* * *
Mulder raised his hand to knock, but lowered it again, for the fifth time. He just stood outside the door, unsure of what he wanted to do, unsure what he wanted to know. He knew that once he knocked, there was no way he could undo it. There would be no way to 'unlearn' what Scully would tell him and he feared it. Doing so would force them to take their relationship further, but he hadn't decided whether that would be good or not.
Mulder paced the hall, pausing in front of the door, only to continue again. Finally, after looking at his watch and deciding if he didn't do something soon, he walked into the elevator, punching the ground floor button.
He quickly walked down a block from Scully's apartment and pulled out his cell phone. He dialed Scully's phone number and listened to it ring. "Hello, you've reached Dana Scully. Sorry I'm not home right now. Leave a message at the beep and I'll get back to you. Thanks."
"Scully, it's me. Sorry I'm late. I was stuck in traffic. I'll be up in a few minutes. See you then," Mulder said. He frowned, wondering why Scully didn't pick up the phone. Maybe she was in the shower or something...
Mulder quickly walked back to Scully's apartment building, this time sure of what he was going to do. He knocked on the door, but Scully didn't answer. He knocked again, and there was still no answer. Mulder was beginning to worry, and pulled out his key ring from his pocket. He fumbled for a moment to get the right key, and finally unlocked Scully's door.
"Scully? You alright? You didn't answer, so I used my key..." Mulder asked when he saw her curled up on the couch. He had been walking into the living room when he saw that Scully was crying. She was wrapped in an afghan, lying in a fetal position. Mulder bent down so that he was eye level with her. He reached up and tucked some loose hair behind her ear. "Scully? What's wrong?" he asked quietly.
She opened her mouth to answer, but couldn't. She closed it again and shook her head. Mulder knew, without having to hear it, what Scully was going to say. Mulder adjusted Scully's position so that she was on his lap. "Shh. It's going to be alright," Mulder whispered, slowly rocking her.
Scully had stopped crying, but had not moved in her afghan cocoon other than to rest her head against Mulder's chest. He gently stroked her hair, though no longer saying anything. Neither of them knew or cared how long they sat on the couch that way. Finally, Scully took a deep breath and stood up, pulling the blanket tight around herself.
"I'm going to make some tea. Do you want any?" she asked.
"Sure," he replied, watching her go into the kitchen. He hadn't let Scully see how badly the news she didn't have to voice was affecting him. He wouldn't let himself break down in front of her. Especially when she needed him to be strong.
He took several deep breaths to calm his nerves, which did little. He stood up and followed Scully into the kitchen. When she saw him, she asked if he wanted sugar.
Mulder didn't really care, but answered, "Sure."
Scully went back to preparing the tea. Mulder leaned uncertainly against the counter, unsure of what to say or do. He watched Scully pour the hot water into two teacups, watching her hands tremble slightly. He wished he could help, he wished that he could to something, anything, to make her pain and fear and worry go away, but knew there was nothing he could do.
Scully picked up the first mug she filled and took a step in Mulder's direction before it slipped out of her shaking hands. A small shriek of surprise escaped her lips and she started crying again. In a trembling voice, she said, "I'll make you another cup. I just have to clean up this mess first."
For a split second Mulder wondered why she seemed to think that the tea was so important, but figured it was easier to fix that then the threat of an untreatable cancer. He quickly closed the space between them in two short strides and simply replied, "That's OK. I don't need any tea. I'll clean the mess up in a minute. Don't worry about it," he said as he carefully led her out of the kitchen to prevent her from stepping on any shards. He then enveloped her in a hug, his cheek pressed against her head.
She wrapped her arms around his waist and held on as if he was the only thing keeping her afloat, which was most likely true. She buried her head in his chest and her cries slowly quieted. Scully wished that she could stay wrapped on his warm, protective embrace forever, never having to deal with the reality of her cancer.
Forever was an impossible dream, she knew, but she didn't care. Now was what mattered anyway. And now, she was safe and protected by the person she loved most in the world.
* * *
Please send me corrections, comments, feedback, flames or anything else you feel necessary. Send it to BlueEyedXPhile@hotmail.com.
* * *