Confidante

Debra Fran Baker

dfbaker@panix.com


St. Katherine's Hospital
9:15 PM

"Can't you help him, Scully?" Mulder sat in the waiting room chair and looked straight at his partner. Both were exhausted. He'd been chasing all over DC to find the man who'd poisoned Skinner, and she'd spent her time fighting a problem that was straight out of Star Trek.

"I'm doing all I can do. I don't know if it's enough. I'm sorry." She touched his shoulder.

"Come on, Scully, you can do anything. You have to. His life...he *can't* die." He bit his lip and looked away.

She felt her eyes widen. "Oh, my God. It's true, isn't it?"

"What's true?"

"The way you feel about him. Oh, Mulder, I'm sorry." She got up and put both hands on his shoulders. "I don't know what else to do for him."

He twisted around. "You...you know?"

"I should be jealous. You told *me* you loved me only a few weeks ago." She tried to smile.

"I *do*, Scully. But...he's...I'm sorry. Don't let him die, Scully." There was hope and desperation and trust in his eyes. She had to took away for a moment.

"Oh, Mulder. I think I knew a long time ago, but I tried to deny it. Are the two of you...together?"

He shook his head. "We both know it, but the way things are, it's too damn risky. Even now, even with him no longer supervising us, it's too damn risky. Why did you try to deny it?"

"Because you're both men and I find that hard to accept. And because...if it made you happy, it would be all right, but..."

"Yeah. I can't look at him now. I can't stand to see all those black veins pulsing. I can't let him go. Matheson was no help, and Orgell is dead, and I think I know who the man in the hallway was. But I can't think why he would try to hurt Skinner unless he was trying to hurt me."

"I thought I recognized him, too. He doesn't need excuses to hurt anyone, Mulder. You know that." She couldn't keep the hatred and anger out of her voice. Why didn't he seem to feel the same way?

"Do I ? He didn't hurt me the last time we met." For some reason, his hand went up to touch his cheek. "There has to be a reason, Scully. And I will find it. I *will* find what this man wants and why he is hurting Skinner. Just get him well."

"Mulder, I don't know if this will work. I'm doing all I can, and so are you. Even if you find *him*, I don't know if that will save him, or if this procedure will. Let him go, Mulder."

He turned away from her again. "I won't. It's too soon. We haven't even begun yet. I said he knows, but we've never said anything. Not out loud. And now...I can't let him go. I never let you go, and I'm not letting him go."

"You don't let anyone go, do you?"

"Never. Damn it all, why him? Why you? Why her? Why not me? Why only the people I love?"

"I don't know, Mulder. I've lost someone I loved, too." She looked at her watch. Nearly 9:30. "Where the hell are they? Skinner should be prepped by now."

"Dr. Scully?" A man rushed into the room.

"Yes?"

"You're needed right now." She nodded and followed him out, Mulder right behi