Here’s my little contribution for @txf-fic-chicks!
A/N: This is literally the first thing I’ve ever written for The X-Files in my whole life. I’m nervous as hell, but here goes nothing! The biggest thanks to @conversationinthehallway for encouraging me and for looking this over :)
Fourteen hours after being rushed there by ambulance, she wakes with a start in an all-too-familiar hospital bed. Her pressing concern for her baby leaves no time for her to sleepily wonder where Mulder is, and she’s almost thankful for it. She’s morbidly imagined more than once that, the first time she inevitably found herself waking up in a hospital after a case, she’d have a few seconds to dreamily imagine Mulder in the room next door before the weight of reality came crashing down on her again. The thought occurs to her regardless, only slightly less painful because it was not the first thing to pop to her mind.
She urgently but quietly presses the call button, desperate for her own sake not to wake Doggett, who is sleeping lopsided on the chairs just outside her room. She wonders with a fleeting thought if he’s been there since she was taken in. She takes stock of herself: ten fingers, ten toes, two eyes, and best of all, exactly zero slugs. But what of the tiny life-form inside her that, by all accounts, shouldn’t be there either? She cranes her neck to look for a doctor, a nurse, anyone that can reassure her of her unborn baby’s health.
Not ten seconds later, a tall, statuesque doctor enters the room, equally cautious not to disturb Doggett. Scully wonders briefly if this doctor, who introduces herself as Dr. Moretti, knows somehow about the situation she’s in; impossible, but then again, it wouldn’t be the strangest thing that’s happened to her.
“Ms. Scully—excuse me, Dr. Scully—how are we feeling? I’m happy to see you awake so soon.”
“I’m okay. Is everything normal with…” she pauses and looks out the door almost conspiratorially to make sure her new partner is still sleeping, “…with my baby? Is it okay?”
Dr. Moretti’s face softens as she places a gentle hand on Scully’s shoulder. “Your baby is fine, as are you, from what I can tell. I haven’t exactly seen anything like this before, but all the tests we ran appeared to come back normal.”
Scully’s shoulders visibly sag with relief and a rush of exhaustion, letting herself feel tired now that her immediate concerns are out of the way. Dr. Moretti says something about letting her get some more rest and softly shuts the door on the way out. That was just enough to wake Doggett, who practically tiptoes into her room, as if he might go unnoticed walking through the door.
Scully’s eyes flutter back open and stay there as Doggett approaches her bed. She worries that he might’ve somehow heard her short conversation with the doctor; she’s not ashamed of her pregnancy, quite the opposite if anything, but her lifelong fear of being thought weak or too feminine to be capable comes through despite it all. She’s kept it secret this far, and now it just seems uncomfortable to have to tell anyone, especially her new partner. He’ll find out soon enough one way or the other.
She comes back to reality for a moment, just long enough to hear Doggett start to talk. But she zones out again as her most recent memories start to come back to her: she had screamed that she was pregnant, screamed it at the top of her lungs like she’d been wanting to since she’d found out. But the context was all wrong. Couldn’t be more wrong, really. It’s horrifying enough that she screamed it and it wasn’t enough to keep her safe; it’s devastating enough that she wasn’t shouting it from a mountaintop instead of in a dusty old garage somewhere in Utah. It’s more than enough to bear as it is, but an even more troubling thought occurs to her: were those cult members the first people I’ve told besides Skinner?
A fresh wave of grief mixed thoroughly with guilt hits her. She isn’t upset about telling Skinner; in the absence of Mulder, he’d been the only logical choice. But now? She hadn’t been partnered with Doggett long at all, but he’d certainly proved himself as much as possible. She’d been holding off, feeling almost like telling him or letting him in at all was cheating on Mulder. Oh, Mulder, and her shoulders sag again, and she hopes that her face hasn’t contorted with the anguish that has been constant since Oregon. Still, it isn’t fair to Doggett to treat any of it like his fault, and her logical side, the side she always prides herself on, reminds her of this. As if on cue, Doggett comes back into her line of focus.
“Agent Scully? Dana? You with me here?” He smiles a little, but not enough to hide his concern.
She raises both eyebrows at him in confusion, a slight departure from her usual skeptical look. She hasn’t heard a word he just said.
“I was just asking how you were feeling. That was some pretty weird stuff back there.”
“I’m fine,” she keeps her tone pleasant but even as ever.
“I’ve got a feeling I’ll be hearing that a lot.”
He doesn’t even know the half of it.
Shortly before Doggett arrives to take her home a week later, she calmly revisits the guilt that’s preoccupied her mind during her entire hospital stay. It’s been an almost refreshing type of guilt, though, a type that is uncomplicated and fixable. She’s not trusted Doggett, but she’s a quick learner and will come to trust him. She can almost hear her own words in her mind, coming back to remind her, I’m not a part of any agenda. You’ve got to trust me.
“Look, I wanted to apologize. I… I left you out of this case, and that was a mistake on my part. It was almost a fatal mistake.” She feels like a kid admitting to breaking a window with a stray baseball, and he accepts her apology like a neighbor who’s seen far worse.
“It was; you screwed up,” but he’s smiling. She is amazed that people continue to forgive her, a luxury that she’s never afforded herself.
“And I won’t do it again.”
“I appreciate it.”
She feels a little lighter, which seems foreign in her strange and heavy life. Lighter still when he takes the bag from her shoulder without a word and tosses it over his own. It’s natural as it could possibly be under the circumstances, but she still feels the absence of a hand on the small of her back like a phantom limb and can’t help but worry that it’ll never quite be natural again.
They walk to the car, and Doggett throws her bag in the backseat after opening the passenger side door for her. He pulls out of the hospital parking garage hastily, but not recklessly, to get them to the airport.
“So, Agent Scully, ready to get the hell outta Dodge?”
She smirks as she keeps her eyes straight forward and nods. “Please.”
“I’ve seen a lot of nasty stuff, but I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.” He pauses just for a moment, “I’m glad you’re okay.”
“Me, too. Thank you.”
She fights the urge to say us, too and settles for resting her hand on her still-flat stomach.