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Inspiration comes in the strangest places. This one came at Mass.  The biblical story of Abraham and Issac just would not let me go.  This is where it took me.

Summary: Mulder's severe head injury shakes loose some memories about his father and his part in the conspiracy.

Disclaimer: Get religion, Carter! Nah, just come back to the show full time and get some decent writers. Let the end of the decade take care of itself. We need you. And I promise not to infringe on your copyright by making any money off this story.

S-Story, A-Angst, Conspiracy/mythology driven. No spoilers, no romance. Rated PG for language. And all the medical stuff is my own fault and experiences, so blame me if it's wrong. Remember, never attempt brain surgery at home!

You wanna archive this, be my guest and releasing it to the newsgroup is fine with me, too.

I love mail. I love to write back. Comment on my story and I'll write you :)

Abraham and Issac 1/4
By Vickie Moseley

It was dark and his eyes were closed, but Fox Mulder felt the car moving. He couldn't really tell over what. It felt rough. Like the road to the summer place, full of pot holes and ridges. He could smell his father's cigarette, smoldering in the ashtray in the front seat. He knew he was in the back seat, even though it was cramped and he was the only one there. Still it felt good to be able to stretch out a little, not to worry about Samantha whining about how he was on her side of the seat, taking up all the room. At eight years of age, she was still a baby. He couldn't wait until she grew out of this whiny stage she was in.

He tried to sit up, but he couldn't. He was so sleepy. It felt like he hadn't slept in days, when he knew that wasn't true. As a matter of fact, he remembered that he'd slept in that morning. It was summer and he'd stayed up late to finish reading the hidden copy of the _The Exorcist_ that was laying under his pajamas in the bottom drawer of his dresser. His mother was always so worried that those kinds of stories would keep him awake, but he'd never had any problem with them. He'd finished the book, tucked it back in the drawer and slept like a log until his mother had rousted him out of bed to take out the garbage at 10 in the morning.

It had been at lunch, a rare lunch with his father in attendance on a weekday, that he had been informed of the 'outing' as his mother referred to it. It was Friday, and finally time for the Brownie 'sleep over' that Sam had been giggling about all week. His mother and Sam would be gone from five that afternoon until noon the next day. As a result, his father had decided that the 'men' needed some time alone, too.

Fox had been more than happy to hear of the opportunity to spend time with his father. William Mulder had been particularly busy the past few months and when he'd been home, which was seldom, he'd been too tired or preoccupied to do more than tell his son good night before shooing him off to bed. It had hurt--he'd always been close to his father and now they weren't as close as they had been. But now it looked like things were finally getting back to normal. Fox couldn't wait to tell his father about the baseball team he was on and the fact that he was now the clean-up man.

The outing started early, with a unprecedented dinner out without the women of the house. The Mulder men had gone over to Boston on the ferry and stopped at a McDonalds. His father had promised that they would drive up the coast, and spend the night at the summer place. Maybe they would even get up early and take the boat out for a bit. It was turning out to be more than Fox could ever have hoped for.

Even in his excitement, Fox couldn't help but notice that something was bothering his father. William Mulder never indulged his children with overt displays of affection, but tonight, his father couldn't seem to stop touching him. Nothing bad, mostly just a  casual hand on his shoulder, or a quick ruffle of his hair. Much like he'd been when Fox had gone off for a week to summer camp. It felt odd to the boy, but he was so grateful for the attention that he decided to ignore the curiosity that threatened to tighten his stomach.

After the trip to Mac's, they got back in the car and started to drive. They stopped a couple of times, even getting out of the car to toss the baseball Fox had brought. It was while they were playing catch at a road side overlook of the ocean that the boy had started feeling light-headed. He tried to shake off the dizziness, but it seemed to get worse. His father told him it was nothing that a little sleep wouldn't cure, but Fox saw the concern deep in the older man's eyes. Even so, his father told him to stretch out in the back seat of the car, he promised to wake him when they reached the summer house.

The rumble of the tires had lulled the boy to sleep. He was still in a deep cottony fog when he felt the car stop and heard one of the doors open. He thought they must be at the summer place, but his father made no attempt to wake him and Fox couldn't shake off the lethargy that still held him in it's grip. All he could do was lay there and hope his dad didn't leave him to sleep in the car all night.

The car dipped suddenly, as if someone else was sitting down. Fox heard a match strike, smelled the smoke of another freshly lit cigarette. He tried to open his eyes, but now they seemed too heavy and glued shut. He gave up trying and just laid there, listening to the voices filtering back to him from the front seat.

"Will he be all right?" That came from his father. It was full of worry and seemed to contain a hint of anger.

"Of course," came the casual reply. "I would never hurt the boy, Bill. You know me better than that." He recognized the other voice, but couldn't place it. His mind was so groggy with sleep.

"Of course," his father's voice mocked his friend. "That's why you've talked me into this unholy arrangement." The last was said with a venom that Fox had seldom heard come from his father.

"William. You know why you have to do this. You've brought this all on yourself." The other man's voice was pure silk as he reasoned out loud. "If you had just stuck to the project, all this would have been unnecessary. They never would have questioned your loyalty. It would have been assumed that you could be trusted implicitly. Now, you've backed them in a corner and no amount of 'I'm sorry' is going to convince them that you aren't a weak link."

"But he's my son, goddammit! And he's only a child! How can they ask this of me," his father's voice demanded.

"It's a ruse," the other man soothed. "It's just a test. You pass their test and all will be forgiven. Nothing will happen to the boy.  You know my feelings on this. I'll be there to assure that he's safe.  He won't remember a thing. The drug is strong enough, even if he were to wake, he'll never really be able to recall what happened.  He'll think he got the flu while spending the night at the summer house. He might feel a little ill for a day or two, just some after effects. But believe me, an upset stomach and a mild headache are nothing compared to what could . . ."

"I KNOW THAT!" His father's shout echoed off the roof and windshield of the car, cutting off his friend's sensible voice. "I know that," he said, more calmly. "I won't have them hurt. I know the consequences for severe indiscretion. I won't bring that down on my family. I love them too much."

"I know you do, Bill. I love them, too, in my own fashion. I've often wished that my life had been different. That I could have a woman who loved me and children running at my feet. I have to be content with living vicariously through your eyes, Bill. I won't let anything happen to young Fox. I would kill them before I let them hurt him." Fox concentrated on the man's voice and couldn't help but notice that it held just a hint of contempt along with the forced compassion.

"What do I do now?" his father asked, and sounded totally spent with the words.

"Take my car. Drive to the cabin. Go to sleep. I'll be there just after dawn. It will all be over." Simple directions given with complete lack of emotion.

"What if he wakes up before then?" his father asked, but even as he said the words, Fox could hear the door opening and the car tilting as his father got out.

"I have some more of the same drug here with me. He'll sleep a little longer, you might have to postpone your return until lunch time. He'll be all right, Bill. You have my word on that." Quiet assurance in that voice. It was confident, strong, and allowed for no argument.

"I'll see you in the morning," his father said softly and Fox felt the car shift again, felt his father's hand on his forehead as it brushed the hair off his face. Then the hand was gone and the car leveled again. The door slammed and involuntarily, Fox jerked at the sound.

"Playing 'possum now will only get you killed, my boy," the voice of the man purred. Fox heard a sound like a case being opened and then felt a hand on his shoulder. There was the sting of a needle in his upper arm and he was dreaming again.

Mulder jerked awake and tried to focus but everything was a dark cloud. For a second he thought he was still in the back of his father's Buick. His eyes were open, but he couldn't see properly.  He was certain he was in the back seat of a car and someone was holding him. He jerked his head frantically to see who it was. A whiff of her perfume came to him and he found it was his partner, Dana Scully, holding him in her lap.

"Shh, Mulder. Lie still. We're on the way to the hospital. Just lie back, we're almost there." She held his head and it hurt where she touched him.

". . . my dad," he moaned. He was still in the clutches of his dream of his father. The dream had seemed so real--it was almost like a memory of something long forgotten.

"No," Scully said with a sad laugh. "You aren't 'dead' Mulder."  The way he'd mumbled the word, she'd misunderstood what he was saying. "You were hit on the head with something--hit hard.  Lie still, you're bleeding all over my suit jacket and the cleaner is ready to stop taking my laundry as it is."

". . . dad . . ." he moaned and let the blackness cover him again.

This time he didn't have as much trouble opening his eyes. As a matter of fact, someone was forcing them open.

He wasn't in the car anymore, it smelled like the Emergency Room had when he'd sprained his finger at practice. He wanted to look around the room but someone was shining a bright light in his eyes.

"How much did he give him?" The man holding his eye open and shining a penlight into it was hard to see around the glaring halo of light, but his accent was strong and sounded European.

"I only gave Bill two tablets and knowing him the way I do, I doubt sincerely that he used both of them. Probably half a dose." It was the man from the car, the one Fox could still not quite place. His father's friend, or so he thought.

"And how much did you give him," the other man accused.

"5 milligrams. Not sufficient to cause any trouble." The reply was a statement of fact, not a defense. It was apparent that the European held no sway over this man. In fact, the opposite could be true.

A sharp slap to the face brought Fox out of his stupor. "Ouch!" the boy yelped.

"He's awake," the European said causally, and walked away.

"Good," replied the other man. "Let's begin."

Fox was staring at the man now. He remembered him. This man was one of his father's associates, he'd met him once at the summer house. His father had refered to him as Mr. Morley and Samantha had whispered in Fox's ear that the man was named after the cigarettes he smoked. Their mother had been somewhat standoffish to Mr. Morley at first, but later, Fox had caught them talking and laughing behind the boat house. He never walked back there again unless he knew where his mother was.

"Well, young Fox, it's good to see you again. How have you been, boy?" Morley asked and slowly lit another cigarette, blowing the smoke in Fox's eyes.

"Where's my father?" Fox demanded, hating the tell-tale crack in his voice that betrayed his own fear.

"Safe and sound. Just like you." Morley smiled, but it was without any real feeling and left Fox with a cold terror in his stomach.

"I want to go home," Fox said evenly. It was everything he could do not to let the hot tears on his lashes fall down his face. He would not let this man make him cry.

"Don't worry. You'll be home in your bed in Chilmark before you know it. We just need to do a few, ah, tests, Fox. You know about test, don't you?" That silken voice was back and it infuriated Fox.

"Yeah, I know about tests. But what kind of tests are you talking about?" the eleven year old boy growled in return.

"Just tests," came the reply. "Some of them might hurt a little.  Some of them will be just like tests in school. We'll be done with all of them by morning and then I'll take you back to your father. If you cooperate, nothing bad will happen to you, I promise."

"And if I don't cooperate?" Fox asked, trying hard to sound braver than he felt at that moment.

"Then the tests will hurt more than just a little," Morley said, leaning in toward Fox and letting the boy smell his stale smoker's breath. Fox bit his lip to keep from crying out as the other man took that opportunity to jab a needle into his arm and take several vials of blood.

Mulder jerked his arm away from whomever was holding it and trying to insert the thin IV needle. "Hold him!" came a shout and more hands and arms were forcing him back against the stiff sheets he was laying on.

"Please, let me talk to him." He could hear Scully, but she was at some distance. It was obvious that she was upset and trying to reason with whoever was torturing him. He still couldn't see anything but dark fog and the tone of Scully's voice did nothing to allay his fears. He continued to struggle.

"Agent Scully," a terse voice replied, "we're trying to help him.  Just get him to hold still so we can start this IV. He's lost a lot of blood."

"I know that," Scully shot back. "Most of it is on *me*," she growled, but apparently she won the fight because suddenly he could feel her hand on his arm, he smelled her hair as she bent down close to his face.

"Mulder, it's me. It's all right. We're at the hospital. They need to start an IV, you need blood. Please, let them do their job. They're trying to help you." She kept repeating the words, and he let them flow over his body and his mind. He was distantly aware of the needle sliding into the back of his hand, but he no longer fought their efforts.

". . .scully?" he murmured. Where had the guy with the accent gone? And now he could place the other man. Mr. Morley was a much younger version of the Smoking Man who dogged their every move. Mulder was getting so confused trying to separate the images from his dreams with the realities of the moment. And a fierce pain in his head made thinking even harder. Scully would know what was going on. He just had to get her attention. He tried again, hoping his voice was a little louder. "Scully," he rasped.

She drew in a deep breath, and stroked his arm. She had hoped that he'd fallen asleep again. It would make the X-rays and examination so much easier than fighting with him when he was in such pain and so disoriented.

"I'm right here, Mulder. I'm not leaving," she assured him.

". . . scully, I want to go home," he hissed through clenched teeth.

"I know, Mulder. But you're hurt and we have to help you get better first. Trust me, I'll be right with you, all the way."

". . .why did the Cancer Man take my blood, Scully?" he asked, but the words were slurred as the pain killers started taking affect.  Before she could ask him what he was talking about, he'd fallen asleep.


Abraham and Issac 2/4 PG S,A
by Vickie Moseley
disclaimed in part one

Dana Scully pulled off the suit jacket and dropped it in the nearest trash receptacle. It wasn't so much that she didn't think the blood stain would come out of the fabric, she just didn't want to be reminded of this particular moment everytime she wore the suit. It wasn't the first article of apparel that had fallen victim to the simple fact that she was her partner's next of kin. She didn't think it would be the last, either.

Now without her jacket, Scully arched her back and stretched, then searched the small lounge for a coffee machine. She found it without much trouble and poured herself a cup, dumping several packets of sugar into the mix and a good dollop of creamer. She stirred the concoction and took a big drink before allowing herself the luxury of sitting on one of the lounge chairs.

It was the doctor's lounge, she could tell by the furnishings. A couple of comfortable chairs, an extra long sofa, a few end tables, and in the far end, a set of bunk beds. A resident, from the looks of his lab coat, was sound asleep on the top bunk, snoring. Scully smiled briefly as she thought back to her own residency. It seemed so long ago.

There was a soft knock at the door and a sandy haired man with striking blue eyes who looked to be in his mid forties poked his head into the room. "Agent Scully?"

"Agent Graves, come in. Did you find anything?" Scully asked and found another cup for the New Orleans Agent In Charge.

"We hit paydirt. By the time I got back they had found Queen Delia hiding in a dumpster in the alley. She's screaming 'habeus corpus' and false arrest, but they're taking her down to county lock up as we speak. And we think we found the assault weapon. A three foot long piece of copper pipe with an elbow joint on the end.  There was blood and hair on it and it was in the alley directly beneath a window in the loft where we found Mulder. How's he doing?" The older agent couldn't hide the concern on his face.

Scully's eyes darkened for a moment. "Not that well. After we got here his pressure dropped. There was intercranial bleeding, so they took him to surgery. That was about an hour and a half ago."

Since arriving at the hospital, time had become a blur. After they initiated the IV and started him on whole blood, a PET scan revealed the bleeding. Whatever had been used to crack open the gaping wound behind his ear had been sufficient to make an equally gaping fracture in his skull and possibly, considerable damage.  While her partner had been rushed into surgery and she had been ushered to the lounge to wait.

The older man nodded grimly, then gave her a brief smile. "I've seen Spooky Mulder in action, Agent Scully. I don't think a piece of copper pipe is gonna stop him for long. I don't think a brick wall could hold him for more than a couple of seconds," he added with a wry wink of the eye. "If it's all the same to you, I want to get down to the lock up and question Her Highness. Maybe she'll confess when we match prints and fiber. At the very least, she'll probably give us the name of her accomplice."

Scully's mind really wasn't on the case, but she tried to look attentive. "Go ahead, Agent Graves. I'll be fine here. And thank you for getting us here so quickly--I don't think Mulder could have waited for the ambulance to get through that crowd down there," she added, shaking the man's hand gratefully.

"Hey, in the Big Easy, the first thing you learn is how to drive during Mardi Gras, cher," he shrugged with a modest blush. "I'll call back up later to check on Mulder's progress. You don't worry.  He's a tough one, your partner." Scully bit her lip rather than reply, praying the AIC was right.

Her cell phone startled her and she hurried to answer it before it woke up the young resident. She had no reason to worry, he slept peacefully through it all. She shook her head and spoke softly into the phone.


"Agent Scully, this is Skinner. I'm sorry I wasn't here earlier to accept your call. I understand Agent Mulder's been injured." Her superior's voice was clipped but she could almost see the little worry line that was undeniable on his face whenever she or her partner's safety was in question.

"Yes, sir. We're at Queen of Angels Hospital right now, sir.  Apparently the Voodoo Queen we were investigating has some rather hefty followers."

"How is Mulder?" the AD asked.

She closed her eyes for a second, wishing she had a more definite answer to that question. But she knew the Assistant Director wouldn't be kept waiting until that answer was forthcoming.

"He's in surgery right now. I'm not really sure what happened.  We were both following the suspect down an alley and she ducked into an abandoned warehouse. Mulder followed her and I circled around to the other entrance while calling our back up, then I started in after Mulder. After five minutes we hadn't seen her come out, nor had we heard from Mulder. We found him unconscious, bleeding from a head wound, made by some blunt object."

"I just spoke with Agent Graves a few moments ago, Scully. I understand this woman has been apprehended, but no one else was found at the scene. Could this Queen, what's her name, Delila, have hit Mulder?" Skinner asked.

"Pretty unlikely, sir. Delila is a small woman, barely over 100 lbs.  Whoever hit Mulder did so with considerable force. It fractured the skull and resulted in significant loss of blood. That kind of blow, from the position of the wound, would have to be done by someone standing 'over' Agent Mulder, sir. Someone who probably weighed over 200 lbs. minimum. Whoever they were, they packed a whollop." Somehow, talking about the UNSUB and the attack made it seem a little less personal. Almost like it wasn't her partner's life that was at stake here.

"Well, I've told Graves to bring in all of her followers for questioning. We can't fall down on this one, Scully." His voice had taken on that 'commander in chief' tone, as Mulder called it.

"Yes sir," was the only suitable reply to that statement, so she complied readily.

"Let me know when Mulder's out of surgery, Scully. And don't worry about finding me, I'm here for the night."

She suspected that was the case on a good number of evenings.  "As soon as I know, you'll know, sir." They both disconnected without bothering to say good bye.

The night continued to drag on. She took her watch off sometime after 9 because looking at it was only making her more nervous.  She read the medical journals laying on the end tables, she read and reread the bulletin board announcing various hospital policies and she couldn't face another cup of coffee when the surgeon finally came in.

He was a young man, early thirties, blond hair cut a little longer than she would expect to see in a neurosurgeon. He smiled tiredly as he reached to shake her hand.

"Dr. Steve Russell. You must be Agent Scully. I'm told you're a doctor, too," he said as he motioned for her to take a seat while he poured himself a cup of coffee.

"Yes, but I'm working for the . . ."

"FBI. Forensic pathologist," he finished her sentence, then noticed her annoyed look. "Sorry, it was a long surgery and the nurses are always the best source of information." He sat down on the sofa and propped his feet on the low table in front of it. "Your partner should be fine. It took us a while, but the bleeding is stopped.  There is considerable swelling, which is to be expected in an injury of this nature. The good news is there's no brain damage that we can determine. Of course, we'll run more tests over the course of the time he's here, I want to see what might turn up on an EEG.  We've done one PET tonight, but with the swelling, we can't see much right now."

Scully blew out a breath that she hadn't noticed she was holding.  "Where is he now? ICU?" she asked when she trusted her voice.

"Yep. I want him there for a while. I have him under sedation. I expect he's going to have some vivid dreams, that happens sometimes with this kind of injury. But generally speaking, he's one lucky bastard. What hit him--a jackhammer?"

Scully smiled wanly. "We think it might have been a piece of copper pipe." She almost laughed at the look of disbelief on the surgeon's face. "In the hands of a body builder, it can be considered a lethal weapon," she added.

"Got that straight," he agreed. "Well, I've arranged for you to have full 'family' privileges. You can come and go in ICU, just let the nurses know if you leave the building, since you are Next of Kin. I imagine he'll sleep for the rest of the night, but I've had patients fight off the drugs. He looks like a fighter," he said, giving her a comforting smile.

"He is," she said firmly. "I'll stay with him tonight, if that's allowed."

He shook his head and laughed. "It's expected. We used to turf people out but it didn't do anyone any favors. The recliners are pretty comfortable and the nurses know you're FBI. Don't be surprised if one of them doesn't sneak you up a four course meal or something." He got up to leave. "I'll make my rounds at 8 in the morning, I always hit ICU first. If there's any change tonight, the nurses know to page me immediately. Provided he's doing OK, we'll talk about moving him to a regular room later in the day tomorrow. I want him under close watch for 24 hours at least."

He turned and started for the door when Scully stopped him. "Dr. Russell?" The young man looked at her over his shoulder. "I just wanted to thank you. For taking care of Mulder. He's . . ." she stopped, not trusting herself to continue.

He gave her a smile and left the room.

Fox blinked and found himself back in the other room. It was white, with furniture that looked like what his father had in his office at the State Department. Fox was sitting at a table and there were papers in front of him.

"Look over this paper and then give it back to me. Write down everything you can remember." The foreign man directed him. The man's accent was beginning to bother Fox. It didn't sound German, he'd seen enough episodes of 'Hogan's Heros' to know a German accent when he heard one. And yet, the man didn't sound like 'Pepe Le Pew' either. It was annoying, to sit there and listen to the man and not know where he was from or whether he could be trusted.

The man tapped the corner of the paper, bringing Fox's attention back from his mental wanderings. Fox frowned, then read the paper through quickly. It was algebraic equations. 78 of them in three columns. After a few seconds, Fox handed the paper over to the man and then picked up the pencil laying on the table and started to write. In less than five minutes, he handed the paper over to the man, and sat back with a self-satisfied smirk on his young face.

The older man made his own skepticism obvious. He sat down and compared the two pages, going from one column to the other with painstaking deliberateness. When he was finished, he went back to the top of the page and started again. After he had gone over the paper four times, Fox started to laugh.

"What's the matter? Afraid you missed one?" the eleven year old asked.

The older man did not look pleased. He put the papers in a folder and chewed on his lip for a moment. "Do you remember everything you see?"

Fox shrugged. This wasn't a test, it was more like a game. "Sure, I guess. I mean, if I play cards, I can remember what's been played.  My mom taught me bridge, but none of her friends will let me play with them. Guess they got tired of me winning all the time," he added with an immodest shrug of his shoulder.

"What about what you hear?" the older man asked and walked over to a tape recorder with headphones and brought them back to the table.

Fox eyed him suspiciously. "Yeah, I can remember what I hear.  Most times," he said, hastily. It suddenly unnerved him the way the older man was looking at him. He felt like the hamsters in the discount store and he didn't like the feeling.

"Put on the headphones. We'll start with a period of 30 seconds and build from there." The older man handed Fox the headphones and sat back to record his findings.

Mulder's eyes were closed again, but he could hear fine. The beeping noise was far too familiar and he knew he hated it but he couldn't place where he'd heard it before. Right at that moment, it was blaring into his ear. He supposed that in some cases it might lull someone to sleep, but he had never been that lucky. He tried to move his head to get away from the beeping, but he rolled onto the thick dressing covering the left side of his head, even encompassing his ear on that side. The pain that caused forced a groan from his lips.

"Mulder? Mulder, I'm right here." He recognized that voice. He knew he trusted that voice. It wasn't the European man who kept making him read things and write them or hear them and write them. No, this voice was warm and friendly and he associated all kinds of good feelings with it. But he'd be damned if he could place it. He opened his eyes to slits and was surprised that he could make out some shapes and colors. With a little concentration that left him with a headache, he could focus enough to see.

"Hey there," the woman who belonged to the voice said with a smile that could launch a few hundred ships. Mulder tried to respond, but found it too hard to make his mouth form words.

"It's OK. You're going to be fine. The doctor said you came through the surgery with flying colors." That was reassuring. He had no idea what she was talking about, but it sure as hell was nice to know that he was doing so well.

"Do you want some ice chips?" she asked, reaching for a styrofoam cup on the table next to his bed. His throat was dry as a desert, even ice chips sounded good. He started to nod, but again, the pain behind his ear stopped him.

"No nodding or shaking your head, Mulder. That will hurt," said the person with hair so beautiful that he thought he'd died and gone to heaven. She was gorgeous. Maybe not that bright, he'd figured out about the pain right off the bat, but hey, she was great to look at. Now, if he could just figure out who this Mulder person was.

He took the ice gratefully and let it melt on his tongue, slowly bringing moisture to his barren mouth and throat. He closed his eyes and sighed blissfully. The red haired guardian angel reached over and brushed the hair off his forehead in an affectionate gesture.

A flood of images flashed though his mind, most of them coming from his dreams. A white room, algebra questions, needles, the man with the smoker's breath--Cancer Man! All of the images fighting for his attention. "Dad!" he called out and jerked upward, causing pain to lance through his ear and head and stars to form before his eyes. The gentle beeping sped up considerably and footsteps hurried toward his bed.

"Mulder," Scully said, trying to sound calm. "Mulder, it's me. It's Scully. You're safe. You're going to be fine." She kept repeating the phrase, hoping that at some point, she might start believing it.  She could tell by looking at the horrified expression in his eyes that it would take some convincing to get her partner calmed down.  "Mulder, stay with me here. You need to lie back. You're all right. You're in the hospital. You're going to be fine." She was running out of comforting phrases, so she just started repeating the old ones.

"My dad. I want to see my dad," Mulder gasped out each word,  repeating the demand over and over again. He had clenched his eyes shut against the pain, but when he open them and looked over, it was like the pieces of a puzzle dropped into place. He recognized his partner. The dream images and things he knew from his adult life started getting mixed up in his mind. "Scully, where's my dad?" he pleaded.

Dana Scully wanted more than anything to break down into tears.  This was what she had feared most--an indication of memory loss, possibly permanent brain damage. For whatever reason, her partner was requiring her to tell him what he should already know, that his father dead, that he had been murdered over two years ago.

A nurse pushed past her before she could answer and emptied a syringe into the IV line. "This is something to help you calm down, Fox," the nurse said, ignoring the pained look on Scully's face as she used the dreaded 'f' word. "You'll go back to sleep and we can talk about all this when you wake up."

Scully clenched her teeth in exasperation. She wanted to know how extensive his memory loss was and knocking him out was not going to allow her that opportunity. Even so, it was a relief when his heartbeat slowed down to the normal range and his eyelids drooped close. She held his hand, rubbing it gently in her own until she was certain that he was asleep.

Fox was back in the white room again and struggling to remember what he'd just heard. Five minutes of conversation seemed to be the limit. But they had passed that limit almost 30 minutes ago and now he was getting so tired. He couldn't help it when his head lulled down and his eyes started to close all on their own. The man with the accent had smiled viciously as he stuck another needle in the boy's arm and Fox felt a surge go through him. He could feel his heart start beating faster and now his eyes wouldn't close for more than a second. It frightened the boy, but after a little while he realized that was the worst of the affects, and that otherwise he was fine.

"What was that?" Fox asked when he'd caught his breath from the terror that had gripped when the medicine started to take over.

"Nothing, boy. Just caffeine. You'll use it a lot as you grow older," the older man smiled at him. "You see, we need to have you awake for the next series of tests and you were getting sleepy."

"Mr. Morley said I'd be done by morning. What time is it?" Fox asked defiantly. He was in a white room, no windows, one door.  He had no idea what time it was, someone had taken his watch.

"Just after one. We have the whole night ahead of us yet, young Mulder. You've proven to be a real find, but we have to test the other senses."

"Other senses? You mean like touch?" Fox asked.

It was almost making sense now, they had tested his visual memory, his auditory memory. He had always been fascinated by the fact that he could remember so much better than other kids his age. He'd even taken to studying the subject of memory. He had an eidetic memory, he had learned the name early but seldom used the word. Most people, including his teachers, had never heard of it.  But visual and auditory were only two of the senses. Touch, taste, smell, those were the other three.

The older man smiled at him, but it didn't give Fox any comfort. It was more like a predator, who finds a particular interesting prey.  The image of the hamsters in the glass tank came back to Fox and he swallowed hard.

"Why, yes, Fox. We are testing your senses. Care to wager on which of the remaining three we're most interested in evaluating?"  The words were more menacing than any Fox had heard that night.


Abraham and Issac 3/4
by Vickie Moseley
disclaimed in part one

"Don't touch me!"

Mulder's scream reverberated off the glass walls of his ICU cubicle. He was struggling against the nurse and two orderlies when Scully pushed past them and took hold of his arm.

"Mulder! Mulder. Listen to me. You have to lie still. They're just going to put the leads on your head. It won't hurt. It's an EEG.  Remember, you told me you've had one before. After Samantha's abduction. Remember?" Scully's heart was somewhere in the pit of her stomach.

He'd slept comfortably for the rest of the night, almost five hours, but had been restless for the last hour or so, never really waking up.  She knew how strange and vivid dreams could be when a head injury was involved and knowing Mulder, his dreams would be off the scale. But it seemed like every time he woke up, he was in some other place and time. It was frightening her almost as much as it seemed to frighten him.

"Don't let them hurt me, Scully," he sobbed when the others had moved aside to let his partner closer. "Please, don't let them hurt me." His words were slurred and she had a hard time getting all of them, but the look in his eyes was sheer terror. There was no way Scully could allow them to try the EEG until she had him out of the grip of this nightmare.

"I won't let them hurt you, Mulder. I promise." She kept stroking his arm, hoping the physical contact would be enough to lull him back from the edge he'd placed himself on. She looked over at the nurse and shook her head, the test would have to wait. The nurse shrugged and motioned to the two orderlies to leave as she pushed the cart with her supplies out of the small cubicle. The ICU quieted down again.

When everyone had gone, Scully sat down on the edge of Mulder's bed. "You're having nightmares, aren't you?" she asked him gently. More than anything she wanted to convince him that his dreams weren't real, that he was safe and she would make certain that he remained that way.

His heart was racing from his earlier fear, but slowly he was getting that under control. He looked up at his partner's face. "Not a dream, Scully. A memory." The headache was so bad, but at least now he could distinquish the visions during his sleep as actual events and not just the wanderings of his bruised brain. He wanted to tell her more, what he was remembering, but his mouth and throat were so dry that his words were a cracked whisper.

"Memories of Samantha's abduction?" she asked sadly. It was his strongest nightmare, the one that would send him straight up out of sleep. She'd been there to watch the aftermath of that nightmare more times than she cared to remember.

"No. Mine," he replied flatly and motioned for the cup of ice chips.  Scully gave him a confused look until he swallowed uncomfortably and she shook herself and reached for the cup. She spooned some chips in his mouth and waited for him to let them melt.

"_Your_ abduction? Mulder, you weren't abducted," she said slowly, hoping that she wouldn't upset him too badly by trying to separate the dream from reality.

He opened his mouth for more ice before speaking. Then, he pinned her with his eyes. "You're right, I wasn't abducted." He closed his eyes at the memory, so clear to him now. "I was handed over."

"Mulder, what are you talking about?" she asked, and then realized how foolish that was. The man had a severe head trauma. Just 14 hours before he'd been in surgery for it. His thought processes were the equivalent of scrambled eggs at this point and here she was, debating him. But he seemed clear enough on this.

"My dad handed me over to them, Scully. As a test of his loyalty.  But they only took me for a night. I think I must have been eleven, that it happened the summer before they took Sam. The guy who holds Skinner's choke chain--Cancer Man, he was there, Scully.  He knew my father. I think they were friends. I can't remember all of it--I haven't gotten all the memories back yet." He closed his eyes again, he was so tired. Just telling her this much had drained him of any strength. He wanted more than anything to just go to sleep and not dream/remember any more of that night. He knew in his heart that the next memories would be anything but pleasant.  "Scully, can they give me something, anything, so I don't remember? So I can blot it all out again." He gripped her hand for a brief moment, he was begging her to help him.

She bit her lip and had to look away. How many nights recently had she prayed the exact same prayer? That the visions she had of the men leaning over her, hurting her, would vanish from her mind and she could go back to the way things were--not knowing, not believing such things could happen. Finally, she found the strength to look at him again. "Mulder, I'm sorry. I can't. There isn't anything like that. Maybe if you talk to me about it, maybe that will help. Can you talk to me?" she asked, her voice betraying how much his own pain was hurting her, too.

His head was pounding in rhythm to his heart and it was getting more difficult to keep his eyes opened. He wanted to sleep, just _sleep_. He didn't want to talk, didn't want to relive the fear and the pain. Besides, there was really nothing she could do--they were memories. His memories. He would have to deal with them in his own way. "My head hurts, Scully. It hurts too much to talk," he moaned.

She nodded. He couldn't deal with the dreams right now. "You don't dream as much on Demerol," she said, more to herself than to him. "I'll see if we can't get you on a Demerol drip. Maybe that will help. Just hang in there for a few minutes and we'll get you fixed up." She reached over and squeezed his arm before heading for the nurses station.

When he had finally drifted off to sleep, she sat there for a long while, watching him. The pain lines were faint now, the Demerol erasing them from view. She mentally crossed her fingers that he wouldn't wake up frightened again. He had enough to deal with, just living through the pain of his injury and the last few years, without dredging up more unknown horrors from his childhood.  And now he thought his dreams were really events of his life, that he had been traded as a bargaining chip. Given what she knew of his family, it was hard not to see that as a possiblity. Or it could just be the workings of a damaged mind. There was a soft knock on the glass window of the cubicle and she looked up to see Steve Russell standing there, a concerned look on his face.

"I was tied up surgery earlier or I would have been right down.  How's he doing now?" he asked, walking over and taking in the various monitors. He picked up the chart at the end of the bed as he got closer, reading it for a minute before doing a cursory exam of his own.

"He's fine as long as he's deep asleep. The minute he hits REM, all hell breaks loose. He's restless and then when he wakes up, bamm, he's terrified," she told the doctor, never taking her eyes off her partner.

"Vivid dreams. Usually they're just colorful. I've had patients tell me they had the best dreams when they've been banged on the head," he said, shrugging. "But they can easily be among the most frightening, too. Guess Fox just isn't one of the lucky ones."

"He says they aren't dreams. He says they're memories," she countered.

"Dr. Scully," Russell said trying hard not to sound condescending. "I don't know how much experience you've had with this sort of thing, but head trauma can produce some pretty realistic dreams. If your partner has any deep seated fears in an area, he's likely to focus on that in these dreams. That's gonna be scaring the daylights out of him. I think you were right to recommend the Demerol, if you know he dreams less while under it. But it's going to take some time, maybe weeks, before this clears up. As you are well aware, we still don't know a whole lot about how the brain and dreams function."

"But what if a memory was hidden, lost. . .repressed," she countered, a tiny voice inside her was screaming at her betrayal of science. "What if something happened to him as a child, and he had forgotten it? Could that be surfacing now?"

Russell shrugged again. "Hey, I just fix heads. I don't analyze them. I guess it's possible. But I don't see where it has a lot to do with this. We need to keep him calm. I want to do the EEG today, so that if there are any problems, we can deal with them. Partial complex seizures can result in the same fear and disorientation that you've described. If that's the case, anti-seizure medication can lessen the symptoms and he can get the rest he needs to get better."

"Partial complex," she whispered. "You think he might be epileptic because of the injury?" She hadn't allowed herself to think in those terms. That would mean immediate disqualification from Field Agent status. Possibly permanent disability. The kiss of death to his investigations. And, in many ways to her own.

"Right now, I'm just throwing out possibilities. I don't _know_ anything. I want to find out. But you know as well as I do that we can't have him on the Demerol while we're doing the test. It will skew the results."

She nodded sadly. She certainly didn't want any false results, positive or negative.

"Let's give him the afternoon to rest. I can reschedule the test for tonight, when his normal cicadic rhythms might kick in and give us a hand," Russell offered. "He's not going anywhere for the moment."

He put the chart back and left the room. Scully was still deep in thought. Giving her partner one quick look, she quietly left the room and looked for a pay phone.

All the while the phone was ringing, she dreaded having it picked up on the other end. It was a betrayal of his trust in her, she knew that. But if there was any way she could help him deal with the fear he was experiencing, she wanted to take the chance that he'd be angry at her for her actions.

"Hello?" a woman voice came over the line. Scully was amazed at the speed of Mrs. Mulder's recovery from the stroke. She sounded perfectly fine on the phone and Scully had seen for herself that physically she showed no sign of her illness.

"Hello, Mrs. Mulder. This is Dana Scully, your son's partner."

"He's been hurt." The statement was breathless, like all she needed was confirmation, she already suspected the worst.

"Yes, ma'am. I'm sorry to worry you, but he's been injured. A blow to the head. We're in New Orleans --"

"I'll catch the first flight out."

"--Mrs. Mulder, wait. I don't know that it's such a good idea for you to be flying across the country right now. And to tell the truth, I think it might upset him more if you did. You know how he worries about you," Dana added pointedly, hoping that would persuade the woman against any such course of action.

"He always has been a little worry-wort," the older woman sighed.  "How is he? Is he conscious?"

"They have him in Intensive Care for the time being. But it's just a precaution," Scully hastened to add. "There was some bleeding, but they got him into surgery the minute we got here and that's all under control. He's in and out of consciousness. Actually, physically, he's doing all right. It's his mental state that I'm more concerned about." Dana took a deep breath before she continued.  "He's having some vivid dreams. That's natural with an injury of this nature, but he claims they aren't dreams, that they're memories.  Mrs. Mulder, was there ever a time in the summer before Samantha disappeared that you didn't know where Fox was? Maybe an overnight with his father?"

Scully heard the quick intake of breath and kicked herself mentally for putting this woman through another horror. "What are you talking about, Dana?" Mrs. Mulder demanded.

"He says that when he was eleven--that his father took him . . ."  She stopped. How could she be doing this? It was as bad as the time her brothers had given the cat Tabasco sauce to see it's reaction. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Mulder. It's nothing. I'm sorry, please forget I mentioned anything," Scully hastened to cover her mistake.

"The night Bill took him to the summer place." It was a statement, not a question. "They went without us, Sam and I had a camping trip. Just the 'men', Bill kept telling me. I knew he was nervous about it. He didn't want to go. But he kept telling me that he needed time with Fox, that the boy was getting older and he needed time with his father. And Bill had been gone so much. They were so happy when the started off. But they came home late, it was almost suppertime the next day. And Fox was sick, he'd been throwing up all morning and afternoon. He slept for two days afterward. Bill said he just wore him out, that the boy had the flu, but Fox couldn't seem to remember doing much other than sleeping and being sick. He didn't even remember being at the summer house. That wasn't like Fox--he remembers every little detail. I worried about it. I wanted to ask, but Dana, I didn't ask questions back then. I was too afraid of the answers." There was silence on the line, then a whispered "I still am."

"Mrs. Mulder," Scully said, almost in tears. "He's going to be fine.  I'll be here with him. Try not to worry. I'll call you later and you can speak with him yourself."

"Thank you, dear. Please, call me soon."

Scully hung up the phone and let the jumbled thoughts settle a bit in her brain. His mother just confirmed it. It wasn't just a dream.  Something had happened to him. He was remembering. More than that, he was reliving whatever took place. She closed her eyes and the file folder they found in the mountain--the one with his name hidden under a label for Samantha--popped into her head. She hoped she could help him deal with the memories.


Abraham and Issac 4/4
by Vickie Moseley
disclaimer in part one

Mulder woke up slowly this time. It was so nice, his head didn't really hurt that bad and the worst he could complain about was an incredibly dry mouth. He blinked his eyes and saw her. Scully was already reaching for the ice chips.

"When can I have water?" he croaked, after the first spoonful had dampened his tongue enough to allow him to speak.

"Later this evening. You know the post-op drill by now, Mulder.  Ice chips for the first 24, then fluids, soft diet and finally, sunflower seeds." She smiled at him. At least he hadn't come around screaming at her this time.

"Don't remind me. I'm still days away from 'real food' by that count." He sighed and closed his eyes. Slowly, he opened them again and looked at her. "No dreams this time," he assured her.

"Good. And you look like you got some rest." She stood up and got his chart, flipping through it to keep from looking at him. She tried to look casual, but she was chewing on her lip. He could tell there was something she didn't want to tell him.

"Spill it, Scully. You're a lousy poker face," he teased.

"Dr. Russell wants to do the EEG tonight" she said, closing the chart and putting it back at the foot of his bed. She walked around the bed and sat down next to him in the chair. "We've lowered the Demerol. The headache will be back and you won't have anything for it. And when you do sleep, chances are, you'll dream. In fact, that's what we're hoping for." She winced when she used the word 'we'. It wasn't really her idea.

He took the news stoically. "It's just as well," he sighed. "I don't like the idea of being on a Demerol drip for the rest of my life.  Maybe, if I can get all the way through that night, it won't keep haunting me."

She reached over and gave his hand a squeeze.

Later, Scully was trying hard not to laugh. Seeing him wince in discomfort was making that a bit easier. Still, her partner was quickly looking like the Bride of Frankenstein, with electrical leads carefully glued all over his skull. "You're just like the Conundrum, Mulder--all those little blue tattoo marks all over your head," she teased.

"Thanks, Scully. Now go eat a bug," he returned. The leads didn't hurt, but having to turn his head did. Now that the Demerol had worn off, he was feeling cranky and a little sick to his stomach.  "How long is this gonna take?" he asked the nurse.

She smiled indulgently. "Just a couple more. Then we'll turn off as many of the lights as we can and you can get some sleep."

". . .yeah, right," he growled low. He had been awake for a couple of hours, slowly wading his way back through the drug induced comfort and into the pain of his head injury. He really just wanted the drugs back, but knew that wasn't an option. "What are we looking for?" he asked, the question directed at his partner.

"Any sign of seizure activity," Scully said. She saw the frightened look that flashed in his eyes and moved closer to reassure him.  "You haven't had any noticeable seizure activity, Mulder. But Dr. Russell is concerned that the fear and disorientation you've displayed when you wake up could indicate partial complex seizures of the brain."

"Deep brain seizures," Mulder muttered to himself. "Aren't those hard to find?"

Sometimes she forgot that psychologists knew a thing or two about the brain. "Yes, usually. But with the new EEG's, it's gotten a little easier. You'll be video-taped while you're sleeping. If you have any disturbances in your sleep, we'll note that on the chart.  When we're done, Dr. Russell should have a fairly good idea if PCS is a problem."

"And he can notify the Bureau," Mulder said flatly. He knew what it meant as well as she did--he'd be out of a job.

"Let's not buy trouble," she counciled and gently patted his arm.  The nurse finished up and picked up her supplies. Scully pulled up the side rail that had been lowered to allow the nurse to work.  "How are you doing? Are you comfortable? Warm enough?"

"My head hurts. And my partner is starting to fuss over me," he said with a small grin, followed by a wince. "Turn off the light so I can go to sleep, OK? The sooner this is over, the sooner they can help me get rid of this headache."

This time when Fox opened his eyes, he was walking. He didn't fight them as they led him down the hall, but if he'd known what was going to happen, he would have. The man with the accent handed him a hospital gown and pointed to a curtained area for him to change. He did so grudgingly. The man then directed him to lie on a medical examination table. It was after he did so that they strapped him down. For the next hour and a half, his screams echoed off the walls of the white lab room.

Tears were drying on his cheeks and his throat was so raw he could barely whisper. He'd closed his eyes hours ago, or so it seemed to him. He couldn't watch what they were doing to him. He didn't want to know. He smelled the man's cigarette breath before he heard him.

"How's the boy doing?" The question was leveled with very little actual concern for the child's safety. More of a question of performance.

"He's doing remarkably well. But I'm concerned about his auditory memory. It's not as high as we'd like to see." This voice was a new one, and again, Fox couldn't place it. If he hadn't been hurting so badly, he would have opened his eyes to see who it belonged to. Instead, he laid on the table and tried not to whimper.

"Will that cause long term problems?" This question came with the now familiar accent.

"It could. I was hoping that we'd have high scores in all areas for this subject. It's possible he won't be acceptable to the project designers."

"Maybe it would be better to use him as the control subject then.  After all, it's not like there isn't another opportunity." Again from Mr. Morley.

"Possibly," said the unidentified voice. "We might as well continue with the tests as planned. We'll wipe him clean and then you can take him back to the parents." This time when they jabbed the needle into his arm, he didn't have the strength to cry out.

Fox knew nothing more until the car engine shut off and he found himself laying in the backseat again. He slowly opened his eyes, but the sun was far too bright and he squinted against it. He tried to sit up straight but a wave of nausea curled him into a tight ball. The car door opened and he could hear his father's voice.

"You said he'd have some minor side effects," Bill Mulder hissed.  He was just barely keeping his anger in check.

"I said he'd have an upset stomach. He does. He probably has a headache, too, so don't shout, Bill. It would only hurt the boy now." Fox heard the man talking, but didn't recognize the voice, had no idea who the man was.

"I want to take him to a doctor. He's sick," his father said through clenched teeth. He felt his father's hands around his waist, helping him to stand, guiding him across the seashell drive and up the stoop to the summer cabin. He could smell the sea air, but still didn't dare open his eyes.

"Dad, I'm gonna throw up," Fox moaned and his father hurriedly helped the boy into the bathroom, just barely in time. He could feel his father's hand on the back of his neck, felt a cool, damp cloth being placed there while he retched for an eternity. When it was over, he slid down to lie on the cold tile of the bathroom floor.

He opened his eyes and saw a blurry version of his father, leaning over him, pulling him up. "Come on, son. I'm taking you to the hospital." His father's voice was warm, comforting. Fox caught an undercurrent of deep concern.

"No! Dad please, no," the boy pleaded. He couldn't tell his father why, but he was suddenly deathly afraid of going to the doctors. Whatever happened, he couldn't go to the doctor. He started sobbing, begging his father. "Please, Daddy, please. I'm OK.  Please. Don't make me go, please." He was boneless as his father half dragged, half carried him out of the bathroom.

Fox squinted and could just make out the man, standing in the doorway to the cabin. Casually, he lit a cigarette and watched as Bill Mulder helped his son into the bedroom, pulled off the boy's tennis shoes and helped him get under the covers. Bill pulled the door half closed as he left the room, but Fox could still hear the conversation.

"What did you do to him?" his father demanded. His tone was low and menacing.

"Nothing. We did nothing to him, Bill. I told you last night in the car. This was your test. He's just having a bad reaction to the sedative, that's all."

"I want him seen by a doctor," Bill Mulder said defiantly.

"And be forced to explain how he managed to get prescription sedatives in his blood stream?" the other man countered. "I don't think that would suit anyone's purpose, Bill. Let this go. And by the way, it worked. You passed the test. They're convinced that you wouldn't do anything to betray them now."

Fox couldn't see his father, but he could hear the sigh of relief.  "Then the boy will be safe? They won't harm him?"

"I told you, Bill. I'll make sure no one ever harms Fox. I stake my life on that. You can trust me, Bill. I'm the only one you can trust."

There was silence. "I know that," said his father. "I'm sorry I doubted you. I was just so. . . afraid."

"Perfectly understandable. Let's just forget this ever happened, shall we?" Fox heard the screen door squeak. "Keep an eye on Fox today, but I'm sure he'll sleep it off. You should be able to go home this afternoon. Oh, and say hello to the women of the family for me. That little Samantha is getting to be quite the young lady, isn't she?"

"Yes, yes she is," his father agreed.

Fox knew only that he hurt all over. He curled into a small ball and cried himself to sleep.

"Mulder. Mulder wake up. Mulder, it's all right, you're safe."  The words kept repeating themselves right in his ear. He finally realized the truth to them and opened his eyes. He'd been crying in his sleep.

All the monitor leads were gone. His hair felt slightly damp, like it had been washed recently. He looked over at Scully and noticed that she was wearing a different sweater than the one she'd been wearing when he went to sleep.

"Another bad dream?" she asked, sympathetically. She reached over and brought a straw to his lips so he could take a drink.

"I'm on water now?" he asked, ignoring her question.

"Juice, if you want it" Scully said with a smile. "They're bringing you a tray--jello, broth, standard stuff. You missed out on lunch. You sort of sacked out on us--you've been out of it for almost 20 hours. We would have been more concerned if the EEG hadn't assured us you were just sleeping." Still, he could see the little creases in her forehead that showed she'd had little sleep and too much to worry about.

"What did the test say? Am I having seizures?" he asked, fearful of the answer, but needing to know.

Scully gave him her best smile. "Nope. You passed. All A's, as a matter of fact. You can now tell those bozo's in VICAP that you are NOT screwed in the head--well not physiologically speaking, at least," she teased. She was silent for a moment and then grew serious. "Did more of the memory surface?"

He nodded, silently biting his bottom lip.

"Well, when you can talk about it, I'm here," she said quietly, stroking his hand with her thumb.

She leaned back and waited for a few minutes. He sat there, staring out the window of his private room as it overlooked Canal Street.  How could he tell her what he now knew--a horrible truth that he didn't want to accept? His father had willingly handed him over as a sign of loyalty. Knowing the caliber of men his father associated with, it was no small wonder that they would request something that heinous of one of their underlings.

But it was worse than that. He'd been unfit for their project. He was a 'control' subject. That would explain why they kept leaving him alive when it would have been simpler just to eliminate him.  They still needed him. He was still part of their 'project'. A shudder ran through his body when he thought of that.

And Samantha was still in their clutches, probably. Had they wiped her memories, too? It suddenly occurred to him that they had done it to him not just once, but three times--that summer, then again when she was taken. And even more recently, when he had broken into Ellens Air Base, looking for the recovered UFO. He still couldn't remember how he had arrived at the gate of the compound. He'd been sick the rest of that day, just as he had when he'd been returned to his father. They probably used the same technique all three times.

He looked over at his partner and could see that his silence was hurting her. She didn't want to be shut out, but didn't feel it was her place to push him into telling her, either. Whatever happened, he was sure she'd be there to help him sort it all out.

He smiled at her. "Scully, do you remember the story of Abraham and Issac? From the Old Testament. God demanded that Abraham sacrifice his only son to him as an offering of his loyalty."

Scully's brow furrowed in confusion. "Yeah, Mulder. I remember that story. But God didn't let Abraham go through with it. He had him sacrifice a lamb instead."

"I know, Scully. But didn't you ever wonder, how Issac must have felt?"

She swallowed hard. She'd thought about it, actually, as a child, in religion class. The nun had been very clear that it was Abraham's total love of God that led him to make such an incredible commitment. And that it was God's further love of Abraham and his son that stayed the father's hand. But still, it was a very hard lesson to learn. "Mulder, I guess so. But God didn't let Abraham go through with it. He didn't let him kill Issac," she pointed out quietly.

"I guess God is more merciful than our government," Mulder said with a snort. "Of course, anyone who's ever had a run in with the IRS could attest to that," he added, but he didn't smile, and the joke fell flat.

"Mulder, are you sure? I mean--"

"Scully, I'm as sure as I am of my own name. My father handed me over. He handed me over to that bastard who chain smokes. I never recognized him until these dreams, but I remember now. I remember it all. My father must have questioned them, asked too many questions, I guess. Mom told me once that he and I always were a lot alike. At the time, I didn't know what she meant." He sighed and closed his eyes. "How could he do that? I mean, he believed that they wouldn't hurt me, but Scully, he didn't know for sure. And he went along with it. Just like a good little soldier."

Scully was having a very hard time getting any moisture down her throat, it was so tight. "Mulder, he probably felt he had reasons."

"Oh, I'm sure he did. But why did he stay, why didn't he take Mom and Sam and me and run? Why didn't he try to keep us safe?" She could see the tears in his eyes as he spoke. He was silent for a moment and then wiped angrily at his nose. "But I think he didn't want to give me to them, Scully. I know that's stupid, but I really think he didn't want to. He just didn't know what else to do."

"Mulder, I'm so sorry," she said, but it sounded so lame to her ears.  This was a pain a thousand times worse than any she could prescribe for--this pain ran too deep and hid too well.

He nodded again and stayed silent, chewing on his lip. When she thought she would leave him with his thoughts, he reached for her hand. "You know how psychologists are always saying that parents teach by example?" he asked and she gave him a confused look, but nodded in agreement. "Sometimes it's teachings us what 'not' to do."

the end.

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