Author: Waddles 52
Summary: When the mothman is seen again, Mulder and
Scully are sent back to continue their
Spoilers: Post-ep for Detour
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.
Archives: After_the_Fact, others please ask.
Feedback: Of course. My mailbox is always open.
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
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
"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
"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
"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?"
Scully watched as he sat down and began to pull on a
sock with his right hand. "Mulder, how is your
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
"Thank you. Let me take a look at your shoulder then
I'll get the ice. You should rest as much as you can
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
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
"How is your shoulder this morning?"
"Still pretty stiff," Mulder answered, sliding the
drawer shut with his hip.
"Some," Mulder answered as he headed for the
"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
"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
"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
Mulder acknowledged her with a nod of his head.
She quickly pulled the bandage off as Mulder began to
"Scully, could you hand me that bedspread? I'm
"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
"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
"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
"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
"That's okay. I'll grab some yogurt or cereal at the
Mulder emerged from the bathroom and threw his dirty
clothes somewhere in the general direction of his
"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."
"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
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
"Do you think you can finish getting dressed?"
"I think so. I don't think there's anything left to
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
"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
"It's bothering me," he whined.
"I think you can handle it for a little while
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
"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?"
"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.
"You're not going to admit him?" Scully asked, a
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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?"
"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."
"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
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
"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
"Afraid not. I'll get your discharge papers ready.
It was nice meeting you. Remember to take it easy,
"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
"Damn," he moaned. "Injection?" he asked hopefully.
"Sorry, Mulder. Dr. Goodlett prescribed
"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
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,
"Not soon enough," Scully sighed as she grabbed the
wastebasket just in time to catch Mulder's latest
"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
"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
"Sure, I'm thirsty too. I'm going to go to the
machine for the drinks. You stay here until I get
"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
"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
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
"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."
"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."
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.
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
"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
"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
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.
"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
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.