Author's note: this fic was inspired, partially, by a very well done fan vid, on youtube – possibly the best I've ever seen. If you'd like the link, please PM me. I don't want to advertise for someone I don't know's work in case they don't want me to, but if you'd like the link, let me know. I generally don't read (and certainly don't write) fic that chronologically takes place post-season 7 because I am a bit salty with the way the show ended, though I desperately loved IWTB and I hope someday for XF3. Anyway, be kind, it's my first venture at anything post-XF.
Timeline: present day…. It sort of has nothing to do with IWTB.
There is a house built out of stone
Wooden floors, walls and window sills
Tables and chairs worn by all of the dust
This is a place where I don't feel alone
This is a place where I feel at home
And I built a home
By the cracks of the skin I climbed to the top
I climbed the tree to see the world
When the gusts came around to blow me down
I held on as tightly as you held onto me
I held on as tightly as you held onto me
And I built a home
-"To Build A Home", The Cinematic Orchestra
The sound of a patient flatlining filled operating room number two, of Priest River Medical Center. It was a hunting sound, marking the end of a several hour surgery. Every person in the OR froze for several seconds.
Without hesitation, Dr. Dana Scully huffed, "Time of death, twenty-two oh-seven." And with that, she snapped her purple surgical gloves off, tossed them hastily in the garbage can and slammed her body into the OR door, passing through, as it opened, leaving her staff to tie up the loose ends.
Once she found herself alone in the scrub room, she yanked her scrub cap off with such force that she thought she yanked some of her own hair out.
It didn't matter.
She sank to the tile floor, her back against the cool beige bricks of the hospital wall. For several moments, she didn't allow herself to think. She studied the pattern of the fabric of her scrub cap. She stared at the teal and silver swirls until her mind wandered to the surgery.
The patient was a little girl by the name of Madison Enzo. She was seven years old and suffered from leukemia. Scully had taken to her, even though Scully was not her oncologist. However, Scully's office was just down from the pediatric oncology floor. As such, she'd gotten to know some of the kids there pretty well. They all struck a chord with her – as a cancer survivor who had looked death in the face, and as a mother, who spent most free seconds of the day wondering the whereabouts of William.
Scully had been paged as the surgeon on call, however, this evening, because of complications from Madison's leukemia. She had to repair a perforated bowel. It was not a simple surgery, but it was not a difficult one. It was a surgery Scully had performed probably a hundred times with a one hundred percent success rate.
Knowing Madison's case, she understood the risk associated with the surgery. Chemo severely weakens the immune system. Children and the elderly had the highest risk. Madison had toughed it out through the brunt of the surgery, because she was a fighter. But her immune system was too weak to sustain the surgery.
Without the surgery, she would have died within hours. With the surgery, she died anyhow.
Scully knew, on an intellectual level, the prognosis of the little girl's condition. It wasn't good. All Scully could think about now, was the brightness and sincerity of that little girl's smile just three days ago. The maturity she had, as Scully sat next to her, after finding her in the hospital chapel. She was a little girl who was so smart and so grown-up. She reminded Scully a lot of herself. Madison was forced to grow up far too early because of her condition. And now she was gone, and her life hadn't even begun.
The sobs began to wrack Scully's thin frame, one after another. She was angry, she was sad, she was devastated. In a fit of rage, she punched the large cardboard box next to her, full of OR supplies. It left a small imprint on the box, and Scully didn't feel any better doing it.
Her fit was interrupted by one of her scrub nurses, who poked her head quietly into the scrub room.
Scully hugged her knees and looked up at her, no time to feel embarrassed. "Yes?"
The nurse shuffled her feet uncomfortably. "Mister and Missus Enzo are in the waiting room and need an update…"
Scully sighed deeply, wishing that the girl's oncologist were there to speak to her parents. Partially because Scully just didn't want to do it, but mostly because the parents knew the oncologist much better, since he was a long-term care doctor for Madison.
She pulled herself together, scrubbed out, and headed out to accomplish the task at hand.
Just before one o'clock in the morning, Scully gently eased the key into the lock of the suburban home she shared with Fox Mulder, in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado.
Locking the door behind her, she haphazardly tossed her bag and keys on the hallway table. She noticed that Mulder had left the hall light on for him. Bless his heart. The thought of Mulder warmed her heart, and made it feel full. Scully enjoyed her job, but sometimes, Mulder was her only good thing in her day.
That was something she was used to though, a million lifetimes ago when she and Mulder worked the X-Files. Only now, they had an outlet in each other, because they finally bit the bullet and went for the committed relationship route.
She paused in the kitchen momentarily to down a glass of water and a few Advil. Her back wasn't aching yet, but she'd been on her feet all day in three back-to-back surgeries, and she knew by morning she'd be unable to move.
Thankfully, she'd stayed late and tied up all loose ends at work so she could enjoy her next three days off. She'd worked possibly hundred hours in the past week. It was time for some down time.
She crept down the main hallway, peering into the dark living room to see if everything was in place. She passed Mulder's study, which was surprisingly tidy, the door half-closed. Finally making it to the master bedroom she shared with Mulder, she scurried into the walk-in closet and shut the door, after snicking on the light, so she'd not wake Mulder. She began to shed her scrubs.
The white coat was gently hung up in the walk-in closet they shared. Following the coat went her scrub top, which got tossed onto the floor. She slid her shoes and socks off, her screaming feet sighing with relief at the gesture.
The sound of the closet door opening startled Scully. Appearing from the darkness was her partner and lover, Fox Mulder, clad in only a set of grey boxerbriefs, his hair tousled from sleep.
"Scully, baby," he growled roughly, pawing at the drawstring of her scrub bottoms. Mulder made no attempt to hide the fact that he found her clad in scrubs to be unbelievably sexy. Scully always found this to be so funny, given Mulder's past taste in women.
Sorry she woke him up yet so very thankful to see him, she slid her arms around his waist and buried her face in his chest, inhaling the scent that, even after several years together, still made her weak at the knees as much as it soothed her soul.
His arms snaked around her waist, and for several minutes he enjoyed the warmth of their embrace. Scully's erratic hours meant sometimes he'd go days without seeing her. He understood, but he missed her.
After a few minutes he pulled away to look at her face, realizing she was crying softly.
"Hey Scully, what's wrong?" he said, concerned. Her job made her moody at times, but rarely did she come home crying.
"I had a bad day today," she whispered, her throat thick with unshed tears.
He cupped her chin gently. "What happened?"
"Madison Enzo died tonight on my table, coded after a grueling surgery."
Mulder's heart immediately went out to Scully. She would often come home and talk to him about Madison Enzo. A few months ago, at a hospital benefit, Mulder even met the Enzo family. Such a sweet girl, and he could tell Scully really cared for her, outside of just a doctor-patient scenario.
"I'm sorry baby," he said, rubbing her back in reassurance. "I know how much she meant to you."
She sighed at his touch. She hadn't realized how much she needed him. She'd barely seen him this past week and a half or so.
"I've missed you," she whispered. Her hands trembled when she reached for him.
It'd been a few years since Mulder had seen Scully this weary and run-down. Why couldn't they ever find jobs that didn't take a toll on them?
"Let me take care of you," he said.
She shook her head. "No Mulder, you're tired, I woke you. Go back to bed. I'll shower quick and be there soon."
Mulder chuckled at her endless resolve. It was one of the many endearing qualities of the enigmatic Doctor Scully.
He tugged at her hand and led her to the bathroom. "You will be lucky to make it out of the bathroom before you pass out Scully, you're a zombie. Just let me take care of you."
She hummed in response as he slid her scrub pants down her hips, peeling her panties down with them. She obediently stepped out of them and kicked them aside. He unhooked her bra and tossed that with the other discarded clothes.
He sat her down on top of the toilet seat while he turned on the shower, getting the water just right, before shedding his own boxerbriefs and pulled Scully into the shower with him.
He washed her hair, spending extra time scrubbing her scalp, knowing how much Scully loved her scalp massaged. Her head lolled against his chest as he soaped her shoulders, moving down to her breasts, feeling the weight of them in his hands. He ran the loofah down her taut stomach, and finished washing her up. He was careful not to make this a sexual shower like they were used to. He just wanted to let her know he was there to take care of her.
They stepped out of the shower and he carefully towel dried her, his hands moving efficiently because he knew she was fading fast. Scully did such a noble thing, and worked to the bone doing it. She didn't do it because they needed the money. After the way things wrapped up with the FBI, they both drew from a pension that AD Skinner had advocated for. Plus Mulder had all sorts of money from his inheritance from both his mother and his father. There was no need for her to work how she did. But that was Scully, and that was one of the million and one reasons why he loved her.
After they finished up in the bathroom, he slipped a cami over her head and she stepped into a pair of panties, and they fell into bed together. Mulder pulled her to him and gently kissed her lips.
"Sleep," he urged. "But tomorrow we are going to talk about your job situation. Maybe it's time for a vacation, Scully."
She hummed in response, snuggling into him.
"Thank you," she whispered, before falling asleep.