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U-Turn
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Title:  U-Turn
                                    Author:  Waddles 52
                                    Summary:  When the mothman is seen again, Mulder and
                                    Scully are sent back to continue their 
                                    investigation.
                                    Spoilers:  Post-ep for Detour
                                    Rating:  PG
                                    Category:  MT
                                    Disclaimer:  No copyright infringement intended.
                                    Archives:  After_the_Fact, others please ask.
                                    Feedback:  Of course.  My mailbox is always open.
                                    DASWaddles52@aol.com or 
                                    Waddles52@wmconnect.com
                                    Dedication:  To Chris for encouraging me to start 
                                    over when the first part disappeared
                                    and to Vickie for the beta.
                                    
                                    
                                    After he found Scully at the motel, Mulder rushed her 
                                    to the car that he had borrowed from Agent Kinsley.  
                                    After a quick trip to the park to return Kinsley's 
                                    jacket, it was decided that Mulder and Scully would 
                                    keep the car to drive back to the airport.  
                                    Stonecypher and Kinsley would hitch a ride with some 
                                    local agents in hopes of catching the tail end of the 
                                    seminar.
                                    
                                    Deciding to stop at the first rest stop to give 
                                    Mulder a chance to clean up and change clothes, they 
                                    began to settle in for the trip.  Scully drove while 
                                    Mulder tried to find a comfortable position for his 
                                    shoulder.  When he decided that was an impossibility 
                                    in this lifetime, he turned to Scully.  "If your 
                                    phone is handy I could call about our flight back."
                                    
                                    Scully reached in her pocket and started to hand it 
                                    to him.  The phone began to ring and she shrugged her 
                                    shoulders and answered it.  "Scully."  That was 
                                    followed by a series of "Yes, sirs," and "No, sirs," 
                                    and finally "Right away, sir."
                                    
                                    Mulder gave her a puzzled look as she checked her 
                                    rearview mirror and executed a perfect u-turn on the 
                                    two-lane highway.
                                    
                                    "The manager at the motel we just left is trying to 
                                    keep his housekeeping staff from walking off the job.  
                                    It seems that two of them went into your room and 
                                    came out screaming."
                                    
                                    "What?" Mulder rose from his slumped position.
                                    
                                    "It was something about red eyes and an almost 
                                    invisible man."
                                    
                                    "Oh, shit.  I was afraid of that," Mulder sighed, 
                                    sinking back into his seat.  "Was anyone injured?"
                                    
                                    "I don't think so.  Anyway, if you haven't guessed, 
                                    that was Skinner.  He wants us to go back and 
                                    continue our investigation."
                                    
                                    "Scully, this is one time when I think we should 
                                    leave well enough alone," Mulder stated.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, I agree with you.  I think we should give 
                                    the mothman, or whatever it is, a chance to go back 
                                    in the forest and hopefully stay there, but Skinner 
                                    has other ideas.  He wants us to go back and find the 
                                    other mothman," Scully answered.
                                    
                                    "Back to the woods, huh?"
                                    
                                    "Looks that way," Scully sighed.
                                    
                                    "I'll bring the matches.  You bring the sleeping 
                                    bags," Mulder grinned.
                                    
                                    "Of course.  Any song requests?"  Scully countered.
                                    
                                    "I'll let you know when we get there."
                                    
                                    At the motel, Scully had just finished questioning 
                                    the housekeeping staff and was waiting patiently for 
                                    Mulder to finish his shower.  She was just 
                                    considering unpacking Mulder's suitcase when he 
                                    opened the bathroom door.
                                    
                                    Mulder emerged from a cloud of steam, wearing his 
                                    jeans and holding his shirt in his right hand.  "Hey, 
                                    Scully," he acknowledged.  "Did you come up with 
                                    anything new?"
                                    
                                    "I'm afraid it was just a repeat of what we've 
                                    already heard.  Put your shirt on and we'll get 
                                    something to eat and decide what to do next.'
                                    
                                    "Okay, could you look in my bag and see if I have a 
                                    button up shirt while I'm putting on my shoes?"  
                                    Mulder asked as he threw the shirt he'd been holding 
                                    onto the bed.
                                    
                                    "What's wrong with the one you had?"
                                    
                                    "Nothing."
                                    
                                    Scully watched as he sat down and began to pull on a 
                                    sock with his right hand.  "Mulder, how is your 
                                    shoulder?"
                                    
                                    "A little stiff and sore.  No big deal," he answered 
                                    as he continued to struggle with his socks.
                                    
                                    "You have two dress shirts.  All the rest are 
                                    pullovers.  Why don't I help you get this shirt on?" 
                                    she suggested, picking up the heather gray t-shirt 
                                    Mulder had thrown on the bed.
                                    
                                    Mulder threw his socks down in frustration.  "It 
                                    looks like I'll have to accept your offer, and if 
                                    you'll help me get my socks and shoes on I'll even 
                                    let you pick where we eat."
                                    
                                    "Wow, your shoulder must really be sore.  I don't get 
                                    to pick a restaurant very often."
                                    
                                    Scully helped him put his shirt on.  Even though she 
                                    was very careful she could tell that it was hurting 
                                    him.
                                    
                                    "When we get back I want to check your shoulder," 
                                    Scully told him as she knelt to put his socks on.
                                    
                                    "Scully, that's not necessary.  It's just really 
                                    stiff and sore, probably from being outside all 
                                    night."
                                    
                                    "Maybe, but I'm still going to check it when we get 
                                    back.  There, all finished."
                                    
                                    "Thanks, have you seen my keys?" Mulder asked after 
                                    he checked his pockets and looked around the room.
                                    
                                    "You mean these?" Scully grinned, holding them up.
                                    
                                    "Yep."  Mulder put his hand out to re-claim them.
                                    
                                    "Nope," Scully protested. "No driving until you're 
                                    able to put your shoes and socks on yourself."
                                    
                                    "That's the last time I let you pick the restaurant.  
                                    The power has gone to your head," he grumbled.
                                    
                                    "You're right, Mulder.  Grab your wallet on the way 
                                    out.  You're buying."
                                    
                                    Mulder found his wallet and put it in a back pocket, 
                                    all the time muttering something about tyrants.
                                    
                                    Scully chuckled and followed him out the door.
                                    
                                    Mulder and Scully ate a leisurely meal and made plans 
                                    to go back to the woods the next day.  It was decided 
                                    that Mulder would make arrangements to get another 
                                    FLIR unit and a tranquilizer gun while Scully got 
                                    supplies.  They both agreed that water, food, and 
                                    matches were essential.  Scully also wanted to pick 
                                    up some first-aid supplies.
                                    
                                    Scully dropped Mulder off at the motel where they 
                                    agreed to meet in his room in two hours to plan some 
                                    more and pack their supplies.  Scully also reminded 
                                    him that she would check his wound as soon as she 
                                    returned.
                                    
                                    Mulder made a few phone calls and arranged to have 
                                    the FLIR and tranquilizer gun delivered that night.  
                                    By the time he finished with the arrangements his 
                                    shoulder was throbbing to the point of distraction.  
                                    He decided to hike to the convenience store across 
                                    the street to buy some aspirin.  He stopped at the 
                                    cola machine on the way back and bought a couple of 
                                    soft drinks.  He finally managed to get the 
                                    childproof cap off the aspirin bottle and shoved a 
                                    couple in his mouth and washed them down with a sip 
                                    of cola.  He put the aspirin in his shave kit and 
                                    decided to put the other cola on ice.  He located the 
                                    ice bucket and headed for the door.
                                    
                                    Mulder opened the door and was surprised to find 
                                    Scully, her arms full of bags, trying to knock on the 
                                    door.
                                    
                                    "Did you leave anything at the store?" Mulder asked 
                                    as he moved aside to let her in.
                                    
                                    "Oh, I think I left enough to keep them in business a 
                                    few more days," she answered as she put the bags down 
                                    at the foot of the bed.  "Were you able to get the 
                                    FLIR and tranquilizer gun?"
                                    
                                    "Yep.  They'll be delivered tonight.  I bought you a 
                                    soft drink.  I was just on my way to the ice 
                                    machine."
                                    
                                    "Thank you.  Let me take a look at your shoulder then 
                                    I'll get the ice.  You should rest as much as you can 
                                    before tomorrow."
                                    
                                    "I'm fine," Mulder sighed.  "I don't need any more 
                                    rest than usual."
                                    
                                    His words fell on deaf ears.  Scully was in full 
                                    doctor mode.  She reached inside one of the bags and 
                                    brought out the first-aid kit.
                                    
                                    "Sit," She ordered.
                                    
                                    Mulder began to protest, then thought better of it.  
                                    Scully in doctor mode was a true force to be reckoned 
                                    with.
                                    
                                    Scully carefully removed his shirt and just as 
                                    carefully removed the bandages that the paramedics 
                                    had placed there earlier.  She was greeted with 
                                    several angry-looking slashes on his left shoulder.  
                                    "I'd like to clean these out again," Scully told him 
                                    as she rummaged around in her kit.
                                    
                                    She brought out a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, then 
                                    grabbed a hand towel from the bathroom.  Scully 
                                    poured the peroxide onto the wounds and placed the 
                                    towel in position to catch the run-off.
                                    
                                    "Ow!"  Mulder yelped as the solution began to fizz.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, don't be such a baby.  It could have been 
                                    worse.  I was considering using isopropyl alcohol."
                                    
                                    "Thank goodness for small favors," Mulder replied as 
                                    Scully found the antibiotic ointment and a cotton 
                                    swab.  She dabbed on a bit and Mulder almost went 
                                    through the roof.
                                    
                                    "Take it easy!" he exclaimed, drawing away from her.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, I barely touched you."
                                    
                                    "I can't help it.  It's really sore," he groaned.
                                    
                                    Scully finished swabbing on the antibiotic ointment, 
                                    then applied a new bandage.  "Mulder, I'm not sure I 
                                    like the looks of those slashes.  They may be 
                                    infected."
                                    
                                    "I think they're okay.  I'm just sore from lying on 
                                    the ground and jumping into that hole," Mulder tried 
                                    to convince her.
                                    
                                    "Would you like a few ibuprofen tablets?" Scully 
                                    inquired.
                                    
                                    "No, it's not that bad."  He didn't want to admit to 
                                    Scully that he had already taken aspirin.  "I think 
                                    I'll take a nap.  I'm sure I'll feel better when I 
                                    wake up."
                                    
                                    "All right," Scully agreed.  "You lie down and I'll 
                                    pack the supplies.  I'll check your shoulder again in 
                                    the morning.  If it's not any better you'll need to 
                                    go to the ER."
                                    
                                    "Okay, Scully," Mulder agreed as he lay down on top 
                                    of the covers.  He closed his eyes and was soon 
                                    snoring softly.
                                    
                                    Mulder slept soundly and didn't even stir when the 
                                    other items were delivered.  Scully decided to let 
                                    him sleep.  After she had everything situated she 
                                    quietly closed his door and went to her own room to 
                                    watch a little TV and get ready for bed.
                                    
                                    Mulder woke up at 4:00 AM because he was freezing.  
                                    Scully had pulled the ends of the bedspread over him 
                                    and he tried burrowing into them, but he was still 
                                    cold.  To make matters worse he ached all over.  
                                    "Damn, I must be coming down with something," he 
                                    griped as he got out of bed and headed for the 
                                    bathroom.  He tried shrugging his shoulder to see if 
                                    some of the stiffness was gone and nearly hit the 
                                    floor when the pain engulfed him.
                                    
                                    After taking a deep breath he was able to move again.  
                                    When he reached the bathroom he removed the aspirin 
                                    from his shave kit and ran some water into one of the 
                                    cups provided by the motel.  He swallowed the aspirin 
                                    along with the entire cup of water.  He put the 
                                    aspirin back and filled the cup with water again. He 
                                    carried it with him to his bed.  He drained it and 
                                    pulled the covers back and lay back down under them.  
                                    The aspirin soon entered his system and he was able 
                                    to go back to sleep.
                                    
                                    He was awakened by pounding on the door.  He looked 
                                    at the alarm and cursed.  It was 7:30!  He should 
                                    have met Scully 15 minutes ago.  "Coming!" he yelled.
                                    
                                    Mulder rolled out of bed and hissed as the pain 
                                    exploded in his shoulder.  He managed to make it to 
                                    the door and open it.  A very disgruntled Scully was 
                                    staring at him, arms crossed and right foot tapping.
                                    
                                    "You're not even dressed," she pointed out as she 
                                    came through the door.
                                    
                                    "Sorry," Mulder apologized.  "I must have slept 
                                    through the alarm.  Just give me a couple of minutes 
                                    and I'll be ready.  Why don't you go to the coffee 
                                    shop and I'll meet you there?"
                                    
                                    Scully started to rake him over the coals for holding 
                                    them up until she observed Mulder trying to gather 
                                    some clean clothes from the dresser.  He was holding 
                                    his left arm tightly to his chest and wincing with 
                                    every move.
                                    
                                    "How is your shoulder this morning?"
                                    
                                    "Still pretty stiff," Mulder answered, sliding the 
                                    drawer shut with his hip.
                                    
                                    "Any pain?"
                                    
                                    "Some," Mulder answered as he headed for the 
                                    bathroom.
                                    
                                    "Why don't you let me check your shoulder before you 
                                    get dressed," Scully suggested.
                                    
                                    "It's okay, Scully.  Since I overslept, why don't we 
                                    just wait until we get back?"
                                    
                                    "All right.  I'll go along with that if you can take 
                                    your shirt off without any trouble," Scully agreed.
                                    
                                    "Getting undressed for you would never be any 
                                    trouble."
                                    
                                    "Mulder . . ."
                                    
                                    He headed for the bathroom, then paused.  "Okay, you 
                                    got me.  I'm not feeling very well."
                                    
                                    "Sit, Mulder," Scully ordered, pointing to the bed.
                                    
                                    Mulder dropped his clothes on the bed and sat down 
                                    slowly.
                                    
                                    "Raise your right arm up and I'll get this t-shirt 
                                    off of you."
                                    
                                    As Scully grabbed the hem of Mulder's t-shirt she 
                                    could feel the heat rising from his body.  "Mulder, 
                                    you're burning up!" she exclaimed
                                    
                                    "Yeah, Scully, you make me hot," he leered.
                                    
                                    She answered by tugging the t-shirt over his right 
                                    arm and head, then moving it down his left arm until 
                                    it was off.
                                    
                                    "I'm going to remove the bandage now.  It might hurt 
                                    a little."
                                    
                                    Mulder acknowledged her with a nod of his head.
                                    
                                    She quickly pulled the bandage off as Mulder began to 
                                    shiver.
                                    
                                    "Scully, could you hand me that bedspread?  I'm 
                                    freezing."
                                    
                                    "I must be losing my touch," she answered as she 
                                    pulled the bedspread over his shoulders.  "Mulder, 
                                    that wound is infected and you have a fever."
                                    
                                    "I'm okay.  Just put some more of that ointment on it 
                                    and give me a couple of aspirin or something.  We 
                                    need to get into those woods so we'll have a full day 
                                    to search."
                                    
                                    "Mulder, you already know how dangerous that creature 
                                    is.  You need to be 100 per cent to go back into 
                                    those woods.  Anything less could get us both 
                                    killed."
                                    
                                    "You're right Scully," he sighed.  "I'm not 100 per 
                                    cent, Hell, I'm not even 50 per cent right now."
                                    
                                    "I know, Mulder.  Let me help you get dressed then 
                                    we'll find out where the nearest ER is."
                                    
                                    "Can't you take care of me here?"
                                    
                                    "No, Mulder, I can't.  You're going to need some 
                                    pretty strong antibiotics and you really need to have 
                                    that wound cultured," Scully explained.
                                    
                                    "I won't be admitted will I?"
                                    
                                    "I'm not making any promises.  Come on."  She held 
                                    out her hand.  "Will you need any help getting your 
                                    pants off and on?"
                                    
                                    "I think I can handle that."  Mulder grabbed Scully's 
                                    hand and was soon on his feet.  He headed for the 
                                    bathroom.
                                    
                                    "I'll get out one of your dress shirts.  It will be 
                                    much easier to get on and off."  She found a light 
                                    blue one that would go well with the blue of his 
                                    jeans.  "Mulder, do you feel like eating before we 
                                    go?" she asked as she laid the shirt out.
                                    
                                    "Can I get a rain check on that?  I'm feeling a 
                                    little queasy, but I'll be more than happy to wait 
                                    while you grab a bite," Mulder answered from the 
                                    bathroom.
                                    
                                    "That's okay.  I'll grab some yogurt or cereal at the 
                                    hospital."
                                    
                                    Mulder emerged from the bathroom and threw his dirty 
                                    clothes somewhere in the general direction of his 
                                    open suitcase.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, sit back down on the bed and I'll put 
                                    another bandage on your shoulder and help you with 
                                    your shirt and shoes."
                                    
                                    "Scully, I'm sorry about this," Mulder apologized as 
                                    he sat down.
                                    
                                    "Sorry about what, Mulder?" she inquired as she 
                                    worked on the bandage.
                                    
                                    "About you having to help me get dressed, causing you 
                                    to miss breakfast, causing . . ."
                                    
                                    "Mulder," Scully interrupted.  "I'm not doing 
                                    anything that I don't want to do."
                                    
                                    "Thank you."
                                    
                                    "You're welcome," she said as she finished with the 
                                    bandage.  "Now, if you could lift up your left arm 
                                    just a bit, I should be able to slide this shirt on 
                                    with a minimum of discomfort."
                                    
                                    Scully carefully slid the shirt over his left arm and 
                                    held it while he put his right arm in.  As she began 
                                    to button it up he grabbed her wrist.
                                    
                                    "Hold on just a bit.  I'll be right back."  Mulder 
                                    got up and staggered to the bathroom and closed the 
                                    door.
                                    
                                    Scully heard the unmistakable sounds of Mulder being 
                                    sick.  She made her way over and opened up the door.  
                                    Mulder was sitting on the edge of the tub, leaning 
                                    over the toilet.  When he stopped retching she ran 
                                    water over a clean washcloth and handed it to him.
                                    
                                    Mulder took it and washed his face while Scully 
                                    flushed the toilet.
                                    
                                    "A little queasy?' she questioned.
                                    
                                    "I amend my previous statement.  I'm a whole lot 
                                    queasy."
                                    
                                    "Do you think you can finish getting dressed?"
                                    
                                    "I think so.  I don't think there's anything left to 
                                    come up."
                                    
                                    After Scully helped him finish getting dressed she 
                                    called the motel office for directions to the closest 
                                    ER.  They managed to make it to the car where Mulder 
                                    closed his eyes and went to sleep.
                                    
                                    When Mulder awakened he was surprised to find that he 
                                    was no longer in the car.  He found that he was lying 
                                    on a gurney with an IV in his right hand and a nasal 
                                    canula in his nose.  His clothes had been replaced 
                                    with a hospital gown.  He looked to his right and was 
                                    relieved to see Scully sitting beside him."
                                    
                                    "Welcome back.  That was some nap," she said.  "How 
                                    are you feeling?"
                                    
                                    "Maybe I should ask you."
                                    
                                    "You definitely have an infection.  Your temperature 
                                    was 103 when you got here.  The doctor ordered blood 
                                    tests, a chest x-ray, and cultured the wound.  I'm 
                                    waiting to hear the results.  How is the pain?"
                                    
                                    "It feels like someone is trying to drill through my 
                                    shoulder."
                                    
                                    "I'm sure the doctor will order something for pain 
                                    when he comes back in."
                                    
                                    Mulder pulled at the canula.  "Can I take this out?"
                                    
                                    "Let's wait until the doctor comes back," she 
                                    responded.
                                    
                                    "It's bothering me," he whined.
                                    
                                    "I think you can handle it for a little while 
                                    longer."
                                    
                                    There was a knock on the door and the doctor breezed 
                                    in.  "Ah, Mr. Mulder.  I'm glad to see you've joined 
                                    us.  I'm Dr. Goodlett.  I examined you earlier while 
                                    you were out."  He shook Mulder's hand and continued.  
                                    "Your partner filled me in on your symptoms, but now 
                                    that you're awake you can give us a little more 
                                    information.  How you rate your pain on a scale of 1 
                                    to 10?"
                                    
                                    "I'd give it an eight and rising."
                                    
                                    "I see.  Is the pain confined to your shoulder or do 
                                    you hurt anywhere else?"
                                    
                                    "Pretty much the shoulder and the aches you get with 
                                    a fever." Mulder responded.
                                    
                                    "How is the nausea?"
                                    
                                    "It's there, but I'm handling it."
                                    
                                    "Good.  Any trouble breathing?"
                                    
                                    "Nope."
                                    
                                    "Headache or blurred vision?"
                                    
                                    "Headache, yes.  Blurred vision, no."
                                    
                                    "Okay.  Your chest x-ray was fine so we can remove 
                                    this," the doctor said, pulling the oxygen canula 
                                    from under Mulder's nose.  "Unless you've grown 
                                    attached to it?"
                                    
                                    "No, I think I can live without the constant smell of 
                                    plastic," Mulder answered as the doctor hung the tube 
                                    on the side rail of his gurney.
                                    
                                    "Your blood work did indicate that you are fighting 
                                    an infection.  Unfortunately the culture has to sit 
                                    for at least 24 hours before we get any idea of what 
                                    kind of bug we're up against.  I'd like to run in a 
                                    broad spectrum antibiotic through your IV and also 
                                    something for your pain and nausea.  We'd like to 
                                    observe and monitor you for at least 12 hours," Dr. 
                                    Goodlett explained.
                                    
                                    "You're not going to admit him?" Scully asked, a 
                                    little surprised.
                                    
                                    "Ordinarily I'd have him in a room by now, but the 
                                    only rooms available are in ob/gyn and pediatrics," 
                                    he sighed.  "It seems like everyone decided to have 
                                    their elective surgery this week.  If he's not any 
                                    worse in 12 hours I'll release him to your capable 
                                    hands along with prescriptions for antibiotics and 
                                    painkillers."
                                    
                                    "Thanks, Dr. Goodlett," Mulder said.
                                    
                                    "Of course, that means bed rest at least until we get 
                                    the results of the cultures, Mr. Mulder.If your 
                                    condition worsens you'll need to return to the ER
                                    immediately and we'll put you in pediatrics."
                                    
                                    "But we've got an investigation to continue," Mulder 
                                    stated.
                                    
                                    "Not any longer, Mulder," Scully interjected.  
                                    "Kinsley and Stonecypher are taking over."
                                    
                                    "I hope they didn't use any negative words when they 
                                    found out," Mulder grinned and shifted to find a more 
                                    comfortable position.  "Shit, that hurt!"
                                    
                                    "I'm going to write an order for Demerol and 
                                    Phenergan, Mr. Mulder.  You just try to relax.  Maybe 
                                    you can go back to deskwork in about a week or so if 
                                    we can get a handle on this bug.  I'm also going to 
                                    order a sling to make you a bit more comfortable.  
                                    I'm going to send in a nurse with your meds and I'll 
                                    pop in from time to time to check on you.  Okay?"
                                    
                                    "Yes, thank you, Dr. Goodlett," Scully answered 
                                    before Mulder could protest.
                                    
                                    "Good.  See you later."  With that he left Scully to 
                                    deal with a very unhappy Mulder.
                                    
                                    "Kinsley and Stonecypher?" he questioned.  "How are 
                                    they going to function without office furniture?"
                                    
                                    "I'm sure they'll manage, Mulder."
                                    
                                    "They have no experience with this type of 
                                    assignment.  They'll end up getting lost, or, or, 
                                    killed," Mulder ranted and rose up to continue to 
                                    rave when he suddenly paled and sank back in the 
                                    pillows.
                                    
                                    "Mulder?" Scully questioned.
                                    
                                    "Moved too fast," he explained.  "Feel kind of sick."
                                    
                                    Scully had just enough time to grab a basin before he 
                                    began to heave.  Nothing came up and after a few 
                                    seconds he pushed the bowl away.
                                    
                                    "I'm okay now," he said and took a deep breath.  "I 
                                    feel like shit."
                                    
                                    "Which is why you're here," Scully reminded him.  
                                    "Calm down and take a few deep breaths.  The nurse 
                                    should be here soon with something to make you feel 
                                    better."
                                    
                                    "I'd feel better back at the motel in my semi-
                                    comfortable bed watching ESPN."
                                    
                                    "And you will be in 12 hours," Scully reminded him.
                                    
                                    The door opened to admit a nurse with several 
                                    syringes and a bag of antibiotics to hang with the 
                                    saline already dripping into his hand.
                                    
                                    "Mr. Mulder, I've got the meds Dr. Goodlett ordered," 
                                    she said as she noticed Mulder eying the syringes.  
                                    "And I'm happy to tell you that everything goes in 
                                    your IV.  No more sticks for now.  I'm going to give 
                                    you something for nausea and pain and it's a pretty 
                                    hefty dose so you should get very sleepy.  Don't get 
                                    out of bed, okay?"
                                    
                                    "Okay," Mulder agreed, wishing she'd just hurry up 
                                    and leave him alone.
                                    
                                    "I'll be in every half hour or so to check on you.  
                                    In the meantime if you need anything push the call 
                                    button hanging on the rail."
                                    
                                    She quickly administered the meds and hung the 
                                    antibiotics with a promise to check back later.
                                    
                                    Scully asked Mulder as the nurse left the room, "Are 
                                    the meds taking effect yet?"
                                    
                                    "Mm, yeah."
                                    
                                    "I thought so.  Your eyes are almost crossed.  Just 
                                    give in to them and let them do their job."
                                    
                                    "I don't think I have much choice.  Go get some 
                                    coffee or something to eat."
                                    
                                    "I will as soon as you go to sleep."
                                    
                                    "Promise?"
                                    
                                    "Yes, I promise." Scully's words fell on deaf ears as 
                                    Mulder had already succumbed to the medications.  She 
                                    smiled and adjusted the covers then left in search of 
                                    some yogurt.
                                    
                                    Mulder drifted in and out of sleep, awakening when 
                                    the nurse checked his vitals and administered more 
                                    medication.  Scully sat by his side and read a book 
                                    she had picked up in the gift shop.  She only left a 
                                    few times to eat or stretch her legs.
                                    
                                    The doctor came in again and took a seat.  "How are 
                                    you doing?" he inquired.
                                    
                                    "I'm okay.  Ready to get out of here," Mulder 
                                    replied.
                                    
                                    "To tell you the truth I'd rather admit you.  There 
                                    is a private room available in peds and I'd feel much 
                                    more comfortable if you were under constant 
                                    observation.  Your fever hasn't gone down much since 
                                    you've been here."
                                    
                                    "I'd rather go back to the motel.  Scully can keep an 
                                    eye on me," Mulder protested.
                                    
                                    "All right." Dr Goodlett agreed reluctantly.  "That 
                                    means bed rest.  The only time you get up is for the 
                                    bathroom and meals.  Eat in your room."
                                    
                                    He turned to Scully.  "I want him back here if his 
                                    temperature goes back up or he starts to vomit a lot.  
                                    I'm going to write prescriptions for Keflex, Precocet 
                                    and Phenergan.  Why don't you get them filled at the 
                                    hospital pharmacy while the nurse removes the IV and 
                                    puts on a sling.  He should be ready to go by the 
                                    time you return."
                                    
                                    "All right, I'll take care of that," Scully agreed.  
                                    "And I'll see that he follows your instructions."
                                    
                                    "Good.  I'll call when we get the results of the 
                                    culture and we'll take it from there."  He got up 
                                    from his seat and looked at Mulder.  "I really think 
                                    you'd like a room in peds, Mr. Mulder.  Video games, 
                                    a VCR, cable TV . . ."
                                    
                                    "Do they have the XXX channel?" Mulder asked 
                                    innocently.
                                    
                                    "Afraid not.  I'll get your discharge papers ready.  
                                    It was nice meeting you.  Remember to take it easy, 
                                    okay?"
                                    
                                    "I'll try."
                                    
                                    "Don't try.  Do it," he ordered.
                                    
                                    "Are all doctors bossy?" Mulder grumbled.
                                    
                                    "Of course, Mulder," Scully answered for Dr. 
                                    Goodlett.  "They teach it in med school."
                                    
                                    Dr. Goodlett chuckled as he left the room.
                                    
                                    As soon as Scully opened Mulder's motel room he made 
                                    a beeline for the bed.  Scully helped him ease 
                                    himself down and propped his left arm on a pillow.
                                    
                                    Mulder let out a shaky breath.  "Thanks.  How about 
                                    one of those pills for nausea?"
                                    
                                    Scully moved the wastebasket over and then informed 
                                    Mulder that the doctor didn't prescribe it in pill 
                                    form.
                                    
                                    "Damn," he moaned.  "Injection?" he asked hopefully.
                                    
                                    "Sorry, Mulder.  Dr. Goodlett prescribed 
                                    suppositories."
                                    
                                    "Then let's get it over with before I start puking 
                                    again," he sighed.
                                    
                                    "Mulder must be feeling awfully bad to give in so 
                                    easily," Scully thought as she helped him lay on his 
                                    right side.
                                    
                                    Within a few minutes the medication was administered 
                                    without any comment from Mulder.
                                    
                                    "Do you want to turn back over?" she asked.
                                    
                                    "Not now.  How long 'till it works?" he groaned, 
                                    swallowing hard.
                                    
                                    "Not soon enough," Scully sighed as she grabbed the 
                                    wastebasket just in time to catch Mulder's latest 
                                    offering.
                                    
                                    "Better?" she asked when he stopped heaving.
                                    
                                    "Compared to what?" he gasped.
                                    
                                    "Lay quietly while I rinse this out," she ordered.  
                                    "I'll be right back."
                                    
                                    She returned with a wet washcloth and draped it over 
                                    his forehead.
                                    
                                    "Thanks, Scully.  Feeling sleepy," he yawned and 
                                    closed his eyes.
                                    
                                    "Good.  That means it's starting to work.  Rest for 
                                    now, then we need to talk."
                                    
                                    "'Kay," he slurred.
                                    
                                    Scully sighed and sat at the table.  Unless things 
                                    changed in a hurry she would have to talk him into 
                                    returning to the hospital.  She began to plan her 
                                    speech as Mulder began to snore softly.
                                    
                                    Mulder slept for two hours without changing his 
                                    position.  His cramped muscles brought him back to 
                                    consciousness.  "Pain pill?" he asked.
                                    
                                    "Do you think you could try to eat some crackers?" 
                                    she inquired as she rose from her chair to sit on the 
                                    side of the bed.  "You need to take the pain 
                                    medication with food."
                                    
                                    "I can try.  Could you help me move over on my back?"
                                    
                                    "Of course."  As she helped him move she noticed that 
                                    his skin felt cooler.  "I need to take your temp, 
                                    then I'll see if I have some saltines in my purse."
                                    
                                    She went to her first-aid kit for the aural 
                                    thermometer she carried with her.  She placed it in 
                                    his ear and was pleased to see that the readout was 
                                    100.  "Great!  Your fever is down."
                                    
                                    "I'm thirsty," he reported.  "Could I maybe have a 
                                    soft drink?"
                                    
                                    "Sure, I'm thirsty too.  I'm going to go to the 
                                    machine for the drinks.  You stay here until I get 
                                    back.  Okay?"
                                    
                                    "Okay," Mulder agreed.  "Too tired to get up anyway."
                                    
                                    "I'll be right back."
                                    
                                    Mulder took stock of his symptoms while she was gone.  
                                    Stomach, empty but calm.  Headache, better.  Body 
                                    aches, still there but much improved.  Shoulder, 
                                    stiff and hurting like hell.  Overall he was pleased 
                                    that he did seem to feel better.  Maybe he could 
                                    avoid that return trip to the hospital after all.
                                    
                                    Scully returned with a can of ginger ale and a diet 
                                    cola for herself.  She found the saltines and Mulder 
                                    ate them as he sipped on the ginger ale.  Scully 
                                    handed him a Percocet tablet and he washed it down 
                                    with more ginger ale.  After a few minutes he began 
                                    to feel the rush of the narcotics and realized that 
                                    it was actually going to stay down.  He smiled and 
                                    settled in for another nap.
                                    
                                    Scully decided to see if she could get any 
                                    information on the investigation.  When Mulder next 
                                    awakened she offered him a glass of water and reported 
                                    that Kinsley and Stonecypher hadn't turned up 
                                    anything.  With no more sightings, Skinner had called 
                                    off the search.
                                    
                                    "Do you think we've heard the last of the mothmen?" 
                                    she inquired as she took the glass from Mulder.
                                    
                                    "Maybe," he answered.  "Let's hope so anyway."
                                    
                                    "How are you feeling?"
                                    
                                    "Actually, I'm feeling a little better.  I feel a 
                                    little hungry and I could definitely use a bathroom 
                                    break."
                                    
                                    "Okay, let me help you up.  Would you like to clean 
                                    up a little and change clothes?" Scully asked, moving 
                                    to his side.
                                    
                                    "Yeah, I think so.  I feel kind of grungy since I've 
                                    been sweating out that fever.  You probably want a 
                                    shower too.  Care to join me? Save water?" he asked.
                                    
                                    Scully smiled inwardly.  He was most certainly 
                                    feeling better if he was up to throwing out 
                                    suggestive remarks again.  "No, I think I'll wait 
                                    until later.  I need to go out and get you something 
                                    to eat."
                                    
                                    Scully helped him up.  "Can you make it by yourself?"
                                    
                                    "Yeah, I think so."  He took a deep breath and headed 
                                    for the bathroom, Scully hovering by his side.  "I'm 
                                    okay.  Why don't you get me some clean clothes while 
                                    I take care of business?"
                                    
                                    "All right.  I'll be waiting outside the door."
                                    
                                    Scully found him some clean underwear and a shirt and 
                                    jeans.  His gun was lying on top of his pile of dirty 
                                    clothes so she placed it on the nightstand while she 
                                    sorted through them.  "You know, I think I'll need to 
                                    do some laundry."
                                    
                                    Mulder opened the bathroom door.  "I could wear my 
                                    dress pants and a t-shirt.  Don't go to any trouble."
                                    
                                    Scully handed him the clean clothes.  "I need to wash 
                                    a few things too, so it won't be any trouble.  You 
                                    know, you really don't need to get that wound wet.   
                                    Why don't you sit on the toilet and I'll re-bandage 
                                    your wound and wash your back."
                                    
                                    "Just my back?"
                                    
                                    "I think you can take care of everything else."
                                    
                                    She helped him with his sling and shirt and quickly 
                                    re-bandaged his wound and washed his back, then 
                                    helped him into a clean shirt and re-adjusted the 
                                    sling.  "Throw out your dirty clothes when you get 
                                    them off and I'll get everything together."
                                    
                                    By the time Mulder emerged from the bathroom, Scully 
                                    had gathered their dirty clothes into a plastic 
                                    garbage bag.  She helped him get settled on the bed 
                                    and when she had adjusted the pillows and made sure 
                                    the water was within reach, she grabbed the bag of 
                                    laundry.
                                    
                                    "I saw some coin-operated machines in a room off the 
                                    snack area.  I'm going to put these in and drive down 
                                    the road to the restaurant.  It's almost dawn, so 
                                    would scrambled eggs be okay?"
                                    
                                    "Yeah, that sounds good.  Be sure to get something 
                                    for yourself too.  Have you seen my wallet?"
                                    
                                    "It's on the nightstand, next to your gun.  Don't 
                                    worry with it.  It's my turn to buy."
                                    
                                    "Thanks.'
                                    
                                    "Do you want a pain pill before I leave?" Scully 
                                    asked, searching her pocket for her keys.
                                    
                                    "I'd rather wait until I eat," Mulder decided.
                                    
                                    "That's probably the best thing for you.  We don't 
                                    want to upset your stomach again.  I'm going.  Stay 
                                    in bed until I get back and that is an order."
                                    
                                    "Okay," Mulder agreed and grabbed the remote.  "I'll 
                                    be right here when you return."
                                    
                                    "You'd better," she threatened.  "I'll be back as 
                                    quickly as I can."
                                    
                                    "Bye."
                                    
                                    Mulder clicked on the TV and soon dozed off.
                                    
                                    He was awakened by the sound of the door opening.  
                                    "Well, that was fast," he thought as he opened his 
                                    eyes expecting to see Scully with the food.  Instead 
                                    he saw nothing but the open door.
                                    
                                    "Scully?" he called.
                                    
                                    No answer but the soft sound of movement off to his 
                                    left.  Mulder turned and saw two red eyes and the 
                                    faint outline of a man in the bathroom.
                                    
                                    "Oh, shit!"
                                    
                                    He rolled to his right and grabbed his gun just as 
                                    the shape began to charge.  Mulder fired three times 
                                    and the shape ran out the door as Mulder rolled out 
                                    of bed to follow.
                                    
                                    Scully pulled into the closest parking space and 
                                    grabbed the take-out food, then set it back as she 
                                    noticed the door to Mulder's room standing open.  
                                    There was a trail of blood from the door through the 
                                    parking lot.  She reached for her gun and ran to the 
                                    room.
                                    
                                    "Mulder!" she called.
                                    
                                    She found him sitting on the floor, propped up 
                                    against the side of the bed, his gun hanging loosely 
                                    in his hand.  As she rushed to him he opened his 
                                    eyes.
                                    
                                    "Sorry, couldn't stay in bed.  Mothman came," he 
                                    explained, still breathing heavily.  "He got away but 
                                    I'm sure I hit him."
                                    
                                    "I think you did.  There's blood leading from this 
                                    room."  She began to search him for signs of injury 
                                    but Mulder pushed her hand away.
                                    
                                    "I'm okay, just moved too fast.  Hurry Scully, you 
                                    have to find him!"
                                    
                                    "No, Mulder.  I do not have to find him," she said 
                                    firmly.  "Let's get you back in bed, then I'll call 
                                    this in and Skinner can assign someone to search the 
                                    woods if he wants.  I doubt they'll find anything."
                                    
                                    "I hit him dead-center, Scully," Mulder said as 
                                    Scully helped him up.  "I don't think he'll get far."
                                    
                                    Scully helped him settle back onto the pillows.  
                                    "We'll let Skinner worry about it.  I'm going to 
                                    bring in the food and you can eat while I make that 
                                    call."
                                    
                                    Forty-eight hours later, Scully placed the last of 
                                    her luggage in the trunk of the rental.  They were 
                                    leaving Florida with the doctor's blessing.  The 
                                    culture grew nothing that couldn't be controlled by 
                                    the antibiotic Mulder was already taking.  "Mulder, 
                                    are you ready?"
                                    
                                    Mulder was staring into the woods.  He turned and 
                                    answered.  "Yes, I'm ready."
                                    
                                    They got into the car and buckled up.  Scully started 
                                    it and turned out of the parking lot.
                                    
                                    "Scully, promise me something," Mulder said as he 
                                    stared at the woods whipping by on their left.
                                    
                                    "What's that?"
                                    
                                    "If Skinner suggests another seminar, make sure you 
                                    report my hemorrhoidal condition and put me on 
                                    medical leave," he grinned.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, I'll do even better than that.  I'll give us 
                                    both some exotic disease and make sure we're 
                                    quarantined together for a month or two."
                                    
                                    Mulder settled in for the drive and began to think 
                                    about quarantine with Scully.  It held some 
                                    interesting possiblilties.
                                    
                                    Deep in the forest the creature sat at the foot of a 
                                    tree, perfectly camouflaged.  The woods were silent 
                                    now.  The bullet wound had stopped bleeding and was 
                                    oozing a water-like fluid.
                                    
                                    "It won't be long now," he thought as his heart began 
                                    to flutter.  "Time to join my old friend."  His heart 
                                    spasmed again, then stopped.
                                    
                                    A few leaves floated down and landed on him, followed 
                                    by a few more.  The woodland sounds began again in 
                                    earnest as he became one with the land.  
                                    
                                     
                                    The End