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                         Title: Facing Darkness, Finding Light
                                    
                                    Author: KimK
                                    
                                    Rating: PG
                                    
                                    Category: MSR, Cancerarc and, of course, Angst
                                    
                                    Spoilers: Memento Mori, Gethsemane, Redux I and Redux II
                                    
                                    Summary: In her battle with cancer, Scully begins to fall from
                                    faith. 
                                    
                                    Feedback: That would be nice. Please. I ain't too proud to beg,
                                    but I would rather it not come to that. k_nig_it1013@yahoo.com
                                    
                                    Archive: I don't mind if you do. Just keep it as it is and let me
                                    know.
                                    
                                    Disclaimer: Ah yes, the disclaimer . . . the bane of my
                                    existence. If you must know these characters and the basic plot
                                    line are not mine and never will be. Chris Carter and the gang
                                    are responsible for this stroke of genius; I just like to have my
                                    way with his creation sometimes. Leave me alone.
                                    
                                    Much thanks goes to: Sara Bowen for always being ready to beta.
                                    She's good, man, she's real good. She also helped me with the
                                    title! Also, thank you Chris, Gillian, David and crew for
                                    successfully making this show my obsession. And of course, thank
                                    YOU for reading my story! 
                                    
                                    Author's Notes: First off, I don't intend to even attempt to live
                                    up to all of the wonderful and memorable cancerfics out there
                                    (namely Wonderland by Karen Rasch), but when inspiration hits,
                                    don't fight it! Therefore, I ventured into the world of cancerfic
                                    because that is what I was pulled to do. I don't know a lot about
                                    cancer, so a lot of this story is going to focus on something
                                    that was never really thought about until Redux I and II  
                                    Scully's faith. I know this is something I would struggle with,
                                    so that is why a lot of this story will focus on that aspect of
                                    Scully's character. A lot of this will be romance, but the
                                    subplot will be a journey into the spiritual Scully and also a
                                    journey into the struggles of Mulder. So be prepared for a lot of
                                    angst and a lot of love . . . really sappy, corny love.
                                    
                                    *****
                                    "In your eyes I see a darkness that torments you
                                    and in your head where it dwells
                                    I'd give you my hand if you'd reach out and grab it,
                                    Let's walk away from this hell"
                                    'Into the Dark' by The Juliana Theory 
                                    Stage One- Into the Soul
                                    
                                    The rain hit her window as if pleading to be let in from the
                                    dark. I know the feeling, Scully thought to herself.
                                    
                                    She placed her hand against the cool glass and closed her eyes at
                                    the sensation. Her body was weak from the 'treatment'
                                    administered to her by Dr. Scanlon. The hospital had released
                                    her, however, and Mulder had jumped at the opportunity to take
                                    her home. 
                                    
                                    When Scully had said she wouldn't give up hope, she'd meant it.
                                    Well, she'd meant it as much as her spirit would allow. She was
                                    willing to fight, she had to. If anything she had to help Mulder
                                    find the truth. As she had mentioned to Mulder, the truth was in
                                    her and it had to be found. 
                                    
                                    Given her weakened physical state, Mulder had offered to stay
                                    over night. He'd set out to make her some chamomile tea while she
                                    prepared for bed. The rain had distracted her though.
                                    
                                    Sometimes she had caught him staring at her, just staring. She
                                    smiled at the beads of water that had settled on her window,
                                    knowing that his concerned stares were just something she would
                                    need to get used to. However, she wished he would just stop.
                                    
                                    Mulder, even though he'd had his reasons, felt guilty about not
                                    visiting her during her stay at the hospital. He wanted, no, he
                                    needed to spend as much time with her now as he could. He wanted
                                    to yell at her. He wanted to ask her why she had to get sick. He
                                    knew it was out of her hands and that he needed to be someone for
                                    her to lean on through all of this, but it was hard. It was hard
                                    to sit there and watch someone you love live with something that
                                    could kill them and not be able to do a damn thing about it. 
                                    
                                    She'd decided to fight it though. Not in those exact words, but
                                    he knew Scully. Fighting was in her nature. Of all the things
                                    that had been taken from her, she always had her faith. That was
                                    something Mulder envied about this woman. 
                                    
                                    He made his way back into her room, only to see her in her white
                                    robe and studying the rain. Her palm was pressed against the
                                    glass and she had a sad smile on her face. Mulder approached her
                                    slowly from behind, so as not to startle her, and held the mug in
                                    front of her. 
                                    
                                    The mug was black with a little green alien waving. He had bought
                                    it for her on a road side stand on one of the out-of-town cases
                                    and he just couldn't resist it. 
                                    
                                    Looking down at the mug, Scully smiled.
                                    
                                    "Thank you, Mulder," she said, moving her now cold hand away from
                                    the glass and taking the warm mug into it.
                                    
                                    "Eh, well you know . . . whatever I can do." Mulder smiled a
                                    forced smile, the sadness in his eyes obvious.
                                    
                                    Scully made her way to her bed and sat down, turning the side
                                    table lamp on. Despite the rain, the moon was still shining
                                    brightly into her room, making the lamp almost unnecessary. 
                                    
                                    Taking a sip of her tea, Scully took notice of her Bible sitting
                                    by her lamp. It was book marked at wherever she had left it last.
                                    She couldn't even really remember the last time she had actually
                                    sat down and read a chapter or two. Staring at the dark leather,
                                    Scully didn't even realize that Mulder was sitting beside her. 
                                    
                                    Putting her tea down, Scully picked up her Bible and flipped to
                                    where the bookmark was placed. Her eyes settled on the book of
                                    James and her mind suddenly remembered she had just finished
                                    chapter four. Her heart brought her to chapter five, verse
                                    fifteen:
                                    
                                    "And in the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the 
                                    Lord shall raise him up . . ."
                                    
                                    Not finishing the verse, Scully closed her eyes. She was
                                    determined to keep her faith. It was one of the few things 'they'
                                    had yet to get their hands on and she had to keep it that way. 
                                    
                                    Noticing a shift in the weight of the mattress, Scully looked up
                                    abruptly only to see Mulder heading towards the door.
                                    
                                    "Where are you going?" 
                                    
                                    "I was just going to let you be alone."
                                    
                                    "No, it's okay, Mulder. Sorry, it just suddenly hit me that I
                                    haven't read from this in a while. I'm sorry; I didn't mean to
                                    make you uncomfortable."
                                    
                                    "It's all right, you didn't." Mulder sat back down beside her and
                                    ran a hand through her hair, his eyes caressing her skin.
                                    
                                    She smiled up at him and set her Bible back in its place on her
                                    table. 
                                    
                                    "I should probably let you get some sleep anyway, Scully. You've
                                    had it rough, more than rough, and I am sure you are eager to
                                    sleep in your own bed again."
                                    
                                    Scully nodded in response, bringing her hand to rest on the hand
                                    Mulder still had in her hair. 
                                    
                                    Placing a kiss similar to the one he had given her in the
                                    hospital on her forehead, Mulder took his hand away and stood to
                                    leave once more. 
                                    
                                    "Wait, Mulder."
                                    
                                    "Yeah?"
                                    
                                    Scully shifted uncomfortably, casting her eyes away from him
                                    briefly then forced a confident look onto her features.
                                    
                                    "Will you pray with me?"
                                    
                                    Taken aback slightly, Mulder combed a nervous hand through his
                                    locks and gave a look of astonishment.
                                    
                                    "I'm not sure if I'm really the person you should be "
                                    
                                    "Actually, you're the perfect person. You don't have to pray, I
                                    just want you to hold my hand and sit with me."
                                    
                                    Mulder shifted as if ready to sprint out the door, until he saw
                                    the look in her azure depths. They were pleading. She was
                                    pleading. Scully didn't plead. 
                                    
                                    He walked the few steps he had taken back to her bed and settled
                                    once more beside her. Locking eyes with her, he laced his fingers
                                    through hers and smiled. 
                                    
                                    "Thank you," she whispered.
                                    
                                    Once upon a time there was a man who wanted to believe in
                                    anything and everything. In that time came a woman who challenged
                                    every belief he had, or hadn't. As dragons of darkness worked to
                                    shake her from her own belief, a shield of faith protected her
                                    from the black flames and she stood strong. 
                                    
                                    Once upon a time a man held his partner's hand in prayer and he
                                    was given a glimpse into the soul of a warrior. A warrior who'd
                                    fought many battles in a war for the truth. His truth. Their
                                    truth.
                                    
                                    The truth that would save them both. 
                                    
                                    *****
                                    
                                    "Take my hand, don't turn away, 
                                    I need you to stay, I know a place where I have a god, 
                                    Can become as one"
                                    'Dancer in the Dark' by For My Pain 
                                    
                                    Stage Two-Into the Heart
                                    
                                    A godly man, Mulder was not. However, he wasn't what people
                                    assumed he was   an atheist. He had his doubts and his questions,
                                    but that wasn't anything new to him. He had questions about
                                    everything. He wanted to believe in the unbelievable, and to some
                                    that was the existence of God. Scully's God. 
                                    
                                    He didn't live his life through a religion, but there was a
                                    passion he saw in the eyes of those that believed   in Scully's
                                    eyes   that he yearned for. Despite his reluctance in the past to
                                    believe in what she believed, he was getting closer.
                                    
                                    If he was to describe who he was in all this God business, he was
                                    agnostic. Someone was up there and Mulder wanted to know how that
                                    someone tied into his life. 
                                    
                                    The night he had prayed with Scully had been an experience. He'd
                                    only offered up a prayer a few times in his adult life, and they
                                    had all involved Scully. He never prayed for himself, he felt
                                    hypocritical to only pray when he needed something. One prayer
                                    had been answered when she was brought back to him and that,
                                    ladies and gentlemen, had almost made a believer out of the man. 
                                    
                                    That night, he had sat there as Scully prayed for almost an hour.
                                    Sometimes the words would escape from her lips and sometimes they
                                    would just remain silent and only in her mind. The entire hour he
                                    was with her, he wondered what she was talking to God about. He
                                    had his ideas, but he couldn't even remember the last time he had
                                    spent that long talking to an actual human being. Especially to
                                    Scully. 
                                    
                                    It wasn't long into her prayer that he felt a tear land on their
                                    hands. Not hers, but his. Her tears followed soon after, however,
                                    and she placed her head on his shoulder, her body shaking from
                                    her weeping every now and then. He held her head to him with his
                                    free hand and sent one pleading prayer up to her deity.
                                    
                                    Don't take her away from me, please.
                                    
                                    After that emotional hour, he'd left her to sleep with a kiss on
                                    her cheek and a quiet good night. 
                                    
                                    It had been a week since that night and he was still staying with
                                    her. The first few nights he'd stayed on the couch, a familiar
                                    place of rest, but since then he had moved to her guest room. 
                                    
                                    It was mid-morning and he was washing the dishes. Given that it
                                    was Saturday, he insisted she sleep while he tended to the
                                    chores. He'd finished with the last plate when she emerged from
                                    her bedroom in periwinkle silk pajamas.
                                    
                                    "'Morning Mulder," she greeted him, her hair tousled and her eyes
                                    puffy from sleep.
                                    
                                    She looked great. There was finally some color in her cheeks
                                    again and her blue eyes weren't as hazy as they'd been the last
                                    few days. 
                                    
                                    Although the Scanlon 'treatment' had been stopped, she was still
                                    undergoing the proper medical treatments for cancer. In that
                                    short time, her weight was dropping and despite the vibrancy
                                    Mulder could still see in her now, her cheeks weren't as rosy and
                                    her skin had become even paler. She was still beautiful in his
                                    eyes though.
                                    
                                    "Hey stranger, I wasn't expecting you up for another hour."
                                    
                                    "I heard the clanking of porcelain and got worried."
                                    
                                    "Well, you will be happy to know that all of your plates, cups
                                    and what-have-yous made it out safely."
                                    
                                    He smiled at her and enveloped her in a hug. She wrapped her arms
                                    around his torso in return.
                                    
                                    During the stay at her place, he had grown accustomed to touching
                                    her when he could. When they would watch movies together, he'd
                                    wrap his arm around her or sometimes hold her hand. It had become
                                    a custom for him to kiss her on her cheek or forehead before bed
                                    and it was something he was happily getting used to. 
                                    
                                    Their relationship was growing. 
                                    
                                    Mulder had this nagging fear that it was only because of her
                                    illness. He knew deep down, however, that it was far beyond that.
                                    Sure, the illness had served as a warning sign that their time
                                    together could be cut short, but he loved her. He loved her with
                                    a passion that he had never felt before. He was in love with her.
                                    
                                    "I promised Mom I'd have lunch with her today."
                                    
                                    She'd been spending more time with Margaret Scully than she had
                                    in the past. Margaret was still trying to accept her daughter's
                                    illness and the idea of possibly losing her last daughter. Scully
                                    wanted more time with her mother, but she also knew her mother
                                    needed more time with her.
                                    
                                    "Have you told her we moved in together?" Mulder smiled and
                                    Scully pulled away as she playfully slapped his arm.
                                    
                                    "I'm going to shower and get ready," she grinned at him and
                                    padded lazily back to her room. 
                                    
                                    Half an hour later she came back into the kitchen, only to find
                                    Mulder eating an apple and reading the newspaper.
                                    
                                    "Anything I should know before I leave?" Scully nodded her head
                                    towards the newspaper as Mulder looked up.
                                    
                                    "Um, not unless you feel the profound thoughts of Snoopy will get
                                    you through the day," he produced a goofy grin with his response
                                    and then took a bite from his apple.
                                    
                                    Scully was dressed in jeans and a pale pink cardigan, her feet
                                    covered with white sneakers. Her hair was styled as usual, but
                                    her make-up was softer. 
                                    
                                    Offering a laugh as she grabbed her coat, Scully waved and made
                                    her exit. 
                                    
                                    She'd been working half days at work, but she was ready to go
                                    back in the field and her strength was back to normal. Mulder
                                    figured this would be his last stay at her apartment and, yes, he
                                    dreaded the very thought of leaving her.
                                    
                                    Each private moment spent with her was making him fall in love
                                    with her more and he didn't know what to do about it.
                                    
                                    She was still in the dark when it came to knowing about her
                                    harvested ova. It wasn't something she could handle now. To tell
                                    her that he loved her would also be too much to handle. She was
                                    still getting used to the cancer and living with it; he needed to
                                    allow her that time for adjustment.
                                    
                                    Mulder loved Scully and he hoped that was _a_ truth that would
                                    save them. 
                                    
                                    *****
                                    
                                    "Are you scared? Are scared?
                                    Are you scared? 'Cause if you're scared,
                                    You're not alone.
                                    I once thought I was brave,
                                    but I can't stop crying."
                                    'The Second Day' by Kendall Payne
                                    
                                    Stage Three-Into the Dark
                                    
                                    It had been exactly one month since Mulder had stopped staying at
                                    Scully's apartment. Although he wasn't staying with her anymore,
                                    he still spent all hours of the day with her. The only time he
                                    went home was to sleep. Well, to feign sleep.
                                    
                                    So far she was doing fine. He would go with her to her weekly
                                    check-up, only to be stuck in the waiting room the entire time.
                                    She'd come out some time later only to find that he had taken on
                                    a nail-biting habit. 
                                    
                                    Needless to say Mulder was losing his mind. Scully would come out
                                    and simply state that everything was okay, but Mulder wanted
                                    pictures, a report and any other substantial evidence to prove
                                    that everything was really okay. 
                                    
                                    Scully was back in the office full time again, had been for
                                    fifteen days, and she was optimistic about everything when she
                                    would walk into the office. To see her smiling was almost
                                    evidence enough that she was going to be fine. That they both
                                    would pull through this together. 
                                    
                                    "How's your mom?" Mulder asked, while he and Scully shared lunch
                                    in the basement.
                                    
                                    "She's all right, I guess. I've enjoyed spending time with her
                                    but," Scully set her soda down on the desk and leaned back,
                                    taking on a serious _expression, "she always looks like she might
                                    burst into tears. I've had two nosebleeds in front her, so that
                                    hasn't helped the matter. I don't know . . . I guess it's just
                                    difficult to see her taking this harder than I am."
                                    
                                    You have no idea, Mulder thought to himself.
                                    
                                    "Well," Mulder started then swallowed his mouth full of pan-fried
                                    noodles, "she's going to be fine, because you're going to pull
                                    through this. Plus, she's a Scully, it's what you do."
                                    
                                    Mulder offered a grin at his last comment and tossed his take-out
                                    box into the trashcan. 
                                    
                                    "You still coming over tonight?" Scully had bought a chicken
                                    salad for her lunch and she was picking through the greens, still
                                    only halfway finished. 
                                    
                                    "Yes, yes I am."
                                    
                                    "Good, because there is this new recipe I have been dying to try-
                                    out on someone."
                                    
                                    Mulder wasn't sure why, but anytime the word dying or anything
                                    that implied death was even mentioned as an _expression, he
                                    couldn't hold back a wince. 
                                    
                                    One morning while staying with Scully, he had let her sleep a
                                    little later than usual then commented as she entered the room,
                                    "Welcome to the world of the living."
                                    
                                    He'd mentally slapped himself, but she'd just smiled and took
                                    some bacon from his plate.
                                    
                                    "Ooo, dinner, I'm glad I said yes." He stood to stretch and then
                                    walked over to the computer to check his e-mail. 
                                    
                                    From the corner of his eye he saw Scully throw away her salad,
                                    that of which she hardly touched. Well, she'd touched it and
                                    moved it around every which way, but she hadn't actually put that
                                    much of it in her mouth. 
                                    
                                    Her appetite was interesting now. Sometimes she would gulf down
                                    three large pieces of pizza and two sodas and then other times
                                    she couldn't finish a container of fat-free yogurt. Of course,
                                    Mulder was pretty sure he couldn't finish the yogurt either, but
                                    Scully used to be able to. 
                                    
                                    After checking his e-mails, they sat around and talked. For the
                                    first time in a while, work wasn't a priority in Mulder's life.
                                    They had received a few possible cases and leads, but before they
                                    could get out the door the cases were pulled from them and Mulder
                                    and Scully were left to talk about anything and everything.
                                    
                                    Mulder couldn't be more relieved.
                                    
                                    XxX
                                    
                                    Scully's Apartment 
                                    6:47 pm
                                    
                                    Mulder usually, since he'd stopped staying with her, followed her
                                    to her apartment, but unfortunately today he'd actually had other
                                    things to do with his time.
                                    
                                    Scully had gone grocery shopping after work for dinner and then
                                    went home to get started. 
                                    
                                    Mulder wasn't always at her place, but usually he was. Sometimes
                                    she would eat at her mom's and then come home to bask in a bubble
                                    bath. Some nights she would express that she was tired and he,
                                    understanding, would tell her that he would see her at work. 
                                    
                                    She was making Chicken with Eggplant Carpaccio and Turmeric
                                    Marmalade. It was some recipe she had seen on the cooking channel
                                    and it had looked fantastic. Scully rarely cooked because, well,
                                    what fun was dining alone, right? At times she would spend a
                                    decent amount of time on a casserole or a mean salad, but that
                                    was about as exciting as it got when it came to cooking for a
                                    party of one. 
                                    
                                    Amazingly enough, given the company of Mulder, Scully had only
                                    cooked three or four times in the extensive amount of time they
                                    had been spending together. 
                                    
                                    She never thought she would enjoy his constant company so much,
                                    but she did. The idea that she could die had made her realize
                                    feelings she hadn't known she'd had for Mulder. She loved him
                                    more than words could express. The time spent with him was time
                                    well spent. He was a godsend. When she prayed, she would thank
                                    God for him over and over again. She would ask God to take care
                                    of him and help him understand. So far her prayers had been
                                    answered. 
                                    
                                    Scully was just about to cut the sweet onions when a knock
                                    sounded at her door. Briefly checking the clock, she realized it
                                    was almost seven. Mulder never specified when she should expect
                                    him just that he'd head over when he finished his errands.
                                    
                                    Wiping her hands on her apron, Scully walked quickly to answer
                                    the door, only to find Mulder had let himself in. 
                                    
                                    "Hi honey, I'm home," he announced, a grin on his face. 
                                    
                                    Scully rolled her eyes with a smile and made her way back into
                                    the kitchen. Picking up her knife, she heard Mulder follow in
                                    behind her.
                                    
                                    "I like this look on you," he came up close behind her and peaked
                                    over her shoulder, "it's nice to see a woman where she belongs."
                                    
                                    With that comment, Scully elbowed him in the stomach. Sure, he
                                    had just been joking, but an elbow to the stomach would be good
                                    for him.
                                    
                                    "Careful, the chef is temperamental," she said, a smile in her
                                    words.
                                    
                                    Mulder snagged a piece of not-yet-completely-cut sweet onion
                                    after he took his place behind her again. Upon hearing the
                                    crunch, Scully whirled around with a look of disgust.
                                    
                                    "Ew."
                                    
                                    "What? You're the one putting them in the food."
                                    
                                    "Well yeah, but I never eat them raw."
                                    
                                    "Eh, rumor has it I'm a little weird compared to some," Mulder
                                    kissed her quickly on the forehead then walked over to take a
                                    peak at whatever else was cooking. To her surprise, sweet onions
                                    hadn't allowed his breath the power to wilt flowers. 
                                    
                                    "It's chicken, Mulder." Scully had already turned back to her
                                    onions. 
                                    
                                    "You know what I like."
                                    
                                    "Ouch!" Scully quickly ran to the kitchen sink and turned on the
                                    water, running her finger under it. 
                                    
                                    Seeing that Scully had cut herself, Mulder quickly ran to the
                                    bathroom to find a band-aid. He returned to find Scully with her
                                    finger still under the water.
                                    
                                    "Here, give me your hand." Drying her finger with a dishtowel,
                                    Mulder examined the cut before putting the band-aid over the
                                    somewhat minor wound.
                                    
                                    "There, good as new." Mulder ran a caressing touch over her
                                    finger before reluctantly letting it go.
                                    
                                    "Thank you," she smiled up at him.
                                    
                                    For a moment they locked eyes with soft expressions. In Scully's
                                    eyes, Mulder saw hope mixed with an emotion he was unaware could
                                    surface so easily when it came to Scully; love. In Mulder's eyes
                                    Scully saw a myriad of emotions. Hope, fear, trust and love. The
                                    latter warming her heart and causing it to speed up. 
                                    
                                    Just as she thought he was about to kiss her, terror took the
                                    place of every emotion she had just seen in his hazel depths. As
                                    if it had been planned to happen at that moment, Scully felt a
                                    warm liquid begin to trickle down her face. Not a tear. It was
                                    blood.
                                    
                                    Instinctively reaching for a tissue from beside the sink, Scully
                                    murmured an apology as she brought the tissue to her nose.
                                    Suddenly, what had begun as trickle turned into a fountain of
                                    blood. 
                                    
                                    In the past month Scully had done a good job in hiding her
                                    occasional short nosebleeds from Mulder. The only two he knew
                                    about were the ones she had mentioned to him earlier that
                                    afternoon. Why the worst one yet had to happen in front of him
                                    was a mystery to her. 
                                    
                                    "Oh God, Scully!" Mulder picked up the dishtowel he had just used
                                    to dry her finger and dampened it, handing it to her as fast as
                                    he could.
                                    
                                    Scully snatched the towel and ran to her bathroom. 
                                    
                                    Fifteen minutes went by and Mulder hadn't heard anything from the
                                    bathroom. He'd taken the liberty of shutting off the stove not
                                    long after she had run out and then spent the remainder of the
                                    time pacing. He was scared to ask how she was. However, the
                                    silence was worrying him, so he made his way cautiously to the
                                    bathroom door. Upon hearing sobs from behind the pressed wood,
                                    Mulder knocked.
                                    
                                    "Scully, you okay?" 
                                    
                                    No reply.
                                    
                                    "I'm coming in." He half expected the door to be locked but was
                                    pleased to find it wasn't.
                                    
                                    The sight he saw was unbearable. 
                                    
                                    Scully was curled against the wall, her back being supported by
                                    the tub. The nosebleed had stopped, her face was washed, her
                                    shirt ruined and the towel discarded in the sink. Tears were
                                    streaming down her cheeks and she had her arms wrapped around her
                                    legs, her chin propped up on her knees. 
                                    
                                    Mulder took in the sight briefly before making his way to her
                                    side, enveloping her rigid body in his arms. 
                                    
                                    After a few more shaking sobs, Scully pulled away and looked at
                                    him with a pained _expression.
                                    
                                    "Why is He doing this to me?" Was all she whispered.
                                    
                                    He didn't know what to say. He knew she meant God, but he had no
                                    idea. The most beautiful woman he had met had been given cancer.
                                    People like her shouldn't get cancer, but they did and he didn't
                                    know why. 
                                    
                                    With honesty he replied in a hushed tone, "I don't know."
                                    
                                    "I'm losing it Mulder . . . I'm losing my faith."
                                    
                                    No, not that, Mulder thought, please not that. She'd lost too
                                    much to lose that. However, after all that she had lost, Mulder
                                    was surprised she'd held onto it this long. 
                                    
                                    "I've tried trusting my faith, trusting God, but it's getting so
                                    hard," pausing briefly, Scully looked down then continued, "I've
                                    been having a lot of nosebleeds lately, none like this, but
                                    they've been more frequent than usual."
                                    
                                    "But when we went to the doctor on Monday, you said that he said
                                    you were fine."
                                    
                                    "I was, I am. I wouldn't lie about that. Things like this go at
                                    their own pace though, Mulder. The tumor may have grown since
                                    then. It's not common, but not impossible either."
                                    
                                    Mulder shook his head in disbelief and pulled him to her again.
                                    She started crying again. These sobs were gentler than the ones
                                    that had greeted him. 
                                    
                                    Pulling away, Mulder brushed the hair from her face and cupped
                                    her face in his hands. 
                                    
                                    "This may not be the right time to say this but you're beautiful
                                    when you cry." He would have been able to keep from smiling if he
                                    hadn't seen Scully's eyes smile at his compliment. 
                                    
                                    She looked away shyly then brought her eyes back to his. With
                                    finesse and beauty, Mulder scooped his head down and kissed her.
                                    The kiss was gentle, but filled with longing. She kissed him
                                    back, eyes closed and her heart beating fast.
                                    
                                    Moments later, Mulder pulled away opening his eyes to find
                                    Scully's still closed.
                                    
                                    "Perfect timing," she said softly. 
                                    
                                    Mulder smiled and brushed his lips against Scully's once more
                                    before hopping to his feet. 
                                    
                                    "Come on, let's get you off this cold floor and to the couch."
                                    
                                    "I need to finish making dinner," she stated rising to her feet.
                                    
                                    "You will do no such thing, I'll finish it." Mulder reached for
                                    her and lead her to the living room.
                                    
                                    "You don't even know what I am making," amusement in her voice.
                                    
                                    "Are there directions?"
                                    
                                    "Well yeah, but "
                                    
                                    "Then I will be fine."
                                    
                                    Setting her on the couch and placing a blanket over her legs,
                                    Mulder made his way to the kitchen. 
                                    
                                    Before he reached it, Scully called out, "I've worked with you
                                    for almost five years and I know for a fact that you are terrible
                                    at following directions."
                                    
                                    Responding in kind Mulder said, "Yes, but now food is involved."
                                    
                                    Scully chuckled and snuggled into the couch.
                                    
                                    She'd gained Mulder, but there was an emptiness in her on knowing
                                    that her faith was hanging by a thread. She was entering that
                                    dark place she had feared so much in all of this. 
                                    
                                    *****
                                    
                                    "It's alright, just follow the light
                                    And don't be afraid of the dark
                                    In the moonlight, you'll dance till you fall
                                    And always be here in my heart
                                    It's alright now
                                    You're alright now
                                    We're alright now"
                                    'Follow the Light' by Travis
                                    
                                    Stage Four-A Light Worth Fighting For
                                    
                                    Two days later, Mulder and Scully went to the scheduled weekly
                                    check-up. Mulder waited outside her door this time, refusing to
                                    torment himself by sitting in the waiting room with everyone
                                    else. He felt better if he was as close as he could be to her.
                                    
                                    Scully told the doctor about the nosebleed and the small headache
                                    that had followed shortly after. 
                                    
                                    Mulder had successfully finished making dinner and they had
                                    enjoyed themselves. He was back to staring at her again however.
                                    He'd been doing so well in the past month, but the nosebleed had
                                    been a terrible wake-up call. Scully still had cancer. 
                                    
                                    They'd watched an old movie together on TV, but due to Scully's
                                    headache, Mulder went home as soon as the credits began to roll.
                                    He'd kissed her sweetly, just above the nose before he hugged her
                                    close and kissed her on the lips. 
                                    
                                    Scully came out of the examination room, surprised to find Mulder
                                    already outside her door.
                                    
                                    "Well?" Mulder's features were laced with concern.
                                    
                                    "He said it is no larger than before."
                                    
                                    "Did you tell him about the nosebleed?" They were walking now,
                                    heading for the exit. 
                                    
                                    "Of course I told him. He said that it wasn't anything
                                    unexpected, that sometimes some nosebleeds will be worse than
                                    others. I have to pick up some vitamins and start on a new
                                    medication however." She waved a paper bag for emphasis.
                                    
                                    As soon as they made it outside, Mulder grabbed her elbow gently
                                    to stop her. 
                                    
                                    "What's the medication?"
                                    
                                    "Procrit," she stated as if that would explain everything.
                                    
                                    "I don't speak doctor, Scully."
                                    
                                    "Right, sorry. Usually the nurse injects it, but they are
                                    allowing me to do it myself because I'm a doctor. My blood count
                                    is low from the treatment and the nosebleeds, it will help get it
                                    to where it needs to be."
                                    
                                    "Is that anything to worry about?"
                                    
                                    Scully was getting annoyed. Everything was fine! Why couldn't he
                                    just drop it?
                                    
                                    "No, there is nothing to worry about. Mulder, please, can we just
                                    get some lunch and talk about something else." Her irritation was
                                    in her voice. To anyone else it wouldn't have been noticeable,
                                    but to Mulder it was.
                                    
                                    "Sorry," he said sincerely, turning to walk.
                                    
                                    Before he could get too far, Scully grabbed his hand and held it
                                    tight. She laced her fingers through his and waited for him to
                                    look at her again. When he did, he was graced with a Scully
                                    smile. 
                                    
                                    Sometimes it slipped her mind how hard her cancer was on Mulder.
                                    How hard it was on everyone. Her temper would snap from all the
                                    worry and pampering and unleash on whoever had dared to worry
                                    about her. 
                                    
                                    Scully had gone to confession the day before, instead of
                                    attending Mass. She'd spilled her heart out to Father McCue.
                                    Although her faith had been steady and strong before the
                                    nosebleed a few nights earlier, she had yet to talk to Father
                                    McCue face to face. 
                                    
                                    Mulder and Scully had a quiet lunch at a deli down the street
                                    from the Hoover Building, and then returned to finish up some
                                    paper work before heading out. After picking up her vitamins,
                                    Scully told Mulder she was tired so he left her to sleep, the
                                    worry still etched into his features.
                                    
                                    He's trying, Scully thought as she made her way into her
                                    apartment.
                                    
                                    A few nights later they indulged themselves with a pizza and a
                                    romantic comedy, Scully's choice. Sure, she was a rational
                                    professional who took life, step by cautious step, but deep down
                                    she was a hopeless romantic. 
                                    
                                    Mulder had a pillow in his lap, Scully's head resting on it, her
                                    body stretched across the couch. He was playing with her hair as
                                    they watched 'When Harry Met Sally'. 
                                    
                                    "Mulder, let me up."
                                    
                                    Taking his hand from her hair, Scully stood up immediately
                                    bringing her thumb and index finger up to squeeze the bridge of
                                    her nose. She picked up the pizza box, but before she could head
                                    to the kitchen, Mulder interrupted her mission by speaking.
                                    
                                    "You have a headache?"
                                    
                                    "A small one. Pause the movie, I'll get me something for it and
                                    then we can finish the rest of it," she smiled a weak smile and
                                    headed to the kitchen to drop the pizza off on the counter.
                                    
                                    It hurt worse than she was letting on and Mulder knew it. 
                                    
                                    Mulder waited patiently for her to return and when she did she
                                    was feigning a pain-free _expression.
                                    
                                    She rested her head on the pillow again, but instead of going to
                                    play with her hair again, Mulder began to rub her temples. It
                                    didn't help much, but the sensation alone was almost healing
                                    enough.
                                    
                                    They finished the movie then watched the news.
                                    
                                    When it was almost eleven, Scully tried to hide a yawn but failed
                                    miserably.
                                    
                                    "I better let you sleep," Mulder said, smiling. 
                                    
                                    Scully sighed and almost refused to get up, but when she yawned
                                    again she realized it was useless to fight it anymore. 
                                    
                                    They both stood up together, but before anything could be said,
                                    Mulder was reaching into his pocket. His smiled had dropped and
                                    it looked as though he was avoiding looking at her.
                                    
                                    "Here," he handed her a tissue.
                                    
                                    Bringing her hand to her face, Scully felt the blood and accepted
                                    the tissue. Great, he was carrying them in his pocket now, she
                                    thought as she excused herself to the bathroom. 
                                    
                                    He followed soon after, the nosebleed having stopped already by
                                    the time he reached the door. He leaned against the doorjamb.
                                    
                                    "I guess it wouldn't be an evening together without a nosebleed,
                                    right?" Scully joked bitterly as she washed her face and threw
                                    the tissue away.
                                    
                                    Mulder allowed her room to exit as she made her way into her
                                    bedroom and sat down on the bed. 
                                    
                                    "My head is killing me."
                                    
                                    The hidden meaning didn't go unnoticed by Mulder and he walked
                                    slowly to join her. A tear was streaming down her cheek. Mulder
                                    cautiously brought his hand up to stroke her back.
                                    
                                    Scully's downcast eyes suddenly shot up to Mulder and he wiped
                                    her face with a feather touch. Tears continued to fall.
                                    
                                    "Tell me I'm okay, Mulder."
                                    
                                    Mulder smiled and brought her into his arms.
                                    
                                    "You're perfect."
                                    
                                    Scully wrinkled her nose and replied, "No, perfect is too much
                                    pressure, okay is fine."
                                    
                                    "You're perfectly okay."
                                    
                                    Scully shook in his arms, a combination of crying and laughter.
                                    
                                    "You have to hold on Scully. We're going to find out how to beat
                                    this."
                                    
                                    "I'm trying, Mulder."
                                    
                                    His nod brushed against the top of her head in understanding and
                                    then they both fell silent.
                                    
                                    It wasn't long before Mulder realized she'd fallen asleep. So as
                                    not to disturb her, Mulder took a chance and lay her down gently,
                                    covering her with a blanket at the end of the bed. 
                                    
                                    Scully shifted, her hand searching. Mulder quieted her hand by
                                    grabbing it and holding tight. Seeing that he would not get his
                                    hand back, Mulder lay down beside her.
                                    
                                    Half the night he watched her, unable to take his eyes away from
                                    her. He watched her out of concern, but more so because she had
                                    captivated him. 
                                    
                                    At almost a quarter to three in the morning, sleep took over
                                    Mulder's body. He continued to hold Scully's hand as his eyes
                                    fell shut, finally welcoming sleep. 
                                    
                                    They both had to believe there was a light at the end of the dark
                                    tunnel and it was worth fighting for. 
                                    
                                    *****
                                    
                                    "Once there was a darkness, 
                                    deep and endless night
                                    You gave me everything you had
                                    you gave me light."
                                    'I Will Remember You' by Sarah McLachlan
                                    
                                    Stage Five-Sweetness and Light
                                    
                                    It had been a blessing to wake up beside Scully. They had held
                                    hands the entire night, not daring to let go. Several more weeks
                                    went by and Mulder and Scully continued to see each other as much
                                    as time would allow. 
                                    
                                    That is until Mulder decided it was time to find out the truth
                                    behind Scully's cancer once and for all. Not only would Mulder
                                    seek out her truth but also he planned to expose things and
                                    people that were threatening lives of more than just one person. 
                                    
                                    So he did. He faked his own death and found out things that he
                                    wanted to know and even things he did not. In this time Scully,
                                    who'd assisted Mulder in trying to expose a man who had messed
                                    with both their lives, was hospitalized. The cancer had
                                    metastasized and there was little, if any, hopes that she would
                                    live. 
                                    
                                    Seeing her, even in a hospital bed, after playing dead had almost
                                    been like being home again. To see and feel the familiarity of
                                    Scully was something that would never get old. Ever.
                                    
                                    Then to discover a possible cure for her given cancer in a chip
                                    was almost too hard for Mulder to believe. Almost. He brought the
                                    chip to her and Dr. Zuckerman and, much to Bill Scully's
                                    disappointment they accepted the unconventional treatment. With
                                    that decision, Mulder earned another enemy: Bill Scully. 
                                    
                                    It was only a matter of time before any of them knew if the chip
                                    would cause Scully's cancer to go into remission. 
                                    
                                    Unfortunately more mind games had yet to be played with him. His
                                    sister. Deals with the devil. He almost accepted the Cigarette-
                                    Smoking Man's offer, agonizing over such a decision at Scully's
                                    bedside. 
                                    
                                    While Mulder struggled in his decision of leaving his quest to
                                    work for the dark side, Scully continued trying to then find her
                                    faith once again. 
                                    
                                    Mulder was the only one who knew of the dark place she had
                                    slipped into, until Scully gathered the courage to tell her
                                    mother. Breaking down and admitting such a thing to her warrior
                                    of faith mother had been hard. 
                                    
                                    Finally Scully agreed to see Father McCue and speak with him face
                                    to face. To pray with him. To pray for herself, for Mulder and
                                    even their life together. 
                                    
                                    Mulder weeping the previous evening had startled Scully, but she
                                    remained still, allowing him to finally unleash the emotions and
                                    sorrow he felt through all of this. Not just her cancer, but his
                                    battle to uncover the truths that shadowed his life. 
                                    
                                    It wasn't until before her meeting with Father McCue that she
                                    learned of the decisions Mulder was being forced to make. 
                                    
                                    She and Father McCue prayed, while Mulder fought. 
                                    
                                    He fought and won. So did Scully. 
                                    
                                    Mulder went straight to the hospital from the hearing. Entering
                                    Scully's room, the _expression on her face was all the evidence
                                    of her remission he needed. He beamed from the news and kissed
                                    her sweetly on the cheek, taking into consideration that her
                                    family, namely Bill, was in the room. He briefed her on the
                                    hearing, only because she asked, then left to absorb everything
                                    that had happened in the last few days. 
                                    
                                    Sitting on the bench outside Scully's door, Skinner had
                                    approached Mulder and congratulated Mulder on his guess and then
                                    told him of the death of the Cigarette-Smoking Man. Mulder didn't
                                    believe it for one second. Men like him didn't die. 
                                    
                                    Left alone once again, this time with a picture of him and his
                                    sister when they were young, Mulder surrendered to his emotions. 
                                    
                                    It was a little over an hour later before Margaret and visitors
                                    left Scully's room. 
                                    
                                    Margaret lay her hand on Mulder's slouched shoulder and squeezed
                                    gently. 
                                    
                                    "Fox, Dana wants to see you," she smiled. 
                                    
                                    Bill stood beside Margaret, hands in his pockets, struggling with
                                    something. He almost wanted to shake Mulder's hand, but the
                                    Scully stubbornness wouldn't allow it. He kept his gaze cool as
                                    he watched Mulder silently stand and enter his sister's room. 
                                    
                                    Upon entering, he saw Scully sitting up in bed. She turned and
                                    smiled.
                                    
                                    "Hi." She offered her hand and moved over to allow Mulder room to
                                    sit on her mattress. 
                                    
                                    He took her hand and kissed it. He still hadn't said anything
                                    yet, so Scully searched his face for any clues. 
                                    
                                    Bringing her hand to stroke his cheek, Scully narrowed her eyes
                                    in an analyzing manner. "You okay, Mulder?" She finally asked. 
                                    
                                    Mulder brought his eyes to hers and cleared his throat. "I just
                                    received word about an hour ago that the Smoking Man is dead."
                                    
                                    At that announcement, Scully's eyes widened and she straightened
                                    up more in her bed. 
                                    
                                    "How? When?"
                                    
                                    "Shot through his window, earlier today."
                                    
                                    Scully looked into his eyes. "There's more isn't there?"
                                    
                                    Mulder nodded slightly, reaching into his jacket to pull out the
                                    photo and handed it to her. "They found this in a pool of blood,"
                                    he explained. Scully looked at the photo, not understanding what
                                    it meant.
                                    
                                    "A few nights ago I saw my sister, talked to her. She told me
                                    that this man, this devil incarnate, was her father."
                                    
                                    With that, Scully's eyes shot back up to Mulder. Not again, she
                                    thought. 
                                    
                                    "Mulder, you don't actually believe "
                                    
                                    "Of course not. I'm not even sure if I believe that was actually
                                    my sister. I'm also pretty damn sure he's not even dead. I'm not
                                    sure what I should believe in anymore." With each sentence
                                    Mulder's eyes drifted more and more away from Scully's until
                                    finally he was staring at their entwined fingers.
                                    
                                    Would you believe that I love you? Scully thought as she pulled
                                    her back completely away from the mattress to pull Mulder into a
                                    comforting hug. 
                                    
                                    Mulder wanted to slap himself. He should be happy right now.
                                    Scully was in remission. There were so many things bittersweet in
                                    his life however that he had no idea if he should smile, scream
                                    in anger or weep. 
                                    
                                    "You believed in me, Mulder," Scully whispered in his ear. "You
                                    believed that my faith would get me through this and told me that
                                    I couldn't stop believing that it would. I know you believe in
                                    us, in everything that we are to each other. Everything that we
                                    have been to each other and can be."
                                    
                                    She had pulled away from him by her last statement, her forehead
                                    resting against his. Mulder's eyes were closed as she spoke, that
                                    is until she'd mentioned the word 'us'. 
                                    
                                    Of all the things he wanted to believe, Mulder wanted to believe
                                    in their relationship more than anything. At the moment that was
                                    all that mattered to him. He'd been lied to and probably was
                                    still being lied to, but even though that cut deep, Scully was
                                    like a pain-killer. 
                                    
                                    "I do," he said softly, combing his fingers through her hair. 
                                    
                                    Scully initiated the kiss that followed. It was a slow lingering
                                    kiss.
                                    
                                    "I do too," she said after pulling away. 
                                    
                                    His eyes swept over her features and he grinned. Scully was
                                    relieved to see him smile again, but the look in his eyes almost
                                    worried her. They were twinkling. 
                                    
                                    "You're beautiful." Mulder finally said.
                                    
                                    Scully almost laughed at the compliment. She had bags under her
                                    eyes, her face was pale and her hair was tousled and ragged from
                                    days of bed rest and no shampoo. She almost said what was on her
                                    mind until two fingers silenced her.
                                    
                                    "Shh, I don't want to hear a word. Just face it, you're
                                    beautiful."
                                    
                                    Of all the moments for color to return to her face, why did it
                                    have to be then? She felt the flush in her cheeks and turned her
                                    face away quickly, a smile playing at her lips. 
                                    
                                    When Scully brought her face back to him, she faced serious
                                    Mulder again. Her smile dropped slowly, but before she could ask
                                    what was bothering him, he said it. 
                                    
                                    "I love you."
                                    
                                    Scully wiped a tear away from the corner of her eye, not allowing
                                    it the chance to fall.
                                    
                                    "Of all the things that I doubt in this world, that is one thing
                                    I am sure of," he reassured, taking both her hands in his. 
                                    
                                    She wanted to say it back. It wasn't that she was afraid, just
                                    speechless. Scully had always known of Mulder's love for her, but
                                    to hear him say it aloud was unexpected and amazing. 
                                    
                                    The look in his eyes said that he wanted her to say it back, but
                                    not hurt because she hadn't yet. It had been such a spontaneous
                                    proclamation. Her smile, blush and the shy way she'd turned away
                                    from him had triggered it. 
                                    
                                    Before his thoughts could continue, Scully rested her palm
                                    against his cheek, her eyes soft. 
                                    
                                    "I love you." 
                                    
                                    She wanted just the three simple words. Mulder grinned in
                                    response and caressed her lips with his. 
                                    
                                    "You made it Scully," he whispered as he pulled away. He swept
                                    his eyes over her face in wonderment with a smile. 
                                    
                                    With a nod Scully replied, "I did. I owe it all to you." She
                                    paused and then added, "Well not all of it," as she looked up to
                                    the heavens briefly. 
                                    
                                    Mulder offered a smile and nod, unable to tear his eyes away from
                                    her. He reached out and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear,
                                    caressing her cheek as he pulled his hand away. 
                                    
                                    "When do you get to leave?"
                                    
                                    "Well, Dr. Zuckerman has actually come to the conclusion that my
                                    remission is a miracle, so he wants to keep me here a few days
                                    for observation and give me time to build up my strength again.
                                    You should have seen his face when he told me," she chuckled.
                                    
                                    "I wish I could have been here."
                                    
                                    "You would have if you could," she smiled. 
                                    
                                    He was staring at her and for once it felt wonderful. Before it
                                    had brought on an uncomfortable sinking feeling in her stomach.
                                    Now his staring still did funny things to her stomach, but she
                                    didn't want it to stop. 
                                    
                                    "You hungry?" He questioned.
                                    
                                    "A little," she said with a shrug. 
                                    
                                    "I'll see if I can sneak in something. Anything in particular?"
                                    
                                    "Surprise me. As long as it has a lot of fat or sugar, I am
                                    game." She smiled playfully and settled into her bed again.
                                    
                                    He nodded and kissed her forehead. With reluctance he released
                                    the hand he had grown fond of holding and began to exit.
                                    
                                    "Thank you," he heard from behind him.
                                    
                                    "Well, even if you haven't had much of it, I'm sure hospital food
                                    is getting pretty old."
                                    
                                    Scully smiled and shook her head. "No, not that Mulder. Well, ok,
                                    yes that but for everything. For being here for me in all of
                                    this, for believing in me. For loving me." She was close to
                                    tears.
                                    
                                    He strode back to her bedside and brushed a kiss across the top
                                    of her head. 
                                    
                                    "It's been an honor. I should be thanking you for loving me.
                                    You're easy to love, as for me . . . well, to go into that would
                                    cut into your eating time. I just have to say that, you've given
                                    me a reason to hold on."
                                    
                                    Stunned speechless again, Scully just cupped his cheek and swept
                                    her thumb over his lips. She sighed and dropped her hand. He
                                    kissed her forehead again and then left her room.
                                    
                                    As Mulder walked, he sent a silent thank you to who Scully had
                                    almost fallen from; God. Mulder thanked Him for Scully's
                                    remission. He even thanked Him for leading Scully back to her
                                    faith. Mulder thanked Him for their love. 
                                    
                                    He still had his questions, about everything including this God
                                    he only sporadically turned to, but what he had was enough for
                                    now. 
                                    
                                    Mulder knew he didn't deserve Scully, but he wanted her and he
                                    had her. He had finally been given the chance to experience the
                                    thing called love. True, everlasting, unconditional love. 
                                    
                                    *****
                                    
                                    "Take my hand and lead me to salvation, take my love for love is
                                    everlasting. And remember the truth that once was spoken: 'To
                                    love another person is to see the face of God.'"
                                    -From 'Les Miserables' by Victor Hugo-
                                    *****
                                    
                                    Avast! That is the end.
                                    This baby came out only slightly different than I had planned,
                                    but hey, that happens. I really need to step away from the mushy
                                    romance novels however, oy. I hope you loved it and, more than
                                    anything, I hope you TELL me you loved it. Even if you HATED it
                                    (harsh) tell me why! Even if you just want to say a nice little
                                    "hello" or "well done", that's great too. Fantastic. Love!
                                    

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