Title: Sins of the Fathers
Author: TangledAria
Written: 2002
Rating: PG, darkfic, futurefic.
Classification: VA
Spoilers: 'William'; minor ones for 'Memento Mori'; some text taken from 'Two Fathers', 'Trust No 1', and 'Zero Sum', but no spoilers.

Summary: History repeats itself, but then we're all slaves to fate. William Mulder discovers his real family.

There were two fathers.

One son.

One mother.

He has no memory of the mother, no memory of her when she loved him, of when she whispered "William, William" in a tear-choked voice. There's only the cold woman before him, auburn hair shot through with gray, the image at war with the pictures he has found.

The pictures show a fierce creature, eyes full of fire. But the woman before him is no longer fierce, her eyes full of nothing but a black emptiness.

"I have no idea who you are."

A lie, but then-

There were two fathers.

One son.

The boy is a man, a smile like his mother, hair dark like his father. Like both of his fathers.

He is a precocious child, was a precocious child. The parents he has tell of a gifted grandfather, a genius no one knew about. But that too is a lie. Of sorts.

He has scholarships, athletic and academic, and a strange fear of fire he cannot explain. These are the gifts of his father, the one he doesn't know.

"So smart," his mother coos. The refrigerator is buried in papers, layers of very goods and excellent jobs. She pats his head, and the boy smiles, hazel eyes filled with happiness.

When he's twelve, he paints his room. He drags the paint in from the garage, a rust-red that matches the barn at the edge of the property. There's no newspaper on the floor, no plastic on the chairs. Instead, his inspiration flings glob after glob of paint against the walls, blue sky and white clouds disappearing under the red. And when the door flies open and the near-empty paint can falls to rattle loudly on the floor, there's no anger in those wide eyes. Only his mother's arms wrapped around him. "I thought you were gone, I thought-"

There were two fathers.

The first is concerned with kingdoms and domination.

The second is concerned with only his son, and for that reason, he is already long dead.

There's a photograph he has, buried at the bottom of his desk drawer. Faded from display in someone's sunny window, the hand writing on the back is barely legible. "A gift, from one son to another." A woman with soft red hair, half turned from the camera, intelligent eyes fixed upon a tall man with a strange half-smile.

He's committed the image to memory; the fall of the woman's hair, the strange veins of green and gold in the irises of the man's eyes. He has no idea who they are and asks everyone he knows about the woman with the red hair and the man with the golden hazel eyes. His co-workers at the CDC shake their heads. But in a strange twist of fate, a joint operation between the CDC and the FBI, he asks the right questions.

"The picture's a bit old, but I recognize them. The man's Fox Mulder and the woman is Dana Scully. I never actually met them, but everyone knew who they were."

Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. He says their names out loud in the solitude of an empty room, over and over until they are more familiar than his own. He imagines the life they lived together, the things they did. But it's all he has. Every record and every file he tracks down has been wiped clean. He wonders though, what could have happened that she would give him away. And when he says their names, he automatically changes his own, no longer William Van de Kamp, but William Mulder instead. And he decides, holding the photograph in the empty room, how very strange it all sounds.

His mother has a tired face, worn from years of worry. But she still manages a smile when he enters the hospital room, lines and wrinkles smoothing at the sight of him.

"My darling boy," and a pale hand reaching for his embrace.

"I came as soon as I heard, Mom," he says. She pats his back as he bends his tall form down to kiss her on the cheek. "What's going on?"

She smiles at him still, head tilted to study him in the florescent lights. He can see the tears glittering in her eyes and it makes him uncomfortable. "What did they say?" he asks, worry making the tenor of his voice waver.

"It's cancer, dearheart," she says softly, breaking it to him gently.

For a moment he doesn't say anything. Anything he wants to say dies on his lips, the sadness and the anger freezing at that look of hopeful sorrow on his mother's face. She doesn't want to hear the rage he has to offer, the tears threatening to spill unheeded down his face. Instead...

"Oh, Mom," bending down once again. He feels helpless, all his knowledge, his medical degree, useless in the face of such tragedy. "Did they say whether it was operable?"

"I don't know," she cries plaintively, "I don't understand any of it." She's clutching at him, sobbing into his shoulder and he endures it all silently. "I'm sorry," she says, once she regains control.

He straightens up, and begins backing towards the door. "I'm going to talk to your doctor," he says, guilt clawing at his throat, desperate to get out of the room.

He can still hear her sobs. "My darling boy."

"I have no idea who you are."

"I was given a photograph," he says, ignoring her. "By a man who said his name was Jeffrey Spender. A man claiming to be my real father's brother." He thrusts the photograph at her and there's something in her eyes, some emotion masked by his unfamiliarity with the nuances of her face.

Her eyes meet his, grey-blue eyes, flat and cold. "That name means nothing to me."

He tries a different tactic. "I am a doctor with the CDC," and then something recognizable flashes in her eyes then, pride and an anguish so deep he can almost feel it. But he plunges on. "If I need to obtain a subpoena for the genetic material of you or your husband, I will."

"You're a doctor?"

The raw emotion in her voice makes him pause. "Yes, I am, now please answer my question."

//And if I falter or fail on this day...//

She looks away. "Get your subpoena, Dr. Van de Kamp. I have nothing more to say to you."

The envelope comes on a Wednesday, deceptively plain but thick, with no return address and his name written in tight cramped letters. A flood of letters and packages have been arriving in the days since his mother's death and to have one come three months later isn't out of the ordinary.

It looks like any other letter he might receive and he distractedly opens it, reading a journal article, 'A common ancestral origin of the frequent and widespread 2299DELG USH2A mutation', at the same time.

A vanilla folder slips out, falling to his cluttered desk. He pushes the magazine aside, cocking his head to read the folder's typewritten label.

'Dana Katherine Scully; DOB: 02/23/64'

He starts to flip through, absently cataloguing the childhood scrapes and broken bones in the back of his mind. But when he comes across the next to last page, his heart jumps into his throat. 'Nasopharyngeal mass... presence of cancerous cells'; the same cancer that had claimed his mother.

She comes on a Thursday, without an appointment, but somehow manages to get past his secretary.

"What are you doing here?" he asks, more than a little unkindly. "All my attempts at obtaining a subpoena for your genetic material were struck down."

"My husband is a very powerful man. With many friends."

"You didn't come to brag about just that, I hope." He leans across his desk, absently shuffling paper. "Why did you come here?"

"I wished to talk to you."

"You could have done that before," he says. But she's not listening to him, instead she's reading the diplomas on the wall. He takes the moment to study her, the red hair streaked with grey, the pale almost translucent skin stretched over high cheekbones.

"You graduated from the University of Maryland?"

It takes him a moment to connect the question. "Yes," he says, following her gaze to the diplomas.

"Was that where you got your medicine degree?"

"Both. I have a undergraduate degree in psychology, as well as my medical degree."

"Psychology?" she echoes.

"Yes. It's a fascinating field, wouldn't you agree?"

Silence reigns, the air thick with tension, and he can't help but feel he's done something wrong.

"How long has your cancer been in remission?" he asks, totally unprepared when she whirls around, eyes fixing him with a glare.

"I see someone's done his homework," she says caustically, almost spiteful, and he can understand; no one wants their deepest secrets aired to perfect strangers.

"So, how long has it been?"

"I don't have to tell you anything."

"I thought you wanted to talk? Surely you can't expect me to give all the information and not want to receive any?"

She says nothing, so he continues on.

"A nasopharyngeal mass, correct?"

Still nothing.

He shifts in his chair. "Would you care to tell me then, why my adoptive mother's nasopharyngeal mass metastasized and killed her, while yours disappeared without a trace?"

She looks up at him sharply, as if she hadn't known that particular piece of information.

"For having such a powerful husband, you're remarkably ignorant of many things."

She begins slowly, looking for the exact phrasing of her words. "We all sacrifice things to get what we want in life," she says before meeting his eyes.

"My husband was not immune to that particular ambition."

"You mean my father," he says, licking his lips. "What did he sacrifice?"

A whisper. "Everything."

"Do you know who I am?" And he's a tall, thin creature, half in shadows, trailing smoke and lies.

//"You pale to Fox Mulder"// But that's another time, another father and another son.

"Do you know who I am?" he repeats. "Who you are?"

The world snaps into focus, meaning and intent sharpening his gaze and his gun fixes unwaveringly on that pale face. "I know you're the son of a bitch that killed my mother."

Softly. "Oh, but she wasn't your real mother. She wasn't the woman who gave birth to you."

"Oh yeah? Well, where was my real mother when I broke my arm when I was ten? Where was she when I won the state freestyle competition? Where was she when my wife died?"

A drag off the cigarette, a bright flare of fire in the dark. "She was with the father of her child, as any good mother would be; she stayed with me."

The cigarette butt falls, end over end, flung from indifferent fingers.

He stands there, gun hand shaking still. "It was you who killed her, wasn't it? She was given that cancer, just like your wife."

A slip of the hand into his coat pocket, pulling out the ever-present pack of Morleys. "We needed you unattached," he says, shaking the cigarette pack.

"'Unattached'?" he demands angrily, voice shaking. "'Unattached'?" His fingers tighten around the gun's handle, finger gripping the trigger.

The man glances up, smiling at the sight. "Yours isn't the first gun I've had pointed at my face."

He hands his resignation in on a Tuesday, shocking his boss.

"What's wrong?" she asks. "I thought you were happy here."

"I am," he says. "I mean, I was. I need to think about some things, get away for away."

"That's what they make vacation days for," she says, an edge of panic beneath the teasing tone. "Are you sure this is what you want?"

A sad smile. "It's what I need."

He's packing the last box into his car when they approach. "Dr. William Van de Kamp?"

He resists the urge to correct them. "Yes?"

They're both dressed in dark suits, both with plain, nondescript faces. "Dr. Van de Kamp, my name is Agent Jason Messner." He gestures towards the other man. "This is my partner, Agent Travis Jones. We're with the FBI. Your name was referred to us as a person who might be interested in employment with our organization."

"Oh yeah?" he asks. "And just who was it who referred me?"

"One of our own agents, sir. A man by the name of Charles Spender. You come highly recommended, both by Agent Spender and his father, who was an FBI agent as well."

He bites back the words that threaten to escape his lips; that his father was an FBI agent too, at one point.

"I never knew my real father either, not until it was too late." A wry smile, thin lips stretched like a death mask. "He was greatly concerned with genetics as well."

He says nothing, gun still trained on the man before him.

"Do you know what you were William? What you could be again?" Another pause, another unhurried drag off the cigarette.

He's acutely aware then of the weight of the gun in his hand. But then, it's not his gun; the smooth wooden handle was worn down by another's hand. He bought it in a pawn shop a week ago, the only way a doctor can get a gun without raising suspicion.

"I know it's hard to believe."

"What, that I'm some sort of alien-human hybrid?" he scoffs. "Yeah, just a little."

"You have to want to believe. It's hard to accept, I know, but you don't know the things I've endured, the things we've all endured, just to assure your existence."

The gun is shaking in his hand, metal rattling, revealing its worth. "My mother was always worried there was something wrong with me; why else would a woman give up her child? She thought it must be the mother, that there was something wrong with her." The shaking has reached his arm because he's terrified of this smirking man before him. "Now I know there was something wrong with the father."

Another smile, knowing and proud, and he knows that smile because he's seen the same lines traced in his own face.


Author's Notes: Dark, I know. I'm assuming at this point, since the last episode has aired, that William will be staying with the Van de Kamp's for the rest of his life.

The lines taken from the episodes are as follows: Two Fathers: "You pale to Fox Mulder." Spoken by CGB Spender to his son, Jeffrey. Trust No 1: "And if I falter or fail on this day." Spoken by Scully in the beginning voice-over. Zero Sum: "Yours isn't the first gun I've had pointed at my face." Spoken by CGB Spender to Walter Skinner as the latter tries to get answers about Scully's cancer.

"A common ancestral origin of the frequent and widespread 2299DELG USH2A mutation" is an actual journal article, found in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

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