooth wood, thinking back to other
park benches, other talks. Not with her brother, but with her

"Yeah, it is," she agreed. It took her a moment to gather her
thoughts, but without sitting down, she spoke. "Bill--what you did

"I know, Dana, I know. I'm not a doctor. But I swear, I could feel
him--he was struggling so hard to come out of that dream! And
those damned drugs--they were pulling him back into it. I couldn't
let that happen. I couldn't. I'm sorry, and if I put him in danger by
doing it--"

"You saved his life," Dana said just loud enough for him to hear her
over his own voice.

Bill stopped and stared at her. "I what?"

"You. Saved. His. Life." she stated, clearly, slowly and evenly.
"You saved his life, Billy," she said again, tears in her eyes.

"Dana, I just--"

"I know what you did."

"I'm the one who put him here," Bill objected vehemently, his own
throat tight with emotion.

"I know that, too," she replied.

"I'm . . . Oh God, Dana, I'm so . . . sorry," he gasped out,
struggling not to cry.

Dana had no such compunction and ignored the tears streaking
down her own cheeks. "I know that now, too."

"I was jealous."

"I could tell," she replied.

"I was selfish and self-centered, and arrogant and a bastard--"

"Stop right there, Bill Scully," she growled. "You might be those
other things, but you are not a bastard. You are William Scully,
son of William Scully. And don't you ever forget that," she

"Dad would be so ashamed of--"

She held up her hand to cut him off. "Let's not go into what Dad
might or might not be." She sat down beside him, but stared
straight ahead into the night. "I'm still angry with you. I'm not
sorry about it, either. What you did was horrible and it's going to
take a long time for me to get over it."

"I know that," he said, his voice filled with regret. "If I could take
all this away, I would."

"You can't. No one can. We just have to move passed it."

"How?" he asked, and she looked at him, because for the first time
in years, he sounded like a little boy. Like he did when they were
both children.

"Well, what you did tonight sure will go a long way. Mulder seems
to think--and this is a direct quote-- 'he's not a bad guy'," she said,
venturing a smile.

"He said that?" Bill asked, incredulous.

"Yes, he did. When he told me that I needed to talk to you. That
you were hurting and I needed to talk to you."

"He knew I was hurting?" Bill repeated, still not quite believing her
words. "How could he have known--"

"How did you know he needed you when he couldn't break out of
that nightmare?" she asked simply. He made no attempt to answer.
"He's just 'spooky' that way," she said with a short laugh.

"He's a good man, Dana. You could have done a whole lot
worse," Bill said seriously.

Dana smiled. "I know. I could have married someone like you,"
she said in perfect deadpan.

"Touche," he replied.

"Two years of French in high school and you still know the
language. I suppose that's intended to impress me," she retorted.

He smiled. "Admit it, you are impressed."

"C'mon, we need to get back," she said, avoiding his eyes. Still, in
the darkness he could see her smile.

"By the way, we're asking Charlie and Karen to be the
Godparents," she said, holding the door for him.

"I think that's an excellent choice, little sister," Bill said

St. Anthony's Medical Center
The Chapel
two days later

Mulder ranted, raved, wheedled and attempted to bribe the doctors
to let him out earlier. They were completely inured to his pleas. As
a result, the godparents were set to become 'godparents by proxy'
until Adam's grandmother hit upon a plan.

"I had this in mind before the wedding, just in case, but as luck
would have it, we didn't need to bother," Maggie confided in Dana.
"Besides, the Chapel really is pretty."

Dana had to agree. She had ordered a bouquet of flowers for the
altar, but both sets of aunts and uncles provided flowers, as did the
baby's other set of 'godparents', Skinner and Ellen. "There's as
many flowers as we had at the wedding," Dana remarked. "Well, I
better go collect the men of the family," she added and headed out
the door.

"I look like Vincent Price," Mulder was whining as she neared his

"Not at all, Mulder," Charlie was trying to be persuasive and trying
not to laugh and was failing miserably at both. "You look, ah,

"It's a damned smoking jacket, Charlie," Mulder growled. "It
looks stupid."

"It's better than the hospital gown underneath," his wife interjected.
"Besides, this is Adam's day. You're just window dressing," she
said, leaning over to give him a kiss as he sat in the wheelchair next
to his bed.

"We couldn't have waited a week?" he asked plaintively. "I could
be out of here and healed in a week."

"Sorry, 'other bro'," Charlie said with a shrug. "In another week,
I'm halfway to the South China Sea."

Dana rolled her eyes and reached for their son in his car seat. "Are
you ready, big guy?" she asked in hushed tones. "This won't hurt,
but the water is a little cold," she warned him.

"Father Donovan told me they put ice cubes in the water," Mulder
whispered to his son.

"You know, Mulder, it's customary to recommit to your Baptism
vows when you're older. I should ask Rabbi Gerry if the same is
true of a Bris," Dana said, eyes narrowed wickedly.

Both Charlie and Mulder choked and crossed their legs. "Do not
go there, G-woman," Mulder warned.

Karen rushed in the door, carrying a big gift bag. "Sorry, I know
I'm late. I just wanted to pick up a little something for my favorite
guy," she smiled broadly.

"Sweetheart, you shouldn't have," Charlie objected.

She shot him a glare. "Stand in line, Sailor boy," she told him and
took the car seat away from Dana. "Come on with Aunt Karen.
We'll get this shindig going and then it's time to par-tay!"

"We're gonna end up with a Playboy--two parties in less than two
months," Dana whispered in Mulder's ear.

"Wait till we hit December," he shot back, with a decided gleam in
his eyes.

The tiny chapel was almost filled to overflowing. In addition to the
parents and godparents, little Adam's maternal grandmother, other
aunt and uncle, and his Jewish godfather, there were the Goldfarbs,
with Rachel and Jason and a good number of the staff from the ICU
and Mulder's current floor of residence were in attendence. Father
Donovan was joking that if anyone else walked through the door,
they'd need a shoehorn.

"How are you doing?" Dana asked her husband quietly.

"A little nervous," he admitted.

"I know. I felt the same way at the Bris," she smiled. "But it's all
over in a little while." She reached down and grabbed his hand
tightly in her own. "I love you," she told him sincerely.

"I love you," he responded, kissing her hand.

"I think we can begin," Father Donovan announced and Karen
came forward with Charlie, holding Adam gently in her arms.
Father Donovan looked at Dana and Fox. "Dana and Fox, what do
you ask of the Church?"

Mulder looked at his wife, seeing the happiness in her eyes. More
than anything else, he had what he wanted for his child. A family
who loved him, friends who would help him. It was all here, in this
room. But he knew there was something more that would mean so
much to his wife. They shared a smile and looked back to the


the end.

Comments and cyber-roses should be e-mailed to:
Susan Proto
Vickie Moseley