Heartache and Healing
"Never give up on a miracle," he said. She took a deep breath and kissed him on the cheek, the neck, before returning to his embrace, borrowing his strength. She choked on a sob that had bubbled to the surface since discovering the ova implantation had failed. Finding Mulder here waiting in her apartment, had been her breaking point. She cannot hide her pain, sorrow, and utter defeat from him.
He held her close, lending her his strength. He hummed as he rocked her slowly. He would not let go of her until she decided to move.
She took a step back and placed her hands on his chest. She looked into his eyes, thanking him wordlessly for his comfort and support. He nodded and squeezed her hips as she stepped away.
She walked to her room and shut the door. He knew that she needed a minute to compose herself. He stared after her, his heart aching for her, for both of them. He does not know what to do. He felt wound up and he needed to do something. Something to change fate, to give her what she should have. He cannot do that, however, so he decided to do something he could. He would make her some tea. He heard her door open and then the bathroom door close. He filled the kettle with water, turned the range on, placed the kettle down, grabbed two mugs, and the teabags. He searched until he found the nighttime tea she liked to use to help her sleep.
He heard the bathroom door open and she padded into the kitchen. "Water should be ready in a few minutes. Do you want the sleepy tea?" He asked turning his head to look at her.
She looked so small standing there in her flannel pajama pants and a black long sleeved shirt. He could see that she had been crying again, biting her lip to stop now, but made no comment on it. He waited for her answer about the tea.
"That's fine, Mulder. Whichever one you pick will be fine," she said in a quiet voice, before turning and walking to the couch. She sat down, her back to him, and let out a long sigh. He saw her pull her knees up to her chest and rest her head there.
Fucking hell, he thought as he clenched his jaw and roughly ran his hand across his eyes and mouth. He wills the water to hurry so he wound have something to do with this angry energy. At the same time, once the tea is ready, it will mean facing her. He does not know if he can do that right now without blubbering like a goddamn baby.
When she had asked him to be the one to help her have a baby, he was overcome with a myriad of emotions. More than anything, he was worried. But his worry was for her, that this would not work and she would be exactly where she was right now. He braced himself on the counter, took a deep breath, and stood up.
The tea kettle whistled. He shut off the fire and poured the water into their waiting mugs. He let the tea steep, then added a couple ice cubes to each mug. He took a small plate from the cupboard and placed it under his arm as he grabbed the mugs and headed toward the couch.
She raised her head as he set the mugs down, on the coffee table; the plate next to them. "For the teabags," he said at her questioning look. She nodded and rested her cheek on her knees.
He sat at the opposite end of the couch, his hands folded in his lap. He glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. She had not moved but he saw a single tear slide down her nose. She took a shuddering breath, wiped it away, and raised her head.
She crossed her legs and sat with her back against the end of the couch, facing him, her eyes closed. He looked at her, waiting for what, he was not sure.
He could hear the kitchen clock ticking as they sat in silence. He leaned forward and took her teabag out of her cup, setting in on the plate. He picked up the cup and blew on it a few times before handing it to her.
His movement had caused her to open her eyes. She had watched him. Seeing him blow on her tea, was such a small gesture, and yet it brought tears to her eyes. She tried to blink them away before he noticed.
But nothing escaped him. As he handed her the mug, he brushed his fingers across hers, offering her a small amount of comfort.
"Thank you, Mulder," she whispered. She held the cup in her hands, the warmth seeping into her fingers.
"Did you want some sugar? I forgot to add it," he started to stand up.
"No, Mulder. I don't use sugar anymore. This is fine. Thank you." She said, giving him a small smile.
He nodded and sat back down, grabbing his own tea as he did. He placed the teabag on the plate beside hers. He remembered now, that she had recently stopped using sugar or eating overly sugary foods. She had told him some sciencey reason, but he only half listened. He knew her. Knew how much she loved sweets. He figured she would give up this kick like she did with the bee pollen thing.
She had stayed true to her word though, and no longer bought sugary treats. However, it did not stop her from sneaking a piece of a brownie he bought before a plane ride, or taking small bites of a dessert he had ordered.
He took a drink of his tea and he grimaced. "Nope. You may not want sugar, but I definitely need some. How can you drink that without some kind of sweetener? I'm getting some honey," he said as he stood up and headed toward the kitchen.
He opened the cupboard, happy to see she still had some in there. He squeezed a generous amount in his tea. He grabbed a spoon, stirred it, and gave it another tentative taste. That was better. He started back toward the couch when he heard her call out his name. He looked at her holding out her own mug, silently asking for some honey. He turned back to grab it with a smile. Yeah, she "gave up" sugar.
He walked to her and squeezed some honey in her cup, but not as much as his. He stirred it and stepped back, watching her. She took a drink and nodded. He brought the honey and spoon back to the kitchen, then joined her on the couch.
They drank their tea in silence. Any discussion, aside from what happened today, seemed unimportant. He wanted to know more, but he did not want to push. He glanced at her, but her eyes were down, looking at her feet, holding her mug in her lap.
She took a deep breath and uncrossed her legs, leaned forward and set her mug on the coffee table. She stood up and looked at him.
"I think I want to go to bed, Mulder."
He stood up too and grabbed her mug. He moved around the couch, her following behind. He put the mugs in the sink and turned to her. She stood with her head down. Things unsaid were stilling hanging in the air, but tonight would not be the night.
"Okay," he said quietly. "I'll let you get some sleep then, Scully. I'll see you tomorrow?" Her head snapped up and her eyes were wide. "Okay, maybe not tomorrow.." he said half-jokingly.
She stared at him. Trying to relay what she wanted without actually speaking. Her eyes were desperate and almost scared.
"Or I could stay. If.. I mean.. if you'd like me to," he said even quieter, giving her a chance to say no, as if he hadn't spoken at all.
She let out a breath and nodded slightly. He nodded back and she turned toward her room. He headed to the couch, where he had been earlier, before she came home and shared their heartbreaking news.
"What are you-" she said brokenly, her breathing ratcheting up.
He looked at her, surprised. He pointed to the couch with raised eyebrows. She shook her head and gestured toward her bedroom. She walked out of the room and he followed. She was opening her closet when he walked in the room. He did not spend much time in her room. He always felt that it was her sacred place and he should ask permission.
He stood looking around, before she walked up to him and handed him some clothes. He looked at her in surprise.
"These are my clothes, Scully. Where did you get these?" He was holding a pair of his sweatpants and a dark grey shirt, and under the shirt a pair of his underwear. He looked at her as she smiled.
"Mulder, do you know how many times I've had to pack for you or grab what you have forgotten over the years? I've brought it home and kept it here. Inevitably, at some point, I knew you would need them. Looks like I was right."
"Good looking out, partner," he said as he stepped back to head to the bathroom.
"Uh.. you can change in here. I'll use the bathroom first?" She stated it like a question, looking for his approval. He nodded and she left the room.
It was odd to be undressing in her room. The last time he had been undressed in here, he had been suffering from toxins in his water. He did not remember much about that night. He had woken in only his underwear thinking he could no longer trust her.
He shook his head as he slipped his pants on then his shirt. He folded his clothes and put them on the table in the kitchen. He heard the toilet flush and went to stand in the hallway. He leaned against the wall waiting for her.
She opened the door surprised to find him right there. "There is an extra toothbrush on the counter, it's new. I just opened it." She walked past him heading for her room.
He went into the bathroom and used the toilet, washed his hands and face, and brushed his teeth. It was strange how being in her bathroom, getting ready for bed, was more intimate than when they shared a bathroom for a few days in San Diego.
They had gotten ready for the day, together in that bathroom. He had brushed his teeth, shaved, and brushed his hair while she had done what she needed. He was fascinated to watch the small amount of time she took to get ready, fixing her hair and makeup, yet she looked as if she had spent hours doing so. Standing in that bathroom with her had felt.. comfortable.
He had gotten up earlier than her and made coffee. He would knock on the door and enter at her sleepy "come in." He set her coffee on the nightstand as he went to get ready, bringing his own coffee with him. She had shuffled in not long after, yawning-her hair tousled and carrying her cup.
He had felt so comfortable with her, no hesitation, no embarrassment to be standing half naked and shaving, while she leaned against the counter and talked to him. She had been so adorable in the mornings.
He put his toothbrush down now, in the cup next to hers. He opened the door and walked back to her room. She was sitting on her bed, leaning forward, fingers interlocked, head down. He stood in the doorway, watching her, not knowing what to do.
"Scully, I'm going to head out to the couch. I'll grab a blanket from the closet."
She jumped up and stared at him. "Mulder.. no.. I.." she took a deep breath. "I.. could you stay with me? In here? Mulder, I don't want to be alone."
He stepped in the room in two strides, wrapping his arms around her. "Of course, Scully. Whatever you need, I'm here." She pulled him close and held him tightly. She stepped back and walked to her bed, pulling the blankets back and putting the extra pillows on the chair. Mulder walked to the other side and helped her.
She got in bed, lying on her side, her back to him. She pulled the covers up the her chest. He climbed under the sheets beside her, lying on his back. She reached her hand behind her and he immediately held her fingers in his. She tried to choke back a sob, but she could not keep it in. Mulder squeezed her hand and she began to cry in earnest.
"Can.. can you hold me?" She said between sobs, pulling his hand, trying to bring him closer.
He turned immediately, pulling her close to him. She was sobbing, her body shaking. He held her close, and let her cry. He knew that nothing he said right now could make her feel better. Nothing he said would stop the feelings of failure, of hopes realized and then ripped away. He let her cry and held her, reassuring her that he was there with her, and he was not going to let her do this alone.
She was starting to calm down, her tears slowing somewhat. She held onto Mulder's arm around her waist, gripping his forearm. His presence was the only thing keeping her grounded. His arms around her, his body spooning hers made her feel safe.
"Dr Parenti said they had three ova that were viable," she said, ending with a sob. Mulder held his breath. He knew this already. They were told this from the beginning.
They had sat in the doctor's office a couple days after he had given his first specimen. They had discussed his sperm count, mobility, and chance of fertilization. It was all said in medical factual terms, yet he found himself blushing. To be discussing his sperm count in front of Scully seemed very personal.
He had laughed inwardly at that thought. They had been through so much, yet he blushed discussing his sperm count. Scully had sat and nodded, asking occasional questions. He should not even be feeling uncomfortable. His part was easy. He would give one more donation and they would use that to fertilize her eggs and get them ready for implantation.
He felt the need to shift his legs at the thought of her on a table, legs in those stirrup things, while the doctor put an instrument inside her body. God..his part was so easy. She glanced at him, and seeing the slight grimace on his face, she put a hand on his arm.
Dr. Parenti was called out of the room at that moment, leaving them alone.
"You okay, Mulder? Not having second thoughts are you? Or is it the sperm discussion?" She smiled. "You know for a guy who has a collection of videos that aren't his, this discussion sure seems to make you uncomfortable." Her eyes were shining knowing she had just informed that yes, she had seen him blushing.
He smiled as he looked down and turned his hand over, lacing his fingers with hers. He caught her surprised look, but she didn't pull her hand away.
He looked at her, really looked at her. She had such hope in her eyes, so happy that the possibility of this chance existed; she seemed to be radiating light. He knew it might not happen, but he would fight anyone who tried to take this from her.
"I was just thinking about your portion of this Scully and what you will have to go through. Seems an unfair advantage being a man sometimes," he said with a half smile. "My part in this is fairly easy. A little.. out of my comfort zone, but bearable. I was just thinking that I wish you had the same easiness I did."
She looked at him with such tenderness, it almost took his breath away. She smiled and squeezed his hand. "I appreciate the concern Mulder, really I do. But honestly, the procedure is relatively equally as invasive as going to the gynecologist. Been doing that half my life, so this will be similar."
He was going to say something flippant, but the door opened and Dr. Parenti came back in the room. They both pulled their hand away at the same time, but not before he noticed and grinned at them. Now they both blushed.
He explained more information about Mulder's next donation. The need to abstain from sexual activities, including on his own, which caused him to blush again and Scully to smile.
Scully and Dr. Parenti discussed what she would need to do, but he wasn't listening. He was watching her. She was smiling and so happy. He was so worried that this plan would end in heartbreak. He knew better than to say anything or discourage her.
He had kept the information about her ova from her believing he was protecting her. Protecting her from falling headlong into something with a low success rate. His fear seemed to be coming true.
Soon they were out of the office and leaving the building. He suggested getting a coffee and she agreed. As they sat outside, enjoying the day, she had looked at him and he knew he had been caught.
"Mulder, I know that the odds of this working may not be incredibly high, but I still have to try. I have the chance to possibly have a child, and I.. this is my last chance, Mulder. Really, it's my only chance. I know you're worried, I am too. But Mulder," she reached for his hand and he gave it. "I need you to stop looking at me the way you do, with so much worry. You might think you're being secretive, but I know you. I see it. Please, Mulder."
He bowed his head and closed his eyes. Of course she saw, of course she knew what he was doing. He had not been making eye contact with her much in the office, his smiles were forced. She saw through him all the time. He opened his eyes and looked at her. He brought her hand to his lips and kissed her fingers, then rested her hand against his chin.
"I'm just worried about you, Scully. I just.. I don't.. I worry about you," he said looking in her eyes, his own full of worry and sadness.
She opened her hand and stroked his face. "I know you worry Mulder, I know. But whatever the outcome, I have to try. I have to."
They stared at each other. Finally, he nodded and he smiled. She smiled back and brought her hand back to her lap. They finished their coffee in companionable silence.
When the day came for the procedure, after Mulder had given his last donation, and the embryos were ready to be implanted, Mulder waited for her in the waiting room. He was wound tight with anxious energy. He could not sit still. He would be down for awhile, then up pacing the room, then back down in the chair-his legs bouncing up and down.
After what felt like forever, on his tenth trip walking around the room, a nurse came to get him. She had a smile on her face which he misunderstood to mean everything went well. She told him Scully had asked her to get him and bring him back to the recovery room. That she would know him because he would be pacing around, his hands either on his hips, in his hair, or on his neck.
"I watched you for a bit, and she had you pegged perfectly. You two must have been together a long time," she said smiling at him, leading him down the hall.
He smiled back, but said nothing. He wanted to get to Scully, make sure she was okay. She opened the door where Scully was resting. She turned her head to him and gave him a sleepy smile.
"So which was it?" She asked the nurse with a smirk as she looked at him. "Hips, hair, or neck?"
"Would you believe, all three?" The nurse said with a laugh.
"Hmmm, yeah.. the trifecta. Must have been really worried about something," she said with a kind smile and sleepy voice, her eyes flitting to his and then fighting to stay open.
"They gave her a sedative. She'll sleep for a little while, maybe an hour or so, but she wanted you here with her. I brought you a chair and there are some magazines if you're interested. I'll leave you two alone now. If you need anything, just push the call button."
"Thank you," the first words he's said since she came to get him. "Thanks a lot."
She smiled and left the room.
He sat in the chair and pulled it closer to her bed. She was already asleep, her mouth open. She had a low tolerance for sedatives. The smallest amount knocked her out. She might sleep longer than the other patients in here.
He watched her sleeping and felt his breath catch. This was it. The deed was done. He looked at her face, making sure she was asleep. He watched her face as he reached out and gently touched her stomach. She did not move.
He closed his eyes and put his head on the metal bedrail. He kept his hand on her stomach and called out to a god that he did not believe in, asking to please let this work. "Please, please, please, please..." he felt tears on his arm before he even realized he had been crying.
He lifted his head, worried she might have woken and seen him crying. She still slept, unaware of his break down. He wiped his eyes and his nose. He took his hand off her stomach and held her hand instead. He sat back in the chair. Now that he knew she was okay, now that he could touch her and see her, he felt his body relax. He drifted off to sleep with her, his heart no longer racing.
Now here they were, in her bed, her heart breaking and he could do nothing to help her. There chance had come and gone. There were no more ova that were viable. Three strikes and they were out. He wanted to beat the fucking shit out of every last person who did this to her.
He cannot though, most of them are already dead. Burnt alive by an unknown alien race. If many innocent lives were not lost that day, he would feel more of a sense of victory. But he does not. Not when the person he cares for most in the world is experiencing another heartbreak because of them and their crusade. Fuck them. They deserved to die.
He pulled Scully closer and kissed her hair. She was crying more quietly now. Her sobs slowing. "What else did he say, Scully?" He closed his eyes, wanting but not wanting to hear the answer.
She took a deep shuddering breath. "He said, that it was a long shot to begin with, but," she tried to calm her voice as it caught on her tears. "But, that it had been worth it to see if it would work. He's right.. although it doesn't feel that way right now. I know.. I know I said I wanted to try, that I had to.. but.. Mulder.. god.."
She started crying again and all he could do was hold her. Lend her his comfort, his strength, whatever she needed, he would give.
"Scully, if you hadn't tried," he said quietly, against her ear. "If you had known they were there and did nothing, you would have regretted it, you know you would have. You had to try. If.. if I had told you sooner.. if I had.."
"Mulder, it wouldn't have made a difference," she cut across him. "You said yourself you had them tested. Maybe.. maybe.. Dr. Parenti just had high hopes and wanted to try. I don't know. God.. I just thought that ONE would make it. That.. that my prayers and hopes and my faith in this science would work for me, not against me."
Mulder felt a huge lump in his throat and he unsuccessfully tried to choke back a sob. She heard it and turned over. She wrapped herself around him, burying her head in his neck as she pulled his to hers. She wrapped an arm around his neck, the other clinging to his shirt. He pulled her closer to him with one arm by her waist. The other arm was around her neck.
They clung to each other and cried. Both for the same and also different reasons. They both wept for the baby that was never going to be there. The little half Mulder, half Scully. The inquisitive baby with bluish hazel eyes and auburn hair. The baby that would give Mulder the family he craved and Scully the family she deserved. The baby that would have shown it did not matter how they came into the world, but that love had made it possible.
Mulder cried for Scully. All that had been taken from her, stolen, the hell she had gone through and again she suffered. Again the bad guys had won. He cried because he could not protect her that day when he followed her to Skyland Mountain. He was so close, and he failed her. All of this was because of him. She suffered because of him. And yet, she stayed with him. She wanted him to bring life onto the planet with her. He cried for the trust she placed in him and yet he failed her. He cried.
Scully cried for Mulder. She cried because she knew he blamed himself. He saw all of her suffering as his fault. He had no idea that she would have been taken and as a result this chain reaction of shit would begin. She cried because she knows that even if she did know, she would not have left him. She would sacrifice her future if it meant she could be a part of his present. She cried for the guilt she felt to think that way, but she knew it was true. She cried.
Wrapped up in each other, they wept. When at last there were no more tears, when they both were spent, they clung to the other and slept.