Courting Shakespeare

COURTING SHAKESPEARE

A joint production by AnubisKV5 and Foxglove

Disclaimer: Any recognizable character belongs to CC, 1013 and Fox. All are used

without permission and no profit will be made.

Author Notes: This piece of fiction is dedicated with thanks to AnubisKV5,

because without her support, the wonderful suggestions and excellent beta, it

probably never would have seen the light of day.

Feedback greatly appreciated.

AnubisKV5: AnubisKV5@cs.com

Foxglove: pjoz@hotmail.com

Special Note: At the time we were writing this, Anubis was watching the NBA

Playoffs and in reality, the Detroit Pistons and the Miami Heat played Monday

night (Miami Winning – yay!!).

But since we had written the majority of the story and were very close to the

deadline, we decided to use a little ‘artistic licence’ and use the Playoffs our way.

The Dallas Mavericks played the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night with the Suns

winning (boo!! — Since Foxglove resides in Australia and Anubis is in Texas, you

can guess whose opinion was the “boo!”. However, Anubis would have been much

happier had the Dallas Stars not bombed out in the first round of the Stanley Cup

Playoffs. Still, there’s always next year….)

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Chapter One

The artificial whiteness of the weather person’s teeth as they flashed smile after

ingratiating smile towards the camera, frayed Fox Mulder’s nerves to the breaking

point. “Get on with it already.” He growled as they struck up another inane and

unnecessary conversation with the news announcer. Impatiently, he shifted

position again on the couch, slinging his arm along the back and propping both

feet onto the coffee table, carefully avoiding the large bowl of buttered popcorn

and a sweaty bottle of Shiner Bock, two essential components for every red-

blooded American male intending to spend the entire afternoon being a couch

potato and catching up on their favourite sport.

Finally, the camera swung around to the announcer, whom, with a well-rehearsed

shuffle of papers, presented an equally vacuous expression to their unseen and

long-suffering audience.

His patience sorely tried, Mulder gritted his teeth as they began to read out a list

of community announcements. He let fly an off-color remark directed at the

stations’ programming manager and began tapping his fingers in increasing

irritation.

At long last the news broadcast ended and the familiar TNT logo for the NBA

Round Three Playoffs game took its place. A voiceover announced the teams who

were playing and sighing happily, Mulder reached forward, grabbed the bowl of

popcorn and balancing it precariously on his lap, he took a large handful.

“There better not be any popcorn left in between the cushions when you’re done.”

Full of playful admonition, the voice was close to his ear.

Mulder tipped his head up to see a pair of shining blue eyes looking down at him.

“Would I do that?” He asked seriously.

“Have you ever looked under those cushions?” Scully leaned over the back of the

couch and wrapped her arms around her partner’s neck. “I’m sure some of the

stuff I’ve found under there could be classified as an X-File all of its own.” She

pressed her lips against his temple. “Game started yet?”

“Almost.” Mulder ran his fingers down Scully’s arm. “You sure you don’t want me

to come with you?”

“You’re welcome of course, but you know we’re just giving the church a cleaning

don’t you.” Scully wrinkled her nose. “I would have begged off except for having

to drive Mom.”

“Your Mom never ceases to amaze me, you’d think seeing as she’s got a fractured

wrist, she would have given it up this time.”

“I think Mom sees it as an opportunity to play supervisor.” Scully grinned. “I’ve

already told her she’s not climbing any more ladders.”

“And you honestly think she’ll listen to you?” Mulder was skeptical.

“Probably not, but at least I can keep an eye on her this way.” Scully shook her

keys as she wove her fingers through Mulder’s thick hair. “I’d better get going;

want me to bring dinner home?”

“Sure, what do you feel like?”

“Pizza’s fine by me.” She smiled at her partner’s suddenly worried expression. “I

promise, only half vegetarian.”

“Good.” He nodded his concentration pulled back towards the television screen

just as “The Star Spangled Banner” the National Anthem began, announcing the

beginning of the game between the Detroit Pistons and the Miami Heat. Mulder

just loved watching Shaquille O’Neal hit the court.

Whichever team won the Eastern Division would play the winner of the Western

Division for the NBA Championship – and that was also currently being decided in

the Best of 7 Games between the Phoenix Suns and the Dallas Mavericks.

Scully shook her head in amusement, issuing a final warning as she pulled the

door open. “And remember what I said about the popcorn.”

Mulder was barely aware of her by this time. As she shut and locked the door

behind her, she suspected that if Old Smokey showed up in a N.Y Knicks uniform,

a basketball in one hand, a burning Morley hanging from his lip, sporting a pink

ballerina tutu and floppy clown shoes and sat down next to Mulder, he’d be so

engrossed in the game, he would probably just offer CSM the bowl of popcorn

and a cold one.

Scully snorted at the image and was on her way.

Chapter Two

“Jeez, I could have done better than that! What a crock!” Mulder shook his head

in disappointed exasperation at the mediocre performance on the screen and

slumped back onto the couch holding his unopened bottle of beer.

A commercial break interrupted the game and tipping his head back against the

couch, Mulder closed his eyes. “Would have been more entertaining cleaning the

church.” He complained, imagining throwing dirty crumpled paper towels into the

wastebasket and mentally shouting “nothin’ but net.”

Blindly he reached out for the bowl of popcorn, his fingers caught the edge and

knocked it sideways spilling several kernels down between the cushions.

Grumbling in annoyance, he placed the bowl on the table and pulled the cushions

onto the floor.

Mulder collected the loose pieces and took the handful into the kitchen; coming

back into the living room, his eyes were drawn to the image of an overly-excited

sportscaster on the screen.

The announcement of a special All Star Game on the Memorial Day weekend in

D.C. between some of the best current and former players in the Western and

Eastern Conferences teams in the NBA had him in seventh heaven.

Mulder’s immediate compulsion was to head straight to the computer to see what

seats were available.

The television burbled softly away in the background, but Mulder’s interest was

elsewhere.

Chapter Three

After purchasing the tickets, the price of which he had at first hesitated over until

he realised that a large percentage of the fee was to be given to various

Americans Veterans’ charities; he had decided to check his email.

One particularly vague message from the Gunmen had sent him in search of

another site, which had in turn caught his attention.

He didn’t hear Scully’s key in the door and was unaware of anything until she

softly called his name causing him to jerk around in surprise. “God, you startled

me.”

“Something’s caught your interest.” Scully commented peering over his shoulder

at the screen.

“Some information the guys sent me; don’t think it’s going to lead anywhere.” He

caught Scully’s hands in his as he swivelled back and forth in the seat. “You’re

back early aren’t you?”

“Mulder, its after six.”

“Really? Did you bring dinner?” Mulder sniffed the air theatrically.

Scully mouth twitched in exasperation. “My afternoon was wonderful, thanks for

asking, Mulder. I’m sure that I heard everything that there is to know about the

precious grandchildren of every committee member and how special and talented

they are and this one is going to be a doctor and that one is destined to be a

lawyer.” She dropped her shoulders in weariness.

“Parents who want their kids to be lawyers should be imprisoned for life for ‘cruel

and unusual punishment’. It should be a Federal crime.” Mulder deadpanned.

Scully snorted at his remark.

Mulder laughed with her, noticed that she looked tired and pulled her onto his lap

pressing a kiss into her hair. “My poor Scully, was it really that bad?”

“Not once I escaped.” She giggled.

“What do you mean?”

“I volunteered for the job that no one ever wants to do.”

Mulder screwed up his nose. “Do I want to know?”

“It’s amazing just how long it can take to clean one rest room.” She raised both

eyebrows. “Especially when there is a comfortable couch in there and plenty of

peace and quiet.”

“You shirker.” Mulder exclaimed in mock horror. “Leaving those poor women to

do all the hard work while you lazed about in comfort!”

“Honestly, if I had to listen to much more of their bragging I was going to pull my

badges and read them all their Miranda rights.”

“What about your Mom, didn’t she wonder where you’d gotten to?”

A blush crept over Scully’s cheeks, tingeing them a pretty shade of pink. “Ah, no,

she actually joined me.”

Mulder’s low rumbling laugh filled the room as he tightened his grip around the

slender body in his arms. “Oh, I like you sneaky Scully women.”

Shrugging her shoulders, Scully leaned back against the solid chest behind her.

“My Mom’s opinion was that she knows that she already has the cutest and

smartest grandchildren and doesn’t need to prove it to anyone.”

Mulder chuckled. “So tell me, what’s the gossip?”

“Gossip!” Scully turned and looked her partner in the eye. “That makes me sound

like one of the ‘Blue Rinse Group’, I’ll have you know mister, that my Mother and

I spent quite an agreeable time talking about all sorts of things, Tara and the

children, you…”

“Me?”

“Yes Mulder, you.”

“Good or bad?”

“Hmm, let me see.” Scully pondered for a moment watching as Mulder’s

expression turned from one of surprise and began to border on apprehension.

“Don’t worry, it’s all good. Mom actually wanted to know if we’d be out of town

this weekend.”

“We’re not going anywhere.” Mulder hurriedly asserted.

She raised her eyebrows at his decisiveness. “That’s what I told her, so she

wanted to know if we were going to the D.C. Memorial Day parade, because she

wanted to take Tara, Matthew and Claire.”

“I hadn’t thought about it one way or another, I assumed your Mom would be

having a barbecue like she always does.”

“No, this year she said there’s so many community events going on, she wants to

spoil the kids a bit.”

“Sounds fine by me.” Mulder agreed. “We’ve got the three days off.”

“Speaking of community events.” Scully let a small smile lighten her face.

“There’s one that I want to attend, but you need tickets.” Almost as an

afterthought she added. “But they’re free.”

“That sounds doable.” Mulder turned the chair so they were facing the computer,

bringing both arms around her sides; he placed his fingers on the keyboard.

“Let me up so you can see.” Scully protested.

“Why, are you uncomfortable?” Mulder breathed into her neck, making her shiver.

“No.”

“Well neither am I; okay, what’s this thing you want to see, Scully?”

“It’s a production of ‘Pericles’…”

The name pricked Mulder’s memory but he typed it into the search engine

nevertheless.

“…by the Shakespeare Theatre Company.”

Mulder’s fingers stilled. “Scullee…”

Twisting from her position in his lap, she looked him in the eye and turned the

same tone of voice back on him. “Mulder….”

“Shakespeare?” He asked plaintively.

“Yes Shakespeare.”

Mulder heaved a tortured sigh and continued the search. After several minutes he

found a site with information on the program; from there he followed the links in

order to book seats.

And that’s where he discovered the problem.

Chapter Four

“No tickets available for this performance, or this one, and again.” Mulder rubbed

his cheek against Scully’s shoulder privately hoping the trend would continue.

“Wait Mulder, here.” Scully pointed to the screen. “On Monday night.”

Screwing his eyes shut, Mulder cringed mentally. Monday night, didn’t it just

figure? The same night as the game that he had tickets for, tickets that he had

probably paid far too much money for but all the same, how was he going to

explain this one?

“Monday night.” He reminded her. “It’ll probably be a late one, don’t forget we’ve

got work the next day.”

He had sounded far too happy about this, even to his own ears, and Scully shot

up from his lap with a sudden move. Leaning against the desk, she folded her

arms and stared at him. “Mulder?”

“Um, yeah?” He swallowed.

“What’s going on?”

“What do you mean?”

“Since when are you worried about something like that?” Scully’s eyes narrowed.

“Have you got something planned with the guys for that night?”

“No, not at all.” Mulder defended himself refusing to look her in the eye, Scully

would see right through him if he did.

“Then why all the sudden concern about how late it’s going to be?”

“I was just thinking that with the parade during the day and then going out at

night it was going to be very tiring.” Mulder endeavored to keep his explanation

believable.

“Your thoughtfulness is touching.” Scully replied wryly. “But I’m sure we’ll

manage.”

“We?”

“I’d really like to see this performance Mulder.” She reached out and placed a

small hand on his cheek, rubbing her thumb back and forth over his lips.

Mulder sighed and closed his eyes. The look in her eyes. The touch of her hand.

How on earth could he refuse this woman anything at all?

The simple answer was, he couldn’t.

So as usual where Scully was concerned, he surrendered.

“Okay, let’s see what we can find.” Moving the chair closer to the desk, Mulder

set about ordering tickets. “Seats fifty-six and seven in row C.” He announced

after a few minutes.

Scully’s beaming smile and shining eyes took away any reservations over whether

he was doing a good thing. The kiss he received pushed all thoughts of that

wonderfully anticipated basketball game out of his mind immediately.

Chapter Five.

“Mulder, we’re going to be late.” Scully called back towards the bedroom.

“Don’t worry, everything’s under control.” Mulder sauntered out into the living

room.

Scully eyed him appreciatively; the jeans were a perfect fit, the geometric

patterned shirt unbuttoned over a snow-white tee shirt, well worn sneakers and

finger combed hair all added up to the ideal and quite gorgeous package. “And

they say women take forever to get ready.”

“Hey, I have to make the right impression on my best girl.” He declared.

Scully smiled in delight. “Mulder, you should know by now that you don’t have to

dress to please me. I’m happy however you’re dressed…or undressed for that

matter.” She reached up and threaded her fingers through his hair.

“Um, actually Scully.” Mulder hedged, his panic expression clearly pasted on his

face. “I was talking about Claire.”

His comment rendered her speechless until she saw the glint of amusement in his

eyes. She smacked his arm playfully and leaned in close. “You know as long as

she sees you, I don’t think Claire cares how you’re dressed either.”

Mulder’s hands wrapped themselves around his partner’s waist. A low voice

smooth and sultry sounded against her ear. “Remind me later tonight that you

don’t care how–or if–I’m dressed, I could do with some appreciation.”

Scully felt a shiver all the way up her spine at his words. “It’s a date mister.” She

replied huskily.

They stood in each other’s embrace for another minute exchanging sweet kisses

before Scully moved away. “Come on, we’ll never get a parking spot if we don’t

get moving.”

“Hey I told you, everything’s under control.” He took her hand. “I’m dropping

you, your Mom, Tara and the kids off on Constitution Avenue, it’s not too far a

walk to get to the main centre of the parade route from there. I’ll go and park the

car at the Hoover and catch up with you.”

“Got it all figured out haven’t you?”

“Someone’s gotta be organized.” He boasted.

As Mulder locked the door, Scully turned on the step below him. “There’ll be

thousands and thousands of people there, if you can’t find us, give me a call.”

Mulder put a hand to his back pocket, then to his shirt. “Um, just a minute, forgot

my phone.”

He disappeared back inside leaving Scully chuckling in amusement. “Sure Mulder,

someone’s gotta be organized.”

Chapter Six

Crowds of pedestrians all heading in one direction lined the pavement as Mulder

pulled into a “No Parking” zone. Everyone exited the car quickly, Tara efficiently

strapping Claire into her stroller and Maggie taking Matthew by the hand.

Scully pressed a kiss to her partner’s cheek before scooting out and joining her

family. She bent down and looked through the window. “We’re going to try and

get positions on the curb side, so keep an eye out.”

Mulder nodded in agreement before pulling back into traffic and driving away.

The parade was due to start at nine a.m., and Maggie and Tara both had the

belief that the children would not have the patience to wait for any length of time,

therefore it was a fairly long walk until they managed to find a location where the

children would have an unimpeded view.

They found the perfect place on Constitution, across from the Air & Space

Museum.

Before too long the crowd had grown around them and anticipation was building

up. Scully seated on the edge of the curb next to Matthew glanced at her watch,

if the parade had started on schedule, the military flag bearers and drum corps

should be coming into view any minute. As soon as the thought had entered her

mind, her ears picked up the faint strains of drums and music in the distance.

First however, she looked skyward at the approaching sound of the U.S. Air Force

Jet Fly Over.

The adults in the crowd quieted somewhat when one of the outside jets peeled

away into the “Missing Man” formation, recognizing the aerial salute to all soldiers

who died in the service of their country.

A minute or so later the crowd began to get visibly excited and Matthew, wearing

his little sailor suit and hat, turned to Scully. “Where’s Uncle Mulder?”

“He’ll be here soon, he had to go quite a long way to park the car.”

Some people dressed patriotically in red, white and blue came into sight and as

they neared, Scully noted they were handing out small versions of the American

flag. Both children received one and began waving them enthusiastically.

The flag bearers came into view, including representatives of the United States

Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Each was

uncompromisingly correct, holding the flags bearing the emblem for the branch of

the service in front of them. The representative carrying the American Flag

consisting of seven red and six white stripes and fifty white stars in a rectangular

field of navy blue, held the national symbol higher than the rest in the traditional

military manner.

Everyone stood to honour them and held their right hands over their hearts in

salute to the Flag; while current military members and veterans saluted the Flag

they had served.

Scully glanced down beside her and smiled, noticing how young Matthew had

obviously been correctly taught to salute the nation’s flag. Claire was

enthusiastically waving her flag and shrieking in glee at all the colourful sights.

The military drum and fife corps directly behind them was playing John Phillip

Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.” While a very long time and well-known

patriotic song, it had been selected as the Official March of America after the

tragic events of September 11, 2001, in Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. and New

York City.

After the flag bearers and the drum and fife corps passed, came the lead

convertible vehicle, its passengers, the Grand Marshall the actor Gary Sinise, the

Mayor of D.C. and the ex-astronaut and U.S. senator John Glenn, waving at the

cheering crowd.

Following slowly behind was a line of vintage cars, each one adorned with a sign

proclaiming which organization they represented.

Matthew climbed excitedly to his feet as a bright red fire truck drove up the

street, its lights flashing. Scully scrambled up next to him just as a large warm

hand came down upon her shoulder. Mulder edged in beside her. “Did I miss

much?”

“You missed the flags and the “Stars and Stripes”, John Glenn was in the lead

vehicle and that sexy actor Gary Sinise, but other than that, nope, the Mayor and

a few old cars.”

“Well I’m sure the Mayor will forgive me for not waving at him this year.” He

grinned. “And Sinise isn’t exactly my type.” He nudged her and winked.

The line up of participants continued, including Reserve Units of the Armed

Forces, marching bands from high schools and universities around the country,

Boy Scout troops, elementary school children, floats covered in red, white and

blue streamers, specially made floats representing various national emblems,

including a very impressive bald eagle made solely from flowers including

thousands of carnations and military vehicles with proud troops marching

alongside.

Several vintage cars drove through, carrying tiny, elderly women, their hair held

back by red bandannas tied on top and their long sleeved white shirts rolled up

above their elbows. All were waving proudly at the crowds. The sign on the car

read “Rosie the Riveter” and “We Can Do It!” The woman on the sign was wearing

the same bandanna, rolling up the sleeve on her raised bent arm.

This brought a smile to Mulder’s face, remembering one of his next door

neighbors on The Vineyard who he’d only ever known as Mrs. Patrick. She had

been a “Rosie” — one of those select few women who had been small enough to

crawl into the wings of the various planes and rivet the bolts together. Mrs.

Patrick — all 4’11” of her, had become something of a second mother to a lonely

boy after his sister had disappeared. She often had snacks waiting for him and in

return, he’d cut her grass or do other odd jobs just to get a hug and a kiss on the

cheek from her.

A twinge hit Mulder’s heart when he remembered learning of her death while he

was away at Oxford.

Mulder glanced down at Scully’s diminutive form, smiling faintly as he realized

she could have qualified as a “Rosie.” However, he wasn’t quite stupid enough to

point that out to her.

In the middle of the parade there was another Fly Over by vintage World War II

aircraft. Scully nudged Mulder pointed skyward and identified each craft.

“The lead is a P-51 Mustang fighter…the one on the left is a Navy F4F Wildcat…the

one on the right is a F6F Hellcat…the one behind is a F4U Corsair.”

“Ooh.” Mulder leaned into her ear. “I think I just got turned on.”

Scully grinned but elbowed him anyway. “Shut up Mulder, there are little ears

here.”

Mulder just waggled his eyebrows suggestively at her.

Behind those fighters came larger planes. “Those Mulder are the Bombers. The

first one is the B-24 Liberator…the next is the B-25 Mitchell…”

The roar of large engines overhead nearly drowned her out, but she yelled over

the din, “And that one is the infamous B-17, the Flying Fortress!”

They watched as it flew away. “The Fortress was the largest bomber ever built. It

had a top speed of 295 miles per hour Mulder.” Scully watched the plane

disappear into the distance. “It was the only four-engine bomber, carried a

bombload of 17,600 lbs and carried twelve .50 caliber machine guns. They could

fly for incredible distances and at very high altitudes.

Mulder just stared at her. “How do you know all of this?”

She glanced at him, a tear in her eye. “I listened to my Dad when he talked and

even though he was Navy and the Navy had their own aircraft, he was a student

of World war II planes.”

Mulder smiled and hugged her. “I’m glad you had your Ahab Scully. He and your

Mom made you the woman I love.”

Scully smiled shyly and stole a brief kiss as another loud but talented band

marched up the avenue.

Of course no parade would be complete without Members of Congress and the

House of Representatives gladhanding the crowd and waving to have their faces

seen. Scully could almost hear Mulder’s eyes rolling at these displays.

Local businesses and industries were well-represented, brightly coloured helium

balloons of all shapes and sizes including an impressive one of “Uncle Sam”, an

old yet easily recognized American symbol, festooned most of the entrants and

the crowd waved and cheered as each one passed.

Mulder leaned over and conferred with Tara and Maggie and after a quick

conversation, Claire was unstrapped from her stroller and hoisted up onto

Mulder’s shoulders. She clutched her flag in one hand and buried the other deep

into his hair eliciting a good-natured cringe.

Occasionally, Claire whacked her flag on Mulder’s head in her excitement and he

cast a baleful glance at Scully, who was trying very hard not to laugh at him.

Both Tara and Maggie had obviously been watching too and were having a hard

time keeping straight faces

The music from the bands as they passed was loud and cheerful and each was

barely out of earshot before another one took its place.

Veterans from far too many wars past who were able to march did so, while aged

and infirm Veterans were spirited along the parade route in convertibles, on horse

drawn ceremonial carriages and even on antique artillery.

As the sound of horses’ hooves grew louder, unable to control her excitement,

Claire squealed in delight and jiggled up and down on Mulder’s shoulder’s, when a

line of mounted troops came into view.

Then came a sight that brought tears to Scully’s eyes and as she looked over at

her Mom and sister-in-law she found them equally affected.

Marching down the street, their officers’ dark navy jackets, perfect white hats,

flashy buttons, epaulettes, rank insignias and brilliant white trousers standing out

came the U.S Navy Honour Guard fronted by Navy Flags and carrying their

parade rifles. Behind them in a long procession, came rows of white uniformed

seamen. She felt fingertips brush hers and turned her head to see Mulder offering

a warm smile. She grasped his hand firmly and leaned in to his comforting

embrace.

“Fair winds and following seas, Ahab,” Scully whispered, then glanced over to see

her Mother mouthing the same words with tears in her eyes. Scully turned teary

eyes up to Mulder’s and squeezed his hand tighter.

Finally, over two and a half hours later, the procession began to come to an end.

Police squad cars and motorcycle officers, their lights flashing, drove slowly down

the street behind the last marchers, followed up by mounted police. Mulder lifted

Claire from his shoulders and deposited her back into the stroller.

Before Mulder could straighten up, Claire grabbed him by the ears, held on tight

and planted a sloppy, wet kiss on his face. Mulder’s eyes went wide and Scully

tried not to laugh.

“Love oo, Unka Mudder.” Claire told him with a huge drooling smile.

Mulder glanced at all the Scully women, recovered, kissed the little girl on the

cheek and patted her soft hair. “I love you too, Claire sweetie.”

Tara thanked and hugged him profusely as she strapped her daughter in securely.

Matthew pulled away from Scully’s grip and knelt down next to his sister.

“Didja see the fire engines and the guns and the big planes, Claire?” He asked

excitedly.

Claire waved her flag in his face. “Horsies!” She crowed in elation, pointing at the

receding mounted police and excitedly bouncing up and down in her stroller.

All three Scully women laughed quietly at her giddiness and waited for the crowds

to thin before they started back to the car.

“Why don’t you all wait here, I’ll go and get the car and pick you up.” Mulder

suggested.

Scully looked around aware of all the barricades still in place. “Mulder in case you

didn’t notice, you can’t drive through here right now.”

Mulder patted his hip pocket where he kept his badge. “That’s why they put the

‘I’ in the ‘FBI’ Scully. For ‘Ingenuity’.”

“Mulder.” She frowned. “You wouldn’t abuse the authority of your badge…just for

a parade would you?”

Mulder stood tall, thrust his chest out dramatically, looked comically offended and

told her. “I am an officer of the law, a federal officer at that. I have sworn to

serve and protect and that includes protecting the fairer sex.”

Scully’s eyes narrowed dangerously at that remark but Mulder held a hand up

before she could say anything.

“Come on Scully, we all know you could kick my ass all the way up Constitution

Avenue and back without breaking a sweat.” He leaned over and quickly kissed

her. “But what good is that badge if I can’t take a couple of very tired kids and

two very tired Moms out of here. I can sneak one by to pick up some really tired

kids, can’t I? Pleeeasse, Scully?”

He indicated the kids, not to mention Tara and Maggie Scully, who both looked

worn out. Claire had actually zonked out and was asleep in her stroller, her flag

still held tightly in her little fist.

“Well.” She reached up and kissed him softly. “Okay. Only this once.” Then she

leaned close to his ear and whispered. “But if Skinner finds out, I don’t know you.

Just remember to hurry, I have plans of appreciation for that very fine ass this

evening.”

Mulder’s smile widened, he returned her kiss and with a pronouncement of, “Be

right back, Ladies.” He started off.

“And what a very fine ass it is indeed.” Maggie remarked, shocking her daughter

silly.

Scully spun to stare at her Mom, her eyes widened and when Tara and her Mom

started laughing, she realized that they’d heard the entire conversation. “Mom!”

“I’m a mother Dana, I’m not dead.” Maggie responded with a sly smile.

Blushing furiously, Scully leaned over to Matthew. “Hey Matty! What about that

Happy Meal we promised you?”

“Yes!!” Matthew responded with a shriek, which woke up his little sister, as Scully

knew it would, distracting the two other Scully women with her cries.

Feeling only slightly guilty, Scully sat down on the curb, took a swig from her

water bottle and watched Mulder’s backside. She grinned in a slightly wicked way,

certain he was sashaying his hips provocatively just for her.

She refused to look at her Mom to see if she was watching the same sight

because … because, if she was, well … it was just … never mind. Scully

shivered.

Chapter Seven.

The age-old cry of “Stop Thief!” cut through the post parade excitement, Mulder’s

head swivelled, automatically seeking out the cause of the distressed shriek. Just

as he turned, a lithe figure sprinted through the Scullys’ small group catching

Maggie a glancing blow as he dashed past.

The surprised look on the bystanders’ faces, Maggie’s muted cry of alarm from

across the street and Scully’s breathless exclamation, all registered in Mulder’s

mind in the same instant as he took off after the young mugger. The kid was a

good twenty feet in front of him and all he could see was the faded denim jacket

as he weaved in and out the crowd. Mulder’s feet pounded the pavement,

gradually narrowing the distance between his quarry and himself.

Somewhere during the chase, he began to give thanks to whatever force it was

that had compelled him to take up running in the first place. Because this kid,

while he didn’t have the build of an athlete, sure had the speed of one.

Eventually however, longer legs and sheer determination won out and Mulder was

close enough to reach out and snag the back of the kid’s jacket. His fingers

clenched in the collar and he jerked his arm backwards, stopping the boy’s

headlong rush.

The sudden shift in gravity caused the boy to stumble back against Mulder’s

larger body, somehow their feet became entangled with each other’s and both

lost their footing, falling towards the pavement in a twisted jumble of limbs.

Mulder’s left hand was still gripping the kid’s collar as they fell and he felt his

right elbow take the full brunt of their combined weight as they hit the concrete.

Pain ricocheted from the joint up to his shoulder and streaked down to each

individual fingertip, causing him to clamp his lips down on an agonized cry.

“Shit man, let go o’ me.” The disgruntled voice broke through the fog creeping up

around Mulder’s awareness and he realised that his quarry was struggling to get

to his feet.

“Just keep still.” Mulder ground out the words through tightly clenched teeth.

“What d’you think you are, a cop or somethin’?”

“Close enough.”

A crowd of curious gawkers had gathered around them, although none bothered

to offer any assistance. Mulder climbed awkwardly to his feet, his one good hand

still tightly gripping the boy’s jacket and hauled the miscreant up with him. He

held his injured appendage close to his body; the waves of pain making him feel

decidedly ill.

The bulk of a uniformed police officer pushed through the inquisitive horde

silencing the buzz of voices and took in the sight before him. “One of you boys

want to tell me what the hell’s going on here?” He demanded.

Mulder shook the kid standing in front of him. “Federal Agent Fox Mulder, Officer.

I believe this offender is in possession of property that does not belong to him.”

“That right kid?” The cop eyed the miscreant in Mulder’s grip standing dejectedly

before him.

“I aint saying nothin’.” Came the mumbled reply.

The cop’s eyebrows rose in a near perfect imitation of Scully’s, or so Mulder

thought. “That so?” He enquired. “What’s this then?” He pulled at the item hidden

beneath the scruffy denim jacket.

“It’s mine.” The boy’s answer was surly.

“So, you won’t have a problem with me having a look then, will you?” He held out

an expectant hand and sullenly the boy handed over the small but heavy

handbag.

Again the cop’s eyebrows rose. “You making a fashion statement kid?” He

rummaged through the contents, pulling out a small purse and examining it.

Looking up, he observed the boy for several seconds. “Well, I’ll grant you that

your mother may have had a weird sense of humour and saddled you with a

name like Ethel Louise, but I’m not gonna believe that you are anywhere near

eighty-six years old.”

As the cop reached out towards him, the boy took a step back, colliding with

Mulder and jarring his injured arm.

A pain-filled hiss escaped his lips and his vision was spotted with sparkling lights.

His knees threatening to fold underneath him, Mulder let go of the boy’s collar

and clamped his good hand around his upper right arm.

The murmuring crowd parted again and a familiar and extremely welcome voice

called his name. “Mulder?”

Scully took in the sight before her, her eyes instantly cataloging details and

assessing the situation. Noting the fine sheen of perspiration coating her partner’s

face she eased in beside him and gently gripped his left arm guiding him back a

few steps until his knees hit the seat of a park bench. “Mulder, sit down.”

“I’m okay Scully.” He panted.

“You are most definitely not okay, now sit.”

Complying with her instruction, Mulder eased himself down onto the hard wooden

seat, he tipped his head back and closed his eyes, breathing harshly.

“Let me see.” Small gentle hands worked at his tightly clenched fingers, pulling

them away.

“Ma’am?” The questioning voice of the officer drew her attention momentarily

away from her partner.

She looked up into blue-grey eyes. “Yes, Officer…?

“Czerniejewski, Ma’am.”

Scully blinked at the tangle of consonants that flowed from the man’s lips and

received an answering smile. “It’s okay, I get that a lot.” He tipped his head in

Mulder’s direction. “You know this man?”

“Yes, I’m his partner, Special Agent Dana Scully. We’re FBI agents. I’m also a

medical doctor.” She pulled her badge from her jeans pocket and showed it to the

officer. He nodded after inspecting it and Scully returning it to her pocket.

“I’m going to need a statement from him, Agent.”

“I’ll make sure of it as soon as he’s had some medical attention.”

“It’s okay Scully, I can do it now.” Mulder struggled to sit up, wincing slightly. He

addressed the officer, the convoluted surname no impediment.

Recalling the facts with a clarity made easy by his eidetic memory, Mulder ended

his statement with a small shrug, causing a grimace to cross his face.

“C’mon Mulder, let me look.”

“I just wrenched it when I fell Scully, that’s all.”

“It looks like a lot more than a wrench Mulder.” She ran her fingers down his arm

and took hold of his wrist.

Officer Czerniejewski broke into her concentration. “Uh, Agent Scully, if I need

any more information, where can I get in contact with both of you?”

Her attention firmly fixed on her partner, Scully answered briefly. “Headquarters,

the switchboard will put you through.”

Nodding, the officer eyed the two agents for another few moments before

tightening his grip on one of the boy’s now handcuffed arms. Before leaving, he

ordered the now diminished crowd to be on their way.

“Okay Mulder, I want you to straighten your arm out to your side.”

Teeth gritted, he did as she requested but only managed to partially unbend his

arm before he gasped. “No, hurts.”

“Mm hmm, all right, try this.” She took his clenched fist in her hand. “Open your

hand and turn your palm so that it faces the ground.”

Mulder was able to accomplish that small movement but not without pain. “Good,

now turn it the other way and face the sky.” Again, he complied, but his

breathing echoed the discomfort he was feeling.

Mulder eyed his partner’s beautiful face, brows drawn together in concentration

as her fingers gently palpated his limb. “So, I just wrenched it huh?”

Scully looked up and shook her head. “Sorry to be the bearer of bad news

Mulder, but you’ve done a whole lot more than just wrench it. In fact, I think I’d

be correct in saying that you’ve fractured it.”

The word “fracture” sank into Mulder’s brain bringing with it terms like “sick

leave” and “desk duty”. Hopefully he’s escape “hospitalisation” and “operation”

being added as well.

His heart sank and he shook his head. “No, I’m sure it’s just a wrench, see…it’s

feeling better already.” Slowly he clenched his fist again and began to straighten

his elbow, a few seconds into the exercise his face paled and he dropped his head

forward. “Oh shit, shit, damn.”

“Hold still.” Scully instructed firmly, taking his injured limb and supporting it.

“Mulder, you’ve got three major nerves running through your elbow joint, you

keep moving suddenly like that and you’ll be in a world of pain.”

“It can’t be broken Scully, I’ve got tickets…” He stopped suddenly as her eyes

narrowed. “I mean we’ve got tickets for your show tonight.”

“It’s not important Mulder, however you are and we need to get you to the

hospital for x-rays.”

“But what about your Mom and Tara and the kids?” He nodded at the

aforementioned group standing worriedly by.

“My Mom managed to corral four kids by herself for years Mulder, I’m sure she

and Tara will be able to manage two between them.”

“But, the car…”

Scully placed a finger against his lips effectively cutting off his protest. “Don’t

worry, everything is under control.” She echoed his words from earlier in the day.

A wry smile graced Mulder’s face. “Yeah but have you got your phone?”

Chapter Eight.

“Boy, you sure did a number on this didn’t you?” The doctor hadn’t introduced

himself but Mulder noted the name of Lacey on his I.D. tag. Strong fingers

probed his injury, hurting a little more than Scully’s had. “What were you doing,

playing basketball?”

“I wish.” Mulder murmured in a heartfelt tone still sweating and panting with the

pain.

“Ah, a fellow bb fan.” He smiled and the skin at the corner of his eyes crinkled.

“Reason I asked is, this sort of injury is fairly common with that sport.” He

continued his examination. “So what did you do?”

“Fell.”

“I gathered that, what were you doing when you fell?”

“Apprehending a bag snatcher.”

Lacey’s eyes travelled from Mulder’s elbow to his face. “You a cop?”

“FBI.”

“Yeah, I didn’t think you guys did stuff like that.”

Mulder sighed. “Still law enforcement, a crime is a crime.”

“That’s true, okay, I’m going to send you down to x-ray and then we’ll have a

better idea of how much damage you’ve done.”

“How long will it take to heal?”

“Without the x-rays, I can’t give you a definite time frame, but I’d say you’ll be

looking at being in a cast for at least six weeks.”

“Shit.” Mulder sighed despondently. Desk duty. Crappy, hellacious, mind boring,

ass numbing desk duty. And after that, physical therapy hell. He groaned.

“Look at the bright side, you can take it easy, catch up on all the games on TV.”

He made a few notations on Mulder’s chart. “Like the one on tonight, man I would

have killed for tickets to that game.”

“Yeah I can’t go either.”

“Missed out too did you, I was working when they announced it, otherwise I

would have been straight on the telephone to grab some.” Lacey told him.

“No, I’ve got tickets, I just can’t go.” Mulder twisted his left arm around behind

his back and dug his wallet out of his jeans pocket.

Flipping it open clumsily, he pulled the two tickets that he’d been carrying around

with him ever since they had arrived mid-week. “Here.” He thrust them out at the

man. “Someone may as well get some use out of them.”

Eagerly Lacey reached out to take the tickets printed with the NBA logo but

halted his hand in mid move. “No, I can’t.”

“Hey it’s not a bribe.” Mulder told him. “I’m the agent, you’re the doctor. Other

way round, it would be.”

Lacey still hesitated.

“Well they’re going to be wasted then.” Mulder shrugged, then winced at the

movement.

Tentatively, Lacey took the tickets, and then examining them closely looked up at

Mulder in delight. “You have got to be kidding me, these are great. Courtside

seats!” Trying unsuccessfully to wipe the grin off his face, he asked. “Why can’t

you use them?”

“I have other…ah, commitments.”

“And you can’t get out of them?”

The door opened behind Lacey and Scully poked her head around the side. “You

still here Mulder?” She entered the room and walked over to where Mulder sat on

the edge of the bed. “Hi, Dana Scully. I’m Agent Mulder’s partner.” She offered

her hand to Lacey.

“Mark Lacey.” He smiled in return, swapping the tickets to his left hand and

gripping hers firmly. “Are you partner partners or just partners?”

Scully smiled at his odd question. “Both.” She turned to Mulder. “I thought you’d

be down in x-ray by now.”

“He’s just about to go, Mr. Mulder and I were discussing basketball.”

“A kindred spirit, I take it.”

“Yeah.” Lacey’s eyes were drawn again to the two tickets in his hand. “I don’t

know how to thank you.”

Mulder broke in hurriedly. “That’s fine, I just hope the tip is a good one.”

Scully was bewildered. “Tip, what are you talking about?”

“Basketball Scully, I was just giving the doc my opinion on who I think is gonna

win.”

Her sharp eyes caught sight of the slips of colourfully printed cardboard in Lacey’s

hand. “What’re those?”

“Tickets to the game tonight.”

Mulder spoke up. “Doctor Lacey was just telling me he’s going to the game that’s

on tonight.”

Lacey frowned before he read the warning in Mulder’s eyes. “Yeah, I was just

bragging a bit.” He admitted sheepishly.

“Uh huh.” She looked from man to man searching each face for any sign of

falsehood.

“Well, I’ll go round up an orderly and I’ll see you back here in a while, okay, Mr.

Mulder.”

“Yeah, just do me a favour and drop the Mr. part, would you?”

“I can do that.” Lacey answered as he stepped through the door.

Scully planted her hands on her hips and faced her partner. “Anything you want

to tell me Mulder?”

“Apart from my arm is killing me and I could do with some really good painkillers,

no I don’t think so.”

Just at that particularly fortuitous moment an orderly appeared pushing a

wheelchair.

“Mulder, I’ll follow you shortly, I just want to call Mom and let her know how you

are.”

“Okay, tell her I’m sorry for upsetting her plans.” He tossed her an apologetic grin

as he settled into the wheelchair.

As soon as Mulder was out of sight, Scully left in search of his doctor, finding him

at the desk filling in paperwork, she approached him. “Dr. Lacey, I wonder if I

might have a moment of your time.”

“Sure.” He flipped the chart shut and met her eyes expectantly. “What can I do

for you?”

“Those tickets you have, did Agent Mulder give them to you?”

“Ah well, you see…”

“Doctor, I’m not angry, in fact I’m probably feeling a little feeling guilty if

anything.”

“I don’t understand.”

“From what I have gathered, Agent Mulder had tickets for this game tonight,

however I more or less demanded that we go and see a production of

Shakespeare. He never told me about the game or that he had plans, he just

went along with mine.” She twisted her lips in chagrin. “Did he say anything to

you?”

“No, not really, I asked him why he couldn’t go and he just said he had other

commitments. When I enquired why he couldn’t get out of them, he sort of just

shrugged the question off, didn’t reply. That’s when you arrived.”

“Okay, thanks Doctor Lacey.” She made to leave but turned back again. “Um,

would you mind not saying anything about this to Mulder.”

Lacey frowned. “If you want my opinion, which you probably don’t, but I’ll tell you

anyway, you two seem to keep too many secrets from each other.”

Scully’s expression softened. “Not any more.”

Chapter Nine.

“You certainly made an impression Mulder, the handbag belonged to a Mrs. Ethel

Parker, who just happens to be a war widow and she had her husband’s war

medals in it. They were priceless to her. Mr. Parker had apparently been in the

Army Air Force in the infantry and had acquired the Medal of Honor, the

Distinguished Service Medal, two Purple Hearts, the Distinguished Service Cross,

and, posthumously, the World War II Victory Medal,” Scully recited from memory,

impressed.”

Tiredly, Mulder flexed his white powder-coated fingers as he slumped back into

the comfort of the couch. ” The only impression I’ll be making for a while will be

the dint in the furniture.”

“Don’t put yourself down, Mulder,” Scully told him. “You did good. Mrs. Parker

was very sweet and wanted to thank you herself, but her son needed to take her

home.”

He listened to her but glumly observed the cast encasing his arm from fingertips

to just below his shoulder. “How’m I supposed to do anything like this?”

“We’ll just have to be imaginative.” Scully purred in his ear as she snuggled up

against his good side.

“If that was an invitation, I’m sorry to say I’ve got far too many meds swimming

around my bloodstream to take you up on it.”

“Not an invitation, just a promise.”

“Oh, okay.” He shrugged. He peered at his watch. “We’ll have to get ready soon.”

“What for?”

“We’re still going to the performance Scully, you’ll just have to drive.”

“Mulder, we are not going anywhere.”

“Yes we are.”

“Mulder, listen to reason, your body has had a major shock today, you need to

stay home and…”

“And do what, sit down? I can do that if we go out, too.”

“I was going to say relax, there’ll be crowd of people there Mulder, your arm

could get bumped.”

Mulder gave her a loopy smile. “You can be my bouncer.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

Scully sighed. “Mulder, in all good conscience I can’t let you do this.”

Mulder struggled upright. “You can’t let me…Scully, last time I looked in the

mirror, I was an emancipated adult.”

“Who has a complete fracture of the elbow.”

“And who can sit on his butt at a performance of Shakespeare just as well as he

can sit on his butt at home.” He pushed his bottom lip out into a pout. “Scully,

you know how much you wanted to see this, it’s the only night we could get

tickets. Don’t make me go alone.”

His last words prompted a small snort of laughter and Scully shook her head. “I

know, you know.”

“Huh?”

“About your tickets.”

“Uh…my tickets?”

“Yes, the ones you gave to Dr. Lacey.”

“Oh, those tickets, well they weren’t really…”

“Don’t tell me they weren’t yours Mulder, like those videos that weren’t yours all

those years; don’t lie to me.”

“I wouldn’t lie to you, Scully.” He frowned.

“You were just going to say they weren’t your tickets.”

“Don’t put words in my mouth.” He leaned over and pressed a kiss to her

forehead. “I was going to say they weren’t of any use to me because I had

something else to do.” He took her hand in his. “Come on, you’re going to have

to help me get dressed.”

“It’ll be my pleasure.”

Chapter Ten.

The star-littered sky provided a perfect backdrop for their surroundings; trees

strung with a myriad of fairy lights encircled the amphitheatre where the

performance was presented. The warm early summer night was filled with the

scents of nature and Scully sighed in absolute pleasure as her eyes followed the

story unfolding on the stage.

She glanced to her side and smiled. Mulder was fully enjoying himself as well; his

injured arm fastened securely to his side, he was relaxed in his seat, a small dose

of painkillers in his system and with his eyes shut.

Fortunately for him, whoever held tickets for the next couple of seats never

showed, so he had plenty of room to slouch and he was taking full advantage of it

Scully leaned over and tapped his arm, “What’s the score?” She whispered.

Pulling the bud of the earphone loose, he opened one eye.

“Scully 2, Mulder 0.” He answered.

Scully laughed wondering if he was still truly loopy from the “good stuff.”

She leaned close to him, blew in his ear, which elicited a delicious shiver, then

whispered. “When you’re feeling better, mister, you are gonna get sooo lucky!”

Mulder’s eyes blinked open wide and a leer appeared on his lips as he stared back

at her. “Can’t wait, gorgeous. Can’t wait.”

With that, he put the earphone bud back in and leaned back, squirming to get

comfortable. Scully watched him happily.

She couldn’t wait to tell him about the next few days she’d asked off, which

Skinner had approved for both of them.

They’d be going to Miami in a couple of days to watch the Heat play the Detroit

Pistons in the final round of the NBA playoffs. Better yet, she’d managed to do it

all and get courtside seats without Mulder knowing.

In reality, it hadn’t been that difficult because he’d been knocked out from the

painkillers.

Mulder was going to be in basketball heaven. Even though it wasn’t his beloved

New York Knicks, the fact that she’d arranged for Mulder to meet “The Shack” —

Shaquille O’Neal — and get an autographed basketball. It would be like manna to

a starving man.

Scully’s slightly wicked grin returned.

Oh yeah, Mulder would be her very, very happy G-Man.

She knew that her thanks would be given to her in the privacy of their bedroom,

only minutes after he found out. She knew his cumbersome cast wouldn’t stop

him.

After all, as Mulder had told her earlier that day, that’s why they put the “I” – for

“Ingenuity” –in FBI.

The End.

NOTES AND DEDICATIONS FROM ANUBIS:

Apologies For The Length, But Please Bear With Me…

I’d like to dedicate my part of this story to FOXGLOVE, who originally asked me to

beta, and then asked for research help on Memorial Day traditions and history in

America. As I am known as a “Virtual Font of Useless Information” by personal

friends, and having an extreme interest in both Texas and U.S. History, I was

glad to help. Having been to D.C. on many occasions, visited The Wall, the Tomb

of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery and so many Civil War battlefields,

and having attended Memorial Day parades and ceremonies hither and yon,

Foxglove ended up using some of my suggestions. She eventually offered to give

me co-author credit. Thank you, dear Foxglove; was a joy. I’m glad to know an

Australian who appreciates a United States holiday. I will always know of and

remember ANZAC day in return. Thank you, Foxglove You are my Sister Down

Under.

Because this story (my part anyway) was completed on Memorial Day (May 29th,

2006), I have other dedications as well specific to that holiday:

To my late FATHER, who proudly served his country in the United States Army Air

Force in World War II. He served double-duty as both a talented airplane

mechanic (everything from bombers to fighters to anything that flew) and as a

weapons instructor. He was an Expert Marksman with a handgun (revolver and

automatic) and all sorts of long arms (rifles — bolt action and automatic). He

worked on all the planes mentioned in the parade, along with many more, and

taught me all about them. He was awarded the following medals: The

Distinguished Service Cross, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Service

Ribbon, the Weapons Qualification Badge, the Marksmanship Badge, the

Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge, the Distinguished Rifleman Badge, the Expert

Infantryman Badge and, at the end of the War, the World War II Victory Medal.

He was honorably discharged at the end of the War. I hope you’re enjoying

Glenn Miller and the Army Air Force Band’s music in person as much as you did

while in the AAF and after the War. Thank you for being the loving, caring but

strict when necessary kind of father that you were. I miss you terribly, Daddy.

Nothing can stop the Army Air Force.

To my sister AJ, who was a police officer and who died in a violent, unexplainable

car accident very early on a Friday morning in March, 1984. Although homicide

was suspected (and still is), it was never solved. Even though she was not on

duty at the time of her death, she was given a full honors police funeral with

police escort, lead by her boyfriend who was a motorcycle cop. AJ, you were a

pain in the a** to me, sis (and I know I was just as big of one to you), but I’d

take ALL those pains to have you back. I miss you and I miss your clear-as-a-

bell gorgeous soprano voice. Oh, thanks for the tip on that horrible Frankenstein

B-movie. I did watch it — and a few days later you were gone. I love you.

To my “cousin” BILL, who served in the U.S. Navy on both the U.S.S. Forestall

and the U.S.S. Enterprise between Korea and Vietnam. He came home safely

and was honorably discharged after 6 years in the service. Be safe piloting that

plane of yours, wherever you fly these days. Remember, that’s my much-loved

cousin you’re ferrying about up there! By marrying her, you became my cousin,

too. Fair winds and following seas. I love you, Bill.

To my late cousin SAM, who served in the U.S. Army at the very beginning of

Vietnam, though he was stationed primarily in Germany. He was honorably

discharged and returned home after four years in the service. Thanks for the

bullwhip, Sammy; you taught me how to use it well. <g> You are missed

terribly. An Army of One.

To Mrs. Patrick, who was a REAL person in my life, my next door neighbor when I

was growing up in Dallas and who, at a whopping 4’11” had been a “Rosie” in

World War II at Love Field where my Father was stationed and where they met.

Through her, my Father met her husband and they and my parents moved to the

same street in Dallas after the War. She passed away some years ago. Her

husband is still living, with one of his children, north of Dallas. I love you both.

To my ancestors, JAMES and JOSHUA (on my Dad’s side), blood brothers who

fought in the Civil War (1861-1865) in the United States. Joshua joined the

Confederate Army and James joined the Union. Joshua was shunned by the

family for his enlistment as a Confederate. In a cruel twist of fate, Joshua and

James ended up at Shiloh at the same time, meeting on the battlefield, face to

face, and James ended up killing his younger brother Joshua in hand-to-hand

combat with a bayonet (neither had had time to reload their rifles and therefore

were reduced to bayonets). James was then shunned by the family for killing the

enemy, his brother. It was a no-win situation. I’ve been to Shiloh and seen

where Joshua died. I don’t know how or where James died as he was made an

outcast. Both were lost. I hope you are both now at peace.

To my two dear friends DCA and KRS who were lost in WTC I and WTC II,

respectively, on that fateful day, September 11, 2001, and who were never

found, I miss you both. Your senses of humor were deadpan and lethal, your

talents unique and your friendship irreplaceable. Since we all knew each other, I

hope you’re together having a good time and talking about old days in fandom —

perhaps having a discussion with The Great Bird of the Galaxy. You are also not

forgotten.

To DAVID EARL BROACH, a personal friend from my young-to-teen years in

Dallas where he and I were both born and raised. We were great friends. David’s

tour of duty in Vietnam began on June 24, 1969. He was Regular Army SP4 – E4 –

4th Infantry Division, Ranger Airborne, which was one of the most dangerous

outfits of which to be a member. David — or as his buddies in ‘Nam called him —

“Dallas” (because they already had a “Tex” in their ranks) came home on leave to

Dallas in July of 1970. I saw him at church, and all of us — especially the girls —

had a great time hugging such a gorgeous male soldier in full uniform. Boy, did

he enjoy the attention! He was truly “GQ handsome.” Admittedly, most of the

girls had a crush on him, along with him being a good friend to so many. My

friend Karen and I were especially good friends with David, even though he was 4

years older than we were. Shortly thereafter, David returned to Vietnam for his

next tour (for which he “re-upped” <re-enlisted>). He didn’t have to, and it

wasn’t a requirement. Six months was considered a complete tour of duty in a

very difficult and unpopular war at home. When he returned to ‘Nam, he was

made Point man of his four man unit, which was part of the LRP (Long Range

Patrol). On August 3, 1970, he and his buddies were on LRP in the Phu Yen

Province of South Vietnam. Unfortunately, being man on Point, he stepped on

and triggered a ground mine and, in his position, David took the full brunt of the

blast and was killed in action, instantly. He was only a few weeks shy of his 20th

birthday. He was returned to us in Dallas, to his parents and his sisters David

was given full military honors and funeral, and the huge church was packed. My

friend Karen stood side by side with me in the choir loft that day, holding hands

and crying our eyes out, because, at David’s parents’ request, the Youth Choir

had been asked to sing. Karen and myself, my late sister and one of my cousins

were members of that choir, as David had been before he felt the calling to join

the Army. I *still* don’t know how we did it, but somehow, that huge choir did

our best performance ever. The main song I remember singing was a special

arrangement of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” David was a Texas son who

was taken far too soon — and he will never be forgotten. One of his sisters had a

son whom she named “Earl David.” His other sister named her son “David Earl.”

And his niece named her son “David Thomas.” I’d been looking for years for

David’s parents, and through a stroke of luck, fate, God’s grace, or a combination

of them all, I found one of his Army buddies on Memorial Day this year. We’ve

shared our remembrances of David, or as his buddy called him, “Dallas” and I’m

pleased that I was able to bring a little bit of happiness to one ex-soldier who

came home but who still feels guilty for having left his friends behind 36 years

ago. I also talked to David’s parents in the first time in decades. It was

wonderful because they remembered me, my sister, my parents and my friend

Karen and her sister and parents. And now Karen knows, too.

To quote your Ranger buddy’s email to me today, David:

“The ties after 36 years have never been broken & the tears seem to have cut

lines in the face that they flow down. At sometime in the future the one that

came home forever will leave this place & finally be returned to his friend that

gave his all to come home.”

As I told David’s buddy today — he came home for a REASON. I’m glad his name

is NOT on The Wall. If he hadn’t come home, his children and grandchildren

wouldn’t be here, and he would not be here to give David’s parents friendship and

some peace and closure. He’s no less of a hero because he came back and David

didn’t.

Be at Peace, David. You ARE remembered.

War is hell. Whoever said that didn’t say enough. But what else CAN you say?

Except — THANK YOU — to every man and woman, whether military or civilian,

who fought for the United States of America, for our rights and freedoms — and

for having the courage to do so. To all police, firefighters and every other service

organizations who work to keep us safe, thank you.

Thank you to everyone in Pennsylvania, New York City and Washington D.C. who,

on September 11, 2001, risked their lives — and of whom many were lost — in

trying to save all the innocents who died in those horrific acts of murder in that

field in Pennsylvania, the WTC in NYC and the Pentagon in D.C.

Thank you to all of the United States’ Allies. Your own popularity with your

citizens have suffered because of your alliance with my country of birth,

regardless of which war or act of terrorism.

Last but not least — to XFQBB — you know why — and to your late Daddy who

proudly served in the U.S. Navy overseas in World War II, who was honorably

discharged and who came back home to your family. May he also rest in peace.

(I’ve been told that at my age it’s “childish” to still call my father “Daddy,” but

that’s how I knew him, all my life, that’s what I called him when he took his last

breath, and I will never think of him any other way. The name was bestowed

upon him with love from me and my sister as young children, and is still meant

with deep love and devotion. If you, as the reader, do not care for it, that’s your

opinion and you are entitled to it. I know many other adult women who call their

fathers “Daddy” as well. Their fathers will always be “Daddy” in their hearts,

too.)

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