Title: Winter Nights
Author: Emma Brightman
Written: December 2000
Feedback: emmabrightman1013@yahoo.com
Archiving: Anywhere is fine, just let me know
Feedback: I'd love it.
Spoilers: Through "Via Negativa"
Rating: PG-13
Classification: VRA, MSR
Disclaimer: These characters aren't mine. They belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions and Fox.May they show them the love and respect they deserve.

Summary: While Doggett struggles through the cult case, Scully has some struggles of her own.

No more my little song comes back;
And now of nights I lay
My head on down, to watch the black
And wait the unfailing gray.

Oh, sad are winter nights, and slow;
And sad's a song that's dumb;
And sad it is to lie and know
Another dawn will come.

-- Dorothy Parker, from "Threnody"

"I'm fine."

The words echo through her mind as she follows the nurse to the exam room. 3:30 in the morning, alone in the ER, lying to her partner. Some things never change. She remembers another pre-dawn emergency room phone call to Mulder, years ago now, but it feels like yesterday. Holding a tissue to her nose to stop the bleeding, fighting the stabbing ice pick pain between her eyes as she tried to concentrate on his words, tried to ignore the raw fear and panic in his voice.

"I'm fine, Mulder."

She knows she isn't fine this time, she's known it since she woke at 1:45, jolted from another dream of Mulder swimming in her amniotic fluid by the sudden seizing in her abdomen.

Her sleep addled brain fights through the haze, trying to classify the pain. Stomach cramps? Food poisoning? What did she eat for dinner? Realizing with a start that it isn't her stomach, that this is a feeling she hasn't had for months. Not since her last period. Oh God, not the baby!

Switching on the bedside lamp and scrambling out of bed she roughly lifts and untwists the sheets that had been binding her, finding them still blessedly white. She yanks her pajama bottoms and panties down in one quick motion and her heart stops when she sees three faint spots of blood staining the white cotton.

The levelheaded doctor in her tries to reason with the panic-stricken mother.Spotting is not unusual early in pregnancy.Go to the doctor, get it checked out. It's probably nothing. Then another pain shoots through her middle and she clasps her belly, as if by doing so she can hold the baby in, keep him safe. Damn you, Mulder! I need you, she thinks, throwing on her clothes and pulling her tangled bed hair into a ponytail. Knowing even in her muddled state that it's unfair to blame him.

She shivers in the chilled air of the examination room. If anything she should blame herself, she thinks. The exam table she sits on is cold; the thin paper beneath her crinkles as she moves. She hasn't had a pain in over half an hour and the doctor seems to think she'll be all right. He wants to admit her, though, wants to run some tests to be sure. She wraps her arms around herself, shaking from the cold and the fear, and remembers the nightmare in the desert, the horror of watching a man's head being bashed in, of being tied to a bed, her body invaded by a parasite. She remembers what she learned in medical school, that a fetus is more or less a parasite living off the mother's body. How cold, she tells herself, how heartless. Don't compare my baby to that thing. My poor baby. Mulder's baby.

She remembers, guiltily, the times she has thought of Mulder that way, as a parasite.The times she felt that he was draining the life out of her, that his quest was taking her over, obliterating what she was, who she was. She remembers Philadelphia, trying to run away from Mulder, from what her life was becoming. So many mistakes, so much pain.She can't stop thinking about Mulder.Sometimes she thinks she'll go crazy because of it.

She freezes as she opens the door to the ladies' room and hears her name.Disembodied voices float toward her from the stalls. Secretaries, administrative assistants. The women Doggett had tried to convince her Mulder confided in.

-- "I just can't believe how coldhearted she is! Even I miss him more than she seems to, and all I ever did was gaze at him from a distance."

-- "I know. But she's never exactly been the warm and cuddly type."

She fights back tears, remembering a sleepy April morning in her bed, Mulder's heat surrounding her, filling her. 'You're so warm, Scully,' he murmurs, after. He nuzzles her neck, tastes her salty skin.Their legs are entwined beneath the tangled sheets. She kisses his mouth, his forehead, the scar on his shoulder. Suddenly overwhelmed with emotion, her eyes fill.'God, I love you, Mulder,' she says as he reaches for her again.

-- "Still, he deserves more than that. If he ever comes back I'm going to make my move. If I've learned anything from this it's that you never know how much time you have."

She turns and leaves quickly before they can say any more.

The nurse leads her to a private room where she'll spend the rest of the day being poked and prodded. She slips into bed in her hospital gown, shivering at the feel of cold sheets against her already cold skin. The bed is inclined so that she can watch television or read while she waits for the doctors and nurses to come back, for the testing to begin again.

She turns on CNN and watches the pundits hash and re-hash the election debacle. She sighs and wonders what Mulder would make of it, what wisecracks he would have made. She misses his corny sense of humor, misses the game they play with each other. He tries to make her laugh; she tries not to laugh.They've perfected it over the years. Now she wishes she hadn't held back so often, wishes she'd let him see how his words brightened her spirits, lightened her heavy load. More mistakes. More regrets. She turns off the television and once again closes her eyes against the tears.

The tests are over, at least for now, and they tell her to get some sleep. First she makes a phone call, though, her guilt about leaving Doggett alone on a case leading her to do something she never thought she would.She doesn't want to introduce Doggett to Mulder's friends, doesn't want Doggett intruding on Mulder's territory any more than he already has.

Frohike answers on the third ring and she tells him to turn off the tape. He sounds surprised to hear from her. She hasn't spoken to any of them in almost two weeks, something else she feels guilty for. She just can't bear to hear the sadness in their voices as they tell her they don't have anything more to go on, no more clues. She can't stand their pity.

"Scully, are you all right?" Frohike asks.

"I'm fine. I need you to help Agent Doggett with a case."

"Where are you? I thought you didn't trust this joker, and now you want us to help him?"

She can hear it in his voice, the same feeling she has, that she's somehow betraying Mulder by helping Doggett in this way.

"Frohike, I'm in the hospital. I can't work right now and I would really appreciate it if you'd just trust me on this, okay?"

"Are you all right? What's going on? Do you want us to come to the hospital?"

Any trace of uncertainty his voice held before is instantly gone, replaced by fear, by love. She hasn't told him or the other Gunmen about Mulder and her, about the baby, but she suspects that they know. Knowing things they aren't supposed to know is their stock in trade.

"I'm fine, Frohike, really," she says firmly, ending any further discussion on the topic. She knows the hospital computers will be hacked into before she even hangs up the phone. She tells him that Skinner will get back to them with the details of the case before saying goodbye, then rolls onto her side and tries to sleep.

Two hours pass and her restless nap is interrupted when the doctor enters the room, pulling her chart from the holder at the foot of her bed. She sits up, straightens her gown, flattens her puffed out hair and tucks it behind her ears.

"You're okay. The baby's okay," he begins, and she sighs so quietly he doesn't even notice. "You've got to slow down, Dana.You've already been in the hospital two other times since you found out you were pregnant. The stress is too much for your body to take right now."

His voice holds no judgement but she feels it nonetheless. She's a bad mother. She can't protect her children. First Emily, now this baby. Mulder's baby.

"I know I have a dangerous job, but I have to work, doctor. I don't have a choice," she says. Her fear and self-recrimination make her sound angry and she tries to soften her tone. "I have to be able to support my child."

"Dana, if you don't take better care of yourself there won't be any child for you to support," he says quietly, reaching out to touch her hand.

Her throat constricts and the tears she's been fighting back all day won't be denied any longer. She silently curses the hormones that have made her this way, that cause her to lose control of her emotions.She breathes deeply, in and out, in and out, to calm herself, and brushes the tears from her cheeks.

"You're right, doctor, I know you're right.You know what they say about doctors making the worst patients," she says, attempting a smile.

The doctor smiles back and removes his hand from hers.

"I want you to spend the night, get some more sleep and let us keep an eye on you.You can leave in the morning. You'll be fine, Dana, you'll see."

He turns to leave, the door closing behind him with a quiet snick.

"Of course I'll be fine. I'm always fine," she says to herself as she settles back into bed, hoping for a dreamless night.


Author's Notes: I really enjoyed "Via Negativa". Seeing Skinner and the Gunmen is always a good thing and there were some great insights into Doggett's character, but Scully's trip to the hospital was pretty mysterious. I couldn't stop thinking about what she must have been going through, and this little piece is what resulted.

This story is dedicated to my friend Bonnie, who introduced me to the show during the fourth season, and who puts up with my incessant rambling now that I'm even more obsessed with it than she is.

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