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DICTIONARY
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Title:  Dictionary
                                    Author:  Waddles 52
                                    Summary:  Mulder was on crutches at the end of Fallen 
                                    Angel.  Just a little look at how he coped with the 
                                    injury in the first few days.
                                    Spoilers:  Post-ep for Fallen Angel, reference to
                                    Beyond the Sea
                                    Rating:  PG
                                    Category:  MT
                                    Disclaimer:  Just for Fun.  Not for Profit.  No 
                                    copyright infringement intended.
                                    Archives:  After_The_Fact, others okay, just let me 
                                    know where so I can visit.
                                    Feedback:  Why, of course.  Waddles52@wmconnect.com
                                    Dedication:  For Sally B., one of my all-time 
                                    favorite authors.  This foot injury is for you!
                                    
                                    
                                    Finally, they were released by the military just in 
                                    time to make their flight back to DC.  The meeting 
                                    with the OPR could not be avoided and they would have 
                                    just enough time to shower and change clothes before 
                                    heading to the office.
                                    
                                    Mulder had been limping ever since he came out of the 
                                    warehouse and if Scully's tired eyes weren't 
                                    deceiving her, it seemed to be getting worse.  
                                    "Mulder, what's wrong?  Where does it hurt, exactly?"
                                    
                                    "Scully, my entire body is a mass of pain.  Between 
                                    our friendly military goons and my wild flight when 
                                    Max was taken, I have bruises on my bruises.  My 
                                    right foot hurts like blazes though.  I guess I 
                                    twisted it when I landed.  I'll be okay.  After the 
                                    meeting with the OPR, I'm sure I'll have a few days 
                                    to rest and let it heal," Mulder answered 
                                    sarcastically.
                                    
                                    "I'm sure you will.  Mulder, you've got to stop these 
                                    impulsive forays in search of the truth.  You're only 
                                    hurting your cause.  For every step forward you 
                                    manage to get knocked back two more."
                                    
                                    "Scully, I've been lectured to death.  Let's just get 
                                    to the airport and get this over with," he sighed 
                                    and started limping toward their car.
                                    
                                    "All right, Mulder, but you really need to have your 
                                    injuries checked out," she insisted.
                                    
                                    "I'll check them out when I take my shower."
                                    
                                    Scully decided to let the subject drop as they got 
                                    into their rental car for the trip to the airport.
                                    
                                    Mulder managed to sleep most of the way home.  Scully 
                                    had to rouse him when she pulled in front of his 
                                    apartment.
                                    
                                    "Do you want me to pick you up later?" Scully asked 
                                    as Mulder gingerly moved from his seat.
                                    
                                    "No.  Don't worry.  I'll be there on time.  I'll see 
                                    you later," he promised as he shut the car door and 
                                    slowly made his way up the steps.  He held on to the 
                                    rail and took one step at a time.
                                    
                                    Scully watched him until he was inside, then pushed 
                                    the gas pedal to the floor to get back to her 
                                    apartment for a quick shower before the meeting.
                                    
                                    Mulder closed his door and began pulling off his 
                                    clothes, letting them drop to the floor as he made 
                                    his way through his apartment.  When he removed the 
                                    boot from his right foot he was greeted with varying 
                                    shades of black and blue.  He could feel the swelling 
                                    begin as soon as the boot was off.  He ignored the 
                                    pain and continued to strip until he was in front of 
                                    the bathroom.
                                    
                                    After a quick shower and shave he began to get 
                                    dressed.  His foot was screaming for attention and he 
                                    finally quit ignoring it when he realized the 
                                    swelling had become so great that he couldn't get a 
                                    shoe on.
                                    
                                    "This will make quite an impression with the vultures 
                                    on the committee," he thought as he limped to the 
                                    closet and began to search for the crutches he knew 
                                    were stashed there after spraining his ankle in a 
                                    pick-up basketball game.  Of course, they were in the 
                                    back.  By the time he dug the crutches out and 
                                    finished dressing, he knew he would have to make a 
                                    trip to the ER when the meeting adjourned.
                                    
                                    Mulder made his way to the medicine cabinet and found 
                                    some ibuprofen.  He swallowed three and hoped for 
                                    some relief.
                                    
                                    Surprise, then sympathy registered on Scully's face 
                                    as she left the conference room.  Mulder rose from 
                                    his seat to greet her.
                                    
                                    "Do you hear that sound, Scully?" he asked as he 
                                    grabbed his crutches from where they had been resting 
                                    against the wall.  Hammer and nails.  They're 
                                    building a gallows in the town square.  Don't worry." 
                                    
                                    Scully handed him a large envelope with the 
                                    information he had gathered.
                                    
                                    "It was only a matter of time.  I'm surprised I 
                                    lasted this long."
                                    
                                    "Good luck."
                                    
                                    Mulder began hobbling toward the conference room.  He 
                                    gave her a crooked grin and stated, "I'll break a 
                                    leg."
                                    
                                    Mulder continued to make his way to the conference 
                                    room as Scully sat down to wait for her partner.  At 
                                    least he was still her partner at that very moment, 
                                    but she wasn't sure how much longer that would 
                                    continue.
                                    
                                    Scully feared the worst when she heard the angry 
                                    voices all the way in the hallway.  After what seemed 
                                    like an eternity the door opened and Mulder limped 
                                    into the hallway, his face drawn and pale.
                                    
                                    Scully stood up and began to walk along with him.
                                    
                                    "They'll let me know what they've decided by five 
                                    this evening," he sighed.  "Could we sit for a few 
                                    minutes, Scully?"
                                    
                                    "Of course."  She watched as he carefully sat down, 
                                    then she took the seat beside him.  "Mulder, you 
                                    don't look so good."
                                    
                                    "I don't feel very well," he admitted.  "My foot was 
                                    so swollen by the time I finished my shower that I 
                                    couldn't get my shoe on.  I had to call a cab to get 
                                    me here and I think I'll call another one to take me 
                                    home to wait for their decision."
                                    
                                    "Mulder, since I'm waiting too, why don't you let me 
                                    take you home?   A stop by the emergency room on the 
                                    way is included," she emphasized.
                                    
                                    "I thought you'd never ask," he groaned.
                                    
                                    "That bad, huh?"
                                    
                                    "Way past bad, into excruciating," he winced as he 
                                    tried to move his foot.
                                    
                                    "Let me get my purse from the office and I'll meet 
                                    you by the elevator."
                                    
                                    "Sounds like a plan.  I may be able to make it there 
                                    by the time you're ready."
                                    
                                    "If not, I'll wait for you," Scully extended her hand 
                                    and Mulder took it, glad for the help.
                                    
                                    By the time Mulder had positioned himself in the 
                                    passenger seat of Scully's car, he was beginning to 
                                    feel decidedly green.  The pain had become so intense 
                                    that he was beginning to feel quite nauseated.  The 
                                    ibuprofen he had taken on an empty stomach was 
                                    starting to add to the problem.  He rolled his window 
                                    down a bit and hoped he wouldn't embarrass himself.
                                    
                                    Scully took notice of the situation right away.  
                                    "Mulder, I've been collecting butter tubs and ice 
                                    cream buckets for my godson's school project.  Mom 
                                    just gave me a bunch the other day and I haven't 
                                    delivered them yet.  They're on the floor behind you 
                                    so feel free to use one if your stomach feels any 
                                    worse."
                                    
                                    "Thanks," he mumbled as his long arm reached behind 
                                    his seat and snagged an ice cream bucket, hoping it 
                                    wouldn't be needed.
                                    
                                    A few blocks from the hospital Mulder began to think 
                                    that he might just make it when Scully had to 
                                    maneuver around a road crew repairing potholes.  The 
                                    smell of the hot asphalt was all it took to send 
                                    his stomach into convulsions as it emptied itself of 
                                    anything he had put into it for the past year, or so
                                    it seemed.
                                    
                                    "Sorry, Scully," he tried to apologize between 
                                    heaves.
                                    
                                    "That's okay, Mulder, I'm a doctor, remember?  I got 
                                    over my aversion to stomach contents my first few 
                                    days in gross anatomy.  I saw quite a bit of it 
                                    emerge from my fellow students, and I'm sorry to say, 
                                    some of my own."
                                    
                                    "Really, Scully?" Mulder hiccupped as his stomach 
                                    began to settle.
                                    
                                    "Yes, really, Mulder.  After the first few days I 
                                    became immune to the sights and smells.  I don't have 
                                    a problem with it now," she answered as she pulled 
                                    into the circular drive in front of the ER.
                                    
                                    Scully got out of the car and opened Mulder's door.  
                                    "Wait here while I get a wheelchair," she directed as 
                                    she took the bucket from his hands and handed him a 
                                    tissue.
                                    
                                    She soon had him checked in and waiting in a cubicle.  
                                    The ER wasn't busy at all on a weekday afternoon.  
                                    The nurse had removed Mulder's sock and had gone to 
                                    get an ice pack.  Scully was conducting her own exam.
                                    
                                    "What do you think, Doc?" Mulder asked, his voice 
                                    still sounding rather weak.
                                    
                                    "I think you've done quite a number on your foot.  
                                    I'd be willing to bet that there's a fracture hiding 
                                    in there somewhere."
                                    
                                    "Can this day get any better?" Mulder groaned.
                                    
                                    "I also wouldn't be surprised if you didn't end up 
                                    with an IV for a while.  Your BP was a little low.  I 
                                    think the intense pain is making you a little 
                                    shocky."
                                    
                                    "No IV!  Hate 'em!" Mulder protested.
                                    
                                    "I remember that from your gunshot wound.  There you 
                                    were, bleeding on that cold, boathouse floor and you 
                                    roared like a lion when they punctured your vein."  
                                    Scully chuckled at the memory.  She was glad she 
                                    could laugh at it now.  At the time, she wasn't sure 
                                    Mulder would make it to the hospital.
                                    
                                    "The good thing about an IV is that they can give you 
                                    medication without sticking you over and over.  I'm 
                                    guessing you'll probably get a hefty dose of Demerol 
                                    and Phenergan, or maybe morphine."
                                    
                                    "There is nothing good about a needle, Scully," 
                                    Mulder complained, rubbing his stomach.  "Unless 
                                    they're taking it out or putting it in someone else."  
                                    He let out his breath slowly, then motioned for one 
                                    of the emesis bowls sitting on the counter.
                                    
                                    Scully sprang into action just in time to prevent a 
                                    catastrophe as Mulder's stomach began to empty itself 
                                    of the previous year's contents.
                                    
                                    The doctor came in followed by the nurse who was 
                                    holding an icepack.
                                    
                                    "Well, Mr. Mulder, I won't ask how you feel.  I think 
                                    that's pretty obvious."  He glanced at Mulder's foot.  
                                    "I'll bet that hurts.  I'm going to order an IV with 
                                    some meds for your nausea and pain, then I'll be back 
                                    to examine you when you're feeling a little better."
                                    
                                    The nurse placed the ice pack on Mulder's foot then 
                                    followed the doctor out the door.
                                    
                                    Scully emptied the emesis bowl and rinsed it out, 
                                    then helped Mulder clean up.  "I imagine you'll have 
                                    to change into a hospital gown."
                                    
                                    "You've been right about everything so far.  Why 
                                    not?" he moaned.
                                    
                                    "That's pretty much standard procedure with an IV," 
                                    she sympathized.
                                    
                                    "Anything to cause more pain."
                                    
                                    "If that's what you're worried about, they could cut 
                                    your clothes off," she suggested.
                                    
                                    "I'll suffer through it," he growled as the nurse 
                                    came back with the IV set-up and a gown.
                                    
                                    "Mr. Mulder . . ."
                                    
                                    "I know, I know.  Put on the gown."
                                    
                                    "You got it.  I'll be right back as soon as I get 
                                    your meds."
                                    
                                    Scully shook the gown out.  Would you like some help, 
                                    or can you manage on your own?"
                                    
                                    A few minutes later Mulder was wearing the gown over 
                                    his pants and Scully was very carefully pulling his 
                                    right leg over his injured foot.
                                    
                                    Mulder groaned and hissed a few times but eventually 
                                    his pants were removed.  He lay shivering on the 
                                    gurney as Scully looked for a sheet to put over him.
                                    
                                    As if on cue, the nurse entered with the meds and a 
                                    blanket right out of the warmer, which she spread 
                                    over Mulder's shivering form.
                                    
                                    "I'll dance at your wedding," Mulder offered in 
                                    thanks.
                                    
                                    "I'm getting married in a month and from the looks of 
                                    that foot, I don't think you'll make it," the nurse 
                                    countered.
                                    
                                    "Uh . . ."
                                    
                                    "I'm teasing, Mr. Mulder," she laughed as she put the 
                                    tourniquet around his left forearm. She searched for 
                                    and found a suitable vein in his hand, then warned, 
                                    "You'll feel a bee sting."  She deftly injected the 
                                    numbing medication then readied the IV catheter.  
                                    "Ready?"
                                    
                                    "Why do I have to get stuck twice?" he whined.
                                    
                                    "You won't feel this one.  I promise."  
                                    
                                    True to her word, the needle slid right in with only 
                                    a feeling of pressure.
                                    
                                    In a few short seconds she had everything taped down 
                                    and hooked up.  Soon the saline solution was flowing 
                                    in, making him shiver once again.
                                    
                                    "I know.  It's cold at first, but in a few seconds 
                                    you should adjust.  I'm going to add the meds the 
                                    doctor ordered and you should start feeling a lot 
                                    better."
                                    
                                    "What are you giving him?" Scully inquired.
                                    
                                    "Demerol and phenergan," the nurse answered, emptying 
                                    the first hypodermic into the port.  "Here comes the 
                                    Demerol.  You might get a little rush out of it," she 
                                    warned.
                                    
                                    "Bring it on," Mulder said tiredly.
                                    
                                    The nurse finished up and left to find the doctor.
                                    
                                    "So, what's next?" Mulder asked.
                                    
                                    "What do you mean?"
                                    
                                    "You've predicted everything so far, so what's next?"
                                    
                                    "Oh, I think the doctor will come in and do a hands
                                    on examination, then order x-rays."
                                    
                                    "That's gonna hurt," he slurred.
                                    
                                    "I would imagine so.  Be thankful your meds are 
                                    already on board."
                                    
                                    The doctor came in and asked the usual questions and 
                                    poked and prodded Mulder's foot.  The standard x-rays 
                                    were ordered and soon Mulder was dozing on the x-ray 
                                    table.  After he was awakened for some rather painful 
                                    maneuvering to get his foot in the right position, 
                                    Mulder was sent back to his cubicle to wait for the 
                                    doctor to deliver the results.
                                    
                                    Within five minutes the doctor was back, holding the 
                                    film.  "Mr. Mulder, I see at least two hairline 
                                    fractures in your foot.  There may be more but the 
                                    swelling is so intense it's difficult to tell.  I'm 
                                    going to put you in a light cast until you can get to 
                                    a specialist.  You'll need to use crutches until 
                                    you're seen by the orthopedic doctor.  It's not a 
                                    walking cast," he emphasized.
                                    
                                    "Yeah, okay," Mulder agreed, then dozed off again.
                                    
                                    The doctor laughed and turned to Scully.  "You can 
                                    fill him in when he sobers up."
                                    
                                    Shortly before 5 o'clock, Scully helped Mulder into 
                                    his apartment.  He headed for the couch while Scully 
                                    surveyed the trail of clothes that started at the 
                                    door and continued through the apartment.  She came 
                                    to her senses and told Mulder that he needed to be in 
                                    bed.
                                    
                                    "Scully, this is my bed."
                                    
                                    "Okaaay," she answered, drawing out the word, a look 
                                    of disbelief on her face.  "Do you have any extra 
                                    pillows?"
                                    
                                    "Hall closet," he directed.
                                    
                                    Scully turned to get them as her cell phone rang.
                                    
                                    Mulder heard several yes sirs and no sirs and then he 
                                    heard his partner explaining his condition.  He 
                                    raised up on his elbows and heard her close the 
                                    conversation with, "I'll tell him, sir."
                                    
                                    "That was the OPR board.  They've been trying to 
                                    reach you all afternoon."
                                    
                                    "Yeah, I left my cell in the charger.  Didn't think 
                                    I'd need it.  How long do I have to clean out my 
                                    desk?" he asked, the sarcasm quite evident in his 
                                    voice.
                                    
                                    "You don't have to.  You're expected back at the 
                                    office as soon as your doctor releases you," Scully 
                                    smiled.
                                    
                                    "I must be more out of it than I thought.  Did I hear 
                                    you say that I still have a job?"
                                    
                                    "That's right, Mulder.  No repercussions.  Carry on 
                                    as before," she called to him as she rummaged around 
                                    in his closet.  She finally located the pillows and 
                                    put them under Mulder's right leg.  "You need to keep 
                                    your foot elevated.  Do you have plenty of food and 
                                    drink?"
                                    
                                    "I don't remember what I have, to tell the truth," he 
                                    sighed as he tried to get comfortable.
                                    
                                    "I'll take a look," Scully offered and went into the 
                                    kitchen.
                                    
                                    He could hear her opening and closing cabinets and 
                                    drawers.  After a few minutes Scully returned, a look 
                                    of disgust on her face.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, your refrigerator should be declared a toxic 
                                    waste dump!"
                                    
                                    "You don't like my science projects?" he quipped.
                                    
                                    "I think some of those growths may be older than I 
                                    am.  Other than the green and gray stuff, I found a 
                                    box of crackers, a can of tuna and an opened carton 
                                    of orange juice that expired two weeks ago," she 
                                    fumed.
                                    
                                    "I'm doing better than I thought."  He tried to laugh 
                                    but it ended in a groan as he accidentally wiggled 
                                    the toes on his sore foot.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, would you like for me to go to the pharmacy 
                                    and get your prescription for painkillers filled?  I 
                                    could stop and pick up a few things from the grocery 
                                    on my way back."
                                    
                                    "Scully, I've put you out enough these past few days.  
                                    If you could just drop off the prescription at the 
                                    pharmacy, they'll deliver it.  I can call the corner 
                                    market for supplies.  They deliver too."
                                    
                                    "I don't mind, Mulder."
                                    
                                    "Thanks, Scully, but I think I can manage."
                                    
                                    "Well, if you're sure."
                                    
                                    "Scully, I'm sure."  He pulled the prescription from 
                                    his shirt pocket and held it out for her.  "I'm just 
                                    going to lie here and watch a little TV."
                                    
                                    "All right, Mulder.  I'll drop this off."  She looked 
                                    around until she found his phone.  She put it on the 
                                    coffee table, within easy reach.  "You be sure to 
                                    call in that food order.  I'll stop by before I go to 
                                    the office in the morning." 
                                    
                                    "Scully, that's not necessary."
                                    
                                    "Mulder, I don't want to hear it.  Expect me by 7:30.  
                                    Got it?"
                                    
                                    "Got it."
                                    
                                    "Now, just let me put your crutches along side the 
                                    couch and I'm out of here."
                                    
                                    "Thanks for putting up with me today.  I appreciate 
                                    it."
                                    
                                    "Not a problem, Mulder.  Call me of you need me and 
                                    get some food in here."
                                    
                                    He nodded and she left, the door closing with a sharp 
                                    click.
                                    
                                    Mulder laid back and started thinking of what  
                                    groceries he should order from the corner mart when a 
                                    thought occurred to him.  Once the groceries were 
                                    delivered, how would he put them away?  No way would 
                                    it work on crutches.  He could hop but he still had 
                                    enough Demerol in his system that he would probably 
                                    fall.  Screw it!  He would just order a pizza and a 
                                    two liter.  Scully would be pissed but he would just 
                                    have to give into her and let her get the damned 
                                    groceries tomorrow.
                                    
                                    Thinking seemed to make his foot hurt even more.  
                                    Where was that pharmacy delivery?  In answer to his 
                                    thought, there was a knock on the door.  He grabbed 
                                    his crutches and hobbled to the door.  He was so 
                                    happy to see the delivery boy that he was tempted to 
                                    hug him, but gave him a ten dollar tip instead.
                                    
                                    He took his treasured bag from the pharmacy into the 
                                    kitchen and searched for a clean glass.  He found one 
                                    and filled it with tap water.  Without even reading 
                                    the directions he popped two tablets in his mouth and 
                                    washed them down with a full glass of water.  The 
                                    medications he'd received at the hospital had really 
                                    made his mouth dry, so he filled the glass again and 
                                    drank that too.  He filled it one last time and set 
                                    it in the refrigerator to get cold.
                                    
                                    Mulder made his way back to the couch and propped his 
                                    foot up.  He grabbed the remote and started surfing 
                                    the channels.  Soon the welcomed pain medication took 
                                    effect and the remote dropped from his hand as he 
                                    began to snore.
                                    
                                    Shortly after 2AM his bladder reminded him of all the 
                                    water he had guzzled earlier.  The pain pills had 
                                    worn off and he really didn't feel like moving but 
                                    his bladder was insistent.
                                    
                                    
                                    "Crap!" he exclaimed and began the process of moving 
                                    from the couch.  "These crutches are a damned 
                                    nuisance!"  They hurt his hands and arm pits too.  He 
                                    hoped the doctor put him in a walking cast.
                                    
                                    He hobbled to the bathroom and took care of business, 
                                    propping the crutches beside the toilet.  They 
                                    promptly slid to the floor and he had to balance 
                                    precariously on his left foot to retrieve them, 
                                    almost giving himself a swirly in the process.
                                    
                                    After washing his hands he decided it was time for 
                                    another dose of pain medication.  He inched his way 
                                    to the kitchen, looking forward to the water he had 
                                    chilled earlier.  Feeling better after downing two 
                                    more pills and the frosty glass of water, he began 
                                    his journey back to the couch.
                                    
                                    The trail of clothes he'd left earlier was still 
                                    lying there waiting to be put in the laundry hamper.  
                                    Mulder had avoided them earlier but on this trip 
                                    through they were waiting in ambush.  His right 
                                    crutch got tangled in his jacket and before he could 
                                    say son of a bitch, he was on the floor, staring at 
                                    the ceiling.
                                    
                                    "I've fallen and I can't get up," he giggled as the 
                                    pain medication coursed through his system.  Scully 
                                    would be there in a few hours and it seemed as good a 
                                    place as any to take a nap.  He closed his eyes and 
                                    was soon dreaming of Scully delivering his groceries 
                                    in a red teddy and black stiletto heels.
                                    
                                    When Mulder next opened his eyes, he was staring at a 
                                    pair of shapely ankles encased in a pair of 
                                    reasonable pumps.  The stiletto heels of his dream 
                                    disappeared quickly as his vision moved upward to 
                                    take in his partner with a very concerned look on her 
                                    face.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, what happened?  Are you all right?" Scully 
                                    asked, kneeling down beside him.
                                    
                                    "Guess I fell," he explained sheepishly.  "Too tired 
                                    to get up."
                                    
                                    "Here, let me help you sit up," Scully offered as he 
                                    struggled to his elbows.
                                    
                                    Mulder held on for dear life as a wave of dizziness 
                                    washed over him.  "I guess I'm feeling a little 
                                    weak," he explained as he sank back into her arms.
                                    
                                    "Okay, just rest for a minute.  We'll take this one 
                                    step at a time.  Did you get any orange juice with 
                                    your delivery?"
                                    
                                    "I didn't call," he moaned, knowing he was soon going 
                                    to be the recipient of a lecture of major 
                                    proportions.
                                    
                                    
                                    "Mulder!" she exclaimed.  "No wonder you're weak.  
                                    You haven't eaten in over 24 hours.  Let's get you 
                                    back to the couch and I'll see about getting you 
                                    something to eat."
                                    
                                    Slowly but surely Scully got Mulder up and over to 
                                    the couch.
                                    
                                    "I saw a convenience store up the street.  I'm going 
                                    to get you some orange juice to get your sugar level 
                                    back up.  I'll see if they have some muffins or 
                                    something then I'll be right back.  Be thinking of 
                                    what you want from the grocery store while I'm gone, 
                                    then we'll get you some food in here."
                                    
                                    "Scully, you'll be late for work," he protested.
                                    
                                    "No, I won't.  I'm not going.  I'm helping a sick 
                                    friend," she smiled.  "I'll be right back."
                                    
                                    Scully made her way out to her car.  She was glad 
                                    that Mulder had forgotten to lock his door, otherwise 
                                    he could have been lying there for quite a while.  
                                    She hated to miss work but he obviously needed some 
                                    assistance.  His apartment was a mess.  She'd 
                                    probably need to do laundry and she needed to get 
                                    Mulder to clean himself up.  She made a mental list 
                                    of the things she thought needed to be done. It was 
                                    going to be a busy day.  She glanced in the back 
                                    seat.  Good, her workout clothes were still there.  
                                    This looked like a job that might require a t-shirt 
                                    and sweats.
                                    
                                    An hour later Mulder was fed and the clothes picked 
                                    up from the floor.  Just as she suspected, his 
                                    laundry hamper was overflowing.  Scully had just 
                                    called in an order to the corner mart and the next 
                                    thing on her list of things to do was to get Mulder 
                                    to clean himself up.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, why don't you get yourself cleaned up so I 
                                    can take your dirty clothes to the laundromat?"
                                    
                                    "Scully, you don't have to do my laundry."
                                    
                                    "It looks to me like you could stand to wash a few 
                                    things.  Your laundry hamper is running over."
                                    
                                    "That's its normal state," he quipped.  "I still have 
                                    a few pieces of clean clothing around here."
                                    
                                    "Where do you keep your towels and washcloths?" she 
                                    questioned.
                                    
                                    "Under the sink in the bathroom."
                                    
                                    Scully left and he could hear her rummaging around 
                                    under the sink.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, you have one clean towel, which you are 
                                    about to use."
                                    
                                    "I could always buy some more," he offered.
                                    
                                    "And I could also do your laundry," she said firmly.
                                    
                                    "All right, all right.  There's a laundry room 
                                    downstairs.  You don't have to go out," he gave in.
                                    
                                    "Good.  Now, tell me if you have any sweats that are 
                                    clean."
                                    
                                    "I think so.  I'll get them, but how am I supposed to 
                                    shower in this cast?"
                                    
                                    "You don't.  You sit on the toilet and fill the sink 
                                    up with warm, soapy water and wash yourself that way.  
                                    No shower until you're steady on your feet, and then 
                                    you'll have to cover that cast in plastic."
                                    
                                    "Okay, I guess," he sighed.
                                    
                                    "Good.  If you can manage it, get some clean clothes 
                                    and take them into the bathroom with you.  Throw out 
                                    the dirty ones and I'll start to sort your things."
                                    
                                    Mulder got up and made his way to his seldom-used 
                                    bedroom.  Although it was difficult to move around 
                                    the clutter, he soon had his clothes and was in the 
                                    bathroom preparing to wash hisself.  He sat on the 
                                    toilet and began undressing.  He really appreciated 
                                    Scully's help, but things were starting to get 
                                    intimate.  She was going to be sorting through his 
                                    dirty underwear!  "Oh well, in for a penny in for a 
                                    pound," he thought as he threw his dirty clothes out 
                                    the door.
                                    
                                    By mid-afternoon Mulder felt like he was the king of 
                                    the world.  He actually had food and drink and Scully 
                                    had ordered some things that could be handled easily 
                                    while on crutches.  She had also prepared snacks and 
                                    meals with that in mind.
                                    
                                    His laundry was finished and folded and Scully had 
                                    even offered to drop off his dry cleaning.  The 
                                    bathroom had been cleaned and mopped and Scully was 
                                    working on the kitchen.
                                    
                                    Mulder was intently examining the varying shades of 
                                    blue and purple on his toes when Scully came in and 
                                    dropped down into his desk chair.
                                    
                                    "I think the kitchen and bathroom would pass a white 
                                    glove test," she declared, pushing an errant strand 
                                    of hair behind her ear.
                                    
                                    "Scully, you know how much I appreciate this, but you 
                                    know you didn't have to do it."
                                    
                                    "I know that, Mulder," she replied.
                                    
                                    "I'd like to pay you back somehow.  How about I take 
                                    you out for a nice dinner whenever I get off these 
                                    crutches?"
                                    
                                    "Mulder, you really don't have to do anything, but if 
                                    you insist . . ."
                                    
                                    "Anything, Scully," he promised
                                    
                                    "How about letting me choose the radio station for 
                                    the next month?"
                                    
                                    "Aaargh!" Mulder thought as he smiled sweetly at her.  
                                    "A month of news-talk radio or classical music," he 
                                    groaned inwardly as he shook his head in agreement.
                                    
                                    "That was too easy," Scully thought as she got to her 
                                    feet.  "Mulder, I think you're all set now.  Your 
                                    pain medication is on the coffee table along with the 
                                    phone and the remote.  Is your cell phone handy?"
                                    
                                    "In my pocket," Mulder answered, unzipping the back 
                                    pocket on his sweats and pulling out the phone.
                                    
                                    "Good.  Keep it with you in case you find yourself on 
                                    the floor again.  You have a cooler full of ice and 
                                    drinks on the floor beside the couch.  Your dinner is 
                                    in the fridge and I put some snacks on the counter.  
                                    I laid out some clean clothes and a towel and 
                                    washcloth in the bathroom.  You shouldn't have to 
                                    carry too much after I leave.  I'll bring breakfast 
                                    on my way to work and I'll be back in plenty of time 
                                    to take you to your 2:30 doctor appointment.  Let's 
                                    see.  Did I forget anything?"
                                    
                                    "Scully, are you sure a month of radio choice is 
                                    enough?" he asked as he realized all that she had 
                                    done.
                                    
                                    "Probably not.  I'll let you take me to dinner too," 
                                    she grinned.
                                    
                                    "Anything, Scully."
                                    
                                    "Mulder, that's enough!" she exclaimed.  "That's what 
                                    friends are for."
                                    
                                    Mulder realized it had been a long time since he had 
                                    a real friend.  He had quite a few acquaintances, but 
                                    very few that would count as a friend.
                                    
                                    "Thanks friend," he said solemnly, then broke into a 
                                    grin as he saw the wide smile on Scully's face.  
                                    "I'll be waiting for you in the morning."
                                    
                                    Scully paused and tried to think of the last time a 
                                    friend was that eager to see her again.  It had been 
                                    too long.  "Great.  I'll be here by 7:30.  Oh, and 
                                    Mulder, you know my number.  Call me if you need me."
                                    
                                    Scully made her way to the door as Mulder agreed to 
                                    call her.
                                    
                                    As she left, Mulder felt the emptiness in the room.  
                                    He lay back on the couch and thought about the last 
                                    24 hours.  The pain in his foot was excruiciating at 
                                    times, but it was worth it.  He had just added a new 
                                    word to his personal dictionary-friend-and it had 
                                    Dana Scully's picture next to it.
                                    
                                    "Nice," he thought as he closed his eyes, feeling 
                                    safe and content for the first time in a long time.  
                                    "Very nice," he smiled, and thought of his new 
                                    dictionary page.
                                    
                                    
                                    
                                    
                                    END