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Sans heels in a terrycloth robe, Scully looks compact. Like he could fold her in on herself and slip her into his pocket. She looks vulnerable, streaks of dried tears breaking up the purple circles around her eyes. The hastily tried treatments abusing her alabaster skin, war torn and battered.

Her formidable presence has always belied her stature, reminding him she barely reaches his chin. The sheen of her skin, it’s lack of pigment falsely painting her as feeble. With laser blue eyes, the posture of a charm school grad, a mind and wit as sharp as obsidian he’d always believed her the likes of Zenobia or Elizabeth I. Otherworldly, untouchable—invincible.

They’re tethered, her arms firmly around his waist and her head tucked into the crook of his neck, seamless, interlocking as pieces of a puzzle crafted and stamped out by providence. Together they are a force, unyielding to any foe. Inimitable—even as her cells attack each other and he feels life evaporating before his eyes.

His hands are framing her bleary, sallow face holding her like she contains a trip wire or a Faberge egg. She’s full of resolve and trepidation, resilience and terror and he finds himself wanting to strip her down, break her into discernable and easily categorized pieces and yet fill and soothe her until she feels unbreakable. She is stone and sand and he wants to slip and sluice around the curves and crevices until she’s reached full mass. 

He wants to cover her mouth with his, pour every ache and desire into her. As though knowing how deeply he needs her would halt the progression of her illness. As though their union, or their desperation could be the cure.

He doesn’t.

He who believes in life on far off worlds, fairies, ghosts, and government conspiracies and her. He can’t be her cure. A sisterless, half orphan with a penchant for choosing loneliness in favor of endlessly chasing monsters and men or some amalgamation of both. 

His chase brought them here to this hallway – fate wouldn’t allow such a presumption.

He silently he vows to find it for her instead, bringing his lips to the smooth slope of her forehead, lingering. His nose at her hairline, sterilized lilac and the brine of spent tears. 

A promise. To never relent, no matter the cost.

He holds her tight to him, offering himself to Fate and a God he doesn't believe in that she'll survive until then.