Title: Spectacular Lights and Chili Nights
Author: Waddles 52 and Little Bullit 89
Summary: When Mulder becomes ill during a raging
snowstorm, Scully is forced to perform emergency
surgery and deal with another surprise along the way.
Category: MT, MSR
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.
Just for fun. Not for profit.
Archives: Please ask first
Feedback: Would be appreciated, but try to be nice.
This is my first attempt at writing fan fiction.
Dedication: To my son, Chris, a great organizer.
Proof reader and critic. Special thanks to Vickie
Moseley who encouraged me to give it a try.
A Small Restaurant in Montana near the Blackfeet
"How is your five-alarm chili, Mulder?" Scully asked
between bites of her chef salad.
"Much tastier than that rabbit food you insist on
eating," Mulder answered after downing a long drink
"At least the lining of my stomach will still be
intact when I'm finished."
"That's one of the benefits of a cast-iron stomach,
Scully. I can enjoy some of the best chili ever
made, and still keep my stomach lining," he replied
as he finished his milk in another long gulp.
Scully smiled and decided not to comment on his
second glass of milk. "I'm glad you're enjoying your
meal, Mulder, but I'm sure you could find a really
good bowl of chili closer to home."
"Maybe, but there aren't any Indian reservations with
spectacular light shows in the D.C. area." Mulder
wiped his mouth and pushed back from the table.
"We've been to three Indian reservations in the past
five days and the closest thing to a light show that
I've seen was the neon sign over the community
center." Scully finished her salad and picked up the
"You're right, Scully. This trip was a bust, but the
food was terrific." Mulder stood and plucked the
check from her hand. "As much as I'd like to have
another bowl of chili, we'd better hit the road. It
looks like snow, and we've got quite a drive to Great
"I won't argue about that. I'll meet you outside."
Several hours later.
"I think we need to stop here for gas, Mulder. It's
really starting to snow harder, and I'd feel much
more comfortable with a full tank."
Scully looked toward the sky and observed the fat
snowflakes as they began to fall more thickly.
"Yeah, I think you're right. Even though the Bureau
decided to spring for this nice, roomy SUV, I could
sure use a break to stretch my legs right about now."
He pulled under the canopy and looked over at his
"Why don't you fill it up and I'll go inside to pay.
Do you want me to get you anything?"
"Some mints or gum would be nice."
Mulder got out of the Ford Explorer. It was huge
compared to the Ford Taurus they were usually stuck
with, but he was still a bit stiff from driving. As
he slowly stretched his arms above his head, he felt
a strong jolt of pain around his belly button. It
quickly passed and settled into a mild ache. Scully
didn't notice as he rubbed his stomach and made his
way into the service station.
Several minutes later, Mulder emerged from the store
and headed for the SUV. He almost doubled over when
another strong pain struck. He stopped, straightened
up, took a deep breath and popped some Pepto Bismol
tablets into his mouth. Then he continued on his way
to the Explorer where Scully was just finishing up
cleaning the windshield.
He handed her the mints and the keys as he popped
another tablet into his mouth. "Why don't you drive
for a while, Scully? I'm really kind of tired. I
think I'll lay the seat back a little and take a
"It looks more like you're having trouble with the
lining of that cast-iron stomach. Is it starting to
rust through?" She nodded toward the Pepto Bismol
"Nope. I just like the taste of these pink
Scully climbed into the truck and adjusted the seat.
"Are you sure your feet can reach the pedals?" he
asked her, trying to avoid the subject of the 'pink
"I'm sure they will, Mulder." She gave him a
withering look. "Why don't you sit back and digest
that chili? We'll see how that rabbit food holds up
Scully started the engine as Mulder closed his eyes
and sighed heavily.
Scully had been driving for several hours as the snow
continued to fall. It was really starting to pile
up, and driving was becoming increasingly difficult.
Mulder had been snoring softly, but had begun to
fidget and moan over the past several miles.
She was glad her partner was waking up. They would
have to make a decision about stopping pretty soon.
The weather was going to keep them from traveling
Mulder suddenly sat up straight in his seat.
"Scully, pull over!" he exclaimed, his hand reaching
for he door handle.
She looked at him puzzedly. "Wait a minute. I don't
want to get stuck in a drift."
"Scully! Pull over! Now!" he screamed.
She pulled to a stop as he leapt out of the truck.
Before Scully could even get her door open, Mulder
was hunched over near the rear of the truck.
As Scully came around the rear of the truck, she
could hear him retching and gasping between heaves.
Mulder stuck his arm out to keep her back. He was
clearly embarrassed by his stomach's betrayal and
didn't want an audience.
Ignoring him, Scully walked behind him and rubbed his
back until the heaving stopped. "Better?" she asked.
"Compared to what?" he groaned.
Mulder stood up slowly and walked back toward the
truck. He gasped as another knifing pain hit his
mid-section. "Damn that chili!" he thought as
another pain tore through him, forcing him to double
"Mulder?" Scully questioned, concern showing on her
face. "What's wrong?
She wrapped an arm around him and helped him to the
Mulder sat down, bent over toward the dash. "Don't
know. Started at the gas station." He groaned
loudly and clutched at his stomach. "Must be getting
old. Can't handle my chili anymore."
Scully felt his forehead. It was surprisingly warm
"Well partner, it feels like you have a fever. It
probably isn't the chili. You're obviously in a lot
of pain. Why don't you show me exactly where it
Mulder pointed to the area of his lower, right side.
"It started in the middle, and then moved over here."
Scully tried not to show the alarm she felt as he
described his pain.
"What's wrong with me?" Mulder groaned again. "This
is really starting to piss me off! I hate being
"Take it easy. It could be anything from a 24-hour
bug to appendicitis. Stomach pains aren't all that
easy to diagnose, especially in the front seat of a
car in the middle of a snowstorm."
"Great." Mulder took a deep breath and let out
another groan. "Just shoot me and dump my body in a
"I don't think that will be necessary," Scully
laughed. "Look, we need to find a place to lay over
until this snowstorm is over anyway. You can rest,
and if you continue to feel ill, we'll get you to a
"Sounds like a plan."
"Do you think your stomach has settled enough so that
we can get going?"
"I think so."
"Good. Just try to relax and think thoughts of a
nice, warm motel room." Scully ran her fingers
through his hair and gave him a big smile. "Let's go
Three miles later Scully was forced to stop again as
Mulder emptied his stomach by the road. They started
again and made it a good ten miles before they had to
stop again. Mulder couldn't bring up anything, but
the dry heaves were even more uncomfortable.
"This sucks, Scully. I really feel bad," he moaned
as she helped him back into the vehicle. "I'm sorry.
It's not much fun driving through a snowstorm with a
guy that has to puke every five minutes."
"Well, at least I'm not bored any longer. It's okay,
Mulder. I can't think of anyone I'd rather be with
during a snowstorm, even with an upset stomach."
Scully went around to the driver's side and got back
in. "Let's get this show on the road. There's got
to be a motel somewhere around here."
Thirty miles and two stops later the two agents
pulled into the parking lot of a small motor court.
The buildings looked like they had seen better days,
but at this point it looked like the Ritz-Carlton.
Scully checked in while Mulder waited in the
Explorer. He had just begun to doze when the door
opened and the wind-driven snow startled him awake
"We're here, partner. Let's get you inside. I'll
get the bags later."
"That's okay, Scully. Just get me inside and let me
rest for a few minutes, then I'll come back out and
get our things."
"Sure, Mulder. Let's just get inside and get warmed
Scully opened the door to room three and flipped on
the light. It was small and worn-looking, but the
room was clean and warm.
Mulder flopped on one of the beds and curled up into
"Come on, Mulder. Let's get your coat off," Scully
Mulder raised one arm and she pulled the coat off as
he wriggled around so she could reach the other side.
He began to shiver as soon as the coat was gone.
"Scoot," Scully said as she began to pull the covers
back on the bed.
Mulder moved enough for her to free the bedspread and
blanket and she covered him with it. "I'll be back
in a few minutes."
When Scully returned with the bags, Mulder was still
curled into a ball, shivering and groaning with the
pain. She took off her coat and rummaged through her
bag for the small medical kit she always carried on
road trips. It had come in handy more times than she
cared to remember. Traveling with Mulder kept her
medical skills from becoming rusty. She had treated
small bumps and bruises and major medical events.
She hoped that this was just a 24-hour bug as she put
the aural thermometer in her partner's ear. He
didn't seem to notice as another wave of pain made
Scully looked at the readout. 101.2. "That wasn't
so bad," she thought. "Maybe we'll get lucky." As
she finished that thought, Mulder jumped up and ran
to the bathroom. "Then maybe not." She sighed as
she followed him into the bathroom. Her heart went
out to him. He was so miserable as he clutched the
toilet bowl, heaving, but bringing up nothing. She
grabbed a washcloth and let cool water run over it.
She pressed it to his forehead as he continued to
Finally he stopped and took the washcloth from his
forehead and ran it across his mouth. Scully
unwrapped a glass and ran a little water in it.
"Here. Rinse your mouth out," she ordered, as she
handed him the glass.
He grabbed it with shaking hands and swished the
water around his mouth. He spat into the toilet and
handed the glass back to Scully. She flushed the
toilet and sat the glass on the sink.
Mulder attempted to get up, but sank back, clutching
his stomach. "Ahhh . . .shit!" he screamed as Scully
reached for him to keep him from falling. "This has
got to stop! Do you have anything in your little,
black bag to help my stomach?"
Scully helped him up and tried to keep from showing
her concern. Mulder wasn't one to take medicine, let
alone ask for it. That let her know that they were
probably not dealing with a simple virus. "I think I
have some phenergan, but I'll have to give it by
injection. I don't think you could keep a tablet
More cause for alarm. Mulder and needles didn't mix.
If he was agreeable to an injection, things were bad.
She led him to the bed. "Let's try to get you more
comfortable. Do you have any sweats or pajama
"Sweats." He pointed to his bag.
Scully found them easily and brought them to Mulder
who was sitting on the side of the bed, doubled over.
She took off his hiking boots. Mulder unbuttoned and
unzipped his jeans.
"Can you raise up a bit?" Scully asked.
Mulder complied and she pulled off his jeans then put
his feet in the legs of the sweats. Mulder grabbed
the waistband and pulled them up. He started to lie
"I need you on your back. I need to examine you, and
then I'll give you that injection."
He rolled over onto his back and whimpered. "It
hurts to lay straight. I've got to put my legs up."
"Just try to hang on for a few minutes, then you can
get into a more comfortable position."
Scully pulled up his shirt and began to feel his
stomach. His skin was hot and dry. Not a good sign.
He was becoming dehydrated. As she palpated his
right side, Mulder jerked and brought up his legs
with a cry of pain.
"Sorry, partner. I'll be finished in just a
minute," she apologized.
As she let the pressure off his stomach, he screamed
and curled back into a ball. He gasped for breath,
and his gasps finally turned to sobs. "Damn,
Scully." he cried. "Sorry to be such a wuss, but it
His sobs finally stopped as Scully sat beside him and
stroked his back. She went over his symptoms in her
mind as she tried to comfort him. Low-grade fever,
vomiting, localized lower, right quadrant pain,
rebound tenderness. It all added up to acute
appendicitis. Of course, she would need a CBC, maybe
an x-ray and ultrasound, but she was pretty sure he
would need emergency surgery soon. First she would
try to relieve his nausea with the phenergan
injection. Then she would have to get him to the
She got up and prepared the injection. Mulder didn't
seem to notice when she pulled the waistband of his
sweats down to his left hip and swabbed the area with
an alcohol wipe. He groaned slightly as the needle
went in, and shivered as she swabbed the injection
site with the alcohol wipe again. Scully covered him
up and sat down on the side of the bed. She leaned
over and began to run her fingers through his hair.
"The injection should make you sleepy. I'm going to
talk to the manager and find out where the closest
medical facilities are. You need to be seen by a
"You're a doctor," he said sleepily. The phenergan
was beginning to take effect.
"That's true, but in case you haven't noticed, the
vast majority of my patients are dead. I think I
need a second opinion." She started to move from his
side, but he grabbed her hand and pulled her back
"I trust you, Dr. Scully," he yawned.
"I'm glad to hear that, but I'm not sure I trust
myself." She got up and moved the wastebasket to the
side of the bed. "Just in case."
Mulder managed a weak smile. "Thanks. Don't be gone
"I'll be back as quickly as I can." She bent over
and kissed the top of his head. He began to snore
softly as she put on her coat and opened the door.
Mulder was awakened by a draft of freezing air. He
shivered and opened his eyes. His vision was
somewhat blurry. The figure beside his bed appeared
to be a miniature abominable snowperson. He blinked
and his vision cleared. Scully took off her coat and
shook some of the snow from her hair.
"You look like an "Abominable Snowscully'," he
chuckled and then moaned. Laughing was not a good
idea right now.
"How are you feeling?" Scully inquired as she sat
beside him on the bed.
"Still hurts. Don't feel as queasy, though. Damn,
my mouth feels dry."
"Phenergan will do that and you're a little
dehydrated too. You can't have anything to drink
though. You're probably going to have surgery soon."
Scully broke the news quickly.
It didn't slide past Mulder though. "What! Surgery?
Why? I just have a 24-hour thing. I'll be better
"I don't think so, Mulder. You have all of the
symptoms of acute appendicitis."
Mulder looked at her and shook his head no. Scully
nodded her affirmation sadly.
"I know the last thing you want is surgery, but we
need to confirm my diagnosis and get this taken care
of before it perforates. We do have a few problems
"You can say that again. I'll be okay. I don't need
a new scar, and I have no desire to be stuck in a
hospital in Montana, or anywhere else for that
matter." He was putting on a brave front, but he
knew that Scully was right.
Scully pushed the hair back from his forehead,
stopped and sighed before she began. "That's one of
the problems, Mulder. The nearest hospital is about
100 miles away. The snowstorm has worsened, and the
roads have been closed. We can't get an emergency
chopper flight until the storm is over. Current
predictions don't call for an end to the snow until
tomorrow afternoon." She paused to let the
information sink in. "The good news is that there is
a very well-equipped medical clinic here. They even
have minor surgical facilities."
"Yeah? Then I guess you'll have to take me there."
Mulder shifted in bed and gasped as the movement
caused the pain to increase. "Soon, okay?"
"I will, Mulder, but there's some bad news too. The
doctor died suddenly last week. A massive coronary.
There is a physician's assistant, but of course she
can only assist with surgery."
"Scully, you're a doctor. You 'operate' on dead
people all of the time." He patted her hand and
looked at her, showing that he trusted her.
"That's the point, Mulder. My patients are already
dead. They can't die again if I make a mistake."
She stood and shook out her coat, water droplets from
the melted snow flying in the air. "I assisted on a
couple of appendectomies during my surgery rotation,
but I've never done one on my own."
"You won't be on your own. You'll have the
physician's assistant. You remember how to do it
Mulder reached out and grabbed her right arm and
pulled he back beside him on the bed. "I trust you,
Scully. If I have to have my appendix removed, I
can't think of anyone but my favorite doctor and best
friend to do the honor."
"I guess it's really a moot point anyway, isn't it?
It's either me or wait for it to rupture. I guess
you know that as your surgeon, I will have to see
'all of you'," she grinned and ruffled his hair.
"Well, Dr. Scully, if you wanted to see me naked you
didn't have to wait for my appendix to blow," he
"I know, Mulder, but this way I'll have you all to
myself and you'll be unconscious to boot." She
chuckled at Mulder's surprised look. "Let's get you
up and over to the clinic. Gloria Noell should be
waiting for us."
"She sounds like a Christmas carol," he commented as
he tried to sit up. "Oh!" he cried as he fell back
to the bed and rolled back on his right side with his
knees drawn up.
"It's going to hurt, partner, but we've got to get
moving. Let's try this again, slowly." Scully
grabbed his left arm and began pulling him up.
Slowly, but surely she helped Mulder to a sitting
position. "Okay, halfway there. Let's get your
shoes and coat on."
By the time they were ready to go, the last thing
Mulder wanted to do was to stand up, let alone put
one foot in front of the other to walk to the truck.
The phenergan was definitely wearing off. "Scully,
let's get moving okay? I don't think I'll be able to
move much longer. I'm really starting to feel
"Are you still having pain?"
"Oh, yeah. Lot's and lots of pain."
"That's actually good. We'd have something to worry
about if it stopped. That would indicate a
perforation. Let's get going so that doesn't happen.
Ready?" Scully asked, holding her hand out to him.
"As I'll ever be. Thanks." He took her hand and let
her help him up.
The clinic was housed in a modern building, quite a
contrast to the older buildings on the block. Scully
pulled the truck into what she hoped was a parking
space. The parking lot hadn't been plowed. There
was a Chevy Blazer parked close by. Scully hoped it
was the physician's assistant, Gloria Noell.
Scully had talked to her earlier from the motel
manager's office. She had agreed to open the clinic
and assist in any way she could. She seemed to be a
no-nonsense type of person, used to sharing the work
with the doctor. Scully hoped she wouldn't resent
working with a forensic pathologist instead of a
"Mulder let me help you. There's over a foot of snow
out there and I don't want you to slip."
"Scully, at this point I'm not even sure I could open
the door, let alone make it inside by myself. I'll
make a deal with you. Next snowstorm, I'll carry you
around," Mulder said wearily.
"Deal, partner." Scully patted his knee and opened
her door. She jumped down and found that the snow
reached over her knees. She waded to the passenger
side and opened the door.
"We might need a sled team or a snowmobile to get
there," Mulder commented as he slowly made his way
down from his seat.
"Let's try to follow those footprints. It might be a
bit easier that way," Scully suggested.
By the time they high-stepped and waded to the door,
Mulder had just about used his last ounce of
strength. Scully pushed the door open.
A woman appeared from one of the examination rooms
down the hall. She quickly made her way to Mulder
and Scully. Taking Mulder's free arm, she led them
to the room she had emerged from. They helped Mulder
onto the gurney. Scully took a quick look around.
There was a gown waiting for Mulder, along with an IV
set-up and solution, and the items needed to draw
"I'm Dana Scully and this is my partner, Fox Mulder."
Scully introduced them as she took off her coat.
"I'm Gloria Noell, Dr. Scully. I decided to start
getting ready. If you can help him into a gown and
start his IV after I draw some blood, I'll take it to
the lab and see what we have."
"Yes, I will."
Gloria went to work. Although her manner seemed to
be stern, with no room for nonsense, she was very
gentle. After drawing the blood, she pulled an aural
thermometer from her pocket and brought it to
Mulder's ear. "101.8. I've started a chart for Mr.
Mulder. It's on the counter. If you would record
that for me, I'll get started on that blood."
"Thank you, Ms. Noell," Scully replied.
"Please, Dr. Scully. Would you call me Gloria?"
"Sure, if you'll call me Dana."
Gloria seemed to be on the far side of fifty, and was
much taller and heavier than Scully. She had such a
presence about her that Scully wasn't sure she would
be comfortable using her first name, but would follow
Ms. Noell's wishes.
"And I'm just Mulder," came a weak voice from the
Gloria nodded and left the room with the blood sample
in her hand.
"Okay, 'just Mulder', let's get you undressed and
into that gown. I need to get that IV started."
Scully began tugging at his coat sleeve.
After a few minutes, Mulder was in the gown and
Scully was prepping Mulder's left hand to receive the
IV. Thank goodness he had good veins. The IV was
soon inserted and the solution running.
"I don't suppose there's any pain medicine to go in
that IV is there, Dr. Scully?" Mulder asked through
"Bad?" Scully queried.
"I'll give you something soon. I want to get the
results of that blood test first."
Even as she finished that statement, Gloria came back
and handed her a slip of paper.
"Well, Mulder, your white count is definitely
"Can't catch a break can I?" The pain was still
evident on Mulder's face. "Now what?"
"Gloria, do you have an ultrasound?"
"Yes, Dr. Scully, I mean Dana. I'll bring it in."
Scully stood by Mulder and took his right hand. "The
ultrasound should confirm my diagnosis. It's not
usually a painful procedure, but since your abdomen
is so tender I'm afraid it will hurt. I'm sorry."
"Scully, you don't need to apologize. At this point,
a little more pain isn't going to make much
"I promise. I'll be as gentle as I can."
"I know you will." Mulder actually managed to smile,
but it was short-lived as the pain began to
"I didn't think it was possible to hurt any worse,
but I think I'm setting a record here," Mulder
gasped. "Gonna be sick!"
Scully grabbed an emesis bowl from the counter and
held it for Mulder as dry heaves wracked his stomach
again and again.
When he was finished, Scully wet a washcloth she
found under the counter and bathed his face.
He was so weak he could barely acknowledge her.
Gloria came in, pushing the ultrasound in front of
"Thank you, Gloria." Scully nodded as she turned on
the machine and grabbed the wand.
"You're welcome." Gloria acknowledged as she began
to spread the conductive gel over Mulder's stomach.
"Ahhh!" he screamed.
"Mulder, what is it?" Scully asked quickly.
"That shit is cold!"
"You scared me, Mulder. The gel usually is cold. I
should have warned you." Scully began to run the
wand over Mulder's stomach. That illicited a few
gasps and groans, but she was quickly finished.
"Well, it looks like you do have a hot appendix. I
think the best course of action is to remove it. The
sooner the better."
"You're the doctor. You have my permission," Mulder
agreed. "But if you remove the wrong thing, I'll
slap a major malpractice suit on you so fast you
won't know what hit you." He gave her a big grin.
"I'll keep that in mind, Mulder. I'll be sure to
mark it with a big X."
"I guess that would make it an X-File."
"Only if it's on your left side or you have more than
one." Scully played along. "Gloria, we need to get
the OR set up, and get Mulder prepped."
"Okay. The surgical suite is two doors down on your
left. Why don't you look it over and set it up like
you want it? If you'll write the pre-op
instructions, I'll get Mr. Mulder ready," Gloria
offered. "You'll find scrubs across the hall in the
Gloria handed her the chart and Scully quickly
scribbled down the orders.
"I'll meet you in pre-op. It's next door to the OR."
Gloria released the brake on the Mulder's gurney and
began to push it down the hall.
Mulder gave Scully a thumb's up and then closed his
eyes. "See you later, Scully."
Gloria pushed the gurney into place and began to ask
the usual pre-op questions.
"I should really make a copy of this and carry it
with me. It would sure save a lot of time," Mulder
groused. "Did Scully say I could have something for
"Yes. She prescribed fentanyl, but I wanted to ask
these questions first. I think that covers the usual
questions. You seem to be a pro at this."
"You could say that," he answered as Gloria injected
the painkiller into his IV port.
"That should help with the pain. It's pretty
"Strong is good."
Gloria gathered supplies as Mulder began to feel the
effects of the drug. She pulled down the sheet and
pulled up his gown.
"What are you doing?" Mulder made a motion to pull
his gown back down.
Gloria caught his hand. "I have to shave the
Mulder shook his head no.
Gloria shook her head yes. "Mr. Mulder, I have a
husband, four sons, and three grandsons. I seriously
doubt you have anything that would surprise me."
Mulder knew when he was whipped. Besides, the
fentanyl was making it hard for him to focus.
"Whatever. Do what you need to do," he mumbled as he
Scully came in just as Gloria was finishing.
"Did he give you any trouble?"
"Well, he was a bit shy, but the fentanyl kicked in
and he slept through it."
"Good. A sleepy Mulder is usually a cooperative
Mulder. The OR is ready to go. I assume you'll
start the anesthesia, then assist me?"
"Yes. Why don't you scrub while I put on the
monitors, put him under and intubate him? Then you
can monitor him while I scrub."
"Okay. Just be patient with me. Remember, surgery
is not my specialty," Scully said with a hint of
"I'm sure everything will be just fine, Dana. I've
assisted on more appendectomies than I care to
remember. Together, we'll make a great team."
Gloria gave her a reassuring smile.
"Mulder, can you hear me?" Scully asked as she
smoothed his hair.
"Mmm. . .yeah. Tired."
"I know. We're about to get started."
"Good. Make it stop hurting, okay?" he moaned.
"That is the general idea. You know you'll be sore
when it's over, but you should feel better soon. I'm
going to get ready now. I'll see you when it's
over." She squeezed his right hand and kissed his
forehead. She took a deep breath and marched off to
Mulder was trying to reach the surface. He must have
been swimming underwater for quite some time. He had
a stitch in his right side and he was very tired.
Now, if he could just reach the surface.
"Mulder, it's time to wake up. The surgery is over."
The voice was familiar. What was Scully doing at the
pool? Mulder opened his eyes. Scully was smiling
down at him. Then he remembered. The surgery,
Scully had to operate.
"It's about time you woke up, sleepyhead. I was
beginning to get worried."
"Why?" he questioned hoarsely. Wow, major sore
"It took me longer than I had planned. Your appendix
was ready to rupture. In fact, it was beginning to
ooze infection. We had to take our time and make
sure no infection was left behind. Thank God for
Gloria. I couldn't have asked for a better
"Water?" he asked.
"Not just yet. I want to be sure you can keep it
down. You were pretty nauseated before the surgery
and you have had problems with anesthesia before.
Let's wait a while before we give it a try."
Gloria handed Scully a wet washcloth. She ran it
over Mulder's lips.
Gloria took the washcloth and wet it again and handed
it to Mulder.
"See what did I tell you about Gloria being a great
assistant. Most of the time I didn't have to ask for
a thing. She anticipates my moves. How's the pain?"
"Better. It's just a dull ache right now." Mulder
ran the washcloth over his lips again. "When can we
get out of here?"
"Not so fast, Mulder. I'm running in some pretty
heavy-duty antibiotics right now, just to be on the
safe side. We have to wait until we're sure you can
keep fluids down, and that your temp is down. We'll
have to stay here for at least 12 hours, then another
day or two at the motel. You should be able to
travel by then," Scully answered him.
Gloria handed her the aural thermometer and Scully
placed it in his right ear. In a few seconds she
looked at the readout. "99.9. That's coming down
nicely. I'm going to give you a little bit of pain
medicine now. I want you to rest for a while. When
you wake up we'll try some ice chips."
"Okay." Gloria injected the pain medicine. In a few
seconds Mulder began to feel its effect. "That stuff
works fast. Tired. Think I'll sleep. . ." He dozed
off before he could finish the sentence.
"Nothing but the best for you, partner."
"It looks like you two have been together for a
while," Gloria commented as she disposed of the
"We've been partners for almost eight years."
"Partners at the F.B.I. or otherwise?" Gloria asked.
Scully looked surprised.
"I'm sorry. I guess I'm being a little too nosey."
"Actually, we get that a lot." Scully smiled at her.
"I'm not offended. Mulder and I have a very unique
partnership and friendship. We've been together for
so long I guess we do seem like an old, married
couple, although that's not the case."
"The F.B.I. frowns on romances between partners,"
Scully answered quickly.
"The F.B.I. doesn't know everything, right?"
"I guess you could say that," Scully hedged.
"Don't worry, Dana. Your secret is safe with me."
"But. . ." Scully stopped. There wasn't any big
secret yet, although things seemed to be looking up
in that department. Scully just decided to let
Gloria think she had everything figured out. Maybe
one day she and Mulder would get it figured out."
"Dana, why don't you sit down and rest for a bit?
Write your notes for the chart and grab a soft drink
from the fridge in the changing room. I'll keep an
eye on your partner. He should sleep for an hour or
"Thank you, Gloria. I think I will. Call me if you
Scully felt someone shaking her shoulder. She had
fallen asleep after finishing the chart notes.
"Dr. Scully, you need to wake up," Gloria said
Scully was a little foggy. "Wonder what happened to
Dana?" she thought as she shook her head to clear the
cobwebs. "Yes, Gloria. What is it?"
"You need to get out here."
"Is it Mulder? What's wrong?"
She followed Gloria out into the hallway and stopped
dead in her tracks. A rather large man grabbed
Gloria and pointed a gun at Scully. She reached
behind her to grab her gun, then realized with a
sinking feeling that it was locked inside a locker in
the changing room, along with Mulder's.
"What do you want?" She asked.
Well, well, Dr. Scully. You're not at all what I
expected. Looks like my plans have changed. What I
want is drugs, food, something to drink and you and
not necessarily in that order. Looks like I'm going
to have a little more fun than I figured."
He pushed Gloria away and motioned for Scully to come
"I have a patient who's recovering from surgery. I
need to check on him, then maybe we can get you
something to eat and drink."
"I just saw him. He's out like a light. He doesn't
need you right now, but I do. Let's you and me check
out the drug supply and then see what we can get into
after that." He reached out and grabbed her arm.
Scully decided that a struggle might not be in her
best interest at the moment. "I need to check on my
"I need your attention more than him right now. I
want the key to the drug cabinet. You take care of
me first, or I'll see to it that your patient doesn't
need a doctor anymore." He pushed her down the hall.
"You." He motioned to Gloria. "Get in there with
that guy and stay there."
"I'm a visiting doctor," Scully said. "I was just
called in for this surgery. I don't know where
anything is and I don't have a key."
"You," he pointed to Gloria. "You toss me the keys
and the good doctor and me should be able to find
what we need." Gloria did as she was told. The man
pushed Scully in front of him. "Let's see what we
They disappeared down the hall.
"Mr. Mulder, you need to wake up." Gloria shook his
shoulder. "Come on. Wake up. Your partner is in
"What? What about Scully?" Mulder was pretty
"A man with a gun came in here. He was looking for
drugs. When he saw Dana he. . .I think he's going to
That caused Mulder to pay attention.
"Where are they?" he asked as Gloria helped him to
"They are probably in the supply room He wanted
drugs first then. . ." she couldn't finish.
"Where are our guns?" he asked as he tried to swing
his legs over the side of the bed. That caused the
incision to hurt rather badly. "Shit!"
Gloria helped him move. "Mr. Mulder, I don't think
you should get up. You're probably going to open
"I'll be okay. Our guns?" He scooted to the floor
and nearly collapsed. Gloria held him up.
"They're in a locker in the changing room. You can't
get there without being seen."
"Then we'll have to go to plan B." He began pulling
at the IV.
"Here, let me do that." Gloria pulled at the tape
and soon had it out. She put a bandaid over it and
then asked Mulder. "What is plan B?"
Mulder looked around the room and spotted an oxygen
tank. "You need to get them in here."
He made his way to the oxygen tank and picked it up.
He gasped as the movement caused a sharp pain.
Gloria was quickly at his side. "You're not up to
"I have to be. You just get them in here and I'll do
Gloria made her way down the hall. In the supply
room the intruder had just finished injecting himself
with something. He turned his attention to Scully.
He pulled her close and began to kiss her and paw at
Gloria burst into the room. "Dr. Scully, come quick.
He's arrested! I need your help!"
Scully pushed herself away from her attacker and was
out of the room before he could stop her in his
drugged state. Even at that, he soon caught up to
her. As she burst into Mulder's room he grabbed her.
"Let him die! We don't need him!"
Mulder stepped out from behind the door and brought
the oxygen tank down on the man's head. He dropped
to the floor. Scully was quickly on him, taking his
Mulder dropped the tank and backed up to the wall.
He slid down it until he was sitting on the floor.
He looked down to his side, where blood was beginning
to show on his gown. Scully looked at him. "Oh,
Mulder. Gloria, find something to tie him up," she
ordered as she made her way over to Mulder.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
"I'm fine. Look at you." She pulled his gown up.
You've undone my pretty sutures."
"I'm okay. I couldn't let him hurt you." His vision
was beginning to get fuzzy at the edges.
"Can you stand?" Scully asked.
"I think so." She helped him up onto unsteady legs
and led him back to the gurney. "I've got to lay
Scully helped him lie back. She grabbed some gauze
pads and pressed them to the incision. "Can you put
pressure on this?"
"Yeah. Think so." He was beginning to fade out but
tried to hold on."
Scully turned to Gloria who had just finished winding
surgical tape around the intruder's wrists and
"Gloria, call for help. I'll see what I can do for
Mulder was doing his best to keep pressure on the
incision and keep from passing out. "Are you sure he
didn't hurt you?"
"I'm sure. You didn't let him get the chance. Let
me look." She lifted the pads. "It's slowing down.
We need to get your IV going again, and put some new
sutures in your incision. All in all, it doesn't
look too bad."
"It's really starting to hurt, and I'm feeling
"I don't doubt that. Just take it easy. Close your
eyes and try to rest. We'll get you taken care of in
just a few minutes."
"Don't think I can stay awake," he said, his voice
"You have my permission to go to sleep. You deserve
a nice rest. You're my hero, partner."
"Couldn't let him hurt you. I love you, Scully. I
need you. Couldn't live without you." Mulder closed
"And I couldn't live without you." Scully kissed
him, softly brushing her lips across his.
"Well, Dana, I guess the secret is out." Gloria
grinned. "The sheriff is on the way."
"Good. Could you restart his IV? I'll clean the
incision and replace those sutures." Scully began
gathering the supplies she would need.
"Sure." Gloria got to work and accomplished her
"Mulder, can you hear me? Wake up for me." Scully
spoke in his right ear. "I need to see those
beautiful eyes of yours."
Mulder slowly opened his eyes and smiled. "Beautiful
eyes, huh?" He shifted in bed and was rewarded with
a sharp pain. "Ahh. . .not a good idea to move."
"Nope. Remember, I told you would be sore and all
that extra activity didn't help," she scolded.
"I was hoping that was a bad dream. Guess not, huh?"
No. He was an escaped convict named Sid Esters. In
fact, he was on the F.B.I.'s most wanted list. He
was serving a life sentence for kidnapping, murder
and rape. Thank you, Mulder. You probably saved my
"All in a day's work, ma'am," Mulder grinned.
"Well, that days work undid all of my exterior
sutures, but the ones inside held. I stitched you
back up and it still looks pretty good, if I do say
so myself," Scully bragged.
"I wouldn't expect anything less. Did you really
mean what you said?"
"What did I say?"
"That you couldn't live without me."
Scully looked surprised. "I thought you were out
when I said that."
"Just about, but that came through loud and clear.
"Yes, Mulder, I meant it. I love you and I couldn't
live without you." She took his hand and brought it
to her lips. "It seems we have a lot to talk about
during your recuperation."
"Yes, just talk for at least 10 days anyway. Then
we'll have to see what develops." She leaned over
and kissed him.
"I'm sure lots of things could develop." He smiled
and kissed her back.
Gloria walked in. "Well, it looks like our patient
is well on his way to recovery."
"Yes, he is. I think he's ready for some ice chips."
"Coming right up." Gloria left to get a cup of ice.
Scully leaned over to kiss him again.
"I'm going to need more than ice chips if you keep
that up, Scully. I'll need a cold shower."
"just calm down, or I'll have to hold off on kissing
you until you're better," Scully teased.
"In that case, ice chips will do just fine."
Ten days later in Scully's apartment.
Mulder made his way into the living room. Scully
turned around, surprised to see him.
"Hey, you're almost walking straight. How was your
"Fine. A little lonely though." He sat down beside
her and took her hand. "It was nice of Skinner to
give you some down time to stay with me."
"Well, I guess capturing one of the F.B.I.'s ten most
wanted criminals does have its perks. How are you
"Better all of the time. I think we've talked
enough, don't you?" He turned her face toward him
and kissed her.
"Well, we've had some interesting chats." She kissed
him back. "But remember, if you're not careful
you'll be headed for a cold shower."
"That's fine with me." He kissed her again, more
deeply. "As long as you're with me."
She returned the kiss in the same way. "Now that's
an interesting proposition."
"I have lots of propositions if you'd care to hear
them." Mulder pulled her close.
"Oh, I believe I would. I'll race you to the
Scully was off and running, with Mulder following as
fast as he could.
This was one recuperation he wasn't going to mind.