New! Beauty's Beast by Susan Proto
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999

Category: Story, MulderTorture, Angst, M&S/UST/

Rating: PG13 for language

Spoilers: Through Sixth Season

Summary: Mulder suffers love and loss.

Archive: Yes

Disclaimer: Mulder & Scully characters belong to 10/13 productions and Chris
Carter. I'm just borrowing them. I won't keep them. At the end of the story
you can have `em back, I swear, (unless you *want* to give `em to me.) All
other characters belong to me, and if Mr. Carter wants to borrow them, all he
needs to do is ask. <grin>

Do I want feedback? Of course I want feedback! Will I respond to you? Of
course I'll respond to you....but be patient.. I'm planning a Bar Mitzvah, and
real life is a tad hectic! Thanks in advance for your understanding!

For Vickie: ;-)

1.) Mulder ain't dead.

2.) Scully don't give a hoot about Emily.

3.) They're physically apart, but it ain't by their choice... and emotionally,
they're as tight as ever! <G>

4.) There is a "No Dumping" sign posted in the disclaimers, just for

5.) But there is enough angst to go around for all....

Beauty's Beast
by Susan Proto (

Part 1/4

Burke Rehabilitation Center
Baltimore, MD
Tuesday, 2:45 p.m.

Mulder shifted in the bed, having totally forgotten the excruciating pain just
that little action had caused him not five minutes earlier.
"DAMN!" he shouted aloud. "Damn it!" he repeated with a little less

He'd been in the rehab center for only a day and a half, but he'd already had
enough of the confinement. To make matters worse, Scully was still out of
town. She had to go back to Kentucky to finish up the remaining paperwork on
the case that got him injured in the first place.

She hadn't wanted to leave him, but since she'd stayed by his side all through
his initial hospital admittance, surgery, and recuperation period for the last
ten days, the bureau was not about to grant her leave to baby sit Mulder while
he went through rehab. So, she returned to the scene of the crime, and got
stuck with filing all of the reports.

Mulder owed her big time. And at the moment he would have given anything to
have been able to return with her if just to keep her company. He missed her.
And his leg hurt like hell. And he wanted to go home. And he missed her.
Oh. That was mentioned already. But he missed Scully a lot, and it made him
feel even more miserable and in pain to not have her around to remind him
everything was going to be okay.

So, for now, even though Mulder desperately wanted to go home, he knew the
only way they'd discharge him was to make sure his leg was healed enough for
him to be able to maneuver about.

Of course, with the amount of damage his leg had sustained, it seemed very
unlikely he'd be released before the estimated three week time period. So for
now, he simply wanted to find a more comfortable position in the bed to which
he was now confined.

He didn't succeed. "SHIT!" he cried out in pain.

"Nice mouth," called out a hidden voice with an odd timbre. "You eat with
that mouth too?"

"What?" Mulder responded in an irritated tone, as he had no idea as to where
the person, whose voice he was listening to, was hiding.

"I said you seem to be suffering from 'potty mouth'."

"What the hell? Who the hell is talking? Show yourself for crying out loud!"
Mulder was in too much discomfort to have to deal with both his leg and

"Maybe I will, maybe I won't," taunted the voice.

"Who the hell are you? Where the hell are you?" Mulder asked in confusion, as
he could hear the voice fairly clearly, but he didn't have a clue as to where
or from whom it was coming. Now the paranoid side of him was coming out, and
he was becoming, if nothing else, anxious about the seemingly lack of security
in the facility. After all, he was an FBI agent who was shot in the line of
duty. Mulder was in fact, becoming downright nervous.

He pressed again, "Look, I don't know who you are, but I know I want you out
of my room now. So, whoever the hell you are, get the fuck out of here before
I call security!"

"NO! Wait! Kelly. My name is Kelly. You like the name Kelly?" asked the
slightly raspy, somewhat nasal voice.

"Oh, yeah. I _love_ the name Kelly," he said with little patience. Mulder
was in pain and having an unknown person hiding somewhere in his room was not
sitting well with him at the moment. "Look, Kelly, I would appreciate it if
you would either come out of hiding, or get the hell out of here. I'm not
feeling too great at the moment, and I don't feel like dealing with this crap
right now."

Mulder in fact felt rather nauseous at that moment, and would have given
anything for a garbage can to hold onto for security. He was trying to go
cold turkey in using pain killers, but the intense stabbing sensation which
now pulsated up and down his thigh was making him feel sick to his stomach.

"Kelly, where ever the hell you are, I need that trash can over there. Now.
Please I need it now!" Mulder pleaded, as he felt his stomach do enough flip
flops to make up for ten Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster rides.

Several moments passed and there was no response, when suddenly from behind
the closet door, a small figure appeared. Her head was down, but Mulder could
see she had a full head of dark, brown hair.

"Kelly? The trash can, please hurry!" he pleaded anxiously.

She kept her head down and moved as quickly as she could to the trash can on
the side of the bed. She picked it up and pushed it toward Mulder. He took
it greedily and immediately put it to good use.

Mulder vomited the contents of his breakfast and his lunch. His leg continued
to throb and now his head was pulsating to the same pounding rhythm. It took
a few minutes for Mulder to finish emptying the contents of his stomach, but
when he did, he felt totally whipped. All he could think of was pushing the
call button to get the nurse so she would give him some meds. As much as he
didn't want to have to use them, he knew at that point in time, he didn't have
a choice.

When he finally felt like he was able to pick his head up out of the trash
can, he got a better look at the small figure in the room with him. It was a
child; a young girl, though since she still hadn't looked up Mulder couldn't
determine how old she was. Her face remained clearly pointed to the floor as
if she were intent upon counting the tiles beneath her feet.

While Mulder contemplated the small figure before him, he reached for the
pitcher of water on the table right beside his bed. He poured himself some
water and sipped it very, very slowly through the straw.

The child then slowly raised her head with her eyes opened wide, as if to
offer him a dare. When he continued to sip slowly on the straw and drink his
water, she remarked with a slight edge to her voice, "Okay, I'm impressed."

"Impressed?" he echoed, not sure as to what to say next.

"Yeah. Not a shudder, not flinch. I'm impressed," she repeated.

Mulder nodded slightly in acknowledgment of what she'd just said and then
responded, "Yeah, well, you'd be surprised what I've seen in my line of


Mulder noted the look of what appeared to be surprise on her face. At least
he thought it was surprise. He maintained a neutral expression himself, but
It was, to be honest, difficult to discern exactly what expression the child
was expressing on her rather uniquely formed face.

He noted her slightly larger than expected head with its somewhat flattened
face, which caused the child's eyes to be spread farther apart than normal.
Her nose was actually wider and much flatter as well.

She fell silent for a moment as she wasn't sure how to respond to Mulder's
rather atypical 'lack of response.' Finally, she went with what she felt
most comfortable with; taken from the old adage, 'a good defense is a good

"You know, they don't know what they're talking about," she said very

"Who doesn't know what they're talking about, and what is it that they're
talking about?" he asked curiously.

"Well, they're talking about you, but they're wrong. Your nose is too big;
way too big for your face." It was a presented as a statement of fact.

"Excuse me?" he remarked incredulously. "What are you talking about, young

"The nurses keep saying how gorgeous you are, but your nose is too damn big!"
she said matter of fact.

"Umm, watch your own 'potty mouth' young lady," he said. "And my nose may be
too big, but yours is pretty much nonexistent, so I guess we should call this
one a draw, okay?"

Kelly stood there with her mouth practically gaping open. Had he actually
said what he said? Kelly wasn't sure how to react to this new found candor.

"What's your name?" she asked in attempt to divert them both.


"Mulder? That's a ridiculous first name," she responded.

"Never said it was my first name."

"Oh. So, what's your first name?" Kelly asked.

"Doesn't matter, since you're never going to use it," he responded in rapid
fire succession.

"Oh? And why not?" Kelly retorted.

"Because, I don't allow anyone to use it," he replied, "My own mother even
calls me Mulder."

"Oh, bullshit," she reacted.

"Damn potty mouth," he muttered.

They stared at one another, in an apparent standoff. Minutes passed, when she
finally asked, "Why you here?"

"Screwed up my leg chasing down a bad guy," he said.

"You're a cop?" she asked curiously.

"Kind of. FBI agent." Mulder paused for a minute and then asked the same
question of her. "What's your excuse?"

"Oh, I had another stupid surgery on my spine. I gotta go through these
stupid exercises and stuff, so I don't get all out of whack again," she
replied. "But it's okay. I like this place better anyway. It's kind of
like my home away from home," she chuckled a bit as she said that, as if she'd
made a joke.

Suddenly the door to Mulder's room swung open and one of the floor nurses, Lin
Hu, walked in. "So there you are, Miss Porter. We've been looking for you,
sweet pea! Time for your therapy session. Let's get you a chariot and get
you over there PDQ."

He watched as Kelly, a mere wisp of a child, nodded compliantly at Lin and
went to the door. Before she left, however, she turned to Mulder, and said in
her best 'Terminator' voice, "I'll be back."

Mulder responded in the only way he could. In his best 'Arnold'
impersonation, he said, "I'll be here."


When Lin Hu escorted Kelly Porter out of his room, Mulder had a chance to
reflect upon what had just occurred, though he wasn't able to make too much
sense out of it. Kelly was a child with physical problems which went beyond
her spinal surgery. She had facial deformities as well as tumor like growths
on her face and neck.

Mulder had also observed the skin around Kelly's eyes seemed to bulge out.
There was definitely something odd about the construct of her eye sockets, but
Mulder wasn't sure what it was. The most noticeable characteristic about
Kelly's face, however, was the numerous small, dark brown, beauty marks around
her face and neck which framed the small tumors scattered around her face.

Upon reflection, Mulder couldn't believe he'd made the crack about her nose,
yet he hadn't meant it cruelly. Granted it was rapid fire retort to her
comment about his nose, but it was a more of a statement of fact, much in the
same way Kelly was referring to Mulder's too big nose as a statement of fact.
He could understand if the child was insulted, but she didn't seem to be.
Granted, she seemed surprised, but not upset.

At this point, however, Mulder wasn't sure if he even wanted to think about
the scenario which had just taken place; he had enough of his own problems to
worry about. Mulder certainly didn't need to worry about those of a young
girl with enough medical problems to make his own seem very insignificant.

Yet, he couldn't get her expression out of his mind when he threw her own
imperfections back up in her face. It was certainly one of surprise, but
tinged with something he thought might have been one of respect, or perhaps
even gratitude.

Of course, moments after she'd gone and he'd finished focusing on someone
other than himself, the pain in Mulder's leg returned in full force. He rang
his buzzer in the hope he'd find relief as quickly as possible.

4:15 p.m.

"So, Fox, what's up?" Kelly asked as she wheeled herself into Mulder's room
about ninety minutes later.

"How the hell did you find out my name?" he asked annoyed, though he was
pretty sure it was more because the pain meds still hadn't kicked in by then.

"Checked your chart, Fox," she said, with an obvious emphasis on his given

"Look, I would really appreciate it if you didn't call me that. I'm asking
you nicely. Please," he pleaded firmly.

"So, how come your Mom hated you so much she named you 'Fox'?" Kelly asked.

"Why are you assuming my mother hated me? My mother didn't hate me. It's my
mother's maiden name. She wanted to keep the name going," he said.

"So it couldn't have stayed alive as your middle name?" she asked
incredulously. "God, Fox, how many times did you have to defend yourself
because of that dumb ass name?"

"Too many times," he muttered. Once again he shifted around in the bed and
tried to get comfortable. He was not succeeding and was becoming more and
more upset. For some reason the pain meds the nurse had given him earlier now
felt as if they were nothing more than sugar pills. His leg started acting up
immediately. "God damn leg hurts like a mother fucker!" Mulder gasped.

"You want me to get Lin? " she asked earnestly.

"Yeah. Kelly, please. It suddenly feels like my leg is burning up," he
explained through clenched teeth.

Kelly, who was still in her wheelchair, pushed herself to the door, opened it,
and then called out loudly, "Mulder needs an infection inspection!" She
waited for an acknowledgment from the main desk and then returned to Mulder.

"They said two minutes. Hang in there, Mulder. Two minutes isn't too bad,"
she said encouragingly.

"Okay. I know, but damn, it hurts. This wasn't supposed to happen. I was
supposed to be clear of this shit," he bemoaned.

Lin walked in the door with Doctor Crane in tow. "Okay, Mr. Mulder, what can
we do for you?"

"My leg. Hurts like hell, and it feels like it's burning up," Mulder

"Okay, Mr. Mulder__," the doctor began before he was quickly cut off by Kelly.

"He likes to be called 'Mulder'. And that's Secret Agent Mulder to you!"
retorted Kelly.

Mulder managed to cast a smile over Kelly's innocent slip of the tongue.
Secret Agent Man. Mulder thought that sounded way 'kewler' than just '
Special Agent'. However, the only thing he was truly concerned about being
'cooler' was his leg. It really did feel warm to the touch.

"Okay, Agent Mulder, let's check out the leg." The doctor gave a perfunctory
exam of the leg wound and subsequent stitches. The leg felt tender to the
touch of the doctor's hands, which meant Mulder was probably not going to be
walking on it in the near future. At that moment, he didn't care anymore.
He simply wanted some relief from the pain.

"Well, it looks like you've developed a little infection in the incision, Mr.
Mulder. Everything had been progressing well, so I'm surprised you developed
an infection at this point, but, it's not unheard of. We'll get you started
on a nice little antibiotic cocktail and have you up and ready for therapy in
a couple of days," Dr. Crane concluded.

"Thanks, Doc. What about the pain. Can I get something for it?" he asked.

"We'll try some Tylenol (r) with codeine Mr. Mulder. That should do the trick,"
he replied. He nodded toward Lin Hu and she went off to pick up a dosage of
the Tylenol (r). "So, Miss Porter," the doctor said, as he turned toward the
younger of the two patients in his care, "have you been harassing one of my

"C'mon, Doc, give a kid a break! It's soooo, darrrrrn, booooring in this
place! What's a kid to do if not harass the other patients?" Kelly replied

Dr. Crane smiled at Kelly's performance. He felt compassion for her, as did
the rest of the staff who were familiar with Kelly's circumstances. "Okay,
Miss Porter, we need to let Mr. Mulder ___."

"__Mulder! Just plain, Mulder," Kelly insisted.

"Fine, we need to let _Mulder_ rest for now. I'm sure he wouldn't mind a
little more harassing tomorrow, but for now, he needs to let the medication do
its job without any interference from you, young lady."

"Oh, okay," Kelly agreed begrudgingly, "but I'm gonna check on you later, just
to make sure they're treating you all right. Okay, Mulder?"

"Sure, Kelly. I'd like that," replied Mulder. What surprised the hell out of
him was he really meant it.

End of Part 1/4

Beauty's Beast
by Susan Proto (

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 2/4

6:25 p.m.

A couple of hours passed and the phone rang Mulder out of his stupor. He
reached for it blindly, as he found it difficult to deal with the light with
his opened eyes. When he picked it up, he said a mumbled, "Mulder," to which
he heard the reply, "Mulder, it's me."

He woke up right quick after that.

"Scully? Is that you?" His tone of voice was frightfully close to that of an
adolescent's whine. "What time is it?" he asked confused.

"It's going on six-thirty, Mulder. What's going on? You're not sleeping on
the job, are you?" she asked in jest.

"Naw, Scully. I'm getting ready to do an Irish Jig for you," he replied in
kind. "So, what's going on? Are you coming home soon?"

"Not soon enough. Mulder, the bullet that hit you? You're not going to
believe what the ballistics tests finally showed up; at least once they
decided to unbury it."

"What? What are you talking about?" Mulder asked curiously while working very
hard to maintain his control over the still intolerable pain in his infected

"You were hit by friendly fire, my dear partner."

"What? Friendly fire? Damn. You're kidding. Who?"

"Officer Gregory Halpern. Third year on the force. First shoot. Can you
imagine? The poor guy gets his first shot in , and it has to be against a
fellow officer.

"Funny, I would think he'd have won the office pool," Mulder muttered.

"C'mon, Mulder. None of that, okay? Now, how are you doing? Did you have a
good therapy workout?" Scully asked with concern.

"Well, no. Umm, I mean, they had to reschedule my therapy for tomorrow, since
they were, umm, overbooked," Mulder explained weakly.

"Oh? That's rather unusual, isn't it , Mulder?"

"Yeah, I guess, but you know things are never mundane when I'm around,

"True, true," she chuckled, not giving the lame excuse another thought. "So,
how _is_ the leg feeling?" Scully asked curiously.

"Fine," he replied. "I feel just fine."

Which of course should have been Scully's first clue that everything was
definitely not fine.


Kelly had taken up residence in the closet just prior to Scully's phone call,
so she'd heard the entire side of Mulder's conversation. She was a pretty
smart kid, and was able to fill in the missing points of interest fairly

For one, she learned that much like herself, Mulder lied through his teeth
when he didn't want to draw attention to himself or share bad news. She'd
watched him throughout the entire phone call, and she watched him wince every
time he shifted in the bed or said he felt 'fine.'

Kelly wasn't positive who this Scully was, though her people sense knew Scully
had to be a woman. The man practically melted into the pillow when he'd
realized it was her. So, not only was Scully a woman, but she was a woman who
Mulder was in love with. Time to find out exactly who this Scully person

"So? Who the hell is Scully?" Mulder practically jumped out of the bed he
was so startled!

"Jeeze! You have got to stop doing that!" Mulder cried out. "God they're
gonna have me in for a God damned coronary instead of just rehab for my leg."
At the mere mention of his leg, Mulder winced. He was still in pain, and he
couldn't understand why. The antibiotics usually kicked in a lot faster than
this. He then looked over at his visitor and something occurred to him.

"Kelly, how long have you been in there?"

"Not long," she hedged, but when she looked up at Mulder she confessed a bit
more, "Oh, just for a little while."

"Kelly, you really can't be coming in here without being invited in. Please.
There are times I would appreciate my privacy and being absolutely certain
that I have it. Please?" he pleaded.

"Sure, okay," she responded quickly. She saw Mulder still looked a bit
annoyed, so she added a not very contrite, "Sorry." Mulder nodded in
acknowledgment, to which Kelly immediately asked, "So? Who is Scully?"

"Christ, Kelly! Isn't anything sacred," he snorted with a slight chuckle.
The kid had so much moxie, he couldn't stay angry with her for too long.

"Sure, but who is she? Wife?"

"No! No, she's not my wife, and how the hell do you know she's a woman?" he
asked curiously.

"Oh, women just know these things, Fox."

"Mulder," he reminded in a deadpan.

"Right. So if she's not your wife, what is she, your girlfriend?"

He actually hesitated. He hadn't meant to, of course, since Scully was not in
any way, shape, or form his girlfriend. Oh, but how he wished it to be true.
When he finally came to his senses, he replied, "That would not be very
accurate. She's not my girlfriend; she is my partner."

"Oh, another secret agent, huh?" Kelly responded excitedly.

Mulder laughed lightly as he corrected her miscue again, "Special Agent,
kiddo, not 'Secret' Agent. God, you make us sound like we work for the CIA
instead of the FBI."

"Oh. Well, how are you feeling now?" she asked. Kelly was astute enough to
see the face that was smiling not seconds ago, took on a pained expression.

"Okay. I'm fine," he answered automatically.

"You lie," she retorted quickly.

"What?" he looked at her incredulously. How the hell did she know? "What are
you talking about?"

"Mulder, I can see it in your face. And I was watching you when you were
talking to Scully. Every time she asked you how you were doing, you said you
were fine, but every single time you said it you made a face. The same face
you made just now!" she animatedly explained.

"A face? C'mon, Kelly. I don't know what you're talking about," rebuked

"Oh, yeah? You make _this_ face," and she then proceeded to make a small
grimace with her mouth. She squinted slightly with her eyes, and she tried to
squinch up her nose a bit, but the facial deformity didn't allow her to do
that part of her imitation justice.

"I look like that?" he asked with a dubious tone.

"Yep. Look, I'll show you. She opened up one of the night tables and pulled
out a hand held mirror she knew they kept in there. She stood up gingerly,
and moved to be by Mulder's bedside. Next, she asked Mulder to tell her why
he didn't tell Scully the truth about his leg, to which he replied without
hesitation, "I'm fine, Kelly!"

The youngster was fast on the draw and held the mirror up very quickly.
Mulder could plainly see that, with the exception of his wrinkled nose, Kelly
had his expression down to a tee. He closed his eyes then and sighed.

"I can't tell her yet. There's nothing she can do about it at the moment, and
it would only make her feel badly," he said softly. He paused momentarily,
and then just started talking as if he needed the catharsis. "She's stuck in
Kentucky. The guy who shot me turned out to not be the perp, but one of
Lexington's finest. Scully's gotta stay in town for the internal
investigation since she's one of the few eye witnesses. Lucky her." He then
added in a whisper, "Unlucky me."

"You were shot by a cop?" Kelly asked unbelievingly.

"Yep. Like I said, 'unlucky' me," he replied.

"So, how come no one else has comes to visit you?" she asked curiously.

"Brazen little pistol, aren't you?" Mulder asked rhetorically, but Kelly
nodded enthusiastically in agreement anyway.

"Don't have anyone around to visit me," he explained wearily. "My mother
lives in Connecticut, so it's not a little jaunt around the corner for her to
come and see me," he explained.

"Ya mean she didn't come to see you when you first got shot?" she asked

"Well, no. I mean, she had a stroke a few years back, and she's never been
quite the same physically," he stammered.


"Kelly, knock it off," Mulder admonished.

"But it is, Fox! Your mother is supposed to visit you when your sick or hurt,"
Kelly protested.

"Yeah? So where's your mother?" he asked in frustration. Of course, he
regretted the words as soon as they were out of his mouth. "Kelly, I'm sorry.
It's none of my business."

"Naw, it's okay. I never said my mother was Cher. Guess yours isn't either,"
she proposed.

"Cher? I'm sorry, but now you're confusing the hell out of me," he replied.

"C'mon, Fox, surely you know the movie 'Mask.' You know, the one with Cher
and that guy who's now on Chicago Hope playing a really weird holistic kind of
doctor? Eric Stoltz. That's what his name is. I keep forgetting his name.

"Well, anyway, remember? Eric Stoltz played this kid named Rocky. I don't
remember what his last name was, but it don't matter. Anyway, he had
something like NF or maybe Proteus Syndrome or something, but the point is, he
was an ugly sonofabitch, just like me.

"But Cher loved him cause he was her baby. And all of Cher's biker friends
liked him too, cause he was Cher's son. I guess not every mother can be like
Cher, can they?" she asked wistfully.

He looked at her for a moment and tried to imagine what the world saw when
they looked at Kelly Porter, for he suddenly realized he saw a very different
person. He wanted to tell her there was a Cher out there for her, hell, for
both of them. But he knew he could never lie to her. He respected her too
much to ever lie to her.

"No, Kelly," he responded. "I don't suppose there are too many Chers out
there at all."

"Ya think there are any at all? I mean, it was a stupid movie, right? Maybe
even Cher wasn't like, for real."

No, he could never lie to her, but he could never burst her dreams either.
"No, I'm sure Rocky's mom was pretty cool, Kelly," he said confidently.

"Ya think?" asked the teenager, her tone brightening.

"Yeah," he said, and then just to make sure she understood, he added, "Yeah,
Sweetheart, I'm pretty damned sure.

8:15 p.m.

He looked really tired, so Kelly told Mulder to try and let the pain killers
do their job and get some rest. Besides, she was pretty whipped herself. It
was hard work making a new friend.

'Specially since she'd never made one before.

Oh, sure, she'd known people who treated her okay, but those were the doctors
and nurses, and the therapy staff. They were paid to be nice to her. She'd
never known anyone who would treat her nice 'cause they wanted to.

Her parents should have fit into that category, but of course they didn't.
Her dad had left when Kelly was only about three, maybe three and a half years
of age. The tumors had been popping out already, but they'd been contained to
her spinal area and the neck.

And of course the Scoliosis was most noticeable by the time she was five. The
curvature of her spine made her look like even more of a freak than the
disfigurement on her face.

So, Dad took a hike and left Mom holding the bag; over the baby's face of
course. She found it very difficult to look beyond the tumors and the brown
beauty marks that covered much of her neck and the right lower part of her

Nope, Mom was no Cher.

Not that her mom ever beat her or abused her physically. She simply couldn't
look at her without seeing a little crippled kid before her eyes, and Kelly
got to a point where she couldn't stand it any longer.

So, she ran away. More than just a few times. Many, many times.

And the courts finally got tired of picking her up for the petty crimes she
committed to keep food in her stomach and clothes on her back. She wished she
could have headed up a group of misfits, but even they felt they were too
mainstreamed for the likes of her.

So where was Cher when she needed her? Nowhere to be found. But she found
the next best thing. She found herself a Fox.

Better than that, she found herself a friend.


End of part 2/4

Beauty's Beast
by Susan Proto (

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 3/4

12:55 a.m.

She'd quietly returned to his room, just to check up on him. She'd been
around doctors and nurses so much of her young life, Kelly felt she should put
an R.N. or M.D. next to her name. She cracked the door slightly to make sure
she wouldn't startle him if he was awake. When she didn't hear anything
unusual, Kelly assumed he was asleep.

The teenager pushed the door in all the way and walked in. She saw Mulder was
sleeping, or rather, trying to sleep. When Kelly put the small overhead light
on, she could see he was extremely flushed, and he was sweating. She touched
his forehead lightly to check to see if he was as warm as he looked. Mulder
unconsciously leaned into the touch and groaned softly with discomfort.

He was warm. Very warm. Yet Kelly also noted he was huddled under the
blanket which meant he had the chills. She realized the infection was nowhere
near under control, so she buzzed for the nurse.

The night nurse probably wouldn't be as understanding of Kelly's night time
visits as Lin Hu would be, but Kelly knew she didn't have any choice. Not if
she wanted to see Mulder get well, she didn't.

Leslie Perkins appeared at Mulder's door a few minutes later. She was aware
he'd developed a case of cellulitis around his incision, so she expected to
hear some pleas for more analgesics. Needless to say, Leslie was more than
just a little surprised to see Kelly Porter standing next to her patient's

"Miss Porter? What brings you here at such a late time?" Leslie asked
sternly. "Shouldn't you be in bed young lady? You have your own recovery to
consider, you know," she reminded.

"I know, I know. Like it's really gonna matter," she muttered and then more
forcefully said, "But look at him. He's supposed to be getting better with
the antibiotics, and he's not. He's worse Mrs. Perkins. He's a lot worse
than from earlier this evening."

"All right, Kelly. Let me check his temperature, and I'll page Dr. Stewart as
well, okay?" Perkins asked.

Kelly nodded and then thought to herself that perhaps Perkins wasn't so bad
after all.

1:15 a.m.

Leslie hadn't liked what she saw and paged Dr. Stewart immediately. Mulder's
temperature was elevated to over 103. This was way too high for someone on
antibiotics. Obviously, a new regimen was going to have to be prescribed

While she'd waited for the doctor to appear, Leslie had taken a quick look at
the infected area. The area was screaming with redness, and with a tight,
glossy appearance of the skin. What truly alarmed her was the thin red line
that seemed to creep along up toward Mulder's heart.

This was definitely not the symptoms of a man who'd been on antibiotics for
several hours. When Dr. Stewart had finally appeared, Leslie had pointed out
all of her observations.

"Well done, Leslie. You made a good pick up," the doctor praised.

"Actually Doctor, I have to confess it wasn't my pick up," replied Leslie.
When the doctor looked at her curiously, she explained, "It was Kelly. She's
the one who came in to check on Mr. Mulder, and she's the one who buzzed me
when she'd realized he was running a fever and still in pain."

"Really? Good job! I do believe, Miss Porter, we should put an R.N. right
next to your name!," he reacted.

Kelly thought to herself rather smugly, *Told ya so.* However she came out of
that reverie fairly quickly when she heard Perkins and Stewart planning
Mulder's next course of treatment.

"We'll start him on a new round of antibiotics, but I want a blood work up.
I'm a little concerned we might have the beginnings of Sepsis here, and, on
top of the Cellulitis and trying to recover from the gunshot wound, well, I
don't want to be in this poor guy's shoes at the moment.

"We should notify his family about the new course of treatment," Dr. Stewart

"He doesn't have any family near here. His mother lives in Greenwich, but she
won't come here," Kelly informed them. The nurse and doctor looked at the
youngster with a amazement. They couldn't imagine how she was able to wheedle
that information out of Mr. Mulder.

"You'd better call his partner. Her name is Scully, and he really wants her
here, but she's in Lexington, Kentucky, finishing up the reports from the case
he was just on. You know, the one where he was shot."

Once again, the two members of the medical staff stood in awe of the mere wisp
of a child before them. Both them nodded in appreciation of the information
the child provided, but then Leslie said, "Kelly, we are most grateful for all
of this information. It will certainly help Mr. Mulder, I no doubt. However,
you, my dear child, must get into bed and get some rest. Your health is every
bit as precarious as Mr. Mulder's is right now, and you know it," Leslie
admonished. "Now, off to bed with you, young lady. I mean it."

Leslie Perkins looked at the petite figure before her. The nurse was
experienced enough to know the adolescent didn't look upon her with the same
feeling of comfort as perhaps she felt with Lin Hu, but Leslie felt compassion
for the child nonetheless. She'd seen Kelly in the rehab center more times
than anyone would have wanted. The number of tumors which needed to be
removed never seemed to end, but of late, more and more were finding their way
to Kelly's spinal cord.

However, the last tumor the doctors had found was the most dangerous of all.
It was at the base of the skull, and it was growing inside of the spinal cord
and up through to the brain matter.

And it was growing, quickly. Too quickly.

And it was inoperable.

And the child knew it was only a matter of time.

Leslie held her hand out to point her towards the door.

Kelly nodded and reluctantly turned around to leave the room. Leslie,
however, called out to her before she left the room.

"Kelly!" The child paused at the door, but did not turn around. "You did good
tonight, Kelly. Real, real good," she praised.

Kelly smiled slightly and then returned to her room.


4:15 a.m.

Mulder woke up in a frenzy. He felt alternately hot and then chilled. His
head pounded from the fever, and he also felt as if he couldn't catch his
breath. Though he knew he'd never be able to fall back to sleep tonight,
Mulder felt so fatigued he seriously considered asking for a sleeping pill.

He wished Scully was there with him. Scully would know what to do to help
him. He didn't even realize he was calling her name aloud.

"Don't worry, Mulder. Scully will come," the child's voice said.

"Scully?" Mulder asked in confusion. "Scully, is that you?"

"No, Mulder. I'll call her. Do you want me to call her for you?"

"Scully. I want my Scully," he practically whimpered.

Kelly reached for the phone and dialed nine for an outside line. She knew she
was taking a big chance in coming back into Mulder's room, but she sensed he
needed someone, and since the doctor had told her she should have an R.N. next
to her name, she figured she had every right to take on the role seriously.
Besides, Kelly looked at Mulder's chart and saw a notation for them to call
Scully in the morning.

They'd decided to wait to call her until the morning instead of getting her
when Mulder needed her. Kelly decided that wasn't right. He needed her now,
not hours from now.

"Mulder, what's Scully's phone number?" Kelly asked.

"Don't know. Don't know where she is," he mumbled.

"She's in Lexington, Kentucky, Mulder. But that doesn't matter, does it?
Wouldn't Scully have a cell phone? What's her cell phone number?" she asked
more firmly this time.

He mumbled a number, and Kelly quickly punched it in. When the youngster
heard the ringing begin, it felt like her heart was dancing. Finally, she
heard a voice say, "Scully. What's the matter, Mulder, you couldn't sleep and
couldn't stand the thought of me actually getting some shuteye?"

"Hello, Scully? My name is Kelly, and __." Scully cut the child off

"Who is this? How did you get this phone number?" she asked abruptly.

"I told you. My name is Kelly. Kelly Porter. I'm in the same rehab joint as
Fox. Though I know he hates me calling him Fox, he doesn't really care about
that right now."

"What do you mean? Is something wrong? Has something happened to Mulder?"
Scully now asked anxiously.

"Yeah, Scully. He's got something called cellu_. Oh, I don't know, it sounds
like cellulite, but his problem is definitely not fat thighs," groused Kelly.

"Cellulitis? He's got Cellulitis? When? How?" Scully asked in confusion.

"Yeah, that's it. What the hell is it, anyway?" Kelly asked.

"It's basically a nasty inflammation of the connective tissue of the skin,"
she recited in perfect textbook form, and then murmured more to herself than
to Kelly, "probably a staphylococcus or maybe streptococcus bacterial

"Oh," replied Kelly, not totally understanding everything Scully said.

"I'd just spoken to him last evening," said Scully with frustration. "I don't

"He didn't want to worry you," Kelly began to explain, "so he didn't say
anything. He told me there wasn't anything you could do about it, and it
would only make you feel bad, so he thought it was better to not tell you
until you could come and visit him.

"But, Houston, we have a problem," Kelly continued.

"Damn him for keeping this to himself," cried out Scully. "When is he ever
going to learn it's better not to keep things from me, even when he thinks
he's protecting me?!" Then, she forced herself to push all of her fears and
emotions aside to put on her doctor's hat. "What's wrong with him, Kelly?
Didn't they start him on antibiotics?" Scully asked in an attempt to clarify
his condition.

"Yeah, but they aren't working, and now the doctor is worried about Septic
something," she answered.

"Sepsis? They're worried about Mulder developing Sepsis? Oh, shit!" she
cried out.

"What?!" asked Kelly in alarm. "Is that worse than that cellulitis stuff?"

"Yes, Kelly. It's worse. It's life threatening if it's not treated properly.
Damn it! This shouldn't have happened in the first place! How could he have
been exposed to all of this bacteria and become infected? If he develops
septic shock, someone has a whole lot of explaining to do. Damn it," she
cursed in frustration.

"Okay," Scully continued, "I have to notify the people here I need to skip out
on them, but tell Mulder I'm coming. Please. Tell him I'll be there later
this morning, okay?"

"Yeah, Scully. I'll tell him, but I'm gonna hold the phone to his ear and let
you tell him yourself," Kelly suggested.

"You're in his room with him? Right now?" Scully asked incredulously.


"Thank you, Kelly. Thank you for being there for him," Scully said from the
bottom of her heart.

5:40 a.m.

When Leslie Perkins found Kelly back in Mulder's bedroom there was hell to
pay. The nurse wasn't too pleased when Kelly also informed her she'd already
called Scully, so there was no need to put in another call.

"Thank you, Miss Porter, but now it's time to let me do my job, so the next
shift will have a better idea as to what they're dealing with. We have to get
Mr. Mulder ready for transport," said Leslie.

"What? Where you transporting him?" Kelly asked aghast.

"Sweetheart, this is a rehabilitation center. He needs more of an acute care
facility. He needs to be in a place where they're familiar with his case.
He's not getting what he really needs here," Leslie said gently.

"But, he can't go," Kelly lamented.

"He has to, dear. None of us has a choice in this. I need to inform Miss
Scully he's going to be moved this morning back to University of Maryland
Medical Center," she said before she left the room.

Kelly looked at Mulder forlornly and said, "I don't want you to go."

Mulder heard her, or rather he heard the sadness in her voice. He desperately
wanted to connect with her again and let her know he understood. He forced
himself to focus, and he became coherent for the first time in hours.

"Hey, Kiddo, it'll be okay. When they clear up the damn infection, they'll
transfer me back here so you can abuse me again, okay? Can't stay away from
my best girl, now, can I?"

"Best girl? I thought Scully was your best girl," Kelly said. She was
fishing, and she knew it.

"Scully's my beautiful, best woman, but you are my beautiful, best girl,"
Mulder replied softly.

Kelly looked at him with wide eyes. Did she just hear him say what she
thought she'd heard him say?

Did he just call her 'beautiful?' No one had ever used that word in the same
sentence with the name Kelly Porter. Never.

And now thanks to her new friend, Kelly Porter felt, for the first time in her
life, beautiful.

University of Maryland Medical Center
6:45 a.m.

Mulder was admitted and made as comfortable as possible in his hospital bed in
the ICU. There were too many variables for them to consider placing him in a
regular room on the medical ward.

First, he was still recovering from the gunshot wound to the leg. Second, he
had Cellulitis, and was now certainly showing signs of Sepsis. Finally, the
medical staff wanted the time to go over Mulder's charts from the initial
gunshot wound with a fine tooth comb.

They wanted to be sure they did not play a role in this latest bout with
infection. They feared they may have left themselves open to a malpractice
suit, so they planned on treating Mr. Mulder with kid gloves from this point

Mulder continued to cry out for Scully, and on occasion, he even tried calling
for Kelly. There was no one around to offer him a comforting hand, and that
was what he longed for most at the moment.

7:05 a.m.

Meanwhile, Scully was on her way back to Maryland. The Lexington PD were not
too happy with her decision to leave before the internal investigation was
completed, but Scully let it be known there was no alternative to her
decision. She did inform them that as soon as Mulder was stable, she would
return if she were still needed.

But at the moment, as she sat on the runway waiting for the plane to take off,
Scully couldn't help but wonder if Murphy's Law was somehow written
specifically for Mulder. It really did seem that if something could go wrong
where Mulder was concerned, there was no doubt that it, indeed, would.

It was a gunshot wound. Granted, gunshot wounds are never to be taken
lightly, but it was certainly not nearly as serious as the one he'd taken a
few years back. He hadn't lost nearly as much blood as he had back then. The
bullet did do some damage to the muscle in the leg, hence the need for rehab.
But as bullet wounds went, this one was routine.

Routine. Right. As if anything that affected Mulder was ever routine.

And now he was in a hospital bed in the throes of a horrible infection. And
try as she might, she couldn't seem to get to him any faster than a snail
could make it round the world, and it was frustrating the hell out of her.
Scully sat in her seat and closed her eyes to say a silent prayer. Maybe, if
nothing else worked, she could will the plane to take off.

7: 15 a.m.

Kelly Porter laid in bed and felt a pain like she'd never felt before. It
wasn't the physical pain; she was used to that. It was a feeling in her heart
that caused her to feel queasy and lightheaded.

It was a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, yet at the same time she
felt an unmitigated joy. She was given a gift these last few days that she'd
never thought she would possess.

She was blessed with a friend. A real friend, who saw beyond the ugly tumors
and the horrible brown spots, crooked spine, and odd looking facial features.
She'd found a real, true friend, whom she feared might be taken away from her,
or at the very least, she feared she would not have the opportunity to see him

It was the former possibility that made her feel physically ill. The latter
made her feel simply sad. For all of them.

But the fact that the headaches had begun again were probably a good
indication the second scenario would be the more likely outcome. She wondered
if she dared ask Lynn if there were any possible way she could visit Mulder in
the hospital.

She'd have to be very careful in how she worded her request, or she too might
land back in a hospital room. Now, if she could guarantee it was UMMC, that
would be okay. But somehow she doubted it, and she knew they'd simply bring
her back to Johns Hopkins, her usual haunt.

She was frustrated, as she really wanted to see if her friend was okay. She
was frustrated, because she wasn't sure if she'd live long enough to see that
he was.

End of Part 3/4

Beauty's Beast
by Susan Proto (

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 4/4

8:55 a.m.

Finally, Mulder fell asleep. He'd fallen into a deep sleep, and should have
found some rest, but instead, his mind went into overdrive and he dreamed. He
dreamed of the demons of his childhood, and of monsters, and of Cher.

Cher? He couldn't imagine how Cher infiltrated his rem sleep, but she did.
Mulder wanted to talk with her and find out how it came to be she was able to
love Rocky so completely. But she shushed him and said in that raspy, hoarse
tone so classically associated with Cher, "Oh Fox, don't you know that's just
make believe? You can't possibly believe anyone could love someone that
completely. It's impossible, Fox. It's impossible!"

"But you loved Rocky, didn't you?" he asked hopefully.

"Oh, honey! That wasn't really Rocky, now you know that. That was Eric.
He's an actor. He was hired to play Rocky. It wasn't my job to really love
Rocky. The real Rocky was dead long before that movie was filmed anyway.
Surely you knew that?" she asked assuredly.

"What?" Mulder suddenly felt confused and out of control. He didn't know
what to say. The one thing that had grounded him all these years was his
ability to believe in extreme possibilities. What was more extreme than
believing a woman could unconditionally love her imperfect child?

He'd always wanted to believe in that, but experience taught him it wasn't
always possible. It wasn't right, of course. Parents are supposed to love
their children, no matter what. It's what makes them parents, or they
shouldn't be allowed to keep their children.

He knew his own parents shouldn't have been allowed to keep him, especially
after Sam's disappearance. They'd forgotten how to love him with all of his
imperfections. They'd forgotten it was their job to love him even with all of
the blemishes on his character and soul.

Cher was supposed to love Rocky, but Rocky was dead, so what was there to
love? It's easy to love an imperfection after it's been wiped away. It's
dealing with the fault while it's still visible; still in plain view.

"Kelly," he moaned. He needed to see Kelly. He had to let her know she
wasn't an imperfection and that he never saw her as one. "Kelly," he moaned
again. He had to tell her. She didn't know the truth. Kelly was still
looking for Cher, but Rocky was dead, and it didn't matter anymore. Cher
couldn't help her. Cher was simply an actress doing her job.

Mulder could help her though. But, Mulder felt as though he was running out
of time. He needed to tell her, before their time ran out.


10:05 a.m.

Scully had been sitting by Mulder's bedside for almost forty minutes, but he
was still in a deep sleep. When she'd first walked in, he was mumbling
incoherently, though she was able to pick out the name 'Kelly' and, oddly
enough, 'Cher'. She reached over to caress his cheek, when he slowly began
opening his eyes.

"Good morning, Mulder. Long time no see," she said softly.

"Mornin'," he mumbled. He licked his lips and tried to find some moisture to
wet them with, but he wasn't very successful. He watched Scully reach over
him for the tray which held the pitcher of water and the cup and straw.

Scully smiled as she watched his face practically glow with anticipation over
taking a sip of the liquid. "Go slow, okay?" she reminded as she placed the
straw to his lips. He followed orders beautifully and released the straw from
his mouth. Mulder then laid his head back on the pillow and whispered, "I'm

"Sorry?" she echoed in surprise. "Mulder, what do you have to be sorry for?"

"For getting sick and making you come back here," he confessed.

"Oh, Mulder, how could you possibly have anticipated the incision becoming
infected? C'mon, you had no control over that. Besides, I was going crazy in
Lexington and was looking for an excuse to escape. Of course, a call from our
illustrious AD with a new, more pressing case would have been a much more
sensible way to 'spring' me, but you've never been one to be sensible, have
you, Mulder?"

"No, I guess not. Umm, Scully? Can I ask you a question?" When she nodded,
he asked, "Umm, I know this probably sounds absurd, but, where am I?"

"UMMC," she replied. "The doctors over at the Maryland Rehabilitation Center
felt they didn't have the capabilities to treat your infection or any possible
complications, so they transferred you back to your original placement."

"Oh." He couldn't hide his disappointment.

"What's wrong?" Scully asked.

"I was hoping I was still at the rehab center. I mean, there's this kid there
who I've gotten kind of close to," he explained.

"Kelly?" she asked in confirmation.

"Yeah," he said and then looked up with a startled expression. "How did you

"I spoke with her," she explained.

"You did? When?" he asked in confusion.

"Very, very early this morning. She'd apparently sneaked into your room and
saw you were still running a fever. You were calling me and she somehow
managed to pry my cell phone number out of you. I'm so glad you work for the
FBI, Mulder. Chinese water torture wouldn't elicit information from you, but
a teenage girl who bats her eyes at you will!" she chuckled slightly as she
teased him.

Mulder didn't take the bait though which surprised Scully. She figured for
sure he would have come up with some kind of sexual innuendo that they could
have bantered back and forth. Instead, he looked away and remained very

"Mulder? Did I say something wrong? If I did, I'm sorry." His head still
faced away from Scully, and she didn't understand what she'd done to make him
look away. "Please, Mulder, what's wrong?"

Still facing away, he said, "I think she would have been a very pretty girl."
He fell silent again.

"Who?" Scully asked after several moments had passed. "Who would have been
very pretty?"

When Mulder turned his head again to face Scully, she could see his eyes
brimming with tears. Scully felt as if her heart was going to break when she
saw how saddened he felt. "Mulder, who would have been very pretty?" He
remained silent, so Scully ventured an educated guess, "Kelly?"

He nodded mutely, and the tears began to fall with equal silence. Scully
pulled down the guard rail on the side of his good leg and climbed on to the
bed and sat right next to him. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and
chest and asked quietly, "Can you tell me about her?"

He nodded, and after taking a few deep breaths he leaned into Scully more and
began talking about the young girl he'd somehow grown very attached to in only
a matter of hours. He told Scully about the conversation he'd had with the
teen about the movie 'Mask' and Cher, (which now explained his mumbling when
she'd first entered his room,) and the fact that he really didn't see her
disabilities. She really was his beautiful, best girl, and he wanted Scully
to get to know her.

Mulder really wanted to see her again for himself as well. Kelly helped keep
him grounded when Scully wasn't there. "And besides __," he began.

"Besides, what?" Scully asked.

"I'm afraid for her. I just have a feeling something is terribly wrong, and I
need to see her again," he admitted.

"I'll call the rehab center, Mulder. I'll see what I can do, okay?" she said.
Mulder nodded his thanks and then nestled into Scully for some much needed

12:50 p.m.

Mulder had eventually fallen back to sleep and actually slept peacefully for a
couple of hours. Scully had put in a call to her mother to let her know that,
first, she was back in town, and second, she needed something edible for both
her and Mulder at the hospital. Maggie Scully, like the cavalry, arrived with
enough supplies to feed an entire unit.

Scully decided sharing the wealth with the nursing staff wasn't a bad idea to
help insure a little extra TLC on their part. She figured they could use it
as a credit for the time when Mulder started feeling better and he made a
royal pest of himself.

While her mother was there to keep Mulder company, Scully decided it was a
good time to call the rehab center to see if she could make arrangements for
Kelly to visit Mulder. It seemed so important to Mulder; she hoped there
wouldn't be a problem.


2:05 p.m.

Scully sat on the chair, stunned. All she could think was, 'He knew.' She
didn't understand it, but she knew in her heart, Mulder felt something was
wrong, and he needed to see the child.

After Kelly'd left Mulder, earlier that morning, she'd returned to her room.
She'd wheeled herself over to the desk that was provided and pulled out her
journal. She'd started keeping one as soon as she'd learned how to write, and
she'd found it to be a great tension reliever. Whenever people were unkind to
her or showed their ignorance of how to behave like a member of the human
race, Kelly had often written her thoughts down in the journal. She'd already
filled eight of them, and was nearly finished with this one too.

She knew it would be the last journal she would ever keep, so she wanted to be
sure she recorded her final thoughts in a careful manner. And she knew just
what she was going to write. Her best friend gave her the words; all she
needed to do was write them down.

She wrote, "Dear Journal, It has been an interesting day and night. My new
friend, Fox (who hates that name, and wants me to call him Mulder, so I do to
his face, but I _LIKE_ the name Fox, so I'll call him Fox here, okay,
Journal?) is still very sick. They keep treating him with different
antibiotics, but they don't seem to be working. I don't understand why he's
still sick.

"I went into his room again tonight, cause I knew he was scared. It's
strange, Journal, but it's almost like I could read his mind. I mean, I
didn't actually know what he was thinking; it was more like I knew how he was
feeling. And he was feeling so bad! So sick! I had to go back in there.

"And then I got him to give me Skully's (or is it Scully?) phone number. I
talked to her, Journal. At first she didn't sound very nice, but then, then
when I told her Fox wasn't feeling well and he needed her, she sounded so
different. She loves him, Journal. Just like he loves her, she loves him. I
hope they tell one another soon. When people love each other, it shouldn't be
a secret.

"So, Mrs. Perkins shushed me out of his room after I'd told her we phoned
Scully. She wasn't too pleased with me, but I think because she doesn't want
me to get sick too. Everyone knows that's gonna happen sooner or later, but
they're all so hell bent on prolonging the inevitable. Oh well, I was too
tired to argue. I didn't get too much sleep tonight, Journal.

"Anyway, I was real upset when Mrs. Perkins told me they were moving Fox to
the hospital. I didn't want him to go. I wanted him to stay here, with me.
But Mrs. Perkins explained he couldn't get better here, so I didn't argue

"But Fox knew I was sad. I don't know how he knew; he was hardly awake, but
he knew. He called Scully his beautiful, best woman, but he called me his
beautiful, best girl. That's okay. I'm willing to share.

"He called me beautiful, Journal. I didn't think I'd ever hear that said
about me. I didn't think I'd ever care whether it was said about me or not,
but now that it was, I care. I really do care, Journal.

"I am beautiful. I am Fox Mulder's beautiful, best girl. I feel beautiful
for the first time in my life.

"I feel happy for the first time in my life.

"I can die happy now, Journal.

"Love always, Kelly."


Kelly had been transferred to Johns Hopkins, where she'd been treated in the
past for her Neurofibromatosis. The tumor on the base of her skull had grown
so much, it began strangling her spinal cord and the brain tissue at the base
of her skull. Suddenly, and without warning, Kelly lost consciousness as a
result of the tumor's stranglehold on her lifeline.

They'd rushed her over to Johns Hopkins in an ambulance in the hope their
medical team would be able to do something to reverse the effects.

But they were too late.

Kelly Preston, age fourteen, died at 10:25 a.m. of complications from
Neurofibromatosis. Ironically, it was about the same time Mulder had told
Scully he was afraid for his beautiful, best girl.


1:30 p.m.

Scully had done everything in her power to cleanse her eyes of the redness.
She wasn't sure if now was the right time to tell Mulder of Kelly's death.
She didn't want to keep something as important as this from him, but she
didn't want to cause him any added stress that could hamper his healing

It didn't matter what options she considered though, because as soon as she
walked through the door, Mulder knew something was wrong. Mulder sensed a
change in her, and it discomforted him.

Maggie Scully knew something wasn't quite right also, but she didn't know what
she could do about it. The best thing, she thought, was to give her daughter
and her partner some privacy so they could deal with it. She quietly excused

"You phoned the rehab center, didn't you?" he asked somewhat rhetorically.


"She can't come, can she," he said, more in the form of a statement rather
than a question.

"No, Mulder, she can't come."

He looked at Scully, and within an instant, understanding came immediately.
He gasped and grasped the sheets with both of his hands as tightly as he'd
ever held anything before. "Scully!" he cried out, and she ran to him. He
continued to hold on to the bed covers for dear life. He was so afraid of
letting go, for he felt if he did, he'd go tumbling into despair without any
hope of ever climbing back up out of it.

"Oh, Mulder," Scully whispered into his ear as she embraced him and held him
tightly to her, "I am so sorry. I am so, so sorry."

He couldn't hold it in any longer. He didn't know how to control it. He
didn't want to control it at this point. Mulder felt so much love, so quickly
and so deeply for that child, and the thought that he wasn't ever going to get
the chance to tell her that was absolutely devastating to him.

He began to sob, great, huge, gasps of emotion. And Scully held him and gave
him as much physical support as her own small body could provide, and as much
emotional support as her huge heart could offer.

She rubbed his back in circular motions, and she cooed in his ear that it was
okay; he would be okay. She held him, and she rocked him, and he wept until
there were no more tears. He laid quietly in his Scully's arms and allowed
himself to be held and comforted.

After much time had passed, Mulder finally spoke. "All she wanted was people
to see her for who she was."

Scully nodded gently, which she was sure Mulder could feel as her head rested
on top of his. When he remained quiet, Scully offered in a whisper, "You did
that for her, Mulder."

"I wish I knew that for sure, Scully," and she felt his breathing hitch a

"Oh, Mulder, you did. You have no idea what you did for that young woman.
You made her feel something she never, ever thought she would feel.

"You did something very, very special for her, my wonderful, sensitive,
compassionate Mulder."

Mulder looked up at Scully, the tears still quite evident in both of their
eyes. "What did I do for her, Scully? I didn't get enough of a chance to say
all the things I wanted to say," he lamented.

"Oh, Sweetheart, but you got the chance to say the important things. She knew
she was important to you. You let her know that in no uncertain terms.

"And Mulder, you made her feel beautiful. And happy. You made her feel
beautiful, and I swear, Mulder, she died happy. You did that for her, my
love. You did a great and wonderful thing."

"I hope so, Scully. God, I wanted her to know she deserved her Cher. I
really wanted her to know that."

"She knew, Mulder. Kelly knew." Scully reached around Mulder and drew him
closer to her. They sat like that for many more minutes, and when he suddenly
felt a fleeting sense of joy, he knew it was Kelly letting him know Scully
told the truth.

Mulder finally decided he could believe, because he always searched for the
truth, where ever it could be found.

End of Part 4/4