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Mulder sat staring at the wall in front of him. He had lost count of the times he had spent staring at cold, inpersonal hospital walls. He closed his eyes as he heard Skinner approach him.
"Where he can do no more harm to anyone. Federal prison is pretty effective when it wants to be. As I am sure you remember." He smiled slightly as Mulder raised an eyebrow. "He isn't going to get out of this one. The members of the cult both here and in London have been picked up. It's over."
"Yeah." Mulder nodded as he stared past him at the wall. "It's over."
Skinner tilted his head slightly as he regarded the younger man. He had known him for most of his career and he couldn't remember a time when he had seen the profiler so defeated. He sighed as he realised that Mulder wasn't telling him everything.
"How is she?" He didn't have to clarify who he was talking about. He had already seen Monica and John in the ER. Both were battered and bruised but neither had known what had happened to their friend. Monica had taken John to collect William and Lucy. Mulder wanted them safe and well away from his brother in law when he had to tell him Scully was in hospital. Again.
"They haven't told me."
"What did she say?" Skinner knew how he'd feel if it was Kim in there. He paused as Mulder's eyes closed. It was obvious the younger man was broken. Whatever he had witnessed up on the mountainside had been enough to break his heart.
"She had a nose bleed. Krycheck laughed as Doggett got him to his feet. Asked if I knew the chip in her neck was no longer working."
"That piece of sh."
"She hadn't told me. She made the choice to come back to the FBI but she never told me why. She never told me about the nose bleeds, the headaches or the cancer. We knew there was always a risk of her cancer recurring but." He shook his head as a young nurse walked out of the room opposite.
"Excuse me?" She smiled slightly as Mulder focused on her.
"Dana was asking for you."
"She is." The English accent was not lost on either men. Skinner smiled slightly as he realised how relieved he was to hear the woman he had known for so long was awake.
"Go on." He rested a hand on Mukder's shoulder as Mulder took a deep breath. He was desperate to see her but a part of him wasn't sure he could face her. Not when he knew she hadn't told him what was going on. He paused as he felt Skinner tense next to him. "Mulder, she needs you."
"Yeah." Mulder took a step forward as he rested his hand on the doorhandle. He just hoped she knew how much he needed her.
"Mon?" John walked into the kitchen as she looked up.
"Lucy is sleeping. I think she was before her head even touched the pillow. William is ok. He knows his mom isn't well but he doesn't know what's happened. I thought Mulder should tell him that. He isn't a baby anymore. He needs to know."
"Jeez." John shook his head. "Hasn't that kid been through enough?"
"I know." She sighed as she walked across to him and wrapped her arms around him before burying her face in his chest.
"It isn't fair."
"We don't know what has happened yet. Not really. I still have no idea what happened on the mountain. I thought you had been shot." She screwed her eyes shut as he hugged her tighter.
"John, don't even joke. The job we do. The choices we have to make."
"Hey." He kissed her hair as he held her. "I know. I know."
"Scully." Mulder smiled as he realised she wasn't looking so pale. He took that to be a good sign. "You ok?"
"Yeah." She held his gaze. "They said I have a mild concussion and was dehydrated. That's why I collapsed."
"Makes sense." He sat at her bedside. "The nosebleed." He looked away as she took his hand.
"I really thought the cancer was back. I was scared Mulder. The choices we make all have their consequences. I thought I was going to die on that mountain once. When Dwayne Berry took me. Then I thought I was going to die but I'm not. You are stuck with me for a very long time." She smiled as Mulder held her gaze.
"You had a nose bleed."
"Caused by stress. I lied to Krycheck. I had been for tests to see if the cancer is back. And it is but it's treatable Mulder. They tell me its a small tumour and they can opperate and I'll be fine. The truth is, if I hadn't come back to the X Files I never would have gone for the tests. I never would have even considered the chip. It's years since I thought of it. Years since I needed to."
"You are going to be ok?" Mulder smiled slightly as she nodded.
"Yeah." She returned the smile. "I'll need you with me on this."
"Always." He kissed her gently on the lips. "Always."
A/N Probably my last X Files fic. Please review.