Title: The Price of a Miracle
Author: X-Phylia (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: I'm too bored to write one. M & S aren't
mine. Nuff said.
Archive: Yes! Just let me know.
Feedback: yes! I'll read and reply all comments
Spoilers: Redux trilogy (post ep). Minors to End Game
Summary: Miracles are not cheap.
Dedicated to Nathalie, whose encouragement is the main
reason why this story is out there.
"The Price of a Miracle"
It was late at night, and the aisle was already deserted, the
sounds had reduced to a minimum.
One man was sitting alone on a plastic chair, his body reclined,
propped by elbows on his knees. He was holding something in his
hands, a picture, and his gaze was fixed on it.
The middle-aged nurse who had just started her shift walked along
the corridor and studied him discreetly. He was young and
handsome, but to her expert eye, he looked like he belonged
inside one of the rooms, in bed, sleeping. What could he be doing
at the hospital so late anyway? Visiting hours had ended long
Dana Katherine Scully was officially in remission and feeling
better by the hour. She was tired, but sleeping seemed like a
waste of time after being so close to falling asleep forever. She
wanted to savor the fact that she was alive. Her mother and
brother had stayed with her during the evening, enjoying
themselves, celebrating the good news.
But by the end of the day, she needed to spend some time with the
man she believed had made that possible. Perhaps her doctor, her
priest and her family didn't feel that way. She wouldn't deny her
faith, but God helps the one who helps themselves, right? The
irony of God employing a skeptic as His tool was not lost on her,
and it brought a small smile to her lips.
Bill Jr. was particularly upset, but he simply didn't have all
the facts. She couldn't explain the chip to him, he wouldn't take
any of it. It was easier to blame her *lunatic* partner. Mulder.
How he had managed to get his hands on another chip was beyond
her, and despite her euphoria, Scully was afraid to ask. She just
wanted to see him.
"Mom, do you know where Mulder is?"
Bill Scully Jr. frowned immediately, and only the stern look his
mother threw at him stopped him from making a snide remark.
"He was sitting outside a few hours ago, but he must have gone
home by now. It's late, and he seemed very tired," was Mrs.
"Nah, he must be still around there. Bill, would you please go
see if you can find him? I need to talk to him."
This time the man didn't repress himself.
"Dana, you need to get some rest, not go into a talk about work
or little green men right now."
"Little green man? What are you talking about? Did Mulder say
anything to you?" Dana prompted, raising her eyebrows.
"We've been... chatting... earlier," Bill shifted uncomfortably
at first, but then spoke bitterly. "He all but admitted that all
this has been for nothing, it didn't help him find his *little
green men*, in spite of the loss of lives," he said with
"Bill, you're talking about things you know nothing about. Now,
if you won't do me the favor, I'll just go get him myself."
She started to climb down her bed but her mother stopped her,
pushing her shoulders back down.
"Enough, you two!" she said firmly. "I'll check if he's still
"But Mom..." her son protested.
"I said enough, Billy."
Mrs. Scully wasn't really surprised to find Fox Mulder sitting
there like a guardian angel. She didn't share her oldest son's
opinion on her daughter's partner and friend; in fact, she was
very fond of him. There was something about this young man that
called to her most basic mother instincts, a not-too-rational
urge to bring him home and give him a bowl of soup.
Lost in his dark thoughts, Mulder didn't notice Margaret Scully's
presence, giving her precious seconds to study him. Her daughter
hadn't gotten her analytical skills out of thin air, she too was
very adept at not missing details. However, you didn't need to be
a genius to detect the signs of distress in Mulder's face. The
haggard expression, the glassy eyes, the pallor of his face. Even
his hands were slightly trembling, holding a marred picture.
"Fox," she called him gently, placing a hand of his shoulder.
That startled Mulder, who looked up alarmed. Mrs. Scully winced
when she saw the dark holes around his eyes. She occupied the
seat that Skinner had left vacant hours ago and gingerly reached
for the young man's hand.
"Are you all right, Fox? You don't look so good."
"I'm fine, Mrs. Scully, don't worry about me," Mulder answered
quickly, a bit uncomfortable at such overt concern.
But Margaret went on. "Why shouldn't I?" she asked softly.
Mulder raised his head, taken off-guard. He bit his lower lip in
order to keep the sob at bay.
He felt so lonely, his heart was broken into pieces. The image of
his sister pulling away from him, her voice repeating those cruel
lies, it all was playing back in his mind. He was extremely
tired, he couldn't remember when was the last time he had slept.
Or ate a good meal.
Ashamed of his vulnerability, Mulder tried to shirk away from
Scully's touch, but she wouldn't let go of his hand.
"Miracles aren't cheap, Fox," she said. "Someone always ends up
paying the price. Looking at you now, I don't even want to ask
what you had to do in order to get that thing in Dana's neck. All
I know is that she's going to be alright, and that this is the
second time you bring my daughter back."
Mulder found his voice among his grief.
"It's my fault these things keep happening to her, Mrs. Scully.
You have nothing to thank me for."
"Law enforcement is a high-risk profession. Dana could have
stayed in medicine, earn a lot of money, she's good enough. But
she chose the FBI, and I stand behind that choice; I'm proud of
her, of what she does. I can't ignore the risks she takes, but
I'm thankful she has you as a partner. I've seen the things
you're willing to do for her, you'd protect her with your life if
you had to. A mother can't ask for much more, you know."
Mulder nodded almost imperceptibly. He couldn't bring himself to
believe he was worth of this woman's caring, that he deserved the
absolution she was trying to give him. He wanted to say that she
was wrong, but couldn't. There was so much love and concern in
her expression, hers weren't eyes full silent accusation; Mulder
had plenty of experience with those.
A stabbing pain pierced his chest.
All that guilt, the reproaches, the sacrifices he and Scully had
made, his quest, his own life, lived with only one purpose since
he was twelve... all gone in just a few days. Scully telling him
that he was the reason she was sick, Krichtsgau and his stories
of deceit, his own people at the Bureau working against him, and
what hurt the most: Samantha breaking his greatest hope into a
million pieces, reducing it to a mocking expression in that
smoking bastard's face. Everything seemed justified by his
partner being alive, but Mrs. Scully was right about one thing:
miracles weren't cheap.
Margaret Scully witnessed the emotional battlefield the young man
beside her was trapped in. She couldn't help wondering where was
his own mother through all this, then remembered Dana's comment
about how he and Mrs. Mulder seemed to have 'profound
differences', as she had called them. Either way, it hurt her
soul to watch him endure all that pain alone. And God forgive
her, she didn't even want Dana to see him like that. Perceptive
as she was, her daughter would know immediately how much her
miracle cure had cost her best friend, and Margaret felt Dana
wasn't strong enough to deal with that yet. But on the other
hand, it was downright cruel to deny Fox the comfort of loving
arms and tender words from the only person in the world he seemed
to care about.
"Dana wants to see you," she finally said. "Don't worry about
Bill Jr., I'll shoo him away."
Mulder sighed tiredly.
"I don't blame your son for hating me, Mrs. Scully. I was a big
brother myself once. I know what it's like to lose a sister to
something you don't even understand."
Mulder's quiet voice cut deep into the older woman's soul.
"We all do what we can, Fox."
"Yes, and it's still not enough," he seethed, the anger he felt
tinging his every word. His own voice startled him and he shut
up, concentrating instead in bringing his pulse and his breathing
back to acceptable levels. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Scully. You don't
need to hear about me and my problems. Maybe you should go back
to your family, I think I'll go home now."
Mulder rose from the chair wincing at the effort. He was running
on empty and he knew it, and the last thing he wanted was to pass
out. He hoped his stamina lasted another half hour so he would be
able to drive home.
Mrs. Scully stood up too and waited expectantly for him to go
into the room, but Mulder didn't even look that way. He couldn't
face his partner right now, he didn't want her to know how broken
he felt. What a bittersweet victory this was for him. He sure
loved Scully, every single thing he had done to save her could
also be considered an act of self preservation. Her death and his
own would have been as simultaneous as he could get them to be.
Tears of desperation started to burn in his eyes and Mulder
bolted and walked away, almost running.
In the silence of the night, he heard hurried steps behind him.
He stopped but didn't look back. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Scully. Please
tell Dana that I'll be back in the morning..." he swallowed the
sobs that he had been trying to stifle, consuming his precious
reserve of energy in keeping his voice even.
"Walk with me, Fox," the lady asked, catching up with him. She
took his arm and pulled gently.
Mulder followed her like a docile pet, somewhere in the back of
his mind he found amusing that he was willing to trust this woman
so blindly. Or maybe he was too tired to resist or even to argue.
He closed his eyes; a last, futile effort to fight back the tears
that pressed behind his eyelids like a relentless current against
a weakened dam.
"Wh... what are we doing here?" he asked as he looked around him.
Mrs. Scully had led them to the hospital's small chapel.
"Oh, don't worry. Dana tells me you and religion don't get along
very well," she smiled sweetly, coaxing him to sit down on a pew.
"But it's quiet here and you need to calm down, Fox. That partner
of yours would have me killed if I let you drive in this
Mulder couldn't tell if it was her voice, or the words of sincere
concern, or his own emotional exhaustion; but in that moment the
dam gave away and he let out an anguished sob. Others quickly
followed, and there was no way of stopping the current until all
his sorrow had run its course.
Margaret pulled him against her and rocked him while he cried
convulsively. She offered no words of comfort except for
nonsense, calming sounds that she had mastered after raising four
children. And knowing as she knew how hard it was for this man to
vent his feelings, it warmed her heart that he allowed himself to
break down in front of her. She knew he wouldn't have done it
with her daughter; not because he didn't trust her, but because
he wouldn't want to burden her when she was still so weak.
Even long after his tears were spent, Mulder stayed in the warm,
welcoming arms of Margaret Scully, his head resting on her
shoulder. He hadn't experienced comfort like this since he was a
little boy. As he grew older, especially after Samantha's
abduction, he began to notice how his mother would be deeply
upset when he cried not to mention his father. No matter how
terrible the situation was, he'd always been unable to shed a
single tear in his presence. Like the time the first clone had
*died* and he had to tell him it was his fault, as usual. And
then he had lost the little Samantha clone, and now... the *real*
Samantha, his Holy Grial, had simply asked him to leave her
alone. Or was her a clone too? Another one of Cancerman's
fabrications? Could she be another hoax? Was there any reason for
someone to play with him in such a callous way, when they had
already taken away everything he believed in?
Paranoia is like cancer, after all, Mulder thought. It grows and
grows and eats you alive. And there was no cure for it, no
shelter... except maybe the arms of someone who loved him, who
cared if he lived or died. Someone he trusted.
Taking a deep, cleansing breathe, Mulder pulled back from the
embrace and slowly got up.
"I...uh... I'm sorry, Mrs. Scully..." he stammered nervously.
"Are you always apologizing for everything?" she interrupted him,
raising herself. Mulder looked a little embarrassed, but she put
her hand on his arm and continued. "I don't need you apologize to
me, Fox," she said gently, looking up to meet his eyes, a good
foot away from hers. "Well, unless you step in my toes, that is."
Mulder chuckled despite himself. It had been a long time ago
since he had any reason to laugh at all. Suddenly he was invaded
by an immense urge to see her partner.
"It was about time, you two!" Scully cheered when she saw the
door opening. However, her mother came in only to pick her purse
She kissed Dana good night, threw her a knowing look and left.
Billy had departed too, so it was just Scully and Mulder, face to
face. Alone at last.
Scully smiled at him with affection. "Come here," she invited,
raising the upper bed and patting the mattress. Mulder didn't
wait for her to repeat herself.
"You look 100% better," he smiled.
"Always the gentleman, huh?" she teased him. "I look like hell,
Mulder, and frankly, so do you."
"Always the non-nonsense one, huh?"
Scully didn't say anything, but as if to prove her point, she ran
the back of her fingers over the tear tracks still visible on
"Are you okay, Mulder?"
"I'll be, I guess," he said, closing his eyes. "Now that I know
that you'll be okay too."
"What happened to you?"
"It's a long story." Almost unconsciously, he snuggled against
Scully wrapped her arms around his shoulders before she knew what
she was doing.
"You should go home and get some rest, Mulder, you need a week's
sleep," she offered gently, but he gave no indication that he
intended to leave. If anything, he burrowed closer against her.
"I'm not going anywhere. You never listen when I say that to you,
It was a good thing that most of her lines and wires were gone,
she thought as she caressed the back of his neck. Scully
discreetly felt her partner's pulse and it was faster than she'd
liked it, but didn't make any comments. Instead, she kept
caressing him lovingly until he calmed down and felt asleep in
She couldn't care less that they were in a hospital the oncology
ward, no less- and that beds were not supposed to be shared.
*No one* would take Mulder away from her that night.