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                           Grandma Esther rushed to her granddaughter's side, 
                           berating Jacob with every negative word in her 
                           Jacob sank to his knees, his hands covering his face.  
                           The man cried and asked God over and over to forgive 
                           him for killing his daughter.
                           Scully managed to turn Mulder onto his right side and 
                           hold him as the rhythmic tremors continued, her tears 
                           forming a trail down her cheeks.
                           Naomi, awakened by the commotion, staggered into the 
                           area.  Even in her weakened state she could tell that 
                           Mulder's fever had become dangerously high.  Her 
                           daughter had gone into a state of shock but was 
                           already beginning to recover.  Instincts urged her to 
                           go to daughter's aid, but a special sense told her 
                           that Mulder needed her help immediately.
                           She knelt slowly, reaching out to Scully to steady 
                           herself.  "Mother, Hannah will be fine.  She just 
                           needs to rest.  Jacob, please carry her to her bed."
                           Jacob stood, wiped his eyes, and scooped his daughter 
                           into his arms.  He gently carried her away.
                           "Mother, I need a bucket of the water we were saving 
                           for the wash.  Bring it here quickly."
                           "But, Naomi, you are in no condition to help him," 
                           Grandma Esther protested.
                           "I'll be fine.  Please, just get the water," Naomi 
                           directed.  "Miss Scully, pull the blanket back.  We 
                           need to cool him off."
                           Grandma Esther brought the water and set it next to 
                           Mulder, who was still convulsing.
                           "Now, I need as many towels as you can gather."
                           Jacob returned.  "Hannah roused up for a few seconds 
                           and said she was tired.  She went right back to 
                           sleep," he reported.
                           "Good.  You can help Mother gather the towels," Naomi 
                           acknowledged, swaying slightly.
                           "Naomi, you need to lie down too.  I'm a doctor.  I 
                           can take care of Mulder," Scully told her.
                           "There is one thing I must do and then I'll turn his 
                           care back to you."
                           Jacob brought the towels that he and Grandma Esther 
                           had gathered.
                           "Soak them in the water," Naomi ordered.
                           Jacob promptly complied.
                           "We need to cover him with the towels.  Mother, as 
                           soon as one becomes warm,  please replace it with a 
                           cool one.  Miss Scully, bathe his face.  Jacob, we 
                           need to get him out of here.  Run to Aunt Rebecca's 
                           place for help."
                           "But, Hannah . . ." he protested.
                           "Will be fine.  Please hurry, Jacob," Naomi implored.
                           "I'm leaving now."
                           "Miss Scully, I don't have much left to give him but 
                           the convulsion isn't stopping on it's own.  I'm going 
                           to try to stop it and bring his fever down.  I will 
                           probably pass out.  Please catch me and lay me down.  
                           Mother will tend to me while you continue to help 
                           Scully remained skeptical. She thought that Naomi was 
                           wasting her time, but she also knew that it couldn't 
                           hurt.  Short of administering anti-convulsive drugs, 
                           they were doing all they could.
                           Naomi held her hands over Mulder's head, a look of 
                           fierce concentration on her face.  After several 
                           minutes Mulder's body grew quieter until finally, he 
                           gave one last jerk, and the seizure stopped.  The 
                           healer took a deep breath and tilted to her left.  
                           Scully caught her swooning body and eased her down to 
                           the floor of the cave.  Grandma Esther immediately 
                           went to her daughter's side.
                           Scully turned her attention back to Mulder who was 
                           lying quietly.  She checked his pulse and found that 
                           it had slowed considerably.  His skin was warm, but 
                           not scorching hot, as it had been only minutes 
                           She continued to bathe his face, all the while 
                           thinking about what she had just witnessed.  Did 
                           Naomi stop the seizure or did the effect of the cool 
                           towels bring his temperature down?  Weighing the 
                           evidence, she still leaned toward the tried and true 
                           She snapped out of her thoughts, surprised to hear 
                           Mulder's voice.  "Welcome back, partner."
                           "W-why? Where have I been?  Ow!"
                           "Mulder, what's wrong?" she asked anxiously.
                           "Bad headache.  Hurts to talk."
                           "Then, don't," Scully advised.  "Here, drink this."
                           She lifted his head very gently and held a cup of 
                           water to his mouth.  "Slowly."
                           Mulder nodded slightly when he had drunk his fill.  
                           "What happened?  Feel like I missed something."
                           "You were the main attraction, Mulder.  Your 
                           temperature went through the roof and you had a 
                           febrile seizure."
                           "Really.  It was pretty scary for all of us.  Jacob 
                           totally lost it after Hannah tried to help you and 
                           passed out.  Naomi managed to get everyone back in 
                           line and ordered Grandma Esther to help while we were 
                           cooling you off with wet towels."
                           "Glad I missed it."
                           "How are you feeling now?"
                           "Fever's better.  Hurt like hell.  Shit!  My back is 
                           killing me!"
                           "You did quite a bit of thrashing around.  You don't 
                           feel any numbness or tingling in your legs do you?"
                           "Just pain," he grimaced.
                           "Follow my finger with your eyes but don't move your 
                           Mulder complied.
                           "Head hurts," he complained.
                           "That's normal.  A headache and drowsiness are quite 
                           common after a seizure.  All right, partner.  Why 
                           don't you rest while I check that bullet wound?  I'll 
                           be as gentle as I can."
                           "Easy for you to say," he grumbled.
                           Scully removed the blood soaked bandages.  The 
                           violent movements that accompanied the seizure had 
                           caused some additional bleeding, but it had stopped 
                           on its own.  The skin around the small hole was red 
                           and angry looking.  Scully frowned as she observed 
                           the wound.
                           "It's bad isn't it?" Mulder asked, dreading the 
                           "I've seen better," she sighed.
                           "Scully, didn't think I'd ever say it, but I want to 
                           go to the hospital," he groaned, tears collecting in 
                           the corners or his eyes.
                           "Oh, Mulder."  Scully leaned down and placed a kiss 
                           on his cheek.
                           "Sorry . . . acting like a baby," he sniffed as the 
                           tears continued to fall.  "Can't help it."
                           "Mulder, you're not being a baby.  It's a natural 
                           reaction to pain and fever.  I have some good news, 
                           "Could use some."
                           "Jacob has gone for help.  They're going to carry you 
                           out as soon as they get here."
                           "Good.  Can't handle much more.  Need drugs.  The 
                           good stuff.  Need you to hold my hand, make it 
                           Scully squeezed his left hand.  "I'm here, Mulder."
                           Naomi stirred and pushed herself up on one arm.  "How 
                           is he?"
                           "His temperature is down for the time being and he's 
                           alert and talking," Scully supplied.  "How are you?  
                           What can I do to help?"
                           "Just help Mother get me to bed and get that man of 
                           yours to the hospital," Naomi answered, sinking to 
                           the floor as her arm gave way.
                           After helping Naomi to bed and checking on Hannah, 
                           Scully returned to Mulder's side.  Grandma Esther 
                           shuffled over to them, carrying some clothes in her 
                           "You'll need to get him dressed.  Can't have him 
                           traipsing through the woods naked as the day he was 
                           born," she stated, shoving the clothes at Scully.
                           "Thank you."
                           Grandma Esther nodded and shuffled back to Naomi and 
                           Scully examined the clothes she had been given.  
                           There were jeans, a flannel shirt, and a pair of 
                           clean briefs.  "Mulder, she's right.  You need to get 
                           dressed, although I don't even want to attempt 
                           putting a shirt on you.  You're in enough pain as it 
                           "Thank you," Mulder mouthed, his voice giving out.
                           "You'll have to help me by moving your hips a little 
                           Mulder groaned.
                           "I'm sorry, it's going to hurt, but I'll move as 
                           quickly as I can," Scully promised, kneeling down to 
                           sort the clothes.
                           "More fun when you undress me," he gasped as Scully 
                           moved the briefs up his legs to just below his hips.  
                           "Briefs, Scully?"
                           "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth, Mulder.  You 
                           can lose them as soon as we're at the hospital."
                           Maneuvering the jeans was a bit more difficult, and 
                           both agents were perspiring heavily when the task was 
                           completed.  Scully grabbed one of the towels and 
                           bathed Mulder's face and chest, whispering calming 
                           words as she gently moved the towel.
                           "Need to come up with a story.  Can't tell the 
                           truth."  He stopped to catch his breath.  "Can't 
                           expose Jacob's family."
                           "I know Mulder.  We'll think of something before we 
                           get to the hospital," Scully promised, wringing out 
                           the towel before rinsing her own face.
                           They heard the sound of heavily booted feet.  Jacob 
                           had arrived with three other men.
                           "Looks like your ride is here."
                           Jacob looked around and spied Mulder's hiking boots.  
                           "Don't forget these."
                           "Thank you," Scully replied.  
                           "Ready?" Jacob inquired as Scully stood.
                           "I think so."
                           "You'll need these," he said and handed their 
                           backpacks to Scully.  "Nothing has been disturbed.  
                           We didn't open them."
                           Scully opened Mulder's and stuffed his boots inside.  
                           She strapped hers onto her back and slung his over 
                           her right shoulder.
                           "Let's get you back to civilization," Jacob suggested 
                           as each man grabbed a corner of the blanket Mulder 
                           was lying on.
                           "I'm all for that," Scully agreed, following them out 
                           of the cave.
                           Two days later in a West Virginia hospital, Scully 
                           sat at her partner's bedside reading the local 
                           newspaper.  Mulder had just been returned to his room 
                           following surgery on both shoulders, and was sleeping 
                           off the effects of the anesthesia.  
                           When he awakened, Scully was standing by with ice 
                           chips to soothe has throat.  "How are you?"
                           "Hurts," Mulder croaked.  "You okay?"
                           "Yes, Mulder.  I'm still a little tired, but much 
                           better than yesterday.  The doctors gave me a very 
                           thorough examination, and other than a few scrapes 
                           and bruises, I showed no sign of injury."
                           "You need rest."
                           "I've been resting.  This recliner is quite 
                           comfortable, actually."
                           "Rest in bed.  Go back to the motel," Mulder ordered.
                           "Nope.  Until you can use at least one of your arms 
                           you're stuck with me."
                           "What did the doctor say?"
                           "Your left shoulder wasn't too bad.  He removed the 
                           bullet and performed a wound debridement.  You've got 
                           some infection there, you know.  Your right shoulder 
                           was a mess.  Dr. Clayborne said it was quite a 
                           challenge to make all of the repairs and it's 
                           possible you may need more surgery down the road."
                           "Bottom line?"
                           "You'll probably start some form of physical therapy 
                           to both before you leave the hospital.  You may be 
                           able to perform light tasks with your left arm in 
                           several weeks; however, it may take six months or 
                           longer before your right shoulder heals completely."
                           "Damn!  Desk duty for that long?  No way!" he 
                           exclaimed, causing him to cough as his throat 
                           Scully gave him another spoonful of ice.  "Do you 
                           remember what the doctor said about your back?"
                           "Um, fractures?"
                           "Yes, two hairline fractures in the lumbar region.  
                           You won't need surgery, but you will need a brace for 
                           a minimum of six weeks and physical therapy along 
                           with it."
                           "Why don't you just shoot me again?" he groaned.  
                           "Put me out of my misery."
                           "I'm going to see about some pain medication for 
                           you," Scully decided.  "I'll be right back."
                           Mulder began to think of the weeks to come.  Damn it!  
                           He couldn't even take a piss by himself right now.  
                           He was afraid Scully would tire of having an invalid 
                           on her hands.
                           Scully returned, followed by a nurse with two 
                           hypodermics in hand.  "I've brought your pain meds, 
                           Mr. Mulder.  It's Demerol and phenergan, so you 
                           should go back to sleep in a few minutes.  Would you 
                           like some ice packs to put on your shoulders?" she 
                           asked as she emptied the hypodermics into his IV.
                           "Yes, thank you.  That might feel nice."
                           "I'll bring them in right away.  We want you to be as 
                           comfortable as possible."
                           "I'm all for comfort."
                           The nurse left to get the ice packs and Scully moved 
                           back to the side of his bed.
                           "Sorry we didn't make it to that five star hotel, 
                           babe.  Wanted you to be pampered," Mulder apologized, 
                           tears running from his eyes.
                           Scully leaned over him and gently kissed them away.  
                           "None of that, Mulder.  I almost lost you, and all of 
                           the pampering in the world couldn't take the pain of 
                           that away."
                           "Now you're stuck with a banged-up lover. Can't even 
                           touch you.  Want to hold you in my arms so bad."
                           "Let me do the holding," Scully said, encircling his 
                           waist with her left arm while stretching to kiss him.
                           "Don't want you to spend all your time taking care of 
                           me," Mulder said sadly.
                           "Don't I get a say in this?" Scully asked rather 
                           forcefully.  "In case I haven't told you enough, get 
                           it through that thick, but handsome skull of yours.  
                           I love you.  That means we take care of each other."
                           "But . . ."
                           "No buts, Mulder.  I thought we were in this until 
                           the end of time.  Together forever.  That means if 
                           you can't use your arms for a while, then I'll be 
                           your arms.  Let go and accept all of me."
                           "Thank you, Scully," Mulder acknowledged, gazing at 
                           her tenderly.  "Thank you for loving me."
                           "And thank you for letting me have that chance."  She 
                           kissed him again and straightened up as she wiped 
                           away her tears.  Spying the newspaper she had left on 
                           the chair, she picked it up and unfolded it.
                           "Well, Mulder, you're front page news, at least in 
                           this region," she grinned, holding the newspaper so 
                           he could read the headline.
                           "Mysterious Mountain Man Aids Injured FBI Agent," he 
                           read.  "So they bought our story?"
                           "As far as I know everyone thinks he found you while 
                           I was wandering around dazed, then found me a little 
                           "Good, and what about Surface?"
                           "He was wanted for assault in several states and had 
                           been in and out of mental institutions since he was 
                           fourteen.  They haven't ruled on the shooting yet so 
                           I'm on paid leave until the board convenes."
                           "And it might take a while, Agent Scully," a man's 
                           voice announced from the doorway.
                           "Hello, sir.  I wasn't expecting to see you here," 
                           Scully replied as A.D. Skinner entered the room.
                           "Agents," he acknowledged.
                           "I'd shake your hand but . . ." Mulder grinned, 
                           rather lopsided as the drugs began to take effect.
                           "I understand, Mulder.  How are you doing?"
                           "I'm kind of tied up at the moment," he answered as 
                           he nodded toward his right shoulder, which had been 
                           bound to his chest.  The left arm was nestled in a 
                           "I see.  It looks like you'll be out of action for a 
                           "Several months at least," Scully explained.
                           Mulder tried to stay awake but lost the battle.  He 
                           began snoring lightly.
                           "Let's step outside, sir.  Mulder was just given a 
                           pretty substantial dose of Demerol."
                           "All right."  When they reached the hallway Skinner 
                           continued.  "I have some news for you.  It may be a 
                           few weeks before the review board is able to review 
                           your incident."
                           "Two of the members are on vacation.  One alternate 
                           is on compassionate leave and the other had emergency 
                           gall bladder surgery last night.  I really don't want 
                           to call anyone back from vacation."
                           "That's fine, sir.  Mulder is essentially helpless 
                           and will be for several weeks at least.  I'd like to 
                           be there for him."
                           "Of course.  I'm glad it will work out for you then.  
                           Agent, I've read your preliminary report.  You had 
                           quite a story to tell."
                           "Is there a problem, sir?" Scully asked cautiously, 
                           hoping that she hadn't overlooked any obvious 
                           contradictions in her report.
                           "No, no problems.  I'd really like to meet the man 
                           who came to your aid and thank him on behalf of the 
                           "He's a real hermit.  He disappeared as soon as he 
                           got us to the ranger station," Scully explained.
                           "Well, I guess if he doesn't want to be found there's 
                           not much I can do.  I do have one question though."
                           "How in the world did you manage to come through that 
                           whole experience with only a few scrapes and 
                           "I keep asking myself that very same question, sir 
                           and I haven't come up with an answer.  I guess it was 
                           almost what you would call a miracle," Scully hedged.  
                           "I don't remember much until the man found me 
                           wandering in the woods.  I guess I was in shock."
                           "Quite an experience, Agent Scully.  I haven't eaten 
                           in quite a while and I'm sure you could use a break.  
                           Why don't we go to the cafeteria and get something?  
                           I could debrief you as we eat, then you won't need to 
                           come into the office until your hearing," Skinner 
                           "All right, but I don't want to stay away too long.  
                           Since Mulder can't use his arms, he can't even push 
                           the call button for help," Scully fretted.
                           "We'll let the nurse's station know he's alone.  I'm 
                           sure they'll keep an eye on him."
                           "Just let me get my purse."
                           When Scully and Skinner finished eating and returned 
                           to Mulder's room, a nurse was holding a phone to 
                           Mulder's ear.
                           "Thanks, guys.  I knew I could count on you," Mulder 
                           said, then nodded to the nurse that he was finished.
                           "What was that all about?" Scully queried as the 
                           nurse left the room.
                           "Just needed the guys to do a favor for me."
                           "I'm almost afraid to ask," she frowned.
                           "Then don't.  It was nothing really.  What kind of 
                           trouble can I get into tied to this hospital bed 
                           anyway?" he asked innocently.
                           Skinner and Scully looked at him and just shook their 
                           Several days later Jacob found a message near his 
                           cave.  Since it was from Mulder, he gathered his 
                           brothers and cousins and followed Mulder's 
                           instructions to go to the base of the cliff where he 
                           and Scully had been discovered.  They found four 
                           plastic storage boxes filled with paperback books, 
                           magazines, clothes, blankets and canned food.
                           A note was attached to the largest one.  It bore a 
                           simple message.  "Thanks for the miracle! M."
                           Jacob smiled as he and his kin picked up the boxes.  
                           They started back to the cave confident that they had 
                           finally made a friend they could trust.
                           The End