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Dictionary (revised)
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Title:  Dictionary
                           Author:  Waddles 52
                           Summary:  Mulder was on crutches at the end of Fallen 
                           Angel.  Just a little look at how he coped with the 
                           injury in the first few days.
                           Spoilers:  Post-ep for Fallen Angel
                           Rating:  PG
                           Category:  MT
                           Disclaimer:  Just for Fun.  Not for Profit.  No 
                           copyright infringement intended.
                           Archives:  After_The_Fact, others okay, just let me 
                           know where so I can visit.
                           Feedback:  Why, of course.  Waddles52@wmconnect.com
                           Dedication:  For Sally B., one of my all-time 
                           favorite authors.  This foot injury is for you!
                           
                           
                           Finally, they were released by the military just in 
                           time to make their flight back to DC.  The meeting 
                           with the OPR could not be avoided and they would have 
                           just enough time to shower and change clothes before 
                           heading to the office.
                           
                           Mulder had been limping ever since he came out of the 
                           warehouse and if Scully's tired eyes weren't 
                           deceiving her, it seemed to be getting worse.  
                           "Mulder, what's wrong?  Where does it hurt, exactly?"
                           
                           "Scully, my entire body is a mass of pain.  Between 
                           our friendly military goons and my wild flight when 
                           Max was taken, I have bruises on my bruises.  My 
                           right foot hurts like blazes though.  I guess I 
                           twisted it when I landed.  I'll be okay.  After the 
                           meeting with the OPR, I'm sure I'll have a few days 
                           to rest and let it heal," Mulder answered 
                           sarcastically.
                           
                           "I'm sure you will.  Mulder, you've got to stop these 
                           impulsive forays in search of the truth.  You're only 
                           hurting your cause.  For every step forward you 
                           manage to get knocked back two more."
                           
                           "Scully, I've been lectured to death.  Let's just get 
                           to the airport and get this over with," he sighed 
                           and started limping toward their car.
                           
                           "All right, Mulder, but you really need to have your 
                           injuries checked out," she insisted.
                           
                           "I'll check them out when I take my shower."
                           
                           Scully decided to let the subject drop as they got 
                           into their rental car for the trip to the airport.
                           
                           Mulder managed to sleep most of the way home.  Scully 
                           had to rouse him when she pulled in front of his 
                           apartment.
                           
                           "Do you want me to pick you up later?" Scully asked 
                           as Mulder gingerly moved from his seat.
                           
                           "No.  Don't worry.  I'll be there on time.  I'll see 
                           you later," he promised as he shut the car door and 
                           slowly made his way up the steps.  He held on to the 
                           rail and took one step at a time.
                           
                           Scully watched him until he was inside, then pushed 
                           the gas pedal to the floor to get back to her 
                           apartment for a quick shower before the meeting.
                           
                           Mulder closed his door and began pulling off his 
                           clothes, letting them drop to the floor as he made 
                           his way through his apartment.  When he removed the 
                           boot from his right foot he was greeted with varying 
                           shades of black and blue.  He could feel the swelling 
                           begin as soon as the boot was off.  He ignored the 
                           pain and continued to strip until he was in front of 
                           the bathroom.
                           
                           After a quick shower and shave he began to get 
                           dressed.  His foot was screaming for attention and he 
                           finally quit ignoring it when he realized the 
                           swelling had become so great that he couldn't get a 
                           shoe on.
                           
                           "This will make quite an impression with the vultures 
                           on the committee," he thought as he limped to the 
                           closet and began to search for the crutches he knew 
                           were stashed there after spraining his ankle in a 
                           pick-up basketball game.  Of course, they were in the 
                           back.  By the time he dug the crutches out and 
                           finished dressing, he knew he would have to make a 
                           trip to the ER when the meeting adjourned.
                           
                           Mulder made his way to the medicine cabinet and found 
                           some ibuprofen.  He swallowed three and hoped for 
                           some relief.
                           
                           Surprise, then sympathy registered on Scully's face 
                           as she left the conference room.  Mulder rose from 
                           his seat to greet her.
                           
                           "Do you hear that sound, Scully?" he asked as he 
                           grabbed his crutches from where they had been resting 
                           against the wall.  Hammer and nails.  They're 
                           building a gallows in the town square.  Don't worry." 
                           
                           Scully handed him a large envelope with the 
                           information he had gathered.
                           
                           "It was only a matter of time.  I'm surprised I 
                           lasted this long."
                           
                           "Good luck."
                           
                           Mulder began hobbling toward the conference room.  He 
                           gave her a crooked grin and stated, "I'll break a 
                           leg."
                           
                           Mulder continued to make his way to the conference 
                           room as Scully sat down to wait for her partner.  At 
                           least he was still her partner at that very moment, 
                           but she wasn't sure how much longer that would 
                           continue.
                           
                           Scully feared the worst when she heard the angry 
                           voices all the way in the hallway.  After what seemed 
                           like an eternity the door opened and Mulder limped 
                           into the hallway, his face drawn and pale.
                           
                           Scully stood up and began to walk along with him.
                           
                           "They'll let me know what they've decided by five 
                           this evening," he sighed.  "Could we sit for a few 
                           minutes, Scully?"
                           
                           "Of course."  She watched as he carefully sat down, 
                           then she took the seat beside him.  "Mulder, you 
                           don't look so good."
                           
                           "I don't feel very well," he admitted.  "My foot was 
                           so swollen by the time I finished my shower that I 
                           couldn't get my shoe on.  I had to call a cab to get 
                           me here and I think I'll call another one to take me 
                           home to wait for their decision."
                           
                           "Mulder, since I'm waiting too, why don't you let me 
                           take you home?   A stop by the emergency room on the 
                           way is included," she emphasized.
                           
                           "I thought you'd never ask," he groaned.
                           
                           "That bad, huh?"
                           
                           "Way past bad, into excruciating," he winced as he 
                           tried to move his foot.
                           
                           "Let me get my purse from the office and I'll meet 
                           you by the elevator."
                           
                           "Sounds like a plan.  I may be able to make it there 
                           by the time you're ready."
                           
                           "If not, I'll wait for you," Scully extended her hand 
                           and Mulder took it, glad for the help.
                           
                           By the time Mulder had positioned himself in the 
                           passenger seat of Scully's car, he was beginning to 
                           feel decidedly green.  The pain had become so intense 
                           that he was beginning to feel quite nauseated.  The 
                           ibuprofen he had taken on an empty stomach was 
                           starting to add to the problem.  He rolled his window 
                           down a bit and hoped he wouldn't embarrass himself.
                           
                           Scully took notice of the situation right away.  
                           "Mulder, I've been collecting butter tubs and ice 
                           cream buckets for my godson's school project.  Mom 
                           just gave me a bunch the other day and I haven't 
                           delivered them yet.  They're on the floor behind you 
                           so feel free to use one if your stomach feels any 
                           worse."
                           
                           "Thanks," he mumbled as his long arm reached behind 
                           his seat and snagged an ice cream bucket, hoping it 
                           wouldn't be needed.
                           
                           A few blocks from the hospital Mulder began to think 
                           that he might just make it when Scully had to 
                           maneuver around a road crew repairing potholes.  The 
                           smell of the hot asphalt was all it took to send 
                           his stomach into convulsions as it emptied itself of 
                           anything he had put into it for the past year, or so
                           it seemed.
                           
                           "Sorry, Scully," he tried to apologize between 
                           heaves.
                           
                           "That's okay, Mulder, I'm a doctor, remember?  I got 
                           over my aversion to stomach contents my first few 
                           days in gross anatomy.  I saw quite a bit of it 
                           emerge from my fellow students, and I'm sorry to say, 
                           some of my own."
                           
                           "Really, Scully?" Mulder hiccupped as his stomach 
                           began to settle.
                           
                           "Yes, really, Mulder.  After the first few days I 
                           became immune to the sights and smells.  I don't have 
                           a problem with it now," she answered as she pulled 
                           into the circular drive in front of the ER.
                           
                           Scully got out of the car and opened Mulder's door.  
                           "Wait here while I get a wheelchair," she directed as 
                           she took the bucket from his hands and handed him a 
                           tissue.
                           
                           She soon had him checked in and waiting in a cubicle.  
                           The ER wasn't busy at all on a weekday afternoon.  
                           The nurse had removed Mulder's sock and had gone to 
                           get an ice pack.  Scully was conducting her own exam.
                           
                           "What do you think, Doc?" Mulder asked, his voice 
                           still sounding rather weak.
                           
                           "I think you've done quite a number on your foot.  
                           I'd be willing to bet that there's a fracture hiding 
                           in there somewhere."
                           
                           "Can this day get any better?" Mulder groaned.
                           
                           "I also wouldn't be surprised if you didn't end up 
                           with an IV for a while.  Your BP was a little low.  I 
                           think the intense pain is making you a little 
                           shocky."
                           
                           "No IV!  Hate 'em!" Mulder protested.
                           
                           "The good thing about an IV is that they can give you 
                           medication without sticking you over and over.  I'm 
                           guessing you'll probably get a hefty dose of Demerol 
                           and Phenergan, or maybe morphine."
                           
                           "There is nothing good about a needle, Scully," 
                           Mulder complained, rubbing his stomach.  "Unless 
                           they're taking it out or putting it in someone else."  
                           He let out his breath slowly, then motioned for one 
                           of the emesis bowls sitting on the counter.
                           
                           Scully sprang into action just in time to prevent a 
                           catastrophe as Mulder's stomach began to empty itself 
                           of the previous year's contents.
                           
                           The doctor came in followed by the nurse who was 
                           holding an icepack.
                           
                           "Well, Mr. Mulder, I won't ask how you feel.  I think 
                           that's pretty obvious."  He glanced at Mulder's foot.  
                           "I'll bet that hurts.  I'm going to order an IV with 
                           some meds for your nausea and pain, then I'll be back 
                           to examine you when you're feeling a little better."
                           
                           The nurse placed the ice pack on Mulder's foot then 
                           followed the doctor out the door.
                           
                           Scully emptied the emesis bowl and rinsed it out, 
                           then helped Mulder clean up.  "I imagine you'll have 
                           to change into a hospital gown."
                           
                           "You've been right about everything so far.  Why 
                           not?" he moaned.
                           
                           "That's pretty much standard procedure with an IV," 
                           she sympathized.
                           
                           "Anything to cause more pain."
                           
                           "If that's what you're worried about, they could cut 
                           your clothes off," she suggested.
                           
                           "I'll suffer through it," he growled as the nurse 
                           came back with the IV set-up and a gown.
                           
                           "Mr. Mulder . . ."
                           
                           "I know, I know.  Put on the gown."
                           
                           "You got it.  I'll be right back as soon as I get 
                           your meds."
                           
                           Scully shook the gown out.  Would you like some help, 
                           or can you manage on your own?"
                           
                           A few minutes later Mulder was wearing the gown over 
                           his pants and Scully was very carefully pulling his 
                           right leg over his injured foot.
                           
                           Mulder groaned and hissed a few times but eventually 
                           his pants were removed.  He lay shivering on the 
                           gurney as Scully looked for a sheet to put over him.
                           
                           As if on cue, the nurse entered with the meds and a 
                           blanket right out of the warmer, which she spread 
                           over Mulder's shivering form.
                           
                           "I'll dance at your wedding," Mulder offered in 
                           thanks.
                           
                           "I'm getting married in a month and from the looks of 
                           that foot, I don't think you'll make it," the nurse 
                           countered.
                           
                           "Uh . . ."
                           
                           "I'm teasing, Mr. Mulder," she laughed as she put the 
                           tourniquet around his left forearm. She searched for 
                           and found a suitable vein in his hand, then warned, 
                           "You'll feel a bee sting."  She deftly injected the 
                           numbing medication then readied the IV catheter.  
                           "Ready?"
                           
                           "Why do I have to get stuck twice?" he whined.
                           
                           "You won't feel this one.  I promise."  
                           
                           True to her word, the needle slid right in with only 
                           a feeling of pressure.
                           
                           In a few short seconds she had everything taped down 
                           and hooked up.  Soon the saline solution was flowing 
                           in, making him shiver once again.
                           
                           "I know.  It's cold at first, but in a few seconds 
                           you should adjust.  I'm going to add the meds the 
                           doctor ordered and you should start feeling a lot 
                           better."
                           
                           "What are you giving him?" Scully inquired.
                           
                           "Demerol and phenergan," the nurse answered, emptying 
                           the first hypodermic into the port.  "Here comes the 
                           Demerol.  You might get a little rush out of it," she 
                           warned.
                           
                           "Bring it on," Mulder said tiredly.
                           
                           The nurse finished up and left to find the doctor.
                           
                           "So, what's next?" Mulder asked.
                           
                           "What do you mean?"
                           
                           "You've predicted everything so far, so what's next?"
                           
                           "Oh, I think the doctor will come in and do a hands
                           on examination, then order x-rays."
                           
                           "That's gonna hurt," he slurred.
                           
                           "I would imagine so.  Be thankful your meds are 
                           already on board."
                           
                           The doctor came in and asked the usual questions and 
                           poked and prodded Mulder's foot.  The standard x-rays 
                           were ordered and soon Mulder was dozing on the x-ray 
                           table.  After he was awakened for some rather painful 
                           maneuvering to get his foot in the right position, 
                           Mulder was sent back to his cubicle to wait for the 
                           doctor to deliver the results.
                           
                           Within five minutes the doctor was back, holding the 
                           film.  "Mr. Mulder, I see at least two hairline 
                           fractures in your foot.  There may be more but the 
                           swelling is so intense it's difficult to tell.  I'm 
                           going to put you in a light cast until you can get to 
                           a specialist.  You'll need to use crutches until 
                           you're seen by the orthopedic doctor.  It's not a 
                           walking cast," he emphasized.
                           
                           "Yeah, okay," Mulder agreed, then dozed off again.
                           
                           The doctor laughed and turned to Scully.  "You can 
                           fill him in when he sobers up."
                           
                           Shortly before 5 o'clock, Scully helped Mulder into 
                           his apartment.  He headed for the couch while Scully 
                           surveyed the trail of clothes that started at the 
                           door and continued through the apartment.  She came 
                           to her senses and told Mulder that he needed to be in 
                           bed.
                           
                           "Scully, this is my bed."
                           
                           "Okaaay," she answered, drawing out the word, a look 
                           of disbelief on her face.  "Do you have any extra 
                           pillows?"
                           
                           "Hall closet," he directed.
                           
                           Scully turned to get them as her cell phone rang.
                           
                           Mulder heard several yes sirs and no sirs and then he 
                           heard his partner explaining his condition.  He 
                           raised up on his elbows and heard her close the 
                           conversation with, "I'll tell him, sir."
                           
                           "That was the OPR board.  They've been trying to 
                           reach you all afternoon."
                           
                           "Yeah, I left my cell in the charger.  Didn't think 
                           I'd need it.  How long do I have to clean out my 
                           desk?" he asked, the sarcasm quite evident in his 
                           voice.
                           
                           "You don't have to.  You're expected back at the 
                           office as soon as your doctor releases you," Scully 
                           smiled.
                           
                           "I must be more out of it than I thought.  Did I hear 
                           you say that I still have a job?"
                           
                           "That's right, Mulder.  No repercussions.  Carry on 
                           as before," she called to him as she rummaged around 
                           in his closet.  She finally located the pillows and 
                           put them under Mulder's right leg.  "You need to keep 
                           your foot elevated.  Do you have plenty of food and 
                           drink?"
                           
                           "I don't remember what I have, to tell the truth," he 
                           sighed as he tried to get comfortable.
                           
                           "I'll take a look," Scully offered and went into the 
                           kitchen.
                           
                           He could hear her opening and closing cabinets and 
                           drawers.  After a few minutes Scully returned, a look 
                           of disgust on her face.
                           
                           "Mulder, your refrigerator should be declared a toxic 
                           waste dump!"
                           
                           "You don't like my science projects?" he quipped.
                           
                           "I think some of those growths may be older than I 
                           am.  Other than the green and gray stuff, I found a 
                           box of crackers, a can of tuna and an opened carton 
                           of orange juice that expired two weeks ago," she 
                           fumed.
                           
                           "I'm doing better than I thought."  He tried to laugh 
                           but it ended in a groan as he accidentally wiggled 
                           the toes on his sore foot.
                           
                           "Mulder, would you like for me to go to the pharmacy 
                           and get your prescription for painkillers filled?  I 
                           could stop and pick up a few things from the grocery 
                           on my way back."
                           
                           "Scully, I've put you out enough these past few days.  
                           If you could just drop off the prescription at the 
                           pharmacy, they'll deliver it.  I can call the corner 
                           market for supplies.  They deliver too."
                           
                           "I don't mind, Mulder."
                           
                           "Thanks, Scully, but I think I can manage."
                           
                           "Well, if you're sure."
                           
                           "Scully, I'm sure."  He pulled the prescription from 
                           his shirt pocket and held it out for her.  "I'm just 
                           going to lie here and watch a little TV."
                           
                           "All right, Mulder.  I'll drop this off."  She looked 
                           around until she found his phone.  She put it on the 
                           coffee table, within easy reach.  "You be sure to 
                           call in that food order.  I'll stop by before I go to 
                           the office in the morning." 
                           
                           "Scully, that's not necessary."
                           
                           "Mulder, I don't want to hear it.  Expect me by 7:30.  
                           Got it?"
                           
                           "Got it."
                           
                           "Now, just let me put your crutches along side the 
                           couch and I'm out of here."
                           
                           "Thanks for putting up with me today.  I appreciate 
                           it."
                           
                           "Not a problem, Mulder.  Call me if you need me and 
                           get some food in here."
                           
                           He nodded and she left, the door closing with a sharp 
                           click.
                           
                           Mulder laid back and started thinking of what  
                           groceries he should order from the corner mart when a 
                           thought occurred to him.  Once the groceries were 
                           delivered, how would he put them away?  No way would 
                           it work on crutches.  He could hop but he still had 
                           enough Demerol in his system that he would probably 
                           fall.  Screw it!  He would just order a pizza and a 
                           two liter.  Scully would be pissed but he would just 
                           have to give into her and let her get the damned 
                           groceries tomorrow.
                           
                           Thinking seemed to make his foot hurt even more.  
                           Where was that pharmacy delivery?  In answer to his 
                           thought, there was a knock on the door.  He grabbed 
                           his crutches and hobbled to the door.  He was so 
                           happy to see the delivery boy that he was tempted to 
                           hug him, but gave him a ten dollar tip instead.
                           
                           He took his treasured bag from the pharmacy into the 
                           kitchen and searched for a clean glass.  He found one 
                           and filled it with tap water.  Without even reading 
                           the directions he popped two tablets in his mouth and 
                           washed them down with a full glass of water.  The 
                           medications he'd received at the hospital had really 
                           made his mouth dry, so he filled the glass again and 
                           drank that too.  He filled it one last time and set 
                           it in the refrigerator to get cold.
                           
                           Mulder made his way back to the couch and propped his 
                           foot up.  He grabbed the remote and started surfing 
                           the channels.  Soon the welcomed pain medication took 
                           effect and the remote dropped from his hand as he 
                           began to snore.
                           
                           Shortly after 2AM his bladder reminded him of all the 
                           water he had guzzled earlier.  The pain pills had 
                           worn off and he really didn't feel like moving but 
                           his bladder was insistent.
                           
                           
                           "Crap!" he exclaimed and began the process of moving 
                           from the couch.  "These crutches are a damned 
                           nuisance!"  They hurt his hands and arm pits too.  He 
                           hoped the doctor put him in a walking cast.
                           
                           He hobbled to the bathroom and took care of business, 
                           propping the crutches beside the toilet.  They 
                           promptly slid to the floor and he had to balance 
                           precariously on his left foot to retrieve them, 
                           almost giving himself a swirly in the process.
                           
                           After washing his hands he decided it was time for 
                           another dose of pain medication.  He inched his way 
                           to the kitchen, looking forward to the water he had 
                           chilled earlier.  Feeling better after downing two 
                           more pills and the frosty glass of water, he began 
                           his journey back to the couch.
                           
                           The trail of clothes he'd left earlier was still 
                           lying there waiting to be put in the laundry hamper.  
                           Mulder had avoided them earlier but on this trip 
                           through they were waiting in ambush.  His right 
                           crutch got tangled in his jacket and before he could 
                           say son of a bitch, he was on the floor, staring at 
                           the ceiling.
                           
                           "I've fallen and I can't get up," he giggled as the 
                           pain medication coursed through his system.  Scully 
                           would be there in a few hours and it seemed as good a 
                           place as any to take a nap.  He closed his eyes and 
                           was soon dreaming of Scully delivering his groceries 
                           in a red teddy and black stiletto heels.
                           
                           When Mulder next opened his eyes, he was staring at a 
                           pair of shapely ankles encased in a pair of 
                           reasonable pumps.  The stiletto heels of his dream 
                           disappeared quickly as his vision moved upward to 
                           take in his partner with a very concerned look on her 
                           face.
                           
                           "Mulder, what happened?  Are you all right?" Scully 
                           asked, kneeling down beside him.
                           
                           "Guess I fell," he explained sheepishly.  "Too tired 
                           to get up."
                           
                           "Here, let me help you sit up," Scully offered as he 
                           struggled to his elbows.
                           
                           Mulder held on for dear life as a wave of dizziness 
                           washed over him.  "I guess I'm feeling a little 
                           weak," he explained as he sank back into her arms.
                           
                           "Okay, just rest for a minute.  We'll take this one 
                           step at a time.  Did you get any orange juice with 
                           your delivery?"
                           
                           "I didn't call," he moaned, knowing he was soon going 
                           to be the recipient of a lecture of major 
                           proportions.
                           
                           
                           "Mulder!" she exclaimed.  "No wonder you're weak.  
                           You haven't eaten in over 24 hours.  Let's get you 
                           back to the couch and I'll see about getting you 
                           something to eat."
                           
                           Slowly but surely Scully got Mulder up and over to 
                           the couch.
                           
                           "I saw a convenience store up the street.  I'm going 
                           to get you some orange juice to get your sugar level 
                           back up.  I'll see if they have some muffins or 
                           something then I'll be right back.  Be thinking of 
                           what you want from the grocery store while I'm gone, 
                           then we'll get you some food in here."
                           
                           "Scully, you'll be late for work," he protested.
                           
                           "No, I won't.  I'm not going.  I'm helping a sick 
                           friend," she smiled.  "I'll be right back."
                           
                           Scully made her way out to her car.  She was glad 
                           that Mulder had forgotten to lock his door, otherwise 
                           he could have been lying there for quite a while.  
                           She hated to miss work but he obviously needed some 
                           assistance.  His apartment was a mess.  She'd 
                           probably need to do laundry and she needed to get 
                           Mulder to clean himself up.  She made a mental list 
                           of the things she thought needed to be done. It was 
                           going to be a busy day.  She glanced in the back 
                           seat.  Good, her workout clothes were still there.  
                           This looked like a job that might require a t-shirt 
                           and sweats.
                           
                           An hour later Mulder was fed and the clothes picked 
                           up from the floor.  Just as she suspected, his 
                           laundry hamper was overflowing.  Scully had just 
                           called in an order to the corner mart and the next 
                           thing on her list of things to do was to get Mulder 
                           to clean himself up.
                           
                           "Mulder, why don't you get yourself cleaned up so I 
                           can take your dirty clothes to the laundromat?"
                           
                           "Scully, you don't have to do my laundry."
                           
                           "It looks to me like you could stand to wash a few 
                           things.  Your laundry hamper is running over."
                           
                           "That's its normal state," he quipped.  "I still have 
                           a few pieces of clean clothing around here."
                           
                           "Where do you keep your towels and washcloths?" she 
                           questioned.
                           
                           "Under the sink in the bathroom."
                           
                           Scully left and he could hear her rummaging around 
                           under the sink.
                           
                           "Mulder, you have one clean towel, which you are 
                           about to use."
                           
                           "I could always buy some more," he offered.
                           
                           "And I could also do your laundry," she said firmly.
                           
                           "All right, all right.  There's a laundry room 
                           downstairs.  You don't have to go out," he gave in.
                           
                           "Good.  Now, tell me if you have any sweats that are 
                           clean."
                           
                           "I think so.  I'll get them, but how am I supposed to 
                           shower in this cast?"
                           
                           "You don't.  You sit on the toilet and fill the sink 
                           up with warm, soapy water and wash yourself that way.  
                           No shower until you're steady on your feet, and then 
                           you'll have to cover that cast in plastic."
                           
                           "Okay, I guess," he sighed.
                           
                           "Good.  If you can manage it, get some clean clothes 
                           and take them into the bathroom with you.  Throw out 
                           the dirty ones and I'll start to sort your things."
                           
                           Mulder got up and made his way to his seldom-used 
                           bedroom.  Although it was difficult to move around 
                           the clutter, he soon had his clothes and was in the 
                           bathroom preparing to wash hisself.  He sat on the 
                           toilet and began undressing.  He really appreciated 
                           Scully's help, but things were starting to get 
                           intimate.  She was going to be sorting through his 
                           dirty underwear!  "Oh well, in for a penny in for a 
                           pound," he thought as he threw his dirty clothes out 
                           the door.
                           
                           By mid-afternoon Mulder felt like he was the king of 
                           the world.  He actually had food and drink and Scully 
                           had ordered some things that could be handled easily 
                           while on crutches.  She had also prepared snacks and 
                           meals with that in mind.
                           
                           His laundry was finished and folded and Scully had 
                           even offered to drop off his dry cleaning.  The 
                           bathroom had been cleaned and mopped and Scully was 
                           working on the kitchen.
                           
                           Mulder was intently examining the varying shades of 
                           blue and purple on his toes when Scully came in and 
                           dropped down into his desk chair.
                           
                           "I think the kitchen and bathroom would pass a white 
                           glove test," she declared, pushing an errant strand 
                           of hair behind her ear.
                           
                           "Scully, you know how much I appreciate this, but you 
                           know you didn't have to do it."
                           
                           "I know that, Mulder," she replied.
                           
                           "I'd like to pay you back somehow.  How about I take 
                           you out for a nice dinner whenever I get off these 
                           crutches?"
                           
                           "Mulder, you really don't have to do anything, but if 
                           you insist . . ."
                           
                           "Anything, Scully," he promised
                           
                           "How about letting me choose the radio station for 
                           the next month?"
                           
                           "Aaargh!" Mulder thought as he smiled sweetly at her.  
                           "A month of news-talk radio or classical music," he 
                           groaned inwardly as he shook his head in agreement.
                           
                           "That was too easy," Scully thought as she got to her 
                           feet.  "Mulder, I think you're all set now.  Your 
                           pain medication is on the coffee table along with the 
                           phone and the remote.  Is your cell phone handy?"
                           
                           "In my pocket," Mulder answered, unzipping the back 
                           pocket on his sweats and pulling out the phone.
                           
                           "Good.  Keep it with you in case you find yourself on 
                           the floor again.  You have a cooler full of ice and 
                           drinks on the floor beside the couch.  Your dinner is 
                           in the fridge and I put some snacks on the counter.  
                           I laid out some clean clothes and a towel and 
                           washcloth in the bathroom.  You shouldn't have to 
                           carry too much after I leave.  I'll bring breakfast 
                           on my way to work and I'll be back in plenty of time 
                           to take you to your 2:30 doctor appointment.  Let's 
                           see.  Did I forget anything?"
                           
                           "Scully, are you sure a month of radio choice is 
                           enough?" he asked as he realized all that she had 
                           done.
                           
                           "Probably not.  I'll let you take me to dinner too," 
                           she grinned.
                           
                           "Anything, Scully."
                           
                           "Mulder, that's enough!" she exclaimed.  "That's what 
                           friends are for."
                           
                           Mulder realized it had been a long time since he had 
                           a real friend.  He had quite a few acquaintances, but 
                           very few that would count as a friend.
                           
                           "Thanks friend," he said solemnly, then broke into a 
                           grin as he saw the wide smile on Scully's face.  
                           "I'll be waiting for you in the morning."
                           
                           Scully paused and tried to think of the last time a 
                           friend was that eager to see her again.  It had been 
                           too long.  "Great.  I'll be here by 7:30.  Oh, and 
                           Mulder, you know my number.  Call me if you need me."
                           
                           Scully made her way to the door as Mulder agreed to 
                           call her.
                           
                           As she left, Mulder felt the emptiness in the room.  
                           He lay back on the couch and thought about the last 
                           24 hours.  The pain in his foot was excruiciating at 
                           times, but it was worth it.  He had just added a new 
                           word to his personal dictionary-friend-and it had 
                           Dana Scully's picture next to it.
                           
                           "Nice," he thought as he closed his eyes, feeling 
                           safe and content for the first time in a long time.  
                           "Very nice," he smiled, and thought of his new 
                           dictionary page.
                           
                           
                           
                           
                           END
                           
                           
                           
                           Note:  In the original I referred to an episode that 
                                  hadn't been aired yet.  It was a major error
                                  and I was surprised that no one caught it.  It hit 
                                  me in the face when I watched "Fallen Angel"
                                  again last week, and I couldn't rest until I
                                  corrected it.  Please accept my apology for 
                                  making this mistake, even after checking the 
                                  order of the Season One eps.  I think it's
                                  time for a new pair of glasses.