Rating: G

Category: Vignette 

Spoilers: William 

Archive: Let me know so I can dote 

Disclaimer: Property of 1013


A forty-something man wearing a windbreaker, jeans, work boots and Yankees cap brought no suspicious looks in the mid-town coffee shop. He brought no looks at all, not even from the waitress who absent-mindedly filled his cup with decaf.

Mulder sat near the window, gazing sightlessly at the early morning foot traffic of office workers. Overhead, the radio gave the weather and the sports news. The smoking ordinances were being flouted, and no one, including Mulder, gave a damn. He was tearing something into little pellets.

"When I was born, they looked at me and said,
What a good boy, what a smart boy, what a strong boy,"
sang the Barenaked Ladies over his head.

She had given William away. Like he was a puppy who couldn't be house trained.

"This name is the hair shirt I wear,
This hair shirt is woven from your brown hair."

All the pain of her barrenness, all the talktalktalk before the conception, and Mulder exiled from forty years of life and work----for nothing? The baby sent to strangers and she e-mails him after it was done. And who are these strangers and how sure was she that William couldn't be found, found and taken away to a ship like Mulder had---

His mind stopped.

"I wake up scared, I wake up stranger,
And everything around me stays the same."

He couldn't think. But there was nothing to think about any more, was there? It was all over.

Mulder stood and pulled a handful of change from his pocket for his coffee and a tip. He picked up his hard hat and left to catch his bus.

The waitress came by to clean the table. She scooped the change into her apron pocket, and looked curiously at the curls of a photograph in the ashtray. It was torn into such tiny pieces, she couldn't see anything.

Except a scrap of red hair.


*The song is "What a Good Boy" by the Barenaked Ladies. Thanks as always to MaybeAmanda for lightning beta.

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