Life Cycles XIII: Fathers' Fears 1/6
Date: Sat, 06 Jun 98
Category: MSR (marriage) and Walter/Maggie (marriage). Smattering of
MulderAngst, ScullyAngst, and a little MulderTorture thrown in for good
Rating: PG13 for language! It gets pretty salty toward the end…
Spoilers: Through season 4
Summary: Potential tragedy for the Mulder's close friends, the Goldfarbs
and the aftereffects on all concerned.
Disclaimer: Fox Mulder, Dana, and Maggie Scully, as well as Walter
Skinner belong to 10/13 productions and Chris Carter. Adam Mulder,
Richard, Leslie, Rachael and Adam Goldfarb are mine, as well as the good
and wise clergymen that make a brief appearance, (and any other character
you don't recognize,) on the other hand, are all mine. (Heck, if CC wants
to borrow my characters, all he has to do is ask nicely! <g>)
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
Introduction: This is the next story in the series, though not a direct
follow-up to number LC XII. I would recommend reading LC IX: Journey
first, since this does introduce the Goldfarbs to the series, or you can
use your imagination and just forge ahead!
You can find the series archived at the ever wonderful, Shirley Smiley's
MulderTorture site at:
Special thanks for my cybermuse and friend, Vickie Moseley. I'm loving
the chatter too, my friend!!
Feedback: Oh YES! I promise once the report cards get done I'll be even
better in responding! Really! This real life business can be the biggest
pain, can't it?
Life Cycles XIII: Fathers' Fears
by Susan Proto
They sat around the patio table, laughing at the antics of three year old
Adam, as he performed his latest Elvis impression.
"Mulder, your influence on this child is frightening," Walter
Skinner said with a chuckle.
"Yeah, but just think. If he keeps this up, he'll be able to go to Vegas,
earn a fortune in one of those Elvis impersonator shows, and then support
his mother and me in the style we'd like to grow accustomed to," Mulder
Adam's mother, Dana Scully-Mulder, merely sat back and rolled her eyes as
if to say, 'What am I going to do with you?' She said aloud, "Hopefully,
Mulder, the child will be heading to Harvard Medical School instead of
Vegas. We're only indulging you because it's Father's Day, and you know
"Ahh, but Dane, _every_ day is Father's Day in the Mulder household.
Didn't you know that?" he replied as he pulled her over to plant a kiss on
her laughing smile.
"Oh, and I'll remind you of that the next time Adam wakes up in the middle
of the night calling for a glass of water. I'll be more than happy to
relinquish the job of retrieving it for him to you, dear Daddy," Scully
answered through her own giggles.
"No, no, you see, if it's Father's Day everyday, then it becomes the job
of the Mother to retrieve the water, and ______," Mulder retorted, but was
cut short by a none to compliant wife.
"___Dream on, Mulder! I think we'll just keep taking turns as usual," she
insisted as she sought out her husband's lips once more.
Walter Skinner watched on, smiling, as his step-daughter and son-in-law
declared their love for one another so easily and so passionately. As
their direct superior in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Walter had
been well aware of the love they'd shared for one another for a very long
time. Perhaps even longer than the two of them had even known.
Of course, he had his own reasons for being a happy man on this Father's
Day. He was married to the most wonderful woman in the world, Maggie.
Her daughter, Dana, came by her wonderful attributes for a reason, for
what ever good qualities the younger Scully woman had inherited, surely
they came from her mom.
And though Walter would never presume he could take the place of Dana's
father, he certainly felt a paternal love for her, her husband, and their
child. These two people, whom he respected, and loved, created a
beautiful child who called him Grandpa.
Well, something close to it, anyway. It was more like Gam-pa. The child
had trouble with those 'r' sounds, but Dana said he would most likely
outgrow that. Apparently she'd been a little concerned too, and had
checked it out with a friend of hers who knew a speech pathologist.
So, Walter Skinner took his role as Gam-pa just as seriously as Maggie
took her role as Gam-ma. And both of them loved every minute of it. The
fact that Adam Mulder was one of the most endearing children they'd ever
had the pleasure of coming into contact with probably had something to do
with their desire to spoil him to death.
Which both Mother and Father attempted to put the kibosh on every time
Walter and Maggie tried. Sometimes Mulder and Dana succeeded, and
sometimes they'd failed. Today was a failure for the parents, but happily
not for the grandparents.
And certainly not for the child, who even at the tender age of three, knew
how lucky he was to have people who loved him as much as his parents and
So, now, as this much beloved child took center stage with his toy guitar
in hand, and sang his pretty darn effective rendition of "You Ain't
Nothin' But a Hound Dog," his mother, father, and the only grandfather
he'd ever known, looked on with pride and joy.
As young Adam finished his song with a flourish, he took his bows and then
ran over to his father for the hugs he knew would be bestowed upon him.
"Did ya like it, Daddy? Did I do good? Did I sound like the King?" the
child asked excitedly.
"I loved it, Adam, and you sounded just like the King! It's the best
Father's Day gift you could have given me," Mulder replied happily.
"Oh, but Daddy, I gots something else fo' you! Wait!" the child said
animatedly. When he returned, he had a large piece of paper in his hand.
"I made this fo' you Daddy."
"Well, lets see what we've got here," Mulder said. "Oh, Adam, this is a
"See? See?! It's you, and Mommy, and Gam-pa, and Gam-ma and me, and we're
sitting on the porch wite here, just like now, at Gam-ma and Gam-pa's
"Adam, I see. I knew right away what this picture was a picture of. You
are very talented. Maybe someday you'll be an artist?" Mulder said
"No, I'm gonna be Elvis," the smallest Mulder said with conviction.
The three adults present on the deck broke out into a raucous
laughter, and though Adam wasn't quite sure what exactly it was they found
so amusing, he decided the best path to take was the least restrictive
one, so he too, joined in the laughter.
Maggie Skinner walked out to the deck with a tray of fresh coffee and
mugs, as she joined her husband of a year and a half, daughter,
son-in-law, and grandson just as they began a new round of giggles.
Mulder decided he and his son would make a fine duo, so he stood up to
join his son in an Elvis impersonation.
Maggie's mouth curled into a beautiful smile, as she watched her
son-in-law gyrate his long lean hips with his small son. The littlest
Mulder resembled both his father and mother, with his brown hair and blue
eyes. He has his mother's nose (thank heavens, she'd thought) and his
father's beautiful expressive mouth.
They made quite a team, this father and son. They were best buddies these
two, and Maggie was so grateful they had one another. She then looked
over toward Dana, who also seemed to be enjoying this "Kodak" moment. She
began clapping her hands in time to the music, that is if you could call
Suddenly, Mulder reached his hand out towards his wife. She took his hand
and he pulled her toward her in an impromptu dance. Dana was laughing so
hard, it was a wonder she didn't trip over her own feet. Adam began
squealing for a "family dance," so Mulder picked him up and the little guy
wrapped an arm around each of his parents necks. The three of them swayed
to the song they were belting out, though the words were so mangled it was
next to impossible to figure out which one of Elvis's many hits it was.
Skinner decided it was time to join in the fun and stood up to grasp his
wife in a danceable embrace. They joined their children on the 'dance
When the song finally (and thankfully) ran its course, Adam announced he
was starving and wanted something to "keep his stomach company." Maggie
asked what kind of company his stomach wanted, the child responded,
"Something cold and 'keemy.'" She asked the child if he wanted to join
her in the kitchen to choose just the right company from the freezer, to
which he eagerly agreed.
As Mulder watched as his son joined Maggie in the kitchen, and sighed the
sigh of a contented man.
"Mulder, I swear, if I started tickling you under your chin, you would
start purring," Dana observed.
"Dane, I can't remember ever being so happy. I'm here with the people I
love most in the world, and we're all healthy for a change," he
"This is true. God, it could almost be declared an X-File, Mulder,"
When Maggie returned with Adam, who carried his bowl of chocolate chip ice
cream, she carried in the portable telephone.
"Fox, it's for you. I think it's Richard Goldfarb," she said.
When he placed the phone to his ear he said, "Richard? Is that you, man?"
"Yeah," he replied hoarsely. "It's me, Mulder."
"Hey, Happy Father's Day," Mulder proclaimed happily. "What's going on?"
"Mulder__," he began, but then stopped for a moment. "__I'm sorry, I
shouldn't have called. Look, have a Happy Father's Day. I"ll__, I'll
speak to you __," Richard began.
"__Richard, wait! Wait. What's going on, Richard. Talk to me, man,
what's going on?" Mulder asked frantically. He knew this was not the
normally calm, easygoing man he'd become best friends with over the last
''Mulder, I'm sorry. This isn't the day to be doing this to you," Richard
said. "I'll call you tomorrow."
"Richard, please, you're making me crazy here, and I really don't want to
give my therapist any more money. She's already built a new addition to
her house thanks to me and all of my sessions. C'mon, talk to me. Where
are you?" Mulder asked quietly.
"Georgetown University Medical Center," Richard replied.
"Ohmigod. Who, Richard?" Mulder asked anxiously as he stood up and began
to pace around the deck.
"It's__, it's___," Richard stopped and started, until Mulder heard the
tears coming through way to clearly.
"Richard, please." Mulder was beside himself at this point. He wanted
desperately to be at the hospital for his friend like he'd been for him
"It's the baby, Mulder. It's Jason," sobbed Richard.
"Oh God, no, Richard, no. What's wrong? What's happened ?" Mulder cried.
The moment she heard Mulder's tone of voice and questions, Scully rose
from her seat to stand near him. She hoped to be able to find out what
the problem was. Scully saw him trembling slightly.
"Mulder? What's going on?" she asked softly.
Mulder fairly ignored her question in an attempt to better hear Richard
and attempt to get a clearer understanding of what was wrong with the
Goldfarb's three year old son.
"We think__, we think it might be leukemia, Mulder," Richard rasped out.
Mulder suddenly swayed and then staggered a bit as he attempted to keep
himself from falling. "No,'' Mulder cried out. "No, are you sure?"
"They're doing more tests, but they're doing 'em just to confirm what they
already suspect. I called because I ne__, wanted you to know," he said
Then in anger, Richard said, "God, Mulder, what the hell is the matter
with me? I shouldn't have called you today. It's God damned Father's
Day, and I called you with this. It's God damned Father's Day__," he
stopped as he began to sob uncontrollably.
"Richard," Mulder shouted into the phone, "I'll be there in less than an
hour. I'm coming over to the hospital right now, do you hear me?
Richard, please, man, answer me. I'm coming right now."
"Tell him we both are, Mulder," Scully directed. She still wasn't sure
exactly what the problem was, but she knew it didn't bode well for the
Goldfarbs. Something was obviously very seriously wrong given Mulder's
emotional and frantic reaction to Richard's words.
"Richard, did you hear Dana? We're coming over right now. We'll be there
as soon as we can. Please. Hang in there, my friend," Mulder pleaded.
"Mulder, I'm sorry. You were the only person I could call," he said
"Oh Richard, I'm grateful I was here to take the call. You're my best
friend, for crying out loud. I want to be there for you. So does Dana,"
Mulder said. "We're leaving now, Richard. We'll be there as quickly as we
"Yes, and Mulder?"
"Thank you," Richard whispered.
"Anytime, my friend. We'll be there very soon," Mulder said softly and
clicked off the power.
Mulder closed his eyes for a moment. He wanted to speak, but his mouth
suddenly wouldn't work. He stood still and leaned in heavily for Scully's
Finally, Maggie broke the silence and asked," Sweetheart, what's wrong?
What did Richard say?"
"He's at the hospital. G U Medical Center," he began.
"Who?" asked Scully, knowing it didn't matter which Goldfarb Mulder named,
it would still be devastating.
"The baby, Dane," Mulder answered in tears as he looked at his own baby,
"Oh, sweet Jesus," Dana gasped. She was wrong. Hearing it was an
innocent baby was the most devastating. "What happened?"
"They think it's leukemia. Oh God, Dane, the baby has cancer," Mulder
cried out, reaching to embrace her for support. They cried in each
other's arms now.
Adam, unsure as to what was making his parents so sad, began to cry in
sympathy. Scully let go of Mulder to bend down and pick up their son.
She brought him up to Mulder's height so they could have what they called
a 'family hug.' Mulder needed to feel their son's arms around him, as did
Maggie looked at the scene before her and felt her heart was breaking.
She knew their happiness couldn't last. It seemed her children were
always destined to experience heartache, and she couldn't help but wonder
why. She never doubted her faith in God, but where it concerned her
children, she found herself wondering why bad things always seemed to
happen to Fox and Dana. It wasn't fair, no matter how unshakable her
"Walter," Maggie whispered, "I want to ask a favor of you."
"Of course I'll drive them. You'll stay with Adam here, and I'll bring
back a pizza or something for dinner later, okay?"
Maggie smiled. She loved the idea that her husband knew her so well he
was able to predict what she was going to say before she said it. This
man, her heart, loved her and knew what was important to her. And he knew
her children were the most important things in the world to her, and they
were in no shape to drive from Baltimore to DC.
Maggie kissed her husband, told him a pizza would be just fine and to
drive their precious cargo safely to the hospital.
The drive over to the hospital was a quiet one, which saw each of the
three adults deep in their own, private thoughts. As they pulled up near
the hospital Walter observed his step-daughter and son-in-law. They were
both pale, though Mulder wore his emotions on his sleeve while Dana
managed to wear her best Doctor's face. Skinner was worried about little
Jason, that went without saying. He was also, however, very worried how
this would effect Mulder.
Mulder had finally, voluntarily, entered into intensive individual and
group therapy to help him deal with his PTSS. Scully had been urging him
for years to seek guidance on how to deal with the turmoil of emotions
he'd had to deal with his entire life. Mulder had always scoffed at the
idea, as he'd declared he was, after all, a psychologist, so there was no
The last time Mulder was hospitalized, however, was when he'd collapsed in
the mall after he'd thought (erroneously) Adam was missing. It was then
he'd actively sought professional help.
The last time Mulder had a crisis that warranted his therapist's
intervention was during the Passover holiday, while he, Dana, and Adam had
shared the traditional holiday meal with their best friends, Leslie and
Richard Goldfarb, and their two children, seven year old Rachael and
three year old Jason.
As they participated in the service, Mulder's mind had managed to dredge
up traumatic memories that required Scully to call for assistance from
Mulder's personal therapist. Thankfully, she was available and helped
them all get through that particular crisis.
And things had been going so well ever since. A year had passed and
Mulder was discharged from group therapy. He'd been seeing Dr. Woods on
a monthly check-in, as needed, basis. Mulder was finally able to feel
happiness without feeling guilty about it.
Walter was petrified Jason Goldfarb's illness might change that.
Walter dropped Mulder and Dana off at the front entrance and went to park
Mulder and Scully checked in at the information desk to find out Jason's
room number. They thanked the clerk and began walking quickly to the
elevators. Mulder was a kaleidoscope of nervous energy. His hands and
feet never stopped moving while they waited for the elevator to open its
Scully, on the other hand, maintained an outer calm which belied her true
feelings. She could only imagine what Leslie and Richard were going
through, and it scared the hell out of her. She never wanted to go
through anything like that. It was horrible enough to have to worry about
her husband's physical and emotional well-being all of the time. It was
something quite different to have to fear for her son's, her baby's,
If anything ever happened to Mulder, she would be devastated. That was a
If anything ever happened to Adam, it wouldn't be a question of would she
slit her wrists, but which one first?
Mulder walked out of the elevator and was taking such huge strides down
the long corridor, Scully could barely keep up. When they'd finally
arrived at the correct room number, Mulder stopped short of knocking on
He felt as if he was frozen in time. He couldn't fathom the idea he was
going to see his best friend's child in a hospital bed. This child was
Adam's age. This child could be Adam.
"Mulder, they need us to be strong. Richard really needs you to be
strong. Will you be able to do that for him?" Scully asked.
"Dane? I don't know. I want to be, but I don't know," he said quite
"The only way to know for sure is to try, Mulder. Will you try?" she
"Of course, but Scully, I'm scared," he admitted.
"Maybe you should call Dr. Woods later?" Scully suggested.
"Yeah, maybe," he replied surprisingly.
Mulder finally knocked on the door and heard a soft, "Come in," so they
entered. He was horrified to see Jason lying in the bed with a number of
tubes attached to him for various IV's and catheters. Mulder couldn't
help thinking how frail the child looked and tried so hard to keep his
feelings of shock off of his face.
"Hi, Uncle Mulder," said the small voice. "Hi, Aunt Dana."
"Hey big guy. How ya doing?" Mulder greeted tenderly. Mulder looked upon
this child as almost one of his own. His own son and Jason have
practically grown up together. Mulder choked back a sob as he looked away
"How's our big boy doing," interjected Scully. She saw how Jason's
physical deterioration affected her husband, and wanted to help him
camouflage his reaction so as not to upset the child.
"Okay. Mommy says I have a bad germs in my blood," Jason said.
"Yes, so I've heard. But the doctors are going to give you some very
strong medicine to chase those bad germs away," Scully responded kindly.
"Oh God," Leslie Goldfarb gasped.
"Leslie," Scully said as she reached out to embrace her friend. "Leslie,
it's going to be all right, you'll see."
Leslie allowed herself to be engulfed by her best friend. She couldn't
help but remember the countless number of times she'd done the same for
Dana when Mulder was in the middle of some kind of crisis. This time,
however, Leslie was the one in need of comfort, and she accepted it
Mulder then walked over to Richard and extended his hand. When Richard
took it, Mulder pulled his friend toward him in order to grasp him in a
comforting embrace. Mulder held on tightly and Richard felt no
embarrassment about leaning into his friend and accepting the solace.
"Hi Gam-pa," greeted young Jason. Though he had absolutely no problem
with his 'r' sounds, Jason adopted his best friend's title for Walter. No
one objected to him using the term of endearment, least of all Walter. He
actually loved the idea of Jason and his sister, Rachael, calling him
Gam-pa, because he was very fond of the entire Goldfarb family. They were
there for his family during several crises and he had the utmost respect
and fondness for them.
Which is why it startled him when he saw Jason as he laid in the huge
hospital bed. It couldn't have been that long ago he'd seen the child.
He didn't remember him looking ill. It seemed to happen so quickly.
"Hello Jason. How are you feeling today?" asked Walter softly.
"Okay. I'm just tired," the child responded. "And it hurts a little to
When Scully looked at Leslie questioningly, Leslie explained, "He's had an
upper respiratory infection for ages now. It's one of the symptoms that
told us he was more ill than just having the flu. He hasn't been able to
shake any kind of cold or flu for a few weeks."
"Les?" interjected Richard, "I'm going out for a cup of coffee. Want
"Umm, yeah, sure," she replied. "Thanks."
As Richard walked toward the door, Scully caught Mulder's attention and
nodded towards Richard. Mulder understood immediately Scully's meaning,
and followed Richard outside of the room.
"Hey, Richard. Wait up," Mulder called out.
Richard stopped short and stood with his back facing Mulder. Mulder
asked, "Do you mind if I join you?"
Richard simply shook his head and proceeded to walk toward the cafeteria.
Mulder caught up to him and met him stride for stride.
When they entered the cafeteria, both men walked directly to the coffee
urns and poured themselves a cup. Richard began to pick up a Styrofoam
cup for Leslie, but thought better of it. He decided to wait until he was
ready to return to the room, so the coffee would still be hot.
Mulder followed Richard's lead. They sat down at a table in the far
corner of the cafeteria. This table actually offered the most privacy,
though if anyone really wanted to know what your troubles were, they could
easily find out.
The two friends sat quietly and sipped their coffee. Richard stared off
into space while Mulder stared at Richard. After several minutes passed,
Richard, who still looked anywhere but at Mulder, began to speak.
"I was giving him a bath. He'd taken off his robe and climbed into this
bathtub full of bubbles before I even realized it and was sitting and
blowing bubbles. He started laughing when he saw my shocked expression.
'How did you get in there so fast?' I'd asked him.
"' I like going in by myself. Mommy still makes me hold her hand if she
gives me a bath. I'm a big boy, Daddy. I wanna do it myself,' he'd said.
I told him when I give him his bath he can get in by himself, but when
Mommy gives it to him, he has to hold her hand.
"You know what he said? He said, 'Okay, Daddy. I guess Mommy still needs
a baby.' God, do you have any idea as to perceptive that was? I remember
I looked at him with awe. I knew my son was bright, but I didn't really
know what kind of a person he was until that moment.
"The bubbles started disappearing and I told him it was getting late. He
begged me to let him stay in and play for just a little longer. I told
him five more minutes, and he giggled. But then he started coughing.
He'd been coughing for weeks. He had had the flu, and the damn cough just
wouldn't go away.
"Finally I told him it was time to get out. I got the towel and he stood
up. Mulder, "and for the first time since they'd sat down at the table,
Richard looked at Mulder and said, "he was covered with bruises. I
remember I gasped when I looked at him.
"I asked him, 'Jason, what happened? Did someone hit you?' and he said,
'No, Daddy. The boo-boos just come. Look, I can even make one come.'
And he did the most amazing thing. He pinched himself, but not really
hard. Just a little, light pinch, and I saw the bruise appear before my
very eyes. If it weren't for the fact this was happening to my son, it
would have been fascinating.
"But it was my son, and I got scared to death. I screamed for Leslie to
get into the bathroom, and I asked her, 'How the hell long did he look
like this?' She looked at Jason and gasped out loud. Then she looked at
"I remember how she looked at me. Oh God, Mulder, she looked so hurt, so
sad. I know it was because I sounded like I was accusing her; oh hell, I
didn't just sound like it, I was accusing her.
"She just looked at me and said she had no idea. Jason knows how to dress
himself, so she probably hadn't noticed. Shit, I know I hadn't, but now
we both did. Leslie told me to dry him off and put him in his pajamas,
because she had a phone call to make.
"I know she tried calling Dana first, but you were out, so she called
Jason's pediatrician. She described his symptoms. She told her she'd
meet us at the hospital. I remember I heard her say, 'What? Why?' but it
didn't matter, because we both knew something was wrong. Something was
"Mulder, what am I going to do? This is my son? God, Mulder, what am I
going to do if Jason ___," Richard stopped when a sob overtook him.
Mulder finally started to breathe again. He hadn't even realized he'd
been pretty much holding his breath as Richard conveyed to him what had
happened the previous night.
"__No," Mulder gasped out. "No, he's going to be fine. You'll see,
Richard. Jason's always been strong and healthy. He can fight this.
"You have no idea how much I want to believe that, Mulder, but I'm so
afraid for him. He's lost so much of his strength, and it's happened so
damned quickly. Just a few days ago he'd been running around like any
normal three year old. I don't understand why," Richard cried out. "I
don't understand why this had to happen to my child."
Mulder extended his arm around Richard's shoulders in an attempt to offer
some comfort, though it was minimal at best. He sat like that while his
friend released some more of his frustration and fears. Several minutes
later, Richard sat up straight, took a deep breath, and said, "I promised
Leslie some coffee." The two men stood up to go and purchase some coffee
for their wives.
Meanwhile, back in Jason's room, Scully had convinced Leslie first to
leave Walter in charge of entertaining the young patient and second to
take a walk with Scully to the waiting room. Scully wanted to give Leslie
a chance to vent a little, but she also knew Leslie would be very hesitant
about doing so in front of the child.
Walter was left singing the only two children's songs he'd remembered
from his own childhood, "Old MacDonald's Farm" and "The Farmer in the
Dell." He was much better when he had Adam's "Raffi" tape or
Nickelodean's "The Elephant Show" playing in front of him, but the old
standards would do in a pinch.
Scully and Leslie sat quietly in the lounge. Leslie let the tears fall
silently for a while, and Scully wisely sat next to her friend, offering
her what she needed the most. The chance to be frightened, sad, and
"You know, Dana? I go to synagogue on Friday nights, and I go to church
on Sunday mornings. You would think I'd have all of my bases covered, but
I don't. How could God do this to my son? How could God allow my baby,
my beautiful baby boy, get so sick?
"Dana, he may die. Can you believe this? He may die, and there's nothing
I can do about it. Oh God, Dana," she cried out.
"Leslie, what happened? When did you notice the symptoms?" Dana asked.
Though Dana Scully-Mulder had her best doctor's expression on her face, it
was really Dana Scully-Mulder, the Mom, asking the questions. Though
Scully knew it was irrational, she had this horrible fear she might have
missed some fatal symptom in her own child.
"It's apparently been going on for a couple of weeks. He's had this
horrible nagging cold he couldn't get rid of, and he's woken up from his
naps a couple of time complaining of pains in legs. I just shrugged them
off as 'growing pains,' but pain in the joints is a fairly common
complaint. And then there were the black and blue marks. Oh God, there
were so many bruises. Richard thought I__." Leslie paused for a moment,
and then continued on a different train of thought.
"He bruises so easily because the number of___," Leslie began.
"Platelets are reduced," Scully completed. "I remember from med school."
"Oh Dana, I'm sorry. I forgot who I was talking to," Leslie apologized.
"Leslie, don't be silly," Scully countered, "I only mentioned it to remind
you if there's anything I can do, even if it's just to translate the
medicalese, I want to help. You know Mulder and I love you, Richard and
the kids. We'd do anything to help you out."
"I know, Dana. Thank you, that means a lot to me and to Richard."
"Well, it's not as if you hadn't been there for us a few times, now is
it?" Scully retorted. Next, she asked, "Where's Rachael?"
"With Mrs. Kohlberg for now. She's a lovely woman, but I can't expect her
to watch Rachael all the time. The woman's getting on in years, and,
well, Rachael can be a bit of handful, especially now that school is out,"
"What if we have her stay with us, and when we're at the hospital with
you, she can stay with my mom and Walter?" Dana suggested.
"Oh sweetie, that's asking so much of you and your family," Leslie
"Leslie, Adam practically moves in with you when Mulder and I are on a
case and Mom and Walter aren't always available to baby sit. So please,
do not even think this is asking too much, do you hear?" Dana retorted.
Leslie could only nod in agreement and then she placed her head on
Scully's comforting shoulder, while Scully murmured choice platitudes of
hope and faith.
Several minutes passed when the two women heard footsteps in the corridor.
They rose and walked outside of the visitor's lounge to see their
husbands return with four cups of coffee.
The women murmured their thanks, kissed their husbands, and then returned
to young Jason's room. As they entered, they heard the voice of the
Assistant Director of the FBI gently and endearingly telling the story of
"The Three Bears."
"But Gam-pa," Jason began when Walter had finished with a sweep of his
hand and a dramatic recitation of the two most famous words in children's
literature, "The End."
"Why doesn't Goldilocks just ask the bears if she could come and play and
eat dinner and take a nap? Why does she has to be so sneaky?" asked a
very intuitive Jason.
"I don't know, Jason, but that's a very good question," replied the AD.
At this point he heard the others walk into the room. He looked at Leslie
and Richard and asked, "Who's watching Rachael?"
"Our neighbor, Mrs. Kohlberg," replied Richard.
"The ancient one?" asked Walter.
"Yeah, that's her," Richard replied.
"Listen, I was thinking. Now that school's out, you're going to need a
place for Rachael to stay. Would you mind if she stayed with me and
Maggie?" Walter asked. "I mean until you get into some kind of a
schedule, or a routine."
Leslie looked at Scully knowingly and said aloud, "Thank you Walter. That
is most kind of you, and we gratefully accept your offer. You are a
sweetheart, Walter Skinner," Leslie said as she leaned in and kissed
Walter on the cheek.
"I wanna go stay with Gam-pa and Gam-ma!" cried out the small voice from
Walter stood up and leaned over the child who laid in the bed, took
Jason's small hand into his large one, and said, "Soon Jason. I promise,
you'll come stay with Gam-ma and me very soon."
Jason's treatments began immediately. The lumbar puncture had come back
positive along with all of the blood tests that showed extraordinarily
high white blood cell counts.
The chest catheter was put in place which of course caused the little boy
the most distress. He not only could feel it, he could see it, and he kept
asking Leslie to take it out so he could go home.
Leslie explained to him patiently, each and every time, the purpose of the
catheter. With a calm, even voice, Leslie told him, "The catheter puts
the strong medicine into your blood, so the bad germs will go away." It
placated the child for a little while, but then the fear and discomfort
arose, and the pleas began anew.
Leslie's heart was breaking.
She wanted nothing more than to pick up her child and go run and hide
She wanted to ignore the whole situation.
She wanted to turn back the clock to a year ago when Jason was healthy and
home with his sister and parents.
She wanted to know, if she had to put her baby through this nightmare,
would he survive it.
Would she survive it?
The chemotherapy lasted for a few weeks and then the radiation treatment
began. It didn't matter which treatment Jason received; he was sick to
his stomach after all of them. His small body looked like it was
strangling as he vomited in reaction to the treatments.
Several days into the treatments, Jason looked to his left and saw the
clump of hair on his pillow, and he screamed. At first, he thought it was
some kind of animal or rodent that was on his pillow. Then he realized it
was his hair, and when he reached up to check, his hand found another
clump of hair. By the end of the week, all of Jason's beautiful, dark,
brown curls were gone.
After that, when Mulder and Dana visited, Mulder brought a new, baseball
cap with a different logo. The child must have had at least eight so far,
and loved looking at his collection as it hung on the wall. He often
changed his hat several times a day in an effort to wear as many of his
collection as possible.
One day, when he got back from a radiation treatment, Jason saw Mulder
sitting in his room with a new hat. Jason saw it looked different from
the other ones his Uncle Mulder had brought him. The others were clean
and new. This one was worn and faded.
"Hi, Jason," Mulder said as he reached over for his customary hug and
"Hi, Uncle Mulder," Jason replied softly.
Mulder bit his lower lip as he looked at the child. He'd looked so frail
since he'd begun the treatments, but he was always totally whipped right
after a treatment.
It took all of Mulder's self control not to show Jason how upset it made
him feel, but Mulder maintained his composure. In fact, he was the only
adult, other than Walter, Jason felt comfortable around of late. Even
Dana, in an effort to maintain her own sanity, tended to look at Jason
with more of a clinician's eye than a surrogate Aunt's.
Jason loved his mommy and daddy, but he wanted the _old_ mommy and daddy.
These two new parents were not the same as his old ones. These parents
cried all the time. They were sad all the time. They were tired all the
And they fought all the time.
And as much as the bad germs scared Jason, his mommy and daddy yelling at
one another scared him even more.
"Where's Aunt Dana?" Jason asked, as his Aunt Dana and Uncle Mulder
usually visited him together.
"She's helping your mom find out from the doctor how you're doing," Mulder
replied. "I'm sure she'll be here soon."
Finally the child could resist no longer and asked, "Uncle Mulder, what's
Mulder smiled and said, "Jason, this is a very, very special baseball cap.
This was my cap when I was a little boy."
"When was you a little boy?" asked Jason curiously.
"A very, very long time ago," Mulder chuckled. "But you see, when I was a
little boy, I loved to play baseball. So, I joined the Little League
and got on a team. I played left field and center field. This was the
cap I wore when I played on that team.
"Jason, this was my lucky cap. We won a lot of games when I wore this
hat. In fact, lots of the kids would get really mad at me if I took it
off, cause then the other team always seemed to score some runs. But as
soon as I'd put the cap on, they'd stop scoring, and we'd win the game!
"So, I figured, if it was lucky for me, maybe it would be lucky for you.
You wanna see if it works?" Mulder asked with a soft flush of excitement.
"'kay, Uncle Mulder. I likes your lucky cap," Jason replied with as much
enthusiasm as he could muster.
Mulder stopped bringing new baseball caps, because from that day on,
Mulder's Vineyard Vipers cap was the only one he wore. In fact, Jason had
asked Mulder if he wouldn't mind if he gave one of his new caps to one of
his little friends who had also lost his hair.
Mulder told Jason he thought that was a fine idea, and if there were any
other friends he wanted to give a cap to, he should just feel free to do
"But not your lucky cap, Uncle Mulder. I won't never give this one away,
'kay?" he declared.
"Okay, Jason, that's a deal." Mulder watched the little boy settle
himself down for his customary nap after treatment, and it was only then,
after Jason's eyes closed, that Mulder allowed some tears to stream down
He knew how difficult it was for himself to be dealing with this
situation, so he could only imagine how stressful it was for Richard and
Leslie to manage it. Mulder realized what a blessing it was to have his
in-laws available to be Rachael's caretakers while Jason was in the
His in-laws brought Rachael over once or once every other day. It
depended upon when the child received a treatment. On the actual days of
treatment and usually the day after, Jason couldn't handle too many
visitors. So, on those days, Rachael stayed away.
Her parents were grateful to the Skinners for allowing them to concentrate
on healing their youngest. Unfortunately, it also forced them to confront
all of their fears and anxieties and frustrations head on. The two of
them bickered and sometimes shouted very loudly at one another.
They both knew there were statistics out there which reported on the
increased numbers of separations and divorce between parents of a
chronically and acutely ill child. Neither one wanted to become a
statistic. However, both Richard and Leslie knew they were headed for
trouble if they didn't pull themselves back from the situation a little.
Time passed and the doctors were becoming more and more pessimistic. The
numbers remained elevated. It was becoming more and more apparent the
chemo and radiation treatments were not doing the jobs they were supposed
to do. The only thing the treatments seemed to be doing was making Jason
weaker and weaker.
Leslie and Richard were beside themselves. They hadn't been able to
resume anything that even remotely resembled a family life again. The
summer was almost over. Rachael's school began in another two weeks, and
they hadn't spent more than a day or two in a row together as a family.
Rachael was becoming more and more withdrawn. As wonderful as Maggie and
Walter Skinner were with the little girl, they were still not her parents.
And in this very real traumatic time in her family's life, Rachael needed
her parents more than ever. Unfortunately, they had only so much energy
And even that was slowly depleting. The doctors had informed Leslie and
Richard the time had come to go to the next step. They all needed to be
tested to see if their bone marrow matched their son's.
The Mulders were there the night the doctor broke the news to them. When
the doctor had said it was the usual course of action to have a sibling
donate the marrow, as they were the most likely match, they observed both
Goldfarbs' faces fall.
"Leslie? Richard? What's wrong? This is good news," Scully declared in
"You don't know?" Leslie asked.
"Don't know, what?" Mulder replied.
"I can't believe it never came up in conversation. It's not like we ever
tried to keep it a secret. Richard? You never mentioned it either?"
"I guess not," he replied, and then, upon noticing the mask of confusion
on their friends' faces, explained, "Dana, Mulder, Rachael's adopted."
"What?" both said in stereo surprise.
"I can't believe it never came up. I mean, everyone else knows, don't
they?" Leslie asked Richard.
"I don't know," he replied, and then upon observing the very confused
faces of their best friends, he began to explain. "Les and I were trying
to have a baby for years and were having no luck. Well, actually, we were
having some luck. Les kept conceiving, but then she'd miscarry," and then
looking at Leslie for confirmation he said, "What was it, three? No, four
Leslie nodded in agreement and continued. "One day I got a phone call
from a friend who knew someone who was pregnant, late in term, but decided
at the last minute she'd wanted to give the baby up for adoption. Then
she asked me the 64 dollar question; were we interested?
"And to tell you the truth, I didn't know what to say to her. Richard and
I had been trying to have a baby for so long, but neither one of us had
ever even broached the subject of adoption to one another aloud. Hell, I
don't even think we'd even considered it to ourselves at that point in
time, had we, Richard?"
Richard shook his head and responded, "No. I think we were at the point
of considering fertility drugs and in vitro, but adoption wasn't an option
at that point. So when Les called me at the office and started blurting
this proposition out at the speed of light, I was in a complete state of
"He was, you know,'' Leslie said to Mulder and Scully while chuckling.
"He was stammering all over the place, and I kept harping on the poor guy,
telling him we needed to give them an answer by 8 o'clock that night, and
"___I said, I can't make a decision like this over the phone and told you
I was coming right home, and to have a good stiff drink ready for me.
Which wouldn't have been any big deal except it was only 10 o'clock in the
morning," Richard said smiling at the memory.
"He got home and we both had a couple of stiff Bloody Mary's and decided
that it must have been fate that brought this woman to us, and so we
decided to go for it. The whole process was as expensive and nerve
wracking as hell, but, of course, our Rachael was worth every dollar and
frayed nerve ending we went through," Leslie concluded.
"So Jason's adopted too?" asked Scully curiously.
"No," the Goldfarb's said in unison. Leslie continued to explain, "A year
or so later I had to undergo some laser surgery for some fibroids that
were causing me problems, and the doctor told me if the fibroids were
hindering my pregnancies, now was probably as good of a time as any for us
to try and conceive again.
"We tried, and we did, and I carried to term. Jason's the result," Leslie
said. "Of course, now we have a dilemma, because Rachael's not his
natural sister, we have to hope either Richard or I is a match for the
Scully and Mulder watched Richard reach his arms out to his wife. Even
though they faced another long, difficult road, the Mulders were glad to
see them reaching out to one another. It had been way too long since
they'd seen their friends turn towards one another. Maybe this was a good
omen of things to come.
Neither parent matched. Richard and Leslie were more depressed than ever
as they watched their baby boy grow weaker and weaker. Rachael wasn't
allowed to stay in the room for fear she would carry in germs that would
hasten her brother's illness. She became even more withdrawn, and it
concerned all of those who loved her.
The Goldfarbs were now relying on the bone marrow donor bank as well as
their friends to see if they could find a suitable match for Jason. No
one held out too much hope though, as the odds of finding a close enough
match in time were very slim indeed.
The Goldfarbs and the Mulders shared a thermos of coffee Scully had
brought from home. The cost of the cafeteria was getting prohibitive for
all of them, so they'd begun to share in the coffee duties. Mulder was
reading a story to Jason, while Leslie and Scully chatted quietly.
Richard quietly watched his best friend read aloud to Jason.
Suddenly the door burst open, and Doctor Reed entered with his hands
flying and his mouth running a mile a minute, but no one in the room had a
clue as to what the hell he was talking about.
"Dr. Reed," Leslie began, "Dr. Reed, please! What's wrong?"
"Wrong? Wrong?! Nothing is wrong, Leslie! Nothing! Everything is right!
Everything is wonderful!" he responded enthusiastically.
"You found a match," Scully surmised. "You found a bone marrow match."
Dr. Reed looked at Scully and beamed. "Yep. Found a match, and it's
pretty darn close. Not a perfect match, but it should do quite nicely!"
Dr. Reed confirmed.
"Where is this person? When can we get the marrow? When can we get the
treatments started?" Richard and Leslie began to ask in nervous
"Well," the doctor began, "as soon as we get the go ahead from the donor."
Dr. Reed walked over to where Mulder was sitting and looked directly at
him. "So, when do you think you'll be available?"
Mulder looked at the doctor in a state of total shock. When he'd had the
test done to see if he was a match, he'd said a prayer that he might be
the one to match the child's marrow, but he never, ever expected it to be
answered. The odds were so ridiculously against it. Yet the doctor
looked directly at him and asked him when he would be able to donate his
marrow. __His__ marrow.
Fox Mulder looked at the doctor and then at his wife, and friends. He
then looked momentarily at the small boy who laid in the hospital bed. He
looked back at the doctor and beamed, "Anytime you're ready, Doctor.
Mulder was admitted to the hospital that evening. He'd gone over to his
in-laws home first, so he could try and explain to Adam and Rachael what
was going on. He also wanted to let Adam know he loved him very, very
Maggie and Walter had been subdued during the visit. They'd observed
their son-in-law as he had explained to the two children what the bone
marrow transplant procedure was all about and why the doctors felt it
might help Jason.
The Skinners had noted Mulder had been very careful not to build up too
much hope in the children, but they'd wondered if indeed, Mulder hadn't
built up too much hope in his own heart. When he'd finished explaining
the procedure to the Adam and Rachael, Mulder had sat down on the couch
next to Maggie.
Skinner had taken a seat in the oversized recliner adjacent to the couch
and had asked, "How much of a chance do the doctors really give Jason?"
"Better than without it," Mulder had responded.
"Fox," Maggie had begun hesitantly, "don't get your hopes up too high,
dear. I know you want to help him get well so much, but Fox, Jason is so
"Mom, I know how ill Jason is. I see him just about every day, and each
day he grows weaker and weaker. The chemo and the radiation didn't work.
This may not work either, but it's the only chance the little guy has
left. I'm just grateful one of us was a close enough match," Mulder had
"When are they going to do the procedure?" Walter had asked.
"Tomorrow morning. They'd do it sooner, but I've eaten within the last
couple of hours and the doctor wants to extract the bone marrow by putting
me under general anesthesia. I don't do well with very large hypodermic
needles poking and prodding me," Mulder had explained. "Anyway, they'll
probably be doing the procedure first thing in the morning, just long
enough to give my stomach a chance to digest what I've eaten."
"We'll be there first thing then," Maggie had said.
"Mom, you don't have to rush over there. It's a very simple procedure,"
Mulder had responded.
"Good, then I'll get to visit you and relax that much sooner, but we are
going to be there, Fox," Maggie had answered firmly.
"Walter, would you please explain to her__." Mulder had stopped when he
saw his father-in-law simply shake his head from side to side. "No, huh?"
Mulder had confirmed.
"No," Skinner had replied, " we will be there, and there will be no
further discussion about it."
Mulder had sighed after he'd picked up the small bag of needed toiletries
for the overnight hospital stay. Next, he had kissed both of the kids and
Maggie, and then shook hands with Skinner. "I'll see you tomorrow then,"
he'd said with a small smile.
As much as Mulder had hated for Walter and Maggie to put themselves out
just for him, Mulder had been secretly delighted they'd cared for him that
much they'd felt the need to be there, even for a simple procedure.
When Mulder had left to return to the hospital, Maggie had looked at
Walter and Walter had returned her gaze. For some reason, neither had
felt they were going to be able to sleep well that night.
Mulder was brought into the operating room at 6 o'clock a.m. and true to
their word, Maggie and Walter were both there with the children in tow.
They'd brought enough toys for both children to keep a small kindergarten
While Walter tried to engage the children with some coloring books and
crayons, Maggie sat down next to Dana in the waiting room. Mother looked
at daughter and realized they shared the same concerns.
"Dana? Honey? Talk to me," Maggie urged.
"What? Oh, nothing, Mom. It's nothing, I'm sure," Dana replied uneasily.
"I had it too," Maggie responded evenly.
"You had _what_ too?" queried Dana nervously.
"The dream. I had the dream too," Maggie said quietly.
"Dream?" echoed Dana. "_You_ had a dream?"
"Yes, but he'll be all right. It may be tough going at first, but he'll
be all right," Maggie declared.
"Mom, what the hell are you talking about?" Scully implored anxiously. "I
don't understand what you could possibly mean."
"Dana Katherine, don't you dare start with me. I know you have dreams like
I do, like Missy used to, and you can deny it till you're blue in the
face, I don't give a damn. But it's the truth and you know it,"
Scully looked away from her mother's intense stare. She took a deep
breath and shuddered slightly.
"Oh God, Mom, I'm so scared. I didn't know what to do. I mean, I
couldn't tell him, 'don't do this because I had a dream you were going to
have trouble with the procedure.' Somehow, I doubt he'd have believed
me," Scully said, and upon seeing her mother's skeptical expression,
added, "No, Mom, not even Mulder would have bought that story with Jason's
life at stake.
"Well then," Maggie said confidently, "we'll just have to pray he's okay."
The two women clasped hands, closed their eyes, and said a brief prayer to
ask God to protect the man they both loved.
Leslie entered the waiting area a little after half past six. She walked
in holding a small tray of Starbucks coffee cups to which Dana said aloud,
"There really is a God."
"Hi sweetie, thought you all might appreciate this," Leslie said.
"Mommy!" squealed Rachael.
"Hi, baby," Leslie replied as she handed over the tray to Dana in order to
catch the hug her daughter was soon going to hurl toward her. "How's my
"Okay. When can we all go home, Mommy?" Rachael asked plaintively.
"Hopefully soon, baby. Hopefully soon," Leslie replied. "Are you being a
good girl for Aunt Dana, Gam-ma and Gam-pa?" The little girl nodded her
"I'm so proud of you, Rachael," Leslie replied. "You are acting like such
a big girl, and that is helping your baby brother so much. You know what
he would love? Jason would love for you to draw a beautiful picture we
can hang up in his room, okay?"
"Can you hang it on the 'frigerator instead, Mommy?" Rachael pleaded.
"Sure we can," Leslie said, recognizing her daughter's need for some kind
of normalcy as she recalled the basic ritual of hanging the art work
permanently or in frames to be rotated.
Upon hearing her mother's positive response, the little girl said, "I'll
draw two pictures, Mommy. One for the 'fridgerator, and one for Jason's
"Oh Rachael, that's a wonderful idea. Why don't you go and get started on
it right now so I may speak with Aunt Dana," she encouraged. Leslie
watched her daughter skip over to where Adam sat and the crayons and
markers surrounded him.
As she watched the other three adults sip their coffee, Leslie turned to
her daughter's surrogate grandparents and said, "Maggie, Walter, I don't
know if I've told you how much I appreciate all you're doing for Rachael.
I don't know how Richard and I will ever repay you."
"I wish I were around more to help. I'm afraid my position at the bureau
precludes me from being home with Maggie and the kids as much as I'd
like," said Walter.
"Walter, I've watched you with those children. Rachael loves her 'Gam-pa'
and Gam-ma'," Leslie replied. "I need you to know how much it means to
Richard and me that Rachael is being well taken care of, but more
importantly loved by you all. It makes dealing with Jason's illness that
"It's our pleasure, Leslie. You know how much we adore the kids and how
much you and Richard mean to us," Maggie comforted. "You've both been
there for our family in the past. There's no need to worry about
repayment. Friends and family just do for one another."
Leslie responded with a smile and murmured, "All the same, I thank you
Leslie then asked how long the procedure was going to take, and Dana
indicated she wasn't sure, but that she didn't expect it to take too long.
She was fairly certain Mulder would be out of the recovery room and in
his own room in under two hours.
Leslie then told Dana she was going to relieve Richard, as he'd spent the
night with Jason while she had gone home and worked on the mundane things
like mortgage payments, telephone bills, and hospital insurance claim
forms. She informed Dana she would check back in another hour to see how
Mulder was doing.
The two women hugged each other in support. Dana whispered to Leslie,
"Give the boys a kiss for me, okay?" Leslie nodded in response, hugged
and kissed her daughter once again, and said good bye to Walter and
Maggie. Dana noticed Leslie look longingly at Adam, who was too engrossed
in coloring his picture to even notice Leslie, and was only mildly
surprised when Leslie didn't send a greeting her son's way.
The surgical team readied the areas that would aspirated. In Mulder's
case, the surgeons sterilized both the iliac crests, which were in the hip
regions, and the sternum, otherwise known as the breastbone. The nurse
made sure there were enough hollow aspiration needles as well as stylets,
the thin, sharp lances which are passed through the needle and advanced
through the bone cortex.
The surgeon checked with the anesthesiologist to make sure the
procedure was a go. The anesthesiologist indicated Mulder's vital signs
appeared stabile, so the surgeon continued with the procedure.
The doctor bore through the bone cortex and passed the stylet through it
with small, twisting movements. Once the needle was inserted, the doctor
removed the stylet. The surgeon then proceeded to suck the bone marrow
out from the cortex into a syringe that was connected to the needle.
The surgeon was just about to repeat the procedure in the sternum area
when the anesthesiologist indicated his alarm with the patient's numbers.
"James, hold up here. I've got a some poor numbers here, and I'd like to
stabilize him before you go onto the next area, okay?" he asked.
"Bob, what do you see?"
"I don't like the BP. He's hypotensive all of a sudden, and I'm not sure
why. Just give me a moment to see if I can raise it."
"You're running the show, Bob."
After several minutes, Dr. Bob Lannon, resident anesthesiologist, adjusted
the medication levels and gave the go ahead for the procedure to continue.
"You're sure?" asked Dr. John Sanders.
"He's stabilized for now, John, but I wouldn't stay in any longer than
necessary, okay? I'm not sure if he's reacting adversely to the
anesthesia itself, or if something else is going on," Bob Lannon replied.
The surgeon worked carefully, but quickly, to aspirate the potentially
life saving bone marrow from Mulder's sternum area. As they repeated the
procedure, the team reacted to the sudden beeps and alarms that were
emitting from the sophisticated monitors.
"Bob? What the hell is going on?" asked Dr. Sanders anxiously.
"Get the hell out of there, John. He's going sour on us all of a sudden,
and I'll be damned if I know why," Dr. Lannon reported with dismay.
"Shit," the doctor said and quickly sterilized the area and waited to hear
the numbers on their patient.
"Damn it! The blood pressure is bottoming out again," called out Dr.
Suddenly, the monitor emitted one long, monotone beep. The entire
surgical team went into action, as all realized the patient was flat
lining. It was almost like watching an intricate ballet, as the surgeons,
anesthesiologist, and nurses all assumed their necessary roles to bring
their patient back to life.
Doctors barked orders for specific medications. Strong hands kept up the
CPR until the defibrillator reached its assigned numbers.
"Still in defib. Bring it up to three hundred," the doctor ordered as
they waited for the number to display. "CLEAR!"
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
"Thank God. I'd have hated to lose this one, Bob. All right, let's get
him to ICU and monitor him closely. Damn. These are supposed to be easy
procedures. Damn!" Dr. Sanders heaved a sigh of relief as the patient
was finally ready to be brought to ICU recovery. "I'll go talk to the
When Dana saw the stooped shoulders of Dr. Sanders walk through the door
of the waiting room, she already knew. She just didn't know _how_ bad.
"Doctor? How is he?" Scully asked.
"He's in the ICU recovery room, Mrs. Mulder."
"ICU recovery? I don't understand, why the hell would he be brought to
ICU recovery? What's wrong? What the happened in there?" demanded
Walter, who had joined his wife's and step daughter's side.
"Mr. Mulder had a cardiac episode, Mr. ___," Dr. Sanders began.
"Skinner. _Assistant Director_ Skinner," he said, needing to assert some
power and control in order to make sense of what went wrong. "I'm Agent
Mulder's father-in-law and direct supervisor at the FBI."
"I see," the doctor said quietly, as he recognized the AD's need for some
command in the situation. Dr. Sanders had been through enough of these
confrontations with patients' families to realize he shouldn't take the
It was the necessary release of tension and frustration that caused people
to respond in manners such as AD Skinner. Though it was not a pleasant
experience for the surgeon, it was perfectly understandable.
"Well, Sir, your son-in-law experienced an episode of hypotension, or low
blood pressure. This could have been the result of an allergic reaction
to the anesthesia, or it could have been as a result of something totally
unrelated. I'm inclined to believe it was simply a bad reaction.
He was stabilized and we continued with the second part of the procedure.
He then experienced a second episode of hypotension, and subsequently, he
had a myocardial infarction. Mr. Mulder's heart stopped beating for a
period of about one minute.
"He was given the appropriate drugs and his heart beat was maintained by
CPR. He needed to be defibrillated twice, and on the second application,
his heart began beating normally. We determined he was stabile in the OR,
but I felt it behooved us to have Mr. Mulder watched over for the next
couple of days to make sure there was no lasting effect as a result of
this morning's episode," Doctor Sanders concluded.
"I don't understand this," lamented Skinner. "Why the hell isn't anything
ever easy for this man? Damn it. Damn it!"
"Walter, please. You're scaring the children," Maggie said in an attempt
to calm her husband. "He's going to be fine, you'll see."
"Will there be permanent damage, Dr. Sanders?" asked Scully, maintaining
her physician's face for all to see, while her stomach lurched in anxiety
and worry for her husband.
"I don't know for sure at this time," the doctor replied. "Let's monitor
him for a bit and we'll check the numbers and get some film on him later,
okay? Look, he's young and strong. If I were a betting man, I'd put my
money on him."
Dr. Sanders informed the family he would check in on Mulder later on. He
also indicated he would have a cardiologist look in on Mulder while he was
in the ICU.
As they watched Dr. Sanders leave, Dana felt herself sway momentarily.
Walter saw her falter, and clasped his hands on her waist. "Dana?" he
asked. "Dana, you okay?"
"I'm fine," she said automatically. "I just want to see my husband."
When Scully tiptoed into the ICU, she had Adam with her on the promise
he'd remain absolutely quiet. Scully explained to him that his Daddy
needed to rest, since his body worked very hard to help his friend Jason
get well. Adam silently nodded, and then with his Mommy's help, reached
over and kissed his Daddy's cheek.
Meanwhile, Leslie and Richard took turns staying with Jason and checking
up on Mulder. As badly as the couple felt over Mulder's bad reaction to
the anesthesia, they were feeling elated because they felt their son now
had a fighting chance with the bone marrow Mulder had donated.
That evening, Leslie sat with Jason, and if sheer will could have cured a
child of leukemia, then Leslie would have cured not only Jason, but all
of the child's new friends on the children's oncology ward.
Richard, in the meanwhile, walked into the ICU. He walked around trying
to look as unobtrusive as possible, and yet at the same time, as if he
really belonged there. He knew Leslie hadn't been allowed in to Mulder's
room earlier, as they were being really strict about the immediate family
But Richard really wanted to see him. He owed so much to this man, his
friend. Richard thought it was so fitting his best friend would be the
closest donor match for his son, but now Richard wanted so very badly to
see him and thank him in person.
"Excuse me, may I help you?" asked the voice from behind.
Before he could say anything, he heard a second voice calling out, "Daddy!
"Umm, I was looking for Fox Mulder's room," Richard said, all the while
bracing himself for his daughter's running leap into his arms. "Hey
Pumpkin," he said softly.
"Daddy!" she cried out.
"Shhh, one second, honey," he said. "Umm, Fox's room is where?"
"And how are you related to the Mulder family?" the nurse asked.
"Umm, we're brothers," he said carefully, praying his very literal
daughter didn't catch what was being said.
"Daddy! But Uncle Mulder isn't ___,'' Rachael began.
"__Rachael, let the nurse speak, please!" Richard said somewhat tersely.
Rachael untangled herself from Richard's arms and pushed herself away from
him. She huffed back into the ICU waiting room.
The nurse looked at him curiously for a moment, but then realized the
child did refer to the patient as "Uncle," even though she called him by
his surname. Well, she's heard stranger things, she supposed. "Mr.
Mulder's room is the third door down, room C."
"Thank you. I'm going to check on my daughter first, and then I'll go in
and visit Mu__, umm, Fox." He turned and walked into the waiting room to
see his daughter sitting forlornly on the couch.
"Hi Pumpkin," Richard said. Rachael looked up at him, but did not
respond. "Sweetheart, I'm really sorry for sounding so angry before.
It's just that I really wanted to be able to go and see Uncle Mulder, and
I was afraid the nurse would say no."
Rachael looked up at her father. She took a deep breath and then began to
pour her heart out to him.
"Daddy, when can we all go home? I'm tired of this place and I want to
watch TV in my house and go to sleep in my bed and I want my mommy and
Jason and you and me to be all together again. I wanna go home, Daddy!"
All of the child's frustration and sadness and anger came out all at once.
She began sobbing as her father gathered her in his arms. He began
murmuring, "Oh my poor baby girl. You've been so brave. You've been so
good about everything, Rachael. I'm sorry. I wish Jason was all better
and we could go home tonight, but we can't.
"And sweetie, Uncle Mulder's not feeling well either. That's why Gam-ma
and Gam-pa haven't taken you and Adam back to their house yet. They need
to see Uncle Mulder is going to be all right. Can you understand that,
sweetheart?," Richard asked his now semi-calm daughter.
She nodded her head, yes, and sniffled back some more tears. Then Richard
asked her, "Do you think you can continue to be as brave as you've been?"
Rachael nodded her head again, then returned to her father's arms for
another calming embrace.
When Walter had returned to check on Rachael, Richard asked about Mulder's
condition. Richard was relieved to hear it appeared Mulder was fine.
"The doctors don't see any permanent damage to the heart. They're still
not positive as to why his blood pressure bottomed out like it did, which
in turn contributed to his heart stopping. But thankfully, he seems
physically okay," Walter informed.
"Has he woken up yet?" Richard asked, fearing he already knew the answer.
"No. Which of course has the doctors a little nuts, but I guess they don't
know Mulder like we do, right, Richard? If there's a hard way and an easy
way to do something, Mulder's gonna go for the hard way. Every damned
time," Walter concluded with a hint a ire.
It was obvious to everyone how worried Walter felt. He didn't have the
same faith his wife and step-daughter had that Mulder was going to pull
out of this.
Richard decided he'd save his visit to Mulder for later, hopefully when he
would be awake. Richard realized at this point, his daughter would
probably benefit more from a visit with him, so he took Rachael for a
short walk, and some very important Daddy-Daughter time.
By dinner time, Rachael was back in the waiting room with Adam, and Adam
wasn't buying it anymore. He wanted his Daddy to wake up so they could go
home, but his Gam-ma said they had to wait until his Daddy woke up before
they could go back to her house. The small child was cranky, tired, and
Though his family would be hard pressed to really believe it, Adam
remembered the last time his Daddy was in the hospital. It had taken a
long time for him to wake up then, and Adam was afraid this was going to
be a repeat of that situation. He wondered if his Daddy's Nana was going
to come back for a visit to help him wake up again, just like last time.
As it was getting well passed the children's dinner time, Walter went to
the local MacDonalds to pick up a Happy Meals for Adam and Rachael, and
some burgers for himself and Maggie. Maggie remained in the waiting room
with Adam and Rachael. Rachael was reading a picture book, while Adam
simply stared off into space, when suddenly, he began to talk.
"I don't likes him no more," Adam declared.
"You don't like whom?" asked Maggie.
"Jason. He's not my best fwend, no mo'e," the littlest Mulder said
"That's not a very nice thing to say Adam Mulder," cried out Rachael, who
was fast becoming just as tired, cranky and scared as her younger peer.
"Shhh, Rachael. Adam's allowed to have feelings. We all are. Now tell
me why, Adam. Tell me why you don't want Jason to be your best friend
anymore," cajoled Maggie gently.
"He huwt my daddy," Adam explained. "My daddy gots huwt 'cause he wanted
to give Jason some of his good blood. Jason has to get wid of Jason's bad
blood. It's all Jason's fault that Daddy is still sleeping.
"I hate him," whispered Adam guiltily, but then added with a fierce
determination only a Mulder could own, "I want my Daddy."
Father Thom Donovan and Rabbi Gerry Ginsburg showed up in the hospital,
coincidentally, at the same time. When Rabbi Gerry saw Thom, he naturally
assumed he was there to visit the little Goldfarb boy as well as make his
"Thom, how are you?" Rabbi Gerry called out affably.
"Gerry, I'm well, and how are you?" the Priest replied in kind.
"Good, good. No complaints this week, at least. Have you had a chance to
see little Jason Goldfarb yet?" the Rabbi asked.
"No, no, I was just heading over there for my evening rounds. You?" he
"No, I haven't seen him yet either. Shall we give the Goldfarb's two
clergymen for the price of one?" Rabbi Gerry asked lightly.
"Based on the last time I saw that little boy, he could use a double dose
of clergy," Father Thom said seriously. "Come, let's hope he's doing
When they arrived in the room they saw only Leslie sitting with the small
child, who at this point in time was sitting in bed with several
intravenous tubes sticking into various parts of his body. He was
sleeping, and thankfully, it appeared to be a relatively peaceful sleep.
"Leslie? Is this a bad time?" Father Thom asked.
"Father? Oh my gosh, Rabbi? No, come in. Jason's sleeping, but he's
sleeping pretty soundly. He's on a lot of medication. Please, come in,"
"How's he doing, Leslie?" asked Rabbi Gerry.
"It's still way too soon to tell if it's going to work," she replied.
Both clergymen looked confused, as it had been a couple of days since
their last visit. "Leslie, forgive me, but I'm not sure what you're
talking about," declared Father Thom.
"Oh, that's right. It all happened so fast, so how could you have known?
Father, Rabbi, Jason received a bone marrow transplant this morning,"
"A transplant? You found a donor match? Oh, Leslie! That's wonderful
news! Just wonderful," Rabbi Gerry exclaimed.
"You'll never guess who the donor is," said Richard as he walked into the
room. "Hi Rabbi, Father."
"How is he?" asked Leslie.
"He's still under, but his vitals are good. He looks okay," Richard
"What do you mean he _looks_ okay? You saw him? How did you manage to
get into see him? They wouldn't let _me_ see him?" Leslie said
"You didn't claim to be his brother," Richard said a little uneasily as he
looked at the two religious leaders in his son's hospital room. Nothing
like being caught in the sin of lying with not one, but two clergymen. "I
took Rachael for a short walk and then peaked in on him for a few minutes.
Thank God Rachael calls him Uncle Mulder, or my cover would have been
blown for sure."
When the two men heard Richard say the name "Mulder" both of their heads
jerked in a double-take. They looked at one another and then back at
"Richard? What are you talking about?" Father Thom asked anxiously. He
knew it was trouble when the name 'Mulder' was brought up in the same
context as a hospital visit. "What's happened to Fox?"
"Mulder was Jason's bone marrow donor," Leslie started to explain. "He
was admitted to the hospital early this morning and had the procedure done
around six a.m."
"And, of course," continued Richard, "complications set in about a half
hour after that."
"Oh no," responded both Father Thom and Rabbi Gerry. "What happened?"
"He apparently suffered a reaction to the anesthesia. It caused his blood
pressure to drop like cement boots, and then his heart just stopped for a
minute or two. They were able to revive him fairly quickly, and he's been
stabile ever since. One problem. He hasn't woken up yet," explained
"Dear God," said Father Thom. "Can't this man get through one year
without a major health crisis?"
"Apparently not," said Richard. "But the doctors seem pretty confident he
should be coming out of it soon. Dana said something about the monitors
were beginning to show more brain activity, so that's a good thing at
"Perhaps I'll go over and see if I can offer any spiritual support to
Dana," Father Thom said.
"I think she'd like that very much, Father," Richard said.
"I'll tell her Mulder's brother sent me," he replied with a smile.
Once Rabbi Gerry had left, it was just Richard and Leslie again. The two
of them sat silently, one occasionally catching a glimpse of the other.
Finally, Leslie said, "Maybe we should have said something to Rabbi
"Said something? Said what?" asked Richard looking genuinely confused.
"About us, Richard. About what a toll Jason's illness is taking on our
marriage, on our entire family," she replied exasperated.
"For heaven's sake, Richard, is that _all_ you can say? 'Oh?'" she
"What do you want me to say, Les? What the hell do you want me to say?
Would you like me to say, 'Why you're absolutely right, sweetheart, our
marriage is slowly going down the toilet, and a little spiritual guidance
might be appropriate?'" he replied sarcastically.
"Yes. I think I would have preferred that to, 'Oh,'" she answered
"I'm sorry, Les. I really am sorry, but I don't know what to do or say
anymore. God, Les, I hate this! I hate how our lives have been turned
upside down and inside out! And I'm just plain tired.
"I'm so tired of this whole damned situation. I'm tired of the extra
hours I have to put in at the PD office in order to bring in some extra
cash flow. I'm tired of coming here at night, only to have to say goodbye
to you in order for you to go home and take care of the household
"I'm tired of not seeing our daughter on a regular basis.
I'm tired of wondering if my best friend is going to wake up soon from yet
another God damned medical emergency that _we_ put him through.
"And I'm tired of wondering if it might be all for naught.
"Leslie__? Leslie, I'm so afraid he's going to die," Richard finally
admitted in a tremulous whisper.
Leslie watched as Richard dropped his chin against his chest in an effort
to hide the tears that were now streaming down his face. Leslie moved
toward him immediately and knelt in front of him. She touched his chin
with her two fingers and lifted his face up slightly so she could see his
eyes, and he could see hers.
"Richard? Richard, look at me. Please?" she asked gently.
"Don't you know how scared I am of that very same possibility?
"Don't you know how angry I am with God right now that He chose our family
to put through this test?
"Don't you know how frustrated I feel that I can't keep my son and
daughter safe and together?
"Don't you know I frightened I am of losing the only man I have ever loved
so deeply and so completely?
"Richard. You're not in this alone, but you've been acting as though your
were," Leslie implored.
"I don't want to be alone, Les, but you keep pushing me away," he said
"You keep pushing me away every time I want to talk things over with you,
or just want to hold you. Or have you hold me. But you won't allow it,
so you push me away either literally or figuratively," Richard elicited.
"Richard, no, I don't. I mean I don't mean to. I mean, it's not like I
want to push you away, it's just that____," Leslie stammered.
"What, Les? Why can't you accept my support for you and my need for
support from you?" Richard asked quietly.
"I'm afraid. I'm so afraid if I admit I need anything more or if you need
anything more, than I'm admitting just how sick he is. Oh God, Richard, I
don't know what I'll do if he dies. I don't know what I'll do," she began
With that, Richard slid down on the floor in order to more easily embrace
his sobbing wife. He pulled her into his arms and began to rock both
himself and Leslie in a gentle, rhythmical motion.
As the healing process began for their son, so did it begin for the
Dana had finally curled up and dozed off in the uncomfortable, albeit
oversized, vinyl covered chair. She'd felt comforted by Father Thom's
visit, but she would have felt even better if her husband had only woke
up. Father Thom had prayed with her and offered his blessings, but it
hadn't been enough to rouse Mulder out of his unexpected coma.
Prior to the good Father Thom's arrival, Richard had visited for a few
minutes and then had told her he needed to return to Jason's room to
relieve Leslie. Though she certainly had a lot on her mind at that
moment, Dana included her best friends in her list of concerns
She knew first hand what chronic illness or injuries can do to a
relationship, though thankfully she'd never had to deal with one involving
her own child. Dana could see Jason's illness was wearing his parents
down, and it worried her immensely. What was even more disquieting was
her feelings of helplessness and inability to do anything to help Richard
and Leslie overcome those problems.
Especially now. She'd felt so tired. Dana had contented herself to take
note of the monitors and observe the increased activity in the EEG, so she
had allowed herself the luxury of closing her eyes. She'd felt herself
drift off to sleep when she was awoken suddenly by a low, plaintive moan.
Dana opened her eyes quickly and tried to focus them in order to locate
what was making the sound. When her vision finally cleared, she fixed her
gaze on Mulder and realized it was he who was moaning.
"Mulder? Mulder," she said as she rose from her seat. "Wake up, Mulder,
it's only a dream. Please sweetheart, please wake up."
Mulder began shaking his head from side to side and moaned over and over
again. Dana had a difficult time distinguishing the moans from a cry of
anguish or a cry of pain. She tried again to rouse him from the heavy
sleep state he was in, when finally, his eyelashes fluttered.
"Mulder, wake up. Come back to me, please. It's Scully, Mulder. It's
me," she repeated over and over again until, finally, he opened his eyes.
"Well that was one helluva nap, Mulder," she said as her eyes glistened
from unshed tears.
"Wha's wron'?" he rasped from disuse and the remnants of the anesthesia.
"Nothing now," she replied with a very relieved smile.
"Waddah," he pleaded hoarsely.
Scully brought over a cup of ice chips and spooned some into his mouth.
Mulder laid quietly, his eyes at half mast, and allowed the ice to melt
slowly in his mouth. Some minutes passed when Mulder said, "More."
Scully spooned some more chips into his mouth and waited patiently for the
inevitable avalanche to fall.
It took only a few minutes more, and then it fell.
"What time is it?" he asked.
"It's late, Mulder," she replied.
"What time is it, Dane?"
"It's now about midnight."
"What? Midnight?" he responded in confusion. "I don't understand. Why
is it so late?"
"It's so late because you decided to catch up on your beauty sleep
sweetheart, and of course, cause me to age another five or six years
instantly," she informed him lightheartedly.
"But why? What happened?"
"Mulder, you had a bad reaction to the general anesthesia. Your blood
pressure bottomed out, and your heart stopped," she explained calmly and
"My heart stopped? Oh God, was there__?" he began anxiously.
"__No damage," Scully said in anticipation of her husbands major concern.
"There was no permanent damage sustained, so there's no reason why you
shouldn't maintain your active Field Agent status, so relax, okay?"
Mulder's face, and as a matter of fact, entire body, relaxed visibly.
"Dane, I'm tired again," he said quietly.
"Then go back to sleep, sweetheart," she said.
As he attempted to maneuver his body into a comfortable position, he
suddenly jerked up and called out loud, "Jason?"
"Jason's doing fine, Mulder, but it's way too soon to know if the
transplant is going to take. Right now he's resting as comfortably as
possible," she told him.
And then as an afterthought she said, "Father Thom was in earlier to see
you and sends his best. Richard was here too. He lied to the nurses in
order to get in here and see you. He told them he was your brother."
Mulder smiled at that. Then Dana said, "He wanted to say thank you for
helping his son, Mulder."
Mulder nodded and then hunkered down again in order to try and get
comfortable, but the experience of being a human pin cushion was not
making it easy. He groaned as he moved about and when Dana asked him if
he wanted something for pain, he surprised her when he actually said,
Scully pushed the call button, and when the nurse came in requested some
pain medication for her husband. The nurse said she would check with the
doctor and be back very shortly to take care of it.
When Mulder received his pain medication, he fell into a deep, but normal,
sleep. Scully decided to call her Mom and Walter to let them know Mulder
had woken and all was right with the world. She wanted to let them know
it would be okay for everyone to sleep in the next morning, because that's
what she planned on doing given the chance.
The five weeks had passed slowly for both the Goldfarb and Mulder
families. Though everyone had been informed it would take at least that
long before any confirmation of the transplant's success could be made,
the time to the present day had seemed interminable.
Once Mulder had fully recovered from his bad reaction to the anesthesia,
everyone had been able to totally focus their concern on Jason. The
toddler had still felt the horrible aftereffects of the chemotherapy
treatment he'd received just prior to the transplant. Jason had remained
nauseous and vomited non-stop for the first couple of weeks, while he'd
also suffered from diarrhea and general weakness throughout.
Richard and Leslie had to restrict Rachael's visits, especially during the
waiting period, since she'd finally started school again and was exposed
to a good many more germs. Somehow, the summer managed to disappear for
everyone, but at least Rachael had the new school year to keep her mind
occupied and her worries at bay.
Richard and Leslie had the chance to see Jason everyday and were able to
see small signs of improvement. Scully and Mulder, on the other hand,
were out of town for much of the five week period as they had been
assigned an out of town serial murder case. Though Scully spoke with
Leslie almost everyday to check on the child, it wasn't the same as being
It was so frustrating for Scully, as she wanted to be home to support her
friend and, even more importantly, to give a thousand kisses to her own,
blessedly, healthy son.
And for Mulder, it was pure torture.
In fact so much so, he'd become cranky, short tempered, nasty, and
unfocused. And those were his _good_ qualities. In addition to those
traits, he had difficulty concentrating on anything the local authorities
had to share. His attitude had become totally unprofessional, and it had
begun to wear on everyone's nerves.
Most of all, Scully's.
"Mulder, enough!" she finally said when the last of the local authorities
left the conference room. "What the hell is the matter with you? You're
driving everyone who has to be around you crazy, and you're making me
consider using Richard's services as a divorce lawyer!"
Mulder startled at that spoken thought, and even though he knew in his
heart Scully didn't mean for him to take her words literally, it did make
him visibly shudder. "Dane," he began, but then stopped. He shrugged his
shoulders, stood very still, and looked very lost.
Scully finally walked over to him and took his hand. She led him to the
table in the local precinct's room which had become their headquarters for
the last three and a half weeks. She sat him down in the most comfortable
chair in the room, which unfortunately wasn't saying much, as comfortable
meant a padded folding chair as opposed to unpadded.
"Mulder, what the hell is going on in that head of yours? What has gotten
you so upset, you are seemingly going out of your way to be pigheaded,
contrary, and downright mean-tempered? Talk to me, Mulder. We really do
have to straighten this out before you alienate every law enforcement
officer this side of the Mississippi."
"I'm sorry," Mulder replied contritely. "I really am sorry. To be
honest, I'm not exactly sure. I__, I guess__," he paused in an attempt to
collect his thoughts, and then finally said, "I guess I just want to go
home. I mean, ever since Jason got sick ___."
"___I know," Scully cut him off. "Since Jason got sick ,I want to keep
Adam with me all the time too."
Mulder nodded gratefully that his wife understood exactly what he was
feeling. He wasn't at all surprised she understood. Dana Scully knew Fox
Mulder oft times better than he knew himself.
"Dane, I keep thinking what if it was him? I wonder, what if he gets it?
I mean, there's a possibility he can contract Leukemia too__."
"__Mulder," she interrupted, "the chance of Adam coming down with
Leukemia is remote at best. Why do you do this to yourself?" she asked
"What if it's no good?" he asked in a rush.
"What? What if __what's__ no good, Mulder?" she asked quizzically.
"My bone marrow. God, Dane, what if my marrow is no good, and it doesn't
work?" he whispered.
"Oh, Mulder, is that what's been keeping you and _me_ up at nights?" she
"Dane," he gasped, and soon the floodgates opened wide. Mulder had been
holding this fear inside of him since the day he'd been notified he was
the best donor match.
"Mulder, you have no control over the compatibility of the marrow. You've
done everything humanly possible," Dana said as she attempted to comfort
"Yeah, and we all know what my track record is on that," he said,
"Oh, Mulder, when are you going to learn you can't control everything?"
she asked in exasperation.
"But I can't seem to control _anything_ Scully! When do I get the chance
to control _something_?" he cried out in frustration. "Dane, I want this
to work so badly. Oh God, I don't think I could bear it if that child
doesn't survive because my marrow wasn't good enough."
"Oh, Mulder, there's no such thing as your marrow not being _good_ enough.
Sweetheart, you have done all you can do. My God, Mulder, you nearly
lost your life during the transplant process. How much more do you think
you have to give?" she asked, and then quietly added, "How much more do
you think Adam and I have to give?"
Mulder looked at her with surprise. He hadn't even considered what stress
his allergic reaction to the anesthesia had put his wife and child under.
It was almost as if he hadn't considered the fact that the possibility of
Dana and Adam losing him was just as devastating as the possibility of
"Mulder, don't you realize how aware Adam was at how close we were to
losing you? Don't you realize how frightened we both were at the thought
of losing you too?" she asked.
He sat there, totally in shock. He hadn't. It was so like Mulder to have
forgotten about the risks he'd taken on for himself, and even more like
him to not consider what effect those risks might have on his family. It
wasn't because he was being selfish in not considering Dana's and Adam's
feelings, it had, simply, never occurred to him.
Sometimes Mulder still needed reminders he was a man who was worthy of and
deserved the love and respect his family felt for him. He, too often,
forgot. Scully realized this was one of those times.
She gathered him in her embrace and it allowed him to release all of his
frustrations and fears. He realized the entire ordeal, though obviously
caused the Goldfarbs the most anxiety, also put his own family under undue
stress. He felt like an idiot for not realizing the full extent of their
own apprehension, and felt guilty for not taking their fears into
The fact they were also feeling the high tension of being on a very
difficult, out of town case, and therefore were forced to be away from
their own family, added to Mulder's apprehension. As Dana reached over to
gather him more securely in her arms, Mulder allowed himself the luxury of
being held by his wife, and felt himself enveloped by her love and
Though the out of town cases were taking more and more out of both of
them, the timing of this one was particularly poor for Mulder. All of his
doubts and vulnerabilities were hanging out like wash on a clothesline,
and it was making everyone concerned miserable.
Since their marriage and subsequent birth of their son, Scully had come to
the startling conclusion her husband had become quite the homebody. He
was a family man now, and liked nothing better than to be within close
proximity of his family.
"Dane," he began, "I don't know how much longer I can do this."
"Oh, Mulder, I know it's hard, and I know you're worrying about Jason, but
we've got some good hard leads here. We'll be home soon, you'll see," she
said in an attempt to comfort him.
"No, Dane, you don't understand," he began. When Scully looked at him
questioningly, he said, "I don't know how much longer I want to be out in
the field. I don't want to be away from Adam. I'm tired of telephone
progress reports from Mom telling us all of the incredible things he's
doing. I'm so tired of it. God, Dane, I'm so tired. I don't want to
miss anymore of him growing up. You never know how long you'll have him."
"Mulder? Ohmigod, you're serious, aren't you?" She paused for a moment,
and pushed back to look hard at him. She needed some time to assimilate
the idea that such a possibility could actually become a reality. "But
sweetheart?" she asked, gently playing the role of devil's advocate, "What
Mulder returned her gaze. He'd been asking himself the very same
question over the last several months, but not nearly as often as over the
last several weeks. Ever since Jason's illness came to light.
"I won't ever stop searching, and hoping, and believing in the truth that
will help us find her. But I think__ I think __." Mulder's voice broke
at this point. He was about to say words he'd never, ever, thought he'd
utter aloud. In a voice just above a whisper, he said, "I think, Dane, I
finally have to face the possibility I may never find Sam.
"But," he continued more passionately, "I know where our son is, and it
scares me to think I'm missing his childhood. Damn it, I missed my
sister's childhood, and hell, I even missed a good portion of my own
childhood. I don't want either of us to miss Adam's.
"Oh God, Dane, I wanna go home," he cried out.
Scully looked at her husband with all of the love and compassion within
her. She knew what he was feeling, for there were times when she felt the
exact same way. She also knew, however, that those feelings eventually
passed, and the challenge of their job in maintaining the X-Files overtook
She knew, in her heart of hearts, Mulder would soon feel the same way.
The stress of this particular case, a serial killer with a fetish for
young boys, coupled with Jason's illness and Mulder's own longing to be
with his son, had intensified his feelings of depression.
Mulder loved his family. And yes, he wished he could be home more often
than he was out of town. But Mulder would never give up the X-Files. He
could certainly live without horrific serial child killer cases like the
one they were on now, but Mulder's search for the truth was as much a part
of him as was his instinct to breathe.
Thankfully, Mulder had managed to calm down enough so when the door opened
with a rush, and the excited voices filled the perimeter of the room,
Mulder and Scully could easily turn into professional mode again.
"What the hell is going on?" Scully asked curiously. The SAIC, Agent
Farber, shared the news excitedly.
"We got the sonofabitch! God damn! We got the sonofabitch! Mulder, your
profile was so God damned on target, it's scary. Shit! He did exactly
what your profile said he would do. He went into the mini-mart you
ordered us to stake out, and the sonofabitch bought all this junk food,
just like you said he would. He had his hands full of so much damned junk
food, he couldn't see any of us keeping tabs on him.
"Mulder, he had the kid in the trunk! He went to put the packages in the
trunk, and there was the kid! His mouth was gagged, and his hands were
tied, but he was all right. Your profile nailed the bastard, and the kid
"You did it, you son of a gun! You did it! Thank you, Mulder. Agent
Scully, thank you too. You guys are the best, even if you are a bit of a
sonofabitch sometimes, Mulder. But, you nailed the bastard!"
Mulder looked at SAIC Farber and smiled. "I'm sorry I haven't been in the
most pleasant of moods lately. Please accept my apologies to you and your
staff. You guys are responsible for catching the bastard. I just pointed
you in the right direction, that's all. I'm glad you caught the perp.
"Listen, I hate to profile and run, but do you guys need us anymore?"
"Trying to get out of the paperwork, aren't you Mulder?" SAIC Farber asked
"Damn straight!" Mulder retorted with a chuckle. It was the first bit of
laughter that had escaped from Mulder's lips since before he'd even
arrived on the site. Scully smiled in relief as her husband seemed to
have returned to her.
"Get the hell out of here, you two. You deserve to miss the paper trail
soiree we go through here! Go home!" Agent Farber insisted.
"Mulder, let's get the hell out of here before the good SAIC Farber comes
back to his senses and changes his mind! Agent Farber, it's been good
working with you, Sir. I'm delighted this case ended on an up note,"
"The feeling's mutual, Agent Scully. Thank you, both."
After the agents shook hands all around, Mulder and Scully walked briskly
out of the office. When they walked outside into the parking lot, they
broke into a dead run to get to their rental.
The Mulders were going home.
When they walked into Margaret and Walter's home, they'd expected to find
them and Adam inside. But when they'd arrived, no one was home.
"Mulder, stop. Maybe they went to the store," Scully responded.
"But it's late, Dane. Where the hell can they be? I just want to see
him," Mulder sighed.
"I know. I do too," she said as she moved over to give him a hug.
"But they didn't know we were coming home today, Mulder. So, do you want
to take advantage of the solitude and fool around?" she asked with a glint
in her eye.
"Actually I'd really like to ___. Dane, don't kill me, but would you__?"
"C'mon, Mulder. Let's go over to the hospital," Dana agreed resolutely.
"I love you, Dana Scully-Mulder. You know that, don't you?" he asked
"Yeah, Mulder, I know. As long as you know that I love you too. And you
owe me. Big time," she said sternly, all the while trying to suppress a
"Yeah, Dane, I know I owe you big time. And believe me, I plan on us
having a helluva good time when it's time for me to pay up!" he retorted,
not trying to suppress his laughter at all.
"Oh, Mulder, it's good to hear you laugh again!" Dana said happily.
"Yeah," he replied. "Hopefully, when we get to the hospital, we'll have
something more to celebrate."
When they arrived at the hospital and saw Walter, Maggie, and Adam in the
waiting room, Mulder's first instinct was to panic.
"Mom? Walter? What's happened?" he asked anxiously.
"DADDY!" Adam squealed. "Daddy, you home! Mommy? MOMMY! Mommy's home
Adam broke into a dead run toward his parents and banged into Mulder's
legs so hard, Mulder figured he'd be black and blue for a week. He didn't
care, however, and picked up his shrieking son in an effort to not only
hug him back, but to quiet him down before they were kicked off the floor.
"Hey big boy! How ya doing?"
"Daddy, I wanted you an' Mommy to come home so much! An' you 'comed'!" he
"Yes, we did. But what's going on? Why are you guys here so late?"
Mulder asked, suddenly nervous.
"Fox, catch your breath. Leslie phoned us and asked us to come to the
hospital," Maggie said.
"Why?" asked Scully.
"We're not sure, Dana," offered Walter. "We just got here ourselves, so
your timing is impeccable. Wait, there's Richard."
The Skinners and Mulders watched as Richard Goldfarb walked toward them.
They all looked for signs of distress.
"Mulder! Dana, when did you get back?" Richard asked.
"About an hour ago. We got to the house and no one was home, so we
decided to come here to check on Jason. Richard?" Mulder asked in
Finally, Scully couldn't hold her emotions in any longer. "Richard?
What's going on? Is Jason okay?" she asked nervously.
"Why don't you come and see for yourself? C'mon you guys," Richard
The two couples, with Mulder carrying Adam, followed Richard down to
Jason's room. Maggie and Walter entered first, while Scully and Mulder,
holding Adam, followed.
"Hi, Jason," Adam said shyly to his friend.
"When you coming home?" Adam asked.
"I dunno. I wanna go home now, but Mommy says I gotta wait for tomorrow,"
"Tomorrow? You're going home tomorrow?" echoed Mulder.
"Yeah, Mulder," Richard said affirmatively. "He's in remission. The
marrow is growing and doing what it's supposed to be doing. His white
count is down to normal levels, his appetite has come back, and__,"
Richard kneeled down affectionately by his younger child, "this little boy
is ready to rock and roll!"
As Richard grasped his son's hands and started to wave them around in a
pseudo-dance gyration, Jason responded with a cascade of giggles.
"Daddy says we can has Father's Day tomorrow, cause we missed it when I
had to goed into the hospital. But now we can has it. You wanna has
Father's Day tomorrow with me?" Jason asked everyone present in the room.
"Sweetie," interjected Dana, "I think we'll just let this Father's Day be
for you and your own family this year. I don't think your Daddy would
want to share you."
"Actually," Richard interjected, "I can't think of any group of people
I'd rather share my Father's Day celebration with. If it weren't for all
of you, I might not__." He couldn't say it. He couldn't say there was
ever a possibility of losing his only son.
Richard took a deep breath and then said, "Walter, Maggie, you realize
you're included in this little Father's Fest, don't you? I mean, God, the
way you just jumped in and helped us out by taking over Rachael's care. I
don't know what we would have done without her Gam-ma and Gam-pa," he said
with a broad smile.
"Richard, you know it was our pleasure. Rachael is a wonderful child,"
Walter said. "It was nice having another grandchild around the house."
"I wanna go to your house too, Gam-pa," Jason whined.
"And I promised you would, Jason. As soon as the doctors and your parents
say it's okay, you're going to spend the weekend with us and Adam," Walter
"I am?" he asked. "What about Rachael?"
"Oh, I bet Rachael would like a little time on her own with Mommy and
Daddy. Don't you think she deserves it?" Walter asked.
"Yeah. And Adam and me gets you, right Gam-pa?" confirmed Jason.
Walter nodded, and Richard remarked, "For a man who'd never been a father,
you sure are a quick study Walter."
Walter looked up a little startled at that and then smiled. "I've had a
lot of on the job training," he said, looking first at the children and
then directly at Scully and Mulder.
Mulder smiled in recognition of Walter's intent. It was Mulder who'd
given him the most on the job training, and they all knew it.
Leslie, who had been looking on quietly, nodded in agreement with what
Richard had said and then walked over to Mulder.
"Thank you, Mulder," she said quietly and stood on her tip toes to kiss
him sweetly on his cheek.
"Oh, Leslie, you don't ha__," Mulder began.
"__Don't even say 'I don't __have__ to thank you.' Don't say it, because,
yes, Mulder, I __do__ have to thank you. You risked your own health to
donate your marrow.
"My God, Mulder, your bone marrow has given Jason a second chance on life.
You've given us all a second chance on being a family again. So thank
you my sweet, wonderful, generous friend. Thank you. And you will say
nothing more now than, 'You're welcomed,'" Leslie admonished.
Mulder sheepishly looked back at her. "You're welcomed,'' he replied as
directed and then quickly said, "Would you all excuse me for a minute?"
Mulder put Adam down on the floor to play with Rachael who was quietly
working on a children's jigsaw puzzle, and then proceeded to leave the
Scully was about to follow him out, when Walter touched her arm to stop
her. ''Dana? Would you mind if I went out to him?"
"No, of course not. In fact, I think he could probably use a father to
talk to right now," she murmured with a smile.
Now Walter's eyes glistened as he realized the emotional impact Scully's
words had on him. He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead. "Thank
you for that, Dana," he said and left the room.
Walter found Mulder down the hallway, looking outside the large picture
window that looked out over the parking lot. When he reached his side,
Walter remarked, "You'd think if they were going to spend all of this
money on a picture window, they'd at least put it in a spot where there
was something worth looking at."
"Yeah," Mulder said in quiet agreement.
"You okay?" Walter asked softly.
"Yeah," he said.
"Case get solved?" Walter asked casually.
"Yeah. We got the bastard."
"And the last victim?" Walter questioned cautiously.
"They found him with the perp, alive," Mulder said with a slight smile.
"Thank God," Walter replied. "Difficult arrest?"
"No, actually. Apparently the asshole walked right into the stakeout.
They were able to anticipate where he was going to be pretty accurately,"
"And I wonder how they were able to be so anticipate so accurately?"
Walter asked, and though it was a rhetorical question, he decided to take
it a step further. "It couldn't have been because _my_ son-in-law wrote
the damnedest, most accurate profile possible, to get the sonofabitch,
Mulder took in the words Walter Skinner had just spoken, but more
importantly, he absorbed the tone of voice Skinner had used to say the
words. Mulder felt himself shudder in disbelief. He wasn't sure if he'd
interpreted it right. He wasn't sure if he'd felt it right.
Then Walter said something else that erased all of his doubts.
"You do fine work Agent Mulder. You give of yourself one hundred per
cent, all the time. That's what makes you so good at your job.
"But you also give of yourself one hundred per cent of the time to your
family and friends. That's what makes you the fine person you are. When
Leslie said you did a wonderful thing, she was right, you know. Maggie,
Dana and I worried a little bit about the procedure, but you never gave it
a second thought. You knew what needed to be done, and you did it.
"Of course, there have been times when I'd wished you gave some of your
impulsive decisions a second thought, but not this one.
"Fox, you are one of the best FBI agents I've ever worked with, and you're
one of the finest human beings I've ever known. I'm proud of you, Son."
Mulder couldn't help it. As Walter spoke words of pride and respect for
him, Mulder's eyes began to tear. He knew this wasn't exactly the
reaction expected of an FBI agent, but it was the only one he could
He looked at his father-in-law and said the only words that befitted the
Now it was Walter Skinner's turn to become misty eyed. He opened his
mouth to speak once, closed it, and then tried again.
"I think, that has got to be the best Father's Day gift you could have
ever given me, Fox. Thank you," he barely choked out as he stretched one
arm around Mulder's shoulders.
Mulder simply nodded his head in acknowledgment. He knew if he tried to
speak he would totally lose it, so he simply nodded his head and leaned
in ever so slightly to the physical sign of affection from his boss; from
his father-in-law; from his dad.
They families decided to postpone the belated Father's Day celebration
till the next weekend, as Jason still tired easily and the Goldfarbs
really did need some time to acclimate to having everyone home under the
same roof again. For that matter, so did the Mulders and the Skinners.
So, the following Sunday, the Mulders and the Goldfarbs gathered at the
big, old, rambling home of Maggie and Walter Skinner. They were graced
with a warm September day, which allowed Walter to barbecue hamburgers and
hot dogs for the kids (and Mulder,) and chicken and steaks for the adults.
The conversation flowed easily and everyone felt a sense of comfort and
relaxation that none had felt in quite some time.
Mulder and Dana spoke only snippets about work, mainly because Maggie kept
hushing them. She kept pointing to the children and pointedly stated that
no matter how interesting the adults might find the topics of the X-Files,
the children didn't need to be exposed to those cases.
Neither Mulder nor Dana were about to argue with this particular Mom, so
they abided by her request. Even Walter agreed with her. He was enjoying
this little bit of domestication, and ever since his last conversation
with Mulder at the hospital, he enjoyed it all the more.
Mulder, on the other hand, was getting itchy again already. He and Scully
had continued their discussion regarding their work load. Mulder came to
the conclusion his wife truly did know him better than he knew himself.
He could never give up the X-Files anymore than he could give up living
The X-Files were an integral part of his life. The only difference now
was they weren't his entire life. There was room for compromise, and he
and Dana discussed the options they had open to them regarding the number
of out of town cases they took on, as well as the number of overtime hours
they worked. Or rather, used to work. He had priorities now, and those
priorities were named Dana and Adam.
The children played quietly on the back patio. They were acting out
different scenarios with their little "guys" which included a multitude of
various action figures ranging from various styles of Batmans and
Supermans to GI Joes and Power Rangers. Added to the mix were Rachael's
Disney dolls like Aladdin and Mulan, as well as a few Barbie and Ken dolls
thrown in for good measure.
The adults watched in awe with the realization that both Adam and Rachael
somehow knew Jason wasn't ready for rough and tumble type play.
Well, not yet, at any rate.
Very, very soon.
Happy Father's Day, indeed.
End of Part 6/6
Please send comments and feedback to STPteach@aol.comSTPteach@aol.com
Oh, and a very Happy Father's Day to all the Daddies out there.