Tim hefted his bag back on his right shoulder as he tried to
get the key to
turn in the lock. The weekend in the mountains with Mulder had been great,
but now it was late on Sunday night, he had to work at 7 a.m. the next
morning, and the phone was ringing very insistently. Finally the door
popped open. He could hear his voice on the answering machine as he
dropped his bag in the hall and headed into the living room where the
machine sat on an end table. He listened more carefully as he recognized
his sister's voice.
"Tim, it's me again. I got Mom home from the hospital and
she seems to be
doing okay. Why don't you call me over here and let me know where the heck
you've been. By the way, I have a shipment coming in tomorrow morning. Do
you think you could come over and help her get ready and then take her back
to the doctor?"
Tim realized that his sister, Jane, was still talking to the
moved to pick up the receiver before she finished and hung up.
"Hey, I just walked in the door. Hospital? What happened?" he asked.
"Where the hell have you been?" Jane asked, her
voice bordering on anger.
"We've been calling since Friday night."
"I was out of town. Why was Mom in the hospital?"
Tim asked again. He sat
down while Jane related the story of their mother losing her balance on the
step stool in her kitchen, falling, breaking her wrist and incurring a
small concussion. They had kept her overnight for observation, but now
Jane had brought their mom home to her own house. Tim noted that the
machine was blinking so consistently it was impossible to tell how many
messages there were.
"Just let me take a shower and change my clothes and I'll
come over. I'm
on at 7 tomorrow morning, but I can probably take a personal day. Give me
45?" Tim asked. Jane agreed and they hung up. He immediately dialed
"Mulder," the familiar, deep voice intoned.
"Hey, it's me," Tim responded. He told Mulder about his mother's accident.
"Is she okay? Anything I can do?" Mulder asked, his
voice filled with
"No, it doesn't sound serious, just inconvenient-for all of us."
"So, no moonlit dinner on the harbor tomorrow
night?" Mulder asked. Tim
racked his brain for plans they had until he realized Mulder was teasing.
"No . . . " Tim lowered his voice. "And I was
going to stroke you until
you got hard and then take you in my mouth and give you a tongue-lashing
like you've never had before." The stress his voice had shown earlier was
"Now who's teasing?" Mulder responded, the smile on
his face coming through
the phone lines. "You had better not get me worked up if you're going to
mommy's for the night. I'm not sure she would approve of phone sex."
"God no," Tim replied. "I think she wants to
believe that not only am I a
virgin, but that someday soon I'm going to show up with Mary Sue somebody
or other and we'll marry the next day and bring over Tim Jr. approximately
nine months later."
"You'll break it to her gently, won't you?" Mulder
asked. "It sounds like
she's already had a hard week."
Tim chuckled. "Nice, Agent Mulder. I've gotta go,
promised Jane I would
be there in--" he looked down at his watch, "about 10 minutes less than is
Thirty minutes later Tim pulled up in front of his mom's house
Catonsville, his hair wet. He grabbed his bag and headed into the house.
It had only been a couple of months since he had left. After the shooting
his mom had taken him home while he recuperated. The bullet had not left
him permanently paralyzed, but he did suffer from spinal shock. It had
taken almost two months for him to get all the feeling back. In the
meantime he had moved into the little bedroom in the back of his mom's
house with his wheelchair and walker. It had been hard to admit that he
couldn't take care of himself. He had relied on his mom in a way that he
had never imagined. Now Tim shook the thoughts off and reached for the
screen door. It was different this time. He was coming to help him mom
He walked in the front hall and dropped his bag. Sticking his
the living room, he saw his mom in the recliner by the television.
"Hey, Mom," he called softly. "Hard weekend, huh?"
"Tim. I knew you were coming over, and it's good to see
you, but I wish you
hadn't bothered. I told Janie I could take care of myself," Virginia
Bayliss answered. He moved over and sat down on the couch near her.
"What were you doing up on a high stool?" he asked,
fingering the soft cast
on her arm.
"Oh, you know. I was trying to get the fruit jars down. I
wanted to make
some jelly for Kate to take back to school." Kate was Jane's daughter.
She went to his alma mater, Washington College, down on the Eastern Shore.
"So, then, call somebody to help you with that stuff.
Call me, or call
Jim. I want you to be more careful." His mom nodded. Tim hadn't talked
to his cousin much in the four years since he and Frank had to investigate
his cousin regarding a shooting, but he knew that his mom stayed in touch
more frequently. He looked around the otherwise quiet house. "Where's Jane?"
"I sent her home. She had an early morning and I knew you
would be here
"So, it's kind of a switch isn't it?" Tim said.
"What do you mean?" she asked, shifting in her chair
to look more closely
"Me taking care of you," Tim responded. He got up
and moved toward the
kitchen. "Can I get you something?" His mom shook her head. He returned
with a glass of iced tea and sat back down.
"So, where were you this weekend?" his mom asked.
"Camping," Tim responded, taking a big drink from his glass.
"Camping? You haven't camped since Webelos," his mom said, laughing.
"I know. Neither had my friend, I think, although he
professed to have
some Indian Guides training."
"Do I know this friend?" his mom asked, looking at
him more closely. Tim
turned his attention to the ice in the bottom of his glass. "Is it the
same one that came to the hospital? And called over here when you came home?"
"Uh, no. This friend, his-his name is Mulder. Fox Mulder.
He works in
DC, for the FBI."
"Washington? How did you meet him?" his mom asked.
"Lots of questions for a Sunday night. Do you need to
medication?" Tim asked, trying to shift the discussion away from his
"I'm fine, Tim. Tell me about your friend. You never tell
about your life anymore, so secretive."
"I met him on a case, that bombing case last month.
He's-we have fun
together. Nothing more."
"Are you sure?" his mom asked, her eyes trained on
him. "If he were-if he
were special, I would like to know."
"Would you?" Tim asked, looking at her more closely.
"Cause I'm not sure
you want to know that. You say you do, but the reality is you have always
had your ideas of what you thought was right and wrong for me. You were
the one that pushed the pre-med idea. I never wanted to be a doctor. You
were the one who wanted a doctor. And you-you were the one that thought it
was such a great idea that I settle down, marry some girl and have a family
like Jim did. I never wanted that, Mom. I wanted to be a cop, be a
detective. You've never been proud of that."
Tim stopped to catch his breath, unaware that he had begun to
mother had remained silent throughout his outburst. He stood up and walked
over to the picture window. He loved his mom, but he could lose his temper
with her so easily. Staring out into the inky darkness of the sky he
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to yell, but yes, he is
special. He's more
special than anyone else has been. Did you know that?" he asked, turning
to look back at her.
"Yes. I mean, I didn't know it was him, but I knew," she said, slowly.
"And that's okay?" Tim asked.
"I don't know Tim, but I'm glad you finally told me," she answered.
The following Saturday
"How's your mom doing?" Mulder asked as they sat
watching the traffic pass
by on upper Connecticut Avenue. Tim had driven down to DC to have dinner
with Mulder. It had been almost a week since they had returned from their
trip to the mountains. They had gone most of the week without talking.
Tim felt like he was under a microscope the entire time he was in his mom's
house. But she was finally doing well enough to be on her own and Tim had
returned to his townhouse the night before.
"She's doing pretty well. You would think after my mom
and I had spent two
months living together this summer we would have found it easy to make it
five days this week. I don't know, but somehow it was different this time."
"So what was different this time?" Mulder asked,
pouring himself another
glass of wine from the carafe.
"I was taking care of her--in her house. I think that was
hard for her. I
mean, she really had to pull me back together last summer. When I got out
of the hospital, I couldn't do anything . . . " Tim's voice trailed off.
Mulder reached across the table and took his hand.
"I wish I had been there to take care of you," he
said. Tim smiled.
Mulder didn't offer those kinds of words very often. He just wasn't
"Enough about me and my mom. How was your week?" Tim
asked. Mulder and
Scully had been on the road all week investigating fertilizer purchases.
"You really don't want to ask," Mulder responded.
"No, really, where were you this time?" Tim asked. "Kansas, wasn't it?"
"Yeah, the worst part was, when we got to the airport in
were out of the mid-sized cars and we got stuck with an Escort. Now, the
Ford corporation has made a very nice vehicle, but you can imagine what it
was like trying to fold myself into the vehicle day in and day out." Tim
nodded knowingly. There was no doubting the pain anyone over 5'7" would
feel driving a car that size.
"I'm presuming this would have had a negative impact on
the overall working
relationship you profess to have with Agent Scully," Tim said, pushing the
bread basket over to Mulder.
"You would be correct on that one. It was not our finest
answered. "But really, how did it go with your mom? You never finished."
Tim continued chewing his slice of French bread, then reached
for his water
glass and swallowed slowly. "Funny you should ask about that. Actually,
we talked about you a little bit." Tim paused again. "I told her we are
involved. I mean, she basically asked. About you, about Chris. I just
figured maybe it was easier to tell her."
Mulder set his wine glass back down and looked intently at the
across from him. "So, how did she take it?"
"Okay I guess. I mean, she asked and then she dropped it."
"You didn't talk to her anymore about it?" Mulder asked.
"No, I mean, I told her and that was it, case closed."
"How did you feel about that?" Mulder asked, looking
carefully at Tim. Tim
began to laugh.
"Man, I look at you and think G-Man, but I forget about
psychology past. You aren't going to analyze me are you?"
"An AB in psychology, even from Oxford, does not a Jung
responded. "I just was doing a little research for the inevitable
confrontation with my own mother."
"And how will she take it?" Tim asked.
"I'm not sure. My family is . . . well, complicated would
be one way to
"You haven't said much. They don't live around here, do
they?" Tim asked,
picking up his water glass and taking a deep drink.
"Uh, no. My mom and dad, they split up when I was in high
school. He died
a couple of years ago. Mom and I stay in touch, but I'm busy, so we
probably aren't as close as we could be."
"Brothers? Sisters?" Tim asked, looking up from his
Mulder had a far-away look in his eyes.
"Uh, no. Just me," he replied.
"This is the best part of Washington," Tim exclaimed as they walked out in
front of the Jefferson Memorial. The night was lit by the various
monuments--the obelisk marking the first president, and facing it, the
Greek revival temple for the one who had held the country together during
its constitutional crisis. In the distance, across the water, twinkled the
lights from the newest presidential memorial and on the hill across the
river the eternal flame. The two men stood for a moment looking out over
the Tidal Basin. Mulder moved first, going over and sitting on the marble
steps. It was the quiet season in the city and not many tourists were out
after dark. After a moment Tim joined him.
"Earlier, when we were talking about my family--I
lied," Mulder said
Tim moved over next to him and put his arm up around Mulder's
*What did Mulder mean he had lied? What had he left out about his family?*
"I *lied* about her." He dropped his head. Tim moved
his hand across the
other man's shoulders, trying to assuage his grief. After a few moments
Mulder raised his head and looked at Tim. The tears were welling in his
eyes. "I had a sister. I *have* a sister. Samantha." He quietly told
Tim the story of Samantha's abduction, his quest to find the truth and the
continual roadblocks he had faced.
"Is that the craziest thing you've ever heard? Do you
want to call the
crew from St. E's?" Mulder asked.
Tim answered by pulling him into his arms. He held Mulder
tight for a
moment and then pulled back.
"I almost didn't make it a month in Homicide. I never
solved my first
case. The rest of them would say that she is my quest, my cross to bear.
Her name was Adena Watson and I never found the man who murdered her. Or
worse, I found the man, but I could never prove he was the one."
They sat under the glow of the nearly full moon considering
the pain of
each one's experience.
"There's more," Mulder said slowly, turning to look
at Tim, his face oddly
blank of expression.
"A hidden past? An unmentioned spouse?"
Mulder shook his head. "There could be those, but it's
about my job, the
people I've encountered, the things that have happened to Scully and me.
Are you sure you're ready for that?"
"What do you mean?" Tim asked.
"I put you at risk just by associating with you. Maybe
you should talk to
Scully about the things that have happened to her before you spend any more
time with me."
"I don't understand," Tim said. "What harm could I be under because of you?"
"There are men who do not want me to find out the truth,
about my sister's
abduction, about the conspiracy behind it. Scully almost died, more than
once and other things have happened."
"And this would be better if I was alone?" Tim asked.
"You would be safe," Mulder replied.
"Hey, I've lived my life being safe for almost 40 years.
Last summer I
almost died. This is my bonus life, Mulder, and I chose to spend it with
you. I'm not a little boy, I can watch out for myself, but I would just as
soon have you at my back."
Mulder considered this, leaning back against the steps of the Memorial.
"So I guess we must be through the honeymoon period," Tim said finally.
"What do you mean?"
"You know, that time when everything is perfect and we
keep the things that
hurt us back so it doesn't complicate everything else."
Mulder considered that for a moment. "It was hard to tell you."
"Harder than what?" Tim asked.
"Harder than telling Scully. I--I told her right away, I
after we met."
"And you waited with me," Tim asked, turning to look
directly at Mulder.
His eyes showed the hurt he felt.
"It was different. I mean, I needed her to understand why
I was so zealous
about our work. You--I didn't want to scare you off. I still don't."
Tim leaned over and kissed Mulder softly. "It's gonna
take more than that.
Besides, I think I'm the one that's going to do the scaring."
"What do you mean?" Mulder asked.
"My mom wants us to come for dinner tomorrow."
"Mulder, if you throw that ball against the wall one more
time, I'm going
to kill you myself," Scully said, her voice filled with exasperation as the
small blue ball whizzed past her desk for approximately the forty-ninth
time. "If you are having such an ADHD moment, why don't you go find
someone to actually play racquetball with."
Mulder set the ball down and dropped forward, setting his
chair back on all
four rollers. "Am I charming, Scully?"
"Are you sure you want to ask me that right now, Mulder?
So far today
you've intimidated a tour of academy recruits, offended the cleaning lady
and permanently put us on the Xerox repairman's blacklist. You have yet to
offer me any assistance with these budget reports, which according to
protocol are your responsibility, as well as not putting any kind of
significant dent in the filing you promised me you would do last week."
"Not at work, I mean in private life," he said, now
leaning across his desk
and looking intently at her through his glasses. "Socially."
Scully considered this for a moment. "No."
"That's what I was afraid of," Mulder said, sitting back and sighing.
"What's this all about? You have a major social engagement?"
"Yeah, you might say so. I'm supposed to go to Tim's
mom's house tonight
for dinner. I'm not very good with mothers. Heck, you've seen how I am
with my own mother."
"I'm sure you'll do fine. Bring her flowers and inquire
after her hobbies.
If worse comes to worse, claim you have a headache and go home. It always
works for me," Scully said, getting up from her desk. "Speaking of which,
I have a headache--caused by yours truly, so I'm going home. I'll expect a
full report in the morning."
Mulder simply nodded and threw the ball back against the wall.
Later that night
Mulder stood outside the door. The initial plan had called for
him to pick
Tim up, but Tim was running late on a case and told Mulder he would meet
him at his mother's house. Now there was no evidence of Tim's jeep on the
street. Mulder looked up and down the block again hoping it might
magically appear. His head snapped back as the door opened.
"You must be Tim's friend, Fox," the kind-looking
older woman said. "I'm
Virginia Bayliss." Mulder shook her hand and walked into the house past
her. She took his trenchcoat and hung it in the hall closet. "I wondered
how long you were going to stand out there."
"I just thought--Tim said he was just going to be a minute . . . "
"And you thought you would wait him out and not have to
face his mother
alone?" Virginia finished for him. She led him in to a small, but
tastefully decorated living room. Mulder perched on the edge of the sofa
while she moved toward the dining room. "Can I make you a drink, Fox, or
do you prefer Mulder? I gather that's what Tim calls you. Perhaps a scotch?"
"Uh, sure and please, call me Fox, " he responded.
He might hate the name,
but tonight was about making a good impression. She nodded and disappeared
into the kitchen. He could hear her getting ice out of the freezer and
putting it in the glasses. Scotch? Why had he agreed to take a drink? He
wasn't much of a drinker and very rarely the hard stuff. But, somehow, in
this situation, it seemed appropriate.
"Here we go," Mrs. Bayliss said as she handed him
the glass filled with ice
and amber-colored liquid. She sat down in the chair across from him and
took a sip from her own glass. "So you and Tim met this fall?"
"Uh, yeah. On a case," Mulder replied, trying to
think of any way to steer
the conversation away from this distressing course.
"He sure was glad to get back to work. What is it you do?" she asked.
Mulder contemplated the question. Where would he begin?
"Well, right now
I'm working on domestic terrorism. We follow up threats, that kind of stuff."
"We? Do you have a partner, like Tim did?"
"Ah, yes, I work with a woman--Dana Scully. We've been
about six years."
"I know that Tim misses Frank, his partner. They were
close. I know Tim
considered him a friend and I think Frank did as well."
Mulder looked over at Tim's mother. "Tim doesn't talk
about it much, but I
get the impression that it was hard for him."
She nodded and reached for her glass, taking a deep drink.
thought we might lose him, then that he would never walk again, always be
in pain. It was a long time getting him back to work, his home. It was .
. . it was hard for all of us."
Mulder nodded, considering what it must have been like for
Tim, wishing he
had known him then.
"So, Tim seems to be running late. Why don't we sit down
to eat. I'll
warm something for him when he shows up," Mrs. Bayliss said, getting up and
ushering Mulder into the dining room.
Four hours later
Tim slid the key into the lock and opened the door. There was
light on in the living room. He dropped his coat on the banister and
walked into the room.
"Hey," he said, dropping down on the sofa across from the occupied chair.
"Hey yourself. Busy night?" Mulder asked, reaching
over to snap on another
light. Tim squinted in the sudden brightness.
"What is this? The Inquisition? Light torture?"
"Tim, you invited me to have dinner with your mother.
This alone was a
daunting experience with you by my side. As the clock crept toward 9 p.m.
it became clear to us that you were not going to show. Are you aware of
the concept of the seven minute pause in conversation?"
"Well, if you had come tonight you could have become more
familiar with the
seven *second* pause."
"Was it that bad?" Tim asked, moving over to sit on
the arm of Mulder's
chair. Mulder nodded. "Well, then I'm going to have to make it up to
you." He trailed his fingers down the side of Mulder's face, then tilted
his head up so he could kiss the lips which were in full pout. He wrapped
his hands around the back of Mulder's head pulling him closer, kissing him
deeper. Tim slid his fingers around the knot of Mulder's tie, loosening
it. Then he worked his fingers down the front of Mulder's shirt,
unbuttoning it is as quickly as he was able.
Mulder pulled back from the kiss. "I should go home," he murmured.
Tim shook his head. "I think you had better spend the
night up here.
You're in no shape to drive and I'm in no shape to not have my needs met."
He stood up and held his hands out to Mulder, who grabbed on as Tim pulled
him up. He wrapped his arms around Mulder and they walked to the steps.
"This could become a habit, you know," Mulder said.
"What?" Tim replied.
"Sounds good to me!" Tim answered as he ushered
Mulder into his room. He
dropped down on the bed. Mulder came over and started pulling Tim's shoes
"So, what held you up?" Mulder asked, tossing Tim's
loafer into the corner
of the room.
"Murder-suicide. The press caught wind and I got stuck.
I'm sorry, I
would have called if I would have."
Mulder nodded and turned his attention to the other foot.
"If I admit
something, can I still spend the night?" Mulder asked, tossing the other
loafer toward its mate.
Tim looked intently at Mulder. The other man's face was a
"What's the secret, Mulder?" *Alien abductions, international
conspiracies, what else could Mulder be hiding?*
Mulder lay down on the bed next to Tim. He trailed his hand
down the front
of Tim's chest, knitting his fingers through the thin hair covering it.
Then his hand dropped further, slipping into Tim's boxers. His fingers
slid deeper. Tim grabbed his hand, bringing the discovery to a halt.
"That's dirty pool. What's the secret, Mulder?"
Mulder rolled over on top of Tim, lifting himself off the
other man with
his elbows. "Dinner, with your mom. Piece of cake."
"Really?" Tim asked, shifting slightly so Mulder was
again lying alongside
him. He began running his hands through Mulder's hair again.
"Even saw your Boy Scout uniform."
"She took you into my room?"
"You know that you still have a copy of the July 1976
issue of Playboy
underneath your mattress, don't you?"
Tim started laughing. "Now I know you're lying! I only
read Penthouse . .
. much smuttier."
"Okay, I lied about the Playboy, but I did in fact
witness the badge for
wood cutting. You were holding out on me last week. Mr. 'I can't set up a
tent.' What was that all about?"
"Wood cutting, not camping. I quit before they got to
that one. So, you
liked my mom?"
"Yeah, Tim. How could I not . . . she's your mom."
"And how did she seem?" Tim asked.
"Fine. She was very nice. She seemed like she was feeling much better."
"So, when am I going to take a tour of your boyhood room?" Tim asked.
"Teena Mulder. That's a very different story. I'm not
sure she's ready
for this latest insight into my personal life."
Tim looked into Mulder's eyes. The playful tone had
disappeared. "And is
"My mom hasn't known about most of my life for a very
long time. This is
just another page in that book," Mulder said in a resigned tone. He rolled
onto his back, looking up at the ceiling.
"Well, I can share mine," Tim said. He rolled over and kissed Mulder again.
"You always know the right thing to say," Mulder
answered. He started
"What's so funny?"
Mulder shook his head, still laughing. "I'm just trying
to figure out how
I got here, what I did to deserve finding someone like you."
"Well, why don't you show me a little appreciation,"
Tim said, slipping out
of his boxers. Mulder pulled the sheets back and they slid underneath them.