New! Life Cycles XIV: Coming of Age 2/2
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 18:21:53 EST

Life Cycles XIV: Coming of Age
by Susan Proto (

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 4/6

Once they'd settled Adam into his bed, and Scully had put up a pot of herbal
tea to brew, they sat down on the couch and simply held one another. They sat
like that for what seemed like a long time, though in reality it was only as
long as it took for the pot of tea to steep thoroughly.

Scully pressed her lips on Mulder's forehead and stood up. She poured two
cups of tea, returned, and set them on the coffee table. She sat back down,
looked at Mulder carefully, and said, "Speak."

"You know, I really would prefer a cup of coffee," he procrastinated.

"I don't think so, G-Man, not as long you're walking around with an inhaler
in your pocket. Caffeine is the last thing you need right now. So, speak."

"I assume you're telling me it's my turn to spill my guts, right Scully?"

"Right," she replied, smiling at her husband's use of her maiden name. It
never ceased to amaze her how he used her name as a security blanket. It
was as if 'Scully' could protect him from himself better than 'Dana' or rather,
'Dane' could. Perhaps he was right. 'Scully' went through a helluva lot more
crises with Mulder than 'Dane' did, though 'Dane' was catching up a whole
lot faster than either liked.


"Okay, okay. I_, I'm not _, I mean _," he sputtered. "Damn it, Scully, I
don't know where to begin."

"The beginning would be nice." When he continued to stare at her mutely, she
suggested, "How about telling me where you went a couple of nights ago?
With whom did you have the appointment, Mulder?"

"Gerry," he blurted out.

"Gerry," she echoed without recognition. Then, suddenly, the light bulb
turned on, and she repeated, "Gerry? Rabbi Gerry?"

Mulder nodded in affirmation and felt his face begin to turn beet red. Scully
noticed his discomfort, and for the life of her she couldn't understand why
__, unless it was __. Scully shuddered at the thoughts rampaging through
her mind at that moment.

Could Mulder have sought out Rabbi Ginsburg for some kind of confession? Is
that why he seems so uncomfortable? "Mulder, I don't understand," she said
softly. "What was your reason for seeking out Rabbi Gerry?"

"I went there because _." He stopped. The more he thought about the whole
situation, the more embarrassed he felt. He wondered what ever possessed
him to even consider going through with it. It was absurd; a thirty-eight year
old man thinking about being Bar Mitzvah'd. It was ridiculous, and it was
about time he admitted it to himself.

"No reason, Scully. Or at least whatever the reason was doesn't exist any
longer. Dane, I'm so sorry I worried you. I did my typical 'look before
you leap' move and didn't think of the consequences. Well, I promise, I'll be
much more careful. I swear, Dane."

"Oh, Mulder," she began. Mulder looked at her with an expression that begged
for understanding, but Dana was not about to cave in quite so easily. "Cut
the bullshit."

Mulder's face fell to the ground. He looked so forlorn, Dana almost started
laughing out loud, but she knew if she was going to get to the bottom of
this, she had to maintain her self-control.

"Now, tell me what it was that no longer exists," she gently demanded. She
knew she had to pursue this with vigilance, but she didn't want to antagonize
him either. Scully worked hard to keep her tone of voice firm, but
encouraging at the same time.

Of course, since all she wanted to do at this point was throttle her husband
for scaring her half to death, her self-imposed restraint posed quite a
challenge for her.

He returned the intensity of her stare. He realized he was going to have to
come clean. His Scully would settle for nothing less than the absolute truth,
and he realized she deserved nothing less. He took a deep breath and began
his explanation.


"But why would you hyperventilate at simply looking at the Hebrew letters?"
she asked. "I mean, obviously the Hebrew was a trigger for something. Why
hadn't you hyperventilated when we had that case in New York City. When
you'd found that Jewish prayer book," Scully asked.

"The sepher yetzirah?" he responded. She nodded, so he posed his theory.
"I don't think I had an anxiety attack back then, because I hadn't give myself
the chance to have one. I never really attempted to read it; I'd simply
told the Rabbi in New York I couldn't. I guess I'd had a feeling I wouldn't be
able to, but I didn't know why then and I don't know why now."

"So you went to Karen. Did she offer any explanations?" Scully asked.

"No. She did suggest the regression therapy, but I'd turned her down."

"Why, Mulder? Why turn her down if it could give us a clue as to what was
going on?"

"That was the problem: us." When Scully looked at him puzzled, he continued.
"I'd have wanted you there while I went through it, and I just wasn't ready
to share this whole crazy idea with you yet," he admitted. "It was such a
stupid idea, Scully. I mean why would I even consider subjecting myself to this?"

"Because," Scully began thoughtfully, "it's something that might bring you
closer to your beliefs. It might also give you an opportunity to reconcile
your anxieties regarding your faith and, maybe, how you remember your
family; how you remember parents and Samantha."

"I don't know," he replied in kind. "I don't know if I could ever fully come
to terms with my family. My faith? I have you. That's all the faith I need,
I think."


"No?" he echoed in puzzlement.

"No, you need more. Mulder, think about it. Your last couple of emotional
crises all revolved around some aspect of your religion. At Passover, you
lost it, and prior to that, when Adam was missing, you talked about how Nana
helped you. Nana played an important part in your acquisition of your
faith," Scully pointed out.

"Yeah, but then she died, Scully, and life went on."

"True, and in fact, it was apparently your mother who somehow managed to
keep your religious education going. I remember you told me once, either right
before or right after we got married; I can't remember which, it was she who
pulled you out of the Hebrew classes.

"But from what you're telling me you remember now, I guess your mom was the
one who kept you going to class until your father decided no more.
Considering how your father had reacted to religious traditions of any kind,
the fact that you even attended Hebrew school after your Nana's death was a
miracle," reminded Scully.

"I guess, but what difference does it make now? Scully, my mother and I
barely talk now. I mean, the only thing that connects us is Adam. So, what
difference should it make to me now if she was the one who drove me to
Hebrew School?"

"Maybe she played a bigger role in your life than you're able to remember,"
she postulated. "I mean, it seems to me your mom was taking a helluva
chance in getting you to Hebrew Class when your dad was probably hell bent against
it. Right?" Scully asked.

When Mulder looked at her, Scully felt his confusion. She realized he
honestly didn't remember how his mother fit into his life's equation; past
or present.

"Mulder," she said cautiously, "Maybe it makes a difference because your
religion is something that's been important to you for many, many years,
without you realizing it. The recent past, I think, only proves to me it's
been a hole in your life that you've wanted __, no, needed to fill in,"
Scully concluded.

"I guess. But what do I do about it?" Mulder admitted in whispered tones.

"Call her."

"What?" Mulder looked at the woman before him with unbelieving eyes.

"Call her, Mulder. You don't have a choice anymore. She's the only one who
can provide you with answers."

"God, Scully, I don't know. It's way too late to call now anyway, so let me
think, okay?" He paused for a moment and then added with more honesty than
even he'd imagined possible, "I don't know what answers she could give me,
Scully. Hell, I'm not even sure of the questions."

He woke up early the next day, and before he had time to have a debate with
himself, he picked up the phone and dialed the rarely called number.

"You have reached the number, 203-869-1013. Please leave a clear message at
the sound of the beep, with your name, phone number, and reason for calling.
I will get back to you as soon as I am able."


"Hi, Mom. It's your son, Fox. Umm, I need to talk to about something. It's
about __, umm, well, just call me back when you get a chance, please? You
know the number."

"Why didn't you tell her what it was about?" asked Scully.

"I almost did, but then I realized she'd probably never return the call if she
knew I wanted information about my past. Mom's not exactly the most
forthcoming when it comes to particular details about my childhood," he

"True," she agreed, and then quietly asked, "Do you think she'll call back?"

"I don't know."

The morning passed and day turned into evening, and then evening into night.
Then, the next day came and went, and neither Scully nor Mulder spoke anything
more about the Bar Mitzvah, or the fact Elizabeth Mulder had yet shown the
common courtesy to return his call. So it was with a rather puzzled
expression when they heard the doorbell ring.

"Expecting anyone?" asked Dana.

"Nope," he responded as he walked to the door. He looked through the peephole
and let out a mild expletive, loud enough for Dana to hear from the other room.

"Mulder? What's wrong?" she asked.

He turned to her and uttered with total surprise in his voice, "I don't
believe it. She's here."

"Don't believe what and who's here?"

"My mother."

"What?" Dana practically squeaked.

"Yeah, my sentiments exactly." He stood there rather dumbfounded until he
heard the doorbell ring again. "Oh shit!" he exclaimed when he realized he'd
left his mother standing outside of their townhouse.

He opened the door and saw his mother standing there with a somewhat
exasperated expression. "For heaven's sake, Fox. Are you going to keep me
standing out in the cold all day, or you going to invite me in?"

He sputtered an invitation inside and moved out of the way to allow her to
pass. "No suitcase?" he asked.

"No, I checked into the Hilton, dear. I didn't think there'd be enough room
for you to accommodate me comfortably. Now, where is my grandson?" she
asked and didn't notice Mulder's shoulders slump a little at the slight dig she
made at their living quarters.

He looked around and realized with all of Adam's toys and the fact there
were only two bedrooms, they probably couldn't have put his mother up in the
comfort she'd grown accustomed to. He saw Dana come out with Adam and hoped
she hadn't heard his mother's disparaging remarks about their home. Of
course it did give Mulder some pause to realize with another baby on the
way, they would probably have to think about a larger home.

He sighed, shook himself back to the present, and called out to his son,
"Hey Adam! Look who came for a visit?!"

"Grandma Bette!" he called out. "Hi, Grandma Bette. Wow, I didn't know you
were coming for a visit!"

"Well," she began, "I received a message from your daddy that said he needed
to talk to me about something. So, I figured what better way to talk than
to come and do it in person, and this way I could see my handsome grandson!"

Adam ran over to his grandmother and wrapped his arms around her legs. She
knelt down somewhat in order to return the favor, and squeezed him close to

Mulder watched the scene and, as much as he didn't want to, felt a twinge of
jealousy. He so wanted to experience that same, unconditional love from his
mother, but he also knew that would probably never happen. Mulder was
simply grateful she bestowed it upon Adam.

His incredibly sensitive, intuitive wife walked over to his side and reached
around his waist and pulled him toward her. She knew, instinctively just what
he'd been thinking and what he needed. They watched, together, the scene as
it played out before them.

As they expected, Adam became fidgety very quickly. He soon wriggled out of
his grandmother's arms and asked her if she would like to watch the Simba
movie with him in the 'Big Bed.'

"Not now, dear, and besides, why aren't you dressed and playing outside?
It's a beautiful day out." She'd directed the latter half of her remarks to both
Scully and Mulder. They both wondered if she even heard the accusing tone
she'd assumed.

"Mom," Mulder began, "Adam's just getting over a nasty flu bug. He's only
just to act like himself again."

"Yeah, Grandma Bette," Adam chirped in, "and Mommy's been sick too, and
Daddy was in the hospital the other night too, and __."

"__ Hospital?" interrupted Bette Mulder.

"It was nothing, Mom. I went running in the cold and had a mild asthma
attack. I wasn't dressed properly, that's all," he explained.

"Asthma? You haven't had an asthma attack since you were twelve," she

"Yeah, well, the doctor said it wasn't anything to be concerned about," he
responded quickly. "So, Mom, what brings you all the way to DC?"

"Oh, Fox, don't panic. I don't plan on staying more than a day or two, so
you needn't worry about having to put up with me any longer than that. Now,"
she began, not to be sidetracked, "what's this about an asthma attack."

"It was a combination of fatigue, too much exercise, and the cold weather,
Mom. I'm fine," he said in a monotone with his eyes looking down toward the
floor. Suddenly he looked up, and stared straight into her eyes. "Mom?
Why did you come here?"

She returned the stare, and then hesitated slightly before she spoke. "I'm
not sure. It just felt like the right thing to do, Fox. I honestly don't
know what possessed me to come this time," she said, and then she shook her
head back and forth slightly and muttered, "I just don't know," over and
over again.

"Well Mrs. Mulder," Scully cut in, "we're very glad to have you here.
Please, sit down, and I'll make some tea."

"I would prefer coffee, if you have, Dana."

Scully looked quickly over at her husband and hesitated for a moment. It
had been a couple of days, and Mulder hadn't needed to use the inhaler, so she
surmised it was probably safe for him to have a cup.

As if reading her mind, Mulder said, "I'm okay, Dane. I won't have more
than one cup, okay?"

Scully smiled at how well her husband knew her. She then practically ran to
the kitchen to make the coffee and left poor Mulder stranded like a lost
kitten. She knew this was going to be difficult for him, but Dana also
hoped Mulder would take the opportunity to really talk to his mother.


They sipped their coffee silently. The conversation was nonexistent between
mother and son. The last serious conversation the two had had was right
after Mulder had become engaged to Dana, and he'd decided to share the good news
with his mother in person. It was also the anniversary of his sister's
disappearance, and neither he nor his mother were very good company that

She had told him, in effect, it was supposed to have been him that was taken
and she had been preparing herself for that event for many, many years. She'd
told him she'd basically detached herself from him and had never truly loved
him to avoid the complications of such emotions.

And it had caused one more part of him to die another slow death.

Because no matter what, he'd always loved her.


"Why did I stop going to Hebrew School? Why didn't I have a Bar Mitzvah?"
he suddenly asked to break the silence.

"Oh." She'd visibly gulped some air, and now slowly expelled it in order to
answer him. "You just stopped. I don't remember exactly what happened."

"What happened?" he repeated. "What happened to stop me from going?"

"I didn't say anything happened, Fox."

"Yes, Mom, you did. You said you didn't remember what had happened, which
conversely means something had to have happened for you not to remember."

"Oh, Fox. Don't. Please."

"Mom, for once, can't you be straight with me. Please?" he pleaded.

"You don't remember anything?" she asked cautiously.

"No. I don't remember anything," Mulder replied with annoyance. "If I
did, I wouldn't have needed you to fill in the gaps."

Elizabeth looked into her cup of coffee as if the answers to all of life's
questions were going to magically appear in the middle of it. "Dana, would
you by any chance have anything a little stronger than cream that could go
into this coffee?"

"I have some Amaretto," she replied.

"That will do, my dear. Thank you." Scully went to get the rectangular
bottle and passed it to her mother-in-law. She nodded her thanks again,
opened the bottle, and poured herself a healthy portion. She took a long
smooth gulp of the coffee, and then a couple of smaller sips. Elizabeth
Mulder savored the taste of the liquor for an extra moment and then began
her narrative.

"It was much harder after your Nana died, Fox. She was a very strong woman.
A great deal stronger than her daughter ever was," Elizabeth began. She
paused as she collected her thoughts to remember the past.

"She made me promise to see to it you and Samantha continued to learn about
Jewish traditions and attend Religious school. She knew I would never be able
to celebrate the holidays as we celebrated them at her house; she knew your
father would never, ever tolerate that. But she made me promise to, at the
very least, send you to Religious instruction, so you would have some idea
about your identity.

"Your father hated the idea, of course, but I'd promised Nana. I may have
been weak when it came to a good many things, Fox, but when it came to my
promises to Nana, I always kept them."

She paused again to let her words sink in, and as she waited she saw the
emotions Fox wore on his sleeve so plainly appear once again. As if she
read his mind, "Fox, I always keep the promises I've made."

"Always?" he asked incredulously. "What about me, Mom?"

"Fox, I can't break any promises I've never made,'' she replied in a clipped
tone. She watched his face evolve through a half dozen reactions and
emotions, until Elizabeth finally saw the one she knew would be last.


"No, Mom. I guess you never did," he admitted tonelessly.

"I don't understand you," murmured Scully. "I really don't understand either
of you." Both mother and son gazed back at the younger woman with little
affect. "Elizabeth, you have just admitted, perhaps not in so many words,
but you've basically said you've never made a parental commitment to your son.

"And you,'' she sighed, as she looked at her husband, "you sit there and
accept it as if it's the most normal thing in the world.

"Why is that?" she questioned. "Why are you both so willing to accept what
should be so obviously unacceptable?"

She paused for a moment, and then allowed a small smile to form on her lips.
"Do you realize the only truly normal one I've met in this family is Nana,
but unfortunately, she's dead," Scully concluded dryly.

The trio remained silent for a few minutes when Elizabeth looked curiously
at her son. "You never told her?" she asked calmly.

Mulder stared back at his mother while Scully looked on at both of them with
a puzzled expression. "Never told me what," Scully asked.

"I don't think we need to bring this up now, Mom."

"You never told her. Why?" Elizabeth asked tonelessly.

"What did you want me to tell her, Mom?" Mulder asked angrily. "That you'd
planned to never love me? That a choice had been made long before Sam's
abduction, and it was supposed to be me that was taken? That you purposely
never allowed yourself to love me so _you_ wouldn't be hurt when I was taken?
That you and my father were devastated Sam was taken instead of me? Or
perhaps, you were more devastated at the thought _I_ was simply the child
left behind?

"Sometimes I think you would have been happier if we'd _both_ been taken
instead of just Samantha," he concluded.

"I suspect you're right, Fox," his mother agreed.

"What are you two talking about?" Scully asked in exasperation. "Elizabeth,
how could you not love your son? How could a mother not love her child?"
Scully's eyes filled with tears at this point as she unconsciously began to
gently rub her stomach in a circular motion.

''When you are informed, from the time your child is born, that your child
is going to be taken from you at some point in his young life, you do whatever
you need to do to survive it and deal with it," Elizabeth said evenly.

"No." Scully responded firmly.

"You don't know __," Elizabeth began.

"__ No," Scully interrupted. "No, no, no! When you are informed, from the
time your child is born, that your child is to be taken from you at some point
in his young life, you do NOT accept it as fact. You fight it. You do what
ever you need to do to thwart it."

"I never said I was a strong woman," Elizabeth countered. "My mother _, Nana,
now, she was a strong woman. She stood up to Bill. Oh she told him to keep
his God damned hands off of her 'Foxila'. Her shayner boychikel."

Mulder's eyes startled as he heard his mother's voice repeat the endearments
his grandmother used to say so frequently to him when she was alive. He never
recalled hearing anything so sentimental coming out of his mother's mouth, and
it surprised him to hear her utter those phrases.

"Mom," Mulder choked out, "how did you get Dad to let us go to Hebrew

"In the beginning, your father never 'let' you go to Hebrew school. I simply
didn't tell him. I just signed you up and then later on, Samantha, and took
you both. Once your father did find out, he was madder than all get out, but
I told him you'd both been going for quite some time and there was no point
in not letting you finish it.

"He then told me there was no way we were going to go through the expense of
Bar Mitzvahs for you and Sam, so if I wanted to waste my money sending you
just for the sake of going to school then he didn't give a damn," Elizabeth

"Why would he let you waste your money. Wasn't it his money too?" asked
Scully curiously.

"No, actually it wasn't. It was the inheritance Nana left me. It wasn't all
that much, but her will stated its purpose was to provide a Jewish education
for her grandchildren. I had to carry out her wishes.

"She was my mother," Elizabeth whispered reverently.


Several minutes of silence passed when Mulder revealed, "I remember running
to the car. I remember you calling to me and telling me to run and get into the
car." He looked up at his mother and added, "He got angry about something,
didn't he. What got him angry, Mom?"

She looked at her son rather forlornly, as she really didn't want to dredge
this particular memory back up. She also knew, however, there was a reason
she'd flown to DC to see her son, and Elizabeth figured this must have been
the reason.

"He was so angry the consortium had changed the plan; he was so angry they'd
found you unfit for the program and had decided to take Sam instead. He
wanted to do anything and everything to punish someone, anyone. So, your
father forbade you to continue Hebrew school once Sam was taken.

"He ranted and raved about what kind of God would allow his precious daughter
to be taken; a daughter who was taught to believe in God, yet was taken from
her home just the same. He was so angry," she repeated.

"But you ignored his demand. You took me to school anyway," Mulder

"Yes, I took you anyway, after you'd returned from the hospital. You were
hospitalized for quite a few days after Sam was taken, Fox. I didn't know if
you would have been able to return to any kind of school, but once you came
home you seemed okay.

"So I brought you back to school. And the first couple of times there was no
problem, since your father was away on business. I thanked God for taking
him away on business.

"But then he returned and surmised where I was taking you on Sunday
afternoon, and he became furious. He'd been drinking, of course, and it had never
taken much to make him fly off the handle," she remembered with disdain.

"So he figured it out and told me not to go," he stated flatly. "Jeez, what
the hell is the big deal then that would make me go into an apoplectic fit
when I try to read Hebrew. I don't understand this," Mulder moaned in

"He didn't simply tell you not to go, Fox. Your father never chose to do
things in a simple way, or have you forgotten how he preferred to deal with
you," Elizabeth reminded.

Mulder's eyes darkened as he absorbed his mother's words. "No, Mom. I didn't
forget how he dealt with me." He took a deep breath, and added, "I didn't
forget how you dealt with the aftermath of his dealings with me either."

''You think it was easy for me to listen to it?" she retorted.

"It was a helluva a lot easier for you to listen to it then for me to receive
it!" Mulder shouted back.

"Stop it!" yelled Scully. "Stop it, please." She looked from her husband
to her mother in law and pleaded with them to calm down. "All of the
accusations and excuses aren't going to change what's happened," she rationalized.

"Mulder, you had a reason to call your mother. You had a specific reason for
wanting to learn about one part of your past. Focus on that for now, okay?"

He nodded his head and looked again at Elizabeth. "Something happened the
last time I went to Hebrew school, didn't it," he asked rhetorically.

Elizabeth sighed deeply. She took one more swig of the alcohol laced coffee
and spoke. "He was drunk, which of course was nothing new, but he was really
drunk that day. He'd been away for the last few days and had only arrived
very late the night before. He'd been drunk when he'd entered the house,
and simply kept up the pace all night long.

"When he'd figured out where we were going that morning he went into a rage.
He started screaming and throwing things about how he wasn't going to spend
anymore God damned money on a religion that left no good sons but took
beautiful, sweet daughters from their fathers.

"He started to go after you, so I told you to run to the car. I'll never
forget the look on your father's face when I told you to run from him. I
believe it's the first time I ever openly defied him, and he was furious.
I'm not sure who he wanted to beat to a pulp more, you or me.

"We got to the car and I took off so fast the tires squealed. Do you remember
calling me Mario Andretti? We were both so scared yet so relieved at the
same time. Oh Fox, we were both breathing so hard, yet we were laughing too.
Don't you remember?"

"Yeah. Yeah, I do remember. I was so amazed to hear you laugh. Do you know
how long it had been since I'd heard you laugh, Mom? Not since before Sam
was taken. It was over two months after Sam was abducted, and you're right. We
were both so scared shitless he was going to catch up to us, yet, we were
laughing. We were actually enjoying getting away from the bastard.

"Yes. It felt good to laugh again, even if it was at his expense," agreed
Elizabeth. She smiled slightly at the memory, and then her expression
turned dark again.

"What Mom? What happened next?" Mulder asked tentatively.

"Next? What do you think, Fox?" she asked through clenched teeth.

"Oh, God," he gasped.

End of Part 4/6

Life Cycles XIV: Coming of Age
by Susan Proto (

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 5/6

Scully heard it first. Next, Elizabeth's eyes went wide with concern.

"Where is it?" Scully asked anxiously. "Mulder, where did you put it?"

Mulder sat there with his eyes darting frantically back and forth between
his wife and his mother. The wheezes became louder while his breathing became
more and more labored. The breaths he was taking were growing less and less
efficient. It was now impossible for him to speak.

"Mulder, where's the inhaler? Point!"

He finally pointed in the direction of the bedroom, and Scully rushed in to
locate it. Moments later she reappeared in the living room with the inhaler
in her hand. She sat down next to Mulder and assisted in administering the
appropriate dose.

As they all sat, each holding their own breaths, they waited for the
bronchialdialator to take effect. Scully sat next to him and rubbed her
hand on his back in soothing, circular motions. She tried to be patient, but it
seemed to be taking way too long for him to begin breathing normally again.

"Mulder, I don't think this is doing the trick. I think we need to go back to
the hospital," she said grimly, for she knew full well what his response
would be.

Mulder began to shake his head back and forth vigorously in response. His
eyes practically screamed out, 'NO!'

"All right, Mulder, but you've got to concentrate on taking deep, even
breaths. Now c'mon, or neither of us will have a choice."

He closed his eyes in a more concentrated effort to control his breathing.
The last thing Mulder wanted to do was return to the hospital. He felt his
mother's eyes directly on him, and he wasn't sure if he found that more
consoling or disquieting.

Several minutes passed until Mulder felt he was back in control of his
breathing. He kept his eyes closed and continued to focus on the deep
breathing exercises he remembered doing as a child. Some things are not
forgotten; they're simply stored away for safe keeping.

"I remember the last time you did that," Elizabeth said softly. When Fox
opened his eyes to gaze directly at her, she continued. "You were getting
ready to leave for Oxford. Do you remember?"

He shook his head slowly.

"You were all arms and legs; I suppose gangly was the best description. You
were tall. You were a young man. But you looked so scared as you got into
the cab. I remember watching you begin to breath faster and faster, and I
imagined you were going to have an asthma attack right then and there.

"But then__, then you climbed into the back of the cab. You sat down in the
back seat, and you began doing the very same deep breathing exercises you're
doing now.

"I guess some things never change, do they," she murmured.

"He came after us, didn't he?" he rasped out.

"What?" Elizabeth asked, as she wasn't prepared for the sudden change of

"He came after us, didn't he?" Mulder repeated softly, but in a more normal


"Oh, God. Oh, God. I can't do this, Scully. I can't. I don't want to
remember. Oh, God, Mom, I don't want to remember this," he moaned.

Scully listened to his breathing, and when she heard him begin to
hyperventilate again, she asked him if he needed to go to the hospital. "No
_, no hospital," he insisted, "I'll be okay."

"What if I called Karen?" she asked as means to a compromise.

"Who?" asked Elizabeth.

"Mulder's therapist," Scully explained. "May I at least call Karen Woods?"

Mulder looked at his wife and knew she was right. He wasn't going to able to
get through this latest memory without help. He nodded his acquiescence and
she quickly picked up the phone and dialed the speed number. Thankfully, it
wasn't used often at all anymore, but Scully was grateful it was there for

And since Mulder hadn't even put up a fight over calling Dr. Woods, Scully
knew this was an emergency waiting to happen.

He sat quietly and listened to his wife speak softly into the phone.
Elizabeth, on the other hand, stood up and began to pace back and forth.
The memories were no easier for her to deal with then they were for her son; she
simply managed her physical responses better than he did.

Scully hung up the phone and said, "Karen will be here within forty-five
minutes. She suggested we take a bit of a break until she arrives.
Elizabeth? Why don't you go in and visit with Adam. I'm sure he'd love for
you to visit with him for a little bit."

"Yes," Elizabeth agreed, "yes, I think that's a fine idea." She took a deep
breath and nodded toward Scully and then Mulder. "Please call me when your
doctor arrives."

"Of course, Elizabeth. Go relax for a little bit." Scully's medical
knowledge kicked in when she observed how pale Elizabeth had become. Scully
soon realized this was going to be difficult for the elder Mulder as well,
and she wasn't sure how much either of them would be able to take.


Scully had encouraged Mulder to take one of his infamous twenty minute
catnaps, which he did with little argument. While he slept, Scully peaked
in on her son and mother-in-law.

"Grandma Bette? How come you don't lives in Georgetown with Mommy and Daddy
and me?" asked the small boy curiously.

"Because my home is in Greenwich, Connecticut, Sweetheart. Your Grandma
Maggie doesn't live in Georgetown, now does she?" Elizabeth rationalized.

"No, Gam-ma and Gam-pa lives in 'Merry-land.' But they don't lives so far
away like you do. I see them lots of time, and I only see you a little

"I know, Adam. I wish I could be closer too, but for now it's best if I live
in Greenwich. Your daddy and mommy have your Grandma Maggie and Grandpa
Walter nearby to help you all out. I would probably just get in the way,"
she explained mournfully.

Scully wondered if she'd ever heard as much emotion creep out of Elizabeth
Mulder's voice as she'd heard just then. Scully couldn't recall ever having
heard her mother-in-law make such an admittance. It actually tore at her
heart a little to think of her mother-in-law actually showing some regret
for a situation no one seemed to have much control over.

The next thing Scully observed was Adam, her beautiful baby boy, reach over to
his grandmother and wrap both of his arms around her neck. He then rested his
head on her shoulder and whispered, "I love you, Grandma Bette. You're not in
a way."

Scully smiled to herself and wondered how the hell she was so lucky to have
created such an incredible little boy.


True to her word, Dr. Karen Woods arrived forty-five minutes later. Mulder
had woken from his nap about five minutes before and was in the bathroom
washing the sleep off of his face.

Scully briefed Karen on what little she understood to be happening, when
Elizabeth returned to the living room. Scully introduced the two women to
one another and then offered to make a fresh pot of coffee, but both women
declined. Scully knew Mulder certainly didn't need any more coffee, so she
decided to forgo the hot drinks for now and settle for some juice.

All of a sudden she felt a little whipped and felt a swig of some orange
juice might help. She prepared a tray with a pitcher full and glasses. By the
time she'd reentered the living room, Mulder had returned as well.

He nodded toward Karen and sat down heavily on the couch. Karen stood off
to the side and watched the dynamics of the Mulder family at work. It
fascinated her.

It was almost as if they were performing a ballet which had the dancers
moving too and fro. She noticed Mulder alternately lean toward his mother every
time she leaned back. When ever Elizabeth Mulder tried to make some kind of
physical or emotional contact, she saw Mulder physically lean back and/or
look away.

And then Dana Scully-Mulder entered the picture and the dynamics turned
completely around. Mulder kept leaning in toward his wife, no matter whether
Dana moved toward him or away from him. He absolutely craved her presence
and he did everything imaginable to attain it.

The only predictable movement in the Mulder dynamic was when young Adam
entered the room with a request for a glass of juice. All of the adults
automatically gravitated toward the child, and happily, the child
demonstrated only ease and comfort with the attention.

After Scully set Adam up with some juice and instructed him to play quietly
in his room with his toys, she returned and sat down next to her husband.
Scully looked from Mulder to their son's bedroom and then back to Mulder.

"I'm almost tempted to call Richard and Leslie to pick up Adam," Scully
said. "I don't know if he should be around while we go through this."

"You can't. Adam's been sick and can't be around Jason," Mulder reminded

"Oh, of course," Scully said.

"Why can't Adam be around Jason?" asked Elizabeth.

"Mom, I know I'd mentioned Jason's leukemia to you. You don't remember?"
Mulder inquired with some annoyance.

"I suppose not. It's not as easy for me to remember things now, Fox.
Forgive me for growing older," Elizabeth admonished.

"I think I'll call my mom," Scully interjected quickly. "Perhaps she's
available to pick up Adam." Scully got up and made the phone call, but
walked back to her seat on the couch dejected. "No one's home, so I left a

Karen nodded and tired to reassure her. "Dana, we'll try to keep everything
under control, but Adam has seen his father in emotional states before.
He'll be fine. You'll see."

Scully nodded slightly in acknowledgment, though not necessarily in agreement.
Mulder simply stared ahead for the moment, while Elizabeth had difficulty
looking at anyone in the room.

"Okay, let's get started," instructed Dr. Woods. "Why am I here, Mulder?"

He looked up at his therapist and shook his head a bit. "I'm not sure. All I
know is my mother told me we were running from my father, because he was
upset I was still going to Hebrew class after Sam had been abducted. She
insinuated he followed us in our car, and that's all."

"That's all," Karen echoed. "You've related what your mother has told you,
but can you recall what happened that day?"

"I don't know." Mulder's arms were crossed in front of him as if he were
playing the role of the petulant child.

"Why did you have an asthma attack if you don't know," Karen asked.

Mulder looked up at Karen and wondered the same thing. He did not honestly
think he could remember the details of that day, but he did have an ominous
feeling he would. He felt a heaviness permeate his body at the thought of it.

"I remember the feeling of helplessness, Karen. I just don't remember the
actual events of that day," he admitted quietly.

"Should he go under the regressive therapy?" asked Scully. "I'm here now,
and can be of support."

"I don't think Mulder needs to be hypnotized this time," she began and then
stared directly at Mulder and added, "Do you Mulder?"

He hesitated for a moment before he said, "I don't know. I don't think I want
to remember what happened, Karen." Mulder then turned to his mother and
said in a quiet but accusing voice, "You remember, but you wouldn't tell me. You
never would tell me the truth, damn it. Why?"

"For God's sake, Fox. Don't you think there's a good reason why you're
telling the doctor you don't want to remember what happened that day? Have
you ever considered the notion I might actually want to protect you?"

"Protect me? When the hell did you ever want to protect me?" he cried out in
anguish. "Damn it, Mom! You were the one who told me you wanted me to be
taken. You were the one who told me you chose not to love me to protect
yourself! Yourself, Mom; never me!

"You never protected me when he took me to those butchers to experiment on
me! You never even protected Sam! You never protected either of us; you let
them do those horrible things to us, Mom. You let them.

"And now you're telling me you've kept secrets because you wanted to protect
me? Bullshit, Mom. That has got to be the biggest load of bullshit I've
heard in a long time," he declared angrily.

"Fine," she replied tonelessly.

"No," interjected Karen Woods. "No, I don't think it's fine. Do you, Mrs.
Mulder? Do you really think it's fine?"

Elizabeth looked at the therapist with some surprise. She hadn't expected
any of the questions to be directed directly toward her, as this was supposed to
be her son's session. "Well, no, of course I don't really believe it's

"What do you really want to say to him?" Karen asked.

"Honestly?" When Karen nodded, Elizabeth took a deep breath. She could not
remember the last time someone had asked her to say what was truthfully on
her mind. "I would really like to say to him to stop acting like a child, give
up what happened in the past because what 's done is done, and move on with
your life already."

"You think Fox is acting like a child when he tries to find out what happened
to him in the past?" Karen probed.

"Well, yes," she replied tentatively at first, but then gained more confidence
and stated, "He can't change the past, it obviously upsets him, so why bother
going through all of this? How can it possibly help him?"

She turned to Mulder and said, "Fox, you are married and have a beautiful
child. It's time to think of them. Don't keep tormenting us with events from
the past."

"Us?" Mulder echoed angrily. "You don't really mean 'us', do you, Mom? You
mean yourself. You want me stop tormenting you with my search for the truth
to my past."

Scully sat as still as a stone, as she was unsure just how much input she
should offer. She felt herself biting her tongue, for she felt she had a good
deal to say, but then thought better of it. Scully decided to sit back,
observe quietly, and allow Dr. Woods take the lead.

Elizabeth, on the other hand, returned her son's piercing stare with one of
her own, and stood up. She began pacing again, alternately looking directly
at Mulder, and then looking away. Several moments passed before she spoke.
Finally, she stopped directly in front of her son, took a deep breath, and
stated through clenched teeth, "Yes, damn it. I want you to stop tormenting
me. You act as if the past was only your cross to bear. Well, my darling
son, it was no bed of roses for me either. It wasn't even one for your
father, if you want to be truly honest about it. But your self-absorbed,
self-indulgent, and self-seeking outlook on life apparently has limited your
ability to see or feel for anyone beyond your own egomaniacal viewpoint."

She took a deep breath before she repeated, "So, the answer to your question,
in case you chose not to hear me the first time, is yes. I want you to stop
tormenting me."

Scully looked at the woman awestruck. She wasn't sure if she felt more
admiration for Elizabeth in her ability to cut straight to the heart of the
matter to tell Mulder exactly what was on her mind, or if she wanted to kill
the woman for seemingly suffering from exactly the same self-centered malady
she'd just accused her son of possessing.

Karen Woods, meanwhile, had scribbled some notes. She quietly reviewed
them, all the while glancing at her patient to make sure he was handling the
tirade sufficiently. She expected to hear Mulder explode at his mother's
accusations, but all she witnessed was a concession of defeat. Karen
watched Fox Mulder literally deflate before her very eyes.

The woman still had that much power over him.

"It appears self-centeredness runs in the family, Mrs. Mulder," Karen said
with an even, non-judgmental tone.

Dr. Woods witnessed a second Mulder sigh heavily in defeat.

"I don't mean to be. I think it's a matter of survival," Elizabeth admitted

"And you don't think Fox has a right to survive?" Karen asked quietly.

"Of course he has a right to survive," she responded, and then hesitated
before she added, "but does it have to be at my expense?"

Scully could no longer sit silently and turned to her mother-in-law and said
quietly, "You're his mother, Elizabeth. Think. Would you expect me to do
no less for Adam?"

When Scully put it in that perspective, Elizabeth could not help but shake
her head in despair. "I gave up so much of myself. I gave up so much to them.
They took my children from me. They took my life from me.

"But he was my husband. He was a good man, once. I loved him, once. I had
to believe he was basically a good man or why would I have loved him. He
thought he was doing the right thing. He'd convinced me we were doing the
right thing. But after they took Samantha, he was so angry. He felt duped,
betrayed, and he took it out on you.

"He'd even begun to take it out on me when he was drunk enough," she added
as an aside.

"Ohmigod," Mulder whispered. "He hurt you too."

Just then, the doorbell rang. Scully stood up to answer the door and found
her mother and Walter Skinner standing in front of her.

"Hi Mom, Walter," she said as she leaned over to kiss them both in greeting.

"How's he doing?" asked Walter.

"He's about the same since I'd called and filled you in on the voice mail.
Karen seemed to think everything would be fine, but I'm glad you're here all
the same."

Both mother and step-father nodded in quiet acknowledgment and entered the
living room, while Scully went to get Adam ready to leave. "We've just come
to pick up Adam. We don't mean to disturb you," said Maggie earnestly.

"Mom, Walter, it's okay. You're welcomed to stay," Mulder said.

"No, Mulder. We'll just collect Adam, and let you get on with your
business," replied a slightly uncomfortable Walter.

When Scully returned, however, it was without Adam. "He fell asleep. He
felt a little warm. I hope he hasn't relapsed with the flu," she said. "I'm so
sorry to have made you come out here for nothing."

"Oh, sweetheart, don't be sorry. I hope he's okay. Call me if you need me
to stay with him, okay? We'll be going," Maggie said.

"Please, stay," Mulder called out.

"Fox, do you really think it's wise to have all of us here?" Maggie asked.

"If Adam's not feeling well, I would really like someone here to help take
care of him so Scully can stay out here with me. Besides, she's been a
little under the weather herself of late," Mulder explained.

Scully shot a glare at him, because she did not want him announcing the news
of her pregnancy now, under these conditions. He looked at her and his eyes
told her he understood and he wasn't about to say another thing.

"Mom, Walter, please sit. Mulder's right, you should stay," Scully said.

"Elizabeth, do you have any objections to our staying?" Maggie asked.

The elder Mulder smiled at Maggie Skinner's thoughtfulness. "I have no
problem with you or Walter staying, but I honestly don't know if you'll be
terribly comfortable with what's going to be discussed."

Karen Woods cleared her throat and invited the Skinners to take a seat.
She, herself, wasn't sure if she'd have asked them to stay, but this was Fox
Mulder's party, and he could invite anyone he wanted.

"Elizabeth, you were about to share with us what happened. Fox had said he
hurt you too? When did this happen?" Karen asked in an attempt to get the
session back on track.

Elizabeth nodded silently, and then said, "He'd followed us to the Temple.
You and I were laughing so much in the car with relief that we'd gotten
away, we hadn't noticed he'd gotten into his own car and followed us.

"I parked the car and walked you into the building. We went into the
sanctuary, because Rabbi Feldman had instructed you to join him there for
that class so he could show you where your torah portion was in the actual
torah." Mulder nodded his head tentatively as he began to remember the events of
that day.

"You'd asked me if I wanted to see it too, and I said 'yes,' so I followed
you into the sanctuary. Ironic. On any other day, I would have simply dropped
you off in the front of the building and drove off. I'd have escaped the
whole ordeal and perhaps none of it would have happened. But you wanted me
to see it so badly, and I could feel Nana's presence urging me to do this for
you. So, I'd said, 'yes.'"

Karen remained silent. She knew Mulder's memories of that day were becoming
clearer and clearer. The doctor knew she had to let her patient go at his
own pace in responding to Elizabeth's narrative.

"When we walked in," Mulder began softly, almost fearfully, "I saw Rabbi
Feldman up on the bema."

"Bema?" echoed Maggie automatically.

"It's like an altar," Skinner whispered to his wife.

"What happened next, Mulder?" prodded Karen.

Mulder's eidetic memory began to kick in and he went on to recount the
event. "I remember saying good morning and pointing out that Mom was with me. I
asked him if it was okay for Mom to see the torah too, and he said it would
be all right.

"The rabbi motioned for us to both come up to the bema, where he'd already
placed a torah. He'd been scrolling it to the proper section, and when he'd
arrived at my portion, he pointed it out. I hadn't learned to chant it yet,
but I was able to read it a little bit for my Mom.

"I remember being so excited about reading it straight from the torah. The
rabbi had told the class it was really hard to do, 'cause there weren't any
vowel notations, so the fact that I was able to read it was really exciting
to me. I remember I kept looking over at Mom to see if she was proud of me.

"I think you were, Mom," he said as he finally made eye-contact with
Elizabeth. "I think you were actually proud of me, weren't you?"

Dana sat with her heart in her mouth and tried to will Elizabeth Mulder to
say the right thing. She silently pleaded with the woman to simply say the
'right' thing.

"Yes, Fox. I was proud of you," Elizabeth replied.

There was an audible sigh of relief from all of the adults seated in the
room, as if none of them were sure Elizabeth would say the proper thing.

"What happened next, Mulder," Karen asked gently, for she knew the warm
fuzzy feeling Mulder was now feeling would soon be replaced by angry, frightened

Everyone saw it. The almost gleeful expression Mulder wore upon hearing his
mother's admission of pride in him turned dramatically dark. Even his eyes
turned a shade darker as the effort to recall those past events became even
more taxing on him physically.

"What happened next," Karen prodded.

"He came in."

After some moments of silence, Karen gently repeated her question, "What
happened next?"

Mulder pallor then turned a sickly alabaster, and his eyes begin to roll to
the back of his head. Scully quickly pushed his head down between his knees
in an effort to revive him quickly. When she eventually heard him moaning,
she cautioned him to rise slowly.

Several more minutes passed before Mulder was able to speak. Karen waited
until his color appeared more normal, and then encouraged him to recount
what had happened.

"He came directly toward us," Mulder began in a whisper. "I remember
looking at him, and thinking how ugly he looked. He had the ugliest, angriest
expression on his face. I'd seen that expression before, right before he'd __, he' punish me.

"He came forward and when he finally reached the bema, he grabbed my arm and
pulled, hard. He wrenched my shoulder out of the socket, which of course
was something he'd done before. I remember thinking he was going to dislocate
my arm before he even grabbed me, but knowing it was going to happen didn't
stop it from hurting any less. I couldn't move at this point, it had hurt so

"But then, instead of just continuing to beat me to a pulp, he grabbed you,"
he remembered as he looked at Elizabeth for confirmation. Upon seeing his
mother give an almost imperceptible nod, he continued. "He started slapping
you, and then hitting you, harder and harder." Mulder took a deep breath
before he could continue.

"Rabbi Feldman began shouting for him to stop, but he didn't listen. The
bastard just kept hitting you, and then he began punching you. Oh God,
Mom," Mulder winced at the memories.

"Rabbi Feldman finally moved toward Dad and tried to pull him off of you,
but that just pissed Dad off more. Dad shoved Rabbi Feldman so hard into the
podium, he knocked it over.

"Even though the rabbi was a small man, he fell with a really loud thud. I
remember thinking to myself how the word 'thud' was so appropriate for that
sound, because it truly did sound just like it.

"I tried to reach out to the Rabbi, but my shoulder had hurt so much, I
could barely move without screaming out in pain. So, once again I sat nearby,
helpless, and not be able to help people in need. I couldn't believe how
loud the noise was when the podium fell. Oh __!

"__Oh __, shit!" Mulder cried out. "Shit! It was the one with the torah on
it. The torah ripped when it fell from the podium. Oh God, that sonofabitch
not only hurt you and the Rabbi, but he defaced a two hundred year old

"He hurt you too, Mulder," Karen reminded.

"But he'd hurt the Rabbi. He was an innocent victim, and he desecrated the
torah. And I don't remember him ever beating Mom up before in front of me,"
Mulder countered.

"And he hurt you again, Mulder," Karen reminded yet again.

"But he always hurt me, Karen."

"So, that means you should sweep this incident under the rug?" Karen

"It was more evil to beat up the Rabbi and Mom, and to destroy the torah,"
Mulder replied.

"Your pain doesn't count," Karen probed.

"No. Yes. I mean, yes, it counts, but it wasn't unusual for him to beat up
on me. I was used to it, you know?"

"So, you're saying since it was commonplace for your father to physically
beat you, less weight should be put on that incident than on the abuse your
mother and the rabbi received, in addition to the desecration of the torah."

Mulder looked at his therapist while he tried hard to absorb her words.
After a few seconds, he looked at her and stated, "I am nuts, aren't I?"

"There are times, Mulder, when your ideas are certainly unique," Karen said
tongue in cheek. She then turned to the elder Mulder and said, "Mrs.
Mulder, do you now see why it's important for Fox to delve into the past?

"Whatever was done to him during his childhood has had a direct effect on
his ability to function in the present. He'll continue to have difficulty dealing
with the present if he can't reconcile what had happened to him in the past."

"It's painful to be constantly reminded of all my failures, Dr. Woods,"
Elizabeth said.

"Yes, I'm sure it is. It would probably be helpful for you to find someone to
talk to about it. I'd be more than happy to check with my colleagues and help
you find a counselor in Greenwich," Karen suggested.

"A counselor? Me? I don't need a psychiatrist, my dear woman. I'm not
crazy," admonished Elizabeth.

"It must be genetic," muttered Scully under her breath.

"What, Dane?" asked Mulder.

Scully smiled when she heard him use his endearment, Dane, because she knew
it meant he was more at ease with the situation. She was sure Mulder's
feelings weren't totally resolved, but at least he now had an inkling to his past
which could account for his initial inability to read the Hebrew.

"Okay, folks," Karen Woods said, as if reading Scully's mind. "I think we
can call it a day. Mulder, we're not nearly finished with this yet, you do know
that, don't you?"

"Aw, Karen, you just want to redecorate your family room with the fees you
get from my sessions, that's all," Mulder replied lightly.

"Kitchen, Mulder. We're going for the kitchen remodeling this year. Last
year was the family room," Karen replied in jest. "Seriously, Mulder, you
ain't cured yet, and I expect to see you in the office one day this week. How
about __," she paused as she pulled out her appointment book, "Thursday?

"Fine, Karen. Make me spend my lunch hour pouring my guts out to you," he

"It's my lunch hour too, Mulder, so you'll get no sympathy from me," she
retorted with a smile.

Mulder chuckled and began to stand up when he suddenly felt his knees buckle
from under him.

"Whoa, G-Man," Scully called out as she attempted to support him. Walter
was up as quick as a flash as well, and moved to the opposite side of Scully in
order to prevent Mulder from falling.

"I guess that took a little more out of me than I expected," admitted Mulder.

"C'mon, Mulder. Let's get you to bed so you can lay down for a little while
before dinner, okay? Walter, help me please?" Scully asked.

"Go on, Dana. I can manage my son-in-law." Walter's strong arms wrapped
around Mulder's shoulder's and waist as he helped the younger man into the
bedroom. "You going to be all right? Skinner asked as he pulled Mulder's
sneakers off.

"Yeah, I think so," Mulder replied.

"You want to sleep in the jeans, or do you want them off?"

Mulder considered his response and realized Walter Skinner had seen him in
much more compromising positions before. "Off, I think," he replied.

Mulder unbuckled his jeans and began to shimmy out of them when Walter went
to the end of the bed and pulled Mulder's slacks at his ankles. The jeans were
off in moments and Mulder was able to get comfortable wearing just his cotton

"Stay for awhile?" Mulder asked groggily.

"If you want," Skinner replied as he pulled the comforter over Mulder's body.

"Yeah, Dane might need you,'' he replied cryptically with a yawn. He was
asleep almost instantly.

End of Part 5/6

Life Cycles XIV: Coming of Age
by Susan Proto (

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 6/6

Mulder and Dana had traded places. Now he was in the bathroom throwing his
guts up, while she was pacing outside the bathroom.

Well, perhaps pacing wasn't the most accurate word.




Dana Scully-Mulder, who was due to give birth to their second child in less
then two weeks, waited anxiously while her husband knelt hunched over a
toilet bowl. He was frightened to death at the prospect of 'becoming a man.'

As Dana paced and waddled, she recounted in her mind all it had taken for
her husband to get to this point in his life. For the last seven months he'd
attended first weekly, and then monthly, therapy sessions with Dr. Woods.

He'd struggled to overcome his ambivalent feelings toward his Elizabeth,
whom he discovered was just as much a victim as he was of William Mulder's
physical and emotional abuse. Once he'd reconciled himself to the notion
his mother was not totally in control of her own life, much less his, he'd found
it easier to forgive, (if not totally accept nor understand,) her methods of
dealing with the stress of life in the Mulder household.

She recalled the weekly 'Trope' sessions with Rabbi Gerry, and having listened
first to Mulder's frustrated ranting at not being able to do what had once
come so easily. Dana then smiled to herself as she remembered the night her
husband had come home practically dancing in the doorway. The light bulb
had finally turned on. Somehow, somewhere, they'd found the key, and the memory
had returned. Mulder was finally able read the Hebrew with ease.

Next, however, had come the chanting.

Frustration had abounded and nerves had become frayed once again. Dana had
feared the man she'd married was literally going to come apart at the seams,
if he didn't overcome his fear of singing the torah portions. He'd felt
stupid, he'd felt overwhelmed, he'd felt embarrassed, he'd felt foolish.

He'd felt like he wanted to quit. He didn't quit, but he had needed to
release the tension he'd felt in some manner.

And he had.

Mulder had taken it out on Dana, which was the last thing a husband should
do to his pregnant wife who was also in the middle of searching for a larger
home for their growing family to move into.

But he had.

And Dana, as compassionate and as understanding as she was, had grown
increasingly more annoyed at the way Mulder was treating her. She'd felt as
if she'd become his whipping boy, and she'd grown tired of it quickly.
She'd done the only thing she could think of to get his attention.

She packed a suitcase for herself and Adam, left a note for Mulder so he'd
know where to find her when he'd come to his senses, and went to stay with
Maggie and Walter.

Scully wasn't absolutely sure what Mulder's reaction had been when he'd
arrived home to the empty townhouse, but she had an inkling. She'd come to
find out later her neighbor, Mrs. Ingstrom, had heard so much noise coming
out of the townhouse across the way, she'd nearly called the police. Finally,
things had settled down, and she'd observed Mr. Mulder carrying a large
trash bag, as well as a broken lamp, to the Townhouse refuse area.

Apparently, Scully had gained her husband's attention.

Things had changed after that, and Scully had moved back home the next day.
In fact, it was that day the two of them had discovered their new house. It
was the Monday of President's Day weekend, and both Scully and Mulder had
taken it as a personal day to be home with Adam.

They'd been checking the real estate section, as had become their habit,
when something had caught Mulder's eye.

"Dane?" he'd called out to her. "Come check this out, and tell me if this
isn't Kismet or something."

She'd read the ad placed for the house in an area not too far from where
they currently lived, which was perfect, since both husband and wife really did
love the area they'd been living in for the last few years.

"Call the Realtor, now!" she'd insisted. "Tell them not to show it to
anyone else!"

"Dane, they're not going to listen to me," he'd replied with a hint of
exasperation. He'd couldn't help but wonder if all pregnant women expected
the world to do their bidding, or was it just his pregnant wife. Mulder
had, wisely, kept this thought to himself as he'd picked up the phone to call.

They had gone to see the house (which, miraculously, the Realtor hadn't
shown to anyone else that holiday afternoon,) and had totally and completely fell
in love with it. It had three bedrooms, though not huge, certainly larger than
what they were living in now.

It had a beautiful, sunny eat-in kitchen which looked out onto a small,
enclosed backyard. There was also a small, but very functional, formal
dining room area. The family room was to the right side of the staircase and a
formal living area was to the left. There was even a small, finished room
in the basement which Mulder had immediately adopted as his own.

Of course, the creme de la creme had been the laundry area on the main
floor. No more schlepping loads of laundry up and down two flights of stairs.
Dana and Mulder had known this was their home the moment they saw it. Now, all
they had to do was buy it.

It had taken some haggling, but they did it. They'd bought their dream
house at a price that was pretty close to what they could comfortably afford
(especially if Mulder raided the money his father had left him,) and they
were scheduled to close around Dana's due date.

It hadn't been their ideal date, but they weren't given much of a choice.
The current owner's new home wouldn't be ready until then, so the Mulder's hands
were pretty much tied.

But that worry had to wait until two weeks from now. Today's worry was
getting Mulder out of the bathroom so he'd be able get to the Temple on
time. Scully had arranged for her mom and Walter to pick the three of them up,
since she'd had a feeling Mulder might not be in any condition to drive.

Scully smiled to herself. Could she call 'em, or what?

Mulder finally emerged from the bathroom in his tee shirt and boxers. They
were scheduled to leave in the next twenty minutes and he hadn't even put on
his shirt or slacks. Of course, judging from Mulder's pallor, it was
probably a very good thing he hadn't.

"Hey G-Man, you gonna be okay?" Dana asked gently.

Mulder shook his head at first. He looked at her and felt as though the
tears which had welled up in his eyes were going to start falling any minute, and
he wouldn't be able to stop. Mulder could not remember the last time he was
this nervous about something.

"Dane? What the hell have I gotten myself into? I can't do this. I really,
really can't go through with this," he muttered over and over again.

"Yes, you can, Mulder. You have been working so hard to reach this day.

"Fox," she said, using his first name only in situations when she really,
really wanted his attention, "you've earned this day. Don't talk yourself
out of this. You deserve the joy you're going to feel."

"I'm so scared," he whispered.

"I know." Scully reached over to draw him into a hug. "You are going to do
just fine, but if you don't put some pants on soon, you're going to give the
little old ladies in the third row a helluva good show."

Mulder looked down at himself and gasped. "Jeez, I didn't realize __, oh God,
Dane _, I didn't even realize I wasn't dressed yet! What the hell is wrong
with me?" He quickly reached over for the navy blue dress slacks and drew
them on.

Scully handed him the crisp, white dress shirt and watched as he fumbled with
the buttons. "Here, let me do it," she offered as she deftly buttoned each
one. Next, she reached over to the dresser bureau and picked up a small

"Mom wanted you to have these today. They were my father's cufflinks, and she
hoped you would wear them today as a way of having him be a part of this day,"
Scully explained.

"Oh, Dane, they're beautiful," he replied as he looked at the gold cufflinks
with an engraved anchor in each. "I'd be honored." He watched as his wife
put her father's cufflinks in place.

"Perfect," she murmured. He readily agreed and placed a tender kiss on top of
her head. "Okay, now where's the tie I got you?"

"Aw, Dane, that one is nice, but it's so __," he paused for a second, and then
warily said, "boring."

"Mulder, you're going to your Bar Mitzvah today; you're supposed to be a
little bit more conservative."

"Conservative does not have to translate to boring," he complained.

"Umm, in your case, G-Man, yes, it does. Now where's the tie I bought you?"

He pointed to the closet and she asked him to go get it. He walked over
somewhat dejectedly and opened the closet door. As he reached in, he
noticed something wrapped in tissue paper hanging from the tie rack.

"Dane?" he asked with just a hint of anticipation.

"Open it up, Spooky," she chuckled.

He pulled the package off the rack and ripped off the tissue paper. Mulder
was delighted to see a magnificent Escher print tie, with the incredible
metamorphosis of fish into seemingly alien type bugs. It was perfect, and
anything but boring.

"I figured today was your day of change, you deserved a tie fitting for the
occasion," Dana offered.

"Thank you, Dane. It's wonderful. It's perfect," he said as he tied it.

When he finished, Scully looked at him, and of course couldn't resist fiddling
with the just tied tie, which, in turn, drove Mulder to distraction. He
wondered if all pregnant women felt compelled to treat their husbands as if
they were children.

Just then the doorbell rang, and they heard Adam rush to the door to answer
it. They could hear him call out, "Who's there?" Mulder and Scully realized
it was Maggie and Walter, because Adam excitedly opened the door.

"Hi Gam-ma! Hi Gam-pa! We're goin' to Temple to have a party for my
Daddy!" Adam excitedly announced.

"We know, sweetheart!" responded an equally excited Maggie. "We're all so
happy for your daddy! Where are Mommy and Daddy, Angel?"

"In the bedroom. Daddy was 'frowing' up before, but now he's good,"
informed Adam.

"Throwing up?" repeated Walter.

"Walter, it's probably just nerves."

"I'm sure you're right, but all the same, I want to see he's all right."

At that moment Dana and Mulder walked out into the living room. Both Maggie
and Walter were reassured by Mulder's appearance and realized he was just
nervous. Mulder did go over to Maggie to thank her for the cuff links.

"Mom, they're beautiful. Thank you for giving me the honor of wearing them
today," he said.

"Oh Fox, thank you for honoring the Captain's memory by wearing them," she
said as she reached up to adjust his tie.

Mulder rolled his eyes slightly as he concluded it wasn't pregnant women,
just Scully women, who enjoyed treating him like he was five years old. He
glanced over at his father-in-law and noticed a certain all-knowing twinkle in the
older man's eyes.

Both men began to chuckle a bit, and when Maggie and Dana both asked what
was so funny, the two men simply laughed even harder. Normally Dana would have
been annoyed at being kept in the dark, but she was so grateful to see
Mulder finally relaxed, she decided not to push it.

"Are we ready to go?" asked Dana.

"In a minute," answered Walter. He turned to Mulder and said, "I have
something I'd like to give you."

Mulder looked at him with a puzzled expression and saw his father-in-law
pull out a small velvet jewelry box. Skinner handed the younger man the box, and
Mulder opened it. Inside was a tie clasp in the shape of a mezuzah, the
symbol which held a tiny piece of paper with a reading from the torah.

"My parents gave me this tie clasp on the day of my Bar Mitzvah, Fox. I'd
very much like to pass it on to you," Walter said with a rush of emotion.

Mulder stood speechless. It was one thing to be given William Scully's
cufflinks, but this was almost too much. "I don't know what to say," he

"Just say you'll wear it," answered Walter.

"Of course I'll wear it. I'd be honored to wear it. God __," Mulder
rambled as he clumsily worked to put the tie clasp in place.

"Here, I'll do it," said Walter as he deftly put the clasp on Mulder's tie.
"Interesting tie, Mulder," he muttered with a smile.

"It was a gift. Just like this is. Dad, thank you. Thank you so much. I
don't know if I could ever explain to you how much this means to me," Mulder

"I mean, you're giving me a piece of yourself; of your childhood and faith,
and it just means so much," Mulder said as he choked back the tears.

"You're welcome. I'm glad you see it that way, because that's how it was
meant. Fox, no matter what happens today, I just wanted to let you know how
proud I am of you," Walter said as he reached to shake Mulder's hand. When
he clasped it, Walter then pulled his son-in-law into a hug and gave him a
respectable slap on the back.

"Okay, let's go. We don't want to be late," Maggie said.

"We don't?" mumbled Mulder to himself as he put on his suit jacket and
walked to the door.


The small sanctuary was packed. Mulder wasn't sure if he was going to faint
before or after he stepped up to the bema, but he was certain the
lightheadedness he was feeling would translate into his becoming acquainted
with the carpeting.

He looked straight ahead and saw Rabbi Gerry in his beautiful tallit and
skull cap. Mulder, in turn, clutched at the small velvet bag which held his great
grandfather's tallit; the same tallit which served as the chuppah for Dana
and Mulder's wedding day.

Elizabeth arrived earlier and presented Mulder with a newly embroidered
yarmulke. He chuckled as he noted the small 'X's' scattered throughout the
design. Mulder was touched when his mother admitted to embroidering it
herself as a small token for his Bar Mitzvah.

He found himself hugging her in thanks, but when it was time to let go, he
found himself grasping her even tighter. "Mom?" he blurted out, but he found
he couldn't continue. He was afraid he'd receive the wrong answer, and there
was one thing he didn't need just before he went up to the bema, it was the
wrong answer.

"Go, Fox. Go be a Bar Mitzvah," was all she said.


Mulder moved slowly up the steps to the bema. He shook hands with Rabbi
Gerry and the Temple President. He sat down in one of the chairs that was set up
near the Ark which held the four torahs.

Mulder listened with half an ear as Gerry Ginsburg led the congregation in
the singing of Mi Chamocha, which echoed the songs Moses and other Israelites
sang at the shores of the Red Sea as they were saved from the oppression of
the Egyptians.

Then, during the second part of the service, Gerry led the congregation in a
prayer for peace for not only the Jewish people, but for the entire world.

Finally, it was time to open the Ark and take out the torah. Mulder realized
his hands were sweating profusely, and he felt his breathing was becoming

*Shayner boychik, you seem a little nervous, no?* asked the sweetly accented
voice of unconditional love.

*Nana?* he thought to himself. *Nana, you're here?*

*Oy, Foxila,* she replied with a chuckle, *as if I would be anyplace else on
the day mine aynekel became a Bar Mitzvah!*

*But, Nana, I'm so scared.*

*Nu? So you're scared! But you can do it mine shayner boychikel, you can!
You will!*

*But what if I can't, Nana? What if I go up there and I can't remember
anything? What if I can't remember the chant? What if __?*

*Shah, sweet boy. You will be fine. I'm here, and I won't let you fall, I
promise. I love you, mine Foxila, as your beautiful Dana loves you, and
your Adam, and Maggie and Walter, and __,*

*__ Don't say it, Nana. If she can't say it, I don't want to hear it, okay?*

*Okay, mine sweet boychik. As long as you know you are loved by so many
good and wonderful people. And mine new little beauty will be joining us soon.
Oy, I can't wait! Oy, she'll be so beauty-ful! So beauty-ful!* kvelled

*She? Nana, we're having a girl?* he thought excitedly to himself. Scully,
ever the pragmatic one, had wanted to know what the baby's gender was, but
Fox had wanted it to be a surprise. Yet, now that Nana let the cat out of the
bag, he was beside himself! A girl. A daughter!

*Oops! I guess I said too much! Forgive me, Foxila. I didn't mean to
spoil a surprise!* Nana apologized.

*No, Nana, it's okay. A daughter, really?* he asked again.

*Yes, sweet boy, a daughter for you and your Dana.*

Suddenly, Mulder heard the Rabbi calling his name, and Mulder stood and
walked slowly to the podium where the torah laid. When Gerry met Mulder's gaze,
Gerry expected to see some trepidation, some fear.

Instead he saw a beaming Fox Mulder stand before him who exuded a confidence
he'd never quite seen before. If Gerry hadn't known any better, he would
have sworn there was some kind of divine intervention.

Little did Rabbi Ginsburg know, someone was looking directly over his
shoulder, and she had to stand on her tiptoes to do it.


"I have invited 'Shual' Mulder, to join me on the bema today. 'Shual' is the
Hebrew word which means Fox, and our 'Shual' has been working very hard to
meet the challenge of this day; the day of his Bar Mitzvah.

"Now, at Fox's request, we have gone back in time and Fox has learned the
torah portion and haftarah that would have been his to do on his original
Bar Mitzvah date of October 19, 1974, in the month of Heshvan, the year 5735.

"They are the same texts Fox had begun studying over twenty-five years ago,
but due to unforeseen circumstances, he had to wait till today to be called
to the torah. Fox will begin chanting the story of Noah and the Ark. He
will be reading from "Noach, Genesis 6:9 through 11:32."

Rabbi Ginsburg nodded toward his pupil and Fox stood in front of the opened
scroll. He began chanting softly, tentatively the first lines, "Eleh toldot
Noach Noach ish tsadik tamim hayah bedorotav et-ha'Elohim hithalech Noach."

The members of the congregation were able to read the English translation of
Mulder's torah portion, which began, 'These are the chronicles of Noah.
Noah was a righteous man, faultless in his generation. Noah walked with God.'

He continued to chant the story of how the 'world was corrupt before God,
and the land was filled with crime.' As Scully read the translated portion, all
she could think about was how appropriate this tale was for her husband to

He sang about how Noah was called upon by God to build an ark, one with a
skylight that is slanted.

He sang about the flood that would destroy all life that remained on the
land, but that God will keep His promise and keep Noah, Noah's wife and children

He sang about God's command to bring two of each kind, a male and a female,
into the ark to live with Noah.

And as he continued to chant, Mulder's voice became stronger and more
confident. It was if he were telling of his own struggle to right the
world's problems.

As Scully read and listened to her husband chant with a new found strength
and conviction, she wondered if Noah faced all of the obstacles her own husband
faced in taking care of the world's ills. Surely people looked upon Noah as
being somewhat of a madman for building this huge boat?

Surely not all who listened to his explanations of God's commands believed
him. Scully suddenly realized there were none who believed him, which was
why there were no other humans but Noah and his family on the ark, along with
pairs of the world's animal kingdoms.

Scully smiled to herself as she thought, *And people thought Fox Mulder was

Time passed quickly. She realized Gerry and Mulder alternated parts, when
she realized Mulder had come to the end of his Torah portion by chanting,
"Vayihi'u yemey-Terach chamesh shanim umatayim shanah vayamot Terach

"All of Terach's days were 205 years, and Terach died in Charan."

He sighed a huge sigh of relief, and was allowed to sit down for a few

When Gerry called Mulder forward again, it was so Mulder could chant his
haftarah portion. The rabbi instructed everyone to turn to the page on
which Isaiah 54:1 began, and Mulder was going to chant the section to 55:5.

Once again, Scully listened carefully as her husband began, at first
tremulously, and then stronger and more melodious. As she followed along in
the English translation, Dana was particularly taken with the words, "This
is like the waters of Noah to me: I swore that the waters of Noah would never
again submerge the earth; similarly, I swore that I would not be angry with
you and would not rebuke you.

"For the mountains may depart, and the hills may be removed; but My kindness
will not depart from you, nor will My covenant or peace be withdrawn, says
God, who has compassion on you."

All Dana prayed for at this point in their lives is for her husband to finally
find some peace. He worked so hard to get to this place in finding his faith
again. She prayed Mulder could find some comfort in knowing his God; their
God, is a forgiving and loving God.

Scully startled a bit when she felt someone clasp her hand. She looked
around, but didn't see anyone other than her mother to the right side of her
and Elizabeth to her left. Dana felt a slight uneasiness until she heard a
familiar voice in her head.

*Shayner maydelah , he's going to be fine, you know.*

Dana smiled as she concentrated her thoughts, *I know, Nana. He really is
going to be fine, isn't he.*

Dana felt the warmth of the old woman's hands on her own and Dana managed to
return a squeeze to relay her love. Dana then placed her own hands on the
roundness of her belly, and rubbed it lovingly.


Mulder finished his Haftarah portion and accepted the congratulations of the
Rabbi and Walter, who was now the only other person on the bema with him
and the rabbi. Walter was called up to chant an alleyah, a blessing, and stood
as proudly as any father would stand with his son.

Walter shook Rabbi Ginsburg's hand and then Fox's, but quickly drew him into
an emotional embrace. Fox returned the hug with obvious pride and
affection, and then watched as Walter returned to his seat.

Gerry moved back to take a seat and left Mulder standing at the podium. It
was time to make the speech. It was hard enough for Mulder to learn all of
the torah portions; it was harder to write his Bar Mitzvah speech.

What does a thirty-eight year old man, with a five year old child and a
second on the way, have to say about becoming a man? He didn't want it to be
trite, but he didn't want it to be so serious that it brought everyone's spirits

Today was a celebration, and he didn't want to do or say anything that would
put a damper on the day. So, that's how he began his speech.

"Today, is a celebration. It's a day I had once looked forward to over
twenty-five years ago, and finally got to see fulfilled today.

"I stand before you a man of thirty-eight years. I have lived a life that
many would say was filled with strife and hardships, and on any other day I
might have agreed.

"But, today is a celebration. Today, I choose to remember a time when I
shared my life with a child of God; a spirit so bright and so loving, she
was truly one of the lights of my life. My sister _," Mulder's voice cracked
slightly at this point, and he needed to take an extra moment before he
could continue.

"__ My sister, Samantha, was the first to show me how to give and to receive
love unconditionally; without judgment. Without ever asking anything in
return. I haven't seen my sister in over twenty-five years, but the gifts
she gave me and the lessons she taught me are carried in my heart forever.

"Today is a celebration. I look out and see my mother who I have come to
learn so much about in these last few months. We've traveled a rocky road
together, my mother and I, but at least it's been together. I know it's been
hard for her; it's been hard for me. But I also know the choices she made in
the past made me the person I am today, and though some of those choices may
have created some rough edges around my being, they also sculpted the fire
and determination I have in seeking the truth, and ultimately, finding it.

"Today is a celebration. I look out and see but a handful of people whom I
am proud to call friend. Though there are only a few of you, it is the rarity
that which makes you all the more precious. Richard, Leslie, Rachael, and
Jason, I value your friendship and treasure your companionship more than I
could possibly ever tell you.

"Riichi and Mashiko, I am so grateful for your camaraderie and support. You
especially Riichi, have proven time and time again to be a giving and valued

"Karen, you, my friend, and yes, I do consider you a friend, have helped me
regain my sanity back. I thank you my friend."

Mulder then turned around to face Gerry Ginsburg and said, "And you, Rabbi,
you have helped me to regain my soul and my faith. I thank you my friend.

"Today is a celebration. As Noah was instructed by God to build an Ark and
bring the animals onto it, two by two, I discovered that I could not go
through life without a partner. God knows I must have done something right
in my life, because He saw fit to bring me my soul mate.

"And before I even knew I was in love with her, her own mother knew, and
chose to adopt me as if I were her own. Maggie, I don't know what I would have
done without you during those dark times, but even more, I am so grateful to have
your love and support during the light ones too. Today is a celebration,
Maggie Skinner, and I am so grateful you are here to celebrate it.

"And then there was a man I feared even being in the same room with, and not
because I thought he would harm me. No, I thought he found it impossible to
accept me or respect me as I'd accepted and respected him. I felt it was
easier to pretend he was an enemy than to try and gain his confidence in me.

"I'd never had a true male role model to look up to before I met this man,
and the idea of it scared me. Who could have known this very same man would
become not only my mentor, and my friend, but also my father-in-law. God
was truly smiling on me the day He decided to bring you and Maggie together. I
need you so much, and the fact that you allow me to need you is a gift I can
never repay. Thank you, Walter. Thank you, Dad."

Mulder had to stop for a minute and take a few breaths at this point. He
looked and watched Maggie and Walter do the same. Mulder was a bit afraid
to look at his wife. He was afraid if he did, he wouldn't be able to finish
his speech.

He took one last breath, looked at his son, and smiled the smile of the Gods.
He spoke with a gentleness he reserved for his first born, "You are my gift
from God, Adam Mulder. You are the reason I searched for my faith, and I
thank you my beautiful boy. Someday, you may choose to find your faith in
the synagogue or in the church, but where ever you choose to find God,
sweetheart, it's okay. A very wise, wonderful woman told me, it doesn't matter if you
find God in another house; at least you'll have found God.

"Thank you, Adam, my son, for giving me a reason to find my faith again. I
love you my son, my son. I love you so much."

"I love you too, Daddy," answered the sweet, resonant voice from the first
row. Mulder smiled in reply.

"And thank you, Nana, because I know you're here with us too, for helping me
realize how important faith in God and in our loved ones is to my life.

"Today is a celebration! And I am the luckiest man in the world to be able
to celebrate this day with the most special lady in the world. My Scully.
Always, always my Scully.

"The first time I thought of you in that way was the day I thought I'd lost
you forever. That was a day I would normally want to forget forever, but I
can't, because it's the first time I realized how much I loved you. Of
course I couldn't admit it to anyone; I couldn't even admit it truthfully to
myself. But your mother knew, Scully. She knew right away, and she stuck with me;
with us.

"Today is a celebration, my love, and I couldn't have gone through this
without your support and your understanding. Oh, Dane, I can't imagine any
other woman in the world putting up with all that I put you through. And
yet you did. You do. You always will, because you love me. Unconditionally.
And God knows, I do know what a gift that is.

"Today is a celebration! I love you, Dana Katherine Scully-Mulder. I love
you, and our son, and our child to be. I have finally come to a place in my
life when I can say life is a celebration!

"Today is a celebration of my coming of age. It may have taken an extra
twenty-five years to get to this point, but it was worth it. Thank you, my
friends, and my family. Thank you for all you do for me. I love you all."

After a moment or two of stunned silence, joyous shouts of "Mazel tov!"
could be heard all throughout the sanctuary.

Today, Fox Mulder was a man.

End of Part 6/6

And to Daniel,
I love you my son, my son.

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