Date: Mon, 13 Apr 1998
Category: MSR (marriage), MulderAngst
Rating: PG13 for most of it re: language, but there is one section that is
NC17 for sexual content.
Summary: When the Mulders are invited to spend a special holiday dinner with
best friends, Scully has a sense of foreboding, and as usual, it's with good
Disclaimer: Mulder and Scully belong to 10/13 productions and Chris Carter.
Adam Mulder, Richard, Leslie, Rachael and Jason Goldfarb, and Nana, on the
other hand, are all mine. Since I have learned to play nice in the sandbox, I
am only borrowing CC's characters and promise to return them at the end of the
story. Honest. I promise. Believe me. Please, because I couldn't afford to
be sued on my salary.
Introduction: This is the follow-up to "Life Cycles X: Trust."
The stories are going in a chronological order, so for continuity's sake,
especially regarding this one, you will want to read the others first, cause
this one might throw you for a loop if you don't. Nana makes a repeat
appearance, and if you haven't seen her introduction in LC: Under the Chuppah,
you might want to check it out first, as well as LC: Trust. You can find the
series archived at the ever wonderful, Shirley Smiley's MulderTorture site at:
Special Thanks: Yes, it's for Vickie Moseley. I don't think I could post
these things without getting your feedback first. Thank you my friend, and
special warm holiday wishes to you and yours.
Please! Send feedback! I crave feedback! I need feedback!
Life Cycles XI: Memories Passed
"Of course, I promise, by tomorrow evening the latest." Mulder heard the
tail end of the telephone conversation Scully was having as he walked in from
the patio. He was barbecuing a couple of hamburgers and hot dogs for himself
and Adam, while also grilling a piece of chicken for Scully.
"I can't believe how warm it is for March," he remarked as she said her good-
byes and hung up the phone.
"Smells good, Mulder," she pronounced as the aroma from the grilled meats
wafted throughout their small townhouse.
"Who was on the phone, Dane?" Mulder asked curiously.
"Leslie Goldfarb?" he asked. When she nodded in confirmation, he said, " How
are they doing? It's been a while since we've gotten together."
Dana recalled with only the slightest of shudders the first time they'd met.
It started out as such happy coincidences. The first was when they discovered
Rabbi Gerry performed the bris ceremonies for both Adam Mulder and Jason
Goldfarb. The second was when they found themselves in the same baptismal
class at Father Donovan's church and celebrating the joyous occasions of their
Of course it was neither of those joyful experiences that caused Dana to
tremble slightly. It was the incident in between. The beating. The
horrible, terrible beating her husband received at the hands of her own
brother, Bill, and his Neanderthal friends. And poor Richard Goldfarb got
blessed with the job of being her brother's public defender.
Talk about untimely.
Talk about awkward.
Talk about uncomfortable.
Talk about lucky.
They'd found a pair of very good friends in Leslie and Richard Goldfarb,
something both Dana and Fox had far too few of.
But busy schedules often kept their times together at a minimum, and before
either couple realized it, it had been over a month since they'd last seen one
"Dane?" he repeated "Dane, you okay?"
"What? Oh, Mulder I'm sorry, I guess I got lost in my own thoughts there for
a bit. What did you say?" she asked confused.
"How are the Goldfarbs?" he asked again.
"Oh, right. Fine. They're all doing just great. Rachael is doing well in
school and Jason is getting into everything he's not supposed to get into,
just like someone else we both know and love," she remarked with a huge smile.
"Oh, and she invited all of us over for dinner a week from Friday," she
"All of us? Adam too?" he asked with a hopeful smile. Mulder loved nothing
better than going places with his son. He worked long hours and felt he never
had enough time to spend with him, so when the opportunity arose for them to
go on a family date, Mulder rejoiced.
"Yep, Adam too. But hold on G-Man, this isn't your everyday, ordinary family
pot luck. Do you know what next Friday is?" she asked gently.
"Why? Is it significant?" he began, but before she could answer, he stood up
and said, "Either we continue this conversation on the patio so I can get the
burgers and chicken, or we chat and smell our food burn to a crisp."
"Go, Mulder, I'll follow you anywhere as long as it means I get fed," she said
with a chuckle.
"Sure, love me for my culinary skills," he retorted.
"Of course, are there any other reasons?" she asked teasingly.
As they opened the sliding glass door, Dana returned to the conversation at
hand. "Mulder, it's Good Friday and the first night of Passover."
"Oh." Mulder wasn't sure what the ramifications were for his duo-religion
family when a Catholic holiday and Jewish holiday fell on the same day. He
felt it best to wait for Scully to take the lead on this one.
"Well, Leslie invited us over for Passover Seder," she said.
"That was nice of her," he said tentatively.
"Yes, it was. I told her I'd get back to her as soon as I'd spoken with you
about it," Scully concurred.
"Oh." Mulder couldn't think of what he wanted to say next. He didn't exactly
know how he felt about going to a Passover seder. It had been a very, very
long time since he'd been to one.
But then, almost as suddenly as a rush of wind that whipped by them and caused
the barbecue's flames to erupt without warning, Mulder said, "Dane, can we go?
Please, can we go?"
Dana looked at her husband with surprise. His voice sounded like that of a
young child asking his mother for permission to go to a previously forbidden
place. She couldn't understand why he would use that tone of voice for this
She looked at him more closely and saw the seriousness in his expression and
heard it in the tone of his voice. She realized it meant a great deal to him
to accept the Goldfarb's invitation. She just wasn't sure of the exact reason
"I don't see why not, Mulder. I was planning on taking Adam over to color
Easter eggs for Sunday, but I'm sure Mom wouldn't mind if we waited until
Saturday," she said easily.
"Dane, are you sure? I mean is there a problem about us not being with Mom on
Good Friday? You know I wouldn't want to hurt her feelings, so if you think
we should spend the____
"__Mulder, stop! If there was a problem, don't you think I would have
mentioned it by now? Besides, we're going over to Mom's Thursday night for
dinner. It's Holy Thursday. I'm pretty sure Walter's going to be there too,"
"I guess we're going to get it from both ends this week, aren't we Scully?" he
Scully smiled at her husband's feeble attempt at a joke. She saw the baby
toddling toward the sliding glass door and opened it to swoop him up in her
"Well, Adam, looks like you and your mommy get to go to their first Passover
seder next week," she said aloud, as she hugged her son close to her.
Walter Skinner had indeed been present at the dining room table of Maggie
Scully on the evening of Holy Thursday. Walter and Maggie had begun seeing
one another on a more frequent basis, especially since Mulder's last hospital
Several months back, Mulder had experienced a serious episode of Post
Traumatic Stress Syndrome, when he'd thought he'd lost the baby in the mall.
As a result, he'd been attending some serious individual and group therapy
sessions and had made real progress.
Walter and Maggie have been delighted that Fox was feeling the positive
results of the sessions, while Dana has been just plain relieved. She'd been
so scared the time bomb called Mulder would go off again and again, and had
been petrified it would be impossible to get him back again. Lately, however,
the sense of foreboding had lessened.
Until last night.
She, Mulder, and Adam had had a wonderful time with her mom and Walter. They
had joked and had told stories and had genuinely enjoyed each other's
company. Adam had done exactly what any two year old was supposed to do. He'd
entertained the adults by singing and dancing and just being adorable. It had
been a delightful evening of good food, good conversation, and good company.
So, Dana didn't understand exactly what it was that had kicked her sixth
sense in, something she likened to her MulderSense.
Maybe it had been those moments when Mulder had become so lost in thought he
hadn't heard anyone call his name.
Maybe it had been that moment when Scully had seen Mulder visibly shudder when
Walter had mentioned a similarity between the Holy Thursday dinner and the
Passover Seder tradition.
Maybe it had been the moment when Scully had looked at her husband and had
seen only a sad, lonely gaze, that had made her wonder exactly where her
husband's thoughts were.
Scully hadn't been able to shake the feeling something was going to go
horribly wrong. She hadn't known what it was and had been so tempted last
night to try and convince Mulder they should beg off from going to the
But Scully knew better.
Something was calling Mulder to the seder table.
Perhaps it was the same "something" that was now telling her to take her
husband and child, and run like hell.
Instead, they rang the doorbell.
Richard opened the door with Rachael hanging on to his right leg and Jason
hanging onto his left. In his hands was a bowl with an undetermined mixture
"C'mon you guys, would ya let Daddy answer the door?" he pleaded in an
exasperated tone. Upon actually seeing who was at the door, Richard greeted
his guests with a huge smile.
"Well, if it isn't the long lost Mulder family! How the hell are you? God,
it has been way too long! Come in, come in," he invited happily.
"Hi Richard," Scully said, leaning in for a friendly kiss on the cheek in
greeting. "You look like you have your hands full!"
"Yeah, well, last minute detail. Leslie thought I'd made the Charoses, and I
thought she'd made it. Well, of course neither one of us had made it, so here
I am, chopping and mixing at the last minute," he explained.
"But I helped too, Daddy, 'member? I mixed it up and poured in the grape
juice! Daddy, 'member?" reminded six year old Rachel, over and over.
"Yes, sweetie, I remember," he said in attempt to placate his daughter. "Oy."
Then turning back to his guests, he said, "Hey Mulder, it's good to see you
too," he added with a warm smile and a handshake.
"Umm, forgive the ignorance, but what is "har-ro-sis?" Scully asked curiously.
"I don't mean to be rude, Richard, but that's not meant for eating, is it?"
"Yeah, as a matter of fact it is. Trust me Dana, it tastes a lot better than
it looks. Oh, and it's "Cha-ro-ses," he answered.
"It's supposed to look like that, Dane," Mulder said quietly.
"It is? What's in __," Scully responded.
"__Daddy!" Rachael interrupted, "You said I could mix it up some more!"
"Okay, Rachael, okay. Come, let's get you settled back in the kitchen, so you
can mix, and maybe we can settle the boys in with some toys so they don't get
"Are you having any other guests tonight, Richard?" Dana asked as they
accompanied their host into their kitchen.
As Richard planted Rachael at the kitchen island in the middle of the room,
and pulled out the plastic laundry basket that was filled with Jason's toys
for just such occasions, he looked at Scully and explained.
"Well, Leslie's sister was supposed to come tonight, but her husband came down
with a miserable cold and so they begged off. Quite frankly, after last
year's experience, I'm not too disappointed."
"Why, what happened?" Mulder asked.
"Well, let's just say dinner degenerated into a contest of whose religious
symbols were more meaningful. It was silly, but it got a little uncomfortable
after a while," Richard explained.
"Oh, Leslie's sister is Moslem, isn't she?" Scully asked.
"She was," Leslie interjected as she entered the room, "but now she's become a
"Oh, well, good for her, if that gives her comfort, right?" Dana commented.
"Right. Oy, she's driving my mother crazy!" Leslie chuckled as she came round
to give both Mulder and Scully hugs and kisses in greeting. "Damn, it's been
too long since we've gotten together! I know we talk on the phone all the
time, Dana, but it's so good to actually see you two in the flesh!"
"We've missed getting together with you too, Leslie," Mulder responded.
"Well, we'll just have to make sure we set up a date for our next get together
before you leave tonight, okay?" she stated.
"Sounds like a plan," Mulder replied. "Now, is there anything we can do to
"Yep, tell me what you want to start off with as an appetizer. You may have
gefilte fish, with or without horseradish, or chopped liver, or a combination
of both," Leslie offered.
"Chopped liver?" Scully choked out. "Umm, I think I need to pass on that,
Leslie. I've had one too many encounters with that body part, and I just
don't think I could handle it. Maybe Mulder's stomach is stronger than mine."
"It's been a long time since I've had homemade chopped liver, Leslie. I'm
game," Mulder said and then added, "I'll have some gefilte fish too, with lots
"Now why doesn't that surprise me?" laughed Richard. "Hey Leslie, maybe Dana
would like your chicken salad?"
"Oh, good idea. I always forget about that," she responded. "I make my
chicken salad like a pate too. It's good, Dana."
"I would love to try some, Leslie," Dana answered.
"Okay, Gentlemen, grab a toddler and set them up with some toys to play with
and some matzoh to eat.
"Rachael, sweetheart, you did a wonderful job of mixing the Charoses, and now
I need you to play 'Big Sister' to Jason and Adam and help Daddy and Uncle
Mulder keep them amused. Think you can be Mommy and Daddy's big girl helper
Rachael gave her mom the look that said, 'Mom, don't be ridiculous. Of course
I can handle this,' which always surprised her since she still considered the
six year old her baby. Leslie threw her a kiss of thanks and then turned to
"Dana, you can help me dish out the appetizers. We'll eat the appetizer to
stave off starvation, and then we'll begin the seder, okay?" Leslie suggested.
"Sounds good to me," she replied and began scooping out chopped liver, chicken
salad, and gefilte fish and horseradish.
As soon as Mulder and Richard left the kitchen with the children, Leslie
looked over at Dana, and said simply, "So?"
"Sew buttons," was Dana's quick reply.
"Dana, talk to me. How's it been going? It's been so long since we've
actually seen you, and we hardly get a chance to get a word in edgewise over
the phone what with toddlers running amok under our feet!" Leslie said, and
after a moment's pause, "How is he?"
Scully looked thoughtfully at her friend and inhaled deeply. She knew the
question was going to come up. Scully wasn't upset her friend asked about her
husband's health, and in fact she was grateful for her concern. She simply
wasn't sure how to answer the question.
"Well," she began hesitantly, "Mulder's been going to his therapy sessions
consistently. I mean he's been going to his individual sessions and, believe
it or not, he's even been attending the group sessions."
"You're kidding," Leslie retorted. "Group sessions?"
"He wants to get over this. He wants to get on and live a normal life, and
in order to do that he has to put the past behind him. If talking to others
about the abuse he endured as a child from that sonofabitch of a father, then
he made up his mind that he would talk about it.
"I mean, I know he hasn't brought everything to the table, and there's still
things he hasn't spoken to me about. But he's trying so hard, Leslie. He
really does want to get well," Dana said.
"I'm just amazed that he agreed to group therapy sessions. Mulder's kept
everything inside for so long," Leslie commented.
"It amazed me too, but I think the fact that Mulder lost control because of
Adam scared the hell out of him. He never really gave it much thought when it
was just me and him, but the thought of haring out while being in charge of
Adam scared the shit out him," Scully explained. "He doesn't want to put that
kind of responsibility on his son. For his wife, it's okay, but not his son,"
she added with a wry smile.
Leslie chuckled at that thought, but she knew how much Mulder loved Dana too,
and how he would do anything for her. Leslie then looked at her friend again
and simply said, "But?"
Scully returned Leslie's gaze and was all ready to respond as if she didn't
know what Leslie was talking about, but instead said, "Am I that transparent,
or have you just gotten to know me that well?"
"Dana, you do know I consider you to be my closest friend, don't you? We may
not see one another as often as we'd like, but our phone conversations and e-
mails really mean the world to me," Leslie confessed.
"Leslie, I feel the same way. If I didn't have you to talk to while Mulder
was going through his home recuperation, I think I would have gone mad. I
mean, my mother's wonderful and all, but it's not the same as talking to
someone your own age, going through similar experiences as you are," Scully
"I'm so glad you feel that way, Dana. So, now, tell me. What's the 'but'?"
"The 'but'," Scully echoed. "Leslie, I don't know if I can explain it."
Scully stood quietly for a moment or two, trying to collect her thoughts, not
knowing exactly what she wanted to say or how she was going to say it. She
took a deep breath, and began.
"Les? Have you ever had a feeling something was wrong, but you had no proof
that it was wrong, and yet you knew even if you did know it was wrong, you
would go through with whatever it was that was going to go wrong anyway?" she
asked all in one breath. "Oh God, that made no sense whatsoever, did it?"
"Dana, what are you worried about?" Leslie pleaded.
"Leslie, you don't know how close I was to calling you up earlier with some
lame excuse so we wouldn't have had to come here," Scully began, but upon
seeing the subtly hurt expression on her friend's face, she quickly continued.
"Oh sweetie, please, don't misunderstand! There is no one we would rather
spend time with. You and Richard, and the kids, oh God Leslie, you all are so
important to me, to Mulder and Adam. It's not you. Please believe me, it's
not you!" Scully begged.
"I believe you, Dana, but please, tell me why you had considered canceling
tonight?" Leslie asked.
"I'm not sure why, that's the problem. I think__," she hesitated and then
continued, "I think it's the holiday itself."
"Passover?" asked Leslie surprised.
"Yes. Passover. I know, it sounds ridiculous, which is why I didn't call to
cancel, yet, I'm still scared shitless something's going to happen."
"With Mulder," Leslie stated.
"Yes, with Mulder," Scully confirmed. "Les, from what Mulder's told me,
Passover was a special holiday to him when he was a small child. I know he
celebrated it at his Nana's home, with his mother and sister. I don't recall
Mulder ever mentioning whether his father went with him to the seder. I would
be surprised if he had.
"But you have to understand, Mulder's Nana, well, she was an incredible lady.
She watched out for Fox. She protected him. It was one of the few places he
felt safe from his father.
"Now, I don't know all of the details, but I do know when he collapsed, and
went into a catatonic state, one of the places in his mind that he went back
to was his Nana's home. Or at least he wanted to go there, but I don't think
Nana would let him," Scully said quietly.
"Wouldn't let him? Dana, I thought Nana died years ago," Leslie questioned.
"What? Oh she did, just as Mulder entered kindergarten," Scully confirmed.
"So how could she not let him__. Dana, I don't understand," Leslie said,
"It's a long story, Leslie. I'm sorry, I know how convoluted this all must
sound to you. Hell, I can't even believe some of it! All I know is, I'm
worried. I'm worried something's going to trigger Mulder's memories and I
don't know what will happen. I'm scared, Leslie," Scully confessed.
"Do you know Mulder's therapist's number?" Leslie asked.
"Then, to be honest with you, there's not much more you can do, Dana. He'd
have to face this holiday sooner or later if he's going to continue to
practice Judaism, right?" Upon seeing Dana's tentative nod in agreement,
"And if that's the case, and if something had to happen, then I for one would
much rather it happen with friends that love him, don't you? Now, let's go
bring in the appetizers before Elijah the Prophet shows up before we're ready
for his entrance," Leslie said with a confident grin.
"Thank you. Thank you for__."
"Dana, you would do the same for me and Richard, yes?" Dana nodded her head
adamantly, to which Leslie replied, "'Nuff said! Let's go eat so we can get
this show on the road."
Disclaimers in part 1
"We were wondering if you went fishing for the gefilte fish," Richard said
"Oh, you know, just catching up on some girl talk, that's all," Leslie said
lightly as she and Dana passed out the appetizer plates.
Richard caught Leslie's eye with a penetrating glare, and she nodded slightly
with a small smile to answer his unspoken question, *Is everything all right?*
Next, Richard explained to Scully and Mulder what Leslie and he do a somewhat
adapted version of the Passover seder, as this was the way his own parents did
it, and he was comfortable continuing it that way.
"Well, since this is my first seder, I guess I don't have anything to compare
it with," responded Scully. "I'm sure it will be wonderful."
Leslie passed out the plates of appetizers, while Richard spread some
margarine on a piece of matzoh for Rachael. Jason and Adam managed to munch
on the plain matzoh and made a royal mess in the process.
"Adam, please eat over the table," Mulder instructed.
"Mulder," Leslie interjected, "don't worry about it. There is no way this
floor is going to escape from getting its share of matzoh crumbs. It's the
nature of the beast, ya know? No big deal."
Mulder sat back and nodded slowly. His eyes seemed to focus on a very far
away place for a moment or two, until Scully gently touched his shoulder.
"Hey G-Man, wanna come back and join us?" Scully asked gently.
"Oh!" he responded in a startled voice. "I'm sorry. I guess my mind wandered
there for a little bit."
Scully debated for a moment before she asked the question that was on
everyone's minds. "Where'd you go, Mulder? What did you remember?"
"Nana's," he whispered after only a moment's hesitation. "I was remembering
when my own mother reprimanded me when I got crumbs on Nana's floor, and Nana
responded to my mother in just the way Leslie answered me."
He sat there pensively for a moment, and then voiced his thoughts aloud, "I
wonder why I sounded like my mother and not like Nana and Leslie?"
He turned to look at Scully and repeated his concerns. "I mean, why did I
immediately assume the role of the harsh disciplinarian?"
"Mulder," Richard interjected, "I would hardly characterize your reminding a
two year old to eat a crumbling cracker over the table as being a harsh
"No?" Mulder asked.
"No," Richard replied, and then added sensitively, "You didn't sound harsh at
all, Mulder. You sounded, in fact, rather gentle."
"I did?" Mulder looked confused.
"What is it, Mulder? What's wrong?" Scully asked worriedly.
"Nothing. I'm fine, Scully," he answered slowly. He looked at Richard and
Leslie, whom he realized were staring at him with very concerned looks on
"I'm sorry, you guys," Mulder said to his hosts. "Maybe this was a mistake,"
he added in a whisper.
"Mulder, don't be ridiculous. You and Dana are our best friends. Who else
would we want to be with on the holiday? Now let's eat so we can start the
seder so we can eat! Did that make sense?" Leslie asked in a jocular tone,
albeit a forced one.
"Yes, my dear, it made perfect sense, and I agree. Mulder, we're your
friends, and you are our best friends. Anything we can do for you, we will.
Don't worry about us, okay? You need to talk or take a break, you let us
know, okay? Promise us, Mulder," Richard insisted.
Mulder looked at Richard with awe. The only person he'd ever been truly
comfortable enough to trust sharing his feelings with was Scully. Granted,
there were things he still chose to keep from her, but he hadn't told his own
therapist everything yet either. The fact that these two kind people were
inviting him to open up to them was overwhelming to him.
"I promise. You two are the best friends Dane and I have too, you have to
know that," he said while looking towards Dana for confirmation.
"That you are, the very best," Dana affirmed with a broad smile.
"Okay then, it's time for Dana to try the gefilte fish," Leslie declared.
They finished their appetizers, after which Dana pronounced the gefilte fish
as 'pretty good,' though no one believed she was being anything more than
Richard then passed out the Passover Haggadahs, the special books they would
use to retell the story of Passover, to each of the adults. He passed one to
Rachael too, even though she couldn't read all of the words yet, it made her
feel very grown up to hold one.
The youngest members of the participants were each given children's Passover
Symbols picture books made out of sturdy cardboard that Leslie had picked up
at the Jewish Community Center's Book Store. This way they had something to
hold too, but wouldn't be in danger of destroying the adult's Haggadahs.
"Forgive the condition of the Haggadahs. They're literally as old as I am.
My parents got a hold of these when I was a child and when it proved too hard
for mom to do the seders, I inherited them. Anyway, let's begin," Richard
He began by introducing the basic symbols of Passover. As the Haggadahs
retold the story of Passover in a participatory fashion, Leslie began by
explaining the significance of the three pieces of matzoh on the plate in
front of them.
"The matzos commemorate the bread which our forefathers were compelled to eat
during their hasty departure from Egypt. The three matzos represent the three
religious groupings of the Jewish people- Kohen, Levi, and Yisroayl. They are
placed together to show the unity and strength of the Jewish people and their
will to survive."
Mulder next pointed to the bone on the seder plate and talked about the
Roasted Shankbone as being a reminder of the paschal lamb which was a special
animal sacrifice which their ancestors offered on the altar of the great
Temple in Jerusalem, on the Passover holiday.
Scully shared the significance of the Roasted Egg, which represented the
second offering brought to the Temple on Passover and was known as the
Festival Offering, for it was brought on each of the three Festival Holidays-
Passover, Shavuos, and Succos.
Rachael, though unable to read it, was able to describe in her own words why
the Moror, or bitter herbs were placed on the seder plate. "The horseradish
tells us to remember how bad it was to be a slave in Egypt," she said very
seriously. "And the Charoses looks like the stuff the Jewish slaves had to
build the bricks out of for the Pharaoh's pyramids!" she added excitedly.
"Oopsies, sorry Daddy. I wasn't supposed to talk about the charoses too, was
I?" Rachael asked contritely.
"It's okay, sweetheart. You did such a good job telling about it!" Richard
"The charoses looks pretty disgusting, doesn't it Aunt Dana? But it tastes
good," Rachael said honestly, and then upon noting Dana's rather doubtful
look, Rachael added, "Really, Aunt Dana. You'll see. It does taste good!"
Richard chuckled a bit before he went on to explain the significance of the
Karpas, or the green vegetables, which reminds everyone that Passover
coincides with the arrival of Spring and the gathering of the Spring harvest.
The Jewish people therefore give their thanks for the earth's rich bounties.
Leslie then got to share the symbolism of the four cups of wine, which is a
symbol of joy and thanksgiving. The four cups represent a four-fold promise
which the Lord made to the Israelites in Egypt to free them from Pharaoh's
Richard then took over again as the Leader and led the small group in the
first kiddush, the prayer over the wine. Everyone rose as they listened to
Richard chant the prayer in a beautiful tenor voice.
Scully looked over at Mulder in anticipation of seeing an expression of
appreciation for Richard's lovely voice. That was not the case however.
Instead, she saw Mulder standing stiffly, with his eyes closed, clenching his
glass as though it would fly out of his hand at any given moment.
When Richard finished, everyone took a sip of their wine, except Mulder. He
merely stood there, mutely, with his eyes still shut tight.
"Mulder? Mulder, are you all right?" Scully asked cautiously. She next
touched his forearm cautiously for fear she might needlessly startle him.
When he didn't respond immediately, Leslie asked Scully softly if she had
Mulder's therapist's number handy. "Just in case," she said, "as a
Scully nodded in affirmation, and then gently grasped Mulder's free hand and
squeezed. "Hey, G-Man? We're ready to continue. Are you okay?"
Mulder opened his eyes slowly and looked around. He was really surprised to
see he wasn't sitting in his Nana's living room. "Ohmigod," he gasped. "It
was so damned real. I swear, I thought I was there."
"Where, Mulder?" asked Scully.
"Nana's. It felt like I was back in Nana's apartment. Poppy used to chant
the kiddush like that. I remember it so clearly. Oh God, Dane, what's wrong
with me? Why do I keep going back to the past? Why can't I just enjoy the
present like everyone else?" Mulder lamented.
"Because the past was so important to you, Mulder. C'mon, let's continue with
the present, okay?" Scully stated in a comforting tone.
She helped him get seated and listened to Richard's instructions to take a
piece of the karpas, or green vegetable, and dip it into the salt water that
was sitting on the table.
"By eating the green vegetable, we are reminded to give thanks to God and for
all of His bounties. But when we dip it into the salt water, we are asked to
remember the tears our ancestors shed while suffering the tortures of slavery.
Next Richard told of the ritual of Yachatz. "I will now break the middle
matzo in two. This half will be the Afikomen, or the desert, and will be
eaten at the end of our seder meal."
"And I'm gonna find it! I'm gonna find it!" squealed Rachael. Adam and Jason
looked up curiously at the squealing six year old, and decided it sounded like
fun, so they joined in.
"Fine it! Fine it! Fine it!" the two two-year olds chorused, intermingled
with Rachael's chant.
"Okay! Okay!" boomed Richard's voice. "You'll all get a chance to find the
Scully looked totally confused, so Mulder tried to gain some sense of his own
reality and explained it to her. "The Afikomen is hidden, Dane, and the
children get to try and find it. The seder can't end without it, so the child
who finds it is rewarded with a small token."
"My mercenary cousins and I never settled for anything less than a dollar
reward, and that was from each of the grandparents, parents, aunts and
uncles!" laughed Richard.
"And you had the nerve to make fun of our Easter egg hunts, Mulder!" Scully
"Yeah, but all you got for finding Easter eggs were, well eggs!" he responded
Scully sighed in relief. Mulder seemed to sound like himself again, for which
she was very grateful. She reminded herself, however, the therapist's number
was on her cellular speed dial. Just in case.
The next major step in the seder was the four questions. Richard pointed out
to Dana that the true purpose of the Passover seder was to retell the story to
"Richard, does the word seder mean dinner?" Dana asked.
"Good question. It actually means 'order'. The seder dinner is told in a very
specific order, and all Jews who celebrate the seder do it pretty much in the
same, prescribed order as every other Jew. Granted, we, personally, don't do
every single prayer, or follow every single ritual, but we do follow the same
"You know, there's something very comforting in knowing that
Jews around the world are doing pretty much the same thing as you are doing at
that given moment. It really does give you a sense of community, of family,"
Richard said thoughtfully.
"Dana, why don't you read the four questions in English first, so you'll know
what Rachael will be chanting in Hebrew," Richard said. "After all, you are
the next youngest, besides the boys of course."
"Thanks for reminding us all of that fact, Dear," Leslie said with a sneer.
"Just for that, you get the 'matzo rocks' instead of the matzo balls."
"Sorry, Dear," Richard said smiling, and without even a hint of remorse.
Dana read the four questions aloud, "Why is this night different from all
"On all other nights we eat either Chomaytz or Matzoh, but on this night we
eat only Matzoh.
"On all other nights, we eat all kinds of herbs, but on this night we eat only
"On all other nights, we do not dip even once, but on this night we dip twice.
"On all other nights, we eat either sitting or reclining, but on this night we
"Okay, Rachael. Now it's your turn, sweetheart," Leslie said.
Rachael stood up. She was so excited, as she'd been practicing and practicing
in Sunday School for the past four weeks, and she'd been listening to the
cassette tape Leslie had bought.
In a sweet, child's soprano, Rachael began to chant the four questions.
"Mah neesh-ta-noh ha-lai-loh ha-zeh mee-kol ha-lay-los?" she began.
As Rachael began to sing, Richard and Leslie sat proudly, lost in listening
to their daughter's confident voice.
Scully was enthralled with the child's ability to remember all of the Hebrew
words, and the sweet tone of her singing voice.
Even the toddlers stopped their play to listen.
And Mulder was transported to another time, another place, when he, as the
youngest, was called upon to chant the four questions.
"Come, shayner boychikel, come sing the four questions for Nana," she said in
her sweetly accented voice.
"Mama, would you leave him be? He can't do it. He's only four years old for
crying out loud. Why would you expect him to be able to sing the four
questions?" an exasperated Elizabeth Mulder asked.
"Because he's been practicing with me, and because I know he can do it. He's
my grandson, after all, aren't you mine sweet boychik?" Nana responded.
"Oh for heaven's sake, Mama, he can't possibly do it. Just let it be."
At that moment, a small cry was heard, and then it became more insistent.
"Bette, go take care of Samantha," Nana said to her daughter, calling her by
her given name. The she turned to her grandson and called, "Come, Foxila.
Come to Nana."
As the small boy walked over to his grandmother, he looked tentatively towards
his mother as she tried to deal with the fussing infant.
Maybe he couldn't do it. Maybe his mother was right. He was only a little
boy. Maybe he wasn't smart enough to do it. His father certainly didn't
think he was smart enough.
His father wouldn't even come to the seder to hear him. And now his mother
looked so angry. Maybe she would get really angry if he forgot the words.
No, he shouldn't be doing this. He couldn't do this.
Then he looked at his Nana's face. He saw only confidence in him, in her
eyes. He saw only love for him, in her eyes. His Nana thought he could do.
His Nana knew he could do it. Maybe he could do it. Maybe he would try.
"Mah neesh-ta-noh ha-lai-loh ha-zeh mee-kol ha-lay-los?" he began.
As Rachael reached the third question, she began to falter just a little.
She'd memorized the first two questions perfectly, and had most of the third
and fourth questions down pat, but with all of those eyes on her, she
hesitated and became confused.
Richard and Leslie were so enamored with the notion their daughter was
chanting the four questions, they were oblivious to the sudden feelings of
stress the child was going through.
Scully sensed it a little, as she'd had so much practice with Mulder. But
there was little she could do about it, as she didn't have a clue as to how to
help the child sing the questions in Hebrew.
Even the toddlers started to get a little edgy, and began tapping their
cardboard Haggadahs on the table.
Mulder felt her sense of alarm. He saw the panic in her eyes. He remembered
experiencing those very same feelings. He also remembered hearing his mother
say the words, "Mama, I told you he couldn't do it."
And then he remembered his Nana's sweet voice of confidence. "Shah, Bette, he
can do it. Come sweet boychikel, Nana will help you."
And she did. And the young Fox continued chanting the four questions in his
sweet, slightly off-key, four year old's voice.
And he did. And the young Rachael continued chanting the four questions in
her lovely six year old's voice, with only a hint of help and encouragement
from the senior FBI agent seated at the table.
Rachael looked at him with grateful eyes, and he returned her gaze with love
and equal compassion.
Richard and Leslie remained oblivious to the fact that their daughter was just
saved an embarrassment that any six year old would be mortified to endure.
The boys continued to tap their books, but now in a much more rhythmical
Scully watched as the scene unfolded before her, unsure as to whether she was
watching Mulder in the present or Fox in the past. More than likely, she
realized, it was a combination of the two.
Mulder, now very much in the present, smiled to himself as he realized just
how many memories his mind held. *Some were good,* he thought to himself.
*Some of my memories are actually good.*
The seder continued with Richard and the participants answering the four
questions by telling the story of "The Four Sons," then the retelling of the
Jews hasty departure from Egypt, and the further explanation of the three
symbols of Passover.
When the time came to recount the ten plagues that befell the Egyptians,
Scully read the part of the seder which explained, "Though the plagues that
were cast upon the Egyptian people were the result of their own evil, Jews do
not rejoice over their downfall and defeat."
Mulder continued the reading and pointed out,"A full cup of wine is a symbol
of complete joy. So, as a reminder of the sacrifices others made for our
triumph we diminish our full cup by remembering the plagues that visited the
"We don't actually pour off the wine, Dana, since that would get a little
messy. We just dip our finger in the glass and place a drop of wine on our
plates or each of the plagues."
Which is exactly what they all did, and then, as if it were a part of the
ritual itself, each of them loudly sucked the last of the wine off of their
fingers. Everyone chuckled a bit at that, with Richard remembering aloud how
his grandfather always said that was the tastiest of the traditions.
Scully watched Mulder smile wryly as he appeared to recall a similar
remembrance from his past.
Suddenly, Mulder and Scully were brought out of their musings by a boisterous
singing rendition of "Dayaynoo." Mulder mutely pointed out the English
translation at the top of the page which stated "We Are Grateful."
Richard and Rachael led the verses, while Leslie joined in confidently at the
chorus of "Die-die-A-Noo, Die-die-A-Noo,
By the last verse, Mulder was singing with Richard and Rachael, and even
Scully was singing along with the chorus. Adam and Jason were adding their
own rendition with made up words and syllables, but everyone was having a
Once everyone had caught their breath, Richard continued with the last part of
the seder before dinner was to be served. They had another cup of wine and
said the Motzee Matzoh, the prayer giving thanks for the matzoh.
Then, Richard instructed everyone to dip a piece of the matzoh into the Moror
and then into the Charoses, so the participants could understand though
slavery was a bitter ordeal, it could be sweetened by God's redemption.
Scully then declared that Rachael was right. The Charoses looked disgusting,
but tasted delicious!
"I told you Aunt Dana! I told you! And I helped Daddy make it too!"
"That's right, you did, didn't you?" Dana asked, delighted with the little
"Daddy chopped up the walnuts and the apples in the food processor, and then I
mixed it all up in a bowl with the raisins, and the grape juice, and the 'cim-
im-mum'," Rachael said confidently.
"Well, now I know why it's so delicious," Scully said graciously.
"Okay, okay, you guys. You can trade recipes later. We've got one more thing
to do, and then we can really eat. We have to take some Matzoh and some
Moror, and make a little sandwich out of it. This was done all the way back
in biblical times, folks. According to Hillel, this was a biblical command.
It stated 'With Matzoh and Moror shall they eat it.' So, let's eat it, so we
And they did. And they did.
And Mulder remembered.
Disclaimers in part 1
Scully helped Leslie serve the soup. The littlest boys were the first to be
served as they were beyond waiting patiently for sustenance. Adam eyed the
cut up matzoh ball suspiciously, but as he watched Jason scarf it down, Adam
did the same. Both little boys alternated between blowing on the so-called
declared "hot" food and wolfing it down.
"I see my matzoh balls are a success with the two year old set. What about
with those of us who have a slightly more advanced sets of taste buds?" Leslie
"Sweetheart, they're delicious. My mother couldn't have made them this well,"
"Richard, your mother couldn't boil water, much less cook matzoh ball soup.
You said your grandmother did all of the Passover cooking," Leslie said with a
"True, true, but that doesn't detract in any way from the fact that these are
terrific!" Richard said in agreement.
"So did mine," Mulder said quietly.
"What did you say, Mulder?" asked Richard.
"So did mine," he repeated. "My grandmother did all of the Passover cooking
too. Only Nana had to cook two kinds of matzoh balls. K-nay-del," Mulder
declared with a small smile. "That's what they're called, aren't they,
When Richard nodded in affirmation, Mulder continued. "My grandfather liked
his knedel hard. Nana used to call them matzoh bombs. 'So hard, he should
need to cut them with a fork and knife,' Nana used to say," Mulder remembered
with a chuckle. "But that's the way his mother made them for him, so that's
the way he liked them. And Nana would never deny him.
"Of course, Nana would never serve them to anyone else like that. When she
was a girl, her mother made them soft. 'Like feathers, they should float up
and you should go crazy trying to catch them with your spoon,' she used to
say." Mulder began to practically giggle at the memory. Moments later, he
calmed down and continued to reminisce.
"My mother used to get so annoyed with her because she would take the time to
make two batches, one for my grandfather, and one for the rest of us. It
never seemed to bother Nana, but it used to drive my mother nuts that my
grandmother would cater to her husband in that fashion.
"I guess my mother never could understand that sometimes it was just a kind
thing to do to go out of your way to make someone else happy. She wouldn't do
it for my father. At least I don't think she would. I know I couldn't please
him. I tried, but it didn't help. I don't know, maybe my mother tried too,
but my father was so__, well, he was a little difficult to please.
"But Nana used to do that all the time for her family. She never gave it a
thought to make three different vegetables for a Shabbat dinner if she knew I
liked corn, and Mom liked broccoli, and Poppy liked string beans. She did
that all the time.
"All the time, until the day she__," Mulder's voice faded out. His coloring
paled immediately, and his breathing seemed to quicken. Mulder's pupils
appeared to dilate and his vision seemed unfocused.
Scully looked quickly at her husband and then at her hosts. She wasn't sure
what was happening, but Scully suspected it wasn't good. She quickly looked
over at the three children and then back at her hosts.
Leslie immediately understood Dana's concerns. "Okay you guys, we're going to
take a seder break. Rachael, you are going to be in charge of your brother
and Adam for a little bit. I want you to take your matzoh balls and bring
them into the den. I'm going to put on the Rugrats ® Passover Special tape
for you guys to watch, okay?"
"Okay, Mommy," Rachael replied agreeably. As Leslie herded the trio into the
den, Rachael could be heard asking her mother, "Is Uncle Mulder going to be
Scully shook her head in amazement at the perception children seemed to be
endowed with, and then went into Doctor Scully mode. She took hold of his
wrist and took his pulse.
"Well?" asked a very concerned Richard.
"It's fast. It's too damned fast, but I don't know why," Scully replied.
"Is this what happened the last time at the mall when he'd thought he 'd lost
Adam?" Richard queried.
"Yes, but no. He was totally out of it last time. Now, he just seems to be
__," Dana began.
"__Catatonic?" completed Leslie as she walked back into the dining room.
"No, thank God. He's responding to my touch and to light, and I would venture
to guess you even hear my voice now, don't you Mulder? It's just a whole lot
easier to sit here and not respond at the moment, isn't it?" Scully
"What's going on, Dana?" Richard asked. "What triggered this?"
"I don't know. What is it Mulder? What is it that's got you so scared to
remember again?" pleaded Scully.
"Mulder, we're all here for you now," Leslie said gently. "No one is angry or
upset. We all just want you to know we love you and want to help you, okay?"
The three of them watched Mulder for what seemed like an eternity, but when he
made no movement in response, Richard asked, "Dana, maybe we should call the
hospital, or at the very least, his doctor?"
"I think I'll call his therapist first. I don't know if the hospital would be
the right move for him now," she responded. "Leslie, would you get me my
purse? My cell is in there."
"You can use my phone, Dana," Leslie replied.
"I know, but the therapist's number is on my speed dial," Scully answered.
Leslie nodded her head in understanding and handed Scully the purse. Scully
then removed her cell phone and hit the power button, the recall button, and
"Good evening. Yes, I would appreciate it if Dr. Woods would call me back
immediately at__," to which Scully observed Leslie pointing frantically to her
phone. "__ at 734 - 1226. Please, it is an emergency."
The service informed Scully they would put her message through to Dr. Woods
immediately, and if she didn't hear from the doctor within fifteen minutes,
she was to call the service back to let them know.
In the meanwhile, Scully sat and spoke in soothing tones to her husband. She
murmured repetitive platitudes over and over, simply as a means to keep Mulder
in touch with reality.
"It's going to be fine, Mulder. You'll see, we'll get through this. We're
going to be okay. I promise you, we'll get through this," she said over and
Everyone, including Mulder, jumped when the phone rang. Leslie moved quickly
to pick it up. "Hold on one moment, please. Here she is," she said as she
handed the phone to Scully. "Dana, it's the doctor."
"Doctor Woods?" Scully began. "I don't know what to do."
The doctor asked Scully to explain his symptoms as well as his vitals. Since
everything appeared to be within normal ranges, the doctor told Scully to wait
it out a little longer. If he didn't seem to respond more appropriately
within the next ten to fifteen minutes, then they should consider calling an
"Try telling him he's going to have to go to the hospital if he doesn't let
you know what's wrong, Dana. Since he hates the hospital so much, he just
might snap out of it," Dr. Woods proposed.
"Dr. Woods, I think if he hears it from me, it would be like the proverbial
cry of 'wolf '. I think it might have a greater impact if he heard it from
you," Scully responded. "I'm going to put you on the speaker phone, Doctor.
"Fine," she replied. Dr. Woods waited a moment or two and then began to speak
"Mulder? Fox Mulder, it's Karen Woods. I am recommending a hospital
admittance if you don't become more responsive, Mulder. Is that what you
want? Would you rather hide from your past and be stuck in the psych ward?
She paused for a moment, hoping something of what she said had an impact upon
him. When she didn't hear any response, Dr. Woods decided to go for her trump
"Mulder, you'll be separated from Dana and Adam. They won't let you see the
baby until they can determine you wouldn't harm him. I don't know how long
that would take. Mulder, they'll take the baby away from you," she repeated.
"NO!" he cried out. "No, don't take her away from me!"
"Who, Mulder? Don't take who away from you?" the doctor asked quickly.
"Her," he lamented. "Please, please, please, don't take my Nana away from
"No one took her away from you, Mulder. Fox, she died. She was elderly, and
she got sick and she died," Dr. Woods answered as gently as possible.
"But she made the seder, and she didn't let him come. She kept him away from
me. She protected me, and now they took her away. They took her away," he
"Who didn't she let come to the seder, Fox?" asked the doctor.
"Daddy," he responded in a childlike voice. "She told Daddy he couldn't come
to her house, so he stayed away. I was safe in Nana's home."
"Nana knew your Daddy hurt you, Fox? She wouldn't let him hurt you in her
home, would she?" Dr. Woods confirmed.
Mulder sat on the chair with his arms wrapped around and hugging his chest.
He gently rocked his body back and forth as a way to provide himself with some
comfort. When he'd heard the doctor's words he merely nodded in affirmation.
Somehow Dr. Woods was able to sense Mulder's reaction and so she continued.
"Mulder? When did Nana die?" she asked softly.
"She got sick when I went into kindergarten," he answered.
"Yes, dear, but when did Nana die?" she prodded gently.
"In the Spring. She died during my Spring vacation. I remember 'cause I
didn't miss any school when we went to her funeral," he explained.
"Did you have a Passover seder that year, Fox?" Dr. Woods asked.
"No, we couldn't, 'cause Mommy wanted to sit shiva with Poppy, but Daddy
wouldn't let her. He made Mommy put Poppy in a nursing home and then that was
the end of it. We didn't see Poppy very much, and he died a few months later.
"Mommy said he wanted to be with Nana. I told her I wanted to be with Nana
too, but she told me, no, I couldn't be with Nana yet. I knew I wanted to be
with her though."
"Mulder, did you ever have a Passover seder at your house?" Dr. Woods asked.
"So the last Passover Seder you'd been to was the year before Nana died?"
asked the doctor.
"And then Nana died, so you couldn't have seder anymore, could you?" asked the
"What happened during that Passover, the one when Nana died, Fox?" Dr. Woods
"I don't remember."
"Nana wasn't there to protect you anymore, was she, Fox?" she probed more
"What happened during that Passover when Nana died, Fox?" Dr. Woods knew she
was pushing him to his limit, but she felt strongly that if they didn't deal
with this particular trauma at this particular time, the window of opportunity
might very well be lost forever.
"I don't remember."
"You can't remember, or you don't want to remember. Which is it, Fox?"
"I don't want to remember, Karen. I don't want to remember."
"What did he do to you that Passover, Fox?" she asked pointedly.
"I don't know. I don't remember."
"Fox, what did your father do to you that Passover?"
"I don't__. He hurt me, Karen. Nana went away and he hurt me. He yelled at
me and said, 'Now you don't have the little bitch to protect you anymore, do
you Foxila?' He hit me. He hit me hard. And he kept hitting me hard.
"I kept crying out for Nana, but she didn't come. She couldn't save me
anymore. She left me. How could she? How could she leave me with him? How
could she leave me with that ____?
"Fox, you sound angry," the doctor said.
"I hate her__, him! I hate him!" he corrected himself quickly.
"Ohmigod!" gasped Scully.
Disclaimers in part 1
***This section does contain descriptions of Child Abuse.***
Mulder looked up and for the first time since he'd begun to speak, realized
there were other people in the room with him. "Shit," he uttered. "Oh God,
the kids? Where are__?"
"They're in the den, engrossed in a tape, Mulder. They're nowhere near here,
but they're safe," Richard reassured him.
"Mulder," Scully began, no longer able to contain herself, "you're allowed to
feel anger about Nana's death. It doesn't make you a bad person."
"I'm not angry."
"Bullshit," Dr. Woods interjected firmly. "Stop with the bullshit, Fox. What
did your father do to you and why?"
Fox looked at the phone incredulously and then began, "It was the first seder
night. We'd always gone to Nana's on the first seder night, but that night we
were going to go to Grandmother Mulder's house. He said we were going to have
a new tradition.
"Even though Nana had just died, and my mother wanted to sit shiva, he
wouldn't let her. He made us all go to his mother's home for the seder.
"It was awful. They didn't do a seder, they just had some of the traditional
foods, or what they thought were the traditional foods. I mean they had the
seder plates on the table, but they served shrimp cocktail as an appetizer.
Not exactly kosher for Passover.
"He got mad 'cause I wouldn't eat it. He said I was being rude and insolent.
I yelled back at him that he was rude and insolent because he wouldn't let my
mother sit shiva. And I seem to recall telling him his mother was stupid
because even I knew shrimp weren't kosher for Passover. The fact that they
weren't kosher at any time had escaped me, but hell, I was only five years
old, ya know?
"Guess what. He didn't like that too much. He took me out to the car, and
made me sit in the car the rest of the night. Then, when we got home, he hit
"How badly?" she pressed.
He remained silent.
Dr. Woods repeated her question. "How badly?"
"Tell me about it, Fox."
Mulder looked around the room and saw his wife and friends looking on with
concern. He'd told Scully he was physically abused by his father, but he'd
never gone into much detail. He just didn't feel it was necessary. Somehow,
he had the feeling he wasn't going to escape with only vague details tonight.
"I don't know if Scully wants to hear this," he said.
"She needs to hear it, Fox," Dr. Woods interjected before anyone could
"Mulder, Richard and I will leave if you want," Leslie said.
"No. No, if Scully has to hear it, I'd rather you were around to give her
support if she needs it. I don't know if I'll be in any kind of shape to
provide her with any," Mulder said.
"Dr. Woods, if you think it's okay for us to stay, we will," Richard said
aloud into the speaker phone.
"I think it's fine. Now, Fox, tell me about that night. Tell me what he
did." Dr. Woods instructed.
"What didn't he do? I'd forgotten how angry he could get. While Nana was
alive, he really did leave me alone. Literally. He basically ignored me
while Nana was alive. It was such a relief.
"Can you imagine, Richard? Can you imagine Jason thinking it was a relief for
you to ignore him? God, I think I would die if I ever thought Adam felt that
way about me. But that's the way I felt about him.
"He ignored me and he didn't touch me, and I was so relieved. Until that
night. When we got home, I heard him tell my mother to bring Samantha to her
room and to stay in there with her for about a half hour. I remember she'd
started to ask him why, but he cut her off with a scream that startled Sam
into crying hysterically.
"Anyway, she ran off with Sam and my father grabbed me by the arm and started
pulling me into my bedroom with all his strength. I was only five years old,
but he pulled my arm so hard he dislocated it.
"I remember thinking my arm hurt, but I didn't know who to tell. I
instinctively knew if I said anything to my father, he would pull on it even
more. When he'd gotten me into my room, he made me strip my clothes. Then he
took off his belt and told me to bend over.
At this point Mulder's voice changed. It took on a more monotone quality to
it, as though he were distancing himself from the experience he was about to
relate to the others.
"He started whipping my butt. Over and over again. I thought about how hard
it was going to be for me to sit down, but that 's about all. I didn't cry.
I didn't want to cry in front of him. I knew it would only get him angrier,
so I bit my lip and held in my tears.
"Then he told me to stand up tall, and he whipped by back. Over and over
again. I still didn't cry, but at this point I started talking to Nana in my
head. I kept saying to her, 'Nana, why did you leave me? He's hurting me
Nana, all because you left me'.
"Then he told me to turn around. He wanted to watch my face as he whipped me
some more. He wanted to see if I would flinch or cry in front of him. He
started to whip me with the belt, all over my body. Everywhere. I watched
his face, but I kept talking to Nana in my head. But she didn't answer me.
"And he kept at it, because he knew no one would be the wiser. I was off from
school for the rest of the week, so the abrasions would most likely fade and
possibly even heal by the time I had to go back to school.
"But I never cried," Mulder continued with a tone of pride. "He wanted to
make me cry, but I didn't. That fact didn't stop him from hurting me though
either. When Nana left, he just picked up where he'd left off. He didn't
have to worry about Nana calling the police anymore and embarrassing him and
"When she left, he figured he could do whatever he wanted," Mulder said
quietly, but with anger.
"What about your mother, Mulder? Didn't she ever try to stop him?" asked
Leslie, who along with everyone else in the room, had tears in her eyes.
"No. She hadn't liked to make waves, so she'd just kind of hide in her
bedroom or in Sam's room when he'd go off. Besides, I think she'd been using
Valium fairly heavily when Nana died, so she'd been pretty much out of it
most of the time anyway.
"At least I pretty much knew when he would hurt me," he continued.
"When, Fox?" asked Dr. Woods.
"When he'd been drunk. Which had been most of the time, but not all the time.
When he hadn't been drunk, he'd ignored me," he answered.
"And you liked it when he ignored you, yes?" Dr. Woods asked.
"No? I thought you said you liked it, Fox."
"No. I said I was relieved. God, Karen, no one _likes_ to be ignored by
their father. Where the hell did you get your psych degree? Wal-Mart?" he
"Very funny, Dr. G-Man. So, what did you want from him. Did you want to be
ignored or hit?" she pressed.
"What a choice, right?" he commented.
"Helluva choice. Which did you make?" she probed some more.
"No kid wants to be ignored, Karen," he responded seriously.
"You chose__? You'd get yourself into trouble with him so he would hit you?"
cried out Scully incredulously. "Mulder, that's, that's___!"
"__crazy," he finished the sentence for her.
"No, not crazy, I mean __you're__ not crazy, Mulder, but, Mulder, to do
something you knew would set him off so he would hit you," she tried to
"No, Scully, not so he would hit me, so he would _pay attention_ to me. So he
would know that I was alive. So I would know I was alive.
"Mom had started popping so many pills, she barely functioned well enough to
meet Sam's needs. I took care of myself. I lived on cold cereal and American
cheese. I rejoiced the day I was allowed to use the stove top. Me and
Spaghetti-O's ® were best buds by the time I turned eight years old.
"The only person who'd ever taken any interest in me as a human being was
Nana, and she was gone, Scully. She left me. So, I took my attention any way
I could get it, and, unfortunately, that was mostly negative," he concluded.
"What about school, Mulder? Weren't there any teachers who took an interest
in you?" Richard asked with, admittedly, morbid curiosity.
"Nope. Dad had been one of those pain in the ass parents that most teachers
had loathed to see walk anywhere near the school, much less into their
classroom. They'd learned to keep their opinions and thoughts to themselves
very quickly," Mulder explained.
"Fox," interrupted Dr. Woods, "I want to address something before we wrap this
up for tonight. You said something to the effect that Nana left you. Tell me
more about that, Fox."
"There's nothing more to tell. She left me, so my father resumed using me as a
punching bag. End of story," he replied succinctly.
"Fox, you said something earlier about hating Nana__," Dr. Woods began.
"No. I said I hated _him_," he corrected.
"No, Fox," she chided gently. "First, you said you hated _her_. And when
Dana tried to remind you it was okay to have angry feelings, you cut her off
quickly. So, I'm asking you again, Fox, how do you feel about your Nana?"
"I loved her, for crying out loud. This is getting stupid, Karen. I really
want to end this now," Mulder cried out in agitation.
"Soon, I promise, but not before we deal with Nana," Dr. Woods placated.
"Fox, yes! You don't have a choice in this anymore. You have to deal with
this," she replied.
"Okay, so I was pissed off that she died. Shit, I was five years old for
God's sake. What would expect me to feel?" he asked rhetorically.
"I would expect nothing less from a five year old, Fox. It's how the thirty-
seven year old is dealing with it that interests me now," Karen Woods
Mulder, startled by the Doctor's last comment, remained quiet for a moment
before he stated, "I guess I'm still pissed off."
"No shit, Sherlock," Dr. Woods retorted.
Mulder chuckled nervously for a second or two, and then, as if the epiphany
hit full throttle, began to physically tremble.
"He's shaking like a leaf, Dr. Woods," Scully informed.
"Get him a blanket, and help him to keep warm. He's probably going into
shock," she replied.
Leslie jumped up and ran to the linen closet to get a spare comforter. She
handed one side to Scully, and together they wrapped Mulder up in it.
"Fox, talk it out. Now, Fox. Talk it out," encouraged Dr. Woods.
"But__, but I loved her so much. She protected me from him. She wouldn't
let him hurt me. I loved her for that," he argued aloud, more for himself
than for anyone else.
"Of course you loved her for keeping you safe while she was alive. But Fox,
she died. She wasn't there to protect you anymore. The first Passover she
wasn't there, your father beat the crap out of you. He whipped you and hit
and used you like a punching bag. She wasn't there to protect you anymore,
Fox. She wasn't there," Dr. Woods pounded.
"I know she wasn't there! I hated her for that! Oh God, I hated her for not
being there to protect me. I hated her for leaving me. How could she leave
me? I hated her! I hated her! I hated her!" he sobbed, all the while
shaking uncontrollably under the blanket.
Scully quickly moved to sit next to him to offer whatever physical comfort
"Fox, you hated her death. You hated her death, because she had to leave you
unprotected. You hated her death, because there was no one to tell you what a
special child you were. You hated her death, because there was no one left to
love you so unconditionally.
"Fox, you had every right to hate her death. You have nothing to feel guilty
about, Fox. You hated her death, never the person that was your Nana," Scully
said with gentle firmness.
"She's right Fox," Dr. Woods confirmed. "You hated the act, never the person.
Didn't you tell me Nana had come back to you a couple of times in your dreams
to help you?"
Mulder looked at Scully with a wry expression, as Scully echoed back, "Dreams,
"It would have been too hard to explain, Dane. The good doctor thought I was
enough of a case study without adding visions to the mix," Mulder tried to
Husband and wife looked at one another knowingly. They both knew that without
the appearance of Nana's apparition the week before their marriage, there
would have been a very good possibility Mulder's appendix would have burst and
Nana had made her last appearance during his last hospital stay, when she'd
helped him cope with his repressed memories of the medical research tests the
consortium project had put him through as a child. The horrors of those
memories still made him shudder involuntarily.
"Visions?" Dr. Woods echoed.
"Never mind, Karen. Another day, okay?" Mulder said good naturedly.
"Okay, but this will not be forgotten. Fox, where are you with this?" she
"Well, for now I guess I'm okay. I mean, I still can't believe how angry I am
about Nana's death. God, Karen, that was almost thirty-two years ago. Will I
ever learn to let go of things?" he asked earnestly.
"You're on your way, Fox, but I still want to see you tomorrow morning to
follow up on this," Karen Woods insisted.
"But tomorrow's Saturday, Karen. Don't you ever rest?" Mulder asked.
"Apparently when it comes to you, no. Besides, I want to hear more about
these visions, and yes, Dana, I wouldn't mind you joining us for this
session," she said with a slight lilt to her voice.
I want you both in the office at nine o'clock sharp. Got it?"
"Got it, Karen. We'll be there," Scully responded. "I was going to drop Adam
off at Mom's tomorrow to dye eggs anyway."
"Good. Mulder, can I hang up now?" Dr. Woods asked seriously.
"Yeah. I'm okay. Karen?" Mulder said.
"No problem. Besides, you'll get my bill," she added in her own inimitable
"Oh, I'm not worried, Karen. Not in the least. Look, I think I'm hungry, so
if you don't mind, we've got a seder to finish here," Mulder said grinning.
"As do I, Mulder, as do I. We were just about to sit down to the matzoh ball
soup when I got your call. So if you'll excuse me, I shall bid you a Good
Pesach. I'll see you two tomorrow. Good night," Dr. Woods bid.
"Thank you, Doctor. Good night," Scully called out.
And with that, they heard a click. Leslie replaced the receiver and looked
first at her husband and then at her guests. Mulder had eased himself out of
the blanket, having regained control over his body. Dana's cheeks finally
started to get some color back to them, and Richard's posture finally relaxed
for the first time in over an hour.
Leslie, herself, finally found herself able to breathe more normally. She was
about to suggest they sit down to the table when the patter of three pairs of
little feet interrupted her thoughts.
"Mommy, it's over! Rugrats ® is over! Can we have more seder now? I'm
hungry," Rachael called out.
"More pood, p'ease," called out Jason.
"More pood, p'ease," copied Adam.
"Well, talk about good timing! Yeah, I think we're ready to sit back down and
finish our seder. What do you all say?" Richard asked.
"Sounds like a plan to me," Scully said. "C'mon G-Man, let's feed all these
hungry stomachs before tonight turns into tomorrow!"
Rachael ran over to Mulder and embraced him around his neck. "You okay now,
"Yes, sweetheart. I'm okay," he answered while hugging her right back.
Just then two little boys noticed a big sister type was getting some extra
attention and decided they needed to be a part of a group hug. Adam led the
charge to his father's lap, while Jason picked up the rear. The two little
boys practically tackled Mulder, and Rachael who remained attached to Mulder's
neck, and jumped all over them.
Mulder, of course, was loving every second of it.
"Okay you guys, off ! Off!" cried Leslie. "It's time for food!"
Leslie obviously said the magic words, because three little bodies flew from
Mulder's side to the dining room table so quickly, the children were seated
before the adults had even risen from their seats.
"Get the feeling they're a little hungry?" Richard asked.
"What makes you say that?" Leslie asked with a smile.
"Paternal intuition? And maybe the fact that if we let him, Jason's going to
gnaw right through that spoon," he responded. "C'mon Dana. Mulder. Let's go
Richard extended a hand to Mulder to help pull him up from the couch. As
Richard pulled him up, Mulder's momentum pushed him right into Richard, which
neither man seemed to mind. Richard reached around Mulder to give him a hug,
and Mulder, in turn, embraced his friend.
"I'm sorry if I ruined your Passover seder, Richard," Mulder said softly to
both Richard and Leslie.
"No, Mulder. You didn't ruin it. But you did get yours back, didn't you?"
Leslie asked seriously.
"Yeah, I guess I did. Thank you, both of you. Maybe next year we'll have
seder at our house. Hey, Dane? You think we could do that?" Mulder asked
"Mulder? I suppose if I start practicing now, I might be able to learn how to
make matzoh ball soup," Scully said.
"Don't worry, shayner maydelah," the lightly accented voice was heard to say,
"I'll help you make them. Oy, they'll be so light, like a feather, you'll go
crazy trying to catch them with your spoons!"
Mulder looked at Scully with a huge grin. Scully looked at Mulder with her
irrepressible smile. Richard and Leslie looked at both of them with their
mouths wide open.
Next year's seder table would definitely need an extra place setting.
End of part 4/4
Happy Holidays Everyone!
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