Welcome To The Harem

An Unnatural Mother by Agent L
Summary: Teena Mulder's thoughts at her son's bedside shortly after the events of Demons.

From: lhoward388@aol.com
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2000 21:05:16 EDT
Subject: xfc: An Unnatural Mother (1 of 1)
Source: xfc

Title: An Unnatural Mother
Author: Agent L
Classification: S, Teena-angst, MT
Rating: Probably PG
Spoilers: Demons
Distribution: Archive anywhere, but keep my name and
e-mail attached please!
Disclaimer: To Chris Carter, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, and Fox:
I know they're not mine, and no money, gifts or even chocolate would be
expected or accepted for this.
Summary: Teena Mulder's thoughts at her son's bedside shortly after
the events of Demons.
Author Notes: This one's for the great Vickie Moseley, who not only
asked for it, but critiqued it and told me to post it.
Feedback: Yes, please! LHoward388@aol.com.

An Unnatural Mother

I haven't seen him sleep like this for many years. Not since he was
a little boy who would exhaust himself with studies and play, and
curl up on the couch next to Bill to watch TV. After only a few minutes,
Fox would be out like the proverbial light, and no amount of jostling
would wake him. Bill would carry him to his room and we would both
tuck him in, and he wouldn't stir until morning.

So long ago. Before she was taken, and nightmares and insomnia
became a way of life in the Mulder household. Before the accusatory
glances carefully hidden behind polite smiles. Before I could hear the
whispers of abuse behind the kind words and gentle inquiries.

An unnatural mother.

I know that's what his partner thinks. She was civil enough earlier,
when I arrived at the hospital, determined to see my son.
But she has already judged and condemned me for his old wounds.
Wounds that still bleed, like the thin crimson trickle that seeped from his
head as he stood there in my foyer, accusing me of the most heinous
things -- lies, deception, adultery -- unable to look me in the eye,
struggling to control his anger and hurt. And shame.

I calmly informed him that he was bleeding and walked away.

Maybe his partner is right.

Fox makes a small sound in the back of his throat and I watch for
signs of returning consciousness, ready to go find Agent Scully, as she
instructed me to do. He stirs restlessly, tugging at the restraints around
his wrists, then gives a soft sigh and lies still once more. I put my
hand on his arm in an instinctive gesture of comfort, feeling the strong,
solid muscles of his forearm. Not so much different from another hospital
vigil, more than twenty years ago....

Fox had turned 12 less than a month before, but he'd always been a
responsible, dependable boy. Nevertheless, Bill usually insisted on
getting a babysitter when we went out. That night, we were only going
next door for a few hours, so I convinced Bill to let Fox watch his
little sister. The boy was so proud when Bill agreed. He listened earnestly
to Bill's cautions about locking doors and windows, and carefully wrote
down all my instructions regarding baths and bedtimes.

Fox and Samantha stood at the window and waved goodbye. Feeling
rather foolish, since we were only going a few feet away, I waved
back, then hurried after Bill. I had no flash of intuition, no cold chill,
nothing to warn me that my children might be in danger. Instead, Bill
and I went to the Galbreaths, where he and Tom played poker and
smoked cigars, while Peggy and I gossiped about our neighbors and
looked at their plans for a new addition to the house. I never once
thought to call and check on my son and daughter.

Three hours later, we returned home to find the house shrouded in
darkness. Living in a new suburb, the electricity and phone
service was notoriously erratic, vanishing at the first strong wind.
I was perturbed at this latest inconvenience, but not frightened. The
children knew where the candles and flashlights were, and more
often than not, they enjoyed the adventure.

Bill yelled for Fox, an edge to his voice that never failed to bring
the boy running.

No answer. I called for Fox, then for Samantha.

No reply.

Suddenly the lights and TV came on, and I realized that up until
that moment, the house had been perfectly still.

"Bill?" I turned to him for reassurance, for his calmness, as the
first stirrings of fear made my legs tremble, but he had already
stalked off to look in the kitchen. My heart began to pound as I
ran upstairs. Neither of the children were in their rooms. The
rational part of my mind told me they were simply hiding, playing
a childish joke, not realizing how frightened I was -- but Samantha
found it impossible to be quiet for more than a minute or two.

Then I heard Bill's voice from downstairs. I stumbled down the
steps to see him staring at something on the floor in the corner of
the living room.

"What did you see?" he demanded, over and over. "What happened?"


As he turned to face me, I saw Fox curled up in the
corner, as if he were trying to shrink into the wall. His knees were
drawn up to his chest and he had wrapped his arms around himself.
His eyes were open, but he stared blindly ahead, unblinking. Every
few seconds a tremor wracked his body, but other than that, he sat
motionless. His face was white except for a vivid red mark on one
cheek in the shape of Bill's hand.

As I stared, frozen, Bill knelt down and shook the boy violently,
shouting in his face. The noise finally galvanized me into action, and
I moved forward and grabbed Bill's arms, tugging at him with all my
strength. He moved out of the way grudgingly, and I fell to my knees
and reached out to Fox. Up close I could see he was shivering --
his skin was clammy and cold, his breathing shallow. A fine sheen
of sweat glistened on his face, and his pulse raced under my trembling
fingers. Bill had dropped his coat on the floor and I dragged it over
Fox's body, murmuring nonsensical words in an attempt to calm him --
or more accurately, to calm myself, to take some kind of control over
this unthinkable situation.

I called for an ambulance while Bill searched the house for Samantha.
When he found no trace of her, he insisted on calling the police, then
stayed behind to wait for them while I rode with Fox in the ambulance.
Fox was nearly catatonic until we arrived at the hospital, when he
suddenly became hysterical, clawing at the doctors as they tried to
move him, screaming for his sister. They strapped him down and
pumped him full of drugs....My precious boy who was never sick,
who never needed so much as an aspirin.

He slept for 24 hours. While Bill and the police anxiously questioned
the doctors about his physical and mental state, I remained by his bed,
constantly talking to him, touching him, trying to guide him back from
wherever he'd gone.

When he finally woke up, the first thing he did was ask where
Samantha was. He had no memory of anything that had happened
after Bill and I had left the house. I was the one who told him she was
gone. He accepted the news calmly enough, and in my exhaustion and
terror, I just felt relieved to have at least one of my children back again.

The police arrived shortly afterward, and Bill insisted on taking me to
the hospital cafeteria for a quick bite to eat while they interviewed the
boy. He assured me that Fox was in no way suspected of any wrongdoing,
that he was simply a witness -- the only witness -- to what had happened.
And besides, I would be of no use if I let myself get sick. My family, my
husband needed me to be strong right now. So I had a sandwich and a
glass of iced tea while strangers interrogated my son.

He seemed fine when we returned to the room, so after a while
Bill took me home to get some rest. That night, Fox got out of bed
and broke the mirror in the tiny hospital bathroom. When they found
him, he had dozens of cuts on his arms.

The psychiatrist at the hospital put him on suicide watch. But I knew
that if my son had been trying to kill himself, he would have succeeded.
He simply knew he needed to be punished, even if he didn't know why.

I don't think any of us have had a good night's sleep since then.

Fox mumbles something incoherent and turns his face toward me.
No longer a confused, guilt-ridden boy of 12, but a troubled, reckless
man, relentless in his search to know what happened all those
years ago. Desperate to the point of self-destruction, he has now
submitted himself to experimental treatments with drugs, electric shock
and medical drills. Only slightly more sophisticated than self-mutilation
with a broken mirror.

His lips move slightly, and his eyelids flutter as he struggles toward
consciousness. He tosses his head as if trying to escape the darkness,
looking for some way back.

But there's no way back, Fox. Not for you. Not for me.

His hand strains against the soft cloth restraint, the fingers stretching,
searching. I put my hand over his and squeeze gently.

"Scully..." he whispers.

His partner's name. Twenty years ago in the hospital, he had asked
for Samantha. Now it's this other woman. Has he ever called for me
in the darkness? Did he call for me that night, as I sat sipping a martini
with Peggy Galbreath, discussing kitchen curtains?

When his eyes open, he doesn't seem to see me at first, halfway
between waking and sleeping. He blinks slowly a few times and
starts to focus, turning his head toward me as he becomes
aware of another presence in the room. Unconsciously, his fingers
curl around mine.

"Mom..?" A tiny frown appears on his brow. "Wh - what are you
doing here?"

He looks around again, and I can sense his groggy mind is hard at
work, trying to figure where he is and what has happened to him.
He always loved puzzles and mysteries. But at the moment, the effort
is too much. His eyes drift closed. "Where am I?" he murmurs.

"You're in the hospital." I hesitate, not sure how much more to tell him....
How much he remembers.

He forces himself back to wakefulness. "What happened?"

A feeling of deja vu creeps over me, and I see a terrified 12 year
old boy looking at me from a grown man's eyes. I consider carefully
what to tell him, and wish his partner were here with her capable,
calm demeanor.

Fox's hand tightens on mine during the silence. "Mom...What

"You were at the summer house." I keep my voice quiet and even,
even as I remember the terror I felt when Agent Scully called me and
told me what had occurred there. "You were drugged, and your
partner came and got you."

He doesn't need to know the rest for now -- the gun he held to his
own head, then aimed at his partner. The hallucinations, the seizures
in the ambulance. I wish *I* didn't know.

He shakes his head with a small moan, his eyes tightly closed as if to
hide from my words. "I...I remember ... Samantha..." he whispers,
then opens his eyes again. The lost expression changes to something
ugly, something that I saw earlier that day in my house, that I had
seen years ago, in Bill. "You were there. With them. With *him.*"
Fox's whole body becomes tense. "I saw you. I remembered."

"Fox, you don't know what you're talking about. Your partner said - "

"Where is she?" He raises his head and sees that he is tied down to
the bed. Panic surges through him and he begins to fight the restraints.
"Scully. Where is she?"

"Fox. Lie still. You're going to hurt yourself."

"I want to go home!"

The harsh cry pierces my heart, just as it did more than 20 years ago.
He's spent too much of his life wanting to go home, like Dorothy wandering
through Oz. But there are no miracles here, no helpful guides to show him
the way.

At that moment, his partner enters the room. In the shadows near
the door, I see the fear and concern on her face -- but only for a
moment, before she walks over with a gentle smile, just for him.

"Hey, the guy next door complained that he can't hear Letterman."

"Scully, I saw them. She was there. They argued about Samantha."

Her expression turns solemn. "Mulder, you still have a very powerful
drug in your system. You need to try to rest." She stares over at me
as if I'm somehow responsible for his agitation. "Perhaps you should
leave," she says quietly.

"No..." Fox moans. "No. Mom, I'm sorry..." His eyes plead with me
to stay. To understand. To forgive.

Everything I should be begging of him.

She sits beside him and pours a glass of water, holding the straw
to his lips, but he refuses it.

"I'm so tired..." he whispers.

"I know," she says, smoothing the hair back from his forehead in a
gesture that is both sensual and maternal. "Just rest. It's okay."

He sighs and his body relaxes. Not from the drugs, but from his
complete trust in this woman. The same trust he once had in his father
and me -- the naive belief that his parents could take care of all the
monsters in his small world, and that a kiss from Mother would magically
heal any wound. But when his childhood was shattered that night,
Mother couldn't even help herself, much less make it all better for him.

I did my best, moving through those first few weeks in a fog of grief
and confusion. I tried to placate Bill, who drank and raged at fate and
his family. I attempted to care for Fox, but every time I looked at him,
I expected to see Samantha by his side, and the agony was unbearable.

There were times when I hated him for losing her.

So how can I resent this woman for taking my place at his side,
a place that's been as vacant as Samantha's bedroom for the
past twenty years? There's a fierceness about this small woman,
as if she can physically chase his demons away, almost daring
them to approach. So much strength and courage, all of it focused
on him.

Perhaps *I* am the stranger here.

I move quietly toward the door, only to hear her voice as I
reach for the handle.

"Mrs. Mulder." She stands and approaches me, obviously
uncomfortable at coming between a mother and her son in
this time of crisis. "You're welcome to stay."

I glance at the man in the bed, now sleeping peacefully. I fondly
remember the small boy curled up on the couch beside his father...
teasing his sister... laughing in the sunlight. I see him wave goodbye
to me from the window in the front room.

"No, dear," I reply, "But *you* are."

The End