“I understood, Scully.” He said softly.
Her lips parted, then abruptly she rose and left the room.
“Perhaps I should let the two of you discuss this more thoroughly. I can get a cab. You have my number.”
Mulder nodded, but he was looking in the direction of Scully’s bedroom. Dahlstrom hid his smile and let himself out of the apartment.
Once the door was shut, Mulder moved in that direction and slipped the deadbolt, then turned toward her bedroom. He followed her in, to find her sitting on the bed, her face in her hands. He took a seat carefully beside her.
“Scully, it makes a kind of sense. We - “
She finally looked up at him, “You want to try a treatment for me that would kill you.”
“If it works - “ His words were cut short by the sharp sting of her palm against his cheek. He didn’t say anything, just watched her. How could he explain it to her? She was more important to him that he was. If he lost her . . .
“Get out of here.”
“Scully, why didn’t you tell me the cancer had metastasized?” She rose from the bed, to get away from him, but he followed her. “I need to know . . . Damn it, Scully!” He turned away from her; his frustration overwhelming him for a moment.
When he could face her again, her look of fear tore at him. “Please, think about this treatment.”
“No. There is no way. You’re insane if you think - “
“A lot of people think I’m insane.”
“And you want to prove it by killing yourself?” She sounded slightly hysterical then.
“I want to save you.”
“Killing yourself is not the way to do it. I don’t even want to live if you’re not . . . “ She stopped at his expression.
He took her hand then and led her to her couch. He took a seat close beside her. They didn’t speak, just sitting quietly. After a minute he pulled her closer and to his astonishment, she came, allowing him to hold her.
He took a deep breath, “Okay, you won’t take all of my blood, but how about some of it?”
“I can give blood, what, every two weeks? What if we replaced your blood more slowly?”
“No, that's only for self donations. You can’t . . . Besides, why do you believe that man? If he really does work with, with Cancerman, why should we trust him?”
“Because it’s your life.” He said simply.
She closed her eyes. She couldn’t look at him anymore, that desperate hope he was holding on to exhausted her. “Go home Mulder.”
She could feel him deflate. “Will you at least investigate it?”
Instead of an answer, she coughed and he saw the blood coming from her nose again. Without a word, he lifted her into his arms and carried her to her bed. He elevated her head and hurried to the bathroom to wet a washcloth.
She reached for it when he returned, but he ignored her, washing her face gently himself. She opened her mouth once, to chastise him, but he shook his head and continued to look after to her.
Her eyes drooped, too weary to fight anymore today. Once she was clean, he carried the bloody washcloth back to the bathroom and rinsed it out, then lay it across the side of the tub.
He returned to her then; gently removed her robe and covered her with the sheet. She shivered slightly but didn’t seem to wake. Was she cold? She’d had on that sweat suit earlier. He removed his jacket and tie, and toed off his shoes. Then he found himself on the bed with her. He cuddled her against him and she relaxed, warm.
She’d been stunned and embarrassed when she found him there the next morning.
“I’ll get out of your way, Scully. I need to shower and change. Listen . . . take your time. We don’t have anything scheduled.”
She nodded, but didn’t speak or meet his eyes.
”Scully . . . see you later.” He let himself out.
Instead of heading home, he turned immediately for the guys’ apartment. Langly opened the door grumpily. “A little early, man. You look like you slept in your clothes.”
“I did. I’ve got a question for you.”
Byers stepped into the room, a cup of coffee in his hand. “Mulder?”
“I need to talk to you.”
“Of course, come on in. Coffee?”
It didn’t take long for the four of them to convene in the large room. Frohike’s stricken look when he’d told them of the cancer’s progress in Scully’s body was etched in his mind.
A debate over the possible treatment ensued. Mulder finally rose, “I need to get to work. Can you guys . . . “
“We’re on it, Mulder.” Byers assured him quickly.
“Oh, and she seems cold all of the time.”
The three men exchanged looks. “Well, if it’s in her bloodstream . . . “ Byers didn’t finish the thought out loud. “It might be psychological.”
He hurried through getting ready and did beat her to the office, barely, despite one more stop.
He was pouring himself a cup of coffee when she entered. He looked up, but she only nodded in his direction. He poured a second cup and fixed it as she liked it, then placed it on her desk next to a white paper sack.
“Thanks, what’s this?”
His first instinct was to tease her that she should be able to tell by smell, but he bit that back. “Uh, one of those cinnamon buns you love.”
“A conspiracy to fatten me up?” She said lightly, though she still hadn’t met his eyes.
“You have to share.” He responded.
She did glance up then, for just a second, and seemed to relax a little. He found a plastic knife and divided the pastry, giving her the slightly larger half. Her eyebrow rose, but she made no comment.
He booted up his computer as he watched her eat out of the corner of his eye. She seemed to enjoy it.
“Scully - “
“Mulder - “
She ducked her head. “I’m sorry I was so short with you this morning. I was just surprised to find you . . . there.”
“I know. I shouldn’t have . . . but you seemed cold and then you were sleeping so peacefully that I . . . “
She nodded. “Listen, if, if you still want to try the transfusions maybe we could give it a chance.” She saw the relief on his face and relaxed.
He took a deep breath. “When do you see the doctor again?”
“On the 25th. He wants to see me monthly now.”
He winced, but straightened his shoulders. “Okay, you can have four pints by then.”
“Mulder, no - “
“I can give two pints the first time. Then in two weeks another pint and another two weeks from then. I checked.”
She stared at him, not sure how to respond.
“Say yes, Scully.”
“Where would we go?”
He smiled then. “The guys. I, uh, I talked to them this morning.” He avoided noticing her eyebrow. “Frohike says he can handle the procedure.”
“Frohike?” Her disbelief was palpable.
He shrugged, “Byers and Langly backed him up. The man seems to be multi-talented. We could start this evening.”
That statement took her aback, “Tonight?”
“There’s no reason to wait. We can go to their place for the transfusions, then I’ll take you home and - “
“No way. You are not going to drive after giving two pints of blood. You shouldn’t even be alone.” She hesitated, “You stayed over last night, I guess it wouldn’t be a problem to have you stay again.”
He grinned at that. “I am housebroken.”
He chuckled, his mood lightening. At least they had something to try now.
They had a good lunch. She watched every bite he ate and he was just as diligent. She could feel his confidence that afternoon and found it contagious. At exactly five o’clock he led her to his car.
Frohike opened the door to them and took Scully’s hand. He winked at her, “We’ll make this work.”
She bit her lip, but nodded.
“Let’s get started.” Mulder tossed their coats over a chair. Frohike agreed, leading them to his bedroom. It had obviously been cleaned and crisp, clean sheets adorned the bed.
“Mulder, I want you to drink something before you - “
“No. It’s not necessary and there’s no reason to dilute the blood.” He took her hands, looked into her eyes. “I’ll be fine. Come on.”
She didn’t look mollified, but knew she was out-voted this time. Mulder reclined on the bed and let Frohike tie a tourniquet around his upper arm to bring a vein to the surface. He took his time, making sure he had a good vein. He slipped the needle without hesitation and taped it down.
Mulder blinked. “Frohike? Where did you learn to do that?”
Frohike looked up at Scully and winked. “I can’t tell you all my secrets, man. Just relax and squeeze this ball every five to ten seconds.”
Blood was already flowing into the bag attached to the mattress. Scully’s eyes kept a close eye on the blood accumulation and Mulder. “Are you doing okay?”
“Scully, I’ve given blood lots of times. This is probably more sterile here than any other setting I’ve used.”
She sighed, but didn’t dispute him. In a very short time, the bag was full and Frohike clamped the tubing.
“Your turn, Scully.”
“First I want Mulder to drink some Coke or something with sugar, and eat something.”
“Scully, let’s go ahead and - “
“Do you have any peanut butter? A spoonful would be good.”
Langly rose and headed to the kitchen to get what she requested.
“We can go ahead and start you while he’s eating, Scully. It’ll take longer to go in than take out.” Frohike reminded her.
“Come on, Scully. This is the part that’s important.” Mulder said gently. Frohike and Langly nodded to her.
She sighed and made herself comfortable on the other side of the bed. She slipped her shoes off and Langly awkwardly placed an afghan over her. She smiled her thanks and felt Mulder take her hand.
She was looking at him when Frohike slipped the needle into her arm. She glanced back quickly, then nodded, “Not bad.”
Frohike winked at her and taped the needle into place. He hung the first pint and once he was sure everything was running smoothly, returned to Mulder to withdraw a second pint.
Byers walked into the kitchen with a couple of bags of groceries. “Everything go okay?”
“Yeah.” Langly took one of the bags.
“Where are they?”
“They’re both asleep on my bed.” Frohike opened the refrigerator.
“Mulder fell asleep?” That surprised Byers.
“He struggled until she fell asleep, then he let himself drift off.”
“Is she okay?”
Frohike looked over at Langly, “It’s only been a couple of weeks since we saw her . . .” He shook his head.
“Is this going to work?” Langly asked.
“It has to,” Frohike said simply. “I don’t think Mulder could take it if it doesn’t.”
“I know.” Byers shook his head. “He’s never trusted anyone like he does her.”
“Trust.” Langly made a rude noise. “Mulder’s so in love with her it’s . . . spooky.”
“Yeah.” Frohike nodded, folding the grocery bag.
“I agree. He hasn’t had a relationship since Diana.” Byers said sadly.
“That wasn’t a relationship; that was sex, pure and simple. He wanted it to be a relationship, I think. But he knew. Hell, I think he was relieved when she took that transfer. She used him, just like that bitch in England. It’s strange, the way he looks, and I have more success with the ladies.” Frohike shook his head.
“That’s because he doesn’t dally. He always only wanted the real thing. And now . . . This has to work, or at least give us some time.” Byers said quietly. “Is this safe for Mulder?”
Frohike sighed, “Not long term. He’s planning on giving a pint of blood every two weeks.” He shook his head, “Even Mulder can’t do that. Like you said, maybe it’ll give us a little time. Scully likes rabbit food, I’m gonna toss a salad.” Frohike pulled out the cutting board.
“Yeah, but can we stop Mulder when . . . “ Langly let the rest of the sentence drop.
“I don’t know. I don’t know that he can live without her.”
They wouldn’t have to worry about that. Scully turned away not allowing them to see her.
She slipped back into the bedroom, and took a Kleenex from the box on the table. They hadn’t heard her and she hadn’t wanted to interrupt their conversation. Their words had caught her off guard. She looked down at Mulder, asleep on the bed, facing where she had been.
Loved her? Mulder loved her? “I understood, Scully.” She gently lay back down beside him and felt him move closer, an arm pulling her to him. She buried her face in his shirt and shortly fell back asleep.
They both woke to the smell of garlic and the light tap on the door. “Guys, dinner’s ready.” Frohike poked his head in the door. He saw that Mulder had wrapped himself around the small woman, as though protecting her with his body.
“Yeah, we’ll be right there.” Mulder looked over at Frohike who nodded. The look of compassion on his face threw Mulder. What did they know?
“Scully? You okay?” He looked down at the small form cuddled against him.
“Hey, I asked first.” He forced a grin.
“Good. I’m good.”
His smile grew. “I’m not surprised, with all that rich Mulder blood coursing through your veins.”
She rolled her eyes and gently disengaged from him. He released her reluctantly and was startled when she reached out to help him up.
“Scully, I’m fine.”
“No, tell me how you feel.”
“Are you saying that ‘fine’ isn’t a decent response?”
She ignored that, “Are you dizzy?”
“Maybe a little lightheaded, but that could be from having you so close. It was nice having a beautiful woman in my arms while I slept.”
“Mulder, don’t. I know what I look like.”
“Obviously you don’t. Your skin is translucent, your eyes are luminous, it’s - “
“You know how I feel about the truth, Scully. And I’m not light-headed.”
She blushed then and his smile grew. “Come on; let’s see what they cooked for us.” She took his arm, but he knew it was more for his support than hers. He didn’t argue, enjoying the feel of her.
Byers had gone high-carb for dinner, pasta along with the salad. With her beside him, Mulder’s appetite was better than it had been in ages. The guys kept her entertained with stories of on-line scams and tricks, but she kept her eye on the time and Mulder’s plate.
When he was through, she lay down her own fork. She had been able to eat a little; maybe the company had stimulated her. Now it was time to get him home. "Mulder, come on."
He grinned, "She can't wait to be alone with me."
She shook her head, but didn't bother to contradict him. Instead she held her hand out for the keys.
"Oh come on, Scully. I'm fine to drive."
Her hand didn't move, but her eyebrow did. Frohike chuckled as Mulder laid the keys in her hand with a sigh. He threw Frohike a dirty look which didn't seem to faze the shorter man at all.
"Thanks guys. We'll be back for more vampiric activity as soon as possible." Mulder called as he followed Scully to the door.
At her apartment, he followed her in and watched as she shut and locked the door. "Go on and get ready for bed, Mulder."
"I took a nap, Scully. I'm not really sleepy." The yawn that followed that statement took away all credibility and she struggled not to laugh.
"Fine, then just get ready for bed."
"Aw, Mom . . . " But he grinned as he took his bag into the bathroom.
She set up the coffee for the next morning and emptied the dishwasher to give him a little time. Finally she turned to go to the bedroom herself. Mulder was already lying in the bed. He turned when the door opened and her breath caught. He was nude, at least from the waist up. It was only from the waist up, right?
"Scully? Scully are you okay?" He was already rising from the bed. Yes, he had on pajamas bottoms, yellow ones. She forced a calmness she didn't feel. "Scully?"
"I'm fine, Mulder. It just caught me off guard to see you there."
His brow furrowed, she'd sent him in here. "Okay. Are you coming to bed?"
"Yes, let me change. I'll be right back." She pulled out some night clothes and hurried to the bathroom.
She needed to get a grip. She'd been focused on his bare chest, for Heaven’s sake. Hell, she must have gotten blood from the video loving side of his body. She took a deep, steadying breath. This wasn't a seduction; she was keeping an eye on him because of blood loss.
Scully pulled the nightgown over her head. She would have preferred some of her pajamas, but with the weight she had lost, they all hung on her. She took another deep breath and let herself out of the bathroom.
He was waiting for her, his concern obvious, but he smiled when she returned and pulled the covers down on her side of the bed.
She shook her head, but lay down beside him.
"I'm not going to jump you, Scully." He whispered in her ear, causing her to jump instead. "You took all my blood, remember?"
Before she could respond, he had rolled her so that her back was to him. He spooned around her and cuddled her gently to him. "Just relax."
"Thank you, Mulder." She barely made a sound, but he nodded.
"Go to sleep."
She woke facing the other direction. His chin rested on her head and her face was pressed against his chest. One of his legs had insinuated itself between hers and rested there. He was sleeping like an angel.
It was morning already and . . . and she felt good. When was the last time she was awakened feeling good? Was it Mulder's blood, or the fact that she lay warm and safe in his arms?
She was still shaken by the depth of his commitment, by what he was willing to do to try to cure her. She wouldn’t allow him to harm himself, but she understood now that he had to do this. Even if nothing came of it that would be with her for the rest of her life. With Mulder, maybe, just maybe that would be a long time.
The next transfusion, two weeks later went smoothly as well, after she set the record straight about only one pint. Langly was convinced she would hurt them, badly, if they took more. Byers tended to believe him.
At Scully's insistence, they had brought dinner that night and didn't stay as long.
She did, however, ask him to stay over again. Three pints in two weeks was her excuse, but whatever, he gladly accepted her invitation.
The third occasion was the evening before her next appointment with the oncologist. After donating, Mulder left her side. She assumed he was going to the bathroom and only squeezed his hand. Once out of her sight, he moved to the kitchen and sat heavily in the nearest chair.
"Mulder?" Byers moved toward him quickly.
"Maybe I could use another spoonful of peanut butter." He said faintly.
"In a minute. Put your head down." He gently pressed Mulder's head down between his knees. "Stay there. I'll get Fro - "
"No!" Mulder sat up quickly, causing all of the blood to leave his face. He swayed in the chair. Byers guided him to the floor. "I'm okay." Mulder said weakly.
"Yeah. I can tell. Just lie still."
"Don't let Scully - "
"Shh. Just relax." Byers put a cool cloth to his face.
Langly walked in then. "What the f- "
"Shut up, Langly. Is Scully still lying down?" Byers spoke quickly.
"Yeah, she's not finished."
"Good. Get a blanket, then some water."
"Shouldn't I get Fro?"
Mulder managed to shake his head. "No."
Langly and Byers exchanged glances, then Langly hurried to get the things Byers had requested.
When Frohike joined them, Mulder was reclined on the couch. Better, but obviously weak. "She's asleep. We could . . . what the fuck happened here?"
"Our man here passed out." Langly said, his eyes on Mulder.
Frohike moved to Mulder's side and took his pulse. "Okay, that's it buddy. I told you - "
"It's helping her."
"We don't know that. People can give blood every 67 days. You're doing it at 14 days. Even you can't handle that schedule, Mulder. We're gonna have to - "
"Don't say anything to her."
"Man, look at you. We're not going to have to." Langly interjected.
For the first time Mulder looked uneasy. "Do I look . . . "
"You're pale, Mulder." Byers answered his unformed question. "You look better than you did in the kitchen." He added helpfully.
"Not much." Langly huffed.
"Mulder, you're gonna get sick or worse. You're already anemic."
"I can't stop." He growled between clenched teeth.
"She refused to consider this with your life at stake. This is just killing you slower."
Mulder refused to meet their eyes at those words.
"Listen; nap while she's asleep. Let her drive you home. Call us after her appointment tomorrow and we'll regroup."
He nodded and let his eyes close. His three friends moved into the kitchen area. At Frohike's insistence, Byers described what had happened. When he was through, Frohike was shaking his head. "That's what I was afraid of."
"What do we do if her appointment tomorrow says she's better?" Langly asked.
Frohike just closed his eyes, still shaking his head.
After dinner, Scully took them back to her apartment. "I'm gonna get ready for bed, Scully."
"Are you okay?" She asked quickly.
"Of course I am. " He kissed her fingers. "I didn't sleep much last night."
"Lack of Scully cuddle." He leered for a second, then left her to change.
She watched him, shaking her head indulgently. The problem was, she too slept better on the nights he stayed over. They hadn't . . . but the comfort of him around her was better than the best sleeping pill.
He seemed fine the next morning and insisted on accompanying her to her appointment that afternoon. Why that should embarrass her after sleeping in his arms all night she didn't try to analyze.
They sat quietly in the waiting room until she was called. “Mulder, this is going to take a while. Are you sure - “
“I’m way behind on my Good Housekeeping, Scully. Go on. I’ll be here.”
She looked at him for a long moment, then followed the nurse into the back. He sat staring at the door.
It was a long time, and he’d managed not to pace but his knee was jumping when the door finally opened and she beckoned him to join her. He lost no time getting to her side. “You okay?”
She gave him a tired smile. “Yes. Come on, the doctor’s ready to see us.”
“Now? What have you been doing?”
“Come on. We don’t want to keep him waiting.”
He was reminded of Skinner’s office. They’d automatically taken their regular seats in the front of the desk, but when her hand came out to him, he grasped it eagerly. They hadn’t done that in front of Skinner, yet.
The doctor looked up and smiled at Scully.
“So how am I doing?” She asked quietly.
“You had a good month, it seems. How are the nosebleeds? Still daily?”
“Uh, no.” She was aware Mulder’s head had swiveled toward her. “It’s been less than that. Maybe two or three times a week.”
The doctor nodded. “That’s good to hear. Your anemia seems to be under control as well.” He made a note in her chart. “I don’t see any reason to make changes at this time. Make an appointment for next month and be sure to call me if there are any changes.”
Mulder jerked forward then. “So how is she . . . She should keep on doing what she’s doing.”
The doctor looked over at him for the first time. “Yes, I would say she should continue as she has been. I’m pleased with these tests.” He smiled over at Scully. “Do either of you have any questions?”
Mulder obviously did, but he held his tongue. Scully could bring him up to date later. The doctor was pleased, so he was pleased, kind of.
As they left the office, Scully took Mulder’s hand. “Do you have big plans for tonight?”
“That depends. What do you have in mind?” He leered down at her.
She rolled her eyes. “How about we have dinner together.”
“Of course.” His arm went around her. “Where would you like to go?”
“I’d rather eat in. Why don’t you come to my place?”
“Sounds like a plan.” He grinned then, “I have my pj’s in the car.”
“I suppose that’s a good thing.”
Those words stopped him in his tracks, but she kept walking. He hurried to catch up, unsure what to say.
“How about we pick up some Italian on the way home?” She suggested.
“Yeah, that’d be good.”
While he dished up the dinner they had picked up, she opened a bottle of wine and poured them each a glass. “Scully? Should you be drinking?”
“I won’t have but one glass.” She held her glass out and he touched his to hers. “Saluda.”
Health. He blinked, then smiled. Yes, health. Her health. He nodded.
They ate, and cleaned up together, then he ran her a bubble bath. She protested, but he teased her out of it.
He got ready for bed himself while she soaked, and was waiting for her when she entered her bedroom. She had become almost used to seeing him, bare-chested in her bed. She would miss that.
She climbed in beside him when he pulled the covers back. Normally she turned her back to him at this point and he curled around her. Tonight though, she rolled to face him.
“Scully?” Sudden unease overtook him.
“I just wanted you to know . . . this is the last night we can do this.”
“Do . . . this?”
“You staying over. There won’t be any more transfusions.”
“What are you talking about? Of course there’ll be more transfusions. The doctor said - “
She shook her head. “I maintained this month, Mulder. It’s been a good month but you can’t give me any more blood.”
“What . . . did the guys say something?”
She gave him a sad smile then, “No. They didn’t say anything. They’re much too loyal to you.”
“Then what - “
“Mulder, you probably never noticed, but I’m a doctor, medical school and all. I did pretty well too.”
He flushed then, “Okay, but we can - “
“Mulder, I already took one pint more than I had planned. I knew you’d want to hear what the doctor said. I told you before; I won’t do anything that endangers you.”
“Not being with you endangers me.” He said softly. He saw the tears fill her eyes and pulled her to him. She didn’t resist.
“Go to sleep, Mulder.”
He opened his mouth, but she rolled over. He wanted to flip her back, scream into her face that she had to keep taking his blood, shake her until she agreed. But he couldn’t do any of those things.
Instead he buried his face in her hair. Now what? Now what could he do?
He was gone when she woke the next morning. She shivered even under the covers. She hadn’t felt him leave. It bothered her that she hadn't been aware of him leaving their, her bed, but she knew he was upset. He wasn't in the apartment, so she got ready for work and hurried to the office. It would be hard, but she needed to see him.
He wasn't at the office and it soon became obvious he wasn't just late. He wasn't coming. His cell phone had been turned off and she could only get the machine at his apartment. Finally she dialed the Gunmen.
"Is he there?" She asked with no preamble.
"Scully? Are you looking for Mulder? We haven't seen him since you were both over here the other night. Is something wrong?"
"He didn't come in today and I can't reach him."
Visions of him on the kitchen floor immediately came to Byers. "We'll go over to his place and check. Don't worry, Scully, I'm sure he's fine, just running late."
"Please let me know." She hung up and brushed a tear from her face. Damn it, she needed to get her act together. Mulder wasn't going to hurt himself, he was angry with her, but . . .
She turned at the opening of the door. Skinner stopped, concerned as he looked at her.
"Uh, sir. May I . . ."
He shook his head, holding his hand out. "I just wanted to see how you were doing."
She forced composure. Of course he would know of yesterday's appointment. "I'm fine, Sir." She didn't imagine the tiny wince, so like Mulder when she said the same thing. "My, uh, my doctor was pleased."
"Good. I'm glad to hear it. Is Agent Mulder here?"
"No, sir. I was just . . . " She wasn't herself. How could she fumble an excuse so badly?
Skinner's reaction startled her. "He's not . . . He wouldn't ditch you, now?" He realized what he had said immediately and his face darkened. "Have him call me when he shows up."
She nodded. After a moment he mumbled something about a meeting and let himself out. She sank back into her chair, exhausted.
The day did not improve. The guys couldn't find him and refused to let her assist them in the physical search. Truth was, she didn't feel able to anyway.
At home that evening she couldn't convince herself to get ready for bed, thinking he would call and need her. She wanted to be ready. Her appetite was gone, and though she fixed herself a plate, she ended up covering it and placing it in the refrigerator untouched.
She hadn't meant to drive him away. Why couldn't he understand she wanted to protect him as much as he wanted to look after her? She was standing undecided in the kitchen doorway when she heard the knock.
She flew to the door and after a quick check, threw it open. "Mulder!" She threw her arms around him and barely registered the gasp.
When she drew away and actually looked at him, her hand flew to her mouth. "Oh my god! What happened?" She drew him inside.
He had a blackening eye and cut lip. The bruises on his face were darkening. From the way he was walking, his ribs were bruised or broken. "What happened? Where have you been!" Then to her utter humiliation, she burst into tears.
"Scully, oh god, Scully, I'm sorry. Don't cry. It's not that bad - " Her tears horrified him.
"Not that bad!" She led him to the couch then and he eased himself down. "Damn you for ditching me!"
"I didn't ditch - " Her eyebrow stopped him and he just sat there, not sure what his next words should be.
"Where were you?" She demanded of him even as she gathered her supplies to once again patch him up.
"I needed to find Cancerma - Ow!" He jerked away from her.
"What did you say?" Her voice was ominous now; he couldn't stop himself from shrinking from her.
"I needed some answers, Scully. If you won't - Ow!" He stopped again. "Will you stop that!"
"No! I'm seriously considering kicking you in the ribs myself."
She looked like she meant it, but he was in no position to run. "Please, let me get this out once. Okay?" Her eyes were glacial, but her fingers were more gentle as she nodded.
"I was, I was looking for some other . . . something to replace the transfusions. I figured if this Dahlstrom guy had information, then . . .”
“So Cancer - so he beat you up?” Her tone showed her disbelief.
“No. I, uh, I broke into his apartment.” He shrugged at her incredulous look. “I need some information. Anyway, after I broke in these two other guys broke in after me.”
“Mulder! Friends of his?”
He shook his head, “Friends of Dahlstrom’s. Apparently they didn’t want me talking to Cancerman.” He said ironically. “In fact, he’s the one that saved me.”
She just stared at him.
“While they were beating me to a pulp, they got a call. Apparently my host came home unexpectedly. That’s when I realized who was after me.”
“I heard Dahlstrom’s voice. He was warning them away. And believe me, they wanted to get away before Cancerman showed up. One last kick and they actually ran out of the apartment.”
“So he found you there. He didn’t offer to help you?”
“Actually he did, but I really didn’t want him feeling of my ribs.” He gave her a sideways grin. “Scully, he knew what we’d tried.”
Her head flew up, “What did he say?”
“He . . . he told me the treatment might have worked, for a while. But the cancer would have come back.”
Her eyes widened and the blood drained from her face. “So you would have been . . . gone and I would still - “
“Scully, it’s okay. You were smart enough to know.” He turned her face up toward him. “Okay, we won’t do any more transfusions. But he did say something.”
“You’re going to make me ask. You want me to care what that bastard said to you.” She sighed, “Fine, what?”
“He told me to use my ‘brilliant mind’ and make the connections that needed to be made.”
“What connections?” She couldn’t stop herself.
“What did the women you met in Allentown have in common?”
“In common? They all died of the same cancer I have.”
He flinched at that. “What else?”
“I . . . they were all treated for infertility, they all thought they were alien abductees . . .”
“Scully, before they became ill, they all removed the implant from their neck.”
She nodded. “So?”
“Where is yours?”
“Where is the implant you had removed?” He was gripping her hand now.
“I . . . I think it’s in my drawer. Why?”
“What if, what if you put it back?”
She blinked at him, her mouth dropping open. “Put it . . . put it back? You want me to put an, an ‘alien’ chip back in my neck?”
He had to smile slightly at her use of the word alien. That caused him to remember his busted lip. “Yeah. That’s what I want. You can always take it back out, but . . . Scully we have to try something. He was leading me to this.”
“Which is a great reason not to do it! We’re talking Cancerman here. Why should we do anything that he - “
“He saw what I was willing to do. He saw that nothing else mattered to me.”
“So he’s giving you a gift?” Her expression showed what she thought of that.
“No. For some reason he wants to keep me alive. That won’t happen without you.”
“Dahlstrom wanted me out of the way. I’m not sure he thought you would really allow me to give you my life - “ She jerked away from him, but he took a tighter grip on her hand. “Scully, you have to know, I would have.”
She closed her eyes and turned away. He was still, giving her time; letting her process his request. He knew she was tormented by the thought. Her hand would tighten around his involuntarily. He didn't pull away.
Finally, without looking at him she spoke. "How?"
understood her question instantly. "Do you have a doctor friend who could . . .
She turned to face him then. "How many people do you want to know about this?"
He nodded then, agreeing with her need for secrecy. "We could ask Frohike . . . "
"No. You do it."
"Me?" Did his voice just squeak? "You want me to, to cut you?"
"Well I can't do it." Her eyes pinned him in place. She didn't waiver for an instant. After a moment she rose and disappeared into her bedroom. He closed his eyes. What if he was wrong? But the chip had been in for months before she discovered it. Shit!
When she returned she was carrying a small plastic basin, a bottle of alcohol and a small medicine bottle. She set everything on her coffee table. In the basin he saw a small scalpel, tweezers and some band aids.
"One month. You put it back and we'll see what the doctor says at my next appointment."
He felt lightheaded from relief. "I just don't want to hurt you."
"I'll get some ice."
He was back in the damn waiting room again. It was taking longer and his fear level was rising by the minute. It would be bad form to attack the receptionist, but if Scully didn't come out soon . . .
When the door did open, he vaulted from the chair, startling the others seated around him and causing a small smile on her face.
She shrugged, "He's ready to see us."
They took their chairs, hands held tightly without embarrassment. The doctor joined them shortly, holding her file and looking utterly mystified.
"Dana, I . . ." He sat back and stared at her, "The cancer is gone. I'm not talking remission. There's no trace of it. We ran the tests three times."
She managed to nod. She had been aware of the repeated tests, but the technicians never told her anything and she had been too nervous to force the issue. She became aware her grip on Mulder's hand had to be painful, but when she started to release him, his grip tightened.
"Dana, what did you do?"
She shook her head.
"Nothing." Mulder answered for her.
"I'd like to do some more testing. I'd like for you to check into - "
"No." She found her voice. "I've had enough hospitals. I . . . I'll come back next month to see if there's any change, but then . . . then I want to move on with my life."
The doctor stared at her, then glanced over at Mulder as though for support of his position. It wasn't there. He took a deep breath. "I'll see you in a month."
"We'd like her records and your word that you won't be sharing this information . . . with anyone." Mulder's voice was low, but commanding.
Startled, the doctor started to protest. After a long look at Mulder, he nodded.
They rose without another word and his arm was around her as they left the office. They were silent until seated in the car. She faced him then, her smile illuminating her face. "You were right."
His smile grew to meet hers. "So while I'm on a roll, I should ask one more thing."
She chuckled at that, "What now? Matching alien tattoos?"
"Let me move in."
His expression took her breath away. She was going to live, of course she wanted to do it with him.
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.