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Spectacular Lights & Chilli Nights
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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.
                                    Spoilers:  None
                                    Rating:  PG
                                    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.  
                                    www.DASWaddles52@aol.com
                                    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 
                                    Indian Reservation
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    of milk.
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    check.
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    Falls."
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    partner. 
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    nap."
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    tablets.
                                    
                                    "Nope.  I just like the taste of these pink 
                                    thingies."
                                    
                                    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 
                                    thingies'.
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    for driving."
                                    
                                    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 
                                    much farther.
                                    
                                    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 
                                    over.
                                    
                                    "Mulder?" Scully questioned, concern showing on her 
                                    face.  "What's wrong?
                                    
                                    She wrapped an arm around him and helped him to the 
                                    truck.
                                    
                                    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 
                                    hurts?"
                                    
                                    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 
                                    sick!"
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    snowdrift."
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    doctor."
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    then."
                                    
                                    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 
                                    up."
                                    
                                    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 
                                    a ball.
                                    
                                    "Come on, Mulder.  Let's get your coat off," Scully 
                                    directed.
                                    
                                    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 
                                    him gasp.
                                    
                                    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 
                                    gag.
                                    
                                    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 
                                    down."
                                    
                                    "Fine.  Anything."
                                    
                                    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 
                                    bottoms?"
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    down.
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    really hurts."
                                    
                                    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 
                                    nearest hospital.
                                    
                                    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 
                                    doctor."
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    down.
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    long.  Okay?"
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    tomorrow."
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    though."
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    don't you?"
                                    
                                    "Of course."
                                    
                                    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 
                                    teased.
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    worse."
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    general practitioner.
                                    
                                    "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.
                                    
                                    "Ms. Noell?"
                                    
                                    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 
                                    blood.
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    gurney.
                                    
                                    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 
                                    clenched teeth.
                                    
                                    "Bad?" Scully queried.
                                    
                                    "Beyond bad."
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    elevated."
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    difference."
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    increase."
                                    
                                    "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.  
                                    "Better?"
                                    
                                    He was so weak he could barely acknowledge her.
                                    
                                    Gloria came in, pushing the ultrasound in front of 
                                    her.
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    changing area."
                                    
                                    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 
                                    pain?'
                                    
                                    "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."
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    operative field."
                                    
                                    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 
                                    dozed off.
                                    
                                    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 
                                    nervousness.
                                    
                                    
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    scrub.
                                    
                                    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 
                                    throat.
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    assistant."
                                    
                                    "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.
                                    
                                    "Better?"
                                    
                                    "Yeah."
                                    
                                    Gloria took the washcloth and wet it again and handed 
                                    it to Mulder.
                                    
                                    "Thanks."
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    hypodermic.
                                    
                                    "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."
                                    
                                    "No relationship?"
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    two."
                                    
                                    "Thank you, Gloria.  I think I will. Call me if you 
                                    need me."
                                    
                                    Scully felt someone shaking her shoulder.  She had 
                                    fallen asleep after finishing the chart notes.
                                    
                                    "Dr. Scully, you need to wake up," Gloria said 
                                    sharply.
                                    
                                    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 
                                    to him.
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    patient."
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    can find."
                                    
                                    They disappeared down the hall.
                                    
                                    "Mr. Mulder, you need to wake up."  Gloria shook his 
                                    shoulder.  "Come on.  Wake up.  Your partner is in 
                                    trouble."
                                    
                                    "What?  What about Scully?"  Mulder was pretty 
                                    groggy.
                                    
                                    "A man with a gun came in here.  He was looking for 
                                    drugs.  When he saw Dana he. . .I think he's going to 
                                    rape her."
                                    
                                    That caused Mulder to pay attention.
                                    
                                    "Where are they?" he asked as Gloria helped him to 
                                    sit up.
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    that incision."
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    this."
                                    
                                    "I have to be.  You just get them in here and I'll do 
                                    the rest."
                                    
                                    "I'll try."
                                    
                                    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 
                                    her breasts.
                                    
                                    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 
                                    gun.
                                    
                                    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 
                                    down."
                                    
                                    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 
                                    ankles.
                                    
                                    "Gloria, call for help.  I'll see what I can do for 
                                    Mulder."
                                    
                                    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 
                                    woozy."
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    getting weaker.
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    his eyes.
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    task.
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    life."
                                    
                                    "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.  
                                    Well?"
                                    
                                    "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."
                                    
                                    "Just talk?"
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    nap?"
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    feeling?"
                                    
                                    "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 
                                    shower!"
                                    
                                    Scully was off and running, with Mulder following as 
                                    fast as he could.
                                    
                                    This was one recuperation he wasn't going to mind.
                                    
                                    The End 

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