Welcome To The Harem
Ebony Eyes by Lara Means
Summary: "I have seen my son emotionally devastated three times in his young life, which is three times too many for a boy of sixteen." Teena POV.
TITLE: Ebony Eyes
AUTHOR: Lara Means
ARCHIVE: Gossamer, NO; Spookys, NO (I'll submit directly to
both); Ephemeral, YES; anywhere else, please ask
SPOILERS: None. (Pre-XF)
SUMMARY: "I have seen my son emotionally devastated three times
in his young life, which is three times too many for a boy of
DATE POSTED: 07/31/00
FEEDBACK: Encouraged and welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org
DISCLAIMER: "The X-Files" is copyright Twentieth Century Fox
Television and Ten Thirteen Productions. The show, its premise
and characters were created by Chris Carter and are used here
without permission. No copyright infringement is intended, no
profit will be realized. (I've also borrowed the name of a
character from Carter's "Millennium" as a pseudonym. Same
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story was written for the Church of X July
Challenge. I love those.
Written by Lara Means
I have seen my son emotionally devastated three times in his
young life, which is three times too many for a boy of sixteen.
The first time was when he was twelve and his sister
disappeared. The second was a few years later when his father
and I divorced. The third was just yesterday. When Rebecca
Norris was killed.
Fox has always been a shy, quiet boy. Well, perhaps not always,
but at least for the past four years or so. Samantha's
disappearance was especially difficult for him. He was home
alone with her when it happened, and he felt that he should've
been able to protect her somehow. I wonder, if he had known
that there was nothing he could've done, that her disappearance
was essentially preordained, would he still have blamed himself?
He also held himself responsible for the divorce. He shouldn't,
of course. It's no one's fault but Bill's and mine. After
Samantha, whatever trust we had in each other was destroyed. It
wasn't Fox's fault, but neither Bill nor I made an effort to
communicate that to him. So Fox withdrew into himself.
I have no doubt that Fox loves us both. He makes every effort
to please us, to make us proud of him. He excels academically,
and has an athletic grace that I believe Bill envies. But Bill
and I, we've never acknowledged his efforts, his successes. So
it's a small wonder that Fox would latch onto the first person
to do so.
They met last fall, October I believe, just before Fox's
sixteenth birthday. He's a junior this year, a little younger
than most of his classmates -- his birthday falling in October
meant that he entered first grade at the age of five -- and
that, coupled with his shy demeanor and obvious intelligence, is
sometimes off-putting to the girls at school. But she wasn't
put off in the least.
Rebecca was in his English class, and she was a cheerleader.
She was a very pretty girl, with thick, wavy brown hair and the
darkest eyes I've ever seen. She was also smart -- of course,
she'd have to be, to keep up with Fox. But Rebecca was also
quite popular -- not the sort of girl who would ordinarily look
twice at Fox. Except... she did.
I'm not certain exactly how she got through to the solitary
young man my son had become. It's possible she flattered his
athletic prowess -- basketball season started in October, and
Fox was a starting player. It's also possible that she praised
his writing ability -- a sensitive boy, Fox has always written
poetry whenever he had difficulty expressing his feelings
verbally. However she accomplished it, by Christmas he was
They were together almost constantly. Study dates at our house
or hers, out for a snack after Friday night basketball games,
movies every weekend. And Rebecca seemed genuinely fond of Fox.
They were very affectionate -- they had their make-out sessions
in the den, and I'm sure they kissed a bit too long in the car
when he took her home -- but it never progressed to the point
where I felt they crossed the line. Still, they seemed devoted
to one another -- which is why I was so surprised to find
bruises on her arms.
Fox had invited her to dinner on Sunday, and Rebecca came over
early to help me prepare the meal. She really was a delightful
girl, polite and well-spoken, with some culinary promise. Fox
was off somewhere doing something while Rebecca and I chopped
vegetables and chatted. At one point she took off her jacket to
reveal a short-sleeved blouse -- and nasty bruises on her upper
arms. I didn't want to make her uncomfortable so I didn't say
anything, but as I looked closer, I noticed that the bruises
looked suspiciously like finger marks.
I know enough about the modern world to know that abuse often
fosters abuse. Now, Bill was a stern disciplinarian with the
children, more so with Fox than with Samantha, but I would never
have considered him abusive. I refused to believe that Fox
could've hurt Rebecca. It was obvious that he cared about her
deeply. Still, it was equally obvious that I needed to have a
talk with him.
That night, after he took Rebecca home, I asked him to join me
in the sitting room. He was understandably confused -- the
sitting room was my refuge, and I rarely invited him or anyone
inside. I wasn't certain how to broach the subject, so I simply
"Fox, I have to ask you something, and I want you to be honest
"Of course, Mom, you know I will."
"How far have you and Rebecca gone?"
Fox's ears turned bright red and his cheeks flushed. "Mom..."
I couldn't look at my son and continue this, so I got up and
adjusted the brick-a-brak on the mantle. "I need to know, Fox.
"*No*. We kiss, we... touch a little. That's *all*, I swear."
He paused a moment, and I could feel the anxiety building in
him. "Why, Mom? Did she say something..."
I turned back to him then, looked into his troubled hazel eyes.
"No, darling, she didn't. That's one thing that concerns me.
Fox... have you perhaps asked Rebecca to do something she
wasn't quite ready to do?"
"*No*, God, no -- Mom, I would never do anything... how could
I returned to the loveseat where he still sat, bewildered and
apprehensive, and took both his hands in mine. "Today I noticed
bruises on Rebecca's arms." I grasped his upper arms, to
His eyes grew wide and he looked from my hands on his arms to my
face. "And you thought I hurt her?"
"Oh, Fox, darling, no." I released his arms, bringing my hands
up to cup his face. "I don't believe for a moment that you
could hurt that girl."
He stood and pushed my hands away. "Then why did you ask me if
He didn't give me a chance to answer. He walked out of the
room, and out of the house. I heard the car start, heard him
I was already asleep by the time he came home again, and he was
gone before I got up the next morning. I was troubled by his
avoiding me, but I assumed he was still hurt by my questions of
the night before. I was in no way prepared for what greeted me
when he came home from school that afternoon -- Rebecca Norris,
with a suitcase in her hand.
Fox was gentle with her, taking her bag from her and showing her
to the guest room upstairs. When he came back down he put the
kettle on to boil and asked if I wanted some tea as well. I
nodded and waited for an explanation, which wasn't forthcoming
until Rebecca came downstairs. She stepped up to me and put her
arms around me.
"Mrs. Mulder... thank you. Fox told me you saw... I thought
I'd covered them with make-up but I guess it rubbed off."
I gave the poor girl a brief hug and led her to the table. Fox
poured the three of us a cup of tea and sat with us, letting
Rebecca and me talk.
"Rebecca, dear... who hurt you?"
"It wasn't Fox," she said with conviction, reaching across the
table for his hand. He grasped her fingers and gave them a
squeeze, looking at me as if to say, 'I told you so.'
"I know that, dear. Who was it?"
Her dark, tormented eyes met Fox's, and he nodded. Rebecca
turned back to me and bowed her head. "My stepfather." Her
composure crumbled then, and she began to cry. Fox held tight
to her hand as she told us about the beatings that began shortly
after her mother married the man seven years ago, beatings that
were becoming more severe as she matured. She explained that
she'd tried to tell her mother, but the woman refused to believe
Her tears subsiding, the girl excused herself to wash her face.
My son stood as she left the room, then turned to me.
"It's all right if she stays here, isn't it, Mom? Until we can
talk to somebody, the police or..."
"Of course it's all right, Fox." He wrapped his arms around me
and hugged me tight. When he released me, I looked up into
those expressive eyes of his. They're so much like his
father's. "Did you have any idea this was going on?"
He shook his head. "Not until you told me about the bruises.
Mr. Norris was never very friendly with me, but I just assumed
he was being overprotective." He sat down next to me, took my
hand in his. "Mom... I'm afraid it's just gonna get worse.
I knew what he was afraid of. I was afraid of it, too. Afraid
that Rebecca's stepfather would step up his abuse. Afraid that
perhaps it would become sexual in nature.
I squeezed my son's hand and smiled at him. "It's going to be
all right, Fox."
Rebecca came back just then, and Fox leapt to his feet. His
concern and affection for this girl was touching, and I knew it
was genuine. Fox loved this girl, and would do anything he
could to protect her.
She sat and sipped her tea as Fox took his place next to her
again. I watched them exchange warm, hesitant smiles as I
considered a possible course of action.
"Rebecca, perhaps I could speak with your mother." I knew Marcy
Norris somewhat -- we weren't exactly friends, and we didn't
travel in the same social circles, but I knew her well enough.
"It wouldn't do any good, Mrs. Mulder. She won't listen."
Fox spoke up then. "Bec, what he's doing to you, it's illegal."
"I don't want him to go to jail, Fox. I just want him to stop."
She sounded so... sad. Despondent. Pleading. I wondered if
Steven Norris hadn't already escalated his abuse.
"He's not gonna stop until somebody *makes* him stop. Bec,
please," Fox took her hands, looked deep into her eyes, and said
in the softest whisper, "let me help you make him stop."
She began to cry again, but she gave him a tiny nod. He wrapped
his arms around her, rocking her and murmuring, "I'll keep you
safe, I promise." I went into the living room and picked up the
Detective Carl Peterson was a sergeant when Samantha
disappeared, and as he's risen through the ranks he's stayed in
touch with both Bill and me, in case there was any news. He was
more than happy to listen to what Rebecca Norris had to tell
him. Steven Norris was arrested that very night.
Marcy Norris was livid. She screamed at Carl, demanding to know
where Rebecca was, who had put her up to making such
accusations. Carl, to his credit, told her nothing -- but she
was pounding on my front door the next morning.
I made Fox and Rebecca stay upstairs when I saw who it was. I
admitted her, showed her to the living room, and asked if she
wanted a cup of coffee.
Marcy Norris just paced the length of my living room, flint in
her eyes. "I don't want any of your fucking coffee! I want my
"If you're going to use that kind of language, Marcy, I'll have
to ask you to leave."
My calm demeanor just made her more angry, and she stalked
toward me. "Ask all you want, bitch, I'm not leaving without my
daughter." She bypassed me and headed for the stairs, shouting,
"Rebecca! Get your ass down here!"
Just then, Fox appeared at the top of the stairs, dressed for
school. He moved slowly down the stairs, his eyes darting
between me and Marcy Norris. "Morning, Mrs. Norris."
She sneered at him, took a step towards him. "You. You put her
up to this, didn't you!"
Fox shrugged. "I don't know what you're talking about, ma'am."
"Like hell you don't. Everything was fine till she met you."
My son just stood on the stairs, his hands on the banisters,
effectively blocking her access to the second floor. He stared
at Marcy Norris, not challenging her but not backing down
either. I couldn't abide this woman's presence in my home any
longer, and I couldn't allow her to accuse Fox of coaxing a lie
out of Rebecca.
"Marcy, my son didn't put Rebecca up to anything. It wasn't he
who beat the poor girl."
She whirled on me then, her hand raised to strike me. Fox was
there in an instant, her wrist in his strong grip and fury in
"You want to leave now, Mrs. Norris," he said, his voice low.
She glared at him for a moment, then yanked her wrist from Fox's
grasp and strode to the front door. Marcy Norris cast a
contemptuous glance back at the both of us and left.
I looked up at my son, proud -- then I saw Rebecca standing at
the top of the stairs, a mixture of fear, gratitude, and
affection in her eyes.
The next few days were comparatively uneventful. Rebecca stayed
with us, neither Fox nor I willing to let her go home to her
mother. Since Marcy Norris had been so ready to strike me, I
wondered if her husband had been alone in abusing Rebecca.
Then, yesterday morning, Steven Norris was released on bail.
Fox and Rebecca were already at school when Carl Peterson called
to tell me. I immediately called the school to leave a message
for Fox -- unfortunately, I was too late.
I got the rest of the story from Carl last night, after Fox gave
his formal statement. Fox had asked to speak with Carl alone,
and I respected his request.
As soon as he received my message, Fox raced to Rebecca's
classroom, only to learn that her mother had taken her from
school more than an hour earlier. He drove to her house,
pounded on the door. He heard Rebecca's screams.
Carl told me that Fox had gotten into the house by throwing a
wrought-iron chair through the bay window. I found that
difficult to believe -- my boy is tall and slender, and though
he is athletic, he's also a sixteen-year-old boy. However he
did it, somehow Fox got into the house and ran from room to
room, searching for Rebecca.
He found her upstairs in her bedroom. The door frame was
splintered, as though she had tried in vain to keep herself
safe. Rebecca's clothing was ripped, her eyes were glassy,
blood was everywhere -- and Steven Norris was standing over her,
a coiled leather belt in his hands. Carl said that Fox lunged
at Norris, and they struggled. A neighbor had called the
police, and when they arrived they found Rebecca dead, her
stepfather hitting my son, and Fox fighting back as best he
Fox was lucky -- his injuries were minor. By the time I got
there, he had been treated by ambulance attendants and was
sitting on the curb, waiting for me -- the ambulance attendants
said he shouldn't drive. I spoke briefly to Carl, then went to
my son. He allowed my embrace but didn't return it -- I
reasoned that he was still in shock -- until they removed
Rebecca's body. At the sight of her sheet-covered form, he
turned to me and wept. I heard him murmur over and over, "I
couldn't stop him, I couldn't save her..." I tightened my arms
around my boy and soothed him as he cried for this poor girl.
I took Fox home and he slept until Carl Peterson came to take
his statement. Afterwards, I tried to get him to eat something,
but he just shook his head and went back to his room. I knew he
was grieving for this girl, but I had no idea how to help him
beyond allowing him to grieve.
He slept late this morning. While he slept, I went into the
guest room and packed up Rebecca's things, moving her suitcase
into my room and closing the guest room door behind me. Fox
didn't need yet another reminder of her here.
When he finally came downstairs, I managed to convince him to
eat. Scrambled eggs and toast -- all he'd eaten for weeks after
Samantha disappeared. Then he went back to his room. He kept
his door closed, and I heard no sound from inside.
Later this afternoon I received a telephone call from Rebecca's
grandmother, Marcy's mother. Both Marcy and Steven Norris had
been arrested last night, and Carl Peterson had spoken to
Jacqueline Carey to make the official identification and to
handle Rebecca's final arrangements. He had also told her of
our role in what had happened. She told me that, since an
autopsy was required, Rebecca's funeral would be held the day
after tomorrow. She also thanked us for trying to help her
granddaughter, confiding that she'd never liked Steven Norris
and always suspected something was wrong. I was tempted to ask
why she never acted on her suspicions, but decided the poor
woman had suffered enough. Then she asked if Fox would say a
few words at Rebecca's funeral.
I hesitated to ask this of him. I knew, however unwarranted it
was, that Fox felt somewhat responsible for Rebecca's death. He
had been instrumental in convincing her to file charges against
her stepfather, and had promised to keep her safe. He felt he
had let her down, as he had felt he had let Bill and me down
when Samantha disappeared. His self-imposed guilt over Samantha
had eaten away at him for a very long time, and I didn't want to
see that happen again.
I went upstairs to check on him, and found him sitting on his
bed writing. I sat next to him and asked what he was working
on. He shrugged, said it was a poem about Rebecca. Thinking
perhaps that he might read it at the funeral, I asked if I could
read it. He handed it to me without a word.
It was, quite simply, the most exquisite thing I've ever read.
The power of my son's words overwhelmed me. Eloquent, lyrical
words about this girl. Her hopes, her fears, her dreams. Her
beauty. His love for her.
The final lines troubled me -- words of apology and guilt, of
love and loss, of defeat and futility -- and I knew, without a
doubt, that this experience had changed him.
I handed the paper back to him and kissed him gently,
whispering, "It's beautiful, Fox." He gave me a small, sad grin
and shrugged again. I asked if he was hungry, but he just shook
his head. "I'll make you some eggs, all right?" He looked up
at me then, and I saw pain mixed with gratitude in his eyes. I
left the room and he rolled over, and before too long I heard
him crying softly.
I called Jacqueline Carey and explained that Fox would not be
speaking at Rebecca's funeral. I'm not entirely certain I want
him to attend, but I know my Fox. The day after tomorrow, he'll
put on a mask of composure the way he'll put on his suit, and
he'll go. He'll say his public goodbye to Rebecca. In his
beautiful poem, he's already said his private goodbye.
I have seen my son emotionally devastated three times in his
young life. I pray that I never see him that way again.
Written by Lara Means - http://www.geocities.com/larameans_2000
Lara's Favorites: A Rec Site - http://www.geocities.com/recsbylarameans
CharlieFic: The Forgotten Scully - http://www.geocities.com/charliefic
XFMU: Doggett & Reyes Fic - http://xfmufic.tripod.com