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How to avoid a boring seminar without even trying.
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Title:  How To Avoid a Boring Seminar Without Even 
                           Trying
                           Author:  Waddles 52
                           Summary:  Mulder has to deal with a migraine and a 
                           boring seminar.
                           Spoilers:  None
                           Rating:  PG
                           Category:  MT, Mulder/Scully friendship
                           Disclaimer:  Just for fun.  Not for profit.  No 
                           copyright infringement intended.
                           Archives:  Ask me and I'll probably say yes.
                           Feedback:  I'd love to hear from you at 
                           Waddles52@wmconnect.com
                           Thanks:  To my wonderful beta, Lisa.  She's always 
                           there for me with plenty of great suggestions and 
                           encouragement.  Additional thanks in author's notes 
                           at the end.
                           
                           
                           Mulder closed the last file on his desk with a 
                           flourish as Scully hung up the phone.  He looked at 
                           her curiously.
                           
                           "That was Skinner's office . . .again!  Just a 
                           reminder that we are expected in the third floor 
                           conference room at 8 AM sharp."
                           
                           "I will be sooo glad when this seminar is over.  
                           Skinner turns into a real bear when he's in charge of 
                           these things."
                           
                           "I'll say," Scully agreed as the fax machine stirred 
                           to life.
                           
                           "Don't tell me," Mulder sighed.
                           
                           Scully peeked around him and laughed.  "It's the 
                           latest revised agenda."
                           
                           "How many does that make for today?  Three or four?"
                           
                           "You're slipping, Mulder.  This is number five."
                           
                           "Ah, must have missed one when I went to the 
                           restroom."
                           
                           "Come on.  Let's get out of here before number six 
                           materializes," Scully suggested.
                           
                           "Good idea," he agreed, grabbing his suit jacket from 
                           the back of his chair.
                           
                           "Is your presentation ready to go?" she inquired as 
                           she threw the last file into her briefcase.
                           
                           "Pretty much.  The slides are in order and loaded.  I 
                           just need to check out a few references on the 
                           Internet tonight."
                           
                           "Very good.  I'm sure you'll make Skinner proud.  We 
                           could use the brownie points." 
                           
                           "We?  Scully, you're the one bright spot in this 
                           division.  You don't need brownie points from 
                           Skinner."
                           
                           Mulder held the door for her as she exited their 
                           office, then turned to lock the door.  "Where did you 
                           park this morning?"
                           
                           "The usual," Scully replied, as they reached the 
                           elevator.  She pushed the up button.
                           
                           "I'm down at the end of the row.  I couldn't get my 
                           regular slot when I got back from the cleaners."
                           
                           The elevator opened and the ride to the parking 
                           garage was spent in comfortable silence.  
                           
                           When they reached Scully's car, she turned to Mulder 
                           and said, "Try to get some sleep tonight, okay?  
                           Remember, we have to be here bright and early."
                           
                           "Yes ma'am.  Seven in the AM," he grinned.
                           
                           "Good.  I'll see you then."  She unlocked the door 
                           and got in.  After closing the door, she buckled up 
                           and turned the key in the ignition.  Instead of the 
                           familiar sound of the engine turning over, she was 
                           greeted with silence.
                           
                           Mulder was still beside her car, waiting until she 
                           was on her way before continuing the trek to his 
                           vehicle.  "Scully?" he questioned as she rolled down 
                           her window.
                           
                           "I think the battery is dead.  I'll have to call the 
                           auto club for a jump."
                           
                           Mulder consulted his watch.  "It's late.  Why don't 
                           you let me take you home and give you a ride in 
                           tomorrow morning?  By the time the tow truck gets 
                           here it will be too late to get another battery 
                           anyway, and the old one probably won't hold a charge 
                           over night."
                           
                           "I don't want to put you out, Mulder.  It's really 
                           out of your way."
                           
                           "I don't mind, Scully.  You know that."
                           
                           "I have a better idea.  You picked up some suits and 
                           shirts from the cleaners during lunch didn't you?"  
                           she inquired.
                           
                           "Uh-huh."
                           
                           "And your overnight bag is in your car.  Correct?"
                           
                           "As usual."
                           
                           "Why don't you come home with me and we can go in 
                           together in the morning.  I have some frozen lasagna 
                           that I can put in the microwave, and you can use my 
                           computer for your research.  I'll even fix 
                           breakfast," she offered brightly.
                           
                           "Would that happen to be homemade lasagna?" Mulder 
                           asked hopefully.
                           
                           ""Yes, it would.  I even have garlic bread to go with 
                           it."
                           
                           "Well, when you put it that way, I would be delighted 
                           to attend your slumber party," he agreed, opening her 
                           door.
                           
                           "Slumber is the operative word, Mulder.  I'd like to 
                           see you get to bed at a reasonable hour and get a 
                           good night's sleep," she said as they walked toward 
                           his car.
                           
                           "You'll get no arguments from me.  Dinner, no more 
                           than an hour on the Internet, then to bed and 
                           hopefully some serious Zs.  Skinner has been riding 
                           us like crazy these past few days, and to tell the 
                           truth, I'm dog tired."
                           
                           Mulder unlocked the door for her, and closed it when 
                           she was safely inside.  After he got himself situated 
                           behind the wheel, he turned the key in the ignition 
                           and listened to the engine roar to life.
                           
                           "Home, James," Scully directed with a smile.
                           
                           Dinner was wonderful, and Mulder found exactly what 
                           he needed on the Internet in no time.  Now, he was 
                           laying on Scully's spare bed, watching her crappy, 
                           older TV.  Despite the lousy TV reception, life was 
                           good.
                           
                           There was a light rap on his door and Scully stuck 
                           her head in.  "Mulder, I'm going to bed now.  I put 
                           extra towels in the bathroom for your shower in the 
                           morning, and breakfast will be on the table at 6 AM 
                           on the dot."
                           
                           "Thanks, Scully.  I'll be there."
                           
                           "Don't stay up late, okay?  You really look tired."
                           
                           "I am tired, Scully.  I'll be turning in soon," he 
                           promised.
                           
                           "All right.  Good night, then."
                           
                           "Sleep tight," Mulder added.
                           
                           Scully smiled broadly and shut the door.
                           
                           "Yes, indeed," he thought.  "Life is good."
                           
                           He rubbed his eyes, trying to clear away the squiggly 
                           lines he'd been seeing all evening, with no success.  
                           Deciding that he was more tired than he thought, he 
                           hit the power button on the remote and crawled under 
                           the covers.  Turning off the bedside lamp, Mulder 
                           settled in and was asleep almost immediately.
                           
                           Mulder's travel alarm screamed in his ear, tempting 
                           him to throw it across the room.  He slowly reached 
                           over to turn it off and opened one eye in the 
                           process.  He quickly shut it.
                           
                           "Damn!  What a day for a headache," he groaned as he 
                           sat up.  "Not a good idea," he decided as his stomach 
                           flipped, threatening an exit.
                           
                           After a few deep breaths, the FBI agent felt well 
                           enough to stand.  "Shit!"  That was the only word 
                           that came to mind when his headache ratcheted up a 
                           notch.  "This is not good."
                           
                           Despite the ever-increasing pain in his head, he was 
                           able to gather up his clothes and head for the 
                           bathroom.  Once there, he was forced to drop 
                           everything and hang over the toilet as his stomach 
                           violently rebelled.
                           
                           After the heaving stopped, Mulder flushed and flipped 
                           the toilet seat down.  He sat there for a few minutes 
                           until the trembling stopped, then scrambled to pick 
                           up his clothes and hang them up before the wrinkles 
                           became permanent.
                           
                           He hoped that a hot shower would ease the pain of the 
                           worst headache he could ever remember.  Mulder 
                           climbed in, adjusting the water temperature to as hot 
                           as he could stand it.  He leaned over, putting both 
                           hands palms up against the wall as the water sprayed 
                           forcefully against his neck and shoulders.  Although 
                           it felt great, the headache was a stubborn one.
                           
                           He stepped out of the shower and dried himself off, 
                           but it was no use.  It felt like someone had taken a 
                           drill and was trying to carve a tunnel straight 
                           through his head, starting in his right temple.
                           
                           The agent stood in front of the mirror and was 
                           shocked at his reflection.  He was extremely pale, 
                           and had shadows beneath his eyes.  "Damn, I look as 
                           bad as I feel."
                           
                           He searched through his shave kit for the items he 
                           would need.  First, he wanted to brush his teeth.  
                           After squeezing some toothpaste onto his toothbrush, 
                           he began the familiar task only to find his self 
                           positioned over the toilet again, heaving for all he 
                           was worth.
                           
                           After recovering from his second bout of vomiting, he 
                           decided to search Scully's medicine cabinet for any 
                           medication that he could use.  "Jackpot!" he 
                           exclaimed under his breath.
                           
                           There, sitting next to the rubbing alcohol was a 
                           bottle of Pepto Bismol and some Tylenol.  With 
                           shaking hands he removed the dosage cup from the top 
                           of the Pepto Bismol and opened the bottle.  After 
                           pouring the correct amount into the cup, he choked it 
                           down, then struggled to keep it in his stomach.
                           
                           After a few deep breaths, he was ready for the 
                           Tylenol.  He took three, cleaned the dosage cup and 
                           returned both Pepto Bismol and Tylenol to the 
                           medicine cabinet.
                           
                           The Pepto began to help his stomach, and the 
                           trembling in his hands eased off.  He decided he was 
                           steady enough to shave.
                           
                           He was just tucking his shirt in when Scully knocked 
                           on the door.  "Breakfast in five minutes, Mulder."
                           
                           "I'll be there in a minute," he told her as he 
                           gathered up his shave kit and dirty clothes.
                           
                           At 6 AM sharp, Mulder strolled into Scully's kitchen 
                           feeling somewhat better.  Though far from perfect, at   
                           least his stomach had calmed down a bit.  His head 
                           was another story.
                           
                           "Mulder, didn't you sleep well?" Scully asked as she 
                           put a plate filled with scrambled eggs and bacon on 
                           the table.
                           
                           "I slept all night.  Why?"
                           
                           "Forgive me, but you look like hell."
                           
                           "And good morning to you too, Scully."
                           
                           "I'm sorry, Mulder.  Are you feeling all right?"  She 
                           motioned for Mulder to sit and placed a steaming mug 
                           of coffee in front of him.
                           
                           "I'm feeling as well as I possibly could with that 
                           seminar hanging over our heads."
                           
                           The oven timer dinged and Scully pulled out a pan of 
                           biscuits.  "I know what you mean.  I hate being 
                           cooped up in that conference room all day, listening 
                           to all of those ridiculous presentations."
                           
                           After putting a plate of biscuits in front of Mulder, 
                           she put her plate and coffee on the table and settled 
                           down across from him.
                           
                           "Thanks for the vote of confidence, Scully."
                           
                           "Oh!  I'm sorry.  I wasn't referring to your 
                           presentation.  You're always informative and very 
                           entertaining.  I was thinking of Winslow.  You know 
                           how boring he is."
                           
                           Mulder nodded in agreement, then wished he had kept 
                           his head still.  "Bad move," he thought, as he tried 
                           to keep his discomfort from showing. 
                           
                           "The last revised agenda had him speaking first.  
                           Maybe things will move along faster after that."
                           
                           Mulder took a sip of his coffee.  "When do I give my 
                           presentation?"
                           
                           "You were scheduled last on every revision, Mulder.  
                           Skinner's not about to give you a chance to skip out 
                           early."
                           
                           Mulder had been hoping that maybe he would be able to 
                           do just that.  The Tylenol wasn't helping his 
                           headache at all.  "Just put it out of your mind," he 
                           told himself.  "You were able to travel to Antarctica 
                           after being shot in the head.  You've worked with 
                           broken bones, concussions and even pneumonia.  A 
                           little headache shouldn't get you down."
                           
                           The problem was that this headache wasn't so little.
                           
                           "Mulder, quit daydreaming and eat.  I want to leave 
                           by 6:30."  Scully got up and scraped her plate out 
                           and put everything in the dishwasher.  "When you're 
                           finished, put your things in the dishwasher.  I'm 
                           going to finish getting ready."
                           
                           "Sure, Scully.  I'll meet you in the living room."
                           
                           Phew!  At least he didn't have to eat anything.  His 
                           stomach was still feeling a little uneasy despite the 
                           Pepto Bismol.  This was one day when he would be glad 
                           to put in his eight hours and leave.  He gathered up 
                           his untouched breakfast and headed for the sink.
                           
                           The seminar was everything that it promised to be.  
                           Boring!  Pastries, coffee and juice were available at 
                           their first break.  Mulder grabbed a bottle of apple 
                           juice and headed for the basement office.  He knew 
                           that Scully kept some painkillers in the small first-
                           aid kit in his desk.  If he could just find something 
                           to take the edge off of this headache, then perhaps 
                           he could make it past lunch.
                           
                           He barely made it back in time for the second 
                           session, earning a piercing look from Skinner as he 
                           took his seat.  Mulder settled in and tried to look 
                           interested as he attempted to discreetly massage his 
                           aching right temple.
                           
                           Scully carefully slid a note his way.  "Headache?" 
                           she asked in her unmistakable scrawl.
                           
                           Mulder gave her a slight nod of affirmation, sliding 
                           the note back her way.
                           
                           "Go to the office and rest during lunch.  I'll make 
                           sure you get back in time," the next note said.
                           
                           "Bless you!  I'll dance at your wedding," he 
                           scribbled in reply.
                           
                           She smiled at him and turned her attention back to 
                           the speaker.
                           
                           Mulder was beginning to think that time was standing 
                           still.  It seemed that noon would never arrive.  The 
                           Tylenol that he had taken earlier had done absolutely 
                           nothing to ease the pain.  Although he didn't think 
                           it possible, his headache had gotten worse.
                           
                           When they were finally released for lunch, Scully 
                           followed him down to their office.  Mulder collapsed 
                           in his chair while his partner observed him with 
                           concern.
                           
                           "When did this start?" she inquired.
                           
                           "I woke up with it," he answered, rubbing his right 
                           temple.
                           
                           She felt his forehead and was relieved that he didn't 
                           have a fever.  "Any nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to 
                           light?"
                           
                           "All of the above."
                           
                           "On a scale of one to ten, rate your pain."
                           
                           "About a 15."
                           
                           "Wow."
                           
                           "That pretty much describes it," Mulder agreed, 
                           clearing a space on his desk and laying his head on 
                           his arms.
                           
                           "When was the last time you took anything for it?"  
                           Scully queried.
                           
                           "At the break.  I took three Tylenol."
                           
                           "Did they help?"
                           
                           "Not a bit," he sighed.
                           
                           Scully pulled out the desk drawer and rummaged around 
                           in the first-aid kit.  She found a sample pack of 
                           Motrin and tore it open.  "Here.  Hang on to those 
                           while I get you some water."
                           
                           After she returned with the water, Mulder took the 
                           tablets and laid his head back on the desk.  "What's 
                           the verdict, Doc?"
                           
                           "I think you may have a migraine.  Have you had any 
                           trouble with them in the past?"
                           
                           "Nope.  Only the occasional tension headache."
                           
                           "You need to be home in bed."
                           
                           "Skinner would love that.  As soon as I get through 
                           with my presentation, we're out of here."
                           
                           "Maybe I can ask Skinner to move it up," Scully 
                           volunteered.
                           
                           "No!  Don't do that!" Mulder exclaimed, then 
                           instantly regretted it as his voice echoed through 
                           his head, causing the pain to increase.  "My head 
                           hurts badly enough without having to listen to him 
                           yell at me for messing up the order of his seminar."
                           
                           "All right, I won't talk to him.  Do you feel like 
                           eating?"
                           
                           "No!  No food!" he stated emphatically.
                           
                           "Okay.  Rest, then.  I'll be here ten minutes before 
                           we're due back."
                           
                           "Thanks, Scully."
                           
                           She lightly rubbed his shoulder in empathy and 
                           Mulder leaned into her warm touch. "Feel better," she 
                           whispered, turning off the light and closing the door 
                           quietly.
                           
                           Mulder managed to doze off despite the pain.  Too 
                           soon, Scully was shaking his shoulder to wake him.
                           
                           "Feeling any better?"
                           
                           "Unfortunately, no," he moaned, rubbing his eyes.
                           
                           "Are you sure you don't want me to speak to Skinner?
                           
                           "No.  I can handle this, Scully.  Give me a minute to 
                           splash some water on my face, and I'll meet you at 
                           the elevator."
                           
                           He staggered a bit as he struggled to stand, every 
                           muscle in his face reflecting the intense pain in his 
                           head.
                           
                           Scully worriedly watched as he made his way down the 
                           hall, grabbing on to any object along the way just to 
                           keep his balance.  "Mulder, you'll never last until 
                           your presentation," she said under her breath, hoping 
                           he would prove her wrong.
                           
                           They took their seats at the conference table seconds 
                           before Skinner closed the door.  Despite the AD's 
                           attempts to keep the presentations moving along, they 
                           were running behind.
                           
                           Mulder looked at the agenda, then his watch.  Taking 
                           a deep breath, he attempted to look interested in the 
                           next speaker.  Though he had napped briefly at his 
                           desk, the pain in his head hadn't let up a bit.  To 
                           make matters worse, his stomach was beginning to feel 
                           very unsettled again.  Every passing second only 
                           served to intensify his feeling of distress.
                           
                           Scully was trying to discreetly keep an eye on 
                           Mulder.  She was concerned that he was becoming quite 
                           pale, with a thin sheen of perspiration above his 
                           lip.
                           
                           Mulder scribbled something on his notepad and slid it 
                           over to her.  "Be right back."
                           
                           He stood rather unsteadily and made his way to the 
                           door, gaining a stern look from Skinner who was 
                           standing by the exit.  Mulder pushed past him without 
                           a word.
                           
                           Scully looked at her watch and tried to look 
                           unconcerned as the minutes passed.  When 15 minutes 
                           had elapsed without her partner's return, she decided 
                           that she needed to check on him.
                           
                           As she exited the conference room, she thought she 
                           had escaped Skinner's eagle eye until she sensed 
                           someone behind her.  "Agent Scully, what seems to be 
                           the problem?"
                           
                           She thought about making an excuse but finally 
                           decided that honesty was the best policy.  "Mulder 
                           isn't feeling well and I'm a bit concerned that he's 
                           been gone for so long."
                           
                           "Would you like for me to check on him?" Skinner 
                           asked.
                           
                           "If you wouldn't mind, sir."
                           
                           Skinner made his way down the hall to the men's 
                           restroom and went in.  Less than thirty seconds 
                           passed before he opened the door and motioned for 
                           Scully to come in.
                           
                           When she pushed the door open, she found Skinner 
                           helping Mulder to a sitting position against the 
                           wall."I found him lying on the floor trying to get 
                           up," he reported.  "I think he hurt his wrist when he 
                           fell."
                           
                           "Mulder, what happened?" Scully asked as she began to 
                           check his head for bumps and bruises.
                           
                           "I didn't hit my head.  My right wrist got the worst 
                           of it," he answered, attempting to push her hands 
                           away with his left hand.
                           
                           "That still doesn't explain what happened."
                           
                           "I got sick and then felt lightheaded.  I lost my 
                           balance and fell.  Just let me rest a few minutes, 
                           okay?"
                           
                           "No, it's not okay.  This has gone on long enough.  
                           You need to be home in bed." Scully protested.
                           
                           "What's wrong with him?  Skinner questioned.
                           
                           "Agent Mulder woke up with a migraine but insisted on 
                           staying here so that he could make his presentation."
                           
                           "Mulder, go home and rest.  You can give your 
                           presentation the next time around.  I used to have 
                           frequent migraines in my early teens, and still get 
                           one occasionally.  You need to be in a darkened room 
                           with an ice pack."
                           
                           "I'll be fine in a few minutes," Mulder sighed.
                           
                           "Mulder, you won't be fine and you know it.  Look at 
                           your wrist.  It's already turning black and blue," 
                           Scully observed.
                           
                           "Agent Mulder, go to the emergency room and get that 
                           wrist looked at, and while you're there get that 
                           migraine treated as well.  That is an order."
                           
                           "But . . ."
                           
                           "No buts.  Agent Scully, make sure he gets there and 
                           stays until he's released."
                           
                           "I will, sir," Scully acknowledged.  "Mulder, do you 
                           think you can stand?"
                           
                           "Yeah, I'm okay."
                           
                           "Sure you are," Skinner said as he helped Mulder to 
                           his feet, catching him as he swayed.  "I want you to 
                           go straight to the emergency room.  Do not pass "Go".  
                           Do not collect $200.  I want a note from the doctor 
                           stating that you were treated.  Understand?"
                           
                           "I'll be sure to ask for one," Scully promised.
                           
                           "I just want to be sure you get treatment. I don't 
                           want you back at work until you're 100%.  I 
                           appreciate the effort you made by sitting through 
                           that seminar.  Agents Winslow and Baker gave me a 
                           headache just from listening to them drone on and on.  
                           Take care of yourself, Mulder."
                           
                           "Yes, sir," Mulder replied, his voice sounding 
                           weaker.
                           
                           "Will you need help getting to your car?" Skinner 
                           inquired.
                           
                           "No, sir.  I can make it," Mulder assured him.
                           
                           "I'll get back to the seminar then.  Even though you 
                           have a migraine, I envy you Agent Mulder.  You have 
                           an excuse to miss the rest of that boring meeting."
                           
                           "My presentation would have knocked your socks off, 
                           sir," Mulder winced as he moved his injured right 
                           wrist.
                           
                           "I hope that isn't broken.  Agent Scully, please keep 
                           me informed as to Agent Mulder's condition.  As much 
                           as I hate it, I'd better get back."
                           
                           The two agents waited until their supervisor was gone 
                           until they spoke.
                           
                           "Mulder, what am I going to do with you?" Scully 
                           sighed.
                           
                           "At least I got you out of that miserable excuse for 
                           a seminar," he said, managing a smile.
                           
                           "That you did," she agreed, smiling back.  "Let's get 
                           you to the hospital."
                           
                           Mulder was lying on Scully's spare bed, watching her 
                           crappy, older TV.  The ER doctor had agreed with 
                           Scully's diagnosis.  He did indeed have a migraine, 
                           but an injection of Imitrex worked like a miracle. 
                           Within an hour, the headache was gone.  He still felt 
                           wiped out, but anything was better than the sensation 
                           that someone was trying to drill through his skull.
                           
                           He looked down at his right wrist, splinted and 
                           wrapped in an elastic bandage.  Mulder had got lucky 
                           there, too.  It was a pretty bad sprain, but it had 
                           earned him a few more days at Scully's apartment.
                           
                           There was a light rap on the door, followed by Scully 
                           carrying a glass of iced tea and an ice pack.
                           
                           "Mulder, how's the wrist?"
                           
                           "Throbbing to beat the band," he answered.
                           
                           "This ice pack should help," she said as she sat on 
                           the edge of the bed and placed it gently on his right 
                           wrist, propping it on a pillow.
                           
                           Scully reached into her right pocket and brought out 
                           the bottle of pain pills that the doctor had 
                           prescribed.  She opened it and shook out two, handing 
                           them to Mulder, leaving the bottle on the nightstand.
                           
                           "Take these now," she directed as she handed him the 
                           tea.
                           
                           "Thanks," he acknowledged after he swallowed them 
                           with a big gulp of iced tea.
                           
                           "Dinner should be ready in about half an hour.  Can I 
                           get you anything?"
                           
                           "No, I'm good.  Thanks for putting up with me, 
                           Scully."
                           
                           She grinned, ruffling his hair with her fingers as 
                           she got up. "Not a problem, Mulder.  Yell if you need 
                           anything," she directed, closing the door behind her.
                           
                           Mulder grinned as he took a deep breath, smelling 
                           something delicious coming from the kitchen.  He let 
                           the comfort of being in Scully's home wash over his 
                           sleepy brain.  Yes, indeed.  Life was good.
                           
                           
                           END
                           
                           Author's notes:  The idea for this fic came out of a 
                           conversation in the Mulder's Refuge chat room.  I was 
                           suffering with a doozy of a migraine and Mindy 
                           suggested that I use my pain as the basis for a 
                           story.  Of course, the MT freak in me could see some 
                           definite possibilities.  So, after my nasty migraine 
                           finally went away, I got busy and transferred my pain 
                           to Mulder.  The result was this piece of 
                           Muldertorture.  Hope you enjoy!
                           
                           Debbie