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Treatment 6a

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She can feel her heart beating in her head but she pushes on. It’s all she can do. Deep inside she knows the beginning symptoms of the mysterious virus but she pushes that thought away as she looks at the tiny girl before her.

Aniah is only eight years old, stick thin from the past few months of upheaval and sickness, with huge brown eyes. She looks up at Scully with a glazed over look.

They’d found the little girl walking along the street by herself and she’d not said a word to any of them apart from her name, age, and ‘Help please’.

“Aniah, you’re going to feel a small pinch when I put in the IV.” Scully says as she gently caresses the girl’s forehead.
Aniah nods bravely and squeezes the nurse’s hand when the needle enters.

She was chosen mainly because she was there at the right time. The small child would be the tenth person to receive the latest treatment. None of the others made it but they were long past animal testing, all they could do now is try any new treatment and pray that something stuck.

The sickness was a death sentence anyway.

After she is hooked up to the IV Aniah’s eyes gently fall shut and all they can do is wait.

Scully uses the opportunity to go back to her own little space amongst the chaos. There she finds Mulder reading. His face shows the telltale redness that marks the beginning of the sickness. They’ve known for a few days now that it was coming. After the initial signs, it can take up to a week to die. It’s a cruel way to go; many people decide to take their lives on their terms before being killed by the enigmatic disease.

But they’d decided to fight. Every waking hour was spent looking for a cure.

“How’s it going doc?” Mulder speaks lightly but his eyes are tired and serious.

She lies down gently beside him, resting her head on his shoulder.

“Not sure yet. She was one of the few that survived the initial treatment but so far no one has made it through round two.”

Scully swallows a now rare sob, “I’m not sure what comes next if she doesn’t survive. Every hour another member of the team either dies or becomes too sick to work.”

Mulder hums and rubs her shoulder, “You’ll figure this out, Scully.”

Scully shakes her head against his dirty shirt, rubbing her tears into the fabric, “I think this is it, Mulder.”

“What is it?”

“The end of humanity.”

He is silent for a moment as if preparing to bring down his own judgment before turning on his side to face her and pull her close against him.

“I don’t think so, not yet.”

She doesn’t argue and instead falls quickly asleep sheltered by him.

Hours later she is woken by one of the nurses just outside their tent.

“Dr. Scully!” The young man noticeably is torn about going inside the tent and is relieved when she pops her head out first.

“What happened? What time is it?” Scully has to use the nurse’s outstretched hands to get to her feet and when she does the earth spins around her. The fever is beginning to truly take hold and she imagines that the whites of her eyes are beginning to go red as she moves into the next phase.

“The little girl, the one hooked up to treatment 5c is awake. She is looking better, asking for food.”

Scully snaps out of her thoughts and suddenly feels sharp, “Her fever?”

“The same, but her eyes seem to be returning to normal.”

They move quickly between the makeshift shelters and people as Scully rushes to what they sadly call a ‘hospital’.

Aniah is sitting up eating crackers when she enters. The little girl gives a small wave.

Her skin is still damp and her eyes streamed with red, but noticeably better than hours before.

Scully checks over the girl’s body looking for the rashes that show the third stage of the sickness but she finds nothing.

The next few days are difficult for everyone involved. They begin administering what they have of the new treatment 6a to the hospital staff, it works for some but others still succumb to the sickness.

Scully feels small improvements from her few doses of the treatment, but it seems to be merely slowing the disease down rather than eradicating it.

Aniah though is near healed.

There are no real answers to this. The day after her first treatment they were sure that she was going to die until suddenly her fever broke. By the next day, her fever was manageable and she was looking better.

Testing on her blood has helped them to create treatment 6a.

It is on the fourth day that the fever overcomes Scully. She collapses in the middle of checking a patient. They bring her to her own tent where Mulder watches over her, growing sicker by the moment himself.

Every half hour medical staff comes by with water and wet towels.

In the early morning, her breathing grows so shallow that for a moment Mulder truly believes that she is gone until she shifts slightly. He is wrapped around her under piles of blankets both sweating heavily.

As the sun comes up he is asleep, his hot cheek pressed against her scolding skin.

At midmorning Scully begins to hear the people just outside their tent. Near noon she opens her eyes and by two pm she is sitting up administering 6a to Mulder as quickly as she can.

She doesn’t leave the tent for another two days after Mulder’s fever has broken. Scully emerges and heads straight to the hospital. Many of the staff who were thought of as already gone when she’d fallen asleep are up and about.

Practically running to Aniah’s room Scully’s feels the first bubbles of hope welling in her chest.

The room is empty and she quickly feels the now familiar despair returning until she feels a small tug on her shirt.

Looking down Scully meets the large eyes of the small girl who wears a small, tentative, smile.

Scully’s knees hit the dirty floor and just stares at the child until Aniah wraps her skinny arms around Scully’s neck. It is only then that Scully, finally, allows the tears to flow.