Title: Broken Home
Author: XScout
Rating: R
Spoilers: None
Keywords: Pre XF
Disclaimer: Mulder's dysfunctional family belongs to 10-13 and Chris Carter, I just borrowed them for my own benefit and now they're collecting dust in my garage.

Summary: How a thirteen year old Mulder decided to join the FBI. Child abuse story.

Author's Notes: This story comes from an idea I got while watching `Radio Flyer'. If you like it, if you hate it, heck if you even read it, please, Please, PLEASE e-mail me. (I don't sound too desperate do I?) xscout@hotmail.com

November 5, 1974

Ever since Sam disappeared it was all crap, but some crap was worse than others.

"Who moved my tools?"

Fox trembled at that tone of voice. Coming from anyone but his father, it might have sounded remotely reasonable. He swore under his breath as he heard his father's heavy footsteps heading into the house.

He stared across the kitchen to where his mother stood motionless by the stove. Her gaze never left the pot she was tending. There was a time when she would look at the floor, the ceiling, anywhere, hunting for somewhere to escape. But there was no escape around here. So now she just stirred her soup and waited for the inevitable.

She wouldn't look at Fox. Nobody in the family looked at each other when this kind of trouble was brewing. Fox and his mother both waited silently and did their best not to watch as his father opened the garage door and entered the kitchen.

<Maybe,> Fox thought, <this time I'll fight back.> Something had kept him from doing so in the past. Maybe the fact that this man was his father, no matter what kind of asshole he was. Or maybe the fact that if he made it bad for his father, his father would make it worse for his mother. And no matter what happened, Mom wouldn't leave. Fox would take any beating without hesitation if he could save his mother from his father's form of `discipline.'

"Somebody's used my fuckin' hammer." His father held the wooden handle in his hand like a club, swinging the hammer through the air drunkenly. "You know how I feel when someone uses my fuckin' things without my permission."

Fox knew what he wanted to say <You get almost as angry when someone mentions Samantha's name.> His mother never mentioned her daughter's name anymore. She didn't mention much of anything around her husband. But Fox constantly talked about his sister. When he missed her so much that he was sure his heart would burst he would recite entire conversations they had had, using his eidetic memory as a reference. Or when he was angry, at himself or the world in general, he would ask questions about his sister, demanding to know what happened, why he remembered what he did, and why did no one seem to care that she was gone. Those kind of questions usually preceded the more severe beatings.

His father paused for a minute, waiting for a confession. There was total silence, punctuated only by the man's raspy breathing.

<Maybe this won't be one of the bad ones.>

His mother didn't look at him and he didn't look at his mother. They both looked toward his father, without meeting his eyes.

The front step had been broken. His mother had been very upset about that loose board. In fact, she had been desperate to have it fixed. To his mother it didn't matter what went on inside this house, but the outside of the house had to look picture perfect. What would the neighbors think? She had asked her husband to fix it about a week ago and when he erupted into another tirade of `I spend all day at work, earning money to clothe and feed you, and the first thing you want me to do is work some more?! I'm under a lot of pressure and I don't have time to pick up after you lazy idiots!'

Fox had fixed the step when his father was out of town on business. His father was out on business a lot these days. Somehow Fox had put the hammer back wrong. He hadn't been careful enough; had hung it back on the hook at the wrong angle or disturbed the dust that covered the workbench. Dad never really used his tools anymore. He would just go to the garage from time to time to make sure no one else had touched them.

"Answer me!" his father demanded as he slapped Fox full across the face. At least he had hit him with the hand that didn't hold the hammer. The force of the blow sent his chair toppling backwards to land with a crash on the wooden floor. Fox's head hit the ground, resulting in a sharp cracking sound. He struggled back to his feet, his vision slightly blurred and his hearing wavering in and out. He picked up his chair and set it back into position before leaning heavily against it for support.

His mother started to cry. As usual that only made things go directly from bad to worse.

"I'll give you something to cry about, you sniveling bitch."

His mother took a step away. His father moved within striking range.

That was it. Fox couldn't stand here and see his mother get another black eye because of him. He'd had enough of his father's crap. He straightened up and faced the old man, trying to blink away the blurry afterimages plaguing his sight.

"Dad, listen-"

His father spun to confront him. Both hands held the hammer now, as if he was holding the tool back from lashing out. Bill Mulder smiled, an expression of fury rather than joy.

"What do you want, Foxy boy?" The words came out slowly, his voice weighed down by sarcasm and alcohol. "Why are you always getting in my way? You were worthless from the day you were born." He made a sound somewhere between a grunt and a laugh. "If they had done as I asked and taken you instead, I wouldn't be in this mess today."

"Dad," Fox tried to explain, "the front step was broken. I had to-"

Dad's strange smile twisted deeper into his face. "So it was you, you little shit. You want to use my hammer so much? I'll give you my hammer!"

He swung the tool wildly at Fox's head. This time Fox was faster. He ducked the blow as his father whirled around, carried by the hammer's momentum.

His mother screamed and tried to grab his father's arm. Dad pushed her violently to the floor and promptly forgot about her. He turned back to Fox. He held a hammer, and his son was going to pay.

Fox took a step away and found his back pressed up against the shelves of the antique hutch where his mother kept the good china and silverware. There was nowhere else to run.

His father rushed forward, trying to tackle Fox first before delivering the killing blow. Fox's long arms flew out from his body as he tried to escape. All three shelves came crashing down behind him, sending broken plates and utensils everywhere.

The dramatic noise stopped his father for an instant. Fox felt a tingling from where one of the knives had caught his along the shoulder but ignored it.

"Damn it!" Fox screamed. He slammed his open palm against the now empty wall. The pain had brought his anger out at last.

His father blinked. "You're gonna break every fuckin' thing in this house." He tightened his grip on the hammer.

Fox had had enough. "You're the one who's broken, Dad."

His father's heavy boot smashed the already broken teapot on the floor. Fox saw that his mother had never gotten off the ground. She had curled into a fetal position in the corner. Father and son circled each other warily.

His Dad moved suddenly, the hammer flying through the air. Fox would have easily dodged the clumsy blow but his foot slipped on the broken china. He lost his balance and staggered directly into the hammer's arc. If his father had been able to complete the swing it might have killed him instead of broken a few ribs. But intercepting the hammer before it gained full force saved Fox's life. He grunted in surprise and pain as he found himself sprawled across the living room floor.

He couldn't move. Fox tried to draw in a breath to steady himself but he couldn't seem to fill his lungs. So he lay there ineffectively gasping for air as his father slowly walked over to tower above him.

"It should have been you." Dad's steely voice dripped with pure hatred. He drew back his foot and kicked his son in the abdomen, barely missing the fractured ribs. "Not her." The foot continued to pull back and rush forward.

Fox tried to protect himself from the savage kicks he was receiving by curling into a ball but that only made his father kick harder. The next few minutes became a blur of pain, misery, and shame. Fox was on the edge of consciousness when a high pitched buzzing echoed through the room.

The doorbell was ringing.

Fox froze. All the rage and fear at his father drained from him, replaced by a different sort of panic. Somebody had heard. It was a hot day, most of the windows were open.

"The neighbors can all go to hell!" his father screamed.

There was a pounding on the door. The doorbell rang for a third time.

His mother got up, doing her best to straighten her clothes as she walked to the door. His father paused, letting the arm that held the hammer fall to his side and his foot to connect with the floor.

Fox heard his mother open the door, followed by her reassuring response to a male voice whose words were not quite audible.

"It seems my son accidentally tipped over the hutch and broke some china. I'm afraid it toppled over right on top of him. I was just about to take him down to the doctor's to get his bumps and bruises looked at."

There was a muffled reply from the patrolman. His mom just shook her head. "That won't be necessary. Thank you for your concern, but I'm sure that we've taken up enough of your time already, Officer."

The policeman said something else and the door closed.

"Goddamned police," Fox's father muttered. "Who do they think they are, interfering in people's lives!" He pointed the hammer at Fox, but made no further move to strike out. "I don't want you talking to anyone about this, you understand me? Everything stays in the family!" He threw the hammer on the table and turned toward the den. "I need a drink."

He staggered from the room, his anger forgotten.

Fox's mother appeared at the other door, the one that led to the foyer. She walked over and knelt down to take her battered son into her arms. "I don't know what I'm going to do," she whispered. "I just don't."

There was no way to save his mother. Fox was as full of crap as the rest of them. He couldn't save his mother, he couldn't save Samantha, he couldn't save himself.

It was then that Fox Mulder vowed that he would spend the rest of his life trying to save others. Whether it be from mental or physical abuse, thievery, kidnapping, murder, or God knew what else, he would not give up trying. It was the only way to make his guilt at not being able to save his own family bearable.

But there was no way for that guilt to go away. Not unless he found *her*.

The End

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