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Title:  Getting To Know You
                           Author:  Waddles 52
                           Summary:  Mulder and Scully get a chance to know each 
                           other better when Scully volunteers to look after him 
                           when he is released from the hospital following his 
                           gunshot wound.
                           Spoilers:  Post-ep for Beyond the Sea
                           Rating:  PG-13
                           Category:  MT
                           Disclaimer:  Just for fun.  Not for profit.
                           Archives:  After_the_Fact, Ephemeral, others please 
                           ask.
                           Feedback:  I'd love to hear from you.  
                           Waddles52@wmconnect.com
                           Acknowlegement:  Thanks to Lisa for the ideas and 
                           beta.  Love ya!
                           
                           Scully had just finished meeting with her partner's 
                           doctors and caregivers.  She had been given the task 
                           of presenting their suggestions to Mulder, and she 
                           dreaded it.  He wasn't going to be happy with any of 
                           it and she couldn't blame him.
                           
                           The near-fatal gunshot wound to his left leg had left 
                           him weak and in constant pain, yet seven days later 
                           the doctors were ready to discharge him.  Actually, 
                           the doctors were quite sympathetic to his condition.  
                           The insurance company, however, had a different 
                           agenda.
                           
                           Too soon she found herself outside of Mulder's room.  
                           Scully took a deep breath and pushed the door open.  
                           Mulder was seated in a wheelchair with his left leg 
                           elevated.  He had apparently been looking out the 
                           window but now his head was bowed in sleep.  She 
                           turned to leave but Mulder's voice stopped her.
                           
                           "How did the meeting go?" he asked in a voice that 
                           still sounded weak to her.
                           
                           "Well, Mulder, you are to be discharged tomorrow."
                           
                           "Great!  I was getting tired of this place anyway.  
                           How soon can we get a flight back to DC?"
                           
                           "Not for at least a week, I'm afraid," Scully 
                           answered, waiting for Mulder's next question.
                           
                           Right on cue he asked, "Why?"
                           
                           "The danger of developing a blood clot is still 
                           fairly high at this stage of your recovery.  The 
                           doctors have also ruled out traveling home by 
                           automobile for the time being."
                           
                           "That's just wonderful!" he exploded.  "Why are they 
                           letting me leave then?"
                           
                           "Actually, your insurance company made the decision 
                           for them.  Your doctors think you should stay at 
                           least another few days.  They tried to get the 
                           insurance company to reconsider, but to no avail."
                           
                           "So, what do I do in the meantime?  I can't stay here 
                           and I can't go home.  I feel like a man without a 
                           country."  He tried to make light of it, but the 
                           smile quickly left his face.
                           
                           "Mulder, you'll need to make some decisions."
                           
                           "What type of decisions?" he asked warily.
                           
                           "Your doctors would like to arrange for a week's stay 
                           in a skilled nursing facility."  Scully made the 
                           announcement and waited for the explosion that was 
                           sure to follow.
                           
                           "A nursing home?  Forget that!" he exclaimed.  "What 
                           other options do I have?"
                           
                           "Mulder, you're going to need some care for a few 
                           days at least.  Your insurance would pay for the 
                           facility.  The only other option is to stay in 
                           Raleigh for another week.  Since you are from out of 
                           town, your insurance has agreed to pay for a week at 
                           someplace like AmeriSuites.  They also agreed to pay 
                           for a physical therapist to help with your ROM 
                           exercises and to provide nursing care as needed.  I 
                           would be glad to stay with you and help in any way 
                           that I can."
                           
                           "Scully, I couldn't ask you to do that."
                           
                           "You don't have to.  I've already volunteered," she 
                           pointed out.
                           
                           "Are those my only options?"
                           
                           "That's all we could come up with."
                           
                           "Don't you think you should be with your mother right 
                           now?" Mulder asked, a serious look on his face.
                           
                           Scully's face reflected his seriousness.  "If she 
                           were at home, yes.  She went to San Diego with my 
                           brother, Bill.  She's planning on staying for several 
                           weeks."
                           
                           "What about work?"
                           
                           "My assignment is to stay with you until you are 
                           ready to return to DC."
                           
                           "I see," Mulder paused to think it over.  "We've 
                           spent many hours together in the office and in the 
                           field, but we always had our own space at the end of 
                           the day.  Do you think you can stand to be around me 
                           24/7?"
                           
                           "Mulder, I don't plan to sleep with you," Scully 
                           laughed.
                           
                           "We'll be sharing a bathroom.  That's almost as 
                           intimate," Mulder said in his defense.
                           
                           "I think I can handle it for a week," she assured 
                           him.
                           
                           Mulder began to wheel toward his bed.  "So, what do 
                           we need to do to make this happen?"
                           
                           "You just need to lie down and rest.  I'll notify the 
                           doctors of your decision and they'll take care of the 
                           insurance company.  I'll get your things together and 
                           do some grocery shopping before you're released."  
                           Scully watched over her partner as he maneuvered his 
                           wheelchair beside his bed and put on the brake.  He 
                           carefully lowered his injured leg then grabbed the 
                           nearby walker.  After pushing himself out of the 
                           chair, a few hops took him to the bed where he slowly 
                           sat down.
                           
                           Scully moved the walker out of the way.  "You're 
                           getting pretty good at that."
                           
                           "Just wait until they let me have crutches.  I'll be 
                           able to move a lot faster then."
                           
                           "I wouldn't count on it for a few days at least.  You 
                           need to regain some more of your strength."
                           
                           "As soon as I'm able to eat something besides 
                           hospital food my strength will return pretty 
                           quickly."
                           
                           "Speaking of food, I plan to cook for us while we're 
                           at the motel.  Do you have any particular likes or 
                           dislikes?  I'll probably go shopping in the morning 
                           so I won't have to leave you after we check in."
                           
                           "Are you a good cook, Scully?" Mulder asked as he 
                           tried to raise his injured leg up to get into bed.
                           
                           Scully moved in to hold his leg up while he brought 
                           the good one over.  "I haven't had any complaints so 
                           far," she answered as she carefully lowered his leg.
                           
                           "I'll eat just about anything," Mulder said as he 
                           situated himself in the bed.  "I'm sure whatever you 
                           cook will be wonderful."
                           
                           "All right, then.  What would you like in the way of 
                           snacks besides sunflower seeds?"
                           
                           "Beer, pretzels, chips, pork rinds, beef jerky, stuff 
                           like that."
                           
                           "Mulder, have you ever heard of fruit, raw 
                           vegetables, juices?" Scully asked.
                           
                           "Sure, I've heard of them.  I just don't consider 
                           them to be snack foods."
                           
                           Scully rolled her eyes heavenward.
                           
                           "Hey, I'm just teasing.  Anything you get will be 
                           fine."
                           
                           "I'll try to get a few of the items you suggested.  
                           I'll make the arrangements then.  Do you think you'll 
                           feel like watching some videos?  Not he ones from the 
                           adult video list," she added quickly.
                           
                           "Sure, just don't go overboard on the chick flicks."
                           
                           "I think I can manage that, Mulder."
                           
                           A nurse interrupted their conversation.  "Mr.  
                           Mulder, the doctor has ordered some blood work and a 
                           CT scan to be completed before you are discharged.  
                           Someone will be coming for you shortly.  He has also 
                           ordered oral pain meds instead of the morphine.  I'm 
                           going to be removing your IV, so why don't you get 
                           one last dose of morphine from the pump and I'll get 
                           to work."
                           
                           Scully pushed the button for him.  "Mulder, I'm going 
                           to make the arrangements, then I'll run some of those 
                           errands we talked about.  I'll see you in the 
                           morning."
                           
                           "Sure, Scully.  I'll be here.  Ow!." He exclaimed as 
                           the nurse began peeling the tape from his hand and 
                           arm.  "I'd like to keep that hair on my arm!"
                           
                           Scully gave the nurse a sympathetic look as she 
                           exited the room.
                           
                           After a stop at the pharmacy and a quick trip through 
                           the closest McD's drive through, Mulder was resting 
                           in his AmeriSuites bedroom.  He had the remains of a 
                           Quarter Pounder with cheese in his right hand and the 
                           TV remote in his left.  After surfing the channels to 
                           see what was available, he decided on ESPN.
                           
                           After watching a few minutes of some obscure water 
                           polo game, he wadded up the hamburger wrapper and 
                           threw it toward the waste can.  His aim was a little 
                           off and he hit Scully square in the chest as she 
                           entered the room.
                           
                           "Sorry," Mulder said, sheepishly.
                           
                           "That's okay, Mulder.  It's just like the office," 
                           she replied as she bent over and threw the wrapper in 
                           the trash.  "I just wanted to see of you wanted a 
                           pain pill and some water."
                           
                           "Thanks, but I'm fine."
                           
                           "Would you like for me to unpack your suitcase and 
                           hang your clothes in the closet?"
                           
                           "Scully, I don't want to put you to any trouble."
                           
                           "You won't."
                           
                           She lifted his suitcase up and put it on the stand.  
                           She spent the next few minutes finding a place for 
                           everything and hanging the contents of his garment 
                           bag.  Next, she unpacked his carry on and put his 
                           toiletries in the bathroom.  The rest of his things 
                           went into a dresser drawer.
                           
                           "Mulder, you didn't pack any pajamas," Scully 
                           observed as she closed the closet door.
                           
                           "Manly men don't wear pajamas, Scully," he answered.
                           
                           "What do you sleep in?"
                           
                           "As little as possible," Mulder grinned.
                           
                           Scully raised her eyebrow, a little quirk of hers 
                           that he sometimes found endearing.
                           
                           "I guess that's not acceptable?"
                           
                           Scully shook her head no.  "I'll get you some.  
                           There's a K-Mart the next block down."
                           
                           "I'll just end up giving them to Goodwill as soon as 
                           I'm home.  They're just not comfortable."
                           
                           "You're going to be in bed for a good part of the 
                           next week or so and you need to be comfortable.  It's 
                           really too cool for shorts and you need something 
                           with loose fitting legs to go over the bandages.  You 
                           only brought one pair of sweats and you're wearing 
                           them.  How about some flannel sleep pants and a T-
                           shirt?" Scully suggested, sitting down in the chair 
                           across from the bed.  "You can give them away when 
                           you get home if you don't like them."
                           
                           "Whatever you say, Scully."
                           
                           "No, Mulder.  It has to be whatever you're 
                           comfortable with."
                           
                           "Okay, I'll give them a try," he surrendered.  "But, 
                           I'm not making any promises."
                           
                           "That's good enough.  I'll just get one pair to start 
                           with and if you like them I can always go back for 
                           more."
                           
                           "Sounds fair."
                           
                           "Before I leave do you need to go to the bathroom?"
                           
                           "Scullee," Mulder whined.
                           
                           "I just want to be sure you make it there and back 
                           safely.  I didn't plan on going in with you."
                           
                           "All right, I'll go and then I'll take you up on that 
                           offer of a pain pill."
                           
                           "Good decision.  You can rest while I'm gone.  Need 
                           any help getting up?"
                           
                           "I think I can manage."
                           
                           "Okay, but don't be shy about asking," Scully 
                           reminded him.
                           
                           "Just scoot the walker over a little closer and I'm 
                           on my way."
                           
                           When Scully returned Mulder was still sleeping off 
                           the effects of the pain pill.  She put a bag down 
                           outside his door and went off to the kitchen to plan 
                           the evening meal.
                           
                           Mulder awakened to the smell of cooking.  He looked 
                           over at the alarm clock and was surprised to see that 
                           it was 6:05 PM.  "Wow, that was some nap," he thought 
                           as he began to maneuver his way to the side of the 
                           bed.  When he looked up he saw Scully standing in the 
                           doorway.
                           
                           "I thought I heard you moving you around," she said 
                           as she came into the room.  She put the bag from K-
                           Mart on the dresser.  "That was quite a nap.  Are you 
                           ready for dinner?"
                           
                           "Yeah, I think I could eat.  What's on the menu?  It 
                           really smells good."
                           
                           "Nothing fancy, just chicken breasts, rice and salad.  
                           Why don't you wash up while I put on the finishing 
                           touches?  Do you want to eat here or at the table?"
                           
                           "I think I'd like to eat at the table.  This room 
                           will get pretty boring after a while.  Maybe I can 
                           watch TV in the living room after?" he asked 
                           hopefully.
                           
                           "Sure, that's a good idea.  Do you need any help 
                           getting up?"
                           
                           "I think I can manage it right now, although I won't 
                           rule it out later on.  It's actually a little harder 
                           to get back into bed."
                           
                           "That's why they want you to do the leg raises.  
                           Well, if you don't need me I'll put the food on the 
                           table.  See you in a few minutes."
                           
                           Although he felt hungry, Mulder found that it was 
                           difficult to eat more than a few bites.
                           
                           "Mulder, it's going to take some time before your 
                           appetite returns to normal," Scully reminded him.
                           
                           "But you went to all of this trouble," he started.
                           
                           "It was no trouble, Mulder.  I had to eat too, you 
                           know, and we can have the leftovers for lunch 
                           tomorrow.  Let's get you settled on the couch, shall 
                           we?"
                           
                           While Mulder lay on the couch and played with the 
                           remote, Scully put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher 
                           and cleaned the kitchen.
                           
                           Mulder watched TV for about an hour and announced 
                           that he was ready for bed.
                           
                           Scully rounded up his nighttime medications while he 
                           was on his way to his room.  When Scully arrived, 
                           Mulder had the flannels out of the bag and was 
                           staring at them intently.
                           
                           "What's wrong?" she asked as she breezed into his 
                           room with his medications and a glass of water.
                           
                           "Uh, I was just trying to figure out how to get these 
                           on," he sighed.  "My left leg doesn't exactly bend 
                           right now."
                           
                           "I'll help you.  Between the two of us I think we can 
                           manage."
                           
                           After some very gentle maneuvering, Mulder was 
                           wearing his new sleep pants with a colored T-shirt to 
                           match.  Scully helped him move his injured leg onto 
                           the bed.
                           
                           "Thanks, Scully," Mulder said as he scooted back to 
                           sit against the headboard.
                           
                           "Wait until you get my bill," Scully teased as she 
                           placed some pillows behind his back.
                           
                           "Uh, will I be able to afford you?"
                           
                           "I think so.  If not, I'm sure we can work something 
                           out."
                           
                           "Like what?" Mulder inquired as Scully handed him his 
                           medications and a glass of water.
                           
                           "Well, you could clean up the office, clean out the 
                           coffee pot, put the junk mail and old memos through a 
                           shredder, re-organize and alphabetize the files."
                           
                           "You don't come cheap do you?"  Mulder asked.  He 
                           felt he should interrupt her before she came up with 
                           anything else.
                           
                           "You're right.  I don't, but I was really just trying 
                           to have some fun with you.  I wouldn't dare ask you 
                           to change your filing system."
                           
                           "Good."  Mulder handed her the water glass.  "But I 
                           do agree that the office could stand a little 
                           cleaning.  I'll work on that as soon as I'm back on 
                           my feet."
                           
                           "That sounds like a plan.  Can I get you anything 
                           else before I leave?"
                           
                           "No, I'm fine.  I'm just going to relax and watch a 
                           little more TV."
                           
                           "Okay.  I'm going to unfold the couch and put some 
                           sheets on it, but I'll probably be up for a few more 
                           hours.  If you need any help getting to the bathroom 
                           let me know," she ordered as she turned to leave.  
                           
                           "Wait!  Scully, you're sleeping on the couch?"
                           
                           "Yes," she replied.  "It's a sofa bed.  They wouldn't 
                           cover a two bedroom suite."
                           
                           "Cheapskates.  Those things have a reputation for 
                           being lumpy.  Why don't you let me take it?" Mulder 
                           suggested.
                           
                           "It won't be any worse than some of the motel beds 
                           I've slept on.  Don't worry about it."
                           
                           "But Scully, I do worry.  I don't want you to suffer 
                           because of me."
                           
                           "Who says I'm going to suffer?  Mulder, I went 
                           through a medical residency, remember?  I could sleep 
                           standing up if I had to.  You just concentrate on 
                           getting a good night's sleep.  Remember, if you need 
                           help getting out of bed to go to the bathroom or if 
                           you need help to move your leg be sure to call me.  
                           I'm a light sleeper so I'll hear you."
                           
                           "Scully, I . . ."
                           
                           "I mean it, Mulder.  Call me," she said emphatically
                           
                           "All right.  I can see that I'm not going to win this 
                           one."
                           
                           "Now, you're catching on."
                           
                           "Pleasant dreams, Scully."
                           
                           Thank you, Mulder."
                           
                           Mulder slept peacefully until the pain pill wore off 
                           and his bladder began to send insistent messages.  
                           "Damn, that foley.  They always leave my bladder 
                           irritated for a while."
                           
                           He was able to see the hallway and determined that 
                           all of the lights were off.  Scully had turned in for 
                           the night.  He hated to wake her up.  She'd been 
                           through hell the past two weeks starting with her 
                           father's death, then that bitch of a case and ending 
                           up being his nursemaid.
                           
                           He had promised to call her if he had to use the 
                           bathroom, but he just couldn't make himself do it.
                           
                           Mulder gasped as the pain hit his injured leg as he 
                           began to slowly move it to the side of the bed.  He 
                           eventually was able to move it from the bed and let 
                           it hang down to the floor.
                           
                           "Oh, shit!  That hurts!"  He took a deep breath and 
                           reached for the walker.  He pushed himself up and 
                           immediately wanted to sit back down.  Another pain 
                           pill was definitely in his future if he didn't chew 
                           his leg off before he could find one.
                           
                           Slowly, he made his way into the hallway.  The 
                           bathroom seemed miles away.  He was panting with 
                           exertion by the time he reached his destination.  Why 
                           was he feeling so weak?
                           
                           He wiped the perspiration from his eyes and pushed 
                           the walker to the side so he could have a clear shot 
                           at his target.  He leaned his arms on the wall as he 
                           felt his weakness intensify.  He finished his 
                           business, but before he could even get himself tucked 
                           back in he felt himself falling backward.
                           
                           Scully suddenly awakened when she heard a loud thump 
                           from the bathroom.  "Mulder!"
                           
                           She threw back the covers and shot out of bed.  In no 
                           time she reached the bathroom and pushed open the 
                           door.  She found Mulder slumped against the bathroom 
                           wall across from the toilet.  Her face turned bright 
                           red when she saw that he hadn't been able to complete 
                           his personal task.  Ignoring that, she knelt beside 
                           him and felt his pulse as she looked him over for any 
                           sign of injury.
                           
                           "Scully?" Mulder asked as he blinked his eyes in an 
                           effort to rid himself of blurred vision.
                           
                           "What happened?"
                           
                           "I guess I was a little weaker than I thought and I 
                           blacked out."  His face turned a deep red when he 
                           discovered that his most private parts were 
                           uncovered.
                           
                           "Uh, sorry.  Guess he needed some air," Mulder tried 
                           to make light of it as he tucked himself back in.
                           
                           Scully chose to ignore it.  "Did you hurt yourself 
                           when you fell?"
                           
                           "I think I'm okay.  My leg hurts like a son of a 
                           bitch but it was killing me before I ever came in 
                           here."
                           
                           "Let's get you up if you think you can make it."
                           
                           "Yeah, I feel a little better now."
                           
                           Scully helped him up as he pushed off with his good 
                           leg.  He was still a little wobbly as Scully 
                           positioned the walker in front of him.  She flipped 
                           the lid down on the toilet and ordered him to sit.
                           
                           "Just rest a few minutes.  You're still pretty 
                           shaky."
                           
                           "Mm   . . .yeah," Mulder rested his head on the edge 
                           of the sink.  "Sorry about this, Scully.  I should 
                           have called for help."
                           
                           "Now, 'Macho Mulder' knows better.  
                           Right?"
                           
                           Mulder raised his head a few inches.  "'Macho Mulder'  
                           has given up for the duration."  He lowered his head 
                           back to the sink.
                           
                           "I'm going to get you some orange juice and a pain 
                           pill.  Don't move."
                           
                           When Scully returned Mulder was just as she had left 
                           him.  "Mulder, are you still with me?"
                           
                           "Just getting comfortable.  Can I stay here tonight?"
                           
                           "Sorry, but I might need to use the facilities.  
                           Raise up.  I want you to drink all of this when you 
                           take your pain pill."
                           
                           "Then I'll just have to go again later," he moaned as 
                           he sat up and took the glass and pill.
                           
                           "Then I'll help you up when you call," Scully 
                           emphasized.  "Drink all of it.  I think your blood 
                           sugar is a little low."
                           
                           Mulder complied and handed her the glass.
                           
                           "Feel like trying to get back to bed?"
                           
                           "Yes, let's do it," Mulder decided and pushed himself 
                           up.
                           
                           "How are you?" Scully asked cautiously.
                           
                           "Much better," he proclaimed as he began to hop back 
                           to his room.
                           
                           Scully straightened the covers for him and waited 
                           until he got situated.
                           
                           "No more nocturnal ramblings, right?" she asked.
                           
                           "I promise.  I will wake you if I need to get up 
                           again," Mulder promised solemnly.
                           
                           He slept comfortably for almost two hours until his 
                           muscles reminded him that he needed to shift 
                           position.  Damn!  This was a lot easier in the 
                           hospital.  At least he could pull up on that bar they 
                           had attached to his bed.  Shit!  Why did this have to 
                           hurt so much?  "I'm not going to call Scully," he 
                           thought as he tried to ease over onto his side.  "Ow!  
                           I'm not going to call Scully," he thought again as a 
                           groan involuntarily escaped.
                           
                           "Mulder, do you need some help?"
                           
                           His angel of mercy appeared at his door and it scared 
                           the crap out of him.  "Scully?" he gasped as he 
                           jerked in surprise.
                           
                           "Sorry I startled you, but I heard you moving around 
                           and I thought I'd see if you needed anything."
                           
                           "Is it too early for another pain pill?"
                           
                           "No.  You're allowed to take two at a time and you 
                           only took one."
                           
                           "Good.  I'd like another one and some help moving to 
                           a different position."
                           
                           "I'll be glad to help you, Mulder.  I know how 
                           difficult it is to move your leg right now.  Let's 
                           get you situated then I'll bring you some more juice 
                           to drink with your pill."
                           
                           "Aargh," Mulder groaned.  "You had to mention juice."
                           
                           "Want to make a quick trip to the bathroom while I'm 
                           getting that juice?" Scully inquired.
                           
                           "Good idea."
                           
                           Both agents slept a little later than usual.  
                           Mulder's senses began to jump start at the smell of 
                           coffee brewing.  Since he was lying on his side it 
                           was fairly easy to roll out of bed.  He made his way 
                           from his room and found Scully sitting in the small 
                           kitchen, savoring her first sip of coffee.
                           
                           "Did you leave any for me?" Mulder asked, sitting 
                           down carefully.
                           
                           Of, course.  I made a whole pot."  She put down the 
                           complimentary paper and made her way to the counter.  
                           Mulder rifled through the paper looking for the 
                           sports section.
                           
                           "So what would you like for breakfast?" Scully asked 
                           as she put a steaming mug of coffee in front of 
                           Mulder.
                           
                           He inhaled the aroma.  "This will be fine."
                           
                           "Mulder, you need to eat."
                           
                           He made a face.  "Maybe some toast?  I'm really not 
                           very hungry."
                           
                           "All I ask is that you try."  She dropped two slices 
                           of whole wheat bread into the toaster.  "What would 
                           you like on it?"
                           
                           "Uh, what's available?" he asked, expecting some very 
                           healthy and tasteless choices.
                           
                           "Well, we have margarine, strawberry jam or grape 
                           jelly."
                           
                           "Ooh, Scully, would there happen to be any peanut 
                           butter lurking around to go with that grape jelly 
                           later?"
                           
                           She opened a cabinet and presented him with a jar of 
                           creamy peanut butter.  "Mulder, I like to indulge in 
                           a good P, B & J every once and a while, but for now, 
                           what do you want on your toast?"
                           
                           "Just margarine," he grinned as the toast popped up.
                           
                           Scully quickly fixed his toast and margarine and put 
                           it in front of him.
                           
                           "Don't get crumbs all over the paper," she 
                           admonished.
                           
                           "You actually read the sports section?"
                           
                           "Mulder, I read all of the paper."
                           
                           "Great, I just didn't picture you as a sports fan."
                           
                           "I'm not particularly, but I like to keep informed.  
                           You've got a busy day ahead of you."
                           
                           "Oh?"
                           
                           "Yes.  Your physical therapist will be visiting, 
                           along with a nurse to assess your condition and draw 
                           blood.  She'll decide if you need daily visits from a 
                           nurse, or if I can do what needs to be done."
                           
                           "Peachy," he griped as he took a sip of his coffee.  
                           "So I'm going to have two extra people poking and 
                           pulling my leg around today?"
                           
                           "Yes, Mulder.  You know, if your pain medication 
                           isn't doing the job you need to let the nurse know so 
                           she can contact your doctor."
                           
                           "I didn't get much relief last night and I've been 
                           getting muscle cramps from not being able to move 
                           around as much as I need," he admitted.
                           
                           "Then perhaps we need to add some type of relaxant to 
                           the mix."
                           
                           "Scully, I don't want to be comatose."
                           
                           "I promise you won't."
                           
                           "We'll see," he sighed, breaking a slice of toast in 
                           half.
                           
                           "Mulder, you need to bathe before they arrive.  Were 
                           the flannel sleep pants comfortable?"
                           
                           "Yes, they were.  Thank you for suggesting them, but 
                           I hate to put you to all of the trouble of going out 
                           again to purchase some more."
                           
                           "I have a confession to make.  I purchased two 
                           outfits, so we can get you cleaned up and dressed and 
                           I can wait until this afternoon to go out again."
                           
                           Mulder pushed the remains of his toast aside.
                           
                           "Well, you managed to get most of it down, but you'll 
                           need to do better for lunch."
                           
                           "I'll try."
                           
                           "Are you ready for a sponge bath?"
                           
                           "Sponge bath?" he asked, surprised.  "I can't take a 
                           shower?"
                           
                           "Now with that dressing on your leg.  Come on, let's 
                           get that taken care of.  I don't know when the home 
                           health people will be here."
                           
                           "Let's get that taken care of?" Mulder questioned.  
                           "I think I can give myself a sponge bath."
                           
                           "I'm sure you can take care of most of it, but can 
                           you reach your lower legs and feet?  Can you get 
                           dressed afterward?"
                           
                           "No, but this is kind of embarrassing," he whined.
                           
                           "Mulder, after last night you have nothing to hide 
                           anyway," she reminded him.
                           
                           Mulder blushed deeply.  "Scully, I'm sorry about 
                           that.  It wasn't intentional."
                           
                           "I know that.  Try to put that aside and remember 
                           that I am a doctor.  I think I can help you bathe 
                           with a clinical detachment."
                           
                           "But can I?" Mulder thought.  He'd already found 
                           himself aroused by her several times in the past few 
                           months.  It was fairly easy to hide while wearing 
                           loose fitting dress pants, but if he had to bare it 
                           all . . .Shit!  He was in big trouble!
                           
                           Mulder had to admit that Scully was very alert to his 
                           embarrassment over the situation.  She kept his lap 
                           covered with a towel and encouraged him to wash as 
                           much as he could reach.  The only real problem 
                           occurred when she checked his bandages and 
                           accidentally brushed against him.  He was afraid the 
                           small hand towel wasn't enough to hide his 
                           enthusiastic reaction, but Scully finished her task 
                           and left him alone while she went to get his clothes.  
                           He tried to coax "Junior" to assume a less obvious 
                           position.  Man, this was going to be tough.
                           
                           He didn't have that problem with the nurses in the 
                           hospital, but "Junior" was more than eager to stand 
                           at attention when Scully was close.  He hoped he 
                           could regain some flexibility in that leg soon before 
                           he really embarrassed himself.
                           
                           Scully was quite aware of Mulder's physical reaction.  
                           She tried to be careful when touching him, but she 
                           noticed that the towel began to rise before she even 
                           started.  Was Mulder actually physically attracted to 
                           her?  If he was, the feeling was mutual she had to 
                           admit.  Next time she would fold up a larger bath 
                           towel and let him cover himself.
                           
                           Mulder had back-to-back visits from the physical 
                           therapist and the nurse.  Scully stayed to observe 
                           the exercise routine so that she could help him 
                           repeat it in the evening.  She knew he had to be in 
                           tremendous pain but he didn't make a sound as he 
                           performed the movements.
                           
                           The nurse was somewhat concerned with the level of 
                           pain he was still experiencing.  Before she left, she 
                           had secured a prescription for Tylox and Valium from 
                           Mulder's surgeon.  She even volunteered to pick up 
                           the prescriptions and have the agency pharmacy fill 
                           and deliver them, thus saving Scully a trip to the 
                           hospital.
                           
                           By the time they were gone, Mulder was ready for some 
                           pain relief and a long nap.  "Scully, how long will I 
                           be like this?" he sighed as she helped him into bed.
                           
                           "Mulder, I see improvement every day.  You know, a 
                           week ago you were in the ICU, so weak you could 
                           barely talk.  Today you're walking and talking.  It's 
                           going to be a slow process, but be grateful for each 
                           small improvement you make."
                           
                           "Yeah, considering the alternative.  Ow!" he 
                           exclaimed as Scully put a pillow under his leg.
                           
                           "Sorry, Mulder.  I'm going to bring you two pain 
                           pills and some juice.  Your new prescriptions 
                           probably won't be delivered until this afternoon,"
                           
                           "Thank you, Scully.  I can't emphasize that enough."
                           
                           "And I can't emphasize enough the fact that you don't 
                           have to keep saying thank you," she added.
                           
                           "But your family . . ."
                           
                           "Is spread out all over.  I'm going to check in with 
                           Mom later on."
                           
                           "Good, and if you need to go to her . . ."
                           
                           "I know, Mulder."
                           
                           The two pain pills did a great job for two hours and 
                           then the muscle cramps returned with a vengeance.
                           
                           "I can't handle this," Mulder moaned to himself.  
                           "Got to get up and move around."
                           
                           As he maneuvered his way into the living room, he 
                           could hear Scully talking angrily to someone on the 
                           phone.
                           
                           Scully noticed Mulder when he entered.  "Bill, I'll 
                           call and talk to Mom again in a few days.  I really 
                           don't have anything else to say to you at this time!"  
                           She slammed the phone down and turned to greet 
                           Mulder.
                           
                           "Did you get any rest?" she inquired, pasting a smile 
                           on her face.
                           
                           "My usual two hours. What's the matter?  Is your Mom 
                           okay?"  The concern was evident on his face.
                           
                           "Mom is doing well.  Unfortunately, my older brother, 
                           Bill, is being a royal pain in the ass as usual."
                           
                           "Oh?"  Mulder hopped over to the couch and plopped 
                           down.
                           
                           "He just thinks he can boss me around like he did 
                           when we were children," she explained as she put a 
                           pillow under Mulder's leg.  "But he's got another 
                           thing coming!"
                           
                           "What is he going on about, if it's not too 
                           personal?"
                           
                           "No, that's okay.  He thinks I should quit the FBI 
                           and move back in with Mom."  Scully sat down heavily 
                           in the armchair and crossed her arms.
                           
                           "He's got his nerve, doesn't he?"
                           
                           "Exactly."
                           
                           "Is this what your mother wants?" Mulder inquired, 
                           shifting to find a more comfortable position.
                           
                           "I seriously doubt it.  She raised four children 
                           mostly by herself.  I doubt she's afraid of being 
                           alone.  It's just Bill's idea of what we should do.  
                           I'm sure that's probably the last I'll hear of it.  
                           Once he presents that plan to Mom she'll put him in 
                           his place and I won't hear anything until he comes up 
                           with a new scheme to control my life."
                           
                           "You have other siblings, right?"
                           
                           "An older sister, Melissa, and a younger brother, 
                           Charlie.  They manage to stay out of Bill's way as 
                           much as possible," Scully explained.
                           
                           "Interesting."
                           
                           "We could analyze my family's dynamics all afternoon 
                           Mulder, and we would always reach the same 
                           conclusion.  Bill is a pompous ass.  How about some 
                           lunch?"
                           
                           "Okay."
                           
                           "It won't take long.  Leftovers, remember?"
                           
                           "Fine by me," Mulder agreed.
                           
                           "And I expect you to eat something."
                           
                           "I'll give it my best effort."
                           
                           The two agents fell into a comfortable routine over 
                           the next few days.  As Mulder grew stronger they 
                           spent time watching movies together.   Scully began 
                           to enjoy it as she got used to Mulder's sense of 
                           humor.  A lot of his comments were really off the 
                           wall but she came to accept that as something that 
                           was uniquely Mulder.
                           
                           Mulder looked forward to spending that time with 
                           Scully also.  She was so easy to tease, but she could 
                           also give as good as she got.  He began to get a 
                           glimpse of a more carefree, less serious side to her 
                           personality.
                           
                           By the time the physical therapist had Mulder up on 
                           crutches, both of them felt they had turned a corner 
                           in their partnership.  A firm friendship was 
                           beginning to take hold.
                           
                           Two weeks later, Scully prepared to unlock the 
                           basement office.  She needed to check the mail before 
                           she headed to her space upstairs.  There was no sense 
                           hanging around here if Mulder wasn't there.  She was 
                           surprised to find the door unlocked.  She pushed it 
                           open to find Mulder sitting at his desk, his crutches 
                           propped against the side.
                           
                           "Hey, Scully.  I talked them into letting me do some 
                           desk work during the mornings and physical therapy in 
                           the afternoons."
                           
                           "I didn't think you'd be back this soon."
                           
                           "My apartment was definitely beginning to close in on 
                           me.  Besides, I have a debt to repay."
                           
                           Scully looked at him curiously.
                           
                           "Remember our deal?  I clean up the office.  You boss 
                           me around until it meets your approval?"
                           
                           "Ah, I think I do remember something to that effect."
                           
                           "Well, since I'm not exactly on my feet altogether 
                           yet," he said pointing to the crutches, "I can't get 
                           it all done today.  However, I did put in an order 
                           for a shredder, and if you will do the honor of 
                           throwing the switch, I'll run through the first load 
                           of things we don't need any longer."
                           
                           "I'd be happy to turn it on," she smiled.
                           
                           The shredder began to whir and Mulder began feeding 
                           it old memos, some from several years back.  Scully 
                           nodded her approval.
                           
                           "I'd also like for you to honor me with your presence 
                           at lunch today.  I'm buying and I'd like to take you 
                           out someplace."
                           
                           "Why, thank you, Mulder.  I'd be happy to accompany 
                           you."
                           
                           "Great!  You know, there's a new version of Trivial 
                           Pursuit out.  Do you think you might want to come 
                           over Friday or Saturday night and give it a try?"
                           
                           "Sounds interesting.  I'm game."
                           
                           "I'll be looking forward to it," he grinned as he 
                           shoved another paper in the shredder.  "This is kind 
                           of fun.  By the way, there's a file on the corner of 
                           my desk.  How about looking it over and letting me 
                           know what you think?"
                           
                           "Guess it's back to business, huh?" she asked, 
                           reaching for the file.
                           
                           "I'm just happy that you have become a part of my 
                           business," Mulder said.  He blushed and fed another 
                           sheet of paper into the shredder.
                           
                           "Thank you, Mulder.  I feel the same way."
                           
                           Scully sat in the chair in front of Mulder's desk and 
                           began to read the file.  "Yep, here they were.  
                           Business as usual once again, and it felt damned 
                           good!"
                           
                           END