Little Foxes, five year itch, part 1/3

by Laurel

Notes: Formatting for the sequel is a bit different from the original. Changing POV is within the stories instead of assigning a chapter to each character.
I don't know much about kids since I don't have any of my own, so this is gleaned from a mix of real life children and television brats as well as my own imagination. Mostly imagination.

Spoilers: It would sure help to read the first story, Little Foxes. Otherwise you'll be lost. This begins five years later.

Disclaimer: I don't own Alex Krycek or Fox Mulder or any other characters from the X-files. I don't even own a Matchbox car.

They were plunged into a world consisting of Golden books, Barney the purple dinosaur, Sesame street and Teletubbies. They debated on Huggies versus Pampers; which kind of music to play for precocious ears; gender specific toys or basically letting them play with everything from Tonka trucks to Matchbox cars to dirt; pink or yellow rooms.

Fox and Alex were raising two girls now. Star Ariel was five years old with long wheat colored hair streaked with gold, hazel eyes and a nose like her father Fox. She was half tomboy, half ballerina, depending on her mood.

She liked to make her own beaded bracelets and knew how to use a charge card. Her parents found out about that particular talent when she ordered off the internet and several weeks later, packages containing stuffed teddy bears in every size and color began to arrive at their door.

She was also obsessed with all things medical. The surgery channel was her favorite and held her interest above even Cookie monster or her favorite character, Oscar the Grouch. She cajoled Alex into letting her stay up late to watch surgeries that turned his stomach. Fox's pout had been inherited by their first daughter and Alex had a difficult time not giving in to it.

He relented, sighing at his gullible nature when it came to his children. He was Play-do in their hands.

"Daddy, can I dissect a frog?"

"Excuse me?"

"There's a frog in the garden. I saw it again today. Don't kids get to dissect frogs in school?"

"That's not until high school."

"I know I could do it. I've watched hundreds of surgeries. Aunt Dana could help me."

"I don't want you killing animals. Not even a frog."

"Can we buy dead animals?"

Alex sighed. "I'll make you a compromise. If you find a dead animal then we'll see about cutting it up."

"Great."

"As long as it's not a skunk. Okay?"

"Okay."

Alex shuddered at the thought of road-kill in their house.

Katrina wailed from upstairs. Alex climbed the stairs two at a time. Fox was trying to comfort the sobbing little girl.

It took some time to understand but they finally coaxed the story out of her between sobs and the mumblings of her older sister. It seems that Star had decided Kat's doll was dirty and needed a bath. Star had dunked her doll in the toilet bowl and left her there to soak.

Kat looked up imploringly at her fathers asking for revenge on her older sister. Katrina Victoria was also a wonderful mix of both her fathers, with a long oval face, long dark hair with choppy bangs and green eyes like Alex's.

Now it was Alex's turn to gently interrogate. He questioned Star wondering why she had really dumped her sister's beloved Barbie doll. The real reason revealed itself after careful and relentless inquiry. It seems that Kat, as they called her, had cut off the ribbon adorning the neck of one of Star's favorite teddy bears. Actually they were all her favorites.

Both girls clearly needed punishment.

Each was sent to her own room. Star had to forgo watching a rerun of a rather exotic brain surgery. Kat had to make restitution by helping Alex select a new ribbon from a Tupperware container of odd buttons and string and ribbon to tie on the bear's neck. She also had to carefully clean him off with the lint brush and apologize to both her sister and the bear.

Alex washed the doll's clothes and soon a naked doll was once again clean with the knots unraveled from her hair and her purple and pink outfit neatly pressed and covering her dry anatomically incorrect figure.

Both girls were happily playing together an hour later, the Barbie doll restored to her former glamorous splendor and the chocolate brown bear looking clean, spiffy and wearing a new pink ribbon.

Fox argued with Alex over dinner. Alex thought Fox ordered out too often.

"I know you're working on your third book but the girls need a nutritious dinner and I am tired. I'm raising your kids and with another one on the way too."

"Now they're my kids?"

"Yes. You're the one who got me pregnant. We were going to wait a few years for the third one, but no, you just had to use a condom with holes in it."

"So this is my fault?"

"Yes!"

"Did you ever consider that maybe you're incredibly fertile?"

"Hah. If the shoe were on the other foot you wouldn't let me near your ass!" Alex stomped out of the kitchen. "Make them something good. And no hot dogs!"

Fox was taken aback by Alex's behavior. Sure it was difficult raising a family and with Alex pregnant again, his hormones were out of whack but it didn't usually make his lover so cranky. Maybe he'd just forgotten about the mood swings. It certainly wasn't his fault the condom had failed. Those things weren't one hundred percent fail proof. Besides, he sometimes bottomed too. It was just a simple accident. It wasn't Fox's fault that aliens had tampered with his lover's body, enabling him to bear children.

Maybe the new baby was proving too much for his partner but he knew Alex would change his mind when he first felt that incredible kicking. It never ceased to amaze Alex that a tiny little baby was growing inside him and he'd rub his own stomach delightedly.

Fox opened the fridge. He wasn't exactly Julia Child. Or Emeril. He wasn't even Mel from Mel's diner. He could barely boil water without finding a way to burn it.

"Salad it is," he muttered to himself.

Alex nodded with satisfaction at Fox's dinner choice. Bite size pieces of grilled chicken were tossed into a salad of lettuce, red peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes, accompanied by crusty French bread oozing with melted Italian cheeses. The girls drank all their milk and were rewarded with ice cream for dessert.

After dinner Fox helped them with math using flash cards to quiz them. It wasn't too early to start. After all, Star was going to kindergarten this year. He wanted his daughters to have a head start. He had even looked at private schools that taught children all the way through high school. Alex had simply rolled his eyes. Next his lover was going to pick up college applications for them.

Alex read to the two girls lying on Star's bed. The Velveteen Rabbit was one of their favorites. He nearly knew it by heart. He picked up Kat after she had fallen asleep next to Star and brought her to her own room. She curled up in a fetal position as soon as he set her down. Her thumb found its way to her rosebud mouth. Alex pulled her hand away from her lips and kissed her forehead.

The mobile above her bed moved gently with the breeze from the open window. He always liked them to get as much fresh air as possible but shut it now that everyone was going to bed.

The little animals came to a halt above her--the gray elephant, orange tiger, blue parrot, giraffe, zebra, all the zoo animals settled for the night along with the Mulder-Krycek household.


Alex was helping Kat with her alphabet when a scream of utter terror made him flinch.

He told Kat to sit on the couch with her book and went upstairs to investigate the scream. God only knew what Star had done.

He heard Fox wail and his bewildered, angry voice.

Now Alex knew something was terribly wrong. The fire alarm screeched above his head in the hallway. The smell of smoke assaulted his nose. He slammed into Star's bedroom and was greeted with the sight of Star hysterically screaming and Fox standing utterly still in front of the wall of flame that was eating through the curtains.

Alex shoved Fox back and grabbed a struggling, screaming Star. He shoved both of them out the door and shook Fox out of his fear. Fox looked at him with wide hazel eyes on the edge of panic.

"Take Star downstairs and go outside. Kat's on the couch. Take her with you. I'll take care of this."

Fox nodded numbly.

Alex grabbed his cell phone in the bedroom and punched nine one one. While he raced downstairs to grab the fire extinguisher they kept in the kitchen, he gave the operator details on the emergency.

It took him a minute to pull the pin and begin spraying the foam at the curtains. His hands were shaking with fear but he pushed it down deep and the logical part of his mind took over. In moments the foam covered the flames and they died down in a sea of what looked like shaving cream.

The curtains hung in shreds and the paint curled off the window sill in black chips. The rest of the window frame was browned where once it had been white. He set the extinguisher down with a sigh of relief and wiped off his sweaty hand on his jeans.

Alex went outside to find his family and wait for the firemen. He was already thinking about the damage. They would have to repaint the window frame and buy new curtains. He wondered if the store where he had bought the curtains with the dancing teddy bears would still have that pattern in stock.

The neighbors came out of their houses, standing uncertainly on their porches, as the scream of the fire engine came closer to their street. Now in earnest concern, they poured out onto the sidewalk. Alex assured everyone it was a minor fire and all eyes dropped down to little Star. Fox picked her up as she began to sniffle again and held her close. She rubbed her face against his shirtfront as he soothed her nerves. Alex held Kat, bewildered and frightened yet excited as the fire fighters arrived.

It didn't take long for them to check out the damage and make sure the fire was properly put out.

All the neighborhood children chased the fire engine as it roared away and the firemen waved to them.

Alex marched them all back into the house. All the windows had been opened to allow the smell of the smoke to escape. He went upstairs to survey the damage again. Silently, he cleaned up what he could. He had passed the point of anger and fear. What he felt now was cold rage. Star was a precocious yet sweet girl but this time she had gone too far. She could have killed them all.

He left Fox to cuddle the girls on the downstairs couch, reassuring them and making sure they weren't too traumatized by the incident. When he came back downstairs he motioned the girls and Fox to the family room.

Alex took a deep breath. "What in the name of God possessed you to set the curtains on fire?"

Star was silent. Even at her age she knew it was a rhetorical question and her daddy Alex, was very angry. He would vent for some time before he calmed down.

"Haven't I told you not to play with matches time and again? They are not toys. They're dangerous and only adults should touch them. We went through this Star!

What on earth were you thinking? Were you thinking?"

"Alex," Fox warned. "Please."

Alex's tone was harsh. Harsh enough to make Star's eyes sparkle with tears. She sniffed and cupped a hand over her face. Kat sat still, her eyes wide, her hands clutched together, barely blinking. She'd never seen her daddy Alex this mad before. Not even the time that she and her sister let out all the ants from their ant farm inside the house.

He looked down at the girls and felt instantly and horribly guilty. But he had to remain stoic.

"What were you doing?" He changed his tone from one of barely restrained anger and hysteria to a cold voice devoid of emotions.

"I was playing rock star," Star whispered.

"Rock star?"

"Yeah, like on MTV." Her voice became stronger. She would have her chance to explain and everything would be all right. "When they sing at concerts, the people in the audience hold up lighters. That's what I was doing," she finished brightly.

Star swung her legs back and forth but stopped right away at her father's glare. Her feet kicked at the bottom of the couch and stayed there, rigidly held still. Her legs ached as she clutched at the mossy green fabric with her feet. She bowed her head and became quite interested in the pattern on her Capri pants. The little sunflowers were stitched in bright yellow. She did her best to unravel the thread with her little finger.

Alex cleared his throat and she stopped picking at the thread, contenting herself instead by circling the little flowers gently with her finger, whispering over the cotton.

"MTV. I see," he said slowly. "And a lighter is different than matches, how?"

"I thought--"

"Obviously you didn't."

Star was silent.

She gathered her courage again. "I was just playing. I was singing into my hair brush and I had the lighter--"

"Where did you get the lighter?" he asked, his voice deceptively calm.

"From, um, the drawer, where you keep the matches and stuff."

"Weren't you told not to open that junk drawer?"

"Yes."

"Why did you take that lighter out then?"

"I was going to play with it just for a little while. I was going to put it back. Promise."

"Instead you set the curtains on fire."

"It was an accident."

"That's how accidents happen. People get careless."

"I'm sorry daddy!" she wailed.

"We are going to review every single safety rule we have in this house. Every single one," he emphasized each word, "starting with fire safety, fire escape routes, using the telephone, talking to strangers, staying away from guns, staying away from cleaning supplies and everything in between. For now go to your room. You will lose your television privileges for three weeks. In that period of time you will also have no play dates. You will not go out of the house for any reason other than appointments we made with the pediatrician and the hair dresser. You will not use the telephone or the computer.

In addition you will write out fifty lines every day stating that you will not play with matches or lighters. Is that understood?"

"Yes daddy," she replied meekly.

Her face was glum, fallen like a deflated cake. She clutched her hands together and pressed her face into them, sniffling and sobbing. Alex knelt down and held her close.

"I know you're upset baby but you have to understand that what you did was wrong and very dangerous."

Star nodded and cuddled into her father's strong arms.

He picked her up and brought her upstairs. He held her while she cried, rocking her gently on his lap. Kat and Fox had followed them. Kat snuggled up to her sister when Alex put her down, exhausted and cried out. They curled up together and Kat stroked her sister's hair until she fell asleep. She was sleepy eyed herself from all the excitement and emotional upheaval. They left the bedroom when the girls were both asleep.

Fox and Alex retreated to their own bedroom.

"Don't you think you were a little harsh?"

Alex spun around. "Are you nuts? She could have burned the whole damn house down! She could have died. We all could have died. Don't you understand how serious this was?"

"Of course I do."

"Then why do I always have to be the bad guy? Can't you discipline them so they don't do these crazy things? Christ, you're a child sometimes and I already have two!"

"I don't spoil them Alex and yes I do sometimes punish them. You know that."

"Start acting like my full partner then and help me!"

Alex entered the bathroom and slammed the door in Fox's face. He stood there stunned but knew when to leave Alex alone. His temper was quite even and stable most of the time but when he lost it watch out!

Fox left the bedroom and headed downstairs, determined to help out. First thing was finding paint to repaint the windowsill. He looked through the little rolodex that Alex had set up. It was filled with important numbers as well as personal details about the house, including the paint chips detailing the color and make of paint for each room in the house. They were meticulously stapled and noted down. Ah, there it was, the color for the trim was a pale ivory. The actual color name was antique ivory. Fox shrugged. They all looked white to him.

Alex opened the door slowly, nodding with satisfaction at the absence of his lover. He began to slam things around and stamped his foot, muttering as he did so, mostly in Russian and Czech, which signaled the state of his bad mood.

He whipped out a pad of paper and wrote a quick note, sticking it to the bedroom mirror. He hauled out his overnight bag and began to stuff it with clothes. He wiped the bathroom counter clear of his toiletries and stuck his toothbrush into a roomy cosmetics bag.

A short time later, Fox heard Alex's car spin on the gravel drive, and back out. He sighed at the hurt and angry expression on his lover's face. It was a little while before he went upstairs to check on the girls. They were still asleep. He retreated to his bedroom and flopped down on the bed, tired but unable to rest. It was then that he saw the sticky note pasted to the mirror.

He looked at it puzzled then finally got up to read it. "You deal with it. Good luck, Alex," it read.

He stood there shocked. Had Alex really left for good? Panicked, he checked the closet and Alex's dresser. Clothes were missing. His toothbrush wasn't in the holder in the bathroom and a lot of his toiletries were gone too.

His chest gave a painful thump and he had to lie down. He curled around Alex's pillow, still lightly scented with his own unique scent and cried.


"Hey, pretty baby," Walter greeted Star.

"Uncle Walter", she shrieked and wrapped her arms around his legs.

He hoisted her up and she giggled and shrieked some more.

"Did you know that Stella means Star in Italian?"

"I didn't know that."

"It does. Do you want to hear me doing an impression of Marlon Brando?"

Walter exchanged a curious glance with Mulder. "Sure."

"Stella!" she screamed at the top of her lungs.

Walter winced.

"Sweetie, don't yell in Uncle Walter's ear."

"Sorry."

"That's okay. What is she doing watching movies like that at her age?"

"She saw that scene in a documentary Alex was watching about old movies."

"Where's Alex?"

Mulder looked down and shuffled his feet a little.

"Um, Star can you go play upstairs with your sister?"

"Okay, daddy."

Walter set her down and she trudged up the stairs.

"What's up?"

The doorbell rang and the lone gunmen all shoved through the door.

"Hey guys, what are you all doing here?"

"We were bored," Langley explained.

"You were telling me about Alex," Walter prompted.

"Yeah. Later, okay?"

"So what's new in the world of parenting?" Frohike asked.

"Where to start? Let's see, a few days ago Star drowned a Barbie doll and yesterday she set the curtains on fire."

"Are you serious Mulder?" Byers asked.

"Unfortunately I am."

"Maybe she's a bad seed."

"She is not. She's a normal little girl."

"She tortures her sister, drowns dolls, and almost sets the house on fire. Mulder she's a demon child," Frohike concluded.

"I have witnessed demonic activity first hand! She's just curious. That's all. A little rambunctious maybe."

"Maybe Frohike's right," Walter agreed.

"You just wait until William turns terrible two."

Mulder pointed a long finger at his long time friend and new father. William Rory as he'd been christened, Billy as he'd been nicknamed and Big Bill as he was now called due to his chubby flushed cheeks and rotund body was the result of invasive procedures and in vitro fertilization. He was just over a year old, a quick crawler with fuzzy red hair and eyes that stared through you like his poppa's.

"Mulder, she is rather precocious."

Mulder pouted. "Well maybe she is but she's not evil."

"No one said she was. She's just a handful."

"Yeah a handful that's out of hand. What did Alex have to say about her hijinx?" Langley asked.

"She was punished for the fire. Alex keeps her in line most of the time."

"So where is he?"

Mulder's shoulders slumped. "He left."

Dead silence filled the room and there was a great intake of breath as Mulder's friends wanted to console him but couldn't think of what to say.

"I need him back. I can't live without him. Those kids need him."

"What do you want us to do? Start a paper trail?" Frohike asked.

"No, he has to come back of his own volition."

Star came bounding into the room. "Look, I put make-up on Kat. See how pretty she is?"

Kat came down the stairs in her ballerina outfit, carrying a little red plastic purse. She had on baby blue eye shadow and two pink spots of blush on her cheeks.

Mulder grinned at the ridiculous sight but when he took his daughter upstairs to wash it off, he discovered to his horror that Star had used permanent markers.

"Demon," he muttered.


If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Laurel