Subject: Submission: Life Cycles XVI: Holidays (3/3)
Date: Wed, 30 Dec 1998

LC XVI: Holidays
by Susan Proto and Vickie Moseley

part 9/14

The old warehouse was colder than he remembered it.
The windows were broken and more than a few of the
skylights had fallen through. Snow was in little piles on
the floor, looking like sawdust in the faint yellow light.
He stepped over the snow, and toward the wooden wall
on the far side. His shoes echoed in the still air.

The door opened with a loud creak. There wasn't much
light in this room. High windows let a little of the yellow
street lights illuminate the area. His arms clutched at the
thin blankets he had brought with him from the back of his car.

There he was. His prize. Not much to look at right now, but
a prize none the less. An FBI agent. Top of the field. What
many detectives aspired to become. But right now, the man
who could bring killers to their knees was huddled around a
single thin blanket, coughing and muttering in his sleep.

He covered his eyes when he'd dragged him into the back
of the car. And bound his feet and arms with duct tape.
The one leg was obviously broken, so he was pretty certain
that the agent was not going to make an escape any time
soon. That was good. Just a little time. That's all he needed.
Just a little time.

When he looked down at the face, even around the blindfold,
it made his heart skip a beat. So like him. So much like him.
He missed him so much.

But this wasn't his friend. This man was dangerous, terribly
dangerous. Just as the last profiler had been worrisome,
this man was uncanny in his abilities. In a short time, he was
already on the right track. The last profiler was easy to distract,
and had been almost humorous to neutralize. An ulcer. One
would think people with ulcers would be more picky about their
diets. But that had only lulled him into a false sense of security.

He'd figured the new man would be easy to distract, too. But
instead, he had to take more drastic actions. He had never
meant to harm him. Just get him out of the way for a while.
Just till he could come up with a good cover, go back to the
way things used to be before his friend left him to fend for himself.

He knelt down and tucked the thin blankets closer around him.
They weren't much, but they would help, a little. He brought a
bottle of water, too, and held the man's head while he tipped the
spout top to his lips. The man drank greedily, but he'd only brought
a small bottle. When half of it was gone, he dropped the man
back to the floor.

"Sorry, buddy," he whispered gruffly. "Gotta go now."

The man, realizing first that he wasn't alone and then that he
was about to be abandoned again, cried out.

"Listen, don't go," Mulder pleaded. "We can talk. I can help
you, I promise. I know people, good lawyers, good doctors.
We'll help you. You don't want to kill me, you've already proven
that point. Just let me go, and I can help you."

He left the warehouse with the words still ringing in his ears.

The plan was set. The youngster was wired with both a
microphone and a tracking device. There was no possible way they
would lose sight of the teenager. Tommy was instructed to enter
the same Teen Center Kevin Jenkins had attended and ask for the
kind counseling services Kevin had participated in.

Hopefully, the teen would attract the man that fit Mulder and
Scully's profile. Hopefully, they were going to catch themselves a
killer before he killed again.

Hopefully, they would catch him in time to find Mulder safe and

"Are you ready, Tommy?" asked Skinner while they were in the
large surveillance van. The teenager nodded in the affirmative and
stepped out of the van. He walked toward the nondescript building
which housed various teen activities.

Tommy walked in and saw a large receptionist desk with a young,
energetic woman standing behind it.

"Hi there!" she greeted Tommy enthusiastically. "I don't think I've
ever seen you here before. Is there something you're interested in?"

Tommy shuffled his feet a little. Though he knew he was playing a
role to a certain degree, he was also feeling self-conscious since the
role he was playing was very true to life. His life. And the life of
his dead friend.

"Umm," he stumbled shyly over his words, "um, I heard there was
somebody I could talk to about stuff."


"Yeah, stuff." Tommy scrutinized the woman a little more closely.
He wasn't sure if she was busting his balls or not. "Yeah, stuff.
You know. Things like about life and, well, you know. Like sex,
and stuff."

"Oh. You want our teen counseling service. Okay. Let's see who's
on today. Okay, Counselor Al is on today. He's a really nice guy.
Very understanding. Pretty cool about talking about sex and stuff.
I'll buzz him, okay?"

"Yeah, okay." Tommy waited for Counselor Al to make an

Meanwhile, the team in the surveillance van was listening closely.
Counselor Al. No one had heard a last name, and that was what
they were really hoping for. Something to possibly identify this
guy. The receptionist had said she'd see who was on for today,
which meant there was more than one counselor. Unfortunately,
there was no way of knowing how many counselors there were at
this point.

All they could do was listen and wait patiently. Well, at the very
least they could listen and wait.


Tommy turned around in time to see an all too familiar figure walk
toward him. "Oh shit," he muttered. "Oh shit."

The surveillance team heard the boy utter the expletives but weren't
sure why. "C'mon, Tommy, give us something to go on here,"
uttered Skinner through nervous, clenched teeth. "Damn it, talk to
us, Son. What's going on?"

"Tommy? Tommy, is that you?" asked the man Skinner and the
team could only assume was Counselor Al.

"Hi, Alan. How ya doing?" asked the boy in a tone indicative of

"I'm doing just fine, squirt! Just fine, but I gotta admit, I'm a little
surprised to see you all the way downtown. What are you doing
here, Tommy?" asked the counselor.

"Well, I need to talk to someone about some stuff, and I didn't feel
comfortable about talking with anyone from Addison, ya know? I
mean, good news travels fast, and bad news travels even faster. I
didn't want people in my business, Alan, that's all," explained the
teen convincingly.

"I see. Well, c'mon then. You know I won't be spreading the news
around, right? Let's go on back to the counseling room, and we
can talk. Catch me up on things too. How's your mom and sister
doing, Tommy?"

Skinner looked at Riichi and James. "Friend of the family?" he

Riichi had been wondering what it was about the conversation that
was niggling at him. There was something he was missing, and he
just couldn't figure out what it was.

The agents quieted down as they heard Tommy and the counselor
begin to converse again.

"Alana's doing okay at college. I kind of miss having her around,
especially since __. Well, you know. She's still seeing Eric
Barton, and I guess they plan on getting married some day when
they graduate.

"Mom's doing pretty well. She's got her good days and her bad
days, but the bad days aren't even so bad anymore. She's started to
go out with her friends again. You know, like a movie or shopping
at the mall. Stuff like that," Tommy shared.

"And what about you, Tommy? How are you doing, Son?"
Counselor Al asked earnestly.

Tommy shuddered when he heard him call him that. For some
reason, when AD Skinner had referred to him like that earlier, it
didn't hold the same sense of foreboding as it did just then when
Alan called him 'Son'."

"I'm doing okay, I guess. But I suppose I could be doing better,
which is why I'm here. I guess," he replied in typical, insecure teen

"Well, then why don't we begin," Alan said.

And so, Tommy shared the details of the carefully planned story the
FBI agents and he had agreed on. Most of it was based upon
Tommy's own history, as there would be less of chance of him
tripping over his words.

The one major difference was Tommy was going to change his
family's reactions to him and his lifestyle. Now that his Dad was
gone, Tommy was going to state his mother and sister were more
and more uncomfortable with his sexual orientation, and he was
feeling a little insecure. A little lost.

Counselor Al listened with a sympathetic ear, and uttered an
occasional encouraging word to continue. Finally, as an hour had
passed by, Alan suggested they pick this conversation up over a bite
to eat. "I'll give you a ride home, Tommy. It's not as if I don't
remember the way back to your house," he said with a forced

"Eat?" the youngster repeated.

"Tommy, you're fifteen years old. All fifteen year olds do is eat,
right? C'mon, it's not like you don't know me,'' he urged.

"Umm, sure, but I should call Mom, you know? I mean she was
going to come and pick me up."

"No problem. I have a cellular in my car. C'mon."

Skinner, Obayashi, and Albright were listening to the exchange
through the wire on Tommy Martin's chest. They became more and
more uneasy with the turn of events. Something wasn't right.

Who the hell was this guy?

And as the two figures walked out the front door, they got their

"Holy shit!" cried out Riichi. "It's the CPD officer. The guy who
interviewed Riley, the cab driver. The guy on the God damned
Task Force!"

"I don't like this," Skinner growled and Albright was quick to agree.

"I gotta check something out," said Albright as he dialed on one of
the cell phones inside the van.

"Make sure we stay right on this bastard's ass, do you hear? Don't
lose him. Don't you lose this sonofabitch!"

Riichi pulled out of the spot shortly after Alan Tripp pulled out his
parking space. As he did so, Albright clicked off his cell, having
just completed his conversation with the records division.

"I think we've got our UNSUB," he said.

"What makes you say that?" Skinner asked.

"Because Tommy Martin is going out for a bite with his Dad's
former partner," Albright answered.

"What?" Riichi asked as he tried to concentrate on following the car
and on the dialogue inside their van.

"George Martin's partner, at the time of his death, was none other
than Alan Tripp."


Riichi was having an even harder time taking in what the SAC has
just said. "If Tripp was Martin's partner, that would explain why
he took Mulder. The resemblance is uncanny."

"And it also explains how he connected with boys from various
neighborhoods and backgrounds. We can go back now, get a court
order to open up the records of the counseling center."

"Chances are they don't keep full names and addresses, for
confidentiality," Riichi was muttering.

"But they can identify the pictures of the kids, and maybe someone
would be willing to testify if Al Tripp had been in contact with the
boys," Walter added. "Riichi, watch the intersection, he could turn
left up there."

Riichi was staring hard at the road ahead, but managing to keep
two cars behind Tripp's vehicle. "Should we put out an All

"It's a cop's car, he probably has a police band in there. He'd
know we were on him in a minute," Walter said, dismissing the
idea. "No, we're going to have to tail him and see what falls out."

"What if he makes his move before then?" Albright asked, eyes
focused as the two other men, on the drama unfolding in the blue
sedan two cars ahead.

"We take him out. We get right behind him and blow the tires.
Whatever, we can't let anything happen to that boy, not after all
he's been through," Walter hissed. The other men fell silent.

They drove for several miles. Tripp turned off on to the Stevenson
Expressway going south. "Not the way to Addison that I
remember," Walter commented.

"It's not," Albright agreed. "Speed up, Obayashi. It's easier to
pull a fast one on an interstate."

Riichi complied. "I don't think he sees the tail, sir," he said,
drawing a deep breath and hoping he wasn't wrong.

"Just keep out of his direct line of sight. He's a cop, but he's also
in the know on this case. As long as the office doesn't know
what's happening, he doesn't know either."

"Do you think his partner is in on it?" Riichi asked. "Oh, shit, he's
going for the exit!" With a little fast lane changing, and a few horns
blared, Riichi made the exit as well. "Shit, shit, shit! He's made us
for sure!"

"Steady, Riichi, steady. Just keep on him. They're still just talking.
Tommy doesn't even sound that nervous," Walter said as he
listened to the conversation from the other car by way of the
concealed microphone Tommy had worn. "I think they're heading
for a park or something? Albright, is there a park near here?"

"Forest Preserve is right up here. They could be heading there. It's
pretty secluded, especially in the winter."

"Which side of the road?" Riichi asked.

"Both," Albright said with a grimace. "This road goes right smack
through the middle of it."

"Left, Obayashi! Left!" Walter shouted and put his hand up to
keep from bumping Riichi as the car swerved left.

"Slow down, try to stay back." Riichi looked at Walter like he'd
just grown a second head, but complied with the order.

The blue car slowed, in accordance with the speed limit of the
Forest Preserve, and turned right into a heavily wooded area. By
the time Riichi made the turn, the car was gone. "What the hell?"

"There are little picnic areas all over this place. Each one is pretty
secluded. Like I said, it's the perfect spot," Albright told them,
shaking his head. "Wait, back up!"

Riichi put the car into reverse and backed slowly down the main
road. Albright scanned the trees, looking intensely to the left,
Walter looked to the right. Finally, Walter called out. "They're
over there. The car is over there," pointing down a narrow path
that was little more than a service road.

"They're on foot," Skinner said, but he was stating the obviously.
Fortunately, the snow made it easy to follow the lonely tracks, one
set of sneakers and the other a set of cheap wing tips, into the
heavy woods beyond the little clearing. Skinner unclipped his gun
and brought it forward, the two other men followed suit.
"Careful," Skinner whispered. "We don't want this to go bad."

The track through the woods crossed a little stream. Ahead, there
was a heavy growth of underbrush that made it hard to see. As
they approached, Skinner held up his hand. He could hear them

"Al, c'mon Al. You know how worried Mom gets when I'm out
too late," Tommy was saying, and Skinner could tell the boy was
now seriously frightened.

"You're with me, Tommy. Everything will be OK. I don't know
why George never said anything. But then, you probably didn't tell
him, did you? You kept it a secret from him. That's wrong, you
know. It only makes things worse."

"Al, I'm cold. It's getting dark. I think we ought to go home,
now," Tommy pleaded.

Skinner winced at the fear in the boy's voice. They were so close.
But so far, Tripp had done nothing wrong. It was such a fine line
they were walking, waiting for the right 'threatening action' that
did not result in harm. They needed a clean bust, not one that
would be misinterpreted in the 'police friendly' Chicago Seventh
Circuit courts. He closed his eyes and gripped is gun tighter in his
fist. Just a few more minutes, just a few more.

From his spot closer to the underbrush, Riichi could see the two
figures. Tommy, with his back toward him, and Tripp, facing him,
but looking only at Tommy. There was about three feet separating
the two, Tripp kept talking and Tommy was instinctively taking
small steps backward. The three men watching and listening and
waiting in the underbrush held their breaths and prayed.

"It's got to end, Tommy. You can't let it go on. It's no good. It's
evil. You can see that, can't you?"

Tommy wasn't even bothering with words now, he was just
breathing heavily, glancing around him, wondering if anyone was
going to be able to end his nightmare.

"What are you looking for, Tommy? We're all alone. Just the two
of us. All alone." Tripp advanced in the boy, his hand coming up
to reveal a thin piece of wire, about two and a half feet long.
Tommy was backing up and stumbled over a fallen limb, landing
hard on his backside. Tripp was right on top of the boy.

A single gun shot ripped through the darkening night. Tripp
stumbled, looked confused. Blood seemed to magically appear to
the right of buttons of his overcoat. His eyes looked in wonder at
Tommy, and then he sank to his knees and fell forward.

For several seconds, Skinner didn't dare move. He glanced at the
two men with him, he was certain neither of them had fired the
shot. His own gun was still unfired in his hand, but he checked it
anyway. A sound of footsteps, approaching quickly through the
brush, caused him to whirl around, gun aimed.

"Put the gun down, Mr. Skinner. It's all over." Jeff Randal
stepped out of the brush, lowering his weapon. He was talking to
the AD, but hadn't taken his eyes off the man on the ground.

"Randal! What the fuck do you think you were doing?" demanded
Albright. Riichi had clambered over the vines and brambles and
was now on his knees next to Tripp.

"I couldn't let it go on. I figured it out last night. Then, I found
out you'd talked to the Martins. I've been following Al since this
morning. By the way, you've got a good driver, but you need to
work on handling expressway tailing," Randal said, holstering his
weapon. "Is he dead?"

Riichi was feeling for a pulse. "No, he's alive. Barely. You hit him
square in the chest," he accused.

"Couldn't risk just wounding him. He would have gone for the kid.
It wasn't his fault, not entirely. It was a compulsion with him. I
know Al. He never would have hurt George's kid. Not if he'd
been anywhere near his right mind." He drew in a deep breath,
shaking his head sadly. "It was bad enough to lose George. The
Captain's gonna scream bloody murder to lose both of them."

Skinner could hear Obayashi calling 911 and suddenly remembered
there was another witness to the drama. Tommy was standing,
wide-eyed and shivering, just a few feet from wounded man.

"He was gonna kill me," he was muttering. "Al used to play ball
with me. He bought me my first 'Spawn' comic when my Mom
said I should be reading 'real books' and not comics." Tears were
flowing down his face and Skinner took off his coat and wrapped it
around the boy.

"It's all right, Tommy. It's going to be all right. I'll call your
Mom, tell her that you're all right. Then we'll take you home."

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, the reality of the
situation came crashing home to Walter Skinner. Their best hope
of finding his son-in-law was now unconscious, and might never
wake up.


end of part 9

Life Cycles XVI: Holidays
by Vickie Moseley & Susan Proto

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 10/14

Mulder looked forlornly out of the broken, basement
window and saw what he believed were street lights in the
distance. They reminded him of the lights he was supposed
to be kindling with his family.

*So much for my miracle,* he thought to himself.

"Oy, Fox, you don't think there's any more miracles left?"

"Nana," he croaked. "I want to go home. I want to share
the story of the miracle of Hanukkah, but I can't. Nana,
help me. I can't do this anymore."

"Fox, you can. You must!" she replied adamently. "You
have to make the miracle happen, like they do in the days
of the Maccabees."

"I don't think I need eight days worth of oil, Nana," he replied c

"So, you think that's the great miracle Jews celebrate at this
time of year?" asked Nana.

"Isn't it?" asked a contrite Mulder. "The oil lasted seven more
days then it was supposed to. That was a miracle."

"Yes, well, sweetheart, I have it on good authority that particular
miracle is more like a little fairy tale that's been exaggerated as
it's been passed down through the ages. The oil is more of a
symbol of the real miracle."

"What real miracle, Nana? What are you talking about?" Mulder
asked confused.

"The miracle of overcoming tremendous odds. Sweetheart, the
Maccabees should never have even _considered _ challenging
Antiochus, much less actually fighting him. They were a small,
inexperienced group; not even big enough to be considered
an army. But they believed in themselves and their right to believe
in their God. They believed in themselves, Fox, and for that, they won.
That was the miracle.

"Shayner boychikel," Nana continued gently, "you must create your
own Hanukkah miracle. You must believe in yourself. Believe you
can survive this, and you will. God will hear your prayers, Fox."

Fox felt something inside him snap. He was in pain, and he was
scared, and though it never his intent to hurt his Nana, he felt
driven to question her unshakable belief in God.

"Like He heard my prayers when Sam was taken? Like He heard
them when my father beat me to a pulp because he blamed me
for something that was more than likely his doing? Like He heard
my prayers when my mother chose to not love me, because I was
the one supposed to be taken?" he said, his face contorted in anger
and frustration.

"But you didn't believe then with the same strength and conviction
you do now, Foxila. Trust yourself. Trust in yourself and in your

Mulder felt his shoulders suddenly sag. He was tired. He was
exhausted, and the lights in the distance seemed to move further
and further away.

"I don't know if I can, Nana. I'm so tired, and everything hurts
so much." Mulder paused for a moment and then took as
deep a breath as he dared, because the pain was becoming
more and more unbearable as each hour passed. "Nana?"
he cried out. "Nana, I'm scared. I'm scared my Scully can't
find me. Why can't she find me?"

"She's coming, shayner aynekel. She's coming. Be strong.
Have faith, and believe in her; believe in yourself," Nana said
as her image shimmered into nothingness.

"Nana, I don't know if I can make a miracle," he whispered in
the darkness.

She kept hearing odd sounds. She wondered if these sounds could
be a clue. A clue as to where this bastard was holding her now very
hurt, very ill grandson.

"Fox?" she called out gently so as not to startle him.

"Mmmmm," he groaned. He was having difficulty staying
conscious at this point. He was running a high fever now, and he
was seriously dehydrated. His throat felt like it was made of
sandpaper, and his head pounded like a jackhammer on high speed.
It was his leg, however, that was causing him the most pain at this
point. It was definitely broken; even Mulder realized that, and it
would definitely need surgery to put it all back together again.

He heard someone calling him, but he didn't want to answer. It
took way too much energy to respond to voices now.

"Foxila? You hear me, shayner boychik?" she called out a little
more forcefully.

Nana. His nana was here again and as much as Mulder knew she
wanted to help, he realized she couldn't. If she could, she would
have brought his Scully to him by now. He knew it was hopeless;
he knew if Scully ever did find him, it would be too late.

*I'm sorry, Scully,* he thought helplessly. *I'm sorry I couldn't
hang on for you and Adam. And for Dawn,* he lamented sadly for
the baby he'd never really gotten a chance to know.

He felt all of his strength being sapped from him. He'd never given
up before. During all those times in the past when he'd found
himself in dire straits, he'd never once given up that Scully wouldn't
find him. But now, he wasn't sure he could hold on any longer.

He was so tired, and everything hurt so much. He just wanted to
go into a deep, deep sleep, away from all of the pain.

"Fox, you've got to help me figure out where we are, sweet boy.
Listen to me! Please aynekel , wake up! Wake up for Nana, and
help me figure out where we are so I can tell them. Help me, Fox,"
Nana pleaded.

Through much effort, Mulder opened his eyes. She wasn't going to
let him sleep. "Nana, sleep," he moaned.

"NO! Fox, no more sleeping for now! We have to figure out where
we are. You need to get out of here so you can celebrate
Hanukkah with Adam and Dawn! Don't you remember?" she asked
in desperation.

"Hanukkah? Candles. I was supposed to light the candles with
Adam. I missed it, didn't I?" he asked sadly.

"No, no dear man, you didn't miss it. You still have time, I swear
to you! But we have to figure out where this dark place is, so I can
tell them," she said quickly.

"Nana?" he asked anxiously. "Where's my book?"


"Oh, no! I lost the book," he whimpered, both for his loss and his

"What book, shayner aynekel?"

"My Hanukkah book. I was going to read the prayers with Adam,
and we were going to play the games. But it's gone," he grieved,
and closed his eyes in mourning.

Nana was becoming desperate. Her grandson was giving up on life,
and she needed to show him he still had a chance. But she needed
his help to give him that chance. For whatever reason, she couldn't
go but from Adam's presence to Mulder's presence. No one else
could see her during this time in the Mulders' lives.

She had to show Fox he had the faith to keep going, but how?
Then she saw her answer. In the corner of the darkness, laying next
to the coat Mulder arrived in, was a patch of blue. Nana used all of
her energy to pick it up and carry it over to where Mulder laid with
his leg misaligned, and his body ravaged with fever.

"Look, Fox. Look what I found," she cajoled as she placed the
blue paperback book in his hands.

"Oh, Nana, you found it. You found Adam's book. Thank you,
Nana. You found my Hanukkah," he said with genuine gratitude.

"Now we have to figure out where we are so you can share it with
your beauty-ful veib, zun, and tochter," she responded with
renewed vigor. "Help me, Foxila, help me understand what I am
seeing; what I am hearing," she said.

"I don't know, Nana. It's hard for me to hear anything," he said
coughing as if he needed to emphasize just how congested he was.
"My head is pounding so much, and my chest hurts. It's hard to
breathe, Nana. It's really harder to breathe now," he confessed.

"Oy, I know mine grandson. I know. But listen, do you hear that?
It's a kind of pounding. Up and down, up and down, up and down!
Do you hear that?" she asked excitedly.

When she looked at her grandson, though, her smile turned upside
down. The fever and the pain was becoming too much for him.
She saw he'd clutched the Hanukkah book to his heart before he
passed out. Her poor Fox. Nana realized she would have to be the
detective in the family. She would have to look around and listen
ever so carefully, and then report her findings to the one person
who could see her. Adam.


It was a different room, and obviously not the new house the
Mulders had only moved into three months or so ago. No, this was
very definitely a different room, and in fact, Nana could sense it was
in a different place. It didn't take nearly as much effort to find
Adam here.

"Hi, Nana. I told Mommy we should come to Chicago, and she
listened to me. Well, to us. I told her you told us to come, and we
did. Did you see Daddy today?" asked a quizzical Adam.

"Yes, Adam, yes I saw your daddy today."

"Is he coming home now?" asked Adam.

"No, not yet, but soon. Listen sweet boychikel, I need you to listen
to me carefully. So, so carefully. Can you do that for me
ur-aynekel? If we want to help your daddy, then you have to listen
to what I have to say, so you can tell your mommy. Do you

When the child nodded, Nana could not help but gaze in
amazement at the similarities between this small wonder and her
own little Fox when he was Adam's age. The serious expression
Adam now wore was identical the one Fox wore on so many

"Good. Now I'm going to tell you what I saw and what I heard in
this place where your Daddy is. It is the clues I found, yes? And
we are the detectives to help find your daddy, no?"

Adam nodded enthusiastically and with a smile. He could be a
detective; no, he was going to be an FBI agent just like his mommy
and daddy. He was going to help his mommy find Daddy. "Tell me
what you see'd, Nana?" he directed, oh so seriously again.

"Well, it was so dark down there. No light, and so it was very, very
hard to see anything very clearly, you know? So I did not see
everything, but I did see tables. Many, many folding tables and
chairs too. It was dusty down there, like no one uses it much.

"I wish I saw more, but it was too dark. I did see some lights from
the window, but they were cracked and it was impossible to see
what the lights were coming from.

"But I also heard things. It was hard to understand these sounds,
because they were muffled. I hear them coming from up above, like
a pounding. Up and down, up and down, up and down. Over and
over and then suddenly it would become very, very fast, and then it
would be silent. Then, I'd hear voices raised. I couldn't tell if they
were happy or angry. What is that, do you think?" asked Nana.

"I don't know, Nana, but I'll ask Mommy. You wanna come with
me? She's plugged into Dawnie again," he offered with only the
slightest hint of resentment. Adam was an FBI agent now, and he
couldn't allow a little thing like Mommy needing to feed Dawn get
in his way of saving Daddy.

"I don't know if I can, ur-aynekel. Maybe, if I follow you, I can."
And Nana did just that, and for whatever reason, Scully could not
see Nana, but Nana could see Dana. And her great grand-daughter,

"Oy, mine beauty-ful Dawn. Such beauty-ful children my Fox any
your mommy make, Adam!" she cried out in sheer joy.

"Thank you, Nana," Adam said.

Scully practically jumped out of her chair. "What did you say,

"I said thank you to Nana, 'cause she says you and Daddy make
'beauty-ful' babies," he said as he mimicked his great-grandmother's

Nana looked around desperately, for she knew Nana was indeed
present simply by the way Adam pronounced the word 'beautiful.'
Only Nana ever said it as 'beauty-ful.'

"Nana? Please, tell me where Fox is," Dana pleaded.

"Adam," Nana responded, "tell your Mommy what I told you. Tell
her quickly."

"Mommy, Nana was a detective and she said I should be a detective
too, but I wanna be a FBI agent like you and Daddy, 'kay?" Scully
nodded her head furiously and urged her son to continue.

"Sweetheart, what else did Nana say?" Dana coaxed, as she no
longer questioned why Nana could only communicate through
Adam. She was grateful for small favors at this point.

"Oh, she said she looked all around, but it was really dark and hard
to see stuff, but she saw lots of tables and chairs and it was very,
very, dusty," Adam reported all the while looking at Nana for
confirmation that he was accurate.

"What else, Adam? What else did Nana tell you?" asked Scully
anxiously. She had a feeling Nana was going to help her save
Mulder's life yet again. She just wished Adam could hurry up a
little bit.

"Oh, well Nana said she could see some lights from the window,
but the windows were cracked and so it was too hard to look out a
broken window."

"Very good, sweetheart," Scully said as she switched Dawn to the
other side to finish feeding. "Did Nana say anything else?"

"Yup," he agreed quickly, but when he neglected to continue,
Scully became slightly agitated.

"Adam! Hurry up! Please!" Dana shouted,which not only
upset Adam, but Dawn as well. the baby started crying
and Adam backed up, wide eyed, staring at his mother.
"Oh, Adam, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I shouldn't be cross with you.
You are being a wonderful FBI agent, and Mommy is too
impatient. Now, please, tell me what else Nana saw," she said
contritely as she urged Dawn to latch back on to finish feeding.

"Not 'sawed', Mommy. _Heard_!" he corrected.

"Oh, well what did Nana hear?" she asked and listened to his recital
of Nana's description of the pounding sounds in both a rhythmical
staccato and rapid fire successions. He also remembered to tell
about the voices getting louder, though he said Nana wasn't sure if
they were happy or angry voices.

When Adam had finished, Scully remained very quiet. She knew
the perpetrator was a cop. It could have been in a firing range, the
pounding sounds being the reverberations of guns being fired.

It could have been in music or dance studio. It could have been in
the basement of a school gymnasium. A gym. A game. Basketball.
Nana heard a basketball game.

Ohmigod. He's been right under our noses all this time. Where
would Alan Tripp take him? Where he could be certain of having
access to him.

Oh God, she had to contact Walter. She had to get to him. She
had to get to Mulder.

"Adam," she said as calmly as she could, "go knock on the door to
your Gam-ma's room. I need her to come here right now."

"Did we do it, Mommy?" the little boy asked excitedly. "Did we
help you figure out where Daddy is?"

"I think so, Adam. Tell your Nana thank you for me, okay? Tell
her I love her very much, and I wish I could give her a great big
hug and a kiss."

"She can hear you, Mommy," he responded as he ran to knock on
the second bedroom in the hotel suite.

Maggie opened the door and saw the excited look in Adam's eyes.

"What is it, sweetheart?"

"Nana was a good detective an' I was a good FBI agent and
Mommy's gonna rescue Daddy, so we needs you to be here to
watch Dawnie," explained Adam.

"Umm, not just Dawnie, big guy," warned Scully.

"But Mommy, I'm a FBI agent! I gotta rescue Daddy too," he
whined slightly.

"Oh, but you did your job, Little G-Man, and now it's time for
backup," she replied earnestly as she knelt down and gave him a
hug. "You and Nana did really well, Adam. I am so proud of you!
And Daddy is going to be so proud of you too."

Scully stood up and saw the questioning look in her mother's face.
She held up her hand to Maggie as if to say 'hold on one minute'
and picked up the phone to dial Skinner's cellular.


"Where are you?" Scully asked.

"Just about to leave the Forest Preserve. We're just waiting for the
ambulance to leave with the perp. He was shot by his partner,
Scully. I'm sorry. The man's unconscious, and I don't know if he'll
regain consciousness in time to tell us where Mulder is," Skinner
recounted pessimistically.

"It doesn't matter," she replied.


"I'm going to meet you back at the Teen Center. Call for an
ambulance to meet us there. Hurry!" Scully practically ordered.

"The Teen Center? Scully we were there earlier. What are you
talking about?" the AD asked in confusion.

"Walter, he's been right under our noses. I think_, no, I _KNOW_
he's in the Teen Center. I would guess the basement. I should be
there in about ten minutes. Call for an ambulance, now, Sir."

Walter knew Dana meant business when she reverted back to
calling him, 'Sir,' so he wisely chose the only course of action he
could take. He listened and did as he was told.


end of part 10

Life Cycles: Holidays
by Susan Proto and Vickie Moseley

Part 11/14

All the way to the door of the hotel suite, Adam tugged on Dana's
shirt tail. "Mommy, please, I'm a agent, too. Let me go, too," he

"Sweetheart, I'm sorry," she said, turning around and stooping
down to be eye to eye with her son. The thought flashed through
her mind that it wouldn't be too long before he'd be stooping down
to see eye to eye with her. She brushed the thought aside as she
looked into his pleading face. So much like her Fox . . .

"Adam, I have to ask you to do something that is very, very
difficult. It's really hard, but I know you can do it. Will you be a
good agent, and accept this assignment?" She knew she might be
losing him with the 'jargon', but she also knew her son was more
'sponge' than boy and understood far more than they gave him
credit for.

He looked at her seriously, and nodded, slowly. "I 'cept it,
Mommy. Just like you 'cept what Gam-pa tells you to do at work."

She smiled. He did understand. "Exactly. Just like Daddy and I
accept assignments from Gam-pa at work. But this is a tough
assignment, Adam. Are you sure you're up for it?"

Again, the confident nod. "Yup, Mommy. I can do it."

"OK. I want you to stay and guard Grandma and Dawnie. I need
you to set up surveillance, that means you'll be waiting by the
phone. And as soon as I call, you have to help Grandma get Dawn
ready and come to meet me."

"And Daddy?" the little boy asked hopefully.

Dana swallowed past the rock that had suddenly developed in her
throat. "Yes, Agent Adam. Meet me and Daddy."

"You'll be at the hospital, right? Like after Dawnie was born?"

Dana hated the fact that Adam was that much aware of the
situation. "I heard you tell Gam-pa to get a 'bambulance'. That's
for Daddy, right? Nana says he's sick, Mommy. He needs to go to
the hospital. But Gam-ma and Dawnie and me can go there and see
him, can't we?"

"That is exactly what you can do, Adam. Now, do you still accept
your assignment?"

Adam beamed and stood up straight and tall. "I 'cept it!" He
started to turn, then stopped and grabbed her hand again.
"Mommy, do you and Daddy salute Gam-pa when you 'cept
'signments? Like they do on TV?"

The humor of the situation was not lost on Dana. She couldn't
stop the giggle of laughter that caught her son by surprise. "Only
when your Daddy is in a _very_ dangerous mood, Sweetheart.
Now, Mommy has to go. You get set up by the phone and wait for
my call, all right?"

Her cell phone was burning in her ear as she drove. She'd called
the Bureau office to find the location and directions to the Teen
Center. Then she'd called Walter back, to make certain someone
had called for a search warrant for the premises, assuming there
might be some resistance. And finally, she'd called back to the
office, to double check on the arrangements for the warrant.

"Now, I know why I let you drive all the time, Mulder. It's too
damned hard to dial and drive at the same time," she said to the
empty car interior as she sped toward the Teen Center, located near
the University of Chicago in the Hyde Park area of Chicago.

Traffic was with her and she arrived just as Skinner, Riichi and
Albright pulled up. Walter got out of the car, waving a document
in his hands. "I believe you were concerned about this, Agent
Scully," he said with a wry smile.

Dana allowed a sheepish grin to cross her face. "Just having a hard
time delegating, sir. Uh, thank you for picking that up, by the

"Not a problem, and good thinking. Now, where the hell do we
start looking?"

Dana surveyed the building. It was set in a park, one of the many
that were built in the city for the 1892 and later the 1933 World's
Fairs. The building was definitely from the thirties and displayed a
beautiful frieze design in the guttering and the tracings of Frank
Lloyd Wright in the general form of it's single story.

"Where's the basement?" she asked. The building didn't seem to
sport any windows under the first floor. It was built on
cinder block.

"He's in a basement?" Skinner asked as the foursome walked
toward the doors.

"That's what Nana said. She couldn't see out the broken
windows," Dana said with a shake of her head.

"Wait a minute," Riichi interrupted. "Did you just say 'Nana'? As
in Mulder's grandmother 'Nana'?"

Dana nodded. Riichi turned a little paler. "Shit," he muttered and
hurried up his steps to pull open the door.

"How would Mulder's grandmother know where he was being
kept?" Albright asked, confused.

"It's a long story and one that takes a whole lot of brandy to
understand," Walter explained. "For now, let's just say it's as close
to hard surveillance as we can get."

There was a young woman at the reception desk, reading the latest
John Grisham paperback. She looked up at the approaching agents.
"May I help you?" she asked expertly.

"Yes," said Dana, taking the lead. None of the three men with her
even thought to upstage her. This was very much her show. "I am
Special Agent Scully, this is Assistant Director Skinner, Agents
Albright and Obayashi from the FBI. We have a warrant to search
the premises. We have reason to believe that a federal agent is
being held against his will somewhere in this building. If you would
accompany us and provide us with the appropriate keys for locked

The young woman blanched and nodded nervously. "Uh, can I call
Lenny? He's the building supervisor?"

Dana sighed. She should have thought of that. "Yes, of course.
But please, we are in a hurry. We have reason to believe the agent
in question is injured and requires medical treatment." As if to
underscore her statement, sirens could be heard pulling up the road
to the Center.

"Lenny!" the young woman screamed at the top of her lungs.
"Lenny, get out here, NOW!" Then, after a second, she blushed
and added "Please."

A tall, aging black man with a disgruntled expression came out of
one of the offices. "Teresa, you don't have to yell," he huffed.
"We have an intercom system, ya know," he said, pointing to the
phone. Then he noticed the crowd in front of the desk. "Can I help
you folks?"

Dana repeated her spiel and Lenny, for his part, got as wide eyed as
young Teresa. "Sure, sure, I'll help ya. Just tell me where to go? I
can have you check all the offices, and of course, there's the video
room and the conference room down the hall . . ."

"We need to see the basement," Dana said, following after Lenny
with the three men trailing behind her.

Lenny pulled up short. "Well, that's gonna be a problem." He
turned around and shook his head. "This building don't have a
basement. It was built on a crawl space."

Dana thought hard to what Adam had told her. Nana had told him
basement. She doubted that Adam would have forgotten a phrase
like 'crawl space'. He would have thought that was funny. But
would Nana, sweet, innocent Eastern European Nana, know the
difference between a crawl space and a basement? Then, Dana
remembered the other part of the puzzle.

"It's under the gym."

Lenny bit his upper lip in consternation. "Well, then we _really_
got problems. We definitely don't have a gym. Sorry. You must
have the wrong building," he said sadly.

"No, no, that's not possible," Dana said, breathlessly and taking
steps backward until she bumped right into her father-in-law. "No,
Nana wouldn't lie. He's here, he has to be here," she said, turning
and searching Walter's face. "He's here, Walter, he's here."

Regardless of protocol, Walter took his daughter-in-law into a hug,
holding her shaking body against his. "I know we wanted him to
be, Dana. But it looks like this isn't the place. We just have to
keep looking." He looked over to Albright and Obayashi, who
were wearing matching disconcerted looks. Everyone understood
just how impossible that task was going to be. "Come on. Let's go
outside that think this through."

They were halfway down the hall when Lenny let out a whistle.

"Hey! Did you say it was a basement under a gym you're looking
for?" he asked, running to catch up with the group.

Walter didn't trust his voice to speak, so he just nodded. Lenny
continued, "Well, we have an arrangement with the University.
We let their students use our video room and they let our kids use
one of their old gyms. It's just up the road. C'mere. You can see
it through the trees."

He led them outside and pointed to the south. Sure enough, there
was a red brick building, with high windows and just visible low to
the ground windows, just about a city block's distance away.

Lenny was still talking. "The University don't use it much these
days. They built a new 'sports complex' a couple of years ago.
Most of the kids goin' there are all 'eggheads' anyway," he
chucked. "Not like when they were the 'monsters of the midway'."

"I thought that was the Bears," Obayashi muttered, but shook
himself back from such mental wanderings. "I'll go send the
ambulance over there. I'll meet you three over there." He was
yelling at their backs, since Dana, Skinner and Albright had already
broken out into a run across the frozen park.


Mulder didn't think he'd ever been as cold in his life. He
remembered shivering under the lights of an abandoned submarine,
dying of hypothermia, and still, he hadn't been as cold. He tried to
draw in a breath, but it caught in his throat and his chest shuddered
into a coughing spasm.

Dana, his mind screamed. He wished he could say her name aloud,
as if that mere action would bring her to him. He knew Nana was
trying, but for a close to hundred year old ghost, Nana had some
limitations. Few, but some.

He thought for a moment of his last memory of his home and
family. Dana, standing at the door, holding back tears that he knew
would be shed the moment his back was turned and the door was
shut behind him. Adam, running a Match box car along the wooden
dining room floor. Baby Dawn in her bouncy seat, her fist tucked
close to her mouth, sucking on the knuckle of her baby thumb for
all it was worth and drooling down onto her Winnie the Pooh bib.
He loved them so much. He was going to miss them so much.

*Nana, do you miss people when you get to heaven,* he thought.

"No, mine Foxila. It is so beauty-ful there. But you can't go to
the afterlife, the Olam, right now. You have a son to raise and
a daughter to walk down the aisle and give to another man
someday. You have a veib to love and more little ones to give
her, maybe, too, nu? You have much work to do here on earth.
You aren't ready for Olam, yet."

I'm so tired, Nana. I want to raise Adam. I don't want to give
Dawn away to anyone, but I'll let her love someone some day. And
yes, I want to love Dana. I want to live with Dana until we're both
too old to walk, and we can move to Florida or California, and the
kids can bring their kids to visit us and their kids' kids. I want that,
Nana. I want that.

"Then hold on, Fox. They are on their way. Just hold on a little

He could feel her hand on his forehead as he drifted off to sleep. "I
have to hold on," he whispered, and his breath made little clouds in
the freezing air.


Dana made it to the door of the massive brick building ahead of the
others. She grabbed at the handle and pulled at it violently. It held

"Damn it!" she wailed and pounded on the heavy oak doors. "We
forgot to get the keys from Lenny!"

"Step aside, Agent Scully," Albright said and pulled a small device
out of his trenchcoat pocket. At Dana's amazed look, he smiled.
"What? You thought _you_ were the only field agent to carry one
of these babies?" He deftly handled the lockpick and the door
opened with ease before them.

"The basement. Where the hell are the stairs?" Dana cried out, as
Albright stopped long enough to find the light switch and send the
building into bright illumination.

"Over there," Riichi, who had just joined them, pointed to the old
marble steps with their wooden and wrought iron bannister. They
ran quickly to them and took the stairs two at a time.

Dana reached the bottom just after Walter. There was another
door and yet another lock, but this was a padlock, and looked new.
He took out a latex glove to shield the lock and Albright used his
magic lockpick yet again.

"Keep that for evidence. I'm sure we'll find Tripp's prints on it,"
Skinner said over his shoulder and Riichi quickly complied.

Dana had already taken out a flashlight. Albright found a light
switch near the door, but it was broken. He took out his own
flashlight and followed Dana into the darkness.

The room was large and very cold. The windows that lined the low
ceiling were broken out, only the ornamental ironwork on the
outside of the building keeping animal life and vagrants out of the
basement. Dana could easily understand why Nana would have had
a hard time seeing out the windows. She used her light to scan the

The room was empty.

Her heart sank. "Not again," she muttered and felt a warm and
familiar presence come up behind her and put a comforting hand on
her shoulder.

"Just relax, Scully. Keep your head. We'll find him."

"Hey," Riichi said suddenly, standing toward the middle of the
room. "There's another room over there." He flashed his light
over to a far wall. The wall wasn't made of brick, as was the rest
of the basement, but was wooden.

"The boiler room, I'll bet," Albright said, taking strides to reach the
door. Once again, the lockpick was required and the old wooden
door swung open on rusty hinges.

Albright was in the room in one step and flashed his light around.
"Holy Mother," he said loudly. "Obayashi, get those paramedics
down here. Fast!"

Dana pushed past him. She ran over to the huddled mass on the
floor. Peeling back three thread bare woolen blankets, she found
him. She knew he was still alive, she could hear his labored
breathing all the way from the door. She touched his temple and
winced at the heat coming from his body. A quick search down his
form and she took in the way he was clutching his stomach and the
misalignment of his leg.

"Oh, Mulder," she sighed. "Can't you do anything halfway?"

His pale features stirred at the sound of her voice. "Da . . ." He
stopped only because of the coughs that wracked his body. She
helped him up so that he didn't choke on the phlegm in his throat.

"Easy, Fox. Easy. Well, initial triage points to advanced case of
pneumonia, definite broken leg . . . possible internal injuries.
You're on your way to the hospital again, Sweetheart. Good thing
I brought my wallet with our insurance card, isn't it?" Her words
were light, but were there only to hide her deep concern. She
didn't like the blue color to his lips, nor did she like the thready
pulse she found at his neck. She would have committed high
treason for a blood pressure cuff at that moment. Fortunately, she
didn't have to.

The paramedics were heard banging down the stairs long before
they actually arrived. Albright and Skinner moved out of their way
to give them room, but Dana stayed right where she was.

"I'm a medical doctor. I'm also his next of kin. He has breathing
difficulties, possible internal injuries. Severely dehydrated, start
saline full out. Broken leg needs to splinted for transport."

The EMTs looked at her with barely concealed disdain, but
followed her orders. As they hooked the IV and splinted the leg,
one of their members contacted base. "We're closest to UCMC,"
the young man said. "ETA just under ten minutes." He looked up
at Scully. "We're taking your 'next of kin' to the University of
Chicago Medical Center. It's just five blocks up the street. Go to
the emergency entrance, they'll direct you to admissions."

Dana caught him by the sleeve. "No, I'm going with you," she
stated flatly.

He rolled his eyes and nodded to his companions to go on up
without him. "Look, lady, we don't have time for this. Your friend
doesn't have time for this. We do not take passengers. End of

"You're about to make an exception," she growled and pulled back
her coat enough to reveal her service weapon.

Skinner saw that as the moment to intervene. "She's already told
you she's a trained medical doctor. I would think you would want
her along for the ride. Just in case." He flipped his badge in the
man's face. "The patient is an FBI agent who has been abducted
and injured in the line of duty. He requires a guard at all times. I'm
assigning _her_ to the case," he said, pointing to Scully. She
beamed her gratefulness.

The EMT sighed. "OK, but you stay to the side and do _not_ get
in our way," he told her fiercely. In seconds they were all loaded in
the ambulance and on the way.


end part 11

Life Cycles XVI: Holidays
by Vickie Moseley & Susan Proto

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 12/14

Maggie held onto Adam's hand tightly with one hand while she
wheeled the baby's stroller with the other through the hospital
corridor. She felt her purse and the diaper bag slowly falling off of
her shoulder, but she didn't slow up her pace.

When she finally saw the solitary figure, she knew she'd found the
right area. Now, where was her daughter?

"Walter?" she called out softly.

He looked up at her with sad, tired eyes. "Maggie," he whispered.
He didn't move; he simply stood with his shoulders slumped over,

"Walter, what is it? Where's Dana? How is Fox?" she asked in
quick, rapid fire succession.

"I don't know if we were quick enough, Maggie," he answered in
reply to the first question. "She's in the emergency trauma room
with him. Fox became very upset when they'd asked her to leave,
so the doctors told her she could stay if she let them do their job,"
he replied to the second question, and to the third he said, "He's not
in good shape, Maggie."

Walter dropped his head momentarily and in his line of vision was a
brown haired, hazel eyed face with an expression that held a million
questions. Walter had to look away. He couldn't look at his
grandson, for fear all of the child's hope would be washed away by
his grandfather's feelings of helplessness.

Maggie sensed this and realized her husband hadn't had enough
time to assimilate everything that had happened. He needed time to
assuage the feelings of fear, guilt, and frustration he now felt.

"Adam," Maggie called gently, " I need you to help me and
Gam-pa. Would you do that for me, Sweetheart?" Maggie knew
the little boy would do anything for Walter, and so she said, softly ,
"I need you to watch your baby sister over there for a little bit.
Mommy is in with Daddy in the examination room, and I need to be
able to talk grown-up talk with Gam-pa for a little while."

"Gam-pa's worried that Daddy's gonna die, isn't he," the little boy
said sadly.

Maggie wanted so desperately to tell her grandchild that he should
erase that ridiculous notion right out of his head, but having seen
Walter's expression, she knew they would both know she was lying.

"Your Gam-pa is worried because Daddy is very sick right now, but
we're all going to pray for him, Adam. You can do that while you
watch Baby Dawn. Would you do that for your Daddy? Would
you do that now, for Gam-pa and me?"

Adam nodded solemnly and walked over to the chairs on the other
side of the room, while Maggie wheeled the stroller over near the
young boy. She knelt down before her grandson and said, "If she
loses her pacifier, you help her find it, okay?" The child agreed,
and Maggie kissed him gently on the cheek. "You are a good big
brother, and you are a good grandson. Thank-you, Adam." She
hugged him once more and was grateful for the child's embrace in

Maggie then stood up and turned her attention to the other man in
her life who needed immediate attention. She walked over to him
quickly and wrapped her arms around his waist. Maggie pulled him
toward her and she murmured, "He'll fight this, Walter. He has so
much to live for; he'll fight this harder than anything he's ever
fought for."

"He was right under our noses the whole time, Maggie," Walter
choked out. "The whole time. Oh God, it was a fucking cop who
did this to him. Someone we're supposed to trust, damn it!" he
lashed out angrily as he pulled away from her.

"Maggie, when I saw that sonofabitch laying there on the ground,
bleeding, all I could think of was he deserved it. He deserved to be
shot for all of the horrific things he'd done. But then I remembered
he was our one link to Mulder, and I wanted to shoot the man who'd
fired the gun.

"I was so scared this sonofabitch was going to die before he told us
where Mulder was. I didn't give a flying fuck what happened to
him after he told us Mulder's location, but I was frightened to death
that his heart would stop before he could tell us.

"I would have beaten it out of him, Maggie. As God is my witness,
I would have broken ever rule of protocol in the book to make that
worthless piece of shit tell me where our son was," Walter said
harshly. "God, Maggie, I wanted to kill the bastard myself. If we
couldn't find Mulder because of that asshole, I would have _____."

"__ But you did find him. You and Dana and the rest of your
agents did their job and you found him. You did your job the best
way you knew how to do. Walter Skinner, don't you dare berate
yourself because you're not omnipotent! You couldn't have known
where that maniac was holding him," Maggie admonished gently.

"Dana knew. Dana knew where this mad man was holding
Mulder," Walter retorted.

"Apparently, she had a little help, my dear," replied Maggie,
cracking a slight smile for the first time since she'd arrived in the

"Mmmm-hmmm," he murmured in reply, and for the first time he
allowed a small smile to play on his lips. "A little old
great-grandma played detective and informed one five year old
honorary FBI agent some clues about where his daddy was being
held. When Adam told Dana that Nana had heard rhythmical
pounding on the ceiling and then cheers, Dana thanked her lucky
stars that Mulder had turned her into something of a basketball

Maggie looked at him with surprise. "I guess she told you all about

He nodded. "When we first arrived at the hospital, they were able
to do a preliminary work up on him while he was still out cold, so
Dana had the chance to fill me in then. You should have seen the
expressions on the other agents when she _first_ mentioned Nana's
role in this whole rescue mission."

"I can only imagine," Maggie chuckled. "It's not that long ago that
I don't remember my own reaction to the dear woman." She
paused for a moment and noticed Walter's serious expression

"Walter, Dana was able to put two and two together and helped
you all to figure out where Fox was being held ," Maggie
concluded. "I don't know if she could have figured it out without
Nana's help, but it doesn't matter. All that matters now is Fox
_was_ found, and he's being taken care of," Maggie insisted.

"I just hope we weren't too late," whispered an anguished Walter.

At that point, Riichi Obayashi walked through the doors of the
waiting room. He saw Adam sitting quietly in the plastic chair and
bent down to give him a quick kiss hello. "Hey big boy! How ya
doing?" he asked.

"Hi, Uncle Riichi. I helped Mommy find my daddy, but Gam-pa
says Daddy is too sick. I think Gam-pa is 'fraid my daddy's going
to die," confessed Adam.

Riichi was horrified with the calmness this small child was able to
discuss his own father's possible demise. But Riichi then realized
how many times in this child's young life Mulder was so close to
dying. Too many times for a five year old to have to live through.
Too many times for a friend and colleague to have to live through

"I know the doctors are doing everything they can to help your
daddy, Adam. Keep praying for him, okay?" Riichi tenderly kissed
the child on the of his head and then paused to gaze at the infant
girl sleeping in the stroller. "She's so tiny, isn't she?" Riichi
murmured aloud.

"Yeah, but I'm watching her, Uncle Riichi, so you can go talk
grownup talk with Gam-ma and Gam-pa," Adam replied so

"And you're doing a fine job, Adam. Keep up the good work."
Riichi smiled at the child and walked toward the AD and his wife.

He nodded to both of them and then asked, "Is there any word?"

"No, not yet. Dana is still in the trauma room with him, I think. If
there's any word, they'll come out and tell us, right?" Walter asked,
suddenly anxious. "What the hell is taking them so long?"

"Albright is just about finished helping with the processing of Tripp.
He's going into surgery very shortly, and then the SAC will meet us
here. Sir, we're not sure how to go about dealing with his partner,
Randal, yet. I mean, it's almost as if he were an accessory," Riichi

"I don't think we have a legitimate case in that direction," Skinner
replied in a more controlled tone as he spoke in the role of AD
rather than father-in-law. "The man apparently didn't have an
active role in the taking of the adolescent boys, and he certainly
didn't have a clue about Tripp's role in Mulder's abduction. That
was obvious when we interviewed him back in the forest."

"Okay, but it seems to me this guy should have had a better handle
on what his partner was up to," Riichi said bitterly.

"Riichi, we can't keep our eyes on our partners for twenty-four
hours a day, now can we?" the AD asked gently, but with a
knowing tone.

Obayashi looked at Skinner and realized exactly where the AD was
going with that comment. He suddenly felt like the biggest loser.
If only _he'd_ been able to do what had been expected of him and
keep an eye on his assigned partner, he wouldn't have to see a five
year old child and his infant sister sitting in a waiting room
wondering if their daddy was going to die.

Both Maggie and Walter noticed the immediate, self-degradating
manner in which Riichi held himself. Maggie immediately reached
out to take Riichi's hand, while at the same time Walter quickly
said, "Riichi, I didn't say that to place blame. In fact, I meant it to
have the opposite effect. I wanted you to realize none of us has the
power to keep a twenty-four hour watch on another person,
especially when they don't want to be watched.

"You did everything that was expected of you while partnered with
Mulder, and don't you dare think any differently. And when it was
time to find Mulder, you worked above and beyond the call of duty
to help find him. You should feel no shame in your role on
this case, Agent Obayashi," the AD said firmly, but then added in a
gentler, more comforting voice, "Riichi, you did a fine job. I would
have wanted no one else but you working this one with me."

"Thank you, Sir. The feeling is mutual." Riichi then looked at
Maggie, who still had a comforting hand on his own and asked, "Is
there any word on Mulder's condition?"

"No, Dear, we're still waiting to hear."

"It's taking a long time, isn't it?" asked Riichi.

"It's always too long when it's the life of someone you love is in the
balance," answered Maggie. "We just have to be patient."

"I should try and call Mashiko. She doesn't know Mulder's been
found yet. I should let her know we at least found him__." Riichi's
nerves were torn completely at this point, and no matter how often
the AD said Riichi shouldn't blame himself, he knew if he'd kept a
closer eye on his partner, his friend, they wouldn't be in this mess.

Obayashi felt his hands begin to shake and his breathing less
controlled. He then began to panic at the possibility he was going
to break down in front of the Assistant Director. This was not
something he wanted to do, and he quickly released his hand from
Maggie's and stood up. "Excuse me. I need to call my wife."

As he rushed out the door, Maggie called to him, "Riichi, please,
it's okay," but he either didn't hear her, or he chose to ignore her.
He ran into the nearest men's room and allowed himself the chance
to sob away all of the frustration and tension he'd been carrying
around with him for the past few days.


James Albright entered the room and saw the AD and who he
soon realized was Mrs. Skinner, talking quietly in one corner of the
room, while a young boy sat near a stroller which held an infant
dressed in pinks and yellows.

Shit. Mulder's kids. Oh God, it's his kids. Please, let the guy be all
right. Let him be able to see his kids again.

Albright shuddered when he looked at the little boy again. He was
a Mulder reincarnate, that was for sure. The whole situation had
seemed so surreal the last few days. Albright didn't know whether
he was coming or going, between looking for a crazed serial killer
and looking for Mulder, and not being absolutely sure if the two
cases were related.

But seeing Mulder's kids now, in this hospital, suddenly made it all the
more real. And he found himself suddenly in the need of seeing his
own wife and kissing his own two kids. The only thing that kept
going through his mind over and over was, it could have been him.
It could have been James Albright in that emergency trauma room
and his wife and kids waiting for word in the waiting room.

And that scared the crap out of him. This was certainly a turning
point in James Albright's ability to put things in perspective.
Mulder didn't want to be on this case in the first place, and Albright
knew Mulder had no business being on this case. The man had just
come off another brutal VCU case without a break from that one,
and he was fighting a vicious cold. So, he was not only exhausted
and depleted mentally, he was physically debilitated as well.

And Albright knew it. And Albright chose to look the other way,
because after all, he'd already lost one profiler, and he needed
Mulder to help him catch the sonofabitch that was terrorizing the
fine people of Chicago. Right. More like, he had to help catch the
sonofabitch that was giving the Chicago field office of the FBI a
bad name in the media, because according to the media the FBI
couldn't find their way out of a brown paper bag.

So, even though Albright knew it wasn't in Mulder's best interest to
remain on the case, he kept quiet. After all, Mulder had his own
personal watchdog in Agent Obayashi, who Albright realized
looked like crap when he'd seen him leave the precinct office earlier.
This probably hadn't been a picnic for Obayashi either.

Jeeze, what the hell kind of SAC was he, anyway. Mulder and
Obayashi were personal friends. This must have been a trip through
hell for Obayashi, and he must still be traveling downward.
Albright never thought of himself as insensitive before, but he
wondered if perhaps he should seriously reconsider.

He'd remained planted in the same spot when he'd walked in for
several minutes. He finally looked up, startled, when he heard his
name was called.

"SAC Albright," called Skinner a third time.

"Yes, Sir, I'm sorry. I must have gotten lost in my own thoughts
there for a few minutes," Albright apologized.

"Understandable, Agent. No need for apologies," the AD said and
he then introduced Maggie.

"It's a pleasure to meet you in person, Ma'am," Albright said,
having remembered he'd actually spoken with Maggie on the phone
when Mulder was first abducted, "though I wish it were under
better circumstances."

"Yes," she agreed, and then offered, "Agent Albright, my husband
has had only the highest praise for your contribution in finding our
son-in-law and solving this horrific case. I would like to extend my
personal thanks as well."

Albright found it difficult to accept her kind words when he knew
he could have done something to prevent the entire debacle from
happening. But he was also wise enough to know Maggie Skinner
should not have to waste her energy in comforting him. Her
husband, daughter, and grandchildren needed that more.

So, instead, he graciously murmured his thanks, and then asked if
there was any word on Mulder's condition. Before anyone could
answer, Riichi returned, and all those in the room judiciously kept
any comments about the very red, tear stained eyes to themselves.

"Did you get a hold of Mashiko, Dear?" asked Maggie gently.

"Yes, Mrs. Skinner. She sends her love and prayers." Both of the
Skinners nodded their thanks.

Just then, a very weary and emotionally drained Dana walked into
the waiting area. She didn't seem to notice everyone in the room,
but Dana did meet her mother's gaze.

"Mom, you're here? The kids __?" Dana asked.

Maggie pointed to the corner where Adam sat with his eyes closed
and his hands pressed together in prayer. His grandmother smiled at
how this child took everything which was told to him to such heart.
Adam was definitely the son of Fox and Dana, there was no doubt
about that.

"I knew Dawn would be due a feeding soon, so I figured it would
be best to simply meet you here," explained Maggie.

"Oh. Yes, that's right. Is she up?" asked Dana in a daze.

"No, honey, she's still sleeping. Sweetheart, tell us how Fox is,"
cajoled Maggie. ''Walter says he was awake enough to know you
were there."


end of part 12

Life Cycles: Holidays
By Susan Proto and Vickie Moseley

part 13/14

Albright moved up next to Dana and offered her a cup of coffee.
She smiled, but shook her head. "Dawn would never sleep if I did,"
she said with a sheepish shrug.

"Sorry, forgot for a moment that you're a nursing mom," he said,
slightly embarrassed. "I'll see if they have decaf."

"In a minute, Sir. I thought you might like to know about Fox."

Albright bit his lip and nodded. He had wanted to know, wanted
more than anything to grab the woman and demand any and all
information. But it still took a hell of a woman to acknowledge
that the people in the waiting room were desperate for any news of
what was going on with the man in the trauma room. He was just
beginning to appreciate exactly who Dana Scully was.

"The doctors are prepping him for surgery. Most of this injuries
resulted from one incident. From the various abrasions and bruising,
plus the alignment of the broken bones in his leg, they are fairly
certain that Fox was hit by a car. A car going a nice speed and
hitting him dead on. This was not an accident, by any means."

Maggie gasped, but said nothing. Walter's teeth could be heard
grinding from three feet away.

"His leg is broken, severely. It will require surgery, pins, to keep
the bones in place while they knit. There was bleeding at the sight.
It's not pretty. And it will take a long time to heal. Which will be a
pain, because Fox hates crutches and for a couple of weeks, we
may be talking wheelchair."

Dana wet her lips and looked over at her children. Adam was still
sitting next to Dawn, and though he'd made no move to come over,
Dana knew he was listening to her every word. She would have to
phrase the next part very carefully.

"There was also some internal injury. His kidney was injured, it's
been bleeding slowly over the time he's been in the basement. They
don't know if they'll be able to salvage it." She closed her eyes for
a moment.

"But the worst is the pneumonia. The doctor doesn't like going
into surgery with fluid in the patient's lungs, but there isn't a lot of
choice. They're going to intubate for surgery, and that should help
some. Since they won't be able to use normal anesthesia, they'll use an
epidural which will paralyze the nerves from just below the chest
down. Then they'll sedate him; hopefully it won't take much to put
him to sleep. I just hope the surgery doesn't take very long.

"They're fighting two battles. On the one hand, they need to dry
out his lungs, and at the same time, he's very dehydrated from fever
and lack of liquids during the last 48 hours."

"He's awake?" Walter asked. He didn't dare voice his concerns. It
sounded like all so much bad news to him.

Dana nodded. "Off and on. His fever is high. He keeps asking me
to take him home. He's afraid he's missing Hanukkah. He's told
me three times to get the candles ready, and he finally told me what
I did wrong with the latkes," she said with a sad smile. "I needed
to drain the potatoes, apparently."

"Can we see him?" Maggie asked. At that, Adam came up and
took his grandmother's hand.

"I want to see Daddy now, Mommy. Please? Dawnie's sleepin'.
She'll be good."

Dana was on the verge of tears, but held herself firmly in check. "I
know I promised, big guy, and in a minute, they'll be bringing
Daddy by here to take him up to another room. They have to make
Daddy's leg better and help his tummy. After they fix that, we'll be
able to see him all we want, OK? But we can give him a kiss as
they take him upstairs, all right?"

Adam nodded solemnly, a worried look coming over his eyes.
"Mommy," he whispered, pulling her down to his level again.
"Dawnie might get scared. She'll want Daddy to wake up and use
his magic shoulder and he won't; I remember."

Blinking back the tears was no longer an option. They were falling
down her cheeks whether she wanted them to or not. She took her
son into a fierce hug. "Then we'll make her feel safe, Adam. You
and I. We won't let her be scared, OK?" She could feel him nod
against her shoulder, but she also knew that fear resided in his little
heart as much as he thought it would in his sister. "It's going to be
all right, baby. We found Daddy. It's all going to be all right."


Mulder had lost track of his surroundings until they moved him
from one gurney to another. Ouch! Why they were always tossing
him from one bed to the next he could never understand.

He reached out his hand, but there was no other small hand to clasp
onto. Had he dreamed about Dana being with him? No, he
remembered her being there, kissing his forehead, when the doctors
let her near him. He knew she wasn't far. They probably kicked
her out again. But where would she go without him?

His thoughts were so confused. He hurt so much. Every time he
closed his eyes it was a struggle to drag them open again. Maybe
he should just stop struggling so much? Maybe then he wouldn't
hurt as bad, wouldn't hurt to breath. Breathing had become too
much of an agony. Wouldn't it be easier just to forget to breath in
a while? What was the worst that could happen? That he wouldn't
hurt anymore?

He felt the gurney move and it startled him. Where were they
taking him? He could make out voices. Someone was leaning over
him, but he didn't recognize them, so he didn't make the effort to
try and understand what they were telling him. There was only one
voice he cared to hear at that moment and her's wasn't in the
cacophony above him.

More motion. The gurney bumped over a threshold and he gasped
at the pain that shot through him from the suddenly jostling. The
oxygen mask over his face wasn't really doing that much to help
him. When he did blink his eyes open, the world was colorless, and
grayed out at the edges. Lights. He could see lights as they moved
above his face. Or was it him who was moving?

They stopped, and again, he wished he could cry out just to tell
them to stop the jostling! But in a second, there was the hand. Her
hand. He decided it was worth the effort to drag his eyes open one
last time.

Her face. Dana smiled down at him and stroked his cheek.
Gently, she moved the mask off his face and leaned over to kiss him
ever so softly on his lips. She slipped the mask back on and he
could breath a little bit. For some reason, the pain just seemed to
fade a bit when she kissed him.

Then she was gone and he almost sobbed for the loss until another
face came into view, and then another. Mom. Dad. They were
there, too. Mom, Maggie, leaned over and kissed his forehead.
She was telling him something, but he was so caught up in the joy
of just seeing her that he didn't really catch what she was saying.
Dad, Walter, had tears in his eyes. He leaned down and kissed his
forehead, too.

The next face he saw was Adam's. His son. His beautiful baby
boy, who wasn't so much a baby anymore. Mulder forced a smile
on his face as he looked at his son and the tiny boy smiled back.
Words came through the fog. Adam's voice cut through to his

"I love you, Daddy."

Walter's face beamed next to Adam's as he held the boy up in his
arms. "We all do, son. We love you." Walter bend down so that
Adam could give him a kiss on the forehead.

Walter moved aside to let Dana come into the space where
Mulder's vision was locked. She held Dawn. His little Dawn, his
bright new beginning. She was so tiny. Was Adam ever that tiny,
Mulder wondered. And her face was that of an angel. She wasn't
red faced and squalling, she was asleep and peaceful and his heart
almost burst with love for her. Nana's words came back to him.
Someday he would have to give her to some other man. But not
today. Not for a long, long time.

Dana tore her gaze away from his, toward someone standing nearby
and nodded, a set expression on her face. She leaned over and this
time he could make out her words.

"We're all waiting for you, Sweetheart. We'll be there when you
wake up. I love you, Fox. So very, very much."

She kissed him again and moved back. The gurney started to move
again. It was still agony to breath, everything hurt so much. But
he could take the pain. For them, for his family, he could hold on.


They'd been sitting in the surgical waiting room, all six of them, for
about two hours. Because of the late hour, there was only one
other family sharing the room with them. Most surgeries were
scheduled during the day and most trauma emergencies were
handled at nearby Cook County Hospital, which tended to
specialize in gunshot and stab wounds.

A tall gentleman in his early thirties came into the room and looked
around. Dana was the first to notice him, and figured he for a
member of the clergy, coming to visit the other family. When he
turned to look around, she noticed the yarmulke perched on the back of his
head and smiled, then settled back down to read the book they'd found for

The voice was right over her and she looked up to see the man
smiling at her. "Mrs. Mulder?"

Surprised, she nodded. "Yes, I'm Dana Mulder," she said,
knowing that's how all the hospital staff knew her at the moment.

He extended his hand. "I'm Rabbi Daniel Wolff. I'm one of the
chaplains here at the Medical Center. The nurse asked if I could
stop by. I understand your husband was brought in tonight and is
in surgery. Oh, and she said they found this in the coat he was
wearing." In Rabbi Wolff's hand was the same little prayer and
activity book that Adam had insisted they bring from home.

She reached out and took the book in her hands. It was pretty
battered, had gotten wet in the basement. There was a smudge of
blood on the cover which made her wince. But it was the same
book. She swallowed back her tears.

"I thought we might say a prayer together," Rabbi Wolff suggested.

Dana smiled. "I'd like that, Rabbi, but I should warn you. I'm not
good with Hebrew. I'm Catholic. It's my husband who's Jewish,"
she admitted a bit self-consciously.

The Rabbi beamed. "Ah, one of _those_ marriages," he laughed.
"Not to worry, Mrs. Mulder. I know all kinds of nice
'non-denominational' prayers. And I also have some connections.
Father Mick Garraty, over at Holy Name is a buddy of mine from
my old neighborhood. His church is just a mile away, although
most of his parishioners end up at Cook County rather than here. I
can ask him to come over, if you'd like. The more the merrier,

Three hours later, Rabbi Daniel was holding a sleeping Dawn in his
lap, and Father Mick was sitting next to a sleeping Adam, talking
quietly to Walter about his brother in the Marines. The other family
had long since left, their patient had been moved to recovery and
they were waiting for her in her regular room. After much
conjoling, SAC Albright had been forced home to his own family,
but only with the assurance that he would be called immediately
with any news. Riichi had succumbed to exhaustion and had fallen
asleep on a sofa. Maggie had covered him with one of the blankets
the desk nurse had supplied for them.

Dana was pacing again, just in front of the double doors which lead
to the operating rooms. When the one of the doors opened, it
almost smacked her in the face. She quickly came out from behind
it and accosted the tired doctor standing there.

"Is there any news on Agent Mulder?" she asked, but it sounded
more like a demand than a plea.

"Mrs. Mulder, right? I'm Dr. Wright. I operated on your husband.
I wonder if we could talk over there," he said, pointing to an area
away from the rest of the family and friends.

"I'd prefer it if we could all hear what you have to say, Dr. Wright.
It will save me time later," Dana said firmly and led the doctor over
to the chairs near Walter.

Dana made quick introductions all around, and during those, Riichi
woke up and joined the group. Finally, looking a little bewildered
by the assortment of people before him, Dr. Wright started by
taking a deep breath.

"You're husband is in recovery," he told Dana and nodded to the
rest. "We were able to save the kidney, but I'll tell you, the
recovery will be trickier than if we'd just removed it. We'll have to
keep a very close watch on him."

"I'm a medical doctor, I'm a pathologist," Dana said, hoping that
would keep the good doctor from trying to 'dumb down' his

Wright managed a weak smile. "Then you know what I'm talking
about. His blood volume is good, surprisingly. Of course the
pneumonia complicates any recovery. We're treating with Biaxin
IV and hoping for improvement as early as this evening."

"The leg?" Dana reminded him.

"I was getting to that." Wright sighed. "It was in pretty bad shape.
As you know, bones need to be set rather soon after trauma.
Complications can arise if they are neglected. The bone was
shattered. We did have to wrap and pin, I imagine you understand
that procedure?" he glanced over to see Dana nod. "He's going to
have a pretty nasty scar. But then, he already has a couple of those
on his other leg, I noticed."

"But will he have full mobility?" Walter finally spoke up. This was
his field agent, after all, as well as his son-in-law.

"I'm afraid that's what I was, well, tap dancing around. We won't
know for a while. For now," he made a point to include the two
clergy member, "for now, we just have to pray."


Mulder had finally been moved to a private room that became
available at the last moment. It proved to be medically advisable;
not for Mulder, so much as for any potential roommate. The Fox
Mulder fan club was alive and well and in full force, and when
Dawn Marie Mulder made her presence known, the whole world
knew about it.

Fox felt a warm breeze around his face. He opened his eyes slowly
and found himself staring into a pair of hazel eyes which rivaled his
own. Before anyone had noticed, Adam had climbed up on his
dad's hospital bed and was staring hard in an attempt to will him to
open his eyes and wake up.

It worked.

"Hi, big guy," Mulder rasped out in greeting. "You're sure a sight
for sore eyes."

"Hi, Daddy," Adam said seriously. "I'm glad Nana and me helped
Mommy 'rescued' you."

"You did? You and Nana?" the elder Mulder replied with a big
smile. Upon seeing his son nod his head vigorously in response,
Mulder then said, "Well, I'm glad you did too."

"Adam Mulder, now what are you doing on your father's bed?"
asked a very stern Maggie Skinner.

"I'm saying hello, Gam-ma!" he replied innocently.

''And so you are," she answered with a chuckle. "But I think your
daddy could rest more easily if you sat in a chair next to him,
okay?" Maggie lifted her grandson off of his father and plopped
him in the chair beside the bed.

"Where's Dane?" asked Mulder of Maggie.

"She went to buy some baby supplies. We were running low on
diapers and wipes. Plus, she was dying for something real to eat, so
Walter and she went to a nearby restaurant for some take out."

"Do I get some?" he asked, knowing full well what the answer
would be. "Not today, Fox. I'm afraid you're on clear broth and
jello detail."

"Oh, yum," he replied sarcastically. He then heard a voice he'd
longed to hear and said in an equally dry tone, "Gee, I wonder if
Dawn's here?"

Adam giggled and said, "Yeah, Daddy. Dawnie's saying hi in baby

Maggie smiled, and without having to be asked, picked up her
squalling granddaughter, and carried her over to Fox.

"God, Mom, she's gotten so big in just the couple of days I've been

"Umm, sweetheart, you do know it's been more than just a couple
of days since you've seen her, don't you?" Maggie asked.

"More? How much more?" he asked tentatively.

"Sweetheart, you left for your case a couple of days or so before
Hanukkah, and you were kidnapped on the first night. Fox, tonight
is the last night of Hanukkah," Maggie said gently.

"The last night? God, how long have I been in the hospital?" he
asked incredulously.

"Just a couple of days or so, that's all. Oh, but you are doing so
much better. Your fever finally broke last night, which is why I
suspect you're feeling better now," explained Maggie.

"Well, I'm not about to do a jig or the hora, but I guess I'm feeling
better." The baby continued to cry, so Fox reached out for her.

"Fox, I don't know if __."

"__Please, Mom. It's been so long since I've held my daughter."

"Besides Gam-ma, Daddy's got the magic shoulder," encouraged
Adam. "Mommy says Daddy's the only one who can make Dawnie
stop crying without her having to plug into her."

Maggie couldn't find fault with that argument, so she carefully place
the infant in her father's arms so Dawn laid upon the 'magic
shoulder.' Maggie smiled as she listened to Fox talk with his baby
girl, much like in the same way the Captain used to speak with
Melissa and Dana when they were newborns.

And amazingly enough, Fox's shoulder' did its magic again. The
baby settled down with her fist in her mouth and her head laid
contentedly on her daddy's shoulder, in the crook of his neck.

"She feels so good," he said, and then turning to his son he said,
"Shh, if you don't tell Gam-ma, I think there's some room on the
other side for you."

"Fox! Adam! Slow down!" cried out Maggie as she watched her
grandson run around to the other side of the bed and scramble atop
of it next to his father. She was ready to admonish both of them,
but when she saw Adam nuzzle into his father's side, she didn't have
the heart. "Just try to rest for a little while. All of you, okay?"

The two Mulder men and one little Mulder lady agreed
wholeheartedly. Within minutes, all three were sound asleep.


Dana and Walter returned with enough take out Chinese food for
practically the entire nursing staff. Dana wanted to be sure to let
the nursing staff know how much she appreciated the extra mile
they went in taking care of her husband. Though he was out of
danger, he was still in need of very attentive care, and this staff was
showing Fox just that.

But she never expected to see what she saw when she opened
Mulder's door. Adam remained snuggled and sleeping up against
Fox's side while the baby snoozed on his shoulder. Maggie was
sound asleep in the oversized lounge chair one of the very
compassionate nurses had shlepped in for them to use when they'd
been keeping round the clock vigils.

The only one in the room that appeared wide awake was the patient

"Hey there," she said as moved closer to kiss him hello.

"Hi, Dane. I missed you."

"Oh, I missed you too. It's nice to have you back. I take it the
children agree?" she said with a chuckle.

"Yeah. God, I missed them so much. It feels so good to have them
near me. Hey, I could make a little room and you __," he
whispered with a huge smile.

"__ Save it G-Man. I'll join you when it's a little less crowded,

The door opened, and Walter entered, having just parked the car.
"You're awake! How ya feeling?"

"Like a two ton truck ran me over, but better than I have in days,
that's for sure."

"You look better than you have in days too," Walter retorted.

"Oh, you're back. I must have dozed off," yawned Maggie. "Did
you bring back something delicious to eat? I'm actually starving."

"Oh sure, Mom, torture me. I'll eat my green jello while you eat__,
what did you bring to eat anyway?" Mulder asked.

"Chinese. General Tsao's Chicken and some chow mein for you,
Mom. Chicken in foil and lo mein for the son. And, if you are a
good boy, Agent Mulder, I may even share some of my Wonton
soup broth with you. What do you think of that?" asked a very
teasing Scully.

"Oh, be still my heart!" replied a chuckling Mulder in kind. "Throw
in a wonton, and you can have your way with me woman!"

"Right, and we'd probably be extending your hospital stay by at
least another week or so," she replied laughing.

"I'm hungry," announced a now very awake, and slightly cranky

"Well, c'mon little G-Man, and let's feed your hungry belly!" said

"Little G-Man?" echoed Mulder curiously.

"Yup! Daddy, I'm an 'onrary FBI agent cause I 'cept my
'ssignments just like you and Mommy do from Gam-pa," explained
a very excited Adam.

"Wow, you give Gam-pa a run for his money too?" Mulder said
with a smile towards his father-in-law and boss.

Walter smiled and said, "At least he admits he busts my chops.
Please, someone, mark this date and sign it as my witnesses."

Mulder smiled at Walter's comments, but then realized how true it
all was. "Umm, Walter? I just wanted to say that I didn't mean for
this to happen," he began. "I mean, I know sometimes I get myself
into trouble because I don't think ahead, but this time? I really
didn't mean to do anything wrong. I'm sorry. I'm sorry if I worried
everyone," he said apologetically.

"Fox," Walter said reassuringly, "no one is blaming you for this
incident. Don't blame yourself. The only person who can claim
blame is the perpetrator, Alan Tripp. No one else was at fault, and
especially not you."

"Or you," Scully said as she watched a now very confused Riichi
Obayashi walk through the door.

"Or me, what?" he asked.

"You've just walked in on the old, 'No one's blaming you for
another fine mess you've gotten yourself into, Ollie,' lecture. Dane
wants to make sure you realize you couldn't have prevented this no
matter what you did," Mulder elaborated.

"Oh. Well, I wish I could have done more. I mean, I didn't want
you to miss your holiday," Riichi said hesitantly.

"Oh, but we didn't, did we? Maggie, you said tonight's the last
night, right?" Mulder asked excitedly.

"Oh, but Sweetheart, I didn't bring the menorah with me," remarked
a disappointed Scully.

"Oh! Me! Me!" shouted a very excited Adam. "Dawnie's bag!
Dawnie's diaper bag! Where did it go, Gam-ma?"

"Here sweetheart. Be careful, it's heavy," Maggie warned.

Adam pulled on the zipper and started throwing disposable diapers
around the room. His mother began to admonish him, when finally,
he pulled out the object of his search.

The original, small brass menorah Mulder first used when Adam
was born. "I couldn't fit the big, new one in Dawnie's bag, Daddy,
but I figured this would be good too, right?"

"Oh, Adam, it's perfect. It's even better than the big, new one,
because you brought it," Fox told his very proud son.

"Umm, Adam, you didn't by some small miracle think to pack some
candles, did you?" asked Scully, knowing her son may look like his
father, and he may ask a million questions like his father, but if her
hunch was right, Adam was also organized as any true Scully was,
just like his mother.

"Yup!" he answered with a huge grin as he pulled out the box from
the zippered compartment.

Dana beamed, "That's my boy!"

"My goodness," interjected Maggie, "no wonder that bag felt like it
weighed an extra two tons!"

"It's dark outside! Can we light the candles now?" asked Adam.

"Sweetheart, Daddy's still on oxygen, so we can't actually light the
candles. It could cause an explosion," Dana explained.

"Sorry 'bout that big guy. You can light the candles when you go
back to the hotel, okay?" offered Mulder.

"But that's not the same as lighting them with you," Adam whined.

"I know. I'm disappointed too, but Adam, the important thing is
we're together. I didn't totally miss spending Hanukkah with you
and Dawn and your Mom. Let's make the most of it, okay?"
Mulder pleaded quietly.

"Okay, Daddy."

"Adam, why don't you set the candles up in the menorah. You can
pick out all of the prettiest colors," said Maggie. Adam nodded in
agreement as he began to set up the menorah.

"Ohmigod, the book. I have the book!" Mulder said excitedly. "It's
in my coat. Look in the closet, Dane. Please!"

Dana beamed and pulled the little book out of her pocket. "It's not
in your coat, G-Man. It's right here." She handed to him while he
shot her a questioning look. Finally deciding he'd get her to tell
him later, he opened the book to the last section.

He recited the blessings in perfect Hebrew. Everyone echoed the
'amen' at the end of the blessings. Everyone stared at the unlit
candles, and Adam asked, "Is it really Hanukkah if you don't light
the candles?"

"Yes, shayner boychikel. It's still really Hanukkah," said the lilting
accented voice.

"Hi, Nana!" squealed Adam in delight. "We did it! We found
Daddy, but we can't light the candles cause Daddy will blow up if
we do."

"Oh my! We can't have that, now can we!" asked Nana. "Foxila,
you're feeling better, no?"

"Yes, Nana, I'm feeling better. Thank you for helping me believe
in my miracle."

"I think we need one more miracle. Nu, you think maybe you and
Adam could live with one more miracle, mine aynekels?" she asked
with a gleam in her eye.

"Yes! Yes, Nana!" agreed five year old Adam immediately.

"It's not gonna make me blow up, is it Nana?" asked Fox, chuckling
at his son's explanation.

"No, but it will fulfill young Adam's Hanukkah wish," she said, and
she closed her eyes. Nana held her hands out over the candles of
the menorah. One by one, beginning with the shamash, the worker
candle, each one began to glow a fire-less light.

Riichi watched in awe and fascination as the menorah's gentle
radiance lit up the room. "Why do I have a feeling we're not
alone?" he asked with a warm smile. "Hello, Nana, where ever you
are," he whispered in greeting.

Maggie, Walter, and Dana echoed their friend's words while they all
basked in the glow of the Hanukkah lights.

A miracle was renewed tonight.


end of part 13

Life Cycles: Holidays
by Susan Proto and Vickie Moseley
Part 14

Mulder residence
Christmas Eve

"You know, you can pay people to assemble those things for you.
And then they can send their kids to camp and college and have a
wonderful standard of living," came the snickering voice from the

"And miss the joy of a gouged palm? Never!" answered Walter
Skinner as he put the last turn on the socket wrench he was
holding. "There! One 16 inch, two wheeled bike, with training
wheels, metallic midnight blue with racing details, all set for the

Mulder smiled appreciatively. "Thanks, Gam-pa. I was just joking
about the assembling. You did a great job."

"Hey, for my grandson, only the best," Walter said, gathering his
tools and maneuvering the bike under the tree. Or at least near the
tree. Under the tree was pretty much taken up by the deluge of
presents. Walter flashed Mulder one raised eyebrow.

Mulder shrugged. "We combined. I had some stuff put on lay
away, believe it or not, for Hanukkah, and well, Dane went a little
nuts this year. Anyway, that's Hanukkah and Christmas together.
We aren't spoiling them, honest, Dad," he said solemnly.

"Hey, what are kids for if not to spoil," Walter said, and Mulder
shifted a bit to allow the older man room on the sofa. "How's the

"Sore. But it's too good to be home to let it bother me tonight."

"I didn't want to bring up a sore subject, pardon the pun, but how
did the tests come out earlier today?"

"Oh, Dad, I'm sorry! In all the excitement, I forgot to tell you and
Mom. Dana took the call late this afternoon. The test came out
fine. No nerve damage. I should gain full use of my leg.
Sometime around July, but at least it's going to happen."

Walter reached over and grasped his son-in-law's hand. "Thank
God," he said in a strained voice. Mulder nodded, looking at the
flames in the fireplace.

"It got awfully quiet in here," Dana said, as she came into the living
room, carrying a tray with steaming mugs.

"We finished," Walter said, wiping hurriedly at his eyes. "Just
admiring the workmanship."

Dana shot him a curious look and then one to her husband, who
only shook his head slightly. Taking his cue, she turned her
attention to the bike under the tree. "Great job, guys."

"Dad did all the work," Mulder pointed out.

"Not true! You found the English version of the instructions, Fox.
Otherwise, we would have needed a Japanese/English dictionary to
put the thing together." They shared a chuckle.

"Well, we know who to call when we need someone to assemble a
Barbie Dream House in a couple of years."

"Oh, please, not one of those," Maggie cried in mock exasperation,
joining the other three. "It took your father and I three hours to
put together the one we got Melissa when she was six. And then,
since the boys managed to destroy that one, we had to do the same
darned thing again two years later when _you_ wanted one."

"We pay to have it assembled," Mulder said with a wink to his wife.

Dana handed out the mugs to her mother and father-in-law.
"Mulled cider, Grandma Scully's recipe."

Walter took his and bit his lip. "Maybe I should pass, I'm the
designated driver."

Dana smiled and pressed the mug into his hands. "This year, I
made the 'unleaded' version. Safe for designated AD's, nursing
mothers and Agents on medical leave under doctor's orders."

"Well, then, where's mine?" Mulder piped up and she handed him
a mug as well. Getting her own, she snuggled down next to her

"Warm enough?" she asked quietly.

He wrapped his arm around her and pulled her close. "There was a
moment in that basement when I never thought I'd be warm again.
But yeah, I'm warm enough now." He pulled her head down onto
his shoulder and leaned his own head against hers. He almost
chuckled as he thought of the most appropriate word for what he
was doing. Basking. Basking in the warmth of the fire and the love
of his family.

"It's a beautiful tree," Maggie said a while later, smiling at her

"Dane? Why is there a Star of David on our Christmas tree? Does
this mean I have to put little Santas on our menorah?" Mulder
asked, with obvious confusion.

His wife punched him lightly in the arm. "No, silly. That's from
the 'Tree of Jesse'. The lineage of the Christ child. If you look hard
enough, you'll see Noah's ark and Moses' staff. I found them in
Chicago at the hospital gift shop and picked them up."

"As a remembrance of our wonderful visit?" Mulder shot back with
mild sarcasm.

"As a reminder of our Hanukkah miracle," she said softly in her
husband's ear and then placed a kiss on his cheek.

"Then I love them," he said softly and kissed her back. Suddenly,
there was the sound of little footsteps on stairs and a squeal of
delight from the doorway.

"Santa comed! Santa comed! And I got my bike!" Adam cried
with joy as he danced over to the tree. "And looky at all the
presents," he said in awe. "Mommy, can I open 'em now?" he

"Adam, we have to wait till tomorrow," Dana was trying to say
over his begging. "Dawn isn't awake . . ."

"Um, Sweetheart," Mulder said, nudging his wife. "Correction.
Dawn _is_ awake. And I think that's a hunger cry, if I'm not

Dana shot her husband an icy glare. "I blame you for this
'nocturnal activity', Fox William Mulder," she growled, but got up
to collect their daughter so that she could join the festivities.

"Daddy's in trouble," Adam confided in his grandfather. "Mommy
only uses our middle names when we're in trouble."

Walter fought to keep the smile off his face. "I'll remember that,"
he told his grandson.

"Dane, look at this way. If we open the gifts now, we get to sleep
in tomorrow," Mulder pointed out when she returned and settled
back on the couch with their infant daughter suckling for dear life.

"And Grandma and Grandpa get to join in on the fun," Maggie
pointed out.

"We could go to eleven o'clock Mass at St. Anne's, I suppose," Dana
said with a resigned sigh. "OK, big guy. Do you think you can do
the honors?"

"Is that another 'signment, Agent Mommy?" Adam asked, eyes

"Well, since 'Agent Mommy' is feeding baby Dawn, and 'Agent'
Daddy is a bit indisposed, yes, I guess that 'assignment' gets passed
on to you," she replied with a wink to her son. "Go for it, Agent
Adam. Just read the tags and pass out the gifts to the right people.
And I bet if you get stuck, the Assistant Director won't mind giving
you a hand."

Walter beamed. "It would be my pleasure. Let's see what we've
got here, Adam."

Dana snuggled back into her previous position, still cradling Dawn.
Mulder wrapped his arm around them both, and with his free hand,
tenderly stroked his daughter's hair as she nursed.

"Merry Christmas, Sweetheart," he whispered to his wife and over
the din of squeals she smiled. Tilting her head, she caught his lips
with a kiss.

"Merry Christmas, my love. Merry Christmas and welcome home."

the end.

pass the eggnog. And the big bottle of rum <VEG> We live for
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Season's Greetings
Peace and Joy