Title: Never to Part Again
Author: DeathStryke
Archive: please ask first
Genre: Vignette, reunion challenge
Disclaimer, I don't own any of these characters and will make no money from their adventures. Please don't sue me.

Author's notes: to Sheri; death shall not part, only lack of love...

February 19th, 2001

The call came at three AM. The phone must having rung a dozen times before Scully was roused enough to answer it Lately she slept in a deep fog of pregnancy-induced exhaustion.

"Hello," she yawned deeply "Scully here."

"Agent Scully, he's been found." It was A.D. Skinner. There was no question in her mind who "he" was.

She bolted upright in the bed, throwing back the comforter and rising. "Where, sir? Is he..." she steeled herself for the answer to her question "is he alive?"

"Yes, he's alive and relatively unharmed," Skinner said, his voice breaking with emotion. "He turned up walking down the interstate just a mile from where he was taken. He's being flown in as we speak to Georgetown. Just bruised and dehydrated and malnourished."

Scully crossed herself and said a silent prayer of thanksgiving. "What's his ETA?"

"Two hours. They probably won't let you see him right away. John is flying in from Chicago as his personal physician. I'm leaving now to go pick him up at the airport. We'll meet you at the hospital, or would you like a ride?"

Again Scully was grateful. John Carter, the young doctor from Chicago whom had been A.D. Skinner's domestic partner for over a year now was an excellent physician and would take good care of Mulder.

"Thank you Sir, but I can drive. I'll be there shortly. Thank you for calling personally."

"Of course. Dana, don't worry. He's really going to be all right. See you soon."

Dana smiled as she hung up the phone. She had yet to bring herself to call the Assistant Director of the FBI by his first name, but she knew his use of her name was indicative of the friendship that had grown between them in the four months since Mulder's disappearance Skinner had proved to be both a caring friend and a talented field agent in the last few months, becoming more Scully's partner that John Doggett would ever be.

Fighting tears of happiness, Scully went on wobbly legs to the closet. She didn't want Mulder to find out about her pregnancy until she thought he could handle the news, but she doubted she had any clothes left that would conceal 21 weeks of gestation. She settled on maternity jeans and a bulky fisherman's knit sweater. At least it was cold outside and her trench coat would help keep her secret until Mulder had time to get his bearings This wasn't the kind of news you laid on someone while he was in the hospital, and she especially loathed the idea of having to deliver the news in front of Agent Doggett.

Her hands shook as she ran a brush through her hair and splashed some water on her face. She grabbed her handbag, keys, and cell phone and was out the front door of her apartment in ten minutes.

She drove with elation in her heart towards the hospital. Even the stars looked brighter tonight, welcoming home the man she'd secretly feared she would never see alive again.

When she arrived the medical helicopter transporting Mulder was still ten minutes out. She found Agent Skinner and Dr. John Carter pacing the corridor in the triage area of the emergency department In an unusual display of physical affection she ran into Skinner's arms and hugged him tightly, blinking back tears. "Oh God, he's alive, he's alive," she sobbed.

A.D. Skinner patted the redhead of his diminutive agent, sharing her relief The irony of the fact that Agent Mulder had spent his life on a quest to find the truth behind a possible alien abduction, when Skinner and Scully had spent the last four months doing the same, was not lost on him He'd shed his own tears of relief in John's arms at the airport, for once not caring who witnessed his tears or his sexuality He'd needed that moment of release to be strong for Agent Scully.

The threesome waiting anxiously in the "chairs" area of the ER, sipping scalding hot bitter coffee from the carafe in the waiting room. Finally Scully overheard the clerk announce to the attending trauma physician that the helicopter was landing. A knot of happiness and relief and anxiety built in her stomach The baby chose this moment to give a swift kick, as if reminding his mother to calm down Scully put her hand to her swelling abdomen, and suddenly all the scenarios in which she had imagined sharing the news of her pregnancy with Mulder seemed inadequate.

Scully, Skinner and Carter were waiting in the corridor again when Mulder was brought down from the landing pad on a gurney He was thinner than was healthy for someone of his height and his head was shorn or the chestnut locks Scully so loved. But he was alive, she reminded herself He was home and they could work through anything as long as he was whole and safe.

Mulder tried to sit up but the EMT pushed him back down He flashed Scully a weary smile. "Oh, Scully...Dana. Oh god..." and with that he promptly fainted.

They tried to follow the doctor into the triage room. "You people can't be in here." A physician's assistant told them adamantly.

John wedged his way through the door past the woman "I'm doctor John Carter from Cook County General in Chicago. I'm Agent Mulder's personal physician. You going to let me in or should I go get the attending?"

"No, I'm sorry Dr. Carter, you can came in, but the other's have to wait in the waiting room."

"These people are federal agents and need access to agent Mulder as soon as he is stabilized. Could I have that chart please?" John said to the woman, taking the chart from her hands before she could offer it "Dana, Walter, I'll get you in as quickly as I can. Let me go get some labs started and order a few other tests then you should be able to see him."

"What are you going to do to him?" Scully asked, wanting to scream 'hasn't he had enough fucking tests?' "The usual," John replied, "CBC, Chem. Panel, lipids and lytes, then a CAT and PET scan and possibly an MRI. I'll get him started on some lactated ringers right away and determine if he needs a central line for a few days of TPN depending on how his ketones look. Looks like he might also need some potassium. That okay with you Dr. Scully?" he asked with a gentle smile. "Now let me go take care of our patient so we can get him a room where he can have visitors."

The next hour was the hardest of Scully's life. She paced the floor until Skinner told her to sit down before she wore a hole in the tile. After what seemed like an eternity John emerged from the triage room Scully practically jumped out of her chair and ran to meet him halfway in the corridor, Skinner on her heels.

"He's fine." John pronounced. "He's dehydrated, he's malnourished, and he's in ketosis which means his kidney's aren't functioning well, but that's just from dehydration. The MRI showed some things, as did the PET scan, but they don't seem to have caused any lasting affects. I think he'll make a full recovery with lots of rest."

"What did you find on the MRI and PET scan?" Scully asked, a lump rising in her throat.

John looked uncomfortable. "There have been some holes drilled in his skull. They're very small ones, and there's no indication of damage to the inner tissues. The PET scan showed some abnormal brain waves in his temporal lobe much like he experienced last year during his illness. I've started him on Depakote to prevent any seizure activity, but there are no signs of recent seizures. It's simply a precaution."

"Can I see him now?" Dana asked, peering anxiously over John's shoulder to the room Mulder was in.

"Yeah, you can go on back, But flash your badge and play G-woman, cause that's the only way I could get it authorized. I don't have admitting privileges here so I can't call the shots."

Scully gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and pushed open the double doors to the triage room. Mulder was resting with his eyes closed, hooked up to every conceivable medical monitor they could find in the hospital. The I-VAC beeped gently as it sent hydrating fluids into his veins. It played an asynchronous symphony along with the beeps from the pulse oxygen monitor and the heart rate monitor, all of which showed blessedly normal bodily functions.

Scully thought to herself that they had played this scene out far too many times-too many gunshot wounds and long nights in emergency rooms She vowed silently that they next time they saw the inside of a hospital it would be to give birth to their baby She sat down in the chair next to his bed and stroked the stubble on his head, wincing at the small wounds on his head that John said had bored straight through his skull. There were deep purplish blue marks under his eyes, as if he had not slept in an eternity His skin was a ghastly pasty color, deprived too long of sunlight. His muscles were no longer defined-the long runners legs now emaciated. He reminded Scully of the old black and white photos of holocaust victims.

His eyes fluttered open. "Hey you," he croaked, his voice failing him. "We've got to stop meeting like this Surely we could have a more romantic date than another night in the hospital."

Scully grinned. It was him laying there, not just his body. He was going to be okay "I'm sure once you're well we can arrange something Mulder But now we've got to get you healthy again I wonder if your health plan covers alien abductions?" She was giddy. She had begun to believe she would never see him again, and the despair that had sunk into her soul was being replaced with elation at the familiar banter between them.

He took her hand with his own, careful to avoid tugging on the IV in the back of his hand. He pulled her up from the chair and slid his hand inside her trench coat, rubbing her abdomen. "Our baby," he said with what passed for a smile on his utterly exhausted face.

"How did you know?" she asked, unable to conceal the shock on her face.

"While I was...gone...I was able to read thoughts again. I knew you were pregnant. It's a girl. She's perfectly healthy I told her I wanted to name her Haven Elizabeth Mulder and she's cool with that."

Scully sat back down, feeling dizzy. "You mean you could actually communicate with the baby?"

He smiled again. "Yeah, after you reached about 12 weeks. We've had some great talks I spent so much time alone, in a cell, strapped down; all I did was talk to her. She doesn't like sports," he said mournfully.

Tears of sheer joy poured down her cheeks She's so feared he'd never know this child, and all this time they'd been bonding in a way she could never have imagined.

"As soon as I'm out of this bed will you at least make an honest enough man of me to move in together? I've missed so much; I don't want to miss another minute with you or her, Scully. I love you both so much," he broke off, his sobs dry because he was too dehydrated to produce any tears. Scully watched with alarm as his heart rate rose to 187.

"Mulder, calm down They're going to kick me out if your heart rate goes any higher," she caressed his gaunt cheeks, looking into his bloodshot eyes. "Everything will fall into place with us. It always does. For now just rest and get well That's the most important thing you can do for all three of us."

Mulder nodded sleepily, his eyelids drifting closed. He murmured her name a few times before falling back into a deep healing sleep.

Scully stayed with him a few more minutes, satisfied that all his vital signs were stable, then went back to the waiting area. "He seems okay," she told Carter and Skinner. "He even knew about the baby He said he was able to read minds again while he was gone God only knows what he has been through When will we be able to move him to a room, John?"

"Well, he's stable, so as soon as they find him a bed they can move him The unit secretary is working on that now I told them you'd need a cot Scully. I figured there wouldn't be any prying you away from here tonight."

"You're right, I'm not going anywhere Sir, have you called Agent Dogget or Deputy Director Kersh?" Scully asked of Skinner, absolutely dreading the thought of seeing either of them tonight.

Skinner grimaced. "Yes, I've called them both Deputy Director Kersh has decided not to grace us with his presence tonight, but Doggett is on his way here I told him Agent Mulder was in no condition to be interrogated, but he insisted."

Scully seethed inwardly. She had stolen Mulder's favorite name for Alex Krycek and come to think of Agent Doggett as The Rat Bastard. How dare he come down here tonight and treat Mulder like a suspect to be harassed and interrogated How dare he steal a moment of Mulder's time away from her when she'd just gotten him back?

Shortly before dawn Mulder was moved to a private room on the third floor. He barely roused from his sleep to assure himself that Scully was still there before drifting down again Scully lay on the narrow cot and tried to doze while the babe inside of her danced an Irish jig on her bladder. Skinner and Carter went back to their apartment to get some sleep.

Scully was coming out of the bathroom for the fourth time in two hours when Agent Doggett appeared in the doorway, letting himself in without knocking Scully was far too exhausted to deal with him She was nauseated and her eyes were gritty with lack of sleep.

"I'm here to see Agent Mulder," he said tersely.
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