Word Count: 1032
Spoilers: Vague ones for the cancer arc.
Summary: Katie has good days and bad days. Today was good.
Disclaimer: If you recognize them, they belong to CC. Otherwise, they're mine.
Author's Note: Written for scifiland.
It had been a month since Katie was diagnosed. Almost every second of that time had been spent at the children's hospital. Occasonally Mulder and Scully went home or went to see the rest of their family, but for the most part, they didn't leave her side. And they never left her alone for more than a few minutes at a time. They slept when she slept, they ate when she ate, bringing their food up from the cafeteria. This wasn't home, but they wanted Katie to feel as comfortable as she could and part of doing that was to have some of the same normal routines they had at home.
Today was a good day. Today Katie wasn't throwing up everything she'd eaten for breakfast and she had energy to do the things she loved. She was up and playing, laughing with her mother. She was acting like a normal little girl.
He smiled and watched Katie and Dana color at the table in the activity room. Katie was dressed in blue jeans and her favorite Cinderella t-shirt. A matching baseball cap sat atop her head. All her beautiful auburn hair had fallen out over a period of several days. His heart broke when Katie had cried over the loss. He looked up as a small voice called out, "Daddy!"
"Coming, princess," he told his daughter, rushing to join his family on the floor.
"Daddy, look," Katie told her father, holding up her drawing of their family-he and Dana, Katie and her brother Danny. He smiled. She'd drawn them all as they had been just a few months ago-smiling, healthy and happy. Cancer had not yet entered their lives. Hadn't entered it for a second time, he corrected himself, remembering years earlier when Dana had battled the disease herself.
"That's beautiful," he told Katie with a bright smile. "We'll hang it up in your room when we get back."
"Really?" she asked, her eyes full of hope.
"I promise," he said, glancing at Dana, who wore a small smile of her own.
Later, Katie was watching her favorite movie when she got an unexpected visitor. "Katie, someone's here to see you," Dana told her daughter from the doorway, moving out of the way to reveal Dana's own mother.
"Grandma!" Katie squealed with excitement, jumping off the bed and running into Maggie's outstretched arms.
"Hey, baby, how are you feeling?" she asked, sitting down and pulling Katie onto her lap.
"Good. Look," Katie told her, rushing to show Maggie the other drawing she'd finished that morning. It was a picture of the two of them. In it, Katie and Maggie were doing one of the things they most enjoyed doing together-baking cookies.
"Oh, Katie, this is lovely," she told her granddaughter. The little girl really did have an eye for drawing at such an early age. Where other children were drawing stick figures, Katie was already drawing more lifelike people and pets.
"It's for you, Grandma," Katie told her.
"It is?" Maggie asked.
Katie nodded emphatically.
"Thank you. I'll hang it up on my refrigerator as soon as I get home," she promised, hugging Katie.
"How is she doing?" Maggie asked Dana as they had a cup of coffee and pie in the cafeteria.
"She has her good days and bad days," Dana told her mother, taking a sip of her coffee. "Yesterday was pretty bad, but today is good."
Maggie nodded slowly. "How are you doing, Dana?" she asked, remembering the heartbreak of being a mother of a child with cancer.
"It's killing me," she admitted quietly. "I would do anything to take it all away. I just want her to have a long, happy life."
"I know. It killed me when you were battling this awful disease. I would have given anything not to have to see it again. The last thing I wanted was for you to experience the pain I did."
"How did you do it?" Dana asked. "I have Fox. You didn't have anyone back then."
"I took it one day at a time. And spent a lot of time praying." She squeezed her daughter's hand. "You'll get through this. You all will. And you'll come out stronger on the other side." She prayed with everything in her she was right, that Katie would survive this. She didn't think she could stand losing her and she knew her daughter and son-in-law couldn't. And that's a heartbreak she wouldn't wish on any parent.
"How's Danny?" Dana asked. Her mother had been taking care of their son and Katie's twin brother.
"He misses his parents. He misses Katie."
Dana nodded, not surprised. She missed him, too.
"He doesn't say anything, but he's worried," Maggie continued. Dana looked up, meeting her mother's eyes. "He's mostly his usual outgoing self, but sometimes he gets really quiet or plays doctor with his teddy bear so he can make it all better."
Tears fell from Dana's eyes, first one, followed by one after another. This disease did damage in ways you couldn't see with a microscope; it took its toll on their hearts.
"He wants to see her so much," Maggie told her. "Dana, I think it'd be good for him. It might ease a few of his worries. And he needs to see you and Fox."
Dana nodded, wiping her tears away. "Next time you come, bring Danny with you. I need to see him as much as he needs to see us."
Maggie left around eight that night when visitor's hours were over. Katie had fallen asleep an hour before. The adults had spent that hour just catching up with each other and family life.
She hugged them both goodbye and promised to bring Danny the next time she came to visit. When she reached her car and slid into the driver's seat, she let the tears she'd been holding back all day fall down her face, unchecked. A short time later, she pulled herself together, put the car into drive and headed home to her husband and grandson, offering up a prayer to keep her loved ones in God's care.