Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Waddles Wonderful World of X Files

As luck would have it.
Home
Waddles 52 Fanfiction
News and Gossip
X Files Links
Contact Me
Chris's Corner!!!!
All about Waddles52

Does your luck sometimes stink? You can find a silver lining in every cloud.......

Title:  As Luck Would Have It
                                    Author:  Waddles52
                                    Rating:  Pg-13
                                    Category:  MT, MSR
                                    Spoiler:  Written for the MR monthly fic challenge. 
                                    Post-Ep for The Goldberg Variation.
                                    Disclaimer:  These characters belong to Chris Carter 
                                    and 1013 productions.
                                    Feedback:  I would love to hear from you at
                                    waddles52@wmconnect.com
                                    Archives:  Please ask first.
                                    Thanks:  To Lisa, a first class beta and friend,
                                    and all the great people at Mulder's Refuge.
                                    
                                    
                                    Mulder, have you ever tried to calculate the number 
                                    of hours we've spent waiting in airports, the delayed 
                                    flights, the cancelled flights, the cups of coffee . 
                                    . ."
                                    
                                    "Scully, I'll leave that to you.  The figures would 
                                    be too mind boggling for my unscientific mind to wrap 
                                    itself around," Mulder interrupted, moving gingerly 
                                    as he tried to find a comfortable position.  "Why the 
                                    questions?"
                                    
                                    "I don't know.  It would just be nice if we had a 
                                    fraction of Henry Weem's luck.  We could breeze right 
                                    through, not have to sign all of the forms for our 
                                    weapons, be first to be seated . . .  I guess I'm 
                                    just sick of airports," she sighed.
                                    
                                    "But remember," Mulder pointed out.  "Every time 
                                    Weems has good luck, someone else gets it in the ass."
                                    
                                    "You're right, of course.  Speaking of getting it in 
                                    the ass, how is yours after that quick trip to the 
                                    floor below?"
                                    
                                    "Very bruised, I'm sure.  Would you like to examine 
                                    it?" Mulder asked, waggling his eyebrows.
                                    
                                    "You see, Mulder.  You are lucky."
                                    
                                    Mulder's face reflected his curiosity.
                                    
                                    "I'm not going to shoot you for that stupid remark."
                                    
                                    He was a bit taken aback.  "It really does hurt, 
                                    Scully, and my back is killing me."
                                    
                                    "Mulder, you ran here and there off and on all day.  
                                    I find it hard to believe that you're in that much 
                                    pain."
                                    
                                    "That's right, Scully.  Ignore my pain-wracked body.  
                                    When I'm in traction I'll remember your concern."
                                    
                                    "Jeeze, Mulder, just go home and grab a beer and the 
                                    latest issue of Celebrity Skin.  Fill the tub with warm 
                                    water and have a nice, long soak," she advised, 
                                    shaking her head.
                                    
                                    The boarding announcement for their flight 
                                    interrupted their conversation.  As luck would have 
                                    it, their seats were among the last called.
                                    
                                    Mulder reached for his carry on with his left hand 
                                    and dropped it.  "Ow!.  My arm!" he exclaimed, 
                                    grabbing it for emphasis.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, I saw the injury from the bullet.  It was 
                                    barely more than a scratch.  Cut the histrionics."
                                    
                                    "But my arm really hurts," he stated.
                                    
                                    "Come on before they give our seats away."
                                    
                                    Mulder retrieved his bag, this time using his right 
                                    hand and followed Scully to the boarding area, moving 
                                    stiffly.
                                    
                                    Mulder was forced to sit in the center seat next to a 
                                    very unsympathetic Scully on his right, and a very 
                                    portly salesman who should have had two seats, on his left.  He 
                                    soon realized that he was on the flight from hell.
                                    
                                    Every time the salesman brushed against his sore arm, 
                                    which was often, he stifled a groan.  No sense in 
                                    giving Scully any more ammunition for her campaign to 
                                    crown him wimp of the year.
                                    
                                    By the time they landed, his arm was screaming for 
                                    pain relief, and his feet had gone to sleep.  Scully 
                                    was waiting impatiently for him to move.  As he shook 
                                    his feet to get the circulation going, he noticed that the movement really made his lower back hurt.  
                                    "What now?" he grumbled and pushed himself out of his 
                                    seat.
                                    
                                    Mulder gasped and grabbed the seat in front of him to 
                                    keep from going down.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, what seems to be the hold up?" she griped.
                                    
                                    "My back!"
                                    
                                    "What?"
                                    
                                    "My back is hurting so badly I can't move," he 
                                    answered slowly, emphasizing each word.
                                    
                                    "Come on, Mulder.  Give it a rest.  I want to get 
                                    home."
                                    
                                    "Scully, I'm not kidding.  I can't straighten up."
                                    
                                    "Mulder . . ."  She started to really tear into him 
                                    until she noticed that all of the color had drained 
                                    from his face, with his breath coming fast and hard.
                                    
                                    "You're not kidding are you?  Oh, Mulder, I'm so 
                                    sorry!"
                                    
                                    "Thanks for the apology.  Now, could you figure out 
                                    how to get me out of here?"
                                    
                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                                                       
                                    
                                    "I still think you should have let them call an 
                                    ambulance," Scully fussed as she pushed Mulder 
                                    through the airport in a wheelchair.
                                    
                                    "No, I just want to go home and soak in the tub," he 
                                    sighed, weary of the whole business.
                                    
                                    "Sorry, partner, but you're going to the ER.  The tub 
                                    will still be there when you're released."
                                    
                                    "I'll just get a cab, then.  I don't need you to 
                                    drive me anywhere," he argued.
                                    
                                    Scully released the handles of the wheelchair.  
                                    "Fine, Mulder.  The cab exit is way over there.  I'm 
                                    sure you'll be able to find a cab driver to help you 
                                    in and out of the car and carry your bag up to your 
                                    apartment."
                                    
                                    She retrieved her bag from Mulder's lap and watched 
                                    as he tried to maneuver the wheelchair through the 
                                    crowded airport.  He hadn't made it more than twenty 
                                    feet before he stopped and buried his face in his 
                                    hands.  Scully was soon at his side.  "I see you 
                                    haven't made much progress toward the cab."
                                    
                                    Mulder scrubbed his hands over his face and looked up 
                                    at her.  "I surrender.  If you can quit gloating long 
                                    enough to push me to the car pick-up, I'll let you 
                                    take me to the hospital," he sighed, pain and 
                                    exhaustion etched on his face.
                                    
                                    "You're doing the right thing," she assured him.
                                    
                                    Mulder mumbled something under his breath as Scully 
                                    began to push him toward the exit.   
                                    
                                    
                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                    
                                    Scully opened the door to his apartment as Mulder 
                                    followed her in, bent over, his back almost parallel 
                                    to the floor.  She put their bags by the door and was 
                                    ready to assist him if necessary.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, I'm so sorry I gave you such a hard way to 
                                    go today, but you were moving around so well I didn't 
                                    suspect you were injured."
                                    
                                    "Sure, fine.  Just let me get to the couch."
                                    
                                    "No couch, Mulder.  You need to be in bed."
                                    
                                    "Then point me in the right direction.  It's a little 
                                    difficult to see where I'm going.  All I can see is 
                                    the floor."
                                    
                                    Scully guided him to his bed and helped him sit on 
                                    the side.  "Let me get you a glass of water so you 
                                    can take the medication the doctor prescribed, then 
                                    I'll help you change into something more 
                                    comfortable."
                                    
                                    Scully quickly returned with the water and 
                                    medication.  She handed him the glass of water and 
                                    gave him a pain pill and a muscle relaxant.  Mulder 
                                    gulped them down and handed the glass back to her.
                                    
                                    She set it on the nightstand and looked at Mulder for 
                                    a few seconds before speaking.
                                    
                                    "Let's get that jacket and shirt off.  That wound on 
                                    your arm didn't look that large in Chicago.  I can't 
                                    figure out why it bled so much on the plane."
                                    
                                    "Oh, that's courtesy of the round mound of stereo 
                                    sound.  He took his seat and a good part of mine," 
                                    Mulder winced as Scully pulled the coat sleeve over 
                                    his sore arm.
                                    
                                    "Stereo sound?" Scully questioned as she began to 
                                    unbutton his shirt.
                                    
                                    "His company sells sound systems.  Hey, Scully.  I 
                                    could get used to this," he commented as she began to 
                                    remove his shirt.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, need I remind you that I'm still carrying my 
                                    weapon?"
                                    
                                    "I've got my weapon too, primed and ready," he 
                                    retorted.  Oh man, did he just say that?  Those drugs 
                                    must be doozies.  His mouth was certainly becoming 
                                    very relaxed.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, if I thought you could actually draw your 
                                    weapon and use it right now, I might be concerned."
                                    
                                    "Ooh, shot down."
                                    
                                    "Exactly.  Let me get a clean shirt from your bag and 
                                    I'll be right back."
                                    
                                    Scully returned with a t-shirt and sweats.  "Might as 
                                    well get comfortable," she said, pulling the hem of 
                                    his undershirt from his pants.
                                    
                                    "That word does not currently exist in my 
                                    vocabulary."
                                    
                                    "Well, we'll just have to change that."  She pulled 
                                    his undershirt off and replaced it with the T-shirt.  
                                    "How are you holding up?"
                                    
                                    "Just peachy," he grumped.
                                    
                                    "Okay.  I think it would be easier if you were to lie 
                                    down to get your pants off and your sweats on," 
                                    Scully decided.
                                    
                                    "I don't think my back will unbend enough for me to 
                                    lie flat," Mulder moaned.
                                    
                                    "You have a lumbral-sacral strain and your muscles 
                                    are in spasm, but I assure you, lying flat on your 
                                    back is possible."
                                    
                                    Scully helped him through some strange maneuvers but 
                                    eventually he was lying flat on his back, waiting for 
                                    the pain to ease.  She slipped his shoes off, 
                                    unbuckled his belt and began to pull his zipper down.
                                    
                                    Mulder fought hard to keep it under control.  Despite 
                                    the dose of muscle relaxant, he found that it didn't 
                                    affect every muscle.  "Damn Henry Weems!  Here he 
                                    lay, with Scully fulfilling one of his recurring 
                                    fantasies and he couldn't do a thing about it!  Life 
                                    was so unfair!"
                                    
                                    He was yanked from his thoughts as Scully deftly 
                                    pulled his trousers off.  She pulled the sweats over 
                                    his feet and began to slide them over his long legs.
                                    
                                    Mulder just knew that he was embarrassing himself to 
                                    the max.  How could Scully not notice his reaction to 
                                    her helpful ministrations?  At the very least he 
                                    expected a slap to the face, or maybe she would go 
                                    all out and shoot him again and put him out of his 
                                    misery.
                                    
                                    "I need a little help here, Mulder," she said, 
                                    interrupting his thoughts again.  "I need you to raise your 
                                    bottom off the bed just a little so I can pull your 
                                    sweats all the way up."
                                    
                                    Mulder complied and saw stars when the pain of that 
                                    slight movement hit him full force.  A loud groan 
                                    escaped from him just as Scully finished her task.
                                    
                                    "I'm sorry, Mulder.  All finished."
                                    
                                    "Well, that took care of my little problem," he 
                                    thought.  "Nothing like a nice back dislocation to 
                                    kill the urge."
                                    
                                    "Mulder, are you still with me?" Scully asked, 
                                    concern in her voice.
                                    
                                    "Um, yeah."
                                    
                                    "Can I get you anything, or do anything for you?"
                                    
                                    "What a loaded question," Mulder thought.  There were 
                                    several things she could do for him to make him feel 
                                    MUCH better; however, her loaded service weapon was a 
                                    deterrent to the health and well-being of his, er, 
                                    weapon.  Might as well take advantage of what he 
                                    could get.
                                    
                                    "Well, I do need a few things from the grocery 
                                    store," he hedged.
                                    
                                    "Oh?  I guess I could pick up a few things for you.  
                                    Let me get my note pad and pen and I'll be right back 
                                    to make a list."
                                    
                                    He had to chuckle.  Scully was always prepared for 
                                    all eventualities.  All he needed was something to 
                                    drink and snack on.  She really didn't need to make a 
                                    list.  He could call for a meal to be delivered 
                                    later.  What was taking her so long anyway?  He heard 
                                    her go into the bathroom and start to rummage around.  
                                    When was the last time he had cleaned in there?  
                                    This could get embarrassing.
                                    
                                    Scully came out of the bathroom and sat on the side 
                                    of the bed.  "Mulder, do you even remember the last 
                                    time you shopped for groceries?"
                                    
                                    "Uh . . ."
                                    
                                    "That's what I thought.  I've made a preliminary 
                                    list.  Take a look and see what you want to add."
                                    
                                    He took the notepad from her and squinted.  "Damn, 
                                    those pills are starting to work.  Must be strong.  
                                    Strong is good," he thought as he yawned and began to 
                                    concentrate on the list.  "Let's see, OJ, milk, eggs, 
                                    cheese . . .so far, so good."  He continued to read 
                                    silently.  "Potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, 
                                    lettuce, hmm, don't really need all that.  Bread, 
                                    cold cuts, mayonnaise, salad dressing, chicken 
                                    breasts.  Well, maybe she's going to fix me a meal 
                                    before she leaves.  Hey, I can handle that."
                                    
                                    He started down the next column.  "Cereal, oatmeal, 
                                    bacon, cottage cheese, yogurt, skim milk.  Whoa!  
                                    Cottage cheese, yogurt and skim milk?" 
                                    
                                    "Scully, I don't even eat some of this stuff."
                                    
                                    "I know, but I do.  I thought if it was all right 
                                    with you I'd stay for a few days, or at least until 
                                    you're able to get around a little better."
                                    
                                    "Uh, sure.  You know you're always welcome here, but 
                                    you don't have to stay.  I can manage," he proclaimed, 
                                    then moaned quite loudly when he shifted in bed.
                                    
                                    "Mulder, I won't leave you when you're in this much 
                                    pain."
                                    
                                    He nodded slightly, not trusting himself to speak for 
                                    fear that he would say something stupid and mess 
                                    things up.
                                    
                                    "Good.  Now, is there anything I've left off?"
                                    
                                    "Beer, pretzels, beef jerky?  You know, guy stuff?"
                                    
                                    "No beer, Mulder.  You shouldn't drink when you're 
                                    taking narcotic medications.  Baked pretzels would 
                                    make a good snack, but beef jerky?  Honestly, 
                                    Mulder?"
                                    
                                    "No, Scully.  I just wanted to see what you would do.  
                                    As you know, I live a pretty simple life here.  
                                    Anything you think I need will be fine."
                                    
                                    "You're sure?"
                                    
                                    "Positive."
                                    
                                    "I don't suppose you have any body lotion anywhere 
                                    around?" Scully asked.
                                    
                                    "Uh, no.  My skin retains its silky, smooth softness 
                                    naturally," he grinned, trying to imitate a 
                                    commercial.
                                    
                                    Scully laughed, and Mulder was pleased that he had 
                                    been responsible for pulling her out of her serious 
                                    persona, if only for a moment.
                                    
                                    "I was thinking that a massage would help your back 
                                    feel better," she explained, still chuckling.
                                    
                                    "No, I don't have anything like that, but a massage 
                                    sounds wonderful."
                                    
                                    "Great, now you rest and let those medications work.  
                                    I shouldn't be gone too long.  Where do you usually 
                                    shop?"
                                    
                                    "At Joe's Corner Market.  It's two blocks down then 
                                    over two streets, or here's a big superstore a few 
                                    miles down the road.  It will be pretty crowded right 
                                    now with all of the government checks and food stamps 
                                    just issued."
                                    
                                    "I see.  Joe's it is."
                                    
                                    "Tell Joe you're shopping for me.  He'll treat you 
                                    right."
                                    
                                    "Will do."
                                    
                                    "My wallet is in my trousers, or you can have Joe put 
                                    it on my tab and I'll settle with him later."
                                    
                                    "I'll have him put it on your tab, and I do intend to 
                                    pay for my share," she informed him.
                                    
                                    "You will not!" Mulder exclaimed.  "You're doing me a 
                                    favor here.  I'd better not hear that you paid for 
                                    one thing.  Joe will let me know.  He loves to talk."
                                    
                                    "Fine, Mulder.  I'll have Joe put everything on your 
                                    tab.  Can you think of anything else before I leave?" 
                                    she asked.
                                    
                                    "Why are you doing this?  You've acted so impatient 
                                    and downright pissed since Chicago that I thought 
                                    you'd just want to get as far away from me as 
                                    possible," Mulder yawned.
                                    
                                    "Actually, I feel the opposite of that, Mulder.  You 
                                    rest now and I promise, we'll have a long talk when I 
                                    return."
                                    
                                    "B-but," Mulder stammered.
                                    
                                    "Rest," Scully ordered.  She found the remote control 
                                    for the TV on the nightstand and handed it to him, 
                                    then leaned down and gave him a quick peck on the 
                                    cheek.
                                    
                                    She quickly exited the room, leaving a quite 
                                    surprised Mulder with his mouth hanging open.  After 
                                    the shock wore off he turned on the TV to an all news 
                                    station and dozed off.
                                    
                                    As he dozed lightly, he kept hearing the words Joe's 
                                    Corner Market, shooting, hostages and police over and 
                                    over.  Something about that finally bothered him 
                                    enough that he roused up and paid attention to the  
                                    announcer on TV.  What he heard next made him wish 
                                    that he had been dreaming.
                                    
                                    There had been a robbery attempt at Joe's Corner 
                                    Market and something had gone terribly wrong.  Shots had  
                                    been fired and hostages taken.  The police had called in 
                                    the S.W.A.T. team.
                                    
                                    Damn Henry Weems and his good luck!  Why did he and 
                                    Scully seem to be on the receiving end of the bad 
                                    luck?
                                    
                                    "Got to get to Scully," he mumbled as he clicked off 
                                    the TV and threw down the remote.  He slowly  rolled 
                                    to the side of the bed and steeled himself for the next 
                                    step.  It would be painful beyond belief, but he had 
                                    to get to Joe's, and damn the pain!
                                    
                                    Mulder managed to rise from the bed, cursing and 
                                    groaning the entire time, but he was up and 
                                    reasonably straight.
                                    
                                    The next task was to find his sneakers and jacket.  
                                    Oh! His weapon, car keys and wallet were also 
                                    essential items.  He found everything quickly for a 
                                    change.
                                    
                                    Getting the sneakers on presented a challenge but 
                                    Mulder gritted his teeth and forced his body to bend 
                                    enough so he could reach down and tie the shoestrings.  
                                    That task completed, he made his way to his car as fast  
                                    as he could move in his condition.  He had to get to
                                    Scully!
                                    
                                    The area around Joe's Corner Market resembled a riot 
                                    zone.   Police were scurrying about, talking to each 
                                    other, calling in reports as the S.W.A.T. team was 
                                    gearing up.  Spectators were treating it like a 
                                    circus, vying for the best spots to view the action, 
                                    while harried officers tried to keep them behind a 
                                    hastily strung barricade.
                                    
                                    Mulder shoved his way through the crowd, wincing as 
                                    he made contact with this body and that.  The pain 
                                    pills had long since ceased to offer any relief.  
                                    Well, he would just have to tough it out until he had 
                                    Scully out of harm's way.  Then he would deal with 
                                    it.  Damn that Henry Weems!
                                    
                                    He finally managed to push his way to the front.  He 
                                    flashed his badge and a young officer pulled the tape 
                                    up so that he didn't have to bend very much.  That 
                                    was fortunate.  Now, if he could just hold the pain 
                                    back until Scully was safe.  He headed for the person 
                                    who seemed to be in charge and introduced himself.
                                    
                                    "We didn't call in the FBI," the police captain said 
                                    defensively.  "In fact, you really shouldn't be 
                                    here."
                                    
                                    The S.W.A.T. team was ready and waiting to hear form 
                                    their reconnaissance team.  Mulder could sense that 
                                    they were loaded for bear and he feared that their 
                                    attitude would more than likely result in collateral 
                                    damage.
                                    
                                    "Look, Captain," he paused to look at the man's name 
                                    tag,  "Jackson. My partner is in there, along with a 
                                    nice, old man named Joe, and maybe some other 
                                    customers.  I'm sure your recon people are well-
                                    trained and that the team will do its best to handle 
                                    this situation, but I have first hand knowledge of 
                                    that building and its layout.  I know that building 
                                    like the back of my hand.  You need me!"
                                    
                                    Captain Jackson hesitated for a few minutes, sizing 
                                    Mulder up.  Evidently he passed muster because the 
                                    tall, black man motioned him to follow.  The recon 
                                    team was back.
                                    
                                    Mulder had to push himself to keep up with the 
                                    captain, who either had very long legs, or the back 
                                    problem was getting much worse.  The captain looked 
                                    at him rather oddly and Mulder made himself 
                                    straighten up a bit and try harder to hide the 
                                    symptoms and his discomfort.
                                    
                                    Mulder, Captain Jackson and Captain Selnik, the 
                                    S.W.A.T. team leader, listened as the recon team 
                                    reported.
                                    
                                    "We were unable to see much.  That old coot has boxes 
                                    stacked every which way.  I'm surprised the fire 
                                    marshal hasn't shut him down.
                                    
                                    "It may be a bit cluttered, but Joe," Mulder noted, 
                                    emphasizing the owner's name, "Usually has anything 
                                    you need, and if he doesn't have it, he'll get it."
                                    
                                    The two recon people looked at Mulder quizzically 
                                    until Captain Selnik motioned them to continue.  "We 
                                    were able to get a mike down an exhaust vent.  It 
                                    appears there's only one perp and he's plenty 
                                    nervous."
                                    
                                    "What about the others?" Mulder questioned 
                                    impatiently.
                                    
                                    "Who is this guy, Cap?" the youngest team member 
                                    asked, clearly resentful of Mulder's presence.
                                    
                                    "Sergeant Clarkson, this man is a special agent with 
                                    the FBI.  He knows the owner, and his partner also 
                                    happens to be in there.  He is also very familiar 
                                    with the lay out of the store, so give him the 
                                    respect he's due.  He may be able to help us resolve 
                                    this situation without injuries.  Now, continue your
                                    report," Captain Jackson ordered.
                                    
                                    Clarkson looked at Selnik who nodded to him to 
                                    continue.
                                    
                                    "The shots heard earlier were evidently warning 
                                    shots.  Miss FBI . . ."
                                    
                                    "Special Agent Scully," Mulder interjected, beginning 
                                    to lose his patience with the smart aleck Clarkson.
                                    
                                    "Evidently Special Agent Scully tried to stop the 
                                    robbery and wound up surrendering to protect the 
                                    owner."
                                    
                                    "How many total?" Selnik asked.
                                    
                                    "As Sergeant Clarkson said earlier, we couldn't get a 
                                    clear view," the other team member reported.  "We did 
                                    hear two distinct voices besides the perp's."
                                    
                                    "No chance of a sniper getting off a shot?"
                                    
                                    "No, sir," both team members responded.
                                    
                                    "Did you check the back door?" Mulder inquired.
                                    
                                    "No, we assumed it would be locked."
                                    
                                    "It's not.  Joe always leaves the door open on the 
                                    day the beer truck comes.  He's getting up in years 
                                    and his arthritis has been acting up.  The driver 
                                    knows to just come on in and put the delivery in the 
                                    cooler.  If I'm not mistaken, that's the truck right 
                                    behind the road block."
                                    
                                    Captains Jackson and Selnik looked at each other, 
                                    then back at Mulder.  "What do you think?"
                                    
                                    "It may be our only choice unless we wait it out."
                                    Selnik answered, "And in the meantime the perp gets 
                                    more nervous by the minute."
                                    
                                    "Agent Mulder, since you're the only one familiar 
                                    with . . ." Captain Johnson began.
                                    
                                    "I thought you'd never ask," Mulder sighed.  "Have 
                                    you established phone contact?"
                                    
                                    "Yes."
                                    
                                    "Tell him that you're moving out, giving him what he 
                                    wants.  Get rid of the onlookers, even if you have to 
                                    take them to jail, and get that beer truck up here.  
                                    I'm going to need his uniform.  Joe's pretty sharp.  
                                    He knows me and he knows what I do for a living.  
                                    He'll take his cues from me and my partner, if she's 
                                    in any position to help."
                                    
                                    "Agent Mulder, this is a very risky maneuver.  Your 
                                    backup won't be in position to help you for several 
                                    minutes if this thing goes south," Selnik reminded 
                                    him.
                                    
                                    "The only back-up I trust is inside that store," 
                                    Mulder stated.
                                    
                                    Mulder changed into the beer deliveryman's uniform 
                                    and pulled the truck up to the loading zone in back 
                                    of the store.  The police had done a good job of 
                                    clearing everyone out so there were no distractions.  
                                    He found the back door unlocked, just as he'd 
                                    suspected.
                                    
                                    He climbed down from the truck and froze in position.  
                                    The back spasms were really getting worse.  He forced 
                                    himself to breathe through the pain and once again 
                                    stood as straight as he possibly could.  He hustled 
                                    several cases of beer onto the two-wheeler, grabbed a 
                                    clipboard and patted the jacket pocket that held his 
                                    smaller back-up weapon.  He took another deep breath 
                                    to calm his nerves and quell his pain.  He opened the 
                                    door and yelled.  "Beer man!"
                                    
                                    Angry cursing was heard from the front of the store.  
                                    Mulder could hear Joe explaining to the robber that 
                                    he had nothing to worry about.  He put some beer in 
                                    the cooler and saw Joe's face light up when he 
                                    recognized him.
                                    
                                    Scully's face was harder to read.  He thought he saw 
                                    relief and concern, but something else had crowded in 
                                    and he couldn't get a handle on it.  Although he 
                                    wanted to linger on Scully's features, he decided 
                                    he'd better get back to work so that he could free 
                                    her from this nightmare.
                                    
                                    He was relieved to see that there were no other 
                                    customers in the store.  Mulder sensed that the 
                                    robber had relaxed a bit.  The UNSUB had hidden his 
                                    gun behind his back which lead Mulder to believe that 
                                    he planned on letting him carry on with his duties 
                                    and leave.
                                    
                                    Mulder finished putting the beer in the cooler and 
                                    headed toward the counter with the invoice.  "How's 
                                    it goin', Joe?  Looks like business is a little slow 
                                    today."
                                    
                                    "Yeah, it's been off a bit.  Seems like everyone goes 
                                    to that big, fancy store at the beginning of the 
                                    month.  I heard they got triple coupons this week."
                                    
                                    "Yeah, but where do they go the rest of the time?" 
                                    Mulder asked, flashing Scully a big grin as he passed 
                                    the invoice over to Joe.
                                    
                                    The robber stood close to Joe, reading over the 
                                    invoice, making sure there were no messages.
                                    
                                    "You trainin' somebody new?" Mulder asked as Joe 
                                    handed the invoice back.  "'Bout time you got some 
                                    help."  Mulder made a big show of looking over the 
                                    invoice.  "Oops, Joe.  You forgot to sign it."
                                    
                                    Mulder handed it back over and managed to drop it 
                                    just as Joe started to reach for it.  Mulder lunged 
                                    for it, but surprised the perp instead, sending them 
                                    both crashing into a display stand of potato chips.
                                    
                                    Scully and Joe joined in the fray and before another 
                                    minute had passed, Scully had the man in cuffs, Joe 
                                    had his gun, and Mulder was draped over the display 
                                    stand.  He was trying to keep from screaming, as the 
                                    pain in his back went from excruciating to unbearable 
                                    in the amount of time it took to knock the UNSUB 
                                    down.
                                    
                                    "Joe, keep the gun on him and push him out the door.  
                                    This place should be swarming with cops in a minute 
                                    flat.  As soon as they get here, have them get an 
                                    ambulance here on the double," Scully ordered, 
                                    stepping over the spilled bags of chips to get to 
                                    Mulder.
                                    
                                    The bullet graze on Mulder's arm had reopened and 
                                    blood was dripping down his arm onto the floor.  A 
                                    split second before Scully reached him, the wire 
                                    display stand decided it had suffered enough abuse 
                                    and collapsed, spilling Mulder and the rest of the 
                                    chips onto the floor.
                                    
                                    Mulder was no longer able to hold his pain in.  He 
                                    screamed when he hit the floor, then held his breath 
                                    as if that would somehow help.
                                    
                                    Scully pushed the stand to the side.  "Breathe, 
                                    Mulder," she implored.  He let his breath out and 
                                    took in a ragged lungful of air.  "That's better.  
                                    Don't try to move.  An ambulance should be here in a 
                                    few minutes," she assured him as she watched several 
                                    policemen take the robber into custody.
                                    
                                    Mulder turned his eyes toward Scully, in too much 
                                    pain to speak.  She reached for his right hand and 
                                    squeezed it.  To her relief, he squeezed back.
                                    
                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                    
                                    Mulder felt like he had been asleep for days. He 
                                    finally decided that he had rested long enough.  He 
                                    opened his eyes and tried to focus.  The first thing 
                                    he saw was Scully.  "Nice view," he thought, wishing 
                                    he could voice the words, but his mouth felt like it 
                                    was glued together.
                                    
                                    Scully gave him a big smile and suddenly it all came 
                                    back to him.  The attempted robbery, Scully's life 
                                    threatened once again, his daring rescue and then the 
                                    overpowering all-consuming pain.
                                    
                                    "How are you?" Scully's beautiful voice asked.
                                    
                                    He did a quick system check and found that the pain 
                                    was much better but it did hurt when he tried to move 
                                    his legs.  He was a little concerned that his head 
                                    and feet felt weighted down and was just about to say 
                                    something when Scully spoke again.
                                    
                                    "You've been heavily sedated for the past few days.  
                                    That's why you feel so groggy and your mouth is so 
                                    dry.  Would you like something to drink?"
                                    
                                    He would have nodded yes but at that moment he felt 
                                    something pull on his neck and legs.  He grunted in 
                                    surprise.
                                    
                                    "You're in a specially designed bed that applies 
                                    traction once an hour.  After you tangled with the 
                                    robbery suspect and the display rack, your muscles 
                                    clenched tight and wouldn't relax.  That's why you've 
                                    been so heavily sedated.  The doctor thought the 
                                    traction device might help.
                                    
                                    "Um," Mulder acknowledged, his mouth still too dry to 
                                    manage much more.
                                    
                                    Scully produced a cup of water and held it for him as 
                                    he sipped the cool liquid through a straw.  "Take it 
                                    easy or you'll choke on it."
                                    
                                    Mulder drank the entire cup before he felt 
                                    sufficiently refreshed to speak.  "You okay?"
                                    
                                    "Yes, Mulder, I'm fine, really," she emphasized.  
                                    "You and the display case were the only casualties."
                                    
                                    "When can I get out of here?" Mulder questioned.
                                    
                                    "Your doctor has scheduled several days of physical 
                                    therapy and traction treatments.  You'll have to stay 
                                    until those are completed.  This is not something I 
                                    can take care of at home," she emphasized.
                                    
                                    Mulder felt pretty let down.  "You must still be 
                                    pretty mad at me, huh?"
                                    
                                    "Not at all.  In fact, I never was."
                                    
                                    "You could have fooled me."
                                    
                                    "I know, Mulder.  My behavior must have been pretty 
                                    confusing to you.  I really can't explain it.  I felt 
                                    myself pushing you away, when in reality all I wanted 
                                    was to move our relationship forward, become closer."
                                    
                                    For once Mulder was speechless.
                                    
                                    "I'm sorry, Mulder.  I should have realized you 
                                    didn't share my feelings."
                                    
                                    "Scully, you don't know how wrong you are."  He 
                                    cleared his throat.  "Guess I'm going to need some 
                                    more water before I finish this speech," he said 
                                    hoarsely.
                                    
                                    Scully quickly filled his cup and held if for him. 
                                    
                                    When he had drank his fill, Mulder continued.  
                                    "Scully, I've been waiting to take our relationship 
                                    to a more intimate level for so long, but I didn't 
                                    want to push you into anything."  He took her right 
                                    hand and raised it to his lips.  "Sorry, but that's 
                                    the best I can do right now."
                                    
                                    "Well, I'm not in traction," Scully informed him as 
                                    she leaned over him and kissed him on the lips, full 
                                    and deep.
                                    
                                    "No, you're not.  Thank God," Mulder agreed when they 
                                    came up for air.
                                    
                                    Scully straightened up.  "There will be more time for 
                                    this when you're out of traction."
                                    
                                    "Oh, I could probably use some practice," Mulder 
                                    hinted.
                                    
                                    "Skinner called to check on your condition and said 
                                    he would stop by later to congratulate you on your 
                                    cooperation with the local authorities for a change."
                                    
                                    "Ah, I see.  Practice later?"
                                    
                                    "Yes, I think that can be arranged.  I heard from 
                                    Henry Weems while you were sedated," Scully informed 
                                    him.
                                    
                                    "Oh?  Is he still having a run of good luck?"
                                    
                                    "Depends on how you look at it.  He and Maggie Lupone 
                                    have decided to get married.  While they were 
                                    visiting Richie in the hospital to tell him their 
                                    good news, the apartment building burned to the 
                                    ground.  They returned to find only smoldering rubble 
                                    and a messenger from the Commuter Airline Company.  
                                    Seems like they've been trying to find Henry since 
                                    shortly after the crash to offer him a substantial 
                                    settlement."
                                    
                                    "Wow," Mulder commented.  "I'd hate to be that 
                                    messenger."
                                    
                                    Scully laughed.  "It seems like Henry's good luck has 
                                    continued, but the bad luck seems to have been 
                                    confined to the Chicago area.  I know you felt like 
                                    the bad luck was following you, but I think you're 
                                    safe now."
                                    
                                    "Yes, I feel as if my luck has definitely taken a 
                                    change for the better," he grinned up at her.
                                    
                                    "What's this about luck, Agent?" Skinner asked, 
                                    entering the room.
                                    
                                    "I was just telling Agent Scully how lucky I was to 
                                    have such an excellent partner," Mulder answered 
                                    quickly.  "And that I can't wait to get back to 
                                    work."
                                    
                                    "Well, it looks like you'll have to take a little 
                                    recuperation time before that happens.  As luck would 
                                    have it, Agent Scully is owed some comp time and it 
                                    looks like this would be the best time to take it.  I 
                                    know you don't want to close the office down, but I 
                                    think it would be best to have you both off at the 
                                    same time," Skinner decided.  "Get better, Agent 
                                    Mulder.  See you both in a couple of weeks."  He
                                    quickly exited the room.
                                    
                                    "Well, that was short and sweet," Mulder commented.  
                                    "Nice that you have some comp time coming."
                                    
                                    "You feeling lucky, Mulder?" Scully asked as she 
                                    leaned down to kiss him again.
                                    
                                    "Very," Mulder agreed as he accepted the kiss.  
                                    "Lucky indeed."
                                    
                                    
                                    The End