Okay, this is a cathartic little un-edited piece of semi-autobiographical venting that came not so much out of "Mulder wearing a ring," (which I didn't notice at the time and don't really feel like watching again to see.) but the fandom broo-ha-ha that followed.

Ya see, Mulder reminds me of my ex. And while it didn't happen exactly this way (names have been changed... And events changed somewhat... I've never been married, and nothing quite happened exactly the way I described. FWIW, some was worse, some was better, and it was all just a little bit different.) I had to write this in response to the whole "What if Mulder was marr ied?" shtick. Enough of this is different from what "actually happened" (the autobiographical bit) that nothing within can be construed to represent a completely accurate portrayal of events in my own life. While this is derived from my own story, it is *not* exactly my story.

Do I think this is the most plausible explanation for the wedding ring and the apartment? Hell no. I'm personally of the "CC is messing with our heads" school.

But this is the story I could write.

Title: I Never Knew.
Author: Jenrose
Rating: R (although this might be a good "warning" piece for teenage girls...<wry grin>)
Category: VA
Keywords: Ringfic, Otherangst, Pre XF
Spoilers: Travelers
Feedback: If you want to.
Disclaimer: Mulder belongs to CC etc. No infringement intended., and I doubt he'd be such an SOB. But then again...
Archive: Yeah, sure, fine, whatever.

I never knew he could be like this.

It never occurred to me that this charming man who wrapped himself
around me like a blanket could change so suddenly into this cold,
hostile stranger.

Don't get me wrong. I knew from the start that he had demons. I knew
from day one that he was wounded. Call me naive, I thought I could
heal him. I thought I could make him forget. I thought I could replace
that which was lost, that which was never there in the first place.

But it never occurred to me that the man who wooed me, the man who
cherished my body and adored my spirit could one day look at me and
tell me I was asking too much, manipulating him, controlling his life.

I didn't think that what I was asking was all that unreasonable.

I didn't have a happy childhood either, but I was well parented. I
guess I didn't realize what a difference that could make. He said, did
all the right things from day one. I trusted him, trusted when he
said, "Forever," trusted when he said, "I love you," trusted when he
said, "Marry me," and trusted when he said "I do."

Actually, I think he meant it, at the time. Mostly.

The first time he asked me to marry him, I said yes. We'd only been
seeing each other for a couple of months, but I was young and I
thought I knew. I'd never felt what I felt for him, for anyone. I
changed my mind while we were living together, not because I didn't
want to be with him, but because I didn't want to take his name.

That's not quite true.

I wouldn't have minded taking his name if he hadn't been so adamant
about not taking any part of my name either. It seems really silly
now, but maybe that was one of the pieces that made it all fall apart.
He was happy for me to keep my name, but I wanted us to share a name.

Bloody hell, I was 19. And even though he was 27, I honestly don't
think it helped him any either.

I changed my mind again when I found out we were... I mean, I was
pregnant. It wasn't the proposal of my dreams. First thing he asked
was, "Do you think we should give the baby up?" While I was still
reeling from that, he countered with, "Do you want to get married?"

I should have known from the fear in his voice that he didn't mean it.
But I took him at his word, and blurted out, "Yes."

Getting married at City Hall was an unpleasant adventure, mostly
because I kept having to dash away from the "alter" to throw up in the
nearest potted plant. Needless to say he didn't want to kiss the
bride. Not the romantic satin-and-pearls fiesta I'd dreamed of as a
child, and not even the free-spirit melding of souls my friends tried
to convince me to let them plan.

More like a queasy sinking feeling and relief to have it over with.

When we first met, he called me Starbright, said he loved my passion,
my hope, my naive belief that even if the world wasn't a good place
now, it would be soon. I called him "Old Man," his 8 years advantage
giving him a world-wise and weary lead on my own innocence. He flirted
with me and I took him to my bed, and we wrapped around each other
until we forgot where he ended and I began.

When I got sick, not six months after we'd first met, he was there for
me every moment. Didn't leave my bedside for days. The look on his
face when he came into my hospital room terrified me and thrilled me.
Who knew someone besides my parents could love me that much? He
focused on me with all the blazing intensity of an arc welder. I
though we were joined permanently, then.

But when I finally healed, I wasn't Starbright anymore. I'd looked
death in the face and for the first time since I hit puberty, I got
scared. I crawled into my own hell and stopped being the blazing light
to chase away his demons. We were together, but together in darkness,
and neither of us could find the way out.

The pregnancy was just the last straw. His intensity turned to
disdain. Who could blame him? The beautiful young woman he'd fallen in
love with was morphing into a mother, and he never did do well with
mothers, not his, not mine, and, oh god, not me. My face grew rounder,
my breasts sagged, my belly grew heavy and my skin showed the stress
in tiny flame-like stretch marks everywhere.

I could blame him. After all, he *did* help make the baby. He went
through the motions, went to work every day, that damned job that
asked more of him than I ever could, did the shopping, warmed my bed.
He even told me I was beautiful still, sometimes.

More often he'd ask me why I didn't do more. He'd ask why I couldn't
help when bending over made me throw up. He'd ask why I didn't take
better care of myself when I couldn't tell if I was hungry I was so
nauseated all the time.

I tried to tell him it was temporary. I tried to tell him that I'd be
more myself, more the person he loved, when the baby was born.

When I was seven months along, my only uncle died. That pushed me over
the edge, into a full blown depression. And my depression pushed him
over the edge. He couldn't deal with my depression, and I couldn't
deal with his anger. He told me it was over.

I remember looking down at my round belly, and trying to compute that.
It just wouldn't mesh. It didn't fit. I couldn't understand. I told
him I could not move out until the baby was old enough for me to go
back to work. He shrugged, said, "Okay," and we went on.

I was able to put all that aside for the next two months. I simply did
not admit to myself or anyone else that my marriage had fallen apart.

Or rather, that it had never fallen together.

Our daughter was born in a picture perfect birth, he cried, I glowed,
and he was very helpful while I was in the hospital. I almost thought,
just for a moment, that maybe he wouldn't be able to abandon me,
abandon his child. Again he seemed to radiate that care and love I'd
seen from the start.

Then we went home. And he waged a campaign to convince me that he was
not, never had been, never could be the husband I hoped for or the
father our daughter needed.

Resuming smoking was the least of it. He picked up some woman in a bar
when our daughter was four days old, and brought her home and screwed
her on the couch while my child and I were in the bedroom down the
hall. I think, though the fog of postpartum lactation-induced sleep
deprived mania makes my memory suspect, that he actually brought the
woman into the bed we used to share while I nursed my daughter in her

Three days after our little girl was born I begged him to stay at home
for one more day. He looked at me long and cold and told me, "I'm
going to work, where they *really* need me."

Through all of this he wore his wedding ring. I'm not sure why.

Later he would apologize to me. He always apologized. He was good at
that. Not groveling, simply saying what a son-of-a-bitch <yeah, blame
her,> he'd been, and he wished there was something he could say to
make it better.

Like hell. Maybe if he'd called when I was at my mother's for a month.
Maybe if he'd ever come to visit this child with his eyes and his hair
and his damned mouth. Maybe if he hadn't violated every rule of
civilized behavior, I could have forgiven him when he spoke the words.

I did forgive him, as much as it is possible to forgive when you can't

We even tried to fix things for a while. I thought he'd changed. But
finally I realized that no matter what he did, no matter how he
changed, I could not get past it. And I realized that he didn't really
want to. We stayed friends even, for a while, until his obsessions
took over and I realized that staying friends could put our daughter's
life at risk. He seemed relieved when I told him that I was moving

I'm glad I never took his name. Our daughter has his name, but buried
in her middle name where it can be safely ignored until he no longer
feels that chasing his demons is more important than her.

Anna Denise Mulder Dane.

She calls herself Anna Dane. And she never asks about her father.

And for all his intensity he has about his sister, gone for so many
years, Fox never asks about Anna either.

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