Title: My Mother's Child
Author: darkstar (clone347@aol.com)
Rating: pg-13
Classification: post-colonization, angst, character death
disclaimer: now for the little "not mine, never will be" dance meant to ward of evil Fox executives
and their hordes of winged monkeys...err lawyers.

Summary: it's not easy to be the symbol of destruction in the eyes of a dying world.


My mother was an angel. At least that's what the Man used to say. I believed him too, or at least until I was about six. That's when I first began to realize the truth about myself. How I was different from all the other boys and girls in the refugee camps, but not in any good way. My mother couldn't have been an angel because she gave birth to a demon.

When Their half of me took over this planet, they killed most of the other half of me. Those They didn't kill got the"privilege" of life as human guinea pigs in the experiments and the tests. My mother was one of those chosen ones, marked Author:the implant in her neck to avoid death in return for bringing a life into the world. Without her knowledge and against her will.

She never talked about it. I only know what the Man told me. He turned what was left of the world upside down until he found her, rescued her. I suspect he's the only reason she didn't have me terminated or kill me the moment I was born. I've seen other Chosen do as much. And maybe it would have been kinder on all of us if she had just done away with me.

People had tried as much my whole life. I was five years old when a man came into my room at night and tried to strangle me. We lived in resistance headquarters then, and I guess he was a soldier. I don't know how, but I managed to scream. The Man came running, followed by my mother. He pried the killer away from me, and without further adieu shoved him out into the hall. That left my mother to try and deal with me.

It's easy to remember the thick awkwardness between us as she tried to check me for injuries. She didn't once directly look at my face the whole time, and the only time I caught her eyes, I read a kind of disappointment that he hadn't finished the job. I never saw that soldier again, but when the Man came to check on me the next morning he had cuts along his knuckles.

There were rumors he had killed the soldier. I didn't want to know.

We lived the life-or-death existence of rebels for a while, until I was seven. That's how old I was when They took my mother again. It happened quite by accident, in the middle of a midnight raid. The Man vanished as well, and for three weeks he was gone. People said they were dead. I never believed that. And I was right, because one night they came walking back into camp like nothing was wrong. I always saw through that lie.

The Man had blood all over his clothes, and it didn't belong to him or my mother. She had shadows in her face and buried fear in her eyes. That night they sat for a long time and talked in the privacy of their room. Then he came and told me to pack, that we were leaving the resistance.

We never looked back.

He was the closet thing I ever had to a father. I don't know if he and my mother were married, or if there even was such a thing anymore. He had a name- she called him "Mulder", but once she caught me saying that and told me in a voice that scraped like a dagger sheated in satin that only humans called each other by their names. I was not human and therefore that privilege didn't apply to me.

I think I cried that night.

My mother never touched me, unless she absolutely had to. Don't get me wrong- she wasn't cruel by nature. It was just that I had Them in me. To her I represented all the horror she had gone through, all the devastation They had wreaked on this world. To her, loving me would be a betrayal of her very humanity. The Man had his own set of reasons. He said she had another girl like me once, someone she did love. Her name was Emily. When Emily died, he told me, part of my mother did too. He said she's afraid to resurrect it.

I can't imagine my mother as being afraid of anything. No matter which one of the villages or compounds we drifted through, the women admired her and the men respected. She was a twice as hard as tempered steel.

The Man could soften her though. The only time I ever heard my mother weep was in his arms. It was the night after they found my grandmother's body. Or what was left of it after the creature had gestated.

Gestated. That's a nice word. I know a lot of nice words, although most are from a time I can only read about. The Man taught me reading and writing, over my mother's strong objections. He also told me of the Times Before, when Earth was all human. He said I had to remember it, because history is only alive as long as people do.

It is a proud history of a proud people. Half of me is thrilled to be a part of them. The other half hates itself for being part of their destroyers.

A part that becomes ever more visible with age. I grew up hearing stories of what happened to hybrids like myself when we got "of age". The aliens would take us back, use us for whatever dark purposes they saw fit. That meant experiments, or even worse, assimilation into Their culture.

My mother ignored my screaming when I woke up terrified from nightmares of faceless men coming to take me. The Man never did. He would sit by my bed and tell me stories of fairys and giants and magic swords. He said he used to tell the stories to his little sister. He never talked of her much, but every time he did his eyes got so haunted I could barely look at him. I think I remind him of her, in some way. I wonder if that's why he's so nice to me.

He used to try and get my mother to love me. Or at least give me a name. I heard them arguing about me once. He referred to me as a child. She referred to me as a thing. Then they found out I was listening. She called me a bad name. That made the Man angry. I had never heard him curse at her, but he did that day.

She apologized to me later that night. And gave me a name of my very own. Joy. Irony is a human trait that didn't die with the rest of the world. For a while after that she tried, really tried to love me. Until one day we had a run in with a group of clones. Their blood was the same green as mine. It reminded her of who we both were. That was when I was nine. Ever since then she's been polite, but never loving. Love. Here I am talking about it when I barely know what the word means. I wouldn't have the faintest idea if it wasn't for the Man.

I asked him one day. He said love was what he felt for my mother. He said love made you do things you wouldn't otherwise do. He used the example of going against your survival instincts. I envied my mother for taking all of his love and leaving none for me. Or at least that's how I thought things were.

The Man had one wish for me. That I would grow up. To him I was a symbol that life could carry on even if it was half death. My mother laughed at him. She said They would take me away when I came of age at sixteen to brainwash me into Their society. She said that's what always happened.

I never wanted her to think of me as weak so I waited until she left the room to ask the Man if all those old stories were true. I hated Them as much then as I hate Them now, and the thought of living among Them was terrifying. The Man was quiet a long moment, then told me in somber tones that it was. But that day he promised that no one would take me anywhere I did not want to go. His eyes were haunted again. I think something happened to his sister, and he doesn't want it to happen for me.

I am sixteen.

The Man died yesterday.

I once read a saying that heroes die young and violently. The saying is true. I always thought of him as a hero, but as of yesterday there's not a shadow of doubt in my mind that he is. I don't want to remember what happened, but I do.

They came to get me. I don't know how They found us, but they did. Five of them- three male clones and two female. It all started out very civilized. The asked for me in low flat montone. The Man put down his shovel and refused just as calmly. I was watching at the door. My mother was looking for the gun she always kept behind the stove, a 9 mm leftover from the resistance days. It was gone. That was when we both knew what he was going to do.

That was also when the universe fell into pieces.

The Man had her gun. He was pointing it at Them, in grim refusal of Their demands. This was a side of him I had never seen before. Mostly it fascinated me. But it terrified me too because I realized They had guns as well.

My mother started screaming for them to take me and leave, grabbing a fistful of my hair and dragging me into the yard toward Them. I couldn't see or hear clearly through the tears in my eyes and the static waves of pain in my head but I dimly heard the man yelling for her to run and take me with her.

She refused. She threw me to my knees in the dirt like some sacrificial lamb and continued to beg them to take me. Her hold on my hair was gone, as was my pain. The Man's last words are seared into my brain for all time.

He tore his gaze away from Them long enough to look her full in the face. I found out what love was right then and there, could feel it in the way their gazes locked. His eyes burned like molten jade and his mouth formed three simple words that haunt my nightmares still.

"I love you."

Then his war cry split the sky in two and he opened fire. He was an incredible shot. He felled two clones before they could so much as react. Their return fire caught him first in the leg, shattering bone and tissue as it hurled him to knees. A piercing scream of pure agony tore loose from my mother's throat and she bolted for his side. His voice was taut with pain as he commanded her to stay back, but she didn't listen. SHe reached him just after the second and third bullets struck his chest and his arm, turning the dirt around him into crimson colored mud. The fourth was to the head. Fatal.

My mother's hands were shaking as she pried the gun loose from his hands but her aim was steady as she leveled the barrel dead center at the clone who shot him. Her last breath was one command to me.

"RUN!!"

Then her fingers squeezed the trigger and never let up. Not even when a bullet drove through her heart.

I choked back my tears and I ran.

I am still running. I won't stop until I've found the resistance. I know it's out there, still alive and fighting. But just because They didn't catch me then doesn't mean They will give up. I don't care if They capture me- I will never be on the Them. I want to be the MAn, to stand up for the things I did. Because I promised him I'd live. I owe it to my mother for giving me the chance. That's why I haven't cried. She wouldn't have.

My mother is an angel. I know that now. A flesh and blood angel that fought real demons. Maybe if I fight hard enough I'll earn my wings too. But no matter what, I *will* fight.

After all, I am my mother's child.

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