New! Life Cycles XIV: Coming of Age 1/2
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998

Category: MSR (marriage) and Walter/Maggie (marriage). Lots of MulderAngst,
ScullyAngst, and even a little bit of MulderTorture thrown in for good
measure! (YES! I do love ya, Vickie! <g>)

Rating: PG13 for language!

Spoilers: To be honest, I don't think there's any real spoilers at this
point…my universe has kind of taken a life onto its own, but to play it
safe, let's say through season four, and specifically, mention of a certain scene
from "Kaddish."

Summary: Mulder chooses to take on a new challenge, but finds his past once
again hinders him. He needs the help of his therapist, but more
importantly, his family to help him succeed.

Archive: Yes.

Disclaimer: Fox Mulder, Dana, and Maggie Scully, as well as Walter Skinner
belong to 10/13 productions and Chris Carter. Adam Mulder, Rabbi Ginsburg,
and any other character you don't recognize 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

Also of note is an interesting site called "Navigating the Bible."
Pertinent information was found at this site, regarding Mulder's birth date.

Introduction: This is the next story in the series, though not a direct
follow-up to number LC XIII. I would recommend reading the previous stories
in the series, since there is some continuity (I hope there is at any rate!)
regarding the characters and Mulder's newest journey; a journey I will be
very familiar with come April 17, 1999! This is for my "baby boy", Daniel.

You can find the series archived at the ever wonderful, Shirley Smiley's
MulderTorture site at:

Oh Vickie, thank you so much for the feedback on this one. You are the
best! Truly!

Feedback: Please! And to those who I have yet to respond to, I promise,
once I get the report cards out of the box and actually record something on them,
I will get back to you. I promise. Really. <Kicking real life back in the

Life Cycles XIV: Coming of Age
by Susan Proto (

Part 1/6

Mulder picked up the phone and fingered the receiver tentatively. He knew
it shouldn't be any big deal, but on the other hand, he thought it had the
potential to turn into more of a hassle than he'd want to deal with.

He punched in the recall button and then the number one. He knew she'd be
at the other end, and while his heart warmed at the thought of speaking with
his Scully, he also wondered if he should simply forget about the whole thing.

As he listened to the phone ring, he realized he could count on his one hand
how many times he'd ditched his wife in the last six years or so since
they'd been married.

He figured he was long overdue.

"Hello," she answered in the conventional manner.

"Scully, it's me," he replied in his usual manner.

It was always 'Scully' when he called her from the bureau; it was never
Dana, or his preferred, 'Dane.' From the work place she was Scully.

"Hey, You. What's up?"

"Nothing much. It's quiet here Too quiet. I'm not used to this solo shit,
you know. How's he doing?"

He being their four year old son, Adam. He'd excitedly started nursery
school full time that past September, but the inevitable onslaught of colds
and sore throats began shortly thereafter. This latest bout was a full
fledged case of the flu, and Scully felt it best to stay home with him,
rather than depend upon her mother.

"He's coughing and crying, sneezing and crying, and sleeping and crying.
Wanna stay home with him tomorrow?" she asked only half jokingly.

"Oh, Dane, I'm sorry. This is a tough one, huh?"

"Yeah, but easy compared to what the Goldfarb's went through with Jason,"
she remarked, alluding to the cancer scare they all went through with the
youngest Goldfarb.

"I would say that had to be the understatement of the year. I still have
nightmares about it," he replied.

"I know, Mulder," she murmured knowingly.

"Yeah," he chuckled softly, "I guess you would be the one and only who would
know for sure. Did I wake you up last night too?"

"Yes," she replied with only a hint of hesitation, "but I was only half
asleep. I never sleep well when either of my Mulder men don't feel well.

"So," she continued, "when do we have the honor of having you join us for

This was the question he was dreading being asked. He knew it shouldn't
seem like a big deal, but it was. After all, she'd been home all day with a sick
child, and now he was planning on ditching her.

Openly and knowingly, ditching her.

And he felt like a fourteen karat gold heel for doing it.

But he also felt if he didn't go through with it now, he might chicken out
and never do it. He had to try. He knew he had to at least look into it,
for his own peace of mind.

"Um, Dane? I hate to do this to you, since I know you could probably use
some relief real soon, but I have some research to do before I can get home
tonight. Don't bother to wait dinner for me, okay? I should be home no
later than eight or so," he said, and then he added in an attempt to placate her,
"Listen, I'll stay home with Adam tomorrow, okay?"

"Wait a minute. Research? What research? For an X-file?"

"Well, it's not the usual fare, so I guess it could almost be classified as
an X-file," he said with a hint of a nervous chuckle. "I'm gonna get moving on
this so I can get home to you and Adam, okay?"

"Mulder, you're not going out to do anything stupid, are you?"

"I hope not," he mumbled.


"Nothing, Dane. Look, it's no big deal. Really. I just have to look into
something. I don't know if it'll pan out."

"Okay," she replied with some uneasiness. "Hey, Mulder? I love you,

"Love you too, Dane. I'll see you in a couple of hours, I promise. I'll
have my cell on in case you need me for anything, 'kay?" and then he added,
"Everything is fine, Dane. I promise you, everything is fine."

Which, of course, when ever it concerned Mulder, Dana knew meant quite the


Temple Emanuel
Office of Rabbi Gerry Ginsburg

Gerry looked at his watch one more time and sighed. He had been surprised
to hear from his secretary that Fox Mulder made an appointment. His secretary
gave no indication as to what the reason was, but whenever Fox Mulder was
concerned, it gave him pause.

The man certainly wasn't coming to see him for counseling, as Gerry already
knew Mulder had a private therapist, Dr. Karen Woods. He hoped everything
was all right between Mulder and his lovely wife, Dana.

And their little boy.

He prayed all was well with him. Gerry knew the sun rose and set on that
child to both of his parents. It would be a horrible twist of fate if
something were wrong with him.

Everyone had already weathered the storm of the Goldfarb Family's difficulty
with young Jason, and Gerry knew Mulder played a direct role in the young
boy's recovery. He hoped there were no complications with that situation.

But now he looked at his watch and saw it was almost fifteen minutes after
the appointed time. Gerry considered the possibility Fox had changed his mind,
or was too wrapped up in his work at the FBI to call and cancel. As he was
just about to accept either of those possible scenarios, Gerry heard a light
rapping on the door.

"Come in."

"Rabbi?" Mulder said tentatively as he walked into the office. "I'm sorry
I'm late, but the traffic was horrendous. Serves me right for actually leaving
the office on time."

"No problem, Fox. Come, come. Sit down." When he saw the confused look on
Mulder's face, Gerry chuckled and said, "Oh, sorry about that. Just move
that pile over to where that other pile is. There's never enough time in a year,
much less a day for me to catch up on all of my reading."

Mulder did as he was directed and sat down.

"So, Fox. My secretary didn't give me any information as to the purpose of
this appointment. What can I do for you?"

"Um, well, I wanted to talk to you about__." Mulder bounced up out of the
seat. "Look, this is a mistake. I'm sorry, Rabbi, for taking up your time.
I gotta get home. Adam's sick, and Dane's been stuck at home with him all
day. I'll see you at__."

"__Fox! Is Adam all right? It's not serious, is it?" the Rabbi interrupted
with concern. His mind flashed back all to well to Jason Goldfarb's

"No, it's nothing serious. Just the flu. Since Adam's started nursery
school full time, he and his classmates have shared every germ known to mankind."

"Well, that's a relief. So now, please, sit down, and talk to me.
Something is obviously on your mind. Maybe I can help. I'd like to help if I can."
Gerry looked at Mulder intently, and practically willed him to return to the
waiting chair.

Mulder sat down, but almost gingerly, as if he was sitting on a hot seat.
In Mulder's mind, it was a hot seat. He didn't know if he had the nerve to
continue the conversation as he'd originally intended.

The truth of it was, he felt foolish.

Very, very foolish.

"Look, Rabbi, it's just I've realized how silly this whole idea of mine is,"
Mulder finally admitted.

"Why don't you let me be the judge of that."

He stood up again and began to pace slowly about the room. Since it wasn't
a very big room, it only took Mulder a few strides to go from end to end.
"Fox," Gerry pleaded, "talk to me."

Mulder stopped dead in his tracks and looked at the rabbi. He opened his
mouth as if to speak, but then closed it. Gerry decided to wait him out.
Several minutes passed by, when finally, Gerry was rewarded.

"It's something I've been thinking about for a long time. I mean, it's
something I'd like to do, but I don't know if I can. I mean, I really don't
know if I'm allowed to and if I am, I don't know if _I_ can do it."

"What, Fox?"

"Rabbi, I'm embarrassed."

"Embarrassed? What could you possibly want to do that would be an
embarrassment? Tell me."

Mulder looked back at Gerry Ginsburg and wondered if he could admit his
secret desire, even to him. He didn't know, but he finally figured the only way to
find out was to try.

"Gerry, I want to have a Bar Mitzvah," he blurted out. Mulder stood there
and waited for the man before him to burst into laughter over the absurdity of
it all.

After all, Mulder was thirty-eight years old. His son was over four years
old. What business would he have becoming a Bar Mitzvah? The whole thing
was ridiculous, and if Gerry would just tell him so, he would be on his way home
before his cheeks became any more red than they already were.

"Fox! This is a wonderful idea. A noble goal! Why in heaven's name would
you be embarrassed?" Gerry asked in amazement.

"Why? Gerry, I'm thirty-eight years old for God's sake!"

"Exactly!" the Rabbi retorted.

"What? I'm sorry, I don't underst__."

"It is for God's sake, Fox. I think it's wonderful you've decided to study
for your Bar Mitzvah. You know, Fox, there are many, many adults who study
for their Bar or Bat Mitzvah, because, for what ever reason, they did not
study as a child.

"In fact," Gerry continued, "I have three women in an Adult Hebrew class
this year alone. All of them are studying for their Bat Mitzvah."

"Yeah, women__," he mumbled.

"What, Fox? You think adult classes are for only women? Men can't lose
their way too?" he asked somberly.

"No, it's just that I'm a guy; I'm supposed__." Mulder stopped short and
drew in a breath of the sudden flash of memory.

"___ It's never too late to start, Fox. We can start anytime you'd like.
How's your Hebrew?"

"Hebrew? I don't read Hebrew. I mean, I used to, when I was a kid, but I
don't remember any of it," Mulder replied somewhat dazed by the suddenness
of Gerry's planning.


Mulder remembered back to the NYC investigation of the Golem. He recalled
picking up the sepher yetzirah and wincing as the NYC Rabbi tried to explain
the words on the page. He couldn't read any of it. He felt so guilty in
having to admit he couldn't read the ancient language.

The strange thing about it was, at one time, he could. He had been actually
quite adept at reading Hebrew. He remembered he'd tackled it as if it were
some kind of secret code, and when he'd taken that tact, it had seemed fun
to him. It was a puzzle he had needed to solve, and solve it he did. He had
felt so confident when the Rabbi gave him his Haftorah to study in Trope

"No, not since I'd dropped out of Trope class," he murmured in memory.

"Trope? Fox, you were taking a Bar Mitzvah class?. So, nu, what
happened?" he asked curiously.

Mulder closed his eyes. The question was innocent enough, but it certainly
didn't take the sting away from the hurt and pain he felt in recalling the
answer. "I'd begun the class in September of '73. My sister was taken that
November. I stopped going to class after that. I stopped going to Temple

"I'm sorry for that, Fox. You could have used the faith and support of the

"Yeah, well, it wasn't exactly my choice, Rabbi."

"No, I guess not. But Fox, if you were in a Trope Class, that must mean you
knew how to read Hebrew, no?"

"I did, back then, but I can't now. I mean, I was actually pretty good at
it, since I've got a pretty good memory and was able to picture the symbols in
my head. It wasn't hard for me to decode it at all.

"But ever since Sam was taken __." Mulder 's voice drifted off a bit before
he continued. "Well, let's just say, my memory has always been a little hazy
about experiences which happened around the time of Sam's abduction."

"Well, then, I guess we'll need to start from the beginning, though I
suspect once you begin, your ability to read will come back to you," Gerry
concluded. "When do you want to begin?"

"I, I don't know."

"Well, it's only ten after seven. How about we begin right now?" the rabbi

"Now? You mean right now?" Mulder asked anxiously. This was something
he'd decided a while ago he really wanted, but he wasn't sure if the journey he'd
need to get there was going to be worth it.

"How about we make it a mini lesson tonight. Fifteen minutes, that's all
we'll do tonight. Just to get your feet wet, so to speak?" the rabbi

"Fifteen minutes__? I do have to go home soon, Rabbi__. Fifteen minutes?"

"Yes, fifteen minutes. Sit. Come sit," he directed and then instructed,
"No, Fox, come sit here, by me. It'll be easier to see the text."

As Fox moved over and sat directly next to Gerry, the rabbi opened a drawer
and pulled out some sheets of paper with writing on it.

"Okay, let's see if any of this comes back to you, okay?" he asked.

Mulder sat stiffly while Gerry laid the sheet of paper before him. It had
several Hebrew letters on it, but Mulder didn't have a clue as to what they

In fact, the more he tried to remember what the symbols meant, the more
frustrated and upset he became. Only minutes passed, and he found himself

"God, Gerry, I'm sorry. I can't do this. I don't know why, but I can't!"
he cried out in between gasps for air.

"Fox, it's all right. Shh, it's all right. Sit down. Come. Sit."

Mulder looked back at the rabbi and felt the redness creeping up from his
neck to his cheeks. He was mortified with embarrassment. Mulder had no idea as
to why he'd reacted the way he did, but suffice it to say, he felt completely

He looked at Rabbi Gerry with a sense of helplessness. This was yet another
missing puzzle piece in his life he couldn't replace easily. Mulder
finally sat down again, leaned over, and placed his head in his hands. Gerry
quietly waited for his pupil to calm down and regain a sense of control.

Mulder finally broke the silence and whispered, "I thought I wanted this."

"And now you don't?" asked Gerry.

"No, I mean, yes__. Shit, I don't know what the hell I mean," replied a
very flustered Mulder. "Oh, God, Gerry. Excuse me. I didn't mean__."

"It's okay, Fox. These walls have heard a few choice words come from my
mouth too," he comforted. "Now, what do we do to help you?"

"I don't know."

"Fox, have you spoken to Dana about this?"

"NO!" Mulder cried out more loudly than he'd intended. "Rabbi, I'm sorry.
I didn't mean to yell, it's just that I hadn't told Dane about my plans
regarding this, in case __, well, just in case __."

"__In case it didn't work out," Gerry concluded for his distressed student.
"So, now you have your out. You don't have to go through with it, which is
probably just as well, since you were obviously not ready to make a
commitment to learning Torah anyway," he baited.

Which Mulder of course took, hook, line, and sinker.

"Rabbi, how could you say that? I didn't have to come here, you know. I
chose to come here. I've been thinking about this ever since Adam was born.
Do you really think I'd make a decision like this lightly? I really, really
want to do this."

"Exactly my point. Now, what do we do to help you overcome this mental
block so you can be a Bar Mitzvah?" Gerry asked rather smugly.

"Why do I have a feeling I was just set up?" Mulder asked a bit sheepishly.

"Because you were?" Mulder nodded in acknowledgment and Gerry then asked,
"Fox, if you don't want to speak with Dana about this yet, will you speak
with Dr. Woods?"

Karen Woods has been Mulder's private therapist for about the last three
years or so. Initially, he'd been attending sessions with her on an almost daily
basis. She'd helped him overcome some emotional hurdles which had
threatened to permanently debilitate him when his young son had gone missing a couple
of years back. Eventually, the sessions were reduced to weekly, then monthly,
and now, they were pretty much on an as needed basis.

Mulder had learned how to deal with many of the emotional traumas of his
childhood, and was well on his way to becoming a whole man. Only now, there
was yet another obstacle in his path, and he didn't understand exactly what
it was.

"I guess I should call her. Damn, I haven't had to meet with her since last
Passover. Look, I've got to get going. Dane's gonna have my head if I
don't get home and give her a break from Adam and his flu bug. Thanks, Rabbi.
Look, I'm sorry I wasted your time."

"Fox Mulder, you did not waste my time!" he admonished. "You will make the
phone call, yes?"

"I will call Karen Woods," he said, but when he saw Gerry's eyebrow pop up,
Mulder chuckled and reiterated, "Yes, I promise! I'll call Dr. Woods."

The two men shook hands and Mulder walked out of the office. Gerry sat in
wonderment over what demons lived in Fox Mulder's mind that could prevent
Mulder from taking a step which had, and obviously still has, special
meaning to him. The rabbi sat and shook his head in frustration and dismay. He
hoped the younger man would make the call, as he'd promised.

He prayed that he would.


Mulder walked through the door only a few minutes after eight and called out
to his family. "Anybody home?"

"SHHH!" Dana cried out in a stage whisper. "I think he's finally down for
the count, and I don't need you waking him up."

"Sorry. I was hoping to see him."

"Oh, don't worry, you'll have all day with him tomorrow. Remember?" she

"Yeah, I remember," he grinned as he pulled his beautiful wife and partner
to him. "I'm sorry you got stuck with infirmary duty all day and night.
Anything I can do for you now to make it up to you?"

"Did you eat?" When he shook his head, she pulled him to the small kitchen
and led him to the counter. "Sit. I kept some food warming for you. You
can eat while you tell me what you were researching."

He swallowed hard. He really hadn't planned on telling Dana about his plans
for a Bar Mitzvah just yet. He wasn't sure why he was uncomfortable telling
her. Perhaps it was because of his own discomfort. He recalled the Rabbi's
words; he had his out. Perhaps he did want to have an escape valve, and if
he told Scully it would really be a way of making a firm commitment to the

Was he ready to commit to it?

He wanted to. Rationally he knew he wanted to.

Emotionally, he had no idea if he was ready to.

Just as she laid the plate of spaghetti and meatballs on the table, they
both heard a loud cry of distress coming from Adam's room. Mulder jumped up and
held up his hand toward Scully. "Go relax. My turn. I'll warm it up in
the microwave later."

He leaned over and kissed his wife on the forehead, and then walked towards
his son's room. As he entered his room, he said a silent prayer of thanks
for the reprieve.


By the time Mulder left Adam, having read to him three Dr. Seuss books as
well as Good Night, Moon, three times, Scully had washed up and collapsed into
bed. She was lightly snoring when Mulder finally joined her. He smiled at the
notion of his Scully snoring. If he ever told her she snored, he could just
hear her accusing him of telling bold-faced lies.

So, like the good (and smart) husband he was, he never told her. Besides,
if he did, she might do something about it, and he really didn't want her to
stop. He found it very comforting to have an auditory reminder of her
presence in his life. In his bed. By his side.


Adam woke Mulder up twice in the middle of the night. The first time was
around two o'clock. Adam tried to connive another Dr. Seuss reading, which
did not end in success. The second time occurred around four o'clock and
was due to a spiking fever. Scully had been all ready to jump into Mommy-Doctor
mode, but Mulder gently pushed her back down. He was taking over night duty
since she was the one going into the office later that day.

In order to reduce the fever, Mulder sponged his young son down with a
lukewarm washcloth. He also administered some children's Motrin, which was
what the pediatrician had recommended when Adam's fever spiked above 102.
He'd been able to get it down to 103 from the 104 it was when he'd first
heard his son's cries of distress.

The first time Adam had spiked a fever, Mulder had gone into a complete
state of panic. He feared the child would have to be taken to the hospital, and
as he held too many horrendous memories of being in a hospital himself, he
didn't want to subject his baby to one. Scully managed to remain the same, level
headed person she always was, and called the pediatrician.

She'd recommended the procedure he'd gone through earlier that morning.
He'd become quite a pro at managing Adam's spiking fevers. He even managed to
get through the occasional febrile seizure Adam had without having a seizure

So when the alarm clock rang, Mulder was very grateful it was for Scully and
not him. He didn't think he could handle the office after having only gone
to sleep a couple of hours before. Mulder hit the snooze alarm for his wife,
and sank back into a deep sleep.


He felt a gentle kiss on his lips and smiled. He opened his eyes slowly and
saw Scully standing before him, fully dressed, and ready to go.

"How is he?" Mulder asked, knowing full well Scully wouldn't go anywhere
without first checking on their son.

"His head is as cool as a cucumber," she replied lightly. "How long were
you up with him?"

"A bit," he replied cryptically.

"That long," she acknowledged.

"Yeah. Should I call the doctor again if he's still running a fever?" he

"Maybe. Let's see how he does today. I'll call you later this morning,

"Mmm-hmmm. C'mere," he said, as he pulled her onto him for a long,
delicious kiss.

However, just as he was about to deepen the kiss, she cried out, "No!" and
scrambled off the bed quickly. Scully then ran into the bathroom, dry
heaving all the way.

"Dane?!" Mulder called out in alarm. "Dane, you okay?"

A few moments passed before Scully could catch her breath. "Yeah, Mulder.
I'm fine."

"Maybe you should stay home too, Dane."

"No, I'm all right now. I'm sorry, Mulder. I don't know what came over me.
My stomach felt like it was ready to do the cha cha.."

"Dane, maybe you've caught Adam's flu? Doncha think__," he began.

"__No way, G-Man. I am going to escape being a wet nurse for a few hours if
it kills me!" she said with a wry smile.

"That's what I'm afraid of, Scully," Mulder cautioned.

Scully smiled at his use of her maiden name. When ever Mulder was worried
about her, he always reverted back to calling her Scully. It was one of
Mulder's transparencies which endeared him to her heart.

"I'm fine," she said, "really. And I am going to work. Have fun with Adam!"
And Scully practically ran out of the house at just about the same time
Mulder heard the call of the wild, otherwise known as their son.


Scully searched the office high and low. She looked for any kind of a file
that would require extra research, and she was damned if she knew what it
could have been. She sat down at his computer next and brought up his
calendar to see if there was any hints of where he might have gone the
previous evening.

On the calendar, Mulder had made a notation; 'just do it.' Either her
husband had watched one too many Nike commercials, or he had something to hide.
"Research my ass," she muttered aloud. "Where the hell were you, Mulder?"

It was at that moment the wave of nausea swept over her again, and Scully
ran as quickly as she could to the restroom.


Meanwhile, all morning long, Mulder attempted to entertain his cranky, ill
child. He read stories, brought him juice, and fed him applesauce to ease
the medication down more easily. By ten thirty, he was already exhausted. He
wondered how Scully managed the whole day and evening, yesterday. It made
him feel all the more guilty for ditching Scully last night.

At the same time, he held a continuous debate in his head over what he
should do with regards to his desire to have a Bar Mitzvah. He knew there was an
emptiness he wanted to fill from his own childhood in anticipation of his
own child's religious education. Adam was going to soon begin the monthly,
Sunday morning preschool program at the temple, and Mulder wanted to make sure his
own religious education was more complete.

He knew he had to call Karen Woods if he wanted to go through with his plans
for the Bar Mitzvah. He knew that without her help, he would never be able
to reconcile those memories he made himself forget.

He wondered if it was worth the pain he was sure remembering the past would
cause him. He looked at his son.

He picked up the phone and dialed number six on the speed dial. Mulder
smiled to himself as he listened to the ringing on the other end. The fact that
the doctor's phone number was lowered from number two to number six was a
testament to just how much he'd improved.

It scared him to think things might change.

It scared him to think things might not.

"Hello, Karen? It's Fox Mulder. I think I need to talk."

End of Part 1/6

Life Cycles XIV: Coming of Age
by Susan Proto (

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 2/6

Scully returned home from the bureau later than she'd anticipated and found
Adam had already been fed. She walked over to him and planted a nice mushy
kiss on his forehead as he laid in Mommy and Daddy's Big Bed and watched
the latest Lion King video.

She then walked into the dining room to discover her husband had lovingly
prepared a full course meal of half a grapefruit, spinach and mushroom
salad, (which of course showed how much Mulder _really_ loved Scully, since he
didn't even like to touch the fungi, much less eat them,) London Broil, baked
potato, and broccoli.

To which Scully smiled in appreciation, said, "Thanks, but___," and then
promptly ran into the bathroom to puke her guts up.

Mulder followed her into the bathroom and called out to her in a worried
voice, "Dane? You okay?"

"Yeah, Mulder," she called back out, in between retching and gasping, "I'm

When he asked if there was anything he could do for her, Scully told Mulder
to just give her a few minutes. He shook his head in slight frustration and
returned to the kitchen. He began wrapping up the food to put it in the
fridge for safe keeping. He hoped Dana would feel better by tomorrow.

"Hey, whatcha doin' G-Man?" asked a slightly disheveled looking Scully.

Mulder looked up slightly startled and explained what he thought was rather
obvious, "I'm putting the food back in the fridge."


"Why?" he asked incredulously. "Dane, you walked into the house and
promptly began upchucking your guts not fifteen minutes ago, that's why.

"Well, that was then, and now is now, and now, I'm hungry! Hey, Mulder, I'm
working on an empty stomach here, ya know?" she grinned. "Okay, now, how's
Adam? I assume his fever didn't spike this afternoon 'cause I didn't hear
from you."

"No, it didn't spike as high as last night, but it did get up to 102.5.
Poor kid is really whipped from this," Mulder said as he unwrapped the food. He
then looked directly at Scully and asked, "And what about you? Dane, you
threw up twice today, that I know of."

Scully blushed slightly at Mulder's last remark as she remembered her first
and second visit to the restroom at the bureau this morning. "Oh Mulder, I
probably caught a little bit of Adam's bug, but I'll be fine. I had my flu
shot this year, so if I do have it, I'm sure it'll be a very mild case.

"Now listen here, G-Man. Bring on that food or you're going to see just
what kind of a shot I really am!" she teased.

"Yes Ma'am!" he replied in kind, "just don't shoot!"


Scully got to read the three different Dr. Seuss books tonight as well as
the repeat renditions of Goodnight, Moon. By the time she'd finally settled
Adam into his own bed, Mulder had hunkered down in the "Big Bed" and was snoring

Scully giggled as she walked over to give her husband a light kiss on his
open mouth. "You're gonna catch flies, Fox Mulder!" She gently pushed up
Mulder's chin in an attempt to close his mouth a little, and it had the desired

At least temporarily. Scully, however, would not change a thing. She knew
if she'd ever mention to Mulder he "sawed wood" with the best of them, he'd be
terribly insulted and, to the best of his ability, "deny everything." So,
rather than risk any hurt or embarrassed feelings, Scully kept Mulder's
nasal symphony her own little secret.

Besides, if she mentioned it, there was the possibility he might actually do
something about it, and the last thing Scully wanted to do was quell a


The following day, Mulder asked Scully to do a split shift with him in the
baby sitting department. He'd made an appointment with Karen Woods for that
afternoon and hadn't wanted to cancel it. He knew he had to find a way to
work out his latest, for lack of a better term, 'phobia' if he was to go
through with his plans for the Bar Mitzvah.

When Scully asked him why, he decided not to lie and admitted he'd made an
appointment with Dr. Woods.

"Karen Woods?" she echoed.

"Yeah, Dane."

Scully desperately wanted to know what it was that precipitated his decision
to see the therapist, but she also knew she would not ask. They'd made a
pact long ago, when Mulder first agreed to go through with the therapy sessions,
that what ever he wanted, or more importantly, needed, to discuss with Dr.
Woods would remain private until Mulder felt comfortable enough to share it
with her.

Not that she wasn't proud of Mulder for seeking help when he felt he needed
it; it had taken quite a lot for Mulder to learn for himself that admitting
he needed help was half the battle. Once he'd realized Karen Woods presented
an opportunity to help him heal himself, he was no longer as embarrassed or
self-conscious about keeping his appointments.

Scully saw he was not going to open up any further about the appointment, so
she merely nodded her head, and the subject was dropped. Scully left early
that morning in order to get the paper work she'd started yesterday, but
hadn't quite finished due to her unexpected bouts of nausea.

Upon her arrival at the bureau, she did a quick scan around their office.
Scully wanted to see if there were any files or memos that would have caused
Mulder to become unduly stressed. He'd been late coming home the other
night, and now he had an appointment with Karen Woods.

This was a good thing. And, in her heart of hearts, Scully knew this.

So why did she feel so worried about this particular appointment?

Mulder knew Scully was concerned. When she'd arrived home a little after
one o'clock to take over the afternoon shift for baby sitting, her face showed
little expression. Mulder knew that was Scully's way of holding her
feelings together.

He knew he could have easily allayed her uneasiness by simply telling her
why he needed to see Karen, but he wasn't ready. He wasn't sure he could handle
going through with the whole Bar Mitzvah ritual.

No. He realized he was lying to himself.

He wanted to go through the Bar Mitzvah ritual. What he wasn't so sure about
was dredging up the memories which apparently were hindering his plans.
Mulder remembered there was a time he could read Hebrew fluently.

Yes. Fluently.

And now he couldn't. And he wasn't sure why. And he didn't know if he was
up to finding out. The only thing he knew was he felt a fear he hadn't felt
since last Passover.


"Hey, Mulder, long time no see," greeted Dr. Karen Woods lightly.

"Hi, Karen," returned Mulder. "Yeah, it's been, what? Six months or so?"

"Appears to be. Okay, so what do I owe the honor of your company today?"
she asked casually.

"Oh, umm, just checking in, that's all."

"Right, and Hillary Clinton is going to nominate Bill for husband of the
year," she retorted. "Cut the bullshit, Mulder. What's up?"

"I__, I wanna know why I can't read Hebrew anymore," he answered

"Of course you do," Karen said dryly. ''Mulder, would you tell me what the
hell this one's all about? Please."

"I'm sorry, Karen. I not only expect you to cure me of my mind's ills, I
guess I expect you to read it as well."

Karen chuckled at the comment and remarked, "Mulder, the day I'm able to
read that mind of yours, I'll probably be ready for a custom made straight jacket
of my own. Okay, enough procrastinating, Fox Mulder, and spill it. What
brings you here?"

He sighed, opened his mouth, and then sighed deeply again.

"Mulder,'' Dr. Woods said in a warning tone.

"Okay, okay. I went to see Gerry Ginsburg about the possibility of getting
Bar Mitzvah'd. Only I can't read the Hebrew, and I need to find out why I
can't so I can decide if I want to really go through with it."

"Mulder, I need a few holes filled in here. First, you were never a Bar

"No. I stopped going to class right after Sam's abduction," he explained.

"Okay, so might that explain why you can't read Hebrew? I mean, you didn't
go to school, right?" Dr. Woods asked in a bit of confusion.

"No, it doesn't. I was twelve when Sam was taken., so I'd attended Hebrew
School for about six years prior that. Karen, I was able to read Hebrew
fluently before I stopped going to class. And even if I'd forgotten every
last bit because of my lack of schooling, I don't think my lack of education
would be the reason behind the full blown anxiety attack I had when I'd
attempted to read a few letters."

"Describe what happened," she prodded.

"I looked at this little worksheet Gerry had pulled out, and I thought my
heart was going to explode in my chest. I don't know why. I realize
there's a reason for my reaction, but I don't know what it is, and I ___." It was
at this point Mulder paused.

"What, Mulder?" Karen asked gently. "What do you want to accomplish with
this session?"

"I want to know what happened; what _he_ did to make me afraid to look at a
language which represents a part of who I am," he responded softly.

"'He' meaning your father?" Mulder nodded in response. "Well, we could try
the regression therapy," Dr. Woods suggested.

"I don't think so," he began.

"But you've been a good candidate for this type of therapy in the past,
Mulder, and it would be the most efficient method of finding the cause for
your anxiety," Karen interjected.

"I know, but I need Scully to be here when I do that, and I'm not quite
ready for her to know about this yet," he explained.

"Dana is unaware of this latest crisis?"

"It's not a crisis. I mean it's not a life or death situation, it's just
something that's getting in the way of something I've been thinking about
for a long time."

"How long, Mulder? How long have you been thinking about being Bar

"Ever since Adam was born, I guess. I knew I wanted him to have a better
understanding of the part of him that is Jewish. I don't even know for
sure he'll be allowed to become a Bar Mitzvah, since technically he's not Jewish.
But me__, I mean, I _am_ Jewish, and I never got the chance ___. I guess
you could say I've thinking seriously about it for the last four years or so."

"That's a long time to be mulling over something," Karen responded

"I tend to hang onto things for quite a while, Karen."

"I've noticed," she chuckled. "I've noticed. Okay, so let's get down to
work. Tell me what you remember of your last time in class."

Mulder took a deep breath and tried to recall the past. His brow furrowed
as he licked his lower lip in a concentrated effort to recollect memories that
had stayed hidden for a very long time.

"I remember getting ready to go to class and then running to the car."


"Yeah," he confirmed in a somewhat surprised tone. "I was running."

"Were you late for class?" asked the doctor.

"Maybe__. I guess__. I don't know."

"Who was taking you to school?" she asked, purposely going down a different


"You had no problem remembering that."

"No question about it, since Mom always drove me to Hebrew School. Dad
didn't play a part in that aspect of my education," Mulder explained in a cool

"Okay, so you remember running to the car. Where was your Mom?" Karen

"My mom? She __, she was running too."

"What was she saying, Fox?" Karen asked, purposely using his given name.
Karen Woods had discovered there were times when her purposeful use of Fox's
first name actually acted as a catalyst in retrieving his memories.

"She was saying, 'Get in the car. Hurry, Fox. Get into the car.'"

"Was she worried about you being late for class?"

"I don't think so. I don't know. Damn it, Karen, I don't remember!" he
said, more agitated than when he'd begun.

"Okay, Mulder, let's take a break." Karen Woods knew it wasn't that Fox
Mulder didn't remember; the problem was he didn't want to remember. She
knew it would take time to help her patient to retrieve these particular
memories. Dr. Woods could only imagine what those memories were, since anything which
had to do with his parents usually involved some incident which traumatized
the young Fox.

"Karen, can we pick this up the next time. I__, I need to think about this
some more."

"Mulder, may I make a suggestion?" Upon seeing him nod, she continued,
"Tell Dana. You know you've always had more success in dealing with these things
when Dana was aware of the situation."

"Yeah, well I'll take that under advisement, okay? I gotta get going.
Adam's been down for the count with the flu, and I think Dane has it too. She's
been throwing her guts up morning and night, and I don't want to leave either one
of them for too long."

"Okay, but I expect to see you by next week, same time. Get it?"
she questioned.

"Yeah. I'll call you."

"Mulder," she cautioned, "don't let this fester inside of you. You know
it's something from your past that's going to bug the shit out of you, so you
might as well deal with it and move on. Please. Promise me you won't let this
eat away at you."

''I'll call you for confirmation soon, Karen."

"If you don't call me, I will call you," she said as he began to roll his
eyes in disbelief, "and you know damn well I'll follow up on this and call you;
at work, at home, on your cell phone, in the john__."

"Okay, okay. I promise. I will follow up like a big boy. Happy?" he asked

"Oh joy. Can you see how happy I am?" she replied in kind. As she stood to
walk him out, Dr. Woods softened her tone and said kindly, "Mulder, you know
how this works with you sometimes. You open a window onto these memories of
yours, and the whole damned roof caves in on you. If you start having
nightmares or more anxiety attacks, you call me.

"Anytime, Mulder. Morning, noon, or night. Got that?" she asked.

"Got it. And Karen?" She looked at him with eyes that already anticipated
what his next words were going to be. "Thanks.''

"Anytime, Mulder," she said as she squeezed his hand. Then, to add just the
right note of levity to the moment, she added, "And my bill will be in the
mail in about thirty-two seconds, okay?"


Mulder walked into the townhouse and noticed how quiet it was. He called
out softly, on the off chance Adam was sleeping. "Dane? Dane, you here?"

"Shhhh, Daddy. Mommy's sleeping," called out a small voice.

"Adam? Where's Mommy?" Mulder asked, trying to keep the anxiety out of his
voice. He knew Scully would never purposely fall asleep if she knew Adam
was sick.

"In the big bed."

Mulder quickly went into the master bedroom and saw Scully curled up on
their "big bed." He walked quietly up to her and gently put his hand to her
forehead to check for a fever. She, to his relief, felt cool to the touch,
but it still didn't explain the unscheduled nap.


Scully felt the gentle hand on her forehead and began to stir in her sleep.
She hadn't intended on falling asleep, but her body simply refused to stay
awake for a moment longer. She told Adam she was going to shut her eyes for
a few minutes and directed him to play quietly on the floor by her bed.

She opened her eyes, smiled at Mulder, and then looked at the clock on the
night table. "Ohmigod!" she gasped in horror when she noted that rather than
a few minutes, almost two hours had passed.

"Adam?!" she cried out anxiously.

"Adam's fine, Dane, but I'm worried as hell about you. I've never known you
to fall asleep in the middle of the day."

"I just felt a little sleepy, Mulder. I'm fine. Really," she replied in a
slightly irritated tone. She rose from the bed, unfortunately, a bit too
quickly. "Oh God!" she cried out as she brought her hand to her mouth.


Scully jumped out of the bed as quickly as she dared and ran into the
bathroom. Adam watched his mother as she retched, and he became frightened.

"Mommy?" he called out in alarm, "Mommy?!" Adam began to cry when Scully
could do nothing more than run by him in order to get to the bathroom in

Mulder bent down to pick up his son. "It's okay, Adam. Mommy's fine." He
repeated the words over and over, like a mantra, in a small attempt to
convince not only his small son of their veracity, but himself as well.
End of Part 2/6

Life Cycles XIV: Coming of Age
by Susan Proto (

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 3/6

She felt horrible. Scully figured she'd caught the worst case of flu in the
history of the modern era. But when Mulder insisted she go to the doctor's
office for a checkup, she argued it was a ridiculous idea. There was
absolutely nothing that could be medically done for the flu other than to
do one's best to relieve the symptoms. There were no antibiotics or magic
pills that would make it go away.

Now, if only it were possible to make Mulder go away. He was doing his
petulant act, and it was getting on Scully's nerves. She felt like hell,
and the last thing she wanted was his hovering.

"Mulder, please. Let me just go back to sleep. You watch over Adam, okay?
I'm sure I'll feel a hundred per cent better after I've napped," she insisted.

"But Scully," he protested.

"Oh for crying out loud, Mulder, enough already!" she demanded. "I'm going
back to sleep."

Mulder left the room and shut the door behind him. He sighed deeply, then
went to check up on their son.


Adam was obviously beginning to feel more like himself. He was playing
quietly with his small toy action figures. The newest incarnation of Mutant
Ninja Turtles graced their carpet, and Adam had them practice every karate
kick and chop his four and a half year old mind could come up with.

Mulder smiled as he stealthily watched Adam play. Mulder remembered back to
his own days of playing with GI Joe (and not the six inch version, either.
He had the sixteen inch 'real' GI Joe. Mulder mused over what became of his
childhood toys.

He wondered if his mother had packed them away for safe keeping, or if she'd
given them away to the Salvation Army. He suspected once Sam had been
taken, everything which reminded his parents of the times they had with his sister
was packed up and taken away.

The thought that his childhood was so easily packed up and shipped away made
Mulder a little sad.

As he watched Adam play, Mulder remembered how he, himself, played quietly
on his own while his mother watched. His father rarely watched him, as he was
frequently away on business trips. However, Mulder remembered his mother
keeping an eye on him as he played.

Then his mother gave birth to Samantha, and soon the play included his baby
sister. Mulder considered the thought of Adam playing big brother to a
younger sibling, and then quickly erased the thought. As much as Mulder
wanted to have another child, he knew Scully felt her work at the bureau was
also important.

He knew Scully loved Adam with all of her heart, but he also realized she
loved her work. It wasn't fair to expect her to take another maternity
leave of absence from her job. He didn't have the right to expect her to want
another child.

A brother.

A sister.

As much as he wanted it for Adam.

And for himself too.


Scully woke up and realized her throat was thoroughly parched. She looked
at the clock and noted she'd been asleep for about an hour and a half. She
climbed out of bed and walked out of the bedroom.

As she entered the living room, Scully heard the tail end of a telephone
conversation. She wasn't sure with whom Mulder was talking, and she
concentrated more in an innocent attempt to find out.

Well, perhaps not so innocent. Scully was still a little upset over the
fact Mulder was seeing Karen Woods again and had chosen not to discuss the reason
why with her. Plus, there was the mysterious appointment from the other

Scully began to berate herself, because she was well aware of the foolish
thoughts which crept into her brain. There was no way. It was absolutely
absurd. Scully knew Mulder loved her and Adam more than anything in the

So what would make Scully even consider the notion her husband was having an

He'd ditched her in the past. Why did she feel so suspicious of his
propensity to ditch her now?


"Okay. Listen, I don't know if I can make it tomorrow night. It depends
how Dana is feeling.

"Yeah, she seems to have caught a touch of Adam's flu.

"No, I just want to make sure she'll be well enough to care for herself and
Adam, that's all.

"No, I do want to see you. I do. I just don't know if__."

"__MMMM-mmm," Scully cleared her throat, and Mulder quickly looked up at
her. All Scully could think of as she observed her husband was he had the wild
eyed look of a deer caught in headlights.

"Oh, you're up," was all he could manage.

"Yes." Scully then looked at Adam, and asked him if he'd like to watch a
video in the 'Big Bed.' He asked if he could watch "The Lion King II" yet
again, and Scully nodded her head in the affirmative. "Go on," she
directed. "You know how to put the tape in."

She watched her son scamper off happily to watch his tape, and then looked
over at her husband who still held the phone to his ear. Mulder opened his
mouth to say something, but then closed it again. He turned his body
slightly, as if seeking some bit of privacy, and said in a lowered voice,
"I'll call you back another time. Thanks." He replaced the phone on its
cradle while he avoided looking at his wife.

Scully felt her heart in her throat. She wondered who the hell that was,
and why was Mulder being so damned secretive about it?


"How are you feeling?" he asked in an attempt to avoid the subject of the
phone call.

"Who were you talking to?" she asked, not buying the deflection for a

"Just someone who might have some information; someone who might bring me
closer to the truth, that's all."

*Me. Not _us_, but _me_. What the hell happened to _us_?* she wondered
anxiously to herself. She looked at her husband and then tried to speak in
a calm voice, but instead, it came out derisive.

"Mulder, why are you being so damned secretive lately?"

''Secretive? I'm not being secretive," he replied defensively.

"You are. You didn't tell me where you were going the other night, you're
not telling me who you were on the phone with just now, and you've chosen to
withhold the reason you're seeing Dr. Woods again," she complained.

"What? First of all, I told you about the original appointment regarding
some research. This phone call had to do with that research. And my reasons for
seeing Dr. Woods are my own. When I'm ready to share them with you, I
will," he said angrily.

He paused for a moment or two to catch his breath, and then added in a
softer, hurt tone, "God, Dane, I'm just not ready to confide in you on this one yet.
I don't know enough about it to understand it myself."

He looked back at her with wounded eyes. She'd never questioned his
judgment in seeking Dr. Woods' counsel, and it hurt him to think she was questioning
it now.

"Mulder, I need to know where you were the other night. And who was just on
the phone with you? I don't understand what's going on all of sudden, and I
have to know," Scully explained in an equally distressed tone.

Mulder looked at his wife with an incredulous expression. It slowly dawned
on him she was telling him she didn't trust him. He didn't know whether he
felt more angry or more hurt.

He decided it didn't really matter which. All he knew was he had the
potential to say something he would definitely regret later. Mulder did not
want to lash out in anger and say something that could upset her like she'd
just done to him. So, he mutely stalked over and opened the front door,
walked through it, and closed it firmly behind him.

"Mom? Mom, are you home?" she cried into the phone as she prayed the
answering machine was nothing more than a screening device. "Mom, if you're
home, please, pick up. Please__."

"__Dana? Sweetheart, what's wrong?" asked Maggie Skinner. "Why are you so

"Where were you?" Dana asked as in her best, turbulent, two year old, tone
of voice.

"Dana, if you must know, I was in the bathroom. Now, for crying out loud,
what is wrong?"

"What? The bathroom? You were in the bathroom? Oh God, Mom, what the hell
is wrong with me? What did I do?" Scully began to cry quietly into the phone.

"Dana, where is Adam?" asked Maggie.

"He's okay, Mom. He's watching a video in the bedroom."

"Where's Fox?"

Silence greeted Maggie's question for several moments, until Maggie repeated
it. "Dana, where is Fox?"

"I don't know," was the replied whisper. "I think I chased him away."

"Sweetheart, I don't understand."

"Neither do I," Scully replied. "I don't know what's wrong with me. I've
never not trusted him before. I may have been pissed off with him for
ditching me, but it was always because I was afraid he'd get hurt. It was
never a matter of trust."

"And you don't trust him now?" Maggie probed.

"No. Yes. Oh, God, Mom, I don't know! That's the problem. I don't know,
and I pretty much told him that, and he walked out. He was so angry. And
hurt. Oh God, I hurt him so much."

"Dana, do you want Walter and me to come over?"

She didn't hesitate for a moment.


Mulder walked. And walked. And walked. He'd almost gotten into his car,
but he realized he was too upset to focus on driving safely, so he walked. He'd
changed into casual clothes while Dana was napping, and it gnawed at him
that he'd walked out on her when he knew she wasn't feeling well. But he didn't
have a choice.

At least he didn't feel as though he'd had a choice, so when the frustration
built up too much inside of him, he took off in a sprint.

When he wore himself down for the umpteenth time, Mulder simply walked some
more. And he thought.

Mulder knew the easiest way of solving this problem was simply to tell Dana
about seeing Rabbi Ginsburg and the reason behind the visit, which in turn
necessitated his appointments for counseling with Dr. Woods. So why did
that seemingly simple solution seem so impossible to carry out?

She didn't trust him.

In the past Mulder may have given Dana countless reasons to worry about him,
fear for him, and have cause to be angry with him. But he'd never done
anything to make her doubt his love for her; his commitment to her and their

But now, for some reason, she didn't trust him. And as much as he loved
Dana, with all of his heart, he also hated her for not believing in that love.

He took off on yet another sprint.


Dana answered the door and found her mother and step father standing before
her. Her face obviously expressed the same frantic emotions she felt,
because both Walter and Maggie asked simultaniously, "Dana, what's wrong?"

As she moved aside to allow them entry, Dana said tremulously, "Well, I
think I accused my husband of having an affair. Not in those words, of course,
but I suppose that was the intent."

"Dana," asked Walter, "do you know for a fact he's having an affair?"

"No. Not at all. In fact I doubt very highly he is, but I accused him all
the same. My God, what's wrong with me?"

"All right," interjected Maggie, "let's start from the beginning. Please,
sweetheart, we need you to explain to us what's going on, so we can help you
figure out what to do next."

Dana indicated they should all sit down, and after she'd checked on Adam to
make sure he was still occupied watching videos, she sat down on and joined
them. Dana started from the beginning and explained how Adam had been sick
and she'd stayed home to nurse him back to health. She expressed her concern
when Mulder had called with some lame excuse about having an appointment
regarding some research.

She continued sharing her worries and doubts about the entire situation,
including the fact she, herself, felt lousy physically having probably caught
Adam's flu bug.

Dana brought her mother and step father up to date on the events which
occurred earlier in the evening which led Mulder to leave in anger. "I don't
know what possessed me to speak to him like that. He's never, ever given me
any reason to believe he could__ that he would ___." Dana stopped short. The
whole idea of Mulder cheating on her was so aberrant to his nature, she
couldn't voice it again.

"Dana, I don't believe it's in Fox's nature to ever cheat on you," confirmed
Maggie as she voiced Dana's thoughts.

"No, I don't think it is either, Mom. It's just that he's been so secretive
and I've felt so lousy __. I don't know, maybe the combination of the two
drove me to conclusions I would never in a million years have considered

"But right now," Dana continued in a worried tone, "I wish I knew where he
was. He left over an hour and a half ago. He was so upset. I hope he hasn't
gotten into an accident."

"We saw both of your cars parked in their spaces. Wherever he is, he's on
foot," remarked Walter.

"I don't know if that's good or bad," Dana replied. "Trouble has a way of
finding my husband no matter what mode of transportation he takes. Walking
included," she sighed.

"How about I go out for a stroll and see if I can catch up with him?" Walter

"That's a fine idea," agreed Maggie.

"I don't know if he'd appreciate that," she began.

"Dana, it doesn't matter if he's angry that we're checking up on him. The
important thing is to make sure he's okay. We'll deal with the anger
afterwards,'' said Walter.

When he saw Dana's eyes, wet with unshed tears, recognize the truth in his
words, Walter leaned over to kiss his step daughter on the forehead. "I'll
find him, Dana. Everything will be fine."

He then kissed his wife on the cheek and left to search for his seemingly lost


He was stooped over on the sidewalk and breathing extremely hard, when
Skinner finally found him. Walter saw the sweat practically dripping off of
Mulder's back, and since Mulder wore no overcoat, Skinner wondered if he was looking
at the next candidate for pneumonia.

Skinner cleared his throat noisily in an attempt not to startle his stepson in
law too much. Apparently Mulder was aware of his father-in-law's arrival
because, without looking up, he rasped quietly, "I'm okay."

"Fox," Walter began.

"No," he cut him off all the while attempting to take in deeper and deeper
breaths without too much success. "I said, I'm okay __," he insisted though
unconvincingly. "I'm not ready to _ , talk about _, this."

"Well, then you just listen," Skinner began with increasing concern for the
man before him. He noted the difficulty Mulder was having in catching his
breath, but continued to plead Dana's case anyway.

"Dana is worried sick about you. She knows she was wrong. She couldn't
believe the things she said to you, and she feels very guilty about it. Fox,
you can't let her go on feeling guilty for her mistake."

"I never planned-_, on making her _, feel guilty_, for a mistake _. I've
made a _, mistake too _ . Oh God __, and she's __, been so __, tired and
__, sick. I__, I should have_, told her," he admitted in between small gasps.

"Told her? What should you have told her?" Walter asked concerned.

"I_, I should have _, told her where_ ,I went _, that night _. Why I needed
_, to see Karen _. Especially _, since she's _, sick. I __, should have
__," he began to confess, when he suddenly coughed and continued to cough
until Skinner got worried. Each cough brought about an air born swirl of
foggy condensation. The temperature had dropped and Mulder was standing
outside, dripping with sweat, and coughing his ass off.

"Don't worry about Dana; she's fine, but are you okay?" He began trying to
strike the younger man on the back in attempt to help him, but it wasn't
helping. If anything it was only exasperating the problem.

"I_, can't _, catch _, my _, breath _," Mulder gasped between coughs.

Skinner didn't hesitate. He pulled out his cell phone and immediately
dialed 911. He helped Mulder sit down on the street curb before he lost
consciousness and fell down.

"An ambulance is on its way, Fox. Hang in there," Skinner consoled. He
noted Mulder was no longer coughing as much, but his ability to breathe was
definitely impaired.

"I _, don't _, know _, why _," he gasped in soft, breathy tones.

"Fox, don't talk. Save your breath."

"So _, long _, since _," Mulder wheezed. "Little _, boy __."

Skinner sat next to Mulder and wrapped his arm around his son in law's
shoulder in a small attempt to offer reassurance. "Hang in there, Fox.
You're going to be fine."

"Oh _, God _. Please _, I_, can't _, breathe __." He looked up at his
father in law with a feeling of helplessness he hadn't felt since he was a
child. "Help __, me __, Dad __."

"The ambulance is coming. Listen, I can hear the sirens," Skinner replied
hopefully. Moments later, the sirens were evident to both men, and Skinner
felt himself relax a bit, while Mulder's body continued to spasm in agonizing
gasps and wheezes.

As soon as the paramedics hooked their radio up to base, they were able to
relay the symptoms and history to the doctor on call at the hospital. The
doctors directed them to administer the necessary dosage of the
bronchodilator and transport a/s/a/p .

Skinner called Dana's house from his cell phone to let her know to meet them
at Georgetown University Medical Center. Dana didn't even ask what was
wrong; she simply said, "We're on our way," and hung up.


"Where is he?" Scully asked as she rushed into the emergency room holding
Adam in her arms. Maggie Skinner followed quickly by her side.

"He's still in the examining room. He'd settled down in the ambulance after
the paramedic administered the medication, and seemed to be more comfortable
by the time we arrived here," Skinner informed.

"Walter," Maggie interjected, "what happened?"

"I found him bent over trying to catch his breath. He'd obviously been
running, since he'd worked up a helluva sweat. We were talking a bit, but
I'd noticed he was having some trouble breathing, and then he started coughing
and that was it. He began wheezing something awful, and he started to panic.

"Actually, I think if the ambulance had taken any longer to arrive, I'd have
gone into a full blown panic attack myself," Skinner admitted.

"Gam-Pa?" Though Adam had actually overcome his difficulties in pronouncing
the wretched /r/ sound, he stuck to the affectionate nicknames of 'Gam-pa'
and 'Gam-ma' for Walter and Maggie. He asked in his sweet, a small voice.
"Is my Daddy very sick again?"

"No, Adam. Daddy's going to be fine. We'll see him as soon as the doctors
finish examining him, okay?" Walter consoled.

Adam nodded thoughtfully and clung more to his mother. He'd heard those
words before when it came to his father. Even at the tender age of four and a
half, Adam knew his father visited the hospital more than most daddies.

Scully finally had to put the child down and instructed him to chose a toy
from their emergency bag and play quietly. Suddenly, Scully started
laughing unexpectedly.

"Dana? Sweetheart, what's so funny?" asked Maggie. When Dana continued to
laugh to the point where she was obviously losing control of herself, Maggie
asked anxiously, "Dana, what's wrong?"

"I actually have an 'emergency' toy bag ready at all times. Isn't that the
sickest thing you've ever heard of?" she asked as the laughter turned to

"Oh, Dana," Maggie sighed and pulled her into her arms to comfort. "He's
fine. He had an asthma attack, honey. He's going to be just fine."

"Mrs. Mulder?" a new voice called out.

"She's right here," Walter pointed out. He watched as Scully attempted to
regain her composure by straightening up and smoothing out her slacks.

"How is my husband?"

"He's on oxygen for now, and as much as I'd like to admit him for overnight
observation, he seems pretty insistent about going home. He says you're an
MD?" asked the doctor.

"Yes. What happened?" asked Scully succinctly as she transformed into
doctor mode.

"He had an asthma attack," replied the doctor in kind.

"But he doesn't have asthma, Doctor," interjected Skinner. "He'd probably
have been disqualified for field service if he did."

"Field service?" echoed the doctor in a slightly confused manner.

"FBI field agent."

"Oh. Well, apparently Agent Mulder had had asthma as a small child. He'd
outgrown it, as is often the case in childhood asthma, however the right
conditions can trigger an attack in just about anyone.

"He was doing some strenuous exercise in some rather cold temperatures.
That alone can trigger an attack. However, Agent Mulder also let it be known
he's under the care of a psychologist; a Dr. Woods, I believe?" When Scully
nodded her head in the affirmative, the doctor continued, "Well, add to the mix any
kind of elevated stress levels and his history of asthma, and you have the
makin's of a first class episode."

"Doctor," asked Maggie, "is this permanent?"

"I doubt it. I suspect all of the conditions were coincidentally in place
for an isolated incident. Obviously, I would continue to monitor him for the
next few days to be sure. I might even recommend he carry around an inhaler for
a little while, though personally, I don't believe he'll have cause to use it."

The doctor had made sure to direct this last bit of information directly to
Skinner, in an attempt to reassure him that Mulder's field agent status should
not be affected by this incident.

"May I see him?" asked Scully. The doctor nodded and led her to his room.


He was sitting upright with the small oxygen tube inserted into his nostrils.
He still looked a little pasty, but not as badly as Scully had anticipated.
When he looked at her, all she saw was fatigue and sadness.

"Mulder _," she began.

"_I just want to go home now, Dane. I'm sorry. Please, don't make me stay
overnight," he pleaded in a soft, tired voice.

"Of course you're coming home with me. There's nothing they can do for you
here that I can't do for you at home," Scully reassured, and in fact, she
breathed a sigh of relief that he _wanted_ to come home. A couple of hours
ago she'd have had her doubts.

"Thank you."

"Mulder, you don't have to thank me to come home. Look, I need to say
something to you."

"Not now. Let's go home," he urged.

"No. Now. While I'm still brave enough to admit this out loud," she began.
Mulder looked slightly quizzical at her last remark, but he remained silent
so she could continue.

"Mulder," she stalled, "Mulder, I'm sorry for behaving like a jealous,
untrusting, shrew. I feel like shit. I'm bloated, I'm nauseous, I'm
exhausted, and totally on edge. Now, I know none of those things can really
excuse my behavior, but I hope it helps to explain it. I'm just not feeling
myself, Mulder, and I'm sorry for taking it out on you. Really. I am so

"It's okay, Dane. I should have told you what was going on. I felt so badly
running off on you like that when I knew you weren't feeling a hundred
percent. I should've __." Mulder paused and then looked up at Scully with
wide eyes.

"What?" she asked.

"Holy shit! Dane, you're pregnant!" he practically shouted with glee.

"What? Mulder, don't be ridiculous! I have the flu. I'm a doctor, for
crying out loud, don't you think I'd know if I was pregnant or not?"

"Obviously, not this time," Mulder replied with a small smirk.

"Mulder, don't start with me," she began. "Let's just get you home."

"Take a blood test."


"Dane, humor me. Take a blood test, and then we'll know for sure."

Dana stood there and simply rolled her eyes. "Fine. I'll take the damned
blood test, but then we get the hell out of here. Mom and Walter are waiting
outside with Adam, and it's late."

Mulder nodded totally, and they both called in for the doctor.

"Hey, Doc," said Mulder as the ER doctor walked back into his room, "I gotta
big favor to ask of you.

The doctor had suggested a urine analysis might be less invasive, but since it
would still be relatively early in the pregnancy and the Mulders wanted to be
a hundred per cent sure, they'd opted for the blood test.

Mulder had laughed silently to himself as he'd watched his brave, doctor
wife turn slightly green as the needle punctured her arm to draw the blood. He
couldn't have helped but think the next time she tried to cajole him into
taking a shot by saying 'there's nothing to be afraid of,' he was going to
throw this little incident back up in her beautiful, freckled face.

The two of them were waiting in his room for about twenty-five minutes when
the doctor returned. "Well, I'd better give you a prescription for an
inhaler, Mr. Mulder," announced the doctor with a slight glint in his eyes.

"What? I thought you said this was an isolated incident," asked an anxious

"Well, it was, but it looks like Mr. Mulder's stress levels will be going up.
Maybe I should prescribe one for you, Mrs. Mulder?" the doctor said with a
slight chuckle.

"Ohmigod! She is, isn't she?" exclaimed Mulder.

"Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Mulder. You're going to become parents

"I'm pregnant?" Scully asked incredulously. "How could I not know I was

"C'mon, Mrs. Mulder, or rather, _Dr. _ Mulder, you know we doctors are
notoriously the worst patients. We couldn't self diagnose ourselves if our
lives depended upon it. And thank heavens it usually doesn't!"

"Well, Dad, looks like you've knocked me up again!" Scully teased.

"Oh, aren't you the romantic one," Mulder chuckled, "like you didn't have
anything to do with this!"

"All right. Let's get this show on the road, because now that we know why
I've been acting like a raving lunatic, when we get home, it's going to be
your turn," proclaimed Scully.

"To explain why I'm a raving lunatic?" he asked innocently.

"Mulder, no one will ever be able to explain that, least of all you. No, my
sweets, all I'm looking for is an explanation of the secretive behavior of
late, that's all."

"That's all? Easy for you to say, Scully."

"I know, and I promise to try and make it easy for you too. I love you G-Man;
you gotta know that."

"Aw, Scully, with all my heart. Yeah, we need to talk. Or I guess, I need
to talk. I've been needing to talk to you for a long time."

As they gathered Mulder's clothes for him to get dressed for the ride home,
Scully thought about how she was going to break the news about the new baby
to her son, mom, and step-father. It was still way too early for an
announcement; she didn't even want to mention it to her mom and step-father
at this point.

She and Mulder had already survived one miscarriage, and it was hard enough
for them to deal with it. She wouldn't be able bear explaining it to
others, should it happen again.

Mulder thought about how he was going to explain his decision to study for
his long, overdue Bar Mitzvah, and more importantly, what it was that was
preventing him from going through with it.

Now that was the sixty four dollar question, wasn't it?

End of Part 3/6