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Musings Of A Prospective Price Payer

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TITLE: 'Musings Of A Prospective Price Payer' AUTHOR: XSketch
WEBSITE: SPOILERS: Redux II, and small reference to 'Ascension' arc RATING: G
SUMMARY: No matter what, he'll make sure she's not the one that pays for this miracle.
FEEDBACK: Please! I'll love you forever if you send some! DISCLAIMER: Nothing to do with me - CC and 1013 own 'em! ARCHIVE: I'd be honored, but please drop me a line to let me know :) AUTHOR'S NOTE: Six weeks along, I'm still pretty bed-bound with Pleurisy, so please forgive my wandering blurb :) I had about four stories in the works before I got sick, and now I just don't have the energy at the mo. A friend of mine died after battling Cancer a couple days ago, however, and even though I wasn't very close to him, it's weird to think he isn't there anymore.....which got me to pondering Mulder's thoughts at the end of Redux II, and what Scully means to him even only in season 5 - that result being this, which I just had to write LOL
DEDICATION: In fond memory of Ken, who is now undoubtedly having fun in Candy Heaven :)

He stood to watch through the glass panel in the door as they congregated around the bed-bound glory that was her and the miracle recovery she'd been blessed with. If Father McCue had stuck around, he would have put it down to the devine hand of God, but Mulder was no fool - he knew the truth...and it was what threatened to completely drive him off the cliff of sanity.

The Cancer riddling her body had gone into remission, and he prayed to whatever was up there to listen that that was how thing's would stay...but at what price?

His life would be a small price for her health and happiness he'd gladly pay and more if it came to that, but the fact remained that the thing implanted into the back of her neck was alien technology that had first been put there when she'd been abducted three years ago. What if it was being used as a tracking device? It would be no surprise if he learnt cameras, phone taps and other gadgetry had been used to surveil them every second of every day thusfar...but something like that could be used to control and ruin their lives - used to control and ruin her life even long after she'd been promoted out of the X-Files office...

Mulder wiped a hand down his face as he watched Skinner and Bill debate over something. Scully was watching them too, but then - as if sensing him - she turned her head, and their eyes locked.

What the hell was it they shared that made him yearn to always be at her side? To dread the thought of her no longer being there to question, debate and debunk all of his theories so much? They were partners; she was supposed to spy on him...and yet his heart was so exhausted after the anguish it had suffered just over the last few days...

She gave him a weak smile and he returned it with a small nod of his head.

The truth was, she never had been spying on him - that was just what They had intended, but...they trusted each other, cared for and respected each other, and she anchored him with her science and character. That was why he felt so afloat and alone when she wasn't there.

God, what would he have done if she had died? Being away was one thing, but to know she would never be back...

The shudder that wracked his body brought tears to his eyes, and he had to quickly move away from the door.

No late-night phone calls just to hear her voice.

No raised eyebrow silently asking him why the hell she was still with him.

No questions regarding his sanity or ideas from the one person that actually listened to him seriously.

No small of her back to rest his hand against.

No more days of being able to comfort her when she was hurt or sad.

Nobody to save his sorry ass.

...Things anybody else would consider insignificant, but things that meant the whole world to him.

No her...

He collapsed into the chair he'd been sitting in earlier as he pushed all the thoughts away with the simple fact she was alive.

'Scully's alive!'

...But at what cost?

Duane Barry had been repeatedly called to the same location to be taken for experiments through the metallic implants in his body... what if the same was done to her? They'd taken the original chip out, thinking it for the best, but now... Scully had been given a miracle, but nothing like that was free and he just hoped he could take as much of what was owed away from her and pay it himself - it was all his fault in the first place, after all.

The door to her room opened and those that had gathered around her bed walked out. Bill gave a disgusted look in Mulder's direction and then walked a short distance down the corridor to wait for his mother, who was now wrapping her arms around Mulder to hug him.

"Thank you so much, Fox," Maggie whispered, closing her eyes briefly, "for giving life to my daughter in every way."

He tightened his hold on her and then slipped out of her embrace as he quietly replied, "You know it was nothing."

"Yes, it was!" She glanced over her shoulder at Bill. "But I'll speak to you later. Take care of yourself, Fox." She tapped his forearm once and then turned to leave.

"You dealt with him, didn't you?" Skinner started from Mulder's left before stepping in front of him. "I told you--"

"Scully's alive - that's all I care about. I made no deals, but if he isn't really dead or the rest of his group want to start cashing in, I'm ready to pay it for her."

"Mulder, you can't--"

"She's not just a 'good agent'," he spat out through grit teeth. "She's my partner - my best friend. It's my personal responsibility and working duty to watch her back. She didn't deserve what They did to her; she doesn't deserve to have to have that thing in her neck! That's the price she's paying for being in the field. Just let me handle the rest."

The two men stood staring at each other for a couple of minutes until the assistant director had to look away. He knew that the Smoking Man's death did not mean the end of his two best agents' turmoil (if anything, it may signal the worsening of things, especially with regards to Mulder's acquiring the cure to his partner's illness), but he also knew he would be there should they need his help, almost as surely as he was certain they were there for each other.

"I'll expect your report on my desk on Monday morning," he eventually sighed, leaving also.

Mulder watched his boss round the corner at the end of the corridor, took in a deep breath and then stepped toward the open doorway. He paused to stare at her for a moment to take a picture of the scene in his mind and heart so that he would have a catalogue of them should anything ever happen-

'Scully's alive!'

-and then, with a goofy grin lifting his cheeks, entered.

The price could wait for later.


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