Disclaimer: The X-Files are not mine, so don't sue.
A/N: Thank you to crazysockmonkeys for encouraging me to write this. Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Philes!
Something to be Thankful For
It has been a trying year, as have been the past few since I started working with Mulder on the X-Files. I have lost my sister, and my health, my job, and my life have been on the line more times than I care to count. But the greatest trial that has struck me yet is my cancer, which was diagnosed in me some months ago. Since then it has metastisized, slowly feeding on the strength that had once been mine and attacking my body each day with a greater vengeance.
I had a nosebleed today, on Thanksgiving day, of all things. Initially I planned on finishing up some case paperwork with Mulder, calling it an early day, and then heading to my mother's house for her annual Thanksgiving dinner party. Never did I anticipate squeezing in a trip to the hospital, but that all changed when I felt a warm gush of the red liquid escape my nasal passages and stain my new cream-colored blouse. This one was worse than usual, even worse than the one Teresa Nemman had when we met her in Bellefleur, and Mulder, concerned, insisted that I get it checked out.
As he drove me to the hospital, I couldn't help but think back to how Mulder's faced morphed into an expression of silent panic when he took notice of the situation, and silently got up to grab our coats and usher us out the door, forgetting all about the paperwork. He didn't need to speak; I knew exactly where he planned to take me, and all of the emotions of concern were clearly visible in his eyes. Looking back on it, I can't help but smile to myself internally, because I know Mulder cares about me, and he'll never know just how thankful I am for that. As I told Karen Kosseff, Mulder has been a great source of strength for me lately, a supportive shoulder to lean on, and although I'll probably never say it out loud, I love him for it.
At some point in the midst of our drive, Mulder has taken my hand into his own. Once I take notice, we briefly make eye contact, and he gives me a small smile and squeezes my hand gently. It is a moment without words, but between us, it speaks volumes. As he gently engulfs my hand in his own, he tells me he cares about me, and that he's doing all he can for me in this difficult time. I know that he is, too, as he continues his pursuit for the cure to my illness. Right from the beginning, he refused to accept my cancer; he still does, and he will never give up on me. He assures me this through the smile he's just given me, which tells me that no matter what, he truly believes that I'll be alright. It is this belief that gives me strength, keeps me fighting for my life. I also know that my family loves me; I have their support and it also seems that I have Skinner's; I haven't really been trusting him lately, but I am grateful for his concern. When I really take a good look around me, I see that I am surrounded by the support and strength of others, and that is something to be thankful for. In this moment, however, I am grateful for Mulder's presence; it calms me and gives me peace of mind. And as he continues to hold my hand, I gently squeeze his in return, offering him a silent thanks for everything.
I drove Scully to the hospital today. She had another nosebleed, and I'm certain this one was her worst yet. As I sit inside the cold hallway of the hospital, waiting for the completion of Scully's health check-up, I can't help but think how devastated I will be if I lose her to this. She is, by far, the best friend and partner I have ever had. Even though we never always saw things eye-to-eye, she always listened to me, trusted me, and stood by my side. I know she deserves so much more than I give her; I should be thanking her for everything, not just today or when she's ill, but every day.
During these past months, I have silently marveled over Scully's strength and will. As she faces a threatening invader, she still manages to work and live her life with her head held high. Despite it's power, the effects of her tumor have not beaten her strength, and she will not let it beat her in the fight for her life. I don't know how she does it, but she is amazing, and I'm thankful for that. Her strong-willed personality is what keeps me searching for a cure for her. As long as she doesn't give up, neither will I.
The sudden clacking of heels against the hard floor of the hospital startle me out of my reverie, and as I recognize the familiar sound, I realize that Scully is finished with her doctor's appointment. As she approaches me, I stand up to face her and place my hand on her shoulder, waiting to hear what she has to say. Her eyes meet mine and all she says to me is, "I'm okay, Mulder."
Now, I know I hear that from her often, and it's obvious that the cancer is not gone, but in this particular case, those three words tell me that aside from her cancer, other aspects of her health are in satisfactory condition, so I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding and hold her close for a moment. Before we leave, I look into her eyes once more to catch a glimpse of her determination still unwavering. When I see it there, I smile, for it gives me hope. Before this whole thing comes to an end, Scully will probably have more nosebleeds, and her health will probably deteriorate even more. But in this moment, she is alright; she is strong as ever and still by my side. And that is something to be thankful for.