God Rest These Very Gentlemen
Written by Rachel

AUTHORS' NOTES: This vignette was originally written to deal with my long-term questions about what happened between Tim Bayliss and his former partner Frank Pembleton. I pulled it back off the hard drive and dusted it off exanding it to include the new man in Tim's life, Fox Mulder.

As always, thanks to my long-suffering beta readers: Vali, Tara, Gerry and of course...Marti. You keep me honest in more ways than one.

DISCLAIMER: This story is based on the characters and situations created by Chris Carter and owned by the Fox Network and 1013 Productions. As such, the characters named are the property of those entities and are used without permission, although no copyright infringements are intended.

Christmas Eve
Fells Point

Tim Bayliss walked out of the station house and looked across the street. Mulder had left for his mother's that morning. It wasn't the first time they had been apart, but it felt different this time. It was worse, more deliberate. Maybe it was the holidays. He crossed the street, heading toward the Waterfront for a quick one before heading to his mom's house. He looked left for on-coming traffic and saw Frank Pembleton standing about fifty yards away, leaning on his car. He could hardly believe it, after all these months. What would Frank be doing there? Why tonight, of all nights? He took a deep breath and walked over.

"Hey, what are you doing in this neck of the woods?" he asked, approaching him with the cool restraint of a formal greeting rather than that reserved for a long lost friend.

"I figured if I was turning over all these new leaves I might as well turn over one more," Frank answered, holding out a small package.

Bayliss looked at the package for a moment and then took it. "What's this?"

"It's Christmas, dammit. Don't people usually give presents at Christmas?" Frank asked, his lip curling against the words.

"Presents are for friends. I thought you were a person who doesn't have friends, Frank."

"Dammit Bayliss, I haven't seen you for months and you have to start by giving me attitude."

Bayliss turned and started walking away. His former partner ran to catch up to him. When Frank grabbed his arm, Bayliss shrugged it off, but Pembleton tightened his grip and pulled the tall man around.

"I walked away. I was wrong, but I'm not going to excuse that with letting you run away. I'm trying here, Tim. This is hard for me. Can you at least listen to me," Frank stated. Tim stared at him for a moment, then his face softened slightly.

"Okay, but it's too damn cold out here. We'll have to do it at Jimmy's."


The two men walked silently to the neighborhood diner, Bayliss staring ahead stoically while Pembleton regained a little of his customary swagger.


"So you going to open this up or what?" Pembleton asked.

"You start shopping, Frank? Is that what you're doing with all your free time?" Bayliss asked, toying with the ribbon on the box.

"I'm spending time with the kids, that kind of stuff. What about you, Bayliss? How are you spending your time these days?" Frank asked, leaning across the table like he cared what Tim would say in response.

"No, seriously, what's going on here?" Bayliss asked as he picked up his cup of coffee. He wasn't going to get into his new relationship. Things had changed, and things he once would have shared with his partner, he could not share with this man sitting in front of him. "What are you doing, Frank?"

"Would you believe it's an ultimatum from Mary?" Pembleton answered, laying the menu aside. Why did he even look at it? He always ordered the special. Half the time the waitress didn't even ask what he wanted.

"It's the first reasonable thing you've said. But why now? Why at Christmas?"

"It's the season of peace? Good will among men," Frank answered.

"Good try, but you'll have to do better."

"So, how are things going? That interior decorator didn't redo the box, did she?"

Bayliss just shook his head. This was almost worse than not hearing from Pembleton at all. The man didn't make small talk. He didn't have time for it.

"Frank, you came here to tell me something or hear something. Would you spit it out? We've got bodies falling in this city and I'm not going to leave them all to Munch."

"Munch? They've got you partnering with Munch?"

"Yeah, and he isn't half bad. At least he doesn't harass me every moment of the investigation. He has an appreciation for my keen investigative genius."

"We're moving."

Bayliss' jaw dropped. He knew Frank had come to tell him something important. Maybe some part of him had hoped that Frank was coming back to Homicide. He still walked into the squad room every morning expecting to see that bald pate awaiting him, but every morning it was Ballard at Frank's desk. "What, what do you mean you're moving?"

"Chicago. Mary's been asked to become the mayor's chief of staff. She's wanted to get off the Hill for sometime, especially now with all of this impeachment shit, and this seemed like the right opportunity. It's still a big city, but you know, maybe a better place to raise the kids, Midwestern values and all that crap."

"Chicago? Do you know what lake effect snows are like? It's cold out there, Frank. The Midwest? You'll die out there," Bayliss said, unable to comprehend what Frank was saying.

"It's a done deal. I need to get out of here, Tim. I can't stay in Baltimore and not work homicide and I can't work homicide anymore, you know that. This is better for everybody."

"Why can't you? That's the one thing you've never told me, Frank. You owe me that much. I don't give a damn what's in this box. You want to give me a present. You want to be my friend. You tell me what the hell happened and why I haven't seen you since that night at Georgia Rae's." With that Tim got up, threw down a few bills and stormed from the restaurant, leaving behind the small package. Frank picked it up and followed his former partner back into the street.


Out on the street, Frank immediately picked up the pace. How quickly he'd forgotten how much longer Bayliss' legs were and how much faster he walked. He tracked his former partner as he turned onto Thames Street, another right onto Fell Street and finally out onto one of the piers that populated the area. It was winter and most of the boats had been pulled for the season. It was an empty, desolate place. The perfect place to finally put this to rest once and for all.

"Tim, I'm going to chase you all the way to Delaware if I have to, but will you stop and listen to me?" Frank called out.

"Listen to you, why should I listen to you? I need you, I ask for you and where the hell are you?" Bayliss said as he turned to look at Frank. For so many years he had looked up to this man, his mentor, his friend. When Frank had his stroke, where had Tim been? Right by his side. Helping him, encouraging him. Where had Frank been when the same thing happened to Tim? Nowhere, he was gone. Munch razzed him now and again for not sharing any of the wisdom of Frank Pembleton, for keeping it all to himself, but the fact was Tim couldn't bring himself to talk about Frank. It was the only way he could deal. The only person he could talk to about it was Mulder. Unfortunately he was in Connecticut.

Frank stood on the pier, looking cold and alone in his long wool coat, his hat perched on his proud head. He raised a hand to wipe away the sweat that had beaded up on his forehead during his pursuit of Bayliss.

"Can't we take this somewhere else? Do we have to stand out here on this godforsaken pier, unprotected from the elements so you can prove a point?"

"The only thing godforsaken out here is you, Frank. You either talk to me here, or we don't have this conversation," Bayliss answered. Frank sighed and then seemed resigned to the situation.

"Where was I last summer? That's a good question. I knew you wanted me to come around. Mary told me. She told me so many times I thought she would leave again. Man, for all I knew she would take Livie and Frank, Jr. and move in to take care of you. I knew what I was doing, but I couldn't stop myself. I was there, once. I was there that night."

"Yeah, my mom told me that. You were there in the emergency room, too. In the ambulance. I remember that. You were screaming. So why were you there then? Why weren't you there the day I had to learn how to use the walker or how to get in the bathtub, take a piss by myself? Why weren't you then, when it might have mattered. Why the hell weren't you there the day I came back to work? I have yet to get a satisfactory answer from anybody, you, Gee, Meldrick, Munch; none of them will tell me what the hell went down. All I know is you're gone and Kellerman is gone. I have to assume the two are related."

Pembleton turned and looked out over the water. The gentle waves slapped up against the remaining boats, rigging clanking against the mast of a sailboat nearby. Bayliss reached up and pulled Frank around to face him.

"Frank, you came and found me. You started this. You are damn well going to finish it."

Frank turned and looked at him, swallowing deeply. "I did it. I got you shot. I froze and that . . . that perp shot you."

"That's old news, Frank. Do you remember the day you froze, when you and Mary were trying to get pregnant with Livie? I threw my back out. We've done this scene. That's not good enough."

"No, I might have been able to live with that, but it wasn't just me. It was all of them: Kellerman, Stivers, Lewis . . . Gee. Even Gee was a part of all of this. I couldn't tolerate it. I had been party to it, I hadn't stopped it before it got out of control."

"You hadn't stopped it? When did you become the conscience for the whole world, Frank? When did the world begin to revolve solely around Frank Pembleton? You know what? The board, it still has red and that red still turns to black even though Frank Pembleton's name isn't on it. Nothing is as big as you, Frank," Bayliss said, his voice shaking. The two men stood looking directly at one another, their bodies trembling. "That might be a valid excuse for why you quit the force, but it doesn't get you off the hook with me, Frank."

"Do you remember that day we went looking for Georgia Rae? You asked me if I smelt the death in the squad room. I said I didn't and I honestly don't think I did. That night, when you were in my arms, I started to smell it then. I smelled it outside that room and I smelled it in the hospital. I could smell you dying. No matter what I did, I couldn't get that off of me. Is that why I quit? I don't know, I just don't know, Tim. I can't explain why I left, why I didn't come back."

Tim looked carefully at the man in front of him. He had never seen this side of Frank Pembleton. Something had happened that night to both of them. Something that hadn't happened before no matter what life laid in front of them. "You lost your nerve," Bayliss said slowly.

"Yeah, maybe I did. Maybe I just got tired of all the dying. I don't know what it was, I just know that I couldn't go back and for whatever reason, that included you. After what Kellerman and Gee did, I lost my taste for it. I'm not sorry about that. What I am sorry about is hurting you. I got so caught up in cleaning up for Gee I forgot what really mattered, I forgot about you."

"It's a little late, Frank," Bayliss said, turning to walk away. He stopped and turned to look at his former partner, his former friend. "You know, I saw Kellerman a few weeks ago. He apologized for what he did, for how it all shook down. I had no problem forgiving him. It's water under the bridge, but you, you were my friend. I had no expectations from Mike; at the end of the day, he was just a guy I worked with. But you, you were my partner. I told you things I never told anybody else."

"Would you have come back? If I had been there all summer, helping you? Would you have come back to work without me?" Frank asked.

Tim looked down at his feet. It had suddenly become more clear to him. He looked up slowly, taking in Pembleton's face, his stance. "No."

"That's why. You're a good detective. You have a lot to give this city, the squad. My time was up. I had to cut the cord, clean and neat. I'm sorry, but I didn't know any other way to do it. I'm sorry I wasn't there for you, Tim. Goodbye," Frank said, holding out the package again. Tim reached out slowly and took it. Frank didn't let go, pulling Tim closer, hugging him tightly for a moment. He let go and walked back down the pier.

Tim watched him go. Four months ago he would have given anything to have this conversation. Now it seemed a little bit hollow. Pembleton was gone, that was clear. Gone from Homicide, gone from Baltimore, even gone from Tim's life. He hadn't even mentioned Mulder, the most important thing that had happened since the shooting. Tim turned and slowly began walking back toward Thames Street. He would have to hurry if he wanted to get a hold of Mulder before he went over to his mom's for her traditional Christmas Eve dinner.


One hour earlier
Greenwich, Connecticut

Fox Mulder sat on the couch in his mother's living room, attempting to read the latest issue of the New Yorker. He looked up as his mother entered with a glass filled with amber liquid.

"I remembered you didn't like egg nog. I hope Scotch and water is okay?" his mother asked, handing the glass to him. He nodded, took the glass and lifted it to his lips for a quick drink. His mother sat across from him in a wingback chair.

"You've been busy?" she asked. He had been home for nearly twelve hours, but they had managed to avoid any serious conversation. Neighbors had been in and out with gifts, his aunts had called, he did some last minute shopping. There hadn't been much quiet time, until now.

"Yeah, lots of cases. Domestic terrorism stuff, not my preference, but it keeps the gas on," he said, setting his glass down on the coaster. It was always difficult to talk about work with his mother. It eventually brought up issues neither one of them wanted to discuss.

"And Miss Scully, you're still working with her?"

"Most of the time. They've let us stay partners in the new division," he responded, leaning over and grabbing a handful of the mixed nuts. Where was she going with this?

"So, do you see her outside work?" his mom asked.

"Sometimes, not too often. Why?" he asked.

"You're my only son, I'm curious. It seems like I have no idea what goes on in your life. You call me on Sunday afternoon and we discuss the stock market and the President's latest activities, but we don't ever talk about anything important."

"That's a minefield I don't think I want to get into tonight," Mulder responded.

"What do you mean?" Teena Mulder asked, getting up to stand near the fire.

"You know my life is about figuring out what happened to Sam. There isn't anything else worth mentioning, but yet, you and I talk regularly and we never even speak her name. She's been gone so much longer than she was ever here. At what point does she stop being the elephant in the middle of every room?" Mulder asked, his voice cracking at the end.

Teena turned and looked directly at her son. She had not intended the conversation to turn this direction. "That wasn't what I was talking about, Fox. I know you are focused on your sister and I love you for it. I am jealous of your dedication. I fear that I may have given up. What I wondered about was your personal life. I . . . I called last Thursday. I needed to confirm your flight number. You weren't there. I thought I had a wrong number."

Mulder stared at her. Thursday. Tim had been there for the night. He had gone out to pick up Thai. When he got home Tim said there was a hang-up. He had dismissed it as a crank. Why had Tim picked up the phone?

"I just thought maybe you had a new friend. Someone I didn't know; maybe Miss Scully has a brother who comes to visit you."

Mulder chuckled at the thought of Bill Scully hanging out with him. He knew what she was reaching for, hoping for, but he also knew that it would have to come out sooner rather than later.

"That was my friend Tim," he said slowly. "He's . . . he's special in my life. He's . . . he's significant."

"Significant. Like . . . " Her voice trailed off.

"We're together," Mulder answered, getting off the couch and walking to the window. He looked out the window, the room filled with silence. Finally he turned and looked at his mother. "He makes me really happy. Mom, I don't remember the last time I was really happy. It hasn't . . . it hasn't always been this way. I haven't always . . . before Tim there was never --"

"But I thought, you and Miss Scully," his mother said.

"You, me, Scully -- hell, the whole FBI, I'm sure. I don't want to be there when her mom finds out about my situation. The thing is, I love Scully. She's irreplaceable to me and that was the thing that held me back with Tim, but I care about him. I hope you can accept that."

Teena stood for a moment and then walked over to him, taking him in her arms. "I think we could both stand a little happiness." She pulled back to look at him. "I won't pretend to understand it, but I have to be happy for you. You're my son."

Mulder smiled and pulled her close to him again.

"But I'm not marching in any of those parades," she added.


Mulder set down the freshly rinsed glass and turned to pick up the ringing phone.

"Mulder residence," he answered.

"I was hoping you would answer," Tim said. Mulder smiled. "How's Christmas, your mom?"

"Good. You?" Mulder asked.

"Good. Good food, lots of family." He paused. "I miss you."

"So do I," Mulder responded.

"Merry Christmas, Mulder."

"Merry Christmas, Tim."