“I’ll be back to see how you’re doing later this afternoon, okay?” Scully said with a smile, touching one of her youngest patients, Katie Thompkins, on the shoulder. She nodded at her parents, rubbing her mother’s arm quickly, before she walked out the door.
Walking down the hallway, she sighed, pushing her hair from her eyes, and stopped walking. Dizziness and then a wave of nausea washed over her and she feared she might be sick. Goosebumps rose up and she felt instantly sweaty, a sure sign that vomiting was inevitable.
Walking quickly to the nearest bathroom, she was glad to find it empty as she hurried into the largest stall and locked the door behind her. Dropping to her knees in front of the toilet, she emptied her stomach, which was not hard to do as she had not eaten yet that day, save for some coffee and a quarter of a muffin.
Retching until she was only dry heaving, she flushed the toilet and rested against the wall. Breathing deeply, she walked out of the stall and rinsed her mouth and washed her hands. Wetting a paper towel, she used it to dab at the back of her neck and then down the front.
Looking at herself in the mirror, she shook her head, not wanting to face the thoughts swirling around in her head. Dabbing the paper towel quickly to her forehead and cheeks, she tossed it in the trash. Looking in the mirror again, she fixed her hair, trying to keep it all contained in the ponytail, but pieces still slipped out. Taking a deep breath, she stepped away from the sink and out the door.
She kept her eyes down as she walked down the hall to find the items she needed to quiet her racing thoughts. Making sure no one was looking, she grabbed a blood collection kit and put it in her coat pocket. Finding an empty room, she closed the door and sat down. Taking the items out, she lay them on the exam table.
Quickly, she readied her arm and placed the needle in, filling a small tube with blood and bandaging her arm. Cleaning up, she tossed everything in the biohazard container and slipped the blood sample into her coat pocket, her heart pounding. Steeling herself, she opened the door and left the room.
She walked down to the lab, looking for one of the technicians she had recently worked with and liked. Seeing her, she walked over, holding tight to the small vial.
“Good morning, Cheyenne. How are you today?” she asked her with a smile.
“Doctor Scully! Good morning! How are you?” Cheyenne smiled at her and Scully could not help but laugh softly. She was a newer technician, with big green eyes and shoulder length reddish hair. She always had different funny pins on her lab coat and wore a fantastic shade of red lipstick Scully knew she would never be able to pull off.
“I’m fine, Cheyenne, thank you. I uh, I have a favor to ask of you, if you don’t mind.” She took the blood sample out of her coat pocket and handed it to Cheyenne. “Could you run a test on this for me?”
“Absolutely. Am I looking for anything in particular?”
“Yeah. Could you run a quantitative hCg test?” Cheyenne looked at her, and Scully held her gaze.
“There’s not a name on it, Doctor Scully,” she said quietly, her eyes concerned.
“No,” she said, looking down. Lowering her voice, she glanced up again. “It’s… it’s mine and… I don’t think it will be positive, but I’d like you to run it to be sure. And I’d appreciate it being kept quiet, hence the lack of a name. Please.” Cheyenne looked down at the vial and back to her with a nod.
“Okay, I can do that,” she said quietly. “Give me a few hours.” Scully touched her arm and nodded.
“Thank you.” Cheyenne nodded again and Scully smiled. Putting her hands in her coat pockets, she walked out of the lab and headed to her office.
Closing the door, she sat at her desk, putting her head in her hands. She took a deep breath and moved a hand to her stomach, knowing it was more than unlikely she was pregnant, and yet…
She had been feeling odd for the past couple of days: dizziness, loss of appetite. She had chalked it up to being overworked and overtired, but it had never reached the level it had that morning, causing her to vomit.
Rubbing her hand across her stomach, she tried to stop her tears but to no avail. She thought of how she felt before she found out she was pregnant with William; dizzy, passing out, the chills… the symptoms were very similar. Covering her face, she held onto her stomach, praying for what she did not know. It was a long shot. An impossible impossibility. But...what if it was not so impossible? She let the tears fall silently until she could breathe again.
Reaching for a tissue, she wiped her eyes and blew her nose. She picked up the phone, intent on calling Mulder, but knowing she could not share any of this, not yet. She needed to be sure and she should tell him in person, regardless of what the test revealed. Placing the phone back in the cradle, she sighed and shook her head as she stood up. She opened the door, took a deep breath, and went to check on the rest of her patients.
The day passed by slowly. She was not dizzy again, and she made herself eat some food even though she did not feel hungry, her stomach too nervous as she waited for any news from Cheyenne.
Two patients were due for surgery the next day, and as a result there were many last minute questions and discussions. It helped to take her mind off her own worries, but not completely. Her eyes strayed to the clocks on the wall repeatedly, the hours ticking by at a snail’s pace.
Coming back to her office later in the afternoon, her shift nearly over, she paced the room knowing a result had to be ready soon. A knock at the door made her jump, and when it opened, Doctor Clark stepped in with a smile. Scully smiled back and as she began to speak, Cheyenne appeared in the doorway, and Scully’s breath caught.
“Oh! I’m sorry,” Cheyenne exclaimed, looking at them both, with a pointed look at Scully. “I was actually looking for Doctor Hastings. Someone said he was up here. It looks like they were mistaken, please excuse me.”
“It’s okay. I think I actually just saw him downstairs,” Doctor Clark said with a smile. Cheyenne nodded and turned to go, but then stopped and stared at Scully, giving her a very slight shake of her head, her eyes apologetic.
Cheyenne walked away and Doctor Clark continued speaking, but Scully did not hear her. She knew the test would not be positive, but she had hoped, at least a little. Nodding as Doctor Clark finished speaking, she gave her a strained smiled, praying this would end their discussion. Smiling in return, she walked out of the room, leaving Scully alone.
She closed the doors and slid to the floor, silently crying harder than she had earlier. Believing and knowing were two different things, and now that she knew, she felt broken. It was not fair. That little house of theirs should be filled with children learning about aliens and science.
But there were no children and there never would be, not again. One miracle child… that was all they had been allowed, and he…
Shaking her head, she pushed herself up, needing to leave. She quickly took off her lab coat, grabbed her gray jacket and her bag, and walked out the door.
She stopped at a park near the house and sat in the car, closing her eyes and running her hands over her stomach. It was foolish to even consider the possibility, but the same could be said for the last time. When the doctor had come in and smiled with the results of her blood tests, she had not believed him. In fact she had made him check again, needing to be absolutely sure.
But it had been true. She had been pregnant against all odds.
Opening her eyes, she saw a mom and her little girl playing on the play structure. They were bundled up against the evening chill and they both laughed as they ran around. She smiled sadly as she watched them, imagining herself doing something as simple as chasing William around, pushing him on the swings, and teaching him how to do it himself.
But the past could not be changed. She had done what she had to do to protect William- to protect all of them. It did not mean she did not question her decision, worry about him every day, or regret that she had not been strong enough to take care of him.
She sat for a few more minutes, watching the mother and daughter, and letting go of those thoughts, not wanting to discuss that particular subject with Mulder. No, he was a subject for car rides home alone, solitary showers, and late night worries as Mulder slept beside her. It hurt too much to vocalize the pain and so it stayed silent.
Mulder had been right; William had left them with an emptiness that could not be filled, and discussing it was too hard and they rarely attempted to do so.
Breathing deeply, she started the car and drove home, opening the gate when she arrived and shivering as she closed it and jumped back in the car. Pulling up the driveway, she parked and picked up her jacket and bag. Stopping at the door, she took a deep breath before she opened it.
It was warm inside and something smelled delicious, making her mouth water. Mulder was in the kitchen, music playing softly, as he hit his hands on the counter in time to the beat. She smiled, holding back tears, as she watched him and set her things down. Stepping over to him, she saw the table was set with candles already lit.
“Something smells good,” she said, smiling as he turned around in surprise.
“Hey! You’re home early. Are you?” He looked at his watch and then back at her. “You are early.”
“Are you not happy to see me here early?” she teased, and he stared at her in disbelief, reaching out to pull her close.
“You can’t possibly be serious,” he said, holding her face in his hands, his thumbs stroking her temples. “Should I embarrass us both and tell you how much I miss you during the day?” She smiled and raised up on tiptoes to kiss him softly. He deepened the kiss, one hand moving to her hip, the other to the back of her head.
Pushing back, she smiled, glancing at the counter. “So, what smells so good in here?”
“Well, I went out and got some things for dinner. We haven’t shared an actual meal in awhile, and I wanted to change that.” He smiled, and she wrapped her arms around him, closing her eyes as she hugged him. “Thought maybe you’d appreciate a relaxing evening. You’ve been working a lot lately, and I wanted to do something to alleviate some of your worry and stress.” Swallowing down the lump in her throat, she nodded against his chest, squeezing him tightly.
“What’s on the menu?” she asked, stepping back, keeping her back turned as she quickly wiped at her eyes.
“Steak, baked potatoes, and a salad.” She turned around and raised her eyebrows at him as he wiggled his own.
“Well… I am impressed.”
“And…” He lifted a finger and walked to the refrigerator, opening it and showing her the two pieces of pie he had bought for dessert. She smiled, tears just below the surface, and nodded her approval.
“You never cease to amaze me,” she said, walking close and kissing him again. “How long until it’s ready?”
“Oh, I’d say, maybe twenty minutes?”
“Okay. I’m going to take a shower, put on some comfortable clothes, and I’ll be back down.”
“You got it, Doc.” He winked, stealing another kiss. “You wanna take a glass of wine up with you?” He pointed to the open bottle on the table, and she felt a moment of panic that she should not drink alcohol. Brushing that thought aside, she nodded, pouring a generous glassful, and walked upstairs.
Waiting for the shower to warm up, she downed half the glass before stepping inside and letting the falling water cover the sound of her tears.
Dressed in pajama pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and warm socks with her hair dried and loose, she came downstairs, her empty wine glass in hand. The table now held a bowl of salad and the foil wrapped potatoes. Mulder was carrying over the plates, each holding a piece of steak.
“Perfect timing. Take a seat.” He set her plate down as she sat down, putting her napkin in her lap. Setting his own down, he refilled her wine glass before sitting down beside her.
He served them each a bowl of salad and placed her potato on her plate. The music was still playing, but now it was something softer, almost jazzy. He grinned at her, pouring himself a glass of wine and nodding at her plate. She smiled and cut a piece of steak, finding it done to perfection.
They ate, discussing the day, with her leaving out her main worry. He recounted a story of his adventure at the grocery store and she smiled, but did not feel her heart was in it. He laughed at his story, obviously not sensing her discomfort.
“I’ll get these,” he said when they had finished, standing up and stopping her from doing the same.
“Mulder, you cooked, I can-”
“None of that. You were working all day, I wasn’t. You take this…” Pouring the last of the wine into her glass, he handed it to her, and smiled. “And go sit on the couch and relax. I got this.” She sighed as he walked past her, kissing the top of her head as he did.
She stood and watched him, singing along with the music as he scraped their plates and cleared the table.
“Go,” he said, gesturing with his chin. She nodded and decided she wanted to sit outside instead, craving the cool fresh air. Putting on a jacket, she stepped onto the porch and sat down in one of the chairs with a sigh.
Taking a drink, she closed her eyes and leaned her head back. She was feeling better; Mulder’s company, food, and some alcohol warming her belly seemed to right the world. Still though, she had to tell him about today, and she was not sure how to bring it up.
Years on the run, living in this house, they had not had a thought of pregnancy, and it was not as though they were using any protection. With pregnancy not possible, they had not needed to be concerned about it.
Laughing bitterly, she shook her head, opening her eyes. That was what they had thought last time and…
The door opened and Mulder stepped out with a smile, shrugging into his jacket. “It’s cold. Why are you sitting out here?” He sat next to her and she smiled with a shrug. “You want me to open another bottle?”
“No,” she said with her brow furrowed. “No, this is enough. But thank you.” She smiled and he nodded, staring at her, his eyes searching. He looked away, out across the field and sighed, both of them falling silent.
“Talk to me, Scully. Something is weighing on that beautiful mind of yours.”
She smiled softly, looking down at her wine glass, thankful for the opening he had given her. Licking her lips, she nodded, setting the glass down beside her on the porch, and closed her eyes. “I had a blood test done today.”
“A blood test? Is something wrong? Scully?” She felt his hand on her neck and opened her eyes, looking at him. His thumb stroked across her scar and she shook her head.
“No, Mulder. Not that,” she said quietly, touching his arm. “I don’t think we have to worry about that.”
“I will always worry about it, Scully,” he breathed, his eyes serious and his thumb still stroking as she nodded.
“I had a blood test because… I thought… I thought that I might possibly be pregnant.” His hand stilled and he stared at her, his mouth opening and closing. “It was negative.” She looked down and he squeezed her neck, his thumb rubbing again.
“Why would… have you… did… I’m at a loss for words here…” He sighed loudly and moved his hand from her neck, reaching for her hand instead. “Scully?”
She sighed and squeezed his hand, lifting her head to look at him. “I’ve been feeling different. A couple of times… I’ve felt lightheaded, uninterested in food, but I just thought it was work related.”
“You’re working too hard. That’s what I was saying earlier, Scully. You need…” He stopped when he saw the look on her face. “I’m sorry. I interrupted you.”
She squeezed his hand again and sighed. “This morning I… I threw up. A lot.” He stared at her hard and she shook her head. “It was like how I had felt before and I…” She sighed, looking down and closing her eyes. “I knew the test would be negative, but I had a small sliver of hope, you know? That there might be a chance.” She sobbed out a breath and let go of his hand to cover her face.
“Oh, Scully. Come here.” He put a hand on her arm and stood up, bringing her to her feet and sitting back down with her on his lap. She wrapped her arms around his neck and cried against him.
He held her close, his arms around her waist, silently letting her cry. She let it all out, though she was unsure how there could be any tears left at this point. Thoughts of William; his smell, the weight of him in her arms. She thought of him now, and the years she had missed. Of the children she had been denied, that they had been denied.
She cried until she was empty, holding onto him, her face on his shoulder, his scent calming. She felt him rocking softly, his hands running slowly up and down her back. Taking a deep shuddering breath, she loosened her hold on him, keeping her head on his shoulder. He was quiet, his breathing slow, which helped to calm her further.
“I don’t know what to say, Scully. I truly don’t,” he whispered a few minutes later. “I’m sorry sounds wrong, even though I am sorry. So sorry.” She exhaled and he nodded, their past conversations forefront in their minds. “Do you… there are other ways… we could…”
“Mulder, it’s not about that. It is, but it isn’t. There is so much… I…” He stopped rocking and pulled her closer, her own grip tightening around his neck. They sat silently, so many words unspoken. Words that hurt to say and hurt to hear. “I don’t want it to happen another way. I didn’t expect it to happen at all, and today… I just thought…”
They fell silent and she let those thoughts in again. Thoughts of a baby sleeping in the spare room upstairs. Of a curious little boy planting rocks, believing that was how a rock garden came to be. Of a brilliant little girl lying between them on a blanket, naming the constellations as they looked up at the night sky.
She wanted to give that to him, not have it any other way, but she was not able to do it. After Emily, after the failed IVF, after William… no, another way would not do.
“Never give up on a miracle,” he whispered, and she let out a bitter laugh.
“Miracles are in short supply these days.”
“Maybe.” He put his hands on her hips and pushed gently. She pulled back to look at him as he smiled sadly and brushed her hair back from her eyes. “But I’d say we thought the same was true eight years ago and look what happened.” He held her face, his fingers tangling in her hair. “Don’t lose your faith, Scully. Sometimes miracles take a while to reveal themselves. Don’t give up.”
She stared at him, knowing that another miracle pregnancy was impossible, for so many reasons. “I don’t know if I have much faith in that area, Mulder.” He nodded sadly, and she lay her head back on his chest. His arms once more went around her waist as she closed her eyes.
She had been stripped of her ability to have a child, and yet… she had created life, carried a child, and brought him into the world. It was not supposed to happen before, who was to say it would not happen again?
Never give up on a miracle, she thought with a sigh. Faith alone could not be the answer, but she would place it there. For now.